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Prophetic interrogation, what it is and why to watch out for people using the term

I was reading up on an organization called Sojourners. It is an organization whose focus is fighting against social injustice with some faith thrown in. In their “About us” page they used the phrase “prophetic interrogation”. I was intrigued by that. New terms popping up that have a Christian overlay to them interest me. Like this tweet from Michelle Lesley.

Here is the Sojourners blurb where they audaciously announce they they are prophetic interrogators.

Sojourners magazine and Sojourners online publication sit at the intersection of faith, politics, and culture. Our coverage goes beyond the trending headlines to uncover and explore in depth the hidden injustices in the world around us. Our call to prophetic interrogation means we seek the truth as informed by our biblical roots.

Apparently it is not enough to address obvious injustices, one must now uncover hidden injustice, too. Designating one’s organization or the people in it prophetic interrogators is audacious because they have not been called to perform prophetic interrogation. The term is an old term used to describe a rhetorical device in the Bible whereupon the ACTUAL prophets speak words to the nation Israel (or other nations as designated by God) to question them either actually or rhetorically. Here are a couple of descriptions of what the term prophetic interrogation means.

Elements of Prophetic Interpretation. 

THE INTERROGATION — while its legitimate use is to ask a question — is also used to affirm or deny with great emphasis. Affirmative interrogations usually have no or not in connection with the verb. Example. — “Is not God in the height of the heavens?” Job 22:12. Examples of a negative. — “Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once?” Isa.66:8. “Can the rush grow up without mire?” Job 8:11.

From the book Minor Prophets Part 2, by Michael H. Floyd,

Prophets would often provoke their audience with accusatory or confrontational questions (e.g., Isaiah 7:13, 22:1b, 16; Jeremiah 4:30; Ezekiel 18:2, 25, 29; cf. Psalm 50:16, 53:3), and inferential questioning would serve as one way of pursuing this rhetorical strategy (e.g., Amos 3:8; Isaiah 50:7-9). In prophetic discourse inferential questioning usually serves to foster an assessment of some claim about the nature of Yahweh’s involvement in human affairs (—-> prophecy).

I hope the reader can see why it is audacious (brash, arrogant) to designate one’s self a prophet called by God to interrogate entire nations, systems, or organizations. First, prophetic interrogation as seen in the Bible always points back to God.

Secondly, God calls prophets, one does not designation one’s self as a prophet (in NT times, a pastor). Third, the willingness to call one’s self prophetic interrogators reveals an even more symptomatic problem. I mentioned that Sojourners is a social justice organization that ‘intersects where faith, politics and culture meet’. The church is called to share the Gospel, period, not entertain politics and culture. However, social justice organizations often lose their singular focus and dilute or even do away with Gospel proclamation. See this paper published in Britain in 2005 titled, Exploring ethos? Discourses of `charity’ in the provision of emergency services for homeless peopleThe author John May compared three systems of generosity, and took a particular interest in the reasons why individuals and organisations become involved in the task of caring for, or serving, homeless people.

We Christians know that loving our neighbor is our response to the saving grace Jesus bestowed on us and our desire to nurture, help, and serve as a logical and an emotional response to that grace. Sometimes this perplexes secular people, and so the thrust of the paper was to compare charity work among “Christian caritas, secular humanism, and postsecular charity.” Mr May writes of Christians engaged in social justice,

The Christian ethical impulse to charity is most clearly displayed in the reforming zeal of evangelicals in the 19th century. Underpinned by the great evangelical revival which began at the end of the 18th century, a widespread depth of religious faith became a motivating factor for the establishment of a far-reaching charitable network, three quarters of which, according to Heasman, was evangelical Christian in nature. As Owen (1965) suggests, “So unwearied in well-doing were certain groups of Bible Christians that in the public mind the word ‘philanthropist’ became all but synonymous with ‘evangelical’, and ‘philanthropy’ was applied to the good works that appeals most to evangelical tastes” (page 93). 

…These outpourings of 19th-century Christian charity relied on an overtly evangelical underpinning of action. Charitable activity was essentially entwined with an urgency to convert people to Christian ways of living. As the impacts of the evangelical revival waned, Christian theology became increasingly liberalised, undermining the link between social welfare and salvation. [emphasis mine]

…Another, related dilemma, relates to the intersection of faith and political worldview. Some Christians view their caritas through an individualist political lens – believing that social problems result from an individual’s failures, so the emphasis is on individual conversion as a means of over-coming personal failure (Steinfels, 2001). Others see poverty as caused by unjust social, economic, and political structures and life circumstances largely beyond the control of individuals. Christian charity in this context not only provides personal strength for these individuals, but also presents a ‘prophetic interrogation’ (Wallis, 2001) of social injustice more generally.

That is the problem with organizations that focus on social injustice to the exclusion of the Gospel. The historical trend went like this:

  • serving others in social welfare as a Gospel response, conversion in mind
  • crusading for social justice to rectify the symptoms that caused the person to need the welfare in the first place
  • to speak for God in interrogating entire nations or systems as to why the injustice exists.

Each step in this trend removes the Gospel from center focus and elevates the people performing the service to exalted positions they do not warrant.

My message today: watch out for the term “prophetic interrogation.” Add it to your list of terms like anointing and the others that do not mean what the speaker thinks it means.

What is God doing in the world today?

The following is a sermon excerpt transcribed from Dr Donald Grey Barnhouse. The sermon “What is God Doing Today?” can be found here. Dr Barnhouse launched his long-running radio program in 1927, and he pastored from 1927 until his death in 1960. Therefore this sermon had to have been preached sometime in that time frame, yet its age, at youngest perhaps 56 years old and at oldest, perhaps 90, is fresh and relevant today. 

We so often hear the cry of the social religious liberals to that they plan to change the world with their acts, or bring about social justice through this or that organization or these millions in donations. This of course is not a new theme. Dr Barnhouse’s sermon lets us know just how off-kilter the social justice cries really are. And how stale.

I recommend the sermon in its entirety at the link above.

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What is God Doing Today?

The question I am going to ask and answer today is ‘will the church save the world?’ What is God’s purpose in our age? God has but one purpose for the church, and He is confining that purpose to this age. In the Bible, God reveals that purpose.

Now we know that all Bible revelation centers around the work of the Lord Jesus Christ in two phases. First, He came to suffer for the sins of men. And He will come the second time to rule with a rod of iron and to bring righteousness to the earth. The Old Testament reveals nothing about the period between His First and Second coming. That revelation was made after Pentecost. 

What are God’s plan and purpose for this age? We need to find out so that we may not work contrary to them. A great New England preacher was once asked why he did not cooperate with Dwight L. Moody. The minister replied that he and Mr Moody did not agree on the purpose of life and work. This minister looked upon the church as a great ship, sailing through stormy seas, perhaps, but sailing on nevertheless in triumph, sure to come into port someday, with all the world on board. He expected that all the world would be Christianized and that everyone would be brought under the domination of the Gospel.

Mr Moody, on the other hand, looked upon the world as a sinking vessel, from which the church was to save as many souls as possible before the world foundered in great catastrophe. Obviously, it’s impossible to harmonize these two points of view. Therefore we need to examine God’s word so that our plans and purpose may be in harmony with His.

Never in the prophetic outline of the Church Age given in the word of God do we find the Church comprising more than a fraction of the population of the earth. Never is this Church spoken of as ‘all-inclusive’. Not one verse in the Bible teaches or even allows one to infer that the world is ever to be converted through the work of the church. Rather it is definitely taught that never will all people be in the true church. The low spiritual condition of many churches today is due in large measure to the fact that leaders have failed to recognize this truth and have been seeking to accomplish purposes that are out of harmony with the plan of God. Many leaders, lay and clerical alike, are trying to change the intellectual currents of the age. They are seeking to transform the social and economic order. Their aim is to build a new civilization for children to be born into. All this is foreign to the plan of God. Such ideas cannot be found in the New Testament.

Anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ can only adopt the attitude of the Lord Jesus toward the age in which we live. Our Lord spoke in no uncertain terms about the intellectual currents of this world system…its civilization…its social and economic order… He said in John 15, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it has hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own.”

There is no word here about trying to change the attitudes of the world toward believers in Lord Jesus Christ. … Christ NEVER hinted that there was any hope for this world as it is in its present condition. There is hope for believers, salvation for those who turn to Christ, but no hope for the unbelieving world. In John 17 Christ even refused to pray for the world. In His last, great prayer, recorded in John 17, He said “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world…9I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” 

It is not God’s purpose in this age to improve the social or moral order of the world. Anybody who seeks to make this world a better place to live in has failed to understand the purpose of God today. For God’s purpose is to form His church, the Body of called-out ones.

‘Down with Patriarchy! Up with women pastors!’ Sojourner’s video about women pastors making a splash

Someone sent me a video that is making a very big hit online. The news article about it said that within 24 hours, the video had garnered 1 million views. “The video has struck a nerve” the article explained. What is this big, splashy, video?

It is from an organization called Sojourners. Sojourners has the latest news and commentary on faith, politics, and culture, their tagline says. Sojourners is a website/social media outlet/movement aiming to transform the world. That is actually their slogan, “Building a Movement to Transform the World.” So this should tell you something about the organization’s mission and overall focus. Their focus is not on Jesus, but what the world thinks about Jesus. Or should think about Jesus. Or should think about the world. Or something.

Anyway, they are all about “social justice” and one glaring injustice, according to Sojourners, is that there is a glass ceiling in the church and women need to break it. It is a 2000 year old trend that just needs to be smashed. Right now. Women’s “sacred worth” isn’t being taken seriously, because they are continually being denied opportunity to serve at the top. They should be allowed to lead, the thrust of the message goes, because it’s 2016, after all.

Their video is very clever and funny. Since they focus on culture, and right now the biggest culture war is the one regarding gender and gender roles, the video is a satirical push-back on why women should not be pastors. They took the usual old excuses which had been used to deny women places of authority in the culture, and applied them to the church, and reversed the roles. So when women used to hear “Their time of the month makes them hysterical and emotional,” Sojourners took that excuse and applied it to men…in the church…as a satirical look at why women have been denied opportunities to lead.

Scholer’s basis is that men and women are equal despite their gender, but the Bible asserts that men and women are equal through their gender. There’s a difference.
However, their video, in addition to being clever and well-done and therefore attractive to those without biblical understanding, is founded on some old work they dug up from Fuller Seminary’s recently deceased Professor, Dr David Scholer. Dr Scholer was a biblical feminist. For 36 years at four seminaries he taught that women should lead, explaining that a careful reading of the gospels and letters of Paul demands full inclusion of women in church leadership. So says his In Memoriam notice.

As a side note, one can immediately see how the liberal theologians do damage to the faith. The video and its main thrust having been founded on a seminary professor’s work, lends it additional credibility. “Look! A Seminary Professor thinks women should be ordained! It must be true!” Never mind that Fuller Seminary jumped the shark years ago. John MacArthur writes a short piece on Fuller’s slide into ultra-liberalism, here, but as far as most people are concerned, a seminary is a seminary.

I read Scholer’s paper on women leading in the church, female ordination etc, and it is very well-written and makes a great argument. An unbiblical argument to be sure, but a solid and credible argument using logic with scripture interwoven throughout, that would be difficult for the lay person to refute. If you read it, you might think, ‘Hey, they make great points, maybe I ought to rethink this.’ No. No you shouldn’t. If you watch the video, you might say, ‘This is funny and true, I like it. Maybe I ought to rethink this.’ No. No you shouldn’t.

And so Sojourners, wading into the culture wars over gender roles, produced “7 Reasons Men should not be Pastors.”

“Can women really lead in the church?” We still hear this question in our churches, often coupled with silly, irrational, or demeaning thinking. Would we put up with the same excuses for excluding men from leadership?

The video’s introduction above from Sojourners is devilishly excellent. Just as satan did, the issue is phrased in the form of a question, and inverted too, just as satan did. God had told Adam “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16).

Yet satan reversed that command, asking the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1) [emphasis mine]

The Sojourner query, can women really lead in the church, is phrased to insinuate doubt, form a negative, and lead the willingly deluded to the poisonous water from which they will soon drink, as the next line states. The reasons women can’t lead in the church are “silly and irrational”. Not biblical. A neat blame-shifting trick.

Dr Scholer’s 1983 paper stated,

Modern debates over the ordination of women often miss the crucial and basic issues of the holistic concept of the ministry of the Church reflected in the New Testament. Of course, no person should be ordained or given any responsibilities of ministry within the Church because of gender or for the sake of a “point.” On the other hand, we have affirmed in the Church that no person, called and gifted by God, should be denied any role of ministry or leadership in the Church because of one’s gender. 

The phrasing here is that no one should be denied any role of ministry or leadership… Well, of course no one should be denied the opportunity to minister in the church. It’s what we’re all called to do. But attaching the word leadership with ministry is disingenuous, because though all are called to minister, not all are called to lead. Not even all men are called to lead. But the insinuation here is that ministry IS leadership and vice-versa.

Secondly, the video posits the old canard that gender distinction is a bad thing. There are two distinct genders (though it seems not for long) and because they are distinct this is bad. It is the feminist and liberal theologian’s duty to equalize the two genders into mutually indistinguishable humans with interchangeable roles.

Scholer’s basis is that men and women are equal despite their gender, but the Bible asserts that men and women are equal through their gender. There’s a difference.

The Bible shows that first, man needed woman. The need is real and it exists because men and women complement each other. After man had named and examined all the animals there was no mate suitable for him. He was still alone. It is not good for man to be alone, and so God made woman.

However hard the feminists try, man will always have been made first (1 Timothy 2:13), and man began a relationship with God first and man received his instructions and duties first. Women are cursed with feminism (Genesis 3:16). It is a curse, instilled in us is a desire to rule over our husbands, to want to usurp the natural order of things. At the root, what feminists are attempting to do is reverse the order of creation. Yet they also cannot reverse the fact that God gave man dominion over the earth and a command to work the garden and keep it. It is man who has authority. (Genesis 1:26). He has been given this authority in the home and in the church.

This is not to say that man-woman-children-animals is a top-down hierarchy where women have no say, no worth, and no work to do. In Christianity, submission is a mutual submission, a joyful following of each other and of Jesus. (Ephesians 5:22-33). Each gender has their own role, created exactly for them by an omniscient God who knows what is best.

Women should thank God that “patriarchy is alive and well in the church” as I read in one of the video’s comments. The Head of the Church is a Man-God who has a Father to whom even He submits. Of course, they satirically and they THINK cleverly puncture the excuses for excluding women from leadership in a precious video they’re so proud of, but avoid the one excuse that truly excludes women from leadership- Father God’s prohibition.

The Ultimate Patriarchy is real, and thank God for that. Jesus came to earth as a God-Man, not a goddess, not a god-woman, and not a hermaphrodite. Jesus is a Man, under whom all authority in the universe rests. God Himself, though He is a spirit, is referred to as Father.

So the video is worldly clever, but the Bible says “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:21). Ladies, don’t be swayed by a clever video promoting a coyly precious false doctrine. See the resources below which explain from the Bible in a true and not a twisted way as Scholer did, why women’s roles are prescribed, defined, and permanent. Even in 2016.

Resources:

Should women be pastors and elders?

In a social climate of complete equality in all things, the Biblical teaching of only allowing men to be pastors and elders is not popular. Many feminist organizations denounce this position as antiquated and chauvinistic. In addition, many Christian churches have adopted the “politically correct” social standard and have allowed women pastors and elders in the church. But the question remains, is this Biblical? The Bible’s answer to this question is, “No, women are not to be pastors and elders.” Many may not like that answer, but it is, I believe, an accurate representation of the Biblical standard. First of all, women are under-appreciated and under-utilized in the church. There are many gifted women who might very well do a better job at preaching and teaching than many men. However, it isn’t gifting that is the issue. It is God’s order and calling. What does the Bible say?

Response to Dr John Jefferson Davis’ advocacy for female ordination

One of reasons for male-only ordained leadership is the indisputable fact that Jesus Christ appointed only males to the office of apostle. The importance of this observation is often dismissed as being demanded by the social conventions of Jesus’ time, which supposedly left our Lord with no other possible approach.  The idea is suggested that if Jesus were to start the church today, He would of course include women as apostles.  But a little reflection on this will give us pause.

Can a woman be a pastor or a preacher?

There is perhaps no more hotly debated issue in the church today than the issue of women serving as pastors/preachers. As a result, it is very important to not see this issue as men versus women. There are women who believe women should not serve as pastors and that the Bible places restrictions on the ministry of women, and there are men who believe women can serve as preachers and that there are no restrictions on women in ministry. This is not an issue of chauvinism or discrimination. It is an issue of biblical interpretation.

Women pastors – what does the Bible say?

The only way to have a productive dialogue on the women pastors issue is to discuss it biblically. Yes, undeniably, there are men whose views on the issue are clouded by chauvinism. At the same time, there are men and women on both sides of the discussion. So, it should never be assumed that one holds a particular view due to latent chauvinism. The issue should be decided based on what the Bible teaches, not on who can make the strongest ad hominem attack.

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 4: Women teachers

This is part three of a four-part series. I’m examining the website, teachings, and women of “She Reads Truth” in 2 parts (What They Say, and What They Do). Part 3 (this part) looks at the conference known as the “IF:Gathering” in which many of the She Reads Truth women are involved. In part 4 I will discuss women teachers in general from a biblical perspective, and provide a list of solid teachers (men and women) of the Word.

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 1 (What They Say)

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 2 (What They Do)

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 3 (IF:Gathering)

I like being in a discernment ministry. How could I not? One of the Spiritual Gifts is Discerning of spirits. (1 Corinthians 12:10). If the Spirit sees fit to distribute gifts as He chooses and He chose this gift for me, to hate it would be rebellion. I do not want to suffer from gift envy and secretly covet another’s gift. I also do not want to suffer from the sin of gift projection, where just because discernment comes easily to me I think everybody should be discerning. There are people in my church with the gift of hospitality and I sure wouldn’t want them to project their gift onto me by secretly berating me because I am not hospitable enough. See this article by Tim Challies FMI on gift envy and gift projection.

What is discerning of spirits? GotQuestions answers that question. Here is an excerpt:

There are certain individuals, however, who have the God-given ability to distinguish between the truth of the Scriptures and erroneous and deceptive doctrines propagated by demons. Although we are all exhorted to be spiritually discerning (Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1), some in the body of Christ have been given the unique ability to “spot” the forgeries in doctrine that have plagued the church since the first century. But this does not involve a mystical, extra-biblical revelation or a voice from God. Rather, the spiritually discerning among us are so familiar with the Word of God that they instantly recognize what is contrary to it. They do not receive special messages from God; they use the Word of God to “test the spirits” to see which line up with God and which are in opposition to Him. The spiritually discerning are those who “rightly divide” (2 Timothy 2:15) the Word of God in a thoughtful and diligent manner.

Discernment comes easily to me because the Spirit made it that way. It is HIS intelligence and enabling, not mine.

There is a current backlash against discernment ministries. Some of it it is warranted. Some of it is not. It’s de rigueur to pooh-pooh discernment people as negative cranks that the more spiritual folk have to put up with. (“We love you anyway.”) The clamor comes especially from the love-only emergent crowd but it also exists in the conservative crowd. (BTW, I am not speaking from experience in my current church. I am speaking in generalities of what I see in the wider picture.)

To be sure, I use the gift He has given me firstly in the body of Christ, in my local church, where I warn, admonish, encourage, and exhort. That is the point of gifts, to edify in the local body. (1 Corinthians 14:12). One of the warranted criticisms of discernment ministries comes where people become armchair Christian quarterbacks from home and are not in a local church.

An unwarranted criticism of discernment ministries is their openness, online. Some say that all that negativity should be kept quiet, to stay within the walls of a local church, and not name names so distastefully publicly. As mentioned in the series part 3, satan sure is using technology for HIS purposes. We should be using ours also wherever the battle is, given time and priorities. Because we live in such a technological age, in addition to using His gift at church among the people with whom I’ve covenanted, I also use the gift He has given me online.

If you want to see a manifestation of the Spirit, employ the gifts. (1 Corinthians 14:12). It’s as simple as that. No one gift is better than another. No gift is worse than another. We are all in a body.

However another warranted criticism of discernment ministries is that many of them cry wolf at every leaf blowing in the breeze, like an undiscerning puppy chasing after both the withered leaf blowing by and the burglar at the door. It takes maturity and patience to discern. It also takes a great deal of watching, observing, noticing trends and movements. It’s not easy.

Last, another warranted criticism of discernment ministries is that some only point out problems and do not offer solutions or encouragement. It is very easy having been given a jaundiced eye as it were, to sink into a ‘woe woe woe’ mentality. Easy. It takes work and prayer to stay balanced. Vigilance. We all have to stay vigilant for one thing or another, and in discernment ministries a balance should be given with some encouragement once in a while and some solution-offering more than once in a while.

That is what this essay is about. I’ve pointed out the theological problems in the movement the She Reads Truth ladies are fomenting, and the dangers in the IF:Gathering. The ladies involved in both those endeavors are not worth your time.

So who is? Where are the good teachers? If the She Reads Truth women are not profitable, who IS profitable? Where can a woman turn to be connected up with good female teachers? That’s what I’ll offer you in this essay. I do not want to leave you hanging!

In discussing this matter, dear Sisters, I want to suggest something…you don’t HAVE to have a woman teacher. I know, I know, many women say they enjoy being taught by a woman because they have the same outlook, needs, priorities. Moms like moms. But Christianity isn’t always segregated. Yes, there are Titus 2 older women teaching the younger, but not everyone is a mom. Not everyone is the same age or place in the life continuum.

We’re not learning the scriptures through our gender because the Word transcends gender. The man teaching you spiritual truths isn’t teaching the men different spiritual truths. Truth is truth.

I understand that the bible suggests that women teach women. I know that the bible forbids women teaching men, so if you’re more comfortable with a female teacher, then by the grace of Christian liberty, that is fine! But I wanted to let you know you can consider a male teacher, your teacher doesn’t have to be a woman.

One piece of advice, be very wary of any book study or blurb that touts the study or book is fresh. Fresh is usually just code for unbiblical. Why? An author who thinks they are seeing the bible’s doctrines in a fresh way just means that he thinks everyone else saw it wrong and he is just now discovering the true meaning. Not so. The bible is always fresh.

  • Be wary of books that promote social justice or authors who seek it.
  • Beware of books that use the word reconciliation, because that word is often used in a different way than the biblical way.
  • Be wary if the author or a blurb reviewer is proud that the book or study will appeal to all denominations– this often a code meaning “Catholics, too” or “Mormons, too.” It’s implicit that a Protestant book will appeal to all denominations, because we’re all on the same side. If it appeals to “all denominations” they’re saying it will contain doctrines or concepts appealing to people who are not Protestant and who aren’t really a denomination.
  • Beware of authors who use the word unity. As Dr. Ron Bigalke explains, The emphasis in Emerging Churches is upon mystical and sensual worship experiences that foster unity, as opposed to doctrinal truth that divides. It’s popular nowadays to seek ‘unity’ with the Roman Catholic Church, but this is a false unity that will result in the final unification of all peoples under the Antichrist and the False Prophet’s false religion during the Tribulation. The Reformation, which was a split off from the stranglehold the RCC had on the people, is in full force now swinging back the other way. Beware.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Book reviewers~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Where can you find good information about the new book for women that all the moms are talking about? How can you get a glimpse or a clue as to whether a new devotional is any good, before spending money to purchase it? Bestseller lists? Reviews?

However even the bestseller lists and Book Reviews can be manipulated, skewed toward a positive review through money, deceit, and cunning, as we learned from Mark Driscoll and the debacle with ResultSource, which artificially propelled his book Real Marriage up the charts with good reviews. Here are two trustworthy Christian Book reviewer sites I recommend-

The Discerning Reader

About Us: Discerning Reader is a site dedicated to promoting good books–books that bring honor to God. At the same time, we hope to help Christians avoid being unduly influenced by books and teachers that are not honoring to God. We do not seek to be harsh or judgmental. Rather, we seek only to be discerning as we compare books to the written Word of God. We let the words of authors speak for themselves and simply hold the books up to the light of Scripture. In doing so, we are building a database of reviews which we feel cast a discerning light on the books that are found in Christians homes, churches and bookstores.

The people on the reviewing team are listed here

They have NOT recommended Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life, Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven, or Beth Moore’s Get Out of That Pit. They DO recommend John MacArthur and Susan Heck. They offer reading lists and author interviews. Bookmark the site!

Tim Challies

Another trustworthy Christian book reviewer is Tim Challies is pastor, book reviewer and husband. He is a prodigious blogger and reviewer, so there’s a lot he has covered over the last ten years. He has a section on women and here is his page on recommended reads for women.

He said,

Because I am a husband, I try to read at least the occasional book that is meant to encourage or equip my wife. Here are some of the best of the books I’ve read for women.

Challies said, “One popular book for women I do not recommend is Created To Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl.” You can find his review of that book on his site, too.

If you like the books or studies by any of the recommended women at Discerning Reader or at Challies’ site, then expand your search to look for more material from the same women.  Once you’ve found a trustworthy author, keep widening the circle to find more of her works. Search to see who she learns from or attaches to. We all know that the Victoria Osteen-Beth Moore-Joyce Meyer partnerships are not good, or that Moore mentoring Christine Caine and Caine mentoring the women at She Reads Truth/IF:Gathering are not good partnerships. Like attracts like. Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33; Proverbs 22:24-25). This works in reverse too. Good attracts good. While associations and partnerships alone are not an indicator of doctrinal trusworthiness, they do say a lot about a teacher.

Paul is telling us that in associating with false teachers, we will be adversely influenced by them. The truth is that false teachings do not lead to holiness. As such, it is critical that we are careful whom we form relationships with, especially those outside the church because unbelievers can cause even the strongest Christians to waver in their faith and adversely affect their walk with Christ and their witness to the world. This is why Paul tells us, “Do not be misled.”  (Source)

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Women’s Ministries to trust~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Every Woman’s Grace

John MacArthur’s church and his Master’s Seminary are edifying many good men and women. At his Grace Community Church there is a huge women’s ministry called Every Woman’s Grace. The Sunday School lessons are broadcast and the curriculum outlines are online.

Judy Lunenbrink is one of the GCC Sunday School teachers who I like. But any of them would be a good start. We are still Bereans and checking the scriptures, but you know if a teacher has come from the environment of GCC or The Master’s Seminary they bring with them a great deal of credibility because they have been educated on a solid foundation.

Here is the page for some of the current sermons by women to women in the teaching ministry at GCC.

The current teaching is “The Secret of Contentment.

Below you will find all the text associated with the women’s ministry at GCC, a ministry titled Every Woman’s Grace. You’ll have to search a little to find the video sermons/teachings that match up with these curricula & outlines, but you can search by teacher so that makes it a bit easier. There really is a lot at GCC for women, by women.

All current files and documents available from Every Woman’s Grace.

GCC has a Recommended Reading page too. Some of these books are written by men, others are written by women.

At GCC you can go through a lesson each week by watching the video online. Most of the lessons are an hour long. For many moms or working singles/widows that is too long of a stretch of time to sit at one go. You can always watch for 15 minutes and then journal about it for a few minutes, and then resume the next day. In this way you have created a good devotional for yourself each day and then when the next Sunday rolls around you will be ready for the next lesson from the women at Grace Community Church.

At MacArthur’s website, gty.org, there are many studies, small group curricula, workbooks, that are either free or a nominal charge. Please do take a look at the educational materials available to you there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Individual Women to trust~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Michelle Lesley: If you’d like to know more about me, personally, click on the “Bio” tab at the top of this page. If you’d like an in depth look at what I believe, doctrinally, click on the “Statement of Faith” tab.

Jen Wilkin:

Pastor Challies recommends Jen Wilkin. Her book, Women of the Word has a purpose to “teach you not merely a doctrine, concept, or story line, but a study method that will allow you to open up the Bible on your own. It intends to challenge you to think and to grow, using tools accessible to all of us, whether we hold a high school diploma or a seminary degree, whether we have minutes or hours to give to it each day.”

Wilkin’s book introduces a five-part method to bring about biblical literacy. Please read the review at the link above and consider Ms Wilkin’s book.

Elizabeth George: She writes bible studies for women with her husband Jim, and her intended audience is women who want to grow in feminine Godliness. The Discerning Reader reviewed her books positively. A notable series is her “A Woman After God’s Own Heart.”.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss. The Discerning Reader reviewed her book, “Choosing Gratitude” positively with a green light recommendation. Reviewer Leslie Wiggins wrote,

In Choosing Gratitude, DeMoss elevates gratitude to the status of spiritual discipline. She is convinced that Christians ought to be most the expressive people when it comes to gratitude.

After the panentheist-romantic unbiblical treacle that Ann Voskamp presented in her gratitude book, A Thousand Gifts, DeMoss’ book is a welcome alternative. Wiggins further wrote,

DeMoss does not want this to be another good book that we forget about as soon as we’re done reading it. Therefore, she provides a 30-Day Devotional Guide to help us begin practicing gratitude. Each reading includes a scripture passage, a meditation that further discusses the content of the book, and practical exercises to help us become more thankful people.

Elisabeth Elliot. I mentioned her in a previously unconnected blog essay. She was the wife of Jim Elliot. Her talk to women given some years ago, which is available on Youtube, “Under the Shadow of the Almighty, about Psalm 91:1, is one of the best talks I’ve ever heard aimed as missionary women.

Jim and Elisabeth Elliot were on mission in Ecuador in the 1950s and Jim was killed by the Auca Indians. Their mission and the men’s death (four others were killed that day also) was made into a movie, “The End of the Spear”. Elisabeth wrote about it from her perspective, in the autobiographical book “Through the Gates of Splendor, along with 20 other books she has written.

From the website linked on her name: “Good news on Elisabeth’s past radio programs! On April 14, 2014, BBN (Bible Broadcasting Network) began re-broadcasting Gateway to Joy, Monday through Friday at 11:15am on BBN radio. A listing of their stations across the US can be found on their website, and if you are out of range for that network, don’t fret – daily broadcasts are available on demand here, so you can choose your own hour.”

Kay Arthur Precepts for Life, programs, lessons, etc. are studies that teach you the bible but also teach you how to study the bible. Mrs Arthur has been around for years and decades, so that means she has a wealth of studies to enjoy! I’ve taken three of Kay Arthur’s studies myself. Yes I am aware that her ‘About Us’ page says her studies are appealing to ‘all denominations’. In her case that is not code for “Catholics too”. As a matter of fact I read on several forums that Catholics take umbrage at her sola scriptura approach. This is to Mrs Arthur’s credit. The ‘all denominations’ mantra is not a maxim but simply something to watch for, particularly when younger women say it.

UPDATE 8/2015: Naomi’s Table with Phil Johnson have assessed Mrs Arthur’s current studies and associations. I have taken Mrs Arthur’s studies in the past and I still believe her early studies are good. Pastor Phil Johnson said her early studies were based on a lot of John MacArthur’s material, so that is why. However her current associations and approaches to bible study are less than solid, hence my warning above to watch her carefully. I agree with this assessment from the women at Naomis’ Table, and it appears that her beginning slide has accelerated. This essay is therefore important to read. “The Question of Recommending Kay Arthur

Martha Peace The page has free online resources such as Audio Teaching Sessions, Video Teaching Sessions, Counseling the Hard Cases, Downloadable Bible Studies, Salvation Worksheets, Sanctification Bible Study, Put Off/Put On Bible Study etc. Her book The Excellent Wife was recommended by The Discerning Reader.

Susan Heck With The Master. She is a biblical counselor, has resources available and studies (for purchase) and also is on the radio to listen for free. More at her page.

Erin Benziger writes at Do Not Be Surprised, which is a great resource in itself, and has begun a new endeavor called Equipping Eve. Benziger wrote, “Welcome to the website of Equipping Eve, a ministry for ladies who love the Lord. From the twice-monthly radio show, to the original articles that will be posted, to the resources that will be provided, Equipping Eve exists to equip women with “fruits of truth” from God’s Word so that they will be prepared to stand strong in an age that is ripe with deception.”

At Equipping Eve you will find articles addressing the topics of sola scriptura (God did NOT ‘tell’ you), doctrine, the role of women in the church, Roman Catholicism, and more. There are twice-monthly 30-minute radio programs archived, and other resources. Free.

Aimee Byrd is Housewife Theologian, blogger, author, book reviewer and part of a triumvirate along with Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt at the radio show Mortification of Spin. She wrote the book Housewife Theologian: How the Gospel Interrupts the Ordinary.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Other~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible, and What He Wants to Do with You By John MacArthur

Readers will be challenged and motivated by the book Twelve Extraordinary Women, a poignant and personal look into the lives of some of the Bible’s most faithful women. Their struggles and temptations are the same trials faced by all believers at all ages

Twelve Extraordinary Women Workbook.
Perfect for group or individual study, this workbook includes:

  • Daily Bible readings
  • Engaging and thought-provoking questions and journaling
  • Fascinating and helpful applications for your daily life
  • “Adding to your Scriptural Vocabulary and Understanding” sections
  • Instructions for facilitating your own small group study

Ladies if you are looking for a solid, moving, and worthy devotional, I personally believe there is none better than Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening. As a bonus, during the month of January 2015, Christian Audio is offering a FREE recorded version this month, as their free audio of the month.

Other men to learn from!

Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Years of sermons here. They are breathtaking in deep understanding of the word and worthy of your attention. A new documentary coming out on his life, too, in April 2015. He was called “Logic on Fire” and so is the film.

S. Lewis Johnson. With his comforting twang and slow delivery saturated with love for his people and for Jesus, you can benefit greatly from his sermons. They are online, and also are transcribed so you can print them or follow along while you listen. Along with Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones and MacArthur, Johnson is a titan preacher of the faith. You cannot go wrong listening to these men but only grow in love for the word as it is patiently and correctly explained to you. Hearing the verses explained about women, motherhood and the women of the bible will only benefit you in your spiritual education, as well of course as the doctrines and theology of other topics in addition to these so many women are interested in. Sermons and transcriptions here.

J. Vernon McGee. Born in 1904, the Lord took this ordinary man and made an extraordinary ministry from it. McGee led a church as pastor for 21 years, then moved McGee to radio, where he taught the bible over the airwaves for another 23 years.  Through the Bible radio ministry is still ongoing. Archived McGee sermons can be found at OnePlace, here.

Alistair Begg. Truth for Life. Pr Begg is British and served as pastor in England then came to the US and pastors in Ohio now at Parkside Church. The teaching on Truth For Life stems from the week by week Bible teaching at Parkside Church. The website link on his name brings you to a page where you can-
–See Alistair Live at his church on Sundays
–Hear Most Recent Broadcasts (Now preaching part 1 of Introducing Esther)
–Browse Alistair’s Sermons from the archive
–See a list of Recommended Books

It goes without saying that any books, studies, or devotionals Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, MacArthur, Johnson, McGee, or Begg wrote are also good food for you.

I hope this encourages you. Though Christianity is rife with false teachers, many of them women gunning for YOU dear Sister, there are good teachers out there of both genders whose life mission is to feed you good food. The Lord is good and kind. He raises up people for each generation and does not forget His sheep. He is mindful of you, sorting laundry, corralling kids in the grocery store, reading bedtime stories when you would like to be in bed yourself. He knows your life in all its mundanity and glory. He has women and men out there for you to learn from.

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks ford a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13)

Jesus loves His daughters very much. If you ask Him for the good gift of wisdom and discernment He will give it to you. If you ask Him to lead you to good educational materials and good spiritual food, He will do it. He is a loving Father who protects us. Ask. Seek. Knock.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading

What is Biblical Discernment and why is it Important?

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 1 (What They Say)

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 2 (What They Do)

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 3 (IF:Gathering) 

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 3, the IF:Gathering

This is part three of a four-part series. I’m examining the website, teachings, and women of “She Reads Truth” in 2 parts (What They Say, and What They Do). Part 3 (this part) looks at the conference known as the “IF:Gathering” in which many of the She Reads Truth women are involved. In part 4 I will discuss women teachers in general from a biblical perspective, and provide a list of solid teachers (men and women) of the Word.

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 1 (What They Say)

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 2 (What They Do)

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 4 (Women Teachers)

Have you ever heard of the IF:Gathering? No? I hadn’t either. But after reading this today, you will.

I’m 54 years old. I was born before the internet, before cell phones, CD’s, DVD’s, laptops, personal/desktop computers, cable television, wireless, GPS, robots, and almost before satellites. I remember what it was like to roam around the neighborhood for hours, unsupervised. To ride my bike to the creamery to get an ice cream. To be dropped off at the mall and picked up 8 hours later. I listened to Sgt. Pepper on 8-track. My telephone was hooked into the wall, tv was black and white, and there was a test pattern that came on when broadcasting ended at 11:00 (or 1:00) and the National Anthem was played.

We watched a man walk on the moon and thought we had reached the heights of technology, marveling that just a few decades prior, the Wright Brothers had first flown a very few feet. Now we were in space. When the astronauts landed, they were given ticker tape parades in the streets. I read that the computer in the Apollo manned rockets processed 4,000 times slower than the ones we use today for space. They were no more powerful than a pocket calculator.

Even though I was born before all that, I am no fuddy-duddy when it comes to technology. My father bought Pong, the first mainstream video game. (1972). I was hooked from the start. I grabbed a computer when they became affordable in the mid-1990s, and got online at 360 baud.

Today’s crop of young women are known as Millennials. They were born approximately from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. These kids were born entirely in the digital age. They have a natural proclivity toward accepting the digital. If you ever saw a toddler pop a CD into the computer or use joysticks on a video game you know what I mean. On Wikipedia regarding the Millennials and technology, a large-sample (7,705) research study of college students was conducted.

They found that Next Generation college students, born between 1983–1992, were frequently in touch with their parents and they used technology at higher rates than people from other generations. In their survey, they found that 97% of these students owned a computer, 94% owned a cell phone, and 56% owned an MP3 player.

As each new invention comes along, they are in themselves neutral. Each new invention has the potential for good or for bad. Laptops have no doubt made life easier, from grad students to executives. But they also revolutionized the porn industry, which is a #1 problem in America today. I remember when the Swedish X-rated, commercially aimed porn movie I Am Curious Yellow came out (1967). It created a huge stir in our town in RI. It was banned in Massachusetts. I remember certain older women who wanted to see it, but didn’t dare, because they would be seen going into the public movie theatre. Nowadays you can watch anything, anything, on your on computer in the dark secrecy of your LCD-lit bedroom.

IF:Gathering combined a unique scriptural message with viral marketing through online networks. ~Christianity TodaySo technology is neutral, it’s how we use it that matters. What does this have to do with the IF:Gathering? Becuase the technology these women use to promote their unbiblical agenda is almost entirely digital. That’s why you never heard of the IF:Gathering- it is a viral, digital movement.

We exist to gather, equip, and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose.

Sounds … interesting. On the one hand it is good to find a place where women can be equipped. It is good to live out our purpose, as long as we have a solid understanding of the biblical purpose of our lives, first as children of God, then as our gender. The part that makes me unsettled is the “unleashing” part. Am I leashed? Have I been leashed all my life? These young women are going to take off the collar of leashing and let me go? Who leashed me in the first place? To live out my purpose? I haven’t been living my purpose all this time? Have I missed the boat for 54 years? Good thing these women exist.

I try to alert you to buzzwords. Here we are concerned with the word ‘unleashed.’ In 2006 John MacArthur explained the emergent’s language, particularly the use of “unleashed.” (Even though in the last 9 years we have gone from emergent to post-modernist to post-Christian to anti-Christian). His reference to the ‘facts’ is to the emergent’s notion that nothing can be known to be absolutely true in scripture anyway. Uncertainty is king.

What is more important than truth is ennobling the heretofore disenfranchised masses who have been subsumed under the dominant European white male culture. And so in order to “release” these oppressed women and minorities, we have to reinvent truth because the liberation of these…of these abused people is more important than facts, since we might not have any reality about what facts are anyway. So history gets twisted, everything gets twisted. … This mentality of post-modernism is being applied to the Scriptures and to the church.

As a woman feminist Jewish professor I know says, “Surviving the patriarchy.” In other words, a Millennial woman who calls for unleashing is saying that women have been wrongly oppressed by misinterpreted scriptures and they are here to unchain us from patriarchal bondage.

Hopefully you can see the hubris and foolishness
in the IF:Gathering mission statement

Do you know that the IF:Gathering title means?

“If God is real, then what?”

IF God is real? (Genesis 3:1). Hath God said? The title of their movement starts with questioning the existence of God. This is not a good start. There is nowhere to go but down.

#IFGathering trended on Twitter throughout the weekend, ranking among the top hashtags used around the world. ~Christianity Today
It is even worse than Genesis 3, because in the scene in the Garden of Eden with Eve, satan acknowledged God’s existence. He went on to questioning what He actually said.

Under the “Equipping” pages on their website, for example, they will put up a verse. Then they will explain it. Today’s is Genesis 46:30-47:12 with an emphasis on Genesis 47:5-6,

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6 You can choose any place in Egypt for them to live. Give your father and your brothers the best land. Let them live in the land of Goshen. And if they are skilled shepherds, they can also care for my cattle.”

Below the verse, which is artfully pasted into a softly blurred mountainscape photo-scripture, is their explanation of the verse.

Below that, a journaling question. Here is the question:

IF you believe this is true, what does this mean about God? You? The world?

If I believe? If Joseph really existed, you mean? If Pharaoh existed? If Joseph and Pharaoh talked together? If Egypt existed? If Goshen existed? If cattle existed? What would not be true about that verse?

The postmodern person rejects the biblical absolutes that there is an immutable God, that God is sovereign, and that the only way to salvation is through the blood sacrifice of Jesus.
~Matt Slick.

The ‘equipping’ of the women of “IF:Gathering” is the same ‘equipping’ satan helpfully treated Eve to in the garden. You must understand that the emergent church post-modernist person questions everything about the bible, they absolutely believe that nothing can be known for absolutely true.

Jen Hatmaker is one of the women of  IF:Gathering along with founder Jennie Allen and including Ann Voskamp and Angie Smith and some others. Hatmaker explains IF’s inception as ‘a movement for our generation.’ Unlike all the other movements every other generation has experienced?Read Ecclesiastes 1:4. Hatmaker wrote,

We’re building a tribe, in my bravest moment I’ll call it a movement. With humility and thankfulness, we are mentored by Christine Caine, Debbie Eaton, and Shelley Giglio.

Yes, the Tribe of Doubters in the Slough of Despond.

But wait, it gets worse.

We’ve talked about the IF part. There is the gathering part, also.

The women don’t just promote their doubts online in digital fashion. They gather in real life. They say,

Our desire for you to be brave and to dream about what it would look like to gather, equip, and unleash women in your city. This is not going to happen because of us, this is going to happen because of you. Period.

Maybe they are forgetting Someone? The Holy Spirit?

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

So I don’t know about the brave part, but the bible does talk about weakness an awful lot.

Their graphics always show blurred or softened farm tables artfully filled with flowers and seated around them are young, trendy, (slim) women in cool glasses and artfully arranged scarves “wrestling with questions.” Like, Hath God said? They describe the IF:Local Gatherings this way-

IF:LOCAL 

IF GOD IS REAL… THEN WHAT? This 2-day gathering will bring women together from around the world to wrestle with belief that God is real, the places in our lives where we are struggling with unbelief, how can we overcome unbelief and then what God can do with our belief.

If you don’t believe then you need something different than a table full of biblically unknowledgeable women sipping refreshing drinks on lawns. If you do believe then edify and equip takes on a different meaning. If they invite unbelievers to a table for Gospel sharing purposes, then that is one thing, because it is the Word that saves. (Romans 10:14). That’s mission. (Matthew 28:16-20, Luke 14:23). If they’re believers, then they trust the Word, believe it, and are being trained by it. (2 Timothy 3:16). The path these women are taking is the middle ground, But there is no middle ground. (Revelation 3:16).

I wish people wouldn’t complicate things. It really is black and white. Belief and unbelief. Saved and sinner. Narrow road and broad road. Hot or cold. In or out.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (Hosea 4:6)

IF:Gatherings are ongoing in living rooms and lawns by the thousands. See?

Are you astounded? I was. White pins represent private gatherings. This means that they are invisible to you and me in daily Real Life. But they are not invisible to the Millennial (Digital) Generation. They are going on, all over and all the time. Each one of those pins represents a place where impressionable women will gather to plant or nurture seeds of doubt. Do you see this as the monstrous ecclesiastical tragedy that it is? Do you mourn these women?

But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Christianity Today wrote on the IF:Gathering and its viral and volcanic impact, in February 2014.

The first-time event had a vague premise—If God is real, then what?—and no speaker lineup when announced this fall, but sold out in 42 minutes, forcing organizers to coordinate local watch parties across the U.S. and 22 other countries to accommodate interest. teachings from women like Christine Caine, international speaker from Hillsong Church; Jen Hatmaker, Christian blogger and author of 7; Ann Voskamp, author of A Thousand Gifts; and Shelley Giglio, a leader alongside her husband Louie Giglio at Passion City Church. 

Allen brought together 60-some influential bloggers and leaders from across churches, denominations, and theological positions, convinced that God was calling her to rally for unity among the splintering factions of the church. IF focused distinctly on spiritual formation, with both inspirational and practical takeaways. Based on the directive in Hebrews 12 to “throw off everything that hinders” and “run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” dozens of speakers encouraged women to chase their calling. Since the event details were kept secret, IF attendees were drawn to the overall concept, rather than popular speakers “from their camp” or sessions on hot topics, said Amy Brown, IF communications director. 

“”We’ve been slow to step into our giftedness or strengths. For a long time, that wasn’t an option,” said Allen.”

Just think about that last statement for a moment. For 2000 years, the Holy Spirit has been distributing Gifts, all that He determines (1 Corinthians 12:11)  but it hasn’t been an option to step into them … until now?

This new wave of evangelical women is fueled by an ever-growing online culture of high-profile women bloggers and savvy social media types who have laid the groundwork for the new focus. … “We’ve grown up in a different context,” Allen said. “The technology is unprecedented.” ~HuffPo

Would you pay to attend a conference that had a vague premise and a secret lineup of speakers? Doing so is just foolish.

But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:2)

But foolishly, they bought into it…in 42 minutes.

How can a woman test the spirits, if the premise is vague and the lineup a secret? (1 John 4:1)

What this is about is, encouraging women to be Christian feminists, and be teachers, pastors, and leaders. THAT is what this is about. And of course you must disbelieve the Word to do so because the word is clear on what women’s roles are. To be what the IF women propose, one must abandon truth. “Hath God said?” IF God is real, then what? IF God isn’t real, then what?

for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up. (Isaiah 9:16)

Where are the men holding on to these women as they hang precariously over the Pit!?

Stallone, in Cliffhanger

He, therefore, that went before, (Vain-confidence by name), not seeing the way before him, fell into a deep pit [Isa. 9:16], which was on purpose there made, by the Prince of those grounds, to catch vain-glorious fools withal, and was dashed in pieces with his fall. ~John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.

The worse tragedy is that these women do not know the danger they are in.

Source

IF God is real? Doubt is not noble. The bible says doubt is a destroyer of life. (James 1:5-8). There is no such thing as a bible “study” that has as its premise, “IF you believe this, then…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Conclusion~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How can we help these young women? They are or will be mothers, and mothers are the architects of the next generation. Young doubters are leaving the church in droves, and this is where they are going, to home gatherings led by the LCD display on their monitors, not by the bells of church.

First, pray. Pray for the youngsters in your midst, in church and those who have left church. Prayer is a magnificent and primary way to change things.

Second, disciple. Disciple. Disciple. Titus 2:3-5.

What does it mean to be a Titus 2 woman, exactly? It begins and ends with discipling. I listed some good articles below that are theological AND practical. Please refer to ‘Further Reading.’

Pray, disciple, and third, be a good example yourself. A Titus 2 woman is to be reverent. Young women leave the church (and young men too) because they can’t stand the hypocrisy in church people and can’t stand to see sin tolerated. Hypocrisy is always there, but try not to add fuel to the fire with what you say and what you do.

Fourth, always strive to be biblically knowledgeable. The word washes us, bathes us in holiness, trains us. If you are not a student of it how can we expect the young women to be? How can we be in a spirit of readiness to share, encourage, and instruct, if we don’t know what the Bible says? (2 Timothy 4:2).

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 1 (What They Say)

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 2 (What They Do)

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 4

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading

Six months after the conclusion of this series, Lighthouse Trails researched the IF:Gathering also. Please read their extensive research here

What does the bible say about doubt?

Study Guide: Making Disciples

Woman to Woman: Answering the call of Titus 2
This article has excellent practical advice for both older women and younger women.

Being a Titus 2 Woman
Also practical advice

‘IF:Gathering’ Of Evangelical Women Focuses On Social Justice In Austin, Texas

If a Brand-New Christian Women’s Conference Goes Viral, Then What?

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 2

This is part two of a four-part series. I’m examining the website, teachings, and women of “She Reads Truth” in 2 parts (What They Say, and What They Do). Part 3 will take a look at the conference known as the “IF:Gathering” in which many of the She Reads Truth women are involved. In part 4 I will discuss women teachers in general from a biblical perspective, and provide a list of solid teachers (men and women) of the Word.

This is part 2, looking at the teachers at She Reads Truth and their lifestyles, “What They Do,” to see if how they live lines up with scripture. In Part 1 I looked at “What They Say”, meaning, their teachings.

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 1

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 3

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 4

In being a Berean, (Acts 17:11) which means examining the scriptures to see if what we are being taught is so, there is a second part to that examination to determine if a teacher is credible. If examining the scriptures is the “What They Say” part, then the second part is just as important to look at. It’s looking at their lives, or, “What They Do.”

In the verses speaking to qualifications for pastors, teachers and elders, there is only one that is of the gifts. “Able to teach.” (2 Timothy 2:24). The rest are character qualifications, which speak to how the potential pastor, elder, or teacher lives his or her life. In addition, teachers should not be young, but be tested first. (1 Timothy 3:10-11).

In 1 Timothy 3:6 it is said that overseers (pastors) must not be new converts, lest they become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. This is practical advice and I would hold that it also applies to teachers, male and female.

So looking at the lives our teachers lead makes sense and is biblical. Do they live what they preach? Please excuse me for making this long. There are 6 women who write for the She Reads Truth (SRT) site. That’s a lot of lives to examine. Please bear with me.

The women of She Reads Truth, “What They Do”

Raechel Myers is CEO and founder of She Reads Truth. She is 32 and married to Ryan, with whom she has 2 children. Myers states She Reads Truth’s purpose, that Myers along “with an amazing team of writers, write in response to the scriptures we’re reading to create daily devotionals for the community to enjoy and discuss together.

So please bear in mind that these ladies are not writing what the scriptures mean, but are writing emotional and personal responses to them. What you are ‘devoting’ yourself to when you read their reading plans are their thoughts and emotions, not necessarily biblical truth. FYI.

Myers’ bio is a fresh, American cornucopia of motherly mundanity. “Raechel is learning what a daily diet of the Bread of Life looks like in the “in between” – on laundry day, grocery day and Tuesday.

Sounds normal and mundane…except … it’s not. Raechel is “Crazy busy and super happy” as a sewist, writer, photographer, designer, author, CEO of a Limited Liability Company, Conference Fundraiser, Conference speaker, and world traveling Justice Activist. Oh, And mom. And wife.

From her website

As for her project regarding “Style for Justice” travel to Rwanda in July 2014, “We journeyed with an influential group of storytellers and introduced them to Rwandan women who have overcome injustice and have been empowered through economic opportunity.

Myers high-fiving over successful fabric selection
with Rwandan women to overcome injustice in Sub-Sahara Africa

She stated up front that the Rwanda journey wasn’t a mission trip, but a social justice trip. I wrote at length of the biblical and the unbiblical notions of social justice, here. Myers’ is the unbiblical interpretation. Her trip, she said, had nothing to do with planting churches or handing out bibles, she wrote. It had everything to do with helping women in Africa sell jewelry. (Myers: The second half of this trip is taking a very “Project Runway” turn and I think it’s sort of awesome and redemptive and exciting!) That’s why she was leaving her children and her husband to travel halfway around the world? Let me find that in my bible.

If you ask God for justice, you are asking for hell. Ask for mercy. ~Steven J. Lawson

In an Instagram photo Raechel Myers published of her two young children perched on a chair and on a table watching a laptop playing a video of their mother being interviewed at If:Gathering, with this caption, My husband just texted me this photo of the kids watching our @shereadstruth interview at the @ifgathering. Seeing my baby girl perched on the table watching her mommy talk about her Jesus- so blessed!!!!

She has a choice, let her children watch her talk about Jesus through a laptop, or let her children watch her at home living the obedient life Jesus called her to live.

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Amanda Bible Williams is 36-year-old Editorial Director for She Reads Truth. She lives in TN in a farmhouse near Nashville and is married to husband David. I believe Mr Williams runs a Chick-Fil-A. Williams says she is a work-at-home mom to three small children. In addition, she is a blogger, writer, magazine contributor, Editorial Director, Co-CEO of a Limited Liability Company, and Graduate Student (Religious Studies). Oh, and a mom, And a wife.

She considers herself an Enneagram #9, which tells us she does not have discernment. Enneagram is an occultic practice stemming from Hinduism, and is another of the pagan practices Christianity has syncretistically adopted from pagan religions. Nancy Leigh DeMoss of Reviving Our Hearts explains the occult background of Enneagram.

Mrs Williams also is a Grad Student at Vanderbilt University, working toward attaining a MS in Religion. Most colleges, certainly, and many seminaries, have become anything ranging from liberal-to-secular. Women need to take care when submitting to religious instructors because of our proclivity toward being seduced away from the solid doctrines of Jesus. (2 Tim 3:6, 2 Cor 11:3, 1 Tim 2:14). Mrs Williams has already demonstrated an undiscerning interest in the practice of Enneagram, and whatever discernment she may still retain will no doubt soon be lost under the secular, Christ-hating agenda that Vanderbilt pushes. According to Al Mohler, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President,

Just a few decades after its founding, Vanderbilt had transformed itself into a secular university, embarrassed by its Christian founding. … In more recent months, Vanderbilt’s administration decided to push secularism to the extreme — launching a virtual vendetta against religious organizations on campus.

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Diana Stone (age 30), is married with a child. Her husband is in the United States Army. In addition to her writing on She Reads Truth, you can also find her work on her own blog Diana Wrote, and at Babble.com, Babble Parenting, Still Standing Magazine, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on Pinterest. Mrs Stone is busy. Nevertheless, we read that “You can find her in the mornings with a cup of coffee and her Bible flung open, preparing for the day ahead.” Awww, admirable! “With a sweet daughter in tow, Diana clings to God’s Word daily.” Wow, inspiring.

Is that the truth? Really? Er, only partly.

Mrs Stone relaxes with the bible “flung open” … after she drops her daughter to daycare.

For the past two and a half years, the couple employed a part time nanny care for their daughter in their home so Mrs Stone could work as a freelance writer. After bumping along with several nannies, they eventually decided to put their child in daycare so Mrs Stone could continue to write at home.

And countless are the mothers who ignore, neglect, or abandon their children in pursuit of self-centered “fulfillment”–motherhood is an inconvenient interruption to their lifestyle.~JMacArthur
As a mother and a working mom, Mrs Stone is not sure where her priority should be. In her own words, at the journal Liberating Working Moms, Stone wrote about making the switch from nanny to daycare.

“There’s a constant tug on me to be in both worlds 100%. Work should come first. Life should come first. What is a priority? Who gets my time that day – and is choosing one over the other wrong? When I’ve committed to being a mama and being paid to write, both need my top priority.”

First of all, there should be no distinction between “life” and “work.” Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,”

Secondly, Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. (Psalm 127:3)

Mrs Stone’s mothering gets in the way of writing about being a mom, so the mothering is outsourced. Let me find that in my bible.

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Hayley Morgan, is approximately 28, married, with 4 kids. I haven’t found a name for her husband, nor a job description. Mother to 4 boys. Mrs Morgan co-founded The Influence Network and organizes the annual Influence Conference (complete with the blatantly unChristian classes in, “there’s no such thing as Holy Yoga“) held in Indianapolis every fall. She is author of a book to help you with the daily question of “What do I wear?!” “The wisdom in the book has helped hundreds of women get dressed with more confidence and less fuss.” She blogs, writes at SRT, speaks at Influence Conference and is Editor-In-Chief of the Influence Magazine. Oh, and a mom. And a wife.

The Influence Network and its attendant magazine have nebulous mission statements, other than for women to “make their online life mean something”. The Magazine’s mission statement reads,

“This Magazine is the physical embodiment of what I’d imagine a woman of influence being. It’s bright and vibrant, it’s stylish and smart, it has a lot to say about a lot of things. It has a lot of white space and margin. It’s also going to grow in front of you, equal parts wobbly and beautiful. We’re going to try new things and we’re going to push a lot of doors wide open…”

Turning biblical womanhood in its head
in pursuit of barely cloaked self-fulfillment

For a woman who communicates for a living Mrs Morgan is very good at hiding the meaning in her intent and mission. That was about as clear as, “Let’s leverage our core competencies so we can think out of the box while the paradigm shifts during our journey.”

As for the mission statement, her declaration of the magazine’s purpose contained lots of buzz words that mean nothing and isn’t clear. Except for the overall tone … that was very clear. It was unbiblical. I invite you to read the session topic synopses at the Influence Network (and a biblical definition of influence is never given, though it purports to be a Christian conference). At this “Christian” conference you will learn to throw out the “shoulds” and “not live by the rules”, to be “intentionally leaning in to what might feel imperfect”, to “use God’s gift of work to transform the lives of the poor,” and “how to use life’s valleys to build momentum for your journey.” Because, it’s all about us. Being disobedient.

Yet the woman lauded in the bible are humble mothers, wives, widows, honest and submissive, not having a lot to say and not being pushy with doors. (1 Timothy 2:11)

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Rebecca Faires, married, four children, lives in TN. Sister of SRT CEO Raechel Myers. “Loves the idea of international justice” and for that reason tries “not to be an oppressor at home.”

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Debbie Eaton, wife for 27 years, mom to teenage son. Worked at Rick Warren’s Saddleback church as woman ministry leader, which should say all there is to say about her discernment level. On Twitter Mrs Eaton describes herself as “Christ Follower, Wife, Mom, Women’s Ministry Leader, grateful for life and the influence we have to one another.”

With these women it is all about influence. Yet Jesus calls us to service in humility. He who has the most influence of any person ever born or who will be born, humbled Himself to the point of the cross, and commands us to be the same. (Philippians 2:3)

The overall tone of these women’s lives is to be influential in the world, leading corporations, being the generation to solve injustice and poverty, living strong and bold (and stylish and trendy).

Do the women of She Reads Truth and the Influence Conferences seem like a Titus kind of woman to you? Titus 2:3-5 says,

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5)

Sisters, the women of She Reads Truth and their friends (Shauna Niequist, daughter of Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church), Ann Voskamp, Christine Caine and etc, are not living a life submitted to the word. In Part 1 I mentioned a good article at The Gospel Coalition titled “Is Your Church Functionally Liberal?” in which the author says there are doctrinal statements, and then there is how the church lives it out. Many churches have a conservative doctrinal statement but are in fact “functionally liberal.” I apply the same concept to individual lives. Anyone can set up a blog, publish a faith statement, but is what they DO matching with what they say? Or are they doctrinally conservative but functionally liberal?

This matters, because the bible consistently curses the succeeding generations of idolaters. God does so many times in the OT and in the NT. Jesus tells the Pharisees they were making sons of hell twice as bad as they were. He curses the church at Thyatira, saying that their tolerance of the false prophetess ‘Jezebel’ made spiritual daughters who needed either to repent or He was going to kill them. Sin always gets worse from one generation to the next unless it is corrected through repentance.

Comparing the Titus verses with today’s spiritual mentors to these young women, the older women failed to teach the younger to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, because they weren’t. Beth Moore (age 57) began this erm, “journey”, into Christian feminism with her lifestyle. She speaks a good doctrine, but she does not live it. Other spiritual daughters coming up quickly noted the tolerance evangelical Christianity had for Moore’s calling-all-the-shots, CEO leadership, wide-traveling, park the kids with hubby, look at me celebrity, bring in the bacon kind of lifestyle. Tolerated … as long she gave a wink and a nod to the party line of certain doctrines and cloaked the lifestyle feminism in words like giftings for corporate talent and ministry rather than work or career.

The next generation of these Christian feminists were such as Christine Caine (age 48) who leapt onto the liberation mantra of ‘stepping into giftings‘ and went global with boldness and joy. The third generation is this crop of twenty and early thirty something women mentioned here on this blog, are even more bold about their feminist lifestyle, actually thinking they are unleashing it all and pushing open closed doors for the benefit of the world, and have learned how to use technology to their severe advantage. More on this technological savvy in part 3, where I also explain further why I am being so hard on women who promote this lifestyle

The women at She Reads Truth do not have discernment enough to teach, do not know what it is to live out lives as Christian women. They do not have the wherewithal to teach you anything close to what Jesus would have for His women to know.

And yes if you detect a tone in which I am upset, I am. I am offended by Christian feminists who re-define the biblical word for “gifts” and “ministry” just so they can live lives as usurpers, who promote a different Gospel, (“our story is the Good News“), commercially trade on their motherhood while stowing the kids at daycare or leaving them and husband behind while they travel for unbiblical but worldly reasons, yes I am offended. I’m offended by Christian feminists presenting a disingenuous bio while teaching wrongly interpreted doctrines and disobeying the doctrines that are there, and who are poor role models for younger generations. When those two toddlers grow up watching Raechel Myers be a mom through the laptop, what will they have been taught by their mother’s and their father’s lifestyle?

One of the women wrote that she was reading Charles Spurgeon, Myers I think it was. These women who thirst for influence and boldness and a place in the world, fail to see the greatest gift of all. Spurgeon had a mother. She bore 17 children. Nine of them died. Phil Johnson wrote in his essay “How Childhood influences shaped a great preacher“,

Spurgeon’s mother was the one whose influence first awakened him to the claims of Christ on his life. Her exhortations to her children, as well as her prayers on their behalf, made an indelible impact on Charles as a young boy.

Does Mrs Myers think for one moment that she would even be reading works by Spurgeon if his mom had been consumed with personal glory influence and trotted off to Africa to help natives pick out scarves instead of grieving her nine lost children and raising the eight others? Praying, living, worshiping, doing laundry, and gasp, submitting to the womanly life Jesus commands? Mrs Eliza Spurgeon’s influence lasts to this day and Myers is a beneficiary of it. What will Myers’ influence and legacy be for her children? Will they have a biblical worldview?

Do any of these women live a life that is starkly different from any other woman of the world? (1 Peter 2:9).

Feminist Gloria Steinem & activist
Dorothy Pitman Hughes on civil rights and social justice.
“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

I am offended by women who say all the previous generations got it wrong and now, finally now that WE are here, we will unleash proper womanhood onto the world. I am offended by all of that. None of it honors Jesus.

It’s up to you, my young Sisters, to decide what kind of mother/woman you want to be. Influential according to the world, unleashed, living out loud? Or Godly. Because you cannot be both. (Luke 16:13)

For better or worse, mothers are the makers of men; they are the architects of the next generation. That’s why the goal of becoming a godly mother is the highest and most noble pursuit of womanhood. ~John MacArthur

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 1

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 3

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 4

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Further reading

Six months after the conclusion of this series, Lighthouse Trails researched the IF:Gathering also. Please read their extensive research here

Interview with JD Greear about new 7-week study: Jesus-centered Parenting in a Child-centered World

LifeWay resource: Ready to Launch: Jesus-Centered Parenting in a Child-Centered World

Profile of a Godly Mother

What does the Bible say about Christian Mothers?

The Secret Christian Feminists

Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank)

A Biblical Theology of Motherhood

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 1

This is a four-part series. I’ll examine the website, teachings, and women of “She Reads Truth” in 2 parts (What They Say, and What They Do). Part 3 will take a look at the conference known as the “IF:Gathering” which many of the She Reads Truth women are involved in. In part 4 I will discuss women teachers in general from a biblical perspective, and provide a list of solid teachers (men and women) of the Word.

Part 2 here
Part 3 here

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She Reads Truth

A younger sister asked me about this website, in which six women write devotional bible reading plans and encourage women to gather to read the bible via their (free) plans. The women are Raechel Myers, Amanda Bible Williams, Diana Stone, Hayley Morgan, Rebecca Faires, and Debbie Eaton. The website is beautifully designed. It is good looking AND easy to use. The women’s bios are located in the easy-to-find “About Us” section. By the look of the photos and the words used to describe them they come across as healthy, wholesome farm women, apple-cheeked and devoted mothers to happy, wholesome, apple-cheeked farm children with smiling husbands on the side. Simple lives, just struggling wives doin’ laundry (like us, just like us!) trying to know Jesus in the best way possible.

LinkedIn photo

The women assure the reader that they have husbands who look over their theological work and pastors who do the same. They write that they are humble, submissive wives, creating bible reading plans for like-minded women almost by accident, and gee, needing to morph their growing-popular website into a Limited Liability Company before they knew it.

But are they?

Not so much.

When you look into a teacher to determine whether he or she is credible, there are two things to look at.

–What they say (the doctrine they teach)
–What they do (how they live out their doctrine)

The bible warns us that many will come in His name (claiming to be one of His children) but many will not actually be, according to what they say.

Amanda Bible Williams, Editorial Director
of SRT. Twitter profile photo

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (Romans 16:17)

The division comes when teachers try to pry you away from Jesus’ side, dividing you from His once for all faith and separating you from His doctrine, not by what they say, but by what they do.

Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. (Hebrews 13:9)

Therefore it’s important to look at what they do, not just what they say on their statement of faith page. How do they act? What is their life? Many, many church or Christian websites put up a statement of faith, and many, many of them don’t live what they say.

The Gospel Coalition published an interesting article on this exact topic the other day titled “Is Your Church Functionally Liberal?

The liberal churches I’ve known are not openly hostile to the Bible. They like the Bible. They want their preacher to use the Bible. They have home Bible studies. What makes them “liberal” is that the Bible alone is not what rules them. They allow into their doctrine, their ethos, their decisions, other complicating factors. The Bible is revered, in a way. But it is not the decisive factor. It is only one voice among others.

Doctrinally conservative, but functionally liberal. What they say, vs. what they do. Both matter, when it comes to examining a teacher for credibility.

So in She Reads Truth (SRT) you have an attractive website, run by attractive ladies, with a statement of faith that is as sterling as it gets.

In just one of their statements, with which I agree, because it is from James 1:22, they write that they believe we should be doers of the Word, not just hearers. So for them it is not just about reading the bible together, it is about what we do after we read it, our response. So far, so good.

However, thinking it through, don’t leave it there. Exactly what response do the administrators and writers of SRT believe are we being called TO? What do they say we should do in living out the Word that we receive?

Social Justice. They are believers in a response to God’s word that includes “social justice“. Back up for a moment…social justice?! What is social justice exactly? Isn’t that were we help poor or oppressed people? That’s biblical, right?

Well, there are two kinds of movements that address poverty and injustice in the world. The biblical one, and all the others, including the SRT women. Here is what the modern-day notion of what “social justice” is.

According to the National Association of Social Workers,

“Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. Social workers aim to open the doors of access and opportunity for everyone, particularly those in greatest need.”

There is much more to it and more that is behind the modern movement (not the biblical movement). GotQuestions discusses the modern-day notion of social justice and its politically charged activists.

Social justice is often used as a rallying cry for many on the left side of the political spectrum. “Social justice is also a concept that some use to describe the movement towards a socially just world. In this context, social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality and involves a greater degree of economic egalitarianism through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution. These policies aim to achieve what developmental economists refer to as more equality of opportunity than may currently exist in some societies, and to manufacture equality of outcome in cases where incidental inequalities appear in a procedurally just system.” (Source)

Woman carrying leeks to market in the Andes. EPrata photo

It’s based on a false premise that in all cases the rich have oppressed the poor in order to become rich, an injustice that needs to be rectified through income redistribution and other government programs and activist political means. So what is the biblical call to address the poverty problems and the oppressed? Because the bible does speak to it.

The Christian notion of social justice is different from the contemporary notion of social justice. The biblical exhortations to care for the poor are more individual than societal. In other words, each Christian is encouraged to do what he can to help the “least of these.” The basis for such biblical commands is found in the second of the greatest commandments—love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39). Today’s notion of social justice replaces the individual with the government, which, through taxation and other means, redistributes wealth. This policy doesn’t encourage giving out of love, but resentment from those who see their hard-earned wealth being taken away. (Source)

The true Christian response to stewardship is an individual one, not an activist one. So which does SRT promote? The latter. More of the activist social justice, less of the biblical, individual call to personal stewardship. Therefore, their ‘what we believe’ is an unbiblical call to an incorrectly interpreted response to the bible’s demands regarding the poor.

Basically, there is a tension between a God-centered approach to social justice and a man-centered approach to social justice. The man-centered approach sees the government in the role of savior, bringing in a utopia through government policies. The God-centered approach sees Christ as Savior, bringing heaven to earth when He returns. At His return, Christ will restore all things and execute perfect justice. Until then, Christians express God’s love and justice by showing kindness and mercy to those less fortunate.(Source)

Does the SRT website say all that? No. It only mentions social justice once in the What We Believe section. So how do I know the women promote the unbiblical view of social justice and not a correct notion of stewardship? From what they do. That will be part 2.

But first, one other mention of ‘what they say’. I read many of their reading plans. Some are good. Many of the books they promote are good too. Many are reformed. Many are solid. Nancy Guthrie is promoted, as well as Reformed classics like the Valley Of Vision and Matthew Henry’s commentary. On the down side, Billy Graham is promoted, as well as panentheist Ann Voskamp, and pragmatist Rick Warren, which are negatives. One of the editorial staff, Debbie Eaton, used to be a woman ministry leader at Warren’s Saddleback church, so the Warren book isn’t surprising. The SRT ladies promote several books by Gary Haugen, who is also a writer for She Reads Truth. Haugen is CEO of International Justice Mission. There’s that personal agenda again.

Under the “What We’re Reading”, they promote one of Lysa TerKeurst’s books. Last February, Lysa preached an entire Sunday at Perry Noble’s church. Perry Noble is a false teacher. Women are not to be preaching the church service. (1 Timothy 2:11–14). Lysa attends Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church, which is not a church and Furtick is not a true preacher. Lysa is an undiscerning usurper and She Reads Truth has no business promoting Lysa’s books.

As for the specifics of the reading plans, in looking at just a few of them I saw the usual mistakes many women make when they interpret the bible. Here are two issues as just a sample. In their Day 25: “The Shepherds go To the Manger” Christmas devotional, author Raechel Myers stated that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. She wrote that Jesus came to make wars cease. She wrote that Jesus came for peace on earth.

Um. No.

Connecting the Prince of Peace with making wars cease is incorrect. We are at war with God because we are sinners. His peace is reconciliation through justification. She did mention reconciliation a bit further on, but her approach is not the best because she connects peace and war wrongly in this devotional. In Mt 10:34 Jesus says “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword!” In His first incarnation, Jesus came to bring a sword that will divide even families. Wars and rumors of wars will characterize the age of his post-Incarnation. Wars will not end until after the church age ends, after the Millennium Kingdom ends (Revelation 20:7-8) and it is only after eternity begins that wars cease.

Later in the devotional Myers says that God asks us (asks? not commands?) to be still and know that He is God.

Um. No.

“Asking” us to be still and know he is God is a total misrepresentation of the verse from Ps 46:10, which is commonly misused by women, especially young women. He does not ask us to be still. He commands us to believe in the Son, “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. (1 John 3:23).

The ‘be still’ verse is from Psalm 46:10, and what it means is this–

“Let his enemies be still, and threaten no more, but know it, to their terror, that he is God, one infinitely above them, and that will certainly be too hard for them; let them rage no more, for it is all in vain: he that sits in heaven, laughs at them; and, in spite of all their impotent malice against his name and honour, (Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible.)

The overall approach of taking snippets of verses on a topic or theme from the NT and the OT and building reading plans from that is not the best. It’s common, but it is not the best. First, mixing OT and NT is a dangerous hermeneutic. Often, OT verses are for Israel only (Jeremiah 29:11, for example, is often misused (I know the plans I have for you… so is Psalm 46:10, Be still)… Expositional teaching is best.

Gary Haugen
of International Justice Mission (IJM)

What happens with plans like these developed by liberal women like these is that verses get misused because they are stripped from context. It is actually the Beth Moore hermeneutic approach. Strip out-of-context verses and use them to make your point, like the Psalm 46:10 verse or Isaiah 55:1 I mention below. Mix in between the verses some personal stories and with them, personal agendas (i.e the social justice devotional written by Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice organization). It is best to offer a passage, and explain what it means in context and according to the culture at the time. Sometimes they do this well. Other times they don’t.

Here is a second example of “What They Say.”

At SheReadsTruth, in the Reading Plan for Day 28 of the “O Come Let Us Adore Him” devotional, writer Amanda B. Williams mentioned (but didn’t paste) Isaiah 55:1a. The verse reads,

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;”

Williams equates the verse’s ‘being thirsty’ with women who are needy, have longings, are broken, need to be accepted, have a blessed ache, need to be loved, and driven into His arms. Those are direct phrases from the devotional. These phrases appeal to women. They are phrases that include such language as “sweet reminders” or “whisperings” crafted subtly to be a catalytic connector to our sensitive, emotional side. In this way, their devotionals do not appeal to the mind. They strive to appeal to the heart, the emotions. The devotional’s language creates a sense of romantic intimacy with the Lord through a female emotional yearning that sets Jesus up to be lover and filler of needs.

Except, that’s not what studying the Word is all about. (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23).

Except, that’s not what Isaiah 55:1 means.

Gill’s Exposition says of Isaiah 55:1, the sense is not an emotional one but

a spiritual one; thirsting after forgiveness of sin by the blood of Christ; after justification by his righteousness; after salvation by him; after more knowledge of him, more communion with him, and more conformity to him;

The thirst in the verse is not having “longings” – another example of feminine vagueness these types of blogs promote. The ‘thirst’ is not to “be accepted” (whatever that means or meant in junior high), the thirst is a desperation for forgiveness of sins. It is the universal invitation to Gentiles for salvation, not satisfying “needy women”. In this way the SRT women trivialize majestic verses. These verses are spiritual truths, not emotional satisfactions. They’re definitely not romantic longings.

SRT plans are not really study. At SRT, it isn’t really ‘digging into’ God’s word. They are more like breathless romantic reactions to out-of-context verses written by liberal women who have an unbiblical approach to the Word.

I hope I was clear.

Part 2 here.

Part 3 here.

Part 4 here.

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Further Reading

Six months after the conclusion of this series, Lighthouse Trails researched the IF:Gathering also. Please read their extensive research here