Posted in dscernment, false teacher, joel osteen

Joel Osteen’s evil gospel

By Elizabeth Prata

The Bible tells us that there will be false teachers, wolves and heretics. They have malintent, in other words, they want to do you and your church harm. They aren’t simply misguided or temporarily misunderstanding kind people, they are predators out to get you.

They “will secretly introduce destructive heresies,” 2 Peter 2:1
They “distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them”. (Acts 20:30b)
They are “rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception” (Titus 1:10b)
They “are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good”. (Titus 1:16b)

They have an agenda of purposeful deception, (Acts 20:30) and their motive for this deception is dishonest gain. (1 Timothy 6:5).

Continue reading “Joel Osteen’s evil gospel”
Posted in theology

Where are all the discerning women?

By Elizabeth Prata

It is a good question and it’s timely. When I talk with the younger women in the faith who seek and apply discernment, they acknowledge that it’s hard to really trust anybody (without doing significant pre-vetting before buying a book, subscribing to a podcast, liking on social media, etc). I was asked just this week ‘who is out there that we can trust?’ (Note: not blind trust, discerning trust).

It’s a grief to ask this question because it’s a grief to see friends and even women we don’t know follow false female teachers. (Or any false teacher). Won’t it be a relief and a joy in the eternal state with no sin and perfect trust in all whom we meet! Until that day, we must ask the question Lauran Robinson asked, ‘Where are all the discerning women?’

When I was brought to a Beth Moore Living Proof weekend I mourned over the tens of thousands of women filling the arena and the picture of all of them adoring Moore haunts me today. We ask the question not because we’re smarter than anyone else, frankly, many of us discerners have a woeful tale of having squandered time in sanctification because we followed the wrong crowd or teacher. It’s one of the reasons we’re so fervent about being discerning. (I myself followed Joel Osteen for over a year at the start of my walk!). It’s because we have been graced with a spiritual gift that allows us to spot false teachers (and good teachers).

The Holy Spirit dispenses gifts as He pleases. (1 Corinthians 12:11). One of them is “distinguishing between spirits” (1 Corinthians 12:10) known in modern times as discernment. The people given this spiritual gift in the global body, operating within local churches, are the church’s early warning system.

There are discerning women out there putting out great material in blogs, papers, lectures, studies, and podcasts. Michelle Lesley, DebbieLynne Kespert, The Woman’s Hope podcast co-hosts Dr Shelbi Cullen & Kimberly Cummings, Lauren Hereford of Tulips & Honey (and Facebook group here), Susan Heck, Amy Spreeman, Allie Beth Stuckey, and others. But admittedly, the field is narrow and more full of false teachers.

Recently a young woman asked me to recommend any good Christian books by Godly women or about Godly women. I turned to Banner of Truth books because I know Iain Murray had written a short bio of Amy Carmichael and Banner of Truth had also published the bio of Selina Countess of Huntingdon. Banner of Truth lists 293 authors. Fourteen were women, comprising 4% of the list, if that gives you any idea of the ratio of solid male theologians to female. I believe this ratio holds in the wider global church, too, given the number of false women teachers we see running around.

So the question Where are all the the discerning women? is a good one.

Posted in theology

The incident in the Garden instructs us about false teachers

By Elizabeth Prata

Genesis 3. Ohhh, Genesis 3. We all know that was the Fall of man at the prompting of satan-serpent. Satan spoke, Eve listened, Adam joined, and here we are.

This century is full of rampant false teachers, false prophets, false teaching, and heterodox doctrine. If you picture the church as a boy’s room and he knocks over his ant farm, ants crawling everywhere and hard to catch them all, you have the idea.

The Bible gives us much information that these days would come. (2 Timothy 3:1-5). It’s OK, God prepared us ahead. We are not unaware of satan’s schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11). Except, some people are unaware of his schemes. It’s up to us to help those who are weaker, unaware, or in danger. (1 Thessalonians 5:14, Jude 1:23). So pastors, teachers, people with the gift of discernment, speak out.

I recently wrote about Beth Moore, posing the question “Is Beth Moore possessed?” I personally believe she is. Others don’t. Either way, most of the people in my sphere know she is a false teacher, doing damage. My question roused a great many people who shared their opinions on social media. The week taught me two things: first, that the state of discourse is deplorable among professing Christians. Many of those people should be embarrassed at their publicly hateful and unchristian rejoinders. I wrote about the state of discourse here.

Secondly, it demonstrated the depth of the need to continue exhorting against false teachers. We need to keep promoting the value and importance of discernment, and to continue to help those who are under deception. Several comments I received that were frequently repeated need addressing. They were: Beth Moore (or whoever) cannot be a false teacher because she hasn’t denied Jesus (2 Peter 2:1, Jude 1:4). Beth Moore (or whoever) can’t be false because she talks about Jesus so much.

Genesis 3 opens with this statement:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. (Genesis 3:1). God wanted us to know that this is the first thing to know about satan. The word crafty is also translated cunning or subtle.

It would not be subtle for a false teacher to go around saying “I deny Christ. Let me teach you the Bible”. No, satan’s more subtle than that.

See the scene in the garden. Satan first cast uncertainty on what Eve knew by asking it in the form of a question, forcing her to defend God while simultaneously planting a seed of doubt. He also phrased it in a sincere attitude, as most false teachers do. They do not care about you, they only care about money. But satan was crafty and came across as friendly. “Hath God said?” …

Secondly, satan mixed truths, half-truths, and outright lies in his conversation. So do false teachers.

You will not surely die‘ is a flat out lie. Adam and Eve died physically eventually but they died spiritually on the spot.

Your eyes will be opened: this is truth. He just omitted the consequences. But do we really need something extra to open our eyes? False teachers often add to the Bible by promising secret knowledge, a perfect method, an experience. The Spirit’s illuminating ministry already opened our eyes. Do we want our eyes opened, or isn’t the Bible enough? Eve’s eyes were already opened, having a perfect one-on-one relationship with perfect God and with her perfect husband.

You will know good and evil is also a total truth. But do we want to know evil? Only satan is subtle enough to suggest that knowing evil is a good thing, that it’s something that you should want.

You will be like God is a lie. Only God is like God. There is none like Him. (Isaiah 46:9).

You notice that after encountering satan in the serpent, Eve’s perspective shifted. Suddenly she wanted to know evil. (!) She wanted the fruit for food (even though hunger was alien to her). She wanted to be wise, even though she lacked for no knowledge. Eve lacked nothing. But after speaking with the serpent, she suddenly had sensations she’d never had before; hunger, desire, yearning, jealousy. Satan incites us to desire things we never knew we wanted. He draws us away from contentment.

That is what false teachers do. A good and true teacher of the Word leaves you feeling full, knowing Jesus more, loving Him better, understanding sin more deeply. A false teacher leaves you hungry, yearning, and discontent.

We don’t assess a false teacher solely on how we feel, it’s never appropriate to do that even for good reasons. The point here is that encountering satan in the form of His false teachers will shift your perspective, move you from the seat of contentment to one of discontent, and incite yearning, desire for fleshly lusts, and other spiritually damaging things that all take the focus away from God.

Eve suddenly saw the fruit was good, not God. She saw evil was desirable to know about, not God. She saw the tree was a delight to the eyes, not God. In all those subtle ways, satan (and his false teachers) deny Jesus. Here is Barnes’ Notes on 2 Peter 2:1, when false teachers deny the Lord:

This must mean that they held doctrines which were in fact a denial of the Lord, or the tendency of which would be a denial of the Lord, for it cannot be supposed that, while they professed to be Christians, they would openly and avowedly deny him. To “deny the Lord” may be either to deny his existence, his claims, or his attributes; it is to withhold from him, in our belief and profession, anything which is essential to a proper conception of him.

Source

And here is Barnes’ notes on Jude 1:4, denying the Lord,

It cannot be supposed that they openly and formally did this, for then they could have made no pretensions to the name Christian, or even to religion of any kind; but the meaning must be, that “in fact” the doctrines which they held amounted to a denial of the true God, and of the Saviour in his proper nature and work.

Source

Jesus is too precious to deny, either flatly as atheists and pagans do, or functionally, by teaching or accepting teaching that offers a different Jesus. A substituted Jesus is no Jesus at all. The word of God is sure, infallible, inerrant, and the only truth we can cling to with security, to do good work in His name. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Posted in discernment, theology

My friend listens to false teachers and goes to events where there are false teachers

By Elizabeth Prata

The false teachers and events draw many thousands of people. I was astounded in 2011, when attending a Beth Moore Living Proof Weekend event, 20,000 women filled the stadium. The pillars shook with thunderous applause when she walked out on stage. Yet the teaching was completely ‘Me-centered’. We didn’t learn about God when Moore ‘taught’ from Deuteronomy, we learned about Beth Moore.

Charismatic healing or prosperity events often fill huge amphitheaters, for example, the South Africa Mighty Men events Angus Buchan hosts or the Benny Hinn ‘healing’ events seen around the world Continue reading “My friend listens to false teachers and goes to events where there are false teachers”

Posted in discernment, theology

What to listen for in a (false) teacher

By Elizabeth Prata

False Teachers (as are politicians) are selling something. Will you buy?

It was a startling moment when at the October 2019 Truth Matters Conference, in reply to interviewer Todd Friel’s query to answer in one or two words to the name Beth Moore, John MacArthur forthrightly said “go home”.  Even more startling is when he likened her and her ilk to hucksters selling jewelry on TV. (video here). It was true and thus it was a relief to hear.

False teachers are selling something. They have to. The holy Spirit isn’t in or behind their words propelling them into hearts and minds, so in order to get their message across, false teachers have to resort to sales language. Sales language appeals to the flesh. Continue reading “What to listen for in a (false) teacher”

Posted in discernment, theology

The past week(s) have been tough but the future looks bright

By Elizabeth Prata

These past couple of weeks have been rough in our corner of the church. Rachel Held Evans’ passing caused so much grief for her followers and her detractors alike. The display of hatred and bitterness of her followers came after, toward anyone daring to speak a word against their prophetess (their words). It was hard to watch.

Then there was Beth Moore’s craven yet politically manipulative comment that she is preaching on Sunday at a church for Mother’s day and followers of THAT false prophetess came out of the woodwork to proclaim their glee in doing the same, even at Southern Baptist Convention churches, whose statement of faith had traditionally rejected this kind of activity.

Then there was Owen Strachan’s piece biblically outlining why a woman preaching the sermon in church is forbidden by God, and Moore’s self-serving rebuttal to it, her rising anger displayed wantonly for all to see, along of course, with her many followers yapping at Stachan’s heels for his daring to speak against their prophetess.

I’ve only mentioned two women but their combined following just on Twitter alone topped one million people. And their blogs, events, book sales have much greater reach than that, sadly. A huge segment of the western Christian world have been impacted in some way by just those two teachers.

So, it’s been turbulent on social media this week. It reminded me of the Riot at Ephesus where the idol Artemis was enshrined in one of the ancient world’s largest temples, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in fact. Paul’s Gospel preaching started to have an impact, and the merchandise sales began to decline. A silversmith named Demetrius made silver shrines of Artemis and brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. He claimed that Paul was “leading the people astray”.

The Riot in Ephesus Acts 19:23-27
23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. 25 He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”

Notice that Demetrius twice mentioned his business and twice mentioned the goddess Artemis. But notice the order. He first was concerned about his business, both times. Then he mentioned the goddess and worship.

In any case, the people were gullible and became, as the verse says, “furious.” The Greek word for this fury is ‘thumos’. Strong’s concordance explains:

2372 thymós (from thyō, “rush along, getting heated up, breathing violently,” – properly, passion-driven behavior, i.e. actions emerging out of strong impulses (intense emotion). When thymós (“expressed passion”) is used of people it indicates rage, personal venting of anger.

That rage, that passionate personal wrath, is what we saw from RHE followers, from Beth Moore followers, and Beth Moore herself.

At Ephesus, the people filled the arena and shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

That is stunning. The theater there could hold up to 25,000 spectators. You know how loud it gets when just the school gymnasium at school is filled for a pep rally with a few hundred students, and everyone is stomping on the bleachers. Imagine thousands upon thousands of people creating a ruckus and shouting in unholy fury. It’s also stunning that they did it for two hours. That kind of shouting and rage is difficult to maintain at those intense levels. It seems that satanically inspired fury can be maintained for that length of time with no problem.

I liken the ruckus of social media over Rachel Held Evans’ death and Beth Moore’s tweet as similar to the riot at Ephesus; intense, rage filled, sustained, with the followers of those false teachers claiming that those trying to bring the truth were leading them astray. But at the root of it is money. It always is.

The lesson here in looking to that passage of scripture in Acts is that we should never doubt the intense love people have for their idols and the lengths to which they will go to protect and defend them. Never underestimate the power that greed has over those who teach falsely, for their motivation is money. (2 Peter 2:3). Don’t miscalculate the wrath that those in the cottage industries surrounding the idol and financially benefiting from the idol will go to preserve their income. Always remember that those who follow false teachers, false gods, and idols will say that anyone bringing the truth is actually lying and leading the people astray.

It’s been an upsetting week, many people doing and saying unpalatable things. I don’t know the Lord’s reason for ordaining RHE’s number of days to end at 13,505 or why He is allowing Beth Moore to continue polluting the church and blaspheming His name into her 60th year. His will be done. The good news is that we have glory to look forward to. We will sing and worship in truth and unity, with not one blot, not one jot, not one tittle of falsity anywhere. No false teachers will skulk in any corner, no false prophetess will lead anyone astray, and no merchandising of the people will ever happen. Glory will be sparkling pure, clean, and wholesome.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21:1-7)

glory

Posted in discernment, theology

Resources: How to Spot a False Teacher

By Elizabeth Prata

I’m helping a new believer. She is hungry for the word and wide eyed with wonder at everything being new and shiny. She started watching TV Preachers and we in our local body (I) have the sad job to let her know that not all that glitters in the Christian world is gold. We have to protect the lambs.

I remember the days after my conversion. I thought I was safe and that everything would now and forever be OK. The change in my worldview was immediate, it literally was like scales fell off my eyes. In eternity, it is true that everything will be OK, but there will be a lot of work, struggle, vigilance and not-OK stuff happening until I get there. The church is less safe than I thought and definitely takes vigilance to remain on the upward path of sanctification. Satan and the flesh and the world wants to knock us off our pins. It is our job to help new believers learn how to avoid these traps and pitfalls false teachers lay for us.

One main way satan operates is seeding the church with false teachers. Did you know that every New Testament Book except Philemon has strong warnings about being alert for false teachers and false doctrine? Some books of the NT are entirely devoted to the topic! (Galatians, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and Jude.)

Since it’s a big topic in the Bible, it should be a big topic for us. We shouldn’t focus on false teaching all the time, after all, the best way to spot a counterfeit is to learn the real thing. Thus, our study is God’s word, not false teachings. However, we do need to hone our discernment. (Hebrews 5:14).

Here are some good essays I’ve read lately that help us to identify false teachers.

Natasha Crain:

10 Signs the Christian Authors You’re Following are (Subtly) Teaching Unbiblical Ideas

The following are 10 signs that the Christian authors you’re following may be subtly teaching unbiblical ideas. I say “subtly” because I think most people would spot a problem immediately if a Christian said they didn’t believe in the Trinity. But it’s just as important to identify when less obvious warning signs—like the following—are present.

Denny Burk part 1 & 2-

How to identify false teachers

Given this obligation, it becomes all the more imperative to be able to identify false teachers when they emerge. Sometimes false teaching originates from outside of the church. Sometimes such teaching originates from within. The New Testament teaches that a more rigorous response is required when it arises within. Thus faithful pastors must learn how to identify and deal with false teachers. But how do we do that?

How To Deal With False teachers

In my last post, we looked at six characteristics that help us to identify false teachers. In this post, we will consider what pastors and congregations are supposed to do in response to such persons who emerge in their midst.

Michelle Lesley:

Popular False Teachers

The articles below are evidentiary findings on today’s most popular “divangelistas” (as well as a few male teachers and ministries in general). Please use them as teaching tools in the spirit of 2 Timothy 2:24-26 to help others understand the false doctrine these people are proclaiming, keeping in mind that the people who follow them most likely simply don’t know they’re following false teachers.

John MacArthur, blog essay

The Pathology of False Teachers

It takes careful discernment to see that the light is really darkness. Paul taught Timothy how to diagnose satanic darkness masquerading as divine light. Here’s how he described the key symptoms that identify those infected with the spiritual disease of false teaching:

Colin Smith:

7 Traits of False Teachers

In the same way Peter says, “There will be false teachers among you.” Notice the words “among you.” Peter is writing to the church and says, “There will be false prophets among you.” So he is not talking about New Age people on television. He is talking about people in the local church, members of a local congregation.

Luke Wayne at Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. I like this one because he mentions the behavior of a false teacher. It’s not only about doctrine. Examine the teacher’s doctrine AND life. (1 Timothy 4:16).

How do you Identify a False Teacher?

We can identify a false teacher or a false prophet by examining first and foremost their teaching and secondly their behavior in light of Scripture. If what they are teaching is not consistent with what the Holy Spirit has plainly revealed in Scripture, they are a false teacher and are to be ignored, even if they live extraordinary lives, even if they appear to have supernatural insight, or even if they seem to work great miracles.

We are one body. Help the new believers, our vulnerable lambs, stay in the flock, growing and maturing in healthy ways.

lamb

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Bad fruit is bad

Yesterday I wrote about the wind, meaning, the Spirit, blowing where it will. I wrote of how we can’t see the wind at the time but we can see its effects. One of the effects of the wind’s (Spirit’s) effect is fruit. The changed heart will be producing good fruit. A bad heart produces only bad fruit. The unsaved who profess but do not possess Christ will produce bad fruit at some point. False teachers will produce bad fruit also.

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15-20 NASB)

Please notice the certainty in the lesson. Jesus said ‘You WILL know them’. Not that it will be uncertain, or foggy, or maybe, or perhaps. But you WILL.

Not all fruit is produced quickly. Different fruit trees bear fruit at different lengths of time. After planting, fig trees bear figs after 1-2 years. Apple trees take 3-5 years to produce fruit. Pear trees take about 4-6 years. The point is, not all false teachers will quickly show their true nature, but at some point, no matter how long it takes, they will produce the bad fruit Jesus spoke of. And then you will know them.

They wear sheep’s clothing. This means that outwardly false teachers will appear on the surface to be like the true sheep. Barnes’ Notes explains here,

Who come in sheep’s clothing – The sheep is an emblem of innocence, sincerity, and harmlessness. To come in sheep’s clothing is to assume the appearance of sanctity and innocence, when the heart is evil.

Ravening wolves – Rapacious; voraciously devouring; hungry even to rage. Applied to the false teachers, it means that they assumed the appearance of holiness in order that they might the more readily get the property of the people. They were full of extortion and excess. See Matthew 23:25.

I remember watching an art interpretation show some years back. I like Renaissance art and this episode featured Caravaggio and his famous painting of the Bacchus. I have seen the actual painting in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Here it is.

Caravaggio_-_Bacco_adolescente_-_Google_Art_Project

I wish I could go back and really appreciate the art now that my spiritual eyes have been opened. I remember standing in front of it at the Uffizi for a short moment, and saying to myself, “Pretty! I like fruit.” And then moving on. Outwardly the painting looked good.

Let’s not move on. Let’s look at this scene for a moment.

Bacchus is a god of wine and ecstasy. Starting at the top, Bacchus’ cheeks. His cheeks are ruddy, but not a healthy ruddy like David, from being out in the air and working hard. (1 Samuel 16:12). No, Bacchus’ cheeks are red from dissipation, from drunkenness and licentiousness and debauchery and overindulgence. His eyes are glazed and drowsy.  He is half dressed, exposing skin, indicating sensuousness, but the mattress he is laying on is dirty. He is offering the viewer wine, a beverage that will make one take leave of senses. But his near nakedness is also indicating he is offering something more. His fingernails are dirty.

Now the fruit. Looking hard at the fruit, you notice that despite the lushness and the voluminous quantity, the fruit is overripe. It’s rotting. It’s bad. The apple has a worm. The pomegranate has burst open. The nectarine is rotten.

fruit

If you want an technical description of this bowl of disease, here it is

Exact in detail they include precise representations of disease symptoms, insect damage, and various abiotic defects. … The fruits include black, red, and white clusters of grapes; a bursting pomegranate; figs; a large green pear; three apples—one greenish and one red with a codling moth (Carpocapsa pomonella) entrance hole, a small, golden russet crab with two areas of rot, likely a form of Botrysphaeria; and a half-rotten quince. The basket contains two fig leaves both with a dorsal (abaxial) view and a grape leaf yellowing at the edge suggestive of potassium deficiency. The head of Bacchus is crowned with clusters of black and white grapes and senescing leaves, one of which is turning red, probably an indication of crown gall, induced by Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Source: Purdue Department of Landscape and Horticulture

Eww. The fruit of debauchery is rotten. The fruit is BAD. False teachers only offer bad fruit.

Do you want to eat the bad fruit? Bite into an apple with a moth worm inside? Consume sickly peaches dripping with its own rotted pus?

People often try to be charitable with false teachers. I understand wanting to be charitable, but there is a time and a place for charity. False teachers are evil. They are against Jesus. They are against you. They are against me.

Jesus said that there is good fruit and bad fruit. He didn’t say that there was fence fruit or sort of OK fruit or any fruit in the middle. The fruit teachers offer is either one or the other.

I learned my lesson with the art. Art takes a while to look at, examine, notice, and ponder. It’s the same with what teachers teach us. Good teachers and bad teachers offer us things. It takes time to look at, examine, notice, and ponder what they are offering. Once we discern the bad from the good, we are told to hold on to the good and leave off the bad.

but test everything; hold fast what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Love must be sincere. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. (Romans 12:9)

So there is no excuse for listening to someone generally and widely acknowledged to be a false teacher. A false teacher does not offer anything good. Their fruit is bad. You can’t follow them and expect them to produce one good fruit on the tree. Jesus said the tree is either all good or all bad.

Don’t eat of their fruit. Don’t quote them. Don’t buy their books. Don’t eat the meat and spit out the bones, which doesn’t even make sense because we are talking about fruit. When you are tempted to peek at a false teacher’s site/tweets/stream/Facebook/books, picture the debauched Bacchus with dirty fingernails on a dirty mattress offering you wormy rotted fruit.

Instead, we can imbibe of the sweet waters from the fountain of life and the pure bread from heaven.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.
Psalm 36:7-9

—————————————-

Further Reading

Ligonier: False Prophets and their Fruits

CARM: You will know them by their fruit

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

List of important Christians to follow on social media (not). Plus, ridiculous books

Crosswalk Ministry recently posted a story titled 20 Important Christians You Should Follow on Social Media. **Note see below.

Crosswalk.com’s About says,

Crosswalk.com aims to offer the most compelling biblically-based content to Christians on their walk with Jesus. Crosswalk.com is your online destination for all areas of Christian Living – faith, family, fun, and community.

After seeing the list of “important” Christians you should follow, Crosswalk should not be your destination for anything. Why? Most of their list is populated by false teachers. Sadly, the author of this list states that she is a teacher/leader at her church. It is apparent that the author lacks discernment, which is terrible for a church teacher/leader. It’s clear that the publication’s editors lack discernment, too, because they allowed it to be published.

paul meme

We can pair this list of who (not) to follow with a recent vlog by Challies-

5 Most Ridiculous Books to Ever Become Christian Bestsellers

If you were to scan the lists of the best selling Christian books of all time you’d see some truly amazing books there. You’d see some books that have helped us better understand who God is and books that have instructed us. and how we as Christians can live lives of obedience to Him, and like you, I’m genuinely thankful for these books. Sadly though, you’d also see some truly flat-out awful books. Today I’ve narrowed down that list to the five most ridiculous books to ever become Christian bestsellers.

Asked what the biggest problem facing the American church is, John MacArthur replied that it is a lack of biblical knowledge, a lack of biblical discernment. When you see a list like Crosswalk’s, this certainly seems to be sadly true.

And besides, didn’t the Bible tell us that no believer is more “important” than another? (Galatians 3:28, James 2). Their list is a who’s who of false teachers. The list is a slideshow, and as each page came up it got worse and worse. I couldn’t think of any worse people to put on the list if I tried. They’re all there. I thought to myself, “Surely they won’t put Joel Osteen on their list, but when he popped up at #15 my heart sank lower than the floor.

Anyway, here is Crosswalk’s list of “important” Christians you should follow in their order:

  1. Beth Moore
  2. Steven Furtick
  3. Toby Mac
  4. Lysa TerKeurst
  5. Franklin Graham
  6. Max Lucado
  7. Judah Smith
  8. Joyce Meyer
  9. Andy Stanley
  10. Rick Warren
  11. Jen Hatmaker
  12. Tim Keller
  13. Candace Cameron Bure
  14. Levi Lusko
  15. Joel Osteen
  16. Sadie Robertson
  17. John Piper
  18. Shauna Niequist
  19. Christine Caine
  20. Brian Houston

Most of these people teach a false doctrine of one kind or another. I know that no one is perfect, and we all hold to some error at one time or another before being graciously corrected. However many of these people on the list teach not immature and temporary error, but permanently damning heresy. Meyer teaches (or taught) that she isn’t a sinner, and that Jesus went to hell and allowed satan to stomp all over His back. Joel Osteen refuses to preach half the Gospel (sin and wrath). Beth Moore gets extra-biblical revelation knowledge and purports to add to the canon by the prophecies and directives Jesus supposedly gives her.

These are actions that by God’s own word, the one who teaches them are doomed. (2 Timothy 4:3-4, Acts 20:28-30, 1 John 4:6, Titus 1:16, 2 Peter 2:3, Romans 16:18…)

Others teach error (Piper, for example) but at this point he can’t said to be false.

I’ve looked at Bure’s statement of faith and her life trajectory and can’t find anything that seems to contradict a foundational tenet or is a damaging teaching. So 1 out of the 20 might be solid, and she isn’t even a Bible teacher or preacher or ministry leader but is an actress (one who albeit takes her platform seriously and promotes Christian standards through the transparency of her life).

Discernment is spiritual insight that is honed by experience and age. However, discernment isn’t by osmosis. It doesn’t just drop in one’s lap. Wisdom is accrued through careful study of God’s word, prayer, and constant application. Through study, one becomes instantly familiar with what is true and what is false, even a little false. In other words, the discerning person has nuance and a humble spirit. The person who can discern displays biblical knowledge, wisdom, and the ability to proclaim it, apply it, and use it.

Ultimately, though, discernment comes from God. David prayed for discernment. Psalm 119:125 says (NIV)

I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

 It’s obvious that the current global church lacks discernment in tremendous and devastating ways. Just as over the centuries, the leaders of Israel and eventually the Pharisees turned God’s glorious light and truth into a dark and perverse religion, today’s leaders of the Christian church have turned Christianity into a perverse and ridiculous paper tiger religion that saves no one.
Fortunately, God always has a remnant, which is what true believers are. We are certainly not the majority, if we ever were. A remnant, standing on the rock, proclaiming truth for the glorification of Jesus’ name remains unsullied. The rest, the so-called Christians on the top 20 list and their followers, are a crowd that lacks discernment, to their detriment, perhaps eternally.

Here is my list. Top 20 people not to follow- and why

  1. Beth Moore (no)
  2. Steven Furtick (Steve Kozar says no) (Todd Friel says Furtick’s false)
  3. Toby Mac (Ryan Martin at Religious Affections says no)
  4. Lysa TerKeurst (Michelle Lesley says no)
  5. Franklin Graham (no)
  6. Max Lucado (no)
  7. Judah Smith (no)
  8. Joyce Meyer (CARM says no)
  9. Andy Stanley (Josh Buice says no), (no), (And just no)
  10. Rick Warren (Challies says no), (Warren publicly prayed to Islam’s false god),  (JMac negatively reviews Purpose Driven)
  11. Jen Hatmaker (Christine Pack says no), (Denny Burk says no)
  12. Tim Keller (no)
  13. Candace Cameron Bure
  14. Levi Lusko
  15. Joel Osteen (nope)
  16. Sadie Robertson (maybe)
  17. John Piper (there’s issues…) (and other issues)
  18. Shauna Niequist (Michelle Lesley gives her a ‘not recommended‘)
  19. Christine Caine (Rosebrough says no)
  20. Brian Houston (no, with a lot of other NO’s inside)

Pray to the Spirit for wisdom and He will give it without reproach (James 1:5). Be wise as serpents regarding “Christian” publications including mine and others listed on this page. Use your eyes to see and ears to hear when reading or listening to Christian material. Compare to scripture and give no place to falsity. Jesus is too precious and His torture, death, separation from the Father too heart-rending to cover with any compromise in doctrine by accepting false teachers.

It’s too bad about Crosswalk. That list sure is ridiculous.

**NOTE

A reader alerted me to the fact that the original page has been removed. I searched Crosswalk, thinking it might have been moved to a different part of their site. I could not find it anywhere. I searched Google. I could not find a live version anywhere.

The screen shot is of the introduction to the original article, and the link is to the archived version at the Wayback Machine (Internet Archive).

https://web.archive.org/web/20171213230306/https://www.crosswalk.com/slideshows/20-important-christians-you-should-follow-on-social-media.html

20 important