Posted in theology

Hospitality and Apostle John’s shocking words about false teachers

By Elizabeth Prata

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:9).

Hospitality in Bible times in Palestine was a serious matter. There were cultural expectations, protocols, and traditions. The word host or hospitable is from a Greek word philoxenia meaning “love of strangers”.

Hospitality generally means ‘the gracious treatment of guests in your home’. There are many examples of hospitality in the Bible: (Gen 14:18–24181923:1–2024:10–4943:32Josh 2:1–216:22–25Judg 4:191 Sam 25:2–38Neh 5:14–17). The following pattern can be seen:

• a greeting with bow or kiss (Gen 18:219:1)
• a welcome for the guest to come in (Gen 24:31)
• an invitation to rest (Gen 18:4Judg 4:19)
• an opportunity to wash (Gen 18:419:224:32)
• a provision of food and drink (Judg 4:1919:5)
• an invitation to converse (Gen 24:33)
• a provision of security (Gen 19:8)
Source- “Hospitality” from The Lexham Bible Dictionary

We read much in the Old Testament about hospitality. It was expected to offer shelter and grace to those sojourning among them, because back in the day the Israelites were sojourners themselves. It was considered almost a sacred duty! Lack of hospitality was condemned. (Numbers 20:14–21; Deuteronomy 23:3–4).

In the New Testament we read Jesus’ parables urging believers to be hospitable even outside the 4 walls of one’s home, with the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the Parable of the Midnight Visitor. Jesus was the recipient of much hospitality since He had no place to lay His head, and relied on the hospitality of others (such as Mary/Martha/Lazarus) when he lodged for a period of time.

Lydia was quite hospitable. A native Thyatiran, living in Philippi, the first thing she did after her conversion was to press upon the band to come lodge at her house.

A woman named Lydia was listening; she was a seller of purple fabrics from the city of Thyatira, and a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. 15 Now when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. (Acts 16:14-15).

The first New Testament missionaries would have had to rely on this Palestinian tradition of gracious lodging, made all the more sweet because of the message the missionaries carried.

As the first Christian churches were founded, the exercise of hospitality took on a new aspect, esp. after the breach with the Jews had begun. Not only did the traveling Christian look naturally to his brethren for hospitality, but the individual churches looked to the traveler for fostering the sense of the unity of the church throughout the world. Hospitality became a virtue indispensable to the well-being of the church—one reason for the emphasis laid on it (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2). As the organization of the churches became more perfected, the exercise of hospitality grew to be an official duty of the ministry and a reputation for hospitality was a prerequisite in some cases (1 Timothy 3:2; 5:10; Titus 1:8). Source- The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia.

That is why John’s words were shocking. In some cases, believers were instructed to DENY hospitality to another. It was a big, countercultural step. 1 Corinthians 5:11 instructs the believer thus:

But now I am writing to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is a sexually immoral person, or greedy, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

Believers were to DENY hospitality to anyone who teaches false doctrine. These false teachers were entering homes and abusing the graciousness of hosts to captivate weak women and lure them into the falsity. (2 Timothy 3:5).

Thy were also told to DENY hospitality to intentional deceivers:

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting, (2 John 1:10).

This is why John’s words (and Paul’s) were so shocking. You can imagine how this behavior would be so startling. It isn’t so shocking today, we don’t entertain strangers in our homes. We don’t go house to house in fellowship much anymore either. It isn’t shocking to deny entertaining so-and-so when they never even came to your house in the first place. But to close the door against someone in Bible times, with thousands of years of a deeply embedded tradition in hospitality, would be shocking.

Times nowadays have completely changed the notion of hospitality. We do not and should not entertain unknown traveling itinerants. We have hotels. Unannounced guests knocking on our door is rare and rather scary. We aren’t nomads anymore either. But in today’s times we do have TV, radio, podcasts, and streaming entering our home. Do you allow false teachers and deceivers into your home via technology? Are you ‘hosting’ them daily, or weekly? Do your children see you offering your time to these false teachers, by offering them money by purchasing their materials?

Hospitality has changed definitions since John’s day, but today we can still host gatherings of believers from church, craft a celebratory party or dinner for struggling folks, or practice hospitality one-on-one with those whom we know.

DENY these false teachers entry to your home. Do not expose them to your family or to your own soul. Even though such ‘hospitality’ in today’s times is second hand through a screen, still, do not entertain them. And when or if a person in your church is disciplined as per Matthew 18:17b, and reaches the last stage, “if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as the Gentile and the tax collector” are you strong enough to obey and DENY them hospitality?

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Posted in theology

How to tell a false Bible teacher from a true teacher

By Elizabeth Prata

We know that Acts 17:11 tells us to compare what a teacher is teaching to the Bible. Paul was not offended when the Bereans did just that. Instead, he called them noble! The main way you can tell if a person is teaching rightly, is by comparing what they teach and how they behave, with the Word.

Ladies, here is another way to begin detecting if the person you follow as a Bible teacher is false or true-

I see many Beth Moore defenders defend Moore’s teaching with emotional words and familar nicknames, such as ‘Auntie Beth’, saying they “grow closer to Jesus” through her lessons, and state other warm fuzzy type defenses of her teaching. But HOW do we grow closer to Jesus? There is only one way.

Any Bible teacher, if teaching rightly, will extract from the Bible its truths, including truth about sin and our need for repentance – not just upon salvation, but every day. He or she will then teach those truths. You will know you are “growing closer to Jesus” if said teaching-

reveals unknown sin in your heart,
or if you are convicted of your sins,
or if you drive yourself back to the Bible to seek Jesus,
or if your affections change from carnal to holy,
or if you learn more about Jesus,
or if you desire to pursue holiness,
or if you want to treat others above yourself,
or all of the above!

Those are a few ways you can tell if you are ACTUALLY growing closer to Him.

This will happen because the true Bible teacher will be extracting truth from the Bible, which is living and active. Its writ thus delivered to you will knit conviction of sin, self-denial, and love for Jesus for who He is (not how He makes you feel or what you can get from Him).

If a teacher is false,

you will feel good and warm and have fuzzies during and after the lessons. But you know full well that emotions are fickle. They evaporate.
or when the buzz of the teaching dissipates, you still feel the same,
or if your knowledge of Jesus is less but your knowledge of that teacher is more,
or if your prayer life isn’t energized,
or your conscience isn’t pricked toward repentance,
or if your affections haven’t changed,
or if you still pursue carnal things at the expense of your conscience,
or if you’re in a rut and decide to grab ANOTHER ‘study’ from that teacher because you need to feel good again, and not because you want to know more of Jesus,
or all of the above!

then that teacher is false.

Why is she called “Auntie Beth” by so many? She makes people feel good. They enjoy her funny and charming personal anecdotes that makes them feel close to her in some way, a connection. She makes them feel cared for- but a false teacher’s love is a false love and a carnal love. It’s a carnal love because its origin is fleshly, which includes overlooking sin, love of self, and pursuit of a different Jesus than the one the Bible presents.

As for the cutesy nickname the flat screen admirers give Beth Moore, just think on this. We don’t call a Charles Spurgeon ‘Uncle Charlie’ or John MacArthur “Daddy John” or Paul Washer “Paulie dear”. Why not? Not that nicknames and familiar terms for people we admire are necessarily bad. But these men have a dignity in teaching that comes from their devotion to and teaching of the holy Word of God. Likewise older women are supposed to have a dignity as well, (Titus 2:5) exhibiting deep knowledge of doctrine and living a lifestyle that results in inhibiting such over-familiarity and pet nicknames from people.

Amy Carmichael’s sickroom was called The Room of Peace. China Missionary Gladys Aylward was called The Virtuous One. Spurgeon was called The Prince of Preachers. They received respectful nicknames and not cutesy ones because these teachers were unashamed of the Gospel. Remember, most people who call Beth Moore “Auntie Beth” don’t even know her personally, but know only the persona Beth chooses to present through a screen. 

These concepts I’ve outlined in this brief blog stand for any teacher, but especially celebrity teachers such as Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, etc. Technology’s constant presence and our ability to stream material at-will 24/7 means that we tend to think that our favorite celebrity teachers and preachers are closer to us than they really are. True Bible teachers have students who learn and grow in holiness.

[T]he true prophet must preach what he believes to be the truth, uninfluenced by any considerations of what will please others or profit himself, and must accept no man’s conscience as a substitute for his own, and must be ready to go on a diet of bread and water for a testimony to his sincerity-above and beyond all these, he must have laid hold of the eternal principles of divine government, and whole truths, not half-truths, must be the basis of his preaching.

Source of above quote: True and False Prophets in 1 Kings, Chap. 22, Author(s): Dean A. Walker, Source: The Biblical World, Oct., 1902, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 272-277

Posted in colossians, discernment, false teachers, lloyd-jones, spurgeon

Don’t let anyone disqualify you from the prize!

By Elizabeth Prata

One of the most surprising things to me after my salvation was that there were people claiming to be Christian who would try to draw me away from the truth. I had been relieved to enter the kingdom, and I felt literally like I was stepping into a safety zone, an oasis of calm after having lived in turbulence and chaos for 42 years. It was a jolt to my system that though peace reigned between me and God, turbulence between false professors and true believers was abounding.

False professors are people who profess Christ but do not possess the Spirit. I.e., false believers.

Colossians is a tremendous book. Of this verse in Colossians, let’s first focus on the first five words, Paul’s warning, underline mine-

Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, (Colossians 2:18, NASB).

Other translations say let no one disqualify you from the prize.

There were some spiritual elites going around Colossae, intimidating the new believers there. They threatened them with disqualification from the faith, and the newbies were buying it. Now, a true believer can never actually be separated from Christ, but the elites claimed the newbies were under a threat of failure in the faith if they did not believe and practice things in addition to Christ. This is what the book of Colossians is about- Paul re-teaching that Christ alone is sufficient.

Christ was not all-sufficient to these elites. They said the new believers must also practice one or more of three things: self-abasement (humility), worshiping angels, and visions.

True humility is a true virtue. The elites in Colossians were not practicing it though. They evidenced a prideful humility that pointed to themselves. Which isn’t humility at all, of course. They delighted in their humility, in effect, saying, ‘Look how humble I am! I’m sooo godly! I’m sooo faithful!’

Secondly, worship of angels in Colossae was an issue well into the fourth century. Worship of angels destroys the one thing believers are commanded to do: “worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” (Matthew 4:10b).

And visions. Oh, my, let’s talk about visions. They were a problem in the first century and they are a problem in the twenty-first century. People who are errant in their beliefs and know there is no biblical support for these beliefs, (if diligent believers go looking) the false professors instead try to buttress their beliefs with experiences and visions.

John MacArthur preached,

What is he [Paul] saying? “Don’t let anybody tell you you’re disqualified from attaining the prize of spirituality because you haven’t reached the level of self-abasement, you haven’t understood the worship of angels, you haven’t had the right visions.” … They’ve said, “It’s Christ plus my visions; plus my experiences with the angels; plus my deeper experience, my higher experience.” (MacArthur, “Spiritual Intimidation, part 1“)

No. Just…NO. Christ alone. Satan’s wiles have always been to sway a believer from the path to Jesus feet, and bundle belief with other beliefs, actions, rules.

Spurgeon said in his excellent sermon on the verse titled “A Warning to Believers“,

THERE is an allusion here to the prize which was offered to the runners in the Olympic games, and at the outset it is well for us to remark how very frequently the Apostle Paul conducts us by his metaphors to the racecourse. Over and over again he is telling us so to run that we may obtain, bidding us to strive, and at other times to agonize, and speaking of wrestling and contending. Ought not this to make us feel what an intense thing the Christian life is—not a thing of sleepiness or haphazard, not a thing to be left now and then to a little superficial consideration?

These elites have “fleshly minds” as the verse indicates. They were puffed up with their visions and boasting of humility and spiritual pride of ‘knowing more’ (mysticism). They had no reason to be secure. Their minds were flesh, not of Christ.

There is a tendency in human nature to move from objectivity to subjectivity-to shift the focus from Christ to experience. This has always intimidated weak believers and threatened the church.” (MacArthur, Commentary on Colossians & Philemon.)

False doctrine is not only a corruption in the church, it does damage to you individually. One way false teaching and false teachers harm you is that following them even temporarily and certainly for a longer period disqualifies you for the prize. It is the false teacher’s intent to try and disqualify you. Even if they make you doubt, they have succeeded. Even if they make you wander, thus diminishing your effectiveness for a time, they have succeeded. That is why Paul wrote such a strong warning.

For the strong believer, what is inferred is a stronger believer’s responsibility to our brethren who are following a false teacher. How will it be when they are judged, when told to give an account of themselves (Romans 14:12, 1 Corinthians 3:11-15) and we hear Jesus say that a friend has lost some prizes because they followed a false teacher and thus were disobeying Jesus, while we knew all along and never said anything.

Jude says, But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.

Catch that. They are devoid of the Spirit. This means they do not possess the Spirit. i.e. unsaved. But Jude goes on in Jude 1:22-23,

And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

This means, snatch them from wandering, grab them to prevent disqualification, help them understand in love and in discernment the person they are following will lead them AWAY from the prize.

Let’s end where we started. Don’t let anyone defraud you of the prize. The ultimate prize is Jesus, His faith, His comfort, faith in Him and Him alone.

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Posted in theology

Should we look at a teacher’s lifestyle? Or only his/her doctrine?

By Elizabeth Prata

A reader took issue with me recently, saying that me pointing out things related to a teacher’s lifestyle is hitting below the belt, is wrong, and now she has to wonder at my heart motivations.

This kind of discussion often comes up when I post about a false teacher’s lifestyle. People seem to think that their lifestyle is off-limits while only comparing their doctrine is acceptable. That is what being a Berean is all about, look at doctrine only, they say. Lifestyle is off the plate and not our business.

But is it?

Continue reading “Should we look at a teacher’s lifestyle? Or only his/her doctrine?”
Posted in theology

They crept in

By Elizabeth Prata

For certain people have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into indecent behavior and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4).

For context, Jude is opening his letter by saying he’d wanted to speak of the faith and their common salvation, but must change his intended topic to one of discernment. He warned against false teachers in the next verses, including the one above.

There are so many parts to this verse to explore and chew on. Today, let’s look at the first phrase, ‘certain people have crept in unnoticed’. The question is, WHY was it unnoticed? Why didn’t the people notice the false teachers among them? It all starts with destructive heresies, ungodly men creeping in unnoticed. And why aren’t they noticed?

Because Christians today all too often fail to be familiar with the real thing, foregoing Bible study, quiet time, prayers, and worship, so that when the counterfeit shows up, being only subtly different from the Truth, it goes unnoticed.

Where do they creep into? They creep into houses, as was the custom of that day, and today, by television or podcast or books. They creep into the church as a tare. They creep in to the ministry as a false teacher. They creep in, and the majority of the population of the place are unaware.

At night, especially if you live in the south, or in a city apartment building in the north, cockroaches scamper about. While you sleep, they creep in to your cupboards and nibble on your food. They scuttle in, while you are sleeping unaware. They come out at night to eat and cavort over your clean counters, they creep in and you don’t notice them…until one day you spot a dropping. And another day another dropping, then a pile of droppings. Likening false teachers to cockroaches is an apt metaphor.

They creep in, they are unwelcome, they hide as long as they can, until the putrid fruit of their presence is detected. Southerners, knowing the frequency with which cockroaches like to invade, will protect the house. They have regular pest control measures. Do you want cockroaches crawling over your baby as he sleeps sweetly in the crib? Of course not! So protective measures are taken to keep the house free of pests.

So it should be with churches. Jude is a protective measure, dispensing wisdom from experience and a purity of truth from the Holy Spirit

Peter also is a protective measure against the pestilence of false teaching and the people who bring it. There is a parallel verse to Jude,

But false prophets also appeared among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2 Peter 2:1).

Barnes’ Notes on Peter’s verse: “[T]here were artful and wicked men who had crept into the church, pretending to be religious teachers, but whose doctrines tended to sap the very foundations of truth. The apostle Peter, describing these same persons, says, “who privily shall bring in damnable heresies.” See the notes, 2 Peter 2:1. Substantially the same idea is expressed here by saying that they “had crept in unawares;” that is, they had come in “by stealth;” they had not come by a bold and open avowal of their real sentiments. They professed to teach the Christian religion, when in fact they denied some of its fundamental doctrines; they professed to be holy, when in fact they were living most scandalous lives. In all ages there have been men who were willing to do this for base purposes.”

They creep in, and insinuate themselves into the minds and hearts of their prey. The prey, (us), are unaware they are being devoured by a predator, and when discovered can’t believe the wolf is really a wolf. “But he’s so nice!” they say. “She helped me!” they cry. “It can’t be true!” and they disbelieve this person or that certain person is really false. Like kudzu, overnight the tentacles have grown and clung on. Disentangling now is unworkable and difficult.

Meanwhile, as Barnes mentioned, what are the ‘base purposes’ for which they have crept in? We know one of them is greed. (2 Peter 2:3, 2 Corinthians 2:17). They have other appetites they want to satiate, too. (Romans 16:18). Whatever their base desires, they are immoral. Greed, lust, fame, pride…whatever it is that the false teacher seeks, they find it by preying on unwary Christians. They peddle His word for dishonest gain. They contradict holy precepts and upright living required by God of His people and especially of His ministers.

Too often we forget we are in a war. With all the talk of winsomeness and seekers and love…we forget that we give sin no quarter. We kill it. We forget that there are active and present enemies out to kill US, to draw us away, or to pollute our souls, or to deceive us. The enemy wants to destroy our witness. He wants to do anything against Christ that he can, and will stop at nothing short of God’s own boundaries to get it done.

We slay sin, we tear down philosophies, we anathematize false teachers. Those are fighting words. So, dear sister, fight!

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Posted in theology

Jackie Hill Perry comes out as a ‘prophet’

By Elizabeth Prata

Jackie Hill Perry (JHP) is the latest platformed/celebrity teacher to come out and claim that she hears directly from God. She was hesitant at first to claim this, she wrote on Twitter, because the saints “get weird” when you state such things.

[For good reason, says this saint].

Jackie Hill Perry

But she felt confident enough at last to come out and say that God prophetically deals with her through dreams. She quotes what God has allegedly said, and claims that he has given her information about other people for whom she has interceded. God had told her the gender of her baby.

Her thread is here in Thread Reader Unroll, and it is also below:


I really be wanting to share how the Lord deals with me prophetically but the Saints get weird about stuff like that.

Ok ok. I’ll say this. God primarily deals with me in dreams. I’ve been enlightened, warned, and led to intercede for others through them. But lately, I’ve had an increase of “inner unctions” by the Spirit, that arise in prayer, about people I know and don’t know. It’s deep. 

At the beginning of my walk, I was in a Pentecostal church that gave me room and space to explore this part of myself but after leaving, I haven’t embraced the prophetic out loud as much. Out of fear mainly. But God really does speak to and through His church and I love it. 

One scenario I’ve told folks out loud is how the Lord (through an inner knowing/unction) told me I’d have a son in 2019. Got pregnant w/another girl in 2020 and I was thrown because I was KNEW what God said but I just chunked it up to me being off… 

After I had Sage, we scheduled Preston’s vasectomy because I had no intention of having 4 kids. The night before it, I had a dream that I was holding a boy that was “half dead”. Not because he was dying but because he was being kept from life. As I held him, I felt fear… 

and literally, in the dream, God said “Do you trust me to have a fourth child?” I told the dream to Preston, who’d also had a similar one, we canceled the vasectomy and a few months later, I was pregnant with…a boy. I say all of that to say, we serve a LIVING and SPEAKING God. 

Before this moment I said to myself “If I don’t see blue powder, I’m a false prophet and I’m never claiming to hear from God again.” 

I have yearssssss worth of stories. Not even primarily about me either. God has placed me around a lot of prophetic people and trust me, if you get you some friends that are sensitive to the Spirit, life will forever be interesting.

end JHP Twitter comment


Let’s put this in a larger context than just ‘tsk tsk another one is going out from us’. Which in itself is worthy to note and very sad. There are four points here, maybe more but I want to address these four.

First, let us define terms. JHP uses the word “unction.” It’s an old-fashioned word meaning anointing.

UNCTION—(1 John 2:20, 27; R.V., “anointing”). Kings, prophets, and priests were anointed, in token of receiving divine grace. All believers are, in a secondary sense, what Christ was in a primary sense, “the Lord’s anointed.” Defined in Easton’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature (p. 679).

We see the word used in 1 John 2:20. “But you have an anointing [unction] from the Holy One, and you all know.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible: But ye have an unction from the Holy One – The apostle in this verse evidently intends to say that he had no apprehension in regard to those to whom he wrote that they would thus apostatize, and bring dishonor on their religion. They had been so anointed by the Holy Spirit that they understood the true nature of religion, and it might be confidently expected that they would persevere. The word “unction” or “anointing” (χρίσμα chrisma) means, properly, “something rubbed in or ointed;” oil for anointing, “ointment;” then it means an anointing. The allusion is to the anointing of kings and priests, or their inauguration or coronation, (1 Samuel 10:11 Samuel 16:13Exodus 28:41Exodus 40:15; compare the notes at Matthew 1:1); and the idea seems to have been that the oil thus used was emblematic of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit as qualifying them for the discharge of the duties of their office. Christians, in the New Testament, are described as “kings and priests,” Revelation 1:6Revelation 5:10, and as a “royal priesthood” 1 Peter 2:51 Peter 2:9; and hence they are represented as “anointed,” or as endowed with those graces of the Spirit, of which anointing was the emblem.

So in fact, believers are ALL anointed. We ALL have ‘unction’. But we do not have special, direct revelation as JHP claims she possesses.

Now to JHP’s claims and my points-

  1. JHP mentions her first “knowing” from God, calling it unction. But it was wrong. The first time, she “knew” she’d have a boy, but it was a girl. If her knowing was from God, then JHP does not address how or why God failed to deliver the correct information. According to Deuteronomy 18:22, this alone would be enough to disqualify her from prophetic service (which expired in the Apostolic age, anyway).
  2. JHP mentions she has been hesitant to reveal her uncommon relationship with God, though it has been going on for many years, because the “saints get weird”. But note that now she feels comfortable to admit it. This is an indictment on the church and on husbands both of whom are supposed to have built for their families strong hedges against false doctrine. If a false prophet feels comfortable enough to reveal her revelations, it is not only the false prophet to blame, but her followers who have heaped her up (2 Timothy 4:3) and a weak church that lacks both discernment and discipline to maintain that hedge.
  3. This is the other #MeToo Movement- “I hear from God too.” It is becoming a scourge. Numerous women with large platforms are running around waving prophecies, predictions, and revelations from a God they obviously don’t know, but still are deceiving many. (Matthew 7:15). Birds of a feather flock together, (1 Corinthians 15:33), so more and more women feel secure enough to add their voice to the clamor. Because, who’s going to rebuke them? No one, it seems.
  4. Claiming private revelations displays a lack of discernment, declares the Bible insufficient, and makes the even ground at the cross among the saints a two-tiered hierarchy between those who hear God and those who don’t. It leaves them all open to accepting errant theology.

All of the above is a huge problem in the church. John MacArthur has said several times over the years that the greatest issue in the church is lack of discernment. This leads to biblical illiteracy, which in turn leads to false doctrines creeping in. Here is MacArthur:

Another way to approach the subject would be to ask the question, “What is the greatest need? People ask me this all the time, “What’s the greatest need in the church today? What is the most compelling need? What do you see as the biggest problem in Christianity, the biggest problem in the church? It’s simple for me to answer that. The biggest problem in the church today is the absence of discernment. It’s a lack of discernment. It’s the biggest problem with Christian people. They make bad choices. They accept the wrong thing. They accept the wrong theology. They are prone to the wrong teaching. They’re unwise in who they follow, what they listen to, and what they read. SOURCE


Ladies, God is living and He is speaking, but He speaks through His word, not in dreams telling you the gender of your baby, and other ‘unctions’ as claimed. We “get weird” because it’s false. Please do not feel left out if you also don’t hear from God as these other women claim. There are a lot of them, not just the fringe ones at the crazy edge of the faith, but women in the so-called conservative fold, like Jennie Allen (founder of IF:Gathering), Joanna Gaines (of Magnolia everything), Beth Moore (formerly of SBC & Lifeway), Sarah Young (of Jesus Calling), Priscilla Shirer (of the movie War Room), JHP, and many others. God spoke in His word through His Son. The same Son who descended from glory to live a perfect life on our behalf, die excruciatingly on the cross, be buried in a stinky tomb, and raised again to be ascended to the Father. Isn’t that enough? The Bible is enough.

When you claim the prophetic voice you hear is from God, you are saying “the Bible is not enough. I need more.” It’s as simple as that.

What can WE do?

  1. Pray for JHP that the Lord would graciously deliver to her a discerning mind.
  2. Pray for ourselves that the Lord would graciously keep us in our right mind and away from deceiving lusts and false doctrine.
  3. Keep reading the word of God. It’s the only weapon against wolves and their doctrines of demons.
  4. Be brave. Brave enough to point out false doctrine when it comes your way. Don’t be afraid of the “Tone Police” as Phil Johnson expertly encourages here (start at 22:40, sermon is aptly called “Fortitude“).

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Matthew 7:15

Yet in the same way these people also, dreaming, defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak abusively of angelic majesties. Jude 1:8

In this 9-minute video Spencer Smith opines about Jackie Hill Perry’s recent rejection of the American Gospel documentary and where she regrets her participation in it. (Sure enough we regret your participation in it, too!). Smith also opines about his bemusement as to why JHP was included in the first place, lol. His opinions were insightful to me. (Disclaimer: I do not know who Spencer Smith is, nor have I vetted the body of his work, but I liked and agreed with this particular video).

FURTHER RESOURCES

Does God speak to us audibly?

Beware of false teachers

The miraculous gifts have ceased

Posted in theology

This is the truth of how it works with false teachers

By Elizabeth Prata

For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, 2 Timothy 4:3.

The verse says that they, meaning professing Christians, will refuse sound doctrine. Instead, they will heap up teachers to suit their passions…so, Jesus raises up an Osteen for those who want to suit their easy life, no speaking of sin passions; a Beth Moore for those who want to indulge their usurping passions, a Kenneth Copeland or Joyce Meyer for those who want to indulge greedy passions, and so on.

Far from being innocent victims of false teachers, followers of false teachers are guilty in their intentional accumulation of them to suit their desires. False teachers would not exist if people subdued their ungodly lusts and submitted themselves to God. Instead, He raises up people like a Beth Moore so that those who do have ungodly passions will be drawn to her. He raises up a Benny Hinn so that those who want attention and fame through false healing will suit their ungodly desire and it will become evident where their heart is. And it’s not a heart that tolerates sound doctrine. A false teacher exists to scratch their wicked itch.

What does a false teacher get out of it? Indulgence in his or her own ungodly passions- money, fame, attention, whatever it is in their heart that needs to perpetuate this appearance of Godliness, though they deny its power. (2 Timothy 3:5).

It’s a symbiotic relationship made in hell, the worm and the serpent, intertwined, rolling around on the stubble, indulging their wickedness in the name of Jesus. Woe to them all.

Photo by Milo Weiler on Unsplash
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, ‘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)