Posted in theology

The soul-endangering problem of direct revelation: Exhibit A- Joanna Gaines

By Elizabeth Prata

Oprah has made a big splash with her interview of media and real estate moguls Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Source: Christian Post

A few days ago, I’d posted an essay discussing the issue of women who claim to hear direct personalized revelations from God and what a danger that is. The essay was called “Satan whispers, women start a movement.

For example, stay at home mom Jennie Allen founded the IF:Gathering movement because in her words, “A voice from the sky” told her directly “to gather an equip this generation.” She was assured by a friend that if the voice was from God He would definitely give her all that she needs to accomplish it. Satan can do that, too, a notion that apparently had not occurred to them.

I’d also mentioned Joanna Gaines as negative examples of career-ambitious women who claim to hear from God. Joanna Gaines is not a Christian Bible teacher as the other women I’d mentioned, but she has started a movement (“Magnolia”) which serves to show women that they, too, can have ambitions of celebrity and public platforms outside the Christian home, especially when God directly assures her so.

The Joanna Gaines issue is especially aggrieving to me because she trades on motherhood to grab celebrity and fame. As a self-professed Christian, Gaines insists her priority is motherhood first. In 2016, I wrote several essays about this couple, since they seemed to be climbing to heights of popularity. My essay “The Hypocrisy of Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper” garnered 131,000 views. I received a lot of push back on the essay, even though I showed from the Bible, used primary documents, and their own words what hypocrites they were, saying one thing and living another, all under the name of Jesus. I’d warned and warned about them.

That essay was followed by a close look at Joanna’s testimony, which was making the rounds and published from Joanna’s Alma Mater, Baylor. In it, Joanna claimed direct revelation.

Mrs Gaines used the video to speak not of sin, grace, redemption, and Jesus, though she mentioned Him once at the end. But instead the video is a testimonial to Mrs Gaines’ ambitions, Mrs Gaines’ dreams, Mrs Gaines’ plans, and how God was going to fulfill them by giving her what she wants- which wasn’t to be a stay-at-home mom. She mentions 4 times in the 4 minute video that God spoke to her. When her two children were young God called to her and said she had to close her store which had been open for two years. In order to salve her disappointment at having her dreams of running a business shattered just so she could perform her biblical function as a mother, God comforted her thus-

“I heard Him specifically say, ‘Joanna, I have a calling for you. You’re going to have a platform one day.'”

I remember hearing God say, ‘Joanna, there’s going to come a time when I’m going to say for you to go, and I’m going to need for you to step out and go.'”

I heard God say very clearly, ‘If you trust me with your dreams, I’m going to take Magnolia further than you even dreamed. Just trust me.’ And I remember hearing that and feeling completely peaceful about it, and I walked away.”

I find it curious that God told her to stay home with her first two babies when they were young but that it was OK to become a business woman a few years later while the second two were young.

Now the TV personality Oprah Winfrey has interviewed Joanna Gaines and her husband about their upcoming tv channel, Magnolia Network. In the interview Joanna related all the times that God has spoken to her. Not only does the supreme Deity give her personalized business direction, individual timing of her business propositions, but directs her on who to marry.

“This is when I heard God’s voice more than ever,” Joanna says. “I heard him say, ‘This is the man you’re going to marry,’ and I’m arguing with God. I said, ‘No it’s not.'”

Source: SF Gate

Apparently Joanna only likes what God has to say when it matches up with her business dreams.

Here are my points:

Point #1 – Claiming direct revelation is exceedingly dangerous. Jeremiah 23:16 says, This is what the LORD of armies says: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They tell a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the LORD. Joanna Gaines’ revelations are abhorrent to God. She is putting words into His mouth He did not say. He hates that.

And you notice that her communication with him is all one-way. God tells Joanna about Joanna and Joanna’s dreams and Joanna’s ambitions and Joanna’s husband. In all her interviews where she stated the communications she’s supposedly received from God, Joanna has not expressed interest in hearing what God has to say about himself.

Point #2 – The couple had previously claimed a form of Jesus-Christianity and said they attended Antioch Community Church. Church going people who follow Jesus. But then they drifted away from that, with husband Chip saying he never was that interested in the Bible. Chip Gaines said,

“I’m not a theologian. I don’t understand. We both grew up in pretty conservative Christian families, and we were brought up in Church in the very traditional sense. But I didn’t love to open the Bible and read the Bible for hours a day,” he admitted.

When the husband does not lead, trouble follows. (Genesis 3:6, cf also of interest).

Now Joanna says that religion isn’t for her. She drifted away from church, from the Bible, and now the religion itself. She said that her unique and beautiful relationship with God is outside the bounds of any religion and His connection with people is so relational, she just stays away from religion altogether. (Source).

She seeks experience that confirms her ambitions, not the Deity who should be worshiped.

HERE IS THE DANGER of relying on personalized revelations. In a few years, church is abandoned and the Bible is abandoned, religion is abandoned, and all she seeks now is that voice. Because, if you hear a disembodied voice specifically and clearly telling you what you want to hear, why ruin it with Bible verses that convict your soul of its sin?

Point #3 – Joanna’s style of religion foments a yearning in women that they should not try to fulfill. Joanna’s experiential style of closeness with God is a false road. The Bible is the standard, we should seek His word. It is not boring as was intimated in the interview. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to point to Jesus, convict hearts through the written word, and encourage us when we need it. Joanna’s brand of personalized audible voice religion denies the Spirit’s work and ministry of His own inspired scriptures!

The “God told me” religion is dangerous in the extreme- especially to women. The Gaines’ will discover this on the last day unless the Spirit intervenes and points them to the God who actually exists and not the one in their vain imaginations. If you want to hear God’s voice, read the Bible out loud.

Further Reading

Below are some resources addressing the closed canon and personal revelations etc.

Josh Buice on the G3 Ministry Network covers the issue of personal revelation on his podcast-

Does God Talk to Us? by Michel Horton

God Doesn’t Whisper video by Jim Osman and Justin Peters. Part 1 of 3

The Lord told me – I think! By Gary Gilley

The Hypocrisy of Chip and Joanna Gaines of ‘Fixer Upper’ by Elizabeth Prata

A loud voice told her…She heard a whisper… by Elizabeth Prata

Posted in theology

How does seeking direct revelation destroy your current obedience?

By Elizabeth Prata

Do you believe that the Lord still speaks? That He has a fresh word? That you can receive individual directions for specific circumstances in your life? Get career advice, parenting advice, life advice, by becoming still and waiting for impressions, thoughts, impulses, and urges?

A lot of people believe these things. There’s an entire cottage industry within Christian publishing telling us how to hear the whispers, voices, and mental impressions that you, too, can receive from God. There are additional books and guides telling you how to interpret them. Why wouldn’t you believe this, if entire publishing houses are promoting it? Why dismiss this idea if local pastors are teaching from these studies or telling you to listen for God? Or telling you they have heard from God themselves, as many claim?

Whoa. Hold on. Take a breath.

If God is still speaking then what He says is authoritative. It’s applicable to all of us. We would need to add blank pages to the end of our Bibles to write down these additional words.

It would render Hebrews 1:1-2 moot. It would render Revelation 22:18-19 void.

People try to refute this truth by saying, “Don’t put God in a box! He spoke to the prophets and the apostles and He can speak to us!” He can, but that is not how He promised to operate. I refer again to Hebrews 1:1-2 and Revelation 22.

They say, ‘But…but…God is always speaking! He never stops because He is the same yesterday and today and forever!” In one way, that’s true. He always speaks through His general revelation in creation (Romans 1:19-20) and that never stops. But as for specific revelation, as in speaking to the Prophets and Apostles, that did stop. Overall, through the 4000 years it took the Bible canon to be completed, it’s unusual. In fact, it was the exception and not the norm.

Lastly, for 400 years God did not speak audibly, to anyone. He said not a word between the close of His message to Malachi and the advent of Jesus through His forerunner prophet, John the Baptist. Silence. There was no angel, no prophet, no voice, no fire, no smoke. Nothing but silence.

So, God obviously operates in different ways. He always has. We know the Bible is sufficient for all our needs. (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible must be sufficient.

But I’m writing about a different reason to cling to the already-delivered word and not to seek a fresh word through an impression, impulse, or whisper.

Obedience.

Expecting or desiring future revelation destroys current obedience.

People who sit around waiting for personal directions or individually crafted guidance are actually planning to be disobedient.

These people do not believe the Bible is authoritative, because it is not final.

For example, if one accepts additional revelation, then one can more easily think, ‘I won’t follow THIS command, because there could be another command later (that I like better).’

If one is not obedient to study the word as it is now, including submitting to the verses which show the canon is closed, then why would one be obedient to a personally delivered word? Because it satisfies the flesh.

When you read of whispers and direct revelations, it’s usually along the lines of ‘You’re great.’ ‘You’re cherished’. ‘I have a great career in store for you.’ Did you ever hear of someone saying they received a direct revelation that announced ‘You wretch, mortify your depraved flesh immediately!’ Or, ‘Your sin of adultery must end!’ No.

Imagine receiving the word Isaiah received when he got his call from God in chapter 6. After Isaiah listened to the direct revelation, he asked of God how long this ministry will go on? Yahweh replied:

Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, Houses are without people, And the land is utterly desolate, (Isaiah 6:11).

Wow, quite the downer. This is quite a different revelation than, for example, Joanna Gaines’ supposed revelation, who said she “heard God say very clearly, ‘Joanna, if you trust me with your dreams I will take Magnolia further than you can ever dream.'”

In fact, what was happening was that Joanna was unwilling to obey the already given biblical precepts for motherhood (staying at home raising kids) until she received a ‘direct revelation’ affirming that her inner desire to be a career woman would eventually be fulfilled. ‘God’ assured her that this will happen, so then she obeyed. This is a prime example of which I speak.

Jonathan Edwards said of personal visions and revelations: [emphasis mine]

XI. It is no sign that affections are right, or that they are wrong, that they make persons that have them exceeding confident that what they experience is divine, and that they are in a good estate.

Those that have had visions and impulses about other things, it has generally been to reveal such things as they are desirous and fond of... Neither is it any wonder, that when they have such a supposed revelation of their good estate, it raises in them the highest degree of confidence of it.

It is found by abundant experience, that those who are led away by impulses and imagined revelations, are extremely confident: they suppose that the great Jehovah has declared these and those things to them; and having his immediate testimony, a strong confidence is the highest virtue. Hence they are bold to say, I know this or that–I know certainly–I am as sure as that I have a being, and the like; and they despise all argument and inquiry in the case.

And above all things else, it is easy to be accounted for, that impressions and impulses about that which is so pleasing, so suiting their self-love and pride, as their being the dear children of God, distinguished from most in the world in his favor, should make them strongly confident; especially when with their impulses and revelations they have high affections, which they take to be the most eminent exercises of grace. Jonathan Edwards Religious Affections, part 2

Obey the word as it is given. Isn’t it enough? Won’t it take a lifetime and an eternity to plumb its depths? Ladies please don’t seek further words. His word is sufficient, authoritative, and final.

obedience

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Looking at Joanna and Chip Gaines and their church’s stance on homosexuality

In February 2016, I’d done a discernment two-part essay looking at HGTV personality hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines. The duo are at this time are hosts of a reality television home decorating and renovation show. Their show has gained massive popularity and widespread influence. In addition, the Gaines’ claim to be Christian and are using the resulting platform of popularity from the show to promote their faith.

In light of this increased influence, I had decided to look into their claims of faith, especially when Mrs Gaines issued a Baylor University-produced video of her Testimony.

I wrote the two-part essay looking at Mrs Gaines’ testimony, their life, comparing what they said with what they did. These two essays have consistently been the top viewed essays on the blog, bar none. They are linked below.

In August 2016, the magazine Jezebel wrote about the Gaineses and their decorating and impact the couple has had in Waco. Though not a Christian, the author of the Jezebel piece loved the Fixer Upper show and the Gaineses in general. The article was laudatory toward the hosts. Someone in the comments linked to my discernment essays, and from there, hundreds of comments were made at Jezebel about the judgmental Christian hypocrite (me) daring to judge the Gaines’. The essays received thousands of views, on one memorable day, tens of thousands which is not usually the case for my little blog. All of the comments at Jezebel regarding my discernment essays on the Gaineses were negative, yelling with a vitriolic screed the name Jezebel suggests it would, given its namesake. The comments were all in the vein of ‘How dare I malign their faith! Nobody should judge anyone else. Typical judgmental Christian hypocrite,’ and so on.

Now, this past Tuesday when I read Jezebel again (because hits were picking up and I saw another link), the writer at Jezebel had done an about face on the Gaineses. She had discovered they belong to a church that preaches homosexuality is a sin. O, the horra. Let me just say Jezebel is no longer entranced with shiplap, and there’s a whole lotta judging goin’ on at her blog.

I knew it would not take long for the homosexual community to put together the fact that Fixer Upper has never had a gay client on that particular show, (though HGTV has featured other homosexual house hunters on other shows) and that the church the Gaines’ belonged to preached against sin, all sin, including homosexuality. I knew the issue would alert the LGBTQ crowd and there would be a brouhaha about it. Sure enough, Buzzfeed reported on it. They found out that the Gaines’ pastor Jimmy Siebert at Antioch Community Church preaches staunchly for biblical marriage as one man and one woman for a lifetime, and that adultery pornography, and homosexuality are sexual sins which God looks upon with wrath.

The review and update concluded, I want to make two points.

1. Never underestimate the relentless, unbending intent of satan to promote his agenda, no matter what it is. Some of his agenda  in the world is to push temptation, chaos, false doctrine, and homosexuality. Homosexuality is a particular pet of satan’s and he will push it with a malicious force we can only begin to imagine. The Genesis 19 passage below gives some idea. When a nation or an individual has succumbed to it, we know they are under judgment, God has given them over. (Romans 1:26-27). Of course God can and does give the grace of the spirit of repentance to nations and individuals to forsake homosexual sin, but make no mistake, homosexuality is a deep sin and satan will do all he can to encourage all to either engage in it or bow down to those who do. (Romans 1:32). The pressure will only increase, and I can only imagine the firestorm of pressure this has created for the Antioch Community Church pastor. I applaud his biblical stance in the face of unyielding satanic pressure (so far). I pray he remains strong.

2. Biblical adherence in one area does not necessarily mean the individual or the local church as a whole is committed to biblical adherence in other areas. At Antioch Community Church, so lauded for its biblical stance on homosexuality, seems to have caved to this generation’s demand for female leadership. Today the Antioch Community Church About page under ‘Who We Are’ lists two women elders and three women pastors. Yet their ‘Beliefs’ pages states that the church considers the Bible inerrant, infallible and is their authority for all practice.

Antioch Community Church elders and leaders include several women,
which is not biblical

 

Antioch Community Church lists several women pastors, which is not biblical
Antioch Community Church’s stated beliefs, first paragraph,
says they follow the Bible in practice. But they don’t seem to be doing that,
as noted above.

Friends, the Bible does not give permission for women to be elders at church, nor pastors, which is biblically the same thing. (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). Women are not qualified as leaders to give oversight. This is what I mean when I tell you to look at what they say, but also look at what they do. The church SAID they submit to the Bible, what what they DID was rebel.

GotQuestions explains about women not being biblically qualified to serve as elders/pastors on the basis of the above verses-

Can women serve as elders in the church?

Can women be pastors/preachers?

GotQuestions also explains about women being biblically unqualified to serve as pastors, yet Antioch CC lists three. So they MIGHT be strong on homosexuality as a sin (we’ll see) but they are not strong on other aspects of clear doctrine and sadly, seem to be in rebellion.

The discernment lessons here are:

1. Do not let down your guard against satan because his energy is unflagging and he is a predator looking for prey, all the time (1 Peter 5:8). We relax. Satan doesn’t.

2. Do not let down your guard against false doctrine in church, look at both what is said and what is lived in all areas, not just one.

—————————————–

Further reading

My original two articles about the Gaines’ version of Christianity from Feb 2016-

Looking at HGTV’s Fixer Upper Joanna Gaines’ testimony: Christianity, or Prosperity Gospel?

The hypocrisy of HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines of ‘Fixer Upper’

No matter the celebrity, or perhaps because of celebrity status, we want to make sure of who we are touting and promoting. What brand of Christianity do they adhere to? Do they live what they say they live? The Bereans said they would listen to Paul but then go back and examine what Paul taught (Acts 17:11). Paul welcomed transparency to examine his doctrine, and he was the biggest Christian celebrity of his time. Later when Paul’s integrity was attacked, he defended his lifestyle, because integrity in life mattered as much as the doctrine he taught. (2 Corinthians 5:11–15).

Therefore, my examination of the Gaines phenomenon will be two parts. Part one examined Mrs Gaines’ testimony, the doctrine portion. The second part looked at their lifestyle.

 

The current news on the HGTV hosts Joanna and Chip Gaines as follows-

 

By Marsha West at Berean Research-
Fixer Upper hosts under fire for attending evangelical church

If it turns out that they share their pastor’s beliefs on homosexuality, powerful LGBTQ activists will go to great lengths to destroy the couple.  Their pastor, Jimmy Seibert, holds to the biblical view of marriage — one man one woman for life.  He doesn’t happen to share the PC view that homosexuals are born that way; his opinion, which he’s entitled to, is that homosexuality is a “lifestyle.”  Moreover, he believes homosexuality is a sin against God.

Us Magazine: HGTV, Pastor respond to same sex marriage controversy

Even Snopes got in on the action, writing this- Were Fixer Upper stars Joanna and Chip Gaines outed as anti-gay?

Up above, when I said satan is relentless with unbending intent to protect his doctrine of lies? look at the below photo and see if it doesn’t shock and move you. Then see if it doesn’t worry you. As Christians, the Muslim community, the homosexual community, or the pagan community in general will become just as rabid as you see they have in this article and in the Genesis scripture below. The scene of rabid, maniacal slavish devotion to satan will demand similar responses from his minions here in America in times to come.

Muslims Rally against Christian Governor, citing alleged blasphemy against Islam

The capital of the world’s biggest Islamic country was the scene Friday of the latest in a series of mass demonstrations by Muslims demanding that the Christian governor of Jakarta be punished for “blasphemy.”

And speaking of satanic frenzy, don’t think this can’t happen here in America,

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” 6 Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, 7 and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8 Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” 9 But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. (Genesis 19:4-9)

Posted in Uncategorized

Beware of desiring a vision/dream/word from the Lord

dream women
Women who claim to have heard God’s voice. Clockwise, Kim Smith, Beth Moore, Joanna Gaines, Ann Voskamp.

I hear so many of the false teachers saying these days they had a dream where they were loved on by Jesus and it was so emotionally sweet. Or they say they had a vision where Jesus called her honey and babe and He took her to the zoo so she could have a nice play date. Or they have a word from the Lord where He softly whispered sweet nothings. Or they are communing with Him in a garden and He audibly calls her name and gives her specific career instructions and encouragement and personal promises of success if she would just obey what is already written in the Word. Or they describe their vision of how he showed them how they complete Jesus.
Others hear about these visitations, and become jealous or discouraged that they are not also receiving such personal ministrations from their heavenly boyfriend Almighty Ancient of Days.

Have you noticed that whenever these women speak of having a personal visit/dream/word it is always sweet and wooing, but never GOD-like? Two weeks ago my pastor was teaching on the passage in Genesis 20, the section on Abraham and Abimelech.
Continue reading “Beware of desiring a vision/dream/word from the Lord”