Hello dear ones, I hope this post finds you all doing well! It’s been a while since I had the chance to do a series. One of my Christmas presents this year sparked the idea for this one! As you all know I have two great passions when it comes to collecting items, fossils and church history. So along side three new, beautiful, fossils, I was also gifted a piece of church history older than anything else I’ve got so far. Sitting next to another page of Spurgeon’s sermon notes in his own hand writing, for which I squealed like a little piggy, sat a beautifully preserved leaf from a 1577 Geneva Bible! My husband knows how to win Christmas.
The letters are different, the words are different, the spelling is barely legible compared to today’s English, and yet here it sits. The words so many died for, the words worth dying for, just to have the Bible in English was a fight. But fought they did, some were tortured and martyred, so that we could have access to the words we read today. Since then, of course, it’s taken brilliant minds and thousands of man hours tirelessly comparing the tens of thousands of manuscripts from antiquity. We truly are a blessed generation! Hopefully this new series will go a long way in detailing that. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.
Hello dear ones, I hope this post finds you all doing well! As promised, I have another book review for you. This one was a joy to read, as the writer has a knack for Biblical truth and turning a phrase. It’s no wonder John MacArthur wrote the forward for God Doesn’t Whisper, published by Kootenai Community Church Publishing in August of this year. Rarely do we see this type of theologically sound rebuke to the popular belief in HVG or hearing the voice of God. In this 281 page book, pastor and author Jim Osman expounds upon his own journey from believing in HVG through the Scriptural reasons he no longer does so. While he explains this disastrous teaching, he boldly calls out those preachers and teachers that promote it.
Coming from the Word of Faith movement I frequently heard it repeated, “God spoke to me, in that still, small voice…” Have you heard it? It’s a phrase that’s repeated so often one might begin to question if the canon ought not be re-opened. But does Gods Word ever tell us that we’ll hear Him speak audibly today? In dreams? Does God whisper? Osman doesn’t pull any punches, this book, from its title to the very last footnote, is a clear refutation of HVG. I love that he doesn’t stray from Scripture, but calls us to view this movement through a Biblical lens. I recommend this book to any age, and if you happen to be a homeschooling parent like I am then this book will be a fantastic primer to teach your preteens, teens, or young adults how to respond when someone says they’ve heard a word from God.
Pastor Osman was also gracious enough to send me several copies of God Doesn’t Whisper which I’ll be giving away on social media. If you’ve liked or commented on this article then you’ve already been entered to win! But if you’d like a few extra chances you can zip over to any of my social media pages and find the posts about this giveaway. If you are too impatient to wait for any giveaway, and when it comes to this book I completely understand, then you can find your own paper copy here and the kindle version here. Of course, if you’ve somehow found yourself with a subscription to Kindle Unlimited like I have, then you’ll already have access to this book. I know it will be edifying and educational. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” Genesis 1:27, 31 ESV “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”” Genesis 2:16-17 ESV “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” Genesis 3:6-7 ESV “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” Isaiah 53:5-7, 10 ESV “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23 ESV “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Romans 5:6-9 ESV “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 ESV “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Mark 8:34-35 ESV “and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”” Mark 1:15 ESV “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3 ESV
The above was written by my brother-in-Christ and friend Troy Paylorfrom Christ Marked. You can hear his testimony here,and as always beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.
There are people that argue that Priscilla Shirer doesn’t preach in churches. This video is just one example showing she does. This takes place at a church called Celebration Church. People have said that Priscilla doesn’t knowingly preach to men but in this video, she addresses those listening and calls them brothers and sisters and she also addresses the pastor and his wife in the church so yes, she knows. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. – 1 Timothy 2:11-14. I’ll be going through this video and pointing out my concerns with several things she teaches. (Video below)
Right from the start, you will hear Priscilla say: “It’s a privilege to serve you today in these Sunday Services.” and “You need to know, every church ain’t got it this good.” She then encourages the Pastor and his wife to “stay in bed on Sunday” sometime and let her serve. Basically saying she will preach the Sunday service to let them stay home from church to relax. I’m a little taken back by this comment….”Stay home from church?” Well, I’d never encourage the practice of staying home from church just to get a break from church. If you’re sick, yes, but not just because you need to get away or need a break from church. Do you really need a break from learning the Word of God as a congregation one day a week? However, in this case, I’d say they should NOT go to that church because that church allows women to preach to the body of believers. Just go find a church where a man is a pastor obeying God’s Word and doesn’t let women come in and preach for them.
Priscilla starts out talking about the pastors and leaders of the church: “So you got shepherds who love you, they love the church, they love the house of God, they love serving you and on top of all that, they are folks of integrity and character and honesty who love each other…” Yeah, the things that make you go hmmm? First of all, let’s read some verses that teach us about the role of shepherds. 1 Peter 5:2 says: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;” 1 Timothy 6:20-21 says: “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.” What should be very obvious to the leaders in every church is it’s not their church and it’s not their flock, it’s Gods. God has entrusted the sheep to the shepherds and if He returns to lost and dying sheep there will be a heavy price to pay so they best be careful. With Priscilla preaching in that church the leaders are guilty of disobedience, neglect, and leading the sheep astray and they will be held accountable for that. I listened to her comment and had to wonder if what she said was true about the leaders of that church? Do the shepherds of that church really love the people? No, not if they have put a counterfeit in the place of a shepherd and pollute the food. God gave specific instructions on how He wanted His sheep treated. If they allow the sheep to get feed by someone that God has already said isn’t to be in charge of the sheep or authority in the church they do not love the people. Do the shepherds love the house of God? Not if they invited the wolves into the house of God. Do the shepherds have integrity and character and honesty? I’d say in this church, no! There is no integrity or no honesty because integrity is being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness as the dictionary describes. What they truly are doing is rebelling and being disobedient by allowing a woman in the church to preach. Also, we should remember the verse we just read before this (1 Peter 5:2) where it describes the shepherd’s character of “not pursuing dishonest gain.” Those church leaders don’t have good character as Priscilla says if this is what they are doing. Priscilla is a popular, well known, woman preacher and more than likely she was invited there to preach and to draw crowds, which also draws money. Those shepherds are not guarding or watching over the flock as God says in His Word because they are not protecting them from danger but instead exposing them to it. The shepherd’s jobs are to feed the sheep, lead the sheep, serve the sheep, protect and care for the sheep. However, in churches that allow women preachers to feed the sheep are neglecting the sheep, losing the sheep, harming the sheep and lying to the sheep. This isn’t loving? For more read here: https://www.gotquestions.org/feed-my-sheep.html “A good shepherd is not known by how well he pets the sheep. A good shepherd is known by how well he protects them and feeds them” ~John MacArthur
Priscilla then says: “He takes one message and He divides it 3, 4 thousand, 5 thousand, different ways that by the time we all leave here we each know we have heard the voice of God.” Where do the Scriptures say God does this? Does God need to do this and if so, why? This seems a bit confusing because she doesn’t explain what she means here, it’s just not clear. I’ll go ahead and explain how I took it but because I can’t know for sure it’s just a guess that comes from what I know her to believe. My first assumption was that she was suggesting to everyone that the “interpretation” of the message would be different for everyone. The reason I believed this was because she adds, “by the time we all leave here we each know we have heard the voice of God.” Priscilla is well known for talking about hearing God speak to her in audible ways outside the Bible. She believes in personal, new revelations and messages from God, so this was the first thing that came to mind for me. However, if I give her the benefit of the doubt she could have meant the “application” of a passage. This, in a nutshell, means different life situations! Let me explain, when we read any Bible passage to study it we should understand that scripture already has its meaning, already has its interpretation from the author that wrote it and more importantly from the Lord. We will not get different interpretations/meanings from a passage but it can be applied in many different ways only because situations in life can be different. For example, when Priscilla talks about the patience of God in the church service the passage can be applied differently in the life of a married couple struggling than it does in the life of a teenager struggling. When Paul is talking about God’s patience in the Scriptures he explains to Timothy his own experience with God’s patience, and how it applied differently to him, which is his own personal life situation. But again the interpretation is the same, God’s patience is the same for all no matter what the situation is for each individual. So this is why I believe Priscilla should have explained to the congregation what she meant by God dividing up His message 5,000 different ways. Now, if Priscilla did mean the “application” of the passage being divided up to 5,000 different ways then let’s look at how it fits with what she said. She says, “by the time we all leave here we each know we have heard the voice of God.” Do we hear the voice of God through how we apply God’s Word to our own life? No! Do we hear the voice of God in the biblical interpretation of Scriptures? Yes! Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active…” 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul states, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” https://www.gotquestions.org/God-breathed.html
“This is the only use in the Bible of the Greek word theopneustos, which means “God-breathed, inspired by God, due to the inspiration of God,” but other scriptural passages support the basic premise of Scripture being inspired by God. The power of the breath of God in divine inspiration pervades Scripture. God-breathed “the breath of life” into Adam (Genesis 2:7), and Jesus “breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:22). In 2 Peter 1:21, we are told that “prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Here we see the truths of Scripture described as coming directly from God, not from the will of the writers He used to record them.” Scripture is God’s voice; it is how God speaks to us. Our application is not the voice of God; it’s just our personal experience. So, her comment doesn’t fit with the idea of “applying” God’s message 5,000 different ways because that is not how we hear the voice of God. Her comment fits more with her belief of hearing God’s voice in different revelations and interpretations outside the Bible. Priscilla is teaching very vaguely here and that’s careless when it comes to the Word and standing in authority in a church. Again, I cannot know for sure what she is talking about here but it makes no sense. I just wanted to point out the different meanings and I wanted to show how careless she is being. She says all this so confidently that people won’t question it, at least, not unless they can stop and think about her statement word for word and in most cases no one does. It sounds as though she has a great amount of knowledge when she talks, which fits with what we read in the scriptures above in 1 Timothy 6:20-21 that says a true shepherd should “turn away from opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge”. Also, notice she says: “when God gives a message He takes that one message and divides it up”. Taking this back to Scriptures, we see God tells us that “WE” are the ones that need to divide it…to “RIGHTLY divide the Word”…which means rightly handle the Word. Nothing is said about God dividing it thousands of ways. The following translations show the example of the word “divide”.
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) ~ Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15(ESV)~Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handlingthe word of truth.
Next problem, Priscilla prays and says: “Lord Jesus thank you so much for the privilege that I have today under the leadership of an incredible church to serve Your people. I pray now that you would do what only you can. That is to take one simple little message, divide it up however many ways you need to so that everybody hears from you. Expecting Lord, that the words from my mouth and meditation of my heart would be accepted.” Does anyone else see anything wrong with this prayer? Think about what she is saying, “Lord Jesus, thank you so much for the “privilege” that I have today “under the leadership” of an incredible “church“? To a young baby Christian, they may hear these words and think it sounds fine. I know I would have. This is why we study and hopefully, as we grow in God’s Word we are able to discern things and if something isn’t right, red flags should start popping up all over the place. So, I think it’s clear that the Lord did not give her that “privilege”! God speaks against women preaching in a church or being an authority over men biblically as stated in 1 Timothy 2:11-15. Priscilla “thanks the Lord” for letting her serve His people…. but she should know God has already said how she is “to serve” God’s people, and it’s not in place of a pastor or as a religious leader to a body of believers anywhere. This link goes in more detail on what God thinks of women preachers. https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/81-56/does-the-bible-permit-a-woman-to-preach
She then says: “Expecting Lord, that the words from my mouth and meditation of my heart would be accepted.” Does she really expect that the Lord will accept her words and heart in this? How can He when she is doing exactly what God has forbidden her to do? He can’t accept something that He, Himself, has said is wrong. Now, I know she preaches very well and says many things in this video that is true and says many good things I agree with; such as God’s love endures forever, God is patient, His grace is sufficient for us, and God is slow to anger and great in power. She preaches on 1 Timothy 1:16 on how Paul talks about the patience of God and His mercy. The whole message is about God’s patience and how the Holy Spirit sanctifies us. She also talks of how the history of the Bible is like the enemy and God playing chess together. It’s all very intriguing. Nonetheless, just let me bring everyone back to reality for a bit because although her story sounds intriguing and entertaining at best, God and Satan do not play together! Let’s just get that out of the way right now, and they do not have equal minds to where Satan can trick God or “make a move” to outwit God, ever. God was never put in a place where He had to figure out how to win against Satan. This should be good news for everyone to know if they didn’t know this, it is for me. However, just because she tells good stories and says some true things doesn’t mean it’s ok for her to preach in spiritual authority in a church and it doesn’t make what she teaches ok. She is preaching truth along with untruths! She’s already in rebellion by preaching as the authority of a church. I know I keep repeating the same thing but people are so quick to forget what she is doing just because they love her words and storytelling even though they are being polluted by what she teaches.
Then she tells us this: “…And can I tell you that I feel similarly I guess the way Paul does, in that I can’t believe that God might use me for His glory and I don’t even mean in this setting? I enjoy ministry, I love it, it’s my privilege to serve the body of Christ but I don’t even mean as much here. When I say I can’t believe God would use me, I think mostly about the smaller sphere of influence that God has me in. For example: married to a man that God has given me and has given me to him and my goal as his wife is to encourage and to serve this man so that one day when Jerry sees Jesus face to face he gets to hear Jesus say, “Well done”. My job is to help make sure that my man hears a “Well done”. I can’t believe God would entrust me with that.” I have to disagree with her statement here. I nearly missed this one because she speaks so fast and confident that I didn’t catch it the first time I watched this. It wasn’t until I listen to the video again to make sure I wrote things out correctly. When I heard her say this I was like, wait a minute, what did she just say? I was shocked because she really believes God entrusted her with making sure her husband hears “well done” from Jesus. Let me just say this; she’s not that powerful! It’s not up to her! She can’t make sure that her man hears a “Well done” from Jesus. Not only that but she thinks this is a good thing? Yikes! I know I wouldn’t want that responsibility on my shoulders. No thanks, I don’t want to be responsible for my husband’s judgment day. Just because God gave him to her does not mean she is responsible for her husband in that way. It is no one else’s responsibility to make sure others hear those words, but it is the individual’s own heart and fruits that would be the reason for hearing the words, “Well done good and faithful servant.” I would also add that we are responsible to encourage others with the truth of the Gospel and not stumble them.
Priscilla goes on to say: “We don’t even recognize that God has strategically placed us in that location to be used for His glory. So he (the enemy) wants you to think you’re in that neighborhood by chance. Um-no, He (God) has positioned you between those two neighbors for His Glory. he wants you to think you just happened to get that job cause that’s just the job you have now, He put you in that office for his Glory. The location that you are in my friend is the exact place He has patiently placed you, to be used for His Glory.”
Priscilla is half right when she says this. The Scriptures do say in Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps”. Ephesians 1:11 “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.” Nothing happens to us that is outside of God’s sovereign will because it is God that is the Sovereign Ruler of the universe who ordains all that happens. Although, let me show you why this needs to be explained deeper and why I have a problem with her statement here. When God’s will is for something to happen then it defiantly happens. When God’s will was to create the world, it happened. God’s will was to also permit sin or unpleasant things to happen that He takes no pleasure in. When someone freely chooses to go against God they are in rebellion, God did not place them in a situation that would make them sin or cause them to rebel. They are guilty of their rebellion because they made the choice and they will be punished. God does not create or cause anyone to sin.
From grace church link: https://www.gracechurch.org/about/distinctives/sovereignty-of-god “What about sin? God is not the author of sin, but He certainly allowed it; it is integral to His eternal decree. God has a purpose for allowing it. He cannot be blamed for evil or tainted by its existence (1 Sam. 2:2: “There is no one holy like the Lord.”). But He certainly wasn’t caught off-guard or standing helpless to stop it when sin entered the universe. We do not know His purpose for allowing sin. Clearly, in the general sense, He allowed sin in order to display His glory—attributes that would not be revealed apart from evil—mercy, grace, compassion, forgiveness, and salvation. And God sometimes uses evil to accomplish good (Gen. 45:7–8; 50:20; Rom. 8:28). How can these things be? Scripture does not answer all the questions, but it does teach that God is utterly sovereign, perfectly holy, and absolutely just.”
“Scripture affirms both divine sovereignty and human responsibility. We must accept both sides of the truth, though we may not understand how they correspond to one another. People are responsible for what they do with the gospel—or with whatever light they have (Rom. 2:19-20) so that punishment is just if they reject the light. And those who reject do so voluntarily. Jesus lamented, “You are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life” (John 5:40). He told unbelievers, “Unless you believe that I am [God], you shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). In John 6, our Lord combined both divine sovereignty and human responsibility when He said, “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (v. 37) “Nothing that I do or don’t do will alter the end of the plan, but everything I do and everything you do will have an effect on our blessing, our joy, our obedience, our usefulness now and forever. So it’s important to me to know God’s will. I want to do it, I don’t want to be in the dark. ”- John MacArthur
This from https://www.gotquestions.org/Gods-will.html.“We are obligated to obey God’s revealed or preceptive will; however, we have the ability to disobey. God’s revealed will for Adam and Eve was to be fruitful and multiply, tend the garden, subdue the earth, and not eat of a certain tree (Genesis 1–2). Unfortunately, they rebelled against God’s revealed will (Genesis 3). The consequences they suffered show that they could not excuse their sin. Neither can we claim that our sin simply fulfills God’s sovereign will, as if that absolves us from guilt. It was God’s will that Jesus suffer and die, but those responsible for His death were still held accountable (Mark 14:21).” So my problem with her statement here is although she’s right about God being in control and doing His will for His Glory, at the same time, she is standing in rebellion against God by standing in a church preaching Scriptures. God is clear that women are not to be doing this. When she says, “the location that you are in my friend is the exact place He has patiently placed you, to be used for His Glory,” does this mean we are supposed to believe God put “HER” in the place she is in, a pastoral role, an authority in the church, for God’s Glory? I mean seriously look at where she is and what she’s doing. Does that glorify God? How can it? She is contradicting and compromising God’s Word. She is not being obedient; she is being defiant and therefore insulting God’s authority. God did not place her in the lead role as a pastor or as a religious leader in the gathering body of believers. She placed herself there, her husband placed her there. Any church leader that has allowed her to preach in their church, to their congregation, has placed her there. To be under God’s authority means we follow His law. Most people that are there listening to Priscilla are not educated in God’s Word or they wouldn’t be there. However, God does use bad situations and disobedient people and evil to accomplish good for His own glory. Ex: Joseph, “you meant evil…but God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20)”, God used Judas a man that betrayed Jesus for money (Luke 22). Maybe there are people there newly saved and just don’t know yet, maybe someone is in that church listening to Priscilla that is growing and being tested as said in these following verses. Deuteronomy 8:2 “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”
Deuteronomy 13:1-3 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”As a saved Christian I use to sit and read books and listen to many false teachers I thought were biblically sound. I was young in the faith and didn’t know about what God said about women teaching in the churches yet. So I wasn’t passing any test if it was given me but as I continued to read God’s Word and heeded the warnings from other discerning Christians and woke up to the dangers. Once I understood the seriousness of it I stopped following them and tested everything from then on out. That is how God worked and drew me out of false teachings. God can use any situation to draw His children and if it’s a bad situation or a false religion He can still work in that. Someone that is truly saved and honestly seeking truth will continue to seek and hunger for God’s Truth. They will not stay in a false religion but eventually be drawn out. His Word will be held up through reading it or through someone pointing Scriptures out. His Word will cause those red flags to pop up against that false teaching. Now, not all will be drawn out as we know. God says that many will take the wide path to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14) and not be saved, they will hunger for the ear-tickling and not hunger for His Word.
At the end of the video, she prays and talks of how many others are watching online and calls them “brothers and sisters”. She knows she is preaching to a co-ed audience of believers or she wouldn’t say that. We know that Christians don’t call unbelievers ‘brothers and sisters’ but we call those that are true believers in Christ ‘brothers and sisters’ so this means that she believes that the people listening and attending are a “gathering body of believers” which means she is teaching the Word of God to men and women both that are presumed to be believers in the church. It’s my prayer that this helps others learn how important it is to test all things as Scriptures says.
Above is an article written by Tami Dykes, Gina and Tami write Through the Narrow here at Tulips & Honey Hub. They’ll be posting articles every other Tuesday. Both are published authors, and you can find Tami’s book here, and Gina’s book here. We’re blessed to have them apart of our team, and pray their writing will be as edifying to you as it is to us. – Lauren Hereford
Hello dear ones, can you believe there’s only a few Friday’s left in this year? I have given my word to eat pineapple pizza in the new year, the countdown has begun for me. Have I considered fleeing the country, changing my name, shutting down podcast and blog, all to avoid this pizza? Maybe. But I’ll be eating that pizza come the new year, so keep your eye out for Tulips & Honey. Speaking of which, a quick update on what you can expect next week is in order. We’ll still only be dropping one episode a week for the remainder of the month. Monday, Lord willing, our interview with the writers of Through the Narrow will drop. It’s a fascinating discussion on Gina’s testimony, family evangelism, and of course some shenanigans.￼
Recommendations: Podcasts and Books
The Sovereignty of God by A. W. Pink was sent to me by Accelerated Books as a free e-gift. Isn’t that such a blessing? I’ve been hoping to spend more time reading Pink, and now I have the chance to. I haven’t finished it yet, once I do I’ll bumped this down to the Review category, but so far I can for sure recommend it. I’d also like to recommend The Aquila & Priscilla Hour’s most recent episode where I was shocked to learn a bit of history I had never heard before. St. Nicolas, like the St. Nicolas, was one that stood against Arianism in the 4th century, to the point where he clocked him in frustration. That’s right, punched him right in the face! Better watch out, better not have bad doctrine, I’m telling you why…you know this is a better version of the song. You can hear the entire episode through all the major podcasting options, or even on YouTube.
Review: By What Standard
Most of you know that the past week has been a very emotional one for Founders Ministries as Pastor Tom Ascol collapsed during his Sunday sermon. As we joined together as one body of believers to pray for him, he slowly recovered, and we now wait to hear test results. Meanwhile, their long awaited documentary By What Standard finally hit the internet yesterday. It is a fascinating, and challenging look at the current state of the SBC’s battle with Scriptural authority. Women preaching, social justice, and other worldly ideologies are met with Biblical truth in this hard hitting, well done documentary. I recommend this for everyone, especially those in leadership roles.
This weekend my suggestion for you all, dear friends, is that you spend more time in prayer. Pray for one another. Spend time in thanksgiving, and worshipful prayer to the great God of the universe. Pray for me, please, that I would grow on the grace and the knowledge of our Lord. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.
Regarding the false and the deceived we could write books upon books and never be done covering all the kinds this world knows. Many have already written on and much has been talked about false teachers and teachings. The darkness won’t quit tweaking and twisting which is why we could never be done warning about all the ways satanic forces deceive. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. God has told us in 2 Corinthians 11:14 that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, as well as his servants. They do this in countless ways. I want to talk about one of those ways that may not get as much attention but is just as dangerous.
I want to talk about some through-the-back-door approaches the occult is taking to invade many evangelical, Bible-preaching churches today — the teaching of empowerment and identity.
Before I get to that I believe it’s important to first clarify what the occult is, generally speaking. It can simply be defined as, “Hidden, secret and mysterious, chiefly pertaining to the supernatural” and is widely known to include practices such as witchcraft, fortune-telling, clairvoyance, magic, tarot card reading and the list goes on. A lot of us know many of the charismatic churches and obvious false churches that hold to a false gospel like the Catholic churches, Christian Science churches, Mormon churches (and several others) have long embraced some occult type practices to one degree or another. I’m not talking about those churches, although they are also concerning. I’m talking about your evangelical, Baptist, nondenominational churches; you’re straight as an arrow grandparent’s country church that preaches from the Bible and claims the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture.
I know personally and hear story after story of churches steadily abandoning their once biblically solid foundation and quickly falling into mysticism and strange doctrines. One wouldn’t think any true church or born again believer would dare touch anything of this nature with a 10-foot pole. Most don’t intend to I’m sure. From what I’m seeing and hearing, as a former Catholic medium who was seduced by the occult herself before the Lord graciously saved me, I’ve sat in some evangelical churches that preached the true Gospel and started to notice this stuff coming in, but as a very light-weight and agreeable version. It sneaks in under the radar to many unsuspecting, well-intentioned people and within the walls of trusted churches-many times entirely unhindered. And unless by God’s grace that it is seen, warned against and snuffed out, it doesn’t take long to spread.
All the practices that can be considered occult, as it is defined, can usually be put in either of these two categories; First, desiring secret knowledge and second, desiring supernatural power. This also goes for every false religion because all humanity, in some form or fashion, desire one or both of these two things. Satan knows that and it seems the lure has been specially designed with that in mind.
Although there are several ways the occult can sneakily enter in, such as through music, like that of Hillsong and Bethel, I don’t want to talk about the music aspect at this point.
We have the full-blown heretics that fill TBN with their heretical teachings of Christ and mysticism. We have Sarah Young and her man-centered and heresy-laden book “Jesus Calling,” Beth Moore and her contemplative prayer practices and visions, Priscilla Shirer and her public proclamations of needing more than Scripture which leads her to teach we are to listen to personal communication from God that, “makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up”. I could go on and on.
Yet with that said, there are churches whose members mostly reject TBN preachers, Beth Moore, Shirer, Young and the like for their “off” teachings, and yet a person could sit in their women’s Bible group and hear the whispers of the occult still blowing through. You sit there long enough and you will hear women say they received a sign from God regarding a decision they had to make. Perhaps the lesson goes in the direction of “know who you are in Christ” but meant in a way that God never instructed on. The focus quickly becomes what God can do for us, but in a way that seems spiritually healthy and “in touch” with God. It gets unchallenged and met with “amens” as others share their experiences of God giving them personal experiences or pep talks. They may start praying to God to hear from Him instead of going to the Word to do so (this is contemplative prayer). They claim God is doing things that are nowhere taught or supported in the Word.
These situations may not scream, “Occult” too many people but every single one connects to the general practices and definition of the occult. Again, the occult is about the hidden, secret and mysterious things of the supernatural. It’s about seeking out the supernatural in ways the Bible never condones.
Going back to what I said earlier about the teaching of empowerment and identity:
I have seen the focus of empowerment as a common thread. Certain teachers today have found a way to take the biblical teaching of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in believers-meaning we are empowered to love Him and obey Him- and turn it into some sort of man-centered, identity crisis; some attempt to have spiritual encounters/proofs, personal messages, and (never promised) personal blessings from God. It usually starts by sounding very biblical, with a focus on knowing our empowered identity in Christ as believers. Yet, instead of staying on Biblical tracks with it, it slowly veers into dangerous territory.
Not long ago, I sat in a church somewhere in the Bible belt, a Scripture preaching, and Gospel loving church who let in one particular teacher. It was a teacher who persuaded them with such sincerity and convincing manipulation of Scripture that we are to understand all of what empowerment of the Holy Spirit means — and if we don’t, we will not honor God or enjoy the fullness of Christ or spiritual blessings. It started to sound as if we don’t know our identity and keep focusing on it, everything falls apart. They recite the well-known phrase that is based on Scripture, “We have the same Holy Spirit living in us that raised Jesus from the dead.” That is found in Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” What a beautiful passage, if we stay within the biblical context, but they don’t.
Before people know it, they have been fed the idea, which is wrapped in some Scripture and Gospel talk, that our identity in Christ is more about expecting the cool stuff, opening our minds to what God might want to do or say to us personally, embracing the mysterious; the things the Bible never said for His Church to focus on. If we reject it and just want to know and obey and preach God’s Word, we have essentially “put God in a box” and have become automatic Pharisees in their eyes.
It started out focusing a lot on Gospel spreading. It was agreeable. It was a community and missionary-minded. It seemed like the punchy evangelical remedy to a church that held sleeping men and seeking women. Soon after the lessons started my husband and I started seeing a shift into what we can do that Jesus did. We can be empowered like Jesus. We can do the same miracles that Jesus did.
Isn’t this some sort of crazy charismatic talk? We know some charismatic teachers, the well-known TBN ones especially, teach that Jesus was a mere man who was empowered by the Spirit while on earth, so, therefore, we are mere men who can be empowered by the Holy Spirit too, doing exactly what Christ did while on earth. That’s heretical. That’s not anything our church has ever condoned or taught before. So as soon as those words left the teacher’s mouth in our little evangelical, solid study group, a bomb just went off for me and my husband. Where did THIS come from? We can do all that Christ did? So, are we to start calming storms now? We were stunned this teaching was staring us in the face. We were even more stunned that all leadership and many others in the groups didn’t even question it and thought we were going to grow so much from it. Bringing up the concerns over and over didn’t help. This teacher’s teachings on Christ and Christianity, to them, are “simply said wrong, but he means this or that.” They were also quick to say, “Look at all he does and says over here and there. He cares about getting the Gospel to people and goes to a good church. He is friends with this trusted pastor and he speaks against false teachers, etc.” Truth is, leadership and many in the church liked his ideas and how he spoke. These people will speak against Joyce Meyers for her unbiblical teachings yet allow this, unfathomable.
I talked with a dear lady whose church studied under the same teacher years before. She said she was greatly concerned and would be praying for our church; she knew the destruction and the downgrade that can happen. In a few years, her church went from solid to completely unrecognizable and compromised. Our church was seemingly going in the same direction.
Give it enough time and little rebuke, it becomes less about the Gospel and more about experiences and personal interpretations. Personal claims of what God has said or done can rarely be questioned, because “how dare we say God can’t do this or that.” People begin to think that focusing on their identity and empowerment, as taught, is spiritually enriching. People want more secret and special knowledge, they want to see more proofs of God’s approval and empowerment in their lives, in ways that are invigorating and unique. They claim to seek more of God but only invite the demonic and ungodly.
So one convincing “evangelical” teacher came in and that’s all it takes, step by step, chip by chip. It weakens and distracts so cleverly and so quickly especially when church leaders are lacking in discernment. Even when they are discerning and see this for what it is, they may hardly say a peep about it because of uncertainty or fear. “Pharisee,” “witch hunter,” “Bible-beater,” “limiting what God can do” cards are quickly pulled out. The church is left without protection from their shepherds.
These teachers subtly and carefully introduce it in your most unsuspecting churches, to the immature in faith, the weak and lost. If we love the church, the truth; if we love the Lord we will prayerfully and carefully watch and warn.
I pray more and more people realize that the occult or pagan practices don’t stay in pagan churches, with the Wiccan or with the fringe. It doesn’t stay within the walls of the known heretical churches nor does it come from just the lips of the most heretical teachers. Demons want to bring it to the best church. It’s not innocent or secondary.
Yes, believers and good churches can embrace these types of things as well and as a result will, stunt their growth, bring God’s discipline even judgment, stumble others and withhold honor due to God. Even after being enlightened to the truth, people have to unlearn and heal from the brainwashing of these abusive teachings.
There is much more that can be said about this. Next time I’ll dive a little deeper into these specific teachings and why they are so attractive, who are the evangelical teachers peddling them and what other things they are teaching after you invest in their material.
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.
By Gina Cook
Through The Narrow is written by Tami Dykes and Gina Cook, both are published authors. You can find Tami’s book here, and Gina’s book here.
Hello dear ones, I hope this post finds you all doing well. Today we drop our 19th episode of Tulips & Honey, and it’s a very special episode. Another Cross-Over! Who doesn’t love a good cross over? Three different podcasts come together for one giant cross over! Amy and Michelle from A Word Fitly Spoken, as well as Emily from The Aquila & Pricilla Hour, joined me on the program. Together we make up four different generations joining one another to discuss Biblical discipleship from a woman’s stand point. It wouldn’t be Tulips & Honey without some fun at the end! We hope this conversation is fruitful and edifying.
I want to thank Michelle, Amy, and Emily for coming on the program to talk about such an important conversation. You can find Tulips & Honey on Podbean, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and YouTube. Don’t forget to check out the YouTube video, which is equipped with video. Within the episode we mentioned several different resources so I’ve included a list of links below. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.
Last week, dear ones, we began a new series on the Social Justice movement. In the introduction, which you can read here, I listed some imperative definitions for this discussion. If you’ve not yet read it, I would suggest you start there first. Today we’re going to be talking about the roots of this movement as it pertains to the church. While the political end of this movement is concerning, it’s not my main concern. My deepening fear is that this movement has so well branded itself as one seeking to right wrongs that believers jump on the band wagon and sign the dotted line before reading the fine print. This is still a Twisted Tuesday, so we’re going to address this as we work through verses they use out of context. Today, it’s Isaiah 1:17.
I’m actually surprised that this would be a verse used by the self labeled Social Justice Warriors, as they in no way intend on aiding orphans or widows. They just enjoy the word justice being involved in this text. In Isaiah 1:17 the noun translated as justice here, and translated as judgement in other translations, is mishpat. Mishpat is a masculine noun meaning to pronounce a verdict judicially. What we need to decide here is whether or not the meaning of injustice to God is the same as it is to the SJW’s. Likewise, is the means of justice the same? If these two are not the same, then this verse is not being used in proper context when quoted by those in the SJ movement.
Throughout the next few weeks I’m going to show why these two points are not in agreement with Scripture, using the verses they take out of context. Today I offer you, as evidence that Gods idea of injustice and justice are not the same, the idea of reparations. Reparations, in and of itself, is not bad. If I take your hat, it’s appropriate for me to be forced to give you back your hat and make amends for the time and effort you spent searching for the hat. If that was what SJW’s were asking, they’d be inline with Scripture. Instead, they are asking individuals to pay other individuals for acts that may or may not have taken place within their ancestral lineage. Reparations are not only considered financially, but also emotionally. You must feel bad for having been born a different color then someone else.
Not only does this unbiblically separate us from one another based on the amount of melanin in our skin, it also requires certain believers to pay for something they did not do. That is, in and of itself, injustice in Gods eyes, not justice (Duet. 24:16, Ezekiel 18:19-20). This shows, clearly, that the SJ movement is misusing Gods Word, calling what is good, evil, and what is evil, good. Unfortunately, the church often desires the adoration of the world, and jumps at opportunities to join worldly pursuits guised as morally good.
This is a dangerous movement taking over churches of both liberal and conservative persuasion. Once in, it breeds disunity between brothers in Christ by separating them into groups of with differing victim status. They use Critical Race Theory to do so, which we will be discussing next week. I ask that you would please pray for me, beloved, as I write about this topic. The reading material for this series is deeply troubling. I also ask, friends, that you would pray for the leadership in your churches so that they will stand firm against this infiltration. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.
Hello, beloved, I hope this post finds you all doing well. If you missed Tuesday’s post regarding essential Biblical doctrine you can find it here, although today’s heretic did not deny the virgin birth. There is a connection that I want to make, however, and that is with the sufficiency of Scripture. When we talk about essential doctrines of the faith it necessitates the need for God’s Word to be inerrant and sufficient. Often times cults, and ancient heresies require one or the other, and sometimes both, to be ignored. It was sufficiency that Montanus was attacking, as he would suggest he spoke directly for God, or more specifically the Paraclete.
Montanus came onto the scene around 160 a.d. with two women that claimed to be prophetesses. While his own writings have been lost to time, others wrote about him, including Eusebius and Tertullian. Before claiming to be a Christian prophet, Montanus was a priest of an ecstatic Oriental cult that worshipped Cybele the goddess of fertility. It does not appear that Montanus gave up much of the behaviors he learned in that cult, but changed his language to reflect that of the Christians. He and the two women claimed to be the fulfillment of John 14, 15, and 16 which had, rightly, been understood to have been fulfilled by the disciples themselves. Montanus also claimed that they were being filled with the Holy Spirit, and anyone who didn’t agree was simply not spiritual. They behaved, by all those who recounted it, as if they were possessed. They would go into trances, act wild as if they had no control of their movements, and then make prophecies. The majority of those prophecies would not come true, including the one that stated once they died Christ would return, bring the New Jerusalem, and the apocalypse. They were often called spiritual drunkards. That’s right beloved, there is nothing new under the sun, the Bethel folks did not invent the idea of being drunk in the spirit, Montanus and his two prophetesses’ did.
The early church was most disturbed by Montanus’ insistence on speaking first person for God, and his claim that the prophecies given were authoritative. God would, through His providence, use this to lead the 2nd-century church into clarifying the cannon. By this point in church history the cannon is closed, no new revelation is coming. There is agreement, for the most part, about what is theopneustos, or God-breathed. It was heretics like Montanus that would bring greater clarity to what was considered Scripture, and what was not. In this way, all things are used for good to those that believe. What some meant for evil, God meant for good, and the church was, during times of great persecution, still able to hold fast to the truths handed down. Unfortunately, we see a resurgence of Montanism today that is, for the most part, going unchecked. Men like Francis Chan are wrapping their arms around it, and embracing it as readily as they embrace ecumenism. I’m, of course, referring the the NAR and the WoF movements. Those who do not know church history are repeating it today.
At this point, I want to discuss Tertullian, with a warning to you, my dear friends. Tertullian was born in the middle of the 2nd century in Carthage, and indulged in the paganism of the day. Before the end of the century he was converted to Christianity, having been quoted as saying “Christians are not born, they are made”. His life changed radically at that point, he would go on to be a giant against heresy and the persecution coming from Rome. Unfortunately, towards the end of his life, Tertullian had some disagreements with the introduction of Greek philosophy into church by Clement of Alexandria. This disagreement eventually led him to leave the church and join the Montanists, who were stricter in many ways, and avoided philosophy. This not only gave credence to the Montanists, but also marred Tertullian’s reputation, and bolstered this heretical movement into the 3rd, and 4th centuries. There are times when we will disagree, this is why I’m writing about the essential doctrines, these are the areas we must separate over. To separate from sound believers over philosophy, and connect yourself with those denying Scriptural sufficiency makes very little sense. We can see that looking back, however, at the time I’m sure it looked very different. Tertullian had spent his life refuting Gnostics that were using the very same philosophy that was brought into the church. He felt that was a greater danger than Montanus. Believers today can learn two things from this, the first is that man is fallible, and the second is that we need to guard our hearts and renew our minds. I hope this series is a blessing to you all. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.
Hello again, my friends, I hope this post finds you all doing well. Today I’d like to continue in our series on the essential doctrines of the faith. If you’ve missed previous posts in this series I will link to them below. We’re going to be briefly discussing the virgin birth, the doctrine that Jesus Christ did not have an earthly father. This doctrine is, honestly, one of my favorites to consider. The truths of it go all the way back to the Garden, to the fall of man, when a promise was given. I’m getting ahead of myself though!
Let me start by explaining why this doctrine is so fundamental, and why denying it is so dangerous. When we discussed the deity of Christ and His resurrection we touched on a similar issue. We have to have the right, true, Biblical understanding of who Christ is. Christ was born of a virgin (Luke 1:26-27, Matt. 1:23-25) just as God had said He would be in Genesis and through His prophet (Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14). This matters, because our Messiah, the Saviour who was sacrificed for our sins had to be a perfect sacrifice. Only God is perfect. God the Son became man, entering His own creation to live a righteous, sinless life, and die for the unrighteous. If Christ was not born of a virgin then He was the son of Adam, not the son of God, and His sacrifice can not save. You see, dear ones, the virgin birth was more than a miracle, it was the promised sign (Isaiah 9:6). It was more than the promised sign, it was the first evidence that Jesus Christ was no mere man, but in fact God (Titus 2:13)! The Word was made flesh (John 1:1-3).
Oddly enough, many of the cults have a correct view of the virgin birth, while distorting other aspects of Christ’s being. The Roman Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Seventh Day Adventist’s each believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. JW’s accept this, but follow it by a rejection of the deity of Christ, suggesting that Jesus was born of Gods power but was not a member of the Godhead. Roman Catholics accept that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, but then turn Mary into a mediator between man and Christ, encouraging prayers to her rather than to God. Other cults, like the Mormons, Scientologist, Christian Science, and Islam, flat out deny that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. The Mormon church teaches that God had physical relations with Mary, which brought about the pregnancy. All others reject that Christ was born in any miraculous fashion. It needs to be stated that most of the liberal churches deny miracles, including this essential doctrine.
For more reading on the virgin birth and its importance, I recommend this article from Ligonier. I hope this series is a blessing to you all, and will help when addressing the cults, or just those in confusion. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.