Saturday Sampler: June 24 — June 30

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In The Domain for Truth, SlimJim writes a short, thought-provoking article entitled VBS and thought about Christian Unity. It’s such a simple concept. But I think its simplicity is precisely what makes it so brilliant!

How are you doing when it comes to reading your Bible daily? Allen Nelson IV, writing for Things Above Us, decided to read his Bible every day after being convicted to do so back in 2008. Now he encourages us to follow suit with 5 Reflections from 10 Years of Daily Bible Reading. If you struggle in this spiritual discipline, this post will definitely give you hope!

If you want some encouraging news regarding freedom of religion, you’ll want to read Supreme Court vacates lower court’s verdict again florist by Denny Burk. I certainly didn’t expect this ruling.

Responding to recent attempts to suppress literary works that contain elements of racism, SharaC of Into the Foolishness of God speaks up In Defense Of That Little House On The Prairie to demonstrate that we shouldn’t try to rewrite history simply for political correctness. Perhaps we get offended too easily these days.

Writing for Whole Magazine, Jessica Hageman explores How Our Incorrect View of Good Affects Our Daily Lives in a way that makes theology practical. It’s tempting, I know, to regard doctrine and Bible Study as irrelevant to our everyday lives, which is precisely why Jessica’s perspective is so necessary. I recommend her article with my whole heart.

Phil Newton’s piece in Founders Ministries examines the claim of personal revelation when people say God Told Me… with an incident from the Reformation. Okay, you don’t like history. I know that. But give it a chance by reading what Newton has to say. You just might discover that discernment ministry isn’t a new invention.

Usually, you can regard the links in Saturday Sampler as endorsements of the blogs I cite (which is why I no longer include links to The Gospel Coalition Blog). I have reservations about Kristen Wetherell as well, but some of her posts deserve recommendation. 14 Ideas to Make Your Bible Reading More Consistent is one such post because it encourages us to get into God’s Word regularly. So if you struggle in reading your Bible on a consistent basis, this one is definitely worth reading.

Leslie A of Growing 4 Life tells us precisely what we need Before We Can Learn to Discern. I know from experience that this isn’t a popular approach to discernment ministry, but ladies, Leslie speaks truth here! Please, if you desire to be discerning, take her words to heart.

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Beth Moore And The Subtle Overthrow Of Scripture’s Sufficiency

In writing about Beth Moore and the serious problems with her teaching, I realize my inability to present any new information. It’s not my intent to replicate research that other discernment bloggers have presented for the mere sake of joining the chorus. However, to reassert what I said in my last post, I’ve mentioned this woman many times on this blog, always identifying her as a false teacher. Lately I’ve been convicted that I should substantiate my remarks by demonstrating why I believe she teaches falsely.

Please understand that, although I firmly believe Beth Moore has caused tremendous harm to the Body of Christ, I don’t believe she realizes that she does so. After watching numerous videos of her sermons and reading her blog posts and Tweets for years, I’ve concluded that she honestly believes she’s serving the Lord. Therefore, I definitely pray that He will mercifully lead out of deception, just as He mercifully led me out of deception. I have no interest in writing articles simply to bash Beth. I dearly hope you’re not reading these articles looking for ammunition against her, but that God will motivate you to join me in praying for her repentance.

That said, we bear a responsibility to examine her teaching in light of God’s Word, and to call her out on deviations from it. Along with that, we must help women understand how Beth Moore misrepresents the Lord, and then offer correctives to her errors.  Obviously, I can’t adequately address all the problems with Moore in a single blog post. Actually, I don’t intend to address all the problems anyway. But let’s look at one today, just to begin establishing why Beth Moore poses such a danger to Christian women.

As I said Wednesday, perhaps the most disturbing problem with Beth Moore is her repeated dependency on personal revelations. Despite her protestations to Jessica Lam, she does tend to “hear” God “speak” in actual words. Whether she admits it or not, she is adding to the canon  of  Scripture because God cannot speak less authoritatively depending on the venue. If He truly speaks to her directly, His words are every bit as authentic as they are in Scripture.

Here is her most popular story. I post it to draw your attention to her claim that God “spoke” directly to her. In words. You’ll find this claim at the 3:08 mark of the video.

Certainly, the fact that Beth Moore ended up witnessing to the flight attendant lends credence to the notion that God told her, in clear words, to brush that old man’s hair. But ask yourselves, ladies, if the happy result of the story — which undeniably points to God’s wonderful providence — necessarily means that He would violate His own Word, which explicitly says that He finished His revelation in sending His Son (Hebrews 1:1-4) and sternly warns against adding to His Word (Revelation 22:18-19).

Twenty years before I’d ever heard of Beth Moore, I had a similar experience of believing God “spoke” to me, in words, telling me to do something that seemed ridiculous. Like Beth Moore, I argued. And like Beth Moore, I eventually obeyed, seeing a good result. But now I understand that I simply had an idea, debated against it, and eventually tried it. Providentially, my idea worked so well that I began telling the story, embellishing it as the years passed. I honestly believed the Lord had spoken to me personally until I learned that Scripture is His final word. I’ve since repented of telling that, and other, stories of God speaking to me.

Perhaps Beth Moore brushed that man’s hair because she subconsciously remembered Scriptures about doing good to those who can’t care for themselves. In that respect, we might say that God spoke to her as she remembered Scriptures. But that’s not what she’s claiming, is it? Rather, she couches the story in a way that enforces the teaching that God speaks directly to Christians (or, to be more precise, to Christians who are “filled up” with Him). We are to be like her, hearing directly from Him, in order that He can work through us.

Sisters, it’s perfectly fine to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit brings Scriptural principles to mind and prompts us to act on those principles. But claiming that He speaks directly and personally to us flies in the face of God’s Word. Rather than seeking to emulate Beth Moore, godly women should depend only on Scripture as the way to hear His voice. Please avoid the false teaching that God speaks apart from His Word.

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What’s My Problem With Beth Moore, Anyway?

Thoughtful Lady

I’ve realized lately that, although I frequently blog about Beth Moore, none of the articles on The Outspoken TULIP  actually explain why I believe she’s a false teacher. I’d written several articles on my old blog (which I’ve since taken down) enumerating some of the serious problems with her teachings. Apparently I moved to this  blog with the erroneous assumption that my readers automatically understood my objections to her ministry. For that oversight, I apologize.

The sheer volume of problems with Beth Moore’s ministry prevents me from adequately addressing them in a single blog post. Additionally, Elizabeth Prata and Michelle Lesley have already provided such excellent resources on Moore that I couldn’t possibly bring anything else to the table. Why reinvent the wheel?

That said, some of you may not have the time to go through all their arguments and documentation. Others of you may think I’m referring you to them because I’m not really as informed as I seem to be, or that I’m blindly parroting Elizabeth and Michelle. For those reasons, let me briefly list a few of my concerns, which I’ll document in future articles.

  • Beth Moore claims to receive personal revelations from God. This fact is probably my greatest objection to her ministry.
  • Beth Moore teaches men as well as women in violation of 2 Timothy 2:12, demonstrating her inability and/or unwillingness to conform to God’s Word. You know — the same God’s Word she supposedly loves and teaches.
  • Beth Moore partners with other false teachers, sometimes praising them as men and women of God.
  • Beth Moore interprets Scripture in narcissistic ways, often ignoring context in favor of her agendas.
  • Beth Moore has recently jumped on the Social Gospel bandwagon, making vague references to her “repentance” from racism as well as accusing the Southern Baptist Convention of systematic misogyny.

Each of my concerns warrants its own blog post. Whether or I address all five concerns remains to be seen, particularly since I’d much prefer to write about the Bible. Sadly, my Bible Studies (which I write to show you correct ways of handling Scripture so that you can spot Beth Moore’s errors for yourselves) are the least read of all my posts, whereas you flock to anything even mentioning her name. Hopefully showing you where she goes wrong will encourage you to pursue healthier Bible study habits.

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According To Scripture: Study #6 On The Resurrection

He Is Risen

You might think that the four verses we’ll be studying today in 1 Corinthians 15 are pretty straightforward, and in a sense you’d be right. I began working through the passage last Tuesday, and found it amazing that Paul packed so much meaning into these  seemingly simple remarks.  So let’s look at the entire passage for context, and then dive into verses 16-19.

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. ~~1 Corinthians 15:12-19 (ESV)

Did you notice that verse 16 pretty much repeats verse 14? Paul’s not getting forgetful in his old age. Rather, he uses repetition to enforce his argument, and maybe so that the Corinthian Christians would really get the point. Repetition is an effective teaching device, especially when a teacher needs to drive home an important fact. 2 Peter 1:13 tells us, for example, that the apostle Peter valued repetition in his ministry. What could possibly be more important than Christ’s resurrection?

Regarding this verse, the Believer’s Bible Commentary says: “If resurrection is an utter impossibility, then there can be no exception to it. On the other hand, if resurrection had taken place once, for instance in the case of Christ, then it can no longer be thought of as an impossibility.” Thus Paul repeats his statement, challenging the Corinthians to use their reasoning skills to conclude that Christ’s resurrection implies a general resurrection.

The pivotal point of Paul’s argument appears in verse 17, as he stresses that our justification comes through Christ’s death and resurrection. He has consistently preached this as the Gospel throughout his ministry (Romans 4:25). The other apostles also preached this message in Acts 5:30-31.

The shed blood of Jesus indeed atones for sin, but Christ’s resurrection shows that God accepted His sacrifice (Romans 1:4 with Romans 4:25). So without Christ’s resurrection, the Corinthians would have believed the Gospel for nothing, and consequently would still bear the weight of their sins. Since Christ’s resurrection is the evidence that God confers justification on believers, a lack of resurrection would signify that justification never took place. Denial of the resurrection robs Christians of hope.

In verse 18, Paul adds emotional intensity to his case for general resurrection by bringing up believers who have already “fallen asleep.” The euphemism for death, fallen asleep, itself affirms the resurrection. Sleep implies eventually waking up, does it not? So Paul deliberately borrows from Jesus (John 11:11) in describing the death of believers. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 elaborates on this point, again tying the hope of believers’ resurrection to the resurrection of Christ.

Paul strengthens his case by reminding them of other Christians who have passed away. If bodily resurrection doesn’t happen, why assume that there would be any sort of conscious existence after death? In essence, without His resurrection, those people died apart from salvation.

Verse 19 offers the final, if not the most haunting, consequence of no resurrection. If Christ hasn’t been raised, and we won’t be raised, we have forsaken worldly pleasures for nothing. Furthermore, we’ve suffered persecution for the Gospel with no hope of a heavenly reward, which is pretty absurd. Sacrificing lives of pleasure in this life, when we can’t anticipate eternal life, only makes following the Lord ridiculous.

Some commentators suggest that Paul means the apostles are “people most to be pitied” because of the particularly high level of suffering they endured for the sake of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 4:9-13). And no one disagrees that they suffered in greater degree than most other Christians. Grammatically, however, in this passage Paul never mentions the apostles as an antecedent to the word “we,” making it more likely that he means Christians in general should be pitied if there is no resurrection.

Jesus taught that believers should expect persecution for the Gospel, as seen in Scriptures such as Matthew 24:9 and John 16:2. But without faith that we will receive a reward in eternity, we lack any motivation for undergoing that level of persecution and self-denial. Therefore all Christians should be pitied for putting ourselves in hard circumstances if we won’t derive any benefit.

Paul’s words don’t necessarily mean that the Christian life is joyless. Rather, he here wants to emphasize that we make sacrifices that unbelievers find incomprehensible precisely because of our faith that we will follow Christ in resurrection. If, however, there is no resurrection, we’ve placed our hope in an illusion. People should pity us as fools!

As we’ve seen, embracing the doctrine of resurrection is essential to Christianity as a whole. Thankfully, as we will see in verse 20 next week, Christ indeed has risen from the dead, giving us hope of eternal life! Between now and next Monday, then, join me in rejoicing over our glorious hope.

I look forward to your questions, insights and even your disagreements (as long as you can substantiate those disagreements with Scripture) in the Comments Section or on The Outspoken TULIP  Facebook page.

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Starbuck’s Date Or Matchless King?

Jesus. We think of Him so casually much of the time, even imagining Him taking us on dates and sipping Starbuck’s coffee with us. Reverence for Him has all but vanished in contemporary evangelical churches.

Reverence doesn’t forbid updated musical arrangements, but it certainly calls us to focus on Jesus as our King. We owe Him respect, obedience and honor as we worship Him as King of all. And, in worshiping Him as King, we marvel that He died and rose on our behalf. Why would He do such a loving thing?

As today’s hymn shows, we have many reasons to crown Jesus with many crowns. Don’t let Enfield’s musical arrangement throw you; they’ve chosen time-honored lyrics that celebrate many facets of Christ’s majesty, reminding us of a wide variety of reasons He deserves our praise. Rather than diminish our glorious King to a dating partner, let’s hail Him as our matchless King through all eternity.

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Saturday Sampler: June 17 — June 23

Bows SamplerOkay ladies, summer has already made its grand entrance, bringing sizzling temperatures to a large portion of the United States. Hot weather, of course, ushers in the temptation to dress in ways that might not be honoring to the Lord. Kari Dent of living in paradise courageously writes Dear Sisters to speak frankly about our call to modesty.

Rarely can I curate an edition of Saturday Sampler without including something that Leslie A posts in Growing 4 Life. This week’s essay, Simply Broken or Thoroughly Dead? requires us to think Biblically about our relationship with sin and the current trend to call ourselves broken. As usual, you really shouldn’t miss this one!

Women struggle with improper thoughts as much as men do. In response to this reality, Amanda Walker shows strategies for Guarding Your Heart…On Purpose in her latest post for Bible Study Woman. Although her approach isn’t exactly novel, it reminds us to protect our minds from anything that distracts from the Lord.

We could all use the Evangelism Encouragement that Michelle Lesley offers. Praise the Lord for her Scriptural perspective on seeing results when we witness to unbelievers.

Elizabeth Prata, in The End Time, uses an Italian Renaissance painting to demonstrate that  Bad fruit is bad, thus warning us against false teachers. Okay, I’m a sucker for Italian Renaissance art, but Elizabeth’s essay really is worth reading whether you like art or not.

Happy Birthday to Two Faithful Preachers from Erin Benziger. To learn the identities of these two men, and how their ministries parallel each other, go over to Erin’s Do Not Be Surprised blog, which you should read regularly anyway.

Blogging for Stand to Reason, Natasha Crain provides A Parent’s Guide to the 5 Skeptics Who Want to Shame Your Kids for Being Christian. You don’t have to be a mom in order to benefit from Natasha’s counsel, however; each of us encounters these common objections to Christianity.

SlimJim, who blogs at The Domain for Truth, gets it right with Christians Must Grow Deeper In Biblical Doctrines. His assertion is near and dear to my heart. Please read his Scriptural reasoning for making this claim.

Yesterday I started to blog about the upcoming Revoice conference, but after reading As the Serpent Uncoils by Douglas Wilson in Blog & Mablog I’m glad I held off. Doug approaches the controversy with a fresh, but Biblical, perspective that needs to be considered as professing Christians demand to retain homosexuality as their identity.

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Not Judging Women On Buses And Subways

ModestyIt’s that time of year. As the bus driver secured our wheelchairs yesterday, I remembered that taking public transportation means that women will board the bus and subway wearing less clothing than they should, revealing more of their bodies than they should. I know my husband works hard to avert his eyes and keep his thoughts honoring to the Lord, and I’m very proud of him. But I also know he needs my prayers.

But I also struggle with temptation when I see young women display more of their bodies than they should. I’m tempted to judge them.

Judging Christian women with the goal of gently helping them learn to attire themselves appropriately is one thing. I pray that my articles on modesty will help Christian women think through their wardrobe choices and clothe themselves in ways that honor the Lord and their brothers in Christ. Scripture mandates that Christians warn each other about sin. So I believe mature Christian women have a responsibility to teach our younger sisters in Christ how (and why) to dress modestly.

Most of the women I see on buses and subways, on the other hand,  probably aren’t Christians. Because of this probability, they simply don’t operate under Biblical convictions. I have no reason to expect that they should. As a matter of fact, God’s Word quite clearly says that believers must restrict judgment to those within the Church.

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? ~~1 Corinthians 5:12 (ESV)

Not judging these women doesn’t require that I condone the way they dress. Their immodesty is sinful regardless of their assessment of the situation. But because they most likely don’t know the Lord and therefore feel no compunction to submit to His authority, I’m wrong to expect that they would conform to His standards.

Sitting on the bus and imagining snarky comments to write about these women on Facebook merely exposes my self-righteousness and lack of concern for their eternal souls. Yes, I feel concern for my husband, knowing that he has a responsibility to the Lord to keep his thoughts pure. I definitely need to pray for him as he fights against his responses. But these women also need prayer. More likely than not, they need to come to a saving knowledge of Christ.

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