Snippets Of Scripture Can’t Teach God’s Word Responsibly

IMG_1892When the church John and I used to attend embarked on Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Purpose campaign, the leadership showed promotional videos during the three Sunday services leading up to the campaign. As I watched the first video, I couldn’t help noticing how frequently Warren quoted Bible verses out of context in order to substantiate some of his claims. Reading only the two opening chapters of The Purpose Driven Life, I saw the same trend, made worse by his use of multiple translations and paraphrases to provide his desired effect.

How did I recognize that he quoted Bible verses out of context? Simple: I’d done the same thing when I wrote counseling letters for Love In Action. I knew the psychological principles that our ministry embraced. All I had to do was shoehorn Continue reading

Did I Publish The Open Letter To Beth Moore In Order To Get People To Read The Outspoken TULIP?

Dear DebbieLynneSince Susan Heck, Michelle Lesley, Elizabeth Prata, Amy Spreeman and I released Open Letter To Beth Moore last week, we’ve fielded a lot of questions and criticism. Some of the questions undoubtedly come from Mrs. Moore’s supporters, who typically won’t tolerate any questioning of their beloved teacher. Nevertheless, their questions deserve respectful answers such as those Michelle Lesley graciously provided in today’s In the Mailbag blog post. I dearly hope you’ll read Michelle’s thoughtful and important post before you continue on with this article.

That said, a comment by J Mill included a remark that troubled me. Let me quote the entire comment for the sake of context before I discuss the portion that bothered me:

It certainly seems against the gospel to assume that one cannot be friends with people because you interpret scripture differently. The world wide CHURCH has many different interpretations on many theological issues and yet we are one. Just because you disagree with her does not mean that she is operating outside of biblical orthodoxy. Not everyone needs to speak on everything – we all have topics that are especially in our view at certain times. Most importantly, Scripture would direct you to conduct this inquiry one-on-one with Mrs. Moore, not use it as fodder for your blogs. It seems you may have a log in your own eye to remove.

Michelle’s Mailbag post dealt with most of J Mill’s objections, so again I refer you to her wisdom. But the accusation that I used this matter merely as fodder for my blog shouldn’t go without notice.

Regular readers of my blog know quite well that I have been trying to move away from the idea that discernment ministry revolves around calling out false teachers. Too many so-called discernment blogs (most notably Pulpit and Pen) capitalize on exposing teachers they disagree with (even doctrinally sound teachers). Such baptized versions of supermarket tabloids have severely damaged legitimate discernment bloggers, and I have absolutely no desire for The Outspoken TULIP to degenerate into that type of blog. If J Mill had read enough of my articles, she would have known better than to have made such a baseless accusation.

Subsequent to running the Open Letter, I wrote a teaching reviewing the basic Gospel message. At this writing, only 101 people viewed that post, compared to 5,844 people who clicked on the Open Letter. Ladies, that lack of interest in posts that actually focus on the Word of God disturbs me. I would much rather have you excited about posts that proclaim the Gospel and study God’s Word than about posts about Beth Moore.

I was asked to provide input on the Open Letter, to sign it and to post it on my blog. I complied with those requests after consulting my husband. I wanted the letter publicized in order to ask very legitimate questions of someone who has an extremely high profile in the Southern Baptist Convention — to which my church currently belongs. As Michelle Lesley explained in her post today, publicly asking Beth Moore to clarify her views on homosexuality is no different than publicly asking Joe Biden to explain why he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment. The SBC is floating Beth Moore’s name as its next president, making it necessary to understand her position on this issue. In that context, I agreed to donate space to the Open Letter.

I had been planning an entirely different series for last week’s posts. Running the Open Letter derailed those plans indefinitely. Far from being fodder for my blog, this letter has interrupted my train of thought.

Furthermore, the Lord has been convicting me concerning caring about gaining readers. The SBC may be big on numbers, but I am fighting against the lust to have thousands of adoring followers. The lust for numbers has led the SBC and other evangelical churches to compromise God’s Word — ironically that’s the main reason they cling to Beth Moore in the first place. To put it bluntly, they profit from her book sales. I have no interest in compromising my obedience to God simply to have a widely read blog.

Wanting more readers for posts that teach Biblical doctrine than for posts that call out false teachers like Beth Moore doesn’t mean I want a huge following. It simply means that I want the women who read this blog to care more about studying Scripture than they care about the latest dirt on a false teacher. Though it’s sometimes necessary to ask the sort of questions that Susan, Michelle, Martha, Amy and I asked, I prefer to teach Biblical discernment by helping women rightly understand God’s Word.

Finally, although people I highly respect gave me words of encouragement after I published the Open Letter, only one affirming Tweet meant the world to me:

Jeremy's Tweet

May it be a joy for Pastor Jeremy to give account for me when he stands before the Lord (Hebrews 13:17).

____________________________

Also see Elizabeth Prata’s essay answering her critics.

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The Job Of Discernment Bloggers In Positive Terms

 

The Outspoken TULIP Header 2019 eWhen we think of discernment bloggers, we generally think of those who dedicate themselves to ruthlessly exposing false teachers. According to the common caricature, these bloggers are sarcastic, unloving, closed to reason and (above all) self-righteous.

Some of them actually do fit this caricature, I’m grieved to say. Ironically, their eagerness to bring down people that they consider to be false teachers leads them to disreputable sources. I’ve seen self-proclaimed watchmen link to websites that are obviously shoddy just because that website says something unflattering about whatever teacher they hope to discredit.

So yes, some ministries that bill themselves as discerning actually Continue reading

Cattle On A Thousand Hills Doesn’t Make The Promise We Think It Makes

Awful GlorySo often evangelicals encourage each other to expect the Lord to bless them materially by saying, “After all, our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills.”  This remark alludes to a verse fragment in Psalm 50. They imply (if not outright declare) that they have unfettered access to material abundance because they claim God as their Father.

Some Scriptures, such as Matthew 6:25-33, assure us that our Heavenly Father will provide the things we need. The Lord indeed takes care of His own, sometimes even giving us much more than we actually need. For example, as I type this article, I’m looking at two of the three blouses my sister sent me as an Easter gift (I wore the other to church yesterday). The Lord definitely blesses His children.

But let’s look at how Psalm 50 uses the clause about God owning the cattle on a thousand hills. Back up to verses 1-6, in which Asaph draws a picture of the majestic Lord summoning His people Continue reading

Saturday Sampler: March 24 — March 30

Tulip Sampler

Each Sunday, Phil Johnson features a devotional or sermon excerpt by Charles Spurgeon on the Pyromaniacs blog. This week’s quotation tells us How to meet the evils of this age. It always amazes me that things Spurgeon wrote over 100 years ago apply so accurately to 21st Century evangelicals.

Do you know The Early Symptoms of Spiritual Danger? Writing for the Ligonier blog, Sinclair Ferguson discusses apostasy, using a passage in Hebrews 6 to explores how someone becomes an apostate.

In Christians and Coming Out Redux, John Ellis of adayinhiscourt uses personal experience to illustrate the world’s wholesale rejection of Christian values. If you have any doubt that non-Christians lack tolerance for Bible-believing Christians, I urge you to consider this article.

For years, I’ve wondered how progressives would respond when the Muslims they supported refused to support LBGTQIA concerns. Stephen McAlpine sees this unraveling of causes beginning, and writes about it in Secularism’s (Misplaced) Confidence. Maybe I’m not so crazy after all.

Michelle Lesley encourages us, using Scripture as authority, not to be Frightened by Freedom.

I appreciate the candor of Andrea Burke in The One Life Dream That Makes a Girl Blush, featured in For The Church. The post takes me back to my days as a single woman and the guilt I felt for wanting to be married.

Drawing from 1 Samuel 4:1-11, Elizabeth Prata of The End Time shows us that “The more things change, the more they stay the same” rings true. This Old Testament episode should sober us as we consider how we approach life.

It’s a Christian’s greatest fear.  And Mike Ratliff addresses that fear with his article in Possessing the Treasure entitled What is Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? If you genuinely love the Lord, you’ll find this short Bible Study wonderfully reassuring.

Let’s have a second one from Elizabeth Prata, shall we? “God Told Me:” About those whispers to the heart evaluates claims that God speaks to people personally. It distresses me that we still need instruction on this matter. Be sure to watch the videos by Gabe Hughes and Mike Abendroth that Elizabeth includes in her post.

SharaC, the purveyor of Into the Foolishness of God, challenges the popular notion that the Bible is muddy and therefore difficult to understand by writing Deconstructing Faith. While I disagree with her comments about doubt, her overall argument for the clarity of God’s Word makes this article essential reading. I wish more bloggers would stand this resolutely against efforts to dilute the Word!

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Saturday Sampler: March 10 — March 16

Massachusetts Town Flags

Town and city flags of Massachusetts displayed in the State House

When I started this blog in 2015, I could see that the church in America was headed for persecution. A lot of Christians see the same reality, including Mike Ratliff of Possessing the Treasure. His blog post, Even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness you are blessed, underscores what I’ve been saying all along.

Are You Living with a Misconception of Grace? Writing for Biblical Woman,  Sarah Bubar explores the effect our culture of entitlement has on how we understand the grace of God. She also explains grace from the Biblical standpoint.

She’s done it again! In One major way Christian self-help books damage you, Elizabeth Prata pulls back the cover to reveal a harmful evangelical practice. Ladies, this essay in The End Time deserves your attention!

Candidly admitting her struggles, Debi Martin of Sojourner Between Two Worlds shows us The Importance of Being in God’s Word. I’m currently reading through the Bible in 90 days as Debi did in 2012. It’s my second time doing it, and I highly recommend it.

I appreciate Erin Benziger’s devotional on The Sufficiency of the Word in Do Not Be Surprised. The worldliness permeating evangelicalism pressures people to settle for much less than God has given us.

Scripture delineates specific roles for women that the world considers oppressive. Thankfully, in an article for The Cripplegate, Eric Davis lists 10 Reasons Why the Bible Regards Women Higher than all Other Systems. I wish every evangelical (female and male) would read this one.

Yup, I struggle with reading my Bible too. So Throwback Thursday ~ The Mailbag: I love the Bible, but I have to force myself to read it by Michelle Lesley really reassures and  comforts me. She selects just the right Scriptures to make her case.

I’m not going to give away R. Scott Clark’s message in What Christians Can Learn From Drew Carey About Subverting Culture on the Abounding Grace Radio blog,  but I promise you that you won’t regret reading it. How do I know? I enjoyed reading it, and I’m far from being a Drew Carey fan.

Nick Batzig of Reformation 21 pleads for discernment ministries to strive for balance by writing A Horror of Theology. Bloggers especially need to consider the points he makes in order to avoid extremes that end up dishonoring the Lord.

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Saturday Sampler: February 24 — March 2

penguin-samplerThankfully, Phil Johnson relies on Scripture rather than the accepted wisdom of the Social Justice Movement in his Pyromaniacs article, One More Plea for Impartiality in That Virtue We Call “Justice”.  If only more of us let the Bible inform our thoughts!

Can you identify The Common Denominators of false religions? If not, Leslie A of Growing 4 Life lays out a helpful and comprehensive outline to assist you in your discernment. As a bonus, she includes a little background on the origin of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Absolutely, Christians need to exercise more civility on social media! But let’s not go to an opposite extreme that causes us to condone sin. In Girl, Same Here! How our desire to be relatable is hurting our morals, Jillian McNeeley cautions against being agreeable when someone is in sin. You’ll find her blog post on Biblical Woman.

Erin Benziger has imported her blog, Do Not Be Surprised, to WordPress recently. I want to welcome this dear friend of mine to the WordPress community by sharing her devotional, The Sufficiency of Christ and His Word. Erin zeros in on a key reason that so many evangelicals lack discernment today.

Praise the Lord for Denny Burk‘s report that African Christians Rescue United Methodists by influencing them not to weaken their official position regarding LBGTQ matters. Will this decision lead to a denominational split? Probably. But how encouraging to see people stand for truth!

You’ll find encouragement from We Never Stop Needing the Gospel by Rebekah Womble of Wise in His Eyes.

Morning by Morning features Brianna Lambert’s piece, The Fruit of Self-Control: What is Your Hungry Soul Telling You? Before you roll your eyes, assuming that she’s just writing another dreary lecture urging us to be good little girls, give her a fair hearing. Her conclusions might not be what you expect!

In Context Matters: Forgetting What Lies Behind, Peter Krol of Knowable Word clears up erroneous teaching on Philippians 3:13 by showing us how this verse relates to everything leading up to it.

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