The Pen

Lifeway Promoting False Teacher Priscilla Shirer Experiential Event

We all know how critical many have been of Lifeway “Christian” Stores lately and for good reason. Lifeway, as an extension of the Southern Baptist Convention, and representing the larger section of conservative Evangelical Christianity, seems to have a knack for peddling heresy for profit. First, there was the uprising against well-known heresy such as heaven tourism, modalism and Word of Faith, then there was a public retraction by Alex Malarkey that his story in his book, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, was false, which finally prompted Lifeway to acknowledge years worth of criticism by pulling it from the shelf. And now, for 39 bucks, you can purchase tickets from Lifeway to another False Prophet event, Priscilla Shirer Live.

Priscilla Shirer is a good friend and a disciple of well known prophet-preacher Beth Moore. Besides the fact that women preaching and teaching men in the church is unbiblical, these two women regularly claim to receive extra-biblical revelation from God and promote other unbiblical practices such as mysticism, and contemplative prayer.

The first red flag I see that goes up in the promotion of this event is on the flyer it states. “You know her studies. It’s Time To Experience Her Event.” The word, “experience,” is a buzzword in Charismatic Christendom that usually entails some type of extra-biblical engagement with God through emotions, visions, signs and wonders, and unorthodox practices of mystical prayer. This is no different with Priscilla Shirer. Priscilla Shirer was a participant in the heretical DVD on contemplative prayer,

Priscilla Shirer was a participant in the heretical DVD on contemplative prayer, Be Still, and she even addresses this criticism on her web page. Though at first glance it may sound like she supports a biblical view of prayer, looking deeper into what she is saying, it becomes clear that she doesn’t understand what biblical prayer and meditation are. In her FAQ she says, “By participating in the Be Still project, we by no means meant to convey our agreement with the theological viewpoints and positions of other participants yet we did believe (and still do) in the over-arching theme of the resource and that is why I agreed to do it.” This is a contradictory statement. The theological viewpoints and positions of the participants are the over-arching theme of the DVD, and she says she supports it.

She then goes on to say “The Psalmist himself said that not only would he bring his requests to God in prayer but then ‘wait expectantly’ (Psalm 5:3) for God’s response. The prophet Habakkuk mirrors this philosophy of prayer when he says that after speaking to God he would then “climb up on the watchtower and wait to see what the Lord will say to me.”

The Psalmist himself said that not only would he bring his requests to God in prayer but then “wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3) for God’s response. The prophet Habakkuk mirrors this philosophy of prayer when he says that after speaking to God he would then “climb up on the watchtower and wait to see what the Lord will say to me.” (Habakkuk 2:1). We are a proponent of the Christian encountering God in a fresh way that is relevant to his or her life, and we believe this can occur when we wait for God quietly with our Bibles outspread before us. As we ponder His Word, the Holy Spirit applies it to the circumstances of our lives.

Here, she seems to be equating the way Old Testament prophets received revelation from God to how Christians are meant to study God’s Word–by being still and waiting. The fact that she goes on to say that we do this with our Bibles open before us doesn’t change anything. Yes, it is true that we receive our revelation from God ONLY through Scripture, if you look closely, this is not what she’s saying. We don’t study God’s word by opening it and pondering a piece of Scripture and sitting silently waiting for God to speak to us, we study Scripture through vigorous intellectual reading, one-way prayer as taught in Scripture, and application of his Word in our daily lives.

Meditating on God’s Word, by Biblical definition, means to fill our minds with it, memorize it, and study and practice it regularly so that it becomes ingrained in who you are. A golf player does not become a better golf player by sitting down in front of a ball, meditating on it and contemplating it. He becomes better by actively practicing it, and applying his knowledge daily.

Despite her attempt to brush off the accusations of promoting and practicing mysticism, this isn’t the only time she’s been involved in this activity. She has written at least two booklets in which she claims that mature Christians should be able to hear audible voices from God. In her booklet, Is That You God, she writes:

Before you read any further, let me assure you of an important point. To not speak contradicts God’s nature. The second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, is called the Word (see John 1:1). That designation stands at odds with silence. God loved you enough to die for you; He loves you enough to communicate with you. The Lord can and will speak to you if you’ve placed your faith in Jesus. First, however, you must expect and anticipate that the divine voice of God can ring in your ears and heart.

Nowhere in Scripture am I aware of does it teach that we must expect and anticipate the divine voice of God ringing in our ears and heart. Scripture is clear that the Word of God, as once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3), sufficient for our salvation and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). But apparently, that’s not enough for Priscilla. In Day 4 of Week 2 in her Bible study on her Book, He Speaks To Me, she writes:

How can we consistently hear God’s voice? We must take the focus off ourselves, looking instead to His glory and priorities, meditating on His attributes. To worship God appropriately, we also need to grasp His acceptance. As long as we feel condemned, we will have difficulty hearing God speak.

Again, she seems to believe that God speaks to our hearts in other ways besides Scripture. The Bible doesn’t teach us that we can hear God speak to us as long as we don’t feel condemned, and focus on his priorities and attributes. Paul says in Hebrews 1:1-2

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

The key here is the past tense, “has spoken.” God has already spoken to us through the revelation of Jesus Christ, and his revelation has been recorded by the writers of the New Testament canon. Though God uses the Holy Spirit to illumine the Word of God for us today and interpret it for us, he does not speak directly to us through any other means than the closed canon of Scripture.

Shirer also regularly travels and speaks at events with other well known false teachers, like Christine Caine, Beth Moore, Sheila Walsh and Lisa Harper. It’s no doubt that she is a disciple of these women, as she speaks so highly of them. She says of Christine Caine in an interview with the Christian Post, (where she also seems to believe that women speakers are persecuted in the Church), “Christine Caine would be at the top of my list [most influential and unique voices in Christianity]. She is a brilliant communicator of God’s word, but not only that, this is a woman who’s on a mission to see His kingdom come on earth,” and of Beth Moore, “Then also Beth Moore. Beth Moore is a fantastic communicator of God’s word. I have the utmost respect for her. She’s a friend and mentor, a woman of integrity. I have rarely heard someone teach the Scriptures the way Beth Moore can.” She also tweets about Caine,

So grateful for the powerhouse, phenomenon that is….Christine Caine.
— Priscilla Shirer (@PriscillaShirer) April 28, 2012

Yet, despite the fact that these “teachers” are unsound, Lifeway continues to promote their events and sell their literature. If Lifeway is going to continue in this practice, is it really necessary for them to be a part of the Church? Should the SBC continue in ownership of a company that does not represent the Biblical standards mandated in Scripture, and ascribed to by the Church? What is it going to take to get this garbage out of our bookstores and out of our churches?