[This article was originally authored by Laura Robinson at her personal blog.]
I was raised in church. I took classes in seminary. I am married to a pastor. After a lifetime spent in Christian pursuits, I find myself asking this question – Where are all the discerning women? I am floored on a daily basis by the amount of women who are following popular female Bible teachers without doing one bit of research before sitting under their teaching. Why is it that so many women are willing to subject themselves to bad teaching and unsound doctrine?
Consider one of today’s most popular female “bible” speakers, Jen Hatmaker. Five years ago, well before she came out as gay-affirming, I spoke out about her on social media and was all but hung on the gallows for it by her ferocious fangirls! Like her forerunner Beth Moore, Hatmaker is very witty. She comes across like she could be your best friend if you met her in person. She would, no doubt, make you laugh over coffee and most definitely would not judge you for your mothering skills, baby-stained outfit, or messy minivan. Her humor and openness caused her gain a large following fairly quickly. Women were enthralled with her. She was your “home girl.” But ask any of these women who follow her, “What does Jen actually teach” or “Did you research her before following her?” and you’ll be met with a blank stare, or possible worse, you’ll have your head bitten off for questioning someone who is so cool and so relevant and part of her “tribe” (to use Jen’s favorite term for her fan girls goes).
Or how about Lysa TerKeurst? Best known as president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the author of the New York Times best-sellers: Best Yes, Unglued, and Made to Crave. She is a popular speaker around the country at women’s conferences and churches. Yet, there are multiple reasons to question her qualifications as a Bible teacher: teaching contemplative or mystic prayer practices, teaching to men, partnering with numerous other false teachers and promoting their teachings, twisting Scripture, and teaching unsound doctrine. There is also the matter of the pastor under whom she sits. She is a member of Elevation church and her pastor, Steven Furtick is a prosperity-preaching, Scripture-twisting huckster.
Consider next Priscilla Shirer; most of you know who she is without introduction. She is the daughter of Tony Evans and the star of the hit Christian film War Room. She is a popular women’s bible teacher and author of multiple books and bible studies. Her unbiblical teachings consist of teaching women to “listen for God’s voice” and other unbiblical practices such as making a circle about yourself and whatever you pray in that prayer circle God will answer. It may sound crazy but these are the types of teachings that permeate Priscilla’s bible studies. I want to say to her “Chapter and verse for that Priscilla!” Priscilla has awful hermeneutics and also preaches to men and partners with a large number of false teachers.
And last but not least, there is Beth Moore. She is the most prominent women’s Bible teacher in history and is also the most dangerous. She is leading the most women astray with her teachings about extra-biblical revelation, her horrible Scripture twisting, her partnering up with false teachers such as Joyce Meyers and Christine Caine and unrepentantly preaching to men. Listen ladies, I’m going to stop with those four but the list of unsound female teachers is about a mile long. The list of sound female teachers I can list on one hand. Why in the world is this? I think the answer lies within the growing number of women that are biblically illiterate. How often are you in the Word? How often are you filling your time studying the things of God and watching sermons from godly men or sitting under biblical, expository preaching? Why are so few women following 1 John 4:1?
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. “
We have a duty as Christ followers to examine those teachers out there before we choose to sit under their teachings. There are many false teachers in our midst who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. You probably know the old saying that poison is most dangerous when mixed with whole food. Many of these false teachers have fine-tuned their message to make it mostly truth with a little bit of falseness sprinkled in to deceive the women they teach. As the Scripture says in Galatians 5:9 “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” It can’t be blatantly obvious or else no one would listen! It has to be somewhat truthful to lure in those women. We have got to do a much better job of being discerners! It’s unacceptable for so many women who call themselves disciples of Christ to not do a better job of knowing the Scriptures so that they may recognize unsound doctrine and scripture twisting when it comes our way via the many female teachers out there.
We as women are emotional creatures by nature, and find these teachers that sweep us away with their touching stories, irresistible sense of humor, and charismatic speaking ability that is just too easy to sit under. They make us feel good. They make us laugh. They are so relatable. They throw in some scripture so we feel like it is biblically edifying. However, we cannot blindly follow these women who do not rightly divide the Word. We must do better. We must study and do our research and hold these women under scrutiny and up the to the Word to see if they line up with it. It breaks my heart to see how many women are being deceived. Please pray and beseech God and ask Him to give a spirit of discernment and eyes to see His truth. Don’t be like the women mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:6 – “some of these are people who creep into houses, and take captive gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts…” Devote yourself daily to the reading, study and memorizing of His Word. Only then will you be able to recognize the wolves and those who are not teaching according to the Bible. I am so burdened by this and long to find some discerning women who will choose to break away from the crowd and what is popular and seek truth and knowledge from the Word of God.
[This post was edited by Seth Dunn and originally appeared at the LauranLou blog.]