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A while ago I went to a women’s conference in another state with some of my relatives. We heard two different Bible teachers speak. Both of these women had written books. Both were well known. That is where the similarities ended. One women was older. In fact, she was in her eighties. She spoke first. She shared her heart for us younger women. She shared from the Word. She spoke of women to whom she had ministered in countries where believers are being persecuted. Her voice broke as she spoke of her sisters in Christ, living under the constant threat of imprisonment and death. You could see the love she carried for them. She spoke of Christ and the gospel. Her knowledge of the Word was so evident, and her talk was so full of scripture that she just seemed to breathe it out. I left her session with a heart yearning for Christ. I left with a clear picture of what I want to look like if the Lord should give me the gift of old age. Decades of walking with Jesus had made her one of the most wise and gentle-spirited women I have ever seen.

The next speaker was a young woman. She stood up and immediately launched into funny stories about herself. She talked about trips she’d taken. She dropped names of famous people she’d shared a stage with. She told more stories about herself. At one point she decided to work in a little bit of Bible, so she wedged in a story about Noah and the ark, and “How must he have felt as he saw everything he had known floating by? There goes the house. There goes the tabernacle…” She let that hang in the air, as if giving it time to really make an impact. I sat there in my seat wondering how the tabernacle could have been floating by when it wouldn’t be built for over a thousand years after the flood. I tried to hang in there and give her the benefit of the doubt, but I gave up after the lunch session. After her talk, a couple of us had tickets to go to a more personal luncheon with her and sit in on her Q and A. During that session, we got to hear even more about all of the famous people she knows. She shared about different shows that she has been or will be featured on. She told us that often women come up to her and say, “I loved your book!” To which she replies, “Girl, which one? I’ve written eleven!” I so deeply wish that I was making this up. It got harder and harder for me to swallow the food I was picking at on my plate the longer she spoke. The final straw was when she told us that she wanted to have her own network someday and be bigger than Oprah.

As we left that event, there were two tables set up. The older woman was at one table, waiting to talk and pray with the women as they came out of their sessions. The younger woman was at a table loaded down with her books, signing autographs and taking selfies with women who had purchased a book. She was standing in front of a giant banner with a blown up picture of her own face on it. Here is the part that grieved me the most. The line at her table was 3 or four people wide and out the door onto the sidewalk outside. There was no line at the older woman’s table.

As I took in that scene, I had the thought that this is the problem. This is why we as women in the church are living on starvation rations of the Word. This is why we are spiritually weak and we cannot discern when a pretty face is lying to us while holding a Bible. It is because we love the wrong things.

We elevate youth and beauty. We want funny more than we want wise. We want our teachers to tell us a joke that we can laugh at. We don’t want to weep over our sin. “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” Ecc.7:4

We want empowerment more than we want humility. “He has told you,O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

We don’t want truth. We want to be lied to. We would never admit that out loud, but at the core, it feels better to be lied to than to than to be told the truth. “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” 2 Tim. 4:3-4

The truth is that apart from Jesus, we have no good thing (Psalm 16:2). We are not the hope of the world. Jesus is. Outside of Him, we are “dark hearted, futile minded, enemies of God.” Contrary to what the pep rally, girl power, life-coach “Bible” teachers tell us now, we are not the ones who will change the world.  Jesus will. “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me, you can do nothing.” In other words, God asks us to remain in Him. He asks us to chase His heart. He asks us to know His Word deeply and to abide in that. Out of that union, that closeness, real fruit will grow, real impact will occur, but even then, it’s all Him. It’s still not about us. There is never a point at which it is ok to raise our own name. We raise His name, like a banner. We are to be after His glory, not our own. We call people to follow Christ, not ourselves.

The book of Hosea describes a time when the priests refused to teach people the truth. It reminds me so much of our current culture.  God rebuked the priests and said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Are we being destroyed? Other versions use the word “perishing.” Are we perishing for lack of knowledge of the truth? I think that we are. We have exchanged the humbling truth of God for a self exalting lie. Does that sound familiar? Read Romans chapter 2. Women of God, I plead with you to pursue wisdom. I plead with you to put down the girl power self help book and pick up your Bible. Your life depends on it. Your children don’t need empowered mom. They need humble, god-fearing mom. Our world needs women who look not like our “truest selves,” but like Jesus Christ. This will not happen outside of making a decision to dig in our heels, draw a line in the sand and declare that we are going after God. We are going to consume His Word like the spiritual food that it is, and we are going to let Him conform us to His own image, no matter how hard, no matter how long it takes. And if that requires taking a stand against the tidal wave of narcissistic teachings sweeping through Christian culture, then we stand and take it full on, because the Rock under our feet will not move.

 

 

*My blogs are written with the assumption that they are being read primarily by Christians. If you want to know more about what it means to be a Christian or about the gospel of Jesus Christ, click the link here:  The Gospel

124 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Teachers

  1. Your words remind me of a folktale about a family who refused to follow tradition and hid their grandfather instead of allowing him to perish in the wilderness. When famine came to the village the grandfather told his family to take down the thatched roofs from their houses and thresh the straw for any grain that had been missed. His wisdom and past experiences saved his family and ultimately the entire village from starvation.
    We must cherish, honor and listen to women of God who have allowed the Word of God to shape their lives over the course of decades. The young women in our churches need mature Christian mentors. As a therapist, I see young Christian women who would benefit from the wisdom, love and care of older Christian women. Connecting young women with wise older women may be a way to ensure that the younger generations are discerning about and resilient to spiritual fluff that can lead to spiritual famine.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I really enjoyed your story, even though it absolutely grieved me!!! MY wife passed 2&1/2 yrs ago— i have visited several churches since— most of the speakers, you could see their testimony in their message but one in particular left me wondering whether or not he even knew the Savior beyond His name!!! Grieving!!!

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  3. I have been broken to read the truth of your article. This is the reality of our days. I’m translating your article into Spanish to share with my ministry team. I cannot find your name. Could you provide me with your name? What is the best way to contact you?

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  4. This is so true. This really shows the shallowness of today’s church, the focus on the wrong things. I would have loved to have listened to the first lady. I’m fortunate that I had some wonderful women to look up to in faith. Corrie ten Boom, Joni Eareckson Tada, , my mother, Aunt Phil, Ernestine, Rev. Etta, Mrs. Ten Eyck, these are the women who live/lived it and still do. Genuine, selfless, God loving women who mentor those of us younger. WE always talk about how the road to hell is paved with gold and far more traveled than the harder path to heaven. Yeah, I’ll stay on that path. I’m 50 now, and have 2 generations of girls that I am now mentoring. I don;pt think anything can replace that. I am able to share experiences and resources and biblical answers with them. Thank you.

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  5. Amen Amberlee.
    May God so choose to continue to create and recreate women like you who cry the heart of wisdom and live a life that adorns the word of God (Prv. 8:1-36, 1:20-33; Titus 2:3-5 NASB) for His glory.

    Your brother in His purchased grace,
    Anthony

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  6. I disagree with your post and I will explain why. In your experience of listening to these two woman you over generalize and speak in-sighting sensationalism not fact. The facts of this encounter with these two totally different and unique woman of God is just that! One spoke from the heart of years, of wisdom and experiences that only she has had on her life. The other woman spoke from a totally different generation and her experiences thus far have been through her writings and making a public name for herself. Both are woman of God. We all are! God is the final judge of a persons life! Period! We ARE NOT!
    At the very heart of our being is the heartbeat of God himself. The very fingerprint of God that can not be erased or negated. He is written into our very being, a divinely and supernaturally created DNA. Ref. Genesis 1:26, all of us are created in the likeness and image of God. But we also are created uniquely in our own way and personalities differ tremendously. I will further add that each of us interprets and is inspired by the Holy Spirit uniquely as well. Once again those ways are not up for to our judgment! We are all bearers of his light, rooted in his Devine glory made in the image of love. It is my experience that we in this western world have a terrible habit of disempowering each other. Instead we should be lifting one another as fellow heirs of Christ all Devine thru a creator God!
    You speak of “narcissistic teachings sweeping through Christian culture” at the end of your posting, I would urge you to research narcissistic personality disorder and understand what this truly means. I am learned on the subject and this word is so often misused lately as it’s abuses have become more at the forefront.
    Narcissism is on a spectrum from healthy narcissism to pathological narcissism, which to those who are affected by these people causes many painful conditions including ptsd, and actual brain damage. It is or can be devastating to its victims. I would say that calling this woman’s behavior narcissistic, a far reaching over generalization. All woman of God should be empowered woman who are sure of who they are in Christ Jesus. Let’s support one another not tear one another apart. Just my humble opinion.

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    • Melissa, may I humbly submit to you that, while the word narcissism in this article may seem harsh to you, I would say (based on the other comments) you are in the minority. (Definition from google: Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s idealized self-image and attributes. This includes self-flattery, perfectionism, and arrogance.) There IS indeed a desire for people to go after the attractive, funny, relatable, feel good message while missing the most valuable message of all . . . all of us are sinners in desperate need of a Savior. If you understand the premise of the Bible regarding how the fall in Genesis affected mankind, you will realize the most basic underlying issue of this is the desire to be self-served. “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.” (Gen 3:7) I’m sorry you feel this blog is tearing someone down, but in fact, it is tearing down her message. Kind of like when God told the Israelite’s to tear down the high places in the Old Testament. Somehow the people (all created in God’s image) were drawn away from God and decided to build their own altars instead of obeying and following His instructions. I feel this type of person (could be man OR woman) is drawing people away from God’s intended message. I also was drawn to this kind of person in the past, but understand now the folly of it. Please know I’m not trying to offend you, I’m just trying to bring some clarity.

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  7. I agree. This is a very timely warning. I take it as a warning and so should all who read it. Satan masquerades as a messenger of light to deceive even the elect if that were possible. We need to be as the Bereans were in Acts testing everything even what is good. Thank you for posting

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  8. I am not Christian but the message here resonates across many traditions and belief systems.
    Thank you for sharing it.
    (By the way, you are a very good writer, I like your prose as much as the content. )

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  9. Funny you should mention this: “She stood up and immediately launched into funny stories about herself. She talked about trips she’d taken. She dropped names of famous people she’d shared a stage with. She told more stories about herself”

    I become really aware recently of how many teachers/preachers/pastors tend to give sermons that are primarily actually about themselves.

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  11. So true and so well said. Saw this posted on Facebook yesterday. I shared it as well and 8 others have already shared it from my post. You are encouraging women in the truth! Praise the Lord –

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  12. Well gosh, that’s a sad story. But if you think women in general are just weak and gullible, I guess we should be glad you’re such a rare woman that can look through these things for us.

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    • The sarcasm in your response is actually not all that helpful here. If you have a point to make, try another way. This writer seems to be explaining her observations about a situation in which she found herself. She was troubled by what she perceives to be a problem within the Church today. This writer never states that she believes Christian women to be “weak and gullible”. As I read her testimony, it seems to be pointed toward encouraging all of us to place more value in wisdom and Biblical teaching than in humor and personal anecdotes. To be sure, there is no sin in enjoying wholesome entertaining stories, but would the pursuit of spiritual depth not also be of value?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I totally agree with the truths that you convey in this post! I believe we are a people more consumed with talking about ourselves that speaking about the Lord. Jesus! John the Baptist said that he must decrease so that the message of Jesus could increase. We have flipped that into increasing ourselves and just giving lip-service to the power of Jesus Christ!

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  14. Thank you for being kind and gracious as you point out the truth about the second speaker! What a godly response and example in a day and age where many make the distinct but in words that turn the hearers into elevating themselves (ironically) over the one who is not walking well. Thanks for making your point that chastens US, the readers, to be the ones that walk well rather than be the ones seeking that which will not truly satisfy!

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  15. Right on. A young lady I’ve known since her childhood posted this on her FB page. Intrigued, I read. Having read, I’m very encouraged. After 35 years of ministry, I’ve begun to wonder…will some folks begin to cut through the glitz and glamour? Now I think so. In the words of my generation…”keep on keeping on.”

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  16. In the end God does not care how popular we are, how many books we have written or how many scriptures we memorized or spoke. Have we put Him first, have we loved our neighbor, are we reading the word, are walking what we talk? Are we bearing fruit? Everyday I am convinced that I can dig a little deeper and know Jesus Christ like never before, it takes time and effort on our part. Its hard because the world is calling us to do other things and not put Him first. As an older woman I appreciate The Lord more and more each day and see how trivial many other things are that use to be a priority to me.
    This article put everything in to perspective in my opinion and is a great reminder that we need to use our time carefully. Blessings

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I appreciate your candor. I agree wholeheartedly with you. It is alarming how gullible we as women are when it comes to leadership. Continue to speak and write the truth about our Christianity.

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  18. This post has given me chills. I have noticed the trend of books and this type of Christianity and have been turned off by it. But to read it put into the words you did ,made me grieve in a manner that I haven’t yet. This is serious. I will be interceding on behalf of this because these (I choose to believe) are still our sisters in Christ. Just seriously misguided. We judge by good fruit…we just need to be bold enough to point to other women what good fruit is. I believe you did this. Thank you for your boldness!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Thank you for speaking up about true worship and a burden for the lost. I am 69 and long for the old paths being taught to our young women. Truths that will make them immovable no matter the height or length of the storm in our lives. “Tho He slay me, yet will I trust
    In Him. Job 13:15

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  20. Good post. I totally agree and have often seen similar scenarios. So concerning that people easily follow the person with the funny stories (and yes, one or two funny stories are good), and ignore the person who speaks spiritual truth.

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  21. This is one of the best blog posts that I have read in a while. Thanks for sharing this very important and true message. I do hope more women are encouraged to seek God truly. I hope I also continue to grow in Christ.
    God bless you.

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  23. Thank you for standing for truth. Just recently had my world shaken when one of my favorite teachers would not take a stand against homosexuality.
    The Bible is truth from beginning to end…our opinions or lack of them does not change God’s word. Thanks again.

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  24. I have participated in inductive Bible studyfor many, many years. These studies are primarily written by a very wise older woman and a ministry she founded called Precept. My love for the Word and zeal for seeing and hearing it taught accurately has grown over those years. The “fluffy” emotion lead “teaching” is very difficult for me to digest and it is everywhere. I always ask women to consider on thing when choosing to follow one’s teaching, when the lesson or video or book is over, who did you learn more about? God,/Jesus or the speaker/author?

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  26. This was very well written. Thank you for standing up for The Truth of The Gospel. God bless you.
    I highly recommend the movie ‘American Gospel’ available on ITunes and maybe Vimeo. It goes into depth about the false gospel that’s being preached by so many.

    His words are true. Many will turn away from the Truth and many will be deceived.

    God bless you!

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  29. Many thoughts ran through my mind as I read your post. One, when you described the scene at the tables, was wide is the door that leads to destruction and narrow is the gate to life (Matt. 7). The other thought, when you said she said she wanted to be bigger than Oprah. Exodus 20:7 – Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. There are 3 definitions of the word vain – 1.)having or showing an excessively high opinion of one’s appearance, abilities, or worth 2.) producing no result; useless 3.) having no meaning or likelihood of fulfillment. I was always told that this commandment was about simply using God’s actual name, God, Jesus, Jehovah, etc. in a way that was not pleasing (which I agree shouldn’t be done). However, a few years back (actually about 15) – (grin) – God gave me a teaching and part of it was taking His name in vain. The word name means “understood character and authority” – if you add this with the definition of the the word vain – We should not be using his character, his authority, and using it for self gain. I’m not saying it’s bad to make a living as a minister or teacher. But some minister to live or as a lively hood, other live to minister – that is a big difference

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