Responses to the Most Frequently Raised Discernment Objections

Many of our visitors are aware that we recently published a White Paper on Discernment.  In doing the research for our paper we came across a piece by Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley written in June 2016 where she responds to those who take her to task for “naming names.” Her answer to #6 “You’re being unkind, unloving, ungodly, divisive, hateful, self-righteous, mean, critical, etc. for calling out false teachers” is spot on.

Bereans will find Michelle’s responses to the opposition a great help in contending with scoffers.  She writes:


Discernment- it’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it. While I’m a women’s discipleship blogger rather than a discernment blogger, discernment is part of discipleship. And it’s sorely lacking among Christian women today, which is why it’s regularly featured in my writing.

I’ve been very encouraged by the hundreds of e-mails, messages, and comments I’ve received from women who have turned away from false teachers or helped their loved ones and churches to forsake false doctrine because of something I have written. (I claim absolutely no credit for that. God and His word get all the glory. He is the one who changes hearts, not me.) It’s such a blessing to hear from so many women who are actively pursuing Christ and the truth of His word.

Unfortunately, there are also occasional comments and messages from women who are disciples of the false teachers I warn against, who take me to task for doing so. The same unscriptural accusations are raised again and again against me and against others who take a biblical stand against false teachers and false doctrine.

Here, in no particular order, are the most frequently raised objections to my discernment work and my answers to them. Many readers have told me that these same objections have been raised to them when they warn others of false teachers. Please feel free to use this article as a resource if these objections are raised with you.

1. Did you contact Ms. Twisted Sister in obedience to Matthew 18:15-20 before publishing this article about her?

No, I have not confronted Ms. Twisted Sister about her false teaching. Here’s why:

a. The Matthew 18 passage does not apply to public false teaching. It is about sin in the local congregation where you actually know the offender personally and have access to him/her. It has to do with correcting sin in the local church and removing the offender from the local church if she refuses to repent. Jesus, Paul, and others refuted public false teaching publicly without following the (again, inapplicable) steps in Matthew 18 many times. D.A. Carson and Josh Buice have each written excellent articles further explaining the inapplicability of this passage to public false teaching.

b. I have no doubt that others have confronted her about these things. Plus, she has a Bible and supposedly knows it well enough to teach it. If so, then she is well aware of what the Bible says about these issues. If not, she does not know the Bible well enough to be teaching (James 3:1).

c. I have attempted plenty of times to contact people like Ms. Twisted Sister. One of two things happens: either I’m ignored altogether, or one of her underlings gets back in touch with me to defend her. It’s a complete waste of time.

d. What if I had contacted Ms. Twisted Sister and she flatly refused to repent of the false doctrine she’s teaching? Would you then be in full support of my article which warns against her? No? Then whether or not I attempted to contact her is not the issue you have with this article, so why bring it up?

2. You say that Ms. Twisted Sister is in disobedience to Scripture because she preaches to men. You’re just as guilty because you have a blog and social media pages that men can read.

All this accusation does is to demonstrate the accuser’s lack of understanding of Scripture and how to correctly study it in context, which are fruits of sitting under the “instruction” of false teachers who don’t train people in proper hermeneutics.

Having a blog in the public square for women that men trespass on is not the same thing as intentionally and unrepentantly preaching to men in the church setting as I’ve explained in further detail in this article.

Furthermore, when trespassing takes place, who is at fault- the person trespassed upon or the trespasser himself? If a man is improperly receiving biblical instruction from a blog for women the man is the one at fault, not the woman blogger who has no intention of instructing him.  Continue reading

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12 Responses to Responses to the Most Frequently Raised Discernment Objections

  1. Manny1962 January 30, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

    Great article! Today people don’t want the bitter medicine that’s called truth, they want their pet peeves addressed, their rockstar-idol-preachers untouched and they want to be coddled by an unreal god. The truth of the matter is quite different, God does judge and disciplines, God is beyond just, and rest assured if you’re not being pruned (put on time out) you’re not His. He disciplines His own……… He leaves the false teachers be, they’re wantonly headed to their due reward, even after being warned their authoritarian pride, their want of adulation, their want of prominence at the head of the table keeps their eyes blind, they claim of serving The Lord is overshadowed by their false teachings.

  2. Sola Scriptura January 30, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

    As for naming names, my KJV Bible could not make it any more clear…we are to MARK and avoid false teachers:
    “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭16:17-18‬ ‭KJV‬‬

    I know I go to this passage often too, but remember Paul challenged the beloved apostle Peter directly, publicly and without any concern for Peter’s reputation in Galatians 2, when Peter was becoming a legalist and a hypocrite. The reputation of men and women do not matter!! We must defend the gospel without fear and without being a respector of persons. If one chooses to be a teacher they must understand that they are not preaching themselves, but Christ Jesus, thus, if they are in error they should want to be corrected. It that isn’t how it is.
    So many Christian leaders today seem so proud, so greedy and so in love with self over God. They use God to build temporal kingdoms, full of fancy buildings and weathy, handsome people. But it will all burn in the end unless they repent and turn to the real, biblical Jesus Christ before it’s too late. Only by preaching the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sin, are they true ministers of God. I challenge everyone who reads this great article to hold their pastors, teachers, friends and selves to the only true standard…the word of God. Time is short and we all must do whatever it takes to be found in truth, watching patiently, lovingly and bravely for his glorious appearing.

  3. Manny1962 January 30, 2017 at 7:42 pm #

    Oh AMEN my brother! Amen! We must hold ourselves and our teachers accountable, it’s not as if we don’t have a litmus test!

    “by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” this is today!

  4. D. Mason January 31, 2017 at 2:47 am #

    wow… I really needed to read this tonight. its a long story.. but it’s nice to be reassured that I am not alone in this fight to get the truth out about false teachers.

    • Manny1962 January 31, 2017 at 8:37 am #

      Good morning D. Mason,

      You’re definitely not alone! This battle is heating up daily. As our Lord Jesus gets closer to returning the enemies of the cross will become more crass and less tolerant to correction! Our God is pruning the world, separating His bride from churchianity, we keep warning everyone, not many listen. The pride of this world, the pride of religion and the pride of the heart is a temptation that’s hard to overcome, only Jesus can break those bonds. Our job as Bereans and watchmen is to point out error, to stand up for the name of Christ, and to be ready in or out of season to contend for the faith. No one needs to be a student of eschatology these days to see what is happening in this world. It’s an exciting time to be alive as we see Revelation unfurling before our eyes! And the promises of our God coming to light! Maranatha! May our great and awesome God bless you and encourage you to keep on fighting for His glorious Name!

  5. Q January 31, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    Men trespass on?!?

    • berlorac January 31, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

      Yeah, Q, that is an alarming thing to say, so I went over to the author’s original post. I found that a man questioned her abou that very statement. Here is her (Michelle Lesley’s) response, slightly redacted:

      [[I have a number of godly male readers, including several pastors, who read my blog for a variety of reasons: they’re interested in a female perspective on various church/biblical issues, they want to use my perspective to better understand…their wives or female church members, …they’re keeping tabs on me to make sure…ladies [they know] are taught properly, they don’t have time to vet a certain Christian teacher, so they use my information…as a resource, and there are those who are friends, whom I’ve asked to keep up with my blog so they can offer me correction as needed.

      [[My thought is that any of those (or similar) reasons are fine and don’t fall under the spirit of 1 Timothy 2:12. What I do feel would fall under the spirit of that passage would be a man seeking biblical instruction from me for his own personal walk with the Lord… I’d feel scripturally uncomfortable if a man were using that as the basis for his quiet time rather than using something written by a man, or just studying his Bible.

      [[I guess the question I would ask myself if I were a male reader is: What are my reasons for reading this? Is my motivation to receive instruction in Scripture that should really be coming from a male teacher or straight from God’s word?]]

      I would not classify a man reading a woman’s Biblical exegesis for “his own personal walk with the Lord” as trespassing. As you and I have discussed in the past, I pointed out that Apollos received Biblical instruction from Priscilla, and so that tells me that it is a man’s prerogative to do so. He’s not “trespassing.”

      I also don’t see the distinction between men who are reading her blog to get a “female perspective on various church/biblical issues” or “better understand…female church members” and men who are reading her blog “seeking biblical instruction.” How is it that a Biblical perspective on “women’s issues” must be gleaned from a woman, but a man seeking “biblical instruction” should do so from a man? Are not “women’s issues” addressed in the Bible and, therefore, part of a man’s Biblical instruction? And, if “women’s issues” are not addressed in the Bible, then they’re not real issues, are they?

  6. berlorac January 31, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    I also don’t get point #7:

    [7. Ms. Twisted Sister may not always be right but that doesn’t mean she’s a false teacher. We all get things wrong.

    Following that logic, I would be accusing every pastor in the history of the New Testament church of being a false teacher, including Paul and the apostles, because they have all made mistakes in their preaching at some point. And I’m certainly not doing that.]

    Huh?? The Apostle Paul made mistakes in his preaching? Where does she get that?

    • Q February 1, 2017 at 11:48 am #

      Hey berlorac,

      Good points, truth is truth, it doesn’t depend on whether one is male or female or on ones perspective, there may be different applications but not different understandings.

      I think the reference to Paul making mistakes in preaching must be an assumption in his defense of himself in trial or again an assumption based on that no one is perfect so he must have made mistakes? I wouldn’t want to go down any of those roads.

      My point was how can you offer a public blog and if someone reads it call it trespassing if the person is the wrong sex? Is that a stretch to justify women teaching scripture to men?

      Perhaps then that should be clear on on the front page – WARNING MEN: You May or May Not Be Trespassing, You Decide (either way it’s okay, I have other men reading here to make sure I’m not wrong)

      • berlorac February 1, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

        Q, I wouldn’t want to go down those roads regarding Paul, either. Is she saying that Paul’s oral preaching was sometimes in contradiction to his epistles? He was an apostle and prophet, so I don’t get why she would think his spoken word to have been subject to mistakes.

        As to your last paragraph: [Perhaps then that should be clear on on the front page – WARNING MEN: You May or May Not Be Trespassing, You Decide (either way it’s okay, I have other men reading here to make sure I’m not wrong)]

        Hmm. So… “Hey ladies, I’m a teacher. I have the gift of teaching given me by God. You would do well to heed my teaching because I have knowledge and authority, BUT I may not always be right, so I have men to correct me.”

        Not good.

  7. A.L. February 1, 2017 at 9:13 pm #

    He is my take. It is clear from Titus and Timothy that women are not to hold leadership positions in the church. This is consistant with the old testament where we saw male priests. The Apostles were men. God wants male church leadership and the teaching of men in that setting. Older women were told to teach what is good. To teach younger women to love their kids and husbands. The setting for Titus is the local church. Today we have women teaching Theology to women outside of their church through internet and books. I as a woman can witness to men and correct them about misunderstandings in scripture as Priscilla did. I don’t think I should be teaching theology in a setting that gives the impression of authority. I see women with ministries where they publicly speak behind podiums to an audience of women as if they had authority when they have none. I see this as a subtle way of exercising authority.and getting a pass cause they are speaking to women. I don’t think these women are malicious or intentionally doing this I think they are misguided. I believe women should disciple other women in the context of a church. The women will know each other and they will be under the authority of the local church. There should be no exercise of authority of one over the other. That’s my $.02

  8. Manny1962 February 21, 2017 at 9:47 am #

    Stephen James Schneider

    Back as Dr. Franknfurter! LOL!

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