That time I called out false teaching in Christian publishing after reading a popular book

Photo by Paul Schafer on Unsplash

 

If you hang around my Facebook page, you may know that I occasionally post videos in which I share thoughts on a particular topic. I’m not one who enjoys making or being in selfie videos, so know that if I post a video, it’s because I truly care about the message and feel compelled to speak it verbally rather than using my default method of written words.

A little over a week ago, I posted a video that sprang out of several offline conversations I’d had with women about one particular Christian nonfiction book.

This is a popular book. It’s selling really, really, really well.

I was familiar with this author’s work well before this book, and I can attest the author is well-spoken, intelligent, a phenomenal storyteller and has the motivator gift in spades.

The author also misapplies Scripture, misrepresents Christian principles and skews the Christian worldview to be more appeasing to the secular market.

In the video, I did not speak directly to or about whether I think Christians should read this book. This, I believe, is a decision that falls solely to the individual. God gives each of us the ability to call upon His wisdom in making such decisions (James 1:5), so no one needs me to do it for them.

I also purposely abstained from publicly naming the book and author – and still do – because my intent was to point to a much bigger, commonplace issue in Christian publishing that goes well beyond whatever happens to be today’s bestseller.

For the purposes of the video, I did not want to get hung up on this one particular book but rather use it as a segue to the core message:

Christians need to have a solid understanding of God’s Word, its instructions and its Spirit so that regardless of what they read, they will more readily and wisely discern what is aligned with Scripture and what falls to the right or left.

For those of us who are actively investing in the next generation of believers, this practice of strengthening discernment muscles is especially important – not for our own sake, but for the sake of others. (Acts 20:29-30)

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Photo by Sarah Noltner on Unsplash

You cannot effectively teach what you don’t know how to do well.

That was my intended message in the video.

But, despite my intentions…

People still guessed what book I was referring to and had all sorts of things to say in response. My inbox filled with private messages asking for the name of the book, which I answered directly and honestly, but again in private.

As I watched the response to the video unfold, an interesting trend emerged.

Of those who commented, reacted and messaged, the majority understood the point I was making. But for those who disagreed, they took the stance of defending this book.

Defending this book.

Bear that in mind as we head into this next part.

Friends, again, I’m in no position to dictate what another adult reads. In fact, I do not aspire to any form of dictatorship except that over my own sin, God help me.

But I do aspire to never take lightly the misuse and misapplication of God’s Word and the mind-blowing loving work of the cross that affords us opportunities we could never deserve.

I love God-breathed scripture, perfect and untouchable (2 Timothy 3:16). I love it too much to not point out to my sisters in Christ the very real fact that false teaching is alive and well in Christian publishing, and we need to be on guard.

The author may be lovable, vulnerable and wise by worldly standards, but the second any author brings Scripture into their book and uses it as a means to back up a claim or promote a mindset, they forfeit the right to be “just an inspiring author.” Instead, they have brought accountability upon themselves.

They are accountable to honoring God’s Word in all they write.

Ultimately it is God who will hold them accountable, but here on earth, we, as believers, have every biblical right to discern whether an author who calls upon Christ’s name and reputation to make a point is honoring the Holy Word Of God.

Not only do we have the right, we are wise to do so.

“For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach–and that for the sake of dishonest gain.” Titus 1:10-11

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

God does not take kindly to anyone using His name, fame or work to further a personal agenda or bring attention to their own name rather than to His own.

“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1

My experience in posting this video and watching the reaction has also convicted me to be more attentive and prayerful in using biblical truths in my own writing.

Am I pointing people to God more so than my socials? Am I giving ALL credit for my successes to the work of Christ within me?

Will I be one to whom God the Almighty will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”? (Matthew 25:23)

Or will I be one of those who on that day will call, “Lord! Lord!” but Jesus will look me straight in the eye and say, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you worker of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:22-23)?

God save me from my own flesh.

Save us all.

Read wisely,

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If you want help building Bible study muscle, download “Getting Daily Quiet Time, Without Adding to Your Schedule,” a free gift to my monthly newsletter subscribers (BEFs, best email friends).


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “That time I called out false teaching in Christian publishing after reading a popular book

  1. I love you Sara and the unwavering character you reveal in all you do. Thank you for your steadfastness in presenting and upholding truth in the face of winds of culture that press from every direction. Stand strong sister!

    Like

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