10 Signs the Christian Authors You’re Following are (Subtly) Teaching Unbiblical Ideas

10 Signs the Christian Authors You’re Following are (Subtly) Teaching Unbiblical Ideas

My friend, Alisa Childers, recently wrote a review of the bestselling book, Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis. It started a firestorm of online discussion about what makes someone a “Christian” author, what responsibility a self-identified Christian author has in promoting ideas consistent with biblical faith, and what harm there can be for Christians reading books that contain nonbiblical ideas.

I personally haven’t read the book, so I’m not going to comment on it specifically. But I will say I was extremely disappointed and saddened to see the kinds of comments supporters of the book wrote:

“It wasn’t meant to be a devotional.”

“She’s not teaching theology.”

“Our job is not to seek people out and hate them.”

“Stop competing! Just imagine what the non-Christians think about the McJudgies! We need to focus inward because the project within ourself is the most important work we will accomplish. Don’t use your blog to bring someone down.”

Unfortunately, such comments are representative of the lack of discernment common in the church today. If Alisa fairly characterized the claims of Hollis’s book, Hollis is promoting ideas that conflict with a biblical worldview. And when there is a concern that millions of women are consuming content from a Christian author that can lead them to embrace unbiblical ideas, we should be raising a warning flag and calling out for discernment in the body of Christ.

It’s not about being a “McJudgey.”

It’s about discerning biblical truth from non-truth…something the Bible consistently tells us to do.

While this post isn’t directly related to parenting (which I normally write about), it’s something that affects parenting. When parents readily incorporate popular but unbiblical ideas into their worldview, those ideas will affect how they raise their kids and the nature of the worldview they pass on.

The following are 10 signs that the Christian authors you’re following may be subtly teaching unbiblical ideas. I say “subtly” because I think most people would spot a problem immediately if a Christian said they didn’t believe in the Trinity. But it’s just as important to identify when less obvious warning signs—like the following—are present.

 

1. They say, “I love Jesus but…”

It’s become popular for writers to trumpet that they love Jesus but (fill in the blank). When you see a sentence start this way, be prepared for one of two things to follow.

First, it may be something that the author knows is contrary to what Jesus would have approved of. For example, if you Google “I love Jesus but,” you’ll find a whole industry of shirts, mugs, and other things that say “I love Jesus but I like to cuss.” Is this really something that glorifies the God you say you love? If you have to use “but” as a contrasting word between loving Jesus and making a statement about what you do and/or say, it’s probably not something to be proud of. When authors do this to be more likable to their audience, it’s often a sign that other unbiblical ideas will follow.

Second, it may be something that isn’t in contrast to loving Jesus at all, but the author wants you to think they’re different than the negative stereotype of Christians. For example, they’ll say something like, “I love Jesus but I’ll never claim I have all the answers”…implying, of course, that Christians normally claim they have all the answers. Non-believers may think Christians feel this way because Christians believe Christianity is a matter of objective truth, but that doesn’t mean Christians claim to have all answers or that acceptance of objective truth is problematic.

 

2. They make it a point to separate a relationship with Jesus from religion.

Unfortunately, the idea that Jesus somehow hates religion has become popular even amongst Christians who otherwise hold biblically solid beliefs. If Jesus truly hated religion, the popularity of this idea wouldn’t be an issue. The problem is that Jesus doesn’t hate religion. He hates false religion. Without writing an entire post on this (there’s a whole chapter in my next book about it), the bottom line is that there’s no need to separate Jesus from religion that is true. Christianity is simply the name for the religion whose set of beliefs center on who Jesus is and that calls us to know, worship, serve, and obey Him. In other words, Christianity is a religion centered on relationship.

When authors start writing negatively about “organized religion” in general, and place that in opposition to their own personal relationship with Jesus, it’s often because they are going to 1) challenge the idea of objective truth (thereby suggesting that uniform religious belief found in “organized religion” is bad) and/or 2) value their personal spiritual insights over God’s revelation to humankind through the Bible (personal experience becomes authority).

True religion glorifies God (James 1:27) and isn’t something Christians should denounce.

 

3. There’s a lot of talk about authenticity and messiness.

Authenticity simply means honesty. At first blush, it doesn’t sound like that has anything to do with the Bible, and, if anything, it seems like it should go hand-in-hand with the Bible. However, in practice, authors who emphasize how “messy” their lives are and how “authentic” they are going to be with you about that messiness often use the opportunity to normalize sin.

As with several of these points, this is not always the case. Some authors who speak in these terms use it as an opportunity to point back to God. But I’ve seen it go the other way more often than not, so it makes the list.

 

4. They promote the value of questions over the value of answers.

Another approach to “spirituality” that has become trendy is focusing more on raising questions about faith than sharing biblically sound answers. Authors who identify as progressive Christians sometimes go so far as to accuse other Christians of being afraid of questions and look skeptically upon anyone who attempts to answer the questions they raise.

Now, if you’ve read my blog for any amount of time (or my books, for that matter), you know that I’m all about raising tough faith questions with your kids…questions are extremely important. But questions also need to be addressed to the extent we can, given what the Bible tells us.

People who value questions more than answers are often uncomfortable with the idea of objective truth—that there is a truth independent of our personal experience. Everything Jesus taught assumed that there is truth independent of our personal experience, and that He is that truth. If an author is uncomfortable with the idea of objective truth, they’re uncomfortable with Jesus.

 

5. They confuse uncontroversial statements with moral positions.

One extremely popular author wrote on her Facebook page recently that she wanted to make it very clear where she stands on social issues. Getting “clear” on these things included making a completely uncontroversial statement for any Christian: she “cherishes the humanity of the LGBT community.”

All Christians should cherish the humanity of every community because we are all made in the image of God.

That’s never been a question.

But, of course, she said this implying that anyone who holds to a biblical view of marriage somehow does not cherish the humanity of the LGBT community. It’s a very misleading move to make a statement that no Christian should disagree with in order to suggest it’s something that those who take a different position than the author on a moral issue would disagree with.

 

6. They focus almost entirely on Christian action to the exclusion of belief.

Someone recently told me that people in his denomination don’t value apologetics (why there’s good reason to believe Christianity is true) because their apologetics are in their actions. This attitude, effectively, is what you see with many popular Christian authors today, even when they say nothing about apologetics specifically. For them, Christianity is all about what you do in the world; it’s no longer about believing in Jesus as Lord and coming to a saving knowledge of Him. This kind of Christianity is hardly different than secular humanism. It just comes with a fond but relatively mild appreciation for Jesus on top…like a candied cherry on a sundae of good works that can easily be removed.

The Bible is clear that belief matters…in an eternally significant way. For more on this, see my post, Is How We Live More Important Than What We Believe?

 

7. They use the word “faith” to mean some kind of unbounded belief system about God.

One bestselling Christian author shared the following quote on social media recently: “Faith is not a belief. Faith is what is left when your beliefs have all been blown to hell.” This, sadly, was met with thousands of likes, loves, and shares. It’s also a biblically inaccurate definition of faith.

The Bible does not present faith as blind belief or as believing in spite of evidence. The Bible repeatedly shows that faith is believing in what you have good reason to believe is true.

 Biblical faith is not the broken pieces that remain when you’ve lost a bunch of other beliefs, as this quote suggests. Any time you see an author promoting an inaccurate idea of faith, it should be a warning flag. In this case, the author is well known for writing books about her struggles with the Bible. It’s not surprising at all that she would share such a quote.

 

8. They regularly encourage you to “be true to yourself.”

If you frequently hear from an author that you need to be true to yourself, you can bet they’re on shaky theological ground. As my 9-year-old daughter said when I asked if she thought people should be true to themselves, “You shouldn’t always be true to yourself, because if you want to be a murderer that would be really wrong.” #basiclogic

Simply put, this kind of “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” secular wisdom is just that…secular. It’s not very inspirational to be more true to yourself. As Christians, we should be inspired to be less like our sinful nature and more like Jesus.

 

 9. They treat judging others as the ultimate sin.

For many people today, the ultimate sin is judging another. Jesus doesn’t tell us not to judge…He tells us not to hypocritically judge and to judge with right judgment (e.g., John 7:24). Friends, we have to be discerning! Discerning between truth and non-truth doesn’t mean you are spiritually condemning a person, as people so often believe. Only God knows the human heart, and we are surely not called to determine whether someone else is saved. But we sure can and should address what the Bible says about right belief and right action. If you’re following someone who says things like, “Don’t stick around if want to judge others!” “Our job isn’t to judge, it’s to love!” or “This is a judgment-free zone!” steer clear. It likely means something very different than you think.

 

10. They make claims about what it means to love others without addressing what it means to love God.

When we follow the greatest commandment—to love God—it informs what it means to follow the second commandment—to love others. It’s not up to us to define the word. There are many authors (who identify themselves as Christians) today who champion unbiblical ideas of what it means to love others, and it’s rooted in ignorance of the commandment to first love God. I saw one such author this week say that Christians are unloving for being opposed to abortion, for example. But when we first love God, and understand that we are made in His image and every human therefore has extraordinary value, we simply can’t conclude that loving others means allowing them to take the life of another human, no matter the circumstance.

 

Be vigilant. Test everything. And hold fast to what is good and true.

79 Comments

  1. Lara on September 25, 2018 at 2:26 PM

    Love, love, love these wise words and firm admonishments to be ever vigilant in our faith…. thank you!

  2. Ailin on September 25, 2018 at 3:53 PM

    Excellent article! Thank you for articulating so wisely what many of us believe to be true.

  3. Piper Green on September 25, 2018 at 4:27 PM

    Thank you so much for writing this. So many Christian women need to hear this.

  4. RebeccaLynn on September 25, 2018 at 4:28 PM

    Natasha, I just want you to know how much I appreciate your voice, and Alisa’s! I just started writing and blogging a few years ago and it’s been a process — and is increasingly becoming a lonely and hostile one the closer I am drawn to the message God has put on my heart: DISCERNMENT. I see such a need for it – and especially in female Christian writers and communities. Let’s just say I quickly realized not everyone who calls you “sister” and “friend” is willing to do so when you start writing about truth and discernment. You hit the nail on the head with this! It’s so refreshing to see bold voices speaking about the NEED for our discernment and that we start obeying the FIRST and GREATEST commandment (loving God above all else) over the increasingly popular ones (loving self and others above all else, including God). Thank you for your writing, for your bold faith, and for giving fellow Christian writers like me the hope that we can also be brave and bold with the truth that sets us free.

    • Bri on September 26, 2018 at 8:28 AM

      Yes Rebecca!! Know you’re not alone. This message resonated with me deeply as well. So refreshing to hear strong biblical admonishment in the face of so much secular humanism cloked as loving Christianity. Keep speaking the truth!

    • Miranda on January 18, 2019 at 4:17 AM

      I agree. As a Christian woman who has pushed the envelope of dsicernment on my blog, in the last year, I too have noticed how many “sisters” have been nasty. To the point of accusing me of trying to start arguments. It’s been hard but God keeps pushing.

  5. Gina on September 25, 2018 at 4:41 PM

    Love this! My husband bought me the “Girl, Wash Your Face” book upon a recommendation from a Christian coworker. I couldn’t finish the book. I got about halfway, maybe, and struggled with it because a number of her ideas are not biblically sound, but new agey. Too many “Christians” don’t even understand what a biblical worldview is anymore, and some don’t even know the Word itself! It’s so disheartening.

    • marianhere on January 17, 2019 at 9:34 AM

      Amen. So good to see others who I can identify with.

  6. Dan Daniel on September 25, 2018 at 4:42 PM

    Why aren’t pastors teaching a Biblical worldview from the pulpits ? During the War for Independence the British were more afraid of one particular American regiment than any other. It was the Black Robed Regiment, in other words the pastors. Our pastors need to become the Black Robed Regiment of today and proclaim a Biblical worldview from the pulpits before it’s too late.

    • Bridget on October 17, 2018 at 7:54 PM

      Dan, I’m so glad I attend a church where the Senior Pastor DOES teach what a Biblical world view is supposed to be. And I’m so glad Natasha shared this insightful message!

    • Lauren on October 25, 2018 at 2:42 AM

      Our pastor does and all three of our campuses are busting at the seams! People are hungry for the truth; not a watered-down version of what the world says Christianity should be. I appreciate this post very much.

    • Sara on January 21, 2019 at 2:05 PM

      Agree, and I just wanted to post something to this comment even though it’s 3 months after you wrote it. If anyone wants a daily analysis of the Christian world view, check out Albert Mohler’s podcast. It’s phenomenal.

  7. Lynn Lewis on September 25, 2018 at 5:05 PM

    Very wise commentary!

  8. Francis on September 25, 2018 at 5:29 PM

    Love your work, Natasha! And great article! Really well-written and explained.

    I just have a question or clarification I want to ask about, regarding the “be true to yourself” bit.

    I guess, the way I see, it depends on people’s notion of what “true to yourself” means, doesn’t it?

    Whether true to yourself refers to our sinful nature, or to our identity with God. Because personally, the way I’ve understood it, is that since we came from God, and we are created in His image and likeness, doesn’t our identity with God constitute as our true selves?

    And in that respect, doesn’t our sinful nature refer to our false self and false identity?

    In other words, maybe it’s just a matter of teaching people that their true self isn’t their flesh, but their God-breathed spirit.

    What are your thoughts on that? 🙂

    • Cindy on September 27, 2018 at 4:43 AM

      I love the insightful way you shared this truth. We often live as if our sinful flesh is our true self but we were bought with the precious blood of our Savior so that his life giving Spirit would transform us into our “true” self. Thank you for sharing!

    • Diane on January 17, 2019 at 10:51 AM

      That’s an interesting viewpoint, Francis.

      I believe the Bible teaches that our true self is the flesh. Hence the reason we must die to self daily.
      “Be true to yourself” seems to put the emphasis in the wrong direction. We need to be true to God and His Word.

      I do believe, however, that we are new creatures in Christ, so there is a balance there.

    • Kelly Mayer on March 28, 2019 at 7:51 AM

      Hi Francis, I do not believe the Bible tells us to be true to ourselves, in fact, quite the opposite. It tells us the heart is deceitfully wicked; that we are to DIE to ourselves; that we are to sacrifice ourselves for God and others (turn the other cheek, go two miles instead of one, lay down our life for our friends, etc). I agree with Diane when she says we need to be true to God and His Word. If we focus wholeheartedly on that, the result will be that He will protect and provide for us and we will have nothing to worry about. If we focus on ourselves, we will end up following our flesh down roads to places we don’t want to be. Even after being redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, my focus should NEVER be on my self, but on the One who gave His life for me. If there are needs, He will provide. If changes are needed, He will show me. I will never go wrong crucifying my flesh and keeping my eyes on the Author and Finisher of my faith.

  9. Ruben on September 25, 2018 at 5:33 PM

    Well done!

  10. Jessica on September 25, 2018 at 6:01 PM

    Thank you so much for this, Natasha! Discernment is so important as we move about in this world today. As Christians, we have to be on guard against the subtle schemes of devil at all times, it’s not option. I believe a lot of the authors you discussed want so badly be “relatable” that they trade truth for the idea they will be seen as being more real than the next streotypical Christian. One other thing, I’d like to add is that we as the body of Christ should learn to take godly correction from each other if we do fall into error with the beliefs you described in this post. I find that some people get extra defensive when you ask them to measure whatever they are saying against the Word. That’s not a good sign…

    • Crystal on September 26, 2018 at 7:35 AM

      Absolutely! And this…
      “…we as the body of Christ should learn to take godly correction from each other if we do fall into error with the beliefs you described in this post. I find that some people get extra defensive when you ask them to measure whatever they are saying against the Word.”
      Yes!🙌🏽

  11. David Worley on September 25, 2018 at 6:06 PM

    Great read. I do question what you said about taking the life of another is never right. What about protecting your family from an intruder or times of war. My understanding of the work kill in the Bible means Murder. No we should never Murder under any conditions but it is at times that we have to take a life to save others. I know as I am a retired Police Officer.

  12. Robin on September 25, 2018 at 6:59 PM

    Yeah! Please continue to speak boldly for absolute truth! Lord, bless and strengthen your servant. Protect her and her family. Continue to grant her wisdom and boldness. In Jesus’s name, amen.

  13. Kevin Yi on September 25, 2018 at 7:20 PM

    I LOVE that you talk about all of this head on. If only the Christian publishers would utilize the same kind of discernment.

    • Connie Condra on March 8, 2019 at 1:59 PM

      Isn’t the term “christian publisher” an oxymoron? There are too many false teachers writing books that foster and further false doctrine–and they are being published. Like everything else in the world, money rules the publishing world.

  14. Aminta on September 25, 2018 at 7:58 PM

    #truth
    Thank you for saying this. I’ve been saying it for over a year and trying to get my words together. This was well written and right on!

  15. Bob on September 26, 2018 at 12:44 AM

    Natasha – great column here. Thanks. Re your discussion in point #9: often people use the word “judge” sloppily.
    What people often mean in saying “Don’t judge me/others” is “Don’t condemn me/others.” They incorrectly acquiesce to judge = condemn. You’re right that we are to judge with right judgment, yes. Yet we can discern-determine-judge rightly – as you did in this column – without condemning.

  16. Damien on September 26, 2018 at 5:17 AM

    You know, I saw the title and legitimately groaned about what you would go on to detail in the “Judgy McJudgerton” blog comments. I went to read because I wanted to see what my pre-judgment would say after a thorough read.

    What I discovered was some highly sobering truth. But this is not a new problem. Shucks, ever since Paul and Peter locked horns about circumcision for the new Gentile believers, we have had conflict. I’m actually ok with it. I’m also ok with people publishing inaccurate theological statements. What I loathe along with you is when someone publishes old heresies with new window dressing and people form new denominations out of it.

    The only point I really dispute you made is your fourth. Essentially, I believe it is completely acceptable to leave some highly impactful questions unanswered. These are big questions, like those of the question of suffering, the nature of the trinity, the essence of heaven, and the accurate experience of the love of God. In them, I believe we should answer what we can but continue to leave the floating question mark over it.

    The reason why is that in any unanswered question, there are absolute non-neogotiable truths tangential to the relevant question that will serendipitously answer while we seek these big ticket questions. I don’t worry about relativism so much because if relativism is honest, it must allow the position that relativism is also false. If relativism is honestly investigated, then it means that the solid truth that only allows the truth can shine through all of the well articulated bits of garbage thought.

    Thank you for your work.

    • Kelly Mayer on March 28, 2019 at 7:55 AM

      Yes, some questions can’t be answered, but I believe her point was with regard to focus. Do we worship the idea of questions and resist having them answered (even when real answers are available)? Or are we asking questions for the purpose of allowing the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to teach us? The point is that Truth is absolute and many questions CAN be answered. There’s nothing wrong with some floating question marks, as long as we aren’t allergic to periods and exclamations marks.

  17. Linda on September 26, 2018 at 6:10 AM

    This post is why I very rarely jump on the bandwagon of the newest, hottest titles that seemed to be “hawked” loudly in Christian mags, facebook and even the Christian bookstores. It has been said we are a Biblically illiterate society…as much in the church as outside. We cast away the study of apologetics and doctrine because they take time, tax our poor little brains and don’t give that sense of instant gratification. Thank you for sounding the clarion call for discernment! It is my prayer we use the discernment God gives those who are His when shopping for that next great read.

  18. Leslie Nease on September 26, 2018 at 7:03 AM

    Very solid post, Natasha! Thank you so much for taking the time to write it. I actually use the “I’m not religious, but I have a relationship with Jesus Christ” quote often, and this made me pause and consider my heart in this. I know I don’t mean anything evil or against the Bible in saying this. I do think it’s a distinction that people who are raised in legalistic, graceless churches seem to use in order to separate a life that is religious (“Hey God, look how good I am!”) and a life of relationship with Jesus (“I have nothing in my own strength, God, but look at Jesus in me!”). I was raised to believe that God was always mad, always ready to pounce on me with every thing I did. It was such a powerful revelation when I realized, at the age of 33, that Jesus is NOT religion, but He’s real, He’s my God and He’s my justification and sanctification. It’s not always as sinister as you imply in your article, but I do see your point. I just want to make sure that we are careful and fair in our efforts to discern, so we don’t always lump people into categories based on something they say. That can be dangerous, too. Very powerful writing, though. Thank you again. 🙂

  19. Erin on September 26, 2018 at 7:15 AM

    Well said- except I have a question about #7… it seems you restate exactly what the quote says, but then disagree with it. Possibly I am reading the quote differently. I read it as: “faith isn’t some basic, unfounded belief based on feeling. Faith is the rock-solid bedrock of Truth.” Perhaps that’s how I define my faith in Christ, though so I am putting my words in the place of the quote. But if we define faith in God as unwavering because it has grounding to stand against trial, then reason dictates it would be the only thing left after all other ‘minor’ beliefs have been weeded out. (For instance:
    I believe God loves me and wants good for me. I have Faith that God knows better than I.
    Both are true statements, but the room for my subjectivity in the former would allow it to be blown away in face of dire hardship, leaving only the latter- which leaves the subjectivity up to Him; Faith is more concrete and less-subjective. )
    I’d love some clarity on this if you have time!

  20. Sara on September 26, 2018 at 7:43 AM

    Thank you so much for this well thought out and timely wisdom. I aspire to be a Christian writer, and even before I read this piece, I knew that I’m not quite ready to launch any messages just yet. In fact, I may not ever write one article, blog post, or book, unless and until the Lord prompts me to write. If I do write something, I don’t plan to publish it until after I have shown what I plan to “put out there” to people who I know can compare it with Biblical truth and offer corrections as needed. Your article inspires me to continue learning, growing, and letting God shape me as I wait to see whether writing is something that is part of His plan for me.

  21. Virginia on September 26, 2018 at 7:47 AM

    Oh my soul yes.

  22. Cindy on September 26, 2018 at 7:57 AM

    Wow this is so refreshing! Solid insight that nails all the reasons I cringe while reading social media posts of many popular Christian authors today. Thank you for your clarity and straightforwardness. I’m sharing this.

  23. Hollie Phillips on September 26, 2018 at 8:17 AM

    Hello. Thank you for this interesting article. I hope it generates some interesting discussions.

    A couple thoughts came to mind as I was reading:

    “2. They make it a point to separate a relationship with Jesus from religion.”
    There is definitely such thing as the Body of Christ, and as such, we are called to treat each other like a community, like a family in fact. As with any large body of people, rules, regulations and traditions are required to keep order. However, it must be frequently tested whether those rules and traditions are Biblical and useful, or whether they have just become institutionalized because of precedent. We follow Christ, but we are not, after all, perfect. No human institution will be perfect. I believe it’s totally within our duty as Christians to examine from time to time how we are implementing Biblical principals, and those who examine shouldn’t be considered heretical.

    “4. They promote the value of questions over the value of answers.”
    I had similar thoughts to the previous point. My Biblical understanding is never going to be perfect. The Biblical understanding of my pastors is never going to be perfect. Yes, discernment is key, and sometimes an interpretation of a passage just doesn’t ring true, and I don’t know why. I’m okay with that. I’m okay with the fact that I have a question that may not be answered for me in my lifetime, and that fact does not detract from my faith. I recognize that people have different temperaments and personalities. Some have to have clear-cut answers, while others operate just fine on some ambiguity. The latter doesn’t preclude a person from being a Christian and having faith in Jesus as Lord, and the former type of person is just as important and necessary for being the glue that holds institutions together. Besides all that, it’s important to note that the greatest truths are discovered through the hardest questions (and we also need a certain type of person to ask those questions).

    Thank you for your time in reading my long response!

  24. […] FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO CONTINUE READING: 10 Signs the Christian Authors You’re Following are (Subtly) Teaching Unbiblical Ideas […]

  25. Jeanine on September 26, 2018 at 10:58 AM

    First time reader and WOW. I have had a heavy burden lately to encourage women to KNOW the Word of God because so many false teachings are infiltrating our churches and homes. Your voice in this is so accurate and important! I will be returning for more. Thank you for speaking out and going against the grain:)

  26. Patricia A Hallam on September 26, 2018 at 10:59 AM

    In many cases discernment has given way to feelings and Gods children are lured away to embrace yet further deception. Seduced by the yeast of error the vulnerable will slide further away from the truth. Our faith needs to be firmly grounded on the solid rock of the word of God not the shifting sands of modernism, progressiveism or the blending of paganism with Christianity.

  27. Eryn Lynum on September 26, 2018 at 2:11 PM

    Thank you for this. May we all be those who live (and write) according to 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

  28. Patricia A Mooney on September 26, 2018 at 7:57 PM

    We have “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” and Jesus is “the way, the TRUTH” and the life.

    I thought “great article, with good points (good because they are based on Biblical truth)”. No criticism (other than saying that the issue of “unanswered questions” has now been dealt with, in more detail).

    Then i read comments – must take issue with the segregationist idea that this blog post is “for women” – it’s perfectly suitable for women, men, girls, and boys, alike. It’s neither “validated” nor “invalidated” by being written by a woman, what matters is “is it speaking the truth”. There is not “one truth for females and a different truth for males”. Christianity is not about “the males follow Jesus and the females follow Mary” (as appears to be the practice and mentally of Roman Catholicism, even if they don’t admit it). There is one gospel for all.

    We need a lot less “segrgationism” in the church. “This book/video/meeting/course/group is for women, that one is for men” has no Biblical precedent – it’s pure 20th/21st century worldly “niche marketing”.

  29. Steph Johnson on September 26, 2018 at 9:02 PM

    Bravo! A thousand times, bravo!

  30. Abby on September 27, 2018 at 3:13 AM

    Great post. As a Christian blogger, I am constantly seeking the balance between being ‘real’ in my writings and staying true to the Word. – and never misguiding my readers. It’s a huge responsibility and I don’t take it lightly. I am going to use your post as a ‘checklist’ each time I write.

  31. Linzey on September 27, 2018 at 5:42 AM

    I really enjoyed reading this. I agree with most of these statements as well! I do think sometimes Christian authors say things like, “All Christians should cherish the humanity of every community because we are all made in the image of God.” because there are some people who don’t do this. I recently had a conversation with a friend about the damage that unhealthy churches can do to someone’s walk with Jesus and this topic came up. I understand what you’re saying, and as I’m typing this I’m thinkjng, you need to be discerning! Haha. I guess that’s what you’re saying too! Thank you for being brave enough to share this with the world. Discernment is so important in our day to day lives and interactions and with what we consume on social media, in books, on the radio and TV….and sometimes I forget to be discerning when I’m listening to a Christian. Thanks for the reminder!

  32. Danielle on September 27, 2018 at 6:32 AM

    Thank you, Natasha. I facilitate two bible study groups and am raising three kids (with my husband). It is so hard to speak the truth in love when a dear sister or brother introduces an unbiblical (or even anti-Christian) idea to the group. As a leader, I am accountable to God to present the truth, and yet, how it is done could easily damage the relationship should it be done without gentleness and respect. Thank you for consistently writing gently, respectfully, and without compromising the truth that sets men free. I appreciate you, Alisa, and others like Gloria Furman, who give moms tools to grow in our faith and to lead the next generation to Christ.

  33. L on September 28, 2018 at 7:26 AM

    I was SO thankful this somehow landed in my inbox. (I didn’t sign up for it, maybe my husband did?). And it led me to Alisa’s article, which was so good. Since Alisa’s comments are closed, I’ll comment here. I’ve been following Rachel Hollis on Instagram for over a year now and at times have found her very encouraging. But I also noticed times, after listening to her live streams, that I felt very discouraged. But here’s the thing, I never considered her a “Christian” author or speaker. Sure, she mentioned “church” and “Jesus” a little but after living in the L.A. area myself for a decade, I knew what that to often meant. A “feel good, whatever you want to hear” church and a fake “feel good, I’m cool with whatever” Jesus. I’ve never taken her small hints of Christianity or “Jesus-loving” seriously, especially in light of what she preaches. (Which set off a ton of red flags). And especially in light of her secular motivational speaker audience and gigs, which she has spent many years cultivating. I just listened from an, exhausted-mom-gotta-get-my-business-up-and-running-and-this-lady-made-her-business-work-so-she’s-encouraging, stand point. (That was a lottt of dashes, yikes. Haha). All this to say, I was appalled to read her book was published by a Christian publisher and that she was actually writing it from a “Christian author/speaker” prospective. I thought, “no way…how is she going to pull that off? She doesn’t have a Biblical worldview.” I’ve come to realize that there are cultural Christians and they will love her.. feel good, all roads lead to God, Jesus is your homeboy, book. Then there are Jesus-connected, Bible believing and walking Christian who will see all kinds of red flags. 🙁 “Christian” is a landmine word, you never know what you’ll get until you dig deeper, listen with discernment and pray. I’m super sad to find out she’s actually leading people down a non-Biblical road in Jesus’ name.
    🙁

  34. Elisabeth Wheatley on October 1, 2018 at 9:20 AM

    I like the way Lisa Bevere put it: “God hates all that unmakes love.” Where sin abounds, grace abounds more, but grace is to call us to repentance! Praise God He loves me as I am, but isn’t letting me stay as I am. He’s instead changing me from glory to glory!

  35. Anji Budzynski on October 3, 2018 at 5:59 PM

    You have succinctly written what I have been speaking for a few years. Sadly, I knew all of the people whom you referenced and have felt so sad about them leading multitudes of people astray with their new-age sound bites. It isn’t my place to denounce wrong teaching, but it is my place to speak God’s Word correctly to others. I take my role as a Christian speaker/writer/blogger very seriously and do not wish to lead anyone astray with my human feelings/thoughts. I want to be so entrenched in God’s Word that when I speak or write, that is what comes across – His Truth. Thank you for shining a beacon on the truth of an all-too popular worldview being embraced instead of a true Biblical worldview. We all have a responsibility to speak God’s Word in truth and not our own human feelings/views.

  36. Kendra on October 7, 2018 at 12:50 PM

    Thank you for this. I have been saddened time and time again by the lies of Who Jesus is and how Christians are supposed to act according to “a popular Christian author”. As I’ve watched other women allow the world to tell them what Christianity should look like instead of the Bible, I began to wonder if there was anyone else out there who would dare to stand up and have a voice, speaking actual truth. I’m thankful that you have.

  37. The Digital Round-Up # 25 – Delighting Grace on October 8, 2018 at 2:14 AM

    […] 10 Signs the Christian Authors You’re Following Are (Subtly) Teaching Unbiblical Ideas – Natasha Crain really hit the nail on this article. We as Christians are book lovers however our favorite writers may be adding some unbiblical stuff over their books. Here’s 10 signs to know it. […]

  38. Jamie Grossi on October 10, 2018 at 5:53 PM

    “However, in practice, authors who emphasize how “messy” their lives are and how “authentic” they are going to be with you about that messiness often use the opportunity to normalize sin.”

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you for writing this. This has been my observation for the past few years or so…. It’s so nice to know that I’m not alone in feeling this way! 😊

  39. Geoff English on October 15, 2018 at 2:50 AM

    Mrs Crain you’re a warrior, and I don’t mean in the modern female empowerment sense of the word, I mean in the gritty, medieval, macho sense of the word.

    You’re one of the manliest Christian apologists on the internet!

    Keep up the fearless stance on objective truth.

  40. Stan Love on October 30, 2018 at 10:53 AM

    Thank you Natasha, for your clarity of thought and word. We need thinkers and discerners like you to keep these matters in front of us.

  41. Gordon on January 12, 2019 at 3:54 AM

    I’m not a mom. I’m a dad. Preach, Girl! No more comment needed!

  42. Jeff K. on January 12, 2019 at 6:39 AM

    Excellent points and well written! Biblical discernment (along with biblical literacy) is a critical issue in the church today.

  43. Aja @ Principles of Increase on January 16, 2019 at 8:24 PM

    This was well-written and so true. Thank you for sharing!

  44. Carrie on January 17, 2019 at 7:45 AM

    Thank you!! Like a breath of fresh air! Very well written.

  45. Lauren Scott on January 17, 2019 at 8:18 AM

    Excellent article. I’m glad you listed “authenticity” along with the others.

  46. Françoise on January 17, 2019 at 8:31 AM

    Very well said! Great article.

  47. Mandie on January 17, 2019 at 11:26 AM

    I just asked my son if he wanted to go to a friends birthday party (they’re 4) and he said no. I asked him if he didn’t like said friend and he said he liked him, just not his brother. Then he proceeds to tell me he loves him though! To get this concept at 4 years of age makes my heart smile. He doesn’t hate him, he just doesn’t want to hang out with him. Doesn’t like his behavior!

    Thank you for sharing!

  48. AM on January 18, 2019 at 6:53 AM

    So good. Makes me really stop and reevaluate where my priorities lie. #1 loving God or #2 loving people. That is our church logo “loving God. Loving people.” And yet, how can I truly love others if I’m not daily loving God first 💕

  49. Cija on January 18, 2019 at 12:59 PM

    FANTASTIC! Keep up the good work!

  50. LARRY SIAH on January 18, 2019 at 2:28 PM

    A reminder so needed in such a time as this when writers/teachers try vie with each other to impress with their “insightful brilliance”. Trying to stand out by offering pioneering intellectual insights on spiritual matters. Seemingly brilliant on the surface but some of this stuff is self-serving.

    Good for the ego but at the expense of damaging the cause of Christ.

    A superb well-written article!

  51. Kulani McDermett on January 18, 2019 at 3:40 PM

    Natasha,
    Thank you for your voice in this! It is a difficult thing to explain to women that they simply cannot just latch onto every “fresh new voice” out there claiming to be Christian. SO many out there just grabbing up every “new” (& cleverly disguised) thing coming down the pike.

    On #5, the very last sentence there… I am agreeing with everything above that you say. I think I understand what you are trying to communicate; but can you clarify that sentence?

  52. Elisabeth Wood on January 20, 2019 at 8:11 AM

    Gold.

  53. Andrew Gilbertson on January 20, 2019 at 3:55 PM

    Bravo, and well said!

  54. Judy King on January 21, 2019 at 12:54 PM

    TRUTH! I stumbled on your blog and was initially dubious that it might be another ‘social Christian’ site. Thank you for rightly dividing the word of truth!

  55. Annette V on January 29, 2019 at 8:23 AM

    well written. You put things together very clearly and it’s much appreciated.

  56. T. I. Miller on February 5, 2019 at 6:43 AM

    I like to compare Christian book stores to drug stores. If a drug store tried to sell drugs that could sicken or kill you, all heck would rain down on them.
    Yet a Christian book stores puts spiritual poison on their shelves without fear of consequence. Their motto is buyer beware. That side step any and all responsibility. They have become the modern day money changers in the temple. The same for the publishers of these toxic publications.
    Woe unto them for their simony. Woe unto every pastor/shepherd who lets the wolves attack the sheep. Do these pastors fear man more than God?
    They should read Jer. 23 to their Sunday congregation. They should apply Eph. 4:11-16 to themselves as their utmost for His highest.
    Loving anything or anyone more than God is Idolatry.
    There can be no unity apart from truth.

  57. Gary Avants on February 22, 2019 at 10:24 AM

    Hi Natasha,

    Thanks for the check. I am a Sci-fi writer and podcaster who is a Christian. Our team’s desire is to be a light and witness to non-believers on media and an encouragement to believers in Christ. We are looking at how to reach the fandom world of netds & geeks. It can be a tough spot because you want a place to start a conversation without being too preachy.
    We don’t shy away from sharing our faith and how to apply it to our lives, We begin talking about super hero, scifi, and fantasy fan characters and their traits to open the doors. It can be a tough place because not everyone gets what we do.
    I think keeping it simple with Jesus, grace, and Biblical truths are out building blocks. I hope we are doing it right.

    Thank you,

    Gary

  58. Mama D on March 5, 2019 at 10:08 AM

    Stay away from Intervarsity Press..biggest offender of new age cross contamination. Here’s their latest release..https://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Rhythms-Enneagram-Handbook-Transformation/dp/0830836004?fbclid=IwAR30uUD6V4JyOkEJK14TGe7VdhCgH8zzI707F2pPoeDKwMmXRS97lIl3pUA.

    Marcia Montenegro from CANA addressed the enneagram head on.

  59. Chautona Havig on March 6, 2019 at 12:51 AM

    Just consider this a standing ovation. I could weep with the joy of it. Well done.

  60. Mandy on March 6, 2019 at 6:48 AM

    Excellent.

    I haven’t read the book either, my flags went up at just the title. Something felt wrong about..

  61. Zion on March 6, 2019 at 8:38 AM

    I have always had a fear of writing on my blog, fear of being wrong and leading other people to believe wrong things about God. It is good to have a set of principles so that I am not leading the rebellion. I recently wrote a piece on discernment and judgement, but when I went to my Bible to get a better understanding I found that more often than not we should abstain from judging. I could not come to a full orbed understanding of what is required of me that day, so I held back that post. I feel a need to understand the theology behind it before I make statements about it. I hope one day I can write an accurate, helpful post, but I’m not there yet. Discernment is so vital to our understanding of the word of God. It is something we should be persuing. I know many young women with little or discernment and it has devastating effects on their lives.

  62. Jess on March 7, 2019 at 5:30 PM

    Interesting thoughts. When we view the world through a black and white “biblical lens” things become quite certain and it’s easy to spot these things. However, a lot of the women writing some of the contemporary books out there spend insane amounts of time with the biblical text. They might come out of it with a viewpoint that is different than yours. It’s our job to listen and listen well. To dig and understand other perspectives and not dismiss them lightly as “unbiblical”. A lot of what we think is “biblical” is not biblical at all, even, as some scholars as N.T. Wright have written, some of our ideas about god are even pagan. Dig deeper. It’s worth it.

  63. Stephanie Smith on March 9, 2019 at 2:13 PM

    Yes to ALL of this!

  64. […] “10 Signs The Christian Authors You’re Following Are (Subtly) Teaching Unbiblical Ideas&… on Natasha Crain […]

  65. […] For a look at how authors often promote seemingly subtle and harmless modifications on biblical Christianity: https://christianmomthoughts.com/10-signs-the-christian-authors-youre-following-are-subtly-teaching-… […]

  66. Kim on March 28, 2019 at 7:35 AM

    Very worthwhile read. What saddens me most is the fact that Christians can be so easily ensnared by these books. Please people, daily reading of the Bible will make discernment so much easier. It seems we will spend time reading books, listening to podcasts, etc., but fail to spend time in His word. Remember, anything outside the Bible is someone’s opinion. It may be Biblical, it may not. Immerse yourself in the Bible and false teaching will be obvious.
    Did you know that those who spot counterfeit money spend hours studying real bills? That way fake money is quickly spotted. We need to do the same with Scripture.

  67. Kelly Mayer on March 28, 2019 at 7:56 AM

    Another home run, Natasha! Thanks for speaking so well to this pervasive and dangerous issue.

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