Bathsheba: Adulteress or Rape Victim?

The best that Israel had to offer failed in a huge way, with effects rippling throughout generations. Men will always fail. Even the best, most godly men, with the best reputation. But Jesus.

Taylor N. B. Walding

With the recent #metoo movement in mind, I thought now would be a good time to address sexual assault from a biblical perspective.

2 Samuel 11:1-12:23 describes the series of events that lead to King David’s sexual sin with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah.

Most people don’t think of Bathsheba when they think of sexual assault in the Bible, and that is likely because she is often painted in a negative light as some kind of temptress. There is nothing in Scripture to support that view, but somehow it’s been adapted over time.

The topic came up one summer* in our adult Sunday School class. While the majority of the people in the room were speaking solely of David’s responsibility before God in the matter and the consequences he faced, one man addressed Bathsheba’s role, citing the age-old phrase, “It takes two to tango.”

I cringed. Thankfully my father passionately interjected and explained the problem with that statement.

Bathsheba was not an adulteress. That assertion might surprise you, but consider the following:

We don’t understand the gravity of a king as a ruler.

The fundamental flaw in our inability to understand this concept begins with the reality that we don’t have this kind of ruler in the Western world today. 

During this time in history, kings had absolute, supreme rule. If they ordered something, it was to be done. No questions asked.

The closest thing we have to a king is a dictator. The problem is dictators always carry a negative connotation, whereas kings did not. 

Biblical kings under God had immense potential to be good… but they also had an immense capacity for evil, as we see here in David’s sin with Bathsheba.

In 2 Samuel 11:4a where it says, “And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her,” the phrase “and took her” can be translated several ways, including “to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, acquire, marry, take a wife, snatch, or take away.”

So when David sent messengers to take Bathsheba, saying no wasn’t an option for her. There was no consent, only obedience. 

The Bible doesn’t explicitly say whether Bathsheba wanted to be in this situation or not, but I don’t think it matters. What does matter is that when God addresses the situation through the prophet Nathan, it is David who is responsible. On top of that, nowhere in the biblical text does it call her an adulteress, temptress, immoral woman, or anything of the sort. There is absolutely nothing in the biblical text to suggest she lured him into the situation, even though that insinuation has often been made.

The Bible is very clear that David is the one at fault in 2 Samuel 12. He is the one to blame, and he is the one called to repent.

Bathsheba, after the suffering she endured at the hands of David, then mourned the death of her husband Uriah and her child that died as a result of this tragic situation.

However, this story gives hope for victims of sexual assault.

Bathsheba doesn’t go down in history as a helpless woman who lived a life of sorrow and shame. 

She gave birth to Solomon, who grew up and became the wisest man in all of human history, penning much of Proverbs.

At the start of the book of Matthew, Bathsheba is listed as Uriah’s wife in the lineage of Jesus Christ, an honor given to a handful of notoriously broken women in the Bible. Note that she is listed as Uriah’s wife, not David’s.

The article linked above states the reality that Bathsheba suffered sexual abuse and the murder of her husband at the hands of Israel’s greatest king.

The best that Israel had to offer failed hugely, with effects rippling throughout generations. 

Men will always fail. Even the best, most godly men, with the best reputation. 

But Jesus.

David faced real, tangible consequences for his sin. But by the grace of God, he was forgiven, and in his repentance wrote one of the most moving, heart-wrenching Psalms

Bathsheba faced real, tangible sorrow. She was sinned against greatly. But by the grace of God, she was not forgotten. God remembered her.

Christ is our ultimate Redeemer. He redeems even the most broken people, with the worst pasts, and the most pain. 

Glory be to God for his infinite grace and mercy, his nearness to the brokenhearted, and his willingness to redeem ashes to beauty.


*This article was originally published on November 12, 2017, on my former blog. A few changes were made.

Evangelist Todd White Repents of Not Preaching Full Gospel

Lately, my husband and I have been trying our hands at gardening. In addition to our vegetable garden, we have two beautiful hanging petunia baskets that have been a joy to look after. Despite frequent drooping petals and dead blooms, our persistent pruning never fails to revive them, bringing even more vibrant life than was there before. We pull away the dead and make way for new growth. Earlier this summer, I was standing on the porch pruning, and pondering all that God has taught me about true, Holy Spirit revival this past year.

Not “revival meetings” where people come together for extended church services, but spontaneous, spectacular outpourings of the mercy of God to transform churches and communities by reviving saints and saving sinners. A few characteristic traits of every historical revival that brought true and lasting fruit are prayer, repentance, and confession of sin. Sadly, these things seem lacking in the church today. Prayer meetings are rare, and attendance is slim. Repentance isn’t preached and so there is little to no corporate confession of sin. As a result, the churches in America are increasing in cold indifference to the things of God.

So as I meticulously pruned my petunia, taking away more dead pieces than I thought a living plant could bear, it occurred to me that revival won’t come without pruning. After all, Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit (John 15:1-2 ESV).”

To see revival, the church must repent of her sins. In doing so, pastors must preach the holiness of God, the seriousness of sin, the reality of judgment, and true repentance. Now imagine my joy when a prominent evangelist confessed his sin of not preaching the full gospel. Todd White, who is well-known and loved among charismatic Christians, shared that over the past six months, God has been painfully pruning him like never before.

“I am not perfect, but I am strongly convicted,” White said in his Sunday sermon on July 26, 2020. “This has been the hardest season of my life. I’m like, ‘Lord! What are you doing!?’ He said, ‘I’m pruning every branch that you have.’”

After explaining the seriousness of sin using the law and Ray Comfort’s parachute analogy, he says, “It’s hard for me because I feel like I haven’t preached the whole gospel! And I repent. I repent! You have no idea! I will not be responsible! I believe that when I preach that the blood of people is on my hands.”

His presentation was filled with emotional expressions of his conviction of sin and admittance that this full gospel message is very different from the half-true ones his congregation is used to hearing. He said though it’s taken him 16 years, he now understands that he must bring the reality of the law into his preaching to show a person their need for grace.

“If we don’t see that we’ve sinned against a Holy God, there really can’t be repentance,” White said. He has a longing for true revival but recognizes up to this point his message has been incomplete. He expressed confidence that his church will see an intense revival in the coming days, then caveated that the true gospel must be preached.

“But we have to get it completely right and our foundation has to be completely solid,” he said. “There can’t be any holes. This is the gospel.”

Discerning Christians rejoice over his professed repentance, but as with any profession of faith, they know that only time and testing will tell if this repentance is the real deal, bearing lasting fruit. White will have much to retract and reconcile if he continues on this path. Just two months ago, he rejected the loving rebuke of a Christian who called him to repentance and shared the biblically-sound American Gospel film with him, with White later calling it “demonically inspired.” This was discouraging, to say the least, but since then Christians have been united in prayer for him and we hope this proves a true turnaround for his life and ministry.

*Though a clip of Todd White rejecting loving rebuke earlier this year is still available on YouTube, the original full sermon has been removed from his YouTube account, “Todd White – Lifestyle Christianity.” Let’s pray this is evidence of a changed heart – I hope he clarifies why the full message went missing.

How the Church Should Love the LGBTQ+ Community

Before June began, “Pride Month” posts were already circulating. This time last year I wrote a blog post dealing with the LGBTQ+ community, calling out false teaching that was circulated on campus. In less than 24 hours, it had hundreds of comments, most of which were spewing hate toward God, His church, and His people. There was community-wide outrage. I read every comment and felt the weight of their animosity.

More recently, the United Methodist Church voted to split their denomination over the same topic. It’s become a point of tension for Christians far and wide. More and more of my Christian friends celebrate and affirm our peers announcing same-sex relationships. Some of these Christians have bought into the lie that a person can be right with God while embracing an LGBTQ+ lifestyle. I addressed those Christians in the first piece.

However, there’s another side to the story. There are also those Christians who affirm biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality, but in an effort to love their neighbor, cheer on same-sex relationships regardless of believing it is sin. These are misguided Christians who are deeply empathetic and want to show love the best way they know how: affirmation.

But love as defined by God’s Word is not what we hear from our culture. It does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6 NASB). Instead of bold and unashamed gospel love that lays down its life for others, we are now seeing the effects of a generation raised to believe that kindness is king, and orthodoxy is optional. This type of kindness, often paraded as Christian love, is compromising and weak. They are woke about kindness, triggered by biblical truth.

As Christians, we’re to be as bold as lions (Proverbs 28:1) in the truth of God’s Word. One of the biggest setbacks I encounter to boldly speaking biblical truth is the resounding murmur among professing Christians who disdain public discussion of offensive or controversial topics, out of either cowardice or compromise. If in fear of the offense, discomfort, or retaliation that may take place, we cower from sharing the gospel, then we must ask God to fill us with more love, for perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

The message I wrote last year was the essential gospel message of Christianity that has existed for two thousand years: that sinners must not only believe in Jesus Christ for salvation, but must also repent of sin in their lives. In every era, this message is received or rejected; loved or reviled. Jesus was clear when He said that we are either for Him or against Him. Biblically speaking, there is no room for, “I’m a Christian, but I don’t want to discuss sin or repentance.” That is not following Christ. It is following self, creating a false god fit to individual preference.

I’m no judge and I don’t claim to be one. Only God can judge a person, and that should terrify us all. Apart from Jesus Christ, it terrifies me. Being aware of these realities, it would not be loving for me to go on about life, having never been honest about sin. It is not born of hate that I speak boldly, but of love. If I hated sinners I would have kept quiet about their inevitable judgment from God. It is precisely because I love sinners that I must speak boldly.

The foundation of bad news upon which we share the good news of Jesus is that man is inherently sinful, rebellious, and under God’s wrath. This truthful message is deeply offensive and uncomfortable. Yet, it’s necessary, for the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).

Why the Church Can’t Honestly Endorse LGBTQ+ Pride

  • This post was originally published on on the author’s former blog. It has been moved here for archival purposes.


Jackie Hill Perry, author of “Gay Girl, Good God,” is a Christian who struggles with same-sex attraction, but chooses to live in a heterosexual marriage, denying the passions of her flesh in obedience to God. Before she knew Christ, she was in a relationship with a woman. After God called her to repent, she went to battle with herself and now shares her testimony of the transformative power of the gospel.

She wrote in her book, “I don’t believe it is wise or truthful to the power of the gospel to identify oneself by the sins of one’s past or the temptations of one’s present but rather to only be defined by the Christ who’s overcome both for those he calls his own. All men and women, including myself, that are well acquainted with sexual temptation are ultimately not what our temptation says of us. We are what Christ has done for us; therefore, our ultimate identity is very simple: We are Christians. (Gay Girl, Good God. pg. 148)”

The historic Christian faith has always affirmed the truth that repentance is a necessary aspect of salvation and sin must be forsaken, not embraced. However, as moral relativism and theological falsehoods like, “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner,” have gained popularity,  lies regarding sin and identity have surged. While it is true that God loves the world in a general sense (John 3:16), the Scripture is clear that God hates evil doers (Psalm 5:5).

Last week, history was made as Troy University saw its first-ever “Trojan Pride” event to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Before the event, members of Troy Canterbury Club of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, passed out cards on campus titled, “A Prayer for Pride.” The prayer reads as follows:

“Creator, giver and sustainer of life, today let us celebrate the uniqueness of each individual. May you show your children that they are all welcome and perfect in your image, lifting up their differences as gifts. Provide strength to LGBTQ+ people to live their truths, by creating spaces that are safe and affirming to live, worship, and thrive in. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.”

This prayer is —at best — intellectually dishonest regarding the teachings of Christianity. It’s a blasphemous attempt to justify the sin that God hates.
The prayer asks that God show his children that they are all welcome and perfect in His image while disregarding important biblical truth about who is and who isn’t a child of God.

In 1 John 3:9-10, it says, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, or is the one who does not love his brother.”

It’s not that Christians are sinless — they are not. It’s a matter of the heart’s attitude toward sin. Repentance is evident fruit of a born again Christian. Someone who has been truly changed by the blood of Jesus Christ will hate their sin, not celebrate or embrace it. They will struggle — yes, but they will war against themselves to purge their hearts and lives of sin.

Some would argue that the sexual practices of the LGBTQ+ community aren’t sin, but the Bible is also crystal clear on this issue. And no, it isn’t only this community under the wrath of God. He also condemns any sex outside of marriage, whether that be fornication, adultery, pornography, etc.

Because God is holy, He can’t allow sin to be in His presence. Praise be to God that He is also loving and merciful. He offers atonement for sin to all who repent and place their faith in Jesus Christ. Once saved, the Christian, out of delight in God and His ways, will live a life of joyful obedience to God’s call to be pure.

I understand this message is incredibly offensive, and it’s offensive far beyond the scope of the LGBTQ+ community. The gospel is offensive to nearly every person who’s walked the face of the planet. That’s because the first essential part of the gospel is that people are flawed, sinful, and in need of a change of heart, mind, and soul. But the part of the gospel that is sweet, good news is that salvation is available through Jesus Christ.

The church cannot be reduced to a social club where sin is not preached, because the doctrine of sin is the necessary precedent which persons must become aware of to receive the gospel.

“Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)”

This passage is one of my favorites in all of Scripture because it emphasizes the reality that before Christ’s work in the Christian’s life, everyone is condemned by their sin. But, through Christ, we can be set free from sin, empowered to forsake it, and live in a reconciled relationship with Him.

The “Prayer for Pride” perverts biblical concepts, mixing in statements that are found nowhere in Scripture to promote an “inclusive” version of Christianity. The reality is that Christianity, by its very nature, is exclusive.

Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

That means that anyone who rejects Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation will spend eternity in Hell. In case you’re unaware, that’s the majority of the world’s population. No atheist, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. believes that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. Therefore, they are excluded from the promises of Christianity and the “welcome” of God. Such is the case with those who claim Christianity but do not submit to Christ’s call for repentance — as is the case with the aforementioned prayer. 

To be clear, anyone is welcome to come to Christ in repentance. Anyone is welcome to leave their former life behind and follow Jesus Christ into a life of joyful submission. Jackie Hill Perry is an excellent example of God’s transforming grace in that regard. Rest assured, no one will be welcomed by God who actively rejects and distorts His commands.

Ordinary Preaching of an Extraordinary Gospel

After a frustrating Wednesday evening of unmet expectations and harsh words, we didn’t feel like going to church. But we went because we knew it was the right thing to do. We showed up a few minutes late and the service had already begun. Ours is a small congregation, with less than 50 people in attendance this particular evening. We now meet in the gym, to spread out appropriately and keep our 6 feet distance. Our music leader wasn’t there, so we sang acapella. We awkwardly croaked the words of a hymn we thought we knew to an unfamiliar tune. I breathed a sigh of relief as the next selection was more familiar: “O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing.” All this to say, it was an ordinary service on an ordinary evening with ordinary preaching of one simple message: the gospel.

We turned in our Bibles to 1 Corinthians 15 and read the first 5 verses. In verses 3-5, we found the essential gospel, “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” Our pastor preached the gospel, thoroughly proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). Throughout the entirety of this brief service, I wept and wept. Though there were no attempts at emotional manipulation through dim lighting or smoke machines or rousing music, I simply could not contain my tears.

I have attended this same ordinary church since before I could read. I have heard this same extraordinary message more times than I can count. At one time, I was cold and indifferent to these claims, on occasion antagonistic. But the LORD removed my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). He gave me a new spirit, with a new set of desires. Through the years, I have grown to cherish the wonder of an ordinary church faithfully preaching God’s Word. It’s a gift I don’t take lightly.

Before the service I watched a 10-minute video where a Facebook friend talked about the doctrine of justification. She emphasized the sad reality that most professing Christians have no idea what Paul meant in Romans 3:21-31 about justification by faith alone. I knew the principles as she explained them, but one part was new to me. The word “justify,” in its Greek form, is a legal term meaning in Christ we have a new verdict before a just judge. Legally, this standing can’t change. It’s final, secure, and independent from our actions following the verdict. It means we can’t lose our salvation. We can’t earn our salvation. We are justified by faith in Jesus, not the works of the law. This justification doesn’t give us a license to sin but frees us up to be servants of righteousness (Romans 6).

The thing is, lately I have neglected my walk with God. I have been apathetic toward His Word. I have slacked in the spiritual discipline of prayer. I have not acted as a servant to righteousness, but a slave to sin. I have allowed my eyes and ears to linger too long on entertainment I know would displease Him. I have been anything but a good Christian lately. If I could lose my salvation, I certainly would. But where sin abounds, grace abounds much more (Romans 5:20). That grace, so tangible and sweet, overwhelmed me that night. I praise God for the ordinary preaching of this extraordinary gospel. I pray you too will understand how beautiful the gospel of Jesus Christ truly is, that Christ suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18).

I can sing with confidence, “My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul (It Is Well with My Soul).”

Why Biblical Submission is Both Essential and Lovely

One subject which never fails to stir up emotions and differing opinions is the topic of biblical submission. In its historical context, this was not a controversial subject, but a widely understood one. So why do we have such a hard time with the concept? I think it has much to do with our sin nature – that natural desire to rebel against God. I also think a large part of our initial hang-up is that the doctrine of submission has often been distorted by some who twist the concept to suit their agenda. 

It is also particularly controversial because of the society in which we live, where Americans herald their independence above all, making freedom their king and viewing submission as an ugly thing of the past. But the Scriptures point to a deeper and more beautiful way of looking at submission. The concept is actually quite near the heart of Christianity.

For instance, we see this when Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and submit to the will of God. “And He said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it (Luke 9:23-24 ESV).'”

Unfortunately, when people hear “submission” they automatically think of doormat wives attending their husbands’ every whim. On the contrary, that’s not at all what submission looks like. To get a more well-rounded view, we’ll look at a few places in the New Testament where submission is seen in a variety of contexts. 

Marriage

The context in which submission is perhaps most often thought of is the instruction from Paul in Ephesians 5:22 for wives to submit to their husbands. God in His infinite wisdom structured the family unit so that husbands should act as the head of the family. Because of that, for things to flow properly, wives must be on board with their husband’s leadership. It does not mean he should unthinkingly plow over her opinions and suggestions. Any wise and loving husband will listen to his wife, value her thoughts, and heed her advice at times.

Following this instruction for women to submit, husbands are told to lay down their lives for their wives as Christ did for the church. Both of these responsibilities are loving and honorable tasks, that benefit both parties and exude the glory of God. They are kin to the way that Jesus submitted the Father when He laid down His life on the cross.

Church

What people often forget is that in the verse just before these, we see Paul admonishing all Christians to submit to one another. After giving various instructions regarding holy living, he seems to summarize in Ephesians 5:21 by writing, “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This cooperation does not deem either party as less valuable or more worthy than the other. Rather, it displays unity to the utmost degree, one of the most essential traits of a healthy body of Christ. Therefore, it seems logical to conclude this passage of Scripture also applies within marriage, where a kind of mutual submission necessary for a healthy dynamic. 

Jesus

While our efforts to live by the previous instructions often fall short, Jesus fulfilled all this in the loveliest way possible. We see Him submit to the Father throughout His life and in particular through His death. Jesus expressed His pain in submitting to the cross when He prays, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will (Matthew 26:39 ESV).”

Praise God it wasn’t His will to let it pass, for Christ’s crucifixion is the atonement for our sins. So as we see in all these instances, submission is not only essential but lovely. It is not chucking your mind at the door, but it is the essence of following Jesus. It is a difficult thing, but His ways are higher, better, and more wonderful than anything we can think up of our own accord. 

Note: If you or someone you know has been hurt by distorted teachings on biblical submission, I recommend reading “No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God” by Aimee Byrd. Though I haven’t read it myself, it comes with high recommendations from trusted sisters in Christ.

C.S. Lewis: “Mere Christianity” or Mere Inclusivism?

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone recommend “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. For the longest time, I heard not one complaint or critique. I attributed this to the unifying spirit the book was written in, meant to be a basic explanation of Christian belief, not getting specific enough about particular doctrines to ruffle feathers over denominational divides.

There was a lot I appreciated in this book. The way Lewis uses analogies to make deep doctrinal realities plain to the everyday Christian was great. However, the book is little more than a long string of analogies with no clear references to Scripture that support them. That lack of biblical citation throughout the entirety of the book kept me on guard. Call me crazy, but I prefer to shape my beliefs about God on the Bible, not man’s ideas.

As I neared the end of the book, I was shocked by what I found. He flippantly throws out one of the most controversial doctrines I’ve ever come across in mainline Christianity.

“There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it. For example, a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain other points. Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position.” – C.S. Lewis

He claims you can be saved apart from knowing Christ and without rejecting your present god. I get that people from other religions come to saving knowledge of God in mysterious ways, but this is taking that concept many steps further, advocating “inclusivism,” which is heresy.

While I wholeheartedly reject his belief, I have two additional concerns. Like I mentioned previously, this doctrine of inclusivism is casually thrown out and only discussed in a few paragraphs. You would think he would try to defend his unorthodox view with more text, perhaps even a chapter.

Not only that, but why put this doctrine in a book titled, “Mere Christianity,” as though this is something all Christians agree upon? On the contrary, it is deeply controversial and widely rejected.

Lewis’s position of inclusivism is an imaginative take on Romans 1. The problem is his conclusion disregards other teachings on the exclusivity of Christ. For example, in John 14:6 Jesus said no one comes to God except through Him because He is the way, the truth, and the life.

“Inclusivism is the view that people can be saved by Christ’s work without knowing about him or trusting in him, but simply by sincerely following the religion that they know. Inclusivists often talk about ‘many different ways to God’ even if they emphasize that they personally believe in Christ.” – Wayne Grudem, “Bible Doctrines”

In Romans 10:13-17, perhaps one of the most essential passages in dismantling inclusivism, Paul writes,

“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

Lewis also conveys his belief of inclusivism in his fictional work “The Last Battle,” which is the final installment of “The Chronicles of Narnia” series. The character Emeth, who faithfully served a demon called Tash all his life is welcomed into heaven because Aslan counts his intentions as pure.

Aslan says, “Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.” I suppose the KJV-esque language is meant to make this more palatable to Christians? The Scripture is clear that you cannot serve God by serving demons.

1 Corinthians 10:20-22, “No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”

Furthermore, Lewis says this view is likely what happened to many “good Pagans” before Christ. The phrase “good Pagans” shouldn’t even exist as it’s entirely inconsistent with biblical teaching on the nature of man. We know from Scripture (Romans 3:10-12, 23; Isaiah 53:6) that there’s no such thing as a good person, and certainly not a good pagan.

In the Old Testament, there are multiple instances of pagan nations being offered mercy through faith and repentance, but who ultimately reject God and remain under wrath (Exodus 22:20, Nahum). Pagans who rejected the Hebrew God were judged, not given a free pass for good intentions.

Those who were saved from God’s wrath were saved in the same way we are today: by faith in God, and in their case, the coming Messiah (Hebrews 11:13). We are on the other side of Jesus, but we have the same faith.

All this to say, we should be cautious about who we listen to – any teacher, theologian, writer, etc. cannot be trusted as a final authority for truth. The standard for truth is the Bible and no other. It is the infallible, inerrant Word of God.

I say all this not to be divisive, but to exhort you to take every doctrine to Scripture and test it against what God’s Word clearly says, “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes (Ephesians 4:14).”

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone bring up the financial situation of a young couple seeking to marry, I might actually have enough money to meet their standards. The lie that couples should be financially comfortable (with college degrees, a house, and retirement plans in place) before going to the altar has spread like wildfire throughout our culture. 

Well-meaning Christians misinterpret passages about a man being able to provide for his household, twisting it so that he should provide a standard of living far higher than what I believe God intended. If we held people everywhere to the same standard, the majority of the world’s population would suddenly become ineligible for marriage. 

For whatever reason, we have replaced “provision” with “riches” and acted as though being poor is one of the seven deadly sins. Spoiler alert: it’s not. So far as I can tell, if you have somewhere to live, food to eat, are able to make ends meet, and have the blessing of your parents, you aren’t sinning by getting married at a young age. By the way, “young” is a very subjective term. 

In Trey and I’s case, we married at 20 and 23, midway through my junior year of college and just after he graduated with his first bachelor’s degree and began his second.

I can’t fully express how richly the Lord has blessed and provided for us, meeting our every need since we married six months ago*. But alas, I will do my best.

God has provided for us in such a way that we have not yet paid a single bill of rent and as of May we no longer have to pay a utility bill. And no, it’s not because we’re bumming off of our parents. In the original situation, He gave us just enough scholarship to pay for our university-owned apartment and a campus meal plan to share. It was a 600 sq.ft, cinderblock-walled, humid, dark apartment with no dishwasher or laundry machines. Not to mention we could hear our neighbor’s conversations. Yikes. It was by no means luxurious, but it was ours to live in and we were exceedingly grateful for it.

Because it was paid for with scholarship money, we expected to live there until I graduate in May 2019, a total of 18 months. However, we were going to have to pay out of pocket for the summer months. This was causing some stress, as we did not have a steady cash income and were trying to calculate exactly how much we needed to spend on gas, groceries, etc. with no extra room to be especially generous, go on dates, or travel.

Money was going to be tight.  We canceled trips and were considering putting off summer school, but we were expectant that God would carry us through, as He had so faithfully done before. Around this time, my husband accepted a better job than his nearly minimum wage job and we were ecstatic! He loved the new office environment and felt nothing short of blessed to have that job.

Within a few weeks of working there and enjoying every minute, he received a phone call with an offer for the summer job of his dreams and we proceeded to literally jump for joy around the living room. At this point, our financial needs were met and we were simply praising God for the incredible opportunity He placed before us. But, the fatherly care became all the more apparent as the ensuing weeks unfolded.

To our shock and boundless joy, we were contacted at the end of April by an elderly couple through a mutual acquaintance with an offer to live in their country cottage in exchange for yard work. They had an extra house situated right next to their’s on their land, but wanted help maintaining the place. We gladly accepted and moved in a month later. It was just in time for us to miss the summer months’ rent for our apartment.** And, it’s beautifully situated in the country and has the coziest log cabin feel.

During the school semester, we shared a campus dining plan that supplied the majority of our food. Now at the cottage, our generous neighbors are constantly sharing every kind of fresh vegetable they can grow, including red potatoes, squash, peppers, tomatoes, etc. Some other dear friends of our’s gifted us the beef from their butchered cow, as they don’t have space for it in their freezer.

I can’t tell you how many meals we have enjoyed this summer that have been fully provided for us by God through various generous people. That’s an important point to note here. While we fully recognize God’s hand in our lives, we also praise Him for the kind-hearted people He placed along our path as vessels for His glory.

By this point it seems to have become a trend: our entire married life has been one long string of God providing for us so intimately, like a father caring for his children.

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11 ESV)

Consider the Lord’s Prayer. Through it, Jesus teaches believers to petition God to provide their daily bread. Such vulnerability and reliance upon God is a rarity in our culture of plenty. 

It has been so humbling to acknowledge that God, our Creator, has been intimately involved in our care and well-being. We are truly dependent on Him for our livelihood, as He has orchestrated our jobs, home, and daily bread. 

If we had listened to the culture and waited for a 401k before getting married, we would have robbed ourselves of the deep-seeded joy we are experiencing now, knowing that our Heavenly Father is caring for the tiniest details of our lives. 

*This blog post was originally published on July 9, 2018 on my former blog. We have now been married just over two years. A few adjustments were made for clarity.

** Little did I know at the time I wrote this, when I returned to school in the Fall, my scholarship that had previously paid for our university apartment was unexpectedly cut by 60%. This was a shock to us, but not to God. Months before we knew our need, He had already taken care of things. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Why Christians Should Ditch the Enneagram

I’ve listened to and been a part of more conversations about the enneagram than I care to admit. I resisted them at first because – like any personality test – they inevitably perpetuate self-centeredness through deeper self-awareness and end up being wrongly used to downplay the seriousness of personal sin.

However, I generally try to find a healthy balance in using personality tests as a neutral tool. After all, it can be extremely beneficial to our relationships to have better understandings of how we all relate to each other. So, I went all in. I read lots of articles and chuckled at all the personality-specific memes. I loved learning about the types and found them very insightful. I even learned about my struggles with nutrition and exercise through the lens of the enneagram. Crazy, right?

With my background in communication, I’m very familiar with personality tests and their creators. But after all my digging, I have concluded that this one is far different and should be weighed far more seriously as to whether we should embrace it.

Unless you have managed to avoid the current trends, you’ve probably heard some pastors or Christian teachers/writers discuss the enneagram as it relates to the Christian walk and how we can use it to better ourselves. For example, just this week I read The Gospel Coalition’s new article, “Personality Tests Don’t Excuse Your Sin,” which was nearly the gist of this article. Unfortunately, I have seen Christians use their enneagram number to excuse personal sin on numerous occasions. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems with the enneagram.

I recently came across this in-depth podcast episode about why Christians should exercise extreme caution when it comes to the enneagram in particular. They take no occasion for spewing out opinions, but rather simply consider its factual roots and influences. If you’re going to listen, I recommend skipping to the 15-minute mark. Until then, it’s just random chitchat. The actual enneagram symbol has been around for quite some time.

But the personality side of it has only existed since the 1960’s when Oscar Ichazo, a New Age teacher heavily involved in psychedelic drugs and shamanism penned them. He claimed to have discovered the deeper spiritual and personality meanings of the Enneagram when it was taught to him through automatic writing by the “Archangel” Metraton while he was high on mescaline. The whole group studying with him were gnostics in pursuit of higher mystical knowledge. Their religion was the worship of “Self” with a capital s and their philosophy was that wisdom is learned from inside yourself and observing the natural universe, a clear contradiction to Scripture which says,

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10

Even more condemning of the underpinning philosophical and theological teachings of the enneagram is that the Bible says that the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness,‘ and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’ So let no one boast in men…” 1 Corinthians 3:16-20a (bold added for emphasis)

The New Age movement is spiritual, yes. But there are many spirits in this world and as Christians, we’re to exercise biblical discernment and wisdom about who we listen to and learn from. Spiritual enlightenment can very well be earthly, sensual, and demonic. The influence of the being Metatron sounds an awful lot like a demon, wouldn’t you agree? While the enneagram initial insights and observations may seem an accurate depiction of reality, their conclusion is so far from biblical teaching on who we are.

I’m afraid more and more Christians today are ditching time spent with the LORD studying His written Word which has all the riches and spiritual insight we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4) in favor of a sprinkle of a Jesus, a proverb a day, and loads of worldly wisdom to tell them about themselves. Brothers and sisters, if that’s you – you are robbing yourself of great treasure found in God’s Word – the Holy Bible.

Many of my dearly loved brothers and sisters in Christ who use the enneagram have said that it convicts them and shows them where they need to improve. I honestly felt the same way at times. But, given all the information I shared above, my question is this: who brings conviction and how? Does an occult tool with gnostic meaning bring it or does Holy God bring conviction through the Bible? The answer is simple to me. I only wish all God’s people would see the seriousness of this. It’s not a joke. The “Christian” authors advocating for its use in the church are seriously misguided.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:11-12 (bold added for emphasis)

Christian, we are not called to sit idly by soaking up every bit of information without first testing it against God’s Word. We are to make war against the devil and his crafty schemes. Our armor for the battle is His truth, His righteousness, His gospel of peace, the faith and salvation given to us, His Word, and His Spirit (Ephesians 6:13-18). We do not need wisdom or insight from a self-worshiping group of people influenced by drugs and demons.

“If the Enneagram were another version of What Color Is Your Parachute or Strengths Finder, that would be fine,” Kevin DeYoung says. “But it has been, from its inception (whenever that was), infused with spiritual significance. And therein lies the danger.”

I’m naturally drawn to debate, so I welcome your opposing perspective, but I ask that you come with the same Christian love and respect I have for you. Many will cite Romans 14:14-23 as their basis for continuing to use the enneagram. If you are totally convinced through the Word of God that it is of no harm, I can respect your conclusion. We can agree to disagree on this for the glory of God if it comes down to it, but I certainly hope I’ve at least made you aware of what you formerly were not.

Dear Cussing Christian, Repent

Dear Cussing Christian,

I urge you to repent. Perhaps that puzzles you. After all, what’s the big deal? They’re just words, right? God, through His divine authoritative Word, says otherwise. In James 3, the tongue is described as an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (v8).

“With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so (v10).”

Now, of course, this passage is not simply referring to a list of “no-no” words, but a much broader category of speech that curses your neighbor, dishonors God, and hinders your testimony. Earlier in the passage, we see that he who is able to control his tongue will be able to control his whole body (v2). So while you may think of profanity as no big deal, the Scripture makes it plain that learning self-control in this one area is an essential part of Christian growth, even more for those desire to teach (v1).

I am disheartened by how many of my brothers and sisters in Christ disregard biblical teaching on profanity, with secular arguments as their support.  If you’re not convinced that God desires His children to refrain from cursing, think about this: Even our secular society agrees that particular words ought to be censored to some degree, at the very least affecting the ratings of TV and movies. I have been genuinely astonished that I have to point that out, but more and more Christians have allowed post-modern thinking to destroy their sense of moral absolutes, down to the very words they use.

The question should never be, “How much can I get away with and still be godly?” but “How much can I forsake in pursuit of godliness?” We are not of the world but sent into it (John 17:16-18).

Furthermore, it is explicitly clear in Ephesians that God holds Christians to a high standard of pure speech. It is not enough to simply put away profanity. We must also speak words filled with life and grace, our hearts postured to spread the gospel.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29).”

Dear Christian, are your words filled with grace? Or are they filled with the filthiness, foolishness, and crude joking described in Ephesians 5:4? Let it not be so. Ask God today for the grace to change your vocabulary.

If we won’t submit to the lordship of Christ over our speech, how on earth are we going to have the discipline to submit in much weightier matters like sexuality? He who is faithful in little is faithful in much (Luke 16:10). So instead of seeking to justify our “lesser” sins, let us take pleasure in exalting Christ with every fiber of our being.