Re-Blog: Leaving Lysa: Why You Shouldn’t Be Following Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries

Michelle Lesley writes at Michelle Lesley Books. Last week she wrote a wonderful article to which I'd linked, called "Nine Reasons Discerning Women Are Leaving Your Church".

In the 'Nine Reasons' article's comments section a reader had asked Ms Lesley to offer some biblical discernment regarding a new and popular author Lysa TerKeurst. Ms Lesley replied, and then expanded that reply into a stand-alone article. The article is re-blogged below.

Parallel to that, I've noticed a new popularity in a certain young author/teacher/social justice champion: Lysa TerKeurst. Her book "The Best Yes" was featured heavily by the "She Reads Truth/IF:Gathering" ladies, a group/ministry of which I'd researched and rated negatively. These women are not edifying to you nor are they helping the cause of Jesus Christ. Though associations are important, I don't believe guilt by association should be the only factor to warn about this or that person or ministry, but it is an indicator. This put Ms TerKeurst on my radar, but I waited. Since then, I have not had time to review Ms TerKeurst further.

Now Ms Lesley has done so, and has graciously allowed me to re-blog her work here. Yesterday I wrote extensively on the phrase that Paul begins his warning to the Colossians about mysticism and ascetic practices. He said in Colossians 2:18 "Let no one disqualify you for the prize...". One of the problems with false teachers and false teachings is that they hinder the Christian in his or her walk, color our perceptions so that we cannot think clearly about Jesus, and defraud us of our rewards. If we should see a sister falling under the sway of a false teacher we should help them by letting them know they are at risk of being defrauded. We do this because we love them and want the best in Christ's name for our sisters.

Here is Ms Lesley:

Leaving Lysa: Why You Shouldn’t Be Following Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries

According to her web site, “Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the New York Times best-selling author of The Best Yes, Unglued, Made to Crave, and 16 other books.” She also blogs prolifically and speaks at numerous Christian women’s conferences.

Lysa is charming, friendly, and down to earth- the type of person I would probably want to be friends with if I knew her personally. We have several things in common: a big family (she has 5 kids, I have 6), women’s ministry, we’re even just a couple of months apart in age (which shocked me, since she looks so much younger!).

I first became familiar with Lysa a year or so ago when her name, articles, and memes of her quotes (and those of Proverbs 31 Ministries) began appearing in my news feed on Facebook. What I was seeing sounded good, and I hoped against hope that she was a doctrinally sound teacher of God’s word that I could recommend to my friends and readers. In fact, I resisted vetting her for a while because I was afraid of being disappointed by another popular Christian women’s author and teacher who seemed biblical on the surface but turned out not to be.

Sadly (and I genuinely mean that- I was sad), that is exactly what I found when I began to research Lysa TerKeurst at the request of several of my friends and readers. It’s my prayer that Lysa will repent of the areas in which she is acting against Scripture, learn biblical hermeneutics so she can rightly handle God’s word, and have a tremendous – doctrinally sound – impact on the thousands of women who love her so much. I would love nothing more than to give her a virtual “high five” and highly recommend her to others if she would do so.

Until such time, I regret that I must recommend that women not follow Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries (including the other women who write for and are leaders in this ministry) for the following reasons:

1. Lysa unrepentantly preaches to and instructs men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12-14 (as well as the many other passages of Scripture that do not allow this). Without exception, every female Bible teacher I know of who unrepentantly instructs men also teaches other doctrinal error (usually Word of Faith or seeker driven false doctrine).

If a woman is supposedly knowledgeable enough about the Bible to be in the position of teaching and authoring, yet doesn’t understand or obey such a basic biblical truth, what does that say about the rest of her knowledge of the Bible? How can you trust that anything else she teaches you about the Bible is accurate and true?

2. Lysa is a member of Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church (where she has preached the Sunday morning service on multiple occasions), and has written articles and made videos supporting his false and eisegetical teaching. She has also preached the Sunday morning service at Perry Noble’s New Spring Church.

If you are not familiar with either of these men, you should know that they both egregiously and narcissistically mishandle God’s word (click links above). Both of them support and agree with prosperity preachers such as T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, etc., and many of these have preached at their churches. Perry Noble is perhaps most famous for having AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” played during his Easter Sunday service a few years ago.

This is the type of false teaching Lysa supports and is being fed each time she attends her home church. The old adage, “You are what you eat,” is true in both the physical and the spiritual realm.

3. Lysa partners with and calls Christine Caine a “dear friend”. Christine Caine also unrepentantly preaches to men and is a proponent of the false Word of Faith (prosperity gospel) doctrine, as a leader at Word of Faith “church,” Hillsong. Because this is “another gospel,” (Galatians 1:6-9), partnering with Caine is a violation of 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

For these reasons, plus her habitual mishandling of Scripture (as outlined in the resources below), I unfortunately must recommend that women not follow, support, or receive teaching from Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries (including any writers or speakers affiliated with Proverbs 31 Ministries).

Additional Resources:

Steven Furtick, Lysa TerKeurst, and Code Orange by The Wartburg Watch

The Best Yes? at Housewife Theologian

Review of The Best Yes by Aimee Byrd

Unglued at The Gospel Coalition


  1. Thanks for this (another in a long line of warnings).

    Not being a woman, let alone not having a huge social group populated by emotionalist young women, I have next to zero exposure to the stuff that permeates women's movements inside and outside the visible Church. Maybe I'll see someone's "likes" on facebook and I don't recognize them. To that effect, various ministries involving exhortations to discernment (Wretched and those they feature, and your blog) have helped tremendously to be aware of the bad stuff out there to 1) not recommend to other people and 2) stay away from myself.

    Maybe there will be a moment where I can put this knowledge to use and help theologically thirsty women steer clear of the poor 'teaching ministries' that are out there.

    To that end, thank you for spotlighting them. They don't have very much relevance to my immediate experience, but I do pay attention.

    In fact, I perked my ears up in church last weekend where a woman who I've spoken to who seems to hold Reformed doctrine (mentioning the solas/Tulip in conversation), is going to be leading a women's Bible study in the fall. It'll be based on a Beth Moore series.

    I'm aware (thanks to your articles highlighting it) that Beth Moore is a big deal among women's groups within the SBC. I spoke with you before about the suspicion that she gets away with it simply because it IS directed only to women, so that maybe there isn't as much pastoral oversight. I wonder if this isn't the case; before I get around to going to college, in the next few weeks I'd like to find some direct citations to compile and bring to the attention of the lady leading the study.

    Given that Moore is apparently subtle enough with her nonsense that her teaching materials haven't stood out so obviously so as to be slapped down by the various leaders in the SBC, I can imagine this woman may go ahead with the study, but be well equipped to teach the women involved how to discern the places at which Moore departs from what is Biblical. That would be encouraging, I think.

    I was going to ask, but I remember you have "all your Beth Moore critiques in one place," so I'll check that out soon. Thanks for doing that. I hope to use it to make a difference on the local level.

    1. You're welcome

      You are right, there has been a failure in husbands and pastors too properly oversee women's ministries. Here are a few links.

      Pastor Mike Abendroth asked on his 90-second clips "Where is Beth Moore's Husband?"

      In his stirring sermon a few years ago, Pastor Jim Murphy at Johnson City First Baptist (NY) led the congregation in a shame on me/shame on you lesson in "The Subtlety of Satan." He said that he'd been lax in overseeing the womens' ministry, Sunday school curriculum and church library and satan's tentacles were now choking them out. He vowed to "root this stuff out" and promised to 'kill the Beth Moore trip". /

      Church has a thought provoking article, "Why We Don’t Need “Women’s” Ministry"

      that should get you started. As for Beth Moore, I do have "All critiques in 1 place" on the right, and also a standalone link that I feel it the best and SHOULD be the only example to immediately show even the least discerning that she is not to be trusted-

      thanks for reading and also for wanting to be a good Brother and warn the sisters in love, with facts :)

    2. This is nothing more than an unveiled attack on people who believe in the gifts of the Spirit and who happen to want more of a relationship with Christ himself than with a dead, man-centered theology.

    3. Hi Laurie,

      I'm sorry you did not enjoy the article. Can you share with us the scriptures that you feel we used incorrectly to support our position? Or can you share some scriptures of your own that would shed light on how you feel it is simply a baseless attack on Lysa TerKeurst? Or even copy and paste the sections of this article you felt were an unveiled attack? Anything specific would help. Thanks.

  2. Elizabeth, thank you for this. So many friends from our former (mega wannabe seeker friendly) "church" are captivated by these passionate funny females. They all mistake zeal and even guilt for truth. Sadly, our new church is all agog for Beth Moore despite my strong warnings, and a large group attended her conference together last week. Honesty, I am not fond of women's ministry stuff because of this common and dogged lack of discernment. Another writer/personality to watch isJen Hatmaker; she is funny and self deprecating, and deep into social gospel stuff----and, friends with all the wrong ladies ... Sigh.
    In other news, I thank you heartily for your recommendation of In The Valley of Vision. What a refreshing and lovely book! I got it just in time fir vacation, and am rationing the entries, although I would love to tear through it! Thanks and many blessings as you faithfully placard Christ!!

    1. Pensive, you're welcome! Jen Hatmaker is on some of the Board of these new conferences and organizations these ladies all seem to be incorporating as companies. If you look at the 'Who We Are" on many of their pages you will see the same names and same faces.

      THRILLED you got Valley of Vision! I read one per day and even that is overwhelming sometimes!! :) Enjoy

  3. Also, you might want to examine Sarah Bessey, the author if the above referenced article at church leaders... She says some on-target things, but also some worrisome things... Like so many young and popular ladies on the talk/blog circuit...

  4. I first came across Ms. TerKuest some years ago. I'm can't remember exactly how, but it didn't take long for me to disagree with her. The particular article I remember came across as saying that it is the church's responsibility to train children. It is possible I misinterpreted the article, but that particular issue is one I've always been passionate about, being a former homeschooling mom as well as against youth ministries (for the most part).

    Could you possibly devote a blog post to how you would go about warning a friend who is following some of these women you've warned us about? I am not good at doing that, and always fear that I will do more harm than good.

    1. Hi Ginny,

      Thank you for reading and commenting, and also for asking your good question. I have been thinking about it for a while.

      I am totally with you on that one. It’s uncomfortable and difficult to do. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings yet it must be done because false teaching destroys.
      In addition, we have the problem of deception by investment. This means that people who follow false teachers are invested in them. They have spent money on their books or devotionals, they have perhaps attended a meeting or conference. They are invested financially, emotionally, and time-wise. Puncturing that will pierce pride and they will want to be defensive. No one likes a conversation like that. So the first thing is to be gentle, with these things in mind. Here is a teaching called The Gentle Art of Correction based on 2 Timothy 2:23-26. It is aimed at pastors and leaders but its principles are good for us too.

      You asked, how? I take two examples from the bible. In the first example, Priscilla and Aquila took Apollos aside to instruct him (Acts 18:24-28). Apollos was a believer, hadn’t sinned, but needed to have the full counsel of God given to him before he went too much further in preaching like he’d been doing. The duo did not embarrass him by correcting him in public, but took him aside and to Apollos’ credit, he sat at their feet and learned.

      Secondly, in Matthew 18:15-20 it describes what to do when someone sins against you. And isn’t following someone teaching other than the true teachings of Jesus sinning? There is flesh involved when this happens. So in the case of Mt 18:15, even though the verse says ‘if a brother sins against you’ and technically they have not sinned against you personally but against the body of believers, the person’s sin was pointed out to them in private, one-on-one. I think that the spirit of these two verses tell us that the first step is to go to them quietly.

      What I have done is something like this: “I see you are carrying a new Joyce Meyer book. I have learned some things about her that I think are important for you know. Are you open to me putting my thoughts down on paper and sharing it with you later?” That way they do not feel sandbagged or cornered.

      In another case the opportunity just seemed right and presented itself when it came up in a conversation. I gently and to be frank, with tears, pleaded for the woman to turn from her false doctrine. She was a good listener and at the end asked me to offer her some biblical advice on it. I did so the next time we were together, I gave her a paper.

      Since emotions run high in these situations I’ve found it helpful to have written the bible verses and issues down on paper so they can look at it later. it also guards against being misquoted. I believe the 2nd situation came about because I had been praying over the issue and asked the Lord to make a way for me to bring it up. Prayer is always an important component of these conversations, before, during and after.

      Other pastors I listen to said they have asked to person to coffee at a later time some they could discuss it. This works too.

      I encourage you to read the link above and pray. The Lord will open your mind as to what He wants you to do in any given situation. And don’t be startled if the person gets huffy or angry. They get embarrassed thinking that they have been spotted doing something wrong by carrying this book or touting that teacher, but if they truly love the Lord they will calm down and thank you for it later. And if they don’t, then you have a clean conscience before Jesus because you tried. Continuing to pray for them will help soften any disharmony in your own heart you may feel after the encounter. :)

  5. I'm glad that you mentioned her. Not only that but brought up the subject of false teachers who are leading legions of women to hell with bad doctrine. If you go on YouTube and put in Proverbs 31 woman; you'll find more just like her peddling the same jargon (Evangelist Anita Fuentes, thousands of others). It's truly upsetting.

  6. You just gave me an idea, Elizabeth. There are so many times when I am in conversation with someone and one of these false teacher ladies' names come up and there are so many bits and pieces of Scripture and essays I've read swirling around in my head that I get overwhelmed with knowing what I know but not sure how to express it succinctly. Maybe a Dear (Sister's name) letter kept as a file that details what I've learned over the last couple of years with links and Scriptures would be good to have on hand. You are absolutely right about people getting defensive when their favorite teacher is judged. Very awkward. To gently ask permission to share would be respectful. This is timely because I've been asked to help plan the church women's will give me some insight as to where people are with their beliefs.


  7. Ok, I've never heard of this woman, but her association with Furtick is all I need to know to reject her. Thinking of the verse - 2 Tim 3:6-7, about the weak willed women who are always going astray, never coming to saving knowledge.

    Ladies, 2 Timothy 2:15 applies to us too!


  8. I just saw her presentation on Eve as one of the first of twelve women of the Bible on a DVD with study guide. And right away, she starts with the Masonic-type of hand gestures (ie, occult/ luciferian/illuminati) that all the male TV preachers use as well ad females, such as Paula White, Joyce Meyer, etc al. Eg, the 666/ok sign, index finger, two hands as a diamond/triangle. These communication signs will always tell you visibly whom the person is really serving. Not sure if I'm going to subject myself to eleven more weeks of this. I really can't, but I like my Bible study group. Thank you.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I'm glad you're thinking discerningly, that is, whether a particular teacher is worthy of following and whether they handle the word of God correctly. I'm also glad you're seriously thinking of not continuing with TerKeurst's lessons any more.

      It's more important to make these decisions, though, based on what the Bible says about a teacher, rather than the conspiracy-ish notion of hand signs. The Bible has better, purer, more objective criteria than the subjective benchmarks for decision-making than how a teacher moves her hands. You can't go wrong with the Bible!


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