Mail Call 4: Why do some women discern false teachers and others accept false teachers?

Q. A reader asked how can she understand that Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer and other false teachers like them go dramatically outside of Scripture, while other women don't?

A. The Holy Spirit is giving discernment. Discernment is a skill. You as a believer pray, study, read, and work the scriptures through your mental capacities and reactions. Like any skill, it grows muscular through use. Other women who don’t use it, are weak. They are the ones who get captured, laden down by many sins. The Bible says "For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions," (2 Timothy 3:6.)

It is a process. If you abort the process at the start, and do not read scripture and study it and allow it to divide marrow from bone (Hebrew 4:12), then we have these ladies who are laden down. They are unable to endure sound doctrine because the sin in them prevents clear thinking. Then they seek a false teacher to suit their passions so the sin in them won't collide so harshly with the sound doctrine of the Bible. Last, they begin heaping these teachers up. There is a flavor of a false teacher for every flavor of sin. Beth Moore offers psychology and self esteem, also emotionalism. Joyce Meyer offers health-wealth. Christine Caine offers social justice. IF:Gathering women offer a faux-discipleship/fellowship.

Discernment begins with prayer, study, and repentant worship. The exercise of the discernment muscle comes in when you check the scriptures to see if the things you are taught are so, as Paul noted that the Bereans did. (Acts 17:11). The more you listen, check, pray, and read from the Bible, the more you are exercising that muscle, and it will get strong. The discerning ones can spot and resist these false teachers because they are not laden with sins and seeking fulfillment though them by following a teacher who promotes one's pet sin. They have clear vision. The Word has divided false from true.

This is my take on it. Other thoughts and verses welcome. As always, check the Bible and test what is written her and anywhere. :)

Further Reading:

Expository Listening: A Practical Handbook for Hearing and Doing God’s Word
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”––James 1:22 In many people’s mind, if they don’t get anything out of the sermon, it’s the preacher’s fault. But that’s only half true. The Bible teaches that listeners must partner with the preacher so that the Word of God accomplishes its intended purpose of transforming their life. Expository Listening is your handbook on biblical listening. It is designed to equip you not only to understand what true, biblical preaching sounds like, but also how to receive it, and ultimately, what to do about it. You need to know how to look for the Word of God, to love the Word of God, and to live the Word of God. In this way, God and His Word will be honored and glorified through your life


  1. Hi Elizabeth,

    Great post. A few things come to mind. First, yes, discernment is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and, as you rightly taught, can be improved in anyone who commits their mind to the Word of God. However, I do believe Scripture also teaches that some believers (both male and female) will be given a larger measure of this gift by the Spirit (1 Cor 12:10-11; 29-30). Notice especially that the Holy Spirit Himself is doing the gifting according to His will, and "not all" will have this gift or that gift. So some women will have stronger discernment than others, just as some women will be stronger in other gifts. That is why Scripture refers to the church as a body. Different parts with various purposes, but all interdependent (1 Cor 12:12-27).

    Second, Michelle Lesley had a very good post about evangelical misogyny. Instead of paraphrasing her (which would not do justice to what she said), I'll just let her speak for herself:

    Third, in Hebrews 5:12, Paul remarks to the believers (both male and female) that by now they ought to be teachers, but they are still very infantile in their understanding of the word. So poor discernment isn't just a problem for women. There are plenty of men out there with poor spiritual discernment, who either follow false teachers or are themselves false teachers. How many pastors (male by Biblical default) do you know who promote Rick Warren or Bill Hybels? I rest my case.


  2. This, of course, makes sense. But then there are those like my mom. She has spent years in the scriptures and prayer, but she still think Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, and the like are good teachers.

    1. If a person has spent years in scriptures and prayer and has following false teachers, which means she has been in constant sin for years, do you think the Holy Spirit in her would continue to allow this?

    2. Good point. The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth. The Lord Jesus promised us that the Spirit would guide us into all truth. John 16:13


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