What Did Jesus Mean When He Said “Turn the Other Cheek”?

Last week I took a writing retreat to work on my third Untwisting Scriptures book,  tentatively subtitled “Your Words, Your Emotions.” It will address  good stuff like gossip and slander, and anger and fear and shame. My hope is for it to be out before the end of 2021!

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One of the “Untwisting Scriptures” topics I’m known for tackling is the topic of giving up or yielding your rights. That’s the discussion in the first few chapters of the first Untwisting Scriptures book, and it was the topic the first time I was invited to speak at an abuse conference.

One of the apparently audacious assertions I make about rights—besides the assertion that it’s basically impossible for us to give up our rights—is that Jesus never gave up His rights. Continue reading “What Did Jesus Mean When He Said “Turn the Other Cheek”?”

If Someone Offends Me, Should I Not Talk About It?

(aka, “Don’t Gossip about Offenses”)

The “Someone Offends Me” Chart

Some time ago, the Victory Today Facebook page posted someone’s Bible study notes without context. As of this writing, 2.5 years later, it has been reposted (Shared) 88 THOUSAND times.

The original author said that in her original context, she was only talking about small things, and she was sorry this was shared without her context. So with that disclaimer I’ll proceed, because Victory Today gave only this chart, and this is the only context that 88,000 people had for reposting it. Continue reading “If Someone Offends Me, Should I Not Talk About It?”

“If you can’t say something nice” . . . in Colossians 4:6

Colossians 4:6 says,

“Let your speech always be gracious [or in some versions, ‘with grace’ or ‘full of grace’], seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

This is one of the many Scriptures used to teach us to “speak sweet.” When I researched it, I found article after article telling us that having “gracious” speech, or speech that is “full of grace” means speaking in a kind and inoffensive way to and about everyone.

And to those writers, “seasoned with salt” means “pleasant tasting.” Again, inoffensive, causing no waves, just pleasant and smiling and plastic no matter what.

And for my non-American readers, here’s the rest of that old adage:

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Continue reading ““If you can’t say something nice” . . . in Colossians 4:6”

Yes, We Really Do Have Authority in Jesus Christ

In May I recorded the audiobook for the second Untwisting Scriptures book, focusing on Patriarchy and Authority.

I’m happy to say that the producer is a professional sound engineer who has done audio work for Julie Roys, Dr. Diane Langberg, and other advocates.

It should be available within a few days, I hope!

I’ve mentioned before that most of the chapters of this book were blog posts before they were edited into chapters, going all the way back to 2013. But a few of them were written brand new for the book.

One of those new ones was chapter 18, “The Authority We Have in Jesus Christ.” A day or two ago as I was listening to the optimized version of this chapter, I thought, “Hmmm, this information is so important, I should probably make it available free of charge to those who for one reason or another won’t or can’t buy the book.” Continue reading “Yes, We Really Do Have Authority in Jesus Christ”

The Parable of the Talents, for a Fearful Abuse Survivor

Dear friend~

In our correspondence, you referred to the parable of the talents as a story of a person being punished “because he feared the master’s severity.  It was not about the cleverness of investing but about how he viewed the owner/master,” you said. “I hate it… but that’s soo me. And I know it displeases Him. Because if I BELIEVED in my heart what my head and you tell me of Him, I wouldn’t be feeling this. So I don’t. And it feels like I can’t.” Continue reading “The Parable of the Talents, for a Fearful Abuse Survivor”

How to Come Out of a Cult and Find Jesus 

 

I met Emily Elizabeth Anderson in January of this year, when she told me she had appreciated my Untwisting Scriptures books and asked to interview me on her blog, Thriving Forward. (You can find that interview here.)

I knew she had come out of the Bill Gothard cult (Advanced Training Institute, ATI), I knew she was now free from it, and I knew she loved Jesus. (A rare combination, it seems, for young people who grew up Gothard.)

But it was when I heard her being interviewed in a Called to Peace Ministries Facebook Live that I heard that story. I asked her to share more with me about it, and she sent me her testimony.

The thing is, my friends. The thing is, I was sure that the people who leave cults and also leave Jesus don’t really know who He is. I figured they couldn’t have really found out who He is, clear through, as He’s presented in the gospels.

And Emily confirmed these suspicions. Continue reading “How to Come Out of a Cult and Find Jesus “

Those 365 “Fear Not” Verses in the Bible

NOTE: I’ve written about fear a number of times. Some of the most pertinent are listed and linked down at the end of this article.

We don’t want to ignore the fear signals that tell us to get out of an unsafe situation, and I’ve addressed those in other articles. But the encouraging “fear not” verses in the Bible will help us to shed inappropriate fear.

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Have you heard, as I have, that there are 365 “fear not” verses in the Bible, one for every day of the year? (And that this is supposed to help you remember to not be afraid.)

Well, that sounded a little suspect to me, so I decided to check it out. Turns out even websites like this one that claimed they were giving you all “365” fear not verses actually listed fewer than 150.

Maybe they thought no one would ever count? Continue reading “Those 365 “Fear Not” Verses in the Bible”

6 Ways “The Gospel” Is so Much More than You’re Usually Told

OR “Why the Resurrection is Essential to Your Salvation” (in honor of Holy Week)

Much of my writing is presented to refute false teaching in the fundamentalist and evangelical Christian world. But I always want to point my readers to what is true, right, and good.

This Holy Week—the week that Christians especially honor the Lord Jesus Christ for all He has done for us, the week that culminates with a celebration of His Resurrection for us—I want to zero in on The Gospel.

Through the years that I’ve been in this evangelical world, I’ve pondered how much the term “gospel” is presented as vital, while at the same time how seldom those who use the term “gospel” have actually defined and described what they mean by it.

But understanding what “the gospel” is can mean the difference between death and life. Continue reading “6 Ways “The Gospel” Is so Much More than You’re Usually Told”

Is Empathy Still a Sin? The Joe Rigney / Hannah Anderson Conversation

Last week Alistair Roberts hosted Joe Rigney, the new president of Bethlehem College & Seminary and author of multiple books, alongside Hannah Anderson, author of multiple books.

They disagreed about empathy, and did so amicably. That part was refreshing.

But I confess, some parts of the conversation were befuddling to me.

Yes, empathy is definitely still a sin, according to Joe Rigney

Empathy is always sinful, according to Joe Rigney, because (1) it sets aside all judgment of rightness and wrongness (as Brené Brown recommends), and (2) the empathetic person gets down in the quicksand with the sufferer instead of staying safely on the shore and casting out a rope. Continue reading “Is Empathy Still a Sin? The Joe Rigney / Hannah Anderson Conversation”