Video Interview about Untwisting Scriptures #4

Hi friends~

I spent some time recently with Julie Roys of the Roys Report discussing my most recent book, Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ: Book 4 Wolves, Hypocrisy, Sin Leveling, and Righteousness.

Below you’ll see me in my home office talking with Julie, with my Untwisting Scriptures books beside me.

The plaque that says “I am ALL your armor” sits on the shelf on one side (a precious gift from a friend based on one of my blog posts from years back).

My print of the shepherd dog hangs on the wall on the other side (I have another blog post about that).

In this picture I look like I’m concentrating on something important, but I don’t remember what it was. Click on it to go to watch the interview on youtube.

And as always, please feel free to write to me with any questions. It may take a while for me to respond, but I do always try to get back with everyone.

 

Untwisting Scriptures #4 Audiobook Is Here

The book is now up as an audiobook on Soundwise.  Click here to see and to purchase it for just $10.   More platforms will be coming soon, I hope.

The gentle reader is yours truly. Click below to listen to one of the chapters:

Here’s the place you go to buy the whole thing!

My prayer is that as you listen, this book will help you to find the genuine freedom offered you in our Lord Jesus Christ.

A Resource for Biblical Study of “Headship” and “Submission”

If you bought the print edition of Untwisting Scriptures #4 and found some wonkiness in it (as I did), this is for you: If you’d like to receive a corrected copy, please let me know through email (rebecca@heresthejoy.com) and we’ll see what we can do.

*****

I’ve been asked more than once to address the “headship and submission” Scriptures, and perhaps someday Joy Forrest and I will collaborate on something along those lines. But for the most part, those Scriptures have not been the primary focus of my spiritual abuse untwistings.

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to review it, though, I’m happy to refer you to the work of Bruce and Joy Fleming over at The Eden PodcastThe Book of Eden, and more.

A while back I put a question out on my Untwisting Scriptures page on Facebook, asking for recommendations of podcasters who do work similar to mine—helping those coming out of spiritual abuse, untwisting Scriptures, etc. Several people highly recommended Bruce Fleming. Bruce had actually introduced himself to me via Facebook a few years back, but I had never reviewed his materials.

However, after getting all these glowing referrals, I made a point to listen to Bruce’s audios.

The main way I listen to any audio is when I’m fixing supper or doing other housework. But for Bruce’s presentations, that style of listening could give me only an overview of the meticulous deep dive into the Hebrew language he represented (from his own study and his wife Joy’s doctoral dissertation). I could see that in order to follow through with everything he was saying, it would mean sitting down with my Bible and a lexicon and various Bible translations.

This is my wheelhouse. I love doing this—it’s how I’ve done all my word and subject studies, many of which have ended up in the Untwisting Scriptures series. Of course I have the disadvantage of not knowing the original languages, so sometimes in the past I’ve contacted my colleague Sam Powell to get help with that.

But Bruce and Joy Fleming have studied the ancient Hebrew. They know and understand—and explain to us—terms like chiasm and hendiadys, which are pertinent to understanding the Old Testament Scriptures.

Bruce does cover the New Testament passages that talk about headship and submission, etc, for women. But he—on the basis of his own work and the work of his wife Joy—makes the case that all of these need to go back to Genesis 3:16 as the foundation. Here it is, in two Bible versions:

New King James Version
To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”

English Standard Version
To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
    but he shall rule over you.”

(On first blush these two versions may look like they’re saying the same thing, but just you wait till you hear what he has to say about it.)

This is why his podcast is called The Eden Podcast.

This is why his website is tru316.com.

Understanding the compelling case the Flemings have made for what they believe to be the correct understanding of Genesis 3:16 sheds an entirely new light on the relationship of Adam and Eve, and then accordingly on Biblically  appropriate relationship for men and women, husbands and wives, down through the ages.

Some of you already know about the Flemings’ work—you recommended it to me. To you I say a hearty thank you.

To those of you who haven’t yet been introduced to them, I hope you’ll find them as intriguing and compelling as I have.

My life is so full and busy with my Rebecca Davis WordWorking business, my spiritual coaching prayer ministry, my book writing and publishing, and some other things, that I have little time these days for in-depth web articles the way I used to. But I’m very thankful for  those who carry on the work in other ways, and I’m eager to recommend them.

Untwisting Scriptures #4 is Available for Free

Beginning August 9th, 2022, and for about 3 days after that, you’ll be able to get Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ: Book 4 Wolves, Hypocrisy, Sin Leveling, and Righteousness as a free e-book download!

Here’s the description of Book #4 from this website’s home page:

“You’re just a stupid sheep,” “You’re the worst sinner you know,” “You always have a log in your own eye.” These words and more have been used to bind and confuse those who are being harmed. Untwisting Scriptures #4 untangles them with joy.

This book also gently addresses the important “pronoun issue” when it comes to Bible interpretation, the issue of “sin leveling,” what the New Testament really means when it talks about “repentance,” and what it really means to be free from sin.

Scriptures can be untwisted. You can walk away from the spiritual abuse of “You Should Only Look at Your Own Sin” without losing a relationship with God. In fact, you may just find a Jesus you never knew.

After all, The Real Jesus is Not. Like. That.

Grab your own copy, and then please let others know!

Here is the

TABLE OF CONTENTS

First Thoughts: About Righteousness and Wickedness

PART 1: God’s Children Are Not Vile And Disgusting But Have Full Access to Joyful Righteousness

1. Does God Need to “Look Through the Filter of Jesus” to See His Children?

2. Are You the Prodigal Son or the Older Brother?

3. Nothing Like the Sheep Sermon to Make You Feel Stupid, Disgusting, and Useless

PART 2: We Can Recognize and Reject Sin Leveling

4. What is “Sin Leveling” and What’s Wrong With It?

5. Pronoun Trouble in Romans 2 That Can Keep the Oppressed in a Place of Bondage

6. Why “I’m the Worst Sinner I Know” Is Unbiblical

7. How Teaching Christians to Embrace “I’m the Worst Sinner I Know” Harms the Body of Christ

8. To Those Who Say All Christians Are Hypocrites

9. About That “Log in Your Own Eye”

PART 3: We Can Be Wise About Wickedness, Wolves, and Hypocrisy

10. Making Sense of the Church’s Epidemic of Abuse

11. On the Proliferation of Wolves in the Churches

12. Don’t “Err on the Side of Grace”

13. Jesus vs. the Vipers

PART 4: We Can Flourish in Our Christian Lives

14. Why “Metanoia” is So Much Greater Than “Repentance”

15. Free from Sin

16. “Look to the Cross More”: A Response to the “Gospel-Centered” Movement

That’s it! I hope you enjoy this book, and I hope it helps you to find much Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ!

Here’s the Cover and Whole Chapter Listing for My Upcoming Book

If all goes well, Untwisting Scriptures Book 4 will be available on August 8th, 2022.

The full title of the series has changed. Previously, the full title of my Untwisting Scriptures books was Untwisting Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind.

For this book, the title is Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ.

I’m doing the same work as always, but I was ready for the title to be more upbeat and hopeful, and the photo too. So here’s the cover!

I love the gold, and I love how she’s looking up and about to step out of those loose ropes.

Stephanie, the photographer and model who is also an abuse survivor, said, “Looking at this photo last night, I realized that it really does depict where I’m at spiritually now – past the pain and on to loving Scripture and delighting in Christ.”

Isn’t that great? I love that! There are some yucky teachings to untwist, but there is also great hope to be found in our Lord and Savior.

For the first time, I think I’m going to have the audiobook ready pretty close to the same time as the print book. I’ll let you know more about that when the time comes.

As before, I’m grateful to my faithful volunteer readers (from among my website subscribers) who have given me wonderfully helpful feedback and even in some cases have contributed to the book. Thank you!

As promised, here are all the chapters of this newest book in the Untwisting Scriptures series.

Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ

Book 4  Wolves, Hypocrisy, Sin Leveling, & Righteousness

 

Table of Contents

First Thoughts: About Righteousness and Wickedness

PART 1: God’s Children Are Not Vile and Disgusting But Have Full Access to Joyful Righteousness

1. Does God Need to “Look Through the Filter of Jesus” to See His Children?

2. Are You the Prodigal Son or the Older Brother?

3. Nothing Like the Sheep Sermon to Make You Feel Stupid, Disgusting, and Useless

PART 2: We Can Recognize and Reject Sin Leveling

4. What is “Sin Leveling” and What’s Wrong With It?

5. Pronoun Trouble in Romans 2 That Can Keep the Oppressed in a Place of Bondage

6. Why “I’m the Worst Sinner I Know” Is Unbiblical

7. How Teaching Christians to Embrace “I’m the Worst Sinner I Know” Harms the Body of Christ

8. To Those Who Say All Christians Are Hypocrites

9. About That “Log in Your Own Eye”

PART 3: We Can Be Wise About Wickedness, Wolves, and Hypocrisy

10.  Making Sense of the Church’s Epidemic of Abuse

11. On the Proliferation of Wolves in the Churches

12. Don’t “Err on the Side of Grace”

13. Jesus vs. the Vipers

PART 4: We Can Flourish in Our Christian Lives

14. Why “Metanoia” is So Much Greater Than “Repentance”

15. Free from Sin

16. “Look to the Cross More”: A Response to the “Gospel-Centered” Movement

***

My daughter asked me, “How many of these books are you going to write?” I said, “I could probably write a hundred of them, but I might stop at five.”

Well, we shall see. For now, I’m thankful that this one is almost ready to go out, and I pray that you’ll find it helpful in untangling tangled teachings and getting to better know the real Lord Jesus Christ, His great salvation, and His gladness to be with His people.

 

What Can We Expect from God?

I’ve been hard at work on the 4th book in the Untwisting Scriptures series, which has a new name now: Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ: Book #4 Wolves, Hypocrisy, Sin Leveling, and Righteousness.

It’s not out yet, but it’s in the hands of my early reviewers, and it should be out in August! I’ll keep you posted.

Because this book talks about expecting certain things from God, I realized that I needed a fuller explanation of what I meant.  We can’t just expect whatever we may want–He’s not a gumball dispenser, after all. But there are certain things we can definitely expect from Him.

Here are more thoughts about that, based on the Scriptures.

*****

I hope things will be different. . . . I hope he’ll start being kinder. . . . I hope she’ll come back to her husband and children. . . . I hope the economy won’t collapse. . . . I hope Jesus will return this year. . . . I hope my abuser will be brought to justice. . . . I hope they’ll repent and acknowledge their sin. . . .

Have you ever noticed that the way we talk about hope in ordinary conversation is very different from the way the Bible describes “hope”?

Far from being the maybe-I’m-not-sure-but-it-would-be-so-great-if-it-could-happen kind of hope we’re used to, Biblical hope is solid and sure, as solid and sure as anticipating the sun rising tomorrow morning.

Why are you cast down, my soul? Why are you disquieted in me?
Hope in God! For I will worship Him,
who is the Deliverer of my face, and my God.

Hope in God isn’t about what I want to see accomplished in the physical realm of this life. It isn’t even necessarily about my circumstances.

But even more important, the kind of hope the Bible talks about isn’t a wavering optimistic “maybe” feeling. It’s a confident expectation. Even anticipation. A sure thing. Psalm 62:5 says,

My soul, wait only upon God, for my expectation is from Him.

The kind of hope the Bible talks about is a hope in God for God. For God to manifest Himself to us, through the power of the Holy Spirit. For God to manifest Himself to others through us. In spite of earthly circumstances, no matter how horrific. In spite of the sin—even wickedness—of others. Or ourselves.

In the Old Testament, the promised Messiah, the one that the whole earth groaned for, was coming. Even though the wait was long, the Old Covenant people of God anticipated it.

The final deliverance that the whole earth groans for even now is coming. The wait is long. But still, we can anticipate it.

A dear friend is struggling to deal with abuse from her past. She’s barely holding on to hope, because life seems dark. But she said it would all be worth it if she could really know God in her experience. And so, we look for it, with anticipation.

Romans 5 tells us that through faith in Jesus Christ, we stand in the grace of God. Verses 1-5 say,

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through him we have also obtained access by faith
into this grace in which we stand,
and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Not only that, but we rejoice in [the midst of] our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character,
and character produces hope,
and this hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

This means we can confidently expect to see and know the glory of God.

Also, it means we can confidently expect to be strengthened through trial.

And we can confidently expect, without shame, to know in our experience His love that is poured into us and out of us.

And what’s more, we can confidently expect that we will be delivered from the sin that grips us, as we trust in the power of Christ for that deliverance. I base this confidence on several Scriptures, 2 Corinthians 3:18 being one of them:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image
from one degree of glory to another.
For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

In my newest Untwisting Scriptures book, due out next month, I wrote this:

When you are His son or daughter, you have access to so much, and by faith you can expect transformation in the very areas where you feel the weakest in your love for God and others.

For example, do you feel a hard place in your heart toward a certain category of people, as I did toward those with extreme chronic physical illnesses? (I knew this was because someone in my life had used chronic physical illnesses to manipulate and control me and others, but still I felt great distress when I realized I had it.)

Then you can ask Him to change it and by faith expect that He will . . .

In fact, years ago when I asked God to change that in me, I was excited to anticipate how in the world He was going to do it, because it seemed like such an impossibly hard place in my heart.

For me, my transformation in this particular area came specifically because of understanding how trauma affects people physically, to fill me with compassion. . . .

And I stood in awe of the work of God in the very area in which I had asked Him to work.

In faith when we pray for spiritual deliverance, we can expect it. This is the promise of God.

We can confidently expect that as we keep looking to Him in the darkness, He will bring us into joy as He has promised. Romans 15:13 is a good one here:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

I don’t want this to come across as sounding simplistic. Reaching the goal can be a long road. It can be very hard in places, even dark and frightening. In my own life, on one path I walked through in a time of great spiritual darkness, for example, I felt like I was walking through fire or walking between two rows of roaring lions. But when the way seems dark, we’ll continue to stand in Him and expect His deliverance.

If you’re an abuse survivor, you can know who you really are, not just what the abuser has said you are. You can anticipate knowing your true identity in the Lord Jesus Christ, as you pursue Him.

We unashamedly expect to see the glory, the strength, the love. That’s Biblical hope.

There is more we can expect–definitely worth a study of the Word of God.

This isn’t about longing for a change in our outward circumstances, though that may come.

This is about longing to know God in our experience, through Christ, through the Holy Spirit. And if we don’t lose heart, that’s a sure thing.

This is the HOPE of the resurrection. Not only do we not need to feel guilty about expecting gifts from God in the spirit realm, but He even wants us to expect them.

Much of what He offers is made available through an awareness of who we truly are, in Him, and what He has truly done for us and given us.

Our only hope is in Jesus Christ alone, not only for our salvation in eternity, but for our day-to-day salvation right now. The primary purpose of the Bible isn’t for learning principles to live by. The primary purpose of the Bible is for knowing Him, in his kindness, goodness, greatness, and glory, and for seeing ourselves in relationship with Him.

If you seek Him there, asking the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to what He has to show you, you may be surprised by a whole new unfolding of beautiful truth about who He is and who you are. If the Scriptures have seemed impossible for you to read because they’ve been used to abuse you, perhaps it may be time to try asking Him to get those old voices out of your head, and begin reading again.

Expect to learn to know God, the real God, especially as He reveals Himself fully through Jesus Christ in the New Covenant.

In faith we anticipate God’s work, His accomplishments, and His gifts. As we see them fulfilled, in small ways as well as big ways, our faith grows, and we can revel more and more in the goodness of God.

Keep expecting the work of God in the spirit. in His time and His way (which may well be much longer and look much different than we first thought!) we can keep expecting Him to do great things, as we look to Him.

Don’t let go of hope. Keep anticipating, keep expecting Him to accomplish His good work. Whatever He has promised, He will do.

My soul, wait only on God, for my expectation,
my anticipation, my hope is from Him.

Untwisting Scriptures #3 Audiobook Finally Here!

Only seven months after the book came out, the audiobook is here!

There’s no one like me for being johnny on the spot.

Ahem . . . anyway, I’m excited to have it ready for you.

Eventually it will be on Amazon, because that’s the primary platform where most of the world buys, it seems, but if you would like to avoid Amazon and encourage hard-working authors, you can buy it from my Soundwise account, here.

And did I mention it’s only 10 USD? That’s even less expensive than the paperback.

Below is a chapter for you to listen to, so you can get an idea of what the book sounds like. It’s the author reading it to you. (That’s me.) Think of us as having a cup of coffee or tea together.

This is Chapter 14, “Why Are You So Fearful?”

Here is the Table of Contents (you can also see it at this link). The only thing different in the audiobook is the Opening Credits and Closing Credits.

***

  • First Thoughts: My Words & Emotions While I Wrote This Book

PART ONE: YOUR WORDS

  1. Gossip: Part of the Problem, Part of the Solution
  2. “Keep Quiet if Someone Offends Me”
  3. Don’t Tear Down, Just Build Up with Gracious Words
  4. “Speak No Evil”: Slander and the Tongue You Don’t Hear About in Church
  5. “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness”: Reputation vs Character
  6. Oh, Those Renegade Bloggers
  7. “Why Are You So Negative?” A Response to “Positive”People

PART TWO: YOUR EMOTIONS

  1. Does Reason Really Trump Emotions?
  2. What Causes a “Noisy Soul”?
  3. Helping a “Noisy Soul”
  4. Is it Righteous Anger or Sinful?
  5. Fear in the Bible: Helpful and Harmful
  6. Those 365 “Fear Not” Verses in the Bible
  7. “Why Are You So Fearful?”
  8. Grappling with the “Sin of Empathy”
  9. Growing Up
  • Appendix: Understanding “Moral Injury”
  • About the Author
  • A Note from the Author

I hope you enjoy the audiobook and get to know our Lord better through it. I know I did, as I studied and wrote it. He is a good and loving God.

3 Reasons Christians Fail to Care Well for Victims of Domestic Abuse (guest post by MaryEllen Bream)

MaryEllen Bream has been encouraging Christian mothers at her Imperfect Homemaker blog for several years. More recently, she has begun speaking up about domestic abuse on Facebook and at Hope for Hurting Wives. She has impressed me as a calm, steady voice in the world of abuse advocates, and goodness knows we need more of those calm, steady voices. And she loves Jesus. So I’m happy to be able to host her for a guest post.
Continue reading “3 Reasons Christians Fail to Care Well for Victims of Domestic Abuse (guest post by MaryEllen Bream)”

Our Christian Deconstruction Journey (guest post by my husband, Tim Davis)

Deconstruction has certainly been a common term for a while, with its hashtags often heralding an exit from the Christian faith of the Scriptures. This article from The Gospel Coalition claims that there are 4 reasons for Deconstruction:

— “Church Hurt,” a term that I believe diminishes the significance of the atrocities that are taking place in churches.

— “Poor Teaching,” saying, “Today’s deconstruction allows bad teaching to have the last word.”

It depends, I suppose, on how the deconstruction takes place.

— “Desire to Sin,” saying, “It’s a bummer if someone’s dealing with church hurt and you hand him a stack of apologetics books to read. Those same books will be useless if, beneath the surface, he really just wants to justify his sin.”

It would be almost unbelievable to me to think that a stack of apologetics books would be useful for someone dealing with betrayal by the church if it weren’t that this is TGC. (But of course, we dare not be empathetic, lest we encourage him or her in sin, right?)

— “Street Cred,” saying, “Doubt is hip.”

But doubt about what you’ve always been taught can be and usually is a very, very important part of the faith journey.

For some, “I’m deconstructing” means, “I’m deconverting” or “I’m walking away from the Christian faith.”

But when you look at the real meaning of the word, you’ll see that it means taking something apart (in this case, teachings) brick by brick, as it were (the “construct” part of the word), even down to the very foundation if necessary, in order to see if the structure is sound. And “soundness” would have to be soundness as compared to . . . something.

So, for others, like my husband and me, it can mean, “I’m reexamining the structure I grew up in, which called itself Biblical Christianity. I’m removing the bricks, brick by brick, all the way to the foundation, and seeing how the bricks line up with the Word of God.” (We would add later, “And with the Christian life promised in the New Testament,” but that didn’t happen at first.)

If we look at it this way, then I would agree with others who have said that this is exactly what Martin Luther did with his Roman Catholic faith before leaving the Roman Catholic religion completely.

Back when Tim and I were going through this process, we didn’t think of it as “deconstruction”; in fact, the term “deconstruction” wasn’t around (just as social media wasn’t around). All we were trying to do was understand who God was and what His Word actually meant.

So it took us a while to see that what we had gone through did match with the actual meaning of this term.

My journey was slightly different from Tim’s but complementary, and as we both progressed, we discussed what we each were learning, so that we definitely were making the journey together. Here is our story, told from Tim’s perspective. Continue reading “Our Christian Deconstruction Journey (guest post by my husband, Tim Davis)”

The Problems with Jay Adams’ Nouthetic Counseling Works-Sanctification Doctrine

Before 2008 I was vaguely aware of Jay Adams’ nouthetic counseling. But in 2008 I read his little booklet Godliness Through Discipline, and I was incensed.

At that time my understanding about abuse and abuse enablers was microscopic, but I had been studying the Scriptures, and I knew this teaching was wrong and would lead people away from Jesus instead of toward Him.

(Only later did I understand the dynamics of how this wrong teaching could lead to abuse enabling and blaming and shaming of victims.)

So I wrote a passionate refutation of the booklet. But I didn’t know what to do with that refutation. I didn’t have any place to publish it. I didn’t even have a blog yet. And when I did start my blog the following year, it was a devotional blog, and this passionate critique didn’t quite fit there.

Finally, in 2013, I realized I could post it as a book review on Amazon. (It is by far the book’s longest review.) In 2014 when I and some friends started the BJUGrace blog, I posted it there in 3 parts.

Since Here’s the Joy took a turn to speak out for the oppressed in 2016 or so, I’ve written to refute Jay Adams Nouthetic Counseling (often called “Biblical counseling”) many times. Many others are also speaking out about it, for which I’m very thankful. Mostly the conversation centers around the abysmal and utterly destructive counseling that is given to abuse victims and abusers about repentance, forgiveness, bitterness, etc, which certainly does merit much discussion.

But the Jay Adams presentation of sanctification merits discussion as well. It is also destructive in its way.

Here is my 2008 critique in its entirety (with only a few small edits), for anyone who wants to better understand what Jay Adams teaches about sanctification and why I believe his teachings are deeply detrimental to our Christian lives.

Because this critique is from 2008, it doesn’t mention abuse and trauma. Perhaps in the comments we can discuss how it applies to the current discussion.

Here is my review of Godliness Through Discipline. Continue reading “The Problems with Jay Adams’ Nouthetic Counseling Works-Sanctification Doctrine”