Like many Americans, I was raised in church. In fact, I was very active in church and a “good Christian girl” by all appearances. But it wasn’t until many years later, in 2004, that I received a revelation of Jesus Christ and placed faith in Him for salvation. This pivotal time was one of the most exciting, and one of the most challenging seasons in my life.
It wasn’t long after I experienced the joy of knowing Jesus that I experienced the pain of being falsely accused of “witchcraft” and kicked out of a religious group. “What for?” you ask? What did I do that was so bad? I made an observation that the leaders were speaking harshly to congregants from the pulpit, wrongly rebuking us, and neglecting to teach about God’s grace.
After I received the left boot of disfellowship, I remained in contact with two widows who lived nearby and were still members of this religious group. With hurt in their eyes and anger in their voices, they told me that the leaders were trying to prey on them financially, but fortunately to no avail. They also told me that the leaders would stand in the pulpit and rant about “witches in the church” and “witchcraft” while glaring at the widows, as if to insinuate that the widows were “operating in witchcraft” by not submitting to their financial manipulation. Needless to say, eventually, the widows left.
After hearing story after story of someone either leaving on their own or getting kicked out, a clear pattern emerged: discerning believers were being targeted, slandered, and either kicked out or made to feel unwelcome. The leaders of this religious group didn’t want a climate of mutual accountability—they wanted a climate of censorship and control—and discerning believers were standing in their way.
By the grace of God, this experience didn’t shipwreck my faith in Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures. Nor did it make my love grow cold for God’s people or damage the respect that I have for Biblical elders. In fact, right after I was disfellowshiped, I returned to the church where I grew up and jumped right back into serving God’s people. But I had definitely changed in some ways…
For one, I was more aware of the presence of false teachers and false prophets in the church and the tactics that they use to evade accountability. Number two, I was more aware of the harmful impact that such tactics have on God’s people. And number three, I was more aware of the importance of using discernment and understanding what the Scriptures teach in context.
Over the years, I have labored to spread this awareness through videos, blog articles, podcasts, and personal conversations. And now, I have finally decided to compile what I have learned in this easy-to-understand free e-booklet. Not only does this e-booklet expose the misuse of the Scripture “touch not Mine anointed and do My prophets no harm,” it also debunks the most popular errors that false teachers and false prophets use to censor God’s people and avoid answering to anyone.
Let me make this clear: This e-booklet does not set out to dismiss or diminish the concepts of submission, authority, and respect for Biblical elders. But rather, this e-booklet seeks to clear away the confusion and misconceptions that surround these concepts by providing Biblical insight, with the aim of edifying believers in the pew and the pulpit.
“And this is my prayer, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-10, NIV)
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