We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

About Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth

A lot has been on the Internet, from various apologetics sites, about how Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth is teaching the “Circle Maker” new age nonsense.  I’ve even linked to these sites (all links now removed).

One of my readers has demonstrated to me that Nancy’s circle teaching isn’t the same as Batterson’s.  So here I go with the explanation.

First, what does Batterson teach?  In
my article about the “Circle Maker” book, I show the following:
He says to draw a circle around whatever it is you are praying for/about.
He teaches a “name it and claim it” prayer.
He claims prayers are prophecies.
He says if you draw a circle around whatever it is you are praying for, then God will “multiply the miracles in your life.”
Batterson’s approach is virtually a “magic circle.”
(Not mentioned in my article is that Batterson claims that a circle is actually a sacred symbol!)

A quote from Batterson:  Drawing prayer circles around our dreams isn't just a mechanism whereby we accomplish great things for God. It's a mechanism whereby God accomplishes great things in us.
Of course he just asserts this with no biblical warrant.

What about Nancy’s circles? 
This broadcast apparently explains the beginning of Nancy’s teachings:
Gypsy Smith was a nineteenth-century revivalist who did something unusual when he came to a new town. He’d stop on the outskirts and draw a circle in the dirt. Then he would stand inside that circle and say, “O God, please send a revival to this town, and let it begin inside this circle.”

It won’t do much good for me to ask God to convict the world around me of sin if there’s unconfessed sin in my own heart. The first step toward revival is to ask God to show us our sin and repent.

Would you ask God to revive His people? Would you let the Holy Spirit draw a circle within your own heart? Then say, “Lord, I long for You to send a revival to my nation, my church, my marriage, and my children. But Lord, would You first start a revival inside this circle? Let it begin in me.”

Here’s a quotation from her article, Draw A Circle:
It's a challenge Life Action has issued repeatedly to men, women, teens, and even children. It's a simple expression of a heart prepared for God's work—and no matter how many times it's done, it keeps illustrating something critical about the revival we are praying and pleading for God to send. It involves a simple piece of chalk. This piece of chalk represents a turning point, a moment of surrender, a change of heart. It marks the difference between those who would pray, “Lord, change them” and those with the humility to plead, “Lord, change me!” It is a piece of chalk with which we kneel and draw a circle around ourselves and then look to heaven expectantly and pray, “Lord God, send revival, and begin it right here in this circle!”

Notice the difference?  Batterson says to draw a circle around whatever you want to pray for so that God will perform miracles and give you blessings.  Nancy says to draw the circle around yourself and pray that God does a work in you.

A problem is that both Batterson and DeMoss refer to the origin of their idea as the same person, Gipsy Smith (and Nancy actually follows Smith’s teaching, whereas Batterson doesn’t). Also, various apologetics sites point out the many occultic uses of circles, and so any use of circles must be occultic. (This of course it a logic fallacy of “false cause,” or perhaps even “non sequitur.”)  This seems to be why people jump to the conclusion that the two teachings must be alike.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s teaching about praying in a circle is certainly aberrant and extra-biblical.  However, it is indeed a much “different animal” than what Batterson teaches.  One teacher I found pointing out the difference is Tim Challies.  I agree with his article.

One more thing:  According to my source (the reader who alerted me to this issue), apparently DeMoss’ ministry, Revive Our Hearts, learned of the association between DeMoss’ teaching and Batterson’s teaching and decided they didn’t like the connection; they dropped the teaching in 2014.  Any yet some sites are still publishing articles about it as if it is current teaching!


Anonymous said...

I think Nancy has gone off into mysticism via endorsing Richard Foster. But...this was quite a few years ago that she endorsed him - not at all saying that its ok. However just like circle prayer stuff was well over 4 years ago. Perhaps, just a thought, maybe it would be helpful to contact Demoss' ministry and see where she currently stands...

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

The information I got includes current stance with the circle issue.

As for recommending Foster, too many naive teachers have recommended him in the past. Whether or not she still does, I don't know. But as far as her ministry, searching her site I see no evidence of contemplative, mysticism, etc.

Anonymous said...

Batterson's book is well known in Christian bookstores, CBD, and Barnes & Noble. For Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth to 'copy' drawing circles around herself, or others within the circle, lends credence to Batterson's idea of what he means by drawing circles. I do not think she should be drawing circles around herself. God doesn't need visual aids.

To endorse Richard Foster is a big oversight on her part. Remember that teachers are held more accountable for their teachings. If she learned later of her mistake, she should make it public so others would know where she stands concerning mysticism. Perhaps she has and I don't know it.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


Nancy didn't get here circles from Batterson, rather she got them from Gypsy Smith. I don't know the timeline, but even so that doesn't mean she was aware of Batterson. Goodness, Batterson's stuff was out for a very long time before I heard of him, because I don't habit Christian books stores, nor do I spend much time at the religious sections of normal book stores. And when I have used CBD, I look directly for the product I want and don't look at their catalogs or search their site. Perhaps Nancy is the same way.

Virtually every teacher I come across has at one time or another endorsed books which are by false teachers. Endorsing one or two shows ignorance and doesn't bother me a whole lot. It's when it becomes consistent that I raise the red flags.

I don't see where Nancy should have to recant her circle teaching - it was just aberrant and extra-biblical, and just plain silly. But it wasn't necessarily "false" teaching in that it isn't unbiblical.

Anonymous said...

I am very against heresy too, don't get me wrong. But these recent (old) articles and (old) news reported by Pen and Pulpit or Pulpit and Pen - whatever that site is - are doing more damage by using old news. Yes Piper is indeed wrong, but that recent article as well that came out after the Demoss one proves that the writer is just looking for stuff to report flippantly rather than exercising wisdom. I commend you, Glen for looking further in Demoss.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to think of Nancy DeMoss Wohlgemut and of Tim Challies.
Challies is an author on her blog and she sells books of him, so he is not really impartial.
Among the authors on Nancy's blog are some good teachers, but also a number of false teachers: Kay Arthur, Henry Blackaby, Jim Cymbala, Wayne Grudem, James MacDonald, Priscilla Shirer. She also sells books of some of them.
John Piper is also an author on her blog.
It's not really clear to me whether they write for her blog or if she just articles of those authors.
Some of them have spoken on her conference in the past and she still sells their messages.

Jacco Pippel.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


I wouldn't call Kay Arthur a false teacher. She hangs out with some false teachers, which shows a lack of discernment. The rest of the names you cite are on a different plane than Arthur, some being part of Charismania. The fact that she posts articles still doesn't make her a false teaching, just deceived and non-discerning.