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

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Another Kay Arthur Study


Back in December 2016 I wrote an article about a Kay Arthur Bible Study which was passed on to me.  Recently an elderly woman friend passed away while in a care center, but she had previously told my wife and me to take any of her books we wanted from her house because she was concerned that she would be unable to go back to live there.  I saw she had one Kay Arthur study so I decided to take it and read it for apologetics purposes.

The title of this current book is, LORD, Give me a Heart for You, which is a study of 2nd Corinthians. It is part of her series of what she calls her “LORD” books. This book gave me some concerns, which I will discuss below.  However, the concerns I noted in my previous post are valid for this book also, because some of the things she says are identical or virtually identical as with the other one, so take a look at my previous article for general problems.

Now for some general issues specific to this book:

First, Kay seems to be de facto claiming revelation from God in regards to choosing 2nd Corinthians to study: Finally the day came, and I knew that God would have us study the subject in the form of another “Lord” book rather than a Precept course, for a “Lord” book allows more room for me to also pour out my heart, to share the things the Lord has taught, while at the same time helping you discover for yourself the wonderful truths of God’s Word.
(Introduction, pg.vii) Notice: she KNEW God wanted her to have this “study” as a “Lord” book, and what she learned wasn’t just what she believed or understood from the text, but it was what “the Lord has taught” her.
your heart will touch God’s heart in such a way that it will beat in unison with His from this day forward. (Introduction, pg.viii)  Really? How does she know this unless she’s had some statement from God himself?
And what has God put into your hands? What are you holding and reading right now? Is it an accident? A coincidence? No! You are holding a devotional study that first and foremost will be the beginning of a new depth of understanding about God and all that He is for you. God is going to speak to you because, through this book, you’re going to come face to face with the living Word of God…. (Introduction, pg. ix)
So rather than God just letting you make choices as to what to study, this is one case where God decided that the reader needed this study, and God will specifically speak to the readers. This statement also would fit under my “hubris” collection below. 
What you have learned, God intends for you to share. (Introduction, pg. ix) How does she know this?

Second, she appeals to emotion all the way through the book, including calling her readers terms such as “precious one,” “Beloved of God,” “Beloved,” “my friend,” “we are kin—of a kindred heart,” “dear one,” 
While this sort of over-familiarity with strangers may be something women get all gooey about, I found it distasteful and annoying.

As with the other study, I think there is quite a bit of hubris:
this will be another revolutionary study in your life (Introduction, pg.vii)
This “Lord” book contains truths every human being needs to know and to apply to his or her life. (Introduction, pg. ix).

Then, also as with the previous study, there is the unmitigated self-promotion:
So what is my vision for you, my friend? It is the you go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to direct you to at least one other person—but preferably at least ten—and that you, along with them, study this book together. … You can take the questions you’ll find at the end of each chapter and use them to stimulate a discussion among those whom the Lord has brought together in answer to your prayer. These are those who will be part of your crown of rejoicing in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. As you watch them learn and grow in knowledge of God and His Word, you will experience the humbling joy of knowing that you have been used of God. That what you have done has eternal value. That your life and God-given gifts have not been wasted. That your work will live on—that the grace of God poured out on you was not poured out in vain, for you have labored in the strength of His grace.  (Introduction, pg. ix, x; this seems to be also talking for God and appealing to emotion).
On page 19 she tells how she and her husband travel all over the middle-east, Greece, etc,  with the Precept Ministries International teaching team, including via a cruise ship, and calls it a “vacation with a purpose.”
Throughout the text she continues to refer to her New Inductive Study Bible, meaning that the readers would have to purchase this book.

In my previous review I noted how Arthur made it virtually mandatory to write in your Bible with various underlining, symbols, colors, etc.  Here are things she wants marked in your Bible (and she suggests you take a 3X5 card or paper as a bookmark and list the following keys for reference):
References to geographical locations: double underlining in green.
References to Jews: make a blue star of David.
References to the synagogue: blue or with a symbol that looks like a triangle topping a square.
References to suffering of any kind: red squiggle line over the “appropriate words.”
References to Scriptures: draw a picture of an open book.
References to time: use a symbol, and she suggests a drawing of a clock in green ink.
References to the judgment seat: underline in red.
References to love or comfort: mark, with no specific color or symbol
References to death: black tombstone outline and color in with brown.
References to prayer: color the word pink.
References to Paul (“or to Paul and his companions, which means you would mark every we and us that refers to them”): color them blue
References to the Corinthians:orange or another color of your choosing
Occurrences of I wrote and we wrote: underline.
Mark proud confidence, chosen, and boasting:in a distinctive way”: suggestion of boxing it in green and coloring it inside in pink.
The word understand: circle it.
References to sorrow:downturned mouth and color them red.”
References to emotions Paul experienced: Mark, but no specific marking suggested.
References to forgiveness or forgiving: Mark, no specific suggestion. 
Occurrences of the words adequate or adequacy: “mark in a distinctive way.”
References to the Spirit: A drawing of one-half of a parallelogram (the bottom side and left 45 degree angle side leaning right) with a puffy cloud-like outline across the top, around the word Spirit. “you may want to outline it in purple (the color of royalty) and fill it in with yellow—remembering that we walk in the light of God.” (she later notes the yellow part is only if it refers to the Father)
The phrase new covenant and synonyms: outline in yellow and color red.
Occurrences of tablets of stone, letter, or synonyms: A drawing of a traditional Ten Commandments shape.
The words glory, veil, and references to Old Covenant: Mark, but no specifics suggested.
Any key repeated phrase concerning the heart” or love: mark “and put a big red heart over it!” 
The word power: draw a stick of dynamite in black and filled in with red.
Ref. Romans 8:underline the part that says we can overwhelmingly conquer.” (I’m not sure what word or phrase she’s looking for here; vs 28-39?)
Mark the following words and phrases so you don’t miss them”: (no specific suggestion): the day, reward, each man’s work.
Phrases according to the flesh and new creature: Mark, but no suggestions.
References to God the Father: Mark with a triangle.
Occurrences of reconcile, reconciled, reconciliation, and forms: Using red, draw two horizontal overlapping semi-circles, with the arcs over-lapping.
Every reference of the word temple: Mark, but no suggestions.
Every reference “this gracious work—the ministry of giving,” pronouns and synonyms referring to giving:Mark in some distinctive color.
The word readiness: Mark, but no suggestion given.
The word tempter (or references to the devil or demons): red pitchfork.
Occurrences of the words desire or ability: Mark, but no suggestions given.
The words equality, sufficiency, abundance, enriched, liberality: circle or underline them.
References to war or warfare: graphic looks like a right-leaning pitchfork.
References to pride: Mark, but no suggestions given.
References to strength, weakness: Mark, but no suggestions given.
The words repent, sin, weakness, and their expressions: Mark, no suggestion given.

I’m sorry, but this is just absurd! Not much will be left that doesn’t have some sort of marking, and a lot of time spent doing all that would be better used simply for reading. (For the record, I mark in my Bible: yellow highlighter for verses memorized, red underline for important doctrinal issues, blue underline for other important subjects. I also write small comments in the margins which help with understanding, directing to other passages, etc. Those will be in the same colors of red and blue depending on the topic, or will be in black.)

Then we have this childish exercise on pg.102, which steps out of the realm of Bible “study”:
Now this may seem a little strange, but I am going to ask yo to do it—and then you can decide if you will or not.  I really want you to do this so you “get the picture.” Using stick figures or whatever, draw this scene that Paul paints for the Corinthians [chapter 3] in verses 12-15. You might want to approach it from the angle of two different persons with contrasting building materials. Just note that the building can have only one foundation—Jesus Christ. That’s the foundation Paul laid when he brought the good news of the New Covenant, that ministry of life, to Corinth. As you do this, note the “fate” of each person.
I just can’t see adults drawing pictures during a Bible study so as to “get the picture.”

There are three statements/teachings which I found disturbing.

Pg.27: Regarding Genesis 6 & 7 wherein Noah is said to be righteous, Kay writes this: “Only one man—Noah—had remained righteous out of the whole lot.” The Bible doesn’t say that!  There may have been others who were righteous (what about Noah’s sons?) but Noah was the one God chose to continue the human race.  Then again, there may not have been anyone else righteous, but the probability that only one person on earth was righteous would be unlikely. I found the statement disturbing because Kay teaches her speculation as fact.

Pg.27-28:Have you thought your heart would break—burst wide open because of sin? Jesus’ heart burst.  This was proved by the blood and the water that gushed out when the Roman soldiers pierced his side to see if he was dead. Jesus, God in the flesh, died of a heart broken by sin.”  This is just plain appealing to emotion while totally misrepresenting Jesus’ death.  When we speak of people having a “broken heart” or being “heart-broken,” it is a metaphor for particular feelings; the heart is not literally broken.  Jesus did not die of a broken heart.  Kay should know better.

Pg. 211: Kay discusses a televangelist who claims direct revelation from God, and how it grieves her that “sheep” follow such teachers, yet she never names him so that her readers can avoid him!!

I have to say that overall her book is a very good introductory study of 2nd Corinthians so there is no real harm done. I just can’t see the value in so much wasted time making your Bible look like paint splatter and cartoons, putting up with her de facto claims of revelation from God, her hubris, and her self-promotion. And, of course, beware of Kay’s lack of discernment noted in my previous article.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

An honest question said in love: why are you so against the fact that God can speak to us? Obviously nothing changes Scripture, but honestly Glenn have you never in your life had God put someone on your heart to pray earnestly for them and then found out without knowing beforehand that the day you prayed they were really facing something challenging?

I know every teaching may not be perfect, because none if us fully understands God, and yes, I agree with you we must use discernment, but are you also, dear brother, willing to admit that God may do things that you may never have gone through yet in people's lives, or use a Bible study (they are all imperfect except for God's Word in someone's life?

God may work outside of your box Glenn. Just remember that. You dont have God totaly figured out./-----none of us do.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous,

I don't claim to have God figured out, nor do I claim that the Spirit doesn't guide us. My point is that we do NOT get direct revelation from God. Nowhere does Scripture justify such a claim. We don't need any more revelation because we have what. God wants us to have. And when claim God wants you to write certain books, you now claim God's authority for your books.

Kay doesn't say she "felt" God leading her to do the book, she say she KNOWS God wanted her to do the book. That she knows God put the book into her readers' hands (God put it into my hand to critique?)

Did you notice that aside from pointing out the silliness of her markings I didn't criticize Kay's teachings except for three points? That I said it was a very good study?

MY problem was he claims of direct revelation from God to give her teaching authority.