51 Comments

  1. K Stiles

    Does anyone know that if there is a connection between BSF and CBS? I went to BSF In my early 20s and a lot of my complaints are echoed by the previous comments. I always felt like they were shoving Calvinism down our throats and when it came to matters of eschatology. We were on different ends of the spectrum in regards to the church, Israel and all subjects pertaining to end times.

  2. sam

    I have been in BSF for 6 years three of which I have been a leader. Many old people in our class are uneasy with the changes including doing away with formal dress code, shorter times of meeting, conversational discussion of study etc. The new approach to scripture study of what do you observe, what do you learn about God and Man, and what will you apply is easy for us millennials. We are happy BSF is seeking to reach us with technology. The old approach served its purpose and it is high time it changes to meet the new generation where it hurts. BSF mission remains Passion for Christ Compassion for people.

    • Sam,
      If it was just a matter of changing to a more casual dress code and some of the other things you mentioned, we and others would not be concerned. But the changes to BSF go much deeper than that as has been described on our site.

  3. JO

    I came to BSF 7 years ago, it totally change my life. Every week, I was struck from by the depravity of my sins and grace of God. For 3 years, I sat in the lecture hall repenting of my sins. the study of God’s word in BSF never fail to confront my sins and show me the need for Christ. God moved me from an argumentative, idolatrous, prideful person to one who desire Christ’s righteousness and meanness. There’s still so much to learn and I know that I’m not perfect yet. Today, I’m serving as one of 40,000 BSF leaders, what a joy and privilege!!. Week after week, I have the honor to witness God restoring broken marriages, smashing down idols and growing humility and maturity of Christ in the lives of the ladies thru BSF studies. Last year, 3 ladies in my group came to accept Jesus as their personal saviour. Praise the Lord!!!

    I thank God for His work in and through BSF.

  4. G. Lee

    You know, if there is a problem with BSF, why aren’t concerned leaders dealing with the problem internally instead of airing gripes online. Don’t you know that you are violating Scripture yourself by tearing down the Body in front of the world and giving free ammunition to Satan? If leadership is in error, you should be going to them, then taking a few people with you, then taking it to the church if they do not correct. Large churches and Christian organizations are falling right and left because people gossip rather than follow The directives in the Word. If you don’t like new directions in rules or format of BSF, well…you may just have to adjust. But if the Word is truly being compromised, whining about it to the world is NOT earnestly contending for the faith, it is handing the devil a trophy.

    • G. Lee, the audience at Lighthouse Trails IS the church. It is scriptural to call out those who are publicly teaching dangerous doctrines that take people away from the Gospel and God’s Word, rather than to it. You might want to read Harry Ironside’s article, “Should Christians Expose Error?” Here is the link to it: https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=27928. It also contains a piece on Matthew 18 as well as numerous Scriptures about being discerning.

      • A Hester

        Yes, Christians should expose error, if we are talking about not saying what the Word says. I noticed for the first time last year that there is a doctrine that is incorrect that is in BSF material pertaining to the character of God. In notes last year several times it talked about God being in control of everything, which is heretical. If God had chosen to control everything, everyone would accept salvation and there would not have been a need for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden. God has instead, chosen to give us free will to control our own lives and make choices according to our own will.

    • Beverly

      I absolute agree with your comments. Satan is obviously stirring the pot and trying to destroy a legitimate study of God’s word. Thank you for pointing this out.

  5. Elizabeth

    I have attended BSF for over 20 years—and this year will be my last. The lessons/lectures have been dumbed down, and most standards have been tossed out to accommodate anyone who can manage to show up. There is only weak emphasis on the lesson itself, and no pressure to actually READ the scripture or complete the questions. Group times have morphed into chat sessions only loosely tied to the lesson, and most lectures are unchallenging. The methodology change is not a huge deal—but I cannot stomach the emphasis shift from God to people. I’m thankful for my years at BSF, but equally thankful that God has given me the discernment to know when to get out.

    • Wendy

      Maybe now is when you need to stay the most to influence the new believers with your experience with the Bible and God which you spent 20 years freely learning.

  6. susan nilson

    I have suffered through this year, I could barely finish. The questions have gone off the deep end. The class discussion time has morphed into a ladies chat session. God has been sidelined. So so sorry

    • Jan

      I have never attended BSF but have been doing Precept (Kay Arthur) for over 12 years. She is scripture only by the inductive method. I have never heard anything good about BSF. Become a member, really? Precept does not require a membership. You can’t speak if you haven’t done your homework, really?

      • Audrey

        I am a Precept leader. I’ve been taking Precept for 15 years. BSF draws a large crowd at our church. I have found the discerning people willing to put in the time on bible study, choose Precept. I wish there was a larger emphasis on inductive bible study!!

    • Diane S

      I started BSF in 1976( not continuously) and have done all the studies and I was very anxious to learn from PPL I. NEVER has my spirit , in all these years been troubled as it was this past year. My leader would email us weekly with thoughts from Jesus Calling( purely metaphysical). I had to stop reading and at the end of the year, she gave each class member a ” Jesus Calling ” leatherette edition of the book. Sorry to say, “I am finished with BSF” which saddens me.

    • connie walk

      I totally disagree. You can’t speak for other classes. We only discuss the questions and stay on the topic. It is not a chat session.

  7. Ernest

    I’ve read the article and am a bit confused. So far in the study of ppl, I’ve not come across any man- centric inclinations. I’m rather encouraged to depend on God in every facet of daily living and this is really helping my spiritual growth. I pray Bsf continues to stay the course with God’s help

  8. Kat

    I am truly distressed about this. Came back this year in CA, after a three-year hiatus, have since moved to WA state and just discovered yesterday from a new friend at my new church this website and the ‘words’ that pinpoint my ‘can’t put my finger on my ‘uncomfortable” with BSF. Will research more…

    • Shell

      Yep, only after being in a few meetings. “Can’t put my finger on it”. Holy Spirit will make it plain. I’m not going back.

  9. Rina Boffa

    I used to go to BSF and found I could not speak against peoples false religions and Catholicism, if people think it was biblical being in BSF, they have been deceived. James Montgomery Boice wrote the Romans study who was a Calvinist; that should be enough to stay away from BSF; if you do the research, Miss Johnson who started the study, in her own words, said it was an Ecumenical Gathering, that in itself is a huge problem. They are marching you down to Rome, with all their Contemplative prayers. The gospel is once saved always saved, eternal security is the gospel, now thats good news. There are Pentecostals and Lutherans and Presbytns that all go there who think you can lose your salvation and Presbyns who say if you sin, big sins then you were never a Christian to begin with. They do not teach you to be discerning, its all about bottoms on seats. I feel very grieved about BSF and would not recommend it to people.

    • Beverly

      You haven’t done your homework on Presbyterian (PCA) doctrine. We do NOT believe you can lose your Salvation! Eternal security is the Gospel. There is much good in BSF but Satan is trying to destroy it from within. Isn’t that just like him?

  10. Morrigan

    I recently stepped out of leadership. It felt like BSF’s goal is to keep itself alive and pushes leaders to use their relationship with their group members as leverage to keep them coming back. It felt really disenguine. The focus of the organization is entirely self-preservation which is so…corporate. I also was sacrificing my own personal relationships and friendships and time at church to meet the demands of leadership on top of my full-time job. It was also a red flag to me when I was told if I felt like quitting, not to talk to my husband and family, only the teaching leader, so I could be “talked out” of leadership. Leadership is heavily laden with guilt. I won’t go back.

  11. Melva

    I am so grateful to the BSF leader who wrote the letter. Thank you for your courage to speak out. I currently am in BSF. I, too, have noticed the big changes in the format, especially in our groups where there is now less emphasis on actually discussing scriptures and more on relating our experiences. But I did not, yet, discern the shift to Dominion theology. However, after reading this letter by the former BSF leader exposing the subtle shifting away from Jesus Christ, I am making the decision to leave this “new and improved” BSF.

    • susan nilson

      I couldn’t say it better, “Relating” our experiences, I saw this year’s discussion as nothing more than a ladies chat session

  12. Lynn

    Today (9/13/18) I attended my first BSF class after a gap of 8-10 years. Having attended for 11 years in the 90’s-early 2000’s, I was excited to be getting back into a structured Bible study. I’d heard there were “exciting” changes, but what I noticed was distressing, not exciting. In the lecture I noticed an emphasis on knowing the “heart of God”, which didn’t seem problematic at first. Then the discussion time was totally different from the previously organized discussions I knew from the past. I asked the discussion leader if this was going to be the new format and she said sometimes it would be like this and sometimes would be different. Afterwards, I reached out to 2 BSF-ers I knew “back when” but after waiting several hours for their reply, I just decided to search online. I was glad to find your website, but sad to find my fears were confirmed. Things had changed, and not for the better. In life, change in inevitable. Some changes are good, some bad, some neutral. The info provided on your website has assured me that I was right to be concerned about the changes in BSF. Thank you for the factual information you’ve published.

    • Cheryl

      I am so glad to see woman speak the truth about BSF. I only attended 6 years and I saw the deception. In the classes I attended, BSF was god among the women….those classes were EVERYTHING to many of the women. They were not interested in God’s truth…whatever BSF said was the “gospel”. What did it for me, in studying the Book of John, was when the notes said “Remember, your salvation does not depend on you being faithful and loyal to Jesus. No one can snatch you out of His hand.” I thought the”not” was a typo on my sheet. And no one had a problem with that statement…..we must vow “to be faithful” to our spouses, “forsaking all others” but to Christ the Bridegroom, the bride does not have to be faithful to Him! That was the straw for me! Then to receive the “Prayer package” that following summer and one thing we were to pray…”Open my eyes to see that there is no sacred secular divide.” Who were they praying to? God teaches us in Leviticus that there MUST be a difference between that which is holy and that which is unholy!
      Sin was glorified so much in our lectures. We were constantly being “reminded” “how much we love to sin”….but thank God that Jesus will “cover us”.
      God through the Holy Spirit made me boldly speak against those lies and declared His truth. I stopped attending after John in 2017….they probably was going to kick me out anyways. But I could not sit in silence through all the heresies.

      • Susanne Wong

        This statement “ remember , your salvation and life with the Lord does not depend on your faithfulness and loyalty to Him” was taken out of context. I read through the notes and it is in Lesson 14 “ Jesus the Good Shepherd” in the Apply It section. The context was that there are many voices in this world but only Jesus is the way to Salvation. The text in the same section says that Jesus calls anyone who would advocate a different way a thief and a robber. The point was that our salvation does not rely upon us -our faithfulness. Are there not times when we are unfaithful to Him? Disloyal to Him? Anytime we sin, are we not being unfaithful to Him? Disloyal to Him? There was so much biblical truth taught in this study that was not said here…” Christ, the Word is the source of all life- physical, moral, intellectual and eternal” “ The Gospel proclaims that knowing the full scope or our sinfulness, God sent His Son to save and transform us”, “ Whoever trusts in Jesus and commits wholly to Him has crossed over from death to life” “ Jesus is God’s Lamb who takes away the sins of the world” “ To participate by faith in the death and life of Jesus Christ is the only was one may receive eternal life”. “ this who admit their need and recognize the authority of Jesus receive His light which brings spiritual knowledge and insight” “ Jesus said His sheep cannot be snatched from His Father’s hand”. Isn’t it important to look at the whole lesson rather than take one statement out of context?

        • Linda

          Thank you for going back to the source to see the whole picture and not a piece. Sometimes changes are painful. I’ve been with BSF for 14 years and a leader for 8. The changes in the beginning were hard to take in and see the benefit. We love our Bible and God’s Word but without real discussion our study is in vain. I’m now an online leader, I see how those that love the Word and love their loved ones from afar can study together. I see those that can’t leave their homes to go to a meeting can meet online and have rich and deep discussion. Also satellite groups pops up anywhere and everywhere people have heart to start one. What a great vision! In my group last year, I had a pair of sisters one lives in Canada and the other in Mexico sharing the truth online with one another. This year I have a lady from Singapore who is so excited to be part of our California Online group. We are a family of God, not perfect, not all knowing, but all Love the Lord and His Words. Isn’t that more important? No one is righteous, not even one. We are all sinner. Even Suzie Rowan but she is called and so is everyone in the headquarter of BSF. All made up of sinners who are not perfect. But God’s plan perfect. He is faithful and is forgiving. Nothing will stop His plan from happening. From Ms. Johnson’s 5 ladies to people all over the world. That’s BSF! God’s plan will not be stopped.

  13. Sharon

    I have been with BSF for two years and they are totally Biblical, not legalistic. Wow this is really a judgmental attitude and I have been a Christian for a long long time. Hate when so called Christians feel they need to judge and call it being discerning. So sad. I know that you will not agree, but that is okay too. Praying for softer hearts where God is definitely working in BSF.

    • Beverly Webb

      I have been in BSF since 2006 with 12 years in leadership. I love the changes BSF has been willing to make to reach people for Jesus. I love Susie Rowan’s flexibility. I have seen absolutely no weakening of their strong Biblical foundation and have seen no evidence of shifting away from God to a man focus. It is so sad to see Christians trying to tear down those who do not agree with them wholly.

  14. Carol Ackerman

    Last year a friend of mine invited me to attend BSF, however, it bothered me that the meetings were being held in a large local church who does not have a good reputation for sound doctrine so I declined. I was invited again this year to attend when your article came up on my facebook newsfeed about BSF leaders plunging into the “Emergent Waters”. I forwarded this article to the friend who had been invited me to attend BSF again this year. She read your article but became furious with me for sending it to her. Accused your ministry of being unbiblical for making public and exposing the errors of BSF and accused me of being judgemental and unbiblical for posting your article on my facebook page. This friend of mine does not attend church anywhere because of unsound doctrine in most all the churches in the area we live so I thought she would appreciate and want to know about BSF. However, I was very much mistaken and had to endure her rantings about how discernment ministries such as yours destroy the good reputation of ministries like BSF. Her words and thoughts not mine. I am grateful for the work you do at Lighthouse and will continue to post your articles on my facebook. As for my friend, I can no longer continue having much fellowship with her because of this.

    • admin

      Carol if you get a chance to read the article we posted today by the woman who came out of Calvinism, she discusses her time in BSF and what she discovered about the organization’s leadership.

  15. Eliza

    I attended BSF in the 80’s & had a problem w/ them allowing false teaching from attenders w/out correcting them. That in itself disqualified them from being true to the gospel. Additionally their magisterial approach to teaching the word of a woman as if it were the Word of God was at the heart of their demise. I’m glad I didn’t continue w/ this heretical group.

  16. jill Widdowson

    I attended BSF in Australia for 5 years in the 80’s and have always been so grateful for the privilege of sound biblical teaching, and during which time, the Lord gave me a love for His Word, which grows more and more the older I get. How deeply saddened I am therefore, to learn of the deception that has entered this once biblically sound ministry. I guess I should not be surprised given the days in which we are living, the Lord Jesus is returning soon, and the signs of His coming are increasing day by day. maranatha, come Lord Jesus.

  17. Heidi Lavoie

    Dr. Kevin Mannoia’s church planting system (Century 21 Church Planting), is nothing less than the strategy of the Antichrist to “transform” Bible based Christian churches into apostate churches void of the true gospel message, churches that have been adapted to please the tastes of the worldly in order to draw them in. My experience that evening at the Conference was so upsetting that it was the last time I attended that church. We are witnessing the fulfillment of 2Thess. 2:3

  18. Heidi Lavoie

    This is a continuation of my information submitted about the new age terminology used at a C&MA District Conference I attended in 2003. The analogy used by the speaker of a “river” is constantly used in the Charismatic movement. And I believe the use of the term “community” is derived from Buddhist philosophy. The New Age Movement is an eclectic, occult-based, evolution promoting, man-centered, self deifying, pervasive world view that seeks through transformation of individuals to bring about a transformation of society in order to achieve the ultimate goal of a new world order of complete global harmony … globalism is founded upon planetary consciousness, which is a world view that emphasizes loyalty to the community of humanity rather than local loyalties to nation, tribe or other social groupings.

  19. Heidi Lavoie

    I agree with the comments regarding the new age/new spirituality’s frequent referencing of the word “community”. I came across the use of what I term “new age lingo” at my Christian and Missionary Alliance church here in the small town in South Western Ontario where I live, back in the year 2003. when I attended the District Conference. Here are some examples of terms used profusely by the speaker, Dr. Kevin Mannoia (previous President of the NAE): “Kingdom connectedness”, “apostolic movement”, “community”, Kingdom culture”, “transforming environment”, “the river”, “think collectively that we are a river” (new age term is “collective consciousiness”), “nature of the Kingdom as community”, “great Kingdom community” “Kingdom is like a river”, “we are like that river of God”. Other terms used: “Kingdom flow”, “be the people of God in community”, “wherever you go life thrives in your collective units (communities)”,”differentiated identities”, “cluster power”, “fruit of transformed communities”, “You are a community, a Kingdom people collectively”. This presentation was a stunning example of how the new age/new spirituality has entered the church. The speaker went on to crack jokes about whether one could worship God while smoking marijuana.

  20. Val Lee

    Regarding BSF, I chose not to attend when I learned you cannot expose the lies of false religions, such as idolatrous Catholicism, Mormonism, etc. The entire Bible boldly exposes false beliefs including idol worship. These guidelines have been penned in stone for countless years representing compromise to please all ears and for number-sake. Christians are to come out and be separate from all those of false faiths, not sitting next to them in the name of ecumenicalism.

    • Jo

      Wow, happy we don’t live in the same town & happen to sit next to each other in a BSF class! I was a non-practicing Catholic when I joined BSF (4) yrs ago. I had moved from the NE to the south & found out pretty quickly never to divulge my upbringing lest I be looked down upon. I didn’t find these “so-called” Christians very Christian-like at all. But I wanted to learn the Bible so pressed on. And guess what? I came to my own conclusions about Catholicism. I became a convert – so to speak. No longer a Catholic, or a Baptist, but a follower of Christ. And isn’t that what it’s all about? bringing others to Christ? If BSF had made me feel ashamed that I had been practicing idolatry all those yrs growing up I would never have gone back. Now I teach a class “Bible for Dummies” which attracts people who were just like me before I started studying the word.

  21. Steven

    Excellent I have been wary of this group for a long time. All false teachers and phony ministries have one thing in common-they get into grandma’s house by speaking much if not all truth, then once inside, ravish the household and destroy it. Amazing how few professing Christians understand this dynamic

    • PEGGY FRY

      Peggy Fry
      I just signed up today for BSF again. I longed for a biblical study that would help me be more structured and serious about my walk with Jesus. When I saw that Rick Warren had a part in writing materials for BSF, I immediately knew I couldn’t join. I’ve known for years about the Emergent ‘church’s influence and so many New Age influences were creeping into the church. After reading all the letters and comments, I see many other red flags and wil not be able to join BSF afterall. Its very sad to see the Body of CHRIST being manipulated and heresy being taught in small things which are getting bigger and worse yearly. I used to be a Jehovah’s Witness and when I was told I should not talk about my “old” religion, I HAD no idea it was coming to this day. I really thought BSFwas on the right track years ago. I was hoping today I could share my love for JESUS CHRIST and witnesss FOR Jesus. Another good christian organization going the way OF BABYLON. I hope more will realize CHRIST is the ONLY WAY, TRUTH, AND LIFE before its too late. GOD BLESS EVERYONE. SEEKING TRUTH AND HAVING AN APOLOGETICS HEART. THANK YOU BSF LADIES WHO HAVE BEEN AND INSPIRATION TO ME.
      6/27/19

      • JO

        I don’t think Rick Warren ever written any BSF material. They are written by full time theologians. Hmmm…. I wonder where you see that info?

  22. Susan McClure

    Excellent article. I am distressed by the use of the word “community” used frequently by my church’s leadership. While they still preach truth, I suspect the Emergent church influences are creeping in.

  23. T. I. Miller

    Thanks to LHT diligence I was made aware of their drift from the gospel according to scripture. I was personally bothered by an adult Sunday school teacher who was also very dedicated to BSF. He was proud that no matter how diverse how apostate their theological backgrounds were, the BSF lessons offended no one. The biblical gospel is a stumbling block and an offense to the lost. That is not something to boast about. This call to “community” is far more menacing than what meets the eye. Looking at the big picture it is the road to a global theological community. This totally apostate religious global community will embrace even false religions. It is also more than likely being set up to be duped by the FALSE christ the anti-christ who will promise world “community” peace, harmony and social justice for all. The Church is Christ body. The NT never refers to it as a community. For that matter it never refers to it as family. It is unique. It is set apart. It is one of a kind. Sports teams and co-workers can claim they are family. Only the church can unashamedly claim the title, the body of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever marketed the gospel. Something the seeker friendly, ( we are family ), advocates should think about.

  24. Jeffry

    When I was young we use to go to “Home Days”. To gather together to have fun. Most cities had tents from churches in the area. Giving away Texts from the Bible. Today cities call it “Community Days”. Many cities have banned the churches from having a tent. Our country is headed for Socialism? Marxism? Communism? All 3 mean the same thing. Totalitarianism. Pray for our country.

  25. Roberra Harper

    The Philadelphia Class started in my home 30 years ago. We had 1 year of prayer and had 70 women to be able to start the class. 5 years ago BFS told us they were closing our class because we were rude to out 35 year old leader who could not explain about Jesus returning in the rapture. One of our leaders in her 60s said “we are not leaving this room until everyone understands about the rapture. She explained it in detail with scripture. The next week tge leaders from headquarters cand and closed our class because we were rude. We have continued this last 5 years with a great teaching leader and more than 70 women registered and still going strong. I am the Director of the childrens program and we are now Joy Of Living. We have not missed a week and we teach tge truth from God’s true word the Bible! God provides!

  26. Glenn

    The term “community” shows up a lot in the contemplative/emerging church writing. Peter Drucker was a communitarian (different than being a communist but no more scriptural) and through Bob Buford’s Leadership Network influenced a who’s who of these leaders. Also, Rod Dreher (author of the Benedict Option) has been heavily influenced by Alasdair MacIntyre another communitarian. This philosophy heavily emphasizes “community” but not scripture. This teaching does not come from the Holy Spirit. Come soon Lord Jesus!

  27. Ronda

    I study with BSF, i found them to be contradicting. From study to study. Teaching Calvin doc. That would be that faith was a gift from God if God doesn’t give you this gift you can not believe. I question the faith gift, when it comes to falling away, only those given this gift. Could fall away. That would mean God took Bach his gift back from His elected one

    • A Hester

      Yes, Christians should expose error, if we are talking about not saying what the Word says. I noticed for the first time last year that there is a doctrine that is incorrect that is in BSF material pertaining to the character of God. In notes last year several times it talked about God being in control of everything, which is heretical. If God had chosen to control everything, everyone would accept salvation and there would not have been a need for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden. God has instead, chosen to give us free will to control our own lives and make choices according to our own will.

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