Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I had a conversation with your office the week of January 15, 2015 voicing my concerns and experiences with BSF [Bible Study Fellowship]. I have been a faithful attendee for six years.
I have had some concerns about BSF in the last several years. These include but are not limited to:
1) The use of the NIV Bible with the use of commentaries forbidden.
2) There are no wrong answers, my leader this year continually stated “it is all good.”
3) Having a class in the host church library and seeing the shelves laden with the current “Christian” Best sellers.
4) The mention of the Message Bible by two leaders. At one of our fellowships leader’s home she was asked to recommend which Bible to buy by a group member. The leader pulled out a stack of Bibles, including the Message, and explained that “it is a modern translation.”
5) The lecture leader at a fellowship three years ago telling us “seasoned” ladies not to get frustrated and leave because the format of the notes was going to change to bring in the younger people. There has been a noticeable change with what I would call a “dumbing down” of the notes.
6) People in the groups I have become acquainted with are clearly involved in wrong teaching, such as The Daniel Plan, Joyce Meyers, Purpose driven and seeker sensitive churches. BSF has started a lecture teaching of “How to get involved in your church.” Of note, we are not taught to seek a true Bible-preaching church but rather to “get involved in your church.”
7) Two years ago in class, a member voiced the belief that there is opportunity after death to make a decision for Christ, no question or correction by the leader followed the statement. There are “no wrong answers.”
Then the incident that drove me to quit BSF occurred in December of 2014. At the end of our small group meeting, our leader handed out gifts to each lady. I was astonished to see we were all given the Jesus Calling Devotional. I had read several of Warren B. Smith’s books so I was aware of the New Age making its way into the church. I was greatly troubled by this for two reasons:
1) There is to be no discussion of any outside books,
2) and the New Age contemplative prayer of the author, Sarah Young. To say the least, I was greatly troubled.
I e-mailed Warren Smith, and he suggested I read his book regarding this book and also go on Lighthouse Trails’ research website. I ordered and read the book, “Another Jesus” Calling. During the Christmas break, I sent an e-mail to my BSF group voicing confusion and concern. I received a reply that my e-mail had been forwarded to the lecture leader.
In January of 2015, my small group leader called me to inquire if I was coming to class the next day and attend class fellowship. I told her I would not be returning because I was deeply troubled by her giving out the book. She voiced surprise because she had been given the book several years ago by a mentor and never questioned it. I have sent her booklets I had purchased about the book as well as about the Message Bible. She was clearly bothered by my response and did concede that she had done no research on[Jesus Calling] and was wrong to give them out.
Later in the month, I received an e-mail from the BSF secretary that the lecture leader wishes to talk to me after the class on the first week of February. This response came approximately six weeks after my e-mail voicing my concern. I did meet with the lecture leader who was supportive and voiced that what my leader had done was wrong and it caused many discussions in the leaders group. She told me they needed me because of my wisdom and discernment. I struggled with making a decision to return or not. Finally on February 23, while listening to a Christian discernment radio discussion centered on Christians coming together for a joint reason, one of the pastors said “If you are not believing the same thing, you are not in fellowship. You are partaking in false unity.” Finally I could put words to my struggle.
As I have prayed and studied the BSF format, an old movie came to mind. The movie is the 1970s Stepford Wives. Like that movie, we are taught not to question anything because there are no wrong answers. I know from my own personal study that there were wrong answers given. We are told to get involved in our churches, not question if the churches we are involved in are teaching truth.
I will not return to class, but it is with great sadness that I see the church, the Body of Christ, being deceived. 1 Corinthians 5:6: “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” I am grateful for the ministry of Lighthouse Trails. It is dangerous out here in the “Christian world.”
Forgive me for going on and on, I feel I need to share some of my history. I was raised Catholic, went to college, and got my MSW degree, just as Warren Smith has. I worked as a counselor; my last job was as a “Christian Counselor.” I was fired from that position in 2009, because of “lack of respect for management.” I did not realize at the time it was the hand of God. Since then, I have had to seriously repent of committing spiritual adultery. Psychology is man’s way to fix the exterior of man. I now strive to walk in God’s truth. I see the church has embraced the things of the world.
Thank you for your ministry. I am committed to pray for you daily. May God bless you as you seek to bring us the Truth. I just finished rereading my Jan-Feb newsletter. Thank you.
A sister in Christ,