Christine Caine, Contemplative Prayer, Discernment, Eisegesis, Exegesis, Extra biblical revelation, False teachers, Going Beyond, Hermeneutics, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Justin Peters, Priscilla Shirer, Prosperity Gospel, Victoria Osteen, War Room, Word of Faith
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Priscilla Shirer is a wife and mom of three boys hailing from the Dallas area. Though you may be newly acquainted with her from her role as Elizabeth Jordan in the recently released Christian movie War Room, she has been writing women’s Bible studies and has been a popular speaker at women’s conferences and other events for many years. Together with her husband, Jerry, she heads up Going Beyond Ministries.
When I participated in Priscilla’s DVD study He Speaks to Me several years ago, I found her to be an engaging writer, a witty storyteller, and charismatic speaker. Priscilla’s friendliness and genuine care for Christian women seem to shine through every word she speaks and writes. And to top that all off, she’s beautiful and sharp as a tack. It’s very easy to think of Priscilla and think, “What’s not to love?”
Which is why it grieves me to have to answer that question with: “Her theology.” Unfortunately, there are serious red flags about some of the things Priscilla does and teaches that Christian women who follow her, or are considering following her, need to be made aware of. And because of those issues, I deeply regret that I am not able to recommend her as I would like to. Should she repent in these areas in which she has broken Scripture and align herself with biblical principles, she would have no bigger fan than I, and I would rejoice to be able to point Christian women to her as a doctrinally sound resource.
Until that time, however, it saddens me to have to recommend that Christian women not follow Priscilla Shirer or any materials or activities from Going Beyond Ministries for the following reasons:
1. Priscilla unrepentantly preaches to and instructs men in the Scriptures in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12-14 (as well as other passages of Scripture that do not allow this). If you have followed me for any length of time, you have seen me raise this issue repeatedly regarding female Bible teachers and speakers. Yes, it’s a big deal and, yes, I will continue to teach and write about it. There are two crucial reasons for this.
First, this is a sin. I am finding that more and more Christians have to be told this. When the Bible says not to do something and you do it anyway, that’s a sin. And the Bible says that women are not to preach to or instruct men, or to hold authority over men in the gathered body of Believers, the church. Though the consequences of the sin of instructing men may not appear to be severe, it is just as much of a sin as any other sin you can think of: adultery, lying, stealing, drunkenness, and so on. If you wouldn’t follow a male pastor or Bible teacher who was open and unrepentant about committing adultery or shoplifting or getting plowed every weekend, why would you follow any female Bible teacher who preaches to and instructs men?
Second, almost without exception, every female Bible teacher I know of who unrepentantly instructs men also teaches other doctrinal error (usually Word of Faith or seeker driven false doctrine). So instructing men is a red flag to watch for if you’re looking for a doctrinally sound teacher.
If a woman is supposedly knowledgeable enough about the Bible to be in the position of teaching and authoring, yet doesn’t understand or obey such a basic biblical truth, what does that say about the rest of her knowledge of the Bible? How can you trust that anything else she teaches you about the Bible is accurate and true?
2. Priscilla partners and associates with false teachers such as Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, Joel and Victoria Osteen, and T.D. and Serita Jakes (see below). All of these people are proponents of the false and anti-biblical Word of Faith (prosperity gospel) doctrine, and the Jakeses are also modalists. Paul is quite clear that people who preach “another gospel” are “accursed”, or damned, and that we are not to partner with them. John says virtually the same thing, and adds that to partner with false teachers is to take part in their wicked works. Again, when the Bible says not to do something, and a person does it anyway, this is sin.
On October 16, 2016, Priscilla and her husband, children, and mother were in attendance at T.D. Jakes’ “church,” The Potter’s House, where, during a God’s Leading Ladies graduation ceremony, Priscilla accepted the “Lady of Destiny” award. As you can see, she has warm words of praise and admiration for Serita Jakes (T.D.’s wife).
3. Priscilla teaches Christians to “listen for God’s voice” in an unbiblical form of “prayer” called contemplative prayer. Combining elements of Eastern mysticism and New Age spirituality, this practice of emptying the mind and listening for God’s voice is found nowhere in Scripture. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He taught them:
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:9-13.
No mention of sitting in silence or listening here nor in any of the other passages in which the Bible teaches about prayer. Jesus taught us the way He wanted us to pray. Priscilla teaches something different.
4. Priscilla often uses poor hermeneutics when handling God’s word. Looking back over my copy of He Speaks to Me, and sifting through numerous videos of her teaching, it’s clear that her method of teaching is mainly eisegesis. She begins most lessons with a story or personal experience, uses these stories to formulate her own spiritual principles, and then adds in a smattering of Bible verses (often out of context) to support her ideas. Priscilla has also admitted that she reads herself into Scripture, an unbiblical practice sometimes called “narcissistic eisegesis”.
The proper method of teaching Scripture is exegesis. Exegesis is taking a passage of Scripture in context, and “leading out” of it- teaching what the passage means.
One example that best showcases Priscilla’s penchant for eisegesis and poor hermeneutics can be found in this promotional video for her study, One in a Million:
0:46- This same God was supposed to be speaking to me, teaching to me, making Himself relevant to me…in the regular rhythms of my everyday living…
Where does the Bible teach this? It doesn’t. God speaks to us and teaches us through the careful study and preaching of His word, not through subjective voices, feelings, and experiences in the “rhythms of everyday living” (what, precisely, does that phrase even mean?) Where does Priscilla get the idea that God is “supposed” to be speaking in these ways? Not from Scripture.
1:37- When these believers…who had experienced different things about God became part of my life, my eyes were opened to see God in a brand new way.
These “believers from different denominations” Priscilla references who rattled her “theological box” may have been part of Priscilla’s initial exposure to false Word of Faith teaching and false teachers such as the aforementioned Meyer, Caine, and Osteens.
Notice the emphasis around the 1:37 mark on people’s personal experiences (praying for miracles, etc.) rather than on the Bible. We do not build doctrine or what we believe about God on people’s subjective experiences. What we believe about God must come from Scripture alone. Personal experiences can be evidence of the truth of rightly handled and understood Scripture, but not vice versa.
2:57- Do you know that of the original two million Jewish people only two actually ever made it? That’s one in a million. Well, man, if there’s only going to be a handful of people experiencing what we’ve learned on the pew…then I want one of those to be me.”
The story of Joshua and Caleb being the only ones to enter the Promised Land has absolutely no connection whatsoever with how many Christians today will be able to achieve intimacy with God. None. The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that because only two people out of two million entered the Promised Land that only “a handful of people” will be able to “experience” (there’s that word again) “what we’ve learned on the pew.”
Furthermore (since Priscilla looks to tangible experiences and anecdotal evidence as support for her ideas), both anecdotal church history and the experiences of Christians who are alive today prove this idea to be false. Untold millions of Christians over the last two thousand years have studied God’s word, grown close to Him, matured in their faith, and walked faithfully with him throughout their lives. God doesn’t limit to a select few the number of Christians who are able to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus the way He limited entrance to the Promised Land. In fact, the Bible says the opposite. It is God’s plan for every Christian to grow to spiritual maturity and intimacy with Him.
But growth to spiritual maturity through the study of God’s word and faithful obedience to Him isn’t what Priscilla is offering through this study. Instead, she is dangling in front of Christian women an emotionally appealing and unbiblical carrot of miraculous and unique personal experiences with God instead of teaching them to properly study their Bibles and rely on Scripture alone for their doctrine and practices.
Though there are others, these are the major doctrinal errors in this video, which is less than four minutes of teaching from Priscilla.
1 Corinthians 4:6 says:
I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.
It is a sad irony that Priscilla Shirer opted to name her ministry “Going Beyond,” because this is exactly what she is choosing to do right now. She goes beyond what is written in teaching men, in partnering with false teachers, in teaching unbiblical prayer practices, and in using improper hermeneutics. Therefore, it is my recommendation that women not follow, support, or receive teaching from Priscilla Shirer or Going Beyond Ministries at this time.
Disclaimer: The specific links below are provided and endorsed as evidence pertaining to this article only. I do not endorse any of these sites in so far as any of them might deviate from Scripture or conflict with my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs at the top of this page.
Is Priscilla Shirer a Sound Exegete? on Fighting for the Faith
Unwrap the Bible promo video by Victoria Osteen
True Woman Conference Speaker Priscilla Shirer Hears God’s Still, Small Voice at Do Not Be Surprised
Priscilla Shirer preaches the Sunday morning worship service (to a co-ed audience) at Celebration Church, Austin, Texas
Priscilla Shirer and Contemplative/Centering Prayer at Apprising Ministries
He Speaks to Me promo video by Priscilla Shirer
War Room’s Priscilla Shirer’s Contemplative History, and Why It Matters at My Word Like Fire
Priscilla Shirer’s promo page at (Word of Faith) Hillsong
Women Pastors, Priscilla Shirer, and the SBC at Do Not Be Surprised
Meet Christine Caine at Going Beyond
War Room: A Review by Justin Peters at Worldview Weekend
Fervent a book review by Aimee Byrd
Review of Priscilla Shirer’s Sermon: “The Multitude” by Chris Rosebrough
Priscilla Shirer- Mystic by David Sheldon
War Room- A Review by Hip and Thigh
Stand Firm: A Review of War Room at Satisfaction Through Christ
Fervent Book Review at Wise in His Eyes