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False Teacher of the Day #18: Priscilla Shirer
In the 18th installment of our False Teacher of the Day series, Priscilla Shirer, daughter of false teacher number 11, Tony Evans, made the cut. Priscilla Shirer is a good friend and a disciple of well-known prophet-preacher Beth Moore. Besides the fact that women preaching and teaching men in the church is unbiblical, these two women regularly claim to receive extra-biblical revelation from God and promote other unbiblical practices such as mysticism, and contemplative prayer.
Priscilla Shirer was a participant in the heretical DVD on contemplative prayer,Be Still, and she even addresses this criticism on her web page. Though it may sound like she supports a biblical view of prayer at first glance, looking deeper into what she is saying, it becomes clear that she doesn’t understand what biblical prayer and meditation are. In her FAQ she says, “By participating in the Be Still project, we by no means meant to convey our agreement with the theological viewpoints and positions of other participants yet we did believe (and still do) in the over-arching theme of the resource and that is why I agreed to do it.” This is a contradictory statement. The theological viewpoints and positions of the participants are the overarching theme of the DVD, and she says she supports it.
She then goes on to say:
The Psalmist himself said that not only would he bring his requests to God in prayer but then “wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3) for God’s response. The prophet Habakkuk mirrors this philosophy of prayer when he says that after speaking to God he would then “climb up on the watchtower and wait to see what the Lord will say to me.” (Habakkuk 2:1). We are a proponent of the Christian encountering God in a fresh way that is relevant to his or her life, and we believe this can occur when we wait for God quietly with our Bibles outspread before us. As we ponder His Word, the Holy Spirit applies it to the circumstances of our lives.
Here, she seems to be equating the way Old Testament prophets received revelation from God to how Christians are meant to study God’s Word–by being still and waiting. The fact that she goes on to say that we do this with our Bibles open before us doesn’t change anything. Yes, it is true that we receive our revelation from God only through Scripture, but if you look closely, this is not what she’s saying. We don’t study God’s word by opening it and pondering a piece of Scripture and sitting silently waiting for God to speak to us, we study Scripture through vigorous intellectual reading, one-way prayer as taught in Scripture, and application of his Word in our daily lives.
By Biblical definition, meditation on God’s Word means to fill our minds with it, memorize it, and study and practice it regularly so that it becomes ingrained in who we are. A golf player does not become a better golf player by sitting down in front of a ball, meditating on it, and contemplating it. He becomes better by actively practicing it, and applying his knowledge daily.
Despite her attempt to brush off the accusations of promoting and practicing mysticism, this isn’t the only time she’s been involved in this activity. She has written at least two booklets in which she claims that mature Christians should be able to hear audible voices from God. In her booklet, Is That You God, she writes:
Before you read any further, let me assure you of an important point. To not speak contradicts God’s nature. The second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, is called the Word (see John 1:1). That designation stands at odds with silence. God loved you enough to die for you; He loves you enough to communicate with you. The Lord can and will speak to you if you’ve placed your faith in Jesus. First, however, you must expect and anticipate that the divine voice of God can ring in your ears and heart.
Nowhere in Scripture am I aware of does it teach that we must expect and anticipate the divine voice of God ringing in our ears and hearts. Scripture is clear that the Word of God, as once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3), is sufficient for our salvation and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). But apparently, that’s not enough for Priscilla. On Day 4 of Week 2 in her Bible study on her Book, He Speaks To Me, she writes:
How can we consistently hear God’s voice? We must take the focus off ourselves, looking instead to His glory and priorities, meditating on His attributes. To worship God appropriately, we also need to grasp His acceptance. As long as we feel condemned, we will have difficulty hearing God speak.
Again, she seems to believe that God speaks to our hearts in other ways besides Scripture. The Bible doesn’t teach us that we can hear God speak to us as long as we don’t feel condemned, and focus on his priorities and attributes. Paul says in Hebrews 1:1-2
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
The key here is the past tense, “has spoken.” God has already spoken to us through the revelation of Jesus Christ, and his revelation has been recorded by the writers of the New Testament canon. Though God uses the Holy Spirit to illumine the Word of God for us today and interpret it for us, he does not speak directly to us through any other means than the closed canon of Scripture.
Shirer also regularly travels and speaks at events with other well-known false teachers, like Hillsong's Word of Faith lady-pastor, Christine Caine, as well as Beth Moore, Sheila Walsh, and Lisa Harper. It’s no doubt that she is a disciple of these women, as she speaks so highly of them. She says of Christine Caine in an interview with the Christian Post, (where she also seems to believe that women speakers are persecuted in the Church), “Christine Caine would be at the top of my list [most influential and unique voices in Christianity]. She is a brilliant communicator of God’s word, but not only that, this is a woman who’s on a mission to see His kingdom come on earth,” and of Beth Moore, “Then also Beth Moore. Beth Moore is a fantastic communicator of God’s word. I have the utmost respect for her. She’s a friend and mentor, a woman of integrity. I have rarely heard someone teach the Scriptures the way Beth Moore can.”
It is clear that Priscilla Shirer has embraced an aberrant theology that is largely devoid of God's truth--particularly in how we approach Him in prayer and worship. While her love for people and especially women may be genuine, this does not excuse her false teachings and she should be avoided.