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- February 11, 1999
Re: Women of Faith - 'just Keeping our Eyes Open

Not long ago one of the 'christian' search engines VW lists with sent out a "Religion Today Feature Story" e-mail about a January 22-23 "Women of Faith" rally in Washington, D.C.

This entity is said to be the women's counterpart to the male "Promise Keepers" and had 320,000 attend 28 rallies in 1998. While I've not personally seen them represented on TV or radio, this report about them and what their leaders have to say raises some 'red flags' that would be prudent to consider very briefly. If you've 'wondered about' them or are considering attending one of their rallies, some things you should be alerted to observe with discerning hearts.

For the purposes of this consideration, I'm going to paste quotes from this article, and then make comments:

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...They conveyed the message that while life may sometimes be painful, a woman should be able to laugh and feel loved by God.
...The conferences recognize that women have been faithful in their contributions to the church and "encourage them to keep going," spokesman Scott Spiewak told Religion Today. "It pats them on the back, tells them 'you're doing a good job.' It's like a big slumber party."
...They have a powerful effect on women, who "laugh, cry, and have a good time,"
...Women of Faith conferences are not intended to tell women what they are doing wrong, but to encourage them, its organizers say. Controversial subjects such as divorce, sex, and abortion are not addressed. Speakers reveal their fears, pains, shortcomings, and struggles and tell how they are overcoming them and finding joy.

[Editor:]
Well, to "feel loved by God" is certainly a wonderful thing. But "how" are they going about it? Have a "girl's night out" and "slumber party" Just pump everybody up with jokes and entertainment (this from parts not pasted in here).

But the -real- "root cause" of their sorrow is ignored. Don't talk about that which is troubling the soul, like divorce, sex, abortion. Just cover it over by "searing [their] conscience" (1Tm4:2) with emotional pick-me-ups. There was nothing in the whole article about women humbling themselves before God in repentance. They are pretending their "sin" is not an issue, telling themselves that they are all "OK"

How does Scripture speak of being cleansed of these things which weigh the soul down? "Submit to God.. draw near to God.. be afflicted, and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness. Be humbeld before the Lord..." and notice the result... "and -HE- will lift you up." (Jas4:7-10)

They are getting "decisions" and "commitments" from this large "party time." I wonder 'what' these decisions are? Or 'whom' these commitments are -to-?

Paul's method was opposite of that. When the church at Corinth had problems, he rakes them over the coals in the first letter. Then, once they had taken care of the problem he comforts them, "..even if I grieved you in the letter, I do not regret it...now I rejoice, not that you were grieved, but that you grieved to repentance. For you were grieved according to God, so that you might suffer loss by nothing...for the grief according to God -works- repentance to salvation, not to be regretted." (2Cor7:8-10) And notice the results he lists: they became earnest for God. They had desire and zeal to follow God and do right by Him. They had forgiveness.

Pep rallies do nothing for the deep-seated darkness within the soul! These women -need- to be 'cleansed' in their souls and spirits.

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...Women of Faith...rallies were begun in 1996 by Steven Arterburn of Laguna Beach, Calif., an evangelical Protestant radio-show host. He founded New Life Clinics, a chain of counseling centers that offer psychological therapy with a religious perspective.
..."I just thought we should pull together the best women communicators we've got and see what impact they would have

[Editor:]
Well, this is real scriptural, isn't it! Psychology denies "sin". It tries to persuade people that the darkness and hurt inside is "not their fault" and someone else is to blame. So, if they can just squash the hurt and deny its existence, then, they can feel their own "worth" and just "be loved." Trouble is, the sin is -still- there, and they are -still- on their way to hell.

At least I'll give them this much; they didn't call it "Christian" therapy. It's -only- with a "religious" perspective. That's not "Christian."

Also, God's work is not accomplished by doing what "I thought" I should do. Peter kept doing that, and kept falling. Arterburn doesn't say that the Holy Spirit led him to this. Let's just 'try it' and 'see what happens.' Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be the Agency for His work. (Acts1:8) And it was the "Holy Spirit [Who] said..Separate Barnabas and Saul to Me for the work to which I have called them." (Acts13:3) And they went to their "successful" missionary journeys "sent out by the Holy Spirit" (vs4)

So, by the originator's own words, this movement was -not- begun by God. It was his own idea...

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Arterburn told USA Today. Participants paid $55 and spent $16 million in registration fees and merchandise last year. Proceeds from the conferences go toward improving his clinics.

[Editor:]
Aaah! Here's his purpose. Beef up his clinics. Elsewhere this movement is labeled as a "for-profit" organization.

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...What started as a simple idea "has since evolved into one of the most significant and powerful women's movements of this decade," said Christie Barnes, director of Women of Faith. "Seeing women come together from all denominations, ethnic backgrounds, and marital status as women of God really encourages me...Walls and barriers are being broken down."

[Editor:]
This has an ol' 'familiar ring' doesn't it. Nothing in here about women coming to God, confessing and repenting of their sin, and turning to God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. But it sounds every bit like an Oprah-style "celebration" time...of "self"..for -money-. They are "Women of Faith." -What- 'faith' is that??

The Lord does not delight in these things. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." (Ps51:17)

Update:
Women of Faith - "Extravagant Grace, 2000" (April 28-29, Spokane, WA)