From Ashes to Superstition.
(Printed in the Towanda Daily Review on March 6, 1999. The title above was not the title used by the paper.)
In her February 28 Review column, "From ashes to beauty: overcoming sexual abuse," Jill Darling extols Joyce Meyer, a popular television and radio evangelist who endured emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse from an alcoholic father. After leaving home at 18 and marrying soon afterward, Meyer's first marriage ended after a few years. She remarried in 1967 to Dave, who had "prayed for God to direct him to a woman who needed help."
Being then described as a "moody, manipulative, nagging perfectionist," Joyce seems to have been the answer to Dave's prayer. Dave continued to pray as did Joyce. Then, while driving soon after 1976, Joyce claimed that she was touched by God's presence. She claimed that God directed her to study the Bible. After a time of study, she started her ministry and began to help others, particularly women, to overcome abusive situations and human flaws. Her methods are based on what she claims to have learned from the scriptures.
Unfortunately, her lessons were flawed. In "Doctrine Ambiguity of a Wandering Star: The Changing Views of Joyce Meyer" (The Quarterly Journal, Fisher & Belli, January-March 1996), Meyer's scriptural learning suffers from "atonement ambiguities, word wizardry, name nonsense, and blood ballyhoo". The Quarterly Journal is published by Personal Freedom Outreach (PFO), "a non-profit, non-denominational group with three goals: to educate Christians about the dangers and heretical doctrines of religious cults, to use the Gospel of Jesus Christ to reach members of those cults, and to warn Christians of unbiblical teachings within the church itself."
The article states that, "Christians have come to presume that teachers and authors who profess to speak and write out of a calling from the Holy Spirit will present a message that is doctrinally sound and consistent from sermon to sermon and book to book." It continues that, "Meyer's evolving, changing Word-Faith views are at best aberrant, confusing, misleading and unscriptural. Magic words, magic names and magic blood should be deplored and seen for what they are: superstition."
It concludes, "Meyer's writings and tapes continue to lack solid biblical exposition. Yet perhaps next month, next year, or the year after she will have again changed her teachings and be spreading different errors and 'revelations.' Scripture is clear: We are to avoid those who are devoid of sound doctrine and are like wandering stars (Jude 12-13)."
Meyer had a tragic past and was fortunate to have risen from it. However, she has no qualifications to professionally advise others in dangerous abusive relationships, and she has no qualifications to professionally offer psychological counseling. If you are in an abusive relationship, seek proper professional help and, as recommended by PFO, avoid Meyer. She may be entertaining, but she doesn't know what she is talking about, scripturally or otherwise.
John L. Ferri