Kay Arthur

General Teachings/Activities

Kay Arthur is the executive vice president and founder of Precept Ministries International, a highly respected and frequently recommended international women's Bible study ministry located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (Precept was originally founded in 1970 by Kay and husband Jack Arthur as "Reach Out, Inc.," a Bible conference center in Chattanooga.) Kay Arthur is also the host/teacher on two radio and two television programs: Radio -- the 15-minute daily "Precept with Kay Arthur" and the 60-second daily "Precepts from God's Word" (heard on more than 800 U.S. stations); TV -- the weekly one-hour "How Can I Live?" (airs in all 50 states on 41 independent stations) and the weekly half-hour "Precepts for Life." She is the author of the Precept Upon Precept inductive Bible study program, which prints and distributes over 100,000 books each year for adults. Precept's operating budget currently exceeds $10 million annually, made up of approximately one-third donations and two-thirds sales.

Arthur claims she derives her teaching authority "from the Word of God." She conducts conferences and seminars and speaks all over the world. Arthur's influence on women is vast. She claims that at any one time there are more than 12,000 Precept classes in session in more than 119 countries in more than 65 languages with over 100,000 students in attendance. She has also authored more than 40 books and more than 35 "inductive Bible studies." Beginning in the mid-1980s, Arthur has written nine books in the "Lord ..." series: Lord, I Want To Know You (1984?); Lord, How Can I Ever Be Righteous (1985); Lord, Heal My Hurts (1988); Lord, I Need The Grace To Make It (1989); Lord, Is It Warfare? (1991); Lord, Where Are You When Bad Things Happen? (1992);  Lord, Teach Me to Pray in 28 Days (1995); Lord, Only You Can Change Me (1997?), Lord, I'm Torn Between Two Masters (1999?), and Lord, Give Me a Heart for You (2001). (Two earlier, less well-known books authored by Arthur were How Can I Live?, and Teach Me How To Live.)

Despite her frequent denials, Kay Arthur teaches doctrine to men as well as women. (In our opinion, Jack Arthur's name is at the head of the ministry's masthead merely to dispel the unbiblical teaching practices of his wife.) The most recent example of Kay Arthur's willingness to teach men was her August 2001 advertisement in the Houston Chronicle -- an advertisement for a September 2001 Precept Ministries seminar:

Study with Kay Arthur in Houston, Texas. 'A Holy God … A Holy People.' Life Changing! Invite your pastor, Sunday School teachers, youth workers, men's and women's ministry leaders."

-  In 1992, Arthur published (through Harvest House) The International Inductive Study Bible, receiving book jacket endorsements from neo-evangelical psychologizers Howard Hendricks (DTS), Joseph Stowell (MBI), R.C. Sproul (Ligonier), and Mrs. Pat Robertson (CBN). On 11/7/93, the John Ankerberg Show began a rerun of a five-week series titled, "Eight Biblical Scholars Defend the Bible." At the end of each of the programs, Ankerberg ran a premium offer promo for Arthur's Study Bible (for a gift of $85 for the leather-bound edition!). Appearing on tape (after four of the five programs) to endorse the Study Bible were social activist Beverly LaHaye, self-love psychobabblers R.C. Sproul and Josh McDowell, neo-evangelical Joni Eareckson Tada, and Arthur herself. After the third program, added endorsers were Campus Crusade's neo-evangelical leader Bill Bright and hyper-charismatic Jack Hayford. (Arthur also spoke with R.C. Sproul at his 2/3/94-2/5/94 Orlando Bible Conference, along with James Dobson, J.I. Packer, and Ravi Zacharias.)

-  Arthur's neo-evangelical associations and affiliations are many. For example, her 1992-1993 Precept Ministries Product Catalog (the latest available to us) includes ministry endorsements from "defrocked" psychologizer David Hocking, hyper-charismatic Jack Hayford; ecumenical, Catholic sympathizer Bill Bright (Campus Crusade); psychologizer Erwin Lutzer (Moody Memorial Church); charismatic, demon-deliverer Evelyn Christenson; SBC pastor Adrian Rogers; neo-evangelical television show programmer/host John Ankerberg; psychologizer Charles Stanley; neo-evangelical theologian John Sproule; and E. Brandt Gustavson, then president of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). [Arthur has also spoken at the Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, North Carolina (The Cove) every year since at least 1994. In 1/95, she also did a so-called Christian cruise with former SBC presidents and psychologizers Charles Stanley, Jerry Vines, and Adrian Rogers.]

The NRB, an arm of the neo-evangelical NAE until early-2001, has a strong charismatic component. Arthur is a "Member At Large" of the NRB's Executive Committee, a member of its 90-member Board of Directors, and has spoken at each of its annual conventions since at least 1991. The 4/1/91 Christian News showed Arthur as "NRB awards committee chairman" presenting a trophy to pop psychologist Dr. James Dobson, inducting him into NRB's Hall of Fame. And at the NRB's 50th annual convention in 2/93, Arthur read an ecumenical resolution to close the session, which included a point-by-point corporate confession of the sins of the nation and a statement of repentance!

-  Kay Arthur's unbiblical associations should be reason enough for professing fundamentalists to separate from her and her ministry. Those requiring additional grounds need only examine her teachings. Considering both together, the case for separation is overwhelming. A good summary of Kay Arthur's doctrine can be gleaned from her book Lord, Heal My Hurts. Even though this book offers some solid Biblical teaching concerning the way to obtain so-called "healing" (i.e., confession of sin, forgiveness, trust in the promises of God, and obedience to the Word), there is also an overwhelming amount of unbiblical teaching that draws upon the concepts, terminology, and teachings of Freudian and humanistic psychology. [Surprisingly, Nouthetic counseling advocate Dr. Jay E. Adams (NANC) has endorsed this book. One would suspect (hope!) that Jay never read the book, but endorsed it as a "publisher's favor."] 

-  The American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) is a psychologically oriented counseling organization that grew to about 5,000 members in 1993, more than 17,000 in 1997, and more than 24,000 today. The 5/17/93 issue of Christianity Today was devoted entirely to the defense of psychological counseling. In the special advertising section of this issue, Gary Collins (the president of the AACC at the time) ran the following advertisement for AACC:

"The AACC is made up of nearly 5,000 professional, pastoral, and lay counselors who are equally committed to psychological excellence and biblical truth. Members of the AACC seek to encourage the integration of counseling principles with biblical theology ... AACC provides its members with support that includes its newsletter The Counseling Connection, its magazine Christian Counseling Today, cassette tapes of interviews with counseling leaders, regional conferences, liability insurance, and opportunities to purchase Christian counseling books at reduced rates."

In a recent brochure from the AACC, promoting their Certificate Program in Biblical Counseling, Kay Arthur is quoted as saying: "AACC provides a powerful platform for it's membership to gain Biblical knowledge and counseling skills. People helpers everywhere can care for the soul in real-life practical ways -- beautifully blending the physical, emotional, clinical, and spiritual." Thus, no one should have any doubts as to where Kay Arthur places her loyalty -- she is committed to the integration of psychology with the Bible.

-  As mentioned in our review of Lord, Heal My Hurts, perhaps the most disconcerting teaching is Arthur's apparent acceptance of some of the heresies of the "demon deliverance" ministries. Moreover, when one reads Arthur's 1991 book, Lord, Is It Warfare?: Teach Me To Stand (see specifically pp. 280-323), little doubt is left that her demonology doctrine is thoroughly unbiblical. Arthur seemingly attributes every sin and every weakness to the work of demons. And rather than Biblical exegesis to establish a doctrine of demonology, Arthur relies almost exclusively on experience, à la Neil Anderson. In fact, on page 319 of Warfare, Arthur endorses two of Neil Anderson's highly heretical books, Victory Over the Darkness and The Bondage Breaker, both of which teach a so-called Christian "seven-step program" for living a victorious life. [In actuality, the books teach charismatic approaches to both sanctification (i.e., "crisis" sanctification) and demonology (i.e., deliverance from/exorcism of a believer's demons)].

In Warfare, Arthur, like Anderson in his aforementioned books, teaches that a Christian can be indwelt by demons; that Christians have the authority to cast-out demons from believers and unbelievers alike; that since demons can be responsible for sickness, healing can, in many cases, be obtained by commanding the enemy to leave; that Satan's demons have territorial powers that must be broken or the gospel cannot be effective; and that Satan's demons are also assigned to our homes, binding the hearts and minds of our children, thereby requiring a special kind of prayer, which she calls "offensive warfare" praying (i.e., commanding the demons to depart).

In the mid-1990s, Bill Bright, Billy Graham, Luis Palau, and Kyun Chik Han (Korea) were named as four new Honorary Co-Chairmen of A.D. 2000 Evangelism. (Paul Cedar of the Evangelical Free Church at the time, chaired the A.D. 2000 International Coalition of Christian Leaders, which is composed of 200 key leaders from various denominations, national and local churches.) A.D. 2000 Evangelism is ecumenical, compromising to the core, and even has some New Agers in its ranks (e.g., Jay Gary and Robert Muller), yet many undiscerning or uninformed believers are supporting, praising, and participating in it. Kay Arthur is one of these participants; Precept Ministries held AD 2000 Women's Track Meetings in Chattanooga from 12/10/93-12/12/93, and went to Colorado where she introduced key women leaders from sixteen countries to the "inductive study method." This unscriptural evangelism movement includes Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Charismatics, Pentecostals, and Protestants of all kinds. It is evident that many have not yet realized the impossibility of evangelizing the world when millions of those participating in that effort preach a false gospel. This makes the A.D. 2000 Evangelism program a curse, not a blessing.

According to the July-August, 1993 Mission Frontiers Bulletin, "These International Coalition leaders share the vision of the A.D. 2000 and Beyond Movement. ["A church for every people and the Gospel for every person by A.D. 2000," is their slogan.] They are 'front line' leaders, implementers, activists, equippers, and/or mobilizers in the ministry of world evangelization. Coalition members give leadership to the involvement of their own constituencies and share spiritual counsel with the various A.D. 2000 boards, committees and resource network leaders. They will seek to rally support and resources of all kinds to see the objectives of the movement fulfilled." (Emphasis added.) Seeking "all kinds" of support simply means that they will utilize whatever group claims to be in agreement with their "objectives" of global evangelization. The problem with such an inclusivist policy, however, is that some of the groups whose support they are trying to enlist embrace many unbiblical beliefs and strange gospels (September-October 1993, Foundation magazine).

-  Dr. Bill Jackson, president of the Association of Fundamentalists Evangelizing Catholics (AFEC), prepared a 6/18/99 statement on "The Gospel of Jesus Christ—An Evangelical Celebration" (EC). This document has been endorsed by Charles Colson, Bill Bright, and J.I. Packer, all of whom also signed the controversial ECT documents of 1994 and 1997; as well as endorsed by R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, and D. James Kennedy, all of whom publicly [albeit weakly] challenged and criticized them for signing the ECT documents. There are a number of helpful statements in this latest document which deal with areas which were not fully dealt with in the ECT documents (e.g., imputation is now dealt with favorably, but has been consistently opposed by Roman Catholic Councils and Catechisms). EC says, "We cannot embrace any form of doctrinal indifferentism by which God's truth is sacrificed for a false peace." But there is certainly no better example of "doctrinal indifferentism" than the ECT documents themselves (James 1:8)! Because ECT I stated that "Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ," in order to be relevant the new EC document should be submitted to the Roman Catholics who signed ECT I and II. It is difficult to see how a person could subscribe to both ECT and EC. The only logical conclusion is for all who signed EC to remove their names from ECT. It also appears that the so-called "evangelical" ECT endorsers have been "let off the hook" by former critics. We believe EC will be used to rehabilitate those who erred in 1994 and 1997, without their having to admit or ask forgiveness for their error. (Source: 7/15/99, Calvary Contender.) [Other "evangelical" endorsers of EC among the 15 members of the Drafting Committee and 114 members of the Endorsing Committee include John Ankerberg, Kay Arthur, Tony Evans, Jerry Falwell, Bill Hybels, David Jeremiah, D. James Kennedy, Max Lucado, Woodrow Kroll, Tim & Beverly LaHaye, Erwin Lutzer, Bill McCartney, Luis Palau, Pat Robertson, Ronald Sider, Charles Stanley, John Stott, Joseph Stowell, Chuck Swindoll, Bruce Wilkinson, and Ravi Zacharias; also endorsing EC were hyper-charismatics Jack Hayford and Steven Strang.] 

However ignorant Kay Arthur and fellow endorsers may be of all this, her participation in EC makes her a party to its consequences. It is also important to note that the EC document (which is supposed to be a definitive and comprehensive statement of the true saving Gospel of Christ), never mentions repentance for salvation, and never mentions the total depravity of man (thereby leaning towards a decisional regeneration). Moreover, the EC promotes an ecumenical unity (via "trans-denominational cooperative enterprises") with all professing believers who attest to the EC's "essentials" of the faith. But this is not the unity of the faith taught in Ephesians. While we are instructed by Scripture to be of one mind, the evangelical today scoffs at the idea of true Biblical unity based on complete agreement with, and submission to, God's holy Word. The only use of the word "unity" in the New Testament is found in Ephesians chapter four. It is a "unity of the Spirit" (v. 3), not of men. It is a "unity of faith" (v. 13) based on sound doctrine for which believers are to contend, not water down nor reclassify into essentials and non-essentials (Jude 3). No real spiritual unity can exist apart from doctrinal unity, and we are to "mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17).

-  Campus Crusade founder Bill Bright fasted 40 days during the summer of 1994, during which he claims to have received a "prophecy from God" that a mighty revival is coming. He then issued a call for hundreds of liberals, charismatics, and new-evangelicals to gather in Orlando 12/5/94-12/7/94 to fast and pray for revival. An Invitation Committee made up of a hodgepodge of 72 liberals, new evangelicals, and charismatics was formed. Included were: Robert Schuller, Charles Colson, E.V. Hill, Jack Hayford, James Dobson, W.A. Criswell, Charles Stanley, Paul Crouch, Luis Palau, Bill Gothard, Pat Robertson, Kay Arthur, and Larry Burkett. CCC's Bill Bright cites "a great sense of urgency to link arms and unitedly call upon God for help in the spirit of King Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 20)." This ecumenical "linking" is in the "spirit of Jehoshaphat" indeed, but the Jehoshaphat of 2 Chr. 18 (instead of 2 Chr. 20) where he "linked" with wicked King Ahab and incurred the wrath of God. (Reported in the 11/15/94, Calvary Contender.) [Another three-day "Fasting & Prayer" conference was held in 11/95 in Los Angeles; it attracted 3,500 "evangelicals" and charismatics. The Invitation/Host Committee for this event included most of those listed above, plus Dick Eastman, Chuck Smith, Bill McCartney (Promise Keepers), Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Shirley Dobson, Paul Cedar (E-Free), Ted Engstrom (World Vision), Joseph Stowell (Moody), and Joseph Aldrich (Multnomah). A third conference was held 11/14/96-11/16/96 in St. Louis. New additions to the Host Committee included Max Lucado, Henry Blackaby, Loren Cunningham (YWAM), Greg Laurie, Dennis Rainey, Randy Phillips (Promise Keepers), Josh McDowell, D. James Kennedy, Howard Hendricks, and Neil Anderson. (Conferences have been held every year now, but there is an uncertain future with Bill Bright's August 2001 retirement from Campus Crusade.)]

-  One of the most ambitious undertakings may be that of "Chosen Women: Daughters of the King." This new Pasadena, California-based group (founded by Susan Kimes, in con-junction with Calvary Church in Santa Ana, California, where she has held women's conferences since 1985 [under the inspiration of David Hocking, who pastored there through late-1992]) had hoped to attract 80,000 women to the Rose Bowl May 16-17, 1997, with speakers such as Ruth Graham, Anne Graham Lotz, Elisabeth Elliot, Bunny Wilson, and Jill Briscoe. Actually, 30,000 attended, which is still the largest women-only stadium rally since the Promise Keepers men's movement began. Women of all ages sang, danced, did the wave, blew bubbles, batted beach balls, prayed, and applauded the all-female slate of speakers. Attendees paid between $56 and $71 in registration fees for the experience (6/16/97, Christianity Today). [1998's event in Fresno's Bulldog Stadium (5/29/98-5/30/98) drew about 10,000; Anne Graham Lotz spoke again, as did Kay Arthur via videotape.]

-  Another concern we have about Arthur is her view of the gospel message -- at times it appears that she undermines the gospel of the unconditional saving grace of Jesus Christ with a man-made requirement for pre-salvation works. We can see this by looking at her definition of faith in her Covenant Precept study: "... [faith is] absolute surrender of one's separate self ... a total death to self ... a walk into death ... coming to God with nothing held back." She then gives at least five requirements for salvation (all of which seem to set forth "ingredients" of salvation, rather than that which is produced by salvation): (a) walk through the veil of His flesh; (b) death to all other relationships -- Jesus is first; (c) death to one's own life, own interests, self-denial; (d) lose life for Jesus' sake in order to find it; and (e) be crucified with Christ. Again, all this seems to be a focus on what an unbeliever must do to gain salvation; i.e., according to Arthur, one can only have salvation if he dies to self, fully surrenders, and has a "conduct inspired by that surrender."

In the Covenant study, Arthur's definition of faith (citing the Hebrew word for believe) is "... the idea of an unqualified committal of oneself to another." On one of the leader tapes, Arthur defines the Greek word for believe as "firm conviction" and "full surrender." In looking these words up (e.g., in Vine's Expository Dictionary), however, it seems that Arthur chose certain words and left others out, conveying an unbalanced definition. For example, pisteuo in the Greek means to "entrust one's spiritual well-being to Christ and rely upon; to be persuaded, committed only in the sense of entrusted -- entrusting one's life to another to save." Arthur has taken something simple -- "I cannot save myself from the penalty for my sin, but You, Lord, can and did" -- and made it quite difficult. Granted, we must initially recognize our lost, sinful condition, and then surrender to Him by giving ourselves up to Him to save us through the application of His substitutionary, sacrificial death. But it is faith first and only then obedience; change of conduct follows faith because only then do we have the power within to live obediently. We can only live the Christian life as it is meant to be lived as we have the Holy Spirit within. Yet all too frequently, Arthur appears to believe that Christians must initially be either all for God, fully surrendered, or not one of His at all.

-  Arthur has also written a book on this subject of the Covenant -- Our Covenant God: Learning to Trust Him. Let Pastor Gary Gilley's review of this (March of 1999) book suffice for our concerns in this area of Arthur's teaching:

"Take away the word 'beloved' and you lose about 20 pages of this book. Remove the hype and constant attempts to convince the reader that what they are reading is not only virgin ground seldom explored by even the finest of Christian teachers, but that Arthur is presenting the missing ingredient to abundant living, and you lose another 50 pages. In addition, reduce the over abundance of 'white space' and large chunks of Scripture quotations and you shrink this 275-page book down to about 150 pages. And … if you eliminate the elaborate retelling of the biblical stories and personal testimonials designed to prove her case, this book could have been under 100 pages, about 25 of which are of any value. As you can tell, I was highly unimpressed with Arthur's attempt to abridge the whole of Scripture and Christian living to one component [a covenant]. Has God made covenants with mankind? Without question. Are we to strain every aspect of the Christian life through the strainer of covenant? Apparently not, or the New Testament would be filled with such teaching, which it is not. Is the understanding of covenant the key component to the understanding of our Christian life? Is it because we do not have a firm grasp on this subject that so many flounder spiritually? Certainly not, for the same reason as given above. Whenever any Bible teacher attempts to reduce the complexities of Scripture to one factor, then promises that that one factor, properly understood or experienced, is the spiritual secret of Christianity, we know that teacher has simply gone too far. Many try it, and many buy it, but the richness of God, Scripture, and biblical living just cannot be squeezed into simplistic formulas.

"Even in Arthur's exposition of Scripture she makes many careless mistakes. She simply ignores the references to the New Covenant being cut with Israel and Judah, and not the church. She butchers the whole point of the Law being our tutor in Galatians, accepting the English meaning for tutor and applying it to individuals today, totally out of context to the thrust of the passage. In addition, she sprinkles the book with mystical stories and self-promotion. Our Covenant God is a book that can be happily ignored. And for those thousands (she claims) who have been revolutionized by the covenant concept that she teaches, I suggest a thorough reading of the New Testament to discover if these things are so. They AIN'T."


Biblical Discernment Ministries - Revised 2/2003

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