Apologia Church and their “Sheologians” – a critique

Apologia Church in Tempe Arizona hit the headlines last year with its “beer and tattoos” church fundraisers.

The Church is led by Pastor/Elder Luke Pierson and Pastor/Elder Jeff Durbin who was recently in Northern Ireland, speaking at a Reformed Presbyterian Church.

Apologia Church seems to be part of the phenomenon known as YRR (Young Restless and Reformed) and, we could add, immature, shallow and worldly.

Two young women who attend Apologia are Joy Temby and Summer White. The latter is the daughter of James White of Alpha Omega Ministries, a man who has defended Apologia Church against its critics.

James White has spoken on Apologia’s radio programme and he has spoken at a conference called ReformCon 2016 along with Jeff Durbin and others including one Les Lanphere who co-founded The Reformed Pubcast.

Mr.Lanphere and his co-host discuss theology over a pint of beer on The Reformed Pubcast!!!   Words fail us!

Summer White and Joy Temby have a radio programme called “Sheologians” because, they say, theology is not just for boys. They are also pro-life and we support them in their opposition to abortion. They claim to be opposed to Feminism as we are, but their stand against Feminism is somewhat undermined by Joy’s nose ring and their worldly attire.

We agree with them that women should search the Scriptures for themselves and should strive to understand the fundamentals of the Christian faith. However, their programmes are preceded by shallow and silly conversations between the two of them, punctuated by frequent laughter and all this is supposed to set the scene for deep theological discussions and interviews??!

I left a comment on their Sheologians site and it was not published initially so I contacted them again and my comment was published followed by comments from Summer White.

From her responses (and she and her co-host made fun of my comments on the Sheologians programme which aired after my critical comments) you will see that these women do not appreciate criticism or rebuke and they label anyone who says anything negative about them as “legalists” and “Pharisees.”

Summer White went even further and bore false witness against me.

Apologia Church likewise dislikes criticism and rebuke and resorts to the same childish behaviour by labelling critics as “judgmental” and “legalists.”

Read, listen and view all the links below. Note the video of Miss Summers and Miss Temby and in particular notice Miss Temby’s nose ring and the feminist-like attire of both of them.

There is a sad ending to the “beer and tattoos” debacle. One of the men who received a tattoo, a man called Thad Pinch committed serial adultery and had not overcome his addiction to drugs. He was the husband of Summer White. They are now divorced.

Apologia Church believed there were Biblical grounds for a divorce and we agree with them. Adultery is a heinous sin and Thad Pinch chose to sin.

However we believe that trendy Apologia Church with its emphasis on Christian liberty and its fleshly, worldly atmosphere and lack of separation from the world makes it more likely that the sins of the flesh might abound, whether in thought, word or deed.





29 thoughts on “Apologia Church and their “Sheologians” – a critique

  1. There have been some terrible churches over the centuries, with cringe-worthy behaviour amongst the congregants. For example, the church at Corinth, mentioned in two of the letters of the apostle Paul.

    Still, Paul managed to say *something* nice to and about the church at Corinth, before launching into his criticism of it, which spanned two whole books of the bible. H began, for example,


    2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

    3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

    [1 Corinthians 1]


    I wish we’d give one another the benefit of the doubt more.

    Not that I would want my own church to make puns like “sheology” (the doctrine of sheol?), or give me a tatto.

    • We did commend the “Sheologians” stand against abortion and their opposition to Feminism (although it is somewhat ambiguous.) However John, we are tired of hearing some Christians make excuses for the sins of their brethren, excuses they would not make for unsaved people. Many unsaved people have no interest in Evangelical Christianity because they see little or no difference in the behaviour of many Christians and their own, particularly when it comes to morality. There is too much at stake here to worry about people’s feelings and being labelled “legalists.”. Christian morality should far exceed that of unsaved people and sadly, that is not the case. Unsaved people hear Christians condemn sexual sin then discover that some of those very Christians are committing the same sins. Enough of the hypocrisy. There are some sins that the New Testament states should not even be mentioned among Christians, and immorality is what the Apostle had in mind. Yet today, in many churches, adultery is common. Worldly churches that have no dress standards and encourage drinking and tattoos and where there is over-familiarity between the sexes are likely to have a long list of fallen members!

  2. Thanks for this article Susan- Anne. Gosh, this is shocking stuff. I followed Jeff Durbin on his apologetics on Mormonism. HE is Theonomist, so I honestly thought he wouldn’t be involved in this stuff, sadly he is. Sadly a lot of Christians believe God allows alcohol and Tatoo’s, What a shame. habnks again, I enjoyed your article but sad you had to bring this up. EVery blessing.

    • “Sadly a lot of Christians believe God allows alcohol”

      But God very clearly *does* allow alcohol. Immersion in water (or something approaching this) and the eating and drinking together of bread and wine with liturgy that proclaims the Lord’s death until he comes again, and touching people one is praying for (with or without oil) are just about the only physical ceremonies common to more-or-less every church there has ever been, from east to west, since the day of Pentecost when the church began. Wine is thus permitted in church, at the Lord’s table. (We use unfermented wine at our church.)

      The apostle Paul teaches that there may be *individuals* who believe that they themselves are not permitted to take alcohol at all. But he makes it very clear that they shouldn’t proselytise others into a belief that *nobody* is permitted to take alcohol, and that those whose consciences leave them free to take alcohol should not try to convince those who are tee-total unto the Lord that they are wrong.

      • We believe in total abstinence from alcohol John even though the Bible does not forbid the drinking of wine. We believe that alcohol has changed categories and has gone from being something permissible to something potentially dangerous and best avoided. The alcohol industry is responsible for wrecked lives, wrecked marriages and even murder and accidents. We have a post on our blog which we encourage you to read. It is entitled “21 reasons why Christians should avoid drinking alcohol” and we further recommend the book “Should Christians Drink? The Case for Total Abstinence” by Dr. Peter Masters of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.

        • No Harm to you John. No good comes from drinking alcohol. What is positive about it?

          Thank you Susan-Anne for the stand you are taking on this matter. Great book by Dr. Peter Masters.

          • I don’t drink “alcohol”. I drink natural wine, etc, that naturally contains alcohol. Alcohol is a food.

            The grapes are going to turn to vinegar, or turn into (alcoholic) wine if we can manage to keep the air out whilst the must ferments. Must doesn’t keep long without fermenting, unless you add all sorts of other chemicals as artificial preservatives.

            Have you ever made wine, or grown grapes, or visited a vineyard, or drunk wine for that matter?

        • “The alcohol industry is responsible for wrecked lives, wrecked marriages and even murder and accidents.”

          With all due respect, I reject this statement. Isn’t it the sin of the person that is the source of these terrible consequences? A person chooses to drink to drunkeness, a person chooses to idolize alcohol, a person chooses to wreck their marriage or murder. A person chooses to drive drunk. These are the consequences of the sin of individuals, as we are all sinful.

          I was recently seated on a jury in which the defendant was charged with murder because she was driving drunk (extremely over the legal limit). We didn’t acquit her and say it was the alcohol’s fault, or the maker of the alcohol. No, she was very much guilty for her own sin in choosing to get drunk and drive recklessly.

          • If this was mere drunk driving, how did the prosecution prove intent to kill or to cause grievous bodily harm, as opposed to mere recklessness, which would have resulted in a manslaughter conviction? Or you not writing from the UK?

      • We don’t understand your last comment John. We believe we have explained our position on alcohol clearly and unambiguously. Dr. Peter Masters is of the same opinion i.e he argues for total abstinence.

      • In answer to your most recent comment John (which we are not publishing because it will cause confusion as you are linking something in the moral realm with something in the Christian liberty realm) we again recommend Dr. Peter Masters’ book “Should Christians Drink?” which we cannot quote from because of copyright law. However we can summarise his argument which is that alcoholic drinks have moved from one category to another i.e beneficial in Old Testament times to harmful in later times. When you said in your (unpublished) comment that this argument could be used by a certain lobby group you are completely wrong. People did have the liberty to drink wine (and may still have that liberty, although we do not wish to exercise that liberty in our lives, if indeed we have it.) No-one EVER had the liberty to engage in immoral lifestyles!

        • I was linking one new doctrine that contradicted the teachings of the apostles found in the New Testament with another. Admittedly, one of the new doctrines forbade something the apostles taught was permitted, whilst the other permitted something that the apostles taught was forbidden. But the basic argument, used by the teachers of both the new doctrines, the more permissive one you disdain and the more restrictive one you teach, was, “that was then, but this is now”.

          I don’t see how it can cause any less “confusion” for you to hide from your readers (twice now!) an argument of mine that you claim to be refuting in reply, than it would cause to allow your readers to read my argument before reading your purported refutation of it, and to make up their own minds.

          Why wouldn’t the apostle Paul today give as short shrift to those now preaching abstinence from wine as an obligation for all Christians, as he gave to those preaching circumcision in Galatians, or as Dr Paisley once gave to those who (he sneered) preached “fish on Fridays” (as I recall). Is it not all “gospel plus” (or “gospel minus) teaching?

          • John, our post was about Apologia Church and the Young Restless and Reformed worldly camp. It was not about alcohol per se (although it included that) but you are (mostly) ignoring our post and majoring on our belief in total abstinence which we do not believe demonstrates in any way a “Gospel-plus” mindset on our part and others who share our views.. We have nothing further to say on the matter.

          • I realise that your post was about apologia church. I got distracted by the comment of Gail Owens, who wrote, “Sadly a lot of Christians believe God allows alcohol”. Because I know my bible, I realised that the Christians who believed that God allows alcohol included the apostles, some of whom who wrote bits of the bible. I couldn’t understand why Gail was sad that a lot of Christians had the same belief, about God allowing alcohol, that the apostles had had. That was all. I didn’t expect to get involved in any sort of dispute with you, about alcohol. I was genuinely surprised at what Gail said.

          • John thanks I am a recovered alcoholic. Yes I have drunk wine. Both my parents were drunks. No good comes of drinking alcohol.

  3. On the other hand, those ladies come across as likeable and welcoming in their broadcasts and I think they will bring many lost and newly formed sheep into their fold.

    They are to be commended for that.

    At least here a progressive church will make a decent attempt at evangelising. The street corner preaching and objectioning protests simply don’t reach the young to grand the Good News of the Gospel to them.

    So I do applaud their efforts. (And I don’t think the nose ring makes a jot of a difference in the grand scheme of their work.)

    • They are “progressively liberal” and “progressively worldly” that’s for sure. A nose ring is a symbol of a rotten, decadent society and no Christian should ever get nose or lip or eyebrow pierced to wear such ugly symbols. A Christian should never have tattoos either. Some have tattoos they got before they became Christians and there isn’t much (if anything) they can do about that except cover them up as much as possible but under no circumstances get any more.

      • Well said Susan-Anne, piercing and Tatoos is defacing your body. I remember Dr.John Douglas preaching on a man, who got saved, he had a tattoo parlour and closed it down, at a great personal financial loss.

  4. The wine in the Bible was called wine even while still in the grape. Wine was mixed with water before it was served. Wine today is not naturally fermented as it was in bible times. It is fortified with alchohol. That is why it is dangerous, but even the naturally fermented wine caused Noah to be drunk…and the New Testament teaches not to be drunk with wine. The alchohol additive makes one drink a way of being on the road to drunk. You may have one drink but you will be one-drin-drunk, or one drink on the way.

    • And how do you know “Wine today is not naturally fermented as it was in bible times”?? You don’t. Alcohol is even older than your precious “Bible times” (the bible is a man made book by the way, written by men, thought of by men, re-edited and re-done a bunch of times over, and all the while by Men, and not any God….Fact)

    • This idea that wine in old testament times was basically grape juice has been debunked and it you read original texts rather than translations you would know this. You may however be referring to a drink called “tirosh” which is still drunk today in the middle east (although I am pretty sure you are not). In any case although water is added to Tirosh and has been since bible times, it is still alcoholic and enough of it can get one intoxicated.

      There are numerous Bible verses confirming what wine is and does. Psalm 104:15 is my personal favourite.

      PS – “one-drin-drunk”, did you type this while under the influence? 😉 sounds slurred

      • The Holy Bible is considered to be the “sole” authority for the doctrines of the church (apart from *personal* guidance of *individual* believers, by the Holy Spirit *direct*). By whom is the Holy Bible so considered? By many Protestant sects, influenced by their various revered teachers.

        The bible is also (officially), though not the sole authority, the “ultimate” authority of (if I remeber correctly) Orthodox Christians, and of many churches other than the Roman one that invented the papacy (some say), and several other Romish heresies, such as the British church of churches that is called Anglicanism.

        I venture, therefore, to suggest that reading the bible is about as safe and doctrinally sound a way there is, to fuel arguments, about what one feels is God’s will.

        So, what does the bible have to say, about liquid refreshments that happen to contain ethanol?

        Well, Jesus turned water into wine. He told the pre-church leaders before He was crucified, the Twelve (including Judas Iscariot) to eat bread and drink wine together, in remembrance of Him. There have been stacks of artistic impressions painted, with booze on the table, of this moment, by lovers of Christ, or of booze, or of who-knows-what. (This moment was before the Holy Spirit was poured out in the modern way He is poured out to this day – unless the bible missed out a cessation.) But, even after the first Christian Pentecost, the apostle Paul said we should carry on having simple and ritual “meals” (at church, so-to-speak) of bread and ***wine****. He said we should carry on doing this until the Lord Jesus Christ returned. Why? To “proclaim His DEATH”.

  5. I absolutely agree with this article. Spot on. There is also no fruit of Christ when they are criticised. Real Christ servents when squeezed will produce the fruit of His Spirit, but I don’t see that in this group. Christ tells us to come out of the world, yet we see alot of that group look and act in the same manner, then they get upset with others that cling to His Word and His ways.

    • I’m surprised that you require a definition of the “ugly uniform of feminism.” Feminism is all about ugliness. Ugly clothing, ugly behaviour, and both the logical outcome of an ugly ideology, i.e feminism. Ripped jeans, immodest, provocative clothing etc and androgynous clothing styles all have their origin in Feminism. Trainers with skirts, leggings, baggy t-shirts, tattoos, nose rings are yet more examples of feminist attire. I’m surprised that the only point you have raised in your comment is the above. What about the fact that Sheologians have borne false witness against me? Have you any concerns about that? Perhaps the fact that you recommended Sheologians on your blog has clouded your judgement and shut your eyes Mrs. Lesley?

      • Wow, you’re really judging the motives of my heart there, aren’t you? The reason I asked the question I asked – and it was a genuine question, not an agenda-driven one as you seem to believe – is because I’m not familiar with you, your blog, or your beliefs, and I was trying to understand where you were coming from and the perspective of others who might agree with you.

        But now that’s abundantly clear, and you certainly do seem to be an expert on “ugly,” so thanks for the enlightening response.

        • Sarcasm does not become you Mrs. Lesley. I presume you read our post about Apologia Church and Sheologians before making your one line comment so you did not need to ask the question about feminist attire. In any case there is more to concern me about that church and Sheologians than dress e.g liberal attitudes to alcohol and tattoos etc. If I’m an expert on “ugly” as you say, it is because the Scriptures tell me what is lovely and virtuous and of good report therefore I can spot the signs of an ugly decadent society instantly. By the way, Mrs. Lesley, you are not addressing an immature woman when you address me. You are dealing with a wise, discerning woman of 58. By the way, others like Pulpit and Pen share our concerns about Apologia Church.

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