By Elizabeth Prata
This is an essay that chronicles the rise and fall of an influential person who was formerly in the faith. Among other topics, I use this blog platform to chronicle modern-day discernment issues and compare to the Bible. I did with Beth Moore. I followed up with: Beth Moore’s Spiritual Biography. I did also with Francis Chan. And Ravi Zacharias.
Now we see a departure from the faith with Aimee Byrd. This essay, like those others, is meant to illustrate how false teachers happen, or how it is that a once seemingly solid Bible teacher goes astray.
I finish with a warning from the Bible.
Apostasy in the Bible
We all know the story about Demas.
for Demas, having loved this present age, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. (2 Timothy 4:9-10).
Apostasy in 3 verses. In Philemon 1:24 Demas was a ‘fellow worker’ with Paul. In Colossians 4:14 Luke sent warm greetings to Demas. In 2 Timothy Demas fled to the world because he decided he loved it so much.
Philemon was written in about 57-62.Colossians was written in about 60-62.2 Timothy was written in about 64-65.
If we take the earliest writings to the latest writings as time brackets, the falling away of Demas played out in about 7 years.
Judas departed from the faith. His story played out in about 3 1/2 years.
Other people in our current times may take a short while to apostatize, or longer. We understand and accept apostasy stories like Demas and Judas because they are in God’s holy word. Seeing apostasy happening in today’s time is often harder. We have a difficult time believing or accepting that a famous person who seems so solid is a false convert.
But it’s the same. Some people are self-deceived that they are in the faith. (Matthew 7:21-23). They never were. Their veneer of belief erodes and reveals the unsaved person that they are. This leads us to the sad story of Aimee Byrd. Joining Demas, Judas, Chan, and so many others, Aimee Byrd is a gone girl.
In 2013, Presbyterian Aimee Byrd published her first book. It was titled “Housewife Theologian: How the Gospel Interrupts the Ordinary” and the blurb says, “This book is for women—for all women who want to explore beneath the superficial and get to know God, and themselves, better.”
She had been writing a blog for a while and used the blog as the platform to get her material out there. She wasn’t an academic or a church staff person at the time, just a wife who wanted to write. She became known as The Housewife Theologian.
The book’s contents got the attention of Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt. She was interviewed on their podcast, Mortification of Spin. It went well. She was asked to join the 2 guys on the podcast as a co-host. She began blogging for Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, too. (ACE).
The Alliance is a broad coalition of evangelical pastors, scholars, and churchmen from various denominations, including Baptist, Congregational (Independent), Anglican (Episcopal), Presbyterian, Reformed, and Lutheran who hold the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today’s Church. (Source)
Her first book was followed up by a second, Theological Fitness: Why We Need a Fighting Faith. Then two years after that, a third, No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God. So far so good.
Then in 2018 she published Why Can’t We Be Friends? : Avoidance Is Not Purity about male-female friendships among believers and how we should not avoid them just because sometimes ‘the sex part gets in the way’. Hmmm. Gender stuff. Hmmm. The brilliant and astute Carl Trueman was still providing recommendation blurbs for her books, and Aimee was still co-hosting the podcast. Yet Trueman called Why Can’t We Be Friends “provocative.” The Gospel Coalition issued a mild warning in their review of the book, which was generally positive:
Byrd is eager to destigmatize male-female friendship in the church, particularly friendships that involve time spent one-on-one. But she so frequently references sharing car rides and meals that it feels like she goes beyond defending those activities to almost implying people who don’t engage in them aren’t experiencing true friendship. (Source).
Byrd had become an important and influential voice in evangelicalism. A female voice, podcasting with the big boys (and Pruitt and Trueman are renowned minds in the faith). In 2020 when Byrd published “Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: How the Church Needs to Rediscover Her Purpose” it hit like a bomb. Here is the blurb:
This book dismantles every mistruth that you’ve heard about the role of women in the Bible, her place in the church, and the patriarchal lie of so-called “biblical manhood and womanhood.” In its place, Aimee Byrd details a truly biblical vision of women as equal partners in Christ’s church and kingdom.
What was noted to be “conspicuously absent from Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” is any mention of 1 Timothy 2:12. A women may not teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. This was a stance Byrd had formerly proclaimed, one she said believed in and lived by. But apparently no more.
We see the tip-off word in that blurb – patriarchy. Another signal word, equality. Byrd was then asked to step away from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, (ACE), the Mortification of Spin podcast, and her blogs were removed from the blog section (which has a rotating panoply of writers, not just Byrd).
The ACE was not outright opposed to the theological ideas contained in Byrd’s new work, they said they understood the book to be polemical. They said they knew their Alliance contained a variety of flavors of theologies (within certain limits). But they did ask her Nine Questions about her new stance. Byrd answered, but in the ACE view, it was an ungracious and unsatisfactory defense. I’d suggest reading the above links in their entirety to get the flavor of the ACE’s dismissal of Byrd from their platforms.
Her denomination was in an uproar for a year. Divided and upset.
–metaphorical Jezebel of Rev 2 split her church. Charge: False prophesying & misleading the church.–Puritan Anne Hutchinson split the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Caused massive uproar. Charge: Teaching men, and claiming direct revelation.–Beth Moore caused massive uproar in the SBC denomination. Charge: False prophesying, claiming direct revelation, & teaching men.–Aimee Byrd, Denomination elders said her new stances caused a disruption of the peace of the church, & sparking a trial by the Presbytery of another person (not Byrd).
Yes, women are strong. But when strength is used in the wrong way, when we do not submit and remain in our roles, our strong will causes disruption to the peace of the church.
Byrd began writing about being a “survivor”. Of being “reviled”. Of not “being valued.” Of “abuse in the church.”
Discerning people began issuing warnings.
Like this prediction from Denny Burk in 2020- Denny Burk said of Byrd, “I predict arguments like Byrd’s will prove over time to be a briefly held way-station on the movement from narrow complementarianism to egalitarianism. Readers who do not wish to take that journey should be cautious about Byrd’s book.”
Like this one from Mike Myers in 2021, “My concern is that the writings of Mrs. Byrd have gradually drifted from helpful, orthodox, and godly, to harmful, heterodox, and worldly.” (Source)
Like this one from CBMW in 2022- “But as some reviewers argued at the time, the position offered by Byrd’s book is a kind of way-station to egalitarianism. Even still, many dismissed these warnings as defensive or overblown” stated the Council of Biblical Manhood & Womanhood in noting Byrd’s reversal of positions.
Side Note: When your mature theologians or credible discernment people issue warnings like those, please consider them seriously. We see the trends. We know the trigger words. We have the Holy Spirit’s wisdom in this particular gift to discern the crack in the foundation. You don’t have to wait till the house crumbles to begin testing a person’s theology and comparing it to the Bible.
Now cut loose from the ACE, Byrd formed “a new nest” (blogging platform). Soon after, she preached her first sermon. Once a hard and fast complementarian, a ‘housewife theologian’, in 2022 Byrd stood behind a pulpit on a Sunday morning to exposit the word to a congregation.
This is in direct violation of the 1 Timothy verse and her own previously stated beliefs:
Aimee in 2013: “There are many roles for women in the church, but Scripture makes it clear that the office of elder and pastor is not one of them (1 Tim. 2:12). Not only that, most men are never called to this position (1 Tim. 3:1-7). I believe God has ordained this for our good.“
Ten years after the lauded and doctrinally solid Housewife Theologian was published, Byrd has in 2023 become an abomination to God. Strong words? In 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 we read,
The women are to keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. But if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church.
The word disgraceful means base, sordid, shameful, dishonorable.
I again show you Aimee Byrd preaching, and therefore disgraced, shamed, and sordid in the eyes of God:
But that is not where it ends. There’s more, and it’s worse. Worse than being sordid and polluting God’s pulpit? Yes.
Applauding other women who preach in God’s pulpit. (Romans 1:32).
Byrd wrote this week (September 2023) an essay she titled, “What a Woman Pastor Showed Me.” As with so many egalitarian heathens, like Beth Moore, they drop out of their denomination and seek places where their ears and heart can be tickled with sin. Byrd left the Presbyterian denomination of which she had long been a member, but could not find a church home for an extended period of time, despite visiting around “desperately”.
On the advice of a friend, Byrd recently checked out the Methodist church near her town. Byrd wrote that she never had thought she’d attend a Methodist church, saying of herself she’d been a “Reformed elitist”.
Rebuttal: dismissing churches which teach false doctrine isn’t elitist, it’s mature discernment and proper separation from theological pollution.
Byrd went on, noting that the congregation was small, older, and all-white. Byrd wrote, “But the all-white part is disappointing.”
Rebuttal: The Spirit sends whom He will send if it’s a real church. If He sends all white folks then so be it. They’re family. Period. If the church isn’t a true church, the people will congregate where they want due to their ears desire tickling.
Side note: I viewed or scanned through 35 of the services in the church that Aimee is gushing over. Aimee had noted the church’s demographics: small in number, mature, all-white, only a few families. One thing she didn’t mention that I noticed in these videos: the congregation seems to be composed mostly of women.
Byrd wrote: “The liturgy was refreshing. Christ was there. The whole service was saturated in the gospel. The pastor is a woman.”
Rebuttal: the place Byrd was in was not a church and they know not any Gospel. Christ was definitely not there. Christ does not affirm what He abominates and calls by His Spirit “sordid.”
Byrd wrote: She then dismisses the little ones who want to go to the children’s time outside of the sanctuary and transitions behind the pulpit with baby Wilbur still on her chest. I watched a woman deliver a wonderful sermon with a baby attached to her.
Rebuttal: I mourn the example Katie O’Hern Hamilton is giving her children, I mourn the congregation’s inability to see that this is disgraceful, I mourn the lost time her children are divided from attention from their mother, I mourn them when they grow up thinking this is OK. I am actually aghast and offended with this.
I mourn the loss of Aimee Byrd from the faith.
Above, this speaker whom Aimee Byrd believes is actually a pastor qualified to give sermons, her child is trying to get her mom’s attention during the service while this woman who thinks she’s a pastor is trying to give directions to the undiscerning congregation. Another child, perhaps Kate’s other boy, is playing the keyboard while the lady next to him tries to stop him. This is during the service.
1 Timothy 3:4 says in the qualifications for pastor, “He must be one who manages his own household well, [notice the he] keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),” emphasis mine.
Obviously, the dignity of the service is out the window with the “pastor’s” kids interrupting service, crawling all over, and distracting the congregation. Aimee revealed that the older child “likes to distract, be heard” and said, “Howard, the outspoken toddler, bypassed daddy and ran straight to pastor-mom as she raised her arms, yelling, “No, mommy; no, mommy; no mommy!” over and over through the entire benediction. How hilarious!”
Jesus does not think it’s hilarious. Not at all. “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first. But if not, I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place, unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:4-5).
Aimee Byrd went from professing Christ and all His word true, including his ban on women preaching, to disillusionment with the church, and finally to identifying with the “marginalized, oppressed, and disillusioned“, rejecting churches with “patriarchal hierarchy,” landing in a church that is not a church, led abominably by a woman, and exulting in finding where her itching ears can be tickled.
The Danger of Apostasy
Do you know how many, MANY verses in the Bible warn of apostasy? Many. I would repeat them all but there are so many and this essay is already long. See here. Believers are repeatedly warned to check one’s self to make sure we are in the faith.
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons... (1 Timothy 4:1)
1 Timothy 4:16 says “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”
Do you think it doesn’t happen in these days? Think again! Do you think it cannot happen to you? Think again. Sin is crouching at the door waiting to have you!
Hebrews 6:4-6, For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
Do not be fooled. Apostasy exists and it hides WELL.
In fact, Philip the Evangelist, who presumably had experience detecting a true and sincere testimony, traveled with Simon the Sorcerer after Simon’s baptism, only for Simon to unmask himself before Peter when Simon asked to buy the Holy Spirit. (Acts 20).
The Disciples were told at the Last Supper that there was one would betray the Son of Man, and the men were so sure of Judas that they questioned themselves before asking if it was Judas.
Byrd is egalitarian now. Sin doesn’t end there. Amy Spreeman said of these sad, well-trod paths away from Christ, “Egalitarianism appears to be the gateway drug for total [homosexual] affirmation”. That’s what’s next. It always happens. In fact, Aimee’s new church which is led by a woman is having a class of a “detailed study of the Bible passages most commonly cited in the church’s disagreement about same-sex marriage and LGBT+ inclusion.”
It is not clear which side this particular UMC will fall on…but with a Princeton Seminary graduate as a female pastor teaching this class, I am not hopeful that it will be biblically correct.
Sin leads down, to the abyss. Repentance leads up, to Christ. Ladies, watch your life and doctrine closely.
The End Time: Markers on the way-station of downgrade: Exhibit A, Aimee Byrd
The End Time: They make such excuses: Exhibit B, Aimee Byrd
Republished with permission from Blogs.crossmap.com, featuring inspiring Bible verses about Apostasy again: We say goodbye to Aimee Byrd.