Random Ramblings, Ruminations, and Resources

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A couple of months ago, I “beta tested” a new feature here at the blog, which I alliteratively titled Random Ramblings, Ruminations, and Resources. People seemed to like it … or … at least the majority of readers didn’t seem to hate it too much. So I decided to bring it back every once in a while when I’m feelin’ it.

I’m feelin’ it today. Buckle up, Buttercup. 

I’m Sorry…

I need to kick things off with an apology. God has graciously seen fit to convict me that my tone has been too harsh in some of my articles recently, particularly in the first part of this article. If you’ve ever been offended or hurt by the tone of that or any of my other articles or remarks I’ve made on social media, I wanted to say I’m sorry and to humbly ask your forgiveness.

And even if you weren’t offended or hurt, I know where my heart was as I was writing that article and the tweet it was based on, and I know it wasn’t right. I failed to exercise self-control and selfishly spewed my emotions in a way that was designed only to vent my own frustration and get it out of my system (which was pretty hypocritical since I was writing that we shouldn’t be slaves to our feelings!). I wasn’t even thinking about how a new Christian, someone going through a difficult time, or someone weak in the faith might have taken the tone in which I was saying those things. Romans 15:1 says:

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

Well, I don’t consider myself all that strong, but I guess each of us is stronger in the faith or in a stronger position of life circumstances than somebody. And for those who are weaker in the faith than I am, or walking through a time of pain or discouragement, I did the exact opposite of what this verse says to do. I pleased myself at your expense, and that’s not what someone who serves you in the name of Christ is supposed to do. So, again, my deepest apologies and I hope you’ll be able to forgive me.

If you’re so inclined, I would like to ask you to pray for me about this. Tone is an extremely difficult and confusing sea to navigate, at least for me (that’s one of the many areas in which I’m weak). It is important to speak biblical truth firmly, unequivocally, and unapologetically, but some Christians see that, in and of itself, as being harsh. It’s also important to demonstrate gentleness, kindness, and compassion, but other Christians see that as being wishy-washy or not standing firm on Scripture. I have written articles to which some have responded that I was too harsh and others have responded that I wasn’t harsh enough – to the same article! Add to that the fact that Jesus, Paul, and others in Scripture sometimes used phraseology that we would consider very harsh today…..but yet Paul says, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” And, add to that that there are different expectations in the evangelical mind of how women are to address things versus how men are to address things, and you can see what a fine and perplexing line it can be to walk. But I really, really want to get it right in God’s eyes, because I want to please Him.

I can’t promise my tone will never offend you again. That would be foolish. I have over 11,000 blog subscribers and over 10,000 social media followers. Everything I write is going to offend somebody, even if I don’t mean it to. Also, I know my heart, so I know I’m going to sin again by being selfish and uncontrolled. Furthermore, I can’t attempt to please everyone. That’s not only an exercise in futility, it’s unbiblical. What I can tell you is that I will do my best to think more about how I’m coming across, edit more to keep my own words, approach, and personality from becoming a stumbling block, and pray more as I write, asking God to grow me in wisdom and self-control, in order to honor, and be pleasing to, Him.

About five years ago, I wrote an article called Sacrificing Truth on the Altar of Tone. While it’s incumbent on us as readers and listeners to be able to put tone aside in order to discern whether or not what the speaker or writer is saying is true, it is also incumbent upon those of us who speak and write not to burden our hearers and readers with the necessity of doing so.

Thanks so much for your prayers as I pursue obedience to Christ in this area of my life. You are such a blessing to me, and I love and appreciate each of you.

Fill it Filled to the Rim

Didja hear? I’m doing a women’s conference with the ever-awesome Amy Spreeman at the end of March. It’s free, including a couple of meals, and it’s in Princeton, Illinois.

(In case you were wondering, that’s not where Princeton University, former home of Jonathan Edwards, is located. That’s in Princeton, New Jersey. I know this because I was wondering about it, too, and had to look it up.)

If you’re still trying to make up your mind about whether or not to come, lemme help you: come. And you need to hurry up and register too. Last week the event planners said they were already at 83% capacity (one of them must have been a math major!).

Here’s all the info. Be sure to check out the app and other links for resources on accommodations.

Illinois is too far away? Being from Louisiana, I get that. Look, plan your own conference, and I’ll come to you. “Impossible!” you say, “I go to a tiny church with an even tinier budget!”. Get together with a couple of sister churches to share expenses. Do a bake sale or a garage sale or crowdfunding. Take up a love offering and/or sell tickets at a modest fee. If you’re at all able, offer a doctrinally sound conference option to the women of your church and community. Christ’s ewe lambs are hungry for truth.

UPDATE: As I go to press, this conference is at capacity (“sold out”). If the organizers are able to open up any more spots, I’ll let you know. Also, if you’ve already registered and end up not being able to attend, please contact Princeton Bible Church and let them know so they can give your spot to someone else.

Scandal in the SBC

By now you’ve probably read the Houston Chronicle article that came out last weekend: Abuse of Faith: 20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms. If you haven’t, you should, regardless of whether or not you’re Southern Baptist. But, maybe especially if you are. It’s horrifying. And the way some have responded to victims over the years is downright disgusting.

Unless God leads me differently, it’s currently my plan to write an article about this, but I wanted to take the time to give it plenty of thought and prayer. In the meantime, I commend to you this stellar article by Tom AscolSouthern Baptists, Sexual Abuse, and a Far More Serious Problem. It covers a couple of points that I had already rough drafted into my own article before I read his. (So, when you read mine later, just know – it’s not plagiarism, it’s two like-minded Christians drawing the same conclusions.)

This also seems an appropriate time to share this vlog with you explaining how I decide which kinds of evangelical current events to write about, and when, and which I don’t, and why:

And Speaking of Scandals…

This has been in the hopper waiting for me to write about it since the last high profile pastor “fell from grace” (I actually can’t stand that expression. If you’re saved, you’re “in grace” and you can’t fall from it, and if you’re not saved, you’re not “in grace” so you can’t fall from it. It makes no biblical sense. But, I digress…). And, with the recent news of Harvest Bible Chapel firing James MacDonald after years and years of spiritual and financial abuses, I was reminded of it again.

There’s a dynamic that happens on social media that you see nearly every time something like this happens. A Christian celebrity falls and other Christians re-post the news story and/or comment about it. In the circles I run in, the comments are usually

biblically appropriate (“This is so sad,” “We need to pray for his family,” etc.). But there will always be someone who will comment to the effect of: “Why is everybody commenting and re-posting about this event? How can it possibly be fruitful or necessary to share this information?” It’s not that people are commenting unkindly, but that people are sharing this information at all that bothers this person.

There’s probably an extent to which this person is right, and you can share or not share as your conscience dictates, and I’ll admit that there have been times when an event has been so over-shared that I grew weary of the dead horse being beaten. But God has very good purposes in sinful events coming to light. And He demonstrates this Himself in Scripture.

God could have omitted from Scripture every sin, failure, and foible committed by every Bible character, and we would never have heard about them. But He graciously pulls back the veil and lets us see some of them. Why? For His glory and our good. And the same could be said about the public availability of information about the sins of today’s high-profile Christians:

💡 These stories, both in the Bible and in yesterday’s newspaper, allow us to learn, and develop a holy fear of the consequences of sin without having to go through it ourselves. “Stay home from the war and seduce my neighbor’s wife? Um, no thanks. Look how that turned out for David. I’ll just avoid that altogether.”

💡 These stories emphasize to those in leadership that they must walk circumspectly because the world, and the church, are watching them. There is a heavy price to pay for setting a bad example.

💡 These stories are a reminder that we cannot hide our sin.

💡 These stories are a call to pray for everyone involved in the situation. You cannot pray about what you do not know about.

💡 When churches and other Christian organizations properly handle a sinful situation, it is a testimony to the world that the church is not “full of hypocrites” – that there are Christians who strive for holiness and obedience to God. It sets us apart from the world, and from “CINOs” (Christians In Name Only).

💡 When the high-profile Christian repents and submits to church discipline, it paints a picture for the watching world of the way sin is supposed to be dealt with by the individual, and the way God and the church deal with sin in grace, mercy, forgiveness, and restoration. It can be a testimony of the gospel.

On “Dating” your Daughter…

There are a lot of great, godly dads out there. I love hearing them talk about leading their families in worship, talking about their love, hopes and dreams for their kids, and seeing them spend time with their children doing special activities. All of those things are absolutely awesome, and more dads should be doing them.

So maybe it’s just me (it wouldn’t be the first time), but it’s a bit disquieting when I hear men label spending time with their little girls as “daddy-daughter date night” and doing things like bringing them flowers and candy, ringing the doorbell to “pick them up” for the date, dressing up as if for the prom, etc.

Listen, it’s not a sin, and the guys I know and love who do these things are doing them for all the right reasons. And, if they want to keep on using the “dating” terminology and motif, more power to them – they won’t hear a peep from me and I will still have the utmost respect for them as godly men and godly fathers.

But if I could just throw out some food for thought…

♥ There is a difference between a father’s role and fatherly love and a (potential) husband’s role and romantic love. Are we blurring the lines and confusing our daughters when Dad mimics boyfriend? Could we, instead, make sure those lines are clearly defined and teach our daughters (and sons) the beauty and goodness of the two different roles and types of love?

♥ We want our children to be safe from predators. If we introduce and normalize the idea that it’s good and godly for an adult man to engage in behaviors with a child that are usually associated with romantic love, is it possible that we could unwittingly be making it harder for our daughters to recognize when a predator is attempting to groom them?

♥ If we have both sons and daughters, how is this affecting our sons? Are they getting the impression that their sisters are more special and loved by Dad than they are?

♥ How is this affecting the relationship between mother and daughter? Is Dad showing as much attention to Mom as he is to daughter? Is there potential for any undercurrent of rivalry or jealousy for Dad’s attention to develop between Mom and daughter? Could the daughter come to see herself as being on equal footing with Mom instead of submissive to her authority?

♥ Why is the “dating” terminology and motif necessary? Is there a biblical or practical reason why simply spending time with your daughter – whether it’s at home or even on a special outing to a restaurant, movie, etc. – without calling it a “date” or acting like it’s a “date” isn’t good enough?

♥ If the purpose of “dating” your daughter is to demonstrate how her future husband should treat her, what happens when she grows up, gets married, and her good and godly husband is just kind of inept when it comes to “date night”? Have we not created an opportunity for her to unfairly compare him to Dad, find him lacking, and resent him?

♥ If the purpose of “dating” your daughter is to demonstrate how a husband should treat his wife, couldn’t we be confusing our children by putting Dad in the role of the daughter’s “husband”? “I’m not his wife, I’m his daughter,” she could think, “so why is he acting like my ‘husband’?” Would it not make more sense to model for our children how a husband is to treat his wife by Dad treating his actual wife in a godly way?

Children are very impressionable and – if you remember back to your own childhood – highly susceptible to misunderstanding things and believing things that aren’t accurate. I’m just wondering if maybe we need to think through this whole “daddy-daughter date night” thing a bit more deeply.

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Throwback Thursday ~ The Mailbag: What is Contemplative Prayer?

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Originally published August 1, 2016

mailbag

 

What is contemplative prayer, and is it biblical?

Contemplative prayer, often called centering prayer, (and connected to sozo prayer and soaking prayer) is very much like a “Christianized” transcendental meditation (similar to New Age or Buddhist meditation). You are supposed to sit quietly, empty your mind, and repeat a biblical word or phrase over and over until you begin “hearing from God.”

Is this a biblical form of prayer? No, and it is also very dangerous. Many who have come out of this practice and churches or organizations which promote it (the International House of Prayer, or IHOP, and Bethel “Church” in Redding, California, are major proponents) report that contemplative prayer is much like being hypnotized and that it was an open door for demonic opression and even possession.

Our beliefs and worship practices are to be drawn from Scripture, and nowhere in Scripture are we told to pray like this. When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, He did not tell them to empty their minds and repeat a mantra. He said,

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”
Matthew 6:7-13

Jesus taught us to talk to God using intelligible words, worshiping Him, repenting and seeking His forgiveness, and asking Him to provide for our needs. It is not His desire that we mimic a pagan form of meditation.


Additional Resources:

What is Contemplative Prayer? at Got Questions

What is Centering Prayer? at Got Questions

Contemplative Prayer at Berean Research

The Dangers of Contemplative Prayer at Sola Sisters

IHOP is Dangerous: Stephanie’s Testimony


If you have a question about: a well known Christian author/leader, a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Imperishable Beauty: Lesson 16- A Beautiful Proclamation in the Church

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Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Read These Selected Scriptures

In our last lesson, we examined how we can beautifully portray biblical womanhood in the church. Today, we’ll finish up our section on biblical womanhood in the church by looking at how godly women can beautifully proclaim the Word of God in the Body of Christ.

Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review lessons 14-15 (links above), noting the instructions God has given to and about women regarding our role in the church. What are the do’s and don’ts God has laid out for us, especially in 1 Timothy 2:12, regarding teaching and authority in the gathered Body of Believers (the church)?

2. Examine the first two passages (Titus 2 and 2 Timothy 2) of Scripture. Recalling that these books are pastoral epistles, to whom are these instructions primarily addressed? To which venue (home, marketplace, church, etc.) do these instructions primarily apply?

In the Titus 2 passage, the Holy Spirit gives instructions for which individuals (1, 7-8)/groups (2, 3, 4-5, 6, 9-10)? Examine the instructions for Titus and for each group. Are they instructed to be something (character), or do something (actions), or both? Why does God instruct Titus and these groups to be and do these things? What is the point of all this godly character and behavior? (“so that”: 5b, 8b, 10b)

Who, in the Titus 2 passage, is instructed to “teach”? (1&7, 3-4) Why do you think God singles out only the pastor and older women with the instruction to teach and train? Who is the pastor to teach? Who are older women to teach and train? (4) Using the context of these verses, what age or station in life would you infer this passage means by “older” women? “Young” women? If it is the responsibility of older women to teach and train young women, what is the responsibility of the young women?

Examine verse 3 carefully. Is this a “do” verse or a “be” verse, or both? Which instruction comes first, “be” (character) or “do” (action)? Would it be biblically accurate to say that older women without the godly character described in the first part of verse 3 should not be doing the action (teaching) in the last part of verse 3 – that godly character is a prerequisite for teaching younger women?

Examine 3b-4a: “They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women…”. Does this sound like a command, or is it optional/a suggestion? If it is a command, doesn’t that make the character instructions in 3a a command as well? Take a moment to prayerfully evaluate yourself. How are you doing on the “be” and “do” of verses 3-4?

As you continue to examine 3b-4a- is there a difference between “teaching” and “training“? Could it be biblically accurate to say that teaching is to impart knowledge, and training is to show someone how to apply that knowledge to real life situations? (For example, teaching someone the rules and regulations of basketball in a classroom-type setting, versus putting that person on a basketball court and training her to apply those rules with basketball in hand.) Which comes first in 3b-4a, teaching or training? What does 3b say older women are to teach? What do 4a-5a say older women are to train younger women to be and do? Is it possible to train Christian women “to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands,” without first teaching them “what is good” – what the Bible says about how to do these things and why they should do them? Is it wise to attempt to train Christian women in these things without basing them in Scripture?

Even though 2 Timothy 2:15 is primarily addressed to pastors, does it still apply to others who teach God’s Word? How should this verse inform your teaching and training of younger women? Whose approval should you be seeking when handling God’s Word? What does this verse mean when it says “Do your best” so you will have “no need to be ashamed”? What does it mean to “rightly handle the Word of Truth”?

3. Carefully read the 2 Timothy 3 passage. How does the Holy Spirit describe people’s attitudes and actions during the last days? (2-5) Considering what He says these people will do in 5-6a, are the people He’s describing in 2-5 Christians or non-Christians? Church-goers or non-church-goers? What does it mean to have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power? (5a) How do verses 8-9 describe these same people from 5a? What term might we use for people like this today? How are we to regard such people? (5b) Why are we to “avoid such people” (5b), and who are “them” (6a)? Why does verse 6 specify “weak women” instead of saying “men” or “people”? How do verses 6-7 describe these at-risk women?

If the (2 Timothy 3) weak woman, unable to arrive at a knowledge of the truth and captured by false teachers who oppose the truth, is one of the (Titus 2) young women in the church, is she going to have a truthful, biblical understanding of how and why “to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands”? How can the (Titus 2) older woman “rightly handle the Word of Truth” and “teach what is good” to this younger woman? What sorts of good things from Scripture would this older woman need to teach the younger woman? Have you ever seen a scenario like this in your church? How would you apply the Scriptures we’re looking at to that scenario?

4. Look at the final three passages (1 Timothy 2, 2 Timothy 1 & 3). Besides women, what is another part of the church whom women are uniquely gifted to teach? (You may wish to go back to lesson 14 (link above) and re-read the paragraph near the end of the lesson which begins with, “Verse 15 can be a little cryptic…”. ). Who were Lois and Eunice? (1:5) To which child did they teach the Scriptures? (1:2,3:15) What did he go on to do as an adult? Who are some other men from Scripture who had mothers who trained them in godliness? Describe the impact Christian women can have on the church by training children in godliness and the Word.

5. Considering all of today’s passages, which two groups of people in the church has God blessed women to proclaim the Word to? If women were not teaching other women and children in the church, would the church be healthy?


If you’d like to discuss this lesson with other women who are participating in the study, join our  Imperishable Beauty Bible Study Discussion Group on Facebook.


Homework

Egalitarians often cite the women listed in Romans 16 and Priscilla and Aquila’s conversation with Apollos as evidence that God is OK with women preaching or instructing men in the church. How would you answer this argument? Examine both passages. Does Romans 16 say any of the women listed taught or preached? Was Priscilla’s and Aquila’s private conversation with Apollos the same as Priscilla teaching or preaching to the gathered Body of Believers? Would Paul have commended any of these women in Romans 16 if they had disobeyed his instructions in 1 Timothy 2:12?


Suggested Memory Verse

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

Movie Tuesday Double Feature: Hearing His Voice ~and~ New Life In Christ

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Note:
I apologize, but I need to temporarily suspend “Project Breakdown“.
This project will be completed at a later date.


It’s a Movie Tuesday double feature! Get out the Kleenex and get ready for a heaping helping of encouragement. These movies will do something most others can’t: introduce you to some brothers and sisters in Christ whom you’ll meet in Heaven. So get comfy and gather the family around for a night of joy!

“Imagine how dark it would be to live out of reach of the Gospel and any of the hope that it brings; to only know Satan’s rule and fear of the spirits, an endless and terrifying cycle of appeasement. Imagine if murder, self-harm, and deception were a part of everyday life.

Hearing His Voice documents the story of what happened when a people group just like this encountered God’s Word for the first time. They were forgotten by the world in the jungles of Asia-Pacific until 20 years ago when a Christian pilot spotted them in the foliage below.

Watch Hearing His Voice to stand in awe of the power of God’s Word as it transforms a desperate people into a joyful community. The hero of this story is not the pilot, or the missionaries, or even a specific evangelism strategy… it is God alone and his precious, everlasting Word.”

Hearing His Voice is a production of Access Truth“We develop training resources for making the truth of the Bible accessible across cultures.”

This year, 2019, marks John MacArthur’s fiftieth year in ministry at Grace Community Church. On February 10, GCC celebrated his many years of faithful service. And as a little homage here at the blog, I thought you’d enjoy this movie featuring Dr. MacArthur, Jubilant Sykes, and members of GCC. All the way from 1979, here’s New Life in Christ.

The Mailbag: When is OMG a 3C violation?

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Is it wrong for people to exclaim “Oh my G-d” in various situations? I have heard it said casually as well as in response to a tragedy or cry for protection. I would assume that it could be taking the Lord’s name in vain in certain circumstances (e.g. Oh my G–, look at that cute kitten!) but not in others. How can I discern when it is used correctly in ambiguous situations?

That’s a great question since this phrase and its initials (OMG) are used so frequently in real life, on TV, on social media, in books… it’s everywhere! Bless you for wanting your speech to honor the Lord!

A couple of explanatory points before I give my answer:

I’m including the initials OMG because when people see or hear those initials, they understand it to mean “Oh my G–!”. I’ve heard a few Christians say that when they use the letters OMG, in their minds, the “G” stands for gosh or goodness. That’s great, but that’s not what the overwhelming majority of other people think when they see or hear those letters, and they can’t read your mind, so that’s not what it means to them.

The third commandment (taking God’s name in vain) is not limited to this phrase and its initials. There are many ways to misuse God’s name: profanity or offhand phrases (ex: “Good L-rd!”) that include any of the Trinity’s names, taking a vow or oath in God’s name flippantly and/or not keeping it, misrepresenting God or His Word to others, etc. However, the reader is asking only about this particular phrase, so I will simply answer the question she asked.

The third Commandment is:

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Exodus 20:7

Let’s start with a fast and dirty rule of thumb in case that’s what you need: in today’s society in general, this phrase/initials are virtually always used in a way that takes God’s name in vain.

There are only a couple of instances I can think of in which using this phrase is not taking God’s name in vain, and I rarely even hear them in church, let alone on the street, on TV, etc. (Readers, if you can think of others, please comment and let us know.)

There are several verses of Scripture in various books of the Bible that contain the phrase, “O my God”. (I found it interesting that Nehemiah was fond of that phrase, as were the psalmists. Those two books contain the most verses with that phrase.) Here are a couple of examples:

Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.
Nehemiah 5:19

O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.
Psalm 25:2

If you’ll examine all of these verses you might notice a few things about the way this phrase is used in Scripture that sets it apart from the way this phrase is normally used today.

First, this phrase is used to address God directly. The people saying or writing this phrase in Scripture are talking to God, not using God’s name as an exclamatory (like we would use the words Wow! or Cool!) without giving Him any thought at all.

Second, this phrase is used reverently and worshipfully. It is used to honor God and the fullness of His nature and character, not, as you mentioned, to exclaim over kittens or some other paltry earthly happening.

Third, this phrase is used in the context of prayer, much the same way we would reverently address God in prayer with phrases like “Dear Lord” or “Heavenly Father”.

(One more thing that might be of interest to my fellow grammar nerds: When you see the phrase in Scripture, it always starts with “O”. When you see it written in the common exclamatory usage, it always starts with “Oh”. That’s not an accident. It’s meant to set apart the two discrete usages. Read more here.)

So the first scenario I can think of in which saying “O my God” would not be taking God’s name in vain would be things like: if you are quoting one of these passages, singing a worship song that either quotes one of these passages or uses the phrase in the same way in which it’s used in these passages, or if your pastor uses this phrase in his sermon or prayer in the same way in which it is used in Scripture.

The second scenario is similar: If you feel comfortable using this phrase in your own private prayer time by using it in the same way in which it’s used in Scripture – speaking directly, reverently, and worshipfully to God in prayer – there’s nothing sinful or unbiblical about that.

I would discourage the use of this phrase in public prayer, though, because it could confuse the people who hear it, causing them to think you’re breaking the third Commandment even if you aren’t. Additionally, if they hear you using that phrase in prayer with no explanation they may think you’re using it in the common (OMG!) way and assume that since you’re using it in prayer it’s OK for them to use that phrase in any situation. Sadly, most people are probably not familiar with the proper, reverent way this beautiful phrase is used in Scripture.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Basic Training: Abortion

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For more in the Basic Training series, click here.

 

I rarely write on abortion. But it’s not because I don’t feel strongly about it. It’s because it seems like it should be a given. That Christians shouldn’t have to be told that we don’t support abortion any more than we have to be told to breathe or eat. When I think about writing about abortion, I think, “What could I possibly say that hasn’t already been said a million times, and by people who have more experience in this arena than I do?”.

But the more I look out over the landscape of contemporary Christianity, the more I realize we can’t take any aspect of theology for granted. Because when we take the basics for granted, they don’t get taught to the next generation and we end up assuming they know things they don’t actually know. And that’s on us – those of us who knew and didn’t properly and explicitly train those who came behind us.

So if you’re recently saved and you’ve just walked in to this brand new, unfamiliar, and counter-intuitive worldview of biblical Christianity, or if you grew up around some form of evangelicalism but nobody ever took the time to sit you down and teach you properly, let’s look at some of the basics about abortion.

🍼 Abortion is murder. When you intentionally and unjustly end an innocent human life, that is murder. Abortion takes a living human being (it’s not a chicken or a hippo or a platypus) and intentionally and unjustly causes the death (causes heart, brain, and all other organ functions to cease) of said human being. That’s not even a theological argument, that’s a medical fact.

🍼 A baby in utero is not part of the “mother’s body.” The pro-abortion side often makes comments like, “No one has the right to tell a woman what she can and can’t do with her body.” This argument is beneath the intelligence of most of the people who make it for a couple of reasons: 

First, we tell men, women, and children what they can and can’t do with their bodies all the time. Children can’t use their bodies to drive a car or serve in the military. Men can’t use their bodies to rape. Women can’t use their bodies for prostitution. People can’t sell their kidneys for transplant. See how that works?

Second, this isn’t the twelfth, or fifteenth, or eighteenth century. Modern science has left in the dust any notion that a baby is an appendage of his mother’s body like her arm or her liver. Pre-born babies have their own unique DNA, blood type, heartbeat, organ systems, and so on. When we say a woman shouldn’t have an abortion, we aren’t telling a woman what to do with her own body … except in the sense that we are telling her she can’t use her body to murder someone else. (Which, technically, is already a law that pertains to both men and women.) A pre-born baby may be dependent on his mother for food, shelter, and care, but so is her two-year-old, and, so far, no one is using that line of reasoning to suggest it’s OK to kill a child of that age. Yet.

And, finally, if you’re a genuinely regenerated Christian who is holding on to the “my body my choice” mantra, your body, your life, and your eternity were bought and paid for by Christ. He owns you, and He has every right to tell you what to do with your body. It doesn’t matter one whit what people say you can or can’t do.

🍼 Abortion is never necessary to save the mother’s life. Numerous OB/GYNs and other medical professionals have stated this publicly. In cases in which the mother’s life and/or health are at stake, the biblical approach is to make every attempt to save both the mother and child (which can often be done through early delivery, not abortion). If the child dies during the attempt to save him and his mother, that is a grievous tragedy, but it is not an abortion. Abortion is the intentional, proactive killing of a child.

🍼 Rape and incest are horrible sins that no one should ever be subjected to, but in the tiny number of pregnancies that result from these heinous crimes, we do not execute the child for the sin of his father. The Bible is clear on that. And the practical results of obeying this biblical mandate bear out its truth. The overwhelming majority of women who get an abortion after having been raped regret it and say it caused additional trauma, while women who go through with their pregnancies after rape do not.

🍼 Because abortion is murder, it is a sin. If you have ever performed, assisted in, encouraged, or received an abortion, you have committed the sin of murder. You are a murderer. It is good and right for you to feel guilty about that and to grieve over both the sinful person you are who has offended a holy God, and to grieve for the life of your baby. Don’t try to skip feeling your guilt and grief over this sin. It’s a vital part of the process of dealing with it biblically and in an emotionally healthy way.

🍼 If you’re counseling someone post-abortion, I know it can be painful to watch, but you must let her process through the guilt that comes with this sin. Don’t immediately skip ahead to forgiveness. She can’t get to repentance and forgiveness if she has nothing to repent of and ask forgiveness for. 

🍼 Also if you’re counseling someone post-abortion, do not just give her blanket absolution. I recently heard a pastor (with the best of intentions, I’m sure) stand in the pulpit and rightly call abortion a sin, and also rightly offer women Christ’s forgiveness of that sin. But he skipped the middle part where you have to confess and repent of your sin and ask Christ for forgiveness. That’s not a step that can be skipped for abortion or any other sin.

🍼 If you repent of the sin of abortion, Christ will forgive you and make you clean. He delights to cleanse the foulest of sinners and welcome them into His Kingdom with open arms of grace and mercy. Trust Him to keep His promise to forgive you.

🍼 Christians should support doctrinally sound pro-life endeavors. Volunteering at crisis pregnancy centers, donating to pro-life causes and services, adopting, housing and providing for pregnant women who need assistance, supporting Christian orphanages, etc. Just be discerning and check out the theology of the organization first.

🍼 Christians should not join with apostate “churches” or other religions in pro-life causesThe Bible is absolutely clear that we are not to partner in ministry endeavors with unbelievers, especially those who claim to be Christians or teach false doctrine(Yes, this includes Catholics. They may be very nice people and they’ve been fighting the pro-life fight for a long time, but Catholic doctrine as contained in church documents teaches many false and anti-biblical doctrines including anathematizing {condemning to hell} those who hold to the biblical teaching of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. Those who hold to such doctrines are not Christians despite what they may claim.) Partnering with unbelievers who claim to be Christians is an even more dangerous sin than abortion because it confuses people about what salvation is and muddies the gospel. It sends the message that you can believe things contrary to Scripture and still be saved, and that is a message that sends people to an eternity in Hell. Plus, it doesn’t make any sense to commit one sin in order to fight against another sin. That is not God’s way nor is it in keeping with His Word.

🍼 For Christians, abortion should be our highest priority litmus test when it comes to deciding whom to vote for. If you’re willing to have children murdered so you can get more money back in your tax refund, or better highways, or more social programs, or whatever, your attitude is anti-Christ. Where would we be if Jesus had had such a selfish, self-serving worldview? Christianity says, “I’ll lay down my life for you,” not, “You lay down your life for me.”. Besides, if your candidate is so ensconced in evil that he advocates murdering children, he won’t think twice about a lesser sin like breaking the very campaign promises that caused you to vote for him in the first place.

🍼 Pastors, youth pastors, and teachers in our churches need to clearly and proactively preach and teach what the Bible says about sex and abortion through the lens of the gospel. Having a largely regenerate congregation will prevent abortions primarily through girls and women getting saved, but having a gospel-saturated culture in your church will also encourage those who do sin sexually and get pregnant to reach out to a brother or sister – instead of an abortion clinic – for help.

🍼 God is the creator, sustainer, and giver of life. If He values life so much, how can we who claim to be His followers treat a human life as inconvenient, cheap, and expendable when it suits our own selfish purposes?

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:13-16

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Psalm 127:3

Abortion is the murder of a human being. You cannot support that at any level if you truly belong to Christ. If you’re a Christian, you must submit your attitudes and actions regarding abortion to the teaching of Scripture, and obey God’s Word.

Throwback Thursday ~ The Mailbag: Should Christians do yoga?

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Originally published April 18, 2016

mailbag

 

Should Christians do yoga? What about Holy Yoga or other “Christianized” forms of yoga?

Before I give my answer to this question, I’d like to ask a couple of questions.

Have you ever heard anyone ask the question, “Should Christians do aerobics/zumba/spinning?”

Ever heard of Holy Weight Lifting, Christian Calisthenics, Redeemed Running or another “Christianized” version of a particular form of exercise?

There’s a reason for that.

If you’ve ever participated in youth or Christian school activities with a dress code, a rule of thumb that’s frequently used to help kids determine whether a particular outfit is too short, too low-cut, etc., is, “If you have to ask, it’s probably not appropriate.”

I think the same thing could be said about yoga.

The reason the question “Should Christians do yoga?” is even being asked is because there’s doubt in the minds of the Christians asking the question that yoga is kosher with God.

That’s a healthy doubt because yoga is a Hindu worship practice.

Hindu Swami Parham on the Hinduism of yoga and why Christians shouldn’t participate

Now, before we go any further, let’s just let that sink in a minute. This activity is used by a pagan religion for worshiping false gods. Would you, as a Christian, participate in any other pagan religious activities used for worshiping false gods? Would you participate in Mormon baptism for the dead? Have a shrine to Buddha in your home? Take part in the fast of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam?

No? What if the water the Mormons use had some special property that soothed your eczema? What if the kids started behaving better every time you set up the Buddha shrine? What if you lost weight while fasting during Ramadan? Would those benefits make participating in pagan religious practices OK even if, in your heart, you were only doing it for the benefits and not actually worshiping those false gods?

No, it would not. Neither is participating in yoga for the health benefits. Not convinced? Give the Old Testament another read.

Time and again, the Israelites were chastised and judged by God for idolatry. And not just full-blown idol worship, but all the steps leading up to it. It was not OK with God that they participated in a “Judaized” form of golden calf worship. When Israel entered the Promised Land, God told them to utterly destroy every last vestige of idol worship. It didn’t matter that they had no intention at the time of worshiping those false gods. Israelites were not to marry foreigners lest they be tempted to idolatry. God didn’t give any special permission to marry foreigners to those who promised not to worship the pagan gods of their spouses, He just said “don’t”.  The first two – one fifth – of the Ten Commandments are prohibitions against idolatry. And there aren’t any instances in the Bible of God being fine with his people “Christianizing” idol worship.

This is not a God who’s OK with His people dabbling in paganism.

This is the God who loves us so much He sent His Son to be tortured to death for our sin so that we might be clothed with His righteousness, be saved from an eternity in hell, and inherit eternal life.  Doesn’t He deserve better than sons and daughters who want to justify their involvement, at any level, in a religion that, ultimately, worships Satan? Doesn’t He deserve our highest, unsullied loyalty- a devotion that says, “I’m willing to give up anything that doesn’t please You, no matter the cost to me.”?

Yoga isn’t the only game in town. Let’s choose something else. Something that allows us to exercise, and worship God, with a clean conscience.


Additional Resources:

What is the Christian view of yoga? at Got Questions

What is holy yoga? at Got Questions

The Subtle Body – Should Christians Practice Yoga? by Al Mohler

“Christian” Yoga? at Sola Sisters (several additional resources included in this article and on this site- type “yoga” in the search bar)

Yoga at Christian Answers for the New Age

Yoga at Berean Research (many additional resources here)

Holy yoga – What is it? at Compelling Truth

Comments/testimonies about leaving yoga/alternatives to yoga from my Facebook followers

Personal Trainer– One of my readers is a personal trainer. Beth says: “As a Christian Personal Trainer and former yoga practitioner for 30 years, I offer a better way to get the physical benefits of yoga. Stretching, Pilates and Core Strength Training are all wonderful alternatives to yoga. I’ve designed a CORE Strength Training Class to replace yoga if anyone is interested in learning about my class. I did my research and prayed about yoga for the past few years and felt convicted by the Holy Spirit to leave the practice behind me because of its direct ties to Hinduism.”


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Imperishable Beauty: Lesson 15- A Beautiful Portrayal of Biblical Womanhood in the Church

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Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Read These Selected Scriptures

In lesson 14 we looked at the beauty of women’s position in the church. Today, we’ll examine how our character can beautifully portray biblical womanhood in the church.

Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review lesson 14 (link above). What did you learn about the position women occupy in the church? As you study today’s lesson think about some of the ways you can portray biblical womanhood to others from that position.

2. Carefully examine the 1 Corinthians 11 passage. (As you study this passage, it may help to keep in mind that, unless widowed, virtually every adult woman in the church would have been married. That was the cultural norm. So Paul is able to use the terms “women” and “wives” nearly interchangeably. Click on the “Read These Selected Scriptures” link above and read the footnote (c) for verse 5.)

Compare the format of this introduction (2-3) to the format of the introduction of the letters to three of the seven churches in Revelation. Describe this format noting how the word “but” acts as a pivot point for all four passages. For what does Paul commend the Corinthian church? (2) “But” in what area of church life does Paul imply the Corinthians are not “getting it”? (3) Explain what verse 3 means as it applies to the day-to-day functioning of the church both in Corinth and today. What is the authority “flow chart” for the church?

Verse 3 serves as the main idea or theme of this passage. What is the main theological point God is trying to drive home to the church?

To what event in biblical history is Paul referring in 7b-9? Compare these verses with 1 Timothy 2:12-14. Explain how the creative order (man created first, woman second / man as head, woman as helper) is the cornerstone of the authority structure (3) in the family and the church.

In 4-5 and 14-15, Paul uses two separate examples from Corinthian culture that demonstrate the differences between men and women in order to illustrate the concept of the hierarchy of authority in the church. What are those two examples? Is God commanding that Christian women today must have long hair and must cover their heads when praying? Is God commanding that Christian men today must have short hair and must never cover their heads while praying?

In Corinthian culture, one of the ways women could portray biblical womanhood in the church was to signify by wearing their veils that they embraced submitting to their husbands and to the authority structure of the church. Can you think of any similar ways women can portray biblical womanhood today?

3. Examine the 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Peter 3 passages. What is the venue or setting for the instructions in each? (You may need to look at more of each chapter.) Locate the word “but” in each of these passages (2:10, 3:4), noting the concept that comes before the word “but” and after it. Describe how women are not to adorn themselves. “But” describe how women are to adorn themselves. Are things like braids, jewelry, and clothes intrinsically sinful, or is Paul again giving cultural examples to illustrate a theological point he’s making? What is that point? What is it about the bent of women’s hearts that would cause God to give this instruction to women in the context of the home and the church, but not to give this instruction to men at all? As godly women, where is our focus to be? How does it benefit the church for us to “wear”, or portray, biblical womanhood by adorning ourselves modestly and with good works?

What similar themes do you see in these two passages and the 1 Corinthians 11 passage? How do these three passages work together to demonstrate to us how we may live out biblical womanhood in the church?

4. Locate, in the 1 Timothy 2 (10), 1 Peter 3 (6), and 1 Timothy 5 (10) passages the phrases about doing good works. How are good works a major responsibility of women in the church, and a main way we display biblical womanhood?

Explain the context of the 1 Timothy 5 passage. The passage is talking about women who are _______. But a large part of this passage talks about how these women lived and served the church prior to becoming widows. Make a two column list. On one side, list the good works of all the women (widowed, married, young widows, any believing woman, etc.) mentioned in this passage. On the other side, list some specific ways you and other women in the church can carry out these good works today.

What are the “bad works” to be avoided in this passage? How can focusing on doing good works help us to avoid the bad works?

5. Study the remaining passages (Luke, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians) in today’s lesson. How did the women who followed Jesus, Dorcas, Lydia, and Priscilla (Prisca) each portray biblical womanhood in the church by their character and good works? To whom did they minister? How did the church benefit from each of them robustly living out God’s plan for women in the church?


If you’d like to discuss this lesson with other women who are participating in the study, join our  Imperishable Beauty Bible Study Discussion Group on Facebook.


Homework

If you’d like to read more about some of the passages from today’s lesson, you might enjoy the following articles:

Rock Your Role: A Head of the Times- Head Coverings for Christian Women?

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Calvinism, Baptism, Modesty…)

Rock Your Role: Oh No She Di-int! Priscilla Didn’t Preach, Deborah Didn’t Dominate, and Esther Wasn’t an Egalitarian


Suggested Memory Verse

Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.
1 Corinthians 11:11-12

Karen Kingsbury

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If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against certain teachers, please click here and read this article first. Your objection is most likely answered here. I won’t be publishing comments or answering emails that are answered by this article.

 

I get lots of questions about particular authors, pastors, and Bible teachers, and whether or not I recommend them. Some of the best known can be found above at my Popular False Teachers tab. The teacher below is someone I’ve been asked about recently, so I’ve done a quick check (this is brief research, not exhaustive) on her.

Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, he or she has to meet three criteria:

a) A female teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. A male teacher or pastor cannot allow women to carry out this violation of Scripture in his ministry. The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).

b) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of Scripture.

c) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.

I am not very familiar with most of the teachers I’m asked about (there are so many out there!) and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I do involves items a and b (although in order to partner with false teachers (b) it is reasonable to assume their doctrine is acceptable to the false teacher and that they are not teaching anything that would conflict with the false teacher’s doctrine). Partnering with false teachers and women preaching to men are each sufficient biblical reasons not to follow a pastor, teacher, or author, or use his/her materials.

Just to be clear, “not recommended” is a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum are people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth and Kay Arthur. These are people I would not label as false teachers because their doctrine is generally sound, but because of some red flags I’m seeing with them, you won’t find me proactively endorsing them or suggesting them as a good resource, either. There are better people you could be listening to. On the other end of the spectrum are people like Joyce Meyer and Rachel Held Evans- complete heretics whose teachings, if believed, might lead you to an eternity in Hell. Most of the teachers I review fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (leaning toward the latter).

If you’d like to check out some pastors and teachers I heartily recommend, click the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.


Karen Kingsbury
Not Recommended

Karen Kingsbury is in a bit of a different category when it comes to her works of fiction. I asked about her in a group of theologically sound women I’m a member of. Here’s what they said:

“Her books are very ‘evanjellyfish’. Lots of personal words from God. Jeremiah 29:11 is quoted and misapplied several times per book. Ask Jesus into your heart. All the usual stuff.”

“There are absolutely problems with KK’s theology. Her latest series is about angels sent by God to earth to direct the lives of four chosen people and keep them alive so that one of the couples can bear a child named Dallas Garner who will turn the hearts of people back to God.”

“I actually saw The Bridge Part 1 and 2 on Hallmark that is based on her books. I would no way look to her for theology, but the movies were decent for a Christmas feel good movie. But that’s as far as I’d ever go with her stuff.”

“I really enjoyed the Baxter family series. As fiction. Not for theology. I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes quite a bit at those parts. But – it’s fiction. I don’t hold fiction to the same standard that I would a theological book.”

“The angels series is way out there and could lead to very bad theology. If you read those books, you might want to compare it with a study of angels in Scripture.”

I would echo the respondent who said she does not hold fiction to the same level of doctrinal purity as non-fiction Bible studies, Christian living, or theology books. If you are a new Christian or not very knowledgeable of the Bible, it would probably be a good idea for to stay away from Karen Kingsbury books until you’re more mature in Christ and can spot and reject the theological problems in the books.

That being said, though Karen is mainly still a fiction author, she has been branching out a bit in recent years.

Karen has written several “Bible” studies, including The Family of Jesus and The Friends of JesusIn this promo article for The Family of Jesus Karen explains:

“The Family of Jesus allows me to take a fictitious look at Joseph, Zechariah, John the Baptist, Elizabeth, James, and Mary in stories anchored by Scripture and cultural relevance – but with storytelling between those points. These stories will make you feel for the precious family members of Jesus. They will make you feel connected to Him in a way you may not have felt before.

So, this is a “Bible” study in which you will be studying fictitious stories about Jesus’ family members. Because the Bible itself isn’t good enough to make you feel connected to Jesus. (Lots of emphasis on feelings, of course.)

Karen has also begun speaking at Christian conferences. If she were only speaking on topics such as how to be a good fiction writer, or finding a publisher, or things like that which have little to do with theology, it wouldn’t be much of an issue. However it appears that she is speaking on theological topics at least sometimes as well as speaking before co-ed audiences.

Karen is one of the main session speakers at the 2019 North Carolina Baptist Missions Conference. The topic of her talk is not listed, but missions is a biblical topic, and both the promo video and the conference brochure clearly indicate that she will be speaking to a co-ed audience.

Karen will be speaking at three different Women of Joy events in 2019. As I’ve noted in other articles, WoJ frequently employs false teachers such as Christine Caine, Sheila Walsh, and Jennie Allen at these events, and indeed, Karen will be speaking with Sheila at one of her WoJ events and Jennie at another.

Mixing fiction with Bible study and partnering with false teachers are both dangerous and unbiblical.

The Mailbag: “What’s a Woman to Do?” Potpourri

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Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!

In these potpourri editions of The Mailbag, I’d also like to address the three questions I’m most commonly asked:

“Do you know anything about [Christian pastor/teacher/author] or his/her materials? Is he/she doctrinally sound?”

Try these links: 
Popular False Teachers /
 Recommended Bible Teachers / search bar
Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring It Out on Your Own
(Do keep bringing me names, though. If I get enough questions about a particular teacher, I’ll probably write an article on her.)

“Can you recommend a good women’s Bible study?”

No. Here’s why:
The Mailbag: Can you recommend a good Bible study for women/teens/kids?
The Mailbag: “We need to stop relying on canned studies,” doesn’t mean, “We need to rely on doctrinally sound canned studies.”.

“You shouldn’t be warning against [popular false teacher] for [X,Y,Z] reason!”

Answering the Opposition- Responses to the Most Frequently Raised Discernment Objections


It’s ladies night!…er…day…or whatever. I’ve accumulated several questions that have to do with women’s roles in the church and home, so that’s the theme of today’s Mailbag. If you have similar questions, you might find my article Rock Your Role FAQs to be helpful.

 

Is it biblical for women to serve as children’s ministry leaders or directors in the church?

It could be, depending on the situation. (You should not bear the title Children’s “Pastor” or “Minister”, though. Biblically, women are not pastors/ministers, so carrying that title would be dishonest and misleading.)

It is perfectly biblical for women to teach and lead children in the church setting. (And when I say “children”, I mean birth to about age 12. I’ve addressed women teaching youth/teens here, #13.) The biblical prohibition is against teaching and holding authority over men in the church. Male children are not men.

The potential 1 Timothy 2:12 issue is not with teaching and leading children or supervising other women who teach children. The issue at play is whether or not you’ll be holding unbiblical authority over any men who work or volunteer in the children’s department as Sunday school teachers, Awana leaders, nursery workers, etc. And that’s something that’s got to be examined on a case by case basis. It could be completely biblical for you to serve as a children’s director in one church but not in another simply due to circumstances of the environment.

Does your church only have women working in the children’s department? Is there an associate pastor or elder over you that handles any issues of authority? Would you have to train, evaluate, or correct male volunteers? What kinds of things would male volunteers need to come to you about? These and other questions all need to be carefully considered by your pastor, elders, your husband, and you.

Generally speaking, it is biblically OK for a woman to serve as children’s ministry leaders as long as that position, in that particular church, does not require her to instruct men in the Scriptures or hold unbiblical authority over men.


My husband is a new Christian (Praise the Lord!). I was raised in church and have a firm foundation in the Word, but unfortunately he was not blessed with such an upbringing. When we study the Bible together at home, how can I handle his lack of knowledge in a Godly way? I know what the Bible says about women not teaching men, and I strongly desire to be obedient to God’s Word. I’m just a little confused about what that looks like in this situation.

I rejoice with you over your husband’s salvation! This is a great question that’s probably on the minds of many godly women.

First, I think we might need to review a little bit of “what the Bible says about women not teaching men.” When Scripture prohibits women from teaching or holding authority over men, it does so in a specific setting: the gathered body of Believers (the church – You may want to go back over my article Jill in the Pulpit.). You are talking about helping your newly saved husband privately, at home. That’s different, and it is not included in the 1 Timothy 2:12 prohibition.

At home, between the two of you, the only issue is whether you’re submitting to him and respecting him. If your husband wants you to explain things to him from Scripture and you do that in a loving, kind, and submissive way, there’s absolutely no biblical problem with that. (It’s also important that you know the correct answers to his questions and can handle Scripture rightly. If not, study it together or ask your Sunday School teacher, pastor, etc., for help.)

In Scripture, we see Priscilla and her husband Aquila taking Apollos aside privately (likely in their home) and helping him understand “the way of God more accurately.” And Paul commends Priscilla in “the great thank you list” of Romans 16. She would not have been mentioned in a positive light in Acts nor commended by Paul in Romans if she had been sinning by helping Apollos. And if she wasn’t sinning by helping Apollos, who wasn’t even her husband (again, recalling that this was a private conversation, not teaching in the church), it would not make sense that it would have been wrong for her, or any other woman to help her own husband.

In 1 Peter 3 and 1 Corinthians 7 we see that a woman can be instrumental in bringing her unsaved husband to Christ. Why, then, would she not – privately, at his own request – continue to answer his questions, explain things, or suggest passages of Scripture for him to read after he got saved?

It would be beneficial to your husband for him to begin learning from godly men, not because it’s wrong for you to help him learn, but because other men can help him learn his role as a Christian man and how to handle things men go through better than a woman – even his wife – can. It might be helpful to your husband for you to suggest good books by doctrinally sound men for him to read and good preaching and podcasts to listen to (see some of my favorites in the sidebar to your left). He would probably also benefit tremendously from getting involved with a men’s group or Bible study at church, or having a godly older man disciple him.

What a blessing that God has given your husband a knowledgeable, godly wife who can help him!


I teach the Bible to women and young people in the home of a Christian sister. Frequently, her husband brings his Bible and sits in on the group. I usually just ignore the fact that he’s in there and focus on the youth, because, technically, that’s who I’m there to teach. I feel uncomfortable with him there because I agree with the Bible that I’m not supposed to be teaching men, but I also feel uncomfortable asking him to leave his own den. What do you recommend in this case?

It’s a bit of a sticky situation, but more because of etiquette and logistics than because of Scripture. Let’s explore a few different aspects of this situation.

✢ Is the husband saved? If he’s unsaved, the dilemma stops here. He’s not part of the church (the universal body of Believers), he’s an outsider observing Christians, and the things of God are folly to him. He’s not even capable of understanding Christian teaching on a spiritual level, so you’re not teaching him. At best, he’s absorbing enough of the gospel to eventually lead him to Christ. That would fall under the category of evangelism, and Scripture doesn’t prohibit women from sharing the gospel with men. (See #11 here)

✢ Take into consideration that different people sometimes have different ideas about etiquette and social interactions. Whether or not he’s saved, it’s possible the husband is sitting in on the group because he feels, as the host, it would be rude of him not to. By talking with him about your discomfort with his presence, you might actually be letting him off the hook when there are other things he’d rather be doing.

But from here on out, we’ll assume the husband is saved and doesn’t fully understand that women aren’t to teach men in the gathered body of Believers.

✢ You mentioned that you are teaching “women and young people”/”youth”. I’m inferring from that phraseology that this group of “young people/youth” is a co-ed group in their teens. If I’m correct about that (and maybe I’m not), this could be part of the issue depending on the age of the kids in the group. First, of all, if the males in this group are in their late teens to early 20s or older, you really don’t have a leg to stand on. You’re teaching men (even if they are young men), so that needs to stop. But this could also be a contributing factor to why the husband is coming to the study, especially if he is a younger man. If he sees you teaching 18 year old young men and he’s 25, he probably doesn’t see much difference between those young men and himself and assumes he’s welcome to attend. There’s no hard and fast biblical command about it, but I usually recommend women stop teaching boys around the time they start middle school (12ish). I’ve explained more here, #13.

✢ It’s possible the husband only has a partial understanding of the applicable Scriptures here. Perhaps he thinks Scripture only says women can’t be pastors or that as long as you’re outside the four walls of the church building you can teach men. Maybe you and his wife can pull him aside privately after the meeting or at another time and explain a little bit more about what Scripture says, your desire to obey it, your discomfort with him there, and your discomfort with asking him to leave.

✢ You know the husband and his wife better than I do. Would it work better to explain things to the wife and ask her to talk to him? Or possibly for you and your husband to talk to him and his wife together? It might also be beneficial for you to set up a meeting with your pastor and get some wise counsel from him on how to proceed.

✢ Enlist the aid of your husband and/or some other godly men at church. They could invite this fellow to join them during your class time for a men’s Bible study, bowling, a movie, dinner, watching the game on TV, or whatever. Maybe the husband just needs some friends or a better offer! :0)

✢ If you’ve talked to the husband and he understands what Scripture says, and your dilemma, and he refuses to refrain from attending the class, it’s time to move the class meeting to another location – perhaps your house, the church, or the home of someone else in the group. If it gets to this point, things have moved beyond whether or not you’re teaching a man. Now he’s intentionally being a stumbling block to a sister in Christ (which, if you belong to the same church, actually requires church discipline). He is sinning and he causing you to sin against your conscience. Scripture says if something causes you to sin, remove it. Since you can’t remove him from his house, you’ll have to remove yourself from his house.

✢ Finally, along the lines of removing things from your life that cause you to sin, if you’ve tried every possible way of working things out and you’re still going to be in a situation where you’re sinning against your conscience, step down from teaching. As much as you might want to, you do not have to teach that class. And it’s far better to  give up a “want” and not sin than to keep doing a “want” and sin. God takes sin very seriously, and we should, too.

I’ve tried to cover a range of possibilities and solutions, and some of them may sound extreme, but most of the time situations like this among friends, and especially among church family, can be resolved with a simple, loving conversation. Try talking to him about it, and you’ll most likely be able to work it out.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.