Living UNbiblically: 4 Reasons CBS’s “Living Biblically” ISN’T (And Why Christians Should Watch it Anyway)


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Have you ever had to stand by helplessly and watch as a friend – or maybe even your child – headed down the wrong path, seemingly oblivious to the right path that’s just inches away? You stand behind him, cheering him on, hoping and praying he’ll go the right direction, only to watch him make wrong turn after wrong turn.

That’s what it’s like being a biblical Christian watching CBS’s new sitcom, Living Biblically, currently airing Monday nights at 8:30 Central time.

Meet my new friend, Chip, the main character of the show. His best friend has recently died, and as a result, Chip becomes somewhat out of control – depressed, drinking, and not working. In the midst of this crisis, Chip’s wife Leslie arrives home one day, announces that she’s pregnant, and that Chip needs to snap out of it and get his life back on track. Chip decides that the way to become a good father is to start living “100% by the Bible”, carrying out every single command and obeying every law. He’s a lapsed Catholic, so he goes to a priest and asks for help walking through this gargantuan task. Father Gene laughs at him. Preposterous! Nobody can possibly live in 100% compliance with the Bible! But in spite of his doubts, Father Gene and his rabbi friend team up to serve as Chip’s “God Squad”- his spiritual advisors on this journey of living completely by the Bible.

Oh, Chip. Chip, Chip, Chip… I’m rooting for you, my friend, but you’re going the wrong direction.

I had high hopes for Living Biblically. Well, “high hopes” kind of like the hopes I have of winning the Publishers’ Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. It’s never happened before, but somebody’s gotta win. Maybe this time it’ll be me.

I want Chip to win. I want the viewers of Living Biblically to win. But, as of the first four episodes I’ve watched, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

Because Chip isn’t living biblically. In fact, he’s living most unbiblically.

The structure of the show is to take a different biblical command or two each week and have Chip attempt to walk it out in his life. Some of the commands addressed so far have been: love thy neighbor, thou shalt not worship false idols, don’t use foul language, and thou shalt not steal. Worthy and good commands, all. So what’s the problem?

Going against the grain

Being a moral person is good for society. It can even be beneficial to the person who is acting morally and to those  closest to him. But the title of this show is not Living Morally, it’s Living Biblically. And therein lies the rub. It is impossible to live biblically by simply extracting external behavioral commands from the Bible and attempting to implement them in your life completely divorced from the main theme of Scripture. And what is that main theme of Scripture?

You can’t live biblically. That’s why you need a Savior.

The Old Testament is a case study of an entire nation who –  even though they were chosen by God, even though they saw Him perform mighty miracles, even though He promised prosperity for obedience and calamity for disobedience – could not manage to consistently live by the commands He gave them. God graciously shows us through Israel’s example just how wretched and depraved we really are. We cannot pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps of good behavior. The Bible tells us…

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
Isaiah 64:6

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Galatians 3:10-11

as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God…For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:10,20

yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Galatians 2:16

Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8:8

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:4-7

Over and over again, this is the message of the Bible: You need to be in right standing with God. It’s impossible to achieve that by your own law keeping and good behavior because attempting to keep the law and behave well in order to garner favor with God is sin in and of itself. Why? Because you’re attempting to circumvent God’s way of making you righteous – repentance of sin and faith in Christ’s substitutionary atoning sacrifice on the cross – and instead demand that He accept your way of making yourself righteous – law keeping and good behavior.

I’m sorry, Chip, but you just can’t be living biblically if you’re living completely against the grain of Scripture.

For all the wrong reasons

Why does Chip want to live biblically? Because he wants to become a good father to his child. I’d like to pause a moment and commend the creator of Living Biblically for making being a good dad one of the centerpieces of this show. In a day where television often portrays fathers as dispensable or bumbling fools, and in a real world in which fathers are far too often absent or failing, this is a much-needed, courageous, and admirable message to send. I applaud Living Biblically for boldly stating that fathers are both good and necessary, and that men need to strive to be stellar fathers and set a moral example for their children.

That being said, obeying God’s commands in order to become a good father, is, once again, not living biblically.

When I was in college, my degree program required a course in experimental psychology. If you’re not familiar with experimental psychology, it involves rats. Lots of rats. Rats running mazes. Rats pushing levers. Rats learning to modify their behavior in any way that will earn them a pellet of food.

Sadly, this is the rat race Chip, and so many Christians who go to “churches” that only preach self-help sermons full of life tips, are running. “Just modify your behavior to X and you’ll get Y.” In Chip’s case, X equals obeying biblical commands, and Y equals his desired goal of being a good father. But that’s not what the Bible tells us to do, nor how the Bible characterizes obedience. The Bible says:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

…we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:16b

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
John 14:15

Obedience to God is not a quid pro quo in which your motivation for obeying is to get your own desired outcome. That’s what the Prosperity Gospel teaches, and God does not consider that obedience to His commands. Only Christians can truly obey God’s commands, because only Christians have been transformed by God into new creatures with the same mindset as Christ: to obey God simply out of love for Him and gratitude for all He has done for us. Those are the only circumstances under which striving to obey God’s commands is living biblically.

The heart of the matter

“Just go to church and be good. That’s enough,” Father Gene counsels Chip early on. Later, when discussing substituting what I’d call “Christian cuss words” for the real thing, Chip says, “It sounds unsatisfying.” Father Gene advises him, “It’s incredibly unsatisfying, but you’ll be doing the right thing.” Very bad advice, I might add, from someone who – claiming to shepherd the flock of God – should know better. It’s not “good enough” or “the right thing”, because, without Christ, Chip can’t be good and can’t do the right thing.

Chip, God can see right past your attempts at “being good” and zeroes in on your heart. He knows your thoughts: your lusts, your hate, your selfishness, your greed, your pride, and every other evil, sinful intent that crosses your mind. You might fool people with your external conformity to Scripture. You might even fool yourself. But you’ll never fool God. Your outward behavior isn’t enough for Him. He wants your heart.

For the Lord sees not as man sees:
man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7b

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Matthew 23:25-28

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:16-17

If you want to live biblically, Christ has to clean the inside of your cup first by giving you the gift of repentance and faith in Him.

Twisted Scripture

The Bible says:

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

Living Biblically’s “workers” (i.e. writers and script consultants) who are handling the Word of Truth for this show have every reason to be ashamed, because mishandled and misappropriated Scripture abounds at every turn.

In episode 2, False Idols (hint to the writers- there’s no such thing as a “true idol”, so you can just call it an “idol” rather than a “false idol”), Chip comes to the conclusion that his phone is an idol, so he smashes it and lives life phoneless (at least for that episode). Why does Chip think his phone is an idol? Because it’s taking up too much of his time and attention. That’s not the biblical definition of idolatry. An idol is something that you lavish love and devotion on in the place of God. The command in Exodus 20:3 is “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Chip didn’t smash his phone because he’s grieved that he has sinned against a holy God by loving his phone more than he loves Christ (because he doesn’t know Christ). He smashed it in order to fulfill a biblical law so that he’ll become a better father.

In episode 4, Thou Shalt Not Steal, Chip realizes he has, on several occasions in the past, brought office supplies home from work for personal use, and that this violates the eighth Commandment. (I’d like to commend the makers of Living Biblically here for demonstrating that “Thou shalt not steal” isn’t just about armed bank robbery, as some seem to think; it’s about pens and paper clips, too.) Father Gene comes to the rescue once again with…out of context Scripture.

“Ezekiel 33:15,” Chip quotes (actually, it’s Ezekiel 33:15a and 16a, but OK) “…if a wicked man restores a pledge and pays back what he has taken by robbery…none of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him.” (Another round of kudos to the writers here: Chip seems to be quoting from a decent modern translation – not The Message or some other adulteration of Scripture, not the KJV, as though no reliable modern English translations exist. As nearly as I can tell, he’s using the NASB, though there might be another translation with identical wording.)

“Bye bye sins!” Chip chortles as he begins bagging up reams of copy paper and other assorted office supplies to return to his workplace. As if glibly restoring the items to the supply closet will wipe out this offense against God. The problems here?

First of all, though there’s much to glean from the book of Ezekiel, Chip is reading somebody else’s mail. Ezekiel was written to Old Testament Israel, not as instructions for New Testament Christians (or lost people either, as Chip is). Zacchaeus would have been a much better role model for Chip in this particular instance. Next, Chip has ripped verses 15 and 16 out of their immediate context. Verse 15 starts in the middle of a sentence, for goodness sakes:

14 Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live. Ezekiel 33: 14-16

This passage is not saying that simply returning stolen items will zero out your sin debt. Ezekiel 33 is a beautiful passage about true, from the heart, repentance that leads to walking through life in obedience to God. Indeed, the entire book of Ezekiel is God calling Israel to grieve and mourn over her sin (mainly of idolatry and forsaking the worship of God) and to return to Him. God isn’t calling Israel to rote obedience to random commands in order to actualize her own personal goals, but to the love and worship of God. If Chip truly wanted to live biblically, we would have seen him on his face in prayer, heartbroken over his sin, imploring God to forgive him.


There’s a lot that’s unbiblical about Living Biblically, but if you’re a Christian, I’d still recommend you consider watching itAs homework. Watch it as an apologetics and hermeneutics assignment. Get your Bible out. Which scenes and ideas match up with Scripture, and which don’t? Why or why not? Watch it to get a better grip on the world’s mindset about God, sin, and the Bible to help you in your approach to sharing the gospel. Maybe the show will even uncover some unbiblical ideas you’ve been holding on to.

In the final analysis, I applaud the creators and producers of Living Biblically for attempting something fresh and creative. It was a nice try, but Chip isn’t living biblically. To borrow from contemporary Christian phraseology, he’s living “moralistic therapeutic me-ism”.

Because unless you repent of your sin and throw yourself upon the mercy and grace of Christ to save you, you’ll never be living biblically.

Have you been watching Living Biblically?
Which scenes or ideas from the show have you found biblically problematic OR faithful to Scripture?


Throwback Thursday ~ The Daily Wonder of Easter


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Originally published April 1, 2014

“What should I preach about on Easter Sunday? Help me out, here.”

That’s the gist of a tweet I saw recently from a pastor. It caught me quite off guard, and it must have had the same effect on many others who punctuated their excellent advice –“preach the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for our sins”- with lots of “duh’s” and other indications that this should be a no-brainer for a Christian pastor.

Traditionally, the prevailing line of thought about Easter (and Christmas) services has always been, “This is one of the two times a year that a lot of lost people go to church. It might be our only chance to reach some of them. Let’s make sure we give them the gospel.” Maybe after so many years of that, some pastors feel that their church members have heard it all before and they need to move on to something else in order to keep people’s attention. Sometimes, as a pastor, it’s tough to know just what to do to best reach people for Christ.


But, see, the thing is, Christians never move past our need for hearing the gospel again and again. Young or old. Newly saved or seasoned saint.

We need the gospel.

We need it because we forget. We forget that we are great sinners in need of a great Savior. We forget to slow down and pour out our gratitude and worship for the sacrifice of our beautiful Savior. We forget to bask in our wonder, our amazement, at His glorious and triumphant resurrection.

As Christians, every day our sin sick souls need to bow at the cross and be washed afresh in the precious, atoning blood of Christ. What can wash away my sin? Nothing –nothing– but the blood of Jesus. Daily, we must approach the tomb, see the massive stone rolled away and shout with joy over its emptiness. Hallelujah! Death has lost its victory and the grave has been denied! The very reason we worship on Sunday instead of Saturday is the celebration of an empty tomb. Every Sunday is Easter Sunday.

Remember, and rejoice!

Originally published at Satisfaction Through Christ.

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 15- Sarah


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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


Read Genesis 20


Questions to Consider

1. Second verse, same as the first. Compare Genesis 12:10-20 with today’s passage. List the similarities and differences between the two incidents. Why would Abraham do this again? Why was Sarah complicit?

2. What did Abraham tell Abimelech about Sarah? (2) Why? (11) Was it true that Sarah was his sister? (12) What can we learn from this story about honesty, deception, and half truths? How did Abraham’s deception put Sarah in danger? In what way did Abraham put his own needs ahead of Sarah’s well-being? How might Abraham’s actions have damaged his relationship with his wife?

3. In what ways did Abraham’s actions demonstrate a lack of trust in God? Think back over the promises God has made to Abraham. As of Genesis 20, have any of these promises been fulfilled? Yet what is Abraham fearful of in verse 11? If God is powerful enough to open the womb of a barren woman and make a couple of senior citizens parents, is He not powerful enough to keep them safe and alive until that promise is fulfilled?

4. In what ways did Sarah have to trust God and trust her husband in this passage? Was Abraham acting in a trustworthy way? Why or why not?

5. The New Testament tells us we are ambassadors for Christ. In a similar way, Sarah and Abraham represented the one true God to Abimelech and his people. Did Sarah and Abraham represent God well? Why or why not? What did their words and actions tell Abimelech about God’s trustworthiness and His power to protect His people? How did God step in and defend His reputation to Abimelech? (3-7,17-18) What did God reveal to Abimelech – and to Sarah and Abraham – about Himself by His words and actions?

6. Examine 1 Peter 3:1-7. What do verses 5-6 tell us about Sarah’s character that might help explain why she twice went along with deceiving a king about her relationship with Abraham? Does God require Christian women to submit to our husbands if they ask us to sin? Is our highest loyalty to God or to our husbands? Is our highest obedience to God or to our husbands? Compare Abraham’s actions to verse 7. How does he measure up?

7. What word(s) would you use to describe the way Abimelech treated Sarah in verse 16? Would you use that same word(s) to characterize the way Abraham treated Sarah in Genesis 20? Why or why not?

8. What consequence had God placed on Abimelech’s household as a result of his taking Sarah? (17-18) Why do you think God chose this particular sign instead of something like boils or famine?

9. In lesson 12, we saw Hagar say of the Lord, “You are a God who sees me,” and that her son would be named Ishmael, meaning, “God hears.” At the conclusion of chapter 20, what are some ways Sarah might have finished the sentence, “You are a God who…”?


Have you ever been through a difficult or scary situation like Sarah went through that required a lot of trust in God? Now that He has brought you through it, as you look back, what are some ways you might finish the sentence, “You are a God who…”?

Suggested Memory Verse

Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.
Genesis 20:6

Fighting Off the Wolves


, , , , , , ,


I love pastors. I really do. As a minister of music’s wife, church member, and through involvement in other ministries, I’ve known a lot of them. They have a tough job that most of us wouldn’t take on in a million years. I pray for and encourage my own pastor and my pastor buddies regularly, and try to remind y’all to do the same from time to time. All this to say, I’m not a preacher-basher. Far from it.

But sometimes there’s a bit of a veering in a dangerous direction, like a vehicle heading towards the center line, among (some, not all) pastors who are momentarily distracted and might need a friendly “Hey, did you see that truck we’re about to crash into?” from their terrified, front seat passenger.

Color me terrified.

There are pastors out there who treat false teachers with kid gloves. They refuse to label anyone as a false teacher, or only vaguely allude to certain false teachers without naming names. I’d like to encourage those pastors to pull the steering wheel to the right and call a spade a spade. Yes, they need to use the label of false teacher soberly, sadly, and only after making sure, with hard evidence, that it is warranted, but enough with grown men of God pussyfooting around under the guise of “we don’t know what’s in that person’s heart” or “I’m afraid to be painted with the ‘mean old discernment blogger’ brush.”

The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that a pastor shouldn’t call someone a false teacher and warn the flock about him just because the pastor doesn’t know for sure what’s in the person’s heart or because he’s afraid of what others might think. We are all to look at their words and their behavior and judge (that’s right, I said “judge“) whether or not they are teaching what accords with sound doctrine. And if they’re not, they need to be denounced. Not in a wild-eyed, foaming at the mouth, wingnut way, but certainly loudly and decisively as a mature man of God.

We never see Paul or Jesus or Peter or Jude or any other godly man in the Bible being over-cautious about firmly calling out those who had proved themselves to be false teachers.

“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” – Jesus, Matthew 16:11

“Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites…blind guides…fools…serpents…brood of vipers.” – Jesus, Matthew 23

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” – Paul, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” – Jude, Jude 4

“They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray.” – Peter, 2 Peter 2:13b-15a

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”
Paul, Galatians 1:8-9

Would pastors today be wise to use this same kind of verbiage? Maybe. Maybe not. These godly men spoke and wrote in a way that was appropriate for their time, culture, and context. Our time, culture, and context are different and may call for a different approach. But the point is, none of them were afraid to speak the truth boldly about false teachers in order to protect the sheep God had entrusted to them. And we sheep today desperately need courageous shepherds who will do the same.

Pastors, if you speak out against false teachers, there are people who will get mad at you. It’s unavoidable. But there are others who know the truth and will be cheering you on and supporting you. And there are still others you will turn back from false doctrine who will learn the truth of God’s word and love you for warning them. And their souls are worth any risk or trial.

Be encouraged, dear pastors. Be strong in the Lord. Be faithful to Him. You can do this!

Remember the words of your brother and fellow laborer Paul, who, after condemning false teachers in Galatians 1:6-9, may have anticipated the same backlash you might receive:

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10

Photo and quote courtesy of The Patriot. ©2000, Columbia Pictures, INc.

The Mailbag: How can we get women to WANT to come to Bible study?


, , , , , , , ,


My church is blessed to have two strong ladies’ Bible study leaders – one during the week for those who are available and one on Saturday for those who cannot attend during the week – who have the discernment to choose biblical content, study, and lead scripturally sound discussion. My prayer is that more women in my church would have the desire to attend these Bible studies, not only learning and growing spiritually but also for fellowship with each other and drawing closer to each other. If you have any ideas for actually getting women to want to study God’s word with other women I would love to hear them.

Been there, done that. I once taught a women’s Bible study class that consistently had only one to two women in it. I think our maximum attendance was one day when we had a whopping…four. The other women of the church chose to attend the “fluffier” classes that were being offered, and many just didn’t attend at all.

There could be any number of spiritual and practical reasons women aren’t attending your (or another reader’s) Bible studies.

☞ People are extraordinarily busy these days, especially women. Jam-packed schedules are probably the main reason for your low attendance. I’ll be honest, if I worked a full time job outside the home as well as taking care of my home and family, I’d be very unlikely to attend any Bible study class besides Sunday School. I’d want to devote that time to my family or to rest.

☞ Perhaps there are more false converts in your church than you’re aware of. People who aren’t saved are not new creatures in Christ and are devoid of the Holy Spirit, so they have no organic desire to spend time in God’s Word or with God’s people beyond the minimal amount required to fulfill whatever fleshly agenda brings them to church in the first place. There’s no human way to give them the desire to attend Bible study. Only God can accomplish that by saving them.

☞ If you go to a doctrinally sound church, your ladies may feel like they get plenty of good Bible study already and what they really want is unstructured fellowship time. See my article All Word and No Play: The Importance of Fun and Fellowship in the Doctrinally Sound Church.

☞ There may be something about the teaching style or the materials, that – even though they’re doctrinally sound – are rubbing people the wrong way. Maybe the teacher lectures and your ladies want more discussion. Maybe she talks over their heads in a very academic style. Maybe the materials are too expensive or there’s something about the book that is off-putting. Maybe your church only does “canned” (workbook, DVD, etc.) studies and what your ladies really want is to study books of the Bible, or vice versa.

☞ Hopefully this isn’t the case, but if there are factions in your church, someone could be surreptitiously – out of jealousy, sowing discord, or other reasons – discouraging the women from attending.

☞ The logistics of the class might be inconvenient for some. Do you offer child care for those who need it? Is the class held on a convenient day of the week and time of day? Is your church and the room you’re using for the class accessible to women with disabilities? 

These are just a few things that came to mind. Some of them may have to do with the class or the teacher. Others have more to do with the women themselves. What can you do to encourage more women to attend?

✔ Pray – and be ready to be in it for the long haul – that God will change hearts and give the women of your church a greater desire for His Word. In the end, God is the only One who knows all of the reasons women aren’t attending Bible study, and He is the only One with the power to transform them and overcome those reasons. Pray fervently and trust Him.

✔ If you’re truly stumped as to why women aren’t attending Bible study, ask them. You could do so face to face, individually, or, with your pastor’s permission, send out an anonymous survey (you’ll probably get a better response this way) asking things like, “Is the lecture style teaching we offer a fit for you?” or “Would you be able to attend if we offered child care?”, and also leave space to write in comments. (Naturally, you would not be asking things like whether or not you should water down the theology of the class, but if you can remove a practical barrier to attendance, why wouldn’t you?)

✔ Ask your pastor for advice. He knows the heartbeat of your congregation and will probably have some valuable counsel and suggestions.

✔ Be willing to try something different in the class. If you’ve only ever done workbook studies, do a study of a book of the Bible. Maybe a Saturday class isn’t convenient for a lot of people but a Sunday class would be. “I Shall Not be Moved” is for the theology of the class, not the logistics of it.

✔ Be willing to try something different than the class. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way to do discipleship. Bible studies are awesome, but how about taking a semester off and doing some one on one Titus 2 mentoring instead? Or some unstructured “let’s just sit and chat” fellowships or ladies’ night outs? Or a prayer group? Or some outreach projects? If your ladies are already getting good preaching in the worship service and good teaching in Sunday School, it’s OK to try a discipleship method other than a Bible study class.

✔ Are you doing enough publicity well in advance of the class? You should start a minimum of 3-4 weeks before the class begins, and you should blitz with a variety of media: verbal announcements in multiple worship services, announce it in the church bulletin, newsletter, web site, and social media pages, have Sunday School classes announce it, send out a church-wide e-mail, put up fliers around the church, and encourage the ladies who are already attending the classes to personally, individually invite other women.

✔ If your pastor is OK with it, consider having one of the women who has been a faithful member of the class give a testimony (during the worship service, in the church newsletter, or wherever appropriate) about how the class has helped and blessed her, the relationships she has built through the class, etc.

In the end, the old saying is true: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” You may bend over backwards and pray your kneecaps off and you may still have a small attendance. That’s OK. That’s on God. All you are responsible for is to pray, trust and obey Him, and be faithful to Him where He has planted you. God doesn’t measure your success by how many women attend, but by your faithfulness to Him.

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.

Guest Post: A Review of Jennie Allen’s “Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul”


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in the “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail at,
and let’s chat about it.

A Review of Jennie Allen’s
Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul

by Carol Coppens

Many years ago, when I was in the 6th grade, I was taught that when doing a book report, even if I didn’t like the book, I should try to say something good about it. That was fine teaching at the time and I think it has made me a better writer, this trying to see both sides. I’m not in school any longer though and these days, I’m bound less by trying to see the good and more to pointing out the multiple errors of books like Anything. If you’re a Jennie Allen fan, you won’t like what I have to say but I can’t stay silent.

Anything is a poorly written book. It’s an irreverent book. It’s a book that will never help any woman discover the totality of God’s plan of redemption, His sovereignty, His wrath which rests on the unregenerate, nor His holy fury at those who presume to speak for Him. This is not a book that will help you to dive deep into the character of God and to know Him better but instead, Jennie’s book is a tedious, self absorbed, experience driven, hermeneutically unsound, over-stepper of scriptural boundaries, mish-mash of emotionalism and repetitive “wrecked-ness”. Here are some of the specific faults that I see.

Even in these days of relativity, where the only rule that seems to apply is that there are to be no rules at all, there are still a few that are necessary. One of the rules of basic English grammar is, if you’re going to use an adjective (remember that word from English class?) you’d better do your homework and find out exactly what that word means, in the context in which you plan to use it.

The word reckless is used multiple times in this book. Jennie describes childlike faith as living “simply, recklessly.” On pg. 97, she writes that she and her husband, “now lay in the hands of a reckless, invisible God.” Page 143 tells of her realization that people are going to think they are foolish for adopting, saying, “that goes with almost any act of recklessness, even reckless love.” Maybe she thought the word sounded powerful and kind of daring when she penned it but the definition of reckless is “without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action.”

Describe human beings as reckless as much as you like, because we all certainly can be, but when a writer uses the word reckless to describe almighty God, that person has crossed over into blasphemy and I would shudder to think that I had written such a thing about the God I will eventually have to give an account to. Some of the other words she uses to describe God are, “unsafe”, “wildly unpredictable”, “radical”, “ridiculously radical” and she also writes that “God is still not very practical.” Exactly where are the chapters and verses for these descriptions of God, Jennie?

In many places, Jennie adds words to Scripture that are not there. Space hinders me from listing them all, so one example will have to do. On page 184, she speaks for Jesus and writes, “as if he were letting us in on the secret, Jesus whispered back to his father, this will all be worth it. Wait till they are with us and see our glory. Just wait till all of this work and suffering and pouring out is over and we are in heaven together forever. Just wait.”

This conversation is, of course, recorded nowhere in Scripture but the words “do not exceed what is written”, definitely are. Jennie would do well to read and meditate deeply on that verse in 1 Corinthians 4. When we imagine that God is speaking to us apart from Scripture, we can easily be led to enter very dangerous territory.

An example of her flawed interpretations of Scripture is on page 37. Jennie quotes Hosea 2:14-17 but then she blatantly misinterprets God’s promise to restore Israel to Himself, as a “dramatic metaphor” about those of us who chase other loves. I say, leave Biblical interpreting to those who know about these things, Jennie. If you think that you’ve been given a new interpretation of these verses that no other person has ever had before, you’re just plain wrong. God was promising restoration to Israel in these verses and nothing else.

She also does emotional and hermeneutical callisthenics with God’s call to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (pgs. 69-70). Jennie’s theory is that God was punishing Abraham for his overwhelming love for his son that, according to her, had usurped God as Abraham’s first love. If she had thoughtfully studied these Bible passages or, if she truly understood God’s plan to ultimately save His elect, she would know that the sacrifice of Isaac and the ram God substituted for the boy, was a shadow of God’s own sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ on the cross. There is no excuse for such lazy interpretation of the sacred Scriptures. In these current times, the proliferation of false and misleading doctrine abounds. Having the correct interpretation of Scripture is of paramount importance because our eternal futures depend on understanding correctly, what God is saying to us.

On page 102, Jennie asks “so how do we actually let God change us?” Finally, I thought, a good solid question after having read page after page of drivel. Can an explanation of justification and sanctification be far behind? Sadly, they weren’t even hinted at and she goes on to tell a rather horrific (as a mother I cringed) story of telling her two oldest children to climb up a cliff and jump off! For Jennie, jumping is the key. Either “jump or crawl down” and “the more we jump and see our God come alive around us, the more we jump without fear – and the bigger the cliffs get”, she says. As the Peanuts character Charlie Brown was known to exclaim, good grief!

In the final analysis, the biggest problem I had with this book (and I slogged through it twice) was my knowing that, from the time of her “vision” in the night that Jennie feels was definitely from God, the wheels of the IF: Gatherings began to turn. For those readers who still might be unfamiliar with IF, they are para-church organization, begun by Jennie, that has no scriptural basis or authority. The gatherings happen outside of the local churches and their oversight, supposedly to accomplish something, ie. discipling women, that only churches are charged to do, in Scripture. In this case, the ends do not justify the means.

Because all the women involved in IF cannot possibly be born again, spirit filled, doctrinally sound, mature women with the spiritual gift of teaching, the possibilities for unscriptural philosophies and practices entering in to local churches, families and society at large, are enormous. I see this movement as no less than a calculated move of Satan against women, a frontal attack on the sufficiency of Scripture and a throwing off of the direct commands of God, in His Word, for both married and single women. Jennie Allen might believe that her “call” to begin IF was of God, but I do not.

So, at the end of the day, would I recommend this book to anyone? Absolutely not! What I do recommend instead is simply this – read your Bible, always praying that God will illuminate your mind with His truth. Get involved with a biblically solid church and pray for God to open doors for you to serve there. There is no substitute for a godly, biblically saturated, discerning Christian woman and one only gets that way by hard work and study. The Scriptures do not open themselves to the slothful. When a woman is mature in Christ and can properly discern truth from error then and only then it will come to pass that the writings of the Jennie Allens of this world will be seen for what they truly are, rubbish.

With a grateful nod to my 6th grade English teacher, I suppose I could say one good thing about this book and that is, that it wasn’t any longer.

Carol and her husband Mike live in a small town, on the shores of Lake Erie, in Ontario, Canada. She was 49 years old when Christ called her to be His disciple. A love for the pure truth of God’s Word fuels her passion to expose false teaching and especially that kind which has women as its primary target.


Throwback Thursday ~ Echo Zoe Radio Guest Appearance: The New Apostolic Reformation


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Originally published March 14, 2017


Last week, I once again had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with my friend Andy Olson as his guest on the Echo Zoe Radio podcast.

Click here to listen in

as we talk about the New Apostolic Reformation– their beliefs, and how NAR false doctrine can creep into your church. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and follow Echo Zoe on Facebook and Twitter!

Got a podcast of your own or have a podcasting friend who needs a guest? Click the “Speaking Engagements” tab at the top of this page, drop me an e-mail, and let’s chat!

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 14- Lot’s Wife and Daughters


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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


Read Genesis 18:16-19:38


Questions to Consider

1. Genesis 18:16 begins with the phrase, “Then the men set out from there“. When you begin to study a passage of Scripture that starts with a transitional phrase like this, it’s important to find out about the back story you’re dealing with. Briefly review lesson 13 (link above) or Genesis 18:1-15. “Then” means what you’re about to read is the next thing that happened in a succession of events. What event happened first? Who are these “men” verse 16 speaks of, and where is the “there” they set out from? What have we previously learned about Sodom?

2. Examine 18:17-19. Why did God decide to reveal to Abraham what He was about to do to Sodom and Gomorrah? Look closely at Abraham’s negotiation with the Lord in  18:22-33. What might have been a secondary reason God revealed His plans for Sodom to Abraham? What was God trying to reveal about Himself to Abraham or teach Abraham through this interaction?

3. Compare Abraham’s persistence in 18:22-33 to the parable of the persistent widow. What do both of these passages teach us about persisting in prayer? About God’s attitude toward His children who “pester” Him? Does what we’re persisting in prayer about, or why we’re persisting about it matter (ex: kingdom-mindedly praying for someone’s salvation vs. greedily praying for an exorbitant car)?

4. Read this article¹ about the customs of ancient Middle Eastern hospitality between travelers and hosts. It would have been shameful for Lot to have allowed the men to stay in the square for the night and not to have hosted them lavishly. How does this knowledge of Lot’s culture help you better understand the things he said and the ways he acted in 19:1-10?

5. Even understanding the intense nature of his culture’s hospitality, was Lot’s offer of his daughters in 19:6-8 right? Compare Lot’s behavior in this passage with what you know the Bible says about parenting. Was Lot putting being a godly father first or man’s opinion of him (regarding his hospitality) first? What does the Bible say about holding to cultural rules or laws above holding to God’s law? How do you think Lot’s behavior impacted his daughters’ trust in him, their belief that he would protect them, and their respect for him?

6. Put yourself in Lot’s wife’s shoes and examine his behavior in 19:1-10 in light of these Scriptures. Do Lot’s actions lead you to trust his judgment? To feel secure and protected? To respect him?

7. Examine 19:12-14, and consider a) the evil the men of the city have already committed, and b) the fact that God is about to destroy the city for its wickedness. What kind of men had Lot chosen as husbands for his daughters? What perspective on these men might Lot’s daughters have had?

8. Lot was told to take his wife and daughters to safety (15), “but he lingered,” (16) most likely for the same reason his wife looked back at Sodom (26). Notice verse 26 says she was behind Lot. She was following him literally in that moment, but she was also following him as the leader of her family. He lingered. She looked back. Why? What impact had living in Sodom had on their spiritual lives?

9. How is God showing mercy to Lot’s family and saving them, Himself, from His wrath against sin, a picture of the gospel? What do we learn about God’s judgment and wrath toward sin from this story?

10. Read 19:30-38. Has God said anything thus far in Genesis that would have led Lot’s daughters to believe that dying childless would have been the end of the world? Recall how important it was to a woman’s standing in her culture at that time to bear children. In what ways did Lot’s daughters follow in his footsteps by bowing to culture above bowing to God? How did the immorality of the culture they were raised in influence their actions?

11. What do you know from Scripture about the Moabites and the Ammonites? Consider the far-reaching impact of the sin of Lot’s daughters.

¹This link is an endorsement of this particular article only. I do not endorse this site in any way in which it deviates from my beliefs as outlined in the Statement of Faith and Welcome tabs at the top of this page.


In today’s study we saw examples of both Lot and his daughters conforming to culture rather than conforming to godliness. The Bible tells us we are not to be conformed to this world, and that friendship with the world is enmity toward God. Have you ever put cultural expectations, political correctness, popularity, or being on the cutting edge ahead of being obedient to Christ? Have you repented of that sin? Write a paragraph or two about how you could have handled the situation in a godly way, staying true to Christ and His commands.

Suggested Memory Verse

Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?
Genesis 18:25

Testimony Tuesday: Addie’s Story


, , , , , , , , ,

Addie’s Story

My name is Addie and I was born in 1956 into a 100% Catholic community to Cajun French speaking parents in a very small secluded town located on the banks of the Bayou Teche. Not unlike most children, in my younger years, my whole world encompassed what I was familiar with, the Cajun French culture and Catholicism.

In retrospect, my first memories are of a highly volatile dysfunctional family unit of physical and verbal abuse with vague intermittent blurbs of minimal peace and happiness. I do not reveal this personal part of my life to disparage my parents, who simply did the best they could with what they knew, but rather to establish the reason for the inquisitive search I had for the God, which I always acknowledged existed even from my earliest recollections.

As the 3rd daughter of 4 children, I was the naturally more religious of all the siblings and enthusiastically participated in all the religious rituals of the denomination of my German and French ancestors. The local Catholic Church and cemetery, located directly across the road from our residence, became a constant refuge from the upheavals that were a weekly occurrence within our home. Although, it was by my early teens that I began questioning “the what’s and the whys” of the religion of my birth while slowly becoming aware that though I faithfully practiced all the required rituals, I had yet to come to know the true personal God I knew was my Creator, and who had sent His Only Son to die for me, a sinner!

For the next 4 to 5 years my spiritual questions multiplied while very few answers were forthcoming, and, eventually, much to my mother’s disapproval, resulted in my decision to discontinue participating in all the rituals of Catholicism. I did continue to attend Mass periodically to appease my mother but had lost my desire to know God and Jesus Christ, His Son through what I had come to realize was a vicious cycle of man made rituals and religion with no finality. Is this who God is and can no true truth be found? Believing the answers to be unknowable, I then gave up on my search for the One True God of my childhood and turned to the world for answers.

By the time I was 24, I was divorced and steeped in many of the superficial self destructive beliefs the world had to offer. I had, sadly, become a very selfish, enraged, self destructive, pro-abortion women’s-libber with many talents but no sense and even less direction. Going through life riding on monstrous waves of emotional highs and lows living on the very edge of self destruction, my life was literally out of control and all of my own making. It was at this deepest, darkest period in my life, I met my “love at first hearing”, singer/songwriter husband, Prentiss of, at present, 32 years, and providentially, I met his mother, a born again Christian, who as the Lord would have it, was a former Catholic! During the following 4 years of living through a severe accident nearly taking Prentiss’s life and the continuing highs and lows of my personal emotional turmoil, Prentiss’s mom took me into her home, and loved me when I was the most unlovable, as she patiently answered all my questions by opening…THE BIBLE!

In the Lord’s time, my coming in brokenness, with “the” true biblical understanding of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, I was born again in 1985, at the age of 28. I followed immediately in believer’s baptism and married, Prentiss, the perfect man “for me!” I can not express in words the joy that filled my heart, as it remains so to this very day.

I have since followed my husband to Nashville, and back home again, all the while consciously placing myself under biblical teachers and preachers. As my hunger grew to know more of the contextual understanding of God’s Word, I also set out to learn more about the Catholicism of my Cajun culture including finding the answers to my many long held questions. As I dove head long into research, availing myself to several foundational seminary courses and reading related books on Catholicism, Catholic Mystics, as well as, other diverse forms of religion, I also found myself investigating other various beliefs and movements, especially those with questionable and controversial teachings “claiming” to be Christian.

It was at the onset of the 1990s when I developed concerns about some pseudo-Christian beliefs and teachings, of which I had uncovered in my years of research, coming into once solid biblical churches, one of them being my very own little Baptist church. It was then I became aware of a purpose driven, emergent, postmodern, mystical infiltration which simply caused me to investigate that much deeper and wider covering more than 25 years of study.

Once again, in the Lord’s time and in His providence, this unquenchable drive has given birth to Discerning the Drift Teaching Ministry. God has, also, graciously brought fellow believers of like mind into my life, who are of great emotional and spiritual support. In this continuing life of sanctification, I finally have all my “necessary” questions answered and am looking forward to what the Lord has in store for my pilgrimage here and in eternity future.

All because of the Jesus Christ of Scripture, Addie

Ladies, God is still at work in the hearts and lives of His people, including yours! Would you like to share a testimony of how God saved you, how He has blessed you, convicted you, taught you something from His word, brought you out from under false doctrine, placed you in a good church or done something otherwise awesome in your life? Private/direct message me on social media, e-mail me (, or comment below. Try to be brief (3-4 paragraphs or less) if possible. I’ll select a few to share on the blog another time. Let’s encourage one another with God’s work in our lives!

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Orange Curriculum, Jesus went to hell?, 1 Tim. 2:12 only for Ephesus?…)


, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 potpourrri 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 the Apostles Creed, there is a section that states Christ descended into hell and was resurrected. Isn’t that what Joyce Meyer teaches? What about the part about the “holy catholic church: the communion of the saints”? Is that talking about Catholicism and the mass?

These are very common questions (I threw in the second part about Catholicism and the mass, since that’s also commonly asked.), and it’s good to ask, because if you’re confused, other people probably are, too.

The Apostles’ Creed says:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.

It’s a beautiful, basic reiteration of the gospel which many churches and ministries use as part of their official statement of faith. Some churches even recite the Apostles’ Creed during their worship services.

The earliest written record of the creed is from AD 390, in Greek, so you can imagine that some of the terminology used had different connotations back then than those terms have in 21st century America.

Providentially, my friend, Pastor Gabe Hughes, was also recently asked this same question and addressed it both on his podcast and in a WWUTT video, so I’m going to let him do the “heavy lifting” of Scripture and history in the resources below and just give you the short and sweet version:

📜 You’re quite right in saying that Joyce Meyer teaches that Jesus went to hell between His death on the cross and His resurrection. The Bible doesn’t say this anywhere, and this is a heretical teaching. Just one of the multiple reasons no Christian should follow Joyce Meyer.

📜 The word “hell” in the Apostles’ creed is based on a mistranslation or confusing translation. The literal meaning of the phrase is that he descended into the grave or was buried.

📜 You might have noticed that the word “catholic” in the creed starts with a lowercase “c” rather than a capital “C”. The noun “catholic” with a lowercase “c” simply means the universal church – all genuinely regenerated Believers across the globe, past, present, and future. Roman Catholicism is (or at least by rules of grammar is supposed to be) denoted by a capital “C”.

📜 “Communion” in the creed does not refer to the Roman Catholic mass or even to the Protestant Lord’s Supper. A clearer word to us today would be “fellowship” or “unity”. The sense is that Believers commune with on another. 

Some churches have modernized and clarified the creed by replacing these phrases with “He descended into the grave” or “He descended to the dead” and “the holy Christian church.”

Additional Resources:

WWUTT Podcast #645– Gabe expands on the above video at the 30:15 mark

The Apostles’ Creed: Its History and Origins at Faithlife Blog

I was wondering if you could post your articles in a larger font. I have an old computer that messes up when I try to make the font bigger. My old eyes are a real struggle.

At first, I thought I was the only one having this problem, but I’ve gotten this question a couple of times, so I know it’s not just my own aging eyes :0)

I’m going to play around with the font a little bit and see if I can find one that’s bigger. Just a few things to understand as I’m working on it: WordPress gives me a limited number of fonts to choose from, and the sizes of those fonts are pre-set. In other words, I can’t set it to 12 point or 18 point, I can only choose from tiny, small, normal, large, and huge. (Right now it’s set on “normal” if you can believe that. “Tiny” is virtually invisible.)

Additionally, when I change the font size, it doesn’t just change the size of the font in the body of my articles, it also changes the size of things like the tags (to the immediate upper left of every article), the sidebar (far left of the page), and the tab titles (top of the page), which, as you can see, are already much larger than the font in the article body. When the font of those texts gets larger, it throws the layout of the whole page out of whack. You might not notice it on a desktop computer with a large monitor, but it can be problematic for people who are viewing the blog on a phone or tablet.

Like I said, I’ll play around with it and see what I can do, but if I’m not able to enlarge the font, there are two workarounds that may help:

1. The reader said she’s unable to change her screen magnification, but it works for me and might work for others. Here’s what it looks like on my computer. Maybe yours is similar:

2. If worse comes to worst, you can highlight and copy the body of the article, paste it into your word processing program, and enlarge the font accordingly.

I have been leading a women’s small group at our church for a couple of years now. My husband and I have decided to leave the church because, even after confronting leadership about the direction the church is being led doctrinally, they continue to espouse unsound doctrine. What do you think is a wise way to tell the ladies I will no longer be teaching? Do I tell them we are leaving? If so, do I tell them why? What do you think you would do?

It’s hard to say exactly what I would do because every situation and every church is different. But I can tell you that the first thing I would do is talk it through with my husband and ask his advice. There have been many times when he has had very good ideas about how to address (or not address) certain issues, and he will sometimes bring out an aspect of the situation that I hadn’t thought of before. I would encourage you to do that first, and also to make sure you’re submitting to your husband in whatever ways might be applicable in this situation.

My inclination is to advise you to take the “the less said, the better” route with regard to the whole class. (There may be other venues, such as you and your husband meeting with the elder board, in which you’ll need to clearly spell out all the problems, but let’s just focus on the class right now.)

I would probably wait until the end of the very last class and say something generic, like, “I’ve really enjoyed leading this class, but I wanted to let you know I won’t be teaching any more. I encourage you to continue studying God’s Word and growing in Christ. Class dismissed.” Then, go home fairly quickly.

The next level is going to be women coming up to you individually and asking why you won’t be teaching any more. Unless she’s a very close friend, I’d still keep it pretty generic: “We love our brothers and sisters at this church, but we’re finding we disagree with some of the doctrine that’s being taught here, and we’ll be going to a new church.”

For very close friends, you might wish to disclose more about the doctrinal problems, but do so wisely, making sure your focus is on doctrine, not on personal conflicts with the pastor or others. You don’t want people jumping to the wrong conclusion about why you’re leaving.

I really would not talk to people about leaving other than discreetly informing those who need to know. If you give details or talk about it a lot there could be an ugly blow up, and most people will make wrong assumptions about why you’re leaving.

Do you have any information on the Orange Curriculum for children’s Sunday School?

The main thing I know about the Orange Curriculum (or Orange Strategy) is that it is put out by Andy Stanley’s “church”. That’s enough for me to warn people to stay far, far away from it. Andy Stanley is a Scripture-twisting false teacher. You don’t want your children being taught by him or his disciples.

My friend Amy Spreeman over at Berean Research was asked the same question by a reader. I refer you to her article, Parents: If your church is “Turning Orange…” for more details.

How would you respond to someone’s who says that [1 Timothy 2:12] was meant only for that time and culture?

It’s one of the most common arguments made by people who are looking for an acceptable way to rebel against God’s clear command, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” I have never had a woman who was humbly seeking to deny herself and obey Scripture make this argument, only those who stubbornly want to have their own way despite what the Bible says, yet simultaneously want to cloak themselves in the appearance of obeying Scripture.

God gave us His exact reasons for this command in verses 13 and 14 (almost as if He somehow knew this argument was coming!), and those reasons weren’t restricted to the women in the first century Ephesian church. The first reason was the Creative order – Adam was formed first, then Eve. The second reason is that Eve was deceived. Both of those reasons are universal (applying to all women and churches everywhere regardless of era or culture). It makes no sense that these two reasons related to Eve would apply only to first century Ephesus any more than it would make sense for them to apply only to tenth century Damascus or seventeenth century Paris.

Next, examine the context of 1 Timothy 2. There are all sorts of instructions to the church in that chapter. Was the instruction to pray for governmental leaders (1-2) limited to the first century Ephesian church? Were only the men of the first century Ephesian church to pray without quarreling (8)? Was modesty (9-10) only required of women in the first century Ephesian church? Then why pick out this one instruction in verse 12 and claim it was limited to that time and culture?

Finally, look at the overall general pattern of male headship and leadership in Scripture. First human created? A man. The Patriarchs? As the word implies – all men. Priests, Levites, Scribes? Men. Heads of the twelve tribes of Israel? Men. Major and minor prophets? Men. All kings of Israel and Judah? Men. Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic Covenants? All established between God and men. Authors of Scripture? Men. The forerunner of Christ? John the Baptist – a man. Messiah? A man. All of the apostles? Men. All of the pastors, elders, and deacons of churches in the New Testament? Men. Founder and head of the church? Christ – a man. Leader and head of the family? Men. Now which fits better with this pattern, women preaching to, teaching, and exercising authority over men in the church, or women not preaching to, teaching, and exercising authority over men in the church?

But the truth is, you can have all the biblical evidence in the world, and it’s not going to convince someone who’s in rebellion against Scripture because self is reigning on the throne of her heart. She’s not concerned with actually obeying God’s Word, she just wants to be able to claim that Scripture supports what she wants to do, either to look good to others or to attempt to drown out the Holy Spirit’s conviction of her sin.

Additional Resources:

Jill in the Pulpit 

Ten Things You Should Know About 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and the Relationship Between Men and Women in the Local Church at The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) This is a refutation of the most common egalitarian arguments against the plain meaning of 1 Timothy 2:11-15.

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.