A while back, my husband and I were driving down the road on the way to the store discussing various aspects of ministry. At some point the conversation turned to a pastor with whom we were both vaguely familiar. Neither of us knew much about him, so we decided to look him up on Facebook to see if we could get a better handle on where he was coming from, theologically. Aside from a couple of mildly iffy posts that it wasn’t a stretch to extend the benefit of the doubt about, it didn’t seem as though there were any major doctrinal red flags. He just seemed like your average, Bible believing pastor who needed to brush up a little on his discernment. (Hey, who doesn’t, right?)
I was actually more interested in the pastor’s wife and what kind of ministries she was involved in that I might also like, so I clicked over to her page. I was pretty disappointed by what I saw. She had posted materials from several major false teachers- the female equivalents of people from Joel Osteen all the way down to Benny Hinn.
I remarked to my husband that I thought there might be some concerns about this pastor’s theology if he was OK with his wife following and sharing materials from high profile false teachers. And my husband gently reminded me that wasn’t necessarily the case:
“He probably doesn’t even know those women are false teachers.”
My husband went on to say that he wouldn’t have known that people like Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer are false teachers if I hadn’t done the research and filled him in. Not because he doesn’t care whether or not I read sound doctrine, but because pastors and Christian men in general don’t often pick up and read books written for Christian women to examine the theology we’re feeding on.
Until the last few decades, they haven’t always needed to. If your wife went shopping and came home with a book from LifeWay, it never crossed your mind to question whether or not it was biblical. It was LifeWay for heaven’s sake. LifeWay is run by pastors and theologians with years of experience and doctoral degrees from seminary. Of course it was biblical.
Well not any more, it isn’t. The majority (and that’s not an exaggeration) of the “Bible” studies and other materials marketed to Christian women by Christian retailers are authored by false teachers.
Pastors, on behalf of Christian women everywhere, I plead with you: check out the theology of the authors and bloggers (including me) your wife is reading and the Christian personalities she follows and shares on social media. Please thoroughly vet the materials your Sunday School/small group/Bible study classes and women’s ministry are using. Find out about the speakers headlining the women’s conference or simulcast your ladies are attending. Make sure guest speakers appearing at your church’s women’s event teach sound doctrine.
It’s not my place to instruct you (and I’m sure you already know, anyway) in what the Scriptures say about being the spiritual leader of your family, responsible for its theological health or your obligations as a pastor to guard your church against false doctrine. I’ll leave that to godly men, fellow pastors, theologians, etc. What I’d like to do is to offer you some practical insights (in no particular order) from the pink side of the pew that you might find to be helpful tools as you think about and pray through how to handle vetting the teachers your wife or church ladies follow:
1. Your wife’s decision to follow false teachers could cost you a job. There are women out there like me who are familiar with the “twisted sisters” your wife is sharing on social media. If I could wrongly make assumptions about the theology of the aforementioned pastor based solely on his wife’s Facebook activity (because wives can be a reflection of their husbands’ spiritual leadership), others could do the same – maybe even those on a pulpit search committee – and that could impact your search for a pastoral position.
2. You don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot. A pastor’s wife can have a huge influence on her church. She is often the one teaching the women’s Bible study or heading up the women’s ministry, and even if she doesn’t, her input on curricula, guest speakers for women’s events, etc., is usually seen by the women of your church as carrying the weight of your approval or preferences. If you’re up in the pulpit preaching sound doctrine every week while your wife or women’s leader is importing false doctrine into the women’s ministry, it’s like bailing water out of a boat with a hole in the hull.
3. Your wife or (women’s ministry leader) may be chasing off spiritually healthy church members. (If you’ve stuck with me thus far, what follows is unlikely to describe your wife, but I’m going to go ahead and throw it out there for awareness’ sake.) I have heard the following prototypical scenario from dozens of Christian women (and experienced it myself):
“My pastor’s wife is in charge of our church’s women’s ministry, and is a big Beth Moore fan. We only do Beth Moore studies in our small groups, and last year our church hosted a Beth Moore simulcast. I participated in a couple of the studies, but they just seemed “off” biblically, so I started doing some research.
I discovered Beth Moore was teaching false doctrine, partnering with false teachers, and doing other unbiblical things. I went to the pastor’s wife and very kindly, humbly, and patiently showed her the scriptural evidence of Beth Moore’s false teaching. I couldn’t believe it when she flew into a rage, screamed at me, and accused me of trying to create disunity in the church! My husband and I tried to talk to the pastor about it, but he seemed completely unaware of what goes on in the women’s ministry or any problems with Beth Moore, and backed up his wife. We are now looking for a new church.”
This is not an exaggeration or isolated case. I don’t know what it is about Beth Moore’s disciples, but they (especially the ones who are pastors’ wives) seem to be some of the most vicious defenders of false teachers out there. And if your wife or women’s ministry leader acts like this it could cost you godly, spiritually mature church members.
4. Your children’s spiritual lives are at stake, both at home and at church. As with any dad who works long hours, your wife probably has more of an influence in the moment to moment aspects of your children’s lives than you do, even when it comes to training them in godliness. If her spiritual diet consists of false teaching, that’s what is being imparted to your children on a daily basis.
The same goes for the children at your church. The majority of children’s Sunday School teachers and children’s ministry workers are women. The false doctrine these women consume today will be taught to the children of your church on Sunday.
5. When women are spiritually healthy, the whole family benefits. Statistically, women make up about 60% of church attenders, and, of course, 50% of a marriage. That is an enormous influence on your own family and your church family. You want those women spiritually healthy. It’s not only biblical and good for them personally, but everyone they influence and interact with benefits.
When women are taught sound doctrine, they grow to Christlike maturity. They exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. They want to share the gospel. They walk in humility, patience, love, repentance, forgiveness, and biblical submission. They encourage their husbands toward godliness. And you know what else they do?
They teach other women to do the same. They train up children who are godly. They’re self-replicating.
Spiritually healthy, mature, godly women make your life easier, more peaceful, and more of a joy, both at home and at church, because they’re working with you, not against you.
But your wife and the women of your church are not going to get the pure milk of the Word they need to grow in Christlikeness from the pantheon of divangelistas lining the shelves of your local Christian bookstore. And most of those precious ladies you shepherd are completely unaware of that fact. So they need your help, Pastor. Your bride, and the Bride, desperately need you to mind what they’re reading.
13 thoughts on “Do You MIND? : Five Reasons for Pastors to Mind What Their Brides Are Reading”
“I couldn’t believe it when she flew into a rage, screamed at me, and accused me of trying to create disunity in the church!” LOL, I’ve been there, I’m one of the women in your example.
Thanks so much for a great article, much needed. I re-posted on my FB page.
Thanks, Elizabeth! :0)
I’ve been there too! Sadly, in my case the pastor claimed to have watched all of the Beth Moore videos and approved of them. But his wife could only be described as venomous in her defense of Moore. I wish I knew how to defuse that kind of anger. But I digress. Your prediction is right on, we now sit under another pastor’s teaching. One who really vets material and trusts the other elders to do the same. And blessing upon blessing, I am teaching women and loving it! And I don’t have to hide what I know about these types of teachers, praise God!
Glad to hear your story had a happy ending, Lee! :0)
Michelle, Thank you for this post! My testimony is actually on another bloggers page( Growing for Life) my story: “Changed Lives”. Your very busy and I have no expectation understanding that you will probably not have time to read it. I was that gal! I read bad theology for years, led ten women astray for approx. 10 years. I was not grounded in Gods word, like many in the church today. It grieves my heart the pain I’ve caused from NOT accurately handling the word of God. Like so many I just didn’t know any better. Much what I believed was deemed o.k. even by leadership. After a Mike Bickle weekend at IHOP I happened to carelessly leave my book on the kitchen table. This was a book written by Wendy Alec, from God T.V. (premises of this book as I cannot remember the title) was about her many visitations from God while they sat over tea for I believe a course of ten days. My husband found the book and read the back. Praise God this was the day which changed everything for us. He realized he had been an absent husband and I was far off down stream drinking the poisoned water from these wells of false gospels and heretical teachers. Long story short my husband helped me see the truth. It has been a long, painful ten years but now I check everything and everyones teaching against Gods word. Only by Gods grace we now teach against such things(not very popular I must admit) But We cannot go backwards once the truth has been made known! Thank you for your boldness and do not stop! God bless you.
What an incredible testimony! Thanks for taking the time to share. Praise God that He opened your eyes!
I do not read Christian books written by women and this blog entry supports my decision. Women should not be teaching doctrine. Many women know they should not preach so they do it through “women’s ministry” and books targeted to women. Many husbands pay little attention to things targeted to women simply because they are not women. If the wife is biblically sound and they attend a sound church hubby may not feel a need to check out the book. This may be especially true if it is recommended by another person deemed sound. Like in the garden in Genesis, false teaching is creepying in via women. Women through women’s ministry. There is no biblical precedent for women’s ministry programs in scripture. Nor children’s, youth, or men’s. A wife or daughter that is under the authority if a godly husband or father should let them review theological books before they read them. The church of Christ has been hoodwinked by Feminism and it comes very subtley in sound churches. Titus tells older women to teach what is good to younger women. To be chaste, love their husbands, and children. This was in the context of the local church. Older women who knew the younger women in their congregation. This is different than what we see today. Women writing theological books and going on the conference circuit speaking behind pulpits to a bunch of women on a day and time other than worship service so that they are not considered preaching. I wonder if some of these ladies are being duped into thinking they need something special or tailored to them specifically so they spend money and time on this stuff. It is as though preaching of the Word on Sunday and serving in their church isn’t enough. My church does have an annual women’s conferece (no women’s ministry), but only male pastors are invited to speak. I commend them for that and told Pastor that I agree with not having a woman speak. There are officers from the church present and the Pastor sits in on the messages. Many men onsite serving. Though I do not think this is the intent, the women by default are not isolated. I still think women’s conferences should go away as well as women’s ministries. In fact, I do not plan to attend our conference this year.
Following God’s word is our only safety. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” We also have his own example to follow. We are also promised the Holy Spirit’s help with understanding the doctrine.
I’m not a regular follower of any famous Pastor or lady minister but I’d like a little clarity. I’ve bought a book by Wendy Alec and read it and decided to stop because the doctrine there seemed twisted to me. I researched on her, and I knew instantly never to buy any material by her. But I have never found anything to raise my eyebrows with Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer (except that she’s a woman preacher) and other. Please share where I can do my homework about these false teachers or give me your reasons why you have seemed them false
It’s so encouraging to hear that you’re researching folks like this. You are correct that Wendy Alec – head of “God TV” – is a proponent of unbiblical (New Aspotolic Reformation) doctrine. She, her materials, and her network should be avoided by Christians.
The fact that Joyce Meyer is a female “pastor” is sufficient reason not to follow her because she is in ongoing, unrepentant sin by doing this, but she is a false teacher as well (you’ll find that nearly all female “preachers” are). You can find information on her and Joel Osteen under the “Popular False Teachers” tab at the top of this page.
Can you please give some clarifying evidence for why you believe Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer to be ‘false teachers’ ?
Certainly. Click on the “Popular False Teachers” tab at the top of this page. It’s not that I believe they’re false teachers; they’re false teachers because they teach and do things that are clearly unbiblical. The evidentiary articles will explain more.