Your recent article on prayer really helped me. I was always taught that prayer was a two-way conversation. For years, I would talk to God and wait for Him to talk back to me, but He never did. I thought it was because there was unknown sin in my life, or that I didn’t have enough faith, or that God just wasn’t interested in me. It’s so freeing to know the truth.
Comments like this from readers are always bittersweet for me. It makes me practically giddy to hear from Christian women who have been set free from false doctrines they’ve been taught, but it also grieves me deeply to reflect on the years they spent thinking they were somehow deficient as Christians or doubting God’s love for them simply because they were taught, and believed, unbiblical notions and ideas.
Let’s see if we can dispel a few of those today:
1. Prayer is this big, complicated, mystical thing.
Nope. Prayer is simply talking to God about whatever is on your heart. What’s made prayer complicated is the unbiblical teachings that have grown up around it such as praying in “tongues,” listening prayer, contemplative prayer, sozo prayer, soaking prayer, etc.
8 Things You Need to Know about Prayer
2. “Women’s Ministry” equals fluff and silliness.
There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun from time to time. Hey, we all need to blow off steam, right? But if cookie exchanges and teas and painting parties and dress up parties and sleepovers and makeup parties and fashion shows and movie nights are all your women’s ministry does, it’s unhealthy. And it’s not really a ministry, either. If something is a “ministry” it should exist to point people to Christ and disciple them once they get to Him. Your women’s ministry should include ministry of the Word, discipleship, Titus 2-type mentoring, evangelism, comfort ministry (to the ill, shut-ins, new moms, new members, etc.), serving the church, encouragement, supporting your pastor and elders, and so on.
Mary and Martha and Jesus and Women’s Ministry
How to Survive a Wimpy Women’s Ministry
3. Women’s Bible study- great balls of fire, don’t get me started.
♦ A Bible verse (or half a Bible verse) plus an inspiring story from the author’s or someone else’s life is not Bible study. Bible study is picking up your Bible and studying it.
♦ If you’re hosting a women’s Bible study, you do not have to use books and DVDs written by someone else. In fact, I would recommend against doing so. Get someone who is able to teach – yes, it could even be a man – and study a book of the Bible from beginning to end.
You’re Not as Dumb as You Think You Are: Five Reasons to Put Down that Devotional and Pick Up the Actual Bible
McBible Study and the Famine of God’s Word
Can you recommend a good Bible study for women/teens/kids?
♦ One reason I recommend against using “canned” women’s Bible studies is that the vast majority of them (95% in my estimation- not an exaggeration) teach false doctrine. When you walk into LifeWay the first thing you’ll see is the best sellers shelf, and the majority of those books are written by false teachers such as Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine, Lysa TerKeurst, Sarah Young, and others.
♦ If you do decide to occasionally do a book study, you do not have to use one written by a woman. In fact, if you want a book that’s doctrinally sound, you have a much better chance of finding one written by a man than by a woman, sad to say.
A Few Good Men: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers
A Few MORE Good Men: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers
A Few Good Men, Again!: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers
4. Faithful church attendance isn’t that important.
If you think you don’t need church or that you can skip it whenever something more fun comes along, your thinking isn’t biblical. God thinks it’s important enough for His people to gather regularly for worship that He emphasizes it throughout the entirety of Scripture- Old and New Testament. Get your heiney in the pew every week, honey, and find a place to serve.
7 Reasons Church is Not Optional and Non-Negotiable for Christians
5. I am woman, hear me roar.
♦ Beth Moore and many other female teachers who rebel against Scripture by preaching to and teaching men in the church say that they are doing so “under their husband’s and/or pastor’s authority”. Neither your husband nor your pastor has the OK from God to allow you, or any other woman, to teach men in the church. God says women aren’t to teach or hold authority over men in the church, and when God says no, no one has the authority to say yes. Furthermore, there isn’t a single passage of Scripture that allows any man to give any woman this type of “under my authority” dispensation to teach men. To say that it’s permissible for a woman to teach men “under her husband’s/pastor’s authority” is just as biblically absurd as saying it’s OK for a woman to lie, commit adultery, gossip, or steal “under her husband’s/pastor’s authority.” Sapphira sinned under her husband’s authority and look what happened to her.
Fencing Off the Forbidden Fruit Tree
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 CBMW
♦ Egalitarians are often so vehement in their insistence that women should teach men and hold authority over men in the church, that they are essentially saying that the only way a woman’s service or leadership in the church can have any value is if it’s exercised over men. I’ve heard many of them turn up their noses at the idea of teaching women and children and other forms of service (that don’t involve teaching or authority over men), in a haughty “we’re better than that” kind of way.
Have you seen the garbage women and children are being taught in the church under the guise of “Sunday School” or “Bible study”? Women’s and children’s classes at your church are in desperate need of women who are doctrinally sound and able to teach. What about the need to visit church members who are in the hospital or shut-ins? How about record-keeping, working in the sound booth, welcoming visitors, serving on committees, mowing the church’s lawn, participating in outreach activities, fixing a meal, chaperoning youth activities, hosting a visiting pastor or missionary? There’s a ton of important and valuable work for women to do in the church. We don’t have time to worry about teaching and holding authority over men. Let the men worry about that.
Let Me Count the Ways: 75 Ways Women Can Biblically Minister to Others
6. My feelings and opinions reign supreme.
Uh uh. Not if you’re a Christian, they don’t. That’s how lost people operate. If you’re a Christian, you’re not entitled run your life or make decisions by any opinion other than that of your Master. What He says – in His written word – goes. Period. Regardless of how you feel about it or whether or not you agree with it. That means if a “Bible” teacher you really like is teaching things that conflict with Scripture, you dump her. You love Mr. Wonderful and want to marry him, but he’s not saved? Nope. You’re a woman who’s certain God has called her to preach? No way. Your husband has said no about something, but you want to do it anyway? Forget it.
The Bible is our Authority
Bad Fruit, Diseased Trees, and the Authority of God’s Word
7. If something or someone claims to be a Christian, it is.
I suppose at some point in Christian history, there might have been a time when, if someone handed you a “Christian book,” it was a pretty safe bet it was doctrinally sound. Or if someone said she was a Christian, you could be fairly certain she was truly born again.
Not so much these days.
You cannot take at face value that someone who says she’s a Christian is using the Bible’s definition of Christianity and has been genuinely regenerated. You cannot trust that just because something is sold at LifeWay or another Christian retailer that it’s doctrinally sound. You can’t assume that just because someone is a “Christian” celebrity, writes “Bible” studies, speaks at “Christian” conferences, and has a large following, that she’s handling God’s word correctly (or at all) and teaching you biblical truth. There’s just too much false doctrine running rampant in evangelicalism and too many people who believe and teach it.
Don’t be a weak and naïve Christian woman. Jesus Himself said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven…” There are many people who draw near to God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. It is God’s will for you to be a good Berean and to test everything according to Scripture. We will know the truly Christian from the false by their fruits, not their platitudes.
8. Sugar and spice and everything nice- that’s what Christian girls are made of.
That’s not a Bible verse, but rather and unspoken rule among most Christian women. Somewhere we’ve gotten the idea that Christian unity or love means “being nice” to people. We’re always smilingly sweet and never say anything that might hurt someone’s feelings or could rock the boat at church.
Are we to be kind? Yes. Are we to do our best not to hurt others? Of course. Should we be making waves over every little thing that rubs us the wrong way? Absolutely not.
But neither is it loving to see a Mack truck bearing down on an oblivious sister in Christ and refrain from yanking her out of harm’s way because it might dislocate her shoulder. It is not unity to see Satan deceiving a friend through sin or false doctrine and not plead with her to turn to Christ and His word because she might think we’re rude. And that’s the situation we often find ourselves in at church or with Christian friends.
Was Jesus – our perfect example of love – being unloving, unkind, hateful, or divisive when He rebuked the Pharisees, cleared the temple, or said, “Get behind Me, Satan!” to Peter?
Love for the brethren isn’t “being nice.” It’s caring so much about a fellow saint that we want what’s best for her in Christ. Sometimes that requires being firm, confrontational, or demonstrating “tough love.” People’s eternities and spiritual health are at stake. How loving is it to stand aside and let a sister waltz into Hell or struggle for years on end in her walk with the Lord because she’s living in sin or believing false doctrine? “Being nice” isn’t a fruit of the Spirit. It’s time we stop being nice and start being biblical.
I Can’t Sit Down, Shut Up, and Play Nice
Discernment: What’s Love Got to Do with It?
Do you believe any of these unbiblical notions? If so, set them aside, repent, and believe and practice what Scripture says. Any time we believe something that’s in conflict with God’s word, it’s a hindrance to the abundant life and growth in Christ that He wants to bless us with.
False doctrine enslaves. It places a yoke of confusion, anxiety, and “try harder” on the shoulders of those who embrace it. Christ did not set us free from sin so that we might turn right around and become captives to a new, pseudo-Christian type of sin: false teaching. It is for freedom and a healthy spiritual life that Christ has set us free.
32 thoughts on “8 Unbiblical Notions Christian Women Need to Be Set Free From”
Great job! Thank you for your consistent discernment in love and biblical encouragement to women! This is a good list.
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Thanks, Elizabeth! Right back at ya! :0)
Michelle, this is probably the best post you have ever had. I’ve been saying these things to friends for years and friends in church and I now have no friends. They refuse to listen and I am told I am divisive, unloving and judgmental. I also have three family members that have told me that also and cut ties with me. But I can tell you this, Jesus Christ is worth it, the Truth of His Word is worth it. Thank you so much for this article.
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Glad to be of service, Susan. It is definitely hard, but He is definitely worth it all!
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This is sort of related to your post LOL. We believe as you do that men should be in the teaching roles, and that our women don’t teach men.That is how I ended up teaching in our church, back about 9 years ago. I had not been a believer but a year or so at the time.
As we gathered for our adult Sunday School class, we got word our teacher had gotten called out for work and would not be there. No problem, as somebody would always step up and take over. Well..of all things, no man showed up that morning. Several of them worked at the same place, and had all been called out.
So, we sat for a minute and I noticed all of the ladies were staring at me. I stared back. My wife leaned forward and said kind of low..”Baby, you have to teach us.”
Fortunately, the Holy Spirit worked and things went fine. In fact, after that, I was offered the chance to go on the men’s teaching rotation we have.
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That’s awesome! Way to step up! :0)
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This was a fantastic post — I especially applaud point number eight. Amen!! Sharing on facebook! 🙂
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Thanks so much! :0)
Michelle, do you think the smaller numbers of men attending church has anything to do with women taking over and assuming roles God didn’t intend for us to fill?
Men may not be boycotting church, but (subconsciously perhaps) they may think of church as a “woman’s thing” when they see ladies running the whole show. Also men are more into action and risk taking; if there’s nothing to be done at church, they’re less likely to go.
I think it’s a combination of women taking over and men not stepping up and filling out the roles of authority and leadership God gave them. But ultimately, just like in the Garden, the buck stops with men precisely because God gave them that authoritative role, and each will have to answer to God for that. (And women, will, of course, have to answer for any sins they’ve committed with regard to their role.)
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Hi again Michelle(and Rachel too)
First, I hope you don’t mind me chiming in, as I don’t want to disturb this place. I have some thoughts on that comment. I was not a believer until I was 45 years old, and one of the major excuses I liked to throw out was the church was for women, and all of the churchy men I had know seemed to be passive sissies.
One day, for different reasons(a girl) I walked into the church where I was saved and am currently a member. I was struck immediately by something different there. I was FULL of men. Or course there were women, but oddly there were as many if not more men. Real guys. Guys who could pray one minute and plow a field the next. Hard, tough, yet gentle men who loved God.
That changed my life. I could probably keep going, but I will hush.
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We need more churches like that :0)
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You don’t pull any punches, do you? This post serves as a helpful refresher on basic areas where women must use discernment. Thanks for doing such hard work.
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Thanks, DebbieLynne! :0)
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Reblogged this on DiscernIt.
“People’s eternity are at stake……….how loving is it……………?” Scripture reference on this? Are you writing that someone’s eternity could depend on us?
Women’s ministries being fluff at times – so true. And I, too, as another commenter wrote, have been made to feel I was being divisive for trying to be discerning and sharing a concern for inadequate study material with others. They just don’t want to hear it.
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Unfortunately, a lot of us have experienced that. It’s no fun, but we have a duty to love people enough to speak biblical truth to them.
“People’s eternity are at stake……….how loving is it……………?” Scripture reference on this? Are you writing that someone’s eternity could depend on us?”
Robin, you’re one of my most faithful readers! You don’t really think I’m saying that do you? :0) Those couple of sentence are about the urgency of our responsibility to bring biblical truth to bear on the situation, not our power to change people’s hearts (since we don’t have that power). There’s not a specific verse that says these things, but I think it’s representative of the gospel urgency presented in the New Testament.
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Well, I do interpret what I read as literal and, at times, ask for (and provide if I am asked for) a Scriptural reference on something as high a priority as eternity and salvation. I actually wasn’t finished typing that comment and it posted before I was going to edit or add to it. No, I wasn’t meaning that you were writing that “we” had it in “our” power to save someone.
However, another kind of false doctrine can be spoken in the pulpit when preachers say guilt-producing things like someone’s salvation can depend on if we witnessed to them the right way at the right time, whatever, whatever. I think you know what I mean. I heard that kind of preaching for years(along with other wrong preaching) and didn’t grow as a new believer. It wasn’t until God led us to a church and introduced us to Reformed doctrine that I could stop all the fretting about doing “my” part “just right.” And it wasn’t until then – ten years after I saved – that my sanctification really started and I grew as a believer. So, yeah, I’m pretty sensitive to the way something is worded if it points to works instead of Grace (however unintentionally).
Not frozen chosen – agree with sharing the Gospel, and discerning sound doctrine, and warning sisters who may not realize that they are studying bad theology or fluff. That’s why I really appreciate your blog and ministry and all the research you do.
It’s a tedious, never-ending job to discern it all and try to get others to understand that we are well-meaning.
Points number 3 and 7 are absolutely critical in these dark days of deception in the church. Good stuff.
Excellent! First time I’ve seen in print what I’ve felt for a long time!
I love this list and feel there is so much more that could be said under each of these, though I did see so many links to help with just that. Nice that this is a concise list and perfect for sharing.
The only slight exception I have is number 4. Church attendance. While I agree it is essential to have fellowship with Christians, that can look a little different. Where we live it is very difficult to find a biblically sound church. Home church is often where we are at. There are more atheists than “christians” around and the churches are where we punch a Sunday time-card.
I’m not saying you are not correct, the bible is clear that we are not to forsake the assembling of body….but whether that takes place in a traditional church building or in our living room as a family remains to be debated. The early believers went from house to house daily….not just an hour on Sunday (or in their case Saturday as that is the actual Sabbath).
So, does my point matter? Not really. Just sharing our experience. We were part of a church for 20 years and left due to it becoming a Mega-church Christian Club where you were not allowed to live out the other points in this article. Women were teaching from the pulpit (though thankfully rarely), women were running the show, there were all those parties instead of meat of the Word, women in rebellion against their husbands, and all the other preach from the latest best seller sermons and if you raise your hand you are saved…even though the Gospel had not been spoken, you just realized a “need”. Ugh.
Maybe someday we will find a true church, not perfect perhaps but true. For those of you who have it, relish it, love it, serve it and support it. You have a rare treasure these days.
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Hi Beth- I truly do sympathize, because I hear frequently from women who are having a difficult time finding a doctrinally sound church in their area. They are becoming more and more rare, and if you’ve checked into every single established church within a couple of hours of your home and every one of them is apostate, worshiping at home temporarily might be your only option.
However, in case it might be of help, I’d like to offer you a few more resources.
1. If you didn’t get a chance to read the linked article under #4 (7 Reasons Church is not Optional…), I’d encourage you to do so. Not only does that article go into much greater biblical depth than #4, it has several good articles in the “Additional Resources” section at the end which might be helpful.
2. One of those resources is my article, Six Ways Not to Forsake the Assembly, which speaks more to your specific situation.
3. There’s a tab at the top of this page entitled “Searching for a new church?” that has many helpful resources such as church search engines, what to look for in a church, etc.
4. One of the resources in that tab is a link to two of my Facebook notes. One is “Reader Recommended Churches” where scads of my readers have posted personal recommendations for what they believe to be doctrinally sound churches in various areas of the country. The other one is “Readers Seeking Churches” where you can post a request for a recommended church in your area (or if you’re not on Facebook or wish to remain anonymous, I can post just your area for you).
5. If you exhaust all of those resources and still can’t find a reasonably doctrinally sound church, I would suggest contacting the headquarters of your denomination (if you have one), or a seminary or missions organization you trust and inquire about them planting a new church in your area. If you’re not a member of a particular denomination, you could contact the North American Mission Board about church planting (if you’re in North America) or the International Mission Board (if you’re not).
Hope this helps. I’m taking a moment to pray for you and your family now :0)
I went back and read the link to your article about “Six ways not to forsake………” and you wrote something in there that I was considering. You said that perhaps God has put us in a place to be a catalyst to help bring things back in line with Scripture. That is what I was thinking of writing to Beth when she wrote that they left their church after 20 years. If the Gospel is being preached there and the sacraments are being rightly administered, then perhaps that God wants to use them to be in leadership or other areas to help teach and guide.
It’s hard to say. The church she described sounds pretty far gone and unlikely to turn around. It’s really difficult to know unless you’ve got boots on the ground and are praying for God’s direction about church. But perhaps God could use Beth and her family there, or maybe there’s another church nearby that’s a bit less of a “fixer upper” that God might lead them to help.
Finally have a few moments to follow up. I will be looking into your suggestions and the links you provided Michelle, thank you.
I also want to give some more information about leaving our church. We did not just slip quietly out the door. As you say Michelle, that church took a specific direction, an intentional one. My husband and I were very deeply involved in many aspects of that church body for many years. Everything from kids ministries, recovery ministries, ladies bible studies, leaders of small groups, financial advisers/overseers, etc. We were really connected but disconnected at the same time. More for me really. As a woman of the church, I saw the typical gossip, clique, etc that happens. I chose to “rise above” and just keep my mind on my own walk and business, the old, “be a a light” type thing. Well, that was all fine and good, until my husband and I saw our pastor leading our church in the mega-church direction. We did not share his vision nor his ideas of preaching from christian books (whatever was the latest christian psychology at the time). We saw a shift from messages meant to feed and be meat to an all inclusive type thing….we spent lots of time with the philosophy of being light in a dark place but honestly, when you don’t back the leadership of your church, you are subversive. You may be right in your biblical stance but if the shepherd is taking the sheep in a different direction, then you have only one choice. Especially if your message is clearly not wanted and the sheep are content to move to other pastures.
A move 800 miles away made the decision easier but when we moved back several years later, we did not choose to go back to that church. Another move has located us further into no mans land…it really feels like the end of the earth… or at least you can see it from here. LOL!! We are in New England and honestly, finding a church that is biblically sound is not as easy as one would think. Most churches here are dying…slow painful deaths. The ones that are thriving look great….kind of like the one we left. All happy happy, great stage presence and feel good messages. No substance. Fake piety, ugh.
So, in not wanting to join another coffee house type christian thing and in looking for true discipleship, in some regions it is harder than you think. The opposite is true as well. There are a few very small legalistic place too where the women all look alike. Scary. Just recently a well known supposed biblically sound church just found out their pastor had 17 Illegitimate children from various members through the years. When confronted, he didn’t see a problem. Seriously! I used to get his newsletters, so biblically sound….place sounded so great, a friend of mine attended there and loved it for it’s sermons. I also was told by another friend that this similar thing happened in their church recently….the pastor said it was ok because he had his wife’s permission and the other couple’s husband gave permission. I mean, come on!!
So, yeah, I’m very hesitant to join in another place. I have not said all that happened in our former church as I don’t think it is necessary to go into every detail that way but suffice it to say, financial things were not up to snuff and the sharing of person’s personal information that they trusted to their pastor to keep confidential in counsel was going on, rampantly. I am broken but wish them no ill at all.
I hope that may fill in the blanks a little. We are too far away to go back to that church anyway now. I also do not feel that I should stay at any church where I am in opposition to the leadership and the direction they are going in.
I totally get what you’re saying, Beth, and I suspected something like that might be the case. I’m so sorry you’ve had to endure so much, and I can certainly understand why you might be a little gun shy about church.
Actually, I am a bit familiar with the situation in New England. I have a friend who’s an awesome, doctrinally sound pastor in Gilmanton, NH. His name is Nate Pickowicz, and he recently released his first book about the very situation you’re describing. It is called “Reviving New England.” It might be an encouragement to you.
I know Nate has lots of contacts in the New England area and might be able to offer you some direction. I’d be delighted to put you in touch with him personally if you’d like, or you can connect with him via social media if you feel it would be helpful: Nate’s Facebook Nate’s Twitter
I wish I could do more to help.
Wow, what awful situations in those churches Beth! Maybe Michelle’s friend and contact, Nate, will know of somewhere you could visit. Although we are in the Deep South and “Bible Belt” there are not always plentiful selections for us, either, especially since we hold to Reformed Doctrine. We have had to leave churches due to issues leadership, also, so I’m familiar with that subject!
You have already done all that can be done. You have prayed! That is HUGE!! God is still in control, He is still on His throne, He knows all the details and He has a plan. I am still hopeful and I know that no matter where I am, in a church building or sharing with my children, He sees and He is still able to be glorified and He teaches me. It’s actually pretty amazing. He never abandons His own. Praise God for that!!
I saw your link to Nate’s page and saw that book. I am hoping to obtain a copy. I am too far from him to attend near there but there is a need in New England, a serious need. Ugh…if only I were a guy! LOL!! I hope he will find some one in his rolodex, I saw his response to you on FB. Who knows? He or someone he knows may have just the right fit for us.
In the meantime, we endure and press on. I’m thankful to have come across your site, thankful for the believers that God brings into my life (and it truly is His work, not my own). It never ceases to amaze me that He is there and provides even when we think all may be lost. In my study of John Ch 9 today I found such a reminder. The blind man was blind to that God’s works may be manifest in him. What a great thought. No matter what we face, God’s works can be made manifest in us through whatever we face. From illness, to accident to victories. From loneliness and feeling abandoned to not having a church to call home here, God can use all for His purposes and glory. That is the prayer I have.
I look forward to seeing what the Lord will do. Please do pray for us whenever this comes to mind, especially my husband, that the Lord will lead and bring us to where He wants us to be. ❤
Aw, Beth, you are so precious, and I’m glad you’re hanging out with us on line. I will continue to pray as God reminds me :0)
Robin, ugh, I feel for you too. The whole world is a mission field now. So many are falling away, being misled and it’s just hard to see. So many large churches down there but as I observed, they run broad but not always deep. Thousands of attendees but shallow. So hard to find real believers but you know they are in there somewhere. But when it comes from the pulpit, when it is just plain wrong, you have no choice but to move on. I hope you have found your place now. I am hopeful we will too. 🙂