The Mailbag: Potpourri (Female officiant, JMac attack, Google 101…)


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!

I noticed you’ve written lists of recommended teachers and false teachers. Just curious if you could help in the same way with Contemporary Christian music and artists.

I took a stab at that in my article False Doctrine in Contemporary Christian Music. I will add any CCM artists I stumble across in the future that I think need to be warned against or recommended, but I’m afraid that article is going to be the extent of any “list” of doctrinally sound or unsound Christian musicians. It’s not an issue I research much, and CCM isn’t a music genre I enjoy listening to. I’m really more of a podcast gal. I would, however, highly recommend the Additional Resources I’ve listed at the end of that article as well as the comments section.

I was recently invited to a wedding where the officiant will be a female “pastor”. I’m not close to the bride, but I honestly can’t bear the thought of attending even if we were close. Your thoughts, please?

This is really less of a biblical question than it is an etiquette question. Fortunately for all of us, I have read a lot of Miss Manners in my day :0)

Since you’re not close to her, that makes things a lot easier than if it were a family member or close friend. If the invitation contains an RSVP card, you can just send it back with “regrets” or “will not attend” (or whatever) marked and not say anything else about it.

If it’s a situation like she’s a co-worker you see face to face frequently and she asks point blank if you’re coming, you could say something, like “I’m so sorry, but I have a conflict that prevents me from attending.” It’s not necessary to go into any further detail.

If she’s pushy and presses you about it, you could either say something like, “I’m sorry, it’s personal,” or you could kindly, gently, and briefly get into the actual theology of why a woman shouldn’t be serving in the position of pastor, explain that this conflicts with your beliefs as a Christian, and that you wouldn’t feel comfortable attending. Ask God to give you wisdom as to what is the best approach with this particular person.

Just bear in mind, a social invitation isn’t a subpoena and it’s really nobody’s business why you won’t be attending.

Can a church use Hillsong or Bethel/Jesus Culture music in the worship service as long as the lyrics of the particular songs that are selected don’t conflict with the Bible?

If I were queen of the evangelical world and it were up to me to make a binding law about this, my answer would be no. No church would use any music by any heretical organization or doctrinally unsound musician. I briefly addressed my reasons for this in my article False Doctrine in Contemporary Christian Music:

It’s imperative for churches to be discerning about the CCM they use in worship. If Jane Churchmember hears a CCM song in church and likes it, she’s likely to Google the song (probably right there in church- I’ve done it!), find out who sings it, and begin following that artist. Worship pastors who use CCM have a responsibility to vet the artists who perform the songs they select for the worship service to make sure they’re not sending Jane into the arms of a heretic. Additionally, music costs money, and you don’t want your church’s offerings supporting false doctrine.

I think the principles and Scriptures in this article generally apply to this question as well: Four Reasons Why It Matters Who We Share, Pin, and Re-Tweet

Today on Facebook, I saw a post saying John MacArthur is a false teacher. Can you enlighten me please? After being part of your blog and being more discerning of who I read, I’m bummed. I even purchased the John MacArthur ESV Study Bible on your recommendation and also read the Grace To You blog.

Let me start by saying this: Just because someone (including me) says a certain teacher is a false teacher doesn’t mean you should automatically believe her.

I can assure you that John MacArthur is not a false teacher. In fact, he is one of the finest and most doctrinally sound teachers out there today, and I highly recommend him. But you shouldn’t just blindly take my word for that any more than you should just blindly take the word of the Facebook post you saw that says he is a false teacher. You shouldn’t believe anything in Christianity because a person says so, but because the Bible says so. Every Christian should be discerning about every sermon she listens to, every book she reads, and every pastor or teacher she follows, including the pastor at her own church. We must each practice biblical discernment for ourselves, comparing everything to rightly handled Scripture and discarding anything that doesn’t match up to what the Bible says in context.

I’m not familiar with the Facebook page you mentioned by name in your e-mail, but my guess is that it is a group that incorrectly and unbiblically believes that Reformed theology (or Calvinism) is false doctrine. John MacArthur is a Calvinist, so naturally they believe he is a false teacher. They’re judging his sound doctrine by their own false doctrine. That’s what people who hold to false doctrine do. Extreme anti-Calvinists believe Calvinists are false teachers, New Apostolic Reformationists believe doctrinally sound cessationists are false teachers, Catholics believe that Protestants are false teachers, and so on. It helps to know what kind theology (or false theology) someone is coming from when he labels a person as a false teacher.

I would encourage you to do the biblical work of discernment for yourself. Compare John MacArthur’s materials to Scripture and be convinced by God’s written Word whether or not you should follow him.

Here are a couple of articles I think you will find helpful on this issue:

Clinging to the Golden Calf: 7 Godly Responses When Someone Says You’re Following a False Teacher

Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring it Out on Your Own

You had this Google result that talks about Kelly Minter supporting gay marriage:

I have searched the Internet and your website and I can’t find it. I’m thinking of doing her Bible study on Nehemiah but don’t want to do it if this information is true so I need to see her exact quote myself in order to decide.

This is the first time I’ve received a question like this, but it concerns me that a lack of understanding of how Google works might lead someone to think I’ve said something I haven’t, and if there are others out there who are drawing the same kinds of conclusions as this reader just because they need a little help understanding the mechanics of Google, I’m glad to give a little tutorial.

It looks like you may have Googled something like “Does Kelly Minter support homosexual marriage?” but didn’t click on my article that popped up.

(Here’s the top result I got when I Googled the phrase “Does Kelly Minter support homosexual marriage”.)

When you Google something, Google pulls the key words from your search and that’s what it displays in boldtype in the result. You have to click on the article and read it to get the full picture.

Here is the direct link to my article that contains information about Kelly Minter. My article doesn’t say Kelly Minter supports homosexual marriage, but there is another teacher in the article who does. Your Google result pulled Kelly Minter’s name from the section on her and the “supports homosexual marriage” phrase from the section on Rachel Held Evans.

To my knowledge, Kelly Minter does not support homosexual marriage, however, I would still urge you not to use her materials for the reasons given in the article. Just because someone doesn’t support homosexual marriage doesn’t mean everything else she’s teaching is biblical, and this is certainly the case with Kelly Minter. Her materials would be detrimental to your spiritual growth. I would strongly recommend that you simply pick up the Bible and study it for yourself rather than relying on someone else’s book.

You might find the “Popular False Teachers” tab, “Recommended Bible Teachers” tab, and “Bible Study” tab (all at the very top of this page) helpful.

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.

4 thoughts on “The Mailbag: Potpourri (Female officiant, JMac attack, Google 101…)”

  1. Thank you Michelle for your response about John MacArthur. After sending my email did my own research and know now that he is NOT a false teacher and the answer you gave is exactly what you explained about John being a Calvinist. I’m learning and appreciate your blog and your insight to all these questions. Someday I’d like to come to your neck of the woods to meet you personally! God Bless.


  2. It appears as if any woman who is a teacher and is a Pastor is deemed to be a false teacher and/or not recommended. I myself don’t subscribe to female Pastors and would never sit under one, but to call every one of the false teachers shows a bit of know it all attitude. Some of these women you have picked on have very Biblically sound teachings and try their darndest to be attuned to the heart of God.


    1. OK, but that’s just your opinion, and it’s not biblical. I don’t know if you’re a Christian or not, but if you are, the Bible is your authority, not your own opinions. Can you present any Scripture that backs up what you’re saying?

      A woman who is a “pastor” is rebelling against the clear prohibition of Scripture (1 Timothy 2:12). She is living in ongoing, unrepentant sin in the same way a male pastor would be if he were unabashedly cheating on his wife. Sin is sin in God’s eyes.

      Any woman who preaches to men in defiance of Scripture is a false teacher because she is teaching, via her actions, that it’s OK to ignore or outright disobey any passage of Scripture that gets in the way of what you want to do.

      I don’t “know it all” but I do know my Bible, and I know that what the women I have warned against are doing and teaching is in conflict with God’s Word. I would not say they were false teachers if they had “very biblically sound teaching”, I would recommend them just as I have recommended many other doctrinally sound teachers (see the “Recommended Bible Teachers” tab at the top of this page).

      If you’re interested in learning what the Bible actually says about false teachers and women’s roles in the church instead of relying on your own opinions, I’d suggest reading my articles:
      Jill in the Pulpit
      Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring it Out on Your Own
      Answering the Opposition- Responses to the Most Frequently Raised Discernment Objections

      Additionally, if you’re a Christian, it’s most unchristlike to attack a sister in Christ the way you have done here, especially when you’re incorrectly and unbiblically slandering her as being a “know it all” and “picking on” people. You are being unkind, unloving, and sowing discord.


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