Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Gnomes…Babies’ eternity…Teen podcasts…Biblical womanhood…Prophetess…African American women teachers)

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 like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar (at the very bottom of each page) can be a helpful tool!

Or maybe I answered your question already? Check out my article The Mailbag: Top 10 FAQs to see if your question has been answered and to get some helpful resources.


My church is having women’s ministry painting party. While I don’t have an issue with painting or even learning to paint, my concern is the paintings they have chosen for us to choose from. We were given 4 choices; a watering can, ice cream cone, circle plaque, and a gnome. What gives me pause is the gnome. What little I know of the history of a gnome isn’t biblical. In fact, it is demonic, I believe. Is it ok to still go even if I don’t choose the gnome? Should I say something to my pastor? What should I say?

It’s always important to think biblically about everything, not just accept something because your church endorses it. So, kudos on thinking this through!

Here’s what I would do if I were an invited attendee and if I were the event organizer:

Invited attendee: I would go and simply opt for one of the other three items to paint. I would not look down on any of the women who chose the gnome (not that you would, either), knowing that they (and probably upwards of 99% of people today) don’t know anything about the history of gnomes. To most people a gnome is just an imaginary, fairy tale type of fictional character, like a unicorn or a fairy godmother. A picture or figurine of a gnome doesn’t physically carry a demon within it, and it’s not going to curse your household or anything like that. That’s superstition, and superstition is definitely unbiblical.

I would not go to the pastor about this. In fact, I probably wouldn’t go to anyone about this, including other attendees. But if I felt I had to speak to someone about it, I’d go to the women’s ministry director (I assume she’s the one in charge of this event). I would just briefly (like a minute or two, tops) and breezily explain to her, “Hey, I know you probably didn’t know this, but I was reading this really interesting article about gnomes, and it said A, B, and C (give the 2 or 3 most important points – don’t overwhelm her with the entire history of gnomedom). I just thought you might want to know in case that would bother any of the ladies in our group. I decided to choose the ice cream cone instead. See you at the party on Saturday!”. And then I would go and have a good time while attempting not to embarrass myself with my severe deficit of artistic talent. :0)

Event organizer: If I were the event organizer and someone came to me the way I’ve just described above, if possible, I would explain the information to the ladies and rescind or replace the gnome option so as not to unnecessarily offend anyone. I can’t guarantee that’s what any other women’s ministry director would do, but that’s what I would do.

I think some of the principles in my article Is Christmas Pagan? might be helpful to you.


Two days ago I had a D&C after a miscarriage. This is the second time I can’t have my baby in my arms. It’s heartbreaking but I am so grateful to be alive, since both the pregnancy and the procedure ended up being life threatening.

During these days of recovery I re-read your article, Elizabeth’s Gift, and it comforted me deeply. I understood that no matter what happens, as long as I have my God around me I have everything I need.

But I also read an article that said that every unborn baby goes straight to hell. I don’t really know if it’s true but as a mum of two unborn babies thinking about this breaks my heart. What are your thoughts?

First, let me say, I’m so sorry for the loss of your two babies. I can only attempt to imagine how devastating that must be. I have taken a moment to pray for you, and I’m asking everyone reading this to pause for a moment and pray for you too.

I’m not sure what the author of the article you read meant by saying that babies who die before birth go to Hell, or which Scripture(s) she may have twisted to come to that conclusion, but I can tell you there’s nothing in the Bible which explicitly says that.

Here’s what we do know: God is far more loving, compassionate, just, and merciful than we are. We also know that every decision He makes is right and perfect, and He is not capricious. So that’s the foundation we start from when we look at an issue like this. We can always trust God to act in keeping with His nature and character.

So “judging” God by His own nature and character as He Himself has revealed it to us in the totality of rightly handled Scripture, does it sound like it’s in keeping with His nature and character to unilaterally condemn an entire group of people (babies who die before birth) to Hell based on a particular physical quality (lifespan and sentience) over which they have zero control and He has 100% control? Do we see Him doing that with any other people group – males, people with red hair, white people, etc. – in the Bible?

No, we do not, because, when it comes to entrance into Heaven or Hell, God judges us individually, not for being a member of a certain people group. And He’s able to do that because He knows – even better than we know, ourselves – what’s in our hearts.

As to the eternal destiny of an individual pre-born baby who dies, let me direct you to some resources that go into this in more depth, which I think will be helpful and comforting to you:

Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur

Do babies and others incapable of professing faith in Christ automatically go to heaven? by John MacArthur

Do babies and children go to heaven when they die? at Got Questions?


Any suggestions on biblically sound podcasts for teens?

Yep. I would, first of all, suggest mine, A Word Fitly Spoken, not because it’s mine, but because we try to make sure we explain things in a way that new Christians and people who are new to whatever topic or passage of Scripture we’re discussing can understand.

I would also recommend any of the podcasters you find at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page, as well as any under the “Blogs and Podcasts I Follow” heading (that’ll be in the right sidebar if you’re reading this on a computer, or near the very bottom of the page if you’re reading on your phone or tablet – just above “Links I Love!”).

Personally, as a mom of 6 and a former teacher, I think we baby and cater to teenagers, especially Christian teens, way too much. They need to grow up and mature. And…hey…they want to be treated like adults, right? Well, this is one area in which we can confidently treat them like adults – turn them on to doctrinally sound podcasts geared toward adults instead of toward teenage silliness and the cult of cool.


I was wondering if you knew of a good book for a young college age woman on the topic of biblical womanhood. I’m trying to find a book that provides a biblical view in contrast to most popular “Christian” books which seem to try to tear down the biblical view. Any suggestions you have would be great.

I would strongly recommend that she study straight from the text of Scripture about this. Books necessarily have to approach these topics in a “one size fits all” way, and that’s not going to teach her what it looks like to live out biblical womanhood in her unique life and context. But the living and active Word of God can.

If she would be interested, she might like to try my Bible study, Imperishable Beauty: A Study of Biblical Womanhood. It’s free, and she’s welcome to print it out if she’d like to.


I was wondering what are your thoughts on Prophetess Kimberly Moses?

I’ve never heard of her before, but I cannot fathom any circumstance, any stretch of the mind, or any reason, under which a doctrinally sound woman would call herself a “prophetess”.

I would recommend you stop following her immediately. She’s almost certainly teaching New Apostolic Reformation heresy.

(So, after I wrote the above, I was just going to leave it at that. But my curiosity got the better of me, so I Googled her. Yep, NAR. If you know anything about the NAR, you’ll spot it all over her website in about 10 seconds.)


Any recommendations for female African-American authors/bloggers/influencers?

No, because I don’t recommend teachers on the basis of ethnicity. I recommend teachers on the basis of sound, biblical doctrine.

I would recommend any of the women (or men) at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page, as well as any under the “Blogs and Podcasts I Follow” heading (that’ll be in the right sidebar if you’re reading this on a computer, or near the very bottom of the page if you’re reading on your phone or tablet – just above “Links I Love!”).


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.