Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Teaching co-ed college Sunday School… “Losing it” with attackers… “Tough” vs. “fluff” Bible studies… Why “Bye Begg”?)

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.


I’ve been asked to teach a college/career Sunday School class. It’s couples that are married, some engaged. I would probably be able to co-teach with a man. Should I as a woman not be teaching that class since it has men and not really youth?

It’s really great that you’re giving this some thought and asking that question!

You’re correct – college aged young men are men, even if they are young. You should not be teaching them, your church is wrong for asking you to teach them, and your pastor is wrong for allowing women to teach men in your church. It isn’t just wrong for you, individually because you would be violating Scripture, it’s also wrong because, if you did it, you would be leading these young men to think that it’s OK for women to teach men. You would be teaching them by your actions that it’s OK to ignore or disobey any command of God that’s inconvenient or that we don’t like. (This is one of the reasons I also discourage women from teaching youth/teen boys.)

As far as “co-teaching” goes, it depends on what you and your church mean by that term. What the term “co-teaching” actually means is that you and another teacher(s) take turns teaching the class the Bible lesson. If that’s how you and your church are using that term, then, no, you shouldn’t be co-teaching. It doesn’t matter whether you’re teaching every week or every other week or once a month or whatever. You’re still teaching men the Bible, and that’s still a sin.

However, some churches/Christians will say that, for example, a husband and wife are “co-teaching” a Sunday School class when what they really mean is that the husband is doing all of the actual teaching and the wife is taking care of the administrative duties of the class like making the coffee, taking attendance, organizing fellowships, contacting those who have been absent, etc., but not doing any of the actual teaching. That is absolutely fine, but they need to stop calling it “co-teaching” – a) because it’s not, and b) because it leads others to believe they and their church are sinning when they’re actually not.

I would encourage you to give some thought and study to my Rock Your Role series of articles, starting with Jill in the Pulpit and Rock Your Role FAQs (start with #13), then make an appointment with your pastor to politely and kindly ask him why he’s allowing women to teach men in your church. If he brushes you off or tries to make you feel like the bad guy, it’s time to find a new, doctrinally sound church. Churches that allow or encourage women to teach men are just as much in sin as if they were allowing or encouraging church members to steal from the offering, or remain in a homosexual lifestyle, or if they taught that abortion is OK. No one should be joined to a church that’s in active, unrepentant sin.


Curious- Do you ever lose it? As in raise your voice and yell at an attacker? Last night a friend really came after my Christian walk, because I refuse to attend a service she has been attending. It is being led by false teachers. After several attempts to communicate to her- and her stubborn refusal to listen-I snapped and began yelling at her. I know it was sin. I asked her forgiveness, and today feel she is justified in questioning my Christian walk. Her attack on me was pretty ferocious during this difficult time of my life.

I know it doesn’t excuse MY behavior. Just curious if you have ever lost it like that?

I’m sorry. I know that must have been a difficult situation to be in, especially when you’re stressed about other things in life. Many hugs and pats on the back to you for repenting and asking her forgiveness! It can be really tough to humble ourselves and admit we were wrong about something. You did the right, godly thing, and you set a good example for her.

I don’t personally recall ever having lost it “like that,” but that has nothing to do with my stellar level of self control or personal holiness or anything like that. It has more to do with the fact that when I’m attacked, it’s virtually always online – social media, email, or blog comments – and virtually always by strangers. That affords me ways of dealing with the person or comment that aren’t feasible when you’re dealing with a friend or loved one in person.

I have gotten into a few exchanges on social media in which I was convicted that I crossed the line of anger or I squandered time in an argument that I should have stewarded better. In those cases, I’ve repented and asked the person’s forgiveness. And I’ve tried, since then to have a much stricter Matthew 7:6 policy.

The handful of times I’ve been attacked in person by someone I know, I was usually prepared because the meetings were pre-arranged for the specific purpose of excoriating me for standing on the truth of Scripture and decrying false teachers and false doctrine. I had my notes and thoughts in order and was prepared beforehand not to lose it.

The one or two times I’ve been spontaneously attacked in person by someone I know were relatively brief in duration, and I pretty much stood there in stunned silence with my mouth agape at the shock of a professing Christian acting that way. Even after all these years, I don’t think that’s something I’ll ever get used to.

So, to my recollection, no, I’ve never lost it like that in a similar situation, but mainly because I haven’t been in a similar situation.


I’m a co-leader of a women’s group at our church.. at first the other leader and I were on the same page.. no fluff. We are currently doing J.I. Packer’s book, Knowing God, and all I hear is, “It’s too hard!”. They all want fluff but 3 of us..How do I change their minds?… I’ve been praying on how to handle this. I can’t do fluff! They want Beth Moore type stuff. That is a hard pass for me. What should I do?

Atta girl! Fluff is not the answer, and we should always take a hard pass on false doctrine.

What should you do? You do exactly what you do with a toddler who only wants to keep eating candy rather than healthy food: You keep feeding her healthy food. You don’t give in to unbiblical, unhealthy childish whims. There’s not a single biblical passage that teaches us to coddle Christians in their immaturity. Scripture always instructs us to grow up.

That being said, we start babies on baby food, not steak. I haven’t read that particular book by Packer. Perhaps it is a little too tough for them, and the reason they’re suggesting “fluff” type authors and studies is that that’s all they know to suggest as an alternative.

Can I make a couple of suggestions? When you finish the Packer book (or, if you think it’s wiser, just discontinue it now)…

  • Grab one of my Bible studies and take them through it. Maybe one of the shorter ones like Colossians or Ruth. All of my studies are free, so if it turns out not to be a fit, nobody has lost any money. Also, you know where your ladies are, maturity-wise, and you can simplify or skip any of the questions you think are too tough for them at this moment. You can tailor the study for the ladies of your particular church.
  • If you absolutely have to do a book study rather than a Bible study, I would recommend my friend Allen Nelson’s book From Death to Life: How Salvation Works for two reasons: a) It’s a lot shorter, and probably simpler, too, than Packer’s book, and b) Often the reason women clamor after false teachers is because they’re not genuinely saved (John 10). This book is a wonderful, simple exposition of the gospel.

“Tough” and “fluff” aren’t your only two options. The key is to meet your ladies where they are, set the bar a little higher, and help them grow to maturity.


Why is Alistair Begg no longer listed at your Recommended Bible Teachers tab?

I was disappointed to have to remove him, but if I’m going to be fair and consistent about who I recommend, it had to be done.

It has been brought to my attention that Alistair Begg endorses the idea of a woman preaching or teaching the Sunday morning message in church (in other words, preaching/teaching to men) as long as she has been invited and given permission to do so by the pastor and elders. He has invited and permitted women to do this at his own church. This is unbiblical.

Listen as Begg explains in his own words in this sermon (starting around 30:12) on 1 Timothy 2:9-15b. (I would encourage you to listen to the whole sermon – in which he says many good things – for context.)

Christian Women (2) – Alistair Begg | September 16, 2019

Some may also recall that in 2019, Begg shared the stage with Beth Moore (also Tony Evans and others) at Baylor University’s National Preaching Conference, much to the chagrin of and numerous protests from his followers. In response to a follower who expressed concern, a statement1 from Begg’s ministry indicated that he accepted the invitation to speak without knowing who any of the other speakers were. He kept the engagement, but has not appeared with any other false teachers since then that I know of.

I did not remove Begg from my recommends at that time because I was hoping it was (and, so far, seems to have been) a one time goof that would teach him to use greater wisdom and discernment in the future. We all do dumb things from time to time, and well known pastors are no exception.

Begg’s statements in the sermon video above, however, are not a one time lapse in judgment. They are the well thought out, planned, and implemented policy of the church he pastors.

I’m not saying Begg is a heretic on par with Benny Hinn or Kenneth Copeland. Far from it. I don’t even consider him a false teacher. I just no longer feel comfortable saying, “Hey, this is a great teacher. I recommend that you follow him,” (i.e. putting him on my list of recommended teachers) when there are others I decline to recommend who hold the same erroneous position.

Earlier in the sermon Begg humbly admits (as should every good pastor) that he and his church don’t claim to have everything right, but that they will continue to grow in Christ and make corrections. If and when he corrects this error (and any others that might come to light), I’ll be delighted to reconsider him for inclusion on the list.

1This is not a website I endorse. It is linked only as evidence of the statements in this paragraph.


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.

Holidays (Other)

7 Ways to Encourage Your Minister of Music

Originally published November 18, 2014

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Don’t forget to encourage and appreciate all of your pastors, including your minister of music!

Numerous articles have been written about how you, as a church member, can be an encouragement to your pastor- how you can constructively praise his sermon, pray for him, get him a great gift for Pastor Appreciation Month, etc. These are good things. Please be sure to support your pastor. Being a pastor is one of the toughest and most thankless jobs out there, and if you’ve read the statistics you know pastors need and deserve all the encouragement they can get.

But your preaching pastor isn’t the only person on your church’s staff who needs your support. So does your minister of music. And, having been married to one for over twenty years, I can tell you there aren’t many articles out there letting you know how church members can encourage their ministers of music. Ready to show some love? Here are seven ways you can be an encouragement to your minister of music.

1.
Make practice a priority.

Before you join the choir or praise team or volunteer to play an instrument, find out how much of a time commitment it will be, and consider whether or not you can diligently keep that commitment. Once you’ve joined or volunteered, attend rehearsals, worship services, and performances faithfully, and be sure to arrive on time. You have no idea how much it means to your minister of music that he can count on you.

2.
Get to church on time.

Think about how you would feel if you planned a dinner party, worked hard all week cooking and cleaning, and then one of the couples you invited carelessly showed up halfway through the meal. You’d probably think that was kind of rude and feel somewhat discouraged. That’s sort of the way a minister of music can feel when people (especially the same people every week) habitually arrive late to church for non-emergency reasons. Not only that, but it’s a distraction to others when you come in late, plus you’re missing out on praising God and getting your heart prepared to receive His Word during the sermon. Being on time and ready for worship benefits everybody!

3.
Sing!

If you were in a meeting at work or in a college class, would you pick up your knitting, clip your nails, walk around the room chatting with friends, or bury your nose in your phone the whole time? Probably not, yet, over the years I have seen church members do all these and more during the music portion of the worship service. It’s disrespectful to the God we’re supposed to be worshiping and to the minister of music who is trying to do the work God has called him to. On the other hand, I love it when we get in the car after church and my husband says, with a smile on his face, “Wow, they were really singing today!” We have an incredible Savior who has given us the privilege of praising Him, so let’s take Him up on it. Sing out! You can worship and be an encourager all at the same time.

4.
Smile!

It’s pretty disheartening for a minister of music to stand up front, giving it all he’s got, and then look out over the congregation and see a bunch of people looking like they’d rather be at the dentist. Think about Who you’re singing to and all the reasons why you’re singing to Him, and I challenge you to keep a frown on your face! Just the simple act of smiling while you’re singing will do wonders for your minister of music (and for you!).

5.
Think before you complain.

Has your minister of music said or done something that’s clearly a sin or false doctrine? If so, you have a biblical obligation  to go to him -kindly and in love- and talk to him about it directly.

Is your complaint a matter of personal preference- style of music, whether or not he wears a tie, etc.? Give it 24 hours. Does it still seem just as important? Could you possibly be a servant to him (and others in the congregation whose opinion is the opposite of yours) by overlooking an offense and not complaining?

If you do feel the need to voice your concern (and there are valid concerns that aren’t sin-related), approach your minister of music the way you would want to be approached. Instead of, “Turn that dadgum volume DOWN!” how about, “I was wondering if it would be possible to ask the sound tech to lower the volume in the house speakers a little? My baby’s ears are very sensitive and she gets fussy when it’s that loud. I hate missing worship when I have to take her out to the lobby.” Instead of, “Hymns are so boring. I don’t see why we have to sing them half the time,” how about, “I really loved those two worship songs we sang this morning! Do you think we might be able to sing more songs like that soon?” Christ wants us to be kind to one another, so show your minister of music a little “Golden Rule” love.

6.
Speak encouraging words often.

It’s been our experience, and seems to be the general consensus among ministers of music, that the most common kind of feedback they get is negative feedback. People are much quicker to complain than affirm. Buck the trend. Did he choose one of your favorite songs for the service? Did a certain song help you to understand one of God’s attributes better? Did the choir do a nice job on their anthem? Are you praying for him? Tell him. He appreciates it more than you know.

7.
Show tangible appreciation.

It is amazing what even the smallest gift can do to lift my husband’s spirits. A card of appreciation (I have come across cards that he has saved for years), something related to one of his hobbies, a church member buying him lunch at a fast food place. They might be small items monetarily speaking, but their message is, “I care about you, and I appreciate your hard work.” And that’s priceless.

We have been blessed over the last two decades to serve at several churches that had members who were very good at encouraging their minister of music. Their love and support made my husband’s ministry a joy. What are some ways you can think of to encourage the minister of music at your church and spread that same kind of joy?


This article was originally published at Satisfaction Through Christ.

Holidays (Other)

A Word Fitly Spoken: 11 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor

Originally published February 23, 2018

I hope you have the blessing of sitting under good, biblical preaching at your church. I do. I’m always so thankful to hear God’s word beautifully preached in my own church, and I’m thankful for the all of the other godly men out there laboring faithfully each week to proclaim the truth of the gospel to the sheep God has entrusted to them.

Are you thankful for your pastor and a church that rightly handles God’s word? Are you telling anybody you’re thankful? Are you telling your pastor?

The ministry is a tough job, and pastors need all the encouragement they can get. Sometimes it’s the little things you say and do that can be a blessing to your pastor and make his job easier and more joyful. Proverbs 25:11 says:

Here are eleven ways you can encourage your pastor (and don’t forget your associate pastor, minister of music, youth pastor, etc.!)

1.
Pray for your pastor

Some specifics you can pray for:

💭 His wife and children

💭 His stress level, and for peace

💭 His finances and provision

💭 His marriage, and that he will be a good father

💭 That God will grow him in his understanding and handling of Scripture

💭 That God will grow him in discernment, and guard him from being influenced by false teachers/doctrine

💭 That God will protect him from temptation and lead him to repentance when he sins

💭 And here are even more ways to pray for your pastor.

Remember to tell your pastor you’re praying for him, and ask him if there’s anything in particular you can pray for him about.

2.
Show Up

First of all, Scripture says you’re supposed to be a faithful, active member of your local church. Second, it’s very discouraging to pastors when church members who are perfectly able to attend faithfully simply choose to let other, non-essential things take precedence.

3.
Be Present

Pay attention, be engaged, and have a pleasant look on your face during the sermon. If you’ve ever stood in front of a group of people, you know how easy it is to tell who’s “with you” and who’s not. And the more “with yous” there are out there, the more encouraging it is.

4.
A Word of Thanks

Just say thank you. Thank you for being my pastor, for being faithful to the Word, for encouraging me, for working so hard, for studying well…

Just say thank you. Thank you for being my pastor, for being faithful to the Word, for encouraging me, for working so hard, for studying well…

5.
Submit to His Leadership

Take Hebrews 13:17-18 seriously:


Yes, there are abusive pastors out there. Yes, there are pastors who are flagrantly disobedient to Scripture in their leadership. If that’s your pastor, leave that church and find a pastor you can trust (yes, I know it’s hard), and whose leadership you can submit to. Don’t be the constantly complaining, argumentative, nit picky thorn in your pastor’s side.

6.
Don’t Major on the Minors

If you do need to speak to your pastor about something you disagree with him about, whenever possible, try to make sure it’s a biblical issue rather than an issue of preference, and make sure you do it in love and kindness, not in an attacking way.

7.
Wait, Mr. Postman…

Isn’t it nice to open your mail or e-mail and find something besides bills and bad news? Send your pastor a note, card, or e-mail of encouragement.

Isn’t it nice to open your mail or e-mail and find something besides bills and bad news? Send your pastor a note, card, or e-mail of encouragement.

8.
C is for Cookie (and Calories)

Think before you bake. When I want to send someone a little token of encouragement, my first instinct is always to bake something. But a lot of pastors, like everyone else these days, are dieting, so use wisdom. Maybe a gift card to his favorite store or restaurant, a book by his favorite author, or a service he needs performed would be better. Here are some more ideas if you want to give your pastor a token of appreciation.

9.
A Word Fitly Spoken

Tell your pastor something you learned from the sermon or how God has been growing you through his preaching. Let him know how your Sunday school class is maturing. Tell him about the good progress that’s being made in the committee you serve on or the ministry you serve in.

Tell your pastor something you learned from the sermon or how God has been growing you through his preaching.

10.
Perfect Timing

Do not pull your pastor aside right before the service to discuss anything that could wait until later. He needs to be focused on preaching and worship. And don’t detain him for long after the service, either. He’s probably hungry, tired, has to go to the bathroom, and wants to get home to his family. Make an appointment during the week.

11.
Nobody’s Perfect

Remember that your pastor is human. He’s going to sin. He’s going to get things wrong. Don’t assume he knows why you’re upset with him. Don’t hold a grudge. Extend the same grace you would to anyone else, and forgive.

What are some other ways we can encourage our pastors?

Holidays (Other)

Top 10 Ways to Appreciate Your Pastors During Pastor Appreciation Month

Originally published October 13, 2017

I’m so glad somebody thought up the idea of Pastor Appreciation Month and made it a thing. If you’ve never been a pastor (or been married to one), it’s difficult to adequately convey just how simultaneously challenging, joyful, devastating, frustrating, and fulfilling it can be. If you have a good pastor, who rightly divides God’s Word and is a man of godly character, you are very blessed. And that goes for your minister of music, associate pastor, youth pastor, etc., too. Be sure you show all of them (there’s nothing worse than being left out while everybody else is being appreciated) your appreciation for their hard work, and your encouragement, support, and love not just during Pastor Appreciation Month, but all year through. Here are ten ways you can do just that.

1. Pray for your pastors.
Time and again, when pastors are surveyed about what their church members can do to bless them the most, the number one answer is, “Pray for me.” Your pastors need you to pray for them personally, in their work, for their marriages and families, and for the health of your church. Pastor Appreciation Month is a perfect time to make a commitment to pray for your pastors on a regular basis. (And don’t forget to periodically tell them you’re praying for them!) Need some suggestions on how to pray? Check out my article Top 10 Ways to Pray for Your Pastor.

2. Words of encouragement
Pastors get a lot of complaints, criticism, and words of discouragement. Brighten your pastor’s day by telling him something specific you learned during the sermon. Tell your minister of music you really enjoyed the choir anthem this morning. Repeat to your youth pastor something positive your child has said about him or the youth group. Drop your pastor a note, e-mail, or social media message of support. Make a point of looking for ways – all year long – that you can offer “a word fitly spoken.”

3. Babysit
If your pastor and his wife have young children, offer to babysit so they can have a date night or go Christmas shopping for the kids. 

4. Gift cards
Perhaps along with the offer to babysit, you could give your pastor and his wife a gift card to a local restaurant. Gift cards to his favorite specialty store (outdoorsman stores, music stores, etc.), a Christian retailer, or one of his favorite online stores (or a more general site like Amazon if you’re not sure of his preferences) make great tokens of appreciation, too.

5. Honorary offerings
Is there a certain missionary or mission project that’s near and dear to your pastor’s heart? A crisis pregnancy center? A church plant he’d like to support? What about donating Bibles in his honor to an evangelistic organization? Put out the word to the congregation, take up a special offering (or simply give as an individual), and make a donation in your pastor’s name.

6. Make sure his needs are met.
Your pastors shouldn’t be living like televangelists, but they shouldn’t be struggling to survive, either. Surprisingly, many people have unbiblical opinions about pastors’ salaries, from the notion that anyone in any kind of ministry should be doing it for free, to the downright evil concept of keeping the pastor near the poverty level to make sure he stays humble (yes, really). The Bible says pastors have a right to make their living from preaching the gospel, and that a workman is worthy of his hire. Check with your church’s finance and/or personnel committee. Is your pastor making an appropriate salary? Are his housing and insurance needs being met? Is he receiving adequate vacation and sick days? If not, see what you can do to help rectify the situation.

7. Conferences
There are lots of fantabulous Christian conferences out there that your pastor would probably love to attend, but it’s not in the church budget and he can’t afford it, personally. Find out his favorite or choose a great one (make sure you vet the speakers first to make sure they’re doctrinally sound), take up a special offering, and send him there, all expenses paid (conference admission and fees, travel, meals, lodging, and some extra “walking around money” for purchasing books, gifts, souvenirs, etc.).

8. Volunteer
One of the things that can be stressful for pastors is empty positions that need godly people to fill them. Volunteer to teach that Sunday School class, play the piano at the nursing home, help chaperone the youth trip, work in the nursery, get trained and run the sound board. Find out where you’re needed at your church and jump in and serve.

9. Help out around the house.
Pastors have those “fix it” needs around the house just like everybody else does. Are you good at repairing cars, fixing roofs, mowing grass, maintaining air conditioning units, cooking meals, or another special skill? Save your pastor some time, money, and effort by putting your experience to work for him at his home. 

10. Set the example of a healthy church member.
What could be more encouraging to a pastor than biblically healthy church members? Study your Bible. Be faithful in your church attendance. Pray for your pastor and the church. Serve where you’re needed. Don’t complain or criticize your pastor and others over petty matters. Avoid controversies and personality conflicts, and be a peacemaker. Walk in humility and selflessness, and give glory to God. Show appreciation for your pastors by setting a godly example for other church members and encouraging them to do the same. 

💥Bonus!💥 Get on social media, e-mail, or the phone and share this article around so your pastors don’t have to!

What are some other good ways we can show appreciation for,
and encourage, our pastors?

Celebrity Pastors, Discernment

Throwback Thursday ~ Stricter Judgment, Even for MY Favorite Teacher

Originally published September 29, 2017

It’s a funny thing that it’s so easy for us to see the far away faults and foibles of others, but the ones in our own hearts – the sins and hypocrisy we know most intimately – are constantly in our spiritual blind spot. Jesus understood this all too well and admonished us to make sure our own hands are clean before taking the tweezers to the mote in a sister’s eye.

Often, it’s not that we’re ignoring the plank that’s obscuring our vision, we’re just not even aware that it’s there. When I evaluate my own heart to confess my sins to the Lord, the ones that weigh heaviest on my spirit are not those that I know I’ve committed and need to repent of, it’s the ones I’m sure are lurking somewhere… but I can’t quite put my finger on them.

One of the subtle hypocrisies theologically orthodox, blameless and upright, discerning Christians can have trouble seeing in ourselves is our failure to hold our favorite pastors and teachers to the same biblical standards we apply to other pastors and teachers.

We correctly criticize Steven Furtick and Beth Moore for palling around with the likes of Joyce Meyer and T.D. Jakes, but when Lauren Chandler speaks at IF:Gathering several years in a row, co-hosts a summer Bible study with Beth Moore, and publicly declares her desire to meet Christine Caine, suddenly, it’s “touch not mine anointed” just because she’s married to our darling Matt1?

What if John MacArthur decided it would be a good idea to invite Joel Osteen to speak at ShepCon next year?

Or it came to light that Elisabeth Elliot preached to men?

Or you found out Paul Washer was a drunkard?

Would you make excuses for them? Sweep this stuff under the rug and continue to listen to their sermons and read their books without batting an eye?

Pastors and teachers don’t get a pass on sin just because they’re Reformed, or discerning, or have a virtually unblemished record of doctrinal soundness, or because they’re “one of the good guys.”

Pastors and teachers don’t get a pass on sin just because they’re Reformed, or discerning, or have a virtually unblemished record of doctrinal soundness, or because they’re “one of the good guys.” If they’re called to account, and they repent and strive toward holiness, hallelujah! That’s what God requires of all Christians – that we walk before Him blamelessly and bear fruit in keeping with repentance. But if they unrepentantly persist in sin despite biblical correction, there’s a problem there- with their own hearts, and with ours, if we knowingly turn a blind eye to their willful disobedience just because they’re our favorites.

God makes it clear throughout His Word that pastors, teachers, and others in positions of spiritual leadership bear a grave responsibility to set a godly example for those who look to them for teaching and guidance. And, in certain ways, God requires a higher standard for those in spiritual leadership than He requires of Christians He has not called to lead.

…No man of the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the Lord’s food offerings; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy things, but he shall not go through the veil or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries, for I am the Lord who sanctifies them…
Leviticus 21

…And Moses said to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar his sons, “Do not let the hair of your heads hang loose, and do not tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the congregation; but let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning that the Lord has kindled. And do not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you.” And they did according to the word of Moses…
Leviticus 10:1-11

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
Titus 2:7-8

not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:3

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
Philippians 3:17

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1

But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Luke 12:45-48

you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 
Romans 2:21-23

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 
James 3:1

As the passages above allude to, sound doctrine, while crucial, is not God’s only requirement for pastors and teachers. They are also required to rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine (not befriend them or join them on the conference dais). And Paul outlines the numerous behavioral requirements for pastors, elders, and deacons not once but twice, even going so far as to say that deacons must “prove themselves blameless” and that “an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach.” Right theology does not excuse wrong behavior.

Right theology does not excuse wrong behavior.

Why, then, when God’s standards for those who lead are so high, are we quick to sweep aside unrepentant wrongdoing by the teachers we hold most dear, sometimes even holding them to lower standards than we would hold ourselves? “I would never preach to men, but I’ll give Teacher X a pass on it.” “There’s no way I’d partner with a false teacher, but it’s not a big deal that Preacher Y does it.”

The Jesus who says “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” who says that even one sin is one sin too many, is not a God who is OK with His people glossing over disobedience. God wants sin dealt with, repented of, and forsaken, especially in those who lead, because receiving correction and repenting of sin sets a rare and phenomenal biblical example for Christians to follow.

The Jesus who says “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” who says that even one sin is one sin too many, is not a God who is OK with His people glossing over disobedience.

Do we go off the deep end and reject a trustworthy teacher the first time she does something a little iffy? Of course not. But should we step back, keep a closer, more objective eye on her and her trajectory as time goes by to see if she corrects her course? Yes. Should we stop following her if she continues to dive deeper and deeper into sin with no signs of turning around? Even if she’s always been doctrinally sound? Even if she’s complementarian? Even if she attends a church with a good theological reputation? Even if we’ve enjoyed all of her books thus far? Definitely.

Let’s shed some light on those blind spots our favorite teachers occupy and let our highest loyalty be to Christ, His Word, and His standards for leadership.


¹Sadly (click link on Lauren Chandler’s name), since the original publication of this article, Matt Chandler should no longer be “our darling Matt,” either.