Christian women, Church, Holidays (Other), Reformation Day

8 Theses for Women of the Modern Day Reformation

Reformation Day is Monday, October 31.

Originally published October 20, 2017

October 31, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, and because I’m all theme-y and whatnot, I’m in the midst of a fantastic book called Reformation Women by Rebecca VanDoodewaard who I dearly wish were on social media so I could shamelessly fangirl her and make a general nuisance of myself by asking too many questions. Normally, I would actually finish a book before slobberingly commending it to you, but in case you like being all theme-y and whatnot too, and because time is of the essence, I’m throwing caution to the wind and telling you:

Get this book. Now. You’re welcome.

Normally, when we read about the Reformation, we’re reading about great preachers and leaders like Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Hus, but preaching was not the only work of the Reformation. And that’s one of the things that has captivated me about Rebecca’s book. All of the women included therein were strikingly courageous, tireless laborers, who contributed greatly  to the success of the Reformation, and they did it all while coloring inside the lines of biblical womanhood – doing vital work godly women are uniquely equipped by Christ to do. They opened their homes as a refuge to scores of Protestants (often including those aforementioned notable preachers and other integral leaders) fleeing for their lives from Catholic marauders. They set up prison ministries and fed and clothed the poor. They nursed their communities through the Plague. Those who were queens and princesses used their power to protect Reformers and change persecutory laws. Those who were married to pastors and leaders helped in their ministries and edited their books and papers. And they wrote. Poetry. Position papers. Booklets. Letters. What a happy discovery (for me, anyway) to find sisters of the quill from so long ago.

All of these women were strikingly courageous, tireless laborers, who contributed greatly  to the success of the Reformation, and they did it all while coloring inside the lines of biblical womanhood.

But these great ladies were not our only foremothers in the faith. For as long as God’s people have been God’s people, God’s people have rebelled and needed to be reformed. In fact, that’s the entire, overarching theme of the Old Testament- the need for Israel to reform from its idolatry. And all along the way we see faithful women like Deborah, Jael, Esther, Jehosheba, Jedidah, Huldah, Samson’s mother, and others willing to buck the trend of sin and rebellion and point the way back to God and holy living by their deeds and the example of their lives.

The New Testament gives us extraordinary examples such as the women who ministered to Jesus during His earthly ministry, stood by Him at the cross, and were the first ones at His tomb. Priscilla, Lydia, Dorcas, Eunice, Lois, Phoebe and other believing women soon followed, all lending their aid in their own unique ways to reforming dead, legalistic Judaism into biblical Christianity.

All of these great women of God, serving Him through thousands of years as only godly women can, laying the foundation with their blood, sweat, and tears, for the church we know today.

But have we “arrived”? Is the need for women to work for reform in the church a fast fading dot in the rear-view mirror of modern day evangelicalism? Judging from the articles I read and the e-mails I receive about the problems in the church, the answer to that question would be a big, fat “no.”

Perhaps armies of the Catholic “church” no longer hunt down fleeing Protestants. And, maybe Nero isn’t using Christians as torches for his garden parties any more (although there are certainly areas of the world where our brothers and sisters in Christ face similar threats every day). But the stealth, guerrilla warfare Satan has been waging against the Western church in recent decades might be even more damaging. Certainly, it’s more diffuse and wider spread. Instead of raping the bride of Christ, Satan has chosen instead to seduce her. Why forge an enemy when you can woo a lover?

Instead of raping the bride of Christ, Satan has chosen instead to seduce her. Why forge an enemy when you can woo a lover?

False teachers. Word of Faith heresy. The New Apostolic Reformation. Abuse in the church. Biblical illiteracy. “Lone Ranger” Christians. Idolatry. Irreverence in the sanctuary.

It is easy to see why the heart of the Protestant Reformation was Semper Reformanda– “always reforming.” The work of fighting for sound doctrine, biblical worship, and pure hearts and hands never, never, never ends.

So what does it look like to be a woman of the modern day Reformation? What can we church ladies do to help turn the tide of apostasy in Christendom? Permit me to nail eight theses to the door of your church.

What does it look like to be a woman of the modern day Reformation? What can we church ladies do to help turn the tide of apostasy in Christendom? Permit me to nail eight theses to the door of your church…

1.
Realize You Can’t Change the World

None of the women named earlier in this article changed the world or the entire church. Not a single one of them. In fact some of them brought about great changes in their locales that were overturned in the years after their deaths.

The problems facing the church today are overwhelming. You’re one person. You can’t fix everything (and God doesn’t expect you to). Maybe you can’t even fix everything in your own church. But what you can do is determine to be faithful to Christ and His Word in your sphere of influence. Bloom where you’re planted. “Brighten the corner where you are“, as the old gospel song says. You can’t do everything, but what’s something you can do?

2.
Color Inside the Lines

One of the major problems plaguing the church today is Christian women who rebel against God’s word by stepping outside the boundaries God has drawn for women in the family and the church. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by following suit in your zeal to reform. There’s plenty of work to be done by godly women – work that we’re better equipped for than men – without violating Scripture.

3.
Mind Your Demeanor

No, we shouldn’t be wishy washy milksops or mealy-mouthed shrinking violets. But we also shouldn’t be loud-mouthed harpies, brashly marching into hell with a water pistol (just trust my own failures on this one). We need to be velvet-covered bricks: soft on the outside, firm on the inside. We should attain to all the Christlike virtues of demeanor: patience, kindness, compassion, mercy, and grace mingled with an unyielding stand on Scripture and an uncompromising commitment to Christ. For some of us, the former comes easier. For some of us, the latter. But we must seek that godly balance as we go about the work of the Kingdom.

4.
Serve the Local Church

If you have rejected the mere idea of local church membership and think you’re going to bring about change from the outside as an unchurched (or functionally unchurched) writer, speaker, or Christian celebrity, you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution. The church is God’s plan for Christianity, not evangelical gurus. Do whatever you have to do to find a doctrinally sound one, join it, and get to work serving.

The church is God’s plan for Christianity, not evangelical gurus.

5.
Pray

When it comes to the church, fixing what’s broken doesn’t rest on your shoulders. Spiritual problems require spiritual solutions, and only God can bring those about. You can defend Scripture til you’re blue in the face or explain all day long why someone is a false teacher, but only God can lift the veil and enlighten the eyes of the heart. Be faithful in your efforts, but be more faithful in prayer. Like the persistent widow, grab hold of the Lord on behalf of the church and don’t let go.

6.
Teach Other Women

In my experience, the number one way false doctrine enters the church is through women’s ministry and women’s “Bible” study. You want to work for reform in the church? Work on reforming your church’s women’s ministry. Explain to your sisters why that divangelista is a false teacher. Request Bible study classes that study the actual Bible. Volunteer to organize the next women’s conference or retreat and schedule doctrinally sound speakers. Teach a women’s or girls’ Sunday School class. Transform the church by transforming the hearts and minds of women.

Transform the church by transforming the hearts and minds of women.

7.
Help

The book of Exodus tells the story of Israel’s battle with Amalek. When Moses held up his arms, Israel prevailed. When he let down his arms, Amalek prevailed. Eventually, Aaron and Hur came alongside Moses and held up his arms for him so that Israel could win the battle. Who was more important to Israel’s victory in this story- Moses or Aaron and Hur? If you answered “both,” you’re correct. Israel couldn’t have won without Moses holding up his hands, but Moses couldn’t have held up his hands without Aaron and Hur. Most of the women of the Old Testament, New Testament, and Protestant Reformation who effected godly change among God’s people were not Moseses. They were Aarons and Hurs. What can you do to hold up the arms of your pastor, your elders, your husband, your church?

8.
Stand

Make sure you know your Bible backwards, forwards, and upside down in context. Know right from wrong, the biblical from the unbiblical. Learn what God’s word says, and stand. Don’t back down. Do it with a godly demeanor, but do it. Refusing to budge from the truth of Scripture might cost you your “church”. It might cost you your family and friends. It might cost you your job, your reputation, and your finances (as we’ve seen in recent years with Christians in the business world who have refused to cave to the homosexual agenda). But as our brothers and sisters who went to the fiery stake, the dank prison cell, and the gallows would tell you, fidelity to God’s Word is worth it. Loyalty to Christ is worth anything it might cost you. Stand.

As our brothers and sisters who went to the fiery stake, the dank prison cell, and the gallows would tell you, fidelity to God’s Word is worth it. Loyalty to Christ is worth anything it might cost you. Stand.

Whether your women’s ministry is using a book by a false teacher, there’s a faction of backbiters in the church that needs to be quelled, or your pastor is overwhelmed and needs some help, there’s something in your church that you can pray about, help with, or work on to help it move toward spiritual health. The church needs discerning, biblically knowledgeable, mature Christian women to step up and fight ungodliness whenever and wherever we’re able. Will you be a courageous laborer in the modern day Reformation?

The church needs discerning, biblically knowledgeable, mature Christian women to step up and fight ungodliness whenever and wherever we’re able. Will you be a courageous laborer in the modern day Reformation?

Holidays (Other), Reformation Day

A RefHERmation Day Study

Originally published October 31, 2018

Reformation Day is Monday, October 31.

This article is excerpted from my Bible study
Imperishable Beauty: A Study of Biblical Womanhood.

What better way to celebrate Reformation Day and biblical womanhood than to combine the two? Today, we’re going to take a look at some women in Reformation history and in biblical history who exemplified biblical womanhood by influencing others toward godliness.

Choose any of the women below and read their stories (click on their names). Then consider the following questions:

1. In what ways did this woman exemplify biblical womanhood in her culture, context, circumstances, family situation, or church?

2. Which godly character traits or Fruit of the Spirit were especially obvious in her life, words, and actions?

3. Which Scripture passages come to mind as you read this woman’s story? In what ways did she live these Scriptures out (or fail to live them out)?

4. Are there any instances of sin in this woman’s story? If so, how can you learn from what she did wrong and avoid this sin in your own life?

5. How does this woman set a godly example that you can apply to your own life?

6. In what ways did this woman point someone to Jesus, serve the Kingdom, or help God’s people?

Women of the Bible

Esther

Ruth

Abigail

Deborah and Jael

Miriam

Mary

Priscilla

Lydia

Dorcas

Women of the Reformation

Catherine d’Bourbon

Jeanne D’Albret

Marguerite de Navarre

Katharina Schutz Zell

Anna Adlischweiler

Anna Reinhard

Katharina von Bora Luther

Podcast Appearances

Podcast Guest Appearance – Bibledingers

Don’t worry, this episode was not about complementing Arians! :0)

It was so great to sit down and chat with my new friends Ryan and Nick over at Bibledingers recently!

We talked about all things complementarian – the biblical foundation for the complementarian position, the Scriptures egalitarians twist to try to justify their position, godly women in the Bible, and the crucial roles women play in the church and the home. The guys even had some great words of wisdom for all you husbands out there!

Listen in here or check out episode 78 of Bibledingers on your favorite podcast platform!

Be sure to visit the Bibledingers website for blog articles, videos, gear, and all the Bibledingers’ social media links. Subscribe and follow!


Articles / resources mentioned or touched on in the episode:

Rock Your Role: All Things Being Equal

Rock Your Role article series

The Mailbag: Counter Arguments to Egalitarianism


Got a podcast of your own or have a podcasting friend who needs a guest? Need a speaker for a women’s conference or church event? Click the “Speaking Engagements” tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page, drop me an e-mail, and let’s chat!

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Asked and Answered

Good morning, readers. It is an honor and a joy to serve you in Christ. Welcome to all the newbies and to you seasoned veterans of the blog.

Because some of y’all are new, you aren’t yet aware of all of the resources here to help you. Or maybe you’ve been around a while and haven’t noticed something that might be helpful. Let’s remedy that!

First, if you’re new (or if you’ve never read it), check out Blog Orientation for New Readers and Old Friends. It’s like a CliffsNotes intro to the blog.

Second, be sure to familiarize yourself with all of the tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of the page. That’s where I keep the info I’m most frequently asked about.

Third, there’s a search bar at the bottom of every page (and one in the blue menu bar at the top of every page) which might help you find what you need.

Fourth, if you don’t find your question answered in one of these ways or below, you might want to check previous Asked & Answered articles and The Mailbag: Top 10 FAQs.

And finally, let me get you new readers some answers to the questions several of you have asked. Some of you long time friends may have missed these along the way, so I hope they’ll be helpful to you, too!


[Instagrammer asks a question in the comments or DMs me a question]

I love my Instagram followers! Most of you are very sweet and kind, and you ask some really smart questions!

But a lot of you a) don’t seem to know that I have a blog, and b) aren’t familiar with how I use Instagram and how I do correspondence. I totally get that. A lot of you are new and Instagram seems to have a high turnover, and a much higher “hit or miss” with posts than other social media platforms. (Plus, I’m a weirdo and don’t use Instagram the way most influencers do. I mainly use it to tell you what’s on the blog each day.)

So, let me try to help. If you’ve commented or DM’d me a question and I haven’t answered, I would encourage you to watch “Questions” and “Get Info” in my highlights. (In fact, you might want to watch “Need a church?” “Warning,” and “New?” too.)

This is included in the “Questions?” highlight from a Mailbag article. I think it will be helpful to all of my social media and blog followers.


I’m in the market for a new Bible. What would you recommend? I really appreciate your ministry!

Thank you so much for your kind words. And thank you to all my followers who take a moment to encourage me with your comments. As you might imagine, and have probably witnessed, I catch a lot of flak via email and social media from people who don’t like or misunderstand things I’ve said and written. The encouragement is greatly needed and appreciated.

You’re right on time with your question! Amy and I answered it on a recent Glad You Asked episode of the podcast, and that answer was largely based on my blog article The Mailbag: Which Bible Do You Recommend?


God bless you, I wanted to reach out to see if you do Bible studies or if you know any through Zoom with other ladies.

It depends on what you mean by “do Bible studies”. If you’re asking whether or not I teach Bible studies in a video or livestream format, the answer is no, for two reasons. First, at the moment, I don’t have time. Second, I really think you should be meeting in person with a small group for Bible study – ideally with women from your own church and with oversight from your pastor. I understand there are situations in which that isn’t possible, but that is the ideal I want to encourage women toward. God’s plan is the in person assembling of the local church, not Zoom.

I do write Bible studies, though. They are all free, all suitable for groups or individuals, and all designed to teach you how to study or teach straight from the text of Scripture. If you’re new to that idea, I would encourage you to find a friend or a small group of friends, pick one of my studies, and work through it together.

You can find all of my studies and more helpful resources at the Bible Studies tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

And speaking of Bible studies…

Are your Bible studies able to print off?!

Yes. Click the “Bible Studies” link above for all the info and instructions.

Can you recommend a good daily devotional book for a 17-year-old girl? Our granddaughter is having surgery in a few days and I was hoping to send her a little get well soon package and I would like to include a devotional.

What a blessing to have a godly grandma! I’m sorry, but, on principle, I don’t recommend what I call “canned” Bible studies and devotionals. I recommend that Christians read and study straight from the text of Scripture. (You can read more about why at the “Bible Studies” link above, and in my article The Mailbag: Can you recommend a good Bible study for women/teens/kids?.)

May I make a suggestion? Instead of a devotional, how about a new Bible? Or perhaps you could find a small “for those recovering from illness/surgery” gift book of selections from the Psalms, or a “coffee table” type book that is mostly artwork or photography, accompanied by Bible verses. There are also “Bibles” that are Psalms and Proverbs only. (Just make sure all of these books use a reliable translation of Scripture.) If you want to go a little higher tech, consider an iTunes gift card so she can download her favorite (doctrinally sound) Christian music, or a subscription to AGTV.


The women’s group of the church that we are attending will be doing a Priscilla Shirer simulcast. I have read your article about Ms. Shirer and have decided to abstain from attending the event. How do I lovingly but truthfully tell the women in this group why I am refusing to attend and why I feel this is not someone whom we should be promoting? (unless of course, Ms. Shirer has changed her stance since your article was written). My husband and I believe [our pastor] to be of sound doctrine [but] I am certain that he is oblivious to P. Shirer. [I] hope that you can help me “find the right words” to discuss this with those involved.

I am so sorry this is happening in your church. I have been in exactly that situation, so I know what it’s like.

Here are a couple of articles I think will be of help:

The Mailbag: How should I approach my church leaders about a false teacher they’re introducing? I would suggest approaching your women’s ministry leader (or whoever is most immediately in charge of the simulcast) first, then working your way up the chain of command until you’ve spoken to the pastor, if necessary.

The Mailbag: Should I attend the “Bible” study to correct false doctrine? (I know you’ve already decided not to attend the simulcast, but I think some of the info in this article will still be helpful.)

Just a note to all of my readers on the “unless she ‘has changed her stance since your article was written'” part: You’ll notice at the top of my article on Priscilla it says, “This article is kept continuously updated as needed.” (I think I’ve remembered to put this at the top of all of my articles on particular teachers? If I missed one, let me know.) Translation: “Yes, I originally wrote this article in 2015, but I go back and update it – fix links, add or delete info, etc. – whenever I feel it’s necessary.”.

If any teacher I’ve ever written an article about genuinely gets saved, repents of her false teaching, etc., I promise you, unless I’m somehow Providentially hindered, you will hear about it from me ASAP. That is not something I’m going to neglect to update you on (and rejoice with you about!) immediately. In the meantime, you can safely assume that the information in my articles is still accurate and applicable and that the teacher is either still status quo with the info in the article, or has gotten worse.


I have several Bible apps, and recently you gave info in one of your mailbags that YouVersion app is not recommended, and knowing now what I didn’t know then, I uninstalled it. I did find it easy to navigate and the search capability was good, but I no longer want anything to do with it. If you could kindly lead me to one that is as user friendly, I need an app that you recommend that is as simple as me. Lol

I like to keep things simple, too. I hope you’ll find my article My Favorite Bible & Study Apps to be helpful.


Our church has a mixed adult Sunday school. My conviction has been silence as I do not want the appearance of teaching men. I am discouraged as most of the responses in the hour of teaching is from the women in the group even though our church only allows men to be in teaching positions. I would genuinely like to hear your thoughts on this. I have appreciated your podcast and website information.

I know it can be discouraging when it seems like men are being less manly or exhibiting less leadership than we would hope. I would encourage you to kindly talk to your pastor or elders about your concerns and ask for some insight as well.

In this particular situation, it may be wise to answer fewer questions, or make fewer comments than you normally would, not because you would be teaching (or even giving the appearance of teaching), but because it might give the men more space to get a word in edgewise. If this dynamic is really problematic, I wonder if it might be helpful to split the class into a men’s class and a women’s class. Perhaps that way the men would feel more comfortable contributing. Maybe that’s something you can discuss with your pastor or elders.

I’ve explained why women answering questions and participating in the discussion in a co-ed Sunday School / Bible study class isn’t teaching men or a violation of Scripture in my article Rock Your Role FAQs #4.


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.

Complementarianism

Throwback Thursday ~ Fencing Off the Forbidden Fruit Tree

Originally published April 26 2016

Often, with regard to 1 Timothy 2:12, husbands and pastors will reassure a woman that it’s OK for her to teach that co-ed Sunday School class or step into a church leadership role reserved for men because she’ll be doing so “under his [husband’s or pastor’s] authority.”

But is that biblical?

When God tells us (in context, rightly handled, of course) not to do something and we do it anyway, that is sin. Only God has the authority to say what is sin and what is not. No one – not your pastor, your husband, your parents, your best friend, the Pope, nobody – has the authority to tell you that it’s OK to do something God has said is sin. That authority belongs to God alone.

Try inserting any other sin into that situation. Does your husband, pastor, or anyone else have the authority to tell you it’s OK to lie? Cuss? Covet? Of course not. And why would they even consider doing such a thing?

My point exactly.

The issue here is that this particular sin (teaching/exercising authority over men) has become so acceptable in the church that we no longer even see it as sin. If your husband or pastor gave you the go ahead to preach to or teach men in the gathered assembly of the church body, and you were to ask him to show you in Scripture where God says it’s OK for him to allow you to do that, he would quickly realize that he is not basing his decision on Scripture (because there is no Scripture that allows him to give you that permission), but on his own personal opinion that it’s OK. And that opinion has been heavily influenced by the fact that this sin is now so widely acceptable in the church at large.

Beth Moore is a perfect example of why husbands and pastors should not allow or encourage women to violate God’s word by teaching men. Beth Moore started out teaching a women’s Sunday school class in her home church. It grew. Men wanted to attend the class (a problem I’ve addressed here). She was hesitant, so she talked to her husband and pastor about it. They both told her it was OK because she would be teaching the men “under their authority” (despite the fact that there’s no passage of Scripture that allows them to say that or gives them the right to lay some sort of “mantle of authority” on her) That initial compromise led to another and another. Fast forward to today, and this is still the argument Beth Moore – in all of her false doctrinal glory – uses for preaching to men if she bothers to defend herself at all. And she has influenced thousands of women (and their husbands and pastors) to do the same.

But it doesn’t matter how sound our doctrine is, when women stand in front of co-ed groups and teach (or accept positions of authority over men in the church) we are teaching more than just what’s coming out of our mouths. We’re teaching that group of people by example that it’s OK for women to teach men. That God’s Word can be ignored and disobeyed in this area while we stand there urging them to obey it in other areas. How can a woman exhort a group to obey God while she is standing there disobeying Him herself?

It’s my prayer that we’ll begin to see more husbands and pastors uphold God’s Word and protect their wives and female church members from sinning by encouraging them to fulfill all of the wonderful roles God has for women in the church and by fencing off that one tree in the garden that bears the forbidden fruit of teaching and exercising authority over men.

Adapted from a Facebook mini-blog.


Additional Resources:

Rock Your Role

Rock Your Role: Jill in the Pulpit

Rock Your Role FAQs

The Mailbag: Counter Arguments to Egalitarianism

The Mother of All Rebellions: Having a Woman Preach on Mother’s Day

Why Asking Women to Preach Is Spiritual Abuse by Josh Buice