Mailbag, Marriage

The Mailbag: My fiance and I don’t agree on theology

Originally published November 27, 2017

After struggling to find a solid local church, I finally found one that’s gospel-centered. I have been fellowshipping there for close to 6 months now and am planning to pursue membership soon. My fiancé is a godly man, but he lives in another town, so he fellowships and serves in a church which he knows has some unbiblical doctrinal issues I won’t compromise on. After our wedding, we plan to live in the town he currently resides in. There are no Bible believing churches around (all are prosperity gospel churches). I am confused because I am not ready to listen to unsound teaching and later bring up my children in a community I don’t agree with theologically.

That’s such a difficult dilemma to be caught in, and I certainly do sympathize. An engagement period should be a joyful time of planning your wedding and your subsequent life together, not agonizing over major disagreements.

That said, it is good that you recognized this problem before the wedding rather than after, and I would strongly encourage you not to move ahead with the marriage unless and until the two of you have come to a biblical agreement on the matter.

Marriage can be challenging even when you agree on all the important stuff. But when you staunchly disagree on what should be the most important issue in your marriage – Christ, His Word, and His church – it can be devastating. Even if you think you are spiritually mature enough to work through the issue and remain committed to your vows, your husband might not be, and could decide he’d rather give up on the marriage than continue to struggle.

There are a couple of Scripture passages I’d encourage you to take a look at as you continue to work through this dilemma:

2 Corinthians 6:14-18: Though verse 14 of this passage clearly says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers,” (You said your fiancé was a godly man, so I’m assuming he’s a Believer.) and though the context of this passage is more broadly about the church yoking with unbelievers than it is about marriage, there are still some important applications to your situation.

Get a good picture in your mind of two oxen being yoked together to pull a plow or wagon, because that’s the image the Holy Spirit is giving us in this passage. Even if you’re both oxen (i.e. both Believers) what’s going to happen if you’re pulling one direction and your husband is pulling the other direction? Or if you’re pulling one direction and he digs his hooves in and refuses to budge? To plow rightly, you’ve got to be pulling in the same direction together. What would happen if you yoked a full grown ox with a small calf? Even if you’re pulling the same direction, that yoke is going to rub one or both of you raw, cause blisters, etc. Prayerfully think about the words “yoked,” “partnership,” “fellowship,” “accord,” “share,” and “agreement” in this passage in light of the spiritual differences between you and your fiancé.

Ephesians 5:22-33: Examine what this passage calls you to in your role as a wife: Submit to your husband. Respect your husband. Already you have an issue because when it comes to your husband requiring you to do something ungodly (such as attend and raise your children in a heretical “church”) you, as a Believer, must obey God rather than men.”

Now examine the role this passage calls your husband to. Is he giving himself up for you as Christ did for the church in order to make sure you grow and flourish in sound doctrine in your relationship with the Lord? (v. 25-27) Is he nourishing and cherishing your sanctification? Is he loving you as his own flesh?

In addition to praying and studying the Scriptures, it would be very helpful to make an appointment with your pastor (not his) for pre-marital counseling. He can lead the two of you to talk through the issue and determine whether or not you can resolve it in a biblical way. Your fiancé’s responses should give you a clearer picture of what to do, and if he refuses pastoral counseling, that should also be an indicator about which direction your relationship should go.

Husbands and wives do not have to agree verbatim – although it’s wonderful if they do – on every teensy tinsy molecule of doctrine or the marriage is doomed. (My husband and I have a few minor theological disagreements, but we’re in agreement about 98% of the time, and certainly on all the most important tenets of doctrine.) But heresy versus sound doctrine is not a teensy tinsy molecule of doctrine. It is a major issue that will harmfully impact your marriage and your children – in more ways than you can now imagine – for the rest of your lives. I would strongly encourage you to put the wedding on hold until this issue is resolved in a biblical way. Your love for and loyalty to Christ must take precedence over your love for and loyalty to any man:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:26

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” 
Matthew 10:34-37


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.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (What is Word of Faith?… Readers’ help needed… Foreign language resources… How to find a wife… Fundraisers… Should I get re-baptized?)

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.


Do you have an article somewhere on this site about the deceptiveness of the word of faith movement? I tried using the search bar to find it but didn’t come up with anything. I have family members deeply rooted in this and have my own conflicting views on it and would love a nice breakdown of why you are so against it. Thank you so much for your blog and for your time.

You know, I never did write an article specifically on the Word of Faith movement, and I really should have. All I can say is that at the point in time several years ago when I was thinking about writing one, it was looking rather like the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) was going to swallow up the Word of Faith movement all together, so that’s where I concentrated my efforts.

To some extent, that “swallowing up” has happened, but we do still see some “churches” that are still mostly “pure” Word of Faith. In my opinion, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood is one good example of that. He’s still all about the health, wealth, and prosperity, but has never really gotten into the crazy antics of the NAR like faith healing, raising the dead, prophesying, holy laughter, being slain in the spirit, the apostolic structure and hierarchy of the NAR, and things of that nature.

The reason “I’m against” (and every genuinely regenerated Christian should be) both WoF and NAR is because they’re both literal heresy. They’re both the “different gospel” Galatians 1:6-9 anathematizes.

  • Neither of them worships the God of the Bible, but an idol they’ve created to appease the lusts of their flesh. They’ve simply stolen the names “God,” “Jesus,” “Holy Spirit,” etc., from the Bible and plastered them on these false gods they’ve created to do their bidding.
  • The “salvation” they promise is not salvation from sin unto obedience to Christ, but “salvation” from poverty, problems, illness, lack of success, and so on.
  • They don’t teach that we need to come to Jesus in repentance and faith because we’re sinners in need of a Savior, but rather that their “Jesus” can make all our problems disappear and all our dreams come true, very much like the crowds who followed Jesus just to see a miracle, get healed, get fed, or because they thought He was going to overthrow Rome and lift their oppression.

And there’s so much more. Let me give you some resources I hope will help:

The Mailbag: Should I Say, or Should I Go?

The Mailbag: What is the New Apostolic Reformation?

The Mailbag: Should Christians listen to “Reckless Love”?

God’s Not Like “Whatever, Dude,” About The Way He’s Approached in Worship

Is the Word of Faith movement biblical? at GotQuestions

White Paper: Word of Faith at Berean Research

Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel by Kate Bowler (You may want to check your local public library for this one to save a little money. It was available at mine.)

Defining Deception, God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel, and More than a Healer by Costi Hinn


Our church ladies are searching for a presentation of Christ’s redemptive work from Genesis to Revelation. Supposedly it’s out there but no one can recall who authored it and/or put the study together…

I suspect John MacArthur and/or R.C. Sproul have some sort of teaching, book, etc., on this, but at the moment it’s not ringing a bell for me.

Readers, it sounds like they’re looking for something in particular rather than suggestions. Does this sound familiar to anybody? Comment below (not on social media), and I’ll alert the lady who sent in the question to keep an eye on the comments section.


I have a friend who speaks very little English and she wants to know more about the Bible and I would like to recommend a solid teacher who speaks Portuguese or has an interpreter as she really needs to grow in the Word of God.

I don’t personally know of any well known pastors or teachers who speak Portuguese, but many have had their materials translated into Portuguese. Here are a few to get you started:

John MacArthur’s books and materials (Just type “Portuguese” into the search bar)

Ligonier’s books and materials

Paul Washer’s books

I also found a number of sermons on YouTube that have either been captioned, dubbed, or translated into Portuguese. (For example: Paul Washer, John MacArthur)

Here’s what I would suggest. Go up to the blue menu bar at the top of this page and click on Recommended Bible Teachers. Scroll down to the men, gather up some names, and start typing them into both Google and YouTube followed by the word “Portuguese” (ex: “John MacArthur Portuguese”). Also try it without the last “e” as “Português” is the Portuguese word for “Portuguese” (like Español is the Spanish word for “Spanish”). I don’t think any of the women on that list have had anything translated into Porguguese with the possible exceptions of Martha Peace and Susan Heck.

Hi—do you have any recommendations for pastors who put out content in Spanish? My boyfriend cannot benefit from the teachings of any of the wonderful Biblically-sound pastors that you recommend, because he doesn’t speak English!

Try the websites and suggestions above, substituting “Spanish / Español” for “Portuguese / Português”. I think you’ll find some good resources.

Also—do you know of sound churches in Tijuana?

I don’t personally know of any, but I would encourage you to exhaust all of the church search engines at the Searching for a new church? tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.


What advice for a Christian who is looking for a female to marry. [This Instagram “Christian” dating page] follows one of the Bethel Churches, and I’m skeptical on attending [their dating event].

I would guess that most “Christian” dating sites are a lot like most “Christian” book stores: lots of anything and everything that calls itself “Christian” (regardless of whether or not it’s biblical) and a tiny handful of actual Christian.

I’ve been married almost 30 years, so this is not really my wheelhouse. The best advice I can give you is to join a doctrinally sound church if you’re not already a member of one. The first and most important reason for this is that Scripture commands it, and if you’re a Christian, you’re to obey God’s Word. (If you need some help in your search, click here.)

But a side effect of being a faithful, invested member of a doctrinally sound local church is that, as you’re growing into a more godly man, the single women of your church are growing into godly women with the same beliefs and theology as yours, which is vital to a healthy, Christ-centered marriage.

If your church is short on single women, set up an appointment with your pastor and talk things over with him. I would also suggest talking with a few of the spiritually mature older women in your church, letting them know you’re looking for a godly woman to marry so they can be on the lookout, but it would be a good idea to bounce this off your pastor first.


I absolutely love your page and the wisdom you share! Would you please share the link to my fundraiser on your social media?

I am so sorry, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing fundraisers of people I don’t know or have any sort of relationship with. There are soooooo many online scammers out there, and there’s really no way for me to vet you and your fundraiser and find out if you’re legit. My followers trust me, and I don’t want to pass along something that might turn out to be a scam.


I did not grow up in the church, let along hearing God’s word, and it wasn’t until I got married that I started going to church and reading my Bible. My husband was Lutheran, so I went through confirmation class and then was baptized by sprinkling. It never occurred to me what baptism really meant and it’s definition until we became reformed Baptist. I have been studying and learning about baptism more lately and it has been convicting me to be baptized; again. I feel that my understanding of the outward expression of what baptism is definitely has changed. I truly believe that baptism should be full immersion; symbolizing the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and myself dying with Jesus and being born again in Jesus. So should I be baptized by full immersion, with the new understanding of what it is, or is my first baptism just as good? My pastor told me that because I was not fully immersed that technically I should not be taking communion because he said both go hand-in-hand. I don’t want to do something wrong by being baptized again but I also don’t want to do something wrong by not being baptized by full immersion. My conviction has been on my heart for a while now to be baptized again but I want to make sure that it’s the Holy Spirit convicting me and not just my heart telling me to do something.

I think your pastor is right, and you should trust him. If you’re unclear about the reasons he has given you for being re-baptized, ask him to explain again.

Please accept this in the spirit of love and concern in which I offer it – I hope you will give this some thought: Why would you trust the counsel of a stranger on the internet over your pastor’s counsel? If you don’t trust him and/or you disagree with the theology he’s teaching you, why are you still a member of that church? Just something to think about.


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

Mythbusting Complementarianism: 4 Truths Egalitarians Need to Know About Complementarian Women

Originally published May 31, 2019

I am often frustrated in my role as a complementarian¹ woman. I am not frustrated by what God teaches in the Bible about my roles in the home and the church. I am not frustrated in carrying out those roles. I am not frustrated by complementarian men.

I am frustrated by egalitarians – most of the ones who have crossed my path, anyway – because of the incorrect assumptions they make about me and other complementarian women².

And it’s not just that the assumptions are wrong, it’s that the assumptions are often hypocritically, “log in the eye,” wrong. Then, they turn around and use these false assumptions as reasons to fight against complementarianism. But the reasons don’t exist. They’re shadow boxing. Fighting against a ghost. If you’re going to fight for something, your fight should at least be based on legitimate reasons.

I’m under no delusions that this article will change the hearts and minds of egalitarians, but if I could, here’s what I’d try to help them understand…

1.
It’s a spiritual issue.

I know this isn’t going to be popular. I know I’m going to be called judgmental and harsh and any number of other printable and unprintable names, but I’m going to say this anyway because this is the crucial element on which this entire complementarian vs. egalitarian argument rests.

This is a spiritual issue. It’s not an oppressors versus victims issue, it’s not about power or position or circumstances or legalism or casting off shackles. It’s not about any of those visible, tangible, surface level things we think it’s about. This goes beyond the earthly realm and has its foundation in the invisible, spiritual realm. The reason you hold the positions and opinions you hold as an individual is based on one thing – your relationship with God. This is a me versus God issue. Do you love and obey God as a genuinely regenerated Christian, or do you reject Him and rebel against His commands as someone who is still lost?

The Bible makes crystal clear from Genesis to Revelation that people who genuinely know and love God obey Him, and that if you don’t obey Him, you don’t know Him or love Him. Over and over and over again we see this through Israel’s countless cycles of idolatry and the prophets calling them to repentance in the Old Testament, to John’s near broken-record repetition of the theme in the New Testament. Scripture is clear. Love of God and obedience to God are inextricably and irreducibly intertwined.

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:3-6

Additionally, if you’re not saved – a “natural man” – the things of God are folly to you. It’s not that you’re smarter or enlightened or have a different opinion than those who obey Scripture. It’s that you’re spiritually incapable of accepting, embracing, and obeying what God has told you to do. That’s why you see those of us who do as fools.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14

Let me say it plainly. If your general trajectory in life is to consistently find yourself angered by, indifferent to, or unable to accept the plain meaning of Scripture, and your heart persists in fighting back against God’s Word even if you’ve been biblically corrected, you are almost certainly not saved.³ That’s not me saying that. That’s a whole lot of Scripture saying that. Regardless of how saved you feel. Despite what you may claim to be. No matter what people have told you about your salvation. God says loving Him equals walking with Him toward embracing, loving, and obeying His commands. And that includes His commands about the roles of men and women.

This is the fundamental reason most egalitarians disagree with most complementarians. It’s usually not that either side doesn’t understand what the other side stands for. It’s that both sides generally do understand what the other side stands for and they reject the other side’s view because of where they are, spiritually.

(Addendum: After I published this article, a few people responded who seemed to misunderstand what I’ve said in this paragraph. Let me see if I can clarify:

1) You’ll notice I’ve used words/phrases (“most egalitarians,” “general trajectory,” “almost certainly,” etc.) indicating that this is a broad, general principle, not something that is universally deterministic about every single individual who has ever had an egalitarian-esque thought cross her mind.

2) I am not saying that holding to an egalitarian viewpoint is what makes someone unsaved. Rejecting the gospel is what makes someone unsaved. What I am saying is that most people who are already false converts gravitate toward the egalitarian viewpoint as a fruit of the pre-existing condition of being unsaved. It is a logical fallacy to turn that statement around and assume I mean the converse to be true.

3) I certainly believe it is possible for genuinely regenerated Christians to have good faith, incorrect interpretations or understandings of Scripture – starting with me. When my husband and I picked out wedding vows 26 years ago, I flatly refused to use any set of vows that said I would “obey” him and only grudgingly agreed to a set that used the word “submit” instead. Embarrassingly, in our wedding video, you can clearly hear me hesitate before repeating that part of the vows. About 10-15 years ago I held a position of local denominational leadership that I’m only now beginning to see I probably, in some respects, shouldn’t have held. One reason for that is that on two or three occasions the position required me to speak to local congregations during their midweek services on a biblical topic which could not be properly addressed without explaining Scripture. Do I think I was unsaved because I thought those things were OK at the time? Of course not. But I’ll tell you this – over time, the Holy Spirit convicted me of those things and I repented. And as I’ve grown in Christ my rebellious attitudes and misunderstandings of those Scriptures and others have increasingly come under submission to God’s Word.

That’s the kind of thing we’re talking about here – the general biblical principle that saved people are on a trajectory of increasing holiness and Christlikeness. Lost people are on a trajectory of increasing disobedience and rebellion (and not strictly with regard to egalitarian ideas). It is possible to be a saved, simul justus et peccator, growing in holiness, desiring to please the Lord, Christian and get some non-soteriological things wrong along the way, in good faith, in the process of growing. What is not possible is for someone to be genuinely regenerated and live in a general attitude of heart-rebellion against God, His Word, and His ways (His ways in general, not strictly egalitarianism) in favor of doing life on her own terms. I don’t know how to make that more clear. That is what the Bible teaches.

4) I clearly made the statement that this article pertains to “most of the [egalitarians] who have crossed my path”. I guess what I did not make clear is that most of the egalitarians who have crossed my path have not been the small minority of genuinely regenerated Christians who have made a good faith error about Scripture’s teaching on the role of women as they’re growing in Christ. That might be your experience, but it has not been mine. Most of the egalitarians who have crossed my path have clearly been of the vast majority of egalitarians who have come to that position, as I explained above, as a result of being false converts. And it shows in their demeanor as they mock the authority of God’s Word in general, lash out in rage, blaspheme, swear, and slander, and generally display the opposite of the Fruit of the Spirit.

5) As I’ve stated many, many times in my articles, the Bible is our authority as Christians, not a pastor or Christian leader who holds a particular position, not your loved ones who are in error but you’re certain they love Jesus, not any church or denominational structure or position that conflicts with Scripture – the Bible. If you are going to argue against a biblical principle, you need to support your argument with rightly handled, in context Scripture, not examples of fallible human beings – however godly or well-intentioned they might be. Scripture is our standard, not people.)


2.
Complementarian women don’t feel
oppressed and downtrodden.

Obviously I can’t speak for every complementarian woman out there, but I can say that of the dozens of women I know personally and the thousands who have followed me online for the last eleven years, and speaking for myself, I have never met a single, genuinely regenerated, complementarian woman who felt diminished, held back, chained up, or walked all over by the role God lays out for us in Scripture.

Do we sometimes sin by thinking and acting selfishly? Yep. Have there been husbands, pastors, and other men who have sinned against us? Of course. Do we have a bad day from time to time? Naturally. But none of that changes our delight in our role itself. Even people who have their dream jobs have nightmare moments, but there’s still nothing on the planet they’d rather do. Nothing that makes them feel more alive and fulfilled. And that’s generally how complementarian women feel about our job – maybe even more so, because it’s not just a job, it’s a calling from God Himself. And nobody has a better Boss than we do.

We don’t need your pity, egalitarians, any more than a kid in a candy store needs to be pitied. And we don’t need to be rescued, just like you wouldn’t think of trying to rescue a child from Disneyland. We’re not sitting around saying, “Woe is me,” and feeling like we’re losing out on life. For us, keeping God’s commands about our role is a delight and a joy, because we love Him:

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3

for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. Psalm 119:47

No one is happier, more fulfilled, or more content in life than the Christian who is living in the will of God by obeying Him. No one is more miserable than a false convert who is trying to obey God through sheer force of will, or a genuine Christian living in disobedience to God’s commands.

And if all of that seems foreign or ridiculous, folly or foolishness to you, unfortunately, you’re bearing out the biblical truth I explained in section 1 of this article.


3.
Complementarian women aren’t brainwashed.

Probably the most hypocritical sexist viewpoint of egalitarians is that they assume that Christian women couldn’t possibly have come to the complementarian worldview via our own study, intellect, will, and choice. We must have been brainwashed into it by sexist, misogynistic, abusive complementarian men. But if we could somehow manage to understand the viewpoint delivered by our egalitarian saviors, we’d see the light, cast off the shackles, and be set free from all that’s holding us back.

I’m not making that up. That’s essentially the diatribe I received from one of Beth Moore’s followers recently (and I’ve heard it plenty of times before). Beth had said on Twitter that the reason she was receiving so much pushback from Christians following her announcement that she would be preaching the Sunday morning service at a local church was because sexist men were just trying to protect their positions and power. To which I responded, “What about the pushback you’re receiving from complementarian women? Are we sexist and trying to protect positions and power, too?” No, her follower angrily replied, you’ve just be brainwashed by those men.

If egalitarians can’t see how arrogant, hypocritical, and sexist it is to stand on a pedestal and declare that they’re the ones who will empower women, ensure that women are heard and valued for their independent ideas and unique contributions, and then turn around and condescendingly assume that women who have used those very independent minds they themselves tout to reach a non-egalitarian conclusion are brainwashed, I’m at a loss as to how to explain it. It’s like trying to prove water exists to someone who’s sitting in a lake while drinking a glass of ice water.

Complementarian women are not brainwashed into our worldview. We are convinced by the study of Scripture and our love for God that His plan for men and women is best, beneficial, and a blessing.


4.
Complementarian women aren’t
limited or lesser, we’re specialists.

Oh, that poor cardiologist! He’s so limited in his profession. If only he could be a General Practitioner!

I just feel terrible for that guy – he only practices civil law! He doesn’t know what he’s missing by not also practicing criminal, personal injury, estate, real estate, corporate, family, and malpractice law!

If you ever had the misfortune of hearing someone say something so ridiculous, you’d probably think she was a little off her nut. In the professional world, we normally regard specialty positions as more prestigious than more generalized positions (not that that’s right – general medicine, law, etc. are equally important). Specialists usually go to school longer and have a unique skill set for a unique segment of the population. General practitioners don’t have the luxury of focusing on a more narrow field of study. They have to be a jack of all trades – all things to all people.

But somehow, for egalitarians, that concept doesn’t translate to complementarianism. In the complementarian church, male pastors, elders, and teachers are the general practitioners. Women are the specialists. We specialize in discipling women and children, because we have a unique, God-given skill set for ministering to that unique segment of the population. God has given us the luxury and freedom to concentrate on this population He has called us to serve without the added burden of also having to teach, disciple, and oversee men.

It’s much the same in the complementarian home. The husband is like the CEO of the family. The buck stops with him. Every. single. buck. The house. The wife. The kids. The car. The yard. The bills. Everybody’s health. The extended family. The spiritual leadership. Church involvement. Provision. Decisions. Everything is ultimately on his shoulders. This leaves the wife free to specialize in being the COO of the family – day to day, boots on the ground operation of the household – an equally important position, which, again, she has a unique, God-given skill set for carrying out. While she and her husband certainly work together, God has given her the freedom and the luxury of passing everything that’s not under her purview up the chain of command for someone else to deal with. If she needs something in order to do her job, she has someone to turn to to provide it.

The egalitarian worldview looks down on women who specialize in discipling women and children in the church and being the chief operating officer in the home. Our teaching only has value if there are men in the audience, which reeks of sexism. As if men are the standard, the high bar to be set, the only ones whose mere bodily presence can validate a woman’s teaching and suddenly make it worthwhile. Who cares about teaching women and children? Men are the important ones. Our role at home is only a worthy and important one if we’re the ones calling all the shots at the macro level. Never mind that things actually have to get done and be overseen at the micro level in order for every member of the household, including the CEO, to live, grow, and flourish.

Specialties aren’t limiting or lesser. There’s an equally prestigious and necessary place for GPs and specialized medicine. For general law and specialty law. For CEOs and COOs. For complementarian men and complementarian women.

The egalitarian view does not value women as women. It only values women who are cheap knock-offs of men. Complementarians are the ones who value women as a separate, and equally significant, unique creation of God – not measured by how well we can imitate a man, but measured by how well we live up to all God created us to be as women. And we’re supposed to feel oppressed, limited, and lesser by that? We’d have to be brainwashed to love a worldview that values us for what we are, not for clawing and scraping toward some impossible standard and state of being God never created us to reach?

When you set men up as the standard and tell women they have to measure up to men to have any value, what you are is not egalitarian. What you are is sexist.

No thanks. I’ll take the complement.


¹Thanks to the advent of everything-but-the-pastoral-office “soft complementarianism” I should probably add an adjective, like “biblical complementarian,” but I’m not ready to concede the term yet. Complementarian means you embrace the full biblical teaching of the roles of women and men. If you compromise on that, you’re a functional egalitarian. We only need two terms.
²Egalitarians make incorrect assumptions about complementarian men, too, the main one being that they’re sexist, misogynistic, even abusive. Please. I’ll let complementarian men speak to that themselves, or this article will be way too long.
³Sometimes people who are genuinely saved worry that they’re not. If you’re concerned about your salvation, I encourage you to work through my study AM I REALLY SAVED?: A 1 JOHN CHECK-UPand make an appointment with your pastor if you need counsel.
Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Teaching hubby the Bible… Generational sin… Blood moons… God honors women preaching?… Remarriage forbidden)

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.


A comment left on my Rock Your Role FAQs article…

How would this apply within marriage? My husband does not read the Bible..he claims to believe in God, but I don’t actually see him seeking. Is it wrong for me to share with him what I learn or read in my Bible? Thank you for your advice!!

I know that having an unsaved or less spiritually mature husband can be really difficult. I’m sure this is a question many of my readers are struggling with.

When you say, “How would this apply within marriage?” I’m not really sure if “this” means a specific question and answer within that article or if “this” means the biblical prohibition against women teaching men, in general. I’m going to go with the latter since I can’t guess the former. :0)

The biblical prohibition against women teaching the Bible to men has a very specific context: the gathering of the church body. Your marriage is not the gathering of the church body.

It is perfectly fine and biblical for you to share what you’re learning from the Bible with your husband if he is open and receptive to it. But, and this is important, it is also perfectly fine and biblical for you not to share what you’re learning from the Bible with him if he is not open and receptive to it, if it makes him angry, or if he tells you to stop nagging or preaching at him.

A lot of women in the New Testament church were in the very same position. They were saved, and their husbands were not. First Peter 3:1-6 was written just for them, and for you. I would recommend studying that passage as well as 1 Corinthians 7:16, Ephesians 5:22-33, and Proverbs 31:10-31 to guide your own behavior as a godly wife. And, if you think it would be helpful, you may want to work through my Bible study on biblical womanhood.

My article The Mailbag: Can I share the gospel with my unsaved husband? is another good resource. If you need help presenting the gospel to your husband, check out the What must I do to be saved? tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

One more suggestion: Think about making an appointment with your pastor for some biblical counsel on being a gospel influence on your husband. You may want to also ask him to point you to (or you may already know) a godly older woman in your church who has walked faithfully through the situation of having an unsaved husband, and who can disciple you through this.


Do you have any information about the generational sin/curses teaching? I’d love to understand if this is a false teaching and if it is…understand what the Bible really says. I don’t buy into the fact my great great grandma was sinful and that is why someone in the family is messed up.

You’re correct, this idea is diametrically opposed to what Scripture teaches. Certainly our children can be hurt or negatively impacted by the sins we commit. They can learn sinful behavior from watching us sin. And we are all sinners by nature. But children don’t genetically inherit a particular sin(s) – say, for example, profanity or adultery – from their parents. And God doesn’t punish us for the sins of our parents or ancestors.

The absolute best resource for refuting this false idea is Ezekiel 18. It is so beautifully clear and such a wonderful picture of the gospel smack dab in the middle of the Old Testament. Give it a good study.

Additionally, we released a podcast episode a while back called What Do We Do with the Guilt of Generational Sin? that may help.


Does “The moon turning to blood” refer to what we consider a “blood moon”?

Not as it pertains to being a sign of Jesus’ return, no. I think you’ll find this article and this article to be helpful.


Do you think it’s possible for God to “honour” a women’s preaching that is bringing people to Christ?

This is really two separate questions about women preaching. Let’s break it down:

1. Can God graciously save someone, despite the fact that he’s sitting under a woman who’s sinning by pretending to be a pastor? Yes. He also saves people who are currently Mormons, currently being abused, etc. God can save anyone despite someone else’s sin.

2. Does the fact that God saves someone who’s under the influence or authority of someone who’s sinning mean that God approves of or honors the sin being committed? No. God doesn’t honor people for sinning.

God doesn’t honor or approve of Mormon false teachers just because someone happens to hear enough actual Bible to get saved while still in Mormonism. Mormonism is still idolatry, and that Mormon leader is still committing the sin of teaching false doctrine. Or, let’s say a pastor is secretly abusing his son. If the son gets saved during one of Dad’s sermons does that mean God honors or approves of the abuse? Of course not. It’s a display of God’s mercy and grace that God still saves people despite other people’s sin.

The same applies to someone who gets saved despite sitting under a woman who’s sinning by pretending to be a pastor.

Additionally, granting for argument’s sake that she’s actually preaching the biblical gospel, the fact that the woman “pastor” got that part right doesn’t excuse or make up for her sin of rebelling against God’s Word. If I work in a soup kitchen all week long, but every Saturday I go out and murder somebody, we know that my good works during the week don’t outweigh, excuse, or make up for the sin of murder. I still need to repent of being a murderer, and the woman “pastor” still has to repent from rebelling against God’s Word regarding her role in the church.


I was widowed a year ago, and a divorced man asked me to marry him but my pastor said it was absolutely forbidden. Can you please help me with this issue? The entire world is divorced!

Let me first offer my condolences for the loss of your husband. I can’t imagine how difficult that must be.

Have you asked your pastor to explain why* he said this? I’m not exactly sure of his reasoning, so let me just offer a few general thoughts.

One reason your pastor might have said this is that he holds to what’s called the permanence view of marriage. This view essentially says there are no biblical grounds for divorce (for anyone) and, thus, no biblical allowance for remarriage.

On the other hand, he may believe (as I, and many other Christians do) that, while reconciliation of a marriage is always the first and best goal, and that, in most cases, divorce is a sin, there are certain circumstances (chiefly adultery and abandonment) in which the Bible allows for divorce as a last resort. If that’s the case, depending on the circumstances of your gentleman friend’s divorce, your pastor may be saying that his divorce was not biblical, and, therefore, the two of you should not marry.

Finally, your pastor may have reasons aside from the divorce that would cause him to tell you not to marry this gentleman. Perhaps your pastor knows that he isn’t saved, that he is cheating on you, that he’s engaging in criminal activity, etc. I hope that’s not the case, but that’s the only other possibility I could think of.

I would suggest you talk to your pastor about this, hear him out on his reasoning, and compare his reasoning to rightly handled, in context Scripture. It could very well be that he’s offering you good, biblical counsel. Or…not.

*Readers, I’m not faulting anyone for asking me a question like this, but I often receive questions about why a certain person – whether it’s a false teacher, your husband, your pastor, a friend, whoever – did or said something, or what he meant by what he said or did. Generally speaking, I have no way of knowing why a particular person said or did a particular thing or what it meant. I can only speculate. If you want to know why someone did or said something, or what he meant, it’s best to go to that person and ask him or her directly.


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)

50 Ways to Have a Happy (and Holy) Valentine’s Day

Originally published February 11, 2021

The world has all kinds of ideas about how you and your “significant other” should spend Valentine’s Day. Some aren’t too bad, but others are downright depraved. Want some ideas of things you and your husband, kids, friends, or church family can do together instead?

How about these? Have fun!

Want some ideas of things you and your husband, kids, friends, or church family can do together on Valentine’s Day? Check these out!

1. Invite your Sunday School class or small group over for desserts and fellowship.

2. Snuggle up under the covers and read the Old Testament book of Song of Solomon with your husband.

3. Have a get together with your single friends.

4. Visit a local tourist attraction you’ve never been to before.

5. Volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center.

6. Go antiquing.

7. Go on a miniature golf date with your husband.

8. Have a snowball fight- parents versus kids.

9. Invite another couple to go to a canvas painting place.

10. Play Twister.

11. Re-read your favorite book.

12. Go for a mother-daughter mani/pedi.

13. Fingerpaint with the kids.

14. Take a nap.

15. Cook dinner with your husband.

16. Plan a family game night.

17. Have a pillow fight.

18. Go shopping with the girls.

19. Schedule a family photo session.

20. Roast marshmallows over the fire.

21. Bake cookies for some of the shut-ins in your church.

22. Trade skills. Teach your husband how to do a small task he doesn’t know how to do (make a pie crust, fold a fitted sheet…) and let him teach you how to do something (change a tire, tie a tie…).

23. Play frisbee at the park as a family.

24. Play with your pet.

25. Hand out tracts and share the gospel at the mall.

26. Babysit for a single mom.

27.Get out the play dough and play with the kids.

28. Plan a family hike.

29. Host a Bible study in your home.

30. Get the whole family cuddled up on the couch and take turns with your husband telling “when I was a kid” stories to the kids.

31. Clean out a closet.

32. Watch a (clean) romantic movie with your husband.

33. Have a family haiku-writing contest.

34. Play video games with the kids.

35. Jump on a trampoline.

36. Invite a couple for dinner that you and your husband would like to get to know better.

37. Binge watch your favorite classic TV series.

38. Pray for and write a letter to a missionary as a family.

39. Check out a class or community event at your local library.

40. Plan a family vacation.

41. Look up and read every Bible verse with the word love in it.

42. Get some friends together to sing a few hymns at a nursing home.

43. Write and exchange love letters with your husband.

44. Have a tickle fight.

45. Go out to dinner at a restaurant you’ve never tried before.

46. Get a facial.

47. Gather some girlfriends and volunteer at a battered women’s shelter.

48. Get a couple’s massage.

49. Flip through old photo albums with the kids.

50. Take a bubble bath.

What are some other fun
Valentine’s activities you can think of?