Christian women, Church, Complementarianism

Throwback Thursday ~ Unforbidden Fruits: 3 Ways Women MUST Lead and Teach the Church

Originally published April 20, 2018

Ladies, we whine too much.

Like petulant little girls, we look at what’s off limits to us, stomp our Mary Janes on the floor and cry “Why can’t I? I want to!” instead of giddily jumping into all the opportunities God has blessed us with. Instead of being happy and thankful for what we have, our greedy little fingers stretch out to grasp what God has said we can’t have because it’s not good for us or anybody else.

God has instructed pastors – who are, in turn, to instruct us – that, in the gathered body of Believers, women are not to preach to men, instruct men in the Scriptures, or exercise authority over men. And that’s what we focus on, and whine and kick our feet about. That part – the childish rebellion and discontent with the role God has graciously placed us in – that’s on us.

But pastors, we badly need your help on this one. Many pastors do a wonderful job of rightly and biblically explaining what women are not to do (And may I take a moment to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I know how difficult that can be and that you take a lot of undeserved flak for simply teaching God’s Word on this subject.), but that “no” teaching has often not been coupled with the “yes” teaching of what women must do and how they must lead in order for women, and the church, to be healthy and function properly.

The “no” teaching of what the Bible forbids has often not been coupled with the “yes” teaching of what women *must* do and how they must lead in order for women, and the church, to be healthy and function properly.

You’ve loved us well to tell us not to bite at the apple from the forbidden tree, but we also desperately need you to take us on a tour of the Garden and introduce us to the all-you-can-eat buffet of pear and peach and cherry and pecan trees that we have the privilege and the responsibility to feast on.

🍊 The Other Institution 🍊

Did you ever notice that the “do” for women in the church comes before the “don’t”? We tend to totally skip over that enormous little word that kicks off 1 Timothy 2:11: “Let a woman learn…”. We have no idea of, nor appreciation for, how huge and groundbreaking it was for the Holy Spirit, through Paul, to proactively instruct pastors: “Hey, get these women in here, make sure they listen up, and train them properly in the Scriptures so they’ll be equipped to fortify their homes with biblical truth.”

We completely miss the fact that, though God installs men as the teachers and leaders in one of His foundational institutions – the church – He has very much made women the functional, boots on the ground, day to day, teachers and leaders by example – of His other foundational institution – the family. The church didn’t even exist for the first few millennia of human history, but the family has existed since Creation. And people who are members of families populate and lead the church. Raising and molding those people is a tremendous position and responsibility. A position and responsibility God has largely given to women.

Wives pray for our husbands’ growth in Christ. We build them up with Scripture. With a gentle and quiet spirit, we set a godly example for them as they observe our respectful and pure conduct. We encourage and help them in their leadership roles at church.

Moms pray for our children’s salvation. We pour the gospel into them at every turn. We train up our children in the way that they should go – in the nurture and admonition of the Lord – so that when they are old they do not depart from it. We teach them to love and serve and invest in the church both directly and by modeling these things for them.

And our single, widowed, and childless sisters work right alongside us in this labor, praying for church leaders and members, nurturing children at church whose parents are unsaved or unequipped to raise them biblically, encouraging and assisting brothers and sisters in Christ.

We grow and develop, nourish and support, exhort and sharpen the population of the body of Christ.

Men may lead the church, but women raise the church.

Men may lead the church, but women *raise* the church.

🍐 Woman to Woman 🍐

Essential to the health of any church is the component of women training women, whether in the formal setting of a Bible study class and structured women’s ministry programs or an impromptu “let’s get together for coffee this week” discipleship discussion.

Though we receive instruction in Scripture from our pastors, elders, and teachers, there are some counseling and teaching situations it’s not appropriate for a man to address with a woman, or that a woman understands better than a man. There are issues women face that men just don’t “get” in the same way a sister in Christ does. There are insights and perspectives a woman can use to explain Scripture to another woman that a man just doesn’t have. There are times when a woman needs someone to walk through a long term emotional journey with her that requires a personal intimacy which would be inappropriate for a man to engage in with her. And in the same way men are better equipped than women to train men to be godly husbands, fathers, and church members, women are better equipped than men to train women to be godly wives, mothers, and church members.

God knew all of this back when He breathed out the words of Titus 2:3-5…

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

…and, again, 1 Timothy 2:11:

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.

Women must be trained properly in the Scriptures so we can take that training and pour it into other women, teaching and sharpening them into godly women, wives, mothers, and church members.

🍑 Super Models 🍑

Women instruct our brothers and sisters in the church in biblical truth when we lead by example. When we sin against someone, we go to that person and ask forgiveness. We demonstrate the importance of meeting together with the Body by being faithful in our church and Sunday School attendance. We model servanthood by serving the church and our brothers and sisters. We paint a picture of biblical compassion by ministering to the sick and others in need. We show Christians how to carry out the Great Commission by sharing the gospel. We set an example of trusting God when others see us depending on Him through difficult situations.

And one of the most important biblical concepts women have the privilege and responsibility of teaching the church through our example is submission to authority – a lesson the church is sorely in need of these days.

Because God blessed us by creating us as women, we have an opportunity to model submission to authority in a unique way that God has chosen to deny to men.

Because God blessed us by creating us as women, we have an opportunity to model submission to authority in a unique way that God has chosen to deny to men.

As we submit to our husbands, we teach the church what it means to submit to Christ. How to walk in humility and obey Him out of love. How to put selfishness aside. To trust Him to take care of us. To deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him.

When we submit to God’s design for leadership in the church and joyfully carry out the work He has planned for us as godly women, we teach the church to submit to God’s authority and love Him by obeying His commands. We instruct our fellow church members in respecting and submitting to the pastors and elders God has placed in spiritual authority over us.

Submission to Christ, to God’s commands, and to pastors and elders is the bedrock of a healthy church. God has graciously given women the role – and the duty – of teaching these and other biblical principles to our churches in a way that men cannot -through our example as godly women.

Remember the series of fun little nutritional books that came out several years ago called Eat This, Not That? The idea the books centered around was, “Don’t eat that unhealthy thing. Eat this similar but healthy thing instead.”

Sadly, many Christian women have only been getting half the story. “Not that” (preaching to/teaching men and exercising authority over men) is biblically correct, but it’s not biblically complete. If all you tell someone is “Don’t eat that,” without showing her the “Eat this,” part, what she needs to eat to be healthy, she’s going to starve, and the church will be malnourished as well.

Christian women need our pastors to teach us to eat the fat of the land of being properly trained in the Scriptures and drink the sweet wine of leading and instructing the church the way God gifts us and requires us to. Only then will the Body be healthy and well nourished.

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.

Complementarianism

Sammiches of Oppression and Subjugation

Obviously, there are many, many serious issues in the church and world today, and if you’ve followed the blog for any length of time, you know I have a good track record of dealing with those issues on a regular basis in a serious way: Bible study…the gospel…sin…obedience to Scripture…discernment…and so on.

But sometimes, as human beings, we just need a momentary break from the serious to be silly and laugh. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says that just as there is a time to weep, there is an equally valid, and righteous, and good time to laugh. Sometimes I talk to Christians who seem to believe that we’re supposed to have our sense of humor amputated when we get saved, and that’s just not true. Proverbs 17:22 says:

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22

We need to laugh. We need moments of of refreshing.

If you disagree with any of that, or you just don’t like, or are easily offended by humor for whatever reason, this would be a good time to stop reading and go do something you enjoy, or tackle that “to do” list, or whatever. You’ve been warned. No complainies.

In case you’ve somehow managed to avoid them, there are feminists out there who can’t wrap their tiny little closed minds around the fact that godly women actually find joy in loving and serving our husbands and families. They seem to think – out loud, vociferously, and frequently, particularly on social media – that the only reason a woman might do such a thing is because she’s been brainwashed, downtrodden, or forced to.

So, I did a thing on Twitter the other day, and I thought it might give you a smile…

Everything – I mean, everything – has to be caveated and explained to death these days (are y’all as sick of that as I am?)…

I kid you not, somebody asked me what my motive was for saying, “I *are* one,” instead of, “I *am* one.” Humor, my friend. Humor.

Of course, then everybody had to get in on the act. Back off, people. Can’t you tell I’m a humor professional?

Men. They’re just lost without a helper.

Leslie is usually so on the ball with these sorts of things. It’s not like her to leave out an ingredient.

I started to say, “That heifer is out of the barn,” but I’m sure that’s sexist…to somebody.

These men will never learn…

That’s right, just keep on wallowing in your wrongy-wrongness of manhood.

Yes, three slices. That’s why you’re still aspiring, honey.

Everybody’s a comedian. But since he’s a MAN, I’ll let him have the last word, as is fitting.

Now get in the kitchen and make your man a sammich of oppression and subjugation, ladies. (My husband said it was OK for me to say that. :0)

Holidays (Other), Marriage

Love and Marriage

Love is in the air….

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and you’re probably getting bombarded from every angle with the world’s idea of love, romance, and marriage. But what does the Bible have to say about that? And how about some “been there, done that” godly counsel from your older sisters in Christ?

Between us, my A Word Fitly Spoken podcast co-host, Amy Spreeman and I have over 60 years experience as wives. We recently sat down and recorded Love and Marriage, an episode about biblical love and godly marriage. Have you listened yet?

You might also enjoy some of my articles on marriage:

A No-Bull Marriage: Four Lessons from Mr. & Mrs. Samson

The Mailbag: I “feel led” in a different direction from my husband

9 Ways NOT to Fight with Your Husband

My Husband Brought Me Flowers Today

Marriage: It’s My Pity Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To ~ 7 Ways to Take Your Focus Off Yourself and Put it Back on Christ

Thinking about going to a romantic movie with your sweetie? Check out my review: Redeeming Love: Rants, Raves, and Reviews.

And, if you’re looking for some sentimental classic CCM love songs1 for V-Day (my husband and I had the first four in our wedding :0) …

(My husband and I recorded this duet together before our wedding
and had it played during our unity candle.)

1I’m not recommending or endorsing any of these musicians. Some of them are fine. Some aren’t. Vet anybody you’re considering following.