Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (DivorceCare, When are they men?, Touring unbiblical churches…)

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 also 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 can be a helpful tool!

In these potpourri editions of The Mailbag, I’d also like to address the three questions I’m most commonly asked:

“Do you know anything about [Christian pastor/teacher/author] or his/her materials? Is he/she doctrinally sound?”

Try these links: 
Popular False Teachers /
 Recommended Bible Teachers / search bar
Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring It Out on Your Own
(Do keep bringing me names, though. If I get enough questions about a particular teacher, I’ll probably write an article on her.)

“Can you recommend a good women’s Bible study?”

No. Here’s why:
The Mailbag: Can you recommend a good Bible study for women/teens/kids?
The Mailbag: “We need to stop relying on canned studies,” doesn’t mean, “We need to rely on doctrinally sound canned studies.”.

“You shouldn’t be warning against [popular false teacher] for [X,Y,Z] reason!”

Answering the Opposition- Responses to the Most Frequently Raised Discernment Objections


I’m wondering if the DivorceCare support groups are good?

I’ve never been to a DivorceCare group or been a part of a church that hosted a group or used its materials, so I’m strictly drawing on what I’m seeing on their website.

The DC statement of faith is biblical, if minimalistic.

The format of meetings is for the group to watch “a video seminar featuring top experts on divorce and recovery subjects” and then discuss it, support group style. So, I took a look at the list of seminar experts. I don’t recognize half or more of the names, but of the names I do recognize, most are biblical counselors (the biblical counseling world has a reputation for being generally doctrinally sound), and two or three are pastors and Bible teachers I wouldn’t recommend but aren’t heretics either (if they’re teaching strictly on issues of divorce, I’m guessing what you’ll get from their videos is pretty much in line with Scripture).

So, all of that to say, as far as the materials DC provides, I don’t think you’re going to be taught major doctrinal error if you choose to participate. However, I’m guessing these groups vary widely depending on who is leading them and how good or bad that person’s/church’s theology is, so that’s a major component to take into consideration.

Having said all of that, I would not recommend that you participate in a parachurch organization for help getting through a divorce. It’s not their job to do that, it’s your local church’s job. Your pastor should be counseling you and/or your spouse to reconcile if that’s at all possible, and counseling you in other ways if not. Your Sunday School or Bible study class and other church family should be supporting you, helping you, and walking through this difficult time with you. When Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens,” it’s talking to the church, not a parachurch organization or a support group. And you need real live, “Call me any time, day or night,” church family to do that, not a bunch of strangers, not an expert on a screen. I think people who choose a parachurch organization like this are going to miss out on a lot more than they realize.

Furthermore, while counseling people who are going through a divorce is a good and necessary thing, it concerns me that so many churches are putting so much emphasis on post-divorce programs when what they should be throwing most of their energy into is preventing divorce by:

  • preaching and teaching biblically about marriage and divorce
  • extensive pre-marital teaching and counseling
  • encouraging, strengthening, and enabling healthy marriages
  • intervening and helping couples in marital distress
  • treating initiating and pursuing divorce for unbiblical reasons as the sin the Bible says it is
  • commencing with church discipline for church members who are initiating and pursuing divorce for unbiblical reasons.

Churches that proactively support and protect marriage this way will rarely find the need for divorce counseling.


I agree that Scripture is clear about women not teaching men the Scriptures. At what age are males considered to be ‘men’?

It’s an insightful question, and one that there’s no hard and fast “exact age” answer to. I think most of us would probably agree that pre-teens and under are children, not men, and I hope that most of us could agree that males in their mid-20s and upward are men. It’s those pesky teens to early 20s ages that throw a monkey wrench into the question.

Males ages 18 to early 20s may, in some cases seem like boys, but for this question, I think the common grace of American law (if you’re an American) can help us feel confident defining any male over 18 as a man. If American law treats a person as an adult at age 18 with regard to crimes, voting, marriage, property, etc., should the church be treating them as children?

So now we’ve narrowed our window of potential “men” down to age 12 or 13 to 17. And for that narrow window of ages, I’m going to refer you to question 13 of my article Rock Your Role FAQs:

What about teaching the boys in my church’s youth group?

Women should not serve as youth pastors. The Bible restricts pastoral and elder roles to men.

As to teaching the Bible to co-ed groups of minors (in Sunday School, as a youth helper, etc.), there is no hard and fast rule, but my recommendation is that a good time for women to break from teaching boys at church is around the time they start middle school. In the Bible, boys traditionally moved from childhood to adulthood at age thirteen. Jesus exhibited growth toward manhood and engaged the rabbis in the temple at age twelve. Of course, these are both anecdotal and neither means this age is the basis of any sort of law for Christian women about teaching boys, but there seems to be some wisdom there- a good rule of thumb. Once they hit their early teens, boys really need the guidance of godly men who can lead by example and teach them what it means to grow into godly manhood. When it comes to teaching adolescent boys at church, it’s much less about what women are “allowed” to do and much more about the best way to grow godly men. Only men can train boys to be men.


Over the years when we have visited various cities, we have toured old churches, several of which have been Catholic churches. Our main interest has been the architecture of the buildings along with the historical aspect. We have never participated in a church service, only informational tours. I was wondering if you have an opinion of Christians touring Catholic churches.

For someone who is genuinely saved, and in no danger of being wooed toward false doctrine simply by walking through a beautiful building and listening to a tour guide, I don’t think that’s problematic at all. Simply being in a building and learning about its structure and history doesn’t mean you agree with what happened there. I mean, if you toured Auschwitz, that would not mean you agreed with or supported what happened there, right? When I was in Egypt several years ago, I toured (as far as women were allowed to tour) a mosque. If I were in Salt Lake City, I would certainly check out the Mormon Tabernacle. If I were in Rome I would visit the Vatican. There’s nothing sinful for you personally about going to places like these to view the architecture or learn something about the religion or customs any more than it would be wrong to read about those things in a book.

If your conscience doesn’t bother you about taking the tour itself, and you’re not worried about your theology veering off course, there are only two ways I can think of that this could be a problem, biblically. First, if there’s an admission fee to tour the church, what is that money supporting? Speaking for myself, I could not knowingly pay a fee that would, in any way, support a false religion or the spread of it. Second, would entering one of these buildings somehow hurt your witness or be a stumbling block to someone who knows you? That would really depend on the other person, the situation, etc., but that is something you should take into consideration.

I would suggest that you look for opportunities for evangelism during these tours. Leave a tract behind if there’s a way to do that without littering (the ladies’ room is usually a good spot). Before you leave, take a moment to silently pray for the salvation of the people who go to church there (or work there, or are on the tour with you). If there’s an opportunity to ask a simple gospel-centered question or make a biblical comment during the tour, take advantage of that (don’t interrupt or argue, don’t lecture or debate, don’t do “gotcha” questions, and be sweet – you’re scattering seed, not waging war).

Enjoy your trip, and I hope you learn a great deal.


Michelle, are you going to be at the G3 Conference in January 2020?

I wish! I’d love to be there, but I don’t think it’s going to happen this time. It’s a wonderful conference, and I highly recommend it for everyone who’s able to attend. Y’all have fun!

(I will be at the Cruciform Conference next month, though! Find me and say hi!)


Thoughts on the Evangelical Presbyterian Church? Is that a denomination you would “approve of”? I like all of your stuff and we are looking for a new church home.

Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry, but I’ve never heard of that particular denominational niche. Coleen Sharp over at Theology Gals is my go to resource for all things Presbyterian. I would recommend you join the Theology Gals Facebook group and ask over there. I’m sure you will get much better information than I could give you.


So there are women in my home who enjoy, unaware, the teachings of Rohr/Shirer/Enneagram/journaling/meditation/etc. I’m not sure I really have a voice anymore in their spiritual pursuit outside of prayer. Do you have any strategies or a playbook of sorts on how to navigate through this season of life?

(This question comes from a gentleman.)

I’m so sorry for the difficult situation you’re in. It is always sorrowful and frustrating to watch those we love chase after ungodly things.

You say “there are women in my home,” so I’m not really clear on whether these women are your wife, daughters, sisters, other relatives, female boarders, etc. I’m also unclear on whether or not you are the head of the home (husband/dad).

If you are not the head of the home (i.e. these women are your mother and sisters or other relatives or non-relations over whom you have no biblical authority), continue to pray for them and set up an appointment with your pastor for counsel on how best to handle this situation.

If you are the head of the home, I’m sure you know that God has given you the responsibility of being the spiritual leader of your household. I’m honored that you reached out to me for help, but learning to lead well is going to be a long road of face to face discipleship that must take place in your own local church with your pastor and brothers in Christ there. As a woman, I am neither equipped, nor would it be biblically appropriate for me to walk you through this long term and through a computer screen. There are no magic strategies for a quick fix, but your church family can help you work through the “playbook” – the Bible – as you grow in Christ and in spiritual leadership. I would strongly recommend that you set up an appointment with your pastor for counseling and, definitely continue to pray for these women.


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.

Christmas, Church

The 25 Churches of Christmas – Final Report

Friends, thank you so much for your recommendations!

Unfortunately, we did not reach the goal of 25 churches (meeting the parameters outlined in the article below) by Christmas, but with your help, we did get 14, and I was able to remove 8 states – Oklahoma, Maryland, Iowa, New York, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Connecticut – from the “endangered species list” (states with 2 or fewer recommendations). The 14 Churches of Christmas were: 

1. Village Church, Dingley, Australia
2. Christ Reformed Church, Tulsa, OK
2. Fellowship Baptist Church, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
4. Harvest Reformed Church, Minot, ND
5. Hope Bible Church, Columbia, MD
6. Baltimore Bible Church, Baltimore, MD
7. Walsh Baptist Church, Walsh, Ontario, Canada
8. Missio Church, Ridge NY
9. Rock of Hope Church, Wisconsin Dells, WI
10. Grace Life Church of Greater Des Moines, Ankeny, IA
11. Calvary Bible Church, Westport, MA
12. Faith Fellowship Baptist Church, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
13. Berean Community Church, Milford, DE
14. Presbyterian Church of Coventry, Coventry, CT

I’m looking forward to adding many more recommendations of doctrinally sound churches in 2019, so keep those recommendations coming!

This Christmas season, I’d like to offer you an opportunity to help me give our brothers and sisters in Christ a gift – a gift that won’t cost you a dime.

If you’ve followed me for a minute, you know I’m passionate about helping people find doctrinally sound churches to join. And if you’ve ever perused my list of Reader Recommended Churches, you’ve probably noticed that we have tons of listings for churches in some states, only one or two for others, and hardly any for countries outside the U.S.

What I’m hoping to do is add 25 doctrinally sound churches to the list in the states and countries that are lacking. Of course anyone is welcome to recommend a church anywhere, but in order for it to “count” toward The 25 Churches of Christmas, it needs to be a recommendation for a church:

⛪️ in one of our U.S. states that has two or fewer recommendations (currently: Alaska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, West Virginia)

OR

⛪️ a church in any country besides the U.S.

I’ve made the list, you check it twice. If recommendations are naught, be nice and make one! :0) If you have a personal connection to a solid church that’s not on the list, comment below with:

🎄The full, correctly spelled name of the church
🎄The city and state, or city and country it’s located in
🎄The church’s website (please, please, please include this – it saves me a lot of time).

Think we can add 25 churches by Christmas Day? Let’s give it a shot and make it a merry Christmas for our brothers and sisters who are searching for a new church! Thanks for your help! :0)

Christmas, Church

The 25 Churches of Christmas

Friends, thank you so much for your recommendations thus far! We’ve gotten 14 of our 25 Churches of Christmas and I’ve been able to remove 8 states from the “endangered species list” (states with 2 or fewer recommendations). With only 2 days left, can we hope for a Christmas miracle of 14 more recommendations fitting the parameters I’ve outlined below?
Keep those recommendations coming!

This Christmas season, I’d like to offer you an opportunity to help me give our brothers and sisters in Christ a gift – a gift that won’t cost you a dime.

If you’ve followed me for a minute, you know I’m passionate about helping people find doctrinally sound churches to join. And if you’ve ever perused my list of Reader Recommended Churches, you’ve probably noticed that we have tons of listings for churches in some states, only one or two for others, and hardly any for countries outside the U.S.

What I’m hoping to do is add 25 doctrinally sound churches to the list in the states and countries that are lacking. Of course anyone is welcome to recommend a church anywhere, but in order for it to “count” toward The 25 Churches of Christmas, it needs to be a recommendation for a church:

⛪️ in one of our U.S. states that has two or fewer recommendations (currently: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, West Virginia)

OR

⛪️ a church in any country besides the U.S.

I’ve made the list, you check it twice. If recommendations are naught, be nice and make one! :0) If you have a personal connection to a solid church that’s not on the list, comment below with:

🎄The full, correctly spelled name of the church
🎄The city and state, or city and country it’s located in
🎄The church’s website (please, please, please include this – it saves me a lot of time).

Think we can add 25 churches by Christmas Day? Let’s give it a shot and make it a merry Christmas for our brothers and sisters who are searching for a new church! Thanks for your help! :0)

Christmas, Church

The 25 Churches of Christmas

Friends, thank you so much for your recommendations thus far! We’ve gotten 10 of our 25 Churches of Christmas and I’ve been able to remove 5 states from the “endangered species list” (states with 2 or fewer recommendations). I hope we can add 15 more by Christmas. Keep those recommendations coming!

This Christmas season, I’d like to offer you an opportunity to help me give our brothers and sisters in Christ a gift – a gift that won’t cost you a dime.

If you’ve followed me for a minute, you know I’m passionate about helping people find doctrinally sound churches to join. And if you’ve ever perused my list of Reader Recommended Churches, you’ve probably noticed that we have tons of listings for churches in some states, only one or two for others, and hardly any for countries outside the U.S.

What I’m hoping to do is add 25 doctrinally sound churches to the list in the states and countries that are lacking. Of course anyone is welcome to recommend a church anywhere, but in order for it to “count” toward The 25 Churches of Christmas, it needs to be a recommendation for a church:

⛪️ in one of our U.S. states that has two or fewer recommendations (currently: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, West Virginia)

OR

⛪️ a church in any country besides the U.S.

I’ve made the list, you check it twice. If recommendations are naught, be nice and make one! :0) If you have a personal connection to a solid church that’s not on the list, comment below with:

🎄The full, correctly spelled name of the church
🎄The city and state, or city and country it’s located in
🎄The church’s website (please, please, please include this – it saves me a lot of time).

Think we can add 25 churches by Christmas Day? Let’s give it a shot and make it a merry Christmas for our brothers and sisters who are searching for a new church! Thanks for your help! :0)

Christmas, Church

The 25 Churches of Christmas

This Christmas season, I’d like to offer you an opportunity to help me give our brothers and sisters in Christ a gift – a gift that won’t cost you a dime.

If you’ve followed me for a minute, you know I’m passionate about helping people find doctrinally sound churches to join. And if you’ve ever perused my list of Reader Recommended Churches, you’ve probably noticed that we have tons of listings for churches in some states, only one or two for others, and hardly any for countries outside the U.S.

What I’m hoping to do is add 25 doctrinally sound churches to the list in the states and countries that are lacking. Of course anyone is welcome to recommend a church anywhere, but in order for it to “count” toward The 25 Churches of Christmas, it needs to be a recommendation for a church:

⛪️ in one of our U.S. states that has two or fewer recommendations (currently: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, West Virginia)

OR

⛪️ a church in any country besides the U.S.

I’ve made the list, you check it twice. If recommendations are naught, be nice and make one! :0) If you have a personal connection to a solid church that’s not on the list, comment below with:

🎄The full, correctly spelled name of the church
🎄The city and state, or city and country it’s located in
🎄The church’s website (please, please, please include this – it saves me a lot of time).

Think we can add 25 churches by Christmas Day? Let’s give it a shot and make it a merry Christmas for our brothers and sisters who are searching for a new church! Thanks for your help! :0)