Mailbag

The Mailbag: MLM-ing Essential Oils at Church

Originally published March 26, 2018

 

Our church has recently had a visitor come who is now promoting essential oils to the women who are flocking to a class she is having in one of their homes. This makes me very uncomfortable as it appears (to me) that she has visited to increase her MLM [multi-level marketing] customer base while touting medicinal cures via essential oils. Do you have any research on this?

Sounds like a multi-level mess! There are several different issues going on here, so let’s dig in…

Cold-calling at church
Um, no. I mean… OK, I’m just going to go there. Have you no shame? Have you no home training? I don’t care how much of a go-getter saleswoman you are, there are some lines you just don’t cross. And I can’t believe I’m actually having to explain to grown up, adult people that you don’t go church hopping to make sales and recruit people to work for you. What’s next, showing up at funerals to sell Avon? Pampered Chef demonstrations at wedding receptions?

Church is the place where a local body of Believers gathers to worship the almighty God of the universe. How dare anyone sully the Bride of Christ it by making it something as low and common as a networking site for her business! If you are visiting a church, you should be doing so to worship, not for any other reason. Jesus made that really clear.

Depending on how blatant, intrusive, and disruptive the visitor’s behavior at your church is, someone – preferably one of the women in the class that the visitor is close to, but if not, possibly an elder or the pastor – may need to pull her aside and firmly, yet lovingly, explain that she is welcome to come to church to worship, but not to hustle.

Multi-Level Members
The reader who sent in the question asked about someone who’s visiting her church, but I want to take a moment to speak to you ladies who are MLM-ing your own church.

Your fellow church members might be uncomfortable telling you this, so I’m going to do so on their behalf: Some of you are going too far and being too pushy with your businesses. And you’re putting your brothers and sisters in the no-win situation of either having to acquiesce to the pressure you’re putting on them or hurt your feelings by telling you no.

It’s certainly fine to tell people at church what your job is when they ask, but leave the ball in their court:

“What do you do?”

“I’m an independent sales consultant for Fancy Widgets.”

“Oh? That sounds great!”

“Yeah, it’s an awesome company. I love it! If you’d ever be interested in working with us or adding to your widget collection, just let me know. Want some coffee?”

And don’t bring it up again. She knows you’re her Fancy Widgets connection. If she wants something, she’ll find you.

If you leave it at that and you end up having a few people at church who want to order from you, it’s certainly OK to discreetly take orders from them or bring their products to them at church after services are over. It’s fine for people to approach you about your business, but don’t repeatedly ask people at church to host parties, invite people from church to parties others are hosting for you, attempt to recruit people, or push products. That’s a distraction from worship and fellowship, it gets on people’s nerves, and it will eventually end up alienating your church family.

Scientifically proven?
I don’t have much experience with essential oils, but it’s my understanding that some essential oils can help alleviate the symptoms of some ailments in some people. In other words, peppermint oil may work wonders on your migraine, but do nothing for mine. As long as the limits of the powers of the essential oils are made clear along with the potential benefits, there’s no problem. If the visitor is making snake oil-type promises that the essential oils don’t deliver on, that’s lying and she needs to be confronted about it. If it gets to that point, you need to let your pastor or elders know what’s going on in case she doesn’t stop and one of them ends up having to deal with her.

Essential Oils and New Age Spirituality
Some (not all) essential oils companies claim that their oils will bring about spiritual benefits in addition to (or instead of) physiological benefits. While it’s fine to say that a little lavender oil in your bath will help relax you, saying that it will balance your chakras or yin your yang or bring you inner peace and confidence or whatever is crossing the line into unbiblical (usually New Age) spirituality. No Christian should have anything to do with buying or selling such essential oils. If there’s someone in your church who’s promoting a company like that at church, that’s a church discipline issue, because she’s introducing false doctrine into the church.

Marcia Montenegro over at Christian Answers for the New Age has published numerous posts on the problems with New Age spirituality and essential oils, as has Sola Sisters.


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, Top 10

Top 10 Mailbag Articles of 2018

I always enjoy the annual “year in review” articles and TV shows that run in abundance in late December, so I thought I’d contribute my own. Several Mailbag articles were among this year’s most popular, so I decided to make two separate lists. Check out my top 10 non-Mailbag articles of 2018 tomorrow. Here are my ten most popular Mailbag blog articles from 2018:

Potpourri (Calvinism, Baptism, Modesty…)

LT calls Calvinism heresy…my views on baptism…Why isn’t 1 Timothy 2:9 emphasized as much as v. 12?…responding to a rude e-mail…


MLM-ing Essential Oils at Church

I don’t care how much of a go-getter saleswoman you are, there are some lines you just don’t cross. And I can’t believe I’m actually having to explain to grown up, adult people that you don’t go church hopping to make sales and recruit people to work for you…


False Doctrine in Contemporary Christian Music

Are there any CCM groups, artists, or songs I should avoid?
Can you recommend any specific doctrinally sound artists or groups?


What is the New Apostolic Reformation?

Since there’s no official NAR creed or statement of faith, beliefs and practices can vary from church to church, but, loosely speaking, the NAR takes the Word of Faith (prosperity gospel) heresy and kicks it up a notch with outlandish “supernatural” manifestations, blasphemously attributed to the Holy Spirit…


BSF (Bible Study Fellowship)

While I totally support the idea of delving deeply into the Scriptures with other women, there are a few of aspects of BSF that concern me… 


Should Christians listen to “Reckless Love”?

Remember, everything we do should be governed by Scripture, not our opinions and preferences, or whether we happen to like a particular song or not…


Do you recommend these teachers/authors? Volume 1

Jennifer Kennedy Dean, Lisa Harper, Karen Kingsbury, Rebekah Lyons, Raechel Myers, Shauna Niequist, Jennifer Rothschild, Susie Shellenberger, Sheila Walsh, Amanda Bible Williams


Do you recommend these teachers/authors? Volume 3

Jill Briscoe, Lauren Chandler, Tony Evans, Rachel Hollis, Chrystal Evans Hurst, Brenda Leavenworth, Leslie Ludy, Bianca Olthoff, Wellspring Group, Jen Wilkin


Do you recommend these teachers/authors? Volume 2

Jennie Allen, Lisa Bevere, Rachel Held Evans, Heather Lindsey, Ann Graham Lotz, Kelly Minter, Nancy Leigh (DeMoss) Wolgemuth


What did you think of Beth Moore’s “A Letter to My Brothers”?

If I had to sum up this article in one word, it would be “vague.” I have more questions than answers after reading it…What, specifically, is the church supposed to do in response to this nebulous accusation of misogyny?…


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: MLM-ing Essential Oils at Church

 

Our church has recently had a visitor come who is now promoting essential oils to the women who are flocking to a class she is having in one of their homes. This makes me very uncomfortable as it appears (to me) that she has visited to increase her MLM [multi-level marketing] customer base while touting medicinal cures via essential oils. Do you have any research on this?

Sounds like a multi-level mess! There are several different issues going on here, so let’s dig in…

Cold-calling at church
Um, no. I mean… OK, I’m just going to go there. Have you no shame? Have you no home training? I don’t care how much of a go-getter saleswoman you are, there are some lines you just don’t cross. And I can’t believe I’m actually having to explain to grown up, adult people that you don’t go church hopping to make sales and recruit people to work for you. What’s next, showing up at funerals to sell Avon? Pampered Chef demonstrations at wedding receptions?

Church is the place where a local body of Believers gathers to worship the almighty God of the universe. How dare anyone sully the Bride of Christ it by making it something as low and common as a networking site for her business! If you are visiting a church, you should be doing so to worship, not for any other reason. Jesus made that really clear.

Depending on how blatant, intrusive, and disruptive the visitor’s behavior at your church is, someone – preferably one of the women in the class that the visitor is close to, but if not, possibly an elder or the pastor – may need to pull her aside and firmly, yet lovingly, explain that she is welcome to come to church to worship, but not to hustle.

Multi-Level Members
The reader who sent in the question asked about someone who’s visiting her church, but I want to take a moment to speak to you ladies who are MLM-ing your own church.

Your fellow church members might be uncomfortable telling you this, so I’m going to do so on their behalf: Some of you are going too far and being too pushy with your businesses. And you’re putting your brothers and sisters in the no-win situation of either having to acquiesce to the pressure you’re putting on them or hurt your feelings by telling you no.

It’s certainly fine to tell people at church what your job is when they ask, but leave the ball in their court:

“What do you do?”

“I’m an independent sales consultant for Fancy Widgets.”

“Oh? That sounds great!”

“Yeah, it’s an awesome company. I love it! If you’d ever be interested in working with us or adding to your widget collection, just let me know. Want some coffee?”

And don’t bring it up again. She knows you’re her Fancy Widgets connection. If she wants something, she’ll find you.

If you leave it at that and you end up having a few people at church who want to order from you, it’s certainly OK to discreetly take orders from them or bring their products to them at church after services are over. It’s fine for people to approach you about your business, but don’t repeatedly ask people at church to host parties, invite people from church to parties others are hosting for you, attempt to recruit people, or push products. That’s a distraction from worship and fellowship, it gets on people’s nerves, and it will eventually end up alienating your church family.

Scientifically proven?
I don’t have much experience with essential oils, but it’s my understanding that some essential oils can help alleviate the symptoms of some ailments in some people. In other words, peppermint oil may work wonders on your migraine, but do nothing for mine. As long as the limits of the powers of the essential oils are made clear along with the potential benefits, there’s no problem. If the visitor is making snake oil-type promises that the essential oils don’t deliver on, that’s lying and she needs to be confronted about it. If it gets to that point, you need to let your pastor or elders know what’s going on in case she doesn’t stop and one of them ends up having to deal with her.

Essential Oils and New Age Spirituality
Some (not all) essential oils companies claim that their oils will bring about spiritual benefits in addition to (or instead of) physiological benefits. While it’s fine to say that a little lavender oil in your bath will help relax you, saying that it will balance your chakras or yin your yang or bring you inner peace and confidence or whatever is crossing the line into unbiblical (usually New Age) spirituality. No Christian should have anything to do with buying or selling such essential oils. If there’s someone in your church who’s promoting a company like that at church, that’s a church discipline issue, because she’s introducing false doctrine into the church.

Marcia Montenegro over at Christian Answers for the New Age has published numerous posts on the problems with New Age spirituality and essential oils, as has Sola Sisters.


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 (Nabeel, Spiritual Leadership, Essential Oils…)

 

Today’s edition of The Mailbag is a tad different in format. Usually, I answer one reader’s question in a long form article. Today, I’m addressing various questions from several readers in a “short answer” format.

Just a reminder- I changed my comments/e-mail/messages policy a few months ago, so I’m not responding individually to most e-mails and messages. Here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


Have you heard of Nabeel Qureshi? What do you think of his teaching and ministry?

I know little about Nabeel except that he was saved out of Islam and now has a ministry that centers on evangelizing Muslims. I’ve never listened to him speak or read any of his books, so I can’t comment one way or the other on the doctrinal specifics he teaches.

However, he is not someone I’d recommend anyone follow. Tragically, Nabeel was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago, and shortly thereafter decided that the thing to do would be to head to Bethel “Church” in Redding, California to have them pray over him for supernatural healing. If you’re not familiar with Bethel, or its leader, Bill Johnson, you may wonder why that’s problematic.

It’s problematic because Bethel is basically ground zero for the New Apostolic Reformation heresy- the most dangerous and destructive heresy attacking the church at large today. Dozens of Christians familiar with NAR false doctrine urged Nabeel on social media not to go to Bethel, and Nabeel blew them off, went anyway, and came back downplaying Bethel’s false teaching as minor, inconsequential differences in theology.

Nabeel also apparently believes in extra-biblical revelation as evidenced by this July 2017 Facebook post:

Cancer is a horrid, painful ordeal. I sympathize with Nabeel’s suffering and have prayed for him. But as our Lord so beautifully demonstrated at His temptation in the wilderness and on the cross, even the worst kind of suffering is not an excuse to compromise Scripture or disobey God.

Popular False Teachers (Bethel/Bill Johnson)
What is the New Apostolic Reformation?


Do you have any resources you’d recommend for women who are married to men who aren’t leading spiritually?

I know it can be really frustrating and painful when you desperately want your husband to be the spiritual leader of your home and he either can’t (because he’s not saved) or he won’t (due to spiritual immaturity, fear, disobedience, etc.)

I’m sure there are books and resources out there that at least touch on this topic, but I don’t read a lot of materials about marriage, so I’m not familiar enough with any to recommend them. (Perhaps someone reading this might like to make a suggestion in the comments? Doctrinally sound authors only, please.) Grace to You’s resources and store and Ligonier’s learn and store are always a good place to look for solid books and resources.

There are a few things I would recommend aside from marriage books, however:

♦ Pray for your husband, and be prepared that you may be in it for the long haul. If he’s not saved, pray for his salvation. If he’s saved but disobedient in this area, pray for his obedience, and ask God to show you how to encourage and help (not nag) him along the way. Ask God to increase your love, understanding, and compassion for your husband.

♦ If your husband is saved and willing to lead but feels inadequate, see if you can find him some help – a Christian men’s group, an older gentleman in your church who’d be willing to disciple him, some counseling sessions with the pastor – if he’s open to the idea of you helping or suggesting in this way. Be careful not to be pushy or bossy about these things or harp on him about attending.

♦ Be faithful to your personal Bible study time. First of all, you need it. Second of all, it sets a good example for your husband.

♦ Any time your husband makes the slightest step toward godly spiritual leadership, encourage him and affirm his leading. That sounds easy right now, but, at least early on, part of that is going to include you submitting to some decisions he makes that you don’t agree with. As long as those decisions aren’t unbiblical, grit your teeth and submit, because…

♦ The Bible says your behavior can have a tremendous impact on your husband. Take some time to study 1 Peter 3:1-6 and 1 Corinthians 7 (especially verses 12-16). These passages both deal with wives who have unbelieving or disobedient husbands, and how our behavior can either encourage them toward godliness or become a stumbling block to them.


Is it dangerous to be involved in yoga even though I don’t practice the meditation part of it? I just like the stretches and exercise I get from it. What are your thoughts?

“Dangerous” isn’t the word I’d choose. “Disobedient” is a better fit. Here are my thoughts (remember, the search bar is your friend):

Should Christians do yoga?


What’s your take on this essential oils craze so many Christian women seem to be into?

There are a lot of different facets to this question:

♦ Some companies who make and sell essential oils and some people who use them do so in conjunction with beliefs in chakras, energies, auras, and all that New Age movement jazz. (Sola Sisters and Christian Answers for the New Age have more in depth information on those issues.) No Christian should be dabbling around in occultic beliefs and practices.

♦ The oils themselves are spiritually “inert,” so picking up a bottle at the store is not a sin (though you might want to do a little research on the store and/or company that makes the oil to make sure you’re not financing beliefs you don’t want to support).

♦ There are multi-level marketing (MLM) businesses that sell essential oils in the same way people sell Tupperware or Pampered Chef. If that is the business you have chosen, make sure you’re not selling for a company that subscribes to the New Age stuff I mentioned above, don’t annoy your friends, and don’t make a practice of doing business at church. If you have a friend who MLM’s non-New Agey essential oils and you want to buy some, that’s absolutely fine, biblically speaking.

♦ If essential oils work on your minor ailments and that’s what you want to use instead of over the counter medications, there’s no Scriptural problem with that. Just be a good steward of the body and health God gave you and make sure you get proper medical attention for symptoms and illnesses that require it.


I read your article, Should Christians Attend Homosexual “Weddings”? and wanted to know, should Christians attend the wedding of a Christian and an unsaved person? What about the wedding of two unsaved (heterosexual) people?

I would advise Christians not to attend the wedding of a professing believer to an unbeliever due to Scripture’s admonition against this in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. As with a homosexual “wedding,” Christians should not be supporting, participating in, or giving the appearance of supporting, sin, and a believer marrying someone he or she knows is an unbeliever is sin.

There is no biblical prohibition against an unsaved man and an unsaved woman getting married, so unless there are other grounds on which you cannot support the union (for example- you know he abuses her or you know she’s been cheating on him during the engagement), you would not be supporting, participating in, or appearing to support sin by attending the wedding of two unsaved heterosexual people. (May I suggest a couple’s Bible or Bible study book as a wedding gift?)


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.