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

8 Theses for Women of the Modern Day Reformation

Reformation Day is Monday, October 31.

Originally published October 20, 2017

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

Get this book. Now. You’re welcome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.
Realize You Can’t Change the World

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

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

2.
Color Inside the Lines

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

3.
Mind Your Demeanor

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

4.
Serve the Local Church

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

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

5.
Pray

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

6.
Teach Other Women

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

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

7.
Help

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

8.
Stand

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

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

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

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

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Teaching co-ed college Sunday School… “Losing it” with attackers… “Tough” vs. “fluff” Bible studies… Why “Bye Begg”?)

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.


I’ve been asked to teach a college/career Sunday School class. It’s couples that are married, some engaged. I would probably be able to co-teach with a man. Should I as a woman not be teaching that class since it has men and not really youth?

It’s really great that you’re giving this some thought and asking that question!

You’re correct – college aged young men are men, even if they are young. You should not be teaching them, your church is wrong for asking you to teach them, and your pastor is wrong for allowing women to teach men in your church. It isn’t just wrong for you, individually because you would be violating Scripture, it’s also wrong because, if you did it, you would be leading these young men to think that it’s OK for women to teach men. You would be teaching them by your actions that it’s OK to ignore or disobey any command of God that’s inconvenient or that we don’t like. (This is one of the reasons I also discourage women from teaching youth/teen boys.)

As far as “co-teaching” goes, it depends on what you and your church mean by that term. What the term “co-teaching” actually means is that you and another teacher(s) take turns teaching the class the Bible lesson. If that’s how you and your church are using that term, then, no, you shouldn’t be co-teaching. It doesn’t matter whether you’re teaching every week or every other week or once a month or whatever. You’re still teaching men the Bible, and that’s still a sin.

However, some churches/Christians will say that, for example, a husband and wife are “co-teaching” a Sunday School class when what they really mean is that the husband is doing all of the actual teaching and the wife is taking care of the administrative duties of the class like making the coffee, taking attendance, organizing fellowships, contacting those who have been absent, etc., but not doing any of the actual teaching. That is absolutely fine, but they need to stop calling it “co-teaching” – a) because it’s not, and b) because it leads others to believe they and their church are sinning when they’re actually not.

I would encourage you to give some thought and study to my Rock Your Role series of articles, starting with Jill in the Pulpit and Rock Your Role FAQs (start with #13), then make an appointment with your pastor to politely and kindly ask him why he’s allowing women to teach men in your church. If he brushes you off or tries to make you feel like the bad guy, it’s time to find a new, doctrinally sound church. Churches that allow or encourage women to teach men are just as much in sin as if they were allowing or encouraging church members to steal from the offering, or remain in a homosexual lifestyle, or if they taught that abortion is OK. No one should be joined to a church that’s in active, unrepentant sin.


Curious- Do you ever lose it? As in raise your voice and yell at someone who attacks you over doctrinal issues?

I don’t personally recall ever having lost it quite like that, but that has nothing to do with my stellar level of self control or personal holiness or anything like that. It has more to do with the fact that when I’m attacked, it’s virtually always online – social media, email, or blog comments – and virtually always by strangers. That affords me ways of dealing with the person or comment that aren’t feasible when you’re dealing with a friend or loved one in person.

I have gotten into a few exchanges on social media in which I was convicted that I crossed the line of anger or I squandered time in an argument that I should have stewarded better. In those cases, I’ve repented and asked the person’s forgiveness. And I’ve tried, since then to have a much stricter Matthew 7:6 policy.

The handful of times I’ve been attacked in person by someone I know, I was usually prepared because the meetings were pre-arranged for the specific purpose of excoriating me for standing on the truth of Scripture and decrying false teachers and false doctrine. I had my notes and thoughts in order and was prepared beforehand not to lose it.

The one or two times I’ve been spontaneously attacked in person by someone I know were relatively brief in duration, and I pretty much stood there in stunned silence with my mouth agape at the shock of a professing Christian acting that way. Even after all these years, I don’t think that’s something I’ll ever get used to.

So, to my recollection, no, I’ve never lost it like that in a similar situation, but mainly because I haven’t been in a similar situation.


I’m a co-leader of a women’s group at our church.. at first the other leader and I were on the same page.. no fluff. We are currently doing J.I. Packer’s book, Knowing God, and all I hear is, “It’s too hard!”. They all want fluff but 3 of us..How do I change their minds?… I’ve been praying on how to handle this. I can’t do fluff! They want Beth Moore type stuff. That is a hard pass for me. What should I do?

Atta girl! Fluff is not the answer, and we should always take a hard pass on false doctrine.

What should you do? You do exactly what you do with a toddler who only wants to keep eating candy rather than healthy food: You keep feeding her healthy food. You don’t give in to unbiblical, unhealthy childish whims. There’s not a single biblical passage that teaches us to coddle Christians in their immaturity. Scripture always instructs us to grow up.

That being said, we start babies on baby food, not steak. I haven’t read that particular book by Packer. Perhaps it is a little too tough for them, and the reason they’re suggesting “fluff” type authors and studies is that that’s all they know to suggest as an alternative.

Can I make a couple of suggestions? When you finish the Packer book (or, if you think it’s wiser, just discontinue it now)…

  • Grab one of my Bible studies and take them through it. Maybe one of the shorter ones like Colossians or Ruth. All of my studies are free, so if it turns out not to be a fit, nobody has lost any money. Also, you know where your ladies are, maturity-wise, and you can simplify or skip any of the questions you think are too tough for them at this moment. You can tailor the study for the ladies of your particular church.
  • If you absolutely have to do a book study rather than a Bible study, I would recommend my friend Allen Nelson’s book From Death to Life: How Salvation Works for two reasons: a) It’s a lot shorter, and probably simpler, too, than Packer’s book, and b) Often the reason women clamor after false teachers is because they’re not genuinely saved (John 10). This book is a wonderful, simple exposition of the gospel.

“Tough” and “fluff” aren’t your only two options. The key is to meet your ladies where they are, set the bar a little higher, and help them grow to maturity.


Why is Alistair Begg no longer listed at your Recommended Bible Teachers tab?

I was disappointed to have to remove him, but if I’m going to be fair and consistent about who I recommend, it had to be done.

It has been brought to my attention that Alistair Begg endorses the idea of a woman preaching or teaching the Sunday morning message in church (in other words, preaching/teaching to men) as long as she has been invited and given permission to do so by the pastor and elders. He has invited and permitted at least one woman to do this at his own church. This is unbiblical.

Listen as Begg explains in his own words in this sermon (starting around 30:12) on 1 Timothy 2:9-15b. (I would encourage you to listen to the whole sermon – in which he says many good things – for context.)

Christian Women (2) – Alistair Begg | September 16, 2019

Some may also recall that in 2019, Begg shared the stage with Beth Moore (also Tony Evans and others) at Baylor University’s National Preaching Conference, much to the chagrin of and numerous protests from his followers. In response to a follower who expressed concern, a statement1 from Begg’s ministry indicated that he accepted the invitation to speak without knowing who any of the other speakers were. He kept the engagement, but has not appeared with any other false teachers since then that I know of.

I did not remove Begg from my recommends at that time because I was hoping it was (and, so far, seems to have been) a one time goof that would teach him to use greater wisdom and discernment in the future. We all do dumb things from time to time, and well known pastors are no exception.

Begg’s statements in the sermon video above, however, are not a one time lapse in judgment. They are the well thought out, planned, and implemented policy of the church he pastors.

I’m not saying Begg is a heretic on par with Benny Hinn or Kenneth Copeland. Far from it. I don’t even consider him a false teacher. I just no longer feel comfortable saying, “Hey, this is a great teacher. I recommend that you follow him,” (i.e. putting him on my list of recommended teachers) when there are others I decline to recommend who hold the same erroneous position.

Earlier in the sermon Begg humbly admits (as should every good pastor) that he and his church don’t claim to have everything right, but that they will continue to grow in Christ and make corrections. If and when he corrects this error (and any others that might come to light), I’ll be delighted to reconsider him for inclusion on the list.

1This is not a website I endorse. It is linked only as evidence of the statements in this paragraph.


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.

Celebrity Pastors, Discernment

Throwback Thursday ~ Stricter Judgment, Even for MY Favorite Teacher

Originally published September 29, 2017

It’s a funny thing that it’s so easy for us to see the far away faults and foibles of others, but the ones in our own hearts – the sins and hypocrisy we know most intimately – are constantly in our spiritual blind spot. Jesus understood this all too well and admonished us to make sure our own hands are clean before taking the tweezers to the mote in a sister’s eye.

Often, it’s not that we’re ignoring the plank that’s obscuring our vision, we’re just not even aware that it’s there. When I evaluate my own heart to confess my sins to the Lord, the ones that weigh heaviest on my spirit are not those that I know I’ve committed and need to repent of, it’s the ones I’m sure are lurking somewhere… but I can’t quite put my finger on them.

One of the subtle hypocrisies theologically orthodox, blameless and upright, discerning Christians can have trouble seeing in ourselves is our failure to hold our favorite pastors and teachers to the same biblical standards we apply to other pastors and teachers.

We correctly criticize Steven Furtick and Beth Moore for palling around with the likes of Joyce Meyer and T.D. Jakes, but when Lauren Chandler speaks at IF:Gathering several years in a row, co-hosts a summer Bible study with Beth Moore, and publicly declares her desire to meet Christine Caine, suddenly, it’s “touch not mine anointed” just because she’s married to our darling Matt1?

What if John MacArthur decided it would be a good idea to invite Joel Osteen to speak at ShepCon next year?

Or it came to light that Elisabeth Elliot preached to men?

Or you found out Paul Washer was a drunkard?

Would you make excuses for them? Sweep this stuff under the rug and continue to listen to their sermons and read their books without batting an eye?

Pastors and teachers don’t get a pass on sin just because they’re Reformed, or discerning, or have a virtually unblemished record of doctrinal soundness, or because they’re “one of the good guys.”

Pastors and teachers don’t get a pass on sin just because they’re Reformed, or discerning, or have a virtually unblemished record of doctrinal soundness, or because they’re “one of the good guys.” If they’re called to account, and they repent and strive toward holiness, hallelujah! That’s what God requires of all Christians – that we walk before Him blamelessly and bear fruit in keeping with repentance. But if they unrepentantly persist in sin despite biblical correction, there’s a problem there- with their own hearts, and with ours, if we knowingly turn a blind eye to their willful disobedience just because they’re our favorites.

God makes it clear throughout His Word that pastors, teachers, and others in positions of spiritual leadership bear a grave responsibility to set a godly example for those who look to them for teaching and guidance. And, in certain ways, God requires a higher standard for those in spiritual leadership than He requires of Christians He has not called to lead.

…No man of the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the Lord’s food offerings; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy things, but he shall not go through the veil or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries, for I am the Lord who sanctifies them…
Leviticus 21

…And Moses said to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar his sons, “Do not let the hair of your heads hang loose, and do not tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the congregation; but let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning that the Lord has kindled. And do not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you.” And they did according to the word of Moses…
Leviticus 10:1-11

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
Titus 2:7-8

not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:3

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
Philippians 3:17

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1

But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Luke 12:45-48

you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 
Romans 2:21-23

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 
James 3:1

As the passages above allude to, sound doctrine, while crucial, is not God’s only requirement for pastors and teachers. They are also required to rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine (not befriend them or join them on the conference dais). And Paul outlines the numerous behavioral requirements for pastors, elders, and deacons not once but twice, even going so far as to say that deacons must “prove themselves blameless” and that “an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach.” Right theology does not excuse wrong behavior.

Right theology does not excuse wrong behavior.

Why, then, when God’s standards for those who lead are so high, are we quick to sweep aside unrepentant wrongdoing by the teachers we hold most dear, sometimes even holding them to lower standards than we would hold ourselves? “I would never preach to men, but I’ll give Teacher X a pass on it.” “There’s no way I’d partner with a false teacher, but it’s not a big deal that Preacher Y does it.”

The Jesus who says “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” who says that even one sin is one sin too many, is not a God who is OK with His people glossing over disobedience. God wants sin dealt with, repented of, and forsaken, especially in those who lead, because receiving correction and repenting of sin sets a rare and phenomenal biblical example for Christians to follow.

The Jesus who says “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” who says that even one sin is one sin too many, is not a God who is OK with His people glossing over disobedience.

Do we go off the deep end and reject a trustworthy teacher the first time she does something a little iffy? Of course not. But should we step back, keep a closer, more objective eye on her and her trajectory as time goes by to see if she corrects her course? Yes. Should we stop following her if she continues to dive deeper and deeper into sin with no signs of turning around? Even if she’s always been doctrinally sound? Even if she’s complementarian? Even if she attends a church with a good theological reputation? Even if we’ve enjoyed all of her books thus far? Definitely.

Let’s shed some light on those blind spots our favorite teachers occupy and let our highest loyalty be to Christ, His Word, and His standards for leadership.


¹Sadly (click link on Lauren Chandler’s name), since the original publication of this article, Matt Chandler should no longer be “our darling Matt,” either.

Christian women, Discernment, Men

Throwback Thursday ~ Women and False Teachers: Why Men Don’t Get It, and Why It’s Imperative That They Do

Originally published September 22, 2017

Confession time: Sometimes – OK, often – I think my brain works more like a man’s than a woman’s. You’ve got a problem? Suck it up- here’s the solution. The mall? A perfectly horrifying way to ruin a Saturday. And why do we have to hug people hello and goodbye when we see each other multiple times a week?

I’ve always been more comfortable around men, and when I was single, I had mostly male friends. They’re generally¹ less mysterious and easier to figure out than women, and they don’t usually play those manipulative emotional games some women can be notorious for. If a man says he wants a cheese sandwich, there’s no hidden “you don’t bring me flowers often enough” meaning there. He just wants a cheese sandwich. I like that. It’s pretty much how I operate.

Which makes me the perfect person for God to plunk down smack dab in the middle of women’s ministry, right?

Harrumph.

God just has this way about Him of stretching us and growing us beyond our comfortable little confines. I used to be terrified of walking into a room full of women (They’re so unpredictable! You never know when a big emotional scene might break out!) But after years of teaching and discipling women, developing close friendships with women, serving and ministering to women, I now walk into that room and see precious sisters, created oh so tenderly and intricately by God’s loving hands.

God purposefully and intentionally made each woman unique, but with common traits and perspectives that bind us together as sisters and differentiate us from men. And because men aren’t wired by God the same way women are, sometimes they’re just not going to get the way women think about things, approach people, or respond to issues. Sometimes (shopping, flowers, hugginess) that’s no big deal. They can shrug their shoulders, extend grace, and make space for the women in their lives to think, feel, and react differently than men would without really taking the time to understand why.

There’s at least one biblical issue women respond to differently at the core level of their spiritual DNA than men do. And men, it’s crucial that you get it on this one.

But there’s at least one biblical issue women respond to differently at the core level of their spiritual DNA than men do. And men, it’s crucial that you get it on this one. You’re the pastors. The elders. The husbands. The fathers. The ones responsible before God for leading your churches and your families in doctrinally sound spiritual growth. You’ve got to get this for the sake of the girls and women you lead:

Women respond differently to false teachers than men do.

And, ladies, we need to understand this about ourselves, too.

It started, not with the advent of modern feminism, or the church age, or even the Fall. It started in the Garden.

Genesis 3 begins…

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman

Have you ever wondered why the serpent approached Eve instead of Adam?

Before sin entered the world, before that snake in the grass even thought up his dastardly plan of deception, there was a void in the world. None of the animals or birds could fill it. Neither could Adam. God determined that, in order to make His creation complete, there was a need for woman to fill that void. So He reached down with His own two hands (so to speak) and personally crafted a woman.

God had made both animals and Adam out of cold, dead dirt. Not so with woman. God made woman out of soft, warm, living flesh, already coursing with life. God made man to tend the ground from which he had come. God made woman to tend the man from which she had come.

God made man to tend the ground from which he had come. God made woman to tend the man from which she had come.

And in the same way that God used a different method for creating man and woman and gave them different modes of work, He also gave them different mental and emotional makeups.

God created women with some incredible strengths. Women are usually much better nurturers than men. We’re often better at negotiating, compromising, and making peace between opposing parties. We’re more sensitive to what others are going through and how to treat people in a kind and compassionate way. We bear up under certain pains and stressors better than men do. We’re usually better communicators than men. And, frequently it’s much easier for women to trust, love, and give the benefit of the doubt to others.

And along with those unique strengths come unique challenges that we have to watch out for and that men need some insight about.

We’re kinder and more compassionate, so we have to be careful about people who would take advantage of that. Nurturing is great for raising our children, but if we baby them all their lives, that’s not healthy. Being trusting is a fantastic character trait, but it’s imperative that we be vigilant not to put our trust in the wrong person.

Could it be that the serpent approached Eve instead of Adam because he thought she would be more trusting, give him the benefit of the doubt, and thus be easier to deceive?

First Timothy 2:14 echoes this idea. In 1 Timothy 2:11-14, God explains that women are not to teach men or exercise authority over men in the gathered body of Believers – the church. He gives two reasons for this in verses 13-14. The first reason (13) is the Creative order: “Adam was formed first, then Eve”. God’s second reason is in verse 14:

and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

It’s interesting that verse 13 refers to the specific woman, Eve, but verse 14 uses the more generic term “the woman.” Are women, as a whole, more likely to be victimized by deceivers than men are? Scripture seems to point us that direction.

In 2 Timothy 3:1-9, Paul warns Timothy that people – including those in the church – will become more and more degenerate during the last days. There will even be those who have an outer facade of godliness but are not operating by the power and indwelling of the Holy Spirit (5). In other words: false teachers. Verses 6-7 tell us that among these false teachers are those…

…who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

In verse 16 of this same chapter we read that “all Scripture is breathed out by God,” and we know that God never makes mistakes or chooses His words haphazardly. So we know there’s a reason God uses the words “weak women” here. Not weak men, not weak Christians, not weak people – weak women. God graciously gives a warning to women not to be taken in by these false teachers, and an exhortation to men – particularly pastors, since this is a pastoral epistle – to protect the women of their churches and families against those who would prey upon tenderhearted, trusting women.

One reason these women are weak is that they’re led astray by various passions. Today, the word “passion” or “passionate” often has a sexual connotation, but that’s not the only meaning, especially not here. Dictionary.com defines passion as “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate; a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.” Merriam-Webster says passion is, “the emotions as distinguished from reason; a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.”

As with so many other valuable characteristics God has blessed women with, passion is a two-edged sword. God wants us to have a passion for holiness, pursing Christ, and biblical ministry to others, but we have to be extremely careful to steward that passion with the reins, bit, and bridle of discernment and knowledge of the Scriptures. Otherwise, we will pour our passion – our powerful and compelling loyalty, enthusiasm, fondness, and love – into the wrong teachers and doctrines.

Which brings us full circle to Eve, because that’s where her train jumped the tracks.

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Genesis 3:4-6 

Notice the serpent doesn’t invite Eve to do something blatantly evil. “God knows…” “…you will be like God.” He’s tempting her to do something she thinks is godly. Then Eve takes her eyes off God and His Word and looks instead at the tree.

🍃It was good for food The fruit would satisfy a felt need. It was practical. She and Adam needed supper. Here was an easy solution. And, besides, it looked delicious and nutritious.

🍃It was a delight to the eyes– The fruit appealed to Eve’s sense of beauty. It looked good to her.

🍃It was to be desired to make one wise– Eve had a passion to grow in wisdom and godliness, and this beautiful, appealing, practical, attractive fruit seemed, in her eyes, the best and most enjoyable way to reach that goal.

This is the same way women are being deceived today. The attractive “tree” (Ever notice that most false teachers are at least somewhat physically attractive – “a delight to the eyes”?) extends a branch with lovely-looking, supposedly nutritious fruit on it which she says will lead to godly wisdom and growth (even though her teaching conflicts with God’s written Word). And it’ll be delicious too. Those who bite the apple will feast on love, positive thoughts, encouragement, and self-esteem-building teaching. It’s too appealing to the woman’s senses – and she’s too weak in her knowledge of Scripture and her desire to obey it – to pass up. She succumbs to the passions of her senses, plucks the fruit, and eats.

And then a fascinating phenomenon begins to take place. The weak woman feeds her passions with the fruit of false doctrine, and then she begins to pour that passion – that intense, compelling loyalty, love, fondness, and enthusiasm – into the false teacher herself. As anyone who has ever tried to gently open a devotee’s eyes can attest, hell hath no fury like a confronted Beth Moore disciple. I have seen women defend their favorite false teachers – against clear Scripture, mind you – with a viciousness I’m not sure I could muster to protect my own children against physical harm.

Men may enjoy a particular false teacher, but women worship them.

Men may enjoy a particular false teacher, but women worship them.

And this is the crux of the difference that men rarely grasp when the topic of discernment comes up. I’ve talked to countless pastors who don’t understand why simply preaching and teaching sound doctrine from the pulpit and in the Sunday School class isn’t sufficient to protect their churches from the infiltration of false doctrine and false teachers. This is why.

I’ve talked to countless pastors who don’t understand why simply preaching and teaching sound doctrine isn’t sufficient to protect their churches from false doctrine and false teachers. This. is. why.

Maybe a man will hear hear a biblical truth, realize the preacher he’s been listening to conflicts with it, and simply walk away. A woman won’t. Because, not only has the teaching a woman listens to inextricably wrapped its tentacles around the very core of her soul, she has also formed an emotional bond with the teacher that’s almost impossible to break. She loves her. And she will nearly always choose that loving, bonded “relationship” over biblical truth, giving the teacher the benefit of the doubt and making excuses for her every step of the way.

A woman will nearly always choose that loving, bonded “relationship” with the teacher over biblical truth, giving the teacher the benefit of the doubt and making excuses for her every step of the way.

The Holy Spirit gets it. He understands the power false teachers wield over weak women and the destruction false teaching in general brings upon the church, so He inspired Paul to write Titus 1:9:

[A pastor] must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Pastors who only preach sound doctrine are only doing half their job.

Pastors who only preach sound doctrine are only doing half their job. And notice that this verse doesn’t merely say to “rebuke teaching that contradicts sound doctrine” in a generic sort of way. It says rebuke “those who” contradict it. “Those who” are people. Specific people. People with names.

Many pastors and teachers don’t want to name names of false teachers. They’ll quote false teachers, allude to them, describe them, and drop hints as to their identity, hoping against hope their church members will figure out who they’re talking about and stop following them. But they don’t want to call specific names. I understand the fear of naming names. It opens pastors up to attack by the aforementioned disciples of false teachers. I’ve experienced their venom, and believe me, nobody wants to go through that.

Guys – pastors, teachers, husbands – I’m telling you the women you’re preaching to, the women who are in the tightest clutches of false teachers aren’t getting your veiled allusions to generic, unnamed “false teachers”.

But guys – pastors, teachers, husbands – I’m telling you the women you’re preaching to, the women who are in the tightest clutches of false teachers aren’t getting it. They are not going to hear your veiled allusions to “some Christian authors who say…” or “the pastor of one of the largest churches in America teaches…” and think you’re talking about the false teacher they’re following. They think you’re talking about somebody else. The guy their neighbor is following. That crazy preacher on TBN. But not my favorite Southern Baptist “Bible” study teacher who’s a best seller at LifeWay and is touted on social media by well known pastors.

It takes courage – manly courage – to stand up in front of your congregation, class, or wife and warn them against specific false teachers, but that’s what godly men – who love the women in their churches and families and want to see them spiritually healthy – do.

We need your help, men. The church needs your help. Your family needs your help. Please get this so you can help other “Eves” not to be deceived and weak women to become strong followers of Christ, not false teachers.


¹If it’s not abundantly clear from context, please understand that I’m speaking in generalities in this article. Naturally, individuals vary.


Additional Resources

Popular False Teachers & Unbiblical Trends

Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring it Out on Your Own

Clinging to the Golden Calf: 7 Godly Responses When Someone Says You’re Following a False Teacher

Basic Training: Being Berean- 8 Steps for Comparing Teaching to Scripture

Do You MIND? : Five Reasons for Pastors to Mind What Their Brides Are Reading

Women In Combat

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Asked and Answered

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

And speaking of Bible studies…

Are your Bible studies able to print off?!

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.