Mailbag

The Mailbag: Female Pastors- False Teachers or Just Sinning?

Originally published July 24, 2017

 

Is a woman who is in the position of pastor to be considered a false teacher or merely disobedient to The Word of God? Some churches in my area place pastors’ wives in the position of “co-pastor.” Would she have to be teaching some false doctrine to be considered a false teacher or does the fact that she is in the position in the first place make her a false teacher?

I love it when I hear from women – like the reader who sent in this question – who are thinking deeply and seriously about the things of God. It brings me so much joy to see God working in the hearts and minds of Christian women.

Before we start parsing these ideas out, let’s bottom line this thing. Scripture is both explicitly and implicitly clear that women are not to serve as pastors. Regardless of whether we call what she’s doing sin or false teaching, it is definitely unbiblical for a church to install a woman in the position of pastor, and for the woman to accept the position. So the bottom line is, it’s wrong and nobody should be attending such a church.

Now, onward and upward with the parsing…

The term “false teacher” is generally reserved for people (male or female) who actually teach – via speaking or writing – false doctrine. So if you if you want to get technical about it, if the woman in question simply holds the position of pastor but either does not preach/teach at all or does not preach/teach any sort of false doctrine, she, and the church that installed her, are simply sinning.

But there are a few more things to consider here:

♦ I’m familiar with various churches and denominations (none of which teach sound doctrine, including the specific ones the reader mentioned in her original e-mail) where a husband and wife serve as “co-pastors,” but I’ve never seen one in which the wife doesn’t preach/teach at all. It may not be often, but preaching is seen as part of her duties, otherwise, why would she be considered a co-pastor? (I suppose there could be churches where “co-pastor” is merely an honorific for the pastor’s wife, it’s just that I’ve never seen one.)

♦ Assuming preaching is one of her duties, I find it very difficult to imagine a woman who: sees nothing wrong with female pastors, is married to and pastored by a man who sees nothing wrong with female pastors, and attends a doctrinally unsound church that sees nothing wrong with female pastors, would get up in the pulpit and preach sound doctrine. Again, I suppose it could happen in theory, but how likely is it?

♦ As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, women teaching men and women teaching false doctrine are highly correlated. I have researched scores of women teachers. Every single one of them who unrepentantly teaches men also teaches false doctrine in some other aspect of her theology (usually Word of Faith or New Apostolic Reformation). In other words, if a woman teaches men, you can just about take it to the bank that she also teaches false doctrine.

♦ Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that this woman gets up and preaches sound doctrine every time she’s in the pulpit. So what? She’s still sinning by preaching to men, regardless of the content of her “sermon.” I have known of Reformed male pastors who preach perfectly sound doctrine, yet litter their sermons with foul language. I’ve known of other pastors who delivered biblical sermons every Sunday, but were sleeping with women in their congregations or were addicted to pornography or were molesting their own children. The point is- sound doctrine is not the only qualification for pastors. There are a number of observable and behavioral requirements for pastors listed in 1 Timothy and Titus – one of which is being a man – and violation of any of these requirements disqualifies a person from the role of pastor.

♦ While, technically, we would not label a female pastor a false teacher unless she’s overtly teaching false doctrine, the fact remains that she is teaching something unbiblical every time she stands in the pulpit. She is teaching, via her behavior, that it’s OK for her, her church, the church at large, the women of her congregation, and Christian women everywhere, to live in open rebellion against this portion of Scripture. Any pastor who, by his (her) own behavior, leads people to believe it is OK to ignore or rebel against God’s word has disqualified himself (herself) from the office of pastor.


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.

Discernment, False Teachers

Todd White

If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against certain teachers, please click here and read this article first. Your objection is most likely answered here. I won’t be publishing comments or answering emails that are answered by this article.

This article is what I call a “clearinghouse article”. It is a collection of articles written by others on the teacher, ministry, or unbiblical trend named below. Either I have not had the time to write a full blown article on it myself, or I felt that the articles listed did a fine job of explaining the biblical issues and there was no need to reinvent the wheel.

Disclaimer: I did not write the articles below, and I am not thoroughly familiar with all of the websites used in my clearinghouse articles. I do not endorse anything on these sites that deviates from Scripture or conflicts with my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Here are the  biblical criteria I use when deciding whether or not to recommend a teacher, ministry, etc.:

Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, he or she has to meet three criteria:

a) A female teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. A male teacher or pastor cannot allow women to carry out this violation of Scripture in his ministry. The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).

b) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of Scripture.

c) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.

I recommend against any teacher or ministry who violates one or more of these biblical tenets.

I am not very familiar with most of the teachers I’m asked about (there are so many out there!) and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I do involves items a and b (although in order to partner with false teachers (b) it is reasonable to assume their doctrine is acceptable to the false teacher and that they are not teaching anything that would conflict with the false teacher’s doctrine). Partnering with false teachers and women preaching to men are each sufficient biblical reasons not to follow a pastor, teacher, or author, or use his/her materials.

Just to be clear, “not recommended” is a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum are people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth and Kay Arthur. These are people I would not label as false teachers because their doctrine is generally sound, but because of some red flags I’m seeing with them, you won’t find me proactively endorsing them or suggesting them as a good resource, either. There are better people you could be listening to. On the other end of the spectrum are people like Joyce Meyer and Rachel Held Evans- complete heretics whose teachings, if believed, might lead you to an eternity in Hell. Most of the teachers I review fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (leaning toward the latter).

If you’d like to check out some pastors and teachers I heartily recommend, click the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.


Todd White
Not Recommended

 

Primary issues with Todd White: New Apostolic Reformation heresy, fake faith healing, yokes with numerous false teachers

 

New Apostolic Reformation

New Apostolic Reformation articles

The Mailbag: What is the New Apostolic Reformation?

The Mailbag: Should Christians listen to “Reckless Love”? (Contains videos and discussion of blasphemous NAR music, practices, and beliefs)

 

Theological Issues

Todd White Flips the Gospel Upside Down at Messed Up Church

Are Bethel Church and Todd White False Teachers? at WWUTT

Todd White Said the Cross Determined Your Value? at WWUTT

Responding to the False Teaching of Bethel Church, Jesus Culture, and Todd White by Gabriel Hughes

Todd White False Healer Witchcraft New Age Agenda by Justin Peters

Faith Healing

Todd White Exposed-Fake Leg Lengthening Trick! an excerpt from American Gospel

Fake Healing Videos Evaluated: Todd White, Tom Fischer and more by Mike Winger

Todd White Doubles Down on False Leg Lengthening Miracle at Fighting for the Faith

“I’m sinless.”

Todd White Says “I Am Sinless” (Just Like Jesus) by Steven Kozar

Does Todd White Claim to Be Sinless? by Popular Gospel

Mentored by Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn

Todd White’s Mentor is Kenneth Copeland! Be Careful of Todd White’s False Gospel Teachings at Berean Perspective Apologetics & Evangelism Ministry

Todd White’s Experience At A Benny Hinn Meeting at Nathan Griffith

“Encounter Gospel”

The Fortune-Telling “Encounter Gospel” of Bethel & the NAR Explained at Messed Up Church

 

Specific Incidents with Todd White

Todd receives American Gospel movie and letter from Costi Hinn

Todd calls American Gospel “demonically inspired” and “persecution”

Todd’s “Repentance” Sermon

Discerning Todd White at A Word Fitly Spoken

Has Todd White Repented? by Justin Peters

Todd’s Wealth

Todd White: How Much Money Does He Actually Make? by Steven Kozar

 

Collections of Articles/Episodes

The Todd White Cornucopia of False Teaching at Messed Up Church

Todd White at Fighting for the Faith

Todd White at Berean Research

Discernment, False Teachers

Ann Voskamp

If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against certain teachers, please click here and read this article first. Your objection is most likely answered here. I won’t be publishing comments or answering emails that are answered by this article.

This article is what I call a “clearinghouse article”. It is a collection of articles written by others on the teacher, ministry, or unbiblical trend named below. Either I have not had the time to write a full blown article on it myself, or I felt that the articles listed did a fine job of explaining the biblical issues and there was no need to reinvent the wheel.

Disclaimer: I did not write the articles below, and I am not thoroughly familiar with all of the websites used in my clearinghouse articles. I do not endorse anything on these sites that deviates from Scripture or conflicts with my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Here are the  biblical criteria I use when deciding whether or not to recommend a teacher, ministry, etc.:

Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, he or she has to meet three criteria:

a) A female teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. A male teacher or pastor cannot allow women to carry out this violation of Scripture in his ministry. The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).

b) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of Scripture.

c) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.

I recommend against any teacher or ministry who violates one or more of these biblical tenets.

I am not very familiar with most of the teachers I’m asked about (there are so many out there!) and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I do involves items a and b (although in order to partner with false teachers (b) it is reasonable to assume their doctrine is acceptable to the false teacher and that they are not teaching anything that would conflict with the false teacher’s doctrine). Partnering with false teachers and women preaching to men are each sufficient biblical reasons not to follow a pastor, teacher, or author, or use his/her materials.

Just to be clear, “not recommended” is a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum are people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth and Kay Arthur. These are people I would not label as false teachers because their doctrine is generally sound, but because of some red flags I’m seeing with them, you won’t find me proactively endorsing them or suggesting them as a good resource, either. There are better people you could be listening to. On the other end of the spectrum are people like Joyce Meyer and Rachel Held Evans- complete heretics whose teachings, if believed, might lead you to an eternity in Hell. Most of the teachers I review fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (leaning toward the latter).

If you’d like to check out some pastors and teachers I heartily recommend, click the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.


Ann Voskamp
Not Recommended

 

Primary issues with Ann Voskamp: False doctrine (New Age mysticism, panentheism, “theological erotica”), twists and mishandles Scripture, yokes with numerous false teachers, preaches to men

 

Theological Issues

Mystical Estrogen at Fighting for the Faith

Ann Voskamp’s Dangerous View of God’s Love at Berean Research

Panentheism

One Thousand Gifts at Christian Answers for the New Age

Panentheism and Hollow Words by Marcia Montenegro

“Theological Erotica”

One Thousand Gifts at Christian Answers for the New Age

 

Book Reviews

Romantic Panentheism: A Review of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp by Bob DeWaay

Interview With Marcia Montenegro: “One Thousand Gifts” Review with Steven Kozar

One Thousand Gifts by Tim Challies (please see also this companion piece: In which Tim Challies realizes Ann Voskamp is a real person by Elizabeth Prata)

The Broken Way at Wise in His Eyes

 

Examples of Ann Voskamp Preaching to Men

Hillsong Sunday sermon (Hillsong/Brian Houston)

The Way of the Lamb (instructing pastors at a pastors’ conference)

Founder’s Week at Moody Bible Institute (Other problematic speakers were on the roster, but normally at an event like this, each speaker comes in on a different day, they do not share a stage, and they have no contact with one another. I do not consider this “partnering” with other teachers.)

The Justice Conference (social justice)

Evangelicals for Life

 

Examples of Ann Voskamp Partnering with False Teachers

Women of Joy Conferences (Sheila Walsh, Chrystal Evans Hurst, Jennie Allen)

Hillsong’s Colour Conference 2020 (multiple) (Hillsong/Bobbie Houston, female “pastor,” Leanne Matthesius)

Q-Conference/Q-Ideas (multiple) (Rebekah and Gabe Lyons, Francis Chan, Priscilla Shirer, Jennie Allen, Bill Johnson. others)

Beth Moore: Guest post on Ann’s blog

IF:Gathering (Ann is on the leadership team of IF and has spoken at IF numerous times alongside false teachers and female “pastors”/preachers)

Thrive 2017 (Lysa TerKeurst, Bianca Olthoff, female “pastor,” Carolyn Haas)

 

Specific Incidents with Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp: Whoever Tells the Church Mothers to Go Home Are Homewreckers in Our Father’s Church at Relevant (not a recommended site) – After John MacArthur’s 2019 remarks that false teacher, Beth Moore, should not be preaching to men and should “go home,” Ann apparently wrote a response in support of Beth and some form of egalitarianism. She has since deleted the article.

Social Justice/Racial Issues

Ann Voskamp Among Protestors Outside the National Prayer Breakfast at Church Leaders (not a recommended site)

Ann promotes Black Lives Matter, White Fragility, and other unbiblical teachings (and teachers) on race on her blog

Discernment, False Teachers

Joel & Victoria Osteen

If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against certain teachers, please click here and read this article first. Your objection is most likely answered here. I won’t be publishing comments or answering emails that are answered by this article.

This article is what I call a “clearinghouse article”. It is a collection of articles written by others on the teacher, ministry, or unbiblical trend named below. Either I have not had the time to write a full blown article on it myself, or I felt that the articles listed did a fine job of explaining the biblical issues and there was no need to reinvent the wheel.

Disclaimer: I did not write the articles below, and I am not thoroughly familiar with all of the websites used in my clearinghouse articles. I do not endorse anything on these sites that deviates from Scripture or conflicts with my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Here are the  biblical criteria I use when deciding whether or not to recommend a teacher, ministry, etc.:

Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, he or she has to meet three criteria:

a) A female teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. A male teacher or pastor cannot allow women to carry out this violation of Scripture in his ministry. The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).

b) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of Scripture.

c) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.

I recommend against any teacher or ministry who violates one or more of these biblical tenets.

I am not very familiar with most of the teachers I’m asked about (there are so many out there!) and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I do involves items a and b (although in order to partner with false teachers (b) it is reasonable to assume their doctrine is acceptable to the false teacher and that they are not teaching anything that would conflict with the false teacher’s doctrine). Partnering with false teachers and women preaching to men are each sufficient biblical reasons not to follow a pastor, teacher, or author, or use his/her materials.

Just to be clear, “not recommended” is a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum are people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth and Kay Arthur. These are people I would not label as false teachers because their doctrine is generally sound, but because of some red flags I’m seeing with them, you won’t find me proactively endorsing them or suggesting them as a good resource, either. There are better people you could be listening to. On the other end of the spectrum are people like Joyce Meyer and Rachel Held Evans- complete heretics whose teachings, if believed, might lead you to an eternity in Hell. Most of the teachers I review fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (leaning toward the latter).

If you’d like to check out some pastors and teachers I heartily recommend, click the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.


Joel & Victoria Osteen
Not Recommended

 

Primary issues with the Osteens (and their “church,” Lakewood) : Word of Faith (prosperity gospel) heresy, self-help/seeker driven theology, Scripture – when used – is twisted and mishandled, Victoria is co-“pastor” of Lakewood and women guest preachers are normative, the Osteens yoke with numerous false teachers

 

Theological Issues

What’s the Problem with Joel Osteen? at CBC Media

A Biblical Critique of Joel Osteen’s Teachings by Melissa Dougherty

Who is Joel Osteen, and are his teachings biblical? at Got Questions

The Danger Of Prosperity Preaching: A Review Of Joel Osteen at Reasons for Jesus

Justin Peters exposes Joel Osteen the Phony by Justin Peters

John MacArthur Rebukes Joel Osteen by John MacArthur

 

Book Reviews

Joel Osteen’s “Your Best Life Now” [and “Become a Better You”]: An Honest Review at Reasons for Jesus

Positive Thinking is False Thinking…and a Few Thoughts on Joel Osteen’s Latest Book (Think Better, Live Betterat Truth + Fire

 

Specific Incidents with Joel & Victoria Osteen

Joel Osteen’s “I Don’t Know”-athon on Larry King by Steve Lawson

Victoria Osteen says to do good for yourself, not God at CARM

Victoria Osteen Ripped for Telling Church ‘Just Do Good For Your Own Self’; Worship Is Not for God, ‘You’re Doing it for Yourself’ at The Christian Post

Joel Osteen: Mormons Are ‘Brothers In Christ’ on Wolf Blitzer

Just How Rich Is Joel Osteen? at TheStreet

 

Collections of Articles/Episodes

Joel Osteen at Apprising

Osteen at Berean Research

Osteen at Fighting for the Faith

Osteen at The End Time

Discernment, False Teachers

Joyce Meyer

If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against certain teachers, please click here and read this article first. Your objection is most likely answered here. I won’t be publishing comments or answering emails that are answered by this article.

This article is what I call a “clearinghouse article”. It is a collection of articles written by others on the teacher, ministry, or unbiblical trend named below. Either I have not had the time to write a full blown article on it myself, or I felt that the articles listed did a fine job of explaining the biblical issues and there was no need to reinvent the wheel.

Disclaimer: I did not write the articles below, and I am not thoroughly familiar with all of the websites used in my clearinghouse articles. I do not endorse anything on these sites that deviates from Scripture or conflicts with my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Here are the  biblical criteria I use when deciding whether or not to recommend a teacher, ministry, etc.:

Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, he or she has to meet three criteria:

a) A female teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. A male teacher or pastor cannot allow women to carry out this violation of Scripture in his ministry. The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).

b) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of Scripture.

c) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.

I recommend against any teacher or ministry who violates one or more of these biblical tenets.

I am not very familiar with most of the teachers I’m asked about (there are so many out there!) and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I do involves items a and b (although in order to partner with false teachers (b) it is reasonable to assume their doctrine is acceptable to the false teacher and that they are not teaching anything that would conflict with the false teacher’s doctrine). Partnering with false teachers and women preaching to men are each sufficient biblical reasons not to follow a pastor, teacher, or author, or use his/her materials.

Just to be clear, “not recommended” is a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum are people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth and Kay Arthur. These are people I would not label as false teachers because their doctrine is generally sound, but because of some red flags I’m seeing with them, you won’t find me proactively endorsing them or suggesting them as a good resource, either. There are better people you could be listening to. On the other end of the spectrum are people like Joyce Meyer and Rachel Held Evans- complete heretics whose teachings, if believed, might lead you to an eternity in Hell. Most of the teachers I review fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (leaning toward the latter).

If you’d like to check out some pastors and teachers I heartily recommend, click the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.


Joyce Meyer
Not Recommended

 

Primary issues with Joyce Meyer: Word of Faith (prosperity gospel) heresy, twists and mishandles Scripture, female “pastor,” yokes with numerous false teachers

 

Theological Issues

Joyce Meyer at CARM

Exposing False Teachers (No.1): Joyce Meyer at Broad Oak Piety

Why we quit working for Joyce Meyer, and left the Word of Faith movement at Doreen Virtue with Paul & Emily Massey

Word of Faith False Teacher Joyce Meyer’s Shocking Doctrine and Heresy by Fran Sankey

Joyce Meyer is “Word of Faith” by Tim Martin

6 Reasons You Should Stop Listening to Joyce Meyer by Daniel Long

The Teachings of Joyce Meyer at Christian Research Institute (aside from this article, this is not a site I recommend)

Joyce Meyer – False Teacher at SO4J

 

Book Reviews

“Any Minute”: a review of Joyce Meyer’s book by Elizabeth Prata

 

Specific Incidents with Joyce Meyer

8 expensive things owned by American Televangelist Joyce Meyer at Ten Over Ten

Joyce Meyer, Former Focus of Senate Probe, Was Paid $250K While Ministry Earned $110.5 Million in 2014 at The Christian Post

 

Collections of Articles/Episodes

Joyce Meyer at Apprising

Joyce Meyer at Berean Research

Joyce Meyer at Fighting for the Faith

Joyce Meyer at The End Time