False Teachers

Sharon Hodde Miller

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.

 

I get lots of questions about particular authors, pastors, and Bible teachers, and whether or not I recommend them. Some of the best known can be found above at my Popular False Teachers tab. The teacher below is someone I’ve been asked about recently, so I’ve done a quick check (this is brief research, not exhaustive) on her.

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 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.


Sharon Hodde Miller
Not Recommended

Sharon Hodde Miller is the “teaching pastor” of Bright City Church in Durham, North Carolina, where she regularly preaches during the Sunday morning worship service.

Sharon also holds a Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in “women and calling”. She has authored two books and is a regular contributor to Christine Caine’s Propel Women and Raechel Myers’ She Reads Truth. She has also contributed to Ann Voskamp’s blog.

As I researched Sharon, I noticed something about her biographical information that usually appears in articles in which she is quoted, on websites, etc. While nearly all of these bios proudly present her as pursuing or holding a Ph.D. right off the bat, I don’t recall having seen an article or website in the dozens I looked at that also proudly presents her as a “pastor.” One reason for that is that some of the articles I looked at were published before Sharon and her husband planted Bright City Church in September 2018, which I believe is the first place she has served as a “pastor,” so one would not expect to see her listed as a “pastor” in these bios. However, in the year since she started “pastoring,” as of today, her bio on her own website, at She Reads Truth, her Twitter profile, the cover of her second book (released August 2019), and recent articles refer to her as “leading” (not “pastoring”) BCC “with her husband.” Sharon’s Facebook profile and Baker Books (which, again, released Sharon’s second book last week) call her a “pastor’s wife.” Is it possible that things have just been busy over the last year and Sharon just hasn’t had time to update some of these bios? Of course. We all get busy and forget or don’t have time to tend to details like that. But it does seem curious that someone who is heralded as having a Ph.D. in “women and calling” isn’t equally heralded as a female “pastor.” Why not be up front about it somewhere besides BCC’s website?

Sharon is friends with, under the influence of, and endorsed by Beth Moore. The two frequently interact on Twitter.

In her early years of ministry, Sharon spent a year working for Lysa TerKeurst’s Proverbs 31 Ministries, and considers that experience one way “God has equipped me on my journey.”

Sharon’s first book, Free of Me, was endorsed by false teachers Ann Voskamp, Christine Caine, Lysa TerKeurst, and Jennie Allen, (also, disturbingly, by J.D. Greear, who is currently president of the Southern Baptist Convention and a personal friend of Sharon’s). Sharon’s second book, Nice, was endorsed by Lysa TerKeurst, Bianca Olthoff, and female “pastor” Andi Andrew.

Sharon considered Rachel Held Evans a friend and wrote a tribute to her after her death saying “the church lost a powerful voice,” “her convictions were rooted in a genuine love for people,” “She advocated for those on the margins,” “that is why so many of us loved her,” and “I learned so much from [Rachel].” Rachel also promoted Sharon three times on her own blog.

Sharon has shown sympathy for and alliance with “woke” racialist Kyle James Howard for publicly slandering doctrinally sound pastor, Josh Buice.

Sharon has had numerous friendly interactions on Twitter with advocate of homosexuality, Jonathan Merritt. He calls her a friend.

In a 2016 Washington Post article, The high cost of popular evangelical Jen Hatmaker’s gay marriage comments, Sharon comments positively on Jen Hatmaker, calling her a “trailblazer” and saying,

“[Miller] believes Hatmaker represents a wave of evangelical women ‘who are not content to silo their faith,’ or to publicly support only the things that every Christian agrees on. ‘I happen to think that’s a good thing.'”

Sharon maintains a friendship with Jen on Twitter, and also recommended Jen’s blog (as well as Ann Voskamp’s and feminist/”preacher” Sarah Bessey’s) in her article Why I Am Thankful for Bloggers, a list of bloggers she is “thankful for,” “blessed by,” “God is using them,” and that these are “writers who influence me.”

Sharing her thoughts about IF: Gathering’s emphasis on social justice, Sharon was quoted in the Sojourners article Evangelical Women Look Beyond Bible Study to New Causes:

This was about expanding our vision outside of ourselves,” said Sharon Hodde Miller, a doctoral student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School who is studying women in seminary. “It could play out in a variety of different ways but encompassed social justice, racial reconciliation, poverty, or thinking about the neighbor next door who is a widow.”

Sharon also wrote a blog article endorsing IF: Gathering and encouraging her readers to attend, follow IF on social media, etc. About the leadership team of IF – which included Rebekah LyonsAnn VoskampJen HatmakerLauren ChandlerAngie SmithBianca Olthoff, and Christine Caine – Sharon wrote:

“This leadership team gives me the tingles–it’s like the Holy Spirit A-Team.”

The fact that Sharon is a female “pastor” ought to be more than enough evidence that those looking for a doctrinally sound teacher should steer clear of her and her materials, but the seemingly endless list of her ministry partnerships with false teachers belabors the point. Sharon is not someone Christians concerned about sound biblical doctrine should follow or receive teaching from.

Biblical Womanhood Bible Study

Imperishable Beauty: Lesson 14- A Beautiful Position in the Church

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Read These Selected Scriptures

For the past few lessons, we’ve looked at biblical womanhood in the family. Today, we’ll begin looking at biblical womanhood in the church setting, examining the beautiful position God has given women in the gathering of the Body.

Questions to Consider

1. Read Galatians 3:28 (if you have a moment, read all of chapter 3 for a fuller view of the context). What does this verse, especially in light of the remainder of chapter 3, mean? What does it mean to be “one in Christ Jesus”? How does this verse speak to the concept of unity in the church? How does this verse speak to the equal value of every person in the eyes of God? When it comes to a soul being saved, is there any difference between a woman or man, slave or freeman, Jew or Greek? Do Greeks have to repent more than Jews? Does Jesus have to work harder to save women than men?

2. Briefly review the topics of lessons 4-9 (links above). Are any of these concepts (identity in Christ, being created by God, etc.) specific to one sex, or do they apply to all people? Make two lists: “Things Christians Are” and “Things Christians Do”. List about 5-10 things Christians are (ex: forgiven, ambassadors for Christ) and things Christians do (ex: pray, show mercy). Are any of the things you listed specific to men only or women only? Considering all the things the Bible says Christians are and Christians do, what would you estimate is the percentage of things all Christians are to be and do versus the percentage of things that are only for men or only for women?

3. Examine the 1 Corinthians passage. Verse 33 is kind of the “theme verse” of 1 Corinthians 14. What is the main subject of this chapter? (Hint: See section heading here). What is the venue (home, church, marketplace, etc.) in which the instructions of chapter 14 apply? (33b) Briefly skim over the rest of chapter 14. What was the overall, “for the greater good,” reason for the instruction to women in v. 34-35? What were some other activities and people the Holy Spirit, via Paul, placed restrictions on in chapter 14? Why? What is the main priority of chapter 14? Does the instruction in 34-35 mean that women may never utter a word once they step through the doors of the church? How do you know that? What do these instructions mean, and how do they apply to women in the church today? What do these instructions teach us about our responsibility to pay attention to the preaching and teaching of the Word and learn from it? How can this passage help us to see the value and edification in discussing the Scriptures at home with our husbands?

4. Go to the 1 Timothy and Titus passages by clicking on the “Read These Selected Scriptures” link at the top of today’s lesson. Recall that when the Bible was written, there were no chapter and verse numbers. (Those were added much later.) First Timothy and Titus would have read like one long, continuous letter or e-mail. Click on the “options” icon and uncheck the box next to “verse numbers”.

Now read the 1 Timothy passage, noting the flow of thought and how the end of chapter 2 is interconnected with chapter 3. What is the main idea of this passage? (OK, now click the verse numbers back on. :0)

What is the first word of verse 11? Think about women’s social status and value in Paul and Timothy’s culture, and in many cultures since that time, even today. Why does the Holy Spirit instruct pastors to “let” women learn? What does this teach us about the responsibility God places on us as women to learn His Word? Would you categorize verse 11 as a “do this” or “don’t do this” verse?

Examine verse 12. Is this mainly a “do this” or “don’t do this” verse? What two things does the Holy Spirit say women are not to do in the gathering of the church body? What does He say women are to do? Think about God’s nature and character. Does He ever give instructions arbitrarily or just to spoil our fun? Why does God give us commands and instructions, generally speaking? Are the instructions in verse 12 good for women and for the church?

Does God have to give us the reasons behind His instructions, or is “because I said so” sufficient reason for us to obey Him? Take a look at 13-14. God kindly gives not one, but two reasons for His instructions in verses 11-12. What are those two reasons? How do they fall in line with God’s design for male headship and leadership across biblical history in the hierarchical structures He has set up?

The 11-15 passage starts with a “do this” verse (11), followed by a “don’t do this” (12) “and here’s why” (13-14) section, then finishes up with another “do this” verse (15).

Verse 15 can be a little cryptic to us today because we equate the word “saved” with salvation. Does verse 15 mean that women gain salvation by having children? How do we know it doesn’t? The NASB helpfully, and more accurately, renders this word as “preserved“. We don’t feel it much today, but think about the stigma women (particularly Jewish women) carried at the time this was written simply because they were daughters of Eve. Paradise was lost and the curse of sin entered the world because of a woman, many men thought, and they viewed and treated women accordingly. Yet who was chosen to bring the Messiah into the world? And following in her footsteps, a major way godly women can “save” or “preserve” the reputation, esteem, and value of womankind is to “continue in” what 3 godly character traits? (15) Because if they continue in those three godly character traits, they will be raising up a godly seed to the Lord (even if the children they bear aren’t perfect like Mary’s child was :0)

So we’ve seen the position women are to occupy in the church, followed by the positions women aren’t to occupy, and that’s followed, in the 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 passages by the p_____s m__ are to o____.

According to the 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 passages, which positions are men to occupy in the church? What is an overseer? (Use your cross-references if necessary.) Go through these two passages circling any words or phrases that indicate that pastors, elders, and deacons are to be men. Are these positions open to all men in the church?

Examine each of the three sections (1 Timothy 3:1-7, 3:8-13, and Titus 1:5-9) individually. How could the wife of a pastor, elder, or deacon help him, or make things easier for him, to meet the biblical requirements for his office? (Ex: How could a pastor’s wife make it easier for him to be hospitable?)


Homework

If you’d like to dig deeper on some of these passages, you may enjoy reading the following articles from my Rock Your Role series:

All Things Being Equal (Galatians 3:28)

Order in His Courts: Silencing Women? (1 Corinthians 14:33b-35)

Jill in the Pulpit (1 Timothy 2:11-12)


Suggested Memory Verse

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28

Testimony Tuesday

Testimony Tuesday: Karen’s Story

Karen’s Story

From the Pulpit to Repentance

Several have asked me to share my journey from the pulpit to repentance. Ten years ago, my husband and I were Charismatic ministers. We served together as Associate Pastors of a church in Texas. I was on the preaching schedule with the men, monthly. Yes, I got the accolades and approval of the church, and the association we were involved with until…. The grace of God reached down and pulled my husband and me both back to the Word of God and out of the fire.

Here is a snapshot of the journey, our journey. It is hard to share. In fact, I have shared our story with select few. Sure, this will bring fiery darts my way, but I really couldn’t care less. I trust that this will help open the eyes of those seeking Truth.

I met my husband in an evangelical church, he was a youth pastor at the time. Both of us were from very Biblically based churches. My husband was the son of a Baptist minister. As a student at Biola College, I remember the warning given to the students by my professor, Dr. Curtis Mitchell, against tongues and the unbiblical Charismatic movement. Truth is, I was curious as most college age young people. I found myself wondering if Dr. Mitchell knew what he was talking about.

I met my husband my sophomore year of Biola. He had a full time job and was a youth pastor. He had a ministry to teens and the kids loved him. He was everything that I prayed and asked God for. We were married one year after we met. I wish I could say we lived happily ever after. When you are on God’s team, attacks come, and they are very real. As a young couple, we found ourselves in two churches, both with serious issues.

After one year of marriage, he was offered a position as a youth pastor at the beach, one block from the ocean. It was an awesome church where we were both very happy. The youth group was growing, kids’ lives were being changed, and parents were grateful. All was well until . . . the senior pastor asked a friend of his to become the Associate Pastor. The new staff member immediately began to breed distrust between the staff. He had an agenda, to bring a copy of the Satan bible into the youth group and have the kids read it. We found ourselves in a spiritual battle that we had never anticipated. We did not want to cause a church split so my husband resigned. (We found out later that this man had a history of going from church to church and causing splits!)

Another local Baptist church contacted my husband. His youth pastor was being transferred by his full-time job, and Phil was asked to step in.

Things were going well at the new church. The youth group was thriving. Nine months in to the job, the senior pastor was asked to resign, the music director’s wife divorced him, and then the music director committed suicide. Upset, discouraged, angry at God were only some of my emotions. I wanted to quit the ministry. We both were so discouraged. It was at that point that Phil decided that he was through with the ministry. We were done!

The last two churches had taken their toll on us. We hardly read the Bible, only attended church. Our marriage was having issues and another baby was on the way. We were trying to keep ourselves together, no one knew the depth of our pain and discouragement. Looking back, I can see clearly that what happened to us was a direct attack from the enemy.

In the midst of the pain, I knew that the God was the answer. Not wanting anything more to do with the traditional church, I gravitated towards the popular charismatic movement. Some of my family had gone that direction, they seemed happy – so I thought maybe that’s what we needed.

Looking back. I now see now that it was all a trap. The discouragement with the church, the hurt, thinking that God let us down . . . we were slowly being destroyed. I got into the Charismatic movement first. I started by going to meetings, listening to TBN, talking to my family. Phil tried to warn me but being hard headed, stubborn and thinking I knew more than he did (he wasn’t reading his Bible so what could he say to me????) I took the bait and had my first experience. I say “experience” because everything seemed to be an experience from that point on. To be truthful, I did feel happier, read my Bible, (substituted the KJV with the Amplified version), and was nicer to live with. He decided that because I had made some positive changes that maybe I was on to something. He jumped in with me and we started attending a Charismatic fellowship. Please note as I write from this point on, the progression . . .

Discouragement, mad at God, feeling empty, Charismatic appeals, we take the bait.

At no time did we consult God’s Word on any of the teaching we were hearing. The Bible was used in the sermons with enough truth that we bought into the lie.

We moved our family to Tulsa. Phil enrolled in Rhema but half way through the first year, he left school. We look back and see the grace of God even in that situation. In the meantime, we had become friends with another couple and she and I were convinced we were supposed to be ministers. Women ministers were all the rage, and all were serving with their husbands, so why not us? We all continued in the Word of Faith churches in Tulsa, voraciously reading every book, attending meetings. At one point, we all decided to be ordained. After applying and being interviewed, we were ordained along with many other couples.

We found a church that was growing and we got involved. We thought we could use our “ministry gifts” there. We did become leaders in the church. I led a woman’s group and together we did a weekly care group in our home. We were being destroyed emotionally as the church was spiritually abusive. It was taking its toll on everyone, including our kids. We both began to see how the Word of God was being twisted from the pulpit to say things that were not there and there was no demonstration of the love of God.

One morning, while having my quiet time, I read an article about spiritually abusive churches and the signs of a toxic, abusive environment. Everything I read we were experiencing. It was clear that we had to leave.

I went to my husband with tears streaming down my face and shared what I believed God was saying. I trusted him to make a family decision. It was the next Sunday that the pastor stood up and said to the congregation, “If you are called to this church, you are called to me.” Walking out, my husband looked at me and said, “We are done.” We quit the fellowship with a resignation letter and never looked back.

A job change was in the air. We both got jobs in Dallas, TX. We left Oklahoma and never looked back. Our daughter moved to Seattle and within a few years, our son did the same. We were all out of Oklahoma!

After a couple of years, we decided to go back to church but did not know where to go. Someone had invited us to attend a little Charismatic start up church and we went. We fell in love with the Filipino pastor and his dear wife. We started going and helping them. The pastor invited us to be on staff and he submitted papers for our ministerial license. (We had rescinded our other ministry certificates years earlier). We became co-associate pastors. We loved the people and we both preached one Sunday a month. Phil and I had begun our personal studies at home, using the KJV Bible. We studied the Emergent Church and saw how it was infiltrating the organization. We read John MacArthur’s book, Charismatic Chaos, and scales began to fall from our eyes. Everything that John MacArthur wrote in his book was 100% accurate. We had experienced it first hand and had lived it.

When I saw that I had not held to the faith that was once delivered to the saints, tears of repentance gushed. I cried for weeks. I had wronged the Lord. I had been duped, taken the bait of Satan, and strayed way off the track. Phil had his own similar moment with the Lord. The beautiful part of this testimony is that each of us came to the same place at the same time using the same Bible. God, in his grace, had snatched us out of the fire. We now had a decision to make. We then drafted a letter of resignation to the organization and walked away.

We were done. We had each other, we had God’s Word. We had already walked away from Word of Faith in Tulsa, and now we walked away from everything Charismatic. The circle was complete. We went into Babylon but God brought us out. We found a Biblical church where women are in their place. I have never looked back.

If you are reading this, I plead with you to think Bible, read your Bible, stop listening to Charismatic/Word of faith/Emergent church and women preachers. We tossed books, tapes, cd’s, Bibles. Our library was quite large. Yes, we tossed our huge library in the trash.

Today we stand on God’s Word. I don’t need to preach to be fulfilled. God has given me a national platform in a dental organization. I influence women all over the country and as God gives opportunity, I share his grace. I found my place in Christ, in my marriage, and in my church. I am 100% fulfilled being the person God has called me to be.

Today I stand heart- broken as I look across Christianity and see the deception. With tears, I am humbled and grateful for God’s grace, His forgiveness, His love, and the Truth of His Word.

We have come full circle – back to the Bible and the roots we were raised with. I pray that you too will find the Truth. Seek and Ye shall find. Here is a clue . . . Truth is in God’s Word!


Ladies, God is still at work in the hearts and lives of His people, including yours! Would you like to share a testimony of how God saved you, how He has blessed you, convicted you, taught you something from His Word, brought you out from under false doctrine, placed you in a good church or done something otherwise awesome in your life? Private/direct message me on social media, e-mail me (MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com), or comment below. Your testimony can be as brief as a few sentences or as long as 1500 words. Let’s encourage one another with God’s work in our lives!

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Calvinism, Baptism, Modesty…)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


I was very troubled by a recent stance the discernment ministry Lighthouse Trails has taken – calling Calvinism heresy – and wondered if you had seen it. It’s one thing to just have a difference of opinion on Calvinism, but to put it this category?¹

Yes, I saw it when they made the big announcement on social media a few months ago. I expressed my disappointment to LT and have decided, going forward, not to use their materials or point readers to them as a trustworthy resource. There are several reasons for this:

1. The tone used in most of the LT anti-Calvinist posts, comments, and articles was derisive and condemnatory at best. There is no place for that among Believers, regardless of their stance on Calvinism (frequent readers will note I don’t recommend Reformed resources that take this sort of tone either).

2. It was clear from the LT materials I read that they don’t even have a complete and accurate understanding of what Calvinism is. Indeed, some of what they addressed was not Calvinism (which is biblical Christianity) but Hyper-Calvinism (which is heresy). That does not speak well of a discernment ministry. You must have a correct understanding of a doctrine before attempting to address it biblically, especially if you’re going to come to the conclusion that something is “another gospel” (heresy) as LT did with Calvinism.

3. Addressing a doctrine they haven’t thoroughly researched, as well as anathematizing something that is clearly biblical Christianity (even if they don’t agree with it), calls the discernment and biblical understanding of the entire organization into question and casts doubt on LT’s previous and future evaluations of doctrine. In other words, if they’re going to make this egregious an error over such a simple – and settled – biblical construct, how can any of their conclusions on other, more nuanced aspects of theology be trusted?

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful:

What is Calvinism? by Maurice Roberts

Calvinism & the Bible by Brian Godawa

What’s the Difference Between Arminianism, Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism? by Tom Ascol

Calvinism Is Not Hyper-Calvinism by Josh Buice


I had viewed the Gospel Message video embedded on your site and had concern for the presentation. It is apparent you have hermeneutical concern for today’s God study, so I wanted to clarify what your view may be on baptism.

I hold to a Reformed Southern Baptist, credo-baptist understanding of baptism. You can find further details at these links:

Statement of Faith (tab at top of this page)

Basic Training: Baptism

(Remember, the search bar and the tabs at the top of the blog are your friends! :0)


I have only recently come to understand 1 Timothy 2:12. However, why do we so passionately receive verse 12, yet neglect verse 9? Why do people choose which parts of the Bible to obey?

No Christian should be making a conscious choice to disobey any command(s) of Scripture that pertains to Christians. Willful disobedience is sin which needs to be repented of, and might even indicate that the person is not saved. Genuinely regenerated Christians desire from the heart to keep God’s commands.

I am not sure whether your question is based on your own church (or local churches you’re familiar with) in which women embrace their biblical roles but are dressing immodestly, or if you’re seeing a lot of attention focused on verse 12 (in books, online articles, conferences, organizations, sermons, social media, etc.) and not as much on verse 9.

If it’s the latter, I would say that you’re seeing a lot of attention focused on verse 12 rather than verse 9 for the same reason you see firemen hosing down a house that’s on fire rather than hosing down one that’s not. When the day comes that celebrity “Christian” women get up on stage dressed immodestly, write books about how dressing immodestly is perfectly biblical, form organizations to push the immodest dress agenda, hold conferences extolling immodest dress, and encourage other women to dress immodestly as they worship, I think you’ll see the same kind of pushback with verse 9 that you’re seeing now with verse 12.

If what you’re asking about is women at your church who embrace their biblical roles but seem not to be obeying verse 9, first make sure you have a correct understanding of what verse 9 is talking about:

likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair
and gold or pearls or costly attire,

a) The context of 1 Timothy, including chapter 2, is instructions for the gathering of the church. So, while Christian women should dress in a way that glorifies God at all times simply because we belong to Christ, this particular verse is about how we dress for church, not for a gala, the beach, or the gym.

b) “Braided hair and gold or pearls” are examples – much like head coverings – of specific things that were considered immodest in the time and culture in which 1 Timothy was written. If a woman comes to your church with her hair in a French braid or wearing an understated pearl necklace, she is not necessarily dressing immodestly. There is nothing intrinsically immodest about gold, pearls, or braids, but rather the meaning a culture attaches to them or the statement they make in a particular venue.

c) The term “modest” has more than one meaning in this verse. It does mean to dress in a way that is not sexually provocative (“respectable apparel”). But in the same way we would use the phrase “a modest income” or “a modest home”, it also means to dress in a way that’s not flashy (which, in the first century meant bling like gold, pearls, and extravagantly braided hairstyles), and that doesn’t attempt call attention to yourself or show off your wealth (“costly attire”).

So, in this sense, a woman who walks into the average American church wearing a dress she got at Target is probably not dressing immodestly, whereas a woman who walks in wearing uber-expensive designer clothes, shoes, and handbag, and dripping with jewels probably is, necklines and hemlines notwithstanding. That goes for outlandish apparel or clothing that’s meant to grab attention as well. If your hair is three shades of green and fashioned into a unicorn horn, that’s going to be immodest in most churches. If you walk into church wearing scuba gear or a space suit, that also fits what this verse means by immodest.

In a nutshell, we’re to fit in, not to be a distraction from worship with our clothes and coifs. You are not supposed to be the center of attention in church, God is.

If this is an issue with the women of your church in general, or with one woman in particular, set up an appointment with your pastor and get some counsel from him on the best way to address the situation.


I have a bone to pick with you.

This is a verbatim quote of the opening line of the reader’s e-mail. Normally, I would just hit “delete” without giving such rudeness the time of day, but I thought I’d make an example of it instead. Ladies, rudeness and displays of self-centered anger dishonor Christ, and if you’re e-mailing someone like me who struggles against the sin of impatience, you’re not only tempting a sister in Christ to sin, but you’re probably not going to get a hearing.

I have personally known [female Bible teacher you’ve written about] for over 30 years.

The name of the teacher is irrelevant, but it is not someone I’ve warned against nor whom I consider a false teacher. Additionally, this reader bases her defense of said Bible teacher (below) on knowing her personally and on the reader’s personal opinions and experiences, not on what Scripture says, which does not speak well of what she has learned from the Bible teacher. I don’t think the reader’s rudeness or her lack of biblical understanding are a fair representation of this particular teacher, so that’s another reason I’m leaving her name out.

She gets permission from her husband and her pastor [and the male head of her ministry] before she teaches with men in the audience…I have met some of the men on the board and they have no problem [with her] lecturing with men in the audience.

Please point me to the passage of Scripture, chapter and verse, that says a husband, pastor, or ministry head or board can give a woman permission to do something God has prohibited. No one has the authority to say “yes” where God has said “no.” I’ve addressed in detail this idea of a woman teaching men “under her husband’s/pastor’s authority” in my article Fencing off the Forbidden Fruit Tree.

Additionally, it does not matter how many people give approval to something or how important they are – that is not what makes something right or biblical. God is the arbiter of right and wrong, biblical and unbiblical, not people.

When you see the men in audience she is giving a lecture not teaching.

But you just said in the previous sentence, “She gets permission from her husband and her pastor before she teaches with men in the audience.” Which is it?

Furthermore, it doesn’t matter whether you call it preaching, teaching, lecturing, sharing, proclaiming, exhorting, or delivering a soliloquy, if it’s instructing men in the Scriptures in the gathered body of Believers, it violates 1 Timothy 2:12, and it’s sin.

The men chose to listen to [her] lead the lectures.

That’s true. That means that they are also guilty of violating 1 Timothy 2:12, not that they are guilty and she is not.

You need to come to [one of this Bible teacher’s events]. You will see what is actually being done and said.

When I wrote the article you read about this Bible teacher, I provided videos of her teaching, quotes from her materials, and other objective, verifiable evidence of what she says, does, and teaches. That’s not “what is actually being done and said”?

I am basing my evaluation of this teacher’s words and actions on Scripture, not on my personal experience. I don’t need to be physically present at one of her events in order to do that.

[This Bible teacher] and other teachers: When [this Bible teacher] gets an invitation to speak she asks God if she should do it or not. So you need to ask God if [she] is sinning because she only goes wherever God sends her.

I believe what the reader is addressing here is that I have pointed out as unbiblical that the Bible teacher in question has joined in ministry activities with demonstrably false teachers.

God has given us His written Word. Whatever He might subjectively “tell” us in prayer does not override what He has objectively told us in the Bible. God gave His answer to her question about 2,000 years ago in 2 John 9-11, Romans 16:17-18, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, and many other passages. If someone is invited to partner in ministry with false teachers, her answer is to be “no.” God is not “sending her” to partner with false teachers because He has already instructed her not to do that in His written Word. And if she is so learned in the Scriptures that she’s qualified to be a Bible teacher, she should already know that without having to ask Him. And if you’ve known her for thirty years, she should have taught you that by now as well. I don’t need to “ask God if she is sinning,” I only have to open my Bible and read what He’s already said about it.

Before you say anything about a Christian speaker you need to do more research and go to that ministry personally.

“More research” meaning, “keep researching until you agree with me”? I did multiple hours of research on the article you read. I sufficiently substantiated every point I made with Scripture and accurate, verifiable evidence from the teacher’s own words and actions.

As I previously stated, my conclusions about the Bible teacher are not based on my personal experience, so there is no need for me to visit the ministry in person. If you’re alluding to Matthew 18:15-20, that passage does not apply to commenting on and evaluating a teacher’s publicly available statements and materials as I’ve explained in detail in my article Answering the Opposition- Responses to the Most Frequently Raised Discernment Objections (#1).


¹Please note, I do not participate in, nor provide a forum in the comments section for, Calvinism-Arminianism debates. Please refer to the Welcome tab (top of this page) for comment guidelines before commenting.

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 (Spanking, Women teaching men, Working a homosexual “wedding”…)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


Can you share some Scripture with us that supports the idea that spanking is not abuse? I am genuinely curious as I have a young toddler of my own and go back and forth between the idea of spanking or not spanking.

The first way we know that a loving, properly administered spanking by godly parents is not abuse is that God would not tell us to do it if it were. The God who does not even want us abusing animals (see passages like Proverbs 12:10, Exodus 23:5, Deuteronomy 25:4) would certainly never tell us to abuse our children.

To equate proper spanking with abuse or to pejoratively call spanking “hitting” is a worldly idea, not a biblical one. The world’s (Satan’s) agenda is to get people to believe that spanking is abuse so that they will stop doing it. Since spanking began falling out of favor several decades ago, the cumulative result has been a greater number of children sinning with impunity and not being brought up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, which is exactly what Satan wants. (Yes, I understand that is a general statement. There are always exceptions, but exceptions don’t negate the rule.) Christians parents might choose not to spank, but they may not biblically accuse others of abuse who choose to spank.

Beyond that, let me direct you to some resources that not only give you the Scriptures but give instruction in those Scriptures as well:

What the Bible Teaches About Spanking by Denny Burk (there are several additional resources linked in this article)

Capitol Hill Baptist Church Core Seminars: Parenthood Class 7- The Rod of Correction

Parenting in an Anti-Spanking Culture by John MacArthur

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

How should Christians discipline their children? What does the Bible say? at Got Questions


We occasionally have guest speakers at our Wednesday church services that worry me. Charlotte Gambill [co-lead “pastor” of LIFE “Church”] for instance. I am a firm believer that women should not be teachers of Scripture to men, but I guess my question is this, should I leave my church because this is allowed in these Wednesday evening gatherings?

Well…I mean, I don’t mean this to sound facetious or anything, but sin is sin no matter what time of day or day of the week it takes place on. While there are certain circumstances in which it might be biblically appropriate for a woman to address a mixed gathering of Believers, preaching and teaching Scripture during a worship service is not one of them. And certainly no church or other Christian organization should be affirming a female “pastor” in her sin by inviting her to be a guest speaker for any sort of event.

I would not just quietly slip out the door, though. Set up an appointment to discuss the matter with your pastor. (You might want to use the principles and suggestions in my article How should I approach my church leaders about a false teacher they’re introducing? as a guide.) His response about the matter will probably tell you everything you need to know about whether or not you should begin looking for a new church.


Do you have a page on your website on how you verbally share the gospel with others?

I don’t recall ever having written an article on my approach in witnessing, but here’s what I would recommend.

1. Listen to Todd Friel’s Witness Wednesday every week on Wretched Radio. Todd is very good at opening up conversations with random strangers and quickly transitioning to a gospel presentation. (You might also want to order the resource Terrified.)

2. Watch the witnessing encounters in Ray Comfort’s Living Waters University YouTube videos. Ray has a standard (nearly the same, verbatim, every time) way of presenting the gospel and makes it look so easy!

These are the guys I attempt to emulate when witnessing as I trip all over my tongue and stammer around. You would do much better to follow their example than to follow mine.


If a Christian has a job as a banquet server doing weddings and one day there’s a gay wedding and the person is scheduled to work, would that be sinful to work and serve guests at the gay wedding? Would you say this is just like a Christian baking a cake for a gay wedding or is it different?

I think this is different. A business owner has the freedom to choose which jobs and clients he will accept and which he will not (at least, in America, he is supposed to have this freedom). An employee does not have any say so in which clients the business will and won’t serve. So, the employer is serving the client, but the employee is serving the employer.

If you feel uncomfortable working at homosexual “weddings,” try talking to your boss about it. Maybe you could volunteer to work a different shift, or in a different position in the business that would not require you to work at weddings. If your conscience bothers you a great deal about it, that’s totally understandable, and you might want to begin looking for a new job. Set up an appointment with your pastor for biblical counsel on this situation if it’s a decision that’s really weighing on you.

Basic Training: Homosexuality, Gender Identity, and Other Sexual Immorality

Should Christians Attend Homosexual “Weddings”?


I know women should not be pastors, but is it OK for women to teach men Scripture outside of church?

It depends on what you mean by “teach Scripture” and “church”. If you’re asking about sharing the gospel with someone, that’s not teaching Scripture to men in the church, it’s evangelizing those outside the church, and that’s fine. If you’re talking about teaching a Bible study to a mixed group in someone’s home, we need to remember that the church is not a building, it’s Believers, and that the churches in existence when 1 Timothy 2:12 was written were meeting in homes. So, that would be a “no.”

I think my article Rock Your Role FAQs might be helpful as you explore this more.


What do you think about _____ teacher, author, or ministry? Is he/she/it doctrinally sound?

I’m so sorry I don’t have the time to research all the teachers and ministries I’m asked about. If you’re trying to find out whether or not you should be following a certain person or organization, I encourage you to do the research and find out. Here are the steps I take when researching someone:

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


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.