Mailbag

The Mailbag: I Have to Preach Because No Man Will Step Up

Originally published February 19, 2018

 

I’ve recently met a woman who is a “pastor” of a church. When asked why she is preaching to men, her response was this:

“Men will not teach. None will stand up. We started as a congregation of women and slowly some husbands came, as well as their sons. But none will take responsibility. So if I do not speak truth and stand up, who will?”

This was in another country I recently visited where men do not take authority, nor do they desire it. Women are primary in every area.

This is a difficult situation to be in, and I do sympathize. I’ve been in church and family situations in which men were not being the godly leaders they were supposed to be. It’s very frustrating. Even more so in the case of your friend, because Scripture prohibits women from stepping in and taking over when a man will not lead the church.

But in addition to the fact that the Bible is very clear that your friend is not to preach to men, she’s doing a terrible job as “pastor” on several other counts:

✢ She doesn’t believe God’s Word.

✢ She doesn’t trust God enough to obey His Word.

✢ She doesn’t fear God enough to obey His Word.

✢ She doesn’t believe in the necessity of prayer, or in God’s provision, enough to ask Him to provide a pastor.

✢ She’s not teaching her “congregation” to cry out to the Lord and trust Him to provide. Instead, she’s teaching them to take matters into their own hands when they need something, even if it means disobeying God’s Word. (Kind of like Sarah did.)

✢ She’s teaching her “congregation” that they it’s OK to disobey God if it’s difficult or inconvenient to obey Him.

✢ She’s teaching the women that they don’t have to submit to God’s design for biblical womanhood.

✢ She’s teaching the men to continue to be lazy and shirk their God-given duty to lead. Why should they when a woman is all too willing to step in and do the work for them?

She asks, “If I do not speak truth and stand up, who will?”. My answer to that question is, “That’s God’s business to take care of, not yours.” Her business is to obey Him and trust Him to work out everything else. And besides, she’s not “standing up and speaking truth”, she’s standing up and speaking or demonstrating all the untruths I enumerated above.

My counsel to this woman would be to immediately step down as “pastor,” stop preaching to and instructing the men, and publicly repent to God and to everyone in the church for her sins of disobeying God’s Word and setting a bad example for the church. She should inform them that she will no longer be preaching but that she will be praying for God to raise up a pastor, either from among the men of the church or from outside the church.

The men and women can, and should, meet to pray and sing together every Sunday. One of the other women (the former “pastor” needs to sit out of leadership for a while) can certainly teach a women’s Bible study class. But if the men want a Bible teacher or pastor, one of them is going to have to step up and do it. And the women need to be sure they’re holding their ground and refusing to step into that role. What a godly testimony of obedience they will be to the men! Hopefully, it will shame the men over their own disobedience.

God doesn’t give anyone permission to disobey Him just because it’s hard or inconvenient. It was the hardest thing in the world for Jesus to go to the cross, but He did it anyway because He was obedient to His Father. He was willing to die rather than disobey. That is the example she needs to follow.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Hebrews 12:4

In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:6

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
Psalm 37:5

When we face tests of our faith, it is not time to take the easy way out and sin, it is God stretching us and giving us an opportunity to trust and obey Him so He can use that situation as a vehicle for growing us to greater maturity and Christlikeness.

This lady, and the rest of the church, has the opportunity here to cry out fervently to God to provide them with a pastor and then trust Him to act on their behalf.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:7-11

Which would bring more glory to God and be more of a testimony to His greatness: for this lady to have taken matters into her own hands and sinned, or for her and the rest of the women to obey God, for everyone to pray and trust God for a pastor, and then to have the awesome experience of God answering that prayer?

There’s nothing amazing, especially in that culture, about men being lazy and women stepping in and picking up the slack. Why have a Christian church that is supposed to be following the all powerful God of the universe be just one more example of that? Instead, they could have an incredible testimony of God providing a pastor and changing the hearts of the men of the church to take responsibility and lead. What kind of an impact would that have on the surrounding culture? How many doors might that open for that church to share the gospel?


Additional Resources

Rock Your Role: Jill in the Pulpit

Basic Training: Obedience: 8 Ways to Stop Making Excuses and Start Obeying Scripture

Basic Training: 5 Ways to Face Tests and Trials Biblically


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.

Sin

Throwback Thursday ~ Repeating Wrongs Renders Right?

Originally published September 17, 2013.repeating wrongs

“Four hundred thirty seven”

“Sorry, that’s not right. Try again, Buddy.”

scribble scribble scribble

“Oh, ok. Four hundred thirty seven.

“No, Honey. You just said that, and I just told you it was wrong. Give it another try.”

“But it’s 437!”

“Son, I have the answer book right here in front of me. The answer is not 437. Repeating the wrong answer over and over again doesn’t magically make it right.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation -nearly verbatim- with each of my four children in the fourteen years I’ve been home schooling.

But I can tell you that this morning was the first time I realized that this is the same way many people relate to God and the Bible.

When this dialogue takes place between my child and me, it is because the child has done something wrong. He has forgotten to carry the one. Confused a peninsula with an isthmus. Mistaken an adverb for an adjective.

But he can’t see what he’s done wrong, or indeed, that he’s done anything wrong. And because he’s blind to his wrongness, his default position is to assume that he is right and I am wrong. Forget that he’s in fifth grade and I have a bachelor’s degree, half a master’s degree, and nearly two decades of teaching experience. Never mind that this is the fourth time I’ve taught fifth grade from this very same book. Completely disregarded is the fact that I have the teacher key right in front of me that shows exactly what he did wrong and what the right answer is.

No. He’s right. I’m wrong. The book is wrong. Math is stupid.

Foolishness is indeed bound up in the heart of a child.

But foolishness is bound up in all of our hearts when it comes to sin:

“My husband annoys me. God wouldn’t want me to be
miserable for the rest of my life, so my
relationship 
with the guy at work is just fine.”

“What the Bible says about
homosexuality only had to do
with male cult prostitutes, so my
monogamous homosexual relationship
with my partner isn’t a sin.”

“I’ve gone to church all my life.
Once, I even repeated a ‘sinner’s
prayer’ and was baptized. It doesn’t
matter what my life looks like now,
I’m sure I’m saved because of that.”

“The Bible says women aren’t
to instruct men in the church?
But I feel that God has called me
to be a pastor, so that verse must
not mean what it clearly says.”

Over and over we say it, hoping to convince ourselves, to drown out God’s law that’s written on our hearts, and to shout down anyone who would call us to repentance. Because we’re blind to our wrongness, our default position is to assume that we’re right and God, and His word, are wrong. Never mind the fact that He’s God -Creator of the entire universe, knows everything, sees everything, has power over everything, and is perfect in holiness- and we’re, well… not.

No. We’re right. He’s wrong. The Bible is wrong. People who agree with God’s word are just haters.

But, just like I tell my children: repeating the wrong answer over and over again doesn’t magically make it right.  When each of us stands before God on the day of judgment, it’s not going to matter how many times we’ve tried to convince ourselves, others, and God that our way is right. It’s only going to matter what God says is right.

There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 14:12

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: I Have to Preach Because No Man Will Step Up

 

I’ve recently met a woman who is a “pastor” of a church. When asked why she is preaching to men, her response was this:

“Men will not teach. None will stand up. We started as a congregation of women and slowly some husbands came, as well as their sons. But none will take responsibility. So if I do not speak truth and stand up, who will?”

This was in another country I recently visited where men do not take authority, nor do they desire it. Women are primary in every area.

This is a difficult situation to be in, and I do sympathize. I’ve been in church and family situations in which men were not being the godly leaders they were supposed to be. It’s very frustrating. Even more so in the case of your friend, because Scripture prohibits women from stepping in and taking over when a man will not lead the church.

But in addition to the fact that the Bible is very clear that your friend is not to preach to men, she’s doing a terrible job as “pastor” on several other counts:

✢ She doesn’t believe God’s Word.

✢ She doesn’t trust God enough to obey His Word.

✢ She doesn’t fear God enough to obey His Word.

✢ She doesn’t believe in the necessity of prayer, or in God’s provision, enough to ask Him to provide a pastor.

✢ She’s not teaching her “congregation” to cry out to the Lord and trust Him to provide. Instead, she’s teaching them to take matters into their own hands when they need something, even if it means disobeying God’s Word. (Kind of like Sarah did.)

✢ She’s teaching her “congregation” that they it’s OK to disobey God if it’s difficult or inconvenient to obey Him.

✢ She’s teaching the women that they don’t have to submit to God’s design for biblical womanhood.

✢ She’s teaching the men to continue to be lazy and shirk their God-given duty to lead. Why should they when a woman is all too willing to step in and do the work for them?

She asks, “If I do not speak truth and stand up, who will?”. My answer to that question is, “That’s God’s business to take care of, not yours.” Her business is to obey Him and trust Him to work out everything else. And besides, she’s not “standing up and speaking truth”, she’s standing up and speaking or demonstrating all the untruths I enumerated above.

My counsel to this woman would be to immediately step down as “pastor,” stop preaching to and instructing the men, and publicly repent to God and to everyone in the church for her sins of disobeying God’s Word and setting a bad example for the church. She should inform them that she will no longer be preaching but that she will be praying for God to raise up a pastor, either from among the men of the church or from outside the church.

The men and women can, and should, meet to pray and sing together every Sunday. One of the other women (the former “pastor” needs to sit out of leadership for a while) can certainly teach a women’s Bible study class. But if the men want a Bible teacher or pastor, one of them is going to have to step up and do it. And the women need to be sure they’re holding their ground and refusing to step into that role. What a godly testimony of obedience they will be to the men! Hopefully, it will shame the men over their own disobedience.

God doesn’t give anyone permission to disobey Him just because it’s hard or inconvenient. It was the hardest thing in the world for Jesus to go to the cross, but He did it anyway because He was obedient to His Father. He was willing to die rather than disobey. That is the example she needs to follow.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Hebrews 12:4

In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:6

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
Psalm 37:5

When we face tests of our faith, it is not time to take the easy way out and sin, it is God stretching us and giving us an opportunity to trust and obey Him so He can use that situation as a vehicle for growing us to greater maturity and Christlikeness.

This lady, and the rest of the church, has the opportunity here to cry out fervently to God to provide them with a pastor and then trust Him to act on their behalf.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:7-11

Which would bring more glory to God and be more of a testimony to His greatness: for this lady to have taken matters into her own hands and sinned, or for her and the rest of the women to obey God, for everyone to pray and trust God for a pastor, and then to have the awesome experience of God answering that prayer?

There’s nothing amazing, especially in that culture, about men being lazy and women stepping in and picking up the slack. Why have a Christian church that is supposed to be following the all powerful God of the universe be just one more example of that? Instead, they could have an incredible testimony of God providing a pastor and changing the hearts of the men of the church to take responsibility and lead. What kind of an impact would that have on the surrounding culture? How many doors might that open for that church to share the gospel?


Additional Resources

Rock Your Role: Jill in the Pulpit

Basic Training: Obedience: 8 Ways to Stop Making Excuses and Start Obeying Scripture

Basic Training: 5 Ways to Face Tests and Trials Biblically


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, Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Replacement Theology, Spiritual Gifts Test, Books by false teachers…)

 

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 potpourrri 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 explain what replacement theology is?

I can, but there are pastors and theologians way smarter than I am who have done a much better job of it than I could. I reached out to my friend Pastor Gabe “WWUTT” Hughes for some help and he addressed the question in this episode of the When We Understand the Text podcast (starting at about 1:30):

WWUTT 565 Q&A Replaced Protesting Eligibility?

You may also find the following resources helpful:

The Church and Israel: The Issue at Ligonier

What is replacement theology / supersessionism? at Got Questions

What is replacement theology? at CARM

Supersessionism at Theopedia


I want to get more involved in serving my church. Can you recommend a spiritual gifts survey web site so I can find out what my spiritual gifts are and how I should be serving?


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.