Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Breastfeeding videos…Women performing weddings…Only God is awesome?)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question.

I like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar (at the very bottom of each page) can be a helpful tool!

Or maybe I answered your question already? Check out my article The Mailbag: Top 10 FAQs to see if your question has been answered and to get some helpful resources.


For any men who might be reading – this question is about breastfeeding. If that’s a sensitive issue for you, please just scroll right on past this section.

I have searching for biblical content about breastfeeding and your post from 3 years ago “The Mailbag: Should Christian women cover up while breastfeeding? really did make think. I’m currently studying to become a pediatric dietitian if God allows it, and I have a debate in myself. I’m starting to create content in social media in order to teach about these topics: breastfeeding, nutrition, etc. But now I don’t know if it’ correct to share real videos that are educative to teach how to properly breastfeed, showing examples and different cases that help mothers to understand. Since it is shameful to show breast according to Bible, am I wrong if I am looking to share or record these types of videos? Just to clarify, these videos only shows the necessary.

I hope my email can reach you and have an advice for this, may the Lord continuing giving you wisdom and excuse me any grammatical error since english is not my first language.

Can I first just say – I have the utmost admiration for anyone who tackles English as a second language. Its intricacies and inconsistencies are often difficult even for us native speakers! When I get English messages from followers whose native language is not English, they almost always apologize for grammar and spelling errors. Please rest assured, when I read your messages, I’m not critiquing them, I’m wishing I were as proficient in a second language as you are!

Instructional videos for mothers about breastfeeding are not the same thing as a mother who is breastfeeding in public. For one thing, your videos are aimed specifically at women (new mothers), and for a legitimate purpose (teaching breastfeeding). If a man (assuming he’s not a health care worker who needs to view your videos for professional purposes) proactively clicks on and watches your videos in order to see women’s bare breasts, he is the one at fault, not you. His actions would be more similar to a man who peeks through the window of a woman’s bedroom to watch her breastfeed, not a man out in public, minding his own business, who’s suddenly confronted with a view of a woman’s breasts because she’s not making any effort to reasonably cover while nursing.

Additionally, aiming your videos at new mothers (women) is more similar to a woman breastfeeding her baby in a group meeting for new moms (all women), than out in public (random men and women present).

Here are a couple of things I would suggest:

  • Make sure the titles of your videos make it obvious in some way that they are educational, instructional videos on breastfeeding for new mothers and postpartum/neonatal healthcare workers.
  • Instead of, say, just posting these videos on your personal Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., pages, set up a separate professional social media page or group specifically for your videos and other breastfeeding materials. (I would suggest also setting up a website and YouTube channel specifically for your breastfeeding materials.) Not only will this help build your professional online platform, but your male friends and family members won’t be randomly running across your videos (which might make them uncomfortable) every time they scroll through social media.

I think that’s really as far as your responsibility goes. Men have to take responsibility for what they view at some point, too. It’s not all on you.


I have a question about women who are ordained. My cousin is ordained to perform marriages in the state of South Carolina. Would that be considered the same as an ordained preacher and against I Timothy 2 teaching? As far as I know all she does is perform marriage ceremonies and does not “preach” in the pulpit.

Great question!

I’m thinking there might be a little confusion about the term “ordained” here. “Ordaining” is what a church does when it sets someone apart for ministry. “Licensing” is what the government does that allows a person to legally perform marriages recognized by the state.

For example, pastors, elders, and (usually) deacons are ordained by the church to their respective offices, but they are not automatically licensed to legally perform marriages. For that, they have to go downtown to the courthouse and fill out some paperwork. By the same token, people can go to the courthouse, fill out the paperwork, and become licensed to perform marriages, and never have set foot in a church in their lives.

So, I think maybe you mean your cousin is licensed by the state to perform marriages, not that she is ordained by her church to do so. (I’ve never heard of a church that ordains someone just to perform marriages, but if that’s what’s going on here, the more pressing problem is the church’s ecclesiology, not your cousin officiating at weddings.)

So let’s go with your cousin being licensed by the state, not ordained by the church: No, that’s not technically a violation of 1 Timothy 2:12, assuming she’s not preaching a sermon as part of the marriage ceremony. The biblical prohibition is against women pastoring, preaching to men, instructing men in the Scriptures, and holding unbiblical authority over men in the context of the church gathering.

But there are all kinds of variables that play into whether or not it’s wise or appropriate for her to be officiating weddings. Does your cousin profess to be a Christian? Where do these weddings take place – in a church, park, reception hall, beach, etc.? Is she performing these weddings, or being viewed as performing these weddings as an official representative of her church? (In other words, would those not in the know confuse her performing weddings for her being a pastor of her church?) Do the bride and groom profess to be Christians? If so, why would they not want their pastor (or at least a pastor) to perform the ceremony in their own church?

I’m just saying I would need to know a lot more, probably on a case by case basis, to weigh in on whether or not it’s actually a good idea for her to perform any or all of these wedding ceremonies.


FIRST, I want to say thank you for your recent list of doctrinally sound men. My reason for writing comes from referring to them as “awesome” in your social media post about them:

Today on the blog: Check out these awesome men to follow and learn from…”

I would just would ask you to consider the use of the word “awesome” when it applies to “mere” men (or women, for that matter.) Never mind the “world,” but Christians use that word so freely when talking about truly “good” things (and we also use it for things like movies and ice cream.)

Is it wrong to want there to be a word that is reserved for God and what he does? When something is clearly a work of God, even working through a person, there are times I can agree that it is something awesome. But largely, the things we call awesome are not.

It’s always good to evaluate our words to make sure we are representing Christ well, and, no, it’s not wrong to want there to be a word that is reserved for God and what He does. But let me challenge us to take this a bit deeper than just the surface level use of a particular word.

I’ve received this same basic question a handful of times over the years, and the question has always been about the word “awesome”. And I just have two questions about that:

First, why “awesome”? I think a much stronger biblical case could be made against using “good” or “holy”.

I’m betting that, like the reader who wrote in, we all use the word “good” in the same ways the word “awesome” is used – “truly good things,” movies, ice cream, saying “Good dog!” etc. – because they both mean the same thing, except that awesome is a little more intense. And yet, while Scripture doesn’t speak to our use of the descriptor “awesome,” Jesus Himself addressed the use of the word “good” in Mark and Luke:

And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.

Now, when we read this passage in context, we know that Jesus isn’t telling this guy (or us) that he shouldn’t call Him good, that he shouldn’t call anything good, that Jesus isn’t good, or that Jesus isn’t God. Quite the opposite of most of those, in fact.

He’s directing the rich young ruler’s attention to the fact that only God is completely good. That God is the only and perfect standard and embodiment of good. He was basically saying, “You’re calling me good in this context. Does that mean you’re prepared to call me God?”.

But what Jesus doesn’t say (here or anywhere else in Scripture) is, “Since only God is truly, completely, and perfectly good, you can’t use the word “good” to describe anything else.”. In fact God Himself uses the word “good” to describe other, lesser things besides Himself. He has prepared good works for us to do. God pronounced everything He created good. He gives us good gifts. He says good trees bear good fruit. And so on.

Personally, if I got to choose the word we were all going to consecrate to use only for describing God, it would be “holy”. I would be totally OK with us losing expressions like “holy cow,” “holy moly,” etc., forever. (And when my kids were little and would use one of those expressions, I would remind them, “Only God is holy.”.) First of all, there are far fewer people and things that could correctly be called “holy” than “awesome” or “good”.

“Only Thou art holy,” we sing. And it’s true. Though Christians are a holy nation, and we’re to strive for holiness, we are only positionally holy and set apart because Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to us. Even our righteous deeds are as filthy rags. In a common grace sense, we might say someone is a “good” man for the job, or a store is having an “awesome” sale, but there is no common grace sense in which anyone but Christians – and we, only through Christ – could, in any way, properly be called holy.

My second question about reserving “awesome,” or any other adjective, strictly for God is: If you’re going to be consistent with your line of reasoning, how far are you going to take this? If you’re going to stop using “awesome” for anything but God, are you also going to stop using the word “good” for anything but God? What about “perfect”? Powerful? Just? Kind? Compassionate? Merciful? Are you going to stop saying, “I love you” to your family because God is love, and only He loves perfectly and completely?

I hope not. I hope you won’t stop using any of those words, because God doesn’t require you to. It would be self-imposed legalism. Remember when Jesus said to the Pharisees, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”? He was trying to teach them that the Sabbath was meant to be a blessing and a benefit of rest to God’s people, not a slave driver of legalism adding one more day of work (to earn God’s favor) to their week.

It’s kind of the same general idea with language in this case. Language is one of God’s good and awesome gifts to us. It gives us a way to express our reverence for Him, but also our delight in the work of His hands – like ice cream and dogs. Just as with the Sabbath, there’s a godly and appropriate way to use language, but, outside of those parameters, language was never meant to enslave us or hamstring our ability to communicate. When we use language to appreciate God’s good gifts, or to express delight or pleasure, knowing that every good gift and grace redounds to His glory, He is exalted.

When we use language to appreciate God’s good gifts, or to express delight or pleasure, knowing that every good gift and grace redounds to His glory, He is exalted.

If you’re convicted not to use the word “awesome” for anything but God, or you don’t want people calling you awesome as a matter of conscience, that’s totally fine. Don’t violate your conscience. But you must realize that it is a matter of your conscience, not everybody’s. And you can’t bind others to your conscience. Whether or not to use the word “awesome” is an issue of Christian liberty. It is not a biblical command.

Listen in to Christian Liberty on A Word Fitly Spoken

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 (Teaching hubby the Bible… Generational sin… Blood moons… God honors women preaching?… Remarriage forbidden)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question.

I like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar (at the very bottom of each page) can be a helpful tool!

Or maybe I answered your question already? Check out my article The Mailbag: Top 10 FAQs to see if your question has been answered and to get some helpful resources.


A comment left on my Rock Your Role FAQs article…

How would this apply within marriage? My husband does not read the Bible..he claims to believe in God, but I don’t actually see him seeking. Is it wrong for me to share with him what I learn or read in my Bible? Thank you for your advice!!

I know that having an unsaved or less spiritually mature husband can be really difficult. I’m sure this is a question many of my readers are struggling with.

When you say, “How would this apply within marriage?” I’m not really sure if “this” means a specific question and answer within that article or if “this” means the biblical prohibition against women teaching men, in general. I’m going to go with the latter since I can’t guess the former. :0)

The biblical prohibition against women teaching the Bible to men has a very specific context: the gathering of the church body. Your marriage is not the gathering of the church body.

It is perfectly fine and biblical for you to share what you’re learning from the Bible with your husband if he is open and receptive to it. But, and this is important, it is also perfectly fine and biblical for you not to share what you’re learning from the Bible with him if he is not open and receptive to it, if it makes him angry, or if he tells you to stop nagging or preaching at him.

A lot of women in the New Testament church were in the very same position. They were saved, and their husbands were not. First Peter 3:1-6 was written just for them, and for you. I would recommend studying that passage as well as 1 Corinthians 7:16, Ephesians 5:22-33, and Proverbs 31:10-31 to guide your own behavior as a godly wife. And, if you think it would be helpful, you may want to work through my Bible study on biblical womanhood.

My article The Mailbag: Can I share the gospel with my unsaved husband? is another good resource. If you need help presenting the gospel to your husband, check out the What must I do to be saved? tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

One more suggestion: Think about making an appointment with your pastor for some biblical counsel on being a gospel influence on your husband. You may want to also ask him to point you to (or you may already know) a godly older woman in your church who has walked faithfully through the situation of having an unsaved husband, and who can disciple you through this.


Do you have any information about the generational sin/curses teaching? I’d love to understand if this is a false teaching and if it is…understand what the Bible really says. I don’t buy into the fact my great great grandma was sinful and that is why someone in the family is messed up.

You’re correct, this idea is diametrically opposed to what Scripture teaches. Certainly our children can be hurt or negatively impacted by the sins we commit. They can learn sinful behavior from watching us sin. And we are all sinners by nature. But children don’t genetically inherit a particular sin(s) – say, for example, profanity or adultery – from their parents. And God doesn’t punish us for the sins of our parents or ancestors.

The absolute best resource for refuting this false idea is Ezekiel 18. It is so beautifully clear and such a wonderful picture of the gospel smack dab in the middle of the Old Testament. Give it a good study.

Additionally, we released a podcast episode a while back called What Do We Do with the Guilt of Generational Sin? that may help.


Does “The moon turning to blood” refer to what we consider a “blood moon”?

Not as it pertains to being a sign of Jesus’ return, no. I think you’ll find this article and this article to be helpful.


Do you think it’s possible for God to “honour” a women’s preaching that is bringing people to Christ?

This is really two separate questions about women preaching. Let’s break it down:

1. Can God graciously save someone, despite the fact that he’s sitting under a woman who’s sinning by pretending to be a pastor? Yes. He also saves people who are currently Mormons, currently being abused, etc. God can save anyone despite someone else’s sin.

2. Does the fact that God saves someone who’s under the influence or authority of someone who’s sinning mean that God approves of or honors the sin being committed? No. God doesn’t honor people for sinning.

God doesn’t honor or approve of Mormon false teachers just because someone happens to hear enough actual Bible to get saved while still in Mormonism. Mormonism is still idolatry, and that Mormon leader is still committing the sin of teaching false doctrine. Or, let’s say a pastor is secretly abusing his son. If the son gets saved during one of Dad’s sermons does that mean God honors or approves of the abuse? Of course not. It’s a display of God’s mercy and grace that God still saves people despite other people’s sin.

The same applies to someone who gets saved despite sitting under a woman who’s sinning by pretending to be a pastor.

Additionally, granting for argument’s sake that she’s actually preaching the biblical gospel, the fact that the woman “pastor” got that part right doesn’t excuse or make up for her sin of rebelling against God’s Word. If I work in a soup kitchen all week long, but every Saturday I go out and murder somebody, we know that my good works during the week don’t outweigh, excuse, or make up for the sin of murder. I still need to repent of being a murderer, and the woman “pastor” still has to repent from rebelling against God’s Word regarding her role in the church.


I was widowed a year ago, and a divorced man asked me to marry him but my pastor said it was absolutely forbidden. Can you please help me with this issue? The entire world is divorced!

Let me first offer my condolences for the loss of your husband. I can’t imagine how difficult that must be.

Have you asked your pastor to explain why* he said this? I’m not exactly sure of his reasoning, so let me just offer a few general thoughts.

One reason your pastor might have said this is that he holds to what’s called the permanence view of marriage. This view essentially says there are no biblical grounds for divorce (for anyone) and, thus, no biblical allowance for remarriage.

On the other hand, he may believe (as I, and many other Christians do) that, while reconciliation of a marriage is always the first and best goal, and that, in most cases, divorce is a sin, there are certain circumstances (chiefly adultery and abandonment) in which the Bible allows for divorce as a last resort. If that’s the case, depending on the circumstances of your gentleman friend’s divorce, your pastor may be saying that his divorce was not biblical, and, therefore, the two of you should not marry.

Finally, your pastor may have reasons aside from the divorce that would cause him to tell you not to marry this gentleman. Perhaps your pastor knows that he isn’t saved, that he is cheating on you, that he’s engaging in criminal activity, etc. I hope that’s not the case, but that’s the only other possibility I could think of.

I would suggest you talk to your pastor about this, hear him out on his reasoning, and compare his reasoning to rightly handled, in context Scripture. It could very well be that he’s offering you good, biblical counsel. Or…not.

*Readers, I’m not faulting anyone for asking me a question like this, but I often receive questions about why a certain person – whether it’s a false teacher, your husband, your pastor, a friend, whoever – did or said something, or what he meant by what he said or did. Generally speaking, I have no way of knowing why a particular person said or did a particular thing or what it meant. I can only speculate. If you want to know why someone did or said something, or what he meant, it’s best to go to that person and ask him or her directly.


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.

Complementarianism, Mailbag

The Mailbag: Women teaching men- Questions from a young reader

I received this very astute line of questioning from a young lady who left a comment on one of my articles. The comment and questions were rather lengthy, so I’ve broken it up into portions in order to answer it in an organized way. If you need to read the entire comment, uninterrupted, for context or ease of understanding, scroll down, reading only the portions in bold.


Hi! Just to let you know, though it may seem, I have no intention of being rude in this question, and genuinely want to know your response to this. I am only in 9th grade, so I have a lot to learn, and want to know what you think about my comment...Thank you, and I am very curious to find out what you think about my questions and things that I might have misunderstood or missed.

That’s awesome! I wish I had been thinking as deeply about these things as you are when I was in the ninth grade. And, rest assured, your questions didn’t seem rude to me at all. I’m so glad you want to learn! I hope you’ll understand that my answers aren’t meant to be rude either, although they may not be quite what you’re expecting or wanting to hear.

You didn’t mention whether or not you’re a Christian or what your church background, if any, is, so let me just start off by saying, if you’ve never been genuinely born again, my answers might not make much sense. I would encourage you, even if you’re pretty sure you’re saved, to examine the materials at the What must I do to be saved? tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page before moving ahead.

I was just wondering, if women are not allowed to teach men, and you are a woman and this blog is public to men and women, then aren’t you technically providing biblical insight and evangelizing to whatever gender is reading this to inform them of the Bible?

Nope. I’ve answered that question in detail in my article Are Female Bloggers Violating Scripture by “Teaching” Men?

Additionally, “evangelism” and “teaching” (“providing insight” isn’t really a biblical category) are two different, separate things. You might find our podcast episode Women Preaching the Gospel? helpful for understanding the distinction.

Also, the book of Timothy, like you said, was a letter written from Paul to Timothy, so this was just the teachings that Paul gave to Timothy as instructions for the churches, and not necessarily coming from God.

I’m afraid that’s one of the things you’ve misunderstood. This wasn’t just a letter from one human being to another. The words in 1 Timothy, just like every word of every book of the Bible are from the very lips of God Himself. Second Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” There aren’t some parts of Scripture that are from God and others that aren’t. It all comes from God, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21.

First and second Timothy and Titus are what we call the pastoral epistles (“epistle” means “letter”). That means they are God’s instructions, written through His human instrument, Paul, to Timothy and Titus and every pastor who came after them, about how to run the church.

I know Paul was a prophet and one argument could be that he got this information from God,

No, Paul was not a prophet, he was an apostle. And, as I discussed above, the Bible says that all Scripture is breathed out by God, so “Paul got his information from God” is the only argument that can be made, especially for Christians. Because, for Christians, the Bible is our authority on what to believe, not human arguments, opinions, and ideas.

but even prophets (besides Christ) make mistakes in their instructions to others,

I’m afraid that’s also incorrect. There’s not a single prophet in the Bible who, when speaking as a prophet to people on God’s behalf ever made one iota of a mistake about what He said. There were false prophets (who received the death penalty for saying they spoke for God when God had not really spoken to them), but none of God’s true prophets – like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Habakkuk, etc. – ever got anything wrong or “made mistakes in their instructions to others” when speaking on behalf of God.

such as Abraham, who instructed people to be stoned for certain sins,

I think you mean “Moses” here. Abraham wasn’t a prophet, and I don’t recall any instance in Scripture in which Abraham “instructed people to be stoned for certain sins”. Moses didn’t either. God did. God gave Moses the law on Mt. Sinai, and Moses wrote it down and taught it to the people.

and you can see that it was unlawful in God’s eyes

I’m sorry, but that’s incorrect as well. Since God is the One who gave the laws about stoning people for certain sins, He would never have said that someone properly obeying His law was doing something unlawful. That would be like God saying He was wrong when He made that law. And, of course we know that God is never wrong.

and you can see that it was unlawful in God’s eyes when Jesus told the priests about to stone Mary of Magdala that they should not stone her because they have sinned as well and God sees all sins as the same.

I think you’re talking about the story of the adulterous woman in Luke 7-8, right? Again, I’m sorry, but there are many things that need to be corrected here:

  • Stoning a woman caught in adultery was not “unlawful in God’s eyes”. It was lawful. God is the one who gave this law. The scribes and Pharisees correctly cited the law in 8:5.
  • Jesus wasn’t speaking to the priests, He was speaking to the scribes – experts in the law (which was an important point of this passage) – and Pharisees.
  • The text does not say the unnamed woman was Mary Magdalene.
  • Look carefully at the passage. In which verse does Jesus say “they should not stone her”? Answer: He didn’t say, “Don’t stone her.”. On the contrary, He said that they could commence with the stoning as long as whichever one of them was without sin cast the first stone.
  • He also didn’t say they couldn’t stone her because “they have sinned as well”. Every lawful stoning that has ever taken place on planet earth was carried out by sinners, because (except for Jesus) every human being is a sinner.
  • The Bible doesn’t say that God “sees all sins as the same” (In fact, we can see in the way that God deals with various sins in various ways throughout Scripture that this isn’t true.), so Jesus would never have said this nor given it as a reason that these men should not have stoned this woman.

Jesus didn’t say the law against stoning an adulteress was wrong. That would have been equal to saying God was wrong for giving that law. He didn’t tell the men not to obey the law, either. The key to understanding this story is in verses 4-7:

4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

They didn’t care about this woman or what happened to her. They didn’t care about the man who was sinning right along with her. They didn’t care that this sin wrecked the man’s and woman’s lives. They didn’t care that God’s law had been broken. They didn’t care that adultery grieves the heart of God. They didn’t care.

All of those things were just a means to an end for them. All they cared about was trying to get the advantage over Jesus. To trick Him into saying something they could use against Him so they could discredit Him or bring Him up on charges with the Sanhedrin (Jewish court). And they were using God’s precious and holy Word as a tool to accomplish this evil goal. They were blasphemously using God’s own Word against Him.

That is the entire point of this story. God’s Word is His representation of Himself to us. It is our lifeline to Him, because it is how we come to know Christ as Savior. It should be revered as high and holy, not twisted and abused for wicked purposes.

This is just one example of many things that God’s prophets have taught wrongly.

No, none of the things you’ve mentioned, nor the corrections I’ve given, have demonstrated that any true prophet of God has ever taught anything wrong when it comes to prophecy or commands of Scripture. Second Peter 1:20-21 tells us:

…knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

So, since times were different in the first century and women were not seen as important to men, couldn’t this have been something Paul told Timothy to do based off of his own understandings culturally?

No. Again, 1 Timothy is a passage of God-breathed Scripture, not Paul’s personal human opinion. It was not based on Paul’s human understanding (see 2 Peter 1:20-21, above), culturally, or in any other way. This is God’s command to pastors, based solely on God’s reasons.

And God kindly shares those reasons with us in verses 13 and 14 of 1 Timothy 2:

11Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

God gives us two reasons for His command that women are not to teach or exercise authority over men in the gathering of the church body: the creation order and pattern of male headship (13), and the fact that the woman was the one who was deceived into sin (14).

That’s why. Not culture, not Paul’s personal opinions, not because men didn’t value women at the time, not because the women in that particular church at that particular time were unruly or false teachers, not for any of the man-made theories that people have come up with. God tells us exactly why He made this rule for the church in verses 13-14. I’ve discussed this in greater detail in my articles Rock Your Role: Jill in the Pulpit and The Mailbag: Counter Arguments to Egalitarianism. Here are a few of the pertinent excerpts:

You’ve asked some really great questions here, and your reasoning skills are sharp. It was my pleasure to serve you by answering your comment. Keep asking questions, studying, and learning all God has to teach us through His authoritative, inspired, all-sufficient written Word.


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.

Testimony Tuesday

Testimony Tuesday: Rachel’s Story

Rachel’s Story

Up until a few months ago, I was a female preacher. I genuinely thought God had called me to this role. I honestly believed it was the office I was destined for and that one day I would be catapulted onto the world stage. It was just a matter of time. However, all that changed when the UK went into lockdown. But allow me to give you some background.

Up until a few months ago, I was a female preacher…

In the summer of 2008, I had the opportunity to help lead a week-long children’s teaching series at a national UK Christian event called New Wine. Our team was working with the Year 6 (Grade 5) age group and I was helping to co-host. I also did several of the talks and I loved it. I came home from that week buzzing. This is it! I could do this forever! Please God, let me! On the back of this, I had opportunities to preach at my church and then in 2015, I was invited to join the Eldership.

In 2017, the church leadership decided that our Summer Series would be a book called Surprise the World! by Michael Frost. This book was about developing a missional lifestyle and was done through the acronym BELLS: Bless Others, Eat Together, Listen to the Spirit, Learn Christ and Sent by God. The ‘Listen to the Spirit’ section was essentially based around the idea of contemplative prayer which involves clearing the mind and waiting on God. I now know this to be a New Age practise because biblical meditation is about filling your mind with the word of God. However, I was ignorant so I went for it.

I sat alone in my friend’s apartment and I met God. Or at least I thought I did. It was an incredible experience. I walked through the doors of God’s throne room and it was so bright. I had my eyes closed but I was still squinting. I ended up sitting on God’s lap, talking to him. When I asked him if he had anything to say to me, he said the following:

“I have made you to be a teacher of My Word. A time is coming when people will want to know what the Bible says and you will be instrumental in that. Your husband will help you in that endeavour. Go home to England and you’ll meet him. You don’t have to worry.”

I was completely blown away by it and for the next three years, I earnestly chased it, sincerely believing that I was obeying a word from God. But what I didn’t do was check it against God’s word as we are commanded to do in Scripture. As far as I was concerned it was God. Why was there any need to check that it was actually him? Plus, I had quite a bit of success. I was given invitations to speak at other local churches and I loved it. In fact, my favourite bit was the praise I got afterwards. That in itself should have raised a red flag but at the time, I was blind.

And then came 2020 and Covid-19.

As with many places around the world, my school mostly shut down, staff were put on a rota and I was working from home for almost 6 months. Alongside working, I began a journey with surprising results. As a vocalist in the worship team at my church, I had regularly listened to a range of artists including Bethel, Elevation and Hillsong. I had heard rumours that these churches had issues but I’d always ignored those because I liked the anthemic songs that stirred my heart.

…what I discovered horrified me.

I finally decided to investigate and it opened up a whole unknown world to me. While I was familiar with the teachings of the Prosperity Gospel and Word of Faith movements, I had never come across the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), and what I discovered horrified me. I could not get over the amount of heresy, blasphemy and Scripture twisting that went on in these churches like Bethel and thanks to the ministries of sound teachers such as Chris Rosebrough, Justin Peters and Costi Hinn, and the excellent work of Melissa Dougherty and Doreen Virtue, my eyes were well and truly opened.

I have always had a deep love of the Bible and it made me sick to hear men and women, who claimed to speaking for God, taking God’s word out of context, misapplying it or completely twisting its meaning. My research became an obsession and it resulted in a dismantling of my faith. At one point I felt like I stood in the middle of a building site surrounded by wreckage and all I had left were the following basic building blocks:

God is sovereign.

Jesus saved me and his blood is enough.

God’s Word is inerrant, infallible and sufficient.

The last one made me pause. If I really believed that, was I being obedient? No. I was a female preacher and God’s word clearly said no.

For years, I had I had always had a niggling doubt in the back of my mind but had ignored it. A friend had tried to show me the Scriptures that forbade my preaching but I just dismissed him (I have now apologised). Finally, I did it. I summoned my courage and sat and watched John MacArthur’s sermon entitled Does the Bible Permit a Woman to Preach? and as I did, each one of my ‘reasons’ were dismantled, through his accurate exegesis of Scripture. Honesty was required. I was sinning.

I had sinned and I needed to repent.

I sat on the floor of my room and sobbed. I was broken and left with no excuses. I had sinned and I needed to repent. I did so and immediately promised God that I would never again speak in front of men in a church service. It wasn’t that I am less capable or less valuable. It simply isn’t my role and I have to honour that. God has set up a beautiful, divine order, and marriage, we are told in Ephesians, is a reflection of Christ and his Church. When women choose to submit to this, we honour Jesus, we honour the men in our lives and we pass the responsibility of godly leadership over to them – which is where it should have been in the first place. I emailed churches I had spoken at and said I wouldn’t be returning unless they were holding women’s or youth events. By God’s grace, there weren’t many to contact! Most responded graciously but where I got negative responses, it was often the male elders who were trying to dissuade me. But over the next few days, God used Scripture and excellent preaching to confirm it was the right thing to do.

But I have truly experienced God’s undeserved favour because since I repented, He has returned to me several things I lost as a result of my sin and I want to share two of them.

I have truly experienced God’s undeserved favour…

When I look back at my journal from 2008, I wrote about how much I wanted a family of my own, a husband and children. During the 12 years I preached, my desire for children hadn’t just dwindled but had been replaced by a deep fear and depression at the thought. In fact, it had grown so much that even looking at a pregnant friend filled me with feelings of disgust and horror. I cannot explain just how strong this was. The moment I repented of preaching, that feeling disappeared. Completely. Since this decision, God has brought a truly wonderful man into my life (and I haven’t suddenly become really broody!), and so when we get married one day, the conversation about having children will now look very different.  

The other thing that has happened is that I am totally at peace and no longer dissatisfied with my life. When I was a preacher, I honestly believed that my job as school teacher was a temporary role until I was released to start a preaching ministry. But chasing that ‘dream’ led to dissatisfaction with God and impatience with Him and His timing. Those have also gone with my repentance. I am now satisfied to spend the rest of my life in obscurity, simply sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and loving the children God sends my way.

This journey has been painful but life-changing. The gospel is simple. Prayer is not complex and is not about demanding anything from God. I have a new fear of the Lord, the kind the Bible describes and it is my trust in the blood of Christ that enables me to approach him in humility and gratitude.

My experience has shown me this: Read His word and obey it as it is. If it rubs you raw, be brave enough to find out why. Be honest and repent. Walk away from your sin and refuse to entertain it any more. No one wants to find out that they are sinful but God is gracious and you will gain far more than you lose.


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? Contact me, 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!

Movies

Coming Attraction: “By What Standard?” A Founders Ministries Cinedoc

Dangerous ideologies like Critical Theory and Intersectionality are gaining inroads into the thinking of some leaders, churches and organizations. These ideologies are even being promoted among some evangelicals as reliable analytical tools that can assist our understandings and efforts in gospel ministry. The result is that, in the name of social justice, many unbiblical agendas are being advanced under the guise of honoring and protecting women, promoting racial reconciliation, and showing love and compassion to people experiencing sexual dysphoria. It is time for Bible-believing Christians to stand up and say to those who are promoting such agendas,

“Whose standard of justice is being followed? God’s, or this world’s?”
“To what authority are we submitting? The Holy Scriptures, or worldly ideologies?”

Have you seen these kinds of dangerous ideologies making their way into your church or denomination? Founders Ministries is developing a resource, due out this fall, that has the potential to impact thousands of churches and Christian leaders with the biblical perspective on race, intersectionality, feminism, sexuality, and social justice.

It’s a documentary movie, or “cinedoc,” called By What Standard? God’s World…God’s Rules. I’ve had the privilege of looking over the trailer for the movie for the past few days before its public release, and every time I watch it, my anticipation increases. I think this is going to be a powerful tool for churches to use to educate themselves about how to scripturally handle these mammoth issues the world is throwing at us.

You’ll hear from pastors and teachers you know and love for their fidelity to Scripture such as Tom Ascol, Josh Buice, Tom Buck, Voddie Baucham, Owen Strachan, Albert Mohler, and many more, men unafraid and unashamed to boldly proclaim the truth of God’s Word.

If you’d like, you’ll also have the opportunity to partner with Founders in making this film a reality by making a financial contribution to the project. And you can sign up for e-mail updates on how the project is going.

Are you as excited as I am? Click the link below and see the trailer for yourself! Then come back here and leave a comment with your thoughts!

Click here to watch the trailer.