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.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Women evangelizing men & women teaching at co-ed conferences

mailbag

When it comes to 1 Timothy 2:12, what about women preaching or teaching the Bible at co-ed Christian conferences, campus ministries, youth ministries, or parachurch ministries? Is that OK since they’re not preaching and teaching “in the church”?

Here, we need to remember what the definition of “church” is. The church is not a building, it is a body of born again believers gathered for the purpose of worship, prayer, the sacraments, and/or the study of God’s word. Those things can take place in a church building, a home (as with the first century churches in Acts), in a campus or office building, outdoors, in a conference center, in a sports arena, or anywhere else. So, when a body of believers comes together for these purposes, regardless of the building in which they meet, or whether you call it “church” or not, they are the church, and the biblical parameters about women teaching and holding authority over men applies.

What about evangelism? Can women share the gospel with men at work, among friends and family, at the store, through an outreach ministry?

Women not only can share the gospel at every opportunity, the Great Commission mandates it for every Christian. However, it is important for godly women to use caution and wisdom when interacting with men in any situation, especially one that can turn out to be very personal and emotionally intimate, as with witnessing.

My counsel would be that you’re generally OK if you’re in a public place and it’s a one time encounter (for example, witnessing to a stranger at the store). However, if we’re talking about multiple encounters – for example, a male friend or co-worker who wants to continue meeting with you over time to talk about the gospel – it might be best to meet with him a couple of times (in a public area) and then “hand him off” to your husband, pastor, elder, brother, friend, etc., for further discussion.

There are several reasons for this.

It protects your reputation. If people see you meeting with a man on an ongoing basis (especially of one or both of you are married) they can jump to the wrong conclusion, and your reputation, and Christ’s, can be sullied.

It protects your virtue. Unfortunately, some men, who have no interest in the gospel, might see your eagerness to meet with them as an opportunity to take advantage of you.

It protects both of you from temptation. A personal relationship with Christ is exactly that- personal. Discussing sin, conviction, and other matters related to salvation can lead to emotional intimacy, which can then lead to physical intimacy. You don’t want what started as a witnessing encounter to end up as sin.

When it comes to outreach ministries (for example, a meal for the homeless, followed by a group gospel presentation or Bible lesson), it’s best for a man to lead co-ed (or male only) adult groups in anything that could be construed as preaching or teaching the Bible. Not because this is in the church setting and the situation falls directly under the parameters of 1 Timothy 2:12, but because…

…there are a lot of highly visible female preachers (Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Gloria Copeland, Christine Caine, etc.) out there, all of whom are in disobedience to 1 Timothy 2:12 and teach false doctrine (usually Word of Faith/New Apostolic Reformation).

The Bible says we’re to avoid even the appearance of evil, and you don’t want to appear to be one of those women if it’s avoidable. Having a man lead the teaching helps distance you and your church from those types of sinful women and their bad theology, and sets a godly example for the people you’re ministering to.

…the Great Commission is clear that we’re not just to make converts, we’re to make disciples. That means the ultimate goal of evangelism is to get the newly saved person plugged in to a local, biblical church. Why confuse a new Christian by having women lead out “in the field” when it’s not going to be that way in the church?

…there are very few examples in the world of what it really means to be a man. Men are constantly emasculated on TV and in society and receive all kinds of conflicting messages regarding what real manhood is. What an impact on lost men (and women) to see an example of a godly, masculine man who leads well, fulfills his duties and responsibilities, and is totally sold out to Christ. If you have someone like that, why wouldn’t you want him to lead?

For more questions and answers about women’s roles in the church, please see my article Rock Your Role FAQs. I’ve added both of these questions to that article.


If you have a question about: a well known Christian author/leader, 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.