7 Lies Churches Tell Women

“The culture of women in the church today is crippled by some very pervasive lies. ‘To be spiritual is to be busy.  To be spiritual is to be disciplined. To be spiritual is to be dutiful.’  No to be spiritual is to be in a Romance with God.”

That is one of the quotes that hit me hardest from John & Stasi Eldredge’s book Captivatimg (review, quotes from the book)

Four other lies I hear are

  • To be spiritual is to act like you’re happy all the time.
  • To be spiritual is to act like your marriage and kids are perfect.
  • To be spiritual is to be quiet and not create waves.
  • To be spiritual is to let the men lead (or fail to lead) even when you have a God-given passion to do something.

Are any of these lies pervasive in your church?

What other lies do you hear churches telling women?

If you’re a woman, what lies have you been told by churches?  How have these lies affected you and the women around you?

25 Responses to “7 Lies Churches Tell Women”

  1. I think we are in a good church. I’ve never heard any of those lies from the leaders of the church! They realise we are all human, make mistakes, have talents, but also faults.

    Women get all space they need, within the possibilities of the church at that moment, to fulfill their God given passions.

    The leaders seek the will of God before the decide anything. Sometimes they feel that’s OK, but that the time ain’t right. Too bad some people can’t accept that, and try it without the support of the church and fail.

    Please become realistic. No marriage is perfect, no kid is perfect. Stop putting yourself, others and your kids under such a level of pressure. It will only cause pain and even loss of faith. God doesn’t put us in stress and knows our lives aren’t perfect. That’s why Jesus came after all 🙂

    • Just to clarify, nobody ever says those lies out loud. But they are inferred..

      – When sermons and bible studies talk more about what women should and shouldn’t do (duty, discipline) rather than God’s love for them and what they get to do in response.

      – When a woman is asked to do something, she declines, and her decision and/or commitment to God and the church is questioned (busyness).

      – When a woman’s emotional, marital, or family struggles become known and others gossip and think less of her.

      – When women are not allowed to serve in leadership roles in the church.

      • We are on the same frequency here 😉 Women are allowed in leadership, preaching and so on. Only the pastor is a man and all elderly are. Preaching of women goes under the spiritual protection of the male leaders as mentioned in the Bible.

        But women are allowed to speak words of God during service, pray with people, are leading in worship, kindergarten, and several other activities.

        When a woman is asked to do something and she declines, she is treated exactly in the same way as a male. Her family comes first, not the church.

        Women are more emotional than men, but there has to be room for those struggles and they have to be handled in love. Next week somebody else could fall in those struggles, and suppose that somebody is you? So don’t gossip or think less of someone who goes through a struggle. Next time it might be your turn

    • Not to agree or disagree, your article should contain Biblical support (as with all things!)

  2. LOL … I’ve heard them all. And what is worse, a large period of my life I’ve believed them too! Not so anymore, though. And my church nowadays is slowly mending it’s ways. It takes time, but we’ll get there.

  3. Wow, Paul, you just described (or rather the Eldridges have) a lot of women I have known, met or observed. There is a consistency in female culture in protestant and evangelical churches. I don’t see these stereotypes in Catholic or orthodox groups as much.

    • Barbara, that’s an interesting observation. I would tend to agree that there is more of a culture of duty, discipline, and busyness in Protestant churches. But the other 4 lies I mentioned may be even more pervasive in Catholic and Orthodox churches. What do you think?

      • No, I don’t think so, Paul. Especially the smiling part. 😉 My anecdotal data base says the Protestant women smile more than the Catholics/orthodox women. Because divorce is such an issue with the latter group I don’t think an aura of pretense exists in those churches. There is a recognition that marriage is hard work and the sacramental bond requires the grace of God.

        Having come of age in the early years of feminism (in the Bible Belt) silencing women is just not in my experience inside or outside of church. (Yes, I am that old.)

        Similar to Pewe’s comment above, even if official church leadership is male, women have strong leadership roles within the church. Nuns are among the strongest leaders I know.

  4. I have actually been in a church where the last two statements are true.
    Be quiet and not make waves and
    Let the leaders lead that is why you put them there.

    Very frustrating to me and others. I am single and have also felt that I didn’t have value unless I was married. And I should volunteer because I have more time being single.

    • Patty, I know what you mean. I am single too and it was absolutely not-done for me to say “no” when asked to do something. It was quite liberating when I finally decided enough was enough … and did say “no”. And the sky didn’t fall down and God still loves me 🙂

  5. How very sad that these are the impressions that some women are given from their churches. Never once have I been made to feel less than I am while at church, or from any of it’s members.

  6. Couldn’t agree more. As a 41 year-old single woman with no kids, I’m struggling to find personal relevance inside the Christian bubble right now.

  7. Not to agree or disagree, your article should contain Biblical support (as with all things!)

    Also, you may wanted to be mindful of the plagiarism (using Jim Carrey’s image may be a violation of US Copyright Law.

    Blessings always,


    • Many churches seem to be champions of Martha rather than Mary…

      Luke 10:38-42

      38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

      41″Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

  8. Let us not break the laws of the land; as this may give God a black eye! We do not need or want that! 😉

  9. Job #1 of the church is “discipleship.” Everything we do will either lead lost to Jesus or drive them further away.

    That stated, what is the essence of your post that speaks to Jesus’, “Great Commission?” Matthew 28:19

    Why stir such a subject?

    Romans 14:13 (New International Version)

    “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”

  10. i’m glad to know there are people interested in stopping the lies. i would tend to agree with the comment that these seem more prevalent in protestant circles than in catholic/orthodox and might i add episcopal circles.

    i pray that i am supportive of the women i encounter. i want to see them fulfill their god-given dreams. i pray that i can encourage women to not worry about the cultural boundaries set out by men interested in maintaining control.

    the verse that comes to mind for me is Gal. 3:28: There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

    we are all one in Christ and need to encourage all to live out their calling and use their talents in a Christ-honouring way.

  11. Refreshing article.

    At worst churches can be oppressive places that damage confidence. And not my experience, I’ve been given a lot of freedom to be me and to lead and grow. 🙂

    ‘To be spiritual is to act like you’re happy all the time.’

    I think this one is most prevalent in happy clappy “claim the victory” type churches. A focus on Easter Sunday and what Jesus achieved then, skipping over the fact that Jesus suffered and actually we suffer too. And told to men as well as women.

  12. Church has so much deceived women that they should be submissive to husband as though it was Christ. yet men do not equal Christ and they are not superior to women.

    • Achaninga, thanks for the comment. Ephesians 5:22-25 says:

      “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”

      It never suggests that men are superior to women. It says wives should submit to their husbands because God has placed husbands in a position of authority.

      The bible also tells us we are to submit to our boss and to the government. That doesn’t mean they are better than we are, but for the sake of order we are to respect those God has put in authority.

  13. “God has placed husbands in a position of authority.”

    And responsibility.

    In the postmodern world people tend to forget that with authority also comes great responsibility. Women only want the authority, but never talk about the responsibility.

    Look around and see the mess this attitude makes!

    God is clear: With authority comes responsibility and men will be held accountable by God for what they did with their authority.

    I believe that women who illegally take the place of their husband also will be held accountable.

    And yes, the Bible clearly teaches that men and women are equal, but also that they are different.

    Equal: yes, the same: no.

    So please women, stop trying to wussify the males around, or to become a fake-male. Accept the differences and stay happy in your own God given position. Believe me: ours isn’t better, yours isn’t better, they’re just different.


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