A prominent male pastor asked to play a word-association game responded, ‘Go home!’ to the name of a well-known female preacher.
“Go home!” John MacArthur gave that response to the name Beth Moore during a panel discussion.
I’d never heard of John MacArthur. Christian Headlines calls him “a prominent Baptist pastor and biblical scholar who is currently celebrating fifty years in pulpit ministry.” Congratulations to him.
I have heard of Beth Moore. She speaks at churches and is an author of numerous books. I recall her having spoken in the Charleston area, drawing a large crowd years ago.
MacArthur participated in a panel discussion at a Truth Matters Conference. Christian Headlines then states:
Emcee Todd Friel asked the panel for a one-word or “pithy” response to certain names.
I note that the dictionary defines pithy as “curt.” The same dictionary defines that as “marked by rude or peremptory shortness.” So I immediately wonder why a host of a discussion at a Christian event would call for such responses to the names of others.
MacArthur, given the name Beth Moore, replies, “Go home.”
He added, “There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher. Period. Paragraph. End of discussion.”
As the 80-year-old Evangelical surely knew at the time, that would not be the end of the discussion. Not by a long shot.
The discussion, in fact, was only beginning.
He said MacArthur, who was “unable to bridle his tongue” as James 3:1-12, advises, “went on to compare Moore to a well-spoken, persuasive jeweler hawking wares on television and to lambaste the Southern Baptist Convention for capitulating to broader ambient culture, not least the #MeToo movement.”
Even if MacArthur were to be correct in his assertions and assessments, in his disparaging remarks and condescending comments regarding Moore he fails to follow the very Scripture he proclaims.
Beth Moore herself responded with class on Twitter and did not name names:
She said she did not surrender to a calling of man but God.
“I will follow Jesus — and Jesus alone — all the way home,” she said.
But even this didn’t end the discussion despite the “period” MacArthur tried to place.
She apologizes to women she says churches have written doctrines about to preclude them from ministry:
I’m sorry if you have been erroneously taught that women are God’s fallback option if a man isn’t willing or available. I’m sorry for all the times you had to stop advancing the Kingdom in order to answer your faultfinders.
Does the Bible really justify banning female pastors?
It depends, of course, on whom you ask. Those against women as pastors will cite Paul’s writings.
Specifically, in 1 Timothy 2:12, he wrote, “I forbid a woman to have authority over a man.”
Over at Ethics Daily, Michael Helms points out that just three verses earlier, the same Paul also forbade women from speaking in church, having “elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.”
Consider for a moment the people you know who don’t think women should be pastors. Then ask yourself this: When has one of them ever criticized a woman’s hair, jewelry or clothes in church?
Our church culture doesn’t deem those concerns “relevant” these days. So no one cares what a woman wears or how she styles her hair. No one cares if a woman speaks to others in church.
Yet all those men in church don’t want women teaching them something they may not already know.
Did God believe that?
I don’t think so.
Men can learn a lot from women…if they’re willing.
I know several women who know more about the Bible than I probably ever will. Is that a mark against me as a Christian man? Perhaps.
But I’m certainly not going to compound that “problem” by ignoring what they might have to say. If they possess knowledge about God and Christ that I should possess, why would I refuse to listen because of their gender?
I hope that idea sounds absurd to you.
I honestly believe it must sound absurd to God Himself.
If we are to trust that the writers of the Bible truly found “inspiration” from God why are we so quick to assume women who set out to preach can’t?
The answer seems pretty obvious: blatant sexism.
All of us who call ourselves believers can do better.
It’s time we did.