Have you heard about Christian leader John MacArthur’s remarks about Beth Moore, noted Christian Bible teacher? It’s a hot topic and lots of people are chiming in. But is there a hidden issue behind women in ministry?

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Okay, so John MacArthur recently made comments about Beth Moore at some conference and it’s causing a ton of controversy. In my opinion, the whole thing smells like a setup. None of it came across as something spontaneous to me, which is even more troubling.

So what exactly was said? The Christian leaders present decided to play a word association game, and John MacArthur was asked to say the first thing that came to mind in response to the word “Beth Moore.” His response? “Go home.”

Yikes. That’s just not a good look, I don’t care who you are.

And what’s with the word association game? It’s like something out of middle school.

One of the other panelists, Phil Johnson, jumped in and proclaimed his word to describe Beth Moore would be “narcissistic.” He went on to say that she preaches herself rather than Christ and that she’s said that, when she reads the Bible, she tries to find herself in the narrative.

Not sure what he means by that. When we read the Bible, aren’t we supposed to compare God’s standards to our life and behavior? Shouldn’t we be introspective and seek to apply the stories and teachings within scripture to ourselves and our lives? That’s kind of the point.

These Christian leaders continued to disparage (and I would say bully) their sister in Christ for several minutes. Here’s the clip from YouTube:

Yeah just take a second out of the misogynistic ranting to get a pat on the back for your sermon.

That’s kinda problematic as a sermon should never be given by a man. Through a man, yes. But I’m aware that everybody misspeaks now and again, I know I certainly do. Although I don’t believe that’s the case here.

And congratulating him for “killing it”? Ugh. Gross.

John MacArthur goes on to liken Beth Moore’s qualifications for teaching to someone who’s able to hawk jewelry on a TV sales network.

This from a man whose ministry is titled Grace To You.

Grace.

To you.

Unless your name is Beth Moore.

These are men who are powerful leaders within the Christian community. Pastors, authors, preachers, speakers. For crying out loud, John MacArthur has received honorary doctorates.

John MacArthur vs. Beth Moore: The Hidden Issue Behind Women in Ministry | John MacArthur | Beth Moore | Christianity | theology | women preachers | womens ministry | #christianity #genderroles #womeninministry #womenpreachers #truthinlove #speaktruth #hiddenissue

The hidden issue

So let’s forget the argument about whether women speaking, teaching, leading Bible studies—or any other Christian euphemism for “preaching”—is Biblical or not. Let’s just put that aside.

Regardless of whether or not women should be preaching… is this the way to handle the issue?

These men who hold positions of leadership and who hold up the name of Jesus Christ in front of the world for all to see are sitting here tearing down a sister in Christ.

Yes, we all fall, we all falter, we all make mistakes. But honestly, this seemed planned. And whether planned or not, there was a lot of animosity flying around that stage unchecked.

I wonder, if Jesus had been sitting there physically among them, would their comments have been the same?

And how does their behavior look to the world? No, we as Christians don’t define ourselves by the world’s opinion of us, but the Bible tells us to be mindful of how things might appear.

It’s a shameful example of Christianity to the lost world: “We’re Christians! We love people! Come, join us! Oh and here’s how we treat one another.” Inexcusable.

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I’m a woman, should I even speak out about this?

I contemplated whether I should write this or not. Well, not whether I should write it, but whether I wanted to deal with putting it out here. But if we don’t start speaking up for our faith, how can we ever improve?

God has called us—men and women—to go forth and share the gospel. The gospel is the good news of salvation offered in Jesus Christ. His payment for our sins, his authority, his infallibility, his lordship, his majesty, his mercy, his power, his righteousness, his justice, his love.

His love.

John MacArthur vs. Beth Moore: The Hidden Issue Behind Women in Ministry | John MacArthur | Beth Moore | Christianity | theology | women preachers | womens ministry | #christianity #genderroles #womeninministry #womenpreachers #truthinlove #speaktruth #hiddenissue

Where was that love, John?

If his interpretation of scripture—and nothing else—leads him to believe it’s against God’s will for women to speak out the truth of God’s word, then he should lovingly correct his brothers and sisters.

Speak the truth IN. LOVE.

Here’s the thing. I don’t know a whole lot about John MacArthur. I know he’s well-known, and seemingly—at least until now—well-respected. But I’ve never personally read or heard anything that he’s shared. And I probably won’t after hearing this.

Oh, it’s very possible that he might have a lot of other good things to say, but after acting so childish and mean-spirited, I’m not sure I could give much credence to anything with his name on it.

Phil Johnson, on the other hand, I’ve never heard of. Apparently, he’s serving as a pastor somewhere. I sincerely hope he’s more thoughtful and considerate when counseling his congregation than he was on this panel.

Thoughts on Beth Moore

And of course, there’s Beth Moore. I don’t know much about her. I have one of her books, but I never read it all the way through. There was a particular exercise in it that I wasn’t too keen to participate in, so I never continued on in the book.

I don’t know if Beth Moore refers to herself as a preacher, or a teacher, or what. But I do know this about Beth Moore. Her response to John MacArthur was nothing short of graceful.

I mean it literally, too: grace-full. Full of grace.

Here are 2 posts she shared on Twitter regarding the incident:

I did not surrender to a calling of man when I was 18 years old,” she posted. “I surrendered to a calling of God. It never occurs to me for a second to not fulfill it. I will follow Jesus—and Jesus alone—all the way home. And I will see His beautiful face and proclaim, Worthy is the Lamb!

Here’s the beautiful thing about it & I mean this with absolute respect. You don’t have to let me serve you. That gets to be your choice. Whether or not I serve Jesus is not up to you. Whether I serve you certainly is. One way or the other, I esteem you as my sibling in Christ.

from twitter.com/bethmoorelpm

Now THAT is grace.

John MacArthur vs. Beth Moore: The Hidden Issue Behind Women in Ministry | John MacArthur | Beth Moore | Christianity | theology | women preachers | womens ministry | #christianity #genderroles #womeninministry #womenpreachers #truthinlove #speaktruth #hiddenissue

Call to action

Please, my friend, pray.

Pray for these men.

Pray for this woman.

Pray for all men and women.

Pray for the Southern Baptist Convention, as it were.

Pray for the worldwide body of Christ to unite for the cause of His kingdom and the spread of the gospel!

Further resources:

John MacArthur’s ministry: Grace to You

Beth Moore’s ministry: Living Proof Ministries

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John MacArthur vs. Beth Moore: The Hidden Issue Behind Women in Ministry | John MacArthur | Beth Moore | Christianity | theology | women preachers | womens ministry | #christianity #genderroles #womeninministry #womenpreachers #truthinlove #speaktruth #hiddenissue
John MacArthur vs. Beth Moore: The Hidden Issue Behind Women in Ministry | John MacArthur | Beth Moore | Christianity | theology | women preachers | womens ministry | #christianity #genderroles #womeninministry #womenpreachers #truthinlove #speaktruth #hiddenissue

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2 Comments

  1. I struggle with this issue a lot. I am a teacher in my church and have chosen to only teach women, but does that mean I can not teach a class that has men in it. I would like to say, er on the side of caution.
    That does not mean I would or do condone the actions of the men on this panel. SHAME ON THEM!!! No mercy, no grace. Great women leaders came from the Bible and they have just negated them. Maybe that is not help, but God is who we live to glorify not man. Beth Moore glorifies God in her books and conversation.

    1. Yes! I was so saddened (and angered!) by these leaders’ comments. Women have a place in the church and are called to ministry also, perhaps in different ways, but disagreement is by no means a cause for their merciless speech.

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