It’s Not Really About Either John MacArthur Or Beth Moore

Todd Friel asked for a pithy answer. John MacArthur’s reply was witty, funny and a lot  more controversial than it should have been.  If you’ll listen to the following clip from Friday’s Q&A at the Truth Matters Conference in its context, you’ll realize that MacArthur went on to defend his position Biblically.

Maybe the “Go home” crack was unnecessary. Maybe it gave egalitarians an excuse to dismiss Biblical arguments against women preaching to mixed congregations. Personally, I thought it was funny because I wish Beth Moore would go home and stop causing division in the Body of Christ.

Predictably, the comment was isolated from its context and splattered all over Twitter, eventually prompting Moore to make a steel magnolia response that delighted her followers.

Beth Moore Steel Magnolia Tweet

I could easily compose an entire blog post discussing the artfully disguised defiance in her Tweet, but I’ll trust other bloggers to do so. But I want to come at the matter from a different perspective that perhaps deals with deeper issues than two famous evangelicals matching wits with each other. A Tweet I read last night caught my attention, and inspired me to think more carefully about the controversy.

Tweet from Grace and Truth

The lady who wrote that Tweet nailed it. People have been more fixated on the two personalities involved in the kerfluffle to consider the point that women are being encouraged to twist Scripture so that it conforms to their personal aspirations. Beth Moore isn’t alone in this rebellion against God’s authority; she’s merely bringing it to a point that threatens the Southern Baptist Convention, therefore weakening conservative Christianity as a whole.

Instead of taking pot shots at John MacArthur or Beth Moore, could we talk about how seriously we take those Scriptures that we don’t like? That question lies at the bottom of every problem with Beth Moore, Paula White, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen — and the list goes on ad naseum. At the heart of all these self-proclaimed ministries, there’s always some adjustment of Scripture to suit their purposes.

If we refuse to view the Bible as both fully sufficient and fully authoritative, we compromise with a culture that hates God. Worse, we establish ourselves as judges over His Word. Do you see the arrogance of that attitude?

For instance, the position that Paul’s prohibition against women preaching was either cultural or less authoritative than the teachings of Jesus betrays a clear rejection of 1 Timothy 2:12. Who is Paul to place restrictions on women? So they devise clever arguments to justify their rebellion. In essence, their demands that women hold positions of power compel them to minimize or negate God’s Word.

John MacArthur may or may not have erred by letting Todd Friel bait him into his witty “go home” quip. But fixating on the proprietary or impropriety of his remark ignores the bigger picture. Each of us needs to constantly ask ourselves if we put our personal agendas above the authority of Scripture. When we rebel in that way, let’s  be quick to repent.

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7 thoughts on “It’s Not Really About Either John MacArthur Or Beth Moore

  1. What a well written article. I have read your responses in the past and have actually referred to you in talking with my husband as an example of someone who clearly stands for the truth but speaks charitably when you do so. It is a wonderful example to follow. Thank you for your testimony as well as your faithfulness in exercising your gifts for God’s glory.

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  2. Hi, I have somehow been drawn into this controversy and so reading many articles and blogs on both sides of this disagreement. From this article and others on your site, you seem to be very well studied and clear on your belief systems. I appreciate this upfrontness so I don’t have to read a lot to see your belief system. I thought I would put my pondering question out here. Just an upfront note that I may have heard of MacArthur but only in passing.
    I have heard of this view of women not being in authority over men and therefore not pastors, based on the Timothy verse.
    What do you do with the scripture– There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:28

    I also wonder about all the other passages people who are literalists, ignore and leave out- I have never seen anyone give another a holy kiss when entering worship. When I was in Haiti I did wear a head covering because that was the traditional Christian thing to do (and I couldn’t wash my hair daily and I wanted to keep it as clean as possible) But rarely do women in America do this. Both of these are clearly stated in the New Testament. Why is picking which things are cultural and which things we should adopt such a controversial thing?

    And why do fundamentalist speakers feel the need to speak out against other Christian denominations and belief systems? Is this a Tulip belief that if you are a pastor you are in authority over everyone in the world?

    I truly do not mean disrespect toward you. You have every right to say what you want on your blog and I support your belief as a sister in Christ. I did learn about Calvinism in Bible School many years ago, I think in this internet age we come across people who have differing beliefs more frequently and it makes me want to ask these questions.
    Blessings,
    Sonja

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    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Obviously, I can’t respond to each question you’ve raised in this Comments Section (hopefully you’ve read my Comment Policy before posting your comment), but I’ll tru to respond to as many of your concerns as I possibly can in future articles. I appreciate this challenge.

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  3. I agree wholeheartedly with your primary point here and it’s why I found your post – because I’m reading to write and teach on this very issue. I am heartbroken at the “either/or” conversation taking place where “either women are beaten down and disrespected by men in the body OR they should hold every office in the church men hold.” This is the same type of argument that took place with Eve and the serpent in the garden. God must not really love her if He would withold anything that looked pleasing to her.
    There are two things I believe you missed here – or missed the opportunity to fully address. Because I think missing them may allow some to miss the powerful truth you’re asserting, I want to bring them up. First, I don’t think there’s any “maybe” about the attitude, inappropriateness, and frankly sin in MacArthur’s, and really, the whole stage’s, conversation on that stage. It was sarcastic and disrespectful and went way beyond what was needed or helpful for addressing a biblical issue. (And frankly, I am still doing research to see where Beth has usurped the authority of a pastor or elder which would be the actual biblical problem needing addressed, if it exists.) If we are holding to the authority of scripture, challenging each other to submit ourselves to it, then it must be noted that the tone of that stage was not one of a Christlike servant-leader, willing to wash the feet and die for His beloved. Is this panel of men of God willing to subject themselves to accountability and repent for behaving in an unloving way? The second, related, is that I’d love to see you expound on exactly what is wrong or needs correcting. As closely to scripture as I can tell, scripture does forbid women being pastors and elders. But teaching women is not forbidden, it is called for. And it seems splitting hairs, a problem created by our modern “stages” and technology, to say a woman can’t teach if a man might perhaps be in the room, at the very least. Again, I’m still researching to see if Beth has taken a stance that women should hold church office of elder or pastor, or if she’s just being called out for speaking against abuses and for speaking and teaching where men might be listening. I’m thankful you’ve addressed this, and hope to see you go further, as it is a point that needs to be made, and thoroughly.

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    • Beth has been preaching to men since 1988. I was a member of First Baptist in Houston when she began. I also was in her aerobics class for 5 years. Her Waters Edge Sunday School class grew to 900 MEN & women. She preached at Transformation Church in SC earlier this year and at Andy Stanley’s church on Mother’s Day. She has been teaching/preaching to men for decades. I also was at Truth Matters and there was no “attitude, inappropriateness or sin” of anyone there. False teachers NEED to be called out. Jesus and Paul both did – would you suggest they sinned when they did? Please read Matthew 23. And Paul called people by name…Alexander the coppersmith was just one and he wanted to make sure everyone knew exactly whom he was referring to. So instead of criticizing John’s attitude, shouldn’t we be far more concerned that Beth teaches many things that contradict Scripture. She went on Joyce Meyer’s television program and offered Joyce her “esteem and respect.” You can watch that on YouTube. She claims extra Biblical revelation all the time. Has even said God calls her “honey” and “baby.” I highly recommend Justin Peters and Michelle Lesley’s websites. John MacArthur is one of the most grounded Bible teachers alive. It is WAY past time that people start addressing what Beth teaches and John just began by addressing the women teaching men issue but Justin & Michelle have addressed many more.

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    • Firstly, you violated my Comment Policy, which asks people to limit comments to 150 words. If you’re going to accuse others of disrespect, please make sure YOU respect the Comment Policy of any blog with which you interact. The violation of my Comment Policy, because it communicates disrespect towards me, greatly weakens your argument against the men on that platform.

      You want me to definitively condemn MacArthur’s remark as sin. While I’m open to such a possibility, I’m not convinced he actually sinned. Maybe we should leave that point between him and the Lord.

      He was mistaken in suggesting that Beth Moore aspires to be a pastor. However, she indeed has been preaching in various churches during Sunday morning services. Your research will confirm that fact. She may have started out teaching women exclusively, but she’s been teaching mixed groups for several years. Elizabeth Prata can provide more than enough documentation on her blog, The End Time. Elizabeth is probably the leading authority on Beth Moore.

      Finally, I believe the wider body of my writing will clarify my position on women’s ministry. You’ve evidently accused me of not explaining my beliefs without investigating my blog. Again, does that assumption that I generally haven’t made myself clear demonstrate a small degree of disrespect?

      My disability (which is stated many times on this website) prevents me from writing lengthy articles. Therefore, I can’t include every jot and tittle I would like to include in any given blog post. That inability often bothers me, but I’ve learned to accept my limitations. Sadly, my readers must also accept my limitations. I’m sorry I failed to meet your expectations within the confines of a single post.

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