Waking up to John MacArthur’s “Go Home” response to Beth Moore’s name weighed heavy on me. It was reminiscent of similar words said to me several years ago as I shared my call to ministry with a male Christian leader. The words to Beth were personal to me as I inserted my name and heard the snickers, laughter, jeering, and comment after comment about her/me/all women in ministry.
The words and behavior were not of God. The fact that the name of someone was used in a public panel discussion with the intention to provoke controversy and negative feedback was ungodly. It’s what kids do on the playground or adults do in the office, but at least they do it behind the person’s back or in private conversations.
Not in front of others, especially as leaders proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ.
MacArthur and others on the panel cited that those who allow or agree with women speaking or preaching to mixed groups are denying the inerrancy of Scripture. Yet, Proverbs 18: 21 says “Death and life are in the tongue.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-5 says love is kind, not rude, is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:1 says, “If I speak in the tongue of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging symbol.” I could cite dozens of other passages describing how we as brothers and sisters in Christ are to treat one another.
And more passages for leaders.
What the panel and Mr. MacArthur were doing it objectifying Beth, their sister in Christ. They were taking the way of the world by vilifying her, making her the source of a coarse joke that others laughed at. That’s not of God and does not reflect Christ, nor goes it draw one person to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are image bearers of Christ. These leaders valued the power they have according to their interpretation of Scripture more than bearing the image of Christ. They seemed not to care about their witness to the masses who heard their discussion, to their fellow Christians, to sisters in Christ. They did not care for Beth.
She’s a person.
When any of us in leadership use doctrine or Scripture to intentionally harm others or bear a false witness of Christ, we are wrong.
The leaders on the panel cited that feminism has won and that Beth, like others, are after power, not equality. This grieves me deeply.
I’m one of many women in the middle. I don’t agree with radical feminist theology. I don’t march with a uterus on my head. I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture because I believe the Bible is God’s living Word. I respect male leadership in the home and in the church.
But leadership doesn’t mean lordship. Godly leadership reflects Christ, whether you’re male or female. Nowhere does Jesus use His power of authority as the Living Word to ridicule, exclude, or objectify anyone, which is what happens to women when we are treated as Beth was this week.
I’m a woman called to ministry. I have a pastor’s heart. I don’t have a place at the table in conservative, organized religion because of my gender. My call to ministry has been wounding and hard. When I see other women in ministry diminished and our stories minimized, it’s personal. I’ve learned to be silent and small so I don’t become THE NAME, like Beth’s, that is called a heretic or trouble maker.
I’ve learned the rules and know who has the power, just like in grade school. As a therapist and former teacher, I know the ethics of power in fiduciary relationships. We are held accountable to them in these professions. I know the damage they cause when being mishandled.
But I can’t be silent anymore. I’ve learned through discussions with dozens of women leaders that my story, like Beth’s story, is the story of hundreds of women who love God’s word, love Jesus Christ, love the church, and respect the men with whom we serve with, are married to, and parent.
In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we deserve to be treated equally, with respect, according to Christ’s character, and cultural standards of 2019.
The Fruit of the Spirit
As a professional educator and counselor, I’ve worked with men in secular professions where I have equity. My intelligence, training, experience, expertise, and gifts are included, invited, validated and respected. I am treated as an equal. So should my sisters in their respected places of work and service.
To be excluded, uninvited, invalidated, disrespected, and treated with inequality in faith communities is confusing, damaging, sad, wounding, and simply wrong. We are supposed to reflect Christ to one another and the world. My personal relationship with Jesus Christ includes freedom, love, grace, and mercy.
In healthy relationships, there is reciprocity, freedom to be oneself, equal power, trust, and respect. My hope and expectations is that within the family system of churches and Christianity as a whole, that we treat one another in these ways. These are the ways of Christ. This is the character of God. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 says the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things is no law.
The behavior of John, the panelists, and church leaders at this conference is not of the Holy Spirit. There wasn’t love. Nor kindness, goodness, gentleness, or self-control. I wonder which portion of Scripture is more important. The one giving power to exclude women or the one bearing witness through the fruit of the Spirit?
Intentional exclusion of women, our gifts, and calling in leadership is not the way of the Lord Jesus Christ. Or the character of God. Or the fruit of the Spirit.
A friend of mine recently said, “Brenda, we probably won’t see it in our lifetime, or on this side of heaven.”
I know she’s being honest with me. But I continue reaching out for a place at the table with belief and hope that people are capable of change. I want to believe the best in my brothers in Christ. I risk sharing my voice because my husband and I raised our sons to treat women with equity, respect, and a place at the table. We raised our daughter to follow Christ’s calling on her life as a missionary to orphans.
I don’t want her name to be called out to a panel only to be ridiculed by other male leaders. I don’t want my name there either. Or Beth’s. Or anyone else’s.
Our names are all written in the Lamb’s book of life. Because at the foot of the Cross, the ground is level.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3: 28.
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.
So sad when men in church leadership act like an exclusive men’s club. Have they considered the cost to their sphere of influence?
The Holy Spirit gave the gifts to the church to build up the church, not tear it down.
Thank you for speaking out, Brenda.
Thank you Kathy. We have to continue speaking truth!
Brenda, you are spot on!!! (drop the mic!) It’s very unfortunate b/c John McArthur is a good teacher, but as you said this clip and those comments are anything but Christ like. Thank you for speaking the truth in love with this clearly divisive subject.
Your fellow Hope*Writer:)
Thank you Stephanie, for affirming “truth in love,” for that is what we are called to.
Brenda. And all women. I’m so sorry. I’m embarrassed for the kingdom by this type of humanistic thinking and this type of flesh driven speech. Let the voice in your head, as well as all women, be that of Jesus Christ‘s voice, speaking “well done my called out servant.”
You are building God’s kingdom. Your power comes from Him. Your wisdom comes from Him. Your calling comes from Him.
Stay strong. Stay true. Keep going. Keep at it.
Let the words of the flesh and of humanistic thought fall to the ground.
Thank you, Mark. Your words, as a man, are a balm to my soul today and give strength. They truly were sent from God in the right moment. Thank you for your leadership to all women and men who need to see your strength and support.
Amen! From one moderate sister to another! ❤️
Thank you! I’m in good company.
None of us are without sin–and it is painfully obvious that these folks may have spoken the truth (Ms Moore should not be teaching over men) but failed to be godly in HOW they delivered their remarks. God created BOTH male and female and gave us roles to hold within our homes and in our congregations. Going back to Genesis we, as women, must acknowledge that we will desire to be as our husbands but God in HIS wisdom, has set men OVER us to help protect us from deception. Satan continues to try to deceive us and i see the ‘equality’ movement in the church as one of those things.
Thanks Nancy. I appreciate your comments. Satan is definitely at work in the church, home, and culture. Jesus Christ and God’s word continues to draw us back to how to treat one another. I’m thankful for His word, as you are too.
It is so important to speak out as you did, Brenda. It is hard for me to understand why some churches continue to exclude women from positions of pastoral leadership. Maybe you should consider finding a church where this is no longer an issue and your wonderful gifts will be honored, accepted, and sought. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you, Martha. This is less about me and about all. Churches have so many dynamics and all of them have room to grow.
This clip is awful and the spirit displayed is not of God. I too have experienced this attitude. This sounds like a power broker discussion masquerading as a commentary on gender roles.
True believers love all members of the body of Christ. True Christian men recognize females are also recipients of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and sometimes those gifts are ministry and pastering. True Christian male leadership embraces and utilizes female leadership gifts in the body of believers in a godly, scriptural way. I have also been fortunate to experience this attitude.
True female Christians recognize and embrace the formal leadership in the church as demonstrated by Jesus. They do not embrace “power mongering” leadership displayed in this clip.
It is wrong for either gender to desire power in the church. Christianity is not about power. It is about being one body in Christ and all of us fulfilling our role.
Yesterday’s extreme patriarchal authority has no place in the church and neither does today’s extreme feminist movement. Culture does not dictate Scripture.
Christians are called to live like Jesus; to carry our cross and follow him. Today’s pain averse culture is hell-bent on erasing all pain from our lives by any means possible. Gender role power grasping (both male and female) is only one manifestation of this.
Keep writing Brenda – I appreciate your voice! Much love to you as you walk this road in our community.
Thank you so much Dort. Your words here are powerful too! Very, very powerful.
“Leadership is not lordship.” Spot on. Thank you for speaking out, Brenda. Yours is a voice of moderation, humility and TRUTH, and I have seen the good fruit it produces.
Thank you Jan! Good fruit is what God desires!
Thank you for saying this so clearly. I am so disappointed in these leaders. Christ said they will know we are His disciples by our love and it is sadly lacking in this panel.
Yes, Linda, I agree!
Yes, I too have felt this way It is brave, yet hard to. be obedient. My heart knows and loves God. Dealing with people is hard, I am so thankful He is always there for us!
Dealing with people is hard. Such truth!
His put-down was unnecessary. It didn’t take much courage in front an audience of complementarian men, especially since Beth Moore doesn’t call herself a pastor or a preacher. If I thought she would come, I would invite her to teach in the church I serve.
Thank you Paul.
Shame on them – villifying one another is another reason for the world to see Christianity as less than. Satan is the accuser – not ‘leaders’ of the church.
I wonder their reaction if someday it gets revealed that Priscella was a Spirit-led writer of a book of the Bible!
Yes, Delores. We will learn a lot in heaven I’m sure!
This was well said and beautiful Brenda.
I had no idea this was done to Beth Moore and I am deeply disappointed in the panel and wow. Just wow.
Thank you. I am deeply disappointed, too.
Thank you for not remaining silent