Beth Moore shared a new blog post this week titled “A Letter To My Brothers” that openly and candidly detailed the struggles women face in the world of modern evangelicalism.
A view she previously only wished to share “on her deathbed” Moore decided it was time to explain to the world what its like to “be a female leader in the conservative Evangelical world.”
She was initially fearful of the reaction the piece would spark, and chose to avoid it. She told a friend she’d “get fried like a chicken” if she ever came out with this opinion. But after recent events following on the heels of a” harrowing” eighteen months, she decided “fried chicken doesn’t sound so bad.”
Moore explains that from early on in her ministry, she had to learn to live with deference to all male leaders.
“As a woman leader in the conservative Evangelical world, I learned early to show constant pronounced deference – not just proper respect which I was glad to show – to male leaders and, when placed in situations to serve alongside them, to do so apologetically. I issued disclaimers ad nauseam. I wore flats instead of heels when I knew I’d be serving alongside a man of shorter stature so I wouldn’t be taller than he. I’ve ridden elevators in hotels packed with fellow leaders who were serving at the same event and not been spoken to and, even more awkwardly, in the same vehicles where I was never acknowledged. I’ve been in team meetings where I was either ignored or made fun of, the latter of which I was expected to understand was all in good fun. I am a laugher. I can take jokes and make jokes. I know good fun when I’m having it and I also know when I’m being dismissed and ridiculed. I was the elephant in the room with a skirt on. I’ve been talked down to by male seminary students and held my tongue when I wanted to say, ‘Brother, I was getting up before dawn to pray and to pore over the Scriptures when you were still in your pull ups.'”
Moore even details one incident she had with a famous theologian who she had always held so much reverence for.
“About a year ago I had an opportunity to meet a theologian I’d long respected. I’d read virtually every book he’d written. I’d looked so forward to getting to share a meal with him and talk theology. The instant I met him, he looked me up and down, smiled approvingly and said, ‘You are better looking than_____.’ He didn’t leave it blank. He filled it in with the name of another woman Bible teacher.”
Not only has she faced sexist incidents like the prior, but she has had to deal with being labeled incorrectly, as well as being called names.
Moore goes on to detail all the criticism and lack of acknowledgment she has faced since she entered the world of “evangelical ministry.” From being called a false prophet to being criticized for her route of ministry, Moore has seen it all.
“God has worked all the challenges for good as He promises us He will and, even amid the frustrations and turmoil, I would not trade lives with a soul on earth,” she explained. “Even criticism, as much as we all hate it, is used by God to bring correction, endurance, and humility and to curb our deadly addictions to the approval of man,” she stated.
She details how she “accepted the peculiarities accompanying female leadership in a conservative Christian world because I chose to believe that, whether or not some of the actions and attitudes seemed godly to me, they were rooted in deep convictions based on passages from 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 14.”
Then, in October 2016, things came to a breaking point, after seeing too many evangelical leaders falling prey to the idea that misogyny was okay.
“I came face to face with one of the most demoralizing realizations of my adult life: Scripture was not the reason for the colossal disregard and disrespect of women among many of these men. It was only the excuse. Sin was the reason. Ungodliness,” she wrote.
Moore points out that misogynistic attitudes are wholly wrong, and not biblical at all.
“Being any part of shaping misogynistic attitudes, whether or not they result in criminal behaviors, is sinful and harmful and produces terrible fruit. It also paints us continually as weak-willed women and seductresses.”
Although there have been many men who address Moore’s concerns with evangelical males thoughts; others have always stood beside her, championing her on, and not degrading her because of her gender.
Moore also adds that because of the teachings John Bisagno, her pastor for almost 30 years, have given her hope that people can change.
Moore ends her piece by calling everyone to be more aware of the misogyny and sexism that runs rampant in the evangelical church.
“Many churches quick to teach submission are often slow to point out that women were also among the followers of Christ (Luke 8), that the first recorded word out of His resurrected mouth was “woman” (John 20:15) and that same woman was the first evangelist. Many churches wholly devoted to teaching the household codes are slow to also point out the numerous women with whom the Apostle Paul served and for whom he possessed obvious esteem,” she writes.
She calls people to have, “no tolerance for misogyny and dismissiveness toward women in your spheres of influence,” while “asking for your deliberate and clearly conveyed influence toward the imitation of Christ in His attitude and actions toward women.”
Moore ends her piece by asking for forgiveness from her brothers and sisters in Christ for I’m also asking for forgiveness both from my sisters and my brothers for her silence up until now.
So far Moore has received both good and bad reactions to her post. Many evangelicals have already voiced their support, gathering behind her.
Matt Chandler tweeted back at her, “You are a rock sister and it’s my and
@laurenchandler’s pleasure to call you friend. You are prayed for often and rejoiced over frequently in our home.”
You are a rock sister and it’s my and @laurenchandler’s pleasure to call you friend. You are prayed for often and rejoiced over frequently in our home.
— Matt Chandler (@MattChandler74) May 3, 2018
Author, Trillia Newbell tweeted, “First, you are absolutely forgiven, there’s likely many of us who have done similarly. You are a faithful woman with great integrity, grace, and strength. I thank God often that he has given you such wisdom and willingness for such a time as this.”
First, you are absolutely forgiven, there's likely many of us who have done similarly. You are a faithful woman with great integrity, grace, and strength. I thank God often that he has given you such wisdom and willingness for such a time as this.
— Trillia Newbell (@trillianewbell) May 3, 2018
A powerful letter that has certainly sparked an important and valuable discussion.