Beth Moore, a well-known Bible teacher and member of the Southern Baptist Convention, is once again, ruffling feathers after a statement she made about women preaching to congregations.
The firestorm came after Moore challenged a theologian on Twitter who critiqued Moore’s stance on encouraging women to step out of their comfort zones and preach.
Owen Strachan, a theologian and director at Midwestern Seminary, penned an article for Patheos in which he critiqued both Moore and J.D. Greer, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, for endorsing female preachers.
“Complementarians disagree cheerfully about much,” Strachan wrote on Twitter, in a tweet with his blog post attached.
“One thing we have massive agreement on: women do not preach on Sunday to the church,” he added. “Doing so is functional egalitarianism. We will not capitulate here.”
“Owen, I am going to say this with as much respect & as much self-restraint as I can possibly muster,” Moore responded. “I would be terrified to be a woman you’d approve of. And I would have wasted 40 years of my life encouraging women to come to know and love Jesus through the study of Scripture.”
What did Strachan’s piece say?
In his May 7 blog post titled “Divine Order in a Chaotic Age: On Women Preaching,” Strachan argued that a women’s role is not behind the pulpit.
He emphasized that “order is not incidental to Christian doctrine; order is central,” and that the world we inhabit “is not characterized in fundamental terms by randomness and disorder, but by divine design.”
In order to understand the role of both men and women, Strachan argued, one must first have an understanding that order is central to both the Bible and the world we inhibit.
“Our culture today does not embrace divine order in either scriptural form or natural form,” he pointed out. “Our culture is anti-order.”
Strachan went on to point out the various Biblical roles of a man and women, as illustrated throughout the Bible. Men are to be the spiritual leaders of the home, women are to serve their churches in ways that use their gifts, but not if those gifts include leading in a ministry role, he pointed out.
Strachan added that he was surprised that J.D. Greear and Beth Moore endorse “in the context of the church’s gathered worship service, a woman teaching and preaching to the corporate body.”
“There is no New Testament precedent for a woman teaching the corporate body of Christ (Priscilla’s words in Acts 18 to Apollos came in private, not in public), nor were women called to serve as priests in the old covenant era,” Strachan wrote.
“Christ did not appoint a woman to be an apostle, nor did any woman serve as an elder in the first-century churches spoken of in Scripture,” he further pointed out.
Although women should not hold leadership roles according to Strachan, they can disciple younger women.
“This teaching is targeted teaching: it is oriented around godly character, godly marriage, godly mothering, and godly homemaking,” he pointed out.
He further argued that the women mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:15 were not called “to provide doctrinal shepherding, nor to form ministries beyond the church; they are called in Paul’s own words to offer younger women counsel and help and wisdom as these younger women respond to God’s call to make a family and make a home.”
How did Moore respond?
In the way that she normally does, Moore took to Twitter to explain her opinion on the topic of females in leadership roles.
She started off by explaining that she would prefer to ignore the subject, but that after intense prayer, she felt like she needed to say a few things, as well as clarify some of her beliefs.
She explained that she is fully aware of her own sins, flaws, and weaknesses and that she is in repentance every day for them.
“I am compelled to my bones by the Holy Spirit—I don’t want to be but I am—to draw attention to the sexism & misogyny that is rampant in segments of the SBC, cloaked by piety & bearing the stench of hypocrisy. There are countless godly conservative complementarians. So many.”
“I love the Scriptures. I love Jesus,” she added.”I do not ignore 1 Tim or 1 Cor.”
“What I plead for is to grapple with the entire text from Mt 1 thru Rev 22 on every matter concerning women. To grapple with Paul’s words in 1 Tim/1 Cor 14 as being authoritative, God-breathed!- alongside other words Paul wrote, equally inspired & make sense of the many women he served alongside.”
Moore continued her thread, pointing out that it is of utmost importance that followers of Christ follow the way that Jesus himself treated women.
“He had women followers! Evangelists! The point of all sanctification & obedience is toward being conformed to HIS image. I do not see 1 glimpse of Christ in this sexism.”
Moore explained that after years of believing that there were these restrictions when it came to female leaders, she finally realized that it was a problem over sin, and not scripture.
“Then I realized it was not over Scripture at all. It was over sin. It was over power. It was over misogyny. Sexism. It was about arrogance. About protecting systems. It involved covering abuses & misuses of power. Shepherds guarding other shepherds instead of guarding the sheep.”
“I have loved the SBC & served it with everything I have had since I was 12 years old helping with vacation Bible school,” she added. “Alongside ANY other denomination, I will serve it to my death if it will have me. And this is how I am serving it right now.”
But for Strachan, it is a topic of sin.
“For a woman to teach and preach to adult men is to defy God’s Word and God’s design. Elders must not allow such a sinful practice; to do so is to bring the church body into disobedience against God,” Strachan wrote in his blog post.