Last year, referring to prominent male teachers, Christian author and speaker Beth Moore wrote, “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.”
The issue flared up once again over the weekend, when John MacArthur, a pastor and author in his own right, was asked to respond to the name “Beth Moore” by moderator Todd Friel. The California-based minister obliged, replying with a blunt “Go home,” an answer that engendered a lot of laughs and applause from the men and women gathered at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley for the 50th anniversary of MacArthur’s preaching career.
“There’s no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher,” MacArthur said, after the audience’s laughter and cheers began to fade. Phil Johnson, one of MacArthur’s fellow pastors, added, “The word that comes to my mind is narcissistic,” referring to Moore. “This is what it looks like to preach yourself rather than Christ.”
“Just because you have the skills to sell jewelry on the TV sales channel doesn’t mean you should be preaching,” added Friel, who is also a pastor. “There are people who have certain hocking skills, natural abilities to sell — energy and personality and all that. That doesn’t qualify you to preach.”
Moore herself responded in a pair of tweets posted Monday morning.
In them, the author said she didn’t “surrender to a calling of man” when she was 18 years old. Rather, Moore said she “surrendered to a calling of God,” adding, “It never occurs to me for a second to not fulfill it. I will follow Jesus — and Jesus alone — all the way home.”
And to those uninterested in hearing what she has to say, Moore said, “You don’t have to let me serve you.”
Earlier this month, Moore addressed the misogyny that has crept its way into the evangelical church in the name of theology.
Moore, speaking during the Southern Baptist Convention’s Caring Well conference, argued complementarianism — the theological equivalent of “separate but equal,” that men and women have differing roles in the church, home, and community — has been used over the years to cloak misogyny.
“Misogyny has no place in those who are being conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ,” she said, adding laypeople within the church community need to “learn how to smell a wolf” in sheep’s clothing, referring particularly to men in authoritative places who have been sexually abusive.
Much of the criticism of MacArthur and his fellow pastors on stage has less to do with their theological views about women behind the pulpit and more to do with how the three men riffed off one another, apparently competing for the best dig at a fellow sister in Christ. Given the conversation that unfolded over the weekend, Moore’s comments about misogyny in the church seem all the more apropos.
Faithwire has reached out to both MacArthur and Moore for further comment and will add to this story if they respond.