She’d read the verses before, no doubt, but Christian author and blogger Ann Voskamp had never understood them the way she did when she heard the passage read in church the other day.
Then God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife — her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on, her name will be Sarah. And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.”
Voskamp asked the woman in the church who was reading the passage to tell her where in the Bible it was found and to read it again. After hearing the verses read once more, the author said the passage made clear to her the value God places on women, and that he ordains them for lofty roles.
“If [the late theologian Charles] Spurgeon said that ‘to believe God’s Word is the most reasonable thing we can do,’ then only the most unreasonable would disregard how God’s Word highly regards women,” Voskamp wrote.
This came after MacArthur, during the 50th anniversary celebration of his preaching career, was asked during a question-and-answer session with pastor Todd Friel to offer his one-word response to the name “Beth Moore.” MacArthur, senior pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, obliged and irreverently replied, “Go home.”
“There’s no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher,” he added.
The conversation then devolved into a battle between three men — Friel, MacArthur, and fellow Grace pastor Phil Johnson — for the best insult against Moore, whom Johnson described as “narcissistic.”
For his part, Friel said, “Just because you have the skills to sell jewelry on the TV sales channel doesn’t mean you should be preaching. 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.”
Now back to Voskamp, who underlined the newly understood passage from Genesis in her Bible.
“There was a national mother and there was a covenant mother — and we direly need faith mothers and we direly need church mothers, and this is not about whether women should preach to men or have authority over men — this is ultimately about God clearly calling women to be co-labourers in the Kingdom,” she wrote, “to preach the Gospel in everything they do, to be mothers of the faith — and if you send them home, how many will fail to ever find their way Home?”
Voskamp went on to describe those who, like MacArthur, tell female faith leaders to “go home” as “homewreckers in our Father’s church.”
“There’s no erasing a woman whose life tells a good story. There’s no erasing a woman whose life tells His story,” she later continued. “[G]atekeepers may try to send women away, but God makes women a gateway for many on the way to finding the Way.”
As for Moore, she responded to MacArthur’s comments in a pair of tweets posted Monday morning, in which she said she “did not surrender to a calling of man when I was 18 years old.” Rather, she “surrendered to a calling of God.”
Despite the mounting criticism, though, MacArthur has yet to say anything.
Like Voskamp put it in her closing, “Gatekeepers may try to send women away, but God makes women a gateway for many on the way to finding the Way … When a woman know she’s called, no one gets to call her anything that matters more than Him calling her His.”