Beth Moore, John MacArthur, and the Perpetual Outrage Machine

Beth Moore, John MacArthur, and the Perpetual Outrage Machine October 22, 2019

The fact that John MacArthur’s comments against Beth Moore blew up the Internet, in one sense, kind of caught me off guard because I really found it to be relatively mild for MacArthur. In another, I can understand why some might not like how he approached it, the uproarious laughter from many among the crowd, and how Beth Moore was mocked in the process. However, I earnestly believe more people are needlessly offended in what I would dub the “perpetual outrage machine” than anything else.

Could MacArthur have approached things differently? Surely. Is what he said worse than the apostle calling some “pigs” and “dogs”? Not in the least bit. MacArthur obviously is no apostle, nor do I seek to defend him as such. Rather, what I am looking to draw attention to in this post is that I believe the outrage to be unfounded. What this demonstrates then is that we tend to be more outraged over the lack of Christian niceties rather than the pernicious nature of doctrinal error and the subtle whispers of seducers. The reason I believe this is the case is due to a myriad of reasons, but mostly, that people don’t view the pastoral office rightly. This is no surprise, given the prevalence of those who believe women should be pastors.

People don’t seem to grasp the actual magnitude of the role itself, nor the strictness of the qualifications. This is self-evident in seeing how many are currently preaching that have no business teaching anyone, yet it is also evident in how many pastors have fallen in horrendous ways only to return to the ministry of the Word. Many have blotted out the moral qualifications of many high-profile Evangelicals because they like their preaching, or they sense sin has no long-lasting consequences. It seems that many truly do not believe that few should become teachers, but rather, they believe that many should become teachers, for their judgment is not all that strict. We lessen the severity of God’s judgment on those who teach, thereby, we lessen the task of preaching, and finally, the content of said preaching. Thus, when it comes to the errant teaching of a person, we suffer not the rabble-rousers who draw attention to it, even though part of a minister’s role is to call out by name those whom are dangerous to the flock.

Seminaries, churches, the person in question, and laypeople alike are all guilty for passing along a man (or woman) as a capable steward of the oracles of God who is not qualified. A degree, letter of recommendation, personal desire, nor even popularity, confers aptitude to teach, demonstration of the moral character needed, nor even the heart of one who can shepherd and shepherd well. Nothing matters beyond the question: are they qualified? Precious few rightly know how to answer that question; even fewer know how to submit themselves rightly to that answer. Part of the problem in our culture is that pretty much anyone can go anywhere and find a place to preach from because of the sheer lack of biblical wherewithal, the rejection of biblical teaching, or even a simple lack of discernment. The reality is that pastoral ministry is an incredibly high calling, which many, including many pastors, simply diminish and treat like a lesser form of a TED Talk.

Secondly, we live in an age of selective, yet perpetual outrage—and that outrage is rarely ever properly placed. What should outrage us is Beth Moore’s high-handed rebellion to Scripture, yet many desire to relegate this to almost a non-issue. At some point, we either believe this is a clear violation of God’s commandments or it isn’t—and if we do, we ought to treat it as seriously as we would an unrepentant gossip, slanderer, thief, etc. In other words: Beth Moore is either in disobedience or she isn’t, and if she is, she is willfully so and should be subjected to the disciplinary process of the church outlined in Matt. 18. It is sin and it should be dealt with as such if we are ones who truly believe she is in error. She is deserving of a strong rebuke and given that many have tried to speak up and offer correction and she has simply disregarded it; she is deserving of more.

The problem, of course, is bound up within a few major issues, one of which being the celebrity culture that has become part and parcel to the Evangelical world. Even if, by the grace of God, this process was to happen—she could simply move along to a church that would accept her for who she is and what convictions she holds. Her speaking circuit would remain relatively unscathed; in fact, one might even suspect it would be altogether unaffected. The fact that many prominent Evangelical leaders within the SBC and beyond give a free pass to Beth Moore is troubling. The fact that others see her as having a beneficial role in the lives of their wives and children is also quite telling.

The reason being: she has openly voiced support of notoriously false teachers, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, and Christine Caine. She has openly spoken in favor of doctrines that are notoriously dangerous (contemplative prayer, personal revelations, etc.). While this post is not wholly devoted to picking apart her teachings (others have done a good job at this here & here), one ought to be a little more than careful in embracing her as a model of faithful, biblical exposition. Given her status as a leading Evangelical figure and the warm embrace of other Evangelical figures, her influence likely will not wane in the years to come. Again, we either believe that she is in genuine error in these things or we don’t.

The Natural Result of Usurping the Pastoral Office

In addition to the celebrity culture built into the fabric of the Western Evangelical world is a second issue I’d like to devote more attention to than the former. As a result of minimizing the seriousness of the task of the shepherd, what gets marginalized and made out to be of minimal importance is the role of a mother and wife. Surely, many a modern Christian woman does not want to primarily identify by her ability to make and raise babies, but this is the highest glory of a woman. We have somehow bought into the lie of our age where we view worth intrinsic to success in the business world, or we have pushed so far to the opposite extreme by somehow thinking our worth in Christ is somehow at odds with our calling as Christian parents.

Some of this has naturally flowed out of the massive swath of single millennials in the church today, but the normative teaching of Scripture is to get married, make babies, and raise those babies to become faithful Christians who likewise fulfill the creation mandate to be fruitful and multiply. Obvious exceptions to the rule exist (i.e. barrenness or an inability to marry), but thanks be to Christ, the Scriptures plainly speak to these things as well: you are to glorify God in whatever stage of life you find yourselves in and devote yourselves to Him fully (1 Cor. 7). The manner with which you do so might look different from your sister, yet nonetheless your worth bound up in Christ flows into every sphere of life so that your motherhood becomes glorious, or your singleness becomes glorious, or your widowhood becomes glorious.

Yet none of this changes the plain fact that from the beginning of time, what has been normative in the church is marriage and child-rearing. The majority of perpetual singles I have interacted with have only the first half of Paul’s heart in mind: that they be free from any concern in having a spouse or children (1 Cor. 7:32a). What most singles do not bear in mind is the latter portion, in that being free from this concern is a freedom which allows you to be wholly devoted to the Lord (1 Cor. 7:35).

What I generally see perpetual singles, or willfully childless married couples desire to be free from is the responsibility so they can be free to travel, attain their goals, love on their “fur-babies”, save money, or just simply not have to be concerned with doing things they don’t desire to do or be beholden to other people. These are all patently unbiblical desires and unworthy excuses of those who should know better, but again, many have bought into the lie that marriage and child-rearing is not the beautiful, normative, God-given design for humanity. Again, simply because one desires to be single or childless does not make it so that they have desired such a thing for good and noble reasons, especially in an age where perpetual adolescence is valued and prized above all.

Yet what I believe underlies it all is the pernicious idea of self-worth. We must feel worth and value in everything we do or somehow, it isn’t what we ought to be doing. We don’t feel these things build our intrinsic value and dignity, or perhaps we believe they even devalue us—and so the “higher calling” gives us greater worth than motherhood. Some rightly desire to be the Proverbs 31 woman, yet in the very same breath, we have no real desire to be a homemaker, because our dreams, goals, etc., are all more worthy pursuits. The same could be said of men in their respective role; many a men have bought into the lie that their intrinsic worth is defined by their goals and pursuits rather than being a faithful father and husband, even though we recognize the innate desire, if we are Christian, to do better by our children and wife. Do we not recognize the cognitive dissonance in these things? Do we not recognize that at some point, our culture­—the Christian culture—has seen it fit for a woman to bear not only the curse of child-bearing, but the man’s curse as well?

What I am drawing out here is that surely, the issue of women in the pastorate has roots in the same idea that devalues being a faithful mother or wife: it is not a worthy pursuit to “be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Tit. 2:5). It is not a worthy pursuit to be a life-giver of an image-bearer—no, women must attain to something greater. She must bear under both curses. Far too many view it a “higher calling” to preach in a setting where the apostles would have said, “Go home” than one where the apostles would have said, “I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice” (2 Tim. 1:5-6).

If it is not clear enough already: we find it a shameful thing, by and large, for a woman to be faithful devoting herself to the instruction of children, even into old age. Even many within the Reformed crowd cannot possibly fathom why some would have the audacity to believe that these are things worthy of all women to aspire to. We wince; we hem and haw; we soften the blow, yet the one thing many will not do is accept the truth of the matter: God does not need Beth Moore to do His work, just as much as He does not need any one of us. God has not designed her for the purpose of pastoral ministry. God has not designed for any woman to teach or be in a position of authority over men within the church.

This says nothing of ability, intelligence, dignity, worth, nor even the capacity to serve in ministry in a broad sense. Surely, there are many churches and households which do not assign appropriate value to the woman who works diligently with her hands, makes insightful and savvy purchases, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Yet none of that somehow makes it acceptable to favor another form of neglect to the responsibilities and roles of those within the church. No amount of negligence can somehow make it acceptable to proffer another form of disobedience.

When will we learn to stop propping up people in positions of influence who cannot even be in subjection to Scripture in the most basic of ways? My sentiment is that the broader church won’t this side of heaven, namely because the people of God have had an infatuation with those of renown since the days there was no king in Israel. Instead, what we will get are men without a backbone who will not rise up, women who rise up and take a place of prominence within the family and the church, partly because of the men without a backbone, but also partly due to the people who prop them up, and many families that have no clue what a truly godly mom and dad are to look like. The fact of the matter is that we have far more women like Beth Moore than men of God who are willing to stand up with courage and lead, regardless of the cost and reaction of others.

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  • Excellent piece!

  • Gussie FinkNottle

    I don’t see how complementarians have a leg to stand on with this.

    1. By weight (Jesus over Paul) and volume, New Testament teachings are skewed towards equality, not hierarchy.

    2. Isn’t the priesthood of the believer a common, if not universal, evangelical doctrine? One thing that implies is that ministers don’t have to be as superficially like Jesus as possible because he lives vicariously through every believer. One would assume that includes speaking.

    Maybe Beth Moore speaks for God, and maybe she doesn’t. But that should be evaluated the way Jesus suggested (Matt. 7:15-20) and not the way that makes traditionalists comfy.

    • Gilsongraybert

      Your first premise reveals where we depart; the words of the apostles are the words given to them by Christ Himself (John 14:26; 16:13). Your last point then falls under this, but then so does Beth’s own practices (hence why I would suggest she is not even fit to teach women). Your second premise shows a misunderstanding of the doctrine of Luther. The priesthood of all believers speaks toward one’s direct access to God without the need of a mediator, but also, the intrinsic value of all professions, in that one’s labor is their “priestly” service to God. What that directly spoke to in Luther’s time was that the priesthood of Rome was not a more holy profession than the layperson’s service in whatever capacity God had ordained for them to be in, if that makes sense.

  • CJ

    When will we learn to stop propping up people in positions of influence who cannot even be in subjection to Scripture in the most basic of ways?
    I think you are making the point against MacArthur just as much as against Moore with this statement. What you called “Christian nicities” earlier in the article seems to be an improper way of dismissing the seriousness of speaking and acting in a way that is contrary to the Holy Spirit. Being subject to Scripture is equally serious in terms of obeying the God-ordained parameters for the teaching role, and obeying the God-ordained fruit of the Spirit essential for speaking truth. “Speak the truth in love,” “they will know you are my disciples by your love for one another,” “if a man says he loves God but hates his brother (sister?), the love of God is not in him,” “love your neighbor,” and even “love your enemy” … that whole message of love is pretty basic as well. So when will we stop propping up (or giving a pass) to those who are not being subject to Scripture in those basic kind of ways? We really need to seek to be submissive to the whole thing, in every category of the Scripture, without exalting certain things we deem more important by calling them “doctrine” but minimizing the other “doctrines” of Scripture by calling them “Christian nicities.” I wonder … how serious is the Scripture that says “be kind to one another …”? I believe that it is entirely proper to call that doctrine, just like we would any other teaching of Scripture. So that means, kindness also, is very important. To lack love, kindness, or gentleness (which a person should have as they seek to restore one who is sinning) … is to sin. To formulate a life where love, kindness, gentleness, patience (etc.) Is absent … is to formulate false doctrine for the Christian life.

    So I guess my question is this … why is the issue of of female teachers in the church a serious sin issue that needs to get primary attention … meanwhile scorn, scoffing, a lack of gentleness, a lack of kindness, and what appears to be a general lack of humility … is of secondary nature, and not as serious as the female teaching issue? (And just to clarify, I do agree that the Bible teaches that men are to be the teachers and pastors in the church)

    • Gilsongraybert

      I would simply flip this around on you in some capacity; would we find that Paul was wrong by saying certain men ought to castrate themselves instead of compelling Gentile Christians to circumcision? By and large, I think we have a one-dimensional understanding of what it actually means to be loving, gentle, kind, patient, etc. – and in that, we remove any possibility for firm language, which was used of even Christ Himself. The point is not that these things then diminish or that one has a free pass to be crass, but that perhaps, we may have a modern understanding of what these things mean that are contrary to what the Scriptures speak of, especially when it comes to those who are deceiving the brethren. More clearly, I am saying that we would view much of what was said by the apostles, prophets, and even our Lord as “mean-spirited” if they were to be among us today.

  • Christian

    There is a reason pastor Rhymes with molester!

  • Melanie D

    And … you are a man and will never understand. The constant ridicule of women, just because they are women, in the church specifically is never ending. Women are not to be treated this way, especially by a man of his standing. Women were regarded with high esteem to Jesus, and he treated them gentleness and with kindness. The men of the modern church are clueless, and have no sense of what that means. They need to go back and read about how Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery – when did he speak to her? After everyone else left, and he spoke kindly and with gentleness. I don’t care what either Mr MacArthur or Mrs Moore believe, this should never have happened by a Jesus believing man. It is very very wrong.

  • Leah

    Perhaps some women, myself included, are single because not one Christian man worthy of attention or to be esteemed as a “leader” in the household has stepped forward to actively pursue me or even ask me to marry him. The arrogance with which you speak of women comes clearly from the heart of someone who is so wrapped up in his own power as a man to fail to see that men earn respect by treating a woman the way Christ loves and cares for the church. Gender does not give you supreme power any more than the fact that I am a woman means that God has placed a husband and children in my path so I can be happy at home cooking and raising my children. I am pursuing a Masters through a Southern Baptist seminary with the goal of serving the church in the position that God has called me to serve, and that judgment is not up to you or any other man on earth. God has called me to serve and for me to do anything less than that is a sin, not a sin that I am willing and intend to serve.

    • Gilsongraybert

      Well, if you’re not part of the “many” here with regard to the particular brand of singles I isolated, this doesn’t apply to you. Likewise, if you’re not part of those who are trying to usurp God’s design for shepherds, this also doesn’t apply to you. There was a lot of text here, in terms of what I wrote, but in none of it did I say I have supreme power as a male, all singles are going about things for selfish reasons, etc. What I did say is that from the beginning of time, God has established a normative pattern for human beings in the Creation mandate to be fruitful and multiply and it is a shame we’ve made it a backwards thought for a woman to be a faithful mother and helper.

      • Deborah

        I recognize that the point about singleness was not the main point of your article but it was a discouraging middle segment that should be commented on. The church as a whole does not run down women as mothers and helpers. Culture does, yes. But not the church which idolizes marriage to the exclusion of teaching, mentoring or allowing that God also values and reflects certain theological truths through singles. The church speaks constantly just as you do – that motherhood is the highest glory of a woman. For those who are single, such as myself, it is a blatant and painful lie. Our glory and identity is in Christ. IF a woman is called to be a mother, yes, that may be one of the most glorious roles God has for her for a season of life. If she is not, God has other things with an equally high glory. And for ALL of us, our highest glory is found in serving God and relationship with Him. To treat the creation mandate of multiplication as purely physical without acknowledging how the Bible repeatedly moves that along and begins to speak of spiritual children and the need and glory for believers to bear spiritual children and multiply, is simply wrong. Finally, taking singleness and equating it with immaturity or desiring to be single or childless is simply wrong. Singles who are non believers may desire that. I have yet to meet a believing single much over the age of 25 who desires to be single and very very few who desire to be childless. Many mature believers are living the life God has called them to. Yes, as singles! Perhaps the fact that there are far more women than men in churches should also make clear that we should expect to currently have many godly and mature single women among us. Not adolescents. Not with lives being selfishly lived. I won’t deny some such people exist. As do many poor and broken Christian marriages that could be as easily labeled adolescent and selfish. Both groups are not treating as holy what God has given them. But by and large the older singles who are staying in the church are pushing through hurt and being told they are perpetual adolescents at fault for the holy gift God has given them at this point in their lives, and are serving, learning and trying to live in community. Articles such as this pointed devaluation are deeply discouraging. Written by someone serving as a missionary with a theological degree and a lifetime of love for and history with the church :).

  • Nathan Neighbour

    Oh the irony. Outraged by outrage culture 🙂

    • Betsy Hawley

      Exactly, Nathan. I am so glad you caught that. Why did this particular incident provoke outrage in me? Because it reflects poorly upon the church. Because the comments by MacArthur and friends were petty and mean spirited, rude and unkind and resonated with self righteousness. The conversation about this incident needs to center around how believers treat one another, both privately and publicly.

  • Nina

    You’re just as wrong at MacArthur. To base this teaching on one line in one part of scripture, in one setting/context, is erroneous and had been taught wrongly. And while it is very important to have a calling to Pastor, to teach, preach etc, is a different thing. Beth Moore is a teacher. She does not claim “Pastor” although she has Shepherd many more than most men in her time of ministry. Fear, jealousy is at the root of this control and men need to repent. Ask yourself how you just felt when I said that. Did it anger you? My point is made….

    • Gilsongraybert

      Believe it or not, people can have strong disagreements on what the text says without being angry over someone else challenging it. It also isn’t rooted in fear, jealousy, or seeking to control someone; we are legitimately seeking to be faithful to the plain reading of the text. At the end of the day, it takes a lot to change it from “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over men” into “I *do* permit a woman to teach…”

      • Betty Popa Price

        Gilsongraybert, see my comment above (or below, depending on how it lines up on your screen…)

    • Betsy Hawley

      Well said, Nina. Beth Moore continues to teach, speaking the truth of the gospel in love, even in the midst of attempts to humiliate her. The issue at stake here is how Christians can disagree in a loving way. This is huge because Jesus calls us to be known by our love. Infighting, name calling, smugness, finger pointing etc. etc., do nothing to promote the Kingdom of God but do much to turn unbelievers away in disgust. I thank God for giving Beth the grace and courage to encourage her supporters to respond in a loving way, rather than turning around and attempting to slander John MacArthur. She is the teacher here, the Shepherd standing on high moral ground, continuing to point to Jesus. May we all, male and female learn from this. May we love mercy, do justly, and walk humbly along the narrow road, seeking always to shine light into the darkness.

  • Betty Popa Price

    I’d like throw in something that you did not address:

    Since Beth Moore claims to be a teacher, not a “pastor”, I’d like to know what you have to say about these questions:

    1) How is it that women are trusted/worthy/equipped to teach children in the home, Sunday school, and public/private/home schools, but not capable to teach adults?

    -Don’t adults need to start as children first? If so, isn’t it the MOTHER/ELEMENTARY TEACHER who forms the first basis of people’s faith, world view, perspective of God, and understanding of Scripture?
    -Come on. I have never seen men line up to teach in the nursery or elementary Sunday school classes. That’s a freaking joke. You see the same in the home: the mother is expected to be the main teacher when children are small. Plus the VAST majority of elementary school teachers are women. See a trend?
    -So men are purporting that women can’t be teachers but expect them to be when it comes with dirty diapers, snotty noses, laundry, etc. Give me a break.

    2) What is the magical age that suddenly humans need to switch from a female teaching them about God and the Bible to a male teaching them?

    -Is it 12? 13? 18?

    Would love to know your answers on these questions if you want me to take anything you wrote seriously,

    • Gilsongraybert

      As far as age is concerned, the Jews would have expected boys to be men by the age of 13, but that is a rather moot point. I sincerely doubt that any answers I could provide would cause you to take this seriously. We’re already on different pages here in terms of simply what the Scriptures say on that matter of teaching men in the church, but also, you took that and broadened it to the whole of culture in every aspect of teaching (which I never gave an opinion on the matter here). I also explicitly stated it has nothing to do with capability. At the end of the day, Scripture is the authority I place myself under and it calls for men to be in the positions to teach and lead a church.

  • Betsy Hawley

    The tone of this article dismays me, as does the tone of each response from you, the author. You certainly are free to write and defend your point of view, but the way you write sounds like the Pharisees to me. The issues raised by John MacArthur’s comments and the response of his listeners is simply: common curtesy or better yet, speaking truth in love. Who is going to be drawn to Jesus by the attitudes presented in your article and in your responses to the comments? I hope you grow in wisdom, grace, mercy, and love as you continue your walk and reflect on the responses presented here. That is also my prayer. If you put your thoughts “out there” on the internet, I feel you owe it to Jesus to respond not defensively, but with openness and love to those who raise questions or chose to disagree with you.

    • Gilsongraybert

      People have asked questions, I’ve defended my original thesis, and not in any hypocritical or mean-spirited manner. Can you define how any of what I’ve said here is Pharisaical in nature?

      I find your comment at the end to be the most interesting here though; by “open and loving” do you mean that I ought to simply say every individual’s “truth” is valid? Or are you saying that certain subjective measures of tone and pleasantries are needed? In either case, I am wondering if there is any place in your view for firm language, or a “tough love” so to speak. I believe we can see this modeled from Scripture from numerous people, but especially Christ Himself. None would find it altogether soothing to hear they are a “brood of vipers” or as with Peter, hearing the Son of God refer to us as Satan himself.

      • Betsy Hawley

        I will be happy to answer you as best I can. No, I did not mean to imply anything close to saying that everyone has their own “truth.” I personally perceived the tone of your article and your responses to comments made here as argumentative and close minded. I apologize sincerely if I have offended you and misunderstood the point of this article. I responded because your position reminded me of John MacArthurs’s statement that there is no Biblical support for women in leadership (something about period, end of sentence, end of discussion.) If you agree with him regarding no Biblical support for women’s ordination or leadership in the church, then I fail to see why you are engaging in discussion. (He made it clear that he believes there is only one point of view that is valid— his own.) However, I remain hopeful that perhaps you would be willing to acknowledge that there are distinguished scholars who might have a different view than you regarding women’s ordination, women teaching adults, leading conferences, guiding Bible studies, and so on. Furthermore, yes, I do know, understand, and have practiced tough love. I would hope however, that my tough love never included a public or private attempt to ridicule or humiliate the object of that toughness. Practicing tough love well requires rigorous spiritual discipline in studying scripture, in prayer, and in requesting the Holy Spirit to shine the light of discovery on my own sin before I ever begin to point out the sin of another. I know I need not direct you to the Sermon on the Mount to support what I am saying. I’ll answer in two more brief ways: I have been a student of the Bible for more than 60 years. Some of my deeply orthodox beliefs are grounded in Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, the devotions of Oswald Chambers, the apologetics of C.S.Lewis, and the life witness of Corrie ten Boom, a family friend. Secondly, the issue raised by the remarks made by John MacArthur and friends and the great laughter of the audience is simply, this: are Christians required to speak the truth in love to one another and if so, how can there be room for mocking, belittling, or ridiculing a brother or sister in Christ, privately or publicly? Thank you for engaging me in conversation. I hope this answer helps clarify what I wrote previously.

        • fromoverhere

          “(He made it clear that he believes there is only one point of view that is valid— his own.)”
          One thing to know about MacArthur. He thinks his positions is right. end of story. end of paragraph all that….

          Same for :
          The rapture
          Calvinism
          dispensationalism
          gifts
          There is just “no way” to have another position.

  • CJ

    1. We need to think twice about how and why we prioritize certain doctrines over others. It is generally a reflection of ourselves and our ambitions, over Christ’s written priorities for his church. God has spoken in his Word about who should teach and what roles women should have. We should listen to the Word and embrace it wholeheartedly. God has also spoken in his Word about how we should speak to one another and how we should approach rebuking (and restoring) a believer in sin. We (again) should listen to the Word and embrace it wholeheartedly. And we should think twice about it when one sin is downgraded to the level of “Christian nicities,” and the other is given a more heightened level as serious “neglience” and “disobedience.” Does Scripture support our particular view of what’s really serious? Or not?
    2. Rebuke should be considered both for its content and its character. In other words, rebuking *with* insults is not the same as a rebuking *without* insults. It is right to consider the “woes” of Jesus and the “castration” comment from Paul … but nevertheless, those examples do not negate the commands of gentleness (which is necessary for restoring a believer; which should be “evident to all”). Perhaps the Flesh just likes to claim a “perceived permission” to slap someone down with an insult, and so those examples are misused to justify a lack of love and humility. If the same truth could be communicated without an insult, then why would we not *prefer* to show gentleness in our rebuke?

    (Gilsongraybert, I tried to reply twice “in line” but my post never appeared on here. Probably a mistake on my end. Or maybe the words are out there floating around on the Internets. 😉 Either way, thanks for your reply to my previous comment.)

    • Gilsongraybert

      Oh I’m not saying one’s modus operandi ought to be set by default at “firm” – I guess I am more so inclined to wonder how any of what MacArthur said was sinful and wrong. Now, I think it certainly rubbed many the wrong way, and I can understand that, however it is one thing to say, “I really don’t think he should do it that way; I’d do things differently” and “What MacArthur did was sinful and unloving.” My point here is simply to say we have to look at how Scripture defines these practices, because by all measurable standards, much of the language of the New Testament (or even of the OT) would not fit squarely in the modern understanding of what it means to be loving, gentle, peaceable, etc. I am more so advocating that perhaps, in an age where it is certainly easy to swing the pendulum between altogether horrible and being a doormat, there may be a balance where such firm language is not only appropriate and useful, but actually good – especially in light of how the apostles dealt with those who were misleading the brethren. They say, in no uncertain terms, much worse things than “go home.”

      • Joe Farnar

        Tolerance or approval of “go home”-language is the beginning of a slippery slope. It accepts a lower standard of humility for Bible teachers. When it is clear to believer and non-believer alike that pride is at work, I don’t see John MacArthur having sufficient authority to speak on teaching by a woman.

      • fromoverhere

        Let me see if I understand. Beth Moore has taught hundreds of thousands of women great insights from the Bible. MacArthur says this:
        “Just because you have the skill to sell jewelry on the TV sales channel doesn’t mean you should be preaching. There are people who have certain hawking skills, natural abilities to sell, they have energy and personality and all of that. That doesn’t qualify you to preach.”

        You dont find any of that unkind?

  • CJ

    I will weigh in just one more time. (Still can’t get the blog to let me reply in line).

    I think you are objecting to the fact that in the church today, there seems to be a “perpetual outrage” that is actually a *worldly* outrage … the kind of outrage which is not founded on Scripture. BUT, what I have been saying … and where God’s word would say to you, “take heed” … is the fact that there is a very Biblical reason for being outraged at John MacArthur’s sin. When a man of God uses his ministry as a platform for self-exaltation and scorning those who disagree with him, it is indeed a serious sin. The reason John’s sin may not seem obvious to you is because in the world of John MacArthur, his arrogance is generally excused because 1) he has achieved a good measure of success and acclaim, and 2) he is a conservative making an attack on someone who is liberal or seems to have liberal leanings. From his camp’s perspective, that justifies his behavior.

    Perhaps neither of these fits you. But there is also a third reason … which takes a bit longer to explain.

    When a number of the mainline denominations began to move away from Biblical inerrancy (around 1900-1930) and started preaching social work and reform instead of the atoning gospel, and turned the morality of loving your neighbor into a replacement for loving God, certain church movements began to develop in reaction toward those liberal directions. That conservative church movement became a major part of the tone of MBI during that time as well. The early 1900’s saw the rise of the Bible Church movement (ie. Dallas Theological Seminary) and the IFCA as well. Not everything in those movements were wrong. In fact so much of the emphasis on Biblical inerrancy was valuable and necessary. But in that process, as churches drifted toward “liberalism” and embraced a social gospel and social morality, the conservative “Bible church movement” (and others) began to downplay social justice ministries and some aspects of character morality, because they were emphasizing their distinctives … the things that set them apart from the liberal churches.

    Long story short, in that movement, being right on the atonement and orthodox doctrine became so important, that attitudes were no longer important. “Being nice is for people who deny the atonement and have sloppy theology. We are not sentimental liberals. We are solid on the truth … we aren’t caught up in those silly non-essential things like ‘Christian niceties’.”

    That pattern has about 3 or 4 generations of “traction” in those circles … specifically, that being right on “important” doctrines is more important (more essential) than being kind, or gentle, or other such stuff. In fact, it would seem strange to even call Biblical gentleness a “doctrine” from that perspective. “Gentleness? A doctrine?Christology and Pneumatology and Bibliology … those are doctrines.” At this point, since the pattern is so deeply embedded, it is very challenging for eyes within that camp to be opened … to it really see it for what it is.

    But being kind is absolutely *commanded.* Unity is so important that is is the central theme to Jesus’ prayer to the Father in John 17. Gentleness is so significant, that it should be my continual reputation … my gentleness should be “evident to all.” None of these kind of commands need to reduce our focus on foundational theology and biblical authority. And “solid doctrine” should never be used as an excuse for not displaying kindness, gentleness and love. It is a false dichotomy of priorities to imagine that we have to choose between the two. Or to suppose that doctrinal value forces us to exalt one over the other. We must instead embrace both.

    And if we have been surrounded by generations of pastors and scholars who have bypassed the essential nature of these so-called “Christian nicities” … it can take us awhile to recognize just how serious the sin really is. We hear the attitude woven into the sermons and commentaries. It’s just standard communication to scorn and insult. What’s the problem? Biblically, the problem is … it’s sin.

    That said, some of the outrage against John is indeed Biblical. I would agree … believers should not adopt the societal norm and get outraged for sentimental or social reasons. Instead, let the Word speak clearly about what is sin. And it is tragically sinful for a man of 50 years in ministry … to smack down a woman … to make her an object of scorn and ridicule … just to impress others with how right he is (and how wrong she is). That, indeed, is outrageous.

    Please give this some thought, Graybert. It’s hard to see past the blinders that our “camps” give us. I know. I have been living and ministering from inside this conservative, “John-MacArthur-Study-Bible camp” for nearly 50 years myself. It was a long and painful process for me to finally realize how wrong it is to justify caustic and rude interpersonal language … supposedly in the name of doctrinal integrity.

    I say all this with with a glad heart, because it is indeed *joyful* to know that I don’t have to badmouth you at all in order to speak this truth clearly.

    Many blessings to you!

    • Betsy Hawley

      CJ, Well written. Thank you. We may not agree on all doctrinal issues, but you have clearly pointed out what I keep trying to say here and on other platforms and in many face to face conversations. The issue we should be addressing is that John MacArthurs words and attitude as presented in the video are sinful and do great damage to the Kingdom of God. The conversation about female leadership is a valid one, but is not at the center of the storm caused by MacArthur and company.

      • CJ

        I guess my comment was marked as spam. Hmm.

        • Betsy Hawley

          Sad.

          • CJ

            It might be an automatic setting to spam it … it’s my 3rd reply on the article. Just couldn’t get it to reply in the thread for some reason.

            I just have a genuine concern for young men in the ministry. They can so easily become part of the church “machine” which has lost touch (in so many ways) with Christ’s original intent for his bride.

            Graybert is an intelligent man, generally thoughtful. I have read his articles and appreciated many of them. Shared one with all the elders for us to read and consider carefully at an elders retreat. I am only replying this time because I see this as being a terrible pattern in the church … and hopeful that he is willing to listen.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Hi CJ, I’m not sure what is going on with Disqus, but please, feel free to drop an email if that might be easier (can be found on the “about” page).

          • CJ

            No big deal. 🙂

            But here’s the crux of my challenge to you … why does the stuff of soteriology and ecclesiology (etc.) get priority treatment, while the doctrines of love, kindness, gentleness, patience, etc. seem to get minimized … even though the *actual language of Scripture* does nothing to minimize them?

            No need to reply. Just something to consider. I know that this exact question (posed to me) has helped me rethink why and how I am listening to Scripture. It has really helped me see the interrelationships between foundational doctrines and applied doctrines. A real game-changer for my ministry. After all, if I don’t have love … I’m just going “clang, clang, clang.” Right?

            Blessings!

        • Jay Johnson

          If it was extremely long, Disqus will delete it automatically as “spam.”

  • Allison Beardsley

    Great article. MacArthur is my favorite pastor- he’s harsh and challenging and I like his non fluffy ways. Have you ever read the book “Misreading Scripture with Western eyes?” The book touches on the western culture being rules based, and the eastern culture being relationships based. An example is saying something is a hard-fast-rule-always vs a most of the time recommended situation. The author of the book (a western pastor) shared a story when he was in Indonesia attending a pastors workshop. One of the rules said men must be pastors, of the 500 pastors there, were a handful of women pastors. The American pastor asked the director, “why are there women here?” The Indonesian gentlemen explained that most are men, and shrugged his shoulders- no big deal =relationship culture. God is a relationship God not a rules God- a relationship with Jesus is our salvation not works or rules. The moral of the story is whether we perceive the Bible with our western cultural blinders, or if we can step back and see it from an eastern cultural relationship perspective too. We all have presuppositions and cultural imprints. Great article- I just wanted to add in the part about our western rules-based perspective compared to eastern (and God’s) relationship based perspective. The rules thing creates this outrage- tension- finger pointing etc…

  • David Swann

    I find much of the comments toward this article to be based on the sense of opinion or feelings, none of which gets to the heart of the matter – God’s standard. Whether we agree or disagree with MacArthurs’ phrasing, attitude or reputation, the question remains – is he correct? I believe New Testament Christians have gotten sloppy and self – serving in our approach to the teachings of the Bible. Ask yourself if you are rationalizing your viewpoints, or are you clear in the beliefs you have accepted? Many of these “pastors” or “teachers” have placed themselves in the forefront to enrich themselves or make people “feel” good about religion at the expense of genuine repentance. When we get before God. He will not allow us to slough off what we did or what our opinion was. There is a cavalier posturing that blurs the line between God’s instruction and our “understanding” and we better be careful. Also, as a side thought, some of what is being said in the opinions expressed, are not being done with love, in spite of what you profess. Take care that all is said in humility of understanding, rather than “proving your point”!

    • Joe Farnar

      Well, I find MacArthur’s behavior to be beneath God’s standard of a Christian leader. If he repented, that would be par for the course of being a Christian, a sinner confessing need for Christ, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

      Regardless of whether John is correct regarding Beth, is he correct in his response to her? I think it’s very clear John is known as a teacher who appeals to people’s desire to “feel” good about the power of Scriptural accuracy at the expense of genuine humility of the heart in speaking to fellow believer who is a leader in the community. Yes, Scripture is truth. Feeling personal pride because as if you did something to receive that truth seems
      rather un-Reformed.

      I agree that MacArthur’s cavalier posturing blurs his point about women teachers and our society’s desire to “understand”, but he has a history of not being careful in this area.

    • Andrew Bernard Kanonik

      David, I do like your attitude and tone and would say you are a man who shows grace and love, however, I would say you are incorrect brother by saying “Whether we agree or disagree with MacArthur’s phrasing, attitude or reputation, the question remains – is he correct?”

      It doesn’t matter one bit if he is correct if he isn’t being gracious, oh I here some saying “but he is gracious by showing Beth Moore she is incorrect” sorry that just doesn’t cut it with what our Lord taught us and the way He taught us, John MacArthur is way of track in his whole approach to this incident with Beth Moore.

      There is no getting away with a lot of our fellow evangelical brothers and sisters who are so legalistic at times and by going on a stage to pour scorn on a fellow member of the body of Christ is not how we have so learned Christ, being right without showing grace is not acceptable…blessings.

      • fromoverhere

        You are so correct Andrew! Note: John M disagreed STRONGLY with Sproul on baby-baptism…but was always nice to him (see Calvinism as the trump card). To a MacArthur-like person, infant baptism is a “distortion” of the covenant and the gospel. In theory he could have railed against that….. but nope.

        I think our Calvinist friends are willing to overlook difference as long as you are card-carrying-Calvinist.

        Many of the commentators here do not realize that a HUGE section of Christianity believes in female leadership. You are free to call them wrong….just do it nicely.

        • Andrew Bernard Kanonik

          Absolutely correct

      • David Swann

        ABKanonik – thank you for your thoughts. While the tenor of your response is appreciated, I also believe that truth sometimes can be difficult to digest. The misuse of religion was what angered Christ the most. He confronted those who were profiting and manipulating for their own enrichment, and did so in powerful language. While I believe that my demeanor should be one of łoving Grace and truth, I am not a Pastor who MUST confront difficult biblical error or misuse. To those God calls to be standard bearers of Biblical integrity, it may seem cruel, but in truth, the correction is done to save someone from immersing themselves in “the golden calf” of well – meaning error. Was it needless meanness? I don’t believe it was meant that way, but it was most definitely a hard truth to hear. K

  • Robin Warchol

    You skirt around the arrogance of “go home” John while declaring Beth Moore a false teacher. You do not offer anywhere in your article why Beth Moore is not correct in her theology or teaching except some very generalization that she likes (with not direct quote or reference from her) Joyce Meyers and Joel Osteen. If Beth Moore is an incorrect teacher of scripture, why don’t you actually offer specific examples of what is wrong with her instead of the usual platitudes that come from the Calvinist camp. The only thing I can find in the articles that criticize her (coming from your side of the world, the hyper-neo-Calvinist) is that she teaches people the technique of Lectio Divinia and contemplative prayer which btw is much older than John Calvin, Calvinism and expository teaching promoted by “go home” John. Christianity didn’t begin with John Calvin and after reading many early Church fathers, (probably a lot more than you), there is nothing of TULIP or any of the other trappings found now in your neo-Calvinist world. In fact St. Augustine used and encourage Lectio Divinia. Beth Moore is a big hit in the Evangelical world, especially with women because she is offering something that has been long forgotten, neglected and ignored which is how to read and engage with the Bible beside line by line expository or rote memorization. She is a threat to you guys which is why John want her to “go home”.

  • Jay Johnson

    Mr. Gilbert said, “It seems that many truly do not believe that few should become teachers, but rather, they believe that many should become teachers, for their judgment is not all that strict. We lessen the severity of God’s judgment on those who teach, thereby, we lessen the task of preaching, and finally, the content of said preaching.”

    Let’s consider MacArthur’s leadership of Master’s University and Seminary. The institution was placed on probation in 2018 following a site visit by WASC Senior College and University Commission that concluded the “lack of leadership ethics and accountability that emerged was unmatched for members of this review team.” Additionally, The commission reported conflicts of interest regarding student financial aid, staff without qualifications for their positions, and “a climate of fear, intimidation, bullying, and uncertainty” among faculty members.

    MacArthur rules his little fiefdom through intimidation and bullying. That is his modus operandi, and that is what he is trying to do to Beth Moore. MacArthur conducts himself without fear of God’s judgment. Your slings and arrows are aimed the wrong direction, Mr. Gilbert.

    • DrBill

      “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.” Jay, you’ve judged the motives of MacArthur’s heart without the benefit of divine omniscience. It should give one pause to literally go where angels fear to tread. Just sayin’.

      By the way, there’s a great deal that’s happened positively at TMU in regards to WASC and leadership. Hopefully you’d view their response-in-progress as one of integrity.

      • Jay Johnson

        I said nothing about his motives. I simply cited his behavior, and anyone who establishes a culture of fear and bullying, which doesn’t appear overnight, obviously has no fear of God’s judgment. I’m a former teacher. I have no tolerance for bullies. MacArthur and his pals even flaunt their cruelty on stage in front of a laughing crowd of sycophants.

        Sorry, but the fact that MacArthur was “promoted” from president to chancellor hasn’t made any difference in the easily observable behavior that has occurred since. The site visit was made by a lot more than the “two witnesses” that Scripture requires, and the commission is without bias. I don’t need divine omniscience to see what’s happening under MacArthur’s dictatorial reign at Master’s University and Seminary.

        Edit: I should add, a “response-in-progress” means “do as little as possible to get the commission off our backs, then things go back to normal.” The staff said as much in the recent update, where they expressed their fears that every positive step will be reversed as soon as the university/seminary is off probation. Do you not find it remarkable, sir, that the original report cited a “lack of leadership ethics” that was “unmatched”?

        • DrBill

          But, Jay, in your first comment, you used pejorative terms with definite implications about motives and attitudes – the “fiefdom” over which which he “rules,” that he’s a bully, and is consistently so (“modus operandi”), and – most strongly – has no fear of God’s judgement. Those are unqualified character assessments (assassinations?) based on how some situations appear to you. Sorry, that means you most certainly did judge motives, albeit generally. And I believe you’re entirely wrong. But no worries. Time typically reveals everything to posterity, and I’m sure in time the truth of all this will come to light.

          By the way, the WASC commission is without bias? Seriously? What commission has EVER been without bias? And in this one, it’s no secret that anyone with any sort of axe to grind was given voice. Fine, I’m sure TMU/TMS will be all the stronger for it in the long run. But whatever “recent update” you refer to in which some staff “expressed their fears” can be nothing more than fearmongering, since in no logistical, leadership, nor ethical sense is it possible to reverse the recent positive changes. And wouldn’t you think WASC would be interested if such a ludicrous thing were attempted?

          By the way, this probationary stuff is quite ironic considering that not many years ago the Best Christian Workplaces Institute was giving awards to TMC, consecutive years in a row, for being one of the absolute top Christian places to work. Methinks most would say it still is.

          All of this is secondary to a much more important issue: the Word of God. Does John MacArthur rightly divide the Word of Truth? Is there strong exegetical reason behind his response to the idea of the teachings of Beth Moore? I think we can all agree that the “Go home!” setup was not in good taste, but at the same time that JMac is being utterly consistent with his decades of careful exposition. And THAT is the core subject, one that seems to not be getting its due at the moment.

          Here’s an interesting argument along that line: https://www.facebook.com/darrell.b.harrison/posts/10213925903692647

          I’ve said too much, and really don’t wish to engage in a protracted argument, but Jay, I sincerely hope you and other nay-saying colleagues will at least give a moment’s consideration to the idea that there might be far more to these situations than first meets the eye.

      • Joe Farnar

        “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”. With the Holy Spirit in each of us believers, are we unable to judge MacArthur’s motives in this recorded response? Which of these fruit did MacArthur exercise in his dealing with Beth Moore?

        I’m not a theologian, but has it been determined that the Scriptures, the word of an infinite God, is fully understandable by man? Jesus was in human form in history–does it mean that the disciples who lived, talked, and learned from him, also fully understood him as God? My point is: you can’t have it both ways. MacArthur has judged Moore, without the benefit of omniscience over the Scriptures. Who can blame him for not knowing everything–but who can’t blame him for pretending that he does?

    • Ozark man

      Thumbs up!

  • Edsall Mike

    Several years ago I was discussing this issue with a young scholar who was interpreting the scripture in light of cultural assumptions surrounding the Corinthian church. I chided him for importing a lot of culture into this understanding of the passage. His response was, “And so are you. At least I have the right century.” This led me to some self examination, and hopefully some increased self-awareness. I began to ask new questions to discern the purpose of a text, most importantly, “What would have been the new information for this audience?” Specifically for women in ministry, “Are Paul or Peter asking us to freeze culture in the first century, including the acceptance of slavery, or are they applying Biblical truth to that culture in that time and place?” If the second is true, as place and time change, so might, just might, the application adjust to effectively reach people in the new context. This is risky of course. Mistakes will be made. Consensus will be elusive, but I prefer a prayerful examination and culturally accurate application of biblical truth rather than, well, this article.

    • Jesse H

      And how exactly do you draw the line? What if Paul is making a trans-cultural argument? As indeed his appeals to Creation and dogmatism suggest.

  • jewell12

    I may be out of the loop, but I am not sure why a woman speaking to women is a problem. I don’t know that she is seeking to be recognized as a pastor…though that is a spiritual gift that some women have, even though they are not to be in leadership. I’m not saying Beth Moore is perfect. She may be in need of some caution and Bibiical “coming alongside”. But I am concerned that women who have been given the gift of teaching or pastoring would be ridiculed or hindered rather than supported in their role of building up the church. Forgive me if there are things that I don’t know about this particular circumstance.

    • DrBill

      A woman speaking to women isn’t the problem; she also preaches to men, sometimes in the context of a worship service of a local church. There are also some well-documented doctrinal concerns, although she is not as far off the rails as some. Hope that helps.

      • fromoverhere

        I often hear that a “woman speaking in church is not the problem…it’s when she is preaching.”

        But Paul says women shouldn’t speak in church. “That’s cultural!” they say…. but the other one isnt…

    • Ozark man

      I was with you until you said concerning women “they are not to be in leadership”. I assume you mean serving as a pastor/minister since women in most of the churches I know are already in positions of leadership. The new testament limitations on female leadership including overseers or pastors should be viewed in the cultural context of the 1st century CE.

  • Andrew Bernard Kanonik

    It is a well know fact that George Whitefield and John Wesley differed in what some would class as essential doctrines, however, this true story about a woman asking John Wesley a question concerning George Whitefield is a good measuring stick concerning showing grace, sadly in my humble opinion, John MacArthur lacked showing any kind of grace to Beth Moore, but I still class John as a brother in the Lord who I love as I do Beth Moore.

    Dear Mr. Wesley, do you expect to see dear Mr. Whitefield in heaven?
    here is an excerpt from the sermon John Wesley preached on the occasion of Withfields funeral and some other quotes, many have heard or read the story of Wesleys answer regarding if he though Withfield would be in heaven. here it is, and dispite the dipute they had for many years concerning “free grace” and other things, how they reverenced one another and was ruled by love. It has blessed me and worked as an example to follow.

    “One day, after Whitefield’s decease, John Wesley was timidly approached by one of the godly band of Christian sisters who had been brought under his influences and who loved both Whitefield and himself:

    “‘ Dear Mr. Wesley, may I ask you a question?’

    “‘ Yes, of course, madam, by all means.’

    “‘ But, dear Mr. Wesley, I am very much afraid what the answer will be.’

    “‘ Well, madam, let me hear your question, and then you will know my reply.’

    “At last, after not a little hesitation, the inquirer tremblingly asked, ‘ Dear Mr. Wesley, do you expect to see dear Mr. Whitefield in heaven?’

    “A lengthy pause followed, after which John Wesley replied with great seriousness, ‘No, madam.’ “His inquirer at once exclaimed, ‘Ah, I was afraid you would say so.’

    “To which John Wesley added, with intense earnestness, ‘ Do not misunderstand me, madam; George Whitefield was so bright a star in the firmament of God’s glory, and will stand so near the throne, that one like me, who am less than the least, will never catch a glimpse of him.'”

    And to show Whitefields thoughts and admiration for mr Wesley i post this quote from Whitefield.

    The good Mr. John Wesley has done in America is inexpressible. His name is very precious among the people; and he has laid a foundation that I hope neither men nor devils will ever be able to shake.

    No go and do likewise…this is grace.

  • Carlos Santiago

    The original Greek specifies an abusive power. That is also true for any believer, male or female.

  • Jm Loy

    Blur the lines between men and women, it then blurs the lines of ministry

  • ElectricStrawberry

    What is this fascination with Beth Moore? Did I miss something? And who cares what John MacArthur says? I don’t recall the sun rising and setting in John MacArthur. It’s like John telling who ever will listen “I have the truth, not that one over there”.

  • Steve Boggan

    Beth Moore is knowledgable, articulate and passionate in her Bible teaching. Plus, she is pretty and blonde, which means I would rather listen to her any day than MacArthur, who is not at all pleasant to look at, and is frequently WRONG in his exposition.

    • Jesse H

      You do realize you just made an argument for believing something based partly on its packaging?

      • Steve Boggan

        I said I would rather listen to her speak. Doesn’t mean I believe everything I hear, especially in the case of MacArthur 😉

  • Ozark man

    Mr. Grayson’s response in this piece is that what John MacArthur said is no big deal (more of less). He also seems to be concerned about the evil “whisperings” of “liberal” theology. What he doesn’t get is the massive shifts that have occurred in people’s level of knowledge and attitude toward faith and religion. Thanks to the information age people don’t have to rely on a closed minded pastor who graduated from a conservative seminary too understand theological truth. What many of us who are undergoing a process of deconstruction are learning is that what we were taught about God and the Bible as children is just flat out wrong. It’s people like John MacArthur and leaders like him (Paige Pattterson, John Piper, etc.) who are whistling past the graveyard. Do us all a favor. Move into your retirement condo, play golf and shut up.

    • Jesse H

      There are several problems here. But first of all, you are simply making a subjective argument. Your experience (that what you were taught was wrong) may or may not be true. Do you believe in objective truth? If so what is the basis for this?

  • Kenneth Litwak

    There is so much inaccurate here that I don’t know where to
    start.
    Let me get minor things out of the way first. Clearly you
    have no understanding of contemplative prayer if you consider it false doctrine.
    The words people speak about trying to do this activity are is not a mantra.
    When I say your presence it is my effort to turn my mind back toward God and
    away from distractions and that is not a mantra. Did you know that the Psalms
    tell us to be still and know “that I am God?” Did you know that Hebrews chapter
    10 says that we are invited into God’s presence? So, in contemplative prayer, I
    am seeking to be still and enter into God’s presence. Is that false doctrine?
    It seems expected in Scripture. In case it needs to be said, I’ve not read anyone
    who puts what they might hear during contemplative prayer above Scripture. If I
    hear, ‘It’s okay to have an affair with that female co-worker,” I know from
    Scripture that this is not from God. If I hear, “Jesus was fully man but not
    fully God,” I know from Scripture and the early Church that this is heresy and
    is not the voice of God. So, in your theological universe, it would seem that
    if someone “hears” God in their head (the same place I expect to hear him,
    though I often don’t) calling them to preach for a living, that hearing must be
    false doctrine too, eh? All the believers that I know would love to have God
    speak to them. Wouldn’t you? So, in our frantic world, how do you do that?
    Paul said that if he says anything without love according to
    1 Corinthians 13:1-4, he is just being a gong and say nothing of value, nothing
    that God would approve of. It is pretty clear that John Macarthur’s words about
    Beth Moore were not offered in love. If he is going to claim the role of pasto,
    he really failed on this point because he should be setting a good example as
    Paul urges in the Pastorals.

    To the big issue.
    1. If 1 Timothy 2:12 actually means that a woman should
    never teach a man and I’d note that Paul’s words are male and female, that has
    a lot of problems for modern church life and for the Gospels and Acts. For
    modern church life it means that since René is a female, you need to be sure
    that no female is teaching children in Sunday school or even changing their
    diapers because they are exercising authority over the child if the child is male.
    That’s a violation of Scripture in your reading of this text. Furthermore,
    Jesus must have messed up because he told the women at the tomb to go tell the
    disciples that he was risen from the dead and that they should meet him in
    Galilee. That certainly sounds like teaching and exercising authority over
    males to me. Priscilla and Aquila, because Priscilla is named first, was
    clearly the more prominent of the two in teaching Apollos. So, I guess
    therefore, that Luke and/or Paul endorsed a false doctrine because Priscilla
    should not have been the chief teacher. The scribe who craerd the Western manuscript
    D reinforces my point that that he knew what it meant that Priscilla was named
    first. The scribe removed Priscilla’s name completely from Acts. Third, Paul
    must have changed his mind because he said in Rom 16:7 that Junia, which is
    absolutely clearly a woman’s name AND was an apostle, which means she taught and
    gave instructions to presumably men and women. The arguments for reading the
    grammar otherwise are simply wrong. In Rom 16:1, Paul speaks about Phoebe, a
    deacon (because there is no Greek word for deaconess, so, it must be deacon),
    also had a church meet in her home. Sociologically, there is little chance that
    a church would meet in her home and her not to have leadership in a first
    century context. Paul also notes other women as co-workers. What did they do,
    make coffee for him? No, he uses the same language for men as for women in this
    context. Therefore, either Paul changed his mind or the passage is being
    misinterpreted. There does not need to be an instruction for women to teach if
    Paul’s letters otherwise show that they do. Which is it? In addition, since you
    want to just treat this statement as an absolute without regard for what
    context might be behind it historically, then you need to pay attention to 2:15,
    which teaches that women can be saved by having babies. That’s what the text
    says indisputably. So, you shouldn’t preach to women because all that they need
    is to babies. Why did Paul use the very rare word authentein? Can you explain
    that? I can’t unless I can find some historical context in which that would be
    meaningful. So, before I go around asserting that this is an absolute without
    exception principle or command in Scripture, I need to try to understand what
    might have been going on that would lead Paul to say such an odd thing. That is
    a basic principle of proper biblical interpretation. A text without a context
    is a pretext for whatever you want it to mean. You have to admit that 2:15 is a
    very weird statement and nine through 14 makes little sense because there’s no
    indication of why Paul would bring that up. So, investigation of the historical
    context for plausible explanations is essential but you don’t seem to have done
    that. You just took the bald statement in English and went with it.
    What did you do with Paul saying that women pray and
    prophesy in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16? Prophecy, which I contend still exists
    unless you do bad bad eisegesis (reading into the text what you want it to
    say), certainly sounds like teaching to me and giving instructions on what to
    do. That’s what the biblical prophets in the Old Testament, John the Baptist,
    and Paul often in his ministry all did. Prophecy does not only mean telling the
    future. So, again, did Paul completely change his mind and if so, why? Perhaps
    some situation arose in Ephesus that required him to say this. While we are on
    the topic of what Paul says, do you let women speak in your church? In 1Corinthians
    14, Paul forbids women to speak in a church context. That means they can’t pray
    in public in the front, they can’t make announcements, and they can’t ask anyone
    if they want coffee. Those are all speaking in a church context. This verse is
    debatable regarding its authenticity but there are good reasons to accept that
    Paul really wrote it. They can’t say anything in a church context. So, if you
    want to follow Paul’s letter to the letter, so to speak, women must not speak at
    all. If you want to try to get out of that, then you have no business telling
    those who think that something odd is being addressed in 1 Timothy 2:9 – 15
    that they are trying too hard to get around this instruction. Paul’s other
    statements about women show that verse 12 does not mean what you think it
    means.

  • Sheri

    And yet BM responds…..
    “I did not surrender to a calling of man when I was 18 years old,” she posted. “I surrendered to a calling of God. It never occurs to me for a second to not fulfill it. I will follow Jesus—and Jesus alone—all the way home. And I will see His beautiful face and proclaim, Worthy is the Lamb! Here’s the beautiful thing about it & I mean this with absolute respect. You don’t have to let me serve you. That gets to be your choice. Whether or not I serve Jesus is not up to you. Whether I serve you certainly is. One way or the other, I esteem you as my sibling in Christ.”
    She’s not perfect…… But, go ahead, cast the first stone…. Oh, never mind, John M. took care of that!!

  • davidt

    Jesus never wrote a single word for a reason. That’s the proper understanding of the Bible and the the term reason as it applies. My daughter can’t read write or speak she is fine. So intellect has zero to do with nature or god including and especially in science and religion itself. Otherwise she is further from god and that is horrid narrcisistic religion and horrid narrcisistic science pretending. I would also add a real man knows Joseph made a decision to Marry Mary for a reason not reasoned intellectually. Agape love something the intellect can’t define and that be agape love.

    Definition of reason (Entry 1 of 2)
    1a: a statement offered in explanation or justification
    gave reasons that were quite satisfactory
    b: a rational ground or motive
    a good reason to act soon
    c: the thing that makes some fact intelligible : CAUSE
    the reason for earthquakes
    the real reason why he wanted me to stay
    — Graham Greene
    d: a sufficient ground of explanation or of logical defense
    especially : something (such as a principle or law) that supports a conclusion or explains a fact
    the reasons behind her client’s action
    2a(1): the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways : INTELLIGENCE
    (2): proper exercise of the mind

    b: the sum of the intellectual powers

  • chrisew

    Dear Mr. Gilbert, you wrote that what “…willfully childless married couples desire to be free from is the responsibility so they can be free to travel, attain their goals, love on their “fur-babies”, save money, or just simply not have to be concerned with doing things they don’t desire to do or be beholden to other people. These are all patently unbiblical desires and unworthy excuses of those who should know better, but again, many have bought into the lie that marriage and child-rearing is not the beautiful, normative, God-given design for humanity.” Was it patently unbiblical for my wife and me to stop trying after one miscarriage with the intention of helping to take care of OP’s, other people’s children? My wife was trained in early child development and she spent many years in church-related child care ministry. We could have tried for another naturally born child but we sincerely felt that helping give other peoples’ children a loving Christian foundation was our calling from God. We believe following our calling to serve OP’s was patently biblical…sharing faith, hope and unconditional love with these children. Sure, there are willfully childless married couples who don’t want the responsibility so they can do other things but that is between them and the Lord and I do not believe you can make a case for mandatory childbearing. Many couples are not compatible with children but have other gifts to offer.