See ya, John MacArthur. We women aren’t going home anytime soon.

See ya, John MacArthur. We women aren’t going home anytime soon. October 21, 2019

Yesterday, I stood on stage at a Covenant church in Santa Cruz, California and preached the gospel.

Three days ago, I led a conversation on talking to kids about race with a small group of women and men on the San Francisco Peninsula.

Today, I listened to an audio recording of conservative theologian John MacArthur deliver a succinct two-word statement when he was asked to respond to to the name, “Beth Moore.”

His response, in addition to further interpretations of the Bible? “Go Home.”

He went on to remind the audience that women are never allowed to preach on a stage, throwing caution to the wind with further thoughts of culture wars and feminism at large. When he mocked Moore, the audience laughed. When he said he didn’t have anything to add, “period, paragraph, end of discussion,” he added just one more jab for good measure.

It was one of the most tasteless conversations I’ve ever heard. 

Me, not going home (2016).

Now Moore, if you don’t know, has been a renowned Bible teacher and author for more than forty years now. A longstanding member of the Southern Baptist denomination, she long held to a complementarian point of view, which in “church speak” means that men can preach to a mixed audience, but women can only speak to women. From the outside looking in, ever since the 2016 election, it seems as though the needle has started to move on Moore’s belief systems – including whether or not she, as a woman, should be allowed to preach to both women and men.

All of this, of course, is speculation, because I don’t know Moore personally.

But I sure as hell respect her faithfulness.

I’m so grateful she didn’t heed the advice to “go home” in 1978 when she dipped her toes into the waters of ministry, or in 2019 when she published her twentieth Bible study. Even if she and I don’t see eye to eye on everything, it matters not in the least: Beth Moore doesn’t need my approval.

She never needed my approval, just as she never needed MacArthur’s approval (or, in the case here, lack of approval) to keep on heeding the invitation to just be faithful.   

Instead, over and over again, she said yes …not to the people reading her books but to God. She responded to the call …not to keep on teaching women, per say, but to keep on using her words for good. And if Beth Moore and I were sitting in a room together, I imagine she’d more than gently remind me that it matters not what the naysayers have to say (just as she’d probably remind me that it matters not what have to say about her or about MacArthur’s comments, in general). None of this matters, because it’s not about those who loathe her or even those who adore her.

But it’s about God …period, paragraph, end of discussion. 

For me, when I listened to the audio recording, I also took note of my body: I noticed when my pulse started to increase, when my eyes began to grow wide with disbelief, when my head silently started shaking from side to side.

I noticed how feelings of anger and sadness welled up inside of me, but then I also noticed that I didn’t start to cry, nor did I start to pummel my fists on the back of the couch cushions.

Instead, an image from twenty-four hours ago came to mind: standing on stage, I held a microphone in one hand and a pocket-sized Bible in the other hand. After all, this is standard preaching fare for me – I look not at my notes, nor even at the written sermon, for the words have already cemented into my brain and into the very marrow of my bones.

And yesterday, one-third into my sermon, a single verse popped up:

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” 

Just as I reminded the audience of the exhaustive nature in each of those three phrases – that in Christ, the Great Equalizer, we need not even have this conversation in the first place – I remind myself that I too am simply being faithful to the call.

I am not questioning whether or not I can or should preach to both men and women, but I am being faithful to God’s invitation on my life.

I’m being faithful to the gifts God has given me.

I’m being faithful to the stories God has woven into the ordinary, everyday parts of my journey.

And I’m being faithful to the invitation to not “Go Home,” but to keep on preaching the Good News – lipstick, jumpsuit, heels and all. 

So, see ya, John MacArthur. We women aren’t going home anytime soon.

Is there really a discussion to be had here? Please, positive comments only. 

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  • Roger Morris

    Mac Arthur is a toxic relic, best viewed in a museum with the rest of American Evangelicalism.

  • Pat Carrithers

    Amen, Cara. (PS, THIS “Pat” is a Patrick–and admirer of women preaching.)

  • Ron Troxel

    Thank you for your faithfulness to your call and your strong voice. I am not surprised that you refuse MacArthur’s dictate, but I am also very grateful that you have rebuffed him so publicly.

  • Bob Robinson

    I, too, was appalled at how dismissive and haughty MacArthur was. No doubt the audience also was an accessory to this crime as they laughed and encouraged such blatant bias toward white male “Christian” dominance. His statement against the idea that Bible translation teams should include Latinx, African-Americans, and women because they wouldn’t know the original languages? Total straw man argument (there are plenty of all three of those who are biblical scholars worthy of the work). His interpretation that women “don’t want equality, they want power” isn’t wrong however. But his presumption that this is a bad thing is what’s wrong. Thanks for your post. Reintegrate blog on Patheos

  • Pam Jordan

    Excellent. Thank you for what you do, and for your faithfulness in doing it.
    Proofreading note: in the paragraph after the pic, “complementarian” is misspelled. 🙂

  • Johnny25343

    Here’s the thing, I believe that MacArthur has begun to believe his own press. I do not understand how Christian leadership is so stuck on themselves that they make foolish pronouncements like this, Who ignore one verse in favor of another. Who is so confused as to think that they can live a first century lifestyle that is male focused. Its a sad commentary on how they understand scripture.

  • Gary

    Religious beliefs and practices vary.

  • Mike Rogers

    And we wonder why young people are leaving the church?
    So the women who announced/preached to the disciples that Jesus was risen where wrong?
    As were the many women who had house churches mentioned in Acts and the Epistles?
    I don’t think so.

  • Bruce Charles Hearn

    One of the most powerful sermons I’ve ever heard was preached by Bishop Leontine Kelly, a bishop of the United Methodist Church. She preached at First UMC in Shreveport, Louisiana. Bishop Kelly preached on courage vs. comfort, the couch vs. the calling of God, how we should never rest in the Lord until all are resting in the Lord and following Jesus should be a dangerous calling. I was a young man and I will never forget it.
    Now, many (many) years later I read the words from Peterson’s version of the end of the beatitudes in Matthew:

    11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

    With our grace, mercy, peace and love we’ve been given from the Great Teacher—let’s keep getting into trouble, people!

  • BIGPHILLY

    “His statement against the idea that Bible translation teams should include Latinx, African-Americans, and women because they wouldn’t know the original languages?”

    But that’s not what he said (Throwing hands up and sighing). He said that no matter your ethnicity – the only qualification for being able to properly translate/interpretation is your skill and qualifications in that area. He never once insinuated that women and Latinos weren’t qualified to do such things.

  • BIGPHILLY

    You are correct in one thing…people are leaving the church because they don’t want to hear the word of God rightly preached and told they are sinners.

  • BIGPHILLY

    True but not appropriate. Absolute truth and God’s sovereignty does not vary.

  • BIGPHILLY

    First century or every century in the history of mankind and within every orthodox Christian church of all time until the last 50 years in which the globe has been awash in feminism?

    16 To the woman he said,

    “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
    with painful labor you will give birth to children.
    Your desire will be for your husband,
    and he will rule over you.”

    * Does anyone from the progressive community on these boards want to deny that God said the above? Is God a misogynist from the 1st Century?

  • Damon Loomis

    It would be a good idea to go to the authority of the Scriptures where the Apostle Paul taught about order in the church regarding women teaching to the whole church (1 Cor. 11:34-38).

  • Steven Waling

    God didn’t say any of the above. The bible isnt God. It can be wrong.

  • Truth will set you free

    Jesus had 12 men for Apostles (no woman) and the Holy Spirit used men only to write the New Testament (no women). Yes a women was the first to proclaim the risen Lord because women are not excluded from evangelism. Please refer to the Pauline letters about women teachers and leaders. People are leaving the Church because there is no power displayed due to the watering down and the compromise of the Gospel! Just because a woman is not allowed to teach (except to other woman and children) does not make them inferior in any way, they are the equal to men in the Lord. The lord has set a template for the running and execution of His will within His church, not your Church nor my Church but His Church!

  • mjgartl

    Curious that you quote a portion of “the curse” to establish a social heiraech and then call it “good” The resurrection of or Lord is the unraveling of that statement in Genesis, the beginning of the reconciliation of all creation.

  • fractal

    I don’t buy the propaganda of Paul the Fanatic.
    And you wouldn’t either—
    If you were a woman.

  • fractal

    A zealot’s response.

  • fractal

    I deny that God said it.
    And yes, the Abrahamic god is a misogynist.
    A burning bush sort of sun-god that gets left behind as one evolves spiritually.

  • I rebuke you. MacArthur is absolutely right. If ever I walk into a church and see a woman at the pulpit I will leave and shake the dust off my feet.

  • willowsprite

    Beth Moore is a false teacher.

  • apollo99

    Forgot MacArthur. What does the Bible say? “I do not allow a woman to teach or have authority over a man.” Is that ambiguous? Am I missing something in the Pastoral letters? Those are the letters that specifically deal with who should do what.

    No “call” can be authentically from God if it contradicts the Bible. Amen?

  • RockNet WebChick

    Yes he is.

  • Daniel

    Ya what’s the point in reading Gods word if you’re not going to live by it? Paul said the words that I write are the commandments of the Lord. He wrote that a women should be silent in the church and not to teach or use authority over the man. When a women is teaching or preaching its not being silent and it just shows the rest of us that she doesn’t love Christ because Christ said if you love me keep my commandments. The same book that tells her to be silent is the same book God is going to judge her with in the last days.

  • Daniel

    Amen! People need to think and use their brain’s because Paul didn’t say it for no reason. If you keep reading right after that Paul says what he writes are the commandments of the Lord. It is a commandment that they stay silent and not to teach or use authority over the man. Jesus said if you love me keep my commandments. These women that teach and preach do not love God according to the Bible.

  • AntithiChrist

    It’s almost 2020. There are large institutions that are still arguing about this?

    Maybe the best fix would be to abandon such a regressive outfit.

    Start a new religious club that isn’t so full of such toxic levels of testosterone, or religion.

    Maybe call it the New Christianity, or ChristianityMoore, or something. Build a new brand.

  • John (not McCain)

    Hope you’re blowin’ Jesus really soon.

  • John (not McCain)

    Jesus had 12 men for apostles because he gives miracle head.

  • Just seeing this – will edit. Thanks for catching that!