Go Home or At Home?

Go Home or At Home? October 21, 2019

In his recent article at RNS, veteran reporter Bob Smietana summarized John MacArthur’s recent conference in which he took aim at the Southern Baptists and at Beth Moore:

(RNS) — Evangelical pastor John MacArthur, speaking at a celebration of his  50th year in pulpit ministry this week, weighed in on an ongoing debate in the Southern Baptist Convention over women preachers, claiming the nation’s largest Protestant denomination has lost faith in authority of the Bible.

He claimed the SBC had taken a “headlong plunge” toward allowing women preachers at its annual meeting this summer.

That, he said, was a sign the denomination no longer believed in biblical authority.

“When you literally overturn the teaching of Scripture to empower people who want power, you have given up biblical authority,” said MacArthur.

The most controversial moment went like this:

Asked to respond to the phrase “Beth Moore,” the name of a well-known Southern Baptist Bible teacher, MacArthur replied, “Go home.”

I hear that statement as “a woman’s place is in the home” and “women aren’t to teach” because a man’s place is in the pulpit and behind the teaching lectern. Women he says, “are not allowed to preach.”

It can be said that his position is, in fact, the one that may well be denying the authority of Scripture. Here’s a list of names to think about:

Miriam, who interpreted the exodus itself in glowing poetic terms.

Deborah, who ran the whole of Israel in all its branches, and not a little of it was speaking and exhorting and teaching and prophesying.

Esther, who saved the nation as a leader who in some sense redeemed the nation from disaster.

Huldah, who was chosen above other (male) prophets.

Mary, who handed to us a prophecy-shaped song about her Son and what he would accomplish.

Priscilla, who taught Apollos.

The daughters of Philip, who prophesied the words of God.

Phoebe, who (probably) read and interpreted Romans to the house churches there.

Nympha, who may well have been a house-church leader (at some level).

Junia, who was a great apostle (church-planting, evangelizing, church-instructing, discipling, etc).

Euodia and Syntyche, “who struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers.”

We can quibble about who was doing precisely what, but what we can’t quibble on is that these women used their voices to utter words from God for the people of God in the locations where the people of God heard the word of God. That’s called preaching, that’s called teaching, that’s called God using their voices to speak the words of God for the people of God.

To deny a woman to preach is to deny what the Bible teaches. To tell a woman to go home is to tell a woman not to do what the Bible teaches would could do.

We could easily list hundreds of women who are using their voice to speak words of God, at home and not at home but often in the church, God’s home for all of us.



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