John MacArthur, at his Truth Matters Conference, October 16-18, 2019 made a controversial statement about Beth Moore and followed it up with his clear beliefs that allowing women to preach is a rejection of Biblical authority. “When you literally overturn the teaching of Scripture to empower people who want power, you have given up biblical authority.”
The specific statement that caused the controversy was MacArthur’s response when asked to give a pithy response to “Beth Moore.” He said, “Go home.” “There’s no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher. Period, paragraph, end of discussion,” said MacArthur.
In the past week, the twitter world has blown up over the remarks. Passionate responses to both sides of the controversy are plentiful and while I’ve certainly not read most of them, I have noticed a certain trend. Those criticizing MacArthur have mostly focused on the demeaning and petty way he attacked Moore. I agree with that criticism. MacArthur has never been known as someone who shows much grace to those who disagree with him.
Those defending MacArthur or continuing to heap criticism on Moore, have ultimately based their position on a defense of Biblical truth. Some even insinuating that if one is defending the Bible it is OK to be disparaging and derisive.
What I have not yet seen is a response to MacArthur’s claim that there is no biblical support for woman to preach. The danger of the controversy is the possibility of concluding that, yes, MacArthur could learn some lessons of kindness and grace when he confronts other church leaders, but that biblical truth is on his side when it comes to women preaching or holding leadership in the church (MacArthur takes a strong complementarian position when it comes to women in leadership.)
For all of us who hold the truth of the Bible as God’s inspired word, the fundamental question should be whether there is biblical support for women teaching and leading in the church? To be emphatically clear: The answer to that question is yes. The position that “There’s no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher. Period, paragraph, end of discussion,” is not only unhelpful, it is false.
The biblical teaching to support women teaching and leading in the church is overwhelming (Click here for Biblical Support). Let me say on behalf of the Fearless Network of churches, not only does the Bible support women serving in full capacity based on their gifts, passions and maturity (not limited by their gender), it is vital that they do so. In North America, where the expansion and vitality of the church is under attack like never before, it is paramount that we encourage all believers, women especially, to follow Jesus and fearlessly make him known. We need women to fully use their gifts, God-given opportunities and the power of the Holy Spirit to bring God’s kingdom in love, power and authority. May brothers and sisters link arms as we fight the good fight together!
Fearless Family of Churches