John MacArthur, a prominent evangelical pastor, caused controversy when he weighed in on whether the Southern Baptist Convention should allow women preachers and said that Beth Moore, an evangelist and founder of Living Proof Ministries, should “go home.” That’s sparked a round of condemnation on Twitter, although others came to his support. You can listen to the audio later in this story and judge for yourself, as well as read a roundup of reaction.
According to Religion News Service, MacArthur, at his 50th year in ministry anniversary celebration, argued that allowing women preachers would be a rejection of Biblical authority, accusing SBC of making a “headlong plunge” toward it.
“When you literally overturn the teaching of Scripture to empower people who want power, you have given up biblical authority,” said MacArthur, according to Religion News Service. He then made the comment about Beth Moore that is drawing the most controversy. Her name was uttered and MacArthur was asked to respond to it.
“Go home,” he retorted at the Truth Matters Conference, which was held at his church from October 16-18, 2019.
Here’s the audio:
Here was the set up. “You need to give one or a pithy response to the word,” MacArthur was told. Laughter erupted when Beth Moore’s name was then given. MacArthur asked at first, “How many words do I get?”
That’s when he said, “Go home.” Laughter and applause erupted. “I see we’re warmed up,” said the man asking the questions.
“There’s no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher. Period, paragraph, end of discussion,” said MacArthur.
According to Christianity Today, 90 percent of evangelical pastors are men and 80 percent of evangelical seminarians are men.
The Truth Matters Conference website touted it by saying: “2019 marks the fiftieth year of John MacArthur’s pulpit ministry. Grace to You’s celebration of this momentous anniversary will extend throughout the year, culminating in October with a Truth Matters conference. With The Sufficiency of Scripture as its theme, the conference will focus on some of the doctrinal distinctives that have guided and shaped John MacArthur’s Bible teaching.”
Here’s what you need to know:
John MacArthur Is the Pastor at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California
John MacArthur’s website describes him as “the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, chancellor of The Master’s University and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry.”
The bio continues, “The emphasis of his pulpit ministry is the careful study and verse-by-verse exposition of the Bible, with special attention devoted to the historical and grammatical background behind each passage. Under John’s leadership, Grace Community Church’s two morning worship services fill the three-thousand-seat auditorium to capacity.”
He is an author and the founder of Grace to You, described by his bio as “the nonprofit organization responsible for developing, producing, and distributing John’s books, audio resources, and the Grace to You radio and television programs.”
Beth Moore Founded an Organization Designed to Help Teach Women About the Scriptures
Beth Moore is the founder of Living Proof Ministries. Its website says the group “is dedicated to encourage people to come to know and love Jesus Christ through the study of Scripture.”
The website continues: “Beth founded Living Proof Ministries in 1994 with the purpose of teaching women how to love and live on God’s Word. She has written numerous books and Bible studies that have been read by women of all ages, races, and denominations. Through the years, American missionaries and expatriates have taken the Bible studies overseas, resulting in Beth Moore Bible study groups popping up all over the world. Beth’s Living Proof Live conferences have taken her to all fifty states since 1994.”
From Green Bay, Wisconsin, she lives in the Houston area with her husband of more than 40 years, Keith. On Twitter, she wrote, “I love Jesus. I love Scripture. I like people. I like diversity. My interactions and follows do not equal endorsements or reflections of doctrinal alignment.”
On October 18, 2019, she wrote:
“Succinctly put but tragically less artful,
‘Job, are you God? Have you been doing My job all this time? Did I miss something here?’
I’ll not belabor this thread. This is the kind of thing you leave hanging in the air, the Maker of Heaven & Earth questioning man,
Are you Me?”
Reaction on Twitter Was Swift & Harsh
Debate exploded on Twitter after the MacArthur comment. Here’s a sampling of people who were opposed to what MacArthur said:
“Well, @johnmacarthur, thanks for being the last straw for my husband. After watching you as a leader speak so arrogantly ungodly about a fellow believer, he said he will never listen to another pastor preach. He’s tired of being manipulated by hypocrites using scripture.”
“The host says, ‘Beth Moore.’ And a man who is supposed to be a model of biblical manhood and spiritual leadership responds, ‘Go home!’ And a room full of men laugh. This is sad. It’s unbiblical. But it’s the fruit of arrogance.”
“I just listened to the audio. I am grieved. We will always have to navigate disagreement in the body of Christ, but these men set up their sister in Christ as a punchline. This is not leadership. It is mockery, and it is arrogance. Jesus is not in it. Jesus is nowhere near it.”
Author Stephanie Tait: “I’m heartbroken, angry, and honestly just exhausted. The outright misogyny of the evangelical church has produced so much rotten fruit, and THIS is the undeniable root of the sexual abuse crisis in its pews. I’ll keep preaching, but this still hurts.”
“To be clear, the problem here is the derisive, divisive manner in which MacArthur & others carry themselves. This is devastatingly dismissive of the inherent dignity, value and self-worth of women, particularly of @BethMooreLPM.”
However, other people defended MacArthur:
“Many are offended that John MacArthur told Beth Moore to ‘Go home!’ God tells all women to go home, ie. be keepers at home. This should offend none of us!”
“I’m sure that everyone who’s criticizing John MacArthur for being disrespectful toward Beth Moore will be just as indignant the next time Beth Moore calls a man a sexist for the sin of quoting Ephesians.”
“If you believe John MacArthur was wrong for telling Beth Moore to go home then you don’t believe all the scriptures. Women are not suppose to preach. Beth has been rebuked countless times and she refuses to heed the call of the Baptist Faith message. Maybe you can go home now.”
“I agree with John MacArthur on Beth Moore. She talks very smooth and very convincingly.. But just because she can, doesn’t mean she should. She is quietly trying to introduce the SJW movement into the church.. which is deadly.”
Concluded one woman on Twitter: “I think John MacArthur should disagree more lovingly. I think Beth Moore should clarify her positions so the lines aren’t muddied or misunderstood. I think everyone should be nice. I think Twitter sucks.”
“Wherever you may fall on the John MacArthur/Beth Moore debate, Macarthurs response was ungracious and arrogant. If he really considers Moore to be in error, the Christlike response would be ‘Come home’ not ‘go home,'” a man wrote.