I know… I know… if you find an active hornet’s nest on the ground… play it safe and LEAVE IT ALONE! But, I rarely play it safe, so… I guess I am going to give it a good kick.
I was sitting on our hotel bed on vacation Saturday night in Nyack, NY when I read about John MacArthur’s and Phil Johnson’s comments about Beth Moore, and then I watched the video. If you haven’t read about this or watched the Youtube video, a moderator was playing a word association game with John and his assistant, Phil, where the moderator would say something to them and they had to reply with two words. The first subject? “Beth Moore”… to which John MacArthur replied, “Go home!” As he said those two words, everyone on the platform and many in the audience laughed raucously. Beth Moore is a SBC speaker and author.
Why would he say that about her? Well, because John MacArthur’s reformed theology doesn’t allow for women to preach, and he has been quite vocal about it — so he belittled her by implying that a woman’s place is in the home – not in the pulpit. I will admit, my first reaction when I saw that video was anger. When Lauri walked in the room and saw my face she immediately asked, ‘What’s wrong?!” I was furious. Seethingly furious. Which I know is probably not the right reaction.
Later, as I have reflected on it over the past few days, my anger has bled away into a deep heartbrokenness. Listen, for me this isn’t about being a complementarian (the theological position that women cannot be church Elders or preach) or egalitarian (the theological position that women are permitted those ministries). I have my personal conviction in this area even as I acknowledge that I could be wrong in my position… there is good scriptural basis for both sides of this debate, and it isn’t as black and white as some people claim it to be.
What angered me… and now has me heartbroken… is the tone of what was said. The mocking tone. Here we have yet another church leader attacking and tearing down someone else within The Church simply because he disagrees with a theological position that is not essential to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I wondered what Beth felt when she saw that video. How about her husband… her children. And I grieve. I grieve that last weekend prominent leaders in The Church failed us.
Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 Not your scriptural understanding… not your personal theology… not your religious zealousness… but your LOVE for one another. I have written John MacArthur a letter, not to challenge his doctrine as a complementarian. He has every right to interpret scripture as he sees fit, but to challenge him on his love for others in The Church.
God knows I am far from perfect… I make my share of blunders and mistakes… and I pray that God keeps my heart humble and pliable enough to admit those mistakes and seek forgiveness. So, I am praying for an apology. Not for the doctrinal stand… but for the unloving tone.