“I don’t know about terms, I just know that women are not allowed to preach…”John MacArthur
During a game of word association, the name Beth Moore (an evangelist, author and Bible teacher) was presented to John MacArthur for his spontaneous response – to which he replied “Go Home.” We hear peals of laughter and applause from an audience filled with both men and women. He goes on to bring commentary on feminism infiltrating the church and the #metoo movement and says,
“The primary effort of feminism is not equality – they don’t want equality. That’s why 99% of plumbers are men. They don’t want equal power to be a plumber. They want to be senators, preachers, congressmen, president, the power structure in a university, they want power, not equality.”
And what I hear is a scared, insecure, grasping man saying I’m afraid that a woman will want my power – and that if she is allowed to try, she will take it.
Here’s the clip…
If the culture has the right to interpret the bible, they will interpret the bible and liberalism will take over.John MacArthur
So this reveals a few things, the most apparent to me, is that MacArthur truly fears the power of opposing view points and believes that an opposing voice is stronger than his own, and if given the chance, will overpower his. So the clear answer to this fear and insecurity (according to MacArthur) is that we must not allow others to have a voice, and we must not expound upon or understand the Bible in the light of our actual lives – of the cultures we live in now, here, present day. And we certainly can’t allow those to speak that have a different understanding of scripture or faith. But what if – just what if we engaged the culture in conversation about faith and scripture and the Holy Spirit actually speaks to hearts, revealing Himself, drawing each one to Himself and changing all of our perspectives to something a little closer to His?
I have sat with women I love more dearly than anything on the earth and listened to them grapple with this dissonance. Years ago I held the phone to my ear and said to my dearest friend, “God created women with a voice, the Father God I know and love never boxes women up and puts them to the side or under anyone’s harsh authority. Women are given gifts to communicate in ways the world needs, and we all need to release our voice into the earth, whatever form that takes – including preaching and being pastors.” And I listened as her voice floated over the line, punctuated with hesitations in effort to formulate her words – “But that’s not what the Bible says. The Bible says women are to be silent. I’ve studied and studied it, and I don’t know what else to make of it.” It caused bitter pain and heart sickness, and led to the conclusion that God does not love women, and her in particular.
And my heart – my spirit – my sound mind knows better. I know from everything I witness in nature and humanity that being silenced is detrimental to a person’s soul. Being silenced is a form of abuse. To say that women are not allowed to have a voice is not, absolutely not what God is saying or intended for us. We have to keep wrestling with how we see scripture, with who we think those words were written for, the intention of that particular letter written to that particular church, in that culture, and be willing to admit that maybe we were wrong in our application. The author of that letter would, himself say, go back to the Christ, the author and finisher of your faith.
When we put a rule in place that goes against the nature of God and against what Christ accomplished on the earth, we must be willing to throw out that rule. We have to admit we were wrong. God does not hate women. But that is the very belief that someone under that oppressive rule comes to believe. I have witnessed it destroy hearts first hand. This is not from God. We must not stop grappling with it until the end result is freedom, love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, patience, self control, faith – THESE are the fruits, the evidence, of Holy Spirit at work. We still have a ways to go before we as a culture and the Body of Christ, choose to let go of fear and deep seated insecurities and become open hearted, open handed, and learn to Love the way Jesus does, who never said a word about shutting women down, but only welcomed and supported women. We must put away application of scripture that puts women, or anyone, in bondage. That is not the gospel. Period.