Recently John MacArthur commented that Beth Moore (Christian leader and teacher) should “go home.” As I have pondered this over the last few days, I wondered what Paul would say to John. So, I wrote an open letter.
An Open Letter from the Apostle Paul to John MacArthur (re: Beth Moore)
John, I appreciate the love you have for the Lord and the passion you have for the church. I know that you think that the world would be a better place if women did as they were told and “stayed home.” But I need to tell you that you are damaging my ministry with these notions. The great gospel mission cannot impact the world in the ways God has planned if you hold back the kingdom’s servants. “The fields are ripe and the work is great,” Jesus used to say. Women have played such a crucial role in my apostolic mission, I could not operate without their wisdom, partnership and leadership.
They can’t go home, there is simply too much at stake, John.
Euodia and Syntyche (Phil 4:2-3) can’t go home. Sometimes these women don’t get along, but they have been leaders in evangelism and outreach and have worked alongside me to fight for the faith. They have to journey beyond their doorsteps to do this work.
Junia can’t go home, John. Sorry, she is in prison (again) because of her work for the gospel out there in the world (Rom 16:7). In fact, the other apostles have some pretty amazing things to say about her ministry.
Phoebe can’t go home, John. She went to Rome—actually, I sent here there (Rom 16:1-2). I sent her with my letter to the Romans and also to provide ministry support there.
It might provide a little comfort to you that I sent Nympha to her home in Lycus Valley (Col 4:15); not to do domestic duties (she has servants for that), but to be the house church leader and patroness.
John, we must part with any sentimental or nostalgic notions of womanhood where women sweep and cook while the men do the “real work” of ministry. I wish you could meet with the women who contend alongside me as co-workers of the gospel mission: they are gifted, wise, and brave (when was the last time you were in prison?).
John, I know you care about the gospel, and we can’t do the work with one hand tied behind our backs. The gospel of Jesus Christ is just too important. Let the Phoebes, Junias, Euodias, Syntyches, and Nymphas do their work—and you do yours too.
Grace to you, John, and let others also know you are a grace-filled believer as well (remember: grace is generosity mixed with love out of the compassion of Christ)
Paul, slave of Jesus Christ