An Open Letter to John MacArthur (re: Beth Moore)

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

66 thoughts on “An Open Letter to John MacArthur (re: Beth Moore)

  1. I heard a little of John on Moody a few days ago and could not believe he made the statement that he did. Bottom line that I got from it was God saves who he has chosen so evangelistic crusades mean nothing

  2. Brother,
    I do not think that MacArthur was saying that women can only work at home. The examples you quote from the NT are not about women taking authority. Of course women can be colaborers, prophetess, evangelists etc.

    1. “Go Home” is a pretty direct and clear message. Also, I can’t see how Phoebe didn’t have authority. She was minister and benefactor, sent by herself, from Cenchraea to Rome, and Paul commended them to assist her. Junia was an apostle (see Origen, Chrysostom, Theodoret). The language used of Euodia and Syntyche is the same as language used of Timothy as “co-worker,” imply front lines leadership. If you are saying they weren’t pastors, that is true, but no person is named as a pastor in the NT.

      1. Thankful for your studied insights, sir. Thank you for sharing. As a woman, John’s comments sting. The tone and spirit behind them hurt. But scriptural insights, like the ones you’ve highlighted, are so healing.

      2. Of course people know it was you and that’s precisely why we think it is inappropriate of you to sign your own letter with your own words under the name of apostle Paul. What you seem to imply is that you’re confident enough to claim that you understand apostle Paul’s mind, worldview and intent to such an extent that your response would actually reflect his opinion on this matter. And myself and a few others here seriously doubt that. Here are my thoughts on this.

        First, although it may be possible to find a tenable harmonization of your views on the role of women with what we see in the Bible, that in itself wouldn’t guarantee that that harmonization would be correct. All it would mean is that it may be a possible interpretation. And although it might be, personally I’m not convinced. Actually, I’m afraid my own understanding on this matter (which is very similar to MacArthur’s) might not be entirely correct, either, although I believe it’s still closer to the truth than what Christian feminism teaches. (I’m not saying you’re a feminist, I have no idea, but you don’t seem to be complementarian either). I think you might agree that it is not an easy task to understand the meaning of the Bible on a particular teaching such as the role of women given the massive cultural shifts that have happened in our societies since the Bible was written. That is not to say that we shouldn’t try or that we wouldn’t be able to arrive at a plausible answer. Each one of us eventually forms an opinion around this topic and it is good to remind ourselves that we will have to give an account to God one day for the position we’ve arrived at. And that’s precisely why myself (and others) think it is a bit arrogant for anyone at this time in history to be that confident as to ‘quote the mind of Apostle Paul’.

        Second, it is very possible that if you (and not only you, all of us, really) were to teleport apostle Paul from 1st century to present day and interview him on matters of culture, morality, church discipline, sexuality, roles of men, roles of women, political correctness, we would be so shocked by his answers that we would probably find ourselves struggling to maintain our faith, being mad at apostle Paul for his outrageous views, and also mad at ourselves, since we would realize that he must be right and that we’re so off on so many things. Well, he might actually be wrong regarding some things precisely because he also was the product of the culture he lived in. We could argue that that is one of the reasons not all of Paul’s letters survived and became NT. Maybe in one of those he was writing something that God did not approve of. We would actually need to teleport Jesus or a glorified saint in order to hear an infallible rebuke on such a specific issue as John MacArthur’s comment regarding Beth Moore. The next best thing we have is the Bible. And the Holy Spirit. And our redeemed although still depraved hearts. In light of this, I’m not even sure who is more to be rebuked, MacArthur for presumably being politically incorrect or Moore for presumably being biblically incorrect? The complexity of this culturally-shaped and culturally sensitive issue is precisely why it was inappropriate of you to sign under apostle Paul’s name.

        Third, I can understand your frustration as a woman (in case I’m wrong about your gender, please excuse me) with brother John’s comment and we can all say for sure that if he had something against Moore’s teaching he could have worded that differently and elaborated a bit more. But I don’t follow you when you seem to make the unwarranted assumption in your response that John MacArthur’s statement targets all women, all the time and under all circumstances. The question was about Beth Moore, not all daughters of Eve. Therefore it seems uncharitable to take that to be John MacArthur’s attitude and advice to all women under the face of the sun. I take that to be addressed to Beth Moore. Actually, I’m surprised that you’ve arrived so easily at such an universal conclusion. MacArthur seems to be an honest and faithful servant of Christ. He doesn’t seem to be this misogynistic jerk you’re portraying him to be. I have heard quite a few sermons preached by brother John and read some of his books and am not convinced at all by your arguments and assumptions. I’m not saying Beth Moore is all that bad, either. The question is not whether she is a genuine Christian, or is an honest person. She seems to be mistaken in some aspects of her theology, and I think that’s exactly what MacArthur had in mind. Besides, I think he has expressed some of his frustrations with Moore’s teaching on other occasions.

        Fourth, our modern society is shaping and molding us so fast (usually into something antagonistic to Christ) that we can see several waves of shifts in our Christian norms within our lifetime (which is something unprecedented in the entire history of Christianity). And I can’t help but conclude that you don’t seem to be aware of (or care of) this shift in your so-called response from apostle Paul. Why? Because this guy is just saying what the church (arguably, the Bible) was saying for thousands of years. He is not novel. This is actually what bothers me the most about your response — it’s that you’re fighting and incriminating the wrong guy. You don’t seem to be worried at all with Beth Moore’s theological deviations from historical teaching (presumably because you don’t find her guilty of any). What you do see is this old pastor contradicting the 2019 American culturally- and politically-correct version of the role of women in the church which you have absorbed from your society, seemingly without even realizing it. Paradoxically, if you’re a Christian you would probably agree that present day morality is so unlike biblical morality on so many key things.

        Fifth, most of the arguments you bring in your so-called apostolic response are self-evident things that we all agree on. I’m convinced John MacArthur would agree with your examples and say you are very correct. Women were loved and appreciated and involved members of the Christian church from the beginning that had roles of great responsibility, who were given the credit for finding the empty tomb of Christ, which was very much against their 1st century Jewish culture, and we could provide more examples. I am afraid your so-called apostolic response reveals your deficient understanding of what complementarians actually believe. We would agree that there are cases when women can (and should) teach others and instruct them on doctrine. Remember Apollo? Priscilla with her husband instructed him in doctrine. I don’t think John MacArthur would deny that. I don’t think he would condemn a woman in his church for explaining Christian doctrine in the context of sharing the gospel, when some questions might be raised by the unbeliever or the uninstructed. It could also be argued that it is indeed impossible to be engaged in person-to-person evangelism or missions without teaching fundamental aspects of Christian doctrine. Do you honestly believe John MacArthur is against women sharing the gospel? What about other situations, like women involved in Sunday school, Bible study, women scholars or experts in some field related to Christian teaching or history? Do you actually believe MacArthur to be against women scholars specialized in Church History? But then that’s different than for such a woman to take upon herself the ‘office’ of Christian teacher in the church. And it doesn’t mean that we complementarians find some sort of pleasure in that, in fact, it’s quite puzzling, because there’s nothing inherently wrong with women that would disqualify them from that. It seems to be plain from Scripture that God has established these rules, but His reasons are not entirely clear. Should we then disobey clear biblical instructions because we don’t like them? But even so, it does not automatically follow from this that there is absolutely no room for women writers or speakers or teachers. In reality, there is room for Beth Moore, provided she adapts her teaching to Scriptural truth. And I don’t think John MacArthur is against all women writers or speakers, or even against Moore as a Christian. Notice, he didn’t say ‘get out’ thus dismissing her sincerity as a Christian. He said ‘go home’ and I believe what he actually meant was that Beth Moore has crossed certain lines either in her teaching or has crossed some lines in the way she directed her teaching at the wrong audience, or both.

        Sixth, your passive-aggresive sarcasm in certain places is not helpful either. It seems MacArthur has been cynical as well towards Moore and no one is arguing here for his choice of words. Sarcasm was never used by apostle Paul (or Jesus or any other apostles for that matter) against fellow Christians, even when they were worthy of reproof. Remember how Paul admonished Peter? He was honest, he was harsh, but he was never passive-aggresive or sarcastic with his brothers. This type of discourse is seen very often in the American culture today (it might be easier for someone like me who is neither American nor a native English speaker to be more averse to it since it is very offensive in my culture). One more reason one shouldn’t sign under Paul’s name.

        Lastly, I am afraid your response to brother John is stereotypical of what many unfortunately think complementarianism is. “Well, this is a teaching held only by Christian men who think that all women should stay at home beside the kitchen oven, raise children, never engage in reasonable arguments with their husband, never explain any Christian doctrine to an adult male, and never go to work lest the head of home might become insecure regarding his patriarchal role in the church and society”. But that’s not ‘quite’ right. It fits a certain cliche. It’s a stereotype. And it’s reading into people’s minds things that we’re quite sure they think… But which they actually don’t. Let’s not read into brother John’s mind things he didn’t actually say. Also, let’s refrain from reading apostle Paul’s mind as well (lest he might have some words of rebuke for ourselves as well, not only for pastor John). I hope this will not come across as mean-spirited. God bless you, fellow Christian. Greetings from Moldova.

      3. He didn’t say “go do appropriate biblical ministry for women, and thank you for your passion for the gospel” – he said “go home.” Let’s stick to what JM said, not a defense of your theology.

      4. Well done – we’ll thought out.
        Thank you ! And if you are interested I have a book published by Lion Hudson this month called Gifted – women in leadership.
        It looks at the history of women in church life and leadership, at egalitarianism and complementarism and says – women are leaders and so are men , what can we learn from each other ? It’s looks at different leadership styles, gifts and skills. And it’s also includes other women’s stories from Margaret Sentamu and Christy Wimber to a Vicky Thompson and Bev Murrill. There are other contributors.

      5. And what about Lydia?
        And the Old Testament Deborah?
        I believe God has the authority to assign whomever He wishes to whatever task He chooses to give them.
        I do not see Beth Moore “taking authority” that is harmful or ungodly. I am sorry to say I did understand perfectly the supercilious tone of Mr. MacArthur’s comment. We do not need the division in the church thats created by such careless, thoughtless remarks. He needs to ask forgiveness quickly, sincerely, and humbly.

    2. With all respect, Beth Moore is not a pastor. She is just preaching God’s word (evangelizing) and that is usually in the place of women’s ministry. Paul in the New Testament only talked about being a pastor of a church and even that point has been debated. I support Beth Moore’s response here. John MacArthur was wrong in telling her to “Go Home.” Her NT examples were perfect, not to mention all the other famous female missionaries and those who have died for the cause. His tone was very unloving as well. He was trying to make fun of her and put her down. There is no reason to support his comments towards her.

    3. Actually, the panel mentioned the audacity of women wanting to be plumbers, senators or president, so I think he clearly endorsed the idea that women should stay home, PERIOD.

      1. ‘He didn’t say “go do appropriate biblical ministry for women, and thank you for your passion for the gospel” – he said “go home.” ‘

        Perhaps you misunderstand what he was asked: to give a one word or pithy reaction. It seems you misunderstand the setup. Then he clearly expounded on his views and they were not mean spirited.

      2. Cleary there’s a comprehension problem. He said he was deeply troubled by recent events where we are letting culture exegete the Bible – not that women wanted to be senators – and this is but one example he have.

        I think his point is made clearly enough by the fierce backlash to some of his comments and the lack of attention to other comments during the same discussion. The world melts down when he is perceived to say something misogynistic (un-PC) but no one cares that he calls Paula White a heretic. Culture has plenty to say about the former but couldn’t care less about the latter – certainly a much weightier charge!

      3. He made the overall point that the “plot” that deeply troubled him was allowing culture to exegete the Bible – that Beth Moore preaching was a symptom of it. He continued with more examples of that plot. Perhaps you disagree with the “plot” he attempted to address (even though it wasn’t the question presented to him).

      4. Did you watch the panel? https://youtu.be/NeNKHqpBcgc

        You have completely got it wrong. John says women DON’T want to be plumbers (equality). Instead they want to be senators, preachers, congressmen… they want power, not equality.

      5. I did, interesting choice to say women’s equality would be plumbers. And is the problem that women want to be senators? Poor Deborah

  3. I l o v e being home and making it into a life-giving space for my family, friends and anyone else God send there. And I l o v e the church and serve with my gifts with joy. I can understand what you are trying to say in this emotional plea (that women are needed co-laborers for the Gospel, and I agree), but having a safe, creative, loving and nurturing home is the base for all flourishing of human life. That’s where the next generation is being formed, in those moments of “domestic duties”, “sweeping” and “cooking”. Working at home is a calling, a ministry, a place to serve GOD and people. And wait, Paul actually told women to be busy at home! Please do not pit homemaking against “real” Gospel work next time you want to make a point. Find a way for them to coexist without comparing their value. Thanks.

    p.s. I am not an American, not a follower of Moore nor MacArthur, and this is the first time I am in this blog.

    1. I’m not pitting anything against anything. You need to ask MacArthur why he mentioned “home.” My point is Beth Moore is welcome by the apostles in outside ministry. I have no problem with nurturing a good home, I make dinner for my kids every single night for the last 13 years. I make their breakfasts, pack their lunches with them, and stand with them at the bus stop.

      1. RE:”remind ourselves that we will have to give an account to God one day for the position we’ve arrived at” I MIGHT BE WRONG, I’M NOT EXPERT IN THIS STUFF, BUT MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT LEADS US TO POSITIONS WE HAVE ARRIVED AT. DOES GOD HERSELF REGULARLY MAKE MISTAKES? BUT ONLY IN THE PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE WITH ME?

  4. I have been a woman minister for many years. God called me ! If anyone has a problem with women ministers and them having authority, then you will just have to talk to God about it. I will obey my calling to God!! Beth gave the examples ‘in God’s Word’, that God Himself has said that He calls women to minister. He calls women ‘to go into all the world to minister His Word’. ‘At home’ with family is a ministry both for the man & the woman, but let it be know that my ministry calling is to the world also!!!!!!

  5. I respect the position of women who are called to be home and yes they can make a wonderful place for family to be Nurtured in … But the statement that John Made to Beth was uncalled for , it was hurtful and was his own opinion, maybe even more than that could be slander. Women are also called to the ministry, Jesus proved that by using them in ministry plus the apostles following Him . Ponder on the scripture in Joel “and afterward I will pour Out my spirit upon ALL flesh , and your sons AND your DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY “ … if that doesn’t tell us that we all be used in the last days , How clear can you get ? I know many women who are anointed , they don’t get the anointing on their own . I’m sorry but this was just disrespectful to Beth … I’m sorry this happened to her . BETH YOU MUST BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT THE ENEMY IS MAD, HAH ! TOO BAD

  6. Beth Moore and other female Bible teachers have, in my experience, helped numerous people to come to a deeper understanding of God’s word and how to put it in practice in their lives. God uses the willing and cares not about gender. We humans are the dividers, God is all about unity. Get on board, John.

  7. For 25 years there is no evidence of Christian MEN engaged in the works of the Gospel. Men are AWOL, MIA in the public battle against the enemies advances in culture. I have found them to be both lazy and afraid to DO & DEMONSTRATE the acts and Commission that Christ commanded us all to do.
    Women have been and continue to do 90% of the work of the Gospel in most churches. Our sons are lost and hopeless because fathers/men haven’t fathered. Our daughters are confused because fathers/men haven’t confirmed their identity and value.
    Both Adam and Eve sinned against God but Adam was held individually responsible when God asked,
    “Adam, where are you?
    Christian man…..where are you?

  8. It is incredibly inappropriate to answer and sign as the Apostle Paul. Answer this as yourself, with whatever weight you feel that your name behind it brings in the larger Body. Using the Apostle Paul’s name to push your own cultural and religious views is reprehensible.

  9. Great job! Love how you used examples of strong biblical women as leaders. Don’t forget that Deborah was a JUDGE; how is that not God anointing a woman as a leader? Also, the women at the tomb were the first witnesses to the most important event in our faith.

  10. Hi, I find the quip ‘go home’ to be not so gracious. However, it doesn’t mean it means shes to stay in the home and never speak or to put on an apron and never leave the kitchen. In fact, MacArthur while not a proponent of women pastors, is of them in women ministries. So, he’s not against women in ministry.

    While there were certainly women involved in ministry when Paul wrote, I would ask why Paul never uses ‘woman of one man’ in either passage for ‘pastoral’ (for whatever word you’d like to use for ‘pastor) qualifications’. You’d think he would have included that when penning the qualifications.

    1. It is always struck me as interesting that Paul uses the man of one wife line when he himself was not married. Is Paul, the Apostle who wrote the majority of the New Testament, saying that he himself is not qualified to be an elder? That seems ridiculous to me. I take that as a restriction that you can only be married to one person.

    2. Thank you for your comment lewr2, the clarification needed to be made. The Scripture speaks for itself. Men are charged to be leaders, sometimes they fail. Women were and are surrendering to the call to evangelize as men are, but God has ordained men to be pastor’s of His flocks, not women.

      1. Can you use the Bible to say women are forbidden from being pastors? I don’t recall ever reading that; it is a later doctrine. As far as we can tell, there were no figures called “pastors” in the NT era. Check your concordance

      2. But let’s present a more accurate picture. ποιμὴν poimēn is in a concordance and is typically translated “shepherd” and is very similar to the concept of a pastor. Both terms can mean one who cares, seeks out, feeds, comforts, strengthens, heals, defends and provides. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd” (ποιμὴν poimēn, John 10:11), and Hebrews 13:20 refers to Jesus as “the great shepherd (ποιμένα poimena) of the sheep.” 1 Peter 2:25 states, For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” In the New Testament Christians are called to be like Jesus and to do what Jesus does by ministering like a shepherd. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians participate in Jesus’ shepherding ministry, and I don’t see any gender specifications in the NT for living out such a ministry.
        Now, Ephesians 4:11 does seem to present a classification of shepherd along with apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers, but this is “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (vs.12-13). I don’t see any gender specifications in these verses for shepherds or pastoral type ministry.

  11. Brother Gupta, you have hit the nail on the head! As a woman, who has shown herself approved I too have run into the backlash of gender prejudices when it comes to teaching, or preaching the word of God.
    If women can be an authority in the home, why not in the church. As long as she is working under the guidance of dully ordained men of God, which ALL of the women you referred in your letter, were working under the guidance of the Apostle Paul.
    As Solomon said…”Who can find a virtuous woman for her price is far above rubies…”
    All of these women are an example of how to work in the ministry. They were virtuous women and their price was far above rubies.
    The first evangelist in the NT was the woman at the well. She went and told the men of the city about the Messiah. Christ gave her that permission, she was under His headship.
    Are the sheep of God only men? Are there not women also?
    We must remember this, it is the sheep that beget other sheep. The shepherds do not beget sheep.

  12. Brother NIJAY GUPTA,
    You have hit the nail on the head. I myself, as a woman who has shown herself approved; have been hit with the men-only-in-the-ministry club as well.
    Solomon said…” Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies…”
    All of the women mentioned in your open letter were virtuous women and called to work in the ministry with the Apostle Paul and were under his guidance, so their head was covered.
    Men(ministers) seem to forget that it is the sheep who beget sheep, shepherds do not beget sheep!

    I am reminded again of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian church, about the gifts of the ministry, their work, and purpose regarding the church!
    Eph. 4:11-12; AMP Bible
    11 And [His gifts to the church were varied and] He Himself appointed some as apostles [special messengers, representatives], some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people], some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation], and some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct],
    12 [and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church];

    None of these ministries were limited to MEN! As there is neither male nor female in the spiritual work of the church.

  13. Greetings. I appreciate the post. I also would appreciate if you would dialog with me for a moment. Do you know who wrote the letter to Timothy (maybe not actually wrote, but at least dictated what to write)?
    You guessed it, it was you (Paul)! Do you remember what you wrote to Timothy in your first letter in the second chapter, twelfth verse? “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” Could you help me understand what you meant when you wrote that many moons ago?

    I do not write this question as one opposed to women in ministry.

    1. Dan, I am not the author, but I will respond with what I have been taught and that is when there appears to be contradiction between scriptures as in Paul citing women with senior responsibilities and the verse you mention to not teach that we are to note that the responses are circumstantial. Thus, in many circumstances women can lead and teach, and proclaim and in Timothy’s circumstance there was need for correction. There are scriptures where Paul is chastising some men for causing trouble in the church does he not? and no one says we need to make men go home. Let’s look at the words our Lord spoke from
      Luke 9:48-50 [Jesus] and said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.

      49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

  14. My only surprise here is how gracious you were to MacArthur. Your letter sounds more like it came from Barnabas than Paul! I suspect if Paul were writing to MacArthur it would sound more like Galatians. Yes, we are all flawed humans, and flawed humans can still share God’s word, but it is really hard for me to take anything that MacArthur says seriously when he is so insistent on a point that speaks to one’s basic understanding of the Gospel.

  15. I’d like to know, what Christian man gives himself the authority to tell another Christian’s man’s wife what to do? This kind of “go home” mentality serves only the flesh of a man. It does not, as this letter so wonderfully states, serve God.

  16. I wish I could keep this forever. This was a beautiful encouragement. I am thankful you wrote it. I have seen it shared over and over amongst friends, who all attend churches of different denominations. Thank you.

  17. Dr. John MacArthur. In the early years of your ministry I always admired your commitment to the study and proclamation of the Word. I still do. I do understand your exposition and application of Scripture as it relates to women in church leadership.
    Having said that, I call on you to openly repent and apologize to Beth Moore in particular, and women in general for your hurtful and cavalier comment made in front of a group of men who are taking their cues from you. Your pride and flip response violated many more Scripture verses than the few you were using to denigrate Beth’s ministry. You’re 80, know the Word, and should know better. May the Holy Spirit break your heart. -A 70 year old pastor who also loves the Word.

  18. I’m curious why “Paul” left our Priscilla of Priscilla and Aquila? Is it because she is already at home in a partnership ministry with Aquila, instructing Apollos?

    1. I think Priscilla (and Aquila) were highly respected leaders in the early church, but in the context of “go home,” I thought it would take too much time to explain how homes were used (as churches and workplaces) in Antiquity, less so now with modern office buildings. Thanks for the question—yes, I wish I had space to include amazing Priscilla!

  19. John M, like so many ardent complementarians, exist in an echo chamber that allows for no improvement in one’s assumptions about Scripture. For example, when the large Village Church wrote their excellent 67 page document that served as a biblical basis for why women cannot preach or be elders, they may not have noticed that they gave only one biblical argument for this – 1 Tim 2:12. What that paper reveals, however, is an obliviousness about great strides even Reformed biblical scholars are making in interpreting this ‘hard saying’ of Paul (cf 2 Pet 3:16) in 1 Tim 2, especially as it concerns the hapax legomenon, ‘authentein’ – see this article for example (https://www.cbeinternational.org/sites/default/files/pp292_4tai1t-2.pdf).

  20. Thank you for this. It certainly was a lot more eloquent than anything i would have had to say to John, which to be fair may have only involved sign language. Even if he was right, he absolute lack of humility and grace shown by him strongly indicated that this wouldn’t have mattered. You have shown so much more in this clever response. Thank you.

  21. Consider how the Catholic church has elevated Mother Mary to God head. Or how Eve was tempted in the garden.

    Men are called to leadership all throughout the bible. We can acknowledge numerous women in leadership too. But where do we see women in as a church leader (pastor)?

    The scripture referenced “Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.’
    (Colossians 4:15) references the church IN her house, but I fail to see she was the leader. Perhaps in greek translation it might be found.

    My wife has an amazing impact on our family, our 3 boys, on my life and so many in the church and our community. But she is not the head of our home. That is not her place according to the word.
    Women should be in ministry but not the head of the church.

    I don’t know a lot about Moore or JM. But I know what the word teaches my family. JM could have elaborated more to know EXACTLY what he meant!!! But could Moore also wrong on some of her teachings???

    Let’s stop, this is the church that Christ died for.

    JM and Moore should have authorities above them both for rebuke and correction. This is not our place.

    The world is evil and dark. Let us take our light and lead others yo Christ. Not shine the light in each others faces or that of the world.

    Let us live unoffended for Christ. On the cross, he said “Father forgive them”… he carried no offense.

    Crucify your flesh, walk in the spirit and ONLY speak what your father in heaven tells you to speak – otherwise BE LIKE JESUS!!!

  22. Nijay, thanks so much for writing this. It inspired me to add an addendum to your letter, following the same format of an imagined response from the Apostle Paul to MacArthur. Enjoy!

    Priscilla often can’t go home because she is traveling with me in ministry (Acts 18:18). When she is home she keeps busy hosting a church in her home (Rom 16:5, 1 Cor 16:19), and teaching a man named Apollos about Jesus and the faith so his eloquence can be of maximum benefit (Acts 18:26).

    The four virgin daughters of Phillip can stay at home, but whether at home or elsewhere, their prophetic ministry is necessary for the health and growth of the Body (Acts 21:9), along with all other women who prophesy (1 Corinthians 11:5).

    Older women could potentially do their teaching of younger women at home (Titus 2:4), although I certainly wasn’t limiting their realm or audience when I reminded them of this unique opportunity for them to use their experience and expertise in teaching.

    Many other women who work hard in ministry and deserve special recognition do their work both at home and elsewhere, not least Mary (Rom 16:6), Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis (Rom 16:12).

    All of these women are examples of the thousands of women upon whom the Holy Spirit has been poured out, beginning at Pentecost, in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (Acts 2:17-18). Like the men who received the outpouring and attendant power of the Holy Spirit, they are often taken away from home as they obey Jesus’ commission to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8, cf. Matt 20:28-30).

    I know Jesus’ willingness to disciple, empower, and commission both men and women to minister on His behalf runs contrary to cultural expectations and gender roles in the first century, as well as in many places before and after. But Jesus is Lord and His commandments overrule all such cultural expectations and limitations. No wonder He wasn’t bothered by the woman at the well seeing the harvest for what it was and evangelizing the Samaritans when his disciples were too judgmental to reach out to them (Jn 4) or that He commissioned the women at the grave to be the first evangelists back to his male disciples who were in hiding and returning to their pre-Christ occupations (Matthew 28:10). While the Samaritan woman had to go home to do her evangelism, the ladies at the tomb were given an alternative destination to serve as evangelists. Like I say, I know it’s counter-cultural for Jesus to commission women like this, but it’s the reason I write occasionally about how to facilitate women learning as disciples in our churches, knowing how difficult that will be given the fact that they’ve been excluded from basic and biblical education. In certain situations like Ephesus and Corinth I have had to create some guidelines to avoid confusion and division while facilitating the process. I’m sorry you’ve misunderstood two verses in all of my letters to mean something contrary to what I write about and practice the rest of the time.

    Jesus appointing women to be apostles, prophets, teachers and evangelists who work alongside pastors (I neglect to mention the name of either a male or female pastor in my letters) to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry (Eph 4:11) is certainly counter-cultural, but it’s in line with His ministry of making things the way they were created to be. He’s simply continuing the will of God from creation to overthrow the effects of sin and death.

    Before the curse of sin and death rendered her under subjection to her husband (Gen 3:16), Eve was created to be a perfect complement and equal partner with Adam (Gen 2:18-25), and commissioned to take dominion over the entire earth (Gen 1:28), a difficult task if kept entirely at home. John, I know you’re a student of Scripture, so I’ll trust you to look up the stories of Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron who joined them in leading the Israelites out of Egypt (couldn’t do this from home), Deborah who was a prophetess and warrior-judge over God’s people (judged under the tree, rather from her house), Huldah whose ministry as prophetess was significant enough to King Josiah that he did visit her at home to hear her words of judgment and hope, Ruth had to leave home to join God’s people as a symbol of Gentile conversion in order to get married and become an ancestor of King David and Jesus, and Esther had to leave home to become queen of the world’s largest empire, a position of authority she used to save the Jewish people from slaughter. Like the model woman of Proverbs 31 who was a successful merchant, strong provider, and generous benefactress in addition to her being an exceptional wife and mother, these ladies couldn’t do all that God called them to do from the confines of their home as their divine calling and gifting took them into positions of community, political, and spiritual leadership outside the home.

    I do hope your views on biblical inspiration, authority, and infallibility also apply to Proverbs 31, even though it’s King Lemuel repeating the inspired utterance of his grandmother (Prov 31:1). It’s interesting, Timothy, my co-worker in the gospel who was taught to know and love God by his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois (2 Timothy 1:5), was taught by them that all Scripture is inspired by God. In fact, remembering that these ladies were the ones who taught him to receive Scripture in this way is the basis for me encouraging him to continue believing and teaching this about the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

    The home is an important place for both women and men to minister and lead their families. But God’s purpose for the women and men who together bear His image is larger than what can be accomplished in the home. It is a global commission, both at creation and at the re-creation following Jesus’ resurrection.

  23. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Your reply in your open letter is perfect and much appreciated. Again, thank you.

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