As I have prepared for this Sunday’s message on the persecution of followers of Christ, I thought of the recent comments of John MacArthur, a well-known pastor in the Reformed Baptist tradition, that have made the rounds on social media. MacArthur was asked to share the first words that come into his mind when he hears the name Beth Moore, an evangelist, author, and Bible teacher living in Houston, Texas. MacArthur responded:
“Go home…There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher. Period. Paragraph end. No discussion.”
His comments brought two immediate thoughts to mind:
- First, two people can read the same Bible, pray for the same Holy Spirit to guide them in their study, and come to very different conclusions concerning the truth the scriptures present. Dr. MacArthur has done many wonderful things in his life, but I wholeheartedly disagree with him on the subject of women preachers (and other aspects of biblical interpretation, for that matter) and wish he would be more open to theological conversation instead of “Period. Paragraph end. No discussion.” Spiritual arrogance can stifle one’s ability to see the truth the Holy Spirit wants to show us.
- Second, his words led me to offer a prayer of gratitude to God for the wonderful clergywomen on our staff with whom I have the privilege to serve every day. Elizabeth Byrd, Carolyn Stephens, Leslie Watkins, and Julie Wright are exceptional pastors whom I am convinced God has called and blessed, and they faithfully live out their calling to take authority in the church to “preach the Word of God and to serve all the people.” I am grateful for them and know “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I hope you will join me in appreciating our clergywomen.
(Above excerpt from Bill Britt’s 10.25.19 Weekly Message)