John MacArthur and the Positions of the Church

John MacArthur on Beth Moore

A few weeks ago, John MacArthur told Beth Moore to “go home”. Ok, wait. Slow down. What?

Yes. It’s true. John MacArthur did actually say “go home”. While at the Truth Matters Conference, meant to honor MacArthur and his fifty years of service in the Church, a small group of men, including MacArthur, were asked to play a word association game. As a warmup, the MC asked MacArthur what words he associated with the words “Beth Moore”. MacArthur’s prompt response was, “go home”.

He then followed that up by saying, “There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher – period, paragraph, end of discussion” (Koslosky 2019).

Pastor John MacArthur, world-renowned pastor and author, recipient of the Gold Medallion Book Award, says that Beth Moore needs to go home. And, just in case you were wondering, Pastor MacArthur was talking about this Beth Moore.

Beth Moore

Image credit to GetReligion

Firstly, Pastor MacArthur, there can always be an argument for anything. Atheists argue about evolution, even though we have proven them wrong. Muslims argue for the existence of Muhammed, despite the fact that his teaching is false and he actually saw a demon. Whatever the case, an argument can be made for anything. Now, with that being said, let’s move on.

Firstly, let’s make something very clear: Beth Moore is not a pastor. Never in all of her writing and speaking has she called herself a pastor. However, this is not the point that Pastor MacArthur makes. He specifically calls Mrs. Moore a “preacher”. Mrs. Moore is a preacher. That is something I cannot argue against.

1 Timothy 3:8-13 speaks about the requirements for Deacons in the church. As it describes them, it makes very clear the fact that women were included as deacons. Now, it’s obvious that there were women in the church, so we must assume that 1 Timothy 2:12, only a chapter earlier, is speaking towards women having authority over a man, instead of assuming that the author speaks towards women having positions in the church.

Now we are presented with a question. If a woman preaches, does this give her authority over a man? Absolutely not. While the position of elder is clearly defined as male, the Bible actually uses the word “they” when it describes the gift of speaking the Gospel. That particular pronoun seems to be specifically placed to show that women can, in fact, preach the word of God.

How do we define preaching? The speaker of God’s word, the Gospel, correct? However, does that speaking have to be in the pulpit? Preaching could actually happen at a women’s conference or meeting. Our association of the word “preaching” with the words “pulpit” and “pastor” are more word associations that we take for granted.

1 Corinthians 14:34 seems to deal a deathblow to this argument. However, let’s remember that I also stated above that women can preach outside of the church. While I do agree with 1 Corinthians 14:34, I also believe that the God-given ability of preaching is received by both women and men, and the men that disagree are in fact acting in an arrogant manner towards their sisters in Christ.

But what are women’s roles within the Church? Many disagree as to whether they can be Deacons, Pastors, or even Elders. Should they be meek, stay-at-home mothers that don’t say a word in church and cover their heads? Or should they be outspoken preachers and doers of the Word, speaking in front of thousands?

The Church is the body of Christ, and as such, it is also represented by the Family.Within the family, we can find the answers to this problem.

When God created Adam and Eve, He created them equal. Genesis 1 says that they were both created in the image of God, thus making them equal in the eyes of their Maker. Men and women are equal but have different roles. The man’s role is one of leadership, but that doesn’t give him a position that is higher than that of the female. Women have an equal, but different, role within the family. Obviously, in the 1800s, you would never see the woman working in the fields, nor the men cooking the meals. Neither broke into the other’s responsibilities, and yet were they any less equal? Absolutely not!

Man and women are equal children of Christ with different duties. This is where we must think about women in the church- equal, but with different responsibilities. Men have the position of leadership, as elders and pastors, while women have the position of “the helpers”. This role is a calling from God to help their husbands in ministry, not through pastoring a church, but through preaching the Gospel to other women and working in women’s ministry. Obviously, there is far more to this then what I have stated, but the picture is clear- women still have roles within the Church. This is where the “authority” piece of 1 Corinthians 14:34 comes in.

Now, one last thing. A question was recently presented to me: if you were at a conference, and a woman was asked to speak, would it be righteous to step away? Absolutely not. To the men that do so: there is only one legitimate reason that you step away, and that’s arrogance. Somewhere in our Bible studies, many of us, the Christian men, have become convinced that women are somehow inferior and are not able to teach us anything. That is wrong. There are thousands of women that are far, far more Biblically sound than I, and I have no problem admitting it. Women are just as capable of receiving wisdom from God’s word as men are.


Duin, Julia. “When it comes to John MacArthur, Beth Moore and Russell Moore, let’s ask tougher questions.” GetReligion, https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2019/10/22/when-it-comes-to-john-macarthur-beth-moore-and-russell-moore-lets-ask-tougher-questions.

 

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26 thoughts on “John MacArthur and the Positions of the Church

  1. torimclaughlin

    Great thoughts! I like what you said about the word association people make between preaching and pastor, when in reality, they’re not the same roles. Looking forward to your next post on this topic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very, very difficult to express and they are evolving too fast. However, I would say that I agree with most of this, save for the statement that it is ok for women to speak at conferences. That is something I am still thinking through 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like we have similar viewpoints on this…I definitely believe women should teach one another in a meek and humble manner but taking authority over and teaching man is out of our responsibility. If we can share a testimony of what God did for us, that’s one thing, but I think it’s shows flipped roles when a woman tries to teach a man or show she is over him. I actually posted about this on my blog!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice post. I heard about this and I was appalled. Even if you believe women shouldn’t teach men, she can’t help they show up at her conferences. She aims it toward women. And why target her? She isn’t the only woman preacher, I think it was a cruel attack on her.

    Thanks for writing about this. I too agree everything has an argument.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Jerry Soen

    What MacArthur may not recognize is that as believers the Holy Spirit (A Person and God) dwells in each of us. What are you telling Him when you say things like this to each other?

    Liked by 1 person

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