MacArthur on SBC: “When you literally overturn the teaching of Scripture to empower people who want power, you have given up biblical authority”

"During the 'Truth Matters Conference,' held Oct. 16-18 at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where he is pastor, MacArthur and other panelists were asked to give their gut reactions to one- or two-word phrases. Asked to respond to the phrase 'Beth Moore,' the name of a well-known Southern Baptist Bible teacher, MacArthur replied, 'Go home.'" - RNS

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Even if you're John MacArthur, vocalizing gut reactions is not a good idea.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Kevin Schaal put out an outstanding article (linked at comment, above). It echoed my own thoughts:

  • Todd Friel is a smart guy who's schtick is sarcastic condescension. He's not a good choice to moderate a serious conversation.
  • JMac made a mistake by speaking flippantly. We're all liable to make this mistake when we're "among friends." But, JMac was speaking publicly and should have guarded himself. The laughter from the audience was synchophantic and out of line.
  • The rest of the comments I agreed with, from both JMac and Johnson.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

I agree with the above commenters. I don’t even understand how Todd Friel is a major part of evangelical discourse. To me it’s indicative that the whole celebrity evangelicalism thing is off the rails. As the Schall article said, in times of serious error (not saying Beth Moore is in this camp. I haven’t been following it) we need serious responses. Can you imagine Machen or Warfield responding like that? MacArthur was set up for sure.

Bert Perry's picture

I think at a certain point, MacArthur didn't just forget that the walls have ears and speak flippantly.  When he accused those with whom he disagreed of monolithically "wanting power", he impugned their motives.  I write this, for reference, as someone who is very concerned that a portion of evangelical feminist thinkers have expressed the desire for power.  The trick is that it's not all of them, and hence I shouldn't impugn their motives.

(and for reference, my thought is that if anyone of either sex wants the pastorate because it features power they wish to exercise, they're automatically disqualified....no need for a DNA check....the goal is to be a servant, no?)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

T Howard's picture

Todd Friel is the Jerry Springer of conservative evangelicalism. Why anyone wastes their time with him is beyond me.

Mark_Smith's picture

his response and the entire thing is being overblown. He is in a Q&A, given two words, and asked. He said what he has always thought and taught, which is that women should not be preachers. So what is new? Take offense if you want to, but you really shouldn't.

dmyers's picture

Oh my word.  Beth Moore (unbiblically) preaches when given the opportunity, wants to preach more, and is defiant about it, as are her female supporters.  Her male supporters are theological wimps.  (Her ridiculous theology on other subjects is a separate reason she should be opposed and critiqued; even if her preaching were always sound, she still shouldn't be allowed to do it, and she knows it.)  They all deserve firm opposition, not mealy-mouthed accommodation and kid-glove treatment.  Mac said in two words what he's been saying all along, and even people who agree with him are going weak in the knees, for crying out loud.  Good for him, and may his tribe increase.  Does anyone actually think that Mac doesn't in fact love and respect Moore as a person?  There's absolutely nothing to see here, except the scandal of supposed complementarians frightened to death of offending Christian feminists.

Paul Henebury's picture

Amen and Amen!

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

TylerR's picture

Editor

BREAKING: John MacArthur To Dress Up As Puritan And Hunt Down Heretics In New 'Solomon Kane' Movie

  • MacArthur's foes will include Steven Furtick, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and Joel Osteen. But after he hunts these all down and makes them pay for their crimes, he finds out they are simply minions of a darker lord: Beth Moore. In the climactic scene of the film, MacArthur will elbow-drop her from the rafters while she's preaching to men and then growl, "Go home."

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

pvawter's picture

A McGee and Me reboot. I love it!

Jim Welch's picture

I believe that before he answered the question, he said something like "I smell a trap."  

Bert Perry's picture

....I picked up one of Moore's books last night, and quite frankly, I would heartily encourage Moore's detractors to do so as well.  The specific book I'm reading is "Get out of that pit", and in it, she shows that she "gets" that people are hurting.  This makes sense in a world where about 2/3 of young people eventually live in a home where Mom and Dad are not together, where 1/4 of young people are sexually abused, and where the 2/3 of young people who aren't made to get a bachelor's degree often face a horrible time in the job market--and where those who are fit for a BA or BS often end up with crippling student loans.  She does so by taking notes on David's plight described in the Psalms, among other places.

Now compare the way she writes with what I see above.  Brothers, I guarantee you that if more of us stepped up to the plate and by doing what she's doing greatly reduced the size of her ministry, the happiest person in the world would be none other than Beth Moore.  Really, her ministry and many others are implicit rebukes to a church culture that seeks to maintain itself instead of effectively preaching the Word and bringing comfort to the hurting.  

I guess if you want to treat her as a punching bag, as does Dmyers and as did MacArthur, you can do so, but the old proverb about catching more flies with honey comes to mind for me when you do.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dmyers's picture

I'll try to be brief.  Moore's empathy is laudable.  I'm willing to assume there are any number of personal characteristics of or statements by Moore that are laudable.  But, (a) that's not the discussion we're having here -- the argument isn't whether Moore is empathetic or has said/done laudable things, and (b) helpful sentiments in one book (or even many books) don't trump other unbiblical statements and unbiblical preaching.

The same is true of whatever shortcomings there are in male preachers' ministries -- whatever those shortcomings are, their existence doesn't constitute a pass for women preachers or unbiblical theology.

And it's not just meanies like me and MacArthur who have serious questions about Moore's teaching and writing.  You can find any number of critical reviews via Google.  Here's just one, chosen above the others because the author/site are egalitarian -- they'd be happy for women to preach in church every Sunday, but they distrust Moore on the bases of some aspects of her life and of some of her teaching:  http://thewartburgwatch.com/2010/08/16/the-enigma-of-beth-moore/

Note that the Wartburg Watch criticism is premised on two skeptical articles in Christianity Today, not exactly a bastion of hard complementarians.  Here are links to the two CT articles (paywall warning):  

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/august/beth-moore-living-proof...

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/august/19.27.html

Finally, I openly disagree with and am critical of Moore's teaching and her unbiblical feminism.  That does not make her my "punching bag" (let alone MacArthur's) any more that Bert's disagreement with me makes me his punching bag.  Bert, it really seems that your experience encountering deplorable, sinful sexual abuse situations has led you to a place where anyone who has publicly expressed empathy with such victims is therefore above criticism, even on unrelated issues.  That's not right.

Bert Perry's picture

Dmyers, the legitimate concerns with Mrs. Moore's ministry are that she appears to be awfully close to teaching men, and that her claims of "God spoke to her" are dangerously close to charismatic/pentacostal theology--though I've heard such statements quite often in my decidedly cessationist circles.  

They do not include "unbiblical feminism", admitting to openly "preaching", being "defiant" about the matter, or supported by "wimps", and the like.  Read your first comment on this thread.  Just because we are (and I am) complementarians does not mean we need to be jerks to those with whom we disagree.  Same thing with MacArthur making comments like "wanting power" and the like.

Again, the proper response to concerns about Mrs. Moore's ministry is to address it straight up without impugning motives or using the kind of language you're using to describe her fans.  You keep doing that, yes, you are treating her as a punching bag, and more importantly, you harden the resolve of her fans to stick by her.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dmyers's picture

Bert, I'm pretty sure I did "address . . . straight up" the problems with Beth Moore.  As has MacArthur on multiple occasions, as did the three links I provided (which you ignored), as has Tom Buck (via Paul Henebury; have you read that Twitter thread?), etc., etc.  I get it:  you don't want to hear uncomplimentary things about Beth Moore and you think her empathy and the help she has been in some instances (albeit overblown, if scripture is correct) outweigh/cancel out her unbiblical statements and behavior.  You've said so, and you've been every bit as blunt as have I and many others who aren't lunatics or barbarians.  But you can't play vocabulary policeman on a one-way street.  There's no way for any Beth Moore opponent to know what vocabulary is acceptable to you; I suspect there is no critical vocabulary acceptable to you.  If you have a substantive defense of Moore's teaching and behavior, let's hear it.  But getting in a twist over words like "unbiblical feminism," "defiant," and "wimps" means nothing and accomplishes nothing.  

And MacArthur was right about Moore's (and her female supporters') underlying motive, whether they realize it or not -- it is about wanting power.  It's Gen. 3:16 in action, and it's not isolated to Beth Moore.  Christians, especially Christian leaders who believe the Bible, ignore it at the peril of the church and society.

Bert Perry's picture

It's not "vocabulary police" on my part or being "blunt" on your part.  it's deliberate insults that you cannot defend as a matter of fact. How on earth would you know what the motivations of Moore's male defenders are, for example?  Is it because they're wimps, or is it because they're courageous enough to stand up to guys like you?  Is Mrs. Moore power-hungry, or is she simply filling a void because too many women in churches aren't getting fed from the pulpit, or heard in their troubles?  Since you don't know her, you really cannot say.

If you want to convince Mrs. Moore, and Mr. Greear, to go egalitarian, keep up the good work.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dmyers's picture

I'll try once more.  I don't know (for sure) the motivations of Moore's male defenders, but neither did I say anything about their motivations.  I questioned their spinal fortitude, not their motivation.  I did so because I believe the Bible is quite clear on the subject of female preachers/church leaders and the men in question at least claim to believe the same, but when they encounter a mega-popular woman who is willingly crossing the biblical line, they're not only afraid to say so (gently or bluntly) but they criticize anyone who does say so.  (It's more than fair to say Moore's overstepping is willing because she has in fact encountered opposition --  both gentle and blunt -- and she persists.)  I doubt that it takes any courage to stand up to me, because I'm nobody.  Mrs. Moore may have started out thinking she was filling a void, or she may even still think that (as you pointed out, I don't know what's in her head), but it doesn't matter -- "filling a void" does not equal permission to flout God's Word.  Before this discussion I would have expected you to agree with that sentiment, and maybe you in fact do, but the way you're describing your offense at me (and Mac -- likely the only time he and I will be mentioned in the same sentence) it sounds like you think Moore's actions and statements are justified because unnamed men aren't doing what they should.  I don't agree with your premise, but even if men need to "man up" (a term I despise), that gives Moore exactly zero legitimacy to overstep.  Is there a clause in Paul's letters that I've missed that says "unless you think there aren't enough men doing what they should"?

I don't believe for a second that anything I say is going to influence Moore or Grear to go egalitarian, including specifically what I've said in this thread.  If that were somehow the chain of events, their skins and their theology would have to be as thin as paper. But even assuming I had such large influence -- and I predict you'll hate this -- I think it's pretty obvious from their public behavior and statements (not from my divination of their motives) that they're both functional egalitarians who won't admit it -- yet.

Joel Shaffer's picture

How am I to take MacArthur seriously about Beth Moore and the SBC and culture when he can't even get the details of Resolution 9 straight (which is one of his main supporting arguments against Beth Moore halfway through the 7 min video). MacArthur states that SBC's resolution 9 states that Intersectionality and Critical Theory are useful tools in interpreting the Bible.  WRONG!!!!! Not even close!!!!!  Rather resolution 9 says that Critical Theory and Intersectionality are analytical tools "can aid in evaluating a variety of human experiences."  Here is the entire resolution 9 that you can read for yourself. http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/2308/resolution-9--on-critical-race-theor...

I don't know a single person within conservative evangelicalism/SBC that believes the lies, misrepresentations, slanders (whatever you want to call it) that MacArthur is spouting that would believe that Critical Theory or Intersectionality should be tools to be used in interpreting scripture.  I find it so interesting and ironic that we hammer certain SBC leaders for having no spine and defending Beth Moore in departing from the truth.  Well, let me be the first to call some of you out for being weak for standing with MacArthur when he has continually lied, created strawmen, wrongly questioned motives, and misrepresented many of us conservative evangelicals who embrace a Biblical Social Justice for the past year or so since the statement on social justice came out. MacArthur has departed from the truth by lying and misrepresenting those he disagrees with!  Why some of you continue to give him a platform on something he really doesn't understand (Resolution 9, Critical Theory, Intersectionality, etc..) is beyond me.      

TylerR's picture

Editor

I thought JMac understood everything! When he speaks at conferences, he is speaking ex cathedra...

I actually hadn't read Resolution 9 until you linked to it, but I'd heard all sorts of horrible things about it. It hasn't been something I'm focused on. I have a book on CRT I have to finish, though.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Mark_Smith's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

Why some of you continue to give him a platform on something he really doesn't understand (Resolution 9, Critical Theory, Intersectionality, etc..) is beyond me.      

Because CRT is utter foolishness from the beginning, through the middle, to the end.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Mark, did you just prove my point by demonstrating your willingness to tolerate MacArthur's lies, slanders, and misrepresentations on a topic where he knows very little about?  And since you speak in such broad-brush generalities, what are some specific examples of CRT ideology among Southern Baptists that you see as foolishness or not Biblical? 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Let me be honest:

  • I know nothing about Beth Moore. Not One Single Thing.
  • I know some men really hate her.
  • I know some women really hate her, and have devoted tens of thousands of words to chronicling her alleged theological misdeeds
  • I just don't know, myself. I haven't watched or read anything by her, and I don't have time to heresy hunt against her, so likely never will
  • The same regarding Karen Prior, who draws similar scorn from complementarian men

Do all these men really have time to understand the issues before they attack Moore and Prior? Or, are they parroting what their favorite evangelical gatekeepers say? Women cannot preach. I agree with that. Are Moore and Prior evil women who "preach"? I don't know. They "speak;" I do know that. So does Kay Arthur ... (heh)

I just don't know what to think about this, and really don't have the time to investigate and heresy hunt, either. I suspect I'm not alone. As I think on MacArthur's words again after a few days, I just don't know if I actually agree:

  • if Moore is a closet feminist lusting after power,
  • and if she actually preaches in order to get power and subvert the created order,
  • then I suppose JMac is right.

But, is that happening? Don't know.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

pvawter's picture

Beth Moore appears to be speaking at the National Preaching Conference at Truett Seminary in Waco next month. I'm sure she won't be preaching though...

dmyers's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

And since you speak in such broad-brush generalities, what are some specific examples of CRT ideology among Southern Baptists that you see as foolishness or not Biblical? 

Perhaps this, for one (or three) example(s)?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M--gMO64r6U

dmyers's picture

Joel, I appreciate the link to Resolution 9.  To me, it's obviously a compromise resolution, giving advocates of CRT some statements they can point to for justifying whatever use they want to put the theory to, while also giving opponents statements they can point to for telling the advocates that they're going beyond Res 9.  

Given that CRT is today's cultural and theologically liberal fad, and given that kowtowing to political correctness never ends well, I would have enthusiastically voted against the Resolution if I were a delegate (or messenger).  It strikes me as being very unwise -- opening the door to further abuse and misuse by those who don't think Res 9 went far enough in affirming CRT.  Reviewing the above video of three SBC seminary professors/administrators seems to me to demonstrate that certain persons in the SBC are already going beyond what Res 9 authorizes.  The SBC is going to have to revisit the issue; hopefully they'll do a better job next time.  I started to write that the proponents of CRT in the SBC are probably inevitably going to go too far and then get shut down more completely, but that may be too optimistic.

TylerR's picture

Editor

The best thing for all of us to do is separate from Baylor and from every compromiser who dares to have his photograph disgrace that image (heh, heh) ...

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

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