What We Can Learn from the John MacArthur Beth Moore Battle

“This kind of behavior is what many accuse FBFI-types of doing (and have done at times). It looks like we are not the only ones. We need to be more careful to treat serious issues in a serious and thorough way.” - Kevin Schaal


Also see John Ellis’ comment on this phenomenon. I look forward to more of this type of introspection; well done, Kevin. And John.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

to not overreact to statements at conferences and act like they are decrees from on high. Relax. I realize the topic is heavy but this segment of the conference is supposed to have a lighter feel to it.

All this complaining about what MacArthur said, and still few are concerned about Beth Moore’s choices. Interesting…

Let me ask this, if JM gave a long, reasoned criticism of BM, would the people have written, “MacArthur Gives Misogynist Attack of Moore.” Answer: yes.

There could be legitimate explanations for Moore’s revision of her book; e.g. tone, unhealthy focus on homosexuality to exclusion of other sins, etc. Her remarks about misogyny are likely correct, and could be applied in many ecclesiastical sub-cultures - behold discussions on SI itself! Her criticism of President Trump is meaningless to me, but the article seems to assume it’s readers should be outraged - a troubling indication of potential biases.

I began following Moore on Twitter a week ago to begin receiving content from her directly, rather than having it filtered through those who so obviously despise her. I’ve found her to be uplifting, encouraging, and wholesomely, well … nice. We’ll see.

I am extraordinarily reluctant to criticize somebody until I have reviewed her written work myself. The context of the internet works against this kind of caution. We should try and hold to it, anyway. Don’t criticize a public official or personality (or anyone, really) unless or until you’ve seen errors firsthand. Don’t rely on secondary sources. Go to the source.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.


I posted the link without commentary. Anyone can make of it what they will, and agree or disagree.

I just appreciate Sharper Iron not deleting my comment like another site just did.

David R. Brumbelow

David, I can’t imagine anyone here deleting your comment, no matter which side of this issue you come down on! It’s almost as if… iron should sharpen iron.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Perhaps it would be instructive, per Mark’s contention that some people simply need to learn not to “overreact”, to remember the specific things said by John MacArthur.

  • “Go Home”, implying that the totality of Mrs. Moore’s ministry, even that to women, was wrong
  • “When you literally overturn the teaching of Scripture to empower people who want power, you have given up biblical authority”, implying that Mrs. Moore’s ministry not only overturns the teaching of Scripture, but also represents a desire for power on her part.
  • Accused Mrs. Moore of being a narcissist and feminist, and of wanting power instead of equality.
  • “Just because you have the skill to sell jewelry on the TV channel, doesn’t mean you should be preaching”. Clear accusation that she is a preacher, which she disavows.
  • Compared her implicitly to Paula White, a prosperity preacher
  • Accused her of overturning Scripture
  • Links in intersectionality and critical theory, describing this as liberalism
  • accused her of being part of the culture interpreting Scripture

Now let’s imagine it’s one of our own being insulted like that. What would happen if, say, Steve Pettit or the like were so insulted, and when people objected to that, they were told that they were overreacting?

I’d imagine that all H*** would break loose, and for good reason. What John MacArthur and Dan Philipps did here was to make a bunch of allegations that they really can’t support well, just as they did (and as Joel Schaffer rebuked them for) regarding critical race theory.

Really, saying someone is “overreacting” when others wrongly accuse them of a litany of items, including clear infringement on the first Fundamental/Sola Scriptura, is more or less to blame them for being offended at something which is clearly offensive. And if we can’t see that this kind of thing is offensive, we are in serious need of “mirror time” so we can start to see what’s going on.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

I’m reading through “Get Out of that Pit” for a second time, and I can commend Tyler’s recommendation to actually read her work. Moore’s work is, by male standards, rather “fluffy” and relational, IMO, but despite the fact that it doesn’t appear “idea-dense” like Calvin, there are layers of meaning in it that really don’t come unpacked well in a Twitter feed. Cherry-picking statements and making a big deal of it certainly doesn’t do justice to her ideas.

What comes through in reading her work; first of all, she “gets it” that a lot of people out there are hurting, and she moreover “gets it” that a lot of churches really aren’t reaching these people well. She is, quite frankly, harsh on the habit of decrying various sins without teaching the congregation how to get out of them—one might wonder whether the preachers decrying sin like this don’t actually think it’s going on in their churches. (and whether they’re preaching against supposedly non-existent sins because those not committing those sins feel better and put dollars in the offering plate and rear ends in pews, if you want to be really cynical)

One place where people are justifiably suspicious of her is in her statements—and it’s repeated—that God “speaks” to her in various ways. In my view, however, she’s more using a relational view of things that is natural to her as a woman than she is trying to assume a prophetic mantle. I’d guess she’s somewhere between “soft cessationist” (my position; gifts may not be gone, but I don’t see ‘em much) and “soft continuationist (gifts are there, but we don’t see ‘em much). As long as she’s not blaspheming and contradicting Scripture, I’m not terribly worried—at least until someone comes up with a better reason to be concerned.

That noted, one place where fundagelical theology is weak, IMO, is in describing how the Holy Spirit’s leading works. So what Moore describes might be part of that debate, and it’s a discussion we ought to be having.

And regarding Moore’s alleged preaching, that again needs to be put in light of what Scripture allows. Women are called to teach other women, and that’s the majority of what she does. And as I noted in the previous thread, if local churches were doing a better job reaching women with Biblical truth applied well to women, the happiest person to “stay home” would be Beth Moore.

Regarding that bit, one thing that probably gets Moore into trouble—and I hinted at it a couple of paragraphs above—is that she is not afraid to mention preaching and teaching methods she believes are ineffective, methods that include a great portion of a lot of preachers’ genre. She is, thus, going to get under the skin of a lot of them—and IMO rightly so.

Long and short of it; the woman has a lot to say, and we ignore her, or misrepresent her, at our peril.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

If Beth Moore truly made the statement that Paul Henebury posted earlier on the previous thread, she is skating on thin ice. It is dangerous to talk about God speaking to you, and telling you to “write that down.”

I’m still waiting for someone to deny the accuracy of these tweets. So far, no one has. If they are accurate, and the absence of any attempt to refute them makes that seem increasingly likely, she is not a sound teacher. Her approach will lead many astray about the source of divine truth. Let’s deal with that instead of arguing about MacArthur’s tone. The most important question is, “Is MacArthur correct in issuing a warning about Beth Moore?” If so, let’s thank him for doing Bible believing Christians a valuable service.

G. N. Barkman

GN, most of those tweets are, for starters, not primary evidence. The best he’s got is a single YouTube video, really. That is, really rather thin gruel for establishing the kind of thing you’re talking about.

More importantly, compare the list with the claims that MacArthur makes—either trust my listening or listen on your own. They are quite different, IMO. So even if Tom Buck was correct—I’d argue he is in various places pushing a narrative that a closer reading/listening would not sustain—I don’t believe that it would justify the things MacArthur said.

This isn’t about people being “too sensitive”, brothers. This is about slander. And as John Ellis’ column notes very clearly, if we want to persuade people into the egalitarian camp, we can do little better than to tolerate this sort of thing.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

John MacArthur has made it clear he thought Moore was out of line for years! Yes years. What does Beth Moore care? She is banking well off her ministry. The SBC collectively, but certainly not totally, loves her. She is brought onto every stage to talk about abuse in the SBC. She is riding high.

So the man who wrote a famous book on the role of women thinks she shouldn’t preach to men. Is that anything to start a twitter war about, all the while taking the high rode while dozens write to her defense? No.

The point is, Moore has repeatedly made it clear she will continue to “speak” at Sunday worship services she is invited to. That is preaching any way you slice it. She is out to break whatever ceiling she sees is there against women. Fact. Not conjecture. So, in MacArthur’s eyes, she is violating Scriptural commands, plain and simple. Feel free to disagree, but that is what she is doing in his view.

She also talks a fairly heavy line about the failure of SBC preachers, leaders, and pastors with regards to abuse. Agree or disagree, she is seeking power to influence the SBC. Fact. She adds to that the need for women to speak more. Fact.

So what are complaining about again?

Bert, you are side stepping the issue. Is the video accurate? Did she, or did she not say these things? If she did, and no one to date has denied it, she is not trustworthy, unless you have evidence that she acknowledges she misspoke and apologizes for speaking such grievous error. You seem to be saying that because the Henebury post is mostly one U-Tube video, it should be disregarded. Absolutely, if it is false. Absolutely not, if it is true. (Pardon me, but your bias is showing.)

G. N. Barkman

GN, not sidestepping at all. In my view, the video is NOT accurate, which is why I call it, rightly, slander, in the same way that Joel Schaffer is pointing out that MacArthur’s statements critical race theory are false. He’s asserting a bunch of things that he cannot prove, including assuming the motives of others as a general proposition (always dangerous), and should know better.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Did she say these things, or did she not?

G. N. Barkman

As I noted above, GN, a series of quotes and allegations taken out of context, along with a single edited YouTube video, indicate that Buck was indeed misrepresenting Moore. It is not accurate.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.