The internet blew up last week with responses to John McArthur’s comment that Beth Moore should “go home.” He meant that she should focus her energies on home life rather than Bible conferences. He made this comment at a pastors’ conference at his church in California in response to a question about women who preach and teach. It is fair to say that he maintains a very narrow view on women teaching and preaching. Of course, after his comments became known both sides on the issue came out swinging, and strong comments ruled the day.
John McArthur’s comment caused me to ask myself—Should Beth Moore go home? My answer is no; she should not remain at home. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with homemaking. Homemakers bless our lives in uncountable ways. Still, I believe Beth Moore has lots to offer the church through her writing and teaching ministry. I’ve never met Beth Moore, and I don’t know if I have ever been in a meeting with her. I admit that I have never read one of her books, nor have I attended one of her conferences. However, my wife, Barbara, has read several of her books, attended one of her conferences, and participated in several women’s Bible studies at church in which Beth Moore videos were shown. Barbara is a retired IMB missionary, long-time Sunday school teacher, and she has studied Bible and theology in college and seminary. She tells me that Beth Moore’s teaching is biblically sound. Beyond that, she finds Beth Moore’s teaching mentally stimulating and spiritually edifying. I trust Barbara’s judgment.
Why do I believe that Beth Moore should continue her teaching ministry to women? First, as I mentioned above, lots of women testify that her teaching blesses them. Why would we want to deprive them of sound, helpful teaching? Second, the Bible does not designate spiritual gifts according to gender. If a woman has the gift of teaching, then she should teach. Third, the New Testament mentions women teaching in several passages. We know that Priscilla and Aquila taught Apollos (Acts 18:26). On the Day of Pentecost Peter quoted the prophecy of Joel—“I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…” (Acts 2:17, NKJV). Peter taught the people that Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled that very day. Acts 21:9 tells us that Philip the evangelist had four daughters who prophesied. Further, the Apostle Paul exhorted the older women to “train the younger women to love their husbands and their children” (Titus 2:4,NLT).
Throughout my adult life I’ve taught in seminaries and Bible colleges. I’ve trained many young women to serve as foreign missionaries. I encouraged them to take courses on teaching the Bible so they could teach the gospel more effectively. I never told a single one to “go home.” I encouraged them to “go forth.”
I realize that by this point some Voices readers may think I’m advocating female pastors and preachers. I am not. I believe that 1 Timothy 3:1-7 restricts the position of pastor to men. That seems to me to be the simple interpretation of that passage, and one basic rule of biblical interpretation is that the simple interpretation is usually the correct one. Nevertheless, I believe that gifted women like Beth Moore can exercise their spiritual gift of teaching and bless other women. So, to Beth Moore I say rather than “go home,” you should “go and tell” (Mark 16:7). By the way, an angel spoke those words to three women at Jesus’ tomb.