By now, many of you may have heard of the harsh comment that the Rev. John MacArthur, an extremely conservative evangelical pastor, made about Beth Moore, possibly the most famous woman in Southern Baptist life today.
MacArthur, who is very old school even among evangelicals, has led Grace Community Church north of Los Angeles for 50 years. To say he dislikes women preachers would be an understatement.
There are a lot of people out there protesting his unkind comments, including Relevant magazine, which produced an article listing several leaders across the theological spectrum critical of MacArthur.
MacArthur, by the way, has been even more scathing about charismatics over the years, so the Beth Moore crowd may be getting an idea of what the Pentecostal/charismatic crowd has been putting up with for a number of years.
First, according to Religion News Service, here’s what MacArthur said.
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.”
Sounds of laughter and applause could be heard in response during a recording of the session, which was posted online.
MacArthur — a leading proponent of Reformed theology and of complementarianism, the idea that women and men have different roles to play in the church and in society — was apparently responding to a controversy this past summer when Moore noted on Twitter that she spoke at a megachurch on a Sunday morning.
Her tweet led to accusations that Moore was undermining Southern Baptist teaching, which bars women from holding the office of pastor in churches.
One voice that has been absent on this latest flare-up has been the Rev. Russell Moore (no relation to Beth) who is the head of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. The last interview with him that I saw occurred in August when Newsweek’s Nina Burleigh called him the “rebel evangelical.”
It was a very weak, even clueless, interview. The questions were vapid and Moore, who is no fool, slid past them with little difficulty. Most of the questions were about racism and sex abuse within the SBC, but they weren’t tough questions by any chance.
Meanwhile, is Russell Moore really a “rebel evangelical?” For that matter, so is Beth Moore? Are we talking about doctrine here or politics?