Dear Pastor MacArthur,
In case you might be wondering… no, you don’t know me. And yet, while I don’t attend your church and we have never met, over the years I have come to know you. I have a deep appreciation for your learnedness relating to Scripture… and for the contribution you have made to the Kingdom of God with all the words you have preached, all the books you have written, and all the personal sacrifices you have made in order to do so. And I’m here to tell you, dearest church leader, that the fruits of your labor are making a difference… even to a me, a woman who lives on the other side of the U.S. from you, since I have some of those books and commentaries lining my bookshelf right now.
But in light of recent events, I feel compelled by the Lord to tell you that long before I had read and studied every word in the Bible, started scouring Bible commentaries, diving deeper into the Word via Hebrew/Greek translations… or knew the name John MacArthur (or your teachings)… I knew the name Beth Moore (and her teachings). And Joyce Meyer. And Priscilla Shirer. And so many other great women teachers of the Scriptures…
When I was in the early stages of my studies, these women spoke the Word of God and it stirred the Holy Spirit within me. I distinctly recall at one of Beth’s events, something she said caused every hair on my body to stand on end. Make no mistake, kind sir, that the presence of the Lord was definitely in that place, and the Spirit was at work within her message.
I beg you to consider that just because the Lord doesn’t speak to you through these women… doesn’t mean He doesn’t speak through them. I can personally testify to this. Not only have they (and other women teachers/preachers) inspired me; they have poured into me an unquestionable desire for more. And because of the contributions of these women, I can say without hesitation, I am where I am today… growing in Christ; desiring a greater relationship with Jesus, a deeper understanding of Scripture and a fuller surrendering of my previously selfish flesh to the perfect will of God. And for that truth, I thank them for their personal sacrifices to the calling the Lord placed on their lives.
Jesus says that where there is fruit, He is there, supporting as the true vine. So with the fruit of women ministries being as evident as it is, I wonder how you can have the audacity to question it?
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
Now, as a matter of addressing a couple of the extremely flawed things you said related to the topic of women speaking the Word of God…
Let me first say, that I am a woman… a woman with no impressive degrees to list after my name, but a woman of God all the same. I am a woman who studies Scripture, and like you, a writer. And while I have never stood behind a pulpit, I say with all the authority of heaven that should the Lord put a calling on my life to do so, I will follow Him without question. So, with all due respect, may I ask you who you think you are to question the personal calling of the Lord upon these women… or any woman for that matter?
Apparently you and your panel of cronies think it’s narcissistic to see yourselves within the narrative of scriptures… but may I be so bold as to say that I think you would be a whole lot better off if you did. It’s a basic concept, really. And a simple word… it’s called application. And my friend, it’s imperative.
In fact, over the last few days as I have wrestled with the injustice of many of the things that were said by you and others on that stage, I have seen myself in Elihu, in the 32nd chapter of Job. As I sat quietly and listened, a justified anger stirred in me that made it impossible to remain silent.
“And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said: I am young in years, and you are aged; therefore I was timid and afraid to declare my opinion to you. I said, ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.’ But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right. Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me; let me also declare my opinion.” – Job 32:6-10
And I have seen Beth Moore (and all the other women teachers you condemned for following the calling of Christ) in Peter and John within the 4th chapter of Acts as they were reprimanded and bullied by self-seeking priests and Sadducees who were no doubt threatened by the powerful fruits of their Spirit.
“But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” – Acts 4:19-20
And lastly, I have seen you and your educated, albeit pompous, panel of friends in the words spoken by the Pharisees in Matthew chapter 15.
“Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”” – Matthew 15:1-9
As you well know, Pastor, the Pharisees were not only blind… but even worse, they were blind to their blindness. Perhaps this is why you gentlemen, who proclaim to be the final authority on scripture, aren’t even capable of seeing yourselves within its pages. For it is also written:
“… We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.” – 1 Corinthians 8:1-3
A few words about women, in your words, “seeking power”…
There is a difference between women seeking power and women having power. And Scripture is clear that whosoever is blessed beyond measure to receive the Holy Spirit, will absolutely receive His unsurpassed power and authority. Furthermore, Scripture clearly communicates time and time again that this power is available to all who love, claim and follow Christ. God does not discriminate; therefore it’s not gender specific. That said, yes sir… Beth, Joyce, Priscilla and every other God fearing woman teacher of the Word (and every woman who is a Believer, for that matter), hold within themselves a plethora of power that is in no way inferior to yours. I’m sorry if this truth doesn’t fit into your very misogynistic interpretations of Scripture.
“No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.”” – Acts 2:16-18
Finally, as it relates to your comment that there is no “case” for women teachers/ preachers/speakers (i.e. proclaimers of Biblical truth) in the Bible… I ask you to consider the following facts:
For whom did Jesus preform His first miracle (even though He states that His time had not yet come)…? His mother, Mary. A woman.
To whom did Jesus first reveal Himself after His resurrection, with the instruction to “go to my brothers and say to them…”…? Mary Magdalene. Also a woman.
To whom did Jesus first reveal that the Spirit of God would soon be available to everyone… including the Samarians, who were considered at the time to be the least of these? Ding, ding, ding. You got it. A woman.
But Jesus, radical as He was, chose to deliver this good news to a Samarian woman, of all women, who had been married five times. So you could say He gave this critical piece of information to a person who was the least of the least of these… to carry a message of hope to the lost of Samaria. And what did she do? She went back to her town and told her people about her personal experience with Him. And because of her, they were able to see for themselves and believe. And all because she boldly stood before them and said, “Come… see a man who told me everything I ever did.”
So, I hope you can see now through the process of application, Pastor MacArthur, that if Beth Moore is guilty of anything… it’s of being just like this imperfect (but greatly loved) Samarian woman. A woman who’d had such an incredible experience with a perfect man, that she was willing to step outside of societal norms to boldly proclaim, “Come… let me tell you about my personal experiences with a man who changed and changes everything… a man so wonderful that I cannot but speak about all He has done and all He will do. A man named Jesus.”
So… does Scripture clearly make a “case” for women teachers, preachers and speakers?
You can bet your sweet Bible it does.
Written by J.C.