Influential pastor Max Lucado weighed in on the debate about women preachers after John MacArthur, a well-known pastor in California, recently dismissed them as being unbiblical.
Lucado “grieved” over MacArthur’s “derisive” comments, which included telling popular author Beth Moore to “go home.”
“Are we, white, male, aged leaders of the church, listening? Are we heeding the message of our sisters in Christ?” Lucado said on his website.
“Listening to our astute and capable female Bible teachers? Listening to their longing to minister from a feminine perspective? Listening to their willingness to lend their intellect, energy and passion to the cause of Christ? What wealth of wisdom they bring!”
Last week during the Truth Matters Conference at Grace Community Church, MacArthur took part in a panel discussion and was asked to give a “pithy” response to a word mentioned by the moderator. The word given was “Beth Moore,” to which MacArthur replied, “Go home.”
He then elaborated and said, “There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher. Period. Paragraph. End of discussion.”
Later, MacArthur added, “Just because you have the skill to sell jewelry on the TV sales channel doesn't mean you should be preaching.”
He also denounced the #MeToo movement, arguing that it “is the culture reclaiming ground in the church.”
“The primary effort in feminism is not equality. They don’t want equality,” he argued. “That’s why 99 percent of plumbers are men. They don’t want equal power to be a plumber. They want to be senators, preachers, congressmen, president. The power structure in a university, they want power, not equality and this is the highest location they can ascend to that power in the evangelical church and overturn what is clearly scriptural. So I think this is feminism gone to church. This is why we can’t let the culture exegete the Bible.”
In his response to the controversial comments, Lucado said, “The bride of Christ is sighing.”
“Really? Dare we be dismissive? The message of #metoo is a sobering one,” Lucado stated. “Theirs is not an appeal for power or position, it is a request to be taken seriously; for all of us to recognize their unique calling. Respect and common courtesy should be the dialect of the church. Yet, our soprano chorus continues to decry its absence.”
Stressing that “tone matters,” Lucado argued that “words can wound” and that disagreement must be done “in love.”
He also reached out to Moore and other “capable messengers both male and female,” saying, “Welcome.”
Moore, a Southern Baptist, is the founder Living Proof Ministries who grew in influence as a popular author and Bible teacher. In recent years, she has been outspoken in evangelical circles against sexual abuse and misogyny in churches.
In a series of tweets on Monday, Moore emphasized that she surrendered to the calling of God, not of man and that she will “follow Jesus … all the way home.”
After many expressed outrage on Twitter against MacArthur’s comments, Moore asked those on social media to “cool it on the slander toward JMac et al.,” noting that it “doesn’t honor God.”
She added, “Believe me, you guys, I’m not talking about cooling it on the issues. Misogyny is rampant & shameful. I’m talking about not returning insult for insult. What Jesus called us to do in a case like this is HARD but right.”
Many well-known Christians, including Kay Warren of Saddleback Church and Christian artist Mandisa, came to Moore’s defense and offered support.
“I’m praying for them. For the scales to fall off their eyes, for true repentance, and a public apology that will usher in a revival of love among all parts of the #BodyOfChrist,” Mandisa tweeted. “What’s interesting is that I learned to do that from a wise and godly woman. That woman was you, Beth.”