Beth Moore Challenges Theologian, Explains Why Women Should Preach in Church

Lori Arnold | Contributor | Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Beth Moore Challenges Theologian, Explains Why Women Should Preach in Church

Beth Moore Challenges Theologian, Explains Why Women Should Preach in Church

Prominent Southern Baptist Bible teacher Beth Moore has ignited a firestorm on Twitter after challenging a theologian who singled her out in a blog post for encouraging women to preach.

Owen Strachan, associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, said in the May 7 post he was surprised that both Moore and SBC President J. D. Greear support“a woman teaching and preaching to the corporate body.”

He followed that up on Twitter the next day, saying “Complementarians disagree cheerfully about much. One thing we have massive agreement on: women do not preach on Sunday to the church. Doing so is functional egalitarianism. We will not capitulate here.”

Complementarians embrace the Scriptural view that the role of men and women is distinct and complements one another within the home and church, while Egalitarians believe the Bible calls for mutual submission in Christian relationships without a hierarchy, Baptist News Global reported.

Moore responded to Strachan with a series of tweets.

“Owen, I am going to say this with as much respect & as much self restraint as I can possibly muster. I would be terrified to be a woman you’d approve of. And I would have wasted 40 years of my life encouraging women to come to know and love Jesus through the study of Scripture.”

She then went on to address what she called “sexism & misogyny” within the denomination.

“I am compelled to my bones by the Holy Spirit—I don’t want to be but I am—to draw attention to the sexism & misogyny that is rampant in segments of the SBC, cloaked by piety & bearing the stench of hypocrisy. There are countless godly conservative complementarians. So many.

“There are countless conservative Complementarians I very much respect & deeply love even though I may not fully understand their interpretations of certain Scriptures as the end of the matter. I love the Scriptures. I love Jesus. I do not ignore 1 Tim or 1 Cor. What I plead for is to grapple with the entire text from Mt 1 thru Rev 22 on every matter concerning women. To grapple with Paul’s words in 1 Tim/1 Cor 14 as being authoritative, God-breathed!- alongside other words Paul wrote, equally inspired & make sense of the many women he served alongside.”

According to Baptist News Global, elders at a North Carolina church are working on a position paper that would allow women to “address both males and females as long as it is not implied to be authoritative teaching like that of an elder.”

The SBC’s Greearalso broached the topic in a March article.

“While we have had women explain and exhort from the ‘pulpit’ during the ‘sermon’ time, we have always done it in a way that communicates that she does not bear the official teaching responsibility of the church,” the denominational head said. “Because of the importance of the sermon in our worship services, we believe having a woman occupy the prime teaching slot (in the way that I do each weekend) would have her teaching in an elder-like way, even if she isn’t technically an elder.”

In his blog challenging the practice, Strachan embraced the concept of divine order, stressing that the Bible frees women “to evangelize, witness to the glory of God in the secular workplace, and serve on the mission field.”

“Whether a woman is called to marriage or singleness, women should not preach or offer public teaching in the gathered worship service in local churches,” Strachan said. “The call to local church leadership is not dependent upon gifting or talent; it is based on the creation order of almighty God.”

But on her full Twitter thread, Moore said she believes there have been other motivations at work.

She wrote, “I had the eye opening experience of my life in 2016. A fog cleared for me that was the most disturbing, terrifying thing I’d ever seen. 

“All these years I’d given the benefit of the doubt that these men were the way they were because they were trying to be obedient to Scripture...

"Then I realized it was not over Scripture at all. It was over sin. It was over power. It was over misogyny. Sexism. It was about arrogance. About protecting systems. It involved covering abuses & misuses of power. Shepherds guarding other shepherds instead of guarding the sheep.”

Moore continued, “Here is what you don’t understand. I have loved the SBC & served it with everything I have had since I was 12 years old helping with vacation Bible school. Alongside ANY other denomination, I will serve it to my death if it will have me. And this is how I am serving it right now,” Moore asserted.

For Strachan and other Complementarians, though, that path to serving is clearly defined in Scripture and is not negotiable.

“For a woman to teach and preach to adult men is to defy God’s Word and God’s design,” Strachan wrote in his blog post. “Elders must not allow such a sinful practice; to do so is to bring the church body into disobedience against God.”

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Terry Wyatt/Stringer