Beth Moore and the SBC
As you may know, Twitter was lit up yesterday by Beth Moore as she described herself as going off like a “bottle rocket” concerning an article by Dr. Owen Strachan, a Southern Baptist professor at Midwestern. (Doesn’t sound like a “gentle and quiet spirit” to me.) What you need to know is Dr. Strachan’s article is very well written and biblically on point. Sadly, significant people like Beth Moore in the SBC are stepping not only beyond the bounds of the Baptist Faith and Message but more importantly beyond the Bible. (Does that mean Southern Baptist are veering off path? Not necessarily, but it does mean we need to appoint leaders who reflect our beliefs or that they go lead elsewhere.)
What are the issues? Beth Moore is preaching this Sunday (Mother’s Day) in her church and people like J.D. Greear are endorsing this blasphemous act. According to 1 Tim. 2:12, she should not be doing this. Do we believe the Bible or not? And some might say, what about “my” interpretation and “your” interpretation? 2 Peter 1:20-21, tells us, “Knowing this first of all that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.” It’s not for you to decide what you want it to mean, it came with an intended interpretation from the Lord through men inspired by God. God had an intention which can most often be interpreted by using the most natural read of the text. So when 1 Tim. 2:12 says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man,” that includes preaching. It has nothing to do with inequality but with role assignments. It has nothing to do with giftedness. It has everything to do with our Creator God who made the rules.
Beth Moore stated, “Owen, … I would be terrified to be a woman you would approve of. I would have wasted 40 years of my life encouraging women to come to know and to love Jesus according to the Scripture.” She wouldn’t be a woman I would approve of if what she teaches is any indication of who she is—she is not known for teaching on the topic of biblical womanhood. Undoubtedly, Beth is a gifted teacher but her application of the Bible to what she teaches is a stretch many times over—at times, lacking true exegesis. Furthermore, I would contend that any woman who teaches women or leads them in women’s ministry and does NOT teach women what it means to be a Christian woman (biblical womanhood) has entirely missed the mark. Jesus, the gospel, and biblical womanhood are inseparable. (Titus 2:3-5 means what it says. If you disagree, where do you draw the line on where YOU decide what is right or wrong in the Holy Scriptures?)
As a teacher of women for over 25 years in ministry, I have often heard women say, “Oh, I love Jesus and want to learn about Him, but can we NOT talk about women’s issues in the Bible?” The ever popular “I love Jesus” is weak when you don’t love His Word and don’t want to hear what His Word says about who you are as a woman. If you are a woman, you have distinct roles you should understand as a woman—so distinct and so important that when women don’t get it and don’t practice who they are to be as a woman they blaspheme God and His Word by their very life. According to Titus 2:3-5, we have clear direction who we are to be and what we are to do, and when we fail to do it, we blaspheme or lower in estimation the value of God’s Word. That means if we live contrary to the Scripture we belittle what God has to say. This is not saying that single women are blaspheming God’s Word; it’s giving a beautiful picture for how young married women are to live with their husbands and children. Furthermore, if we live out a biblical marriage, we are a picture of the gospel to a lost world (Eph. 5:22-32). This is huge. How we live and how seriously we take God and His Word is huge—there is no feminist “I’ll do it my way” option.
Having a secular background in the field of software and a master’s degree in women’s studies and many years in ministry, I gladly embrace what Jesus has to say about women in the Scripture (I know Paul wrote many of these NT passages but Jesus is the Word (John 1:1, 14) and therefore it is His Word). I love the role assignments God gave and can accept with a sober mind where I am a weaker vessel and can be deceived like Eve. We can lead and teach much more soundly when we humbly recognize our weaknesses.
Regarding Beth Moore’s misogynistic encounters with men in the SBC, I don’t doubt that, but let me also say misogynistic men are everywhere. However, misogynistic should not be equated with a complementarian view (meaning different role assignments but equal in value). There seems to be an effort among progressives to link sexual abuse and the Me Too movement wrongly to the complementarian view. There is no link and there should not be such shameful public drama.
I am a complementarian and so is my husband. He guards me, protects me, he has never asked me to work to provide for our family, he does things to please me, he leads me gently but very manly, he does not boss me around, he spoils me, he truly puts me before himself, and at our church, he preaches the full oracles of God’s Word. I voluntarily submit to his headship, I do not boss him around or try to wear his pants, I respect him in front of our kids and others, I will let him know if I disagree with a decision at times but gladly follow his final word even when I don’t agree, I spoil him and treat him like he is the King of our home, and at our church, I teach women, I don’t preach or grasp for the pulpit or mic for a momentary sense of glory or fulfilment. So, to be clear, being a complementarian is a pretty good thing.
Let me encourage you to know what the Bible teaches on everything including womanhood. God’s ways are beautiful. It doesn’t mean easy depending on what path your life has taken but we not are promised easy. Know His Word. Be determined to stand on His Word. And remember whatever is mainstream or sold by the biggest book retailers doesn’t mean its biblical.