"I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent." 1 Timothy 2:12But the command from 1 Timothy (above) is not complicated or hard to understand, is it? Why, then, is Beth Moore, a widely admired and popular Bible study teacher, given a pass to disobey this clear command from Scripture?
Beth Moore's popularity and influence among her followers has catapulted this issue into the spotlight, and I suspect this issue of whether or not women should preach to men will become increasingly important. At least, I hope it becomes increasingly important. I have a little bit of a dog in this fight, having grown up in a very liberal denomination (Presbyterian-USA) in which women were (and still are) allowed to preach authoritatively from the pulpit to men. It was only as a born again believer, after I had become an adult and was in a church that actually read and taught the Bible, that I came to realize that, biblically, this women-preaching-from-the-pulpit thing is not okay in God's eyes.
And yet, several widely respected pastors, and pastors who are perceived to be conservative, have been blurring the lines between (1) what is popular and accepted in today's culture and (2) what is biblical:
Pastor Louie Giglio turns his Sunday morning pulpit over to Bible study author Beth Moore
Pastor John Piper recommends a book by "Reverend" Lauren Winner
Pastor Tim Keller recommends a book by "Pastor" Adele Ahlberg CalhounI indicated that I hope for this issue to become front and center in today's church, and this is why: as I noted, I grew up attending a liberal church where women were allowed to share in pastoring duties. But in addition to that (and no surprise), the idea of Sola Scriptura (i.e., the idea that we bend the knee to Scripture as authoritative on all matters) was something of a joke. For anyone asking questions about scripture addressing women pastors (and yes, I was the questioning type), one was told, with a patronizing pat on the arm, Well of course we can't take the Bible as entirely accurate for today! No, the times have changed. It's just the biblical principles of helping others and following Jesus' example that we need to follow, you see.
After rejecting what I thought was Christianity and leaving the church as a young woman, I went into the New Age where pretty much anything goes for you, as long as you are sincere about your beliefs. And of course, while in the New Age, I became deeply involved in mysticism and occult practices.
Mercifully, God rescued me. He opened my eyes to the futility of liberalism and man-made wisdom, as opposed to seeking the truth of God's word on all matters. But more importantly, He opened my eyes to my own sinfulness and my need for a Savior. I repented and placed my faith in Christ's atoning death. What a miracle that a wretch such as I could be saved! My husband and I joined a church, and I naively thought that liberal teaching and New Age mysticism were far behind me. How foolish I was! I had only been a Christian for a short time before I began to realize that once conservative preachers and denominations were now sliding down the path toward liberalism....and yet the conservative evangelicals around me seemed not to notice or understand when I tried to point this out. I also suddenly began to see New Age mysticism (albeit with Christianized new names) flowing unchecked into the churches, sometimes brought in by Sunday School teachers, sometimes by the pastors.
This is why my sister and I write this blog. We've already been where the conservative evangelical church of today is headed. We've already lived out the liberalism and mysticism. We desire, with a deep and pure longing, to warn the church of what waits at the end of this road. It is not a good end. Despair and confusion and universalist theology with no salvific power will most likely be the result for churches that don't hold the line on Sola Scriptura. My question for the church of today is this: do we believe the Bible is God's inerrant word, or don't we? If we do, we must contend most earnestly for this issue. Share articles and books and DVDs with your pastors and church leaders. Contend earnestly but graciously with them, with Scripture as your guide. And above all, please be in earnest prayer for the church of today and for our pastors. These are not easy times in which to pastor a church. It is said that Charles Haddon Spurgeon, after having battled the Down-Grade Controversy all of his adult life, died of a broken heart. And yet, our church today is many times worse than the church during Spurgeon's day. Our pastors and churches need prayer.
Theology......More or Less With Beth (Sarah Flashing, Midwest Christian Outreach)
An Overview of Beth Moore (CARM)
Beth Moore's Dangerous Bible Twisting ( Fighting For The Faith radio)
John Piper Happy To Learn From Beth Moore