I am troubled by the recent dust up between John MacArthur and Beth Moore for multiple reasons. I am saddened by the nature of the discussion, the point of the discussion, and most of all by the tone of the discussion. What was the point in telling Beth Moore to “go home”?
I have no problem with disagreement. Disagreement, and adult discussion regarding that disagreement is not only healthy, but necessary. But Dr. MacArthur’s dismissive and condescending tone in his remarks was neither adult or healthy. And then an associate of Dr. MacArthur’s, Phil Johnson, doubled down on Dr. MacArthur’s comment by saying that the word that came to mind for him regarding Beth Moore was “Narcissist.” He further indicated that to him, Beth Moore is an example of what it means “to preach yourself rather than Christ.”
I am a complementarian, but I have concerns that in stating that fact, I will be placed into the same camp with those who unkindly and dismissively speak of our Christian sisters. While I do not agree with everything that Beth Moore teaches, I find her to be neither a Narcissist or a heretic. I believe Beth Moore’s only desire is to magnify Jesus and to build up others in their faith.
But my point here is not to defend Beth Moore. My problem is that many Christian leaders are becoming what they dislike most about those in the world. If we really look at it, the “go to” approach of the world in attacking our faith is to demean and dismiss us and our faith with sarcastic, snarky and fundamentally unkind remarks. If a person places their faith in Jesus, they are “ignorant,” “intolerant,” “homophobic,” and “emotional cripples who use their faith as a crutch.” Any statement about faith in Jesus is met with a dismissive waive of the hand. “If you disagree with me it is because you are stupid, bigoted and irrelevant.” Was that not almost exactly the same approach taken by John MacArthur and Phil Johnson?
I have great respect for John MacArthur and for his ministry, but when I look at Scripture, never once do I see Jesus speak in a hurtful, disrespectful or condescending way to any woman. The Apostle Peter speaks very clearly to me that I should “honor” my wife (1 Peter 3:7). I think this by necessity means that any professing Christian man should never “dishonor” any Christian woman.
Disagreement is healthy. It causes us to think, and it promotes our growth as believers. But disagreement never justifies disdain or ridicule. If you want to have a discussion/debate over roles and relationships between men and women, then let’s get after it. But let’s do it with kindness, love and respect. And let’s do it understanding that there are many fine men and women who love Jesus on both sides of this debate. And they are men and women who deserve our respect, not our ridicule or our snotty remarks.
Let’s not drop down into the sewer that is the world. And let us remember that attacking each other is never the answer.