Saturday, May 11, 2019

Beth Moore, the Growing Controversy of a Woman Teaching in SBC Churches. and a Question for You

Beth Moore
There's growing controversy on social media among those who belong to the Southern Baptist Convention over fellow SBC'er Beth Moore teaching men and women "from the pulpit" on Sunday mornings at various SBC churches.

This is such a silly controversy.

The idea of a "pulpit" in a Christian church is foreign to the New Testament. 

The "synagogues" of the Jews had a "pulpit" (wooden elevated stand) upon which teachers (rabbis) unrolled the scrolls and taught from them.

The New Testament ekklesia (the "church") is always defined as gifted and called out people (men and women) and never a building with a pulpit.

Ekklesia, or the church, means "called out ones."

So Spirit-gifted, "called-out" teachers in the ekklesia should teach. That's the purpose for why the Holy Spirit gifted them.

Beth Moore has the gift of teaching. She's Southern Baptist. She's a biblical conservative and a great communicator.

There are a few theological points of doctrine that Beth Moore would see differently than I, but those are minor. It's also a given that Beth Moore would not agree with me on some theological points that I teach. 

What matters is Beth Moore is a gifted teacher. I would love for Beth Moore to teach (preach) at Emmanuel Enid in all three of our Sunday morning services. No restrictions at all.

The current controversy seems to be over the fact that Beth Moore presumes to teach men the truth of Scripture. Comprehendo? Beth Moore dares to teach men biblical truth on a Sunday morning.

Those men upset with it must have intentionally forgotten all those times they've ever asked a woman something. 

What makes you men think spiritual or biblical information that helps someone live better should be categorized as different than any other information that helps someone live better (eg., asking for directions; getting financial counsel, etc.). 

The New Testament teaches us that the Spirit gifts His people as He pleases, and the Spirit's gift-giving is never gender-guarded.

Both men and women have the gift of teaching, and the sooner we learn that men can learn spiritual truths from women, the better off we are.

One year ago, at the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention, I stepped to microphone six and asked Dr. Al Mohler, President of Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, a question.

Al really never answered my question. He laughed it off. 

He can't answer it because he knows his illogical, unbiblical, and detrimental view of "women keeping silent" when it comes to teaching men spiritual truths will be exposed with any answer he gives. 

So now I'm asking you the same question. Give me your thoughts.

I originally wrote the following blogpost on  June 14, 2018, just a few days after Dr. Mohler and I engaged in a very cordial and public conversation. 


NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and Wade at Mic 6 
During the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention, I stepped to Microphone 6 to ask Dr. Mohler and the other Southern Baptist seminary Presidents a question.

Before I tell you what I asked, let me give you some background.

I, like most Southern Baptists, believe the Bible is God's infallible and inerrant Word. What I've discovered over the last dozen years is that men in control of the Southern Baptist Convention desire to tell you what the Bible means and don't like people disagreeing.

There's nothing wrong with giving others an interpretation of God's Word. Pastors do it all the time. It's called exegesis or "a critical explanation or interpretation of a text of Scripture."

But the Southern Baptist Convention will always be in trouble when there is a demand for conformity on tertiary matters of theology instead of a decision for cooperation around the primary message of the Gospel.

There is a huge difference between believing the Bible is God's Word and interpreting the Bible as God's Word.

None of us is God.

God doesn't stutter when He speaks, but we're often at a loss when we listen. "He that has ears to hear let him hear," Jesus said. The problem is us, not God.

If I don't think I can make a mistake in interpreting God's Word, then I have a problem with pride. I've placed myself in the position of God, telling you that you better believe what I say. God doesn't like pride, and pride will always lead to a personal fall.

That's why we all better be humble about telling others what God is saying. We may actually be misunderstanding God's Word. To believe God's Word is infallible is a confession of faith in God and God's Word. But to believe my interpretation of God's Word is infallible is a confession of faith in myself and my abilities.

So Christians have a simple job as fallible people who follow Jesus Christ.
We are to always make sure we don't confuse our interpretation with God's inspiration. 
That's why I like to ask seminary Presidents questions.

They are some of our most educated,  intellectually astute, and theologically-minded people in the Southern Baptist Convention. But if they're not careful, seminary Presidents - like pastors -  can get in the bad habit of thinking their interpretation of God's Word is infallible.

Al Mohler (Photo: Van Payne, Baptist Press)
Al Mohler does not believe that a woman can teach pastors the Bible. In Southern Seminary's School of Theology, there are  35 professors - 34 white men and 1 black man  - who are teaching and training Southern Baptist preachers and teachers, pastors and theologians, for the purpose of building the kingdom of God to the glory of Jesus Christ.

There are no women. 

Al Mohler, Paige Patterson, and a host of other current and former leaders of the Conservative Resurgence interpret God's Word as saying, "No woman shall ever teach a man or have a position of authority over a man (e.g. especially holy men like pastors)." 

I believe their belief is built on an erroneous interpretation of God's Word.  God commissions His people to serve His Kingdom based on their giftings and not their gender

Male pastors taking "spiritual authority" over people is a fraudulent authority in Christ's Kingdom. It's not supposed to be that way. It's contrary to the teachings of Jesus. The idea that male pastors have some kind of "special authority" is the result of a misinterpretation of just one or two passages from the New Testament

Yet SBC Presidents pontificate on pastoral power as if this pagan principle is actually a Papal bull. 

And it's also why female Hebrew professors are wrongly fired in the SBC. It's why male students leave class when a female seminary student exegetes the Scripture. It's why females are not in leadership in the SBC. 

That's all background for why I went to Microphone 6 and asked my question of Dr. Mohler and the other Southern Baptist Seminary Presidents. 

The Question
"Dr. Mohler, I want to thank you and the other seminary Presidents for your leadership and your reports. I've sat through many years of annual meetings, and the reports from our seminary Presidents this year constitute the best I've heard. Thank you all for your transparency, theological acumen, and love for Christ's Kingdom.
In light of several Southern Baptist women writing to me and telling me that Southern Baptist male divinity students are encouraged by seminary professors to walk out when female students fulfilling M.Div. requirements exegete the Scriptures out loud, and personally knowing that there have been unjust terminations of Hebrew and Old Testament professors in our Southern Baptist seminaries because they are females, and observing the lack of competent, gifted women in leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention, I have a specific question that I'd like to ask you and the other seminary Presidents.
In 1863,  Joanna P. Moore (1832-1916) was appointed the first female Baptist missionary to the Home Mission Field by the American Baptist Convention, an original member of the Triennial Convention (1814), the forerunner of the Southern Baptist Convention (1845).
According to the Home Mission Monthly Magazine, Joanna Moore arrived for her first mission assignment on Island #10 in the Mississippi River. She ministered among former African American slaves who were now being protected by the Union Army. These former slaves had their own male pastors, mostly illiterate men who faithfully shepherded their fellow Christians in the plantations of the south.
These African American plantation preachers had never heard or thought it was wrong to get drunk occasionally until Joanna P. Moore arrived. She faithfully taught these pastors the Scriptures, especially expounding I Timothy 3:3 and the biblical prohibition against drunkenness. The pastors reformed their conduct, ceasing their occasional habit of getting drunk, and were better pastors due to the influence of Joanna P. Moore. 
So here's my question: 
Was it sinful for Joanna P. Moore to teach those male pastors the Word of God, and should she have remained silent and let those pastors continue in their drunkenness?"
After some laughter from the crowd, Dr. Mohler gave his response which demonstrated a great deal of inconsistency (I'll write on his response at another time).

My goal with this post is to encourage all fellow Christians who love Christ and His Word to consider and contemplate the illogical, fallible, and impractical interpretation that prevents a woman from teaching men or pastors the Holy Scriptures.

Never give in to demands for conformity on a specific interpretation of Scripture when your Master is Jesus Christ, and only His Word is infallible, not the words of a man.

Search the Scriptures for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

I've drawn mine. 

For more information on Baptist evangelist Joanna P. Moore, watch this short video.


Tim Bushong said...

Wade - if you're going to "wade in" here, you have to deal with the other side's principle line of argumentation, namely, 1 Tim. 2:8-3:13. You don't even begin to address that text, and instead, you make this about a popular personality (BM) and a singular case in SBC history. You're actually taking the exact same point of view of the Assemblies of God on spiritual gifts and the pastoral ministry.

Wade Burleson said...


All you have to do is search any text in the top left "Google Search" box of my blog and hundreds of articles will come up on the subject.

Until then, here's two articles to start your reading:

The Woman of Error in I Timothy 2:12 Shouldn't Teach

Artemis and the End of us: Evangelical Errors Regarding Women

Florence in KY said...

Thank you, Wade. My views exactly!

Anonymous said...

Whether the current crop of big name teachers in the SBC should be teaching men or not, I have a much bigger problem with what they teach.

Smacks of the worst sort of ecumenism (the therapeutic moralistic deism model) combined with a sort of weird new age feeling based rather than scripture based teaching.

We recently had one of the current crop of star ladies in our town. The focus was on the music for most of the women who attended that have made any comments around me. (I knew what she teaches and skipped.) Next focus was on "I don't see how anybody could go there and not feel xyz." When I asked what was taught all I got was fuzzy deer in the headights looks.

Convinced me all over again Paul really did forbid women to teach men, and why.

It isn't a matter of are women gifted. Or capable. Or does the wider culture expect it. Or is it fair. Or any of the subjective reasons to allow it, indeed endorse it.

It really does come down to what does the Bible say.

I understand your thoughts on the subject, Pastor Wade. But on this issue I think a very proper concern for women's equality has gotten mixed into the issue. The issue in the church is not equality but rather what the Bible teaches.

And honestly, once any caveat of scripture is suddenly understood differently today from the preponderance of historical understanding, then they all are up for deconstruction.

Tim Bushong said...

Big 'amen' there...

Anonymous said...

"The issue in the church is not equality but rather what the Bible teaches."

What? I guess this kind of thinking is what happens when you cherry-pick and ignore in order to serve your own agenda.

Well, your opposition can do this, too:

"27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:28)

So, if all are now 'one' in Christ, HOW DO YOU DISCRIMINATE THEN????? Against HIM????

Tim Bushong said...

"...any text in the top left "Google Search" box of my blog"

Really? You think that by referencing yourself (and your egalitarian rebuttals of Paul's unambiguous universal standards for Church polity) that that constitutes addressing the text? I'm not talking about what you may have written in 2012 or 2013 (which is a red-herring that cannot be consistently applied to the NT corpus), I'm talking about you writing an entire article on Beth Moore, the SBC, and acting as if this is just a matter of interpretation and historical precedent.

You're obviously an egalitarian - granted. That hermeneutic is identical to the one being used to promote the acceptance of lesbians and sodomites. "Just for that time period," "just for that region," "it's about temple worship," "only dealing with a specific instance," and so on. Same hermeneutic.

"Eve sinned in ignorance" (!!!), "Contrary to what she learned in the Temple of Artemis, males are not always her problem." You missed it - it ain't about relating to the T of A, it's about relating everything to the worship of Christ in God's way. Which is why the VERY NEXT set of verses prescribe male-only pastoral care - elders!

Larry R Hubbard said...


The best comment I have every heard about the whole CR movement in the SBC came from my pastor Jim Bain, Istrouma Baptist_Baton Rouge, in the late 80's at the start of the purge of the seminaries. Jim believed in the Word as strong as anyone I have heard preach but he noted he was less concerned over people in the convention arguing over interpretations than he was over people who "said" they believed the Bible and did not live it out. Patterson is an example of the latter and what was sowed then is being reaped today.

Christiane said...

seems the Good Lord has a sense of humor . . .

for those males who 'pride' themselves on their 'masculinity' as THE basis for being allowed to get up on a pulpit, there is not one of them that does not carry the vestigial evidence of their formation by God in their mother's womb that, in the beginning, marks them as 'human':

seems to me the whole concept of the formation of a human person being 'knit together' by God should be respected in its totality . . . and IF we are humble enough, and kind enough to one another, we will begin to understand that our human persons were formed from the same elements of the Earth, and that it was God Who breathed the breath of life into each human person.

misogyny is a great sin of self-idolatry on the part of some; but perhaps not understanding the full value of each living human person as made in the image of God, with a human spirit and a human soul all together comprising a human person, has led some men to see themselves as 'better than' the other sex in ways that Galatians 3:28 denies to them.

So if men who suffer from male hubris will take off their shirts and and look at their chests in the mirror, they might stop and think and then give thanks that the God Who has provided them with evidence of their shared humanity with the other fifty-one percent of the human race. If this activity is offensive or too much for some, I apologize, but I thought it might be an exercise in celebrating our Creator's wisdom and yes, kindness also.

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Bushong,

My comment to you referencing the Search Bar was in response to you writing: "Wade - if you're going to "wade in" here, you have to deal with the other side's principle line of argumentation, namely, 1 Tim. 2:8-3:13. You don't even begin to address that text."

Stop making categorical statements if you don't desire concrete responses.

Wade Burleson said...


Amen to your pastor's observations.

Ken F said...

The timing of this post is interesting because only a few days ago a friend sent me this short video of Paul Young (author of The Shack) discussing what he found by researching the various verses that seem to definitely prove the "complementarian" position:

It seems to boil down to choosing to cling to what the Bible actually says in the original language, or clinging to how it has been historically interpreted. But the historical interpretation has not always been consistent, so that would mean choosing which of the various historical traditions to cling to.

A few years ago I was definetly much more in the complementarian camp. But now I am thinking people like Paul Young and NT Wright are closer to the truth on this topic.

Wade Burleson said...

Ken F,

Well stated.

Tom said...


The argument of a woman teaching a man is based on a false argument in that the rebuttals of a person's expressed opinion on the Scriptures are evaluated on their "gender" or style or expression of closing their article or comments, is rife in every part of the circle of Christ expression. Even in the comments on this blog the putting down of another person is rife and not on an apology response.

I hold to the view that the original texts of the source documents are infallible, but that the translations of those text exhibit the theological misunderstanding of the Translators and their constructed traditional belief systems.

I have sat under the teaching of a woman in a Bible seminary and her words of understanding the content of the scriptures were well received.

I have also sat under the teachings of a man and the facts of the scriptures never got in the way of a good story, and he was recognised as a Dr. of Div. by his fellow peers.

In all things we should test the validity of what we are taught and when God's Spirit confirms what we have received from the "teacher" irrespective of their gender or bias then we should accept the guidance of the HS in such matters. The question that we must answer for ourselves then is, “Do we have a real connection to the HS?” Sadly, many people claim to hear from a spiritual source to justify their expressed opinions on the scriptures.

Many positions are also argued out of the “context” perceived or otherwise of the scriptures and as to whether, what we read, should be taken literally or as poetical imagery. This can be seen in the context of Biblical prophecy where our contextualisation of the time element with respect to the prophecy can lead us astray based on whether we see a short- or long-term time aspect to the prophetic word(s) in question. The wrong time context can lead us astray very easily in our theological understanding.

Should a woman teach a man?

Both a male and female teach should be shown the same respect and their words of wisdom tested by our personal reading of the scriptures to confirm for ourselves what we have heard, read or seen.

If this same respect is not shown due to our biased tendencies, then we are in error and need to examine ourselves in the light of God’s word.


Rex Ray said...


You said, “human persons were formed from the same elements of the Earth.”

Are you sure about that? I mean Adam was made from dirt, but Eve was made from ‘refined dirt’. :)

Tim Bushong,

You wanted Wade to address 1 Timothy 2:8-3:13.

Well, let’s to that. Did Paul give reasons to back up his statement? “I do not let women teach men or have authority over them…” (verse 12)

Yes, he did in verse 13.

Tim, would you believe Paul if he had said, ‘Because the cow jumped over the moon’?

You’re right; he didn’t say that, but he said something that was about as stupid. He said, “For God made Adam first…”

The Bible records many times that God never went by seniority when choosing a leader.

Then Paul gives another reason that’s worse than his first reason. He said in verse 14, “It was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result.”

Hey Paul, which was worse, being deceived or sinning without being deceived? Your hero, Adam, even partly blamed God for him sinning: “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” (Genesis 3:12 NLT)

Paul in this instance of being ‘down on women’ so much he even states in the next verse. “They will be saved through childbearing…”

Tim, don’t get me wrong, Paul is my biggest ‘hero’ of all the Apostles.

Christiane said...

Hey there REX RAY,

re: your comment on 'dirt'

LOL :)

have a wonderful Lord's Day tomorrow

Christiane said...

In the light of this teaching from sacred Scripture, consider a WOMAN instructing men, and THEN, get some perspective from 'Job':

"7But ask the animals, and they will instruct you; ask the birds of the air, and they will tell you. 8Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; let the fish of the sea inform you."

IF the ANIMALS, the BIRDS, the FISH have the affirmation of God to INSTRUCT YOU, TO TELL YOU,
TO TEACH YOU, TO INFORM YOU; and if even the Earth itself speaks God's truth to men;
and there is no 'gender restriction' of God's creatures being teachers of men;

THEN I have to wonder how far down the line, certain 'men' have relegated 'women' in God's eyes.

Something's wrong with the thinking here. Or may the sin of PRIDE has blinded and shut the ears of certain men to the deep teachings of God, the ones that come even from those who have no 'voice', but teach by their very existence and presence, the truths about God??

I think Joanna P. Moore might have been able to take her place among God's creatures, yes. And just by her example and her presence, pointed those men to the better Way. And how much better that she was gifted with a heart and a voice to help them find their way back from the edge of the precipice?

I remember the words of the old freed slave woman 'Sojourner Truth' who said, 'the womens is coming up and they bringing the mens with them'

Maybe the sin is taking God's gifts for granted, even when they come from those who we see as 'humble'. How little we know sometimes of the wonders of God's Kingdom and how the humble of this Earth will lead others to God.

Christiane said...

when one creature puts down the DIGNITY of another creature of God;
just Whose 'dignity' do they think they are belittling?

without RESPECT for the dignity of human persons in this world, and without respect for God's Creatures and without respect for His Creation, we lose our way and stumble

Anonymous said...

I have struggled with spiritual abuse in SBC churches most of my life, and I have a few questions I wonder about:
1. How can the SBC, build entire theologies on their interpretation of a few verses when they contradict the context of the rest of the Bible? (I'm thinking about those verses in Corinthians, Ephesians and Timothy compared to submit to one another, love one another, making disciples of all nation's, Mary at Christ's resurrection,the woman at the well, the first will be
2. Why would the SBC choose to interpret Scripture in a legalistic way that oppresses half the body of Christ and hurts the advancement of the Gospel? Why not error on the side of love and salvation, especially considering there is much debate for both sides? Why choose the most legalistic, least loving interpretation?
3. Why can't SBC leaders see that they are unbalanced in their interpretation of Scripture and how it affects the way they preach, govern and discipline the church because they have omitted female views? (They seem to struggle with seeing David and Bathsheba, Esther, Ruth, etc. through a female lense which may affect how they see and govern over current domestic violent, rape and childhood molestation situations.)
4. Last but not least, can they not see the damage they do to both women and men by their interpretation of Scripture? They create prideful men who can't learn from half the body of Christ while simultaneously implying that woman are not loved as much by God and leave women with virtually no Biblical heroins to identify with. (Speaking from my own personal experience, one can't be constantly treated subordiantly by the Church and believe they are equally valued and loved by God. Separate roles and equal value
truly doesn't work or make sense. It just hurts one on a soul level. If people are
truly equal, aren't they equal in function and value?
Please go easy on me in your comments. I am not a theologian nor do I post on blogs regularly. Truthfully, I'm scared to death to post this. I just sincerely have these questions about my denomination as I try to heal from my past spiritual abuses. I truly respect both Wade and Beth which is why I ask. Thank you.

Ken F said...

Thanks. When I listened to that discussion I was not paying attention to the screen. The next video started playing and I heard a familiar voice. It was you introducing Paul Young at one of your Sunday services.

Wade Burleson said...


You ask some great questions. I'll give it a shot (concise answers).

1. Southern Baptist interpretations are often more historically Roman Catholic - a mix of the old Judaic practices mixed with Roman worship of the gods. I hope to show that historical creeds struggled with Romanism in the next couple of posts. All that means is some SBC leaders get their interpretations from traditions, historical creeds, and "that's what we've always believed" than Scripture itself.

2. Because many SBC leaders don't understand the difference between inspiration of the Word and intepretation of the Word (and confuse them), a denial of their interpretation of Scripture is a denial of God. You're on your way to hell. That's so silly, but it's true.

3. Until you experience the full-orbed image of God in gifted and called-out males and females serving together in equality as Christ - who has all power - builds His church, you don't know what it is your missing.

4. I'm not sure anybody in the SBC cares about "damage to women" if they think they are "dedicated to God." I'm showing them that their dedication to God is misplaced and not even dedication to the Creator (who made males and females in His image). Their dedication is to themselves (males) and a belief in male superiority (though they will not publicly admit it).

Sallie Borrink said...

Anonymous and others,

I'd like to recommend Marg Mowczko's website for those who want to understand the Biblical egalitarian view from the perspective of someone who is deeply devoted to understanding the Scriptures and following Christ.

She is thorough and careful in her handling of this topic and goes to great depths in her studies and posts. She is the exact opposite of the flaming liberal feminist egalitarian who cherry picks verses out of context caricature that so many people assume makes up the egalitarian side.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Wade, for taking so much time to answer my questions. I can't wait to read your future posts on Romanism.
I really hate to think bad of some of my brothers in Christ, but it seems you're right. I can't think of any other reason why they would be so unwilling to discuss these differing interpretations or acknowledge there are other valid ways to interpret these verses while holding to the innerancy of Scripture.
Back in the eighties, I was pregnant and single when I met a Southern Baptist pastor who showed me the love of Jesus without any judgement whatsoever. I've been part of the SBC ever since, but unfortunately I have seen a lot of judgement and pain caused by the heavy-handed use of these doctrines. I only began to realize there were other valid ways to interpret them during the last year or two, but openly discussing them seems to bring about a lot of anger. Thank you for being willing to take the brunt of that anger to open dialog on this subject and lift up your sisters in Christ. Stumbling upon your blog has truly been a blessing to me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Sallie. What a great recommendation! I discovered her blog when I began to wrestle with these doctrines. Her careful handing of the Scripture has been eye-opening for me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Sallie

Anonymous said...

'When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.'

Anonymous said...

Ken F - thanks for the Paul Young link.

Did you see where J. Mac called NT Wright a 'happy heretic'? Unbelievable.


Sallie Borrink said...


So apparently we already know each other. LOL!

And I was shocked to see that link. I took that site down and don't know how you were able to still access that link. David is trying to figure that out.


Ken F said...

Hi Ken,
That heretic lable is pretty interesting, especially in terms of who defines what is and is not heresy.
Unfortunately, the Bible does not give a tidy list of heresies. Also, if you search on the internet, you will find that every famous Christian/denomination teaches heresy by one standard or another.

So I tried to find a standard. Historically, the ecumenical councils named and condemned the main heresies, such as Arianism, Nestorianism, Apollinarianism, etc. I also learned that these issues could not be resolved via "sola scriptura" because the "heretics" were doing such a good job of using the Bible to support their views. In the case of Arianism, it pretty much boiled down to using established tradition to break the tie.

The other interesting fact is the issues the councils did not address, such as the nature of heaven and hell, age if the earth, the how of the atonement, and many other topics that are viewed as essential by different denominations. If the ecumenical councils are the standard, then it's not technically possible to have a heretical view of heaven and hell, for example.

If the ecumenical councils are not the standard, then what is? The Bible seems like an obvious answer except for thr success many of the early heretics had in using the Bible to prove their point. Or is it a denominational leader? Or does everyone get to come up with their own standard?

I still have more questions than answers, but I'm thinking that we should not lightly dismiss the consensus of the ecumenical councils that met prior to the East/West schism. And I also tend to dismiss the heresy label unless the person can make an appeal to historical consensus.

As for John MacArthur, he once taught a view of the Trinity that was a form of Arianism. He has since recanted from that particular view. Just for the record, I am not a MacArthur fan.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, Ken F. What do you think of Frak Viola's and Greg Boyd's view:

"So what’s our point?

Very simply, the way that countless Christians pull the lever of the H-bomb (heresy) on their fellow brethren today violates both the way the first-century Christians understood heresy as well as the later usage of the term in church history.

As we noted earlier, instead of reserving the word “heresy” for those who actively work against the church, and instead of accepting the Ecumenical creeds as the ultimate criteria of orthodoxy, many today set up their own particular belief systems as the standard of “orthodoxy” and then drop the H-bomb on any who merely believe differently.

Sadly, most of those who are wrongly called “heretics” by some fellow Christians today are people who are completely orthodox according to the historic Christian creeds, and they are not dividing local assemblies. But some people have called them “heretics” simply because they hold to a particular view of Christ’s coming, of ecclesiology, or of the gifts of the Spirit.

Others have been labeled “heretics” because they hold to a certain interpretation of Genesis 1, or to a particular understanding of God’s sovereignty, or of election, free will, or the nature of the future.

So our argument really boils down to this:

If a person holds to beliefs that are in line with the historical Christian creeds (Nicene, Apostles, Chalcedon) and they are not dividing a local assembly of believers, then to call them a heretic is a gross and perverted use of the term.

And this kind of dubious branding grieves the Holy Spirit.

Our call, then, is for sisters and brothers in the body of Christ to align their use of the word “heretic” to the definitions of the New Testament and the early church. In so doing, we will see a whole lot less H-bomb dropping, and a whole lot less bloodletting in the body of Christ.

And that would give joy to the Holy Spirit!"


Ken F said...

Hi Ken,
Thanks for the very interestinf link. That article makes a lot of sense. I have not read much from Viola or Boyd. Is suppose, like most authors, they will have a bent that concerns me in some ways and encourages me in others. In am pretty sure Boyd hase been called a heretic for things not condemned in councils.

There is also the body of dogma handed down from church fathers. That is another big mess to sort through.

As appealing as it seems to go the sola scriptura route, history shows that many have gone off the rails with that approach. I'm still sorting this out for myself. Sorry that I cannot give a better answer.

Anonymous said...

'sola scriptura' would be a fine integrity in principle

unfortunately 'the Bible clearly says' more often means 'this is what I SAY the Bible means'

and 'they're off' and its like a circular firing squad with the world watching the carnage

Christiane said...

" The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from and our truest prayers. We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know. We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength. " ( Frederick Buechner )

The Kingdom of God: a 'no cage zone'

Rex Ray said...

I just read this link, and I’m astounded.

This tells how John Piper’s mother was killed on a tour bus in Israel by a piece of lumber falling from a truck and going through the windshield of the bus. She must have been sitting on the front seat behind the driver who probable saw it coming and ducked.

My father and mother was on a tour bus in Israel many years ago. He liked to talk to the driver and sat on the seat behind him. But the first day he sat back in the middle of the bus with my mother a piece of lumber fell from a truck through the windshield and killed a woman where he’d been sitting. Piper said it was a 4 x 4.

Christiane said...

Hello REX RAY,

goodness, what a story!

Christiane said...


I think you might like this story by Beth Moore. I found it very moving indeed:

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

for those males who 'pride' themselves on their 'masculinity' as THE basis for being allowed to get up on a pulpit, there is not one of them that does not carry the vestigial evidence of their formation by God in their mother's womb that, in the beginning, marks them as 'human':

Stephen Jay Gould's essay "Male Nipples and Clitoral Ripples" (in the essay collection Bully for Brontosaurus) described this subject from the POV of human biology and mammalian embryonic development.

Rex Ray said...


I agree with Judy; “That’s a sweet story!”

(“God didn’t send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.”)

Christiane said...


well, I wanted to make people think about their shared biological connections to being human, but I didn't go THAT far, LOL.

may I suggest also that studies of our 'human biology and mammalian embryonic development' may someday provide insight into how people are born with gender issues; people who are now sorely judged and excluded in much of the world. I am a believer in the 'natural law' but having a son with Down Syndrome, I have learned that even the smallest change to one chromosome in human DNA can result in catastrophic changes, and my goodness, all those years ago, before there was as much awareness of Downs people, you have better believe our family felt the brunt of the ignorance that was out there . . .

I really hope I didn't offend people with my example, but we have to know that sometimes nature goes sideways (or else how would we have seen evolutionary progress from changes in DNA over the millenia)
. . . and to call for SOME degree of understanding and yes, compassion for those who are termed 'different' seems the right thing to do, as we all of us are bearing scars of the Fall each in our own way.

Jay said...


With respect to the general question you are asking, I am in agreement with you. I believe that the Scriptures do not prohibit Beth Moore from preaching at your church. I am also in agreement with you that Joanna Moore was right to point out to the pastors that their actions were contradicted by Scripture. Unfortunately, your point is obscured by a morass of bad exegesis and emotivism.

Let me begin with a few comments on the articles you referenced to Tim Bushong. In "The Woman of Error" you claim that Paul switches from plural women to singular, which is true. However, you then claim that "woman" has an article making it "the woman." I am looking at the NA28 and there is no article before "woman." You are just wrong about that and all the exegesis you derive from this alleged definite article is incorrect. So, to claim that Paul was speaking about a specific woman is pure speculation, and, I would argue, the context makes highly unlikely.

You claim that this woman was teaching error out of her ignorance and should be treated with mercy, because she is the same as Eve, who was deceived. Read Gen 3 again. Eve was not "deceived" in that she did not know she should not eat the fruit. She tells the serpent that she is not to eat it or even touch it. She knows the rule and she deliberately disobeys God. What is significant for I Tim 2 is that in almost every place that Paul uses this word for "deceived," it indicates willful "ignorance" or self-deception. The primary usage of this word is not someone who was just mistaken; it is used about people who specifically choose to reject hearing the truth.

Your claim that "childbearing" must refer to the Messiah is pure conjecture. Nothing in the passage requires this. BTW, it does not matter that it is a noun and not a verb. The word refers to the act of childbearing. Note that "act" is a noun but it refers to an action that takes place. It has verbal connotations.

In your Artemis article, you claim that the phrase in 2:12 should be read "I do not now permit the woman..." It is indeed a present tense verb, but that does not restrict the action of the verb to that particular moment. The present tense is a highly versatile tense that can mean something for just right now, or it could be something that began in the past and extends into the future, or it could mean something that is about to begin, or it could mean something strictly in the past but is put in present tense for vividness, or it could mean something that is true for all time. You have just chosen one option as if that is the only option, because it is the option you want to have here. These are just a few of the fallacious exegetical decisions that you have portrayed as being unquestionably true. In doing that, you do a grave disservice to your argument and to your credibility.

(to be cont'd)

Jay said...


The phrase "to teach and to have authority" is a collocation that means "function as elder." This should be fairly obvious since I Tim 3 begins by talking about the qualifications for elder. Paul restricts the office of elder to males. Why does he do this? Paul says it is because the woman (note that this reference to "woman" does have the article, but it is clearly refer to Eve) was "deceived" (see above). The woman refused to believe what God said and the consequence of such is that women lost the right to be elders.

Now, I am sure there will be much howling at this point about how unfair that is. But, I refer you to your comment about being biblically consistent. If you have a problem with women losing the right to be elders because of something Eve did, then you also have a problem when Paul says, in Rom 5, that men are made righteous by what Jesus did. It's not my righteousness that saves me; it's Jesus' righteousness. If you have a problem with the actions of one person affecting others, then you have a problem with the atonement.

Paul prohibits women from being elders. Elders are the protectors of doctrine in the church. They are the ones who are responsible to God for the spiritual well being of the church and they are charged with maintaining doctrinal purity. In general, they would be the ones who would preach, but that does not preclude a woman from preaching if she has training and knowledge, so long as the church knows who determines the doctrine for that church. I am guessing that everyone at Emmanuel knows that you are the elder there and that if there is a doctrinal dispute in the church, that you are the one to resolve it. Accordingly, if Beth Moore comes to speak at your church, there is no confusion over who is accountable to God for what goes on in that service. You are. So, there would be no conflict with I Tim 2. Beth would not be exercising elder authority, so it would be no problem for her to exercise her teaching gifts there.

One may disagree with the brief comments here (I cannot give a full exegesis of the passage), but the most that could be argued from I Tim 2 is that a woman cannot preach in the assembly. Paul did not know anything about Sunday School or other para-church type organizations, and, clearly, he did not see any problem with Priscilla acting as a teacher in a discipleship role with a man. So, the most that could be legitimately argued, and I still think it is wrong, is that a woman could not preach in the assembly/worship service of the church. Everything else has to be fair game based on a fair reading of the text.

As I said, Wade, I agree with much of what you say and disagree with some. Primarily, though, I wish that you would not engage is so many exegetical fallacies. It muddies the waters and makes it more difficult to discuss an already touchy subject with any sort of clarity.


Christiane said...

Hello Jay,

if you are inclined and have time, take a look at this, which offers another perspective:

"when we read in the biblical description the words addressed to the woman: "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" (Gen 3:16), we discover a break and a constant threat precisely in regard to this "unity of the two" which corresponds to the dignity of the image and likeness of God in both of them. But this threat is more serious for the woman, since domination takes the place of "being a sincere gift" and therefore living "for" the other: "he shall rule over you". This "domination" indicates the disturbance and loss of the stability of that fundamental equality which the man and the woman possess in the "unity of the two": and this is especially to the disadvantage of the woman, whereas only the equality resulting from their dignity as persons can give to their mutual relationship the character of an authentic "communio personarum". While the violation of this equality, which is both a gift and a right deriving from God the Creator, involves an element to the disadvantage of the woman, at the same time it also diminishes the true dignity of the man. Here we touch upon an extremely sensitive point in the dimension of that "ethos" which was originally inscribed by the Creator in the very creation of both of them in his own image and likeness."

Jay, I particularly believe that men are as harmed by extreme patriarchy as are women, and of course children who see the whole show are harmed by witnessing it. So when people are Christian, they CAN return to 'the unity of the two' and practice mutual giving in the way of Eden before the Fall.

God's words 'he shall rule over you' were a description of a wounded marital relation after the Fall. . . .

Here's the link for the quote:

Rex Ray said...


No one said they were, but some act as if every word they said was God talking.

Yes, God inspired men to write, but He didn’t hold their hands.

For example, if we read only Deuteronomy, we would believe Moses got a raw deal why he was not allowed by God to enter the Promise Land because GOD WAS ANGRY WITH THE PEOPLE as shown:

“And the Lord was also angry with me BECAUSE OF YOU. He said to me, “Moses, not even you will enter the Promise Land!” (Deuteronomy 1:37 NLT)

“Please let me cross the Jordan to see the wonderful land on the other side…But the Lord was angry with me BECAUSE OF YOU, and he would not listen to me…” (Deuteronomy 3:25-26 NLT)

“But the Lord was angry with me BECAUSE OF YOU. He vowed that I would not cross the Jordan River into the good land…” (Deuteronomy 4:21 NLT)

The truth why Moses was not permitted to enter the Promise Land is explained by God:

“But the Lord said to Moses and Aron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them to the land I am giving them.” (Numbers 20:12 NLT)

“The time has come for Aron to join his ancestors in death. He will not enter the land I am giving the people of Israel, because the TWO OF YOU rebelled against my instructions concerning the water at Meribah. (Numbers 20:24 NLT)

“After you have seen it, you will die like your brother Aron, for YOU BOTH rebelled against my instructions in the wilderness of Zin…” (Numbers 27:13-14 NLT)

Can you imagine Moses and Aron discussing God telling to “Speak to the rock” (Numbers 20:8) and thinking they’d look like fools if water didn’t come out? They knew striking the rock in the past had worked and they’d better stay with that. Their sin was not believing God, and they paid the price.

Writer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

Beth Moore's bible study material has been a blessing to my entire church. One other note I would like to add. For those people who are in a small church (30-50 people), we don't have enough men who want to teach a class. If it wasn't for our women, we wouldn't have very many volunteers at all.

Christiane said...

The thing about the Bible is that people can pick it apart and study it and argue over it and use it for the wrong agendas and beat other people over the head with it . . . on and on and on, but THEN:

THAT doesn't explain the mystery of how a day may come when a needy soul opens up a Gideon bible in a hotel room and his life is changed forever by what he reads at that moment . . .

when I was over at SBCvoices, CB Scott told about his experience of conversion in such a manner, and his description was of the nature of someone who was so astonished and grateful for having this happen in his life at that moment. . . .

do we understand that there IS something within the sacred Scriptures that can 'awaken' the sleeper with a jolt . . . something way, way beyond the scholarly studies of theologians, something so powerful that it can resonate in the hearts of those whose lives are at lowest ebb? The 'sacred' in those Scriptures is not something to be taken 'for granted', no. Even, maybe especially, for those who do not have a 'sacramental' understanding of theology. It's the least suspecting that can be the most affected by the power of the Word to convict the human heart.

Victorious said...

Hello Christiane,

If I understand you correctly in this...." Even, maybe especially, for those who do not have a 'sacramental' understanding of theology. It's the least suspecting that can be the most affected by the power of the Word to convict the human heart.'s similar to what Jesus said to the chief priests, elders, and scribes:

"Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. "For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him. Matt. 21:31-32

Christiane said...

Hello Victorious,

Yep. You got it.

very simply, the Word says it this way:

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Rex Ray said...

Victorious and Christiane,

“…the power of the Word to convict the human heart” reminds me of Rex Ray (my uncle who was a missionary to China) when the Foreign Mission Board was having money problems. They told him to close the Baptist Book Store as it was too expensive.

He didn’t want to and paid from his salary to keep it open. His wife complained they needed money to replace their kids worn-out shoes.

He was about to close it when a man asked him to help start a church in another town. He had bought a Bible at the Store; trusted Jesus and about 20 others also.

The Store stayed open.

Unknown said...

Also the Nazarene point of view. The biblical context of women remaining quiet in the church was regarding her lack of education! There is your context!!

Unknown said...

Thank you! ..and I might add,, Jesus knew this would come up as a hindrance to getting the lost guess what? MARY STAYED AND CRIEDAT the tomb of our resurrected Savior and He showed himself to her..then said GO TELL MY DISCIPLES I HAVE RISEN ..

Anonymous said...

ah, homeschooling!