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Salty Talk- Women in Ministry

Earlier this week John MacArthur, profound Christian theologian and pastor had some words to speak on women in ministry. When asked about the role of women, specifically Beth Moore, he was very blunt with his comments. (You can find an article about the exchange here.)

Let me be clear, I believe any person, and any church has the right to be faithful to their belief systems. I know that there are many Christians who do not affirm the gifts and ministry abilities of women- MacArthur among them. There are many churches that would never consider calling a woman minister- and I believe that is their right and they should have the ability to stay faithful to that interpretation of the Bible because there is Scriptural rationale to stand in that belief- even if it is not one that I support. However, I also believe that MacArthur took things too far, and allowed his personal belief systems to harm women- especially those in ministry.

To insult, degrade, or damage another Christian, especially one that is touching so many people for Jesus, is ill-advised. We are called to have our speech “always full of grace and seasoned with salt” (Col 4:6) and that our words should “give grace to all who hear” (Eph 4:29). Unfortunately, many times our speech falls short of that, and I believe that many of the comments revolving around this topic call into that category.   

I wonder if this is a moment to consider Paul’s words in Philippians 1:15-18:
“ It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. Scriptural beThe latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

I hope and pray that many church leaders can learn from this season of debate. What if the response was “theologically I am not comfortable seeing women in the pulpit, but as long as Jesus Christ crucified is preached I rejoice?" It seems to me like this might be the most Biblical response. There are certainly behaviors and sins that the church is called to stand up and rebuke, but we need to do so with love and grace. I hope and pray that we all can learn from this painful exchange, and that Christ might empower each of us to be gracious and merciful in our dialogue when it comes to matters of theological disagreement.
If you want to hear more about women in ministry check out The Two Preachers Talking Podcast episode about women in ministry. You can find it at

-Jon Prater

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash


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