This week, fledgling Christian news organization Disrn.com released two opinion pieces covering the flap up over John MacArthur’s “go home” advice to Beth Moore.
Pulpit & Pen would love to see 1000 discerning competitors outdo it in the mission to fill the world with godly discernment. But judging from its handling of the Beth Moore controversy, Disrn.com needs to work on its discernment.
The first article to catch our eye was Monday’s Opinion: The “go home” heard ’round the evangelical world. The second was today’s Opinion: MacArthur vs. Moore: Whatever happened to grace? We’ll take a brief look at each.
John MacArthur’s “go home” comment to Beth Moore has been a lightening rod. See our coverage here, here, here, here, here, and here. MacArthur’s comments gives us a clear choice: In what he is claiming, he’s either right, or wrong. Bible-believers and goats alike can at least agree on this: We need to talk about it.
The direction of many churches will be influenced by the woman preacher Beth Moore and by the response MacArthur made to her open flouting of Scripture. Beth Moore’s popularity and acceptance in nominally conservative Christianity has positioned her to move churches in America rapidly leftward. Discernment is called for. But we are concerned it may not be found at Disrn.com.
Disrn.com: “Your New Favorite News Site”
Disrn.com writes mainly for a Christian readership, with a name that cashes in on the growing popularity of the term “discernment.” The site was created by Babylon Bee founder Adam Ford, who does solid work tracking (and sometimes lampooning) the happenings within Reformed Christendom.
The first article in question was written by Kyle Mann. It explained the “go home” flap up and took the angle that MacArthur was too harsh. When Todd Friel asked John MacArthur to give a pithy response to the name Beth Moore, Disrn.com writer Kyle Mann winced. “MacArthur came off too harsh from the outside looking in, and this whole circus was probably unhelpful.”
He needs a soy latte and a pat on the head, followed by a man-talk. Earth to Kyle Mann: “Tone” and “harshness” have been abused to the point of becoming a joke, especially given the Gospel Coalition’s ongoing efforts to effeminize church men.
The truth is offensive to those who hate it. That is how it will be. So the first thing to ask when someone finds your words offensive is: “Are my words true?” If a man says no, then it may be your meaning and not your manners that offended him. That is a possibility all parties ought to uncover before going any further, given the rampant appeals to “tone” that the Winsome Gestapo uses to divert debate.
If you would like to be taken seriously, you will need to state frankly where you stand on the issue of substance. Once you have done that, then you can share your wisdom about better communication. Until the world knows your view, it is not clear to what degree your “concerns” about tone are being shaded by your conclusions. In today’s hit-and-run Twitter environment, you will appear like one of the abusers. This is the new intellectual landscape. Gird up your loins.
The truth-averse are not necessarily the best judges of whether a truth-teller has spoken appropriately. John MacArthur was talking to Christians who love the Bible, not to hirelings or scripture-maligners. But Disrn’s Kyle Mann winced…
“It seems unwise, it seems brash, it seems harsh… Are there legitimate complaints to be made about MacArthur’s comments? Yeah, I think so.”
Okay. Why? We could hope for a biblical analysis of the matter from a site named after discernment. Perhaps we could expect a mention of Paul’s words to Timothy and Titus? Or of Paul’s words to those taking pride in their own tolerance for sin at Corinth? Or (trigger warning) his words to the women at Corinth?
Discernment comes from study. Here is a refresher.
(We’ll give a final trigger warning, especially for those who fear the term “patriarchy” and who think John MacArthur has been “flippant and mean-spirited.”)
1 Tim 2:11-14 says about the gathering for worship:
“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.”
A woman not showing that she is subject to her husband will cause people to malign the word of God:
“… to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” (Titus 2:5)
Paul offers severe words (or worse) to those who claim Christ while ignoring sound teaching:
“What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?” (1 Cor. 4:21)
Women should show submission to biblical hierarchy by keeping silent in the churches (presumably, this applies to the time of the authoritative teaching of Scripture to the assembly of men and women):
“The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.” (1 Cor. 14:34).
Have the Authors at Disrn.com Read the New Testament?
Do they know how to use it? For discernment? Kyle Mann offers this:
“So, yes, MacArthur came off too harsh from the outside looking in, and this whole circus was probably unhelpful. Beth Moore’s not going to take down Christ’s church just because a few men hear her sermon from time to time. She’s not going to single-handedly topple Christianity because she’s a little looser in her interpretation of 1 Timothy 2.”
That is offensive. Truly. Please fire Kyle Mann or change the name of your site to Egalitrn.com.
What Was Missing?
Discernment sites should base claims on the standard of Scripture. We need something more than an appeal to “the feels.” Show at least some familiarity with Scripture’s standards in the analysis you give. A site willing to call Beth Moore’s treatment of Scripture “a little looser” can’t credibly claim Scripture as a standard.
John MacArthur merely summarized the exact command God has given Beth Moore: Stop teaching the Bible to men during the worship gathering. Work at home, where God promises to bless your work and where you will no longer be maligning the word of God.
Two Misses on the Misses
The second Disrn.com piece was Peter Heck’s Opinion: MacArthur vs. Moore: Whatever happened to grace? Like the previous piece, it attempts to stand above the fray and criticize both sides of the argument for having the boldness to treat one another as threats.
The author proclaims that both John MacArthur and Beth Moore have enriched the spiritual lives of countless people. Both reveal “a heart that earnestly seeks to be a faithful servant of Jesus.”
You call yourself Disrn? Srsly? We don’t discern biblical faithfulness by self-reported spiritual enrichment, or we’d be calling Mormons faithful. And it is no secret that Beth Moore refuses to offer reasons for her open disregard of Scripture. She evades and belittles her opponents. What do you call that heart? Earnest? Faithful? Servant? None of the above.
The Disrn.com authors do not agree with the way MacArthur chose to say what he did. We get it. But their concern is less with tone and more with content. They do not see that Beth Moore is a danger to biblical faithfulness. Thus, they do not defend John MacArthur.
Paul tells us how to treat the teaching with care. He tells us what to do with those (like Beth Moore) who do not:
“If anyone considers himself a prophet or spiritual person, he should acknowledge that what I write to you is the Lord’s command. If someone does not recognize this, he is not recognized” (1 Cor. 14:37-38).
Gentlemen, go back to telling jokes. You are good at it.