Moore, MacArthur, and Manhandling Girls on the Gridiron

(Toby Sumpter) Amid all the other circus events this last weekend, “Christian” Twitter erupted with shrieks of horror when Pastor John MacArthur told a conference audience that his thoughts on Beth Moore could be best summarized as “Go home.”

In response, the current SBC President JD Greear assured Mrs. Moore that she was most welcome at his home any time. Various feminists and egalitarians clutched their pearls, while a number of conservatives who don’t think Mrs. Moore should actually be preaching made various throat clearing noises about Christian love and kindness, and how sad they were about how mean some “leaders” can be, and while they had their differences, they were still thankful for her ministry. And others warned breathlessly that this is how evangelicalism will continue to lose the next generation.

Meanwhile, NPR tweeted out some idiocy about “people” menstruating.

A Preliminary but Related Rabbit Trail

In addressing this business, I’d like to draw upon a matter of considerable concern and discussion in my community, a matter that faces most communities in these dark days of ours, and that is the matter of girls showing up to play contact sports with our sons. From wrestling to lacrosse to football to hockey, it’s a real issue since we are committed to teaching our sons to honor all women as sisters and mothers, and the culture we live in is committed to the opposite. In some instances, the honorable choice is clear and obvious: our sons will not wrestle a girl. It’s immodest, dishonorable, and shameful. Period. Full stop. So our boys who wrestle forfeit any match with a girl. But when it comes to lacrosse and football there are a number of complicating factors, and there are real wisdom calls to be made. The first principle remains in place: our boys are instructed not to tackle or body check girls. Of course in these confused days, it is not always possible to know if there is a girl on the field. But to the best of our ability, we will avoid any and all roughness with girls.

Depending on the circumstances, that is, what position a girl is playing against our boys, this is sometimes fairly easy to accomplish (like if the girl is a goalie or kicker), and sometimes it is nearly impossible (like when she’s playing running back). Our general commitment is to play hard and play as much as we can without compromising our Lord’s requirement to honor all women. At times, this has proved impossible, and we have cheerfully forfeited games or pulled off teams where we could not function within our principles. On occasion, our boys are having to learn how to push a girl out of bounds as gently as possible. Some parents have given their boys slightly varying instructions depending on the situation, and we are committed to supporting one another as we navigate this minefield with our sons. At the same time, we have determined in general not to merely roll over and quit the field. Our coaches and athletic directors are fairly vocal about our principles with other coaches and league officials, and our longterm hope is to win others to our convictions. But these problems are certainly not going away any time soon, and we (and our sons) need to learn how to fight, sometimes how to fight with one arm tied behind our back, and how to fight as honorable Christian men.

All of this is a rather lengthy preliminary rabbit trail to my cheerful and robust support of Pastor MacArthur’s comments regarding Beth Moore. But I hope they prove a helpful rabbit trail. My support of MacArthur’s comments do not come from any sort of animus to women, any delight in dishonoring women (and certainly not Mrs. Moore), but from my commitment (which I assume Pastor MacArthur shares) to honor all women and to fight honorably for the cause of Christ. I take Pastor MacArthur’s comment as the unfortunate but necessary push out of bounds that a Christian gentleman is sometimes duty bound to give when a woman has gotten out of her lane. [Let the shrieks begin!] But your complaint is not with me or with Pastor MacArthur. Your complaint is with God and His clear word.

I am not even addressing the content of Mrs. Moore’s preaching. I am merely speaking of the fact that she openly and defiantly claims to preach. This is shameful. She ought to be ashamed of herself. Her husband ought to be ashamed of himself. Her pastor and elders ought to be ashamed of themselves. But apparently none of them are. They openly flout the word of God. When the Bible says that a woman must not have authority over men or instruct them in the Word but to be silent in church – Beth Moore sneers at the God of Heaven and says she knows better; but what is worse are all the cowardly men around her who have flattered her and refused to actually love her in the truth. Pastor MacArthur said out loud in public what her husband and Christian brothers closest to her should have been saying for years, “Go home.”. Yes, this is Christian love because love is treating others lawfully from the heart, and God’s law is clear at this point.

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[Editor’s Note: Toby Sumpter’s piece, “Beth Moore, John MacArthur, and Clobbering Girls in Football” appeared on his blog: Having Two legs. Title, words, and photo changed by Pulpit and Pen.]


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