If you’ve been online or talked to any leaders at all in the last few days, you’ve likely heard the recent comments made by John MacArthur telling Beth Moore to “Go home”. This has stirred up a number of different opinions and emotional reactions regarding the idea of women in ministry. Now, I can appreciate that as leaders we may land on different sides of the fence theologically, but when we make it our aim to demean, criticize, belittle and devalue another leader or those from either gender, then we are not operating in a God-honouring way. In fact, we are doing quite the opposite. We are attacking the very image and nature of God expressed through His creation.
WHY IT HURTS
Honestly, as a male leader and pastor, I may not always personally feel the tension of this issue. In my mind and the minds of the leaders I serve with, our Father clearly created men and women in his image and commissioned each and every one of us to “Go and make disciples…” Period. End of story. Let’s go do this. So when I heard the comments, I shook my head, didn’t even give them any credence, and could have simply moved on. But then I saw how the words affected my wife, the woman I pastor with, admire, lean on for wisdom, and live out this God-calling with. I thought of my own daughter, who at a young age, already has a strong and wonderful call of God on her life. I thought of my three sons, who I pray would never try to demean any other person called to have a voice out of fear that it might diminish their own voice. And I thought of the women I know who are mighty and skilled leaders and preachers in my own church and churches around the world…and the pastor in me could not stay silent.
I love the church. It is God’s plan to spread the good news and proclaim redemption to mankind. So any attempt to devalue half of that mankind created in God’s own image is an attack on the very plan of God and the church. And this is why I am grieved.
JESUS SAYS “COME HOME”
Though this short blog post doesn’t lend itself to fully developing a doctrine of women in ministry, it is important to note that Jesus’ regard for women was much different than that of the contemporary culture of his day. He regarded them as beings made equally in the image of God (Genesis 1:27 Matthew 19:4), and addressed them as such. He spoke publicly with women throughout His ministry (John 4, John 8, Luke 7, Luke 8, and Luke 11 are just a few examples). He gave them worth and value in a culture that regarded them as second-class citizens.
The language of Jesus’ ministry here on earth was COME.
“Come to Me, all of you who work and have heavy loads. I will give you rest. Follow My teachings and learn from Me. I am gentle and do not have pride. You will have rest for your souls.” Matt. 11:28-29 NLV
“At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’” Luke 14:17
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Mark 1:17
The heart of His message was “COME HOME.” Come, be who you have always been called to be. Come, live on mission and be part of my glorious story. Come, and let me breathe life on those dreams I have put in your heart. Let me stir up the gifting and anointing you have to bring others home. Come Home. This is the heart of our Father. I grieve to think that women would hear any other narrative and disqualify themselves from coming to the one place that can truly set them free. Come Home.
So today, I celebrate and honour the call of God on every woman in the kingdom of God! You need to know that we can’t do this without you. You may have been silenced in the past, but that day is no more. Rise up and fulfill the call of God on your life to lead, to preach the gospel, to bring others to Jesus, to train and equip, to prophesy and pastor. There are too many lives at stake for us to discount anyone from walking out what God has called them to do.
You are home.
Bryan Davis is a graduate of Portland Bible College (BTh ’06), lead pastor of LifeSpring Church in Abbotsford, British Columbia, and author of the Local Church Leader blog.