Post spoiler: The world hasn’t ended and the gates of hell have not prevailed against the church.
In preparation for a move, I went online searching for an Anglican church in a different state. I came across an interesting web article:
The article drew me in with the transition mentioned in the title. The first paragraph offered more detail about the move:
. . . Beth Moore left the Southern Baptist Convention in 2021 and soon after was seen in a photo serving Communion at an Anglican church.
The article went on to disturb me as I read of the appalling way Christians treat other Christians. The author, Rick Pidcock, relates some of the ‘ex officio’ and corrosive reaction to Beth Moore prior to her leaving the SBC in 2021.
At the Truth Matters Conference in 2019, which was a gathering to celebrate John MacArthur’s five decades of ministry, Todd Friel asked MacArthur to play a word association game with the two words “Beth Moore.” To which, MacArthur famously replied, “Go home.”
MacArthur’s henchman Phil Johnson added, “The word that comes to my mind is ‘narcissistic.’”
Then MacArthur jumped back in to say: “Just because you have the skill to sell jewelry on the TV sales channel doesn’t mean you should be preaching. … The church is caving in to women preachers. … Women are not allowed to preach.”
Dear God! A celebration of five decades in ministry and grown men on a stage mocking a woman in public? Is this how Christian men should treat a Christian woman and even when they think they possess all the Truth that Matters (and, apparently, none of the grace that matters)? I understand, though. Some men want to play Elijah.
One would think that after five decades Mr. Sola Scriptura would have learned that Christians were not given the Word of God for the purpose of belittling and calling down fiery scorn onto women of faith. The Word, its understanding by the spirit, and the fruits thereof are given to inform our love, our grace and our prayers for others along with our worldview.
It remains to be seen if John MacArthur and his henchmen are mature Christians. Was Beth Moore present to defend herself against the scorners? And, did those present smile and laugh in agreement? Will MacArthur speak to Beth Moore, confess what he did, and ask for forgiveness? It remains to be seen.
Women are not allowed to preach: MacArthur’s authoritarian intransigence reminds me of another insular authoritarian: Dr. Anthony Fauci. During the media’s COVID pandemic Fauci preached “the science” dogma. If you disagreed with “the science” you were declared a heretic, exiled from social media and from any and all discussion. Period. And like MacArthur, Fauci has a fan club to ensure that the doctrine-of-what-he-says is in your face. Science Matters.
The behavior of the Truth Matters men gives the appearance of a pride of place smack down, their use of authority and power as “Truth is what I say it is”.
Their behavior also recalls the either-or-or thinking of James and John – the “sons of thunder” as Jesus calls them (Mk. 3:17). Either you think and do as I say and get with the program or you are against us and we will demand that you stop. And if you don’t accept us then we will call down fire from heaven and burn you up, just saying.
“Master,” commented John, “we saw someone casting out demons in your name. We told him to stop, because he wasn’t part of our company.”
“Don’t stop him,” replied Jesus. “Anyone who isn’t against you is on your side.”
As the time came nearer for Jesus to be taken up, he settled it in his mind to go to Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead of him. They came into a Samaritan village to get them ready, and they refused to receive him, because his mind was set on going to Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Master, do you want us to call down fire from heaven and burn them up? He turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village.
Do those, who sit in the seat of scoffers (Ps. 1:1), think that Beth Moore is now a heretic because she serves in a capacity they adamantly deem to be unfitting for a woman?
Apparently so, as the article states:
When Reformation Charlotte recently discovered that Beth Moore was wearing a robe and serving Communion in her new church, they called her an apostate, posted screenshots of the service and of the church’s volunteer schedule, and reminded the world of their prediction that “it would only be a matter of time before Beth Moore becomes full-on gay-affirming.”
Slippery slope arguments are not arguments. They are cheap shot syllogisms done to create fear and disdain among the hearers. Slippery slope arguments are prayer avoidance techniques – why talk to God about this when I can foresee the future because I possess all the Truth that Matters? In this instance, it is the grease on the slopes of Truth Mattershorn.
No Christian woman should ever be treated in this way. And, certainly not by a group of authoritarian church leaders who believe they have rightly divided the word of God by cutting women out of heralding the Good News.
Two of the three reasons Jesus summoned, appointed, and named twelve “apostles” was 1) to be with him (as eyewitnesses), and 2) to be sent out as heralds (of what they witnessed). (Mk. 3:13-15). * Let us be reminded that many, many of the eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection were women. They heralded what they saw:
Some of the women were watching from a distance. They included Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome. [From the beginning] They followed Jesus in Galilee, and had attended to his needs. There were several other women, too, who had come up with him to Jerusalem. (Mk. 16: 40-41)
After Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, and when the sabbath was over, it is Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome who bought spices so that they could come and anoint Jesus. They find the stone rolled away. They are greeted by a herald.
The angel tells them to go herald the news (Mk. 16: 7):
But go and tell his disciples – including Peter – that he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, just like he told you. (What, Jesus talked to women? Women receive revelations from God?! Isn’t that setting up a slippery slope scenario?! And go tell the Matterhorn of the church?!)
Does anyone think that these women – and so many other female eyewitnesses of the ministry of Jesus, e.g., Mary and Martha and the resurrection of Lazarus – does anyone think that these women didn’t herald in their community and synagogue what they witnessed?
And who can forget that two disciples (Cleopas and one unnamed- likely a woman named Mary) met Jesus as they were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day that Jesus rose from the dead. They invited Jesus to come home and eat with them. (Luke 24)
Women are not allowed to preach. Huh? What about the female apostle Junia (Romans 16:7)? Junia minsters in partnership with Andronicus and Paul, is well known to the apostles and is a fellow prisoner (for sitting on the sidelines?). It is very likely that Junia had seen the risen Lord.
You may not hear this acknowledged in your androcentric church: beyond a Proverbs 31 characterization of the “good wife”, women are featured prominently in the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection narratives in the gospels. And women, like those mentioned above, continued to herald the events of those narratives to the growing church and to all who would listen. (I use the word “herald” in the Apostle-choosing sense noted above so as to not trigger certain males with the word “preaching”.) The topic of women in ministry deserves a dedicated post.
Now, I don’t know much at all about Beth Moore. But with regard to the ongoing slander of a Christian sister, I agree with the apostle Paul: When people persist in sin, rebuke them openly, so that the rest may be afraid. (1 Tim 5:19).
As mentioned above, the article drew me in with the transition mentioned in the title. The author uses Moore’s evolution to relate his own journey from Baptist to Anglican. He notes at one point that he is no longer Anglican because his spiritual journey kept going beyond where the Anglicans were willing to go. He goes on to say . . .
The Anglican Church drew me in from my Baptist heritage because it acknowledged my exile and gave me space to move. While I was there, it gave me a taste in the particular for what is true everywhere. But ultimately, it allowed harmful voices within its walls to speak to my children and built walls for women and LGBTQ people that I believed needed to be knocked down.
Pidcock goes on to acknowledge My Baptist-to-Anglican journey may be different than others.
My own church progression has been from Baptist to Evangelical Free to Anglican. My journey has also been about breaking down walls but not in the sense and direction that Pidcock is willing to go to – I will not be an LGBTQ activist. The walls that kept me from growing spiritually were within me and surrounded the outer court – the church setting.
For example, the Bible church services I attended during much of the sixties and seventies seemed to reenact the ‘62 and ’71 Billy Graham crusades in Chicago. Sunday services had calls to walk down the aisle and commit your life to Christ. Then, it was understood, one was supposed to go to church, straighten up and fly right. Church approved options were “go into ministry” and “become a missionary”. Church approved options for women: women could dream of being a pastor’s wife or a missionary wife. Tra-la.
Wasn’t there more to the Christian life than talk of sin, judgment, and salvation and producing more expositors of sin, judgement, and salvation? What did it mean to walk in the spirit and to abide in Christ? To grow up in Christ? And, I never once heard a sermon about serving Christ as an engineer, high school band director, artist, writer or poet. Secular occupations were not deemed Godly enough, I guess.
There was and still is a part of Just as I Am before my commitment to Christ that needed to grow and not linger in the aisle of salvation sentimentality. I became disheartened and disillusioned by the church. I felt intellectually and spiritually stunted just being there. Sure, there was plenty of Bible teaching. But getting Bible knowledge was not enough for me. (Sounds heretical, doesn’t it?) And, it seemed that the church wanted to remain Just as It Was. I wasn’t the only one to notice.
During the late ’60 and into the ‘70s I was involved in the Jesus People movement in Chicago. Our local group often read from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. The contrast between the church in Acts and the church I was attending was stark. I didn’t respond well to the disparity.
I began a prodigal journey that, like the parable account, brought me all kinds of loss. Looking back, it wasn’t until I began attending an Anglican church in my fifties that I began to lead a redeemed and productive journey. The author of the above-mentioned article put it this way regarding his own transition to an Anglican church:
For many people who come from conservative Baptist backgrounds, finding the Anglican communion feels like coming out of exile and returning home to everything that had been growing in you for years.
Those words resonate with me in this key regard: the Anglican church I attended offered the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the pinnacle of the Anglican liturgy, not preaching. I realized that that is what I have been looking for all of my life: a confirmation of the presence of the Lord in the elements and in me as I partake.
“We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.” T.S. Elliot, Little Gidding
In the Anglican church setting the Book of Common Prayer informs the liturgy with readings, collects, the prayers of the people and rites. I savor this type of intellectual atmosphere. The liturgical format allows me to listen and think and grow. Rick Pidcock put it this way:
While my theology was shifting, the liturgies felt like anchors that were keeping me from getting swept away. And in the liturgy of the Eucharist, I could receive an experience of the presence of Christ with all my senses.
How did this transition happen? Before coming to the Anglican church, I tuned out Bible teachers. I cleared my head. Preaching and personalities were getting in the way of my understanding. I avoided the either-or thinking of the John MacArthurs. I stayed away from “red in tooth and claw” Christianity.
As revealed above, there are those “sons of thunder who believe they have a right and are justified to talk and act the way they do because they walk around with their body of truth and must defend it from outliers and Samaritans. During much of my life I operated the same way. I was judgmental, lacked grace, and hurt many along the way. I was just like the “sons of thunder”. But Jesus would have none of that.
I acknowledged my own sorry disposition and began a self-imposed apprenticeship to understand Jesus and his worldview. I read extensively outside what I have been taught, assessing the new knowledge against the old. Walls were breaking down. I began to view the Christian life as a series of spectrums. (See the article’s quote of Thomas McKenzie’s The Anglican Way.)
During the apprenticeship process, my eyes were opened to many things, including . . .
-The either-or thinking that uses the pulpit to make fun of others and speaks of grace as something only doled out when you are acceptable.
-The reductionist young earth creation account that I was taught in ‘Bible” churches. A “plain reading” of Genesis is vastly different for the ancients who read Genesis than it is for moderns who impose their version of “plain reading”.
In short, Genesis begins, not with the material creation of the universe, but with the ordering of and function-giving to the preexisting non-functional material creation. The ancients reading Genesis understood that a cosmic temple was being built.
What happens within the 7-24-hour days? Day One God gave humans the function of time. Day Two God gave humans the function of weather. Day Three God gave humans the function of food. Each function is necessary for a human-oriented world.
Days Four to Six parallel Days One to Three but now roles are assigned to functionaries. Humans are given the image of God imprint.
Day Seven is when God has complete setting up his temple and now sit down (the earth is his footstool) to oversee his work. Humans are given the responsibility to care for the cosmic temple. This is where God and man are to dwell together.
-The certainly of the presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. Scripture says this is so and I have experienced it. My life has changed.
-God declared (imputed) me “righteous” in the law court scenario Paul presents in Romans.
-There is no such thing as the “rapture”. That is a misreading of the text. God will not abandon his creation. He is rebuilding the temple: Don’t you see? You are God’s temple! (1 Cor. 3:16)
-We are saved not just so that we get go to heaven when we die. More reductionism. Rather, we are born again so that Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. As new creations we are to advance the kingdom of God on earth, reflect God’s glory on earth, his cosmic temple, and wait for our Lord’s return to put things to right. “Heaven” is just a short-term way station before “new creations” return to earth with the Lord.
-Memorizing large portions of Scripture enables me to meditate, gain insight, instill the word into my life, and cross reference and contextualize Scripture. I have memorized four Psalms and the first five chapters of the Gospel According to Mark.
I will always have a desire to explore and push myself further than where I am now. Once I know what is out there, I will reflect back on where I started and understand it using my new knowledge.
Having gathered what I have learned and the tools acquired over time, I have become a journeywoman for Christ. Where the Lord uses me is up to Him. When he does, the world won’t end and the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.
* Could it be that one reason Jesus chose men to be apostles was not for a “created order” motive but for very practical ethical reasons. Spending 24/7 time with women would raise questions and offer temptations to everyone involved.
Miroslav Volf and N.T. Wright talk about the future of the Church:
The COVID-19 crisis of 2020 to 2022 has exposed for all to see how evidence-based medicine has been corrupted by the governments, hospitalists, academia, big pharma, tech and social media. They have leveraged the processes and rationale of evidence-based medicine to corrupt the entire medical enterprise.
The paper of record has a terrible record:
Of course, the New York Times should be teaching by example. In fact, it has not supported free speech, protected the First Amendment, or allowed honest debate. It has not allowed competing perspectives about the most important issues of the day. It has been a mouthpiece for greedy corporations and corrupt government officials.
Moderna’s co-founder created a quantum dot tattoo to track the vaxxed. The company is now using AI to generate endless mRNA jabs. Welcome to Transhumanism, Inc.
When you submit to irrational government COVID mandates, Christians suffer. Nothing in Scripture tells you that you have to submit to pagan nonsense.
Your (inflation) taxes increase . . . with Biden’s (not Putin’s) inflationary economics:
Dehumanizing and objectifying women:
Another article by Rick Pidcock:
In this world of spiritual warfare, theological compromise and Republicans losing the White House, there lives a group of men, mostly white, who put on their armor, saddle up and ride into the glorious battlefield known as Twitter. They alone wear the belt of truth as they stand firm against the wiles of the Devil.
Who are these men? They are the Theobros.
Their mission? Correcting women’s theology on Twitter.
And not funny at all:
There is a secret society that wants to control . . . everything . . .
End of the dollar empire: