Complementarianism is the Christian belief that men and women are separate but equal — they are equal in the eyes of God but each has separate and distinctive roles.
Women, for example, cannot be preachers. They can’t even informally preach. Certainly not on a day like Mother’s Day.
So when popular speaker and Christian author Beth Moore mentioned on Twitter that she would be taking the pulpit over the weekend to preach, her male peers predictably lost their minds:
I’m doing Mother’s Day too! Vicki, let’s please don’t tell anyone this.
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) April 27, 2019
Here is a representative critique from the stricter side of the complementarian continuum. Blogger Michelle Lesley took exception to Beth Moore’s playful way of announcing her preaching task on Twitter with “please don’t tell anyone this.” Here is Lesley’s explanation for Moore’s sly tone:
“Because she knows it’s unbiblical. Because we know it’s unbiblical. And it doesn’t take an electron microscope to see it. It’s right there, in black and white, jumping off the pages of Scripture: [*insert out-of-context famous clobber passage 1 Timothy 2:12*]. It couldn’t be more clear. And for pastors who ought to know better to either fall prey to or intentionally perpetuate the serpentine seduction of “Did God really say you can’t preach?”, using Mother’s Day as an excuse to induce a woman to sin by having her deliver the sermon is a slap in the face — to God, to the church, and to women.”
Moore went on to say that problem truly is not about scripture, but sin, sexism, misogyny, etc. It truly is not about scripture, because if it were, then these relatively few out-of-context clobber passages would be weighed against women doing things in the Bible that probably would be prohibited in most SBC churches today.
By all means, have the men preach on motherhood. Why not? They’re already writing the laws on women’s healthcare.
Even by their own standards, it’s hard to make sense of their overreactions. In all the accounts of the Gospels, it is the women who told the men about the resurrected Christ. The male disciples had no idea what was going on, in an almost comical fashion. If Jesus valued men more than Mary Magdalene and the women who prepared his body for burial, why appear to the women first, having them essentially preach the “good news” of his resurrection to everybody else?
At least Moore got the last word, in a sense. When Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Pastor Owen Strachan mansplained the aforementioned verses from 1 Timothy about how women must be quiet, Moore expertly responded that she hoped she would never be the kind of woman he approved of.
Owen, I am going to say this with as much respect & as much self restraint as I can possibly muster. I would be terrified to be a woman you’d approve of. And I would have wasted 40 years of my life encouraging women to come to know and love Jesus through the study of Scripture.
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) May 9, 2019
Ouch. The only thing more devastating would’ve been her responding with, “Bless your heart.”
(Featured screenshot via YouTube)