The farce begins with John McArthur giving an order to a woman of whom he is neither kin nor overseer, in response to a provocative question by Todd Friel to which McArthur had to give a one word answer. He gave two words. The question was “Beth Moore?” His answer? “Go home.”

You can see where these men are coming from, and where they’re going with this, can’t you?

They are rejecting altogether the notion that a woman can publicly, or even privately, declare the Word of God, even a woman who is primarily speaking to other women. They are effectively silencing women altogether. And telling them to ‘go home.’

Naturally, Dr McArthur took flack from those who actually do see women as the weaker vessels, and for whom they are willing to stand up when opposed by men who should know better than to publicly cajole a woman when she is neither in their presence, nor in a position before them to defend herself.

Silence the women

The polemicists, disregarding all respect for women, decided that, rather than accept that the remarks were, at best, unfortunate, and point out that it was inappropriate for Friel and McArthur to make them in that setting, decided to double up on their attacks, and a stream of articles at sites like churchwatchcentral and Pulpit & Pen defending Dr McArthur and putting women in their place of no ministry and total silence have surfaced on the various blogs in their circles. ‘Get back into the scullery, girls, where you belong’ seems to be the catch-cry.

It’s incredibly ironic that churchwatchcentral have subsequently published an article by a woman teaching that women shouldn’t teach. It’s not a surprise. They often publish articles by female atheists and anti-church journalists. You have to wonder whether they ever think about what they post. Pulpit & Pen take it even further, stating that it is law that women shouldn’t even speak. No talking, ladies. Does that include singing in the worship service? Prayer meetings? Women’s groups? Christian schools?

It was interesting to watch the offending video of the incident because there was an loud, audible gasp of disapproval undergirding the feigned mirth from the women present at the conference, akin to those moments when a dearly respected relative suddenly makes an awfully rude and inappropriate joke at someone’s expense, at which no one should laugh but at which everyone, because of that person’s stature in their sight, feels obliged to titter. An apologetic laugh at a spiteful jest.

The women knew it was wrong, over the top, unkind, and unbecoming. They voted with their reaction. In effect, they did not remain silent.

I wonder if these insensitively pompous, self-congratulating, arrogant men would laugh in the presence of the youthful Chinese women who oversee thousands in their underground churches by necessity because their fathers, husbands and brothers are imprisoned for their faith, or would make such jokes at the expense of the women currently leading a revival in Iran’s underground churches for the same basic reason.

“But they were only joking, having a bit of fun,” comes the excuse from some defender. No, these are the gags of men who make law out of grace and miss the Spirit of the Word, misrepresent what it says, and would eliminate half the Body of Christ from being fully engaged in taking the gospel to their friends, neighbours and relatives. So much for ‘Grace for You.’

We don’t expect any better from Pulpit & Pen or churchwatchcentral, who pride themselves in being harsh towards women who serve Christ with the Word of God, but Todd Friel was wrong to ask the question, while John McArthur wasted an opportunity for true grace and humility and instead squandered the moment on an embarrassingly personal attack, which is, in effect, on all women in the guise of his remark against someone from his own denomination – someone to whom he should reach out in a fatherly, pastoral manner and not publicly berate with two mean and unbiblical words.