I find in the writing/blogging world that there are a lot of people with large platforms who write about the same topics but just in their own way. Why should I contribute to the noise? I’m just a lay person, a woman, serving in my local church which I love. That is the perspective from which I write and contribute my own little bit of noise.
This week well-known Bible teacher Beth Moore posted “A Letter to My Brothers”. I read it in disbelief. I have never experienced that kind of conduct from Christian men and leaders that I’ve been in fellowship with through all my years of being a Christian. I believe the Elders of my church respect and appreciate my thoughts on a subject. I work at another church as Publications Secretary and even there I believe my opinion is valued. I suppose they could be rolling their eyes as I leave or speaking unkindly about me behind closed doors, but I don’t see this behavior. Upon reading her letter I had to ask myself, “Do Christian men and leaders really behave in such a sinful manner?”
Then I read the very humble letter of Thabiti Anyabwile asking forgiveness for his own “patronizing and chauvinist attitude” toward not just Beth Moore but other women in ministry. He confessed that he expressed this wrong attitude in the presence of other men. My eyes were opened to the fact that there are indeed Christian leaders who behave in this way.
I am a complementarian. I believe the Bible teaches this throughout, beginning with the first 3 chapters of Genesis and continuing throughout the New Testament. Women were a part of Jesus’ ministry, working alongside Him, just as some worked alongside Paul. I trust that my church leaders are also complementarians. Complementarianism is the theological view that men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, religious leadership, etc. Though we as women may not be able to fill certain positions within the church because of the roles God ordained in His Word, we are still considered equal in value as image bearers of God. An egalitarian, on the other hand, believes there is no gender-based limitations on roles for women within the church. Those are very brief definitions and not the point of this article. If you are interested in learning more about their differences you can visit The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
As a friend shared Thabiti Anyabwile’s response letter on Facebook, she commented: “Whether or not you are a Beth Moore follower, let’s voice credit where due. Beth did what many people have done through the ages as believers which is, she suffered and endured. The credit goes to her. She didn’t demand honor or recognition or position or respect. She didn’t ask generations of men to repent for their judgmental treatment of her, nor did she expect any reparations for damage done to her livelihood. That’s the thing I hope the minister saw here, as well.” (Used with Permission.)
I believe that was great insight. I also commend Thabiti Anyabwile for his public apology. He could have sent her an email or just repented to the Lord, but he chose to hold himself accountable by making a public stand. I hope other Christian men and leaders, from those with platforms to those in small country churches who have behaved in a same manner, will follow his lead and make apologies to whom they are due.
My daily scroll through social media confirms that we as Christians are divided more than ever on many issues. Sisters, let this not be another cause for division within our churches and with our brothers in Christ. Brothers, build up your sisters in Christ and not tear them down whether in thought or deed. Value our opinions and let us have opportunity to serve in the church in the ways God has ordained. Together, let us be “standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the sake of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:27 ESV)