MacArthur: Go Home Yourself
Recently, influential conservative Christian author John MacArthur’s remarks were released on women as clergy, Beth Moore, and the inability of minority voices to properly interpret the Bible. From Christianity Today:
Last week, John MacArthur celebrated 50 years in the pastorate at a conference at his congregation Grace Community Church. During the event, MacArthur accused the Southern Baptist Convention of taking a “headlong plunge” toward allowing women preachers after women spoke at the SBC’s 2019 annual meeting.
That, he said, was a sign that the denomination no longer believed in biblical authority.
“When you literally overturn the teaching of Scripture to empower people who want power, you have given up biblical authority,” said MacArthur.
A moderator also asked MacArthur and his fellow panelists to offer their gut reactions to one- or two-word phrases.
When the moderator said “Beth Moore,” MacArthur replied, “Go home.”
That’s not all. Later in the interview, and oddly under-reported, are demeaning comments on intersectionality and race:
“When the SBC met and passed Resolution 9 and said that Intersectionality and Critical Race Theory are useful tools in interpreting the Bible, that was watershed moment…and liberalism will take over.”John MacArthur
Needless to say, all such comments fall far short of the United Methodist Social Principles and our efforts for equity in opportunity among different genders, races, and marginalized people groups.
Petitions to Cokesbury
Sharp-eyed United Methodists noticed that John MacArthur’s books and commentaries were sold on Cokesbury.com. A large number too: over 60 titles were available from one publisher alone!
A grassroots campaign began to advocate for their removal because MacArthur’s words in multiple groups. I sent my own letter after being encouraged by Stephanie Henry, a UM lay woman in Seattle. Here it is (using language inspired by Henry):
To whom it may concern,
As you may know, John MacArthur has recently made headlines for his disparaging comments about Beth Moore in particular and female clergy in general, suggesting that she ought to “go home” and saying that contemporary churches are “caving” to women in the pulpit.
As a United Methodist clergyperson who supports women in ministry, I am deeply troubled to see that our denominational bookstore is promoting an author whose teachings on women in ministry are so diametrically opposed to our Social Principles and our Wesleyan Heritage.
I strongly encourage you to remove his products from your website. There are at least 64 books under the Thomas Nelson imprint available on Cokesbury that are not fit to be supported.
I regret I was not more explicit about my race and intersectionality concerns in my letter, and chose to only focus on one topic. That’s my error.
Cokesbury responded to a concerted effort started by Rev. Emily Cannon, a pastor in Kansas, in the UM Clergy Moms facebook group for clergy women who are parents. Hooray for their advocacy!
Here’s their letter in full as shared publicly:
Your concerns regarding recent statements made by John MacArthur have been brought to my attention today. I hope you will forgive that I am not addressing each of your personally but a group response seems best in the interest of time. While it is always distressing to find that we have disappointed our customers in any way, we are grateful when issues are brought to our attention. We sincerely appreciate the time you took to share your concerns.
First, in the interest of accurate communication, I do want you to know that Cokesbury does not promote MacArthur books in any way, including our catalogs. We do not stock inventory of his titles. However, I do want to be transparent that his titles have been available on Cokesbury.com for special order through our wholesale distributor networks should a customer seek them out and, as with all authors with multiple books in print, he has had an author bio page on the site as well.
That said, the comments made by John MacArthur last week were harmful and diametrically opposed to our Social Principles and our Wesleyan heritage. Action has been taken to remove his books from Cokesbury.com and his author bio page will no longer be on Cokesbury.com. We will no longer be offering his books to our customers.
Again, thank you for your feedback. Should you have any further comments or concerns I invite you to reach out to me personally. I am happy to hear from you!
Grace and peace,
Chief Revenue & Customer Experience Officer
The United Methodist Publishing House
A good reply.
But more action is needed. Now is the time for Cokesbury to tighten up this “wholesale distributors” policy. You can search and find books by Robert Jeffress, Franklin Graham, and other conservative fundamentalists with even worse theology than John MacArthur and who are doing real, lasting harm propping up this political administration.
In the meantime, bravo for a quick response, Cokesbury.
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