At his church’s recent “Truth Matters” conference, John MacArthur was asked to give a knee-jerk reaction to a series of words. The first was a name: Beth Moore.

“Go home,” MacArthur answered to the uproarious laughter of the crowd.

Predictably, social media exploded with responses to both castigate and defend MacArthur and Moore. Some delved into the larger debate context, started arguing for or against women preachers, and took a stance on MacArthur’s various derisive remarks on the topic. (His most notable one: “There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher. Period. Paragraph. End of discussion.”)

However, what concerns me has less to do with the egalitarian and complementarian conversation. The hermeneutic that MacArthur so virulently defends—“We can’t let the culture exegete the Bible”—runs in glaring contradiction to his public comments. Despite his commitment to faithfully read Scripture, MacArthur (and others) often mistake this truth: In the Bible, home has never primarily been a woman’s place. In other words, when he says “go home,” he invokes a paradigm that isn’t biblical. Any church teaching that solely consigns women to the responsibilities of home (while tacitly excusing the men) proves exegetically paper-thin.

Some will say, of course, that I’ve assumed too much from MacArthur’s remarks. When he told Beth Moore to go home, we might assume that he meant simply to forbid Moore and women like her from preaching. But to listen to the entire audio clip is to see that MacArthur’s concern isn’t simply that women open God’s word publicly and explicate the text. The real ...

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