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Christian speaker and Bible teacher, Beth Moore, has released a letter this week challenging some of her brothers in Christ head-on in a very direct way about evangelical misogyny. She testified of a number of examples of personal mistreatment from men, some of them well-known theologians.
Open about the abuses that she has endured, Moore Tweeted resourcefully about the #churchtoo interest group that acknowledges sexual abuse and harassment within the church. She wrote that she didn't report the harassment, ill-treatment, and misogyny for years because she was afraid that acknowledging it would mean she'd be "Fried like a chicken." She's asking Christian men to step up and reflect the light of Christ.
Many women have experienced horrific abuses within the power structures of our Christian world. Being any part of shaping misogynistic attitudes, whether or not they result in criminal behaviors, is sinful and harmful and produces terrible fruit. It also paints us continually as weak-willed women and seductresses. I think I can speak for many of us when I say we are neither interested in reducing or seducing our brothers.
The irony is that many of the men who will give consideration to my concerns do not possess a whit of the misogyny coming under the spotlight. For all the times you've spoken up on our behalf and for the compassion you've shown in response to "Me too," please know you have won our love and gratitude and respect.
John Bisagno, my pastor for almost 30 years, regularly said these words: "I have most often seen that, when the people of God are presented with the facts, they do the right thing."
I was raised in ministry under his optimism and, despite many challenges, have not yet recovered from it. For this reason I write this letter with hope.
I'm asking for your increased awareness of some of the skewed attitudes many of your sisters encounter. Many churches quick to teach submission are often slow to point out that women were also among the followers of Christ (Luke 8), that the first recorded word out of His resurrected mouth was "woman" (John 20:15) and that same woman was the first evangelist. Many churches wholly devoted to teaching the household codes are slow to also point out the numerous women with whom the apostle Paul served and for whom he possessed obvious esteem. We are fully capable of grappling with the tension the two spectrums create and we must if we're truly devoted to the whole counsel of God's Word.
Finally, I'm asking that you would simply have no tolerance for misogyny and dismissiveness toward women in your spheres of influence. I'm asking for your deliberate and clearly conveyed influence toward the imitation of Christ in His attitude and actions toward women. I'm also asking for forgiveness both from my sisters and my brothers. My acquiescence and silence made me complicit in perpetuating an atmosphere in which a damaging relational dynamic has flourished. I want to be a good sister to both genders.
The letter has gone viral, garnering both praise and criticism.
Beth, the head of Living Proof Ministries stated in reference to her letter and stance, "This is where I cry foul and not for my own sake. Most of my life is behind me. I do so for sake of my gender, for the sake of our sisters in Christ and for the sake of other female leaders who will be faced with similar challenges. I do so for the sake of my brothers because Christ-likeness is at stake and many of you are in positions to foster Christ-likeness in your sons and in the men under your influence. The dignity with which Christ treated women in the Gospels is fiercely beautiful, and it was not conditional upon their understanding their place."
Pastor of the Anacostia River Church, Thabiti Anyabwile, issued an apology letter to Beth Moore and other women on the Gospel Coalition.