Dismissive and Disrespectful Attitudes toward Women Should Have No Place among Evangelicals
Recently teacher and author Beth Moore wrote an article about the prevalence of misogyny in the evangelical world.
misogyny: hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women, or prejudice against women. —Dictionary.com
Though I don’t know Beth well—I only met her briefly maybe a decade ago—my heart was broken when I read her post. While I don’t see much outright hatred of women, I do see a great deal of mistrust and prejudice. I also see disrespect and condescension toward women, especially those with leadership and speaking gifts and strong personalities (which seem to be respected in a man, but not a woman).
I really appreciate Beth’s honest thoughts, which I believe should trouble all of us. I am sad to say I believe she is right in her concerns. As I’ve told many evangelical leaders, having raised two daughters I deeply respect, having a wife I deeply respect, and working with women whom I deeply respect, I bristle at the dismissive tone toward women I hear from many male evangelical leaders. I regularly hear words of wisdom and compassion from my wife, daughters, and female co-workers that I don’t hear as frequently from many of the male leaders I know. (Thankfully, there a lot of exceptions to this, and I certainly don’t want to throw most evangelical leaders under the bus!)
I believe it is that disrespect for women that leads men in power positions to view women as objects rather than subjects. This results in using women through flirtation, seduction, and sexual abuse, which some, for now, get away with. But none of us will get away with such things, since God is watching and will judge not only our actions but also our attitudes, even those that don’t result in immoral actions. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13; see also Ecclesiastes 12:14 and 1 Corinthians 4:5).
I pray God will use Beth’s courageous letter to continue to touch hearts, and convict and change attitudes. (By the way, you are free to disagree with me, Beth or anyone else, but this is not the time to make comments about your criticisms of her teaching or mine or anybody’s. This is not about whether you like what anyone says; it’s about how women have been treated.)
So thanks, Beth, for speaking up. I am also grateful for my brother Thabiti Anyabwile’s honest confession and apology to Beth and other sisters in Christ. After you read Beth’s letter, I encourage you to read Thabiti’s response. I also recommend Melissa Kruger’s excellent article 4 Ways Brothers Can Encourage Sisters in Ministry.
But first, prayerfully listen to Beth, who got this conversation going.