This is the big ask Moore articulates toward the end of her letter:
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. Every paragraph in this letter is toward that goal.
Personally, I read Beth Moore’s letter and Anyabwile’s response with hope and conviction. I am glad Moore finally said something, even though I imagine there are volumes of instances she’s left out for the sake of diplomacy. I can imagine how many times this letter was revised and reworked. Here is a woman who has devoted her whole life to serving others by teaching them. She has voraciously studied God’s Word without the aid of a more structured formal education. She has been faithful. She has been diligent. My goodness, she’s written 19 Bible studies, not to mention the other works she’s written.
Beth Moore reminds me so much of the women of the Bible who had incredible roles to play in early Jewish culture and life (Ruth, Deborah, and Rahab just to name a few) and those we are told about in the New Testament (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, Phoebe) who labored to build the Church. These women doubtless worked just as hard and diligently as the men, yet the men we revere as forefathers of the faith, disciples, apostles, and preachers of the Word. The men are given a title. The women are not. Some women are not even named. I can’t say why this is with any rock-solid conviction; I’ll leave that debate to the trained Bible scholars. However, I will say this: If there’s one thing women know how to do, it’s how to do the work without the appropriate title (or pay grade, which is another discussion entirely). This is what Moore has done. And after all my years in the Church, I know that we will reap what we sow. I hope I will be privy to the moment when Moore is rewarded for all the good work she has done this side of heaven.
“God was and is and will always be faithful. He is sovereign and all is grace. He can put us out there and pull us back as He pleases. Ours is to keep our heads down and seek Him earnestly and serve Him humbly,” Moore reminds us in her letter.
Serve on, Beth Moore. I can’t wait to see what you will do next, with or without the title of leader, preacher, and minister that you so justly deserve.