A few weeks ago, I wrote an article called “John Piper Gets it All Wrong About Women in Ministry. I knew this article would stir a hornet’s nest, but I never imagined in a million years Jesus would condemn me to hell for writing it.
In the article, one of my lines was: “Look at Aimee Semple McPherson. What about Kathryn Kuhlman? How about Marilyn Hickey and Joyce Meyer? All of these women have been a blessing to the body of Christ, and they have all faced persecution from people who don’t agree that they should speak and teach. Jesus certainly didn’t prevent women from entering ministry so I am unsure as to why there is so much resistance in some camps within the modern church.”
I got a wicked nasty comment on the article from a Richard Tuttle. He didn’t share his credentials or why he thinks God granted him the authority to condemn me to hell in the name of Jesus, but he said plenty more.
“Miss LeClair’s argument regarding women teaching in the Church and/or exercising authority over a man in the Church is unbiblical at best, and heretical at worst,” Tuttle says.
First of all, spell my name right, especially if you are going to argue accuracy and make an accusation of heresy. Can’t you see the enemy is using you to throw a fiery dart with such a serious allegation? Are you really going to call me and the many, many others who believe the same as I do false teachers? Are you not aware that you are claiming I am going to hell? Can’t you disagree without sending me to the devil’s chambers?
Apparently not. It gets worse. He goes on to point out, “What does God have to say about this issue? He states in His Word, ‘I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (1 Timothy 2:12-14 – ESV). “Clearly then women are not permitted to teach in the Church, nor are they allowed to exercise authority over men in the Church.”
As Lee Grady so eloquently wrote, “Paul’s first epistle to Timothy seems to limit women’s roles in leadership (see 1 Tim. 2:12). Yet Paul also gushed with praise for the women who served with him as co-laborers—women such as Phoebe (Rom. 16:1-2), Junia (Rom. 16:7) and Priscilla, who helped lay foundations in the early church (see 1 Cor. 16:19). In Phil. 4:2-3, Paul expresses solidarity with two women leaders, Euodia and Syntyche. And he refers to other women who obviously led churches, such as Chloe (1 Cor. 1:11) and Nympha (Col. 4:15), and he does not try to silence or restrict them,” Grady says.
“Traditionalists who insist on barring women from leadership positions always refer to 1 Tim. 2:12 as an ironclad rule—yet they ignore the women who served with Paul. The obvious question is: Why did Paul tell Timothy to clamp down on the women in Ephesus when he allowed Priscilla to teach? The most sensible interpretation is that the Ephesian women were teaching heresy. They had no business teaching the Bible or leading the church, yet Paul encouraged faithful women.”
If Paul didn’t call them heretics, what gives you the boldness to attack women this way?
“Miss LeClair then points to Deborah, the Old Testament judge and prophetess (Judges 4-5), Anna the prophetess (Luke 2:36–38), and Priscilla (Romans 16) as examples of women teaching and exercising authority over men in the Church,” Tuttle writes.
Again, you not only got my name wrong you are twisting what I said. If you can’t rightly divide an article, should you claim to be able to rightly divide the Word of truth? (see 2 Timothy 2:15).
What I actually wrote was this: “Yes, 1 Timothy 2:12-13 says women should not teach or assume authority over a man. Others point to 1 Timothy 3, which lists the qualifications for bishops and deacons as reasons not to allow women in ministry. But what do we do, then, with Deborah, a prophetess and a judge who led Israel into victorious battle when a man would not take charge? What about Anna the prophetess? What about Priscilla, who traveled in ministry with her husband?”
Dr. Michael Brown, who has helped me as a father in the faith, even acknowledges that God can and has used some women in this capacity. He says the Scriptural pattern is along the lines of 1 Timothy 2:12-13 but still leaves room for God to use whomever he wants. After all, there is no Scripture sanctioning donkeys to prophesy or snakes to talk, but it happened. There are many leaders in Scripture and in the world who have made amazing impacts for the glory of God. Are they now rotting in hell? I don’t think so.
“The problem with Miss LeClair’s argument is that not one of these women (nor any others listed in Scripture) are teaching in the Church; nor are they exercising authority over men in the Church. They are not Elders or Bishops in the Church, nor are they listed as such anywhere in Scripture,” Tuttle wrote.
I’m sorry, help me understand where I said that?
Tuttle writes, “God is very clear in His word regarding the positions that women may hold in the Church, and what positions they may not hold in the Church. Miss LeClair’s attempt to dismiss God’s Word (and by extension God Himself) as somehow wrong or old fashioned or whatever, by emphasizing her own personal belief as more authoritative than God and His Word is arrogantly blasphemous, and demonstrates her position as a false teacher. Repent, Miss LeClair. Repent and turn to the Lord God Almighty seeking His forgiveness.”
And there you go. You’ve accused me of blasphemy and being a false teacher. Even if I am wrong, do you truly believe Jesus is condemning me to hell over this point? Who made you a judge?
I discern Tuttle does not know what spirit he’s of (see Luke 9:55). We need to pray for this man and others like him. I won’t return evil for evil by calling him a false teacher, but I know he’s grieved the Holy Spirit and assume he has no idea, much like the religious Pharisees that persecuted Jesus. Praying for you, Mr. Tuttle.