Christian women, Complementarianism

The Mother of All Rebellions: Having a Woman Preach on Mother’s Day

When you gaze out across the landscape of the visible church through an earthly, superficial lens, you’ve got to scratch your head and wonder, “Has evangelicalism lost its ever-lovin’ mind?”.

And the answer is to take off those inch-deep dollar store glasses, fire up the electron microscope of Scripture, look long and deep into God’s Word, and reply to yourself, “Of course it has, silly rabbit. What did you expect?”. The Bible is perfectly clear about these things and why they happen.

Exhibit A: The trend in recent years to invite a woman to preach the Sunday morning sermon in church, to the whole congregation (including men) just because it’s Mother’s Day. Not a brief personal testimonythe sermon. This isn’t anything brand new. Hope Adams (though I’m certain she wasn’t the first in this trend) did it at Ed Young, Jr.’s Fellowship Church in 2014. Lisa Harper did it at in 2015. Christine Caine did it at Willow Creek in 2016. Lisa Bevere did it at CRC Cape Town in 2017, and a host of other famous and unfamous women at famous and unfamous churches have been doing it for years, even at churches that normally obey Scripture and don’t let women preach.

This year, Beth Moore has caused quite the stir by hiding in plain sight the fact that she will be preaching the sermondoing Mother’s Day” this coming Sunday, presumably at the Tomball, Texas, campus of the church she attends (founded and pastored by her son-in-law Curtis Jones) Bayou City Fellowship:

I say “hiding in plain sight” because she has given enough of an impression here that she is preaching the sermon to test the waters and see what the reaction will be, but has worded her tweet vaguely enough that if she meets too much resistance she can still decide to back out of preaching, give a brief word of biblically appropriate Mother’s Day greeting or encouragement to the ladies at another point during the service, and come back and claim with wide-eyed innocence that that’s what she meant all along by saying she was “doing” Mother’s Day. (Someone asked Beth point blank, in a subsequent tweet if Beth’s tweet meant that she would be preaching the Sunday service and Beth did not answer her. If she’s not, why not just say so? And if she is and isn’t ashamed of it, why not just say so?)

I say “presumably” at BCF-Tomball because, even though she publicizes specific details about time and place with other speaking engagements, she has not mentioned (at least not anywhere I can find as of the time I’m writing this) the specific church she’s preaching at on Sunday, and the church hasn’t mentioned on their website that she’ll be the guest preacher. Additionally, unlike other speaking engagements Beth does, this speaking engagement is not listed on the calendar of events at her website and she hasn’t mentioned it (other than the tweet above) on social media. With all this “open secrecy” I will be surprised if the video or audio of her sermon is posted on YouTube and/or the church website.

Why all this cloak and dagger about the highest profile woman in the Southern Baptist Convention, possibly in the entirety of evangelicalism, preaching the Mother’s Day sermon?

Because she knows it’s unbiblical. Because we know it’s unbiblical. And it doesn’t take an electron microscope to see it. It’s right there, in black and white, jumping off the pages of Scripture:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 1 Timothy 2:12

It couldn’t be more clear. And for pastors who ought to know better to either fall prey to or intentionally perpetuate the serpentine seduction of “Did God really say you can’t preach?”, using Mother’s Day as an excuse to induce a woman to sin by having her deliver the sermon is a slap in the face – to God, to the church, and to women.

What do his actions say to God? “I don’t like Your way and I won’t submit to it. I don’t trust that Your way is right regardless of what the world says. I’ll do what’s right in my own eyes.” It’s the lesson his church learns from his actions as well.

But why is inviting a woman to preach an affront to Christian women? Take a stroll down to verse 15 of 1 Timothy 2:

Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Not only does the pastor who invites a woman to preach adulterate the role God has set aside specifically for men, he also denigrates one of the good and holy roles God has specifically and intentionally set aside for women: the role of literal, and spiritual, mother.

Eve shattered God’s perfect, unique design for women by allowing herself to be seduced into rebellion. But are we daughters of Eve forever doomed to bear the shame and guilt of her sin, never to have a role in building the Kingdom? Pariahs, to be shunned and shut out of God’s plan? No, praise God! Through the cross, the good works Christ has ordained for Christian women to do – including mothering our own children and being spiritual mothers to our daughters in the faith – redeem the prestige of women. Mothering, in every sense in which God intended it, raises the role of women back to its rightful place in God’s plan.

And we don’t need men – especially men who are supposed to be rightly leading God’s people – to come along and entice us to mess that all up again.

But that’s exactly what’s happening.

When a pastor invites a woman to sin by taking over the pulpit, he drags her and the women of his church right back to post-Fall Eden. He trashes the rank and repute of our God-given high and holy role of mother and implicitly says Being a woman isn’t good enough. You have to steal the role of men to be valued and esteemed. 

Ladies, he’s wrong.

We don’t need to be second rate imitations of men in order to “count”. We need to be first rate, full throttle, take it to the limit women of God. God loves us and values us so much more than to give men a special and amazing role and leave us without an equally special and amazing, yet totally distinct, role. The God who spoke the universe into existence and planned out an unparalleled purpose for every single plant, animal, bacterium, and every other atom of the cosmos, did not leave the queen of His creation roleless. He did not bring us into being only to toddle along after the Hairy Ones trying to copy their every move. How unloving of God, and devaluing to women, would that be? Why would you want to act like a man when God blessed you with the gift of being a woman?

If, by God’s good Providence, you’ve “stumbled across” this article and you’re a woman who has been invited to preach, I plead with you: don’t buy the lie. Say no. Your Savior has a whole treasure chest of good works for you to do as a woman. You are worth infinitely more to Him as the woman He created you to be than you are to the world, or a worldly church, as a cheap knock-off of a man.

Let us be the mothers our own children need, raising up a godly seed unto the Lord. Let us be the spiritual mothers longed for by younger women in the faith, daughters orphaned by Christian women who have abandoned them to take on the role of men. The practice of denigrating women, devaluing our God-given role, disobeying God, and darkening the understanding of the church by inviting women to sinfully take the pulpit must stop in the house of God and be replaced by strong godly women, unafraid and unashamed to flourish in the precious role our Lord has blessed us with.

Especially on Mother’s Day.

Additional Resources:

Beth Moore vs. Owen Strahan on WWUTT Podcast
(Related links):
Michelle Lesley’s Twitter thread on Beth’s Sunday sermon preaching
Beth Moore’s Twitter response to Midwestern Seminary professor Owen
Strahan’s article on biblical complementarianism

Divine Order in a Chaotic Age: On Women Preaching by Owen Strahan

Why Asking Women to Preach Is Spiritual Abuse by Josh Buice

29 thoughts on “The Mother of All Rebellions: Having a Woman Preach on Mother’s Day”

  1. Thank you Michelle, for writing this. It so encouraged me. My pastor has had the women’s ministry leader preach on Mother’s Day for probably the last 20 years. I used to sit there and cringe during the service but the last few years my husband and I go to a neighboring church for their MD service. Our pastor dismisses my concerns about this along with everything else I have appealed to him about regarding false teachers being promoted in the church. I am waiting on my husband to decide when we should leave and find a new church. It is becoming a challenge to listen to preaching wondering when the next quote from a false teacher will pop up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan, I’m so glad you were encouraged. I’m sorry your church has taken this turn. If you need some help finding a new church, I hope the “Searching for a new church?” tab at the top of this page will point you in the right direction. :0)


  2. You always have such a way w/ your words! You are truly blessed for such a time as this! The study on 1 Timothy has already starting blessing my heart, and I can see the differences b/w the types of questions in your study and the types of questions in other studies I’ve done in the past. These questions make me focus more on the text and less on myself. W/ this article, I think you knocked the ball out of the park! You took the same argument that is being made FOR women preaching and you used it to show women that they truly are of great worth and value to our Lord, having an equally important role w/in the unique role as women. You showed us that we could be equally proud to be women and fulfill the role that only God gave us to do and that we didn’t have to go try to fill the shoes of a man to do it! I am truly blessed God has put you and your articles in my life so that I could be grounded in sound teaching and share it w/ other women around here who I know desperately need it.

    God bless!
    Jessica Laird

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Michelle, I’ve been pleading with my church to not promote the Beth Moore event in my city. Part of what I did was contacting Bayou City Fellowship about Mother’s Day. An Executive Pastor, Allan McBrayer, told me she would be teaching on Mother’s Day.

    Thank you so much for your ministry and your awesome response to Owen Strachan’s Tweet the other day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Do you also take the Scriptures seriously and that you do not wear make up, jewelry, do not ever style your hair, and always cover your head when you pray?


    1. Joel, if that’s the level of your understanding of Scripture, why have you violated 1 Timothy 2:12 by coming to a woman’s blog that’s clearly labeled “for women” and asking a woman to “teach” you something? Because I’m assuming if you think this way about those passages you’re alluding to, you probably also misunderstand 1 Timothy 2:12 to mean men can’t learn anything from my blog.

      I take the Scriptures seriously enough to take them in context and understand that the passages that mention things like this (by the way, you didn’t quote them or provide any Scripture references – that’s step one in making a biblical argument) are using them as cultural examples, not saying there is anything intrinsically sinful about a pearl necklace or a braided ponytail. It’s talking about the motivation behind doing those things and what those things stand for.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. “We don’t need to be second rate imitations of men in order to “count”. We need to be first rate, full throttle, take it to the limit women of God.”

    Well said, Michelle. Great article.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Michelle, I am married 42 years but was not able to bear a child yet am saved! I think there is more to this verse than it may appear to some!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Maureen- If you’re talking about 1 Timothy 2:15, you’re absolutely right! We know that when it says women will be “saved” through childbearing that it is not talking about salvation because Ephesians 2:8-9 (and the rest of Scripture, really) make crystal clear that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ. Verse 15 is talking about restoring the prestige and reputation of women that Eve lost for us at the Fall, and one of the ways that takes place is by being a godly mother or spiritual mother. After reading my explanation of that verse in the article, did you have more questions? I’d be happy to help. :0)


  7. “Let us be the mothers our own children need, raising up a godly seed unto the Lord. Let us be the spiritual mothers longed for by younger women in the faith, daughters orphaned by Christian women who have abandoned them to take on the role of men. “
    Oh my word, this is my heart’s pleading. I’ve recently begun to realize how much women are clawing for roles that aren’t laid out for them in scripture while ignoring the ones that are clearly laid out. I NEED godly women in my church to mentor me but I don’t know where they are. I do feel orphaned by them.


  8. I went to that website today and she did preach on Mother’s Day. I couldn’t find a date, so cannot confirm it was 2019, however she is preaching whatever year it was. So I’m assuming that church is non-denominational and there would not be an objection to women preaching. However, I’ve always heard that Beth Moore is Southern Baptist. If that is so, do Southern Baptists have church discipline? Wouldn’t that be a case of violating the beliefs of that denomination if they believe in inerrancy of Scripture? I know that is your church, Michelle, so maybe you’ve already researched this.


    1. It’s my understanding that the church she attends (and preached at on Mother’s Day), Bayou City Fellowship, is Southern Baptist. The Southern Baptist Convention is technically not a denomination in that every Southern Baptist church is autonomous. So there is no discipline by the “denomination” (i.e. the Southern Baptist Convention itself) in individual church matters. The church itself would have to discipline her (which will not happen since the pastor of that church is the one who invited her to preach). But even if the “denomination” did hold some form of rulership in this area, the section on the SBC’s position on women preaching only specifies that “the office” of pastor is restricted to men, and she does not hold the office. It does not address whether or not a woman can guest preach the Sunday sermon.


      1. Thanks for clarifying. I know you do your research lady! Well that’s too bad, isn’t it, that someone will find a loophole in those kinds of things.


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