In a recent question-and-answer segment with John Piper posted on desiringgod.com, Piper spoke about his beliefs on women teaching in seminary and, relatedly, being pastors themselves.
Piper was answering a question from a seminary student who essentially wanted to know if women should be seminary professors on the complementarian understanding that lays out gender roles in relationships and in church leadership.
Piper initially says:
That’s my belief about what makes for the best seminary teaching. When a student with the pastoral call arrives at the level of seminary preparation, something is different from what was happening in college education and high school education (at least, usually it is). Not only has he moved beyond the adolescent years of transition from boyhood to manhood, but he is now submitting himself to a community of teachers who, by their precept and example, are called to shape his mind and his heart for vocational pastoral ministry.
He continues, with the crux of his response being:
If it is unbiblical to have women as pastors, how can it be biblical to have women who function in formal teaching and mentoring capacities to train and fit pastors for the very calling from which the mentors themselves are excluded? I don’t think that works. The issue is always that inconsistency. If you strive to carve up teaching in such a way that it’s suitable for women, it ceases to be suitable as seminary teaching.
So a closing word. The issue, as always, is not the competence of women teachers or intelligence or knowledge or pedagogical skill. It’s never competence! That’s not the issue in the home or in leadership. It’s not the issue in church leadership. It’s not the issue in seminary leadership.
Obviously, these comments incited some controversy in the Christian community. Twitter user Kaitlin Curtice took to Twitter in response.
So we are challenged to not only try to undo this mindset, but to constantly chip away at and mend to the brokenness of its repercussions for our society.
— Kaitlin Curtice (@KaitlinCurtice) January 22, 2018
She then put out a call to action for men to point out some women who have positively affected men’s theology, and the responses did not disappoint, referencing women both famous and not, familial and not, who shaped them and continue to lead them.
But broadly, @goodsampastor invited me back into healthy Christian community in a time when I feared the Church.
— Science Mike (@mikemchargue) January 23, 2018
Definitely the following women thinkers, preachers, theologians, prophets, and mystics: @KaitlinCurtice @KelliHitchman @alpal_willcox @sarcasmforChrst @BerniceKing @WilGafney @KelseyMLoo @rachelheldevans @KatecBowler
My mom, Sherrie@StephSansLee
— Rev. Rob Lee (@roblee4) January 23, 2018
— Tony Jones (@jonestony) January 23, 2018
On a day like today (@desiringGod), can you tell us the women who have contributed most to your theology through their leadership?
Who are/were they, and what impact have they made on you?
— Kaitlin Curtice (@KaitlinCurtice) January 23, 2018
With much gratitude I celebrate
Rev. Jenifer Eriksen Morales
Rev. Dr. Emily Ralph Servant
Dr. Laura Brenneman
Rev. Dawn Ruth Nelson
Rev. Marlene Frankenfield
Dr. Dorothy Jean Weaver https://t.co/4ss9NhEeqT
— chrisnickels (@chrisnickels) January 23, 2018
— Zach Lambert (@ZachWLambert) January 23, 2018
On a personal level, @Cynthia_Westfal , @BethStovell , Dr. Jo-Ann Badley, and many others. As writing theologians, Sarah Coakley, Shelly Rambo, Phyllis Trible, @SereneJones, Lynn Cohick, Carol Newsom, and @NyashaJunior all come to mind.
— Colin Toffelmire (@colintoffelmire) January 23, 2018
Also thankful for strong female leaders in churches outside of pastoral roles.
The church I am a part of have always had women as an important part of the elder board,including my wife @Girlryliz
W/O their strong voice’s and models of leadership,our church would be a disaster https://t.co/IoAyOs5duW
— Vincent Crespin (@vpc1588) January 23, 2018
If your timeline feels a little light on women leaders in the Church, Curtice’s mentions will have some ideas for new people to follow.