This weekend, activist and author Lisa Sharon Harper caught wind of a 3-year-old post on desiringgod.com by pastor and writer John Piper. The post, titled “Should Women Be Police Officers?” was a transcript of Piper answering a question from a listener, Beth, who describes herself as “a woman who enjoys being a woman” but at the time, “felt drawn to police work as a vocation.”

So she asks Piper, “Can a single Christian woman, who is a complementarian, become a police officer?

Over the course of about 10 minutes, Piper essentially answers that women probably should not be police officers—if they want to live a life of submission to Scripture.

He concludes like this:

If a woman’s job involves a good deal of directives toward men, they will need to be non-personal in general. If they don’t, men and women won’t flourish in the long run in that relationship without compromising profound biblical and psychological issues.

Conversely, if a woman’s relationship to a man is very personal, then the way she offers guidance and influence will need to be more non-directive. My own view is that there are some roles in society that will strain godly manhood and womanhood to the breaking point. But I leave women and men in those roles to sort that out. I have never tried to make that list.

So the key is: Do they deeply want to shape their whole lives by Scripture? And we may come to different views on some roles, but that submission to Scripture is a great common ground.

It’s not necessarily a good exercise to examine all the things Piper says and believes and point out why they’re wrong and reductive. Many people have explicitly addressed those reasons whenever Piper shares his beliefs involving gender, which generally center around the idea that women have been put on this Earth for the benefit of men (“At the heart of mature womanhood is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive, and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships.”).

A better exercise is understanding the bigger elements of power, gender and race that Piper used in his response, which Harper expertly laid out in her 30-tweet thread.

Harper also relates this back to slavery and the roles of white men.

She ends with a final note to Beth: