A few preliminary matters…

Wayne Grudem approached me in 1992 to be the first director of what has now become the “Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.”  I said “no” mainly because my interests are far too diverse to focus on any single issue.

I lean towards a more “conservative” (or commonly called complementarian position) when it comes to gender roles.  I use the word lean by design as there are some practical implications which continue to nag.

Recently, I had an email exchange with a gracious person who holds a Ph.D in New Testament and who happens to hold a complementarian position.  We talked about my concerns, but I found his perspective less than persuasive.  Here are three issues I shared:

•It strikes me as arbitrary to allow women to teach the Bible when it comes to the written word, but not to the oral word.  For example, many conservatives used to quote Susan Foh’s work, Women and the Word of God, but they would not have someone like her preach from the pulpit.  So her book can inform the sermons of pastors, but she wouldn’t be allowed to preach.  Many other examples could be added.

•Most complementarians extol the value of women teaching children’s Sunday school, yet would not allow women to teach adult males.  Are we then saying that children have less value or that it is not so dangerous to deceive the minds of our little ones?  Jesus had some pretty tough things to say about those who lead children astray.

•Why the virtual silence about Beth Moore speaking at the Passion conference?  John Piper, whom I respect very much, has never to my knowledge raised any concern.  Why the silence not just from him, but of so many others?  My interlocutor believes things like the Passion conference are different from the local church.  Granted, one could argue there is some distinction, but I find making a sharp disjunction unpersuasive.

So what do you think?  I have read many of the answers of complementarians on these matters and they strike me as forced.

I believe women can teach mixed groups as long as they are under the authority of godly men.  I gladly admit I could be wrong, but I also find it odd that my own position is hardly ever mentioned as a viable one within the complementarian camp.







2 thoughts on “WOMEN TEACHING MEN…OH MY!

  1. David McCoy

    Since no one else wants to venture into this controversial subject, here are my two cents worth:
    A study of the the Book of Acts seems to indicate that giftedness is not limited to one sex. There were even prophetesses in the early church, women prayed aloud at services, and Priscilla seems to have taken the lead over her husband in teaching correct doctrine to Apollos.

    That said, I agree firmly with you, Dave, that women teachers in the church should be under the authority of godly men. However, I would broaden that concept to say that ALL teachers in the church, male or female, should be under the authority of the pastors or elders. (Merely designating a woman teacher’s husband as a nominal “co-teacher,” whatever his giftedness, is evading the issue.) The church often co-opts their responsibility by showing absolutely no oversight over what is being taught.

    I should note that when I was teaching adult Sunday school classes at a previous church where Dave was Pastor of Education, he audited my classes on occasion to make sure I was not teaching heterodox doctrines.

  2. Dave Post author

    Thanks for your comments Dave. There are many other folks reading these posts, so I trust some will bravely put pen to paper!


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