Monday, August 16, 2010

Is it Wrong for Men to Listen to Women Teachers?

Men's and women's roles within the church, as well as the home, are unfortunately often an area of controversy.  I say "unfortunately" because we have God's Word that spells out for us God's "mind" on the matter.  One great resource that lays a solid exegetical, biblical foundation is The Center for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood - and in particular the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood which is available free in PDF format by following the preceding link.

I am also posting below the transcript of a question posed to Pastor John Piper and his answer.  He articulates well and succinctly what we should understand from the Scriptures.

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

The Question: I'm a guy. Is it wrong for me to listen to Beth Moore?

John Piper's Answer: No. Unless you begin to become dependent on her as your shepherd—your pastor.

This is the way I feel about women speaking occasionally in Sunday school. We don't need to be picky on this. The Bible is clear that women shouldn't teach and have authority over men. In context, I think this means that women shouldn't be the authoritative teachers of the church—they shouldn't be elders. That is the way Rick Warren is understanding it, and most of us understand it that way.

This doesn't mean you can't learn from a woman, or that she is incompetent and can't think. It means that there is a certain dynamic between maleness and femaleness that when a woman begins to assume an authoritative teaching role in your life the manhood of a man and the womanhood of a woman is compromised.

What I just said is unbelievably controversial. There are thousands, even millions of people that think this idea is absolutely obscene. That is the language people used back in the 70's when I was fighting battles over biblical manhood and womanhood. It isn't obscene. It is recognized profoundly in a lot of young people today, as well as older people.

To the question of whether men should listen to a woman like Elisabeth Elliot—who was the Beth Moore of my generation. Elisabeth Elliot provoked students to be lay down your life missionaries. I love it! Sock it to them Elisabeth! She was so in your face about laying your life down and being radically obedient and totally committed. She was not a pastor, and she didn't even preach on Sunday mornings. She is my kind of lady. I can learn heaps from her.

I want to learn from my wife and I am happy to learn from Beth Moore. But I don't want to get into a relationship of listening or attending a church where a woman is becoming my pastor, my shepherd or my authority. I think that would be an unhealthy thing for a man to do. I could give reasons for that biblically, experientially and psychologically, but I have given the gist of it.

So the answer is, no it is not wrong for you to listen to Beth Moore, but it could become wrong. I think Beth Moore would be happy with that answer. I've talked to her about this, and I think she would be OK with what I've said. Our paths cross at the Passion Conference every now and then, and we talk.

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