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Topic: 1 Timothy 2

Toward Complementarian Clarity

February 15, 2018

Tim Challies predicted that 2018 would bring further definition to complementarianism, and it took less than a month for an opportunity for such definition to arise.

In late January, John Piper answered a question on his popular podcast, “Ask Pastor John,” that sparked not a little dissension—especially on social media. The question was, “Is There a Place for Female Professors at Seminary?” Piper’s answer to that question elicited response not only from egalitarians, but from those within the complementarian camp as well.

Though the issue was initially framed around the purpose of seminaries and their relationship to the academy, the more fundamental issue is a difference among complementarians about men and women in the teaching ministry of the local church.

This has been a longstanding conversation among complementarians–one that has received no small amount of discussion over the years. In 2015, for example, the issue came to the fore in a well-publicized exchange between John Piper, Andrew Wilson, and Tom Schreiner. Anyone wishing to understand this most recent controversy would do well to revisit that exchange. Below is a summary with links to the original articles.

Can a Woman Preach If Elders Affirm It?
The exchange began, believe it or not, with an episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, in which Piper answered the question, “can a woman preach if elders affirm it?” Piper answered in the negative.

Woman Preachers: A Response to John Piper
In response, Wilson—a teaching pastor at King’s Church in London—wrote an article responding to Piper. Wilson laid out his argument that women “can (and should) preach sermons in local churches.”

Why Not to Have a Woman Preach: A Response to Andrew Wilson
Schreiner, professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Southern Seminary, then weighed in by responding to Wilson’s main arguments.

In his article Schreiner refers to the book Women in the Church, which he edited with Andreas Köstenberger. The book takes a deep dive into the exegetical arguments on both sides surrounding 1 Timothy 2:9–15, and we would commend it as a helpful resource for all complementarians.

Again, we think these conversations are important, and we hope they can move us all toward the clarity and definition Challies predicted.

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