Dear John Piper,
I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for bringing to the forefront this important topic. Thank you for giving the women you tried to silence, a louder voice. John Piper, thank you for trying your best and showing us all that God had bigger and better plans.
Here are some of the beautiful voices I was given the opportunity to hear after your attempt to silence them from the academic field. Listen carefully, I think you may have things to learn from them too.
Sandra Glahn, Reflections of a Female Seminary Professor
As I walked down the red carpet that night, that young Army-captain chaplain, a leader of men, got the crowd’s attention and pointed to this woman with grey in her hair and lines around her eyes. “My mentor,” he announced, like that was the thing that made him most proud. And I tasted salt.
Later he texted me these words: “When you’re shaping up into who you’re going to be, it sometimes takes teachers to tell you that you can fly.”
And sometimes those teachers are women.
Mari Clements, She Teaches: Resisting the Danger of a Single Narrative
I understand how he bases this conclusion in his worldview deeply shaped by 1 Timothy 2:9–15, and my first impulse was to shake my head and move on. However, as I considered comments by my colleagues, and more important, the responses to those comments by hurting, confused, and/or angry students, faculty, and members of the public, I felt a growing conviction that this was an Esther moment for me; that is, as long as I am acting as the first female provost of one of the largest evangelical seminaries in the world, how can I not speak out “at such a time as this”?
Throughout history, certain people have been “excluded” from various occupations and leadership roles. If those people had not spoken out, inspired, modeled and even sometimes covertly trained the people who hold power, there would be no leaders anywhere in the United States except white men.
Ashley Oliver, A Response to JP
I’m sick of feeling as though it is my responsibility to explain to these ignorant men, why my call from God is just as legitimate as any other call.
Meredith Cook, Should Women Be Seminary Professors
Let us consider what we are communicating by simultaneously encouraging women to pursue seminary education and yet not affording these same women opportunities to use this education in the academic sphere.
Kaitlin Curtice who called out on Twitter for men to share the names of women who have impacted them. I’m still going through the list finding more and more inspiring women.
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
In addition to the above women, your words introduced me to a few good men.
Matt Mikalatos, Yes, Seminaries Should Hire Women
Women should be sought out as seminary professors. They bring a unique voice and a unique contribution to the body, and their insights and experiences are important for would-be pastors to know and understand. This is not in opposition to scripture or even to complementarianism, which teaches that men and women complement one another and are in need of one another… why should this change in a seminary setting?
Dennis R. Edwards, Why I Needed Women Seminary Professors
Perhaps if I had learned from a woman seminary professor, I would have had an even better seminary education, and would today be an even better pastor.
Michael F. Bird, Women Seminary Professors
My first piece of advice for women preparing for seminary is that you should approach an all-male faculty with the same level of caution you would use sharing a cab ride with Harvey Weinstein.
Stephen Bernard, Why I Agree With JP on Female Professors in Seminary
I completely agree with what Piper is saying. If it is unbiblical for female pastors, it must be unbiblical for women to teach the Bible in seminaries. Consistency is key.
David M. Schell, Is There a Place for Male Professors at Seminary
Who’s responsible for nearly all the sexual assaults and rapes in the Bible? Men.Who’s responsible for nearly all the violence recorded in the Bible? Men. Denier of Christ? Peter. A man.Betrayer of Christ? Judas. A man.Don’t forget Apollos, a man, who had to be set straight by a woman, Priscilla, whose name appears in 2/3 of mentions of the couple ahead of her husband’s name, emphasizing her significance over him.
The ones listed above come from varying denominations and beliefs along the egalitarianism vs.complementarianism debate.
At the end of the day, we need more examples of female theologians (like Rachel Denhollander) who will stand in the margins and proclaim Christ. We need brave men and women who stand up for the voiceless and shape the future of our churches.
I am left with the thought that if more women trained future pastors perhaps heartwrenching stories shared during the #ChurchToo movement would have been fewer. Or perhaps the church culture that continually shames victims and offers grace to the victimizer would be significantly different. Perhaps, leaders would be less likely to voice their misogyny or defend those who do in the public sphere because they would understand how truly hurtful it is. Perhaps, more pastors and the men they council would strive to follow Joseph’s example.
John Piper, it’s not the first time I’ve disagreed with your words. It is the first time your comments have introduced me to a wealth of female theologians. So again, thank you. God used your message for good.
Your fellow theologian,
Here’s a great podcast by the way that delves into this topic even further:
Leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’d also love to know if there are any female theologians who have greatly impacted your life. Share below.