John Piper answered “no.” Our own Andrew Wilson responded “yup.” Tom Schreiner weighed in with his “nope.” And then Andrew said “Still yes, mate.”

We discuss. Enjoy.

If you enjoyed the show (AND ONLY IF), leave us a review at iTunes.  If you didn’t enjoy the show, let us know and we’ll work to make it better.  Or we’ll ignore you.  And if you want to subscribe by RSS, you can do that here.

Finally, as always, follow DerekAlastair, and Andrew for more tweet-sized brilliance.  And thanks to Timothy Motte for his sound editing work.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. […] the latest Mere Fidelity Andrew Wilson, Matt Lee Anderson, and I take up Andrew’s recent interactions with John Piper […]


  2. Meanwhile, women are preaching and teaching and leading people to Christ in churches all over the world regardless of whether John Piper or Tom Schreiner thinks they should be “allowed” to…


    1. Isn’t the issue what the word of God says on the matter and not what Piper or Schreiner think?

      Pricilla and Aquilla instructing Apollos (Acts 18:26) is an example of something being descriptive in scripture as opposed to being prescriptive.

      Not sure if we find anywhere in scripture where women are prescribed to teach.

      This even includes the verses many point to as women being allowed to teach other women and children. These verses do not refer to teaching the word of God.

      Tit 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in
      behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,
      Tit 2:4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,
      Tit 2:5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissiveto their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.


      1. In 1 Corinthians, Paul assumes that women will be teaching and preaching in the Church. In 1 Timothy he instructs Timothy to ensure that women are trained in theology of the Church so they may rightly teach and preach. :-)


        1. Thanks Andrew! I would appreciate chapter “and” verse.


          1. Sure! 1 Corinthians 11:5 specifically, Paul assumes women will be prophesying. I also have a high view of Apostles (and their teaching role), and Romans 16:7 clearly shows Junia is an apostle. I could go on more, but here’s a link that more fully explains and describes what I am getting at:


          2. Also 1 Timothy 2:8-15 – with a fuller exegesis than I could offer in a comment:


  3. David_Troughton May 18, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    In NZ Presbyterians are celebrating 50 years of women in ministry. We have had the blessing of lay and ordai end women preachers ministering very effectively. In Japan my father served in a mission which was founded by a visionary woman who was a Greek scholar. In USA you had Henridtta Mears- think who she trained.. so their preaching should be more than what is zet to music. Was what women have done,and have brought blessing through doing, wrong? And what of the notion that women can teach children and Asian and African men?


  4. It looks like neither Andrew nor David actually listened to the podcast, as their comments are barely related.


    1. How is it not relevant to the discussion? It’s been post after post about how women can/can’t preach in the church.


  5. It’s unclear to me why this is even a debatable issue. I think there is a general need to defer to custom in situations where having a woman in leadership may be a stumbling block for men. But I can’t see how that would be necessary in the USA in the 21st Century.


  6. Honestly, the most interesting aspect (in my opinion) of Alistair’s argument was his reliance on the “feeling” of propriety when it came to the justification of these special spaces in which women (and layman) are allowed to participate. Don’t get me wrong, oftentimes our intuitions are a good place to start, especially if we have enough experience in the past of reading and studying scripture, tradition, etc. In my scientific field, intuition is a great starting point, and I still am often amazed at the correct ideas my advisor is able to produce off the top of his head due to the time he’s spent in the field (the verification of these later, of course, needs to follow).

    The inconsistency to me appears to be that “feeling” regarding something is viewed as an acceptable starting point in discourse so long as it’s couched in detached-enough language, with vague references to scripture or tradition as a basis. Often when women (notice that I continue to speak in the third person here so as to remain sufficiently detached-sounding), contribute to this topic, they are ridiculed as too emotional (with all the cultural baggage that carries), because their “feelings” are tainted by the fact that they are at least partially based on real world experience, or more simply, because women “have a dog in this fight.” Any intuition coming from experience related to practical benefits (or “fruit”) seems to be discounted immediately, as referenced near the beginning of the podcast. In my experience, it is this sort of intuition that tends to be written off immediately as “emotion.”

    At the end of the day, I hold that scripture, tradition, reason, and experience need to be held up carefully until a harmony between them all can be found. These various “feelings” and “intuitions” are often starting points in our minds that are based subconsciously on one (or more!) of these four things, and to discount any of these right off the bat as “irrational emotions” (if such things exist) does discourse a disservice.


  7. […] may be related to the instance of elders “sifting” prophecies, as Alastair suggests in the Mere Fidelity podcast on this question.) So why not interpret 1 Timothy 2:12 as saying something similar: not forbidding all kinds of […]


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