Perhaps we have turned a tiny corner over the past year. In one week, two different Neo-Reformed Complementarian websites had posts about the importance of women studying theology. They were even affirming of women studying theology (albeit with many caveats and subtle warnings).
Women Studying Theology
The first I saw was on John Piper’s Desiring God website. While I was glad to see Moms Need Theology Too on the site, I was a bit distressed that the author felt women were so uneducated about what theology is and why it is important that such a basic article was necessary. The points that Christina Fox made were true. Our theology does (or should) direct us as we make choices and respond to our family throughout the day.
On the other hand, an article like this comes across to me as such a sad indictment as to the theological state of the average mother in the church today. That moms need to be told what the word “theology” means and that it is important is just profoundly sad to me.
The second article was from The Gospel Coalition’s website and I honestly couldn’t decide if 3 Reasons Women Need Good Theology was about encouraging women to study God’s word more deeply or defending the complementarian view. Alyssa Poblete begins with the following story:
“Just be careful. You don’t want women becoming spiritual leaders in the home or, even worse, wanting to become pastors.”
This was the response from a pastor friend of mine when he heard about a theology blog for women that I had recently launched with some friends. My heart sunk.
The problem is that this view is pervasive within complementarian churches. Be careful in allowing women to study too much. They might get uppity and discover they have spiritual gifts they long to use for the Kingdom. There is, after all, nothing worse in their view than a woman wanting to become a minister of God’s Word. Remember that some of them would apparently prefer that men perish than hear a woman proclaim the Gospel.
But I’m Still Complementarian!
Again, I find it profoundly sad that such an article has to be written with caveats about how much the author “loves complementarianism” and how she “would be devastated” if anyone used what she wrote in her article to argue for women being “pastors or spiritual leaders in the home.” Having to justify herself as a complementarian in order to be taken seriously by TGC audience for which she writes frankly just breaks my heart. Shouldn’t having a passion for God and His word be enough?
We’ve discussed here numerous times that women in neo-reformed circles have been told over and over again to leave the theology and leading to men. But maybe after all the high profile pastoral debacles of the past year at least a few of the neo-reformed leaders are recognizing that it might be okay to encourage the women to study theology at least a bit.
Like I said, it’s a tiny step, but at least they are encouraging the women to open their Bibles and study.
By way of comparison, consider what Carolyn Custis James shares in her post about the strong presence of various women in the Bible and how their words shape the very theology of God’s people in Airbrushed?
Which version of women’s interaction with theology do you find most compelling and Christ-exalting?