Is It Wrong for Men to Listen to Female Speakers?

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

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

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.

©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in physical form, in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For posting online, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. For videos, please embed from the original source. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org