Ben Witherington does some serious interaction with John Piper’s masculinization of Christianity

Ben is a thoughtful evangelical New Testament scholar. He is not as much in the news in the broader evangelical circles mostly because he is Arminian, I think. If he was not Arminian, there wouldn’t be a conference he wouldn’t be at, by virtue of his scholarship, breadth of books and ability to present the Christian faith to laypeople. The other reason is that he is mainline Methodist, and that is an odd bird in Evangelical circles. Thomas Oden is another example of an Arminian Methodist who doesn’t get broad Evangelical press. (Roger Olson is an Arminian who gets a bit more press because he is a Baptist. Can’t prove it. I suspect it). To be frank, there aren’t a whole lot of these guys around. Much of their dialogue is in the mainline where Evangelicals don’t make much of a dent.

Anyway, Ben is a ‘go to” guy simply because of his scholarship, generosity of spirit and cogency of argument. Here is his response to Piper.The follow up comments are worth looking at. I don’t think Ben is ultimately convincing but it is serious, requires an exegetical response and a certain amount of philosophical sophistication. Exegesis provides significant data, but one is not thereby exempted from walking onto the field of philosophical inquiry.

I haven’t heard the more practical argument for women in ministry that could be made from their contribution to pentecostal/charismatic Christianity, the fastest growing expression of Christian faith across the globe. In the mainline the increase in female ministers just happens to be at the same time that the mainline is virtually dying. Many see a one-for-one correspondence there. This argument has often been made. But not so for for the holiness movements which are fully integrative of women.

What Ben does not address that Pipe does is the psychology of leadership. Ben makes the case that the Bible does not exclude women from pastoral leadership. Even given that point, there is still another point to be made if Ben wants to make a fuller argument. Is this as a broad trend a good thing? Does it bless the church? Piper would say no. Ben doesn’t say yes. I assume he would, but he doesn’t say.

Piper never takes up a battle to lay it aside at another time. He stays engaged, and even at this later stage of his ministry rushes in the opposition camp with arrows flying. Mellowing is not something Piper does.

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