Slate XX has a piece up explaining that women like Beth Moore are much more of a force in driving conservative evangelical opinion on politics than outsiders would likely suspect. Slate quotes CBMW co founder John Piper explaining that it is fine for men to listen to Beth Moore’s sermons, so long as they don’t “become dependent on her”:
But these women are often underestimated as influencers, both from within the evangelical world and outside it. In conservative corners of evangelicalism, the question of whether and how women can properly serve as spiritual teachers is a sensitive topic. “I’m a guy,” a questioner asked the influential pastor and author John Piper in 2010. “Is it wrong for me to listen to Beth Moore?” It’s OK to listen, but be careful not to “become dependent on her as your shepherd,” Piper answered. “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.”
Readers who have viewed the movie War Room will recall Beth Moore delivering her signature line:
Submission is ducking so God can hit your husband.
Slate links to the full transcript of Piper’s answer to the question, and their summary and quote is accurate. This answer from Piper in July of 2010 is an evolution from the original answer Piper and Grudem put forth when they created the CBMW. In their inaugural book, Piper and Grudem explained that they believed the traditional reading of 1 Tim 2:14 is incorrect:
First Timothy 2:14 says, “Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” Paul gives this as one of the reasons why he does not permit women “to teach or have authority over a man.” Historically this has usually been taken to mean that women are more gullible or deceivable than men and therefore less fit for the doctrinal oversight of the church. This may be true (see question 29). However, we are attracted to another understanding of Paul’s argument.
As a result of their innovative interpretation of 1 Tim 2:14, Grudem and Piper had Dr. Moo explain that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 only prohibits women from preaching to men:
…we argue that the teaching prohibited to women here includes what we would call preaching (note 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word . . . with careful instruction” [teaching, didache ̄]), and the teaching of Bible and doctrine in the church, in colleges, and in seminaries…
…Paul’s position in the pastoral epistles is, then, consistent: he allows women to teach other women (Titus 2:3-4), 17 but prohibits them to teach men.
But this was back in 1991. By 2010, Piper explains that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 permits women to formally teach/preach to men, so long as the man doesn’t start to see her as his pastor.
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.
To see the full complementarian progression on the topic we have to add in Jenn Wilkin at The Gospel Coalition. This gives us the full progression to date, although certainly not the final complementarian word on the evolving meaning of 1 Timothy 2:11-15: