You likely know that this can be a fairly emotionally-charged topic, so there is a call on us to approach this topic and study with as gracious and humble an attitude as possible, listening carefully to the differing perspectives.  Although there are two main perspectives on this question (i.e., Complementarian and Egalitarian – at times referred to as Mutuality), there are many variations of these two perspectives.

Regardless of which perspective you might hold personally, we hope that each of us would be able to listen to, understand and articulate perspectives that differ from our own. 

We also recognize that there is an abundance of content available on this topic, so we offer below some representative resources that might be helpful as you explore this subject.  Although we are recommending these resources, that does not mean that Southview endorses all perspectives expressed in these materials – apart from those in Scripture!

Biblical Passages

The first place we look for guidance on this question is God’s Word.  These are some of the key biblical texts that we need to consider and reflect upon in our study of this topic are: 

We've broken down the main resource list into three options:

If you’re just looking for an overview of the viewpoints about men & women in ministry.

If you’d like a bit more extensive presentation of the viewpoints.

If you’d like to read or hear the most thorough presentation of the viewpoints.


This summary is on the website of the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, which supports a complementarian perspective.  The summary, though, is pretty fair in explaining the viewpoints of both perspectives.  It can therefore be a helpful starting point in understanding what the arguments and explanations are for the two primary views.

Websites with Resources on the Differing Perspectives

Articles and podcasts available range from Overview to very In-Depth.


Two Views on Women in Ministry (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

Edited by James Beck, Stanley Gundry, Linda Belleville

This book is not as comprehensive as Pierce/ Groothuis’s and Piper/Grudem’s books listed below, but it is easier to work through. This book furnishes a clear and thorough presentation of the two primary views on women in ministry so the reader can better understand each view’s strengths, weaknesses, and complexities. Each view—egalitarian (equal ministry opportunity for both genders) and complementarian (ministry roles differentiated by gender)—is represented by two contributors.

In Depth

The two books listed below would generally be considered the two seminal works on the question of men and women in ministry. 

Discovering Biblical Equality

Edited by Ronald Pierce, Rebecca Groothuis & Gordon Fee

Pierce & Groothuis provided one of the primary resources from an egalitarian/mutuality perspective written in response to “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood”.

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Edited by John Piper & Wayne Grudem

Piper & Grudem’s book is viewed as one of the leading works supporting a complementarian view of men and women. 

Additional Resources for Digging Deeper


God's Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-Theological Survey

Andreas Kostenberger & Margaret Kostenberger

This study of the Bible’s teaching on men and women aims to help a new generation of Christians live for Christ in today’s world. Moving beyond other treatments that primarily focus on select passages, this volume traces Scripture’s overarching pattern related to male-female relationships in both the Old and New Testaments.

Partners in Christ: A Conservative Case for Egalitarianism

John Stackhouse

The Bible says that women should keep silent in church AND that they should pray and prophesy. It calls wives the weaker partner AND says that men and women are equal.

When it comes to understanding what Scripture says about men and women, those on both sides of the debate can and do marshal strong evidence from the Bible. Why are they able to do this?  Dr. Stackhouse contends it is because Scripture in fact says both things. Does the Bible contradict itself then? Not so. Rather, Stackhouse describes the single approach in Scripture that guides us with clear direction on these important matters of relationships in the church and the family.

Forgotten Voices: Women in Ministry in The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada

Barb Howe

Barb served faithfully as a pastor on staff at Southview for many years.  Her book is a historical overview of the significant ministry that women have provided within the C&MA in Canada.

Men and Women in the Church: Building Consensus on Christian Leadership

Sarah Sumner

Evangelicals stand divided in their view of women in the church.  On one side stand complementarians, arguing the full worth of women but assigning them to differing roles. On the other side stand egalitarians, arguing that the full worth of women demands their equal treatment and access to leadership roles. Is there a way to mend the breach and build consensus?  Avoiding the pitfalls of both radical feminism and reactionary conservatism, Dr. Sumner traces a new path through the issues–biblical, theological, psychological and practical–to establish and affirm common ground. Arguing that men and women are both equal and distinct, Sumner encourages us to find ways to honor and benefit from the leadership gifts of both.  

Neither Complementarian nor Egalitarian: A Kingdom Corrective to the Evangelical Gender Debate

Michelle Lee-Barnewall

Regarding gender relations, the evangelical world is divided between complementarians and egalitarians. Michelle Lee-Barnewall critiques both sides of the debate, challenging the standard premises and arguments and offering new insight into a perennially divisive issue in the church. She presents an alternative way to move the discussion forward based on a corporate perspective and on kingdom values.


Women in Ministry: The Pauline Texts

Gordon D. Fee, Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Regent College, Vancouver

In this audio file Dr. Fee examines the more difficult Pauline texts on women in ministry. He sets these texts within the broader perspective of Biblical data and within the cultural context of the letters.

Complementarianism: Essential or Expendable?

A panel discussion with pastors and scholars (Dr. John Piper, Dr. Russell Moore & Pastor Greg Gilbert about complementarianism.)

Exploring the Biblical Theology of Christian Egalitarianism

Articles by Marg Mowczko, writing from an egalitarian perspective. Marg is an Australian and conducted her research in early Christian and Jewish studies at Macquarie University.