From her several decades of experience in women’s ministries and in seminary classrooms, Alice Mathews has gained an appreciation for the gifts godly women offer the church. In Gender Roles and the People of God: Rethinking What We Were Taught about Men and Women in the Church, the former professor and academic dean at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (and longtime cohost of the radio program Discover the Word) calls on church leaders to welcome women into leadership roles. Writer and frequent CT contributor Hannah Anderson spoke with Mathews about her vision of “egalitarian complementarity,” wherein men and women join hands as full partners in ministry.

At age 86, after having stepped away from the classroom, why do you feel compelled to continue being part of this conversation?

In many ways, this book is a continuation of work I’ve been involved in for much of my adult life. Back in 1985, I came to a very clear understanding of what I perceived as God’s call on my life. I had been involved with a number of female students on the campus of Denver Seminary, where I was teaching at that time. I saw gifted women who could not find opportunities to live out their callings within the structures that had sent them to seminary. Since that time, my mission in life has been to equip and encourage women trying to find out what they’re meant to do with the gifts that God has given them, particularly within churches that aren’t always quick to acknowledge those gifts.

Toward the end of the final chapter, I talk about a French woman, Madeleine Blocher-Saillens, who was a Protestant pastor. Back in 1970, when I read her interpretation of Genesis 3:15 [“I will put enmity between you and ...

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