You may have missed it, but this last summer, the internet played host to a blog-powered debate that revived one of the oldest controversies in Christian theology: the Trinitarian relationship between the Father and the Son. A key voice in that debate was teacher, blogger, and former Mars Hill women’s ministry leader Wendy Alsup, who has often argued strongly for women’s essential place in church life and their inclusion in the male-dominated world of theology.

On this week’s episode of The Calling, CT associate editor Kate Shellnutt sat down with Alsup to learn more about her work as a writer, lay teacher, and practical theologian:

On speaking her mind in church as a woman: “For a long time, I felt like I needed to just write a disclaimer: ‘I don’t want to take over. . . . I’m not interested in your job. You’re safe, pastor.’”

On why she teaches practical theology: “I think for theology, you shouldn’t have to say ‘practical.’ The Bible says itself, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ Knowledge of the holy one is understanding. If it really is knowledge of God, that’s supposed to be practical. It’s supposed to lead to wisdom. It’s supposed to break into the now.”

On megachurches: “I don’t think the problem is at all with megachurches; I think the problem is with a church growth mentality that cuts at the roots. That’s what I always thought that Mars Hill was doing in the last few years—they would cut at the roots in an effort to grow the tree bigger. And then eventually you didn’t have the root system, and the tree blows over in the wind. You want your tree to grow, but you have to have roots going down.”

On the “problem” with the Bible: “A lot of people had problems with Mark Driscoll and just wrote off the Bible: ‘Well, if that’s what the Bible teacher says, obviously, there’s something wrong with the Bible.’ But I believed in the Bible a long time before I ever got to know Mark Driscoll, and I’m going to believe in it now. So I don’t think the problem’s with the Bible.”

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The Calling is produced by Richard Clark and Cray Allred.

Theme music by Lee Rosevere, used under Creative Commons 4.0.