If you haven’t heard, John Piper made some comments last week about the masculinity of the church that has set off a firestorm online. Many people are deeply concerned and offended by some of his statements about how God views women. (Piper is the same pastor who believes a wife should stay with an abusive husband and endure abuse “for a season.”)
God Gave Christianity a “Masculine” Feel
The remarks were in God Gave Christianity a “Masculine Feel”. Internet Monk has also listed Piper’s “Eight Traits of a Masculine Ministry” in the post Eight Traits of a Responsible Ministry. I’m not going to pull quote any of the Piper quotes. You can read them for yourselves.
I left a comment on one of the discussions that it is starting to feel like Piper and his gang are turning this male supremacy church doctrine into a primary, Gospel doctrine. I don’t think they are doing it on purpose, but it has gone from the Danvers Statement of why complementarianism is important to the church is masculine and women should find comfort in the maleness of the church.
What is Biblical Femininity?
And if you want to be thoroughly confused, read some of the answers given by the all-male panel on the question of “What is Biblical Femininity?” Someone please explain this to me because this makes no sense at all.
During the panel discussion, in his answer to the question about biblical femininity and in reference to his statement about a “masculine feel,” he said, “If it’s done right, this masculine feel creates a space. It’s big. It’s roomy. It’s peaceful. It’s just full and radiant with all the good things of life, and in it women flourishing will give it that feel.”
Seriously. What in the world does that mean? Why will being in a “masculine feel” church make me feel better? Just reading that the church is “masculine” would be enough to depress and discourage many women. It certainly doesn’t make me feel “full and radiant” when I consider being in a “masculine” church.
Or how about this one?
Pastor Doug Wilson of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, told the panel that one of the virtues women have is that of being a helpmate.
Wilson said that after God had created all the things before creating man He said, “That is good,” but when he created man He said that a solitary man, by himself, is “not good.”
“Then, for a man, the helpmate suitable for him means that he by himself is inadequate,” Wilson explained.
So if man by himself is inadequate, might it also follow that the church would benefit from the input of women in meaningful ways? If men and women TOGETHER reflect the image of God, might it not follow that the church (at the very least at the deacon board level) would benefit from the perspective of women?
How God Views Women
Of the many responses online to the masculine church idea, here are a few.
- Piper’s “Masculine Christianity” Actually Emasculates from Wade Burleson
- And in contrast to Piper’s masculine church, consider this beautiful piece by Frank Viola: God’s View of a Woman. This is a sermon he gave in Chile where the view of women is very low.
To quote Frank, “Sisters in Christ, this is your Lord’s view of a woman. Take your high place.”