The Gospel™ Rules for Friendship From John Piper’s Desiring God Leave Me Exhausted

“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves link

Whenever I am about to write a post on John Piper's latest pronouncements, I get to feeling bone-weary. It seems that the more this teacher is on the circuit, the more rules and regulations he dreams up. Dogs can prevent us from glorifying God. Women shouldn't be police officers. Women should endure abuse for a night and not develop muscles and on and on and on.

The Pharisees caused the people to be burdened.

Jesus got that feeling of being worn down. He rebuked the Pharisees and teachers of the laws for placing heavy burdens on the people.

Matthew 23:1-4 (Bible Gateway)

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. (NIV)

People have asked me why people seem to like the rules of obedience as put forth by the Calvinistas. I think one of my former pastors nailed it. The Pharisees had a list of rules to follow. If people followed these rules, like not spitting on the ground on the Sabbath, then they were assured of their place in the kingdom of God. It was a long checklist or man made edicts. The Pharisees got to decide what the mandate were by fiat. Many of them made little sense.

What do I mean by cooking the books?

Many folks like a nice set of rules so that they *know* they are righteous. My pastor called this *cooking the books.*

See Mr Pharisee, I never Sabbath spit, I give my tithe, and I do think you are absolutely awesome.

Jesus really messed around with the books of rules. Adultery now was lusting in one's heart as well. The Pharisees were furious because Jesus had no respect for their conspicuous piety. In fact, He extended the rules way beyond anything the Pharisees could have imagined. And they couldn't could keep up with them. They would need to admit their fallibility and that didn't fit their style.

In front of the regular folks, Jesus made the Pharisees look like failures. He blamed them for the heavy burdens they laid on the people while calling them snakes. Jesus' people were exhausted and He came to free them from the oppressive rule makers.

John Piper's oppressive rules for friendship

More Than BFFs: When Friendship Goes Too Far was written by Kelly Needham. However, one can assume that this post is in keeping with Piper's ideology since it is posted on his Desiring God website.

Friends will disappoint you. 

This is one of the few things with which I agree.

 Only One can truly satisfy; everything and everyone else will disappoint. This includes even our best friends.

Of course, anyone in life will disappoint me at times and I, for sure, will disappoint others. Anyone who is a Christian should understand this.

Friendships, in Piper's world, are only same sex friendships. I disagree.

Since same-gender friendships are necessary for our spiritual health,

I have some friends who are men. One of those is the Guy Behind the Curtain. We talk about caring for elderly parents while he helps me with computer issues. His friendship is important to me since we can express our frustrations and share solutions to problems, etc. It is helpful to both of us to have these times. We occasionally go out to dinner with both of our spouses and have a great time. 

It has become a running joke in my home that "Mom is on the phone with a guy she met on the Internet. She'll call you back shortly." There are some wonderful friends in my life like Todd, Eric, Boz, David and Ryan who have been such supports to me. 

We should not find security in a friendship since this is dangerous.

I totally disagree. God will send friends into our life to give us some security in this world.

The disintegration of the family and blurred lines of gender and sexuality have left our society with less and less stability. What can you rely on if your sexual preferences continually change and marriage and family relationships become increasingly unreliable? Under these conditions, friendship becomes crucial. In fact, the world’s model BFF is, by all accounts, a functional savior — someone who rescues you from the instability and trials of life, someone with whom and to whom you belong, who is committed to you “forever.”

…Followers of Christ find many good things in friendship, but identity and security should never be among them. However harmless this may seem, allowing anyone but God to be your peace of mind and the joy of your heart is dangerous.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with deriving some security from a friendship. When my daughter suffered from her brain tumor, my next door neighbor, Karen, was always there to care for my other two children, make me a meal, visit me in the hospital, take me out to lunch, and be a shoulder to cry on. Yes, Jesus is my ULTIMATE security, but Karen gave me some security in this world. I do not know what I would have done without her.

A couple of years later, Karen's husband lost his job. He got another but made less money and Karen needed to.go to work. Her last child at home was six months away from starting school. I knew how I could help her. I cared for her daughter for those 6 months, giving a sense of security to her and a playmate for my daughter during the day.

Yes, we were joined at the hip and it was a wonderful thing for both of us. 

Then there is Deb. She stood by me during the serious situation in my former church involving a pedophile. Not only did Deb support me, but she joined in our group that was fighting for honesty and took on the verbal barbs being thrown at us. She did not need to do that but she was my friend. That friendship turned into this blog. Within the context of our friendship, we developed our sense of justice and righteousness and how that should look in the church. We challenge each other.

Jesus is always at the base of our friendship and blog. But, as we work together, we find security in our friendship as we figure out how to deal with complex situations. We share books, meals, birthdays, movies, and plenty of laughs. My husband says he gets the biggest kick out of hearing Deb laughing on the phone about something we are talking about. 

Could we get along without each other? Of course. Would we want to? Absolutely not.

Close same sex friendships might become sexual in nature! (Pounding my head against the wall on this one.)

This made me downright angry and further extends my concerns about the bizarre pronouncements that I occasionally find at Desiring God.  There are some questions that help you *assess* if your friendship is not God glorifying™ because it is sexual in nature. The Calvinistas cannot resist turning everything into some sort of sexual sin, including friendship. 

  • Are you more physically affectionate toward this friend than other friends?
  • Are you physically affectionate in a way that makes others uncomfortable?
  • Do you have frequent sleepovers, often preferring to share the same bed?

There is a man made list of questions which are supposedly to help you see if your friendship is taking you away from God.

Here are a few more questions from the list of 16.

  • Do you prefer to spend time alone with your friend, and are you easily frustrated when others join in?
  • Are you hesitant, or even unwilling, to make plans (short-term or long-term) that don’t include your friend?
  • Do you feel free to “speak for” your friend with others?

Now let's look at the conclusion of the author. Talk about ill-educated and downright ignorant assumptions.

If you answered yes to more than one or two of these questions, your friend likely is becoming, or has become, something to you only God should be. But take courage, Jesus is a capable and compassionate Savior to all who turn to him. No situation, however complicated it may seem, is too much for him. Owning our sin, and confessing it to him, is where healing begins. 

That's it, folks. You now have a definitive list to cook the books when it comes to friendship. You must repent for your sin because Kelly made a list and said you should. 2 or more *yes* answers means you are sinning.

I had to laugh about the following question in that list.

Do you use nicknames or special language with each other?

Some of our friends on this blog have nicknamed us The Deebs. In a speech that I gave at my daughter's wedding I said, referring to Deb who helped me with the venue,

"You know that you have a close friend when people refer to both of you with one name."

According to Desiring God, we are well on the way to friendship hell.

Please, folks, do not pay attention to this sort of codswallop. It seems to me that John Piper and his BFFs are attempting to snuff out any joy in this world be it from dogs, friends, or women with muscles. This stuff is not Biblical. It is a modern day Mishnah and I, for one, do not intend to put up with such baloney. 

The scrupulous details of the minutia of the law are easily seen in the Mishnah. This encyclopedia of Pharisaic legalism instructs the reader with incredible detail concerning every conceivable area of conduct.

Instead, reflect on this.

Matthew 11:28-29 New International Version (NIV)

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

What is the Gospel?

We often complain about the overuse of the word *gospel*by Calvinistas. Their gospel seems to be a list of rules of obedience since we are now "free to obey."

Dr Scot McKnight did a 7:45 minute presentation on this matter. It turns out that the gospel is not a what but a Who and it does not leave me exhausted with a new Mishnah to follow.  It is well worth the listen. I would love to hear what you think.


Comments

The Gospel™ Rules for Friendship From John Piper’s Desiring God Leave Me Exhausted — 297 Comments

  1. Piper and others like him hate women. They can not imagine having a normal relationship with a woman. They are sick beyond sick. Run from these people as fast as you can.

  2. Ruth Tucker wrote:

    I wonder how Desiring God handles good old David and best friend Jonathan?

    And they would excoriate anyone for even suggesting it but they can question it of us whenever they want.

  3. Any “gospel” without the story of Jesus is not the Gospel at all. Any “gospel” that does not focus on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and salvation for anyone who believes in Him is not good news that brings great joy to ALL people.

    One of my biggest concerns with the New Calvinist movement is that you seldom hear the name of Jesus mentioned. You hear them talk about being “Christ-Followers”, but rarely do they lift the name that is above all names in their ministries. “Gospel” to them is a rigid set of doctrinal propositions about grace, rather than a direct experience of Grace through an encounter with the living Christ. “Gospel” to the reformed mind = Calvinism … the message and ministry of Christ gets lost in their version of the gospel, which is not the Gospel at all.

    It’s good to see that Scot McKnight escaped the emergent church and his links with Brian McLaren, Don Miller, Rob Bell, etc. Many of the New Calvinists cut their teeth on the emergent church before they became resurgent; Driscoll was a former emergent church star before retreating from their error only to preach a different flavor of error. McKnight appears to be on track now, although I’m still trying to get my brain around his teachings on the “new perspective on Paul.”

  4. Basically, it all seems to boil down to this – the only permissible source of strength, joy, meaning and stimulation for Piper & Co. is God Himself, direct and unmediated. Anything else is a possible idol.

    How that direct relationship is to be accomplished, when God is not in the habit of directly interacting with 98-99(?)% of His people, is the prize question in my mind. After all, you can touch, converse with, and share activities with other physical people. Apart from Bible study and inner feelings, where is the equivalent WRT God? (I ask this knowing that Piper & Co. are not eucharistic Christians, and may well denigrate those of us who draw comfort from the physicality of the sacraments…)

  5. Seventh!

    I read this the other day. Interested to hear other peoples thoughts. This is all fear of same sex attraction, the original article series makes that clear. Which, I think I said before, has literally never happened to me so false fear.

  6. If your “friend” tries to convince you to go down to the river to watch the parking teenage couples, DO NOT GO.

  7. Just to be slightly contrary and play uhhh… “devil’s advocate”, is there any evidence that Piper might be surrounded by a flock of Ned Flanders who ask him about every mundane thing under the sun and he makes these lists to satisfy them and make them go away?




    (crickets)

    Ok, maybe not.

  8. In Col. 1:24, Paul says (slight paraphrase), “I rejoice in my suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what was still lacking in Christ’s afflictions.”

    What was LACKING? In CHRIST’S afflictions? That can seem very confusing until you consider the one thing that was, in fact, lacking: Christ’s physical presence. Paul was giving the Colossians, in his willingness to serve and suffer for them, the one thing our heavenly Lord Jesus couldn’t give them. Christ uses his Body, the church, as a very real means of comfort. He gives us friends as a blessing and a mercy! How about we focus on his kindness to us in giving us each other rather than worrying about whether we’ve checked too many boxes in the “don’t” list.

  9. I prefer not to read articles on sites that don’t allow comments; which is what Desiring God and other sites like to do.

    Those type of sites/people present themselves as the only ones with the correct answers. No discussion. No room for disagreement. No room for iron to sharpen iron.

    Thanks for allowing comments here!

  10. Hmmm…when my best friend and I were still in the cultish church and just becoming friends, we were both taken aside individually by the leadership and warned that we shouldn’t get to close as it was dangerous. What we see now was that it wad dangerous to THEM, not us. Most abusers – physical, emotional, or spiritual – do not want the targets of control to have close relationships because it threatens the power they hold over them. Friends will stand up for you….defend you. And when you talk to a close friend and compare notes, the deceptions begin to be unmasked.
    The process of healing and growth that both of us have walked through since we left that place would not have been possible without having each other to lean on. She is a gift to me, and (per her) I to her. This is just one more facet of authoritarian and abusive leaders tryin to control all aspects of their victims lives.

  11. Just when I think that it can’t get any stranger, what a bunch of whack-a-doodles! If the Desiring God bunch call, I’ll be over in the real world.

  12. I count both Dee and Deb as friends, as well as a couple of other bloggers (some I have met personally), several female attorneys as well as male attorneys as friends, my brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, my daughter-in-law and my son-in-law, several of my neighbors, both male and female, and quite a few at church. Not a sexual interest in any. Recently celebrated 38 years of marriage, and have not had a licentious thought about another woman in those years. Piper has his mind in the gutter, as do many of his followers.

    An Attorney, aka Arce.

  13. More platonic Christianity from the Augustinian gnostics. A case study on everything on earth is evil and only the spiritual is good. This train of thought flows from philosophies of men, not Scripture.

    Also, the Gospel is something you believe, not something you obey- which puts a wrench in the plans of authoritarian types.

  14. srs wrote:

    Just to be slightly contrary and play uhhh… “devil’s advocate”, is there any evidence that Piper might be surrounded by a flock of Ned Flanders who ask him about every mundane thing under the sun and he makes these lists to satisfy them and make them go away?

    Nope. Piper IS the flock of Ned Flanders ……. and Rev. Lovejoy. Multiple personality disorder.

  15. Do these people write about their own struggles and then project them on the rest of humanity? Those following Piper and his Piperetts are prone to taking on sin that is often not even theirs to take on.

    Too many words are being expended in the name of Jesus. There is a proverb about too many words . . .

  16. so Piper wants to cull people away from one another ?

    Why? When God Himself, in the Person of Jesus, has assumed our whole humanity in its entirety to Himself in the Incarnation?
    And in doing that, He IS the unity we share with one another

    Piper could take a page from the martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, this:

    ” We now know that we have been taken up and borne in the humanity of Jesus, and therefore that new nature we now enjoy means that we too must bear the sins and sorrows of others. The Incarnate Lord makes His followers the brothers and sisters of all humanity……..
    …. The form of Christ Incarnate makes the Church into the Body of Christ.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

    Maybe one of the reasons why Piper and the neo-Cal folk see Christ as ‘lesser’ is BECAUSE of the Incarnation (?)
    But it works another Way entirely, Mr. Piper.

  17. miot wrote:

    Piper and others like him hate women. They can not imagine having a normal relationship with a woman.

    This is called having an EXTREMELY dirty mind.
    As in two giant testicles for a cerebral cortex.

  18. Lea wrote:

    I read this the other day. Interested to hear other peoples thoughts. This is all fear of same sex attraction, the original article series makes that clear.

    “HOMOSEXUALITY(TM). Even the mere mention of the word is sufficient to induce — PANIC!”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQuieWA3SWY

    “And sometimes late at night you can hear his voice, carried on the wind… ‘I’m NOT gay… I’m NOT gay… I’m NOT gay…'”
    — South Park

  19. Eeyore wrote:

    Basically, it all seems to boil down to this – the only permissible source of strength, joy, meaning and stimulation for Piper & Co. is God Himself, direct and unmediated.

    “What do they expect of me? On my face in the mosque all day and night, endlessly repeating ‘Al’lah’u Akbar! Al’lah’u Akbar! Al’lah’u Akbar!’?”
    — Iraqi blogger circa 2005, about the Real True Muslims who would become ISIS/al-Daesh

  20. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Beg to differ. Or, maybe, rather, expound on this, take it one step further.

    More fundamentally, there is a fear of relationship, period. Any relationship, and that is what is completely lost on this crowd.

    Interesting. By contrast, God is actually all about relationship. “Let US… make man in our image.” “It is not good for man to be alone…”

    Sin separates one from God, thus, severs the relationship. Jesus offers the path to bring us back… into relationship, with God and properly with each other.

    Men and women in loving bilateral relationships, sans hierarchy, neither dominion nor power play.

  21. “Whenever there is a simple error that most layman fall for, there is always a slightly more sophisticated version of that same problem that experts fall for.” – Amos Tversky

  22. “Please, folks, do not pay attention to this sort of codswallop. It seems to me that John Piper and his BFFs are attempting to snuff out any joy in this world be it from dogs, friends, or women with muscles. This stuff is not Biblical.” – Dee

    And let’s not forget Piper’s maligning women police officers and women who know have to give men who are lost directions.

    He’s an odd man.

  23. Doeth thou protesteth to much? Maybe it’s piper who places friends above his relationship above Christ and maybe it’s him who is not capable of having friendships with the opposite sex because he has a problem lusting after women!

  24. Thank you so much for posting this. As someone who is gay and Christian, I followed this line of teaching for years in a TGC type church. It was oppressive and the other members treated me like a second class citizen. I was made to feel inferior, intrinsically disordered and uniquely sinful. It led me into depression and suicidal thoughts. When I left that line of thinking I was mocked and condemned as “rebelling against Gods rules”. I am free now from these commandments and traditions of men.

  25. JYJames wrote:

    “Whenever there is a simple error that most layman fall for, there is always a slightly more sophisticated version of that same problem that experts fall for.” – Amos Tversky

    Ain’t THAT the truth.

  26. Everyone else is doing a good job of dismantling the gospel argument of Piper and his minions (guess I can’t call them friends, right?).

    There’s something that’s been on my heart for years that I don’t hear about in the church. And that is how precious each one of us is to God. Jesus went around and built relationships with the “least of these”. He dismantled the cultural cliques. He really laid the smack down when people tried to presume importance, even when His disciples were doing it in Mark 10.

    We might hear about how we are precious to God, but we don’t hear about how we should treat others who are precious to God. I believe having contempt for other humans, and believing they are lower than you, is one of the worst sins in the eyes of God.

    I’d like to ask the guys of TWW how much they were taught from other Christians that a woman’s worth is in how she looks? Because what I’ve seen from Christian guys is a lot worse than what I’ve seen from secular guys on this issue.

    Many secular guys believe that women have value beyond how she looks, and can be equal to men in work and in other arenas. I went to both a Christian college and seminary, and knew a lot of Christian guys, and a large percentage of them seemed to believe a woman’s place was to satisfy their needs.

    Just as bad, I saw a lot of Christian women who believed that Christian men were to do the same for them–that marriage would “save” them. Save them from what I could never figure out, as singlehood never seemed that bad of an option to me after meeting many of these guys. I saw their families say things like “You’re only worth in the family is to produce grandchildren.” I saw pastors and professors repeatedly tell young Christians that marriage fixes all problems and lust is really the root of all sin issues.

    All of this is because Christians really don’t value human life and dignity like they say they do. They don’t see other Christians as precious in God’s sight. They put human emotions over God’s children. They don’t chase after the outcast, give to the poor, and protect the weak like Jesus did.

  27. “… and thou shalt love thy neighbor as yourself…”

    Piper: Bu bu but God, that just sounds wrong!

  28. Eeyore wrote:

    How that direct relationship is to be accomplished, when God is not in the habit of directly interacting with 98-99(?)% of His people, is the prize question in my mind. After all, you can touch, converse with, and share activities with other physical people. Apart from Bible study and inner feelings, where is the equivalent WRT God?

    This is a thing often thrown at single people too. ‘God will be your husband’. Um, no. Aside from that being creepy, God isn’t mowing the lawn and helping pay the bills. God isn’t going to give you a hug when you’ve had a bad day. And unless you’re Mary, God isn’t giving you children.

    We are humans and made to want companionship, whether it be friendship or love. There is nothing wrong with that.

  29. @ Remnant:

    Jesus and Paul said that love Thu neighbour fulfils the law. Complimentarians ignore it to focus on supposed creational mandates and gender roles.

  30. Lea wrote:

    This is a thing often thrown at single people too. ‘God will be your husband’.

    I haven’t gotten that very often. Much more often it’s, “You just need to pick someone. Being married is much better than not being married.” This usually comes from people who have been married since they were 20 and have no concept of being single. Or they have very clear issues in their marriage that everyone knows about and they are avoiding.

    But when people say either, usually it’s because they are too lazy to reach out to you and are looking for an excuse not to engage. God has nothing to do with it.

  31. Zechzav wrote:

    @ Remnant:
    Jesus and Paul said that love Thu neighbour fulfils the law. Complimentarians ignore it to focus on supposed creational mandates and gender roles.

    Well, yeah! Love thy neighbor requires work! And sacrifice! And the thing they have most trouble with–humility!

  32. JYJames wrote:

    More fundamentally, there is a fear of relationship, period. Any relationship, and that is what is completely lost on this crowd.

    Yep. We can’t have a close friendship through marriage because of the hierarchical “creation order” – that’s more of a master/slave relationship. We can’t have close friends of the same gender because we might give into SS temptation. We can’t have friends of the opposite gender because we might give in to temptation. We can’t have dogs.
    All we have is John Piper, with his sermons and books, to help us and comfort us through life’s trials.
    (What’s next? Goldfish and house plants?)

  33. Zechzav wrote:

    esus and Paul said that love Thu neighbour fulfils the law. Complimentarians ignore it to focus on supposed creational mandates and gender roles.

    Love thy neighbor as thyself …… Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    Jesus didn’t make any stipulations concerning gender. Do Piper, Mahaney, want women treated them the same way they treat women?

  34. Nancy2 wrote:

    All we have is John Piper, with his sermons and books, to help us and comfort us through life’s trials.

    Because Piper is just so comforting! Like a warm blanket outside in summer in Arizona smothering you to death!

  35. I wonder if some of these neo-Cal leaders became so because they thought to themselves one day “I’m going to bring back the Pharisee! Yes, that’s a good idea! Everybody loves a Pharisee!”

  36. All we have is John Piper, with his sermons and books, to help us and comfort us through life’s trials.
    (What’s next? Goldfish and house plants?) My thoughts exactly, so many idiotic faux-bible rules. I’ve chosen blue paint for my bathroom – is green more biblical, is carpet more Jesus-y than vinyl covering? The truth is supposed to set us free, not have us in a state of permanent spiritual exhaaustion as we constantly look inwards and find new ‘sins’ to confess. It’s a glorious afternoon here in the UK so I’m off to plant some beautiful bushes in my garden. No contest Mr P, stay in and listen to your sermons…I’d rather chew my arm off…and I imagine you can guess which of the 2 alternatives makes me feel closer to the spiritual part of my being and it ain’t your silly rants and raves.

  37. Nancy2 wrote:

    We can’t have a close friendship through marriage because of the hierarchical “creation order” – that’s more of a master/slave relationship. We can’t have close friends of the same gender because we might give into SS temptation. We can’t have friends of the opposite gender because we might give in to temptation. We can’t have dogs.

    All we have is…

    “GAWD! GAWD! GAWD! GAWD! GAWD!”

    Same rationale as Sunday Blue Laws — if you close down every possible business and recreation on Sunday, everyone will HAVE to Go To Church, Won’t They?

    Or the Junior Anti Sex League from 1984 — if any contact other than Political is Thoughtcrime, the only ones left to bond to are Big Brother and The Party.

  38. Matilda wrote:

    The truth is supposed to set us free, not have us in a state of permanent spiritual exhaaustion as we constantly look inwards and find new ‘sins’ to confess.

    Ain’t that the TRUTH. This is the biggest reason I’m on my way out of the Reformed world.

  39. Lea wrote:

    This is a thing often thrown at single people too. ‘God will be your husband’. Um, no.

    That also doesn’t sit too well with aging single guys like me. If she’s already got God as her REAL husband, why would she want an Unholy mortal like me except as a live-in ATM? It’s like trying to compete with Sparkling EDWARD from Twilight, except more so.

    I flushed way too much $$$ down the crapper of Christian Dating Services for that lesson.

  40. Matilda wrote:

    The truth is supposed to set us free, not have us in a state of permanent spiritual exhaaustion as we constantly look inwards and find new ‘sins’ to confess.

    I remember that we know so much about the Massachusetts Puritans because they kept Personal Spiritual Journals about everything, and a lot of them survive to this day.

    And all those Puritan Spiritual Journals are alike — All Obsessive Navel-Gazing Sin-Sniffing, All the Time.

  41. i cannot imagine my life without my friends. A lot of them are family, but a lot are not.In all my illnesses, my friends have been there to support me. They pray for me, they encourage me, and they love me. On this blog, Velour has been my prayer warrior, along with others. I have met others online who have become close friends. I also am friends on Facebook with some guys from my high school. My husband doesn’t care one bit. It will be 40 yrs this coming June since I graduated. I just don’t understand how this person Piper can say we can’t have close friends. These friends are our confidants, and our conscience.

    I am gradually beginning to feel better from my shoulder surgery last week. Found out yesterday that I have broken a jaw tooth and its absessed. I have to get it pulled. But life goes on.

  42. ishy wrote:

    I haven’t gotten that very often.

    I haven’t gotten it directly because I mostly don’t associate with people who would say it, but I think that’s the direct implication of all this ‘gift of singleness’ stuff coupled with people who think you don’t really NEED other people, and if you do something is wrong with you, which we get from this article and from Piper and from this whole crew. It’s the whole attitude.

    I need other people. Friends, love, family. I resent anyone who tries to shame people who admit that.

  43. ishy wrote:

    But when people say either, usually it’s because they are too lazy to reach out to you and are looking for an excuse not to engage. God has nothing to do with it.

    Yes, I’m sure that’s true too. Forming deep relationships takes work and it takes time.

  44. Continuing in my self appointed ministry of yes, but…

    Piper et al are presenting some things as ‘gospel’ which were part of the secular culture before the cultural revolution but which were not presented as ‘biblical/ gospel’ back when. I think that Piper et al are borrowing ideas and then re-presernting them in religious terminology as their own.

    In my formative years, and yes that was in this nation and in protestantism, the idea that one should not have ‘special’ or ‘exclusive’ relationships was for two reasons.

    First, it was the era of Freud (genuflect) and the concept that everything had sexual overtones and that repressing those sexual overtones lead to neuroses. So not only was the thinking then as to how prevalent sexuality was in human thinking and behavior, the idea was also there that is was not necessarily a bad thing but rather that failure to recognize that sexuality was what led to mental/emotional malfunction. Hence, of course all relationships have sexual overtones, thus spake Freud.

  45. @ okrapod:

    (continued)

    The second thing was a type of individualism in which one was to be ‘well rounded’ and to be sociable as in the house by the side of the road idea, a ‘friend’ to all humanity as it were and hence the idea of a liberal arts education as the ideal as opposed to the current emphasis on STEM or some other intense and limited focus. Consistent with that line of thinking one was to be ‘one’s own person/ one’s own man’. ‘Special’ or ‘exclusive’ relationships were not to be allowed to overly influence one’s thinking or behavior or allowed to distract one from the larger picture of the well rounded and relatively self sufficient individual. This secular gospel was more like the first four lines of the fourth verse of “If” by Kipling which includes: ‘If neither foes not loving friends can hurt you, if all men count with you but none too much’.

    Why do I think this? It was actually taught. I heard it in high school, I heard it in nursing school (stay away from special friendships-and we all knew what they meant). Later the admissions committee for med school called me for an interview because I looked ‘well rounded’ on the MCAT, or so they said. ‘Well rounded’ at that day meant multi faceted which was thought to be symptomatic of being your own person-self determinism- a type of individualism; not one of the crowd; as in ‘if you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue or walk with Kings- nor lose the common touch’ (Kipling again). Not externally influenced too much by circumstances or individuals.

    Some of us thought we heard something of this from Jesus when He claimed exclusive commitment even if it meant leaving ones’ father and mother and houses and lands to follow Him. This concept of discipleship was also taught at the time.

    We don’t think like this much any more as a culture, as our ideas of sex/gender have changed and our ideas of individualism/relatedness have changed and we lean more to some ideas of collectivism. The later, I think, is one of the attractions of calvinism, the collective identity which feels safer than the idea of alone, alone, on the wide wide sea.

    I seem to hear Piper preaching the older ideas but preaching them as biblical rather than secular.

  46. Nancy2 wrote:

    Do Piper, Mahaney, want women treated them the same way they treat women?

    No. But will anyone dare to ask them this?

  47. ishy wrote:

    I wonder if some of these neo-Cal leaders became so because they thought to themselves one day “I’m going to bring back the Pharisee! Yes, that’s a good idea! Everybody loves a Pharisee!”

    Considering they love the puritans, I would not be at all surprised.

    Because who thought, hey? Those guys who killed all those non-witches? Let’s be more like them. They were super godly.

  48. max wrote:

    McKnight appears to be on track now, although I’m still trying to get my brain around his teachings on the “new perspective on Paul.”

    Actually, the “new perspective on Paul” comes from N.T. Wright. McKnight is rather a latecomer.

    On the topic, John Piper and the Desiring God people remind me of that H.L. Mencken quip from early last century: “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

  49. Well, I can’t even…

    It has to be simply exhausting to have to check that every single motivation, decision and step that we have and take is all the time in line with some lists of rules that somebody decided to craft because they think that’s what God wants from us.

    Oh yes, they make it sound and look so good and oh so holy… But the older I get, the more unappealing it is to me.

  50. When I think of the league of “friends” who rule the New Calvinist movement (Piper, Mohler, Dever, Mahaney, Chandler, etc.), the following verse comes to mind:

    “… the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm.” (Proverbs 13:20)

    Considering the characters who are leading this rebellion, it will most likely come to an end when they turn on each other. Remember Driscoll? All of the above counted him as an asset to the reformed movement until he became a liability. “Friendship” among the New Calvinist elite is superficial, while they support and promote each other in book sales and conference indoctrination of young minds. If they personally feel threatened when one of the “friends” stray in word and deed, they will drop the hot potato in a heartbeat. Any attempt at restoring one of the bros who fall will be approached very carefully so as not to stain personal reputation. These guys are too into themselves to do otherwise – they are not really friends who sticketh closer than a brother.

  51. JYJames wrote:

    More fundamentally, there is a fear of relationship, period. Any relationship, and that is what is completely lost on this crowd.

    And for some odd reason they think that any relationship somehow diminishes one’s relationship with God. How silly. God created Man and then he created Woman and placed them together in the Garden and told them to multiply and fill the earth. I think that God delights in our good relationships with one another, not that he is threatened by them.

  52. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” (H.L. Mencken)

    When I visit New Calvinist church plants in my area, it’s obvious that Mama ain’t happy! Female members of those works are oppressed – you can see it on their countenance. I guess the “beauty of complementarity” hasn’t set in yet.

  53. JYJames wrote:

    More fundamentally, there is a fear of relationship, period. Any relationship, and that is what is completely lost on this crowd.

    Your relationship with others in the Body of Christ must spring from a personal relationship with Jesus. If it doesn’t, you are doing church without God. When the dust of New Calvinism finally settles, one of the greatest mission fields on the planet will be among the lost, disillusioned masses it leaves behind. The young reformers are being fed with too much Calvin and not enough Christ to develop a relationship with the living God.

  54. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Actually, the “new perspective on Paul” comes from N.T. Wright. McKnight is rather a latecomer.

    Agreed. I confess that I haven’t studied their “perspective” enough to know what I think about it at this point. But anyone who exits emergent church and stays clear of resurgent church has my respect.

  55. It seems to me like these long lists of things to guard against are directly in the vein of Bill Gothard’s “principles for ‘biblical’ living,” just regurgitated with modern grammatical stylings and a trendier website.

    Also, I’m not a mental health professional, but I feel like there are kernels of truth to a few of the points, in that if these things apply to you too much, you might be in a codependent relationship. But that’s something to work through with your therapist, not something over which you need to feel moral condemnation and the outrage of John Piper.

    Zechzav wrote:

    I followed this line of teaching for years in a TGC type church. It was oppressive and the other members treated me like a second class citizen. I was made to feel inferior, intrinsically disordered and uniquely sinful. It led me into depression and suicidal thoughts. When I left that line of thinking I was mocked and condemned as “rebelling against Gods rules”.

    You’re a braver person than I am! Knowing that my church wouldn’t have or do anything helpful for my own situation keeps me in the closet (to them). The only “help” they’d have to offer would be further isolation and mistrust coupled with attempts to coerce me into wasting money and throwing away my sanity on so-called reparative therapy.

    Nancy2 wrote:

    We can’t have a close friendship through marriage because of the hierarchical “creation order” – that’s more of a master/slave relationship. We can’t have close friends of the same gender because we might give into SS temptation. We can’t have friends of the opposite gender because we might give in to temptation.

    Yes. This is what church leaders have long preached at people who confess to experiencing attraction to their own gender (those of us who don’t say that we’re gay avoided some of the scrutiny, until now. #thankspiper).

    We can’t have dogs.
    All we have is John Piper, with his sermons and books, to help us and comfort us through life’s trials.
    (What’s next? Goldfish and house plants?)

    They can pry my goldfish from my cold, dead, slippery wet hands…

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Same rationale as Sunday Blue Laws — if you close down every possible business and recreation on Sunday, everyone will HAVE to Go To Church, Won’t They?

    My non-churchgoing friends are smart people. They just buy their liquor on Saturday… and so do I. Because sometimes when I come home on Sundays when culture war nonsense permeates the sermon, I just need a drink. 😉

    okrapod wrote:

    The second thing was a type of individualism in which one was to be ‘well rounded’ and to be sociable as in the house by the side of the road idea, a ‘friend’ to all humanity as it were and hence the idea of a liberal arts education as the ideal as opposed to the current emphasis on STEM or some other intense and limited focus.

    It never occurred to me, but in a few paragraphs, you’ve just explained my parents. Mind you, they weren’t upset that I ended up getting an engineering degree, but they did encourage me to think about studying liberal arts when I was in high school.

  56. So I guess I better not buy a dog and make it my best friend. Two strikes right there.

    I don’t know if readers of TWW realize that John Piper is not Reformed in the traditional sense of that word. A Calvinist(a) yes, but not Reformed. Here is a relevant paragraph from a Reformed confession–especially relevant because the author does not cite any Scripture except for two generic ones (and the Jeremiah one out-of-place).

    “God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in any thing, contrary to His Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.”

  57. @ Muslin, fka Dee Holmes:

    Wright may have coined the term ‘new perspective,’ but the idea behind it goes back to E. P. Sanders. It got a big boost from James Dunn before Wright came to adopt it.

    “The gospel” is Protestant short-hand for “justification by faith alone,” but McKnight is correct. It is a much larger reality that *includes* justification by faith, but cannot be reduced to a simple synonym for it.

  58. A cool line from a song:

    Listen to what they say,
    Do not imitate them

    Thanks for sharing Piper’s “$lanted” view…glad I’m not him 🙂

  59. Josh wrote:

    Also, I’m not a mental health professional, but I feel like there are kernels of truth to a few of the points, in that if these things apply to you too much, you might be in a codependent relationship.

    I think when I was reading this article (and the bunch of articles behind it), some of the comments applied to teenage girls moreso than adults. I remember petty little jealousy when your ‘best friend’ spent time with someone else, or you thought they were switching best friends and I remember some of it directed at me. But mostly this is a factor of youth and immaturity, not same sex attraction. In addition, when we had sleepovers we would stay in the same bed, because there was only one bed and there was plenty of room! And if you go on vacation with friends, sometimes you do this too.

    So I had concerns that very young people would hear this and be afraid of normal friendship things. Usually when you grow up, these are not really issues. I don’t think they were even issues in college, but then again if you go on vacation and are fitting as many people in a hotel as possible because its’ *cheaper* then you are going to stay in the same bed.

    If you read the original articles, she talks about roomates who have their own rooms but decide to sleep together. That is not normal friend behavior, in my experience, and reducing it to a checklist is just going to scare people into thinking they are doing something wrong when they are not.

  60. @ Geoff S.:
    Thank you for your comment. We have been told that on occasion. I even got a call from a Reformed professor explaining it. That is why we coined the term Calvinist to differentiate it from Reformed.

  61. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

    Oh, so true. They go out of their way to tell us how much *fun*the Puritans had. Well, I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts and I can assure them that it didn’t exactly work that way. Nathaniel Hawthorne has much to say on the matter. But, why should that count….

  62. Sergius Martin-George wrote:

    If your “friend” tries to convince you to go down to the river to watch the parking teenage couples, DO NOT GO.

    You remember that Twitter exchange!!! It was one of the funniest ones in history. Do you have a screen shot of that Piper tweet by chance?????

  63. Josh wrote:

    okrapod wrote:
    The second thing was a type of individualism in which one was to be ‘well rounded’ and to be sociable as in the house by the side of the road idea, a ‘friend’ to all humanity as it were and hence the idea of a liberal arts education as the ideal as opposed to the current emphasis on STEM or some other intense and limited focus.

    It never occurred to me, but in a few paragraphs, you’ve just explained my parents. Mind you, they weren’t upset that I ended up getting an engineering degree, but they did encourage me to think about studying liberal arts when I was in high school.

    Okrapod: Nowadays make that “Common Core teaching to the Test” as well as STEM.

    Josh: Instead of “studying liberal arts”, I found reading a LOT of all types of science fiction since age 14 (when I discovered Andre Norton & Star Trek at the same time) also works to broaden your brain.

  64. Gosh. Well, for people who claim that we are Saved By Faith ALONE(tm), these Calvie dudes sure seem to add a whole lot of Extra Requirements.

    I don’t personally believe in Sola Fide (I happen to think the “Sola” part is unbiblical), but if I did, I’d have to wonder what Piper’s definition of “Sola” is.

  65. Josh wrote:

    My non-churchgoing friends are smart people. They just buy their liquor on Saturday… and so do I.

    Oh man. When I moved back home it took me a while to remember you can’t buy beer on super bowl sunday!

  66. Max wrote:

    Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:
    “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” (H.L. Mencken)

    When I visit New Calvinist church plants in my area, it’s obvious that Mama ain’t happy! Female members of those works are oppressed – you can see it on their countenance. I guess the “beauty of complementarity” hasn’t set in yet.

    It has, but only for the men.

    “What do you mean, ‘there’s a problem’? The System Works Just Fine (for MEEEEEEEEEE)!”

  67. Gram3 wrote:

    JYJames wrote:
    More fundamentally, there is a fear of relationship, period. Any relationship, and that is what is completely lost on this crowd.

    And for some odd reason they think that any relationship somehow diminishes one’s relationship with God.

    Zero-Sum Game.
    Where the only way to Increase is for another to be Decreased.
    Where the only way to get more is to take it away from someone else.
    Where for God to have supreme importance, nothing and nobody can have any importance at all.

    Like Lord Farquar from Shrek (an achondrophlasic dwarf) decreeing that all others in his realm have their legs amputated so nobody can ever be taller than their Lord.

  68. Max wrote:

    Considering the characters who are leading this rebellion, it will most likely come to an end when they turn on each other. Remember Driscoll? All of the above counted him as an asset to the reformed movement until he became a liability. “Friendship” among the New Calvinist elite is superficial…

    Like among Sociopaths, where “Friendship” lasts only until the instant you Outlive Your Usefulness.

  69. But mostly this is a factor of youth and immaturity, not same sex attraction.

    Eggzackly!! Same-gender friendships are a crucial and totally normal part of growing up. Sexualizing them as Piper does is just plain sick. Yeah, because riding bicycles together, climbing rocks together, and looking for pollywogs in the pond are all just so sexual. Barf, yuck, puke.

  70. okrapod wrote:

    The later, I think, is one of the attractions of calvinism, the collective identity which feels safer than the idea of alone, alone, on the wide wide sea.

    For the Collective, Comrades.

  71. okrapod wrote:

    First, it was the era of Freud (genuflect) and the concept that everything had sexual overtones and that repressing those sexual overtones lead to neuroses. So not only was the thinking then as to how prevalent sexuality was in human thinking and behavior, the idea was also there that is was not necessarily a bad thing but rather that failure to recognize that sexuality was what led to mental/emotional malfunction. Hence, of course all relationships have sexual overtones, thus spake Freud.

    “How much different psychology would be if Uncle Siggie hadn’t turned on to toot. Remember whenever you start to stand in awe of psychiatry, remember it was all dreamed up by a coke freak with issues of his own.”
    — line from some unpublished SF story whose manuscript I saw in the Eighties.

  72. When one reads the Early Church Fathers, I think one quickly finds that the New Perpsective on Paul is actually the Really Old Perspective on Paul. 😉

    (Augustine’s kind of a different story, but even he is not a Proto-Calvinist.)

  73. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Same-gender friendships are a crucial and totally normal part of growing up. Sexualizing them as Piper does is just plain sick.

    I had a major problem with this article trying to conflate same sex attraction with same sex friendship, when they are totally different things. And basically saying, stay away from close friendships lest they turn into romantic relationships. Such a dangerous teaching.

  74. ishy wrote:

    I’d like to ask the guys of TWW how much they were taught from other Christians that a woman’s worth is in how she looks? Because what I’ve seen from Christian guys is a lot worse than what I’ve seen from secular guys on this issue.

    Remember Lead Pastor parading his Smokin’ Hawt Trophy Wife before all the Beta to Omega males — “SEE WHAT I’VE GOT THAT YOU! CAN’T! HAVE! SEE? SEE? SEE?”

  75. ishy wrote:

    There’s something that’s been on my heart for years that I don’t hear about in the church. And that is how precious each one of us is to God. Jesus went around and built relationships with the “least of these”. He dismantled the cultural cliques. He really laid the smack down when people tried to presume importance, even when His disciples were doing it in Mark 10.

    I keep remembering that Rabbi from Nazareth kept hanging out with freaks and losers, snubbing the Righteous God Squadders.

  76. Lea wrote:

    I haven’t gotten it directly because I mostly don’t associate with people who would say it, but I think that’s the direct implication of all this ‘gift of singleness’ stuff coupled with people who think you don’t really NEED other people, and if you do something is wrong with you, which we get from this article and from Piper and from this whole crew. It’s the whole attitude.

    I think the Baptists missed those “gift of singleness” sermons and books, because everything is Adult=Married.

    And if you’re married, then all your problems are solved! At least, according to all those male pastors and professors who talked about how wonderful marriage was because how beautiful their wives were and how good of cooks they were. Her worth in Christ is irrelevant!

  77. ishy wrote:

    because everything is Adult=Married.

    There have been a number of things recently talking to single people. That 9marx ‘journal’ thingy recently was all about singles. They even let Owen S. write an article, so you can imagine how awesome that is.

    I think the ‘gift of singleness’ is what they conjure when they’ve given up on you getting married.

  78. Zechzav wrote:

    Thank you so much for posting this. As someone who is gay and Christian, I followed this line of teaching for years in a TGC type church. It was oppressive and the other members treated me like a second class citizen.

    As a straight guy who also got The Treatment (to a lesser extent) in both high school and some churches, I figured the root cause is Being Different. “Beware Thou of The Mutant” and all that.

    Just your difference from the Good Church People around you intersected with their church culture’s Strongest Taboo.

  79. ishy wrote:

    I think the Baptists missed those “gift of singleness” sermons and books, because everything is Adult=Married.

    It’s called “Salvation by Marriage Alone”.

  80. ishy wrote:

    And if you’re married, then all your problems are solved! At least, according to all those male pastors and professors who talked about how wonderful marriage was because how beautiful their wives were and how good of cooks they were. Her worth in Christ is irrelevant!

    Only that she’s the Smokin’ HAWT Trophy of the Alpha Male.

  81. @ ishy:

    Oh! And ‘gift of singleness’ is code for being celibate. Because that’s a ‘gift’. And you’re not allowed to say ‘eh, pass’ on it.

  82. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Same-gender friendships are a crucial and totally normal part of growing up. Sexualizing them as Piper does is just plain sick. Yeah, because riding bicycles together, climbing rocks together, and looking for pollywogs in the pond are all just so sexual.

    I don’t think even the More Freudian Than Freud types take it that far.

    As I’ve said before, this takes an Extremely Dirty Mind with Only One Thing on the brain.

    DICK MARTIN: I have a pornographic memory.
    DAN ROWAN: That’s photographic memory.
    DICK MARTIN: You don’t know me that well, do you?
    Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, mid-Sixties topical comedy revue

  83. I truly appreciate McKnight’s assessment of what the “Gospel” truly is. Sometimes, you just have to go back to the basics. The term “gospel” has become nothing more than an adjective to the Calvinistas. The Gospel is a Person, the Man Christ Jesus! When His life, death, burial, and resurrection is not the centerpiece of our faith, we’re just another religion of rules. Jesus makes the dead to live and has the power to forgive sins. The apostle Paul went on to further clarify the primary, fundamental importance of Christ’s resurrection in I Cor. 15:14-19–if there was no resurrection, then our preaching is worthless and so is your faith…we are of all people most to be pitied. These endless lists of do’s and don’ts just aren’t going to cut it on judgement day.

    This comment is a little more related to the posts topic: one of the reasons I think this crowd doesn’t want anybody to develop friendships is because they know they’ll have to discipline you some day! You don’t want to get too close to anyone knowing you’ll have to bring your hammer (or “keys”) down on them! In retrospect, I think this is why our former YRR pastor seemed so aloof and disconnected from the congregation. Incredibly sad, really.

  84. Geoff S. wrote:

    So I guess I better not buy a dog and make it my best friend. Two strikes right there.

    Ah, but it is perfectly Godly to ring a bell to command your servant girl bring your tea up to you on the third floor! Doesn’t that make the third swing a gran slam?

  85. Root 66 wrote:

    This comment is a little more related to the posts topic: one of the reasons I think this crowd doesn’t want anybody to develop friendships is because they know they’ll have to discipline you some day! You don’t want to get too close to anyone knowing you’ll have to bring your hammer (or “keys”) down on them! In retrospect, I think this is why our former YRR pastor seemed so aloof and disconnected from the congregation. Incredibly sad, really.

    I thought the same thing last night.

    Additionally, I think that close relationships with outsiders could serve to make a person question their cult and get out, eventually.

  86. Nancy2 wrote:

    Geoff S. wrote:
    So I guess I better not buy a dog and make it my best friend. Two strikes right there.
    Ah, but it is perfectly Godly to ring a bell to command your servant girl bring your tea up to you on the third floor! Doesn’t that make the third swing a gran slam?

    Oops – GRAND SLAM

  87. miot wrote:

    Piper and others like him hate women. They can not imagine having a normal relationship with a woman. They are sick beyond sick. Run from these people as fast as you can.

    You’ll find the same thing in fundamental Wahhabi Islam.

  88. Lea wrote:

    ishy wrote:

    because everything is Adult=Married.

    There have been a number of things recently talking to single people. That 9marx ‘journal’ thingy recently was all about singles. They even let Owen S. write an article, so you can imagine how awesome that is.

    I think the ‘gift of singleness’ is what they conjure when they’ve given up on you getting married.

    Did you see Mohler’s recent post on how all young people should get married young to “grow up”? He basically blamed all cultural problems on delaying marriage. I’m on my phone or I’d find it.

    I’m betting Strachen write that more as click-bait propaganda than belief. They can always demand you get married once you are “under discipline”. It’s not like they are known for being honest when trying to get people in.

    Plus, according to my friends in neo-Cal churches, there’s a lot of single guys and few single women. Can’t keep single guys with the promises the neo-Cal leaders make about enslaving your own woman when they have no women. And they wonder why?

  89. ishy wrote:

    Plus, according to my friends in neo-Cal churches, there’s a lot of single guys and few single women.

    Probably the single women leave. I would.

    ishy wrote:

    Did you see Mohler’s recent post on how all young people should get married young to “grow up”?

    Yes, I did. Nonsense.

  90. Lea wrote:

    Considering they love the puritans, I would not be at all surprised.

    Because who thought, hey? Those guys who killed all those non-witches? Let’s be more like them. They were super godly.

    The attraction for the Puritans in NeoCal circles (from my inside experience) stems from several factors:

    1) the emphasis on sin. The way NeoCals see it, they’re the only ones who still take the concept seriously, and therefore they will go out of their way to emphasize it, and read stuff by people who sharply focused on it.

    2) Rational(ist) precision and emphasis on detail. Puritan books tend towards the very long, very verbose, and very detail-obsessive. For theology nerds (which most NeoCals are, admitted or no), that is exactly what they like and want.

    3) mythic past – they see the Puritans as parallels, guides, and role models for themselves – intellectually rigorous, spiritually strong Christians living in an age of compromise and apostasy. The Puritans (at least the rose-tinted version they envision them as) serve the same purpose for NeoCals as the Founding Fathers do for libertarians and Tea Partiers – the shining lights of Truth who can guide us out of the darkness and back to the Golden Age.

  91. Root 66 wrote:

    this crowd doesn’t want anybody to develop friendships is because they know they’ll have to discipline you some day! You don’t want to get too close to anyone knowing you’ll have to bring your hammer (or “keys”) down on them!

    Considering this was directed at women, and a good bit of it was about how female friendships mean you are not spending every moment serving and adoring your husband, I think it may not be applicable to men.

    The examples were so extreme that they sound like just like Piper, and I even wonder if he ghost wrote it or heavily edited it.

  92. ishy wrote:

    The examples were so extreme that they sound like just like Piper

    Did you read the original article series??? I’m going to dig up some quotes.

  93. @ Lea:

    The page linked at DG is all about how anything that takes the place of God is an idol, but this one gets more into what she’s really saying (IMO)
    https://kellyneedham.com/posts/2014/12/03/friendship-gone-wrong-part-3

    In a codependent friendship, normal physical interaction between friends (hugs, walking arm in arm, holding hands for brief periods like when praying), can grow into more: holding hands a lot, holding hands with interlocking fingers, sleeping in the same bed by preference, cuddling together, or just feeling the need to be constantly touching each other. If this physical intimacy is prolonged, it can easily lead to sexual activity before you even realize what’s happening.

    I don’t think friendships just ‘grow’ this way.

    After that she gets into how friendships are all supposed to be for god.

  94. One more thing, as pertains to your point about marriage vs friendship, this is why she says it’s different:

    The Bible tells us that marriages alone are to be exclusive, binding, and have a level of “you-belong-to-me” ownership. (Gen 2:24, 1 Cor 7:4, 39) No other relationship gets the title of “one-flesh.” We all need friends who will be there for us in good and bad times, but to treat a friendship with the weight, exclusivity, and ownership of a marriage has serious dangers.

    Also, you’ll be happy to know that if you had a relationship that was sexual with your friend, that doesn’t make you the L word, because reasons.

  95. Lea wrote:

    Did you read the original article series??? I’m going to dig up some quotes.

    I read the article. The list of questions can be boiled down into one question: Are you still a mentally, psychologically, and emotionally self-centered juvenile?

  96. Amen! When I read this DG article originally, while outraged at the legalism, what made me more sad was those sitting under this teaching that are now scrambling to “work on their friendships”. Women who have already been told to stay away from male friendships, now need to be careful of their female ones too. I have the saddest of feelings that maybe DG wants women to be alone, with children, or only with their spouse. Other than that, us women are just too much of a problem and we would be best behind the closed doors in our homes… utterly alone.

  97. Lea wrote:

    I had a major problem with this article trying to conflate same sex attraction with same sex friendship, when they are totally different things. And basically saying, stay away from close friendships lest they turn into romantic relationships. Such a dangerous teaching.

    It’s dangerous, in the same way that Denny Burk’s teaching that merely experiencing temptation toward someone of the same gender is sinful, is dangerous. As the article logically concludes, this leaves everyone in the position of not being able to have close friends of any gender, because any set of genders in a relationship can purportedly either seem inappropriate (i.e. having “the appearance of evil” – and yes, that’s not exegeted correctly when used in this implication, but that’s how many Christians understand it), or have the risk of actual temptation, or both.

    This teaching is dangerous because – if followed – it leaves all single people lonely in life and lonely in death, causing misery for every single person who’s not naturally at home with little human connection (I’m not one of them, but some people seem to be fine all by themselves, so more power to them!). But despite that – or having hand waved that concern away dismissively – the purveyors of this teaching have the nerve to claim that following this path will lead to “greatest human flourishing” for people who “experience [exclusive] same-sex attraction.” And they wonder why people like me couldn’t care less about how they think we should live!

    Lea wrote:

    There have been a number of things recently talking to single people. That 9marx ‘journal’ thingy recently was all about singles. They even let Owen S. write an article, so you can imagine how awesome that is.

    So, the $1,000,000 question: does Owen agree with his bro Al Mohler that remaining single is a sin? Because if so, well, in the words of our inimitable hosts, good night!

  98. ishy wrote:

    Did you see Mohler’s recent post on how all young people should get married young to “grow up”?

    Many years ago, I read a social history book called The World We Have Lost. (Unlike most scholarly texts, it was clearly and beautifully written. Highly recommended.)

    Anyway, it was about life in rural England right on the brink of the Industrial Revolution, before the advent of those “dark satanic mills.” The author combed parish records and other surviving sources for his research.

    One of the findings I remember most clearly is that 17th-century rural Brits did NOT marry early. They couldn’t. It was financially infeasible. Usually a young man waited until he had a decent position (for lack of a better word) on a tenant farm or on his own small farm. That means most couples married in their mid-twenties or even later. I was really struck by this.

    It’s ironic that these old-timey “traditional families” so beloved by the Calvinistas did not in fact match the Calvie Ideal. As someone else has pointed out, everyone in a farming family had to work – husband, wife, kids. Plus, it also turns out they married relatively late (mid-20s, not teens.)

  99. Lea wrote:

    The page linked at DG is all about how anything that takes the place of God is an idol, but this one gets more into what she’s really saying (IMO)
    https://kellyneedham.com/posts/2014/12/03/friendship-gone-wrong-part-3
    In a codependent friendship, normal physical interaction between friends (hugs, walking arm in arm, holding hands for brief periods like when praying), can grow into more: holding hands a lot, holding hands with interlocking fingers, sleeping in the same bed by preference, cuddling together, or just feeling the need to be constantly touching each other. If this physical intimacy is prolonged, it can easily lead to sexual activity before you even realize what’s happening.
    I don’t think friendships just ‘grow’ this way.

    No, normal people don’t think or act this way. This is a sign of dysfunction. Either she’s got some issues she needs to resolve, or she has a crazy-go-nuts lusty male ghostwriting for her.

  100. Toiler wrote:

    I have the saddest of feelings that maybe DG wants women to be alone, with children, or only with their spouse. Other than that, us women are just too much of a problem and we would be best behind the closed doors in our homes… utterly alone.

    New Calvinism is all about subordinating and marginalizing women to obscurity as lesser citizens of the Kingdom. The beauty of complimentarity is an ugly thing if you are female. There is no freedom in Christ if you are a New Calvinist woman … bondage to rules and regulations are your lot in life.

  101. Lea wrote:

    The page linked at DG is all about how anything that takes the place of God is an idol, but this one gets more into what she’s really saying (IMO)

    In a codependent friendship, normal physical interaction between friends (hugs, walking arm in arm, holding hands for brief periods like when praying), can grow into more: holding hands a lot, holding hands with interlocking fingers, sleeping in the same bed by preference, cuddling together, or just feeling the need to be constantly touching each other. If this physical intimacy is prolonged, it can easily lead to sexual activity before you even realize what’s happening.

    I don’t think friendships just ‘grow’ this way.

    Ah, yes, the “Boston marriage”… and maybe a case of projection? I don’t intend to imply anything about the author per se, but for those familiar with the work of Dr. Lisa Diamond on sexuality (and I mean the actual work, not the misquoted and misconstrued bits that are regularly abused by ex-gay quacks), I could see how someone who experiences a bit of sexual fluidity themselves, coupled with the intense repression and silencing nature of the church on those matters, might assume that because they are tempted just a wee little bit to want physical intimacy with their same-gendered friend, then everybody must share their desires. It’s probably not true, but it could explain a few things…

  102. I think a part of us likes having rules for this sort of thing. It’s something we can hold onto. If we obey the rules, we can own that. Salvation by grace is something much harder in that respect. We haven’t earned it, we don’t deserve it, and we’re not entitled to it. Freely given, freely received, but we don’t own it, and cannot claim it. We certainly cannot use it to feel superior to other people.

    As for these rules in particular, the trick is that no amount of obedience to them will ever be enough if the rule makers don’t want it to be. If a Piper wants to humble you he will find some way you have fallen short and will beat you over the head with it.

    My response to Piper and his ilk is a phrase that normally ends with “and the horse you rode in on”.

  103. ishy wrote:

    according to my friends in neo-Cal churches, there’s a lot of single guys and few single women

    Only women who buy the complimentarity lie are attracted to the New Calvinist movement; thus, they are snatched up quickly! Likewise, single guys are attracted to it so they can get them a woman who will agree to live in bondage … some of them just don’t there quickly enough, thus the disproportionate male/female ratio.

  104. Josh wrote:

    This teaching is dangerous because – if followed – it leaves all single people lonely in life and lonely in death, causing misery for every single person who’s not naturally at home with little human connection (I’m not one of them, but some people seem to be fine all by themselves, so more power to them!).

    Let me put my perspective on this as a single Christian woman in my 40s who has spent many years in complementarian churches (though I don’t any longer). Being married to a guy who viewed me as a sex slave and maidservent seemed a lot worse than being alone. And most of the Christian guys who’ve tried to pursue me clearly saw me as one or both of those.

    There are much worse things than being alone and not having sex. Being a slave is worse. Christian guys usually don’t see marriage that way, but I know a lot of Christian women who do, even if they wouldn’t admit it.

    There are people who decide to be single for the rest of their lives, but that’s not why most are, and it’s always felt a bit insulting to me to hear people say “Well it’s okay for you, but not me.” That’s not how it works. If it’s better for you to be single in God’s plan, either you know why or you need to figure it out to be content. But it won’t be based on how you feel.

  105. Robert wrote:

    I think a part of us likes having rules for this sort of thing. It’s something we can hold onto. If we obey the rules, we can own that. Salvation by grace is something much harder in that respect. We haven’t earned it, we don’t deserve it, and we’re not entitled to it. Freely given, freely received, but we don’t own it, and cannot claim it. We certainly cannot use it to feel superior to other people.

    That’s one thing that’s always puzzled me about Calvinists, even many classical Calvinists. As much as they talk about grace and “unmerited favor”, they really don’t seem to believe it. Even a lot of classical Calvinists are very rules-based. And Calvin definitely seemed that way, so maybe they just carried it over. I think Luther had much more respect for not having to earn your salvation than Calvin did.

  106. Maybe guys like Piper should go get a real job instead of sitting around telling other people what color socks to wear.

  107. @ ishy:
    I’m so sorry for what happened to you. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would feel like to live through that sort of abuse. 🙁

    Also, if what I wrote came off as dismissive, I apologize. I don’t want to assume that it is better either to be in a relationship or out of one for any other person. I should only speak for myself, and in that regard, I find that if I’m going to have to be single (and that would be a rather off topic discussion!), I can only move toward thriving with the help of close friends – which Piper & co. prohibit. So to the DG crew…

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c2/86/cc/c286cc69bc71d40a8326386226eef595.jpg

  108. ishy wrote:

    Being married to a guy who viewed me as a sex slave and maidservent seemed a lot worse than being alone.

    I think there are a lot of people who just get married, because they want to be married. Reading about that ‘always learning’ Lori person, she didn’t even really seem to like her husband but she got married anyway and now she’s telling everybody how great it is to be under his thumb. I know someone who married a man who ‘used to be’ gay (which, not so much on the used to be part).

    Lots of people find someone wonderful and settle down. Lots of people find someone, anyone and settle down. If you aren’t in group A and aren’t willing to be group b you might end up single for a while. Or always.

  109. Lea wrote:

    Lots of people find someone wonderful and settle down. Lots of people find someone, anyone and settle down. If you aren’t in group A and aren’t willing to be group b you might end up single for a while. Or always.

    I know the stats for divorce about the same as Christians and non-Christians, but Christians seem to place such high expectations on marriage, without actually doing any work to develop the skills to uphold such expectations (at least the ones that are reachable). And many complementarian women don’t have the education or skills to support themselves or their children alone.

    Most of my Christian friends are divorced, and bitterly so. Many of my female friends were abused in some way, and refuse to remarry, or they remarried a non-believer. Some of them refuse to go to church because of the way Christians treat them now that they are no longer married.

  110. Josh wrote:

    I could see how someone who experiences a bit of sexual fluidity themselves, coupled with the intense repression and silencing nature of the church on those matters, might assume that because they are tempted just a wee little bit to want physical intimacy with their same-gendered friend, then everybody must share their desires.

    I do wonder how she got caught on this topic. Some personal experience seems likely. Of course, it could be a friend had a thing for her – I remember a girl in high school who was so obviously in love with another girl…some very awkward, dramatic sleepovers. But that’s hardly the norm. Most of what she’s talking about (minus the attraction/cuddling stuff) is common in teenage girls and drifts away as people grow up.

  111. Josh wrote:

    I can only move toward thriving with the help of close friends – which Piper & co. prohibit. So to the DG crew…
    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c2/86/cc/c286cc69bc71d40a8326386226eef595.jpg

    I think everybody needs close friends, even married people. You can’t dump everything on your spouse and expect them to be able to handle it. I am watching friends breaking down right now for that very reason (one is complementarian and the other is not). And let’s be honest, there’s a lot of stuff your spouse just doesn’t care about, but a friend might.

    The crazy examples in that article speaks to issues that Mrs. Needham probably needs to see a counselor for. As does Mr. Piper who published it.

  112. dee wrote:

    Sergius Martin-George wrote:
    If your “friend” tries to convince you to go down to the river to watch the parking teenage couples, DO NOT GO.
    You remember that Twitter exchange!!! It was one of the funniest ones in history. Do you have a screen shot of that Piper tweet by chance?????

    Is that the one where he talked about how unhappy the girls in those cars looked? It cracked me up. I did a lot of kissing in cars when I was younger & it never failed to put a big smile on my face. I am an unnatural beastess, obvs.

  113. ishy wrote:

    I think everybody needs close friends, even married people.

    Absolutely agree. There was an article recently focused specifically on middle aged men with kids dealing with the lack of close friends (although I think there was some emphasis on male friends, which idk, I’m not going to unpack). But I think it’s true for everyone. Ideally for married people, your spouse IS one of those friends, but some of these comp guys don’t seem to get that.

    Speaking of, could someone, anyone, explain to me how incredibly terrible it is for men and women who aren’t married are married to other people to share a meal in public? Because I see this all the time from a certain crowd and it makes no sense. Unless you think every shared meal is a date. Is that what it is?

  114. Beakerj wrote:

    Is that the one where he talked about how unhappy the girls in those cars looked? It cracked me up. I did a lot of kissing in cars when I was younger & it never failed to put a big smile on my face.

    Um, maybe he was…misinterpreting…those looks?

    Because yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever been unhappy after something like that!

  115. Lea wrote:

    Speaking of, could someone, anyone, explain to me how incredibly terrible it is for men and women who aren’t married are married to other people to share a meal in public? Because I see this all the time from a certain crowd and it makes no sense. Unless you think every shared meal is a date. Is that what it is?

    Ha! I skipped town with a football coach one time, and we did have lunch together …….. Teachers’ conference. We were the two who were picked to represent our school. That wasn’t a problem for his wife, or my husband. I also shared a room with a female music teacher on a faculty week-end retreat.
    Wonder why the neo-Cals and fundies are so against women working outside of the home? Big trust issues, I think.

  116. Beakerj wrote:

    Is that the one where he talked about how unhappy the girls in those cars looked?

    Was he using binos, or what??? Peeping Tom???

  117. Lea wrote:

    Ideally for married people, your spouse IS one of those friends, but some of these comp guys don’t seem to get that.

    In the comp world, a man and his wife are friends because he says so.

  118. Lea wrote:

    Speaking of, could someone, anyone, explain to me how incredibly terrible it is for men and women who aren’t married are married to other people to share a meal in public? Because I see this all the time from a certain crowd and it makes no sense. Unless you think every shared meal is a date. Is that what it is?

    If you’re obsessed with sex and see the opposite sex only as objects, it probably is a problem.

    But it’s not the root problem, and until the root problem is dealt with, the systemic problem remains.

  119. Nancy2 wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    Ideally for married people, your spouse IS one of those friends, but some of these comp guys don’t seem to get that.
    //
    In the comp world, a man and his wife are friends because he says so.

    I don’t see how they would view women as friends since in their minds they are lesser beings.

  120. Nancy2 wrote:

    Big trust issues, I think.

    ishy wrote:

    If you’re obsessed with sex and see the opposite sex only as objects, it probably is a problem.

    I think another problem is that some men seem to have gotten the idea that such a thing is bound to lead to ‘false accusations’ of assault? I don’t really get how a simple lunch would create that. Is it just all billy grahams fault?

  121. Lea wrote:

    I don’t really get how a simple lunch would create that. Is it just all billy grahams fault?

    No, people really do talk, and there are people who will try to destroy you in life. But is what you are holding onto the right thing to hold onto?

    If you are afraid of losing your spouse to someone else, then you probably need marriage counseling, either because you do have trust issues or you know they are really untrustworthy.

    If you are worried about losing your ministry position, well, 1) it’s not really something that belongs to you, and 2) you are basing your self-worth on something other than God. And this is coming from someone who has lost a ministry position over a really ridiculous reason because of one person’s misguided opinion. Life goes on, and there are thousands of ways to minister if you are really passionate about ministering.

  122. Lea wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    If you’re obsessed with sex and see the opposite sex only as objects, it probably is a problem.
    //
    I think another problem is that some men seem to have gotten the idea that such a thing is bound to lead to ‘false accusations’ of assault? I don’t really get how a simple lunch would create that. Is it just all billy grahams fault?

    I’ve never heard assault. Just adultery.

    I dunno if that view is entirely his or was just made very popular by him.

  123. ishy wrote:

    I’ve never heard assault. Just adultery.

    This is something I see in comments, articles, etc.

    The adultery thing. Look. Men who are actually having affairs could be having lunches in the open or they could not be. You can set up an affair without being public about it. Look at Tullian’s sneaky twitter/texting. This isn’t a ‘I just became friends with this person and an affair just happened’. No. It was calculated and pursued by him. I think a lot of them are like that. Now maybe the man when caught says it ‘just happened’ but personally I think that’s a lie.

    If people are going to gossip, they are going to gossip. It’s stupid, to me, to be rude to actual real people by treating like either potential predators or bait based out of some fear that people might make something up. Women are people. If you go around treating them like they aren’t they are going to notice.

  124. Lea wrote:

    If people are going to gossip, they are going to gossip. It’s stupid, to me, to be rude to actual real people by treating like either potential predators or bait based out of some fear that people might make something up. Women are people. If you go around treating them like they aren’t they are going to notice.

    I agree with you. Someone who is sneaking around is going to sneak around. Not have lunch out in the open.

    I’ve missed the assault arguments, but if so, to those people I say, “So what”? Just ignoring the actual statistics which say false assault accusations are very rare (because, I mean, every woman really wants them so they’d be an exception, right?), if someone accuses you of something you didn’t do, things might get hard, but life will go on. And if they want to falsely accuse you of something, there’s probably no way you could stop them.

  125. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    If she’s already got God as her REAL husband, why would she want an Unholy mortal like me except as a live-in ATM?

    To paraphrase one of Garrison Keillor’s characters: “Next time I don’t believe I’ll get married. I’ll just find a woman who can’t stand me, and buy her a house.”

  126. Toiler wrote:

    I have the saddest of feelings that maybe DG wants women to be alone, with children, or only with their spouse.

    Keepers at home. Taken to its woodenly literal extreme.
    I think that DG desperately needs to crank out content, and Kelly apparently has not had enough life experience to know what is worthy of worry. Deep friendship is certainly not worthy of worry. Being a faithful friend is praised in the Bible, and Kelly and everyone at DG should certainly know that.

    Everything is not about sex. But it certainly seems to be. Everywhere.

  127. ishy wrote:

    If you are afraid of losing your spouse to someone else, then you probably need marriage counseling, either because you do have trust issues or you know they are really untrustworthy.

    Marriage counseling is not going to make the untrustworthy spouse turn into someone who is trustworthy. And as to having trust issues, I would give half my kingdom if I had had ‘trust issues’ and could have avoided some of the fallout from misguided trust of a spouse.

    Marriage is more than ‘relationship’. It is also frequently about the children’s other parent and how that plays out. It is certainly about half one’s worldly goods-or worse. It is about position in the community and even about how it looks on your resume, depending on your job. It may impact your relationships with other people in your family of origin or your current extended family or, if you remarry the families established by your children. And for some people it requires a certain accountability to another person. How often have we heard some man say, brag? that his wife would destroy him is she caught him doing this or that. He uses that as an excuse, I think, where he is tempted.

    When I divorced my own attorney said, regarding the adultery part of the divorce, that he felt sorry for my ex husband because ‘he got in over his head before he realized what he was doing’. Was that true? How would I know. I was too busy trusting instead of keeping a watchful eye on my marriage.

    Can you save a marriage if the other person wants out? Nope. But you can sure soften the blow financially and soften the emotional impact if you catch it in time to get your own ducks in a row and make a softer landing. Hiding one’s head in the sand won’t help get that done.

  128. okrapod wrote:

    And as to having trust issues, I would give half my kingdom if I had had ‘trust issues’

    I don’t have trust issues, but I have experience with liars.

    I just don’t think that rule making will change them. It just makes them sneakier.

  129. Another problem that a close friendship creates for Female Subordinationists is that it undermines their argument that any relationship requires a leader otherwise CHAOS. If two females or two males can enjoy a close and mutually fulfilling non-sexual lifelong relationship without one having authority over the other, then certainly a man and a woman can enjoy a close and mutually fulfilling sexual lifelong relationship without one having authority over the other. Unless the sexual aspect requires authority or something else I’m missing.

    This might be an interesting Ask Pastor John episode.

  130. Gram3 wrote:

    Unless the sexual aspect requires authority or something else I’m missing.

    Ah! That’s a creepy thought. So creepy.

  131. I agree with Dee on this point…. why does sex, or “sexual deviations/activiy” always seem to work its way into these conversations? I saw this in my IFB world in a pervious life…

  132. Lea wrote:

    some of the comments applied to teenage girls moreso than adults.

    I agree, and you’re right about the jealousy and immaturity. But friendship is often intense as people move away from family and toward independence. Young adults often feel and show lots of emotion toward roommates and co-workers and fellow college students. I have to believe it’s a phase with benefits as well as disadvantages. (Certainly I learned something from all those nights I sat up talking with a good friend or two.)

  133. There is strength in numbers.

    We gotta keep them dang wives away from one another else they just might git dang fangled ideas bout stuff they kin do. Cain’t be havin that, now, kin we? No siree bob. Keep ‘me in the kitchen and bedroom where they belong! I don want no wife of mine to have no friends. She gotta be home for me and servin’ me all de time. What she need a girl friend, fer, anyway? I give her alls she needs.

  134. I once had a pastor who didn’t believe in any fellowship whatsoever. No small groups, no get together, no breaking bread together. Nothing. It wasn’t quite mandated, but getting together with one another was never church sanctioned so it was done “on the sly.”

    His reason was that any conversation longer than 15 minutes was gossip.

    (Of course his real issue was control.)

  135. Remnant wrote:

    His reason was that any conversation longer than 15 minutes was gossip.

    *jaw drops*

    I read something just the other day about how small groups are useless for discipling, only bible study, so they should be disbanded. Because I guess studying the bible is bad??? Crazy.

    Friend wrote:

    But friendship is often intense as people move away from family and toward independence.

    Oh sure. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. My experience was that the jealous of other friends stage is pretty short lived.

  136. Gram3 wrote:

    something else I’m missing.

    I don’t think you are missing anything. I think you just are not saying it out loud and in this public venue. Same here. I can give you a short list of potential sexual ‘issues’ for some of what I hear from some of the ‘usual suspects’ but not in public and not in print. And, I am thinking, most of us here would come up with the same list.

  137. @ Lea:

    I always respect the opinion of people who have experience with something. There is nothing that can replace boots on the ground when it comes to how one views things.

  138. Remnant wrote:

    His reason was that any conversation longer than 15 minutes was gossip. (Of course his real issue was control.)

    He was probably concerned that the congregation would talk about him … which they should have. It’s not gossip when you get your heads together to remove authoritarian, controlling, manipulative, intimidating preachers from the pulpit … it is wisdom. “Thou shalt not usurp authority” doesn’t apply for such leaders.

  139. Remnant wrote:

    His reason was that any conversation longer than 15 minutes was gossip.
    (Of course his real issue was control.)

    he may have had one additional issue: a low IQ since he couldn’t carry on a conversation without *gossiping.*

  140. Beakerj wrote:

    Is that the one where he talked about how unhappy the girls in those cars looked? It cracked me up

    I had so much fun adding to the convo-I nicknamed the kids in the car as Bif and Muffy.

  141. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    why does sex, or “sexual deviations/activiy” always seem to work its way into these conversations?

    I live in small-town America. It’s common knowledge here that local politicians are corrupt and lawmen are just one step out of jail themselves. It’s much the same in the New Calvinist church plants in the area; the young reformers would be perverts if they weren’t respected pastors and elders. Some have confessed to “struggling” with pornography and “wandering” thoughts, but the men they preach to keep coming back anyway because they like their preachers to be transparent, even if they live like they do. This new breed of Calvinists are not Puritans in the sense of holy and pure living.

  142. Josh wrote:

    I could see how someone who experiences a bit of sexual fluidity themselves, coupled with the intense repression and silencing nature of the church on those matters, might assume that because they are tempted just a wee little bit to want physical intimacy with their same-gendered friend, then everybody must share their desires. It’s probably not true, but it could explain a few things…

    Hmmm now you have me wondering about the author and those who edited her stuff!

  143. okrapod wrote:

    Marriage counseling is not going to make the untrustworthy spouse turn into someone who is trustworthy. And as to having trust issues, I would give half my kingdom if I had had ‘trust issues’ and could have avoided some of the fallout from misguided trust of a spouse.

    I’m sorry for the situation you went through, but I feel like you totally missed my point. We were talking about people who try to control other people’s actions or are afraid to do reasonable things (or judge other people who do reasonable things) because they have trust or other issues. Someone without trust issues isn’t going to go around telling someone else how to act trustworthy. There are definitely real reasons for people to not believe or trust other people, but that was somewhat outside of what I was addressing.

  144. okrapod wrote:

    There is nothing that can replace boots on the ground when it comes to how one views things.

    I feel like this was my ‘lifequote’ last year:

    ““Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”
    ― C.S. Lewis

    Of course, then the question now becomes ‘when is what I have learned applicable’ which I am still figuring out.

  145. dee wrote:

    Tune in tomorrow when I discuss the Billy Graham rule.

    If I’m stuck alone changing a flat tire in the rain, and some dude throws an umbrella at me, I’m getting the license plate #!!!

  146. These lists of rules reminds me of my IFB high school! They preached holding hands leads to murder! See, holding hands leads to sex, which leads to pregnacy, which leads to abortion, which is murder! Very simple, straight forward line of reasoning!
    But, I always wondered how a sperm could travel from hand to hand, and reach the ovaries!!

    :):)

  147. okrapod wrote:

    I always respect the opinion of people who have experience with something. There is nothing that can replace boots on the ground when it comes to how one views things.

    I believe this also. But many do not, cannot, will not openly share what they have been through, and yet they also have experienced and learned.

    Sometimes we don’t understand another person. So we ask ‘did something happen’ in their lives that affected them? But they cannot easily share that.
    This recently happened to me, and I wrote this as a result of what I had learned from that encounter:

    “lately, I have come to understand better, through the sadness of what passes between people who love one another, how it can be that the bonding of sons and fathers transcends all barriers, even death

    when people love one another unconditionally, the ways of their grieving are a measure of the intensity and the purity of that love,
    and those on the outside rarely comprehend this

    if what I wrote is cryptic, I am sorry, but I needed to say it because I have impatiently judged someone unfairly and I am repenting of my own rush to judgement in a matter where it was not for me to judge or even to comprehend the pain another suffered, but only for me to listen ”

    I think people who share the situations in their lives are very brave to do it, but I think we all share in our way the pain that comes even when we cannot speak of the incidents that birthed that pain,
    and yet sometimes our way of communicating is even more an expression of the depth of pain, whether it was grief, or loss, or betrayal …..

    I have come to see my own deep grief and the grief of others as something not to run from, but to hold in reverence as the way in which we have loved very, very much the one who was lost to us.

    People are entitled to their way of grieving, and of hurting, and of when and how they share the pain that is. No one can question or judge another’s situation who has not been through it.

    There are times when listening alone is the best response to what is not understood. I am learning still.

  148. @ Nancy2:

    On a lighter note. True story. Young son replete with wife and kids was coming down off the mountain pulling a camper when a tire blew. It was raining. Pretty badly raining. So he called somebody, AAA I think, and went to work changing the tire in the rain instead of waiting for help. So some guys in a pickup came along, stopped, and offered to help. Now some guys in a pickup is not exactly rare in these parts. Some comedians have actually made jokes about it. So, anyhow, young son said no thanks, and the guys in the pickup left. Later he found out that these were the guys from AAA!! Guys in a pickup from AAA. You never know what happens in the rain on the way down from some mountain.

    I bet somebody clever could turn that into some devotional or something.

  149. Nancy2 wrote:

    (What’s next? Goldfish and house plants?)

    ROTFL.

    Except this really isn’t funny. Those probably are next, as well as Teddy Bears, comforters, and my favorite pair of socks. Rules for how to relate to everything, that is.

    Oh well, I guess I’ll just be a rebel and thank God for my favorite pair of socks, rules or no rules.

  150. okrapod wrote:

    I bet somebody clever could turn that into some devotional or something.

    Ha! Something like the Lord saying …. I visited you 3 times that night ……

  151. Josh wrote:

    You’re a braver person than I am! Knowing that my church wouldn’t have or do anything helpful for my own situation keeps me in the closet (to them). The only “help” they’d have to offer would be further isolation and mistrust coupled with attempts to coerce me into wasting money and throwing away my sanity on so-called reparative therapy.

    Reparative therapy is a complete sham. I am glad I never spent a dime on it. But they actually caused me to feel isolated. On the one hand they said that I should look to the church and not other gay Christian friends for fellowship, but then when I tried to follow that advice they were always too busy pursuing their own romantic interests. They wanted to have their cake and eat it, they wanted me to follow their rules but they did not want to make any effort themselves. Friendship in TGC type circles was always very shallow and superficial.

  152. Lea wrote:

    That 9marx ‘journal’ thingy recently was all about singles.

    I dread to think what hogwash they said and to be honest I really don’t want to know!

  153. Josh wrote:

    It’s dangerous, in the same way that Denny Burk’s teaching that merely experiencing temptation toward someone of the same gender is sinful, is dangerous.

    I read Denny Burk say that and it was awful. Straight people don’t choose to be straight and gay people don’t choose to be gay! The problem is that he comes at it from a “gender roles” model instead of a “love thy neighbour ethic”. It’s this very teaching which drives many gays and lesbians to be suicidal.

  154. Nancy2 wrote:

    Something like the Lord saying …. I visited you 3 times that night

    reminds of CS Lewis’ providential Aslan:

    ““I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the horses the new strength of fear for the last mill so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.”

    would we recognize grace even if it hit us over the head, I wonder? 🙂

  155. Consider the following rules these guys make:

    1. Battered wives must submit to abusive husbands.
    2. Divorcees are not allowed to remarry.
    3. Gays must stay celibate or be cured by therapy.
    4. Pre-marital sex and co-habitation in the context of a faithful, stable relationship should be subject to harsh church discipline.
    5. Everyone should be cautious about BFFs so they are distinct from marriages!
    6. Singleness is a sin, or sloth or irresponsible.

    What do all these rules have in common? They all come from the same faulty foundation – the idolatry of marriage and the neglect of the people it was intended to benefit. In their view, marriage was not made for man but man for marriage. Human beings must be enslaved to the institution.

  156. ZechZav wrote:

    Friendship in TGC type circles was always very shallow and superficial.

    I have found New Calvinists to be some of the most unfriendly folks on the planet (at least in my corner of it) … snooty, arrogant, distant, thinking more highly of themselves than they ought.

  157. ZechZav wrote:

    On the one hand they said that I should look to the church and not other gay Christian friends for fellowship, but then when I tried to follow that advice they were always too busy pursuing their own romantic interests. They wanted to have their cake and eat it, they wanted me to follow their rules but they did not want to make any effort themselves. Friendship in TGC type circles was always very shallow and superficial.

    Yes indeed; we’re back to the idea that husband and wife (and obviously and nearly mandatorily, kids) exist in a hermetically sealed social container, and are thus told to be so involved in intra-family matters and above all, official church functions, that they have no time for us single people.

    In some circles, there’s the idea that single women must serve the married couples with childcare services so the married couples can get a break to have some private time (obviously, stereotypes held by evangelicals being what they are, gay men are excluded from this particular mandate).

    Regardless, there is the expectation that we LGBT adults live alone, because living with someone of any gender would create the “appearance of evil,” never mind that solo living as an adult is a painfully middle class privilege. But as you’ve described, we’re not afforded any close friendships, either. So basically, they couldn’t care less about us as long as we’re well behaved little kids, seen and not heard, trophies of theirs in the culture war. From what I’m gathering, you and I have both more than had our fill of this nonsense.

    ZechZav wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    That 9marx ‘journal’ thingy recently was all about singles.

    I dread to think what hogwash they said and to be honest I really don’t want to know!

    You know, my evening is going far too well up to this point. I mean, I’m not going to go searching for these articles, but if a link happened to pop up in the comments, I might just “unintentionally” click on it out of morbid curiosity…

  158. @ Nancy2: I hope Billy Graham is allowed to make a rule for himself! It is not wrong to assess one’s possible failings and temptations and “make a covenant with one’s eyes”. For example, I do not think all gambling is necessarily wrong, but I have a rule for myself to avoid it.

  159. OP, quoting article on Piper’s site:

    …Followers of Christ find many good things in friendship, but identity and security should never be among them.
    However harmless this may seem, allowing anyone but God to be your peace of mind and the joy of your heart is dangerous.

    I think it’s in this book, by Christian authors,
    https://books.google.com/books?id=R_sy4bBlUeEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=12+Christian+beliefs+that+can+drive+you+crazy&hl=en&sa=X&ei=bI7NVObPB9LesAT_qIDgBw&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=12%20Christian%20beliefs%20that%20can%20drive%20you%20crazy&f=false
    That explains this Christian idea (as being promoted by Piper’s writer friend) that Christians can and should ONLY rely on Jesus, is actually not biblical, and it’s harmful to people.

    The psychiatrists explain in their book that God sometimes meets the needs of people through other people.

    God does not always intervene directly into the lives of people, or send angels, or other supernatural help, to someone in need.

    My goodness, even Hollywood (which is usually not friendly to Judeo-Christian views or morals) got this spot-on in the movie “Bruce Almighty,” where God (played by actor Morgan Freeman) tells Bruce the same thing, that people are always ‘looking up for a miracle,’ when they can at times BE the miracle for someone else.

    There follows scenes in the movie of Bruce helping people he meets in daily life, like on his way to work, helping push the car of some guy who has a flat tire on the street. Bruce was being a miracle to and for that guy with the flat tire.

  160. @ Daisy:
    your comment makes sense to me as the older I get, the less I believe in ‘coincidences’ …..

    we take what is providential almost entirely for granted, and we lose the wonder of the gifts when we do that, I think

  161. I’m awaiting the day that Piper’s site tells people such as myself that chatting with folks online and being online friends with people is a sin.

    Since my mother passed, and I’m not on great terms with some of my family (who are verbal abusers), while others in the family view me as a burden (so I stopped contacting them), while church people I tried turning to scolded me…. I’m pretty much on my own.

    My pet cat died a few years back, which was tough. The cat was more of a comfort to me after mom died than any people I knew / know. (I cannot afford another pet.)

    I’ve never been married, so I don’t have a spouse to lean on or to confide in.

    So… I’m on my own, other than online buddies, like some of you here on this blog, and a few of my other online haunts.

    But I guess Piper, or Piper’s writers, would tell me I’m in sin for that. I should rely on Jesus only, they would argue.

    Since my mother died, Jesus and God have been very, very quiet, too, so so much for the “rely on Jesus to meet your needs!” stuff they spout.

    I’ve prayed and prayed and get no feedback from God, or any indication my prayers make it through.

    I cannot believe how Piper and like-minded guys such as him shame people, or caution them against having normal, healthy relationships with other people, or with animals.

    They must not take into account folks like me who don’t have any one at all. They must want people to be miserable. Maybe they think being alone and/or miserable is a mark of spiritual maturity or holiness. Whatever the motive, it’s twisted and not very compassionate.

  162. Does anyone else here recall the sci-fi-ish thriller movie “Altered States?” It came out in 1980. I saw it on TV a few years later.

    Here is a link about that movie on IMDB’s site:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080360/

    I remember a scientist in the film gets into an isolation chamber thing, so he gets no sensory input. If I remember right, he has no contact with people at all, either. I think he goes nuts afterwards, from lack of human contact.

    I bet John Piper and his writing friends at the Desiring God would LOVE it if every one had to live in an isolation chamber all the time.
    That pretty much sounds like what they’re promoting with their “Having or loving pets is a sin,” or “being close friends with someone else is a sin” papers.

    First, they (or other Christians like them) told single women like me that we cannot be friends with dudes, because all of us single women are temptresses, so we get walled off from men.

    But now, thanks to this new article, they’re also forbidding women from having same-gender friendships as well.

    Piper says a woman like me cannot even have a pet cat for company, because that is sin.

    Lord love a duck, where does that leave me?

    I guess I’ll take a sock out of my drawer, draw a face on it, and talk to it. Or does Piper have something against socks, too?

  163. Ruth Tucker wrote:

    Well, I wonder how Desiring God handles good old David and best friend Jonathan?

    Maybe they’d get a pass because they’re men?

    Weren’t Ruth and Naomi close friends in the OT? Whatever the OT story was of the widow lady that hung out with her dead son’s wife…

  164. srs wrote:

    is there any evidence that Piper might be surrounded by a flock of Ned Flanders who ask him about every mundane thing under the sun and he makes these lists to satisfy them and make them go away?

    I think John Pipers is Ned Flanders. Check this video:
    “Ned Flanders Is On the Phone”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rA9g2krEOAc

  165. Max wrote:

    I have found New Calvinists to be some of the most unfriendly folks on the planet (at least in my corner of it) … snooty, arrogant, distant, thinking more highly of themselves than they ought.

    Former Calvinista wannabe: can confirm. Was snooty, arrogant, distant, and “humbly” thought far more highly of self than I ought. Hopefully no longer so.

  166. ishy wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    This is a thing often thrown at single people too. ‘God will be your husband’.
    – – – – –
    I haven’t gotten that very often. Much more often it’s, “You just need to pick someone. Being married is much better than not being married.” This usually comes from people who have been married since they were 20 and have no concept of being single. Or they have very clear issues in their marriage that everyone knows about and they are avoiding.
    But when people say either, usually it’s because they are too lazy to reach out to you and are looking for an excuse not to engage. God has nothing to do with it.

    I’ve seen both attitudes. I think I see the “the Lord will be your spouse” more in articles and in Christian blogs than in real life.

    I think in real life, if you as a single, tell a married Christian you’re tired of being single and can’t seem to meet anyone, they become uncomfortable dealing with this in-person.

    So the advice switches from “God will be your spouse” on the internet to “you’re too picky, just go with the first guy who shows interest in you” when you’re talking to a Christian face-to-face.

    The other popular one from Christians is, “Try a dating site, like (insert name of popular Christian dating sites here)! It worked for my cousin Sally, that’s how she met her husband Rob!!!”

    Er, yeah, I tried dating sites, and the sites either won’t send matches after a while, and the ones they sent made life-long singleness look appealing by comparison.

  167. ishy wrote:

    Well, yeah! Love thy neighbor requires work!

    Yes, most Christians will love you from afar, which means telling you to be warm and well fed. I brought this up on Julie Anne’s blog 2 or 3 weeks ago.

    About every Christian I went to after Mom died would cry a river of tears for African orphans but would just tell me to buzz off, by way of scolding or Christian platitudes.

    I never have been able to figure out how someone can on the one hand express so much dang sympathy for orphans in third world nations they’ve never met and are happy to cut checks to charities that help them, but will so callously dismiss the person right in front of them needing some emotional support.

  168. Short off-topic important announcement.

    We have been raising funds for Shauna and her son Billy in Texas to pay their monthly bills.
    (Dee wrote about Billy being abused at the hands of a church member.) Shauna has a part-time job at a grocery store, but it is not enough to provide for their financial needs.

    At this time they need April rent which is $700.

    https://www.gofundme.com/pxs5dk

    Thank you.

  169. Nancy2 wrote:

    Yep. We can’t have a close friendship through marriage because of the hierarchical “creation order” – that’s more of a master/slave relationship. We can’t have close friends of the same gender because we might give into SS temptation. We can’t have friends of the opposite gender because we might give in to temptation. We can’t have dogs.
    All we have is John Piper, with his sermons and books, to help us and comfort us through life’s trials.

    Seeing as how they sexualize every thing, shouldn’t Piper, Driscoll, etc, stop hosting or attending those “Manly Men” Christian conferences?

    Why are they encouraging Christian men to meet up at these places and hang out with each other and have arm wrestling contests with each other and so on?

    I just saw yet another one advertised about a week ago.

    Driscoll is a speaker at this (he is actually listed under the heading “World Class Speaker,” LOL):
    Stronger Men’s Conference, 2017
    http://strongermen.org/

    The Stronger Men’s Conference exists to empower and motivate men to live out God’s view of manhood and be the best husbands, fathers, and leaders God has called them to be.

    In response to the tremendous growth the conference has experienced, we are taking the 2017 conference to JQH arena located in downtown Springfield, MO.

    The conference features world-class communicators, high-energy entertainment, and NFL Superstars. This action-packed conference will truly be an experience to remember.

    So, it’s okay for a bunch of men to hang out with other men, and be friends with other men, but it’s dangerous for women to be friends with other women.

    Also from the man’s conference site:

    Exciting Entertainment

    Every year we have the incredible opportunity to have exciting Friday Night Entertainment at the Stronger Men’s Conference.

    We have seen high flying motocross bikes, enormous monster trucks, and America Ninja Warrior Contestants competing on a custom-built course.

    We’re excited to announce that this year’s entertainment will be a Lumberjack Competition.

    For the first time ever, we’ll have four of the top ten STIHL TIMBERSPORTS lumberjacks facing off in various popular events including: Hot saws, Springboard, Cross Cut, and more.

  170. Daisy wrote:

    I never have been able to figure out how someone can on the one hand express so much dang sympathy for orphans in third world nations they’ve never met and are happy to cut checks to charities that help them, but will so callously dismiss the person right in front of them needing some emotional support.

    The orphans are “not like them”, so bad things can happen to the orphans without threatening them. When a bad thing happens to someone “like them”, it might mean is could happen “to THEM”, so it becomes a personal threat and must be attacked. Sucks to be the person they’re trying to make “not like them” so they can be comfortable again. You’ll have to find the Christians who are still Christian after having to personally deal with hell on earth of some kind (one that will not fix until the next life, preferably) – they will be able to share your pain without attacking. I’m sorry that it’s hard to offer a hug over the interwebz!

  171. Lea wrote:

    stuff coupled with people who think you don’t really NEED other people, and if you do something is wrong with you, which we get from this article and from Piper and from this whole crew. It’s the whole attitude.
    I need other people. Friends, love, family. I resent anyone who tries to shame people who admit that.

    It seems that the people who preach the “you don’t need other people and if you think you do, you are in sin and error” – usually have people!

    They have been married contentedly for decades, and have children and/or grand children, and both parents of theirs are still alive and well. They probably have siblings they get along well with. They are already getting their relational and emotional needs as it stands.

    If God were to pull a “Job” on them and allow all their current family to die off, I bet they’d change their views in a heartbeat.

  172. Daisy wrote:

    So, it’s okay for a bunch of men to hang out with other men, and be friends with other men, but it’s dangerous for women to be friends with other women.

    Was wondering about this.
    Is the whole deal simply anti-women? Cage women?

  173. Daisy wrote:

    Say what? John Piper tweets about teenage couples making out down at the river?

    Good Lord! The stuff that goes through this man’s mind! I sure hope he doesn’t go into the ministry … oh, wait a minute.

  174. ishy wrote:

    Did you see Mohler’s recent post on how all young people should get married young to “grow up”? He basically blamed all cultural problems on delaying marriage. I’m on my phone or I’d find it.

    I haven’t seen his recent one, but the guy has a history of writing them, and he’s received a few rebuttals before.

    “Is Singleness A Sin?” by Camerin Courtney
    https://web.archive.org/web/20160322153056/http://www.crosswalk.com/11621125/

    All the hyping of marriage by conservative Christians usually comes at the expense of singlehood or singleness, which runs contrary to what the Bible says on the subject.

    Many Christians will bad mouth singles and singleness to promote marriage, which is insulting and wrong.

  175. ishy wrote:

    Did you see Mohler’s recent post on how all young people should get married young to “grow up”? He basically blamed all cultural problems on delaying marriage. I’m on my phone or I’d find it.

    Articles such as this one upset the Mohlers of the world, because they run contrary to the “if you remain single, you will die unhappy” propaganda they like to print to scare singles into marrying the first person who crosses their path:

    Women Who Stay Single or Get Divorced Are Healthiest
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-single/201702/women-who-stay-single-or-get-divorced-are-healthiest

    A new study, soon to be published in the Journal of Women’s Health, provides fresh evidence that people who stay single instead of getting married, or who get divorced instead of staying married, are especially likely to be healthy.

    I once read an older blog post by Mohler where he gleefully posted some references to an article that said singles will be unhealthy and die alone and have miserable lives – he was doing that to promote marriage.

    The facts in his article have been disputed by B. DePaulo (see her blog posts on Psychology Today), but I find it so very disturbing that a supposed Christian man would find it funny or great that singles supposedly have crummy, unfulfilling lives.

    Also, doofi (plural of “doofus”) such as Mohler continually mistakenly assume all women who are single past age 35 are single by their own choice, which is not the case. I had wanted to marry but never met the right guy.

    But Christians like Mohler assume that singles like me just HATE men, or hate marriage, or put career above marriage, etc.

    They have no concept of what it’s like to want to be married but unable to find a compatible partner, so you end up single, not by design but by circumstance.

  176. Daisy wrote:

    Exciting Entertainment
    Every year we have the incredible opportunity to have exciting Friday Night Entertainment at the Stronger Men’s Conference.
    We have seen high flying motocross bikes, enormous monster trucks, and America Ninja Warrior Contestants competing on a custom-built course.
    We’re excited to announce that this year’s entertainment will be a Lumberjack Competition.
    For the first time ever, we’ll have four of the top ten STIHL TIMBERSPORTS lumberjacks facing off in various popular events including: Hot saws, Springboard, Cross Cut, and more.

    I don’t feel a pressing desire to attend this event for any of these reasons. With that said, whether it’s a chain saw, a giant leaf blower, or some other professional grounds maintenance equipment, I can’t help but wonder if there’s not some … shall we say … symbolism involved. It’s like those guys who get high powered rifles that they never use (or have no idea how to use skillfully). I call tools / toys like that “compensators,” because it seems like that’s the real function that they serve.

  177. Lea wrote (quoting someone from Desiring God’s site or somewhere):

    The Bible tells us that marriages alone are to be exclusive, binding, and have a level of “you-belong-to-me” ownership. (Gen 2:24, 1 Cor 7:4, 39) No other relationship gets the title of “one-flesh.” We all need friends who will be there for us in good and bad times, but to treat a friendship with the weight, exclusivity, and ownership of a marriage has serious dangers.

    Wow, no, she’s making much too much out of marriage.

    Being married does not mean it’s wrong to have friends outside the marriage. Her view of marriage actually comes from changes in American culture. Marriages in the United States were not how she’s describing them there.

    Couples used to be more outward-focused (used to have a wider social network, did more community service etc), but the meaning and understanding of marriage in our culture has changed to the point that we have this now:

    The Greedy Marriage
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/16/world/americas/16iht-16greedy.7519861.html?pagewanted=all

    Snippet:
    – – – – –
    Analyzing two nationwide social surveys, they found that married couples spend less time than singles calling, writing, and visiting with their friends, neighbors, and extended family.
    According to their research, married people are also less likely to give friends and neighbors emotional support and practical help, such as with household chores.

  178. Josh wrote:

    So, the $1,000,000 question: does Owen agree with his bro Al Mohler that remaining single is a sin? Because if so, well, in the words of our inimitable hosts, good night!

    Strachan’s 2014 paper about singleness:

    A New Model for Living Single by Owen Strachan
    http://www.boundless.org/adulthood/2014/a-new-model-for-living-single

    As much as I disagree with Strachan on gender roles, I was at least happy to see that in that paper, he did tell singles it’s OK to wrestle with being single, if you’d like to get married.

    So often if you’re a single who’d like to be married, you will be SHAMED for admitting that you’d like to be married.

    You’ll be told to “be content” in your singleness, that you’re making an idol out of marriage (merely for just wanting it!!), etc.

  179. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    One of the findings I remember most clearly is that 17th-century rural Brits did NOT marry early. They couldn’t. It was financially infeasible. Usually a young man waited until he had a decent position (for lack of a better word) on a tenant farm or on his own small farm. That means most couples married in their mid-twenties or even later. I was really struck by this.

    I’m sorry I cannot remember where I’ve seen this information, but in a few different articles I’ve seen online that discuss age of first marriage, the whole getting married in one’s early 20s (as the Mohlers are promoting) was a blip in the American cultural radar.

    I can’t remember when it started – I think the articles said young marriages started in the U.S. around the ’40s or 1950s??

    But that prior to that era, a lot of people (Americans) didn’t get married ’til their mid or late 20s (like they’ve been doing the last decade or more). So, being married a bit later in life was actually the NORM in our culture for a long time.

    But your Al Mohler guys assume that because lots of folks got married, and got married by the age of 21 back in, say, 1955, that this should be the way it is for everyone forever and ever,
    It’s the way God designed marriage, and it’s wrong to get married later – just because for a brief time in our nation’s history folks got married younger.

  180. @ dee:
    Piper: Down by the river teenagers would go to make out. I watched them drive back. They never looked happy. Especially she. 8:30pm 6 August 2014

    Timbol: Maybe they weren’t happy because a creepy old man was watching them.

    [OTOH, Ladies of the Piper Dynasty – wait, oh yes, one is not so happy, has left the fold.]

    [In any case, these people do not do relationship, they do hierarchy – the Calves.]

  181. Daisy wrote:

    About every Christian I went to after Mom died would cry a river of tears for African orphans but would just tell me to buzz off, by way of scolding or Christian platitudes.

    I’ve seen this too Daisy and it really sucks. They have their heads stuffed so far into… er… ah… the sand, that they can’t even smell the coffee any more.

  182. okrapod wrote:

    I think you just are not saying it out loud and in this public venue. Same here

    Yes, and sometimes what is left unsaid speaks volumes. Not that I typically leave things unsaid, mind you.

  183. ishy wrote:

    Being married to a guy who viewed me as a sex slave and maidservent seemed a lot worse than being alone. And most of the Christian guys who’ve tried to pursue me clearly saw me as one or both of those.
    There are much worse things than being alone and not having sex.

    I’ve said before on this blog that complementarians are shooting themselves in the foot.
    The ones who notice there are a lot of singles bemoan the lack of marriage. But then, they don’t make marriage look appealing.

    Complementarians make marriage look like a master-slave relationship, and we women are told if we marry an abuser, we HAVE TO stay married to the guy, and all we can do is “pray and submit more” in response to the abuse.

    Since that is the way complementarians present marriage, I would either rather stay single or marry a non-complementarian guy.

  184. Eeyore wrote:

    Basically, it all seems to boil down to this – the only permissible source of strength, joy, meaning and stimulation for Piper & Co. is God Himself, direct and unmediated. Anything else is a possible idol.

    I’m about 99% sure I never heard this sort of thing before joining a Piper-friendly church n 2009. I’m curious about how popular xian fads get started, so I searched the web under friend + idol. Results pertaining to celebrities (mostly K-Pop) came up. This indicates the Piperettes may be getting their definition of idol from the worldly culture. Next I searched friendship + idolatry and numerous xian articles came up. All but one were by women directed toward women. The exception– also the earliest– was by Piper in 2009 with 12 rules against idolatrous enjoyment in general. Coincidentall, 3 weeks later came the earliest women’s article. She doesn’t seem to have been a Piperette. Further unscientific research produced, not surprisingly, Augustine who worried in his Confessions about idolizing his friend who died. If anyone’s heard about idolatrous friendships being warned against in the intervening 1600 years, I’d be interested.
    Now as for the Bible– it takes idolatry rather seriously, and doesn’t seem to view it as something you just fall into by accident by neglecting a rule, unless the people give you their gold and a calf just pops out. Likely something more like witchcraft. If you do make your friend into an idol, Deuteronomy 13 tells your friend to send you to the bad place without passing Go or collecting 200 dollars. And if your town makes their friends into idols, the other towns should destroy you and it and make sure it’s never rebuilt. As for the idols themselves, somebody like Chemosh or Molech would be unlikely to treat you as his friend, even if he managed to you he was yours. So I conclude the whole teaching is unbiblical, ungospelly, and not very winsome.

  185. ishy wrote:

    but Christians seem to place such high expectations on marriage, without actually doing any work to develop the skills to uphold such expectations (at least the ones that are reachable).

    I read an article by a marital counselor who said his atheist married clients would do all the homework assignments he gave them (to strengthen their marriages), but the Christian couples would not.

    He would ask them why, and they would say stuff like, “Oh, we just pray together, that should do it. God will heal our marriage.”

    The Christian couples had this magical thinking that if they just read the Bible or prayed, their marriages would improve. The atheists actually did the hard work.

  186. JYJames wrote:

    Piper: Down by the river teenagers would go to make out. I watched them drive back. They never looked happy. Especially she. 8:30pm 6 August 2014
    Timbol: Maybe they weren’t happy because a creepy old man was watching them.
    [OTOH, Ladies of the Piper Dynasty – wait, oh yes, one is not so happy, has left the fold.]
    [In any case, these people do not do relationship, they do hierarchy – the Calves.]

    As much as Emily Timbol’s tweet deserves a comeback of the year award, if I were a betting person, I would bet money that the scenario as described by John Piper never actually happened. It has “carefully constructed sermon illustration” written all over it IMO.

  187. ishy wrote:

    You can’t dump everything on your spouse and expect them to be able to handle it.

    I think that applies to any relationship.

    After our mother died, I was dealing with that grief alone (which was very, very difficult), but in the first few years after the death, my sister turned to me as her sounding board. She would phone me up, complaining very negatively for hours on end about all her problems.
    (And she never asked how I was doing, or offered to listen to me talk about what I was going through.)

    It became too much. I could not deal with my pain plus hers any more.
    I had to ask her boyfriend to ask her to please dial it back. (At that point I was still too afraid to confront her myself.)

    I could not absorb all her stuff. One person cannot be a Messiah figure to another, it’s too much for one person.

  188. JYJames wrote:

    Daisy wrote:
    So, it’s okay for a bunch of men to hang out with other men, and be friends with other men, but it’s dangerous for women to be friends with other women.
    Was wondering about this.
    Is the whole deal simply anti-women? Cage women?

    Women aren’t like adults, they are like children. So obviously men need to hangout with other ‘adult’ level humans, so that only leaves other men. Women are fine with husbands and children only.

    Makes perfect sense.

  189. Friend wrote:

    I’ll just find a woman who can’t stand me, and buy her a house.”

    Goin’ Through The Big D by Mark Chesnutt
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ne86ALTC85s

    Bought her a house like I said I would
    in a subdivided neighborhood.
    The fuse got short and the nights got long.
    It was over, long gone before I knew I was headed to

    I’m goin’ through the Big D and don’t mean Dallas.

    I can’t believe what the judge had to tell us.
    I got the jeep and she got the palace.
    I’m goin’ through the Big D and don’t mean Dallas.

    Things like this are never final.
    I’m still paying on the vinyl
    flooring in the laundry room;
    it’s multi-colored, water proof.

  190. Gram3 wrote:

    I think that DG desperately needs to crank out content, and Kelly apparently has not had enough life experience to know what is worthy of worry.

    That is my suspicion of why such sites churn out such awful material. They need to regularly crank out content.

  191. Gram3 wrote:

    Another problem that a close friendship creates for Female Subordinationists is that it undermines their argument that any relationship requires a leader otherwise CHAOS. If two females or two males can enjoy a close and mutually fulfilling non-sexual lifelong relationship without one having authority over the other, then certainly a man and a woman can enjoy a close and mutually fulfilling sexual lifelong relationship without one having authority over the other. Unless the sexual aspect requires authority or something else I’m missing.
    This might be an interesting Ask Pastor John episode.

    Most excellent observation.

  192. Josh wrote:

    if I were a betting person, I would bet money that the scenario as described by John Piper never actually happened. It has “carefully constructed sermon illustration” written all over it IMO.

    A click off.
    Like the masculine feel flag football story when they broke a guy’s neck. 2017/01/06 TWW Post, video at 3 minutes and following. Constructed or delusional or simply lying. And who is the Father of Lies. Dancing a jig with the Evil One.

  193. @ Gram3:
    You hit it on the head. This is exactly the problem in Piper’s world. As you get to marriage age, you aren’t a real person who is looking for a real friend, you’re a stereotypical Piper-defined woman looking for a stereotypical Piper-defined man and vice versa.

    That is a perfect description of my first marriage…which was a disaster. This time, I’m marrying a friend whom I knew platonically (and ate many platonic one-on-one meals with) for more than a decade.

  194. Gram3 wrote:

    Another problem that a close friendship creates for Female Subordinationists is that it undermines their argument that any relationship requires a leader otherwise CHAOS.

    Anybody know how to get John Piper onto Ft. Campbell ….. I know some military wives that can make him long for CHAOS in his world! After they get through with him, if there’s anything left of him, I’ll drop him off at the jump training area.

  195. Desiring God likes to take the joy out of people’s lives. This article was written by a woman and directed to women. Why does she not want women to have meaningful relationships with other women? Apparently the Christian life is not meant to be joyful and experienced with other people. I don’t recall an article written by a man directed toward men on this same topic.

  196. Kathi wrote:

    Desiring God likes to take the joy out of people’s lives.

    a strange goal to have when it is known that the signature sign of the Presence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life is ‘joy’

  197. Thank you for this post. I saw this the other day and hope you would do an article on it. I just wanted to weep when I read it because he influences so many and so many young moms who so desperately need friends may now back away from them. Or their husbands may discourage close friendships because of this.

    I wish JP would move to Africa or Indonesia or a country outside the US to get a small glimpse of how very American his Christianity is.

  198. I think Piper fears that women may learn from each other and so wishes to discourage communication between them of a ‘friendly’ nature. And I think about the scene in Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ where the ‘handmaids’ lie on their cots and are forbidden to speak to one another.
    And so I see Piper as more at home in some dystopian world where women are not allowed to work, must live at home with their parents until they marry, and must bear children and be sub-serviant to their husbands and their ministers.
    Kind of like the dystopian vision of Dominionism’s restrictive patriarchy.

    And we think ‘it can’t happen here, a society in American where women have lost the ‘War Against Women’?

    Well, Margaret Atwood, author of ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’, spoke about that during a conference interview at West Point, this:

    “Nothing makes me more nervous than people who say, ‘It can’t happen here,’” she remarked. “Anything can happen anywhere, given the right circumstances.” All of the actions she attributes to the government of Gilead, her future dystopia, had “already happened in a human society somewhere on the planet”

  199. Christiane wrote:

    “Anything can happen anywhere, given the right circumstances.”

    What happened to Our Lord Jesus Christ beats all. Yes, anything can happen to anyone, any time, anywhere – here in our fallen world.

  200. Kindakrunchy wrote:

    I wish JP would move to Africa or Indonesia or a country outside the US to get a small glimpse of how very American his Christianity is.

    And risk being surrounded my Muscular Women(TM)?

  201. Kathi wrote:

    Desiring God likes to take the joy out of people’s lives. This article was written by a woman and directed to women. Why does she not want women to have meaningful relationships with other women?

    DIVIDE AND RULE plus QUEEN BEE?

  202. Nancy2 wrote:

    Anybody know how to get John Piper onto Ft. Campbell ….. I know some military wives that can make him long for CHAOS in his world!

    Are they MUSCULAR military wives?
    (“OH! OH! THE VAPORS!”)

  203. Lea wrote:

    Women aren’t like adults, they are like children. So obviously men need to hangout with other ‘adult’ level humans, so that only leaves other men.

    Isn’t that the reason why male-supremacist societies have a strong pull towards the glories of male homosexual relationships? As one pre-Christian society put it, “Women for breeding stock, Men for Love, Boys for Pleasure”?

  204. Dave A A wrote:

    Further unscientific research produced, not surprisingly, Augustine who worried in his Confessions about idolizing his friend who died.

    Once more we come to Auggie’s personal baggage leavening his Theology.

    A little more analysis & discernment at his canonization some 1500 years ago — taking Augustine the Man into account, what was Insight and what was Baggage — would have saved us a lot of trouble and heartache.

  205. Daisy wrote:

    Couples used to be more outward-focused (used to have a wider social network, did more community service etc), but the meaning and understanding of marriage in our culture has changed to the point that we have this now:

    The Greedy Marriage
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/16/world/americas/16iht-16greedy.7519861.html?pagewanted=all

    I’m the only one in the Cal Poly Gang who didn’t walk the aisle and tie the knot.
    And thus experienced the fundamental law of nature that Marrieds only associate with other Marrieds.

  206. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    taking Augustine the Man into account, what was Insight and what was Baggage

    Good MO in dealing with any Christian leader, and prevents idolatry. In truth, we all have baggage, we all need our Savior, and His Spirit.

  207. Josh wrote:

    It’s like those guys who get high powered rifles that they never use (or have no idea how to use skillfully).

    Many years ago, before they shut down the open shooting ranges over at Angeles Crest, I used to go shooting with some guys. Once a local furry artist of sketchy reputation joined us — a guy who viewed his firearms as personal penis extenders. Never again — the guy was a firearms accident waiting to happen and none of us wanted to be within range when it did.

    Example — guy was always swinging his rifle/shotgun around with HIS FINGER CONSTANTLY ON THE TRIGGER! (One up the spout and safety off, natch.) I actually showed him why you ALWAYS keep your finger OUTSIDE the trigger guard unless you’re actually firing — pointed it downrange and bumped his hand — BAM! AND HE STILL DIDN’T GET A CLUE!

  208. @ Eeyore:

    “Basically, it all seems to boil down to this – the only permissible source of strength, joy, meaning and stimulation for Piper & Co. is God Himself, direct and unmediated. Anything else is a possible idol.”
    +++++++++++++

    i’m sure i could concoct quite an argument for why Kelly Needham’s birthday, her Thanksgiving Day, her Christmas Day, her family vacations, her hobbbies, her favorite TV shows, favorite movies, favorite books, favorite foods, her jewelry, the make up she likes to use, the hair styling products and implements she likes to use, the way she does her fingernails, the clothes she like to buy, how she decorates her home, the kind of car she drives, and everything else in her life that she finds pleasing, fun and enjoyable is dangerously allowing anything but God to be her peace of mind and the joy of her heart.

    sounds like a very satisfying thing to do, actually.

  209. One of those is the Guy Behind the Curtain. We talk about caring for elderly parents while he helps me with computer issues.

    And also about dogs, birds, home repairs, cars, past careers, OUR health, raising kids (both of ours are all past 20), movies and TV shows (especially SciFi), and yes, politics. On the last item we disagree and agree on many items. But either way we discuss. And at times place bets on how some of the politics will play out. 😉

  210. @ Bridget:

    “Do these people write about their own struggles and then project them on the rest of humanity?”
    +++++++++++++

    I’m sure that’s the case, as well as making a hobby out of dissecting the daily lives of other people with a sanctimonious scalpel & making value judgements on it all. and then comes the fun part: making it a topic to write on as an expert in order to gain an audience.

  211. @ Bridget:

    “Those following Piper and his Piperetts are prone to taking on sin that is often not even theirs to take on.”
    ++++++++++++

    it is so troubling but yes, it is true. such paranoia.

    or maybe it’s an addiction. kind of like becoming addicted to exercise or extreme ‘healthy’ eating that is devoid of pleasurable food and drink.

    the experiences of these things are not necessarily feel-good things. they are strenuous, painful, involve denial and deprivation. but that’s ok because the satisfaction comes from the belief that you are doing something good for you (whether or not its actually true).

    what angers me is that the likes of jp and kelly needham use people. they use vulnerable people to create their own personal significance.

    jp and kelly stir up vulnerable people scaring them with problems and needs which they have invented. they then invent the answers and solutions and sell it all to people who are vulnerable with sin paranoia. All for the price of their own personal significance.

    jp, kelly needham, and co. harm people. saddle them with fear, neuroses, convince them to deprive themselves of things that are neutral if not good and life-giving, convince them to take on burdens that are unnecessary and life-taking.

  212. @ Lea:

    Eeyore wrote: “How that direct relationship is to be accomplished, when God is not in the habit of directly interacting with 98-99(?)% of His people, is the prize question in my mind.”

    Leah wrote: “This is a thing often thrown at single people too. ‘God will be your husband’.”
    +++++++++++++++

    the christian equivalent of “Let them eat cake.”

    their ignorance and insensitivity is lost on them. as lost as their common sense.

  213. @ Max:

    “Your relationship with others in the Body of Christ must spring from a personal relationship with Jesus. If it doesn’t, you are doing church without God.”
    +++++++++

    sounds so tiring.

    my relationship with others springs from simply me being me, them being them. and that’s what makes it real and alive and mutually life-giving.

  214. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    “As a straight guy who also got The Treatment (to a lesser extent) in both high school and some churches, I figured the root cause is Being Different. “Beware Thou of The Mutant” and all that.

    Just your difference from the Good Church People around you intersected with their church culture’s Strongest Taboo.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    it’s something to feel good about. despite the inconvenience, it’s a good thing to fly above the lowest intellectual & depth & creative & awareness common denominator.

  215. @ Josh:

    Leah said: “And basically saying, stay away from close friendships lest they turn into romantic relationships. Such a dangerous teaching.”

    Josh said: “It’s dangerous, in the same way that Denny Burk’s teaching that merely experiencing temptation toward someone of the same gender is sinful, is dangerous.”
    +++++++++++++++

    so incredibly thoughtless and stupid. absolutely dangerous.

    a 14-year old girl in town took her own life a few days ago because of this.

    beyond heart-breaking.

    in my son’s sunday school class a few years ago, a student asked the leader “will gay people go to hell?” the reply, “yes, they will.”

    that was the last time my son went to church. all indications are that he is opposite-sex-attracted, but he was extremely troubled by the implications and incredible insensitivity of the glib reply.

    this leader is praised and highly-esteemed for his no-compromising stance. I think he’s a religious freak. a very nice person, but a religious freak. with the influence he’s allowed to have, a very dangerous person.

  216. @ Jeffrey Chalmers:

    “why does sex, or “sexual deviations/activiy” always seem to work its way into these conversations? I saw this in my IFB world in a pervious life…”
    ++++++++++++

    it’s like telling yourself, “Don’t look at it! Don’t do it! No….No….watch it…..no looking…. don’t do it…”

    every urge is going to want to look at it. all cylinders will be firing to both look at it and not look at it.

    i think many christians are so hyper focussed on sex that they can be aroused by a potato.

  217. Christiane wrote:

    that Billy Graham Rule sounds a lot like ‘avoiding the near occasions of sin’

    It is that but it takes it a step further to include avoiding the ‘appearance’ of evil (1 Thessalonians). So, it has three aspects. Do not put yourself in a position where you might be tempted. (avoiding the near occasion of evil) Do not let yourself be put in some situation in which somebody else might be tempted. (don’t become a stumbling block for somebody else) And don’t even look like you are doing so. (avoid the very appearance of evil)

    This all comes under the general heading of ‘separation’. As in in the world but not of the world. As in don’t you do it, don’t participate in it, and don’t even look like you might be participating in it. “It” being sin of some sort or another.

    A lot of people think this is a good idea and that it just makes a lot of sense and is biblical, and a lot of people think this is not a good idea and that it is pharisaical legalism. It is one of the dividing lines in conservative protestantism, in my experience. Tomorrow’s discussion on TWW should demonstrate this.

  218. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Josh:

    Leah said: “And basically saying, stay away from close friendships lest they turn into romantic relationships. Such a dangerous teaching.”

    Josh said: “It’s dangerous, in the same way that Denny Burk’s teaching that merely experiencing temptation toward someone of the same gender is sinful, is dangerous.”
    +++++++++++++++

    so incredibly thoughtless and stupid. absolutely dangerous.

    a 14-year old girl in town took her own life a few days ago because of this.

    beyond heart-breaking.

    in my son’s sunday school class a few years ago, a student asked the leader “will gay people go to hell?” the reply, “yes, they will.”

    that was the last time my son went to church. all indications are that he is opposite-sex-attracted, but he was extremely troubled by the implications and incredible insensitivity of the glib reply.

    this leader is praised and highly-esteemed for his no-compromising stance. I think he’s a religious freak. a very nice person, but a religious freak. with the influence he’s allowed to have, a very dangerous person.

    So many people want everything to be black and white. Also I think it is wise to leave who goes to Hell to God.

  219. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    And thus experienced the fundamental law of nature that Marrieds only associate with other Marrieds.

    For me, literally all of my friends but maybe one are married. And we do spend time together, but there are ‘date night’ times that are more reserved for couples. And that’s what trips me up socially.

    I’ve been thinking a bit more about the BG rule stuff (and maybe the article in wash po about Pence acting along these lines will show up) and one of the things that bothers me about it is that it is indiscriminate.

    So as a female, I do make risk calculations before I go out with people. I go to public places for first dates, drive my own car until I trust the person, etc. So I don’t have an issue with doing risk assessments and protecting yourself. But making a blanket rule that includes the brand new 22 year old intern you don’t know and 68 year old mabel who has been a friend of the family for 40 years makes no sense at all. It reduces all women to the same person. The same threat level. And that makes no sense at all. These men are literally more afraid of gossip and seduction and false accusation than women are of being assaulted, because they treat women like more of a threat than I treat men.

  220. @ Lea:

    And just to tie this back to the topic, Kelly acts like every close friendship is just in danger of turning sexual at any moment if you aren’t careful. It isn’t.

  221. Lea wrote:

    @ Lea:

    And just to tie this back to the topic, Kelly acts like every close friendship is just in danger of turning sexual at any moment if you aren’t careful.

    Only in PORNOGRPAHY.

  222. Short off-topic important announcement.

    We have been raising funds for Shauna and her son Billy in Texas to pay their monthly bills.

    (Dee wrote about Billy being abused at the hands of a church member.) Shauna has a part-time job at a grocery store, but it is not enough to provide for their financial needs.
    At this time they need April rent which is $700. Donations are needed!!

    https://www.gofundme.com/pxs5dk

    Thank you.

  223. JR wrote:

    Former Calvinista wannabe

    May your tribe increase, JR! Welcome back to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

  224. Max wrote:

    ZechZav wrote:

    Friendship in TGC type circles was always very shallow and superficial.

    I have found New Calvinists to be some of the most unfriendly folks on the planet (at least in my corner of it) … snooty, arrogant, distant, thinking more highly of themselves than they ought.

    Amen to this. A neo Calvinist acquaintance of mine is the worst, all the while saying she’s the chief of sinners. She recently got married and my feed is flooded with “Godly marriage” stuff and she’s always blabbing about how her husband is leading her and shepherding her heart. Gag me with a spoon.

  225. I fear a cage wrote:

    she’s always blabbing

    A sure sign of brain-washed indoctrination to the “beauty of complementarity.” When the honeymoon is over, look for her to start walking a few steps behind her husband and growing increasingly silent on spiritual matters.

  226. I fear a cage wrote:

    Gag me with a spoon.

    This is how I feel about my sil’s gushing posts about my brother. Ugh.

    I did read a study (or probably ‘study’) that said people who post incessantly on social media about their significant others are not secure in their relationships.

  227. Max wrote:

    my feed is flooded with “Godly marriage” stuff and she’s always blabbing about how her husband is leading her and shepherding her heart.

    If she gets sick, is her husband going to take to a doctor ….. or a veterinarian???

  228. I fear a cage wrote:

    A neo Calvinist acquaintance of mine is the worst, all the while saying she’s the chief of sinners. She recently got married and my feed is flooded with “Godly marriage” stuff and she’s always blabbing about how her husband is leading her and shepherding her heart. Gag me with a spoon.

    I unfollow people like that. They aren’t worth clogging up my feed. You can unfollow them without unfriending them, so they have no idea. And when people ask if I’ve seen something, I just say, “No, I haven’t seen it”, which is the truth.

  229. @ I fear a cage:

    “She recently got married and my feed is flooded with “Godly marriage” stuff and she’s always blabbing about how her husband is leading her and shepherding her heart.”
    +++++++++++++

    she knows nothing about marriage. it’s simply not possible for a newbie.

    she’s merely stepped though the romanticized marriage looking glass and is on the other side saying “neener neener neeeeeeener!”. in time the romanticized fog will break up.

    hopefully the spiritualized brain fog will break up to.

  230. elastigirl wrote:

    in my son’s sunday school class a few years ago, a student asked the leader “will gay people go to hell?” the reply, “yes, they will.”

    On the bright side, in hell they won’t have to spend eternity around people like said leader…

    Nancy2 wrote:

    If she gets sick, is her husband going to take to a doctor ….. or a veterinarian???

    Ha!

    ishy wrote:

    I unfollow people like that. They aren’t worth clogging up my feed.

    The unfollow feature has been a lifesaver. Whether it’s people who clogged up my newsfeed with you-know-what last November, or people who post sappy “inspirational” tripe, or people who do nothing but hawk their MLM scheme of the moment (these days, essential oils are out, and “diet” shakes and expensive women’s clothing are in), I can make them disappear with a single click and keep social media social (and more or less civil).

  231. elastigirl wrote:

    she knows nothing about marriage. it’s simply not possible for a newbie.

    she’s merely stepped though the romanticized marriage looking glass and is on the other side saying “neener neener neeeeeeener!”. in time the romanticized fog will break up.

    Because now she’s a Married, gets to sit at the grown-ups’ table (three steps behind her husband, of course), and all the Singles now have to Serve Hubby & HER.

  232. Lea wrote:

    I did read a study (or probably ‘study’) that said people who post incessantly on social media about their significant others are not secure in their relationships.

    These days, how can you tell?
    These days, EVERYBODY “posts incessantly on social media”.
    (Including literal “sleep-texting”.)

  233. Max wrote:

    I fear a cage wrote:
    she’s always blabbing
    A sure sign of brain-washed indoctrination to the “beauty of complementarity.”

    It’s not “blabbing”, it’s WITNESSING.
    Just like Tony Miano and his bullhorn.
    You MUST Accept “The Beauty of Complementarity” As Your Personal LOOOORD and Savior, Too!

  234. Lea wrote:

    I’ve been thinking a bit more about the BG rule stuff (and maybe the article in wash po about Pence acting along these lines will show up) and one of the things that bothers me about it is that it is indiscriminate.

    The BG rule makes sense for a public figure like BG.

    Otherwise, it’s like “Private Revelation” in the RCC — binding on the person receiving the Private Revelation, not binding (voluntary basis only) on anyone else.

  235. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    These days, EVERYBODY “posts incessantly on social media”.

    But not everybody posts every day about how their hubby, like, ordered them pizza, #lovethatman, etc. Some people just say ‘bob and I went to X’ or a picture and some people gush in a super awkward way daily.

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    The BG rule makes sense for a public figure like BG.

    But every random super Christian man is jumping on it. I don’t know how people expect to function in life, honestly. I guess I’m having lots of thoughts about this. Maybe I should save them and rant later 🙂

  236. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Once more we come to Auggie’s personal baggage leavening his Theology.

    Piper is very fond of Augie’s line about He loves thee too little who loves anything which he does not love for thy sake (paraphrase).

  237. mot wrote:

    Also I think it is wise to leave who goes to Hell to God.

    Amen.

    a lot of young people today are turning away from ‘authorities’ that assume they are judge and jury and holding the pitchfork to push people into hell with glee …..
    but the kids know what these ‘authorities’ have forgotten: that only God can judge the heart of a human person

    your son didn’t walk away from the ‘Church’; he walked away from a perversion of authority exhibited by a ‘teacher’ who ‘assumed’ he had the power to decide if another person was hell-bound

    our young people, many of them, are looking for authentic Christian teaching, not perversions of it;
    and if they walk away, it is from what they deem as the perversions ….. it is their way of walking from the darkness towards the Light 🙂

  238. Daisy wrote:

    Say what? John Piper tweets about teenage couples making out down at the river?

    One of the tweeters tweeted this in response to Piper’s tweet:

    “Maybe they weren’t happy because a creepy old man was watching them.”

    A talented script writer could use this as a possible episode for Criminal Minds (CBS tv).

  239. @ Dave A A:
    That said, we may be blaming Piper overmuch.
    Needham quotes several women who don’t seem to be Piperettes. I also discovered a book from 1988 by Dee Brestin, The Friendships of Women, which may have begun or popularized this movement. I skimmed ch 4, Relational Idolatry, and there’s much similarity to Needham’s articles. It seems the “relational idolatry” comes from Rom 1 with “worshipping the creature rather than the creator”. Personally I’d always looked on “the creature” as meaning Mother Earth with her associated rocks, sticks, snakes, furtickmanses, Rolexes etc– not people. Since Paul compared idolatry with covetousness, one might in that sense idolize one’s neighbor’s wife, manservant, or friend, but not one’s own.

  240. JYJames wrote:

    Yes, anything can happen to anyone, any time, anywhere – here in our fallen world.

    It can only happen if we let it happen. God is not in control. We are. Tsunamis, comet strikes, and what have you, are beyond our pay grades, true. But the rest of the stuff? Handmaid’s tales, Auschwitz, and just plain old-fashioned individual meanness? That’s all on our own dime, the Almighty ceded control of that stuff to us long ago.

  241. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Example — guy was always swinging his rifle/shotgun around with HIS FINGER CONSTANTLY ON THE TRIGGER! (One up the spout and safety off, natch.) I actually showed him why you ALWAYS keep your finger OUTSIDE the trigger guard unless you’re actually firing — pointed it downrange and bumped his hand — BAM! AND HE STILL DIDN’T GET A CLUE!

    I may be a female, but even I was taught better than that. I won’t even point a firearm that I know is empty at anyone. That boy needs to be restricted to water pistols.
    A couple of months ago, my dad showed me a revolver that he had just bought. When he handed it to me, he said it wasn’t loaded. The first thing I did was pop the cylinder out to see for myself. It was fully loaded.

  242. Muff Potter wrote:

    JYJames wrote:

    Yes, anything can happen to anyone, any time, anywhere – here in our fallen world.

    It can only happen if we let it happen. God is not in control. We are. Tsunamis, comet strikes, and what have you, are beyond our pay grades, true. But the rest of the stuff? Handmaid’s tales, Auschwitz, and just plain old-fashioned individual meanness? That’s all on our own dime, the Almighty ceded control of that stuff to us long ago.

    I would say that God gave over to mankind the command to ‘choose’ whether to turn towards the Light or the go towards the darkness …. but God included the warning that one of these choices means ‘to live’ and the other does not

    we have been given control over our ‘will’ to choose between life and death, between the Light and the darkness, to turn towards God or away from Him …. if we have been given rule over anything, it is simply this: the human freedom to willingly choose between good and evil;
    and if we find ourselves in an evil Auschwitz, or as a slave/hand-maid in some distopian society, we still remain free within ourselves to choose the manner of our response to the circumstances in which we find ourselves:
    ” In a position of utter desolation, when Man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way ”
    (Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor) Frankl found hope and strength to survive in remembrances of how much he loved his family … he focused on that love, and found in it a refuge from the hell that surrounded him in the camp

  243. Nancy2 wrote:

    A couple of months ago, my dad showed me a revolver that he had just bought. When he handed it to me, he said it wasn’t loaded. The first thing I did was pop the cylinder out to see for myself. It was fully loaded.

    First thing I learned, too. Always clear & check.

    And every time I’m first handed an unfamiliar firearm, I have the hander show me the control locations — charging handle, safety, mag release, cylinder pop, any special controls/settings.

    Many years ago, there was this small-time cartoonist in Phoenix named Michael Scott McMurray, AKA “Mc Moo”. Once on a visit to some buds in Tucson (i.e. my informants), he was handed a pistol; trusting the guy who handed it to him, he didn’t check & clear. (Kind of a brain-fart moment, as he WAS experienced in firearms handling.) Well, he ended up accidentally shooting out the living room TV picture tube. (No chance of over-penetration, as I was shown the scene and the apartment walls & party walls were concrete block.) For the rest of his life, the “Tucson Mob” never let him forget the day of “The Mc Moo Cup Challenge”.

  244. Lea wrote:

    I don’t know how people expect to function in life, honestly.

    They just Download an App for that.

  245. Lea wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    The BG rule makes sense for a public figure like BG.

    But every random super Christian man is jumping on it.

    More-Godly/Pure-Than-Thou one-upmanship?

  246. I’ve seen some comments from other singles and just wanted to say I agree. When I was younger, I instinctively fled from some complementarians. Even in grad school, I knew that, even though I tended to attract men who were emotionally weaker. (And probably scared off those who might have been equals.)

    And like HUG, I’ve noticed that married folk and singles do not socialize. It has either gotten worse, or with age and a new area it seems worse than before. (I have lived in 6 different areas of the country, so far, while keeping a job.)

  247. Muff Potter wrote:

    But the rest of the stuff? Handmaid’s tales, Auschwitz, and just plain old-fashioned individual meanness? That’s all on our own dime, the Almighty ceded control of that stuff to us long ago.

    And Islam and Calvinism try to hand it all back.
    “NOT MY FAULT! NOT MY FAULT! YOU PREDESTINED IT!”

  248. Dave A A wrote:

    He loves thee too little who loves anything which he does not love for thy sake

    well, Piper needs to put Augustine in perspective better than he has done

    maybe the good St. John could help Piper?
    ” ‘He that loveth not his brother whom he seeth, how can he love God Whom he seeth not?’ (1 John iv)

    and from Our Lord Himself: ‘love one another as I have loved you’

    And Piper could be helped by this perspective on love from Jean Vanier:
    “Love as the Samaritan loved the man he found beaten up by robbers,
    somewhere on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho.”

  249. @ Christiane:
    Someone on TGC a couple years back had all those explained away er uh properly understood to mean members in good standing of your local church. Not too hard with “brother” and “one another” but they had to come up with something ingenious for good Sam.

  250. Nancy2 wrote:

    A couple of months ago, my dad showed me a revolver that he had just bought. When he handed it to me, he said it wasn’t loaded. The first thing I did was pop the cylinder out to see for myself. It was fully loaded.

    My son in law was handling my grandson’s Glock .45 ACP and didn’t know it had a round in the chamber after he’d released the magazine. It’s only by the Providence of the Good Lord that tragedy was averted on that day.

  251. The fear of close sam-sex friendships becoming “sexual” smacks of homophobia, quite frankly. I think these rules are likely to create an environment where adult singles in the church experience serious isolation. (Maybe the good folks at Desiring God are not even thinking about singles since they like to push people to get married as young as possible.) It goes without saying that touching or establishing emotional intimacy with a person of the opposite sex is off-limits in this framework. On top of that, touching or establishing emotional intimacy with a friend of the SAME sex could be a dangerous temptation. Where does that leave single people? American culture is already so individualistic and squeamish about male friends bonding closely with one another; This advice/command from Desiring God is the opposite of helpful.

  252. Edward wrote:

    The fear of close sam-sex friendships becoming “sexual” smacks of homophobia, quite frankly. I think these rules are likely to create an environment where adult singles in the church experience serious isolation.

    There’s an article about married people being cautious with opposite gender, and then there was the article about dogs distracting us from God ……… So, no close friends period ….. no pets ……..Anything that doesn’t fit Piper’s twisted “gospel” is either a sin, or it will lead to sin.

  253. Dave A A wrote:

    @ Christiane:
    Someone on TGC a couple years back had all those explained away er uh properly understood to mean members in good standing of your local church. Not too hard with “brother” and “one another” but they had to come up with something ingenious for good Sam.

    I’m smiling because Our Lord made a point of using a Samaritan as ‘the good guy’ in His parable, because Samaritans were not considered ‘like us’ to the Jews …. but I’m sure, with enough ‘creative’ manipulation of the scriptures, something to please Piper could be managed ……. they even changed the position of Our Lord in the Holy Trinity to accommodate their ‘male-headship’ idolatry (sigh)

  254. Muff Potter wrote:

    My son in law was handling my grandson’s Glock .45 ACP and didn’t know it had a round in the chamber after he’d released the magazine. It’s only by the Providence of the Good Lord that tragedy was averted on that day.

    Revolver, clip load, pump, lever action, whatever ….. I always look. Then, I still handle an unloaded weapon like it is loaded. I watched my dad shoot a hole through the roof with an “unloaded” .22 when I was a teenager. People like the guy HUG told us about drive me insane!

  255. Edward wrote:

    It goes without saying that touching or establishing emotional intimacy with a person of the opposite sex is off-limits in this framework. On top of that, touching or establishing emotional intimacy with a friend of the SAME sex could be a dangerous temptation. Where does that leave single people?

    Touch, and here I’m talking about the non-sexual kind although the other is good too, is good for us. Medically. Emotionally. Etc. We should not be restricting ourselves from physical touch like hugs.

  256. I could take note of this lassie’s advice on relationships.

    But then there would be the danger that I might be trying to gain wisdom from her writing that only God can give me.

  257. Dave A A wrote:

    That said, we may be blaming Piper overmuch.
    Needham quotes several women who don’t seem to be Piperettes. I also discovered a book from 1988 by Dee Brestin, The Friendships of Women

    Sounds close enough to me! Maybe she got the idea from Piper. Or they both got it from Gothard in the 60’s. Lots of that going around back then which keeps getting recycled and repackaged to kids who have no idea that Something New and Radical is old and busted.

  258. Josh wrote:

    Also, I’m not a mental health professional, but I feel like there are kernels of truth to a few of the points, in that if these things apply to you too much, you might be in a codependent relationship. But that’s something to work through with your therapist, not something over which you need to feel moral condemnation and the outrage of John Piper.

    I agree with you: There are some valid points, but mixed up with nonsense. That is what makes it so dangerous.
    From “More than BFFs”: “Followers of Christ find many good things in friendship,…”
    Sounds a bit like Jehova’s Witnesses, doesn’t it? At least if you compare it to the German editions of The Watchtower or Awake…
    Greetings
    Exing

  259. Gram3 wrote:

    Or they both got it from Gothard in the 60’s.

    Reminds me my college roommate came back from a Gothard conference and acted really odd for the next couple of months.

  260. Edward wrote:

    The fear of close sam-sex friendships becoming “sexual” smacks of homophobia, quite frankly. I think these rules are likely to create an environment where adult singles in the church experience serious isolation. (Maybe the good folks at Desiring God are not even thinking about singles since they like to push people to get married as young as possible.) It goes without saying that touching or establishing emotional intimacy with a person of the opposite sex is off-limits in this framework. On top of that, touching or establishing emotional intimacy with a friend of the SAME sex could be a dangerous temptation. Where does that leave single people? American culture is already so individualistic and squeamish about male friends bonding closely with one another; This advice/command from Desiring God is the opposite of helpful.

    I completely agree. When I followed this line of teaching, I was left emotionally frozen and unable to develop any deep, meaningful contact with anyone. I was too cautious about getting close to men because of a fear of being attracted to them. I was too cautious about getting close to women also. I know some Christian gay men who married a woman (they followed Mohler’s line of teaching) and it was disastrous. I was set free when I stopped accepting this indoctrination and took a serious look at it from both the Bible and reality. The Bible nowhere says that a heterosexual, monogamous marriage is the only means of meeting one anothers relational needs. If you take Genesis 1 and 2 at face value, all we can legitimately conclude is that God created one man and one woman to start the human race. But to then extrapolate that it is a mandatory blueprint for everyone without exception or deviation is going beyond what the text says. The Dominican Priest Gareth Moore wrote a book called “A Question of Truth” on this issue of homosexuality and this quote really caused me to rethink:

    “The criterion of whether we love God is whether we love our neighbour; there is no separate criterion; that is why, though the law says ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your soul … ’, Paul can say repeatedly that love of neighbour is the fulfilling of the law. Love of God implies keeping God’s commandments, and it is thus that we honour him, as Paul says we should (Rom. 1:21); but his commandment is that we should love each other. However, we have seen that some recent attempts to establish a Christian sexual ethic take as their starting point not the God-willed law of love as expressed in the teaching of Jesus and the apostles, but a theology of creation allegedly found in the opening chapters of Genesis.”

    There is a lot to unpack in that statement and once I did I came away with a completely different conclusion to Piper, Mohler, Ken Ham, Josh McDowell, James Dobson, The Catholic Cathecism etc. And it is liberating to be free of it.

  261. ZechZav wrote:

    know some Christian gay men who married a woman (they followed Mohler’s line of teaching) and it was disastrous

    I have seen the same disastrous results. Apparently they have reparation therapyish concerts or conferences? That also do not work.

  262. elastigirl wrote:

    the christian equivalent of “Let them eat cake.”

    their ignorance and insensitivity is lost on them. as lost as their common sense.

    It is my fervent prayer that more and more people can chance upon TWW and other sites like it and learn to free themselves from these brutal religious systems. One human being at a time.

  263. @ Lea:

    Yes. You may be aware that Exodus International, the largest ex-gay Christian ministry, closed down a few years ago. The project was doomed from the start! Two founder members went into a relationship and repudiated ex-gay therapy. The director at the end (Alan Chambers) admitted that 99% of gay Christians seeking a change in their sexual orientation do not find it.

  264. miot wrote:

    Piper and others like him hate women. They can not imagine having a normal relationship with a woman.

    I think that’s exactly it. No matter what they might say about respecting women and wanting to protect them and see them fulfilled as happy wives and mothers, what it boils down to is that they only accept those women who fill their patriarchal view of what a woman should be. Anyone who dares to deviate from that must be shut down immediately. There is no real, genuine care or concern or respect for women as individuals worthy of friendship or love. There is no understanding of a woman who doesn’t fit their very limited “feminine” box; again, no consideration that she might be an individual with interests and needs and dreams, a person that God can use in His kingdom just as much as a man. They reduce women to just helpers and supporters. Sadly this has been my personal experience – I sometimes think that if I was replaced by a maid who cooked, cleaned and was sexually available, my husband wouldn’t notice the difference. They sort of appreciate having a generic wife who takes care of all those boring household chores, but they don’t appreciate or even notice women as individuals.

  265. A few people have made this observation, and I think it’s worthy of attention. Piper and his ilk seem to be sticking their noses into everything they possibly can, and having a “Biblical” opinion on it. They sniff out anything in their own lives that could be an issue and project it as a bigger “cultural trend”. It made me think of 1 Thessalonians 4:11 “…that you also aspire to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with you hands, as we commanded you…” I think Piper and so many like him should adopt this aspiration, and drop his “ministry” in favour of minding his own business. If you’re a pastor and someone comes to you with a problem, help them, sure. But there is simply no need for this national/international busybody-ing and fussing over the possibility that someone somewhere might be stepping out of line.

  266. max wrote:

    One of my biggest concerns with the New Calvinist movement is that you seldom hear the name of Jesus mentioned. You hear them talk about being “Christ-Followers”, but rarely do they lift the name that is above all names in their ministries. “Gospel” to them is a rigid set of doctrinal propositions about grace, rather than a direct experience of Grace through an encounter with the living Christ. “Gospel” to the reformed mind = Calvinism … the message and ministry of Christ gets lost in their version of the gospel, which is not the Gospel at all.

    A lot of foks are in for a big, nasty surprise when they stand before Our Lord Jesus…..

  267. Geoff S. wrote:

    So I guess I better not buy a dog and make it my best friend. Two strikes right there.

    My cats are my best friends. I freely admit it. Now if I could just figure a way to yell that at Piper &Co…….

  268. JYJames wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Beg to differ. Or, maybe, rather, expound on this, take it one step further.

    More fundamentally, there is a fear of relationship, period. Any relationship, and that is what is completely lost on this crowd.

    Interesting. By contrast, God is actually all about relationship. “Let US… make man in our image.” “It is not good for man to be alone…”

    Sin separates one from God, thus, severs the relationship. Jesus offers the path to bring us back… into relationship, with God and properly with each other.

    Men and women in loving bilateral relationships, sans hierarchy, neither dominion nor power play.

    I know Piper, and he is not a relational person. Likes to hide in his office with his books and write.

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