Women and girls, men and boys all share the right to live free of violence, which is, unfortunately, experienced by both men and women. Women and girls, however, disproportionately experience violence due to a deeply rooted global culture of gender discrimination. Nazanin Boniadi
The Pharisee and the Publican-Wikimedia Commons
I have long been convinced that John Piper has an agenda when it comes to limiting the roles of women in just about everything that puts them into a position of authority over men. He claims that his standards are derived from his interpretation of Scripture. I used to believe that he believed that. Now, I’m not so sure. His edicts go far beyond Scripture and that means something is amiss in churches which apply his edicts.
Women could not read Scripture or pray in the pulpit at his church.
He is quite gleeful about this *rule.* in Why Don’t Women Ever Read or Pray In Bethlehem’s Church Services? he said:
My reason is because—not that others have to see it this way—I view that moment and that place in the worship service as one of pastoral authority. The pulpit stands there symbolizing the word of God preached, and that’s what the elders are responsible to do. The reading of the text is part of that. And the offering up of the prayers of the congregation in an official, formal, representative capacity at the front is pastoral.
But in my sense, a woman is that moment acting like a pastor or elder, and that’s what we don’t think is appropriate.
This seems quite odd to me. Not only do women read Scripture in the pulpit at my conservative Lutheran church, women in the praise band will pray during the service. No one blinks an eye. No one thinks they are usurping the role of the pastor. In fact, I doubt if anyone sits there and wonders about such a thing.
When Scripture is read in a church, men and women stick to the text. They are literally repeating the words of Scripture. I don’t get that there is some sort of an *authoritative* reading and a *non-authoritative* reading. If a woman read it, would people sit there and say “Well, nothing to listen to here since a woman read it?” It makes no sense to me but I am a woman.
God chose women to speak some of those words in the Scripture. If women could not speak authoritatively, then why did God allow Mary to directly speak the following beautiful words? Why didn’t He have Mary whisper these to a man and then have the man repeat these words? No, God used the beautiful words of a woman to speak to us then and now. Yet, in Piper’s odd view of Scripture, a woman cannot read the words of a woman in *his* pulpit because he doesn’t want a woman *acting like an elder.* Would he have let Mary speak these words in his church?
46 And Mary said:“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
Women cannot be muscular because it leads to volatile sex.
Did you choke on your donut? I am shocked that people overlook this mind boggling, unbiblical rule from Piper. In fact, I would love to have the take of a psychiatrist on this. We wrote about it here.
“Consider what is lost when women attempt to assume a more masculine role by appearing physically muscular and aggressive. It is true that there is something sexually stimulating about a muscular, scantily clad young woman pumping iron in a health club.
But no woman should be encouraged by this fact. For it probably means the sexual encounter that such an image would lead to is something very hasty and volatile, and in the long run unsatisfying.
The image of a masculine musculature may beget arousal in a man, but it does not beget several hours of moonlight walking with significant, caring conversation. The more women can arouse men by doing typically masculine things, the less they can count on receiving from men a sensitivity to typically feminine ”
The abuse of a wife is OK so long as it only lasts a night.
Jesus apparently wants a woman to get walloped by her husband for a night since it will show she is submitted to her husband. Listen to how he tells a woman how to explain toher husband that she won’t have group sex. She needs to answer him in a way that builds him up…seriously? After asking her to have group sex? He seems more concerned about the man than he does the woman. Again, I would like to have a psychiatrist analyze this one.
There is nothing in Scripture that *proves* his point. Piper is a law unto himself. Sadly there are many young men who follow his words as if they are the very words of God. And they are not. They are his opinion and this opinion is dangerous for women. (Listen for his opening giggle.)
Women cannot be police officers, etc., if it involves giving directives to men
Now PIper brings it out of the church and into the secular marketplace. Here is where one must begin to question his biblical faithfulness. When asked if women should be police officers, he basically says no. He also carries it further.
If a woman’s job involves a good deal of directives toward men, they will need to be non-personal in general. If they don’t, men and women won’t flourish in the long run in that relationship without compromising profound biblical and psychological issues.
Conversely, if a woman’s relationship to a man is very personal, then the way she offers guidance and influence will need to be more non-directive. My own view is that there are some roles in society that will strain godly manhood and womanhood to the breaking point. But I leave women and men in those roles to sort that out. I have never tried to make that list.
So the key is: Do they deeply want to shape their whole lives by Scripture? And we may come to different views on some roles, but that submission to Scripture is a great common ground.
In other words, if you are a boss and your give orders to men, you are in the wrong role because it is not your God-given right to do that. Again, there is nothing in the Bible that says this.
He goes further to say that a woman exists to nurture the strength and leadership of men. They do?
At the heart of mature womanhood is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive, and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships.
He claims that gender roles go far beyond marriage.
In a recent post at Desiring God, Do Gender Roles Apply Beyond Marriage? he claims
Well, the answer is yes, gender alone — that is, our sexual maleness or femaleness alone — is an essential part of our God-given identity, whether we’re married or not. You are who you are everywhere you are, and with whomever you are. Your core identity as male or female does not change according to your audience or your relationships.
It is the next statement that needs some discussion. It appears that he believes that somehow our maleness and femaleness will travel with us into the next life. This raises the question: will women need to be submissive to men in heaven?
Now, as Christians, we believe that the brain and the soul are not identical but interrelated in mysterious ways that have profound correspondence. All Christians agree that we are morally responsible before God for our thoughts and our feelings, even though our brains (the organ inside our skull) and our hormones are involved in what we think and feel.
The mystery of how the brain and the supra-physical soul are related is probably incomprehensible to finite people. That would be my guess. I don’t think we’ll ever fully comprehend this mystery.
But we know that what the brain does in thinking and desiring reflects reality in the personhood. I mean, a personhood that is more than physical — the personhood that will exist after death, when we go to be with Christ, before the resurrection.
In other words, we are persons in the presence of Christ, enjoying Christ as “far better,” as Paul says, even though we don’t have bodies (Philippians 1:23). The brain is down there rotting in the grave, and our soul, our personhood, is in heaven with Christ.
The differences that exist in general between men’s and women’s brains along with the innate differences that mark our lives are profoundly woven together with the supra-physical personhood.
I’m going to make a leap here and say that I think Piper may believe that women will be in a subordinate/submissive position to men in heaven. I cannot prove it but others have seen it as well.
I believe that John Piper’s view on the roles of gender are not found specifically in Scripture. Not only that but restricting the roles of women in the church and society due to some personal interpretation of overall female gender submission is harmful to women and may interfere with God’s plan for women to be change agents in our society and in our churches.
Piper and the Pharisees: Is there a connection here?
This brings me back to Jesus’ contentious relationship with many of the Pharisees. The were supposedly the keepers of the law that would enable the people to live righteously. However, they corrupted the law by removing mercy and making the law intolerable. It became a legalistic set of rules that led the people into a religious slavery.
(Quick note: Jesus did not condemn all Pharisees. Nicodemus was one who sought out Jesus.)
At the same time, the Pharisees presented a *righteous exterior,* often flaunting it in front of the people who were struggling. Yet inside they were filled with self righteousness, greed, and superiority. Jesus let them have it in his *seven woes* to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:13-37. Here are a few.
13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.  [b]
15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.
23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
Yet, at the very end of Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees who hurt the people, He refers to Himself and how He cared for them but they wouldn’t listen. They wanted nothing of His gentleness and mercy.
37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
I would rather not write about John Piper. I thankfully attend a church in which many have never heard of him. I have pastors who include women in the worship service. They treat the female Director of Christian Education (an important role in Lutheran churches) with profound respect. The men of the church do the weekly dinners and clean up. Women and men are confirmation guides, help with communion, read Scripture and pray.
However, John Piper is worshipped (yes, I mean that word and I think he knows it) by lots of young men coming out of Baptist seminaries. A Calvinist took over the pulpit of a local nondenominational church. One day, he got up to do his sermon and started off by saying “John Piper has stepped down from his pulpit. I don’t know how we will get along without him. We are now the gray hairs in the church.”
I believe that Piper is a modern day Pharisees. He’s especially concerned with limiting the role of women. I wonder what he is hiding inside…Something is wrong here.
The following tweets showed up when Piper’s latest post on gender roles came out. They make my point.