John Piper wants a “masculine Christianity.” What do you think?

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free
'Thinking of him' photo (c) 2008, Valerie Everett - license:

**Important Update: Guys, please leave links to your posts here instead.**

“God has chosen to liken Himself to a female and we are the fruit of His womb.”
– John Calvin 

On Tuesday, at the annual Desiring God pastors conference, popular evangelical pastor John Piper spoke on the importance of maintaining what he calls a “masculine Christianity,” arguing that “God has given Christianity a masculine feel.”

“God revealed Himself in the Bible pervasively as king not queen; father not mother," Piper said. "The second person of the Trinity is revealed as the eternal Son not daughter; the Father and the Son create man and woman in His image and give them the name man, the name of the male...God appoints all the priests in the Old Testament to be men; the Son of God came into the world to be a man; He chose 12 men to be His apostles; the apostles appointed that the overseers of the Church be men; and when it came to marriage they taught that the husband should be the head."

“Now, from all of that I conclude that God has given Christianity a masculine feel,” Piper continued.“And being God, a God of love, He has done that for our maximum flourishing both male and female... He does not intend for women to languish or be frustrated or in any way suffer or fall short of full and lasting joy in this masculine Christianity. From which I infer that the fullest flourishing of women and men takes place in churches and families that have this masculine feel.” 

You can read more of his comments here.

This is a strange way to talk about the Bride of Christ.  

And it is a dismissive, hurtful way to speak about women, who Piper seems to have forgotten were also created in the image of God, were appointed by God as leaders at critical times in the history of Israel and the Church, and were the first to whom Jesus appeared when he inaugurated his new Kingdom on Resurrection Day.

 Since these comments have been made public, I’ve been bombarded with requests to write a response. I certainly appreciate your confidence in me, but here’s the thing: There’s a double-standard out there in which a woman’s critique of patriarchy tends to get discounted as nothing more than the rants of an “angry feminist,” and, truth be told, I’ve grown a bit weary of hearing that charge each time I speak out about this disturbing trend in the evangelical church.

So instead, I’d like to challenge the guys to respond.  

 Here's how you can participate: 

1. Write a blog post that highlights the feminine images of God found in Scripture or that celebrates the importance of women in the Church. (Be positive and be creative!) 

2. Share a link to your post here.

3. On Tuesday, February 7, I’ll feature my favorite posts here on the blog, so be sure to check back. 

Ladies, you are of course welcome to join in—(we must continue to stand up for ourselves, even when we're criticized for it!)—but I’d especially like to hear from men this time. I think it’s important for those who are advocating an exclusively masculine Christianity to see that not all men agree with them. It’s also important for those of us who have grown weary of being treated like second-class Kingdom citizens to be reminded of the fact that there are indeed many Christian men out there who support and celebrate women in the Church.

(This isn’t about egalitarianism or complementarianism, by the way. It’s about the basic value and dignity of God’s daughters.  So please feel free to participate no matter your theological convictions regarding women in church leadership.)

I’m excited about what’s to come. In fact, I found the John Calvin quote above in this fantastic piece by Wade Burleson

Instead of letting Piper get us down, let's celebrate - women, men, and the God who loves and empowers both! 


Update: Already there are some beautiful, affirming, and courageous posts rolling in. I'm certain these words will encourage the many women of faith who have grown weary from fighting for a place at the table.  Remember to try and keep it positive. The goal is to create an alternative. Some great examples include:

Landon Whitsitt: “Mama’s Boy: Reflections on a Masculine Christianity
JR Daniel Kirk: "Imaging the Biblical God"
Ben Gosden: “Women’s Witness to the Gospel”  
Frank Viola: "God's View of a Woman"

**Important Update: Guys, please leave links to your posts here instead.**

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