On not feeding boogeymen

So this guy named John Piper caused some brouhaha in certain circles I travel on the internet. You see, he was quoted as addressing a room full of male pastors and saying that "God has given Christianity a masculine feel". This of course offended a lot of Christian women, and men, who had some choice and rather creative things to say in response. Many of which I completely enjoyed reading.

However, set aside the fact that Piper is wrong, and that to be this wrong he has to conveniently set aside whole swaths of scripture that personify God with distinctly feminine characteristics, such as a nursing mother, and ask a more important question.

Why should anyone care what John Piper thinks?

Sure, he's a man with influence and people are hurt when he uses his influence to denigrate and belittle an entire gender. But he's also a man who comfortably believes that God specifically created millions of people just to torture them for eternity in hell. He believes in double predestination, that God created some people to go to heaven and the rest are destined for hell, and they don't even get a say in the matter.

I don't know about you, but compared to that bit of evil the recent statement that God intended Christianity to have a masculine feel is a bit innocuous.

If I were to pick a hill on which to pitch a tent and start a battle it would be over the former statement, rather than the latter.

Which brings me to my earlier question again. Why does anyone care what John Piper thinks in the first place? He's a guy, a fallible human being like the rest of us. Devoting energy to arguing with him, tweeting the link to the article about him, is only feeding the problem. You can bet the guy who wrote that article, with that headline, knew he had hit link bait pay dirt the instant he heard John say that. He's watching his hits count go through the roof, on a little church leadership blog nonetheless.

So, why are we feeding this?

Setting even theology aside for a second, there are 2 different ways to make a name for yourself and establish yourself as an authority in a field these days. One is to attack and engage in debate others in the field that you disagree with. The other is to go out and do something awesome that everyone gets excited about. Then they all come to you and want you to tell them about it.

In my opinion, if modern Christian women want to change the way the traditional church views women, engaging guys like John Piper is not the way to go about it. Traditions change because people force them to change, by doing things so incredible that it causes a paradigm shift.

What if we create our own conversation about women in the church, and we choose who gets a seat at the table? What if we just ignore the guys who are squeaking baloney way out on a limb, shut out their voices with words that heal, bring life and preach, yes, preach, the gospel. What if we just continue to do awesome, paradigm busting things until we ARE the authority on what a Christian woman is. Since, you know, we might know a little bit about it, being that we are, in fact, Christian women.

Just a thought.

What are yours?


  1. Donald Derrick12:20 AM

    This Christian man is *very* glad to see you call out John Piper on double predestination.  As I wrote to Aaron a few moments ago, if you want to worship a God who only loves some of us, please carve an idol out of wood and worship it.  The real God loves all of us, and as believers we need to reconcile our beliefs around that reality.

  2. Jonahzona10:06 AM

    I actually listened to one of the messages from this conference this morning. Although John Piper wasn't giving the message, a man named Doug Wilson was. He talked about masculinity specifically.

    His point was that masculinity has nothing to do with male or female, as God is called "Father", yet he is neither male or female; he is a spirit. The emphasis was that masculinity at it's core is a willingess sacrificing yourself for the good of others. In this way God is a masculine God, although he is neither man nor woman. Also, because Christianity is all about a God who sacrificed Himself for his creation, this would fall in line with saying it is a masculine faith.

    He also made a very interesting point that being submissive has nothing to do with gender, but with God appointed roles. For instance, God is the head of Christ, Christ being submissive to the Father, but this doesn't make Jesus a female. Also Christ is the head of the man (again, according to the Bible), so the man submits to Christ. But this has nothing to do with gender. It has to do with God-appointed roles.

    Again, I haven't heard John Piper in context. I will commit to listening to the message this week. 

    Thanks for listening!

  3. Jonahzona10:07 AM

    "Willingness" should say "willingly". Woops.

  4. I love the idea of not feeding the boogeyman. If someone is spouting off ridiculousness, and no one repeated it, those ideas die a quick death. A good lesson for me to learn.


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