November 30, Endorsements "In Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, twenty-two men and women commit their talents to produce the most thorough response yet to evangelical feminism. All who are concerned with the fundamental question of the proper relationship between men and women in home, church, and society will want to read this important book. A very important contribution in an age that needs to know. Maudlin, Discipleship Journal "Without a doubt this is the most impressive and comprehensive statement of a conservative evangelical understanding of these issues to be published to date.
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Before this, please read the housekeeping stuff first. Labels are always difficult, and within this umbrella of views called complementarianism there are varying nuances and differing terminology, and important distinctions. Definitions and clarifications are often necessary. Before I critique this first essay by John Piper, let it be reiterated that I am critiquing as a fellow Christian, a pastor, and someone who unapologetically holds to a view very different from the authors and editors of this book.
I recognize that Piper, Grudem, and the other contributors are attempting to follow Scripture as they understand it. To put it bluntly, I have to censor my notes here, because I was so offended and frustrated by some of the claims Piper made, my language in the notes became quite antagonistic, snarky, and ungracious.
And once again, please keep in mind that I am responding to John Piper and his definitions, not making generalizations about complementarianism as a whole. Piper begins with remembering with nostalgic joy his childhood, his admiration for his mother, and the distinct way his mother and father related to one another.
But when father was home, he was head of household. Mother submitted. Piper idealizes his own experience, and it seems to me fairly obvious that he has imposed this nostalgic ideal onto Scripture.
His foundation appears to be Scripture read through the lenses of the Post WWII American South, so that it can bolster his own dearly loved vision of his childhood family experience. He imposes the idyllic picture onto the text in a way I find incredibly unwarranted eisegesis. Piper then sets out to describe the ills of society as stemming from the break-down of the traditional family structure and clearly defined gender roles.
But I wonder what this is based on and referring to? How is the shifting opinions about gender roles causing social problems? So, I am left scratching my head. In one of the few places Piper ever interacts with Scripture at all, he falls flat. He argues when the bible teaches that men and women fulfil different roles in relation to each other, charging man with a unique leadership role, it bases this differentiation not one temporary cultural norms but on permanent facts of creation.
This is seen in 1 Corinthians especially vv. In the Bible, differentiated roles for men and women are never traced back to the fall of man and woman into sin. Rather, the foundation of this differentiation is traced back to the way things were in Eden before sin warped our relationships.
Differentiated roles were corrupted, not created, by the fall. They were created by God. His definitions are essentially arbitrarily made.
In other words, Paul does see gender as having distinctions, but does not allow those distinctions to exclude women from full participation.
Women need not become male or some genderless monad to participate fully in the Assembly. In 1 Cor. So, even though the language of headship appears in vv. And of course, the entire train of thought in the household code begins with notice the repeated language in and or perhaps it could be said to go back even further, to In other words, Eph. The argument from creation was not that because woman was created after man, woman must be subordinate to man and prohibited from teaching.
The issue is bad theology. Eve transgressed because she, unlike Adam, had not received the word directly from God. Women had been excluded from Rabbinical teaching, so had never had proper instruction in the Scriptures, and were in need of learning notice that there is no object for learning in quietness and submission- in other words, submission to whom? To the teaching of the Scriptures! The first mention of male headship over woman is found in Genesis In spite of what complementarians argue, this is simply what Genesis presents.
If Paul is in 1 Cor. Either Paul is a terrible exegete, or we have to move away from these patriarchal readings of Paul. First, as I have already noted, the definition itself is completely arbitrary. Nowhere does Piper explicitly link this definition back to Scripture I guess he assumes because of his prooftexts above we all buy into his paradigm without hesitation and will see the supposed links between those and his definition?
This definition is simply the construct of Piper and the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and reflects the fact that patriarchy is assumed in advance. But that assumption is simply unwarranted. I fail as a man if I encourage my wife to be independent, self-sufficient, and capable of taking the lead. This sort of shaming is inappropriate and frankly disturbing, and ironically, immature. That does not mean my masculinity is immature or inept.
It means I think highly enough of my wife to let her use her gifts to their fullest extent. If she is my equal in dignity, intelligence, and value, as Piper is so adamant to point out, why is this necessary? She has to receive his leadership, and he has to take benevolent insert some sort of sarcastic remark here leadership over her. If this is how a family operates because of giftedness and resources available, and a couple agrees to this, then by all means; the traditional paradigm of male bread winner and female subordinate is not oppressive ipso facto.
But to impose this from the outside as necessary for manhood and womanhood to be fulfilled in all cases is just ridiculous. I cease to be a mature man if my wife has greater education and qualifies for a better paying job?
She fails as a woman for wanting that education and vocation instead of receiving her provision and leadership from a husband? Where this is outlined in the bible is not made clear. Even the Proverbs 31 woman is strong, independent and earns her own provision, and provides for the children and her own servants if applicable.
An unmarried woman cannot fulfil this completely meaning she is less than a fully mature woman , and a woman called to lead and pursue vocations which give her a position over men will be forced to quit or feel ashamed of her calling. Sorry fit ladies, you are incapable of being romanced and pursued by a man, so you are violating and insulting his biblical manhood and your own womanhood. And women who order for themselves or their husbands in restaurants, open doors for men, or drive violate creation order and violate the manhood of their husbands He also ignores the clear biblical evidence of multiple women in leadership which was both personal and directive; Miriam, Deborah the Judge and prophetess, Mary Magdalene sent to the 11 remaining disciples to instruct them to go to Galilee Matthew , Phoebe the Deacon at Cenchreae Rom.
Paul also encouraged women to prophesy and pray in the assembly 1 Cor. So yes, women are permitted, and encouraged to lead, and commended by Scripture when they did so.
Fourth, it is worth noting that even though Piper has an aside in which he says singleness is a viable option, it is very difficult to see how that fits into this definition, since it defines masculinity and femininity as they relate to each other. So, unmarried men and women will not be able to sufficiently fulfil this definition. Finally his conclusion is just plain insulting, and ridiculous.
The use of archaic terminology throughout, but especially towards the end , imagery, etc. So, my support of women in ordination is sinful? My desire to see my wife as an equal partner who I can and should serve and celebrate her leadership over me in a reciprocal giving of self is sinful? So I am aimless, weak, lethargic and have lost my nerve? No, I am decisive, adamant, and insistant in supporting my sisters in their calling to lead and to be free to partner with men in all things.
Piper, if you read this, thank you, because you have encouraged me to be even more outspoken in my opposition to your disgusting and embarrassing theology, which at moments like this reveals the true heart of the matter- you are sexist. But when I read stuff like this, I lose my desire to defend you, and I lose my desire to pray for you but I will continue to do so , and I lose my desire to try to be gracious but I will try, Lord be my helper, to do this as much as possible.
You insult women, and you insult the men who fight alongside them to be free from this malarkey. A truly biblical manhood seeks to partner with women as equals, not view them as weak and in need of protection. A truly biblical womanhood is free to serve in whatever way the Spirit of God has gifted- and the Spirit, not human gender, is the only source of these callings and gifts. To say men who support women are weak or have lost our nerve is disgusting.
Many brave men have lost jobs or walked away from ministry opportunities because they cannot support these restrictions on women which deprive the Church, quench the Spirit, and reject the freedom Scripture announces. Mr Piper, you and your theological kin have argued that Christians ought to be counter-cultural, and stand with Scripture against the cultural tide.
What you forget is that Scripture was written when the cultural tide was patriarchy. This destructive and disgusting rhetoric from Piper bears little or no resemblance to the Jesus the Church has been redeemed by. Even if you are convinced that Scripture places certain limitations on people according gender, let it not even cross your mind that those who disagree do so out of laziness, weakness, apathy, or any other reason. We are not compromisers, or cowards. We are not people who reject the authority of Scripture.
We simply do not see a place in the Gospel and the family of God for this type of thinking. We read Scripture and see in it God redeeming mankind from sinful brokenness which produces hierarchies, competition, and a desire to be above the other to create a beautiful, flourishing koinonia the Greek word which can mean community, fellowship, participation, and partnership.
We are partners, called to chose out of love to become slaves to each other Gal. This is not liberalism. This is not Christianity which has lost its nerve. Louisville: WJK, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, Walter Liefeld. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, See also Philip B. Chapters are all directed at these verses from 1 Timothy. And also Craig S. Peabody: Hendrickson, New Haven: Yale, Share this: Facebook Related.
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood : A Response to Evangelical Feminism
But that definition leaves no room for female agency or feminine contribution. Women have unique contributions that are needed in the church. So often we hear that the woman is subordinate to the man because Eve was created after Adam. But in the creation story, man is inadequate without woman. He needs a corresponding strength.
Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood
He previously served as the senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, for seventeen years. He is a cofounder of Together for the Gospel, a senior fellow of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and was the president of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals from Duncan has edited, written, or contributed to numerous books. He and his wife, Anne, have two children and live in Jackson, Mississippi.
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood