Monday, April 29, 2013

John Piper: Women teaching Men

Posted by Hannah at 7:12 AM

I think John Piper has now ‘confused’ the biblical manhood crowd.  I’m serious.


jaelNo doubt we have all heard the speeches about Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood.  The lists of do’s and don’ts are constantly being added.  Some of them are indeed quite odd.  This one can be added to the oddities list.


Before I start I have to wonder if John Piper actually plans what he wants to say, or the message he wants to get across to people.  I honestly don’t think he does on this type of platform.    I think of all the strange things that have come out of his mouth, and I KNOW he can’t actually STUDY before he says this stuff.  To me it would be WORSE if he did!


The question that was presented to him, “Would a pastor who uses a biblical commentary written by a woman be placing himself under the biblical instruction of a woman.  If so, would this not go against Paul’s instruction in I Timothy 2:12?”  (I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.)

It might be.  Uh.  He may feel it that way.  And if he does, he probably’s not gonna read it.  He shouldn’t read it.  It doesn’t have.  It doesn’t have to be experienced that way I don’t think.

In other words, he doesn’t know.…I think.

Don’t worry, it gets better.  Or should I say – MORE confusing!

So, I think the point of that text is not to say that you can never learn anything from a woman.  That’s just not true.  It’s not true biblically, and it’s not true experientially, because the reason for saying that I don’t permit a woman to teach or have authority over men here is not because she’s incompetent.  It’s not because she can’t have thoughts.  In fact, the women in your church, and the woman in, the woman you are married to, have many thoughts that you would do well to know. [laughs] And to know, and learn, and to learn from.  And so the issue there is not that she doesn’t have thoughts that you wouldn’t benefit from.  Or that she can’t, uh, teach you anything.

The, the issue is one of how does manhood and womanhood work.  What is the dynamic between how men flourish and women flourish as God designed them to flourish when an act of authority is being exerted on a man from a woman.

And so I distinguish between personal, direct exercises of authority that involve manhood and womanhood.

Okay then.   This says pretty much a whole lot of nothing right?  You can tell he has heard or read some comments from women towards his past teachings of this verse.  He wants to be sure you realize he doesn’t think women are dumb.  Why THANK YOU….I think.

Now we will glance at ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ examples of women in ‘authority’.  The point is more about the ‘teaching’, but of course as we know ‘authority’ to him is the UPMOST of importance.

Because it’s personal.  She’s right there.  She’s woman.  I’m man.  And I’m being directly, uh, pressed on by this woman in an authoritative way.  Should she be doing that?  Should I be experiencing that?  And my answer’s, No;  I think that’s contrary to the way God made us.

So those two words:  Personal and direct.

Here, here would be an example of what I mean.  A drill sergeant that gets in the face and says, Hut One, Hut Two, Keep Your Mouth Shut Private, Get Your Rifle Up Here, Turn Around Like I Said.  I don’t think a woman ought to be doin’ that to a man – because it’s direct, it’s forceful, it’s authoritative, it’s compromising something about the way a man and a woman were designed by God to relate.

Now, lets put our common sense hat on for a moment!  Tell me what anyone learns from, ‘Hut One, Hut Two, Keep Your Mouth Shut Private, Get Your Rifle Up Here, Turn Around Like I Said.’  That’s not teaching – I guess we can say authoritative drills?

Yes, there is a purpose to drills within the Army.  I realize he wouldn’t be comfortable experiencing this and being pressed on like this FROM a WOMAN, and you have a way of avoiding that.  Don’t join the Army!  I mean she is ‘submitting’ to her authorities by doing her this.  She is following the chain of command.

I guess it never dawned on him that WOMEN don’t ‘flourish’ under those circumstances either – by design!  I’m not sure what he is trying to say here.  It’s rather confusing.  I’m not sure I know anyone that likes to be bossed around like that.  To be honest?  This is an example of ‘authority over’ if you get right down to it.  In the biblical or personal context  – that’s SIN!  (Yes, I took the military context out of it)

Uh. The opposite would be where she is a city planner.  She’s sitting in an office at a desk drawing which street should be one way and which street should be two way.  And thus she’s gonna control which way men drive all day long.  That’s a lot of authority, and it’s totally impersonal, and indirect, and therefore has no dimension of maleness or femaleness about it, and therefore I don’t think contradicts anything that Paul is concerned about here.

So I would put a woman writing a book way more in that category of city planner than of a drill sergeant.   So that the, the personal directness of it is removed.  And the man doesn’t feel himself, and she wouldn’t feel herself, in any way compromised by his reading that book and learning from that book.

(LAUGHS!) Yes, she can’t directly give you cooties I guess!  Sorry I couldn’t help myself. 

I think I understand WHAT he is attempting to say.  One example of a woman – of course in the extreme – that gets in the man’s face and bosses him around.  Again this would be an example of authority ‘over’ him.  How does ‘bossing someone around’ have any dimension of maleness or femaleness?  It doesn’t.

Then you have the woman as the city planner.  In reality she is following a traffic pattern, and laying out how it works with local traffic laws.  To me that isn’t authority at all.  It also isn’t ‘teaching’.  We now have two bad examples of the point he is trying to make.

Using these two examples – that I suppose your could use for his purposes – women are to be impersonal and indirect so they have no dimension on maleness and femaleness when ‘teaching’ to men.

Quite honestly that doesn’t remove the ‘authority’ he speaks of.  I mean I assume if she taught something he hadn’t gleamed prior – it was authoritative.  To Piper the ‘authority’ portion is the important part.  That is the ‘maleness’ part that women shouldn’t have.  Confused yet?

So that, that’s the way I’ve tried to think it through, so that, in society, and in in academic efforts, and in the church.

So that, that’s reading and benefitting from a woman’s exegesis in private.
Would you have any reservations about quoting from that commentary by a women in a public sermon?

I just think that’s an extension of the same principle.

You know there, here’s truth.  A woman saw it.  She shared it in a book.  And I now, I now quote it.

Uh.  Because I’m not having a direct, authoritative confrontation.  She’s not lookin’ at me, and, and confronting me, and authoritatively directing me, as woman.  There’s this, there’s this interposition* of this phenomenon called “book” and “writing” that puts her out of my sight, and, in a sense, takes away the dimension of her female personhood.

Whereas if she were standing right in front of me, and teaching me, as my shepherd, week in and week out, I couldn’t make that separation.  She’s woman. And I am man.  And she’s becoming to me my shepherd week in and week out, which is why I think the Bible says that women shouldn’t be that role in the church.

*Interposition - To place (oneself) between others or things


So he can learn from a women within the privacy of his own home while reading, but face to face is just too much for him….biblically.  You know the whole God’s design deal.  It reminds him of the woman drill sergeant I guess.  The book without her personal presence to teach allows him takes away her female ‘personhood’….in dimension (shakes head).  (Does he pretend she is MALE that way as well?  It won’t hurt him that way right?)

Man can have ‘indirect’ authoritative confrontation or directing, because she is only (ahem) preaching in a book.  It will allow his manhood to flourish and not be threatened by the mere fact he is reading a female author.  If she is in front of him?  WELL that might mean she could teach him again, and again and again.   That COULD make a shepherd.  Does this make anyone else dizzy?

I’m sorry but this man has some gall.  To THINK his manhood is protected by a book, because HE can take away that ‘dimension’ of being female away?  HE must separate those aspects, because otherwise its not GOD’S Design?  It’s insulting, and quite frankly I have to wonder if he hasn’t completely lost his cotton pickin MIND!  

How does that work when he is to speak at the True Women’s Conference?  Can you imagine…he is waiting for his time to get up on stage with his ears plugged saying ‘la la la la’ due to the fact a woman is on stage ‘teaching’….it’s a wonder he wasn’t diminished!


Okay – on a serious note:

He does realize that God’s word is NOT to be ‘indirect’ in this fashion right?  I’m pretty sure God’s word is to be ‘direct’.  Hmmm.  Maybe he can apply or not apply that interposition dealI guess he figures he is safe – remember that God has a ‘masculine feel’ afterall.  To me the more he talks about this biblical roles, or gender roles the more emasculated he sounds.    I never understand WHY he doesn’t realize how insecure and fearful he comes across.  Seriously.  He sounds like he is scared to death of woman.


What you think?  Confused yet?! Or just downright outraged?


(1 Timothy 2:8-15)

John Piper’s thoughts back in 1989.


Additional articles on his podcast:

John Piper: “women’s books keep men safe from their direct, authoritative womanhood”

The Absurd Legalism of Gender Roles: Exhibit C – “As long as I can’t see her…”

CBMW, John Piper, Women Drill Sergeants, and Biblical Roles

Women Can Write Sermons; They Just Can’t Preach Them: Karl Barth vs John Piper

what John Piper sees when women teach

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Anonymous said...

You don't have to wonder. He *has* lost it. I'm neither confused (it's clear what he's doing, however ridiculous) nor outraged....ain't nobody got the energy to get outraged every time Piper does or says something else stupendously.......offensive. What I am is sad. So very sad for all the women who are being oppressed, minimized, squelched, dishonored by the fallout from nationally known Christian leaders teaching this crap. herewegokids7

Hannah on 4:11 PM said...

I agree with you. Sadly, they place men into boxes as well. It amazes me that he even feels this makes sense.

Donald Johnson on 11:45 AM said...

It looks to me like he is trying to be helpful to his fellow confused listeners. Since it is posted on his website, they obviously thought it was a good enough mini-teaching to post.

When is the emperor going to realize he has no clothes?

Kristen on 5:00 PM said...

Sadly, the essence of the whole Piper teachings is this: Women belong under male authority, so I can only let a woman speak into my life with authority as long as I can ignore the fact that she's a woman. In other words, as long as she doesn't get uppity.

It's sexism, plain and simple. Sanctifying with with bible words doesn't change that.

Hannah on 1:06 PM said...

I think Piper realizes women can teach with authority just as men can.

His pride and reputation can't allow him to state this in a way that makes any sense with his whole ministry life being caught up in the 'biblical roles' mantra. He basically - to me anyway - is saying he couldn't handle the heat he would take if he backed out of his error at this point.

His pillar of authority and 'manhood' may come into question, and he isn't willing to step out on that limb. So he dreams up this nonsense, and its suppose to make sense. I mean 'women' could take something from him, and sadly that seems to be the root of their message most of the time. I guess he never connected the dots. If something is 'God Given' women - of all people - wouldn't be able to strip him of it. Dahh!

Kim on 6:04 PM said...

Hi, Hannah! This is another area where the church is so misdirected. If we men could simply focus on pursuing Christlikeness and not put our collective nose where it doesn't belong, we would do much better. I, for one, am all too glad to receive spiritually uplifting teaching from wherever God will give it to me. Man or woman or horse or dog (not kidding there). My wife has been my salvation by holding me accountable to my stated belief in Christ. I do feel sorrow and exasperation for the John Pipers and Mark Driscolls of the world.

Hannah on 8:09 PM said...

Thank you Kim. I tend to agree. I can't tell you how many adults even stated they have heard awesome things that rang truth to them even from small children.

Sadly, I don't think these men even realize how completely hateful they come across at times. No doubt they would tell you there is no such intent, but honestly I doubt they even would consider WHY that could be a possibility as well.

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