On Masculine Christianity
Controversy has been raging in the blogosphere this week over comments made by John Piper about Masculine Christianity. As usual for a balanced, thoughtful and wise response, I'm indebted to Patrick Mitchell's FaithinIreland blog.
I was so shocked and personally devastated by Piper's comments that at first I felt "silenced" - after all... I am a woman! But the encouragement of a friend and advisor reminded me that I have a duty to speak. After all, VOX means "voice" and the Bible calls us to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves".
So here's my meagre contribution, less as an editor and a woman in Christian ministry and more simply as a child of God and a sister in Christ to John Piper and those who share his views. I also link to those, far more wise and learned than I am, who have responded more fully.
For an entire collection of responses from women and men answering John Piper, Rachel Held Evans blog is worth a visit. I was reduced to tears by the love and grace demonstrated by many of the posts.Yet I continue to be “cast down” when I read the tone and weight of comments, even here in Ireland by those who feel Piper has got it right.
Some seem far more concerned about the threat (??) of feminism than the terrible blow that has been dealt to sisters in Christ by the implication that Christianity (and therefore God) is somehow more exclusively masculine. The comments imply a special relationship between God and man or a greater value of a man in God’s thinking and a lesser value for women who are seen as weaker. See this fascinating post on the "weaker vessel". (I wonder how people would have responded if John Piper had said Christianity was “white” or “American”? The early church could have as easily said Christianity was essentially “Jewish” – and some did!)
How can I respond when the instant reaction is to condemn me as a feminist, as somehow seeking self-aggrandizement, power or position?
From the start I quoted Proverbs 31:8 which says “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…” (I love the context – two verses later there is a beautiful description of a woman who lives as her Creator intended). I want to thank every man who has spoken up for us and every woman who has chosen to speak too.
I hurt for my daughters if they are to grow up in a church that does not value them fully and completely as I KNOW that our Lord Jesus values them!
For me this goes much, much deeper than the secondary issue of women in leadership (over which I’m content to differ and, where necessary for the sake of unity, to respect and defer to those with other views) but it goes to the heart of a woman’s relationship with God.