John Piper’s influence is, he says, ‘irrespective of competency’

John Piper shall, henceforth, be referred to as John “Irrespective of Competency” Piper.

Piper despises competency, dismissing it as folly:

Suppose, I said, a couple of you students, Jason and Sarah, were walking to McDonald’s after dark. And suppose a man with a knife jumped out of the bushes and threatened you. And suppose Jason knows that Sarah has a black belt in karate and could probably disarm the assailant better than he could. Should he step back and tell her to do it? No. He should step in front of her and be ready to lay down his life to protect her, irrespective of competency. It is written on his soul. That is what manhood does.

And collectively that is what society does — unless the men have all been emasculated by the suicidal songs of egalitarian folly.

No. There is no such thing as an enduring society that operates “irrespective of competency.”

Any society that tried to function “irrespective of competency” would quickly fail due to, you know, incompetency.

How does someone like Piper say such clownish things and yet become so influential in so many evangelical churches? Why is such buffoonery accepted as a credible lecture on the meaning of “manhood”?

Apparently those churches abide by Piper’s rules and chase after leaders “irrespective of competency.”

At least Piper has finally admitted why he fears women’s leadership in the church — because if the church began choosing its leaders based on competency instead of arbitrary hierarchies that operate “irrespective of competency,” then he’d be out of a job.

“Irrespective of competency.” He said that, voluntarily. He admitted that out loud. Oy.


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  • alfgifu

    I seem to remember seeing some stats somewhere (wish I could remember where) that looked at who was likely to be attacked, but all I can remember is that men are actually more frequently attacked than women. After that, being small / looking vulnerable (eg drunk) is a key factor.

    I am a blue belt and my husband has no martial arts training at all. He has often said (in fun) that he would be happy to hold my coat for me. In real life, of course, we’d be firmly in the ‘run away!’ camp if at all possible. I know what I can do in the dojo, but it’s never been tested out in the real world – a life threatening situation is not a good time to experiment.

  • Becka Sutton

    I’m currently reading this

    From which I learned today that:

    “The English at Berwick were attacked on June 5th, 1639, by the Calvinist militant leader Lady Ann Cunningham, daggers in her belt and pistols attached to her saddle. She rode at the head of a troop of female cavalry fighters, each one a crack pistol shot.

    Lady Cunningham’s son, the marques of Hamilton, drew her special fury after he dared to disagree with her about certain religious issues. She threatened to shoot him if he appeared before her in battle and to this end kept several golden bullets with her at all times.

    I wonder of John Piper would have dared tell her that she shouldn’t be in the front lines or she should defer to the men around her.

    (Wikipedia says the cavalry troop was mixed-sex but she certainly wasn’t the only woman in it )

  • AnonymousSam

    I suspect Piper, even if he didn’t most likely denounce video game violence and Those Things Young People Like (I can only speculate, but I do know he’s not keen on television and everything associated with it), would have a special hatred for Metal Gear Solid 4. Between the game’s most dangerous enemies all being female soldiers and the romance subplot in which a woman refuses to be proposed to and instead does the proposing (to the point of using predatorial body language, shoving him against the wall and putting a knee between his legs while she demands he marry her), I think he would spontaneously combust.

  • Fusina

     Oooh, now that I would pay money to see.

    Make it so!

  • veejayem

    I remember walking home from a staff meeting and seeing two gay male colleagues walking ahead of me. They were about to pass a decidedly unsavoury pub. Several customers were sitting outside drinking and I saw that they had noticed my friends ~ not their sexuality but the fact that they were tall, good-looking and talking quite loudly in confident, middle-class tones. I had grown up in a part of London where *all* the pubs were unsavoury. I was pretty sure that one of the pub customers would make some remark and one of my friends would reply and …

    I just didn’t see this ending well. So I caught up with my colleagues and walked between them, joining in their conversation. The pub customers relaxed back into their seats ~ one of them even caught my eye and gave a tiny nod. I’d gambled that they wouldn’t “start something” if a woman was there and fortunately I’d been right.

    Of course my friends thought that I’d caught up with them because I was afraid to walk past the pub and it’s clientele on my own, regardless of the fact that I did so every day!

    Now, let’s suppose that a female police officer opportunely comes around the corner just as the knifeman jumped out of the bushes at Jason and Sarah. Should Jason bravely sacrifice himself for both women? Assuming he survives being shot as well as stabbed*, will he end up in court for obstructing  an exasperated officer in the performance of her duties? Tune in next week, same time, same old crappy misogynist channel.

    *The police officer has a gun, good reflexes and a low tolerance for chivalry.

  • Tricksterson

    The correct answer of course is that the female police officer should be at home tending to her husband and children as is the right and proper role of all women.

  • EllieMurasaki

    a female police officer

    Internal contradiction. /Piper

  • BaseDeltaZero

    If she’s a blackbelt, she probably has levels in Ninja, which is like Rogue only more combat-focused.  You do not want a ninja in your blind spot.

    Rather the opposite, really – the Ninja makes a good skirmisher and infiltrator, but they have the serious disadvantage that their Sudden Strike does not work when flanking, only when the opponent is flatfooted or unaware.  Fortunately, they can turn invisible pretty much freely.

  • John Alexander Harman

    You’re thinking of D&D 3.5 Complete Adventurer ninjas; I was thinking of Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Combat ninjas. Their sneak attack is identical to the rogue’s, but the ninja is much more likely than the rogue to be using a poisoned blade, and they also have several optional class abilities that make their sneak attacks more damaging, e.g. causing ongoing bleed damage or ability damage.

  • Aeryl

    This is true, but if you manipulate your feats right, you can work it to where you can deny your opponent their armor bonus, allowing Sneak Attack/Sudden Strike 75% of the time, in my experience.   My Rogue could tumble through opponent spaces, denying AC bonuses if successful, as well as Feinting which also denied the AC bonus.  Feinting unfortunately is a move action, so you can’t move, feint and attack all in one move.  

  • The_L1985

     I love how the original bat-shit crazy premise Fred talked about in the article led to such an awesome tangent.  :D

  • Madhabmatics

    yo i am a wizard, have you met my friend “SAVE OR DIE” yet

  • Aeryl

     My DM once threw a spell at me, figuring with all my stats, I would dodge easily, and with my abilities, I would take no damage. 

    I rolled 1.

  • John Alexander Harman

    The trouble with “save or die” and “save or suck” spells is that the BigBad and his Dragon nearly always save; they’re really only good bets against the mooks.  I prefer spells that reliably do damage, especially if they also bypass magic resistance (e.g. Acid Arrow), and battlefield control spells like Grease or Web.

  • syfr

    I am going to have to figure this out for my Rogue when the game restarts.

  • Aeryl

     There is also a Trickster class you can multi class with a rogue in AD&D 3.5(I think that’s the version I was playing) that gives you more ways to deny AC.

  • Ross

    I posed John Piper’s hypothetical to my wife last night, and she seemed to think it was a very difficult ethical problem.  Her conclusion was “The man and the woman should have discussed ahead of time what to do in this situation.”

    (I suspect her response may have something to do with her father. She was very badly hurt years ago when her father told her that, because he considers it unethical to jeopardize any human being’s safety, including his own, he would not risk his life to save her if she were in danger, as doing so would mean that he was the direct cause of a person being in peril, and was therefore unethical)

    That said, when I told her John Piper’s solution, she agreed that he was a big jerk.

  • AnonymousSam

    That’s some tortured ethics right there. Bystandards aren’t exempted from participation just because they don’t do anything. Someone should throw him the Edmund Burke quote about good men doing nothing.

  • John Alexander Harman

    Is your father-in-law a Randroid?  If so, you and your wife have my sympathy.  Those are annoying enough as internet trolls, I would hate to have one as a close relative.

  • Ross

    Actually, he’s a sort of new-agey touchy-feely type who’s into crystals and communing with nature and treating all medical ailments by meditation type.

    So, yeah. at least he’s not an objectivist.

  • Lori

    You forgot “torturing logic” on your FIL’s list of hobbies.

  • Tricksterson

    Nah, Objectivists are fine with self defense.  He sounds like an absolutist pacifist.

  • John Alexander Harman

    But he wasn’t refusing to engage in self-defense; he was refusing to risk his own life in defense of another person — and not even a stranger, but his own daughter.

  • Sky

    If Jason tries to “protect” Sarah, he’s going to get in the way. Really, if fighting has to happen, Sarah should do the fighting and Jason should call for help.

    I was in a similar situation in college, and I left my friend (a trained martial artist) to fight the stranger while I ran off and called 911. This wasn’t a cowardly decision; it was the decision most likely to save both our lives. If I’d jumped in front of my friend and gotten hurt, then my friend still would have been fighting this guy, and there would be no police or ambulances coming.

  • Jamoche

    I’m female, a black belt, and not particularly big, but my instructor (who, and this is not an internet meme, really is one of the people who taught Chuck Norris how to be a badass) said that of all the black belts he’s ever produced, he’d pick me to have his back in a bar fight. Not because I’m the toughest, but because I don’t stay down – I’d keep them busy until he could get to them. 

  • Tricksterson

    On the issue of running away I would assume that Piper would think that a “real man” would never run from a fight no matter the odds.

  • SergeantHeretic

    Having read this article several times, and having read several comments, I think I have a general bead on Widdle Johnny Piper’s argument.

    Let me see if I can brick it out.

    The one with the pee-pee between their legs is the one who should fight and protect and do al lthe other pee-pee person things, like thinking and having a job and governing and so on and so forth.

    The one that has the pee-pee between their legs is the best and only one for the job, BECAUSE they have a pee-pee between their legs.

    I cannot believe anyone is able to take that at all seriously.

    We know this is Johnny’s argument because he specifically and catagorically DISQUALIFIES Sarah’s ability as a black belt Martial rtists and disdains the very idea of her being allowed to use her skills in the defense of both herself and Jason Whohasapeepee specifically BECAUSE of Jasons status as the pee-pee bearer.

    I am glad I am not the only one who thinks that’s absurd, I am just amazed that some of you DON’T think that is a rediculous argument.

  • Carstonio

    No, I think there’s general agreement here that Piper’s argument is ridiculous. Using that label for his argument like saying that the surface of the sun is a little warm.

    When pro golfer Annika Sorenstam played in a men’s tournament, one sports radio show whined that any male golfers finishing behind her would be emasculated. If Phil Mickelson played in a women’s tournament, would these hosts fret that the women lower down on the board would lose their femininity? Highly doubtful.