Misogynists Urged to Up Their Game

"Let me tell you the ten things that I'd like women to cook for me."

According to misogynistic pastors like Russell Moore and John Piper, “complementarians” just aren’t pushing women down enough.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (ABP) – A movement in evangelical Christianity that promotes male headship and wifely submission in marriage faces competition today not from radical feminists but rather believers who are “complementarian” in name only, according to a panel at a recent pastor’s conference.

“What I fear is that we have many people in evangelicalism who can check off ‘complementarian’ on a box but who really aren’t living out complementarian lives,” Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said during the April 10-12 Together for the Gospel Conference in Louisville, Ky.

Rest easy, those of you who think that women are equal, John Piper doesn’t think you’re going to Hell. Probably.

“I don’t think you have to be a complementarian to be saved,” said John Piper, pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis/St. Paul. “So it’s not essential at that level, but as soon as you move beneath that level and ask what are the implications of not following through with what Ephesians 5 seems to say or First Timothy 2 seems to say — those would be the classic marriage church texts — the implications hermeneutically for the gospel are significant.”

Piper said “the kind of gymnastics” required to escape such texts chart a direction of biblical interpretation so that “sooner or later you are going to get the gospel wrong.”

Piper said egalitarianism — the view that roles described for men and women in the Bible are not God’s design but reflect the culture of that era — makes senseless Paul’s use of the marriage relationship as a witness to that of Christ and the church. He also said that churches not led by “strong male proclaimers and leaders” sooner or later will “malfunction along the way.”

Here’s hoping the John and Russell and other of their tribe will show up to hear from the variety of WOMEN church planters that we’ve got speaking at next week’s conference.

  • Phil Miller

    I almost die from laughter whenever I hear a Calvinist complain about someone having to use “gymnastics” to defend a hermeneutic position…

  • Scot Miller

    Maybe Moore and Piper are really trying to make the Christian message as unappealing and trivial and silly and marginal as possible. If they believe that only the elect are “saved,” and they are elect, they really don’t want to clog their congregations with thoughtful, reflective, strong women. Sounds like they’re giving everyone outside their club good reasons not to join their club. I know if they really did define what it means to be Christian that I would never want to call myself Christian.

    • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

      Scot,

      They have stated many times and in many ways what it means to be a Christian. Your due diligence shouldn’t take long in this digital age. No need to make baseless comments about “what-ifs” in this regard, go check these two pastor’s words out for yourself. Ignorance isn’t always bliss.

      • Daniel

        I have red and heard Piper, and Scot is right and many believe that people like Piper are creating more atheist than christians. His blind, and poor academic approach to the Bible makes looks Christianity as a stupid religion.

      • Scot Miller

        Casey, when you ask how a nonbeliever would observe Piper’s and Moore’s versions of Christianity, I’m sure a nonbeliever would either shrug their shoulders and ignore them or maybe they would even laugh at the absurdity of the Piper’s and Moore’s beliefs in the 21st century. The fact is, they don’t speak for “Christianity,” but for one little and increasingly insignificant way of thinking about Christianity. Fortunately, they do not define what it means to be a Christian any more than I do. I follow the light that I’ve been given, and constantly remind myself that I probably get things wrong and well as right, so I better be careful before I arrogantly declare that I or anyone can state “what it means to be a Christian.” Piper and Moore would be better off with a little less certainty and a little more “work[ing] out [their] salvation with fear and trembling…”

        • Carl

          Doesn’t matter if a nonbeliever would think they’re absurd… a nonbeliever also thinks the resurrection is absurd. Christians are to care about truth, rather than making the truth palatable.

          • Scot Miller

            Good to know that the Gospel isn’t for everyone… only for those who already believe it…

          • Carl

            The Gospel isn’t for anyone whose heart isn’t changed by God. But you already knew that. Intellectual honesty was never your strong point.

        • Carl

          “so I better be careful before I arrogantly declare that I or anyone can state “what it means to be a Christian.””

          He says, with no sense of irony.

          • Scot Miller

            Thanks, Carl! You are certainly a true Christian! :)

          • Carl

            Scot, let’s get down to brass tacks. Would you say Piper is a Christian? If so, would you say he’s a good Christian or bad Christian? If you make any judgments or distinctions at all, you are committing the same “arrogant declaration” that you accuse Piper of doing.

          • Scot Miller

            Carl, there are multiple ways that individuals and groups try to make sense of what it means to be a Christian. Piper has one version, and I suppose if you buy his version, he may be very good at it. I don’t know. But I don’t believe that his particular perspective speaks for “Christianity” any more than mine does. We’re all finite, historically conditioned human beings, and the only true arrogance is thinking that any finite, historically conditioned human understanding somehow grasps the Truth without distortion and without error.

            It does not follow from recognizing human fallibility that nobody can make any judgments. It’s only though dialogue and discourse and criticism that we can clarify our ideas and specify where and why we agree and disagree. Like I said, I get things wrong and right all the time, but I can only get better when I change my weaker positions when I confront stronger criticisms, evidence, and arguments in dialogue.

            So, yes, Piper is a Christian, but he represents only one part of the spectrum of Christian positions. He may get some things right, but I think he has a defective position when it comes to understanding the relationship between men and women (among many other things he gets wrong). And I’m sure he would say that I was wrong if I had anything worth listening to. I would hope that he could disagree with me and recognize that I’m a Christian, too. Unfortunately, too many members of Piper’s club want to say “farewell” to other Christians who happen to disagree with them.

          • Carl

            Yes, but you base your beliefs on “reason” and postmodern thought, while Piper bases his beliefs on the Word of God. One is an infallible standard, the other is corrupted by sin.

          • Scot Miller

            Carl, Piper’s interpretation is just as fallible as mine. Even if the standard is infallible, Piper is still a human being corrupted by sin… unless you think his fallen human nature has been so utterly transformed that his interpretations are no longer finite and historical. Perhaps Piper’s mind and understanding and interpretations are now co-extensive with God’s infinite and eternal mind and understanding….

            So tell me, Carl, since I don’t buy Piper’s interpretation of scripture, does that mean I am not a Christian?

          • Carl

            Nope, that you repeatedly call God a liar on a whole host of issues makes you not a Christian.

          • Scot Miller

            Carl, that’s what I thought. :) Your entire exchange has only convinced me that I must be on the right path….

            I can’t imagine that anyone who truly follows Christ would have such hubris as you seem to have to judge my faith. It’s either that, or you are so insecure about your faith that the only way to build yourself up is by tearing others down. How sad and pathetic your version of Christianity must be.

            Listening to you reminds me of Matthew 7:1-5. Maybe you should read it again. I know that I plan to follow what Jesus said in Matthew 7:6….

          • Carl

            Fine then, God was a liar when He said to throw out the false teachers and avoid the wolves. You might want to try reading the entirety of the Bible, rather than just the parts you like.

  • http://www.tgdarkly.com/blog dopderbeck

    Sigh.

    • Jerry

      ditto

  • Patrick S

    So those of us who don’t know anything about (or, now that we do, don’t care) this whole argument have to toe someone’s line or we’re screwed? I guess this whole ‘inclusiveness’ thing is really just a ruse. And not just limited to political debate. As someone recently said “I am for free speech and inclusiveness. Now shut up.”

  • http://cramercomments.blogspot.com D C Cramer

    I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at Piper’s use of the phrase “seems to say” when referring to his interpretation of those passages.

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      That caught my eye, too!

      • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

        Tony,

        Did it catch your eye because you didn’t expect Piper to make a statement in humility? What was so eye-catching about this? This is Piper 101 to folks who know him.

        • Daniel

          Piper is the most judgemental and self-righteous person I’ve ever heard.

          • http://ledgerlock.deviantart.com/ Lock

            The you have never listened to Tony Jones.

        • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

          It caught my eye because Piper, while he talks about personally humility, rarely shows any epistemic or hermeneutical humility. I guarantee he said this in a verbal interview, but he’d not write that phrase in a book. Not about these passages.

          • Laura Field Peterson

            I am still stunned and trying to be amused at the term — complementarian— are you kidding me? It is clearly a euphemism for man as head of household, misogyny and wifely duties (not far from women as property). I have been out of fundamentalist circles for many years now and am familiar with this backwards way of interpreting Ephesians – but WOW the lingo is even more appalling now than it was 2-3 decades ago.

          • Jimmy Calle

            Not to be snide here, Tony, but I don’t think calling Piper and the gang misogynistic is all that exemplary of the “epistemic or hermeneutical humility” that Piper is apparently lacking.

            Just sayin’…

        • Carl

          Amen, Casey. Tony just can’t be charitable if he tried.

          • Melody

            Neither could you, based on your arrogant, unloving comments. Look in the mirror.

  • Makeesha

    My parents were those horrible evangelicals who didn’t “live out” complementarianism and I am so so so very thankful they didn’t. Except then I’d go to church and hear the preacher talk on such things and think “I wish my God respected women as much as my dad”

    • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

      That was my experience too Mak. I remember noting the irony once when visiting my parent’s church and the pastor preached about how women shouldn’t work outside the home, and none of the women there batted an eye, even though most of them (including my mom) did in fact work outside of the home out of economic necessity. So basically all the pastor’s message did was pile a guilt trip on top of their already stressful lives.

  • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

    Folks, don’t read these blog comments too close to a fire; straw men are highly combustable.

    • Daniel

      I have found more fire and hatred listening to people like Piper and his disciples.

    • Sundown

      Casey,

      Makeesha made an observation about something she actually noticed in her life, and you respond with a snide comment. Shameful on your part.

      • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

        Sundown,

        Read a little more closely. I did not respond to Makeesha at all. I made a comment that stands on its own.

  • Phil Miller

    This is my favorite part:

    Greg Gilbert, senior pastor of Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville said he sees a lot of “functional egalitarianism” when he counsels young people.

    “You have men who think that being a complementarian and leading their wives really has no feet on it until they come to a decision that they are disagreeing about,” Gilbert said. “But up until that moment, it’s just an egalitarian sort of living together, without male leadership and headship kind of creating the atmosphere of the home.”

    The Horror! These people are living together thinking they may be co-equals! Somebody do something!

  • DaveL

    Watching complementarians trying to explain how women being subjugated to men in no way diminishes their equality is like watching Catholics trying to explain how a piece of bread is really physically human flesh.

    • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

      DaveL,

      It is interesting how you phrase “complementarians” as those who want women subjugated to men. As far as I understand complementarity between the sexes, at least the two complementarians in this post would preach that a wife is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord, not random “men.” The relationship is husband/wife, not men/women (in general).

      I’m not certain you understand complementarianism or the Catholic Eucharist. I’d be happy to stand corrected.

    • http://qudiriez-vous.com Lucas Wright

      DaveL…sigh. I like the general tone of joking derision for the complementation position and the negative results of that particular position (really, I do. Barring the appropriateness it is funny). However, the jab at Catholics and the Eucharist is sophomoric at best. I mean damn, we profess to believe a lot of paradoxical shit in Christian theology. Why the fuck can’t I explain via inverted Aristotelian categories of accident and essence? Its about a logically cogent as us killing God…

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  • Ashley

    Amen to Piper. 1Timothy2 gives women the perfect example of a godly woman. God has given us a calling and it’s time to rise up and claim our duties clearly written by God. I couldn’t agree more with Piper.
    -A woman who left a career to follow God’s REAL plan for her life

  • http://www.bullcityvineyard.com Maggie

    “Here’s hoping the John and Russell and other of their tribe will show up to hear from the variety of WOMEN church planters that we’ve got speaking at next week’s conference.”

    Don’t hold your breath, Tony. :)

  • JennFabu

    It’s a good thing that no churches led by men have “malfuntion[ed] along the way.”… WHEW!

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    I dedicate Supertramp long way home to Piper

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfApBz4_XQk

    So you think you’re a Romeo
    playing a part in a picture-show
    Take the long way home
    Take the long way home
    Cos you’re the joke of the neighborhood
    Why should you care if you’re feeling good
    Take the long way home
    Take the long way home
    But there are times that you feel you’re part of the scenery
    all the greenery is comin’ down, boy
    And then your wife seems to think you’re part of the
    furniture oh, it’s peculiar, she used to be so nice.
    When lonely days turn to lonely nights
    you take a trip to the city lights
    And take the long way home
    Take the long way home
    You never see what you want to see
    Forever playing to the gallery
    [ From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/s/supertramp-lyrics/take-the-long-way-home-lyrics.html ]
    You take the long way home
    Take the long way home
    And when you’re up on the stage, it’s so unbelievable,
    unforgettable, how they adore you,
    But then your wife seems to think you’re losing your sanity,
    oh, calamity, is there no way out?
    Does it feel that you life’s become a catastrophe?
    Oh, it has to be for you to grow, boy.
    When you look through the years and see what you could
    have been oh, what might have been,
    if you’d had more time.
    So, when the day comes to settle down,
    Who’s to blame if you’re not around?
    You took the long way home
    You took the long way home………..

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    I dedicate Supertramp’s Long Way Home to Piper

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfApBz4_XQk

    Take The Long Way Home lyrics
    So you think you’re a Romeo
    playing a part in a picture-show
    Take the long way home
    Take the long way home
    Cos you’re the joke of the neighborhood
    Why should you care if you’re feeling good
    Take the long way home
    Take the long way home
    But there are times that you feel you’re part of the scenery
    all the greenery is comin’ down, boy
    And then your wife seems to think you’re part of the
    furniture oh, it’s peculiar, she used to be so nice.
    When lonely days turn to lonely nights
    you take a trip to the city lights
    And take the long way home
    Take the long way home
    You never see what you want to see
    Forever playing to the gallery
    You take the long way home
    Take the long way home
    And when you’re up on the stage, it’s so unbelievable,
    unforgettable, how they adore you,
    But then your wife seems to think you’re losing your sanity,
    oh, calamity, is there no way out?
    Does it feel that you life’s become a catastrophe?
    Oh, it has to be for you to grow, boy.
    When you look through the years and see what you could
    have been oh, what might have been,
    if you’d had more time.
    So, when the day comes to settle down,
    Who’s to blame if you’re not around?
    You took the long way home
    You took the long way home………..

  • http://www.thethousandmarch.com Nathan Willard

    I am an egalitarian. Yet, though I do believe there are many complimentarian men who are misogynistic, and devalue women, I don’t think it’s true or helpful to accuse all people who hold to a complimentarian view of being misogynist as people in the comments seem to be doing.

    Also, just because a view may be unpopular, or deemed to be absurd by our culture does not mean it is not true. That is not a valid arguement. If we wanted to judge all Christian doctrine by that criteria I think we would have to scrap the whole thing.

    • seth c

      This^

      Definitely more complex than both sides make it, and something that requires much discerning.

      However, Piper makes a point in saying that how you work out your interpretation can lead you down the wrong path. And that’s something both sides of the argument need to remember.

    • ben w.

      Nathan, if the comments appear to be devoid of charity and to lack a fair reading of “the accused”, it’s probably because Tony exemplifies this approach himself. What is so absurd about this whole post is that while Moore and Piper were arguing for a more “robust” complementarianism, their point was to criticize a false machismo that can parade itself as “complementarianism”. They are offering a correction to misogyny, not encouraging it. Moore specifically critiques the faux-complementarianism that reduces the man’s role to “woman, get me my chips” and instead encourages men to model Ephesians 5. That is, that men would model the self-sacrificial, cross-bearing love of Jesus toward their wives and children. He summarizes male leadership in the home as asking the question, “What is in the best interest of my bride and of my children?”

      If that doesn’t sound like a terrible woman-hater then…. well, it probably isn’t. But it’s a lot easier and more fun to mock straw men than deal with real statements, arguments, and texts.

      • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

        Tony Jones?

        Scot Miller?

        Scott Paeth?

        Anybody care to respond to this substantial comment? Nothing against Frank, but it’d be nice to see you gents spend some time engaging in a conversation worth having.

        ben w. has clearly read the article (and probably took the time to listen to the original recording given his confidence in the context of the quotes) and has submitted a substantial critique of this post and tone of this blog.

        ***crickets***

    • Carl

      Amen, Nathan. Just don’t try to convince Tony to be more charitable.

  • Rob

    I love how the Associated Baptist Press article ends with Moore’s desperate use of the old slippery slope fear trying to associate a rejection of complementarianism with gender change surgery. And this on the back of Piper’s suggestion that if you reject his view of gender roles you’re in danger of getting the gospel wrong.

    Stunning stupidity.

  • Scott

    John Piper is a great leader in the church. I am not surprised that he has detractors. Every time I see an individual like Tony attack, I just remember Matthew 7:15 – “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

    • Kenton

      Every time I read Matt 7:15 I think of John Piper.

      :)

  • Justin F

    I would say that there are many “complementarian” couples I know who have healthy and healthy marriages (as far as I can tell). My problem is Piper and Russell making this a one size fits all for relationships, and then making their view critical to the integrety of the gospel. I would say that churches making this the default view on relationships is indeed a form of oppression of women, but again there are some women who don’t mind or do want this type of relationship. But there are also a lot of men who don’t want to be the “leaders” of their household.

    My opposition is far stronger to complementarianism than the above would convey, but I’m reigning it in because I want to make a larger point on how this discussion is conducted. I don’t think Tony labelling Piper and Russell as misogynists is helping the conversation. I do agree that they are complicit in a system that oppresses women, and their behavior has been oppressive to women. But as soon as you move the label from the actions to the person, you’ve shut down all discussion with the other person (and their camp). So “Our Team” is cheering the post, but “There Team” is pissed off and defensive. So really nothing has changed on either side. If ultimately reconciliation between the body is our ultimate goal at the end of this (I think Paul would want that since he wrote about it extensively in the NT), we need a healthier approach to this discussion.

  • LoieJ

    Good thing we’re saved by God’s grace, not by specific interpretations of certain scriptures we follow or by which preachers we think have the correct interpretation. For believers, these arguments are all for naught.

    • Melody

      Agreed. Too bad certain readers here ( you know who you are) can’t and won’t recognize that. They can’t handle someone interpreting the Bible differently, so they resort to ridiculous and childish accusations, such as saying we’re calling God a liar. Pathetic.

      • Carl

        Well, when you stop calling Him a liar, then the accusations will be ridiculous. “Did God really say?” Yes, He actually did.

        • Melody

          When did I or Scot or Tony ever call God a liar. Prove it. All you’re doing is making yourself look insecure, with apparent martyr syndrome. Stop putting words in people’s mouths. People interpret the Bible differently. That doesn’t mean they think God is a liar. Grow up.

          • Carl

            You all say God doesn’t say that homosexuality is wrong. Case closed. More proof? Tony says repeatedly that the PSA theory of the atonement is wrong, even though he admits that there is evidence for it in Romans. God lies, apparently. You may want to start recognizing that you’re being led astray by wolves. Or perhaps you yourself are a wolf. Whatever the case, turn from that path to hell (which is a real place, God wasn’t lying about that either).

          • Jay

            Why don’t we all stop trying to be right? “Romans 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” Just agree to disagree and stop.

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