Friday, February 11, 2011

Response to a complementarian

Derek writes,
I'm referring to the way that dialogue is poisoned when you and some others on this blog/community imply or suggest that comps are subjugators or that they hate women or that, to use your terminology, that the demonize women.
I don't often mention "complementarians" but rather speak of "those who believe that men have authority over their wives." If a complementarian believes this, or teaches it, or practices this, then that is who I am referring to.

Those who demonize and subordinate women, those who put men in authority over women, are men like Bruce Ware, who writes,

the male was given the responsibility of loving authority over the female, and the female was to offer willing, glad-hearted and submissive assistance to the man.

Paul understands Eve's role as helper to require that woman ought to be under the rightful authority of man

Most complementarians understand the curse of the woman in 3:16 to mean that sin would bring about in Eve a wrongful desire to rule over her husband (contrary to God's created design), and that in response, Adam would have to assert his rule over her.

the female functioning in a submissive role under the leadership and authority of the male

the woman would have a desire to usurp the authority given to man in creation, leading to man, for his part, ruling over woman in what can be either rightfully-corrective or wrongfully-abusive ways.
Derek continues,
We should be able to share where we disagree without assuming the worst of each other's motives.
I am not sure where I have spoken of motives. Please let me know if I have ever commented on Bruce Ware's motives, or those of any other individual.

Derek continues,
If there are abuses that occur, then fine- point those abuses out, but don't libel the color of other people's skin on the basis of some bad apples, which can certainly be found in every bunch.
The bad apples that I am pointing out are the writings of major leaders in the conservative evangelical community. These men and women enjoy wide approval among other Christians.

I do find that many complementarians identify themselves with what I am writing. But the main thrust of my writing is against the functional subordination of women, it is not against those who label themselves with any particular word, "complementarian" or otherwise.

125 comments:

Anonymous said...

What I would like to see is those that consider themselves moderate comps to repudiate the extreme comps like Ware, that Suzanne quoted.

As an egal I have no problem totally repudiating such garbage as Ware speaks. It is offensive and indicates someone who needs healing from God.

Don Johnson

Jay said...

"We should be able to share where we disagree without assuming the worst of each other's motives."

How can we not assume the worst about the woman's evil motivations since "sin would bring about in Eve a wrongful desire to rule over her husband (contrary to God's created design)."

The only logical conclusion is that we men have to be constantly on guard against this evil motive on women's part to "rule" over us.

Never give up the fight men! Keep those women submitted, and by doing that at the same time you will bring great happiness to the women when by submitting they find peace in their lowly God given position.

Mara Reid said...

Jay: "Never give up the fight men! Keep those women submitted, and by doing that at the same time you will bring great happiness to the women when by submitting they find peace in their lowly God given position."

Translation into the New Secular Urban Version: "Keep the pimp hand strong, men! Keep the pimp hand strong!"

I know. That was very ugly and uncalled for. It most likely is completely out of line and I shouldn't have said it.

But I said it anyway.
You know why?
Because the connection it too real and too painful for so many women to ignore it.

Hannah Thomas said...

It seems to me that if anyone speaks about their hurt in this arena - no matter how softly or gracefully - instead of acknowledging what did happen in their reality? People get defensive and claim we can't speak about this if you can't be nice about it.

In other words, they don't seem to want to hear it sadly.

The abuses have been pointed out in the past, and the responses I have got myself were more along the lines of 'this is a Godly person you speak of!" I have seen that theme repeated way to often.

The mere action of 'speaking of it' is always presumed to be 'thinking the worse' of either gender, their faith, their position, etc.

Speaking of it alone is seen as 'motive'. What does that say? You aren't suppose to speak of it, because other's will get defensive.

It seems to me people like this tend to use projection alot now days.

I read the post about a women speaking about her personal journey, and how 'wrong' beliefs had harmed her. How she is slowly but hopefully surely moving past it, and realizing her true worth.

'''We should be able to share where we disagree without assuming the worst of each other's motives.'''

Derek are you the person that hurt her? Are you the one that shoved incorrect beliefs towards her?

If you are not, she isn't speaking of you or your 'motives'. She is speaking of her past experiences, and you sir are taking those personally. Its not about YOU or those that believe as you do. The thoughts were about HER and her journey.

The diversion tactic you have been taught clearly shows we can't 'speak' about this at all.

How?

When a individual speaks about their journey in life, and you turn it into a 'bash' party towards all comps young, old, men, women, etc.

I guess some are taught NOT to clearly see a message that SHOULD BE crystal clear to most. It was a personal story not a bash fest.

I mean if you can't grasp she was speaking of 'bad apples' from her own LIFE experiences, and not the whole movement and everyone within? Yikes - seriously.

It seems you have been brainwashed to believe any mention is to be taken as an attack. Why? Her article was about her personally, and no one else.

The response given here was basically a tool from some to shut down the dialog, and yet accuse others of doing so. Its sad that people can't see this.

Kristen said...

Thank you, Hannah. I have found the same defensive reaction welling up in me when ex-Christians talk about how Christians and Christianity have hurt them. I have been learning that what they really need from me is acknowledgment and sympathy, not defensiveness. Christianity itself isn't evil just because some expressions of it are-- but those who are in pain don't need to hear what they perceive as their tormenter, defended at their expense. When all is said and done, what really matters is the individual person, created by God and for whom Christ died. That's what Jesus was talking about when He said "do unto others."

What I can say is that if a version of Christianity is hurting people, it's a tree that's bearing bad fruit and it needs to be chopped down. And we Christians need to speak out loudly and forcefully against it and disassociate ourselves from it as clearly as possible-- not just tell the victims to stop talking.

gengwall said...

One problem is that many people who identify with the label "complementarian" actually live out fairly egalitarian lives. When commenter’s criticize staunch complementarian authoritarianism, they perceive the criticism is being leveled at them because they identify with the label. Then they compare the type of person being criticized with the reality of their own life and they say "hey, that's not me". In turn they interpret the criticism as being not fair or even worse, down right malevolent. So, to those brothers and sisters out there who identify with the complementarian label but not with the actions of complementarians who are being criticized here, I say, "if the shoe doesn’t fit, don't feel obliged to wear it."

I will admit that I sometimes fall under the same defensive spell. As a male, I get defensive whenever I perceive the conversation turning against all males instead of just particular males. In virtually every caset his has happened, the speaker who I am supposedly defending against is not really being as generic as I perceive, even though they used generic language. It usually doesn't take too much effort to strighten everything out. But the fact that it occurs in many conversations across the blogosphere makes Derek's point one that should not be taken lightly. We all need to be carfeful with how broad of a brush we paint.

Derek said...

gengwell, I think you get the basic thrust of my comments. I do want to point out that when you say "One problem is that many people who identify with the label 'complementarian' actually live out fairly egalitarian lives." ... you are putting your finger on a paradox of sorts. What Jay and many others miss (I think quite intentionally, actually - straw men are always easy to tear down) is that the Biblically minded and God fearing complementarian knows that authority is not about ordering or pushing others around - it is primarily about accepting responsibility and accountability and about channeling God given strength in a manner that is glorifying to God and edifying to others. This is exactly the epiphany that the disciples received when Jesus showed that Biblical leadership is about service and love (illustrated by the washing of his disciples' feet). Any complementarian who fails to understand the importance of these concept is either anti or sub-Biblical in his or her perspective.

Derek said...

Don,
I don't ask you to defend every offensive notion that is raised one or more egalitarians. For instance, I've never assumed or labeled you among the traj. herm. crowd - I've always let you speak on your own behalf and haven't made wreckless assumptions about your motivations. So I would appreciate the same respect in return.

Suzanne, I would also appreciate you not putting my quotes next to Bruce Ware's. I've never once quoted him nor have I said that I agree with him, but when you put my comments next to his, your readers will assume that I have done so.

As a general guiding principle, I believe it is a much better practice to articulate what you DO believe and affirm rather than deny the various offshoot ideas that you reject.

Anonymous said...

Derek,

I do not agree with everything that every egal has said. Sometimes I think they are wrong. Especially when pointed out I have no hesitation to say so or why I agree with them on this.

What I do find perplexing is the apparent hesitancy of some (who claim to be moderate) comps to repudiate some of the sayings of some more extreme patris or extreme comps. I think what Ware teaches can easily lead to abuse, so I repudiate it as not fitting to be termed Christian and that Ware needs to repent.

Why would you NOT want to repudiate such sayings?

Don Johnson

Derek said...

I'm simply not all that familiar with Bruce Ware. Many other comps are more qualified to critique him.

I'm not demanding that you repudiate trajectory hermeneutics or other ideas, so why are you demanding that I repudiate someone I don't follow, know, quote or recommend?

I'll let my views stand on their own. I am not a dogmatic follower of any particular complementarian "flavor" or personality. I'm just trying to rightly understand and discern what Scripture says and means.

J. K. Gayle said...

Suzanne, I would also appreciate you not putting my quotes next to Bruce Ware's. I've never once quoted him nor have I said that I agree with him, but when you put my comments next to his, your readers will assume that I have done so.

Reading what Suzanne has written, I certainly do not assume that Derek has put Bruce's comments next to his own. What I get is that Suzanne is wanting to "speak of those who believe that men have authority over their wives'." My assumption is that Suzanne is trying to explain how these individuals "demonize women," how they "demonize and subordinate women, those who put men in authority over women." In quoting Derek, and then Bruce, and then Derek a couple of times more, she seems to be trying to agree with Derek's comment (not Bruce's) about the bad apples, but is specifically saying: "The bad apples that I am pointing out are the writings of major leaders in the conservative evangelical community." The bad apples as she writes it (as I read it) are those "against the functional subordination of women, [but] not ... those who label themselves with any particular word."

I assume Suzanne doesn't see the labels as particularly useful. My reading of how she's quoting Derek thrice and Bruce once is to get at this point of the problem of people subjugating and subordinating individuals because of their God-given female bodies. (I too don't read much of what Bruce writes and only know of what Derek writes by his comments at this blog. Don't at all see Suzanne conflating these but rather taking exception to the one and trying to interact with the other. Both injure her, but in different ways, I assume. The distinctions, as I read them, are critical).

This is my humble opinion, but I do hope it helps. Labels suck. Ideas and practice need to be the focus, and for what I read here from Suzanne, there is this helpful focus on the problem of putting women down through dogma and action.

J. K. Gayle said...

The bad apples as she writes it (as I read it) are those "against the functional subordination of women, [but] not ... those who label themselves with any particular word."

Oops! now I'm quoting myself. How I meant to excerpt Suzanne's statement is as follows. Ha!

The bad apples as she writes it (as I read it) are those NOT "against the functional subordination of women, [but the bad apples are] not [necessarily ]... those who label themselves with any particular word."

My quick typing, the typos, points to the problem of blog writing and reading. Again, I don't link Derek and Bruce when reading side-by-side quotes offered by Suzanne, don't assume Derek is quoting Bruce or even interacts with his ideas. Rather I do read how Suzanne is wanting to discuss the ideology of men over women in their roles in marriage, that she's not so interested in the label "complementarian."

gengwall said...

Derek - you said "the Biblically minded and God fearing complementarian knows that authority is not about ordering or pushing others around - it is primarily about accepting responsibility and accountability and about channeling God given strength in a manner that is glorifying to God and edifying to others."

I hear this argument often as "Biblical minded and God fearing complementarians" try to soften their authoritarian views. But the reality is that you quote above is a contradiction. Or at least, you can not claim "responsibility and accountability" is an exercise in authority. Well, you can claim it, but it simply isn't so.

The truth of the matter is that authority in its essense is about giving orders and submission to authority is about oebying those orders. It is nice if an authority figure acts in a responsible manner and is accountable for their own actions, but those are charaterisitics of leadership and humility, not authority.

But let's explore your definition for a second. Please explain how a husband being resonsible and accountible for his own actions in relation to his wife and children is simultaneously exercising authority over his wife. Conversely, please explain how a wife is not exercising authority if she behaves in a responsible and accountable manner in regard to her personal life and that of her husband and children.

Of course, I assume by "responsible and accountable" you do not mean to say that the male is responsible and accountable for the actions of others. If a man were in fact responsible for his wife's actions, then wouldn't an expression of his authority be to direct those actions? And if so, how can that be differentiated from "ordering or pushing others around"?

Hence the contradiction. Any act of authority is by definition an act of imposing some direction on others, whereas acts of responsibility and accountability are by definition acts od imposing direction on one's self.

gengwall said...

This is why, BTW, I say most rank and file complementarians live primarily an egalitarian life style. They simply wouldn't think of ordering their wife around. They claim to still have authority over her, but can't provide any tangible expression of it in their marriage.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Derek,

I have been trying to say that I am not writing about you at all. I don't know you, and I don't think that I have said or suggested anything negative about you at all, or even about all complementarians.

I am writing about those who put the husband in authority over their wife. I think that this is a crippling and dehumanizing practice.

You write about accountability and responsibility. The fact is that mothers have the same responsibility and accountability for their children as the fathers have. This is parental responsibility. Denying this puts mothers in a false position and can have terrible consequences over time.

Once again, I am not saying that you do this, or that all men do this, or anything like that.

I am just saying that those people who do this, and teach this are doing something that is very damaging to women as a whole. Unfortunately I have read the blogs of many women who talk about how wonderful it is to know that their husbands have greater responsibility and accountability for their children than they have themselves. This may seem okay to a woman until something bad happens and then it is too late - the damage is done, the wife may be left with medical situations that she did not agree to, or a dept, or lack of pension, or any kind of disaster.

So not only can she end up in a mess, but she has lived her whole life deprived of normal adult rights and responsibilities. Why on earth would anyone say that women have less responsibility and accountability than men, when clearly they do not.

Derek said...

gengwell,
With all due respect, you have an overall negative view of authority and I think that is preventing you (as it does many) from understanding that there is a difference between the use of authority and the abuse of authority. In any authority/subordinate relationship, yes - there is the potential for abuse and there is also the potential for properly excercised leadership to be rejected.

It is by God's design that a healthy complementarian marriage "looks" egalitarian - because there will be an abundance of trust, an absense of abuse, a complete lack of domineering behavior and a relationship characterized by sacrificial love. It is not an accident and it is not contradictory to comp thinking.

I've often made the point that if you look at Scripture's overall teaching on marriage, the picture painted is one of dance partners, where the husband is not domineering and dictatating, but is the lead partner in a dance. Part of the formula in many dance routines is to designate that one of the partners in particular leads - it definitely doesn't meant that he/she should or will lead in a roughshod fashion (if it does, someone is messing things up) and it doesn't mean one partner is better than the other.

I don't accept the idea that the complementarian model leads to negative and destructive relationship dynamics, any more than I believe that having a leader in a dance partnership will lead to negative results. Conversely, it is good to designate roles and even better if we can complement one another.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Derek,

In a dance, the steps are already choreographed and rehearsed. I cannot imagine anyone performing a dance without agreeing first on the steps and rehearsing them.

As well, a dance usually shows off the woman as the main dancer, and the man supports her. He is in the supporting or helping role.

And in music, it is the woman who leads by carrying the melody.

There is limited application. It is not complementary if the husband decides and the wife obeys or follows. That is a subordinate and NOT a complementary arrangement.

Derek said...

Suzanne,
The illustration obviously does not require the man to be the dance partner. Nor did I stipulate that the man has to be the leader in the dance for it to work well.

Suzanne, I guess if you were going to be in a dance, lawyers from both parties would have to be present and detailed bargaining would have to be done in order for the dancing to commence. Sigh. No illustration will work if you're going to argue on irrelevant points.

There is the problem with egalitarian perspectives - many times it seems to be based in distrust of men in particular. I'm sure that the distrust is based on real world experience and hurt. But that doesn't lend itself to sound thinking or thoughtful reflection on how men and women differ emotionally and physically, nor to understanding what Scriptural models and outlines for us.

Anonymous said...

I think the egal model has a better chance of working than the comp model as the spouses are sinners. If you want to call that "distrust of men" then sobeit.

That is, ALMOST ANY marriage model will work if both spouses are Christ-like, it is what happens when they are not where the model comes into play.

Don Johnson

J. K. Gayle said...

a subordinate and NOT a complementary arrangement.

This is the crux of the problem. There are nuanced arrangements of human slavery, such that the slave complements the master. The problem in marriage is NEVER that a wife completes her husband. The difficulty in any hierarchical relationship of equals is that the one submitted or subordinated is easily subjugated.

When two adult siblings live together under one roof alone, does the law, or does some pragmatic rule even, or do ethics, require that one submit to the other? What if the two are twins (whether both are sisters, both are brothers, or one is a female and the other a male sibling)? The difficulty is when there's a biological difference (such as male / female, inpregnator / impregnated, or white / black, or first-born / later born, or high-class & higher caste / low & lower)?


how men and women differ emotionally and physically, nor to understanding what Scriptural models and outlines for us

Just because my sibling is different emotionally and physically from me, just because there are "Scriptural models and outlines" for some brothers, does not mean the scriptures don't acknowledge equality too or that they say don't say different things at different times for various ones of us. Again, the difficulty is that in some people's interpretation of some scriptures, white is always ordered over black, master is always ordered over slave, male is always over female, husband is always over wife, based on how they "differ emotionally and physically."

Don, I'm not sure that I would say inherently that egalitarianism works better always. Hmmm, I write that, and then I wonder, doesn't abolitionism generally work better than enslavement? Well, you've made me reconsider. But we humans are flawed, and any equal might lord it over, even without the so-called "models and outlines" for everyone always without exception, the hierarchical models and outlines that some project out from some of the scriptures, I mean.

Mara Reid said...

Derek, first of all you have totally bought the propoganda that comp teachers spew about egals that is completely false and fear mongering. Egals don't deny gender differences. We question one gender always being in charge of the other due solely to gender as being God breathed doctrine. It is not.

Nor is it a distrust of men, in general that is at the root of our doctrine.

But I'm getting side tracked.

It is a distrust of the doctrines and teachings of men.

You can go on and on, up one side and down the other, until you are blue in the face, and the cows come home, that your doctrine doesn't hurt women.
It doesn't matter a hill of beans to all the women who have been hurt by the teachings that have come out of your camp.

Here is and example of one of the giants of compism telling a woman to endure verbal abuse and when she's being sinned against by her husband to make sure that she approaches her husband in a way that never, ever, ever makes him feel that his authority is being undermined, no matter what awful sin he is engaged in against her.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OkUPc2NLrM&feature=player_embedded

If cutting and pasting that link doesn't work, try this:

http://eaandfaith.blogspot.com/2009/09/john-pipers-ignorance-is-killing.html

It is all about authority and looks nothing like the more reasonable things you are talking about.

I recommend that all this energy you are using to try to set us all straight here... I suggest that you redirect your boundless energy toward correcting the leaders of your camp that make the rest of you look bad.

Lin said...

"How can we not assume the worst about the woman's evil motivations since "sin would bring about in Eve a wrongful desire to rule over her husband (contrary to God's created design)."

The only logical conclusion is that we men have to be constantly on guard against this evil motive on women's part to "rule" over us."

Jay, It seems the Cross was not enough for women's evil motivations. They need a male human to guide them instead of the Holy Spirit.

Lin said...

"God fearing complementarian knows that authority is not about ordering or pushing others around - it is primarily about accepting responsibility and accountability and about channeling God given strength in a manner that is glorifying to God and edifying to others."

The problem is that you really do not have authority over another adult as a believer in the Body or marriage. That is where you make your mistake. We are not like the world.

You cannot give up the notion of having "authority". That is the problem. If you thought of yourself as a servant to other adult believers, it would be Christlike.

Anonymous said...

" But that doesn't lend itself to sound thinking or thoughtful reflection on how men and women differ emotionally and physically, nor to understanding what Scriptural models and outlines for us."

How does the physical matter in the age of technology and intellectual property? If there was a fire, I would have to carry the grand patriarchist, Russell Moore, out of the building because he is about 5 ft tall and 100 lbs. I am 5'11 and well...weigh more.

And as to emotional...can you tell me what is nature and what is nurture? Where are these "emotional differences" before the fall?

If there are specific gender roles, outside the obvious biological ones, then I am in trouble because as a female I cannot be "Christlike" because Christ came as a male.

How does this pink and blue salvation work? What are women to do since Christ came as a male?

Who is our female model for Christlikeness?

OR, IN CHRIST, there is no male or female? We all, if believers, get FULL inheritance as that passage is teaching.

Lydia

Anonymous said...

"It is all about authority and looks nothing like the more reasonable things you are talking about."

If Derek took out all the adverbs and adjectives from his description of comp, it would not look so good. That is why Piper uses a ton of them. It is the same reason many use "servant leader" instead of leader. Or why they came up with the Orwellian term: Complementarian...when it isn't.

Mara Reid said...

I know, Anonymous. You are right.
I was just trying to be kind.
I know many comps mean well and abhor abuse. But they don't get the blindspots they have to the abuse in their own teachings.

Derek said...

Mara,
We can't have a productive dialogue if you are going to lump all comps into one category and malign them/us all. I've been very specific in saying that we should have the ability and opportunity to dialogue and disagree WITHOUT poison in our dialogue - that doesn't mean that we must agree, but we simply cannot have good and effective communication if you are going to make blanket statements about comps.

It is also not accurate or healthy dialogue building to assert that comps say or believe that women should endure verbal abuse. The Piper clip you've linked to actually undermines your entire argument, because Piper outlines the fact that a) the man needs to be disciplined by the Church b) if there is verbal or physical abuse, the "submission" takes a different form, which would actually be to appeal to other authorities - Piper is clearly taking the woman's side while asking her to take Biblically appropriate steps!

All I'm asking you to do is what we would expect if a specific person from a specific ethnic group robbed you - not to make blanket statements about that person's ethnic group. It may be understandable toward that group (on some level), but it is very divisive and unfair to others of that group who had no hand in the robbery.

gengwall said...

I just love that old "biological differences" argument, as if any gender differences could even be categorized as "better" or "worse". Sure, men and women are different. Hence the true complementarian aspect of humanity. But there is no way that any differences can be demonstrated to make male or female a "better" authoritarian. Even that expression seems oxymoronic.

Pick your favorite authority act - like decision making. That is always a favorite of complementarians. Men are supposedly more logical and less emotional, therefore "better" at making decisions. Forget that both the premise and the conclusion are demonstrably false for the moment. Let's assume it this concept is right for argument sake. Does that necessarily make men better at making every decision (or even a majority of them) that may need to be made between husband and wife during a lifetime? I dare anyone to prove that to be the case. I can say from pratical experience that there are many, many instances where my wife is far better "designed" to make particular decisions than I am. It has nothing to do with who might or might not be more or less logical or emotional.

There is one area where I would argue that women are definately different (and better) than men - intuition. (There is actually some science behind this). When it comes to major decisions in our family, my wife has the final say because she has intuition about the down side of things. I learned this the hard way some years back when I lost a majority of our retirement savings because I let my "logical", "unemotional" decision trump her intuition about certain people and investments. Never again. From now on, she may trust me to do the research and do the bargaining and even make the final proposal on a major decision but before we pull the trigger, I ask her one more time "how do you feel about this?" If she says "no", we simply don't do it.

Mara Reid said...

But Derek, you have made blanket comments about egals. So don't tell me not to when you allow yourself to do so freely.

No, the Piper clip points out how spritually and practically bankrupt following compism to the end really is.

A woman is not allowed to confront the wickedness of her husband as wickedness.
According to the comp model, a husband's 'leadership' is far more important and valued than the safety and emotional well-being of his wife and that his authority must be tip toed around like walking on eggshells. That's the experience many women have had dancing the comp dance. It's on eggshells.

And the experience of many women in churches is this. The men in authority don't take abused women seriously. They usually believe that the woman did something to bring on abuse and they just tell the woman that she needs to submit more and the abuse will stop.
But that is not true. That's just what the men in authority want to be true because that's what fits in their comp worldview.

Derek said...

Too much being said here in the comments for me to fully respond, but quickly: Mara, I didn't say that all egals are gender neutral - please be careful not to exaggerate what I've said because others will assume incorrectly that I did.

Gengwell: where did I imply or assert that women are poor decision makers; or that some gender differences make one sex better or worse; or that women are "inferior" authoritarians?

Again, I don't mind having a healthy, vigorous debate, but I would appreciate not having my views distorted exaggerated or misrepresented. That seems like a fair request on my part.

Derek said...

Mara said: the Piper clip points out how spritually and practically bankrupt following compism to the end really is.

A woman is not allowed to confront the wickedness of her husband as wickedness.


Mara: Piper says that there are parameters for the wife to follow; he does not say that she cannot confront him. In fact, he says the very opposite.

Mara, you are not bearing a true witness and you are determined to put your own particular spin on what Piper is actually saying. This is a perfect example of the poor listening and dialoguing skills that I've been referring to. How does this foster healthy dialogue?

Mara Reid said...

My witness is just fine, Derek.
It is also true to the experiences of many women that I have spoken to personally and their witnesses are also true.

You do not have the right to declare my witness as false thereby sweeping away the truth of my words.

I told you how Piper allows a woman to confornt her wicked husband. On eggshells and coddling his fragile ego and 'leadership'. Piper's parameters are false and a false doctrine hurting many, including men who need for women to stop coddling them.

Attacking me and my listening skills does not win you argument. It only proves that you are losing therefore you have to attack me.
It's called As Hominem.
If you don't know what that means, look it up.

Derek said...

I think you mean "ad hominem", Mara. Yes, I know what it means.

You're engaging in it when you take Piper's or my words and distort us into monsters who hate women and want to trample on them and strip them of dignity. Again, how are we going to have a healthy debate if you can't allow for the possibility that we aren't monsters and that we don't hate women? Most people observing our conversation are fortunately willing to understand where John Piper is coming from and that he actually does love women and his wife - even if they disagree with him. Mara, I'm afraid your anger and resentment is blinding you to how unreasonable you are being, and ironically, also blinding you to the ad hominem arguments that you are actually employing.

Shirley said...

It does not make sense that God would make 2 human beings with the same kind of spiritual soul, and the same level of intelligence and then put one to rule over the other. Further, it does not make sense that He didn't put the female to rule over the male. After all, she gives birth to him.

It is so arrogant to believe that God made men to rule over women. In the home or in the church, women have the same spiritual soul and the same level of intelligence. She doesn't need a ruler. She needs a helpmeet. But comps will not provide that helpmeet for her. All they want to do is provide a ruler.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

There is the problem with egalitarian perspectives - many times it seems to be based in distrust of men in particular. I'm sure that the distrust is based on real world experience and hurt.

Derek,

Egalitarian women have strong and positive relationships with father, brothers, sons, and have as successful marriages as anyone else, and according to some studies, much better. There is no distrust of men, as a class, on my blog, or in my life, or in this conversation.

I mention an choreographer and you descend into sarcasm. I thought that you wanted a serious conversation.

There is a reference to facts about men, from time to time. That is just facing reality. I believe that facing reality is a sound way to behave.

Mabel said...

Derek said, Mara, I'm afraid your anger and resentment is blinding you to how unreasonable you are..."
Derek, whenever egals disagree, they are always accused of being angry, resentful and unreasonable, which are purely subjective accusations. I wonder if you are constantly being told that you should be ruled over, under the authority of someone solely based on that person's flesh, how patient you would be. You may not hate woman, but if you are honest, you will see your own sense of superiority and smugness. You can be very calm about it, because you are a man, you don't have to submit, you have authority, etc. etc. Also, perceived anger and resentment on a blog like this does not get people fired from their jobs. Teaching that women cannot be preachers, cannot teach men, etc. etc. led to Dr. Klouda being fired from her job by people who no doubt would accuse anyone who disagree with the firing as "angry, resentful, and unreasonable". Dr. Ruth Tucker was fired on false charges (lies) by men who cannot accept woman's spiritual equal standing. I am sure if you were her, you would not be angry and resentful. Male authority belief system led to the 16 million strong Southern Baptist denomination to force their missionaries to sign a letter committing to not letting woman preach, and those who refused to sign had their support cut off. I am sure if you were one of the 77 missionaries affected (and many more resigned rather than sign), you would not be upset at all. People who are angry about such things are "blind" and "unreasonable".

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Derek,

I try my very best to not make generalizations or use the label "complementarians." I attempt to point out beliefs and teachings that are wrong and not people themselves. It is much more work to actually cite someone, but we must stick to discussing what people have actually said or what has happened

What causes me so much sorrow about John Piper is that he knows that his own preaching caused a woman to live a life of misery and restriction for years. She lived a curtailed life, the life of a prisoner. If a man had lived such a life, he would want redress. What redress was offered to that woman, who could not go from room to room without permission, for living years of her life as a virtual prisoner.

And, did she not have a point. Piper teaches that women must submit and the husband interpreted in a way that seemed valid to him. Did Piper list the things that women are allowed to do without asking permission.

Here are a few.

1 Void themselves.
2 Choose their own diet
3 Breastfeed their babies on demand
4 Vote for whomever they want
5 Make legal decisions regarding property and pensions
6 Make decisions about the children
7 Earn money or save money


Anyway, I think some women are denied all rights except voiding themselves because it is largely involuntary, but sometimes that too is impinged on. There are lots of countries where there are restrictions on when and where women can void themselves. This is no joke. And to that country, someone is going to ship an ESV Study Bible which says that the husband is like God the father who never submits and the wife is like God the son, who always submits.

This makes me ache all over.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Nobody has a right to attach labels to other people on this blog. Please cite the person, and then discuss their words.

Kristen said...

Derek, the problem I have with complementarianism-- even in its gentler form such as you describe here:

"Authority is not about ordering or pushing others around - it is primarily about accepting responsibility and accountability and about channeling God given strength in a manner that is glorifying to God and edifying to others"

is that you are still, by your own admission, talking about an "authority/subordinate relationship." In other words, no matter how kind and fair and gentle the man is, he still considers his wife his subordinate-- and that means that in some way he is responsible and accountable for her before God. This puts the marriage on an uneven footing right from the word go. The problem is not that all comps abuse their authority-- no one is saying that. The problem is that comps have this authority purely on the basis of an aspect of their flesh (their maleness), regardless of their character or qualifications. It's all very well that those husbands with Christian character don't abuse their authority, but there are plenty of husbands who don't have the character to handle it, but they get the authority anyway-- with disastrous results for the women.

Egals believe that husband-authority was part of the cultures into which Paul and Peter were speaking. If 1st-century people in those cultures would follow their advice, they would lay down their authority over their wives and raise them up, just as Christ laid down His authority when He gave Himself for the church, to raise her up. The only part of Christ's actions towards the church that husbands are told to imitate, is that act of Christ's in laying down His life-- all of His power, privilege and authority-- to be crucified for His bride. We see this as, over time, subverting the cultural structure of husband authority for a Kingdom paradigm of "there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ." Oneness is not true when one human claims power and privilege over another-- no matter how gently he uses it.

This is what upsets those women who have borne the brunt of male authority misused. We don't think it's enough to just tell men to be good and not abuse their authority-- any more than it was ultimately good enough to tell them to be good masters and not abuse their slaves.

Male authority over females is what we disagree with. We are NOT painting all comps with the same brush-- but we are saying that wherever this paradigm exists, so does the potential for abuse.

EricW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EricW said...

IMO and settled conclusion, it doesn't matter if a person does or doesn't rightly or wrongly lump all Comps (whether misogynistic or "kinder and gentler" or "compassionate") together. Patriarchal Complementarianism (versus Egalitarian Complementarianism) is wrong in theory, so whether it sometimes - or even often - works in fact is irrelevant. I.e., it's still wrong, both morally and Scripturally.

Christian men and women are brothers and sisters in Christ, not master vs. servant or superordinate vs. subordinate based on gender. They are each and all of them fully children of God and fully members of the Body and members of each other.

There is one body and one Spirit and one hope to which all are called and one Lord and one faith and one baptism and one God and Father of all, who is over everyone and through everyone and in everyone.

Each member of the Body is to hold fast to the One Head, Jesus Christ, so that they can individually and as a body, by the working of each one of them in accordance with the grace and gifts each of them has been given, grow up fully into Him, helping each other do so, too.

That's the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

End of story. (Or maybe just the beginning.)

Derek said...

Suzanne,
As you are an academic and an educated woman, I'm surprised that you would put such heavy weight on a single anecdote - obviously, an anecdote, especially a single one, can be used to make just about any point you want. I know nothing about the story you're telling here, but it sounds to me as if there are some other serious and difficult family dysfunctions and mental illness that run much deeper than the topic at hand here. I suspect that if we could sit in on a private counseling session with this woman or others in her family, we'd discover that the core issues here have little or nothing to do with John Piper or his teachings on complementarianism.

John Piper is a very careful and thoughtful man. I've listened to his preaching for a number of years and know for a fact that he is not the monster that is being portrayed by Mara and others. He doesn't justify abuse and he outlined NT prescribed steps to deal with it when it occurs. If he is going to be demonized for saying some things that can be misunderstood or taken out of context by ill-meaning hearers, so be it. They are flat out wrong and furthermore, John Piper would be the first man to weep with and defend those who have been abused. That is his heart - exceedingly gentle and compassionate.

Derek said...

Mabel said "whenever egals disagree, they are always accused of being angry, resentful and unreasonable, which are purely subjective accusations.".

Mabel, I am just asking for reasoned dialogue where motives are not swiftly and instantly questioned and then in my discussion with Mara I went on to cite examples where she specifically tore down healthy ingredients for dialogue.

For the record, one of the quickest ways to destroy healthy dialogue with your friends and loved ones is to tell them that "you always do this" or "you always do that".

Especially when it is isn't true.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Here is the incident.

"I dealt with a couple one time. They were sitting in front of me, and she said, "He learned from you that I have to get permission from him for everything I do." I said, "Really? Like what?" And she said, "To go to the bathroom! He won't let me leave the room without his permission. If I get up and walk out of the room, he says, 'Hey, you're supposed to ask me first.'"

That's not because the man values complementarianism. That's not complementarianism. That's sick! So we do deny women things that we shouldn't deny them, if we're sick."

http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/2009/08/john-pipers-three-strikes.html

Some theologians say that a wife must vow to obey her husband. I have not yet seen a list of exclusions to this command.

I would ask for

voiding oneself
choosing one's own diet
choosing the fabric content of one'w clothes
caring for the medical, physical and other needs of one's children
signing legal documents
voting
earning money
saving money

I have never seen a list like this. This is an absolute tragedy for some women. This is serious neglect for the physical, emotional and financial health of women around the world.

I have not seen this list in a sermon by John Piper. I would like to see it.

Can you imagine for one second what it would be like to live a life deprived of most of these things?

Can you, Derek? Where is pity? Where?

Until John Piper comes out with a list of the things that women are allowed to do without asking for permission, he does not care about women even one tiny little bit. To say that a woman must submit is irresponsible.

You simply cannot imagine the pain, Derek.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Derek,

I do agree that people should not say "you always do this or that."

However, I note that you have been sarcstic and have said some very unkind things about my personality without any awareness or apology. I am sorry that you did this. I don't actually remember anything negative about you from any earlier conversations.

Please understand that I do not personally distrust all men, nor would I hire a lawyer before accepting an invitation to dance. I think you might take that back.

I

Derek said...

Suzanne,
Piper's response and retelling of this story reinforces the point that Piper believes - that complementarianism does not legitimize abuse of any kind. It is tragic that a man would do this to his wife, and the fact that he would do this shows that he is likely not even a Christian. It won't be the first or last time that a terrible and abusive person will twist Scripture or a pastor's words for their own selfish and wicked purposes. It doesn't necessarily mean that Piper did or said anything wrong. In fact, I doubt he did. But even if he did, it certainly sounds like he cited this example to demonstrate that whatever he teaches on complementarianism does not justify this kind of treatment.

Regarding the attorneys comment, I was trying to be tongue in cheek funny and use some levity in this heavy discussion, not to be "mean funny" - but if that hurt your feelings, I apologize, that wasn't my intention.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Given the context, I thought it was a little cruel, but I accept that it could be funny.

I would honestly like to know why Piper has not done anything to prevent other women from living a lifetime of hell, now that he knows what can happen to women. Why does he not do that? Why does he not do anything at all to help women, or to let them out of hell? How can he know what happens to women, and simply not realize that being under tha "authority" of a husband is pure and complete hell.
Sex should never be allowed between someone who has authority or power over the other person.

It is nauseating, like submission pornography.

EricW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EricW said...

I'd like to see the list, too. Two basic lists, in fact:

1. MARRIAGE: 
a) What things must a wife first get her husband's permission to be or do that a husband does not first need to get his wife's permission to be or do? 
b) What things must a husband first get his wife's permission to be or do that a wife does not first need to get her husband's permission to be or do? 
c) What things is a husband allowed to be or do that a wife is not allowed to be or do?
d) What things is a wife allowed to be or do that a husband is not allowed to be or do?

2. CHURCH: 
a) What things in church must a woman first get permission to be or do that a man does not first need to get permission to be or do? 
b) What things in church must a man first get permission to be or do that a woman does not first need to get permission to be or do? 
c) What things in church is a man allowed to be or do that a woman is not allowed to be or do?
d) What things in church is a woman allowed to be or do that a man is not allowed to be or do? 

For each answer, also explain "why."

Mara Reid said...

Derek: "I'm afraid your anger and resentment is blinding you to how unreasonable you are being, and ironically, also blinding you to the ad hominem arguments that you are actually employing."

The actual problem, Derek, is that your love of compism is blinding you to the injustices done to women in its name. You can call me angry and resentful but you are reading that into me. I'm calling a spade a spade and instead of dealing with the truth of my argument you label, attack, belittle, and everything else you accuse the rest of us. Then you have the gall to tell us we aren't engaged in decent conversation.

The problem is that you worship male authority and leadership as the pharisees of old worshiped the Sabbath.

If a woman is being pressured by her husband to sin, Piper kicks her feet out from under her and strips her of all her authority as a believer and daughter of the King.

You say that egal is based in a distrust of men.
I claim that Piper's preferred response for how wives should respond to their husbands, when their husbands pressure them to sin, displays blatant fear of strong women. A woman is not allowed to be strong in Piper's compism.

Instead of her being able to say, "Stop it! You are hurting me. You are sinning against me. Stop acting like a dog and act like a man. Get behind me satan. Quit pressuring me to roll around in the pig manure you are living in right now. And come out of that pig manure. You are starting to really stink up the place."
No, she can't do that. She can't be strong and confident and call it for what it is. She has to be lowly and meely mouthed, ever mindful of the leadership of her husband. "Oh, dear sweet husband. I long for your leadership. You are depriving me of your glorious leadership... blah... blah... blah..."

And you have such thick blinders on you can't see how sick and demeaning that really is.
She should be able to deal directly with her brother in Christ who sins against her. She should not be reduced down to a lowly subject of a sovereign lord or petty dictator.

Piper strips away a woman's rights and dignity because he worships male headship and leadership over and above the pure milk of the gospel.

gengwall said...

"For each answer, also explain 'why.' "

And make it a biblical "why". Where in the bible is each answer delineated and justified.

Derek said...

Mara,
Can you tone down the exaggeration and overheated rhetoric? You are continuing to mischaracterize Piper in a way that is snide, distorted and disingenuous. I'm glad you included the link to the video because anyone who watches the video with an objective mind can clearly see that John Piper hates abuse and that he cares about the woman in this true life account.

Additionally, I did not say that "egal is based on mistrust of man". You have not said something true, you have now taken my words and distorted them. I was very deliberate to say that it is often the case that mistrust is the root of anger that I've seen from egals - and if you take time to read my comments more carefully, you will see that I also noted that I can appreciate that the anger is often justified, even if it is sometimes directed in unhealthy ways to the wrong people (including self-hatred or in lashing out at the wrong source, like John Piper).

Mara, when you exaggerate other people's comments and make them out to be a monster for no good reason, it has a toxic effect on healthy discussion and debate. I ask you to consider your overall tone and wish for you to apologize for the mischaracterizations. If you do not, do not be surprised if I do not respond to you in the future. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

With this teaching on how to deal with a abusive spouse, Piper shows himself to be a facilitator of spouse abuse and he needs to repent. His believe in men supposedly called to lead women distorts his understanding of Scripture.

A wife should CONFRONT any aspect of abuse from her spouse, as her spouse is in sin if he abuses her, this might be physical, emotional, verbal, etc. If he does not listen to her rebuke, then Matthew 18 applies.

Piper chuckle at the start of the teaching is an affront to ALL Christians.

Don Johnson

Mara Reid said...

Derek, I don't care if you don't respond to me ever again.

Piper paints a very pretty picture through the use of excessive flowery adjectives.

Piper works overtime trying to soften the harshness of his doctrine because he so thoroughly believes it, he cannot face the results his doctrine causes.

I'm sure that Piper, in person, is a nice guy. I have no doubt. I also believe that he believes that what he is saying is not harmful or hateful to women in any way.

But the stark reality is this:
What he says IS harmful to men, women and families.

You are wanting me to tone down, but what you don't get is that things are already toned down to the point that abuse thrives under the radar of Piper's flowery words and sense of being right.

I cannot tone down because the point of my words to you is to blast away the wall of blindness you are hiding behind and to help you see through all the flowery soft-pedaling that Piper engages in to try to sweeten the bitter doctrine he clings to as his divine right of being male.

It is a doctrine that has brought bitterness into countless lives and whatever language it takes to make guys like you to see it, that is the language I am going to use.

Soft-pedaling and toning down and painting flowery pictures covers up the problems that Piper's doctrine causes. And that's the entire problem to begin with.

If you don't want to face the facts of this, then move along to some place where people agree with you and like having flowery pictures painted for them so they don't have to face the reality of the hell this doctrine has caused in the lives of countless women.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Derek,

About Piper, the main point is that regardless of his much expressed empathy, he says nothing at all which is actually useful or helpful for women in a bad situation. It is a matter of negligence, and very serious negligence on his part. This is my concern. There is no thought about how to rescue or provide a way for women to get out of hell. There is the notion that tragic as it is, a woman must endure misery as a testimony to the rightfulness of someone's interpretation of Eph. 5. This is wrong. Piper needs to do more than cry for women, he needs to release them.

Or women can just get a realistic picture of Piper and realize that they should disregard everything he says - he is only human.

I am sorry if comments are more heated than you might like, but this expresses the anguish of women under this regime of false teaching.

Derek said...

Donald,
You're reading something into Piper's body language that isn't there. I've watched him speak many times and he just smiles like that when he's processing a really challenging idea or thought. That's all there is to it. He couldn't be more clear in the video that abuse must be dealt with in the Church and that it cannot be accepted by the woman. I Peter 3 is at least as hard to accept, if not harder, than what Piper expressed here. I suspect that if he had directly quoted from that passage, you would be demanding that he repent for that as well.

believer333 said...

”gengwell,
With all due respect, you have an overall negative view of authority and I think that is preventing you (as it does many) from understanding that there is a difference between the use of authority and the abuse of authority.”

As Lin implied, Christianity is not about who has authority over whom, it is about serving one another in the love of Christ. (Matt. 20:26 -28) Comps make a huge foundational error teaching that men have authority over women.

believer333 said...

"Never give up the fight men! Keep those women submitted, and by doing that at the same time you will bring great happiness to the women when by submitting they find peace in their lowly God given position."

At first I thought that that was a bad attempt at joking. How can anyone in their right mind think or say such an obtusely gross thing about half the human race; or even about one person. :(

EricW said...

Derek said...
John Piper is a very careful and thoughtful man.

Not always:
http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/2010/11/john-piper-against-niv.html

Anonymous said...

Derek,

I agree that it was a challenging question. A good response to that at the start is simply to admit that this is a challenging question. The chuckle is dismissive and that paints the wrong tone.

Also, you are missing what he does say. Around 2:40 Piper says "She endures verbal abuse for a season and she endures being smacked one night." This is CLEARLY facilitatiing abuse and is also CLEARLY sin on the husband's part.

The Scriptural response is for her to CONFRONT him in his sin. Piper simply has wrong priorities, he is concerned with maintaining (what he sees as Scriptural) gender hierarchy and not ministering to a wounded sheep. Piper needs to repent as he is wrong, his adherence to gender hierarchy is too high on his priority list.

Don Johnson

Anonymous said...

My point is not that gender hierarchy is Scriptural, my point is EVEN ASSUMING gender hierarchy is Scriptural Piper is still wrong. His response is NOT pastoral.

Don Johnson

Anonymous said...

And of course, physical abuse is something for which one flees to safety.

The point is that an abused spouse needs support in all relevant ways, but John Piper by his response shows he is more interested in maintaining his principle of gender hierarchy, which is a totally wrong priority. First support the wounded, this is one aspect of being a pastor which Piper fails at in this video.

Unless and until Piper repents, I would warn people away from seeing him as a pastor.

Don Johnson

Mara Reid said...

Suzanne, I think the heated comments coming from me are more frustration than anquish.

I put my foot down a long time ago in my house that I would tolerate NO verbal unkindness for any 'season'. I overlook it when hubby is having bad days and is being a bit snippy. We all have bad days.

But I am so frustrated at the damage that is being done to the purity of the gospel by those who are hell-bent on spreading this false teaching.

There are women that I respect who have fought through the lies of male authority and found healing in God anyway.

But there are so many women, who, because of Piper's (and others) off-balance teaching, they have fled the church and into the arms of atheism, paganism, occultism, agnostisism, etc.
And they fled because the church proved to be a far more dangerous place than any of the "isms" I list.

This is why it is hard for me to speak calmly to anyone who wants to defend Piper's words in the clip I linked or who try to accuse me of having 'poor listening skills'.
What a joke.
I hear Piper loud and clear.
That is what frustrates me to no end. I hear what he is really saying under all the sugar and rose petals.

J. K. Gayle said...

Mara,

I appreciate your comments here more than you know! You say you "hear Piper loud and clear," but I'm convinced not everybody is so able to.

My own marriage (of more than a quarter of a century) is egalitarian. But both my spouse's parents and mine have had "complementarian" marriages (for more than half a century). Both are fathers are (retired) Southern Baptist preachers, who continue to call our mothers, possessively, their individual "helpmeet." My own father has been abusive, has confessed it, and has sought and received forgiveness from my mother and from my siblings and even from his grandchildren. He is terminally ill, and God has graced him in his last days with much loud clarity. My father-in-law, though a kinder man to his family, nonetheless has been abusive. It's not the label "complementarian" that automatically produces the abuse; it's the belief that the husband is over the wife that produces it.

I'm using "abuse" in the sense that David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen use it in their book, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church. One day, when hearing my father confess and ask for forgiveness recently in tears, I mentioned the book and how it had given me some vocabulary for the issue of subtly in power in the church. ("I wish I'd read the book three churches ago," I think I told my Dad.) Well, my Mom goes out and buys the book. She and my Dad read it together (she reading aloud to him, because he's so weak now). She immediately starting confessing her own subtle, powerful abuse of others. It really is very different from the gospel that you mention, this abuse is. But it's also not always very obvious. Thanks again, Mara!

Anonymous said...

And if anyone thinks Piper's teaching do not affect acceptance of the gospel, think again. The so-called New Atheists claim that God is a misogynist. And according to Piper, God is.

The solution is to reject Piper's ideas in this area as a MAN-made tradition that negates Scripture.

Don Johnson

Gem said...

Derek, LISTEN to the video from minute 2:00-2:30 and try to put yourself in those shoes.

What if your boss told you you hafta go along with a prostitute junket? Are you going to simper at him about how much you Loooooooooooong to follow and obey his precious God ordained leadership???

I listen to the simpering, mealy mouthed tone of voice that Piper role models for a wronged wife to take and ROFLOL! It's really funny to me! (BTDT, Got the T-shirt, doormatting for bad behavior makes it worse.)

BTW Suzanne, I am confident that you too will someday be able to laugh that you took such useless nonsense seriously!

My advice to that woman:

1) Forget the "church authorities"; MY experience is that they don't have the balls to bust his- they tiptoe around on eggshells and do more harm than good with their coddling approach. Call the police and CPS. Turn his butt in to some REAL authorities!

2) If the wife is not able to be fuming angry (guilt free!) at a husband who is advocating for group sex and smacking her around, she needs some counseling so she can get in touch with her feelings and stop enabling.

EricW said...

Anyone who would give John Piper a "pass" on what he says in that video, or (gulp!) would agree with Piper, is IMO seriously messed up.

Derek said...

My original comment to Suzanne was not intended to stir a debate on comp/egal issues. I continue to wish and hope that we could have an adult, Christian dialogue, which means that we stop assuming the worst of each other's motives and stop using harsh and abusive language. I'm certainly trying to give the benefit of the doubt to others so that there can be genuine unity where it matters. Obviously there are serious bridges of disagreement on this topic, but it really concerns me when people on either side demonize people on the others side and make them out to be a monster. Suzanne, you and I have serious disagreements, but I appreciate that you've maintained a healthy tone in this discussion. That's the only way we can really hope to keep a conversation going in any kind of positive direction. I hope this has given us all food for thought and I certainly hope to live up to this challenge myself.

Mara Reid said...

Thanks, J.K.
I'm really not that harsh of a person and wish I could get across my frustration more softly, but I fear, any letting up, and the seriousness of our point will be lost.

Don, I hope you know how much I appreciate your level-headed comments on this hot button issue.

Yes, Eric, you are right. I was willing to converse with Derek until he began to defend Piper and attack me and accuse me of poor listening skills. What he wanted me to have was his heavily comp indoctrinated listening filters. Anything less than that, to him, is poor. There is no conversing with that and it IS seriously messed up.

And Gem, you put it so well.
The worst thing about the Piper clip is the stripping away of a woman's basic right to be human.

She cannot respond in a normal, emotionally healthy way to being pressured into gross sin. She must comform to the sub-human, plastic christian, role playing he wants women to model. Piper, by his words in the video clip, is promoting a doctrine that steals, kills, and destroys the very soul of a woman for the sake of upholding the false doctrine total wifely obedience to male authority.

If Derek cannot comprehend this one basic fact, then he's not ready to converse with us on what truth is. He doesn't get the unadulterated truth of the matter. Therefore he does not have one shred of moral authority to tell us anything.

Mara Reid said...

Suzanne,
Derek and I cross posted. I was composing mine while he submitted his.

If, for the sake of converation, you feel my comment above and this one are inappropriate, I will in no way be offended if you remove them.

I've said what I've said.
I have no apologies except that I wish I could converse with a little less heat. But then, on the other hand, I don't think less heat would convince Derek of anything. I only think he is here to direct us wayward Christians to the straight and narrow path of Piper brand compism which will happen for me when hell freezes over.

It's your blog and I respect your wishes.

Gem said...

My imagination got carried away and I was wishing I could post a youtube caricature of Piper's minute 2-2:30 only the actors would be all male and the "authority" would be the pastor's authority or the boss' authority.

The authority figure would tell him to bend over and take it in the butt and he would give that Piper docile, pleading, mealy mouthed "oh how I LONG to be able to follow your spiritual leadership. It would be ever so sweeeeet to me. But, but, but, I'm ever so sorry, I just can't go there with you"

What a laughingstock!

And it's utterly unrealistic. Real people, when they are exploited, are angry! (or if they "stuff it" like a "good christian", it will manifest in migraines, depression, etc).

Piper and his wife had some marriage difficulties at the 40 year mark. No surprise. Seems she bought into his doctrine based on quotes from their marriage book, but it's gotta be old being in her husband's woman shaped box for 4 decades!

believer333 said...

"(or if they "stuff it" like a "good christian", it will manifest in migraines, depression, etc)"

This is often what is behind women becoming hidden alchoholics, women who never say anything, women who cannot share their hearts with other women, women who become health threateningly depressed, and other sickness as well. To take abusive treatment without saying anything or having to act like you appreciate it is a form of insanity.

As to what is abusive; anything that prevents a person from being and expressing themselves (not including sinful behavior), that causes inner emotional pain, that causes physical pain, and similar is abusive.

Kristen said...

Another problem with the approach Piper recommends wives taking, as paraphrased by Mara:

"oh how I LONG to be able to follow your spiritual leadership. It would be ever so sweeeeet to me. But, but, but, I'm ever so sorry, I just can't go there with you"

. . . is that a man tends to lose respect for people who grovel, even if it's his wife. Comps love to talk about the basic male nature-- but the fact is, that's part of it too (actually I think it's human nature, but we're talking about husbands in this instance).

A man will usually feel intrigued and challenged by a person who is strong and self-confident, but a "yes, massah, no massah" type approach is only going to perpetuate a cycle of disrespect enabled, leading to more disrespect.

Derek said...

I wanted my comment a few posts back to be my summary because I think that the Piper video has become something of a rabbit trail from this blog post traffic.

I do want to offer several reflections that will not likely satisfy Piper's fiercest critics - but may be helpful to those who are not that familiar with him and may be understandably confused or even angry about what he said here.

1. This was a live Q and A, not a prepared statement. I am sure he would phrase things differently if it was prepared.

2. Piper's goal is not conflict and an abrupt end to a marriage or a relationship - it is reconciliation of a broken or damaged relationship. It is repentance for those who are abusers, whether the abuse is emotional, physical, verbal, etc.

3. I am very confident that Piper would want his church members to approach his church elders for help if there was 1 instance of physical violence. I can see how his comments about "enduring 1 hit" should have been phrased better and I fully agree that just 1 instance of physical violence is sufficient for action. I do think it is fair to ask Piper to clarify his meaning here, but I am confident that he would agree that there should be zero tolerance for physical violence of any sort.

4. I don't agree that Piper is saying that the wife can't "confront" the husband. But understand this context here: he is describing how she can tell her husband she will not be treated the way he is treating her, disobey him and then report her husband's abuse while also respecting and loving him at the same time. A difficult balance? Absolutely - one of the most difficult challenges for Christians is how to carry out Christ's command to love our enemies! Scripture tells us to "be angry and sin not". Christians are called to walk this very same line with unsaved persons, co-workers, difficult family members and "enemies" in all sorts of situations.

Again, I hope that this sheds more heat than light.

Derek said...

I meant, more light than heat. :)

Scottie said...

Question for Derek:

I've been following the comments here. I appreciated the tone of your last comment on the several reflections. In point #4, you write, "he (Piper) is describing how she can tell her husband she will not be treated the way he is treating her, disobey him and then report..."

You bring up "disobey". The point of this post is not to parse out the finer points of complementarianism. All the same, however, and for understanding of what you are saying, could you shed light on "obedience / disobedience" between a husband and wife?

Derek said...

Scottie,
Thanks for your comment and question. It is a fair question. I'm more or less going with the example that Piper gave here, where the husband was abusing Scripture, telling her that she needed to do what he said, basically no questions asked. I think Piper recommended that she say something like "I'm not going to follow you" in specific reference to his leadership. Piper's basic point is that a wife should NOT feel obligated to "obey" or "follow" everything her husband says, at least not when it contradicts other things God has said.

EricW said...

Derek said...

3. ...I can see how his comments about "enduring 1 hit" should have been phrased better and I fully agree that just 1 instance of physical violence is sufficient for action. I do think it is fair to ask Piper to clarify his meaning here, but I am confident that he would agree that there should be zero tolerance for physical violence of any sort.

Derek:

The video was posted on YouTube September 2009, almost 1-1/2 years ago. Can you show that Piper has recanted or repented for or clarified what he said there and how he said it? Can you show that he has not at any time since then basically given the same counsel?

And since Scottie asked you to expain what you mean or believe about obedience between a husband and wife, would you answer the list questions I posed above re: this very subject:

1. MARRIAGE: 
a) What things must a wife first get her husband's permission to be or do that a husband does not first need to get his wife's permission to be or do? 
b) What things must a husband first get his wife's permission to be or do that a wife does not first need to get her husband's permission to be or do? 
c) What things is a husband allowed to be or do that a wife is not allowed to be or do?
d) What things is a wife allowed to be or do that a husband is not allowed to be or do?

2. CHURCH: 
a) What things in church must a woman first get permission to be or do that a man does not first need to get permission to be or do? 
b) What things in church must a man first get permission to be or do that a woman does not first need to get permission to be or do? 
c) What things in church is a man allowed to be or do that a woman is not allowed to be or do?
d) What things in church is a woman allowed to be or do that a man is not allowed to be or do? 

For each answer, also explain "why."

Thanks!

Derek said...

EricW,
I have no idea if Piper has been asked about the statement. I suspect that most people who watch the video understand and know that Piper hates violence towards wives/girlfriends and anyone who thinks he's giving a green light to do so is not a serious or reasonable person.

It would take a long time for me to adequately answer your 8 part question, but my general response is this:
Yes, I believe that the primary leadership in the home and church is delegated to husbands/men. That does not mean that women do not or should not exercise varying degrees of leadership in either sphere. But I would not join a church body where women were in primary leadership because of what the New Testament says on this topic. In healthy churches and homes, I believe you will see men initiating primarily through service and love and they will be proactive and protective (the model of Christ), not passive and predatory (the model of Adam and men who don't fear God and are driven by testosterone).

If a man sees his role as one in which he gets to give unquestioned orders for his own comfort and privilege, he has totally missed the Biblical model. He is dead wrong and he should be afraid of the judgment day since Jesus made it quite clear that those in positions of leadership will be judged with greater scrutiny. This is precisely why His greatest anger was directed at the self-serving religious leaders of his day.

If on the other hand, a man sees that whatever leadership he has as a leader in church or home is to be used to serve, protect, love and present as an offering of worship to God, then he "gets it" and understands the "servant leadership" model Christ gave us. It is an exceedingly challenging order, but one that we can do with God's help.

Anonymous said...

Paul in Eph 5 gives husband a servant servantship model of serving. Anyone who extracts the idea of leadership from the text of Eph 5 is imagining it, because they put it there. The solution is to take off their blue glasses so they can see clearly.

Don Johnson

Derek said...

Donald,
We all approach Scripture with some inherent bias' and blind spots.

In any event, the concept of authority is implied and the concept of submission is stated so explicitly for the wife that it is shocking to our modern day egalitarian ears. You and I have discussed Ephesians 5 at length and we'll have to agree to disagree, but I think you have made a choice to do a series of gymnastics with the text in order to accommodate the popular views of our age. Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe it to be the case.

There are likely situations where my own bias' do limit my ability to correctly render Scripture, but I pray and seek to limit that as much as possible and do believe that I am conscience clear on this topic and am not being guided by personal bias.

I trust that you are a fellow believer and we'll find out who's right in heaven. If you're right, I'm confident that my sanctification will be complete and I'll be able to humbly and graciously tell you that you were right and I was wrong. If I'm right, the flip side will be the case, I trust.

Anonymous said...

Eph 5 teaches MUTUAL submission. Get off your high horse.

You are doing a selective interpretation, very dangerous. But you can repent of your male preference ways. I know because I did.

Don Johnson

Anonymous said...

P.S. There is a concept of authority in the Eph 5-6 pericope in terms of kids and slaves, as they are told to obey. But a wife is neither.

Derek said...

There is a very real sense in which each married partner yields to the other. Scripture gives no license to any man to run roughshod over his wife. I've consistently stated this. But there is a greater sense in which the wife submits to the husband. That is found in Ephesians 5:24 of course, but also in I Peter 3 and I Timothy 2.

The "high horse" comment is disappointing. I think I've avoided personal insult towards you even though I strongly disagree with you.

Anonymous said...

There is no "greater sense" except in the minds of those who cling to male privilege, exactly like the kings who clung to royal privilege and the slaveholders who clung to their privilege. Holding onto privilege is NOT what following Jesus is about. Let it go!

Don Johnson

Anonymous said...

The "high horse" comment was illustrative. You interpret Scripture to give you a trump card to override the will of your wife. Do not do that. It can be deadly and destroy intimacy.

In Eph 5 you are authorized to die to self for your wife, so just do it and toss away that supposed trump card that some male privilege advocates have invented.

Don Johnson

Anonymous said...

Somehow Grudem and his ilk have conned you that Eph 5:21 does not apply to you, which is the Kingdom principle of mutual submission to one another among believers. See thru the con and become free. You can do it, I did.

Don Johnson

Kristen said...

Derek, you said:

"In any event, the concept of authority is implied and the concept of submission is stated so explicitly for the wife that it is shocking to our modern day egalitarian ears."

Yes, certainly the concept of authority is implied in the passage. How could it not be implied, when it was a very real fact of life in 1st-century Ephesus? What is implied, however, and not directly stated, cannot be unequivocably shown to be what the passage is teaching. It can just as easily be a shared assumption between the writer and the readers in that culture. The real issue is not what is implied, but what is said directly-- and what is said directly is that husbands are to love, not lead, their wives, lay down their lives for their wives, not tell them what to do-- and nourish and cherish their wives, not exercise authority over them. To take something that is implied or assumed in a passage and turn that into the point, command or teaching of a passage, is to turn something descriptive into something prescriptive. Not everything that the Bible assumes, implies or describes, does it teach, command or prescribe.

What shocks our ears today is not as important as what was shocking to the ears of the 1st-century listeners. And what would have shocked them was Paul's assertion of mutual submission in verse 21, and the complete lack of any instructions to men about ruling or how to rule-- which was what the household codes of the time focused on completely.

Derek said...

Kristen,
I think you're absolutely right, when you say that verse 21 would have shocked Paul's audience. I've been saying all along that the husband's authority is limited and that a dictatorial husband is going to be in very serious trouble on judgment day. I agree whoever said that to Paul's audience, this would have been an egalitarian message since no one would have interpreted it as a purely egalitarian message, but to our modern audience, it should be categorized complementarian. I'd elaborate, but instead, I'll just refer you to the more lengthy comment about 10 posts back in my response to EricW.

Anonymous said...

The husband's authority is limited exactly because it is mutual with his wife. The spouses are co-leaders of the family.

Don Johnson

Kristen said...

Derek, using that reasoning, Paul was advocating a kinder, gentler slavery, but was endorsing slavery itself as God's will. This is EXACTLY the same argument that slaveholders in the mid-1800s in the US used to make.

Just because Paul did not seek to overthrow patriarchy or slavery, does not mean he was endorsing either one as being God's divine best for humanity. He was talking to his readers about how best to function in the world they found themselves in-- not telling them that the social structures of that world were God's will for all societies for all time. And certainly not that God intended those structures to become part and parcel of what it means to be a Christian. Otherwise, I would strongly suggest that all Christian employees who work for Christian employers stop bucking God's will, stop capitulating to modern culture, and sell themselves as slaves to their employers as God intended.

believer333 said...

Kristen, that was exactly what I was going to point out when I had a chance. Thanks for saying if for me. :) And I bet for several others who were thinking the same point of logic.

Derek said...

The Jewish/OT Law version of slavery was always very progressive, compared to surrounding cultures. The word duolos means "bond servant" and can also be rendered as "slave". In the NT, Christians are duolos and Christ is kyrios, or master. There is a sense in which Christians are slaves, but with a remarkable twist - it comes with or graduates to a set of privileges that would typically only be given to heirs. My point is that the Old and New Testament always promoted a very different notion of slavery, one that grafted the slave into the master's family and ultimately brought the slave's gratitude. So the Bible never endorsed the kind of slavery we know of from our nation's Colonial days.

believer333 said...

1 Cor. 15:12-17 "I no longer call you servants ...... instead I call you friends".

Christ does not consider Christians his slaves. The reason that Paul calls himself the Lord's duolos, is because a dulous is a slave that had served his term, thus was a freed man, but one who chose to recommit himself to his master for life. Paul's commitment to Christ was like a dulous.

Paul did not view slavery as a good thing, but something that existed in local cultures and had to be dealt with. Just as Paul urged Philemon to free Onesimus as a dear brother in the Lord, so Paul urges husbands to treat their wives with honor and respect as a weaker fellow human — in opposition to the idea that wives were property to use as one wished (a slave).

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Derek,

There is a lot of talk about men leading. Is there even one man in our time, who has submitted himself to slavery on Old Testament terms to demonstrate to women than men too are willing to submit to authority 24/7?

Have men reinstituted slavery of any kind?

My stance is that until a man of this era gives up his freedom completely, 24/7 until death, until that happens - all men should take the teaching of the submission of women and stuff it where the sun don't shine.

I don't mean just serving, I mean being under oath to obey, for all hours of every day for 50 years. If one man did that voluntarily, then I would actually listen to that man. But his master would have to be cruel and would have to sometimes hit, and sometimes engage in unusual sexual practices and sometimes restrict toilet privileges.

All of this for 50 years, and then that one man might know what some women live with.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Until that day, not one man should suggest or een whisper the tiniest bit of submission on the part of a woman.

Derek said...

I did not say or infer that women/wives should become the slaves of their husbands. No matter what I say, I feel like my views are being exaggerated or distorted. I just ask others to consider how they feel when their views are exaggerated. It doesn't feel very good and it doesn't promote healthy dialogue. It also damages trust and causes people to withdraw because they are not being heard or fairly represented.

Kristen said...

Derek, Paul's letter was not to Jews living with the OT slavery laws. It was to Ephesians living with Roman slavery laws. This was what Paul's audience would have understood him to be talking about when he said, "slaves obey your masters."

You can't get away from the fact that either Paul was endorsing Roman-style slavery as God's divine plan, or he was telling Christians a different way to live within those cultural norms, but stopping short of endorsing those cultural norms as God's will.

And if he was not endorsing slavery, then neither was he endorsing patriarchy. Christians are free, then, to decide whether a cultural, social authority system should be perpetuated or not-- and the only reason to perpetuate it would be if there were an actual benefit and/or necessity for it. It is not beneficial or necessary that adult people be under the 24-hour-a-day authority of other adults. Enough said.

Kristen said...

No one said you were saying that wives should be the slaves of their husbands. What we are saying is that either slavery and patriarchy are both cultural, or they are both divine. Given the way Paul's household codes are set up, you can't say that one is cultural, and one is divine. That is simply not what Paul was doing in that passage. Slavery, patriarchy, and parental authority over children are all cultural. Common sense should dictate whether a cultural norm still needs to exist today, or not.

What it appears to me that Suzanne is saying is, if men want to keep patriarchy, they should be willing to bring back slavery-- and live under it. But men don't want to bring back slavery, and they don't have to live under patriarchy. It's easy to say, "let them eat cake" if you've never known what it is to have no bread. If you wouldn't want to live under the 24-hour-a-day, permanent authority of another human being, as if you were not an adult but a child who needed someone else to be responsible for you-- then don't do to another what you wouldn't want done to you.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Derek,
Explain then to me why slavery is relevant to the topic of the submission of women. I don't actually understand your point in raising this.

You say that you feel uncomfortable here. I am sure that you do and actually I admire you for wanting to dialogue. But you must realize that I also feel extremely miserable whenever I encounter those who feel that I need to undergo submission. It makes me feel downright rotten and miserable. It really does. I don't want to lose my life to another sinful human.

I think that you personally are a very nice guy, but you have not really thought about the utter distress and horror of being a woman under someone else's authority.

I don't know how to soft pedal this. I actually do soft pedal this.

Would you rather that we discuss anal penetration, being dragged across the pavement by the hair, not being able to go to the bathroom, and everything short of that.

Imagine never chosing your own food, or clothes or television chanel because you don't have that right ever in your entire life. Because ultimately you have to submit.

Consider the full range of misery which falls just short of these things. Consider that Piper thinks that women should lovingly respect, and with a submissive attitude show their willingness to submit and their willingness to reconcile and not to get a divorce and not to remarry, in spite of assault and perversion and unreasonable restriction - just lovingly resist as if that were possible.

It is as if somebody is putting a bowl of sh*t in front of me and telling me that it is food.

I am not saying any of this about you. I am just trying to find words for the pain that I feel when I talk about these things, about the years of loss and crap.

This is not about you, this is about pain.

Derek,

You are free to say whatever you like about your own feelings here. I don't disbelieve them. I will not smear you and I will not moderate you out and I will not make fun of you.

Some have done this to me but I will not do that to you.

But I will not restrain myself from telling you what the submission of women feels like.

Kristen said...

Here's the thing. Suzanne is talking about extreme examples, what Derek would call abuse of authority by the husband. But thinking about it-- if I must submit to my husband's authority, then I only get to choose what to eat, what to wear or what channel to watch if he lets me. My husband shouldn't abuse his authority, but if he does, and he's not actually physically hurting me or asking me to sin or violate my conscience-- I still should submit, right? Any freedom I do have is at my husband's will.

If you're a good, Christlike husband who would never dream of curtailing his wife's autonomy like that-- your wife will be ok. But if you're immature and not very Christlike, she's going to suffer for it.

Or take something even less extreme. Suppose you decide that your wife gets to use money she earns herself, for her own needs and wants. And then decide you don't like something she bought, and you and tell her she has to take something she has to take it back. Her freedom is still at your whim. No matter how kind and gentle and fair you are, she is at your mercy, with no adult power of her own unless you give it to her. Ultimately, that's the truth. She can go to the church all she wants and say, "He's being unfair to me!" and the church will say, "He's in authority in that home. If he didn't hurt you or violate your conscience, then we aren't stepping in-- and you need to be a good submissive wife and learn to live with his change of mind."

A kind, gentle husband can help his wife to never actually feel her lack of adult control. But the fact remains that she does not have full adult powers. She's under her husband's power-- and he is all too human. This is what we're really talking about. It's nothing personal about you or your marriage-- but patriarchy, being what it is when you take all the pretty wrapping off-- really needs to go where slavery went.

Kristen said...

Sorry, this --

"And then decide you don't like something she bought, and you and tell her she has to take something she has to take it back"

should have read, "and then you decide you don't like something she bought, and she has to take it back."

I didn't mean to be so confusing. :)

EricW said...

So you have two young Christian adults, one male and one female, both with the same economic and social upbringing, both with the same graduate degrees from the same university, both working at jobs commensurate with their degrees and training, and if these two marry each other, he becomes the boss?

Derek: You said my list would take a long time to answer, but I'm not interested in theoretical pontifications about the husband being in charge as the head, etc. I want to know what that means where the rubber meets the road - i.e., what are the rules? And that is what my list questions get at. What does the Comp belief in wifely or female submission mean in the marriage and in the church? What must all men and all women do and not do in the marriage and in the church because they are men or because they are women? Would some Complementarian please answer my list of questions so we Egalitarians will know what Complementarians specifically mean?

Mara Reid said...

Derek: "I don't agree that Piper is saying that the wife can't 'confront' the husband. But understand this context here: he is describing how she can tell her husband she will not be treated the way he is treating her, disobey him and then report her husband's abuse while also respecting and loving him at the same time. A difficult balance? Absolutely - one of the most difficult challenges for Christians is how to carry out Christ's command to love our enemies! Scripture tells us to "be angry and sin not". Christians are called to walk this very same line with unsaved persons, co-workers, difficult family members and 'enemies' in all sorts of situations."

Derek, I know you aren't talking to me and that's fine. You can skip this comment if you like. But I want to address this for others if not for you.

Piper's formula and modeled response for a woman to 'confront' her husband when he is asking for her to engage in a gross sin is absolutely not a confrontation.
It appears no where on the 'confrontation spectrum'.

Jesus, when going after the money changers in the temple, was engaging in a confrontation on the high end of the 'confrontation spectrum'. Are you telling me that Jesus is disobeying the law of love by His high level of confrontation in the temple?
I think we can agree, He, God, the One who is referred to as Love in the scriptures is not failing at this difficult balance of loving our enemies. He is succeeding.

Now onto respect.
I fully believe in respect on so many levels I cannot get into them all here. And I do believe in a special type of respect that spouses should give each other. I believe a wife should respect her husband.

But the response that Piper models goes clear past 'respect' and borders on, if isn't outright WORSHIP.

This is where we disagree.
Where you see loving respect, we see worship and flatout kowtowing.
And some of these here have lived this.

You not seeing it this way doesn't mean it isn't so. It only means that you have never experienced this personally. You have never had to kowtow to another human being the way Piper is suggesting women kowtow to their abusive husbands.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/kowtowing

gengwall said...

"Derek: You said my list would take a long time to answer, but I'm not interested in theoretical pontifications about the husband being in charge as the head, etc. I want to know what that means where the rubber meets the road - i.e., what are the rules?"

Good luck with that Eric. Of course, I'm sure you posted the questions specifically because you know no complementarian will have any answers (or more precisely, that no two complementarians will have the same answers). Which highlights the flaw in the philosophy, and the true evil genius of it for hierarchalists. The rules are whatever the individual man says the rules are.

Anonymous said...

FWIIW, patri Doug Wilson claims that slavery is fine, as long as the OT rules are followed. This is WHY egals wonder where the lines in a specific comp's beliefs are. Because SOME go far off a cliff.

That Piper clip on youtube was put up by a Desiring God person, which is Piper's group. It was not put up by someone opposed to Piper and so it has his implicit endorsement. In that clip Piper CLEARLY facilitates spousal verbal abuse by his use of the term "for a season). Egals think this is just wackily sinful (missing the mark and NOT being pastoral) and that Piper needs to repent and yet INSTEAD of agreeing with us that it is, you try to justify Piper.

Start paying some attention to "the man behind the screen" and be willing to admit Piper was WRONG. This is why egals wonder how brainwashed comps are.

Don Johnson

Gem said...

Christians are called to walk this very same line with unsaved persons, co-workers, difficult family members and "enemies" in all sorts of situations. -Derek

On the Piper clip, Derek, did you think about what I asked you?

We are not just talking about the run of the mill enemies such as a co-worker or difficult family member. We are talking about someone who has AUTHORITY OVER YOU!

Derek, I am assuming with your authority beliefs that you believe you should submit to your boss? And you should obey your pastor? (I can find scriptures to support this if you like).

So, YOUR pastor insists that YOU participate in an orgy. Voice over the picture of Derek on youtube responding to his authority figure's outrageous demand with the audio from Piper:

"Pastor, I want so much to follow you as my leader. God
calls me to do that, and I would love to do that. It would
be sweet to me if I could enjoy your leadership. But if
you ask me to do this, require this of me, then I can’t go
there. . . ."

(And you have to listen to the tone of voice)

If you would respond to your pastor that way when he is requiring outrageous things of you, then you need to go have your head examined, Derek, as does any woman who responds to the "jerk husband" the way Piper teaches her to!

EricW said...

No husband has the authoritative right to tell his wife what she "must" do or not do simply because he is the husband and she is the wife. And no wife has the authoritative right to tell her husband what he "must" do or not do simply because she is the wife and he is the husband.

If you disagree with these statements, please say so and explain why.

Also, what do you think of 1 Cor 7:1-7 in relation to my above statements? Is this indeed an instance in which the husband or wife has authority (εξουσια) over his/her spouse?

Scottie said...

The degrees of ruination that come from living under an authoritarian concept are not limited to a marriage relationship.

I spent many years in a church where the pastor's (perceived, assumed) authority eroded my sense of self determination. Being told to do this, do that, being micromanaged, never an acknowledgement that perhaps the pastor was responsible for a problem or was at fault. Any problem was always the sheep's fault. If ever I voiced a concern that something was wrong or hurtful or unjust, it was reasoned away until the substance it had was ground to powder. In essence, I had no voice.

The basis for this was the concept that the leader had authority for the people's lives and would in fact give an account for our lives before God. An enormous responsibility, which can only be carried out by authoritarian control & micromanaging. Which in turn leads to the ultimate dehumanization of the one under the leader.

My experience of being controlled was not horrific and did not bear resemblence to the things Suzanne has mentioned above. However, it was another human being conrolling me, & I seemingly didn't have the right to object. And all for God and because of God! So we persevered and tried to be positive and cheerful about it.

But it ruined me. It has taken 5 years to shed the anxiety of never doing things right, not being allowed to make decisions, someone always looking over my shoulder. And being stripped of power so I didn't even have a voice. Oh, my power to work and volunteer were not messed with, the contributions were fully gleaned. But my right to have a voice and make decisions (which is power) was denied.

Too long here -- all to say, if the tidy & "domesticated" authoritarian abuse I expereinced in the removed relationship of a pastor / church member can ruin me that much, i just can't imagine the harm done in a marriage relationship.

EricW said...

Scottie:

The leader of the cult (aka "church") we belonged to trained the Bible School students via a book he had written called GOD'S PERSPECTIVE ON DELEGATED AUTHORITY. A teaching of his book was that God gives the "vision" to the leader and to disagree with the leader is to oppose God.

EricW said...

In some ways 1 Corinthians 7:1-7 might undercut any verses Complementarians use to show that the husband is "the boss." Talk about mutual submission!

Hannah Thomas said...

I'm the one that posted the video on youtube. I'm not a 'piper' supporter of this video. I will tell you the reason I placed there though.

In the past things were placed on the internet that were clearly WRONG, and then it was mysteriously brought down. If discussions were started again about the statements? It could be said it was 'taken' out of context, etc. Instead of being honest about a place in the past where they were 'ignorant' of the subject - which would have been very healing to many - they make it go away instead.

I have the recordings of Bruce Ware, and Paige Patterson making ignorant comments about domestic violence as well. Those are two people I'm sure you have heard of as well. There are others.

Derek - I didn't place it up there to 'demonize' this man. He may be a good preacher to you, and that's fine! When you have a preacher that 'makes' a mistake - and this video WAS a mistake he needs to admit. He is human afterall. The Christlike thing to do is listen to the uproar, and possibility to do some self reflection. Does he not preach that also?

He knows about how people were reacting to it, and there was a huge firestorm over it when it came out. As with most issues like this that cause an uproar? They followed what they have done in the past - ignore it. Don't address it. Don't follow up. Don't comment.

When people in the 'abuse' industry that are Christians speak up and say this is dangerous advice? You would think they may stop, and maybe listen wouldn't you? They ignored them as well.

Sadly, men like this don't understand the dynamics of domestic violence. They don't understand why people feel these presentations can cause more harm than good. What is sad is they keep doing it anyway. They never stop to ask WHY! Does that even sound Christlike to you?

Hannah Thomas said...

I think one of big issues is WHY don't people that love his preaching have such a hard time admitting this was a mistake? I get alot of speeches about how he is a sweet man, a Godly man, etc. He may have even made some good points in some spots, but overall the message was harmful.

He doesn't wish comp's to get this label of overbearing husbands and slave like wife's? You don't respond to abuse with the speeches he gave. It sends the wrong message. He being a good and Godly man doesn't change that.

He honestly didn't even speak about abuse anyway. He went on this weird side trip about a threesome, and asked the wife to give some speech about how she would love to follow his 'leadership' but she just 'can't do this.

One key statement for me? If he isn't 'harming' her, but just 'hurting' her....

Abuse is harm. Abuse victims 'minimize' their circumstances as a coping mechanism, and if he understood abuse the way he claims? He never would have gone there.

He would have reminded all abuse victims - male or female - about the position that God takes on such oppression. They need to hear a strong message, and not some limp wristed one that almost seems like he is walking a tight rope of 'politically correct' for his following. He was out of his comfort zone, and it showed!

Where is the humility when it came to admitting this? Please don't tell people to be a 'humble' leader to the masses when you can't do that yourself under such circumstances.

He does not have any domestic violence education, and its clear from the video. It was irresponsible of him to put it up, and then leave it there like an open wound by ignoring the back lash. YES - its still on the desiring god site as well.

That has nothing to do with comp verus egal. I will admit on a personal level his speech about her husband's loving leadership? The man needs to get real! You can get your message across the way it needs to be without all that stuff. He needs to be called out on his outright disrespect, and saying - she won't go there - is hardly strong enough. Does he seriously think that is any kind of confrontation? I mean THINK about it - EWW! Jesus wasn't always sugar sweet when sin was involved.

When people see this type of presentation? They don't see a man that is taking a strong stand against abuse. They see a man struggling to use his flowery adjectives to fit his message.

I will tell you what victim would hear from it. He is telling them to wait until they get hit, and then come for help.

Derek they shouldn't have to wait a 'season' - they need to ask them to come and ask NOW! Don't WAIT for a crisis! If he understood the mindset of the people he claims he is addressing? He would realize how badly he failed in this video.

Instead we hear crickets.

EricW said...

Hannah Thomas said...

...I will tell you what victim would hear from it. He is telling them to wait until they get hit, and then come for help.


And some of those who therefore wait until they get hit (Piper: "...and she endures, perhaps, being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church...") get killed instead. And they waited and died because they took Piper's advice/counsel/whatever, or because they took the advice of their Piper-revering pastor who echoed Piper's counsel, whether from the pulpit or when counseling this abused wife in his office or over the phone.

Jesus weeps.

Mara Reid said...

Eric, are you still waiting around for Derek to answer your questions?
I wonder where he went?

Yes, Hannah, that's my whole point about Piper. The video clip was a huge, huge mistake, one that undermines his position terribly.

He should have listened to the outrage, educated himself, and corrected it quickly. But he didn't.
The sacred cow (or golden calf) of male leadership is far too important to him. It is the hill he is willing to die on.

And comps who want to argue for their cause lose credibility when they try to defend what Piper says in that clip or try to tell us that we aren't listening to it properly.

They should cut their loses and say, Mr. Piper is wrong in this particular case.
Dead wrong.
Even if it is unintentional, it is abusively wrong.

Hannah Thomas said...

'''And comps who want to argue for their cause lose credibility when they try to defend what Piper says in that clip or try to tell us that we aren't listening to it properly'''

That is part I don't understand myself. I mean everyone can make mistakes. They do not realize how much 'credibility' they would gain if they truly stepped up to the plate. It would show that humble leadership they endorse.

It has nothing to do with Piper NOT being a good person, and all the rest. Good people make mistakes as well.

Instead of just admitting it, and truly looking closer by educating themselves? They miss the opportunity to truly be a messenger for Christ.

Telling people they just aren't listening or hearing the message properly? Ahem - then not doing any follow up to make sure their message is clear?

They basically are allowing people to dream up all kinds of motives, and sadly they will never admit their mistake is what started the ball rolling.

They have no one to blame but themselves. They don't present themselves as 'humble leaders' when they ignore.

If it was small numbers of people - you could maybe take that into account. It was HUGE numbers of people, and if that didn't make the message clear that HUGE numbers of people aren't grasping their message? Most would clarify.

Their silence is seen as arrogance to the masses. Their followers chant the, 'you don't understand'. They make excuses about how the person is a good person - which has NOTHING to do with this at all.

At times you need to look outside your bubble, and see if you are possibility looking 'prideful'.

They look more human than holy. The world can ignore and be silent. Where is the light they claim they wish to show?

EricW said...

Mara:

No, I'm not holding my breath. :)

Re: the August 19, 2009 John Piper video (i.e., he said this 1-1/2 years ago), it appears to have been taken down from the Desiring God Website, but I have neither seen nor read any indication that Piper has publicly retracted it and repented or apologized for it.

A Google search for

John Piper "what should a wife's"

only returns links to blogposts about this video or YouTube links to the video or a link to an MP3 audio of this.

So it appears that Mr. Piper has not done anything publicly to say anything different about this than what he said on August 19, 2009.

Since this has been making the rounds of the Internet for 1-1/2 years, he has undoubtedly received requests to explain or retract what he said here, and some of the blogs give the Desiring God address. Negative responses may explain why it's no longer on the Website.

Anonymous said...

On another blog some time ago, I pointed out this video to a comp. After he viewed it he stated that if that was the worst I could find on Piper he still held him in high esteem. I was in shock, because it seemed to me that he could not see the danger in what Piper had said, it was as if he had blinders on.

So what blinders was Piper wearing when he SAID it and what blinders was this other comp wearing when he replied. The only conclusion I can reach is they were wearing comp blinders.

Don Johnson

EricW said...

On another blog some time ago, I pointed out this video to a comp. After he viewed it he stated that if that was the worst I could find on Piper he still held him in high esteem. I was in shock, because it seemed to me that he could not see the danger in what Piper had said, it was as if he had blinders on.

So what blinders was Piper wearing when he SAID it and what blinders was this other comp wearing when he replied. The only conclusion I can reach is they were wearing comp blinders.

Don Johnson

7:48 AM


Which seems to demonstrate why the idea that women cannot be pastors (= shepherds; same word in the Greek) is ridiculous, if not dangerous. If men cannot see how abusive and dangerous this kind of teaching and counsel can be to the sheep, then someone who can see this - e.g., women - should be protecting the flock instead of them.

Mara Reid said...

Dang, Eric.
That was profound, even to someone who has been around the block more than once, like me.

Let me add, anyone who stands up for justice over hierarchy has more of a pastor's heart than those who prefer to protect their personal interests and positions.

EricW said...

Mara Reid said...

...Let me add, anyone who stands up for justice over hierarchy has more of a pastor's heart than those who prefer to protect their personal interests and positions.


Mara:

Without speaking for him, I suspect that John Piper is simply protecting God's Glory (= Nature) as he understands that to mean, and believes Complementarianism and wives' submission to their husbands is intrinsic or essential to that.

From: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/resources/what-is-gods-glory

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

What is God's glory?

Wow. That's a good question, because we talk about it endlessly, don't we? And we should know what we're talking about. And yet it is very difficult to define. I'll make a stab at it.

The reason it is so important is because in the Bible I don't know of any truth that is more fundamentally pervasive than God's zeal to be glorified, which means his zeal for us so to think, so to feel, and so to act as to make him look as glorious as he is. We don't add to his glory.

So we want to make God's glory shine. We want to make it visible. "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). So the goal of my life should be to so live that when people know me well enough, they would say, "God is glorious!" Not "John is glorious," but "God is glorious!" (Which is probably why God lets us sin as much as he does. But that's another question.)

What is it? I believe the glory of God is the going public of his infinite worth. I define the holiness of God as the infinite value of God, the infinite intrinsic worth of God. And when that goes public in creation, the heavens are telling the glory of God, and human beings are manifesting his glory, because we're created in his image, and we're trusting his promises so that we make him look gloriously trustworthy.

The public display of the infinite beauty and worth of God is what I mean by "glory," and I base that partly on Isaiah 6, where the seraphim say, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of his—" and you would expect them to say "holiness" and they say "glory." They're ascribing "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of his—" and when that goes public in the earth and fills it, you call it "glory."

So God's glory is the radiance of his holiness, the radiance of his manifold, infinitely worthy and valuable perfections.

Hannah Thomas said...

I had no idea they took the video down Eric. I just assumed it was still up.

WELL - that is the reason I uploaded it to youtube. That is what normally happens. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Let us make it very clear that in that video referred to here...Piper did not make a distinction if he was talking about a believing husband or unbelieving husband she should endure abuse from.

And you will find this lack of distinction from most of these pastors such as Ware who said that "unsubmissive" wives trigger abuse. Really? From a believing husband? he does not make a distinction.

What does this mean? It is quite scary. evidently, it is ok for him to sin for a while but she is in grave sin for not submitting to his sin....even if he claims to be a believer. Very scary.

JaneDoeThreads said...

GOOD GRIEF,

Here we go Again, let's see, using the allegory of God's Glory, the way these men, so many of these men [and sadly, their 'bunny cutsie cu-pie-girl doll' women] =

Larry Flint and his Playboy House Mansion, yep,

de Larry Flint of Christiandomville, the Mansion of de Bunny Pimp Lord with his submissive cutsie little 'tart' bunny women/wives,

the Glory, ah yes, can we hear an Amen brotha!

LOL and I thought the Secular flocks were Dumbed Down! Yee Haw--why throw me some hay there Brotha, while I roll around with me here cleavage all sweet and submissive like,

with my cutsie bunny ass, munch munch, on those Dangling Carrots of 'if you just sweetly submit honey and bend over and just give a little more' why You too, can share in de Glory of de Flint Brotherhood in his big ole Playboy House,

and uh, don't forget, bring us that glass of tea/beer/cola on you head and watch out for dose bunny ears, why we wouldn't want anything to happen to those

purty little things now would we?

ROFL, can Christian women get Any more dumber, Seriously, who follow these ridiculous teachings?

Even street whores have more dang common sense, they at Least

CHARGE to be exploited!

Jane

Jane

dorcas said...

" What Jay and many others miss (I think quite intentionally, actually - straw men are always easy to tear down) is that the Biblically minded and God fearing complementarian knows that authority is not about ordering or pushing others around - it is primarily about accepting responsibility and accountability and about channeling God given strength in a manner that is glorifying to God and edifying to others."

And when they don't, then what? We don't live in Rome and it ain't 66 AD. As far as I know, if Paul can claim his right to not be abused by a centurion, then so can I.