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Is God a Respecter of Persons?

A new article on The Christian Post talks about beliefs that God is male centered, that God prefers males more than females and that God wants Christianity to have a “masculine feel”, whatever that is. Apparently, at a conference for pastors at the Minneapolis Convention Center on January 31, 2012, a well-known complementarian pastor stated that repeatedly God has chosen the masculine over the feminine.  The speaker said ” God’s intention for Christianity is for it to have a masculine feel.”       You can view it here.          Is his statement really true?

Acts 2:14-21 quotes the prophet Joel who prophesies that God will pour out His Spirit on ALL flesh. 1 Cor. 12 does not segregate in any fashion the anointings of the Spirit and ministries into gender designations. Neither does Romans 12 or Ephesians 4.

Romans 12: 3 says (TNIV) “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you”

Is it sober thinking to claim that males are more important to God than females? What are some of the Scriptures that show otherwise?

131 Comments

  1. Comment #95594 posted February 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    There are already some strong responses to this viewpoint of a ‘masculine feel’ christianity out there and they are well worth reading to amplify the issue. I don’t want to discourage you from writing here, but it may well be worth your while to have a look at the way that others are tackling this, what I consider to be, a ‘way out there’ attitude.

    See for example:

    http://rachelheldevans.com/john-piper-masculine-christianity

    http://www.jrdkirk.com/2012/02/02/imaging-the-biblical-god/

    The writer of the post immediately above is to be one of the plenary speakers at the next CBE conference in Houston, Texas.

  2. Comment #95595 posted February 3, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Mr Piper states: ….” the fullest flourishing of women and men takes place in churches and families that have this masculine feel.”

    I don’t know in which church circles he moves but this statement alone reveals a faulty foundation on which he has obviously built his talk.

    The evidence is overwhelming that women and girls certainly do not flourish in churches and families that have a ‘masculine’ feel, and in the long run, neither do men.

    As for scriptures, Jesus stated clearly that God is Spirit…..not man, not woman, but Spirit. Masculinity is a characteristic of created beings, i.e. humans and animals. In reducing God to whatever he imagines masculinity to be Mr. Piper has tried to lower Him to the level of created humanity. Since when does God need to conform to our image….are we not meant to be aspiring to become like Him?

    The arguments he uses that God chose male apostles, male elders etc., etc., have been well and soundly debated and sound surprisingly inadequate from one who is supposed to be an established leader and teacher.

    Where was God’s alleged masculinity when Jesus compared Himself to a brooding hen in Matthew 23:37. As God incarnate shouldn’t He have chosen more ‘masculine’ terminology? Paul admonished the Thessalonians as a gentle “nursing mother” (1 Thess.2:7) then went on to compare himself as a loving father (v.11) showing that God is both ‘mother’ and ‘father’. There are numerous instances in scripture where God chose to express Himself in what would normally be considered feminine terminology.

    For me there is a vital question that arises from Mr. Piper’s teaching: what is ‘masculinity’ in any case? We have to assume that the masculinity Mr. Piper is talking about is one defined by himself. Too often the word ‘masculinity’ is used to convey a ‘macho’ stereotype. What of those men who do not fit his definition of ‘masculinity’, whatever that definition might be? (I am speaking here only of heterosexual men and not of gay or transexual men). Where do they fit into this ‘masculine’ feeling church that Mr. Piper alludes to? Or are they supposed to grin and bear it, and supposedly ‘flourish’ alongside the females?

  3. Comment #95596 posted February 3, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    We are hoping some of you guys out there will comment. Surely it must be distasteful to you as well as women ?

  4. David
    Comment #95602 posted February 4, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Yes, very distasteful! But be encouraged, Liz, guys are posting, just not here. Rachel Held Evans (mentioned above by Trevor) has given a call for guys to post responses to this speech. Around 70 responses have come in so far:

    http://rachelheldevans.com/thank-you-brothers-links#disqus_thread

    My own humble contribution can be found here:

    http://cramercomments.blogspot.com/2012/02/john-pipers-masculine-christianity.html

  5. Comment #95603 posted February 4, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Piper and the Grudem gang make too much of differences. They want to sort and choose, then promote their favorite characteristics which just happen to be male skills. They ignore, demean or use for the benefit the ‘characteristics’ and skills that women tend to bring into the world. This is the way that pride works. A prideful person values primarily his own personality type, his own individuality, his own skills. A prideful person demotes those not like him.

    And now they want to make God like them. It’s a sad state of affairs. And it is sadder still that it is so public.

    It is important that we tell the world that God loves all people. He did not die primarily for men but He’ll allow the women to come along. Christ died for every person and anyone who is willing to believe in Him will be saved if they will walk toward God in faith. Everyone who walks toward the Lord Jesus Christ in faith can receive the Holy Spirit and become a child of God, a full inheritor of all God’s blessings. God looks at the heart, not as we humans who see only the outward appearance.

  6. Don
    Comment #95604 posted February 4, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Piper reveals where the distortions of Scripture inculcated by CBMW are headed as he sees it. His is a “prophetic” voice asking women to accept their subordination and like it, since that is what he sees God as teaching; it simply must be what God wants. He is nearing the end of his ministry and wants to be seen as “fighting the good fight” to keep men on top in church and home.

    How impoverishing to the body of Christ!

  7. Charis
    Comment #95606 posted February 4, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I’m afraid the scripture that comes to mind when considering this proclamation of a “masculine god” is:

    21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
    22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
    23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, Romans 1

  8. Comment #95607 posted February 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    I’m absolutely gobsmacked that someone can believe that it was ever God’s intention that Christianity should have a ‘masculine feel’, let alone so sincerely teach it! The comment that David has made in his response (linked above, 95602) gives an insight into what drives these men to adopt such a strong male presence in every aspect of church and home life, but that doesn’t make it right.

    As Cheryl has ably pointed out God is not male, but Spirit, and in that sense without gender so his supposed ‘maleness’ should have no influence on the church, the bride of Christ, needing to be led solely by strong, masculine men. It’s interesting too that the very term, ‘bride of Christ’, in describing the church, comprises both men and women yet it is a feminine role which in this case includes men! I know that it is metaphorical, but go figure.

    The whole concept of a ‘masculine feel’ christianity seems to me to be pushing the issue too far in an attempt to legitimise male dominated leadership in both the church and the home. First we have the suggestion of the necessity for the ‘eternal subordination of the Son’ to justify women being in submission to men, both now and in eternity, now this additional twist. Both issues are extreme.

    All of this is suspended on the notion that this is God’s order and intent. But is it? All of Scripture is written, or influenced, by people who were locked into male dominated cultures so it is not surprising that there should be a preponderance of male centred terminology. However, all Scripture is God breathed, or inspired, therefore it is not surprising that despite the over-riding patriarchy there are many instances of individual women being outside of this ethnic and cultural typecasting.

    If it were God’s order and intention that leadership should be solely male there is no way that these ‘anomalies’ would have been allowed to creep into Scripture. Women of the biblical era were basically ‘keepers’ at home. The structure of society demanded it because women had no singular means of supporting themselves. Yet you have the Proverbs 31 woman. Moses’ sister Miriam rises to prominence. Abraham’s wife Sarah instructs (at God’s suggestion) her husband. Huldah the prophetess is consulted and her words acted on by Israel’s leaders, even though other prominent male prophets were her peers. Ruth, a Moabitess behaves differently than most other gentile women and is honoured by being in the line of Christ, as is Rahab the inn-keeper from Jericho. Rebekah took matters into her own hands to make sure that prophecy was fulfilled and that her son Jacob should get the promised inheritance. Isaac wasn’t so prophetically astute. Then there is the account of Esther, risking her life by defying the King’s regal protocol to save the nation Israel. We haven’t yet made mention of Deborah, the warrior judge of Israel and what of Abigail who defied her foolish husband by going out to meet with David, bringing him provisions for his fighting men, later to become one of King David’s wives. The list could go on and we are still in the OT. None of these accounts would have found their way into Scripture in the way that they are if it were God’s intention that leadership should only be male.

    What of the NT. Immediately we are introduced to Elizabeth and Mary. Both women experienced an angelic visitation and instruction from God aside from their husband and fiance respectively. In fact Zecharia was dumfounded! Then we have the women who were a part of the discipleship group of Jesus. Mary’s desire to sit and learn at the feet of Jesus, an action which He praised highly. The woman who sneaked into the presence of a male dominated dinner and washed Jesus feet with her tears and the other who broke the alabaster box of ointment and anointed his feet, again both women highly praised for their actions. Both women behaved unusually and did things that were culturally unacceptable, but were accepted without question by Jesus. Then there are the emerging women leaders in the infant church. Lydia, the gentile seller of purple. Priscilla, Phoebe, Junia, Euodia, Synteche, the list goes on as we take the time to scour the NT references. Most of these women are stand out leaders in the early church.

    Again I submit that none of these women would have been mentioned, in the ways that they were, if it were not for the fact that God’s intention from the beginning is that women should be included despite the male dominated cultures that emerged since sin first entered and brought about the fallenness of humanity. Sin changed everything and gave rise to male domination. In Christ all of that is meant to be reversed as Jesus came to set the captives free, which says to me that women are fully emancipated in Christ from all ethnic, religious or culturally imposed male domination. The church should be at the forefront of heralding this exceptionally good news for women.

  9. Charis
    Comment #95608 posted February 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    When I was struggling with the belief that God loves His male children more, the Lord used John 20 where Mary Magdalene is chosen first to encounter the Risen Christ and is sent first to proclaim the Good News.

    Mary Magdalene has
    an intensely intimate encounter
    with the Risen Lord
    in the Garden.
    HE calls her “woman”.
    She thinks he is “the gardener” (KEEPER of the garden)
    HE calls her “Mary” and she KNOWS instantly it is HE…

    The veil lifted and I suddenly realized that the moment harks back to the first Adam and the first woman in the Garden.
    Adam was assigned to be the KEEPER of the garden
    He failed :(
    Jesus is the KEEPER who fulfills the assignment flawlessly.

    I identify with walking in Mary Magdelene’s sandals.

    I can…
    … walk in the Garden with JESUS, the second Adam, the KEEPER who will not fail.
    … partake of intimacy with my risen Lord in the garden.
    … feel the intense gratitude for His mercy,
    the intense security of His perfect love.
    … wash His feet with my tears and wipe them with my hair,
    … pour out my inheritance, my alabaster box of precious ointment… upon my Lord.
    HE is worthy
    HE is good

  10. JDM
    Comment #95609 posted February 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    I too am gobsmacked, though I’ve never heard that especially colorful word before.

    Among the many good points made so far is Trevor’s regarding the Church being described as the Bride of Christ. A masculine bride? Piper has glaringly and intentionally overlooked that central metaphor.

    On another note, mega-church ministers are, among other things, marketers. Piper knows that controversy attracts attention. Attention attracts visitors. Some visitors become members. Thus making controversial statements in public is a way to widen the top of the church growth funnel.

  11. Comment #95610 posted February 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    “The veil lifted and I suddenly realized that the moment harks back to the first Adam and the first woman in the Garden. Adam was assigned to be the KEEPER of the garden He failed :( Jesus is the KEEPER who fulfills the assignment flawlessly.”

    Charis, thankyou for sharing that revelation. It is beautiful.

  12. Comment #95611 posted February 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    I echo the appreciation of Charis’s comment. Well said.

    In addition, we are all given the important responsibility of KEEPING God’s Word. We are also ‘keepers’.

    Matt. 19:16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good[e] Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
    17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

    IN Jesus we can do what Adam failed to do. All of us.

  13. Michelle
    Comment #95612 posted February 4, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I am grateful to the men who speak up for the character of God, who includes women fully in (his) church. For without the help (the voices!) of the powerful, the chances for the excluded are far less.

    Thank you.

  14. Frank
    Comment #95614 posted February 5, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Though I find Piper’s recent proclamation of a “masculine god” and of a “masculine Christianity” abhorent, I believe the critiques by Cheryl and Trevor quite adequately expose and refute this perversion of the doctrine of God and of the Gospel of Christ.

    And another Scripture that speaks to the idolatry of Piper and company is Deut. 4:15-18, “You saw no form of any kind at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air,or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below.”

    From an OT perspective, the worship of a “male god” was known as Baalism, a false and idolatrous religion that threatened the worship and service of Yahweh, the One True God, who transcends all arbitrary categories of the masculine and the feminine. Elijah gave a challenge in ancient Israel that needs a fresh hearing in the Church today: “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Ki 18:21, TNIV).

  15. Comment #95615 posted February 5, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Excellent Frank. Also Numbers 23 says
    “19 “God is not a man, that He should lie,
    Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
    Has He said, and will He not do?
    Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

    In the original Hebrew the words used are : God is not a male, and not a son of a human. So in God’s own words God does not want to be compared to males or masculine humans. IMO God is beyond gender, even though human gender encompasses many godly characteristics. God is Creator.

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