Kay Bonikowsky: God Gave Christianity a Blended Feel

… but John Piper wants to divide the sexes and put God on one side. Or more specifically, God is already on one side, and He’s invited men to join Him.

John Piper’s recent statements at the Desiring God: Man, Manhood & Ministry Conference sadden and infuriate me. Here’s a taste, if you can stomach it:

For the sake of the glory of women, and for the sake of the security and joy of children, God has made Christianity to have a masculine feel. He has ordained for the church a masculine ministry.

It’s the feel of a great, majestic God, who by his redeeming work in Jesus Christ, inclines men to take humble, Christ-exalting initiative, and inclines women to come alongside the men with joyful support, intelligent helpfulness, and fruitful partnership in the work.

And here are a few ironic quotes:

Therefore, a masculine ministry puts men at the head of the troop with the flag in hand and the trumpets in their mouths, so that they, and not the women, take the first bullets.

The point is that when the foundations of the church are crumbling, the men should not stand still and wait for women to seize the tools and brick and mortar. And women should expect their men to be at the forefront of rebuilding the ruins.

The point is that the theme of Christian warfare and other rugged aspects of biblical theology and life should draw the men of the church to take them up in the spirit of a protective warrior in his family and “tribe,” rather than expecting the women to take on the spirit of a combatant for the sake of the church.

The aim of a masculine ministry is the fullest engagement of every member of the church in joyful, fruitful ministry. The aim of leadership is not to be the ministry, but to free the ministry, according to God’s word, by the power of God’s Spirit, for the glory of God’s name.

There is so much wrong with the following quote, my mind is seizing up making a coherent rebuttal.

The point is not that women are unable to lift the weight or bear the pain of the reality of hell. The point is not that they are unable to press it into those who don’t want to hear. The point is that one of the marks of mature manhood is the inclination to spare her that load and its costs. We admire her for embracing the truth, we share her longings to nurture with tenderness, and, if we can, we carry for her the flaming coals of final condemnation.

In his effort to define masculinity in his own image, Piper has seriously marred the image of God found in every woman.

*Rachel Held Evans has put the call out for men to respond to Piper’s outrageous misogyny here. Follow the links to read what men are saying in defense of Christian women.

15 thoughts on “Kay Bonikowsky: God Gave Christianity a Blended Feel

  1. I think the problem is some people read what Piper says and see all the adjectives. And some people read what Piper says and see all the nouns. And we know from writing classes nouns trump adjectives.


    1. Brilliant.
      I ache. Because Piper was the transition from a legaistic, binding, fear-filled form of Christianity to freedom in Christ for me, I wonder how he can be so blind and irrational about this topic?


    2. Jamie, you’re not the only one to notice his way of using adjectives.

      I typed this earlier today for a blog entry, but then posted the blog entry without it as it is an off-topic rant:

      It’s the feel of a great, majestic God who is by His redeeming work in Christ inclining men to humble Christ-exalting initiatives and inclining women to come alongside those men with joyful support, intelligent helpfulness, and fruitful partnership in the work.”
      I wish Piper & Co would cut the adjectives. What he is saying is: “God is inclining men to initiatives and inclining women to support, help, and partner in the work.” If the whole damned complementarian movement were to cut adjectives, their meaning would be a lot clearer.


      1. Nice! I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed it. (No really, after I posted this comment I walked away wondering if anyone would understand what I was trying to say, if it even made sense.)

        But yes, the whole reason I noticed this was because I was tripping over the adjectives to try and figure out what exactly Piper was saying. It’s at best terrible writing and at worse deceptive and/or unnecessarily obtuse.

        It’s like they know what they’re saying goes against the spirit of Christianity so much they load it up with Christian adjectives and hope no one will notice.


  2. Piper’s a douche, and willfully ignorant on things that contradict his worldview. (I knew his son in college and can personally attest to this. Plus, who names their kid ‘Barnabas’ unless they want them constantly ridiculed?).

    The Bible expresses both masculine and feminine characteristics of God (not surprising since the genders represent different aspects of His being). Any bias in favor of men is simply a reflection of the cultural and logistic realities ancient world.

    That’s one man’s response to “Piper’s outrageous misogyny” 🙂


  3. So John Piper doesn’t want to worry our pretty little heads with the hard stuff of Christianity, huh? And therefore he doesn’t think any man should worry any woman’s pretty little head with that stuff, but gallantly shoulder the burden for her.

    Funny. God didn’t seem to have any such qualms when it came to the burden He asked Mary to carry. He didn’t even consult her father about it. He went directly to her, and she didn’t shrink back from the calling.

    John Piper is a man of an earlier generation, and he thinks we all should go back to those times in the 1950’s where he prefers to stay.


  4. I saw this and figured you’d be commenting on it soon. Absolutely ridiculous. I liked how one of the commenters on Rachel Held Evan’s blog said this smacks of gnosticism. Since Jesus was a man and the disciples are men therefore the whole religion is masculine. Um, no. Religion doesn’t have a body so it can’t be masculine. The majority of the Trinity doesn’t have a body either and so can’t be masculine. We could say Jesus is masculine but that’s hardly revelatory.

    Another commenter said we might also say “Christianity has a distinctly Jewish flavor,” since Jesus was Jewish as were the 12 apostles and Yahweh was the god of the Jews, and make sweeping generalizations about how only Jews can lead, etc.

    What a


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