John Piper takes leave of ministry to work on his marriage
On March 28, 2010 complementarian John Piper announced that he is leaving ministry for a time because of several issues of pride that were affecting his soul and had taken a toll on his relationship with his wife Noël . Below is what Piper has written about his issues and his next steps. It would be a good time to pray for John Piper. It appears that being a rock solid complementarian is not a guarantee that a happy and fulfilling marriage will ensue.
As you may have already heard in the sermon from March 27-28, the elders graciously approved on March 22 a leave of absence that will take me away from Bethlehem from May 1 through December 31, 2010. We thought it might be helpful to put an explanation in a letter to go along with the sermon.
I asked the elders to consider this leave because of a growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, I love my Lord, my wife, my five children and their families first and foremost; and I love my work of preaching and writing and leading Bethlehem. I hope the Lord gives me at least five more years as the pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem.
But on the other hand, I see several species of pride in my soul that, while they may not rise to the level of disqualifying me for ministry, grieve me, and have taken a toll on my relationship with Noël and others who are dear to me. How do I apologize to you, not for a specific deed, but for ongoing character flaws, and their effects on everybody? I’ll say it now, and no doubt will say it again, I’m sorry. Since I don’t have just one deed to point to, I simply ask for a spirit of forgiveness; and I give you as much assurance as I can that I am not making peace, but war, with my own sins.
Noël and I are rock solid in our commitment to each other, and there is no whiff of unfaithfulness on either side. But, as I told the elders, “rock solid” is not always an emotionally satisfying metaphor, especially to a woman. A rock is not the best image of a woman’s tender companion. In other words, the precious garden of my home needs tending. I want to say to Noël that she is precious to me in a way that, at this point in our 41-year pilgrimage, can be said best by stepping back for a season from virtually all public commitments.
No marriage is an island. For us this is true in two senses. One is that Noël and I are known inside-out by a few friends at Bethlehem—most closely by our long-time colleagues and friends David and Karin Livingston, and then by a cluster of trusted women with Noël and men with me. We are accountable, known, counseled, and prayed for. I am deeply thankful for a gracious culture of transparency and trust among the leadership at Bethlehem.
The other way that our marriage is not an island is that its strengths and defects have consequences for others. No one in the orbit of our family and friends remains unaffected by our flaws. My prayer is that this leave will prove to be healing from the inside of my soul, through Noël’s heart, and out to our children and their families, and beyond to anyone who may have been hurt by my failures.
By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org
Read the full statement here on Piper’s Desiring God web site.
The one thing that I noticed when I was doing research on the complementarian worldview was that the leaders who were the most transparent admitted that especially in the early years of their marriage, the complementarian lifestyle brought problems into their marriages. One popular preacher said that his wife felt like she was not a person. I am certain that I heard John Piper talk about problems like this in his marriage at one point and it is not uncommon for a woman to feel like she is so focused on lifting up her husband’s ministry that who she is as a person becomes vague. Does God really care about her or is her husband God’s main focus? The loss of personhood can be especially devastating when the children leave home since the complementarian teaching that the woman’s main calling in life is to be a wife and mother can leave her own individual gifts undeveloped or set on the back burner to support her husband.
While we may not agree with the complementarian view of marriage and ministry, we can be there to help complementarians when there are problems and failures from a male-only focused ministry and marriage. When women are held back from passionately pursuing ministry with the gifts that God has given them, the church will be hurt because we are all needed. If we give unrestricted authority to use’s gift to one spouse alone, pride is inevitably going to be a by-product. I believe that God is working today to bring the church into a more balanced position where all of His gifts are accepted no matter which vessel the Holy Spirit desires to use.
74 thoughts on “John Piper takes leave of ministry to work on his marriage”
My prayers are with him and his family.
PIPER PRIDE STOPS JOHN FROM PREACHING …?
I want to not only pray for John Piper, but to (politely, I hope) suggest to those of us who are egalitarian to keep our comments on this matter as respectful as possible. In a situation like this, it is all to easy for me to see those of us who oppose Piper on ideological issues as taking the opportunity to fire cheap shots. This, if and when it happens, will not reflect well on egalitarianism. We would do best to simply remain silent.
I hope that, whatever God is telling Piper he needs to work on, that Piper is able to use this time of sabbatical to the fullest.
Thanks for that thought. We do need to keep as respectful as we can with brothers in Christ who differ over the non-essentials.
Feeling compassion for Piper and his family.
Feeling compassion for anyone with a family and the “Title” pastor.
Seems “Pastor/Reverend/Leader” is a very dangerous “position.”
This info is from a sites helping “Burned Out Pastors.”
# 95% of pastors do not regularly pray with their spouses.
# 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
…………….Many pastor’s children do not attend church now
…………….because of what the church has done to their parents.
# 80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose a different profession.
# 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
# 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
# 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
# 33% confess inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church.
• 77% say they do “not” have a good marriage.
• 38% are divorced or seriously considering divorce.
Think there might be a problem with “Pastor/Reverend/Leader?”
I can still hear the tone of withheld amazement in Piper’s voice when some years ago John Piper talked about a conversation he had with God when he first realized that his wife was equal to him. My first response was that I wondered what his marriage was like before he realized that women were equal to men. My second thought was I wondered where this would lead John in the future. One thing I’ve always appreciated about Piper is that he has a sincere passion. Now I wonder with some amazement myself, if this concern with personal pride is a result of that initial insight of woman’s equality with man.
My applause is to Piper for his passionate decision to get things in order in the Lord. I pray that he comes out of it a better person and more in tune with mutuality and unity in his marriage and a new and better vision of the mutuality and unity God means for the body of believers.
In Piper’s sermon, where the statement came from, he mentions that the best way for Noël and what she wants is for him to step away from ministry for 8 months. Now I wonder if John Piper considers himself submitting to his wife? I say that he is in a loving way serving her by submitting to her needs. Would a complementarian see him as submitting?
If John Piper came to the realization that his wife was equal to him, then he should have renounced complementarianism. Since he has yet to do so, we can only surmise that the equality he refers to is the complementarian form which lacks all substance in practical application and is no equality at all. Troubled marriages are painful beyond words. I don’t believe anyone wants to see the Piper marriage fail. My prayer is that John and Noël Piper will be able to resolve their marital difficulties successfully .
You are right in that “equality” is not the same in a complementarian marriage. And whether we are comps or egals we can earnestly desire a successful resolve to their marital difficulties that has appeared because of Piper’s self-confessed root of pride.
And welcome to my blog and I hope you feel at home here!
I wonder how far that “root of pride” goes? Does it include a tendancy to control Noel? To abuse her?
If so, taking 8 months off work is likely to make matters worse, not better. Men who are prone to abuse tend to increase the abuse during holidays and breaks from school.
8 months is a long time to completely stop work, especially when one considers that Piper has been putting out a book every month for at least a year, and has one scheduled for release every month until November 2010 (check Amazon’s search John Piper function.)
How is a person who has been so over-scheduled to deal with having lots of time on his hands? Given his pattern of minimizing, dening and blaming, he is likely to blame Noel for his frustration at having nothing to do, and minimize the seriousness of his action, and deny that it is sin.
If John Piper ever needed our prayers, it is NOW!
A book a month? Wow! Makes me wonder about the quality of the content.
And yes, I agree, he and Noel need everyone’s prayers.
Sometimes pastors have an editor who takes their sermons and makes them into books. That is the kind of help that John MacArthur has and it may also be what Piper is doing.
This time away ministry will likely be hard on Piper and that will likely filter through to his wife. They do need our prayers to deal with their issues and move on in God’s strength.
1Ti 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
1Ti 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
1Ti 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
1Ti 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
Tit 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
e pogue, welcome to my blog!
Those are some great Scriptures you have quoted. Which ones are you intending to apply to John Piper?
You made some very absurd assumptions about John Piper: “a tendancy to control Noel? To abuse her?” and “Given his pattern of minimizing, dening and blaming, he is likely to blame Noel for his frustration at having nothing to do, and minimize the seriousness of his action, and deny that it is sin.” That’s ridiculous. You should be ashamed. The sounds of a clanging symbol.
Welcome to my blog. Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion. Perhaps you may want to ask Waneta Dawn what information led her to believe that Piper’s sin that he talks about is controlling or why she thinks that he may have a tendency to abuse as part of the pride that he has admitted. But to say that she should be ashamed and her words are that of a clanging symbol would not be the right way to provide what you think is correction to your sister in Christ. I try very hard to encourage a respectful tone here for both egalitarians and complementarians so that we have more reason to love one another for the sake of Christ. If we choose our words wisely instead of judging another’s opinion I think our love and unity might come through better.
John Piper said…
“I see “several species of pride in my soul” that, while they may not rise to the level of “disqualifying me” for ministry, grieve me, and have taken a toll on my relationship with Noël and others who are dear to me. ”
Hmmm? “several species of pride in my soul”
Hmmm? “may not rise to the level of disqualifying me for ministry”
Would like to know, if anyone has a reasonable answer,
“How many,” species of pride, does it take to “disqualify” Piper,
or anyone with the “Title” and “position” of pastor/leader?
Seems one of the qualifications for elder/bishop is “Blameless.” Oy Vey!
Paul didn’t say “they” can grow into being blameless.
To be ordained bishop “they” must “be” blameless.
Titus 1:6 **If**any be blameless…
Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless…
If an elder/bishop is no longer “Blameless” – “species of pride,”
Waneta is fully capable of answering you for herself.
But while we wait for her to come visit, thought I’d throw a couple things out that you may not know.
Emotional, Spiritual, and even physical abuse is at a much higher percentage among pastors than what polite people want to know about. Many of the women I know who came out of abusive situations were actually married to pastors, missionaries, evangelists that were completely beloved by their congretions, churches. The abuse was totally hidden within the home.
Chances are, if Piper really holds to the things he teaches, what Waneta speaks of, in part if not in total, are completely possible.
Men who believe the things Piper teaches concerning women, family, and abuse set themselves up for a very real ‘pride before the fall’ crisis. What Piper teaches sets men up to glory in their ‘manly’ flesh and think more highly of themselves than they ought. It sets them up to stand proud rather than kneeling in utter dependance before God.
He may not be guilty of the things Waneta describes. But chances are, these pride issues that he leaves un-named may very well be linked to his wrong views on gender, marriage, and authority.
My prayer for him, Pastor Piper, is that he would be fully able to take hold of God in prayer and learn the meaning of the words of Jesus who washed the disciples feet.
I do want all my brothers and sisters (and I include myself because I know I have far to go), I want us all to have a deeper knowledge and understanding of the heart of God.
wow, I missed e pogue’s comment.
e pogue, these verses aren’t for Piper. They are for men who gather scriptures out of context, fit them together to form a club and use them to shamelessly abuse women.
Psalm 14:2&3 The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the SONS OF MEN, to see if there are any who understand (acts wisely) who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (also found in Psalm 53:2&3, in the presence of two witnesses, so this MUST be true of all men for all time)
Judges 3:7 And the SONS of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.
Psalm 62:9 Men of low degree are only vanity, and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath.
Romans 3:4a May it never be! Rather, let God be true, though every man be found a liar…
Psalm 116:11 I said in my alarm, “All men are liars!”
(Oooo. Another twofer. All men must be liars since it is found in two places)
Isaiah 2:22 Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils’ For why should he be esteemed.
Isaiah 2:11 The proud look of man will be abased, And the loftiness of men will be humbled.
I have more scriptures than these. I keep finding them throughout the Bible. And I’ve only begun to look for them.
Is this a fun game e pogue?
Do you like this?
The difference between you and me is that I really don’t think the Bible should be used as a club on anyone, male or female.
You think it IS a club for beating women and freely abuse the Word of God by so doing. Are you married? Do you have kids? Do you beat your children with God’s word with the same hatred you beat your wife?
Wonder what God thinks of you mishandling His words like this?
I’d hate to think.
There are things we know for certain about Piper’s marriage – because he says himself – “rock solid” is not always an emotionally satisfying metaphor, especially to a woman” and they need “healing from the inside of my soul, through Noël’s heart,” to his credit, Piper admits “pride in my soul that…, grieve me, and have taken a toll on my relationship with Noël and others.”
We could speculate all day because pride has some basic manifestations, but one thing is obvious – that whatever Piper’s “species” are, they are serious enough to require giving his *full* attention to restoring the emotional bond with his wife.
Having a “rock solid” commitment to stay married is not the same as having a healthy emotional bond. I’m thankful that it seems Piper has recognized that.
I hope that his example will be followed by many in the comp. movement.
“You made some very absurd assumptions about John Piper: “a tendancy to control Noel? To abuse her?” and “Given his pattern of minimizing, dening and blaming, he is likely to blame Noel for his frustration at having nothing to do, and minimize the seriousness of his action, and deny that it is sin.” That’s ridiculous. You should be ashamed. The sounds of a clanging symbol.”
Mara’s response to you is indeed on target. Pastors, clergy, faith leaders are the #1 perpetrators of domestic violence against their family members–especially their wives. Law enforcement is 2nd. (Law enforcement used to be #1, but in recent years faith clergy have surpassed them.)
In addition, Piper’s own comments and advice in the u-tube clip showed him minimizing the seriousness of abuse calling it “verbal unkindness” and saying a wife should “endure it for a season” and when her husband smacks her one night, she should call her pastor in the morning.
In Piper’s statement, attitude and body language (a chuckle!!) it is clear he does not consider verbal and emotional abuse to actually be a part of domestic violence. (In fact, I found that in the writing of a CBMW member.) He also blames the wives for that “verbal unkindness,” and tells them they must submit to their husbands unless the husbands are demanding something that is “clearly sin.” The examples he gives are of “gross sexual sin,” which suggests he is saying that “verbal unkindness” doesn’t count as sin, and that a wife should submit to a husband who is calling her names and degrading her.
So he is denying to wives the guidance to help them deal with their husband’s sin before it grows so large and so entrenched that her husband will be unlikely to EVER stop being abusive.
Piper is also refusing to help wives deal with a life-threatening situation. Yes, LIFE-THREATENING! The best predictor of physical violence (which can be lethal with the first shove or blow) is verbal and emotional abuse. Men who use verbal and emotional abuse, increase the severity of abuse over time, and escalate the frequency of the abuse as well. To tell women to wait until they have been hit before they ask for help, is to deny the sinfulness of verbal/emotional/spiritual abuse. It also denies other forms of physical abuse. Furthermore, he should advise a wife to call the police, not her pastor, if her husband smacks her, and she should NOT wait until morning, but should call as soon as it is safe to call.
ChadH, I was a facilitator of a men’s group, called the Batterers Education Program, run by the department of corrections in my county. I learned that the men who defend the abusive behaviors of other abusive men usually abuse their own wives, or want to reserve the right to do so. In addition, men who show SOME of the traits of abusers are likely to have more of those traits show up in private.
The words out of Piper’s own mouth indicate he permits husbands to use abusive and controlling behavior against their wives. It is not a stretch at all to point out that Piper may well be abusing Noel.
Additonally, Christian women who have lived through abuse, myself included, have begun to realize that the “roles” complementarians assign to husbands and wives are the not only the seedbed for abuse, but are in fact abusive. Telling wives that they have no decision-making power to navigate their own lives, except the power to defer everything to their husbands, sets husbands up to abuse and sets wives up to allow themselves to be abused.
To see more on this subject, see my blog post @ http://submissiontyranny.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html, dated 3-24-10, titled “CBMW Uses Power and Control Tools of Abusers.” It was shortly after I posted this, that Piper informed his congregation he was taking 8 months off.
I am very concerned for Noel. As stated before, men who are used to finding their identity in their work can get quite testy and abusive during 3-4 day weekends, and even more so during an 8 month absense from work. Given Piper’s permissive attitude toward the abusiveness of other husbands, it is a very small step for him to permit the same behavior for himself–and do it.
My statement here is not so much to put Piper down. Instead, it is to hold him and those who agree with him accountable. It is to show that his beliefs, and the beliefs of the CMBW are dangerous for the whole family. Does a member of the CBMW have to get killed by a family member before they will bother to take a closer look at scripture? I hope not!
There is no excuse for abuse.
“Verbal unkindness” is abuse. 🙁
You also write…
“Pastors, clergy, faith leaders are the #1 perpetrators of domestic violence against their family members–especially their wives. Law enforcement is 2nd. (Law enforcement used to be #1, but in recent years faith clergy have surpassed them.)”
My attention has been on; Pastors, Clergy and Faith Leaders
as the #1 perpetrators of “Spiritual Abuse.”
In my experience…
Pastor/Leader = exercise authority = lord it over = spiritual abuse = always
Titles become Idols. (Ezek 14:1-7)
Pastors become Masters. (Mat 23:10 KJV)
Was wondering – Where can I find the “official stat’s or rankings” showing
Faith Leaders as #1 perpetrators of domestic violence?
Blessings and enCOURAGEment with your efforts
WoW! I could use some references for that. It would come in very handy in teaching. What sources are you using?
The info about clergy being the #1 perpetrators of domestic violence can be found on a you-tube clip on Hannah’s “Emotional Abuse and Your Faith” blog, March 17, 2009, the second Caryn Burton clip, which is 8.33 min.
Note that clergy and faith leaders includes all faiths. However, (my addition) Christianity is still the majority faith here in the USA.
The speaker, Caryn Burton, is the training director for the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Inc
Interestingly, if you listen to the first clip, you will hear that when women do abuse men, they often do more damage, because they have to compensate for the size/strength difference.
My comment: In spite of this, for the most part it is still women who end up in emergency rooms or dead. If I recall correctly, according to statistics, women are doing 15% of the abuse, while men are doing 85%. I bring this up for those who want to beat the “women are abusers, too” drum. Most of the time, the women who do abuse are doing so to protect themselves against an abusive husband/partner.
good links. thanks!
Waneta, I have to comment on the “Women who do abuse are more likely defending themselves…” I know what you meant and it is a valid point. But I have to add, defending one’s self–even by taking the offense–is not abuse and cannot be considered female violence. The last time I looked, self defense was not considered violence or abuse and was not against the law.
The numbers are terribly skewed in the “female violence” arena. Yes, females are growing more violent, but no more so than the ratio of violence in the culture at large is growing.
Many times, a domestic violence victim fights back in an effort to escape (the door is usually being blocked, the phone is ripped out of the wall or smashed to pieces, etc..) and she winds up being accused of assault and getting arrested herself, then the numbers get added to statistics on “gender violence committed by females.” This is so deceiving. Abusers are notorious for baiting their victims so they can claim they were attacked. I already knew this of course from first hand experience, but a police officer who responded to one of my calls for help confirmed it as well when he advised me to get out of the house because of the danger of that very thing happening.
As well, jocelyn, verbal abuse is so soul threatening that some women take on abusive responses in a mostly futile attempt to get the husband to just shut up. Then they get in the habit of also yelling and also cussing and also name calling. It really is difficult to take abuse in silence.
“My attention has been on; Pastors, Clergy and Faith Leaders
as the #1 perpetrators of “Spiritual Abuse.”
In my experience…
Pastor/Leader = exercise authority = lord it over = spiritual abuse = always”
A Amos Love,
I, too, have seen it time and time again. When a pastor has the power, he abuses it.
Could you describe how you think churches ought to operate? More like the Quakers do? BTW, I know very little of how Quaker meetings are run, but I do know Quakers were the first to consider women as equals, and the women who started the women’s movement were Quakers, who already had practice with public speaking, etc–the jobs men normally hold in other denominations.
2nd, are you in such a church group?
Jocelyn and TL,
Thank-you for fleshing out my comment. Sometimes I forget that not everyone knows that self-defense is not considered violence, and forget to mention that police use a woman’s defending herself as another static to add to the supposed growing “women’s violence.”
“Abusers are notorious for baiting their victims so they can claim they were attacked.”
So true. And also to get their victims to participate in order to feed the fire, which they thrive on. It is difficult to ascertain the situation in society by statistics. All the statistics are tainted. Pretty much I’d say that Satan has so warped the male female relationship by his influence that all women all over the world live under some degree of male violence and male domination. AND women in self defense have adopted some of the same tactics even with other women in order to sort of manage to hold their own standing and ‘freedoms’.
In many ways some countries have stepped back from some of the male power and control but not all. It’s like sin. We cannot eradicate sin. It will pop up here and there. We cannot eradicate male dominance, power and control because it is a sin issue which Satan has caused men to fall prey to. Even though we may make laws to stand against some of the fouler practices of it, this will only curb the practice to differing degrees in different countries depending upon their cultures. Ultimately, women must stand up with men against this and must do so from the standpoint of Scripture. Only the truths of Scripture and the HS are able to clear men’s and women’s minds from this evil.
“Could you describe how you think churches ought to operate?”
“More like the Quakers do?”
From the little I know, I do like what George Fox and the “Quakers” had to say.
Everyone has the inner light – Jesus. No Titles. No paid Clergy. Only brethren.
“All” can, and are expected to, participate in the meeting. 1 Cor 14:26.
Of course their beliefs got a lot of them thrown in prison. Some paid with their life.
“Christiandumb” is often a bloody sport. 🙁
When you challenge the “Traditions and Doctrines of men” in power.
When those with “Titles” and “Position” see their “Power, Profit, and Prestige,
being questioned and diminished by us “lower” class christians. Ouch!!! 🙁
I think, in the beginning, “Quakers” was a dirogatory term.
When they came together “ALL” would wait on God.
When a believer heard from God, sometimes, they would begin to “quake” or tremble.
The official name is, “The Religious Society of Friends.“
Jesus said, “I no longer call you seservnts… I have called you friends. John 15:15
begun by George Fox in England. Goggle it. You’ll find lot’s of info.
IMO – the downside is they turned it into another sect and denomination. Oy Vey!!!
Don’t know how much of “Jesus” today. Seems a lot of “Social Justice” stuff.
I’m still looking for and desireing to be with Jesus.
Looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame…
“Could you describe how you think churches ought to operate?”
First off – Which “Church” are we talking about? 😉
1 – “The Church of God.”
2 – the church of man.
It seems from your writing and thinking process
you have spent a lot of time researching and teaching about
the horror of male-dominance, domestic violence, and abuse. Kudos.
You really know what you know, and you’re passionate about it.
I’m thinking you’ll also have to do that with the word “Church.”
I suffered thru “Spiritual Abuse” from “Men in Power.”
I was taught, some, men with “titles,” where there by God, for my protection.
I was taught, some, are “God Ordained Authority in the church.”
And I needed to **submit** to “God Ordained Authority in the church.”
If not – I was bad, I was in rebellion and I was in trouble with God.
I was not to say much, disagree with, or “Touch God’s Anointed.”
I was allowed and encouraged to – Pray, Pay, and Obey…
And I believed them. Oy Vey!!! 🙁
Of course, with God, there is always a benefit… 😉
The “Spiritual Abuse” drives you to Jesus… 😉
And you learn, you can get it from Jesus, directly.
You become a “Disciple of Christ.” And learn from Him.
NO longer a “disciple of man.” You need NO?MAN teach you.
It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.
Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice,
that he might instruct thee:
1 John 2:26-27
These [things] have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you,
and, **ye need not that any “man” teach you:**
“Disciple” means, learner and student.
“Disciple of Christ” means, a learner and student of Christ. 😉
Now… about this word “Church.”
You might already know what “Church” means for you, BUT, if not…
You might want to get before God and hear from Him yourself,
about this very important word “Church.” And what it means to Him.
NOT “The Traditions of Men” we have seen and been taught.
For a long time I was in “bondage” in the church of man.
In “the Church of God” there is “Liberty.” Glory!!! Thank you Jesus. 😉
If you want to know what this word ”Church” means for you?
Look up the definition in the Greek, look up the root words. Ek, and Kaleo.
Go to the computer, print out every verse that has the Greek word “Ekklesia.”
Read the verses, over and over again, Pray, ask God, What does this mean, “Church?”
IMO – The best way is “Get It” for yourself, from Jesus. Then NO ONE can take it away.
I’ll give you a few hints about “church” that I “noticed” to get you started.
In the Bible, I found…
NO one ever went “To Church.”
NO one ever joined “A Church,”
NO one ever applied for “Church” membership.
NO one ever “Tithed” to a “Church.”
NO one ever brought their friends to “Church.”
NO buildings with Steeples and crosses called “Church.”
NO – Pastors – in Pulpits – Preaching – to People – in Pews. 😉
IMO – Throw out all you think you know about “Church.”
Start over like you’re hearing the word for the first time. Because…
Jesus warned us about “The Traditions of men” that make “Void” the word of God.
KJV – Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition…
ASV – Making “void” the word of God by your tradition…
NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition…
Where people go sunday morning is NOT “The Church of God.”
It is a 501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax $ deductible, Religious $ Corporation.
Should we call a $ Corporation “the Church of God?”
Most of what goes on sunday morning is NOT in the Bible.
Be blessed in your search for truth… Jesus
NO one ever “Planted a Church.” Hmmm?
No, being a “rock solid complementarion” does not protect your marriage…submission to the Holy Spirit’s guidance does however. I am thankful for pastors like John Piper who have the wisdom (and the theological backbone as well) to step back from ministry to protect their greatest ministry; their marriage.
Amen! And welcome to my blog.
Thanks for the “welcome” to your blog. I wanted to ask/answer the question posed in comment 7) . I consider myself to be a complementarian (although I cling to the essentials of the Gospel first and foremost). Men are called to love their wives sacrificially. We are all called to submit to the Holy Spirit. The use of the word “submission” can be very devisive. I don’t think (based on my limited knowledge of course) that Piper would consider himself to be “submitting” to Noel. Rather I think He is loving her sacrificially through obedience and submission to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and the example that Christ left for us all, more specifically in this case, for husbands. I am not in the place (physically that is!) to extrapolate more but would love to continue this discussion later. Thanks for being willing to have a dialogue.
I was a complementarian for most of my life as I was raised that way. I also don’t think that Piper would consider himself “submitting” to Noel, but to me that is an evidence of the pride that he has admitted. When one sets aside their own best interests to help another for the other person’s benefit it doesn’t matter if one calls this a “sacrifice” or “submission”. It is the same thing and just as wives can sacrifice for their husbands, so husbands can submit to their wives. However for a male to deny that it could be any kind of submission speaks to me of a pride still lurking within that says the action would qualify as something only women are to do as if women are somehow beneath a man.
The fact is that we are all called to the place o submission in the body of Christ. The body cannot function properly unless the parts submit to the service that each part provides. Can you imagine if the heart were to say that I refuse to submit to receive blood that has been cleaned by the kidney’s? There would be death instead of life. Each part must serve the other body parts and each body part must submit to receive the life giving benefit that the others provide.
For one to say that I will do what is needed but just don’t call it submission, shows an attitude that is not yet fully humble. Pride can rear up in us at any time and we need to deal with it, but the pride that some of these complementarian leaders have can be especially hard to manage. Their exalted position on top of their natural pride as a male can be a daunting task to conquer their pride. But we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. And Christ is an excellent example of a male who lived a life of submission to the full extent of His complete sacrifice of His life. The fact that John Piper recognizes that he has a pride issue and is taking the time necessary to deal with is and to lift his wife up in love is a very commendable act.
I am pleased when complementarians come here to dialog in a respectful manner. It is a good reminder that no secondary issue like this should divide us. We are joined and knitted together in love with one Lord Jesus as our common source.
Thank you for your response. Respectful discussion can be very fruitful! I have not always been a complementarian and have been humbled in the past few years as I have discovered what I believe to be the gracious design that God has for men and women.
In Ephesians 5:17-33 (I use the ESV) we see the classic example of how we SHOULD submit to one another within the Body of Christ. Often we get caught up in the semantics of things. I will not attempt any hermeneutical feats because well it probably wouldn’t be pretty! : ) We also see in that passage the pattern for the marriage relationship.
Wives are to submit to their husbands as to the Lord. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. For husbands that means identifying the wife’s deepest needs and meeting those needs with the appropriate action. Godly male leadership and submission to the Holy Spirit is what is required. I think that we often see the word submission and thing weakness. I do not…I think true power…just as Christ’s submission to the Father brought about redemption for each one of us. Submission for husbands brings the strength to love their wives as Christ has loved the Church and submission for women frees us to be all that God has called us to be within the Body of Christ. I have been blessed by the fruits of this truth.
I do know if the issue of pride that John Piper is facing necessarily has anything to do with the submission issue as far as their marriage goes. I don’t know and wouldn’t try to guess about that. It certainly may have an awful lot to do with listening and submitting to the Holy Spirit. That is the key to providing Godly leadership and on the other hand allowing wives to be joyfully submitting to that leadership. I think that sacrifice may be a more appropriate term in this case because God has given Piper such a large platform and ministry. If it was me it would feel like a huge sacrifice to step away from that for any reason. That is why I feel such respect for his thoughtful wisdom to take this leave of absence.
You are absolutely spot on with saying that our literal body submits to itself all the time. However, I would add that all of those parts have a purpose and it is crucial that our body parts/organs fulfill that purpose. That is the way God designed them. The heart needs the kidneys to filter the blood but the kidneys can’t do the same job the heart does. God’s design can be seen in the marriage relationship as well. When we think of submission we automatically think of hierarchy. I would pose the idea that submission is not always synonymous with hierarchy. All parts are necessary yet our parts maintain different roles. Equal in value yet different in purpose and the way in which the great glory of God is displayed. Personally I see gender in much the same way.
Also, there is no excuse for complementarians, egalitarians or any other member of the Body of Christ to use “philosophies” and non-essentials as a platform for abuse or the sin of hypocrisy. I can’t remember if you said this Cheryl or if it was something else I read that made mention of other complementarian leaders whose personal lives do not reflect an attitude of submission to the Holy Spirit, but I wanted to throw that in here at the end. Pride is evil…it will destroy us no matter what “ideas” we cling to. Christ crucified is the only “good news” all the rest is just gravy ; )
I need a nap…Good stuff!
It is interesting that for me it was just the opposite. We became egalitarians both from the Scriptures and from having the comp model fail to bring either one of us happiness. My husband was gracious and humble enough to admit that he did not have the ability to mold me into the vision he had for me and he did not have the ability to understand what was the best decision for me as a person. By making all the decisions in the marriage it only kept me in a dependent state unable to be mature. It wasn’t until he gave everything over to God and allowed me to fall down on my own that I grew tremendously. No longer did I need to have my husband make my decisions so I wouldn’t fail. I learned how to make independent and wise decisions and he supported me in my journey of growing and maturing. It was a scary time for us since neither of us had experienced the egal way before, but neither one of us would go back. I have as much an attitude of submission as I did before but I also now take responsibility for my own decisions and I make them wisely and carefully with God’s direction and my husband’s input. When my husband started to submit in this way and let go of the control that he believed he was entrusted with, both of us experienced the joy of equality in the Lord in a way that was not possible before.
Excellent thought! I have had a real turnabout since becoming an egal. I now understand that submission is a beautiful thing and by submitting I am able to experience the gifts of the Lord through others. Since we have not been given the mandate to take authority over others and make them learn from us, others will not experience the blessing that God has for them through His gifts in us unless they submit to receive. So I see submission as not only a way to bless my husband or another brother or sister in the Lord, but I see it as a way to be blessed by receiving. If I am too proud to submit then I won’t receive God’s gift through them either. And I only want God’s best.
Here is where we have some differences. I see leadership as leading in one’s gifts but I don’t see leadership as something that a wife needs from her husband as if she is unable to reach maturity and must have a leader over her. I see this as a way to get in between the Lord, who is the only true leader above us, and ourselves. All over leaders are to lead by example and they are beside us as we look to Jesus. A husband needs his wife to lead with her gifts just as much as she needs him to lead in his gifts. But he doesn’t need her to lead him just like she doesn’t need him to lead her. We have one Lord, not two and one Master and Leader, not two. When we keep our eyes only on the Lord Jesus we will grow in maturity not staying in a dependent position needing an earthly leader who makes all of the final decisions for us.
I agree that this must have been very hard for him and as one in ministry myself, I know that time away from ministry is extremely hard for me. I would go crazy if I had to be away from ministry for 8 months!
The difference here is that God created and “gifted” the kidneys to do the filtering and He did not “gift” them to pump blood. But what if He had “gifted” them to pump blood? Would they be in error to do what He had gifted them to do? I think this is the crux of the matter. If God had not intended for women to be teachers or preachers, etc, then He would never have gifted them in this way. God is not one who taunts us with His gifts to sin by using them. He gifts those who are, by the evidence of their gift, empowered to serve in that gift for His glory.
I agree that submission is not always synonymous with hierarchy. But I maintain that anything less than willing submission is. I am happy to submit because that is my nature. But God has not kept me out of a servant “role” in any way except by not gifting me. God’s gifts are His endorsement to serve in that area and when He does not gift, I believe a person should not grumble about it, but be happy to serve in whatever way God has gifted them.
We are indeed equal in value and individually we are different in purpose. But the question is always going to be whether God has forbidden a member to fulfill a purpose that he/she has been gifted by the Holy Spirit to fulfill. I say that the empowering of the Holy Spirit through His gifts are the decisive factor rather than mankind’s idea of what are proper roles for individuals depending on their race, social standing or gender. For if we have different ideas of what is proper, I think that we can join together with the Apostles who accepted the Holy Spirit’s gifting the Gentiles as proof that their own preconceived ideas of human limits by human category were not to be limits on God. I accept that and I glorify God in His wisdom that gifts and empowers any member of the body to do however He gifts them. If I see man made limits as conflicting with the gifts of God, I will bow to God’s wisdom knowing that His way is the best. He simply cannot empower us with His gifts and then us using these gifts be a cause of sin. It is not consistent with His nature.
I couldn’t agree with you more! Praise the Lord that He allows us to have these minor differences so that the ties of love between us can show the world that it isn’t sameness that binds us together, but that God Himself binds us into one body that LOVES each other for the sake of Jesus.
At least he is taking time out for his wife to get things right with his marriage, every marriage has issues but if you are truely in Christ Jesus you’ll be stengthened through the hard times in your marriage, just because he’s a speaker for God doesn’t mean he won’t have struggles. John Piper is a good deciple of God.
Janet, thanks for your comment and welcome to my blog!
Piper’s taking time off is a good thing. But the amount of time off shows that there is a very serious struggle in his marriage and by his own admission it is attached to his own pride which seems to show that the issues are not just marital but personal sin issues. We need to pray for John Piper. I am certain that it isn’t easy for him to deal with these issues in a public manner. And it certainly won’t be easy for him to remove himself from ministry for such an extended period of time. There is no doubt that he needs our prayers.
“My husband was gracious and humble enough to admit that he did not have the ability to mold me into the vision he had for me and he did not have the ability to understand what was the best decision for me as a person. By making all the decisions in the marriage it only kept me in a dependent state unable to be mature. It wasn’t until he gave everything over to God and allowed me to fall down on my own that I grew tremendously. No longer did I need to have my husband make my decisions so I wouldn’t fail.”
This is not complementaryism. It is not that the husband makes all the decisions for the wife and the wife just has to follow suit. The husband is called to lead the wife, but that doesn’t mean he decides everything. When the wife is called to submit it does not mean she blindly does everything her husband wants. Even Jesus questioned God’s call in the Garden before his death!
No, a complementary marriage is one of communication. One of mutual agreement. Where the “submission” comes into play is those areas where the husband and wife just cannot agree. I do not mean minor areas like “what radio station we should listen to” but major areas that could greatly effect the future of the family. In these instances the husband and wife are to discuss thoroughly the issue, pray and fast for the issue, and try in every way to come to an agreement. If an agreement cannot be made, then the husband is called to make a decision and the wife is called to submit. This is a huge difference from what you wrote about with you and your husband.
You also said: “I don’t see leadership as something that a wife needs from her husband as if she is unable to reach maturity and must have a leader over her. ”
The husband is only called to be the leader in the marriage. This does not mean he lords himself over his wife or that he makes all the decisions or that he is necessary in her continues growth. God is the one who ultimately grows everyone. I would argue, however, that God uses the husband to grow the wife and the wife to grow the husband, otherwise marriage is useless.
As for what it means to be the leader in the relationship: The husband is called to grow and cultivate his wife. The wife’s calling is first and foremost to support her husband, but his calling necessitates that he support her as well. He is called (as her leader) to encourage her to grow in her giftings and desires. These two ideas do not have to be in conflict.
I will attempt to come back and see if there is a response (I clicked the check mark that should notify me if you respond) but I hope my explanation of complimentaryism helps in some ways. I honestly believe you have an wrongful view of what complimentaryism is, and as such you may in time come to hold more of its truth than you believe.
your sibling in Christ,
PS – obviously this is more an open handed issue, your disagreement does not upset me or cause me to doubt your salvation! However, I believe this is also an important issue and one that should be continually discussed among believers
Thank you for the input Alex.
My first response to your view of husbandly leadership is there is an assumption that the husband has superior maturity and a superior knowledge than the wife. Overall this is simply seldom the case.
In addition, a man who looks for an inferior that he can train up to his view of maturity is going to miss what an equal woman could have ministered to him in. Such a relationship does not do as much to help the man mature. And such reliance of the woman on the man does little to bring her maturity as well.
I don’t assume that at all TL. You reading your ideas into the words on the page. I never said the woman was inferior to the man. However, she is also not superior. Both are sinful, both are God driven, and the husband should never make decisions without the wife (as the wife should never make decisions without the husband).
However, what is to happen when a situation arises where a decision MUST be made and the husband and wife cannot agree? After prayer and fasting they continue to disagree. After looking into both sides heavily they continue to disagree. After searching the scriptures they continue to disagree. And yet a decision must be made. It is in these instances that God calls the wife to submit to the husband. Not because she is inferior to the husband (she is neither inferior nor superior). And not because she is immature (they are both equally mature and able to come to conclusions rationally and properly). She is called to submit because a decision MUST be made. These are extremely rare instances and are the only time the husband is to use his leadership to overrule his wife. Could the husband be wrong? Yes of course, men are just as fallible as women. But if no decision is ever made then nothing will happen and the situation will be a disaster. And if you truly follow the word of God, the use of this authority is only authorized for the betterment of the wife!
(As a side note: the husband I am speaking of is a man of God who earnestly wants to serve his wife, the one you speak of is a man who is in need of church discipline and time in the word.)
Also, in complementary marriage it is important to note that the husband is called to love his wife as Christ loved the church. That means he is to give up everything for her. That means in everything he is to love her, to constantly do whats best for her, and if the situation arises he is to die for her.
When there is danger, the husband is the one who is called to be in it. When there is violence, the husband is called to protect the wife. When evil men and women are attacking her with their words, her husband is called to take the attack and defend her from their words. Not because she can’t handle it, but because in loving your wife as Jesus loved the church husbands are to sacrificially give up everything for their wives.
And in the same way the wives are called to do the same for husbands. Not because the husband is an authority over the wife (he is not! They are equals) but because she is responding to his love the way the church is called to respond to Christ’s love.
(and when I say grow and cultivate it doesn’t mean she is an inferior who must be turned into what the husband is. I mean she must be sacrificially loved in such a way where she can be who God made her to be. Growing and cultivating is helping her to become who she feels God desires her to be, not who the husband thinks she should be.)
She is called to submit because a decision MUST be made. “
First, there are no Scriptures I know of that say a woman must submit to husbands decisions when she disagrees.
In all honesty I’ve never known of a situation where an important decision had to be made that couldn’t have been handled with prayer, compromise, and consultation. In a emergency whoever is involved may have to make the decision. In things that really only concern one spouse, the spouse most affected should have the highest priority and preferred decision. In major decisions such as moving, buying a car, etc. if the couple cannot agree, THEN NOTHING SHOULD BE DONE UNTIL THEY DO. Some of the biggest errors have been made when wife could not agree with husband and so husband pulled his trump card and did what he felt best. Your spouse is with you for a purpose. Even if you cannot see why you shouldn’t buy that car, it may be that it is your wife who has the word of the Lord on it and waiting or just not doing anything is truly the best choice.
When I said that My first response to your view of husbandly leadership is there is an assumption that the husband has superior maturity and a superior knowledge than the wife…… here’s what I meant. A husband who holds a trump card is already making an assumption that his decisions are superior to his wife’s. Anyone that who believes it is their responsibility to decide when other’s disagree has made an unconscious and unspoken statement that his knowledge is superior to theirs. In a corporate or group setting that could be true, but not always. But the one who has the superior position is supposed to be more knowledgeable at least. In a marital relationship where the wife’s disagreement will always be subject to the husband, the statement is clear. She is less responsible at the very least. Husband and wife are supposed to be two equals joined in an intimate soul union where the two become so enmeshed that they begin to operate in tandem, joined and complementing one another in all the undertake.
“(and when I say grow and cultivate it doesn’t mean she is an inferior who must be turned into what the husband is. I mean she must be sacrificially loved in such a way where she can be who God made her to be. Growing and cultivating is helping her to become who she feels God desires her to be, not who the husband thinks she should be.)”
Nicely said. As well the wife should do the same for the husband. After all it is the man who was in need of an ‘other’, not the woman. It may be that the man is the one who is most in need of an other to reflect who he is and what he is doing so that he can more clearly be aware.
“That means he is to give up everything for her.”
Wouldn’t it include his own way or “trump card”? In other words if a final descision needs to be made, then if the husband gives up everything for her, why would he take and use his belief of a trump card in order to get his own way (which is not for the betterment of the wife)? Maybe I just don’t understand what you are saying well enough? Can you give me an example where a final descion needs to be made and the husband pulls what he thinks is his final trump card, and when he does this he uses it in giving up everything FOR his wife?
“These are extremely rare instances and are the only time the husband is to use his leadership to overrule his wife. Could the husband be wrong? Yes of course,”
How can the husband be wrong if when using his trump card he is giving up everything for his wife?If a man gives up everything for his wife as scripture instructs then why would he be wrong?
The only time the husband would be wrong is WHEN using his trump card he does not give everything up for his wife.
“As well the wife should do the same for the husband. After all it is the man who was in need of an ‘other’, not the woman.”
Music to my ears.
“How can the husband be wrong if when using his trump card he is giving up everything for his wife”
I don’t know pinklight. The trump card just gets in the way of God speaking IMO. Doing anything in automatic mode cuts off the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, God’s answers go against everything we would have thought of.
“However, what is to happen when a situation arises where a decision MUST be made and the husband and wife cannot agree? After prayer and fasting they continue to disagree. After looking into both sides heavily they continue to disagree. After searching the scriptures they continue to disagree. And yet a decision must be made. It is in these instances that God calls the wife to submit to the husband.”
From a counseling standpoint, such an impasse usually indicates deeper problems in the marriage. Have you or someone you know ever had such a situation? How did that turn out when the husband made the decision in favor of what he wanted?
In a relationship it is certainly less costly to give up one’s choice in small decisions (ie. picking a restaurant for dinner, etc.), but this could be devastating in “big” decisions like: having a child, moving to a foreign country, or from the city to a remote farm.
Welcome to my blog!
When a husband and wife disagree about everything, then the comp way is for the husband to make the final decisions. That is the way that it was in my marriage. You can’t say that my experience is not complementarianism. It was. It just was an example of where there is vast differences between what one partner believes is the right way and what the other partner believes is right. Therefore my husband made the decisions in the past because our disagreement gave him the “right” to “lead” by overriding my will. By the way, he did not take authority over me to make the decisions about the really big things. Those things were decided on by mutual consent. It was all the “little” things where his will and his decisions overrode mine that took away my personality. I do not believe that God gave husbands the “right” to override their wife’s will by unilaterally having the final say in these “little” disagreements.
I agree that not all comp men will follow the comp way. In fact the way that you described for mutuality is the way that egalitarians live out their marriages. The only difference is that the husband never overrides his wife’s will. We believe that the Bible does not give him permission to do that. It does give him permission to sacrifice for her and so it would be a godly thing for him to give up his will (sacrifice) for her rather than override her will. But mutuality is the ideal and my husband and I work towards that now.
I haven’t yet seen any scripture that says that the husband is “called” to be “the” leader in the marriage. Since man and woman were both made to be rulers of the earth, both should follow the Lord Jesus in maturity to be “leaders” of what is good. We don’t lead the other person, but we do “lead” in doing what is good.
The husband cannot “grow” the wife since this is the duty of the Lord, but sometimes what a husband does can be a catalyst for her growth. For example it is his sin that can push her to grow patience and longsuffering. But he himself is not “growing” patience in her. It is the Lord who lives inside her that will cause that growth.
I am sorry, but I do not agree again. I believe that the wife’s first calling is to serve God. Her husband does not come first. Just as there is only one Master for Christians, so there is only one Leader. I do agree that we can support and encourage one another, but I don’t agree that this support and encouragement is called something different when it comes from the wife than when it comes from the husband. When women look to their husbands as their leader, they can easily be led into idolatry and turning away from their true leader.
Ccomplementarianism is the “right” and the “duty” of the man to b e responsible before God to “lead” a woman and “grow” her because God has placed upon him the responsibility over her and for her as one who will give an account before God for her. The pressure of this unbiblical doctrine has caused many husbands to sincerely believe that their own decisions are endowed by God as authority that is both given and must be accounted for before God so that if his decisions are not followed, he is to blame. Not only does this bring an unhealthy level of responsibility over things that are out of his ability to control (although many men try really hard to control their wives in an attempt to fulfill this “responsibility”) but it also produces a tendency to selfishness because his own ideas are given precedence because of a command of God to “lead”. But once again, it is important to note that God never commands the husband to “lead” his wife, nor does He command the husband to override his wife’s will. Waiting on the Lord a little bit longer is far better than overriding of an adult person’s God-given will. Wait on the Lord and He will direct your way. When a man takes his “right” to override his wife’s will to make the final decision, he has left out “waiting” on the Lord for the Lord’s timing. Few decisions must be made without taking the time to wait for the Lord to bring them both to the peace of a mutual decision.
Alex, I do appreciate you posting here. You are one who seems not to have had a husband hurt by a heavy load of responsibility that should not fall on his shoulders. Many of us have experienced much more than you have. I have seen a lot in my 38 years of marriage, and I would not go back to that heavy responsibility on my husband’s back when the joy of mutual waiting on the Lord for a softening of our heart or of our spouses heart that brings great fruit. It is true togetherness in love with full mutual responsibility and the joy knowing that God works through us together and not one over the other.
Blessings to you as a sister in Christ!
I completely agree. Mutuality is God’s way for marriage. Pulling out a trump card that gives one the “right” to force the other person’s will is the world’s way. God’s way alone will work in a person’s heart without planting a seed of bitterness for God alone can change our selfishness into mutual agreement.
You asked for an example, so here is one I have seen.
In one instance a husband and wife were trying to decide whether they wanted to home school their children or put them into either public or private school. The wife was home schooled growing up and was more inclined to home schooling. The husband wasn’t against homeschooling, but had his doubts that it was feisable in their house. The reason? They have 5 children of varying ages and the wife in this situation is not a very organized person. She is educated, but she does not have much of a teaching gift and (as I just mentioned) she is a very unorganized person. The two of them went out and looked at a wife variety of Public and Private schools in there city and found multiple schools that they agreed with that would also be great for educating their children.
There is nothing biblical that defines how we educate our children. It is not sinful to go one way or the other. However, after doing this research the wife still felt she wanted to home school and the husband felt that it wouldn’t be best for her. After long discussions on both sides they could not come to an agreement. The wife wanted to home school and the husband felt they shouldn’t (because it would wear on the wife too much).
In the end, to make this decision, since they could not agree he finally asked her to trust him and to allow him to lead her in this way. She agreed (though she still felt she was right). Several years later she is so glad for this decision. She realizes she wouldn’t have been able to handle teaching 5 children of varying ages amongst all her other responsibilities. She is thankful for his leadership in this area even though she disagreed at the time. Her entire reasoning for wanting to home school the kids was because she was home schooled as a child.
There is an example of the trump card. It’s purpose was to make sure both the wife and the children received the best possible outcome regardless of what they wanted at the time.
You may disagree with this outcome, but she doesn’t. She is extremely grateful. These are the kinds of situations married couples find themselves in. And if a husband is truly leading his family, praying and fasting and reading the scriptures, listening to what his wife has to say, and taking in all the facts in a situation, then in these situations it is not wrong to do what he did.
Cheryl, I understand what you’re saying, and I would agree with you if you defined complimentaryism by that definition. However, I don’t.
1) I do not believe that every wife should always submit to her husband in every circumstance. If what he thinks is best goes against what the Bible teaches, she should not follow him. If what he thinks is best is illegal, she should not follow him. These are huge areas that many of the examples you (and many other people on this forum) mention that I would agree with. Also, if a woman feels a strong desire to go a direction different from what the husband feels, it is extremely important for both of them to understand why.
2) If the husband and wife disagree about everything, then there are much bigger issues than complimentaryism. If the husband is always exerting his authority then he is ignoring his helper and (i would argue) is being both unbiblical and abusive.
And I would say you have the definition of complementaryism wrong.
“complementarianism is the “right” and the “duty” of the man to be responsible before God to “lead” a woman and “grow” her because God has placed upon him the responsibility over her and for her as one who will give an account before God for her.”
Complementaryism is the calling of the man to be responsible before God to lead and grow his wife within the marriage. In the same way the wife is called to encourage and grow her husband. This doesn’t mean the husband makes all the decisions (as I mentioned above).
and for a scripture:
Ephesians 5:22-33 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the Body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself to her, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His Bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
It is important to note that verses 22-24 is for the wife, not the husband (and as such the husband should not learn leadership from these verses).
It is also important to look at the phrase “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” To really understand what it means to love like Jesus loved, you must to a fairly indepth study to the scriptures finding out how Jesus loved the church. Then (and only then) can you truly understand what it means to love sacrificially.
P.S. – As a side note, I really appreciate this conversation. This has both helped me to understand egalitarianism better and to re-evaluate some areas of complementaryism that I hadn’t fully mapped out before. I greatly appreciate your input and perspective. At this point we are more or less at an impasse. I will continue to read your blog posting from time to time and will read any responses to this posting (especially responses to that scripture). I thank you so much for your civility towards me and my differing opinions and I hope you feel the same way about my responses!
Let me first qualify my comments by saying I am new to the comp/egal debate and a new commenter on this blog.
Your example about homeschooling is interesting. I am noticing from listening to Acts29 pastors on marriage, womanhood, & manhood they, too, are qualifying the husband’s authority with similar examples. I.e. a wife being instructed that bed rest for the duration of her pregancy was best, but she keeps cleaning & shopping because she prefers to be busy; it is part of her nature; so the husband leading in his authority says, “I need for you to submit to me in this. I need you to trust me in this. I need for you to stay in bed next several weeks for your and the baby’s health….”; the husband then dies to self taking care of the house, meals, and his wife.
From your HS’ing example and this one and others like it, I do not see anything a husband is doing that a wife shouldn’t do. She, too, should “lead” when decisions need to be made by appealing to facts that that may affect a positive outcome or “lead” when the husband is not well by imploring him to follow dr’s orders and die to self to help the husband for his own well-being.
Even in your example, the wife *agreed* after a hearing of her husbands objections. I don’t see how your example is unique to complementarianism, other than you say there exists a “leading” to make the final decision, which in practicallity does not exists in the example you gave.
Perhaps, what is missing from your home schooling example is the opportunity for the wife to learn how to make decisions. It sounds like the husband had a good handle on things, but either he didn’t share his reasons with his wife, or she simply wasn’t seeing the reasoning. There were other options. An option that would have allowed the wife to better reason things out would have been to agree for her to try out homeschooling on one of the children, perhaps the youngest. There are families that work together in their home schooling, that could have been an option. She could have taken training. They could have gotten some counseling in how to make decisions together. The only thing learned there was that the husband was right in that instance.
The scenario could have been the opposite with the husband wanting her to homeschool and she not wanting to, and her decision was right. How would that have been handled? I’ve seen it handled where the wife was forced to homeschool. This is what can happen when one person has control over another person.
”1) I do not believe that every wife should always submit to her husband in every circumstance. If what he thinks is best goes against what the Bible teaches, she should not follow him. If what he thinks is best is illegal, she should not follow him. “
If those are the only circumstances in which a woman should not obey and yield to her husband in, then she is in effect essentially a child or a slave to her husband. The question of life is how much control of our lives do we have within human community. I’m not talking about our relationship with the Lord, because essentially all of our lives are to be submitted to God, even our desires. But no other human being should have that much control in our lives if we are to become who we were created to be and mature to the fullest of our abilities.
”“complementarianism is the “right” and the “duty” of the man to be responsible before God to “lead” a woman and “grow” her because God has placed upon him the responsibility over her and for her as one who will give an account before God for her.”
Can you please give me a Scripture that shows a husband is accountable before God for his wife’s actions? To my knowledge we each are responsible for our own actions before God. Also, how do you propose to purposefully ‘grow’ your wife. This seems to be something that happens as we yield to the Holy Spirit’s directions and you are only another frail and fallible human. However, I do agree that in normal give and take within a close relationship, if both are honest with one another, there is plenty of opportunity for God to use things to bring maturity to both.
“It was all the “little” things where his will and his decisions overrode mine that took away my personality. I do not believe that God gave husbands the “right” to override their wife’s will by unilaterally having the final say in these “little” disagreements.”
You are right that this is where a woman or anyone will die and lose herself. It reminds me of the movie (eternal bride to be or something??) where the woman so attuned herself to the man’s desires that she lost herself. She no longer knew what she wanted, what she liked, what she wanted to be. She had enmeshed herself into her husband to be’s will in order to please him, so she no longer had any herself. And she’d make it to the alter but never would complete the vows. She unconsciously knew she was losing herself, but didn’t quite get it. Then one day a man she was falling in love with challenged her to get to know herself again and find out what she wanted out of life. He refused to marry her unless she was a whole individual person herself. Smart man. She rediscovered herself and came to him as a whole person. And at that wedding she made it through the wedding vows.
When we marry it is supposed to be two whole and healthy individuals. As two whole individuals we complement each other and bless each other so that as two good friends our personalities positively affect each other as stones tumbling together. This is how marriage helps us to grow.
Speaking of John Piper…
How is he doing anyway?
I had to stay away from this topic for a bit as it took me back to a very painful time and I just needed space in order to breathe again.
My lifestyle was the classic way of life for all of us who lived the comp lifestyle the way it was taught us.
The issue is not about whether a woman is able to help her husband understand why she disagrees. The issue is whether he has the right to override her will.
Now for the record in my own marriage, my husband never overrode my marriage in the “big” things. For example, he is a very giving man and he decided that he wanted to sell our house, giving everything to the church building program and live in an apartment with our three children. I said no. My husband believed that it was important to have agreement between the both of us in these “big” issues, so he would not override my will as we were not in agreement. But he did feel free to override my will in all the “small” areas. I was not allowed to keep purchases that I made if he decided that I didn’t need them. My will was overridden and I was made to take things back to the store as his power of decision making in all areas of my kitchen were his “right” as the man.
While I am very grateful that my husband did not override my will on the issues that were very big areas for both of us, when he overrode my will in the little areas, I lost my ability to be an individual in so many areas. It hurt me greatly and I did not come out of that bubble and start to grow as a person until we received help and my husband decided to go against the comp lifestyle that he had been taught.
While I agree with you that it is abusive and unbiblical, the men who do this do not believe that it is unbiblical or abusive. In fact so many of these men are good caring men who really feel like they have a responsibility to be the gatekeeper who keeps their wives from making “mistakes”. That was my husband. He is a wonderful man and the heavy burden that was placed on his shoulders with the comp lifestyle hurt him by making him bare a burden that he was not created to bear.
I didn’t say that the husband is to make all the decisions. What I do say is that he has a responsibility to make the final decisions on everything that they disagree on. And since women and men are different they may very well disagree on a lot. My husband overrode my will on what kind of cooking utensils that I should have. He overrode my decision because it was not only his “right” but his “responsibility”. This is true comp lifestyle where the husband has the responsibility to “grow” the wife.
As far as the wife “growing” the husband, this is not biblical either. This is the area where so many marriages falter as either one can feel like they need to change their partner. It is God’s responsibility to work with us to change us. It is not our responsibility to “grow” our husband.
This is part of the problem with the comp way. Husbands feel like they are not to submit to their wives so they refuse to do so even though all are to submit to “one another” as the commandment in verse 21.
Women are also to love their husbands as Jesus did because Jesus is the example for all of us, not just for husbands. Anyone’s sacrificial loving the other will always go back to Jesus. But we are also to submit to one another and we cannot ignore this because it is the foundation of what it means to love sacrificially.
Thanks! It is always good to have respectful back and forth discussion. Listening to one another is part of submitting to one another. It is a wonderful thing that we can do to try to come to a mutual respect and love.
Well, I hope that you feel free to respond at any time and not just on this post. I LOVE having complementarians come here who will be respectful and honest. Whatever truth we may have should not be intimidated by what others reveal about what they believe. We can be like iron sharpening iron so that we can both understand each other and learn from each other.
This has been a painful issue for me as it has forced me to go back into a very painful time of my life. I lost the individuality that God had given me and having someone challenge me that my husband and I weren’t living the comp lifestyle in a faithful way from the basic and bottom line of the male responsibility, really hurts. I won’t let anyone condemn my husband as I know his heart. The problem was not my husband, but the foundational problems that give the husband the burden to arbitrarily make all the final decisions when a husband and wife disagree. The better way that we have found is to walk as a three-some with Jesus as our source. We feel strong when we work hard to come to an agreement and will leave things aside until we can come to agreement. It is an amazing thing to work for agreement and not to give up on each other. We believe that Jesus is glorified in this.
On the home school example —
We actually had a similar situation in our family. At the time, we were doing the complimentarian thing (we had never heard some Biblical passages explained any other way and were just trying to please God.) However, I had a very loving husband who respected my opinions and recognized that on some issues, I heard from God best and on some issues, he heard from God best. When you get down to it, he never had the complimentarian heart!
Anyway, this was back in 1982 and i wanted to homeschool my son (we only had the one at the time). My husband, however, noting that my son and I, being so much alike (lol) tended to conflict, thought this would not be a good idea at all. Also, his job at the time was very taxing and he did not have much flexibility to help with homsechooling, though he never neglected fathering. We discussed and discussed. We couldn’t agree. However, instead of deciding to exercise his “leadership perogative,” as we believed at the time he could, we decided, “Ok, we both feel strongly about this. He’s in school now. We know what that is like. Let’s try homeschooling him for this next semester and then revisit the discussion after that. ”
It is possible my husband expected we’d throw the towel in before the semester was up, even. But……homeschooling actually helped my son and i to conflict less. He never returned to school and our other son never saw the inside of a classroom until college.
Since becoming egalitarian (or perhaps admitting that we have been all along), we use a variety of ways to make decisions (who it affects most, waiting and praying, etc) – really, being locked in indecision just hasn’t been a problem.
Welcome to my blog! What an awesome testimony of the way to “do” marriage with respect and the willingness for both of you to give and take as you take baby steps in one direction or another to find out what works. Excellent!
The opening sentence of this blog sets alarm bells off right away. Using Piper’s humble willingness to admit the presence of sin in his life as a means of promoting a doctrine that he opposes (egalitarianism) is very low conduct indeed.
It strikes me that Piper’s degree of sanctification means that he is sensitive about things in his life, such as pride, that the average egalitarian (including the author of this blog post) would never even consider as sin.
I don’t know if you will be here to read this as usually people who throw condemnations and flak do not stay around to discuss it.
First, the fact that Piper opposes mutuality and equality between genders is likely part of the problems he has in his marriage. Every gender hierarchalist I know of personally that has marital problems, I have noted that they are strongly tied to this belief system. Not every male gender hierarchalist exercises his privileges in the same way. And some women do not mind giving most life decisions to others. Thus, not all have problems as a result of those beliefs. But for many women, such a lifestyle is unbearable.
Secondly, I don’t know what degree of sanctification Piper has, but he does indeed display pride often enough. I doubt he is aware of it though. People who grow up with special privileges can easily assume a pridefulness that is related to knowing there is something about them that warrants more privileges than others.
Pride is one of those insidious bits of darkness that it is ready to sneak into ones life the minute one claims they are free from it. So I’d be careful brother. 🙂
“It strikes me that Piper’s degree of sanctification means that he is sensitive about things in his life, such as pride, that the average egalitarian (including the author of this blog post) would never even consider as sin.”
On what basis do you make the assertion that “the average egalitarian (including the author of this blog post) would never even consider” pride as sin?
And on what basis did you measure the “degree” of Piper’s sanctification?
“Using Piper’s humble willingness to admit the presence of sin in his life as a means of promoting a doctrine that he opposes (egalitarianism) is very low conduct indeed.”
Wow, judgmental much!
Is this what we were doing? “Using” Piper to promote egalitarianism? Or were we discussing Piper’s situation from an egalitarian perspective?
Supposing a prominent atheist had said he was stepping down for a while from writing books on the atheist-physicalist worldview. Would it be “using” the atheist’s situation to promote Christianity, if we discussed among ourselves his possible reasons?
TL:”Pride is one of those insidious bits of darkness that it is ready to sneak into ones life the minute one claims they are free from it.”
Oh dear. My eyes played tricks on me again. I think I need glasses.
I thought you said that PIPER is one of those insidious bits of darkness…
And I thought, “TL, don’t you think that’s a bit extreme?
Then I went back and saw you said, “Pride, not Piper.”
Whew. I’m relieved. I was afraid I was goint to have to say, “Now, now, TL. He’s not evil incarnate. He’s just a regular dude trying to make his way in the world and screwing up just like we all do.”
Sheesh. I’ll have to be more careful about my reading.
very funny , Mara. 🙂
I read all of the comments on the board and I think that maybe we are reading too much into John Piper’s marraige. Using our past experiences and statistics and putting a label or judgment on Piper and his marraige is really unfair.
When I look at the relationship of the God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirirt I believe that the Spirit and the Son submit to God the father’s authority. That does not make the Spirit or the Son less worthy, it merely puts them in different roles. I am a complimentarian, but it saddens me at the examples used above. I commend Jessica because she worded what a complimentarian view should be very well. I Love my wife very much, and she submits to me. I listen to her every thought, desire, and opinion and want nothing to do with “Lording” anything over her. My leadership frees her to be exactly who God is calling her to be. She has freedom under my leadership and she respects me as I Love her and make decisions when they need to be made. With all that being said I sacrifice and serve her, because that is the model that Christ has laid out for us, since he did not come to be served but to serve.
Is it possible that John Piper is realizing that he is failing at doing these things and wants to sacrificially show his wife Love? 9 months off does not necessarily mean he has “big” issues like abuse. Could it be that he is tired/drained/broken and wants to rejuvenate and fall in love with his wife again,a t least emotionally.
My guess is that many of us need to take the log out of our own eye before we pass judgement on somebody who we don’t even really know. If any here are blameless they would know better than to pass this kind of judgement on someone who has done so much for the kingdom (regardless of how much you agree with him on non-essentials).
Also, the reference to a man needing a helper more than a woman because scripture says that God made a suitable helper for the man is probably twisting scripture. A Pastor once said “Twist not scripture, lest you be Satan”. Obviously I am not calling anyone Satan, but lets be very careful about bending and twisting the Word of god whom we are all striving to know, Love, and imitate.
No, I don’t know Piper. He might be a nice guy. He might even be saved. BUT…
“If any here are blameless they would know better than to pass this kind of judgement on someone who has done so much for the kingdom”
That’s kinda true. I’m certainly not blameless. 🙂
And Piper has done much for the kingdom – some good and some very very bad.
But Piper “takes” a position of Elder/Overseer/Pastor/Reverend. 🙁
In the Bible, an elder who is to be ordained an Overseer – He “must be” blameless.
Why did Paul give qualifications if not important? Very tough qualifications. Yes?
The Bible talks about “overseers” and **qualifications** for elders to be “overseers.”
You can’t have one with out the other – Can you?
1 – A bishop (overseer) then *must be* **blameless**… 1 Tim 3:2 KJV
2 – For a bishop (overseer) *must be* **blameless**… Titus 1:7 KJV
**Hmmm? “Overseers” *Must Be*…
That *must be* is the same Greek word as: …You *must be* born again. John 3:7.
Seems to be a small word – but very important. Yes?
*Must Be* is Strongs #1163, die. – It is necessary (as binding).
Thayer’s – necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.
“Overseers, *must be.* Hmmm? Very important or…?
**Blameless**… How important is this word?
Strongs #423 – anepileptos – inculpable, blameless, unrebukeable.
Thayer’s – that cannot be reprehended, (cannot be, rebukable, reprovable,
cannot find fault) not open to censure, irreproachable.
Dictionary – Without fault; innocent; guiltless; not meriting censure.
Synonyms – faultless, guiltless, innocent, irreproachable, spotless, unblemished.
1 Tim 3:2 ASV – The bishop therefore must be without reproach…
1 Tim 3:2 NIV – Now the overseer must be above reproach…
1 Tim 3:2 NLT – For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against.
How many, who honestly examine themselves,
Seriously considering this one **qualification,** (*Must Be* **Blameless,**)
can see themselves as **Blameless,** without fault, above reproach,
and thus qualify to be an “overseer?”
And if Piper can see himrself as **blameless:** Is that pride?
And no longer without fault?
Seems Piper was dealing with several speicies of pride. (His words.)
This looks like “species of pride.” He believes he “qualifies.” He is * blameless.*
If he’s NOT blameless, shouldn’t he remove himself from that position. 😉
And be a good example to the flock.
Jesus loves me this I know…
“lets be very careful about bending and twisting the Word of god”
The “Title” that Piper has today – “Pastor/Reverend/leader”
is this a “Title” or “position” in the scriptures?
In the Bible, How many people… have the “title” Pastor/Reverend?
In the Bible, How many people are… “called” Pastor/Reverend?
In the Bible, How many people are… ordained as a Pastor/Reverend?
In the Bible, How many congregations are…”Led” by a Pastor/Reverend?
Be blessed in your search for truth… Jesus
The Scriptures do not say that the Holy Spirit submits to the Father’s authority. The only authority where submission is shown is regarding the humanity of Jesus and in His human nature, He submits Himself to the Father. Our DVD project on the Trinity shows the equality authority of the Father and the Son http://www.amazon.com/Trinity-Eternity-Future-Explaining-Exposing/dp/B001ID8582/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1303447476&sr=8-1 as well as the reason for the humility of Jesus. You may want to have a look at that material.
The Bible shows that all three operate in unity in the same work as they are all Creator and Lord. i.e. There is not just one role as Creator where only one person takes this role.
Sacrifice and service is mutual thus we are said to be in mutual humility and submission for the purpose of lifting each other up. This is the way that all of us desire to love and respect each other in marriage.
It appears that this is so. The complementarian system is often fraught with problems in that it encourages pride in a position of power and authority to make decisions for another adult person. I have heard many of these high profile complementarian men admit that they had problems in their marriage with the tendency to override their wives will. Sometimes the problems surface early in the marriage and sometimes it comes after many years of overriding her will. It is a good sign when these men admit that there is a problem and admit that it is attached to their pride.
Piper has spoken for himself and admitted that the problems are related to his pride. If fixing that problem causes him to fall in love with his wife again, that is a good thing, but the problem admitted is still pride.
Maybe you could explain how you see this as a twist. Which Scripture do you reference in that the woman has in her creation as needing a male helper? Is not the woman said to be the glory of the man and not the man the glory of the woman? I think it is important to read what the Scripture says rather than adding in what we think it should say.