John Piper: "What should a wife's submission to her husband look like if he's an abuser?"

John Piper: "What should a wife's submission to her husband look like if he's an abuser?"

 

john-piper-womens-abuse

On August 19, 2009 John Piper tackles a question on an abusive husband and Piper’s answer directs women on how they should take abuse from their husbands.  The answer is typical of a complementarian who sees the husband as king and priest and the wife as the follower of her priest-king.

My comments will be below the transcript.  I recommend you listen carefully to what Piper says.  I think there is a lot to discuss especially his freudian slip calling the husband “lord”.  An edited transcript of the audio is below. To hear John Piper’s actual audio or his video answer click here.  It appears that the audio file from John Piper may be permanently removed.  Here is a link to a copy of the audio file:  Click here.

Here is the transcript:

Part of that answer is clearly going to depend on what kind of abuse we’re dealing with here, how serious this is. Is her life in danger? Or is this verbal unkindness? I’m not sure what the person who asked the question had in mind. So let me just talk about different kinds.

A woman’s submission to her husband is rooted in the word of God, calling her to be—for the Lord’s sake, for the Lord’s sake—submissive to him. Which means she always has a higher allegiance, namely to Christ.

Therefore Christ’s word governs her life. And Christ has many words besides “Be submissive.” “Be submissive” is not an absolute, because her Lord has other things to tell her, so that if the husband tells her something that contradicts what the Lord tells her, then she’s got a crisis of, “To whom do I submit now?” And clearly she submits to Jesus above her husband. The reason she is submitting to her husband is because of her prior superior submission to the Lord.

So if this man, for example, is calling her to engage in abusive acts willingly (group sex or something really weird, bizarre, harmful, that clearly would be sin), then the way she submits—I really think this is possible, though it’s kind of paradoxical—is that she’s not going to go there. I’m saying, “No, she’s not going to do what Jesus would disapprove even though the husband is asking her to do it.”

She’s going to say, however, something like, “Honey, I want so much to follow you as my leader. God calls me to do that, and I would love to do that. It would be sweet to me if I could enjoy your leadership. But if you ask me to do this, require this of me, then I can’t go there.”

Now that’s one kind of situation. Just a word on the other kind. If it’s not requiring her to sin but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, and she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.

Every time I deal with somebody in this, I find the ultimate solution under God in the church. In other words, this man should be disciplined, and she should have a safe place in a body of Christ where she goes and then the people in the church deal with him. She can’t deal with him by herself.

So the short answer, I think, is that the church is really crucial here to step in, be her strength, say to this man, “You can’t do this. You cannot do this! That’s not what we allow. That’s not what Christ calls you to be.”

I can’t go in to all the details, but I would say to the woman, “Come to a church that you feel safe in. Tell them the case. Let the leaders step in and help you navigate the difficulties.”

(Audio and video of this answer is found at John Piper’s site here.)

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My response:

My first thought was why does John Piper keep laughing at questions about women and submission?  Might it be a nervous laughter because he is not really sure what to answer?  I am not sure but I have listened to other John Piper answers on other subjects and he wasn’t laughing about those questions.

John Piper qualifies his answer by saying that it would depend on what kind of “abuse” we are dealing with.  At one point he calls verbal abuse as verbal “unkindness”.  It is also interesting that he equates submission with “allegiance”.  Is this the kind of allegiance of a subject to her king?  Well, John Piper does say that her Lord has other words for her other than just submission.  What if her subjection to the two that are above her conflict?  He says that this would produce a crisis of “to whom do I submit now?”  It sure sounds like competing lords to me.  Then he says “clearly she submits to Jesus above the lord…I mean above Jes….above her husband”.

Then notice that John Piper gets really happy about a way that he has worked it out for a woman to still submit when her husbands asks her to be involved in “group sex”.  She submits by answering “Honey, I want so much to follow you as my leader…it would be sweet to me if I could enjoy your leadership…but I can’t go there.”  Honestly I found this answer to be really icky.  I do believe in speaking respectfully and speaking the truth in love, but the look on John Piper’s face while he said this and these words which are to be given in response to an invitation to group sex just seemed really bizarre to me.  I do not mean to be disrespectful, but for me watching this was kind of like watching a stepford wife rehearsal.

I also noticed the dismissal of her pain by Piper’s saying that if what the husband wants is not requiring her to sin but is “simply” hurting her, she should endure verbal abuse and endure being “smacked” for one night.   The “ultimate” solution for the abused wife is in the church.  What happened to Jesus and the law who can physically help her?   Apparently she is supposed to put her trust in a complementarian church to protect her.  He says that they will tell the husband to stop abusing her.  But more often than not in a complementarian church, it is the wife who is counseled on how to stop the abuse, not the husband.  It is the wife who is told to submit more and he will stop the abuse.  How is that kind of complementarian church a safe church to run to for the abused wife?  And what if the husband is not a believer?  Piper gives no other solution other than the “ultimate” solution of going to the leaders of the church.  They are the ones who should “discipline” the husband by telling him that he should not be doing the abuse.

Hmmm….  Thoughts?

132 thoughts on “John Piper: "What should a wife's submission to her husband look like if he's an abuser?"

  1. This is so outrageous!! I can’t decide if he’s got a cynical cruel side or he’s just that naive and has been cloistered away in his office full of manhood books too long! He is out of touch with reality.

    O.K. Mr. Piper, let’s test out your advice. YOU pretend to be the wife submitting to the smacking and verbal abuse and I’LL pretend to be the husband. We’ll just see how long ONE night can be!!! Come sunrise – if you’re still able to speak – we’ll have you answer that question again!

  2. “then she seeks help from the church” “Then?” what if she doesn’t survive until “then”???? He doesn’t appear to know the first thing about domestic violence! Has he never watched the evening news?

  3. It seems to me that one of the weakest areas of complementarianism is in the issue of an abusive husband. They seem to want to dance around the issues because after all the husband is the priest-king of the home according to their doctrine. That makes trying to “discipline” the husband a very touchy subject. How are they going to do that anyway? It is no wonder that most complementarian pastors will focus their advice with the wife and tell her to be more submissive. The subject of the king appears to be easier to counsel than the king himself. This is where the unbalanced nature of the comp argument shows up as weak and ineffective. This kinds of counsel make me very sad as it reminds me how a person’s doctrine can affect every area of their life.

  4. But more often than not in a complementarian church, it is the wife who is counseled on how to stop the abuse, not the husband.

    Or worse!!! I have real life friends who have tried this exact approach and all that the church does is berate the woman and try to find out what SHE has done wrong to cause her husband’s abusive “reactions”. It continues to get sicker.

  5. Cheryl,

    Are you and I the only ones troubled by this? I can hardly believe there are no other comments. I see the ramifications of these statements as huge, considering his following. But as my grandmother use to say, “I’d hate to be him on Judgment Day!”

  6. I’ve seen this Piper/abuse quote several other places.
    The more I read it, the angrier I get.

    The Comp position makes it easier and a far cry better for a woman to remain unsaved or to just plain backslide. Then the church can’t say much to her when she responds like a normal human being (in shock and outrage) to her husband’s group sex suggestion. Then the church can’t say much when she refuses to allow herself to be smacked around because she either leaves at first sign of trouble or uses overwhelming violent force back (i.e. gun, knife, fire, whatever it takes to stop the bully who thinks he’s king).

    If Piper’s advice truly was the heart of God (WHICH I DON’T BELIEVE FOR A MINUTE) Then it would be better if all women stayed away from church or at the very least, never marry. (Remember the Shakers? They did that.)

    I thank God I don’t have to stay way from Him and His true church and marriage because of the lies perpetuated by well-meaning but off-their-rocker preachers like Piper.

    Love Kay’s idea. Piper needs to play the part of the “smacked around one” for a night before he gives this advice to others.

  7. Mara,
    Welcome to my blog! I am so glad that you commented as Kaywas wondering if only a few are appalled at these kinds of statements.

    I too think Kay’s idea of asking Pipe to present himself as a play in the “smacked down” class for a day. I wonder if he would have reservations giving this kind of advice out to others after experiencing the treatment instead of just talking about it.

  8. Piper says:
    “A woman’s submission to her husband is rooted in the word of God, calling her to be—for the Lord’s sake, for the Lord’s sake—submissive to him. Which means she always has a higher allegiance, namely to Christ.”

    Given the context of abuse, this is telling because I understand him to be saying, “A woman’s submission to her husband is rooted in the word of God”; therefore, for “the Lord’s sake, God has called her to be submissive to him” even in abuse.

    I do NOT believe the witness of God’s goodness and holiness or whatever “for the Lord’s sake” means, is dependent upon a woman submitting to a husband’s abuse.

  9. Pipers says:
    “So if this man, for example, is calling her to engage in abusive acts willingly (group sex or something really weird, bizarre, harmful, that clearly would be sin), then the way she submits…
    She’s going to say…something like, ‘Honey, I want so much to follow you as my leader. God calls me to do that, and I would love to do that. It would be sweet to me if I could enjoy your leadership. But if you ask me to do this, require this of me, then I can’t go there.’”

    Somebody wondered why there weren’t many comments regarding this post, well what do you say to that?

    Irony—anti-spam word is “pain”.

  10. Thanks for the welcome.

    And yes. That’s the whole thing. They don’t ever have to experience it. They can just talk about it in their sterile, untouchable environments.

    There is a huge emotional disconnect between these men and the advice they give women. They have NO empathy and no way of gaining it through living their normal, male life in a male favoring church ensconced in their (false) male favoring doctrine.

    We have heard “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” so often. Those words are so much a part of our culture that the fact that they are so profound is nearly lost. And it is completely lost on these men as far as women are concerned. These men would NEVER want done or said to them what they freely and abundantly do and say to women. Never. They’d never stand for it. Yet they hand it out to women because they can. And they continue to do it and increase it because they have gotten away with it for so long. I wish all the women in their churches would wake up and walk out, all at once. I’m not sure anything short of that would get their attention. But I’m not holding my breath.
    Those poor women as deceived as the men. But where it raises up men to their benefit, the women are pushed down and oppressed.

  11. Piper says: “Now that’s one **kind of situation**.” (emphasis added)

    The wife does not have to submit to abuse that requires her participation in something sinful, she sweetly refuses, as opposed to:

    Piper continues: “Just a word on the **other kind**. If it’s not requiring her to sin but simply hurting her,…”” (emphasis added)

    Abuse which does not require her to participate in sin, but endure sin because it is just hurtful to her, the wife is not exempt from submission to the hurtful husband.

    As Piper continues: “…then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, and she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.”

    I find it difficult to know what to say to that.

  12. My spam word for this one is “helper”. 🙂

    sm,
    Excellent point that you make on the “other kind” of situation. It is clear that Piper believes that abuse does not exempt a woman from being required to endure. You are so right in that abuse is a sin just as the other “kind of situation” that involves sexual sin.

    It is indeed difficult to know what to say about this kind of teaching. I feel for women who because of their circumstances have no other support then pastors who give this kind of advice.

  13. Ladies, ladies, please relax, calm out, and enjoy some peace,
    and let me be mad, annoyed, cross, vexed, irritated, indignant,
    irked, furious, enraged, infuriated instead. { ; o )

    Pastors? Hmmm? Do they really believe the Bible?
    Or has “the traditions of men” made the word of God of non effect?
    Can they even qualify as an elder/overseer? Blameless…. WOW!!!
    These folks think they are “blameless,” without fault,
    not open to censure, unrebukeable.

    Yep. That’s what “blameless” means. You can look it up.

    Complementarinism – Egalitarianism. Hmmm?
    Can’t find those words in my KJV. Are they in modern versions?
    Do you ever wonder; Is that the only two options?
    What if there is another option?

    What is popular is not always truth.
    What is truth is not always popular.

    Where in the NT does Jesus say that men are leaders in the church?
    He told His disciples not to be called leaders, and none did.
    Where does Jesus say that men have authority in the church?
    Didn’t Jesus tell His disciples not to be called teacher or leader? Mat 23
    Didn’t Jesus tell His disciples not to exercise authority like the gentiles?

    Do they even know what the word “church” means?
    They say, “my Church,” “my flock,” constantly. Hmmm?
    “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

    Where in the NT does it say Jesus shed His blood for;
    a building, an organization, an institution,
    a denomination, a business or a corporation.

    No, Jesus purchased “The Church of God” with His blood.
    It’s “His Church,” and “His flock” only.
    People, you and me, brethren, called out one’s. { ; o )

    No human leaders, He’s our leader. That’s what he said.
    Pastors, elders, theologins, denominations, institutions.
    Aren’t they the windmills that we joust with?
    Mythical giants in a mythical land.
    Isn’t Jesus the head of the body the church? Not man?

    If you’re in a denominational system; is there male and female?

    If you’re in Christ; is there male and female? Hmmm?

    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free,
    there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
    Galatians 3:28 KJV

    There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free,
    there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus.
    Galatians 3:28 ASV

    There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free,
    there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
    Galatians 3:28 NRSV

    Does this verse say male and female are equal?

    Or does this verse say that male and female
    have put down their “titles” and “identity”
    with this world system.

    And does this verse say male and female do not exist in Christ?
    “for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
    Is our new identity ”one?”

    For as the body is “one,” and hath many members,
    and all the members of that one body, being many,
    are one body: so also is Christ.
    1 Corinthians 12:12

    That they all may be “one;” as thou, Father,
    art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:
    that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
    John 17:21

    If you’re in Christ; is there male and female? Or is there “one?”
    AsOnetarinism? Hmmm?

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice;
    and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd.
    If Not Now, When?

  14. I have not responded to this posting until now, because, in many ways, it is painful to me. First of all, though I don’t wish to say too much, I have experienced both within my own family, and among dear friends, enough of domestic violence and abuse that I recognize it to be a great scourge in our churches as well as in society at large. And by God’s grace, I am at that place in my life where I wish to join in a “Blessed Alliance” with my sisters in Christ and drive this scourge out from among God’s people. For I know that men, especially Christian men who have the Spirit and truly yield to him, are not inherently or irreversibly violent, relationally incompetent, emotionally constipated, nor sexually complusive.

    Yet all too many Christian men exhibit these negative behaviors. Why? Because “dominant masculinity,” as Stephen Boyd designates patriarchy, or hierarchical-complementarianism, is a unbiblical philosophy that distorts and misdirects the male’s identity as the image bearer of God and as an equal partner with women, who are also made in God’s image. “To the extent that we manifest these characteristics, we do so not because we are male, but because we have experienced violent socialization and conditioning processes that have required or produced this kind of behavior and we have chosen to accept, or adopt, these ways of being, thinking, and acting. This dominative form of masculinity can be theologically construed to be a punishment or, better put, a manifestation of human sin. That is, it exhibits an alienation from our truest selves, from God, and from others. It is a captivity from which we need release” (THE MEN WE LONG TO BE: Beyond Domination to a New Christian Understanding of Manhood, p. 14).

    Unfortunately, John Piper and others do not see this “dominant masculinity” as a philosophical construct that institutionalizes a negative consequence of the Fall, male dominance, with its attendant distortions and abuses of the relationship between men and women in the home and church, which is not understood as one mutuality but one of competition. “One of the ways in which we are mystified by what I call ‘dominative masculinity’ is by clinging to the mistaken belief that our well-being is somehow in competition with that others. We are convinced that the progress of another somehow diminishes us. Not only is this not true, it is one of the aspects of this form of masculinity that itself contributes to the very attitudes and behaviors that diminish us and others” (Cf. Stephen Boyd, THE MEN WE LONG TO BE, p.14). And when we are competing with someone, the more we feel threatened by them, the more extreme we become in overcoming our competition and maintaining our superior position, even to the point that it involves violence, when other forms of persuasion fail to maintain the status quo.

    Now, I am not trying to excuse men for their abuse of women. But we need to understand the spiritual and psychological aspects of this scourge, which the Enemy seeks to exploit to the harm of the Church. For if we are to truly end spousal abuse and domestic violence in our congregations, and so experience real healing and reconciliation, we must understand the causes and dynamics of this pathology before adequate therapy can be developed and implemented. And so I would recommend churches developing anti-abuse and restoration seminars, utilizing such materials as Steven Tracy’s MENDING THE SOUL: Understanding and Healing Abuse; anti-abuse videos and literature provided by the Radio Bible Class and by CBE, to begin with.

  15. Frank quoting Steven: “clinging to the mistaken belief that our well-being is somehow in competition with that others. We are convinced that the progress of another somehow diminishes us.”

    This is so, so true. It is such a strong force that it bleeds into our interpretation of the Bible. That place where God tells Eve that her desire or turning will be toward her husband contains NO competion or desiring to rule on her part. Yet men interpret it as that. And some Bible translations have even written it like that. Not because it says it but because this competing for well-being lens is so thick and so distortive in men that male Bible translators see it in the verse when it is not there.

    Thank you for bringing it to the fore front. And know that us gals, even when angry at the abuses and Bible distortions of some men, are ever grateful for the men that do get it and are able to put it in these kinds of words, words that men and women can understand.

    Thanks to you Amos. Have you ever read “The way church ought to be?

    Frank, are both the books you mention from CBE?

  16. A. Amos Love,
    As is your usual self you are poetic with the truth.

    Frank,
    Thank you so much for commenting even in your own pain. I am sure that your answer will help many.

    Mara,
    Thanks for linking to the comment on Piper’s Stepford Wife response, it cracked me up. Had to laugh out loud!

  17. Mara, as regards the books I mentioned. Dr. Tracy’s book, MENDING THE SOUL, is part of an anti-abuse program offered by Radio Bible Class, and which was developed by Alice P. Matthews, a former missionary, a charter member of the Denver chapter of CBE, and presently the Associate Professor of Women’s Ministries at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. And I think you can order it through the CBE bookstore. As for Stephen Boyd, he was a former SBC pastor who left the denominsation because of what he regarded as its predominant, rigid “fundamentalism,” and is now involved with the American Baptist Church. He is presently the Associate Professor of Christian History at Wake Forest University and is a co-director of the men’s studies group sponsored by the American Academy of Religion. He is somewhat liberal in his thinking, and so there are some aspects of his book, such as his view on gays and lesbians, that I strongly disagree with. However, you’ll never find a finer survey, exposee and refutation of what patriarchy is and how it harms both men and women than this book. And if I wanted to give a book to shake up a hierarchicalist and make him face the negative reality of his position, it would be this one. But it was printed in 1995, and is available only through on-line used bookstores, as far as I know.

  18. It was alluded to before by SM and Cheryl, but I did not think it was made really clear…there is no difference between Piper’s two examples, unless you really believe that “smacking” your wife is NOT a sin. The law in Australia does not agree with Piper…so I do not think he should ever come here!

    Also, to me this is another example of comp confusion about where to draw the line in the mixed up world of hierarchy. It is left to the comp men to sort out and dictate what a woman should endure and what she should not. Islam means ‘submission’, and it faces the exact same problems Piper is presenting here, and yet Piper is supposed to be following a faith with a God of love…not submission (in the Islamic sense).

  19. “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free,
    there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:28 NRSV
    Does this verse say male and female are equal?
    Or does this verse say that male and female
    have put down their “titles” and “identity”
    with this world system. ”

    A. Amos,

    I really liked these thoughts. Also very much apprecitated lines your wrote a while back saying something like
    Can we lay down our lust for titles?
    Don’t titles divide? Don’t titles cause seperation?
    Don’t titles say, I am, you’re not?
    Don’t titles say, we are, they’re not?

  20. Mara
    Thanks for the referral.
    “The way church ought to be?”
    Bob Lund says some thoughtful things.
    and the book has many quotes from other authors.

    “Where in the New Testament do you find the same man – who
    (1) preaches every Sunday,
    (2) marries people,
    (3) brings a message over a corpse,
    (4) then buries it with a prayer,
    (5) visits old ladies,
    (6) says prayers over football games,
    (7) CEO’s a church,
    (8) presides over elders and deacons,
    (9) is virtually always in a dress suit,
    (10) speaks strangely and prays funny,
    (11) baptizes new converts,
    (12) and whose office and all the above practices are supposed to be based solidly on the Word of god and found in Scripture.”

    “As the Church Fathers attempted to cope with the various pagan philosophies that threatened the church from without and the heresies that were popping up with within, they resorted to establishing a hierarchical structure as their solution. “Hierarchy” comes from two Greek words meaning, “rule by priest.” Thus, in doing this, Church Fathers neatly and permanently divided God’s people into two castes: laity and clergy. We have lived with this caste system ever since, even though the Bible teaches otherwise.”

    Today, when I here The word “Church.” Oy vey!

    Who knows what it means?

    Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition…
    Mark 7:13

    Hmmm? A simple word, church?
    What do most people understand the word “church” to mean?

    Building with a steeple?
    Is that in the Bible?

    Pastor in a pulpit preaching to people in pews?
    Is that in the Bible?

    That’s what the world thinks,
    the unbeliever, isn’t it?

    Isn’t that what the so called “local church”
    has accomplished with four buildings on
    four corners in a lot of “local towns?”

    Haven’t we deceived the people
    we’re supposed to be reaching out to?

    How many will know that “The Church of God?”
    The ekklesia of God? The called out one’s of God?

    Are the habitation of God? Where He dwells?

    The redeemed of the Lord? By His blood.

    The body of Christ? Purchased with His blood.

    The Israel of God?

    And Jesus is the head of the body the church?

    Does God dwell in buildings made with
    the hands of men? Or does He dwell in us?

    Did Jesus shed His blood for;
    a building, a denomination, an institution,
    an organization, a corporation?
    Should we call a corporation, The Church?

    Will people know that “The Church of God?”

    Are kings and priests unto God?

    The bride of Christ?

    The servants of Christ?

    The sons of God?
    Led by the spirit? Or led by man?

    Disciples of Christ?
    Learners and students of Christ?

    Ambassadors for Christ?

    How many will know, in the Bible,
    no one ever went to church?

    How many will know, in the Bible,
    you become “the Church?”
    And hear His voice? And follow Him?

    Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice,
    that he might instruct thee.
    Deuteronomy 4:36

    Thanks again and – Be blessed.

  21. With John Piper’s “interpretation” this week that the tornado here in the Twin Cities that hit a church holding an ELCA meeting was “a gentle but firm warning [from God] to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin”, he has lost all credibility with me. I simply can’t take anything he says seriously, no matter how serious the topic. It is truly a tragedy that people go to this fount of babbling silliness for presumedly wise cousnel. Maybe this latest bit of nonsense from him will turn out to be a gentle but firm warning from God to all of us not to listen to John Piper.

  22. gengwall,
    While one may wonder if God allowed the tornado to hit the church because of what was being voted on that day, one should never speak for God that presumptuously. John Piper has gone out on a limb a few times when he should not have presumed to speak for God.

  23. A helpful and absolutely captivating resource on this subject is “Battered into Submission: The Tragedy of Wife Abuse in Christian Homes”. Hope it will be as helpful to any of you as it has been to me, a recovering victim of Christian, male-domineering domestic violence.

  24. Vasily,
    Welcome to my blog! Thanks for your comments and recommendation.

    Sorry that I have been slow to approve new comments. I am on vacation this week and internet access has been almost impossible.

  25. Funny…my anti-spam word was “fall” and that makes me think that spousal abuse is the result of the tragedy in Genesis 3. It can’t be anything but. Both men and women, now that they know sin, are subject to a curse that was never God’s intention in the original creation: hierarchicalism, with the potential for abuse. God’s intention in Genesis 1 was that both the man and the woman, as cobearers of His image, would both be the caretakers of Creation. There wasn’t ONE WORD in that text about how the woman was “under the man’s leadership” or anything like that. When sin entered the world, the desire to dominate and exercise undue power over one another came into being, and that’s what God was addressing in Genesis 3. I don’t believe that the “he shall rule over you” clause in the curse addressed to Eve was EVER God’s intention. If it was, then why didn’t He say so earlier?!

    Nope, spousal abuse (and other abuses of authority) come straight from one of Hell’s most pernicious lies: that in order for one person to “win”, another has to “lose”. I happen to think that comp theology, since it is so big on this one-up, one-down issue, really fails to address the kind of pain that it causes. It’s bought into the lie, and until it realizes that, it will fail.

  26. It appears Pastor Piper is completely ignorant of the etiology of domestic violence. This is an area he’d probably best leave to professionals who deal in this particular family dysfunction. I would be very afraid if I were a married woman in his church. Incidentally, I wonder what “a season” is and how much one has to endure? Is the one smack one smack or a series of smacks? Suppose you add children into the mix? And this is somehow less bad than if a husband asks his wife to perform what might be considered sinful and adulterous sex acts? He should be required to spend a week in a shelter for battered spouses.

  27. Nadine,
    I agree that these men would do well to leave the counseling on marital abuse to those who are trained in such things. Piper just doesn’t get it. For him to state that group sex is sin that should be rejected but fail to identify abuse as sinful in the same way, is regrettable.

  28. I guess I don’t really have grounds to comment, since I don’t believe in god. A god who allows people to be beaten, raped and murdered to protect “man’s free will” certainly does not protect the rest of us, and that drove me away, and I kept going. I do read these blogs out of curiosity and some remnants of sympathy, though, for people trying to square that “treat him like unto the Lord” circle and extract some dignity for women, and I admire the level of discourse on this site. Given I’m a heathen, my question is: doesn’t anyone in your community ever clarify that assault is a crime? If a man punches a man in his home, or yard, or on the street, police arrest him. Assault is a crime, genuine criminal prosecutable behavior. Why the kid gloves for men (so to speak) when a stranger who punches you in the face goes to jail?

  29. Patricia Evans speaks about the “Power over” model. Its win or lose and no in between. You can’t be equal because it would make you subservient. He fits the bill!

    These men seem so entitled (movements like this I mean – not all men) to their leadership in the home they clearly can’t see straight! It seems they can’t read scripture either. Can you imagine some woman giving the little speech he mentioned to an abuser? Talk about make things worse.

    I mean Let him smack you and call us in the morning! LOL Why not right that minute? You don’t wish your dinner interrupted?

    The hair stood up in the back of my next as I listened. Ick!

  30. Pan, I am glad that you came to visit and I hope you feel welcome here.

    God has allowed evil in the world but instead of stopping evil (and he would have to get rid of all of us because evil and sin exists in all of us at one time or another) He has chosen to pay the price for our sin so that we can receive freedom from the cycle of sin and death. Freedom is a precious thing and I for one am glad that God didn’t just wipe me off the face of the earth when I failed Him and sinned against Him.

    I understand your question about assault and I too don’t understand how some can look the other way because it is the man who has committed evil within his own family. This is unjust to be sure. God’s justice is different in that He has promised that He will bring all to account on a day that He has appointed where He will judge the world through Jesus. Everything will be settled at that time and those who think they are getting away with evil now will be called to account.

  31. Hi Pan.

    The law allows for a certain level of “assault”, if you will, when it involves domestic parties. Parents can legally spank their children – to a degree – and a certain level of physical restraint and “correction” is allowed for older children as well. (Incidentally, the bible seems to indicate a similar acceptance.) I distinctly remember the sharp slap across the face I received from my mother as a 17 year old when I took the name of the Lord in vain in front of her. I can also remember an altercation between my wife and daughter which resulted in…well…let’s just say my wife is still the WWF champ in our family (mother and daughter get along fine, btw). Now, you may not be an advocate of such measures in the parent/child relationship, but the reality is that in some families, sometimes words alone can’t solve situations, especially when there is an authority/dependent dynamic. That reality, of course, is a result of our (both parent’s and children’s) sinful dispositions, as Cheryl points out. But there are many kinds of physical altercation that would not result in arrest.

    This where complimentarians go wrong and why their perception of domestic violence gets so out of wack. In my experience, they believe two incorrect things. One, that the husband/wife relationship is such an authoritarian situation. As such, it is no different in their mind than a parent dealing with a child. That is almost exactly the argument Domestic Discipline advocates put forward to justify husbands spanking their wives. Two, that the nature of the physical “interaction” is as mild as spanking a child or slapping a teenager. As others have noted above, they really have no clue about the realities of domestic violence. They believe that husbands just give a little “smack” and all is well.

    In general then, they seem blind to the dynamics of husband/wife relationships (compared to parent/child) and how very easy it is for them to spin out of control. In particular, they seem to be blissfully ignorant of the sin condition of husbands, at least when it comes to dealing with their wives. They buy the lie that “rule over” is a command from Genesis 3 and seem to feel that “Love your wife” from Ephesians 5 is a pronouncement of the default male condition rather than a command to rise out of the real depraved condition we husbands are actually in – one that causes us to “rule over”. In other words, they can’t imagine that any act of “ruling” is anything else but “loving”. They really have got it all completely backwards.

  32. Pan, I also want to welcome you.
    Your choice to walk away is understandable.
    Your input and point of view are appreciated.

  33. Because of Piper’s views on the second-class citizenship of women in the kingdom, I have pretty much dismissed him completely. I used to try to cull out the useful and edifying points of his theology and dismiss the nonsense, but it seems that his ministry and theology are increasingly “built around” male domination. Perhaps if I was male, I’d be better at compartmentalizing the “women need to put up with anything dished out to them” stuff, but being female, it makes it a little more difficult to integrate. I have been told by men I respect that “that’s just a secondary” consideration, but I can honestly say that I bet it’s a whole lot easier for it to be secondary to them because it doesn’t seek to harm or marginalize them.

  34. Savannah,
    I want to thank you for stopping in on my blog today! Your comment is important to note. It seems like those who integrate the male domination theology into their own theology make it so much the focus that it is hard to chew the meat and spit out the bones because everything is built on those bones.

  35. It is certainly understandable that someone who works with Piper might be upset at criticism. However I noticed that there was no communication about the content of what Piper said. One is just supposed to learn more about Piper. Will that make what he said different? Does he need to make another video to explain that he is misunderstood? I am not sure. The commenter on your blog didn’t explain enough for us to understand if John Piper meant something other than he said. If we are to understand that he is a nice man, I am sure he is nice. But is he wrong in the area of abuse? I think that is the issue not how nice the man is.

  36. Hannah, I think one of your commenters may have hit the nail on the head (not “Nick) when it was mentioned that it may be that these hard complementarian and/or patrio types do not really believe that domestic violence/spousal abuse really happens. If someone is supposed to be COMPLETELY subordinate to another person, do they even have the right to expect not be assaulted or abused? After all, it used to be argued in courts of law that it was “impossible for a husband to rape his reasonably sensible realize that not only is it “possible” but part of a continuum of spousal abuse and quite common.

  37. Sorry, that last sentence should have read:

    After all, it used to be argued in courts of law that it was “impossible for a husband to rape his own wife”. Most sensible people who are justice-oriented, however, realize that not only is it “possible”, but part of a continuum of spousal abuse and quite common.

  38. I was going to go back a post on your site again, Hannah. But you and Waneta have it taken care of. And I think what you said is better than what I said. What I have said is pretty inflamatory. And you know what they say, the more inflamatory, the less people who disagree are able to take it seriously. What I posted was more for those who HAVE left Christianity because of numbskulls like Piper, or those who are entertaining the idea. Those who want to debate Piper, Piper followers, and Piper ideas need to do so the way you gals have.

  39. Savannah: “Because of Piper’s views on the second-class citizenship of women in the kingdom, I have pretty much dismissed him completely. I used to try to cull out the useful and edifying points of his theology and dismiss the nonsense, but it seems that his ministry and theology are increasingly ‘built around’ male domination. Perhaps if I was male, I’d be better at compartmentalizing the ‘women need to put up with anything dished out to them stuff’ but being female, it makes it a little more difficult to integrate. I have been told by men I respect that ‘that’s just a secondary’ consideration, but I can honestly say that I bet it’s a whole lot easier for it to be secondary to them because it doesn’t seek to harm or marginalize them.”

    Actually, Savannah, I wish I could cut and paste your above words on Hannah’s blog. They are very good. They get to the point and are not inflamatory (am I spelling that right? I’m a lousy speller) like mine so are not so easily dismissed.
    But they are your words and belong to you. So my secondary wish would be for you to go to Hannah’s site (click on her name) and post them yourself since you are the author of them.

  40. I have had talks and email and been involved because of my own ministry, with many abused Christian women and some men. I would love John Piper to read my book ‘Not a Victim’ when it is published as it is for those Christians who are in abusive marriages and does look at things from a scriptural point of view.

    The following advice though well intended does not go far enough. This will not stop an abusive marriage.

    “and she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.”

    This is very unhelpful. No woman should be told to endure being smacked just one night. She should have help immediately both from church AND police.

    ALL women and all men in whatever church should be clear that physical violence needs to be dealt with by an immeditate response involving calling police.

    It does NOT just happen ‘that one nigh’t and bringing in the church is likely to make it worse in many cases. The advice is useless if the abuser does not go to church and actually most of the people I counsel are wives of Christians – all too often in leadership positions!

    John Piper may not ever have experienced an abusive marriage. It is understandable that he gives the advice he does; but the whole issue of abuse tends to be very badly dealt with by those who have little understanding of the dynamics. It is hard to understand those dynamics.

    I often get emails from women as a result of my own ministry. Usually the women have been given the sort of advice John Piper gives. Unfortunately, things tend to go from bad to worse and abusers are excellent at convincing Pastors and the like that they are no longer abusing while continuing to abuse.

    I do not doubt John Piper’s love for Jesus. I have no doubt he wanted to help and gave the best advice he could. However, it just does not work.

    If an abused wife said anything like John Piper suggests to an abusive husband it would actually be likely to increase abuse. This is a problem many who seek counselling for abuse come accross – they are told to do things that seem absolutely fine but are not wise in the context of the relationship. There are seemingly normal things you can say to an abusive person which make them worse.

    Abusers get angry and do things many of us would not believe. An ordinary comment can be taken, twisted and used in ways the ordinary mind cannot envision.

    The difficulty is that those who are not abusive assume an abuser will have a ‘normal’ response. They unfortunately, do not.

    The only sensible advice on abuse is to leave and get counselling and return as and when and if the abuser is ever truly repentant and showing evidence of a changed life. That does not happen overnight.

    At least John Piper goes further than those misguided churches that suggest a woman continues to submit to a violent man ‘because it is scriptural – it happens…..

    Please read these stories to understand quite how an abusive marriage can be for Christian women. Not all the women writing are perfect themselves but you will see how it can be
    http://jesusheals.informe.com/forum/my-story-f31/

    Jesus heals has a fair amount of information and I post what I can there. I hope moderators are ok with me posting the links but my main aim is to be helpful not in competition.
    http://jesusheals.informe.com/forum/jesus-heals-abuse-f23

    Minister Jacky

  41. It just worked but no idea how to delete the above.

    I have had talks and email and been involved because of my own ministry, with many abused Christian women and some men. I would love John Piper to read my book ‘Not a Victim’ when it is published as it is for those Christians who are in abusive marriages and does look at things from a scriptural point of view.

    The following advice though well intended does not go far enough. This will not stop an abusive marriage.

    “and she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.”

    This is very unhelpful. No woman should be told to endure being smacked just one night. She should have help immediately both from church AND police.

    ALL women and all men in whatever church should be clear that physical violence needs to be dealt with by an immeditate response involving calling police.

    It does NOT just happen ‘that one nigh’t and bringing in the church is likely to make it worse in many cases. The advice is useless if the abuser does not go to church and actually most of the people I counsel are wives of Christians – all too often in leadership positions!

    John Piper may not ever have experienced an abusive marriage. It is understandable that he gives the advice he does; but the whole issue of abuse tends to be very badly dealt with by those who have little understanding of the dynamics. It is hard to understand those dynamics.

    I often get emails from women as a result of my own ministry. Usually the women have been given the sort of advice John Piper gives. Unfortunately, things tend to go from bad to worse and abusers are excellent at convincing Pastors and the like that they are no longer abusing while continuing to abuse.

    I do not doubt John Piper’s love for Jesus. I have no doubt he wanted to help and gave the best advice he could. However, it just does not work.

    If an abused wife said anything like John Piper suggests to an abusive husband it would actually be likely to increase abuse. This is a problem many who seek counselling for abuse come accross – they are told to do things that seem absolutely fine but are not wise in the context of the relationship. There are seemingly normal things you can say to an abusive person which make them worse.

    Abusers get angry and do things many of us would not believe. An ordinary comment can be taken, twisted and used in ways the ordinary mind cannot envision.

    The difficulty is that those who are not abusive assume an abuser will have a ‘normal’ response. They unfortunately, do not.

    The only sensible advice on abuse is to leave and get counselling and return as and when and if the abuser is ever truly repentant and showing evidence of a changed life. That does not happen overnight.

    At least John Piper goes further than those misguided churches that suggest a woman continues to submit to a violent man ‘because it is scriptural – it happens…..

    Please read these stories to understand quite how an abusive marriage can be for Christian women. Not all the women writing are perfect themselves but you will see how it can be
    http://jesusheals.informe.com/forum/my-story-f31/

    Jesus heals has a fair amount of information and I post what I can there. I hope moderators are ok with me posting the links but my main aim is to be helpful not in competition.
    http://jesusheals.informe.com/forum/jesus-heals-abuse-f23

    Minister Jacky

  42. Minister Jacky,

    Welcome to my blog. I know that you had problems getting your post through because the anti-spam word didn’t work for you. It should be fixed now and I am so glad that you dropped by. This is a very important issue and thanks for your comments.

    I deleted your original post that you referred to and the other two that showed up in my spam box I have released from blog purgatory! 😉

  43. “I have real life friends who have tried this exact approach and all that the church does is berate the woman and try to find out what SHE has done wrong to cause her husband’s abusive “reactions”.”

    Don’t forget that Bruce Ware teaches the same thing about a wife being abused. He explained that a man has one of two ways to react to a rebellious wife- passiveness or physical abuse.

    The transcript is disturbing on many levels.

    First, I wouldn’t trust in any comp church leadership to take care of an abusive husband. I trusted in them to take care of someone who molested one of my children and to protect the other children in the church and when I finally had to go to the police, I was accused of “gossiping”….to the police??? They wanted to cover up this heinous offense and protect the victimizer and, in the process, they revictimized the victim.

    I have seen woman after woman after woman go to the church leadership for help in an abusive situation and it ALWAYS boils down to grilling about what she did to make her husband treat her in an abusive manner. And that if she were just more sweet, accommodating and submissive, he would not have a reason to abuse her.

    I also echo the advice concerning Piper following his own advice. How long would he sit and tolerate a night of smacking or verbal abuse? Would he tolerate that from a church member? Someone who walked up and punched him and beat him about the head and then when he was down on the floor kicked him in the stomach and then choked him? Would he submit to that treatment? Or would he try and defend himself? After all, he is commanded by Scripture to submit to other believers. Would he tolerate a “season” of verbal excoriation in perfectly sweet submission? Men are not exempt from being submissive, gentle, kind and all the other things they tie up on the backs of women.

  44. Cheryl,

    I was also disturbed by his advice concerning how a woman should respond to her husband if he asked her to participate in group sex.

    It is creepy. Can he imagine what it would be like for his wife to ask him such a thing and he respond in such a robotic, non-plussed manner?

    And, what if it is not as bad as group sex? How about anal sex? How about rough sex? Or anything else the woman finds personally degrading, embarrassing and humiliating? Does she have a right to say “no” to private requests that would degrade and humiliate her?

    Don’t these comps know that a man is to submit to his wife as much as she is to submit to him when it comes to the bedroom? Why does talk that surrounds sex always concern the woman submitting to the man? It is like the big pink elephant in the corner is supposed to be ignored.

  45. Minister Jacky said, “John Piper may not ever have experienced an abusive marriage. It is understandable that he gives the advice he does; but the whole issue of abuse tends to be very badly dealt with by those who have little understanding of the dynamics. It is hard to understand those dynamics.”

    I agree with your assessment, but would go a step farther and suggest that Piper refrain from giving dangerous advice on subjects with which he has little or no experience or expertise. What if the woman is seriously injured, or doesn’t survive the evening smackdown? What long-lasting traumatic effects will that smackdown have on the children that may witness or hear it?

    Piper needs to consider some humility in dealing with subjects that he obviously knows little about.

    PS – Mara, thank you for your kind words. I took your advice and copied my comment to Hannah’s site.

  46. Ladies

    I hurt for you, and the struggles with this abomination of “abuse.”

    I love your reasonings and your responce to the foolishness of Piper.

    Here is my pain with him and others that call themselves “leaders”
    and heap tons of “spiritual abuse” on the “Bride of Christ.”

    Here are some hard questions to ask about “The Religious Sytem.”

    Piper calls himself a pastor. Hmmm?

    In the Bible, How many people… have the title pastor?
    In the Bible, How many people are… referred to as pastor?
    In the Bible, How many people are… ordained as a pastor?
    In the Bible, How many congregations are… led by a pastor?

    Every titled “pastor” I’ve met also had the “title” reverend.
    Can’t find that one in the KJV either; Can you?

    If no one in the Bible is “called or has the title” “pastor”
    don’t I help “perpetrate a myth” that is not in the Bible
    and help “the traditions of men” make the Word of non effect
    when I call or refer to someone as “pastor?”

    Do you see other problems that Piper has?
    Is he deceived?

    He probably thinks he is an leader/elder as many do.
    Jesus told His disciples “not” to be called leaders and none did.

    Matthew 23:10
    King James Version –
    Neither be ye called masters:
    for one is your Master, even Christ.

    The Interlinear Bible –
    Nor be called leaders,
    for one is your leader the Christ.

    Phillips Modern English –
    you must not let people call you leaders,
    you have only one leader, Christ.

    Today’s English Version –
    nor should you be called leader.
    your one and only leader is the Messiah.

    The Amplified-
    you must not be called masters ( leaders )
    for you have one master ( leader ) the Christ.

    His disciples referred to themselves as servants.
    Ro 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,
    Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ,
    Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ,
    Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God,
    Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God
    2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant

    His disciples all called themselves servants,
    none called themselves “leaders.” None? None.
    None called themselves “servant-leader.” None.

    Titles become idols and
    pastors become masters.

    Peace

  47. Amos – I don’t know if I would go as far as saying the “whole” system is corrupt. After all, people such as Cheryl have effective, turth telling ministries. But, it certainly has major messed up pieces, and they have been messed up since pretty much the 2nd or 3rd century on.

  48. gengwall – Hi

    Wasn’t thinking about Cheryl or those who have ministries.
    Thinking about those who run 501 (c) (3) non profit,
    tax deductible corporations, and call those corporations
    “The Church of God.” AAARRRRGGGHHH!!

    Silly me, I thought I was ‘the ekklesia of God” and Jesus was my head.
    And Jesus is your head. And Jesus is Cheryl’s head…. and etc… etc….

    Did Jesus shed His blood for a building, an organization, an institution,
    a denomination, a business, a corporation???

    No… Jesus shed His blood, for you and me, “The Ekklesia of God”
    People, God’s people, not religion. Glory to God!!!!

    Open to other suggestions about “The Religious System” run by man.
    How would you describe “The Religious system and leaders” of our day?
    Jesus called them vipers, white walled sepulchers full of dead mens bones, love the best seats at the feasts, of their father the devil.

    I thought I was being reserved only calling them;

    Corrupt

    1- evil or morally depraved

    2- in a state of decay; rotten or putrid : a corrupt and rotting corpse.

    3- debased or made unreliable by errors or alterations.

    4- having errors introduced.

    5- cause to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain

    6- cause to become morally depraved

    7- contaminate

    8- change or debase by making errors or unintentional alterations

    Do you have a good accurate discription?

    Love and peace….

  49. “With John Piper’s “interpretation” this week that the tornado here in the Twin Cities that hit a church holding an ELCA meeting was “a gentle but firm warning [from God] to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin”, he has lost all credibility with me. I simply can’t take anything he says seriously, no matter how serious the topic. It is truly a tragedy that people go to this fount of babbling silliness for presumedly wise cousnel.”

    No kidding!!!

    I guess he never heard about the parable of the tower of Siloam in Luke 13:4? He has committed the same error that Jesus expressly rebuked.

    I cannot believe he actually said (not doubting that it was said) that a tornado hit the ELCA meeting because God was warning them? That is ludicrous.

    It must be nice to be so confident that one is not as sinful as others and not in need of “warnings”.

    We all have tragedies befall us, even John Piper….not too long ago. God forbid anyone would say that it was because of some personal sin in his life or anyone else in his family.

    He sounds like Job’s friends who presumed to speak ignorantly for God, too!

  50. Hi anoni,
    Yes, verbal “unkindness” is the same as verbal “abuse” to John Piper. It is his way of trying to speak in a nice way towards men so that women should seek to submit to them even when they are subjected to verbal abuse (a.k.a. unkindness).

    I do wonder if John Piper ever had anyone take a strip off him and he referred to the abuse that was laid on him as verbal “unkindness”. Somehow I don’t think so.

    Oh, and welcome to my blog!

  51. Well – Mr. Piper’s Friend decided not to comment to anyone anymore due to his loyality, and our ignorance of roles I guess. I guess roles have something to do with enduring abuse? Having children witness and endure abuse?

    I’m sorry but if they were so right – why not defend your position! I was amazed at the comment he left before leaving:

    I didn’t intend for my comments to start a fire. I completely disagree (on a personal and biblical level) with many things that are being stated here. I have and will continue to defend John Piper. He has proved himself to me and many thousands of other believers as a faithful expositor of the Word of God.

    It seems the issues you all have are not so much with Piper but rather with what the Word of God states about the difference between men and women’s roles (not significance or worth; just roles).

  52. I know, Hannah. I saw that.
    I was going to respond but thought I better hold off since I am probably way over my limit.

    I have only recently become aware that Piper is part of SGM (Soveriegn Grace Ministries) (Correct me if I’m wrong, anybody). And there are several support sites for those who have been chewed up and spit out by SGM.
    People like Nick who are in good standing with SGM have no clue the damage that is being done. He wants to hold onto the simplistic quick-fixes that SGM have for family issues, claiming that since it is in The Word of God, it must work. They don’t like it when people point out that the flaws of such a mindset. They pretty much freak when you threaten the delicate (and false) balance of their view of God, men, women, the universe, and everything.
    So my posts are written with SGMsurvivours in mind, rather than people like Nick.

    Thanks, Hannah for hosting that converstation and pointing out the folly of men like Piper.
    And thanks Savannah and A. Amos Love for taking part in it.
    I’m sure it helped some of those precious, wounded lurkers who were too timid to post but still hold onto the hope that God sees them and wants to heal them.

  53. I saw the comment from Nick as well, and I just had to smile a bit ruefully. How is it that every time these folks are nailed down on the pure mean-ness and total lack of Christ in what they’re putting forth, then all of a sudden “the womenfolk” just have a beef with God and His ‘Word?

    I’m sorry, but if you have a position, defend it. It’s just a cop out to basically say, “Well, if you don’t agree with my extra-Biblical position, then you have a problem with God”.

  54. I believe they feel the pat answer should be enough. They are in the position of not having to answer to ‘women’, etc. I doubt it would make it any different if was a man either to be honest. When I saw how the ‘true women’s conference’ twisted things to fit the definition? They have to much invested in admitting anything. To me? That’s plain sinful, but I would have more respect for them if they admitted things personally.

    There are evil women and men within the church, and for some reason they truly have a hard time facing them down directly. Its sad. They end up helping no one.

    This has nothing to do with roles. It has to do with sin. When you divert to roles, and not deal with the sin? You don’t have much of a point.

  55. it sounds like he is saying that unless she is in physical danger, a wife should be willing to suffer abusive treatment including abusive/unkind language from her husband for an inspecified amount of time. He is definitely IMO implying a kind of lordship of the husband to which the wife must approach differences with a bended knee kind of approach.

    His laughter is indeed troubling. This follow’s Ware and Pattersons attitude that the reputation of the husband is more important than the suffering of the wife.

  56. I, too, am troubled by Piper’s chuckle and by his minimizing of bullying, which he calls “verbal unkindness.” With his minimization of domestic violence, would any wife in Piper’s “church” realize that being choked, pinned to the wall, kicked, scratched, restrained against her will, punched, threatened, and raped are also domestic abuse?

    He seems to assume that husbands naturally love and lay down their lives for their wives, and that wives have a hard time submitting. What wife has hard time submitting to a husband who is laying down his life for her–sacrificing himself for her best interests?

    What kind of men are in his “church?” They are given full rein to bully their wives, lie to them, slander them to their faces, steal their reputations by telling them repeatedly and emphatically that they are worthless–in direct opposition to the Bible saying those who are in Him are the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and Justified by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ, and worth more than rubies.

    By allowing husbands to sin against their wives like this, isn’t Piper allowing them to proclaim they know better than God? Isn’t Piper “straining at gnats” to make the fault the wife’s lack of submission unless the husband is CLEARLY asking her to sin? And isn’t Piper “swallowing a camel” to justify the authority of husbands over their wives? Isn’t the “unkindness” clearly sin?

    Why are Piper, Bruce Ware, and others of their group refusing to hold husbands accountable for sin? Oh yes, Piper will hold husbands accountable IF they smack their wives.

    So, husbands, don’t smack your wives. You can do everything else to them, but as long as you don’t smack them, you have Piper’s blessing. After all, according to Piper, those other things are not CLEARLY sin, are they??

    Reminds me of the song “Oh you can’t get to heaven on a pair of skates, cause you’ll roll right past those pearly gates.” It’s time to take your skates off, Piper!

  57. Waneta Dawn,
    Welcome to my blog! You have brought up some very good points.

    What wife has hard time submitting to a husband who is laying down his life for her–sacrificing himself for her best interests?

    This is exactly right. The real “cure” for an unsubmissive wife is to encourage the sacrificial love of her husband. What woman can resist a man who gives up himself for her?

    I too believe that Piper calling verbal abuse as verbal “unkindness” is renaming a sin to make it less of a sin. And the fact that he encourages women to submit to sin (being smacked for a day) makes it clear (to me at least) that some sin is to be condoned and submitted to while other sin is to be rejected (while the wife is sweetly asking to be “led”). I think that John Piper is out of touch with reality.

    My son met him in person within this last year and he said that there was a line up of people who were fawning over Piper telling him how great he was and how they so admired him. I think that Piper has so many people who surround him that think he is godlike and has the answers to everything that he now believes it himself. But his “wonderful” new answer to how a woman can submit through abuse is not good or godly in my opinion. I believe it falls in line with devaluing a woman and her ability to be mature without begging an abusive man to lead her.

  58. “So if this man, for example, is calling her to engage in abusive acts willingly (group sex or something really weird, bizarre, harmful, that clearly would be sin),”

    I notice that Piper’s examples are far out–things he thinks no “Christian” husband would do. What he doesn’t realize is that abusers do demand bizarre, weird and harmful acts. But those to whom wife submission is one of the top 10 biblical checkpoints, easily dismiss the fact that they are bizarre and focus instead on the wife’s supposed error.

    My husband demanded something quite bizarre. When our daughter was small, she got the hand-held egg beater and waved it around in the living room, hitting the TV screen with it, and leaving a 2 inch scratch on the screen. My husband ordered that I had to get rid of the egg beater. (how bizarre and ridiculous and what poor stewardship! How many other items were there that I would have to get rid of if they my daughter did damage with them? We may have to empty out the house! And I would have to replace the item(s) later, which would be harmful to our bank account.) When I told my uncle this story, he looked shocked and took a few seconds to recover. When he did, he brushed off the fact that my husband had demanded something so bizarre, and proceeded to tell me that I was the problem, and that I should go home and submit to my husband.

    Yet, I doubt this is the type of bizarre or harmful or sin Piper had in mind. From his example of group sex, he clearly is referring to actions that he the “pastor” would see as bizarrre, harmful, or sinful action. Stuff like a wife’s husband demanding that she pose for Playboy, or kill someone. The “big sins.” But the Bible does not differentiate between big and little sins. There is no such thing as a “little white lie” or a “little sin” in the Bible. Those “little sins” are just as clearly sin as the “bigger sins.”

    According to the comment Nick made on Hannah’s blog, looking at “little sins” that a husband commits is simply an issue with “what the Word of God states about the difference between men and women’s roles.” Apparently, a wife not submitting to her husband’s “little sin” is a “big sin” as far as Nick and Piper are concerned.

  59. “According to the comment Nick made on Hannah’s blog, looking at “little sins” that a husband commits is simply an issue with “what the Word of God states about the difference between men and women’s roles.” Apparently, a wife not submitting to her husband’s “little sin” is a “big sin” as far as Nick and Piper are concerned.”

    Weird, isn’t it?

  60. Very Good point, Waneta.
    And since you are here let me tell you I appreciated all the points you made over on Hannah’s blog. I loved the point you made about men raising their pet doctrine (my words) of ‘wives submit’ to the level of a sacrament like baptism or the Lord’s supper. I’ve not seen that before but it put into words what I have been saying for years.

    Sacrament, definition 1. from my Dictionary. any of certain rites ordained by Jesus and regarded as a means of grace: baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, holy orders, matrimony, and Anointing the Sick are the seven recognized by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Eastern Churches; Protestants generally recognize only baptism and Holy Communion.

    And this dovetails into what you said above.
    It is as though heaven and earth can stand up under pretty much any sin a man can dish toward his wife. But if a woman doesn’t submit, then the foundations of heaven and earth, Christianity, and the throne of God are shaken (not to mention the family). Because the ‘divine order’ (CBMW words) is not being followed.
    It is as though the foundation of Christianity is not the Blood of Jesus shed for our sins, but rather the foundation is the Christian family. And the foundation of the family is dependent on whether a woman submits to her husband. (not whether a husband treats his wife right)

    I know, I know. It appears as though I am exaggerating.
    But like you said, whatever the husband dishes out is little. A wife’s unwillingness to submit, though, is huge.

    And this is one reason I tell people to quit looking at Ephesians chapter 5 (the words of Paul) as the foundational scriptures for the family. [I know, blasphamy, right?].
    But instead, look at the words of Jesus Himself, our Foundation, our Chief Cornerstone, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

    His words, the two greatest commandments (that sum up the ten), the Golden rule, and that little bit about, ‘if you would be great in God’s Kingdom, then learn to be servant of all.’ These words from the mouth of Jesus are good for the goose AND the gander toward the goose.

    Then, if you like, build on the foundation with Paul’s words. With a foundation of ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ this would cure a lot of marriage problems. Men, if they were honest with God and themselves, would have to ask, “Would I want to be treated the way I’m treating my wife right now?”

    I could go on, but this has already gotten too long. Sorry Cheryl. Thanks for your indulgence toward me on this topic.

  61. “I notice that Piper’s examples are far out–things he thinks no “Christian” husband would do. What he doesn’t realize is that abusers do demand bizarre, weird and harmful acts. But those to whom wife submission is one of the top 10 biblical checkpoints, easily dismiss the fact that they are bizarre and focus instead on the wife’s supposed error.”

    It seems to me that Piper is well aware that there are men who demand a type of obeisance that is bizarre. What he is protecting is his right to have the special privileges, the right to control and direct, the right to always have the last say, the right to have to be approached as the king of the house. Equal value and worth is the last thing they want to actually experience personally in the home and church.

  62. Mara,

    I especially liked this:

    Men, if they were honest with God and themselves, would have to ask, “Would I want to be treated the way I’m treating my wife right now?”

    I’ll bet this is one thing that most abusers never think about.

  63. I’m coming in late to this discussion, but it seems to me what Paul was saying to wives and to husbands was “Be submissive to one another out of reverence for Christ,” and that this MUTUAL submission out of reverence for Christ is what we have been called to witness in our marriages. What Paul was saying was not about the husband’s Lordship at all, but about how Christian’s live out what Jesus did on the night he was betrayed–he wrapped a towel around his waist and washed his disciples’ feet. He said, what I have done, you also must do, and we have to do the same if we are to follow his example. We have so much trouble doing it with the feet of aspouse though. Paul goes on to specify the types of submission, that of the wife AND husband, and starting with that wives should be submissive to husbands as to the Lord. But he is saying, be a servant to your husbands as you would to be to the Lord. This is kind of a no-brainer though: I remember that as Christians we are called to see him in everyone; we are always supposed to regard others and serve others as though they were the Lord, and a wife should do for her husband what she does for everyone. But the call Paul gives to husbands is even more astounding, and even more threatening and austere and forceful — love your wives as Christ loved the Church. And then Paul goes on to recall the crucifixion of Christ, how he gave himself: WOW! He totally gave himself for her, and Paul is specifically saying that THIS total giving, THIS dying of self and accepting poverty and embracing the cross for the sake of another is what a TRUE husband does. Where are these true husbands as evangelical Christians discuss real submission? Do they slap around their wives? Are they abusive? Are these servants willing to die for their wives or put their wives over their own needs? What Piper is doing is ignoring scripture when he focuses on a wife’s submission, and he puts it ina totally worldly context, one that focuses on an insititional power-sturcture, as if that was what God or Paul intended. It was not.
    What we have is an emphasis on the POWER of a husband over his wife–the opposite of the order, the new order of life in Christ, that Paul is preaching. In Christ, we have all, husbands and wives, become slaves of one another and of a love that now pervades the universe. What Christians have done with Paul’s word is atrocious to me for just this reason. We appear to have taken one line out of Ephesians and divorced it from the rest of the passage, and the rest of what Paul taught in his other letters about putting other people ahead of ourselves out of reverence for Christ. Christian husbands who demand their wives submit to them based on this scripture are absolute morons for all of these reasons: they bring a total ignorance of scripture to bear in making this demand.

  64. I have no problem with gender roles. Myself, I am definitely more on the complementarian side of things.
    My problem is that Piper is saying that my temporary role as wife supersedes that as sister in Christ.
    If my biological brother were in a pattern that damaged his soul (say… pornography, dishonesty, or pride) it would be my duty to warn him of the weeds Satan had been using to choke his soul.

    But what I understand Piper to be saying is that I am to allow the most precious man in my life, my best friend, lover, and the father of my children, to continue in a pattern that is harmful to his soul, his witness, as well as the Body of Christ WITH MY FULL KNOWLEDGE.
    Someone once said that all evil needs to succeed is for the good people to do nothing.
    Piper is asking me to do nothing and watch my husband destroy himself.
    He is asking me to allow my husband to continue doing things that my husband will have to stand before God and give an account for.
    And many abusers are not aware they are abusive, in their minds it is right and justified.
    But I would know it for what it is, abuse to my soul and his.
    I am extremely protective of my marriage and my family. I will not stand by and watch The Destroyer wreak havoc on them.

    I want to like Piper. I used to absolutely love his work. God used his words to comfort me through some hard times. But, ugh.
    He is encouraging the abuse of men and women.
    He is encouraging Satan’s pattern of destroying.

  65. Mark,
    Welcome!

    You said:

    he puts it in a totally worldly context

    This is profound. It serves to remind me that the way of the world is oppression and possession of women. And John Piper thinks he has figured it out – how to marry the world’s way with Christian submission. It just doesn’t work.

  66. Abby,
    Welcome and I am glad that you stopped by! I am always glad to have those who are more on the complementarian side visit because it helps us to remember there are more godly Christians out there who are not exactly the same as we are.

    You bring out some very good points. That abusers don’t see themselves as they are. They are justified in their own eyes and if wives just let them treat them with disrespect and with abuse, they are allowing them to sin. Honestly, I think that John Piper would learn a lot from some one like you. I see wisdom in your words. I fully agree that men who give husband license to sin while counseling the wife to let them sin “for a time”, it is following satan’s pattern of destruction.

  67. Abby – “But what I understand Piper to be saying is that I am to allow the most precious man in my life, my best friend, lover, and the father of my children, to continue in a pattern that is harmful to his soul, his witness, as well as the Body of Christ WITH MY FULL KNOWLEDGE.”

    Wow – that is so right. In fact, Piper’s call for “submission” is actually a call to be un-Christlike. Very good insight.

    Mark – a very good take, IMO, on the “differences” in instruction in Ephesians 5 and how it ties back to mutual submission (and, I might add, mutual love). This part is of special note in the discussion:

    “What Piper is doing is ignoring scripture when he focuses on a wife’s submission, and he puts it in a totally worldly context, one that focuses on an insititional power-sturcture, as if that was what God or Paul intended. It was not.”

    Of course, we have seen such focus before in complimentarian arguments – focus on Eve’s part in the fall while ignoring Adam’s more blatant sin, focus on the twelve male apostles while ignoring all the female disciples of Jesus, focus on Paul’s supposed restrictions on women while ignoring all of Paul’s freeing words toward women and even all the women Paul used and commended in ministry, etc., etc. This one (the Ephesians 5 myopia) is especially troubling because the instructions for husbands are right there next to the instructions for wives. But even beyond the clear parallelism being employed, the section for husbands is much longer, more detailed, and more addamant, than the brief and fairly general section for wives in vs. 22-24. To ignore that, or worse, to assume that such love as described in vs. 25-32 is the default response of husbands, is blatant error. In light of such error, I find it hard to understand how Hannah is convinced “He has proved himself to me and many thousands of other believers as a faithful expositor of the Word of God.” To me, he has proved the exact opposite.

    Hannah – I would love to understand your definition of “role” and how that relates to the activities of daily living that a husband and wife engage in. I see no evidence in scripture that either spouse has a unilateral “job” as it relates to the operation of the family. I therefore assume you are referring to roles on a more spiritual plane, although again, I can’t quite put my finger on any passage of scripture which outlines such a division of labor within the marriage. I am quite curious to know what my “role” is as a husband and, more importantly, what practical activities I need to unilaterally engage in to know I am fulfilling that “role”.

    Cheryl – Ephesians 5 continues to be at the forefront in this conversation. I hope it will stir in you a great desire to write on that passage as we have talked about in the past.

  68. ” But the call Paul gives to husbands is even more astounding, and even more threatening and austere and forceful — love your wives as Christ loved the Church. And then Paul goes on to recall the crucifixion of Christ, how he gave himself: WOW! He totally gave himself for her, and Paul is specifically saying that THIS total giving, THIS dying of self and accepting poverty and embracing the cross for the sake of another is what a TRUE husband does.”
    “What we have is an emphasis on the POWER of a husband over his wife–the opposite of the order, the new order of life in Christ, that Paul is preaching. In Christ, we have all, husbands and wives, become slaves of one another and of a love that now pervades the universe. What Christians have done with Paul’s word is atrocious to me for just this reason. We appear to have taken one line out of Ephesians and divorced it from the rest of the passage, and the rest of what Paul taught in his other letters about putting other people ahead of ourselves out of reverence for Christ. Christian husbands who demand their wives submit to them based on this scripture are absolute morons for all of these reasons: they bring a total ignorance of scripture to bear in making this demand.”

    This is so well said that it just needs repeating. Hopefully, someone some where will ‘get it’. 🙂

  69. Since I do a lot of community theater work, I have a particular concept of what a “role” is. I find it very difficult to translate that concept into marriage, especially in light of scriptural teaching on the marriage relationship. That isn’t to say that scripture never defines roles. “Priest” is a role in the Jewish religious system, “Judge” is a role in the ancient Israelite governmental structure, even “Parent” is a role in the family structure. The bible has plenty to say about those roles and the behaviors, activities, and responsibilities that define them. I don’t see the same type of division of labor and responsibility when it comes to marriage. The only “role” in Genesis 1 and 2 is for all humans – to subdue the earth. When that role is exercised by married people – they do it as a couple. In other words, it is not the husband’s or wife’s unilateral or universal role to subdue the earth, they do it as a pair of humans that are have now become “one flesh”. Indeed, the one flesh relationship unique to marriage entirely eliminates, in my mind, the possibility of unique “roles”.

    The other directive (some would say, blessing) outlined in the creation account is “to be fruitful and multiply”. Again, this is directed at the married couple – as we all know, it takes two to….well, you get the point. Inherent in that directive, I believe, is the “role” of parent. But neither that “role” nor the activities related to it are gender specific (other than breast feeding, I suppose). “Parenting” and everything encompassed in it is gender neutral.

    Now, to be sure, different people go about fulfilling these couple based roles in different ways. I would argue that there are even some gender specific, physiologically based, differences in how males and females fulfill these joint “roles”. I may even argue that one gender or the other is better suited for specific tasks related to a “role”. But neither gender is unilaterally charged with any tasks or, maybe more importantly, relieved from any tasks. None of that changes the fact that the “role” itself is couple based and therefore gender neutral.

    Now, the argument related to marriage that is usually presented is that “head” is a role. (Incidentally, that would naturally make “body” a role as well???) But my response to such a claim is “well, what does that mean for me as a husband?” In other words, what does the “head” do? Where is the job description? How do I know I am being a good head? How do I know I am being a head at all?

    The typical reply brings us to Ephesians 5. “Just do what Christ did”. That is all well and good, and I would not disagree that agapeo type love is certainly Christlike, but is that type of love and service unilaterally the husband’s responsibility? Is the wife not also to love? Is the wife not also to serve? Is the wife released from (or restricted from) any responsibility to mirror Christ in her relationship to her husband? I should certainly hope not! But if Christlike love and service define the “role”, then the wife, in engaging in those activities, is also fulfilling the “role”, and it ceases to be a gender based role at all. So, “head” simply can not logically be a gender specific “role” because it does not unlilaterally pertain to the behaviors, activities, or responsibilities of a single gender. (Incidentally, the same is true for submission. Paul is clear that submission is not a female specific responsibility. That is ignored by complimentarians, but it doesn’t change the reality. The submission issue is well discussed here so I will say no more).

    So what in the world is Paul doing by bringing up Christ/Head/Husband and Church/Body/Wife? That, I’m sure, will be a major sub topic in any future discussion of Ephesians 5. What I am absolutely convinced of is that he is not defining gender specific “roles” within the marriage. I suggest he is using Christ and His body as models for instructive purposes because of gender specific problems. That does not relieve either gender of their mutual responsibility to love, serve, and submit to one another.

  70. I posted this on another blog:

    In real life marriage just isn’t always like the perfect scenario you describe. How could this possibly apply to the life of my friend whose Christian husband suffered a head injury in an auto accident that has left him in near vegetative state? She has no loving choice, but the one God has given her – to lead, protect and provide for her husband. My grandmother also walked a very similar road for the last 15 years of my grandfather’s life as his mind and then body were overtaken by Alzheimer’s. My brother-in-law developed bipolar disorder many years ago and so his wife has never had the luxury of depending upon her husband. On the contrary though, she has developed a wonderful dependence upon her Lord and Savior. Or what of my cousin whose husband was killed in Viet Nam and she raised two children on her own? I could go on, but I think you can see my point – marriage just isn’t always like the perfect scenario you describe.

    Even the most Christian of marriages between God loving spouses can and do encounter circumstances and tragedies beyond their control that render the husband unable to lead anyone. Besides the differences I’ve mentioned in a previous comment about the meanings of kephale, hupotasso, my perspective regarding husbands having the protector/provider leader role is not the same because of situations I’ve encountered in the lives of Christian friends and family members with disabilities, illness and aging who cannot fulfill that even if they wanted to.
    If a “biblical role” can have even one small exception, then it cannot possibly be a command for every marriage.
    I think this goes along with some of the recent comments here also…

  71. I agree Kaye – which is why I don’t believe that the bible actually dictates “roles”. In other words, I believe the term “biblical role” as applied to either husbands or wives is erroneous. At least there is no description of such roles in scripture.

    Let’s take the example you are highlighting – the “role” of “provider/protector”. Nowhere does the bible dictate that the husband should be the sole provider or protector for the family. In fact, the bible describes several instances of provider/protector women. The proverbs 31 woman – the literal model for a godly wife – is a co-provider and protector of her family along with her husband and engages in a number of activities that “role” enthusiasts like to restrict to the husband. Such role promoters are in direct opposition to the teaching of scripture!

    On the flip side, there are several OT proverbs and NT admonitions which encourage and even demand nurturing behavior out of husbands. Any suggestion that the “role” of the wife is to be the sole nurturer is equally offensive.

    There is simply no instance in biblical teaching where any of the “traditional” gender based “roles” are described. None. Not one. Such roles, and even their labels (e.g. “provider/protector”, “nurturer”, “spiritual leader”, etc.) are completely man made and have no biblical support.

    Now, I should add at this point that I recognize that males and females have gender specific physiologies and I believe those differences make them better suited to some specific tasks. For example, I think men are biologically better suited to physical protection and women are biologically better suited to nurturing. I also believe that men have an inner yurning to be a provider and women have an inner yurning to develop relationships. But that by no means suggests that there is such a thing as a gender specific “role” of provider, protector, or nurturer.

    God designed marriage to be a one flesh covenant where the activities of daily living, the management of the household, the raising of children, and all the other parameters of married life would be shared between the two participants. Please note: that doesn’t mean they each do an equal share of each task. Nor does it mean that there are never tasks exclusively carried out by one spouse (for example, my wife pays all the bills, I do all the barbequeing). The point is that each marriage needs to figure out who is best at what and divide the labor along those lines. That includes even something as general as “decision making”. I don’t make all the decisions in our family as many hierarchists say I should. Most decisions my wife and I make together. There are a few decision areas where either she or I am the unilateral decision maker. Those areas are not defined by our gender, but by our giftedness and experience.

    God’s design never, ever, designates either spouse to unilaterally carry out any task. God, in His perfect wisdom, created a covenantal institution where two people function as “one”. God’s design for marriage benefits from the unique design of each individual while combining the power of those unique designs into an institution, a whole, that is greater than the sum of its two individual parts. Because of this design, godly marriage can stand the test of time AND the winds of cultural changes and still thrive. Any designs that promote the idea that cultural paradigms or traditional arrangements constitute the ONLY valid “way” for a married couple to live are completely unbiblical. That includes any suggestion of unilateral gendered “roles”.

  72. I feel rude, but I don’t have it in me to read all eighty of the previous comments . . .

    this posting made me sad because I have always loved so much of what John Piper has to say. “Don’t Waste Your Life” was a book that impacted me deeply, and his Desiring God Ministries’ “Children Desiring God” curriculum is absolutely amazing to me.

    BUT–I have always said, “I’m with him on everything except the men/women thing”. Until reading this post, however, I wasn’t aware of how deep this whole “men/women thing” went with him. Now I find myself sad and kind of torn, because his position (as represented by the above) is unacceptable to me, and yet I am reluctant to throw out all of the positive ways in which his way of thinking has impacted my life. lots to think about.

    . . . and my spam filter word is “helper”–as in “the woman is supposed to be the helper”?!?! just kidding. ;-p

  73. I also think that Piper would be open to a friendly debate on this, and maybe even open to some correction, if he was approached directly. just a thought.

  74. Hi Rain,
    Welcome to my blog! No I don’t think it is rude that you haven’t read all the comments. I haven’t even read them all yet. I have been extremely busy doing an editing project of our next DVD and it has meant very long hours for me and hard to keep up on everything. I thought I was already done but there were a few glitches so I just finished the final touches as I prepare to host my mom and dad. So I hope that people don’t think it is rude of me that I have not yet caught up either. I do get a special email for all those whose first comment has to be approved first and so I am replying to you because of that.

    I know that there are a lot of people that really think a lot of John Piper. I haven’t listened to much that he has written or posted except for the women’s issue but from what I have documented, it seems to permeate his thinking. I used some of his quotes on my DVD set on women in ministry. The extent these guys go to, to put women in their place under men really did surprise me at first. It no longer surprises me and this recent quote from Piper just seems par for the course.

  75. Piper open to correction? I can’t see how. His whole system of complementarian thought would have to be reworked and it doesn’t appear that he is going to do that. My son tried talking to him this past year when he met him at a conference. He got a pokey finger in his chest even though he spoke the correction in a gentle and respectful way. If anyone would like to approach Piper, and would like to see how a strong public comp figure deals with correct, then go ahead. It should be an interesting challenge. My thought is that he wouldn’t even answer back. It isn’t worth his time.

  76. gengwall:

    You asked:

    Hannah – I would love to understand your definition of “role” and how that relates to the activities of daily living that a husband and wife engage in. I see no evidence in scripture that either spouse has a unilateral “job” as it relates to the operation of the family. I therefore assume you are referring to roles on a more spiritual plane, although again, I can’t quite put my finger on any passage of scripture which outlines such a division of labor within the marriage. I am quite curious to know what my “role” is as a husband and, more importantly, what practical activities I need to unilaterally engage in to know I am fulfilling that “role”.
    —————
    I think you are getting a response from Piper’s Representative (cut and paste), and what I said mixed up. I was told I didn’t understand ROLES, and when I wrote my piece. It had nothing to do with roles. lol I’m not sure where the roles part even came up to be honest! I have to be honest I think it was a diversion on the part of the gentleman that came.

    I think I was being told I was attacking the character of Piper, and didn’t know enough about him before I spoke out against what he had to say on the matter. He never directly told me what it was that I said that he had a problem with. He told me instead he was nice and Godly man, and pretty much I shouldn’t be saying these things.

    I had to giggle a bit to be honest. It sounded like an ’emotional’ answer, and I thought women only used those tools. To me there was nothing of substance within his reply. What I wrote had nothing do with roles. It had to do with the damage the children would have to endure as well if people followed his advice. It makes me question what type of response his church would have to the abusers as well. If they can’t remind the women that she needs to get to safety – which I honestly wonder if he feels she has the right to – what kind of response would he give to an abuser anyway…ya know? I mean you don’t wait until its over, and go and get the church. You find a way to safety when you can.

  77. Hi Hannah – sorry for the mix up. After I posted that I went over to your blog and started reading some of your stuff and I have to giggle myself because I was thinking to myself – “she doesn’t seem to support the ‘role’ thing here in her blog”. I, like Cheryl and Rain above, have been skimming some of the entries and I got a little mixed up. Never the less, it provided an opportunity to get a bunch of stuff off my chest.

    Rain – living in the Twin Cities, where Piper’s ministry is based, I have had a lot of exposure to him and his teaching. Simply put, he is a big deal here. I have also found much of what he says over the years to be thought provoking, inspiring, and instructive. In particular, I remember a rebuttal he wrote to an article in Christianity Today, which promoted an open attitude toward divorce, to be especially well received. But, like with any other human, we must evaluate each and every utterance from him against scripture. I’m afraid his views on marriage don’t stand up well at all when placed under that microscope. Unfortunately, as Cheryl points out, a large part of his broader theology, encompassing everything from gender relations to parenting to church operation, has this flawed view of marriage as the base. As such, even when he says something which on the surface you may agree with, you need to carefully consider what lies just beneath the surface of his commentary.

  78. It seems to me that one of the weakest areas of complementarianism is in the issue of an abusive husband. They seem to want to dance around the issues because after all the husband is the priest-king of the home according to their doctrine. That makes trying to “discipline” the husband a very touchy subject. How are they going to do that anyway? It is no wonder that most complementarian pastors will focus their advice with the wife and tell her to be more submissive. The subject of the king appears to be easier to counsel than the king himself. This is where the unbalanced nature of the comp argument shows up as weak and ineffective. This kinds of counsel make me very sad as it reminds me how a person’s doctrine can affect every area of their life.

    I wanted to comment more on this as well. Many have noted above how any “intervention” by the church almost always focuses on the wife’s submissiveness. This is the sad but true hypocracy in the complimentarian approach to abusive husbands. Although they recognize that the husband should be loving and sacrificial, they make the exercise of that love and sacrifice conditional on the wife’s submissiveness. This is in direct opposition to Paul’s instruction, which calls for the completely unconditional love and sacrifice that Christ exhibited. While acknowledging Paul’s words they simultaneously deny them! The truth of Ephesians 5 is that the husband is to love and sacrifice for his wife, putting her above himself, regardless of how she behaves. In fact, he is really supposed to ignore any and all bad behavior. By “ignore”, I mean he is to have an attitude like God’s in relation to our forgiven sin. She is to be seen as “washed clean” in his eyes. He is to consider a wife’s bad behavior as having never happened. He is to regard her as he does himself, reflecting the golden rule. The unconditional nature of the husband’s love, sacrifice, and regard for his wife permeates every verse of Ephesians 5:25-32. For complimentarians to place conditions on the wife of an abusive husband to receive the love and sacrifice that Paul demands be unconditional is the epitome of “adding insult to injury”. No wonder wives avoid such church “leadership” like the plague in these situations.

  79. What makes the wife’s “sin” of not submitting and enduring verbal or physical abuse by removing herself from the situation more grievous than her submitting to her husband’s request or demand to participate in sexual sin?

    This is a serious question. I am wondering how Piper would rationalize his comments. If she can appeal to a higher authority–God, to not submit to the participation of sexual sin at her husband’s request, why can she not appeal to a higher authority–God, to not be a submissive participant to physical abuse. Isn’t she being complicit in the sin of physical abuse if she has the ability and means to remove herself and does not? Also, enduring physical and verbal abuse for a season (whatever that is) contradicts Grudem’s description of “intelligent and joyful submission” required of wives. Unless if she endures “sweetly” then I suppose the submission is partly right.

  80. Does Submission (TM) include FGM, honor killings, and burqa?

    If not, why is Piper watering down his God-Saith Male Supremacy, when he could be drinking it straight on the rocks alongside the Taliban?

  81. “Honey, I want so much to follow you as my leader. God calls me to do that, and I would love to do that. It would be sweet to me if I could enjoy your leadership.”

    As a single man, this bit was disgusting to read. Who actually wants to spend their life with a pathetic doormat with no opinions or personality of her own?

  82. Amen Joel! I am glad to see men respond who also realize that a woman with no opinion and no personality who needs a leader to tell her what to do isn’t very attractive to godly men.

    Thanks for your comment and welcome to my blog!

  83. Hi everyone. I think:
    1. Sadly, John Piper does not appear to have sufficient understanding of the underlying dynamics of domestic abuse. The suggestions he makes about how the wife should answer her husband’s proposal/demand for group sex is syrupy and totally unrealistic in that it portrays a wife who feels none of the outrage or horror a godly woman should quite rightly feel at such a proposal or demand.

    2. Piper seems to discount the sinful evil of verbal abuse, by calling it ‘verbal unkindness’. He thereby discounts and minimizes the pain felt by victims of verbal abuse, and his advice could (perhaps inadvertently) encourage them to remain in denial about the seriousness of what they are suffering in their marriages.

    3. The thee examples of abuse: ‘group sex’ and ‘verbal unkindness’ and ‘a slap’ are inadequate and insufficient to describe domestic abuse.
    a) The example of group sex is so ‘out there’ that most victims will never identify with it. They won’t recognize themselves as suffering sexual abuse, but their own marriages may in fact have lots of sexual abuse in the form of non-consensual sex obtained by the abuser’s manipulative threats or subtle pay-back techniques if the wife does not give in to the husband’s requests, plus his denigration of her sexual wishes and preferences, his unwelcome sexual gestures, jokes, put-downs, leers, etc, etc.)

    b) The example of ‘verbal unkindness’ is such a minimized way of putting it. Although victims will identify with that phrase verbal unkindness (“Yes, I get that from my husband!”) it does nothing to help a victim define it as abuse. The mention of ‘enduring it for a season’ is not helpful. There needs to be much more discussion of how it becomes abuse if it is persistent and if it is designed to obtain and maintain control over the other spouse. Without such clear pointers, the phrase ‘verbal unkindness’ is about as helpful as throwing a cheap flotation ring to a person who may be drowning in an ocean, many hundreds of kilometers from the nearest land or ship.

    c) The example of ‘a slap’ is unhelpful too. It perpetuates the myth that violence is just being hit. Any discussion of physical violence in the context of domestic abuse needs to include the commonest forms of physical violence: pushing, shoving, poking, elbowing, using size to intimidate (standing over you), threatening to hit, tripping you up, hitting physical objects other than you but with the implication that “it could be your next time”, hurting pets, etc. After mentioning these kinds of things, it’s safe (and wise) to go on and mention hitting you bodily, punching, slapping, pulling hair, displaying weapons, using weapons, strangling, smothering, beating up, rape. And then you need also to mention the physical abuse by deprivation: denying you medication or medical assistance, depriving you of sleep, food or suitable shelter, locking you in or out of the house, etc. If you only mention the more brutal types of violence, you leave out many victims, who will think “That doesn’t apply to me, my husband’s never punched me… he’s only pushed me, hit me with the back of his hand, elbowed me hard in the ribs once …”

    My other concern about Piper’s remarks is that while he rightly says the victim should tell the church, and the church should reprove the husband, he does not give nearly enough detail about how the church should discipline the husband, and whether there is any place for getting help from secular services as well, or indeed whether the church should asssist the victim to get such secular help, for example, a protection order.

    I know it was a very short video, and therefore it’s not fair to judge it as Piper’s full and final words on the subject. But I think even a short piece of advice could be handled much better. I hope Piper and those like him will be prepared to learn more about how to handle domestic abuse wisely.

    On another tack, I am regularly disappointed when the discussion about ‘how should we handle domestic abuse?’ becomes reduced to verbal volleys where people just accuse each other of not agreeing on the interpretation of the biblical roles of husband and wife.

    I wish we could, as a community, start disentangling the debate about gender roles from the debate about how to handle domestic abuse. Sure, there is overlap between the two issues, but many people on both sides of the gender-roles debate are muddying the discussion of domestic abuse (IMO) by trying to reduce it simply to a roles debate, and throwing mud over the fence at the opposing camp for their supposedly ‘wrong take’ on ROLES, rather than realizing that the paramount need is for Christians to understand what abusers actually DO to their victims and the deep dynamics of what really transpires in domestic abuse.

    BTW, if anyone wants more ideas about how to handle domestic abuse in a Christian context, click on my name above and you will be taken to my website Not Under Bondage.

  84. 1. A correction for post #61. Mara thought that Piper was part of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM). He is not. From what I know SGM is led, at least in part if not primarily, by C.J. Mahaney. Piper is Mahaney’s friend and they have been on the speaking roster together at some conferences, but Piper is not part of SGM.

    2. I don’t think Piper gave his best response in this video (neither the most clear representation of his overall viewpoint, nor showing the most sensitivity to people who are in the midst of abusive situations). I am disappointed with some of the message that came across. I am not sure he clearly understood the nature of the question nor was his response as helpful as it could have been.

    3. With regard to my second point, I, on the other hand, tend to cut him some slack for the following reasons:
    a. This appears to be an off-the-cuff answer to a question he had not seen beforehand nor prepared for. Pastor John is a very careful thinker, and I would say a biblical thinker, and a sensitive thinker, when he has a chance to work through things thoroughly which he usually does in his sermons and books. He also tends to very carefully word things in writing, or preaching. I have several times wondered if this “Ask Pastor Piper” video forum is the best platform for his communication of biblical understanding especially in light of how careful his thinking is in his writings and prepared speaking.
    b. If Piper is unclear about the question he is being asked, he is usually very careful to make sure he understands a question before responding. In the video he was not able to have the question clarified.
    I may be wrong, but my sense was that he didn’t understand the question clearly. His comment about perhaps being pressured into group sex by the husband makes me think he was missing the mark of the main kinds of abuse the questioner probably had in mind. And in fact, his chuckling (nervous laugh?) at the beginning may be because he for whatever reason thought he may be being asked about some kind of odd sexual abuse and it took him by surprise. I am not sure, but the direction he took on the kind of abuse just struck me as uncharacteristically odd.
    c. I am quite familiar with Piper’s thinking as I have been a member of Piper’s church for years and am have been exposed to much of his teaching. So I temper my response to this just under 4 minute video with a pretty good knowledge of his overall theology, his sensitivity and love for people (women and men), humility, love for God, and desire to be faithful to the meaning of God’s Word. He is certainly sinful and imperfect as we all are, but much of the grace of God is evident in his life and teaching.
    d. I am overall very empathetic to his theology and teaching, both preached and lived.

    4. In light of my second and third points above, I would submit the following thoughts to any commenters they may apply to:
    a. A number of commenters seems to significantly dismiss Piper’s teaching and ministry based on their interpretation of this one short, off-the-cuff video of his — one which I would interpret as not his best in some ways.
    b. I somewhat understand that a main topic/the main topic being addressed in this blog article is wife abuse and related topics. And because of the reality of wife abuse in a segment of our population it is well and good to discuss how to end it, to be riled up about the injustice of it, and to seek to show love and empathy and help to those in the midst of it. I empathize with the desire and rightness of ending spouse abuse.
    c. I may be wrong, but I get the feeling that many of you might not have a broad understanding of Piper’s overall teaching.
    d. If you don’t know much of Piper beyond this video, in your zeal to speak against abuse be careful of extrapolating his thoughts beyond what you know him to be saying. Many viewpoints have been given that don’t just try to clarify incorrect or sinful ideas about abuse in marriage that are out there, but I fear there are many straw-men ideas of what Piper teaches and believes included as well.
    e. So I just request that when dealing with real people and naming names that we are all careful to accurately represent people’s viewpoints the best we can without a lot of speculation.
    f. For those that have a particular issue with Piper, he certainly is fallible and would readily admit it. You can easily find lots of resources on what he has taught over the years by doing a search at http://www.desiringGod.org where large quantities of what he has preached and written over the past 29 years is available free online.

    I don’t represent Piper or his ministry. I am just a member of his church who thanks God for the grace that has come to my life through the ministry of his servant John Piper.

    May God bless us all as we seek to accurately hear from Him through His word and to live it out in our lives.

    David

  85. David,
    Welcome to my blog and thank you for your thoughts on Piper. I have looked at what John Piper has to say about women outside the abuse area and in fact he is on my DVD “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” regarding those views. He has some very faulty views that need to be addressed.

    I understand your wanting to defend him because you feel that he has been very helpful to you on other areas. I am not saying that John Piper is not a Christian nor that he has no helpful things to say. But on the areas of women in ministry and abuse, he is not helpful. Calling verbal abuse as verbal unkindness minimizes the sin. He is not alone, though, so he is not being singled out with this kind of attitude. There are many pastors who minimize the man’s sin in marriage and push the woman to “submit more” to fix the problems. I think that it is time to wake the church up to the problem so that pastors will become educated not only to the problems but to appropriate and godly solutions. Allowing sin to continue and practiced against us is not helpful for our husbands.

    In my DVD I treat John Piper with respect as I do all the other theologians who have very bad theology on women. If you can help him in this area, I think it would be wise, for he may have no idea how many women and how man marriages that he is hurting. His responses on being smacked around and on “verbal unkindness” are typical of those who are hierarchist and so I don’t think that we would get much different an answer from John Piper even if he had time to think about it longer.

    Thanks again for dropping in and if I can be of service, I am willing to help out. In fact if John Piper is willing to dialog, I am certainly willing to communicate with him.

  86. I will add just this to Cheryl’s comment. Dave – I too am inclined to cut Piper slack (for example, see my post 86 above). But what I see, even in his sermons, which you submit are well thought out and prepared, is a subtle elevation of men and degradation of women. It is not blatant, but it certainly indicates his inclinations. It is not too large a leap to believe this hierarchical overview carries into the area of abusive husbands, although I agree some here may at times get a bit hyperbolic in their reactions.

    I will give you a quick example of this subtlety. In a comment on another post, someone was taking exception to a single line quote from a Piper sermon. I was able to find the whole text of the sermon and comment on the quote in context. To summarize, I agreed with 95% of what Piper was saying in the passage of the sermon, which actually dealt with setting boundaries and establishing guidelines for children. So what is the 5% i took issue with? At the beginning of the passage, Piper also asserted, very subtly, that the types of boundaries and guidelines that parents set for children should also be set for wives by their husbands! He led the passage off with this statement, then never said another thing about it. But this seemingly innoccous statement was what stuck in my mind. It is that kind of “jab” that Piper often throws in that betrays his true sympathies. Such a perspective regarding household “rules” and who sets them is exactly what domestic discipline advocates adhere to. And although I know Piper is not a domestic discipline devotee, he never-the-less is sympatico with them to a degree. And THAT is what freaks people out, and not without justification. So, although I have no problem with almost everything Piper preaches, it is these little instances of exposed hierarchialism that make the hair on the back of my neck stand up and cause me to gasp.

  87. Thanks, David, for clearing up the Piper/SGM ministries thing for me. I really don’t want to run around passing off misinformation as fact.

    For the record, I admit I’m one of those who can get pretty angry over remarks preachers make that don’t help the abused and can actually be used to hurt the abused further.

    But stepping back and looking at it more objectively and less emotionally, I do believe both Cheryl and gengwall have answered you well. There is a foundational misunderstanding of the Gospel of Grace as it relates to gender, marriage, and roles that Piper misses.
    Because he misses it, this creates holes in his understanding in several areas including the area of abuse. And with those holes in his understanding come holes in giving practical advice in those areas including abuse.

    Plus the fact that Piper is such a nice guy, I really don’t think he gets the abusive mindset, at all. He gets being angry and not understanding human beings of the female gender. He gets that men are sometimes harsh and that some/many of those men can be won over by a soft answer from a female. But he doesn’t get that there are those who will be encouraged to abuse more when given a soft answer.

    If you have any influence in your church, I encourage you to read and then recommend to Piper “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft. It will open your eyes if they aren’t open already. And it will open Piper’s eyes if he would be willing to read it.

    I love the church, and the people in it with all their faults. The LAST thing I want to see is for the church, any part of the church, to become irrelevant to the world because of a faulty understanding of the Word of God.
    The LASY thing I want to see is for the abused to leave the church and leave Jesus Christ due to faulty teaching, when it is Jesus who wants to heal their wounded souls.

  88. That is an extrodinary response Mara. Bravo. Yes, one would think that all Christians, complimentarian and egalitarian alike, would want to properly diagnose and root out abuse in our relationships.

  89. Dave

    Nice of you to defend and speak up for Piper.

    There seems to be a strange phenomena with wife abuse.
    When the wife is abused she often defends the abuser.
    The police have a hard time with domestic abuse because
    the wife often turns on the police when they show up.

    Seems the same thing happens in”The Religious System.”
    When “the bride of Christ” is abused, the abused defends the abuser.

    Most in “The Religious System” don’t even know they are being abused
    lied to, controlled, manipulated, taken advantage of and fleeced.

    Wanted you to know I’m a male and a wife – “bride of Christ”
    And I no longer defend the abusers of “the bride of Christ.”

    Eph 5:11
    And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
    but rather reprove them.

    Hasn’t Piper taken the “Title” “pastor.”
    Is that so he can control and manipulate?

    Did anyone have the “Title” “pastor” in the Bible?
    Was anyone ordained a “pastor” in the Bible?
    Were any congregations led by a “pastor” in the Bible?

    And every pastor I’ve met also had the “Title” “Reverend.”

    Does anyone have the “Title” reverend in the Bible?
    Do they use “Titles” to control you? Hmmm?
    And create prestige for themselves? Hmmm?

    Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person,
    neither let me give flattering titles unto man.
    For I know not to give flattering titles;
    in so doing my maker would soon take me away.
    Job 32:21

    Don’t “titles” become idols? Ezek 14:3 -7

    If Pipers “Title,” is not an “idol” why not ask him to get rid of it? 😉

    The “Title” pastor comes with a lot of baggage not asked for.
    Power, profit, prestige, pride, recognition, reputation, etc,

    Those things Jesus spoke against. Jesus always took the low place.
    Humbled Himself. Made Himself of “NO” reputation. Phil 2:7

    1Jo 2:16
    For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes,
    and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

    Checked out Pipers website. Browsed some topics.
    Found much abuse and twisting of scripture.
    We can discuss with what was found, if you like.

    In His Service. By His Grace.

  90. I don’t know about you, but as a guy who’s head’s never been wrapped all that tight the Sweet Submissive Widdle Wifey like Piper goes for both attracts and repels me.

    (I’m going through a depresso attack right now, so what’s going to come out on this is raw emotion. Rage.)

    Attracts because she’s “safe”. All my life, I’ve been hurt by women, an unbroken string of rejections. And a Sweet Widdle Wifey sure as hell won’t leave me like SHE did. Or hurt me like all the others. Because she won’t have the ability to. Or any choice or say in the matter. She’s SAFE.

    Repels because there is no way I could have any respect for a doormat/piece of livestock like that. I’d want to throw my weight around even harder the more she acted the Sweet Widdle Wifey — “What is Thy will, My Lord Husband? How may I better Submit?” Because that’s not a wife, that’s an IT. And how can anyone have any respect for an IT?

    And my baggage of unbroken rejections by other women (including the only one I ever thought of marrying — it still HURTS) would just make things worse. After getting shit on by women all my life, I’d get pulled in the direction of wanting payback for what all the others did to me. With interest. And without respect for her as a person to pull me in the back in the other direction until time together rebuilt my ability to Trust — only that roll-over-and-die submission — there’d be nothing to keep me from wiping my ass with her to get that payback.

    Because that’s what happens when male/female interaction is reduced to pure Power Struggle, and seasoned with Hurt and Pain. Like both the Femmies and the Dominoinists have done, just in opposite directions. It becomes the Zero-Sum Game: The only way to gain anything for myself is to take it away from the Other. Top OR Bottom, Me OR Her, Us OR Them.

  91. Plus the fact that Piper is such a nice guy, I really don’t think he gets the abusive mindset, at all. He gets being angry and not understanding human beings of the female gender. He gets that men are sometimes harsh and that some/many of those men can be won over by a soft answer from a female. But he doesn’t get that there are those who will be encouraged to abuse more when given a soft answer. — Mara

    After my above rant, Mara, I think you’ve hit it right in the 10 ring. Piper is clueless. As clueless as someone long-married is clueless about being single. He has no idea of the hurt inside that can build up and explode into rage. That “the soft answer” doesn’t turn away, only whips up as the soft answer gets misinterpreted by the hurting hindbrain as smug belittling. Piper’s never experienced that kind of open wound inside, the one that never heals, only tears back open. I HAVE. That’s why I understand it so well.

  92. Headless…(you do realize that your anagram is “HUG”, right),

    I suspected something not quite “Christian” by your monicur and you don’t disappoint. I’m sure Cheryl will help you with your word choices. Having said that….

    You make a good point. If I may summarize, “it goes both ways”.

    I wonder. Have you ever studied the bible and the relevant passages to marriage (and dating for that matter) that are being debated here? If not, I think you may find them fascinating. Take a look at Proverbs 31 and the woman that is described there. Certainly not the type of “man eater” you have been unfortunate enough to encounter but also no doormat. Such women actually do exist (to a degree – no one is THAT perfect). I will pray one will cross your path (or that you will find a path with a more Proverbs 31 women travelling it).

  93. stumbled across this blog in a random internet search…
    i’m disheartened by all of the hatred and anger being displayed by fellow believers. yes, john piper is not perfect, he doesn’t have perfect answers and will never perfectly satisfy or do justice to every question that one may have. however, tearing him down, being angry and bitter at him, and picking everything he’s done apart won’t prevent women from being abused. regardless of differences you may have in theology, he will one day (with us) be worshipping at the feet of our precious Christ with the many people’s from every tribe, tongue, and nation that have been saved through christians affected by his preaching. instead of spreading a passion to hate a human, why don’t we invest spreading a passion for Christ among the world? that’s what transforms hearts and lives; that’s what humbles a lost, bitter, hurting, abusive husband. these rants won’t…

    i hardly ever reply to blog posts like this, but because of the subject and the response, i thought i might say something. tear me apart as you wish, but i know of a more excellent way:
    “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
    If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…”
    1 corinthians 13:1-8a

    you can disagree with piper. but as christians, as ones who were dead and have now been given life through the undeserving sacrifice of Christ, you must forgive and move on regardless of another’s faults or failed forgiveness.

  94. Bethany welcome to my blog!

    As Christians I think that we can all express a strong disagreement without going to the place of hatred. I don’t think that anyone here is hating John Piper. Most don’t even know him. Piper is also not the only one who gives out this kind of advice. He may be just the tip of the ice burg. I don’t think that it is an issue of forgiveness, but a place where we can influence these men to change.

    I am wondering how you would go about changing Piper’s advice to remain in a physically abusive situation?

  95. “Piper is also not the only one who gives out this kind of advice. He may be just the tip of the ice burg.

    Cheryl, I think you are absolutely correct.
    Here is a quote from a popular Hindu tract by Swami Ramsukhdas:

    “Question: What should a wife do if her husband beats her and troubles her?
    Answer: The wife should think she is paying the debt of her previous life and her sins are being destroyed and she is becoming pure. When her parents come to know this they can take her to their own house.
    Question: What should she do if her parents don’t take her into their own house?
    Answer: She should reap the fruits of her past actions. She should patiently bear the beatings of her husband. By bearing them she will be free from her sins and it is possible that her husband may start loving her.” – How to Lead a Household Life

    This is courtesy of John C. Raines in The Justice Men Owe Women. He goes on to say that this is a common theme in most Eastern religious literature.

  96. Cheryl, I just tried to play this video again, and found it missing from the Desiring God site. Thought you’d like to know.

  97. Interesting Pam.

    It seems that CBMW is so chicken spirited with their doctrinal claims that whenever they are questioned, they quickly hide. Perhaps, they are not really as convinced of their accuracy as they claim.

  98. Thanks Pam for letting me know that Desiring God had removed the audio file. I have added an additional link to the original audio in the article above. It will take one to a new page where you can click the audio “note” icon to hear the clip of John Piper’s answer.

  99. thanks.

    It is so disgusting listening to it. How sad that women are viewed as tied to the whims of a fallible creature, a male human. Having already lived that lifestyle, I can only say that it is soul robbing.

  100. Mara, I love your comment at entry 97 above. And Cheryl, thanks so much for the marvellous quote from quivering daughters (number 100).

    Dave, have you taken up the option of trying to influence Piper to read Lundy Bancroft’s book yet?

    And Headless, I feel for you. Thanks for being so honest. I hope you find a good woman to give you solace and robust companionship. Hang in there: I never thought I’d find someone but God brought the right husband to me in an incredible and unexpected way. But it’s not easy, waiting, I know. I used to have to take great care managing my mood and my activities, so I did not get too down. But having experienced those aching wound means we are somewhat less likely to make glib remarks like Piper did on that video.

    It seems a shame that Piper’s website has pulled the video clip without putting up any apology/explanation/ or a more nuanced teaching on how to handle domestic abuse. And to my knowledge they have not sought to be educated by any of us survivors of abuse who could help them become better at ministering to this issue. I offered myself as a source of suggestions, but they never replied. However, I did send them a review copy of my book and they sent a ‘thankyou’ email. I have yet to know whether anyone in that ministry has read it, however.

  101. If nobody reads your blog, Ms. Schatz, it may be because none of us are as important in other people’s lives as we would like to think we are. Your blog is a drop in the ocean of theological blogs out there.

    With that being said, I do agree with your insights. Most (if not all) pastors haven’t got a clue as to how to deal with severe patterns of sin in marriages. The whole focus of church discipline as the answer to all ills is just a joke …. with a husband who isn’t a member of the church, that church can’t do sh*t to him. He’s not under their jurisdiction.

    BTW, marital unfaithfulness (Cf. Matt. 19) is one of the few grounds for divorce … I would think that “group sex” pressure would easily fit into that category.

    Why do reasonable Christian people even waste their time analyzing obvious sins like this …. of course, a woman doesn’t have to submit to this type of abuse.

    Kip J.
    M.Div., Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

  102. Kip,
    I should add that people spend time discussing these things because precious Christian women have accepted blame for their own abuse by pastors who have been educated in these matters by John Piper and others who speak with authority. If one woman finds some help here and understands that she is not the source of his problem, then all of us drops in the ocean have made a small pool of comfort for one woman. I think that is worthwhile enough for the benefit of just one.

  103. Kip, and Cheryl, as I read your comment it should be clear some do read this blog! I guess I keep an eye wherever because of my ministry but it takes a lot for many Christian women to admit they are being abused and love tends to cover a multitude of sins – even where abuse is concerned. I don’t read every blog every day and guess that is the same for most of us. I cannot remember if I said I was given a whole service to do around the theme of abuse by the Senior Pastor of my church and wish other Pastors would follow in this. At it my own daughter testified that she had been in an abusive relationship – thankfully it ended before the marriage and she is now married to a different and lovely man – apparently her church had told her to continue ‘because Jesus was abused.’ I am so glad that with the end of the relationship the church affiliation to that church also ended!

    One thing that seems to be forgotten by many Christians is that Jesus promised us our lives would be abundant. That is the starting premis of my book ‘Not a Victim’ (See http://jesusheals.informe.com for details). If we are meant to have abundant life then abuse by a marital partner does not seem to be within God’s will for it.

    Abuse of a marital partner means the ABUSER has broken the marriage covenant, and not the victim. By that score our support should always prioritise the victim. The safety of the victim and of the children should be the paramount concern in any abusive relationship. By definition, a victim is the one who needs saving and when we are drowning we do not need a manual on how to swim, but a lifebelt. By that stage, it is too late for education on how to deal with such a relationship in the early stages.

    When we take our marriage vows we say ‘let no man put asunder.’ That does not preclude God intervening in an abusive relationship.

    Minister Jacky Hughes

  104. I just found this website and have been reading extensively. This subject is of great interest to me, as I have seen abuse and then went to Church to hear messages of submission, which only served to promote the soul murder I already felt.

    Thank you for making this blog a wonderful safe place to come to.

    I have found that it makes no difference whether you sit in a conservative Christian congregation or any other congregation that puts an emphasis on gender roles in the Church and home, you will hear the same submission messages.

    In reading about this Man John Piper, I have gotten the feeling that some here think this Man just doesn’t understand about the deeper issues of abuse, and therefore the odd answers to questions that were asked him. It is my opinion, that if one is considered to be intelligent and has empathy for another person’s feelings, that one wouldn’t have to understand the deeper issues of abuse, to know if someone is being abusive. Would Mr Piper speak to or treat his Wife in such a manner?, and If not, then why not?
    Also, I believe that if a Pastor or a Church is told of criminal abusive behavior going on, then they should have a plan ahead of time to decide what they should do. Criminal behavior punishable by law, is a serious thing. In the end, Men should be told that criminal abuse will not be tolerated and hushed up and hid.

    They should be told that Wives will not be told to go home and get in submission and that he hasn’t the right to expect her to submit.
    Sometimes you just have to pull the kid gloves off, because like others have said, the abuser does not understand gentle reproach. I am tired of the Church being a haven for Men who have ideas of Male dominance and authority, and if you really get to the heart of the matter, these Men do not have a high opinion of Women as a whole.

  105. It seems to me that Piper is confirming my own thoughts about it—that in our Christian world, the stronger must have it in his/her soul to cherish and protect the weaker. I think you all, in spite of good points, are misconstruing his words and heart. Besides, he only ‘laughed’ once, in the beginning, and it wasn’t really a laugh. It seemed more like despair. And maybe he doesn’t really know how to answer the question satisfactorily. Is that so wrong? (You’re right about Jesus and the law though. Hello? ASSAULT IS AGAINST THE LAW.)

    But, of course, this is most definitely not a Christian world.

  106. Hi Tsisagya,
    Welcome to my blog!

    Now as to the link that you provided. John Piper uses a biblical term in an unbiblical way. While it is true that the Bible calls women “weaker vessels”, the meaning of the term is weak in physical strength. There is not a single reference in the Scripture that God made the woman to be “emotionally, spiritually, verbally, physically, financially” weak, as John Piper asserts in his sermon. God set up a woman as a Judge who spoke for God. Women supported Jesus and His disciples — they were not created financially weak and unable to do that. And it is a known fact that women are known for their verbal excellence. John Piper is just plain wrong when he attributes far more to the biblical term than is in the text.

    See a screen shot below:

    Weaker vessel

  107. It seems that you’ve made up your mind about John Piper. You’ve added and added to what he said, in a way that is not reasonable. He never said anything of what you say he said. That’s your own interpretation, based on your own something or other. I do not need a dictionary definition of what the word ‘weak’ means.

    You also seem to want to presume much about my own words. I speak plain so don’t do that, PLEASE.

  108. You’re arguing here where there is no argument. It’s as if your mind is closed to the truth.

    I’m through here.

  109. Well it is interesting that I only gave you facts and you have not interacted with the facts. I asked you for facts and you gave me none. I think anyone reading can see whose mind is made up without looking at the facts. Have a good day.

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