I love John Piper. He – via podcasts of his sermons – played a huge part in shaping my theology years ago, when I was a baby Christian. Perhaps that’s why the realisation that he may be wrong about some things has been as mind-blowing and painful as it was to discover that my parents are flawed.
There’s been some talk in the United States in recent times about the “feminization” of the church as a negative phenomenon. I’m not sure where the label came from, but probably not from females. Most of us women-folk like to believe that God created and enjoys feminine stuff too. Disappointingly, John Piper has joined those on the ‘Ew, Girl Germs!’ team by calling for “masculine Christianity” at a recent Desiring God conference for pastors (his talk is called “The Frank and ManlyMr. Ryle” — The Value of a Masculine Ministry).
Summing up, Piper gives eight traits of a masculine ministry; among them is this one: “A masculine ministry welcomes the challenges and costs of strong, courageous leadership without complaint or self-pity with a view to putting in place principles and structures and plans and people to carry a whole church into joyful fruitfulness.” Although he is speaking about J. C. Ryle and not about women, it’s almost impossible not to infer from his statements that a feminine ministry couldn’t or wouldn’t accomplish the same things, and that women are whiney and weak.
I mention this talk because I fear the same topic will begin to seep into the language of Christians here in Australia; like a devoted younger sibling, we seem to follow America wherever they lead. There are also a lot of John Piper fans in this country who unquestioningly believe everything he says. I won’t go all Piper-y and farewell him; I will, however, take on board this necessary reminder (and warning) that the only guy in all of the universe who is worthy of our idolisation is Jesus Christ.