John Piper – the new Apostle Paul?

Oh my goodness! escaped from my mouth as soon as I heard the words “As John Piper says in his book.” Don nudged me in the ribs and his uncle’s wife looked at me and grinned.  We were watching a sermon by Dr David Dykes of Green Acres Baptist Mega-church, and Dykes is quoting Piper.

The Bible was open in his hands and Dykes is reading John Piper’s words as if they were gospel.  It was hard to concentrate on his next words as I began to comprehend the depth of Dr Piper’s reach.  I was surprised to hear Piper quoted since Green Acres Baptist Church is affiliated with Baptist General Convention of Texas (Texas Baptists), and not the more fundamental state convention Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

We find Piper is quoted religiously.  He co-authored with Wayne Grudem the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood which is the backbone of the Danvers Statement and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. He has written 53 books as listed on Wikipedia.  He has published thoughts on and is quoted on:

    • Gender Roles
    • Christian Hedonism
    • Calvinism (he is one)
    • Spiritual Gifts
    • Eschatology
    • Law and Covenant

About gender roles, Wikipedia says: Piper holds to a complementarian view of gender roles, This view says that the Bible teaches that a husband is called to lovingly lead, protect and provide for his wife and family, and that the wife should joyfully and intelligently affirm and submit to her husband’s leadership. He also says that the Bible teaches that men are to bear the primary responsibility to lead the church and that therefore only men should be elders. Piper along with Wayne Grudem was co-editor of one of the bedrock books in this area called Recovering Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood.  One of the chapters has been reprinted several times as an independent short book called What’s the Difference?

David Dykes apparently likes to quote John Piper as we heard in that sermon, but we also find that David Dykes quotes John Piper in other sermons. In one of his sermons, on page 7, Dykes says this:

John Piper writes “Satan may be a roaring lion seeking someone to devour, but none of those who take refuge in Christ, the horn of our salvation, can Satan destroy. If I were an artist, I would paint for you a picture today of how Jesus, the horn of salvation has conquered Satan, the roaring lion.”

Does John Piper quote David Dykes?  I don’t know.  But other pastors are not quoting David Dykes as if his words were gospel. There is a mutual relationship between the two men because they are both involved in the Southern Baptist Convention leadership. David Dykes was on the search committee nominated Dr Page as Executive Director in 2011.  John Piper spoke at the SBC convention in Phoenix in 2011.

Mike Leake , one of the pastors of First Baptist Church, Jasper, Indiana, quotes Dr. Piper.  On his blog you will find this Piper quote:

“Defending the truth is a crucial part of [pastoral ministry], but it is not the main part.  Holding the truth and permeating all our ministry with the greatness and sweetness of truth for the transformation of our people’s lives is the main part of our ministry.”

Mike Leake then asks if the reader is shocked that Piper says this.  He goes on to say that perhaps the reader should reconsider the way that we view Piper.  “But more than anything, may we learn from what Piper says here.”

At Brainy Quote you can see some quotes from John Piper:

  • The essence of faith is being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus.
  • Woe to us if we get our satisfaction from the food in the kitchen and the TV in the den and the sex in the bedroom with an occasional tribute to the cement blocks in the basement!
  • God wills to be displayed and known and loved and cherished and worshiped.
  • God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

To help you feel warm and fuzzy about Dr. Piper, take a look at these funny quotes on Christ’s Church (EPC) Men’s blog.  One of “Piper’s Humourous” quotes on this list that is not funny is:

You can be egalitarian to the core and be a member of this church. You’re just going to hear complimentarianism over and over and over again. (John Piper)

We could go on and on about the influence John Piper is having all over and through our denomination.  Most of what is discussed on this blog about John Piper is what he says and teaches about wifely submission and males authority, but from these examples, we can see that his words are proclaimed everywhere.

So I ask “Is John Piper the new Apostle Paul?”

Will you join me in getting the word out that a modern day acclaimed apostle needs to get his facts straight about women in leadership positions, and needs to allow women to join in this great commission to go and tell.

It is dangerous to follow one man and allow his thoughts and writings become intertwined with the gospel that is preached.

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About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
This entry was posted in Submission, The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to John Piper – the new Apostle Paul?

  1. boatrocker says:

    I honestly don’t care what Piper or Grudem say, any more than I care what the president of the LDS church says.

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    • I don’t think it is that simple. People are hearing their pastor preach quoting John Piper and they come to believe that if their pastor quotes him, that John Piper is worthy of being quoted. Perception is believeing, and that is what I fear has already happened.

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      • boatrocker says:

        People are flocking to the LDS church too, and to Islam, and to Buddhism, and to Gaia, and many of them are former churchgoers. My personal conviction (which in no way I expect others to follow), is to stand outside those iron walls and shout to the prisoners that I can show them the way out if they want to leave. I want to help model the church that Jesus started and be that light on a hill.

        Piper et al have a monopoly and they know it. I hope you can in fact make a difference from within, but to me that’s like hoping our government can be reformed. There comes a point where the house infested with termites can no longer be treated but must be burned to the ground and rebuilt. Just my two cents.

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      • How are you doing that? Within the church is the only way most of us know how to work. Obviously you are not burning down churches. So what do you do that others can emulate?

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      • boatrocker says:

        What I mean is to be outside of the “churches” and use every means at my disposal to get the egalitarian message out. The Christian faith is first of all a personal faith, then a personal relationship, then a multi-faceted relationship with other such individuals. It is gift-based and non-hierarchical, and a daily life to live. We meet when we can, share info and insights and prayer requests. We use social media to pool resources and efforts. We take the gospel and the egal message to the “streets”: the blogs, the message boards, the seminars. We don’t “do” church because we “are” the church. We don’t need walls or chains or rituals, because this is a life and a relationship.

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      • I have found that many people have quit going to church because attendance at church has ceased to be what it should be. I like what you say “We have become the preachers” (in effect that is what you say). At least this is a place women can preach. Remember my post called “Is it preaching if you are sitting down?”

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      • boatrocker says:

        Yes, exactly. My approach is not so much to get women into pulpits as to get men out. Pulpits have become an idol, and aren’t even hinted at in the NT. There is no rule about women (or men) standing in sacred places and having to be obeyed when they are; this idea is more like the pope speaking ex-cathedra. Or it’s like little boys with a “no girlz allowed” club, and a “sacred space” around it where “girlz” aren’t allowed. So rather than crash the boys’ club or make a separate “girlz” club, I’d propose doing away with all the childish clubs and growing up. So no pulpits, no pastorates, no clergy/laity, no chain of command. Just mentors/teachers and apprentices. If a school never graduates any (or very few) students, that school is failing. In the same way, if a Sunday School just keeps adults as perpetual students, it is a failure. Jesus broke the glass ceiling a long time ago, so instead of continually trying to break it, we need to get out of the silly clubhouse.

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  2. Michelle says:

    Ever hopping on rabbit trails…
    How is it that Paul and John Piper are being compared, specifically? ‘Cause Paul…Paul has been largely misunderstood, his stuff may have been written by about three different people (in truth), and he was awesome at railing *against* legalism–just the kind of stuff that Piper and his ilk want to enforce.

    Oh, yeah, and he also had nothing but praise for his female co-workers in Christ.

    Boatrocker–That sounds ideal. Without hierarchy, there shouldn’t be arguments about gay Christians, either, IMO. Or at least there should be fewer…

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    • boatrocker says:

      Pretty sure the article means that people are treating Piper like an apostle with authority to write scripture, not that there’s any real resemblance.

      Not sure though what you mean about gay Christians, did you mean gay preachers? Of course, no one should be preaching while living in sin, but then the SBC has turned a blind eye to all the pedophile and rapist preachers with lame excuses like “he’s under the blood” and “he needs forgiveness”, while their victims are forced to repent in front of their attackers. Anyway, the important thing is that believers don’t wallow in sin since we “died to sin” and should hate it now.

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      • Michelle says:

        Thanks for clarifying that about Piper/Paul. Yes, I see the situation in the same way, the way different denominations and preachers are influenced by Piper’s materials, even when they don’t mention him in sermons. Add the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) to that list.

        That’s a good question. Actually, no, I didn’t mean gay preachers specifically. I think that lacking hierarchy can help us, as fallible humans, understand that we are all at the same level: sinful people at the cross. No one of us has “spiritual authority” over another, since Jesus is the only one who is human to whom that belongs.

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    • Good question about how they are being compared. The answer is that nobody as far as I know is comparing them – except me. And I am not comparing them. I am making an observation about the level of influence John Piper has over pastors and in the church and over Christians in general with the words he writes and what he has to say. Kind of like the influence the apostle Paul has. Pastors hang onto his word and teach it.

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  3. David says:

    You said, “Does John Piper quote David Dykes? I don’t know. But other pastors are not quoting David Dykes as if his words were gospel. There is a mutual relationship between the two men because they are both involved in the Southern Baptist Convention leadership.”

    If you are referring to Piper as one of the men involved in the SBC leadership, let me say that Piper may have influence in the SBC but he is not in its leadership. His church is affiliated with the Baptist General Conference, recently renamed Converge Worldwide, and is not nor has ever been a part of the SBC. I believe he did grow up in the SBC however.

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    • Welcome! Glad to have you join the discussion. You are right about the affiliation of John Piper, but you are wrong about the leadership question. When John Piper’s and Wayne Grudem’s works are taught at the Baptist seminaries (“Discovering Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood”) to unformed minds, that is leadership. When those words are quoted back to women who seek equality, that is leadership. When Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth adopts the Danvers Statement on Biblical M & B W as one of its statements of faith, that is leadership.

      When Baptists invite John Piper to speak at the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix in June, that is leadership.

      you can see and hear him speak at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7zrvGSwK5s

      Influence is leadership.

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    • For the record, David Dykes was on the search committee that nominated Dr. Frank Page as SBC Executive Director in 2010.

      Read this: “James said he was “deeply grateful” to the members of the search committee – Martha Lawley, Doug Melton, Clarence Cooper, David Dykes, Jay Shell and Danny Sinquefield – for “their tireless efforts, wisdom, prayers, and due diligence to learn the will of God.”

      http://www.gofbw.com/News.asp?id=11725

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  4. David Jonescue says:

    I believe women have a glorious role in which to spread the gospel and participate in the leading of those hey choose to disciple (women). But I also have to agree with scripture in that it does place certain roles of authority over us whether men or women. Why some women are not happy with the roles God has provided for them are quite clear, sometimes we just want more. Finding ways to make scripture fit your own ideals is nothing new, we can always say scripture has been misinterprated and it really means this or that, for example, the Gay Christian Network redefines Paul as meaning pedophiles or pedaphilia is an abomination to God not covanent, loving, same sex relationships. My point, you can redefine scripture to fit your own longing to be the same and refuse to live under Gods authority. I think woman have incredible gifts but I think they are also under submission as an example of Christ and the church. One is the head, one is to follow, both have within them roles and responsibilities blessed and defined by God. I can empathize and see why women feel left out or that there is a bias towards men being the lead, because it is scripturally based it must be so. Do you O’ woman believe you are less precious if you bring but one to Christ in comparison to thousands. Why is a quiet and peacible spirit so looked down upon by some? I think the real issue here is the coveting of the position of leadership, which is equal with men and women, but for women it should not be something sought after as I believe Gods blessings are sufficient to bring worthiness to your calling, even if God has restricted how that calling can be defined. In closing, we live in an age where we attack each other, in an age where we disregard sound biblical teaching with something as simple as divorce and remarrige, does God forgive, yes, but should His forgiveness be a liscense for sin. Should a person remarry if there ex-spouse is still living or should a person marry a divorced woman making her an adultress? Some would say yes while the bible says no. I think the same train of thought applies to women who want to be the pastor of a church. The bible clearly states a woman is not to have authority or teach a man 1 Tim. 2:12. You may argue on the being silent part as woman used to maybe blurt out questions but how do you get past the part that the woman was decieved Tim 2:14 by satan as a justification for making this passage so. Be happy that God has found you worthy of salvation, he wishes none would perish and that you where responsive to the call. Quit spending so much time trying to justify and redefine scripture as a way to live an ungodly life, though it may seem as an angel of light. I love godly women, I love the way God has set them up to serve as a “suitable helper”. How would ministries function if it wasnt for the undying resilience in the way of prayer, helps and being spiritual mothers for the young, not excluding the way Godly women can disciple and teach each other, but that they should be taught by a man. Though I think the bible says you do need to be taught by no one, but ask and God will teach you. And again my followers will worship in spirit (the Holy Spirit leading ) and truth (the Word). So my advice to godly women: be just that. Again I must interate my point, I believe it is not a matter of legallism but a matter of sound doctrine. Sure there will be itching ears and teachers for them, but God forbid you fall victom to your own desires. I have to use this term for lack of better words “Get in where you fit in”, the body can hardly function with one arm better than with two, but how would a body look with two heads. This is the state the church is in now. Everybody looks at being the feet as something less needful to a body, but how could a body walk properly without them? My sisters, please read your word with an open and honest heart and then ask yourself if this desire to be equal with men, (that in itself is an oxymoron because you are defining a so called lesser service not as equally important) is of the flesh or of God. If your desire is really to lead or be known to lead or if because you or prohibited by the word to lead are you willing to forsake sound doctrine and live a life of deciet leading others to follow in those footsteps. And if you are going to forsake sound doctrine I must warn you there are churches that will allow this. The choice is yours. I cannot say that women do not posses the gift to lead or preach only that will they choose to use this gift in a sinful manner as some have so done. I admit to knowing nothing and am still very young in the Lord, but I think scripture is quite clear, though I may be able to judge on the surface the actions of those who would do such acts, only God can judge you justly for my experience limits my expertise. Do not od what I say, read your word and do what God says, do not follow your emotions for the heart of men is wicked but follow your word and seek out the spirit. May God bless you and help you on your path to find your Truth, I mean true calling.
    In Love, your brother in Christ
    David J.

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    • Welcome, David! Thank you so much for joining us. I am glad you love Godly women. Now show it.

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      • Anne says:

        David, it’s really quite simple. A perfect, fully loving God that commanded (through Jesus) for everyone to love each other like they love themselves would not give one gender power over the other. To do so would break the very Golden Rule he created. The idea that women are completed and fulfilled in a submissive role is a lie propagated by pastors like Piper. It has NO scriptural basis and only serves to a) draw women into their movements and b) be used against women if they complain. “You’re not happy in your role? You need to be more submissive! Then you’ll feel good. (*cough*Jezebel*cough*)”

        It is not loving to say that men should have more authority and control than women, that men should have authority over women. That, David, is a yoke for women, and not the light kind that Jesus provides. It’s not the freedom that Jesus provides. Paul says we shouldn’t tie ourselves to yokes but be led by the Spirit. The idea of “gender roles” is a man-made concept that has very little scriptural grounding. The rest is fabrication, reading into chosen verses things that aren’t there or building upon chosen verses to the point where the doctrine does not reflect said verses at all.

        When men like you and Piper insist that God commands women to stay submissive to men, while men are to do the ‘leading’ and directing, you completely fail to understand the heart of God.

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  5. krwordgazer says:

    David, you say you know nothing and are still quite young in the Lord. Perhaps, then, you might take some time to listen to other positions on these passages than the ones you have been taught. There is a myth that people who see the full, functional equality of women in the Scriptures are just twisting it to suit their purposes– and you are reiterating it without taking the time to see if it’s true. It says in Proverbs that one person’s testimony will seem true until another cross examines him– and also that to give an answer on a matter without hearing it all the way through is folly and shame. You are new in the Lord; how, then, do you know you have the truth on this matter? Is it possible that traditional interpretations that are presented as so very “clear,” really are subject to bias, and that your teachers are teaching you to read things into the passages that may not have been intended? Please, just think about it. You might start with this: the second half of it addresses the very issue of how “clear” the Scriptures are about this male-female issue.
    http://krwordgazer.blogspot.com/2012/02/turning-tables.html
    I’ll quote a bit of it:

    The main argument people make against women’s full, functional equality in the church and home is, “the Scriptures are clear that men are to be in authority, and not women. Why do you go against the clear mandate of God?” And then they will quote a verse or two out of 1 Peter 2, or Ephesians 5, or 1 Timothy 2, or 1 Corinthians 14.

    But what if we were to quote from Galatians 3, 2 Corinthians 5 and Romans 16, and say, “The Bible also quite clearly says that in Christ there is not male and female. It also says that we are to view no one any longer according to their physical natures. Besides, Paul honored women leaders and told the church to help them in whatever they needed. Why do you go against the clear mandate of God?”

    . . . [T]re really are two sides to the witness of Scripture on the male-female issue. If we take each passage at absolute face value, they contradict one another. So each side of the argument works to figure out how the two messages interact. One view says that the message “men are to be in authority, and not women” should not be read for mere face value, and the other view says that “there is not male and female, and we are to stop regarding people according to their physical natures” should not be read for mere face value.

    The fact is that in order to take the “clear” face-value meaning of one set of passages you must refuse the “clear” face-value meaning of the other. The only other option is to decide that the Bible contradicts itself and shouldn’t be taken seriously in the first place. So why is it that only one side of the argument– the male-authority side– sets itself out as having the moral high ground in “just reading the Bible for what it says”?

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  6. Heather says:

    David I read an article recently which is an exegesis of the passage of 1 Tim 2. I passed it to my pastor who is an accomplished Greek scholar and now the regional superintendent for one of our states and he thought it was excellent. Read it and tell me what you think. It is great that you are posting your comments here. I was very encouraged to see you desiring to follow Christ and be scripturally accurate.

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  7. Heather says:

    Oh wait here is the link… http://www.intervarsity.org/ms/item/4175

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    • Anne says:

      James Choung writes what I’ve been thinking for a while: that the 1 Tim 2 verse has been severely taken out of context, and not just a cultural context either. If you read it within the entirety of the book, without shining a spotlight on that particular verse, you see that his aim was to make sure the Ephesians weren’t teaching and believing false gospels. Soon after chapter 2 starts he makes several points which don’t relate to each other, suggesting that he was making those points for different people and for different reasons. It reads like he was trying to counter-argue something someone has already said or done. When he addresses women, he’s staying within his main theme and trying to stop women preaching the wrong things to men. It had nothing to do with teaching or leading men in particular, in fact some Bible versions say “I do not permit a woman to TAKE authority over a man” (indicating the wrongful seizure of leadership by someone who doesn’t have the experience to do it right). And considering that women weren’t as theologically educated as men back then, one could assume that Paul was trying to stop women from taking off and teaching before they knew the whole picture and were secure in the truth. Hence, the mention of letting women learn in humble quietness. “Ladies, you’re not there yet. Just listen and learn for now.”

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  8. mabel says:

    Anne, so well said! thanks. the truth needs to get out. While I am here, I would like to introduce this video: http://vimeo.com/37061665

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  9. mabel says:

    “I believe women have a glorious role in which to spread the gospel and participate in the leading of those hey choose to disciple (women).” Men can teach everybody, women cannot teach everybody, just women. If we read the entire bible through the lenses of Genesis: men and women are fully made in the image of God, then this is patently a false conclusion. It makes women inferior to men. There is no way to get around this, no matter what.
    correct way to read Scriptures:
    http://vineyardcolumbus.org/_media/uploads/files/2011_Sermon_Text/MythsthatChristiansBelieve/Women%20Can%27t%20Serve%20as%20Senior%20Pastors,%20Can%20they.pdf
    “have to agree with scripture in that it does place certain roles of authority over us whether men or women. ” Jesus told the 12 disciples that they are NOT TO exercise authority over one another, and Adam and Eve were told to rule the earth with no mention of who is ruling over whom. To interpret a badly translated bible verse to say the Scripture say so is building an entire doctrine on quick sand. There is NO SCRIPTURE that gives men authority role and women submissive role in the church or anywhere else. There are roles of course, but the main point is there are no GENDER SPECIFIC roles, just as there are no RACE SPECIFIC roles, or CLASS specific role.
    “Be happy that God has found you worthy of salvation,” WHAT? I am speechless at what you are implying here. It is quite demeaning, isn’t it? I hope we do not treat each other like this. It is most un-Christlike and frankly way too arrogant.
    “then ask yourself if this desire to be equal with men, (that in itself is an oxymoron because you are defining a so called lesser service not as equally important) is of the flesh or of God. ”
    We do not desire to be equal to men, we are created to be equal to men. For you to elevate yourself above women is of the flesh. Why do you desire to be above women?
    “Why is a quiet and peacible spirit so looked down upon by some? ” I would like to ask the MALES this same question. No one, men or women, should look down on peaceful learning. The SIN is in males telling females: we men don’t have to learn, but you, you should always learn and never teach, except to others of your kind, which is the inferior kind.
    “helps and being spiritual mothers for the young,” both fathers and mothers should be spiritual parents for the young.
    “I cannot say that women do not posses the gift to lead or preach only that will they choose to use this gift in a sinful manner as some have so done” WHO gives women gifts to lead and preach? I hope none of us are 2/3 Trinitarians. We need to let the Holy Spirit work. Men do not use this gift in a sinful manner?
    David, I challenge you to read the story of Deborah (Judges chapters 4-5). Read it in its entirety, without bringing a special agenda to the reading. Let the Holy Spirit guide you.
    What ever advice you want to give to women, first ask yourself: does this apply to me also? i.e. should I learn quietly? do I read my Bible with open and honest spirit and not just blow a couple proof texts completely out of proportion, then read the rest of scriptures according to that perception, ignoring the entire bible that speaks otherwise?
    David, as you are young in the Word, DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY MEN. Read and pray with humility. Look at women as your equal. Look at women as fully made in the image of God.
    “but I think scripture is quite clear” For me, the Scriptures is overwhelming clear that women can serve God same as men can, fully based on their character, their calling and their giftedness.
    A good starting point for you is read the articles here:
    http://newlife.id.au/
    SHirley has a lot of good blogs to the right of the page. Take some time to visit some of them. Read “Does God prefer Men?” Not all men believe the way you do. I just went to a conference yesterday for women’s equality and many speakers are male pastors and seminary professors. The world is much bigger than you thought.
    The fact that women have to defend their right to serve the Lord as someone fully made in his image is both demeaning and humiliating.
    Mabel

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