Her Views

True Womanhood

Some time ago my friend Bonnie sent me the following link, asking my thoughts about it. The link is John Piper speaking on the The Ultimate Meaning of True Womanhood.

To be honest, it feels a little like what happens when you start with a foregone conclusion, so that there’s an assumption everything you say supports that conclusion, no matter how illogical. For example, Piper repeatedly claims that God’s ultimate purpose for everything, for “the universe, and all of history, and your life, is to display the glory of Christ in its highest expression in His dying to make a rebellious people His bride.” He states that marriage is the representation of this relationship.

So if everything points to Christ dying for his bride, and marriage represents this, then it seems to me that the next logical statement would be something about the role of the husband in following Christ’s example. If Christ’s glory is in laying down his life for his bride, then the husband displays the glory of Christ in its highest expression by laying down his life for his bride… right? It’s right there in scripture (Ephesians 5:25), “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” Piper however, chooses to focus on a rather contorted analogy of the wife taking her cues from the church. (But you know, men love to preach about the submission of women. Instructing men to lay down their own life for their wives… not so much.)

I do actually agree with his statements: “True womanhood is a distinctive calling of God to display the glory of His Son in ways that would not be displayed if there were no womanhood.” And, “Your distinctive female personhood is indispensable in God’s purpose to display the fullness of His glory.” But I understand that to mean using our intellect and spiritual gifts equally with men, characterized by our femininity: gentler, more team-oriented, etc. The irony of course, is that in Piper’s view, this “indispensable” and “distinctive” female personhood is not allowed to express in ministry the fullness of God-given gifts.

4 thoughts on “True Womanhood

  1. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed…most pastors tend to talk about what a woman needs to do in order to be a good woman or a good wife. I haven’t, until Mother’s day, heard a pastor teach on how a man should be a good man or a good husband. It is frustrating. I’ve found that pastors love to say this to women: “the easy thing is submitting yourself to your husband. HE has the hard job, loving you as Christ loved the church is the difficult thing.” Well, if that’s the case, why don’t they ever do a sermon on what it means to love your wife as Christ loved the church?

    I think you might appreciate a sermon that my paster gave on Mother’s Day. It wasn’t about women…in fact, it was about men. It was challenging for the men in the congregation but as a single woman, it was refreshing to hear. Here’s the link: http://www.vimeo.com/4585186.

    I have to say that I find your posts and your take on womanhood and manhood and Christ refreshing and biblically sound. Thanks for posting on all the hard stuff.

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    1. You make a good point about why they consistently teach about the “easy” part of the equation… 😉 Thanks for the link to your pastor’s message, I will definitely check it out. And thanks for your affirmations, they are much appreciated

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, jan 🙂 Admittedly I don’t understand Piper’s Christocentric views…I understand God’s ultimate purpose to be the revelation of His own glory. Christ, and creation, are agent and means. Too fine a point perhaps, and I in no way mean to minimize the importance of Christ, and of God’s grace as manifest in and through Christ. But Christ’s sacrifice is the model for husbands in loving their wives.

    Nor do I understand how maleness and femaleness (marriage) displays more fully Christ’s relationship to the church; seems to me it’s the other way around. (Men ought to take their cues from the church as well — they are half of it!)

    To be fair, I do see Piper et al telling husbands to love their wives sacrificially. But it’s in the context of leading her, usually…not in loving her as his own body. I think the concern is for God’s “proper design” and order and doesn’t mean to denigrate women. But it does…and I think it denigrates men as well, by failing to note fully what God has to offer them via women.

    Also have to throw in, I really don’t understand what he says about singleness — it’s a result of sin entering the world, yet in four ways bears witness to Christ better than marriage can? What? What am I not getting?

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    1. Great observations, Bonnie. I don’t get the comments on singleness either… I don’t get how we demonstrate the marriage relationship better than a husband/wife. Thanks again for the link!

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