How Masculine is the Christian faith?

There has been a great deal of discussion over the past few days about something that John Piper has said here.

In short, he is arguing that Christianity has a predominantly masculine rather than feminine feel to it. Obviously, this has caused a great deal of controversy in the Blogosphere.

One of the major issues, it seems to me is that of the person who wrote it, namely Piper. The problem is that he sharply divides evangelical opinion. Some people will agree with something just because John Piper says it, and others will disagree with something just because he says it. That has, sadly, happened in many cases of what I have read. People are not really engaging with the issue, just criticising (or agreeing) just because it’s Piper.

The best and most balanced critique that I have seen has been written by Krish Kandiah here. He acknowledges the value of Dr Piper’s ministry whilst disagreeing with him on this issue. More of that spirit would be very beneficial to all.

As far as I am concerned, I would disagree with John Piper over this too, whilst benefitting greatly from his ministry. I would also agree with his complementarian view of male and female roles. However, I don’t think that calling Christianity masculine helps that. It gives the impression that somehow females are less important than males. Maybe he does not wish to give that impression, but that what comes across.

I do believe that males are to be in leadership positions in the church, but that does NOT make men superior to women. As Paul says in Galatians, all are equal in the sight of God. He created man AND woman in the image of God.

I fully believe that God is our Heavenly Father (not mother) and Jesus was a man not a woman. But there are a number of references to female characteristics when describing the concern and care that God has for his people. Some examples are Psalm 116: 16, Psalm 131: 2, Matthew 23:37. These are not to be ignored. In addition the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians describes how he was “as a mother” to the church there.

Now admittedly, there are many more masculine than feminine references to God in Scripture, but that does not mean that the female ones are unimportant. It shows the character of our God who treats us like a father and a mother in the best sense.

And that is something to rejoice in!

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