December 3, 2020

Must Read: Men’s Responses to Piper at Rachel Held Evans

'Ember Cascade Rosemary Benine Summer' photo (c) 2009, Quinn Dombrowski - license: the light of John Piper’s recent assertion that “God gave Christianity a masculine feel,” our friend Rachel Held Evans challenged men to respond by sending her posts that celebrate women and their full equality and partnership in the Church. Rachel published the results today, in “God Is Not Ashamed” – Our Brothers Speak Out”.

This is a must-read, filled with insightful remarks from men all over the world. At this writing, she had received more than 150 responses.

One of the best links was to a moving post called “Courageous Daughters,” by Justin Bowers, who reflected on a father’s dreams for his three daughters:

'Bubbles' photo (c) 2005, Stephen Dann - license: we model the type of leadership Piper calls for in its entirety, we risk failing a generation of women God has gifted as integral members and leaders within our ministries.

When my daughters were infants I took each of them in my arms and stood in front of a congregation and dedicated them entirely to Christ.  I asked the congregation to support my family and help raise them to be disciples, Kingdom Agents, and ambassadors of Christ.  I stood before the body of Christ, the BRIDE of Christ, and in solidarity believed with them that God had plans for these girls that can only be carried out to the fullest extent in the community of believers.

…For my daughters, I don’t want the church to be a place that tells them not to dream.   I don’t want them to grow up with a limited view of God’s nature that dictates him only as Father and King.  Those are real and true.  But he is also the Provider, the Nurturer, the Sustainer who feeds the young.  He is above gender focus because he is the Creator of gender… The beauty of a mother and the character of a father are both seen as reflections of God’s nature.  But they are seen most fully in right relationship as husband and wife, loving each other and caring for their children in both masculine and feminine ways–truly reflecting the fullest nature of God with his people.


  1. The Previous Dan says

    “I don’t want them to grow up with a limited view of God’s nature that dictates him only as Father and King.”

    I think we often misunderstand the term Father when used for God. Based on God’s self-proclaimed names and attributes, his fatherhood seems to encompass motherhood as well. Same sort of thing as when we use the term “mankind” to refer to men and women. I think that the mistake of limiting God’s Fatherhood to human male fatherhood is what led the Israelites into one of the perversions of their religion. In the days of the kings they “borrowed” Ashtoreth from Baal worship and married her to YHWH as though He needed a mate to complete Him. Adam was made in the image of God before Eve was taken out. After that it was Adam and Eve that bore the image of God.

  2. I think Rachel’s decision to ask MEN to respond to Piper’s sermon was serendipitously (or maybe well-thought-out) brilliant. I remember when she posted that plan online. And the response was fantastic, so much so that I didn’t worry that I hadn’t taken time to write a response myself.

    In fact, I wonder if her blogpost request and the responses will at some point be seen to have been a watershed event in the much-needed pushback against the patriarchal hierarchicalism of Piper, Driscoll, CBMW, et al.?

    • YES! I sure hope so. It has been so refreshing to see such an overwhelmingly positive response to an issue that has been so divisive.

    • I have a lot of respect for Rachel. I don’t post there as much as I do here and a few other blogs. But I am encouraged that there are more blogs popping up confronting this type of stuff. In many cases what Rachel did was brilliant. Since John Piper would dismiss a females teaching, having men teach and proclaim and be willing to correct Piper is brilliant.

      What is really needed however is a regime change in Bethleham Baptist. There needs to be some “shock and awe”…where oh where is Don Rumseld when you need him! 😛

  3. Richard McNeeley says

    Mat 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!

    I don’t seem to see the masculine feel in the above verse. The truth is that God is portrayed as having characteristics that are both male and female. By holding the view that Christianity has a masculine feel we would be discounting many of the ways that God describes Himself.

    • Exactly!

      I think that so many of us forget that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts not our thoughts. For example, it is so hard to wrap my mind around the concept that God is not bound by time. My world is nothing but TIME constrained, so knowing that yesterday, today, and tomorrow are all the same to Him is hard to imagine.

      Same thing with the gender issue. God is not male or female, He is both/neither. I think that too many of us focus on the fact that Jesus was male and extrapolate that into God being male as well, instead of seeing God as a parent with qualities of both genders.

      But, we lack the words or concepts to explain this, and are left with another mystery of God.

  4. This response by men has been a beautiful gracious thing.

  5. I loved the responses from the men and I am so glad Rachel asked for men to send her their responses! Reading what they wrote makes me happy.

  6. Mike,

    Thank you so much for this feature. It has been a great journey for me the past couple days seeing the response to this writing–and I’m so grateful to connect with so many others who feel the same way.

    Blessings to you!

  7. Now if we can just get the church catholic to get on board with some nifty gender nutreal language and change about 2000 years of received tradition and consistent orthodox teaching we will be set

    • Little sarcasm perhaps?

    • Yes, it would be nice if those churches fully understood the Whole Gospel and the New Creation.

    • The Previous Dan says

      God chose to reveal Himself as Father/Son/Holy Spirit and therefore I am against any movement to rewrite the Scriptures in gender-neutral terms. However, part of those 2000 years of received church tradition includes the mistake of projecting our human “maleness” onto God. God is not a man, he is not male; Man and Woman together are the reflection of His image. Jesus is God the Son in the sense Adam was a son before Eve was taken from him. It isn’t a male/female thing. But what does that mean??? I think that is where the interesting discussions start. But it isn’t as simple as church tradition would make it out to be by projecting our human maleness onto God and therefore relegating women to a second class status.

      Now I know in these discussions someone will bring up the point that “Jesus is a man and a male.” Yes, when he walked the earth, but in resurrected/glorified bodies He stated that there was no male/female. So yes, Jesus is a glorified man but He is no longer a male. He is like Adam before Eve was taken out. He is like we all will be when we get to heaven, completed in God. We have a taste of that now because of the deposit of the Holy Spirit, and that is why singles are not “incomplete people”, but in heaven we will know the fullness of it. Maybe it is all just speculation, but it is how I understand what I see taught in the Scriptures.

  8. The scripture states that there is neither male nor female in heaven. I think as guys, many of us quietly think that means it’s all male. Jesus is still a man and the Father is still the Father so everyone, men and women, will adopt a generally male characteristic. Gender is, I think, a human feature that reflects a dynamism within the spirit that we don’t know any words for. Yin and Yang are an excellent start but I think it goes beyond that. Paul spoke of the “great mystery” of the church. I think this is one of the many things he wanted to tell them but they were unable to hear due to their dullness. I believe God is doing something new in the church with regard to gender relations and that we must all, male and female, be keen observers. Listen O daughter. Consider and incline your ear. Forget your own people also and your father’s house. So the King will greatly desire your beauty.

  9. You know I was thinking the other day as I drove to work…all the females who would be dismissed by Piper’s teachings. Not just the people in the Bible such as Mary, Martha, Rehab, Esther, etc… but also some of the modern females to include Mother Teresa, Beth Moore, Elizabeth Elliot. I would love to see Elizabeth Elliot correct John Piper. I’d buy a ticket to see that!!

    • Elisabeth Elliot was a complementarian

      and likely would have concurred with much of what Piper says and believes and teaches.

      • Well…in that case how does she explain her decision to work with the Aucas in 1956 after her husband was slain? Do you or anyone else knows?

        • I don’t know about Elisabeth Elliot’s rationale for her work nor the US church scene historically regarding women missionaries but it is my experience that many UK churches, who wouldn’t have dreamt of having a woman lead and teach in their own church, were quite happy to support women as leaders and teachers in the developing/third world as missionaries. This is generally now accepted as a racist attitude and I’m not sure what their response towards this would be now.


    Theres a reason HE MAN wears a cross in them cartoons. Because when a man raise up his Bible and say I AM THE POWER, he does–the power of the HOLY GHOST !!! Let me tell you, the ladies just eat that up. (You dont want to get stuck with one of them womens libbers do you?)