Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Together for the Gospel conference was cancelled. Attendees had the option to watch live stream speeches and receive their books that came with the ticket purchase.
Included on the list of speakers was John Piper. Below is a two-minute video from John Piper, whom I assume is answering a question from Ligon Duncan (his name is mentioned at the end) on Complementarianism and abuse.
There’s a lot to digest in these two minutes, but here is what stood out to me:
First, Piper states that Complementarianism stands in the gap between patriarchy and Egalitarianism. Note that Piper says Complementarianism was “created in the first place” and “brought into being” to stand in the gap. Thank you, Piper, for acknowledging that Complementarianism is a man-made ideology. Complementarianism was not created by God, but by a group of people who wanted to bring gender order back into the home and the church.
Piper also states that Complementarianism has a higher ground over egalitarianism because Egalitarians do not attribute a higher calling to men to provide for and protect women. To which I ask, why isn’t it enough for Complementarians to say you don’t abuse others because “humans don’t treat humans that way?” Why must there be gender order for abuse to be wrong? Your gender doesn’t matter because God calls Christians to love others. Abuse of any kind by anyone is wrong. It’s really not that difficult to understand, but Complementarians make it seem like it’s so hard to know what to do if there are no defined gender roles.
It’s really not that difficult to understand, but Complementarians make it seem like it’s so hard to know what to do if there are no defined gender roles.
Finally, Piper revels in the “beautiful and safe and flourishing relationships” that Complementarians experience. Of course, Egalitarians do not experience these types of relationships because they are not living in a Biblical manner. Let’s remember that this is how Piper defines Complementarianism (biblical manhood and womanhood):
At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships. At the heart of mature femininity is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships.Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, page 29
Abuse is about power and control and the heart of Complementarianism is hierarchy. The husband is responsible to lead; the wife is to affirm and receive that leadership. Established order in a relationship allows abuse to thrive. Does this mean that abuse will not exist in Egalitarian relationships? Absolutely not. Abuse is abuse and knows no boundaries. However, I think that the established gender role order in Compelmentarian relationships makes it easier for abuse to thrive.
I will never trust John Piper when he says that Complementarians are less likely to abuse. He says the right words at the right time to sound the right way. Let’s not forget Piper’s view on submission: ” she endures verbal abuse for a season and she endures perhaps being smacked one night.”