Christian Marriage, Complementarianism, Doctrine as Idol, Gender Roles, John Piper, Marriage, Marriages Damaged-Destroyed by Sp. Ab., Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Authority

John Piper Questions Whether Wives Should Share Their Wisdom with Their Husbands

My apologies for only showing up on Sundays for the past couple of months. I’ve been involved with a huge project at work that recently went live. It’s sucked up all my brain power and energy. I couldn’t resist piping up on John Piper’s latest, but nothing new, musing on wife submission.

John Piper
John Piper’s definition of biblical manhood and womanhood: “A man’s unique calling to be the head of the home, and a woman’s unique calling to gladly support that calling of the man by coming alongside him with her unique, indispensable womanly gifts.”

A listener wrote in to Desiring God asking Piper:

“Hello, Pastor John! I know that submission is the requirement of the wife, and I have been working hard lately to hold my tongue and agree with my husband even when I have a different opinion. Recently, he bought a new car. I felt in my gut this was unwise. I made one comment to him about it, but could see his mind was already made up. So, I went along with his decision. Now it turns out my gut instinct was right. The car purchase was unwise. We both know that now. And now I feel especially responsible for not trying harder to convince him in the first place. Am I at fault for not speaking up? I’d like to hear you address the concerns of a disagreeing wife who also wants to submit.”

Piper’s round-about way of getting to the answer reminds me of The Princess Bride when Vizzini has a battle of wits with the man in black:

After a three-point reminder of the importance of complementarianism, Piper’s final conclusion to the listener is that he doesn’t know if she was at fault for not speaking up. He explains:

And my answer to this question is, in her particular case, I don’t know. And a brief explanation for why I don’t know will, I think, help her answer the question for herself biblically. The reason I don’t know is not because it’s always right or always wrong for a woman to share her wisdom with her husband about actions he’s about to take. It’s not always wrong and it’s not always right.

(See what I mean about Vizzini? “I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.” Or maybe, “I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.”)

Piper does say he doesn’t think it’s wrong for a wife to express her concerns and provide wisdom to her husband. However, he also thinks a wife expressing her concerns could be wrong based upon “timing, demeanor, tone of voice, choice of language, a history of the husband’s chronic stupidity or a wife’s chronic nagging.” I suppose this means that every time a wife wants to give her opinion to her husband she has to take all of this into consideration.

In the end Piper says,

But in general, I would say that in a healthy, biblical marriage, a husband would quite ordinarily seek — very normally seek — and welcome his wife’s wisdom. And the wife would have the maturity and wisdom and grace to give that wisdom without dishonoring her husband or communicating that he’s an unworthy leader of the home.

Again, it’s on the wife to make sure she is not communicating in a way that is dishonoring her husband. And who determines if the wife’s concerns dishonor her husband? The woman writing to Piper expressed her concern once, but felt like she couldn’t say anything again because her husband made a decision on the purchase. Either way she can’t win – she feels guilty that she didn’t say anything else to change his mind, or she feels guilty about potentially dishonoring him. This seems like a lot of extra emotional and spiritual baggage that a wife has to take on in the relationship.

Personally, I’d rather go against a Sicilian when death is on the line than be in a relationship where I’m constantly feeling guilty about expressing my opinion.

15 thoughts on “John Piper Questions Whether Wives Should Share Their Wisdom with Their Husbands”

  1. Kathi . . . as I’ve told you before, any post you do here is a bonus as far as I’m concerned. We are both employed full-time and life is a challenge now, period. I so appreciate you.

    Ok, as I was proofreading this post, my dander was rising. Some of you may know that I’m nearly 6’4″. I have a hunch, John Piper would reject me because of my height claiming I am trying to take away a man’s manhood by being taller than him. I could be wrong in that assessment of him, but that is what his response feels like to me.

    In his little mind, only men can have knowledge, wisdom, strength, stature. He really needs to grow some.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It is a spirit breaking life when everything you think, say or do is filtered through a prescribed and very strict role of what and how women are supposed to be and what and how men are supposed to be. One gets farther and farther removed from actually being a human being and becomes a caricature. I remember becoming a stunted human that could not make a decision, couldn’t look anyone in the eye I carried such a weight on my shoulders of being a good enough cartoon of a human. My teenage daughter commented “you look like a whipped dog with your head down all the time”. The role was so heavy I was bent over. The only thing lifted up was the men’s egos and right to dominate, rule and decimate the little woman.

    I remember the jockeying for power of men that wanted to be the right hand yes men of the pastor. They were all much like Piper. One pastor’s comment from the pulpit that reflected so many, “no men that listen to their wives will be leadership around here. We don’t want mommies boys in leadership” And thus, women that had opinions at all were usurping authority. I saw my immature, self-centered, uneducated husband make incredibly foolish decisions financially and other ways and I was not allowed to make any comment. We ended up bankrupt, homeless and exploited by sect Christianity all of which I discerned but was not allowed to speak. Silence as the train runs off the rails.

    Then you observe a secular household where people are just people and its a partnership with joint decisions and power to think and be and feel and actually be a human being. The roots of this women mind crushing, spirit breaking non-sense is misogyny. The marriages I saw and knew at church were disrespectful to women, demeaning, belittling, violent and pain-filled. Singing the song “they will know we are Christians by our love” while living in a stepford wives life that was anything but loving is a disgrace to the image of God. Piper is only revealing something that exists in the misogynist patriarchy that he and others mistake for the voice of God. I don’t believe God created human beings to be the slave of someone that spends their lives oppressing, dismissing, erasing and diminishing the gift God gave them in a wife.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know

    This should be his answer to everything.

    Piper’s idea of marriage sounds exhausting.

    BTW, has anyone listened to the podcast ‘something was wrong’? A number of mentions of ‘biblical marriage’ and other assorted craziness in the first season.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One pastor’s comment from the pulpit that reflected so many, “no men that listen to their wives will be leadership around here. We don’t want mommies boys in leadership”

    This comment is breaktakingly disgusting and I can’t imagine hearing it from the pulpit, but on top of that….he is directly equating a wife to a mother??? What????

    Your wife is not your mother or your child. Apparently this is a hard concept for these men to understand.

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  5. These men don’t want their authority to be questioned. It doesn’t matter how stupid their decisions are and how much they were warned. Piper’s “I don’t know” is in the lines of other answers that he gives when he is on record. He says “I don’t know” and then he proceeds to put the burden on the woman for knowing exactly if, when and how to talk to their husbands. With a slight bone about husbands should ordinarily listen, but even that is burden releasing – “ordinarily/normally” gives the husband the out of extraordinary circumstances. “Ordinarily I would listen to my wife, but in this case, her tone of voice was… or she was not respecting my authority… or she burned my toast that morning”

    And, as @GraceMercyJoy pointed out, there is a direct correlation to their beliefs about church leadership. The man who listens to his wife is a poor leader, only because their model for leaders is people unwilling to hear the congregants.

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  6. The man who listens to his wife is a poor leader, only because their model for leaders is people unwilling to hear the congregants.

    A ‘leader’ who is unwilling to listen to good advice is going to be an incredibly poor one.

    of course, these guys view of leadership is pretty off. It’s purely top down, telling people what to do, not actual real leading, imo.

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  7. Ok, as I was proofreading this post, my dander was rising. Some of you may know that I’m nearly 6’4″.

    Wah. You’re taller than my ex-girlfriend.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. John Piper Questions Whether Wives Should Share Their Wisdom with Their Husbands

    Do you really expect anything different from The Pious Piper?

    5’4″, muscled like a wet noodle, effeminate drama-queen mannerisms — the only thing the guy has to prove to himself he’s Alpha Male On Top is “I’ve Got a Dick! SEE? SEE? SEE?”

    The reason he’s so pee-his-pants terrified of “Muscular Women” is most any woman (never mind men) could fold him up and stuff him in a dumpster, his Holy Testosterone notwithstanding.

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  9. @HUG,
    Thank-YOU for the blessing of a lengthy belly laugh. It was a joy to laugh at a foolish p’astor individual who actually believes h’ e knows the Heart of our Master JESUS better than the rest of us! And my former baptist c’ hurch attendees promoted this wimpy apostate to me when I entered their baptist gates/regime.

    My estimate is their worldview (piperism) does not include the actual life saving Gospel of Jesus of Christ. NEVER in His Ministry did HE ever say ” I don’t know.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Piper: And my answer to this question is, in her particular case, “I don’t know”.

    Well, Mr Piper, try asking your wife, see if she has any ideas …

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What was one of the definitions of a Pharisee?
    Laying up heavy burdens on people and not lifting a finger to help them carry it?
    This seems to be what Piper is determined to do to women, the ones he considered to be the weaker vessel. In his paradigm, the weaker bear the heavier burden. Nice.

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  12. Ok, as I was proofreading this post, my dander was rising. Some of you may know that I’m nearly 6’4″.

    Question: how short is Chuck O’Neal ?

    I think I just figured out the REAL reason you got sued….

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  13. Nabal might have benefited if Abigail had been willing to share her wisdom with him. Just sayin’. And David listened to Bathsheba regarding the matters of succession. For that matter, isn’t it “Lady Wisdom” in portions of Proverbs?

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  14. Heber’s wife (JA’s hero while camping?) also had a touch of wisdom, and was commended for it. As well as the prophetess whose work sent Sisera Jael’s way.

    (j/k on your camping hero, JA)

    Like

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