“Let me take you back to the tree in Eden
If you read it you’ll see that Eve was deceived
But Adam’s the one who let her eat
Instead of leading
No we ain’t leading
We Bump That
Basically little boys with muscles and our mustache
To femininity we need a remedy
The God-Man 100% masculinity.”
The above quote is from a new song called, “Man Up Anthem” by 116 Clique featuring Lecrae from Lecrae’s record label, Reach Records. It is a sentiment found all too often in Christendom and one that is slowly being chipped away at by people like Lindsey Haskins and blogs like Jesus Creed. In today’s post on the Jesus Creed blog, Ms. Haskins shows how in spite of Pipers assertion that,”for the maximum flourishing of both men and women” the church should and must have a “masculine feel”, nothing could be further from the truth.
Piper says, “the Father and the Son create man and woman in His image and give them the name man, the name of the male.”
Man Up Anthem says, “Let me take you back to the tree in Eden, if you read it you’ll see that eve was deceived but Adam is the one who let it in.”
Here are some thoughts on women from well respected church fathers:
Chrysostom, speaking of Eve in the garden – “…the woman taught once for all and upset everything…for the female sex is weak and vain, and here this is said of the whole sex”
Tertullian – women are the “ianua diabolic” or “the gate of the devil” (On Female Dress, 1.1).
St. Clement of Alexandria – “Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman…the consciousness of their own nature must evoke feelings of shame.
St Thomas Aquinas – “Good order would have been wanting in the human family if some were not governed by others wiser than themselves. So by such a kind of subjection woman is naturally subject to man, because in men the discretion of reason predominates.”
I could go on and on.
Piper says, “Now, from all of that I conclude that God has given Christianity a masculine feel. And being God, a God of love, He has done that for our maximum flourishing both male and female.”
Man Up Anthem says, “The femininity, we need a remedy, the God-Man, a 100 percent (strength) masculinity.”
Clearly when one looks at the history of women in the church it has NOT been “for the maximum flourishing of both men and women”. In fact, if a woman did manage to slip through the cracks and overcome societal efforts to deprive her of education, equality and opportunity, she was met with surprise and astonishment. They were so opposed to the notion that women as a gender were capable of such things that they would de-feminize her and assign manhood to her instead of her God given femaleness. They said things like:
Clement of Alexandria – “Women must seek wisdom, like men, even if men are superior and have first place in every field, at least if they are not effeminate”
Paulinus of Nola – “What a woman she is, if one can call so manly a Christian a woman!”
Palladius – she was “not a woman but a manly creature: a man in everything but body”
Melania the Younger – because of her great piety or “manly deeds” was claimed to be “like a man” by her male admirers since “she had surpassed the limits of her sex and taken on a mentality that was manly, or rather angelic”
Haskins also points out that this way of thinking whether from Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria or John Piper is damaging to God’s daughters. How could it not be? She asserts:
When holiness is equated to masculinity, it is rather difficult to side-step notions of femaleness—or “femininity”—as ontological inferiority. If by nature weaker physically, emotionally and spiritually as compared to men, the logical—and lived—conclusion against all lip service to the contrary has been that women do not share equally with men in the imago dei.
The line from Haskins that reminded me of the Lecrae song was this, ““The Son of God came into the world to be a man” [which] seems to infer—especially in light of the greater arc of Piper’s vision—that it was maleness which God redeemed, not humanity. The lyrics say, “The femininity, we need a remedy, the God-Man, a 100 percent (strength) masculinity”. I assert that it is not masculinity that saved us from femininity; rather, that love compelled Christ to come and save us from fear, hate and darkness; that love compelled Christ to sacrifice all to save us from ourselves, our sin and our selfishness. He came to restore our relationship with the one who made us BOTH, male and female, in his image. TOGETHER the two halves of humanity reflect his glory.
I agree with Haskins when she says:
What the church needs now is not by any means a “masculine feel.” The church has had this broken and un-balanced “feel” for millennia and far from producing a “flourishing [for] both men and women” it has too often been complicit in a systematic de-humanization of half its constituency. When masculinity becomes the virtue par execellence the value of what it means to be a woman or “feminine” is mortally undercut. What the church desperately needs now is a prophetic voice reminding us to value both men and women as equally and wholly made in the imago dei.
Ms. Haskins, may I humbly suggest that you are one such prophet.
- John Piper and Divine Command (patheos.com)
- A Masculine God (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
- In Search of Masculine Christianity (tallskinnykiwi.typepad.com)
- Dear John Piper, Would You Like a Ride on my Toboggan? (wordofawoman.com)
- John Piper’s Masculine Christianity (challies.com)