Posted on Monday, January 4, 2016 by Todd Pruitt on 1517
Not long ago my MOS compadres received criticism (some of it rather harsh) for their critique of statements made by John Piper about the roles of women in society. There is no need to rehash that particular debate now. However, it is important to remind that we here at MOS share with John Piper and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) the belief that preachers and office-bearers in the church are to be men. That is clear in Scripture. How exactly or even whether those roles of headship and submission translate into spheres outside the family and church is a worthy debate. Dr. Piper has long advocated that male headship transcends church and family and is to be reflected in civil society as well. I point that out simply to underline the fact that Piper holds to a more sweeping understanding of complementarianism than do many of us who nevertheless fully affirm what the Bible teaches about roles within the family and the church.
That is why I was so disappointed to see that at Passion 2016 John Piper shared the preaching duties once again with a woman preacher. This time it was Christine Caine (in the past it has been Beth Moore). Incidentally Caine preaches many of the troubling errors of Word/Faith and Prosperity theology. She also claims Joyce Meyer as a mentor and promotes her ministry.
As I have written at other times, this sort of partnership by a man of great influence like John Piper with someone whose doctrine is quite troubling places local pastors in a difficult position as we seek to guard our churches from false and divisive doctrines. This was a major concern that many of us had with Piper’s embrace and promotion of Mark Driscoll. Something that he recently said he did not regret.
As I have already stated: I agree with what Piper and CBMW and the Danvers Statement all affirm about the roles of men and women within the church. How is it that John Piper, who has spoken and written so copiously on male headship, would appear with a woman preacher (and do so numerous times)? Is this not terribly inconsistent?
I know that asking inconvenient questions of any of the stars in the reformed(ish) firmament renders one irrelevant and invisible. I understand that one just does not publically disagree with the heroes. Yes, we in the reformed(ish) world do have our Popes.
I wonder if any of the men who took Byrd and Trueman to task for holding what they believed to be an under-developed doctrine of gender roles will now seek answers from John Piper. I certainly will not hold my breath. One simply does not do that and keep his or her seat at the table. The phone will stop ringing. The email loop will have one fewer participant. The invitations will disappear. The blog will become irrelevant.
I know that sounds cynical. But I have been an observer of these things for too long to believe otherwise. The Reformed(ish) Industrial Complex is too insular and self-protective. It is too sensitive to anything that sounds like critique. It is too committed to its own promotion. Early on I suppose I was too sanguine about the rise of the YRR movement. I assumed that holding to reformed doctrine would guard us from unwise practice and the celebrity culture that was so much a feature of broader evangelicalism. I was wrong. [emphasis added]
Pruitt's comments could apply to the entirety of mainstream American Christian publishing, perhaps? After all, the likes of Mark Driscolls and Rachel Held Evans seem to be okay with shooting fish in barrels by writing about the foibles of other teams. But internal critique does not come easily to any of us, whatever our team may be. Ten years ago I was pretty happily a member of Mars Hill and was confident the leadership would self-correct away from egregious wrongs. Well, I was wrong. It can happen to all of us, as I'm sure Pruitt appreciates.
Setting aside as distinct the matter of complementarian and egalitarian ecclesiology, it would still be a puzzle why Piper formulates a stance that is not implemented in actual practice, and not being familiar with Caine myself, there's still the open-ended question of whether Word Faith stuff would be advisable even if there were other agreements. It's not as though we don't live in a world where someone could be a complementarian and a Word Faither, too.
Now I've written in the past about how for John Piper to think that Driscoll's decline was actually a defeat for Reformed theology suggests the man has an insular understanding of what Reformed theological thought is and what the Reformed scene is. Somebody dissented from that assessment, and people get to do that. But Pruitt raises a question about Pipers stance not just in terms of Caine but as someone who expressed having no regrets about backing Driscoll. With the disclosure of the Driscoll promotional plan for Real Marriage this matter is worth revisiting.
Free Copies & Book Reviews
The following friends would be good to include on the pre-release list to help ensure an online buzz
2. Galley Proofs - Desiring God with John Piper, Purpose Driven Network with Rick Warren, Life Church with Craig Groeschel, Perry Noble, James MacDonald who runs Walk in the Word Radio and Harvest Bible Chapel, Justin Taylor and Kevin Deyong of the Gospel Coalition, Mark Dever of 9 Marks, CJ Mahaney and Joshua Harris of Sovereign Grace, Dennis Rainey of FamilY LIfe Today, Tim Lane of the Christian Counseling Educational Forum, David Platt, Francischan, Ed Stetzer, blogger Tim Challies, each of the Senior Pastors who will be hosting the tour events.
Did Desiring God get galley proofs? If so then that would have been an occasion for people at DG to have spotted and prevented the citation errors that Warren Thorckmorton and others found iN Real Marriage. This didn't happen, it seems, either because DG never got galley proofs or because if anyone at DG did get galley proofs the citation problems were not spotted in time for the first printing. There was a second printing in early 2013 and as Throckmorton has noted, citation problems did get solved. But could it not be construed as a failure on the part of the YRR publishing world and community that those problems in RM were never pre-emptively spotted and dealt with if, in fact, people in the YRR movement did get galley proofs?
Pruitt's concerns about the insularity of the young, restless Reformed seem worth keeping in mind. asdf