John Piper Issues Lame Advice: Unmarried Christian Woman Asks John Piper if It’s Okay For Her to Be a Police Officer

Unmarried Christian Woman Asks John Piper if It’s Okay For Her to Be a Police Officer

(There are some edits below, I added some new links)

This comes from the Jesus Creed blog:

(Link): That Complementarian Non-Negotiable – post by Scot McKnight

A Christian woman, who is single, wrote John Piper and asked him for career advice. I wonder if it’s a troll. She wants to know if it’s acceptable for an unmarried, complementarian, Christian woman to work as a police officer.

My first issue with this is, why is any woman (especially if she is an adult) writing to another human being about career choices? She should be making her own choices in life about career and whatever else.

She’s wanting to know if being a police officer would be violating any Christian gender complementarian norms.

She’s not asking because she’s just confused at this point in her life and doesn’t know what career to get into – which I could perhaps understand, if one is asking advice for that reason. But to ask for some man’s approval for her career choice? No. A hundred times no.

This is the sort of garbage and nonsense that gender complementarianism creates. Gender complementarianism infantilizes teen girls and grown women. A woman does not need to go to another adult, man or woman, to ask their permission to work in some career field or another. Spare me.

Scot McKnight pastes John Piper’s reply into his post, and true to Piper form, it is very verbose in a flowery way.

I can’t believe the woman wrote to Piper to start with or that Piper is even entertaining replying. He should have just told her to use her God-given brains and follow her interests and aptitudes, rather than ask for his input. But is that what Piper does? No.

The Bible does not tell unmarried women to submit to men.

There is a verse in Ephesians of the New Testament that asks married women to submit to their husbands, but the word “submit” is not even in that verse in the original, underlying Greek – it is carried over from the verse right before it, which says all believers should submit to all other believers.

There is no verse commanding unmarried women to submit to all men every where for all time.

Someone at another blog once quoted an Old Testament verse about young maidens living with their fathers having to obey their fathers. Some of these OT (Old Testament) commandments do not apply today.

The verse that person was referring to was given to the ancient israelite; things changed under Christ (the New Testament). Further, a lot of women are staying single longer.

Do Christians who quote OT passages about “young maidens” really expect women who have careers and who are single at ages 30, 40 and older to live at home and obey their fathers? How about a woman who marries at age 25, but her husband dies when she is 55, should she move back in with her father and obey her father?

So, as far as I can tell, no, there are no biblical passages instructing or commanding mature, unmarried female believers to live with their fathers perpetually, or to be under male headship or male rule. That concept is just not in the Bible.

Here is part of Piper’s reply to the unmarried woman who was asking for advice about choosing a LEO vocation, as it appears on McKnight’s blog:

There is a continuum from very personal influence, very eye-to-eye, close personal influence, to non-personal influence. And the other continuum is very directive — commands and forcefulness — directive influence to very non-directive influence. And here is my conviction. To the degree that a woman’s influence over a man, guidance of a man, leadership of a man, is personal and a directive, it will generally offend a man’s good, God-given sense of responsibility and leadership, and thus controvert God’s created order. To an extent, a woman’s leadership or influence may be personal and non-directive or directive and non-personal, but I don’t think we should push the limits. I don’t think those would necessarily push the limits of what is appropriate. That is my general paradigm of guidance.

All of that is Piper’s opinion. Absolutely none of that is in the Bible.

It’s Piper’s preferences, biases, and guesses guiding this response to the woman who wrote him. He even uses the phrase “my conviction” at one point. Piper is holding his opinion up as being binding on the believer. That is not sola scriptura at all.

And look, the older I get, I don’t have the patience for following or learning that many rules. It’s too much.

I’m never going to be perfect like Jesus was and be able to follow all of God’s moral codes all the time on every single point. There are like, what 350 or some odd commandments in the Old Testament?

Who the hell (but God himself) could follow all 350 or however many commandments all the time? I cannot. Maybe that’s why Jesus boiled it all down to 2 or 3 commands: Love your neighbor as yourself and Love God.

But Piper wants to dump even MORE rules and regulations on unmarried women (and married ones) by making up these arbitrary, moronic gender role rules about how and when and if it is appropriate for a woman to give directions to a man, or for a woman police officer to ticket a man, and so on.

She is to command him as a cop, but not too directly or while making eye contact, lest it make the grown man feel less manly. WTF??

And each man is different. How is a police woman to know how far she can go, or what one guy would consider too direct another one would not?

This is beyond ridiculous.

Here is part of McKnight’s response to this (please visit (Link): his blog page to read his entire reply):

  • From Piper’s non-negotiable about the husband’s role as one of leading and guiding and providing for the wife (all good things) he then approaches the issue of a women being police. Unfortunately, John Piper far too often turns the man-woman relationship into the role of leader-follower and scales it on a map of hierarchy rather than mapping it all on the scales of love and mutual sacrifice for the good of the other. Beginning with the second leads to radically different perspectives on issues like what women “can” do in society. So, when Piper ends up talking about non-personal and personal influence and directions I think he’s gotten himself into a corner of his own making (the leader-follower perspective) and is turning in circles.
  • The place to go for this one is probably straight to Deborah. Game over. She, if I may be anachronistic, hired and fired the cops, she armed them and disarmed them, and she taught them the way of power. Deborah was a woman.

edit. First saw this on Tim Fall’s Twitter:

Rebuttal to Piper:

edit 2. 

I first saw this on DefendTheSheep’s Twitter – the guy who wrote it does not believe in women being preachers, but, he finds much of today’s John Piper flavor of gender complementarianism weird and inapplicable:

(Link):  An Accidental Feminist? by Carl Trueman


  • I am a firm believer in a male-only ordained ministry in the church but I find increasingly bizarre the broader cultural crusade which complementarianism has become.  It seems now to be more a kind of reaction against feminism than a balanced exposition of the Bible’s teaching on the relationships of men and women.

Yes. This is a point I have raised on other blogs when this topic comes up. Chrisitan Gender Complementarianism is not really about how men and women complement one another, nor is it really about supporting womanhood, but it’s a movement that is against feminism, abortion, homosexuality, and other topics. It is also, at is core, about male hierarchy, not how any differences between men and women enhance one another.

edit 3. I found this page a few moments ago and find it ironic, after just having seen Piper basically tell a woman she can only be a cop if she does her cop occupation with proper deferential behavior to men she comes into contact with:

(Link): Women Soliders on the Front Lines Defendiing Christians and Other Minorities by H. Mercura, August 2015


  • ERBIL, Iraq — Thousands of young female soldiers have taken up arms in recent months in the fight against Islamic State as the terror group attempts to expand across Syria and Iraq, killing and enslaving thousands of women and children in its path.
  • “Islamic State is planning to increase their territory as they did in Syria,” 24-year-old Nasreen Kobani told The Christian Post. ” …They are fighting to be holy and qualify for Jannah (Islamic paradise), despite committing countless crimes against humanity. After they kill civilians, they mutilate their corpses, burn their bodies and cut out their eyes.”
  • Many women from across the Arab world are standing up to defend their families, land and freedom. Today about 8,000 women from all over Syria, Iraq, Iran,Turkey and elsewhere have volunteered to join the YPJ, also known as the “Women’s Protection Unit,” which defends the Kurdish population of Syria and other innocent civilians, including Christians, from Islamic State.
  • “I believe in protecting our families and our cities from the extremists’ brutality and dark ideas,” one female soldier said. “They don’t accept having women in leadership positions. They want us to cover ourselves and become housewives to attend to their needs only. They think we have no right to talk and control our lives,” she added in this report.
  • The women fighters follow a tradition of Kurdish women warriors found in Northern Iraq, and some have operated and trained with the Kurdish Pashmerga forces since 1996, in opposition to Saddam Hussein’s regime.
  • They’ve had many victories since the war began, including their tactical response in helping Christians who are a minority group in Iraq and have been targeted by repeated waves of extremists’ attacks. Saint Matthews, one of the oldest monasteries on earth in the Nineveh Plains, survived — thanks to Kurdish fighters who were able to push back Islamic State fighters, as reported by CBS’ “60 Minutes.”“The jihadists don’t like fighting women, because if they’re killed by a female, they think they won’t go to heaven,” one female soldier said to “PBS NewsHour.”

The reader comments under the blog page (at McKnight’s blog) are also pretty good. Here are a few of those:

  • This is the problem for Piper and people like him: Nowhere in his response to this woman does he point to a clear biblical paradigm for his rubric. Scot, I thought your responses were on point and got to the inconsistencies in Piper’s thought.
  • What Piper offers is HIS assessment of “appropriate” roles for manhood and womanhood, something the Bible gives no space to itself.
  • My question: Why is it so important for Piper and Co. to protect a body of concepts around words and ideas that don’t occur in Scripture?

comment by Larry S

  • Am I reading Piper correctly? Isn’t he really saying that out there in the secular world a Christian woman at her place of work should never have a position where she supervises a male. She can’t be a boss and still be a good comp.
  • It seems to me this model becomes a barrier between the unbelieving professional woman and Jesus and the church.
  • In Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Piper even goes so far as to say a woman must be careful in how she gives driving directions to a man lost on his way who asks for directions.
  • “‘For example, a housewife in her backyard may be asked by a man how to
    get to the freeway. At that point she is giving a kind of leadership.
    She has superior knowledge that the man needs and he submits himself to
    her guidance. But we all know that there is a way for that housewife to
    direct the man that neither of them feels their mature femininity or
    masculinity compromised.” Pg 42

In advising him of the route, a woman must be careful not to offend his manhood by being direct and personal.

comment by Phil Miller

  • So if a complementarian man is pulled over by a female police officer he doesn’t need to respect her authority? Doing so would actually “controvert God’s created order”? That’s the issue with these views. It really doesn’t concern me how people live in their own marriages. It does concern me, though, that men are taught that it’s against God’s will for women to be in an position of authority. I’m not sure how anyone who has a daughter could support such a thing.
  • you might ask mark Driscoll, who has a bevy of daughters, along with a wife.
  • at the church I used to attend, the word “offend” was the operative one. female misogynists are frightening under any condition, but the pastor’s wife was something special. she’s a complimentarian on acid. she would answer you by saying that the man would have to obey, but he would also be entitled to be offended, and to view her and talk about her as disobedient to god. any man with a female boss was portrayed as suffering under the wicked manifestation of feminism.
  • the church was told that if a man pulls over to ask directions from a female pedestrian, the female should not simply obey Jesus’ instruction concerning the second greatest commandment, and treat him the way she would like to be treated. we were told that she should remember that “men” do not like to ask for directions, that “men” like to be right, and should therefore express her femininity in a god-pleasing way by seeming uncertain of the location asked for, even if she lives next door.
  • this church thinks it is glorifying god, but legalism like theirs and piper’s always ends up proclaiming some form of, “you have heard the word of god say X, but I tell you…” in this case, they manage to insult both men and women along with Jesus’ authority.
  • stereotypes and certain acts of the sinful nature are taught to be essential aspects of masculinity, and intelligence and leadership qualities in a woman are taught to be seen as something akin to a birth defect. they have a god-given responsibility to dumb them down or deny them in order to properly express their feminity and live lives pleasing to him.
  • Piper is viewed as a demi-god there, and his teaching underscores their madness.

comment by Baptist Wife

  • Other than being a maid, a nanny, or a cook, are there any jobs a woman can do that won’t “convert God’s created order”???
    I used to be a high school math teacher. I guess I was being a very bad girl, by Piper’s standards.

comment by T. Freeman

  • Where did the idea come from that it is male, not female, to provide for and protect? We have the following:
  • – the famous line about being worse than an unbeliever if one doesn’t provide for one’s family, at best, applies to men and women, but the passage in context is pointedly directed to women for the widows in their family
  • – Jesus himself was financially provided for by women.
  • – The famed Proverbs 31 woman (who is also married) clearly provides financially for her family.
  • Where in the scriptures is “providing,” contrary to these clear passages, suddenly the province of men?
  • There is more here, but that exploration alone should be sufficient to show that these “roles” are more culture than bible.

by Gee John

  • A bright side, for me as a right-winger if HRC [Hillary Clinton] is elected, will be the fits thrown by the patriarchal crowd trying to justify why her executive orders are from an office and not a woman.

    I think Piper missed the boat about the woman asking about a police officer career. Police administer enforcement of laws. It is a serving job. Voters, majority of whom are women, elect/hire the lawmakers. To raise the officers gender strikes me as an act of an anarchist.

By a complementarian:

(Link):  My Post on Complementarianism by Todd Pruitt


  • …All good churches, all good movements, and all sound doctrines eventually attract a few outliers now and then. Calvinism, the pro-life movement, and even the OPC all have their loony hangers-on. This is also the case with complementarianism.
  • Perhaps I am naïve. I have always assumed that complementarianism simply affirmed what the Bible states about male leadership in the church and headship at home. I was not aware of the fact that in order to be a proper complementarian one had to worry over the possibility of a woman giving driving directions to a man.
  • That said, I was relieved to discover that a woman can possibly be a city planner so long as no men are aware of it. In that case they would be able to stop at a Stop Sign with a clear conscience.
  • So, a few questions for my fellow complementarians:
  • 1. Is it a sin for a woman to run for public office?
  • 2. Is it a sin to support Carly Fiorina’s run for the Presidency? If a woman offering directions to a man is possibly problematic then how can it not be a sin to support a woman in public office?
  • 3. Are adult women who are unmarried obligated to live in their father’s home under his authority?
  • 4. Is it generally advisable for women to not pursue a college degree?
  • 5. Is it a sin for a woman to write a blog? (I include this question because we have heard from some complementarians who believe it is a sin for Aimee to write a blog on the chance that a man may read it. Not kidding).
  • …7. At what point is it no longer appropriate for a woman to be a teacher? In other words, is it a sin for a woman to teach 18-year-old males? What about 17-year-old? Is it a sin for a woman to be an instructor for male university students?
  • …if “mainstream” complementarianism looks like Douglas Wilson or Jim Bob Duggar or Bill Gothard then we have a problem.


Related Posts:

(Link):  Christian Gender Complementarians, Target Removing Gender Store Signs, Women and Motorcycles, Social Science Doesn’t Confirm that Men Are From Mars / Women From Venus

(Link):  Why are Working Women Starting to Unplug from Their Churches? by Sandra Crawford Williamson (Also discusses never married adult women)

Link): Southern Baptist’s New Sexist “Biblical Woman” Site – Attitudes in Total Face Palm of a Site One Reason Among Many This Unmarried and Childless Woman Is Saying Toodle-Oo to Christianity 

(Link): Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother

(Link):  The Masculinity Myth: The Real Reason Men Don’t Go to Church by the Evangelical Pulpit

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link): The “Feminization” of the Church by K R Wordgazer

9 thoughts on “John Piper Issues Lame Advice: Unmarried Christian Woman Asks John Piper if It’s Okay For Her to Be a Police Officer”

  1. I am commenting here as I don’t know how else to contact you directly.
    I’ve been locked out of my Twitter account for some BS reasons. So I may not be there for a few days.
    Just letting you know…

    1. @ yael58.

      I’m sorry to hear that.

      Something similar happened to me a few months ago – Twitter locked me out of my SoloLoner Twitter account for 2 or 3 days.

      They told me why (I don’t remember the reason) – but I had not done anything wrong. They let me back in after 2, 3 days.

      If for some reason you have to set up a new Twitter account, please let me know on this blog or at my Twitter, and I will sign up to follow you again.

      I did send you a Tweet today. There was a story about a rare pink dolphin being spotted somewhere.

      Anyway, you are welcome to hang out here on my blog if you like, and post here. I hope your Twitter account gets restored soon.

      I had to block two or three people today on Twitter, btw. The sort of people who want to argue non-stop. Some bickering I can handle, but these are people who live for debate, and every time I log in, there is a new reply from them.

  2. I’d love to see Piper, Grudem, or Driscoll pulled over for a traffic violation by a female cop. I can hear it now, “I don’t recognize your authority over me because I’m a man and you’re a woman and thus, subverting God’s intended order on how the sexes should relate” (although Driscoll could possibly say, “I have a dick and you have a pussy so f*ck, you, lady cop”). All of them would get their sorry asses hauled to jail and rightfully so.
    Piper’s bullshit? Gag me with a spoon, in the words of the 1980’s Valley Girl.. For that matter, all of complementarianism makes me want to gag when it isn’t making my already high blood pressure skyrocket.

    1. @yael58.
      Hey! Nice to see you again.

      Mark Driscoll does sound like a drunk Mel Gibson. (If you’ve ever read of Mel Gibson’s drunken sexist rants you know what I mean!)

      Complementarianism is nothing but sexism, pure and simple. And I’m sick of Christians who defend it.

      There’s a gender comp guy on another site I’ve tried talking to, but it’s an exercise in talking in circles.

      I have to ignore most of his posts, otherwise, I’d end up banging my head against the wall.

      I don’t really like debating gender comps anyhow. I was a gender comp myself from my youth until a few years ago, so I totally get how they think and why – and I realize how difficult it is to shake them out of this mindset that the Bible “clearly” teaches crap like male headship, women cannot be preachers, etc.

      This one gender comp guy at the other site I’ve talked to off and on is like Piper and Strachan.

      This guy just reads all sorts of things into the biblical text that isn’t there, but assumes his interpretation, which is embued with prior assumptions of sexism, is the correct, godly one, and he keeps blaming secular feminism for every thing.

      And that’s even though I’ve told the guy 100 million times I’m not a feminist.

      I also want to know from him how demonstrating flaws in secular feminism proves gender comp true – it does not. A case against your enemy is not proving the merits for your view.

      I also asked the guy how pertinent it is for a so-called sola scriptura-ist to keep pointing to the horrors of secular feminism for his side, when he should be making his case from the Bible alone? He has not answered that, so far as I can see.

      Also, he loves that part from Ephesians about ‘wives submit to your husband,’ even though I’ve sent him links explaining that that phrase is NOT in verse 22 but is repeated from verse 21 by English Bible versions (the word “submit” is not in v 22). It’s not there in the original Greek. He doesn’t address that, either.

      When I quoted Eph 5.21 at him, where the Bible says all people are submit to everyone else in the body of Christ, he just says, “No, that’s not what it means! Eph 5.21 is saying only wives submit to their man.”
      -The freaking text does NOT say that at Eph 5.21 at all, he just tells me that is what it means in his opinion, and I should go along with his view.

      If you look at Piper’s page about women being cops, he just makes up a bunch of stuff that is not even in the Bible at all.

      Piper even prefaces a comment or two by saying something like, “This is not in the Bible, but in my opinion, the Bible would be okay with saying women should never blah blah blah.”
      -There you have it. He admits he is only issuing his own opinion but he expects Christians to take his personal, preferred assumptions about women to be God-given doctrine.

      That is one other thing that infuriates me about gender comp. They do so much eisegesis, and they are hurting women in the process. A lot of crap they promote and teach is not even in the Bible!!

      They just bring their assumptions into the text and ASSUME that the Bible is saying ‘X’ about women, because they read stuff into the text that is not there. They are keeping women imprisoned with this trash and try to say it’s God’s will or it’s biblical.

      Christian gender comps are a very watered-down version of ISIS, that group of Muslims overseas who are selling little girls into sex slavery and so on and raping women etc. The ISIS guys are just taking gender comp views to their logical outworking.

      There are already shades of examples of that here in America, where gender comp churches do things like excuse and paper over male church members who rape or fondle girls or women. The women / girls get blamed for the rapes, and the men get off scot free.

      Gender comp churches also expect women in abusive marriage to never divorce their abusive husband. They refuse to give these women money or shelter, to get them away from the abuser. They tell them to go back to the abuser and just submit more to him.

      Christian gender comp really is ISIS watered down. It really is. Same mindsets about women, same assumptions, same “blame the women” attitudes, the sexualization of women, valuing women only for being wives and mothers, etc.

      Another thing that is annoying: Christian gender comp takes secular cultural American assumptions about men and women and says the Bible supports it. Gender comps take American cultural stereotypes about women and reads them back into the biblical text. They have deified American cultural norms, at least the ones from the 1950s.

      And the cherry on top is gender comps have the nerve to accuse folks like you and me who disagree with them with reading secular feminist views on to the biblical text.

      Which I’ve never done myself, because since my youth, I have been right wing, Republican, held traditional values. I’ve never agreed with most secular feminism. So I most certainly did not crack open my Bible and read it through secular feminist eyes.

        1. No problemo.
          Hey, I linked to one of your other posts on another post of mine the other day, the one about the CBMW lunacy over Target removing gendered signs from the toy department.

    1. Oh hey, yeah, I just edited the post a moment ago to add this, giving you credit for the info (I saw the link on your Twitter moments ago).

      I cannot believe how nuts the comps can be.

      Also, gender complementarians go on and on about how egalitarians or mutualists are “unbiblical” in their views and supposedly influenced by secular culture or feminism, but someone like Piper pulls these odd ball opinions out of his rear end and cites them almost as if they are on par with Scripture.

      The comps are pretty much allowing THEIR cultural assumptions about gender and their prejudices against women to filter how they’re reading and interpreting the Bible but then accusing their opponents of doing so!

      The Bible just does not define stuff like this for gender, but Piper feels okay dictating this stuff in spite of that.

      I am also concerned that a (I assume) grown woman is writing to someone else for advice on this subject. She should be making up her own mind about it!

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