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:
- (Link): John Piper’s Advice For Women in the Workforce (though the author seems to be complementarian herself)
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:
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.