Poor logic and the damaging effects of John Piper’s teachings on women

May 1, 2013

“Hey, John Piper, Is My Femininity Showing?”
Rachel Pietka, a guest writer for “Her.meneutics,” Christianity Today’s blog for women, points out the holes and far-fetched reasoning in conservative pastor and author John Piper’s interpretation and application of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 ( “Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent.” [NRSV]). When asked if a man can learn from reading what a woman has written in a Bible commentary (in contrast to hearing a woman preach or otherwise teach from the Bible), Piper replied that this would be permissible because reading a woman’s words does not involve looking at the woman herself as she speaks the words (such as would be the case in seeing a female pastor in the pulpit). Pietka writes:

“Women today, particularly Christians whose communities are influenced by men like Piper, may find their voices stifled when their influence and participation in so many spheres is limited to activities dubbed indirect and impersonal. Additionally, to view the opposite sex solely in these gendered, bodily terms tends to make women ashamed of their bodies, while men fail to see women fully, as human beings with bodies as well as souls and minds.”

Besides Pietka, others who have weighed in on this criticism of Piper’s teaching about women as teachers and leaders are Rachel Held Evans in her blog for April 5, 2013, and David Hayward with his cartoon for April 27, 2013.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


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