Today Rachel Held Evans tweeted that despite her disagreements with him, she would be happy to come to the Lord’s Table with John Piper any time. No matter what, he’s a brother.
A brother who creates a big-time abusive environment for blaming the victim, but still a brother, right?
Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. I read a book years ago on the writer’s craft by James Kilpatrick (sorry, forgot the title) and some of the best advice I have ever received was this. If you start purple, finish purple.
There are three ways to relate to fellow Christians when it comes to the Lord’s Table. One is when a professing brother is living in a way that denies the gospel, and this is something that can be amply demonstrated in a competent jurisdiction. When this happens, it is an occasion for church discipline.
In the second category we find a person who is living in a way that discredits the gospel, but for some reason it cannot be appropriately proven. In such a case, I would be happy to come to the Lord’s Table with such a person, but only because I would be praying for the Spirit to be using the Supper to deal with him, as a means of bringing him to repentance.
There are different kinds of examples of this, but one would be if the other person were in a different ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and they had made a decision I differed with. Provided that wrong decision were not itself grounds for breaking fellowship with that other communion (sanctifying sodomy, for example), I would honor the decision and would be willing to break bread with such a person. The Spirit is still sovereign, and can still work in and through our failures, which turns out to be a good thing.
And last, I come to the Table with my brothers and sisters in sweet fellowship. I can do this despite differences over baptism, church government, eschatology, etc., but the fellowship itself is entirely positive.
But what I can’t do is talk about them as though they are in the second category, and then flip the sweet fellowship switch when Sunday comes. If I start purple, I need to finish purple. Rachel Held Evans, in this most recent tweet, was trying to act as though creating abusive and toxic environments for hurting victims was just one of those things that Christians disagree about — you know, like pre-trib, mid- trib, post-trib.
If John Piper’s theology makes people go out and kick puppies on Monday, then say so, and hope that the bread and wine next Sunday will make him reflect on the terrible damage he is doing. But the prayer for repentance must be constant clear through. And if his theology is not something that makes all good Calvinists name their puppies Servetus, then it is necessary to stop acting like it does — it is time to reflect on the terrible things you have been saying about them.
Flip this around. If Rachel Held Evans were driving through Moscow one Sunday morning, and out of curiosity decided to come worship with us, she would absolutely be welcome to the Table. Every week, at the close of my exhortation for the Supper, I say, “Come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.” Why wouldn’t that include her?
But I say this, knowing that she has some significant things to put right, among them this most recent attack on Piper. And I would pray that she would do so. But there is an important thing to remember about breaking bread. It does help us to repent, but it provides no help at all in walking things back.
Are you still on this subject? Good grief. RHE has posted an apology for being a bit hasty for what she said about Piper, she extends some gracious words to him on twitter and yet you still think she’s in the wrong? She didn’t actually say anything about Piper that wasn’t true. And the fact that you continue to put your fingers in your ears about it all (namely his connect to SGM) is very telling. And lastly, once again, what about yourself, Doug Wilson? Despite all the mountains of evidence against you that you’re a huge bigot, you continue… Read more »
Apparently it must be bad to demonize people . . .
Sara, I am sorry for whatever has created this bitterness in you. But I’m not sure pouring out your vitriol like this helps. Neither, Doug, RHE, Piper or your own heart or any readers are edified by these slanders without substance. Why did RHE apologise if what she said was true, you can’t have it both ways. Why is it OK for RHE to comment on a public statement by Piper but not Wilson to comment on RHE? What is telling is your double standard. Is it driven by animosity? Where does it come from? An internet full of accusation… Read more »
Michael, I’m not being hasty. Doug Wilson has said and done some nasty and downright hateful things throughout his career and I would really like it if he would address anything I bring up without a snarky reply. If he has, in fact, apologized for anything can he (or you) point me in that direction. All I see from him and others like him is a bunch of gross misogyny and racism and a view of God that is often in complete opposition to what Jesus Christ taught. I’m just calling it as I see it.
RHE did not apologize; that sort of shrift is not how the Bible instructs us to seek forgiveness from God or each other. But if you don’t believe me, try this one on….I’m sorry if my post made you feel upset.
And of course my comments aren’t being moderated now. Figures. And it only reinforces my opinion of you, Doug Wilson. An honest person with nothing to hide and nothing to apologize for does not have to censor people’s opinions and view points. You have said things that have actively contributed to a society that devalues women and black people . You can’t hide from the things you’ve said. You can’t pretend that you didn’t extolled the virtues of the Old South social order and threw your African American brothers and sisters under the bus in the process. You did that.… Read more »
Funny you should mention kicking puppies. It was that particular clause in their belief statement that drew us to Piper’s church in the first place.
Sara, I didn’t approve a couple of your comments because of the name-calling. Your dissenting opinions may be freely expressed, but you need a leash for that dog that is a tad shorter.
I only call people names when I think they deserve it. I’m mostly a level-headed person, but sometimes you just gotta call a spade a spade, Mr. Wilson. I don’t simply disagree with you. I think you’ve done a lot of harm in the name of Christ, much more so than RHE. And if you’d be willing to point me to anywhere where you have clarified or position on slavery or your views on women, I’d be more than happy to apologize for “slandering” you as someone said above. But since all you’ve been able to provide me with so… Read more »
Sara, Rachel Evans didn’t apologize –or at least she didn’t do so sincerely (and, please, everyone keep in mind that this is a woman who has written of her own and her mother’s skills in manipulation). An apology is more than kind words. A genuine apology results in action. In this case, the very least Mrs. Evans needs to do is to edit her original post on this where she demotes Our Holy God to a minor deity, “god”, when she is responding to Piper’s theology. Kamilla P.S. Doug, am I the only one who is really bothered by Mrs.… Read more »
As it stands RHE has always been known for being quite controversial. She accused Piper for things she does daily in her own blog. So could the post have been requited? Perhaps. Could she have gone about addressing it in a much less accusatory manner? Perhaps. Could Piper have been more tactful with his tweet? Perhaps, though I read it letter by letter-character by character multiple times (all 140 of them!); A few of those times I read it backwards to cypher all the hidden messages out of it… then translated it in spanish and quoted it with a russian… Read more »
Sara, you must have the utmost contempt for the intellectual abilities and spiritual discernment of the hundreds of women who are members of the church Doug pastors. You’d probably disguise it with pity, but really you must think we’re all dumber than a crate of Idaho spuds. Are you envisioning downtrodden wives? OK, let’s narrow it down to the couple of dozen or so unmarried women–those of us who are here entirely of our own free will. What must you think of us? Well, I’ll tell you what we think of us: We think we’re pretty blessed to be a… Read more »
Sara, you speak of the God whom Jesus preached. Is this the same God of whom it is written in the Revelation of St. John, “And who shall hid us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb?” In other words, is God, as you understand Him, one who will judge all people, men and women, young and old, black and white, Jew or Gentile, without playing favorites, and who will, as the Athanasian Creed puts it, send “they that have done good…into life everlasting and they that have done evil… Read more »
That’s right, Sara. We womyn alone can see through Rev Wilson as a shockingly insensitive hurter of the feelings of puppies which Rev Piper has kicked. One only has to look at the way he treats the womyn in his family to see what he thinks of them. He pretends he lets his wife write books for womyn, but we really know he’d never trust her to express her own mind. They’re actually authored by a secret society of rednecks from Alabama. He talks about founding a classical school so his daughters could get a rigorous education in dead languages,… Read more »
Sara wrote: “(Of course we all know you wouldn’t be caught dead in the kitchen in the first place. After all, that’s where WOMEN belong, right Dougie?)”
Less than a month ago, Doug posted this: http://dougwilson.wpengine.com/books-in-the-making/it-shouldnt-rinse-off.html
I believe “lurk moar” is the expression the kids use these days.
Not surprised that everyone is singling my comment and saying that I’m wrong about my assessment of Doug. I expected that. After all, this is his blog and you are his readers. But I am far from the only one who has these opinions of him. Everyone outside of the neo-reformed bubble seems to be in agreement that his views are archaic and harmful. If you wish to attend his church, then so be it. If you’re happy there, then so be it. But what I would like to say, especially to Valerie, is that calling me “shrill and emotionally-driven”… Read more »
“Helping is not effeminate. If a man’s masculinity washes off in dishwater, then it was a pretty superficial masculinity” (For a Glory and a Covering, p. 73). Also, this? Sounds exactly like something an egalitarian or even a feminist would say. So what is even the purpose of enforcing gender roles on men and women and calling yourself complimentarian if you’re not going to enforce it? What’s next are you going to tell me that y’all don’t actually have a problem with married women wanting to work and be breaderwinner in the familiy? Get real. How is the man supposed… Read more »
Sara, May I suggest a reading of “Black and Tan”? I was compelled to have it zapped to my kindle one evening about a month or two ago and found it to be quite different than what I expected, given all the hooplah. You’ll need to lay down your offense and read it with the level headedness you say you normally possess or understanding will bounce off your skull, but if you can calm down, you might find that reading a few books answers your demands for an explaination on a lot of things. If you don’t spend some time… Read more »
Sara, tilting at windmills isn’t going to get you very far. It makes you look out of your depth, like me ranting about a composition of classical music. Imagine, just for a moment, that you have been misled or have misunderstood the Biblical gender roles and how certain people have come to understand them.
“P.S. Doug, am I the only one who is really bothered by Mrs. Evans’s disrespect for God in this?”
No, you aren’t the only one who noticed that.
It was very startling that someone who claims to be a Christian would show such naked disrespect for God by giving Him the “middle finger of grammar.”
Sara, your comments here are most helpful for the discussion, providing an excellent context for understanding Pastor Wilson’s arguments. ;)
“Hey, guess what? I’m human. And humans have emotions (men do too, gasp!) And I really do get emotional when I feel like church-leaders are saying and doing harmful things.” @Sara: No one is arguing that humans do not have emotions or that it is wrong to be outraged when church leaders (or other prominent people) say and do harmful things. For example, several of us here are outraged at Held-Evan’s blatant disrespect for the God she claims to love (I was going to type “serve” instead of “love”, but I don’t think that she would admit to serving anyone),… Read more »
Sara, defined role relationships (say with regard to the kitchen) are what make gifts possible.
And Kamilla and Arwen, I hope to have a new post up shortly explaining how I believe the Table should be fenced.
For the record, my understanding of Biblical gender roles comes from things that complementarian leaders themselves have said. Mark Driscoll, John Piper and even Doug Wilson. It is not my fault that these men aren’t doing a very good job of representing themselves to the outside world. That is entirely their own fault for any misconceptions. They need to be better communicators to the world if they want to be seen as anything more than out-of-touch misogynists. Which is really all we see them as right now.
Sara, I think that there are some beneficial things that come out of this type of conversation (obviously a nefarious plot of the site owner) but it does require some internal processing to improve the signal to noise ratio. The one constant that I hear seems to be “I don’t like you, any conveyance you happen to arrive upon, any reasoning offered, and after drawing and quartering, I insist upon burning and scattering your ashes,…” Your tone is very emotional, and I think that everyone “gets” that you have some personal emotion invested in the issue. Nonetheless, control of emotions… Read more »
Methinks it’s time to leave a fool to her folly.
Just for the record, at least two of us posting here aren’t “neo-Reformed”. “M” has identified as not-a-Calvinist. And I am not Reformed, neo or otherwise.
Sara, you said, “Get real. How is the man supposed to be the “leader” if his wife isn’t at home cooking and scrubbing the floor?” This indicates that you’re just interacting with a straw man of complementarianism and not the real deal. Doug has always said, in all his family books, that the swaggering, macho type of man who refuses to change diapers and help his wife is not exercising proper headship. Have you actually read any of his books, or are you just interacting with a bogey? Keep in mind that Doug’s daughter Rebekah started and ran her own… Read more »
I’m wondering if Doug is being serious in saying he would allow RHE to partake of communion in his church. Should communion be open to false teachers?
I don’t think Mrs. Evans was disrespecting God, I think she was trying to suggest that God as John Piper characterizes Him isn’t the real One, and could not possibly be the real One, hence only a “god.” I don’t think that’s inherently a disrespectful rhetorical turn, only this case, it was both a deeply false position and a scurrilous disrespect for Mr. Piper. (How one could do that and still claim to be utterly willing to commune with the man is where it REALLY falls apart.) It does get tiresome to see this sort of thing from those who… Read more »
Rick, I don’t think that gets Doug off the hook for some of the harmful things that he has said about women. If he genuinely does think that men are not lesser men for helping their wives out around the house that’s great. But that’s not a strictly complementarian position. Feminists and egalitarians think the same thing. They just don’t think that the husband automatically gets to be the “head.” What exactly defines headship then, if not a man getting to keep his wife subservient to him in the kitchen? If you really think men and women should work together… Read more »
“What exactly defines headship then, if not a man getting to keep his wife subservient to him in the kitchen? ” You might try reading one of Doug’s books on marriage for those answers. There are more things in heaven and earth than are contained in your philosophy, apparently. “And I would argue that they are more mainstream and popular and thus represent the movement to the world much moreso than Doug Wilson.” If this were true, what would it have to do with what Doug Wilson is guilty of with respect to how he treats women or what he… Read more »
I’d be inclined to concede your point but for two things. Mrs. Evans wants to have her cake …. She has also insisted that Piper is her brother and always will be. Second, that she is capable of the casually cheerful blasphemy.
If Piper is truly a brother she would welcome the chance to break the bread of communion with, how can he also be teaching us about “god” and not God?
Sara, What defines headship is responsibility. Take the Fall for example. Mankind fell because of Adam, not because of Eve. Even though Eve sinned first, she was not responsible for the all. “…in Adam, all died…” In the same way, the headship of the husband in marriage means that the man bears responsibility for his wife and family. Which is why in our church, and I guess most other CREC churches, if the wife or child of a deacon or elder leaves the faith or is in grievous sin, that man is no longer qualified to hold his office. He… Read more »
If you’re looking for places that define complementarian headship, the Danvers Statement is an excellent place to start. I am a complementarian who shares your concerns about some of these issues (although I think it’s unwarranted to assume Pastor Wilson of agreeing with everything Driscoll/Strachan/et cetera have said, as some of the things that are actually in his books differ quite a bit from some of those attitudes.) If you’re interested in seeing more of Pastor Wilson’s thoughts regarding slavery (dialoging with an African American theologian, no less–who could have expected such a thing!) you may want to look at… Read more »
Sara, in the spirit of reasonableness can you point some things out that you are finding in Scripture that supports your view that Wilson, Piper, Driscoll, etc are wrong in their views? What is your stance on the Bible anyway? I understand that these men are faces of public ministries (read: easy targets) so it’s only a given that they are held to higher standards of accountability for their beliefs. I’m seeing a lot from you on your view that these men are misogynistic and hypocritical …. but according to what? You’re not giving clarity to the standard from which… Read more »
“What exactly defines headship then, if not a man getting to keep his wife subservient to him in the kitchen?”
Is this a real question? I’ll hazard an answer anyways.
What exactly defines headship? For that, we look to Christ, who is the head of the church. What did he do? He sacrificed himself for us, carried our penalty, and loved us when we were unlovely. That’s what proper headship means. It is servanthood. I think your notions of complementarianism are quite warped.
Someone said somewhere…
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Sara, If you’ll read carefully, I did not call you shrill and emotion-driven, I called your response shrill and emotion-driven. Of course we all have emotions. And good gifts from a loving God they are, but we need to know how to handle them in a way that honors Him. The problem comes when we hand them the keys to the car. They’re about as responsible and careful as a drunk sixteen-year-old behind the wheel. Has Pastor Wilson ever said anything to which I’ve had a negative emotional response? Sure. My initial reaction to the slavery stuff was not warm… Read more »
I am about to bow out of this discussion, but I just want to say to EVERYONE that my ideas of complementarianism and headship and submission have come from the mouths of complemnentarians themselves. The leaders of the movement in particular. I am not warping anything, I am not creating straw men. I am listening, with intent to what people like Driscoll, Piper, Wilson are saying and it sounds a lot like good old fashioned misogyny, with women always taking a backseat to their male “leaders.” If you want someone to blame, blame the aforementioned men for being careless with… Read more »
Also, it is kind of hard to have any kind of spirited debate or discussion in this comment section, since it takes SO LONG for comments to be moderate and then when you finally get around to replying to somebody, ten more posts have shown up. It’s exhausting, sheesh.
Kamilla, I see your point and I’m close to agreeing. I think we just differ slightly in *how* she’s egregiously wrong and disrespectful. You think she’s blaspheming directly, I think she’s blaspheming by verbally showing hatred toward the image of God in the name of righteousness. There’s just not a lot of practical difference there, I don’t think. ;-)
Sara, The responsibility for effective and accurate communication lies as much with the listener as with the speaker. If you cannot describe the views of your opponents in words they find accurate, the problem may not be on their side. One of the really amazing things about the recent discussion between Pastor Wilson and Pastor Anyabwile was that they were both very careful to make sure they could recap each other’s views step by step throughout the conversation. I’d recommend you look up and read that series of posts and learn from their example. Or at least learn from Pastor… Read more »
Dear Mrs. Dunsworth,
I must vehemently disagree…
…with your avatar. Your thoughts are not empty.
If you want me to disavow misogynist comments by complementarians, I’ll do so when I find them (although I generally find protracted Internet commentfights to be distasteful.) I certainly don’t plan on “keeping my wife in the kitchen” when I marry (with my career prospects I actually hope she does something incredible, as i’ll probably be teaching community college somewhere.) Beyond that, though, there’s not a whole lot I can do besides say “I vigorously disagree with ‘x’ by ‘Y'” in cases where that’s true. Not being a member of their church (nor, really, caring that much what Piper, Driscoll… Read more »
A good number of people disagree with Mark Driscoll quite strongly on his theology of men, women and marriage.
See the Hoirnal of Biblical Mamhood and Womanhood which published a scathing review of his marriage book. I believe Heath Lambert was the reviewer. See also Wendy Alsup’s review with her husband at Theology for Women.
Sara said “call a spade a spade.’ Awesome. She must be a racist. [insert innumerable paragraphs of ceaseless indignation here]
Martha Stewart seems to have built quite an empire in the kitchen; and she doesn’t even have a husband. Where would PBS be without the kitchen? Sara must be very skinny since she obviously has a great fear of kitchens.
Dear Pastor Wilson,
If you’re going to moderate moments, could you correct my typos? (Grins)
And while I’m at it, could you please install a “like” button like Rachel Held Evans has on her blog? It would be nice to have a quick way to agree with Miss Kyriosity on the contents of Mrs. Dunsworth’s thoughts.
Miss Kamilla Ludwig
Kamilla, I’ll throw that on the list.