A Masculine God

Feb 12 2012 @ 7:55am

Jesus2

How Evangelical pastor John Piper recently described Christianity:

God revealed Himself in the Bible pervasively as king not queen; father not mother. The second person of the Trinity is revealed as the eternal Son not daughter; the Father and the Son create man and woman in His image and give them the name man, the name of the male… God appoints all the priests in the Old Testament to be men; the Son of God came into the world to be a man; He chose 12 men to be His apostles; the apostles appointed that the overseers of the Church be men; and when it came to marriage they taught that the husband should be the head. Now, from all of that I conclude that God has given Christianity a masculine feel…

Rachel Held Evans rounded up the many voices in disagreement. Paul Anthony's counterpoint:

The men didn’t get it. They betrayed, abandoned and hung him on a cross. Yet while he was there, who stayed with him? The women. They got it. They stayed at the cross. They returned to the tomb, and as a result, were the first to see the risen Christ. The crucifixion and resurrection stories do not have a “masculine feel.” Indeed, the whole life of Christ is decidedly opposed to the masculine norms of his day.

Along similar lines J. R. Daniel Kirk dismantles Piper's claim by extensively citing scripture. Matt Ritchie takes a step back:

What are you are saying to women when you say God is a man? You are telling them that they are not, truly imagio dei. You are telling them they are a tacked on afterthought, a dim, imperfect thing that is destined to always fall short of the full light of God’s glory. You are telling them they are not fully human, because they do not fully reflect who God is. This sort of talk isn’t just problematic. It sends an irresponsible message to our daughters, spouses, mothers, grandmothers and friends. It tells them they aren’t really – and can never truly be – literally – as godly as us men.

Fred Clark connects Piper's comments to the birth control debate. Jonathan D. Fitzgerald sees a historical lesson:

I believe the Bible contains the highest truths about God and his plan for the world, and I love that God chose to communicate those truths to us in the form of stories, situated in time and messy with the stuff of humanity. That we can recognize the heart of the message—the meaning imbued in these stories—is a testament not only to God's power, but to the awesome power of story as well. But to act as if we are supposed to extract meaning not from the message, but from the details as Piper and others do, sells that power short.