John Piper on Women in Combat

Check out John Piper’s article from World Magazine on women in combat. Here’s a snippet:

“If I were the last man on the planet to think so, I would want the honor of saying no woman should go before me into combat to defend my country. A man who endorses women in combat is not pro-woman; he’s a wimp. He should be ashamed. For most of history, in most cultures, he would have been utterly scorned as a coward to promote such an idea. Part of the meaning of manhood as God created us is the sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of our women.”

Read the rest here.

40 Responses to John Piper on Women in Combat

  1. jeremy z November 2, 2007 at 10:31 am #

    I would love to see Piper in a combat uniform.
    I know a few military women who could do a real number on Piper. Maybe that is what Piper needs…..a good old punch in the face from a military women. (that is a joke by the way……)

    I love how Denny elevates Piper. Notice how slanted his blog is? Everything he posts is in alignment and comfort with his theology and ideology.

  2. Yvette November 2, 2007 at 11:35 am #

    Jeremy,

    Your statement made me curious. I called Desiring God, and Piper has never served in the military.

  3. Ken November 2, 2007 at 11:53 am #

    “Elevates” or “honors and respects,” jeremy? I’ve sat under John Piper’s preaching on several occasions and am currently working my way through his book “What Jesus Demands of the World.” Convicting stuff. Dr. Piper, as a dedicated servant of God and a faithful proclaimer of God’s word, is worth listening to. He may not always be right but in my experience he’s far more often right than a lot of other people who have the public’s ear.

  4. mlm November 2, 2007 at 12:41 pm #

    Ken,

    The problem I have with Piper (the main one) is his vitrolic message against other Christians, namely preachers who preach a message Piper doesn’t embrace. Piper goes so far as to use words such as, “I HATE…” when talking about these people and their message. He goes as far as condemning the preachers and their followers to hell.

    Personally, I disagree with a lot of Piper’s theology. In fact, much of it saddens me with great sorrow. But never have I dared (nor will I ever dare) to condemn Piper and his followers to hell. I won’t even go so far as to say I “hate” his message…even the ones I adamantly disagree with.

    Just because I strongly disagree with Piper on many issues, doesn’t give me the right to determine (and then try to convince others) that Piper is not a Christian at all but rather a man on his way to hell. So what gives Piper that right when it comes to those with whom he disagrees????

  5. Ryan DeBarr November 2, 2007 at 12:42 pm #

    I love how Denny elevates Piper. Notice how slanted his blog is? Everything he posts is in alignment and comfort with his theology and ideology.

    I’d bet good money (if I had good money) that everything you say is in alignment with your theology and ideology.

    Profound.

  6. Russ November 2, 2007 at 1:21 pm #

    Piper wrote…

    Suppose, I said, a couple of you students, Jason and Sarah, were walking to McDonald’s after dark. And suppose a man with a knife jumped out of the bushes and threatened you. And suppose Jason knows that Sarah has a black belt in karate and could probably disarm the assailant better than he could. Should he step back and tell her to do it? No. He should step in front of her and be ready to lay down his life to protect her, irrespective of competency. It is written on his soul. That is what manhood does.

    He obviously never watched Alias, or Chuck. 😉

    Seriously though… while I don’t agree we this example, I still applaud Piper for standing up for a principle that I think is generally in line with the Scripture and our understanding of God and how he made us. I can only fault him (Piper) for perhaps being a bit of an extremist. Surely merit is worth something. And certainly there are ‘norms’ and then there is reality. Can we not recognize the ‘norm’ might be a woman in certain societal roles, including but not limited to motherhood and such, while still recognizing that there are some women God might have called to be ‘lean mean fighting machines?’

  7. jeremy z November 2, 2007 at 1:34 pm #

    Ryan thank you for your profound statement. You got me there. I am speechless. Talk about a checkmate.

    Ryan here is the deal. I present my opinion on the scriptures. However, not only have I struggled through the other perspective, but I will present the other perspective and why it is valid. It is my goal in every case that I see it through their lens, and not my lens. It is called having an open mind and open to another perspective. I will admit I do not have it all figured out. God is way too big for my little mind to comprehend his nature. I strongly believe their needs to be some mystery to God, then using a Calvinistic formula to formulate how God is working. Bottom line: I am not sensing an open mind environment here on dennyburk.com. This is why I love this blog sooo much.

    Yvette,
    I was just kidding. I was being sarcastic when I said Piper was in the military. He is talking like he is in the military.

    mlm

    I wish I had the composure you did!! I try sooo hard not to make personal attack, but attacks on the theology. Oh God please help me!

  8. Ryan DeBarr November 2, 2007 at 1:42 pm #

    I struggled through the other perspective, but I will present the other perspective and why it is valid.

    Generally, when I write a formal paper, I present the other perspectives and then explain why they aren’t valid. But in my general speach, and on the Internet, I assume that people realize there are other opinions out there and just give my own.

  9. jeremy z November 2, 2007 at 1:42 pm #

    The problem again with Piper’s example is that he is using rhetoric to appeal to the man who is in shape. The man who likes to fight.

    My question to Dr. Rev. Saint Piper is what about the fat kid who likes chocolate cake? The poor fat man cannot even move three steps without taking a break. Is this fat man being disobedient to the clear scriptures? Is this fat man out of God’s will because he cannot live up to the manhood standard?

    ya feel me?

    Piper is preaching a masculinity that does not encompass all men. Yes some men, but not all. Jesus came for everyone. My point: Piper is not only operating of gender stereotypes but also alienating a certain male population that does not fit his so called biblical interpretation of manhood.

    ps I can bench press 225lb. and dumbbell curl 50lbs. I have only used steriods once….okay twice, but I was trying to fit the masculine role Piper was communicating.

  10. rf2r2 November 2, 2007 at 2:03 pm #

    The poor fat man cannot even move three steps without taking a break. Is this fat man being disobedient to the clear scriptures? Is this fat man out of God’s will because he cannot live up to the manhood standard?

    No, he’s out of god’s will because he is a glutton. And he should be ashamed because he can’t perform like a man. Also, even if he were predispoed to largeness, I’ve seen plenty of big boys who were fit enough to defend themselves and others.

    Piper is preaching a masculinity that does not encompass all men.

    Maybe all men aren’t manly… and they should be.

  11. Ken November 2, 2007 at 2:03 pm #

    mlm: I’ve just been over to the “Desiring God” site and Googled the word “hate.” I came up with multiple hits, every single one of them using “hate” in a biblical sense–either as part of a quote from the Scriptures, or in exhortation to hate evil, sin, etc. No instances of hate directed against individuals–in fact, several encouragements not to hate, as in his post-9/11 messages. If you have other examples that illustrate your concern, please share them. In the several times I’ve heard Dr. Piper speak live I can’t recall him ever using such language.

    I can imagine him condemning false teachers, but so do the biblical authors.

    I’m sorry you believe yourself at odds with the theology Dr. Piper espouses. I find myself completely sympathetic to his expressed views whenever I’ve read or heard them. Of course, this is because I believe him to be one of the most faithful expositors of Scriptural truth in America today. He says a lot of things hard to hear, but not out of a desire to be hateful or hurtful–rather, it is the application of the surgical steel of Scripture against the cancer of sin.

  12. Ken November 2, 2007 at 2:06 pm #

    jz: The value of having an open mind is that it closes upon the truth. A mind that remains open all the time is liable to the same fate of a mouth that remains open all the time–sooner or later the flies will fly in.

  13. jeremy z November 2, 2007 at 2:14 pm #

    An open mind is the beginning of self-discovery and growth. We can’t learn anything new until we can admit that we don’t already know everything.

    Yea the fly might fly in your mouth, but you learn how that flies tastes in your mouth. Being open leads to learning. Being closed minded leads to quick conclusions.

  14. Ken November 2, 2007 at 2:21 pm #

    jz: I don’t think you quite got the analogy, but so be it.

  15. Lucas Knisely November 2, 2007 at 2:37 pm #

    Ken,

    Do you mean to tell me that someone made an slanderous and unfounded claim about someone they disagree with?

    And I certainly am glad that people come here to tell Denny how “close minded” he is, based solely on the entries that he decides to put on his blog.

    I mean, really? Denny, you post about people and topics that interest you? And they typically either line up with or expose your theological beliefs?

    HUZZAH!

  16. Ben Stevenson November 2, 2007 at 2:49 pm #

    I tried to post a comment, but it didn’t show up. I don’t know if it is because it had a link in or not.

    MLM,
    You said: “Piper goes so far as to use words such as, “I HATE…” when talking about these people and their message.”

    You may be interested in an article on Desiring God website.

    John Piper admits he makes mistakes. In writing about things he has said about Greg Boyd and open theism, he says:

    “My second point is that I am regretful. I regret the sins of my heart and the sins of my mouth mainly….

    …But this would be a good occasion, I think, to make at least one public confession of public sin….

    … So I want to publicly apologize for the sins of my tongue and the impure heart behind it. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” Jesus said (Matthew 12:34 RSV). I regret moving from what I hope is a proper disapproval of theology across the line into expressed scorn for the person on those occasions….”

    It is not wrong to hate false teaching. We are to hate what is evil (Romans 12:9). Jesus called false teachers “ferocious wolves (Matthew 7:15), and “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27)

    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.” — Matthew 23:13,15

    It would be wrong to be indifferent to false teaching that shuts the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces.
    However, obviously not all errors are equally serious.

    And as John Piper says in the article I quoted from
    “I regret moving from what I hope is a proper disapproval of theology across the line into expressed scorn for the person on those occasions.”
    There are times when we all get these judgements wrong.

  17. Ken November 2, 2007 at 2:57 pm #

    Ben: Thanks for going to the trouble of finding that. The confrontation between Boyd and Piper over open theism was acrimonious. I’ll admit that my antipathy toward’s Boyd’s teaching on this subject has colored my reading of his other materials (I had been somewhat of a fan of his “Letters From a Skeptic,” although made uneasy by his early hedging regarding the sovereignty of God evident therein). But I have his recent book on Christians and politics and look forward to reading what he has to say.

  18. jeremy z November 2, 2007 at 3:23 pm #

    Ken,

    I am a huge Boyd fan!! Now that is a man who is demonstrate love. I have read all of his books and have sat down with this man for coffee.

  19. Bryan L November 2, 2007 at 4:36 pm #

    I agree with Jeremy, Boyd is awesome! He’s been extremely helpful to me and even though he is freaking busy as heck he still seems to be able to make time for people on a personal level. He’s awesome.

    That being said I think it was big of Piper to admit his error in how he approached their debate and disagreement. He didn’t have to (and nobody would have called him out on it) but he did. I admire that.

  20. jb November 2, 2007 at 10:00 pm #

    Piper obviously missed the meme stating evangelical uptopia would occur when all points of view are accepted as equal.

    Sola Scriptura – when it agrees with my position.

  21. Yvette November 2, 2007 at 10:10 pm #

    Ken, the politics book rocks. I found it to be quite eye opening. I hope you enjoy it.

    Ben, do you have that link to the Piper quotes. Thanks for posting that.

    Yvette

  22. Yvette November 3, 2007 at 12:16 am #

    Ben, never mind. I think I found it. Thanks.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/2000/20_Twenty_Years_Then_Romans/

  23. Suzanne November 3, 2007 at 12:44 am #

    Piper’s comments on this topic is one more example in the never ending parade of how to demonstrate in public that you have not read the entire Bible.

    “Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, by their fathers’ houses, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel.” Numbers 26:2

    “And the name of the daughter of Asher was Serah.” Numbers 26:46

    Just one more matter of fact statement in the Bible, a women able to go forth to war.

    What is that verse about the *whole* counsel of God?

  24. Suzanne November 3, 2007 at 12:39 pm #

    “Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, by their fathers’ houses, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel.” Numbers 26:2

    “And the name of the daughter of Asher was Serah.” Numbers 26:46

    Just one more matter of fact statement in the Bible, a women able to go forth to war.

  25. Ben Stevenson November 4, 2007 at 3:51 am #

    Suzanne,
    That passage does not say that women can go to war.

    “”Take a census of the whole Israelite community by families—all those twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army of Israel.” 3 So on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, [a] Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with them and said, 4 “Take a census of the MEN twenty years old or more, as the LORD commanded Moses.”
    These were the Israelites who came out of Egypt:” — Numbers 26:2-4 (NIV)

    “”Take a census of the men twenty years old or more, as the LORD commanded Moses.”
    These were the Israelites who came out of Egypt:” — Numbers 26:4 (TNIV)

    I am not sure why Serah is mentioned by name, but it is not because she could serve in the army. If she was a daughter of Asher, she would have been dead by the time of Moses.

  26. Suzanne November 4, 2007 at 3:53 pm #

    Hi Ben,

    I didn’t see that Denny had finally posted my comments.

    That is totally amazing. The words “Take a census of the MEN” does not occur in the Hebrew at all. Wow. Here is the Rotherham Bible, the only one I know that is more or less literal.

    “From twenty years old and upwards, As Yahweh commanded Moses, and the sons of Israel, who had come forth out of the land of Egypt.”

    Of course, we know that the “sons of Israel” meant the daughters as well. Why Serah is mentioned in two different time periods is not a mystery that I can solve. However, I have no doubt that she was a real person.

    Thanks for pointing out what the (T)NIV has done with this passage.

    Here is the ESV,

    “Take a census of the people, from twenty years old and upward,” as the Lord commanded Moses. The people of Israel who came out of the land of Egypt were:

    Footnote: Take a census of the people is implied (compare verse 2)”

    Now, I only wish that the ESV was consistantly this literal. It is not. Sadly I have not found one Bible version except for the archaic Rotherham that I trust at all.

  27. Ben Stevenson November 4, 2007 at 5:02 pm #

    Numbers 26:2 (NIV) says:
    “Take a census of the whole Israelite community by families—all those twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army of Israel.”

    This is gender neutral – it does not identify that the people being included in the census are men alone.

    However, verse 4 does seem to narrow the census down to men alone:

    “”Take a census of the men twenty years old or more, as the LORD commanded Moses.”

    And as this is a census of those “who are able to serve in the army of Israel” it is interesting that when the time for war comes, it is the men (and not women and children) who go and fight:

    “”Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: ‘The LORD your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, fully armed, must cross over ahead of your brothers. You are to help your brothers 15 until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving them….” — Joshua 1:13-15a

    This passage is clear that it was the men who went and fought – because their wives and children stayed in the land.

  28. Suzanne November 4, 2007 at 5:11 pm #

    Ben,

    The word “men” does not occur in the Hebrew of Numbers 26:4. Surely Denny is able to participate and confirm this for me. He should not want the scriptures to be misrepresented ib his website.

    Why do you think the ESV said “people”. Do you think this translation has deliberately “emasculated” a male term in the original?

    This is the problem. Some people don’t want to deal with what is actually in the Bible. Sure, most wives and children stayed home. Some didn’t. Your quote says that the wives may stay in the land, but the men may not. Does the scripture say that a woman may not go to war?

    I am not advocating that women go to war. I am advocating for people to become aware of which beliefs are bible based and which ones are not.

  29. Suzanne November 4, 2007 at 5:14 pm #

    “ib” = “on” οορς 😉

  30. Jon November 4, 2007 at 9:44 pm #

    Even if the Scriptures didn’t specifically use the word “men” in this passage, it is far more reasonable to assume that only men were in mind here than it is to say that the text is advocating that women were to be included in the census.

    It savors strongly of defense of a system to push the Bible to say that women were in mind in these verses. Isn’t it far more natural to think of these verses as speaking only of men?

    Anyway, maybe God didn’t feel that His Word needed to be so explicit in word usage because the meaning is so obvious.

    Although it’s not a direct comparison at all, this reminds me of a conversation I had with one (Roman Catholic) brother of mine who argued that the Scriptures can hardly be called inerrant when terms like “sunrise” are used, when in this modern day we understand that it is actually the earth that is spinning. Let’s not make the error of approaching the Bible so flippantly that we end up either reducing it to a fallible document or forcing it to unnaturally support a system we hold to due to our own predispositions.

  31. Suzanne November 4, 2007 at 9:51 pm #

    Jon,

    Are you suggesting that Serah the daughter of Asher was a man? I really don’t get it. I don’t want to make a big deal out of this but she existed and she was able to go out to war.

    Piper is such a stickler on other verses in the Bible. After all, if women can be told they are sinning in the pulpit based on one verse which no one understands anyway, as in 1 Tim. 2:12, then why can’t women go to war based on one verse?

  32. Suzanne November 4, 2007 at 10:14 pm #

    Here Jon,

    This is the quote.

    “Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, by their fathers’ houses, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel.” Numbers 26:2

    “And the name of the daughter of Asher was Serah.” Numbers 26:46

  33. Ben Stevenson November 5, 2007 at 7:09 am #

    “The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah. Their sister was Serah. The sons of Beriah: Heber and Malkiel.” — Genesis 46:17 (NIV)

    “The descendants of Asher by their clans were: through Imnah, the Imnite clan; through Ishvi, the Ishvite clan; through Beriah, the Beriite clan; and through the descendants of Beriah: through Heber, the Heberite clan; through Malkiel, the Malkielite clan. (Asher had a daughter named Serah.)” — Numbers 26:44-46 (NIV)

    Serah in Numbers is clearly dead by the time of Moses, as are her brothers Imnah, Ishvi, and Beriah. Her inclusion in the list in Numbers 26 is not evidence that women went to fight.

  34. Suzanne November 5, 2007 at 10:09 am #

    And what is it evidence of exactly – evidence that the Bible is not an historical record – is that what you are saying, you don’t believe the Bible? Okay. No problem. At least you are honest. Quote from the Bible when it is convenient for you and deny it when it isn’t.

  35. Ben Stevenson November 5, 2007 at 10:52 am #

    “Quote from the Bible when it is convenient for you and deny it when it isn’t.”

    How have I denied the Bible in any way?

    All I have said is that Numbers 26 is clearly talking about the same person as Genesis 46.

    To present Serah as evidence that women fought in the army, you must either believe that the Bible is saying a 400 year old woman was in the army, or that there were two people called Asher who had children called Imnah, Ishvi, Beriah, and Serah. The rest of Numbers 26 lists the clans coming from the sons of the brothers of Asher (i.e. he sons of Jacob) – Reuben, Simeon, etc.
    What evidence is there that there are two Ashers mentioned in Numbers 26?

    I don’t think either option is at all plausible. Hence, Serah (the daughter of Asher) was not in the army at the time of Moses.

  36. Suzanne November 5, 2007 at 8:20 pm #

    And yet providentially the text says that a woman was listed among the men who were able to go out to war. There is a reason that she is listed. What is this reason, if not to say that a woman was able to go to war.

    Maybe you think this is an error in the text.

  37. Ben Stevenson November 5, 2007 at 9:00 pm #

    “And yet providentially the text says that a woman was listed among the men who were able to go out to war. ”

    Can you please show me where. I have explained why I believe that Serah was dead hundreds of years before this census was taken. Can you explain why you think Serah was alive and that Serah (probably uniquely of the people mentioned in this chapter) went to war.

  38. Suzanne November 5, 2007 at 9:09 pm #

    Ben,

    I did not say that Serah went to war. I said a woman was listed among the men who were able to go out to war. That is a statement of fact. What it means, I have no idea. But there is a lot of theology built on the accumulation of little facts in the Bible, so let’s add this one to the pile. Other than that I don’t think there is much to say about Serah.

  39. Jesica November 5, 2007 at 10:23 pm #

    Wow!

    I LOVED THAT!

    As a mother of both a son and a daughter, this is a conversation we’ve had often. We faithfully attend our Veteran’s Day parade each year, and each year I have to sit down with my kids and talk with them about how women in combat is totally contrary to Scripture…how we don’t see it in the Word, therefore we shouldn’t see it in the world.

    I am going to pring Piper’s message off and keep it forever.

    And, on top of it all, he answered a question I’ve never been able to understand…why God went to Adam about Eve’s sin. Makes total sense, though.

    Thanks for a great post, Denny!

    Have a great day,
    Jes

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Denny Burk » More on Women in Combat - November 4, 2007

    […] For those who were following our previous conversation, John Piper just updated his blog with one more thought on women in combat. He writes: […]

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