Karen Yates: "Is Christianity a boys' club? And if I ask that question, does it make me a feminist?"
As Christians called to ‘go and make disciples of all nations,’ we are presented with the continuing dilemma of how to share the hope of Jesus Christ in a post-modern culture proven skeptical, resistant, and largely repulsed by modern Christianity.
Recently, I was chatting with a girlfriend when she mentioned John Piper’s statement that “Christianity has a masculine feel.” We talked at length about the ramifications such a statement can have on a woman’s perception of the Church and those of us that call ourselves Christ-followers.
Is Christianity a boys’ club? And if I ask that question, does it make me a feminist?
Piper, speaking at a conference themed “God, Manhood, and Ministry—Building Men for the Body of Christ,” said: “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.“
He continued, “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.”
“When I say masculine Christianity or masculine ministry or Christianity with a masculine feel, here’s what I mean: Theology and church and mission are marked by an overarching godly male leadership in the spirit of Christ with an ethos of tenderhearted strength, contrite courage, risk-taking decisiveness, and readiness to sacrifice for the sake of leading and protecting and providing for the community. All of which is possible only through the death and resurrection of Jesus.”
And finally, he concludes: “It’s the feel of a great, majestic God who is by His redeeming work in Christ inclining men to humble Christ-exalting initiatives and inclining women to come alongside those men with joyful support, intelligent helpfulness, and fruitful partnership in the work.”
We women know we live in a man’s world. But I’m stunned by the suggestion that I’m worshipping in a man’s Church.