Masculine Christianity – what God intended at creation?

Masculine Christianity – what God intended at creation?

masculine-christianity on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

This is part 2 of What God intended at creation and it is inspired by a recent lecture given by John Piper where he states that God’s intention for Christianity is for it to have a “masculine feel“.  After discussing John Piper’s Masculine Christianity, I will give my critique of his masculine arguments. Part 1 is here.

Here is John Piper’s summary of his belief in God’s intention of a masculine Christianity:

God has revealed himself to us in the Bible pervasively as King, not Queen, and as Father, not Mother. The second person of the Trinity is revealed as the eternal Son. The Father and the Son created man and woman in his image, and gave them together the name of the man, Adam (Genesis 5:2). God appoints all the priests in Israel to be men. The Son of God comes into the world as a man, not a woman. He chooses twelve men to be his apostles. The apostles tell the churches that all the overseers—the pastor/elders who teach and have authority (1 Timothy 2:12)—should be men; and that in the home, the head who bears special responsibility to lead, protect, and provide should be the husband (Ephesians 5:22–33).

john-piper-masculine-christianity on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

God has revealed himself to us in the Bible pervasively as King, not Queen, and as Father, not Mother. (JP)

Is God male?  Absolutely not, but God can refer to Himself in male terms if He wants to and He can refer to Himself in female terms too:

Isaiah 46:3 (NASB95)

3“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth And have been carried from the womb;

God has no problem in using female terminology and comparing Himself to a mother. God also had no problem making an analogy to feathers (when He covers us) or a womb (when He carries us) so why should we use the male terms He uses to say that God prefers men?


The Father and the Son created man and woman in his image, and gave them together the name of the man, Adam (Genesis 5:2). (JP)

The first term for man was not male.  It was a united term that was given to both male and female. (Genesis 5:2)


The second person of the Trinity is revealed as the eternal Son. (JP)

The Word of God came as a man, not because men are more important in God’s eyes, but because of the sin of Adam – his rebellion that was brought into this world. The world was in need of a  last Adam, not a last Eve.


The apostles tell the churches that all the overseers—the pastor/elders who teach and have authority (1 Timothy 2:12)—should be men (JP)

Elders and overseers are those who give up of themselves and serve the body, not those who take authority over the body.


The head who bears special responsibility to lead, protect, and provide should be the husband (Ephesians 5:22–33)  (JP)

There is quite a bit on this blog even in the recent posts about Ephesians 5, that I won’t try to condense it here. I will say that my post here, provides a link to one of the very best sermons I have ever heard taught on this passage.  The sermon is part of a series of sermons, that I intend, God-willing, to comment on and link to in the future.

John Piper also states that women’s joy is to be in masculine Christianity, “He did not create women to languish, or be frustrated, or in any way to suffer or fall short of full and lasting joy, in a masculine Christianity.”  Why did God create Christianity to have a “masculine feel”?  Piper states that it is in part “for the sake of the glory of women”.

Apparently masculine Christianity just feels right to John Piper as he states how God inclines both men and women to fall in line with masculine Christianity.  “It’s the feel of a great, majestic God, who by his redeeming work in Jesus Christ, inclines men to take humble, Christ-exalting initiative, and inclines women to come alongside the men with joyful support, intelligent helpfulness, and fruitful partnership in the work.”

In my last post I listed the first two arguments that complementarians use to “prove” that God intended, from creation, that the male would rule over the female.  In this post I will deal with the third complementarian argument, and then I will go through John Piper’s 8 traits of a masculine ministry from his lecture on masculine Christianity.

3. The male rules for the benefit of God because the male was the only gender that was picked to be as leaders for Israel and among Jesus’ disciples.

The claim is that God only raised male leaders and so God’s actions in the OT and Jesus’ actions with His disciples in the NT, define God’s will for godly leaders.  It is said that the precedent is set by God as an exclusively male leadership except when God did not have any other choice but to appoint a female because no male was available.  It is also said that God picked a woman as a leader because He was judging Israel by giving what was seen by them as a judgment against them.


This is a common argument, but it is an inaccurate argument.  The claim that God had to chose a female because there were no godly men available is an easy point to disprove.

Elijah thought that he alone was left as a prophet of God because he was the only one left serving God yet God corrected him by saying that he had seven thousand others who have not bowed the knee to Baal.

Romans 11:4 But what is the divine response to him? “I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.”

God has always had a remnant who followed him and thus God has never been without a man to serve him.

Let’s look at another example. Huldah was used by the Lord to bring a message to King Josiah yet God also had men available for His use. The prophet Jeremiah had been prophesying in Judah since the 13th year of the reign of King Josiah (see Jeremiah 1:2) and it was the 18th year of the reign of King Josiah (see 2 Kings 22:3) when Huldah was consulted as a Prophet of God to bring a message to King Josiah. So a woman, Huldah, was used by God even though Jeremiah was available and Jeremiah had already been prophesying in the land for five years. Even though Jeremiah was available, God chose to use Huldah to speak His words to the king.

What about the claim that women were only picked by God as leaders when He wanted to judge apostate Israel?  Here is one of those claims:

The root problem in Deborah’s day was spiritual apostasy. When God’s people turn away from Him, He renders the men powerless against their enemies and removes wisdom from their hearts. It is a judgment upon apostate people.

Deborah was a Judge sent by God, but she was not sent to judge against Israel but to deliver them and this task was accomplished.

But what about Barak?  Was he weak-willed and cowardly because he needed a woman to go into battle with him? See this complementarian example of the claim that Barak was a coward.

The men in Deborah’s day were very weak and cowardly. This is seen in the fact that Barak, the captain of the armies of Israel, refused to go into battle unless Deborah went with him. What a brave man! What a hero!

The woman had to remind him that God had said it is time to fight; the woman had to encourage and challenge him to go; the woman had to go with him!

Was Barak a cowardly man or was he a man of faith?  The bible tells us that Barak was a man of faith and he is listed in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11:32 right alongside David.  How was Barak’s faith in God shown?  His faith was shown because he refused to go into battle without God’s provision for the battle.  Deborah was God’s provision.

The Judges were all sent to deliver Israel from their enemies.  This means that it was impossible for Deborah to be a judgment against Israel when she was sent to deliver Israel.

What about Jesus?  Why did Jesus pick only men as His disciples?  He didn’t.  He had women disciples right along with the men.  But it is true that Jesus only had men in the category of the twelve. Is this a precedent that Jesus was setting up by implying that only men could be the top leaders of the church?  If so, then He was also setting up a precedent that only Jews could be the top leaders of the church since all of the twelve were Jews.  Jesus’ picking of the twelve, cannot be used as a law for leadership unless Jesus Himself stated such a law and based this law on His choice of the twelve.  Jesus did not state such a law and for men today to go beyond what is written in this area, it proves to be a serious question of their own understanding of the Scriptures and hints of a prideful attitude.  When an argument needs to be bolstered by inaccurate claims, we need to ask why are so many striving so hard after a rulership on this earth and over the Church that was never  given to them?

For further reading on this topic, see my previous posts here: and

Now onto John Piper’s list of 8 traits of a masculine ministry that he observed from the life of J. C. Ryle.   Below are the 8 traits with a shortened sentence or two from John Piper that describes the trait.

1. A masculine ministry believes that it is more fitting that men take the lash of criticism that must come in a public ministry, than to unnecessarily expose women to this assault.

…a masculine ministry puts men at the head of the troop with the flag in hand and the trumpets in their mouths, so that they, and not the women, take the first bullets.

This sounds so valiant – let the men take the bullet for women disciples in Christ, but in essence, these men are not taking the “bullet for women”. In fact for so many women who are gifted and called by the Lord Jesus, the bullet has been fired by our brothers in Christ and the gun has been aimed to inflict damage to their own sisters in Christ.  The lash of criticism for women in ministry does not come from the world, but from Christian brothers who claim an exclusive right for males to fulfill their call to leadership. When the shooters themselves claim to be the protectors of women, may the Lord help us all.

2. A masculine ministry seizes on full-orbed, biblical doctrine with a view to teaching it to the church and pressing it with courage into the lives of the people.

The point is that when the foundations of the church are crumbling, the men should not stand still and wait for women to seize the tools and brick and mortar. And women should expect their men to be at the forefront of rebuilding the ruins.

This point makes biblical doctrine as a male-only possession.  It also sounds valiant that men should not stand still and wait for women to seize the tools and brick and mortar, but the fact is that these men have done everything they can to remove the tools and to remove the brick and mortar from the hands of women.  John MacArthur’s The Master’s Seminary for example does not allow women to enroll. The tools that of biblical languages training and other tools of biblical training are not allowed to be placed in the hands of a woman in TMS.

While point 2 of John Piper’s 8 traits of masculine ministry sounds like it is men shouldering the heavy work to help women, in essence, it is used to remove women’s ability to learn, their ability to fulfill their calling in Christ, and their ability to be placed in the body of Christ as the Spirit wills.  When Paul said that women were allowed to learn, it is apparent that many men are not listening.

3. A masculine ministry brings out the more rugged aspects of the Christian life and presses them on the conscience of the church with a demeanor that accords with their proportion in Scripture.

He that would understand the nature of true holiness must know that the Christian is “a man of war.”

It is true that Christians are soldiers in a spiritual battle but this is a battle that we are all called to fight.  There are no “rugged aspects of the Christian life” that are kept away from God’s female soldiers. We are all called to fight the good fight.  We are all called to finish the course.  We are all called to keep the faith.

4. A masculine ministry takes up heavy and painful realities in the Bible, and puts them forward to those who may not want to hear them.

It is a godly and loving and manly responsibility of the leaders of the church not to distort or minimize the weight and horror of hell.

What does this mean?  That a woman is allowed to distort or minimize the weight and horror of hell just because she is a woman?  There is no precedent from the Scriptures that allow anyone to distort or minimize the gospel.  To say that hell is a painful reality would be true, but to say that only males are to “take up” and “put forward” these biblical truths, would be going beyond what is written.

5. A masculine ministry heralds the truth of Scripture, with urgency and forcefulness and penetrating conviction, to the world and in the regular worship services of the church.

…no matter what a preacher’s personality or preferred tone, this preaching necessarily involves urgency and forcefulness and a penetrating conviction which aims to come with divine thrust into the minds and hearts of the listeners. And therefore, this is a manly task.

When I read the Scriptures, I see that it is the Holy Spirit that provides conviction, not men.  The divine thrust that brings a message into the hearts of the listeners, is not the human vessel, but the very work of the Spirit.  It is not a manly task.  It is the Spirit’s task!  I am surprised that John Piper doesn’t get that. What did Paul say?

1 Corinthians 2:1–5 (NASB95)
1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,
4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

I think John Piper just totally misread the Apostle Paul!  Apparently Paul was not manly enough for the task if we measure him by John Piper’s standards.

6. A masculine ministry welcomes the challenges and costs of strong, courageous leadership without complaint or self-pity with a view to putting in place principles and structures and plans and people to carry a whole church into joyful fruitfulness.

…what is required again and again is a decisive strength that does not weaken in the face of resistance.

What John Piper seems to be saying here is that women are weak in the face of resistance, while men are not.  It is apparently only a real masculine man who is able to carry a church and be a servant to the church that belongs to Christ.  A church is not meant to be carried by one person.  We are a body, not a business.  We are an organism with many members, not an autocrat-lead organization.  Those who lock other people out because they believe they are called to carry a whole church on their shoulders are often the ones who are abusers who really believe their strong leadership style does not need help.  Paul said that the eye cannot say to the hand “I do not need you”.  The one who needs the most help is often the one who thinks he needs no help at all.

7. A masculine ministry publicly and privately advocates for the vital and manifold ministries of women in the life and mission of the church.

The aim of a masculine ministry is the fullest engagement of every member of the church in joyful, fruitful ministry. The aim of leadership is not to be the ministry, but to free the ministry, according to God’s word, by the power of God’s Spirit, for the glory of God’s name.

Is this John Piper saying that only a masculine ministry is able to provide public and private help to women’s ministries?  In many complementarian churches, the male leadership is stymied about what women can or cannot do in the church.  Can they be an usher?  Can they pass the communion elements front to back?  The aim of this kind of leadership is not to free women in ministry, but to make sure that women don’t overstep their bounds against an invisible list of thou shalt nots.  While we love our brothers in Christ, to think that a man is the best person to head a woman’s ministry, is just plain short sighted.

8. A masculine ministry models for the church the protection, nourishing, and cherishing of a wife and children as part of the high calling of leadership.

The year after he  came to Liverpool as bishop, Ryle published a book of eight messages for children. It’s called Boys and Girls Playing based on Zechariah 8:5. It reveals the rare mixture of concern for children along with a very masculine feel.

John Piper’s point 8 of his 8 traits of a masculine ministry seems to suggest that only a married man is called to the high calling of leadership.  It also suggests that a concern for children along with a feminine feel, is inferior for children’s development.  While we agree with the balanced use of all of our gifting, both male and female serving in their calling and both needed, it seems graceless to say that only a male can best model protection, nourishing and cherishing for women and children.

Has God given the Church a masculine feel?  It seems obvious to me that those who push women out the door by denying them the freedom to use their gifts for the common good, may have a better chance to give the church a more masculine feel, but I do not see this as God’s work.  But in order to help John Piper out and give him more ideas on how to make the church have a more masculine feel, I present a post that I did on the problem of the feminization of the church and a modern-day fix.  I am sure that John Piper can get a few helpful ideas from it as long as no one tells him it was written by a woman.

26 thoughts on “Masculine Christianity – what God intended at creation?

  1. Oh wow. It got to the point where I really didn’t want to read anymore. The further down the list I read the more ridiculous it all seemed to get. I’m being blunt, I know, when I say that I think Comps think of women as lesser beings. As animals. Heck maybe we’re just dogs to them. People expect a lot of out dogs. Properly trained dogs can work and provide comfort. A pet is a pleasure to take care of and feed but nobody ever expects a dog to lead a man. Its preposterous. (Of course I’m not talking about seeing eye dogs but you catch my drift)

    There is actually hiking gear for dogs so hikers can take their dogs on camping trips, and the dogs can help their masters.

    I think its like that in the full blown rawness of what Complimentarians believe. When you take out all of the flattering phrases like “joyful support, intelligent helpfulness, and fruitful partnership”. Men are more like God than women. This is their creed. Therefore women are not fully human. Because if Men are more like God than Women then how can a woman possibly be as good as a man? Especially since Comps seem to have this idea that God is biologically male and has no female traits.

    A man can love his loyal dog but at the end of the day he still thinks of it as a dog.

  2. Poor Piper. He is lacking in the honor department. Really is sad.

    There is no glory in taking from others for the benefit of oneself.

  3. John Piper also states that women’s joy is to be in masculine Christianity

    When uses phrases like “masculine Christianity” he is speaking of a masculine or different gospel is he not?

    Why are comps working so hard to disempower women? The more women disempowered, the less light there is in the world. Well, certainly satan is happy with women being striped of their power because then he has less of a battle. It’s the woman he hates after all – Genesis tells us that, and Jesus called him a murderer for what he did to Eve (not Adam since Adam sinned willfully). Satan has to be behind the scenes somewhere in all of this “comp doctrine” because of what it does to women and since he hates the woman.

    Piper needs a paradigim shift from the flesh (gender) to the Spirit on this matter but he seems to be getting more and more tangled up.

  4. When the shooters themselves claim to be the protectors of women, may the Lord help us all.

    Yeah, Amen.

  5. Thanks for posting, Cheryl.
    John Piper might want to take a look at Hosea 11:9, which specifically says the Creator is NOT masculine or male.
    “I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger, I will
    not return to destroy Ephraim; for I am G-d, and not man, the Holy One in the midst of thee; and I will not come in fury.”
    In this verse, the Hebrew uses the term for the masculine, or male, “ish,” not the generic idea of man (human).
    Feminine images of the Divine abound in the Bible–as pregnant, going through labor, giving birth, nursing, and protecting her young.
    The concept of God as a bearded old man sitting on a throne was borrowed from Greek myths, namely copying Zeus.
    After completing my MDiv, I spent 5 years researching women in the Bible and could not keep silent.
    The information was published by Smyth & Helwys in 1998
    as “Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage”
    It addresses all these issues.

  6. Well, I’m not sure what John Piper hoped to accomplish by giving this speech, other than confirming the faith of those who already accept the complementarian perversions of what the Scriptures actually teach about the Triune God and his intended purposes for human beings, both male and female, who have been created in his image (Gen. 1:26-28). But I think he has started a firestorm of criticism that he and his complementarian associates never dreamed of stirring up, and if they ignore, do so to their own peril. There are a number of websites, such as CBE’s blog”The Scroll” and CT’s blog “Her.meneutics” that really take to task this poppycock that since “God is masculine” therefore “Christianity must be masculine” in its expression.

    Rachel Stone, in the CT article, “John Piper and the Rise of Biblical Masculinity,” made this statement, which pretty much agrees with what Cheryl has expressed in this posting:

    As to Piper’s specific claim that “God gave Christianity a masculine feel,” which I personally I take as a kind of whistling in the dark, I join many others in regarding this as patently untrue. Leaving aside Piper’s conviction that churches must be led by males–a concept that some Christian scholars believe to be rooted in the New Testament’s cultural context–none of the eight marks of leadership Piper referenced in his speech could be considered specifically “masculine.” Attributes like bravery in the face of criticism and boldly teaching scriptural doctrines in ways that press forward to wise application in life even when those truths are hard to hear cannot be persuasively put forth as qualities that are masculine rather than feminine.

    If you would like to read this excellent article in the full, the link is as follows: _of_bib.html

    As for Piper’s comment, “God has revealed himself to us in the Bible pervasively as King, not Queen, and as Father, not Mother,” I thought of the following response my former mentor and longtime friend, Dr. Robert K Megregor-Wright, wrote:

    The first observation on the claim that God must be masculine because he is never called “Mother” is that it is an argument from silence and is therefore invalid. God is never called a Trinity in the Bible either, but all the essential structural elements of the Trinitarian model can be exegeted from specific passages, and only this model of God includes all the textual material without contradiction or residue. Likewise with the biblical egalitarian model of human nature and relations. The Bible never uses the word “egalitarian” to describe Christlike patterns of human relationships, yet this is the only exegetical construct that logically accounts for all the textual evidence. So the absence of such an expression as “God our Mother,” or anything like it, means nothing except perhaps to signal God’s contempt for the pagan goddesses (“God, Metaphor and Gender: Is the God of the Bible a Male Deity?,” DISCOVERING BIBLICAL EQUALITY, p. 296).

  7. Well done, Cheryl. A very well reasoned and researched response to the ‘male dominance clan’.

    Please forgive me for making a side note on a similar and equally important point. Feel free to delete if this is too disruptive, Cheryl.

    Has anyone seen the following post on Marc Cortez’s blog. It has gotten quite the comments. As well, he dared to put up a vote and at this point the vote has shifted to over 50% are supporting “Do you think there are NO gender-specific qualifications for ministry in the church?”. I don’t think he expected that kind of a response. I encourage those who have not voted, to vote. It will encourage many to think again about this subject.

  8. Has God actually referred to Himself as King. I can’t recall anything offhand. 1 Tim. 6:15 has Paul calling God King of Kings. And the Romans called Jesus King of the Jews mockingly.

    Yet, Piper claims that pervasively, i.e. widely, God has called Himself King. Can anyone come up with a Scripture or two to support that?

  9. “The Father and the Son created man and woman in his image, and gave them together the name of the man, Adam (Genesis 5:2)”.

    This is also a curious claim. Adam was not a personal name until the man called himself Adam. Adahm meant ‘human’. It was a designation, a name for ALL humans, all those creatures to be born through the women throughout all future history. Just as some people name their cat, “Cat”, so the first human, for whatever reason denied himself a personal name and just became “Human”.

  10. Here are a couple more:
    Isaiah 41:21 (NASB95)
    21“Present your case,” the LORD says. “Bring forward your strong arguments,” The King of Jacob says.

    Isaiah 44:6 (NASB95)
    6“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.

  11. Well, as far as God calling Himself King, a handful is hardly “pervasive”. 🙂 I think there are numerous ways that God describes His omniscience. He is all and everything that we need as His creation and handiwork.

    In Genesis 5:1-2, God calls both the man and the woman, Adam/Human. So, as you say, it’s more of a designation, or ‘family’ name. We are all of the family of Human. 🙂

  12. I want to say first off that while my feelings against John Piper are strong, I am determined to love him as a brother in Christ. But I don’t think I will ever like who he is as a person. He won’t ever come out and confess it publicly, I don’t think, but I think in his heart of hearts, at his root, he has a hatred of women and I think that hatred against women is at the true heart of teachings like this. What else could be in the heart of a man who thinks it’s acceptable for women to be abused, ABUSED, by their husbands “for a season.” Is he honestly that STUPID, that he doesn’t realize that a woman following his advice, enduring a “season” of abuse by her husband, could be KILLED during that “season”??? Does he not understand that giving women such EVIL advice could result in their DEATHS??? Or what’s even more dangerous as far as his soul’s concerned…does he just not care???

  13. Quote from blog: “In many complementarian churches, the male leadership is stymied about what women can or cannot do in the church”

    I’m a woman over 40 years old, below 45, never married, and I’ve never had kids.

    Most churches won’t let women do anything, outside of kitchen clean up duty, or baby sitting kids in the nursery during worship service.

    I have never liked kids or babies, never had one myself, and I don’t feel comfortable around them, so I have no interest in serving in a kids ministry, changing diapers, teaching kids, etc.

    One of the last churches I went to (a Baptist one) I volunteered my gifts for free (technical related field), and they never put them to use. I was asked once or twice by church people if I wanted to babysit the church toddlers (no, I did not).

    Please get a copy of the book ‘Quitting Church’ by author Julia Duin. Portions of that book can be read for free on Amazon and google books.

    There is one chapter on how the church under-utilizes women and older, single Christian people (both male and female), which is why both groups have left the church in droves.

    Meanwhile, the church at large (in the USA) remains ignorant of these facts and continues to think and act as though all people attending church are age 25 – 35 are married with kids, and they continue to focus all attention on kid and youth ministry, when their real focus should be put on attracting, keeping and financing things for single people over 35, and putting skilled, bright women to work.

    Recent data show that about 50% of Americans over 18 yrs of age are never married, people are putting marriage off longer (or never getting married), 1 out of 5 women are leaving child bearing yrs without having babies, etc. but churches are still acting like it’s 1953 and everyone is getting married at 21 and popping out kids by age 25.

    Julia Duin mentions in her book that older women who work as lawyers, accountants, etc. are bored by church and their talents are not being put to use, so they have stopped going to church.

    These are women who have no interest in reading Bible stories to three year old children every Sunday, they want to do more, but their churches will not permit them due to old fashioned interpretations of Pauline texts about women and teaching men, etc.”

  14. There could be no more feminine image than that of a bride, but it is as the “Bride of Christ” that the church is referred as throughout the New Testament and particularly in the book of Revelation. This image of the bride obviously refers to all the believers in Christ, men and women.

  15. “Masculine Christianity” – lol
    Comps want to take over Christianity. As if taking power and control over the lives of their wives and women in the Church weren’t enough! Hey, just take over the whole thing! It’s not good enough the have some people under one’s power, what’s better is to have the entire religion!

  16. I don’t know where to post my questions, so I’m posting them here.
    My first question is, what was meant exactly by Genesis 2:24?

    Genesis 2:24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

    In Mark 10:5-9, Jesus couples Gen 1:27 with Genesis 2:24 and following Gen 1:27 (their being made in God’s image) is God’s command to them to be fruitful and increase in number:

    5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’[a] 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[b] 8 and the two will become one flesh.’[c] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

    27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
    28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number;

    My second question is then, is it possible that what was meant by “one flesh” in Gen 2:24, was the offspring of male and female, since children are born with chromosomes from each parent?? Does “one flesh” have to do with offspring?
    I would appreciate what anyone has to offer. I mean, even partners never operate as “one flesh” all the time because there is always differences somewhere, so what of their children?? Could it be that offspring is what is meant by “one flesh”? What are your thoughts/ideas?

  17. I am new to this discussion about the gender of God. To be honest, there was a bit of cognitive dissonance when I first came across the argument. I spent a long time in a religious cult which was very authoritarian I don’t think there was any question that God was male, and I certainly never thought about it. I hope the men in that group never get a hold of John Piper’s teachings, there would be hell to pay for all the poor women who are still in the group.

    I have read some other blog posts discussing this issue, and I can see the argument that God is not human therefore he has no sex as such, however he does seem to talk in male terms about himself alot. He is a Father, Jesus is the Son, interestingly the Holy Spirit is also talked about in male terms, and this is something my husband and I have discussed with Jehovah’s Witnesses who believe the Spirit to be an impersonal force and not a person at all. We are so used to thinking of God, as a person, being a male person.

    I would also like to bring up the issue of the book ‘The Shack’ which among other controversial issues in it’s pages has referred to God as both male and female, and with various ethnic origins. Frankly, I think this goes back to the idea that we are portraying God as a human again, since God has no ethnicity, that is purely a human trait, as much as sexuality is. I appreciate the reminder that the pagan religions had their supreme God sitting in heaven as an old man with a beard down to his feet. God is spirit and not flesh, and if anything, he dwells in unapproachable light, so we can’t see his form if he has one at all even if we can see Him.

    I must look into this further. The longer I have been out of the controlling church, the more my mind is being opened up. It’s a bit scary, but I enjoy testing the waters and questioning things and allowing God to show me His truth.

    Thankyou for the obvious work that has gone into this blog.

  18. I have to say that this is another one of the issues involving women in the Church that I struggle with a good deal. I can understand the position that God is pure Spirit and since He is not human, He doesn’t have a gender. But I am definitely going to ask God about this when I finally do meet Him face to face (at least in a manner of speaking) in Heaven. Quite frankly, it does bother me that God so often expresses Himself in male terms for this reason: since God constantly identifies Himself in His Word as a male (Father, King, etc.) in a lot of ways it provides men with a fellow male role model in Heaven they can identify with, and that in turn leaves me as a woman feeling quite left out. It does hurt me that men have a Father role model they can identify with in Heaven, but women are seemingly left out of the equation — we don’t get to have a God who identifies Himself as mother and therefore we don’t get to have any kind of a female God we can identify with and relate to. It does make me as a woman feel pretty left out and hurt that all the Christian men get to have something like that but we don’t.

  19. I just wanted to add, for the record, that yes, I am aware of the fact that on some occasions like in Isaiah for instance, God does identify Himself as a kind of mother. But the vast majority of the time, God does express Himself in male terms and like I just said, since 99 percent of the time He does express Himself as a male, that can really make the female half of the population in the Church feel left out and like we’re just not quite as important as the men are.

  20. Women are left out partly because of translation issues. If translations were not so biased in favor of men, we would see God related to the feminine much more.

    One example ….. The first names God was called were Elohim (pl.) and El Shaddai in Gen. 17:1 commonly reinterpreted “Almighty God”, but which means the breasted, and was in the feminine. The 1909 edition of the Schofield Reference Bible has a beautiful footnote by Schofield in which discusses the meaning of the word.

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