14 thoughts on “Soulation —another blog that tells how John Piper’s theology allows domestic violence”

  1. Well there you have it. We all just misunderstood Piper’s theology on abuse. Or maybe we just misunderstood his “real” theology on Christ. Yeah, I think that’s a better fit.

  2. Hi — I love John Piper, but am also a survivor of severe emotional and psychological abuse from my husband (now ex husband) and my mother. I love Leslie Vernick’s books, videos, webinars and teachings on getting a grip on identifying and responding to absuive treatment. Frankly, I think leaders like John Piper simply do not know or understand abuse as they are not abusers themselevs, nor have experienced it. It is really hard for anyone to understand abuse unless they have lived it or work with abuse victims. I do not fault my pastor or other church members and chruch leaders like John Piper becuase I do not think they really understand it or have ever experienced it themselves — as it is, it is even still unimaginable to me, even after having lived through it, that people can think and treat people in such cold, creepy, deceitful, indifferent, and controlling ways behind closed doors while apearing so charming in public – and I still contiually get suprised and confused by it. If one is not an abuser themselves, nor have ever experienced it themsleves, it really is unimaginable.

    It seems more proactive and constructive to teach and educate others about its reality, as I believe it is an increasinly growing epidemic (2 Timothy 3), rather than criticizing those for not understanding it. Let’s pray for John Pipers and church leaders to have thier eyes opened to the depth of reality of it – that indeed there is an ever growing percentage of the population that simply has no empathy or remorse. Again, I highly recommend Leslie Vernick as required reading for all church leaders. Also, “A General Theory of Love,” on why more and more people today are reaching adultood without a conscience, sense of remorse or empathy.

    1. Dear L – Thank you for writing. I am sorry for the abuse you have endured and hope that you find help and comfort in Christ, here at ACFJ.

      Just so you know, that is exactly what we have done here at ACFJ. We have reached out consistently and tried to teach the truths concerning abuse to pastors and leaders, including John Piper. You are right, they do not understand abuse, but they also do not wish to understand it, be taught about it or help aid the victims of it, according to the responses we have received from them.

      I am certain that Barb or Jeff will address this in response to your comment, with links for you to see how we have tried to help others gain knowledge, so that God can be fully glorified in the Church and in marriages. Hope that helps.

  3. “As it stands now, he’s enabling abusive husbands with God’s approval while ignoring and disempowering vulnerable wives and children.”

    Yup, that’s it, in a nutshell. It’s a rather huge and damning call, but it is not a personal attack against John Piper, it’s about what his words do.

    1. L.
      John Piper doesn’t want to understand. I have nothing against the man as a person, but his teachings are keeping women in bondage. His Divorce for no Reason theology is his own, it is not scriptural. He has been asked to come to ACFJ to discuss it alone with other pastors and they refuse. They only appear with others with their same theology or those who will not stand up and say “You have it all wrong”.

      Leslie Vernick’s books are very good, I agree, but she says in the end divorce may have to be an option and does not dismiss it. She doesn’t take it lightly, but John Piper refuses to hear about it at all. Leslie works hard to get pastors and other church leaders to understand, but many refuse to listen. I have heard from a pastor that Leslie’s books are “self-help books”. To me a self help book is “Windows for Dummies” or “How to get Fit in 30 Days”. Leslie’s books along with Barbara Roberts, Jeff Crippen, Lundy Bancroft and others are NOT self-help books. With the exception of Bancroft they are Biblically based and supported books to open the eyes of those who need it most. The oppressed that get absolutely no empathy from their church. The church is who should be supporting people in abusive marriages but they are not. If they don’t understand abuse, their hearts should be so filled with empathy for the individual seeking help that they find a way to understand it. Instead they tell abused people that you are married, live with it and go home for more of it. I do not understand any of this way of thinking. I don’t believe that Jesus would say it was right either.

      I hope you will read the resources on John Piper on this blog and then make a more educated decision. John Piper as a man in another profession…..I might feel differently about him. I pray that he opens his eyes to the abuses that he is sending women back to and take a stand against the sin of those causing it.

  4. I just wanted to let you all know that you have educated me. My first exposure to Piper was his Desiring God book. I knew that he preached a patriarchal view of marriage in that book, but it didn’t seem so bad. Lots of warm, fuzzy talk about the man caring for his family and the wife helping him lead. If the man was ungodly, then of course the woman didn’t have to sin,, but she could still find ways to support him in non-sinful things. It all sounded so nice, like something I could implement with my boyfriend if we got married.

    It wasn’t until I read ACFJ that I learned that Piper’s advice is, at best, completely useless to women with abusive husbands. It wasn’t until I read this blog that I earned about that horrible video or the no-divorce position and how it could harm victims. Now Piper is no longer on my list of teachers I can trust.

    So you’re writing is making a difference. Keep up the good work!

    1. wbg10,
      If you are a follower of Christ, I urge you not to date or marry an unbeliever. It is a formula for disaster. If they are a professing Christian, look for the fruit of that profession. Now if your guy comes to Christ before that point and bears fruit, I’ll shout hallelujah with you. John Piper…totally agree, he is not a teacher that I will ever read again. The videos I have seen show an arrogant know-it-all.

      1. I have been dating my bf for four years (we’ve been friends for seven) and we’re both committed Christ followers (and not getting married any time soon). In fact, we talk a lot about stuff that I’ve ‘read on this blog. My point is that Piper’s system seems to work good on paper if you’re in a healthy relationship or even just a difficult one. That’s why, even though I’m pretty feminist, I couldn’t see a problem. Piper makes patriarchy sound attractive without acknowledging thAt it can go horribly wrong (or offering basic compassion to people trapped in abusive marriages.) That’s why he’s dangerous. I wouldn’t have known just how dangerous that advice was if not for this blog.

        Thanks for looking out for me, though! I think you all at this blog have a lot of wisdom. I’ve only had healthy relationships, so I look to this blog to develop an “abuse alarm” so that I can spot teachings that will hurt victims and be able to protect myself. I still have a lot to learn.

      2. wbg10, I am so happy to hear all of this. When you talked about implementing things on your boyfriend should you get married, I made the wrong assumption that he was not a believer. You don’t know how relieved I am. If you can talk with your man about this kind of thing, you should be able to talk about anything. Patriarchy is not attractive in anyway. I’m glad you’re here. Maybe you can stop someone from making a terrible choice before it happens.

  5. Thanks, Brenda. I admire your courage a lot. And yes, I’m pretty much ready at this point to toss out any theology that says a man has any kind of authority over his wife just because he’s a man (my boyfriend totally rejects that anyway). I brought up the unbeliever thing to show that John Piper’s answer to question “What if the husband is not godly?” (answer: She should love him best as she can and support him in non-sinful activities that he likes) sounds like a very reasonable, workable answer to someone who doesn’t know that anti-husbands (some of whom claim to be believers) exist. Now I know better thanks to you guys.

    BTW, I’m looking for ways to raise awareness about this issue in my church. Do you guys know of anyone who, say, will do workshops on domestic violence for churches? A lot of things about my current church make me feel it’s victim-friendly, but while I’m there I want to make sure everyone’s safe as possible. I think education is a good first step.

    1. Hi Wbg10w, to your question about who does domestic violence workshops for churches, we don’t have a list at our fingertips. Where are you? (the state, and maybe the city nearest you)

      Maybe if we know what area you are in we could suggest someone to try.

      Maybe if you can’t get a person to do a face to face workshop, you could get key members of your church to watch or read some of the online material that we recommend. This blog for starters. My Levite’s Concubine presentation on YouTube (see the sidebar to the right). Jeff Crippen’s sermon series on Domestic Abuse (see our Resources section, tab at the top of the blog). And read Lundy Bancroft’s book(s) or watch his YouTube series on domestic violence in popular culture.

      And I have written a short PDF called Domestic Abuse Training for Busy Pastors [Internet Archive link]

      1. Thanks. I live in Snellville, Georgia in the U.S. I could probably ask some of the counselors at my church if they know any too. Here’s my plan so far: Our church is currently going through the Sermon on the Mount, which contains the whole thing about divorce and adultery. I was out of town when that part was preached. I’m planning to watch it online and kind of gauge my pastor;s sensitivity on the topic of abusive marriages. If he doesn’t specifically bring up the issue of family violence (and I suspect he won’t, not because he’s a bad guy but just because it doesn’t seem to be on the church’s radar), then I’ll e-mail him, tell him I’m concerned about this issue, and direct him to those resources you mentioned. Then, I’ll see about getting a workshop or something.

        If he does mention abuse, that’s great! I thank him in the e-mail and still suggest some resources and ask about a workshop.

        Mainly I just feel I need to spend some time in prayer. Because as excited as I get about education, workshops,and the like. The Lord has reminded me that this whole abusers in the church thing is, at it’s heart, a spiritual problem that has to be fought with spiritual weapons. I don’t dare tackle such a problem in my own strength. Pray for me if you think about it. I’ll let you know what I decide and how it goes.

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