Exploring the biblical theology of Christian egalitarianism

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These words from influential pastor John Piper were posted on The Gospel Coalition (TGC) website on the 23rd of March 2015.

Not feeling loved and not being loved are not the same. Jesus loved all people well. And many did not like the way he loved them. Was David’s zeal for the Lord imbalanced because his wife Michal despised him for it? Was Job’s devotion to the Lord inordinate because his wife urged him to curse God and die? Would Gomer be a reliable witness to Hosea’s devotion? . . . I have seen so much emotional blackmail in my ministry I am jealous to raise a warning against it. Emotional blackmail happens when a person equates his or her emotional pain with another person’s failure to love. They aren’t the same. A person may love well and the beloved still feel hurt, and use the hurt to blackmail the lover into admitting guilt he or she does not have. Emotional blackmail says, ‘If I feel hurt by you, you are guilty.’  . . . His emotion has become judge and jury. Truth does not matter. . . I have seen it often in my three decades of ministry and I am eager to defend people who are being wrongly indicted by it.

This quotation is taken from comments John made back in 2008 in reference to the fact that A.W. Tozer’s wife said she enjoyed marriage to her second husband more than her marriage to Tozer. Part of the quotation was also used in another blog post on TGC website here. It seems the people at TGC really like these words as some of them have been used in TGC blogs by Justin Taylor, Ray Ortlund, and now Jared Wilson. (Ray Ortlund even included them in a book.)

But I find a few things disturbing in John Piper’s words.

First, John uses the examples of three women in the Bible who, for various reasons, had a problem with the godly zeal and devotion of their husbands. These three women—Michal, Job’s wife, and Gomer—are presented in a negative light in the Bible, and John compares their negative attitudes, words, and actions with the feelings of a woman who he admits he doesn’t know, Tozer’s widow.

The statement I have the biggest problem with, however, is this reference to Tozer’s widow: “… the assumption that her feeling unloved equals her being unloved creates the atmosphere where emotional blackmail flourishes.”

This is unfair. Why not believe her when she says she felt loved by her second husband, with the implication that she didn’t feel loved, or as loved, by Tozer. Why cast it as an “assumption”? And why attach her feelings to the issue of emotional blackmail? Thankfully, Tozer’s widow, who died in 1987, doesn’t have to deal personally with John Piper’s insinuation.

It is disrespectful for John Piper to have used Tozer’s widow to explain “emotional blackmail.” But there is more to this quotation.

He suddenly makes it personal and talks passionately about the emotional blackmail he claims he has often seen in his ministry. (I have omitted some of his more inflammatory statements from the comments quoted above.)

John believes that some church members have wrongly assumed that he and other ministers have hurt them, when in fact they have loved them. He asserts that some hurting church members failed to feel the love of their pastors and then resorted to emotional blackmail.

I know of people who have been hurt by pastors. This usually occurs when people have unrealistic expectations of their ministers. Yet these expectations are usually reinforced from the pulpit or by church culture, or both. When pastors allow the perception that they are powerful people with a better or deeper spiritual understanding, maturity, or capacity than other church members, or when pastors accept accolades to that effect, then some church members will expect more than what pastors can actually give. Some members may even expect to be loved in such a way that they will feel loved.

To some extent I agree with John that “a person may love well and the beloved still feel hurt,” but what concerns me the most about his words is that John never admits that there were times when he failed to love well. He puts all the blame and guilt on those who have felt hurt.

Being a pastor can be a very difficult role, and there are times when pastors need protection. But John seems intent on protecting himself and his fellow shepherds at the expense of his fellow sheep. To protect A.W. Tozer’s reputation, he maligns his widow. To protect his fellow shepherds who have been emotionally blackmailed, he puts all the blame on the sheep. Surely there must be a way of supporting and caring for the shepherds without resorting to unhelpful and uncaring insinuations against fellow Christians.

I am sorry for the Christians who have unwisely expected too much from their pastors and have been disappointed and hurt. I hope that they will not take John’s unsympathetic words to heart, words that don’t seem far removed from emotional blackmail.

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Articles on Bible women who were more spiritually astute than their husbands: Samson’s motherAbigail, and others.

47 thoughts on “John Piper and Emotional Blackmail

  1. I’d say that much of the hierarchical teachings hold a certain blackmail element for women. If they don’t comply with both the comp teachings and the men in their lives, they are sinning against God. That is a sort of blackmail.

  2. Well, I should say rather that they are considered to be sinning and treated with shunning, condemnation, mockery, rejection and so forth. That is a type of emotional and social blackmail.

    1. I’ve noticed that too. Rather than just discussing our different perspectives and scriptural interpretations, some Christians make personal judgements and say horrible things. Some of the loudest objectors to Christian egalitarianism (and some of the loudest objectors to hierarchical complementarianism) sound the least gracious and least loving.

      1. I wonder whether the 6 Tozer children may have been able to comment here. It is well known they all followed the Lord………which is a testimony in some respects to both parents. Also Ada continued to follow the Lord with her new husband. It strikes me as if none of the Tozer household were embittered towards the Lord through living with him.

        1. According to Lyle Dorsett’s bio on Tozer, A Passion for God, the Tozer children all portrayed A.W. as kind, he regularly took them on nature walks complete with talks on the birds, trees and plant life in nearby parks; he took them all target shooting and played catch with the boys; he taught them to read books, ask questions and think critically; and he taught them they could achieve whatever they set their minds to do as long as they worked hard. They learned these life lessons well. Dorsett writes that all seven children became solid Christians and succeeded in their chosen endeavors.

          Dorsett also reports that A.W.’s wife Ada was prone to extreme rages and blamed fifth son Rolland for weight she was unable to lose after his birth. She repeatedly singled him out for punishments, striking him with sticks until they broke and directing A.W. to deliver beatings to the young boy. This sad episode has a silver-lining supplied by A.W. himself. In Rolland’s words:

          “My father knew my mother’s rages were extreme. Therefore, when he came home from the office, and I had been bad, she told him to take me to the basement and give me a good thrashing. He would then take me to the basement and close the door. Then he would say: ‘Each time I hit the step with my hand, you let out a moan or cry.’ After five or six swats he would then take me by the shoulders and say, ‘Now you get upstairs and be good from now on.'”

  3. Apparently, John Piper knows whether or not A. W. Tozer was a loving husband better than his widow did. What amazing insight!

    1. In one of the quotes he explains this a bit more fully, and says that maybe Tozer’s widow wasn’t like the three Bible women he’d just used as examples. However he has already tainted her by association. The damage is already done.

  4. But honestly, I read the Gospel Coalition article and I am confused by Piper’s response. I don’t see the connection at all between the rather dignified comments of Tozer’s widow (and the writer’s words) and Pipers semi-rant about emotional blackmail. Perhaps there was something more inflammatory in the book that didn’t come out in the article that launched it?

    1. I edited out some of the words of the quote because they were rambling and unhelpful. I don’t understand why others at TGC have chosen to use it.

  5. I read Piper’s and Taylor’s article as well as this one. I think Piper is making a valid point, but I find it too one-sided in its presentation, as you point out and also unfair to Mrs. Tozer in the implied comparison. Taylor at least says Tozer was sinful.

    Given Piper’s sexism and 7 point Calvinism (his claim), I am sure he has had to come up with defense mechanisms to deflect such accusations. He can claim, for example, “I AM loving you by giving you a hard truth, women should do X and cannot do Y and be faithful to God.”

    I like the way Cloud/Townsend discuss this area of emotions in Boundaries, which I find more balanced. One listens to the emotions of others, does not deny the reality of those emotions to others, and should always lead with grace before truth. Leading with grace may say, for example, “I acknowledge the pain you felt when I did X. I love you and want the best for you.”

    1. Don, I know of pastors who have had to deal with hurt people. It seems to be an occupational hazard. And sometimes it really isn’t the pastor’s fault. But I think John’s words do nothing to help the situation, and it sounds uncaring to me.

      I think you are right. He is deflecting, rather than acknowledging. There is no growth or healing for either party when this happens. And growth and healing is what we want as Christians becoming more like Jesus.

  6. This is a relatively unfair article. In the original quote given in 2008, John Piper says repeatedly that Lucas might be right. He’s simply saying that not feeling loved is not the same as not being loved. Is he wrong? You’re apparent problem with him (in this area) is what he doesn’t say. The irony here is uncanny. There’s clearly a lot that you’re not saying. What of the veracity of his words? Having been guilty of emotional blackmail in the past, I know firsthand the damage it can cause. Moreover, his use of the wives of David, Job, and the like are all meant to serve as illustrations – hyperbole, if you will. He’s simply giving examples of when failure to feel loved does not mean a failure to be loved. The original posting of this quote is very enlightening. It’s been somewhat taken out of context. What’s more is that you can’t deride the likes of TGC and its contributors, proponents, and members on this basis. For example, Justin Taylor is simply providing the quotes at face value. He has three quotes on the apparent duplicity of Tozer’s life side by side, without any commentary from himself on the matter. My main point is that John Piper never intended (in this quote) to cover the cases where not feeling loved actually is a result of not being loved, and it is thus wrong to fault him for what he does not say. He’s said many other things elsewhere, and just like you would likely not appreciate being reduced to something you said once somewhere, or worse yet, what you didn’t say, I believe it’s unfair to do this to him. He’s simply providing his two cents, and I see nothing wrong with his words, especially in light of his admissions and disclaimers.

    God bless!

    1. Lucas was right because he quoted Tozer’s widow. But still John chose to associate her with three misguided women. This is very unfair.

      I have not derided TGC. I have merely provided the information that the quotation has been used several times, which indicates that the people at TGC like the quotation. I have said nothing bad about Justin Taylor or the others.

      I agree with you; my biggest problem is what John doesn’t say. Because of this omission, however, the quote seems very unfair to the many who have been genuinely hurt by pastors simply because pastors are human beings and fail sometimes.

      I do think what Piper says (in all forms of the quote) has been done to protect the shepherd at the expense of the sheep. This is not the attitude or action of a good shepherd (John 10:11ff).

    2. Alexis, There are some situations in which what one does NOT say is absolutely pertinent. In Piper’s case, there are many. He speaks against emotional blackmail, but uses it himself all the time. Like Tim suggested it’s usually in the form “I did X but you didn’t get what I meant when I did X”. Of course he doesn’t reference that in THIS piece – he doesn’t recognise that what he is saying/doing amounts to emotional blackmail – so how can he?

  7. If a person says “It hurts me when you do X” and it turns out you didn’t do X, then it’s ok to guide the person away from their misunderstanding if possible. It should be done gently, of course, but there is no prohibition on making the attempt.

    But if the response is not “I didn’t do X” but rather “I did X but you didn’t get what I meant when I did X”, then the proper course of conduct is not to conclude with “Therefore you are at fault for faulting me.” The proper course is to say “I could have done better. Help me to understand so I avoid hurting anyone else.”

    1. Yes, there is no apology or admission of any guilt. There seems to be no sorrow that people have been hurt, rightly or wrongly. There is only defensiveness, which I actually understand, but John seems to feel that the defensiveness is an okay response. I don’t think it is okay.

  8. One of the worse excuses I have ever been given was “I am sorry that you got hurt by what I said because it wasn’t meant to hurt you.” What kind of an apology was that!! He was sorry enough to feel bad that I was wrong! It was all my fault, not his.

    I haven’t had a loving thought about John Piper in years, forgive me. Nothing he has done has helped me want to change my view. This message from him has not helped. (I continue to pray about it.)

    1. I don’t think John is apologizing. 🙁
      He is deflecting and blaming.

  9. Hi Marg, I find Piper’s quote very disturbing. I hope I can express why. We have going on in this state a royal commission into institutional response to allegations of child sexual assault. Time and time again it has been revealed that the leader/leaders of an institution have ignored complaints of misconduct and assault by those under their care. There has been a complete failure on the part of these leaders to deal appropriately with complaints. So is it me or is Piper saying the arbitrator of the truth about a complaint rests with the pastor (ie the person with the power)? What we need is a change of culture about how leaders deal with complaints. I don’t have any suggestions here, but it seems to me that Piper’s quote seems to be entrenching a culture that needs reforming.

    1. We absolutely need to change the culture of how leaders handle complaints! Excellent point, Lyn.

  10. “If I feel hurt by you, you are guilty.’ . . . His (he means her) emotion has become judge and jury. Truth does not matter. . . I have seen it often in my three decades of ministry.”

    This is a bold statement when it is obvious that no one knows for sure who is telling the truth. Anyone can say anything. He is assuming that his version of hearing the evidence is the only correct version…and this suggests to me that he comes to ministry with his mind made up and with preconceived bias.

    It is a far more difficult thing to analyze a relationship than this pop psychology type of analysis. There are many reasons that Tozer’s wife was happier in her second marriage…perhaps they had more in common or we just more suited to one another. Perhaps Tozer was just too busy for his family. This is very common in any marriage and one can be happy with a busy spouse if one is not depending on that spouse to ‘MAKE YOU HAPPY’…that is too much to put on anyone. I learned long ago that my happiness was MY responsibility, not my husband’s. If he wanted to work to make me happy, fine, if not, fine. The rest is up to me…No one should expect another person to MAKE THEM happy. So if the truth is known, there should be no such thing as ’emotional blackmail’…just ‘get over it’ and find out what you can do to make your life worth living, with or without the constant presence and devotion of your spouse…He should not allow the idea of emotional blackmail to enter the equation at all.

    1. I agree. Casting blame and using emotional blackmail solves nothing.

  11. I attended a reformed church meeting last Sunday night (we were just visiting) wherein the very young (late 20s) preacher made a very condescending comment about how ‘us pastors’ have to deal with people coming to them who are angry with God for situations which are actually the fault of the congregant. The patronising manner with which he made this comment coupled with the fact that he had only been in the church for 10 years and a pastor for less than 2 illustrated to me that he had learned his attitude from the men around him.

    Actually his whole message was saturated with sarcasm, not a preaching tool I feel and designed to alienate people – especially visitors.

    Having also spent many years in a patriachal church which blamed the congregation for everything that went wrong in it (yet the church itself was a controlling cult) I am very sensitive to this kind of subtle form of emotional blackmail.

    It always amazes me how many of these types of churches seem to produce young men with narcissistic character traits and a pervading belief that they are never in the wrong. And I am not just referring to the leaders. I fear for the young women in these churches who grow up believing it’s their job to keep their husband’s happy.

    One wife I used to know would almost have a melt down if she did not have freshly baked bread in the house every day. Her husband would be very upset if he had to eat day old bread. He also used to get upset if any other woman served him shop bought biscuits and had not made his morning tea with her own fair hands.

    I know I kind of went off topic, but these are the kinds of things which end up materialising if men like this are allowed to continue on intimidating their wives and sisters in the Lord.

    1. There is a church culture where pastors are seen as heroes and celebrities rather than as servants. Some pastors imbibe this culture and they can seem narcissistic. It is a worrying dynamic.

      Also, there is often an unhealthy distinction made between pastors and the rest of the church. But pastors are human beings just like the rest of us, even though we all have different, important functions.

      1. Pastors as heroes…yes, it kind of fits the idea that they are legends in their own minds…When a visiting pastor told us how he longs for the minister’s weeks of prayer so he could have GOOD fellowship, I just had to sarcastically respond “Oh how unfortunate that you can’t have fellowship with your congregants” because that is exactly what he was saying. He was incapable of ‘seeing’ his congregation as fellow believers but rather as inferiors with whom he had nothing in common….this disgusted me so that I left that church…after a number of other equally disgusting proofs that this was an abusive organization where women, especially, were treated like nothings. So glad to be free from this kind of man.

  12. p.s. if you think I rushed to judgment…this journey above took 30 years…

  13. I’ve been reading a great deal on John Macarthur’s church and the many hurt people who have left citing abusive treatment and intolerance of dissent or criticism. Apparently, he also has armed guards in his meetings who quickly escort dissenters out the door. They are told not to come back.

    I am not sure if ‘this kind of man’ is ever going to go away, and in many cases they run huge empires and set themselves up as untouchable.

    I am tired of listening to sarcasm used as a weapon against anyone who doesn’t agree with their theology and sweeping statements against the rest of the body of Christ whom they do not even see as being saved. Macarthur’s recent ‘if you are not Reformed right now you are basically irrelevant’ is pretty damning, both of himself and the subjects of his damnation.

    In my view these men are like the prodigal’s older brother. Regardless of the prodigal’s repentance and reconciliation with his father, the older brother, who believes he knows so much better, is dismissive, cold, critical and uninterested. He will not rejoice in his brother’s humility and repentance, he sends the servants to find out what happened to baby brother and then complains to his father that he is being too generous to the reprobate.

    We have to stop dividing the body of Christ into complementarians and ‘not, reformed and ‘not’, male and ‘not’ and so on.

    I have spent many decades, like Judy, on the receiving end of this kind of barbarity. It destroys hope and makes you despair of ever seeing the body of Christ operating as it should.

    I am convinced if we could find that unity in Christ, through the Holy Spirit, and others saw it, they would be saved just through that one testimony, as Jesus prayed.

  14. I don’t know why anyone listens to Piper in the first placed. He’s been preaching heresy for years, and he certainly doesn’t have a gift for speaking. He has a gift for boring, scattered, hard-to-follow (ie: pointless) “sermons” based on misinterpreted scriptures, and not much else. I really, really don’t understand the fascination with him.

    1. I actually appreciate some things he says. I have his book “The Supremacy of God in Preaching” in which John makes some excellent points. But I think he might object to the fact that a woman is reading his book to, hopefully, enhance her preaching. 😉

      1. Delightful comment ☺

  15. I read these posts with great interest. Having read Carolyn Custis James’ Half the Church a few years ago, I began see clearly for the first time what I’ve been struggling with and against for nearly three decades in a Reformed, culturally conservative denomination. I am weary of trying to get male leaders (e.g. pastors and elders) to see how often they are dismissive, or worse yet, give patronizing recognition to women. If John Piper wrote his article with a mind to be a strident advocate for women, just think of how his tone and examples would need to change? It’s so easy for white, Reformed men who hold to complementarian views to mindlessly ignore half the church through their illustrations and actions. I believe their actions and words are particularly egregious because they hold all the power and voice, and yet they’re unwilling to be held accountable to the weakest members of the church (often the women). Articles such as Piper’s are proof to me that he, like so many others, are unwilling to loosen their grip on the power they hold over many.

    1. Thanks for your articulate comment, Jan.

      It does seem to me that complementarianism is about maintaining power, control, and a fixed male hierarchy, rather than encouraging the gifts that God has entrusted to individual men and women, gifts that are to be used in marriage and in the church. Hierarchical complementarianism can be such an unhealthy system.

      1. Marg…you are so right. H.C. is oh so unhealthy for women! But it is also dangerous for the men who blythely continue in their self-service and self-focus, not realizing how unlike Christ they are.

        I will never forget the day when a visiting pastor mentioned that pastors are to be servants! well! …after 35 years, our pastor, on hearing this, took up the vacuum cleaner FOR THE FIRST TIME…we all ran into the kitchen and had a good QUIET laugh…he had never lifted a finger to help anyone before that. In fact he believed his only calling was to study and preach…the women had to be the only cleaners…and no remuneration either…(I am long gone from there!)

        For women there is only one solution: avoid these churches and these men and leave them to God to either convict or judge. Life is too short to waste on dealing with their incapacity to understand the message of the Bible. That is SOLELY the work of the Spirit of God.

  16. I think Piper is clear about what he intended to express when he says, in the beginning of the quote: “Lucas may be right to infer from this sentence that Tozer loved his wife poorly”. He brings the attention to a point that is realy misunderstood, that is the emotional blackmail. If the reputation of the Tozer’s wife is damaged as a consequence, it is not the intention of him. He intend to say that her words (that she choosed say publicly before) is not a prove that Tozer did not love her.

    1. I agree that John’s intent is clearly expressed. It’s a pity he chose to disparage Tozer’s widow in the process.

  17. “Yet, in his original quote, John compares the feelings of a woman he doesn’t know (the widow of A.W. Tozer) with the misguided attitudes, words, and actions of Michal, Job’s wife, and Gomer. This is unfair, to say the least. Thankfully, Tozer’s widow, who died in 1987, doesn’t have to deal personally with John Piper’s insinuation.”

    I think you have misunderstood Piper’s illustration and that misunderstanding has formed the basis for your whole piece. Making a point about one subject does not mean you are “comparing” it to the subject being discussed. Piper’s mention of Michal, Job’s wife and Gomer is not a de facto “comparison” to Tozer’s wife. He is describing a real principle of which they are Biblical examples. Mrs. Tozer’s comments may be the backdrop of the conversation but Piper never says she is an example of “emotional blackmail.” He might be implying this as a possibility. And it certainly is. That’s reasonable.

    But you insist that Piper has “resorted to unhelpful and uncaring insinuations against other Christians.”

    Not at all. He has illustrated something that is very true and happens regularly. You even insinuate emotional blackmail is happening…by Piper. Is that unhelpful and uncaring?

    You continue…
    “John believes that some church members have wrongly assumed that he and other ministers have hurt them, when in fact they have loved them.”

    And John is correct about this. Some church members DO wrongly assume this. Again this is true and reasonable. But you insist that Piper “puts all the blame and guilt on those who have felt hurt.”

    I can’t find where he does this at all. Where does he say all blame and guilt belong to those who felt hurt? You even agree with him that “A person may love well and the beloved still feel hurt.” So if you agree with him, then are you “putting ALL the blame and guild on those who have felt hurt”? This seems contradictory.

    Then your final accusation…
    “John seems intent on protecting himself and his fellow shepherds at the expense of his fellow sheep. To protect A.W. Tozer’ reputation, he maligns his widow.”

    Talk about unhelpful and uncaring. This is about as “maligning” as it gets. What a serious charge for someone who has accurately explained emotional blackmail. Which is no different from the charge you yourself made about him.

    Perhaps maligning is wrong for him but not for you. ?

    1. Hi Brent,

      It is true that some people in a congregation may misunderstand a pastor’s actions and motives, and be hurt due to their own misunderstanding or unrealistic expectations. But surely Piper can make this point without bringing an innocent person down.

      Furthermore, comparing a hurt congregant with a wife is unjust. There is a huge difference between the relationship of a pastor with his or her fellow congregants, and the intimate and exclusive relationship between husband and wife.

      If Ada Cecelia Tozer Odam states that she was loved better by her second husband, I think we should believe her and not suggest the fault was with her perception. I think what Piper has said about Tozer’s widow, and the way he has used her as an example to make his point, is utterly disrespectful.

      I stand by my observations of John Piper’s comments. Someone with his experience and influence should know better and be more careful when using a real person, relatively recently deceased (1987), in illustrations.

      1. I went and actually read Piper’s full statement on the TGC blog. WOW does it enlighten! No fewer than EIGHT times in his statement, Piper makes it abundantly clear he is not accusing or disrespecting Tozer’s wife. Only someone with an agenda could think otherwise. Here are those statements which you conveniently ignored:

        ”Lucas may be right to infer from this sentence that Tozer loved his wife poorly. But Tozer’s wife’s statement does not prove it.”

        “… I know nothing about Tozer’s wife. She may have been far more godly than he. Or maybe not. It would be helpful to know.
        Again I admit Lucas may be totally right. Tozer may have blown it at home. Lucas’ lessons from this possibility are wise.”

        “I am not saying Tozer’s wife did this. I am saying that the assumption that her feeling unloved equals her being unloved creates the atmosphere where emotional blackmail flourishes.”

        “Maybe Tozer loved his wife poorly. But his wife’s superior happiness with another man does not show it.”

        Piper’s FULL statement clearly indicate you have cherry picked his comments and falsely accused him. You demonstrate the very emotional blackmail he describes. That is very wrong. You should pray about it.

        1. Eight times he mentions Tozer’s deceased widow to make his point. Several of these quotes cast doubts on her truthfulness.

          “But Tozer’s wife’s statement does not prove it.” (In other words, her statement is not necessarily an accurate or truthful account.)

          “She may have been far more godly than he. Or maybe not. It would be helpful to know.” (Piper wants more information before he will believe her.)

          “I am saying that the assumption that her feeling unloved . . .” (Piper reduces her statement to an assumption.)

          “Maybe Tozer loved his wife poorly. . . ” (His widow states that there was something lacking in her husband’s love for her, but Piper questions this with the use of the word “maybe”.)

          Clearly, you do not see the disrespect in the statements you have quoted, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist.

          I also do not think you understand the concept of emotional blackmail. I am not controlling anyone, let alone using guilt, which is a feature of emotional blackmail. My critique of John Piper’s statements is straightforward and has no ulterior motive.

  18. A perfect book to go with this blog is:

    House on Fire: Revival Begins in the House
    By Antonio Baldovinos, Christelle Baldovinos

    In it there is an analysis of many great Christian leaders and their marriages, ending with the marriage of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards that was so very happy and why. Their happy and holy marriage was extremely PRODUCTIVE not only in the massive number of great men and women they produced but also in the over 100 writings THEY produced.

    A simple verse says it all “It is more blessed to give than to receive”…Acts 20:35. This fits in with Ephesians 5:21 “Submit yourselves ONE TO ANOTHER, in the fear of God”.

    The writers seem to conclude that God gave marriage, perhaps more to make us holy than to make us happy. We are meant to care for each other like we care for our own bodies. We are meant to live for those we chose as partners, not for ourselves. “The more we live for God the more we pursue God the more our hearts grow for each other”…

    Tozer advised his wife to marry her second husband while Tozer was still alive. He was a mutual friend. This is not mentioned a lot is it! Perhaps this man had kept the Tozer marriage alive by being the ‘safety valve’ that protected the self-absorbed Tozer (while God absorbed this can be done in a self-absorbed way or it can be SHARED with a spouse as Jonathan Edwards did. I loved reading Tozer but it bothers me that he felt unable to share his love of God intellectually and spiritually with his wife. It seems he was unable to see her as his equal and could not have, therefore, spiritual communion with her as he worshipped God. His was, not doubt, a Complementarian view of his wife. This is why it is so wrong! Edwards saw his wife as his equal in every way and they shared spiritual communion throughout their marriage.

  19. The issue is this…when men have their identity in their gender and not in Christ, they will look down on women. When women have their identity in being a woman and not in Christ, they look down upon the clearly different roles GOD has created for men and women. Neither role is of greater esteem, both are equally needed. Our identity should be in Christ. Same with pastors…if that is their identity, they look down on the flock.

    1. That is a great comment, RJ. Our primary identity is that we are “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:16ff).

      Men and women have many roles (and relationships) in life, however; not one. And these roles can change over time depending on our situation. Furthermore, very few of these roles have much to do with gender. Now that I am well past child-bearing age, most of my roles have to do with abilities that are not related to my sex. A capable man could do what I do just as easily.

  20. “She may have been far more godly than he”
    “Tozer may have blown it at home. Lucas’ lessons from this possibility are wise.”
    “Maybe Tozer loved his wife poorly.”

    Your defamatory article towards a man of God seems to leave out his humble admissions that he does not claim to know the truth in this situation.

    1. But it’s okay to slander a woman of God, Tozer’s wife, and use her as an example even when John Piper admits he doesn’t know the facts?

      I’m still dismayed by Piper’s decision to use Tozer’s wife as such an example. It was poor judgement on his part.

      1. If he was slandering her, then obviously no, that would not be acceptable. But you literally, unquestionably are slandering him. And he was simply pointing out an obvious possibility. I feel like you just want to get reactions from people like me.

        1. Slander is when someone makes comments about a person that are false. I have not done this.

          I have described John’s words as unsympathetic, this hardly warrants the label of “slander” and I stand by that description. His words are unsympathetic.

          Furthermore, I remain dismayed that John Piper chose to use the widow of Tozer as an example of someone who “may” have engaged in emotional blackmail. It was totally unnecessary for him to call into question her character. You may be ascribing slander to the wrong person.

        2. Jonathan, I am not interested in reactions. And who are “people like you”? I don’t know you.

          I’m interested in facts. What statement in my article slanders John Piper; that is, which statement is factually incorrect?

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