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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Egalitarianism to Blame for Sexual Assault of Women, Says John Piper

men protect womenMy point in that article [Do Men Owe Women a Special Kind of Care?] and in this podcast is that the egalitarian assumptions in our culture, and to a huge degree in the church, have muted — silenced, nullified — one of the means that God has designed for the protection and the flourishing of women. It has silenced the idea that men as men — by virtue of their created, God-given maleness, apart from any practical competencies that they have or don’t have — men have special responsibilities to care for and protect and honor women. This call is different from the care and protection and honor that women owe men. That’s my thesis. That’s my point.

Now, it seems to me that for decades Christian and non-Christian egalitarians have argued, have assumed, and have modeled that those peculiar roles and responsibilities among men and women in the home, in the church, and in the culture should emerge only from competencies rather than from a deeper reality rooted in who we are differently as male and female.

Let me put it another way. If your nine-year-old son asks you, “Daddy, what does it mean to grow up and be a man and not a woman?” — or if your daughter asks, “Mommy, what does it mean to grow up and be a woman and not a man?” — it won’t do to answer, “What it means is that when you grow up, you will have maturity and wisdom and courage and sacrifice and humility and patience and kindness and strength and self-control and purity and faith and hope and love, etc.” That doesn’t answer the question. Those traits are absolutely right, but they belong to both men and women.

The question was “What does it mean to grow up and be a man and not a woman?” And “What does it mean to grow up and be a woman and not a man?” “Is there, Mommy and Daddy, a God-given, profound, beautiful meaning to manhood and womanhood?”

The kids don’t say it like that, but that’s what they want to know eventually: is there a difference beyond mere anatomy? Are there built-in responsibilities that I have simply because I’m a male or a female human being. There is a pervasive egalitarian disinclination to say yes to that question. The egalitarian inclination is to define all our relationships by competencies. And my suggestion or my contention is this is hurting us.


This refusal to answer that question or be burdened by it is hurting us. It confuses everyone, especially the children. This confusion is hurting people.

It has moved way beyond confusion. It’s a firm conviction of most of our egalitarian culture that men as men do not owe women a special kind of care and protection and honor that women do not owe men. I believe they do. I believe fifty years of denying it is one of the seeds bearing very bad fruit, including all those sexual abuses you talked about in your question. There are others seeds in our culture, but this is one of the seeds.


My point in this podcast is that this divine design for men as men to show a special care, protection, and honor to women is essential for good — for the good of families, churches, society, and for women in particular.

Millions of people in our day would rather sacrifice this peculiar biblical mandate given for the good of women. They would rather sacrifice it than betray any hint of compromise with egalitarian assumptions. What I’m arguing is that we have forfeited both a great, God-ordained restraint upon male vice and male power and a great, God-ordained incentive for male valor because we refuse to even think in terms of maleness and femaleness as they are created by God, carrying distinct and unique responsibilities and burdens.

We have put our hope in the myth that the summons to generic human virtue, with no attention to the peculiar virtues required of manhood and womanhood, would be sufficient to create a beautiful society of mutual respect. It isn’t working.

Men need to be taught from the time they are little boys that part of their manhood is to feel a special responsibility for the care and protection and honoring of women just because they are men.

— John Piper, Desiring God, Sex-Abuse Allegations and the Egalitarian Myth, March 16, 2018


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    Ah, another person (I’m thinking of Lori Alexander) who labours under the delusion that women will be safe from harm if they only stay at home. Look at the stats: MOST abuse of women and also of children takes place within the home, the place where we should all (regardless of gender) feel safest.

    Long before “egalitarianism” had become quite popular, my grandfather was habitually assaulting my grandmother in the comfort of their house. The neighbours knew it was happening, so did the police. The attitude (inc that of the police) was “It’s probably six of one and half a dozen of the other.” This was in the 1930s and our family is still living with the damaging effects of that abuse. There have ALWAYS been men who behave appallingly.

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    I could barely get through Piper’s statements here without vomiting all over myself. No, Mr. Piper, part of the problem is teaching men that they are powerful and dominant and teaching women they are to be submissive and helpless. That they are “created” to be that way.

    Of course you preach so hard about this – you are in the dominant position and feel threatened by us egalitarians. I have sat in the seat of one hearing again and again that I am lesser, that my analytical mind would have been better suited in a male body, that I have no power or agency outside of a dominant man. You have no idea what psychological impact that has on girls and women. Or you do and you want it that way.

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    Or… We could just teach all children to behave like decent human beings to all other human beings, and start by modeling that very behavior ourselves. I know, that’s a radical concept that would no longer allow people like you, Mr. Piper, to lord it over individuals you actually consider lesser than yourself, but it’s something that might actually work to better society.

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    I’ve got nothing.

    Well, there are some very creative insults I’d like to hurl Mr Pipers way. There are reams of data I’d love to shove in his orrifices. There are paragraphs and pages of logic and reason as to why he is so tragically wrong.

    But short and pithy – nope. In the face of that much wrong all I can do is say I’m very glad this next generation has already decided that Piper and his ilk have no power over them.

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