Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Ultimate Meaning of True Womanhood

votwm_book You may have noticed on my sidebar that I am reading “Voices of the True Woman Movement, A Call to the Counter-Revolution.”  I agreed with Revive Our Hearts to review each chapter of this book on my blog.  In exchange, they sent me the book for free. 

I have been listening to the Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss radio program via podcast since I was married.  I really appreciate that Nancy advocates a counter-cultural revolution, calling women to Biblical womanhood in opposition to the feminist movement.

The first chapter was written by John Piper and is entitled The Ultimate Meaning of True Womanhood.  Let me preface this review by stating that I do not agree with John Piper on at least one fundamental doctrine.  That said, I tried to be very objective when reading this chapter and just evaluate what he said on this topic.

Mr. Piper’s basic theme was that “wimpy theology makes for wimpy women.”  He goes on to give a definition of the ultimate purpose for the universe:

“God’s ultimate purpose for the universe and for all of history and for your life is to display the glory of Christ in its highest expression, namely, in His dying to make a rebellious people His everlasting and supremely happy bride.”

This may sound good, but I have several issues with his statement (which was repeated many times in the chapter, even a little too often perhaps).  It’s true that Christ’s death on the cross was a pivotal point in history.  It was the culmination of the faith of Old Testament saints based on the prophecies & promises of God.  It provides the means of reconciliation for all mankind to God.  But to define God’s “ultimate purpose for the universe” based solely upon the cross leaves the Christian powerless. The resurrection three days later is what offers us the power to live a new life of victory over sin.  I think that Mr. Piper over emphasizes the cross to the neglect of the resurrection in this chapter.

The second problem I see with Mr. Piper’s statement is that God’s ultimate purpose is to make us a “supremely happy bride.”  While it is true that God wants us to be happy, that is certainly not His ultimate purpose.  He wants us to be Christlike.  He wants to present before God the Father a bride (the Church) not having wrinkle or spot.  The purpose of His death was to reconcile us to Himself.  In another place Mr. Piper says that God wants to have a “happy, admiring bride.”  Again, the statement is true, but the loving bride does so much more than admire her husband.  She lives to please him, she communicates with him, she works alongside him.  The ultimate purpose for true women is certainly more than admiring the Lord (though we most definitely should be admiring Him).

In summary, I believe that God’s ultimate purpose is to bring glory to Himself.  He was glorified in the cross, and through the redemption of His people.  He was glorified in the resurrection.  He is glorified when we are Christlike.  He is glorified when we admire Him.  Everything He does in this world is to bring glory to Himself. 

Having dissected Mr. Piper’s definition, let me also say that I appreciated his approach to the rest of the chapter.  Mr. Piper addressed true womanhood first to the married woman, and second to the single woman.  I thought this was very good, because “true womanhood” expresses itself differently in married women & single women.

Many of the Biblical descriptions of godly womanhood, or the instructions to women, center around the wife and mother.  However, some women will never experience matrimony, and some married women might not have children (in God’s sovereign plan).  Sometimes I think that we focus so much on the wife and mother than we neglect single women.  These women can still fulfill God’s design for true womanhood, and Mr. Piper made that clear.

2 comments:

  1. First I want to say that I like how you balance some positive with the criticism! I would also just like to add that Piper said according the quote above "God’s ultimate purpose for the universe and for all of history and for your life is to display the glory of Christ." He said this before the part about happy. To jump over that I think gives a different meaning to what he was saying. Thanks for being willing to read critically and share your process!

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  2. Well written and way to go to back up your point. I look forward to reading the next post, before I get the book.

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