“The Frank And Manly Mr. Ryle”: The Value Of A Masculine Ministry -- By: John Piper

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 17:1 (Spring 2012)
Article: “The Frank And Manly Mr. Ryle”: The Value Of A Masculine Ministry
Author: John Piper


“The Frank And Manly Mr. Ryle”:
The Value Of A Masculine Ministry1

John Piper

Pastor for Preaching and Vision
Bethlehem Baptist Church
Minneapolis, Minnesota

In dealing with the life and ministry of John Charles Ryle, my hope is to clarify and commend what I mean by the value of a masculine ministry. But before we turn to “the frank and manly Mr. Ryle,”2 let me make some clarifying comments from the Bible.

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 (Gen 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 Tim 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 (Eph 5:22-33).

Masculine Christianity

From all of this, I conclude that God has given Christianity a masculine feel. And, being a God of love, he has done it for the maximum flourishing of men and women. 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. She is a fellow heir of the grace of life (1 Pet 3:7), from which I infer that the fullest flourishing of women and men takes place in churches and families where Christianity has this God-ordained, masculine feel. For the sake of the glory of women, and for the sake of the security and joy of children, God has made Christianity to have a masculine feel. He has ordained for the church a masculine ministry.

And, of course, this is liable to serious misunderstanding and serious abuse, because there are views of masculinity that would make such a vision repulsive. So here is more precisely what I mean. And words are always inadequate when describing beauty. Beauty always thrives best when she is perceived by God-given instincts rather than by rational definitions. But we must try. What I mean by “masculine Christianity,” or “masculine ministry,” or “Christianity with a masculine feel,” is this:

Theology and church and mis...

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