The Feminisation of the Church?

That big meanie, Phil Johnson, sets us straight…

Pulpit Highlights – Phil Johnson from Grace Community Church on Vimeo.

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This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Edmo

    I’m not sure I agree with him. Actually, I think he might have some issues to deal with. He can’t seriously be equating weakness with femininity, can he? What then of Jesus’ compassion? He doesn’t seriously think sensitivity and empathy can’t coexist with masculinity, surely? What then when Jesus wept? I think he has undercooked his thinking in pursuit of a cheap laugh out of blokes who may find it easier to beat their chests instead of exercising their minds.

  2. David Ould

    Thanks djb and sarie.

    On reflection, I think the point you raise is a very good one. We want to affirm what it means to be feminine and Phil has, inadvertently, done the opposite in his attempt to maintain gender distinctions.

    I’m not sure how he should, then, better communicate his point. Any thoughts?

  3. Matt Jacobs


    I wonder if this is more relevant to the American Church. I read a book last year (‘revisiting relational youth ministry’ the author’s name has escaped my brain right now … I disagreed with a fair bit of what he said, mainly about the incarnation, but anyway…) about Youth Ministry that started off by charting the short history of Youth Ministry in America. The author gave a lot of insight into american evangelical culture, and his theory was that the main underlying goal of most evangelical youth ministry was to ‘protect’ young evangelicals from the big, bad, evil world out there. This introductory chapter really opened my brain’s understanding of a lot of the stuff that comes out of America.

    Also, is this more of a word against Saddleback/seeker services, or Joel Osteen, or the whole ‘christian p+w music’ genre, which is quite feminine?

  4. David Ould

    Thanks Edmo. I’m not sure he’s quite saying what you think. FWIW, (having read a lot of his material) I think when he speaks about being “weak” he does not have in mind what you refer to.

    However, this is part of a wider discussion amongst American evangelicals about “musculinity” in the churches in response to “feminisation”, part of which was kicked off by Driscoll and others. Perhaps we don’t know enough about the whole conversation. Perhaps he’s just wrong? wink

  5. djb

    A great pity to label the problem “feminisation”. Polarises people and forces them to choose between”feminine” and “masculine”, when the issues are far more complex. It’s not that the issues don’t exist – they do. But its almost impossible to identify them in the presence of such gross stereotyping.

  6. sarie King

    Hi David, though I understand what he is trying to do, I feel a very edgy about 2 things he does here in his choice of language.

    1. In his the use of ‘femininity’, ‘feminisation’, (which is a God given quality of the way God has designed woman as a ‘complement’ to man),he uses this word in a negative context. Femininity (as opposed to feminism) is a word & a quality that should be esteemed in the Evangelical world, by both men and women,as part of Christian womanhood, and not used derrogatively.

    2. I am not sure that it is helpful for him to use the word ‘feminisation’ as a descriptor for being weak, watered down and wishy washy with God’s Word. Again, because it’s implication that be doing so is in some way to be female or feminine, (as opposed to just not being true to scripture). We don’t want to associate being weak on the word with being womanly.

    Again, I understand what he’s trying to say, But don’t think the way he’s gone about it honours Complementarianism in the way that the scriptures depict the concept of femininity.

    I’m interested in your thoughts…

  7. Sarie King

    Yes, I had another listen and pondered your question. I think the guts of what he says is dead right, I am totally with him there.

    Certainly the influence of pop psychology, individualism and humanism have lead to a very consumeristic Christianity that objects to being challenged or made to ‘feel uncomfortable’ in any way, and especially from teachers of the Word.
    It’s more the fact that he needs a better analogy to express what he wants to say.
    Some analogies from Revelation quickly come to mind.

  8. djb

    Well, I heard him equate femininity with the inability to handle the Scripture with integrity.  Also, I am not soft or dainty and I look terrible in pastels. Not sure where that leaves me as a woman but also don’t think I want to help someone with such views communicate better.

  9. David Ould

    well djb, I think we should make sure we’re not equating a badly stated criticism with an actual position on what it means to be a woman.

    I think I’d rather generously view him as clumsy, than anything else.

  10. djb

    Yes, indeed, you are right. Not very generous of me at all – I’m fairly clumsy myself at times, which is why I rarely place myself anywhere near the frontline of this debate smile Better retreat.


  11. David Ould

    Please don’t retreat! no need for that!

  12. Edmo

    Hey no fair. When I made the point, you disagreed. When Sarie made the same point, you conceded.

    I’m off to have a blub in the corner.

  13. David Ould

    Thanks Deb.

    Yes, I think its part of the debate. I’m not yet convinced that it means groups such as the Mens’ Series are wrong- but the post you link to raises a good point about what gospel we’re preaching.

    Both and, I would suggest.

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