This last week I’ve been writing about the fear of confronting sin by women in the form of abortion. But the fear of confronting sin by women is pervasive, and therefore twists nearly all modern teaching on women and sin. It doesn’t just show up with regard to abortion, it shows up with women’s discontentment in marriage, women envying and usurping men’s roles, wives denying sex, and wives usurping headship. And of course, it also twists modern teaching on women and sexual sin.
At Dr. John Piper’s Desiring God, Pastor Matt Chandler describes a traumatic experience where he tricked an unrepentant adulteress into attending church, only to have the pastor teach that sexual sin is ugly.
My freshman year of college I randomly sat next to a twenty six year old single mother…
Me and some of my crew would go over to her house and babysit her daughter. She was actually in an extramarital affair at the time with a married man, and so we would talk through that and the wisdom in that. This is the relationship we had, just kind of serving her and trying to explain to her spiritual things…
And so I said a good friend of mine is in a band, he is playing, why don’t you come hear him. And so she agreed, she thought it would be a concert. I knew better, it was shady, it was excellent.
The music was excellent, but during the sermon the pastor preached on the ugliness of fornication and adultery; this made the woman Chandler had tricked into attending uncomfortable.
Clearly this traumatic experience has impacted the way Pastor Chandler teaches about sexual immorality. When discussing sexual sin, Chandler is careful to frame women’s sin as caused by a man. Just like women are victims of the abortionist they pay to kill their unborn child, they are the victim of the men they seek out for illicit sex. In his sermon Women’s Purpose Chandler speaks to single mothers:
…maybe, God help you, you got involved with a boy who could shave, where you got caught up with a guy who looked like a man but ended up not being one, and now you have a child, God is going to enter that space and he’s going to be merciful and gracious. So don’t lose heart.
Notice that there is no repentance required because the fault for the woman’s sexual immorality lies with the man she had sex with. He either wasn’t good enough for her to marry, or refused to marry her after they had sex. This is the complementarian spin on women’s sacred path to marriage.
Similarly, in Woman’s Hurdles Chandler prays for the men women didn’t find good enough to marry, or who wouldn’t marry when the woman decided she had found the one who needed to commit to her:
Father, for men in this room who prey on insecure women with wounded hearts, Father, I just pray over these men a type of weight on their souls that would be crushing. Father, I thank you that you do not take lightly wolves hunting down your daughters and that there would be a day that these men, hollow-chested boys in grown up bodies will cry out as you come for mountains to fall and that the mountains will flee before your coming.
I thank you that you are a just judge who will not handle lightly boys who can shave who take advantage of your daughters. I pray that there might be repentance for these men for the salvation of their own soul. Enter these spaces. They’re complex and hard. I pray for my sisters. Help us.
Again, repentance for sexual immorality is only for the men, even though this is a sermon on women’s sins. In fact, if you do a word search in Hurdles for the word repent, you will find four instances of the word. On page 4 he tells men they need to repent if their wives feel the temptation of feminist resentment. On page 18 he tells women to repent if they have been trying too hard to be perfect wives and mothers. On page 19 he prays that God will sooth the women in the audience as they repent of their perfectionism. Finally, also on page 19 he tells men to repent for causing women to sin sexually (the quote above).
As just another example of this, Matt Schmucker writes* in Sex and the Supremacy of Christ (edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor):
We do not want a brother standing at the altar on his wedding day looking at his beautiful bride only to imagine behind her the boys and men who took advantage of her and robbed her of the trust and confidence that she now needs for her husband. We do not want a sister standing at the altar on her wedding day looking at her handsome groom only to imagine behind him a string of relationships with girls and women he failed to honor, and knowing that images in his head from pornography use and past flings may stick with him for a long time.
*HT Darwinian Armenian