There has been much talk in the last few years about the “feminization” of the church. Books have been written about this “serious” problem and many men are thoroughly disgusted with seeing men outnumbered by women in the church. These men feel that something drastic must be done to bring men back into the church. I think that it is time we give this issue a “serious” look in order to help those men who have stopped going to church because of the “feminization of the church”.
Before we look at a solution, let’s have a look at the problem as identified by men:
1. Men don’t like singing love songs to Jesus. Jesus is my savior, they say, not the “lover of my soul”.
2. Men do not like to see flowers and tissue boxes at the front of the church nor do they enjoy sitting on pink cushioned pews.
According to complementarians, Galatians 3:28 is not about equality in Christ, but about all of us being in the same “boat” of salvation. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) has made quite an effort to try to demolish Galatians 3:28 as a basis of spiritual equality outside of salvation. Instead, they say that this verse is only about the equality we have in Christ in regards to salvation. In Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood pages 71-72, John Piper and Wayne Grudem comment:
The context of Galatians 3:28 makes abundantly clear the sense in which men and women are equal in Christ: they are equally justified by faith (v. 24), equally free from the bondage of legalism (v. 25), equally children of God (v. 26), equally clothed with Christ (v. 27), equally possessed by Christ (v. 29), and equally heirs of the promises to Abraham (v. 29)…Galatians 3:28 does not abolish gender-based roles established by God and redeemed by Christ.
But is Galatians 3:28 only about equality in salvation? Let’s have a close look at the book of Galatians to find out if this is true.
Paul speaks about agitators who had come into the community and had thrown the Galatians into confusion (Galatians 5:12). These agitators were false brothers, Judaizers and the “party of the circumcision” and they had come into the congregation to spy on the liberty that the Christians had in order to persuade them to come back into bondage.
Galatians 2:4 But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.
Paul describes in his letters some of the areas that the Judaizers were working to bring Christians into bondage and causing the Jews to treat some with prejudice. In Galatians 5:2, these men were trying to bring circumcision into the congregation of Gentiles. Also in 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 these followers of the Jewish oral law were trying to silence women in the congregation and they wanted to stop women from public learning. …
CBMW (Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) puts on conferences called “Different by Design” and in these conferences they teach that God created men and women different for different purposes.
While we can agree with CBMW that men and women are created physically different, does this mean that God created them also spiritually different? How will we know? Let’s ask ourselves some questions to see if the bible gives any indication that men and women are spiritually different.
1. Do men and women have different ways for being saved?
2. Are men and women designed to come before God in prayer in a different way?
3. Are there lists of spiritual gifts that are listed for only men or only women?
4. Do men and women inherit spiritual “sonship” in a different way?
5. Is the command to make disciples given only to one gender?
It appears to me that what CBMW does is a bait and switch, confusing physical and biological differences with spiritual differences.
In our next post we will look at Galatians 3:28 to see how the complementarian and egalitarian camps look at this verse very differently and how we can determine which of these views is correct or if both of these views is flawed in some way.
What do you think? Does scripture list our spiritual make up as differently designed by God?
In an interesting development, complementarian Dr. Daniel Wallace, professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary requests a rewrite of a blog article critiquing an article he wrote on the role of women in the church for Bible.org. He states that the author of the article, a writer for CBMW’s blog, misrepresented him. Concerning the CBMW blog article called “Never Apologize for God’s Truth“, Dr. Wallace writes that they have “misrepresented my views in some serious ways”. Dr. Wallace documents on the blog Parchment and Pen that when CBMW wrote the following statement, that it was far more than what he actually said. The CBMW blog recorded this assessment of Wallace’s article:
Wallace responded by admitting that he could never embrace egalitarianism because it is clearly unbiblical; the text just does not support egalitarian claims…
While CBMW writer Jeff Robinson says that one should “Never Apologize for God’s Truth”, apparently he owes Dr. Wallace an apology for misrepresenting Wallace’s stated opinion of truth. Instead of the bold statement that the CBMW blog post attributes to Wallace, Dr. Wallace has written a correction to CBMW which has not been posted on their site correcting the false statements concerning his article nor has his note even been responded to by CBMW. Because CBMW has not made the effort to correct the misrepresentation, Wallace has chosen to make his own correction public by recording his thoughts on Parchment and Pen:
That’s far more than what I actually wrote on two fronts. First, nowhere in the essay did I say that I could never embrace egalitarianism. Not even close. Instead, what I said was that I could not go against my conscience and that, in my view, egalitarians were doing exegetical gymnastics. But even here I couched my statement with a note of personal perspective. Throughout the essay you will see qualifiers such as “For me at least,” “I think,” “probably,” etc. These points were mentioned specifically in relation to my exegetical certainty about the role of women in the church.
Is CBMW really concerned about truth and proper exegetical analysis? If so wouldn’t this show in their own analysis of a fellow complementarian? At least in this case they don’t appear to be too concerned about the truth. Dr. Wallace writes: …
When the issue of women in ministry is brought up, one of the scripture passages that is used as a slam-dunk women-must-stay-in-the-home passage is Titus 2:3-5. Is this passage really about women restricted to the area of the home with cooking, cleaning and raising children, or are women allowed by God to use their spiritual gifts outside the home as well? Let’s have a close look at the passage to see if we have been influenced by modern myths.
Titus 2:3-5 Older women (literally women elders) likewise are to be reverent (literally meaning such as becomes sacred persons, venerable) in their behavior (literally meaning to make or ordain, position or state), not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine (same qualifications as to the venerable, reverend, reputable, dignified women from 1 Timothy 3:11), teaching what is good, so that they may encourage (literally meaning to disciple, admonish, exhort earnestly) the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home (literally meaning watchers or watchmen of the home taking oversight of household affairs), kind, being subject to their own husbands (literally to subject oneself to one’s admonition or advice – doing good for the other and putting their good first place), so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
Myth #1 The woman is not the head of the home so she does not have authority but is under authority in her home.
Scripture tells us that the woman has a great deal of authority in how she rules her home and she is indeed a ruler. In 1 Timothy 5:14 Paul says: …
In my last post called 1 Timothy 2, authority and the magical pulpit, I was waiting for someone to bring up Hebrew 13:17. Since no one brought up this verse in the comments, but I did receive an email that asked me to respond to how this scripture fits in with my last post, I thought my response should make a separate post of its own.
Let’s first take a look at Hebrews 13:17 in the NIV, the version which was quoted to me:
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Does this passage teach that the Christian leaders have authority over the sheep? Let’s have a look at this passage in a more literal translation:
Hebrews 13:17 (LITV) Yield to those taking the lead of you, and submit, for they watch for your souls, giving an account, that they may do this with joy, and not with grieving; for this would be unprofitable to you.
The first thing that we can notice about a literal reading of the passage is that the word “authority” is missing in the Greek. Now let’s go through this passage piece by piece to pull out the intended meaning. …