gender issues

I have learned that great articles disappear off the web.  So, with a clear disclaimer that if the author wishes, I'll make it private (so only I can read it,) and with a clear link to the article and appropriate credit, here is the text of


By Colin J. Smothers

In Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, John Piper speaks about two methods that can be used to commend a vision for biblical complementarity—the teaching that God has created men and women with distinct differences for His glory and our good.

The first method is careful, exegetical argument that demonstrates the plain teachings of the Bible on complementarity. We need people who do this, and we should be thankful for people like John Piper and Wayne Grudem for doing just this.

But the second method is just as important. This method is a robust portrayal of the vision of complementarity, and we are in need of people who do this, too. We need people who are able to show that God’s ways are good, that God’s ways are most satisfying.

Complementarianism is true not just because it is right, but also because it is beautiful.

And so I have excerpted below the introduction to John Piper’s chapter in Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood because of the way he portrays his faithful parents living out complementarianism. Piper’s reflection on manhood and womanhood through the lens of his childhood is not only beautiful, it is compelling. It is compelling because it is God’s truth, and God’s truth resonates with us. It is what we were created for.

When I was a boy growing up in Greenville, South Carolina, my father was away from home about two-thirds of every year. And while he preached across the country, we prayed–my mother and my older sister and I. What I learned in those days was that my mother was omni-competent.

She handled the finances, paying all the bills and dealing with the bank and creditors. She once ran a little laundry business on the side. She was active on the park board, served as the superintendent of the Intermediate Department of our Southern Baptist church, and managed some real estate holdings.

She taught me how to cut the grass and splice electric cord and pull Bermuda grass by the roots and paint the eaves and shine the dining-room table with a shammy and drive a car and keep French fries from getting soggy in the cooking oil. She helped me with the maps in geography and showed me how to do a bibliography and work up a science project on static electricity and believe that Algebra II was possible. She dealt with the contractors when we added a basement and, more than once, put her hand to the shovel. It never occurred to me that there was anything she couldn’t do.

I heard one time that women don’t sweat, they glow. Not true. My mother sweated. It would drip off the end of her long, sharp nose. Sometimes she would blow it off when her hands were pushing the wheelbarrow full of peat moss. Or she would wipe it with her sleeve between the strokes of a swingblade. Mother was strong. I can remember her arms even today thirty years later. They were big, and in the summertime they were bronze.

But it never occurred to me to think of my mother and my father in the same category. Both were strong. Both were bright. Both were kind. Both would kiss me and both would spank me. Both were good with words. Both prayed with fervor and loved the Bible. But unmistakably my father was a man and my mother was a woman. They knew it and I knew it. And it was not mainly a biological fact. It was mainly a matter of personhood and relational dynamics.

When my father came home he was clearly the head of the house. He led in prayer at the table. He called the family together for devotions. He got us to Sunday School and worship. He drove the car. He guided the family to where we would sit. He made the decision to go to Howard Johnson’s for lunch. He led us to the table. He called for the waitress. He paid the check. He was the one we knew we would reckon with if we broke a family rule or were disrespectful to Mother. These were the happiest times for Mother. Oh, how she rejoiced to have Daddy home! She loved his leadership. Later I learned that the Bible calls this “submission.”

But since my father was gone most of the time, Mother used to do most of those leadership things too. So it never occurred to me that leadership and submission had anything to do with superiority and inferiority. And it didn’t have to do with muscles and skills either. It was not a matter of capabilities and competencies. It had to do with something I could never have explained as a child. And I have been a long time in coming to understand it as part of God’s great goodness in creating us male and female. It had to do with something very deep. I know that the specific rhythm of life that was in our home is not the only good one. But there were dimensions of reality and goodness in it that ought to be there in every home. Indeed they ought to be there in varying ways in all mature relationships between men and women.

I say “ought to be there” because I now see that they were rooted in God. Over the years I have come to see from Scripture and from life that manhood and womanhood are the beautiful handiwork of a good and loving God. He designed our differences and they are profound. They are not mere physiological prerequisites for sexual union. They go to the root of our personhood.

Excerpted from John Piper, Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (Wheaton: Crossway, 1991), 31–32.

May God enable our churches and our homes to reflect His glory in living out His design for manhood and womanhood. Let’s not just know that God’s truth is true, let’s demonstrate that God’s truth is true.

1 Comment

I have heard it said (correctly) that the early Christians faced a moral world that in either the same depravity, or worse than what we see now.

Well, farther back than that.

If the Hebrew people had not lived surrounded by idolators and other evils, they would not have fallen in WITH them. So the evidence is that their world saw evil, as ours does.

The Jews just before Christ had forcibly dispersed, and some had returned; and the evil that they saw was as evil as today.

I think (purely subjective) that today seems more difficult for us because it appears so new to us. And (objectively) we do see things that we have NEVER seen before.

Was immorality rampant in 1st Century Rome? Absolutely. Was it worse than today? I don't know. Some say yes, others say no.

I think that we feel it more because Western Christians have long enjoyed "majority rule," thus staying safely wrapped in the insulation of tunnel vision.

The phrase "total depravity" best describes the world, and always has. We expect it.

We grieve - yes, for that depravity, but we grieve having to stand by, seemingly helpless, watching the DECLINE of our country and culture, at a breakneck speed.

Homosexuality is the best example.

Only a couple of decades ago, we (collectively) viewed same-sex-sex as abnormal. We knew gay people, we loved them as friends and family, but we loved them, not their chosen lifestyle.

Gay people sometimes (perhaps often) faced bullies and that should never have happened. People should never see bullying as acceptable.

In (culturally speaking) a very short amount of time, we see a decline.

- Traditional family unit (dad, mom, kids) and the gay community as outliers.

- A move away from the traditional family unit with the introduction of "consequence free sex" and "no-fault-divorce" (note: we do find good and Biblical reasons for divorce, and I don't find "nobody's fault" on the list.)

- With the traditional family unit undermined, open acceptance of the homosexual becomes tolerated by the culture

- As single motherhood becomes more acceptable, homosexuality becomes not only tolerated, but acceptable as a viable option.

- Demand of recognition of gay relationships becomes more popular, as does public spending for single motherhood.

- Demand of recognition of gay relationships becomes the demand that the culture view those relationships as identical to heterosexual relationships.

- The demand to see homosexual relationships as identical becomes the demand for culture (via "we the people") to sanction these relationships.

- the demand for sanction becomes the demand for approval

- the demand for approval becomes the demand for celebration by all people.

- the demand for celebration becomes the demand for participation, regardless of sincerely held religious convictions.

As Christians today look around and see our spiritual siblings SUED and FORCED to provide services to ceremonies found morally offensive, I find myself able to identify with Christians in other times and places, who steep in total depravity through no fault of their own.

We, who enjoyed cultural insulation for centuries, may find this a difficult transition. No, we WILL find this a difficult transition. From power to weakness, from majority to minority, from peace to persecution.

Is the "remnant" ready? I want to be part of the remnant - and I know I'm not ready. If the "steps of grieving" can be applied to this - I'm still in the "denial stage" but we need to get ready.

We need to be in the world, but not of the word. Persecution awaits, Jesus promised. Whether we will be found worthy of the persecution that HE endured, is yet to be seen.

The “soul of marriage” is a mystery. The apostle Paul wrote: ‘“ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.’

Satan, and the world as his helper, is striking at the soul of marriage - in (at least) a two-pronged offensive.

Both of these are an attempt to strike at the very image of God.  If we have a warped view of marriage, we will also have a warped view of God.

If we have a warped view of God, we will end up making Him in our own image...which is no god at all.

The first way I see involves striking at the image of Christ and His bride.

The second way I see involves striking at the image of God in creation.

One aspect of the "soul of marriage" is reflection of Christ and His bride.  The beautiful wedding dance of headship and submission shows Christians what their marriages should look like, and Christian marriages should show the world what Christ and His bride look like.

Egalitarianism teaches that there are no gender roles in marriage - since Scripture tells us that Christian marriages reflect Christ and His bride, no gender roles in marriage = no leadership, stewardship, or headship of Christ over His bride.

This assault on the soul of marriage leads to a warped view of Jesus.

The second front of the battle is "4SR" (State Sanctioned Same Sex Relationships.)

The  onslaught of the world against marriage, to force the recognition 4SR as "marriage," is stunning in its swiftness.  Even five years ago, we would not be having this conversation.

While I fully believe that God the Father is beyond gender (is a spirit,) He DOES get to pick what gender He wishes to be recognized as.  God chose "Father" - so that's what we know Him by.

That said, since He is beyond gender, the Bible makes sense:

 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

It  seems that God - in His own image, created male and female.  Together, they form a "oneness" that reflects the image of God.

There is more, and I want to expand, but in a nutshell, these two points are the main offensives, with various strategies within those offenses, where Satan is attacking the institution of marriage.

I finished "Fierce Women" (by Kimberly Wagner) this past week and was really encouraged to learn from my own past behavior (in my first marriage.)  When a marriage breaks down, there is rarely an "innocent" party - even if it's a bad reaction to a bad situation.

Women (welcome to the human race) have an insecurity (as most human beings) and feel a need to be in control.

Written from a Complementarian viewpoint, Wagner writes from the painful spot of a woman who has been there, done that - and who, as a couple, brought their marriage from a painful union, to a joyful communion.

Teaching that women have a different role in a marriage than their husbands have, the point of the book is to help women recognize that role, how to step out of trying to fill their husband's shoes, and how to gracefully and joyfully submit to the will of God in marriage.

Whether or not you realize it, you are in a battle, and God has placed strengths within you to be used in powerful ways. When you enter the marriage relationship, you are entering the sacred metaphor God designed to explain Himself to a watching world. Marriage is the great mystery, the glorious platform God created to display His love relationship with His bride. This is why marriage is a flashpoint for Satan’s attacks; he seeks to destroy the beauty and effectiveness of God’s model. In light of this, we must strive for the Great Story to be lived out in our marriages.

I hope as you read, you will take moments to pause, ponder, and pray. May you encounter the Lord of Battles within these pages and receive insight and instruction for serving Him as a soft warrior—the Fierce Woman who is empowered by the Spirit and softened by His grace.(1)

Wagner uses examples from her own life, as well as examples from women that she knows or has known, to show how women can use their strength to either help or hurt their marriages.

Being a Complementarian does not exclude a woman to having a pastoral tone to other women, and Wagner excels.  Her "I've done this, don't follow me down that path" plea a wonderful tone to a world of women who are at once frustrated with the state of their marriage, and frustrated with the way they are dealing with it.

With these women as her audience, Wagner is uniquely qualified because she HAS been there.

My "book review template" asks at this point: What does the book promise? What is the problem the book promises to solve?

In the author's words:

I hope as you read, you will take moments to pause, ponder, and pray. May you encounter the Lord of Battles within these pages and receive insight and instruction for serving Him as a soft warrior—the Fierce Woman who is empowered by the Spirit and softened by His grace.(2)

And yes, the book delivers.

As a woman who will be entering a marriage covenant in a few months, with Christ at the center, and Complementarianism as the framework, "Fierce Women" is a playbook of how to relate to your husband in a way that is fitting for a woman who loves Christ.

What does "respect" look like?  Submission?  Do I need to be a "doormat?"

This matters because Satan wants nothing more than to strike at the soul of marriage.  If marriage reflects Christ and His bride, turning those roles upside down in a marriage leaves us with a distorted view of Christ and His church.  How should the church submit to Christ - wives should be able to reflect that.

I really like this book.  I printed out a couple of things and put them in my planner.  If you have a power struggle in your marriage and want to be part of the solution, read this book.

If you want to be a Biblically submissive wife, read this book.

If you want to build your husband up, instead of tearing him down, read this book.

I've read a lot of books on how to be a submissive wife.  This book is, at the end of the day, not how to make yourself more submissive, but how to build your husband up, to better help him to be the husband God wants him to be.


(1)Wagner, Kimberly (2012-08-24). Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior (True Woman) (pp. 10-12). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

(2)Wagner, Kimberly (2012-08-24). Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior (True Woman) (p. 12). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Karen Campbell linked to one of my posts twice (same article, two different places.)


What I find interesting is that Campbell freely states that

The first point I want to make today is that I see the most common views of men and women within the body of Christ in more recent times as being on a continuum.

So...putting thoughts, beliefs, actions on a continuum is an okay thing.

But when Grudem does it...(the article I posted by Grudem came as a result of people asking what he believes women can do in the church.)

Grudem puts positions on a...continuum...and describes where he believes the line is.

Campbell describes that as:

That discussion has shifted to listing all the things women cannot do outside of working in the nursery and putting on potlucks.

Obviously that statement "overlooks" the many, many articles at CBMW that discuss many, many other things.

It also creates a double standard:

When Campbell puts things on a continuum and describes where the line should be:  good

When Grudem puts things on a continuum and describes where the line should be:  bad.

"one set of rules for them...another for everybody else."

Last Friday, Michigan became a "gay marriage" state, by the decision of a federal judge, overturning a vote of the people.  Even though the governor has requested a stay until it can be sorted out in SCOTUS, at least one country clerk has "gender neutral" marriage licenses ready to go today.

I want to be clear.

I am going to be a BRIDE.

I am NOT "applicant A"

I am NOT "party B"

I am NOT "thing one" or "thing two"

1 - A license, by definition, says that the state is giving me permission to do that which is otherwise illegal.  If I must have a license in order to marry, then marriage is illegal, unless the state gives me permission to enter into a marriage.

2 - the state, by way of being the one who gives permission to marry (as opposed to God giving permission) now has the authority to define marriage (as opposed to God defining marriage.)

3 - what the state is giving "us" (citizens) permission to do is no longer "marriage" (according to Scripture.)

When is it time for Christians to opt out of a corrupt system?

Do Christians need the state's permission to enter into a covenant before God, their family,  and their church community?

I don't want a "gender neutral" marriage certificate.


This was today's reading from "Everyday Prayers" - bringing to mind one of today's political hot topics.

(GSSR - "government sactioned same-sex relationship)

When caught between your faith conviction, and what the government says you should honor/do/buy...what do you do?

We hear "love the sinner, hate the sin."  And when the baker loved the sinners, made friends with them, served them baked good on birthdays and other non-wedding events...opted out of baking for a gay wedding, she got sued.

She was hating the sin, while embracing the sinner.  That didn't work.

Christians will increasingly face this challenge, and will increasingly find ways to comply with the law, while remaining true to their convictions...or will buckle to the state, giving up on living out their faith through their businesses.

The same is true for Christians getting married.

When the state gives you permission to marry, but what they're permitting no longer resembles "marriage" - how do Christians respond?

Do they get a "gender neutral" marriage certificate?  Do they opt out of statism?

"Everyday Prayers:

Though your kingdom is “not of this world” (John 18: 36 NIV), your kingdom has broken into this world and one day will utterly transform this world. Because this is true, Jesus, I need you to free me from both extremes of naive passivity and fear-mongering aggression. Very practically, show me what “obeying God and not men” looks like when the claims of your kingdom clash with the values of this world. How do I submit to the authorities for your sake while primarily only bowing my knee and heart to you as my King? (page 96)

I don't know what this will look like.  Will the state allow people of faith to enter into marriage covenants, outside of the state's approval?

In Michigan, a pastor who officiates at a wedding that does not have the state's approval, commits a misdemeanor.  Do we see "civil disobedience" in view here?  Can we see going outside the state's system as "obeying God rather than man?"

it all remains to be seen.

There's a case in Michigan that just had closing arguments on Friday; the judge will rule within a couple of weeks on whether or not Michigan will become the next state to fall to this madness.

Part one:

In an article from February 24, this caught my eye

"Nothing says family like a marriage license," DeBoer told reporters before entering the courthouse hand-in-hand with Rowse, her partner of eight years.

I've worked in public schools for a number of years and I've seen many (politically correct) books say that this is NOT true.  We've been pushing the idea that "families come in all forms" - if a child is being raised by a single mom, that's a family.  If a child is being raised by a single dad, that's a family.  If a child is being raised by his or her grandparents, that's a family.  If a man and a woman (or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, or a person and their cat) are living together without children, that's a family.  Mom and boyfriend/Dad and  You get my drift.

What a surprise to find out that it's a "marriage license" that says "family!"

What about faith?

The point of this madness is not to give gay folks the "right to marry" - it's not only to normalize that which has never been "normal."  It is to GLORIFY that lifestyle choice, and to force EVERYBODY to accept it, applaud it, normalize it.

remember the Borg?  "You will be assimilated."

People of faith who do not agree that "government sanctioned gay relationships" are wrong?  Via Tammy Bruce

Having been a liberal “community organizer” in my past, I immediately recognized the strategy being employed. This is an effort to condition the public into automatically equating faith with bigotry.

To make faith in the public square illegal and dangerous, you need legal cases and publicity. Voila, lawsuits against small business resting on the notion that acting on genuinely held faith is bigotry per se.

Under these rules, freedom of conscience is squashed under the jackboot of liberals, all in the Orwellian name of “equality and fairness.” Here we are dealing with not just forcing someone to do something for you, but forcing them in the process to violate a sacrament of their faith as well.

If we are able to coerce someone, via the threat of lawsuit and personal destruction, to provide a service, how is that not slavery? If we insist that you must violate your faith specifically in that slavish action, how is that not abject tyranny?

And now, we wait.

1 Comment

I'm not a fan of the show, but I do (did) watch shows on A&E. The internet is flooded with and con-

So...I'm weighing in, not so much of what Phil did and said, but on how he's now being treated.

The ungodly scream that he's wrong about gays (actually, vile and hateful.) So evangelicals pile on and say, "And he was wrong about African-Americans too!" - IOW - shooting our wounded.

Jared Wilson wrote "Duck Dynasty”: Let’s Deal in Real Reality

point by point...

1. It will be difficult to prove a case of censorship, marginalization, or oppression when you can’t walk into a mall, grocery store, Wal-Mart, or sporting goods store without running beard-deep into the Robertson clan’s gigantic faces and assorted “Duck Dynasty”-branded trinkets and googaws.

Question: if the Robertson family gives up the show, do they give up rights to the merchandise franchise? Unless or until you can answer that question, you should not be making the above statement.

Bottom line: It assumes that the discrimination will end with the removal of Phil from the show and that has yet to be seen.

2. We ought to remember that the first amendment does not guarantee anyone’s right to have a show on cable television.

True. But if discrimination can take place by an employer based on race, sex, religion, and the government has an interest in protecting those classes of people, why not here?

Bottom Line: Robertson articulated his religious beliefs in the public square and was disciplined for it.

3. What Phil Robertson said about homosexuality to Gentleman’s Quarterly magazine is something nearly all so-called “gentlemen” used to believe, including the part where he said black people were happy before the Civil Rights movement and he never saw racism in Louisiana growing up.

Yes, he said that.

Actually, no. He did NOT say that.

He said the Blacks HE KNEW...

I grew up on a farm in the rural "Thumb" of Michigan. Blacks were not the minority I grew up with.

Looking back at my life growing up, I would have said that the minorities that I rubbed shoulders with were happy, and that I saw no racism.

Now I know better, because somebody who wasn't there, didn't live my life, and may not have a clue about how I (OR Robertson) grew up...will tell me that I'm wrong, or need to deal with reality or some such thing.

Bottom line: if you weren't there, you might be wrong.

(part of #5 - Wilson skipped #4, a misprint, I'm sure.) The firing of a millionaire reality show participant isn’t just a first world problem — it’s a one-percenter problem

This made me really, really angry.

1) Is discrimination okay, as long as the one discriminated against is wealthy?

James 2:2-4 ESV For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Is the opposite also true?

If you deem a wealthy man unworthy of protection against discrimination because "that's a one-percenter problem" - "have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?"

2) one-percenter...really? Does not Wilson understand that to a lot of the world, if you know where your next meal is coming're wealthy! Do you have a car? Television? You can turn on your computer and get instant access to the world?

Bottom line: You, Jared Wilson, are part of the 1% views...

I believe that the political gay lobby has the goal to marginalize people of faith who disagree with them. Make them afraid to speak out. Silence them. Take away their jobs, their livelihoods, their careers, their businesses.

I've blogged here about bakers, caterers, photographers, doctors, who chose to not participate in gay celebrations through providing services. Who chose to not participate in gay celebrations and have been successfully sued.

If Phil Robertson, one of the largest cash cows on television, can lose his job for voicing his Christian beliefs about gay behavior, how much more so the single-proprietor photographer or baker?

The agenda - to normalize gay behavior and to make those who disagree silent and marginalized, and to fore those who disagree to act against their religious beliefs.

This is another step and we should recognize that this is not about Phil Robertson, how rich he is, who he grew up with, or how much money he makes A&E. It's about GLAAD and where they are steering our country.

"What Married Women Really Want"

The author puts this mostly hidden divorce statistic up front:

About two-thirds of all divorces in the United States are, at least officially, initiated by women. One of the key factors [they cite] is the emotional quality of their relationships. In other words, if they feel that their marriages are high-quality relationships, they're not likely to seek divorce. If they feel otherwise, however, women are much more likely to head for divorce. One of the implicit concerns of this study was to figure out in what kind of context women are most likely to be happy and then are, of course, indirectly, less likely to divorce.

I get from the article, though, that women file, it's still the men's fault.

The following paragraph is something I've written about here (the accusation that Christians shouldn't discuss "whatever" because Christians are just as likely to get divorced as unbelievers) and you usually need to dig deep if you want to break down the numbers and get at the truth. (Emphasis is mine)

Based on my earlier research, evangelical women tend to be happier in their marriages than other women, particularly when both the wife and the husband attend church on a regular basis. This idea that Christians are just as likely to divorce as secular folks is not correct if we factor church attendance into our thinking. Churchgoing evangelical Protestants, churchgoing Catholics, and churchgoing mainline Protestants are all significantly less likely to divorce.

And gender roles play in:

Women who have more traditional gender attitudes are significantly happier in their marriages. They're more likely to embrace the idea that men should take the primary lead in breadwinning and women should take the primary lead in nurturing the children and managing the domestic sphere, managing family life.

Spouses who share weekly [church] attendance had happier wives. Spouses who share a strong, normative commitment to marriage—that is, who are opposed to easy divorce, who believe the kids should be reared in married households—have wives who are markedly happier. This factor is as strong as who works outside the home or who earns the lion's share of the income. It's also extremely important that the wife considers the division of housework to be fair to her. A sense of equity is extremely important, but equity is not equality. Women want things to be fair in their homes, but they don't equate fairness with equality.

And this bears saying again:

A sense of equity is extremely important, but equity is not equality. Women want things to be fair in their homes, but they don't equate fairness with equality.

I consistently, as Complementarians do, make a distinction between equality of personhood vs. equality of authority.

Within a hierarchy of authority, there is still equality in humanity.

I know two people. One is an elder, who works at a public school, the other an administrator in a public school, who attends the elder's church. In one context, he is the authority, in another, she is. There are two hierarchies, but total equality of humanity.

The dictionary says that "equity" is fairness and justice in treatment.

So, if a woman feels as if she is being treated fairly and justly, while being under the authority of her husband, she is more likely to be happy, and less likely to file for divorce.