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Men and Women under Fire

[from  http://www.serve.com/OHCC/mwgender.htm ]



.Logo of Old Hickory Community Church
Series Notes: Men and Women under Fire
Gender Issues
By Pastor Chris Heinss

 
[Sermon Index Archived at webarchive.org]

Men and Women:
Where stands it written? Our attitude about Scripture will determine where we start and end.
Is.40:7, Eph.6:12, Heb.4:12, Rom.1:21-32, II Tim.3:1-7, II Tim.3:16-4:5, II Pet.2:18-22

Compromising full authority of Scripture affects what it means to be a Christian and it affects the full spectrum of life. Belief creates practice. The Bible gives freedoms, yet with absolutes for safety. There is a line between those who hold a full view of Scripture and those who don't.

The process of cultural orientation of history and the universe is involved, including the fact that Eve was created from Adam (so say Gen. and Paul), there are moral issues in divorce and remarriage, there is an intended order in the home and the church, and homosexuality is against the created order.

Historically, people have bent the Bible to fit the culture rather than vice versa. Obeying Scripture is the watershed. We believe it to be truth and apply it to our lives. Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless. Purity is the key principle.

"Evangelical" means Bible-believing without shutting oneself off from the full spectrum of life. Christianity meets the needs of society, government, and culture. It includes leading people to Christ, but also being salt and light to the culture. It is a balance between holiness and love.

Feminists address issues of marriage, family, sexual morality, feminism, homosexuality, divorce, and abortion.

We agree as Evangelicals that:

  1. There is infinite equality of worth between all people.
  2. There is total equality in everyone's need for Christ.
  3. There is NOT uniformity or sameness between men and women. Men and women are complementary expressions of the image of God.
  4. There is enormous diversity, yet certain boundaries in the Bible. Men have often abused this fact.

In our age, there is not an attempt at equality and complementarity in God's image, but rather, an attempt at equality without distinction. This mistake is not an interpretation; it is a deliberate denial of the Bible. It is strictly accommodation. I Cor.6:9-10. This is not just denial in relationships; it is denial of truth regarding God and His people. The truth is not oppression. If we accommodate, it is the crumbling of the last barrier to the breakdown of our culture.

There is a recent attack on "patriarchy". (reference Jer.17:5-10, I Cor.13:4-8a, Col.3:12-17) Are men and women the same? NO! A television news show recently addressed research showing the differences. This was attacked by Gloria Steinem as insulting and ought not to be done. How's that for "scientific correctness?" If the research contradicts popular opinion, bury it!

There is a total confusion by popular culture between power and authority. An interesting point is that nobody is really telling us how to be a modern man or a woman; all we hear is a blazing critique of what we shouldn't be. This is like using screaming to put out a raging fire.

Let's explore the recent attack on patriarchy:

  1. It is seen as oppression.
  2. Social conflict theory states that human interaction is about power struggles. The strong win out over the weak. Men win out over women.
  3. Many claim patriarchy causes domestic violence.
  4. Jesus' incarnation and atonement is denounced as a patriarchal construct that causes oppression of women.
  5. Male power is a threat, overwhelming, and evil.

BUT, let's look at the other side:

  1. Abusers often abuse because they feel powerless, so they use pseudo-power. It is because they feel weak. Is taking more power away going to solve this or pour gas on a fire?
  2. Essentially everyone agrees we need male leadership in families, church, and schools.
  3. The attack on patriarchy overly stresses the bad side of men and the good side of women.
  4. The understanding of patriarchy is a half-truth, very shallow.
  5. Men often abuse and women often manipulate: this is called sin.
  6. The caricature of dominance and abuse over passivity and neglect misses the key point.
  7. To solve this problem, we must move beyond blame.

There was a recent UN conference on women in Beijing. The following considerations were on the table as status quo viewpoints:

  1. Marriage is evil for all women.
  2. Traditional male/female relationships are evil.
  3. Men are oppressors and exploiters whom women should view as enemies.
  4. The family is to blame for domestic violence.
  5. Gender feminism is to be preferred - treating children differently because of their genital shape is wrong. All gender differences except for anatomy are socialized, imposed, and lived out.
  6. Children must be protected so they can freely move in and out of gender roles.
  7. All traditional roles are passť or evil.
  8. Terms that reflect gender difference must be eliminated. We must use neutral terms, such as parent, spouse, child, sibling, personhood.
  9. If the differences between males and females are denied, men can't have more privileges.
  10. This is called the deconstruction of gender.
  11. Governments must mandate 50/50 households.
  12. All businesses must keep a 50/50 quota.
  13. All military must keep a 50/50 quota.
  14. Masculine and feminine distinctions need to disappear from the world.
  15. There will need to be five genders in their place: male, female, transgendered, homosexual, lesbian.
  16. The preferred relationship for women is lesbian, so oppression is negated.
  17. Religion, especially "fundamentalist", is the worst cause of female oppression. This includes Catholicism, Evangelicalism, Orthodox Christianity, Orthodox Judaism, Islam, and any others that contradict the conference's views.
  18. Required Cultural Diversity courses must exist that include Women's Studies to promote this agenda in all academic settings.
  19. Academic circles, the mainstream media, and the entertainment industry are largely on board and are promoting these views. They have an essential monopoly.

Where is the new Feminist Theology really coming from? There is a distinct spiritual end of this thing, although not all feminists buy in to it. This is filtering into even the so-called Christian church. Many refer to the "One" as goddess, and call her Isis, Diana, Cubele, Hecate. In modern circles, the preferred name is Sophia. These theologians say:

  1. Patriarchy pushed religion into the clouds away from earth and the heart.
  2. It deified masculinity and demoralized femininity.
  3. Males exploited women and nature.
  4. Mother Earth symbolizes fertility, sensuality, imagination, celebration. She was replaced by Father God.
  5. We need to move beyond God the Father and be nurtured by the goddess. (Paraphrased from Mary Daly in the book, Beyond God the father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation).

Some want psychological reform from feminism, but some seek goddess worship as a practice. They advocate:

  1. Symbols of liberation from spiritual inferiority and personal and political powerlessness; a female superiority or a "manly" ideal.
  2. Revival of witchcraft (Wicca), which is a return to the goddess. Males witch-hunted, but the goddess will prevail.
  3. The old view of witchcraft as demonic and Satanic must give way to the spirituality of ecological wholeness and pantheistic pleasures.
  4. Paganism is the spirituality of the ecological movement. (Paraphrased from Margot Adler in the book, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and other Pagans in America Today)

Starbuck, a modern witch, says that the goddess is the world. She is in each of us, and can be known by each individual in magnificent diversity. Religion is re-linking the divine within to outer manifestations in all of the human and natural world. (Paraphrased from the book, The Spiritual Dance)

Covens practice the goddess within. Magic is about connection. The goddess within is viewed as pre-Christian, but historical contradiction is not valued by these theologians. These views are articulated by Rosemary Ruether in an article in Christian Century, whose title is Goddesses and Witches: Liberation and Counterculture Feminism. This article points out that much of feminist scholarship regarding the existence and role of goddess in history is simplistic and ideologically limited. The feminists use history to claim original female power and goodness along with evil male conquest and suppression. A historical presence of female deities is not equivalent to their dominance.

Z Budapest says "After all, if Goddess religion is 60,000 years old or 7,000 years old, it does not matter. Certainly not for the future! Recognizing the divine goddess within is where real religion is at." (Also from the book, Drawing Down the Moon, quoted above)

Often, the new symbolism is based on mythology rather than historical precedent.

Some say Christianity is sexist. They say that a male deity is equal to male oppression. This distorts the Bible. God is not male or female sexually. But He is personal. God has no sex organs, except for Jesus, the God-man, who was/is male in body. The intent is not to depreciate women or exclude feminine traits. BUT God is not a she. He takes actions that are understood to be feminine traditionally, but His being is not described as feminine. God is Father, not Mother. There is a difference between fatherhood and motherhood.

Mothers and fathers are the same in their worth as people, but not in function. God is the perfect Father. God taught us how to speak of Him.

In feminist religions, goddess is NOT personal. It is a personification of the "One". It is the maternal ground of being, but goddess is a mere literary device. "She" does not exist - only "It" exists. In their religion, the throneroom is empty.

Gal.1:26-28, Gen.2:18-25, I Cor.1:20-21 Men and women are different genetically, physically, anatomically, hormonally, and emotionally. There are all types of temperament in males and females. There are various abilities in both genders. There is no major intelligence variance, but there are some generally stronger aptitudes in one gender or the other.

Males generally have more physical potential than females. Females relate differently socially than males. Females have an innate propensity to nurture and intuit, with some variance between individuals. Males have an innate propensity to analyze and physically explore/master, with some variance between individuals.

Carol Gilligan has done some impressive research. Some of her observations are as follows: Maturity in men equals feeling strong within themselves; maturity in women equals the ability to enjoy warm attachments. The deepest desire of men is to be complete in themselves and enter their world with impact; the deepest desire of women is attachment to others and the world of intimate relationships.

Men and women differ in ways that really equip them to function more effectively in one sphere of responsibility than another.

Larry Crabb writes of two disturbing trends in thought:

  1. Christ gives a new identity to replace the damaged one acquired from being raised in dysfunctional families.
  2. Our identity in Christ is interpreted as hiding our uniquenesses as men women under our equality in Christ.

In reality, when our identity is legitimately affirmed by God, we become more distinctively masculine or feminine in all of our relationships.
 

    Several observations:

  • We can become so careful to define roles that we become Pharisees.
  • Men and women are equally fallen and equally committed to advancing our own interests.
  • A stubborn commitment to self is the key problem.
  • Self-centeredness is THE relational killer and the primary definition of sin.
  • Christianity is often interpreted as joyless moralism.
  • We need to stress authenticity in personhood over authority and obedience.
  • Unbalanced submission and headship can easily lead to abuse and men engaged in pornography, immorality, depression, and workaholism without accountability.
  • There is often a distinction drawn between traditionalists (often legalistic) and egalitarians (often violating Scriptural distinctives). Neither position seems proper Scripturally.
  • Self-centeredness that seems reasonable is the camouflaged enemy.
  • Feminists often see any sense of hierarchy as evil, rather than seeing the abuse of authority as the evil.
  • If we go to one of the above poles, fitting into roles promotes self-serving conformity, while affirming equal value encourages self-serving assertiveness.
  • In reality, self-commitment must be shattered.
  • We tend to react more to the reality of our wounds than to the fact of our sin.
  • If a position on this subject is divisive and puzzling rather than warmly blessing, there is likely a motive problem.
  • In order to eliminate selfishness and immorality, women need to enter a relational network and encourage others to warmly enter a relationship with God and others, including herself. Men need to develop a quiet confidence and tender sensitivity to others, moving with other-centered energy toward completion and wholeness for all involved.
  • Carol Gilligan in her book, A Different Voice, states that women and men approach life differently.
  • Law-keepers end up feeling defeated with good reason or proud without reason. Lawbreakers learn to hate boundaries more than they love God.
  • BUT we need to remember, where there is Scriptural freedom, there is also abuse of that freedom.
  • This issue is not about controlling, but rather releasing.
  • Submission is better understood in terms of disposition and inclination rather than a set of specific behaviors.
  • Headship is what a man does living as a truly godly man; submission is what a woman does living as a truly godly woman. 2 principles:
    1. We must insist on a relational understanding of what it means to be masculine and feminine rather than looking for a list of rules regarding proper roles.
    2. We need to look at:
      • The nature of the Trinity of God.
      • Creation and the fall of Adam and Eve.
      • Different responsibilities the Bible assigns men and women.

Gen.1:26-27, John 17:20-21 Broughton Knox quotes: "The doctrine of the Trinity tells us that the ultimate reality is personal relationship...and that...the characteristic of true relationship is other-person-centeredness."

John 3:34-35, John 5:19-24, John 8:28-29, John 14:15-18,28, John 16:7-15 Giving of self rather than development of self or conformity to standards is our goal.

The Son and the Holy Spirit are subordinate to the Father, but not inferior in their being. It is subordination of relationship, not nature. The Father is the "fount" of deity and is first. He originates the Son, who is eternally begotten of the Father, and is second. The Son reveals. The Holy Spirit, who eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son, is third. The Holy Spirit executes. Creation is from the Father, through the Son, by (or in) the Holy Spirit.

The two greatest commandments, that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, and also the relationship within the Trinity, show us:

  1. The most important thing is to enter relationships with God and with others. The Trinity shows us eternal relationship. Francis Schaeffer has said that if it were not for the Trinity, he would not believe in God. Perfect community and love have always been in the being of God. God did not need to create for relationship or fellowship or cosmic loneliness-relief.
  2. A good relationship is one in which each person uses their resources primarily to build others' well-being, regardless of the cost. God is always other-centered within Himself and toward His creatures.
  3. Relationships have a non-reversible order. Creation, redeeming people, and administration are split up in an orderly, unchangeable manner. The purposes are one and equal, but with different responsibilities. Each Person of the Trinity submits, but the Son and the Father submit in a non-reciprocal way. This does not indicate inferiority. God loves order. Marriage is the central relationship among God's creatures, and it mimics the Trinity. It is an order of different but equal responsibilities.

This is a heated debate:

  1. Some say men and women are significantly different, and these differences are rightly reflected when men assume godly, other-centered leadership and women, by choice and responsibility, practice godly, other-centered submission.
  2. Others say that the Bible emphasizes equality and see no basis for different roles, functions, and responsibilities according to gender.

We need to face the questions. Do we believe God that God exists, and that He has spoken? Or is Christianity and the Bible just a human construct? NO ONE is unbiased when approaching Scripture. Everyone has assumptions. We need to promote humility regarding this issue, but also conviction.

Is the prohibition against homosexuality a legalistic, arbitrary, uninformed cultural rule, or is it a reflection of the eternally loving intentions of a loving, holy God?

Gen.1:26-27, Gen.2:20-25, Lev.18:20-24, Lev.20:6,10,13,27, Deut.18:9-22, Deut.22:5,22, Deut.24:1-5, Matt.19:3-12
I Cor.6:15-20 is followed by the passages on relational issues.
Eph. 5 compares the man/women relationship to the Christ/Church relationship.
Rev.2:4 speaks of the church in Ephesus leaving its first love.
Rev 2:14 speaks of the church at Pergamum worshipping idols and practicing immorality, usually together.
Rev.2:20-25 speaks of the church in Thyatira as Jezebel and the prophetess and immorality.
Rev.17-19 speaks of the harlot in contrast with the wedding feast of the Lamb.

If the prohibition against homosexuality is indeed a reflection of the eternally loving, holy God, this means that there is something in men that is distinctively masculine that was created to fit with what is distinctively feminine about women (Lev.18:22-24, Lev.20:13).

Yet there is a further push. Men are not to wear women's clothing, nor is a woman to wear a man's (Deut.22:5).

There is something unique in the created order, and is basic about manhood and womanhood. God wants us to express this through relationships and appearance. It is a reflection of God's relationship with mankind.

Question: Does homosexual involvement compromise something essential in our sexual identity? Does our clothing transfer, compromise, betray, or violate how we were made? Does gender extend beyond the body to the soul?

Here is the debate: Do men and women differ in ways that, as created, really equip us to function more effectively in one sphere of responsibility than another? Do we find our deepest joys when we give and receive in unique ways in relationship? Do the shape of our bodies reflect distinctively shaped souls? Am I a person who happens to be male, or am I a male whose deepest being is different from my wife's? Does sexuality decorate or define the soul? Is there something feminine that makes receiving the husband in relationship similar to the way she receives him sexually? Is there something masculine that makes a man naturally move toward his wife relationally in the same way he does sexually? Is it the same to encourage a little girl to become a mature, godly person as it is to encourage her to become a mature, godly woman?

We have to decide based upon Scripture. I believe it clearly teaches a difference that affects our ways of relating to the world and to one another.

If we become rigid and soul-smothering and talk of a "woman's place", I get sick to my stomach. Even speaking of "roles" makes me queasy.

BUT: If we deny the differences and say sex has no bearing, we are wrong. If our approach to relationships and responsibilities really reflects our personality, gifts, AND our sexual nature, then eliminating the unique elements each sex brings perverts, distorts, and short-changes a perfect, God-given design made to maximize us as people and as followers of Christ.

We need to forget our intuition and research, because they are not authoritative, and both sides of the debate have good arguments.

The Trinity reflects:

  1. Our relationship with God and with others are the most important things.
  2. Other-centeredness is the key need. 3. There is a nonreversible order.

I Cor.14:33,40 shows that God loves order.

  1. I Cor.11:8-9 says Adam was created first, then Eve. This is non-reversible, and represents Christ and His Church.
  2. Adam's existence without Eve was not good. Adam saw and named the animals. Eve and Adam were joined by the strength of his commitment to her. It was non-manipulative, mutual, giving attachment.
  3. Adam and Eve covered themselves and hid after their sin. The design was corrupted. Adam's attachment to Eve took precedence over God's authority. Eve's potential enjoyment of the forbidden was more important or desirable than her enjoyment, as a woman, of Adam. The sinfulness extended to the deepest parts of their beings. If at the core they were masculine and feminine, then these aspects were deeply involved in the corruption.
  4. God first spoke to Adam. Why? Was it random? (Rom.5:12-21, I Cor.15:22,45) Were the responsibilities different (not more or less severe) because he was a man? Is the distinction between man and woman beyond the physical?
  5. Eve was cursed in her physical attachments due to pain in childbirth, yet procreation still is rewarding, and also in her personal attachments due to heartache and battle with her husband, striving for him and for his position.
  6. Adam was cursed with difficulties in subduing his world. The world will be a hostile place where he will fail and live with a woman who is more concerned with her own needs rather than his. He has lost his sense of completion found in powerfully subduing the world and meaningfully relating to a woman who would prioritize his work and enjoy his involvements.

Maleness could be characterized by a sense of completion from strongly moving into his world with an enjoyed or potential commitment to a female companion.

Femaleness could be characterized by a capacity for bonding to a man in order to encourage him with the support of one who values and respects him, and who invites him into relationship with her, and who enjoys being enjoyed by him.

These joys are for all men and women, but especially in marriage. This justifies the distinctive approach of relating in the home and in the church.

Sometimes humans dull the nerve endings of pain. We experience imperfect love from childhood, an assault on our existence as male or female, not just a threat to our personhood. We hurt and we seek relief. We don't naturally turn to God. We want a way WE control to restore personal well-being. We anesthetize the part of us that is most hurt. By cutting ourselves off from the deepest awareness of our maleness and femaleness, we face life less threatened and more confident. We minimize the hurt and the vulnerable man or woman. A "toughness" develops - it is false and repelling, but it feels good and we act as if we "don't care." We settle for mere personhood and safe assertiveness rather than risk manhood and womanhood. The Bible assumes these masculine and feminine uniquenesses as it does the uniquenesses within the Trinity (Gen.1:26-27).

The main problem is self-centeredness. We all have a hole within our being. Men generally look to work to fill this void; women generally look to relationships to fill it. This drives us to God.

Some thoughts to ponder about authority:

  1. Lack of authority equals chaos, which equals the enemy, which equals rebellion, which is against God.
  2. All authority finds its source in God.
  3. God is authority.
  4. Power implies competition and struggle and unsettledness; a lack of accountability.
  5. Authority implies a stewardship from God, unchanging, and with accountability.
  6. Governments and leaders have certain authority from God.
  7. Certain people have certain authority from God, such as supervisors at work.
  8. The Church has certain authority from God.
  9. The family has certain authority from God.
  10. Within society, God has delegated authority within structures.
  11. Within the family, there are different responsibilities, and there is a certain authority and responsibility for leadership with the man.
  12. Within the Church, there are different responsibilities and gifts, but certain authority and responsibility is given to a certain male leadership body.
  13. This is NOT about superiority, but rather about differences that go to our core which cause certain functions to fall under the purvue of one or the other.

We are going to discuss "headship" and "submission". We will begin with the family. In summary, authority is often seen as a bad word, and is often confused with power.

Rules without principle and character are scary. Our standard is God's word. As we have said before, the real issue is self-centeredness. Either extreme in this arena (license or legalism) kills the spirit of the issue. It is not about rules or roles.

In this arena, often we see our share of both gutlessness and an "us vs. them" mentality. We are salt and light to our world, so we better get this straight. We do have some answers to what is becoming a cultural crisis.

Gen.3:8-20, Eph.5:15-33 Let's talk more about males and females!

Our sexual identity runs deep.

Most men don't have the slightest clue as to how to love their wives in a way that is meaningful to the wife. The attempts at resolution often fall into two extremes:

  1. Many men require their wife to agree with them and require the wife to serve their every need.
  2. Other men defer all leadership to the wife and create an efficient, yet cold, business arrangement.

Women attempt to gain the love they need and want in two extreme ways, as well:

  1. Some women become a "kept woman" and a domestic servant and lose all dignity.
  2. Other women liberate themselves into a larger world where they get the respect they deserve while dying inside for the love they need.

IF husbands are masculine in a godly way, wives are able to go "off duty" to make everything run and they give up the pressure to perfect everything. They are able to relax in the strength of a serving soul-mate, which frees them up to enjoy other-centered relationships.

IF wives are feminine in a godly way, husbands gain confidence in taking responsibility and find themselves drawn to deeply loving, enjoying, and respecting a woman whose involvement with him means more to him than any other achievement. This touches as deep as it goes.

Rom.1:18-32 says that if we reject God's authority regarding anything, including our sexuality, He does not protect us from the inevitable consequences. The progression goes as follows:

  1. People reject God.
  2. People exchange God for themselves and depend on their own resources to gain and preserve life.
  3. People lose discernment; they move from intended relationship to a wrong understanding of relating.
  4. People are wrong, but are convinced they are right.
  5. The first real evidence that this is happening is the breakdown of the relationship between the sexes. God's design becomes reduced to erotic passion and gets twisted into impurity and perversion.
  6. People become hardened in their understanding of life. It begins with the sexual nature, then spreads to destroy and defile all relationships at every level.
  7. People get arrogantly defiant of God's promised judgment and encourage others to engage in their style of living.

Some observations:

  1. Self-centeredness (sin in pure form) starts this whole thing. Sin is at the root. It consists of arrogant conceit that honors human/personal welfare as supreme and depends on our own resources to feed our soul.
  2. Failure to humble ourselves causes a hardening into a wrong understanding of men and women in the world. It eventually completely destroys sexuality.

Men are prone to two things:

  1. Insecurity and feelings of inadequacy.
  2. Fear of true intimacy, which requires transparency.

Men tend to withdraw and work in order to feel like they matter. The solution is to seek God's purpose and involvement in that purpose.

What is a man? There are two elements we can draw from Scripture:

  1. Quiet confidence, moving with purpose. He knows what he has to give makes a difference.
  2. Tender sensitivity to others. He will sacrifice in order to involve himself with people.

Some observations:

  1. God gave authority over the earth to both the man and the woman, but God seems to have intended men to operate in the world differently than women.
  2. God's judgment on the man affected his work in the world - it will not be smooth.
  3. God's judgment on the woman affected her relationship with the man, as child bearer and with efforts at relationship.
  4. God's judgments were loving, in that they discourage people from thinking life can work without God. It always reminds us that full joy won't come until God's Kingdom.
  5. God's judgments create a despair that drive us to Him.
  6. God's judgments go to the core of our existence: men toward work; women toward relationship with the man (Tit.2:3-5). The scope of the responsibility and judgment is different. Responsibilities overlap, but they are different.
  7. It is easy to distort these differences. Often men will work all the time and will leave the wife with all the work at home and with the child-rearing. Men are responsible at home as first priority (I Tim.3:4-5; I Pet.3:7). Men are commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the Church and gave Himself up for it (Eph.5:25).
  8. Husbands are to provide for, nourish, cherish, and tenderly handle their wives, understanding their sensitivity (Eph.5:29; I Pet.3:7). This includes the physical relationship as well as including confidence with decisions and the way we approach the world.
  9. Women will not relax into a relationship with an over-confident man who never doubts himself, especially if his confidence is based on his own ability to reach self-serving goals. She also will not relax into a relationship with a basket case who is a nervous breakdown in the making.
  10. Success, talent, looks, wealth, and power without admitting his weaknesses and being sensitive to his wife's feelings is a rotten combination for a man.
  11. Manliness in Christ is moving with a purpose in life with confidence, following a valued direction for reasons reflected in God and His plan. He is not self-centered, driven, or pushy.
  12. A man in Christ manifests an increased, unhurried involvement with people with consistently increasing sensitivity. If he pulls or withholds confirmation or recognition of others in order to feed a fat or skinny ego, his manliness is ruined.
  13. A man in Christ has an ambition for God's glory and a concern for others, which yields stability.
  14. A man in Christ is tenderly involved with people, especially his wife. She knows she is the prize enjoyment, rather than it being the achievements.
  15. Masculinity is NOT what a man does; it is why he does it.
  16. A man in Christ is thankful that good things happen as he moves with purpose, and he is the most respectable when he touches his wife's heart.
  17. A man's completion and wholeness come from other-centered energy; no selfish ambition or immoral pleasure can compare to it. This also frees up the wife to have the confidence to be all she can be.

Masculinity is:

  1. A unique contribution to God's purposes in the world.
  2. Being deeply valued by others, especially his wife, as a valuable source of wise, sensitive, compassionate, decisive involvement.

What is a woman?

  1. It is completely fine to be a highly respected physician, corporate executive, attorney, biblical scholar, etc.
  2. It is not necessarily cooking, lingerie, and a sweet, subservient demeanor.

Women have a tendency to put up a wall, a sort of a hard crust. This prevents a focus on each relationship to seek the enjoyment that is there. This often creates a tendency to manipulate relationships in order to make them close without inviting. It is a tendency to force others to invite her. Inviting involves vulnerability and the possibility of hurt and rejection.

Being a woman in Christ is other-centeredness, characterized by the following:

  1. Increasing interest in giving what she has in order to meet someone's needs rather than in developing talents.
  2. Her greatest contribution surrounds her heart and her relating to others.
  3. Women are women of God when enjoying the ability to enhance relationships and encourage others by inviting them to enjoy relationships.
  4. It is less focused on achievement for a sense of completion. It is focused on giving of herself to enhance relationships and deepen them.
  5. It is focused less on going into the world and more on entering a relational network.

Masculinity is characterized by separateness and achievement.

Femininity is characterized by involvement, attachment, and invitation.

Women invite others to taste the Lord through them.

Femininity is:

  1. Confidently and warmly inviting others into relationship with God and herself.
  2. Knowing there is something in each relationship to be wonderfully enjoyed.

Col.3:12-21; Prov.31:10-31
Headship:
Women want to be enjoyed as a whole package. When they are not, they protect themselves from rejection, abuse, and being used by covering their God-given, delicate nature with a hard crust, a toughness on alert for danger.

A woman would die, just once, for someone to be tough for her rather than on her. She seeks a strong advocate, not a tyrant.

Men tend to feel two things:

  1. Anger that he has to meet needs when he has so many of his own.
  2. Threatened that he cannot meet the needs of his wife and family as a man.

He must:

  1. Focus on God and his position in Him.
  2. Focus on his wife and family.

These things are usually a complete shift in focus, a "paradigm shift".

Men have what wives and children need. His authority is to SERVE his wife and children. Men are completed by filling something that would be empty without him. A man is strong and gentle in his relationship toward God and others.

Submission is a woman's warmly receiving and meaningfully supporting a man's involvement in life which encourages his godliness.

Some thoughts on submission:

  1. It is not just doing what she's told. She can do what she's told without a submissive disposition.
  2. It is a disposition to yield to her husband's authority and an inclination to follow his leadership. It is NOT a list of behaviors. It is NOT blind following. It is not "rolling over" for stupid decisions. It is not to support sin. It is not to allow abuse.
  3. Masculine leadership is good, and women are to serve intelligently, creatively, and sincerely.
  4. (Prov.14:1; Prov.21:9,19) Foolish wives rip families apart with a nasty spirit. Wise women, in submission, attract their husbands with a gentle, quiet spirit (Prov.31; I Pet.3:1-4).
  5. An angry, contentious woman sees her job as to run things right and feels frustrated and annoyed when she can't.
  6. A God-centered woman wants to honor God. It is not her goal to change her husband, although she needs to pray for it. God knows he probably needs it! RATHER, she uses her resources to draw her husband to God and more involvement with her.
  7. Men struggle to feel adequate. It can be covered with a veneer of success, business, ministry, money, athletic prowess, social status, power, fame, etc. This is a difference between surface strength and deep strength.
  8. When little boys fail, they generally get torn apart. They learn the lesson well. It is dangerous to move decisively into the world.
  9. Women need to know their husband's deep questions about his adequacy, regardless of his confident veneer. Women need to respond. They can provide the answers.
  10. She can welcome him into a relationship with her and offer a spirit secure enough to be non-demanding and confident enough to completely invite God and others into relationship. She is strong and gentle.
  11. A woman must open up the withheld parts that are protected, and she must warmly invite.
  12. A gentle and quiet spirit is most attractive to a man.
  13. A man's questions are answered by a woman who accepts him with unthreatened acceptance and support, even when his judgments are poor.

What is mutual submission?

  • It is a man's headship, a one-way, non-reversible relationship.
  • It is a woman's submission, a one-way, non-reversible relationship.

It is NOT defined by rules or roles. 


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This page was last updated October 14, 1997