Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

“Heretic” is a big charge. Saying someone is “not a Christian” is a judgment not to hurl around lightly. We should not, for example, swing such accusations at those who disagree with us on what the “mark of the beast” means, or on the place speaking in tongues should have in modern-day worship. But certain ideas are really beyond the fray of Christian belief.

I have written before that it is possible to treat male headship in such a way that the man replaces Jesus. That would certainly not be compatible with Christianity. Others have expanded on why they find ESS (Eternal Submission of the Son, a doctrine used to justify female submission) outside the fray of orthodoxy.
To add to that, here is an exhibit on why I think the Council of Biblical™ Manhood and Womanhood really don’t understand the gospel:

48. How can a Christian single woman enter into the mystery of Christ and the Church if she never experiences marriage?
[Their answer promotes offering your virginity to God. Nothing about becoming a Christian.] – CBMW, “Fifty Crucial Questions, Question 48

The very premise of such a question does not fit in with understanding the gospel. A similar question will be:

How can you enter the pleasures of wealth without acting the role of a wealthy person in a movie? [Their answer: By not acting in movies]

Wealth is not role play. You enter into the pleasures of wealth by having money. And by enjoying the things money can buy. Movies have nothing to do with it.

The mystery of Christ and the church, likewise, is not about marriage or celibacy. Jesus loved you – male or female, single or married or divorced or widowed – first. Know you are loved by God, love God back, experience God’s love, and see how it never ends, and how it changes you to live for Him. Even if you are unfaithful, God remains faithful. That is the mystery of Christ and the church. Other names for entering into the mystery of Christ and the church is being born again, giving your life to God, getting saved, and inviting Jesus into your heart. For all the great things that can be said about marriage or virginity, neither of them is central to how anyone enter into this mystery.

The mere suggestion or question which hint that a single woman may enter it differently from a married woman, or a man, is anti-gospel. To mention virginity makes it worse. The (single or otherwise) non-virgin enters the Kingdom the same way the virgin does.

It seems that the theologians at CBMW do not know what it means to enter into the relationship between Christ and his church.

This was not a moment’s slip of the tongue by one individual associated with the CBMW. The subheader say “An Overview of Central Concerns about Manhood and Womanhood.” The front page mentions Randy Stinson (president of CBMW), David Kotter (Executive Director of CBMW), as well as John Piper and Wayne Grudem.* It says of itself: “Over the years, the booklet you hold in your hand has been one of our most helpful and popular resources.” (Foreword) It admits “[t]his book is adapted from a CBMW-sponsored book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.”

To not promote an actual relationship with Christ (available to male and female, single or not, virgin or not), even when answering a direct question about entering this relationship, is central CBMW doctrine. I strongly consider the possibility that this type of non-answer comes from theologians who don’t actually know, firsthand, what it is to be born again.

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Comments on: "Is “Biblical” manhood and womanhood compatible with the gospel of Christ?" (11)

  1. […] (Link): Is “Biblical” manhood and womanhood compatible with the gospel of Christ? […]

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  2. […] More about 50 Crucial Questions here. The questions and answers can be viewed for free here. Retha’s blog post is here. […]

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  3. What and how about single virgin men? I need clarity on this??

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  4. In reality the CBMW along with Mary Kassian is really just an egalitarian and organization who just think they are practicing and defending a biblical marriage just because it kinda sounds like it.
    .
    They are just taking some segment out of a former conjugal/biblical marriage and force this into their current egalitarian/revised practice of marriage.
    For example: authority and submission really has no context or purpose in an egalitarian arrangement because its core philosophy is based on the desire to equally function socially and sexually as men to exchange child-free sexual pleasure to frees women from the home and raising children which empowers women to have the same opportunity as men to have a career to earn money out in the marketplace.

    This is why a complimentarian marriage looks and act no differently than an egalitarian marriage other than believing a husband is the authority of the relationship they regurgitated from the bible and forced into a very foreign relational structure The complimentarian couple also needs to sterilize their sexual relationship in order to exchange child free sexual pleasure in order to empower the wife to have a career and earn money. The complimentarian couple also has to be very careful to prevent or limit the number of kids they have or this would force them from being in an egalitarian relationship and into the conjugal relationship.
    The problem is they force authority and submission into a foreign relationship where this has absolutely no context or purpose at all. Therefore, the so called conservative or complimentarian is reduced to creating foreign scenarios of authority that are cruel or make no sense such as a wife asking permission to go grocery shopping. Most realize this doesn’t quite cut the mustard and are forced to remove it completely from physical world and create some sort mystical “spiritual authority” . In any case, without a physical context and purpose for authority and submission created scenarios that are cruel to both husband and wife.

    The point missed is have to claim authority without responsibility is tyranny and to bear responsibility without having authority is slavery.
    My husband is obligated with the responsibility to provide and support me, hence i am accountable to him as my authority. If not, then my husband would become my personal slave and this would make me even worse than a slave owner because at least a slave owners had responsibility.

    Both complimentarians and egalitarians are united in only making a reference to the former conjugal/biblical practice of marriage and situation when they tell a couple who lives together they are living in sin and need to get married. Ironically, the relationship of a live together couple looks and functions no differently than the relationship of the married couples who are telling them they are living in sin. This is why many couples who previously lived together complain that nothing changed by getting married. This reason for this is they just went from an egalitarian relationship and into egalitarian marriage. Nothing changed because they had nothing to change into.

    This is the redefinition of marriage. Divorce, living together and same sex marriage wot destroy marriage, rather, their acceptance is proof that marriage has already been destroyed.
    All the imagery of Christ and the church here is a distortion

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    • Thank you for keeping reading, but your whole story is based on misdefining egalitarianism. Egalitarianism, of the sort discussed here at least, is not in the least about child-free sexual pleasure. My personal motives have never been about child-free sexual pleasure. If you knew me, you would know that I actually want children, but have always – except for a short few weeks that was 0.19 % of my life – been boyfriendless and never had a husband.
      Keep reading, and try to see what egalitarianism actually means. Until you get that you will read everything here with wrong assumptions.
      And CBMW is not egalitarian, and not about child-free sexual pleasure.

      “My husband is obligated with the responsibility to provide and support me, hence i am accountable to him as my authority. If not, then my husband would become my personal slave and this would make me even worse than a slave owner because at least a slave owners had responsibility.”
      Wait a minute. Do you say women who do not regard husbands as one-sided authorities have utterly no responsibility whatsoever? Not a responsibility to do anything whatsoever for the husband or children? That is not true. Men and women together take responsibility for families, and together can make decisions and have authority.
      It is the world who lets the person who earns money – while both do different kinds of work – have more say. Jesus said it should not be so under his people.

      “The point missed is have to claim authority without responsibility is tyranny and to bear responsibility without having authority is slavery.”
      I actually sort of agree. And mothers who stay at home bear a lot of responsibility. So, to let them have no authority is slavery.

      (Plus, I have to warn you that your comment here is not on the topic of the blog post. Read the top right of my sidebar, “If you comment here…”)

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  5. Do not assume most marriages or live-in relationships are egalitarian. Very few men are actually egalitarian, really wanting the woman’s opinions and ideas to matter as much as the man’s. Most men have something called a “sense of entitlement” (look it up) which means they think they are more right and have more rights.

    Most men think “acting like a woman” is an insult if you hurl it at a man – because in their heart they a part of them believe men are better. That is the opposite of being egalitarian.

    Egalitarian really means that both let the opinion of the other person matter equally. For example, by the definition of egalitarianism, domestic violence cannot be egalitarian. (Unless, theoretically, someone say “I want to hurt myself as badly as you.”)
    Times when the man force the woman sexually, as he is in the mood? Any relationship in which that happens is obviously not egalitarian. A relationship where the man’s sexual pleasure is more important that the woman’s, or even worse, where she has to endure pain or humiliation for his pleasure? That is very un-egalitarian sex.
    If they live in one home, but he is the boss of his big salary and she of her small salary, they are not egalitarian about money.

    Egalitarianism is revolutionary and rare, not something most of the world is already doing.

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  6. (Comment deleted because commenter was already warned for being off the topic of the blog post. – Retha)

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  7. (Comment deleted because commenter was already warned for being off the topic of the blog post. – Retha)

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  8. […] More about 50 Crucial Questions here. The questions and answers can be viewed for free here. Retha’s blog post is here. […]

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  9. The context of the question is clearly Ephesians 5:22-32, where the Bible says that in a mysterious way marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. Yet you say “The mystery of Christ and the church, likewise, is not about marriage…”. So either you are intentionally misrepresenting CBMW or you are displaying an alarming ignorance of the relevant scriptures. (And it is interesting that their answer to the question, which you conveniently omit, is a direct quote from a well known and respected Christian woman.)

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    • I am aware of CBMW doctrine, and of the scriptures they use for it. If they asked: “How can a single woman picture the mystery of Christ and the church”, I would have agreed with you – it would have been right by their way of understanding Eph 5:21-32.
      But they asked how to enter it. Entering something, and playing a role which picture it, is very different things.

      By the way, this blog discusses elsewhere how complementarians get the picturing the wrong way round: What Jesus did (giving up a priviledged position to serve, love and prioritize the church as much as his own body which he gave up for them; the church cooperating with, and using rightly, all the wisdom, love and power given by Jesus) is the picture from which husbands and wives should learn how to act, not that husbands and wives should draw a picture from which the gospel can be seen. So this blog does discuss the passage in picture terms.

      And I still assert the mystery of Christ and the church is not about marriage or virginity (as in, you can enter it whether you are married or a virgin). But all Christians (married or single, virgin or not) should live out the gospel (the gospel is the mystery of Christ and the Church) in all they do. As I understand, this passage calls married Christians to also live it out in their marriages.

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