Rejoicing in God’s Design for Manhood and Womanhood - Shaping Ministry to Youth, Young Adults, and T
As Christians, we hope to engage with the culture around us. While we may be tempted either to indulge in the culture, or, to isolate ourselves from it, we want to avoid those two ditches for the sake of the gospel. We want to engage with the world around us to represent Jesus and bring a redemptive component wherever and however we can - i.e., helping to make straight what’s been made crooked, or, to bring order where there’s chaos, or, to heal what’s been wounded, etc... these are some of the ways we can think and act redemptively in the world.
Today, one concept in need of redemption is that of manhood and womanhood. Our conviction is that these categories have been a bit confused over the years to where many - especially young people - are not really sure what it means to be a man or woman, what difference it should make, or if it really matters. Where thereis concern for the issue, the emphasis tends to rest on the equality between men and women.
Created by God, men and women are of course equal in dignity and standing before him. However, to emphasize this at the expense of God’s designed distinctionbetween them in unhelpful, and it has probably contributed to much of the modern day confusion. John Piper suggests that “The tendency today is to stress the equality of men and women by minimizing the unique significance of our maleness or femaleness. But this depreciation of male and female personhood is a great loss... Confusion over sexual personhood today is epidemic... [However], the Bible does not leave us in ignorance about the meaning of masculine and feminine personhood” (What’s the Difference, 16-17, 20). We agree.
Paul Tripp says that “There is almost nowhere outside of the Christian community that a teenager will get anything close to an accurate perspective of this significant area of human life” (Age of Opportunity, 85).
So, as we build a ministry to youth and young adults and their families, we will work, and hope, and pray that we will see them...
...Rejoicing in God’s Design for Manhood & Womanhood: We want to ground young people and their parents and the church in the truth of God’s good designs of Masculinity and Femininity.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen.1:27).
Our conviction is that God created humankind as male and female, equal in essence and dignity, distinct and complementary in their roles. “At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships. At the heart of mature femininity is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships” (Piper, What’s the Difference, 22).
We want to cultivate an appreciation for this worldview among our young people and in our homes. We want young Christians to know that they will be sanctified not as mere people, but specifically as males or females according to Gods good design.
Equal and complimentary designs for men and women are good, rooted in creation, and they reflect the image of God himself as he exists in Tri-unity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - all equally God, each filling different and complimentary roles with the Son submitting to the Father, and the Spirit submitting to the Son and the Father.
The Fall, however, brought distortions to male and female relations. “In the home, the husband's loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife's intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility. In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries” (The Danvers Statement of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, http://www.cbmw.org/Danvers).
This distortion is the kind of brokenness that gospel-centered redemptive living will hope to see made whole for the glory of God and the joy of his people. It’s the kind of hurt that young Christians, learning to be adult Christians, will do well to understand and address in light of the gospel - which frees his people to be what God designed us to be!