Monday, March 28, 2011

What is Biblical Manhood?

Readers of Rantifestos,

I just found this fantastic bit on, What is Biblical Manhood? This issue of masculinity, headship, and really everything pertaining to men, has come under significant attack in recent decades, courtesy of feminism. But don't be discouraged, here's a fellow blogger who actually reads his Bible!

There will be more on this in the next week(ish).



Here are my notes from our latest Men’s Group discussing biblical manhood. I left them as they were, so they are bulleted and may be a little choppy to read. I apologize for that. You can download the handout PDF here.
uick re-cap of last meeting. If you don’t deal with the heart, none of the rest of this stuff will matter at all! Ask yourself the hard questions and wrestle with the answers.
This teaching will just be an overview. We will get into the particulars (how to’s) later on in the Proverbs study. I wanted everyone to be clear on the term “biblical manhood”. We use it a lot and I wanted to make sure we all know what that means. In a nutshell it means seeing manhood and masculinity from what the Bible says they are and not what culture says they are. I’ll expand on that definition a little bit, but this teaching in no way encompasses all that the Bible has to say about us as men. So, continue to read and dig for yourselves!

Male Headship

  • The doctrines of male leadership in the church and the home stood without question for 18 centuries.
  • Man’s responsibilities, as laid out in the Bible, may be difficult to perform, but they are not difficult to understand.
  • Biblical manhood is under attack in our culture!
  • The feminist agenda began around the 1920’s & 1930’s.
  • The first feminist interpretations of Scriptures dealing with male headship started showing up in commentaries about 1970. That’s most of our lives. Unfortunately, that’s the main reason we so willingly accept doctrines and teachings in our churches that the Bible strictly prohibits.
  • God created man & said that it is not good that man be alone, so He created woman as a helper. Helper is not a denigrating term, God uses this word to speak of Himself throughout the Bible.
  • Man and woman are created equal, but serving different roles.
  • Gen 2:18-24 – All the other animals were created from dirt. Woman was created from man showing equality.
  • God gives us the picture of male headship. – 1 Cor 11:8-9
    • 1 Tim 2:12 – Our culture argues with this passage saying that “Paul was speaking to that culture and those women of that time. He isn’t speaking to our culture today.”
    • Paul himself uses the created order as proof for his argument. Therefore, if God set it up that way, that’s the way He meant for it to be for all time here on this Earth. – 1 Tim 2:13-14
    • Woman was made after the man. Why didn’t God create Eve first and then let her have the first man by natural child birth? That would show female headship.
    • Woman was made from the man. Again, she wasn’t made like the other animals showing equality with the man. Equality not egality – Egality says that we are completely equal and there is no role distinctions.
    • Woman was brought to the man. Another sign of authority.
    • Woman was named by the man. Naming is an act of headship. God named His creation (day, night, earth, seas, etc.) then gave the job of naming everything else (including Eve) to the man.
    • After the fall God comes looking for the man and holds him accountable even though it was the woman who was deceived and sinned first.

Biblical Manhood vs Cultural Manhood

Manhood is being attacked on two major fronts in our culture.
  • Feminism that seeks to eliminate all distinctions and authority.
  • Machoism that defines masculinity outside of the Bible. An analogy called “Football or gay”. Basically either you like sports, hunting, fishing, fast cars, etc. or you’re not a real man.
What does the Bible say?
  • God created man and gave him the role of cultivator. – Gen 1:28-30
    • God put man in the Garden of Eden and said ‘This is how the rest of the Earth should look’.
    • Men cultivate. It’s inherent. Just look at us “bigger, faster, stronger” (technology, vehicles, sports equipment, etc.). That’s the way God wired us.
    • We are called to cultivate our wives, children, jobs, churches, and communities.
    • If man refuses to submit to Christ, he still remains a cultivator, he just cultivates the wrong things. This is why accountability is so important among us!
Why is cultivating the right things so difficult?
  • Gen 3:16-19 – God curses the woman’s body and mind because of her sin, but he curses the creation that man was meant to cultivate because of his sin.
  • Creation wars against our cultivation! By the way, stop dreaming of the perfect woman and life that isn’t a fixer-upper! They don’t exist.
  • This is why we meet to encourage and teach one another. It’s hard!
  • God allows this to show us our deep need for the gospel and a Savior!
Wouldn’t it be better if, when we got saved, God took that away and gave us an easy life so that others would want to get saved? No. Two reasons.
  • That’s idolatry. If I come to Jesus just to get easy life, then easy life is my god and I’m just using Jesus to get it. That’s the prosperity gospel.
  • We tend to ignore God when all is well and really press into Him when things aren’t going so well for us. That’s our default mode.
What does this look like with our wives and kids? Again, way more details coming later.
  • Eph 5:22-23 – We can see that biblical manhood has way more to do with humility, loving self sacrifice, responsibility, and accountability than it does authority. The authority is there, but it comes with a price. These are the principals we need to continually learn from the Word and other godly men.
  • When we fully submit to Christ’s authority and headship, sacrifice our rights and desires, and lead out in our families spiritually we are becoming the men He has called us to be. Women usually flourish in this environment.
  • Men, we set the spiritual thermostat in our homes. If your wife is leading out on all the “spiritual stuff”, it’s going to end badly. Not because she doesn’t know what she’s talking about (my wife is a good bit smarter than me), but because you are going against the way God set it up to work!


  1. I know what I'm presenting in my Modern Day Oppression class tomorrow........

  2. Glad we could help, Alex!

  3. I know this is Reed’s post, but I would like a response from you Mark. Do you believe in these definitions and ideas regarding biblical manhood as well? And if you do, I would really like to talk to you about this in person because this post is not merely a statement of religious belief, but a post generated by sexism (you can call it whatever you want, i.e. “God’s roles for women and men”). I know exactly what it’s like for men to feel like they have authority over me, and you know my stories all too well. Maybe they weren’t acting as “God would have dictated,” but in reality, the issue is that they believe they have authority, and it does not matter who, divine or an aspect of society, gives it to them. In this post it says “Woman was brought to the man. Another sign of authority,” and the imagery evoked by this statement and conclusion is not only deeply disturbing but extremely simplistic with vast implications. Essentially, this post does not offend in a way that provokes dialogue between two merely “different” world views, but exposes the foundations for inequality, (different roles [separate] is not equal) that have, as you say, persisted for “18 centuries.” I would like to think that I have all of the same opportunities and intellectual capabilities as you, but as in this post it says “God curses the woman’s body and mind because of her sin” it is evident that I do not (notice how a man’s physical or mental capabilities were not cursed, but simply the creation he is supposed to rule over). I would also like to think that no man, whether a “man of God” or a man without a god, would ever be able to say “I am a man and therefore I have authority over you.” I have come too far in my life to read this post and not react strongly and passionately. You know me, you know my life experiences, and yet, I feel vaguely at a loss for trying to understand how you could possibly condone this post. I am not trying to provoke an argument about the Bible, my question is, how could you (someone who knows me as a capable and intelligent person), look at me and tell me my husband has authority over me, let alone any man for that matter? I will not submit to a role that tells me I do not have “authority,” nor “headship,” simply because I was born.

  4. In response to your comment, this post is most definitely a statement of religious belief. Everything in this post is backed by the Bible and what the author sees as God's design for men and women's roles, mainly in the home. (There is a difference between the relationship between a husband and wife, a woman's role in the church, and men and women in general.) If you don't believe in God or want to submit to Him, however you see it, then you aren't going to like or even necessarily understand what you hear about this.
    For Mark and Reed, this isn't about them wanting authority or power over women to serve their own purposes. This is about God's command to the husband to lead his wife toward godliness. If you read the whole article, it talks about men being the spiritiual encouragers, the cultivators, and having qualities of humility, responsibility, and accountability as the more important qualities rather than focusing on authority (Ephesians 5:22-23). God designates the roles not because of any lack of capability on the woman's part or because she is inferior or less intelligent but for the sake of order. This doesn't apply to all men either. I would never put myself in submission to any man that isn't my husband or father (obviously excluding government and church authority). God (and this article) make it clear the men and women are equal. You say you aren't trying to provoke an argument about the Bible, yet this post is only about the Bible and religious beliefs. It's not Mark or Reed or any other Christian man telling you that you have to submit, it's God telling you that you have to submit. That's pretty much the bottom line for not just gender roles but for everything a Christian does. As a Christian, you can't have a question without adding the Bible or God's command into the equation.

  5. Thinking that you have the right to look someone in the eye and say "you are to be the submissive one" based on your specific understanding of one text is absurd, disturbing and quite frankly disgusting. I've talked to at least a dozen Christians this week who agree with me. At the least you should be saying "I believe God says". Don't you dare talk to her and explain HER LIFE and HER ROLE as if you have anything to do with it or have any authority over such a matter.

    Btw saying something equal doesn't magically make it equal. You don't get to redefine words for yourself like that of submission which is a term that describes relationships and behavior that are INHERENTLY unequal and fear based.
    The article literally listed about a dozen inequal things then just tagged on the end "oh but don't worry they are equal'. Sorry if she's not buying it.

    A few sentences in one book have told her to submit. Sorry if that's not enough to convince her that her duty is to be submissive and let her husband have authority over her and undermine her identity and self. She's not only unwilling to believe something like this but honestly it is a part of her identity that she is not subject to this concept. If this makes her ungodly in your eyes great! But she would literally rather be dancing freely and submissive to NO MAN in your hell. And yeah this remains true even if she could be with a man who was niceeeee anddd lovinggggg about his divine right of kingship, woops! I meant husbandly authority. A loving king is still a king. A dictator that listens to his people is still a dictator. The people they rule are unequal relative to them because of the position they hold, not the way in which they act out that position. You do not get to preach to her that this is the kind of house commanded to her.

    I highly advise that you please just speak for yourself. Apparently you don't realize how ridiculous it is for you to voice what kind of woman you think Amy should be in regards to herself, and her relationship with others. Overstepping would be an understatement for what you've just done.You are choosing one of Amy's qualities (the fact that she is a woman) and not only preaching that her role and attitude should be based on this but actually saying that this would be an ideal existence for her because of what you happen to believe. I will not just sit here and watch people belittle her like this.

  6. For you to assume that I'm not going to "necessarily understand what I hear about this" is extremely insulting, and also yes I did read the whole article thank you very much. I've been a Christian my whole life, and regardless of what I define myself as now, the belief that a women should submit to her husband is not held by many denominations. You do what you want in your life, I'm against telling other women that they should do the same. Many Christian women believe that they do not need their husband to lead them towards "godliness." My own mother, a Christian who believes in God would NEVER allow my father authority over our household. Our house is equal, and still Christian. Finally, this article DOES NOT make it clear that women and men are equal, it states it in a couple of sentences, but instead of proving it, negates it with the paragraphs that follow.


  8. "You say, "Well, I have a husband who's disobedient to the things of God, who's indifferent to Jesus Christ, who's abusive, who is not kind and loving, is not good and gentle." All the more reason,[to be submissive] Peter says, "In the same way you wives be submissive to your own husbands so even if any of them are disobedient to the Word they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives." - John MacArthur

    "As someone under the authority of government, as an employee under the authority of an employer, whether the government is good, bad or indifferent, whether the employer is good and gentle or abusive and unreasonable, in the same manner that Jesus suffered unjustly and did nothing but commit Himself to God for God to bring out of that unjust suffering a glorious end, you wives be submissive to your own husbands." The implication here is that it really doesn't matter what kind of husband he is."
    -John MacArthur

    The contexts if these quotes just makes it worse...........
    You have no idea how insulting is to see people post his things as if he knows anything about being a decent human being.

  9. "As to the John MacArthur comment, i don't think it's really fair to call him indecent."

    This is absolute madness. MADNESS. He's not being physically abusive? Have you ever even opened anything that talks about psychology and psychiatry? Physical abuse is not even necessarily the most harmful form of abuse. ABUSE IS ABUSE. Have you ever seen what kind of toll an abusive marriage has done to anyone? I have in my personal life. (and HARDY HAR it wasn't a physically abusive relationship) And you think they should remain submissive. This is a DISGUSTING position to take. I am so beyond horrified. This is a position of insanity, I'm convinced. You don't even KNOW the people you are talking about. You just say one horrible thing after the other and then justify it by quoting text ignoring all outside reality, not caring about the harmful implications and most of all not caring about how idiotic you sound.

    You don't care that you are saying my aunt should have gone through more pain, more oppression, and more abuse, and that her act of desperation to break free was sinful. You don't mean to offend? How do you POSSIBLY know SO many people that agree with you. I've never even heard of this concept before a few months ago and I went to Christian school my whole life. Dear god. HOW?!
    HOW do you possibly exist!? But really thank you for giving me all the evidence I need that the logic on this blog is incredibly harmful.

    With you defending those statements and another guy on here literally defending SLAVERY, and everyone on here contributing to the hateful climate concerning homosexuals......

    I hope I never encounter someone like you in person.

  10. "Women have the choice to marry whoever they want. If they choose a man who doesn't treat them like they want, they shouldn't have married him. If they do happen to marry a man who is an awful husband, i think it's backed up by the Bible to say that a wife still should be submissive. He's not talking about physical abuse or infidelity."

    I'd just like to address this. Your first assumption is inherently wrong. No, not all women have the choice to marry who they wish.
    Secondly, to say that a woman who "chooses a man who doesn't treat them like they want" is somehow blameworthy for marrying her husband is simply unfeeling and cruel. In a relationship, signs of abuse may come out months and even years after the initial stages. And yet you are saying that these women simply "shouldn't have married [them]", as if each situation is as straightforward and uncomplicated as that.
    Also, I don't know if you meant to completely disregarded it, but there's such a thing as nonphysical abuse. You're saying that a wife who is being manipulated, harassed, humiliated, put down, or threatened by an "awful" husband should remain "submissive", despite the incredibly destructive effects to her mental and emotional health? I assume you've never seen a situation like this, but I hope you wouldn't berate a woman for being in an emotionally abusive relationship, let alone encourage them to "submit" and continue their suffering.

  11. "Even if it were a few sentences, that's not really an excuse not to obey them. "

    Do you think eating shellfish is a sin? If not, your entire argument doesn't make sense, because then you must admit that you do not think all of the laws have to be adhered to. What you just said implies that no matter how few times something is mentioned, it shall be adhered to.... but you don't even believe that yourself.

    Do you think cutting the sides of your beard and hair is sinful? Do you think that getting tattoos is sinful? The list goes on.. and on... and on......

    You selectively obey the Bible as well. All sane people do.....It's about time you admitted it. But who am I kidding. You've probably cooked up some irrational explanation that makes you think you shouldn't be scrutinized the way you scrutinize women, abused women, wives, gays, and those who do not submit to male authority.
    It's unfair and just plain annoying when I could call you just as wrong for eating shrimp with YOUR OWN LOGIC.

  12. Reed, thank you for this.

    Biblically, one of the basic tenets of Christianity is dying to self. Our love for God and Christ drives us to give up our desires in order to more accurately display God's glory in our lives. This is true on all levels of relationships, individually, with friends, betweenhusbands and wives, the Church, with strangers, and even with enemies. So why is it so appalling for you, Amy, given your knowledge of biblical principles and texts, that God would call wives to submit to their husbands?
    I think also, you have the wrong idea of submission. The idea is "making someone elses will your own." For example, let's say a girl likes me. And let's say that I, in a loving way, ask her to do something for me. She does it. Why? Because of her affection for me, she wants to make me happy. It then becomes her joy to do what I ask, because her love for me drives her to make me happy. This is the same concept in a Christian's life in reference to giving up sin. Because our love for Christ, we want to please Him with our lives so we do what He asks us to.
    Now, as Mark said, no one, men or women, can ever compare to Christ. Thus men and women cannot command another to do something that is not, either by passage or principle, approved by God in the Bible. Otherwise it should be framed as a request (that's love on the husband's part). And if you find a family that truly lives out this text, you will see that a husband doesn't order the wife around like a slave. That is not her purpose.
    Now a question that I have. I think it will appear rude, but that is not my intention. Why are you so upset by this? You have bashed on people, not the idea, but the people who hold them. We all obviously have a different life perspective than you. And no one has told you that you need to change your view. In fact, every person here has said that the bigger issue here is that you have not accepted God's peace terms for your soul. That you have not put your faith in Christ, who out of love died for your eternal soul, and was raised from the dead as proof that He had committed no sin. This proof grants assurance, assurance that when we die, our souls will be lifted from our bodies, and brought before our Savior and we will rejoice with Him for eternity. And without this life-altering event, you cannot understand Christianity. Just as you cannot know God. You can know AbOUT Christianity and you can know ABOUT God. But you cannot experientially know them. So why the anger? Why the hatred? We're here, sharing our ideas with people who have similar beliefs and perspectives on life, and you're here yelling at us and hating us for what we think. I just don't understand. It's not like we're making this a chain post on Facebook. I was truly startled by your intolerance.

  13. Hey Amy. I don't know if you're ever going to see this. But I'll be praying for you. Praying that God would radically demonstrate His mercy in your life by drawing you to repentance. Because you may be "living without the chains of what we call 'the order created by God'" now, but you will be bounded by chains in He'll for eternity unless you see your sin and forsake it for Christ.

  14. WOW................................................................................................(I know this will be deleted soon (but not right away Mark I speak to you at the bottom and actually rather politely I swear) and my negative credibility will be even more gone soon and that this will be even more hyperbolic than saying its idiotic to think that women who are abused by their husbands in ways that aren't physical should submit (LOL)

    but literally fuck yourself. Amy truly is never going to look at this blog again but don't you dare EVER address her in this manner ever again. Don't you dare EVER declare that you know anything about the state of her soul and don't you DARE EVER AGAIN declare that you know anything about her ultimate future. If you do it again I will find a way to literally kick your ass . She is smarter than you will ever be, more tolerant than you could ever imagine yourself to be, and just all around nothing like the little shit that you have demonstrated yourself to be right now. I would say go to hell but I wouldn't want to subject Amy to an eternity with you.

    And Mark do dozens of articles from Desiringgod, the Gospel Coalition, CBMW, Albert Mohler, John Piper, Martha Peace, an entire book and about 6 hours of sermons from your Church count as research? Just because I don't dress up my words and dance around with rhetoric does not mean I have nothing constructive to say. I really do think that if you knew half the things your Church has actually said about womanhood that you'd be quite appalled yourself. My favorite statement will always be "if he likes your hair a certain way and likes you to dress a certain way, its not your place to complain. These are his preferences." This isn't even close to the worst thing I heard, simply the funniest. The second funniest would be the story preached that compared a man buying clothes for a wife to the wife giving up her BODY for sex to her husband. The lesson was, don't make out with your husband then say you don't want to have sex, its a lot like him saying hell buy you clothes then not following through. O yes.

    "Your wife may be resisting you, fighting you, and spurning your attempts to lead, but it makes no difference. I believe our wives want us and need us to lead." Do you really not see what makes this statement awful?

    Or how about when one of your pastors preached to teenage girls so they would remain abstinent "why would he marry u if he gets all the benefits without the commitment?" Of course implying that the benefit of marrying her does not exceed sex. Still no reason for me to be cursing like a mad woman? Again, still not the worst things, just the funniest.

    Mk. For I shall not return either. Just wanted to let you know that being credible in the eyes of people that have said these things would be an insult to me.

  15. Hey Daniella. I don't know if you're ever going to see this. But I'll be praying for you. Praying that God would radically demonstrate His mercy in your life by drawing you to repentance. Because the same fate that awaits Amy awaits you. And each day you draw closer to that reality. There are consequences to resisting the God who created you. I just wanted you to be aware.

  16. I see too much hypocrisy on both sides of this flawed argument. Focus on God's word, don't waste your time on these blogs. Everyone in this argument is passionate, young, and above all naive. Enough said.

  17. "So, issues like submission, soteriology, eschatology, etc. all apply solely to Christians. If you don't make the claim that you, on the basis of Christ's righteousness and not your own, are looked upon by God as perfect and whole despite being inherently sinful and depraved, and then live your life accordingly, then these don't apply to you."

    Hi Mark.

    I would like to ask a question of you. Why do you say in essence that men's and women's God ordained roles only apply to Christians?

    Since the roles were assigned as creation ordinances they should apply to all humans. And if that is the case it does not matter if one is a Christian or not.

    It is really a matter of whether or not one acknowledges God's claim on their lives or if one would choose to live in rebellion.

    As to a Christian looking at a non-Christian in this case of gender calling, we could not expect the non-Christian to understand but that is not the same as saying that the God-ordained roles do not apply.

    If you do not think that they apply to non-Christians then you must then agree that feminism is good for the culture or at the least you cannot argue with it.

    I do not mean to open a can of worms but we need to be careful what we say about God's sovereignty even over the lives of non-believers.

  18. love how you throw in influence and shaping of culture. 
    l check this out man and tell me your thoughts. email me back!Man Up: Biblical manhood not for boys

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