I’ve prayed for some time now that reformation would sweep over the church in America. Such a reformation would include a long list of positive outcomes and one of these would be a return to Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
The blessing of reformation is that the authority and sufficiency of Scripture becomes the only foundation for all belief and practice, which rejects the humanism that is so dominant in the church today and embraces what God revealed in His Word as the final arbiter for all matters of life and faith.
I believe that Christian men embracing the high calling that God has placed on their lives would be an incredible blessing. Not only would this benefit these men, their families, the church, and the nation, but it would also bring honor and glory to God, which is our purpose for existence.
What does the Bible say about Manhood?
So, what does the Bible say about manhood? Scripture teaches that men and women are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27), therefore, they are equal in essence and standing before God (Gal. 3:28). At the same time, God made men and women unequal in authority and function because they were created by Him to fulfill distinctive roles. Men were called to lead their families and women were called to support their husband’s leadership (Eph. 5:23; Col. 3:18; Tit. 2:1-5; 1 Peter 3:1).
Role #1: Men as Leaders
Leadership comes from vision and vision comes from God’s Word, so a Godly man must lead biblically. What are some of the basic expectations of his leadership? A man must establish a God-centered home (Joshua 24:14-16) and cast a multi-generational vision of faithfulness to the One True God (Psalm 78:1-7). A husband must seek to sanctify his wife with the Bible, so that she perfectly conforms to Christ (Eph. 5:26). The husband must live with his wife in an understanding way (1 Pet. 3:7) and he must seek to sacrificially love her as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25) and as he would his own body (Eph. 5:28-30). Clearly, this is a strong and yet gentle kind of leadership that is earned rather than dictated. As a father, a man must turn his heart toward home (Mal. 4:6) and seek to disciple his children in the nurture and instruction of the Lord and do so without provoking anger (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21). He must also train his children up to honor and obey their parents. The man is directed to be faithful in these and other biblical applications and it is up to God to produce the fruit. Just as Adam was held accountable for his leadership, all men will be held accountable for the leadership of their home.
Role #2: Men as Providers
God calls men to provide for their families. We see this truth illustrated by God designating Adam with the job of overseeing the garden and giving him dominion over all animal life. He then created Eve out of Adam’s body to give to Adam for the purpose of helping him. He focuses much of his energy on his work while she is to focus much of her energy on helping him. Of course, Adam’s sin led to God cursing the land, which made his role of provider more difficult. The man is to be the primary breadwinner for the family, so that his wife can focus her best energies on the role God gave her, which is in the home (Titus 2:3-4). A man is to work hard and not be slothful. In fact, the man who does not provide for his own household has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Tim. 5:8).
Generally, men tend to do better at providing than leading and protecting because they often wrongly associate success in life with what job one holds or what income one has. This is easy because the culture handsomely affirms success. Sadly, many men provide financially while neglecting to provide spiritually and relationally. Of course, there are still men who do not provide at all because they are absentee fathers or they are too lazy to work and whose wives support them.
Role #3: Men as Protectors
God calls men to protect their families and any man worth his salt would willingly fight and die if necessary for his family. We see this evidenced throughout Scripture in a variety of ways. For example, men are physically stronger than women (1 Peter 3:7) and men (not women) are called on to protect their homes (Luke 11:21). When Nehemiah organized the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem, he placed the men on the section of wall closest to their own home, which would motivate their protective nature to build a strong wall and enable them to immediately defend their family if need arose (Nehemiah 2-3). It is also the pattern of Scripture that men went to war while the women and children stayed behind (Numbers 1; Deut. 3:18-20; Joshua 1:14; 1 Samuel 30:3, 18-19). There are also no biblical examples of women serving as combatants. Finally, as protectors men are the primary gatekeepers of their families, which means that it is their job to determine what and whom will influence the family. This includes deciding what doctrine to believe, where to go to church, how to educate their children, what media to allow in the home, who has access to the family, etc.
What are some objections to Biblical Manhood?
The Bible is very straightforward about what men are called to be and yet we see very little of this taking place within the church today. Why? Because Biblical Manhood is spiritually appraised in an age where each man does what is right in his own eyes. The church is full of “Cafeteria Christians” who pick and choose what they want to believe and often mix those hand-picked doctrines with those that they picked from the world. I confess that I struggled and wrestled with the doctrine of Biblical Manhood for years and I believe that I objected for three main reasons.
Objection #1: The Culture
Biblical Manhood is contrary to the egalitarian culture that I was raised in, which teaches that there are no differences between men and women. For example, I vividly remember watching “The Cosby Show” and seeing the interaction between Matriarch Mrs. Clair Huxtable and Elvin Tibideaux (the young man who dated and eventually married her daughter Sondra). Elvin held traditional beliefs about gender roles (albeit poorly articulated) and Clair confidently slammed him for his “chauvinistic” positions. Mr. Huxtable was cast as the more moderate voice of reason who came in and tried to help poor misguided Elvin understand that he was wrong. Of course, the actor realized the error of his way and turned into an egalitarian himself.
Images like that were played over and over and over again by the mass media to the point that it influenced the presuppositions of an entire generation to believe that men and women are equal in all ways including their roles in life. Egalitarianism promotes total autonomous freedom, which is the belief that every person is their own god and they can determine what is right or wrong for themselves.
The world is hostile to Biblical truth and Biblical Manhood is especially offensive because it recognizes that the Bible is God’s standard and that the world is accountable to that standard, which also means that mankind is accountable to God individually as well as collectively. The marriage relationship is also a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church.
Objection #2: My Wife
In addition to the egalitarian culture, another challenge I encountered was that my wife is a very intelligent and gifted woman. She is my equal in a lot of ways, she is better than I am in some, and I am better than her in others. With this in mind, I reasoned that we should be equal in our marriage because there was no distinct area that I saw, which qualified me to be in a position of leadership over her.
What is interesting, however, is that God blessed my bride with a sensitive spirit to Biblical truth and she encouraged me to take the leadership role in our marriage and showed me from Scripture why I should do so. Over time I grew to understand the importance of God’s plan and to embrace the role He gave me. Today, I diligently seek to fulfill what God has commanded me to be-the leader, provider, and protector of my home.
Objection #3: The Church
Most people in the church will agree that men and women are equal in standing before God, but that is where the agreement usually ends. Unfortunately, the simple truth that God has ordained roles for men and women is often glossed over, ignored, reinterpreted, or rejected outright by the Modern American Church. There are several reasons why this happens. Here are a few examples:
- Bad theology.
- The church lacks faith that God’s ways are best.
- The church fears men more than God.
- Most people in the church are not saved and so Biblical truth is offensive.
- Some churches need a lot of money to pay for salaries, buildings, and programs, and teaching Biblical Manhood and Womanhood would cause many within their congregations to stop attending and stop giving.
- Seeker-friendly churches do not teach the whole counsel of God.
- The existence of female pastors is unbiblical and undermines male headship in the home as well as male leadership in the church and the state as taught in Scripture.
- Unqualified male leaders undermine male headship out of self-interest because teaching on it would expose their status of being unqualified to serve in the Gospel ministry (1 Tim. 3; Titus 1).
Pastors need to intentionally and boldly teach Biblical manhood from the pulpit and they need to lovingly live it out in their home, which models what it looks like to the congregations they serve. The congregations they serve also need to check their humanistic thinking at the door and not persecute their pastors for loving them enough to teach them biblical truth. God’s ways are always higher than man’s ways and the ideas of men must never be the measure for Biblical truth. The American Christian Church is a sea of mediocrity and a pastor who boldly preaches Biblical truth is truly a blessing from God.
A Call to Reclaim Biblical Manhood
God ordained the family as the foundational institution for civilization and He called men to be accountable for their families. Therefore, how we live out our lives as a family and embrace our God-given roles will radically impact our families, our churches, and our nation.
Some examples of the blessing of Biblical manhood include:
- God’s Word being the foundation of truth in the home
- Husbands and Fathers growing as disciples
- Husbands and Fathers turning their hearts toward home
- Stronger God-honoring marriages
- Wives feeling loved and being sanctified
- The rise of Biblical Womanhood
- Children being wanted and loved
- Children being evangelized and discipled
- The rise of obedient children
- A Multi-generational vision
- Biblically Qualified Men rising up to lead and biblically reform the church
- Biblically Reformed Churches impacting the world for Christ
Since it is God’s plan, it must be taught and modeled by every Christian church. Every boy who grows up in a Christian home today must be discipled to believe the truth that God has called him to be a leader, protector, and a provider for women and children (Gen. 18:19; Joshua 24:15).