BLOG: Misogyny vs. Headship


Misogyny vs. Headship
Companion blog to our Adult Discipleship Class: “What’s the Difference?

“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.” [1]

 When sin came into the world in the garden it ruined the harmony that existed in the world.  This harmony was shown in two equal beings bearing the image of God sharing dominion over creation. However, they were made physically diverse to accomplish God’s mandate of reproduction and roles within their family and culture.

“Without knowing the written law of God, people in pagan society generally value and attempt to practice its most basic tenets. This is normal for cultures instinctively to value justice, honesty, compassion, and goodness toward others, reflecting the divine law written in the heart.  Their practice of some good deeds and their aversion to some evil ones demonstrate an innate knowledge of God’s law — a knowledge [their conscience] that will actually witness against them on the day of judgement.[2]

What does it mean for an unbeliever’s conscience to witness against them?

Just as surely as we are made in the image of God[3]; the knowledge of good and evil[4] is written on our hearts.[5] Conscience literally means “with knowledge”.  No one can hide from their Maker’s intent for humanity.[6]  God gave every human a conscience that works as a warning system; producing fear, guilt, shame and doubt.  This is critical to keep us on the straight-and-narrow.  We can desensitize or numb our conscience by ignoring it and over time the conscience can become “seared” or deadened and unusable (1 Timothy 4:2). God’s word warns us that an unhealthy conscience will lead us to stop caring about what He wants.  We will increasingly lose moral restraint; causing us to sin all the more (Ephesians 4:19).

Ongoing sanctification in our Christian life is all about keeping our conscience healthy and sharp (Philippians 2:12-13).  Joyously receiving Christian rebuke becomes commonplace.  True followers of Christ want to feel the weight of their sin and be pushed forward to more holiness.  We want to shed our own desires and take on more of what the Father desires for His creation.

In light of these verses (referenced above) regarding the installation of natural law, men and women should have a deep rooted sense of the masculine and feminine roles that God ordained.  We are fooling ourselves if we believe that individuals come to natural law and natural roles by their environment or personal choice.

 “Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart.” [7] 

The early 1900s’ feminist movement tied women’s roles to slavery.  They desired to be free from oppressive, hateful men and the discrimination (sexism) born out of a male dominated society.  I’m definitely not a feminist but if I’d lived in the early 1900s I’d have wanted women to have been paid at the same rate as men and treated well; just like the feminist wanted.  That’s simply natural law speaking.  Unfortunately the women with the biggest voices weren’t Christians and cared not for what God said about the situation.

The irony here, to me, is that in fighting the inappropriate and domineering male, the feminists were actually giving credence to his rightful existence.  They were saying, “let’s fight against this legitimate threat” and they were wrong.  There was nothing “legitimate” about these men and their behavior.  Maybe if they’d called men out individually on their sin towards women in the confines of the Church, restoration of honor and respect towards women could have come like a good ol’ fashioned revival.  Imagine, previous pillars of the community being drummed out of business for un-Christian behavior towards mothers, sisters, wives, etc.  The shame!  Better still, imagine these prominent men being convicted of their sin, repenting, and thus changing the fabric of society with their humble witness.

These feminists first tried to minimize the differences between the sexes and appeal to the natural right and wrong of the situations (birth control, pay, voting, etc.).  When this clearly wasn’t working, as it wouldn’t when you appeal to natural-man with a “seared” conscience, these women attempted to assert superiority over men; crushing them and any institution (marriage, child rearing, etc.) that might still follow traditional roles.  We are seeing a rapid unfolding of this today.

Rejecting the Feminist Illusion

Feminism is a failed experiment for female happiness.  To mangle the fabric of society with feminism is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  So maybe we should look at what God really said about male and female roles and see if we can get some of that Garden-of-Eden-harmony back.

We don’t have to accept men as a homogeneous-domineering-jerkdom.  We just have to open our eyes (rightfully discern) and see the differences in the male population and then assign characteristics accordingly.  In my view there are four kinds of men…

  1. Non-threatening Unbeliever — aka “the wimp”
  2. Threatening Unbeliever — aka “the common abuser”
  3. Loving Believer — aka “the Christian”
  4. Unloving Fake-Believer — aka “the self-righteous abuser”

If a man is a “loving believer” discernibly showing fruit of the Spirit, then we have ourselves the-closest-thing-to-a-perfect-man-any-woman-could-ever-want!  I call him “my husband” and he’s taken!  Sorry ladies.

He’s just like any other man in the male-habits department, but he is dedicated to serving me like Jesus serves His church.  It’s honest.  It’s heartfelt.  It is without manipulative motive.  He wants all for my good, all of the time.  Now, you might think that sounds like a wimpy yes-man but he’s far from it.  He is faster than a gun-slinger at lovingly calling me out on my occasional sassy, meekless attitude before I go too far down sin’s path … and I am very thankful.  It’s kind of like being blessed with two consciences and I like that.  The saint-side of me wants to sin less and less.  The sin-side of me wants to bless your buns out for cutting me off on Scottsville Road.  God knew I needed extra help, so he sent me a man who would gladly lead me according to the divine plan.

God’s divine plan for men’s behavior towards women is NOT…

  • Antagonisticinstead: it is appropriate, close-knit female friendships, and deep commitment for all women’s good
  • Hatefulinstead: it is appropriately watching-out-for and putting women first out of deep respect and honor to God for such a blessing as women
  • Suffocatinginstead: it is inexpressible joy and pride in female success at whatever venture she chooses to fulfill her God given design[8].
  • Demeaninginstead: it is going out of his way to stay tuned-in to a wife’s spirit and lift her up with the hope and love of Christ, and not with the illusion of hollow, worldly things.
  • Dominatinginstead: it is being strong and willing, in our feminist culture, to do as God has designed and boldly take on the lead role in his household, despite what uninformed outsiders may say.  It is understanding and accepting the Biblical weight of a divine-buck-stopping with him.  This makes him all the more committed to serving his wife as God said he should.

God’s Divine Plan for Manhood and Womanhood Defined[9]

Masculinity:  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.

Femininity:  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.

It’s worth taking a look at these definitions piece by piece, as is laid out in Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood.  This exhaustive book, by Pastors John Piper and Wayne Grudem, is a faithful exposition of Scripture as it responds to the feminism that has crept into the evangelical church.  The evangelical feminist (egalitarian) belief is eating at the fabric of the Gospel.  If what God said about His created beings is not true, then why should we believe what He says about our salvation?

Please check out Pastor John Piper’s online sermon, “Husbands Who Love Like Christ and the Wives Who Submit to Them.”  There are some great articles and further resources on the topic of manhood and womanhood at The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Hopefully I have illuminated God’s intention for men to love, honor and serve women, and not to hate or discriminate against them.  Next week I want to look just a little closer at the heavy burden that God places on men’s specific behavior; so that women can feel joyous about God’s plan of headship in the family and the church.  Women really do have the better end of the stick!

If you wish to listen ahead to our current Adult Discipleship Class with discussions, click here.

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[1] Piper, John & Grudem, Wayne (2006). Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, pg 33. paragraph 5

[2]  MacArthur, John (2016). The MacArthur Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, page 2046, ref. to Romans 2:14-15

[3] Genesis 1:26-27

[4] Genesis 3:22

[5] Romans 2:15

[6] Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10-11

[7] This is the second affirmation of the Danvers Statement

[8] The Proverbs 31 woman was praised for her industriousness in the marketplace.

[9] Piper, John & Grudem, Wayne (2006). Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood. Wheaton, IL: Crossway