BLOG: Good vs. Bad Male Leaders


Good vs. Bad Male Leaders
Companion blog to our Adult Discipleship Class: “What’s the Difference?


In our Adult Discipleship Class, “Men Are Leaders (October 21, 2018), Nathan Ross[1] lead us through Genesis chapters 2 & 3 to show us that men ARE hard-wired to be natural born leaders; regardless of their knowledge of this fact or their ability to be good at it.

Adam was actually a lousy leader!

God made Adam first and called him to head up the earth first.  God graciously gave him an awesome helper but Adam failed to stand in that leadership role for very long.  Adam should have stood between the woman and the serpent and helped her escape that danger.  He didn’t.  Adam should have corrected Eve’s erroneous tale of what God had actually said when she was repeating it to Satan.  He didn’t.  Adam should not have preferred Eve’s will over God’s command not to eat of the fruit but he did.  Adam should not have blamed God for giving him the woman who he listened to but he did.

Maybe Adam became passive-aggressive because it was easier.  Maybe Eve was super smart and he felt intimidated.  After all, God made it clear that Adam wasn’t complete without her.  I can see how that angle might be sinfully exploited.

I find it interesting that God didn’t start from scratch with more dirt to make the woman.  He performed divine surgery to harvest a complex tissue from Adam’s body to form the woman.  It is clear that God wanted this gift to be of great worth and complexity.  We commonly see young females today who mature physically and mentally faster than boys.  Due to brain structure, females generally process information faster, have greater memory and have more emotional intelligence.[2] Even if the Bible didn’t tell us, female anatomy and physiology itself make very clear the immense role women play in birthing, nurturing and sustaining new humans.  Maybe Eve could sense the power of her femininity, in persuading Adam, right from the get-go.

All we do know for sure about Eve and her mind was that she put herself forward as the leader in the forbidden-fruit-situation and that was a reversal of how God set up the relationship.  God proves this by confronting Adam first after the sin.  Adam was in charge of the garden which made him primarily accountable.  Eve being ambitious or Adam being a lousy leader was no excuse for a lack of male leadership in the home.

Why does God pull-rank on humans made in His image?

“Genesis 2:18 doesn’t say, “I’ll make a helper for her”.  God didn’t do it that way.  He had a plan in mind.  He wanted to show us who He is.  His image is reflected in the right order of submission and leadership.  It’s not about who will make the decisions or not.  It’s about God showing His image more clearly to the world.  God is at the center of this issue, not men and women.”  Nathan Ross

In Nathan’s follow up to this class, Leadership According to Peter and Paul (October 28, 2018), we see how Peter and Paul spell out very specific qualities that have to be present in men to be considered for leadership in the church.  These qualities are expected to begin in the home and if a man is successful in living them out, then he can be considered fit for leadership in the local church.  Adam would not have qualified during the time of the fruit incident. Hopefully, he discovered the benefits of living in God’s design of male headship in the home sooner rather than later.

Note: This blog is not referring to men’s and women’s roles in the marketplace.  Proverbs 31 makes it abundantly clear that Christian women can and do have the authority and ability to rock in the workforce and Christian men will necessarily celebrate her.[3]

What does Christian submission in the home look like?

Given immense variables, I think it is probably easier to say what it doesn’t look like:[4]

  1. Submission is not agreeing on everything
  2. Submission doesn’t mean leaving your brain at the door
  3. Submission doesn’t mean you don’t try to influence your husband [but you better check that it’s in a Biblical direction!]
  4. Submission is not putting the will of your husband above God’s will
  5. Submission doesn’t mean getting all of your spiritual strength from your husband
  6. Submission doesn’t mean living in fear

Nathan points out three styles of male leadership:

  1. Passive [from lack of Biblical knowledge or apathy]
  2. Abusive [the resentful aftermath of passivity]
  3. Biblical

The #1 quality for leadership fitness:

In 2 Corinthians 2:1-17, Paul tells men how their efforts to diligently follow and sincerely spread God’s word “is the aroma of Christ to God”.  He points out that no man is actually sufficient to do leadership right because sinners can’t lead sinners.  Only God can lead sinners rightly.  This task of male headship in the church and in the home is so hard that only God can make a man fit for faithful leadership.  A man not following God’s plan can only produce bad leadership in his home.  Surely it is not a leap to see how that would trickle into his workplace and he would never qualify to serve in leadership for a local body of believers.  The number one quality for a man becoming a good leader in the home and church is a dependency on the mercy and grace of God.

A perfect example of this is Paul.  Paul was one of the biggest enemies of the Christian church[5] and he killed many Christians.  God stopped him on the road to Damascus and changed his heart.  God set Paul apart (just like he does to all Christians) before Paul was born.  God made Paul fit for the task of leadership in the church.[6] Imagine just how shocked everyone was.

1 Timothy 3:1-16 gives us the essential characteristics of a Godly man who should lead the Church.  Keep in mind these non-negotiable qualities have to be apparent in the home first.[7]

  1. Above reproach – good social and moral reputation, blameless – not sinless
  2. The husband of one wife – not saying he can’t have been divorced or must be married
  3. Sober-minded – doesn’t lash out, not quick to judge
  4. Self-controlled – prudent and focused
  5. Respectable – orderliness in all things
  6. Hospitable – seeking out times to bring people into your home[8], doing that with a really good attitude[9] – Tell me this isn’t where the woman is of incredible help.
  7. Able to teach – actually teaches God’s Word to his children and others
  8. Not a drunkard – it’s a sin that demeans the image of God
  9. Not violent – not bad-tempered which leads to physical disruptions
  10. Gentle – big-hearted, able to defuse explosive situations, forbearing, gracious, quick to give mercy, meekness – it’s a picture of Christ
  11. Not quarrelsome – peaceable, not rude, doesn’t stir up or keep the drama going
  12. Not a lover of money – not greedy for more than is needed
  13. Manage his household well with dignity & keeps his children submissive
  14. Must have a good reputation with those outside the church
  15. Must not be a recent convert

These are the only qualifications that God lays out to be qualified for Church leadership.  Some churches ignore most of these and add in their own qualifications.  That’s not biblical and it won’t go well.  To learn more about qualification in the church, please read Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders. To learn more about male leadership in the home, please read The Exemplary Husband and its companion book: The Excellent Wife – – both are available in our church library!

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

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[1] Teacher at Grace Community Church, Bowling Green, KY

[2]  Who’s smarter in the classroom — men or women?, Science Daily
Men, Women, and IQ: Setting the Record Straight, Psychology Today
Why Women Are Smarter Than Men, Forbes Magazine

[3] Blog: Misogyny vs. Headship, Views from the Pew

[4] Pastor John Piper

[5] Galatians 1:13

[6] Acts 9:15

[7] 1 Timothy 3:5

[8] Romans 12:13

[9] 1 Peter 4:9