BLOG: What’s the Difference



WRITTEN BY MELISSA H. STRAUTMAN, LMT

What’s the Difference? – Men & Women
Companion blog to our Adult Discipleship Class: “What’s the Difference?

In our current Adult Discipleship Class we are trying to better understand what God says about Biblical manhood and womanhood.[1]  I am going to take several weeks to lay out…

  1. Worldviews and more specific Christian viewpoints
  2. How the Bible defines the structure and function of males and females
  3. Cultural misunderstandings of Biblical roles

We know how easy it is in our daily lives to get sucked into popular discussions like LGBTQ rights, women’s reproductive choice or men’s sexual behavior.  We know these topics are really important to different people-groups for various personal and political reasons.

Two Categories of People

  • Those from a more secular worldview have the high goal of expressing man’s hard-fought growth in areas of compassion, equality and freedoms. (Romans 2:14-15)
  • Those from a Biblical worldview have the high goal of expressing God’s graciously given plan for eternal freedom and perfect peace through Christ’s hard-fought sacrifice.  We are okay with denying our fleshly desires (sex, greed, anger) while on this earth for a larger, longer-lasting reward that allows us the freedom to live with the Lord and be in perfect harmony with all of creation [2]

It’s understandable that those who do not believe there is an afterlife with God put such passion into the here-and-now.  I’m sure I would do the same if I didn’t have faith in Christ.  The problem is not about LGBTQ rights, etc.  The real problem is rejecting the truth of scripture.  Holding a more eternal view (Godly) verses a temporal view (secular) naturally widens the human lens, softens the heart and strips away class, gender or race categories.  Christians understand that we are all equal in the sight of God.[3]

Galatians 3:28
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Are We Really Equal?

 Just like everything in life, there is a structure and a function/role.  The human heart is a fist sized vital organ made up of contractile tissue and chambers.  That is its structure.  Its function is to pump blood throughout the body.  God designed the function to play a specific role in human existence and messing with that would be disastrous.  Men and women are no different.  God made us and He assigned vital roles for us to play so that creation would function in a particular way according to His plan.  We sin when we think we can take on roles that God did not assign for us to take or ignore roles we are given.  When we do this we are saying that we know better than God.

 “Human sexuality is at the very fabric of life as God wills it to be for the holiness of His people and for their saving mission to the world. Getting this right is very important.”  – Pastor Mike Troyer[4]

We should want to know who and what we were designed for and how it is best for us to behave.  Secularly-minded folks believe that they get to decide this for themselves.  Eternally-minded people believe God decides our roles and that He does this so we may become more holy.  We are clearly more useful to God and His plans of “bringing many sons to glory[5]” when we are more dedicated to the truth lived out in the roles we are assigned.

God created separate roles for men and women.  It was the fall that corrupted those roles.  The enormity of being made in the image of a holy God (Imago Dei) and having the spirit of the living God dwelling inside us allows true believers the ability to believe and hold fast to roles laid out in the Bible; no matter the tides of culture or the intense desires of our own hearts.

Mark Dever warns…
“When the authority of scripture is undermined [on any topic], the Gospel will not long be acknowledged,”[6]

2 Corinthians 10:5
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

Where Do You Fall?

If you are a Christian, you will probably say that you fall into the “eternally-minded” category – but, as we have seen in our modern Christian culture – that doesn’t mean you believe the same things about the roles of men and women as other “eternally-minded” Christians.  For instance, some people believe that women should not be pastors and others see nothing wrong with it.  Neither stance determines whether or not someone is a genuine believer.  When it comes to roles for men and women, Christians fall into one of two categories of belief about human sexuality…[7]

  1. Egalitarianism (aka Evangelical Feminism) – A view shared by evangelical Christians who believe that God has not assigned different roles to men and women within marriage and [or] the church.  In this view, men and women share a joint authority and responsibility before God for leadership. Men and women are both qualified to serve as elders [pastors] within the church.
  2. Complementarianism – A view shared by evangelical Christians who believe that God has assigned different and complementary roles to men and women within marriage and the church.  In this view, men bear a unique authority and responsibility before God for leadership.  Only men are qualified to serve as elders within the church.

Egalitarians take the Galatians 3:28 passage, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” as proof of the sexes being equal.  Yes, it’s true that male and female are equal in dignity, person-hood and worth; as would be the Jew, Greek, slave or free man.  However this passage wasn’t pointing to physical equality, or stations in life, and certainly did not negate male and female roles that God spent enormous Biblical real estate defining[8].

Roles Matter

In 1987, a group of pastors and scholars assembled to address their concerns over the influence of feminism, not only in our culture but also in evangelical churches.  Because of the widespread compromise of biblical understanding of manhood and womanhood and its tragic effects on the home and the church, these men and women established The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood[9].  This is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to ground their feet firmer in God’s design for manhood and womanhood.

Next week I intend to bring out what God says about male and female roles and misconceptions of male misogyny in the Bible.  We have allowed all the wrong people to tell us what God is saying and we need to look at the truth ourselves.  Women should be excited to be women just as God has designed their roles.  We actually have the better end of the stick, if you ask me!

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


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[1] This study guide is based on, and is a companion to, What’s the Difference? Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible (DVD) by John Piper (Crossway Books, 2009).

[2] Isaiah 11:1-6

[3] James 2:1-4, Colossians 3:10-11, Acts 10: 34-35, Luke 14:13-14, Leviticus 19:33-34, James 2:8-9, Romans 2:11, Psalm 67:4, Proverbs 22:2, Philippians 2:3, Ephesians 5:21, Deuteronomy 10:17

[4] “Introduction: Manhood and Womanhood as Defined by the Bible” taught by Pastor Mike Troyer.

[5] Hebrews 2:10

[6] Companion study guide to What’s the Difference? Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible (DVD) by John Piper (Crossway Books, 2009).

[7] These definitions are reproduced from Male and Female He Created Them: A Study on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which is a curriculum designed by The Bethlehem Institute, a ministry of Bethlehem Baptist Church (www.thebethleheminstitute.org).

[8] Deuteronomy 24:5; Joshua 1:14-15; Nahum 3:5, 12-13; 1 Timothy 3; Titus 1

[9] Companion study guide to What’s the Difference? Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible (DVD) by John Piper (Crossway Books, 2009). pg 33

What’s the Difference? Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible (DVD) is available to be checked out in the Grace Library.