Monday, November 15, 2010

Men and Women are Different

The title of this post is perhaps one of pure shock value in 2010, but I stand behind it. Following up our last discussion on following a different Jesus (Galatians 1:6-9) with the same name, we must now move to a hot button issue. The roles of men and women.

I would like first to consider what seems like an entirely different concept: the triune nature of God (like most Missionary Baptists, I avoid the word trinity as vague and needlessly loaded). God exists as one unified being, represented in three different ways. LD Foreman argues (and I concur wholheartedly) that man is also triune. We have a body, a mind and a soul. When we are in our new, perfected bodies, all of these will agree together but remain distinct. Put differently, your mind is you, your soul is you and your body is you. Your mind is not your soul and your soul is not your body, nor is your mind your body. For all of the pomp concerning the incomprehensibility of the trinity as a doctrine, God has given us a very clear picture of it in ourselves. The Son is God, the Father is God and the Holy Ghost is God. But the Son is not the Father, et cetera. Dr. Foreman goes so far in his wonderful book The Bible in Eight Ages[1] to draw a link between each part of the Godhead and our humanity, arguing that the mind is the Father, etc. While this may be useful and seems to make logical sense, I am not entirely persuaded that the illustration goes that far and so will not repeat the argument here. Nevertheless, the basic explanation of the Triune God stands.

Now that we have realized we may discuss the Godhead without fear that I may simply make things up, pulling it out of the cloudy veil "You wouldn't understand," we can move on. The Son is just as much God as the Father is (Colossians 2:9), they are equals. Yet, in their equality, they fulfill different roles. Indeed - the Son submits to the Father! As Jesus waited in the cool of the garden around 3 AM, forseeing the bloody death which awaited Him, He (while still having omniscience, not using it while a Man) left his disciples to pray.
And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done."

(Luk 22:41-42)
He subjected to the Father's will, even though they were equals. The Holy Spirit is also equal to God (1 Corinthians 3:16 and John 14:23), yet submits to both the Father and the Son. The following passage ties it all together nicely.
"But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. "But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. "All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

(Joh 16:4-15)
We then see that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost) are equal, yet submit to one another and perform different roles. The foundation for the Biblical role of men and women is now firmly laid and I suspect most see where I will go from here.

First, we must establish that men and women are equal, just as the Father, Son and Spirit are equal (I suppose I will have no trouble persuading you). Since this point is not widely contested (or contested at all, as far as I am aware), I will present a single Scripture.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.

(Gal 3:26-29)
Aha! But, I cheated, you see. I gave you the verse in context, a context which already makes my point. This is the darling verse of those who would deny that God has different roles for men and for women. In context, however, it says theat we are equal in the eyes of God. To pick one of the less controversial parallels, the Jew and the Greek were equal in the eyes of God (who is not a respecter of persons), but performed different roles. Indeed, in the Millenium, all nations will be subject to Israel (I include a very long Scripture here, even by my standards, but it is a description of what the Earth will be like when the saved will rule with Christ over the rest of the world - and what a beautiful description it is). The LORD speaks to Israel here, saying:
"Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. "For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you. "Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. "Lift up your eyes round about and see; They all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, And your daughters will be carried in the arms. "Then you will see and be radiant, And your heart will thrill and rejoice; Because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, The wealth of the nations will come to you. "A multitude of camels will cover you, The young camels of Midian and Ephah; All those from Sheba will come; They will bring gold and frankincense, And will bear good news of the praises of the LORD. "All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered together to you, The rams of Nebaioth will minister to you; They will go up with acceptance on My altar, And I shall glorify My glorious house. "Who are these who fly like a cloud And like the doves to their lattices? "Surely the coastlands will wait for Me; And the ships of Tarshish will come first, To bring your sons from afar, Their silver and their gold with them, For the name of the LORD your God, And for the Holy One of Israel because He has glorified you. "Foreigners will build up your walls, And their kings will minister to you; For in My wrath I struck you, And in My favor I have had compassion on you. "Your gates will be open continually; They will not be closed day or night, So that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, With their kings led in procession. "For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish, And the nations will be utterly ruined. "The glory of Lebanon will come to you, The juniper, the box tree and the cypress together, To beautify the place of My sanctuary; And I shall make the place of My feet glorious. "The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, And all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet; And they will call you the city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. "Whereas you have been forsaken and hated With no one passing through, I will make you an everlasting pride, A joy from generation to generation. "You will also suck the milk of nations And suck the breast of kings; Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. "Instead of bronze I will bring gold, And instead of iron I will bring silver, And instead of wood, bronze, And instead of stones, iron. And I will make peace your administrators And righteousness your overseers. "Violence will not be heard again in your land, Nor devastation or destruction within your borders; But you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise. "No longer will you have the sun for light by day, Nor for brightness will the moon give you light; But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And your God for your glory. "Your sun will no longer set, Nor will your moon wane; For you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And the days of your mourning will be over. "Then all your people will be righteous; They will possess the land forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified. "The smallest one will become a clan, And the least one a mighty nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time."

(Isa 60:1-22)
(Isn't that a fantastic passage on what the world will be like when Jesus comes to reign for a thousand years?) That God has a special role for Israel in the Earthly millenium is clear. But all of the saved will rule with Him and the Jew and Greek are equally eligible to partake of God's salvation. Likewise, the other example, slaves and freemen had different roles in society. The slaves may have been required to be respectful to their masters, but their master's roles had no favor in the eyes of God. To deviate briefly from Colossians, pastors have teaching authoirty over thei church, but being a pastor does not gain you a special place over a faithful church member. You just have a different role.

Men and women then are clearly the same. Equals with different places. We will see what those places are in my next post.

Grace and peace to you until then!

[1] A hardcover version of the book is available for just 8 dollars at the link above and is the single most valuable overview of the Bible ever written, as far as I am concerned. I highly encourage yo to order it. The link is to Lehigh Baptist Church, the cheapest place I have found it. Aside from their KJV-only mentality (a legalism which I must address in a post at some point), they are a wonderful website who I have ordered a great deal from (including maybe a dozen copies of Dr. Foreman's book) and have never had any trouble with (despite my accidentally ordering 200 copies of a book instead of 100, they understood and quickly resolved it). I am not receiving any kickbacks, but I endorse this company and this book wholeheartedly.

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