In November of 1987 a group of evangelical leaders gather together to come up with a statement that would represent the biblical view of the role and responsibility of male and female in family, church, and society. In a meeting in Danvers, Massachusetts, in 1988 those leaders published the first statement regarding the role and responsibility of male and female.

The statement read as such:

**read the statement online:

Definition of Manhood

Webster: the condition of being an adult male as distinguished from a child or female.

John Piper defines “masculine Christianity”:

“The theology and the church and the mission are marked by over-arching (overall) male leadership and an ethos (culture) of tender-hearted strength and contrite courage and risk-taking decisiveness and readiness to sacrifice to protect and provide for the community—the feel of a great, majestic God making the men lovingly strong and the women intelligently secure.”[1]

Three Views on the Equality and Differences between Male and Female

            1. Egalitarian

The view that holds that the Bible teaches the fundamental equality of women and men of all racial and ethnic mixes, all economic classes, and all age groups. (Millard Erickson, Roger Nicole, Gordon D. Fee, etc).

            2. Biblical Patriarchy

The view that holds that male leadership should be carried in the family, church, and society. (Douglas Wilson, R.C.Sproul, Douglas Philips)

            3. Complementarian

This view in short is that men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere.[2] The men and women are of equal worth and are both equally created in the image of God, but have distinct roles in church, home and society as a whole. Some of people who holds to this view in Christianity are John Piper, Wayne Grudem, J.I. Packer, C.J. Mahaney, Dennis Rainey, etc.

Leadership in General

“A man’s spiritual leadership is not a matter of dictatorial power, but of firm and credible spiritual leadership and influence. A man must be ready to lead his wife and his children in a way that will honor God, demonstrate godliness, inculcate Christian character and lead his family to desire Christ and to seek God’s glory.” Albert Mohler[3]

In an article “The Marks of Manhood”, Albert Mohler lists 13 characteristics of a man.

1. Spiritual maturity sufficient to lead a wife and children.

2. Personal maturity sufficient to be a responsible husband and father.

3. Economic maturity sufficient to hold an adult job and handle money.

4. Physical maturity sufficient to work and protect a family.

5. Sexual maturity sufficient to marry and fulfill God’s purposes.

6. Moral maturity sufficient to lead as example of righteousness.

7. Ethical maturity sufficient to make responsible decisions.

8. Worldview maturity sufficient to understand what is really important.

9. Relational maturity sufficient to understand and respect others.

10. Social maturity sufficient to make a contribution to society.

11. Verbal maturity sufficient to communicate and articulate as a man.

12. Character maturity sufficient to demonstrate courage under fire.

13. Biblical maturity sufficient to lead at some level in the church.

            A. Men As Leaders

God gave us as men the responsibility to lead:

i. God chose men to lead his people throughout history (e.g. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, etc.)

ii. Men were created first thus God gave them the responsibility to lead not women (1 Tim 2:8-15; 1 Cor 14:33-35)

“…a man should be able to teach someone, and to lead in some ministry, translating his personal discipleship into the fulfillment of a godly call.

There is a role of leadership for every man in every church, whether that role is public or private, large or small, official or unofficial. A man should know how to pray before others, to present the Gospel, and to stand in the gap where a leadership need is apparent.” Al Mohler[4]

B. Men As Husbands

“The role of husband and father is central to manhood.” Albert Mohler[5]

i. We are to love are wives (Eph 5:22-33; Col 3:19)

ii. We are to demand (insist, claim) respect

What I mean by this point is that because of sin and the fall the woman struggle to submit to her husband thus we need as husbands to insist on our leadership and respect.

a. because  women struggle to submit (cf. Gen 3:16)

Gen 3:16 “To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

“The word translated “desire” is an unusual Hebrew word, teshuqah. In this context and in this specific construction it probably implies an aggressive desire, perhaps a desire to conquer or rule over, or else an urge or impulse the woman has to oppose her husband, an impulse to act against him. This sense is seen in the only other occurrence of teshuqah in all the books of Moses and the only other occurrence of teshuqah plus the preposition ‘el in the whole Bible. That occurrence is in the very next chapter of Genesis, in Genesis 4:7. God says to Cain, “Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Here the sense is very clear. God pictures sin like a wild animal waiting outside Cain’s door, waiting to pounce on him and overpower him. In that sense, sin’s “desire” or “instinctive urge” is “against” him.

What a remarkable parallel this is to Genesis 3:16! In the Hebrew text, six words are the same words and found in the same order in both verses. It is almost as if this other usage is put here by the author so that we would know how to understand the meaning of the term in Genesis 3:16. the expression in 4:7 has the sense, “desire, urge, impulse against” (or perhaps “desire to conquer, desire to rule over”). And that sesnse fits very well in Genesis 3:16 also.” (Wayne Grudem, Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth, p. 37-38 ).

Then God says that Adam, “shall rule over you” (Gen 3:16). The world here – translated “rule” – is the Hebrew term mashal, a common term in the OT that regularly if not always refers to ruling by greater power or force or strength. It is used of human military or political rulers. (Ibid., Grudem, p. 39).

Errors of passivity Biblical ideal Errors of aggressiveness
Husband Wimp Loving, humble headship Tyrant
Wife Doormat Joyful, intelligent submission Usurper

The biblical ideal, in the center column, is loving, humble headship on the part of the husband, following Ephesians 5:23-33. The biblical ideal on the part of the wife is joyful, intelligent submission to and support of her husband’s leadership, in accordance with Ephesians 5:22-24 and 31-33. (Grudem, p. 43).

b. because Scripture commands the wife to respect and submit to her husband (Eph 5:22ff; Col 3:18; 1 Pet 3:1, 5, and 6)

iii. we are to demand respect from our kids (Col 3:20)

**(Caution: we are to realize what qualify us to lead our wives and kids and be their spiritual leader is not based on our righteousness or sin but because the Lord commands us to be their leader). I.e. we will miss up, we will sin many times, if not on daily bases, but that should not and must not make us passive in our leadership. But we must confess our sin and continue to be active in our leadership).

iv. We are to manage our house well (1 Tim 3:5)

1 Tim 3:4, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

1 Tim 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

“to manage” Gr. προΐστημι – This word is used three times in the NT here and in 5:17. The latter reference is used of elders (pastors) to rule (or manage) the church well.

In 1 Tim 3:5 the verb is parsed as such (Aorist, Active, Infinitive). When is used  in the active mood it means, “of a protective leadership care for, help, give aid.”

v. We are to praise our wives (Prov 31:30)

Praise her for cooking, praise her for her godly character, praise her for her beauty, church involvement in discipleship, fellowship, and prayer, etc.

vi. We are to understand that our wives are weaker physically and emotionally and we are to acknowledge that (1 Pet 3:7 “genosis” “understanding”). What does that mean?

That mean we are to protect our wives from any emotional distress, to help them focus on the Lord when they struggle emotionally.

Understand the our wives are not capable to do some physical activities like we can.

vii. Protect, provide, and secure your wife and defend her (Gen 3:17-19)

C. Men and Purity

“Even as the society celebrates sex in every form and at every age, the true Christian man practices sexual integrity, avoiding pornography, fornication, all forms of sexual promiscuity and corruption. He understands the danger of lust, but rejoices in the sexual capacity and reproductive power God has put within him, committing himself to find a wife, and to earn her love, trust and admiration — and eventually to win her hand in marriage.” Al Mohler[6]

i. As Single Men

1). Don’t let the world, Satan or your own self deceive you, that lust, sex and having sexual relationships will satisfy you.

2). Don’t be deceived by the idea that once you’re married all the lustful desires and thoughts will  go away, the fact is it will not go away (1 Cor 7:9)

3)Every practice we practice when we are singles will affect our sex life after marriage

4) Make no provision for the flesh (Rom 6, 13:14). We are no longer slaves to our lusts. But we acknowledge that we still have strong desires within us that long to draw us to sin, and lust.

5) Our bodies become our wives (1 Cor 7:1-7)

a) no private, or general relationships with the opposite sex outside the church (at work, at the gym, at school, etc.)

b) no private relationships with the opposite sex from my local church. Don’t allow yourself to ride in the car with a sister in the Lord without having someone else with you. Don’t be in a room alone with the opposite sex.

ii. As Married Men

1) Enjoy your sex life with your wife. Don’t allow secular finesse to robe you of your enjoyment to your wife. Also our past dissatisfaction with women may appear in our marriage. But by the grace of God we can overcome that weakness in our lives.

2) If you are not satisfied with your wife – help your wife to understand your unfulfillment (displeasure).

3). Romance your wife to enjoy her in full.

4) Read, C.J. Mahaney, Sex, Romance, And the Glory of God; Intended for Pleasure: Sex Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage, to help you understand your role and your wife role in sex. These two books will give you a biblical view on sex within marriage.

iii. Recommended Reading:

Joshua Harris, Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World (2005)

Biblical Sermons about Lust: Especially by Joshua Harris has excellent sermons on lust since he struggle with this sin himself.

D. Men and Decision Making (James 4)

Who make the final decision in my personal life, in my home, at work?

The question that we really have to ask ourselves: Are we ready as men to lead ourselves, our wives, our kids in the right decisions?

1. Think through decisions logically –

a. The New Testament insists on our aggressively employing our minds (Romans 12:2, Eph 4:23; 1 Pet 1:13).

b. The New Testament reveal God’s will for us as the best option to do (Mark 3:35; Rom 1:10; 8:27; 12:2; 15:32; 1 Cor 1:1; 2 Cor 1:1; 7:9, 10; 8:5; Eph 1:1; 6:6; Col 1:1; 4:12; 1 Thess 4:3; 2 Tim 1:1; Heb 10:36; 1 Pet 2:15; 4:2, 6, 19; 5:2; 1 John 2:17). This option is governed by the Word of God, and relying on the guiding of the Spirit of God to our conformed minds.

Mark 3:35 “For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” – what is the will of God here. Of course it is what is best according to the revealed will of God (the Scripture).

1 Thess 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality” – Again God’s will is that we become holy.

1 Pet 2:15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. – This is God’s will doing right

2. Search the Scriptures – The inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God makes us adequate and equips us for every good work, including the making of wise decisions (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet 1:19-20; Ps 1; Ps 119; Ps 19)

**(Caution: Let us make sure that we don’t substitute a careless mishandling of the Bible for a careful studying of the Bible).

3. Seek Counsel – Other mature believers who walk with God, growing in their knowledge of Scripture, and prove to be godly are a great resource for counsel (Prov 1:5, 25; 11:14; 12:15; 13:10; 15:22; 20:18).

**(Caution: Be aware of bad counselors (Prov 12:5).

4. Relaying on the Illumination of the Holy Spirit – We have to pray for the Holy Spirit to illumine our hearts and minds to understand the Scriptures, and thus make the right decisions (James 1:5; Pa 127:1-2; Gen 24:12 Abraham servant).

“So in our dominion-minded decision making, let’s give ourselves to prayer. Not just to halfhearted token prayer, but to full-hearted, earnest prayer (James 5:16-18).” (Mark Chanski, chap 14)

5. Make A Decision –

a. We have to make a decision and not be double minded (Ps 119:113; Jam 1:8). Procrastination and postponement are often displays not of prudence, but of cowardice and passivity. Here again, we need to aggressively exercise manly dominion by subduing our fear and sloth. We need to rule” (Mark Chanski, chap 14)

b. At the same time as men God gave us the characteristic of “holy pause” – This trait “is one of the general traits implanted by the Lord in males making them well suited for headship in the family and church. Women generally seem to be more intuitive. They seem to come to conclusions more quickly. Men, on the other hand, generally want to take more time to try to wrap their brains around the issue. Though at times this slower process may make us appear dull-headed and overly cautious to our wives, in the long run it’s a prudent approach.” (Mark Chanski chap 14)

E. Men As Fathers

1. Father and Mother – we are not to forget our wives, but to continue to put them first in our lives even when we have kids.

2. Father and children (Col 3:19)

3. Father and ministry (1 Cor 7)

F. Recommended Reading

1. Mark Chanski, Manly Dominion: In a Passive-Purple-Four-Ball World (2007).

2. Stuart Scott, Exemplary Husband: A Biblical Perspective (2002).

3. _________, Biblical Manhood: Mascuilinity, Leadership and Decision Making (2009).

4. Gary & Betsy Ricucci, C.J. and Carolyn Mahaney, Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace (2006).

5. Dave Harvey, When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage (2007).

6. Paul Tripp, What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage (2010).

7. Wayne Grudem, Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth: An Analysis of More than 100 Disputed Questions (2004).

8. John Piper and Wayne Grudem, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (1991).

9. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (1994).

10. R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Man (2006).

11. Tedd Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart (1995).

[2]The Danvers Statement is an official statement of the complementarian Christian view of gender roles. It was first published by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) in Wheaton, Illinois in November 1988.

[4]Ibid. For a full presentation of biblical reasons why men are ought to lead read chapter one of Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth by Wayne Grudem.