David Platt on Biblical Mahood and Womanhood

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What better day to listen to David Platt giving the biblical perspective on manhood and womanhood, than on March 8 – the official international woman’s day.

adam eve gardenIn Part 1 – Platt gives a Summary of Manhood  & Womanhood in Genesis

Some of the Bible’s statements may sound chauvinistic or domineering in our contexts today, if they’re not understood in the context of the Scriptures’s teaching in Genesis 1&2. In part 1 we see 3 truths:

  1. Equal dignity. God created man and woman with equal dignity, both man and woman created in the image of God, and likeness of God, as representatives of  God. Man, not superior to woman, woman not superior to man. Any man who belittles a woman is violating the design of God. Any woman who disparages a man  is undercutting the beautiful design of God.
  2. Different roles. At the same time, men and women are created with different roles. Roles that don’t call into question one’s dignity and worth in any way. This is clear, we look to Genesis and walk through 8 reasons we know this is true. Man created to be the head, in a position of authority, Created first by the design of God with responsibility, representation, authority, entrusted by God. And woman, created to be the helper. Genesis 2:18 and 20 woman created as suitable helper for man, equal in dignity, different in roles in a complementary way, in a good way, not unfair, not demeaning. Cause God did this as a reflection of Himself and of the Trinity- God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit- Equal in essence, worth, different in role. It’s not chauvinistic, domineering for God the Father to have authority over, and for God the Son to submit to God the Father. This is where we see, the understanding of the personhood of God is huge for understanding our own manhood and womanhood.
  3. For our good and His glory. So, He created all of us, men and women with equal dignity, different roles, for our good and His glory.

David Platt – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Part 1

Platt recounts the points from the first part (video) and begins the second part message at the 9:30 minute mark.

Sin has woefully distorted those 2 roles. , and we bear, feel the effects of sin. Broken relations with men and women abound. Distorted ideas of manhood and womanhood abound all across our culture. What I want to show you is that it all goes back to Genesis 3.  Every detail is important. The anatomy and the consequence of sin are intertwined directly with manhood and womanhood. I want to show you how sin affects men differently than it affects women, how it expresses itself differently in man and in woman, how the results of sin are different in man and in woman. As sin expresses itself in man and in woman, we see how there’s an active picture and a passive picture.

Manhood-

  • Spineless abdication of his responsibility. This is the essence of what Adam did in verses 1-5. He stands by and does nothing. The serpent, in the very way he is tempting this couple, he is subverting the design of God. He does not come to the head (the man), he comes to woman. The serpent’s saying to woman, „Why don’t you lead the way? Why don’t you make this decision?” The serpent is undercutting the design of God, in the very way he is tempting. Then, when you get to verse 17, when God speaks directly to Adam, „Adam, because you have listened to the voice of your wife…” before He even addresses the fact that Adam ate the piece of fruit- direct disobedience to the command of God that Adam had been given. He says, „Fundamentally, you listened, instead of leading. You stood silently by, doing nothing.” Like a wimp, and then has the audacity, when God confronts his sin, to blame the woman.  Spineless abdication of responsibility in men, and dads, that is alive today because men refuse to lead. They sit and watch TV, play video games, surf the internet, who never come home from work, who don’t step up and take responsibility for wives and children. Males who think they are men, but in reality are little boys, shirking the responsibility that God Himself has entrusted to them. (13:00)
  • Aggressive: Selfish abuse of his authority. Then you go to the other extreme. And what you have is a more aggressive picture, selfish abuse of his authority. A man will rise up and say, „I’m not gonna be a wimp in this relationship, I’m gonna dominate this relationship. Some believe the end of v. 16 „he shall rule over you”, that word there is depicted of harsh, forceful, oppressive rulership, domineering, which is a distortion of God’s design. Headship does not equal domination, man’s controlling woman, man abusing his authority in his position of authority in the relationship. 
  • He will experience pain in his role of breadwinning. Notice of how punishment for sin in man’s life is then specifically linked to his responsibility. As a result of sin, man shall experience pain in his role of breadwinning. This is something that man was commanded to do in a way that woman was not commanded- working the ground and providing for the family. This is gender specific punishment for sin.

Womanhood-

  • Passive: Spineless dismissal of any responsibility. We can’t misunderstand the picture here. It’s not that woman was not responsible for her sin, here in Genesis 3. Man certainly had a level of responsibility, we see that when God confronts man for the accountability for sin, but, woman was obviously and clearly directly responsible for her disobedience to God. And, there’s a distorted picture, as a result of sin that leads, particularly when it comes to submission. Sin distorts this role and causes women to think, „Ok, well, if I’m the helper, he’s the head, then I’m not accountable for what I do. Maybe a woman sees her husband or her children doing something they should not be doing, she doesn’t do anything about it because she says, „That’s my role.” Or maybe she has a husband who is abusing her and she sits idly by, thinking that’s what submission is all about. That is a tragic distortion of biblical womanhood. God has created no woman to be a door mat. He’s created women with a responsibility towards God for how they think, for how they live, for the choices they make, the way they use and present their bodies. SIDE NOTE here- as we come up on summer here. I want to say to the women in our midst that you have a responsibility before God for the way that you dress for the summer, not to lead men into sin. Some would say, „Well, it’s their problem .” It is their problem and it is most definitely your problem. Do not do what Eve did in Genesis 3, leading your brother into sin. Run from every appearance of that. Guard your brother from sin in every way you can. 
  • Agressive: Selfish defiance against authority. In v. 16, as a result of sin, God says to the woman, „Your desire shall be for your husband.” Now, why is that bad, that the woman will desire the husband, as a result of sin? What does that mean- desire? You go to ch. 4:7, and you see the same word, the same language used when God is speaking to Cain about sin in his life. Listen to what God says to Cain, „If you do well Cain, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. It’s desire is for you. But, you must rule over it.” Same language there. Sin’s desire is for you. Is it good for sin to desire you? No. Sin’s desire is to overpower you, to oppose you, to work against you. That’s what sin does. And so, it’s the same picture that’s being used here in 3:16, when God says, „Your desire will be for your husband.” You will desire to overpower him, to oppose his leadership, to work against his leadership. This is defiance of his authority. Your desire will be to usurp his leadership with your own leadership. Not in a complementary way, but in a competitive way. The result of sin in you is you will say, „I wanna do this my way, my rule, regardless of what my husband says or does. I’m in charge here. That is a very sinful sense, desiring the authority that God has given to man.
  • She will experience pain in her role of childbearing. Here, the same way that we saw God’s punishment, uniquely fitted to man, we see God’s punishment and  sin uniquely fitted to women. As a result of sin, women will experience pain in her role of childbearing.Just as God had given man a specific role in providing, working the ground, God has uniquely given woman the role of bearing children. So, God says to woman, I will surely multiply your pain as a woman. You bring forth children. In other words, that which I have created you uniquely to do as a woman, will bring about pain in your life as a woman. You put this together and you realize just how much sin is intertwined with manhood and womanhood. This is not just a generic picture of sin in Genesis 3. This is a picture of sin that is a direct assault, from the adversary on manhood and womanhood , as God has designed it to be. (20:00)

Adam and Eve Casted Out from the Garden Genesis 3:24You can almost picture Satan, at the end of Genesis 3, just laughing, saying, „I’ve got things so distorted now, they’ll never figure this thing out.” You have aggressive man, and you say, „You need to be more passive.” You’ll have passive women, and you’ll say, „You need to stand up and be aggressive. Now, go back and forth between distortions, i.e. contemporary culture, and you’ll never get to the root of the issue. So, take us to the root of the issue: When you put all this together, and the results of Genesis 3 are all across this room.

So, what shall we do? This is the beauty, that in a sense, this is the worst chapter in the Bible. Genesis 3:15 is the promise of grace- the proto evangelion- the first Gospel. And it’s God saying, at the midst of the entrance of sin into the world, to the serpent, „I’m gonna raise up an offspring from woman, and He shall bruise your head, you will bruise His heel.” It’s a promise. God says, at the first entrance of sin in the world, „I’m going to send one, from woman, who is going to conquer sin and Satan and who will bring my redemption. And so, what shall we do, in light of the effects of sin on our marriages, in our homes, and our cultures, on manhood, and womanhood? What we must do is look to Christ. Because He is the one who conquers sin and its effects.

And this is the beauty, you realize. You come to Christ, you’re saved from sin. You trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior and follow the process of sanctification, where you and I, as followers of Christ are being made  in the image of Christ. Sanctification, all growing into the image of Christ. This is where we realize, that as you and I are conformed into the image of Christ, we’re not just conformed into the image of Christ generically. Certainly, some generalities across the board. But, we’re being formed into the image of men and women, and sanctification. If sin affected and is expressed in certain ways, among men and women, then  salvation and sanctification will then be expressed in certain ways among men and women. And our salvation in Christ is not just about becoming the people that God desired us to be, but, our salvation in Christ is about becoming the men and the women God desires us to be. Turning from sinful expressions of manhood, and womanhood, sinful inclinations of manhood and womanhood, to where in Christ be redeemed as the men and women He desires. SO, that’s where we come to God’s design.

This is God’s ideal- God’s design. None of us are there. How can we, from our unique situations, by the grace of Christ, pursue God’s design?

Manhood-

  • praying husband and wifeMan’s primary responsibility is to lead. 1 Corinthians 11, Ephesians 5, God has entrusted, in His design, from the beginning, man for the primary (not sole, but we’ll get to that) responsibility to lead, for the good of the woman. It was good in Genesis 1, and turned bad since Genesis 3. It was good in the design- good for man and for woman. This was not leadership for self appeasement, for self gratification, self exaltation.
  1. This is leadership for the good of others. Christ is our leader and He is good. He is a good leader, and so we gladly submit to Christ, our leader. God’s design , and that’s the whole picture, His design is for men to lead in a way that reflects Christ. Some say, „What about men who area abusive do women, domineering over women?” That’s not good, and that’s not God’s design. There’s a manual on church discipline from the 2nd century. And this manual gives the following instruction. „If there is a man that is abusing his wife in the church, the pastor should take 2 stout elders and go visit that home…”
  2. So it is for the good of woman, and ultimately for the glory of Christ. Man realizes that he is a leader under authority. Man is not the ultimate leader. He is the head. Christ is the head of man, and Christ is the ultimate leader, and man, in the design of God, never resumes the authority of Christ over woman. Man leads in a way that points woman to the authority of Christ. That’s God design from the beginning. That’s why God setup the whole picture, to show who Christ is. This is what drives men to lead: The good of woman and the glory of Christ.
  • In that, man is accountable to God for two things, based on what we see in the first 3 chapters.
  1. Man is accountable to God for protection of his wife and of women. It is clear here in chapter 3 that he does not protect his wife from the adversary. And this is what we see all throughout Scripture in spiritual warfare, in physical warfare, family warfare, man is protector for all of God’s people. In the Old Testament, it’s the men who go off to war, not women. In the New Testament, Joseph is told by God to protect Mary and the child, and go into Egypt. Men are commanded in the church, in the New Testament to protect the body.  In a general sense, we all know this. If you have 2 single guys, and 2 single ladies walking down the street together, and an attacker comes up, we all know it is not a sign of manhood for the men to step back and push the ladies forward. Spineless abdication. It is outside the design of God. Man is accountable to God for the protection of his wife.
  2. Man is accountable to God for provision in the home. When God doled out his punishment for sin, he’s directly addressing the responsibility He had given man to work and to provide for a family. A man feels accountability for provision. Now, it doesn’t mean sole accountability. The Bible’s not saying that it’s wrong for women to work outside the home, or to help provide for the family. But, the primary accountability here is upon man, the leader in the home. (29:00)

WOMANHOOD – 

  • woman prayingWoman’s primary responsibility is to support. She is a helper by God’s designGenesis 2. She is not devalued by that, but she is honored by that, in the same way the Son is honored by before the Father.
  1. She supports through a humble disposition that yields to man’s leadership. The reason I put disposition there is because I know there are all kinds of circumstances in this room. That’s what makes this issue really difficult to apply. I have yet to meet a woman who has a husband, that desires to show loving, Godly leadership, protection, provision, humble sacrificial care for her, I have yet to meet a woman that is complaining about that- that says God’s design is not good. Now, I’ve met a lot of women who have not seen that. But, when this is there, we see this is good. It’s very good. knowing that there’s all these circumstances in this room, knowing that there’s manhood nonexistent in many cases, the reason I use the word disposition, is because there is in the pattern of God, the design of God and inclination, a disposition that He has designed for women to desire that, in a good way, that kind of leadership. You might say, „What about a situation where you’ve got a wife that is really, really gifted? And the husband, not so gifted?” Should she still follow his leadership? Absolutely. This is the design of God, based on position, not on ability. Any husband is going to maximize his wife’s gifts
  2. With ultimate devotion to following Christ’s leadership. The husband is the head of the wife, but not ultimate head. Christ is the ultimate head. And, biblical womanhood does not say, „Whatever my husband tells me to do, I’ll do it, no matter what. No, biblical womanhood has a discerning spirit that is inclined to submit to a husband, but is further inclined to submit to Christ. And if her husband wants her to do something that goes directly against the word of Christ, she yields to Christ over him.
  3. Affirming her husband’s role. (35:00)
  4. Nurture in the home. She is equipped by God to nurture in the home, in a way that compliments a man’s leadership with the children. He protects, provides; she affirms and nurtures.

That is the ideal, and none of us are living in it. And, the temptation is to think, „I would, if my husband would get right.” Or, „I would, if my wife would start living out womanhood.” You could spend all day figuring out how to fix the other people in your life on this issue. But, let’s step back and see the application to our own lives. Let’s resist the temptation to shift blame and responsibility for lack of manhood and womanhood in our culture, in the church, in our families, and our lives. And, to say, „In my own life, how God, by your grace, can I be the man and woman you designed for me to be?

Overall exhortations to guide the application in our own lives:

MEN

Initiate humble, hardworking leadership. God made you to work hard, for the good of women, and the glory of His name. Work at leadership.

  1. in spiritual devotion. Is your wife and are your children flourishing in their relationships with Christ? 
  2. in marital duties. Don’t wait for your wife to come to you and say, „There’s some problems in our marriage and we need to talk about.” You initiate that conversation every single time. Turn off the TV, stop hiding on the ball field, behind the computer or at work. Go to her, as your wife, say, „How can I love you better?’ That’s your responsibility. Consistently and periodically sit down with her, and she will love you for it.
  3. in parental discipline. Men who don’t stand idly by, while their kids talk back to their wives. But use humble, loving discipline of children.
  4. in essential decision. It is not that men are supposed to make every single decision for his wife and family. But, that man will feel the overarching responsibility for decision making. That his wife and his children will look to him for leadership in decision making. That he’ll be known for making decisions for their good, and for the glory of Christ.
  5. amidst inevitable disagreements, in those tough decisions,  to lovingly, caringly, graciously, make the tough decisions, with a commitment to love, lead, guide, protect, shepherd his family in the implementation of that decision. This is not easy, brothers. None of us can do this on our own. That’s why Scriptures call us to look to Christ
  6. lay down your life to honor women. Honor your wife. Do not belittle our wife for her failures.
  7. train boys to be men. We need to show boys the humble responsibility, what it looks like in action.

WOMEN –

  1. incline yourselves toward wise, willing, submission. First and foremost to God, in constant prayer. Obviously, you need not submit yourself to abuse. You take that to a church.
  2. and then to men. If you are a wife, obviously, incline yourself to wise, willing submission to a husband, as best as you can, in a way that honors Christ.
  3. for the glory of Christ, live in a way that demonstrates Godly respect for men
  4. live in a way that shows girls how to be women.

David Platt – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Part 2

Sin’s distortion of Manhood and Womanhood

Reclame

An Essential Talk by Bruce Ware on Manhood

The following was posted at the blog of The Gospel Coalition (04/20/2010):

Theologian Bruce Ware just gave a noteworthy talk on godly manhood at his church, Clifton Baptist Church of Louisville, Kentucky.  The talk was entitled “Select Principles on Being a Biblically Faithful Man and Husband”.  I heard the talk and commend the audio to you.  The following is the handout given out at the talk.  The handout alone is one of the most helpful documents I’ve seen on what godly manhood looks like.

1. Love.   1) Loving God increasingly w/ all my heart, soul, mind and strength; loving Christ and the cross; loving the gospel — these are the foundation for all else.  Drawing from God all I need to be the man and husband God has called me to be is my strength and hope.  2) Loving my wife as Christ loves the Church — this is the umbrella principle for marriage; everything else flows from this responsibility and privilege (Eph 5:25ff).

2. Leadership.   Biblical manhood involves cultivating, embracing, and exercising leadership initiative, especially spiritual leadership initiative.  This is a principle that applies to young men and adult single men just as well as to married men.  Cultivate, embrace, and exercise spiritual leadership initiative.   In marriage, my love for my wife involves and requires that I exert leadership in our relationship.  My headship of my wife means I’m responsible for her spiritual growth and well-being.  And as a father, I’m responsible in ways that my wife is not for the spiritual development of our children (Eph 6:1-4).  And again, to do this, I must be seeking God and growing personally.  Only out of the storehouse of my own soul’s growth in God can I assist my wife to grow spiritually.

3. Example.  Lead by example as much as by admonition and instruction.  Set the example in:  consistent times in the Word and prayer;  in sacrificial service for your wife, children, church family members, and community needs;  in giving faithfully, generously, and regularly of your finances;  in humble admission of wrong-doing along with confession, asking forgiveness, and repentance.  Fight pride, fight defensiveness, fight carnality before others.

4. Authority.  All three points above imply and invoke the concept of male-headship.  Yes, God has given special authority to husbands and fathers.  Learn, though, the correct expression of healthy, constructive, upbuilding, God-honoring, Christ-following authority.  Resist and reject the sinful extremes of 1) harshness, bossiness, mean-spirited authoritarianism, and of 2) laziness, apathy, lethargy, negligence, and abdication of authority to the women in our lives.  Learn to blend firmness with gentleness, truth with grace, a firm hand with a warm smile.

5. Acceptance.   Each of us is unique as God has made us.  We should accept others’ differences w/o thinking ourselves to be either superior or inferior to others.  In marriage, my wife is unique, and so in many ways, she is not like me.  I need to accept who she is, prayerfully and sensitively seeking to assist her in changing what is sinful and needs to be changed, and accepting what is “just different.”

6. Listening.   One of my wife’s biggest and most real needs is my attentive and respectful listening ear.  She loves to share her experiences, thoughts, ideas, feelings, concerns, hurts, joys, etc.   I can minister to my wife more than one might think by offering her caring, responsive, and respectful listening and interaction.  Learn to listen sympathetically w/o rushing to “fix it” solutions.  Connect first heart to heart, then later heart to head.  Establish regular times of mutual sharing (yes, mutual), keep short accounts, and act on what you hear and learn.

7. Understanding.   I need to live with my wife in an understanding way (1 Pet 3:7), to learn her needs, her sensitivities.  I should seek to know the desires and felt needs of my wife and, when appropriate and possible, fulfill these.  I need to discover her “language of love” and make every effort to love her in ways she feels loved.

8. Work.   A man’s main sense of identity, responsibility, and purpose is found in his work.  Wives want to take pride in their husbands, and taking pride in their work is an important part of this.  Women are not meant to bear the financial weight of a marriage or family, so husbands must work hard and responsibly.  As important as work is to a man’s identity and fulfillment, we must not allow work to overshadow our commitment to and time with our wives first, and also to our children.  Work hard, work well, work to the honor of Christ, and then put work to rest.

9. Sexuality.   My wife is my only legitimate sexual experience, and I am hers.  So, learning to love sexually with increasing skill and pleasure is vitally important to the satisfaction and intimacy of our marriage.  See human sexuality for what it is — the good gift of God to be experienced in marriage, as God has designed.

10. Home.   She cares much about our home.   The “honey-do” list is far more important to her than she is likely to let on.  In love for her, I must pay attention to her requests and treat them as important.  But more important even than this is cultivating the “culture” and “ethos” of our home.  Develop an atmosphere of appreciation, respect, kindness, service, holiness, happiness, gratefulness, contentment, forgiveness — all as expressions of our love for God and one another.

My only other word on the talk would be that in the case of Dr. Ware, these words are backed up by a faithful life.  It’s one thing to hear people talk about manhood directed to the glory of God; it’s another to live it.  Dr. Ware excels at husbanding, fathering, leading, and teaching.  He has much to teach you and me, and I hope that these resources bless you and contribute to the revival of robust biblical manhood in our day.

A W Tozer – One cause of our moral weakness today is an inadequate Christology

chart from www.1689commentary.org

THE LORDSHIP OF THE MAN JESUS IS BASIC

by A. W. Tozer


WE ARE UNDER CONSTANT TEMPTATION these days to substitute another Christ for the Christ of the New Testament. The whole drift of modern religion is toward such a substitution.

To avoid this we must hold steadfastly to the concept of Christ as set forth so clearly and plainly in the Scriptures of truth. Though an angel from heaven should preach anything less than the Christ of the apostles let him be forthrightly and fearlessly rejected.

The mighty, revolutionary message of the Early Church was that a man named Jesus who had been crucified was now raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of God. „Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Less than three hundred years after Pentecost the hard-pressed defenders of the faith drew up a manifesto condensing those teachings of the New Testament having to do with the nature of Christ. This manifesto declares that Christ is „God of the substance of His Father, begotten before all ages: Man of the substance of His mother, born in the world: perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting: Equal to His Father, as touching His Godhead: less than the Father, as touching His manhood. Who, although He be God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by the taking of the manhood into God. One altogether, not by the confusion of substance, but by the unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ.”

Even among those who acknowledge the deity of Christ there is often a failure to recognize His manhood. We are quick to assert that when He walked the earth He was God with men, but we overlook a truth equally as important, that where He sits now on His mediatorial throne He is Man with God.

The teaching of the New Testament is that now, at this very moment, there is a man in heaven appearing in the presence of God for us. He is as certainly a man as was Adam or Moses or Paul. He is a man glorified, but His glorification did not dehumanize Him. Today He is a real man, of the race of mankind, bearing our lineaments and dimensions, a visible and audible man whom any other man would recognize instantly as one of us.

But more than this, He is heir of all things, Lord of all worlds, head of the church and the first-born of the new creation. He is the way to God, the life of the believer, the hope of Israel and the high priest of every true worshiper. He holds the keys of death and hell and stands as advocate and surety for everyone who believes on Him in truth.

This is not all that can be said about Him, for were all said that might be said I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. But this in brief is the Christ we preach to sinners as their only escape from the wrath to come. With Him rest the noblest hopes and dreams of men. All the longings for immortality that rise and swell in the human breast will be fulfilled in Him or they will never know fulfillment. There is no other way (John 14:6).

Salvation comes not by „accepting the finished work” or „deciding for Christ.” It comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord who, as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as His own and paid it, took our sins and died under them and rose again to set us free. This is the true Christ, and nothing less will do.

But something less is among us, nevertheless, and we do well to identify it so that we may repudiate it. That something is a poetic fiction, a product of the romantic imagination and maudlin religious fancy. It is a Jesus, gentle, dreamy, shy, sweet, almost effeminate, and marvelously adaptable to whatever society He may find Himself in. He is cooed over by women disappointed in love, patronized by pro tem celebrities and recommended by psychiatrists as a model of a well-integrated personality. He is used as a means to almost any carnal end, but He is never acknowledged as Lord. These quasi Christians follow a quasi Christ. They want His help but not His interference. They will flatter Him but never obey Him.

The argument of the apostles is that the Man Jesus has been made higher than angels, higher than Moses and Aaron, higher than any creature in earth or heaven. And this exalted position He attained as a man. As God He already stood infinitely above all other beings. No argument was needed to prove the transcendence of the Godhead. The apostles were not declaring the preeminence of God, which would have been superfluous, but of a man, which was necessary.

Those first Christians believed that Jesus of Nazareth, a man they knew, had been raised to a position of Lordship over the universe. He was still their friend, still one of them, but had left them for a while to appear in the presence of God on their behalf. And the proof of this was the presence of the Holy Spirit among them.

One cause of our moral weakness today is an inadequate Christology. We think of Christ as God but fail to conceive of Him as a man glorified. To recapture the power of the Early Church we must believe what they believed. And they believed they had a God-approved man representing them in heaven.

Paul Washer – Biblical Manhood Part 3 – A Young Man’s Attitude Towards Women

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Family Series 17 – From Boy to Man-The Marks of Manhood, Part One-by Albert Mohler

When does a boy become a man? That interesting question was recently posed to me, and it raises some of the most important issues facing Christians today. While all around us, the world seems increasingly confused about matters as basic as what it means to be male and female, Christians are called to frame our arguments in distinctively biblical terms.

All around us, cultural developments and media messages communicate a fog of confusion over questions of gender. In reality, these issues lie right along the fault lines of today’s culture war and its most controversial points of debate. For many years, this society has been experimenting with the most fundamental realities of human existence. The essence of what it means to be male or female has been routinely discounted by a society infatuated with unlimited self-expression and assertions of personal autonomy.

Women are now joined by men, who complain that traditional expectations about gender roles are oppressive, limiting, and intolerant. An entire generation of young women is trying to find a way to genuine womanhood against the tidal force of ideological feminism. Similarly, boys and young men are desperately looking for models of manhood and answers to their urgent questions of male identity, male responsibility, and male roles.

Christians understand that God created human beings as male and female–for His glory and for our good. The differences between the sexes are not matters of evolutionary accident, but are clear indications of God’s sublime and perfect design for human happiness. As followers of Christ, we understand that it is our responsibility to embrace, affirm, and fulfill the roles and responsibilities God has given us.

In the context of this confusion, boys are especially vulnerable. The feminization of society, mixed with confusing cultural signals, has led many boys and young men to be uncertain and unaware of their masculinity and proper role. In a desperate search for a secure male identity, some are attracted to gross distortions. Some embrace a brutalized and arrogant posture while others retreat into insecure manhood, never understanding a man’s responsibility to lead.

We now face the phenomenon of perpetual boyhood on the part of many males. Refusing to grow up, these young men function as boys well into their twenties–some even into their thirties and beyond. An extended male adolescence marks the lifestyles, expectations, and behavior of far too many young males, whose masculine identity is embraced awkwardly, if at all.

When does a boy become a man? The answer to this must go far beyond biology and chronological age. As defined in the Bible, manhood is a functional reality, demonstrated in a man’s fulfillment of responsibility and leadership. With this in mind, let me suggest thirteen marks of biblical manhood. The achievement of these vital qualities marks the emergence of a man who will demonstrate true biblical masculinity.

1. Spiritual maturity sufficient to lead a wife and children. The Bible is clear about a man’s responsibility to exercise spiritual maturity and spiritual leadership. Of course, this spiritual maturity takes time to develop, and it is a gift of the Holy Spirit working within the life of the believer. The disciplines of the Christian life, including prayer and serious Bible study, are among the means God uses to mold a boy into a man and to bring spiritual maturity into the life of one who is charged to lead a wife and family. This spiritual leadership is central to the Christian vision of marriage and family life. 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. Spiritual maturity is a mark of true Christian manhood, and a spiritually immature man is, in at least this crucial sense, spiritually just a boy.

2. Personal maturity sufficient to be a responsible husband and father. Christians often speak of raising boys to be men. In the face of today’s cultural onslaught, this is an important goal. However, it is just not enough. Biblical manhood is always defined in terms of functions, roles, and responsibilities. True masculinity is not a matter of exhibiting supposedly masculine characteristics devoid of the context of responsibility. In the Bible, a man is called to fulfill his role as husband and father. Unless granted the gift of celibacy for gospel service, the Christian boy is to aim for marriage and fatherhood. This is assuredly a counter-cultural assertion, but the role of husband and father is central to manhood. Boys must be raised to see themselves as future husbands and fathers. They must be taught what to look for in a godly wife and how to fulfill all of the responsibilities that Scripture invests in a husband and father. Marriage is unparalleled in its effect on men, as it channels their energies and directs their responsibilities to the devoted covenant of marriage and the grace-filled civilization of the family. Boys must be taught what it means to be a husband, how to respect and honor marriage, and how to earn the respect and confidence of a wife. Similarly, boys must be taught about the responsibilities of fatherhood. Christians must reverse generations of inattention by speaking directly and clearly to boys about their future responsibilities, including the care, training, education, protection, and discipline of children. They must aspire to be the kind of man a Christian woman would gladly marry and children will trust, respect, and obey.

Young men working at computers that digitally convert and retain graphical, written, photographic, sound, video & quantitative data.

3. Economic maturity sufficient to hold an adult job and handle money. Advertisers and marketers know where to aim their messages–directly at adolescent boys and young men. This particular segment of the population is inordinately attracted to material goods, popular entertainment, sporting events, and other consumer options. The portrait of young manhood made popular in the media and presented as normal through entertainment is characterized by economic carelessness, self-centeredness, and laziness. A real man knows how to hold a job, handle money with responsibility, and take care of the needs of his wife and family. A failure to develop economic maturity means that young men often float from job to job, and take years to „find themselves” in terms of career and vocation. Once again, an extended adolescence marks a huge segment of today’s young male population. A boy must be taught how to work, how to save, to invest, and to spend money with care. He must be taught to respect labor, and to feel the satisfaction that comes from a job well done, and a dollar honestly earned. Too many boys are coddled and entertained, demonstrating a laziness that will be highly detrimental to their future prospects as husband and father. Slothfulness, laziness, and economic carelessness are marks of immaturity. A real man knows how to earn, manage, and respect money. A Christian man understands the danger that comes from the love of money, and fulfills his responsibility as a Christian steward.

4. Physical maturity sufficient to work and protect a family. Unless afflicted by injury or illness, a boy should develop the physical maturity that, by stature and strength, marks recognizable manhood. Of course, men come in many sizes and demonstrate different levels of physical strength, but common to all men is a maturity, through which a man demonstrates his masculinity by movement, confidence, and strength. A man must be ready to put his physical strength on the line to protect his wife and children and to fulfill his God-assigned tasks. A boy must be taught to channel his developing strength and emerging size into a self-consciousness of responsibility, recognizing that adult strength is to be combined with adult responsibility and true maturity.

5. Sexual maturity sufficient to marry and fulfill God’s purposes. As a boy develops into a man, he becomes aware of the sexual powers God has put within him. In an age saturated with distorted sexuality, bombarded with sexual stimulation, and confused by unbridled sexual passion, boys must be taught to discipline their sexual energies into anticipation of marriage. 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. Boys must be taught to respect this incredible gift, and to protect this gift until, within the context of holy marriage, they are able to fulfill this gift, love their wives, and look to God’s gift of children. Male sexuality separated from the context and integrity of marriage is an explosive and dangerous reality. The boy must understand, even as he travels through the road of puberty and an awakened sexuality, that he is accountable to God for his stewardship of this great gift.

6. Moral maturity sufficient to lead by example of righteousness. Stereotypical behavior on the part of young males is, in the main, marked by recklessness, irresponsibility, and worse. As a boy grows into manhood, he must develop moral maturity as he aspires to righteousness, learning to think like a Christian, act like a Christian, and show others how to do the same. The Christian man is to be an example to others, teaching by both precept and example. Of course, this requires the exercise of responsible moral reasoning. Boys will not learn this on their own, but must be taught. True moral education begins with a clear understanding of moral standards, but must move to the higher level of moral reasoning by which a young man learns how biblical principles are translated into godly living and how the moral challenges of his day must be met with the truths revealed in God’s inerrant and infallible word.

Biblical manhood does not develop in a vacuum. A boy’s most important teacher is his dad, and one of a father’s chief responsibilities is to instruct and inspire his son into true manhood.

(VIA)

Family Series 17 – From Boy to Man, the Marks of Manhood Part Two – by Albert Mohler

When does a boy become a man? This is not just a hypothetical question, for an incredibly large number of boys and young men are struggling to answer this question, and many are without fathers who are faithful to guide them, or other male role models who offer inspiration and instruction. Furthermore, our society is so confused on these issues that boys are understandably puzzled. Tragically, far too many churches never even address this question, and thus sow the seeds of a greater and even more culpable confusion.

Part one of this series presented six vital marks of manhood, intended to define the transition from boy to man. Now, seven additional marks to complete the picture:

7. Ethical maturity sufficient to make responsible decisions. To be a man is to make decisions. One of the most fundamental tasks of leadership is decision-making. The indecisiveness of so many contemporary males is evidence of a stunted manhood. Of course, a man does not rush to a decision without thought, consideration, or care, but a man does put himself on the line in making a decision–and making it stick. This requires an extension of moral responsibility into mature ethical decision-making that brings glory to God, is faithful to God’s word, and is open to moral scrutiny. Parents often leave their sons unprepared for this role by making decisions for them, and by failing to teach boys how to think and reason in responsible terms, how to weigh evidence and think clearly, and how to prioritize values according to a biblical standard. A real man knows how to make a decision and live with its consequences–even if that means that he must later acknowledge that he has learned by making a bad decision, and then by making the appropriate correction.

8. Worldview maturity sufficient to understand what is really important. An inversion of values marks our postmodern age, and the predicament of modern manhood is made all the more perplexing by the fact that many men lack the capacity of consistent worldview thinking. For the Christian, this is doubly tragic, for our Christian discipleship must be demonstrated in the development of a Christian mind. The Christian man must understand how to interpret and evaluate issues across the spectrum of politics, economics, morality, entertainment, education, and a seemingly endless list of other fields. The absence of consistent biblical worldview thinking is a key mark of spiritual immaturity. A boy must be taught how to translate Christian truth into genuine Christian thinking. He must learn how to defend biblical truth before his peers and in the public square, and he must acquire the ability to extend Christian thinking, based on biblical principles, to every arena of life.

9. Relational maturity sufficient to understand and respect others. Psychologists now talk of „emotional intelligence,” or EQ, as a major factor in personal development. While the world has given much attention to IQ, EQ is just as important. Individuals who lack the ability to relate to others are destined to fail at some of life’s most significant challenges and will not fulfill some of their most important responsibilities and roles. By nature, many boys are inwardly directed. While girls learn how to read emotional signals and connect, many boys lack the capacity to do so, and seemingly fail to understand the absence of these skills. While a man is to demonstrate emotional strength, constancy, and steadfastness, he must be able to relate to his wife, his children, his peers, his colleagues, and a host of others in a way that demonstrates respect, understanding, and appropriate empathy. This will not be learned by playing video games and by entering into the privatized world experienced by many male adolescents. Parents–especially fathers–must draw their sons out of inwardness, and demonstrate what it means to relate to others as a man and as a Christian.

10. Social maturity sufficient to make a contribution to society. While the arena of the home is an essential and inescapable focus of a man’s responsibility, he is also called out of the home into the workplace and the larger world as a witness, and as one who will make a contribution to the common good. God has created human beings as social creatures, and even though our ultimate citizenship is in heaven, we must also fulfill our citizenship on earth. A boy must learn to fulfill a political responsibility as a citizen, and a moral responsibility as a member of a human community. The Christian man bears a civilizational responsibility, and boys must be taught to see themselves as shapers of the society even as the church is identified by our Lord as both salt and light. Similarly, a Christian man must learn how to relate to unbelievers, both as witness and as fellow citizens of an earthly kingdom.

11. Verbal maturity sufficient to communicate and articulate as a man. Here’s a striking phenomenon of our times–many adolescent boys and young men seem to communicate only through a series of guttural clicks, grunts, and inchoate language that can hardly be described as verbal. A man must be able to speak, to be understood, and to communicate in a way that will honor God and convey God’s truth to others. Parents must work with boys, requiring them to speak, to articulate, and to learn respect for language. This respect must extend to an ability to enunciate words so that articulation is clear and communication succeeds. This skill must be learned at the dinner table, in family conversation, and in one-on-one talk, especially between father and son. Beyond the context of conversation, a boy must learn how to speak before larger groups, overcoming the natural intimidation and fear that comes from looking at a crowd, opening one’s mouth, and projecting words. Though not all men will become public speakers, every man should have the ability to take his ground, frame his words, and make his case when truth is under fire and when belief and conviction must be translated into argument.

12. Character maturity sufficient to demonstrate courage under fire. The literature of manhood is replete with stories of courage, bravery, and audacity. At least, that’s the way it used to be. Now, with manhood both minimalized and marginalized by cultural elites, ideological subversion, and media confusion, we must recapture a commitment to courage that is translated into the real-life challenges faced by the Christian man. At times, this quality of courage is demonstrated when a man risks his own life in defense of others, especially his wife and children, but also anyone who is in need of rescue. More often, this courage is demonstrated in taking a stand under hostile fire, refusing to succumb to the temptation of silence and standing as a model and example to others, who will then be encouraged to stand their own ground. In these days, biblical manhood requires great courage. The prevailing ideologies and worldviews of this age are inherently hostile to Christian truth and are corrosive to Christian faithfulness. It takes great courage for a boy to commit himself to sexual purity and for a man to devote himself unreservedly to his wife. It takes great courage to say no to what this culture insists are the rightful pleasures and delights of the flesh. It takes courage to serve as a godly husband and father, to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It takes courage to maintain personal integrity in a world that devalues the truth, disparages God’s word, and promises self-fulfillment and happiness only through the assertion of undiluted personal autonomy. A man’s true confidence is rooted in the wells of courage, and courage is evidence of character. In the end, a man’s character is revealed in the crucible of everyday challenges. For most men, life will also bring moments when extraordinary courage will be required, if he is to remain faithful and true. Parents should give close attention to their sons’ character, for if character is corrupt, nothing else will really matter.

Jesus Collecting Disciples

Image by Travis S. via Flickr

13. Biblical maturity sufficient to lead at some level in the church. A close look at many churches will reveal that a central problem is the lack of biblical maturity among the men of the congregation and a lack of biblical knowledge that leaves men ill equipped and completely unprepared to exercise spiritual leadership. Boys must be taught to know, to treasure, to honor, and to understand the Bible. They must know their way around the biblical text, and feel at home in the study of God’s Word. They must be taught how to read with care, „rightly dividing the word of truth,” and they must learn how to apply the eternal truths of God’s Word to the challenges of modern manhood. Furthermore, they must stand ready to take their place as leaders in the local church. While God has appointed specific officers for his church–men who are specially gifted and publicly called–every man should fulfill some leadership responsibility within the life of the congregation. For some men, this may mean a less public role of leadership than is the case with others. In any event, 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.

When does a boy become a man? I’m glad I was asked this question, and this series represents my attempt to provide an answer that will be both faithful to Scripture and applicable to the real-life challenges faced by men today. More urgently, it was good for me to think through this question and articulate these hallmarks as I seek to show my own son how to grow into biblical manhood. I am absolutely sure that there is more to be thought and more to be said, but this may help us all to see the challenges before us.

Dads, you are absolutely crucial to the process of man-making. No one else can fulfill your responsibility, and no one else can match your opportunity for influence with your son. By word and by example, we are teaching our sons the meaning of manhood. May God make us faithful as we seek to lead our boys to become true Christian men.

(VIA)

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