What things light your spouse’s fire?

Fireplace_Burning

With the Christmas season upon us, I thought I would give some tune up advice on marriage (which we all need from time to time). What are the things that light your spouse’s fire? What things make them feel loved and make them more loving toward you? What things make them feel unloved? If someone asked you to list these things out – could you?

In two previous posts, I discussed “The twelve attributes of marital love” and “Is attraction required for marriage?” I built the case from a Biblical perspective that there are two kinds of love within marriage. But first let me give a reminder of the three main types of love found in the New Testament:

Family, or instinctual love (Storge) – Most human beings have an instinctual love toward their parents and their children. There are some exceptions as in the case where a parent abuses a child and that child may have no love left for their parent, but in most cases love happens instinctually between parents and children.

Emotional, or Friendship love (Philia) – This is love based on either romantic feelings between a man and woman, feelings of infatuation, or love that is based on common interests. This kind of love is almost 100% based on how much each person puts into the relationship, whether it is a same sex friendship, a dating relationship, or a marriage.

Unconditional love (Agape) – This is a love that is based on a choice, a commitment to love someone no matter what they do. This is the kind of love we are told that God has toward his children (those who trust in his Son). This is highest form of love, because it not based on feelings, or anything that the recipient of this love has done.

Most people think there is only one kind of love in marriage, unconditional love. It is true that unconditional love (Agape love) is the only required loved in a marriage.

For most couples having a friendship and romantic love takes a lot of work, and often times it fades and needs to be rekindled.

If I were to sum up the articles I have written on this subject, it would be that we are required to show love toward our spouse in these ways:

Be kind to them, even when you don’t feel like being kind. This kindness includes having sex with them, even when you don’t feel like it (the Bible calls sex a required “kindness” in marriage).

Support them, even when you don’t feel like supporting them.

Sacrifice yourself for them, even when you don’t feel like it.

Protect them, and their honor, even when you don’t feel like it.

Forgive them with an unending forgiveness, even when you don’t feel like it.

Now one would think that if a spouse loved someone the way I just described, that Philia love (romantic friendship love), would naturally come from this. But the truth is, this is not always the case. Many Christian marriage books give couples false hope that these things alone will help to spark romantic and friendship love in a marriage, but this is simply not true.

More is required for Philia (romantic friendship love) in marriage

Philia (romantic friendship love) in a marriage is NOT an unconditional love. In fact it is a VERY conditional love. You get what you put into it, plain and simple.

The Bible says in the Galatians 6:7;

“…for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Galatians 6:7(KJV)

The law of sowing and reaping very much applies to Philia love in marriage. You get what you put into it, if you want Philia love (romantic friendship love) you have to put something in to get it.

His and Her Fireplaces

FirePlacesHisHers

At the beginning of this post I showed an image of fire place. I believe that is a great way to describe Philia love in marriage (as opposed to Agape unconditional love). You and your spouse both have Philia love fireplaces:

In the man’s fire place I put respect and sex. In the woman’s fire place I put Talk and Time.

And yes I reference sex in the man’s fire place and not in the woman’s. I am NOT saying women don’t want sex or don’t have a desire for sex. But things like talking and time spent together, especially going on dates, is what lights most women’s fire and gives women the desire to have sex.

There are many other types of logs a man and woman may need besides these two things, but I can tell you that for the vast majority of men and women, these are the bare minimum requirements to stoke the fires of friendship and romance in a marriage.

Without these things, don’t be surprised if your relationship grows stale and cold.

So for guys, if you are wondering why its been a long time since your wife wore that special lingerie for you, or why she has been crabby and disrespectful toward you, first ask yourself when the last time you sat down and really talked with your wife. When was the last time you took her out on a date?

For the gals, if you husband has not taken you out in a while, or perhaps he is not spending much time talking to you – as yourself when was the last time you rocked his world in the bedroom? Or maybe you have been having a disrespectful attitude toward him?

An astute observer who knows the Scriptures well might point out a key issue here.  Wives are commanded to respect their husbands in the Scriptures. Wives are also commanded to have sex with their husbands in the Scripture.

So in essence this answers the age old question about sex and romance – it is the chicken and egg question. Which comes first, sex or romance? Since sex is required, and romance is not this tells us which one comes first.

Ladies – most men are simple creatures, you show a man respect, and give him the gift of your body that God has blessed him with, and most men will crawl over hot coals to show you how much they love you. It really is that simple.

Ways the fire goes out

The three main ways that His or Her love fire place go out are:

Neglect – just not doing anything. It’s not that you did anything unkind toward your spouse. It’s just that you have not put any new wood into their fireplace lately.

Unkindness – Criticism in a marriage or degrading your spouse will in any way is like taking a bucket of water over to their fire place and pouring it on it.

Disagreements – Sometimes you feel like you need to say something to your spouse. You know it may end in a disagreement, or heated discussion. Just realize when you do this you might be taking a bucket of water and pouring it on their fire. So choose your battles wisely, always ask yourself – “is it worth it?” Many a couple routinely knock out each other’s fireplaces with disagreements that did not need to be said.

But let me clarify something on this disagreement section. Sometimes a spouse must speak up, knowing that it will upset the other spouse. There has been many a time that I voiced a concern with my wife, knowing it might cost me something for a little a while. If this is done for the right reasons, and a Godly purpose, you must do this.

But then realize that you need to come back and rekindle the fires of Philia love again in that spouse.

Conclusion

While Philia (friendship romantic) love is never commanded in marriage (as opposed to Agape love which is), it is something worth striving for. It definitely makes it much easier to love your spouse with an Agape love, when you have a Philia love as well.

Also I believe that while God does not specifically command Philia (friendship romantic) love in marriage, he wants us to do everything with all our might. He wants us to do everything to the best of our ability, to enjoy being with that person he has placed us with in marriage.

So if you don’t know what lights your spouse’s fire – then find out today! Talk to them and strive for your marriage to be the best it can be, not merely meeting the minimum requirements.

Feel free to comment and share some things that you know make your spouse feel loved and stoke the flames of romance in your marriage.

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Christian Egalitarianism’s rebellion against male authority

An underlying root problem with Christian Egalitarianism is a belief system that is completely at odds with Biblical authority. Christian Egalitarians believe they are simply rebelling against male domination and oppression of women, but in reality they are rebelling against the design and authority which God has established.

The Bible establishes many different types of Authority

We are to submit to our civil authorities

“13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.”

I Peter 2:13-14(NASB)

We are to submit to our Church authorities

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not [b]with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

Hebrews 13:17(NASB)

We are to obey our employers

“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;”

Colossians 3:22(KJV)

Children are to obey their parents

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”

Ephesians 6:1(KJV)

Wives are to submit to and obey their husbands

“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ephesians 5:24(KJV)

We obey God, when man’s rule conflicts with God

“We ought to obey God rather than men.”

Acts 5:29(KJV)

This issue of authority is one of those areas where the fallacy of Christian Egalitarianism can be clearly seen. We understand that countries, states, cities, churches and businesses need leadership. There must be a chain of command for these organizations to properly function. In each of these areas, there are executives to give direction to the organization and settle disputes.

But Egalitarians say, in perhaps the most foundational of all human groupings, that of marriage, there is no head, no leader. For them it is a partnership of equals with no one to set the direction, or settle disputes. They have no problem with the Bible telling us to submit to our government authorities, or our managers at our jobs. Christian Egalitarians would certainly not have a problem with the Biblical teaching that children should obey their parents.

But when it comes to wives submitting to and obeying their husbands, they are ready to reinterpret or remove those passages, and deny any authority within marriage.

I believe the reason for the rejection of male authority in the home by Christian Egalitarians is that it hits them where they live. Governments can (and should) only exercise limited authority, as well as our employers and churches. But in the home, if the Bible is read at face value, the women is to submit to her husband in “everything”(Ephesians 5:24).

This scares people, such authority could be abused. So they deny it and say no one should have to be under such absolute authority of another human being, or so they think.

It must also be pointed out here that no human authority has absolute power.  Not a king, not a president, not a governor, not an employer and not even a husband.  Each human authority has it’s sphere of power and responsibility and its limits.  Only God has absolute authority.

For instance a husband while being his wife’s head, cannot order his wife to break the  speed limit.  That is a law set by the civil government, and it is within their sphere of authority to make such a law. A husband cannot order his wife to cover up him committing a murder or raping or abusing people as these things violate both the laws of God and the laws of man.

If a husband is physically abusing his children or his wife or is asking his wife to violate the laws of man (as long as those laws don’t violate God’s law or usurp the boundaries God has placed on all authorities) or the laws of God then she has not only the right, but the responsibility to resist him and go to his authorities(whether civil or church) for them to exercise discipline upon him.

A wife has the right to be freed from the tyranny of husband who physically abuses her or her children or threatens her life or the life of her children.

See this post I wrote on this subject “Does the Bible allow divorce for physical abuse?”.

What they do not realize is, man’s authority over woman is not meant to crush her, but to protect her, just as God lovingly but firmly leads us as his people.

I hope that Egalitarians reading this will prayerfully reconsider their beliefs, and truly think them through from a Biblical perspective. God gives us authority for our good, not for our demise.

Only by submitting to God’s authority in all areas of our life, whether they are civil authorities, church authorities, our managers at work, as well as the authority that God has established in the marriage and in the home can we truly find peace and be pleasing to God.

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Why does the Bible call Woman the Weaker Vessel?

Why does the Bible call Woman the Weaker Vessel?

potter-making-clay-jug-s

In my last post in this series on Christian Egalitarianism I alluded to the Bible calling woman “the weaker vessel”.

I understand that when we say “weaker” that seems like an insult to many women. But God’s Word does not see it that way:

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

I Peter 3:7(KJV)

Most people are instantly drawn to the word “weaker”, but let’s first look at the word “vessel”. We need to understand that as human beings we are born into “vessels”. Our souls are equal, but our vessels are not. Our vessels are made for different purposes.

Consider the similarities and differences between this minivan and then the military truck next to it.

photodune-1783948-silver-van-s Military truck

Do we think that a person driving a minivan is any less than a person driving this tough military truck? Of course not, it is only the vehicle or “vessel” they are driving.

In the same way that a minivan is made to carry a family, women have vessels that are designed by God to carry and care for children. Just as this military truck is made tougher for hard work, and it will take a much bigger beating than a minivan, so too a man is built stronger and tougher than a woman, and his body is built for work, as opposed to caring for children.

But just as man and woman are both human beings, both of these are automobiles.  Just as a man and woman both have hearts and lungs and almost all the same organs(except for reproductive organs), both of these vehicles have engines, transmissions and tires that make these vehicles move using the same basic principles.

But would anyone be insulted if someone told them their minivan was not as tough as this truck? Of course not! Each vehicle is built for a very different purpose, just as God has built men and women’s bodies for very different purposes.

Many commentators have tried to go out of their way to say here in I Peter that “weaker” does not really mean “weaker”, but that is exactly what it means in the Greek. But also notice that God calls husbands to honor their wives as weaker vessels.

What God is saying is this – “Men I want you to recognize that your wife is not as strong as you, both emotionally and physically. You need to be considerate of those qualities, and appreciate those qualities for the many ways they help her to be a good wife and mother. Don’t belittle her for being weaker or more fragile than you, but instead honor her position as your wife and the mother of your children.”

I truly believe this is the truth that God is trying to communicate to husbands, if we take I Peter 3:7 literally, as we should.

Speaking of the “weaker vessel” some Christian Egalitarians have tried to say “ezer” actually means “power” or “strength”. While it may take on that meaning in certain contexts we must also understand that words take on different meanings within their context, and we have to look as a whole to see if women in the Bible are presented as symbols of strength and power.

When Barak begged the prophetess Deborah to go with him into battle she said:

She said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.”

Judges 4:9(NASB)

She did not want to go, and when she said the honor would not be his, but that God would hand their enemies “into the hands of a woman” this was meant as a slap in the face to the Barak and his men.

“O My people! Their oppressors are children,

And women rule over them.

O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray

And confuse the direction of your paths.”

Isaiah 3:12(NASB)

When God said through the prophet that Israel’s oppressors were children, and women ruled over them, that in no way conveys that women were symbols of strength and leadership. It was a slap in the face to Israel, to say they were so weak that children oppressed them, and women ruled over them.

While God praises many godly women in the Bible, women are never presented as symbols of strength and power in the Bible. Instead the Bible emphasizes the love of women as well as the compassion and care that women do so well.

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Christian Egalitarianism’s rebellion against male authority

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Why did God make woman so opposite of man?

Why did God make woman so opposite of man?

CompareManWoman

In my last post in my series on Christian Egalitarianism, we showed why I believe KENEGDO in Genesis 2’s “help meet” means that woman was made “opposite or different” than man.

Just look around you today and you will see our culture trying to minimize or deny the significant differences between men women, both physiologically and psychologically. They deny God’s natural design and order as Paul speaks about in Romans 1:

“18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

Romans 1:18-20(NASB)

How can anyone say with a straight face that men and women are equal outside of their common humanity and their souls? Let me remind you of these differences I stated in the last post:

Men have external sex organs Women have internal sex organs
Men’s bodies are built for strength and endurance(they have more muscle mass, tougher skin, more red blood cells and experience less pain because have fewer pain receptors in their skin) Women’s bodies are built for beauty, comfort and caregiving and they are more sensitive to pain than men are.
Men are systemizers Women empathizers
Men have tougher skin Women have softer skin
Men see less colors Women see a broader range of colors
Men have faster reflexes and can track moving objects better Women are better at multitasking
Men are competitive Women are cooperative
Men are task oriented Women are relationally oriented
Men are risk takers Women are more cautious

 

It can be “clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” (Romans 1:20) that women and men were designed for very DIFFERENT purposes and roles. To deny this is to deny a self-evident truth.

I believe based upon Romans chapter 1 that we as Christians should not stand silently by as groups claiming the Christian name, seek to minimize or deny God’s distinct design of and his roles for men and women. We should be angry at such a perversion of God’s purposes, just as he shows he was angry when men perverted what he had made.

As an American, I believe in the right of every person to believe what they will. But as a Christian we are called to defend the truth, and call out false teaching where we see it. Most Christians, and especially Bible believing Pastors, need to stand up and call out this teaching for what it is – heresy pure and simple.

I believe the answer to why God made woman so opposite from man can be found in this verse:

“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

I Corinthians 11:9(KJV)

We can see from both Genesis 2 and I Corinthians 11 that God created woman for man. When we understand this principle, then we understand that God created a helper for Adam, who was not just his mirror opposite, but someone whose opposite attributes would complement Adam.

Adam needed someone who would be able to bear and care for his children, he need someone to care for his home while he hunted and worked the fields. God not only made woman with the natural ability to become pregnant and after birth be able to feed the child from her breasts, but he also gave woman the emotional ability to empathize and work with children in a way most men are incapable of doing.

A woman should never be mocked for being emotional (as some men do), because this a gift from God which enables her to be the perfect mother, as well as great caregiver to the sick and elderly.

But God did not just give women breasts for feeding children, he gave them breasts for the pleasure and comfort of man. Human females are the only mammals who have constantly protruding breasts, even when they are not pregnant or nursing children.

Because men are so visually wired by God, he made a woman’s body for beauty, not for toughness and endurance the way a man’s body is built.

But besides these practical differences, God also created woman for spiritual and symbolic reasons. God created man in his image, to exercise God’s leadership, provision and protection qualities. But man needed a person, not just some animal, which would allow him to exercise these traits. Woman was perfectly designed by God to fulfill this role as the recipient of man’s leadership, provision and protection, and to provide him with the perfect helper and companion.

God could have made men and women much more similar than he did. He could have made women just as strong, and with the exact same nature and abilities, but he did not. God purposefully made woman weaker and more fragile (both emotionally and physically) than man, so that she would need his leadership, protection and provision.

In my next post in this series on Christian Egalitarianism, I will talk in more detail about the Bible calling woman “the weaker vessel”.

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Why does the Bible call woman the weaker vessel?

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What did God mean when he called woman a help meet for man?

What did God mean when he called woman a help meet for man?

wife gives her husband a meal 

Previously we discussed Egalitarian beliefs surrounding the word “Ezer”. This word is used in the Hebrew language that the Old Testament was originally written in. Most English translations of the Bible translate the Hebrew word Ezer as “helper” or “help”.

Ezer occurs 21 times throughout various Old Testament books. In most of these instances, Ezer is referring to God as man’s “help” or “helper”. Here are a few examples:

“But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help [EZER] and my deliverer ; O LORD, make no tarrying .”

Psalm 70:5(KJV)

“My help[EZER] cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”

Psalm 121:2(KJV)

In both of the above passages, as well as most of the other passages where Ezer is used, we can see that Ezer seems to be referring to help coming from God. However there some passages where Ezer does not refer to God’s help, but to man’s help.

Isaiah 30 is a prophesy talking about Israel looking to Egypt for help, but this would be a futile attempt according to the prophet:

“They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be an help[EZER] nor profit , but a shame, and also a reproach.”

In this case, EZER is referring the fact that the Egyptians would not a “help”, or EZER, to the Israelites.

So while most instances of EZER refer to God’s help, it sometimes also refers to men helping other men. But for the Egalitarian, the most important use of EZER in the Bible comes at the very beginning, in the creation account when God created woman:

“20 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help [EZER] meet [k’enegdo] for him… And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Genesis 2:20-23(KJV)

The Egalitarian interpretation of Ezer from Genesis chapter 2

Below are some typical Egalitarian interpretations of Hebrew word Ezer:

“Ezer is used 20 times in the Old Testament: seventeen times to describe God and three times to describe a military ally or aide. “Help” or “helper” is an adequate translation, but English has different nuances than the Hebrew does. In English “helper” implies someone who is learning, or under a person in authority. In the Hebrew “help” comes from one who has the power to give help—it refers to someone in a superior position. That is why God can help Israel: he has the power to do so. God helps Israel because they do not have the power to help themselves.”

Source: http://www.cbeinternational.org/blogs/does-it-really-mean-helpmate

“Adam was regarded by his Creator as incomplete and deficient as he lived at first without the benefit of a proper counterpart. He was without community. God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). So, as Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 expressed it, “Two are better than one….” Accordingly, in order to end man’s loneliness, God formed “for Adam [a] suitable helper” (Gen 2:18)-or at least that is the way most have rendered the Hebrew word ‘ēzer.

Now, there is nothing pejorative about the translation “helper”, for the same word is used for God, but it is also variously translated as “strength”, as in “He is your shield and helper [=strength] (‘ēzer)” in Deuteronomy 33:29; 33:26.

But R. David Freedman has argued quite convincingly that our Hebrew Word ‘ēzer is a combination of two older Hebrew/Canaanite roots, one ‘-z-r, meaning “to rescue, to save,” and the other, ģ-z-r, meaning “to be strong,” to use their verbal forms for the moment.”

Source: http://walterckaiserjr.com/women.html

 

A Complementarian response to the word “Ezer” in Genesis chapter 2

The Bible tells us that woman was created as an EZER KENEGDO, or a “help meet” for man. Modern translations often translate this as “helper suitable” for man. For Egalitarians this phrase is one of the cornerstones of how they interpret the entire Bible as it relates to God’s intention for men and women.

Let’s first address the “Ezer” in the room. I agree that “help” or “helper” does not always mean the person doing the helping is a subordinate. For instance, maybe someone is new cashier at a store and they need their manager to come over and “help” them with something that does not make the manager any less their authority because he is helping them.

So when God called Eve Adam’s helper, that in and of itself did not mean she was his subordinate. Ezer does not refer to position, it refers to function. The person helping someone may be an authority, an equal or subordinate.

But what is the full context surrounding the “help meet” of Genesis chapter 2? Context and Scripture interpreting Scripture are critical. While “Ezer” does not tell us Eves position (as an authority, an equal or a subordinate) to Adam, the surrounding context DOES tell us her position.

In Genesis 2 Adam names the animals, an act of authority given him by God. Then he names his wife “Eve”, another act of authority.  In the Scriptures while mothers sometimes named their children as Leah did with Issachar(Genesis 30:18) we see that fathers always had the final say in naming and sometimes overrode the names their wives gave to their children as in this case:

And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.”

Genesis 35:18 (KJV)

So when we look at mothers naming their children – the naming of their child was in essence a suggestion which had to be validated and finalized by the father.  The father always had the final say in the naming of a child because of his authority over both his wife and his children.

Furthermore, in Genesis 3:16 God said:

“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

Egalitarians are quick to say that Genesis 3:16 proves that Adam and Eve were meant to be equal originally, and that him ruling over her was only because of sin in the garden and was temporary until Christ came, this where they try and use Galatians 3:28 to say Christ “restored” what they believe was the original equality between men and women:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 3:28(KJV)

The problem with the Egalitarian interpretation of Galatians 3:28 is that it written by the same Apostle Paul who wrote these words:

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. “

I Corinthians 11:3(KJV)

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ephesians 5:22-24(KJV)

And one of Paul’s fellow Apostles (Peter) wrote:

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbandsEven as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”

I Peter 3:1 & 6(KJV)

So in one passage Paul says there is no male or female in Christ, yet in all these other passages he says men are the head over women, and wives are to be in subjection to their husbands. Some Egalitarians have actually said Paul was simply being inconsistent with his own teachings – a direct attack on Biblical inerrancy.  Others explain away the phrasing in these passages, write parts of them off as scribal additions that were added many years after the Apostles died.

So going back to Genesis 3:16 where God said Adam would rule over Eve, he also mentioned Eve conceiving children in pain. It is clear from the context that “the pain” was the curse, not Eve’s ability to bear children. So it is an incorrect interpretation of Genesis 3:16 to say everything in it, including man ruling over woman is all part of the curse.

In fact Ephesians 5:22-24 shows that man’s ruling over woman is meant as a beautiful picture of Christ ruling over his Church, not as part of the curse of sin.

So if Galatians 3:28 does not get rid of God’s distinct roles for men and women, what is it referring to?

When we look at Galatians 3:28 in it’s larger context, we can see what is really is talking about:

“7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[ So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith…

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:7-9 & 26-29(NIV)

Rather than obliterating God’s gender roles as Egalitarians suggest Galatians 3:28 does, it is a statement referring to the oneness of all those of faith from Abraham to Christ.  We are all the children of faith, if we believe as Abraham did. God fulfilled his promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed by his seed(Christ).

So spiritually speaking, there is no difference between a man and woman, a Jew and a Gentile, a slave or a free man, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.  However physically speaking, while we live in this world these differences still exist. You have to write off a lot of Scripture to say this passage gets rid of God’s divinely created gender roles.

What does KENEGDO mean in Genesis 2?

But what does KENEGDO really mean? This word when transliterated is “Neged” and generally means “in front of, or opposite to”. We can see other usages of this word these passages:

“Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite [Neged] him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?”

Joshua 5:13(NASB)

“I will set no worthless thing before [Neged] my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me.”

Psalm 101:3(NASB)

“There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against [Neged] the LORD.”

Psalm 54:3(NASB)

Nothing in KENEGDO translates to a “helper equal to man” as Egalitarians often preach. Nothing in KENEGDO means equality.

I believe the best interpretation of EZER KENEGDO is “a helper who is man’s opposite”. That translation makes a lot of sense when you really think about how God made man and woman as I have mentioned many of these differences on this site many times.

Look at all these opposite attributes of men and women:

Men have external sex organs Women have internal sex organs
Men’s bodies are built for strength and endurance(they have more muscle mass, tougher skin, more red blood cells and experience less pain because have fewer pain receptors in their skin) Women’s bodies are built for beauty, comfort and caregiving and they are more sensitive to pain than men are.
Men are systemizers Women empathizers
Men have tougher skin Women have softer skin
Men see less colors Women see a broader range of colors
Men have faster reflexes and can track moving objects better Women are better at multitasking
Men are competitive Women are cooperative
Men are task oriented Women are relationally oriented
Men are risk takers Women are more cautious

I could go on with the many ways that men and women are indeed opposites, but you get the point.

But then you have to ask the question, why did God make woman so opposite of man? Was it just to give some variety to the world? In my next in this series on Christian Egalitarianism post we will discuss some reasons why God made woman so opposite of man.

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Why did God make woman so opposite of man?

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What did God mean when he called woman a help meet for man?

Why Christian Egalitarianism is not Biblical or Christian

EgalitarianWomanShakesFists1

Egalitarians reject the historic and literal reading of the Word of God where it shows distinct roles and purposes for which God made man and woman. Those who embrace the historical Christian view of the roles of men and women are in modern times called Complementarians.

What do Complementarians believe?

Complementarians believe that God designed man and woman to “complement each other”, like two opposites that when they come together form a whole, thus the term “Complementarian”. These are Christians who believe that the traditional gender roles that men and women have had throughout history are not only “traditional”, but also by the design of God as seen in the Scriptures. Complementarians believe that men and women are equal in their souls, their humanity and their worth to God, but this is where their equality ends and their differences begin.

For instance, Complementarians do not believe that men and women have equal responsibility (opportunity or right) to exercise leadership in the home and the church. They believe God gave clear direction that men are to exercise authority over women in the home and in the church, and that women are called to graciously submit to the authority of the men over them, as well as accept the boundaries that God has place them within.

What is the difference between “two part” Complentarians and “full” Complentarians?

Complementarians generally believe in a hierarchal view of marriage, sometimes called Patriarchy (male lead marriage and family). While there are many variations between Complementarians, the biggest difference that Complementarians have amongst themselves is on the role of women outside the home and church. “Two part Complementarians” are those who believe that man’s authority over woman is limited to the Home and the Church. “Full Complementarians” believe that in all three areas of life – in the Home, the Church as well as society in general, women are to be under the authority of men.

An example of this would be, full Complementarians (also called Patriarchalists) would believe it is unbiblical for a woman to be President of the United States, whereas most two part Complementarians would believe it would be ok for a woman to be President.

I am a full Complementarian.

What do Christian Egalitarians believe?

Probably one the best representations of Christian Egalitarianism is found at http://www.cbeinternational.org/content/cbes-mission. Here are few excerpts from their mission statement:

Believers are called to mutual submission, love, and service.

God distributes spiritual gifts without regard to gender, ethnicity, or class.

Believers must develop and exercise their God-given gifts in church, home, and world.

Believers have equal authority and equal responsibility to exercise their gifts without regard to gender, ethnicity, or class and without the limits of culturally-defined roles.

Restricting believers from exercising their gifts—on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, or class—resists the work of the Spirit of God and is unjust.

Believers must promote righteousness and oppose injustice in all its forms.

How do Christian Egalitarians use the Scriptures to support their beliefs?

Christian Egalitarianism starts first and foremost with an idea, that there are no boundaries upon people based upon their gender, and that God did not design specific roles for men and women. In the Egalitarian view, aside from their reproductive differences, men and women are equal in every way and both men and women can fulfill any role in the home, the church or society at large interchangeably. Marriage is partnership of equals, with no earthly head, but only Christ as it’s leader.

It is with these ideals in mind that Christian Egalitarians chose to reinterpret the Scriptures. These are the three primary Biblical sources through which Egalitarians reinterpret all the Bible:

  1. The “help meet” of Genesis chapter 2 is not Adam’s subordinate because the Greek word “Ezer” is usually used of God’s help toward man in the Old Testament and God is not man’s subordinate. In the Egalitarian view, Eve was no more Adam’s helper, than Adam was Eve’s helper, they were in fact equals made for each other. Egalitarians see Adam’s rule over Eve as part of the curse of sin, not the original design of God.
  2. They believe that the phrase “there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” in Galatians 3:28 means that God abolished all gender roles and boundaries for Christian believers. If man ever was the head of woman, this no longer exists in the Christian world.
  3. Whenever the Bible speaks of man being the head of woman (I Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5) it does not mean “authority” in their view, but instead means “source”. “Head” in these passages is simply referring to the fact that God created woman from man when he took the rib from Adam’s side.

Egalitarians sacrifice the Scriptural teachings of Biblical inerrancy in their allegiance to their Egalitarian views and they write off whole passages of Scripture as being “scribal additions” where they cannot explain away the phrasing. Some of these passages include Ephesians 5:22, Ephesians 5:24 and I Peter 3:6.

In my next post in this series on Christian Egalitarianism, we will explore the “help meet” of Genesis chapter 2 and differing beliefs between Christian Egalitarians and Complementarians.

What did God mean when he called woman a help meet for man?