Should we stop teaching Biblical commandments regarding gender roles? Is the teaching of Biblical gender roles a distraction to spreading the Gospel and bringing people to Christ?
This is what a lot of Christians today believe. In fact I personally know many preachers today who say they stand on the Word of God yet they take this approach that “teaching what the Bible says on gender roles distracts from reaching people for Christ”.
Some of these men are firm believers in Biblical inerrancy. They would even be considered “conservative” in many aspects of their life and ministry. They will preach on many subjects including the church, giving and general holy living topics. They don’t believe that preaching “thou shalt not bear false witness” or “thou shalt not covet” are distractions to the Gospel. But to them teaching women that God says “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” is a distraction from the Gospel.
Recently I received an email from a man calling himself Mike. I believe his email is a very good representation of what I have actually heard from Christian ministers today even if he is not a minister. This issue needs to be addressed as we challenge our culture (sadly even our Christian culture) with the truth of God’s Word.
With that said below is Mike’s email.
“We have so many people that we Christians need to help simply cross the line into believing in God first and foremost that this is where our number one priority should be. Your site and others like it simply muddies the waters.
If you can’t even understand “Judge not lest ye be judged”, how in the world do you come to the conclusion that your interpretations are correct and everyone who doesn’t believe as you do is wrong?
Are you not seeing just how flawed as a human you are when you make statements concerning interpretations? I certainly know the sinner I am and would never presume to make the statements you do about scripture. Knowing the mind of God is beyond all our capabilities. When we get people to believe, HE will take care of the rest. People must make up their own minds WITH the gifts God gives them. That is between HIM and them. No one on this planet has the right to judge them on those beliefs except God.
I’m actually curious if you really believe that those who don’t share your interpretations are not going to be saved?
My above statement about helping people to make that commitment to believe becomes so much more important when I see these types of arguments on your site being batted back and forth. They become terrible distractions to the main mission! “Faith alone”, not works or anything else for that matter. We MUST focus on that. I have a brother I can’t even help understand Gods existence. Believe me when I say I understand my flaws. You should be helping your readers to understand yours.
Gender roles are simply not an important subject as long as men and women treat each other with respect. We can’t even get that done right! It just becomes another pointless distraction in the bigger picture of faith. Time passing alone changes things as they become more fully understood. I certainly don’t follow food instructions from the Bible, do you? This is precisely why we must get people believing FIRST, then LET God do his work within them. Remember that the “Judge not” statement literally covers all of scripture. I’m curious as to how or even if you will respond. I won’t hold my breath, but MY belief in God told me this needed to be said.
Respectfully Yours. Mike”
What follows is my response to several key statements Mike makes on this issue. I think this will truly help to clarify these assertions that are so commonly made today by many Christians in our culture regarding the teaching of Biblical gender roles.
Shouldn’t the Gospel Be Our Number One Priority?
“We have so many people that we Christians need to help simply cross the line into believing in God first and foremost that this is where our number one priority should be.”
I very much believe that as believers in Christ our first priority should be reaching people with the Gospel of Christ.
Christ said this before his ascension:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” – Matthew 28:19 (KJV)
If I teach someone about Biblical gender roles and they implement that in their marriage but they have not placed their faith and trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior their following of Biblical gender roles won’t benefit them in the eternal sense. They will die and go to hell as all those who do not take Christ as their savior will do.
It is only when they place their faith and trust in Christ that their following of Biblical gender roles will have value not only in this world, but also in the world to come when they receive their reward for the race they have run in this life.
Do you have to believe in Biblical gender roles to be saved?
“I’m actually curious if you really believe that those who don’t share your interpretations are not going to be saved?”
Being baptized does not save us. Being part of a particular Christian denomination like Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran or Methodist does not save us and believing in and practicing Biblical gender roles does not save us.
This is what the Bible says saves us:
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” – John 1:11 (KJV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 (KJV)
“9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” – Romans 10:9-10 (KJV)
“1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” – 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (KJV)
It is believing in our heart that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, that he died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day for our redemption that saves us. If we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior we become children of God and have passed from death to life.
Isn’t it wrong to judge others for not following Biblical gender roles?
“If you can’t even understand “Judge not lest ye be judged“, how in the world do you come to the conclusion that your interpretations are correct and everyone who doesn’t believe as you do is wrong?”
Mike is displaying the common misinterpretation of the principle of not judging people. Let’s see what Christ actually said about judging.
“1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV)
When Christ made his famous statement of “Judge not, that ye be not judged” he explained in the verses that follow the type of judging he was talking about. He was talking about hypocritical judging. That means if you are doing the same thing or worse you have no business telling someone they are wrong. Fix your own house before your try to fix other’s houses.
Christ later actually COMMANDS us to judge in the passage below.
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” – John 7:24 (KJV)
Paul later tells us not judge one another on disputable matters:
“1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” – Romans 14:1-4 (KJV)
The Apostle Paul says we as Christians should not judge one another when it comes to disputable matters. This has to do with personal applications of the Scriptures to our daily lives. For instance one person may feel they have the freedom to drink alcohol and another person may not because they were raised by alcoholics or have a fear they may succumb to alcoholism. The one who drinks should not judge the one who does not believe they can drink and the one who does not drink should not judge the person who takes advantage of his freedom to drink.
There may even be some differences with how one husband applies the Biblical principles of male headship with his wife and how another applies it with his. For instance one man may allow his wife to writing out the checks for the bills and another man may never allow his wife to see the bank account or check book. This is an example of a personal application the principle of male headship in marriage.
The point is on the subject of judging – we are actually commanded to judge by Jesus Christ himself. We are simply commanded to do it in a righteous way. It is not hypocritical judging or even judging on disputable matters to preach what God clearly says in his word about the distinct roles for which he made men and women and what he says about marriage. If we compare God’s Word to what Christians and non-Christians alike say that directly contradicts with clear statements of the Scriptures that is not wrong judging, that is in fact righteous judging.
How can we as flawed humans presume to interpret the Bible for others?
“Are you not seeing just how flawed as a human you are when you make statements concerning interpretations? I certainly know the sinner I am and would never presume to make the statements you do about scripture. Knowing the mind of God is beyond all our capabilities.”
I am well aware of my own person flaws and my sin nature. I encourage people here regularly to follow the psalmist’s words:
“23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24 (KJV)
And yes we as human beings can never fully understand the mind of God as the Scriptures say:
“15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.” – I Corinthians 2:15-16 (KJV)
We can never fully understand God’s mind or his thoughts. However we can understand through Christ and the Holy Spirit what God has revealed about himself through his Word. And we are not responsible for what God has not revealed but only what he has shown us in his Word.
Christ called on us as flawed human beings to “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24) as I pointed out to you earlier. God calls on us to submit to flawed human beings in government (I Peter 2:13-14). And God even calls on women to submit to flawed husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24, I Peter 3:1-6).
The men who gave us God’s word were flawed as well as the men who preached it after them. The difference was that Paul and the other Apostles and Prophets who gave us the Scriptures while being flawed sinners received perfect revelation from God. He was one of the few men in the history of the world that God chose for this great privilege. This is why the Apostle Paul wrote:
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (KJV)
But God actually has given the gifts and offices of Pastor and Teacher to help people interpret the Word of God:
“11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”- Ephesians 4:11-13 (KJV)
What we see here is God talking about gifts he has given for the edifying of the body of Christ. God has personally given me the gift of being a teacher and I have tried in my own imperfect way as he has given me grace to exercise that gift over the years. Whether it was when I taught Sunday school classes or other groups I was exercising my spiritual gift “for the edifying of the body of Christ”.
In fact Paul warns the young Pastor Timothy not to neglect his spiritual gift:
“14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” – 1 Timothy 4:14 (KJV)
God does not want me to stop preaching his Word or teaching the interpretation of the Scriptures. He placed this gift in me for the edification of the body of Christ as he has done with many imperfect and sinful men for thousands of years. Do I claim that all my interpretations and applications of the Scriptures are infallible? Of course not. Only Christ and his Prophets and Apostles were infallible as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
But God wants me in my own imperfect way to exercise the gift he has given me and other men with similar gifts to do the same until we all reach heaven where we will be perfectly unified in our understanding as we are in the presence of God himself.
Does Anyone Have the Right to Correct or Rebuke Other’s Bible Interpretations?
“When we get people to believe, HE will take care of the rest. People must make up their own minds WITH the gifts God gives them. That is between HIM and them. No one on this planet has the right to judge them on those beliefs except God.”
Did Paul say this to a young Pastor named Timothy – “Timothy you are a flawed and sinful man and unlike me you have not received the authority and inspiration from God to write his Scriptures. Therefore, you cannot preach any interpretation of the Bible or correct or rebuke anyone else’s interpretations of the Bible. Let everyone decide for themselves what God’s Word teaches.”
The answer is NO. The Apostle Paul told this young Pastor just the opposite!
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4:2-5 (KJV)
Does “Faith Alone” Mean We Must Only Preach the Gospel and Nothing Else?
“My above statement about helping people to make that commitment to believe becomes so much more important when I see these types of arguments on your site being batted back and forth. They become terrible distractions to the main mission! “Faith alone”, not works or anything else for that matter.”
It is absolutely true that faith alone saves as the Scriptures state:
“8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
But as Martin Luther famously said “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.” The Scriptures tell us this regarding the life changing power of true faith:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
So as we can see Martin Luther’s statement that the faith that saves is never alone perfectly aligns with the Scriptural view of salvation.
But what you are contending when you said “Faith alone” is that the only doctrine we should teach is that of the Gospel. This is false. Let me take you back to the great commission Christ gave and this time I will add his follow up statement:
“19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)
Christ told us to preach the Gospel as well as well as teach people everything he commanded.
And what was one of his commands?
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:4 (KJV)
Every word of the Bible sir comes from the mouth of God. We are to live by every word – not just those words concerning the Gospel and God gives us preachers and teachers of the Word to help us to understand all of God’s Word, not just the Gospel.
If God Canceled Some of His Laws Does That Mean He Canceled All of Them?
“Time passing alone changes things as they become more fully understood. I certainly don’t follow food instructions from the Bible, do you?”
This is a classic argument that liberal Christians and even non-Christians make to write off parts of or even the entire Bible. Sadly I have even seen some Christians who claim to believe in Biblical inerrancy write off the entire Old Testament based on this false argument.
No I don’t follow the food instructions that God gave to Israel as a theocracy. Here are the reasons why:
“9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” – Acts 10:9-15 (KJV)
“1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary… 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” – Hebrews 9:1 & 10 (KJV)
The Old Testament contains three types of laws – Moral, Ceremonial and Civil. The Ceremonial laws were for Israel as theocracy to worship God and make sacrifices – it also included dietary and other cleanliness laws. The Civil laws dealt with the punishment or restitution that was to be made for breaking God’s moral law under the theocracy of Israel.
When Christ ushered in the New Covenant with his death, burial and resurrection he did away with the first covenant including the ceremonial and civil laws of Israel. Now only the moral law of the Old Testament and all of the laws in the New Testament are binding on us as Christians. Therefore as a Christian living under the New Covenant, I do not have to follow the dietary laws anymore.
But Biblical gender roles WERE part of the moral law of God in the Old Testament and they were even strengthen and further explained in the New Testament as I will show in the final section of this article. So yes it is completely consistent for me to preach and teach that Christians must follow God’s gender rules and design for man and woman yet we no longer have to follow the dietary rules or other ceremonial rules and we are no longer under the civil penalties and restitutions mandated in the Old Testament.
Are Biblical Gender Roles an Unimportant Distraction From Gospel?
“Gender roles are simply not an important subject as long as men and women treat each other with respect. We can’t even get that done right! It just becomes another pointless distraction in the bigger picture of faith.”
Contrary to your assertion the teaching of Biblical gender roles is even MORE important when men and women are not treating each other as God has commanded them treat one another. The Biblical doctrines of gender roles are critical to us living the lives God has called us to live.
Christ did not just die to save us from hell but rather he died so that we would live for him:
“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
2 Corinthians 5:15 (KJV)
While we are not saved by works, Christ calls us to live for him. How can we say we are trying to live for him when refuse to follow the purpose for which he designed each gender?
God says he made man to image him and doing so bring him glory and he made woman for man to help him in his duty to image God:
“7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”
I Corinthians 11:7-9 (KJV)
God says that he made marriage to be a model of the relationship between God and his people:
“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.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” – Ephesians 5:22-29 (KJV)
To Mike and all those Christian teachers and preachers that refuse to teach the doctrines of Biblical gender roles to your people – you are in direct disobedience to the Word of God. You are not preaching the whole counsel of God when you preach only the Gospel.
I have never said here or elsewhere that if people reject the doctrines of Biblical gender roles that they are unsaved or not going to heaven. We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone apart from works and not by following Biblical gender roles. But Christ did not save us so we could just live for ourselves anyway we want – he saved us so we could live for him in this life.
While we will not lose our salvation for refusing to follow the doctrines of Biblical gender roles and other doctrines concerning holy living we will in fact lose our reward for doing so. If we do not run the race of this Christian life lawfully we will lose our reward in heaven as the Scriptures tell us:
“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” – 2 Timothy 2:5 (KJV)
“24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24 (KJV)
“11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” – 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (KJV)
Finally, even besides the consequences in the next life(loss of rewards) we will and are seeing the consequences of not following Biblical gender roles both as individuals and as a society in general in this life. Since Second Wave Feminism arose in the 1960’s divorce rates have skyrocketed in our country. While they leveled off at around 50% which is still a horrible number, the only reason they did so was because more couples just decided to live together outside a covenant of marriage.
The point is the idea of a man and woman living together for life in the covenant of marriage is becoming less and less common in our society since we as a culture left the practice of Biblical gender roles. Marriages today are now “feelings centered” and specifically “woman centered”. “Happy Wife Happy Life” is just another way of saying “Your wife is the boss just do whatever she says”. And what has been the result of men allowing their wives to take over for decades – the destruction of the family unit.