Home > Brandenburg, Complementarianism > To Bring Male and Female Roles Back to their Original Design: WHY JESUS CAME?

To Bring Male and Female Roles Back to their Original Design: WHY JESUS CAME?

November 5, 2007

To strengthen the hearts of those doubting Jehovah, either His ability or His plan for His people, Isaiah wrote these words in Isaiah 42:1-4:

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.  He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.  A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.  He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

The encouragement comes in a prophecy of the Servant of the Lord, the One predicted already in Isaiah 7-12, Who is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In these verses, we see why the Messiah will come, and the text repeats this purpose three times: in v. 1, it says “he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles,” v. 3, “he shall bring forth judgment unto truth” and then v. 4, “He shall not fail. . . till he have set judgment in the earth.” So why does Christ come? Well, judgment, judgment, and judgment. And this isn’t talking about the second coming, but His incarnation, His first coming. So what is this judgment all about?

Bringing Everything in Line with God’s Purpose

The Hebrew word translated “judgment” (mishpot) speaks of societal order. Christ came to save, yes, to save from disorder and vanity. God saved us for Him that we might live a life for His glory on earth. Salvation involves a wholesale change in how society operates, first among the people He saves and ultimately everywhere. God’s salvation changes the alignment of someone’s life and when the Lord finishes off salvation, everything will line up with Him. The work of Christ establishes order. In the end, the people who disrespect Him and His laws won’t be in charge and they’ll get their just due. They might think they’re getting away with peverting His ways, but these verses say they won’t.

The mishpot of the Messiah is a life-giving order that exists when the creation is functioning in accordance with His purpose as its Lord. Jesus came and will come to conform everything to His original design. By being witnesses of Him, He uses us to bring mishpot, realigning earth with God’s intention. The design of mankind was the apex of God’s creative work. The fulfillment of His objectives for the man and the woman stand at the top of God’s will.

The Design of Male and Female Roles

Genesis 1:27 says that “male and female created he them.” God created a separate man and woman with separate roles. God gave man and woman different bodies, abilities, positions, and jobs. The woman was the “help meet” for the man (Gen. 2:18). 1 Corinthians 11:3 tells us: “the head of the woman is the man.” The Fall ruined that. The life-changing mishpot through the powerful gospel of Jesus Christ will produce complementary roles between the man and the woman to bring them back to the Garden of Eden. We should expect the fulfillment of God-designed roles when the Lord has done His saving work.

Many today, however, even in professing Christianity, would call the distinct roles of men and women negotiables or non-essentials. They don’t see male headship and female submission as core values. Since so many disagree today over Bible teaching on this subject, many evangelicals contend that Scripture could teach an egalitarian relationship between the man and the woman. Feminism and the women’s liberation movement has changed society and now it has entered churches. We are likely to see the first female major party candidate for President of the United States. In the workplace men submit all over to women in authority. The feminine voting block outnumbers the men and decides elections. The state of California touts its two female United States Senators. Lady pastors abound. Women boss and administrate church leaders with immunity in online evangelical forums. No obvious symbol of male authority exists in American culture today and churches and their leadership eagerly cooperate with this trend. Numerous evangelicals and young fundamentalists now confess to the egalitarian view. More “Christian men” than ever manifest overtly effeminate qualities.

Missing Mishpot

The Divine order (mishpot) that supernaturally follows genuine conversion is missing among manifold churches today. Women often run churches. Men sit silently as they speak out. Children grow up with no clear symbolism or appearance of male authority and, therefore, the roles are eroded even more. Boys are confused about manhood and girls about femininity. The male role has almost disappeared. We have a broken down society and we are being led to believe that this is at least somewhat consistent with the gospel. Churches and their leaders are fearful of the ostracization that results from a strong stand on Scriptural roles. Families are crumbling.

The arguments against complementary and distinct roles are often emotional, cultural, and non-scriptural.  Authority commonly stems from hypothetical situations and personal attack instead of the Bible.  The historic and orthodox understanding of the appropriate passages is explained away and replaced with something ambiguous and weak.  The plain meaning is given novel definitions by “evangelical feminists.”  When all is said and done, the church looks and acts just like or close to the world.

The gospel transforms someone into a pleasure to God (Rom. 11:33-36).   We see this in Ephesians 2, where in vv. 2-5 we read:

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. . . . But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;).

The role issue isn’t a negotiable.  Salvation changes the pattern of our living.  We take on the mishpot of Christ, exchanging vanity and vexation without form and void for the purpose and order of God’s original design.  If that isn’t happening, then it isn’t salvation, and perhaps it wasn’t even the gospel.

We should respect everything that God said and follow it. If not, then we better at least move the Scriptural teaching on roles into the “essential” column and out of the “tertiary” one. If not, then we might have a difficult time passing down what we believe to the next generation whether it is Scriptural or not. We’ll either lack a posterity to which to consign the belief or any conviction worth passing down even if we wanted.

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  1. November 5, 2007 at 5:16 am

    Brother Kent,

    You are exactly right about this. I have always had a problem with the large area of “negotiables” and “non-essentials” in today’s “evangelical” circles. Now, the lists are growing in so-called “Fundamental” circles.

    This is an excellent look at the Scriptural order and purpose of the Lord’s coming. I look forward to this month’s posts.

  2. November 5, 2007 at 7:54 am

    Thanks for the trackback, but I think it’s important to point out that what you’ve cited as a source is not what I’ve posited personally, but is rather the viewpoint of Dan Kimball. I happen to agree with his viewpoint (which is all I said in my post, disregarding all semantics), considering the fact that I’m married to a very strong Puerto Rican wife, but that’s just me.

    I’m not in ministry, nor do I want anything to do with it. And neither is my wife. And in my own personal circumstance, it’s necessary to mention that the roles between me and my wife are not reversed, just different. There are times she puts her foot down and there are times I respond in kind. I’m not weak, nor is she. We’re both very strong-willed and that makes for a different dynamic.

    If you look at Dan Kimball’s original post, he merely claimed that “women’s role in the church” is up for negotiation. And while I’m sure he has a lot to say concerning the subject, to generally assume that him or myself are general examples in support of your hypothesis is in the least, a stretch.

    In the end, the fundamental point I’m trying to make is that though I see no wrong in the expansion of women’s roles in the church, this viewpoint comes from a layman who has no real involvement in ministry. I’m willing to determine if I’m wrong (or better said, if Dan Kimball is wrong), but only after extensive discussion.

    You bring up some good points. I look forward to interacting more in the future.

  3. Travis Burke
    November 6, 2007 at 7:10 am

    Quick Note: I and my youth pastor are working on a book about why we are losing our young people. I sent a survey out to many churches (some of yours…but have not yet got back much information…hint hint) and with nearly 200 responses now, according to Independent Baptist Teens, 65% say their mother run their household. Just thought I would throw that out there and perhaps remind some of you to please have your young people fill out the survey and send it in. Have a Great day!

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