Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Books #30: Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood

There is a debate that continues to rage in defining the roles of men and women in the church and in the home. When I was in seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL., I had the privilege of taking a class from Dr. Wayne Grudem. It was a class on biblical manhood and womanhood. Much of the information in the class came from this great book that along with John Piper, Dr. Grudem helped to edit.

Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood has been a book that I have referenced over the years. A few pages here, a chapter there. But three years ago, for a doctoral of ministries class, I actually read the 500+ page book word for word. While it was a long process, I appreciated every word of this book. You may never read from start to finish, but I think everyone should have this book on hand to help answer questions they might ever have on the role of men and women. Even if someone does not agree with their position, there is not a book out there that so adequately explains in detail the complementarian view of men and women.

Piper & Grudem say that their primary purpose in this volume is "to help Christians recover a noble vision of manhood and womanhood as God created them to be" (xiv). The book centers on a vision for Biblical Complementarianism. That is simply the view that men and women are equal in status before God, but have been given different functions or roles in the home and in the church. If you have this book or you want to get this book, the first chapter is the one to read, word for word. In this chapter, John Piper offers his vision for why he is a complementarian. He says,

"Biblical headship for the husband is the divine calling to take primary responsibility for Christlike, servant-leadership, protection and provision in the home. Biblical submission for the wife is the divine calling to honor and affirm her husband's leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts . . . The same is true of God's design for the leadership of the church. The realities of headship and submission in marriage have their counterparts in the church" (52-3).

When people oppose this view of men and women, they usually do so because they feel like it oppresses women. You will not see that in this book. In fact, this book uplifts women. Piper even says, "If I were to put my finger on one devastating sin today, it would not be the so-called women's movement, but the lack of spiritual leadership by men at home and in the church" (53). Amen!

If you want a challenge, then pick up this book. The journey will heap great rewards for your marriage and church. As well, I would encourage you to bookmark The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood official website. It has many helpful resources.

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