For many decades, feminists have characterized the Old Testament’s teaching on gender roles in terms of patriarchy, the control and domination of the father in exercising an authoritative, if not oppressive or even abusive, rule over his wife and family. What is more, feminists have often alleged that the Bible is laced with a patriarchal bias that they must “uncover” by a hermeneutic of suspicion and correct with a sort of “affirmative action” through which women’s rightful place in Christianity and in the world is reclaimed, restored, and recast. But is the underlying premise of... Read More
When it comes to gender, we live in confusing times. For many, gender has become merely a subjective reality. We are male or female because we perceive ourselves as such. As a result, we can alter our gender identity at will, because our perception of ourselves may change over time. In addition, gender is often viewed as socially constructed. We are male or female because we were raised as boys and girls according to certain stereotypes of what it means to be a boy or girl. But again, these stereotypes are changing, and so may our gender identity.
Where do we turn in this age of rapidly... Read More
We believe that most labels are of limited value in describing any given topic or position, including the biblical terminology surrounding manhood and womanhood. Labels typically limit the description of a subject to a certain oversimplified caricature. The debates surrounding gender roles are no exception in that the discussion has been burdened with a simplistic kind of partisan, polemical, and politicized verbiage. As we’ve sought to elaborate in a recent post, the label “patriarchal,” for example, carries with it mostly negative baggage in our culture because of a heavy feminist... Read More
The definition of marriage is not up to us to decide.
Marriage is God’s idea, not merely a social contract between consenting adults. Now it’s understandable that those who don’t believe in a deity don’t trace the roots of marriage back to God. It’s less obvious why those who claim to be Christians—or at least invoke the “Golden Rule”—in the name of tolerance brush aside the biblical teaching that “a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, reaffirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19:5 and Mark... Read More
Voddie: Thank you for these additional points of follow-up.
First of all, thank you for articulating your strong commitment to regenerate church membership, with implication for observance of the Lord’s Supper. I accept your assurance that this is not an FIC issue even though Presbyterians will differ from Baptists on these matters. Perhaps a bit more dialogue is needed on this to crystallize the issue even more clearly.
I’m not sure what was unclear about my response regarding the Mohler blog. As I tried to indicate, Dr. Mohler had planned to post a blog but did not end up doing so, and... Read More
Thank you for taking the time to read the chapter on God, Marriage, Family, and the Church in the second edition of God, Marriage & Family and for your blog post in response to it. You are a man of God, and I am deeply grateful for your ministry. In fact, I endorsed your most recent book!
I think it’s great that you and I seem to agree on the bottom line—you quote at length my positive and constructive prescription on how to move forward in encouraging family-friendly and family-oriented churches (though you prefer the term “family-integrated”).
We also agree on the... Read More
Christianity Today has an article on the recent Proposition 8 ruling that includes many different evangelical voices. Here is my response:
The ruling shows that as Christians, we should not look for a political solution to the crisis surrounding marriage and the family in our culture. The only true and lasting solution is found in a return to our spiritual foundations. The Bible makes clear that marriage is God’s idea rather than a social contract that we are free to renegotiate based on changing social trends. But we can’t expect the unbelieving world or any government or... Read More
Is monogamy over? This is the question TIME Magazine recently posed to its readers. What is monogamy, and is it over?
Monogamy (from Gr. monos, “one,” and gamos, “marriage”) refers to marriage to one marriage partner. Monogamy is firmly embedded in the Old Testament teaching regarding God’s plan for marriage. According to Gen. 2:24, “A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This clearly stipulates a heterosexual, monogamous relationship as the norm for God’s people across both covenant periods.
After the Fall, it... Read More
NOTE: Time has picked up on this debate (HT: Justin Taylor)
David Instone-Brewer took the time to respond to my previous post on divorce and remarriage. In the response he clarifies some misunderstandings connected with his CT article. His response is below:
Thank you for interacting with my work at such length and with such evident understanding of my arguments.
I share your main problem with my CT article, which is that some people who are not familiar with my work might conclude that I’m advocating divorce for minor reasons. My actual conclusions are closer to yours –... Read More
Thank you very much for your comments on my previous post on the CT article by David Instone-Brewer and the response by John Piper. In light of the many excellent questions and comments, I decided to follow up with another post responding to comments made both on Justin Taylor’s blog and on this one. I certainly don’t expect to convert everyone to my view, but hopefully my comments will clarify some of the things I left unaddressed in my previous post. Again, please remember that much of this is addressed more fully in Chapter 11 of God, Marriage & Family. Also, my first post here at... Read More
The Book of Proverbs wisely counsels, “Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own” (Prov 26:17). For this reason (if no other) I am reluctant to enter into the fray by offering some reflections of my own on the recent interchange between David Instone-Brewer and John Piper (or, more accurately put, on Instone-Brewer’s CT article and Piper’s response to it on his blog). Yet with some trepidation I will do so nonetheless, not in order to engage directly with one or the other of these individuals (both of whom I know personally and... Read More
Few topics are more important than marriage. In a presentation on “Christ, Marriage, and the Church” at Southeastern’s 20/20 Collegiate Conference, I sought to capture the essence of my book God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation. Here is the outline and main argument of my presentation:
1. The Divinely Revealed Purpose of Marriage (Genesis 1–2)
Equality in essence
2. The Consequences of the Fall on Marriage (Genesis 3)
Loss of innocence
Struggle for control
3. The... Read More
Would you say that you have a good marriage? Some of you might answer this question in the affirmative (hopefully your spouse would, too); others might acknowledge that there remains a lot of work to do before you would claim to have a good marriage.
But why aspire to having a good marriage in any case? Just to be able to feel good about having a good marriage? And what does it mean to have a “good marriage”? When is a marriage a good marriage? If it is better than most other marriages of the people we know?
I submit to you that “Do you have a good marriage?” is the wrong... Read More
In our book God, Marriage & Family we state that marriage is a covenant, in fact, even more than a covenant. We also note that marriage is a divine institution with covenantal features.
Some who hold to a “no divorce, no remarriage” view have objected to this categorization since it falls short of affirming the indissolubility of marriage under all circumstances as their view requires. They characterize marriage as a “covenant in which God participates” and presuppose that Old Testament covenants such as the Abrahamic covenant are paradigmatic for the husband-wife... Read More
Before returning to the important kingdom business of changing diapers, Debbie Maken has, in her own words, endeavored to “dissect” my reply in my previous post. As we will see, “dissect” my reply she did, but very selectively, and in many places misleadingly.
The opening salvo is that I and those in my “camp” (?) are “talk[ing] out of both sides of” our mouths. This is a surprisingly inflammatory way to start her critique, especially in light of her previous post objecting to my tone. Is this the tone she wants to use to model proper discourse? As to the substance of her... Read More