In recent days, a debate has been resurrected within evangelicalism on whether or not women should preach the Bible to the gathered church. The lines are often divided between complementarianism and egalitarianism. Both are complicated words that contain baggage and differing levels of agreement such as soft and hard complementarianism as an example. However, beyond the interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12-13 regarding the roles of men and women in the pulpit—how can complementarianism serve to honor the dignity and value of women?
Perhaps the biggest news story involving the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is the sex scandal that has become a black mark upon the Convention. Regardless of where you stand on the issues of the way the news media portrays the complicity of the Convention as a whole—the fact remains that women and girls have been abused and men have abandoned their post as protector and provider. This is nothing short of tragic.
When we examine the the definition of complemenatrianism, if we’re honest with the term itself, it involves more than prohibitions on women serving. It’s far more than a stop sign for women. The word itself defines the position that points to the calling of men to be the leaders of the home and the local church—not based on their physical stature or mental abilities—but based on their calling that’s rooted in creation.
Male headship is not a product of the fall. It’s an aspect of God’s blueprint for his people that predates the fall. When we examine the creation account, we see that Adam was created first and then Eve. It was Adam who was given charge of naming all of the animals (Gen. 2:20) and Adam likewise named Eve—his wife (Gen. 2:23). Adam was given charge to work (another responsibility of man that predates the fall). Adam’s headship was God’s plan and we find the commentary on this in various places in the New Testament—such as Ephesians 5:31 where Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 as he describes the mysterious relationship between Christ and his bride the church. In that passage, Paul drives home the responsibility of the husband to love and lead his wife. Once again, this is not a post-fall responsibility—it predates the fall.
Male leadership is not part of the curse, it’s one of God’s good blessings for the home and the church (see 1 Tim. 3:1-5 and Titus 1). Such a big view of male headship points to the responsibility of providing and protecting women for the glory of God. In other words, mature manhood is based on something beyond how much a person can benchpress or how far a man can run. You may hold a coral belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, be able to bench press 300lbs., climb a mountain, skin a deer, and shoot class 3 weapons like a champ…but if you don’t know how to lead your wife and protect her physically and spiritually—you’re not a biblically mature man.
In many cultures throughout history, in order to be a man, you had to be able to:
Today, that formula has been replaced by the three B’s:
Today’s manhood is often shallow and superficial. It’s based on how you perform sexually, athletically, and financially. Sadly, the world has very low expectations for manhood. We have forgotten what Voddie Baucham calls the four P’s:
As men take their leadership responsibilities seriously—it serves to protect women from abuse both in the physical sphere and the spiritual sphere. Complementarianism serves to protect women from home intruders and spiritual wolves, heretics, and false prophets. This is God’s plan for both the home and the local church—that Spiritual and gifted men would lead in both the physical and spiritual spheres.
We must make sure the whole wide world knows that abusive men are not overly passionate complementarians — they’re not complementarians at all. Such a man has abandoned his post as provider and protector resulting in the abuse of little girls and women.
Ironically, a more patriarchal complementarianism will resonate among a generation seeking stability in a family-fractured Western culture in ways that soft-bellied big-tent complementarianism never can…And it will also address the needs of hurting women and children far better, because it is rooted in the primary biblical means for protecting women and children: calling men to responsibility. Patriarchy is good for women, good for children, and good for families.
Any move away from the mature biblical manhood and male headship in the home and local church is a move that the SBC and our local churches cannot afford. The SBC has traveled that road before and it was not exactly a peaceful journey. May the Lord grant us wisdom and resolve to stand upon the sufficient Word of God as we navigate through these challenges and confusing days.
This past weekend I was sitting in my living room watching a football game that I wasn’t interested in because there wasn’t a baseball game on, a marathon (or any foot race) to watch, or a better football game to choose from. While sitting there, a commercial came on that grabbed my attention and elevated my pulse far more than the boring football game. The commercial was in form of a short video by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). The advertisement contains an agenda that transcends collegiate sports. Near the end of the advertisement, two female athletes make the following statement, “Genders don’t play sports, athletes do.” As the commercial ends, a statement appears on the screen: Creating equal opportunities for college athletes.
What Is Gender?
The gender of a person is part of the fabric of the individual’s identity. Male and female are the two possible genders as God designed His creation in the beginning (Gen. 1:27) when He created Adam and Eve as the progenitors of the human race. In short, there are no other options available. However, in recent months our progressive culture has sought to craft new boundaries, new options, even no options at all in the gender debate.
Today, it’s possible to have a man with all of the signs and indications of masculinity using the restroom designated for women because he “self identifies” as a woman. This has caused great tension in the public gender debate and in the wake of the landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to legalize homosexual marriage in in all fifty states.
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, the word gender as it pertains to humans is “the state of being male or female (chiefly in cultural or social contexts).”  Although much change has occurred in recent years on this very subject and the boundaries are continually being pushed, to exist as a human being involves being either male or female. This is visibly evident in the physical traits of a person, including the body parts of each individual person.
Why the “Gender Bender” Agenda is Harmful
You might have heard the rumbling story of Nattaphon “Ice” Wangyot who made history at Alaska’s state track meet, becoming the first transgender student-athlete to compete individually for a high school state championship back in the 2016 track season. Wangyot, a Thai native who was born male and identifies as female, qualified and competed in the Class 3A girls’ sprints at the state meet, capturing third place in the 200-meter dash (27.3) and fifth in the 100 (13.36). 
Is Wangyot really that good? When you examine his times, if he had been forced to run against the male students in the men’s race, he wouldn’t have made the finals in the 100-meter. In fact, he wouldn’t have made it to the state meet. The slowest runner in the 100-meter race was Jacob Rogers from Holy Rosary Academy who ran a 12.47. His time was the 17th fastest in the preliminary races, and he didn’t make the finals. Rogers’ time is much faster than Wangyot, but he was able to capture the 5th fastest time in the women’s state meet because he self identifies as a female.
In the end, the gender bender policy of the NCAA is killing competition in women’s sports. Male athletes who would otherwise not rise to the top are able to do so by competing in women’s events. This is not only true in high school but in collegiate events as well. This will harm true competition for women athletes. In a world that demands equality for women, this gender bender identity policy by the NCAA will do just the opposite. The very organization that prides itself in “Creating equal opportunities for college athletes” is pushing an agenda that refuses reat women as women.
Why Have Boundaries in Sports?
If you’ve ever played a sport, or watched one on television, you know about boundaries. In football, there are sidelines that border the field. If a wide receiver catches a pass from the quarterback outside of those boundaries, the pass is considered incomplete. In golf, if your ball lands in the water hazard, you will be penalized for it. In basketball, the playing surface has boundaries around the court in order to contain the playing area within those specified boundaries. If a play is made beyond those lines, it results in a turnover in possession. If football field sidelines, water hazards, and basketball court boundaries are treated as absolutes, why should gender be treated with such relativism by the NCAA?
As the debate continues to grow in our culture, are we prepared for the man who self identifies as a dog to be allowed to compete in The National Dog Show? We’re living in strange times where common sense, logic, and absolutes are completely ignored and rejected. The problem with that type of world is that it doesn’t exist. The very minute that we treat the laws of nature with a relativistic attitude, we will certainly do bodily harm to ourselves and people around us. The real world is full of absolutes, and that includes the subject of gender. If gender is merely a social construct, why can’t we treat boundaries in athletics in the same manner? Do rules and boundaries really mean anything?
The NCAA may not see it this way, but they have entered the perverse revolt against God. We are living in a sexual and moral revolution that is twisting and spiraling out of control into the abyss of human depravity. The NCAA can’t remain socially consistent in their positions. While running advertisements on national television stating, “Genders don’t play sports, athletes do”—the very website of the NCAA makes a clear distinction between men’s and women’s sports. The inconsistency is striking.
The NCAA will never be able to bypass God in the gender conversation. Just as the NCAA is accustomed to reading rule books and operating by the set boundaries of various sporting events, it would do them well to read the boundaries instituted and crafted by God regarding human gender and sexuality. When pronouns are replaced with abstract neuter forms to bypass masculinity and femininity, God doesn’t lose—we do. We all do. Our children do. So will the world of athletics. You can make a word neuter, but you can’t make an athlete neuter. An athlete will always be male or female. Athletes are human. John Piper provides helpful wisdom on this subject in an article titled, “Male and Female, Created in God’s Image” found at CBMW.org. He writes:
The tendency today is to stress the equality of men and women by minimizing the unique significance of our maleness or femaleness. But this depreciation of male and female personhood is a great loss. It is taking a tremendous toll on generations of young men and women who do not know what it means to be a man or a woman. Confusion over the meaning of sexual personhood today is epidemic. The consequence of this confusion is not a free and happy harmony among gender-free persons relating on the basis of abstract competencies. The consequence rather is more divorce, more homosexuality, more sexual abuse, more promiscuity, more social awkwardness, and more emotional distress and suicide that come with the loss of God-given identity. 
Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, eds., Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
The doctrine of man is an essential and extremely vital doctrine in Holy Scripture. If you get this doctrine wrong, you will end up with an elevated opinion of yourself. Humanity is a special creation by God. It does not take a rocket scientist to recognize the differences between humans and the rest of the created world. God created humans in a different way than dogs, cats, and the fish of the sea. Those differences are not just related to physical makeup, but more importantly, to the internal makeup of the mind and soul. Therefore, as we consider the creation of humanity, it should lead to a high respect for all human beings.
On a spiritual side, we should understand what the Bible says about man. Is man a free creature? Does he possess “free will?” Is man responsible to God for his actions and sins? Will man be judged according to God’s statutes and laws? All of these things are covered as we look at the doctrine of man in Holy Scripture. Below are several categories that I believe are essential to the complete overarching view of man in Scripture.
I. Man is a Sinner – Romans 5:12
Man is a sinner. The original man and woman (Adam and Eve) both sinned against God. The Word of God tells us that we are all related to Adam. In Romans 5:12 it tells us plainly that we are all the recipients of the curse of the original sin committed by Adam.
Romans 5:12 – Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
II. Man is a Slave to Sin – Romans 3:9-18; 23
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proveda both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Man is a slave to sin. Having been born with a nature that is sinful, each individual chooses to sin. The Baptist Faith & Message states:
In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.
It should be noted that since all of humanity is related to Adam, each individual is born with a propensity to sin. Better stated, each man is born with “free will” – but unlike Adam, each individual’s will is in bondage to sin. Note what the BF&M says, “Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.” Since man cannot keep himself from sin – his will is in complete bondage to sin. So, it is true that man is a free moral agent and not a robot, but man does not have a will that is free from sin – like Adam and Eve. It should be noted that the complete freedom of the will comes only when a person is saved by Christ. At that time, the individual is loosed from the chains of sin and given ultimate spiritual freedom by Christ Jesus – the Savior!
We sing a song in our services titled, “Amazing Grace – My Chains Are Gone” by Christ Tomlin. The words are as follows:
Amazing graceHow sweet the soundThat saved a wretch like meI once was lost, but now I’m foundWas blind, but now I see’Twas grace that taught my heart to fearAnd grace my fears relievedHow precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed My chains are goneI’ve been set freeMy God, my Savior has ransomed meAnd like a flood His mercy rainsUnending love, Amazing graceThe Lord has promised good to meHis word my hope securesHe will my shield and portion beAs long as life enduresThe earth shall soon dissolve like snowThe sun forbear to shineBut God, Who called me here belowWill be forever mineWill be forever mineYou are forever mineRomans 6:20-22:
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
III. Man Must be Saved from Sin – Ephesians 2:1-10
Why must man be saved by Christ? Because man in his bondage of sin is dead spiritually and does not seek after God (Romans 3:11). Therefore, it is God who devised a plan of redemption before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 3:20) for the salvation of “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord.”
In Ephesians 2:1-10, we see that man is a sinner and dead spiritually. To be dead spiritually does not mean that he is dead mentally. It simply means that he is guilty before God and unable to discern spiritual truth nor does he have a desire for spiritual things. While he can make decisions in the flesh, those decisions are held in bondage to his sinful nature. We see that God brings him to life (quickens him to spiritual life). It is only then that man is rescued from his state of spiritual death and saved by Grace. At that very moment – like the song says above – the chains are gone and the individual is set free!
It should be noted that if man is left to his own self, he will enjoy his sin and never turn to God. It requires the work of the Spirit of God through the Word of God to bring a person to regeneration. That is why people in the jungles are not saved by looking at creation. God has ordained the ends (salvation) through the means (preaching of the Gospel and moving of the Spirit of God on the hearts of people). God uses people to share the Gospel and then the Spirit of God pricks their dead heart and brings it to life! Man must be saved by Grace – not the works of the flesh – in order to be reconciled to God.
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 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: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desiresa of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 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;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordainedb that we should walk in them.
Therefore, we must see man from the perspective of wickedness and helplessness before God. Man, in his rebellious state ran from God in the Garden after his sin and has continued down that same route throughout the history of mankind. However, God in Grace continues to come calling out to man to repent – for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand! God sent the Prophets, His Son, the Apostles, and now modern day preachers to proclaim His message. And it should be noted that there is a single way that man can be redeemed from his sin – and it is only through Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Thanks be to our glorious God that He loved man enough to become man, die at the hands of His creation, and did it all as the marvelous rescue mission which was established before He said, “Let there be light.”