Is Complementarianism the Gospel? Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) Seems to Confuse the Gospel with Their Agenda
Today, Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) President, Owen Strachan announced three recent hires in their operations team: a director of operations, assistant operations director, and an intern. All three are men – as in, male. None are female. All three are students at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Three men, no women, all in seminary. Interesting.
I tweeted the announcement and here are some of the funny responses:
Additionally, on February 18, 2015, it was announced that Gavin Peacock was joining the ranks at CBMW as the new Director of International Outreach at the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood.
If you’re doing the math, we’re up to four (4) men and zero (0) women recently hired. I’ve been doing statistics lately at school. Let me throw in a probability question for your amusement (and mine):
If a sampling of four men were hired in the last few months at CBMW, what is the probability that a woman will be hired in the next few months? In the next year?
Gavin seems to be the perfect fit for the organization – one who makes “complementarianism” a primary doctrinal issue. It almost seems as if their brand of complementarian marriage is the Gospel. hat a shame for all you singles who can’t spread the Gospel with your Gospel Marriage.
Here are excerpts from Gavin Peacock (bolding is mine):
No one has spoken more clearly or passionately than John Piper on the issue of biblical sexuality over the past thirty years. He, along with Wayne Grudem and other pastors and scholars, formed the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in 1987. Owen Strachan, who is the current president, now spearheads the movement. For a while now, I have admired Owen’s conviction, passion and bravery in accepting the leadership of CBMW and taking them forward in a time where complementarianism is being attacked on all fronts. In fact, as I have said previously, this issue is the bite point where the gospel is confronting culture today.
I will work within the existing framework and ethos of CBMW to expand our reach to other countries and nations through preaching, teaching and writing. God’s plan is outward looking. It is to spread the fame of Christ’s name through the conversion of the lost and the establishment and growth of healthy churches. And key to a healthy church is a healthy vision of complementarianism. There are plenty of complementarian churches that need strengthening and there are plenty of others who don’t know what they believe, so conferences designed to set forth the teaching of Scripture on manhood, womanhood, and marriage will be high on the agenda. (Thoughts on Expanding and Establishing with CBMW)
Conferences? Did he say conferences? Yes, we need more conferences telling us what they believe Scripture says on manhood, womanhood, and marriage. Evidently the Bible is not enough for us.
From another article by Peacock in January entitled, The Battle for Biblical Marriage is a Mission Moment That Will Define the Church, he says:
Just look at the cross. Marriage being redefined in culture is the perfect opportunity to confront the culture with real marriage and the gospel it pictures. It’s a mission moment.
The battle is for the truth of complementarian marriage
To be more specific, complementarity is the biblical and historically Christian position on marriage. So the church must articulate a complementarian understanding of manhood and womanhood and must embody a complementarian picture of manhood and womanhood. (Source)
The church must conserve biblical gospel displaying marriage even as it commends biblical gospel displaying marriage to a watching world. (Source)
Now, just for kicks, I looked up a few places online in which “gospel” is defined, even from people who hold complementarian views of marriage. For instance, here’s Matt Slick of CARM on the Gospel. Nowhere in this article do you find anything on marriage as he describes the Gospel:
Do you want to be saved from the righteous judgment of God? If so, if you want to become a Christian and follow God, then you must realize that you have sinned against God and are under his judgment. You must look to Jesus who died on the cross and trust what he did in order for you to be forgiven of your sentence and be saved from the judgment of God. This is accomplished by faith alone in what Jesus has done. You cannot add any human works to what Jesus has done.
Let’s see what R.C. Sproul has to say about the Gospel. He’s a well-known and respected Christian leader. The following is taken from Sproul’s article, What Is the Gospel?:
The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith – and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him – and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.
Did you see any mention of marriage in his article explaining the Gospel? Neither did I.
Marriage isn’t referenced in John MacArthur’s article on Getting the Gospel Right, and you can be sure that he is complementarian.
Here’s more MacArthur in an older video with Kirk Cameron. There’s no marriage message noted here, either:
So, this should tell you something. The folks at CBMW sure seem to be going overboard with this marriage-as-Gospel thing. I’m pretty sure CBMW is taking the following verse as their reference of a Christian marriage being a picture of Christ and His church:
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-33)
The battle that I’m reading about at CBMW seems to be more focused on what they describe as a cultural battle – keeping marriage between one woman and one man, not a man marrying a man or a woman marrying a woman.
But are they twisting scripture for their “battle” agenda? I think so. Marriage can be a picture of Christ and the church when marriage is done well, but to make complementarianism as the Gospel, in my opinion, is a distortion of the real Gospel. This is just more of CBMW’s agenda hype.