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.
210 thoughts on “Council for Biblical Manhood and Woman: Will the Real Gospel Please Stand?”
There are many books out there that explain why, if you want to read them to understand why.
One book is called The Gift of Fear. Another: Why Does He Do That. Another: No More Christian Nice Girl. Another: The Nice Girl Syndrome. These books will help you understand why women date and marry jerks.
In a nutshell: Most American women are socialized (Christian ones doubly so, ones who are raised by conservative Christian parents who attend traditional, gender comp churches) to have traits that appeal to men who are abusive.
The flip side, is that most American women (Christian women especially) are taught to find men who have abusive traits attractive.
Not that women want to marry a man who treats them like dirt or who beat them up, but women are taught that the same qualities they should want in a man are often some of the very same ones that abusive jerks happen to have.
That is why I find the Christian hand wringing over “50 Shades of Grey” movie and book totally hypocritical, because some types of Christians (such as Southern Baptists and gender complementarians) tell girls that they are to be in a domineering relationship where the man is in charge, just like the one Ana in the book has with Christian Grey in “50 Shades of Grey.”
Christian culture sets women up to be in abusive relationships then blames them when they get in one, then tells them they are STUCK staying married to those abusive clowns, because God supposedly hates divorce and is against it for any and all reasons.
Please understand: women do NOT want to be abused. Women do not want to date or marry jerks. That is not what I am saying. But secular culture and Christian culture teaches women it is the best they can hope for, or that it’s their lot in life, etc., and it raises them so that they are irrestible to abusive men
Abusive men usually choose women who lack boundaries, who are meek, sweet, who are compliant, etc, and those are the same qualities Christians tell women they should have, to be a “biblical woman.”
Secular culture also promotes the same qualities… according to secular culture, women are supposed to be passive, sweet, defer to men, never put themselves first.
Women who have boundaries who are assertive are dubbed “b_tches,” but men who have those qualities are admired for them.
Women are brainwashed into thinking it is normal to be dating or married to a man where the man makes all the choices, is always in control, and women are told by many conservative churches that God wants women to be meek, weak, and ultra-dependent on a man.
One book I read was by a woman psychologist. She had a chapter about dating.
She told the women reading it, if you want to stop attracting abusive men, you need to change how you react and behave, stop sending out the signals that are appealing to abusers. Abusers are attracted to women who lack boundaries.
(Women in our culture are conditioned to NOT have boundaries. They are discouraged from having boundaries.)
The reason jerks and abusers get dates – this is something that escapes the PUAs and Men’s Rights doofuses on the internet who complain all the time that they cannot get dates – is because such men are willing to risk rejection. They will ask women out on dates.
If you want to get a girlfriend, you have to ask women out on dates. Sometimes women will say “no” if you ask them out, but the Alpha Males (I hate that term), do not let that deter them.
The Men’s Rights and PUA doof-wads are too afraid of rejection to ask a woman out. They would rather sit on their computers all day spouting sexist drivel against women and complaining that women don’t want them.
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Re Julie Anne’s quote,
In one or two of the books I read – one by a psychiatrist, one by a psychologist – they had case studies in their books about women who date men who are controlling, down to the types of dresses they wear, how they style their hair, etc.
One book had a rather long example of a 20 or 30 something woman who naively fell for a 50 something guy. The guy picked out all her dresses, ordered her to exercise X hours a day, he got her breast surgery, he got her a permanent eye liner cosmetic procedure, etc. (There was nothing wrong with what she looked like before all this exercise and surgery.)
After all this, after she went through all the cosmetic surgeries etc, the guy dumped her anyway.
She said her looks had so changed, she barely recognized herself in the mirror anymore. She said she was staring back at the reflection of who that guy wanted her to be, not who she was.
The doctor who wrote the book said this is actually rather common.
The doctor said these men are controlling and are trying to make you (the woman they are dating) into a mirror of themselves – and that these men may not realize it, but that is what they are doing, and so, when the woman jumps through all these hoops and goes through all the changes, the man then finds her boring. He no longer finds her interesting or a challenge.
Now that is sad. A young woman changing her entire body to please an older man or any man for that matter!! My daughter is in her mid 30’s and would like to have breast reduction surgery. She got a double whammy from both of her grandmother’s. She didn’t get it from me.
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opine mine said,
They will also lob the “bitter” word at any person who is angry, sad, and who is admitting to such on a blog or over the phone.
I’ve found that a lot of Christian culture is fixated on youth – just like secular culture is. Churches will ignore most anyone who is past the age of 35 or 40, and this is doubly so for never-married, childless adults.
I’ve seen some empty nest, married, 40- somethings who said they feel excluded in their churches now. They have noticed that their churches are fixated on anyone under the age of 35, who is married, who has kids living at home.
Anyway, I’ve been on threads at Christian sites where they are discussing being single.
I’ve seen the forum hosts or authors use the word “bitter” at almost anyone, regardless of age, who expresses any discontent what-so-ever with being single on those sites.
If you are anything less than happy clappy at being single, if you are less than thrilled with how the majority of Baptists, Reformed, and evangelicals ignore adult singles (or insulting them on the few times they’re not ignoring singles), the blog or forum host will cal you “bitter,” even if you are 27 or 32 years old. I’ve seen it happen before.
Some of the authors of these sites make me livid.
They will sit there and make all sorts of unfounded, negative assumptions explaining to you why you are single at whatever age, like (and yes, I’ve seen this on Christian blogs),
“You must be single because you are stupid, boring, ugly and fat. You should get a gym membership, lose those extra 124 pounds you’re carrying, attend charm school, learn some funny jokes, get your green moldy teeth fixed at the dentist office, then maybe you will get a date.”
They’ve never laid eyes on you, but make all these assumptions about you, that you are still single because you are horribly flawed.
So when you leave a comment disagreeing and telling them how insulting and hurtful their dating advice is, the author will often jump in under your post to call you “bitter.”
They sit there and write the most insulting, obnoxious garbage about singles, and when they obviously get push back from singles – who are understandably insulted or hurt by their content – they have the nerve to put it back on the singles by calling them bitter. And I’ve seen them do this even on blog pages with a mix of ages, where the singles may range from 25 to 65 years old.
I guess when they sit there and insult us and tell us what big losers we are, we’re supposed to clap in joy and say, “Whee, thank you so much for putting me down!”
When you basically tell people they are a bunch of losers (even though they are not), what kind of reaction do you think you are going to get? But the people who write this stuff act like you should agree with their assessment that you are single because you must be a big, stinky loser.
reply to Brenda R MARCH 3, 2015 @ 12:47 PM
I wouldn’t fall for it myself, not anymore.
I grew up with a very critical, negative, perfectionist father who shamed us (my siblings and myself) when we were kids, for what we looked like, or for mistakes we made.
I realized a few years ago (and the books I read by doctors confirmed this) that you should stop trying to bend yourself backwards to please other people, because no matter how hard you try, they will not be pleased.
That is true with my father. I busted my rear end in teen years, 20s and most of my 30s to please him. I would bring home straight A report cards, I kept my nose clean (unlike my two older siblings who dabbled in drugs as teens, skipped classes, etc), but even though I was super good and studied hard, my dad was just as negtive and grumpy towards me as he was to the two mis behaving siblings.
Nothing I ever did was good enough for him, so in my late 30s, I stopped trying to win his approval, as I realized I will never get it. It’s a waste of my time.
The books I read after that said the same thing. You will never be able to please an overly critical person, so don’t even try. Just life your life and make choices that make you happy.
In my younger years, I did buy into society’s messages about looks, though. I dieted all the time to stay skinny, etc, because culture kept telling me in movies and books and magazines that I couldn’t get dates unless I looked perfect, so I tried looking like a model all the time.
My daughter who was recently married and now pregnant is over weight. She was over weight when she met her husband who is tall and thin. He loves her for who she is, not for her looks. Men like him are the ones worth giving more than 2 minutes of your time. When she was younger she had men ogling over her and didn’t like it.(Big Breasted, which certain clergy that will remain nameless would like) Most of them wanted the one thing that many young men want and she wasn’t having any of that. She gained a lot of weight during her first marriage. Having PCOS makes it difficult to keep weight off no matter what you do. He left her–very superficial guy.
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I’m glad your daughter is doing better now – that she has a husband who cares about her.
There’s a lot I could say about this topic, but I’ll try not to get into it all.
I was picked on a lot when younger, and I was already shy, so I never had boyfriends or dates as a teenager. I went through a chubby phase, nerdy era in junior high but got thin in high school. I started jogging and got in shape.
By my senior year, I wore make-up to school each day, fixed my hair, and looked really nice, so the boys flirted with me… but by this time, I did not trust the opposite gender, though, so I never let boys get close to me, so I never went on dates.
It also annoyed me how suddenly, because I was pretty on the outside, the boys wanted me then, but not before, when I was chubby and nerdy. The hypocrisy was a total turn off.
My ex fiance always told me how pretty I was. After a few years, I asked him to stop telling me that, It bothered me, it hurt me and annoyed me that he was always telling me “you are pretty,” but never complimented me on my talents or anything else. I explained to him my value is not in my looks, please compliment me on my talent or intellect, anything but my looks.
He never did. It made me feel like a “trophy” girlfriend, that he wanted to be with me only because I was pretty eye candy on his arm, not that he cared about me as a person.
To this day, it bugs me when all men will notice is my body and face. I have profiles on dating sites, and most men only go by my photo, not by my profile content (like where I list what my hobbies are etc), I can tell by the stuff they write to me, and it makes me hopping angry.
I don’t mean to sound snobby here – but another thing that annoys me and makes me seethe- Even men who are totally unattractive contact me on these dating sites.
Looks wise, I am out of their league (again, sorry if I sound egotistical about that, I really am not a stuck up person), but these Elmer Fudd look-alikes, and/ or men 20 or more years my age (I am in my 40s), think they have a shot with me. To me this is kind of sexist that men do this.
Men, even really ugly ones, or ones way too old for me, all feel entitled to a pretty woman and/or one who is much younger than they are (I have zippo interest in dating men more than five, six years my age).
Women (single ones) are often told not to be picky – not about the man’s looks, his income (I even see such advice in many Christian sermons or books about singleness and dating)… we ladies are supposed to be non-picky and just “settle”. I hardly ever see men get this advice.
I do not like being judged on my looks, even if they think I am pretty, but it is a habit of many men to compliment a woman on her looks – never her humor, intellect, career or accomplishments, it’s always how hot she is, or how great she looks in a skirt.
I want to be liked for who I am. If a guy finds me attractive, that is all well and good, but he should have other reasons he likes me.
Now that I know about boundaries, there is no way I am jumping through hoops to get or keep a man. If I date a guy who demands I lose weight, or change my hair color, I will tell him to get bent.
Your daughter’s story reminds me of a woman I worked with years ago (she and I still stay in touch over the internet). She used to have a weight problem. She was single and on dating sites.
She had a guy or two meet her for dates and tell her “if you want to stay with me, you will have to lose weight.” – She had tears in her eyes when she told me this. I told her how sorry I was. I wanted to slug those guys as hard as I could.
She had posted current photos of herself on the dating site. If you’re a man who is picky about a woman’s weight, you should not meet a woman with a weight issue for a date and then demand she change for you.
I now suspect that those men were controllers and abusive. Had she got skinny for them, they would’ve made her jump through hoops in other areas of life.
I agree whole heartedly. Anyone who is only looking at a person’s physical appearance is shallow and who needs ’em. Unnecessarily hurting someone’s feelings is abusive and disrespectful. What happens when they find out the good looking person that looks like Barbie or Ken only have marbles between the ears.
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