Complementarian, Egalitarian, Teaching Children, Children Desiring God, John Piper
Paul & Jesus: Examples of Complementarian Manhood
This series is a review of God’s Design, a children’s book which teaches children about complementarity. For an introduction of the book, click here. All of the underlined subtitles below are chapters from the book.
Today, boy children will learn about biblical complementarian manhood from two godly examples that were not even married. Girls, it would be wise for you to listen up, too, so you are aware of what
husband material godly manhood looks like.
Paul, an Example of Manhood
When you think of a good example of manhood in the Bible, who do you think of? There are plenty in there – David, Joseph, Joshua, Daniel….of course, Paul! The authors tell us that Paul was an example of godly manhood because he was “a brave and courageous missionary who spent his life leading, protecting, and providing for the needs of Christians in churches spread out across the known world.” Paul passes the headship in marriage test by showing his headship as an apostle.
Paul seems to have all of the right qualities of a godly complementarian man:
- He worked hard.
- He worked independent of the churches to earn his money – as opposed to those pastors employed at comp churches?
- He suffered.
- He traveled.
- He taught and protected churches from false teachers.
- He wasn’t afraid to die.
- He was self-disciplined and was not lazy.
The authors exhort boys to, “live like Paul, and you will know what it means to live as a godly man!” But here’s my question: what if a man who possesses these very good qualities listed is neither married nor in a leadership position in a church? To whom does this man exercise his God-ordained headship? It would seem that this single man might not be living up to his full God-designed potential.
Jesus, the Perfect Example of Manhood
Who better to be an example of a godly man than the son of God himself? But, I hope you’re asking yourself, isn’t Jesus an example to all Believers? Why, of course he is:
Both boys and girls should try to become more like Jesus, but boys have a special example to follow in Jesus for learning God’s design for men.
What “special example” does Jesus give boys? Jesus was tough and strong but also kind and gentle. That’s it.
I’m sorry, but this “special example” for boys only is pure bunk. It was PAUL who tells all Believers:
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit,if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2: 1-11 (NIV)
Wrong Thinking About Manhood
After all of this talk about being a tough man, we are now told that manhood is not about being tough, showing off or being rebellious. I guess defining tough is a bit tough. What we are told, though, is that men are to act “with self-control, faith, love, and sound speech.”
Older men are to be sober minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness…Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. – Titus 2: 2, 6-8 (ESV)
We are also left in a quandary:
So does real manliness, being a truly godly man, mean that a man should always be nice, always agree with what others say, never upset anyone, and never take a stand or make a decision that others don’t agree with? No, this is being cowardly and a wimp. It is being a people-pleaser.
If a man is not always nice, is always right, gets upset with people and is making his position seem more important, I would think that would conflict with being sober minded, dignified and self-controlled. It sounds like you can’t win either way. Boys, I’m sorry, but this is one tough road for you!
If you would like to read prior reviews on God’s Design, here are links in the order of the book chapters: