Wednesday, 26 December 2007

After God's Own Heart

I'm starting this blog because I have been challenged and stirred by two recent blog posts which have led me to serious thinking about the issue of Biblical manhood. Before you click away and think, "oh not another site about this issue," I humbly ask you to read on.

Last week one of my friends, Scott, wrote a blog "Mark Driscoll: The reason I'm not going to Brighton 2008!" Then, on Christmas Day, Dan, my friend and partner in the ministry to publish Ern Baxter's sermons, published a post "Humour versus Holy Spirit."

I read these posts, and the comments made on them, with a very heavy heart. Both posts referred, with deep concern, to a number of comments that had been made by Mark Driscoll and others on the subject of manhood. A number of the comments on these posts highlighted the horrific impact of poor teaching about manhood upon Christian women - our sisters in Christ and daughters of the King of Kings.

Today the burden for laying down some correct teaching has been growing in my heart. Even though it is still Boxing Day in the UK, I cannot get rid of this burden.

I am no expert, but I am a pastor and I study God's Word. A couple of years ago I started showing the men of our church what the Bible teaches about being men of God. I hope, over the next few months, to edit and publish my notes from these studies, and also to publish any other helpful material when I find it. My aim, by God's grace is to help my brothers in Christ to grow to be men after God's own heart. And also to encourage wives, mothers and sisters to pray for us on our journey.

Now, I must be honest, over at my other blog (The Best is Yet to Come), I have not posted as often as I would have liked, but I do hope that I can at least post here monthly. So, please be patient, but please do visit here from time to time and, I trust this will be of help to you.

If you have any thoughts or comments yourself on this subject, please feel free to post comments below, or e-mail me.


Dan Bowen said...

This is a really positive step to come out of our concern about Mark Driscoll. It's very easy to sit back and criticise something we see as wrong. It's harder to come up with positive reactions to that. Okay so Mark Driscoll's view of what real men are sucks. But what does the Bible really teach?!

This is an exciting thrilling step and I pray it grows into a great resource that challenges young and old men everywhere to consider whether we are truly following the true Man - Jesus Christ - in our example and life.

jul said...

I'm very excited to see what God is showing you and learn from what you share here.

One question we've been mulling over is how do we understand the the effects of the curse (her desire will be for him and he will rule over her etc...) on our understanding of true manhood and womanhood? In a sense, I feel like a large segment of the church is teaching that true womanhood is to desire her husband and true manhood is to rule over a wife. Isn't this missing what God really intends? Another large segment of the church is trying to reverse the roles of the curse and have a wife rule over her husband, which is no better, and in between are all kinds of confused people caught up in a power struggle between the sexes.

All of these problems seem to have the fingerprints of the enemy all over them, not the design of our loving creator. If we could only see that man AND woman were created in the image of God TOGETHER, that God is either not male or female, or both male and female, but never male OR female...I wonder if that makes any sense at all lol! I for one struggle quite intensely at times with a deep sense of worthlessness based almost solely on being a woman instead of a man. Since I was a small child I wished I had been born a male (thankfully without any gender confusion) which can only be a demonic torment. And many teachings have poured much condemnation on top of me for feeling this way, mainly for how proud I was (for wanting to be as valuable as a man). I have always thought that the 'role' of a woman was humiliating and I now know this is not God's heart for women. In fact, in God's kingdom the more of a servant you are the more you are honored and valued and cherished, and this goes for men not just women!

Excuse me for rambling on and on, this is an area I'm still trying to get a handle on.

Peter Day said...

Thank you, Julie for your encouragement - and what an amazing opening post. These are such key questions.

My plan with this blog is to start with some foundational teachings on grace. The one thing I don't want to do is simply give a whole load of rules on manhood and womanhood. The heart of a right understanding of anything is grace.

Then I want to do a couple of introductory posts on manhood and womanhood - and one of the things on my heart is God's creation. You are absolutely right. Genesis 1 says that He made man in His own image, male and female He created THEM. The image of God is only properly displayed in male AND female (not male OR female).

I am so moved by your testimony. It is, as you say, the torment of the enemy who wants us to feel worthless and condemned. And you are not alone. Sadly much of what is taught on these things doesn't help. Yes there are passages which cover things like male headship (and we will need to look at them on this blog), BUT something is wrong if the message comes across that somehow the male "role" is more important.

Having reflected on these things for the last few days since Dan and Scott began to highlight some of Mark Driscoll's teachings, I have realised that the problems of chauvinism in the church are far wider. There are the jokes and the attitudes which suggest men are more important. There are the implications that somehow pastors (that is if they are men) are somehow more important than the rest of the church. I have heard conversations in which men talk in a derogatory fashion of "women's work". This is all so wrong, and it is my earnest prayer that this blog would somehow help undo this, AND clear teach the enormous value God places on both men AND women.

Just to touch on your first point about the curse - we need to explore this carefully in later posts, but I have always understood the curse to be the result of the fall and that in Christ, we have been set free from that. So the husband is not to rule his wife with a rod of iron, but to serve her, love her and cherish her. The scriptures do speak of man being the head of woman etc, but that is linked to creation, not to the fall. Thus whatever headship means, it does not mean rule, domination, or control.

The part which says "your desire shall be for your husband" - I've always been taught that "desire for" speaks of a desire to control (in the same way God said of Cain in Gen 4 that sin's "desire is for you" - same words). Now I'm not 100% sure that is right and I want to study it again carefully for myself. But I am sure of one thing, there is no justification for using this verse to demand that a woman constantly desires her husband physically, no matter what the situation. No - we are free from the curse as believers. Of course, desire for each other is a wonderful thing in marriage, but surely God's purpose for us is that it is not enforced but freely given, a joy and a delight.

I'll leave it there for now. The tea is almost ready! Cooked by me!! :)

lydia joy said...

Wow....I can't wait to hear your perspectives on this Peter....
I too like Julie have been wrestling with how we have been taught roles...Since I have come to a revelation of pure grace.....I struggle alot with how women have sort been essentially give one way of living out their "roles" and that is in the home doing all the domestic stuff, so he never has to and He can come home to his sanctuary of rest and I am not against working in the home...and serving my husband in many ways...I just don't care for it to become "my place" or solely "my job" to do certain things because it's the woman's role.....does this make sense....I want to be valued for who I AM, not what I DO......this former way of teaching "roles", began to turn me into a doormat of a husband began to assume things and expect things of me that I just couldn't bring myself to live like that.....he and I are now beginning to understand what respecting each other for who we are really looks like, it's a long painful process but GRACE is powerfully transforming us....
Anyway, thanks for listening....

Happy New Year!!!!

Peter Day said...

Hello Lydia, and a very happy New Year to you.

Your comments certainly do make sense and all these things are on my heart to cover. There is no question, in God's eyes you are precious and valued for who you ARE, not for what you do, or what your "role" is.

We have so much to learn (me included - or should I say me especially, because some of the ungodly expectations I used to place on my wife, Margaret, well... I will probably share some of them - praise God that we learn from our mistakes, and that He heals the damage we cause). His grace is so amazing, and we are still learning, but He is still working on us!

Yes, the Bible does have things to say about men and women's responsibilities, but teachings that say "a woman must stay in the home and the husband must come home and put his feet up..." - well, it's just not God's purpose.

I just long for us to recover a fully Biblical perspective, not bound by culture - either a culture that says "men rule" or a culture that says "women rule" or a culture that says "anything goes".

And I also long for us to recover our enjoyment of God's grace. Loved, treasured, the apple of God's eye because - of nothing we do, no so-called "roles" or human expectations - but us being the apple of God's eye, simply because He loves us, and has clothed us with the beauty of Jesus.

God bless you, Lydia and may 2008 be saturated in His glory for you.

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