Below is an excerpt from the Danvers Statement. I have written in red in response to the areas of concern.
The “Danvers Statement” summarizes the need for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and serves as an overview of our core beliefs. This statement was prepared by several evangelical leaders at a CBMW meeting in Danvers, Massachusetts, in December of 1987. It was first published in final form by the CBMW in Wheaton, Illinois in November of 1988.
We have been moved in our purpose by the following contemporary developments, which we observe with deep concern:
1. The widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture regarding the complementary differences between masculinity and femininity;
2. The tragic effects of this confusion in unraveling the fabric of marriage woven by God out of the beautiful and diverse strands of manhood and womanhood;
The Industrial Revolution did more damage to the family structure than any other movement in the past century. However, what I read here is it is about role confusion. I would like to see statistics provided to support the statement.
3. The increasing promotion given to feminist egalitarianism with accompanying distortions or neglect of the glad harmony portrayed in Scripture between the loving, humble leadership of redeemed husbands and the intelligent, willing support of that leadership by redeemed wives;
Really? Cause I would love for someone to show me “those glad harmony” marriages in the Scriptures? It is David and Bathsheba? Or perhaps Jacob and Rachel (and Leah) or maybe they are talking about Abraham and Sarah (Oh wait – he gave his wife over to Pharaoh) Ok, I could give you Ruth and Boaz except Ruth was not a “willing supporter” of Boaz leadership rather she was a woman who challenged his character, pushed him to go further by asking him to show hesed love (a love that goes beyond what’s expected by law or culture.) And from what I can see she pursued him. So again, where are those examples of loving, humble leadership by redeemed husbands and intelligent, willing supportive wives in Scripture? Perhaps we need to be careful with the words we use. Do we really want “Biblical marriages” meaning those seen in Scripture or do we want Christ-following kind of marriages?
4. The widespread ambivalence regarding the values of motherhood, vocational homemaking, and the many ministries historically performed by women;
I agree, society at large seems to downplay the role of motherhood (except when football players give their mammas credit on national TV.) However, conservative evangelicals raise motherhood above all other calls. Motherhood is not an option for all women and being a homemaker (stay at home mom) is not an option for most women around the globe. A stay at home mom is a wealthy, white (western descent) woman’s choice. Unfortunately, such definitive views of woman’s utmost calling has created wars among Christian women. Perhaps we need to be reminded that in the garden woman was given the same commands as man (subdue, rule, be fruitful and multiply) and those commands can be expressed in a zillion different ways (roles).
5. The growing claims of legitimacy for sexual relationships which have Biblically and historically been considered illicit or perverse, and the increase in pornographic portrayal of human sexuality;
How does confusion of maleness and femaleness promote illicit or perverse sexuality? Isn’t that just sin? And hasn’t sexual sin existed (in pretty perverse ways) through out time?
6. The upsurge of physical and emotional abuse in the family;
A the submission salon a woman shared how her husband was abusive. When she brought it to the church they responded by asking her, “What are you doing to cause your husband to lock you in the room? You need to submit better and that will help him grow to be a better leader of the home.”
Jessica, who works for the Genesis Shelter in Dallas, added that women who attend churches in Dallas come to the shelter and share similar stories. God has disdain for domestic violence. Malachi 2:16 states, “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel. “I hate the person who covers himself with violence,” says the LORD of Armies. “Be careful not to be unfaithful.”
Professional Christian leaders should be weary of elevating submission above God’s disdain for abuse.
7. The emergence of roles for men and women in church leadership that do not conform to Biblical teaching but backfire in the crippling of Biblically faithful witness;
I’ll address this concept in #9.
8. The increasing prevalence and acceptance of hermeneutical oddities devised to reinterpret apparently plain meanings of Biblical texts;
9. The consequent threat to Biblical authority as the clarity of Scripture is jeopardized and the accessibility of its meaning to ordinary people is withdrawn into the restricted realm of technical ingenuity;
Both egalitarians and complementarians believe in the authority of Scripture, Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross for sins, the virgin birth, etc. I say this because it’s important to recognize and acknowledge BOTH camps stand on the same foundation of faith. One is not radical and the other biblical. Using terms like “Biblical authority” is a fear tactic, lacks humility, (“my interpretation is the right one”) and shuts down conversation. If one says, “this is God’s position or the Scripture says, or it’s Biblical” then any other interpretation is not. Conversation over. However, if theologians are honest they would have to admit their conclusion IS AN INTERPRETATION, after all even reading the Scriptures in a Bible means we have already entered interpretation, (translators have to make judgment calls on words and concepts, everyone is ready some form of interpretation unless of course they have the original manuscripts).
10. And behind all this the apparent accommodation of some within the church to the spirit of the age at the expense of winsome, radical Biblical authenticity which in the power of the Holy Spirit may reform rather than reflect our ailing culture.
Based on our understanding of Biblical teachings, we affirm the following:
Both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood (Gen 1:26-27, 2:18). 2. Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart (Gen 2:18, 21-24; 1 Cor 11:7-9; 1 Tim 2:12-14).
Over the centuries Church tradition has taught men are superior and women are inferior. It was believed women were emotional and less able to be trusted with “weightier matters” such as doctrine. This is why Thomas Jefferson had special textbooks written for girls (so not to overwork their minds) and why Harvard Medical school would ‘t allow women into their medical program. They were concerned that the strenuous learning caused damage to a woman’s reproductive parts. This is also the reasoning behind women playing half court basketball (in skirts), a full court press was considered too strenuous for a woman.
Some pastors and theologians continue to teach this antiquated understanding of women. For example, Pastor Mark Driscoll, in reference to I Timothy 2:14 (And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.) stated, “Without blushing, Paul is simply stating (in 1 Tim 2) that when it comes to leading in the church, women are unfit because they are more gullible and easier to deceive than men. While many irate women have disagreed with his assessment through the years, it does appear from this that such women who fail to trust his instruction and follow his teaching are much like their mother Eve and are well-intended but ill-informed.”
However, today most complementarians agree that men are not superior to women. It was during the 1970’s (in response to the feminist movement) that complementarians changed the language from superior/inferior to equal but different roles. Take note – the word “role” was not used until the 1970’s. To say one has equal value but different roles seems contradictory. (Yes, I know they argue the Godhead has equal value but different roles – again I disagree) See Kevin Giles book for further reading.
PS. Before you get all in a bunch about the word “feminist” might I remind you are most likely one. The feminist movement started in Seneca Falls NY 1848 by a group of evangelical Christians. They fought for five tenants:
1. Women should have the right to vote
2. Women should have the right to own property
3. Women should have the right to receive a paycheck for work (up to that time the paycheck was handed to the husband for the wife’s work).
4. Women should have the right to divorce (at that time only men could file for divorce.)
5. Women should have the right to the custody of their children in a divorce (at that time only men could file for divorce and only men could keep the kids).
Like I said, most of you are feminists in the purest form. Since the movement in 1848 there has been a second and third wave of feminism. I suspect most Christians bristle at the word feminist because they associate it with the radical feminism, bra burning “I hate men” movement. By the way, that movement also included equal pay for equal work and the right for women to work in any field etc
That’s the first part of the statement in which I think needs clarification but so does the second part. Both camps acknowledge differences between man and woman. Neither camp embraces androgyny (even if some would like to argue differently). Yes, there are differences between men and women, however we must be careful about the language we use and distinctions we make. Masculinity and femininity are social constructs. They change over time and change from one culture to another. Male and female do not change. So the question is: What is the difference between male and female? First let me say, men and women are MORE ALIKE than any other creatures God made. Brain scientists confirm there is differences in the male brain versus the female brain (for example the females use both sides of the brain while men use mostly one side) – however, scientists state the differences are minimal.
When we attribute something to maleness or femaleness we should be careful to ask, “Is what I’m contributing to males really a DNA/Genetic/ God –given attribute or is it a social construct?” For example, men are said not to be as relational as women. It’s just part of being male. I think that’s crap – excuse my “northeastern language” – Jesus is which gender? Male. Was Jesus relational? Yes. Who did Jesus give so we could be more like Jesus? The Holy Spirit. Right. Do men have the same Holy Spirit as women? Yes. What are all Christians called to do? “Be more like Jesus.”
And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more. 2 Corinthians 3:18
You get the point.
3. Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin (Gen 2:16-18, 21-24, 3:1-13; 1 Cor 11:7-9).
Complementarian argument for headship established in the Creation story:
1.Priority of creation (man created first)
These arguments are too long to tackle here. I would refer you to blog links above as well as the Salon Submission study material. (You can download the material from there).
4. The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women (Gen 3:1-7, 12, 16). In the home, the husband’s loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife’s intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility. In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries.
5. The Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, manifests the equally high value and dignity which God attached to the roles of both men and women (Gen 1:26-27, 2:18; Gal 3:28). Both Old and New Testaments also affirm the principle of male headship in the family and in the covenant community (Gen 2:18; Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:18-19; 1 Tim 2:11-15).
Again we see the statement of equal value but different roles, which I would argue isn’t congruent.
6. Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse. In the family, husbands should forsake harsh or selfish leadership and grow in love and care for their wives; wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands’ leadership (Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:18-19; Tit 2:3-5; 1 Pet 3:1-7). In the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men (Gal 3:28; 1 Cor 11:2-16; 1 Tim 2:11-15).
I totally agree, the redemption in Christ removes the distortion introduced by the curse, however I don’t agree with their view of man and woman prefall. What we believe about our Creation story impacts the interpretation of the ‘”rest of the story.”
7. In all of life Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission-domestic, religious, or civil-ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin (Dan 3:10-18; Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29; 1 Pet 3:1-2).
Agreed. I would refer you to the blog on how Christ’s fulfills all of Scripture including the commands given to man and woman to subdue, rule, be fruitful and multiply.
8. In both men and women a heartfelt sense of call to ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries (1 Tim 2:11-15, 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9). Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will.
Personally I find this statement insulting. As a woman who has given her adult life to the pursuit of Biblical truth my position stands as firmly grounded in Scriptures as theirs. It’s a smoke screen and fear tactic to insinuate those who disagree with their findings are using subjective discernment.
9. With half the world’s population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies that have heard the gospel; with the stresses and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world (1 Cor 12:7-21).
10. We are convinced that a denial or neglect of these principles will lead to increasingly destructive consequences in our families, our churches, and the culture at large.
Again, I think they’re pointing of the finger on gender confusion to be the source for further “destruction” is unfounded and falls short under scrutiny. Wayne Grudem, in his article Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth, goes so far as to state that role confusion can lead children into a homosexuality lifestyle. I shared his argument with my three young adult children (two boys and a girl) and asked them if my being a female preacher has caused them any “role confusion” or pushed them towards a homosexual lifestyle. They laughed.