There has been a good deal of chatter recently about “biblical masculinity.” This is a deeply personal and important issue for me for a number of reasons.
- I am a man.
- Statistics show that men are less and less involved in the life of a church, and this is an issue that troubles me greatly.
- Finally, I am the father of a young boy. It is my responsibility as his father to teach him what it means to be a man and do what I can to help him grow into the man God created him to be.
I would like to weigh in with a few of my thoughts on the topic, but I want to start with a preface of sorts.
I am passionate about seeing people become the person God created them to be. And a significant element of who God created me (and other men) to be can be found in His design for masculinity; in the same way, part of who women are created to be is found in His design for femininity. I believe our culture has suffered greatly because we have glossed over gender differences. In the name of equality, we have ignored our uniqueness and begun to act as if the only difference between men and women is physiological.
Let me be clear, equality is incredibly important. But we need to stop assuming greater than or less than when we observe gender differences. If you have more than one child they are different, but different does not mean better or worse, does it? One child isn’t better because she is into sports and the other isn’t, is she? One child isn’t better because he loves books more than the other is he? Your son isn’t better than your daughter just because he is a male, is he? Men and women are different, but that does not mean men are better than women or women are better than men. Different means different. That is all. Different does not mean better or worse.
Believing that difference is tied to value is an immature way of viewing the world. When we insist gender differences equate to value we will either neglect equality in order to uphold the differences in genders or in the name of equality, we will neglect gender differences. Insisting that one gender is superior to the other is directly opposed to the teaching of Jesus, and insisting that Christians be some sort of androgynous amalgamation of femininity and masculinity is like asking us to all be ears in the body of Christ.
Genesis 1:27 Is clear. We are all made in the image of God, male and female. If it is true that there is a distinction between male and female and both are part of the image of God two important points need to be made. First, we cannot emphasize one to the detriment of the other any more than we can define a hierarchy within the Holy Trinity. Both masculinity and femininity are a part of the image of God. Second, God is not exclusively masculine. It is absolutely illogical to state that there is a distinction between masculinity and femininity, both are created in the image of God, and God is exclusively masculine.