The Story of Biblical Complementarity: Scripture Is Good for Us

Developing a new phase of a movement is a tricky task. At the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (CBMW), we’ve taken on this challenge in the past year or so. It has been very exciting to me to see a whole wave of young complementarian voices emerge.

Two of these are CBMW staffers. Brittany Lind is the Executive Assistant at CBMW; in short, she keeps the operation moving. She’s also a gifted writer. Grant Castleberry is our Conference Coordinator, but he too is a strong communicator. I love working with these two. Recently, in anticipation of our April 2014 National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, they each had the chance to share a bit of how complementarian theology has impacted their lives.

Here’s a section from Brittany’s piece for Desiring God entitled “Once Confused, Now Complementarian”:

Jesus, by his cross and resurrection, restores men and women: their mind, their heart, their identity, and their relationship with one another. God’s salvation is pervasive and all-encompassing, encompassing the deep relational details of our lives, whether married or single.

This new way of seeing manhood and womanhood helped me understand the gospel more deeply — that God is that good. That the work of Jesus is that glorious. That this is why manhood and womanhood really matter.

Here’s a section from Grant’s piece for The Gospel Coalition on “How Complementarian Teaching Shaped My Life”:

When I was in the Marine Corps, I remember once hanging out with some other officers during the day as we escaped the heat. We were all telling funny stories about that day and taking a few minutes to cool off in the air conditioning. Then one of them tossed a Playboy magazine to me and told me to check out a certain girl. I refused to look. When they all asked why I wouldn’t look, I quoted Job 31:1: “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin.” One of them, quick-witted, replied, “I don’t think she’s a virgin.” I couldn’t help but chuckle at his joke. “But all the same,” I said, “I will not look at any woman’s body besides my wife’s.” They all nodded in an understanding way, but in the moment that followed, we all realized something: we did not share the same standard of morality. Awkward silence followed.

I encourage you to read these short pieces in full. They will prove both illuminating and deeply encouraging. God’s Word really does possess the power to remake and renew us. We need to be reminded of that regularly, don’t we?

I am really excited about CBMW and our April 2014 National Conference. Please join us if you can–we’ll be featuring John Piper (our cofounder), David Platt, Kevin DeYoung, a women’s panel with Trillia Newbell and Melissa Kruger, and numerous other complementarian leaders. We’re going to talk about how the gospel refigures us and makes us brand new. Part of this is making sense of God’s design and his wise and kind plans for men and women.

In the last year, we’ve sought to show that CBMW is gospel-driven, positive, and focused on transformation. The organization rests on a bedrock scholarly foundation. We have a studied interest in continuing to influence and lead the exegetical conversation over gender roles. But we also have made clear in the last year that we believe that complementarian theology is not only biblical, but is good for us. It’s life-giving. It produces transformative bursts of joy. It creates and shapes a new narrative for our confused and sin-cursed lives.

We occasionally have a person who disagrees with us pop up and try to paint us into a corner. In the last few years, we’ve been linked to figures that most complementarians don’t even know about. When this happens, we have to shake our head and laugh. But we know that when you stand for something definitive, you always risk being targeted. The body of work in our journal and on our website shows that we publish one piece after another on how biblical complementarity, powered by the gospel of Jesus Christ, transforms us, critiques us, and blesses us. (We actually critique ourselves–complementarians tempted by our flesh to opt out of biblical wisdom–much more than anyone else!)

That’s what we’re really excited about: connecting excellent exegesis and sound theology to the fiber of life and discipleship. We’ve been promoting this perspective with lots of passion for a good little while now on our website. There are so many challenges to biblical and natural complementarity today. We’re fully locked and loaded to give good answers to them. But what really gets us excited is seeing theology become doxology. Exegesis turned into a narrative. Truth shaping life. That’s what you get a taste of in the pieces by Brittany and Grant. That’s what you get a ton of at CBMW.org.

These kind of resources are what we’re here to provide. They are what we’ll be celebrating and championing in April 2014 at our conference. Please join us!


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