Are biblical manhood and womanhood cultural constructs?


I have been preaching by means of 1 Corinthians at my church and have just completed a series of sermons on Paul’s lengthy section about matters connected to public worship (chs. 11-14). At the starting and finish of this section, Paul addresses the part of females in public worship. In chapter 11:two-16, Paul introduces the concept of male headship and the require for females to honor headship when they pray and prophesy in the gathered assembly. In chapter 14:34-35, Paul says that females require to “keep silent” and to “subject themselves” when prophecies are uttered throughout congregational worship.

A single item that stood out to me in each of these texts is that Paul grounds his teaching about male headship in the typical practice of all the churches. Soon after instructing females to honor male headship by wearing head coverings, Paul writes:

1 Cor. 11:16 “But if a single is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.”

Likewise, when providing guidelines about orderliness even though people today are prophesying, Paul writes:

1 Cor. 14:33-36
33b as in all the churches of the saints. 34 Let the females hold silent in the churches for they are not permitted to speak, but let them topic themselves, just as the Law also says. 35 And if they want to understand something, let them ask their personal husbands at household for it is improper for a lady to speak in church. 36 Was it from you that the word of God initial went forth? Or has it come to you only?

Notice what Paul is performing. In each of these texts, Paul says that his teaching about headship and submission is not some sidebar item that churches can either take or leave. He says that his teaching on headship, manhood, and womanhood are a aspect of the apostolic foundation that he has laid in “all the churches of the saints” (14:33b). To depart from this foundation is to depart from some thing that the apostle believes to be basic.

In 11:16, it is as if Paul is saying to his readers, “If you do not like honoring headship in worship, you require to know that you are out on an island. If you want to comply with me and the other apostles, you will not fight me on this. You will turn your heart toward honoring headship in the way that I am telling you.”

In 14:36, Paul says that the word of God is not the exclusive domain of any a single church. The word of God did not originate in Corinth, nor was Corinth the only location to which the word of God came. The word of God is abroad in the churches. The Corinthians require to spend focus to how the Spirit of God is moving and operating in all the churches.

If all the churches are hearing from the Spirit a single factor, but the Corinthians are practicing a different factor, then that is an indication that the Corinthians are the outliers, not everybody else. Every person else is observing male headship. So also ought to Corinth. This is in maintaining with 1 Cor. 11:16 exactly where Paul writes, “We have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.”

This emphasis from Paul struck me since of discordant notes that I have been hearing lately. Suitable now, these notes appear to be low rumblings, but I can envision that they might be obtaining louder in days ahead. I have heard some people today denigrate “biblical manhood and womanhood” as “white” theology that is rooted much more in racial stereotypes than in biblical teaching.

Although it is accurate that all of us require to be on guard against unbiblical stereotypes, we require to be incredibly cautious that we not throw out the child with the bathwater. My concern is that some might be in danger of casting aside what the Bible teaches on these issues basically since of an alleged association with “whiteness.”

This would be a significant mistake—indeed a grave error placing a single outdoors of the apostolic teaching that Paul intends for “all the churches.” It would be casting aside God’s design and style in creation. It would also be a rejection of the incredibly truths that God intends for our great and flourishing.

Paul wishes to emphasize that his teaching about male headship is not some thing that is great for some people today but not for other individuals. It is not merely a cultural construct. No, it is a aspect of God’s creation design and style, and it is the pattern that have to prevail in every single church. If that is accurate, then we ought to honor the headship norm just as all other faithful churches do. And we ought to beware of any try to denigrate this teaching as a mere cultural construct that can be set aside. No, this is the word of God, and as Christians we are duty bound to uphold and cherish this teaching.

Paul says that the headship principle is recognized in all his churches. And so it have to be in ours.


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