Council of “Biblical” Manhood and Womanhood- Sez Who?

Several days ago we discussed how a lack of balance is one of the characteristics of a spiritually abusive church, as explained in The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.  Here is an e-mail one of us sent to her spiritual mentor some time ago that demonstrates an obvious misunderstanding of God's Word by some high school students. 


When I picked my younger daughter up from school on Friday, she came walking out with a single red rose!  It had a note attached.  I said, "Who gave you that beautiful flower?"  She explained that earlier in the week her Bible teacher was covering the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden.  Suddenly, the guys in the class began berating the girls by saying that Adam fell into sin because of Eve!  Yes, it was all her fault!!!  By implication women alone are to blame for the depraved condition in which we find ourselves today.  The seven guys banded together and ridiculed the eight girls in the class.  The discussion got out of hand and turned ugly! 


I love my daughter's Bible teacher!  My older daughter had him for two years, and my younger daughter has now had him for two years.  He is one of the most compassionate teachers at the school.  He loves his students so much!  At first I did not know why he allowed the discussion in his Bible class to escalate to a fevered pitch. In hindsight he was able to illicit unspoken thoughts from these high schoolers and in so doing an important lesson was learned by all.


In the aftermath, a rose was given to each girl in the class with a note attached.  The note stated the following:

  Dear Ladies,
            The guys in the "man-cave" would like to give our sincerest apologies in concordance
            to the events which took place on the day before today.  We hope you were not too hurt
            emotionally and we would like to inquire for unreserved clemency.  On the contingency
            that we have impaired our companionships by any means, we ask that you provide the
            opportunity to mend that fractured relationship.  Please accept this flower as a gesture
            of our sincerity.
                                                                                                        Your Friends,
                                                                                                        The Cave Men


As Christian mothers, we want to teach our sons to be respectful and honoring of their sisters in Christ.  Unfortunately, there is an organization that appears to be influencing evangelical churches across America regarding gender issues and fostering the kind of childish theological mindset described in this e-mail.  That organization is the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). 


We are aware of a large church in our area that is now utilizing resources from CBMW.  Many families connected with my daughter's Christian school are also members of that church.  We have conducted our own investigation and have discovered that approximately five years ago some congregants began to perceive a change in the demeanor of the pastors at that church.  They have observed a distinct move toward an authoritarian approach to ministry. 


Beginning earlier this year, the leaders of teens at this church began emphasizing the Biblical roles of men and women and early marriage in Sunday School classes.  There has been a subtle shift from what has been taught before.  


About three years ago, Dr. Al Mohler spoke at this church.  Incredibly, during one of his messages he called the singles ministry at the church "an abomination".  Although neither of us heard Dr. Mohler speak, his statement was confirmed by one of the leaders of the singles ministry who heard him in person.


Last summer we began investigating a trend toward early marriages in some churches, and we stumbled upon the CBMW website  


We had never heard of it before and wondered whether there was a connection between Dr. Mohler's over-the-top attitude toward singleness and CBMW.  Much to our surprise, we discovered that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is housed at the Southern Baptist Convention’s flagship seminary, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, where Dr. Mohler serves as President.  Dr. Randy Stinson, a professor at that seminary is the president of CBMW.  


Here is a brief history of the organization.  The website for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood's includes the following information:


"In 1987, a group of pastors and scholars assembled to address their concerns over the influence of feminism not only in our culture but also in evangelical churches. Because of the widespread compromise of biblical understanding of manhood and womanhood and its tragic effects on the home and the church, these men and women established The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood."


CBMW promotes a complementarian view of gender roles.  The CBMW website states that the complementarian position affirms "that men and women are equal in the image of God, but maintain complementary differences in role and function.  In the home, men lovingly are to lead their wives and family as women intelligently are to submit to the leadership of their husbands.  In the church, while men and women share equally in the blessings of salvation, some governing and teaching roles are restricted to men."   


The Mission and Vision of any organization are extremely important in understanding how it operates, and here is this vital information about CBMW which can be found at this link:



"The mission of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is to set forth the teachings of the Bible about the complementary differences between men and women, created equally in the image of God, because these teachings are essential for obedience to Scripture and for the health of the family and the church."



"The vision of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is to see the vast majority of evangelical homes, churches, academic institutions, and other ministries adopt the principles of the Danvers Statement as a part of their personal convictions and doctrinal confessions and apply them in consistent, heart-felt practice."


According to the CBMW website, "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."


To read the entire document "Core Beliefs: The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood" click on this link: 


While we believe the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood began with good intentions in standing against "evangelical feminism", a movement that has brought tremendous harm to the body of Christ by promoting a liberal theology, we believe CBMW and those associated with it have gone too far in the other direction.  Based on our research, gender roles as promoted by CBMW have been so narrowly defined that there is no longer liberty in Christ.  Just who gets to define "Biblical Manhood and Womanhood"?


We believe the episode described in the above e-mail is representative of the fruit that CBMW and its affiliates are producing, and we are extremely alarmed!  In tomorrow's post, we will critique the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and explain why we believe it is detrimental to the body of Christ and the advancement of the Gospel.


As we conclude today's post, we want to emphasize that we ARE NOT sympathetic to the feminist movement.  We find their ideology offensive, and we have always stood against feminism.  We recognize the great damage evangelical feminism has caused within Christendom, and we are outspoken against it. 


Clearly, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood came into existence to stand against evangelical feminism.  Since we clearly share a common goal with CBMW of opposing evangelical feminism, why are we speaking out against the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood?  That will be our topic of discussion in tomorrow's post.  In the meantime, we recommend that you acquaint yourself with the CBMW website as we have been doing for almost a year.   


Council of “Biblical” Manhood and Womanhood- Sez Who? — 3 Comments

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    Of all the trends within Evangelicalism that have been examined and discussed on the site, I find this to be the most disturbing.

    I worry overemphasizing gender roles at the expense of the genderless implications of the Gospel, can lead to our putting God in a cultural container and promote an atmosphere of judgmentalism. I’ve spoken to other young women about the mistake we can make by thinking our Christian witness hinges on our ability to directly mirror the lives of a select group of CBMW-checklist approved women, rather than to emulate *CHRIST*, whose example GOD reminds us TRANSCENDS gender, because in Him “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for we are all ONE in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

    As for the crisis of manhood and leadership that so many complimentarians in the church hope to address. I agree with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who said, “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” Rather than investing so much time monitoring the lives of women or critiquing “egalitarian” churches, I believe complimentarian pastors should spend more of their energy focusing on being the best leaders, preachers, and Christ-exemplars they can be. Part of leadership is being able to garner respect without lording it over one’s flock. (1 Peter 5:3)

    Also for every sermon from the pulpit on the evils of “feminism”, there be one guarding the men against unChristlike and patronizing attitudes and behaviors. For every sermon on submission, there should be one holding the church accountable for the continual prevalance of domestic violence and abuse in both the church and the greater society.

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    “Of all the trends within Evangelicalism that have been examined and discussed on the site, I find this to be the most disturbing…”

    Oops just wanted to correct that by saying, I find the trend to be among one of the most disturbing, not THE most.

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    So when are you going to start a blog? You have some unique insights.

    I know of one church where a pastor was abusing his wife. She got out with the three kids and the church wanted her to return to the marriage before they would assist with counseling! She refused, thank heavens.

    I will transfer, today, the post we did asking Paige Patterson to resign. He , and this is all recorded, told a conference that he told a woman to go back into a physically abusive relationship and to keep praying. She appeared the next week at church with two black eyes. She went to him and showed him. He said he praised God for this abuse because her husband came to church that week for the first time.

    Is this sick or what!