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The Danger of Labels When Discussing the Bible’s Teaching on Gender

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This is a guest post by Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger, coauthors of God’s Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-Theological Survey.

Of Limited Value

We believe that most labels are of limited value in describing any given topic or position, including the biblical terminology surrounding manhood and womanhood. Labels typically limit the description of a subject to a certain oversimplified caricature. The debates surrounding gender roles are no exception in that the discussion has been burdened with a simplistic kind of partisan, polemical, and politicized verbiage. As we’ve sought to elaborate in a recent post, the label “patriarchal,” for example, carries with it mostly negative baggage in our culture because of a heavy feminist influence and ideological propaganda.

Though the label “complementarian” seeks to avoid an undue focus on the man’s authority and for the most part explains the scope and emphasis of the category of thinking on the subject very well, it is incomplete (if not potentially misleading) in that it focuses unilaterally on one characteristic trait of the male-female relationship, namely complementarity. Man is created in such a way that he needs the woman and vice versa. They are perfectly and beautifully complementary in their sex, roles, and original purpose.

In truth, however, this is something that the opposing viewpoint holds to be true as well. Evangelical feminists affirm complementarity, albeit sans the belief in male leadership that is integral to the complementarian view (though that is only explicit in the label “complementarian”). This is why evangelical feminists published a book a few years ago, Discovering Biblical Equality, with the subtitle, “Complementarity without Hierarchy.” In other words, egalitarians believe in male-female complementarity, and complementarians believe in male-female equality! Partial labels can be confusing and tell only part of the story.

What is more, evangelical feminists (egalitarians) sometimes call complementarians “hierarchicalists,” which somewhat tendentiously and erroneously portrays them as being fixated with male authority in a top-down hierarchical fashion. Clearly, labels can become rhetorical weapons that are hurled at their opponents in order to cause calculated damage for the sake of winning an argument but that have limited value in delimiting a particular position or category of thought.

A More Nuanced Approach

Though the issues are fairly complex, a nuanced approach to the use of labels can provide several benefits in clarifying some very important and necessary distinctions. In our study, complementarian relationships differ from egalitarian ones in several distinct ways that we can affirm as we work through the dazzling maze of the ever-increasing options to gender in our world.

Complementarians acknowledge a woman’s main role to be a helper to her husband in managing and subduing the earth together and in partnering with him to raise and nurture a family. Egalitarians affirm male-female partnership but not male leadership and female submission (unless roles are entirely interchangeable along the lines of “mutual submission”) and tend to see men and women on the same plane in every sphere of life, including in leadership roles that complementarians believe God’s Word limits to men. Though complementarians may acknowledge that these are “restrictions” in a certain sense, they prefer to view them as “assignments” and contend that these role distinctions have nothing to do with any difference in worth between men and woman. In fact, all humans are created in God’s image, which is glorious for both men and women! According to complementarians, these unique assignments are fully God-ordained and perfectly designed to suit and satisfy both sexes.

What these examples show, in our opinion, is that while labels have some benefit, there is no satisfactory substitute for exploring the biblical theology of manhood and womanhood as a whole as it naturally unfolds throughout the entire Bible. As a result, we limit the use of labels in our book except to explain some of the necessary and important differences in views. We seek instead to focus on Scripture’s consistent and coherent pattern of male and female identity and roles, a pattern that is present from Genesis to Revelation.

At the root, we want God to be glorified in his church, people to be saved, and men and women to live fully satisfying and holy lives before their God. To this end we dedicate our book as we strive to unveil God’s good design for men and women. Similar to other biblical paradoxes, some would have you believe that Scripture cannot at the same time teach male leadership and male-female partnership. This may be hard for finite human minds to understand, and impossible for those committed at the outset to unfettered male-female equality to accept, but we believe it is nonetheless true, and if Scripture is allowed to speak for itself, best characterizes God’s sovereign, wise, and loving design for man and woman.

5 Things to Avoid When Discussing the Bible’s Teaching on Gender

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This is a guest post by Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger, coauthors of God’s Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-Theological Survey.

An Important Conversation

When it comes to gender, we live in confusing times. For many, gender has become merely a subjective reality. We are male or female because we perceive ourselves as such. As a result, we can alter our gender identity at will, because our perception of ourselves may change over time. In addition, gender is often viewed as socially constructed. We are male or female because we were raised as boys and girls according to certain stereotypes of what it means to be a boy or girl. But again, these stereotypes are changing, and so may our gender identity.

Where do we turn in this age of rapidly increasing gender fluidity? Arguably, the answer is God’s word. But even here Christians don’t always agree on how to understand the biblical teaching on gender.

Here are 5 cautions for you to consider when discussing the Bible’s teaching on gender:

1. Avoid looking at the biblical teaching on gender piecemeal.

In previous decades, many biblical scholars have studied individual passages of Scripture on men and women, interpreting each in a way that favored particular presuppositions. They reinterpreted conventional readings on a case-by-case basis, resulting in a cumulative case made up of weak links that ultimately made for a less than persuasive case overall.

Increasingly, in recent years, biblical scholars have been discovering the importance of understanding a given passage in light of the larger storyline of the Bible. In our recent book on the subject, we try to show that the overall story of Scripture, and God’s design for man and woman in particular, is wonderfully consistent and coherent. Our understanding of this design doesn’t just rest on interpreting only one passage but reflects the cumulative picture painted by Scripture as a whole. Even if we didn’t have 1Timothy 2:12 in our Bibles, we’d still find the same pattern of male leadership and male-female partnership that is characteristic of God’s plan for man and woman from the beginning! We see the same pattern throughout Old and New Testament times.

We believe this emphasis on biblical theology is a unique contribution we are able to make to the body of literature on this topic when most volumes contain individual chapters devoted to key passages that do not connect the theological “dots” between these passages. With this in mind, we’ve set out to trace the theme of God’s design for man and woman through Scripture.

2. Be careful not to embrace the idea that male leadership is merely a result of the Fall.

The apostle Paul didn’t think so. Among other things, when he wrote “I don’t permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man,” he grounded his directive in the fact that the man was created first, and then the woman (1 Tim. 2:12–13). In other words, the man’s leadership is shown to be embedded in God’s creation design, preceding the Fall. That’s the way Paul read the Genesis narrative, especially chapter 2, and while he only cited one aspect of it in 1 Timothy in support of his contention, there are several other indications of male leadership in Genesis 2 as well: the fact that the woman is created from and for the man (Paul’s point in 1 Cor. 11:8–9); the fact that she is called the man’s “suitable helper” (Gen. 2:18, 20); and the fact that the man names the woman in this inconspicuous but culturally significant act of leadership (Gen. 2:23).

Those who claim that the man assumes authority over his wife as a function of the subversion of God’s original design after the Fall have not seriously taken into account the discussion of God’s original purpose for gender given in Genesis 2 before the Fall and the New Testament references to Genesis 2 in support of sustaining the same pattern in the church as it awaits Christ’s return.

3. Avoid equating traditional with biblical marriage.

Traditional marriage may be rooted in Christian teaching on marriage, but it is not the same as a truly biblical marriage. Traditional marriage is often described as some kind of division of labor, such as the man going to work and providing the family income, and the woman staying home, doing household chores, and taking care of the children.

However, biblical marriage goes much deeper than this kind of division of labor. It is based on a heart-felt embrace of God’s good, wise, and beautiful design of male leadership and male-female partnership that can only be experienced by Spirit-filled disciples (Eph. 5:18). It is part of God’s end-time purpose of bringing all things in this universe back under Christ’s lordship (Eph. 1:10). In this way, the husband and wife witness to God the Creator and to Christ his Son who died on the cross to reconcile us to God. The two become one just as Christ and the church become one, as head and body (Eph. 5:31–32). There is unity, there is sacrificial love, but there is still authority. However, it’s an authority that has the best interests of the other person at heart and is not simply a structured division of roles.

4. Recognize the limitations of compartmentalization when assessing the significance of God’s design for man and woman.

In the evangelical world it has become quite common to compartmentalize issues into first-, second-, and third-level doctrines in order to distinguish between the core gospel message and ancillary issues. This is understandable and helpful for the most part, but it doesn’t do full justice to our particular topic. Being male or female is a foundational and integral part of every person’s existence. To relegate our sexual identity and roles to the periphery is inadequate.

While technically God’s design for man and woman may not be a salvation truth, practically it is indispensable for every person to know and experience in order to live their lives as followers of Christ in this world, as beings created by God as male or female by design and for a purpose. Ultimately there may be implications for the salvation of souls in that the living out of our roles is an integral part of living on mission for God, especially in testifying to our great God who has a wonderful plan for the confused and struggling people in fractured relationships all around us.

5. Finally, avoid the avoidance of the topic of biblical manhood and womanhood in your church!

Don’t be afraid to talk about it! True, the topic has often proved to be difficult and divisive in the past, so it’s understandable if pastors and leaders shy away from penetrating and convicting teaching on the subject. Why would anyone want to antagonize those in their church who may differ with regard to what men and women may or may not do?

Avoiding the subject, however, may come with a hefty price tag: the loss of couples and families entering into a more profound understanding and deep maturing experience of how God designed them as men and women, learning how he wants them to relate to each other and to partner together by exercising their own unique and distinctive roles together on mission for God. This loss of the opportunity to tenderly attest to the God who created us according to his sovereign design may be considerable.

While we should be sensitive to the challenges we face in addressing this topic, we would also encourage each other and our church leaders to be bold and courageous, embracing the responsibility to teach people about God’s design for man and woman!

Does the Bible Reflect a Patriarchal Bias?

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This is a guest post by Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger, coauthors of God’s Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-Theological Survey.

What’s Wrong with Patriarchy?

For many decades, feminists have characterized the Old Testament’s teaching on gender roles in terms of patriarchy, the control and domination of the father in exercising an authoritative, if not oppressive or even abusive, rule over his wife and family. What is more, feminists have often alleged that the Bible is laced with a patriarchal bias that they must “uncover” by a hermeneutic of suspicion and correct with a sort of “affirmative action” through which women’s rightful place in Christianity and in the world is reclaimed, restored, and recast. But is the underlying premise of much of the feminist critique of the Bible and Christianity, namely their patriarchal nature and bias, actually accurate?

Recent scholarship from both feminist and non-feminist circles suggests otherwise. For example, noted evangelical Old Testament scholar Daniel Block, who teaches at Wheaton College, has pointed out that the term “patriarchy” unduly focuses on the father’s rule (the meaning of “archy”) while diminishing significant aspects of the father’s role in Old Testament times, such as his care, provision, and protection of the extended household.

Carol Meyers, too, professor of religion at Duke University, in her presidential address to the Society of Biblical Literature, recently published in the Journal of Biblical Literature, chronicles how the labeling of the Old Testament teaching on gender roles in ancient Israel as “patriarchy” has fallen on hard times in various fields of scholarship. Meyers, who holds a Ph.D. from Brandeis University in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, contends that the label simply doesn’t do justice to the complexity of gender relations in the ancient world and expresses concern that the label constitutes an anachronistic imposition onto the biblical data.

Thus a critical mass of leading evangelical and non-evangelical scholarship concurs that patriarchy in the modern sense of the term does not adequately reflect the role of the father in ancient times.

The bottom line is that even feminists are starting to realize that characterizing the Old Testament teaching on gender roles in terms of patriarchy is misleading and inaccurate. Using the notion of patriarchy as a foil for a feminist critique of the biblical teaching ultimately fails because of its underlying false definition of patriarchy. Rather than engaging this strawman argument where Old Testament “patriarchy” is used as a red herring, we should be more precise in our description and definitions of terms related to the Old Testament teaching on gender roles.

Male Leadership, Male-Female Partnership

In our book God’s Design for Man and Woman, we attempt to trace the plain and undistorted teaching on manhood and womanhood through all of Scripture from Genesis through Revelation. We confirm that there is revealed in Scripture a pervasive pattern of responsible sacrificial, loving, and caring male leadership; this is directly and indirectly seen to be practiced or taught in the lives of Adam and the patriarchs and in the twelve tribes of Israel as well as in the roles of kings and priests; it continues later in the life of Jesus and in the roles of the twelve apostles and those in the Pauline circle, as well as in the elders in the New Testament church (even though, of course, these men often didn’t live up to the divine ideal).

Women, also created in the image of God, under the leadership of their husband, are to partner with their husband in being stewards of God’s creation in fulfilling the cultural mandate. They are to come alongside them as they together aim to be “fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth.” New Testament teaching for the church affirms what has been taught to God’s people from Genesis onward, and as part of the community of believers in the New Testament era, women and men, under overall male leadership in the church, are shown to partner together in fulfilling the Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching all that Jesus commanded them. This privilege and responsibility for both in their joint mission in our world highlights each one’s unique yet equally significant and indispensable set of roles in the family and in the church.

Contrary to many feminists, the root problem of humanity is not male authority, or authority itself; the problem is human sin, which affects the way in which both men and women relate to each other. In Christ, we can be set free once again to live out God’s design for us according to which he created us male and female from the very beginning. As Spirit-filled followers of Christ, we can partner in mission for God in love and unity, for God’s greater glory and for our own good.

Interview: Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger

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This is an interview with Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger, coauthors of God’s Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-Theological Survey.

Why did you write God’s Design for Man and Woman?

Because it is sorely needed in our judgment and because there is no other book to our knowledge that accomplishes what we set out to do, namely to survey the biblical teaching from Genesis to Revelation regarding God’s design for man and woman using a biblical-theological approach. Anyone who has followed the news for the past decade will recognize that our culture is in a tailspin on the issue of gender, not only with same-sex marriage but also with transgender. Repentance and a return to God’s word are the only way to reverse this tailspin and to move from rebellion to revival, and it all starts with serious study of what Scripture teaches regarding God’s sovereign and wise design.

Both of us have written and taught on the subject for many years. The book started out as a class we taught jointly at Southeastern Seminary. Margaret would lecture on the history of feminism, the nature of submission, women’s ministry in the vein of Titus 2, hospitality, and other topics, while Andreas walked students through the Bible, focusing on important interpretive issues along the way.

Time and again, students responded very favorably to this mode of presentation, and so we felt that it would be helpful to write down the essence of our teaching in book format so others could benefit from a study of the biblical theology of man and woman in a narrative format.

How do you distinguish the descriptive elements of Scripture from the prescriptive elements of Scripture?

Essentially, distinguishing the descriptive from the prescriptive elements in Scripture is a question of hermeneutics, that is, of properly reading the different genres of Scripture passages, in this case on what it means to be a man or woman according to God’s design. For this reason determining the genre of a given passage dealing with gender roles is of critical importance. This is why the opening chapters of Genesis (understood as historical narrative, not myth or legend) are so vitally important because they set forth God’s design for man and woman at the very outset before it was corrupted by sin.

Also, what is important in terms of biblical theology is tracing certain patterns throughout Scripture. In our case, this means particularly tracing the pattern of male leadership, which encompasses the first man, Adam, the patriarchs, kings, and priests, Jesus himself, the Twelve, Paul and the Pauline circle, and New Testament elders. Within this framework, it is also helpful to explore interconnections, such as Jesus’s or Paul’s references back to the Old Testament (Genesis in particular), the relationship between the book of Acts and Paul’s letters, and so on. This is where description coalesces into prescription, that is, where patterns emerge that are not merely culturally relative or situational but permanently valid because they are a natural outflow of God’s design for man and woman from creation until the new creation.

Does embracing evangelical feminism necessarily imply a low view of Scripture?

We’ll let evangelical feminists (egalitarians) answer that question for themselves. They profess a belief in inerrancy, and we have no reason to doubt that. Andreas once wrote a review of the hermeneutical chapters in a major egalitarian work (by Gordon Fee and Roger Nicole) and concluded that what separates complementarians and evangelical feminists is not so much their hermeneutic but the execution of their hermeneutic.

In other words, evangelical feminists take Scripture seriously, but in our view their egalitarian beliefs tend to lead them to interpret different passages of Scripture in a way that is not the most natural or compelling way of reading the original intent of the authors. We deal with some of their views along the way, though the majority of our new book is an overall holistic and positive presentation of what the Bible teaches on the subject as opposed to wrangling over verses where people disagree.

How do you guard against allowing culturally conditioned notions related to gender identity and roles to unduly influence your understanding and application of the Bible’s teaching?

We all have a tendency to read Scripture in light of our culture and tradition. The only way to overcome this, over time, is to keep reading Scripture, on its own terms, and to immerse ourselves in the biblical worldview. For example, while we were working on the chapter on Genesis 1–3 in our book, it became increasingly clear to us that not only evangelical feminists but to a lesser extent complementarians, when speaking of male-female equality, may have taken their cue more from the current debate than from biblical terminology.

As we keep reading the Bible, and as we try to do so historically, literarily, and theologically, we can gradually enter into the Bible’s own story, which can help strip away our cultural lenses and replace them with biblical lenses, at least to an increasing extent.

What are some dangers that are unique to those who do not subscribe to “traditional” notions related to gender roles (i.e., “evangelical egalitarians”)?

The primary danger we see is that of taking the cultural notion of equality and imposing it on Scripture in a way that is anachronistic since equality of the sexes was demonstrably not an overriding concern of the biblical writers and, understood in contemporary cultural terms, does not actually reflect the viewpoint of the biblical authors themselves.

By making the equality of men and women (egalitarianism) a functional non-negotiable, evangelical feminists choose to embrace a presupposition that may not always be borne out by the biblical data, and they have insufficient methodological checks and balances to accommodate a range of interpretations since they are already a priori committed to interpreting Scripture within a framework that reflects and supports unfettered male-female equality including with regard to familial and ecclesiastical roles.

What are some dangers that are unique to those who do subscribe to “traditional” notions related to gender roles (i.e., “complementarians”)?

First of all, we do not necessarily consider ourselves “traditional” but rather biblical, though the outcome of our interpretation results in similar practical outcomes. To be traditional, though, is not necessarily biblical if the Bible is not interpreted on its own terms and one’s interpretive insights are not acted upon in the power of the Holy Spirit.

One key danger for those who believe that certain authoritative roles in the home and in the church are limited to men is that they may become satisfied with being “traditional” rather than with being actually biblical. There is in Scripture a pattern of male leadership that has the best interests of the woman at heart and that provides and protects the woman and cares for her physically as well as spiritually, which is not always recognized in traditional models.

Only men who are regenerate and Spirit-filled are truly able to live out God’s design for them in all humility as loving responsible leaders, just as only regenerate and Spirit-filled women are able to truly live out the kind of partnership that calls for them to submit to their husband the way the church submits to Christ.

Would you make a distinction between “evangelical feminism” and other forms of feminism? If so, how?

Certainly; in Margaret’s book, Jesus and the Feminists, she discusses three kinds of feminism that in some shape or form are related to the church: radical feminism, reformist or liberationist feminism, and evangelical feminism (also called egalitarianism). While secular feminism upholds unfettered male-female equality politically and socioeconomically and does not allow Scripture to guide its thinking in any way, the three different kinds of feminism discussed in Margaret’s book approach Scripture in different ways.

Radical feminists reject Scripture as irremediably patriarchal. Reformist feminists believe that Scripture was written by men and therefore reflects male bias but nonetheless advocates employing a hermeneutic of suspicion that uncovers genuine affirmations of the value of women in Scripture while screening out patriarchal texts. For them, Scripture is a mixed bag, and a special feminist hermeneutic is required to sort through what are acceptable or unacceptable passages. Evangelical feminists, finally, believe that Scripture, rightly interpreted, actually teaches feminism (hence the title of one of their major works, Discovering Biblical Equality).

The bottom line is, the three kinds of feminism can’t all be correct. Either Scripture teaches equal gender roles as evangelical feminists claim, or it doesn’t (as reformists and radical feminists assert, though as feminists they obviously disagree with Scripture, the way they understand it, at this point). In fact, in the course of the past several decades there have been some interesting interchanges between, for example, reformist and radical feminists in which the latter charged the former with compromise if not a betrayal of their feminist ideals and convictions.

So, yes, evangelical feminists (egalitarians) are one form of feminism, but egalitarianism (the equality of men and women in every respect) is the bedrock belief underlying all of feminism, denying God’s unique design of male leadership roles and female roles of nurture and submission in the home and church.

Practically speaking, how do you—as a married couple—work through significant disagreements?

Because we believe in both male leadership and female partnership as we “rule the earth” together for God in our particular sphere, including church and family, there is a lot of interaction where we are working things out together, and more often than not Andreas comes around to Margaret’s way of thinking when the decision finally needs to be made on what to do. Occasionally, Andreas, even after listening to Margaret’s reasoning, is not convinced and takes the lead in choosing a certain course of action that differs from what she would suggest, and in those cases Margaret is submitting to Andreas’s leadership anyway.

In many cases, disagreements are a matter of differing perspectives, so even if Andreas still believes a given course of action is best, he benefits from Margaret sharing her perspective with him which enables him to get to know her better. There aren’t necessarily any hard feelings nor should there be. This is how you can have genuine partnership as well as male leadership in a marriage.

The problem really comes if either of us harbors an attitude of superiority because of sin. This actually cuts both ways. You might initially think that the husband might tend to disparage the woman’s role because it is at times considered less significant in our culture, but it is also possible for the woman to disparage her husband when he doesn’t live up to her expectations. Because of her fallen nature, she may tend to criticize him or resist his efforts to lead, however imperfect they may be. Living in the Spirit and trusting in God’s good design while extending forgiveness in these situations is the grace-filled solution.

We’re all a work in progress, and need a lot of grace, and so should extend grace to our spouse as well!

August 5, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Interview,Life / Doctrine,Marriage,Marriage / Family,Men,The Christian Life,Women | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:15 am | 0 Comments »

The Top Two Ways Dads Can Love Their Kids

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This is a guest post by Timothy Z. Witmer. He is the author of The Shepherd Leader at Home: Knowing, Leading, Protecting, and Providing for Your Family.

An Exhortation for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is almost here. It will be a day starting with breakfast in bed, emotional cards, and dinner out. Oh, I’m sorry, that’s Mother’s Day! On Father’s Day there will be no breakfast in bed. We don’t really care because we’re too messy (and proud) to make that work anyway. There will be cards but they are simpler. There will be dinner but it will be cooked on the grill (charred by Dad) or eaten out (paid for by Dad).

But there’s another difference. On Mother’s Day, as the cards are opened, tears often flow. Why? I perceive that they are not only tears of joy but also tears mixed with a sense of inadequacy, guilt, and regret. For Dads, opening and reading cards rarely leads to that kind of emotion or introspection. But as we approach another Father’s Day, I’d like to ask you to take a minute to reflect with me on the top two ways you can love your children.

1. Love God

The most important way to love your children is to love the Lord. After all, this is the overarching purpose of our existence. If there is anything that we want our children to “catch” from us it is heartfelt responsiveness to the greatest commandment “to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.” As I argue in The Shepherd Leader at Home, this is not possible unless you not only teach them but also show them what it looks like.

Father’s Day is a little like a birthday in that we usually get to be where we want to be and to do what we want to do. What does that mean for you? Since Father’s Day is always on a Sunday the “church thing” always comes up. On this day of doing what you want to do and being where you want to be, does that include gathering with God’s people to worship the Lord? If you are on vacation, does it include finding a place to worship with your family—or is being away an excuse to skip church? I’m not trying to guilt trip you . . . I’m just asking.

I’m just asking because Father’s Day is a day when you can show your children what is really important to you. I am grateful to have had a Dad who, though embarrassed to receive cards, always led by example. Though he worked six days a week as a rural mail carrier, plus a few days a week doing accounts payable for a local company, there was never a doubt where we would be on Sunday morning—we were going to church! I didn’t appreciate his commitment then but have grown to do so over the years.

Going to church isn’t all there is to loving the Lord, but don’t underestimate what your example means to your kids—whether good or bad. Where will you start the day this Father’s Day?

2. Love Your Wife

The second way to love your kids is to love your wife. Surveys continue to show that what kids fear most is that their parents’ marriage will break up. When parents do divorce, children often blame themselves, causing them to bear a burden that they simply can’t handle. The loving shepherd-dad, therefore, is concerned for the security of his children and there’s no better way to promote that than to love their mom.

Do your children hear you express your love and appreciation for your wife? Or are you always complaining and criticizing? Verbal expressions of affection aren’t easy for some men but it is important for your children and for your wife.

Do your children see you show your affection toward your wife? Kids might say “yuck” when you give her a hug and kiss (appropriate for public view, of course!), but in their hearts they are assured that “everything is ok.” Have you ever noticed that children don’t complain when you plan something just for the two of you? They might complain about the babysitter but deep down they are happy to know that the two of you still enjoy being together.

We are to love our wives as Christ loved the church. His love is heard in his Word and seen in his sacrificial work on our behalf. This is why we can be secure. Let your children hear and see your love for their Mom.

As you’re opening your cards this Father’s Day afternoon, I pray that it will be a time of joy in the blessing of being a dad, but also a time when you recommit yourself to loving your children by loving the Lord and loving your wife.

Timothy Z. Witmer (DMin, Reformed Theological Seminary) is professor of practical theology and coordinator of the practical theology department at Westminster Theological Seminary. He has served as senior minister of Crossroads Community Church since 1986 and is the author of The Shepherd Leader at Home: Knowing, Leading, Protecting, and Providing for Your Family (excerpt).


June 10, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Children / Parenting,Life / Doctrine,Marriage,Marriage / Family,Men | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:15 am | 0 Comments »