Male-Female Roles – Interchangeable or Unique?

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One of the most controversial issues among Bible-believing churches today is the roles of men and women—not only in the church, but in the family and all of society as well. Are their roles in these areas interchangeable, or are men and women each given unique gifts that only allow those of their specific gender to fulfill their tasks with maximum success?

In American culture the satanic attack on the family has never been as intense and successful in our 250 years as a nation as it is now. The family is God’s societal building block, and Satan knows he must bring it down if he is to halt the advance of God’s kingdom on the earth. He is doing so by attacking the unique roles that I believe men and women are designed to fulfill. 

Men by nature are decisive, strong, firm, visionary leaders, and today men with these God-given attributes are accused of having “toxic masculinity” and told to be “more feeling, caring, sensitive and flexible.” Women are told everywhere, particularly in college, that “You can do whatever a man can do. Dream big. Careers are gender-androgynous, so be a lawyer, doctor, CEO of your own business, etc., and be really fulfilled!”

Sadly, many church leaders today have been deceived by Satan’s lies and agree with this gender-androgynous approach. They do not realize that those “toxic-masculinity” characteristics listed above are the very qualities God is purposely building into His men who will need them all as they rule over the earth as His vice-regents! 

On the other hand, the “gentler” qualities the world encourages men to demonstrate, are the must-have characteristics God has naturally given their wives as they fulfill their calling to be their husband’s “helper” as they rule. 

This “helper” roll is obvious from the creation story in the Bible. Genesis 1:26-28 tells us man was created “male and female,” and they were to  “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” In the fuller account of creation in Gen 2, after creating Adam and instructing him in all the tasks he would be performing, in verse 18 God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

So, after man was created out of the dust of the ground to rule over the earth, and his wife from his rib, they were told to reproduce and fill the earth with their descendants. They would be a model for those descendants who would follow—monogamous marriage based on a permanent, mysterious, binding one-flesh relationship created by sex. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25, 26). 

In man’s threefold calling from Genesis 1:26-28, one of his responsibilities is to “Be fruitful and multiply.” The woman’s primary calling in life, as she fulfills her role as man’s helper, is to do what only she can do. This unique task, upon which man’s whole mission to rule over the earth depends, is to HAVE BABIES! That is the first and primary way a woman fulfills her absolutely indispensable calling to be her husband’s helper. This is best achieved if her full-time vocation is “homemaker!”

Homemaking as a vocation is way down the list on the scale of desirable vocations for modern young women. When I was in college back in the 1950’s, Home Economics (homemaking) was the major of a huge percentage of all female students. Today, nothing sounds more boring and frustrating to today’s young college student—barefoot and pregnant with several screaming, undisciplined kids hanging on to her skirt demanding her attention. The enemy of our souls would like nothing better than to trick us  into thinking this is the essence of what homemaking entails.

However, every woman will be a homemaker, because she will live in a home. The question is, what will she make her home to be? If she is also an engineer or a lawyer, or holds down some other full-time job outside the home, home will be a place to sleep and catch a few hasty meals, a place to refuel for the real race that is occurring somewhere else. 

It will be a place for a mother to try to have “quality time” with the children on weekends after five days of sending them to day-care, or seeing them for a few fleeting minutes each evening after giving the cream of her energy to her job.

On the other hand, a full time homemaker can see her home as a destination stop, not a place to eat and sleep on the way to somewhere else. As she creates her “work-place” to be an expression of herself, rather than a house with furniture in it, it can become the hub of a potentially powerful, natural, spontaneous, unconscious ministry, first to her family and then to the world around her.

Next week we will discuss what the Bible teaches about how this happens through the magnitude and scope of “homemaking.” You will not believe it!

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