Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Role of Men in the Home

I often hear different gripes from different people about men.  I can scroll down my Facebook newsfeed and all but guarantee that I will be reading about a “friends” gripe with men and how men need to grow up and become men.  I am often guilty of thinking and talking about the need for men in the home and how rare it seems to see men fulfilling their God-given role in their home.  What I think happens is something that secular psychology has accomplished in our country – we have become really good at making keen observations.  I have and others have become so aware that one of the major problems in our society is that men have abandoned their posts.  But has merely observing this done any good?  Have we accomplished something if all we have done is pointed out the obvious?  We need more.  We need to not only make good observations, but also translate those observations into real help.  It is not enough to only say “men need to grow up”, or “he’s not really being a man, he is acting like a boy”.

Based on the observation by many in the secular realm and in the Christian realm, we need a fresh view of the old truths found in Scripture.  Not that the truths change, but that we need to be reminded of them, just as Peter says in 2 Peter 1:12 “Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.”  And it starts with Jesus.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  I wrote in my previous blog about how sin, since the beginning, has always turned biblical manhood (and womanhood) upside down.  The problem with men in our culture (and every culture and age since Adam and Eve sinned), is that we are sinful.  The reason I become lazy and do not lovingly serve my wife is because I think selfishly about what I think I want.  The reason men refuse to commit, but will gladly move in and let the women work while they are at home is because men (and women) think sinfully and selfishly.  It is, by nature, a heart problem.  But there is good news!  I do not have to be that type of man!  Jesus says that if I am in Him, my old, selfishly motivated nature, is gone!  But not only is it gone, I also have a new nature!  The man who is selfish, lazy, rude, unloving, angry, and any other adjective you may think of, has been nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ and has passed away.  If I believe and trust in Jesus, I am given a new nature.  My new nature is a restoration of God’s original design for me.  I am freed from sin and am now able to be selfless, hard-working, kind mannered, gentle, and so on.  Am I perfect? No, ask my wife.  Seriously.  I can still be all those old, sinful things, but that is not who I am.  So, men, start with Jesus.  Trust Jesus, and trust that He has removed everything sinful from you and freed you to become the man He has designed and planned for you to be.

With that, what does it mean to be a man?  How has God designed men to be?  Let’s look at Adam.  Genesis 2:15 (ESV) says “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”  Genesis 2:24 says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  These two verses give us two primary purposes for men that are God given.  God made men to work and God made men to have a family.  There are several things that could and should be said about each of these, but it is important to know that God created Adam for these two things.  God made the garden with Adam in mind.  God planned for the garden to be worked and kept by Adam.  Similarly, God made Eve with Adam in mind.  God was not caught off guard by the fact that there was no other suitable helper for Adam.  God did not think that the lions, or tigers, or bears (oh my!) would be suitable mates for Adam.  Eve was the plan.  Adam and Eve.  And Adam would hold fast to his wife, Eve.  Let’s break these two purposes down further.

1. Work.  Work was created for Adam before he sinned.  Work is not something that is the result of sin and therefore should not be avoided.  God made Adam with the purpose to work.  The sinful nature of men is to shy away from this.  Work is hard.  Work takes us away from what we really want to be doing.  But God made us to work.  Paul writes in Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ.”  Paul connects work with Christian worship.  He also writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you ear or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  There is a connection between working and glorifying God.  To deny ourselves work is to deny God glory.  But there is more than just work. There is a right heart attitude to our work.  It is not enough just to claim to have a job.  What kind of reviews do you receive?  Does it matter?  What kind of employee are you?  These are all important questions.  Paul says to glorify God in whatever you do.  Another way to say that is that Paul says to glorify God in our work (or school work, or yard work, etc.).  But Paul also says how to glorify God with our work.  He says to work heartily.  Work hard!  Do good work!  I once worked as a bookstore manager for a major Christian retailer.  In my stocking books, it was my aim to be the fastest and best book stocker around.  Why?  Because in my hard work and nice looking shelves, I could point others to Jesus.  God receives glory when I work hard.

2. Family.  Family was created for Adam before he sinned.  Family is, like work, not the result of sin or a provision made in the midst of sin.  Therefore, having a family should not be avoided.  I argue it should the main goal for young men.  Family begins, for men, in finding a wife.  Much can be said about this, and has been said about this in the recent months.  The gay marriage debate is a definition debate, which means those for gay marriage want to define marriage differently than those who oppose gay marriage.  While the purpose of this post is not to debunk gay marriage, it starts here.  I fully believe that one cannot be a Bible-believing Christian while supporting gay marriage.  Why?  Because God planned for Adam and his wife Eve to be the central crown jewel of His creation.  God saw the uniqueness and differences as very good, and created Eve for Adam and Adam for Eve.  The institution of marriage, and thus family, by God is by definition between a man and a woman.  You may support gay marriage, but it does not replace or recreate this central truth of Scripture.  Call it love, but it will always be different than the love of between a man and his wife as God has defined it.  That being said, I know many will disagree, and I even know the arguments you will use to disagree.  The truth, however, is that God created Adam to have a wife, Eve.  This is the pattern for God’s creation.  God plans for Adam and Eve and for them to have children and to populate the earth (Genesis 1:27-28).  As Adam works, he has a wife, and Adam works, with the help of his wife Eve, to provide for them.  As they become one flesh, they have children, and now Adam, with the help of his wife Eve, work to provide for them.

Marriage is also important because it is a reflection of the gospel.  In Ephesians 5:31-33, Paul says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  The picture of the husband and wife becoming one leads us to a greater truth.  The greater truth is that Jesus woos us.  He came for us.  He came after us.  He came to unite us with Him.  Jesus saves His bride, the church.  This is one of the main themes of Scripture – God rescuing for Himself a people.

Work and family are tied directly to the gospel.   Though we physically work, we know that One has come to work on our behalf.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says “For our sake (His bride) God made Jesus to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  We rest in the work of Jesus, knowing that our effort to please God is futile and impossible.  Our physical work, however, is a reflection of Jesus spiritual work on our behalf.  As men work, they work not only for themselves, but on behalf of their families.  Their families can rest in the man’s good work.  Not only does being a man start with Jesus, but it ends with Him as well.  The chief goal for men is to glorify God and to lead their families to Jesus, to worship and enjoy Him as Savior and Lord.  Paul writes in Ephesians 5:25-30:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body.

The husband, who is the Christ picture, is to sanctify his wife (and kids) by the washing of the water of the word.  This purpose is the larger purpose of Jesus, the “husband”, making his “bride”, the church, to be holy and spotless.  As men work to provide and protect their families,  the greatest thing that they can do is to point their families to Jesus.

Below are some resources that further dive into this discussion, and these men have greatly ministered to my soul from a distance.  They have also greatly influenced my thinking and beliefs about biblical manhood and womanhood.

Piper, John, Wayne Grudem Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood:  A Response to Evangelical Feminsm.  Crossway Publishing, November 20, 2012 (Redesign Edition),

Rainey, Dennis Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood.  FamilyLife Publishing, 2011, Little Rock, Arkansas

Post Written by: Aaron Hale

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Early Christians and the Sanctity of Human Life

Plutarch was a first century historian who wrote that the Carthaginians “offered their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds; meanwhile the mother stood by without a tear or moan.” Cicero (106-43 B.C.) said that “deformed infants should be killed.” This was the worldview of the Greco-Roman world in which the early church lived. If this sounds like the extreme practices of an ancient barbaric society long forgotten, then you need to wake up.

The more we learn about the horrors of the abortion culture, more accurately described as the culture of death, the more disturbing it becomes. In the past couple of weeks the issue of infanticide has become a major discussion in the world of social media. Remember, infanticide is the killing of an infant that is alive after birth. Recently a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood defended the horrific practice before the Florida House of Representatives. Even more disturbing than the Florida case is a murder case in Pennsylvania involving an abortionist who is charged with seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of third-degree murder. The seven counts of first-degree murder involve babies that had survived abortions and were subsequently put to death. What makes these cases even more shocking is the lack of media coverage that the cases have been given since the trial began last month. The media has been virtually silent.

One thing that is important for us to consider as Christians thinking through the issues involved here is that this is nothing new. Our forefathers in the Christian faith faced similar cultural horrors in their day. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph society has not changed as much as some would have us to believe. This is because we live in a Genesis 3 world. Ever since Genesis 3 sin has dominated the human heart. This is was true in Rome, Athens, Germany, and is still the case in Philadelphia and Florida. Nevertheless, Christians fought against the unjust practice based primarily on two principles from Scripture: “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13) and “Be not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2). The early Christians without reservation put infanticide within the context of the command not to murder. They did not shy away from the controversy and condemned it in their writings. The author of the Didache (perhaps AD 90) has this to say: “You shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not corrupt children; you shall not be sexually immoral; you shall not steal; you shall not practice magic; you shall not engage in sorcery; you shall not abort a child or commit infanticide (lit. you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill one that was born)” (2:2). The author mentions killing children again in 5:2 as something that is characteristic of the way of death. Similarly, The Epistle of Barnabas (2nd century) condemns abortion and infanticide in 19:5, “You shall not abort a child nor, again, commit infanticide (same wording except for the word). At first Christians did not have the kind of influence to impact policy on infanticide. This was true for a long time. They opposed it where they encountered it, they patiently endure persecution, and they continued to preach the gospel. As they did this Christianity spread throughout the Roman world and evetually was made a legal religion in AD 313. The problems that arose from Christianity being legalized notwithstanding, the Christian emperor Valentinian outlawed infanticide in AD 374.

But what about abortion? Perhaps you are thinking, “I am a Christian who opposes infanticide, but I think that a woman has the right to choose an abortion under certain circumstances.” My question would be, what is the difference in the baby traveling a few inches? What is the difference in a few weeks or months? When does a fetus somehow become a human being deserving of life? As I have demonstrated in the above quotes early Christians also opposed abortion. They viewed the fetus as a human being, and thus considered it murder to end the pregnancy. “You shall not murder a child by abortion” (author’s translation). Someone at this point may respond that the actual Scriptures do not teach what the Didache is here teaching. The fact that babies are human and deserve the right to life is established in the Old Testament. A baby does not become a human being when the State says that it does. Rather God creates the baby in his image from the moment of conception. Even before conception God has a plan for the baby. These truths are taught beautifully in Psalm 139:

For it was you who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I was fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began. – Psalm 139: 13-16 (HCSB).

If this is the case then clearly abortion falls under the definition of murder, which is an assault against the image of God. But again someone may respond that the Old Testament uses poetic and exaggerated language when describing the process of the infant in the womb. No where is the practice of abortion forbidden in the Bible. However, this may not be the case. In Galatians 5:20 Paul lists sorcery in his list of the works of the flesh. Also in Revelation 21:8 John lists sorcerers immediately after murderers and the sexually immoral. Alvin Schmidt in his book How Christianity Changed the World makes a strong case that what Paul and John may be referring to is the practice of abortion. The standard Greek lexicons define the word cluster that Paul and John use (pharmakeia and pharmakos respectively) as involving magic potion, medicine, or even poison. Abortions in the ancient world were often caused by medicinal potions. Schmidt also points out that Plutarch used pharmakeia with respect to contraception. Thus, a very good case can be made that Paul did in fact condemn medically induced abortions. History also demonstrates that Christians continued to oppose abortions caused by potions, and in 374 abortion was also outlawed.

As I have attempted to demonstrate Christians from the beginning of their existence have contended for the rights of children. The society in which they had a very low view of life, especially the lives of children. These should be the very lives most precious to us. We should give glory to God for the children that he blesses us with. But sadly our society is very similar to the Greco-Roman society. Human life is counted as cheap, and often it is considered a burden to society. As Christians we cannot conform to our culture, especially in this area. Human life is one of the most precious gifts that God has given us. He values it and so should we. However, we must remember that we are not called to be politicians or vigilantes. We are heralds of the sacred message that our king has given to us to proclaim. The earliest Christians did not respond to their culture with violence and neither should we. Instead, we are to preach the gospel of Christ. We must never forget that the people going into abortion clinics are hurting people that desperately need the gospel. We fight this battle with the message that we are sinners under the just wrath of God, and that Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death, and rose from the dead to secure freedom from sin, guilt, and death. The only thing that will ever impact the culture of death is the good news that Jesus saves.

Post written by Matthew Gay

Sources cited in this article:

Schmidt, Alvin J. How Christianity Changed the World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004.

Holmes, Michael W. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007.

Baur, Walter. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Edited and Translated by Frederick W. Danker, William F. Arndt, and F. Wilber Gingrich [BDAG] 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2000.

Louw, Johannes P. and Eugene A. Nida, A Greek-Engish Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains 2nd ed. New York: United Bible Society, 1989

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The Reversal of Roles

Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden in Genesis 3, we have seen a cultural role reversal of male and female. I (Aaron) have heard Genesis 3 preached several times, each time seemingly with the same idea about Adam: Where was Adam while Eve was being tempted? The pastor or presenter will follow by saying, “Adam failed because he wasn’t with his wife”, or “if only Eve had kept by Adam’s side”. Where Adam was is a good question, but it is often missed. Let’s review Genesis 3, in case you are unfamiliar with the passage.

Genesis 3:1-6 (ESV) – 1Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Did you catch it? Where was Adam? Adam was with his wife! Since the beginning of humanities sinfulness, the man (and woman) has neglected and abandoned his role as the leader of his family. Ephesians 5:23 says “for the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church.”

The purpose here is to point out that God created men and women with equal dignity, worth, and value, but with different roles. Most basically, this difference is seen in basic anatomy. Men and women are different, and it is good! In fact, God steps back after creating male and female (God’s last piece in His creation), and declares it VERY good! Men were created to be manly. Women were created to be womanly.

What I am not saying is that men are better, or that women are better. I hold to a complementarian view, which means I believe that men and women are created equally as God’s image (Genesis 1:27), but that God created men with a distinct purpose (Genesis 2:15) and women with a distinct purpose (Genesis 2:18). This does not mean that the role of men is more important than the role of women, or that the role of women is more important than the role of men. What it means is that the roles complement each other.

It is the nature of sin to fail to do what we were created to do. When men act like men and do things that God created men to do, it is actually an act of worship to God. When women act like women and do things that God created women to do, it is actually an act of worship to God. This is what Adam and Eve failed to do. Adam was with his wife! He failed to lead her away from the serpent. He knew God’s law which forbade them from eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17), but he stood by Eve, SILENTLY! And Eve, created to be a helper for Adam, which was a very good thing as declared by God, decided she would take the lead role and eat first (Genesis 3:6).

The culture we live in is a reflection of Genesis 3:1-6. Either men over-rule their wives (not lovingly, not serving them), or they completely give their responsibility over to women. Either women overly submit (not joyfully, but begrudgingly), or they completely give their responsibility over to men. Often, it is a case of both! And so, sinfully, the man gladly lets his wife lead while his wife gladly lets her husband submit! I (Aaron) will be writing a series over the next few weeks based on this, covering issues ranging from boys who refuse to become men, men who refuse to work, the role of men in the home, and the responsibility of spiritual leadership given to men.

I believe the church needs men to stand up and act like men. 1 Corinthians 16:13 says “be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” If men will begin to flourish in the role God gave them, I believe we will see more churches begin to flourish. When Matthew and I were beginning to talk about different purposes for this blog, one of the things we wanted to do was to give good resources that will further equip the saints in the church of God. A few timeless resources dealing with biblical manhood (and womanhood) are as follows:

  • A Guide to Biblical Manhood by Randy Stinson & Dan Dumas
  • The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (cmbw.org), found on the side tab under “blogs we follow”

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters!

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Welcome to our blog

For some time we have each (Aaron and Matthew) been considering starting a blog to share our thoughts in that type of forum. We decided that it might be a good idea to join forces and start a blog together, since we both have the same interests, yet we each have different gifts and backgrounds. The key verse that made me consider (Matthew) entering the blogosphere was 2 Corinthians 10:5 which reads, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” We are living in a period in history that is marked by great confusion, both in the church and in the public arena. Issues such as the breakdown of the family, the normalization of homosexuality, doctrinal divisions, and a host of other issues are confronting the church.

As Christians we have one overarching responsibility in this climate–to obey Christ. So the second half of this verse has always stood out to me. What is connected to obedience in this verse is our thoughts. Specifically Paul says that we are to take every single thought captive. Careless thinking is the leading cause of sin and error. On this blog we hope to think through issues related to family, ministry, theology, biblical exegesis, and a host of other issues together, for the purpose of providing the church with another resource for their edification as we share what is on our hearts and minds.

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