At Living Stones we are in the middle of a campaign on marriage. Within the church, one of the hottest topics of conversation around this subject is the Bible's view on male leadership in the home. I experienced this issue shortly after I became a Christian.
Months after I became a Christian I moved to Reno to enroll in graduate school at the University of Nevada, Reno. As a new, enthusiastic believer in Jesus I wanted to share my faith with my new classmates and see some of them experience what I had just experienced. During my first class I quickly realized this was going to be more difficult than it had originally played out in my mind. I was in a Social Work program with 22 women and only 2 men. What that meant was not only was I one of the only men, but also one of the only Christians. Many in the program were skeptical about Christianity and had a difficult time with men in general. I did not fit in and immediately felt like an outsider. Needless to say, biblical male leadership was a hot topic within our program. As I grew in relationship with these women, I realized that clarity in understanding God's design for biblical male leadership is important. At the heart of their struggle with biblical male leadership was a distortion of what it actually is. They were speaking out of life experiences that showed something entirely different from the truth of God's design.
First off, biblical male leadership is not chauvinism.Chauvinism is a position that holds that men and women were created within a hierarchy where men are above women and are the superior gender. In this stance women are lesser than men and asked to submit to the higher authority. This position is wrong, as it is oppressive to women and is a misunderstanding of how God created men and women as His image bearers. The abuse of power that chauvinism brings in the home has pained many people and creates a huge misunderstanding of male leadership.
So what is biblical male leadership? Scripturally speaking, male leadership is part of the order that God has put forth to make life operate as it should and is manifested perfectly in the life and work of Jesus. First, God created men and women as His image bearers, equally but differently. In the marriage relationship they are to be united but each play out their distinct roles. This is clearly written in Ephesians 5:22-33 and Colossians 3:18-20. We live in a society that values power. Leadership is typically a "powerful" position. Therefore, when the Bible sets aside the leadership role for the man it is seen as a direct insult towards women. Just because women aren't put in the leadership position doesn't make them less valuable or powerful. In fact, under biblical male leadership, we see women become more empowered to be who God created to them to be. As they are loved, protected, nourished, etc. women are brought out to be who they were created to be. Second, we see biblical male leadership best played out in the life of Jesus Christ. His relationship to the church as its head is to be directly related to the man's relationship to his wife and family as the head of his household. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves his church. Jesus gave his life up for his bride, the church, in order for her to be in equal standing as him before the Father. Ultimately, Jesus does something differently than men who wrongfully use the role as head of the house. He takes responsibility.
“Male leadership without responsibility is not biblical, nor is it actually leadership.”
Biblical Male leadership boils down to one thing - men taking responsibility. The Bible says that a man's role is to lead at home and in the church. Male leadership without taking responsibility is not biblical, nor is it actually leadership. As we see in our first father Adam, God holds him accountable for Eve’s sin. Adam was responsible for Eve’s wrong doing because he is the head of his household. We live in a culture full of people, men in general, who desire to lead without taking responsibility. Instead it is marred with passive aggressive men that want power and lack the courage to take the responsibility needed to truly lead. This ends in the misunderstanding that many, including my prior classmates, had about biblical leadership.
Imagine if men were to take responsibility as God has designed it. It takes true humility and strength to love like Jesus loved on the cross. Men would be submissive to God the Father’s will to the point of giving up their own life for the wives. Under biblical male leadership men sacrificially love their wives and their children and it is as God intended. Men of Living Stones, this is our call... how will we respond?