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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Men/Women: What's the Difference?

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moreofHim
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Joined: 2003/10/15
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 Men/Women: What's the Difference?

I just got done reading John Piper's "What's the Difference?" Manhood and Womanhood Defined According To The Bible. This next passage so struck me as absolutely beautiful- I thought I'd share it. :) (By no means do I intend to start a debate on men/women)
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Whenever anyone asks if we think women are, say, weaker than men, or smarter than men, or more easily frightened than men or something like that, a good answer would go like this: women are smarter in some ways and men are smarter in some ways; women are more easily frightened in some kinds of circumstances and men are more easily frightened in other kinds of circumstances.

It is very misleading to put negative values on the so-called weaknesses that each of us has by virtue of our sexuality. God intends for all the "weaknesses" that are characteristically masculine to call forth and highlight women's strengths. And God intends for all the "weaknesses" that are characteristically feminine to call forth and highlight man's strengths.

A person who naively assumes that men are superior because of their kind of strength might consider these statistics from 1983: six times more men than women are arrested for drug abuse. Ten times more men than women are arrested for drunkenness. 83% of serious crimes in America are comitted by men. Twenty-five times more men than women are in jail. Virtually all rape is committed by men.

I point that out to show that boasting in either sex as superior to the other is folly. Men and women as God created them are different in hundreds of ways. One helpful way to describe our equality and differences is this: Picture the so-called weaknesses and strengths of man and woman listed in two columns. If you could give a numerical value to each one the sum at the bottom of both columns is going to be the same. Whatever different minuses and pluses are on each side of masculinity and femininity are going to balance out. And when you take those two columns from each side and lay them, as it were, on top of each other, God intends them to be the perfect complement to each other, so that when life together is considered (and I don't just mean married life) the weaknesses of manhood are not weaknesses and the weaknesses of woman are not weaknesses. They are the complements that call forth different strengths in each other.

If it is true that manhood and womanhood are to complement rather than duplicate each other, and if it is true that the way God made us is good, then we should be very slow to gather a list of typical male weaknesses or a list of typical female weaknesses and draw a conclusion that either is of less value than the other. Men and women are of equal value and dignity in the eyes of God-- both are created in the image of God and utterly unique in the universe.
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(and then to end it...)

This is the way God meant it to be before there was any sin in the world: sinless man, full of love, in his tender, strong leadership in relation to woman; and sinless woman, full of love, in her joyful, responsive support for man's leadership. No belittling from the man, no groveling from the woman. Two intelligent, humble, God-entranced beings living out, in beautiful harmony, their unique and different responsibilities. Sin has distorted this purpose at every level. We are not sinless anymore. But we believe that recovery of mature manhood and womanhood is possible by the power of God's Spirit through fatih in His promises and in obedience to His word.


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Chanin

 2004/9/3 13:42Profile
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 Re: Men/Women: What's the Difference?

The best illustration I heard was at a men's camp, in the first year of my marriage.

God decided to throw a big "fancy dress" party. He invited all the spirits of man, that dwelt in His imagination. To half He said, "I'll clothe you in a strong exoskeleton. You'll be strong, yet with this strength comes the responsability of protecting those who are weak, by laying your life down for her. You'll be called 'Man', and you'll play My part at the party."

To the other half, He said, "You I'll clothe in elegance. I'll give you a delicate beauty, that will inspire loyalty. You'll be tender and wise, able to soften the strong, able to protect them from their own folly. I'll cll you 'Woman', and you'll play the part of the church."

Note that they were all the same, underneath their costume. Yet they each had different roles to play. Neither was greater than the other. Their purpose was to give a visual representation of how Christ and the church interact.

I don't know about you, but I think this is a beautiful way of putting it.:-)


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Aaron Ireland

 2004/9/4 7:57Profile
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 Re:

Hi Chanin, thanks for sharing.. hmm im abit confused I have actually appreciated John Piper's stance on women leadership in family in church. He, I believe, is an egalitarian which means he believes there is headship in the Godhead and also in marriage and spiritually in churches. This excerpt seems to be going against that. hmmm because we all know that the scriptures say that the women is the [b]weaker[/b] vessel.

[b]1 Peter 3:7[/b] - Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

But at the same time it is said for the lowiest in the body of Christ to be esteemed highest. And also God commands husbands to give themselves to the wifes as christ gave himself to the church.

Considering you just read the book :-) perhaps you can shed more light on this. Maybe I am totally mistake with piper's stance.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/9/4 10:06Profile
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 Re:

Quote:

sermonindex wrote:
Hi Chanin, thanks for sharing.. hmm im abit confused I have actually appreciated John Piper's stance on women leadership in family in church. He, I believe, is an egalitarian which means he believes there is headship in the Godhead and also in marriage and spiritually in churches. This excerpt seems to be going against that. hmmm because we all know that the scriptures say that the women is the [b]weaker[/b] vessel.



Greg,
Please take this in the nature it's intended. There is an understanding of marriage that cannot be grasped until you are actually married. I don't belive that weaker means so much inferior as delicate. It's more a question of strength, than authority.

I can remember when I was single and I thought I had the whole thing figured out. I had read tons of books on the subject, listened to countless sermons, but nothing can actually prepare you for it.

I'm reminded of Keith Daniel's "Book of James" sermon, where he refers to Luther calling James' Epistle an "epistle of straw", because it seemed to contradict Paul's "salvation by grace" statements, in Romans. Daniel stsed that, years later Luther repented of his statment, because he began to understand that "we are saved by faith not of works" but that "your faith can't save you unless it works".

I've been married now for five years, and only now am I starting to be able to comprehend the concept of "cleaving". The whole man/woman thing is one of dominance and submission, but it is also one of humility and reverence.

Don't get me wrong, man is meant to lead. The most humbling thing a man, is that she will always do a better job of leading than us. We are only to lead because that is our purpose, and without it, we would have little to contribute to the relationship (single men consider the capabilities of you own mother, compared with that your father).

Also, consider this thought, God is sovereign over us, yet He allows Himself to submit Himself to our prayers. That thought awes and humbles me every time I think of it.

Word of advise, when you do get married, always consider if you are treating her as you would like to be treated by God. And if you treat God the way she treats you. I have begun to apply this kind of thinking to my marriage, and nothing that happens, good or bad, by me or by Rach, can fail to give glory to God.

Peace out.


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Aaron Ireland

 2004/9/7 3:51Profile
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 Re: Men/Women: What's the Difference?

CJackforest said:

Quote:
Please take this in the nature it's intended. There is an understanding of marriage that cannot be grasped until you are actually married.



I believe Chanin wrote:
Quote:
God intends them to be the perfect complement to each other, so that when life together is considered [b](and I don't just mean married life)[/b] the weaknesses of manhood are not weaknesses and the weaknesses of woman are not weaknesses. They are the complements that call forth different strengths in each other.



[laughs] Sorry, I just had to point that out because I'm not married, though I look forward to the married life, and... I think it's important to be playing our roles as godly men and women now, not when we find that special someone. As a young lady, I should be respecting my dad's authority, as I still live at home. I should love my brother, and not talk to him in irritated tones. I should submit to the pastor's leadership here at the church where I work. I need to be supportive and godly to ALL the men in my life. I'll admit, that's hard to do. I make the mistake often times of saving all the "special treatment" for my future husband, but habits start somewhere, and I want to start good ones now. May God help me love my brothers in Christ as I should!

P.S. Chanin, like your little signature.


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Yolanda Fields

 2004/9/8 19:19Profile
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 Re:

Sorry Yodi. I hope I didn't offend you with my statments. They were more aimed at the male readers than the female.

In Keith Daniel's sermon on Marriage, he states that the woman is called to submission, in marriage because men, by nature are too thick to humble themselves. Not that man is absolved from responsability in this matter, but in my experience, women tend to have a greater handle on what it is that God requires of them, as far as gender goes. In my original post in this thread, I tried to explain the concept of men and women being equal, apart from women being "weaker".

My comment, about not understanding unless your married, is still valid, because there is only so much you can comprehend about the opposite gender when we're single. The fact of the matter is, we think we understand, but after getting married, we realise that we knew alot less than we thought. Our parents will never show us everything about their character, because they want to protect us from hurt, in many cases.

There is an amazing phenomena that occurs when we get married. Generally we tend to gravitate toward people who are similar to our opposite gender parent (ie. men to women resembling their mother, women to men who resemble their father). They may "appear" totally different, while courting, but the true colours appear after the ceremony. Granted this is not an absolute, but it tends to be the norm. This is why it is wise to submit to your father, in preparation to submission to your husband. And men should be considerate to their mothers in preparation for laying down your life for your wife.

What has this to do with the original article? All I'm saying is that it is difficult to appreciate an issue, without a view of both sides. Single people will have greater difficulty in comprehending the opposite gender. Married people have the benefit of a person who is around them constantly, in a "cleaving" relationship. There is no "I'll just hold my opinion until I get home and scream in my pillow" when your married, as your pillow is next to theirs. For the single person, its' simple a matter of "trust and obedience" without the same degree of understanding.

Another illustration, is that of parenthood. The parent has a wider view of the issue, than that of someone who has no children. The parent is both a child and a parent, at the same time. When he considers his childs' behaviour toward him, he has to consider the way he behaved toward his parents when he was a child. When he considers his parents' behaviour toward him, he has to also consider his behaviour toward his children.

Before I had children, I had a multitude of opinions regarding child rearing. My first child taught me that children don't read the "textbook". My second child taught me that I'll never get it, and that I have to trust God to help me rear them.

As a single man, I used to think I understood marriage, and therefore women in general. I put every woman in a box, thinking that I understood how they thought compared to men. When I married my darling wife, I discovered that she never read the "textbook" either. There is a point that we need to accept that some of the statements about men and women in the church, are simply there as examples of submitting ourselves to cultural confines, in order to avoid offenses that will hinder the gospel.

Keith Daniel makes an interesting point in his sermon on "Spiritual Birth" that if we prohibited women to minister, then we would have to take two thirds of the missionaries out of the field. Would we want to be held responsible for the souls lost as a result?

Essentially, let the men worry about how men fit into the equation, and let the women worry about the women. The only definite commandment about male/female interaction is "wives submit to your own husbands" (not to all men in general) and "husbands lay your lives down for your wives, as Christ for the church" (of course I'm paraphrasing, on both these referances).

We are all called to submit ourselves to each other. Not simply women to men. The real issue of "feminism" isn't women desiring to be freed from male "tyranny", but to replace male tyranny with female tyranny. Most women I know get a kick out of the car door openned for them, and men to standing when they walk into a room, etc. The only problem is that too many men "demand" respect, without earning it.

Anyway, that's the basis and reason for my comments. I hope I didn't go on to long:-).


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Aaron Ireland

 2004/9/9 7:21Profile
moreofHim
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Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632


 Re: men/women

Aaron,

Excellent post!

Yodi,

Thank you for the comment!


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Chanin

 2004/9/9 9:39Profile
Yodi
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Joined: 2004/4/23
Posts: 663
Escondido, California

 Re:

Quote:
Sorry Yodi. I hope I didn't offend you with my statments. They were more aimed at the male readers than the female.



CJackforest, no, you didn't offend me! Sorry if that's how the tone was read in my post. Since I'm not married, maybe this isn't the topic for me to be in - woops! Can't read too much about how GREAT marriage is or... I'll have a real hard time being content as a single. So for now, I'm outta here!


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Yolanda Fields

 2004/9/9 11:54Profile





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