• Pastor Mark Driscoll
    • 1 Corinthians 11:2-16
    • July 23, 2006

Father God, we ask for wisdom as we study the Scriptures. We ask that we would first acknowledge your authority over us and the authority of your Word. As we come to your Word, we ask that to rightly understand rules and authority, we would see the person and work of Jesus and that the ladies would respect authority as he did and the men would exercise authority as he did. And for that to occur, Lord God, we ask that the Holy Spirit would come and guide our time. That as we study the words that he inspired to be written that the Holy Spirit would instruct us as to their meaning and their application to our life. So we ask for wisdom as a people and we give ourselves and our time to you in the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Well, here – here as we get into it tonight. This is – boy this is good stuff right here – because what we’re talking about tonight is one of the foundational issues of 1 Corinthians 11 that just bleeds through so many cultural and theological debates today.

So, before we – before we get into it, let me tell you. When it comes to gender, there are three teams. The first is feminism and, theologically, this is called egalitarianism. Feminism essentially says men are bad. Women are good. Men do bad things. Women do good things. We need to empower women and men have ruined the world and women will fix it. And then over on the other side, is chauvinism. Chauvinism is men are better than women. Women are stupid and dumb and women should just stay home and bake things and shut up. And that, basically, began in the West with a guy named Aristotle, a philosopher, who said that women were morally and mentally less capable than men. They were somewhere between an animal and a man but they certainly weren’t at the level of a man.

We don’t hold a chauvinistic position, contrary to what you may hear about me and, and we do not hold a feminist position. We hold something that is called complementarian position. We hold a position of chivalry. That God made us male and female, that’s really good. We’re down with that. Ladies should be ladies. Dudes should be dudes and we all should live happily ever after and stop fighting. And so that’s essentially the point I’m gonna argue for tonight and I’m gonna start by explaining to you the world before sin in Genesis 1 and 2. Genesis 3 is where sin happens and everything goes sideways. The reason is that in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul refers back to creation as God intended, before sin corrupted everything. So we’ll go back to where Paul is going to refer in Genesis and then we’ll go forward into 1 Corinthians 11. Paul does the same thing in 1 Timothy, Chapter 2 and 3, where he’s talking about gender roles insofar as church leadership is concerned and he goes back to creation because there’s all these questions in culture about gender, sexuality, sexual identity, gender identity and Paul never answers from culture, he goes back to creation as God intended.

So as we look into Genesis, I’ll summarize it for you. Genesis 1 and 2, where there is no sin in the initial creation. It says that there was one God and that God said, “Let us,” allusion to the Trinity, “make man in our image and our likeness.” There’s a lot there. God’s a Trinity. Us and our, that’s Trinitarian language and let us make man or mankind, and when God refers to humanity, like in Genesis 5:2 and elsewhere, he calls the race mankind because man was made first, established as the head and the representative to lead God’s intentions on the earth. So he says, “Let us make man in our image and likeness. Let us make them male and female.” Okay, there’s a lot there. What we see is that God is a Trinitarian God, we’re made in the image and likeness of God, male and female. What this means is that men and women are different, not unequal. Men and women are absolutely equal because they’re both image bearers of God but they are different, right? Women are different than men and men are different than women and I have three sons, two daughters, and I can assure you, it’s still true. It’s right hand, left hand working together in a complementary fashion. That’s how God intended it.

Now the roles are that the man is the head and that the woman is to be his helper. Genesis 2, “That she is his helper.” Now some of you ladies will say, “I don’t wanna be the helper,” well, the Holy Spirit in the New Testament is called the Paraclete in Greek, the helper. That you’re to help in the same way that the Holy Spirit helps. It’s not a denigration. And the woman comes from the side of the man. That’s where she is made from. She’s not to be out front, like the feminists teach; or behind, as the chauvinists teach. Alongside, as a helper, lover, friend, equal partner. Alongside of her husband. And that is how God intends for it to be and then God declares that this is all very what? Good.

Now, we get into matters of gender – you have been told, right? Many of you went to college, you took the women’s studies class and you were told that gender is not rooted in creation, that it’s rooted in culture. The way we consider male and female, masculine and feminine doesn’t come from God, it comes just simply through sociological conditioning, all of which is not true. Human beings made culture. Culture didn’t make human beings. It’s a chicken/egg argument. Furthermore, God made us male and female and that’s a very good thing and a lot of women’s studies teachers and feminists will tell you that it’s a bad thing to say, “Well, that’s a man, that’s a woman.” Oh, now you’re being sexist. No, that’s a man, that’s a woman and it’s very good. We’re not saying that men are better than better than women like the chauvinists do. We’re not saying that the women are better than the men like the feminists do. We’re saying they’re both image bearers of God, equal to work together in partnership, like a right hand and a left hand, with the man assuming the responsibility to lead as the head and the woman to come alongside as the very much-needed helper, like the Holy Spirit.

What happens, however, in Genesis 3 is that everything goes completely sideways and it goes from being very good to very bad and it all begins by Eve, our first mother, sinning against God and reversing the roles in our family, assuming leadership, headship, making a decision that they will disobey God. And so she, because he doesn’t do anything, she steps up, and starts to lead. Well, she leads in a bad direction and, the man, it says in Genesis 3, sat there idly by, quiet, passive, timid, cowardly, said and did nothing, right? And so that is the proclivity for so many men, to do jack squat and that is one of the great sin of men. I’ve met with men, they say, “I didn’t sin. I didn’t do anything.” That was the sin. Doing nothing, that’s the sin. If you’re a husband and your wife’s in trouble and you don’t do anything, that’s the sin. If your kids are in trouble and you’re not doing anything, that’s the sin. If you don’t say anything because you don’t like conflict and the game’s on, that’s a sin, right? If you don’t like to take responsibility because it cuts into your golf game and your TiVo, that’s a sin, right? Men are supposed to speak and act in loving ways to protect, to preserve, to represent God and to bring about good. Well, Adam sat there like a passive, silent coward and said and did nothing and his whole family just absolutely was destroyed in an instant.

And what has then happened, God predicted it would happen in Genesis 3, as that there would be a gender war between men and women. That women would look at men and say, “I don’t trust him, I’m gonna just lead, make my own decisions, and forget him, you know?” And then men respond by being chauvinists saying, “She doesn’t respect me. She’s not nice to me, then I’m gonna beat her. I’m gonna yell at her. I’m gonna intimidate her. I’m gonna hurt her. I’m gonna be mean. And this is the gender conflict and the gender wars. Men respond either through violence or total indifference.

I’ll tell you what the indifference looks like. We’re at the Mariner’s game, my wife and I, Friday night and it was interesting, in front of us, there was a married couple. They had a couple of kids and then there was woman who, wow. She, she’s a piece of work and then there were some open seats that her husband left open and he sat down at the end, far away from his wife and his kids. She was just yelling at him, yelling at the kids, yelling at everybody. She lost a kid, actually, a few rows over at one point. He got up to get a snack and got lost. I’m looking over there and the kid’s just totally bewildered, lost. And I said, “Hey, is that your kid?” She’s like, “None of your business. He’ll figure his way back. If he wants to grow,” I’m like, “Look, you lost a kid, I’m just,” you know, or maybe he’s running away, you know, I can’t, you know, now that I reconsider this. You know, I mean, she was just a piece of work. But here’s what her husband did. He sat, chairs away, with his back, literally, physically turned to her and through the totality of a whole game, right, and it took a while, because the Mariners got shellacked. This was a long game. He never said one word to his wife and never looked at her.

That’s like Adam. Just like- just ignore – abandon – just totally, absolutely, inextricably ignore that she is there and that she, obviously has some trouble and he just keeps ordering beers and pretending like it’s not there. Okay, and that’s what men do. Men either respond through violence, anger, chauvinism; or just indifference, passivity, ignore, shut up. And what some men do, they just come home and they go right to the garage and they have loud power tools – not because they like to build things – just because they like the noise to drown out the woman. That’s why they have leaf blowers. Every single one of you has a guy in your neighborhood who’s got a leaf blower and he blows the whole neighborhood. And you say, “What a nice guy.” No, that guy hates his wife and, and she, she doesn’t shut up and the leaf blower’s louder than her and he – [makes leaf blower noise] So he’s just – he’s out pretending to find a just – it’s you know, he can’t get – “Honey, I was leaf blowing and I didn’t hear ya.” And they could make those things quieter but they don’t because no one, then, would buy them. We like ‘em that loud. So, you know, that was this kinda guy, just doesn’t wanna deal with her and that was Adam’s first, original sin, was sitting idly by and letting everything go into chaos.

So, the result is that women then wanna rule over their husbands like sin wants to rule over Cain, it says in Genesis 3 and 4. So, women just wanna take life by the horns and, “I’m gonna be in charge. I’m gonna make the decisions. I’m gonna tell him what to do,” and you know, “and that’s the way it’s gonna be.” And then the man either gets violent and says, “You disrespect me, I’m gonna get violent,” or indifferent and passive and cowardly, “I don’t even wanna fight.” The result is, for those men who get violent, they, they do atrocious things, and this is where feminists, quite frankly, have a good point. They will argue statistically, that men do horrible things to women, which I fully and totally agree with. Statistically. I’ll give you some examples. The World Health Organization says that one-fifth of the world’s females are physically and/or sexually abused by men at some point in their life. Additionally, the U.S. Surgeon General says that domestic violence by males against females accounts for more adult female emergency room visits than traffic accidents, muggings and rapes combined. And thirdly, the U.S. Department of Justice says that 30 percent of all women who are murdered are killed by husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends. So the feminists say, “You know what, men are horrible to women.” I say, I fully agree. But then what do we do? What do we do?

What we do is the same thing that God did. When Adam and Eve sinned, God came into the garden and who did he come looking for? The man. He cried out, “Adam? Where are you?” Because Adam wasn’t the one who had sinned first, but as the head of the family, he was responsible for the condition of his marriage and his family. You need to understand that being the head doesn’t mean you’re the king, the lord, the boss; it means that you take responsibility, even if it’s not your fault. That’s what it is to be the head. You say, “My wife is having trouble. I take responsibility to help her.” “My kids are having trouble, I take responsibility to help them.” And God comes looking for Adam and says, you know, though your wife sinned first, where are you? What were you doing? What were you saying? What – I told you to take good care of your family. What, what were you doing? Same thing we see in Romans 5, 12 through 21, where because of one man’s sin, the whole race fell. That God puts the onus of responsibility on the man, though the woman sinned first, and she is definitely held accountable by God, but the man is given responsibility for not taking good care to lead his family.

So, here we are in this world with gender conflict and gender wars and feminism and chauvinism and women who just do not trust men because they’ve been abused and they’ve been beaten and they’ve been raped and they’ve been molested and men who just get violent and angry and thuggish and just take advantage of women, or men who are cowards and don’t take responsibility because they’re good for nothing. You wanna fix it? Go to 1 Corinthians 11. That’s where we’ll begin. I’ll read the whole thing to you and then I’m gonna untangle all the knots and as I read 1 Corinthians 11:2 through 16, what I’m going to do is I’m going to read it all, so you can hear it in totality and then we’re gonna go back over the issues. Now part of the complication with this chapter – and this is one of the most complicated chapters in the whole Bible – is that they sent Paul a list of questions and he’s answering their questions. We have the answers but not the questions. So we have to go back and try and assume what the questions were. It would be like you and I had an email chain and then you forwarded the fifth email to your friend. They’d be like, “I don’t get it.” You know, “I don’t understand how it got here,” right? So we have to try and infer and come to some conclusions about what the questions were. But Chapter 11, Verse 2.

“I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you. Now I want you to realize,” in 1 Corinthians 11:3, this verse? Wow! This is a hotly debated verse. This verse is so debated – there are whole books on this verse and if you Google 1 Corinthians 11:3, your computer will explode. That’s how controversial that this verse is. And if you go to a college, especially a Christian college, wow. Don’t even read this verse, they’ll kick you out, right? This is a very debated verse. “Now I want you to realize the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” Verse 4. “Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head,” Do I gotta wear a doily on my head? Ah, good question. We’ll get to that in a minute. “-it is just as though her head were shaved. “I can’t shave my head, it’s hot.” Ah, we’ll get to that, too. “If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God;” Lotta you guys been told, you’re losers, you’re inferior, you’re jokes, no. You’re the glory of God, gentlemen. You’re the glory of God. That’s a good verse to underline. “The man is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” Verse 8, “For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” And well, that’s gonna be debated. We’re gonna get into that, too. All right? Gonna welcome it like water on a cat. You’re gonna love that when we get there. “For this reason, and because of the angels,” nobody knows what that means, “the woman ought to have a sign of authority over her head.” Will get to that too. “In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. Judge for yourselves” Make up your own mind. “Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,” yeah, you rockers, you’re like, “Well I gotta get a haircut.” Yeah, and a job. We’ll talk about it. Verse 15. “but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. If anyone wants to be contentious about this,” yes, you do. You’re already text messaging me. I haven’t even gotten to my points, yet. “we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.” Thus say the Lord, amen. You ready to roll?

Principle Number 1 – 1 Corinthians 11:2. That is the preface. “I praise you for remembering me in everything for holding the teachings just as I passed them on to you.” Paul says, “I’m your pastor. I love you. I’ve taught you. You’ve listened to me. You’ve learned some things but you’re totally jacked up on gender because you live in Corinth.” Paul says you’re getting all your cues from culture, not from Scripture. As your pastor, I want to speak about these issues, so that you have clarity that God made us male and female and you don’t defy, and you don’t disregard the gender that God made you, because that was part of his created order. First principle.

The Trinity is our model for relationship. All start here in Verse 3. A man and a woman are in a relationship, husband and wife, and the issue is where do they look to have a good marriage? Where do they look for their example of relationship? Answer – the Trinitarian character of God. He says in Verse 3, “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man,” or husband, it could be translated either way, “is Christ, and the head of the woman,” or if the wife, could be translated either way , “is man, and the head of Christ is God.” Now this is where it gets smokin’ controversial, hotly debated. Theologically, we call this functional subordinationism, right? You gonna get a couple big words tonight, so you feel like you get your money’s worth. Functional subordinationism is this – that God exists as a Trinitarian community, and how many Gods are there? One. One God, three persons. Father, Son, and Spirit. God, the Father. God, the Son. God, the Spirit. Are they equal? Yes. Do they share the same attributes? Yes. Are they each fully God, equal to one another? Yes, they are. Is their authority within the Trinity and deference to said authority? Yes. Yes. That Jesus Christ submits to God the Father. You see this perhaps most clearly in the Gospel of John. Where Jesus says, I didn’t come – you know, the Father sent me, he says – and I didn’t come to do my will but the will of him who sent me and I don’t speak the words I wanna speak, I speak the words of him who sent me and I have come to do his work. And he prays things, like Father, not my will but your will, be done. And so Jesus shows deference, submission, respect to God the Father. Is he equal to God the Father? Yes. He makes statements like, “I and the father of one.” And they go to stone Jesus, saying, you, a mere man, claim to be equal with God. So Jesus simultaneously says I am equal to God the Father and we are one. If you seen me, you’ve seen the Father, and also I submit to the Father’s authority, and I go on his mission, and I speak as words, and I do his deeds in deference to him.

You say, “What does this have to do with me?” we were made in what? The image and likeness of God. Male and female, meaning that as men and women, we look to the Trinity for our example of what a relationship is. Are men and women equal? Yes. Yes, they are equal image bearers of God. But within that, is there authority that is to be exercised and respected? Yes. As Jesus Christ is head over the church – and this is analogous throughout the New Testament, Ephesians, Galatians speaks of Jesus as head over the church, so the man is head over the woman. Now that Greek word there, kephale, is highly debated. Everybody fights over it and they want to say, ahead and there doesn’t mean for authority or somebody’s in charge – and it does, the common, plain use of the word, throughout the New Testament, the preponderance of the occasions that it appears, he is in reference to authority. Right, when it speaks of head, it speaks of authority. Those are synonymous. So Jesus is the head of the church as the husband is the head of the wife. That’s what it’s teaching here, teaches in Galatians 3, teaches in Ephesians 5, this is the common New Testament theme. Whole books are written on what the word head means. All right, the book, Rediscovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has a whole chapter in the appendix on this word because it’s so hotly debated, but head means authority. The person in charge. You walk into a business and you’re all ticked off, you say, “I wanna see the head honcho.” That’s what they’re talking about. Wanna see the person in charge.

So here’s what it lays out. It lays out authority and respect for authority and submission to authority. God, the Father, and then who? Jesus Christ, and then who? The husband or the man and then what? The woman or the wife. That’s the order of authority. Now this means a couple things. As Jesus submits to the authority of the Father, so the woman is to respect the authority of the man. Lotta you women will say, “I don’t need to submit to any authority.” Well, you’re not any better than Jesus, and if it was good for him, it’s good for you. And some of you men will say, “Good! I like being the boss.” No, that’s not what we’re talking about. Because a man’s authority is not ultimate, correct? What if a man tells his wife to do something that God forbids her, expressly, to do? Should she do it or not? She should not do it, because demand is not the ultimate authority, he is under the authority of Jesus and God the father.

We’ve had meatheads in this church tell their wives things like, “Well you should watch porn with me.” Women say something, like, “Why?’ “I’m the head of the home, you’re supposed to submit to me.” No. No, no. Jesus says not to lust. I’m obeying Jesus, not you, Mr. Meathead. If you’re not telling me to do what Jesus tells me to do, then you have no right to tell me to do it, right? We had another guy, oh geez. I mean, I could give you a long list of meathead stories, but another meathead story – there was a gal in this church, loved the Lord. A guy started courting her and getting to know her and really cared for her and wanted to pursue marriage with her. And he had been sexually pure with her, very respectful of her. In an effort to honor her father, she went met and with her dad, said this guy says he loves me, do you want to meet with him and get to know him, and then I want you to know, you know, help, help to speak into this and help guide me. You’re my dad and I’m making this huge decision. Her dad said he was a Christian. I don’t know if he was or not, but here’s what he said. “Well, marriage is a big thing. I think the two of you should just live and sleep together, that’d be better.”

Should that young woman submit to Jesus and remain pure or should she submit to her father and go fornicate? That’s very frustrating to be under that person.

So, the best thing a man could do is know his Bible, love the Lord and most of his decision-making in his household is with his wife, right? A prudent wife is from the Lord. Sit down, open the Bible and say, “Okay, this is what we’re gonna do because this is what God says and this is how God has told me to lead our family.” So the vast majority of leadership in the family is a man opening his Bible and explaining to his family what it is that God intends for them to do and in so doing, he’s submitting to authority over him.

The Bible also puts over men and women elders in the church. Hebrews 13, obey your leaders, submit to their authority. Make their work a joy and not a burden. You know, follow their example. Imitate their way of life, the outcome of their way of faith. So, everybody is under authority. I guess that’s my point. So all – everybody in this church is under authority. The pastors are under authority. You know, the members are under authority. Than men, the women, the children – everybody’s under authority because authority is good for us. It protects us. It nurtures us. It grows us and it allows us to be like Jesus, respecting authority.

So this means two things, practically, for the man. This means that the man is supposed to be an authority like Jesus, loving, serving, caring for, blessing, nurturing his wife as Jesus does his bride, the church. And that women are supposed to be like Jesus insofar as they respect the authority that is over them, providing it’s not in contradiction to God.

Second point. Men and women are to respect Godly authority. We’ll start in Verse 4. “Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.” Okay, first thing he’s saying is, this whole issue of head coverings is about demonstrable submission to authority. In that culture, a woman would put a scarf on her head or put her hair up in a bun and that was to show, “I respect my dad, if I’m a single gal. I respect my husband if I’m a married gal. I respect the Bible. I respect my church leadership. I respect Jesus. I don’t mind Godly authority, I respect it.” So what he’s saying is that women would show their respect for authority. Some women, however, would not. Some women would let their hair down. That’s what the prostitutes did. Numbers 5:18 says if a woman commits adultery, she should take her hair down so that everybody knows. Additionally, he says ladies, if you don’t wanna be under authority, if you don’t wanna respect authority. If you don’t wanna respect your dad, if he’s a Godly guy, your husband if he’s a Godly guy. Your elders, your Bible, your Jesus, you’re a disrespectful, disgraceful and shameful woman. That’s why Deuteronomy 22, it correlates the shaving of a woman’s head with shame and disgrace, and it was the prostitutes who would wear their hair down. And so you could look at such women and say, “Well, there’s a Christian lady.”

And there are women who come into this church who say, “Can I be in charge?” Well, are you a Godly woman or not? That’s the point. Are you a God- do you respect authority? Are you all women who loves the Bible and loves Jesus and respects Godly authority. What he’s saying is that if a woman wants to be in authority in the church, be a leader in the church, she must be a respectful, Godly, feminine woman, who is glad that God made her as a female and is comfortable in her own skin and isn’t trying to be a dude and isn’t trying to be a prostitute. And for guys, what he’s saying is that a guy also shouldn’t be a leader in the church unless he’s a guy who doesn’t cover his head. Now you don’t cover your head in that culture, ‘cause that’s what the women do, and as a man, you want to embrace your masculinity. You want to take responsibility. You wanna be a guy who loves his wife, loves his kids, has his life together. 1 Timothy 3 Titus I says that the elders, the senior leaders in the church, are to be good husbands, good fathers who have their life in order, guys we respect, guys that are like Jesus, guys that have it together, spiritually speaking.

So what he’s saying is, if we’re gonna have male and female leaders in the church, that’s fine, but the women must embrace their role as women and respect authority. The men must embrace their role as men and exercise authority. Take responsibility for the well being of their wife and their children.

Now what he’s not saying here is that a woman can be an elder or a pastor. It doesn’t say anything. Doesn’t use that word, it’s not what he’s talking about. 1 Timothy 2 and 3 say that and elder, senior leader is to be a man. It’s not talking here about a woman preaching. 1 Timothy 5:7 says that that is an elder duty. That the elders are the ones who preach and teach. Here, though, a woman in the church can speak. It says she can pray and she can prophesy if she said Godly woman who respects authority that is over her. And in that day, will deal with it in 1 Corinthians 14, there’s a whole section there on prophesy in a few weeks, but prophesying was where God would give a word to someone and then the elders or the leaders in the church would check it and if it was true, then they would speak.

See, practically, what that means in our church is this – a woman can give testimony, and they do when we baptize women, they’ll tell you their story and then we’ll dunk ‘em. A woman can lead worship. A woman is leading in worship tonight. A women can read Scripture. Women are reading Scripture tonight. We didn’t set it up this way – this is actually just how the, how the schedule worked out, so have a nice illustration with some great ladies. A woman can teach Bible studies. A woman can be a deacon in the church. A woman can go into full-time ministry. A woman can go to seminary. All of these things, she just can’t be the highest authority in the church because that’s the role that God intends for male elders. And if a woman respects that authority, there’s a lot of freedom for her.

Now some of you will be frustrated, saying “You haven’t gone far enough.’ Some of you say, “You’ve gone too far. Your wife needs a doily on her head and she shouldn’t know how to read.” Well, we’re not, we’re not there either, right? Right, the churches tend to go to real major extremes on this and we say, we look at the woman’s character and her agenda. Why do you wanna lead? “I love the Lord and I, and I wanna serve the body of Christ and I respect authority and I’m Biblical.” Well, okay, cool. Then we’re gonna give you a lotta freedom, ‘cause a mature, Godly woman gets a lotta freedom.

So, here’s the verse about being a dude. “A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God;” you know, here’s what he’s saying. It should be clear. It should be obvious. You look and you go, “That’s a dude. That’s a dude right there and that’s a chick.” “but a woman is the glory of man.” Right? Proverbs says that certain women are a crown on a man’s head, others are decay in his bones.

Man did not come from woman, right? Man was created first. The woman was created from his side. He named her, he led her, he was the head of his family. The woman was brought out of the side of man to be the helper and the compliment but woman – from man. “. . .neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” Here’s what he’s saying is this. The first woman came from a man. Every man since came from a woman and what he’s saying is this. That men must be men. They shouldn’t be effeminate. They shouldn’t be dressing like women. They shouldn’t be people who are walking around saying, “I don’t like conflict. I don’t – I, just tell me what to,” men have to lead. Men have to take responsibility. One of the most frustrating things in the world, to me, is some guys who are like, “I like sex. Not marriage.” No. No. Those are synonyms, right? That’s where we end up with 40 percent of kids tonight go to bed without a father ‘cause guys like sex but not marriage. Right? Guys, guys like good times but they don’t like responsibility. Some guys have a hard time holding down a job. Some guys have a hard time, you know, not being a drunk, actually getting themselves out of bed, paying their own bills. Paul is saying, if you’re gonna say you’re a Christian and you’re a man, be a man. Be masculine. Do things well. Be responsible. Be respectable.

And he saying the woman is made to help. Okay some review ladies will say, “That’s a denigration. I don’t wanna be the helper.” All say a few things on this. One, in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete, the helper, so you ladies who are helpful to your husbands, you have the same role as the Holy Spirit. So that’s a good role. Secondly, your husband needs you, right? I need my wife. This is how I am after her helping me for 18 years. Imagine where I started, right? I mean, you need – if you’re a dude – you need your wife’s help. And thirdly, what this means is for you ladies who are single, “Should I just sit around and wait for a husband?” No. Go to college, get a degree, start your career, do your ministry, do your thing. But, when you get married, it’s all gonna get changed and interrupted. It’s gonna change, because the woman is made for the man. The man is not made for the woman. These dudes who are like, “I stay home and watch the kids so she can pursue her career.” Pfft. No. The point is that 1 Timothy says that if a man does not provide for the needs of his family, he’s denied the faith, he’s worse than an unbeliever. Get a job. Work. Pay your bills. Love your woman. She’ll help you out. Come alongside, but take responsibilities that are your own.

What that means for you single gals. Some of you single gals are like, “Well, I don’t want my life to change.” Then you don’t want to get married. A dude disrupts everything. That’s his job. Right? That’s his job. So what that means is ladies, if you feel call to something, you’d better marry a guy who’s doing the same thing. If you say, “I feel call to be a missionary in El Salvador,” then you’d better marry a guy who feels called to be a missionary in El Salvador and the two of you can work together. You can be one. You could do that together, praise be to God. You’re a gal who says, “God, I feel like you’ve called me to have 10 kids.” Then you’d better marry the guy with a job, right? ‘Cause somebody’s gotta feed those kids. So you ladies who are single, I’m not saying just sit around and wait. I’m saying, though, expect your life to be interrupted and, if you’re going to marry a guy, you’d better like what he’s doing, where he’s going, his theology, his church, his God, his ministry, his vocation, his view of family – you, you better be cool with that. Otherwise, you’re gonna have conflict, right?

I had somebody, a while back, single guy, ask me, “Dude, how did you get your wife to do that?” “Do what?” “Well, she loves you and she’s cute, she’s nice to you and she raises the kids she stay, how’d you make her do that?” Make her do that – I didn’t make her – it’s like we arm-wrestled and she lost. We, we agree – like I told her what I wanna do with my life and that’s what she wanted to do with her life, so we got married. Then we don’t have to fight, now we can work together. She helps me and I love her and we work together to build a life that we agree on. That’s why theology is so important. It’s more than just a Christian, it’s someone who agrees with you on these issues of gender and role.

And so then it moves along. Principle four. Angels are our example for authority. Now everybody debates this verse, nobody knows what it means. It was an ancient colloquialism that perhaps the meaning is lost on us, but he says, “For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.” Here’s my guess. You say, “You might be wrong.” I know. On this one, it’s an ancient colloquialism. I’m not gonna lie to you. It’s unclear. Here’s what I think it means. This issue of do we respect or disrespect, do we honor or dishonor God’s authority and God’s appointed authorities, is not something that began with us human beings, it began with the angels. God made angels before he made human beings and the angels were told to obey god. Some did, and they maintain worship of him. Some did not and became what? Demons. And what he is saying is this – ladies, if you don’t want to respect authority, that’s demonic. The angels have already tried it and it didn’t go well, they’re now demons. And women who say, “I don’t need authority. I don’t need to respect authority. I’m independent, autonomous. I’m better than Jesus. No one should be able to tell me anything.” That is demonic. I think that’s exactly what he stating. That before we make foolish decisions to dishonor Godly authority, we should look at the example of angels and demons and say how did it go for them, that is probably not what we would want to be rebellious.

Fifth point. Men and women need each other. Verse 11. “In the Lord,” if you’re Christians, “In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. And everything comes from God.” First woman came from the man. Every man since comes from the woman and the issue is this – independence is not a good thing. They’re gonna tell you, “Be independent,” right and they’re gonna tell you, when you get married, she has her career, he has his career. She has her religion, he has his religion. She has her friends. He has his friends. Well, eventually, she’s got her divorce attorney. He’s got his divorce attorney. And she’s got her broken heart and adulterous affair and he’s got his broken heart and membership at the strip club.

And that’s the way it goes and statistically, it’s evidentiary, that you’re not supposed to be independent but interdependent. Not chauvinist and feminist, fighting, but complementarian, working together, male and female as one. Again, the Lord, our God, Deuteronomy 6:4 says he is one. God the father, God the Son, God the spirit. One. The man and the woman, same word from Deuteronomy 6:4, all the way back in Genesis 1 and 2 and 3 – Genesis 2 it says that the man and his wife were naked, they felt no shame, that they became one flesh. That the man and the woman are to be one as God the father, God the Son, God the Spirit are one. What that means is, you’re not independent. Right, my wife and I, we don’t have separate bank accounts. We don’t have separate friends. We don’t have separate churches. We don’t have separate theologies. We don’t have separate life views of the world. We don’t have separate parenting styles. We don’t have separate visions for our future – we’re one. And you need each other. Men don’t just need men and women don’t just need men and women don’t just need women. Men need women. Women need men. Interdependence. Male and female. Very good. Brought together and it was said before sin entered the world that it’s not good for the man to be alone because he was independent, he wasn’t Trinitarian. So he needed a woman so he could be more Trinitarian.

We’ll go on. Principle six. This is the funny part. Men should be masculine. Women should be feminine. I know this is highly controversial and it shouldn’t be. All right, now some of you are gonna freak out, right? Some of you are gonna freak out. That’s cool. Think it through. If God made you a man, why would you despise being a man? What’s so wrong with being a man? If God made you a woman, why would you despise being a woman? What’s so wrong with being a woman? Why do you despise that which God made good? Like gender. My wife’s glad to be a woman. Me too. Right? And I’m glad to be a guy. Right, she’s feminine, I’m masculine. It actually works well. If it was masculine/masculine, somebody’d have to die, right? It works better this way. I’ll keep reading, before you all leave.

Verse 13. “Judge for yourselves:” So you gotta make up your own mind on these issues. You gotta say, “Where am I at on these things.” “Is it proper for a woman to pray with her head uncovered?” Hm. “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? Her hair is given to her as a covering.” Now, here’s the deal. In that day, women would shave their heads to go masculine, like today. And dudes who were highly effeminate, they’d wear their hair long in an effort to appear feminine. And see how things – oh, man, this is so cool, hip hopper- this is 2000-year-old school. This is just, you know, we’re driving around the same cul-de-sac for 2000 years, having the same parade. You know, I mean, it’s just kinda silly. But, here’s the deal – some of you guys are thinking, “Does this mean that a woman has to have” – first question that comes up, “Does a woman have to have long hair?” Well, in that day, again, the only women who had short hair were women who were going butch, so in our day, I would say the cultural equivalent is this, a woman should have her appearance be such that you know she’s a woman. It’s not a sin for a woman to have short hair, but if she cuts it in such a way and dresses herself and conducts herself in such a way as to appear masculine, thereby negating the gender that God gave her, that is a sin.

How about dudes? Can dudes have long hair? Well, in that culture, only effeminate guys had long hair and I don’t care what the picture is, Jesus Christ did not have long hair. “What in the heck?” It’s no wonder dudes don’t go to church. It’s like, you wanna worship him, worship him, I can freakin’ take him. You know, like, how could I worship a guy I could take, you know? Jesus did not have long hair. Now, some people thought he had long hair because he’s from the town of Nazareth and so they think, “Oh, he took a Nazerite vow,” and the Nazerite vow was no consumption of alcohol and no cutting of the hair but he, he cut his hair and he drank alcohol. He was a construction worker. You ever been to the job site and seen a guy with a curling iron, product in his hair and a dress, doing, “Hello, I shingle.” That guy’s not there. He’s not there, right? Christ was a construction worker. Calluses on his hands. No product in his hair. No curling iron in his tent. That’s not how it happened, right? He’s not wearing a dress. You know, I mean – it – your picture of Jesus, guys, really matters ‘cause that’s your picture of appropriate masculinity.

So is it a sin for a dude to have long hair? Well, in our culture, if a dude has long hair, it doesn’t automatically assume he’s effeminate and he’s not very masculine. He may, you know, if he’s wearing a Snow Patrol t-shirt and has a beard, you might just think he’s unemployed, not a girl, you know? And so, the cultural equivalent would be, it is a sin for a guy to have long hair if his whole intent is to look very effeminate and appear to be a lady. But it’s not a sin in general for a man – in our culture – to have long hair because it, it doesn’t exactly mean the same thing in our culture as it did in that day. And so, lemme tell you this – in the Bible, there are principles and methods. The principles are transcultural, universal. The methods are culturally applicable and appropriate. So the principle here is that women should appear to be women, men should appear to be men and in some cultures, that looks a little bit different but the principle is still the same. So, we extract the principle from this cultural methodology and we ask how should a guy look and how should a gal look to present themselves as masculine and feminine. Okay?

So, seventh principle and I have to do a little comedy, otherwise, you guys are gonna start chucking stuff and I’m gonna need chicken wire like a honky tonk bar because it’s so controversial. So, my seventh point is this – that gender roles are not subject to cultural change and preference. Some people say but that was then, this is now. We’re so more advance. Oh yeah, we’re totally advanced. Look at all these smart people loving each other. Just like Heaven. Pfft. No. Women are treated horribly. Dudes are cowards. Everything’s a total mess. Kids don’t have parents. Everybody’s naked. Nobody could read. It’s not going so well. I don’t know if you got a television and you ever watch the news, the world still needs a bit of work. So, I’m telling you we are not – it’s arrogant. It is tremendously arrogant to think, “Well 2000 years ago, they were very primitive. They’re not highly advanced like me. Has anyone seen my pants.” I mean it’s just – it’s just the height of arrogance and it’s theological evolution. Some people call it trajectory hermeneutic. I know all the big words and you know, whatever. Paul says it this way. “If anyone wants to be contentious about this,” Haha. Do you think anyone wants to be contentious about this? “If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice” there’s no Plan B. There’s no backup plan. There’s no other denomination to go to. “—nor do the churches of God.”

What he’s saying is this – God made us male and female. Sin came into the world. Some people are confused about their gender. Some people hate their gender. So many gender confusion issues – under them are abuse issues and rather than just yelling at you, saying, “Be a man, be a woman,” if you’re someone who struggles with gender identity issues because of abuse issues that underlay that, then let’s sit down and talk about that. Let’s get together with a pastor, a Biblical counselor, and let’s really deal with the root issue. Don’t defend your alternative lifestyle, deal with your abuse and see if that doesn’t help clarify your identity.

Paul says we have no other practice. Some of you say, “But I know a lotta churches,” those aren’t churches. See, churches that obey Scripture and obey Jesus and obey gender and such things, those are churches. Churches that don’t, maybe they’re not churches. Maybe they’re not. Maybe those are groups doing the same thing as the demons did. Doing whatever the heck they want and rebelling against God’s created order and God’s stated authority.. Paul says we have no other practice and I know some of you think, “But I got this book and I know this theologian. This other church says this.” I’m telling you, this is the way it is. This is the way that it is. Male and female, very good. Judge for yourselves, Paul says. Now, practically, practically, let me explain what this means for us. I know that as we read this, you say, “But, these issues are confusing. Head coverings, long hair, short hair, what does all this mean?” Again, they asked him questions. He’s answering them. Let’s extract the principles, apply them to our culture.

I’ll give you an example. The Bible says to greet one another with a holy kiss. Any of you kiss anybody on the way in? Say no. Why? Because it would mean something different in our culture. Principles and methods. Some methods work from one culture to another. In some cultures, you can walk into the church in case somebody and that’s how you say hello. Here, if you walk in, “Hi Pastor Mark.” You know, no. What are you doing, man? “I’m greeting with a holy ki-,” no, we’re not doing that. That’s not how it works here. That means something else. We do firm handshake. We do shoulder to shoulder hug.

And if you walked in and I kissed your wife, right? If I stood at the door and said, and I were the verse on my shirt, “Greet one another with the holy kiss,” and every gal, I was like, [makes kissing noises] right, all our greeters were making out with, you go, “That just doesn’t feel very Biblical. That feels very bad.” Well, the principle is greet one another in a loving, culturally appropriate way. So we shake hands or we hug, okay?

And so, practically, what this means for you men – you look to Jesus and you say, “How did Jesus exercise his authority over his bride, the church?” and you love your life like Jesus loves the church. That’s the whole theme of Ephesians 5.

Is Jesus mean to his church? Does he beat his church? Yell at her? Smack her? Cheat on her? Is he cheap with her? Is he unkind? Not at all. You love your wife like Jesus loves the church. And then ladies, you look to Jesus and you say, “How did Jesus respect and submit to the authority of God the father and how should I respond to authority?” So it’s all Jesus-centered. Men exercising authority like Jesus. Women respecting authority like Jesus.

Now I’ll conclude with some illustrations, because this is where it gets real practical. And to me, this is actually, this is actually hurtful. Where, I don’t mind if people argue with me, and I don’t mind if people disagree with me, and I don’t care if they blog and argue and debate and say terrible things – but where it does break my heart is when I hear statements said and online and from other churches in pastors in Christians, “Mark’s a sexist. Mark’s a chauvinist pig. Mark’s a misogynist.” Right? I’m like, I’m not – I don’t get anybody a massage. That’s a joke. But, you know, but, but the thought is, “He must oppress his wife. He must oppress his daughters. He must be the worst guy in the world.” And terrible things get said about how I treat my wife, which just breaks my heart. I mean, I’m not telling you I’m sinless and perfect, but I am telling you that I do hope that the men in this room treat their wives like I treat mine. That’s absolutely true.

We now have five kids. We’d have six but we miscarried. My wife stays home, helps me, loves the kids, and I can honestly tell you this that the majority of the fights in our marriage are me trying to spoil her and her feeling guilty. Here are our major fights. Very rarely do I say, “I’m the head, I make decisions, you respect me, you follow my leadership.” Most of the time we agree and we open the Bible and we’re on the same page. The only times I’ve ever had to say, “I’m in charge, you need to respect me and you need to do what I’m asking you to do.” Is when we have these conversations: “Your cars a beater, I’m gonna buy you a new one.” “No, no, no.” “Your house doesn’t work for this many kids, I’m gonna buy you a new house.” “No, no, no.” You know? “No, I won’t spend the money. I feel bad.” Most of our disagreements have been me wanting to spoil her and her feeling guilty because I take better care of her than she takes care of herself.

That is what it means to be the head. When you’re headship, when you hear, “The man is the head,” it’s a good thing if the man totally loves you. And if, like Jesus, he would die for you. And his whole goal is to bless you, to encourage you, to nurture you, to protect you, to provide for you, to take care of you, to build you up, to nurture God’s image and likeness in you, so that you have a life of love and security and safety and joy. That’s all I’m talking about. It’s all I’m talking about. Most of you women, if your husband came and said, “Look, you need to go get a massage and take a day off.” You’d be like, “I submit.” It’s really not – right? It all depends on what the guy’s like and if he loves you and what he’s asking is for your benefit because he adores you.

Last point. And I know it’s hot. But I have two daughters, one’s two, one’s eight and when I hear that I’m a sexist, misogynist, patriarchal, jerk it kills me because I got two daughters that I love with all my heart. Like, I’m the snuggle daddy, go the pet store daddy, go shoe shopping daddy, leave notes for the girls daddy. I’m the, I’m all about having girls. I really like having girls. Love my sons, too, and I really enjoy my girls. And I’ll give you an illustration. My eight-year-old daughter this summer wanted to go swimming, so I took her to the pool. Daddy time. I do daddy dates with my girls and I take my daughter to the pool and we’re swimming and having fun and hanging out and this young girl comes, 16, 17. Shows up with three guys and she jumps in the pool and at various times, she’s wrestling and being manhandled by each of these three teenage boys and at some point during the time we’re swimming in the pool, she kissed every one of these three boys in the pool. Somehow, she was getting passed around between these high school boys. And my daughter swims over to me and she was watching this and she said, “Daddy, that girl kissed all of those boys.” I said, “Yeah, what do you think about that?” Here’s what my eight-year-old daughter said. “It’s sad she doesn’t have a good daddy.”

That’s what we’re talking about. That’s what we’re talking about. Men who love women, respect their femininity. Nourish, encourage and protect. Men who love women to the degree that they will take better care of their wives and their daughters than their wives and their daughters would take care of themselves. And that women who don’t respect authority put themselves in danger and men who don’t exercise authority in respectful ways are dangerous men. The goal is to be like Jesus. Ladies who respect authority and men who use it like Jesus does. That’s the point.

I’ll pray. You have time to repent. I’m assuming someone here has something to repent of. You give your sins to Jesus. He lived, died and rose to take away sin. We’ll respond with tithes and offerings and communion, which is his body and blood being remembered and the singing to Jesus. You’ll be led today by some great, Godly, women, to illustrate the principle of 1 Corinthians 11. Father God, we thank you that all authority belongs to you. That you’ve given that authority to Jesus.. That Jesus has loved us well and he is the head of this church. And Jesus, I pray that the women would, would view authority in a way that you do, that it’s a good thing. And that the men would exercise authority in the way that you do, that it’s a good thing. And God, I pray against chauvinism. I pray against feminism. I pray against gender conflict and war in the marriages of this church. I pray for peace and love and unity and oneness. I pray we would each judge for ourselves that your intentions are very good. Amen.


Some of the most hotly debated issues of today are about issues of gender and authority. The three positions on gender roles are egalitarian feminism, hierarchical chauvinism, and complementarian chivalry.
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