Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making developed five questions that can be asked to apply the significance of any cultural artifact we encounter. I’ve found that these five questions force me to slow my emotional responses and to think more objectively about subjects that are initially alien or even offensive to me.
I thought this morning that I’d apply the five questions to the Biblical Manhood/Womanhood Movements that are currently enjoying popularity within Evangelicalism. I’ll confess from the start that I have a low appreciation for these movements and that this will certainly color my responses. So by all means, add your perspective in the comments. My only request, besides the basic call to civility is that your responses are in the form an answer to one of the five questions. Of course, these are my responses to the questions and not Andy Crouch’s.
What do the Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Movements assume about the way the world is?
- That God has designed set roles for men and women that are not bound by culture.
- That these roles are knowable through a careful study of the Bible.
- That the Bible was intended to provide humanity with a comprehensive moral code.
- That many of the problems in our workplace and marriages are a result of society ignoring these roles.
- Moral knowledge is clear and self-evident.
2. What does the Biblical Manhood/Womanhood Movements assume about the way the world should be?
- Men and women should be eager to subscribe to the prescribed roles.
- Christians everywhere should read the Bible and agree that there are prescribed roles for gender and agree to what those roles are.
- The Bible should be read moralistically.
3. What do the Biblical Manhood/Womanhood Movements make possible?
- They provide scaffolding for men and women who grew up without role models and help them develop their own style for being men and women.
- The reinforcement of patriarchal thinking.
- Bible based rationalization of chauvinism (notice the questions says “make possible” and not “make inevitable.” I’m not calling all complementarianists out as being chauvinists).
- Parallel men’s and women’s ministries.
- Book genres designed to support these ministries.
4. What do the Biblical Manhood/Womanhood movements make impossible (or at least difficult)?
- Women having places to use leadership gifts in meaningful ways in their congregations.
5. What new culture is created in response?
- Biblical egalitarians use the Biblical Manhood/Womenhood movement as a foil against which to form their own positions.
- A dechurched population that views the church as being anti-women.
So have at it, what would you add to this list? Feel free to challenge anything I’ve written. But do so in form of a response to the questions. And remember, this is a sociological look at the issue and not a critique of theology.