BOTH MEN AND WOMEN ARE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
When God created humans, he designed them to put on display and reflect his own image. In his brilliance, he designed two genders: male and female. Both men and women equally display the glory and image of God. There is something reflected in men and women that is good and points to God.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27
BOTH MEN AND WOMEN ARE EQUAL IN DIGNITY, VALUE, AND WORTH
Men are not better or greater than women. Women are not second-class citizens. They should not be subjugated or diminished in their value. Rather, since both men and women are created in the image of God, they are both equal in their dignity, value, and worth.
BOTH MEN AND WOMEN ARE EQUAL IN REDEMPTION AND VITAL FOR MINISTRY
Men and women believers are co-heirs, equal in redemption. In the Kingdom of God, women are not second-class citizens. God has given them important gift for the life and ministry of the church. Women are encouraged to lead and serve and benefit the church, such as in the office of Deaconess.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28
MEN AND WOMEN ARE DIFFERENT AND UNIQUELY DISPLAY THE IMAGE OF GOD
Both men and women equally display the glory and image of God, but in very different ways. They show forth God’s character in unique and beautiful ways. The masculine traits found in men tell us something profound about God and ourselves. Likewise, the feminine traits found in women also tell us something profound about God and ourselves. The God of the Bible is wonderfully complex, so much so that it required two genders to properly paint the picture of who he is and what he is like.
“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ …So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,’This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’” – Genesis 2:18, 21-23
MEN AND WOMEN HAVE BEEN GIVEN COMPLEMENTARY ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES WITHIN CERTAIN CONTEXTS
There are certain contexts in which God has given specific and unique roles and responsibilities to men and women. These roles are not analogous to every context. God has given unique roles and responsibilities to men and women in marriage.
“‘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.” – Ephesians 5:31-33
A HUSBAND IS TO LOVINGLY LEAD HIS WIFE AND KIDS LIKE JESUS LOVINGLY LEADS THE CHURCH
Married men have the difficult and beautiful job of leading their wives and children. A husband’s leadership should not be a dictatorship or oppressive in any way. Rather, he is called to lay his own life down for the good of his wife. This means that husband should spend their lives in service to their bride, putting her wellbeing and preferences above his own.
“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.” – Ephesians 5:25-30
A WIFE IS CALLED TO RESPOND TO HER HUSBAND LIKE THE CHURCH RESPONDS TO JESUS
A married woman likewise is to respond to her husband’s leadership as the church submits to Jesus. In this, she is also uniquely displaying Jesus, who willingly and beautifully submitted to his Father, though equal to him in dignity, value, and worth. The Bible never demands that all women should submit to all men. The Bible calls a woman to submit to a particular man within the context of marriage. Most importantly, this does not mean that a wife is to follower her husband no matter what. A wife should never follow her husband into sin.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” – Ephesians 5:22-24
THE OFFICE OF ELDER IS UNIQUELY RESTRICTED TO BIBLICALLY-QUALIFIED MEN
There are numerous ways to serve and minister in the church, and uniquely in the office of Elder has God restricted it to biblically-qualified men. This does not mean that women are less valuable in worth or in the mission. Nor does it mean that women cannot lead and influence in other ways, such as a Deaconess. Rather, it simply means that God has specifically designed this particular office for certain men.
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. – Titus 1:5-6