This Pentecost Sunday we must talk about The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the sole reason for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). Jesus said he would send an Advocate, and the CBMW has made that “advocate” a husband.
The following words are from the Pope, not a Baptist! However, the role that husbands have been given by complementarians are synonymous to the role of the other Advocate.*
“The advocate (defender) is he who, taking the part of those who are guilty because of sin committed, defends them from the penalty due to their sins, and saves them from the danger of losing eternal life and salvation. This is precisely what Jesus Christ did. The Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete because he continues Christ’s redemptive work which freed us from sin and eternal death. The Paraclete will be “another advocate-defender” also for a second reason. Remaining with Christ’s disciples, he will watch over them with his omnipotent power. “I will pray the Father,” Jesus said, “and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you forever” (Jn 14:16)” (The Holy Spirit as Advocate. Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on the Holy Spirit).
The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was the brainchild of Wayne Grudem, professor of theology and biblical studies. It originated from a discussion and eventually a paper he wrote in which he defined the Greek work kephale to mean having “authority over” instead of “source” as egalitarians were claiming.
That sums up the Danvers Statement very well. In Wayne Grudem’s mind and intent – based upon his own words**, men having authority over women is the overriding theme. Never mind the fact that Jesus did not give males this authority or acknowledge in any way that men were superior to women. They claim that God decided at Creation that He would share His headship over women with all men.
By giving males authority based on gender and nothing else, the writers and proponents of the Danvers Statement reduce women to an inferior status by assigning specific “roles” based on gender.
These assigned roles deny the power of the Holy Spirit.
Man-made roles do not allow for spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are those of natural abilities and also those of supernatural abilities (when God calls us to do something, He will equip us for that job). The Word of God did not categorize these gifts under two column headings: male and female. The Danvers Statement has categorized men and women into roles, but the scriptures do not. The scriptures they give to back up their arguments do not prove that God has given males headship or authority over females.
The Danvers Statement can be found on the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s website, on John Piper’s Desiring God website, on the website of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and elsewhere. A past president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Paige Patterson who, along with his wife Dorothy Kelley Patterson, was instrumental in both the Danvers Statement and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is the official statement of the Southern Baptist Convention and the majority of its 47,530 churches, and it has the same language and intent as the Danvers Statement.
This means that Baptist churches have adopted the essential dogma of the Danvers Statement without realizing it. That should surprise no one given that the CBMW has its headquarters in a Southern Baptist theological seminary.
It is all about keeping women under control
It is important to understand that the Danvers Statement is all about keeping women under control and keeping women from leadership in the home or church. We know this because it is included in the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism. This book was edited by two of the founders of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, John Piper and Wayne Grudem. The CBMW was founded in order to support male headship and male authority, and women’s submission to that authority.
From the beginning of the Danvers Statement, one can see it diverging from biblical truths, based upon CBMW’s biases and interpretations. Certainly there are differences in men and women other than anatomical differences. The Bible is not concerned with masculine and feminine traits. Jesus never mentions these inborn differences. God Himself is described with both father and mother characteristics. In the New Testament, Jesus is concerned with the heart – not masculinity, not femininity, and certainly not genitalia.
The fallacies of the Danvers Statement
Much has been written exposing the fallacies of the Danvers Statement. However, it does not take a Bible scholar to see the misogyny presented in the Danvers Statement. In reading the Concerns and Affirmations, it is clear that this is a cultural document that denies the modern age in preference to biblical times with emphasis on restrictions against women.
Scriptures have been added to the document in an attempt to justify the return of families to the First Century. A clear reading of the scriptures does not justify male domination over females as a commandment law. It cannot. Jesus made one new law and it was not about male/female leadership, but about equality in loving each other: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).
Each point in the Danvers Statement begins with their belief that women are responsible for the breakdown of family and reinforces their teaching that males were created from the beginning to dominate and lead women.
When Christian men believe they are to lead their wives, or to get her ready for Jesus, they usurp the role of the Holy Spirit, the true Advocate.
*In mid-December, an article was published on the Desiring God website titled “Husbands, Get Her Ready for Jesus.” Written by a Philadelphia pastor named Bryan Stoudt, this piece argues that husbands have a responsibility to challenge and correct their wives in order to keep them on course through the path of sanctification. For Stoudt, husbands have a unique responsibility for their wives’ sanctification, a responsibility that wives do not share for their husbands. He describes this responsibility as “the staggering privilege of getting our wives ready for Jesus, their true husband.” https://www.cbeinternational.org/resource/article/mutuality-blog-magazine/why-husbands-cant-get-her-ready-jesus