T4G Article XVI (2006)
We affirm that the Scripture reveals a pattern of complementary order between men and women, and that this order is itself a testimony to the Gospel, even as it is the gift of our Creator and Redeemer. We also affirm that all Christians are called to service within the body of Christ, and that God has given to both men and women important and strategic roles within the home, the Church, and the society. We further affirm that the teaching office of the Church is assigned only to those men who are called of God in fulfillment of the biblical teachings and that men are to lead in their homes as husbands and fathers who fear and love God.
We deny that the distinction of roles between men and women revealed in the Bible is evidence of mere cultural conditioning or a manifestation of male oppression or prejudice against women. We also deny that this biblical distinction of roles excludes women from meaningful ministry in Christ’s kingdom. We further deny that any Church can confuse these issues without damaging its witness to the Gospel.
We have been moved in our purpose by the following contemporary developments which we observe with deep concern:
- The widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture regarding the complementary differences between masculinity and femininity;
- the tragic effects of this confusion in unraveling the fabric of marriage woven by God out of the beautiful and diverse strands of manhood and womanhood;
- the increasing promotion given to feminist egalitarianism with accompanying distortions or neglect of the glad harmony portrayed in Scripture between the loving, humble leadership of redeemed husbands and the intelligent, willing support of that leadership by redeemed wives;
- the widespread ambivalence regarding the values of motherhood, vocational homemaking, and the many ministries historically performed by women;
- the growing claims of legitimacy for sexual relationships which have Biblically and historically been considered illicit or perverse, and the increase in pornographic portrayal of human sexuality;
- the upsurge of physical and emotional abuse in the family;
- the emergence of roles for men and women in church leadership that do not conform to Biblical teaching but backfire in the crippling of Biblically faithful witness;
- the increasing prevalence and acceptance of hermeneutical oddities devised to reinterpret apparently plain meanings of Biblical texts;
- the consequent threat to Biblical authority as the clarity of Scripture is jeopardized and the accessibility of its meaning to ordinary people is withdrawn into the restricted realm of technical ingenuity;
- and behind all this the apparent accommodation of some within the church to the spirit of the age at the expense of winsome, radical Biblical authenticity which in the power of the Holy Spirit may reform rather than reflect our ailing culture.
Based on our understanding of Biblical teachings, we affirm the following:
- Both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood (Gen 1:26-27, 2:18).
- Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart (Gen 2:18, 21-24; 1 Cor 11:7-9; 1 Tim 2:12-14).
- Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin (Gen 2:16-18, 21-24, 3:1-13; 1 Cor 11:7-9).
- The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women (Gen 3:1-7, 12, 16).
- In the home, the husband’s loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife’s intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility.
- In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries.
- The Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, manifests the equally high value and dignity which God attached to the roles of both men and women (Gen 1:26-27, 2:18; Gal 3:28). Both Old and New Testaments also affirm the principle of male headship in the family and in the covenant community (Gen 2:18; Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:18-19; 1 Tim 2:11-15).
- Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse.
- In the family, husbands should forsake harsh or selfish leadership and grow in love and care for their wives; wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands’ leadership (Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:18-19; Tit 2:3-5; 1 Pet 3:1-7).
- In the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men (Gal 3:28; 1 Cor 11:2-16; 1 Tim 2:11-15).
- In all of life Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission-domestic, religious, or civil-ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin (Dan 3:10-18; Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29; 1 Pet 3:1-2).
- In both men and women a heartfelt sense of call to ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries (1 Tim 2:11-15, 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9). Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will.
Baptist Faith & Message (2000) VI. The Church
. . . Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.
PCA Study Committee on Women (2017) 45th GA
The Presbyterian Church in America is joyfully and confessionally committed to the Bible’s teaching on the complementarity of men and women. As a denomination, we believe that this teaching is true, good, and beautiful. We affirm the full dignity of men and women as created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28). We also humbly and happily embrace Scripture’s clear teaching that the eldership is to be composed of qualified men (1 Tim. 2:12; 3:1-7; 16 5:17), who are entrusted by Christ with the ministry of the authoritative teaching and ruling of the church for the building up of the whole body (Eph. 4:11-13). In marriage, this mutually-edifying complementarity is displayed when a Christian husband expresses his responsibility of headship in sacrificial love to his wife (Eph. 5:23-31) and when a Christian wife welcomes her husband’s headship with respect (Eph. 5:22-24, 33).
When the PCA was formed, objection to the ordination of women as pastors and elders was an animating issue. We agreed upon it and rallied around it (all of us, men and women), because we rightly saw that it was an issue of biblical authority. Today, that commitment remains dominantly embraced in the membership of the PCA, but both members and ministers are asking how to equip, encourage, and utilize women in the church’s ministry in ways that are consistent with our confessional and theological commitments to complementarianism.
When the PCA began, North American society was in flux on the issue of women’s roles. Today, the society is settled on the full inclusion of women in every sphere. This presents us with a challenge and opportunity. In this moment, we need positively and persuasively to make the case for biblical complementarity in the home and church, showing that it is true, good, and beautiful. At the same time, we want actively and unhesitatingly to pursue and equip the women of the church for every biblical role of service open to them.
PCA Nashville Statement Overture (2019)
In the wake of the controversy surrounding the “Revoice conference in St. Louis, the PCA GA adopted an overture to “declare the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood’s “Nashville Statement” on biblical sexuality as a biblically faithful declaration and refer the “Nashville Statement” to the Committee on Discipleship Ministries for inclusion and promotion among its denominational teaching materials.”
Five Things to do in pastorally promoting confessional complementarianism in your church
There is enormous pressure and temptation NOT to speak about these issues.
Don’t adopt false “third way” approaches to the issues of gender, marriage, sexuality and church leadership: “Let’s stop talking about homosexuality and just live out beautiful complementarian lives and marriages.” No, we need to do both. Yes, live out the Bible’s teaching faithfully and beautifully (but do not expect that the world will necessarily applaud us for that) AND also say no to what God in the Bible says no to (especially as we are seeking to edify the people in our church).
1. Promote a biblical belief and practice on men and women in home, and on qualified male eldership in the church by what you do and teach.
• What you do as a church in your polity and public practice sends a message!
• Don’t try to trick people into not knowing that you are complementarian.
• Realize that polity is theology, and always teaches theology, sometimes more loudly than the pulpit.
2. Preach and teach from the pulpit as the issue comes up in the text, but be deliberate in officer and leadership training, and in explaining the position in new member classes. Be clear on your website. Clarity is your friend. Vagueness is your enemy.
3. Do not assume that your younger members agree, or think this issue has the same degree of importance as you do. Even in the church next generation’s view of complementarity and of gender issues is not yours. Don’t panic, persuade. Constantly be in the mode of persuasion, not rallying, ranting or lamenting. Especially in the context of your local community and church, be firm in your convictions and winsome in your persuasion.
4. Create a culture than is honoring of women. The women in our churches ought to be able to say of us, “no man has ever treated me as well, with more respect, than these complementarian men.”
* Evidently and publicly honor women, showing them regard in statements you make from the pulpit, and in trusting them with significant service within biblical parameters.
* Work hard as a pastor to show your regard for women and to invest in them spiritually and equip them to serve.
5. Emphasize to our men that headship is a responsibility for service, not tool for self-interest.
* The main note that people ought to be hearing from us is not “men are in charge” but men have been given a unique responsibility that comes with accountability that they are to exercise for the benefit of the well-being of others, especially wife, children and church.
Let no man be anything for himself, but let us all be whatever we are for others. This is accomplished by love; and where love does not reign, there is no edification of the church” ~ John Calvin, on Ephesians 4:16