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Biblical Distinctives Between Males and Females PDF Print E-mail


For your information, inspiration and intercession, please study this ICCP Discussion Document from the Reformation 500 Church Consultation in Wittenberg, Germany, October 2017. Click here to see the broadcast and livestreamed presentations held at the Global Reformation Conference in July 2019.


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The Danvers Statement by The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Rationale: We have been moved in our purpose by the following contemporary developments which we observe with deep concern:

1. The widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture regarding the complementary differences between masculinity and femininity;

2. the tragic effects of this confusion in unravelling the fabric of marriage woven by God out of the beautiful and diverse strands of manhood and womanhood;

3. 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;

4. the widespread ambivalence regarding the values of motherhood, vocational homemaking, and the many ministries historically performed by women;

5. 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;

6. the upsurge of physical and emotional abuse in the family;

7. 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;

8. the increasing prevalence and acceptance of hermeneutical oddities devised to reinterpret apparently plain meanings of Biblical texts;

9. 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authority as the clarity of Scripture is jeopardized and the accessibility of its meaning to ordinary people is withdrawn into the restricted realm of technical ingenuity;

10. 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.



Recognizing our own abiding sinfulness and fallibility, and acknowledging the genuine evangelical standing of many who do not agree with all of our convictions, nevertheless, moved by the preceding observations and by the hope that the noble Biblical vision of sexual complementarity may yet win the mind and heart of Christ’s church, we engage to pursue the following purposes:


1. To study and set forth the Biblical view of the relationship between men and women, especially in the home and in the church.

2. To promote the publication of scholarly and popular materials representing this view.

3. To encourage the confidence of lay people to study and understand for themselves the teaching of Scripture, especially on the issue of relationships between men and women.

4. To encourage the considered and sensitive application of this Biblical view in the appropriate spheres of life.

5. And thereby

a. To bring healing to persons and relationships injured by an inadequate grasp of God’s will concerning manhood and womanhood,

b. To help both men and women realize their full ministry potential through a true understanding and practice of their God‑given roles,

c. And to promote the spread of the gospel among all peoples by fostering a Biblical wholeness in relationships that will attract a fractured world.




Based on our understanding of Biblical teachings, we affirm the following:


1. Both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:18).

2. 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 (Genesis 2:18, 21-24; I Corinthians 11:7-9; I Timothy 2:12-14).

3. Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin (Genesis 2:16-18, 21-24; 3:1-13; I Corinthians 11:7-9).

4. The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women (Genesis 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.

5. 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 (Genesis 1:21-27, 2:18; Galatians3:28). Both Old and New Testaments also affirm the principle of male headship in the family and in the covenant community (Genesis 2:18; Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:18-19; I Timothy 2:11-15).

6. 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 (Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:18-19; Titus 2:2-5; I Peter 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 (Genesis 3:28; I Corinthians 11:2-16; I Timothy 2:11-15).

7. 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 (Daniel 3:10-18; Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29; I Peter 3:1-2).

8. In both men and women a heartfelt sense of call to ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries (I Timothy 2:11-15, 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will.

9. With half the world’s population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies that have heard the gospel; with the stresses and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world (I Corinthians 12:7-21).

10. We are convinced that a denial or neglect of these principles will lead to increasingly destructive consequences in our families, our churches, and the culture at large.


The “Danvers Statement” was prepared by several evangelical leaders at a CBMW meeting in Danvers, Mass., in December, 1987. It was first published in final form by the CBMW in Wheaton, Ill., in November, 1988. We grant permission and encourage interested persons to use, reproduce, and distribute the Danvers Statement. Additional copies of this brochure are available for a donation of $9.00 for 50, and $15.00 for 100, post paid, from CBMW, P.O. Box 317, Wheaton, IL 60189.



Gary Almy, M.D., Prof. of Psychiatry and Assoc.; Dean Chicago Medical School.

Gleason Archer, Ph.D., Professor of Old Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Donald Balasa, J .D., Attorney, Wildwood, Illinois.

James Borland, Th.D., Prof. of New Testament and Theology, Liberty University.

Waldemar Degner, Ph.D., Professor of Exegetical Theology, Concordia Seminary (Ft. Wayne, Ind.).

Lane T. Dennis, Ph.D., President, Crossway Books.

Thomas R. Edgar, Th.D., Professor of New Testament, Capital Bible Seminary.

John M. Frame, M. Phil., Professor of Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary.

W. Robert Godfrey, Ph.D., Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary.

Wayne A. Grudem, Ph.D.*, Assoc. Prof. of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

H. Wayne House, Th.D., J.D.*, Vice-president and Professor of Theology, Western Baptist college.

R. Kent Hughes, D.Min.*, Senior Pastor, College Church in Wheaton (Illinois).

James B. Hurley, Ph.D., Professor of Counselling, Reformed Theological Seminary.

Elliot Johnson, Professor of Bible Exposition, Dallas Theological Seminary.

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr. Th.D.*, Minister, Believers Chapel, Dallas.

Mary A. Kassian, Author, Women’s Ministry Consultant, Calvary Baptist Church, Edmonton.

Rhonda H. Kelley, Ph.D., Associate Director, Innovative Evangelism, New Orleans, Louisiana.

George W. Knight, III, Th.D., Administrator, Dean and Prof. of New Test., Knox Theological Seminary.

Beverly La Haye, President, Concerned Women for America.

Betty Jo Lewis, Homemaker, Atlanta, Georgia.

Connie Marshner, Editor, Child & Family Protection Inst.

Richard Mayhue, Th.D., Vice-Pres., Dean of Grad. Studies, The Master’s Seminary.

Douglas J. Moo, Ph.D., Chairman, Dept. of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. Prof. of Old Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Dorothy Patterson, D. Min., Homemaker, Dallas, Texas.

John Piper, Dr. Theol.*, Senior Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church (Minneapolis).

Joyce Rogers, Homemaker Memphis, Tennessee.

Ken Sarles, Th.M., Asst. Prof. of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary.

Siegfried Schatzmann, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament, Oral Roberts University.

Larry Walker, Ph.D., Professor of Old Testament, Mid-America Seminary.

William Weinrich, Ph.D., Professor of Church History, Concordia Seminary (Ft. Wayne, Ind.).

*Currently serving on the Council’s Executive Committee



Hudson T. Armerding

Harold O. J. Brown

D. A. Carson

Edmund Clowney

Jerry Falwell  

Carl F. H. Henry

Paul Karleen

D. James Kennedy

Gordon R. Lewis

Erwin Lutzer

John MacArthur, Jr.

Marty Minton

Thomas McComiskey

J.I. Packer

Paige and Dorothy Patterson

Pat Robertson

Adrian and Joyce Rogers

Bob Slosser

R. C. Sproul

James A. Stahr

Joseph M. Stowell, III

John F. Walvoord

Luder Whitlock

Peter Williamson


Coalition on Revival

P.O. Box 1139


CA 95247


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See also:

Ulrich Zwingli and the Reformation in Switzerland

1. The Authority of Scripture

2. Biblical Hermeneutics

3. The Essentials of a Christian World View

4. The Kingdom of God

5. The Omniscience of God and Human Freedom

6. The Pelagian Controversy

7. The Judicial and Substitutionary Nature of Salvation

8. The Trinity

9. The Eternal Fate of Unbelievers

10. The Lordship of Christ

11. The Unity of the Body of Christ

12. Church Discipline

13. Culture, Contextualization and Missions

14. Civic Duties

15. Biblical Economic Systems

16. Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage


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