Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

**April 4th, 2015 – Quick Addition – I had forgot to mention that there is also a chapter of the book that explores such issues as androgyny, crossdressing, and transsexualism, especially among ancient cultures.  The author of that section explores how in each of these cultures the androgynous or transsexual people had roles of being the ones to have contact with the pagan religious world in some way.  He talks about how these cultures (and modern New Age religion), believe that everything is part of everything, so these cultures would celebrate those who could combine various things into one unified monad, like the person who could combine masculine/feminine.  It was an interesting chapter especially in light of the many crossdressers today who speak of how their lives show the ideal of a perfect balance of masculine and feminine.  I strongly disagree with such reasoning, and agree that it is a pagan idea contrary to the Bible’s teaching.

 

One of the most helpful books I’ve read on the topic of what it means to be a man or woman is the book – “Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood.” I want to recommend it to all of you. If you click on the link you can read it for free. It’s by Wayne Grudem as well as some other authors.

Over the last few years I’ve been changing on my view of sex/gender. I wrote about that change in this recent blog post – “Gender Sameness and Difference.” Because of the liberal schools I went to for both grade school and university, I was taught that men and women are mostly the same, and that we shouldn’t overemphasize the biological differences. In a way, that was true and helpful and it showed me how much unhelpful gender stereotypes have contributed to my problems with crossdressing as well as other people their problems with transgenderism. I realized that being sensitive or emotional or gentle or a lover of beauty did not make me less of a man. I realized that being someone who exhibits the fruits of the spirit does not make me feminine, but makes me the kind of man God wants me to be.

But what I’ve found through my healing from my crossdressing addiction, was that this understanding of gender is severely limited. Over the past few years, as I have recovered from crossdressing addiction, I have also been growing in my understanding of men and women, male and female, masculinity and femininity, and the biblical roles of men and women. My growth in that area has helped me to recover from crossdressing. And my recovery from crossdressing has helped me to grow in my view of gender and the discovery of male and female differences. They have grown in a reciprocal way I did not expect, and did not fully realize until now.

I have grown in my appreciation of the differences between men and women, emotional, physical, and in our different roles. God made two sexes for a reason, and I am finding great beauty and complementarity in the differences. Men and women are suited to be together. If God wanted to, he could have made only men, but he didn’t. Clearly he wants a man and a woman to be together, not two men, not two women. As I have understood this, and understood my role as a man and my role as the biblical head in my marriage, I have been able to be much more successful against crossdressing temptations. I know who I am as a man, and can be content in living out that identity, instead of trying to be something I am not.

I think back to my times of crossdressing and much of it was about wanting to be submissive and wanting to flee from my role as a man and husband. I know I am not alone in this. If you read crossdressing fiction, you will quickly see that many crossdress to escape the feeling of stress and responsibility, or to be able to feel demure, passive, and submissive. I think because of our broken sinful natures, men are tempted to distort their leadership role either through domination or through passivity. And women, because of their sinful natures, have a temptation to distort their supportive role through either being a doormat, or by trying to take the husband’s place of authority. For some of us, it sure is difficult trying to do what God has called us to do. But I am finding great freedom in my role as a leader and finding more peace in it. Instead of fleeing from responsibility, I’m focusing on being a good leader and a dedicated servant to my wife.

As an aside, I’ve also changed on my view of women in church leadership through these past years. This book clinched it for me. I now think that in the church, as well as in marriage, men should be the ones in authority. I think this is faithful to Scripture even though at times it can bother people or even me that women are not allowed to be in those leadership roles. But I think there is godliness in leadership and godliness in submission (Jesus was submissive to the Father and that wasn’t a bad thing!), and God has called us to those different things. In striving to fulfill the role that God has laid out for us, both for us men, and for women, we learn holiness and learn to do what God wants us to do, rather than what we might be comfortable with.

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7 comments on “Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

  1. zahdah says:

    Great post, Thorin! I very much agree with you. The roles God created for us has been a topic of interest for me ever since I turned back to Him. I’ve had a very difficult time with submission, and understanding it. My background was that a woman was supposed to do whatever her husband wanted of her. I knew this wasn’t right, but it made it very difficult to distinguish what a true helper is. But my conclusions, from reading the bible, biblical books, praying, and speaking with Godly women, are the same as what you wrote. Plus more 🙂

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  2. thorin25 says:

    Thanks for the comment Zahdah. You should read the book, it’s good 🙂 It’s important to balance out a view of headship and submission, with the understanding that men and women are to be partners, they are equal image bearers of God, equal in value and dignity, and both have skills and wisdom to offer. A good husband will continually be listening and encouraging his wife, just as good leaders in other areas of life also lead by serving and listening. Zahdah, I know that submitting is a struggle, I’m glad to hear how you have grown in that area. It’s difficult for most women I know. For me, it was difficult to learn how to lead, when I really just wanted to submit!

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  3. zahdah says:

    So true, Thorin. And you know, though submitting may not be a problem for all men, by what I’ve observed, taking leadership responsibilities is a very common issue for them. Just as submitting is a common issue for women. And yes, I’m already working on the book 🙂

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  4. Temptedsinner says:

    Thorin,
    Thank you for this post and for your leadership in encouraging our collective purity! Within the forum section of the recovery that I am currently enrolled in (Reclaim Sexual Health) someone has encouraged me to write more about my cross dressing. Besides being a little uncomfortable doing so in general it is especially intimidating since I seem to be the only CD out of over 3,000 members. Statistically at least from what I have learned from the many pro-CD sites I can not be the only one.
    I hope to get back here soon to comment further on this post since you touched on a few of my favorite past tendencies.
    Have a Blessed and Joyous Easter

    Tempted

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  5. wxtracker says:

    Hi Thorin,

    I think that no matter how one spins it, the advantageous, more privileged position is the leadership role. Would you not feel slightly degraded if the power dynamic in our society were reversed and women were constantly telling you that you do not have natural leadership skills just because you’re a man? In a marriage where a woman has been gifted with exceptionally strong decision making skills, is she called to suppress these? If so, i’m curious how this would fit in with your idea that God would not want you to suppress your natural feminine traits.

    I don’t think a majority of crossdressers/MTF transgender women feel insecure about leadership. I think its important to differentiate what may be occasional passing fantasies and real life.

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  6. thorin25 says:

    Happy Easter Tempted Sinner! I encourage you to do that writing. It helps you to look at this crossdressing struggle in a more logical and rational way, understanding it better, thus also stripping it of its power over you. Keep in touch 🙂

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  7. thorin25 says:

    wxtracker, thanks for the comment. Those are tough questions, and why I used to struggle with the idea of biblical headship. For starters, I think there is no way to get around the biblical truth of it. To do so one would have to reject the Bible. And I think God is infinitely smarter than me, so I submit to him, and to his truth, instead of saying that the truth is whatever I feel like it should be.

    Secondly, I don’t see submission as inferiority. Jesus was submissive, both to the Father, and to the disciples in washing their feet. Yet billions around the world worship him as king. Clearly not everyone views a submissive person as a weaker person. It takes strength, courage, and holiness to submit. It is because of how Jesus submitted to the Father and how he died for us, that will give him eternal glory.

    Further, on that subject, my natural tendency, because of my personality, or how I was raised, or from something else, is that I want to be the one to submit. To me, it seems like the preferable position. But I’m striving to be a good leader as God calls me to be. I have natural leadership gifts and skills, but my temperament still is to avoid leadership. It’s a strange balance.

    It’s very possible, like you say, that not all crossdressers or even that most don’t want to be submissive, but that is clearly a theme in many crossdressers. I’ve spent enough wasted hours of my life reading crossdressing websites and cd fiction to know that is true.

    I don’t think a woman should suppress her skills in a marriage. Of course not! She is an equal partner to the man in marriage. And I’m also not an expert in how this should be worked out in a marriage. Some of it will be relative to the specific marriage and the specific culture. But the man should be taking more initiative and leadership (which includes hearing his wife’s wisdom and allowing her to use her skills), and the woman should be supporting, helping, advising, encouraging, and submitting to his leadership. If that submission is the woman being a doormat and not using her skills, then that is not the kind of submission that God intended.

    I know it’s a controversial subject. Part of this stems from the belief I have that there are differences between men and women, otherwise God would have created only one sex that could reproduce within that one sex. But he made two sexes, who were different, for a reason. I have laid out what I believe those differences to be and why. Someone who rejects these roles, has a difficult time explaining how men and women are different, and what it means to be a man or woman.

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