The Word on the Week

Gender Matters

Word on the Week. 6th February 2010. We are not told in the Bible why God made Adam and Eve instead of Adam and Steve but it makes sense when a short time later he commands them to “be fruitful and multiply”. We are not told why the one man and one woman in lifelong monogamous relationship was the best arrangement to rear a family but we can see throughout Scripture the blessings it brought when it was not transgressed. We are not told why St Paul in his first letter to Timothy rules that, in the church, a woman should not teach or have authority over a man relating this back to the creation order, but at the very minimum it implies that gender matters. There are God-given roles which we breach at our peril. Once you say that gender doesn’t matter, it may seem to be a small thing, but you “sow to the wind and reap the whirlwind”. The consequences of our actions may not be apparent at the time but they will appear and there is no means of redress. We are told why there is an order in opposite sex marriage (the only marriage the Bible recognises). The husband is head of the house. He is to love his wife enough to die for her. The wife is to submit to her husband. She is to love him enough to live for him. Because we are sinners the roles are to be worked out in a setting of mutual forgiveness. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” But the underlying reason for marriage is simply that it provides us with a picture of Christ’s relationship to his church. He is the head of the church. The church is his bride. He loved the church and died for her. She is to submit to him and obey his word. “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” So where does this leave Adam and Steve? The proposed Civil Bill would recognise their relationship and make allowance for it. The Bible also recognises their relationship and tells us that the love of God is so strong that Christ died for them. The out-working of his death was to enable those who trust Jesus to turn from their homosexual practices as instanced in the Corinthian church: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God”. The love of God for the homosexual is no less strong today. Trust in Jesus. Further recommended reading – Ephesians Chapter 5.