Mar 5

Session 4 Recap: Strachan, “Gender: Manhood and Womanhood in Christ as Our True Identity”

2016 | by Nathan Sherman | Category: Clarus 16

Editor’s Note: Dave Bruskas is the Lead Pastor at North Church, Albuquerque, NM. He is a member of the Albuquerque Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This post is a summary of Owen Strachan’s message from Saturday morning at Clarus, March 5, “Gender: Manhood and Womanhood in Christ as Our True Identity.”


We are in a confused age.  Facebook has over fifty gender options, and as Christians we know that God has not left us to wonder what or who we are. He has given two very clear realities: we are created either male or female. The two gender distinctives are owed to the very mind of God as he has designed and given us gender complementarity as a good gift to be embraced and celebrated. Owen Strachan gave seven thoughts regarding biblical complementarity in the fourth session of Clarus 16.

First, complementarity shows us what we were made for.  Genesis 2:5-9; 18-25 provides this framework. God creates the woman out of the lack of Adam.  She is needed. The man and the woman have separate roles as identity markers, and these distinctive roles and identities are foundational to the biblical understanding of gender.  These roles are different but complementary.  Before the Fall, there is no competition between the genders, as they are interdependent.  There is harmony and joy, and God declares this good. We are not a man or woman because of a bio-evolutionary fluke–we are a man or woman because God made us that way.

Second, complementarity helps us understand our sinful instincts as men and women.  Genesis 3:1-7 reveals that Satan has always been about destroying womanhood.  He is repeating his scheme from the garden in our culture today.  He does so by tempting Eve to disobey the Word of God. The ground for all gender dysphoria, conflict, and sexual brokenness begins at the Fall in Genesis 3.  Women, like Eve, are tempted to disobey God’s Word, and yet God’s inquiry found in Genesis 3:8-13 makes it plain that the man is responsible to lead the woman.  Men, like Adam, will be tempted to refuse responsibility.

Third, complementarity provides us a script for our lives.   Women are called to have a uniquely feminine spirit.  While women are not precluded from working outside of the home, their vocation is that of raising children and helping their husbands. Women have a green light to use their gifts to serve the church in alignment with God’s design.  Likewise, God does not want men to waste away their 20s; he wants most men to courageously win a woman’s heart and start a family. A good and godly father does not ask the culture, or even a great youth pastor, to raise his child. A good and godly father leads his family to the glory of God. True manhood is all about drawing near to God and treating women respectfully in absolute purity.

Fourth, complementarity tells us what our marriages most need.  Because of Adam’s fall, none of us are compatible in marriage.  Complementarity revealed in Ephesians 5:22-33 paints the purest picture of Jesus’ love for his church.  Differences between married partners are best worked out through this framework.

Fifth, complementarity drives us to invest in the church’s future.  It teaches us that men are to be elders in the church.  Scripture requires complementarity standards be satisfied by church elders ( I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9).  The preparation for eldership begins with boys and girls learning to be what it practically means to be biblical men and women. If we don’t teach our children what it means to be a man and a woman, the culture will gladly step in.

Sixth, complementarity speaks a better word about sex than secularism.  We are living in a “Fifty Shades of Grey” sexual culture that causes confusion and leads to abuse.  This results in tremendous social and psychological damage.  The biblical vision of sex is grounded in complementarity and good pleasure as a gift from God.

Seventh, complementarity helps us appreciate the God-given gift of singleness.  Jesus Christ is the example par excellence as he was a fully-fulfilled human being who also remained single.  Single people don’t become complete or full-fledged Christians through marriage becuase Christians are already completed through his or her identity in Christ.