I take joy in being a part of a Christian denomination that holds a high view Scripture and that encourages members to structure their lives in a way that is true to Scripture and God honoring. Baptists are often accused of being closed-minded and backwards because we cling so tightly to Scriptural principles in a world that every day moves farther and farther from the mandates of Scripture.
One of the topics that has been at fore in Baptist circles in recent decades has been the scriptural model for a family. This has led to a statement in the foundational document of the SBC:
XVIII. The Family
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.
Baptists have rightly recognized that the Biblical model for families has come under heavy attack and have endeavored to tackle the issue head on by including statements like the above in the Baptist Faith and Message (2000) and by teaching those ideals in seminary classrooms to students who will carry the torch in the future.
Unfortunately, we seem to have lost something in the process. So much of the dialog focused around the third paragraph in the above statement has been directed to women. Here is a recent example (I encourage you to listen to the entire podcast). Pay special attention to 15:30-17:15, 19:00-20:30, 29:00-34:30:
It is important to understand that the above podcast was recorded at an event for women and was addressed specifically to women. Still, it illustrates what I view to be a troubling trend among Baptists. We seem intent on focusing our efforts at developing Biblical families on women and wives. We spend a great deal more time telling women how they should look in relation to Scripture, and very little on husbands.
This could be because our denomination is largely led by men and it is much easier for us to see faults in our wives than it is for us to see faults in ourselves. I think it is time we take a long hard look at Southern Baptist men and start spending just as much time training them to be Godly husbands as we do exhorting women to be Godly wives.
Here’s a good start:
Mark Driscoll is right on the money. Baptists should be endeavoring to raise up generations of Godly men who women would be proud to be married to and walk beside as they follow God’s calling on their lives. This is not just something to be taught in the seminaries and colleges, but it should be something taught in the churches to men and boys of all ages. A boy growing up in the church should become a man worthy of having a wife, but too often the church has failed to reach out to men, instead being content with reaching the women and children who are more naturally inclined to be church attenders in the first place.
It is time for Baptist men to start looking at themselves in the mirror and looking at the men (or lack thereof) in their churches before they start trying to tell women how to behave in a marriage. If men are truly supposed to be leaders as the Bible commands, than we must hold each other to the Biblical standard of what a man and husband should look like. Perhaps once we have learned to be better men and husbands than we can honestly and without hypocrisy join our wives in the never ending quest to build families that follow the model put forth in Scripture.