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What the biblical womanhood movement really teaches

| November 13, 2012

Mary speaking at biblical womanhood conference

In 2008, the leaders of the modern biblical womanhood movement put together a document, entitled The True Woman Manifesto, which agrees with and expands on CBMWs 1988 Danver’s Statement. CBMW founder, John Piper, called this statement “a faithful, clear, true, and wise document.”

It seems to me that any assessment of the modern biblical womanhood movement ought to address – and not ignore – the document that the tens of thousands of women in the biblical womanhood movement around the world have signed and affirmed.

There are a lot of caricatures and misperceptions out there about the contemporary biblical womanhood movement. So why don’t you take a look at the manifesto  for yourself, to find out what we truly stand for:


The True Woman Manifesto

A personal and corporate declaration of belief, consecration, and prayerful intent—to the end that Christ may be exalted and the glory and redeeming love of God may be displayed throughout the whole earth.

WE BELIEVE that God is the sovereign Lord of the universe and the Creator of life, and that all created things exist for His pleasure and to bring Him glory.1

WE BELIEVE that the creation of humanity as male and female was a purposeful and magnificent part of God’s wise plan, and that men and women were designed to reflect the image of God in complementary and distinct ways.2

WE BELIEVE that sin has separated every human being from God and made us incapable of reflecting His image as we were created to do. Our only hope for restoration and salvation is found in repenting of our sin and trusting in Christ who lived a sinless life, died in our place, and was raised from the dead.3

WE REALIZE that we live in a culture that does not recognize God’s right to rule, does not accept Scripture as the pattern for life, and is experiencing the consequences of abandoning God’s design for men and women.4

WE BELIEVE that Christ is redeeming this sinful world and making all things new, and that His followers are called to share in His redemptive purposes as they seek, by God’s empowerment, to transform every aspect of human life that has been marred and ruined by sin.5

As Christian women, we desire to honor God by living counter-cultural lives that reflect the beauty of Christ and His gospel to our world.

To that end, we affirm that…

Scripture is God’s authoritative means of instructing us in His ways and it reveals His holy pattern for our womanhood, our character, our priorities, and our various roles, responsibilities, and relationships.6

We glorify God and experience His blessing when we accept and joyfully embrace His created design, function, and order for our lives.7

As redeemed sinners, we cannot live out the beauty of biblical womanhood apart from the sanctifying work of the gospel and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.8

Men and women are both created in the image of God and are equal in value and dignity, but they have distinct roles and functions in the home and in the church.9

We are called as women to affirm and encourage men as they seek to express godly masculinity, and to honor and support God-ordained male leadership in the home and in the church.10

Marriage, as created by God, is a sacred, binding, lifelong covenant between one man and one woman.11

When we respond humbly to male leadership in our homes and churches, we demonstrate a noble submission to authority that reflects Christ’s submission to God His Father.12

Selfish insistence on personal rights is contrary to the spirit of Christ who humbled Himself, took on the form of a servant, and laid down His life for us.13

Human life is precious to God and is to be valued and protected, from the point of conception until rightful death.14

Children are a blessing from God; women are uniquely designed to be bearers and nurturers of life, whether it be their own biological or adopted children, or other children in their sphere of influence.15

God’s plan for gender is wider than marriage; all women, whether married or single, are to model femininity in their various relationships, by exhibiting a distinctive modesty, responsiveness, and gentleness of spirit.16

Suffering is an inevitable reality in a fallen world; at times we will be called to suffer for doing what is good—looking to heavenly reward rather than earthly comfort—for the sake of the gospel and the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.17

Mature Christian women have a responsibility to leave a legacy of faith, by discipling younger women in the Word and ways of God and modeling for the next generation lives of fruitful femininity.18

Believing the above,

we declare our desire and intent to be “true women” of God. We consecrate ourselves to fulfill His calling and purposes for our lives. By His grace and in humble dependence on His power, we will:

  1. Seek to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.19
  2. Gladly yield control of our lives to Christ as Lord—we will say “Yes, Lord” to the Word and the will of God.20
  3. Be women of the Word, seeking to grow in our knowledge of Scripture and to live in accord with sound doctrine in every area of our lives.21
  4. Nurture our fellowship and communion with God through prayer—in praise, thanksgiving, confession, intercession, and supplication.22
  5. Embrace and express our unique design and calling as women with humility, gratitude, faith, and joy.23
  6. Seek to glorify God by cultivating such virtues as purity, modesty, submission, meekness, and love.24
  7. Show proper respect to both men and women, created in the image of God, esteeming others as better than ourselves, seeking to build them up, and putting off bitterness, anger, and evil speaking.25
  8. Be faithfully engaged in our local church, submitting ourselves to our spiritual leaders, growing in the context of the community of faith, and using the gifts He has given us to serve others, to build up the Body of Christ, and to fulfill His redemptive purposes in the world.26
  9. Seek to establish homes that manifest the love, grace, beauty, and order of God, that provide a climate conducive to nurturing life, and that extend Christian hospitality to those outside the walls of our homes.27
  10. Honor the sacredness, purity, and permanence of the marriage covenant—whether ours or others’.28
  11. Receive children as a blessing from the Lord, seeking to train them to love and follow Christ and to consecrate their lives for the sake of His gospel and Kingdom.29
  12. Live out the mandate of Titus 2—as older women, modeling godliness and training younger women to be pleasing to God in every respect; as younger women, receiving instruction with meekness and humility and aspiring to become mature women of God who in turn will train the next generation.30
  13. Seek opportunities to share the gospel of Christ with unbelievers.31
  14. Reflect God’s heart for those who are poor, infirm, oppressed, widows, orphans, and prisoners, by reaching out to minister to their practical and spiritual needs in the name of Christ.32
  15. Pray for a movement of revival and reformation among God’s people that will result in the advancement of the Kingdom and gospel of Christ among all nations.33

A complementarian is someone who believes that God created male and female to reflect complementary truths about Jesus–and a woman can do that in the kitchen or in the boardroom. Exalting who Jesus is by becoming who He created us to be is what the modern biblical womanhood movement is all about.

. . . that Christ may be exalted and the glory and redeeming love of God may be displayed throughout the whole earth.

Watch the video

(In another post, I’ll outline what Nancy and I do say about women and the home in True Woman 101)

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