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Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) is an evangelical Christian organization promoting a complementarian view of gender issues.[1][2][3] According to its website, the "mission of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is to set forth the teachings of the Bible about the complementary differences between men and women, created equally in the image of God, because these teachings are essential for obedience to Scripture and for the health of the family and the church."[4] CBMW's current president is Dr. Denny Burk,[5] a professor of biblical studies at Boyce College and director for The Center for Gospel and Culture at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.



The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was organized in 1987.[6][7] At a 1986 meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), Wayne Grudem gave a speech on "Manhood and Womanhood in Biblical and Theological Perspectives" in which he invited delegates to join "a new organization dedicated to upholding both equality and differences between men and women in marriage and the church."[8] This was followed by a meeting in Dallas with Grudem, John Piper, Wayne House, and others.[8] A subsequent meeting was held in Danvers, Massachusetts; at this meeting, the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was finalized.[9] A full-page advertisement containing the full Danvers Statement was published in Christianity Today in January 1989.[10]

In 1991, Crossway Books published the organization's lengthy book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism. Edited by Piper and Grudem, this book included contributions by D. A. Carson, John Frame, Vern Poythress, Douglas J. Moo, Paige Patterson, Elisabeth Elliot, and several other writers.[11] Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ also supported the organization.[12]

In the late 1990s, CBMW published articles and papers critical of Gender-Neutral Bible translations. CBMW has drawn Christian media attention by expressing concerns about such translations.[13][14][15] The organization's thoughts on Bible translations have had influence upon Southern Baptists,[16] Focus on the Family, and other evangelical organizations.

The CBMW opposes same-sex marriage.[17]

The Danvers StatementEdit

The CBMW adopted the Danvers Statement in 1988. The Danvers Statement summarizes the CBMW's views on sex and gender roles. The Statement includes the following affirmations:

1. Both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood (Gen 1:26-27, 2:18).

2. Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart (Gen 2:18, 21-24; 1 Cor 11:7-9; 1 Tim 2:12-14).

3. Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin (Gen 2:16-18, 21-24, 3:1-13; 1 Cor 11:7-9).

4. The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women (Gen 3:1-7, 12, 16).
          1. In the home, the husband’s loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife’s intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility.
          2. In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries.

5. The Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, manifests the equally high value and dignity which God attached to the roles of both men and women (Gen 1:26-27, 2:18; Gal 3:28). Both Old and New Testaments also affirm the principle of male headship in the family and in the covenant community (Gen 2:18; Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:18-19; 1 Tim 2:11-15).

6. Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse.
          1. In the family, husbands should forsake harsh or selfish leadership and grow in love and care for their wives; wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands’ leadership (Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:18-19; Tit 2:3-5; 1 Pet 3:1-7).
          2. In the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men (Gal 3:28; 1 Cor 11:2-16; 1 Tim 2:11-15).

7. In all of life Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission-domestic, religious, or civil-ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin (Dan 3:10-18; Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29; 1 Pet 3:1-2).

8. In both men and women a heartfelt sense of call to ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries (1 Tim 2:11-15, 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9). Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will.

9. With half the world’s population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies that have heard the gospel; with the stresses and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world (1 Cor 12:7-21).

10. We are convinced that a denial or neglect of these principles will lead to increasingly destructive consequences in our families, our churches, and the culture at large.[18]

The Danvers Statement[19] has been endorsed or adopted by the The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southwestern Baptist Seminary[20] , Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Cedarville University, and several independent churches.[21][22] Randall Balmer says that the Statement was an attempt to "staunch the spread of biblical feminism in evangelical circles."[23] Seth Dowland suggests that the authors of the statement "framed their position as a clear and accessible reading of Scripture.[24] The Danvers Statement is included in readers such as Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism: A Documentary Reader (NYU Press, 2008) and Eve and Adam: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim readings on Genesis and gender (Indiana University Press, 2009).

The Danvers Statement recognized the "genuine evangelical standing of many who do not agree with all of our convictions."[25]

1994 statement on abuseEdit

In 1994, at the request of Christians for Biblical Equality (a leading Christian egalitarian organization), three leaders of CBMW (then-President Dr. Ray Ortlund, Mary Kassian, and Wayne Grudem) met with three of the CBE's leaders in Chicago to discuss potential points of agreement. According to Grudem, both sides overcame some misunderstandings about each other. One result of the meeting was an agreement to work on a joint statement on abuse in marriage, which was drafted by the CBMW with feedback from the CBE.[26] However, before it was to be issued, the CBE's board declined to join the statement. The statement was later published in the CBMW's own newsletter (later renamed the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood). It has subsequently been published on their website and in many of their publications.[27]

James Beck, declining the joint statement on behalf of the CBE Board of Directors, stated: "We do not feel it would be helpful to convene a joint press conference at ETS to issue a joint statement on abuse. CBE’s position on abuse flows directly out of our theological understanding of Scripture and what it teaches about gender and roles. If we attempt to issue a joint statement with an organization that differs fundamentally from us on this issue, we feel both organizations would be giving very mixed signals to their respective constituencies."[28] Wayne Grudem commented: “We regret that CBE declined to join us in this statement. If CBE will not join us in something on which we agree (condemning abuse), then I see little hope that they will be willing to join us in constructive dialogue on issues where we disagree. This is unfortunate for the evangelical world.”[28]

Nashville StatementEdit

On August 29, 2017, CBMW released a manifesto on human sexuality known as the "Nashville Statement".[29] The Statement expresses support for an opposite-sex definition of marriage, for faithfulness within marriage, for chastity outside marriage, and for a link between biological sex and "self-conception as male and female."[29] The Statement sets forth the signatories' opposition to LGBT sexuality, same-sex marriage,[30] polygamy, polyamory, adultery, and fornication.[31] The statement was signed by 150 evangelical leaders, and includes 14 points of belief.[32] The Statement:

  • Affirms that God designed marriage as a lifelong union between male and female, and that marriage “is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church.”
  • Denies that differences between men and women render the sexes “unequal in dignity or worth.”
  • Denies that LGBT identities are consistent with God’s purposes;
  • Affirms that “Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners and that through Christ’s death and resurrection forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sin and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord, and supreme treasure.”[29]

Since its release, the Nashville Statement has been endorsed or adopted by the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Union University, and Cedarville University.

Due to perceived homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny, the Nashville Statement has attracted controversy.[33]

Journal for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (JBMW) | Eikon: A Journal for Biblical AnthropologyEdit

Wayne Grudem co-founded a CBMW newsletter, which became the Journal for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood,[42] published biannually.[43] In the Spring of 2019, CBMW renamed its biannual journal Eikon: A Journal for Biblical Anthropology.

The journal usually consists of around fifteen articles composed by various evangelical scholars who hold to complementarian views.


  • Piper, John; Grudem, Wayne A. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism. Crossway Books. ISBN 978-1-58134-806-4. (Book of the Year for Christianity Today, 1992) – online edition

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Rosemary Skinner Keller, Rosemary Radford Ruether, and Marie Cantlon (2006), Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America, Indiana University Press, p. 468.
  2. ^ Pamela Cochran (2005), Evangelical Feminism: a History, NYU Press, p. 160.
  3. ^ Agnieszka Tennant, "Nuptial Agreements," Christianity Today, March 11, 2002.
  4. ^ CBMW web site: About accessed 25 February 2018.
  5. ^ CBMW web site: Denny Burk Named CBMW President accessed 24 September 2016.
  6. ^ CBMW web site: about us Archived 2009-01-30 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 13 Sept 2011.
  7. ^ Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability web site: Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, accessed 13 Sept 2011.
  8. ^ a b Wayne Grudem, "Personal Reflections on the History of CBMW and the State of the Gender Debate," JBMW, Vol. 14 No. 1. Archived December 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Roger E. Olson (2004), The Westminster Handbook to Evangelical Theology, Westminster John Knox Press, p. 312.
  10. ^ Daniel T. Rodgers (2011), Age of Fracture, Harvard University Press, p. 312.
  11. ^ John Piper and Wayne A. Grudem, eds. (1991), Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, Crossway Books, table of contents.
  12. ^ John G. Turner (2008), Bill Bright & Campus Crusade for Christ: The renewal of Evangelicalism in Postwar America, UNC Press, p. 209.
  13. ^ "'I will make you a fisher of PEOPLE': New gender-neutral Bible translation angers conservatives," Daily Mail, 18 March 2011.
  14. ^ Glen G. Scorgie, Mark L. Strauss, and Steven M. Voth (2009), The Challenge of Bible Translation: Communicating God's Word to the World, Zondervan, Note 55.
  15. ^ Art Toalston, "Bible scholars quickly begin debate of new gender-neutral NIV revision," Baptist Press News, 30 Jan 2002.
  16. ^ Michael Foust, "Patterson, Mohler endorse resolution critical of NIV '11," Baptist Press News, 29 June 2011. Archived April 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Legalized Same-Sex "Marriage" in Iowa: Worse than a 500-year Flood, Part I".
  18. ^ "Danvers Statement".
  19. ^ "Core Beliefs: The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood." Archived 2010-11-03 at the Wayback Machine Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), 1987. Web:13 Jul 2010.
  20. ^ "Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary - Preach the Word. Reach the World".
  21. ^ "What Grace Community Church Believes".
  22. ^ [1] Archived May 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Balmer, Randall (2004). "Danvers Statement". Encyclopedia of evangelicalism. Baylor University Press. p. 170.
  24. ^ Dowland, Seth (2009). "A New Kind of Patriarchy: Inerrancy and Masculinity in the Southern Baptist Convention, 1979-2000". In Friend, Craig Thompson (ed.). Southern masculinity: perspectives on manhood in the South since Reconstruction. University of Georgia Press. p. 258.
  25. ^ Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen (2010), A Sword Between the Sexes?: C.S. Lewis and the Gender Debates, Brazos Press, p. 76.
  26. ^ "Personal Reflections on the History of CBMW and the State of the Gender Debate,", 31 May 2009.
  27. ^ "Statement on Abuse," CBMW, November 1994.
  28. ^ a b "CBE Declines Joint Statement" (PDF). CBMW News. 1 (1): 3. August 1995.
  29. ^ a b c "Nashville Statement". CBMW. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  30. ^ Beaty, Katelyn (31 August 2017). "Why even conservative evangelicals are unhappy with the anti-LGBT Nashville Statement". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  31. ^ "Nashville Statement". CBMW. Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  32. ^ Meyer, Holly (August 29, 2017). "More than 150 evangelical religious leaders sign 'Christian manifesto' on human sexuality". USA Today. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  33. ^ Cruz, Eliel (1 September 2017). "The Nashville Statement Is an Attack on L.G.B.T. Christians". New York Times. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  34. ^ "Why I Won't Sign the Nashville Statement - Mere Orthodoxy". 30 August 2017.
  35. ^ "Nashville and Sodom - Aaron Taylor".
  36. ^ Toumayan, Michael (31 August 2017). "Hundreds of Christian Leaders Denounce the Nashville Statement in an Open Letter". The Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  37. ^ "The Statement". Christians United. Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  38. ^ Blumberg, Antonia. "Hundreds Of Christian Leaders Denounce Anti-LGBTQ 'Nashville Statement'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  39. ^ Schmidt, Samantha (30 August 2017). "Evangelicals' 'Nashville Statement' denouncing same-sex marriage is rebuked by city's mayor". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  40. ^ Williams, Hattie (1 September 2017). "Nashville statement on sexuality prompts response from LGBT-supporting Christians". Church Times. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  41. ^ Martin, James (30 August 2017). "Seven simple ways to respond to the Nashville Statement on sexuality". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  42. ^ Sarah Sumner and Phillip E. Johnson (2003), Men and Women in the Church: Building Consensus on Christian Leadership, InterVarsity Press, p. 38.
  43. ^ CBMW web site: Journal, accessed 13 Sept 2011.

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