Jesus and Gender
APRIL 9, 2022
by Elyse Fitzpatrick & Eric Schumacher
Over the last thirty years, primarily in response to the rise of feminism, dozens of Christian books have been written about the nature and roles of men and women. In response to those books, others have been written asserting a different perspective. Both have tried to develop descriptions of what it looks like to define and live out gender “biblically.” Many have sought to faithfully consider the biblical record, while others have been far too enamored with American cultural norms.
The more conservative side of these models, called complementarianism, has focused on gender equality with role distinctions, with the overall emphasis that the Bible consistently teaches male authority and female subordination, especially in the home and the church.
The opposing side of this debate, egalitarianism, also seeks to define gender “biblically.” Like complementarians, egalitarians believe that men and women are equally created in the image of God; however, they don’t believe the Bible consistently teaches de facto male authority and female subordination.
The Gospel and Gender
Although we would say that we’re very thankful for all that we’ve learned from these scholars, we’re going to offer something different. Jesus and Gender is not going to be like either category of those books. That’s because the gospel, and in particular the incarnation, should transform how we think about what it means to be male and female.
Much of the focus on the Genesis narrative needs to be understood in light of the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This gracious reality is most important: God made himself little; he became human. We have to question whether any Christian understanding of gender that fails to take into account the implication of the incarnation is actually Christian at all.
The condescension of the Second Person of the Trinity must be the guiding principle of any rubric we develop as we seek to answer the questions:
- As a woman, who am I?
- As a man, who am I?
- What does it mean to be one who is created in the image of God but also recreated in the image of the incarnate Christ?
In Jesus and Gender, we show more about how the life, death, resurrection, and ascension must inform every discussion we have as men and women and answer many questions about gender identity. We hope Jesus and Gender is a fresh, gospel-driven, wise, and—yes—fresh look at who Jesus is and what he’s accomplished for both women and men.
Our goal is to bring glory and praise to the one who humbled himself, took on the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death so that he might bring life to women and men, boys and girls.
Let’s question whether all that’s been said about gender has brought us to the one most important truth: Jesus Christ came to transform women and men into sisters and brothers who know they are loved, forgiven, and made one.
This blog post is adapted from Jesus and Gender: Living as Sisters and Brothers in Christ (2022, Kirkdale Press)