The Danvers Statement
The Danvers Statement is a declaration of the biblical teaching on complementarity,
the fact that God has designed men and women differently and has given them unique,
complimentary roles in the church and the home. It was written in response
to modern threats to this biblical view, threats from both within the church and
from our culture. The statement was published in 1988 by the
Council on Biblical Manhood
and Womanhood, an evangelical group committed to a biblical understanding of the
roles of men and women.
In 1987 "a group of pastors and scholars
who assembled to address their concerns over the influence of feminism not only
in our culture but also in evangelical churches. Because of the widespread compromise
of biblical understanding of manhood and womanhood and its tragic effects on the
home and the church, these men and women established The Council on Biblical Manhood
and Womanhood. In opposition to the growing movement of feminist egalitarianism
they articulated what is now known as the complementarian position which affirms
that men and women are equal in the image of God, but maintain complementary differences
in role and function. In the home, men lovingly are to lead their wives and family
as women intelligently are to submit to the leadership of their husbands. In the
church, while men and women share equally in the blessings of salvation, some governing
and teaching roles are restricted to men."
the affirmations of the statement, all of which we have endorsed as a church. The full statement can be read
Based on our understanding of Biblical teachings, we affirm the following:
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women (Gen
3:1-7, 12, 16).
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).
Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse.
- 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.
- 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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
- 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).
- 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).
Endorsed by the Session, July 2007.
Click here for the full statement. The Council also has several excellent
books available on their website