Danvers Statement

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood


Based on our understanding of Biblical teachings, we affirm the following:
1. Both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood.
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.
3. Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin.
4. The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women.
— 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 incliness women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropiriate ministries.
5. The Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, manifests the equally high value and dignity which God attaches to the roles of both men and women Both Old and New Testaments also affirm the principle of male headship in the family and in the covenant community.
6. Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse.
— 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.
— 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.
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.
8. In both men and women a heartfelt call to ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries. 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 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.
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. [Danvers, MA, Nov. 1988]