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As the father of five sons, I find myself cringing if the news comes on in front of them. With high-profile men seen to be using and abusing women in the highest realms of politics, government, sports, and entertainment, I sometimes wonder how to keep the concept of the predatory, misogynist man from being normalized for my sons. The truth is, though, this is not just a struggle for those of us who parent boys. Every Christian teaches the next generation of men, since all of us are responsible for building up the body of Christ. So what’s most important in rearing boys to respect women?
The mistreatment of women—in thought, word, or deed—comes when one ignores the interplay of sameness and distinctiveness when it comes to men and women. Men and women are, before anything else, the same, in that we are created together in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27), called together to the cultivation of the cosmos (Gen. 1:28), and heirs together of the kingdom of God in Christ (Gal. 3:28-29). We have the same origin, the same gospel, and the same destiny.
Time - Bible - Distinctions - Maleness - Femaleness
At the same time, the Bible makes clear distinctions between maleness and femaleness, sometimes speaking to specific callings and vulnerabilities of each, and detailing responsibilities of each to the other. If we deemphasize or ignore either of these truths, we can end up empowering the mistreatment of women and girls by men and boys.
The Bible does not see vulnerability as a sign of a lack of importance.
Distinctions - Way - Boys - Women - Man
We can over-emphasize male/female distinctions in a way that can lead boys to see women as entirely other, or as weak and needy without a man. This can lead to a whole spectrum of ways that men can minimize the dignity and callings of women. Sometimes this shows up as...
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"However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8