- The present confusion
- Men and women equal in value
- The distinct roles of men and women
- Women leading in prayer in the Church
- Synod resolution on male/female distinctions in appearance
- Distinct clothing for men and women
- Long hair for women – short hair for men
- Head-coverings for women in public worship
The present confusion
One prominent feature of the wholesale departure from the Bible and its standards over recent years in Western society has been a confusion of genders distinctions between male and female.
This has culminated in nation after nation legislating for so-called “same-sex marriage” – a contradiction in terms, for marriage is by definition between a man and his wife. Instituted by God Himself at creation, the Scripture cannot be broken: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). No statutes or opinions of men can change this. Relationships between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, however “faithful” and “loyal” they are claimed to be, are not real marriage. No Acts of Parliament will ever change that.
The process of confusing the distinctions between male and female did not suddenly begin with the recent approval of unnatural homosexual relationships. It has been going on for a long time. The Word of God unalterably declares: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them” (Gen 1:27). We have been confusing this God-ordained gender distinction for years, both inside and outside the visible Church. The Bible’s clear teaching has been cast aside, even by many professing godliness, as the following page links demonstrate.
Men and women equal in value
We insist on the equality of worth and value of men and women, both in our own eyes and more importantly in the eyes of God. This is important to stress. One of the fallacies of our day is to condemn an insistence on distinction as a form of discrimination. There are differences between men and women. They have different God-assigned roles in society, in the church and in the family. Upholding these distinctions does not demean women – or men. On the contrary, if Scripture’s distinctions were followed, and both men and women submitted to the Creator’s order, both male and female would be valued according to their true – and equal – worth. See more at Men and Women Equal in Value.
The distinct roles of men and women
Men and women are of equal value. That does not mean for a moment that they have the same roles, functions, and responsibilities. They are different because God has made them different. In His Word, God has declared how male/female distinctions are to be made by all men and women, and boys and girls, everywhere throughout the whole world. This is explained at this link: The Distinct Roles of Men and Women, where the Biblical principle of male headship and female subjection is explained, and applied specifically to male/female roles in marriage and the Church.
Women leading in prayer in the Church
Among those who would agree that women should not become ministers, elders or deacons, and who would agree that women should not preach, there are some who think that women can be called upon to lead in prayer during worship. But this too is unbiblical, as this article shows: Can women lead in public prayer?
Synod Resolution on male/female distinctions in appearance
In 1970, the Synod of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland issued a Resolution setting out the Biblical teaching on male/female distinctions particularly in relation to appearance. As society’s standards continued to decline in these areas, the Synod re-affirmed the Resolution on two occasions, in 1983 and in 2003. The Resolution, which continues to be the Church’s view is as follows:
There is evidence that the “permissiveness” of the age has influenced the Church. In particular this is the case in the dress of the women, and in the hair styles of both men and women.
The Word of God demands of women that they be dressed in modest apparel, and the Synod urge the women of the Church to give heed to this counsel. Not only does it require modesty of dress but also distinction in dress between the sexes. The practice of men and women wearing clothes which obliterates this distinction is quite contrary to God’s Word and expressly declared to be an abomination to Him. “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God” (Deut. 22:5).
The Word of God clearly teaches that the hair of women should be long and the hair of men (and boys) short. Long and short are relatives. To argue from hence that the matter cannot be determined is to cast the most serious and solemn aspersion upon the Divine wisdom. “Doth not even nature itself teach you that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering” (1 Cor. 11:14,15).
The Church therefore must condemn these practices as contrary to God’s Word and direct her people to seek the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to enable them to live unspotted in the world.
Distinct clothing for men and women
God’s requirements for distinguishing male and female extend to their appearance, and that includes the garments that they wear. They are to wear distinct clothing, men and boys wearing distinctively masculine attire, and women and girls wearing distinctively feminine clothing. This Biblical requirement is set in the context of Scripture’s teaching on clothing in general at this link: Distinct Clothing for Men and Women. After explaining the origins and objectives of clothing, the prohibition of Deuteronomy 22:5 is examined, to show that men must not wear women’s clothes, and women must not wear men’s clothes such as trousers (“pants” in American English).
Long hair for women – short hair for men
It is fearful to see the extent to which the way of the world has entered the professing Church of Christ. For women of the world to have short hair is “against nature” – as it is for men of the world to have long hair. But for professing Christians to to do the same things is not only unnatural but also disobedience to the Saviour they say has died for them. If He died for them, He did it so that He would have a people who obey Him. He “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14).
An extended article on this subject, to explain what many do not seem to know, and do not seem to want to know, about the Saviour’s will for people’s hair can be found at this link: long hair for women and short hair for men.
Head-coverings for women in public worship
This is another area in which male/female distinctions which were almost universally accepted not so very long ago are now almost universally rejected, even by many who say they follow the Scriptures. Time was when no woman would go to Church without a hat – and she would keep it on throughout the service. Men, on the other hand, if they wore hats or caps at other times, they were removed when they went to Church. What has changed? One thing is sure: Scripture has not changed. It still says what it has always said: “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head. . . . For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head . . .” (1 Cor. 11:4-7,10). An extended article is being prepared to explain this in more detail.
Rev Keith M Watkins