Man and Woman in Christ

Warhorn Media is excited to be republishing Stephen B. Clark’s Man and Woman in Christ in 2021. It is arguably the best modern comprehensive treatment of Scripture’s teaching on manhood and womanhood, and it addresses practical living as men and women today.

This is from the conclusion of chapter 11, “The New Testament Approach: Setting and Culture”:

The recent attempt to separate culturally determined elements from timeless truths in the area of Christian personal relationships and the roles of men and women has been just as much a failure as was the liberal attempt in the nineteenth century to identify the progressive, timeless elements of Christianity. Both attempts failed for basically the same reason. The reason is not, as is sometimes stated, that the enduring truths simply cannot be distinguished from cultural elements that are not essential to the Christian teaching. Rather, the reason is that when the scripture is allowed to speak for itself, it becomes clear that it is precisely those elements in it that many modern people would like to expunge as time-bound and culturally determined that the scriptural writers considered most central and fundamental. In consequence, modern writers who set out to disengage Christian teaching from culturally determined elements end up by canonizing the approach of their modern culture and using that as a standard by which to judge the teaching of scripture. They do this because they cannot find any standard within scripture that would allow them to accept the elements they want to accept and reject those they want to reject.

And this from the introduction to chapter 12, “Christian Tradition: Husbands and Wives”:

There was a time in Christian history when people would have been directed to Christian tradition, especially to the Fathers, if they wanted to test their own reading of scripture. Those who had authority in the area of scriptural interpretation were those who stood in the succession of Christian teachers, men who were dedicated to faithfully passing on what they had received, who were known to be committed Christians and holy men, and who sometimes gave their lives for what they believed. It was with their writings that Christians compared their own thoughts. For all the differences in their reading of tradition, this was true for Protestants as well as for Catholics and Orthodox, at least for men such as Luther, Calvin, and Wesley. In more recent years, however, there has been a shift. People are now supposed to compare their interpretation of scripture with that of scripture scholars, Christian or pagan, preferably those who are the most recent. Underlying this change in scriptural interpretive authority is a further change in the understanding of scriptural interpretation: a change in the Christian mind that is one of the more significant changes among the Christian people in recent centuries.

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I know what I’m asking for for my birthday.

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Perhaps O/T but does Man and Woman In Christ discuss how its teaching works out in the context of long-term Christian singles? I am well aware that this would be speaking to the minority of adult Christians, sorry; but as a single I found that it was very rare to come across anything discussing roles in this way, that did so outwith the context of men as married men, and generally fathers as well.

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Absolutely. Much of the purpose of the book is to examine the implications of being men and women outside the context of marriage, including in the church and in society. Clark himself was and is a single man. Actually, he’s a celibate Roman Catholic. Thankfully, he writes the book in such a way that Roman Catholicism doesn’t really clutter anything up. Suffice it to say, he’s done very helpful work in examining being single and still being men and women, and acting like it.

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Alex - thanks, that’s really helpful to know. E.g. I can imagine single Christian women who would quite happily submit to male leadership in a church context, but still think they can exercise leadership roles of some sort in the wider civil society. (In writing this, I am well aware that we could be coming up against the exception that proves (tests) the rule).

That Stephen Clark is a long-term single man is something I hadn’t appreciated, so thanx for pointing that out as well.

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When’s your birthday? :thinking:

Do you have a release date yet? Will it be print, audio or both? I’d like to get a few copies.

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Print and ebook, not audio. That would be another massive undertaking. I’ll let Alex answer the date question.

No official release date yet. Hopefully an update on that soon.

Definitely print. We will also at least produce a handy PDF.

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Is Clark still alive? I’d love to see his thoughts on transgenderism and androgyny (maybe they’re already in the book - I haven’t read all of my old copy).

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He is alive. We suggested that he add some material to Man and Woman in Christ a few years ago when we got permission to republish it, but he declined at that time, saying that he was trying to finish other work. My understanding is that he is now unable to do so.

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He is still alive, though my understanding is that he is living in some kind of long-term care facility. I haven’t seen anything in the book that specifically addresses transgenderism. Then again, it was written in 1980. But, considering how clear and consistent are the teaching of Scripture, and of Christian tradition, as he lays out in the book, it doesn’t seem like there’d be all that much to say on the legitimacy of men pretending to be women and women pretending to be men. One thing no prophet, apostle, or early church Father ever wondered was Who is a man? and Who is a woman?

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Too bad about his current health; we’ll include him in our prayers.

As to his comments regarding transgenderism; no debate about his book pre-dating general concerns about transgenderism. But that’s why a revised edition would have been nice; I’d like to have seen him explicitly make the link/connection between our rejection of biblically defined sex roles and the resultant “fluidity” that we see in today’s culture, whether that’s oscillation between sexes (transgenderism) or the blurring of distinctives represented by our increasingly androgynous culture. I often find that seeing it explicitly stated and argued is more authoritative than proper deduction.

One further point about pre-dating transgenderism: I’ve always been impressed by how the non-believer Carle Zimmerman accurately predicted the sexual chaos of our day back in the late 1940’s in his book Family and Civilization. I should probably add that book to the thread about under-the-radar books worth reading.

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My birthday is July 12th.

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I haven’t read any of the books in question, but the bundle of behaviors that 2020 Americans call “trans” was gaining popularity in Weimar Germany (roughly 1920s). And Stanley Biber started doing “sex change” operations in Trinidad Colo. in 1969.

So while the current jihad to subjugate those of us who don’t acknowledge that 2+2=5 is relatively new, this sort of manufactured gender confusion is not.

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Christians are often tempted by a selective submission. Some scriptural teaching is very attractive to them, and they find in themselves an admiration and a willingness to submit to it. Modern Christians usually find it easier to feel enthusiastic about Christian teaching about God’s fatherhood or about love of others. Some scriptural teaching, however, contradicts their desires. Some may even repulse them. To be sure, often the difficulty is genuine uncertainty about how to respond to some part of scripture. Often a person may know that the scripture is saying something on a given subject, but can be uncertain how to understand or apply what is said. Despite some uncertainties, for most Christians there remains much scriptural teaching that is sufficiently clear, or could seemingly become sufficiently clear with more investigation, but which they find themselves unwilling to submit to. The genuineness of submission is tested precisely at these points. They prove that their submission is genuine, and not a mere pretense, when they submit to the Lord in something which is personally difficult and which may lose them the respect of the world around him. A Christian may be uncertain about how to submit, but should not be selective about submission. (Clark, ch. 14, “The Authority of Scripture”)

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This is dated, isn’t it? Right now, I’d say God’s Fatherhood is ground zero of the Church’s (not to mention society’s) rebellion against our Creator. But great point he makes here. Love,

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I had the same thought. It’s actually not uncommon to sing about God’s Fatherhood (there’s a popular Chris Tomlin song called “Good Good Father”), but it’s a cloying fatherhood generally devoid of discipline, authority, or strength.

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I’m gonna say, expect these to be available at the June meeting of Evangel Presbytery.

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