Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) is the leading evangelical Christian organization that promotes a Complementarian (as opposed to an Egalitarian) view of gender issues as they affect Christians. It was founded in 1987 by a group of pastors and scholars concerned about the influence of secular feminism in society and in evangelical churches.^ [1]^ 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.^[1]^ {{#if:| – {{{2}}}{{#if:|, {{{3}}}}}{{#if:|, {{{4}}}}}



Some CBMW contributions

CBMW defines the complementarian position and promotes its acceptance and application. CBMW currently encourages adherence to the Danvers Statement. It influences the adoption of the Danvers Statement by churches, denominations, and parachurch organizations. It also continues to articulate a unified complementarian position.

One of CBMW's stated purposes is to serve as "the evangelical voice for the biblical view of gender to the Christian community and the world."^ [2]^ CBMW publishes a biannual journal on gender issues, called the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.^[3]^ CBMW also maintains a web site which offers a blog and an online store; they indicate that 500,000 people from 34 nations visit their web site each year.^[2]^ CBMW also sponsors various conferences, debates, articles, and books.

CBMW assists organizations and denominations such as FamilyLife (a division of Campus Crusade), the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Presbyterian Church in America, which have all taken complementarian stands.

CBMW has drawn media attention by expressing concerns about gender-neutral translations of the Bible,^[4]^ and even developed a web site^[5]^ dealing exclusively with that issue. CBMW's Statement of Concern about the TNIV Bible was endorsed by evangelical leaders across the United States, including James Dobson and Chuck Colson.^[6]^

CBMW's Mission and Vision

CBMW's mission is "to set forth the teachings of the Bible about the complementary differences between men and women, created equally in the image of God, because these teachings are essential for obedience to Scripture and for the health of the family and the church."^ [7]^

CBMW's vision is "to see the vast majority of evangelical homes, churches, academic institutions, and other ministries adopt the principles of the Danvers Statement as a part of their personal convictions and doctrinal confessions and apply them in consistent, heart-felt practice."^[7]^

Danvers Statement

The Danvers Statement is an official statement of the complementarian Christian view of gender roles. It is not the product of any particular Christian denomination, but has been endorsed or cited by many Christian groups. It was first published by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) in Wheaton, Illinois, in November 1988. Work on the statement began with "several evangelical leaders" at a CBMW meeting in Danvers, Massachusetts, in December of 1987. In 1989, a paid advertisement center-spread appeared in the January 13 issue of Christianity Today accompanied with the Danvers Statement.

Text of the Statement

The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood


We have been moved in our purpose by the following contemporary developments which we observe with deep concern:

  1. The widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture regarding the complementary differences between masculinity and femininity;
  2. The tragic effects of this confusion in unraveling the fabric of marriage woven by God out of the beautiful and diverse strands of manhood and womanhood;
  3. The increasing promotion given to feminist egalitarianism with accompanying distortions or neglect of the glad harmony portrayed in Scripture between the loving, humble leadership of redeemed husbands and the intelligent, willing support of that leadership by redeemed wives;
  4. The widespread ambivalence regarding the values of motherhood, vocational homemaking, and the many ministries historically performed by women;
  5. The growing claims of legitimacy for sexual relationships which have biblically and historically been considered illicit or perverse, and the increase in pornographic portrayal of human sexuality;
  6. The upsurge of physical and emotional abuse in the family;
  7. The emergence of roles for men and women in church leadership that do not conform to biblical teaching but backfire in the crippling of biblically faithful witness;

The increasing prevalence and acceptance of hermeneutical oddities devised to reinterpret apparently plain meanings of biblical texts;

  1. The consequent threat to Biblical authority as the clarity of Scripture is jeopardized and the accessibility of its meaning to ordinary people is withdrawn into the restricted realm of technical ingenuity;
  2. And behind all this the apparent accommodation of some within the church to the spirit of the age at the expense of winsome, radical Biblical authenticity which in the power of the Holy Spirit may reform rather than reflect our ailing culture.


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 (Gen 1:26–27, 2:18).
  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 (Gen 2:18, 21–24; 1 Cor 11:7–9; 1 Tim 2:12–14).
  3. 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).
  4. The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women (Gen 3:1–7, 12, 16).
  5. *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.
  6. *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.
  7. 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).
  8. Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse.
  9. *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).
  10. *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).
  11. 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).
  12. 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.
  13. 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).
  14. 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.

{{#if:Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, November, 1988^ [8]^| – Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, November, 1988^ [8]^{{#if:|, {{{3}}}}}{{#if:|, {{{4}}}}}


See also


  1. ? ^1.0^ ^1.1^ About Us
  2. ? ^2.0^ ^2.1^ Why We Exist
  3. ? Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
  4. ? Baptist Press News
  5. ? Gender-neutral Bibles
  6. ? Gender-neutral Bibles leadership statement
  7. ? ^7.0^ ^7.1^ Mission and Vision
  8. ? The text of the Danvers Statement is often published with the following license: "We grant permission and encourage interested persons to use, reproduce, and distribute the Danvers Statement. " The permission statement is found at the foot of a copy of the text at the official CBMW site.