Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

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The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) is an evangelical Christian organization promoting a complementarian rather than egalitarian, feminist or patriarchal view of gender issues.[1][2][3] CBMW's current president is Dr. Denny Burk,[4] a professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and director for The Center for Gospel and Culture, based at the school.


The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was organized in 1987.[5][6] Its origins lie with a talk by Wayne Grudem on "Manhood and Womanhood in Biblical and Theological Perspectives" at a 1986 meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), where he invited delegates to join "a new organization dedicated to upholding both equality and differences between men and women in marriage and the church."[7] This was followed by a meeting in Dallas with Grudem, John Piper, Wayne House, and others.[7] A subsequent meeting was held in Danvers, Massachusetts. Here the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was finalized.[8] A full page advertisement containing the full Danvers Statement was published in Christianity Today in January 1989.[9]

In 1991, Crossway Books published the organisation's lengthy book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism. Edited by Piper and Grudem, this book included contributions by D. A. Carson, John Frame, Vern Poythress, Douglas J. Moo, Paige Patterson, Elisabeth Elliot, and several other writers.[10] Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ also supported the organisation.[11]

The Danvers Statement[12] has been endorsed or adopted by the Southwestern Baptist Seminary[13] and several independent churches.[14][15] Randall Balmer says that the Statement was an attempt to "staunch the spread of biblical feminism in evangelical circles."[16] Seth Dowland suggests that the authors of the statement "framed their position as a clear and accessible reading of scripture.[17] The Danvers Statement is included in readers such as Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism: A Documentary Reader (NYU Press, 2008) and Eve and Adam: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim readings on Genesis and gender (Indiana University Press, 2009).

The Danvers Statement recognised the "genuine evangelical standing of many who do not agree with all of our convictions."[18]

In 1998, the organisation established a British branch, in which Terry Virgo was active.[19]

As of December 2010, the CBMW had a funding level of around $127,000, down from $336,000 two years earlier.[6]

1994 Statement on Abuse with the CBE[edit]

In 1994, three members of CBMW met privately with three members of Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE), an egalitarian evangelical organization (at their request). Dr. Ray Ortlund (CMBW president at that time), Mary Kassian, and Wayne Grudem met with three of their leaders in Chicago to talk about where they could come to points of agreement.

According to Grudem, as discussions progressed both sides overcame some misunderstandings about each other. One result of that meeting was an agreement to work on a joint statement on abuse in marriage, which was drafted by the CBMW with feedback from the CBE.[20] However, before it was to be issued, the CBE's board declined to join the statement, to the confusion of their counterparts with the CBMW. The statement was later published in the CBMW's own newsletter (later renamed the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood). It has subsequently been published on their website and in many of their publications.[21]

Wayne Grudem, commented: “We regret that CBE declined to join us in this statement. If CBE will not join us in something on which we agree (condemning abuse), then I see little hope that they will be willing to join us in constructive dialogue on issues where we disagree. This is unfortunate for the evangelical world.”[22]

James Beck, writing for the CBE Board of Directors, in a letter declining the joint statement, stated: "We do not feel it would be helpful to convene a joint press conference at ETS to issue a joint statement on abuse. CBE’s position on abuse flows directly out of our theological understanding of Scripture and what it teaches about gender and roles. If we attempt to issue a joint statement with an organization that differs fundamentally from us on this issue, we feel both organizations would be giving very mixed signals to their respective constituencies."[22]


The CBMW takes the position that the Bible restricts the ordination of women.[23]

In the late 1990s, CBMW published articles and papers critical of Gender-Neutral Bible translations. CBMW has drawn Christian media attention by expressing concerns about such translations.[24][25][26] The organization's thoughts on Bible translations have had influence upon Southern Baptists,[27] Focus on the Family, and other evangelical organizations.

The CBMW opposes same sex marriage.[28]

Journal for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (JBMW)[edit]

Wayne Grudem co-founded a CBMW newsletter, which became the Journal for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood,[29] published biannually.[30] The editor is Dr. Denny Burk.[31]

The journal usually consists of around fifteen articles composed by various evangelical scholars who hold to complementarian views.


  • Piper, John; Grudem, Wayne A. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism. Crossway Books. ISBN 978-1-58134-806-4.  (Book of the Year for Christianity Today, 1992) – online edition

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rosemary Skinner Keller, Rosemary Radford Ruether, and Marie Cantlon (2006), Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America, Indiana University Press, p. 468.
  2. ^ Pamela Cochran (2005), Evangelical Feminism: a History, NYU Press, p. 160.
  3. ^ Agnieszka Tennant, "Nuptial Agreements," Christianity Today, March 11, 2002.
  4. ^ CBMW web site: Denny Burk Named CBMW President accessed 24 September 2016.
  5. ^ CBMW web site: about us, accessed 13 Sept 2011.
  6. ^ a b Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability web site: Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, accessed 13 Sept 2011.
  7. ^ a b Wayne Grudem, "Personal Reflections on the History of CBMW and the State of the Gender Debate," JBMW, Vol. 14 No. 1. Archived December 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Roger E. Olson (2004), The Westminster Handbook to Evangelical Theology, Westminster John Knox Press, p. 312.
  9. ^ Daniel T. Rodgers (2011), Age of Fracture, Harvard University Press, p. 312.
  10. ^ John Piper and Wayne A. Grudem, eds. (1991), Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, Crossway Books, table of contents.
  11. ^ John G. Turner (2008), Bill Bright & Campus Crusade for Christ: The renewal of Evangelicalism in Postwar America, UNC Press, p. 209.
  12. ^ "Core Beliefs: The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood." Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), 1987. Web:13 Jul 2010.
  13. ^ The Danvers Statement - Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  14. ^ What Grace Community Church Believes
  15. ^ [1] Archived May 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Balmer, Randall (2004). "Danvers Statement". Encyclopedia of evangelicalism. Baylor University Press. p. 170. 
  17. ^ Dowland, Seth (2009). "A New Kind of Patriarchy: Inerrancy and Masculinity in the Southern Baptist Convention, 1979-2000". In Friend, Craig Thompson. Southern masculinity: perspectives on manhood in the South since Reconstruction. University of Georgia Press. p. 258. 
  18. ^ Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen (2010), A Sword Between the Sexes?: C.S. Lewis and the Gender Debates, Brazos Press, p. 76.
  19. ^ Mathew Guest, Karin Tusting, and Linda Woodhead (2004), Congregational Studies in the UK: Christianity in a Post-Christian Context, Ashgate Publishing, p. 194.
  20. ^ "Personal Reflections on the History of CBMW and the State of the Gender Debate,", 31 May 2009.
  21. ^ "Statement on Abuse," CBMW, November 1994.
  22. ^ a b "CBE Declines Joint Statement" (PDF). CBMW News. 1 (1): 3. August 1995. 
  23. ^ Stanley James Grenz and Denise Muir Kjesbo (1995), Women in the Church: a Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry, InterVarsity Press, p. 15.
  24. ^ "'I will make you a fisher of PEOPLE': New gender-neutral Bible translation angers conservatives," Daily Mail, 18 March 2011.
  25. ^ Glen G. Scorgie, Mark L. Strauss, and Steven M. Voth (2009), The Challenge of Bible Translation: Communicating God's Word to the World, Zondervan, Note 55.
  26. ^ Art Toalston, "Bible scholars quickly begin debate of new gender-neutral NIV revision," Baptist Press News, 30 Jan 2002.
  27. ^ Michael Foust, "Patterson, Mohler endorse resolution critical of NIV '11," Baptist Press News, 29 June 2011. Archived April 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^
  29. ^ Sarah Sumner and Phillip E. Johnson (2003), Men and Women in the Church: Building Consensus on Christian Leadership, InterVarsity Press, p. 38.
  30. ^ CBMW web site: Journal, accessed 13 Sept 2011.
  31. ^ CBMW web site: Staff, accessed 13 Sept 2011.

External links[edit]