By Cindy Koch –
Today in our world there is a battle between men and women. As a mother of four daughters, sometimes that scares me more than a little. As my little girls grow up in this deep, dark society, I fear for their safety and future. Will they find a man who cherishes them or abuses them? Will they have experiences that are encouraging or damaging? Will my little girls grow up to fight for their femininity or struggle against it?
Unfortunately for all of us, I don’t think the battle of male and female is much different than the wars of the past. Ever since the fall of creation, there has been constant strife and struggle between the sexes. God declared plainly, because you have done this—disobeyed my word—there will be consequences tearing apart your relationships. “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen 3:16). God proclaimed His curse on the creatures that were meant to love and care for one another. From now on they would fight—maybe for a voice, for a place, for money, or for respect. Time after time, generation after generation, no one has sustained a final peaceful conclusion to this fight. And so there continues to be misunderstanding, hurt, pain, and abuse as long as we live in this sinful, broken reality.
In the confused mess of men and women, we turn to God for an answer. In order to preserve the dignity of woman, we discover a theology of woman. Foundationally fighting for her value as a female, critically emphasizing her worth as an equal creation of God, this theology inspires justice in our crooked world. Comforting those who have been pressed down, raising up the meek, the theology of woman empowers the visible coming of the kingdom of God.
But then, the strife is not yet over. We turn to God for an answer. In order to solidify the authority of man, we discover a theology of man. Steadfastly clinging to his vocation, emphasizing his worth holding dominion over creation, this theology builds up leaders in our apathetic world. Challenging those who have been pressed down, emboldening the meek, the theology of man blazes the path for the awaited kingdom of God.
And the struggle spins round and round, even within our theologies. As terrible as it is to live in severed relationships with the opposite sex, we all struggle and fight against the Word that reveals this offense to God. We accuse men of chauvinistic oppression, and we forget about the grievous sins of our unforgiving women. We bind up our women in guilt for God-given gifts used and unused, and we also forget about our faithful men, who we regularly take for granted. We selectively forget that even our dismembered theologies struggle and fight against each other and ultimately against God and His Word.
The theology of man or woman, or any other for that matter, is not the story of the God of the Bible. These theologies are rooted in our struggle of sinful relationships, our solutions for epic problems of separation here on earth. These theologies certainly use God and His Word to their own particular advantage, but entirely miss the solution that God prepared from the very beginning of the struggle.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23).
A theologian of the cross looks upon the exhausting battle in a sinful, dying world and wholly despairs of her own theologies. A theologian of the cross cries and laments at today’s problems and completely trusts a Savior’s work instead of his own solutions. The theology of the cross is an unattractive, recklessly passive theology in the middle of our complicated fights. But the free gift of God that has reconciled every struggle is Christ’s cross alone, and everything is already done for you.