Man, Woman, and the Mystery of Christ: An Evangelical Protestant Perspective

Russell Moore | November 18, 2014

Editors' note: Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, delivered the following address to a worldwide gathering of religious leaders at the Vatican on the necessity of complementarity and the importance of of marriage from an evangelical Protestant perspective. 

Poet Wendell Berry responded to the technological utopianism of naturalistic scientism with an observation that I believe frames the entire discussion of what it means to affirm the complementarity of man and woman in marriage. His observation was that any civilization must decide whether it will see persons as machines or as persons. If we are creatures, he argued, then we have meaning and purpose and dignity—but with all of that we have limits. If we see ourselves as machines, then we will believe the Faustian myth of our own limitless power and our ability to reshape even what it means to be human.

This is, it seems to me, the question at the heart of the controversies every culture faces about the meaning of marriage and of sexuality. Are we created, as both the Hebrew Scriptures and Jesus of Nazareth put it, “male and female” from the beginning, or are these categories arbitrary and…

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