After God’s creation recorded in the book of Genesis, He used one word to describe His glorious handiwork, “good.”
And that is just what God’s design for male and female is . . .nothing short of good.
Grant and I were excited to contribute a chapter on purity.
Don’t miss John Piper’s beautiful foreword. It’s an encouraging read for my generation.
Christian complementarity is the conviction that God created men and women as his image-bearers — equal in dignity and distinct in role.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Scripture’s distinctive roles for men and women are not the cultural fads of a bygone era, but integral aspects of God’s good design for humanity, and therefore integral aspects toward humanity’s end — to glorify God by enjoying him forever.
For those of you who appreciate the ministry of The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, the videos of the entire conference are now available on CBMW’s website! I am very grateful for this organization and I hope you will find these videos encouraging and clarifying to your own understanding of manhood and womanhood. Here are a few words regarding the conference from CBMW’s Executive Director, Owen Strachan:
We recently held our first CBMW National Conference in conjunction with the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference. We wanted to present an event that would be gospel-focused, positive, and exciting.
These were our starting points, but we honestly didn’t know what to expect. We thought that we might have 500 people. Then people started signing up, and kept signing up. So we went back to the book publishers that were among our event sponsors and asked them to greatly increase the amount of books that they were giving, and they did. Then even more people signed up, so we went back to the publishers one more time, and they were gracious to give even more books. Finally the day of the conference came, and God brought close to 1,500 people. We sold every single seat and then several dozen “standing room only” seats. Wow!
We decided that we would feature an unusual format for these talks. They would be short, sharp, and “TED”-like, long enough to argue a point, but short enough to progress through an extremely gifted platform of speakers in a short amount of time. We hope these videos will not only enrich your life, but that you share them with many others as well (feel free to host 1-2 on your site and direct folks to this page for the full treasure trove). Thanks again for your interest.
Please note, by the way, that we are able to make this content available for free thanks to the generous gift of complementarian churches, organizations, and individuals. We would love your support of our ongoing work to provide gospel-driven resources to God’s people.
Also: keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming eBook we at CBMW are doing with the good folks at Desiring God Ministries. We’re really, really excited about this project!
I moderated a women’s panel at the conference and had the privilege of hearing first hand from Candice Watters, Kristie Anyabwile, Melissa Kruger, Trillia Newbell, and Jodi Ware. I have included our panel discussion below. You can find the remaining talks given by Dr. Ligon Duncan, Dr. Russell Moore, Kevin DeYoung, Eric Mason, Dr. John Piper, Dr. Danny Akin, Dr. Albert Mohler, and Dr. David Platt here.
It’s Friday. The start of the weekend and the end of an incredibly encouraging week at Together for the Gospel. “T4G” is a conference geared for pastors that began in 2006 in Louisville, KY and is held biannually. Grant attended 2 years ago, right before our big move to Louisville for him to attend Southern Seminary. The first thing Grant said to me when he got back from T4G last time was, “I want you to come with me next time.”
When the conference was approaching this year, Grant did all the planning to make sure I would be there, “Call your mom, see if she can come in April to watch the girls. If she can’t, I’m calling my mom.”
If it weren’t for his persistence in inviting me and telling me how much he wanted to make this past week a priority, I can honestly tell you I would have said, “Just go, Grant. I will watch online.”
As I reflect over the past week, I feel a deep weight of gratitude for not just my husband, but the godly men I heard teach and lead us this week.
CBMW held a pre-conference the morning before T4G started. Grant is the Conference Director for CBMW and we originally planned for around 200-300 attendees. We were shocked when we sold out at 1300 seats. We then sold another 100 standing room only tickets.
I was blessed by Ligon Duncan, Danny Akin, John Piper, Russ Moore and others who faithfully taught about God’s design for men and women. I also had the privilege of moderating a women’s panel of wives, moms, and a grandmother. After the conference, the women on the panel, myself included, received such positive encouragement from the men who were present in the room, “Thank you so much.”
It meant a lot to me and I’m sure to the other women as well. I couldn’t help but think what a beautiful picture it was of men building their sisters up for the glory of God’s Kingdom.
Around 8,000 people attended T4G, the majority of them male since it was a pastor’s conference (there were almost 900 wives in attendance). One of the things I loved most about the conference was hearing thousands of men lift their voices in worship to the Lord. There were many songs I didn’t sing because I just wanted to listen to the deep reverberating voices all around me. How grateful I was to hear them.
I pray we will always hear them.
I know that many of these pastors are laboring for the Gospel week in and week out. Some in large churches, some in small. Some young, some in training, some who have faithfully served for years on end.
Hearing the pastors who preached the Word during the main sessions was equally encouraging. A couple of the pastors who preached I have been listening to since I was a teenager.
Faithful men. Unashamed.
It seems that lately (though I know it has always been this way), godly men have been viscously criticized and torn down for standing by the truth of God’s Word. Sometimes by men. And oftentimes by women.
But how grateful I was to hear them praying. To learn from their preaching. To benefit from their faithfulness.
Dear men of God, please keep speaking up. Please keep preaching.
Your sisters in Christ need you.
We may not always be the loudest voices out there. But we are here. We want to listen. And we are right here praying you’ll keep singing.
Editors’ note: We hope you’ll join our friends at the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood at their inaugural national conference on Tuesday, April 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST. Addressing “A Brave New Movement: CBMW and the Gospel,” speakers include The Gospel Coalition Council members John Piper, Ligon Duncan, Kevin DeYoung, and Albert Mohler, along with many others, such as Melissa Kruger and Trillia Newbell. Learn more about the purpose and need for such an event in the following article, written by CBMW conference coordinator Grant Castleberry.
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When I was in the Marine Corps, I remember once hanging out with some other officers during the day as we escaped the heat. We were all telling funny stories about that day and taking a few minutes to cool off in the air conditioning. Then one of them tossed a Playboymagazine to me and told me to check out a certain girl. I refused to look. When they all asked why I wouldn’t look, I quoted Job 31:1: “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin.” One of them, quick-witted, replied, “I don’t think she’s a virgin.” I couldn’t help but chuckle at his joke. “But all the same,” I said, “I will not look at any woman’s body besides my wife’s.” They all nodded in an understanding way, but in the moment that followed, we all realized something: we did not share the same standard of morality. Awkward silence followed.
I think many Christians have similar experiences as they strive to live out the ethics of the kingdom of Christ in today’s culture, especially in regards to sexual purity and gender roles. They run head on into opposition to the gospel and to Scripture from people they love and care about. In reality, things have not changed all that much over the centuries. In the Graeco-Roman world, when the New Testament was written, the ethics of Christ’s kingdom regarding sexuality and gender were also seen as counter-cultural. That’s what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 regarding purity:
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.
Peter goes on to say that Christian women are co-heirs with their husbands in Christ in 1 Peter 3:7, a thought that would have been seen as revolutionary in that culture:
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Last September, I shared about the significance of the song, It Is Well With My Soul, in our family’s life. So I shouldn’t have been surprised today when I got a phone call from Grant, telling me the church he attended (Cornerstone Baptist Church) sang It Is Well during the worship service this morning. He was in Detroit for the weekend and today is the Sunday following the anniversary of his dad’s death (27 years ago). I also shouldn’t have been surprised when Grant’s mom, Susan, sent us a text late last night telling us they had sung it in church in Texas. Every year, around the anniversary of Grant’s dad’s death, It Is Well is sung in church. And every year, it takes me by surprise. Today, the Lord showed us once again that he is a Father to the fatherless, He never forgets, and that no matter where we are, He is there.
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.” – Psalm 68:5
Here is what I wrote last September:
It was August of 1986. The words above were the opening line of the last letter Grant’s dad, Kelly, wrote to his wife, Susan. It was just a couple weeks before his tragic plane crash. Kelly wrote the letter from California while attending a Marine Corps training exercise. When Grant’s mom read Kelly’s letter, she thought it unusual that he started the letter with the words to a hymn but for some reason she tucked the letter in a safe place, not fully knowing how much she would come to treasure it. After Kelly’s death, Susan clung to Kelly’s words in her grief, knowing that Kelly’s soul was with the Lord.
It was as if Kelly knew she would need to read those words one day. And when Kelly’s body was lost at sea, Susan was reminded that even though her sorrow was as the sea billows roll, her husband’s soul was with God.
Not only did Kelly, pen those words to his wife, but to his parents as well.
It Is Well With My Soul was sung at Kelly’s memorial service and over the years, it has comforted Grant around the anniversary of his dad’s death. “It’s crazy,” Susan told me, “but almost every time Kelly’s anniversary has fallen on a Sunday we have sung It Is Well in church.”
Right after Grant and I were married, Kelly’s anniversary fell on a Sunday. We were in Texas visiting Grant’s family. It Is Well was sung during Sunday morning worship. The tears just streamed down our faces as we felt God’s presence there with us.
For those who know us (or read this blog), you know the story of Grant’s dad, Kelly. I wrote extensively about it in Texas Heart. You can also watch a short video about ithere.
Today marks the 26th anniversary of Kelly’s death. It’s crazy to think that this year Kelly will have been dead as long as he lived (he was 26 when he died). In the past 26 years of Grant’s life, God has been incredibly faithful.
God has showed His faithfulness in so many ways and through so many people. Grant and I were reminded of God’s care today as we remembered Kelly’s death along with his parents who are visiting us.
I stayed home from church today with Evangeline. I received a text message from Grant while he was in church:
They played It Is Well in church. Daddy’s favorite song.
I sent my mom a text a little later telling her that today marked the 26th anniversary. I told her about the song.
She wrote back one word:
I knew what she meant. She meant that God is sovereign. That nothing happens outside of His sovereign hand. It Is Well wasn’t sung in church by chance. God knew today marks the anniversary of Kelly’s death. He hadn’t forgotten the significance of this day in Grant’s life.
Mom sent me another text a little later:
Dad quoted a verse from It Is Well in his sermon this morning. Then we sang it at the end of the service. So if y’all had not moved, it would have been sung no matter what.
My dad didn’t remember that today was the anniversary, but the Lord did. As Grant and I reflect on Kelly’s legacy today, we are abundantly thankful that we have a God who cares about us deeply and a God who remembers.
While this life is fragile, our souls have an anchor. Through His redemption, we can say confidently as Kelly once did, “It is well with my soul.”
Grant wrote a short article on this topic over at CBMW today. Also, Grant links to an excellent article for single men written by the Executive Director of CBMW, Owen Strachan.
When I was twenty-four and still single, I was sent halfway around the world to mainland Japan for a two year tour of duty. As a Marine officer, and specifically an Air Traffic Control officer, my job was to be a Crew Officer for the Marine Air Traffic Controllers at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. I remember getting on the plane in DFW to take my initial trip to Japan. I was literally going to a place where I did not know a single person, for two years. All I had with me was a sea bag filled with clothes – mostly uniforms, my computer, a Bible, and a set of golf clubs. It was overwhelming saying goodbye to my family and friends, and I remember getting on that plane and the feeling of loneliness setting in.
This past Memorial Day weekend was a very special one for us for many reasons. Grant and I were on our way to church Sunday morning when we received a text from Grant’s dad, Preston, telling us “Happy 11th Anniversary!” For a moment, we looked at one another in confusion, not knowing what he was talking about. Then we realized what he meant. . .it was exactly 11 years to the day, that Grant and I met each other.
My memories of the day I met Grant aren’t as clear as I’d like them to be. I didn’t know the day I met him was going to forever be significant in my life. Grant and his parents had made a special trip to Beaufort, SC from Texas. They were there to visit his dad, Kelly’s, memorial marker in the Beaufort National Cemetery. It was Memorial Day weekend, and it was the first time Grant was visiting his dad’s marker since the memorial service after his tragic plane crash. Grant was seventeen, and I was sixteen. Our families went to lunch together after church.
I remember glancing at him from across the restaurant. He was tall, lanky, and very “Texan.” I’ve written about meeting Grant before, and you can read that here.
This past Sunday, I was reminded how the Lord often works in ways we do not expect. I had absolutely no idea the day I met Grant that he would one day be my husband. Grant and I shared a brief hello then, and we wouldn’t speak to one another again for seven years.
Memorial Day weekend is also particularly special for us because of the death of Grant’s dad. Not only that, Grant served in the Marine Corps for 4 1/2 years and we have dear friends and family who are serving now. Memorial Day is not just a day off – it’s a day to remember and thank God for those we have given their lives so that others may enjoy freedom.
Grant’s birthday is always right around Memorial Day, but this past year, it fell on Monday. We celebrated his birthday by visiting the Creation Museum right outside Cincinnati and thanking the Lord for his goodness in our lives.
The past couple years, we were in Beaufort for (or around) Memorial Day, and were able to visit Grant’s dad’s memorial marker. We weren’t able to do that this year. When we arrived home from our day at the museum, my mom sent me something she had written about Grant’s dad.
There really are no words to express how touched Grant and I were by what she wrote. It was as if she explained so many of the feelings we were feeling that day but didn’t know how to share.