Complementary Yet Distinctive
Sunridge is complementarian in our understanding of biblical manhood and womanhood. To put it succinctly, we believe that while being absolutely equal in personhood and dignity, men and women are distinct in regards to roles in the home and church. This position is certainly to be distinguished from both ancient patriarchy, which often neglects the equality of the sexes, and egalitarianism, which neglects the biblical role distinctions.
The Bible dedicates much space to the affirmation of the equality of men and women in regards to worth, nature, and substance. This means that man and woman are essentially, naturally, and substantially equal before God and each other. Any interpretation of the Bible must be free from misogyny or unwarranted and naïve assumptions of male dominance or superiority that would interpret biblical “headship” as something akin to being the woman’s “boss” or “ruler.”
The nature of biblical “headship” is that of primary initiator in the relationship. What this means is the husband is called to serve and sacrifice for his wife (and children as applicable) as an expression of his love for her. The main idea is to seek to hear the heart of our spouses (and children). This requires that we grow in our communication skills, especially the skill of listening for what her “heart” is saying.
Marriage As Companionship and Friendship
Marriage as companionship and friendship is preserved by the primary responsibility of both husbands and wives to submit to one another out of reverence to Christ (Ephesians 5:21). As we learn to abandon our self-interest and serve the other, we practice the most difficult aspect of marriage: putting our spouse’s needs ahead of our own. Headship does not negate the primary function of being each other’s servant (see Philippians 2:1-8). Such servanthood would relieve many marriages of the frustration and heartache that accompanies the misappropriation of husband headship.
Act Like Men
Paul concludes his letter to the Corinthian church with a staccato of five gospel-fueled imperatives that he would like to see characterized in the men. “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)
- “Be on the alert.” The Greek word for “alert” means to keep awake, or to watch vigilantly; to awaken or arouse from sleep, sickness, or inactivity. We need to be alert lest some destructive calamity suddenly overtakes us, or we are led to forsake Jesus, or we fall into sin, or we are corrupted by error. In essence, we are to be keenly aware of our surroundings at all times.
- “Stand firm in the faith.” The Greek word for our English phrase “stand firm” literally means to be stationary. The word comes from a root word meaning to stand, abide, continue, or persevere. We are to stand firm in our pursuit of godly character, in fellowship with the Lord and one another, and in actively maintaining allegiance to our freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1). God is not opposed to ‘effort,’ He is opposed to ‘earning.’ ‘Standing firm’ includes declaring war on our besetting sins.
- “Act like men.” The Greek word for this phrase means to make a man of, or to make brave. 1 Samuel 4:9 tells us, “Take courage and be men…lest you become slaves…therefore, be men and fight.” The alternative to pursuing godly manhood is slavery in one form or another!
- “Be strong.” The Greek word for “strong” means to empower, or to increase in vigor. Notice the admonition is apparently a choice. Psalm 31:24 reads, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord.” (See also Joshua 1; Ephesians 3:16; 6:10; Colossians 1:11.)
- “Let all that you do be done in love.” This Greek word for “love” (AGAPE) refers to sacrificial love. Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son. Christian love has God for its primary object, and expresses itself first of all in gratitude, thanksgiving, and worship. Out of this stance of worship and adoration comes a growing desire to become joyfully obedient to God’s Word knowing that only God can meet our deepest needs.
In this way we work FROM God’s acceptance and we are freed from working FOR God’s acceptance. The gospel is not advice, it is news of what Christ has done – and what He invites us into.
 Excessive domination in a relationship by a father or a father-figure.
 The theological view that not only are all people equal before God in their personhood, but there are no gender-based limitations of what functions or roles each can fulfill in the home, church, or society – viewing Galatians 3:28 as a hinge-verse that changes the historical role of women in the Church.
 Hatred of women.
 1 Corinthians 11:13; Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 5:23.