ICGS Core Doctrinal Standards

ICGS acknowledges a number of doctrinal standards which vary in regard to their relevance to the subject matter of the materials that we produce and distribute. Those evaluating our ministry sometimes inquire about these standards. This page and the pages linked to it attempt to answer this query.

The Ecumenical Creeds

ICGS confesses, defends, and teaches (where relevant to our mission) the ecumenical creeds: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed [actually Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381], the Definition of Chalcedon, and the Athanasian Creed. The Apostles’ Creed likely arose as a pastoral tool in connection with a confession of faith at the time of baptism, and the remaining creeds were prompted by controversies about the person of Christ many centuries ago.

None of these creeds have “gender controversy” as a prior cause.  Yet, the matters addressed in these creeds are themselves impacted by modern controversies in the church about the nature of masculinity and femininity and how these relate to one another in marriage, family, church, and society. Virtually all the classical Christian communions—Orthodox, Roman, and Protestant—endorse the ecumenical creeds.  And for that reason, all classical Christian communions are threatened by whatever wind of doctrine, coarsing through the Church, threatens the faith expressed in those creeds. For an elaboration of this, see the white paper Are Gender Issues Gospel Issues?

 The Danvers Statement

In its introduction to the Danvers Statement at its web site, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood says that “This statement was prepared by several evangelical leaders at a CBMW meeting in Danvers, Massachusetts, in December of 1987. It was first published in final form by the CBMW in Wheaton, Illinois in November of 1988.”

Composed of two sections—Rationale and Affirmations—the Danvers Statement sets forth a response to the growth of feminist tenets within broadly evangelical Protestantism in the United States during the previous two decades.  In the text of the Danvers Statement reproduced by the International Church Council Project, a section entitled “Purpose” lies between the Rationale and Affirmations.  The Purpose section appears to preserve the purposes of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood at the time of its organization.  Certainly, CBMW’s mission since that time is a faithful implementation of the goals set forth in this section.

ICGS, along with other Christian organizations and Protestant denominations in the United States, endorsed the Danvers Statement when ICGS was organized four years after the meeting in Danvers, Massachusetts. We applaud the Christians who undertook to frame that statement, and we embrace it as the starting point for our own mission.

 Additional Doctrinal Distinctives

ICGS affirms and defends specific tenets that are relevant to the contemporary controversy within broadly evangelical American Protestantism, tenets which are not necessarily shared by those who claim the name “complementarian.” For the most part, these tenets are either features of a theology of manhood and womanhood developed by ICGS and promulgated in its curricula, or they involve responses to the heterodoxy or heresy inherent in so-called evangelical feminism.  These doctrinal distinctives, summarized here, are developed at length in the courses Five Aspects of Man and Five Aspects of Woman, or in white papers archived in other pages of this web site.

The image of God: The image of God is the basis of all human worth and is equally present in both men and women. Neither sex possesses the image of God in any way differently from the other.  Moreover, any individual human being possesses the image of God independently of his relationship to any other human being. Solitary Adam possessed the image of God before Eve was created.

God is masculine: The Bible reveals God to be masculine: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are masculine in names, roles, and in their relationship to everything that is created.

The Trinity is a model for authority and subordination among equals: Within the Holy Trinity there is full essential equality of persons and hierarchy in their relationship to one another.  For this reason, the Trinity is a model for the hierachichal relationship among humans who are equal to one another in their essential humanity.

The Trinity not a model for marriage: nowhere in the Bible is the relationship of the persons in the Trinity ever set forth as a model for marriage.  Instead, the marriage relationship takes its meaning, shape, and function from the relationship between God and something created.  God is a husband, Israel a wife; Christ is a Bridegroom, the Church is His Bride.  There is no femininity in the Godhead: God and His people – God and Israel, Christ and the Church – are the models for marriage.

The pre-Fall headship of man: Basic to God’s pre-Fall creation, man’s headship should be honored in marriage and the Church as part of God’s creation and redemption order. Male headship is not the curse of Genesis 3:16b. God’s curse upon woman is not the rule of man; rather, it is her propensity to dominate the man whom she was created to help.

Wisdom and folly are personified as women in Proverbs 1-9: As such, they represent good and evil patterns of femininity to be emulated and avoided respectively. Wisdom, in Proverbs 8, foreshadows Christ (as does the Law); but, Wisdom, in Proverbs 8, should not be equated with Christ, since it is a feminine personification and a created entity.

Man and woman share the same divine image, but their glories differ: Men are the glory of God, for Christ is directly their head. In physique, bearing, temperament, and roles, men picture the strength, leadership, and love of God.

Women are the glory of man, for woman was made from the man and for the man. In body, bearing, temperament, and roles, women picture the believer and the Church – highlighting faith, response, submission, adornment, and fruitbearing.


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