About Core Doctrines
The Five Aspects ministry is para-church – its materials are used by Christians across denominations, and ICGS is not formally associated with any one denomination. Occasionally, those evaluating our ministry inquire about our doctrinal standards. Here you will find a summary of our basic confession of faith and some theological tenets of our ministry.
We affirm the Trinity, the full deity and complete humanity of Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His atoning death, His bodily resurrection, and His future return in history for judgment. No Christian view should be taught in isolation from the great foundational doctrines of Scripture. A Christian view of gender should consult the whole counsel of God: biblical definitions, laws, narratives, and original, exemplary patterns or archetypes.
Since this term is somewhat elastic today, here are the points we have in mind:. First, faith in Jesus Christ is the starting point for any and all spiritual life. Second, this faith is awakened, nourished, and strengthened by the Holy Spirit’s ministry to the Christian through the Holy Scriptures. Third, the Holy Scriptures are the only trustworthy spiritual authority to which this study appeals and by which it should be evaluated.
Beyond these things, the Five Aspects ministry lies well within what C.S. Lewis would call “mere Christianity,” that foundation of belief which the Church—whether Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox—has embraced since the days of the apostles. That faith has been codified by the Church in the Ecumenical Creeds.
Creationist View of Genesis
The historicity of Genesis, particularly Genesis 1-3, is assumed throughout our Bible studies. You will find no direct defense of this viewpoint in these studies, but you will find indirect evidence supporting this viewpoint on almost every page.
That evidence looks like this—Genesis 1-3 not only tells us how all things came to exist, it informs us about the nature of things God created, especially the nature of men and women as gendered beings. What we learn from Genesis 1-3 is true about all men and all women, because the Genesis account is factually true. So the model for masculinity and femininity presented in the Five Aspects materials accounts for the nature of all men whether Christian, pagan, or theist. As this model for biblical sexuality finds affirmation and validation from the experiences of men and women living in all parts of the globe at all times in history, this further validates the source from which this model was drawn.
The Ecumenical Creeds
ICGS confesses, defends, and teaches (where relevant to our mission) the ecumenical creeds: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, 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, coursing through the Church, threatens the faith expressed in those creeds. For an elaboration of this, see Gender Issues are 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 gender controversies within the Church. 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 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 Articles 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 hierarchical 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.