Scriptural principles of man and woman roles

Introduction to the Scriptural Principles
The 1960s and 1970s witnessed many changes in the attitude and practices of American society concerning male and female roles in life. These developments naturally led to questions being raised concerning the practices of the church in this matter. In response to such questions and to encourage a careful scriptural evaluation of the practices of our synodical schools, the Commission on Higher Education in April of 1978 adopted theses entitled "The Role of Man and Woman According to Holy Scripture." With the approval of the Conference of Presidents (COP) these theses and an exposition of them were submitted to the 1979 WELS convention. The convention, in turn, encouraged the districts of the synod to study them.

As a result of feedback from this study, the 1981 convention directed the COP to prepare a pamphlet addressing this subject. A committee of ten pastors, one from each district of the synod, was appointed to produce that pamphlet. The pamphlet which they produced, "Man and Woman in God's World," was published in 1985 with the approval of the COP. In 1987 "Man and Woman in God's World—An Expanded Study" was made available to provide more detailed exegetical background to the first pamphlet.

All three of these studies concluded that Scripture teaches that already at creation God established differences in male and female roles for this life on earth and that these differences in roles are still applicable today. A number of voices were raised in the synod, however, questioning whether such an "order of creation" was actually taught in Scripture.

The 1989 synod convention received a memorial requesting that "Man and Woman in God's World" be adopted as an official doctrinal statement of the synod and a counter-memorial suggesting that the pamphlet not be adopted as an official doctrinal statement since Scripture itself serves as an adequate statement of the doctrine. The convention resolved to receive "Man and Woman in God's World" as a correct exposition of the scriptural teachings in this matter. It urged the COP to prepare a brief, formal doctrinal statement for consideration at the 1991 convention.

In response the COP appointed a committee of five pastors to draw up such a statement. A preliminary draft of the statement was published in the Northwestern Lutheran with a request for comments and suggestions. A revised edition of the statement entitled "Scriptural Principles of Man and Woman Roles" was submitted to the convention by the COP. The convention accepted the statement as a correct exposition of scriptural doctrine and asked that members of the synod be given additional opportunity to suggest refinement of wording. It also asked the COP to authorize the preparation of study materials to help members of the synod study this issue in Scripture.