Remember the name Ivan Pavlov? He was the Nobel Prize-winning physiologist, best known for his experiments involving ringing bells and salivating dogs. It may not surprise you to learn that he conducted other scientific tests as well. One in particular, I believe, illustrates a significant challenge facing our culture.
The project went like this: Pavlov trained dogs to distinguish between circles and ovals. When they pointed their nose at a circle, they received a reward. When they selected an oval, they suffered a penalty. As the experiment continued, Pavlov gradually made the circle more and more oblong until it was difficult to discern which was the circle and which was the oval.
The impact on the dogs’ behavior was telling. Because the clear boundaries between the shapes became blurred, the dogs grew confused, showed obvious signs of distress, and their behavior became erratic and unpredictable.
Is this not a picture of our nation?
For decades, society has been reshaping the moral boundaries that help us distinguish between right and wrong. As a result, each new generation has grown increasingly confused about life’s most fundamental values.
Take for example, a core attribute of humanity: the distinction between male and female. Even within the church, there’s a lot of confusion about what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman.
Given the uncertainty that has grown up around this topic, we want to dig into it deeper. To do that, we’ve invited our good friend, psychologist and author Dr. Larry Crabb into our studios for an informative conversation.
I agree with Dr. Crabb that we shouldn’t be surprised to see the culture go its own way in defining gender. Thankfully, Christians have the privilege of turning to the Word of God.
It all begins with Genesis 1:26 and 27: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness ….So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them’” (ESV).
When God made the moon, the stars, and the animals, it was with a pronouncement of “Let there be.” But when He made people, He said, “Let us.” That’s the first hint of the Trinity, and the first hint that God is a relational God. From that comes our inherent nature as men and women.
The Lord made men to reveal something unique about relationship within the Trinity and God’s relationship with us. Women also reflect the nature of God as equally as a man does although in their own unique way. That’s why there’s no biblical reason to believe women are somehow inferior to men in God’s economy or less important to His purposes.
That message has largely been lost. We, the Church, have to regain a healthy perspective for God’s design of men and women before we can share it with the culture.
So what is the opportunity of womanhood? What is the opportunity of manhood? Those questions and so much more will be answered in our conversation over with Dr. Crabb. I hope you’ll join us for “Embracing the Unique Aspects of Male and Female”on your local radio station, online, oniTunes, via Podcast, or take us with you on our free phone app.
Dr. Crabb is the founder and director of New Way Ministries.Before I close, I’d like to ask you to consider becoming a special partner with us through our monthly “Friends of Focus on the Family”program.When you do, I’ll send you a copy of Dr. Crabb’s book Fully Alive: A Biblical View of Gender That Frees Men and Women to Live Beyond Stereotypesas a way of saying thank you for touching others with the love of Christ. To make your pledge, or for more information, visit our websiteor call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).