“Anthropology is the defining issue of the 21st century.” – Joe Rigney
Last month Joe Rigney, who is John Piper’s successor as the new president of Bethlehem College and Seminary, tweeted the quote above in the midst of the ongoing confirmation hearings of Joe Biden’s nominee to the US Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
What prompted Rigney’s tweet was a series of questions that were asked to Judge Jackson about her basic, definitional understanding of human dignity and personhood. Judge Jackson’s responses were not encouraging. She not only refused to answer when she believed equal protection under the law attaches to a human person, which obviously implicates her beliefs about abortion and the unborn, but she also obfuscated to the point of absurdity when she was asked a direct question about the definition of the word “woman.”
By now, this remarkable exchange has become infamous:
Senator Blackburn: “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?”
Justice Jackson: “I can’t.”
Senator Blackburn: “You can’t?”
Justice Jackson: “Not in this context. I’m not a biologist.”
Many wish that Senator Blackburn would have followed up with the question, “Are you a woman?” And then, if she answered yes, which she almost certainly would have — especially since Joe Biden [not a biologist] had promised to nominate a “black woman” to the Court — she Blackburn should have asked, “How do you, a non-biologist, know you are a woman?”
Of course, Judge Jackson’s confusing and intentionally muddled answers probably do not represent what she actually believes. But what her answers do represent is the disorienting cultural climate we live in — a climate where the very basic definitions of man, woman, and person have become completely untethered from reality and are increasingly politically charged. Which brings us back to Rigney’s statement:
“Anthropology is the defining issue of the 21st century.”
This is what we believe at the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). Whereas past generations of Christians faced other battles over orthodoxy, such as the Trinity, or Christology, or even Ecclessiology, today, the mettle of truth and orthodoxy are being tested the most in the realm of anthropology. This is not to say that other doctrines are not important — they are of extreme importance to the continuance of biblical fidelity and orthodoxy. But it is to recognize that orthodoxy and its confessors are threatened with capitulation today not only from the world, but also from within our ranks at exactly the issue of anthropology — including what it means to be created male and female in the image of God.
And that is why we do what we do at CBMW; it is why we renamed our journal in 2019 to Eikon: A Journal for Biblical Anthropology. We are aiming to equip this generation and future generations with biblical answers to contemporary questions about marriage, men and women, and even what it means to be a human person — about biblical anthropology.
We may not be biologists, but we do know what a woman is. Because God made us male and female for a purpose, and his Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.