Egalitarianism, complementarianism, feminism and chauvinism

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by Wannabee, Feb 18, 2009.

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  1. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    The issue of women serving in combat, or other typically male related roles, came up in another thread. I put this in the family forum for a reason. This is a family issue. This is a marriage issue. This is a headship issue. Scripture makes it clear that some roles are particularly suited for men and women. There are many tasks that are gender neutral. But there are many that clearly are not. We need not discuss the obvious fact that only women can be wives and mothers and only men can be husbands and fathers. I hope that we don't need to discuss the fact that men are to lead the family as the head and women are to help them in godly submission. And, it is also established in Scripture that each is to do this regardless of how well their spouse fulfills or doesn't fulfill their own roles.

    With this in mind, let's talk. Is a woman suitable for combat? Is she as capable physically, mentally or emotionally? What about women leaders? Corporate? Military? Political? And, if we step further into the secular arena, is there a point where headship is no longer an issue? A major issue here is also whether or not there is biblical justification to separate secular and religious.

    I'm going to line up some Scripture here that is pertinent to the discussion, to some degree at least. Then we'll see how folks think through these things.

    Women are: (references and subtitles from MacArthur Topical Bible)
    Weaker than man.
    1 Pet 3:7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
    Is 19:16 In that day Egypt will be like women, and will be afraid and fear because of the waving of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which He waves over it.
    Jer 50:37 A sword is against their horses, Against their chariots, And against all the mixed peoples who are in her midst; And they will become like women. A sword is against her treasures, and they will be robbed.
    Jer 51:30 The mighty men of Babylon have ceased fighting, They have remained in their strongholds; Their might has failed, They became like women; They have burned her dwelling places, The bars of her gate are broken.
    Nah 3:13 Surely, your people in your midst are women! The gates of your land are wide open for your enemies; Fire shall devour the bars of your gates.

    Forms of employment,
    Household work.
    Gen 18:6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.”
    Prov 31:15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.
    Ruth 2:8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women.
    Tending sheep.
    Gen 29:9 Now while he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess.
    Ex 2:16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. And they came and drew water, and they filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.
    Drawing and carrying water.
    Gen 24:15–16 And it happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. 16 Now the young woman was very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up.
    1 Sam 9:11 As they went up the hill to the city, they met some young women going out to draw water, and said to them, “Is the seer here?”
    John 4:7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”
    Grinding grain.
    Matt 24:41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
    Luke 17:35 Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left.
    Prov 31:13–14 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar.
    Prov 31:22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
    Celebrating the victories of the nation.
    Ex 15:20–21 Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 21 And Miriam answered them: “Sing to the Lord, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!”
    Judg 11:34 When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter.
    1 Sam 18:6–7 Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. 7 So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”
    Attending funerals as mourners.
    Jer 9:17 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider and call for the mourning women, That they may come; And send for skillful wailing women, That they may come.
    Jer 9:20 Yet hear the word of the Lord, O women, And let your ear receive the word of His mouth; Teach your daughters wailing, And everyone her neighbor a lamentation.

    The list of those who train and go to war are inevitably men/sons.
    Numbers 1:20 Now the children of Reuben, Israel’s oldest son, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war:
    Numbers 1:32 From the sons of Joseph, the children of Ephraim, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war:
    1 Chronicles 5:18 The sons of Reuben, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh had forty-four thousand seven hundred and sixty valiant men, men able to bear shield and sword, to shoot with the bow, and skillful in war, who went to war.
    1 Chronicles 7:11 All these sons of Jediael were heads of their fathers’ houses; there were seventeen thousand two hundred mighty men of valor fit to go out for war and battle.
    1 Chronicles 12:1 Now these were the men who came to David at Ziklag while he was still a fugitive from Saul the son of Kish; and they were among the mighty men, helpers in the war,
    1 Chronicles 12:24 of the sons of Judah bearing shield and spear, six thousand eight hundred armed for war;
    1 Chronicles 12:25 of the sons of Simeon, mighty men of valor fit for war, seven thousand one hundred;

    What about women leaders?
    2 Kings 11:1 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs.
    Judges 4:4-9 - Deborah goes with Barak to battle and says, "nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman." This is obviously a dishonor to Barak.

    Women ruling over a nation is a curse
    Is 3:12 As for My people, children are their oppressors, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths.”

    A word search with men and war brought up 55 verses. With women and war only 2 verses came up, neither of them referring women as fighting (Judg 21:22; Jer 41:16).
  2. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

  3. refbaptdude

    refbaptdude Puritan Board Freshman


    So if women worked and contributed to the income of their households in the ancient world (agrarian culture), how does that look or work itself out in the modern industrial or tech world?

    Does the bible forbid the office of queen?
  4. FenderPriest

    FenderPriest Puritan Board Junior

    I think a distinction should be made between active combat (gun to gun, bombing, etc.) and war efforts in general. For example, I wouldn't support women in battle, but I would say it's honoring to God for women to contribute and help in non-combative roles (i.e. During the German blitz on London, my wife's grandmother helped run the communication lines to connect the firemen with the fires. She later married one of those guys! She wasn't in the battle, but she had a meaningful, significant, and risky position.). I think we can see evidence of this sort of thing being allowable in the blessing of Rahab's actions in hiding the spies, or in Esther's efforts - non-combative, yet still meaningful contributions to war efforts.
  5. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    That's a tough question, isn't it? I have a few, short, answers.
    Under the headship of their husbands.
    As keepers of the home.
    Without neglecting their ministry to their families.
    If they fail in any of these then they are sinning. But I'll not be the one to draw everyone else's lines in the sand.
    For what it's worth, I think there are inherent dangers in a woman in the work place. It's proven that the testosterone levels in women in corporate America rises significantly. These same women become more aggressive and assertive. More affairs happen in work relationships than any other environment. If we work a regular job we end up spending more time with our co-workers than our spouses.
    "The fastest growing rate of infidelity is among young married women."

    I don't see that. However, neither do I see a good example of a queen. The examples before us are wicked. And the passage in Isaiah clearly shows that it is an indictment against a nation to have women (and children) as leaders.
  6. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    The RCUS has a good position statement on the illegitimacy of Women in Combat.

    The RCUS website is down right now but I'll try and get a copy linked.
  7. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    If the woman is married, I think it comes back to what is acceptable to her husband. That said, I think the woman herself needs to be extremely mindful of whether or not her outside employment interferes with her family.

    Actual combat, no. A military career with children at home? No because she could be deployed for long lengths of time.

    Women sometimes have unique capabilities for jobs often seen as male. For example, I remember doing one structural firefighting activity that measured the use of air from tanks. I did far better than most of the men. And with all that bulky equipment on, I was able to maneuver in smaller spaces better. So I'd be careful about imposing limits not specifically give in scripture.
  8. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    Technically the USA doesn't have women in combat roles, but the definition of combat role has changed. A fighter pilot is no longer considered 'combat' when it comes to women. And, on the ground there are women in transportation that are not in 'combat roles', but they find themselves in combat rather regularly. Just remember Lori Piestewa. Women also serve as helo pilots in dustoff. That places them right into a combat situation at times.
  9. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

  10. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    That was a strange reaction; somewhat aggressive too. Nobody claimed to have all the answers Sarah. It's an observation that needs to be considered though. I'm glad God has provided you with the skill and ability to provide the way He has. May you continue to be a blessing to your co-workers and mother.
  11. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    One could make quite the list of business and professional women from Scripture. People go through seasons. A woman with 9 young kids probably won't do as the Proverbs 31 woman did and buy and plant and care for a vineyard, but I don't think the Proverbs 31 woman did this necessarily at the same time as she was taking care of lots of young kids and her husband.

    Nursing is a perfect example of where women come into their own, and if it doesn't interfere with family duties it should be encouraged.
  12. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Joe, you did strike a nerve. I just think it is unnecessary to say that women are not allowed to do this or that just because men don't want them to. Women are not allowed to be the head of the household if they are married and they are not allowed to be in authority in the church and that is where it ends. Anything more is just manmade laws.
  13. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    Who said women weren't allowed to nurse? You mentioned in the other thread that it would take Scripture to show you any limitation of women's roles. I provided verses that show just that. But I did not force any lines and made it clear that it was difficult to do so in many situations. Read the verses, come up with some more, and seek the Lord's guidance.
  14. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    I would respectfully submit that in a general sense (that is, not applying to individual situations) the answer is not really that complicated. Women can, and did, work both within and without their homes to bring in income into the household. Sometimes I hear it said that the modern phenomenon of women working outside is something that started only in the industrial revolution / WWII. But in OT Israel many people had maidservants working for them. God just assumed that would be the state of affairs even when writing the Decalogue which is why he addressed men not working their maidservants on the Sabbath and not coveting your neighbour’s maidservant.

    As JWithnell said, it will ultimately come down to the husband to decide what is acceptable to him, what he requires for the care of his home, and what is ultimately for the good of the family. And yes, sometimes circumstances (like young children at home) may make the decision for the couple.
  15. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Joe the problem with your list is that it is one sided! You selectively picked verses that support your fear (a very real fear) that the office place can be dangerous for young women.

    Someone else could come along and make a list ignoring all water drawing type verses and pick only verses that show women running things, and both lists would be inherently dishonest.
  16. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    You said women in the work force...that would be me and many others. Those verses don't apply to most jobs now. Who reaps wheat etc etc? I definitely think that if a woman can prove that she is physically and mentally capable of handling a job and wants to do it, then she should. It is the same with a man. I have more male patients with weak constitutions than I do women. I'm not so sure men are anymore capable of handling mental stress than woman. In fact, I would have to say the opposite in many cases. I'm sorry if I sound grumpy it just irritates me when mankind starts making up laws not supported by Scripture.

    -----Added 2/18/2009 at 10:31:20 EST-----

    Ok, Joe! Now I feel bad and I apologize. I'm not going to worry about what people think about what women should and shouldn't do....doesn't really effect me so I should just keep out of it.
  17. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I would wholeheartedly agree with this statement. It is not humanly possible for a woman to fulfil Proverbs 31 all at the same time. While she is in the early stages of marriage and raising children, she can not be out buying and selling, but when her children are grown, there is time for that, AND she can be quite a blessing to others around her, because of her wisdom and years of experience.

    When it comes to women in combat roles, I just don't see that it's a good idea, and can't find support for combat roles in Scripture, though I am certain that during times of war, there are things that women can contribute which are just as important as fighting on the front lines.

    As far as the headship issue goes. Before my children were born, I served on a the board of directors of a countywide taxpayers association (most of the time, the only woman). I was originally asked to serve as secretary/treasurer which I did for a number of years. When I resigned because my children needed me, I was unanimously voted to be an honorary member of the board.

    My children are older now, and two years ago, the men called me and asked me to serve on this board again. I relucantly agreed, my husband came one step short of ordering me to serve on the board, and even told me he would pick up the slack at home when I had to attend meetings. So I did it.

    This year I was ready to resign, and I got a call from the board asking me again to serve. I finally said, "Why? What good am I?" The man told me. This board needs your perspective. You always have a different viewpoint that helps us make good decisions. I was rather taken aback, but I bring it up to make the point that women can serve in roles other than the home, and in my case, my husband wants me to do it.
  18. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    I by no means want to hijack this thread, but if I could piggy-back on the whole nursing example and give a hypothetical: how many of you would be in favor of a hospital/hospice chaplaincy-type situation for a woman if it did not involve spiritual authority matters (e.g., proclamation of the word and sacraments). I don't know of whole lot about the various requirements and duties in this situations, so I may be way off here. I'm also not sure where to draw the line with counsel in such situations. But if it is truly a ministry of mercy sort of situation, is there a place for this sort of thing as a non-ordained position.

    Please don't flame me! I'm just thinking out loud, more or less.
  19. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    A couple of things.
    First, I invited others to bring in Scripture for the discussion. You brought up one good example, which I "thanked."

    Second, I didn't even have the work place in mind when I drew those verse up. I was more focused on combat roles. Steve asked about work, and I responded. I am concerned about women in the work place. Fear? I dunno. But I've seen enough to have very real and well founded concerns. And there are studies to back up my personal observations. But I also was clear that it isn't mine to draw lines. Wives have their own husbands who are to live with them with understanding and guide them in such cases.

    If you have verses to help the discussion, then by all means bring them. But I would encourage you to stop short of accusing anyone of dishonesty (which you did).
  20. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    I by no means want to bring theonomy into this discussion, but we can't avoid the question of law and liberty.

    Do I think a Queen is a good idea? No, of course not. Why? Because God Himself said a King is a bad idea. Now, ask yourself what John the Baptist denounced Herod for, and then ask yourself if any Queen in Scripture was denounced for the specific sin of being a Queen.

    There are lots of things that aren't optimal in this life. Eating fat isn't optimal, but many here do it, and claim Christian liberty, and they may very well be right, and probably are. But how can you (even rightly) brush of OT law and at the same time demand laws that God never demanded?

    Edit: Joe, Jael is an example of a woman in a combat role. It is not optimal. It should be discouraged. Women should not be drafted. It should be discouraged. More after work!
  21. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    What laws did I "demand"? I basically said the same thing you did, except I put more emphasis on different gender roles. ????
  22. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    OK, work got postponed to 8:30

    You said

    And I sought to answer. A Queen is allowed in the Bible, but a woman Elder isn't. So it is clear that there is a difference between secular and religious concepts of headship.

    A harder question to me is the one MM brought up. I don't see how a Chaplain could Biblically function outside the direct authority of a local Church. There's one posting today, though, and he's the kind of man that would have given the issue a great deal of thought.
  23. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    Thanks Tim.

    I agree that a queen is "allowed." But I also think Scripture makes it clear that a nation with a queen is being judged for lack of leadership (Is 3 is probably the clearest example). And, as you said, an elder cannot be a woman. You mentioned the problem is because they shouldn't have king. Your point is well taken, and I agree, but would submit that it's both, not one or the other.

    Furthermore, the king in Israel was to be both a religious and political leader. They were decidedly inseparable. As the king went, so did the nation. Furthermore, every king was to write down the law. I see no separation of secular and religious here.

    Much of the reason I made that statement is because we have been taught to believe that morals (inherently religious) do not affect political ability/performance/integrity. Clinton is an excellent example. If we are to do all things to the glory of God, then in what capacity can we separate secular and religious activity? Does Scripture ever separate the two?

    Also, Tim, please notice that my statement that you put in bold was not an assertion, but a desire to help put this in the discussion.
  24. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    That still won't work, since none of the Prophets would have allowed a woman Priest. Again, if John the Baptist denounced Herod for a technicality of Biblical law that's hard to understand, how much more would a Queen have been denounced if she were to have been thought of as a spiritual head?

    We could look at other examples, but if the one I gave isn't accepted, why look for another?

    Please! We're on the same side when wanting politicians who are Elders in good standing. In a perfect world, we'd have that, and young men and women marry after the man can afford for his wife to stay at home, the wife could conceive right away and they'd never separate.

    But we don't live in a perfect world, and God in his mercy has made allowances for the rest of us.

  25. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    I'm sorry Tim. I'm missing your point.
  26. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Since this is the Puritan board, what did the Puritans have to say about this topic?
  27. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    The thought occurred to me when I ran into a female chaplain at a hospital. While I am completely opposed to that because of the ordination/authority issues, it seemed that a ministry of mercy position (and I am including an adequately paid staff position in a hospital) might be a via media here. There may be women who go into such a position because they genuinely want to minister sick and dying people. I completely agree that this should not be done outside of the authority of the local church. Perhaps I am way off as it might create more problems than it solves.
  28. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    I appreciate the comment on Proverbs 31. I have never before heard or considered the idea that I have a long time to try to be completely like her. Thanks!!

    What would the list of jobs that men can hold look like, if we took it straight from Scripture? Soldier, farmer, carpenter, etc. I do not see any cable guys, electrical engineers, professors...

    And what about single women? What if their fathers are dead? Or widows? I heard RC Sproul JR say that they need to come under the direct authority of an elder, and cannot even lead their own family in devotions, but should attend another family's where there is a man present.
    I think if a woman is unmarried, and her father is not living, she cannot be under any more authority than a man, as far as in the church. I am under my husband's authority, and we are both equally under the authority of our elders, who is equally under the authority of Christ.
    I do think a wife would need the approval of her husband to do any job, but this leaves no guidelines for a single, fatherless, woman.
    I do think there is something wrong with a country to allow/require women to fight, (because this shows a lack of brave men OR it shows an abuse/over-extension of the military) but I do not think that a woman is necessarily wrong for accepting the offer, if it does not get in the way of her fulfilling any primary obligations (ie: she's a mother or wife who needs to be her husband's helpmeet).

    As far as a woman being president or queen, etc. If I could be president and yet honor my husband's spiritual authority and even accept his headship in our home, and continue to be his helpmeet, then I do not see why it would be sinful for me to do so. The people may not like that I am not my own head, and thus may not vote for me, but if they did, I do not think I would be sinning. (But I personally could not take care of both my husband and my country, so I will not be running in 2012.)

    When I was a teacher, leading many students, my husband did not exercise any authority over my teaching. He maintains his authority over me, and would rebuke me if I sinned in my teaching, but otherwise, I was the head of that classroom. I do not think this is unbiblical. Now, I have new obligations that require me to be at home.

    I guess what I am saying is that if a woman can lead in one arena that isn't usurping her husband's authority or work in such a way that does not add to her husband's woes, then she is not sinning. If another woman has no husband, I do not think she would be sinning in doing any job that is not in and of itself sinful, unless scripture forbids it.
  29. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    The Proverbs 31 woman had servants (and those servants were probably someone's wives?)

    I think that when women have to be in active combat it is a dire day for a country -- either they are in a desperate struggle, or they are being judged. However Ruben has already trained me in a battle cry should I ever be in a position where I have to defend others -- I am to rush out like a madwoman screaming 'The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!' :).
  30. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    It is also acceptable to shriek "Hot Pies".
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