Aren't mothers theologians?

Carolyn Custis James:
It is not overstating things to say that becoming a good theologian is how a woman fulfills her highest destiny--her calling to know and be like Jesus. This is truly the essence of a woman's calling.

Scripture:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2:3-5)

John Calvin (on the above text):
In short, he wishes women to be restrained, by conjugal love and affection for their children, from giving themselves up to licentious attachments, he wishes them to rule their own house in a sober and orderly manner, forbids them to wander about in public places, bids them be chaste, and at the same time modest, so as to be subject to the dominion of their husbands; for those who excel in other virtues sometimes take occasion from them to act haughtily, so as to be disobedient to their husbands.

Tim Bayly:
If all through her article, Carolyn Custis James is using the word "theologian" simply as a placeholder for someone who seeks to know Christ and to make Him known, who would argue with her? But she equivocates, using 'theologian' also in opposition to nursery workers, those practicing hospitality, those decorating and setting tables, and so on...

If it's knowing God she's referring to, then by all means, being a theologian is "truly the essence of a woman's calling."

But if it's specific categories of work, of duty, of service; it it's the things that one does to serve others with one's gifts as a woman she is speaking of, then to set the scene as if theologian competes with mother, housewife, or giver of hospitality is to make a big show of obeying God while doing what is right in one's own eyes.

It's to make a big show of sacrifice while refusing to obey.

Repeatedly, the Bible honors what we today despise--women who are devoted to their husbands, their children, and their homes. And of course, it is just those callings--wife, mother, and housewife--that get not one positive mention in the entire 2,700 words of Carolyn Custis James' article (other than one glancing allusion to men and women together "multiply(ing) worshippers").

We must be clear about this. The question is not whether women will be filled with the knowledge of God and men will honor and listen to such women. They always will and we always have.

No, the question is whether the calling of housewife and mother will continue to be disdained by the People of God. The question is whether those godly women in our churches, those "mothers in Israel" who continue to give themselves to these holy callings will live on, denigrated by the world and damned with faint praise in the church by women like Carolyn Custis James who treat them just as the world treats them--as absolutely invisible.

Comments

Last year at Covenant (I was a student), another woman speaking about the man/woman issue to us there (referred to of course as "gender roles") said, childbearing and rearing should not get in the way of the woman's true calling (meaning they do).

They're not getting any better, but they've been bad for as long as I've known about Covenant.

Pray for the students there (some of them good friends of mine). They are not the problem, for the most part, but they are vulnerable.

Whenever I am asked what it is that I want to do with my life, I reply with "I want to be a wife and a mother". That is then often followed by a look of sarcasm (I'm having a hard time coming up with the correct word), and a response of "Well, yeah, but what do you want to do for yourself?". That is what I want to do for myself. I think that is the highest calling I can have, and I am excited thinking about that day when it will come for me.

I have a friend who is in her forties with four kids. She has gone back to school in the last two years. Because of that, she has neglected her family. The laundry is never done, food is never as good as it use to be, the house is a mess. That is all because she "has to get the paper". Meaning, she doesn't care if she ever uses the degree she gets, as long as she gets the paper saying she has one. She tells me that I MUST finish college so I can get "the paper". I don't understand that. Why would I go to college for four years, spend all of that money, go into debt, and never use it. I have no problem going to college now, because that is what God has for me; it may not always be that way however.

All of that to say, I'm thankful for the place God has put me in. After being a part of a conversation last night at the Bayly's, I am even more thankful for who God has made me.

The relationship between men and women is not just a matter of practical outworking. The point is, God made marriage to show us Himself. It shows us Himself as Creator and it shows us Himself as Redeemer. By "bucking" what God has set up for us as women, we are actually losing out on the chance to be "theologians," teaching the glorious creation and gospel lessons from within the structures of our own homes - the place GOD designed for us! I hope to have a book out sometime soon (working title: Good News from Home) that will explain this in more detail. I am very sorry that any message goes out to our college students that might discourage them from glorying in God's design for men and women in marriage and the church. It seems inevitable to me that one day the PCA will split over this issue, because it failed to take a position on it when the church was first formed (back in the early 70s when feminism was "coming out"). We assume that because the biblical position is implicit in our confession and rather explicit in our Book of Church Order, that we can avoid the issue and hope for the best. This inevitably makes the church vulnerable to the pressures of the culture. This is not a "secondary issue" as most PCA pastors I know seem to think. It is the "wedge" issue of our culture - the issue the devil is using to take us down. See my husband, Dr. Peter Jones' coming book: The God of Sex (out this fall, I believe, through Victor Books). May the Lord have mercy on us and teach us all how to cherish His truth, His Word, His Son and His place for us in the world, the church and the home.

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