"It is better to 'be' than to 'do'..."

(Tim) Here's a review of Ideas Have Consequences; and this from the book itself:

Women of the world's ancien regime were practitioners of Realpolitik in this respect: they knew where the power lies. . . They knew it lies in loyalty to what they are and not in imitativeness, exhibitionism, and cheap bids for attention. Well was it said that he who leaves his proper sphere shows that he is ignorant both of that which he quits and that which he enters. Women have been misled by the philosophy of activism into forgetting that for them, as custodians of values, it is better to "be" than to "do".

Comments

Is it wrong, biblically, for a woman to work outside the home or to be the boss of men in a business setting?

" … to work outside the home."

Wrong? As in violation of express divine statute?

No.

Wrong, in the way that using a butter knife as a screwdriver is wrong?

Yes.

The sphere of public work is almost never suited to enhance a woman's capacity to effect good things, espeically those good things which women are better at producing than any man. As far as her womanly nature is concerned, she'll work far better inside the keep, than outside it in the open fields.

" … to be the boss of men in a business setting?"

Wrong? As in violation of express divine statute?

No. But, this is a comfort only for the legalist. If one's understanding of God's will is shaped by His works as well as His words, by noting how he orders His creation, then yes — it's wrong, in the way that refusing to think God's thoughts after Him is wrong.

Wrong, in the way that using a pipe wrench as a hammer is wrong?

Yes. And, I've changed the comparison in order to emphasize the folly involved here.

Of course you can drive a nail with a pipe wrench. But, at every move you are compensating for the inappropriateness of the tool. The handle fights you as you wield it. The shape of the entire instrument fights you. Each blow is orders of magnitude more difficult than if you used the tool designed for the task.

Just "amen." Oftentimes men try to be what they are not as well, with equally disastrous results.

And regarding the questions of the first post, two little things to add to Bill's comment. First, Proverbs 31 commends a woman who goes into the marketplace on behalf of her husband and family to support the family business. That's not the same as holding, needlessly, a job working for someone else--Vision Forum comments that it tends to put a woman under the headship of someone not her husband or father.

I have read what Vision Forum believes on women and work.

I am curious what the authors of this blog think.

Miller, it's not hard to know what the authors of this blog think. Just click on the tags under the post and start reading. Or scroll down the categories on the left and read through the posts there. They have addressed this clearly and repeatedly.

Forgive me for asking, then. I have been reading for awhile here, but obviously not long enough to be sure I understood their viewpoints on all issues.

Well, instead of playing a bit of "gotcha" with "what do your gracious hosts believe?", why not attempt a Biblical understanding of masculinity and femininity, instead? Even if our hosts, or I, or anyone else, disagrees, you've got the tremendous blessing of at least doing the work of thinking it through.

I wasn't trying to play any games. I have read what they have written, but obviously not enough.

I don't believe I have said here or elsewhere that I haven't thought through these issues on my own. Part of developing an understanding is to ask others what they think. That is all that I was doing.

Miller,

I have read what Christians for Biblical Equality believes on women and work.

I am curious what the you think of their position.

Part of developing an understanding is to ask others what they think. That is all that I am doing.

I jus wanna understand your perspective...

In a quick glance through what is available on their website, I suspect that I would disagree with them on most points.

I do not believe that women should be ordained as pastors, elders, or deacons.

I believe that wives should submit themselves to their husbands. Fathers should be the spiritual heads of their families.

I believe that men and women are equal in status before God; we are all equally sinners saved by the grace of Christ alone.

I believe that, in general, there are things that women tend to do better than men and vice versa.

I don't believe that all women are to submit to all men in all situations. I don't believe that women are inherently inferior. For example, a female professor of literature can teach both male and female college students in her field, or even be Dean (a position of authority).

Miller,

Are these the positions you are referring to:

3. Since the woman was created as a helper to her husband, as the bearer of children, and as a “keeper at home,” the God-ordained and proper sphere of dominion for a wife is the household and that which is connected with the home, although her domestic calling, as a representative of and helper to her husband, may well involve activity in the marketplace and larger community. (Gen. 2:18ff.; Prov. 31:10-31; Tit. 2:4-5)

14. While unmarried women may have more flexibility in applying the principle that women were created for a domestic calling, it is not the ordinary and fitting role of women to work alongside men as their functional equals in public spheres of dominion (industry, commerce, civil government, the military, etc.). The exceptional circumstance (singleness) ought not redefine the ordinary, God-ordained social roles of men and women as created. (Gen. 2:18ff.; Josh. 1:14; Jdg. 4; Acts 16:14)

I don't have any major qualm with either or these positions. Do you?

I disagree with this "it is not the ordinary and fitting role of women to work alongside men as their functional equals in public spheres of dominion."

I believe that it is a misapplication of scripture to apply the authority and headship of a husband to a wife to all interactions between men and women.

I'm not sure I see how Acts 16:14 is a justification of the statement that it is not the ordinary function of women to work alongside men as their equals. Lydia is described as being a merchant, but Paul never condemned and Luke never says she stopped doing that after her baptism. I think a logical reading of Joshua 1:14 would reflect the fact that women are not created for combat, and Judges 4 is centered around a prophetess- a woman- prophesying God's word to a man. I think of scriptures supporting the third position M. Scott posted, only the Genesis one is remotely relevant.

Bubba and Robert,

May Marylee Bayly teach in a local Christian school? If yes, may she be the principal and exercise authority over male teachers? What if one of the teachers at the Christian school happens to be one of the elders at Good Shepherd? ?

May she sit on the Board of a Christian school?

All of these scenarios presume, by the way, Tim's agreement and support.

Love,
Matt

Fr. Bill,

I'm wondering, hermeneutically speaking, how you distinguish God's will contained in "statute" - which everyone would agree to be a morally-binding declaration of His will and the transgression of which is SIN and the "order of creation" revelation of his will which, as I read your description, seems to be NOT sin... whatever else it might be.

Does the Christian enjoy a measure of liberty (WCF 20) on these "order of creation" issues (like a female CEO), or would you see the Scriptures as binding one's conscience and, thus, making the violator of such creational norms, the object of the Church's pastoral care and discipline?

Best,

Matt

Scott Foster observed:

The exceptional circumstance (singleness) ought not redefine the ordinary, God-ordained social roles of men and women as created. (Gen. 2:18ff.; Josh. 1:14; Jdg. 4; Acts 16:14)

Actually, I wonder if one of the biggest enemies in the church of complementarianism, is extended singleness. Christians may be single for all sorts of reasons (some good, some not so, even in the same person), but the culture of extended singleness seems to have led to a very large number of independent women in the church, aggravated by there being more women than men to start with in the single 'catchment'.

And here, I wonder if the courtship movement bears at least some of the blame: by insisting on both parties having an exceptional level of maturity before they marry, when, as others have already pointed out on this site, marriage is intended to be a maturing process in itself. Christians are not spared from the Law of unintended consequences!

In response to several of questions above, I've posted on the subject of wives and mothers working outside the home. The post doesn't directly answer the questions, but then I don't think there can be a direct answer. Rather, there must be pastoral leadership here that's in the context of the intimacy and knowledge of the church.

Love,

Just to be clear, I simply cut and pasted a position from Vision Forum's statement of doctrine. They aren't my thoughts exactly but, as I said, I don't have any major qualms with what they are arguing in the section I posted. I do have some very real reservations about the Vision Forum but that isn't really the heart of this discussion.

Ross, interesting thoughts, and my take (having ministered to singles at a former church) is that all too often, singles ministries reinforce the immaturity which makes marriage difficult to impossible. What cured it?

I've seen a lot of people more or less "scared straight," and they then end up marrying the people they've been dating (and often sleeping with, yes, in the church).

It would seem, per our gracious host's comments in the other thread, that key here is to get to young women where they are and graciously invite them to maturity, not to encourage them to marry while childish. Marrying while childish might scare some into maturity, and others might simply fall into divorce.

Matt Beatty: "I'm wondering, hermeneutically speaking, … "

Noting that Pr. Bayly has shared one of his sermons on the topic, and not having had time to digest it in light of your query, I'll defer to him and the sermon for the nonce.

Meanwhile, I've already stated in brief the answer to your question in this sentence: "If one's understanding of God's will is shaped by His works as well as His words, by noting how He orders His creation, then yes — it's wrong, in the way that refusing to think God's thoughts after Him is wrong."

Hi Bike - these things are also cyclical. A culture of marrying while young, which prevailed into the 1980s (? others' views may vary as to when) was then replaced by plenty of encouragement not to, and instead the message was "make sure you're ready first". This arose because by that stage the negative consequences in a number of situations were by then all to evident. Then the "courtship movement" arrived after the mid-1990s; it encouraged those who could marry young to do so, but it then did a lot to discourage others who /could/ have married, and who prior to the 1980s would have, because they were perceived to be somehow "not up to the mark". That was all very well, but these people were then left on the sidelines for the most part; the women often end up in careers, because there's nowhere else to go.

Hopefully the next time the cycle turns we'll get it right? :-) Thanx for your thoughts, anyway, appreciated and frequently agreed with.

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