"This woman, at least, will be saved by childbearing..."

(Tim, w/thanks to Shelly) It disgusts me to have to direct Baylyblog readers to Roman Catholic sites as often as I do, but there's no helping it. Reformed men and women are so busy sinning so grace may abound that there's almost no comparable teaching in the Reformed world. And certainly not in the PCA--I defy you to show me one single article this spectacularly beautiful and sanctifying for women published anywhere under the auspices of the PCA. In fact, on any site having any affiliation to the PCA. Or rather, any site affiliated with any of the chest-thumping Reformed men: Together for the Gospel. Acts 29. Desiring God...

Brothers, if you want to do a more Biblical job of loving your wife, read this. Sisters, whether married or single, if you're willing to trade in your iPhone and laptop for the salvation 1Timothy 2:15 promises woman, read this.

There's nothing more foundational to godliness in Christ Jesus than your femininity.



Comments

We always lament the severe dearth of Protestants (particularly Reformed) at the Annual March for Life on Washington. Christendom makes a showing via the Roman Catholics, hands down. For shame.

I suppose Susan Hunt's books don't count?

Of course Susan "counts." I've had her speak to the women of my church. But her writing is a good example of the weakness of Reformed teaching on sexuality. More on this tomorrow from a pastor's wife currently using one of Susan's books.

Love,

Why don't conservative Reformed types write like this? They're too afraid of being honest. They would never say that the Bible infuriated them. They wouldn't misquote the Bible reference. They would never identify so closely with Lucifer without attempting to show the reasonable nature of their rebellion. They rarely glimpse the depth of their guilt. Their counselors rarely accuse them of selfishness, even with a genial smile. They would never admit that God would sanctify women differently than men.

I'm curious as to how "God would sanctify women differently than men." I have no disagreement that men and women are different. I also have no disagreement with the concept that God would use different aspects of an individual's life in his/her sanctification. But, on the whole, aren't we all (men and women) sanctified through the work of the Spirit?

Does Susan Hunt count?

I just finished up leading a women's bible study on one of Susan's books, The True Woman. It was my second time involved in a study of that book and I've used quotes from it in other teaching opportunities as well. However, the strength in The True Woman book is from quotes from old books written to women 100-200 years ago.

As I led through it this time, I found myself also having to teach on where the book was weak, especially regarding domesticity. As one of two examples, Susan uses Rahab as an example of domesticity. While we can certainly learn from Rahab, I found myself thinking, "Really? We're using a prostitute as our example of domesticity?" She seemed to go so out of her way to make domesticity applicable to every woman in every stage of life, that she never included an exhortation to have children, have a husband, and be workers at home. I found the applications to be very spiritual, not practical. Yet, it is in our daily life that our sin comes out.

After completing the study, I was talking with my husband about my frustration in current Christian women's books. It just seems obvious that most exhortation to Christian women today should be addressing their current sins, entanglements and blindness. Today Christian women need to be exhorted and corrected to kill their sins of vanity and self-absorbtion. They need to be told to stop living in defiance to God's word, which tells women that they were created to man's helper, that they are to submit to their husbands as to the Lord, that they will be saved through childbearing, and they ought to do all these things without any fear.

So, I'd have to agree that this Catholic post is a breath of fresh air in helping me recognize and repent of my own sin.

I've not read the one woman's book, but inasmuch as Rahab appears in David's geneology in Ruth, it does appear that this "innkeeper" or "prostitute" did learn the wifely arts.

Of course, the Scripture doesn't tell us much about it, so it is admittedly not a very good Biblical example. It looks like we'll get to learn more about her in Heaven, though.

Rachel: Sanctification has three aspects: definitive, progressive and entire. The first and the third are acts of God and God alone. The second is a synergistic work: the Holy Spirit helps us to grow in practical godliness and conformity to the image of Christ and we cooperate with Him. And you're exactly right: he uses aspects of our lives in that process and that includes things particular to our masculinity and femininity.

Thank you for expanding on your previous comment.

Mrs. Bayly~ thank you for your comments on Susan Hunt. It has been awhile since I read True Woman.

Could you explain to me what "saved through childbearing" means?

Rachel,

As a woman who has attended a conference by the author that you speak of, I can say that I do have some concerns over "ideology".

During the question and answer session after the teaching time was over the speaker was asked if it was OK for women to work. Her immediate response was: 'Well I did!'. There were no qualifications or biblical principles put forth. And to understand the significance of that, there was a purpose behind the questioner's voicing the question; her (the questioner's)daughter who has children, is a professional and hires a nanny to watch her children as she works, albeit a Christian nanny.

So the implication of the answer given as it was given was to the one asking the question and those women from her church was that it is fine for women to have careers outside the home that require hiring others to look after ones children, for any reason.

Though this is not related to the author you speak of it is related to the denomination that you refer to:

I was also present in a woman's Sunday School class in a PCA church where the biblical roles were put forth for women (the token ONE class period given to the topic) and when the teacher finished the section in Titus 2 that talks about a woman's main area of domain being her responsibilities in the home the it was obvious by the response that many women got it.

The immediate question of one woman leader was: 'Given the culture that we live in and where most of the women are in the church, how do we accommodate the culture?'

Did you notice the scary part here: they get what God is saying in His Word but look for ways to ignore it. The thought was not of how to honor the Lord but the rush was to justify accommodating the culture. And woe to the person who would point this out.

I would have to very much agree with Mrs. Bayly's assessment of what type of teaching the women need. I need that type of teaching and long for it.

Though I would like to humbly put forth a suggestion... Most men need it more (teaching on God's design for both men and women). We so need men who know and understand and will lead.

To Mrs. Bayly,

I'm not sure if I'm opening a can of worms here but what do you think of the book "Feminine Appeal"? I do know that it is not PCA material.

Just a minor point. If women are "saved through childbirth", then it would seem to me logical that there is a matching priority or message for Christian men - the glory of fatherhood, or something like that.

It's all very well telling Christian women (inl the single ones) about their call to be mothers, but how much are our churches doing with the young /men/ to put before them the call to be fathers?

Rachel,

If I might, I'd like to jump in and speak to your question about what being "saved through childbearing" means. I don't think Heidi will mind too much, and of course she'll give her own answer as she likes.

We know from all of Scripture that salvation is by grace through faith alone, but we don't even have to look in another chapter to see this. Paul states earlier in 1 Timothy 2 that "there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus". So, by no means can we expect God to look at our good works or our children to save us.

"Yet she will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self control." ( 1 Tim. 2:15) This verse is in the context of Paul giving instructions on how men and women are to behave. Paul specifically brings up Eve's deception in the garden as part of the reason that women are not to be in authority over men (creation order, being the other part, also mentioned). Eve's curse from the fall was multiplied pain in childbearing and the desire to usurp her husband. It is no coincedence that Paul goes immediately to instructing women that it is in the very thing(s) in which they were cursed that they will be sanctified. Specifically here, childbearing.

As I'm now just a little over half way in my third pregnancy in three and half years, you could say that this 'saving' has come at me pretty hard and fast. Like the author of the article I didn't understand what the verse really meant until I had children, and then I knew it was absolutely true. I had always wanted to be a mother, but I had no idea what I was in for. It wasn't quite like the soft glowing pictures in Parenting magazine. And the pain in childbearing isn't limited to labor and delivery. The difficulties of pregnancy, birth, newborn care, disciplining toddlers, and continuing to raise children on up has the ability to expose and magnify your sin like you've never known before. Again, my experience was similar to that of the author's in that I just wanted ME, not the tiny, helpless, screaming person that always needed something. These same kinds of battles for my time, my space come at me daily, if not hourly.

Before reading the article I had been thinking about these things off and on. I came to the conclusion that if I didn't know that childbearing would be God's primary tool in my sanctification and that it is good, I'd probably run away. I've thought about the number of children I could have if we kept up at this rate and since I'm pretty young, I must admit it that it's kind of frightening. It scares me because I know it will kill me. But as a very dear friend recently commented on a different post, it's a good death and the death I want to be dying. So, God help me and I'll be saved through childbearing, too.

The author's description of a mother's learning to die to self is an honest look at the struggles Christian women face. I think it is true that men are often too afraid to praise the self-sacrifice of women to avoid offending women who are laden with guilt over their lack of Biblical living. And yet what mother of young children doesn't struggle with feeling insignificant when she spends her days loving and caring for her children?

My youngest is now seven, but I vividly remember the struggles. There struggles which continue as we try to finish well with raising our seven children.

I should have mentioned that I do feel a sadness sometimes when I think about the fact that I am too old to bear any more children. I am not ashamed to say that I love babies. I am content in knowing that God has given me seasons of life. Too many married women think lightly of the season in which God blesses them with childbearing.

Though she is not currently in the PCA, that is where I was blessed to find my dear wife Denise. Her book, Tending Your Garden, available at Ligonier and the web address attached to this comment and published by Tolle Lege Press I suspect would pass the Bayly Brothers test. She, and it, are the bomb, as the kids say.

Dear R.C.,

I'll check it out. BTW, with son Taylor it used to be the bomb diggity.

Love,

The women here who have written how the Biblical text, "saved through childbearing" have spoken eloquently about how it came real to them when they became mothers.

But what about the not inconsiderable number of women who will never bear a child for any number of reasons (never married, felt a call to a celibate life for specific service for the Lord, health or infertility issues, early widowhood (lost husband in accident, illness, or military service before having a child) and never remarrying), marrying too late in life to bear children, etc.)

Obviously, it doesn't mean that they can't be saved, because we are not saved by our works, but what does it mean?

Thanks,

Sue

P.S. In a past women's Bible study, we had one member who was single and pushing 40 and when this passage came up, almost everyone's study Bible said something different. Since she didn't belong to our church she said she'd ask a pastor at her church about it, although I don't think she did.

Sue, in response to your questions about single or childless women-

First, God obviously places a lot of importance on motherhood. He designed women to bear and raise children. It is sin that messes it all up. So, what do women do when God does not give them a husband and/or children? They should believe God, trust God with the pain that their situation causes, and seek to be mothers. Women who don't have biological children can still be mothers. As Amanda says, it isn't only the physical act of being pregnant and giving birth that is sanctifying. It is the raising, teaching, disciplining, and loving that causes a mother to die to self. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that is trying to kill motherhood.

Women in the church have a responsibility to be mothers. They should pray that God would give them spiritual children and be a mother to children and younger women. Think of all the things a mother does for her children and how she fights for their souls and then do those things for others, inside and outside the church family. Pray that God would show you how to be a mother and that He would give you children.

We need to believe and act in obedience, trusting God to produce the fruit. I remember being very frustrated seeing that God commands us to 'be fruitful and multiply' yet does not allow some (myself as of yet) to have the fruit of biological children. I was angry that God would tell me to do something I was completely powerless to do. However, God humbled me to realize that I am powerless to obey any of His commands. We have to leave the fruit up to God and just trust and obey, which is a song I sing frequently with my adopted son.

Sue,
I have thought about this question also, and I thought about mentioning it in my comment but didn't because I didn't really want to get into it or make the thing any longer than it was.

So, quickly, it's my thinking that for those women who are unmarried, infertile, or childless for any other number of reasons is that a great deal of sanctification comes along with that, too. While the longing desire for children may be there, God has chosen a different way and in that they'll be saved through (the lack of) childbearing ? Just my stab at it.

And I agree with everything Heidi just said as well. Mothering isn't limited to children you give birth to.

Amanda and Mrs. Bayly,

Thanks for taking the time to write such well-thought answers. If I'm not taking words out of your mouth (or keyboard ), it sounds like me and the other women in the Bible study were taking the phrase "saved through childbearing" too literally and didn't consider that there were other ways of sanctification WRT motherhood and childbearing other than bearing a child(ren).

--Sue

Maybe it's my proximity to Chicago and da Bears, but isn't it da bomb?

I wish I had come across this particular post much sooner, but I'm glad I found it. Although I am Roman Catholic, not Presbyterian, I find comfort in the realization that we are all so much more similar than we would like to acknowledge. I was saddened, however, when I read "it disgusts me to have to direct Baylyblog readers to Roman Catholic sites...." We can all learn so much from each other; we can stand together against the immorality of abortion and even see areas of agreement regarding contraception. Why let our differences remain a barrier to fruitful communication? I think Christ's appeal to the Father for unity is as relevant now (if not more) as it was when he spoke the words....".The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may ]know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. John 17: 22-23
PS - I am just starting my own blog and invite you to visit occasionally - maybe even comment?

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