Under this post appears the following comment from Drew, a PCA pastor. Click through to the second page for my responses. (I've made some significant additions since first posting it.)
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Drew writes: So I'm new to this blog and confused. What is the problem with positive job prospects for women? And competition for men? Is it unbiblical for women to work? For men to share in staying at home and raising children? Aren't jobs outside of the home the result of a post-industrial revolution economy? Does the Bible really address this topic directly? If it does, isn't the woman in Proverbs 31 at least sharing in shouldering the household's economic burden? Doesn't it look like she is working outside the home?
Bottom line, how do we know that YOU haven't just adopted the unbiblical attitude towards gender roles that developed during the course of the 1800s, and that what we are experiencing in the workplace today is actually one positive aspect of our contemporary culture? [not everything is doom and gloom after all...just a lot of things]
I'm not trying to poke your eyes, these are honest questions offered in the spirit of furthering the conversation...
>>So I'm new to this blog...
It's unusual for anyone today to oppose the demon of feminism, especially on the basis that it is always a rebellion against God's Creation Order of Adam first, then Eve. So yes, in our wicked day, many of the posts on this blog will seem foolish. But persevere; God is true though all men are liars.
>>What is the problem with positive job prospects for women?
Positive job prospects for woman are great as long as they do not come at the expense of the family wage. We don't want to trade the family wage for both father and mother having to work away from their children, requiring them to place their little ones under others' authority in flocks rather than onesies and twosies (as God ordained them to be under their own natural sovereigns). Some wag observed that if God wanted children to be raised in day care, he would have had mothers give birth to litters.
>>And competition for men?
The issue isn't competition for men; you'll find almost all masculine men love competition. The issue, rather, is competition with the family wage whereby we trade in one specialist (the father) working hard at his roofing and getting a family wage so he alone can support one generalist (the mother) working hard at feeding, guarding, cleaning, and introducing their children to the world for something infinitely less--namely, both father and mother working at two specialties so they can afford to pay someone unrelated to them to feed, guard, clean, and introduce gaggles, herds, and litters of children (including their own) to the world.
>>Is it unbiblical for women to work?
Although I've known a number of lazy men, I don't think I've ever known a woman of working age who didn't work. So I'm not sure what alternative there is to women working that makes you ask this question? Are you poking fun at me?
Maybe what you meant to ask is whether it's unbiblical for women to work outside the home?
If so, my answer is that the world is filled with women who don't want to have to give themselves to the ceaseless and hidden and often unappreciated work of the home and thus have left the home for the fairer and cleaner and prouder and public and sexy and highly-remunerated world of work outside the home. Any mother perfectly understands this choice made by most women today. It's like the choice of the Marine grunt who's offered the chance to become a chaplain, leaving bloodshed behind for ceremonies in air conditioned chapels. But of course, some grunts would decline the offer, thinking it dishonorable to leave their brothers in arms behind while they live lives of ease.
We're not talking about single women, here. Nor married women whose husbands have died or are disabled. Such tragedies happen and it's honorable for such mothers to take the place of their husbands in providing for their children. Nor are we talking about wives and mothers who run the schools their children attend or buy and sell real estate to supplement their husband's wages.
But all things being equal, godly wives who are mothers or grandmothers will always make the home their first priority, recognizing that the betrayal of the home for high heels, suits, nice cars, career security, exotic vacations, and sexy business trips is neither sanctifying nor does it stabilize marriages, homes, and children.
Also, keep in mind that Titus 2:5 commands that older women teach younger women to be "keepers at home" or "domestic" or "workers at home." So this command of God must always be renewed to each generation of women.
>>For men to share in staying at home and raising children?
All the men I've known share in staying home and raising children. Or, I should say, most of the men I've known--admittedly there have been a few who are alley cats and spend their nights and weekends looking for strange flesh or off playing with the boys.
But maybe what you meant to ask is whether women should focus on the home in a way distinct from men? If so, yes. See the Scripture command above found in Titus 2:5.
>>Aren't jobs outside of the home the result of a post-industrial revolution economy?
Many aspects of work and family life today are the result of this and that social change, to be sure, but the bifurcation of the responsibilities primarily borne by the male or the female sex has always been the natural outworking of God's creation--most particularly physique and body parts like the womb and breasts. It's no shame to embrace one's sexuality and to work hard to build one's entire life on it. This pleases God Who, Himself, made us man and woman.
>>Does the Bible really address this topic directly?
Yes, see above. Also, read the Bible--the myriad specific commands concerning the meaning and purpose of sex that are everywhere in its pages.
>>...isn't the woman in Proverbs 31 at least sharing in shouldering the household's economic burden?
Yes, who would think differently? Every wife and mother I know shares at least equally with her husband the burden of the financial needs of their household.
>>Doesn't it look like she is working outside the home?
Of course the Proverbs 31 woman worked outside the home. In fact, unless she's paralyzed, I can't imagine any wife or mother not working outside the home. The question is priorities--not physical location.
>>Bottom line, how do we know that YOU haven't just adopted the unbiblical attitude towards gender roles that developed during the course of the 1800s...
Women devoting themselves to bearing and raising children, and keeping a household, is a universal in the life of man and it's the natural result of God's Creation Order, His commands, and His gift to man and woman of certain body parts.
>>...not everything is doom and gloom after all...
You're right. Biblical husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters--in other words, Biblical sexuality--is beautiful and blessed and glorious.
>>...these are honest questions offered in the spirit of furthering the conversation...
As pastors, my brother and I write here to teach God's Word and Truth--not to have a conversation about it. Thank you for your questions.
Under His Word,