Last week, Dr. Mohler posted a blog about one feminist’s (sinfully) logical stance against abortion. In the June 30th (2010) edition of the London Times, Antonia Senior wrote an article entitled “Yes, Abortion Is Killing. But It’s the Lesser Evil.” She writes:
What seems increasingly clear to me is that, in the absence of an objective definition, a fetus is a life by any subjective measure. My daughter was formed at conception, and all the barely understood alchemy that turned the happy accident of that particular sperm meeting that particular egg into my darling, personality-packed toddler took place at that moment. She is so unmistakably herself, her own person-forged in my womb, not by my mothering.
This is a nice admission. What comes immediately after is even better: “Any other conclusion is a convenient lie that we on the pro-choice side of the debate tell ourselves to make us feel better about the action of taking a life.” I wish Ms. Senior’s article had ended there. That would’ve been a nice ending, a liberal feminist’s admission that abortion is indeed “the action of taking a life,” which is simply euphemistic for murder. But sadly, her article does not end there. Note Ms. Senior’s conclusion: there is an attempt “to decouple feminism from abortion rights,” but
you cannot separate women’s rights from their right to fertility control. The single biggest factor in women’s liberation was our newly found ability to impose our will on our biology. Abortion would have been legal for millennia had it been men whose prospects and careers were put on sudden hold by an unexpected pregnancy. The mystery pondered on many a girls night out is how on earth men, bless them, managed to hang on to political and cultural hegemony for so long. The only answer is that they are not in hock to their biology as much as we are. Look at a map of the world and the right to abortion on request correlates pretty exactly with the expectation of a life unburdened by misogyny.
As ever, when an issue we thought was black and white becomes more nuanced, the answer lies in choosing the lesser evil. The nearly 200,000 aborted babies in the UK each year are the lesser evil, no matter how you define life, or death, for that matter. If you are willing to die for a cause, you must be prepared to kill for it, too.
Yes. Let it shock you. Read that last paragraph I quoted one more time. I wish your eyes were deceiving you, but they’re not. This woman, who mere paragraphs ago admitted that abortion is “the action of taking life,” that life is indeed “formed at conception,” concluded her article by justifying the “taking [of the] life” of “nearly 200,000 aborted babies in the UK each year” as “the lesser evil” when compared to the supposed evil of women being prevented from usurping the “political and cultural hegemony” of men. She concludes that it is a lesser evil to no longer be “in hock to [her] biology” than it is to allow “nearly 200,000 … babies” to be aborted yearly in the UK alone! This is not biblical. The Ten Commandments forbid murder, and Jesus goes further to equate abusive language to murder! Yet this woman would rather have unborn children murdered than see women’s attempts to usurp the “political and cultural hegemony” of men foiled! Her willingness to “kill for” women’s rights is highly disturbing and highly unbiblical, not only because it defies the laws against murder but also because it defies God’s high calling for women.
Worldly, liberal feminism kills when it is carried to its logical conclusion. Worldly feminism has infiltrated the church, though, in the guise of egalitarianism. The church has as a whole lost its complementarian identity. The Bible teaches that men and women are equal, and it also teaches that men and women have different roles, which I covered in a past post. There is a biblical feminism, but it radically differs from the feminism of the world and of Ms. Senior. Biblical feminism says that a woman’s primary role is in the home. As Paul writes in Titus 2:3-5,
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
In my past post on the subject of biblical manhood and womanhood, I focused on all the words that describe a woman’s role except “working at home.” Today, this will be my focus in examining this text because worldly liberal feminism particularly denies and reviles the fact that wives should be “working at home.” In arguing against the traditional role of the wife as mother (primarily working in the home), most feminists will note that Paul was merely upholding the Greco-Roman culture. The argument against passages such as this one in Titus 2 is that it applied only to its own culture. But what these feminists fail to realize is that Paul was affirming the ancient Jewish and Hellenistic (Greek) culture of wives working primarily in the home because that very cultural notion was under attack. Philip Towner notes in his commentary The Letter to Timothy and Titus that in Crete (where Titus, the recipient of Paul’s letter to Titus, was), the notion of a “new woman” contrary to the Jewish-Hellenistic ideal of a wife working primarily at home arose. As Towner writes on pp. 726-727:
The values of the “new woman” had little to do with traditional commitments to the household; the new morality they emphasized endorsed the freedom to pursue extramarital sexual liaisons and liberties normally open only to men, which would place marital fidelity and household management at risk. Thus the household was the chief theater of Paul’s campaign [in Titus 2]. …
In using this rare term [“working at home”], Paul expresses the ideal in Hellenistic and Jewish cultures that the wife should remain at home and occupy herself in running the household — and in doing so he echoes the complaint of those who criticized the morality of the “new woman.”
Is it just me, or does the endorsement of the “new woman” of first century Crete (“the freedom to pursue sexual liaisons and liberties normally open only to men”) sound hauntingly familiar to our contemporary liberal feminism and its offshoot, egalitarianism? In the face of what I now call proto-feminism, Paul affirms that women should not “pursue sexual liaisons and liberties normally open only to men” but rather be “working at home.”
Now, as I mentioned in my past post on biblical womanhood, “working at home doesn’t exclude out-of-the-home work—the Proverbs 31 woman, a model of godly womanhood, worked outside the home—but “working at home” does mean that out-of-the-home work does not lead to the neglect of domestic duties.” I now take the time to more closely analyze the Proverbs 31 woman. King Lemuel’s mother asks in Proverbs 31:10, “Who can find an excellent wife [modified ESV]? She is far more precious than jewels.” In writing of how this “excellent wife” works outside the home without neglecting her household duties, the mother of King Lemuel says in vv. 13-16 and 24:
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. …
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Notice the work that the Proverbs 31 woman does. She works, but it is for the benefit of her household, not to the neglect of her household. As it is written in Proverbs 31:26-27, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Although this woman sews garments and tends a vineyard, she does not neglect her family; she kindly teaches her children wisdom. She rises before dawn to make her family breakfast (v. 15), and when her children (and husband) later rise, they call her blessed (v. 28). In verse 29, her husband even says, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
I will at this point note that it is unreasonable to constrain all Christian wives to work both outside the home and within the home. In Titus 2:5 Paul clearly commands women to be “working at home.” Any work outside the home that they choose to do on top of this must simply not be done to the detriment of their household, particularly if children are involved.
Liberal feminists (and more radical egalitarians) deny this most high call of God on women. Biblically speaking, God does not call women to be involved primarily in what Ms. Senior refers to as the “political and cultural hegemony” of men. (Although if Christian women desire to be involved in politics or medicine or any out-of-the-home work, they certainly may. Merely recall Titus 2:5, in which the biblical command is for women to work at home, which means that if they work outside the home, it should be supplemental to their work within the home, not attempting to replace that work.) God rather calls women to be involved primarily in “working at home.”
The high calling of God for women (which I will discuss even more fully in a future post hopefully) is not primarily politics, or business, or telecommunications, or medicine, or any such thing. Rather, the high calling of God for women is motherhood in the context of wifehood. “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Dear sisters in Christ, are you clinging to the dregs of worldly feminism and radical egalitarianism? Or are you embracing your God-given call to love your husband and children by “working at home”? Do not succumb to feminism’s claim that you must be totally independent to find fulfillment as a woman. Listen to God, who created you to be dependent upon Him and to be one flesh with your husband. Listen to God, who declares that “children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Psalm 127:3). Listen to God, who says that your life spent as a loving mother and loving wife faithfully depicts the mystery of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:32).
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