Posts Tagged ‘order of creation’

woman combat gun

Deborah was a judge and prophetess.  To this, many Christian women quickly add, “Deborah was also a courageous military leader in battle.”  But, what does God’s Word tell us?


Deborah was a prophetess.  A prophet or prophetess speaks on behalf of another but not as a public speaker for God during a congregational gathering.  A prophetess might give counsel, settle disputes, or offer thankfulness and praise to God.  Deborah was also a judge.  What was the condition of Israel in the years prior to her leadership?  Read Judges 2:13, 16-17; 3:7, 13; 4:1-4.   

Martin Luther took note of the service of Deborah and other women as rulers.  He said that they “have been very good at management.”  He suggested that women’s leadership in other areas of life might motivate men to properly fulfill their responsibility.  It is important to note that Deborah became a judge after the people of Israel repeatedly “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”  Evil, in every way, opposes God’s created order for men, women, and the benefit of a thriving society.

We may think that Deborah was sent by God into combat against Israel’s enemy.  But, is this the case?  Carefully read Judges 4:4-15.   Did God ask Deborah to carry the sword in combat… or did He ask Barak through Deborah?  Victory was promised to Barak if only he would obey, but he chose not to.  Barak said he would do the Lord’s bidding only if Deborah went with him into battle.  Read Judges 4:9.  Why wouldn’t the glory in battle go to Barak?  The woman Deborah refers to in this verse is not herself, but Jael.

Dr. Vogel explains: “Deborah accompanied Barak to Mount Tabor, but no further.  Consistent with Deuteronomy, she donned no battle gear nor engaged in the conflict.   Barak (unaccompanied by Deborah) led 10,000 men into the valley to a resounding victory. The rebuke for Barak’s recalcitrance was rendered when a heroic woman, Jael, was given the opportunity to slay the fleeing enemy commander, Sisera.  She did this in her own tent, with household equipment [a tent peg], not as a warrior on a battlefield.”  (“Women in Combat: Two Views,” The Lutheran Witness, May 2003, p. 16-20)

Deborah served as a judge and prophetess.  She counseled Barak as the leader of Israel’s troops.  Yet, how did she sum up her role in Judges 5:7?   Deborah was praised for her leadership, yet she does not sing about being raised up as a warrior.  She sings of being a “mother in Israel.”  Though no biological children of Deborah are mentioned, she is an encourager and helper for her people.  In this way, she is practicing the vocation given to all women.

Read Genesis 2:18.   Many women do not like being called a “helper.”  Why might this be?  The role of “helper” is not inferior, but is consistent with God’s order of creation.  The Triune God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  All are equal, yet each has a distinct role to play.  Jesus is God, yet He submitted to the Father for the sake of our salvation.   The Hebrew word for “helper” is ezer which has a sense of “assistant” or even “ally.”  Now read John 14:16; 15:26 and 16:7.  How is the Holy Spirit described in this passage?  What might a woman think about this?  How does this elevate her vocation of “helper?”

Is there a problem with women in the military?  No, but as in any workplace, there will certainly be a changed environment and cautions to heed.  A woman, by nature of her created purpose, will always be a helper.  The question is: Will she help to the good… or the bad?  Built up… or tear down?   In what ways might a woman help her country without donning battle gear or compromising the service of men? 


Specialist Hollie Vallence, quoted in Part 1 of this series, was asked by her country to sacrifice home and family.  In doing so, she explained that she had to build an “ice wall around her heart” in regard to her husband and child.  Is this consistent with God’s design?  What are the consequences for women, men, and children if a mother hardens her heart?   Luther noted that a woman is merciful by nature because she is born to show mercy and to cherish just as a man is born to protect.  This is why, Luther says, no living creature has more mercy than a woman, particularly in respect for her infant.

It is often observed that men tend to focus on one project, putting all others aside, until it is finished.  In times of war, wives of soldiers see their men bucking up for duty even in the face of leaving home and family for extended periods of time.  Is it fair to say that men always feel brave and fearless?  Where do they find wisdom and strength?  In His faithfulness, God equips men for their vocation of steward and protector.  He gives to men what is necessary so that they might do what they need to do for wives, sons and daughters; indeed, for future generations.  It is not so much that men want to go into battle, but they are equipped for battle and can leave home and family knowing that their children are in the capable and loving care of mothers.  How is the woman partnering with her husband to serve her country?   She is guarding hearth and home while he is doing battle with the enemy of that home.

In war, as in work, men understand other men.  When a country is serious about winning victory over its enemy, it brings well-trained men together, with no distractions, to focus on the job at hand.  These men may return home “changed,” but most can resume life as usual.  Mothers, as explained by Hollie Vallence, are not programmed to put distance between themselves and young children.  Small tribes and great countries who honor the human rule of chivalry understand that great sacrifice may be necessary in order to protect mothers of children for they are a people’s future.

Dr. Vogel offers wisdom: “If God is indifferent to the woman-warrior concept and a woman chooses to serve in a noncombatant role, God is not offended.  If, however, God is not indifferent to the woman warrior concept, and a woman seeks service as a combatant, does she not become a victim of her own will and disobedient to that of God?”  (Vogel, The Lutheran Witness)

Will God bless a people or a nation that sends daughters and wives to the front lines of battle?  Will He bless the men who send the bearers of life to meet the enemy?  Should women be shot at, brutalized, or sacrificed in the name of “equality” or “rights?”  God was not pleased with the man who used Deborah as a kind of “human shield.”  That is because the Groom of the Church does not stand behind his Bride.  He stands in front of her.


It is not that God wants men to die, but that He entrusts to them the noble role of protector and defender.  As the Man of Sacrifice, Jesus led the way into battle.  He did not send others.  Jesus faced the greatest weapon of mass destruction – the anger of God upon sinful people.  He did not stand behind “human shields,” letting you and me die so that He might avoid pain and death.  In the battle for the life of His Bride, Jesus “took the bullet.”  He died so that we might live.

Jesus is our Savior.  He is also a model for men and women.  He wants us to follow Him and imitate His behavior.  Sinful as we are, we will want to test the boundaries.  We will put ourselves in God’s place, but such pride can put others at risk.  Is all hopeless?  No!  The One who faced our enemy – and won the eternal victory – reaches to us with nail-pierced hands, saying: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that you may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).  I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (14:6).

Dear Lord and Savior, without Your Word for life we are a confused and desperate people.  We seek to determine right and wrong according to our whims and pleasures, but we are filled with vanity and puffed up with pride.  Have mercy on our country, dear Lord.  Raise up brave men and women to serve nation and family in ways that honor You and resist all enemies.  Bless the chaplains who serve in difficult circumstances.  Help us to live this life in anticipation of Your coming, that we might be found faithful.  AMEN. 

This four-part study written by Linda Bartlett
is adapted from a larger collection of studies entitled
Men, Women, and Relationships first published in 1999
by Lutherans For Life.
This study is available for download
by visiting Titus 2 for Life.


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woman combat gun

Who lobbies for women in combat?  Is it with national security — or something else — in mind?  

In light of terrorists and all-male armies around the world, should we regard serving in combat as an “equal job opportunity?” 

Elaine Donnelly and the Center for Military Readiness, released a 42-page report in January of 2013 exploring the unintended consequences of putting women on the front lines.  “It will do great harm to women in the military, especially those who will find themselves in the infantry – something there’s no indication they wanted.” 

Mrs. Donnelly asks an important question: “Why is the Secretary of Defense ramming this on through?”  This, says Mrs. Donnelly, “is social engineering to achieve a political end in the name of diversity”. . . [but] it is unfair to the women, it’s unfair to the men, it’s problematic for the readiness and efficiency and effectiveness of infantry battalions.


Sociologist George Gilder notes that while all-male armies grow in countries that pursue America as their prey, we seem to regard combat as an obstacle to women’s rights.  He notes that this “demand for equality [is] nothing more or less than a move toward barbarism. (Men and Marriage, p. 136)  What might he mean?  Do you agree or disagree?

Civilized cultures have always trained men to protect and defend women and children.  Christian fathers who follow the example set by Jesus mentor sons to be gentlemen and guardians of a woman’s virtue and well-being.  However, the effective utilization of women in combat requires that men put aside such behavior in order to treat a woman like just another man.  What kind of culture does this create?

Even non-Christians note that groups tend to disintegrate and face extinction when societies fail to train their men to protect and defend women.  Men on board the Titanic gave their lives for women, not because they were all Christian men, but because Biblical teaching for society had become the “rule of the sea.”  Read Ephesians 5:25.  The titanic chivalry of “women and children [into the lifeboats] first” follows the example of Jesus who gave His life for His bride, the Church.

There is also the issue of mentoring.  When we focus on “it’s my right” or perpetuate the myth that “equal means ‘being the same,’” how are we instructing a younger generation?  What is a young man taught to think about women as they endure the rigors of military training side by side?  What do boys learn from fathers who intentionally put women in harm’s way? 

What is the carry-over to life outside the military?  If society will not tolerate male aggression toward women in everyday life, is it wise – or necessary – to make an exception in combat?  A civilization that wants to thrive does well to think beyond the present to the future.

What are the realities of both training and battle conditions?  We may want to envision pleasant images of skilled women managing high tech equipment, young men and women successfully practicing self-control in close quarters, and enlisted men snapping to the attention of female drill sergeants, but evidence reveals much to the contrary.  There are reported increases of sexual abuse, unfaithfulness of spouses, unintended pregnancy, a supposed “need” for easier access to abortion, and deployment of single moms.

It may be politically correct to claim that differences between male and female are socially constructed, but basic biology proves otherwise.  Mrs. Donnelly says, “Women don’t have an equal opportunity to survive in combat.”  Why might this be?  How might the anatomy of a woman put her more at risk than a man?  In seeking a bush for privacy, how does a woman avoid sniper fire and landmines?  Men can quickly unzip and zip, but is it the same for women?  Besides dignity and modesty there are important issues of hygiene and gynecology.  Women can chemically shut down their menstrual cycle, but is this natural and healthy?  Feminists and social engineers may deny the differences between men and women, but will the enemy?  How might a female prisoner of war be treated differently than a man?  Jessica Lynch, pulled from her Humvee and taken prisoner in Iraq, was raped and sodomized by her captors (I Am A Soldier, Too; the biography of Jessica Lynch by Rick Bragg).  If he is obedient to his calling as a defender of women, to what lengths might a male soldier go in protecting a female soldier?  


Rev. F.A. Hertwig asks, “If there is a threatening noise at the front door, who do you expect should be the first to investigate?  Will the man sit back and send his wife, daughter or mother while he goes to the basement?”  (“Letters” in The Lutheran Witness, June 2003, p. 4)

Let’s return to Genesis, the Book of our beginnings.  When Eve stood in harm’s way before Satan, how did Adam respond (Genesis 3:6, 12)?  What is the significance of these verses when it comes to the discussion of women in combat?  Genesis 3:6 reveals that Adam sinned when he failed to remember God’s Word and use it in the battle between life and death.  Adam failed to protect his wife from Satan’s attack.  He failed to bring order out of chaos for the sake of future generations.

Rev. Hertwig, a pastor in Lincoln, Missouri, explains Genesis 3:12 in this way: “When God stood at the door, a confused and fallen Adam sent his wife, Eve, to face the catastrophe.  He chose to deny the one who had come from his side.  For the rest of his 930 years, he lived with daily contrition each time he looked at his bosom friend.  His protecting embrace had all the more fervor mixed with regret that he had failed.”  Rev. Hertwig continues, “For a man to see his wife, mother or daughter writhing in the mud with a bayonet rifle is repulsive to the core.  When Adam retreats, yes even in the face of God, he has in a miserable moment surrendered to the devil.  To venture the ‘absence’ of specifics on our subject is an accommodating detail to the devil’s question, ‘Yea, hath God said?’” (The Lutheran Witness, “Letters,” June/July 2003)

There are many mixed emotions when considering women in the service of their country, particularly when it comes to combat duty.  You may say, “But there is the example of Deborah!”  Deborah is held up by many Christians as the Old Testament example of a woman in combat.  But, was she?  Let’s move on to Part 4 in this series to discover the truth.

Dear Lord of Life, please help us remember that Your created order and design for male and female is for our good and the good of society.  Rather than defaulting to our own ideas of right and wrong, help us to trust Your Word for life in all circumstances.  AMEN.

This four-part study written by Linda Bartlett
is adapted from a larger collection of studies entitled
Men, Women and Relationships first published in 1999
by Lutherans For Life.
This study is available for download
by visiting Titus 2 for Life.

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woman combat gun

Are we wise or foolish?  Have we developed a bad habit of turning social experiments into policy and code?  What is a social experiment?  Abortion and same-sex “marriage” are but two examples.  Another is the “political correctness” of putting women into combat.  A social experiment arrogantly opposes God’s created order.  It has the look and feel of liberty but, in reality, puts human life at risk.   Social experiments are reckless and foolish.


During His life on earth, Jesus honored and elevated women in remarkable new ways.  Certainly, He could have chosen both men and women to serve as His apostles.  But He did not.  Jesus was very familiar with the created differences of male and female.  He knew their different yet complementary roles and vocations.  Why would He know male and female so well?  Read Genesis 1:26 and John 1:1-5; 14.  Equality does not mean that everyone does the same thing, but that male and female each have the opportunity to serve God and others according to created order and unique design.

In today’s culture, discussions about the roles of men and women bring with them emotion and strong opinion.  So, if we’re going to have honest dialogue, let’s begin with some personal introspection.   Do you confess that God created you?   Are you His design for His purpose?  But are you, like the first woman Eve, tempted to doubt the Creator and, in fact, position yourself as lord of your own life?  Are your choices too easily influenced by personal feelings, circumstance, pride, envy, short-sightedness, and search for identity?  In discussing women in combat, like any other life issue, it is important to acknowledge our own failure to trust God’s Word and desire for control.  We need to contrast His created order with the chaos of the world and our own thinking.

How does God’s Word in Colossians 2:8 shed light on this particular discussion? 

Read Genesis 2.  Carefully find the passages that address the order of Adam and Eve’s creation, the way that each was created, and their specific vocations.  How does knowing that God did not create Adam and Eve at the same time, in the same way, or for the same purpose shed light on women in combat?  

Dr. Leroy Vogel, retired U.S. Navy chaplain and professor emeritus at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, writes, “While it may be argued that there is no specific Scriptural passage that forbids a woman to serve as warrior, the apparent accommodation of some within the Church to the spirit of the age that turns warrior into a unisex role would appear, at a minimum, to be a departure from the divine wisdom of the Creator regarding the differentiation of the sexes.”

What is the issue – sexual equality or ordered equality?   Dr. Vogel notes that when we ignore the Biblical account of creation, sexual differentiation and roles are viewed as “social constructs and, if society has created the distinctions, society can abolish them.”  To overturn the created order of differentiation and roles is to abandon Biblical faith.  “Scripture is clear,” writes Dr. Vogel.  “God made two sexes, equal but with assigned roles.  Sexual equality is not the issue; ordered equality is.  Scripture and the tradition of the Church assign to man the role of defender, protector, warrior.  To woman is given the role of life-giver, nurturer, sustainer.”  Dr. Vogel offers a curious Hebrew interpretation of a Deuteronomy 22:5 (NIV translation): “A woman must not wear men’s clothing . . . for the Lord your god detests anyone who does this.”  Dr. Vogel submits that this verse is about more than cross-dressing.  He explains that “men’s clothing” in Hebrew is translated keli-gerberKeli denotes “equipment,” specifically a soldier’s equipment.  The Hebrew noun geber denotes “mighty man” or “hunter” or “warrior.”  So, writes, Dr. Vogel, “a legitimate translation of the phrase uses language of a decidedly military flavor: ‘No woman shall put on the gear of a warrior.’”  It seems that the church fathers John Calvin and Martin Luther agreed.  “Luther knew Hebrew,” writes Dr. Vogel, “and comments on the verse as follows: ‘A woman shall not bear the weapons of a man . . . it is improper . . . Through this law [God] reproaches any nation in which this custom is observed.’”  (“Women in Combat: Two Views,” The Lutheran Witness, May 2003, p. 16-20.)

Let’s review Genesis 3:20.  What is part of a woman’s created glory that exists even after sin distorted the world?  Is it God’s design that woman bear and nurture life or destroy life?  Woman’s glory is found in her God-given role as life-giver and nurturer.  Dr. Vogel paraphrases Luther, saying that “women were created not to kill and destroy, but to be a vessel for life.”  A culture that encourages women to destroy life is a culture that rebels against God’s design for His creation.  A culture that doubts the created differences between the “defender” of life (male) and “bearer” of life (female) is a culture that has been deceived by Satan’s question: “Did God really say . . .?” (Genesis 3:1).

Sociologist George Gilder writes, “The ancient tradition against the use of women in combat embodies the deepest wisdom of the human race.  It expresses the most basic imperatives of group survival: a nation or tribe that allows the loss of large numbers of its young women runs the risk of becoming permanently depopulated.  The youthful years of women, far more than of men, are precious and irreplaceable.”  (Men and Marriage, Pelican Publishing Co., Gretna, LA., p. 135).  What brings a society to the place where it forgets or ignores this truth?  What does the future hold for such a society?


There are two worldviews: God’s and all others.  The Christian who trusts God’s Word can be confident that the Creator of life has a way that things of life work best.  Consider the words of God to Job (Job 38-41).  God speaks His worldview to us through His Word – from Genesis to Revelation.  He speaks His Word to us through Jesus Christ who, literally, is the Word become flesh (John 1:1-5; 14).  But sometimes, when a people or nation is blessed with resources and peace on its home soil, men and women become complacent and self-absorbed.  Their hearts and minds are influenced more by the selfish pleasures of the world than the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:16-30). What does the future hold for such a society?  Read 1 John 2:15-17.

Edwin Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation, writes, “The reason we all know the idea of women playing pro football is absurd is because we’re serious about football.  It’s tough game, and if you allow yourself to be distracted by irrelevant issues like ‘sexual equity’ when you should be making your team the toughest it can possibly be, you’re going to get creamed.  So why are we letting feminists impose ‘sexual equity’ on an area that makes football look like a tea party; something that is  not a game, but a matter of life and death for our nation as well as for the ‘players,’ namely, our military?”  How do you respond?

Dear Jesus, You were there at creation.  You are the Creator!  You know male and female full well.  Please help us to trust Your design and purpose for our lives so that we might bring glory, not to ourselves, but to You.  Do not let us be distracted by ideas of the sinful world or our own opinions.  Instead, pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us so that we will be encouraged to live our different yet complementary roles as men and women.  Help men stand tall in defense of home and country.  Help women nurture life and provide good counsel to all who seek truth.   Through the created order, strengthen our nation so that we might stand against enemies both foreign and domestic.  AMEN. 

This four-part study written by Linda Bartlett
is adapted from a larger collection of studies entitled
Men, Women, and Relationships first published in 1999
by Lutherans For Life.
This study is available for download
by visiting Titus 2 for Life.


Read Full Post »

woman combat gun

“Women in combat” is a life issue.  It is an issue to which God speaks. 

Some say, “If men can do it, so can women.”  Let us look for, shall we say, better ammunition to defend our Biblical worldview on this debate.


Discussions of men and women in combat bring mixed reactions.  Some people believe that women do not belong in combat because they do not have the physical capacity to endure the rigorous standards of training or the hardships of war.  Some believe that it is a woman’s “right” to defend her country and that she can do so as well as any man.  Besides, they insist, modern warfare seldom involves the physical force of front-line battle

Let’s put reason and logic to work: Consider the physical differences between men and women, such as their bone and muscle structures.  Gender-integrated basic training undermines rigorous standards.  But, this argument can be countered with examples of women who have developed body strength and can keep up with a man.

Consider the sexual attraction between men and women.  Gender-integrated training and combat duty creates an environment in which men and women are vulnerable to sexual misconduct and abuse.  But, this argument can be countered with practiced self-control.

This debate deserves more than opinion.  It deserves more than a simple “it’s my right.”  To honor God and better serve society as a whole, which is the right question: Can women be in combat… or, Should women be in combat?


So, what are real soldiers saying?   A classmate of my son served on board a ship in the Persian Gulf.  In a conversation, this 21-year-old woman confessed a breakdown in respect for both women and men.  Everything, she said, took on a “sexual connotation,” modesty was nearly “impossible,” and the rate of pregnancies on board ship was “higher than on shore assignment.”

Specialist Hollie Vallance was quoted in the Dallas Morning News (2-20-91) before being shipped to the Gulf War.  She said, “I never really thought about going into combat.  I never dreamed anything like this would happen in my lifetime, let alone right after I had my first child.”  She continued.  “I’ve built an ice wall around my heart to try to cool the pain, and sometimes I worry that [my husband and baby daughter] won’t be able to melt it away.”

In a commissioned survey of women in the Army, 79% of enlisted women and 71% of female noncommissioned officers said they wouldn’t volunteer for combat.  Only 10% of the female privates and corporals agreed with this statement: “I think that women should be treated exactly like men and serve in combat just like men.”  Less than one-quarter of mid-grade sergeants answered yes.  (The Washington Times, 10-5-98).

A young husband and relative of mine serving in the Persian Gulf was forced to share his tent with a woman soldier.  He told me “it was not a good situation any way you chose to look at it.”

Pfc. Jessica Lynch and Army Specialist Shoshana Johnson returned home from the War in Iraq in the spring of 2003 as heroines.  Although neither of them was technically in a combat position, they were, nonetheless, placed so close to the front line of battle that they were each captured by the enemy.  After being rescued, it appeared that neither of them wanted to be “poster girls” for women in combat.

Is there wisdom in pretending that women are no different than men, placing them together in close quarters, lowering standards of physical endurance, and compromising training and military readiness?  Should national defense be the proving ground for a particular group’s ideology or desire for social change?

In the end, which matters most: How we feel about it… or what God says about it?  The Biblical argument that women should not engage in combat is expressed in the ESV Study Bible article on “War”:  “Most nations throughout history, and most Christians in every age, have held that fighting in combat is a responsibility that should fall only to men, and that it is contrary to the very idea of womanhood, and shameful for a nation, to have women risk their lives as combatants in a war.”  For discussion, read Deuteronomy 3:18-19; Joshua 1:14; Jeremiah 50:37 and Nahum 3:13.  (Note: The Lutheran Study Bible commentary on “they shall become women” in Jeremiah 50:37 reads: “unskilled to fight; therefore, terrified.”)

If we believe that women should not serve in combat, are we saying that they should not serve their country in the military?  Explain your answer.  Can a strong, effective military respect and utilize the abilities of women?   If so, in what ways?

In Nehemiah 4, we learn that enemies threatened the people of God during the rebuilding of Jerusalem.  They wanted to cause confusion and stop the good work.  Read specifically Nehemiah 4:13-14.  What did the prophet say to the men (vs. 14)?   Does this have meaning for you in our modern world?   As enemies of God’s people threaten home and family, is there wisdom in men and women serving in their God-given vocations of steward/defender of life and bearer/nurturer of life?  For whose benefit?   Sometimes, because we can, women imagine leaving what seems ordinary and common to excel away from home and, indeed, compete with men for glory.  But who fills the void?

If we resist women in combat, are we questioning their ability, or are we choosing to live within the boundaries of the created order for the benefit of civilization?


God’s order of creation speaks clearly to the issue of women on the front lines of battle.  The first battle for life took place in a beautiful garden under the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Who was given the instructions for life and the warning against death (Genesis 2:15-17)?  Satan was well aware of God’s order of creation.  He knew that man was created as steward over all of creation and entrusted with the responsibility of defending life.  But the enemy of life ignored man and chose woman as his target.  He deceived the woman into thinking that God was holding something back from her, something that should rightfully be hers.  She sinned when she failed to trust the Word of God.  The woman spoke for God, but what else did she do?  Compare Genesis 3:1-3 with Genesis 2:17.   It is often said that whenever we speak what God has not, trouble brews.  Do you agree or disagree?  This is called spiritualizing or thinking ourselves godlike.  Note the progress of temptation: 1) doubt of God’s Word, 2) rejection of God’s Word, and 3) effort to establish our own standard of right and wrong.

Sin did not enter the world when Eve disobeyed God.  What does Genesis 3:6-7 tell us?  Who did God hold accountable (Genesis 3:8-9)?   What light does this shed on military readiness and national defense?

Death had its first victory, but the war was not over.  The enemy of life may have celebrated his successful deception of Eve and assaulted Adam’s leadership, but Satan did not have the final word.  Read Genesis 3:20.  Eve (Hebrew: chawwah) means “life.”   Do you find significance in the fact that this name was bestowed upon woman after sin brought death into the world?   With this name, Adam expressed hope for the future though the promised Seed of the woman who is Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.   Satan’s plan was for evil, but it was God’s plan for Eve to become the mother of every living person.  What does this say to you?

Dear Father God, You are the Creator and Redeemer of human life.  Please give us wisdom and discernment to know how to bear and defend life in ways that honor Your created order.  We pray in Jesus’ name and for the sake of generations to come.  AMEN.

This four-part study written by Linda Bartlett
is adapted from a larger collection of studies entitled
Men, Women and Relationships first published in 1999
by Lutherans For Life.
This study in PDF format is available to download
by visiting Titus 2 for Life

Read Full Post »

people on beachWhat is mature manhood and womanhood?  Here is perhaps one of the most important questions for Christian parents to help their adolescent children answer.  If we place emphasis on an identity as a “sexual being,” we miss the opportunity to discuss what masculine or feminine personhood really is.  Men are not men and women are not women because of their sexual urges or desires, nor does marriage make a person more fully male or female.  By labeling children or adults as “sexual beings,” we can actually distort the purpose and vocation of manhood and womanhood.

Genesis 1:27 tells us four things about the first man and women.  They were created by God to be human, not the same but male or female, in the image of God (not animals) and, because they were created in God’s image, they were created to be holy.  There is no mention of anything of a sexual nature (“one flesh”) until God brings man and woman together as husband and wife (Gn. 2:24).  Too may of us scurry from Genesis 1:27 and skip straight to that union.  But in doing so, we miss something very important about the essence of male and female.

We are more than sexual beings because God first spoke to Adam about being a man.  Man was put in the Garden to “work and keep it” (Gn. 2:15).  Man was to be a good steward over all of creation.  In faithfulness to God, he was to defend life and avoid death (Gn. 2:16-17).  “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gn. 2:18).  The creation was incomplete without woman.  Man had no one like himself nor did he have a way to procreate.  God made (literally “built”) woman from man’s rib.  In marriage, the woman is her husband’s “helper” (Hebrew: ezer), assistant and ally.  The vocation of “helper” is not inferior.  Jesus called the Holy Spirit a “Helper” in John 14:16 which can be translated as “comforter,” “encourager,” or “advocate.”  In her “one flesh” union with Adam, Eve became the bearer of life who would nurture, comfort, and encourage husband and children.

Sin distorted God’s perfect design and rhythm of life.  Sin causes the relationships of men and women–married or not–to be difficult.  But even in chaos, God’s order of creation stands.  Whether  married or single, men are stewards of creation.  Whether married or single, men are called to defend life and lead away from death in faithfulness to God.  In or out of marriage, women are called to help men do good (not evil), be encouraged (not discouraged), built up (not torn down).  Mature manhood and womanhood are not dependent on being married; thus, neither are sensually or sexually driven.

Do you see that boys can be mentored to work, build, protect and engage life without sensual implications?  Do you see that girls can be mentored to help, encourage, counsel and build relationships without sensual suggestions?

From The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (pp. 100-101)
by Linda Bartlett (Amazon)

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Gentlemen.  What words are there for you?  As a mom, I can speak to my sons about women.  I can describe feelings, emotions, and the complexities of my gender.  But, any wisdom and true instruction I have for men comes only from God.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.  And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die'” (Genesis 2:15-17).

“. . . [T]he man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?'” (vv. 8-9).

God created man to be the head and steward of His creation.  It is to man that God gave the words of life and the warning away from death.  Man was to pass on the Word of Truth — to his wife, their children, and their children’s children.  Even though the woman was the first to disobey God, man was held responsible.  Such is the order of God’s creation.  Even after sin, God brings order out of chaos using the leadership of godly men.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body” (Ephesians 5:25-30).

The husband is not to rule his wife, but to love her (Colossians 3:19).  St. Paul wrote more to the husband than to the wife because it is an opportunity to rejoice in the Gospel.  If a husband’s love for his wife is Christlike, he is willing to give up his very life for her (Galatians 2:20; Titus 2:14; 1 John 3:16).  St. Paul notes that the husband is the “head” in a marriage.  Perhaps it follows, then, that the wife is the “heart.”  One is not more important than the other; both are necessary for life.  Neither man nor woman honor God or themselves by asking: “What can I get out of this marriage?”  Instead, everything a husband  — or a wife — does should be a living illustration of Christ’s love.

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).

Feminists may be offended by the expression “weaker vessel.”  But, as students of history, we do well to remember that the culture of the Apostle Peter’s time had little respect for women.  For this reason, the apostle was guided to choose his words with express care for women.  Physically, women are typically smaller in size and weaker in strength then men, which could make them vulnerable to abuse.  Peter admonishes husbands not to exploit a woman’s size and strength in unkind ways.  Viewing husband and wife through Biblical eyes, each was made to complement the other.  Both are heirs of God’s saving grace.

What about the unmarried man?  How is he to treat a girl or woman?  St. Paul prepares the young man Timothy for ministry with these words:

“Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity” (1 Timothy 5:1-2).

A man is called by God to treat all people as Jesus did — as members of His own family (Matthew 12:46-50).  Here is a culturally-transforming opportunity for men.  Can you imagine how esteemed and safe women — and, therefore, children — would be if they were treated like mothers and sisters?

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