For many, many, reasons. This is just one of a billion and twenty of the little reasons.
And I thought it was fitting to post it on the day of my graduation party.
He wrote this about a year ago, as the really really long answer to why us girls aren’t going to college. People today will get the short version… this is the long one. I’m so thankful he took the time to write this, and even more that he supports and promotes the vision of victorious daughterhood.
If you’d be more likely to read it if I chopped it up into shorter bits, tell me, I’m happy to do it…
But until then, here goes:
Why are we not raising our daughters to prepare for a career? Why do we not presume that they will go to university?
Our model is not a model from a particular past era, nor is it from a desire to be “old-fashioned”. Our passion is to honor (1) God’s design in creation, (2) the pattern exhibited throughout scripture, and which is faithful to (3) teaching under both covenants.
(1) God’s Design in Creation
• Genesis 1:26-28; Man was created in the image of God to reflect God’s glory and attributes [rule and subdue; name animals; work the garden; with intelligence and reason; capacities for communication, relationship with God, and moral choice as a righteous creature]
• “Man/Adam”: was created as Male and Female: God distinguishes between male and female; our maleness and femaleness is reflected biologically and is much deeper than biology, but is not contrary to biology.
• God differentiates between male and female in their purpose
o God’s calling is to “Man” = Adam (fruitful, multiply, fill and subdue the earth); God specifically puts Adam in the garden to work it. Genesis 2:7, 8, 15
o It was not good for man to be alone; Adam cannot fulfil his calling to be fruitful and multiply (in order to fill the earth, subdue it and have dominion over it) Genesis 2:18-20. He needs a suitable helper: the woman.
o The woman is made for the man (Genesis 2:18, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:9); made after the man (Genesis 2:21-22; 1 Tim 2:13); made from the man (Genesis 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 11:8); brought to the man (Genesis 2:22); named by the man (Genesis 2:23), as a derivative of ‘man’; She is “Ishah” taken from “Ish”. God named her Eve (Genesis 3:20). The English woman/man linguistic connection is analogous.
• The judgments of the Fall are role-related: for the woman, pain in child-bearing (Genesis 3:16) directly affecting her role in bearing children to Adam to obey the “Cultural Mandate” to be fruitful and multiply; and for the man, frustration and futility in the toil of working the ground (Genesis 3:17-19), reducing the effectiveness of his dominion over the earth;
• The affect of the Fall on marriage is role-related, and a reversal of the intent: your desire will be for him [to usurp headship] and he will rule over you [to abuse headship] (3:16; see 4:6 for understanding the terms “desire” and “rule”)
• The woman ate first, but Adam, not Eve, is held ultimately accountable in the rest of Scripture due to the headship of the husband. Headship is not right to tyranny, but the shouldering of accountability to God. (Genesis 3:9, 17; Romans 5:12, 14; 1 Corinthians 15:22)
(2) The Biblical Pattern
The rest of the Bible assumes and implies leadership of the husband/father in the home, male elders in society, and male elders/pastors in the church. Women play a very significant role in the unfolding of God’s revelation, but it is almost always as wife or daughter in relation to her husband or father. The mention of Deborah as a counter-example misses that even she saw her anticipated victory as out of place and that it would bring shame to Barak, who should have led Israel into battle (Judges 4:9).
What about Gal 3:28 (“in Christ there is neither male nor female”)? This passage speaks clearly of our spiritual equality in approaching God in Christ. We are Equal before God in value and dignity. We are also differentiated in role and purpose.
God did not pick patriarchal marriage, among other options, to use as an image of the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33; John 3:29; Revelation 18:23; 19:7; 21:2, 9; 22:17). Rather, the Father redeemed the bride of his Son before the foundation of the world, and created marriage, the union of a man and a wife to picture this. Even the Old Testament makes extensive use of marriage to describe YHWH’s commitment to his chosen people, and adultery to describe her unfaithfulness to him (see Hosea and other prophets)
(3) Biblical instruction for women:
• A Woman is generally oriented toward her husband, children and home (Proverbs 31; Ephesians 5:22-24, 33; 1 Peter 3:1-6; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; 5:9-16; Titus 2:3-5).
• Is it demeaning for a woman to have her identity and role derived from man, particularly her covenant husband? John 14:16 The Holy Spirit is called the counsellor, comforter, friend, or helper, who brings glory to Christ, with no loss of dignity. Remember that this marriage relationship is to picture something glorious! The Holy Spirit does not play a demeaning role as one who helps.
• She is to have a gentle and quiet spirit toward her husband, with inward, God-fearing adornment, (Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:3)
o Submit to her husband as to the Lord [as to her relationship to her husband] (Ephesians 5:22, 24; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:5, 6); The Church’s submission to Christ is imperfect, though her Lord is perfect. Unfortunately, no husband is perfect: and it is this imperfection that God uses for her sanctification!
o Respect her husband (Ephesians 5:33);
o Love her husband (Titus 2:4)
o Learn from her husband (1 Timothy 2:11; 1 Corinthians 14:35)
o Bear children [as to her mission] (1 Timothy 2:15; 5:10, 14; Titus 2:4)
o Manager/Keeper of the home (1 Timothy 5:14; Titus 2:5) (see What He Must Be pages 131-137 for discussion of ‘balance’ and ‘exceptions’; and Faith Bible Church statement for Scriptural discussion). “In due time her industry will take her outside the home (Proverbs 31:10-31)”
o Hospitality, good works and service (1 Timothy 5:10; Luke 8:1-2; Acts 9:36-42; 16:14-15; Proverbs 31:20)
o Avoid nagging and arguing (Proverbs 19:13; 27:15-16)
• Such a woman is fruitful, fulfilled and productive; not a consumer who spends money in malls for recreation, gossips with neighbors (1 Timothy 5:13), and eats bonbons while her servants do all of the work in her home. Rather, the husband and children of this woman rise up and publicly praise and bless her (Proverbs 31).
Where happened to the design of creation, the biblical pattern, and the biblical instructions regarding female identity and role in our society? Have we simply overturned “tradition” or have we lost something more?
The biblical design was reflected in the societal structures in many, if not most, cultures on the planet for millennia. It is very easy for any sound biblical practice to be separated from Scripture and become an independent “tradition”. When a tradition is enculturated the emphasis becomes on the structure of the practice, rather than the reason for it. Enculturation can be good when biblical practices are properly applied and effectively mirror the gospel, with clear teaching given to the next generation as to how the structure and teaching are related. However, when divorced from Scripture’s teaching on design and God’s vision for the structures or relations, the structures are exploited and abused. As a result, the biblical vision for fatherhood reflecting the fatherhood of God, for marriage reflecting the relationship between Christ and the church, and a vision for a godly heritage of future generations are all lost. Divorced from the Gospel, marriage and family are no longer safe and secure for its members. History has demonstrated that it is possible to have biblical structures without the biblical identity they are designed to reflect. The structure itself is by design the means for propagation of society. As societies reject the structures, we can expect their self-destruction or collapse.
The new patterns of thinking that developed during the Renaissance, Scientific Revolution, Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, led to welcome critical thinking about the abuse of authority taking place in traditional structures (whether government, employment, or family). Kings abused biblical authority by not recognizing that as servants of God they were also accountable to God (Romans 13: 1-7; Luke 3:12-14). Employers exploited workers needs (Ephesians 6:9; Luke 3:14; James 5:1-6), and had no compassion for oppressive working and living conditions. Fathers and husbands no longer lived sacrificially to lead, protect and provide for their families, but they selfishly abused their authority as heads of the family, reflecting neither the fatherhood of God toward their children, nor the love of Christ for his church toward their wives (Ephesians 3:14; 5:25-33). Although the structures had the form of biblical teaching, the biblical instruction no longer informed them, and so they had become a stench.
Unfortunately, ‘Enlightened’ societies rejected not only the abuse of the structures, but also the structures themselves, particularly in the case of the family. The rise of Scientism and Darwinism was an additional factor in the rejection of Scripture as an authoritative basis for societal structures. Disregarding God’s differentiation between male and female by design at creation, and recognizing only a biological distinction between men and women, western societies have concluded that there no longer remain gender-specific roles. While acknowledging that only the female body can produce ova and gestate human babies, the sexual revolution, abortion on demand, social acceptance of unwed pregnancy, redefinition of the family and reproductive technologies like sperm and ova banks and in vitro fertilization together render the family superfluous. Sadly, many Christians have adopted some of these attitudes and values from the values of the wider society, even if subconsciously.
Advancements in technology and services which have replaced home industry have led to shifting attitudes toward the value of women at home. These include mechanized farming, industrialized production of clothing and other goods, household appliances (like the washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, oven, microwave, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, and food processor), prepared foods and abundant restaurants, convenient transportation and shopping centers. The prevailing attitude is that the only option to a career is idleness and gossip! Keepers at home may feel inferior and unproductive, as well as un-affirmed in society and even their families. Homeschooling has certainly restored a sense of value and significant contribution mothers make to their families and future generations in many homes. We must also restore the biblical value of service to the church and community. We can thank God for technological advancements and use the extra time to be more fruitful, rather than presume we should then pursue a career!
The loss of fruitfulness of women and other negative economic and social effects have accompanied careerism. Although earning incomes and contributing to a nation’s GDP, women have lost fruitfulness through careerism due to: smaller families with less influence on society, less parental influence on their own children, less hospitality and community in the church, less discipleship of younger women by older women, and less service to the needy, sick, hungry, orphaned, or imprisoned among the body of Christ. The economic impact of dual incomes has led to a reduction in jobs enabling men to provide for their families, a dramatic inflation of housing prices (which forces many to believe that the wife must work to have a home), an increase in consumerism, and a sense of entitlement to travel and leisure activities which rob believers of time for hospitality, service, discipleship, and community. The latter can certainly occur with single-income families, but the additional income has enabled more families to be distracted by these activities, and the desire for them has led many women into the workforce to fund them.
“So are your parents going to arrange your marriage, too?”
We’re not promoting arranged marriages, but rather agreed marriage. Parents play a role in establishing the next generation through guiding their children in the selection of a spouse. “A son is reared up for independence. He is trained to leave, while still respecting his parents’ godly counsel. A daughter is brought up to be transferred from one state of dependence to another. Sons leave, daughters are given.” (Jer 29:6; Lk 20:34; Mt 24:38)
• The general pattern in Scripture is that a daughter is in her father’s house under his authority until she is given in marriage to another man, who then becomes her head and protector. Hence a widow is considered vulnerable to oppressors because she has no father/husband.
• The father in Israel had authority to overrule, or is otherwise accountable for, vows and agreements made by his daughter, “in her youth in her father’s house.” (Num 30:3-16)
• The father in Israel was accountable to guarantee the virginity of his daughter. A girl’s sexual involvement before marriage was considered “to play the harlot in her father’s house.” (Deuteronomy 22:13-21) “Virginity was a priceless inheritance for the young woman to bring into the marriage.” If she was not a virgin, for the father to indicate otherwise was fraud.
• The father in Israel had authority to refuse his daughter’s marriage to a man even if they had already lain together (Exodus 22:16-17), though the man was still required to pay the bride-price.
• Divorced and widowed women are independent from their fathers (Num 3:9; Acts 16:15; 1 Cor 7:39) though permitted to return to her father’s house (Lev 22:13)
Pre-marriage relationships are outside the scope of this paper, but suffice to say that we are not fans of modern recreational dating.
What about the girl who does not want to get married?
If someone has no desire for marriage, no desire for children, no desire for sex, maybe one has gift of celibacy. If they don’t have this gift, we should actively encourage marriage! This active encouragement is not meddling!
If a girl does not have this gift, must she stay at home?
The Lord can certainly raise up exceptions, for particular callings of ministry and service. A period of time at home training for the “norm” will never be wasted, equipping a girl for managing a home, hospitality, ministry, and industry, enabling her to be productive wherever she goes.
Considerations for sending Children to College:
Many presume college is necessary because of assumptions like:
• Studies claim that a degree is a guarantee of greater wealth. It is true that many professions require a degree or post-baccalaureate education, but a degree by itself is becoming “a dime a dozen”. Beyond academic learning, there are many other means of gaining learning, such as work experience, travel, service, apprenticeship, the military, pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities and vocational training. Creative, “outside-the-box” training and experience can provide an advantage to a 4 year degree.
• You can only get an education at a university. Our modern society sees high school as preparation for learning in university, or simply a time for teens to have fun and socialize until they become adults. Young people have an amazing capacity to learn, and this period can be more effectively used so that much university level education is accomplished during high school years instead of merely doing preparatory studies, many of which will be repeated later. The proliferation of internet studies and distance learning, as well as the availability of CLEP-type testing to gain college credit through exams, all provide alternative means of obtaining a “degree” at more affordable costs.
• Many of us “grew up” and matured at college, socially and/or spiritually. While this is true, we also grew up in a society which did not expect us to grow up while teenagers, as past societies did. While we may have matured in this context, attending university is no guarantee of growing up, nor of spiritual growth. Many do get used to independence while at university but also use their independence to walk in irresponsible or profligate ways, not in maturity. The majority of even churched kids increase their distance from the church while at university, rather than growing spiritually. It is quite reasonable for parents to structure home life during the teen years so that their children can develop and mature into adults socially, mentally and spiritually. Such a home life will be counter-cultural to modern norms, but will reflect what was normal for millennia. We should interpret our personal experiences in light of God’s wisdom.
What is the motivation for going to college?
• Everyone else does?
• Old enough?
• For financial gain?
• To get away from parents?
• To pursue independence?
There are more important considerations. What is the child’s personality, and what are their skills and interests? What is the child’s calling? What is the best way to become equipped for this calling? Does the youth have a clear purpose? Many youth are not sober minded about spending their parents’ savings on college. It is poor stewardship to send a child to college to “find himself” or when he or she has no idea what they want to study or why.
Does the child have the academic aptitude for further studies and at what level? Just because they are accepted at a college or university does not mean that is the best place for them.
Would it be better to attend vocational training?
Does the youth have the maturity to handle life at college? Just because they are legally old enough is not sufficient reason to send an ill-equipped child into an environment that has an anti-god worldview in class and among peers (many of whom are in pursuit of inebriation and debauchery).
Consider the alternatives of:
• … on-line education. The child can continue to live and serve at home and church, the expenses are far less, the worldview can be more consistent, and the studies possibly more flexibly selected to suit the child’s interests.
• … taking opportunities for mentorship, assisting a missionary family or widow in home schooling, or some other kind of service (orphanage, Mercy Ships, disaster relief). Especially for a young man, seek out difficult physical labor (helping someone on a farm).
• … taking a year to do a variety of kinds of work as well as doing career and life planning/testing to get an idea of aptitudes and interests.
If the child is a girl, is she ready for marriage? That is, is she equipped with the skills to be a homemaker so that if she meets her husband at school, she will be ready to assume her life-duties and be a blessing to her husband?
Is she going to school for a career? Consider the costs involved and the biblical teaching on calling and vocation for women. According to biblical design and the normative pattern, God has most probably made her to be a helper for her husband and to bear children for a godly heritage. Is it worth spending 4+ years and large sums of money while incurring excessive debts for this just so she can have pride and say she has been to college when people ask? Do we have such a low view of the biblical emphasis on womanhood that we must make up for it with education? Pride may not be a predominant reason, but calling and vision should be the predominant factors in a decision involving such a commitment of time and money, and level of exposure to risks that exist in the university setting (to the child’s worldview and morals through their peers and professors).
This is something daddy tacked onto the end of the article:
The High Calling of Christian Women
(statement by Elders of Faith Bible Church, Spokane, WA, USA)
Trans-cultural Biblical Principles
1. A woman’s primary role is in the home. The Scriptures would indicate that a woman’s responsibilities must revolve around the priority of her investment in the home (1 Tim. 3:15; 5:14; Titus 2:5).
2. The wife and mother in the home has the responsibility to make sure that all of the details of the home run smoothly. This all encompassing responsibility is done under her husband’s authority, yet she in a very real sense administrates or manages the home (1 Tim. 5:14).
3. The biblical issue is really not whether or not a woman works outside the home-this is an artificial standard. There are women who do not work outside the home, yet still do not fulfil what the Scriptures expect of them as a wife and mother (1 Tim. 5:13).
4. It is appropriate for a Christian woman to have entrepreneurial interests outside the immediate home which help support the home monetarily. In any of these though, it is evident that these outside involvements revolve around her priority of the home, rather than vice versa (Prov. 31).
5. As a woman matures and her home responsibilities with children lessen, there could be more opportunities for outside involvement (1 Tim. 5:14; Titus 2:3-5).
6. The Scriptures indicate that a woman is called to submit to her husband. Any involvement outside the home must not compromise in any way her submission and responsibility to her husband (Eph. 5:22).
7. Godly women are also called by God to serve others that are outside their family. They are to minister and serve unbelievers as well as believers
(1 Tim. 5:10) Just like any believer they must minister their spiritual gift in the church body in some way (not necessarily an official church ministry).
8. Older women in the church have the key role in mentoring younger women to fulfil their God given responsibilities. This would imply that many young women would not naturally fulfil what the Scriptures expect of them and that they need to be mentored into these critical roles (Titus 2:3-5)
Factors Affecting Application of Biblical Principles
1. Careerism today can make it difficult for a woman to have a job that flexes around the needs of the home.
2. If used wisely, modern conveniences in the home could allow a woman more time to focus on other issues with the family.
3. Computers, modems, faxes and other technology could make it possible for a woman to have a job that allowed her to stay at home.
4. The current trend toward “flex-time” in certain aspects of the workplace could allow for situations where a woman’s outside work could adjust around the needs of the home.