I wrote a post a while back titled Why Am I Blogging? and I asked for feedback on topics people would like to see written about. One of the suggestions was current events. Do you have a friend with whom you email who either works at a law firm or a financial firm? If so, you’ve seen that endless disclaimer that tags onto the bottom of each of their emails to your no matter how insignificant the email. Here is mine… I am not someone who regularly watches the news or keeps up with the political nuances that come and go each day. I’ve never been that person. I do not have any qualifications that would garner respect from any current event research journalist. I have two qualifications in the eyes of the world. I have a piece of paper somewhere that says I completed all of the courses required to be a good student of the Bible. The other one says I can study culture. Neither indicate any expertise regarding politics.
First, I’ll share some biblical thoughts and then I’ll share some personal opinions. I believe strongly that the Bible indicates a clear distinction between how women and men lead within the Church. I believe in what is now a minority and very unpopular reading of the Bible which is referred to as complimentarianism. I see Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 as being very clear. He says, ‘I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man…’ I reject the common objection of this being cultural because Paul grounds his argument in a supracultural manner by connecting his statement back to creation (the only moment when human culture did not exist). That being said, we readily and eagerly equip and empower women to lead in the life of our church. We have incredible women at our church who are gifted in amazing ways and our church is blessed tremendously by their leadership. However, we agree with Paul’s assertion that there are places that are appropriate for them to lead while there are other places that are biblically inappropriate.
As clear as these words from Paul are, it is also clear that the context and application to which he is speaking is the church. I do no see in Paul’s words as a blanket command to Christian men which would instruct them to never follow a female leader. For example, I do not think it would be appropriate for us to stretch these words to the extent at which one would say that in corporate America a man should not work for a female supervisor. Or, for that matter, I do not think we should say that the Bible paints a picture where a female leading a male into combat is inappropriate.
Personally, however, I am uncomfortable with supporting this for altogether different reasons. For the sake of argument, and out of my own personal ignorance, let’s say that the President’s anecdotal reference of physical equality through the knowledge of his female aid is generally correct (State of The Union Address 2013). Thus, assuming for the sake of this discussion all physical standards could be equally met by both. Even if there are no differing physical limitations for females I believe there are psychological limitations for the males who would serve alongside those females in combat. It is my opinion that culturally men are not ready to treat females in combat the same way in which they would treat fellow male soldiers. Therefore, if I am correct, then it would put additional lives at risk during front line combat missions as men are not able to think/react objectively with females at risk around them. Further, it seems that this reality would compromise the mission. Whether this reality is an appropriate feeling for those men is not under discussion here. Rather, if it is true, whether appropriate or not, it will put more lives and ultimately the mission at risk.
So, I do not see a Biblical position for evangelicals to oppose women leading on the front lines of combat. However, I personally am not supportive based strictly on cultural and social observations.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts freely yet GRACEFULLY!