...And that is why God did not make a woman to preach. For a woman to become a preacher is for her to deny what God made her. The highest honor that God bestows on Christian women is to make them faithful wives and fruitful mothers. (Genesis 1, 28)
God blessed them and said to them to be fruitful. He did not curse them with children. He blessed them with children. He did not give them a list of options from which to choose, depending on their own self-understanding and personal preferences. He made them male and female, he joined them as one flesh, and he blessed them to have children.
To deny that children are a blessing from God is to distort the very nature of woman and to steal from her the honor God gave her. (Psalm 127, 3-5) To argue that there is a higher calling for a woman than to the divinely instituted office of Christian wife and mother is to demean womanhood, to despise children, and to hold God’s creative work in contempt.
While the Christian Church scurries here and there for any tiny shred of biblical warrant for extending divine calls to women to do this or that activity in the church – anything by which the service of women may be glorified – she stands in mute acquiescence to the demeaning of true womanly glory by adopting the standards of the current culture of death as her own.
...A few years ago, my wife got into a conversation with an ELS pastor’s wife who told my wife how blessed she was to have so many children. My wife agreed. The woman then shared with my wife her desire for more than the two children she had, but her husband did not want any more children. Naturally, this ELS pastor taught his parishioners that it was a sin for a woman to vote in the voters’ assembly of the congregation. Is not the hypocrisy too obvious to deny? A man denies to woman what God blessed woman to do, and then, should she desire to do what a man is given to do, he denies her that as well. So what purpose then does a woman serve? Is it to please the man? Or is it to serve God? To assert the headship of man while deliberately disconnecting it from the blessing of the fruitful womb is pure male chauvinism.
There are women who, for one reason or another, do not marry. There are women who marry and are physically incapable of having children. There are women who can have children but might put their lives at risk if they did. There are many ways that a woman can fulfill her womanly nature without having and nurturing her own children. The fact that God withholds a blessing from one of his children does not diminish the blessing. God only knows why God does what he does and does not do what he does not do. We do know that having and nurturing and providing Christian instruction for children is a high honor given by God to women to do and it is an ungrateful and perverse generation of Christians that treats what is holy as if it were common and of little value.
The Psalmist speaks for God and sets forth God’s values when he describes in these words how the man who fears the LORD is blessed: "Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128, 3
Children are true wealth. This is not merely a socially conditioned opinion. It is God’s infallible declaration, as the Psalmist also writes:
"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate." Psalm 127, 3-5
Many Christians have wondered over the years why God appeared so tolerant of polygamy during the times of the Old Testament patriarchs. That God is patient should not be misconstrued to mean he is lax. The account of the family life of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is sufficient biblical proof that God disapproves of polygamy. Nowadays, with the exception of a little sect presently being persecuted by the State of Texas, polygamy is practiced consecutively rather than concurrently. Marriage is in disrepair. Christian couples divorce at a rate as high as those who don’t confess the faith. Also among church goers men and women live together and enjoy the marital bed without first getting married. Fornication is celebrated by the popular culture. In the name of helping the poor, the Welfare State subsidizes illegitimacy. As the culture decays the Church appears more willing to conform to it than to challenge its assumptions and governing principles. You know the old saying, “When the church marries the culture she soon becomes a widow.” When the Church herself is a widow she can hardly depend on the Church for assistance.
The theoretical rejection of our identity as men and woman created in the image of God may be expressed by the adoption of the doctrine of evolution, but the real rejection takes place in the practice of planned barrenness. Despising the fruit of the womb is to despise the One who gives it and the one who bears it. When the motherhood of woman is despised, the fatherhood of God falls with it.
...Indeed, the best way for women to serve the church is not by seeking out an office in the church. The best service women can do for the church is the service they provide to their own husbands and children in their own homes. This is the service that God loves. It is certainly more valuable than whatever monetary remuneration is gained by hiring others to take on the domestic responsibilities while going out to compete with men for jobs, thus depressing wages while depriving children of their mothers. When a Christian wife and mother of small children leaves the children in someone else’s care in order to accept an allegedly divine call to an alleged ministry of the church this is no service at all to anyone but is rather a burden upon the home and the church.
...Is this solely a matter of who has authority over whom? It is hard to argue that a woman usher is exercising authority over the men in the pews, but there is something unseemly about it nonetheless. It just doesn’t look right. She should not be acting as a representative of the congregation. It is also difficult to conclude the case against women’s suffrage solely by an appeal to the authority of voters over voters. What authority does a voters’ assembly have over the typical male parishioner who does not attend such meetings and pays no attention to what they do and say? A better case would be made, I believe, by pointing out that the domain of a woman is in the home and that it is not proper for men and women to be thrust together in situations where this woman and that man are required to interact with one another without the protection provided by the intervening institutions of marriage and family. To put it simply: It is unnatural. This woman is with that man. They belong together. God made them one flesh. And he made her the mistress of the home. He placed her at the center of domestic life. He gave her children, entrusted her with their care, and gave her womanly gifts by which she can serve him and the whole church by raising Christian children. Why would such a woman leave her children at home in the care of a baby sitter or a henpecked husband so that she can go off to the voters’ meeting and do what the men do?
Men and women have been segregated from each other throughout history in a whole host of social arrangements. Why segregate them? When men and women are thrown together to do things together without marriage and family defining the way they are to interact with one another the result is conflict, confusion, adultery, and the consequent degeneration of the family. When marriage and children are at the center of the woman’s life, she finds her identify where God himself has established it in creation. Women without husbands and children are also benefited greatly by this stability and they require a stable family life as much as anyone.
...The service of women for the church begins at a very young age. A young girl in her teens can offer the greatest service to the church by keeping her virginity for her future husband and choosing as a husband a man who is sincerely devoted to the pure teaching of God’s holy word and faithfully attends an orthodox congregation to receive it. A man honors his wife by cherishing her not only as his woman but as the mother of his children.
Are there certain offices the church may create that are especially suitable for women more so than for men? Yes, there are. I am thinking specifically of the office of deaconess. It is not necessary, probably not even desirable that a deaconess be given her theological training by an institution of a synod. It certainly isn’t appropriate for men who are studying to be pastors in the church to be sitting next to women during their seminary training as these women receive instruction to be what God forbids them to be. A church that does not have a pastor competent to give a deaconess the theological training she needs is a church that should not have a deaconess.
But a deaconess can be a tremendous benefit to the church specifically in serving women in a way that a pastor cannot. While private confession and absolution is a great blessing to the church, there are matters that are simply inappropriate for a woman to discuss with a man who is not her husband. God only knows how many pastor / parishioner relationships that began with a woman confessing her sexual sins to her pastor were concluded by the two of them sinning sexually together.
A woman can speak from within herself to another woman in a way a man cannot. No, this is not the ministry of the word, but it is a blessing from God. A woman can listen, understand, and give woman to woman counsel that no pastor can give.
But such service doesn’t even need a formal position. Women do what God gives them to do. A mother’s wisdom is not to be despised. One man’s wife can help another man’s wife to be a faithful Christian wife. Pastors should encourage women to go to women to get the kind of help that a woman can give.
The Role of Women
This presentation by Pr. Rolf Preus is absolutely the best essay on the role of women that I have ever read. Pr. Preus has an awesome handle on this issue and is quite eloquent and pastoral in the way he presents it. The essay is also very complimentary to women who are fulfilling their legitimate vocations. You might be surprised at the issues that Pr. Preus touches on, and the attitude he understands Scripture having toward them. The issue of procreation is spoken of in a wonderful context. I strongly encourage you to read the entire essay, but here's a tickler: