THE LIBERATED WOMAN
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor f emale: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28). When the Bible says, “There is neither male nor female”, the meaning is that, religiously regarded, men and women are equal. The subject to be pursued in this Bible investigation is "The Liberated Woman”.. What is woman's role in the world today? The American woman is going through an identity crisis today. Women are putting up a terrific fight for equal rights in all areas of human endeavor. In the past, women did not have this problem because about the only option open to them was to be a mother and wife. She didn't even enjoy the right of choosing the man who was to be her husband, and her life-destiny was almost totally in the hands of others. But things are different now, and modern woman has a problem of another kind. She has so many options available, she doesn't know what to do with her life. She is being bombarded with propaganda from all directions that the traditional role of being mother and housewife is demeaning, discriminating, and unfulfilling. It is being vigorously maintained that women can fulfill themselves only by pursuing a career in business or the professions. On the other side, there is the pull of the home and family. What will she do with the chi~ren in such a society? Will she turn them over to the day-care center, or to relatives, or will she assume the traditional option of motherhood at all? What is woman̓s place?
What has precipitated this crisis in her life? The principle cause for the woman̓s dilemma is the change from an agricultural society to a highly industrialized society. There was a time when most people made a living from their farm, and the economic welfare of the family revolved around the home. The home played an important economic and productive part and was indispensable to the family welfare. The wife achieved a sense of fulfillment because she was the queen bee of the beehive. But in this modern and industrialized society, the activity of the home is no longer the significant beehive of activity that it once was. Consequently, this often leaves the wife feeling empty and thinking she has no economic value in the home. Although the work she does would cost thousanØs of dollars, neither she nor her husband seem to feel that this is too important. Women feel as though they have been trapped with no self—fulfillment beyond motherhood. One of the ways women have attempted to cope with their problem is to move out of the home into a man's world. Our culture preaches that significant economic activity is in the man's world, and for this reason women are making an exodus from the home into this world to achieve a sense of significance and fulfillment.There is no question that women have often been mistreated and wronged. They have often been appreciated less than was their due. In spite of the fact they have been underpaid and underappreciated, the answer to the problem does not lie in their forsaking their God—given roles in the home and entering into the work—a—day world in competition with men. The answer lies in recognizing the equality between men and women and then allowing each to serve in the sphere where he or she is best qualified to serve. Society has a distorted sense of values when it says that the role of wife and mother in the home is demeaning, unfulfilling, and oppressive.. It is one thing to plead for the innate right of every woman to be a person in her own right, but it is quite another thing to regard as unworthy and demeaning her role as mother and wife. It is one thing to challenge the idea of male superiority and quite another thing to want to exchange roles. Many of
the powerful opinion makers of our time are conspiring against the woman who operates at the center of the home, helping to make her despise her own role in society. It is sad to see our society place such paramount importance on money and on those who earn the money. It is this artificially high emphasis on money and material things which makes women in the home look inferior and unproductive. Unless we come to understand and appreciate the more lasting and more significant values found in the home and family, our society is going to fall apart, I suggest that the only solution to this problem of modern—day woman is the Bible solution. Every woman must find the answers to three important questions: who am I?; What are my values?; and what do I want to accomplish? The Bible gives very positive answers to all 3 questions. The first responsibility of every woman is to God who created her and gave her existence in this world. The account of her creation is recorded in the first two chapters of Genesis. The first important fact is that she was created in the image of God with a never dying soul and was made to live in both time and eternity. Hence, it is important as she assesses her role in life that she live in such a way as to please her Creator so that she can bq saved eternally. If she is to go to heaven, she must please and obey her Maker. I Tithothy 2:14,15 says, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” I quote this passage because it speaks especially of the salvation of woman, and she has some problems peculiar to her because of her sex. This passage seems to mean that women will be saved in performing the duties of motherhood appointed by the Creator, along with living the Christian life. She is to continue in faith, love, holiness with self—restraint. One of the distinctive roles of woman is set forth in Genesis 2:18, “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an helpmeet for him.” The passage means that in creating woman, God made a helper for Adam suitable to his needs. One primary role of woman is to be a helper to man, to assist him in the work which God gave him to do. As the breadwinner of the family, man would by necessity be away from home and fron the children. He could not care for the daily needs at home and attend to the daily toil by which they lived. Whenever woman marrties the man of her dreams, mothers his children, and oversees the activities of the home during his absence, she is fulfilling her role as a helpmeet to her husband. And this pleases God.
THAnother distinctive role of woman is motherhood. God said in Genesis 1:28, “And God blessed them and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Woman fulfills one of the purposes of her creation in motherhood. The duty of the Christian woman to bear children is declared in I Timothy 5:14, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” Let no one demean motherhood and childbearing as entrapment, unfulfilling, inferior, and unproductive. This pleases God when woman accepts this duty lovingly, patiently, and obediently. The performance of this duty involves her in much pain, inconvenience, and suffering. There needs to be a change in the value system of our society. We need to downgrade the artificially high emphasis on money and material things and a corresponding upgrading of the more lasting and more significant values found in the home and family. Furthermore, woman fulfills her role in life when she acts as the guardian of the home. This unique function of the woman is expressed in Titus 2; 4,5 where the apostle Paul admonishes older women to teach the young women, “to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed,” Among other things women are commanded to be “keepers at home”. The Greek word endered “keepers at home” literally means the keeper of a house, a watcher, a guardian. This does not mean that the woman must stay at home all the time. The idea is that she is the keep.. a or guardian of the home. In the absence of her husband, she is to over— see and order the household. The husband cannot see to the affairs of his home when be is away working at his livelihood. Hence, God has placed the responsibility on the wife to be the keeper of the home. Whatever role in life woman may choose, she must not neglect her God—appointed role as guardian of the home. If she neglects this responsibility, she will be in trouble when she appears before God at the judgment. This doesn't necessarily t ily mean that woman must stay at home all the time and be nothing but a housekeeper. Guardianship involves more than that, but it does necessarily include a certain amount of “staying at home” and housekeeping. This is a serious problem for modern-day woman, but it is a matter that she must work out. A study of working mothers in Wichita, Kansas showed the effects of their absence from the home upon their children. Some of the children were left with neighbors, some in day—care nurseries, and others were left to shift for themselves. Almost twenty percent of the children of employed mothers were found to be wholly without supervision before and after school. Several hundred children were found to be in a position where they had to shift fo~ themselves during the evening meal, early evening, and all or part of the night. The worst effects, however, had to do with the child̓s sense of security. Such neglect falls far short of the divine command to be the guardian of the home. I cannot give you book, chapter, and verse in the Bible where it says a woman cannot work out of the home. It is not for man to make a law where God has not made one. On the other hand, we cannot tear that page out of the Bible which says that woman is the God—appointed guardian of the home. I think that we can all agree that it is no easy matter to both work out of the home and be the guardian of the home. One thing is certain; if woman does not obey God by keeping, ordering, governing the home, she will be in trouble at the judgment. Under no circumstances should a woman take an outside job unless she has the approval of her husband, unless her home life is in order, and unless her children are well—disciplined. Otherwise, she shall endanger her eternal salvation. The Bible paints a picture of an ideal wife in the book of Proverbs 31:
10—3l. Amont other things the Bible says of her, “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” She was the keeper of her home. But it also makes this interesting statement about this ideal wife in Proverbs 31:16,24, “She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard—-She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchants.” If I understand this passage, it seems to say that this ideal wife was also a successful business woman and did some work outside the home. However, it did not interfere with her role as guardian of the house, for she cared well for her husband, children, and household. I read of a woman in Acts 16:14 whose name was Lydia. She obeyed the gospel of Christ and became a Christian, and the Bible says she was “a seller of purple”. It is doubtless easier for some women to work out of the home and still discharge their home responsibility than at i~ for other women. In Acts 18:1-3 I read about two very devout and faithful Christians, a husband wife team. The Bible says, “For by occupation they were tentmakers.” I do not know to what degree Priscilla helped her husband at the tentmaking trade, but I am convinced this good woman did not let it interfere with her duty as keeper of the home. May God help you as a mother and wife to live well pleasing in His sight. Finally, the Bible teaches that woman is to play a submissive role in the home. The Lord has not seen fit to give a husband and wife equal authority in the home. After Adam and Eve sinned and before they were driven from the garden of Eden, God made judgments which were to determine their future roles in life. To Adam He said, “Because thou have hearkened unto the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree...cursed is the ground for your sake, in sorrow shalt you eat of it all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17). Unto the woman God said, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and yourhy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall you over you ” (Genesis 3:16). The home is not primarily democratic in nature for the husband has been given the role of leadership and decision—making in the home. Unless this is understood, marriage can turn out to be a continual war whoop. The leadership of the husband the subjection of the wife is a Bible principle taught throughout scripture. The New Testament says, “Wives, st4binit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband His the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church...” (Ephesians 5:22), The word submit carries the idea of subjection or submission. The man is the sole head of the home by divine appointment; God himself made the selection, and all of us must be satisfied with His choice. Man should not try Eb escape his God-given responsibility to be the head of the home. Moreover, the woman should not desire to usurp a position which God has not flven her. This is not being chauvenistic; this is simply stating a divine principle given by the Creator.
Furthermore, the Bible revealS~ that man was chosen to be the sole head of the home for two reasobs. I Timothy 2:12—14 says, “But I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp, authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Aam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” Man was created first and given the responsibility of authority and leadership before woman existed. In addition, God selected man to assume leadership because the first time she assumed leadership in the home she sinned against God, and the consequences of the mistake were dreadful indeed. Because of woman's submissive role in life, she cannot assume leadership in religion. the passage forbidding woman to teach and usurp authority over the man refers to the public worship of God in church services. The Christian woman can teach the Bible to others, but she must do it in a way as not to usurp authority over the man. Taking a leading part in preaching or teaching when men are present is clearly forbidden. For the same reason she should not lead a prayer when men are present. Such leading by the very nature of the case or situation involves exercising authority. Arid this exercising authority over a man is the very thing which has been forbidden by God, ever since the creation of man. The only truly liberated woman is the Christian woman who has been freed from sin. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John