Teach me, O Lord, Thy holy way,
And give me an obedient mind;
That in Thy service I may find
My soul ’s delight from day to day.
Guide me, O Savior, with Thy hand,
And so control my thoughts and deeds,
That I may tread the path which leads
Right onward to the blessed land.
Help me, O Savior, here to trace
The sacred footsteps Thou hast trod;
And, meekly walking with my God,
To grow in goodness, truth, and grace.
Guard me, O Lord, that I may ne’er
Forsake the right, or do the wrong:
Against temptation make me strong,
And round me spread Thy sheltering care.
Bless me in every task, O Lord,
Begun, continued, done for Thee:
Fulfil Thy perfect work in me;
And Thine abounding grace afford.
William T. Matson (1833–1899)
Tune: Psalm 100
You can’t make this up.
Just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should be done. Contrary to the article, the controlling issue here shouldn’t be whether the mission can be successfully accomplished regardless of the Marine’s “gender.” Women shouldn’t be in that position in the first place.
Here’s my notes from a message I gave on this subject a year ago at Orwell Bible Church:
A Biblical and Theological Response and Statement of Opposition to Women Serving in the Military
Pastor Dan Greenfield
- The Bible is God’s Word stating His will for all of human life, teaching everything needful for faith and practice. No man or institution has authority superseding that of God’s Word.
- Men and women owe their existence solely to God, not any evolutionary process. God created both man and woman in his image, man (Adam) from the dust and the woman (Eve) from man’s rib (Gen 1–2).
- Men were specially created and constituted by God to lead, provide, and self-sacrificially protect their wives, families, and societies (Gen 9:6; Rom 13:4; Eph 5:25; 1 Pet 3:7).
- Women were specially created and constituted by God to help and support their husbands and give, nurture, preserve, and care for life within marriage and their various spheres in society (Gen 2:18, 20, 22; 3:20; 1 Cor 11:9; 1 Tim 2:11–15; 5:14; Titus 2:3–5). Their natural vulnerability is not a fault but serves their God given roles and demands loving care, consideration, and protection (1 Thess 2:7; 1 Pet 3:7).
- By God’s creation men and women are fundamentally distinct from one another in ability, constitution, gifts, and purpose. Women should not minimize such in order to attain equal status with men; instead, they should gratefully recognize, joyfully celebrate, and faithfully live to their fullest ability (cf. 1 Tim 2:11–15).
- Adam’s failure to obey God’s command and to protect his wife caused sin’s destructive effects to spread throughout the created order, of which warfare is one such sad but necessary effect (Rom 5:12ff; 8:20–21).
- The objective of warfare is for governments to inflict destruction and death on an enemy in order to protect the welfare, security, and good order of the nation and its citizens (Rom 13:4). This is in keeping with the role and responsibilities God gave men (cf. #3) but not women (cf. #4).
- Throughout Scripture only men were the subjects of military service and involved in combat (Gen 14:14; Num 31:3–4, 21, 49; Deut 20:5–9; Josh 1:14–18; 6:3, 7, 9; 8:3; 10:7; Judg 7:1–8; 20:8–11; 1 Sam 8:11–12 [contrast v. 13]; 11:8; 13:2; 14:52; 16:18; 18:5; 24:2; 2 Sam 17:8; 23:8–39; 24:2, 9; 2 Kings 24:14–16; 1 Chr 21:5; 27:1–15, 23–24; 2 Chr 17:12–19; 25:5–6; 26:11–14; Neh 4:14).
While Deborah did go with Barak, God commanded Barak to lead the army into battle, promising him victory (Judg 4:6–7). Barak’s unwillingness to go without Deborah demonstrated weakness on his part. Furthermore, Deborah did not take part in the battle (Judg 4:10, 12, 14b)
Jael’s action in killing Sisera (Judg 4:21) was not as a soldier in combat but occurred in her domestic jurisdiction against one who was not on the field of battle.
- While women could use their God-given gifts in military service and some may be able to effectively participate and contribute in warfare, this does not provide biblical grounds for doing so (just because they can doesn’t mean they should, cf. #4).
- Women can care for and treat those ill or injured as a result of military service, but such service should not necessarily require women enlisting in the armed forces.
- Those enlisting in the United States military must affirm the oath of enlistment, obliging the enlistee to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, obeying the orders of the President and the enlistee’s officers, and depend on God’s help to do so. Women enlistees would therefore take the role of military defender which is out of line with God’s Word and her created constitution. While some have attempted to distinguish between combatant and non-combatant roles, the enlistment oath makes no such distinction.
U.S. Code § 502
Each person enlisting in an armed force shall take the following oath:
“I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
- Civil authorities that intentionally place women in harm’s way or rely on them for military service violate God’s Word, demean rather than honor women, and disgracefully surrender the God-given roles and responsibilities of men. Furthermore, conscription of women into military service would force many to take an oath against their consciences to do what they believe is wrong.
- Women who are forced to register for the draft and/or conscripted into military service have biblical grounds for “civil disobedience.” While Christians must submit to government authorities (Rom 13:1), when such authorities blatantly violate Scripture, Christians must respond with “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
- Chaplains are not required to advocate, support, or agree contrary to their consciences in these matters, nor can they be forbidden to give biblical counsel regarding these matters as represented by this statement.
Acts 23:1-10 relates how Paul was in a difficult spot, literally about to be torn in two! The following night Jesus “stood by him and said, ‘Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome” (23:11).
The rest of the book of Acts details how Jesus’ promise to Paul was fulfilled–from his nephew’s quick thinking that resulted in his escape from an assassination attempt, to the Roman escort, to Paul’s defense before Felix and Agrippa, to his shipwreck and eventual arrival in Rome!
The Lord always fulfills His promises, but rarely if ever according to human expectations. Always trust Him regardless of the circumstances!
Remember also that shortly before this Paul prayed for the opportunity to be in Rome to minister the gospel! (Romans 15:30-32; Romans was written during Paul’s three month stay in Corinth, Acts 20:2-3)
I don’t agree with everything Puritan William Ames (1576-1633) said about the church, but I greatly appreciated these statements of his I read today:
Believers do not make a particular church, even though by chance many may meet and live together in the same place, unless they are joined together by a special bond among themselves…
This bond is a covenant, expressed or implicit, by which believers bind themselves individually to perform all those duties toward God and toward one another which relate to the purpose of the church and its edification…
Therefore, no one is rightly admitted into the church except on confession of faith and promise of obedience…
Those who have opportunity to join the church and neglect it most grievously sin against God because of his ordinance, and also against their own souls because of the blessing joined to it. And if they obstinately persist in their carelessness, whatever they otherwise profess, they can scarcely be counted believers truly seeing the kingdom of God.
The Marrow of Theology, pp. 180-181.
Now, gracious Lord, thine arm reveal,
And make thy glory known;
Now let us all thy presence feel,
And soften hearts of stone!
Help us to venture near thy throne,
And plead a Savior’s name;
For all that we can call our own,
Is vanity and shame.
From all the guilt of former sin
May mercy set us free;
And let the year we now begin,
Begin and end with thee.
Send down thy Spirit from above,
That saints may love thee more;
And sinners now may learn to love
Who never loved before.
And when before thee we appear
In our eternal home;
May growing numbers worship here,
And praise thee in our room.
John Newton (1725-1807)
This is an excellent article.
Within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) over the last few years I’ve heard rumblings against the “New Calvinism.” This past Tuesday Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Paige Patterson said that “If we are not careful a myriad of related beliefs and practices will enter our camp, hidden within the Trojan Horse of Calvinism.” Patterson’s remarks followed that day’s chapel speaker, Rick Patrick, the executive director of an SBC anti-Calvinistic group called Connect316.
You can read the SBC article here.
I’m so tempted to make this a longer post and address some of the points made with regard to both sides of the issue, but I’ll resist :-). For now, if you’d like some idea, head over to the Silo and read my doctrinal statement.
Last month the American Council of Christian Churches (ACCC) adopted a resolution on the New Calvinism. The ACCC doesn’t make church polity, ordinances, or Calvinistic soteriology test of fellowship (that’s not the focus of the Council). Read our resolution, and you’ll see our concerns listed there. I gave a message related to this issue at the ACCC’s annual convention, but it’s not up yet.
Anyway, it will be interesting to see the sparks fly in the SBC barn over this issue.