Category Archives: gender roles

She Is Far More Precious Than Jewels

King Lemuel’s mother taught him wise words about the value of a godly wife. Before describing this admirable woman in detail, momma Lemuel said:

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” (Prov. 31:10)

In other words, the value of this woman can’t even be estimated by the currency of the day. She is off the charts of the gold standard. If your mind has trouble wrapping itself around the huge monetary value of the U. S. national debt, just give it up when it comes to this gal. Her value…is inestimable.

But notice what follows verse 10. What follows is a frankly domestic description of this excellent woman. She is a homemaker par excellence. This will sound abrasive to those of us whose ears have been trained by modern feminist ideology. But this reaction is just a matter of upside-down priorities and unbiblical ambitions. And to be clear, whether a wife finds her calling to require work outside the home is not the issue. The Proverbs 31 woman did (Prov. 31:14, 16, 24).  Godly women in the New Testament did (1 Tim. 5:10). But even when this is the case, the tail shouldn’t wag the dog. A woman’s purpose in the home shouldn’t take a backseat to her pursuits outside of the home. 

Dorothy Patterson comments on this idea from Proverbs 31:

“The ideal woman in Proverbs 31:10-31 is clearly pouring her energies into her home, the management of her household, the rearing of her children, the helping of her husband. Whatever she does relating to property transactions or producing and selling merchandise is obviously secondary and related to the bartering common to that time.”[1]

And lest we think that Mrs. Patterson is merely suffering from too many reruns of Little House on the Prairie, we ought to remember that by wordly standards she is a rather accomplished woman as well. She is a graduate level professor, a successful author of both books and journal articles, a sought-after speaker, and the general editor of The Women’s Study Bible. Yet she happily describes herself primarily as “a homemaker” and this is the calling that “has always commanded her time, energy, and creativity.” So the old argument that “you just don’t know what joy and sense of fulfillment there are in wordly accomplishments” falls flat. May her tribe increase. And may the ladies reading this post be one of that tribe.

A recent post from the Gospel Coalition drives this point home well in a recent post, How Much Is a Homemaker Worth? Here is a snippet:

The Story: A study conducted by the financial service company Mint found that the sum value of different homemaking duties annually amounts to almost six figures. If a homemaker’s job were salaried, it would draw, on average, $96,291 per year. Tasks accounted for in the study included private chef, house cleaner, child care provider, driver, and laundry service provider.

[1] A Handbook For Minister’s Wives, p. 155.


Resolved To Be Given Over to God in 2011

With New Year’s Eve upon us it is worth taking the time to reevaluate the way the year has gone and to set goals for the year to come. You might want to think about your Bible reading or prayer habits. Or maybe you want to set a goal regarding showing more hospitality or getting more involved in serving others. Maybe you have a particular sin that the Lord is convicting you of and you need to focus on putting that off for the glory of God. Maybe you need to grow stronger in your understanding of Christian doctrine or to work on restoring a broken relationship. Whatever it is I would encourage you to take on the spirit of the Apostle Paul who said:

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:12-14)

I don’t know what New Year’s resolutions you might have but I can tell you that one of mine is very well summed up in the following video. Years ago I had a man comment on the strong godly character of my wife and he remarked to me that he thought that she would storm the gates of hell with me if she was called upon to do it. Looking back on that comment now, I can see that he was more right than he could have known at the time. Truly, God could not have blessed me with a greater companion for life. But then, I remember that every wife and every family needs a husband and father that will prove himself to be valient for them. In light of my own failings, here is a good song and a good reminder of this truth. What kind of man will I be today?

Here is the story behind the song.

HT: Founders Blog

Gender Roles

After discussing gender roles and relationships in the context of Colossians 3:17-21 during Sunday School, one zealous married couple is spotted attempting to put what they learned into practice as they leave church.

Women, Ministry & Healthy Churches

The latest 9 Marks ejournal: Pastoring Women has a helpful series on women in ministry. There is more to be said but this is a good resource generally. Let me know what you think.

Understanding and Honoring Distinctness

Why Complementarianism is Crucial to Discipleship by Jonathan Leeman

Discipling Men vs. Discipling Women by Deepak Reju

How Pastors Can Equip Women For Ministry by Bob Johnson

The Genesis of Gender and Ecclesial Womanhood Owen Strachan

Women’s Ministry In the Local Church

Wanted: More Older Women Discipling Younger Women by Susan Hunt

For The Young Mother: Ministry, Guilt and Seasons of Life by Jani Ortland

May Women Serve As Pastors? by Thomas Schreiner

For those interested, there are also several book reviews available in this issue.

Haykin on the Trinity

This is a helpful clip of an interview by John Starke with church historian, Michael Haykin on the relationship of the persons of the Trinity in the thought of the Cappadocian Fathers and Augustine. Specifically he talks about the eternal generation of the Son, the procession of the Spirit and the idea of subordinationism in the understanding of these church fathers.

For the uninitiated, there are significant implications in the current debates over equality and distinction in the inter-Trinitarian relationships for understanding the roles that the Bible prescribes for men and women.

Michael Haykin hosts a very helpful site: The Andrew Fuller Center

Complementary Gender Roles

I am very thankful for the faithful shepherds that God is raising up in our day. On this note, Chris Patton is a wonderful brother and a faithful pastor up the road a bit, pastoring Sovereign Grace Church in Middletown DE. I have been personally encouraged by this brother’s love for Christ and desire to see the gospel of Christ proclaimed fully. I just realized that Chris has a couple of sermons posted here on Monergism that you might want to take advantage of. They are a helpful treatment of biblical complementary roles regarding God’s design for men and women. Chris also blogs here. Pray for God’s continued blessing on this brother, his family and the church that meets there.

Packer on Intellectual Self-Sufficiency

Well, I promised to follow-up my original post from Packer’s Fundamentalism and the Word of God. I have a growing interest in the history of American Christianity and this book only increased that fascination.  Fundamentalism and the Word

Theological liberalism has repeatedly made the mistake of  standing in authority over Scripture rather than submitting to Scripture’s internal worldview and judgments. This is a reoccuring tendency among God’s people that must be guarded against whether it be in churches, evangelical societies and organizations, or learning institutions. Packer points out the origin of this pattern:

“It was precisely because man welcomed the prospect of becoming the measure and judge of all things that sin first entered the world. ‘When you eat…your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,’ affirmed the serpent. It was as though he said: ‘You will not need to depend anymore on what God chooses to tell you; you will be able to work out for yourselves what is good and bad, and be the master of your own judgment, on the basis of your own experience; you will have a mind of your own for the first time’…Man accepted the invitation to pursue wisdom by constructing a private interpretation of life out of the resources of his own independent judgment. He sought intellectual self-sufficiency, ability to solve all life’s problems without reference to the word of God.” p. 138-139

Packer wrote this book decades before he was actually embroiled in the recent controversy over same-sex unions in the Anglican church. See his short interview here and notice how important the authority of Scripture still is (Packer is eighty-two now) for how he responds the challenge of homosexuality to the gospel.

In the next post I will show Packer’s observation regarding how Liberalism and Fundamentalism both shunned the discipline of systematic theology with similar goals in mind.

Will Boys Always Be Boys?

Future Men


In the rampant confusion over gender roles today, I sometimes find myself wondering how long there will be truth to the saying ‘Boys will be boys.’ I wonder what measure of success will be enjoyed by the contemporary movement in Western culture towards the emasculation of men.

Every generation of Christians faces challenges that require them to reconsider what gospel-living looks like in their day. The church today needs to think deeply and carefully about the nature and significance of gender, as well as how biblical gender roles and responsibilities are to be cultivated.

Douglas Wilson has written a book (called Future Men) that will be a helpful resource for those of you with young boys. Doug is a creative thinker (which in his case means you shouldn’t agree with everything he says) and frequently exhibits the rare virtue of penetrating common sense. In this particular book he offers many thought-provoking insights. For example:

“Another important principle is that of seeing small boys as future men. The way boys learn to deal with their various immature ‘passions’ will generally be the way they deal with adult passions. A boy who is not obviously learning self-control with regard to his temper, his stomach, his video games, or his school work is a boy who will still lack self-control when sexual temptation arrives. Many times mothers unwittingly train boys to mistreat their future wives through sinful indulgence of boyish passions.” p. 84.

UPDATE: I couldn’t help but add one more quote. “Fourth, a mother needs to realize that when she gets exasperated or annoyed with her sons, she is helping them to learn how to control or manipulate her. The drill usually goes like this: A son doesn’t do what he was asked to do seven or eight times. Mom finally gets steamed and flares up over it. Mom has more of a tender conscience about her annoyance than son does about his disobedience. She consequently apologizes, he magnanimously forgives her, and the quarter ends with him two touchdowns and a field goal ahead. The solution is for her to cheerfully require obedience from her sons long before annoyance is even a possibility.” p. 85.