To further propagate the myth that the woman’s biblical role is to be at home, barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen, the good Dr. Albert Mohler gave his expert diagnosis of the situation. He stated on his radio program,
[T]he fact is that most men simply don’t have the equipment that a mom has, in terms of even the relational gifts of being a mom, and the specific gifts that are given to a woman in terms of the maintenance of a household, even an interest and the whole package.
On a good note, though, he did make room for the “exceptional circumstances” where the man is unable to work. But, of course, he had to qualify his statement by saying,
I don’t think that sets the appropriate picture for how God would order the family.
So, to summarize, men are not physically capable of being homemakers and, in fact, it is inappropriate for men to do so even in a situation where he can’t work.
But maybe I am being a bit too critical of Dr. Mohler. It just seems to me that people are trying way too hard to force a cultural idea into the Scriptures. If Scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice, as the SBC claims in their statement of faith, then our understanding of gender roles should be formulated Sola Scriptura. When you look at the Bible, the role of women is inconsistent. Some are prominent leaders. Some are judges. One king’s wife was a prophetess. Even in the New Testament, the role of women is not so clearly defined apart from some restrictions given in the worship life of the congregation. And even then, we must ask questions about context.
This is not to say that the place of woman as homemaker is wrong. Women are given the task of raising children in Scripture, but this is not the only task that they are allowed to accomplish.
Dr. Mohler asserts that this is an issue of Biblical authority. But when the Bible is inconsistent on an issue, doesn’t that mean that the issue is one of conscience? If men are to follow the example of prominent men in the Bible, then women are to do the same with the prominent women in the Bible. This being the case, the Biblical witness says a woman can be anything from a homemaker to a religious teacher or political figure. So is this really an issue of Biblical authority?
If it is an issue of Biblical authority, then one must address the issue of what passages have authority and what passages don’t on this matter. OR, is it the entire Biblical witness? Are we going to cherry pick the Bible on this matter or are we going to see the whole collection of writings as authortative? Because doing one or the other will breed very different results. If we pick and choose, we create an either/or scenerio. Either the woman is to stay home OR she is free, more or less, to do as she wishes. If we take the whole Biblical witness into account, then only one of those options stands as the truth.
I tend to think that, in the words of Rob Bell, “The scripture always bends towards the oppressed and the marginalized.” In this case, women are the margnalized and oppressed. And if Scripture bends towards them, then it must be in the women’s favor. That being the case, then Biblical authority would state that women are free to be homemakers or not. It is up to the individual and God.
What does this mean? It means don’t forget to always get a second opinion.