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Joined: 2011/9/30
Posts: 1211

 CONFINED TO THE KITCHEN? The Lord Doesn’t Put Women in This Box

It breaks my heart to see the same worn-out ideas about the “woman’s role” parroted over and over again in source after source. During our recent travels a brother gave me an article, “The Godly Woman’s Role & Influence” by Marlin Kreider (Reaching Out, #69, 2011, Living Waters Mennonite Church, pp.5-6). I would like to deal with several aspects of this article in hopes of helping us discern Christ’s will concerning the full-functioning of the brothers and sisters in his body on earth.

The author expresses a desire to find “God’s way of doing things,” but important information is omitted from the Biblical story that does not fit the box that women are put in.

For example, the first point regarding the “role for women” is “submission.” The article gives the impression that submission is specifically a female issue. This distorts Paul’s thought. Paul mentions the submission of wives only after setting forth the beauty of mutual submission of all believers one to another. Submission is first of all a manifestation of the Spirit among those in the ekklesia. In other words, it is just as important for males to be submissive as it is for females. To lift submission out of its body context and primarily connect it to females is to open the door for dangerous distortion and abuse.

Further, the article states that “suitable helper” translates into meaning that a woman “fill a subordinate role under the direction and protection of a godly father or husband.” This position creates some serious problems, for the Hebrew word “ezer” is most often used of the Lord, who is said to be “the helper of Israel.” Doesn’t this show once and for all that “suitable helper” cannot mean a “subordinate role” for the woman? If anything, it would highlight the strength of Eve.

Building on these mistaken assumptions, the article then suggests that

“God never planned for a woman to fill a man’s role. She is out of her God-ordained place when she assumes leadership in the home, the workforce, the church, or the nation. She was not created to be an executive, wear a hard hat, and the like.”

This statement reveals a central issue: an either/or mentality sets up a false alternative – either the woman stays at home and stifles Christ within her, or she expresses Christ outside the home and forsakes her domestic responsibilities. This approach flies in the face of the Biblical narrative.

What about Deborah and Huldah? They were both prophetesses and both expressed their gifts outside the home in the community of Israel. Yet, they were both married, and probably had children (Judges 4:4; 5:7; 2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chron. 34:22). Deborah also functioned as a Judge – “Deborah would sit under the Palm Tree of Deborah, which was between the cities of Ramah and Bethel, in the mountains of Ephraim. And the people of Israel would come to her to settle their disputes” (Judges 4:5).

What about the many women who traveled with Jesus and the male disciples (Luke 8:1-3)? They even supported Jesus and the twelve with their own resources. Shouldn’t they have been dutifully in their homes cleaning, cooking and baking? It was scandalous for a rabbi to have female disciples, and even more scandalous to have them traveling with Jesus’ entourage!

What about Phoebe? She was a deacon in the ekklesia of Cenchrea (Romans 16:1-2). What about Junia? She was outstanding among the apostles as an itinerant worker (Romans 16:7). Why does Paul designate some women as “co-workers,” the same word used for apostolic assistants like Titus and Timothy? Why does the New Testament not have any problem with sisters praying and prophesying in the gatherings of the saints (Acts 2:17-18; 1 Corinthians 11:5)?

As a side note, it is interesting to observe that those who place a heavy emphasis on a woman’s head being covered also usually forbid women to speak in the assembly. But that is the opposite direction from where Paul landed. Paul’s goal was for women to function with praying and prophesying, not to silence them (1 Cor. 11:5, 13).

The view that women are confined to the kitchen is usually linked with the idea that all good believing girls will get married and have children. But under the new covenant singleness is a viable option for men and women (Matthew 19:11-12; 1 Corinthians 7). To put younger and older women under heavy guilt if they do not pursue marriage is to deny the freedom Christ has bestowed upon us.

In Luke 10:38-42 we find a beautiful story that shows us vividly the Lord’s heart. Mary was in the “men’s space,” learning at Jesus’ feet. Martha was carrying out the responsibilities connected to having guests. She was frustrated that Mary was not helping with the preparations, but abiding in the living room with the male disciples. Jesus in no way put down what Martha was doing, but he did make it clear that Mary’s choice to be outside the kitchen was an excellent and acceptable one.

Nothing I have said should be taken as a downplaying or demeaning of motherhood. I am simply trying to bring needed perspective to a view that tightly and narrowly defines the “role” of women in a way that is seriously out of alignment with Christ’s revelation. Deborah held the public position of Judge, she publicly carried out her gifts as a prophetess, and yet she was also a “mother in Israel.”

– Jon Zens

For further reflection:

Karen Campbell’s article, “The Cult of ‘Godly’ Womanhood,” is soon to appear in the Midwest Christian Outreach Journal. Here is a shortened version of this excellent piece:

Jamal Jivanjee has put together many vital perspectives in his blog-post, “The Universal Enslavement of Women”:

Jon Zens, No Will of My Own: How Patriarchy Smothers Female Dignity & Personhood.

Jon Zens, What’s With Paul & Women? Unlocking the Cultural Background to 1 Timothy 2.

 2011/11/2 15:05Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7474

 Re: CONFINED TO THE KITCHEN? The Lord Doesn’t Put Women in This Box

And the point is...???

I wear a head covering and am not stifled in any way.

I help my husband in his business. We grow tomatoes hydroponically. I do everything he does except tend to the mechanics of the operation, like collecting waste oil for the furnaces and keeping them running.

We are allowed to speak in church - we just are discreet and not demanding. I compiled the church bulletin for eleven years sharing inspirational pieces to fill the white space and nobody complained - they liked it. Oh, sure I will never be voted in for trustee, or anything of that nature, but I am not deprived of anything.

We ladies have our own little world in which we excel in: we teach Sunday School classes - children and other women. We are church hostess, take charge of church cleaning in which men and women work.

We have large families. In our church the size varies from one child to eight - many have 4-5 children. And many of these moms home school.

Many of these moms have gardens and preserve its produce by canning or freezing. They may also have venison or pork or beef processed that is in the freezer.

I did all the above when our children were still at home. In addition to helping my husband now I sew modest garments for those in need. I love this project - this is one God gave me and it has been a wonderful blessing. In fact I wish I would never get physically, or mentally tired because I really would love to sew 24/7! I am privileged and blessed. To suggest otherwise means someone is totally ignorant of what it takes to make a female tick!

And if a lady chooses to not marry, she is not deprived. She will likely go to nurses training to become an RN, or she may go to the mission field and put in a lot of time there. Locally, there is a older Mennonite single girl that just purchased a farm supply store that sells feed, farm animal meds, chain saws, weed eaters, saddles, etc. Some are business women.

Deprived? What are you talking about? You suggest that a married mother with the responsibility of caring for a family ought to leave the home and pursue a career? To have this mentality is consistent to being abusive! That husband must be lazy and not caring and loving his wife!

To be a SAHM is a wonderful blessing and privilege. We have many opportunities to minister, to do the things God intended for us ladies and it is very fulfilling. I do not envy the career woman who has to go to the office every day and meet cranky people and demanding schedules! Nor do I envy the ladies who are in church leadership and have to deal with cranky males! That would be torture and maddening! I think there is a reason why God ordained males to these positions - females do not have the emotional stamina to do such.

Submission is not a bad thing. For us it means we work alongside our husbands in our work and home. However, if there is a disagreement, he will do what he thinks is best, even if it means going against his wife's wishes. This happens in every home, unless the wife tells her husband where to get off and stay out of her way! Now, this is not kind, IMHO. He does not carry a big stick and hit us over the head with it!

We wives have so much responsibility that it is nice to see the men assume theirs and give us some relief!

So I wear a head covering? What of it? God has blessed me with many opportunities to witness for Him because of it. I know that my obedience means that the Angels are aware of it...I have little to no fear of my own personal safety...

Me deprived? Ya kidding! I have so many opportunities that I used to say I wished I could live to be 200 years old so I could do all the things I want. When I told someone this, she told me "Good luck!" Lately, I have decided that perhaps 90 years sojourn on this planet would suffice or even be excessive!

My testimony..

PS: My husband read this article and he approved..or is that demeaning? [EDIT]

Sandra Miller

 2011/11/2 19:24Profile

Joined: 2011/4/7
Posts: 255


Good post, Ginny!

 2011/11/2 20:53Profile


Most "prodigals" come about when the balance of power between mother and father is off.

The woman can claim that she's submissive - but if she is the more out-spoken one or the obvious stronger personality of the two - the children pick up on this, very much so.
If the father is more laid back and the teddy bear type of guy and Mom is somewhat of a power-house [though she thinks it's 'spiritual' to be so] - the children and teens truly do get thrown off kilter by Power-Mom and she does come off more "macho" than Dad.

Most of the prodigal sons are the sons of powerhouse woman who claim 'submission' but lack much in being a true gentile woman of GOD. One who can hide the fact that she 'may be' more out-going than their Dad or more "learned" or a better teacher of spiritual things, or even more spiritual than their father is. A true mother can hide those things from her children and others.
Anyone taking the time to getting to know these type macho-woman will understand the confusion it would bring to a home, where despite her speeches of submission and such - it's obvious who wears the pants of superiority.
Spend sometime with a family in their home and you'll see who the real boss is or the one who believes that they're the spiritual 'head' of their home. Who talks more - him or her?

Just my two cents.

 2011/11/2 21:59


Hey Sandra, could you e-mail me, I have lost your e-mail. I have a question that I would like to ask you offline............bro Frank

 2011/11/2 22:58

Joined: 2007/6/29
Posts: 342

 Re: CONFINED TO THE KITCHEN? The Lord Doesn’t Put Women in This Box

Encouraging responses everyone.

Reading this article at the top of this Thread reminds me of a recent thread that Brother Greg had posted; one part in particular:

"The liberation movement has challenged God's blueprint for womanhood. Women are clamoring for freedom and fulfillment by asking for total equality. This puts them into a power struggle- into a competitive role instead of a complementary partnership. Their quest for freedom only leads them into bondage." - The Woman's Role in the Plan of God - a tract

To escape what the Scriptures literally say to them, feminists clamor for freedom from the supposed bondage of them. In the end though, the feminist just brings herself into a different kind of bondage, which the Scriptures call "the fear of man."

True freedom in Christ, on the other hand, gives us all the courage to trust God when He tells us to submit to rightful authorities in our life. By obeying God's actual word to us, we demonstrate that we FEAR HIM, rather than any man.

Instead of looking for ways out of the various texts that some do not wish to take literally, we should rather read the instructions of the apostles to us very seriously and very literally. We should compare Scripture with Scripture in their contexts, allowing the various commandments to harmonize, as the original Spirit Who "breathed" them out intends.

And what comes from reading the inspired words of the apostles in this way, one may ask? What emerges is the kind of sold-out, fearless, entirely submitted, simple believer in GOD and HIS WORD that feminists are truly TERRIFIED of.

A.W. Tozer describes such a believer well:

"...he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom...

He will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness TO DIE for the glory of the one and the salvation of the other.

But he will fear NOTHING that breaths..." -A.W. Tozer

I know you know, dear Sisters, that the narrow way of Christ isn't easy, but be encouraged: many around the world are walking in the same Way with you. And it is supremely worth it!

Be encouraged...

God bless you all,

 2011/11/2 23:09Profile


Got to talking about "generational" things and I felt I should go just a tad-bit deeper into my own testimony, combining The Father's Love thread to this one.

All of the homes that I lived in - it wasn't the males that abused me and my brothers - it was the women and due to the fact that three generations of the men in that family were the type to give into their wives, that caused the men to not want to rock-the-boat in those homes.

I don't know if you understand what I'm saying but - a woman with a stronger personality than her husband is a dangerous thing and if she is the one to 'raise the child' and doesn't give a good father the lead, even if he's more docile, than she is hurting that child more than she knows.

I wasn't raised by any Christians - but I've seen this same principle play out in Christian homes as well.

As much as I see in our "freedoms" as women, I fear for the homes where the mother has the stronger personality [saved or unsaved] and it's just as damaging to a child as an abusive father.

Can you see my point, pilgrim777?

 2011/11/2 23:17

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7474


The reality is that women are different from males. We all have different jobs to do. We are to cooperate with each other to get it done. My husband is so one-tracked minded he could never care for children and do housework at the same time. Men, on the other hand are so focused which explains why they cannot wash clothes, cook a meal, listen to the children - all at the same time. Men need to be focused intently on their work because so much is riding on them doing their job well - there is competition involved. My husband does his work well in the greenhouses, tending to the mechanics which would drive me crazy. On the other hand, I am very observant to the health of the plants - they 'talk' to me - and my husband depends on my insight to make the crop a success. It all comes down to using our natural abilities for the common good. Cooperation. I am his help-meet which means I am there to meet his needs in whatever way is needed. And that will vary from man to man from woman to woman. God made us wonderful - let us celebrate this differentness!

"feminists clamor for freedom from the supposed bondage of them. In the end though, the feminist just brings herself into a different kind of bondage, which the Scriptures call "the fear of man.""


Sandra Miller

 2011/11/2 23:28Profile

Joined: 2010/2/7
Posts: 46

 Re: Ginnyrose and JiG

Dear GinnyRose and JiG,
I am really humbled and blessed by your spirit. According to Peter you are holy women who hope in God with an adornment of a gentle and quiet spirit and being submissive to your husbands. No wonder you are a blessing to many in this forum and I do not doubt you both being a blessing to those whom God has placed around you.
I Peter 3:
4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

With this spirit in you, God will fulfill His purpose for you in your generation. JiG, I really thought initially that you are a brother when I entered this forum, but you have put to me shame by the depth of the knowledge you have of the Lord. I thank God for sisters like you both. I firmly believe that the Lord will bring forth many spiritual Isaacs through you. I know there are many other sisters like you in this forum. I know some sisters do not have much light presently in this area and I believe and pray that they too will get the light you have. Heb 11:35 highlights the power that manifested through humble woman.
35 Women received back their dead by resurrection;

Continue to bless this forum with your humble spirit.

Below is an article by Francis Frangipine. I’ll want to post it in a separate thread.

A Word To The Women Of God

Francis Frangipane

The Genesis Distinctions
When the Lord created humankind, He placed unique graces in man and separate, but unique, graces in woman. He told Adam to name the species of life upon earth "and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name" (Gen. 2:19). Adam was created with an organizational, administrative capacity which enabled him to identify and define the world around him.
Within the genetics of this original man, there also existed the powerful, but dormant, qualities of the woman. While Adam slept the Spirit took from the man a rib. Fashioning it into a woman, the Lord created for Adam a companion who was not only suitable for him, but one who powerfully expanded man's creative capacities. Indeed, the woman brought many new graces into Adam's world that did not formerly exist: the foremost of which was the power to conceive and give birth.
It is important to remember: God created male and female in His image, according to His likeness (Gen 1:26). Of course, in certain ways, both Adam and Eve as individuals possessed reflections of the divine nature. They each could think, speak, dream and create. However, it was in the union of Adam and Eve, in their mutual respect of one another's strengths and graces, that mankind would possess a more perfect expression of the fuller nature of God.
As Adam beheld this first female, he said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" (Gen 2:23). The term "woman" was a delineation used by Adam, identifying her as a unique variation in the species of man. She is both more complex and emotionally sophisticated.
Soon Adam began to understand the greatest power of his counterpart, her ability to conceive and bring life into the world. Recognizing this quality, Adam named her "Eve," which meant "life." Eve would play an integral part in the unfolding of life's new beginnings. "She was the mother of all the living" (Gen. 3:20).
We Need Revival
The primary strength of each gender is that man establishes, woman births. Remember, these qualities were not merely "human": they were reflections of the divine. Man's ability to bring order to one's world, to take what was random and give it definition and structure is a divine facility; woman's ability to conceive and incubate life, and then deliver life through birth is also an aspect of the divine nature.
Note also that Adam named the woman "Eve" (or "Life") before they had children. God gave the woman an ability not just to have babies, but to release life in a variety of its expressions. In fact, one translation says that Eve means to "enliven." Alone, Adam had been downcast; it was not good that Adam was alone. Eve enlivened Adam in ways no other creature on earth could. Adam could build a house; Eve made it a home. When Adam named Eve "Life," he was not only speaking prophetically of the first mother, but he spoke out of his own experience: Eve brought life into the structure of Adam's world.
While we are speaking in generalities, when we come into the spiritual realm, we see this same divine encoding replicated in the ministries of men and women. Jesus laid the foundation of the church with twelve men, whom He called to be apostles. Women excel in intercession, in spiritual sensitivity and the release of new beginnings. Again, this doesn't excuse men from prayer! For some of the Bible's best examples of intercessors are, indeed, men! We are speaking in generalities in reference to the spiritual tendencies of both genders. Neither distinction is more important than the other. Both are absolutely vital for the unfolding of God's will upon the earth.
Today, we are fighting the advance of Satan in many arenas: whether in wars and terrorist attacks or with the ever increasing expansion of iniquity in our world. We need revival. To possess a national awakening, the power God has placed in women must be released. All the efforts of man to establish laws and govern righteously will not truly transform our culture; we need the presence of God poured out. I am talking about something that is greater than government and righteous laws. I am saying that God is raising up and anointing a prayer army of women, who are about to be given even greater power as they intercede before God for their nations.
Women of God, the fact is, heaven needs you! You have been created by the Almighty to birth breakthroughs on planet earth! God has uniquely designed you with a latent ability to release life through your intercession. Together with you, we men can build and establish, and we are learning to pray, but you have a special grace to release new spiritual beginnings. Whether your prayer focus is for your husband or church leadership, whether you are interceding for your children, city or nation, you possess in your spirit the seed-realities that, through prayer, can release God's life into the world.
Yes, indeed, there is a battle; there still exists "enmity between [the serpent] and the woman" (Gen. 3:15). Satan especially hates you because it was your seed that bruised the serpent's head. It is amazing to me that God chose to bring His Son into the world, not through the heavens nor even through a woman impregnated by man, but through a woman made pregnant by God! God Himself came to earth through the woman's power to give birth!
Today the Lord is giving women a new grace, a new confidence against the powers of hell. They are not rebelling against men, but praying for them. Through their intercession, these godly women will prayer-birth powerful ministries on earth, both male and female. They will release new beginnings to the body of Christ.
Revelation 12 speaks of a "woman clothed with the sun." This word is not only talking about Israel or the church. It also reveals how God sees spiritual women: they are honored and crowned with distinction; pure and clothed with the glory of God. With confidence, they tread upon the powers of night. Dear army of praying women, it is your inherent destiny to birth that which shall rule the nations.

 2011/11/3 3:04Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7474



Wonderful article. I think Francis Frangipane catches the heart of the matter beautifully. It is so very unfortunate that there is that spirit of me vs him in male female relationships. It ought not so to be! Frangipane demonstrates wonderfully how females are made to assist and be an extension of her husband because of the differences, the strengths God has endowed to the woman. And this can only happen when both are in submission to the LORD Jesus. Our deacon used to say that one cannot have authority unless he is under authority. This works well in husband/wife relationships. He trusts her and gives her leeway to do what needs to be done because he knows she will work to do him good and not destroy. Lots of responsibility there for a woman, one that requires the wisdom of God to be successful.

Thanks for posting this article - it s one that bears rereading..


Sandra Miller

 2011/11/3 12:15Profile

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