Friday, November 26, 2010

Frog In Boiling Water

This article about sums it up.
We all know that Mr. "Black" is right.
Here's the link:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Obamacare, One More Chain Around Our Neck

The doctor who is speaker in this video is a partner in medical practice with Dr. Rob Steele.
Dr. Steele did NOT defeat Congressman Dingle of Michigan after all! John Dingle and his father
have occupied a seat as representative of the state of Michigan in the Federal House of Representatives since 1933 according to Wikipedia.
Will your physician be one of the 46% of physicians nationwide who has already stated
that he or she will be retiring from medicine in 2014 when Obamacare kicks in full force?
A physician will have to pay a fine of $100,000 the first time s/he refuses to practice medicine
according to the instructions of the death panel of 15 who have ALREADY been appointed by Obama.
The second time the doctor refuses to follow this panel's recommendation, it's jail time for the doctor.


Monday, November 22, 2010

He Did it Again

This morning Levi went hunting again. And he got another 9 piont buck. But this one has a much larger rack. The buck also looks quite a bit older.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Levi's 9 point buck

Saturday morning Levi got a 9 piont buck. He was pretty excited.
Last year he got a 7 piont buck. Keeps getting bigger.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Making Cookies

Yesterday Allen and Natasha got to spend the whole day here so that their Mommy and Daddy could go out.

They helped make No-bake cookies.

Boaz stirring them.
Eating a cookie and trying to say "cheese."

This picture was taken later that evening.

Friday, November 12, 2010


We have a multitude of women in politics and more and more are entering into this arena. Today, more women are stepping up nationally and voicing their support for the conservative movement.

They are on speaker platforms, exposing the evil liberal agenda, pushing for a “back to our founding fathers” principles. They are running for office and getting elected.

I definitely agree with their views on what’s wrong with our country and that we need to get back to a constitutionally correct government.

And, I understand their frustration with all that’s going wrong.

But I think our Founding Fathers (and God, more importantly) would wonder what these women think they are doing taking over the leadership. Our Founding Fathers would say, “Where are all your men?” YES! God intended for men to be in leadership.

It’s the same old, same old. There is nothing new under the sun.

Ever since the garden, men and women have been rebelling against God’s intended purposes for them. (And that’s exactly what the founding fathers understood when it came to tyrannical government.)

The church has been lax when it comes to teaching the true counsel of God’s Word. People would rather hear half truths and flesh-tickling heresies.

It’s much easier following the crowd. We wouldn’t want to be alone on our way of thinking, so we go to the other camp. We root for these women, because they are the better alternative to the liberal man that’s running for the office.

Also, most of these women have been working outside the home anyway, so it’s much easier to jump right on into the public arena of civil government.

I’m not saying that men are smarter than women. Everyone, men and women, have their gifts. But those gifts are fitted within the framework of God’s design for them.

Just remember, the women have always counseled their men. That’s pretty powerful.

But, I suppose, that’s not powerful enough for some women.

But, I’m warning you. Beware!

Something is terribly wrong when the women are running things.

Yes, It’s bad now with certain men and women in our government offices.

If a conservative woman gets elected into the President’s office, it may go well for a time. But I believe that will be a telling sign about what may be to come down the road.

Mrs. Palin, I would rather be a Neanderthal and ‘unmodern’, than transgress the Word of God.

We need to be keepers at home, have children, and side by side with our husband, raise them up in the nurture and admontion of the Lord, building God's Kingdom. This is God's true calling on women. What honor God has bestowed upon us.

Here are couple of articles. They are lengthy, but well worth the read:

But What About Deborah?
Why the Example of Deborah Does not Support the Candidacy of Sarah Palin

Editor’s Note: When it comes to the issue of how Christians should vote for a presidential ticket, there is only one question: By what ethical standard shall we select our civil magistrates? The answer to this question defines the entire debate.

And there are only two answers to this question: The first answer is that the Bible alone establishes the complete and authoritative ethical standards for selecting civil magistrates. This is the correct answer for all who claim the name of Jesus Christ as sovereign. It is the only answer that honors the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture and the Lordship of Christ over man, his Church, and the nations.

But there is a second answer offered by modern Evangelicals. This response can take many forms—appeals to emotion, experience, pragmatism, utilitarianism, or autonomous human reason. It may be communicated invoking partisan unity, common sense, or so-called practical realities. It can even manifest as name-calling, ad hominem, guilt manipulation, lesser-of-two-evils scenarios, or even fear-mongering. Some go so far as to admit that they do not believe that the Bible defines the standard. Others claim the Scripture is silent, inapplicable, or a combination of the two. But, at root, all of these arguments boil down to the simple proposition that American Christian voters must look to some man-divined standard other than the Bible when selecting their president.

Of course, most Christians who take answer number two do not want to admit that they have jettisoned the Scripture in favor of their own opinions. When challenged with the express commands of Holy Scripture, the biblical warnings against setting aside God’s directives for civil magistrates, and the danger of establishing any standard other than the Bible, they attempt to argue using a curious and ever-so wobbly combination of answer one and answer two. They are, in fact, double-minded about the standard of authority and are thus unstable in all their logic.

2008 was the year of the double-minded Christian. Early in the year, two things were clear: First, Christians were deeply fearful of a Barack Obama presidency. Second, many conservative Christian leaders viewed John McCain—with his left-wing, anti-family, track record—as an unacceptable candidate. Once McCain was nominated, the problem became bigger. How do Christians justify voting for this liberal Republican who supports pro-abortion judges and advocates funding procedures that snuff out the lives of little children?

To ease the conscience of Christians and conservatives, the McCain team (with the advice of key Republican Christians like Dr. Richard Land) turned to Sarah Palin, a female governor who they would attempt to package as a conservative Evangelical to the Right and a feminist innovator to the Left in order to sanctify the candidacy of McCain for conservatives and build bridges with liberal female voters.

But now there was a problem for partisan leadership within the conservative Christian Church in America. How do Christians support for the second highest elective office in America, a self-avowed feminist, mother of young children who goes back to work three days after giving birth to a Down syndrome baby, who has a child with a teenage pregnancy, who clearly leads the direction of her family, while her husband (whom she formally acknowledges plays a “Mr. Mom” role) follows her and helps to advance her leadership? How do partisan, politically-active Christian leaders do this, given the fact that this is the very type of feminist lifestyle and vision they have in the past opposed as unbiblical and unwise?

Answer: Appeal to fear; downplay the facts; and whenever biblical concerns are raised, simply mention Deborah.

It seems that all roads lead to Deborah.

Once the name of Deborah is cited, the discussion is supposed to stop. Here is how it works:

He says: “The Bible teaches that men are to lead in the church, the home, and the civil realm. This is a principle of the creation order and is found in the formal biblical requirements for civil office holders.”

But she responds: “Yes, but what about Deborah?”

Another says: “The man is not made for the woman, but the woman is made for the man,” and then adds, “A wife’s mission is to be the helpmeet to her husband, and not the other way around.”

But the response remains: “Yes, but what about Deborah?”

She argues: “A married mother of children is to be a keeper at home and to personally care for her children” so ‘that word of God be not blasphemed.’”

He simply retorts: “Yes, but what about Deborah?”

She says: “Shouldn’t we be concerned about supporting a self-identified feminist who aspires to lead the nation, but who gave birth to a child and then went back to work three days later, who agrees with calling her own husband ‘Mr. Mom,’ and who should be focusing on ministering to her young daughter as she works through an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, rather than going on the campaign trail, husband in tow, as she calls for some of the more radical feminist reforms advanced by a vice presidential candidate in history and publicly praises Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton for their work advancing the cause of feminism?”

He simply responds: “Yes, but what about Deborah?”

Here is the point: Of the sixty-six books of Holy Scripture, there is no precept, no clearly-defined principle that points to the legitimacy of nullifying the creation order doctrine of complementary, but distinct roles for men and women—a principle which is clearly manifest within the formal directives of Scripture that civil leaders be males. And there certainly is no principle that teaches that a financially secure, in-tact family should model a complete role reversal between a husband and wife as the most widely recognized example of family life for an entire nation.

But, with one simple comment—one generic reference to a female prophet—modern Evangelicals hope to minimize the overwhelming evidence of Scripture that male leadership is a creation order principle applicable to family, church and state, and to defeat the historical, orthodox view on the role relationships between mothers, children, men, and civil leadership.

Why? Because sanitizing the horrific record of John McCain and easing the conscience of Christian voters has become the priority.

The willingness by Evangelical leaders to gloss over the biblical directives for civil magistrates and to set aside long-held, hard-fought principles of motherhood and family life in order to advance the political cause of a self-professed feminist, who is leading a feminist lifestyle and who advocates feminist policies, so that Republicans can win an election, marks a fundamental compromise and an abdication of responsibility. It is a case of partisan politics over Gospel duties.

All roads lead to Deborah because there simply is not a precept, pattern, or precedent from Scripture that justifies the feminist model of life and leadership presented by Governor Palin. In the wake of overwhelming biblical evidence to the contrary, some “exception clause” must be found to suspend the normal biblical jurisdiction of a wife, a mother, and a helpmeet, and to justify an egalitarian vision of civil leadership. Christian partisans believe they have found such an exception clause in the story of Deborah.

So, what about Deborah?

Is she an exception to the rule? Is she even an example of a civil magistrate? We know, for example, that Deborah was not one of the elected ruling elders of Israel, but was she even a “judge” and “avenger” in the same way as Barak, Samson, and the other “judges” from the Book of Judges? Is there any sound principle of scriptural interpretation that allows us to analogize her role in Israel as a prophetess to legitimize a Sarah Palin vice presidency or presidency of the United States?

In this important treatise, “But What about Deborah?”, Pastor Bill Einwechter answers each of these important questions with a resounding “no.”

In the past, Bill Einwechter has soundly addressed related issues through articles like “Sarah Palin and the Complementarian Compromise” and “Biblical Standards for Choosing Civil Magistrates.”He joins a growing number of Evangelicals who are raising concerns about the politicization of the Gospel doctrine of family life, motherhood, and civil leadership.

But now Bill Einwechter answers the question: “But What About Deborah?” Regardless of your political inclinations, you will want to read this important and historic treatise on the doctrine of Deborah and civil magistrates. This may be the most thoroughly-researched and best-reasoned article on the subject in our lifetime.

Readers will learn: (a) about the historical context of the book of Judges; (b) the function of these judges as avengers, military leaders, and deliverers, not as judges as we think of them in a modern context; (c) Deborah’s role as a prophetess who judged, but not as a civil authority, or as one of the elected elders or “judges” who defended Israel; (d) why the example of Deborah must be harmonized with the didactic portions of the Scripture; (e) why, if Deborah’s example is used to justify female civil rulers, it can be used to justify female church rulers; and much more.

Why is it critical that fathers and mothers, pastors, and students read this article and come to grips with the structure and nuances of the debate concerning the prophetess Deborah and the present elections? It is critical because conservative Christian leaders have been willing to mortgage their entire future as defenders of the family in America for a political election. And to justify this abdication of responsibility as the representatives of Gospel truth in the nation, they have resorted to theology by maxim: “Yes, but what about Deborah?”

Long after the presidential elections of 2008 have passed, Christians will be fighting the battle for the family. But the pro-family Christians of 2008 who set aside their defense of the biblical doctrine of the family and the creation order principle to satisfy partisan political ambitions have lost something fundamental. They have lost the scriptural foundation of their cause. They have sold their birthright for a mess of politically idolatrous pottage. To win an election, they have not only embraced the ideals of feminism, but they have canonized the role models of feminism as saintly examples for the daughters of Zion to emulate.

“As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths” (Isaiah 3:12).

The nomination of Sarah Palin to be the vice presidential candidate for the Republican Party has thrilled evangelicals, whether they are egalitarian[1] or semi-complementarian[2] in their views on men and women. Some have been extravagant in their praise of Mrs. Palin’s candidacy, while others have been more measured. But there has been a near unanimous agreement that Mrs. Palin is an excellent choice for vice president, and that her place on the Republican ticket enables Christians to confidently support John McCain for president, in spite of his questionable “conservative” record. Some evangelicals have even been sent into what one might call political ecstasy over Sarah Palin.

But some Christians have serious doubts and concerns about the biblical propriety of Sarah Palin’s quest for the vice presidency. Their concerns center around the biblical teaching on the great importance of the roles of a wife and mother in her home and how these roles can, in good conscience, be reconciled with Palin’s own circumstances: five children, one an infant with special needs and one a daughter facing a “crisis pregnancy.” The fact that Mrs. Palin, who professes to be a Christian, is a feminist[3] and embodies the anti-Christian feminist vision for womanhood deeply troubles those who desire to rebuild the biblical family and restore the beauty and splendor of Christian womanhood. In addition, there are a number of us who believe that God has ordained the order of male headship for every sphere of government: family, church, and state. Therefore, as we understand Scripture, it is a violation of God’s law for a woman to seek the office of civil magistrate (doubly so if she is a wife or mother), or for Christians to support her for office or vote for her.[4]

Evangelicals who have enough biblical sense to feel the weight of these concerns, and yet still believe that they should support Mrs. Palin and the McCain/Palin ticket (otherwise Obama might be elected!), seek to find some biblical justification for their position. In this search, all roads seem to lead to Deborah. In Deborah they see the answer to their dilemma. Here, they believe, is the example of a godly woman who exercised political leadership in Israel. Her ministry was obviously God-approved, and so the story of Deborah proves that, at least during extraordinary times, God calls women to serve as rulers, kings, and judges, and to lead men and nations. Therefore, from their perspective, the Christian debate about Mrs. Palin is over, and all the concerns of the previous paragraph are no longer valid. In their view, Sarah Palin is a Deborah for our day.

Although the example of Deborah may seem to settle the matter for many, the issues at stake in Mrs. Palin’s candidacy have such a potential impact on the cause of biblical family reformation and the truth of biblical authority that the scriptural account of Deborah requires faithful biblical interpretation, and its application to the question of women magistrates in general, and to Sarah Palin in particular, requires careful thinking. This essay seeks to accomplish these things and answer the questions: Does the example of Deborah establish the biblical propriety of female civil magistrates? Does it provide Christians with a biblical justification for their support of Mrs. Palin?

Does the Example of Deborah Establish the Biblical Propriety of Female Civil Rulers and Sarah Palin’s Candidacy?

There are a number of issues that we need to explore in regard to this question. We have to determine the historical context of the book of Judges. We have to decide what the office of “judge” entailed. We need to determine what Deborah’s role was and whether or not we are justified in saying that she filled the role of a “judge” and/or the office of a civil magistrate. We need to understand how historical examples relate to the direct instruction of the law of God. We need to consider the ramifications of the view that Deborah’s example establishes the rightness of female magistrates and how that view affects our understanding of the role of women in the family and in the church.

The Historical Context of the Book of Judges

1. The historical context of the book of Judges. The book of Judges records the history of Israel from the death of Joshua until the birth of Samuel (Judg. 1:1; 21:25; 1 Sam. 1:1-28).[5] This is one of the darker periods of Israel’s history. It was marked by lengthy seasons of apostasy, sin, and lawlessness (Judg 17:6; 21:25). It contains a uniform cycle that goes from sin in Israel, to oppression by other nations, torepentance by the people and prayer for God’s mercy, to deliverance from foreign oppression by the power of God through specially chosen leaders that were called “judges.”

What is important to note, for the purposes of this essay, is the recurring phrase in Judges that “in those days there was no king in Israel” (Judg. 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). This indicates that there was neither a central government nor a chief magistrate to give unity and direction to the whole nation.[6]In the days of the judges, Israel was a loose confederation of tribes that were governed by “elders.” These elders consisted of the rulers of the individual tribes and the local elders in the towns and villages; the government of the people in terms of civil law and justice rested in their hands (Judg. 2:7; 8:16; 11:5; 21:16; Ruth 4:2; cf. Num. 32:28; Deut. 5:23; 16:18; 19:12; 21:2-6, 19-20; 22:5-8). The men who were the appointed civil leaders in Israel at that time of Judges were also called the “governors of Israel,” i.e., those who make or decide law, rulers, civil leaders, commanders (Judg. 5:9, 14; cf. Deut. 33:21; Ps. 60:7), and “princes,” i.e., those who have dominion in the civil sphere, rulers, chiefs, captains (Judg. 5:15; 10:18; cf. Deut. 1:15).

In defining the role of the judges in the book of Judges, and in determining Deborah’s place and function in the historical setting of Israel’s government in the time of the judges, these historical facts must be kept in mind. If we set aside the structure of Israel’s civil government in that day, we are in danger of drawing faulty conclusions concerning the nature of the judges and the nature of Deborah’s service to Israel.

The Functon of the “Judges” in the Book of Judges

2. The function of the “judges” in the book of Judges. It is significant to note that the “judges” in the book are not identified with the elders of Israel. This means that the judges were not part of the normal, structured government of Israel, and so, whatever the exact nature of their public leadership was, and it may have varied, they were not civil magistrates; they did not govern in the civil sphere. Evidence of this fact is seen in the story of Gideon, one of the most illustrious of the judges. After his great victory over the Midianites, he was offered the position of chief ruler of Israel, but he categorically turned down the offer.

Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, ‘Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.’ And Gideon said unto them, ‘I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.’ (Judg. 8:22-23)

Further evidence is provided by the example of Samson, one of the most well known of the judges. There is no indication whatsoever from the Bible that he ever held any civil office or carried out any of the duties related to the office of civil judge or ruler, yet the text says, “he judged Israel twenty years” (Judg. 16:31). In fact, none of the men who served as judges are ever pictured in the text of the book of Judges in the role of a civil magistrate (i.e., of ruling as elders, princes, or governors). Or, as Richard Schultz expresses this fact, “There is no clear textual evidence that these individuals ever exercised any judicial authority. . . .”[7]

What, then, was the role of the judges? In answering this question, we should begin by defining the word “judge.” The Hebrew word has three basic senses: 1) to act as a lawgiver, to rule, to govern; 2) to decide controversies, to establish justice and equity; 3) to execute judgment, to punish the guilty, or to defend the cause of the oppressed.[8] The particular sense in which this word is used in any given text must be determined by the context. According to its usage in connection with the judges of the book of Judges, the word should be understood in the third sense. The judges were men who were used of God to defend the cause of an oppressed Israel by executing judgment on the enemies of Israel. Hence, when the text says that they “judged Israel” it does not mean that they governed Israel as civil rulers, but that they carried out God’s judgment on Israel’s oppressors and defended the people from further oppression.[9]

We ought to make this deduction concerning the meaning of the word “judged” because of the way the term is used in Judges in relation to the judges. The biblical text indicates that the judges functioned as national deliverers, i.e., they were men who were raised up by God to fight against the enemies of Israel in view of breaking the yoke of Israel’s foreign oppression (Judg. 2:14-19; 3:9-10, 15; 1 Sam. 12:8-11). The author of the book of Judges explains the role judges played during this period as follows:

...the hand of the LORD was against [Israel] for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed. Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them (Judg. 2:15-16).

In fulfilling this role, they are pictured as men of war leading the armies of Israel, i.e., they were military commanders. This role is clearly portrayed in the cases of Othniel, Ehud, Gideon, and Jepthah. Othniel is the first judge of this period, and the description of his service as a judge is instructive and representative of the others:

And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim (Judg. 3:9-10).

The role of Tola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon is obscure in the biblical text, but based on the example of the other judges, we can assume that they fulfilled a similar military role in Israel. Shamgar and Samson were also judges, and although they did not lead any armies, they were men of war who defeated the enemies of Israel single handedly. This leaves us with Deborah and Barak. What were their roles? Which one was the judge, or were they both judges? We will consider these questions in the next section.

The Role of Deborah in the Book of Judges

3. The role of Deborah in the book of Judges. If we are going to understand the role of Deborah in the book of Judges, we must carefully consider what the text actually says about her. We must not read our own ideas into the text, superimpose our own system of government on the text as a grid to understand Deborah, nor assume that because the text says she “judged Israel” that it means she judged in the same way as Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Gideon, Jepthah, and Samson. She must be understood in her own historical and biblical context. How does the biblical text describe Deborah and her role in Israel? It says:

And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment (Judg. 4:4-5).

This text reveals three things about Deborah. First, she was a “prophetess.” This is the feminine form of the Hebrew word for “prophet.” The biblical role of a prophet was to speak the Word of God to Israel in terms of God’s will (law) for Israel, and His plan for the future (prophecy; cf. Deut. 18:15-22). Up until the time of the judges, the term prophet had been applied to only two men: Abraham (Gen. 20:7) and Aaron (Exod. 7:1); Moses is compared to a prophet but is placed in a class by himself (Num. 12:6-8; Deut. 18:15; 34:10). The word “prophetess” had only been applied to one woman: Miriam (Exod. 15:20). In other words, the prophetic role had not been exercised since the days of Moses. This makes the statement that Deborah was a prophetess all the more remarkable.

What did she do as a prophetess? If her role was similar to a prophet, then she spoke the Word of God and prophesied of the future. The story of Deborah indicates that she did both: She gave the Word of God to Barak, and she prophesied that Israel would win the upcoming battle with Sisera (Judg. 4:6-7). She may also have carried out a ministry similar to the only other prophet mentioned in the book of Judges (Judg. 6:8-10), who rebuked the people for their sin and called them to repentance. But Deborah does not appear to have exercised her prophetic role in the towns and villages of Israel or by going out and preaching to the people. Instead, the text reveals that she ministered at her own dwelling and gave the Word of the Lord to those who came to her.

Second, she was “the wife of Lapidoth.” This is actually an obscure phrase, and its meaning is disputed. Some believe that it reveals the name of her husband. Others, believe it gives the place where she is from, i.e., she is “a woman of Lapidoth.” Others think that it refers to the fact that she made wicks for the lamps of the Sanctuary. Because of the ambiguity of this phrase, it is uncertain whether or not she was a married woman. Most likely, the text is identifying the place of her origin.

In Judges 5:7, Deborah refers to herself as “a mother in Israel.” There is debate over what this actually means. It could indicate that she was married (or she may have been a widow at the time of Judges 4-5) and was a mother of children. But it could also be figurative, indicating that Deborah saw herself as one who had a maternal concern for Israel. Regardless, the phrase does point to Deborah’s consciousness that her role was consistent with her female gender. What she did for the house of Israel was consistent with what a godly mother would do for her own household in times of distress. It also suggests that Deborah did not presume to take headship in Israel or usurp authority over the men.

Third, the text says that she “judged Israel at that time.” It is important to understand that the function of Judges 4:5 is to explain how she judged Israel: The people of Israel came up to the place where she dwelt seeking “judgment” from her. What, then, does it mean that she “judged” Israel? There are a number of things to consider in answering this question. Note, first of all, that her judgment was tied to her gift of prophecy. Her judgment was a charismatic function related to her prophetic role. There is no indication in the text that her judging was based on a position (an office) she held in the civil government of Israel; she is never identified as an “elder,” “governor,” or princess. Next, consider the fact that the place of her judgment was under a palm tree and not in the gates of the city, the place where the elders (the civil rulers and civil judges) normally governed (Deut. 16:18; Ruth 4:1-2; Prov. 31:23). Finally, note that her judging was not related to defending the cause of Israel against foreign oppressors by fighting against them, but it appears to have involved settling disputes and questions of law for the children of Israel. If we take the words of the Scripture as our guide, we see that the judging ministry of Deborah was not that of an appointed civil magistrate or a military leader, but of a divinely inspired woman giving God’s Word to those in Israel who sought her out.

Therefore, the Hebrew word for “judged,” as it is used in reference to Deborah, means to establish righteousness and equity. It describes the action of deciding controversies and discriminating between persons and between right and wrong in civil, religious, domestic, and social disputes or questions (the second sense of the word “judged” as defined above). The word “judged” is applied customarily to the action of a civil ruler, but it is not an action that only official rulers can carry out.

We must remember that the particular meaning of a word has to be determined by its immediate context. In the context of Judges 4, the word “judged” does not mean to rule as a civil magistrate (the first sense of the word “judged” as defined above), or to execute judgment (the third sense of the word “judged” as defined above), but it is applied to a prophetess giving divine guidance to Israel and settling the disputes of those who came to her. Matthew Henry gives an insightful explanation of Deborah’s ministry in Israel:

She judged not as a princess, by any civil authority conferred upon her, but as a prophetess, and as God’s mouth to them, correcting abuses and redressing grievances, especially those which were related to the worship of God. The children of Israel came up to her from all parts for judgment, not so much for the deciding of controversies between man and man as for advice in the reformation of what was amiss in things pertaining to God. Those among them who before had secretly lamented the impieties and idolatries of their neighbors but knew not where to apply for the restraining of them, now made their complaint to Deborah, who, by the sword of the Spirit, showing them the judgment of God, reduced and reclaimed many. . . .[10]

Since Deborah is specifically identified as a prophetess (and not as a civil ruler), and since her judgment is tied to her prophetic gift, Henry’s view admirably fits the context. As a prophetess, Deborah did not bear the sword to enforce her decisions or counsel as an elder or civil magistrate would have done. While her word was to be heeded, she did not dispense justice through civil sanctions or punishment. Furthermore, there are no biblical examples of prophets enforcing their counsel through civil punishment either. Rather, the prophet was the mouth piece of God communicating the consequences of disobedience with the promise that God would vindicate His Word through judgment by providential or miraculous means. It is the civil magistrate’s decisions and judgments that are enforced by civil sanctions. But, the prophet brought a message from God with enforcement coming from God Himself. In Judges 4:4-5, we do not see a civil ruler issuing or enforcing orders, but a godly woman giving divine counsel, answering questions, and settling disputes for those who voluntarily sought it.

In view of the context, in view of the nature of Israel’s civil government in the days of Deborah, and in view of the description of her ministry, it is best to conclude that Deborah was not a civil magistrate and held no formal position of civil leadership in Israel. She had an important ministry, and at times she may have rendered judgment on questions of civil law, but she was a prophetess, not an “elder” or a “governor.” There is no evidence that Deborah ever sought or held the office of a civil ruler. With this conclusion the Reformer John Knox is in full agreement:

Such as have more pleasure in light than in darkness, may clearly perceive, that Deborah did usurp no such power nor authority, as our queens do this day claim. But that she was endued with the spirit of wisdom, of knowledge, and of the true fear of God: and by the same she judged the facts of the rest of the people. She rebuked their defection and idolatry, yea and also did redress to her power, the injuries that were done by man to man. But all this, I say, she did by the spiritual sword, that is, by the Word of God, and not by any temporal regiment [government] or authority, which she did usurp over Israel.[11]

Deborah Was Not a “Judge” in the Sense that the Book of Judges Defines that Role

4. Deborah was not a “judge” in the sense that the book of Judges defines that role; that specific role belonged to Barak. We are also justified in concluding, from Judges 4:4-5 and from the rest of the account of Deborah and Barak, and from the description of the actions of Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Gideon, Jepthah, and Samson that Deborah was not one of the judges of the book of Judges.[12] This conclusion is based on the following considerations.

First, she did not fulfill the role of a warrior or lead Israel into battle. When it was time for Israel to rise up and throw off the yoke of Jabin, king of Canaan, and judge the enemies of God’s people, the Lord did not call or appoint Deborah to fight Jabin or command the armies of Israel. Instead, God used her, as His prophetess, to call and appoint Barak to that position (Judg. 4:6-7; 5:12). And although Deborah accompanied the army at Barak’s request, she did not lead the army into the battle or direct the fight once it began; the text leaves no doubt that Barak was the military commander.[13] It was the faith, courage, and leadership of Barak during the battle itself that brought deliverance to Israel (Judg. 4:10-17; cf. Heb. 11:32) and judgment on Jabin. As a warrior and the actual military commander that led Israel to victory, Barak should be considered the “judge” in keeping with how the term is employed during this era (Judg. 2:16; 3:10).

Second, the author of Hebrews points to Barak, not Deborah, as the “judge” (agent of deliverance) of their time. When the writer of Hebrews is recounting the victories of faith wrought through the judges of the book of Judges, he does not mention Deborah at all; instead, in a list of other judges who helped to rescue Israel from pagan oppressors, he names Barak. He says: “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae . . .” (Heb. 11:32). Thus, the New Testament connects Barak with the other judges and affirms that he was one of the deliverers of Israel who brought God’s vengeance on the heathen and freedom to the oppressed.

Third, it is clear that the other prophet mentioned in the book of Judges (Judg. 6:8-10) was not a judge. This unnamed prophet declared the Word of God in his day, but it was Gideon who was called of God to be the judge and lead the army of Israel. We see some similarities between this picture and the time of Deborah. She was a prophetess who gave God’s Word to Israel, but when the time for deliverance from oppression came, it was Barak who was called to lead the army of Israel. In both cases, a distinction appears between the prophet or prophetess and the judge. Deborah played a different role as prophetess than the one Barak fulfilled as a man of war who commanded the armies of Israel and brought deliverance from the Canaanites. Strictly speaking, then, Deborah was not a “judge” (Judg. 2:16; 3:10).

Richard Schultz concurs with the conclusion that Barak, not Deborah, was the judge:

A unique usage of spt [judge] in Judges (as a verbal part.) occurs in 4:4 with respect to Deborah, who is explicitly described as a prophetess . . . and who takes no leadership in the battle other than to assure Barak of victory (4:14) or, following the victory, to lead the song of Praise (5:1, 12). . . she is not being portrayed as judge (like Barak) in chs. 4-5 but rather as the divine spokesperson.[14]

Deborah’s role as a prophetess, according to Schultz, was that of “issuing the call to Barak to lead Israel into battle (4:6), thus designating him as the next individual to lead Israel.”[15]

Deborah was a great woman, and she played a significant role in the victory of Israel over Jabin, but her role was fulfilled as a prophetess (Judg. 4:4); she was not an “elder” or “governor,” and she was not one of the “judges.” The unique prophetic role of Deborah in the book of Judges does not support a doctrine of female magistrates, and, therefore, does not validate the candidacy of Sarah Palin to be vice president of the United States. In fact, the example of Deborah is a rebuke to Mrs. Palin’s political aspirations.

The Example of Deborah Must be Harmonized with the Didactic Portions of Scripture

5. The example of Deborah and its normative significance and application must be harmonized with the didactic portions of Scripture. We must be very careful in how we use biblical examples and narrative texts. They should not be used to establish doctrine or practice by themselves; and, specifically, they should never be used to overturn the clear teaching of Scripture contained in the law and the prophets in the Old Testament, and the words of Christ and His apostles in the New Testament. In other words, the significance of examples and narratives must be determined by other passages that speak more directly to the doctrine or practice is view. This principle of hermeneutics is formally stated in the Westminster Confession of Faith: “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and, therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.” This principle teaches that the example of Deborah ought to be approached cautiously, and its normative significance and application must be determined by passages that speak more clearly.

The example of Deborah is often used to prove that women can serve as civil rulers. But as we have endeavored to show, the text does not support the interpretation that she was a civil magistrate in Israel. Therefore, it is our decided opinion that Deborah cannot be legitimately used as an example to support the doctrine that women are permitted to serve in the office of civil ruler. Nevertheless, we recognize the likelihood that some will reject this interpretation. But, the crucial hermeneutical principle we are discussing here means that, even if it can be proven that Deborah was a civil ruler, her example cannot be considered normative or a standard of Christian ethics unless it is searched out and shown to be so by other Scriptures that speak more clearly on the subject.

What do other Scriptures have to say on the subject of female magistrates? Since we are talking about examples and narratives, we will begin with those. In the Bible, every positive example of civil rulers, besides the example of Deborah (which we believe is not an example of a civil ruler) present the rulers as men. Esther was not a civil ruler and cannot be used in that regard. She was a queen, i.e., the wife of king Ashasuerus, and she exercised no civil authority beyond her own personal influence on the king.[16] Therefore, if we were left to examples alone to settle this issue, we would have to conclude that it is God’s will that men are given headship in the civil sphere.

But we are not left to examples. On this matter, God has revealed Himself in a definitive fashion. He has specifically instructed His people to choose men to be civil rulers (Exod. 18:21; Deut. 1:13; 16:18; 17:15). Furthermore, whenever Scripture addresses the subject of civil magistrates, it always does so in terms of men and never in terms of women (2 Sam. 23:3; 2 Chron. 19:5-7; Neh. 7:2; Prov. 16:10; 20:8, 28; 29:14; 31:4-5; Rom. 13:1-6). But this is still not all. The Bible also establishes the doctrine of male headship based on the creation order (Gen. 2:18; 1 Cor. 11:3, 8-9; 1 Tim. 2:12-13), and this created order is upheld, as we would expect, in an explicit manner through the passages that teach that men are the head of the home (Eph. 5:22-24), the officers of the church (1 Tim. 2:11-3:12), and the rulers and judges of the state (Deut. 1:13).

There can be no question that all these texts, particularly when taken as a joint witness, speak far more clearly to the issue of women civil magistrates than does the (disputed) example of Deborah. John Knox explains the hermeneutical principle we are discussing here and shows how the example of Deborah cannot be used to prove or establish a doctrine of female rulers:

. . . particular examples do establish no common law. The causes were known to God alone, why he took the spirit of wisdom and force from all men of those ages, and did so mightily assist women against nature, and against his ordinary course: that the one he made a deliverer to his afflicted people Israel: and to the other he gave not only perseverance in the true religion, when the most part of men had declined from the same, but also to her he gave the spirit of prophecy, to assure king Josiah of the things which were to come. With these women, I say, did God work potently, and miraculously, yea to them he gave most singular grace and privilege. But who hath commanded, that a public, yea a tyrannical and most wicked law be established upon these examples? The men that object the same, are not altogether ignorant, that examples have no strength, when the question is of law (Examples against law have no strength when the question is of law).[17]

For of examples, as is before declared, we may establish no law, but we are always bound to the law written, and to the commandment expressed in the same. And the law written and pronounced by God, forbiddeth no less that any woman reign over man, than it forbiddeth man to take a plurality of wives, to marry two sisters living at once, to steal, to rob, to murder or to lie. If any of these hath been transgressed, and yet God hath not imputed the same: it maketh not the like fact or deed lawful unto us. For God being free, may for such causes as be approved by his inscrutable wisdom, dispense with the rigor of his law, and may use his creatures at his pleasure. But the same power is not permitted to man, whom he hath made subject to his law, and not to the examples of fathers. And this I think sufficient to the reasonable and moderate spirits.[18]

To sum up, even if Deborah was a civil ruler (and the evidence indicates that she was not), her example cannot be used to establish the principle that Christians ought to support a woman for the office of civil magistrate, because such a doctrine flies in the face of so many other Scriptures that speak more clearly on the issue; these other Scriptures require civil leaders to be men. It is a very dangerous practice to seek to build doctrine and practice on examples alone, especially on examples that contradict the explicit teaching of God’s law. The hermeneutics and arguments of those who are using Deborah to justify Christian support for Sarah Palin are setting a terrible precedent that will reap a bitter harvest in the future.

If Deborah’s Example Is Used to Justify Female Civil Rulers, It Can Also Be Used to Justify Female Church Rulers

6. If the example of Deborah is used to justify female rulers in the state, then it can also be used to justify female teachers and rulers in the church. We must speak very carefully here and emphasize again that Deborah does not constitute proof for a doctrine of female rulers. We have sought to prove that Deborah was not a civil ruler but a prophetess who gave divine guidance to those in Israel who sought her out. However, what needs to be understood by those who teach that Deborah’s example establishes the propriety of female rulers (at least under some circumstances), is that, in making their argument, they have done more than simply prove that women can serve as civil magistrates. They have also established, whether intended or not, that women (at least under some circumstances) may serve as teachers and leaders in the church.

How is this so? Since, in their view, Deborah was a ruler in Israel who spoke the Word of God to Israel (i.e., to the Old Testament church), is it not logical to deduce that a woman may rule in the church and teach God’s Word in the New Testament church also? Thus, on the basis of the same method and rationale of those who argue that her example proves that a woman may serve as a civil magistrate, she also becomes an example of the propriety of female teachers and female elders in the church. And, since those who would use Deborah as an example of a female ruler have already established the principle that texts that speak more clearly cannot be used against the example of Deborah as a civil ruler, then, logically, the New Testament texts that speak more clearly about the role of women in the church cannot be used to deny a gifted woman the right to preach and teach in the church either.

This is precisely the position of evangelical feminists. They argue that the example of Deborah establishes the rightness of women governing in both church and state. In fact, they seem more concerned to use her example to validate women elders and preachers, than to justify women civil magistrates. And, if the details of the text of Judges are understood, and the arguments of the semi-complementarians for Deborah’s validation of female civil rule are accepted, then it is hard to avoid the conclusions of the evangelical feminists. If the headship of men in the civil sphere falls or is compromised by Deborah, then the headship of men in the church falls or is compromised by Deborah. The semi-complementarians who argue that under normal circumstances men should govern in the civil sphere, but under abnormal circumstances it is permissible for women to govern, logically need to concede the same for church leadership (and, for that matter, family leadership). If God’s order can be set aside in the civil realm and women installed as civil rulers when men fail to give proper leadership, then it is permissible to set aside God’s order in the church and install women as church elders when men fail to give proper leadership in that sphere. If Sarah Palin can be accepted as a biblically legitimate candidate, according to the model of Deborah because we live in extraordinary times, then Sarah Palin can also be accepted as a church elder, if she should seek that office, for the same reason.

Evangelical feminists are rigorously consistent in their doctrine of egalitarianism: It applies in every area of life. Semi-complementarians and their compromised position on male headship will not be able to win the debate against their egalitarian opponents in the long term because their position is not biblical. Semi-complementarians have already conceded egalitarianism in the public sphere; which sphere will they surrender next? On the basis of their endorsement of the example of Deborah as a standard for female rule over men in the state, it seems that the sphere of the church is in danger of falling next (we think that in various ways this has already begun), unless they repent and return to a biblical complementarianism that recognizes man’s headship in all spheres of life.

Conclusion: The Example of Deborah Does Not Establish the Propriety of Female Rulers or the Candidacy of Sarah Palin

We conclude, on the basis of biblical exegesis and the application of sound principles of hermeneutics and logic, that the example of Deborah does not establish the biblical validity of female civil rulers. We also conclude that there will be grievous consequences from accepting the faulty argument that the story of Deborah confirms the biblical acceptance of female rulers. We, therefore, urge Christians to think biblically and not use Deborah as justification for female magistrates in general, or for the candidacy of Sarah Palin in particular; because to do so is to corrupt the Word of God, undermine the authority of God’s law, violate a critically important principle of hermeneutics, and further encourage human autonomy in Christian ethics. We must not jettison the law of God by throwing off the counsel of the Scriptures as unpopular, antiquated, or unclear. It is God’s Word that illuminates our steps; Christians must not resort to doing that which is right in their own eyes.

In addition, we believe that it is foolish (if not blasphemous; cf. Titus 2:5) to compare the feminist Sarah Palin to Deborah and to use Deborah to validate her candidacy. Deborah was a prophetess who stood for God’s law in a corrupt society. Mrs. Palin is not a prophetess, and instead of standing for the authority and truth of the law of God, she has violated God’s law by her feminist life-style and her support of public policy positions that are contrary to God’s law.[19] Deborah was a great prophetess; Sarah Palin is only another Republican politician.

Furthermore, we contend that it is presumptuous to argue that since we live in a period of history like unto the period of the book of Judges, we can assume that God has raised up Sarah Palin for us in the same way that He raised up Deborah for Israel.

How do those who make this claim justify it? How do they know that the plan of God for Israel in the days of the Deborah is the same plan that He has for America today? How do they know that Sarah Palin is a Deborah for our day?

Perhaps she is something else entirely. Perhaps she has been raised up to test the Christian church, to see if our allegiance is to the Republican party and its agenda, or to Jesus Christ and His kingdom; to see if we are willing to sacrifice the biblical doctrine of Christian womanhood, and support a woman who embodies the feminist vision of womanhood for the sake of winning an election; to see if we are willing to compromise on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture for the sake of political expediency? Perhaps she is a manifestation of God’s judgment on the church in terms similar to Isaiah 3:12 (in the context of Isaiah 3:12 the women who ruled over the men were foolish women; they were not wise and godly women of the faith and character of Deborah)?

Whatever the case, this much is clear: We cannot presume to know the secret will of God, and then act on our presumptions and say we are doing God’s will. Rather, we are commanded to obey the revealed will of God by doing all the words written in the law of God (Deut. 29:29). It is only by obeying God’s law (Deut. 1:13) that we can know how to vote (or not vote) in this or in any election.

Finally, we reject the perspective of those who say that even though it is normal for men to rule in the civil sphere, we have to be willing to allow for an exception from time to time and not cling so tenaciously to God’s created order for men and women, or to His commandments. This sounds like pure sophistry to us. Where in Scripture is such a thing taught? If we must be willing to make exceptions in regard to female magistrates, then we must also be willing to do the same in regard to God’s appointed order for the church and the family.

But they seriously err who use the example of Deborah to argue that Sarah Palin is an exception that we need to embrace. The fact is that Sarah Palin is not an exception in our current political circumstances in America. She is part of a host of women who have moved into high positions of leadership in American civil government. To support Sarah Palin is not to yield to a Deborah-like anomaly, but to validate the whole feminist agenda of women ruling over men in the civil sphere.

1. Evangelical egalitarians believe that there are no gender distinctions between men and women in terms of roles or leadership possibilities. They contend, therefore, that women can serve in all positions of leadership in the church and the state, and are of equal standing (in terms of authority) with their husbands in the home. Egalitarians argue that every woman is free to choose her own course in life according to her own gifts and desires, and is not limited by divine law to fulfill a specific role or submit to any order of male headship. Another name for these evangelicals could be “Christian feminists” because they have sought to integrate the worldview of feminism with Christianity.

2. Semi-complementarians believe that there are gender distinctions between men and women. They teach that men have the headship in the spheres of family and church, and that men and women have separate but complementary roles to fulfill. They are designated semi-complementarians because they believe that the role relationships between men and women are strictly limited to the family and the church and have no application beyond those two spheres. Therefore they believe that there are no gender distinctions in what they call the public sphere, e.g., politics and civil government, business, law, or education. In the words of Wayne Grudem, they are “two-point complementarians” (Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth [Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Press, 2004], p. 518). The biblical position is three-point complementarianism: 1) family, 2) church, and 3) state.

3. Not only do Sarah Palin’s lifestyle choices demonstrate that she is a feminist, but she herself claims the title. In a recent interview with CBS news anchor Katie Couric, Mrs. Palin stated, “I’m a feminist who ... believes in equal rights, and I believe that women certainly today have every opportunity that a man has to succeed, and to try to do it all, anyway. And I’m very, very thankful that I’ve been brought up in a family where gender hasn’t been an issue. . . .”

4. For a fuller presentation of this perspective see “Sarah Palin and the Complementarian Compromise.”

5. Although Samuel brings to an end the period of the judges he himself is not considered a “judge” when compared to his earlier contemporaries. Samuel was a Levite, priest of God, and a prophet of the Lord. Samuel is a transitional figure in the history of Israel, even as Joshua was a transitional figure in Israel. Both were men with singular gifts and callings. He is also similar to Moses in that both he and Moses fulfilled an utterly unique role in Israel’s history. Moses was the giver of the law and the founder of Israel’s theocracy. Samuel was the first great prophet of Israel and the founder of Israel’s kingship in that he anointed Israel’s first kings at God’s command. Both Moses and Samuel functioned as prophets, priests, and civil judges. None of the judges of the book of Judges come close to the role of Samuel, he is in a class of his own. In regard to 1 Samuel 7:15-8:3, it is best to see Samuel’s role as a judge in terms of Deuteronomy 17:8-13. As the leading priest in Israel, he functioned as a supreme judge who handled the cases that had proved too difficult for the local elders and judges in the gates. Samuel, as a priest, fulfilled the role of judge given to him by God in Deuteronomy 17:8-13 by traveling to three locations: Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpeh. Here he held court to decide the cases the local elders could not resolve. In this role, he functioned not as a “judge” in the book of Judges, but as a supreme court judge according to the structure of civil government set forth in Deuteronomy 17.

6. This phrase refutes the notion that the “judges” functioned as the chief magistrates of Israel. It makes no sense to say that there was no king in Israel if the “judges” acted in a capacity similar to kings.

7. Richard Schultz, “shapat,” in New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, 5 vols., ed. Willem A. VanGemeren (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997), 4:218.

8. Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament,(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1907), p. 1047; Samuel P. Tregelles, Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1949), p. 844.

9. The text of Ruth 1:1, “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled. . . .” does not contradict this conclusion. The Hebrew text states, literally, “in the days when the judges judged.” If the judges were deliverers, then the sense is something like this: “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges were raised up by God to deliver Israel.”

10. Matthew Henry, A Commentary on the Whole Bible, 6 vols. (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, reprint of 1708 edition), 2:138.

11. John Knox, The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.

12. Deborah does not fit the model of these six men, the only judges whose work for Israel is actually described in the text. Furthermore, the work of these men does not fit the description of Deborah’s work — giving counsel and deciding controversies (Judg. 4:4-5). It seems suspect to argue that Deborah was a judge when she did something none of the other judges are recorded as doing — settling disputes — and she did not do what these judges are recorded as doing — leading Israel into battle! The only consistent, revealed aspect of the judges’ role in the book of Judges is that they were men of war who brought God’s judgment on Israel’s enemies and delivered the nation from foreign oppression. Deborah does not fit this revealed description of the judge’s work, but Barak perfectly fits this description.

13. The account of the battle clearly places Barak in the position of the leader. It is Barak, not Deborah, that “called Zebulun and Naphtali” (Judg. 4:10); it is Barak who “went up with ten thousand men athis feet” (Judg. 4:10); Heber showed Sisera that “Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor” (Judg. 4:12); Deborah tells Barak that “the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee?” (Judg. 4:14); it is Barak that leads the way down from mount Tabor with “ten thousand men at his feet” (Judg. 4:14); it is “with the edge of the sword before Barak” that the LORD overthrows Sisera (Judg. 4:15); and it is Barak who “pursued after the chariots” (Judg. 4:16, 22). Emphasis added to the biblical quotations.

14. Schultz, “shapat,New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, 4:216.

15. Ibid.

16. After the deliverance of the Jews through Esther’s courage and influence, it was Mordecai, not Esther, who was raised to high political office and given authority to govern (Esther 8:2, 9, 15; 9:4; 10:2-3).

17. John Knox, The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.

18. Ibid.

19. For example, in a recent interview with CBS news anchor Katie Couric, Mrs. Palin endorsed evolution as an accepted principle which should be taught in government schools.

Couric: “Do you believe that evolution should be taught as an accepted scientific principle, or one of several theories?”

Palin: “Oh, I think it should be taught as an accepted principle and I say that also as the daughter of a school science teacher ... evolution should be taught in our schools. I won’t deny that I see the hand of God in this beautiful creation that is earth, but that is not part of a policy.... [S]cience should be taught in a science class.”

WOW! This woman calls herself a christian. I'm telling you people, Look out!

Sarah Palin and the Complementarian Compromise: A Response to Our Brothers Al Mohler and David Kotter

By Bill Einwechter

Sarah Palin’s selection by John McCain to be his running mate in his bid for the presidency of the United States is not only a surprise political move, it also carries with it implications of historic proportions. If Senator McCain is successful in his candidacy, Mrs. Palin will become the first woman to fill the office of vice president of this country and be in place to assume the presidency, if necessary. She will also be in line to take up the Republican nomination for president in the future. If John McCain becomes president and chooses to serve only one term, it is quite possible that the next presidential election (2012) will be between Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. But Palin’s nomination to the vice presidency is not only an historic occasion for our country, it is also a watershed moment for evangelical Christians, particularly those who claim to be complementarian in their views of men and women (i.e., those who believe that men and women have different but complementary roles according to the revealed will of God).

The Dilemma Facing Complementarians

One would surmise that the nomination of Palin would create a dilemma for politically conservative Christians who say they believe that God has given a woman the distinct and important roles of wife, mother, and keeper at home. How so? On the one hand, Palin is a political conservative who seems to hold the right position on the issues most important to Christians; she purports to be pro-life, pro-second amendment, pro-marriage, pro-family, and she herself is a professed evangelical Christian.

More to the point is the fact that Sarah Palin is a professing Christian, a wife, and a mother of five children, one of her children being a baby with Down syndrome. The inescapable dilemma for these politically conservative complementarians, it would seem, is how to reconcile their support of Palin’s candidacy with their professed support of Palin’s biblically mandated roles of wife and mother. In addition to these considerations, the complementarian must face the question of whether or not it is biblically proper for a woman to rule over men in the civil sphere; after all, in their view, women are not to serve as pastors, and women are to submit to their own husbands in the home.

But, as it turns out, there is no real dilemma here for the complementarians. Sarah Palin the vice presidential candidate and Sarah Palin the mother of five presents no necessary contradiction in their system. A wife and mother of five children who is called by God to be a keeper at home (Titus 2:5), and who, in their view, is not qualified to be the head of her home or to be the elder of a local church (simply because she is a woman), is qualified and free, they believe, to seek the vice presidency of the United States of America. How can this be? Two recent blog entries by David Kotter[1] and Albert Mohler[2] reveal how this all fits together in their worldview.

Their First Argument: Biblical Standards Do Not Apply to Civil Magistrates

First, David Kotter tells us that since there are no biblical standards that define the qualifications for civil magistrates today, Christians are free to support Palin’s candidacy. The state, argues Kotter, is strictly a secular institution, and God does not require civil leaders to be Christians or even to be ethical. He says that when we vote on November 4 we will not be electing a “national minister or pastor in chief.” We agree on that. But what is Kotter’s point? I am not sure, but since he follows this point with the statement that, “A president is not held to the same moral standards as an elder of a church,” he implies that there are no explicit biblical standards of ethics, faith, character, or gender that Christians are bound to follow when casting their votes for their civil leaders. In Kotter’s view of things, Christians are at liberty to follow political expediency when it comes to voting and supporting political candidates.

Their Second Argument: Egalitarianism Is Biblical in Public Life

Second, both Mohler and Kotter say that the doctrine of male headship and the existence of distinct and separate roles for men and women only apply in the home and in the church. In the sphere of politics and civil government, these complementarians argue for egalitarianism (i.e., they say that the doctrine of male headship is not relevant here, and all public roles and positions are equally open to men and women). Mohler writes: “The New Testament clearly speaks to the complementary roles of men and women in the home and in the church, but not in roles of public responsibility.” Kotter states: “The Bible calls women to specific roles in the church and home, but does not prohibit them from exercising leadership in secular political fields.” This means, to them, that it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to be a judge, legislator, governor, vice president, or president of the United States.

Their Third Argument: Historical Examples Like Queen Victoria, and Exceptional Biblical Cases Like Deborah Are Valid Guides, Even Though Old Testament Precept Is Not

Third, they infer that both biblical and historical examples demonstrate that God is pleased when gifted women govern in the civil realm. David Kotter holds up the biblical examples of the Queen of Sheba and Queen Esther, as well as the historical example of Queen Victoria, as support for women magistrates. Al Mohler uses Queen Elizabeth I and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as his examples. According to these men, if God was pleased to raise up such women in the past, we can expect God to raise up gifted women in our day to lead us and rule over us. They both seem confident that Sarah Palin is one of these gifted women.

Their Conclusion: National Leadership for Mothers is as Pleasing to God as Faithful Service in the Home

Fourth, both Kotter and Mohler emphasize their respect for the homemaker, and they say that they are thankful for those women who fulfill the “monumental” tasks that God has given women in the home. But Mohler also notes that it is okay for wives and mothers to pursue careers outside of the home, both in business and in politics, if they fulfill their roles in the home first. Kotter concludes, based on the three points above, that a wife and mother exercising national leadership in political office is just as pleasing to God as a wife and mother faithfully serving her family in the home. Apparently Mohler agrees with him, and says he is “thrilled” with Palin’s candidacy. What is confusing here is how they can praise women who stay at home and fulfill their enormous tasks and, yet, at the same time praise a woman who leaves her home to fulfill the demanding life-style of high political office.

What shall we say to their arguments in support Palin’s bid to be vice president? Well, David Kotter rightly pointed out that we should “think biblically” about a female vice presidential candidate, and that we should “look to the Word of God” as our guide in sorting through issues like these, e.g., whether it is biblically proper for a wife and mother to pursue a career in politics. With these admonitions we fully agree. The problem is that neither Kotter nor Mohler give us any real biblical guidance for sorting through these issues. Kotter appeals to two ambiguous biblical examples, says that the Bible does not prohibit women from holding civil office, and suggests that, unlike the case of church leaders, the Bible gives no guidance to Christian voters concerning the qualifications they should look for in those they would place over them in the state. Let us consider the position and arguments of these complementarians with the Word of God as our guide.

The Sufficiency of Scripture and the Biblical Requirements for Christians Selecting Civil Magistrates

First, every Christian should recognize that the Bible does give explicit teaching on the qualifications for civil magistrates[3]. The two primary passages are Exodus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 1:13. These texts teach that if God’s people have the privilege of choosing their magistrates, they should choose wise and able men who fear God. Significantly, both of these texts specify that civil leaders must be men. There are a host of other passages that teach what God requires in civil magistrates (Deut. 16:18-20; 17:14-20; 2 Sam. 23:3; 2 Chron. 19:6-7; Neh. 7:2; Prov. 29:2; Rom. 13:1-6), and in every one of these texts men, not women, are in view. In the light of this, it is strange that Kotter and Mohler dismiss the notion that the Bible speaks directly to the subject of qualifications for civil rulers. It would seem that if we are to “think biblically” about voting, and it is important to “look to the Word of God” for guidance in our ever-changing political situation, these texts are where we should begin. It is true that on November 4 we will not be electing “a national minister or pastor in chief,” but neither was Israel when God revealed the qualifications that they should look for in the men who would be their judges and civil leaders.

The reason why Kotter and Mohler think that the Bible does not specifically define the qualifications for civil rulers is based, most likely, on a theological construct that denies the applicability of the Old Testament with its precepts, principles, case laws, commandments, and wisdom directives to guide our vision of Christian ethics. And, so, when it comes to voting ethics, only the New Testament counts. And since Kotter believes that the New Testament has nothing specific to say on the issue, he concludes that there are no ethical requirements for secular governments.

This means that there are no ethical requirements for voters, and Christians can dismiss Exodus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 1:13 and vote for whomever political expediency seems to dictate. The problem for those who take this approach is that the New Testament teaches (in 2 Tim. 3:16-17) that the Old Testament passages that relate to voting ethics do apply today because they are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (i.e., how to cast a righteous vote) so that the believer in Jesus Christ can do the good work of voting for those whom God approves. It is troubling that Christian teachers would set aside and/or ignore the instruction in righteousness contained in the Old Testament texts that directly speak to the qualifications of civil leaders, because Jesus Christ emphatically denied that He had come to destroy (i.e., to repeal, abolish, make invalid) the law or the prophets, and because He commanded His disciples to teach and do even the least commandments of the law (Matt. 5:17-19). If we are to be Christ’s disciples when we support candidates or vote, we must continue in His Word (John 8:31). The question then, is, “Does Sarah Palin meet the biblical standards for civil magistrates?” According to the Word of God, she does not because God’s law says that we should choose men to be our civil leaders[4].

The record of some of our finest and most influential Reformation Bible commentators stand in opposition to Mohler, Kotter and others arguing for a semi-complementarian, semi-egalitarian position on the jurisdictional roles of men and women. These men not only believed that all of the Bible informed our view of ethics, but that there was harmony between the Old and New Testaments on the issue of the role of women and the jurisdictional governments established by God. In his commentary on 1 Timothy 2:11-13, John Calvin explains that it is improper to use the example of Deborah to argue for women holding public office given that such is against the “ordinary system of government” ordained by God and revealed in his Scriptures. The great reformer John Knox, put it this way: “To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature, contumely [an insult] to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance, and finally, it is the subversion of good order, of all equity and justice.”

Male Leadership and the Creation Order

Second, the conclusion that God’s Word instructs us to choose men to lead us in the civil sphere stands in stark contrast to the complementarian position. According to complementarians like Kotter and Mohler, the doctrine of male headship and of role distinctions between men and women only apply to the spheres of family and church. This is a curious doctrine for which there is no support in Scripture. On the contrary, everything in Scripture supports the view that the distinction between men and women in terms of headship and roles is an essential distinction that applies to every area of life. The difference between men and women in terms of their place, calling, and function is based in God’s plan for them and is expressed in the creation order (Gen. 1:27; 2:18; 1 Cor. 11:8-9; 1 Tim. 2:13). This creational difference is as essential and unchanging as the physical differences between men and women. Manhood and womanhood are facts of humanity, and the significance of each can only be interpreted in light of God’s plan for each, and that plan is revealed in Scripture. Neither human reason or human experience can define the assigned roles of men and women, nor determine the relationship they sustain to each other in terms of authority and submission; only the Creator’s Word can do that.

The Bible is clear that man’s headship over the woman is an essential and all-encompassing part of God’s plan and part of His established order of government in the world. This fact is made explicit in 1 Corinthians 11:3: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” By its very nature, this order must apply in all areas of life; it is an essential order that knows no exceptions. Complementarians would agree that in every area of the divine government God is the head of Christ, and in every area of life the head of man is Christ. But, incredibly, they argue that the order of male headship has only limited application, and that there are many areas of life where it does not apply, and one of them is the civil sphere. They justify this interpretation by stating that 1 Corinthians 11:3 is in the context of church order. This is true, but the place in which this text appears and the sweeping statements in the text itself show that Paul is establishing the theology that the world is governed according to a divinely given order, an order that he will presently apply to church order. The fact that Paul is not giving a principle that only applies to church order is evident from what he says about Christ and God, and Christ and men.

The Bible Does Strictly Prohibit Women From Leadership as Civil Magistrates

Furthermore, Kotter is simply wrong when he says that the Bible does not strictly prohibit women from holding the office of civil leader, and Mohler is surely mistaken when he states that women serving as officials in government is no affront to Scripture. As we have seen, the Bible strictly prohibits women from holding civil office by declaring that rulers ought to be men. What Kotter should have said is that since He believes that Exodus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 1:13 no longer instruct us in righteousness, because these verses only applied to Israel, we can safely set these verses aside and vote as reason and experience dictate.

But do Kotter and his fellow complementarians realize what they have done to their own argument for male headship in the church? The New Testament does not explicitly forbid women from the office of elder either. Nowhere does the New Testament state: “Women may not be elders.” But, in spite of this, complementarians still maintain that women are forbidden to serve as elders; and they do so on the basis of the general role relationship of men and women established at creation and by the stated qualifications for elders given in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. In other words, they build their doctrine of male elders in the same way that those who are against female civil rulers build their doctrine of male civil magistrates, i.e., by means of the biblical order of creation and the biblical qualifications for the office that require the leaders to be men. How can this procedure of interpretation and logic be correct in one case and wrong in the other? In rejecting the biblical arguments for male headship in the state, they are laying the ax to the root of their own doctrine of male headship in the church.

The problem with a complementarian position that is egalitarian in the public sphere is that it is unbiblical, illogical, and dangerously inconsistent. This inconsistent complementarianism is theologically unable to withstand the rigorous consistency of the evangelical feminism that says that complete equality exists between men and women in terms of authority and roles in every area of life. That compromised complementarianism cannot sustain itself in the battle with feminist egalitarianism is evident. Their open endorsement ofegalitarianism in the public sphere, in response to the Palin nomination, can only expose the inconsistency and weakness of their semi-complementarian system. They do not seem to understand it, but, by their enthusiastic support of a wife and mother of five children (one being an infant) for vice president, they are jeopardizing their own ability to defend complementarianism in the home and in the church. How so? They have denied, at least in part, the biblical doctrine of the created order of male headship, and the biblical doctrine of the unique, non-transferable roles of men and women in God’s plan.

The Elevation of Experience Over Scripture; Fundamental Hermeneutic Principles Violated

Third, the examples used by David Kotter and Albert Mohler to support their contention that female magistrates are according to God’s will are not only an inconsistent and selective use of Scripture and an elevation of the authority of experience, but are also a fundamental violation of biblical hermeneutics. It is a curious thing that Kotter would appeal to the examples of the Queen of Sheba and Queen Esther to justify female rulers. A queen is a king’s wife, and normally the position of queen is not considered a political office. There is no indication that Esther exercised any ruling authority in Persia beyond the management of her own household and her personal influence on the king. The analogy of Esther actually applies to John McCain’s wife, Cindy, and not to Sarah Palin, his vice presidential choice. Furthermore, there appears to be an inconsistency in David Kotter’s use of the Old Testament. Apparently, it is okay to use Old Testament examples to establish the propriety of female rulers, but it is not okay to use Old Testament instruction from the law of God to disprove the propriety of female rulers. If Old Testament law is off limits in this debate, then so are Old Testament examples. Those who reject the authority of the Old Testament on this issue, should appeal only to New Testament examples of women rulers. But since there are none (unless someone wants to use Governor Pilate’s wife, King Herod’s wife, or Governor Felix’s wife), we can conclude, if we are consistent with a New Testament only hermeneutic, that Scripture does not approve of women magistrates.

Their use of examples of women rulers from history is also pointless. History is not a self-interpretive phenomenon, and the experience of history is not the final standard of faith and practice for Christians. Scripture is our only infallible standard of truth and the measure by which the facts of history must be interpreted. History presents us examples of every kind of civil leader one can think of. There have been capable female rulers and bad female rulers. What should we conclude from this in regard to the biblical doctrine of the civil magistrate and the role of women in the civil sphere? Nothing. “To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).

The method of those who use examples such as Deborah or Esther to prove the normative character of women magistrates violates the basic principle of interpretation that narratives and examples are not the basis for interpreting or overturning the meaning of didactic (direct teaching) texts, rather, the opposite is the case. The example of a woman like Deborah cannot be considered normative because it contradicts the explicit teaching of the law of God in Exodus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 1:13. The example of Deborah no more proves that we ought to vote for a woman for civil office, than the example of Abraham proves that a man should take his son to a mountain to sacrifice him to demonstrate his devotion to God, or the example of David proves that a man may have more than one wife.

The Devaluation of Christian Womanhood

Fourth, the praise that Kotter and Mohler give to the woman who chooses to focus all of her energies on being a wife and mother is not only blunted by their endorsement of Sarah Palin, a woman who has made a different choice, but is also subverted by the message their perspective sends to the Christian community: the choice between full-time homemaking and a full-time career is one each wife and mother is free to make in accord with her own ideas of calling and “fulfillment.” Rather than upholding the biblical role of the woman, they have undermined it; rather than exalting biblical womanhood, they have cheapened it; rather than standing for biblical complementarianism, they have compromised it. According to Scripture, the woman was created to be man’s assistant in his dominion task (Gen. 2:18), to function under his headship (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-23), to be a mother and nurturer of children (1 Tim. 2:15; 5:10, 14), and to manage her home (1 Tim. 5:14). These “monumental” tasks require married women to be “keepers at home”[5] (Titus 2:5), i.e., they are to stay at home to give their full time and attention to the enormously important roles that God has given to them. But, according to these men, the roles of wife and mother are limited in time and scope, leaving them free to be “CEOs in the business world” and “officials in government.”

Why this Evangelical Compromise Is So Significant to the Future of the Church

The nomination of Sarah Palin to be John McCain’s vice presidential running mate has electrified social conservatives and “thrilled” the hearts of partial complementarians like Albert Mohler. But those of us who seek a biblical reformation of the family and the defeat of feminism’s vision for women look at the matter in a very different light. Sarah Palin identifies herself with the anti-Christian philosophy of feminism. She uses feminist terminology, identifies with feminist political objectives, publicly praises liberal icons of the feminist movement, and has built her lifestyle around the feminist ideal of motherhood and careerism. She represents the feminist lie that a woman can do it all, that she can be a wife and mother and pursue a full-time career outside of her home and still meet all her responsibilities in the home. She personifies the feminist image of the tough, take-charge woman who is fitted to rule and govern in any sphere she chooses. She establishes the feminist principle that if a woman can do something, and she wants to do it, she ought to do it; there should be no constraints placed on her by her family, her church, or her society. She validates the feminist notion that it is fine for a mother to leave the care and training of her children in the hands of others while she seeks her own version of success in the world. Sarah Palin has brought to light the degree to which feminist ideology has triumphed in American culture and in the American church.[6]

In commenting on the evangelical church’s enthusiastic embrace of the candidacy of Sarah Palin, Doug Phillips wrote these very sobering words: “. . . the widespread acceptance of a pro-life professing Christian Republican, self-proclaimed feminist mother of an infant and four children as a candidate for the highest office of the land is the single most dangerous event for the conscience of the Christian community of the last ten years at least. The IQ of the Christian community has dropped 50 points. In order to win an election they have sold the core of what is right and true about the defining issue of our generation—the family! Once this threshold is passed, it will be virtually impossible apart from widespread repentance to recapture this ground.”[7]

Albert Mohler and David Kotter (and other semi-complementarians) are Christian men who have done much good for the kingdom of God and for the family. They do desire God’s order for the family and the church. But the fundamental compromise and inconsistency of their view on the role of the woman in the public sphere has led them to praise and support the feminist vision of womanhood as it is personified in Sarah Palin. This feminist vision is the arch enemy of the biblical vision of the godly woman who is the helper of her husband, the nurturer of her children, and the keeper of her home. And so, intended or not, their stance is a tragic betrayal of the cause of restoring Christian womanhood and the biblical family.

By arguing that the absence of a formal and express prohibition against female magistrates means that women can be magistrates, they have undermined the integrity of their argument for an all-male eldership because there is no formal and express prohibition against female elders. By selectively and with insufficient explanation drawing from one or two obscure examples in the Old Testament, while dismissing or simply ignoring clear examples and precepts, they have modeled an improper approach to Scripture. By defending the propriety of a mother of young children ruling over the nation, they have undermined the doctrine of male headship and women as keepers at home.

In addition, their theology of the state is problematic. It introduces human autonomy into Christian ethics and undermines the doctrine of the full sufficiency and authority of all Scripture to define righteousness for everyaspect of life. Both this theology and its conclusions as applied to the doctrine of the female magistrate are certainly inconsistent with historical interpretation of Scripture of orthodox Christianity as articulated by men like John Calvin and John Knox, both great fathers of the faith whose considered opinions on these matters should not be lightly dismissed or ignored.

I pray that our semi-complementarian brothers will recover their biblical moorings before it is too late. Otherwise, the standard for their daughters and the next generation of Christian women may very well be the feminist Sarah Palin, not the biblical Sarah (1 Pet. 3:5-6), not the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:10-31, not the woman of Titus 2:4-5.

1. David Kotter, “Does Sarah Palin Present a Dilemma for Complementarians?” Gender Blog of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (September 3, 2008) at

2. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., “An Unexpected New Motherhood Debate,” Blog (September 2, 2008) at

3. For a discussion of these texts, see “Biblical Standards for Choosing Civil Magistrates.

4. For a more detailed defense of this conclusion, see “Should Christians Support a Woman for the Office of Civil Magistrate?”

5. For an exposition of the biblical concept of keeper at home, see “Exegetical Defense of the Woman as Keeper at Home.”

6. For a presentation of the feminist vision for the family and the degree to which it has been successful, see“The Feminization of the Family.”

7. This quotation is taken from a private e-mail correspondence dated September 2, 2008.

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