For the past two Sundays, our pastor has preached on Titus 2: 3-5 which says, "The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."
This past Sunday, our pastor exhorted the congregation to believe and obey all of God's word--including the woman's role of keeper at home. This exhortation is definitely counter-cultural in America today. For the members and visitors sitting in our congregation, this message offended some (see Rom. 8:7), affirmed some, and confused some; some were justified by their circumstances and some looked to their heart motivation rather than their outward actions. In Gospel Fear Jeremiah Burroughs writes:
"...when such a one has heard the Word, it dares not cavil against it. It's true, you may examine the Word that you hear preached, but not cavil against it. Before the heart is brought to this trembling frame, it will be ready to rise against the Word and to entertain cavils, and vain objections against the Word; but when the heart is brought to tremble at the Word, it dares not cavil and object as before."
Growing up in a non-Christian home, I strove to succeed in high school so that I could go to college and get a "good" job. I never really thought about marriage or children (or God for that matter), although I assumed I would be married one day and have at least one, maybe two kids. Even after I became a Christian, it really did not immediately change my career focus; I just put church on top of my already existing lifestyle. But in December of 2001, God began to work on my heart and within 18 months, I stopped working, gave birth to our 3rd son, and began homeschooling our boys. It was not an easy transition, but it wasn't incredibly difficult either. Looking back, my move from work to home has been the best thing my husband and I have done for our personal growth as Christians, for our relationship as a couple, and for our affinity as a family.
Unfortunately, our society continues to mold how Christians view working women so that it is accepted as normal and the biblical view of being a keeper at home is seen as outdated, culturally irrelevant, and even offensive. This accepted view of working women has also spilled over into the role of women in the church so that a woman can now preach and teach, which is not biblical, (see 1 Tim. 2:12).
In addition, the current evangelical push for missionary service (a la Radical by David Platt) has negatively affected the Church by inflating the status of a missionary so that if a believer does not serve as a short-term or long-term missionary, that person is viewed as a second-class Christian. This push for missionary service along with the acceptance of working women has convinced young women to enter the missionary field, even though it's not allowed in Titus 2 and 1 Timothy 2. The biblical picture is for a married woman to follow her husband in missionary service or a young woman to follow her father. I recently read a blog post of a Reformed Baptist pastor who recounted the heart-break he felt 4-years ago when his 20-year old daughter was sexually assaulted on an airplane as she headed to serve as a missionary to an unreached people group. I'm not saying that the father or the daughter was at fault for the assault (her attacker will one day stand before the Almighty God and give account for his sins), but I am concerned because the need for father's protection over his daughter until marriage and the biblical view of a woman's role as keeper at home were not even addressed in the aftermath.
"For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you," (1 Peter 1:24-25).