Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Prayerful, or Pragmatic?

Why Sarah Palin Inspires Us
Posted September 6, 2008, by Elizabeth Botkin

The nation is aglow over the manifold triumphs of women over the last century, reaching their climax during this years’ election. Women have never been so close to holding the “highest” position in the country, that of Chief Executive, and woman’s collective journey has been a major political theme this month. In Senator Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, she made an impressive statement, putting a face on how far our nation has come: “My mother was born before women could vote. My daughter got to vote for her mother for president.”

Powerful women on all sides are taking big strides — and will be bequeathing quite a future to their daughters. That means us. How should we see this future, and how should we respond to their example?

In the opinion of just two of these American daughters, this picture is troubling, and brings with it promises of more trouble. Part of the tragedy, as we see it, is that it’s not just secular feminists who are excited about this future. Christians across the nation are cheering the entrance of Mrs. Palin, forgetting that, according to the biblical qualifications for a civil magistrate, she as a woman is not qualified to hold this office (Ex. 18:21, Pro. 31:23, 1 Tim. 2:12).[1] We believe that Mrs. Palin’s appointment as civil ruler, and indeed the feminist strides that made it possible, are a judgment from God (Isa. 3:12). We’re already suffering from one consequence of this judgment more severely than America realizes.

An exultant Ann Coulter scored a bulls eye in (unwittingly) identifying this judgment in the title of her first piece on Palin: “The Best Man Turned Out To Be A Woman.”

To be honest, we’re impressed with Sarah Palin. She is a remarkably talented, well-spoken woman. She has many fine policies. And we like her practical, moose-hunting style of femininity. But it is not a day to rejoice when the best man in the room happens to be a woman — nor is it a cause for cheer when men can’t compete with women in doing their own job. During this year’s unprecedented election, the key players have been strong women and flaky men. This is a sign of judgment. The scenario is reminiscent of Gloria Steinem’s boast, “We are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” Men have been stepping into the background — women are trying to become the men they wish existed. We challenge any young woman to see this as a happy prospect. It’s hard to be inspired by the abdication of real men and the subsequent rise of pseudo-men. (Interestingly, Gloria Steinem has little confidence that American women will go for Palin, who, in Steinem’s words, “opposes everything most other women want and need.”[2] We believe she underestimates the inconsistency of Evangelical feminists. Ms. Steinem, on the other hand, remains one of the most consistent men in the room; she will not compromise her radical left-wing principles just to support another woman.)

American Christians may be turning their ears from the plain teachings of Scripture to harken to what they believe is “the crying need of the moment.” They may decide our desperate need for a conservative VP trumps the teachings of Scripture. But we know from Scripture that we are to fear God, and not men — not even liberals. It has been rightly noted that people usually get the government they deserve. If we continue to make pragmatic compromises based on fear of man, God may see fit to continue chastising us with the government we deserve. God is on the Throne, regardless of who is in the White House, and He declares: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Psa. 3:6)

The people are right that America has desperate, crying needs. However, Mrs. Palin’s nomination for the Vice Presidency is not answering the cry — it is making it louder. Looking back over the last year, what’s glaringly obvious is that what America needs is more qualified male leaders. The real cry of the moment is: Give us men!
Seeing women in leadership does not inspire men to be better leaders. We believe Sarah Palin’s example will not inspire men to be men — it will inspire them to make way for more Sarah Palins.

So how are strong women supposed to respond when men are not being men? The example of the prophetess Deborah, though set in a time of more severe judgment than ours, gives interesting insights. She was living in a time when “the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord” (Judges 4:1), “Village life ceased” (Judges 5:7), and the leaders had not been leading (Judges 5:2). Despite the desperation of the time, Deborah clearly did not become a civil magistrate or “judge” in the modern sense of the word, nor did she run for any kind of office, nor did she sit in the gates (Judges 4:5). Even when pushed toward positions of leadership, Deborah never actually took the reins of authority, but rather extended them to Barak and stood supportively behind him (Judges 4:6, 4:14). Deborah succeeded in bringing a man into leadership, rather than take the leadership herself.

So why are we inspired by Sarah Palin? Because her example puts a stronger fire in us to answer the cry, the way we believe God intended. We are more inspired than ever to help our father, brothers, husbands and sons to fill the role we are not called to fill. It has rightly been observed that women have already been elected to the highest position they can hold, and that any “promotion” in the civil sphere would be a step backward. Their womanly sphere is where this hurting nation needs them most.

So let us resolve to give the world what it really needs, in the way that only women can give it. We have our work cut out for us, building strength into our men; It will call out every gift and talent within us. In doing so, we’re not just answering the cry — we’re obeying God, Who holds our first allegiance.

Mrs. Palin, you have inspired us to take stronger action for our God and for our country.
As for us, we don’t aspire to become the presidents we wish we could vote for. We aspire to raise them.

1. Many excellent, timely articles have already been written on the qualifications for civil magistrate and the role of women — go here for a directory.
2. “Palin: Wrong Woman, Wrong Message,” by Gloria Steinem

This article was from the blog The Botkin sisters have written a book and helped their father make a couple worldview movies. I really appreciated their style of writing and how Elizabeth Botkin chose to explain and expound on this issue. Your comments and opinions are welcome!


Anonymous said...

Deborah clearly did not become a civil magistrate or “judge” in the modern sense of the word

Where do they get there bases for this? It looks to me like the Bible seems to indicate that she was "judging over Israel". I don't see any evidence of this in the scriptures. Never twist the Bible to fit your perspective.

Deborah never actually took the reins of authority

From Judges 4:6:
"...Go and deplay troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun..."

Deborah commanded this (with her God given authority, "Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded"). Sounds like she took the reins of authority to me.

The highest calling for a woman is not to lead as a judge, civil magistrate or what you want to call it. A woman in leadership is never ideal an ideal situation. It's not God's best for any country in any time, but God has used woman as leaders (in a similar way he used King David, who committed many horrible sins). God used Deborah to deliver Israel.

Katie said...

Hello anonymous :)

I wonder who you are or if you're one of my friends... But it doesn't really matter.

It was a SIGN OF JUDGMENT when Deborah arose as the only one in Israel who would lead. If you read the chapters AFTER Deborah, you see the Israelites go into an even WORSE captivity. Who knows if this wasn't God judging what Deborah did...

Yes, it was a victory on a pragmatic looking field--and that's what many Christians are thinking solely about: WE DON'T WANT OBAMA AND THIS IS A GOOD ALTERNATIVE. Can't you see the fear there? We need to trust God and not vote for something he clearly says he will judge. You quoted Deborah to me (and those verses from the article) but failed to even acknowledge the verses in Isaiah that talk about it being a "shame" when a woman is ruling. You say not to twist the scriptures to my views--I say to you that, since I am a woman myself, it would make no sense for me to twist the scriptures against what I myself am--it's hard for me to argue from this side! But I am trying to SEARCH the scripture for what God WANTS and NOT twist it, as I feel so many Christians are doing regarding this issue.

You also ignored the verse that says a woman is not to have authority over a man (2 Timothy 2).

Thanks for your thoughts. :)

David said...

Hi Katie,

Thanks for the response. FYI, I didn't give my name because I think it would be a distraction to what we are discussing. Now, on with debate...

I agree that it was a sign of judgment that Deborah arose as the only one is Israel who would lead. As for the reason the Israelites went into an even worse captivity, I think this might be a better explanation. God judged Israel because of their continued sins and because men wouldn’t stand up and lead. I wouldn't say that God judge Israel because of what Deborah did. In fact, I think God used Deborah as a blessing to Israel and she did the right thing in standing up and leading.

Talking about that situation today, I don't think Palin is Deborah (in fact, a lot of people are getting more excited than they should :-\). But I look at it this way; God in His providence has allowed that either McCain or Obama will be the next president. Both of these will be judgments on our nation. We need to ask, under what judgment will the unborn have a better chance to live? Under what judgment will the definition of marriage have a better chance to remain as one man and one woman? I do not believe God will put more judgment on us because we vote with that attitude. All that has to happen for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. I don’t think that voting for McCain is a result of fear. I think it’s a result of thinking through the options God has given us.

In Isaiah 3:12 it talks about woman in leadership (I presume this is the verse you were referring to). I think this indicates that woman in leadership is a sign of judgment on a nation. However, I think that God can still use a woman to do good for a nation. There is also thought (see Geneva Bible Notes, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary, John Wesley’s notes on the Old and New Testaments) that this was speaking about effeminate rulers, not literally females. It is worth consideration.

As for I Timothy 2 (I presume again that you meant I instead of 2), I believe this is for church leadership. However, this is an interesting argument that deserves more thought and study.

I shouldn’t have accused you of twisting the scripture. However, I do feel that the Botkin sisters are trying to change the story of Deborah when they say things like “Deborah clearly did not become a civil magistrate or “judge” in the modern sense of the word” and “Deborah never actually took the reins of authority”. I do agree with you that many Christians are twisting scripture to support Palin. I heard one even arguing (in a lot more words than this) that truth changes with the culture. Again, I don’t believe God best plan for any nation involves woman in leadership. But when men sit down, God can raise a woman up as he did in Israel.

I hope I don’t come across as being condescending or proud or anything like that. I hope I don’t appear disrespectful to the role woman. I think they have one of the biggest or the biggest roles in shaping the next generation of leaders.
I think it’s great for us to discuss this so we can formulate what we believe into writing and maybe point out things that we have been overlooking.

Thanks for opening this up for discussion.

Mr. Anonymous said...

oops. Well there's my name if you want it. he he he

Katie said...

What you say makes a lot of sense and I appreciate your thoughts. Trying to pick the "best judgment" out of two is basically what we're looking at. But for me personally, I cannot vote for anything God will judge with a good conscience. The only sin God says is worse than all the other sins is blasphemy (ie: disobeying the command to not commit murder is NOT worse than women leading when God has delegated that to men). So I will probably end up voting for Chuck Baldwin, even though it's a loser's cause... But hey, it was a loser's cause back in 1776 as well. I'm not saying this is the same thing as the Revolutionary war, but it's getting there *sigh*

I also think sometimes that getting McCain and Palin will just put off the inevitable. I am being completely honest here... I feel like our nations has turned away from God (speaking generally) and, at least from the examples in the Old Testament, nothing good ever comes of that. I will by no means vote for Obama, but neither can I vote for the potential to have a woman leading our nation. I wasn't wild about McCain before he picked his VP and to me, this is confirmation to not vote for him.

Yes, I did mean 1 Timothy 2 (thanks!) and I have studied this and honestly don't see how this can apply to just within the church. In the beginning it actually says to PRAY for your authorities (interesting...) and then goes on to say what women are to do. I believe Paul did this on purpose. Women can pray and influence, but not be in leadership themselves.

That is a point you make about Isaiah 3 being just effeminate... Will have to study that.

I am a debater at heart and have not taken offense at all throughout this dialog (and I sincerely hope you haven't either).

The good thing to remember during these troubling times is that God is sovereign and nothing happens without his say. Praise the Lord!