A Review of Biblical Womanhood in the Home, Ed. Nancy Leigh DeMoss

(Crossway, 2002)

With where our culture is currently, a woman desiring to follow God’s Word will be swimming against the tide. Slowly but surely the boisterous feminist ideology has so revolutionized the thinking of men and women that even in the church we have found ways to reinterpret Scripture or simply ignore what it teacher. In Biblical Womanhood in the Home, editor Nancy Leigh DeMoss is calling for a counterrevolution of a different character.

“Unlike most revolutions, this counterrevolution does not require that we march in the streets or send letters to Congress or join yet another organization.  It does not require us to leave our homes; in fact, for many women, it calls them back into their homes.  It requires only that we humble ourselves, that we learn, affirm, and live out the biblical pattern of womanhood, and that we teach the ways of God to the next generation.  It is a revolution that will take place on our knees (17).”

In this work, the workshop sessions from the March 2000 Building Strong Families in Your Church conference are compiled to give a beautiful picture of true womanhood in the kingdom of God.

In order to reclaim biblical womanhood, one must begin with God. In many evangelical circles, we start with fallen men and women and try to figure out God from that perspective. Here, DeMoss begins with the glory of womanhood as created by God. Far from being a product of culture, DeMoss tells women: “You and I did not become feminine because someone gave us a doll and put a dress on us – we were born feminine because we were created feminine (23).” DeMoss provides an overview of womanhood by providing a biblical basis for understanding women as created as helpers, nurturers, and devoted to creating a home for those God places in her life. Carolyn Mahaney provides a solid understanding of true beauty by focusing on inner qualities and the purpose for which God has created a woman as opposed to the pursuit of physical beauty to match that of the culture. Therefore, “…a woman who cultivates inner beauty, who fears God and lives to serve others, makes a difference in people’s lives (38).” Mary A. Kassian teaches the essential understanding of God as our perfect Father. Our society has not only lost the physical presence of fathers; we have also lost something even more fundamental: We have lost our idea of fatherhood (47). This must be reclaimed because “…relating to God as father is essential to our spiritual well-being and is central to what it means to be a believer (48).”

In part two, the authors address the challenge of biblical womanhood in a fallen world. DeMoss paints a portrait of a woman used by God and one of a foolish woman according to Scripture. She calls women to understand that “if you are a child of God, you have been chosen by God for a task of supreme significance – to be a bearer and nurturer of spiritual life by carrying the life of the Lord Jesus to others (69).” How do women accomplish this? “Only by returning to the Scripture and placing our lives under its authority can we be delivered from the foolishness that has caused us to tear down our ‘houses’ and become wise women who build our homes. What is at stake is not only our own spiritual well-being, but that of our families, our churches, our communities, and even the generations to come (85).” P. Bunny Wilson follows with an incredible picture of the need and desire to be pruned in order to bear sweet fruit to the Lord that will refresh those around.

The third section addresses the freedom of women as helpers. Here, Barbara Hughes and P. Bunny Wilson address the misconceptions of headship and submission by reclaiming the biblical picture that God intended to portray through the marriage relationship as well as functioning within the church. Hughes recognizes that this will be a struggle for many women, yet she clearly explains the issue at hand. “There’s only one problem, and it’s a big one:  We don’t live in an ideal world or with ideal men who perfectly follow the Ephesian instruction to love their wives as Christ loved the church and laid down His life for her.  Like Adam, many husbands fail to lead (or sacrificially love).  And like Eve, many wives rationalize about submission, inwardly mouthing Satan’s condescending question, “Surely God didn’t really say that!’ (122).” Wilson shares a testimony of a couple where the woman determined to follow the biblical command to submit. The husband’s responded, “But when she relinquished control, the only person I had to deal with was the Lord, and that’s an uncomfortable position (143).” Wilson exhorts women to remember that “submission means God intervenes” (140).

The final section discusses the joy of women as bearers and nurturers of life. Susan Hunt and Dorothy Kelley Patterson give practical thought on raising feminine daughters, being nurturing mothers, and passing womanhood on to the next generation. Hunt says that “the very fact that we are asking how to bequeath femininity to our daughters is a sign of the times (147).” Therefore, there is an essential need for teaching women and their daughters what it means to be feminine. Patterson shares that “you do not have to have a biological child born into your home; you are not limited to a certain season of time.  You must be willing and ready to use your maternity as God sees fit (163-164).” In this, she explains the biblical purposes of womanhood can be expressed regardless of a woman being single, married, or childless. Hunt concludes the series with an amazing look at Titus 2 and treats Scripture as if it actually means what it says. All women need to be involved in following the command of Titus 2. According to Hunt, “every woman is both a younger and an older woman. There is someone who needs your life-perspective, and there is someone with a life-view that you need (175).”

The strength of this collection of writings is the inherent consistency among these women. The clear reason for this is their high regard for the inerrancy and clarity of Scripture on the topic of womanhood. I was also impressed by their care to consider all women whether young or old, single or married. They clearly portray womanhood as being divinely created and considered to be “very good” from the beginning. Rather than joining the argumentative debate of egalitarian versus complementarian, these women simply present Scripture as being “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).”

Approaching this as a man, I have learned so much about the beauty and heart that God has created in women. However, I also realize that my perspective may be biased. As a family pastor, I have incorporated the thoughts of several ladies in my congregation to read various sections of this book to gain their perspective of the writing and applications. They have each responded with a sense of “yes, this is it.” However, the sad fact that this book is difficult to find is also an indicator of where our churches are in today’s culture. This teaching is something women are desperately seeking but have no desire to hear because we have bought into the lie that being created as a man or a woman means absolutely nothing. In God’s eyes, man and woman have great worth, and we can only understand this clearly when we submit ourselves to His Word.

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