No one should be surprised at the announcement that women are now going to be serving in combat roles in the U.S. military. This has been heading toward us for a long time, and the only thing surprising about it is that so many people are surprised. Now the only thing that stands between your daughter and involuntary combat service is a determination by some president (or other) that we need to return to conscription, followed by one court decision.
There are three points to be made about this in response. First, opposition to this monstrosity is a function of biblical faithfulness. This is a straightforward application of the teaching of Scripture — to which we must all submit. But once we have understood the Scriptures on the point, those of us in the CREC should reflect on what our communion has said about it. And if that were not sufficient, we should look at the issue dispassionately, in the light of nature. Hold it up and look at it, out in the sunlight.
First the Scripture:
“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God” (Dt. 22:5).
This verse is a prohibition for cross-dressing when it comes to men. But the restriction placed on women here is not simply the reverse of that. When a man is getting kinky in the way described here, it is a straightforward transvesite problem. But going the other way, we should notice a different problem. Notice the odd construction — “that which pertains to a man.” The Hebrew underneath is keli geber, and should be read as the “gear of a warrior.” Whether we are talking about a man in fishnet stockings, or a woman decked out in full battle regalia, we need to recognize that God finds it loathsome. So should we.
Another scriptural argument that should be noted is this. “Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk” (Dt. 14:21b). Just as Paul noted that the law about not muzzling oxen was not simply about oxen, so this passage is not just about baby goats. The principle latent in this law is that we must not take that which was intended for the giving of life and transform it into an instrument of death. The milk was intended by God for sustenance, and so it should not be turned into death. Women were created and exquisitely fashioned by God to be life-imparters, and so they must not be transformed into death-dealers.
Having said this, we should remember that Scripture gives us the law, and Scripture gives us the parameters of any exceptions. It is not unlawful for a woman to take life under any and all circumstances. The woman on the tower was apparently a decent shot (Judg. 9:53), and Jael the wife of Heber knew she was supposed to do (Judg. 5:24). She didn’t cook a baby goat in milk, but she did serve it up to Sisera. But these blows to the head were given to us as a type, and pointed toward the fundamental way that the woman would have her revenge on the serpent and his seed. Her child would finally crush the serpent’s head, and would be bruised himself in the process.
Secondly, in our memorial on terrorism, the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches has declared the following:
“It is not lawful for women to be mustered for combat service, for our Lord has declared it an abomination for women to don the martial attire of a man (Dt. 22:5). Christian fathers must protect their daughters from being seduced or coerced into such a circumstance, and the Church must support them as they do so.”
It is therefore the formal position of the CREC that this egalitarian move, putting women into combat roles as standard operating procedure, is an abomination. We believe further that Christian fathers have a moral and biblical obligation to prevent their daughters from being seduced, such that they sign up for such a thing voluntarily, or coerced, such that they have no option. Both her family and her communion must stand against this terrible thing.
It is worth noting that those Reformed denominations which have declined to go on the record in this matter are far more vulnerable when the inevitable court battles come. This is a matter of conscience for us. If you have spent a great deal of time arguing that it is not a matter of conscience, it will be hard to turn around and find that conscience later on when you think you need it. If you have few principles, it is hard to take a principled stand. This is why Quakers don’t have to fight, and why cowardly Presbyterians do. I believe that the pacifistic position is wrong, but at least those folks have the courage of their convictions. Presbyterians? Convictions? What are those?
And last, let me make one quick appeal to the light of nature. The egalitarians who are pushing for this are not true egalitarians — they want the same access to the same positions for men and women, but they don’t want the same qualifying requirements. A true egalitarian would insist that all positions should be open to both sexes, provided they both were able to meet the same standards. But this whole (very rigged) joke depends on running two entirely different sets of standards simultaneously, and shouting down anybody who notices. So then, o ye treat-everybody-the-samers! When do you think you will start doing that? It’s your religion. Why won’t you practice it? It’s your temple. Why won’t you go in? Is your god scary?
If we eliminated the double-standard here, we would still have the theoretical problem, but we sure wouldn’t have a practical problem at all.
So then, in sum, Scripture is clear, clear-headed Christians are clear about it, and the science is settled. Boys and girls are different.