by Herman Hanko
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Many books concerning the place of women in the kingdom
of God are negative. Women may not preach; women may not be elders; women
may not be deacons. This book, however, seeks to do more than affirm that
women are excluded from the special offices of the church. Their positive
contribution, a vital one, an indispensable one is set forth.
Far Above Rubies extols God-fearing women and
underlines their importance. Without godly and pious women the Church
could not survive. Infected by feminism, many in the professing
church-world view the work of the home as "an intolerable bore" (p.
136). However, as the book points out, "the Scriptures do not
present it that way. The Scriptures speak rather of the fact that there
are few, if any, callings in all of life that are more noble than the
calling [of] Christian mothers" (p. 136). Bringing forth children was the
hope of Old Testament women, because they believed that the Seed of the
women (Gen. 3:15) would bring salvation: they longed to bring forth the
Christ. That is why women like Jehosheba (II Chron. 22:11) risked
life-and-limb to save the seed royal during the dark days of godless
Athaliah; that is why Hannah poured out her heart for a son during the
apostate days of the judges (I Sam. 1:11). New Testament women bring forth
the church, future members of Christ's body.
One contributor describes the role of covenant mothers
as "shaking Satan's kingdom" because "there is no sound more grating to
the ears of Satan than the groans of mothers bringing forth the true
Israel. In that cry he does not gloat. Who knows what these little ones
will grow up to be and how they will withstand his kingdom!" (p. 80).
Feminists claim that Christians and the Bible are
"against" women, because the Bible does not allow women to hold special
offices in the Church. Far Above Rubies demonstrates that only
the biblical position is for women': "the Bible has the woman's own best
interests in view, and prescribes what is best for the woman herself" (p.
158). Office-bearers are not lords over God's people (I Pet. 5:3),
rather "to occupy a place of authority means very, very simply that you
be a slave to God's people, the lowliest of slaves to God's people" (p.
133) so the idea that forbidding women office is to treat them as
inferiors is mistaken. Another contributor reminds us that the Bible is
"very concerned to guard against the headship of the man being
interpreted to justify a harsh, tyrannical, domineering rule of the man
over the woman" (p. 159). Facing the objections head-on, he
dismisses as ridiculous and a mere emotional appeal the argument that not
to ordain women is to waste their gifts, and he issues this challenge to
those who believe the Bible is culturally-conditioned: "Do you suppose
for one minute that the Lord Jesus would allow Himself to be pressured by
the cultural situation of His day? Did He ever cave in to the prejudices
and wrongs of the culture of His day?" (p. 169) Such a rhetorical
question ought to silence all objection. At stake is the doctrine of
There is also practical advice on finding a godly woman
and maintaining a godly marriage: "Young men even in the church often
look only for a woman with physical attractiveness and charm. And if a
girl lacks what the advertisers are looking for in a 'cover girl', even if
she is marked by godliness and the fear of the Lord, then many young men
in the church look away from her. Who is looking for a virtuous woman? I
warn you, if you look for less, then the Lord may well give you what you
are looking for, and you can spend a life-time learning that 'favour is
deceitful and beauty is vain.' How many men are there, even in the church,
whose lives are a little bit like hell, because God gave them that pretty
she-devil that they were seeking?" (p. 8). This is the stark
warning to young men in the church.
The daughters of Sarah, therefore, ought not to envy
the godless women of the world, for "generally speaking there has never
been a more troubled, dissatisfied, unhappy and ungodly woman than the
modern emancipated American woman" (p. 66), writes one contributor.
Rather they ought to find satisfaction and fulfilment in their God-given
role. The Proverb says of the virtuous woman, "Her children rise up, and
call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her" (31:28). Thus
this book will also encourage the men of the church to bless God for their
godly wives, mothers and sisters.
This book was reviewed in the Standard Bearer. Click here to
read this review.
To read chapter 7 of
this book in Afrikaans, click here.
To read chapter 11 of this book in Afrikaans, click here.