Now comes the “Quandry” part. In many respects Sarah Palin looks to be a an attractive candidate. Who could not admire and energetically cheer her decision to have a downs syndrome child? Just thinking of her decision to have this child brings tears to my eyes. Who could not want to support her and so stick their thumb in the eye of those in the liberal mainstream establishment who hate any thing that smacks ever so slightly of something remotely Christian? Sarah Palin seemingly has many of the right convictions but according to God’s word she is not the man for the job of Vice President and Christians who take Scripture seriously would be hard pressed to justify a vote for her.
First, Scripture teaches that God’s created order disallows a woman as civil magistrate. Though most American citizens and most American Christians hate it, the reality is that God’s word teaches that Man was to be the covenant head, and that woman was made to be man’s companion and help-meet. Scripture teaches (I Tim. 2:13, I Cor. 11:13, I Cor. 11:8-9) that the creation order was by design and that the teleological end of that creation order, in regard to male female relationships was that man should have positional, authority and leadership priority. The position of men and women in this regard is not something that is cultural, nor is it something that came about because of the fall, but rather the position of men and women is anchored in the creation order. People are welcome to defy that order but someone has to be the one who tells them that the snap-back of reality is painful.
Some will argue here that I am applying something that is perhaps true of the church and the family but is in no way true of the civil realm. This is not solid reasoning. First, Scripture clearly teaches that men are to be leaders in each of these authoritative realms that God has ordained. The man is to servant-rule in the home (Eph. 5:22-24), the church (I Tim. 2:11-14, I Cor. 14:34-35) and the civil realm (I Cor. 11:3, Ex. 18:21). It would be passing strange were God to ordain men to rule in realm of the Church and Family but allow Women to rule in the civil realm. Indeed, such an arrangement would make God the author of confusion. The fact remains, as our climate indicates, that if it is ever argued that women should be allowed to be leaders in any one realm only a matter of time will separate that argument from the argument that allows women to lead in all spheres.
To round off this first point we should answer a ready objection. Some will contend that even though it is not God’s ideal that women lead as civil magistrates that Christians still ought to vote for a female candidate if she is better qualified than her opposing male candidate. The problem with this argument is that such reasoning would lead us to similarly reason that a wife that is better qualified to lead her home than her husband should be allowed to do so on that basis. The problem in such reasoning is apparent.
Second, Scripture explicitly teaches that one qualification for civil magistrate is maleness. Whenever Scripture speaks to the issue of qualifications for those in the civil realm it universally speaks to men. Now, we may wish that wasn’t the case till the cows come home but our wishing doesn’t change what the Scriptures teach. The constant premise of Scripture is that men will be the civil magistrates. A look at Ex. 18:21 and Deut. 1:13 reveals that the call for magistrates begins with maleness. The Hebrew word for ‘men’ in those passages is the gender specific word for individuals of the male persuasion. Further the guidelines in Deut. 17:14-20 for a future King assumes maleness since that future King is to be a “brother” and is forbidden to multiply wives. Further references that reinforce this observation are II Sam. 23:3, Neh. 7:2, Prov. 16:10, 20:8, 28, 29:14, 31:4-5, Rom. 13:1-6.
Now, there will be those who disregard such an argument by saying that “that was just their culture, so naturally they wrote that way.” Such an approach fails to take into account the creation order argument made above. Further such an objection evacuates the idea that Scripture is Holy Spirit inspired. The Holy Spirit chose the very words of Scripture and the words He chose for civil magistrate leadership are words that are rightly translated ‘male.’ We may not like it and so we may develop all kinds of gymnastic hermeneutics to escape it but the Scriptures teach what they teach. The explicit teaching of Scripture is that God follows His created order by requiring that civil magistrates, like Elders and Fathers be male.
Thirdly, the teaching of Proverbs on what constitutes a virtuous woman implies a rejection of women being civil magistrates. In Proverbs 31 we find the teaching that the center of a woman’s interest should be her home. This observation cuts deeply on the Sarah Palin nomination because Governor Palin is in a position where she needs to be giving all of her attention to her home. Now, the idea that women should find the center of their reality in the home is passé in our times. This is clearly seen in the Palin nomination, as it seems to be subtly suggested that because Palin has been nominated as Vice President women have now arrived where the really important action is unlike that crummy work of being a wife and mother. Proverbs 31 also teaches that it is the virtuous woman’s husband who sits in the gate (serves as civil magistrate) and not the virtuous woman herself. Now, Prov. 31 does teach that the importance of the virtuous woman is lauded in the city gate, no doubt by her husband, as her works are praised in the city gate. I fully recognize that it is difficult to hear but Christians do women a godly favor by not voting for them in as civil magistrates.
Fourthly, Scripture indicates that female leadership is a judgment against a people. In Isaiah 3:12, the prophet, as God’s spokesman, wails over the state of the covenant community proclaiming, “As for my people, children rule over them and women are their oppressors…” Sarah Palin’s nominee to be Vice President is yet one more indication of God’s judgment against both the nation and the Christians in the nation. It indicates that the Church has lost its saltiness and its light bearing capacity to repel darkness. Further, the fact that so many Evangelical Christian are wetting their pants in glee over this nomination reveals, once again, how Evangelicals are leading the way in applauding God’s judgment against them.
Fifthly, the example of Deborah proves at best that God will use female leadership as a reproach to men to accomplish his ends. Many will appeal to Deborah as an example of God using women as civil magistrates. The problem with this is that the account of Deborah clearly indicates the weakness of men. Also from Scripture we learn that God directly raised up Deborah to do his work, in light of the weakness of men. I seriously doubt that anyone would make the argument that God has directly raised up, in a revelatory sense, Sarah Palin in light of the weakness of men to be a civil magistrate.
Also on this score we must be careful that we don’t take an instance from one of Israel’s lowest and most confused points to overturn the clear and explicit teaching of Scripture on male leadership in the civil realm. God can speak through Donkeys but we would be wrong to set out in the pastures waiting for God’s Word from an Ass. Even so God can lead through women in the civil magistrate but it is sin for us to vote for women against God’s explicit Word in hope that God will give us another Deborah.
Finally, some will argue that as America is not a covenanted nation then Christians shouldn’t have to worry about God’s standards on voting. It is true that America is not a covenanted nation but it is not true that God’s standards therefore do not apply to the Christians dwelling in the non-covenanted nation. Christians for their part must continue to apply God’s standards and that means not voting in favor of God’s judgment.
Everything I’ve read suggests that Sarah Palin is a fine woman. Unfortunately, as I said earlier, though she seems to be ideologically in the right place, she remains the wrong man for the Vice Presidency. Still, because of this Nomination I see John McCain winning convincingly in November. Would that Christians wouldn’t join themselves with this judgment.