Women in Combat According to the Bible

Over the last few years, the topic of gender has been prevalent.  From same sex marriage to transgender bathrooms.  America has been changing and it is important for us as Christians to be informed, with both what the world is believing, and what the Bible says to us.  Recently, the topic of gender has intersected with the issue of military combat.  On January 23, 2013, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta lifted the restriction on women from serving in front line combat. More recently, this change has carried itself out into the Army rangers and Navy Seals, the most elite branches of the US military.

The root of this change comes down to a very basic question.  Is there a difference between men and women?  In recent days, the culture has answered that with a resounding no.  On both sides of the political spectrum, it has become assumed that claiming a difference between the genders is patriarchal and discriminatory.  But this past week has seen a major test to that answer in a proposed change to the United State policy on the draft.  The Washington Post tell us,

The top officers in the Army and Marine Corps testified on Tuesday that they believe it is time for women to register for future military drafts, following the Pentagon’s recent decision to open all jobs in combat units to female service members.[1]

At the end of the day, this is only a sensible outworking of the sexual revelation.  If there is truly no difference between men and women then why would we force men to go into frontline combat but not women?  If men can cary forty pounds of gear on their back and storm into war situations requiring hand to hand combat with strong, male enemies, why can’t we force women do the same?  The world says that it is demeaning to women if we do not force them into war with and against other men.  This is the voice of our culture.

Biblically faithful Christians have a different and, as I would argue, a more sensible and caring perspective.  A perspective that values women more than the feminist culture does.

From a Biblical perspective, forcing women to sign up for selective service and forcing them to enter frontline combat is absolutely unthinkable. Though the world sees it as freedom and equality, Christians must see it as demeaning and uncaring to women. We must speak against the forced inclusion of our mothers, daughters, and sisters into frontline combat.

Here is why. According to the Bible, God’s Word, men and women are created equal in dignity and worth in the sight of God (Gen. 1:27) yet women and men are different. Furthermore, women are to be more highly esteemed and protected than men, not because they need to be but because they aught to be.  Take for example 1 Peter 3:7, “husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”

With the eyes of an unbeliever, the idea of husband treating their wives as “someone weaker” or a “weaker vessel” is offensive and moral wrong at best, hate speech at worst.  But if you have eyes to see, what this text is saying is quite amazing.  Take for example your beautiful dishes that you love.  Are you going to take those dishes and throw them around, or are you going to value, cherish, and take care of those dishes?  If you really love them, you will treat them with dignity and care, even better than you would treat yourself.  Women are not precious and valuable dishes but they are precious and valuable fellow bearers of God’s image, to be protected and valued above men in every situation.

Take also Ephesians 5:25-33,

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Do you see how from a Biblical perspective, forcing women to sign up for selective service and forcing them to enter frontline combat is absolutely unthinkable?  Though the world sees it as freedom and equality, Christians must see it as demeaning and uncaring to women. As Christians men and women who see God’s wonderful creation of Man and Women with gender roles, that are good and God given, we must speak against the forced inclusion of our mothers, daughters, and sisters into frontline combat.

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/02/02/army-and-marine-corps-chiefs-its-time-for-women-to-register-for-the-draft/?tid=sm_tw

One thought on “Women in Combat According to the Bible

  1. I like that line from Lord of the Rings – “The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them.” Eowyn was the only person who could kill the Witch King precisely because she wasn’t a man and she succeeded because she had enough training to keep her from getting killed instantly. The Bible credits two women with some really impressive kills – Jael taking out Sisera with a tent peg and a woman dropped an upper millstone on Abimelek’s head but he ordered his servant to run him through with a blade so that the woman didn’t get the credit for the kill but when the story is mentioned in a second place, the woman gets the full credit for the kill. Does the Bible lament the loss the femininity of these two women? No – Jael is celebrated in the Song of Deborah and the woman’s name is forgotten, but her victory is remembered by King David. Ours is a changing world. My German friend tells me that all high school graduates have to go through basic training and spend at least two or three years in the military of his country. This ensures that the young adults are in the peak of good health, learn about proper exercise and nutrition so that their health care costs will be minimal for a long time and that the ones who don’t go off to war won’t be defenseless in their own homes should the country be attacked. Israel does something similar and it has also benefited them in much the same way. It may only be a matter of time before a similar program is initiated here because it saves healthcare money and it saves lives that otherwise wouldn’t have been.


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