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Q&A: The case against women in combat

January 29, 2013

By Baptist Press

Even before U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the military was lifting its ban on women in combat, professor and theologian Owen Strachan was
speaking out against such a possibility, saying it not only went against
Scripture but also defied common sense.

The new executive director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Strachan penned a column for Christianity Today late last year outlining the biblical case against placing women on the front lines of combat.

Following the Pentagon’s announcement, Baptist Press conducted an email interview with Strachan, who also serves as assistant professor of theology and church history at Boyce College in Louisville, Ky. What follows is the transcript:

What are the biblical and theological reasons you oppose placing women in

STRACHAN: My theology of war — and women in combat — is
directly related to my theology of sex and gender. When it comes to making
mankind in His image, God creates Adam first. He makes Eve from Adam. Her body
is literally made from his, which signals both Adam’s leadership and his duty to
protect Eve. In other words, Adam gives his body so that Eve may exist. He is
called for the rest of his life to give his body so that Eve may thrive. This is
the starting place for distinctions between the sexes. God doesn’t make Blob A
(Adam) and Blob B (Eve). He doesn’t make gender-neutral people. We don’t believe
in a divine creation of Teletubby-esque nature as Christians. The Bible shows as
a matter of first principles that men and women are different, distinct and
complementary. When Eve is brought to Adam with her distinctive shape and form,
Adam rejoices. He cries out, “This at last is bone of my bones, flesh of
my flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Adam delights in Eve, the one “taken from man.”

All this shows that sexual distinction is not incidental, as our culture
says today. Biology to a large extent is destiny. Eve is created with a
womb and a bodily system to nurture children (oxytocin is God’s biological call
to this duty). Adam is not. He and his male descendants are made stronger,
larger, faster and with 11 times as much testosterone as Eve, as secular
research has shown. This is why, on average, boys are much more naturally drawn
to play-fighting, wrestling, and rough sports than girls. They have over 1,000
percent more testosterone than girls. We’re not talking about slight differences
here; we’re talking about foundational realities. It’s just common sense to
affirm that men and women are physically different.

What does all of this mean for our conversation? It means that men are made for war. Women are not. Women are far better suited to nurture, though of course this does not mean that women aren’t courageous. Men are made for battle. They are made to protect, and they are called by Scripture to protect women and children. Adam’s sin is
first the failure to protect — to physically and spiritually come between the
serpent and Eve. When God visits the earth to bring justice following this
disobedience, He addresses Adam: “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). The pronoun is
singular. The meaning is unmistakable. This duty of men persists after the fall.

Read the entire interview here:

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