Should Women Pursue Careers,
Use Contraceptives, et alia?
NCW 7, December 1993
Q. What is the New Covenant Church's position on women? Should women pursue careers or should they be at home with their children? Should wives have children as soon as they get married? Should they control the number of children they have? What is your view on sex and contraceptives?
Firstly let me New Covenant Christians maintain two essential positions regarding women:
A wife has, according to scriptural definition, two prime callings:
- (1) We believe women to be equal to men in "rights", abilities and the same heirs to grace in Jesus Christ; and
- (2) That God has placed the husband over the wife in righteous authority (Eph.5:22-24) which therefore requires that she be self-limiting in the freedom that she has acquired in that grace (Col.3:18; 1 Pet.3:1,5). By the same token, men are required to be self-limiting in other areas, sacrificing other freedoms given by grace (Eph.5:25; 1 Pet.3:7). (See New Covenant Christian Witness, 6:19-20, November 1993).
All her other calls -- and they are many -- are therefore subordinate to these two.
- (1) To be a help meet for her husband (Gen.2:18-20), and
- (2) To bring forth children and be a mother to them (Gen.1:28).
New Covenant Christians believe that women are first and foremost called to be mothers and homemakers. They are not, however, to be denied education in either spiritual or secular realms, and particularly not the former. Single women are encouraged to improve their minds and to be industrious in preparation for marriage, home life, and service in the Church.
We are not opposed to married women being engaged in paid work up until the time they bring forth their first child. Thereafter we believe they should labour at home. We do not believe that children should be sent to kindergartens but that mothers should raise their own children and not leave such a sacred to call to strangers. At the same time, we also believe it is good for small pre-schoolers to be exposed to other adult Christians and therefore encourage our people to gather together into Christian communities. We believe very much in the extended family, both biological as well as spiritual.
Furthermore, we believe that a woman, having brought forth children, should continue to be industrious (Prov.31) and engage in domestic industries provided these do not interfere with her primary calling and duty as a mother and wife. Here communal projects such as can be found in a Christian Community are made easier by cooperation amongst female adults.
Obviously single mothers are often required to work in order to feed and clothe their children. In the New Covenant Church such would be encouraged to join a New Covenent Collective where they can be both with their children as well as being productively engaged in work. Where Christian husbands are in short supply, as shall be the condition in the last days (in many churches women outnumber men 7:1), single mothers are encouraged to either remain celibate, find a husband (if available), or enter plural marriages in those countries where such is permitted or tolerated.
Having Children Encouraged
As regards having children, the New Covenant Church believes that women should not delay having children too long. First and foremost, they should seek to know God's will. Having children should not be held back by economic considerations. Mothers and fathers in the New Covenant are encouraged to seek revelation on when they should have children, and if no revelation comes, that they should obey the scriptural injunction in Genesis to have them anyway. Many of our families are told through vision the gender and names of their children before they are conceived and usually know when they should start trying to have children. This writer has always known what his children would look like, and their names, before they were conceived, and whilst some children have been revealed years in advance, he has often found that the Lord reveals his sons and daughters the moment he and his wife are to start having them.
The Church lays no hard and fast rules on these matters as it is very much up to couples to prayerfully discover God's will in their own lives according to what has already been revealed in scripture and by personal revelation. Motherhood (and fatherhood) should not be long postponed.
Early Marriage Encouraged
The New Covenant Church does not encourage celibacy and believes that every man and woman is called into marriage unless specific and unambiguous revelation is received to the contrary. The latter would be regarded as quite extraordinary, however. Accordingly, young men and women are encouraged to marry young once they have the proper spiritual foundation. New Covenant children are educated and prepared for marriage from about the age of 12 and are considered by most outside the Church to be highly knowledgeable and mature in their attitudes.
The New Covenant views contraceptives in general as an unfortunate symptom of the modern permissive attitude towards sex, and the sex-centredness of society in general. Were people to be spirit-centred, contraceptives would be totally unnecessary. New Covenant Christians are opposed to all contraceptives with the exception of condoms which it tolerates. Chemical and other mechanical contraceptives, which would alter the body's chemistry or otherwise interfere with normal biological processes, are forbidden. The New Covenant views abstinence, with self-control, as by far the best solution. As with the use of condoms, the Church also tolerates coitus interruptus. Ideally, though, for spiritual wholeness, couples are taught to have intercourse with a view to conceiving children first and foremost, with sex for pleasure a secondary matter.
Male and Female Priesthood Ministers
We believe that the heart of marriage is first and foremost spiritual. In the New Covenant there are both male and female ministers. Both are partakers of the Royal Priesthood (1 Pet.2:9). Whilst many ministerial functions overlap (such as teachers), there are also separate offices which reflect the talents and abilities of the respective sexes. Women play a major rôle in the Church as teachers, councilors, ministers, and even missionaries. Local congregations are served by both male and female pastors, who act as the spiritual "father" and "mother" of the fellowship.
Women in the New Covenant therefore enjoy a rich tradition where their service is highly valued and where they enjoy a worth equal with the men. Unlike liberal Christian churches where men and women often do exactly the same jobs, the New Covenant is harmonious with scriptural teaching in recognising both the differences and similarities between men and women. In every office of the inner church, or Holy Order, women have offices equivalent in every respect to the men and serve in the highest councils as equals.
Some additions have been made to the original article (980418).
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Last updated on 18 April 1998
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