Women in Men's Roles (and vice versa)
On this matter, I take the same position that John Piper, the Minneapolis pastor, takes. In several works, including, I believe, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Piper argues that there are certain jobs that it is more appropriate for a man to have and less appropriate for a woman to have. I agree entirely. I say this prepared for a hailstorm of criticism, and some which may come from Christians. That's okay. I think that the culture and its egalitarian doctrines have so infected the church that we have unknowingly imbibed harmful teaching.
I think that certain work is suited to men, though I do not argue this from explicitly scriptural grounds and I would not argue it with the same force that I would on something clearly taught in Scripture. I argue this based on a smattering of biblical texts and principles, including the original pattern for the home found in Genesis 2 and 3, the work of the Proverbs 31 woman, and the qualifications for elders and deacons. In all of these texts and many more, men are portrayed as being the chief breadwinner in the home. Men occupy leadership roles in the home, the church, and the society. I believe we were made to do just this. We were made to be strong, and so we are best suited for military service and law enforcement work. We were made to lead our fellow citizens, equipped as we are with qualities that befit the ardors of public leadership--toughness, a more analytical nature, a less emotional nature. We were made to till the ground and seed the earth and fish the seas. We were made for danger and hardship, and we were made to protect our families as best we can from these things. We, not women, are supposed to be in the line of fire, the hot seat, and the city gates. When we fail to occupy these places, we fail our women, and we fail our world.
Does this mean that I believe in a highly structured code with all kinds of restrictions? No. I don't. There are numerous situations in which a woman may take on a man's role for a time. I think of struggling seminarians whose wives put them through school by working. This is not a good long term plan, but it is a helpful short term solution. When possible, though, I think it best to have Dad in the workforce and Mom at home. There is something right about this. There is something right about men being President and Secretary of State. Though women have sometimes performed well in such capacities, I do not believe that such work is best suited to them. Were I a foreign dictator, I would think that a society with women in power must be a society with weak men indeed. On a personal note, I've noted my own innate reaction to female cops. I will be decidedly un-PC here: it's just not the same to have a crisis and have a female cop show up to help a bunch of men, which happened recently at my church. Moments like that lucidly show, I believe, that there is some work that is gender-specific. That, I think, is the scriptural pattern, and that, I think, best meets the needs of our families, our churches, and our society.