Why a Woman Shouldn't Run for Vice President, but Wise People May Still Vote for Her

Article by

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

In a video we recently posted, I gave only a couple sentences of personal opinion about the issue of womanhood in the present Presidential election. Therefore, it has seemed good to provide some explanation and foundation for what I said.

My convictions about the implications of manhood and womanhood for political life are nuanced and rooted in Scripture. They are also complex and controversial. So they don’t fit blogs well. But I’ll try. The gist is this:

I think that the Bible summons men to bear the burden of primary leadership, provision, and protection in the home (Ephesians 5:21–33) and in the church (1 Timothy 2:8–15). Add to this that these texts (and others, like Genesis 1–3) build their case not on the basis of culture (which changes) but on the basis of God’s design in creation (which does not change).

Therefore, I am not able to say that God only speaks to the role of men and women in home and church. If our roles are rooted in the way God created us as male and female, then these differences shape the way we live everywhere and all the time.

Add to this that the Bible does not encourage us to think of nations as blessed when women hold the reins of national authority (Isaiah 3:12). Nor in the Bible were women part of those conscripted to fight the battles for Israel (Numbers 1:20).

These and other teachings in Scripture incline me to believe that manhood and womanhood are not mere social constructs. They are rooted in God’s design for creation. They are meant to shape culture, not merely be shaped by culture.

Discerning the implications of these biblical teachings for family, social, and political life is not easy. There will always be differences among Christians on this. I don’t presume that all my conclusions will be shared by other Christians, even by some who agree with the foundations I have just laid.

And I certainly do not think all of my conclusions should be codified in law. It should not be illegal, in this fallen age, for a woman to be President of the United States. Christ does not implement his revealed will in this age with guns and fines. But all human government (rightly) enforces its laws with guns and fines. So law is not the way to deal with this issue. Christians should not crusade in this fallen age to pass laws to forbid women from the Presidency.

Not only that, a person with my view may very well vote for a woman to be President if the man running against her holds views and espouses policies that may, as far as we can see, do more harm to more people than we think would be done by electing a woman President and thus exalting a flawed pattern of womanhood. In my view, defending abortion is far worse sin for a man than serving as Vice President is for a woman.

If you want to see the implications worked out in more detail, the fullest place I have tried to deal with them is in the book What’s the Difference, pp. 58–64, and Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, pp. 50–52, both of which are available to read free online.