May 11

Walt Chantry, “The High Calling of Motherhood”

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Quote,Recommended Link,Sermon Follow-Up

From an older Banner of Truth printed sermon on 1 Tim. 2:15 (“But women will be saved through childbirth, if they continue in faith, love and holiness…”):

What is involved in motherhood? After birth pangs bring children into this world, there come years of life pangs. It is a mother’s task and privilege to oversee the forging of a personality in her sons and daughters. For this she must set a tone in the home which builds strong character. Hers it is to take great Christian principles and practically apply them in every-day affairs – doing it simply and naturally. It is her responsibility to analyse each child mentally, physically, socially, spiritually. Talents are to be developed, virtues must be instilled, faults are to be patiently corrected, young sinners are to be evangelised. She is building men and women for God. Results may not be visible until she has laboured for fifteen or twenty years. Even when her task ends the true measure of her work awaits the full maturity of her children.

This is why Proverbs 10:1 tells those who are children that “A foolish son is the heaviness of his mother”. Immorality is a public shame to the mother of one who breaks God’s law. Her whole life was devoted to raising her son and daughter. Father has a career as well as a home. But all of mother’s eggs have been placed in one basket. Motherhood could not be a part-time hobby. If you become a fool, you will break your mother’s heart. Godly women do not live for kisses and nice little gifts, but to see their children walking with the Lord in righteousness. All of a godly woman’s hopes in this world are bound up with the children of her motherhood.

The rest of the sermon (online here) has some provocative — if not controversial — thoughts on the on the “salvation” and “childbearing” of the 1 Tim. 2:15 passage. Some excerpts:

This is not a text on remission of sins but deliverance out of sin-related suffering and oppression. Woman will triumph over and emerge from the misery and curse under which she is held by forces of evil.

It is obvious that more is intended by “childbearing” than the physical process of conceiving, carrying a child in the womb, and bringing him into the world, but mothering that person is assumed.

But how are women saved? By their joining militant organisations which demand rights equal to man’s? By proving that women can “make it” in the world of business, politics, sports, and even the pastorate? By escaping from home where she has been buried in obscurity and where so many evils have been perpetrated by abusive husbands? Never! That approach only institutionalises her rebellion against her God-given place.

Conscientious motherhood cannot follow the selfish pattern of having a child only to send him off as soon as possible to a day-care centre. Of course, at times this is essential for survival! But at other times it is produced by a selfish interest in one’s own career or in acquiring more wealth. Women want to get on to more exciting things. This low view of a mother’s task is damaging the church.

Her pathway to real salvation was appointed by the Almighty. It is motherhood. “She shall be saved through childbirth” (v 15). The first gospel promise was given before any curse was pronounced on man or woman. And the promise wonderfully involved the means of motherhood. “I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen 3:5). God our Maker would not allow the human race to perish. Now that Adam and Eve had sinned and Paradise was shattered, the only hope lay in God himself. “I will” is the message of grace. One means was mentioned as the instrumental course of salvation from the devil’s clutches. It was childbearing! Deliverance comes, not through man’s vocational efforts in the cultural mandate, but through woman’s childbearing. How wrong women are when they imagine that their hope lies in imitating men’s careers. As they abandon motherhood for the office and factory, they despise God’s carefully designed means of breaking the devil’s yoke and fleeing the miseries he has inflicted.

It is to woman, not man, that God assigned this high calling. But her hope is not identified with her political savvy, her business acumen, or her social activism. It is in childbearing! Women today are so eager to abandon “mere” motherhood to duplicate male labours. How tragic, when the hope God has given woman and for all of our race is tied to childbearing! Of course the central attention of Genesis 3:15 is upon one seed of the woman, Jesus Christ. He who was born of the Jewess, Mary, delivered the decisive death blow to the head of the serpent on Calvary. He purchased salvation for all who are redeemed.

Yet, even before Christ came, a godly seed of the woman was set against Satanic forces. Childbearing prepared the way of the Lord. When about to raise up mighty leaders, Jehovah God, often sought out peculiarly able women. Jochebed, the mother of Moses; Hannah, mother of Samuel; Manoah’s wife, mother of Samson, are leading examples. Through their childbearing the course of history was wonderfully altered. Since Christ has come, a godly seed carries the gospel to all the earth to gather God’s elect and hasten Christ’s return. Raising a godly seed is still of the profoundest importance to the cause of God in the earth.

Adam saw at once that the most profound work of the ages – God’s work of grace – is directly related to motherhood. Appreciating God’s purpose, “Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living” (Gen 3:20).