Reformed Women Speak


Three of the most unwelcome concepts today are those of authority, discipline, and obedience. The first letter of everyone of the these three words, taken in this order, spell the word “ado”. Isn’t there pitifully little ado about these three biblical concepts without the application of which our society will fall apart?

It is safe to say that much of the lawlessness of today, on all levels of society, could be traced to the current tendency to depreciate the value of authority, discipline, and obedience. Let us take a look at these three very significant biblical concepts.


All authority has its roots in God. The Lord Jesus Christ received His authority from the Father: “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth”. Whatever authority man has, is delegated authority. Whatever authority God has delegated, He expects to be exercised. His glory and our good are at stake in such exercise.

In this article I like to hold before us women some matters that relate to authority, discipline, and obedience. This time we shall limit ourselves to what pertains to the home. We are planning to pursue at least one aspect of it in the September issue of THE OUTLOOK as it concerns the school.

It is self-evident that if a mother wants her children to heed the authority she has over them, she must give consistent evidence of herself submitting willingly and humbly to the authority God has over her and also to the authority God has delegated her husband to have over her.

She is first of all to be a follower of God as His dear child, walking in love, being self-sacrificial, living a pure life which in no way gives evidence of sexual or moral perversion, not desiring what belongs to someone else, engaging in honorable conversation rather than dishonoring herself and her Lord with “filthiness”, “foolish talking”, or “jesting”; “proving what is acceptable unto the Lord”. The Lord, besides telling her all this in Ephesians 5, directs her (as well as Christians generally) to “walk circumspectly” (looking around, being alert to all manner of danger), to redeem the time (time is not given us to waste), to understand what God’s will is for her, to refrain from indulging in wine, to speak to herself “in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”, and “to sing and make melody in her heart to the Lord, always giving thanks”. If she thus bows before divine authority, fearing God, she will set a truly Christian example of submission to the will of God.

She is, furthermore, to submit herself to her own husband as unto the Lord (Eph. 5:22). Just why should she do that? Hasn’t she a right to liberate herself from this? Hasn’t she the right to be autonomous in this day and age; that is” hasn’t she the right to be a law unto herself, deciding for herself what kind of relationship she wants to entertain toward her husband? Hasn’t she the right to have the word “obey” taken out of the marriage vows? A Christian woman knows she is bound by the authority of God and His Word. God says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). God’s commands to us are final just because He is God. We may neither alter them nor modify them to suit our purpose. To do so is to dishonor God and to help break down our social structure.

A mother who thus submits to the absolute authority of God and the delegated authority of her husband, is setting her children an example which will not only qualify her to exercise her God-given authority, but it will also make her sense her obligation to exercise the authority God gives her. Such a mother can impress upon her children that she has authority only because God gave it to her, and that the power God gave she must exercise in obedience to Him. Her constant prayer will be that she may be found faithful in her use of this power. She will constantly resort to the Bible for directions and thus sense increasingly what God demands of her.


A God-fearing mother will maintain discipline in her home. Rather than the wishes and attitudes of her children being her guide, God’s will will impel her to discipline them. She knows parents, not the children, are to rule the home. C. S. Lovett recently wrote: “Parents who refuse to punish their youngsters in love, earn their hatred, regardless of superficial appearances to the contrary” (p. 18). He says also: “Parental discipline is the bedrock of any young person’s security” (ibid. p.19). A little later he quotes what a young girl wrote to Ann Landers: “My parents spoiled me rotten. They let me do anything and everything . . . Any kid who thinks life like that is fun, is crazy. I practically ruined myself, and my life is a mess” (Ibid. p. 24). You all know the familiar proverb of Solomon: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it from him” (Prov. 22:15). Perhaps a less familiar, although most significant, text is that of Ecclesiastes 8:11: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil”. So God tells us the evil must not only be punished, but that this must also be done speedily. A child that is not disciplined, is like a colt without a harness.

Well controlled children make for a home where every member feels secure. The discipline must, of course, be motivated by Christian love. The pressures of discipline must be the pressures of love—love that will dare to punish in order to build Christian character—love that will dare to punish in order to make the authority of God, of His Word, and the delegated authority of parents a reality. The child must be made to sec the vital relation of his conduct to his parents and to the Lord to Whom he and his parents must one day give account. Because it is all related to God, a Christian mother should know that the strongest means of discipline are the Sword of the Spirit and the effectual earnest prayer of the righteous.

To neglect discipline in the home is to promote lawlessness. To promote lawlessness in the home is to further such in society at large, because as the home goes, so goes the nation; yes, so goes the world. One wonders how much of the lawlessness of today with its accompanying violence and crime is due to the increasing number of lawless homes wherein children do very much as they please because parents fail to exercise the divinely ordained discipline they are called upon to exercise.

If Peter doesn’t do his chores because he doesn’t want to, if Kristy fails to take her music lesson because she doesn’t want to, and if mother fails to make them see and do their duty, she is contributing to the rearing of ill-disciplined children and thus to the rearing of an ill-disciplined generation. If the adolescent son or daughter “tells mother off”, and the father too, instead of the parents setting the standards for the home as ordained of God, the divine order of things has been turned upside down. This affects both the character of the home and, what is more, the honor of God. Youth cannot defy God’s laws for the home with impunity, and parents cannot passively submit to such defiance with impunity. It is a way of destroying the covenantal family, it is a way of destroying the very feeling of security youth desires but refuses to pay the price for getting.

“Everybody is doing it”, “I can listen to that ‘hellish’ rock music even if it annoys everybody else in the house”, etc., etc. God’s Word will safely lead you as a mother if you confide in its wisdom and thus you will be equipped safely and courageously to discipline your children.


We have seen that all authority is of God. We have seen that the authority of a mother, as a parent, is delegated to her by God. We have seen that discipline, which is essential to the building of Christian character, flows forth from a proper conception of authority. We must now see that the fruit of all this is obedience. We expect the Lord Who gave authority to parents, the Lord Who said, “spare the rod and spoil the child” to say, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right”. This is exactly what He said in Ephesians 6:1

Since the Son “learned obedience by the things which He suffered”, it is little wonder that your sons have to be taught obedience. It is your privilege to teach this to your children. That is implied in the admonition God gives fathers to “bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”. Bringing them up in this way involves effort, prayerful, persevering, consistent, covenantal effort.

Children have to obey “for this is right”. Says Calvin: “He proves it to be right, because God has commanded it; for we are not at liberty to dispute, or call in question, the appointment of Him Whose will is the unerring rule if goodness and righteousness” (Commentary Eph. 6:1). It follows from this, that not to teach obedience is to lead your child away from the path of goodness and righteousness. Would that he loving your child as you ought, and loving God as you ought? Would it even be loving yourself as you ought? What untold misery a mother heaps on herself for not teaching her children from infancy to obey.

Dr. Mark Fakkcma once wrote: “Whatever we parents teach our children, let us teach them obedience. Without our children being obedient all our moral teaching has no more meaning than sounding brass or the clanging of a cymbal. Let us teach our children obedience in season and out of season. Let us teach our children obedience by precept. Let us teach them obedience by example -especially by the example of our being obedient to God’s command . . . ” Have we ourselves learned obedience? You know Jesus learned “by the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8). Unless we learned obedience, we cannot rightly, nor expect effectively to teach children obedience. Let us not have much ado about trivia and little ado about matters of far-reaching significance.

Haven’t Christian women paid far too little attention, haven’t they had much too little ado about their duty to exercise God-given authority, to maintain God-directed discipline, to teach God-ordered obedience? In this too we have a stewardship we may not choose to neglect. It is a must! Christian women, let us be up, doing these basic things God wants us to do for His glory and our good. We can expect such diligence to result in God pouring out showers of blessings on our homes, blessings which will reach out to ever widening areas of life.