… I still need more references**.
John Calvin wrote of John Knox…
Two years ago John Knox asked me, in private conversation, what I though about the government of women, I candidly replied… that there were occasionally women so endowed, that the singular good qualities which shone forth in them made it evident that they were raised up by divine authority, either that God designed by such examples to condemn the inactivity of men, or for the better setting forth his own glory. I brought forward Huldah and Deborah.
I think John Knox answered John Calvin’s objection directly in his treatise The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women. He said,
“Here might I bring in the oppression and injustice, which is committed against realms and nations, which sometimes lived free, and now are brought in bondage of foreign nations, by the reason of this monstriferous authority and empire of women. But that I delay till better opportunity.
And now I think it expedient to answer such objections, as carnal and worldlier men, yea men ignorant of God, use to make for maintenance of this tyrannic (authority it is not worthy to be called) and most unjust empire of woman. First they do object the examples of Deborah, and of Hulda the prophetess, of whom the one judged Israel, and the other, by all appearance, did teach and exhort the defenses of the adversaries
I believe Calvin had the “private conversation” with Knox during Knox’s first stay in Geneva, before Knox wrote his Blast, and the language is certainly intriguing. Was Knox calling Calvin worldlier? I am not sure of that and my research continues.
No matter the timing though, Calvin makes room for a Queen and Knox does not. Doug Wilson brings up the point that Knox did not have as much of a problem with Elizabeth when she became Queen. He even tried to smooth things over a bit, but Elizabeth would have none of it.
I bring all of that up simply to say that even in times of disastrous women rulers (Mary Tudor, Mary Queen of Scots) the continental reformers did not rule out women rulers in principle.
My initial question in all of this was whether or not Sara Palin was a Deborah in America. Has God raised her up as Calvin said, “to condemn the inactivity of men” on the subject of abortion? Will we see the glory of God shine through her labors as a ruler in this country?
I have not yet decided and, to be honest, her speech did not move me into the McCain camp. I think I saw more of McCain in her speech than I would have liked. I am still digesting.
As far as the principle goes though… I am with Calvin and not Knox or Baucham for that matter.
(Heinrich Bullinger had an interesting bit of advice for Knox… I will address that in my next post)
** I am looking for Calvin’t letters in a primary source and so far I have come up bust. Anyone have a link for Calvin’s letters? Or do I have to buy a book… with paper, ink and a dust jacket?