Drs. Patterson Defend Homemaking Degree

You may have heard that the trustees at Southwestern Seminary approved a new homemaking degree for the College at Southwestern. The move has resulted in some controversy and a considerable amount of media attention (e.g., Baptist Press, AP story).

Last week, Dr. Jerry Johnson interviewed the President of Southwestern Dr. Paige Patterson and his wife Dr. Dorothy Patterson about the new program. Drs. Patterson defended the program based on the Bible’s teaching about gender roles in the home. It’s an informative interview, and I think you should hear it. It’s available for download here: “Teaching the Biblical Model of the Home” – Jerry Johnson Live.

Frankly, I don’t see what the big deal is. Universities and colleges have been offering courses in home economics for a very long time. My pastor’s wife, for instance, has a degree in home economics from the University of Texas. Such courses may not be as fashionable as they used to be, but they certainly aren’t unprecedented in undergraduate programs of study. That a Baptist undergraduate school would offer such a concentration is quite unremarkable.

What is remarkable is that Drs. Patterson and the trustees at Southwestern have stood strong in defense of the Bible’s teaching on manhood and womanhood. Even in the face of opposition, they have remained steadfast, and we can all be grateful for their faithfulness in this regard.

54 Responses to Drs. Patterson Defend Homemaking Degree

  1. micah August 20, 2007 at 10:39 am #

    I don’t know that I necessarily disagree with a degree of this sort, but I certainly don’t understand it. It seems, at first thought, that a college degree is (or should) be academic and intellectual preparation for a future job or further schooling. While homemaking deserves no less an intellectual approach than any other endeavor, I wonder how a homemaking degree prepares one in a manner different from a general studies/liberal arts degree that focuses on, say, business, psychology, philosophy, and education. It seems rather similar to questioning why we prefer high school math teachers get a degree in education with an emphasis in math rather than a degree in math with an emphasis in education. I guess these questions stem from the hot liberal arts in me leaking out; I’d rather see biblical principles and critical thought taught than prescribed.

  2. Jason August 20, 2007 at 12:15 pm #

    Denny’s wife doesn’t have a Home Ec. degree. Denny’s pastor’s wife does.

  3. Bryan L August 20, 2007 at 12:31 pm #

    Oh sorry about the misunderstanding. Thanks Jason for the correction.

    Denny how does your pastor’s wife use her Home Ec degree?

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  4. Joel August 20, 2007 at 12:45 pm #

    You said:

    “Frankly, I don’t see what the big deal is. Universities and colleges have been offering courses in home economics for a very long time. My pastor’s wife, for instance, has a degree in home economics from the University of Texas.”

    The description for the concentration says:

    “Preparing women to model the characteristics of a Godly woman as outlined in Scripture. This is done through instruction in homemaking skills, developing insights into home and family while continuing to equip women to understand and engage the culture of today. It is unique in that we recognize the need to challenge women both intellectually and practically. It is our mission to equip a woman to impact women and families for Christ.” (see the whole thing here: http://college.swbts.edu/academics/degree.cfm?id=19).

    You, in your blog, are doing something that the College at Southwestern is not doing, namely, equating a Home Economics degree with that of the Homemaking Concentration. One teaches life skills, while the other teaches that the ‘biblical’ role of a woman is to be a ‘Homemaker.’ You don’t even have to be egalitarian to disagree with this belief.

    I don’t see how in scripture ‘Homemaker’ and ‘the gender role of the woman’ are synonymous.

    And, as a side note, one can see that the concentration does nothing to “equip women to understand and engage the culture of today” as it states. It teaches them to prepare food, recognize that their child is valuable (because apparently most Christian woman don’t), and turn their curtains into prom dresses. This is the role of a woman according to scripture? Give me a break…

  5. dennyrburk August 20, 2007 at 12:59 pm #

    Joel,

    You need to go read the description of the program. It only comprises about 20 or so hours of work for a four year degree (about 120 hours). All of these ladies still take Greek, Latin, and the rest of the Humanities core.

    I have no problem with a Home Economics program taught from a biblical worldview, which of course would give heed to Titus 2:3-5: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.”

    Thanks,
    Denny

  6. dennyrburk August 20, 2007 at 1:00 pm #

    One other thing . . .

    Too many people think that college exists so that you can learn a trade. I disagree. That’s what trade school is for. Colleges exist so that you can get an education. You shouldn’t judge a program by the “job prospects” it may or may not open up.

  7. Bryan L August 20, 2007 at 1:04 pm #

    Denny what did I say that made you delete my comment?

  8. Bryan L August 20, 2007 at 1:06 pm #

    Denny did you go to a trade school to be a professor?

  9. Joel August 20, 2007 at 1:45 pm #

    Denny,

    I understand that the women have to take the rest of the core humanities program… I was speaking to the claim of the concentration itself, not the whole of a humanities degree.

    I don’t think that Titus 2:3-5 comprises the whole of a woman’s duty in the Kingdom. Titus is writing to the men, the women, and the bondslaves instructing them to act in such a way so that ‘the word of God would not be dishonored'(v5), so that others would have nothing ‘bad to say’ about them (v8), and so that others would ‘adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect’ (v10).

    This concentration is causing such a commotion because the whole of a woman’s duty is being summarized by one, controversial, word: Homemaker.

  10. Matthew August 20, 2007 at 4:19 pm #

    It has not been uncommon in history and still today in other countries to hold women away from education, or to hold them to less education. This is commonly part of a whole mindset of treating women as less valuable than men. If I were on staff at a college that was introducing a homemaker degree, I would be very concerned about the appearances of it.

  11. Jimmy August 20, 2007 at 4:54 pm #

    I will probably not encourage my wife to spend her 4 years getting a degree in Homemaking. So a woman has to go to college for that too? It is both a waste of time and money.

  12. rach August 20, 2007 at 8:04 pm #

    ok- here goes…clearly the banter that precedes my comments comes from people who have never attempted to master the skill of homemaking…i don’t know what classes are offered in the 20 hours of specialized curriculum for the undergrad degree but i canan imagine many classes that would benefit a woman in her efforts to organize and manage her family and home…that a Christian school is teaching these skills from a biblical pespective (i hope) makes it all the more appealing to me…many women have grown up in divorced homes where their mothers worked outside the home or were reared in homes where mothers were too busy with the day to day tasks that they had been taught (by their mothers or in home ec themselves) to teach many necessary skills to their daughters…i would have taking home ec if LA Tech had offered it…in fact, i think i heard they now do…all that to say i think the comments from you guys weigh very little in any debate about the topic since none of you are or have ever been homemakers, nor have you ever achieved the undergrad degree in question…i wonder what degree would jimmy prefer his wife to work toward…and joel, where can i begin to address the comment that

    “one can see that the concentration does nothing to “equip women to understand and engage the culture of today” as it states. It teaches them to prepare food, recognize that their child is valuable (because apparently most Christian woman don’t), and turn their curtains into prom dresses. This is the role of a woman according to scripture?”

    i should think by that statement that you consider things like teaching children, preparing meals, completing laundry/sewing, cleaning and the countless other tasks that fill the days of dedicated homemakers are so simple as not to need any education to do them…i imagine you think that it is easy as pie to explain in love for the millionth time in a day “why…” it is obvious to me that many of the men who have made their opinion known here do not regard homemaking as a noble career worthy of choosing as a full time job, nor worthy of training and preparation…though i do not need validation from any one to know that my job and intended role from God (note-i do not say they are identical in description) is of great value in shaping the future warriors of Christ currently entrusted to me-three of which are women in training!

  13. Joel August 20, 2007 at 8:33 pm #

    Rach,

    Maybe I was unclear. I apologize if I was. I am in NO WAY saying that homemaking is easy, unimportant, etc. I am not sure how it is that I may have communicated that.

    Regarding the statement you quoted above- if you look at the courses required by the concentration certainly none of them ‘equip women to understand’ culture, it’s just not the nature of those classes. And,I have a hard time seeing how any of the courses help women ‘engage the culture of today’ directly either. I am not saying that raising children, however, has no effect on culture.

    The girls might have to take classes in the humanities program that help with these two tasks, but nothing in this concentration does, as far as I can see.

    Blessings…

  14. Bryan L August 20, 2007 at 8:49 pm #

    Training? Yes 4 years of college (learning Greek and Hebrew) and thousands of dollars in debt? No. I’m sure there are a number of books and self study materials that would be just as useful. Seriously, it seems being a homemaker is mostly on the job training. How can a classroom truly prepare you for the hectic life of being at home raising children and keeping the house in order. Just as no class can truly prepare you for marriage and no class can truly prepare you to be a parent, I doubt 4 years of college can truly prepare you to be a homemaker.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  15. Andrew Walker August 20, 2007 at 9:39 pm #

    I honestly have to raise the utility of a degree that is not by any means academic. Where in an academic institution does a degree such as this fit?

    Secondly, I believe this degree actually undermines the Scriptures. If I recall Titus 2:3-5 says, “In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. [They are] to teach what is good,so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and children,to be sensible, pure, good homemakers, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered.”

    Thus,if “homemaking” is to be passed down IN and through the church, why should we have to have an “academic” degree at an academic institution?

    To be more audacious, I can understand a degree such as this to be instituted at a secular school where women who have interest to stay at home can be trained (remember, even non-Christians can be called to stay at home).

    Secondly, I cannot help but think that Southwestern is making a not-so-subtle statement on where they stand biblically and culturally.

  16. Jason August 21, 2007 at 7:54 am #

    Bryan L,

    In 14 you posted:

    “Just as no class can truly prepare you for marriage and no class can truly prepare you to be a parent, I doubt 4 years of college can truly prepare you to be a homemaker.”

    I would argue that no college classes can truly prepare anyone for a career in anything. I learned more in 6 months on the job after college than I ever did in 4 years at college. I don’t think that just because on-the-job training is more efficient than actually going to college that it disqualifies the legitimacy of the degree plan in question. Based on your argument I could make the same case for an engineering degree.

    Jason

  17. Bryan L August 21, 2007 at 8:49 am #

    Jason what’s different though is that you don’t run across a bunch of engineers who didn’t go to college, or lawyers or doctors, professors etc… In fact, each of those you can’t be unless you have a college degree. Sure you may learn a whole bunch on the job, but all that on the job learning picks up where the education left off and you have to have that education to do it.

    But how many parents do you come across who went to college to be parents or married couples who went to college to learn how to be a husband or wife, or homemakers that went to college to learn how to be a homemaker? There’s a reason you don’t come across them, is because people have done those things for thousands of years without needing a college degree or formal education. I’m sorry but not every job or career requires a 4 year degree to do it (mine doesn’t) and it would be unwise to spend that time pursuing one. If you can do your job just as well without having a college degree specializing in it and you don’t need a college degree to get your foot in the door then it is a waist of time and money, and it does reflect on the legitimacy or worth of a degree plan.

    That’s just my thoughts.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  18. Paul August 21, 2007 at 4:46 pm #

    1) Any seminary that allows women to take their classes, and then tells them that they cannot preach or teach is hypocritical on its face.

    2) a homemaking degree does nothing to help out a woman who may need to enter the workforce at some point in her life (husband dies, family having trouble paying off student loan debt, etc, etc, etc). No matter what, a woman with the means to get a college degree would be wise to do it in a field that she could work, if she, for whatever reason, had to become a breadwinner or even the sole breadwinner for her family.

    3) who has $40K laying around so they can learn how to sew?

    4) would potential stay at home dads be pushed away from majoring in this field?

  19. rach August 21, 2007 at 8:04 pm #

    i just thought i might add that many degrees are pursued simply as a means of improving the qualifications for a particular job, not merely because they are essential in acquiring employment…as has already been declared, many occupations can be successfully done without a degree, but the intellectual challenges that college affords are considered by many to be indispensable…i think the point is not whether or not the degree is necessary for homemakers, but is it meritorious?

  20. Steve Hayes August 21, 2007 at 10:41 pm #

    Oh man! My wife and I discussed this the other night after reading an article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. We came to different conclusions. Kim’s views were more in line with what rach has written. My views were more in line with many of you who have expressed a sort of baffled response to this new curriculum.

    I find the whole thing to be not much more than a response to the whole Sherri Klouda situation, and I think it’s a sad day at Southwestern when the administration pushes forth a new degree track that claims to demonstrate that they care a whole lot about women. What about the women who aren’t called to be homemakers? How much do they care about them when they are clearly sending them the message that they aren’t following a Biblical path unless they are homemakers?

    I’m not claiming that Patterson and Co don’t care about women. I’m sure they care a great deal about women. I just think they only care about a certain kind of woman, and if you don’t fit that mold, you’re on the outs. I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to take this whole thing seriously.

    My Mom was a homemaker. She was also a high school guidence counselor and had a Master’s degree in both education and music. She is also a single parent who’s husband, a doctor, was killed in a car accident, leaving her with three young children to raise. Oh, and by the way, she taught Sunday School for years in our church. Now that’s a Godly woman!! I’m sure this homemaking degree would have served her well, huh? Then again, she probably isn’t the kind of woman who would’ve been the target audience for this kind of degree.

  21. dennyrburk August 21, 2007 at 11:45 pm #

    Joel and Steve,

    I saw a couple of things in common in your remarks. It looks like you both interpret this new program as saying that every woman should enroll in it. If you listen to the interview, it’s clear that is not SWBTS’s intention. Patterson affirms the freedom of female students to sign up for whatever program of study they choose.

    I think there may be some confusion over what is included in the concentration. There are courses that are very similar to what you would take in HomeEc courses at secular undergraduate schools (textiles, interior design, cooking, etc.). Nothing new here. The difference is that there are also a couple of classes that teach a complementarian view of womanhood.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  22. Matthew August 22, 2007 at 7:36 am #

    Denny (21),

    I say this in a friendly tone (seriously – my blood pressure is not raised, I don’t have a flamethrower, and I hate trolls) but I think you are playing games with words. To say that this concentration merely offers the same sort of classes many undergrad schools offer, plus a couple of complementarian classes, is to ignore the impact you yourself state at the end of the OP, namely, a strong defense of the complementarian point of view. The fact this occurs shortly after the Sherri Klouda situation does nothing to diminish said statement. Andrew in 15, and Steve in 20, are correct to say that it is in itself a statement.

    I know you agree with the statement it makes. Why not stand behind it? Why not just come out and admit they are making a statement with this degree and you are proud of them for doing so?

  23. dennyrburk August 22, 2007 at 7:56 am #

    I did say that. Please reread the last paragraph of my post.

  24. Joel Patrick August 22, 2007 at 9:40 am #

    Denny (21),

    Laying aside the argument of whether this degree is useful, as long as SWBTS does not endorse that women, because they are women, ought to enroll in this program then I don’t care.

    My problem, however, is that the description in the concentration does seem to imply this (whether or not it contradicts Dr. Patterson’s remarks on the radio):

    “Preparing women to model the characteristics of a Godly woman as outlined in Scripture. This is done through instruction in homemaking skills, developing insights into home and family…” etc.

    So, according to this, if a woman is going to ‘model the characteristics of a Godly woman, as outlined in scripture’ then she needs to learn homemaking skills, etc.

    Now, should a woman have homemaking skills? Yes, she probably should (not to mention the fact that I need these skills too). However, is the whole of a woman’s duty as ‘outlined in scripture’ match the description of a ‘homemaker’? That is the question. When we read about women who were obedient to the Lord in scripture are we always reading a description of a ‘homemaker’?

  25. dennyrburk August 22, 2007 at 9:48 am #

    Joel,

    I don’t know anyone who is arguing that “the whole of a woman’s duty” is homemaking. The Pattersons and SWBTS aren’t saying that. I’m not saying that. Complementarianism doesn’t teach that. Where are you getting that from?

    Thanks,
    Denny

  26. Steve Hayes August 22, 2007 at 10:05 am #

    Denny,

    Then what you said in 23 is the bottom line. You agree with the statement that this makes,and I think this is a frivolous statement that is not motivated by a true love for women, but by a desire to show the world what a true woman should look like. It’s a back door message to all women that home making is the most Godly option for all women. If that weren’t the case, they would offer another degree track for women who are called outside the home.

    I state these things in the same spirit as Matthew in #22. My blood is not boiling, I’m not “up in arms”, and I don’t think the guys at Southwestern are bad, evil men who are trying to subvert women. I just think the timing of this and the statement that it makes is intended to make a point and not truly intended to be some noble act for the good of women.

  27. dennyrburk August 22, 2007 at 10:12 am #

    Steve,

    But you’ve just made my point for me. They do offer other courses of study for women. The Homemaking program is only for those women who wish to enroll. Others are free to get a concentration in music, counseling, or whatever else they offer (I don’t think the undergraduate school has programs limited to men. Someone correct me if I’m mistaken on this point).

    Thanks,
    Denny

  28. Joel Patrick August 22, 2007 at 11:14 am #

    Denny (25),

    Homemaker concentration: “Preparing women to model THE (unique/singular- see Russell’s Theory of Descriptions) characteristics of a Godly woman as outlined in Scripture…”

  29. Paul August 22, 2007 at 1:19 pm #

    First off, it’s funny to see this keep going around in circles.

    Secondly, was Lydia a Godly woman? I wonder how much good a homemaking degree would have done her.

    Third, no one has answered this yet: isn’t it hypocritical that a college that states that only men should be preaching should allow women to enter the seminary?

    Fourth, why is a college charging (presumably) full priced tuition for a course which prepares someone to be in a position where they can’t pay off the debt?

    Fifth, will this track be made available to men as well?

    This whole thing smacks of controversy for controversy’s sake.

  30. Shannon August 22, 2007 at 8:48 pm #

    OK, another female voice here…I’ve been very interested in this whole discussion. First of all, let me say I have no problem with the degree itself; anyone who wants to pursue this should with gusto. However, as a homemaker and a former pastor’s wife, I have a few concerns:

    None of the stuff the degree teaches is bad. In fact, it sums up a lot of what I do every day, what I LOVE to do every day. But as somebody who got a general studies degree, who still regrets the fact that she didn’t get a degree that would lead to part-time work options that a stay-at-home mom could do and still make a decent salary (think nurse or architect vs. working at the gym as a babysitter), it kinda burns me up. I realize that’s about me personally, but shouldn’t we encourage wisdom? This degree might work if a girl’s going to marry a guy who is going to be a doctor or a lawyer, but gals who marry pastors typically need to be able to help out financially a bit, especially once the kiddos are all in school.

    Another thing that doesn’t make sense to me is that it’s an undergrad degree. That means you sign up for this track, typically, when you’re 18 years old, fresh out of high school. Or say you wait a few years to decide on a major. OK, you’re 20. Most of my girlfriends didn’t even marry until a few years after they graduated from college. In today’s society, how can you even know if you’re going to be a homemaker at 18 or 20?

    And, like Steve, I have concerns that this came so quickly on the heels of what happened with Sherri Klouda. I just feel that her situation was handled poorly, and am concerned about the more subtle statement this makes when it gets in the hands of the media; take this from an interview Patterson did with Reuters (interviewer was Ed Stoddard, I found this at http://www.topix.net/content/reuters/2007/08
    /texas-baptist-seminary-offers-homemaking
    -course):

    Q: Many people would say that in this day and age the economic reality is that two incomes are needed especially for blue collar households.

    A: “Well, I’m sorry to say this but people who say that are ignorant. The fact is that we have discovered that those two income households actually have a harder time by the time they pay child support and by the time they pay for wardrobes for work and the extra automobile and the time they spend eating out … once your get through all of that our argument is nine times out of 10 that you don’t come out any better … One of the things we are doing in the course is helping people find out how they can survive and survive very well on a single income.”

    Can we please not throw around words like ignorant when we’re dealing with these issues? There are some families in which both parents legitimately have to work in order to make ends meet. I’m not talking about families in which both parents work and have big cars, and have huge homes, and eat out a lot. I’m talking about families who truly need the income from both parents, who need this to make ends meet. Take my family, for example, once we have to look at things like savings for retirement, and college tuition for our daughters in years to come.

    For the record, I am a strong complementarian, and would never be comfortable with a woman as pastor; I truly believe the more subtle statements being made by Southwestern lately aren’t things that necessarily have anything to do with whether one believes a woman should preach or not. They are more directed toward what women do every day, to choices families make about everyday life. That’s my concern…

  31. Steve Hayes August 22, 2007 at 9:58 pm #

    Denny,

    You missed the point completely. I know they offer courses that other women can take, but why don’t they offer a degree track specifically for working women? Why not offer a “Women in Ministry” degree? I’ll tell you why… They don’t believe women should be in ministry.

    See post #28.

  32. rach August 22, 2007 at 11:05 pm #

    what do “working women” do….they must choose some particular occupation (music teacher, counselor, etc)…can you clarify what courses might be included in a degree for working women?

  33. rach August 22, 2007 at 11:08 pm #

    note: the scripture does call women to be homemakers and mothers-even IF they choose a second full or part time job outside the home

  34. dennyrburk August 23, 2007 at 6:24 am #

    Shannon,

    I hear ya. But what I think I hear you saying is that there is no problem with the degree in principle. But there might be a problem for some people practically. Some gals are going to need the ability to earn a living. Therefore, they should learn a trade while at college. That’s a prudential argument, and I think there’s room for disagreement. I don’t think it’s the kind of disagreement that should lead to the kind of acrimony (not from you) we’ve seen in response to this program.

    Steve,

    Dr. Dorothy Patterson is a woman in ministry! She’s going to be teaching courses! Nobody is opposing women in ministry. Where did you get that?

    Denny

  35. Paul August 23, 2007 at 7:08 am #

    Denny’s responding to everyone but me.

    That’s sad.

  36. Bryan L August 23, 2007 at 7:40 am #

    It’s not only you Paul. I was shunned a while back as well. My first comment on this one even got deleted for no apparent reason.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  37. Steve Hayes August 23, 2007 at 7:48 am #

    I don’t know what’s so hard to understand about what I’m saying! I’m going to post this again, and then I’m out of this conversation. It’s starting to get maddening.

    This new concentration at SW is specifically for “homemaking”. Where is a concentration at SW that is specifically for “Women in Ministry”? The message, therefore, is that homemaking IS a woman’s ministry. I think that’s very narrow. Sure, it’s what some women are exclusively called to, but not all women are. So, if SW wanted to serve all women, they would specifically target concentrations and market them for “Women in Ministry”.

    I’m not talking about allowing women to take courses. I’m talking about specifically developing a concentration (which they have done for “homemakers”) for women in ministry.

    And, Dr. Dorothy Patterson is teaching women how to be homemakers, but she can’t teach women or anyone else how to use Greek or Hebrew or Systematic Theology to understand the Bible better. So, let’s not make the fact that she’s teaching seem like it’s tied to ministry in a broad sense.

    Look, I’m fine with homemakers. I’m fine with Mrs. Patterson teaching homemakeing. I just think this concentration was created to make a point. Southwestern is putting women in their rightful place: The home.

  38. Steve Hayes August 23, 2007 at 7:51 am #

    Rach,

    I could clarify what would be in a degree for working women, but that’s not really my point. My point is that Southwestern doesn’t think women should work outside the home, so they don’t offer any specific concentration for them. They offer general classes that women can take, but not a specific concentration that they could market to women in the workplace.

  39. Steve Hayes August 23, 2007 at 8:03 am #

    Rach,

    I don’t think anyone here has a problem with women being homemakers. Most have a problem with this because they see that this concentration is not really about women who are homemakers. It’s more about sending a statement to the world that women belong in the home. It comes on the heels of a pretty major controversy regarding the firing of a female professor who was promised tenure. It also comes in the middle of a firestorm of debate about the role of women in society, and, in particular, the church.

    Believe it or not, I’m a complimentarian, but I’m probably on the moderate end of this view. I don’t think a woman should be a senior pastor. So, I’m not some radical who is ready to riot. I just think this message that SW is sending is a bit suspect given the current state of affairs. It seems odd to me that they would create and market a specific concentration just to send a message. But, hey, I guess there are other concentrations that have been created to send a message to the world. This one just seems odd to me.

    For the record, I cook, clean the kitchen and bathe the kids(4) every night. Perhaps I should look into this concentration!

  40. Bryan L August 23, 2007 at 8:32 am #

    Steve I definitely agree with your last comment (actually probably with most all your comments!)

    Just to note (generally, not to you Steve), even though I don’t agree with this new degree plan and think it is a waste of time and money, I’m not at the same time making any statement on the value of women as homemakers. I think it is a great call if a woman feels that’s what the Lord has indeed called her to. I don’t think it is any less than any other call a woman could receive from the Lord, including full time ministry or the corporate world. In fact even though I disagree with this degree plan at the same time I say this as someone who’s wife is actually a homemaker and has been one for the whole time we’ve been married. The only other work she does is part time taking care of children in a church daycare. But I didn’t tell her that’s what she had to do or that was the only valid path for a woman of God. We are both egalitarians and she believes that being a homemaker is what the Lord has called her to and I completely support that, just as much as I would if she felt the Lord called her to full time ministry or the corporate world.

    I just wanted to say that so people didn’t think there was a bunch of guys on here who thought homemaking was a lesser call and that’s why they’re arguing against SWBTS’s homemaking degree plan. That is definitely not the case.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  41. rach August 23, 2007 at 8:59 am #

    i think the thing is i don’t really agree that women are called to do any number of things (homemaking OR full-time whatever else)…i see the clear directive in scripture that women are to be busy in the home and that anything in addition to that is also valid…of course it is up to each woman to make that choice for herself and her family and just because the school offers the course doesn’t mean everyone has to take it…as i read on another blog many wives of the ministers were asking for such a degree…it may in fact be a subtle statement from SW but then what?…don’t schools make all sorts of statements so that those who agree (or closely agree) will know where the leadership stand and can follow or go elsewhere…i think men who help around the house are great (i am married to one), i also appreciate him whenever he supports me in a ministry outside the home, but i would expect any godly husband to encourage His wife to be PRIMARILY ministering to her own husband and family, then to the church and the rest of the world…i don’t think the men on who have commented necessarily think homemaking to be a lesser call (if you can even categorize it that way) but it seems that the general assertion is that a college degree is not helpful in pursuing this career…i disagree, but each has his own opinion…i would think twice before spending large amounts of money on any academic endeavor, but again, each is responsible for his own choices…i just think if the university isn’t losing money offering the course, then it can’t hurt to give people who do already know their lifelong job to be wife and mother to study with in their chosen profession…does everything have to be viewed with such skepticism, and so heartily scrutinized for undertones…maybe they just want to give the women some more options with in a Christian setting

  42. Paul August 23, 2007 at 10:16 am #

    Rach…

    what you say is all fine and good. But, here’s two thoughts for you…

    1) the idiotic economic policies of the last 27 years (mostly republicans with foolish economic policies, mind you) have now forced many households to be two income households. And, to be sure, those people do not at all have to be enrolled in Southwestern’s Homemakers’ program. However, if you truly believe that a woman’s place is the home, then could you please start voting for people whose policies might be more family friendly?

    2) Okay, so somebody dumps between $40-60K on this degree, with now next to no way of earning it back to pay off the student loan debtload. That’s not real smart. But, lets get to the nitty gritty here. Let’s say wonderful husband x gets into a horrible accident at work and can never work again. What is our wife with a homemaker’s degree supposed to do then? She’s completely unequipped for any job outside of entry-level positions that cannot provide enough support for a family.

    Not only does this degree smack of controversy for controversy’s sake, but it’s also downright irresponsible.

    This coming from an institution that can’t keep its word and allows women to get degrees in areas where they’re not “supposed” to work just makes me realize that I feel sorry for everyone that goes there and deals with this kind of stuff on a daily basis.

  43. Shannon August 23, 2007 at 10:32 am #

    Denny, that’s a great point. I disagree with the degree practically, not in principle. I just wonder at the wisdom of it. I know that we’ll encourage our daughters, if they want to pursue a liberal arts degree, to have a path in mind, to have a vocation in mind at the end of the path, not just to count on the fact that they’ll get married and have babies one day.

    You’re right, too, about everybody getting too worked up about it…it is only 23 hours of a humanities degree, not a “cookie baking” degree, as I’ve heard some put it. Another gal mused about it, “What in the weird?” – I guess that’s more of what I’m feeling…

  44. mlm August 24, 2007 at 11:19 am #

    Question (since I’m new to this sort of debate): Is a woman who is neither a wife nor mother considered “ungodly”?

  45. Sue August 24, 2007 at 2:44 pm #

    Since this thread is still active I want to ask how these tenants of the complementarian model are taught from scripture.

    1. Men give strength and women receive it.

    Prov.31:17

    She girdeth her loins with strength, and maketh strong her arms.

    2. Men provide and women nurture.

    She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

    3. Men initiate women respond.

    Ruth 3:3

    Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the threshing-floor; but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.

    The Hebrew scriptures teach that women initiate the act which brings about child-bearing. Think of Tamar, Ruth, Hannah, Rachel.

    Women make decisions for their children independently of their husbands. Think of Sarah, Rebecca, Bathsheba, Ruth.

    Women make judgments which men follow. Think of Deborah and Hulda.

    Women have occupations and help men out with from their own resources. Think of Johanna, Lydia, Phoebe.

    Women are single, have occupations, contribute to society.

    They are Paul’s providers and protectors.

    I sincerely hope that the course is designed to help women fulfill the scriptural model of women being providers and protectors.

  46. Shelley G. August 24, 2007 at 3:26 pm #

    I saw this Morning’s “Today Show” and I nearly fell out of my chair. I now have a degree in Marketing that I struggled to get. All my life I was told I have to get a college degree to get anywhere in life. Getting out and pursuing a career was my biggest goal in life. Now I am a Mom of three who sits at home all day and wishes that someone had clued her in on how to manage my household while my degree lays waste. All I have to say is, when are you offering online courses???

  47. dennyrburk August 24, 2007 at 4:55 pm #

    To all,

    I’m ready to re-enter the fray here. I’ve been sort of busy. If you want, we can move this conversation up to the most recent post on this topic: http://www.dennyburk.com/?p=844.

    Thanks for commenting!

    Denny

  48. Derrick August 24, 2007 at 7:27 pm #

    Your article assumes the president, his wife, and the trustees at SWBTS have a correct understanding of BIBLICAL gender roles. Deborah was a Judge. I’m thankful that Deborah wasn’t at SWBTS’s extension center in Palestine learning how to sew clothes when she arose and went with Barak to Kadesh in order to stamp out the Siserian threat. Similarly, I’m thankful that Paul opened up ministry opportunites other than baking cookies to Lydia, the merchant, after her converson. I’m sure Phoebe is really appreciative of Paul for entrusting her to deliver his letter to the church in Rome (Hey…isn’t that the most significant theological treaty in the New Testament)…good thing she wasn’t learning how to iron Paige Patterson’s shirts at his Roman bath-house gettaway. Give me a break.

  49. Sue August 24, 2007 at 11:06 pm #

    Derrick,

    I protest. I bet Deborah knew how to sew clothes. What I want to know is how men are supposed to learn about fixing plumbing fixtures and things like that. There is nothing more attractive than a man who is handy around the house. But if the men aren’t learning these things then it ought to be included in the women’s course. Fixing a toilet is great deal more important than having children wear designer outfits.

  50. Lee September 13, 2007 at 1:38 pm #

    I hate to be critical, but poor ‘ole Mrs. Patterson has gotta be one of the biggest jokes of the 21st century! She has made a total mockery (along with her husband!) of the school I got my M.Div. from. I literally took my diplomas off the wall and hid them… for fear of people laughing at me for having gone to SWBTS.. even thought I graduated in 1985! PLEASE, stop mentioning the HOME EC stuff and take it off the degree options… now!!!

    The Pattersons are a laughing stock of the Academic field and the odd thing about is they do not even realize it… how sad is that?
    Thanks and God Bless.

  51. claudia June 8, 2009 at 12:22 am #

    Have any of you ever heard of The Martha Stewart Show? It is if fact the WHOLE of all Homemakers many talents and what in the 1950’s was Home Economics included in Junior High school level general education requierments. It not only covered Personal hygine but basic first aid,banking,personal respect and social ediquette,cooking,sewing,housekeeping and organization.Goal setting and nutrition,community service. So what part of this can not be a useful Homemakers degree for mentoring youth and or working for a show as MS as a consoultant? that said who about an Honorary degree for women who have worked as homemakers, over worked,over looked and underpaid in money but rewarded for their exsistance in Creation. Just a prespective from an old Master in Home Economics.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Denny Burk » Southwestern Homemaking Degree on NBC - August 24, 2007

    […] The College at Southwestern’s new homemaking degree has provoked a great deal of discussion under my previous post, “Drs. Patterson Defend Homemaking Degree.” This morning I watched NBC’s “Today Show” broadcast a story on the same topic. […]

  2. LeStourgeon Online » Blog Archive » Women Belong in the Home (Men, too) - August 24, 2007

    […] For those of you who did not know, The College at Southwestern [Baptist Theological Seminary] is offering a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Homemaking (scroll down to find it). Lots of folks seem pretty upset about it. Since I’ve only seen one sane positive blog about it, I thought I’d weigh in via quick bullets. […]

  3. a B.A. in cooking and cleaning? « - August 25, 2007

    […] Drs. Patterson defend homemaking degree […]

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