A Degree in Homemaking?


I just cannot resist. I have heard of some stupid things before, but this one takes the cake. Here’s a new way to learn what common sense and the ability to read should already do.

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) will offer this fall an undergraduate program with a concentration in homemaking, aiming to prepare women to model the characteristics of the godly woman as outlined in Scripture, according to the course description.

I can’t believe I agree with the following statement:

Patsy Eastwood, who describes herself as an emerging evangelist, couldn’t disagree more with the wives.

“A seminary degree in homemaking. I cannot imagine a bigger waste of money,” she wrote on her blog. “Wives need to be their husband’s closest ministry partner.”

And finally,

“We are moving against the tide in order to establish family and gender roles as described in God’s word for the home and the family,” Patterson said at the meeting, according to Parham. “If we do not do something to salvage the future of the home, both our denomination and our nation will be destroyed.”

Click Here for the Story

I don’t necessarily disagree that it is a good for the family for the wife to stay home and tend the children. For some families, this can be done; for others, like mine, the wife works outside the home and it benefits greatly the family that she does. But that’s not really my issue with this story. My real issue is in this line: “…aiming to prepare women to model the characteristics of the godly woman as outlined in Scripture…”

Now, I think if a woman wants a degree, she should go to college, work hard and earn a degree. My issue here is not with women, women working outside the home, women getting an education or anything of that sort–so please don’t accuse me of those things. (My wife works outside the home and contributes a substantial amount to our family budget–especially as far as insurance is concerned.) My issue here is with this college because this has nothing to do with preparing women to model…Scripture. A woman can learn that by having a godly mother and father, by reading Scripture, by using her mind, and by regularly attending a worship service or bible study. She doesn’t need a college education to learn how to be a woman and frankly, I can’t see anywhere in Scripture where it says that a woman should do all the cooking, sewing and cleaning anyhow. Is a college degree really requied to know how to wash dishes, make a bed, take a child to baseball practice? And, furthermore, I would be offended if I couldn’t participate in those things. I have two thoughts about this. One is, admittedly, cynical, the other is more of a challenge to men, and churches.

I think this is about money. This is the cynical comment. Why would a woman go into that much debt to learn how to cook and sew when she can learn it for free by studying with her mother at home, or by reading, or by watching the Cooking Channel? (Unless the mother isn’t home because she has to work.) The ’emerging pastor’ above is right: It’s a waste of money.

Second, a challenge. It think there are two reasons married women work. One, they have ambition and interests and a genuine desire to improve the world in which they live.; they want to work, they enjoy it. Two, they have to because their husband doesn’t make enough to support the family. So, here’s the challenge. If we are talking about men who work for churches, then the churches need to pay the preacher more so his wife doesn’t have to work if she doesn’t want to. A homemaking degree in hand won’t help put bread on the table if the husband isn’t making enough money. And where else can such a degree be used? If we are talking about a woman with ambition, then let her earn a degree in something useful–that is, let her spend her money more wisely. But the other challenge is this: Churches, Preachers: Start preaching the Gospel! Give up all the purpose garbage, give up relevance, give up your best life now, and preach the unfiltered, unadulterated Gospel, the Cross of Christ, and see if it doesn’t make a difference in your congregation’s families.

Don’t you think that the best way for a woman to learn about how to be a godly woman is to go to worship, study the Scripture, practice? I can’t believe this is a serious offer by Southwestern. I can’t believe women will enroll. I can’t believe that this is what a theological seminary is offering to train people. Shouldn’t they be a little more concerned about teaching Scripture? The problem is not that families are falling apart. The problem is that there is no reason for families to stay together because they don’t know what Scripture says. I’ll explain.

This does not start at the seminary level. That is not where the church is losing the battle for godly sex roles or biblically defined families. That battle is being lost at the congregation level. That battle is being lost in every town where the preacher won’t preach the Gospel. The battle for these things is at the smallest level: the Church. And as long as preachers are content with status quo, are content with a ‘culturally relevant’ gospel, as long as preachers are content with their own ideas, there will nothing any seminary can do to stem the tide. David Wells, is so right, “The reason theology is disappearing has little to do with the technical skills of the fine tuners and much to do with the state of the Church. So it is not with the technicians that I begin but with the Church. It is not with the prfessionals in the learned guild that I start but with the whole people of God” (No Place For Truth, 6)

If Southwestern Baptist Seminary wants to save the family, they should train better preachers, better theologians, men and women, who will rightly divide the Word of Truth for the next generation. All the cross-stitching, crotcheting, knitting, and darning will not save the family but I suspect that a good theology, bolstered by sound biblical exposition, might help.


ps-this is a ‘rant’ against the college, not women. Please, ladies, don’t jump down my throat with accusations of misogyny or anything of that sort. I’m on your side!

7 thoughts on “A Degree in Homemaking?

  1. you show the problem with the current view of family and home life by describing it as nothing but cooking and cleaning. what more is there to the home? what could someone possibly learn the would be relevant to making a better home that would require full-time study and financial investment? indeed. you show by your criticism that you do not have the answer

  2. Peter,

    I’m not really certain I understand what you are saying. Are you agreeing with me or disagreeing? My criticism is of the college. If young people were taught these things at home where they should be taught, there would be no need for such a program at college. So the college is trying to capitalize on this, that’s all. It’s a money thing. These lessons can be taught for free at home by a loving mother and father.

    Thanks for stopping by,

  3. I am disagreeing with you. You said “Is a college degree really requied to know how to wash dishes, make a bed, take a child to baseball practice?”

    First point, of course ones own parents should teach these things.

    Second point, there is much much much more to parenting than this. Why do elementary teachers spend four years learning how to teach, when they only teach for 8 hours a day and on a very narrow range of subjects? Shouldn’t then at least the teaching role of a mother require at least a lot of intense study as well on discpline, intellectual and moral formation, etc. My point is the skill of parenting has no limit where one can say “I know how to parent now.” One can always improve, and this improvement could take the form of several years of devoted study. Priests and pastors have years of study, and parents have an even greater responsibility for their children than preists and pastors do for their flock. I am afraid your view of parenting is little more than a consistent babysitter.

    Third point, this devoted study for better parenting is fittingly taught at a school rather than learned from one’s own parents. Several reasons. 1) The parents may not be very good parents. 2) The parents may not have the freedom to spend a lot of time teaching their child these things. If a parent happened to have a chemistry degree, that doesn’t mean their child should learn from them directly rather than go to a college to learn chemistry. 3) Logisitically it may not work out with geography, family issues. 4) Not everyone can be an expert at everything, and in a school you get the best of many.

    I do agree that education should primarily come from parents, and parents should strive to teach their children deeply about parenting and society, especially christians, should move in this direction. But this will never fully take the place of formal schooling.

  4. Peter,

    I’m raising three sons. How much do you think I don’t know about what it means to be a parent? My view is not that of a ‘consistent babysitter.’ You are just wrong on this point.

    Second, if you agree that parents should teach these things, then we don’t disagree at all. Parents should teach these things which has been my consistent point all along.

    Third, your arguments for ‘devoted study’ of parenting is absurd–it’s like saying we should send chickens to school so that they might learn how to lay eggs. I don’t disagree that some children come from horrible families. So? Do you think those children thus will conclude that the best way to learn how to not be like their own parents is to spend thousands of dollars on a degree? And this degree can be used where? Do you seriously think that there are businesses ‘out there’ looking for people with bachelor’s of homemaking degrees? Let’s be realistic.

    It’s not my attempt to pigeonhole parenting, but the university’s. THEY are the ones offering the degree not me.

    The minute that the responsibilities of being a parent are taken over and replaced by ‘formal education’ will be the precise moment when we no longer have a right to be called humans. I’m sorry, your arguments are superfluous at best and naive at worst.

    I hold to my opinion that this is an insidious attempt by this university to make more money from primarily young girls who are terribly, terribly insecure.

    We learn how to be parents by being parents. Some will fail, others not. Besides, being a parent is beside the point. The degree is offered in ‘homemaking’: “The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) will offer this fall an undergraduate program with a concentration in homemaking, aiming to prepare women to model the characteristics of the godly woman as outlined in Scripture, according to the course description.”

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. What do you think of this quote?

    “It is because most women have not had the knowledge and training that would enable them to evolve the beautiful possibilities of home life,” stated early feminist Alice McLellan Birney, “that they have in many instances found that sphere narrow and monotonous.”

  6. Peter,

    What do you want me to think of it? Do you want me to agree and so justify a college offering a degree in homemaking? Or do you want me to disagree and force women out of the house?

    I don’t really care what an early, or any for that matter, feminist says. My point is not that I think women shouldn’t be at home if they want. My point is that the skills required for homemaking are taught at home and learned at home. What better way to learn how to make a home than by being in the place where the home is made?

    Going to college to learn such skills seems to me a overboard and, to the point, a money-making scheme by the college itself.


  7. Then why do pastors not just study their Bibles, go to church, and not waste all that money on seminary.

    Truly, this sounds like the OP believes what was traditionally woman’s work is just so dang easy and beneath those that work outside the home for pay.


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