MILWAUKEE, Wis. (SWBTS) - Crosstalk America, a national Christian radio ministry of VCY America, invited Terri Stovall, dean of women’s studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, to discuss the seminary’s new homemaking concentration in The College at Southwestern, June 28.
According to Crosstalk host Ingrid Schlueter, the show’s topic was spurred by a critique of the homemaking concentration by Robert Parham, who is the executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, published as a guest editorial June 18 in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“What is dangerous about Christian homemaking programs is that they diminish the Christian faith and deceive naïve Christians,” Parham wrote.
Schlueter noted her own interest, as a Christian and a mother, in the homemaking concentration. She invited Stovall to “set the record straight” in light of recent criticism.
The homemaking concentration is “a degree and a field of study that prepares women and gives them a foundation for life,” Stovall said. “It is a degree program that not only teaches them about Western Thought and Culture and Greek and Latin, but also helps them to be able to be good people in the home and also to be able to nurture their families.”
The College at Southwestern prepares its students to engage contemporary culture through its Bachelor of Arts in Humanities Degree, with concentrations in homemaking, music, education and the history of ideas. Seminary President Paige Patterson announced the establishment of the homemaking concentration during the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2007 annual meeting in San Antonio.
“It is homemaking for the sake of the church and the ministry and for the sake of our society,” Patterson said during his convention report. “If we do not do something to salvage the future of the home, both our denomination and our nation will be destroyed.”
Patterson referred to Titus 2:3-5 in the Holman Christian Standard Bible, which says, “Older women 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.” Southwestern’s homemaking concentration offers courses related to home finance, children’s development, nutrition, meal preparation, design and clothing.
According to Stovall, the homemaking concentration is biblically grounded in the Apostle Paul’s command to Titus to train women how to be good homemakers. Specialized training in homemaking is important because of the low standard of family and home life in contemporary culture. She added that these skills are especially important for women who marry men in the ministry.
“A woman can honestly make or break a ministry,” Stovall said. “What she does in a home as a partner in ministry with her husband can take a ministry miles ahead if she can just do what God has called her to do in the way that He has called her to do it.”
An audio recording of Stovall’s interview with Crosstalk America may be accessed online at http://www.crosstalkamerica.com/shows/2007/06/training_christian_wives.php.