When the news media want to ask someone about a homemaking course at a Southern Baptist seminary, where do they go? Well, naturally, they turn to an unmarried pastor and a formerly Southern Baptist liberal whose work is largely dedicated to berating the SBC and its leaders. Maybe they are the only ones who don’t get it.
Since Gary does not wish to identify the two people to whom he refers, I will not to do so either. However, I would like to point out what I believe to be a flaw in Mr. Ledbetter's logic. Gary implies that criticisms of the SWBTS homemaking degree program from a "single" person and a "liberal" person are both unreliable. The sources, according to the logic of Mr. Ledbetter, are unworthy because they either have never experienced marriage or have a philosophical bias against conservative theology. However, that kind of thinking is inherently dangerous because it lends itself toward theological inbreeding. Think with me for a moment about ridiculing any criticism on the basis of 'They are not one of us or can't understand us.'
With that logic no married couple would ever ask Jesus or the Apostle Paul what they think about marriage because they were never married - and can't relate. Nobody would ever ask Christians what we think about abortion because we have never experienced the process. Nobody would ever ask a conservative pastor what he thinks of higher criticism because he doesn't believe in it- or use it - and is not sympathetic to liberal theology. Ironically, if this kind of logic were to be followed, then the editors of the Southern Baptist Texan and Baptist Press would never again write any article expressing criticism against homosexuality or the gay agenda since both aforementioned magazines are "conservative" and can't understand liberalism.
The premise of Mr. Ledbetter's opinion piece is illogical - unless you intend to remain entrenched in a polarizing viewpoint that categorically rejects any criticism from people "not like us." We must be careful that there does not form within the SBC an oligarchy of leadersip that expresses by fiat what is, and is not, appropriate for the entire convention. Left unchallenged, the SBC could quickly move toward quirky religious traditions. As Steve Hays says,
When a particular tradition enjoys an unchallenged monopoly, it becomes inbred and overbred—like a hairless dog the size of a kitten. Isolated theological traditions either go from good to bad or bad to worse. It’s only a matter of time before rite makes right.
A woman who invests her life being a homemaker ought to be praised. There is nothing wrong with a Southern Baptist woman bucking the cultural trend and spending her time caring for her husband, children and home. We who believe in the family laud such choices.
On the other hand, seminary is not a place to teach homemaking - even in the form of undergraduate degrees. It is an insitution of higher education for the purpose of theological education. It is a place for men and women to learn the languages, theology and the Bible - and in the opinion of many, including both conservatives and liberals, married and single, pastors and laymen, men and women, Southwestern Theological Seminary reduces her prestige and significance as a world class theological institution by bestowing homemaking degrees.
On the other hand if you won't let a woman teach men Hebrew, then you best teach that woman to bake men cupcakes.
In His Grace,