Wednesday, August 29, 2007

If You Won't Let a Woman Teach Men Hebrew, You Best Teach That Woman to Bake Men Cakes

Gary Ledbetter, the editor of The Southern Baptist Texan, has written an opinion piece on the Southwestern Baptist Theological new undergraduate degree in homemaking entitled A Silly, Dangerous Idea? Gary's opening paragraph contains these words:

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,

Wade Burleson


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Anonymous said...

Just to be clear:

So you think you should have a say in how the SBC chooses to operate its entities; but you don't support those entities in word or financially, and rather you would boast about NOT giving to CP (although by giving to your church budget you can't really get away from it)? So you really are an outsider who is not a part of SWBTS or would rather not be, but you want to stay in a church which straddles the fence and divides its loyalty because it's Southern Baptist but doesn't support the Southern Baptist way of doing things?

As a former Catholic :), I am sure you can't be excommunicated from the SBC, but last I looked, churches can still choose to approve or deny membership to anyone. Autonomous shouldn't mean however, that a Southern Baptist church chooses NOT to cooperate. Affiliation with an association or a state convention was never intended to be something people paid for, like a premium for health insurance or an annual membership fee. It's supposed to tell others the difference between the independent Baptist or non-affiliated Baptist church down the street.

And the comment that some large churches give small percentages to CP is supposed to mean something in relation to this discussion?

CB Scott said...


If you are willing to pray for me, pour it on:-) I need it greatly. I know I am the chief sinner of Blog Town since Paul is no longer with us.

Also, please know I will probably die with my sword in my hand. I seem to always be taking up some cause. I will pray for you also.


It is for many reasons I know Dr. Klouda was treated poorly. Frankly, it was a very unmanly thing on several men's part and maybe a few women failed to be proper in their conduct to boot.

I do hope and pray you are wrong about the new degree program in its motivation. With all my heart I know it is needed in the lives of many young ministry couples right now. My reasons for its promotion are not political as far as I can understand my own motivations. I hope you understand that.

Back to the Klouda situation; I have been putting my MAN SPEECH up om my blog (short version). I wish I could have given it to the trustees at SWBTS before they treated Dr. Klouda as they did. I would have called some of those boys sissy-boys and told them to cowboy up. All the rhetoric in the world cannot change the wrongness in that event.


Lin said...

Anon, You seem so angry. No need to be. It has occured to me that you may be a student or someone who depends on CP dollars. If so, I apologize for any hurt I have caused you.

BTW: My church is not just made up of me. Others there, I am sure, think differently.

Help me understand what you are saying: If I do not have any personal relationship to SWBTS or financial input in CP, then I should have no opinion on either? Are we all not part of ONE Body?

Anonymous said...

I am not angry, just trying to understand why it seems this is a hill on which to die for you when you don't even support the SBC or SWBTS, by your own statement.

You have openly expressed not only your feelings about SWBTS in relation to Dr. Klouda, but frequently in this thread have expressed views about which programs should be supported as part of the seminary/undergrad offering at SWBTS.

As far as being part of the body of Christ, yes, if we are believers we are--but that doesn't mean I get involved in the inner working of other religious groups or denominations. And in this case, although you say you are Southern Baptist, you are offering an opinion on something that you have apparently already determined to be unworthy of your support. So why bother?

CB Scott said...


I did reread the comment just now.

Got it. Thank you.

Also, you are right in the concept that a woman deserves our best. Any woman going into a biblical ministry deserves the same as any man going into a biblical ministry.

She certainly does not need a dog and pony show, nor does a man. My prayer is that they both (male and female) get the best and if they are not getting it that should be dealt with in a New York minute. The bottom line is we have a trustee problem. It must be solved.


CB Scott said...

Anony X- Catholic,

There have been Southern Baptist churches excommunicated from the SBC.


Anonymous said...

Churches can be removed from fellowship in an association or state convention for a variety of reasons.

A baptized Catholic can be excommunicated from having fellowship or attending worship at any Catholic facility, including partaking in any of the sacraments. Using the term lightly misrepresents the expression. For a church to be involuntarily banned from an association or convention because of a theological difference is a different matter and not a step typically made on the grounds of one individual's behavior. Such was the case when messengers to the SBC tried to unseat messengers from Bill Clinton's church because Clinton's pastor had not, in some people's eyes, practiced church discipline. Of course, because each church is autonomous and cannot account for each member's public statements, the move was unsuccessful.

Anonymous said...

I am thankful here in Arkansas we have a great convention, and one can freely give their money to it knowing that it is being used in a godly way.

Jeff said...

Lin, May I ask (I don't mean this in a bad way) why are you a Southern Baptist? What makes you want to stay in the convention? If there are many things wrong, why not leave? Or to ask it this way: What do you like about the convention? What do you like about being a So. baptist?


Lin said...

"Lin, May I ask (I don't mean this in a bad way) why are you a Southern Baptist? What makes you want to stay in the convention? If there are many things wrong, why not leave? Or to ask it this way: What do you like about the convention? What do you like about being a So. baptist?"

You guys certainly ask some silly questions of people. I most certainly do not owe you any explanations of any of the above. Just because I do not want to personally (my little bit) underwrite high end six figure salaries, unaccountable leaders and bloated bureacracies in professing Christendom, you think I should leave my church?

My tiny amount is much better employed where it can do more direct good and not be siphoned off before reaching missionaries in the field to pay for the lifesyles of the rich and famous...things I do not agree belong in Christendom.

So in your lexicon, being Baptist is defined as supporting the CP? I have always thought of being Baptist as being independent. No ecclesiastical courts, Magistrates, Bishops, Popes, etc. A Holy Priesthood which by the way...

What ever has happened to priesthood of the believer? Has it really become this bad? Are the Pharisees going to come looking for me? :o)

Lin said...

"I am not angry, just trying to understand why it seems this is a hill on which to die for you when you don't even support the SBC or SWBTS, by your own statement."

Too much drama. We are on a blog having a discussion.

CB Scott said...


It is funny you bring up the motion to remove President Clinton's home church.

It was me who made the motion. It was very probable we had enough votes to do it. Most people thought it would pass.

When the motion was brought for a vote. The "chair" ruled it out of order.

The chair for that convention was Dr. Paige Patterson.

There was a "rumble" throughout the hall when he made his ruling. I questioned him about it when we got home.

After all was said and done and time has past I am glad he ruled my motion out of order. It was the right thing to do.

It was a poor motion, yet it had great support. Dr. Patterson was a very wise man that day as a leader in the SBC.


Anonymous said...

Lin, Your response reveals a lot. You make assumptions and jump to conclusions. I tried to frame in a positive like by asking what you like about the SBC. BTW, just because you don't give money to the SBC doesn't mean you don't support it. By attending an SBC that does give money you are supporting SWBTS. It may help you rest better at night by not giving money, the support is still there.

You are really hung up on how much people make. I don't have a problem with paying all our seminar presidents a good salary. If you were the president I would support you earning a six figure salary.

You are indeed the drama queen.

I think I will not comment anymore, since you are such, and jump to conclusions about what I am thinking.

Anonymous said...

C.B., that's just too ironic :). I really had no idea. I, too, was there when the Clinton debacle happened and I was really moved by your motion and your intent. Your heart definitely was in the right place. But I agree that ultimately the chair's ruling was correct.

Lin, as far as being too dramatic, I'm not sure what you mean. A hill on which to die is an expression that means you appear to be very passionate about this issue, nothing more or less. I am sorry you seem so angry and I hope you find peace in your heart and you find strength and guidance in the Word and in your church--no matter they be SBC in name primarily or in full cooperation.

J. Thomas, as for supporting CP by supporting a local church who gives to CP, you are entirely correct, but many people misunderstand this. Ex-president Jimmy Carter is a shining example of this. His church, I believe, still remains SBC, but he and his wife say they are not.

Finally, I think the idea of seminaries operating colleges is not what was originally intended by the formation of our seminaries, but something that has apparently become necessary in the world at large. I would caution those who are critical of the women's concentration in the humanities, of home economics, to make more than a knee jerk assessment of the program and to affirm this apparent response to a great need--and a way to enhance our families that will head to the mission fields of this country and abroad and encourage and empower them to be good stewards of sharing the Gospel in a variety of situations.

To the world at least--and that begins within our ranks--lets affirm in any way we can the Godly role of a woman who now submits herself to such a program which has been needlessly ridiculed and maligned in public.

Liam Madden said...

One question no one seems to be asking is--what's better for the family? Job security isn't what it used to be in the good 'ol USA. Most families need two incomes to have the basics. Since in today's economic environment, either the husband or the wife could quickly lose his or her job due to layoffs, downsizing, or other changes in the local or global economy, it helps if both the husband and the wife have a paying job. Of course, this means that a husband has to share some of the housekeeping duties. Although it seems a little odd, I don't see why homemaking courses couldn't be taught in a seminary; but they should be open to men.

The problem is not with the courses. The problem is that Southern Baptists have been pushing a "one-size" fits all model for male-female, husband-wife relations. But that doesn't work. The SBC is very diverse. Urban families and rural families will have different attitudes toward this topic. My dad owned a restaurant when I was a kid, so I learned to cook without a cookbook; naturally, now I do a lot of the cooking at our house because I enjoy it. Is someone going to tell me that it's against the Bible for me to cook and that my wife should do it. I spent a half-hour yesterday scrubbing the garbage can in our kitchen--is that against the Bible?

I would like to conclude by saying that folks who think that training a wife to work exclusively in the home and to be subservient to the husband will make her a better missionary wife should spend more time overseas. In Southeast Asia and China where I've lived and studied, those cultures are moving or have already moved toward more modern and flexible roles for women. Many women in China today, for example, balance the roles of working wife and homemaker just as they do here. Around the world, attitudes on this topic will vary according to degrees of urbanization, industrialization, education, etc. Families should be free to adopt the systems that work best for them.

We do not need to add this inflexible model of gender roles to our gospel. As I search the teachings of Jesus, I do not see the idea of women exclusively as homemaker to be a part of the message.

Anonymous said...

William, It is a sin to spend 1/2 hour cleaning a garage can, when you can go buy a new one with that two family income. ;) Seriously, you made some good points. My wife works full time her employer allows her to work at home two days a week, and she goes in three days a week. I cook a couple of times a week or try too! When I was forced out of my last church (I resigned but the writing was on the wall) it was good to know that our health insurance was taken care of...

Jeff T

CB Scott said...


I should there is nothing inflexible in this degree program.

I, too, have traveled a few places and I understand what you are saying. Yet, I think that to learn to do things one was not taught early in life that are necessary things is not a bad thing.

This is a cornball illustration, but...Soldiers are taught all kinds of things they did not learn at home. (I learned at home, but that does not count)

Soldiers of the Cross need to be flexible and able to do many things. To properly care for a family is one thing all ministry families need to know and to be able to teach. Of course, I am actually speaking of both males and females.


CB Scott said...


That was to be:

"I should "hope" there is nothing inflexible.....


Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused here. Again, I think the degree is intended mainly for ministers and missionary wives or women who want to choose electives in this area (meaning they probably don't wish to pursue another calling at this time or else they would be).

I'm not against men taking the courses either (although that would sort of defeat the purpose since I don't think most churches want the pastor to oversee Wednesday night suppers), but as a vocation, as a calling, I still think the Bible teaches that women are to "see well to the ways of her household." Not that men can't and don't help, but ultimately, I think it's the woman who sets the pace in the home. I have no objection the man cleaning out the garbage can, however. I wish mine would just remember to take out the trash :)

Seriously, again, this is a concentration of electives which seem to focus on the women's role and puts some meat to it by offering sewing and cooking and nutrition and child development.

Unless you are arguing that it isn't the woman's role to see well to the ways of her home--whether she accomplishes that by overseeing the cooking and cleaning (as in Proverbs) and perhaps pursuing a career in tandem, or doing it herself (SUPER WOMAN), then issue is pretty clear. I know we are all tempted to give in to the simple economics of two versus one income homes, but I believe that doesn't change what the Bible teaches about responsibility.

I have worked outside the home since my youngest child was two in various ministry and teaching positions, full time. I'm not being an advocate for either working or not--I just believe the Godly woman is still responsible for the home because I think scripture teaches that (however "fair" or "unfair" that may be) and if these courses can help orchestrate that biblical position, more power!!!

It might also be that once women receive some support in these domestic areas, they might actually become more efficient and be able to be involved in pursuits which can help with family finances (those pursuits based in the home or outside the home). Goodness, wouldn't that help!!!

CB Scott said...


Do not get the house confused with the home.

Both husband and wife are responsible for a home.

That is one of our problems today. Men and women and children living in the same house but never having a home. There is a difference.


Anonymous said...

C.B., I agree both the man and wife make up the home, if there is a man or a wife--the home also includes the house, and I would still defer to logical and biblical thinking about roles. Beyond that, a woman, not a man, bears a child in her own body so it goes to figure the mom-child bond is similiar, but not exactly interchangeable with that of the father-child. We might live in a day of genderless thinking, but that doesn't mean it's correct.

BTW-I should probably fess up and say I also come from a matriarchal culture where the woman rules the home. Of course that means she scrubs the floors (or oversees their scrubbing), but she also sets the tone for pretty much everything related to the house and children! It's probably not exactly a biblical model, but it comes pretty close when carefully analyzed. Papa is respected and Mama is no wimp--just ask Papa, he'll tell you. Mutual respect, mutual responsiblility overall, but definitely different roles and responsibilities in day to day living.

Can the responsibilities shift? Yes. Can the roles? No. He's the provider and she's the caretaker (roles), unless they trade off responsibilities as needed. Does that mean in her caring that she can provide? Yes. Does that mean in being the provider he can offer care? Yes.
Complicated, but simple? Yes.

CB Scott said...


"genderless thinking?

I must have said something in a very wrong way. I am not into a role change anything. I see the idea of a metro-sexual as something that makes me puke.

I was not raised by women. Even all of our dogs were guys.

I understand the biblical role for men and women and never shall the twain meet in my being. I have only one side and it is not the feminine side. I have never been able to "get in touch" with my feminine side because I do not have one.

Somehow I have given you the wrong impression. I don't even own a pink shirt.


Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

C.B., I didn't take it you are an advocate of genderless thinking, but I honestly think some would misunderstand the switching of responsibilities as to indicate no roles. So put away the non-existent pink shirt because that doesn't indicate gender any more than does a man agreeing to do all the baking for Christmas--because he's a better cook than his wife!

I happen to think pink looks great on gray-haired men. Have no idea if you are gray or not, this is not personal, just meant in humor.

CB Scott said...


I think my hair is white, or so I have been told. I think I look better in "crimson" rather than pink or "Tar Heel" baby blue. Maybe one day we shall meet and I will share with you why crimson is the perfect color for this season. :-)

Roll Tide


Harpo111 said...

Actually wasn't Paul married at one time...he was a member of the Sanhedrian (sp) understanding is that you had to be married to be admitted to this body. I was under the impression that his wife was deceased.

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