Are women even allowed in the seminary at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary?
Special thanks to blogger, Tim Fall, whose tweet showed up in my Twitter news feed and prompted this post. Tim asks the person behind The Southern Baptist Theological School’s (SBTS) Twitter account about women in the seminary. @ItsJuzztMe got the first audible laugh from me this morning. Have a read:
So what about those wives who have considered seminary?
I wanted to see if I could send my daughter to SBTS as a seminary student and snooped around the site a bit. I found this:
Ok, the first sentence is a dead giveaway: “Wondering if Southern has a place for you?” hmmmmm
“. . . to address women’s needs and equip them for whatever calling God has place on their lives.”
What if, as Tim Fall asked, a woman feels God is calling her to ministry? Will SBTS support her calling to ministry? Are there classes or any type of classes for men to support wives in seminary? I first had to see if this was even an option at SBTS. From what I can see, SBTS offers quite a few programs for both men and women, but they sure do support wives of seminary students: Seminary Wives Institute. However, there’s no Seminary Husbands Institute that I could find. Keep in mind, when husbands are at seminary school, this is one time that the complementarian guys say it’s okay for their wives to work outside the home for a season.
Reading through some of this stuff reminded me of when I was a Navy officer’s wife and was given a lengthy handbook for proper etiquette as a Navy wife. Even at the time (1988), I noted that it said Navy wives, not spouses. In my husband’s graduating class at officer candidate school, there were women who graduated as officers, so this book was already out of date. Regardless, at our first training site (yes, it was training for me as an officer’s wife as well as training for my newly commissioned officer husband), I hung out with the captain’s wife and other new officer’s wives and she modeled to us how to be a proper officer’s wife. It was actually quite fun at CECOS in Port Hueneme, CA, spending time with the officer’s wives. But I was expected to schmooze with the higher ranking officers respectfully, I had to make sure I placed my calling card appropriately in the dish upon leaving an official event (do you even know what a calling card is and how it is used?). Yup, even though I wasn’t in the military, my husband was, and I was expected to follow Navy wives rules. Anyway . . . back to seminary wives . . .
Here is a sampling of what SBTS has to offer for women in their upcoming spring of 2015 Seminary Wives Institute course descriptions:
LEADERSHIP SKILLS I: Women and Evangelism
BAPTIST BELIEFS: This class is taught by Drs. Albert Mohler, Dan DeWitt, Adam Greenway, Randy Stinson and Greg Wills
We predict you will use what you learn in this course for years to come. You will also gain a greater appreciation and understanding of what your husbands spend years studying.
MINISTRY OF HOSPITALITY: This class is taught by Mrs. Mary Mohler
Some of the many topics include serving your own family, recipe and menu organization, event planning at home and at church, etiquette, hospitality in writing, evangelistic hospitality and overcoming challenges. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate hospitality and plan a creative event as part of this course. Practical assignments correspond to the weekly topics.
MORE BIBLICAL COUNSELING: TYPICAL PROBLEMS IN COUNSELING
PLAYING HYMNS taught by Bethany Strachan (Is this Owen Strachan’s wife?)
Description: Have you ever wanted to learn to play the piano OR have you wish that you had kept it up as a child? This course will teach how to read the notes for the right and left hand and will teach basic chord patterns so that you could play worship songs or hymns with the right hand melody and various chord patterns with the left hand. Access to a keyboard or piano is required as well as regular practice times for about 20-30 minutes five days a week.
The only thing I could find regarding women in leadership is this:
Ministry Leaders Internship for Women is designed to invest in female students who are called to minister to women in a church or educational setting. Ladies are challenged to invest strategically in the spiritual lives of other women while personally growing in leadership, discipline, and godliness. Please go here for more information.
I called SBTS to find out for sure and was told that women can take all classes at SBTS except for pastoral degree classes (JA bolded):
The Pastoral Studies concentration is primarily designed to prepare men who are called to serve in the office of pastor in local congregations. A balance of biblical, theological, and ministry courses makes this a broad program of pastoral training, allowing for exposure to a range of knowledge and skills needed for effective ministry in the local church.
So, Tim, unfortunately I don’t think there’s much for you at SBTS on how to support your wife if she feels God’s calling to go to seminary. I’m so sorry.