March 2006

“It seems a commonly received idea among men and even among women themselves that it requires nothing but a disappointment in love, the want of an object, a general disgust, or incapacity for other things, to turn a woman into a good nurse.”

Comment from is an 1898 edition of Florence Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not.


For those who are contemplating whether women belong in the professional world, consider this:

I have been reading Terrify No More by Gary Haugen and Gregg Hunter. The book focuses on the work of International Justice Mission(IJM), an organization that takes seriously the words of Isaiah 1:17: Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows (NLT). IJM has dived into the underworld of sex trafficking, forced child prostitution and bonded slavery to bring justice to the oppressed.

As I was reading the account of a particularly large rescue operation, Gary Haugen talks about the aftercare of these girls sold into sexual slavery. After all that has been done for them, it becomes necessary for women (trained, educated women) to take over most of the aftercare. These young girls have been victimized by nearly every male they have ever encountered and it is up to women to attempt the initial processes of rehabilitation. The woman in charge of these operations is a Harvard Law grad named Sharon Cohn. Sharon is a wonderful Christian woman who puts herself in harm’s way to obey the call of God in a way that only a woman really can. I can think of no higher calling for a daughter of mine than to stand in harm’s way and live the Gospel for a group of girls whose own parents have often sold them into sexual slavery.

Along those lines, here is a thought-provoking post by Jeannine Kellogg on the growing problem of sexual trafficking and the work of IJM.

One of my biggest concerns regarding those who do not believe a woman ought to go to college is that there is the assumption that all women will marry, or should marry, or should marry young, or that their greatest goal should be to prepare for all of the above.

I do not disparage marriage. In fact, I have enjoyed the fruits of said institution for over 31 years. I am a huge fan of marriage. However, I do not believe that all women are called to marriage or to raising children. If it were an absolute truth that all are to marry and raise children, then there would be an entire people group made up of past and present saints who have lived out God’s second best for them. They have embraced plan B and are either waiting for plan A to kick in or they have settled for plan B.

If we believe in a God who is sovereign, this cannot be. God only operates with a plan A that he fully intends to see to its completion. Here is a wonderful quote I read just this week from When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James:

“The questions about God that seem to surface most often in conversations I have with women center on God’s sovereignty and character. Is God really in control, or does sovereignty change hands from moment to moment, shifting between God, the devil, and pure chance? Does God care only about the major events and choices of my life, or does he also rule over the details? What kind of God would allow such painful things to happen to us? Do I really matter to God, or am I less important than others who seem more entitled to his attentions? These questions about God (which weighed heavily on my own heart) send us back to read the Scriptures again this time with theological eyes, searching for God….When God is big, everything begins to look different…..

Those who believe that God has a plan for them sometimes encounter another problem…the conviction that they have lost God’s best plan for them. They believe that they have missed God’s best plan for them….

But if God is sovereign, then plan B is a myth. No matter how dark things look to us, or how big the mess we’re in, we’re in plan A. God’s plan for us is intact, proceeding exactly as he intended, neither behind nor ahead but right on schedule. Nothing, not our sins, failures, disappointments, bad decision, nor the sins of others against us, can deter a sovereign God from accomplishing his purposes.”

Knowing how much I love to read biographies, a friend of mine suggested a book called Alabaster Doves, by Linda Holland. An easy read (I read it in a few hours), the book tells the story of 8 women “whose lives were characterized by strength and gentleness” as the book cover says.

It was a fun read because I had never heard of some of these ladies and yet they had a profound impact on the culture in which they lived. What really jumped off the page to me, however, was the fact that God had planned lives for them that they never imagined as they were growing up and that each of them had been so perfectly, providentially prepared for His calling, though they were not aware of it beforehand. And it is apparent that education was a part of those callings.

My favorite story was of a woman who had been trained as a nurse, specializing in herbal remedies, prior to the Civil War. That training allowed her to be qualified as a botanical physician so she was able to support her family when her husband died. It also allowed her to have a special ministry within the small community where she lived in the Midwest.

Years later she was asked to volunteer as a nurse to over 500 Union troops from her own hometown who were dying in southern Illinois. Eventually her training took her to the front lines of battle, ministering as a nurse and comforting as a mother to the young men. When the war was over, she was given a soldier’s pension for her volunteer work, something nearly unheard of at that time!

We do not know what the Lord has in store for us. We do know that His ways are perfect and are not our ways. We do know that God intends to prepare us for His callings on our lives and that He uses education to do just that in many instances!

Have any of you read other biographies of Christian women where education has played a major role in their callings? All book suggestions welcome!

I apologize for the inconvenience of comment moderation. We’ve had some issues with profane and vulgar language being posted in archived posts. As a Christian blog, we will not tolerate name-calling or gratuitous sexual language in either posts or comments. We welcome challenging comments from readers who disagree with our viewpoint, but will not allow explicit language or verbal abuse to be posted to the public blog itself.

Thanks to all of our readers who oppose college for women but have the ability to express themselves without resorting to vituperation!

”Men should not sit and listen to a woman. Even if she says admirable things, or even saintly things, that is of little consequence, since they came from the mouth of a woman.”

Origen, early church father.

“Woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex, while production of woman comes from defect in the active force.”

Thomas Aquinas

”It is an ascertained physiological fact that the actual capacity of the average male brain is considerably greater than that of the female.”

M. Burrows, in an 1869 article that argued against allowing women to attend college in England

“What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother; it is still Eve the temptress that we must be aware of in any woman…I fail to see what use women can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children.”

St. Augustine of Hippo

“The female is more imperfect than the male. The first reasons is that she is colder. If, among animals, the warmer ones are more active, it follows that the colder ones are imperfect.”

Galen, a “medical expert” in the 3rd century (He, obviously, had never experienced post-menopausal women, btw.)

“God maintained the order of each sex by dividing the business of life into twoparts, and assigned the more necessary and beneficial aspects to the man and the less important, inferior matters to the woman.”

Early church father, John Chrysostom

“A womans intellect is normally more feeble and her curiosity greater than those of a man…women should not govern the state or make war or enter the sacred ministry. Thus they can dispencse with some of the more difficult brances of knowledge which deal with politics, the military arts, jurisprudence, philosophy and theology…Their bodies as well as th3eir minds are less storng and robust than those of men.”

Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fenelon, in The Education of Females, published in late 17th century.

I would also like to point out that some of those who are leading the movement for young ladies to not attend college are also advocating a return to the day when we didn’t have the right to vote. As far fetched as this may sound, check out this link to read about a film these two guys are making for the 2006 Vision Forum film festival. (Here is a link to the film on Doug Phillip’s blog, where they list “universal sufferage” along with abortion as those things supported by “monstrous” women.”)

This is a excerpt from an article by John Thompson. He is often a speaker in home-integrated church conferences and homeschooling events and this article is linked to and referenced often by homeschooling leaders who bring this same teaching to conferences all around the country.

Any thoughts?

It was in the other two disciplines—the life skills and spiritual development—that we found substantial, gender-related differences which would affect the content of our daughters’ education. Since the role of ninety-nine percent of young women is to be a devoted wife and mother (i.e., not remain single, Gen. 1:28), her training in life skills must prepare her to be a capable helper to her husband, trainer of her children and caretaker of her home (Gen. 2:18; Prov. 1:8; Tit. 2:5). Such skills would certainly include all that is involved in the spheres of cooking, sewing, home care, child care, health care, animal care, gardening, and domestic finances.

Further, if a young woman’s spiritual role is to be a servant-contributor, the content of her training must equip her to be a submissive helper in the home as well as in the assembly, freeing up the men to exercise their God-appointed leadership (1 Tim. 2:8-15). Training of this sort might include a major ministry to mothers in the church (on Sundays and weekdays too) as well as helping with the church nursery, fellowship meals, home Bible study hostess, music ministry, hospitality, family evangelism, missions helper, visitation of shut-ins, etc.—all under parental supervision, of course.

In summary, a young woman’s training should be modeled after the examples of Sarah, Mary and the virtuous wife of Proverbs 31, whose lives centered around their husband, children and homeworking (cf. 1 Tim. 2:15). A Christian woman’s God-ordained “career” is not just in her home—it is her home (i.e., her husband and her children)!

Where is this training to occur? At some distant school, camp or other educational setting? Decidedly not! The fundamental tenet that distinguishes Christian home education from Christian school education is our belief that the parents are a child’s God-appointed teachers (Ps. 78:1-8; Prov. 6:20) and that the family home (and its environs) is the God-ordained classroom—”when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way” (Deut. 6:7; 1 Cor. 15:33).

Then when do older children finally leave the family home? For young women, it seems, the Scriptural time for departure is at marriage, and not before (1 Cor. 7:36-38). Because God created the woman to be the “weaker vessel” (more vulnerable, 1 Pet. 3:7; 1 Tim. 2:14), He intends for her never to be out from under the protective covering of either a father or a husband (1 Sam. 30:18). She is to abide in the protective shadow of her father (Ps. 36:7) until she moves into the shadow of her husband (S.of S. 2:3). This is the clear implication of Numbers 30 which sets forth only three Scriptural marital states for women: a single woman in her father’s house (normally in her youth), a married woman in her husband’s house, and a divorced or widowed woman who is under the direct protection of God (Ps. 68:5) and the care of church elders (1 Tim. 5:3ff). There is no biblical marital status (and no normative Scriptural example) of a single woman who leaves her father’s home for reasons other than marriage. Obviously, such a conclusion from Scripture had a significant impact on where we would train our daughters and where they would reside before marriage.

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