Stay-At-Home Daughterhood: Optional or Biblical?

Until recently, I was convinced of my complete awareness about every concept surrounding biblical womanhood. In a desire to continue my studies and further prepare for my exciting role as a new mommy, I ordered the book “Joyfully At Home” by Jasmine Baucham. Familiar with Pastor Voddie Baucham, I assumed the book to be his wife’s. Having benefitted from his teaching, I expected to benefit from hers also. Turns out, it’s his 20 year-old daughter’s book on stay-at-home daughterhood. I discovered this a few pages in and was too curious and committed (especially after paying the shipping cost) to stop reading.

Stay-at-home daughterhood is a new idea for most. It rejects the expectation of girls leaving for college after high school. It embraces staying at home until marriage for a season of parental training and discipleship in preparation for future roles plus full-time contribution to the needs of the immediate family. College isn’t completely ruled out; Jasmine encourages earning an online degree, but more important is avoiding secular academia and staying home to learn and contribute.

There is much about this work I commend. The reevaluation of cultural norms and life pursuits is a wise step, especially for young women. The much needed focus on fashioning the home according to God’s word is boldly presented in a genuine tone. I believe the author is a good example for her peers.

My goal here is not to review and critique the book itself, but to engage with the premise on which it is based: the immediate family is superior to all other efforts and callings.  In this book, it is given an attention and emphasis not found in Scripture. Stay-at-home daughterhood flows from this viewpoint: “Young men and women seeking advice on how they can serve the Lord often pepper me with questions…they never expect the answer that I inevitably give…’If you are serious about serving the Lord, get married, pray that he gives you a house full of children and bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (pg. 115).’”

Jesus did not agree. While the texts on familial roles and the importance of marriage and raising children are just as inerrant and inspired as any, they do not exclude nor eclipse the rest of the Bible. Jesus was very clear throughout the Gospels about the connection of family relationships to His mission:

  • “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26
  • “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37
  • “But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!” Matthew 12:47-49
  • “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” – Mark 10:28-30
  • “To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:59-62

Obviously these texts have a context, but Jesus meant what He said. He was frequently confronted with familial idolatry as He recruited disciples and taught on hillsides. Never once did He encourage someone to devote the best and most of their time and attentions to the family unit. He explained to the Sadducees that the family unit is not eternal (Matthew 22:29-31). Yet, His teaching is not incongruent with texts emphasizing the spiritual importance of and roles within the family. Teaching about family is part of Scripture, not its grand subject. Jasmine reminds readers that “the Great Commission isn’t the only passage in the Bible (pg. 186).” However, Matthew 28:18-20 contains Jesus’ final words to those disciples who would carry out His kingdom work. If her view of family was shared by Jesus, as He ascended to heaven and charged the faithful one last time, He would have said, “Go ye therefore and get married, having lots of children and focusing primarily on your own household,” but He didn’t.

Jasmine appeals to Paul’s Epistles in building her theology for stay-at-home daughterhood (with other texts such as Exodus 22, Numbers 30, Deuteronomy 6 & 22 and Proverbs 31). She states: “…I understand that the college campus is neither the only nor the best place for ministry to take place. If it were, the Apostle Paul would have spent less time encouraging Christians to devote themselves to building solid family units…and more time encouraging them to go out and be educated among the Romans.” First, teaching how to correctly do something is not encouraging devotion. I can teach someone to ride a bicycle even if I don’t like doing it. Paul was giving instruction about families, not actively campaigning for them. In fact, Paul himself never married. Arguably the greatest missionary and servant of Christ we know of did not see procuring a family unit as the best way to serve His Savior. Another problem is that Paul didn’t really spend that much time writing about families. He spent more time engaging skeptics and intellectuals with the gospel message (Acts 17 &18). On one such occasion, however, he wrote this:

  • “I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:32-34

The author makes it clear she is not mandating this practice for every young woman: “…living at home after graduation should be a decision that we can trace back to guiding principles in God’s Word (pg. 140).” I found myself having to perform some pretty clever Scriptural gymnastics to link her cited texts to her reasons for staying home. She confidently rests all her book’s content on this assertion: “I can see no pattern in Scripture for a young woman to pack up and head cross-country to be discipled outside of the framework of the church and home (pg. 142).” This statement accomplishes nothing for her case. Because of travel constraints, underdeveloped nations, lack of education and widespread illiteracy in first century Palestine, we would no more expect a pattern for a girl going off to college in Scripture anymore than we would a pattern of space exploration. Aside from this claim, her case is founded on experience and opinion, cushioned by some cherry-picked Bible verses. By applying her hermeneutic, one could easily argue that all Christians are called to overseas missions. I do not think a biblical case is made for or against either stay-at-home daughterhood or girls going off to college.

I do admire her convictions. To see such a young girl making a culturally radical choice for God’s glory is refreshing. I am not necessarily disagreeing with stay-at-home daughterhood; I’m disagreeing with the elevation of family above all else. This serves as an example of what happens when we “go beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6), extrapolating from the Scriptures, filling in the gaps with personal experience and elevating our conclusion as biblical.

A family can pursue a Christ-centered home with a vision of “multi-generational faithfulness” and not flirt with family idolatry. I agree with her: the neglect of the family unit in and outside the Christian world is shameful, but to lift it above all other biblical teaching is irresponsible. A young woman leaving home for anything other than a husband is not antagonistic to the Bible. There’s no reason the kind of preparation Jasmine speaks of cannot take place prior to college. I am a very blessed stay-at-home wife with a baby on the way. No other task has given me greater joy. However, a day is coming when my wife and mommy duties will cease and I will function as part of a larger, heavenly family. That is the family I must ultimately work in view of.

-Emily

(image credit)

21 thoughts on “Stay-At-Home Daughterhood: Optional or Biblical?

  1. I should preface this by saying I’m not a Christian or religious in any way. I admire friends who have strong beliefs, generally, when my own extend only as far as treating others as well as I possibly can.However, this girl’s beliefs sound to me as though she has been indoctrinated, and I find them chilling rather than worthy of admiration. Having lived such a sheltered life, she seems little more than a child who has been encouraged to believe these things by her well known father. And this is even if she wrote the book without strong external influence. I think that a responsible parent would be encouraging their child to get a broader world view to compliment their faith. I really find such an insular life style worrying.

  2. I read the Book and Did not Find any Idolitry in its contents. I wil Pray for you as a Servant, wife, mother, writer & teacher. proverbs 20:11

  3. I’ve read the book as well as one of my daughters (16). My 2nd daughter is reading it (15) and my 3rd daughter (12) after her. If you would study Biblical Womanhood/Manhood more, then Jasmine’s book might make more sense. i didn’t agree with you either that the book idolized family above all. Young women are to be under their father’s headship until they marry. And then they are under their husband. This is for protection, servant leadership, guideance, and how God has set up the family. It is a narrow path.
    Jasmine helps with her adopted siblings as well as her biological siblings. You make it sound like Jasmine is doing NOTHING while at home. What a better way to lay down your life for another than by discipling and helping with homeschooling the next generation like she is doing?

    • Michelle made a really good point. While Jesus did say you are to love Him above all else, the believing woman still has commands in the Bible.
      1 Corinthians 7:36 shows how women are under the authority of their fathers until they are married. Titus 2:5-6 commands women to be keepers at home. There is no command or mention in the Bible for women to work outside of the home except for Proverbs 7:11. Keeping God’s command about being a submissive woman has nothing to do with idolizing family.

      • “women are under the authority of their fathers until they are married.”

        That was probably normative in that culture and most young people went from childhood immediately to marriage. But there are enough biblical examples of single women living on their own (and having careers) that we can’t make a categorical prohibition against them: Lydia, Mary Magdalene, Phoebe, Anna, Ruth, etc. In any case, a father is eventually going to die and he will probably be incapable of financially supporting his daughter long before that happens. It’s simply wisdom for a woman to have the skills to support herself.

  4. What has come to be known recently as stay-at-home daughter hood is not a new concept. It was the practice in biblical times and was not until recently that things became different. Women going to college and working outside of the home is a fairly new concept and has had its pros and cons.

    I am 100% for women being educated and free to make decisions (though please do not confuse me for being pro-abortion; free will does not excuse sin). If a woman wants to work outside of the home or go to college I am happy she has the freedom to do so in multiple countries today. But there are spiritual implications of a single woman being on her own. The bible talks about the covering of spiritual authority by a woman’s father or husband that represents the covering Christ has over the church. Although it is not a salvation issue for a single woman to not have a covering, it is spiritual vulnerability and not God’s best for her.

    I have not read the book, but I am very familiar with stay-at-home daughter hood. The verses quoted above concerning leaving your family for the sake of the gospel encompass leaving them to do God’s will and follow His leading. They do not illustrate a necessary separation of believers from their families in order to follow Christ and preach the gospel – unless their family is in rebellion to the Lord, or He calls the believer elsewhere (“Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” gen. 12.1).

    The home is where society begins, where discipleship takes place (duet. 11:19), and where hearts are won (prov 22:6). Having a family is not the only way to live out the gospel, God has different callings for each of us, but it is a representation of the relationship we have with Him.

    In it’s simplest form, the “movement” of stay-at-home daughter hood can be stripped to the core principle of taking family life seriously, as the family is one of Satan’s main targets, and investing in family as an example of Christ. We are to serve one another and be humble. As a single daughter or as a wife that is best done within the home first and extended to everyone else second. It should never end with the family, but always begin with the family. Granted, having a family is by no means the only way to exemplify Christ, but the family structure as God designed it mirrors His kingdom for a specific and holy purpose. This is why it is a target for Satan.

    To clarify even further, a parent’s child is their charge and for whom they are solely responsible (as I am sure you understand, being a mother yourself). A child’s parent’s are their authority, whom they are commanded to obey and honor. This is the first commandment by God with a conditional promise. Although Jesus spoke of leaving father and mother for the sake of the gospel, He did not renounce the wisdom of God written in Proverbs on the subject of sons and daughters listening to, obeying, and honoring their parents, or in Deuteronomy of parents discipling their children in the home night and day. A person can honor their parents outside of the home, obviously – by no means does living with a parent by default equate honor – but being an obedient and loving son or daughter is honorable.

    The bible is full of verses about family and the importance of the structure God has designed to mirror His kingdom and relationship with us. The physical structure of the family parallels the spiritual structure of God’s kingdom. In the spiritual, we serve, honor, and obey the Father as we wait for the groom (Christ) to return and make us His bride. That servitude while waiting for Christ’s return may look different for different people, but it always includes obedience and glorification of God.

    In the end, it is not about stay-at-home daughter hood but about servant hood. God calls us to serve one another in love. Our focus is never to be on our own independent dreams and desires but set on things above. God promises to give us the desires of our hearts if we put Him first and delight in Him — delighting in doing His will, delighting in serving Him and others, and delighting in walking in the spirit. The reason this surfaces as a “movement” of stay-at-home daughters is because when you look at it, the best place to start loving and serving others in the name of the Lord is at home. This is a concept that can be traced throughout the bible.

    Again, we can serve others outside of the home, and NEVER should a single woman living with her family or a wife shut out the world and her duty to represent and preach Christ to every living creature. But it is incredible what a family united in Christ and serving one another can accomplish. A disjointed family is a disjointed community, church, and society.

    That being said, I am a stay-at-home daughter. I am 24 and have worked for my family’s business outside of the home the last seven years. I serve and honor my family by blessing and growing the company. Through this company, God has provided for six adoptions into our family. I am exactly where I am supposed to be, though I don’t pretend that it is easy or glamorous. I face my share of persecution and scrutiny by others who do not understand my reasons for not being alone and on my own. But I am confident that I am a blessing to my parents, a support to my younger siblings, and obedient to where God has called me to be. I do not know what tomorrow holds and where God will take me from here. So far, He has taken me across the globe change the lives of orphans and their status to son or daughter – just as He has done for me. It is my joy to serve my family at home and have a part in a ministry we are starting. I do not know if I will marry, but I know that wherever I am led by Christ I will follow. If I may serve God better by joining to and supporting a husband, that’s what I will do. Until then, I do what He has given me to do today. I do not place my family above God, but I place God’s calling above my own ambitions. It has never been easy.. but always worth it.

    It needs to be said that the concept of family unity and servitude is as old as time – stay at home daughter hood is just one expression of it. It is not the end-all be-all, or above the gospel, but if done in love and obedience to God and not rebellion or fear it is another way to worship and represent Him in every day life. I personally believe the reason God has moved upon women like Jasmine to be so focused on it is because the world is in a family crisis today and family love and unity is needed more than ever. Loving and serving our families teaches us to love and serve the family of God. We have a Church that is in shambles because the family is in shambles. If we turn our attention toward winning the second battlefield, the first being our own mind, we will have a better chance at victory as the body of Christ (“If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” 1 tim 3:5).

    In closing:

    “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

    Titus 2:4-5
    And so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

    1 Timothy 5:14
    So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17
    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

    Mark 10:19
    You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”

    Ephesians 5:21-6:4
    Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, ..For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
    This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
    Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
    That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
    And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

    • Katie,

      Beautiful, eloquent, Scripture-based explanation of the calling to be a Biblical unmarried woman! Thank you for serving the Lord and sisters in Christ everywhere by taking the time to carefully craft your response. God bless you!

  5. Maggie,

    Thanks so much for the prayers…I need them! I mentioned that the book flirted with family idolatry; I did not convict it of such.

    Michelle,

    Her book should make sense against the Bible, not the extra-biblical subjects of biblical womanhood and manhood. But if you want to pursue the topic, your daughters should already be married since 13 is the age most ladies married in Scripture (which is why they remained under their father’s protection until that day…they were incredibly young). It’s bold of you to presume what I do and do not know of biblical womanhood. I would not say you have little Bible knowledge, simply based on your response…let’s keep the discussion objective. I’ll trust wise women such as Elisabeth Elliot who went to college, studied for the mission field, became a stay-at-home wife and mom and knows a great deal more about biblical womanhood than you, me or Jasmine. Her many books on womanhood and family are far more profitable and biblical.

    I’m curious about your accusation of making it sound like Jasmine did nothing: where did I say or imply that? In a careful reading of my post, you would have read that I admire Jasmine’s convictions and think she’s a great example to her peers. I never speculate about her work or attack her. You ask, what better way is there to lay down your life for another that what Jasmine does…I don’t know…what does the Bible say? Again, my contention is not with SAH daughterhood but with its premise (another point you would have noticed in a careful reading). You have not provided biblical evidence that this is a biblical mandate. I praise God that this is the calling He’s placed on the lives of some young girls and I equally praise Him for the calling of others to go to college and do other things. To say one or the other is right or wrong is to venture beyond the Scriptures into opinion land.

    What would you say to Amy, a youth in our church who loves Jesus as much as I’ve seen any teenager yet has divorced, non-Christian parents? To Jessica, an only child in our congregation whose parents are workaholics and claim to know God but never see her, much less disciple her? Karissa, a girl who has been sexually abused by her dad but recently received Christ…do I tell her to return home to be under His protection? Did God not make provision for these young women to be in His will or will they fail to be all God has called them to be in the home because they couldn’t be stay-at-home daughters? Real biblical truth is for all peoples in all times in all cultures and if you can’t square an idea as applicable to every Christian, it is not biblical. Are you prepared to say that SAH daughterhood is God’s unequivocal will for every female?

    When a concept I like is threatened, my first course of action is to attack and read into statements, which is what I’m guessing happened to you. I truly wish the best for your daughters and hope they follow God’s will for their lives. I would never impose on you what I believe they should do…don’t presume to know God’s will for other young women save that they make their lives about the gospel.

    Katie,

    Praise God for His calling on your life. You are surely laying up treasures in heaven as you fulfill the work God called you to in advance. As a note, I said the concept was new for some people, not new in and of itself. I never attack or disagree with stay-at-home daughterhood. I only contend that it is not the biblical mandate that it is presented to be in Jasmine’s book. I never downplay the instruction about family in the Scriptures; I merely bring to light Jesus’ forgotten words on the subject. While the family is an important subject in the Bible (like ecclesiology for example), it is not Scripture’s grand message. There are many callings on a Christian’s life that cannot be found in Scripture: becoming a bank president, studying at a seminary or opening a shelter for juvenile delinquents. If God has placed a calling on your life, praise Him, be confident, and don’t feel the need to justify it to the world. We don’t need a verse for every endeavor. If you draw applicable conclusions for your life from passages through prayer, great! However, these conclusions can’t be imposed on all believers. As Jasmine says, Christians are free to disagree on many things, including this. Thanks for the great comments!

    -Emily

  6. Emily, it would be easy to discount Jasmine Baucham’s book if it did indeed assume that “the immediate family is superior to all other efforts and callings.” It does not. Instead it assumes that God’s will for a person’s life is superior to all other efforts and callings. As Jasmine points out in her book, Scripture seems to provide clearly-defined roles for men (providers, protectors, workers) and for wives (helpers, supporters, keepers at home). Her book is built, not on legalistic misapplication of Scripture, but upon a very persuasive argument that if women are generally called to be submissive and omni-capable (Prov 31) wives, life as a submissive and omni-capable daughter is the most logical preparation for same; and the alternatives are pitiful. The Biblical view of family (which is high, especially if you read the OT) makes her argument more persuasive. Be that as it may, home-based daughterhood does not rest on ANY Biblical mandate. Nor do its supporters try to say it does. It’s just common sense built off Biblical suggestion; Biblical in the sense that if you tend to think Biblically about other things (like the principles of womanhood and covenantal responsibility of fathers) then this will be a very winsome idea (as I think it is for you).

    Emily, I too started from a viewpoint that “this home-based daughterhood stuff is a lovely idea, but soooo legalistic.” Actually it was Miss Baucham’s book which made me realise that it wasn’t legalistic at all. There are many refreshing passages in it where she freely acknowledges that sometimes this isn’t God’s will for your life. This, for example:

    “Stay-at-home daughterhood is a biblical option that I believe all Christian young women should consider, given the principles of biblical womanhood, and given the responsibility of fathers for the protection of their daughters. Now, just because I believe all daughters should consider it does not mean that all daughters will decide to pursue it. There will be broken homes where stay-at-home daughterhood is not an option. There will be daughters who submit to their parents by leaving the home. There will be different paths taken. There will be daughters who do consider stay-at-home daughterhood… and then decide to pursue a different path. There will be hang-ups. There will be daughters who would love to stay-at-home… except for this or that. There will be daughters who choose to serve the Lord in other ways.”

    Home-based daughterhood is one option out of many. We know that. We just love it so much we can’t shut up about how great it is!

  7. Suzannah,
    I truly appreciate your thoughtful interaction with the book and my post. I’ll quickly respond to your comments and then hopefully clarify this blog for everyone!

    I disagree with you. I believe in her eyes, the family is superior to all other efforts and callings in the Christian life (a message that comes from her book and also from her father’s preaching and writing…see his quote on pg. 115).

    I never ever call or imply that SAH daughterhood legalistic. This is something you bring up.

    Your last point is one that I made in my blog: “The author makes it clear she is not mandating this practice for every young woman: “…living at home after graduation should be a decision that we can trace back to guiding principles in God’s Word (pg. 140).” True, she does not outright claim that SAH daughterhood is a biblical mandate, but she does not present it as one of many biblical options. She places it above everything else, claiming it is biblical and leaving home is not. We can’t make the Bible say what it doesn’t. One can conclude from different biblical texts SAH daughterhood is an option. One could also conclude from the passage you mentioned (Pr. 31) that a young girl should go to college to learn business and financial skills to become a blessing to her home and better homeschool her children. We must be careful in imposing our “common sense” on the text. The Pentateuch is not prescriptive for our lives. Its point is that the law cannot produce righteousness, but there is One who is righteous and can redeem us. God’s word is His revelation of Himself to us, not life’s little instruction book. We cannot take Israel’s commands and make them our own. If we do, we better get busy! (See a recent post on my blog “Is There a Right Way to Interpret the Bible? One Woman Lives ‘Biblically’ for One Year”)

    I knew in writing this most readers would miss the main issue. Everyone is so eager to defend the practice of SAH daughterhood, but no one seems to care about proper hermeneutic. My main point has yet to be challenged. I say very clearly in the blog my contention is not with SAH daughterhood and that I praise God for those who are called to it…everyone can rest easy. My point is this book elevates the family to a place Jesus does not. No one has dared to interact with His block of quotes about the family in relation to this topic. I have an opinion on SAH daughterhood just like Jasmine, but those are only our opinions, and they don’t matter. What matters is how we read, interpret and use the Bible. In this case, it is used to make a case for daughters staying home and against them leaving it, two things the text does not address (1 Corinthians 4:6). God called me to seminary, but I don’t need to string together an arrangement of verses to justify it to the world. The bible never addresses seminary, but it’s something even Jasmine’s father approves of (a man of many degrees).

    Suzannah, thank you so much for the great discussion! I praise God that SAH daughterhood has proven a valuable practice in your life.

    Emily

  8. Hello, Emily!

    My name is Jasmine Baucham, and I’m the author of the subject of your blog post. It’s been very interesting for me to watch this topic unfold in the comment section –from being accused of indoctrination to being defended by fellow daughters living at home (thank you =) ) to having my theology explained in terms I never used: “the family is superior to all other efforts and callings in the Christian life..”

    To that last point… actually, I don’t. As Suzannah pointed out in her comment, I try to make that clear several times in the book. However, since the book is on the subject of stay at home daughterhood, and since I live at home, there is a certain point of view being discussed. I actually do think daughters should have a strong biblical reason for choosing either to go off to college or live at home, not because the Bible says “thou shalt” do either, but because, in the spirit of doing everything as unto the Lord, our decisions should be based on the best possible place where our gifts, talents, and abilities can serve him. For me, that was the home. But I was only able to even consider that after overcoming the presupposition I grew up with: a girl has to go off to college and live her own life to be successful.

    You see, contrary to the (out of context) quote you claim to be the foundation of stay at home daughterhood (that quote is from my father’s book, What He Must Be, which is about marriage and is contained in a part of the book concerning marriage), the foundation isn’t a biblical command (which I say in the first chapter), but a belief that the home can be a wonderful hub of ministry and discipleship. No more. No less.

    The family is an unfathomay important unit in society. It is also the foundational unit of any society. It us not the most important battleground there is… but it is important. And I endeavored to state no more than that in my book. It appears to me that you have an agenda to disprove a position I do not take. You admit this is your first exposure to a new concept: perhaps you should do more research before accusing others of undermining the gospel of Christ for the family unit.

    I would love to talk more about this via email, and would have sent this note that way if I had seen an email address. However, for now, God bless you as you seek to understand His truth.

  9. Emily,

    Out of curiosity, and because of your continued questioning of the hermeneutic behind stay at home daughterhood, I looked up the use of Numbers 30 in Joyfully at Home using the search feature in the Word Document that the book used to be.

    Here’s what I found:

    I used it on page 13 to say that “normatively, a daughter was her father’s responsibility until he gave her in marriage.”

    I used it on page 27 to say: “Sometimes, it may seem that the Word of God is silent when it comes to the issue of a single woman’s calling. The primary reason might be that young women often resided in their fathers’ households until they were married (Numbers 30, Deuteronomy 22), and were given in marriage by their fathers’ (Jeremiah 29:6). For a woman my age –and the age of many of the young ladies reading this book –to still be single in biblical times would be an anomaly.”

    Pages 46-47 to point out how the gospel should inform even our reading of Old Testament texts, and quoting a passage from another book about how Numbers 30 can be read from this perspective.

    And again on page 142 to state that the picture painted of women in the Bible is not one of oppression, but one of protection.

    As to your accusation of my “appeal{ing} to Paul’s Epistles in building her theology for stay-at-home daughterhood (with other texts such as Exodus 22, Numbers 30, Deuteronomy 6 & 22 and Proverbs 31).”

    Are you sure about that?

    There is a reason that I did not explicitly state that stay at home daughterhood is the only real biblical option for a young woman —

    And that’s because I don’t believe it is.

    In fact, when I used passages like Genesis 2:17, 1 Corinthians 11:9, Ephesians 5:22-23 and others, it was to point out that God’s Word seems to give clearer directives to married women than it does to single women (pg. 24, 26). The verses I used in my book could apply to a daughter living at home or a daughter living on a college campus: “As you plan for your future, do so with the beauty of biblical womanhood as your focus, cultivating the beautiful attributes of the Proverbs 31 woman as you seek to bless and spur on others to godliness in the sphere where the Lord has placed you, bringing a hearty femininity to your surroundings, wherever they may be.” (pg. 27)

    The reason I didn’t go off to college was because my college and career of choice in younger years had nothing to do with advancing the gospel and everything to do with advancing myself: I wanted to be a film major at NYU because I was a self-proclaimed feminist on a mission. When I grew up a bit, when I picked up the Word, I realized that my reasons for wanting to go off to school and have a career were all wrong -so wrong that I could find nothing in Scripture to support them. So I started reevaluating. And my reevaluation landed me here at home with a polar opposite mindset. What I found were principles that have made me passionate about family life.

    That is not everyone’s story. It’s mine. And I try to make that clear in my book. When I read “Passion and Purity,” I didn’t walk away feeling slighted by Elisabeth Elliot because she was a missionary who went to college and I stayed at home; I identified with her journey despite differences in our path, the same that I hope (and, by God’s grace, have heard) that young women in all different circumstances can do with my book (although, as you pointed out, Elliot is a far more worthwhile read, I freely admit =) .

    Nowhere in my book did I say that the the the Pentateuch is “prescriptive for our lives,” although I do believe that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17), something Paul wrote when the Pentateuch was the bulk of God’s revealed Word, and I do believe that there are certain principles that we can garner from Old Testament Law —

    But the command for daughters to live at home until marriage, or the believe that a homeward calling is the only worthwhile calling is not one of them. And perhaps the fact that you had to use a sentence here or a sentence there to make a case that this was my belief is an indication that you were fishing for an intent that simply wasn’t there. None of the passages I used apply only and specifically to stay at home daughterhood. And I never claimed or intended to imply that they did.

    I say all this to say, again, that, perhaps, in your quest to correct what is a real problem where it is found -family idolatry -you have superimposed upon my words a meaning that I never gave them. The reason I am taking the time to write all of this to you out of the number of people who no doubt have an opinion on my book is because this is the first review I’ve actually read (the reviewing part, whether they’re positive or negative, was never something I looked forward to), and because you seem very concerned that I am advocating something I am not. And I don’t think your accusations are fair. I find them disconcertingly inaccurate, and I hope that you will carefully reread and reconsider them.

  10. Emily,

    I am wondering if there is a way to contact you privately, as I have a personal comment. I have entered my e-mail below if you are willing to contact me.

    Sincerely,
    ~ A

  11. Jasmine,
    I am very glad you joined the conversation.

    As a fellow writer, I understand the huge risk one takes in publishing. Once it’s out there, the world is free to mock, twist, absorb, idolize and accuse. Thank you for taking that risk. I am not a fan of internet banter and never wish to discredit or harm someone, particularly as they journey in faithful service to God. I intended to interact objectively and not bring personal strife your way (which is impossible, I understand, since such a work is incredibly personal). Since I am fallible, I’m sure I misread you at times. I hope you also might be willing to concede your viewpoint is skewed when it comes to your own work.

    Yes – my biases play into my view of SAH daughterhood, just as yours do. I had no nor have any agenda when it comes to this topic. After reading it, I was left with an impression and this blog is a debriefing of that impression. If I have a goal, it is to champion the Scriptures, their intended meaning and the implications for believers.

    If I did not make this clear in my blog or comments, indulge me here: I praise the Lord for this calling on your life. The cultural expectations placed on young women need to be challenged by Christians. God has clearly given you an incredible ministry at home and is surely blessing you and your family as a result. I know your mom and dad have labored in the faith and you will reap incredible fruit as a result of their discipleship; I hope you appreciate this privilege. The vast majority of young Christian women have no such opportunity for this kind of training and discipleship. May you continue to encourage other young women who have taken the same path.

    About the book: I’ll admit, I never dreamed anyone would care about my post. I thought it would be just another blog, but clearly there is great interest in the topic. My contention is not with the concept of SAH daughterhood. While I have an opinion (which I’ve never shared fully), I feel it’s irrelevant. My contention is with the book’s premise.

    If Jesus intended for His kingdom to expand primarily by the propagation of the family unit, everything you said in your book is absolutely correct. SAH daughterhood is the best, most biblical way for post-high school girls to spend their years before marriage (you don’t articulate it exactly this way, but this is the accumulative effect). However, He did not. Is He pleased and glorified by a SAH daughter? Of course! Would He be equally pleased and glorified by a young woman who goes to college, studies, takes part in ministries and goes on to serve Him in other ways? Yes. Can they both grow into women who care for their homes biblically? Absolutely. Is one path more biblical than the other? No and I believe this is where we are at an impasse. I see how one could look to the Scriptures and glean from them SAH daughterhood, but based on the texts you cited, it is a faint conclusion. Further, I fail to see how Jesus’ teaching (quoted in my blog) squares with this view as presented in your book, a point no one has addressed.

    While you say (as quoted in my blog) SAH daughterhood is not the only option, one is left with an impression similar to this: “Exercise is the best thing you can do for your health. You don’t have to – however, all the experts recommend it, the best books say you should, you’ll die early and it’s a bad choice not to – but don’t feel like you must.” Is this the impression you were going for? Maybe not, but it’s there, as is the idea that the family is superior to all other efforts and callings (the quote of your father’s I mention); however, you could be too close to see this. My concern is that this opinion has been lifted up over all other options and given biblical credence that doesn’t exist, making other options one could draw from Scripture seem less.

    Consider this quote from John Piper (a giant of the faith we probably share admiration for): “So from beginning to end, the Bible puts huge value on having and raising children…while the meaning of marriage normally includes giving birth to children, this is not absolute….So there are different gifts and different callings. Marriage is not absolute.” – This Momentary Marriage (pg. 140). The message of your book leads one to believe these things are absolute for Christians serious about their faith, putting SAH daughterhood on the path to absolution itself. You will find fewer women more excited about the post of wife and mom than me. I have the blessing of teaching biblical womanhood classes at my church and take every opportunity to spur women on to what the Scriptures teach about their lives. My desire, however, is to maintain a proper hermeneutic, allowing every Christian the liberty to live life as God has called them and not impose anything that goes beyond the Bible’s teaching.

    I can tell from your writing that you love Jesus deeply and desire to serve and glorify Him with your life. I agree with you in that there are many things Christians can disagree on and we may find this is one of them, but I believe we have far more in common than not. Feel free to comment again here for the readers, but from this point I would prefer to correspond with you privately so a greater, fuller understanding might be accomplished for both of us.

    Thank you for letting me push you on this and also for your effort to encourage others as they strive for faithful service to our Lord!
    Emily

      • Hello, Emily!

        I’m heaving a big sigh of relief here. I was afraid my comment would come off combative and defensive, and am delighted for further opportunity to clarify these important issues.

        You said:

        Would He be equally pleased and glorified by a young woman who goes to college, studies, takes part in ministries and goes on to serve Him in other ways? Yes. Can they both grow into women who care for their homes biblically? Absolutely. Is one path more biblical than the other? No and I believe this is where we are at an impasse.

        But, you see, we are not at an impasse.

        I completely agree with you. In fact, I’ve written as much before now:

        http://allshehastosay.blogspot.com/2011/07/character-studies.html

        There is a reason that I speak so highly about the family in my book: it’s because the family is my mission field. The same way another young woman might speak highly about her ministry to orphans in her book, or another young lady might talk about her ministry through music in hers. The reason I address every single issue in the book from the central perspective of the home is because that’s my perspective: that’s where I am. So I am not saying that Jesus intended for His kingdom to expand primarily by the propagation of the family unit, but rather, it is my primary ministry, and a viable one at that. And that’s what the book is about: my primary ministry is to my family and my primary ministry outlet is through my family. And, yes, I am very glad of it, as any number of young women might be proud about any number of ministry outlets.

        Re: my father’s quote, although I do not like to speak for him (nor he for me), I do believe that reading the quote in context in his book would probably help you see that his advice to young people is not to be taken quite as literally as you’ve taken it. What He Must Be is a book about marriage and teaching young men how to prepare to lead godly families. While I can see how the quote would alarm you based on your opinion of my advocacy for home and family ministry, I can assure you that this is not the only ministry advice he gives. 😉

        Now, as to the perception you gathered from my book that “these things are absolute for Christians serious about their faith, putting SAH daughterhood on the path to absolution itself.” I think I’ve done my best at reiterating that this is not the point of the book, which is why it is nowhere stated in the book. Many people have read the book, many of them from all different walks of life, and you are the first person I have talked to (girls at college, working mothers, women in all types of ministry, Christians and non-Christians, and “stay at home daughters” included, in person and via email), who has gotten quite this perspective (I’ve actually gotten flack for a lack of dogmatism on the issue). It’s just another opportunity for me to take these thoughts into consideration and be even more clear as I write and speak on the topic in the future… and thank goodness for blogs, emails, and second editions. =)

        I’ll close by saying this. You said, “My desire, however, is to maintain a proper hermeneutic, allowing every Christian the liberty to live life as God has called them and not impose anything that goes beyond the Bible’s teaching.” I share this desire. Which is why I took the opportunity to comment here. Thank you for allowing me to clarify and giving me food for thought. Although I reiterate that I believe you have a mistaken impression of just how important my own perspective is, we share a desire to exalt Christ above any pet lifestyle choices or biases we might possess.

  12. I really enjoyed your balanced post. I personally and unfortunately have experienced the damage this movement has done to godly young women in my community who did not feel called to this lifestyle . I have seen the confusion and heartbreak at the heavy consequences dealt to them by their family for leaving the “umbrella of protection” – a term nowhere found in scripture. I believe there is an extreme lacking of people being bereans and examining the full teachings of VF and groups like it in light of scripture. Their teaching that Grace is the ability to obey God and not the divine influence on the heart or the unmerited favor of God should send alarm bells ringing! their support (sell his books)of a man who believes a parent should still have the right to stone their children for disobedience. Their teaching that women shouldn’t vote . There is also a tremendous difference between the husband being the final say and authority and the idea that a woman has no say! And If we are to abandon everything is it not to be for Jesus and Him alone? What about the proverbs 31 woman who worked both inside and outside the home, considered a field and bought it (appears to do so on her own) and was strong nd is praised for the type of woman she is? Or Deborah the woman judge in the OT? . Paul also names several women as his “fellow-workers” in the Gospel a term he uses also for men. I am not preaching feminism here for anyone who may post after me. I am by no means a feminist. But there are clear biblical and scriptural issues here that people need to take a step back and look at in light of Gods Word. Be a Berean!

  13. I found your commentaries on this book very interesting and I agree with pretty much everything you stated. I don’t think there is an exact blueprint when it comes to parenting. Each child has a different personality and temperament and should be raised accordingly. Personally, God has already put in my heart that I would be much more effective for His kingdom out in the world as a single young lady, ministering to others in the place I’m at before I think about getting married. I don’t want my life to be a bubble, and I don’t think God wants that for me, either. And thankfully, my parents agree with me. They want me to own my own faith and they trust God to protect me where I am. One of the greatest lessons I have learned from my parents is giving back to God what He has given to you. Because of their attitude in this, they have been blessed. God gave them me and they give me back to God to do with me what He wills, and I give myself to Him fully. I’m not saying that everyone should do what I’m doing, but by giving myself to God I know He is going to put me in the best place to further His kingdom, and I can do that best out in the world, broadcasting a reflection of Christ and continually pointing people to Him, who I would never meet if I had stayed in my parent’s home until I got married.

  14. How can a father give away his daughter in marriage if she is no longer under his authority? If she is out on her own before marriage, isn’t the point that she can be independent? The idea very supported in scripture of a father giving his daughter away to her husband, is rather impossible if he doesn’t have the authority to do so.

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