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The ultimate guide to Christian homemaking advises readers on everything from meal planning to interior decorating, biblical womanhood to budgeting, serving as a comprehensive handbook for the woman and her home.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781433528385
Publisher: Crossway Books
Publication date: 03/31/2013
Pages: 544
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Pat Ennis (EdD, Northern Arizona University) is the distinguished professor and director of homemaking programs at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She previously served as the establishing chair of the Home economics/family and consumer science department at the Master’s University. She has authored or coauthored several books, resides in Burleson, Texas, and blogs at

Dorothy Kelley Patterson (DTheol, University of South Africa) is professor of theology in women’s studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where her husband, Paige Patterson, is the president. She is the author of many books, an active homemaker, a frequent speaker and Bible teacher at women’s conferences, and a mother and grandmother.

Read an Excerpt


A Portrait of the Twenty-First-Century Home

* * *

Pat Ennis

When I was a very young teacher, one of the key leaders of the National Organization for Women (NOW) was the keynote speaker for my professional association's annual conference. As I listened to her passionate presentation, I realized that NOW claimed to speak for the women of America. Her platform at our conference was to challenge the attendees to cast off the shackles of tradition and become "liberated!" Though at the time I was unfamiliar with the passages of Scripture describing the biblical instructions for male and female roles, I did know that speaker was not accurately representing my beliefs. Regrettably, a large percentage of the professional association's membership did embrace NOW's philosophy; this conference marked the beginning of the association's demise.

Later that summer, Beverly LaHaye, my pastor's wife, approached me after an evening church service and asked, "Pat, would you be interested in joining a group of ladies at my home next week to discuss some issues vital to our roles as Christian women?" Inwardly my mind was racing, thinking, There isn't anything that I would rather do! Outwardly, I graciously smiled and responded, "How thoughtful of you to include me — I would be delighted to attend."

The afternoon began with refreshments and the usual ladies' chatter — all the while knowing that a cause greater than "female fellowship" had drawn us together. The room silenced as Mrs. LaHaye rose and began to share with us the purpose of the gathering. She had watched a television interview of Betty Friedan, the founder of NOW, and had drawn the same conclusions as I had at my professional conference. Beverly knew that Friedan was not accurately representing her beliefs and was confident that she was not the only woman who felt that way. A time of discussion, affirmation of Beverly's convictions, and prayer followed.

Subsequently, a meeting led by Mrs. LaHaye to educate and alert Christian women on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was held in San Diego — with more than twelve hundred in attendance. This event served to launch Concerned Women for America (CWA), which became officially incorporated in January of 1979. Today, Concerned Women for America is a vibrant organization with well over five hundred thousand members coming from all fifty states and coordinated by a dynamic staff from its national office in Washington, DC.


The advent of the feminist agenda in the decade of the seventies began the downward spiral for the embracing of traditional roles by evangelicals. Now, some forty years later, the egalitarian view is so widely embraced by the evangelical community that the biblical instructions about male and female roles are no longer aggressively taught in many churches. Numerous individuals who would consider themselves strong Christians believe that the role distinctions described in the Scriptures are archaic and not applicable to the twenty-first century. However, the immutability or unchanging nature of God would be in question if numerous passages of Scripture were not timelessly relevant (Gen. 1:27; 2:15–17, 22, 3:1–7; Prov. 31:10–31; 1 Cor. 11:9–12; Eph. 5:23–29; Col. 3:19–21; 1 Tim. 2:8–15; Titus 2:2–8; and 1 Pet. 3:1–7). If you think that God changed his mind about one passage of Scripture, how can you be sure that he has not changed his mind about others? J. I. Packer, in Knowing God, lists six attributes of God that provide a helpful backdrop for analyzing the portrait of the twenty-first-century home:

• God's life does not change.

• God's character does not change.

• God's truth does not change.

• God's ways do not change.

• God's purposes do not change.

• God's Son does not change.

If God does not change, then fellowship with him, trust in his Word, living by faith, and embracing his principles for twenty-first-century believers are the same realities as they were for those living in the eras of the Old and New Testaments. The role distinctions outlined in the Scriptures listed above are not written to suppress or discourage Christians. Rather, they provide a biblical foundation for the creation of principles by which we, as evangelical Christians, are to live our lives. While the outward historical context has changed, the biblical principles defining character have remained true.


I am privileged to administrate and teach a character-based home economics curriculum, which I first developed for Christian Heritage College at the request of Tim LaHaye. Each year as I work with new homemaking students, I find that they are increasingly unaware of God's special instructions to women. When I teach Proverbs 31:10–31, the biblical foundation of the curriculum, seemingly the scales drop from the eyes of my students and they understand for the first time that this passage is relevant for their choices today. The majority of the students enrolled in my classes are the products of evangelical homes and churches, so for them to lack a foundational knowledge of the principles that Christian women should embrace is a surprise and disappointment to me. The situation is enhanced when, in their exit class, their understanding of the impact of the feminist movement on the evangelical community is incredibly deficient. Reading and responding to the content of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is a life-changing experience for them.

My students are asked to discuss the characteristics of the women who have been role models for them. Typically, the woman whose life has been so influential to a student is marked by these characteristics:

• is professionally employed outside the home, even when her family does not need her income to meet the family's basic living expenses

• demands and achieves equal rights with her husband

• prioritizes fulfillment of personal goals

• exhibits an attitude of independence, of wanting to be in control of her circumstances

• frequently does not speak to people in a gracious and kind manner

• fails to respond to God's provision for her with gratitude and contentment

• expects her husband to contribute equally to the maintenance of the home

• places her children in the care of someone else or of a day care center

• may have made ungodly choices, such as divorce or even abortion, to avoid difficult situations or consequences

• leads her family rather than allowing her husband to lead

• has children who are "ministry orphans" (children whose parents prioritize their ministry responsibilities ahead of their parenting roles as outlined in Scripture)

Regrettably, the students' Christian role models have moved a million miles from the teaching found in Proverbs 31:10–31. Apparently the influence of the twenty-first-century culture has slowly infiltrated the evangelical community. Consider the following categories of data collected by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics and compare them with the demographics of your local congregation:

• the labor force participation rate (the percent of the population working or looking for work) for all mothers with children under eighteen

• the participation rate for married mothers living with their respective spouses

• the labor force participation rate of mothers with children under six years

• the participation rate of mothers with infants under a year old

Consider studying the content presented in the Bureau of Labor Statistics website in light of this question: "If you were free to do either, would you prefer to have a job outside the home, or would you prefer to stay at home and take care of the house and family?"

Research suggests that twenty-first-century society has twisted and blended the male and female roles outlined in Scripture (Genesis 1–3; Prov. 31:10–31; Ephesians 5–6; 1 Tim. 2:1–15; Titus 2:2–6; 1 Pet. 3:1–7). God ordained specific and separate roles for women to fulfill, whether single, married, or with children. Feminism has blended at best, and distorted in many cases, the biblical role distinctions. Have you been impacted? Responding to the "Feminism Quotient" may assist you in identifying whether or not your values have been influenced by the feminist movement.

* * *


What is your perception of the impact of the feminist movement on the twenty-first-century culture and the evangelical community?

Place the number that best reflects your response to the statement in the space provided.

Use the following scale:

1 = Strongly Disagree

2 = Disagree

3 = Agree

4 = Strongly Agree

1. Roles of men and women are clearly defined in the Bible.

2. God is spoken of in the Scriptures as a male.

3. The tendency today is to stress the equality of men and women by minimizing the unique significance of our maleness or femaleness.

4. God does not intend for women to be squelched.

5. Society, due to the inborn sin nature of each human, automatically rebels against God's rule, resulting in a distorted view of how God originally created men and women.

6. Submission refers to a wife's divine calling to affirm her husband's leadership.

7. Submission refers to a wife's divine calling to follow her husband's leadership through the use of her gifts.

8. Because a husband is given leadership, this means he must make all the decisions.

9. The pattern of male leadership was God's original design before sin affected His creation.

10. Jesus placed a high value on women.

11. Jesus recognized role distinctions for men and women.

12. The Old Testament, Jesus, and Paul all teach the same basic doctrine in relation to role distinctions for men and women.

13. Male leadership in the church was Jesus's intention as displayed by the appointment of all men as apostles.

14. The headship of men over women implies women are inferior.

15. Analogous of Christ and his church, the husband is told to exercise, with love, headship over his wife.

16. Paul's teachings imply that women are not to teach Christian doctrine to men.

17. Paul's teachings imply that women are not to exercise authority directly over men in the church.

18. Submission implies giving up independent thought.

19. Submission is not based on lesser intelligence or competence.

20. The same wisdom and skills necessary for good family management apply also to the management of God's church.

21. The effects of sin have made family relationships difficult to fulfill in a biblical manner.

22. The loss of masculine identity is causing children to become confused about their own identity.

23. Women are valuable not because of any merit of their own but because the Lord has given them value.

24. How women serve in ministry must align with the principle and truth that God has assigned specific roles to specific people and groups of people.

25. The process of cultivating a heart of gratitude allows a woman to place herself humbly under the Word of God and in submission to his commands to fulfill the biblical role of womanhood to which he has called her. Feminism Quotient Total

Feminism Quotient Interpretation

Total all the numbers indicating your responses to the statements. Then find the corresponding range of scores listed below:


A complementarian understanding of the roles of men and women


A strong understanding of the roles of men and women


A basic understanding of the roles of men and women


Further research is needed to acquire a biblical understanding of the roles of men and women.

You may be a part of my study addressing the impact of feminism on the evangelical community by transferring your responses to the identical assessment located at An interpretation of the assessment is located at the conclusion of the chapter.


The book of Proverbs is a set of teaching guidelines for Jewish families. Proverbs 12:4 and 19:14 commend specific positive qualities of a wife. Proverbs 31 is the final teaching to the son by a godly mother (31:1). In Proverbs 31, verses 1–9 focus on the qualities of a wise king; verses 10–31 deal with the selection of a godly wife. Its content provides the instruction needed to restore the twenty-first-century's woman to a biblical paradigm. The instruction first addresses the character qualities of a godly king including:

• holiness (31:3),

• sobriety (31:4–7), and

• compassion (31:8– 9).

The second instruction provides insight on how to select an excellent wife (31:10–31). Six characteristics are emphasized:

Her character. In verses 11–16, "trustworthy" is the word that best defines her. Her husband's care is her primary concern, and he trusts her to manage the home effectively. She is a careful steward of the family assets and helps her husband to profit in his business. Her devotion to him is consistent, freeing him to be all that God means for him to be.

Her devotion as a wife and homemaker. Verses 13–24 suggest that the excellent wife is creative with her hands and works with a positive attitude (v. 13); purchases goods of variety and quality at the best price (v. 14); rises early to meet the needs of her household (v. 15); possesses the ability to make sound financial decisions (v. 16); is utterly unselfish and uses her skills to minister to others (v. 20); plans ahead for unforeseen circumstances rather than living by crisis management (v. 21); is well groomed and appropriately fashionable (v. 22); and contributes to the family income through her home-based industry (v. 24).

Her generosity as a neighbor. Verse 20 reports that the excellent wife both responds to and reaches out to others. Although her family is her first priority, she is not myopic.

She is a teacher with influence. Verses 25–26 describe the impact of the woman on the lives of others. Whether or not a woman is trained professionally, she is a teacher. The excellent woman is confident spiritually. She has gained, through a godly lifestyle, the respect of others who listen to her counsel; she teaches daily in her home and makes a long-term impact on others. Wisdom and loving-kindness characterize her speech.

She is an effective mother. Verses 27–28 record the spontaneous response of those closest to her — her husband and children. Her household is well-managed, and her husband affirms her while her children reverence and honor her.

Her reward. Proverbs 31:30–31 is a reminder that long-term outward beauty has no real value. A woman who loves and fears God is the only truly excellent woman, and only God can produce such a woman. Eventually, if she is willing to embrace God's special instructions to women, she will be privately and publicly rewarded.

The feminist agenda understandably does not define excellence in these terms. Regrettably, our evangelical community frequently fails to define excellence according to biblical standards as the Perceptions of Homemaking Study revealed.


The Perceptions of Homemaking Study, which establishes the need for this book, was designed to identify a woman's knowledge of the facts regarding her ability to perform successfully the life skills commonly associated with home management. The respondents overwhelmingly were female. With that general purpose in mind, several research questions were cited:

1. How has feminism impacted the twenty-first-century culture?

2. How has feminism impacted the twenty-first-century evangelical community?

3. What are the homemaking skills many Christian women lack?

These research questions provided the preparation for this study, specifics of which can be found in the appendix.


The enthusiastic response to the survey suggests that a need does exist for the twenty-first-century evangelical community to consider seriously the need for the implementation of the Titus 2:3–5 principle, which challenges women to acquire the facts and life skills needed to manage their homes successfully. Likewise, the devastating effect that feminism continues to exact on its members must be acknowledged, identified, and corrected.

The mean scores of the 1,364 respondents between ages thirty-five and ninety indicated that they possess the majority of the skills and much of the knowledge needed to establish a godly home. However, the same respondents listed the skills, which they had efficiently practiced, as deficient in the younger women. Just as the younger women should embrace a teachable spirit toward acquiring the knowledge base and skills for successful home management, so the older women must heed the Titus 2:3–5 instruction to be willing to teach the younger women.


Excerpted from "The Christian Homemaker's Handbook"
by .
Copyright © 2013 Patricia Ann Ennis and Dorothy Kelley Patterson.
Excerpted by permission of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 13

Foreword W. Mark Lanier 15

Introduction: Why Do We Need to Recover Biblical Patterns for Homemaking? Dorothy Kelley Patterson 19

Part 1 God's Design for the Home

1 A Portrait of the Twenty-First-Century Home Pat Ennis 27

2 Impact of Feminism on the Home and Family Candi Finch 37

3 Home: A Prepared Place Dorothy Kelley Patterson 55

4 God's Plan for Marriage Dorothy Kelley Patterson 65

5 The Role of the Wife Glenda Hotton 75

6 God's Paradigm for the Homemaker Dorothy Kelley Patterson 85

7 God's View of the Extended Family Rhonda Harrington Kelley 97

Part 2 God's View of the Sanctity of Life

8 The Value of a Child Dorothy Kelley Patterson 109

9 Biblical Insights on Birth Control and "Family Planning" Dorothy Kelley Patterson 119

10 A Life Full of Days: Caring for the Aged Terri Stovall 137

11 The Impact of a Handicapped Individual on a Family Rhonda Harrington Kelley 151

12 Placing the Solitary in Families Pat Ennis 161

Part 3 Foundations for Parenting

13 Biblical Foundations for Parenting Dorothy Kelley Patterson 177

14 God's Design for Nurturing Motherhood Glenda A. Eitel 197

15 Effective Preschool Education: Early Learning Ann Iorg 209

16 Teaching and Training Children Elizabeth Owens 223

17 Raising Teenagers on God's Terms Joy Souther Cullen 235

18 Relating to Young Adults Susie Hawkins 247

19 Spiritual Formation through Family Worship Malcolm Karen Yarnell 257

Part 4 The Practical Aspects of Establishing a Home

20 Life Management Skills Rhonda Harrington Kelley 269

21 Nest Building 101: Setting Up a Household Pat Ennis 281

22 Nest Building 102: Relocating a Household Pat Ennis 303

23 Smart Routines for Cleaning a Home Pat Ennis 319

24 Technology in the Home Corinne Thomas 333

25 Is Working at Home for You? Glynnis Whitwer 343

26 Too Much Month at the End of the Money? Pat Ennis 357

27 Decorating Your Home with Silent Witness Georg Andersen 369

28 Decorating Your Home with Love Lisa O'Harra 379

29 Biblical Hospitality Mary K. Mohler 387

Part 5 Planning and Preparing Healthy Meals

30 Nutrition and Healthy Eating: Making Wise Choices Kimberly Toqe 399

31 Food Safety in the Home Janet Taylor 413

32 Kitchen Equipment for the Home Janet Taylor 423

33 Family Mealtime Liz Traylor 433

34 Ideas for Holiday Celebrations Mary K. Mohler 445

35 Making Your Kitchen a Springboard for Ministry Mary K. Mohler 459

Part 6 Making Wise Clothing Decisions

36 Crafting and Complementing Your Life Message Pat Ennis 471

37 Is Modesty an Obsolete Virtue? Pat Ennis 487

38 Beautifully Balanced Beth Mackey 495

39 Merging Quality and Fit to Equal Value Beth Mackey 505

40 Will It Come Out in the Wash? Beth Mackey 511

Appendix: Perceptions of Homemaking Study 523

General Index 529

Scripture Index 537

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“The number one question Christian women are asking today is, ‘where are the older women?’ Singles, wives, and moms want to know God’s plan for them and are looking for help with how to live it out. Here, in one priceless volume, is instruction from the Bible and practical guidance from women who know how to make God’s teachings a daily reality. From time and life management skills, to building better relationships and much more, every chapter points women toward honoring and pleasing God while blessing others.”
Elizabeth George, Jim & Elizabeth George Ministries

“Characterized by distinctive, if not countercultural, ideas for our 21st century world, readers will discover in this new resource a most interesting collection of thoughtful essays on the important subjects of home and hospitality, as well as spiritual and personal health. The contributions found in this volume will be helpful for individuals, groups, and churches. This Handbook will be one that many will want to keep on hand.”
David and Lanese Dockery, President and First Lady, Union University

“Dr. Dorothy Patterson and Dr. Pat Ennis have performed an invaluable service to the Body of Christ by rescuing the word ‘homemaker’ from liberals who equate the title with ‘doormat.’ As Dr. Patterson so aptly illustrates, the role of a homemaker is as challenging—and certainly more consequential—than that of any CEO in a Fortune 500 company. The timeless truths found in these pages will motivate every woman to pursue with passion her God-given calling and will encourage every husband to honor his wife as a ‘fellow heir of the grace of life.’”
Robert Jeffress, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas

“Being a wife and mother are some of the greatest and highest forms of Christian servant hood. In this book, a variety of authors help show, in a very positive way, God's grand design. Without casting aspersions upon anyone who chooses to work outside the home, these authors also point to the fact that many women are rediscovering powerful fulfillment by discovering anew God's design for the home. Many women choose to be a part of that group called Christian homemakers. There is no more challenging task. There is no more draining vocation. There is no more important task in all the world. Listen carefully to these wonderful authors and their well thought out of words of advice, counsel, and instruction.”
Frank S. Page, President & CEO, Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention

“One of the great scandals of the last several decades has been the popular scorn heaped on the home economy, and particularly the homemaker. All the same, even in 2013 and after fifty years of feminist complaints, half of all economic activity in America still occurs in homes—and the most important half by far. In The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook, Pat Ennis and Dorothy Patterson provide a lively, cogent, and practical guide for women seeking to understand and fulfill their ‘God-assigned priorities.’ The authors correctly affirm that God’s design for the home, as laid out in Genesis, has not changed and that young women will find the fullest meaning and the greatest happiness in their bonds to husbands and children and in their commitments to home-building. The book also properly emphasizes the importance of hospitality, a welcoming spirit, and a gracious heart to the vital Christian home.”
Allan C. Carlson, President, The Howard Center for Family, Religion, & Society; Founder and International Secretary, the World Congress of Families;Distinguished Visiting Professor of History, Hillsdale College

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