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Over at Thatmom and over at True Womanhood there have been some lively discussions lately about all this STUFF. I've been fascinated by it, honestly, and we've been talking a lot about it around here.

I think one reason I'm so interested in these links between patriarchy, as taught by Doug Phillips at Vision Forum, the complementarian view of men and women's roles, and homeschooling is that every homeschooling magazine I read seems to assume that GOOD homeschooling families have lots of children, never use birth control, live in the boonies, start their own home churches, raise animals, dress like Laura Ingalls Wilder, not send your girls to college EVER, never speak in church if you're a woman, always be a keeper at home no matter WHAT.

So, here's the THING that bugs me.

I'm complementarian to the core. I believe in distinct gender roles, ordained by God, and that there is an order to the family that is right and good (husband, wife, children). I believe I am to submit to my husband, yielding to his ultimate decision in matters. I think in general it's best for a wife to stay home and raise her own children rather than ship them off to daycare. I think I am called to homeschool my children, but if there was a Christian school around I would be sending my children there in a heartbeat.

What I'm bugged about is that I am being lumped together with folks like Doug Phillips because I believe in these distinct gender roles. Suddenly, being a complementarian equals being a patriarch.

I just don't think this is right or fair.

With that said, I had to post this hilarious link about the very things that set off the alarms in my brain a few years ago when I began receiving Vision Forum materials. I've removed myself from their mailing list. I've also removed myself from any association with my state Christian homeschooling group because all their conferences have Vision Forum types as the speakers.

Here's the link.


OH MY! That IS a funny post! Ok, admittedly, I am a little ignorant on the whole Vision Forum/patriocentricity discussion...intentionally I might add. I can too easily get sucked into extra-biblical bandwagons. For me, I have to just keep coming back to "Keep it Biblical." Currently, I am going to a discussion group for Debi Pearl's "Created to be his Helpmeet." This book has also created controversy. But here's the thing...there is plenty of good, Biblical stuff in the book. But, there's also a lot of Debi Pearl's opinion. We have to be careful merging opinion and Scripture, and we need to know our Bible, open it up, and look at what it really says. The Vision Forum Guy is entitled to his opinion. So are people like Gary Ezzo (Growing Kids God's Way), and others. But when scriptural principles fused with a good dose of opinion "goes viral" and creates followings, and discussion boards, and church splits, you've gotta wonder if this is God honoring, or NOT. We have to get back to what the Bible really says...and DOESN'T say about issues. Otherwise, we are just getting into legalism. I'm with you that scripture clearing teaches complemetary roles for men and women. Some are quite practical..and yet others speak to a heart attitude. I have known women who, in full submission to their husbands, and trusting in God, have gone to work and sent their children to daycare. Sometimes, obedience to God's Word looks very different in different families. Thanks for the thought provoking post!

June 1, 2008 at 10:47 PM  

PS: I will add that despite it all, Vision Forum sells THE BEST toy weaponry! Old time pop guns anyone? Or a backyard catapult?? We have bought these toys for BOTH my son and daughter! Sorry, but the pewter thimbles just weren't quite as exciting!

June 1, 2008 at 10:49 PM  

Hi Jules, good entry and I wanted to introduce you to Molly at Adventures in Mercy. I had never heard of all these labels before reading her blog. She is coming out of patriarchism or whatever it's called and writing all about it. She is extremely smart and a good writer. She is not saying she has all the answers, but she is definitely not afraid to discuss the questions! I find it fascinating what Christian people get into that is so distracting from the main thing!

I'm with you as far as beliefs about parenting and gender roles, but everything with a helping of grace please! ;) Some hsing families where I used to live got all into this kind of thing and there were questions....what about single moms, etc etc. They had very shallow, judgmental answers....very sad and it split our hsing group up.

Love ya!

June 1, 2008 at 10:51 PM  

Ah...a breath of fresh air. I think Doug Phillips seriously misunderstands what biblical patriarchy is and it disturbs me every time I hear or read someone try to talk about it. Granted, I haven't read the book they are selling and eventually I may break down and see if I can get it somewhere...

But patriarchy was a governmental system. The patriarchs ruled not only their households, but the land surrounding. They were like small nomadic mini-states. And not every man got to be one.

I never thought that much about Vision Forum and actually kind of enjoyed their catalogs (especially the boy stuff...something bothered me about the over-the-top girlie stuff) until I was following links from some sight about Christian wife spanking. (If you want to see some really twisted stuff...well, never mind.)

Anyway, there was a link to VF (which in no way means VF endorses anything like that). And this link had Phillips'(?) daughter talking about how she belonged to her father, as in physical property like a car or house. Yikes.

That takes a lot of scripture twisting to get there.

June 2, 2008 at 12:35 AM  

I'm a liberal Christian homeschooling mom. I'd never hear of complimentarianism and the patriarchy stuff gives me the shivers. Thank you for making the difference between the two a little clearer! I'm actually surprised to find we have a good deal of some simimilar to complemnetarianism in our house.

June 2, 2008 at 4:56 AM  

That's the thing about it all. God made each of us unique and we must learn to accept that of others and ourselves. Unless it's in the Bible it's up for discussion in my opinion.

June 2, 2008 at 3:13 PM  

What I'm bugged about is that I am being lumped together with folks like Doug Phillips because I believe in these distinct gender roles. Suddenly, being a complementarian equals being a patriarch.

I just don't think this is right or fair.


I endeavor to clearly distinguish the complementarian from the so-called patriarch (as I don't even think that what they term "patriarchy" is really accurate and true, as I am in favor of true patriarchy in general). But I've watched my little corner of what I call "soft" complementarianism undergo a 10 -15 year processes of gradual takeover by Phillips himself. When I ended up at the same church with Phillips (OPC in San Antonio before he started his own local church), I believed that I had a duty to raise the issue whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Phillips says that "He who defines, wins." Though I certainly have not mastered the process of resistance to the Phillips definition of life, I aspire to assure that Phillips doesn't win the final arguments in a way that glorifies the Lord in the best possible way. In the process of figuring it all out, I apologize if I lumped you personally into a leavened lump in which you didn't belong.

Again, I want to make sure the two do not become homogeneous by distinguishing one far from the other! The task can be rather daunting at times.

God help us all get it right and fair per God's highest standards! I know I need His constant help and lots of prayer!

In love, peace and joy,

Cindy Kunsman

June 2, 2008 at 4:26 PM about some food for thought.
I just want to "amen" what Shawna said. We have to stay focused on the Word.

June 2, 2008 at 9:38 PM  

Shawna-yes, that book is VERY controversial. I've not read it, but I've read their child training book, which is basically behavior modification you'd use for animals only for children. I've also read Shepherding a Child's Heart, but I found with my most strong willed boy, it didn't work. The constant spanking made him more DIFFICULT. They almost recommend spanking until they repent, which in my experience has just created a very talented actor who can feign repentance, then do it all over again. So I'm cautious about the Pearls.

All these folks are certainly entitled to their opinions. I think what makes me frustrated is that those opinions become the only prescribed way for homeschoolers to look and be. I don't like that at all.

Crickl-I have found that blog. She's so articulate about things that matter, but sometimes I read it and think, as we often do, that she swings too far the OTHER way on gender issues.

Dana-I agree with you about these extremes that the VF people have taken the Bible. Again, I think it's an extreme reaction to a culture that is so anti-family and anti-child that they become so inwardly focused that it's unhealthy and unbiblical.

Dawn-Nice to "meet" you on here. I wouldn't categorize myself as liberal by any means, but I'm also not a right wing Republican who thinks Jesus was one, too. :)

Realworldmartha-EXACTLY. Keep the main things the main things. That's why I like a lot of what the Together for the Gospel say. You can disagree about stuff like baptism, gifts, etc. but still link hands and cooperate to further the gospel. COOL!

Cindy K-Let me say how much I appreciate your scholarship and all the flack you've taken just because you have a different opinion than some powerful people. I admire your strength.

I think I got the feeling over at thatmom that the men I admire at SBTS sit around and drink Scotch with the RC Sproul Jr.s and Phillips of the world. I truly believe that the VF camp has taken some things that the CBMW has said and misapplied it.

So now the baby is wanting up and I don't have any more time to respond to all your wonderful comments. :)

June 3, 2008 at 8:26 AM  

That article you linked to gave me a good laugh. Then I realized it wasn't just meant to be funny. It's all true.

Vision Forum looks very cultish. I knew there was something queer about the whole patriarchy thing. But Doug Phillips isn't just cultish. He's weird in the extreme!

The Vision Forum: Patriarchy Weirdness Exposed

Thank God there isn't anyone in our HS group that follows Doug Phillips. If anyone ever does we'll run in the opposite direction. Daddy shaving is NOT what HSers need to gain a reputation for.

June 3, 2008 at 6:02 PM  

Ever go to a blog, hop their links, hop their links, and hop their links? That's how I found ya, and I'm so glad I did! I am enjoying yer blog sooo much!

I have a love/hate relationship with VF. I LOVE their materials! and yet being who we are makes me wonder how they feel about interracial marriages? Are they like BJU~tolerating something they disagree with? 'Nuff 'bout that~I think you probably articulated my darling's feelings about VF very well....

((((HUGS))))) sandi~going to check out that homeschool post you referenced above!

June 5, 2008 at 3:39 PM  

Kayla-That's one wacky link. Whoa.

So glad you dropped by, Sandi! I do admit that VF has some good materials. But I just can't get over the romanticizing of the 18th and 19th centuries. It's like that time period was some utopian society they're trying to recreate...I just don't want my daughters (have you noticed its the women who have to wear all the gowns?) looking like they stepped off the set of Little House. I just don't see the point of that.

As for interracial marriage, I say YEA! I don't know how they feel about it, but anyone against it is dead wrong. You cannot make a case biblically like BJU has for so long. Personally, I think that school should be very ashamed by that in their past...anyway...

June 5, 2008 at 5:32 PM  

I am SO EXCITED about your doula~WOOHOOO! I want to be one when I grow up! ~smile~

Please forgive me~my racial Q's stemmed from thought patterns I didn't articulate very well. Some was the way we were regarded in person, and some from the way such issues are never dealt with outright. i.e. The love of Rushdoony, who said some pretty yucky stuff. Q's about this always go unanswered rather than their taking a stand or going public with their view~does that make sense? I've been told they do have an AA spokesperson now, and I too can "eat spiritual chicken" and pick out the good from any material, but it just doesn't always add up. (((((HUGS))))) sandi~should I be sorry I opened that can of worms? LOL!

June 6, 2008 at 7:04 AM  

I'm so sorry~but it seems I don't wanna leave ya alone! LOL! I feel like you do~the LORD placed me in THIS time for a reason~I don't hafta live like I'm from another time.

OH there was something else I wanted to tell you too, but I can't remember what it is....

(((((HUGS))))) sandi~lover of CTBHHM~and I actually lost friend over it! YIKES

June 6, 2008 at 7:10 AM  

Julo, I almost wish I hadn't seen these things about Doug Phillips and Vision Forum. It's scary that they've got any influence on Christian HS groups at all.

Sandi, I Googled on "Doug Phillips inter-racial marriage". Goodness gracious! Up popped many articles about Doug Phillips being a neo-confederate racist. He must do a fine job of hiding his racism from everyone but his fellow racists. Lord help us!

June 8, 2008 at 7:46 AM  

I think it's scary, too, Kayla. Jesus will redeem a people from EVERY tribe and tongue, not just upper middle class homeschooling white Americans.

But that's not to say that everything they do and say is bad or wrong, but there are some significant problems that alarm me. If you hop over to you'll see that he even views the removal of an ectopic pregnancy as cold-blooded abortion. An ectopic pregnancy cannot survive in the fallopian tube. Scary stuff.

June 8, 2008 at 8:29 AM  

One more thing, if you check the comments on my post about Clean Innocent Old Movies you'll see a nice lady who rebuked me for "gossiping" about the leaders of the patriarchy movement as well as my reply.

June 8, 2008 at 8:30 AM  

Julie, I saw your post at ThatMom and wanted to let you know I've been getting more and more discouraged by the direction CHEC is moving ... running and leaping toward, more accurately. CHEC has been a valuable resource to me as a beginning homechooler, but they seem to be losing their focus, which one can reasonably assume should be home education, not defining *the* standard for what Christian families should look like. I considered writing a letter expressing my concerns about the upcoming conference, which isn't even being called a homeschooling conference but rather a family conference titled Defining the Vision for the Next Generation. It's clear from the speaker line-up what vision is being promoted. It's almost as if home education is a side issue rather than the focus of our state homeschooling organization. But what would be the point of speaking up when one of the big proponents of this movement is running the organization? I will at least explain my reasons when I request to be removed from their mailing list.

June 9, 2008 at 7:48 PM  

"I've been getting more and more discouraged by the direction CHEC is moving"

Me too Shauna. There's too much cronyism among some of the home school leadership for my tastes. We pulled out of CHEC awhile back because of the board's dismaying lack of ethics and favoritism toward their personal friends.

Here's a disturbing article about some of that, Kevin Swanson and RC Sproul Jr Team Up to Offend Home Schoolers

June 13, 2008 at 7:42 AM  

It's getting ridiculous in CHEC, honestly. Everything they peddle seems to promote this view of the family. I feel like they need to be more balanced.

June 16, 2008 at 9:21 AM  

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