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Archive for June 23rd, 2008

I was wasting my time recently and found a link to Family Reformation Ministries: Where Real Hope Begins.  (http://www.familyreformation.org/) That’s odd… I thought our hope began and ended with Christ, not the family.  ??  Anyhow, I perused their articles and found one by Tedd Tripp.  Many churches are finding his books creeping into their families’ bookshelves… so, I want to know, is he associated with the McDonalds and other hyper-patriarchs?  If so, how closely?  Does he also spell danger?

Also, how many of you have seen Vision Forum or hyper-patriarchy creeping in to your churches?

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(This is the beginning of a several part discourse regarding Legalism, Phariseeism, and Patriocentricity)

What is Legalism?  Patriocentrists often complain that they are labeled as legalists, but that there is no basis for the charge.  They are simply following the Bible, after all… I thought it would be helpful to come up with a definition of legalism.  As I studied, I found an unlikely source for the definition I like to use.  It comes from Kevin Swanson, of all places!

Kevin Swanson’s definitions of legalism:

1.       The Serial Killer’s definition (aka, the Antinomian) : Legalism occurs anytime you bring up God’s law in any context whatsoever

2.       Justification by works

3.       When we replace God’s laws/principles, with our own conception of what God’s principles ought to say (our own traditions)

When a Serial Killer Calls You a Legalist

I’ve yet to encounter a patriocentrist who would fall into the first definition.  Generally, patriocentrists tend to be theonomists or reconstructionists where there is a good deal of emphasis on the Law, and not just the Ten Commandments, but all of it.  They are about as far from Antinomian as you could possibly get.

As to the second definition, well, I’m not quite sure it’s fair to say that they hold to “justification by works.”  Certainly, in their statements of faith, they confess to salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, on account of Christ alone.  However, when you make statements like this:

“In conscious opposition to feminism, egalitarianism, and the humanistic philosophies of the present time, the church should proclaim the Gospel centered doctrine of biblical patriarchy as an essential element of God’s ordained pattern for human relationships and institutions.”

And this:

“Biblical patriarchy is just one theme in the Bible’s grand sweep of revelation, but it is a scriptural doctrine, and faithfulness to Christ requires that it be believed, taught, and lived.”

I get a little concerned.  But let’s give patriocentrists the benefit of the doubt and move on to the third definition.  This is the one that I believe fits and where I think the patriocentrists fall.  They have replaced God’s laws/principles, with their own conception of what God’s principles ought to say.

Let’s take homeschooling for example.  God’s Law requires that we teach the Faith to our children at all times (Deuteronomy 6).  Patriocentrists take this verse and run with it, creating a command that is eisegeted into the passage.  Somehow, Deuteronomy 6 now means that we have to homeschool and, if we don’t, we’ve sent our children off to centers of Baal worship.

Or what about the famous Deuteronomy 22:5 –

“A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”

Somehow, this has been twisted to mean that women can’t wear pants.   The “dresses-only” movement has produced such stellar apologetical essays as

“The Sin of Bathsheba”

“Christian Dress Code”

“Let’s Talk Modesty”

What about “stay-at-home” daughterhood?  I’ve seen exactly ONE Scriptural reference used to support this concept:

“If a woman vows a vow to the Lord and binds herself by a pledge, while within her father’s house in her youth and her father hears of her vow and of her pledge by which she has bound herself and says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand.

“But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no vow of hers, no pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. And the Lord will forgive her, because her father opposed her.

Numbers 30: 3-5

Two girls took this concept and ran with it, and now Vision Forum has a whole new product line to sell to us.  College is EVIL!  Especially college for women:

“The priests and priestesses of the 21st century would have us believe that the most sacred of our cultural holy cows come from the temples of feminism.

One such sacred cow is the notion that truly enlightened, responsible Christian parents should mortgage their homes to send their daughters to the carnival culture of college, to live for four years in co-ed dormitories, and under the tutelage of Babylonian high priests called professors, so that these blood-bought daughters can aspire to become the next generation of independent working women of the world. Another sacred cow is the notion that people either believe in sending daughters to college or they are small-minded, anti-education, woman-dominating bigots.

Incredibly, these mad-cow disease-infected sacred bovines of modern feminism have left the dung fields of their secular temple culture and have migrated in herds to the living rooms of our Christian community. There they dwell-mooing, snorting, and wreaking havoc on the peace of the Body of Christ. “

Doug’s Blog, September 1, 2007

There is no explicit command for daughters, or even sons for that matter, to stay at home until they are married.  There is not even an implicit command!  We may see that “pattern” throughout Scripture, but I think it’s important to ask ourselves if this is the way God designed things or whether or not it had more to do with the culture of the time and the fact that it simply wasn’t safe for daughters to go out on their own.  And we certainly see PLENTY of women doing “non-normative” things like ruling a nation, working outside the home, and financially supporting Jesus’ ministry (not to mention following him around everywhere he went!).

How about women working outside the home?  See the following articles for more on this:

Jennie Chancey Responds to Titus 2 Cynics

Is It Sin for a Woman to Work Outside the Home?

Do What God Says and Let Him Take Care of the Rest

So, where do we draw the line between liberty and legalism?  I think the answer is fairly simple.  We WWF believe that a number of the patriocentrists’ pet issues are matters of Christian liberty.  God has explicitly called us to train our children and teach them the Faith.  The way we do that is left up to us.  God has explicitly commanded modesty of both women AND men.  What passes as modest will vary from culture to culture.  We’d freak out if we saw a bare-breasted woman walking down the street in America, but in innumerable tribal cultures, this is the standard and nobody bats an eyelash.  As for daughters staying at home until marriage- again, that is a matter of liberty to be determined by the father AND mother and, I think the adult daughter.  What about women working outside the home?  Frankly, I see the pattern set forward in Scripture as women staying at home, HOWEVER, I refuse to dismiss those who do not as non-normative.  They are there and, frankly, I believe it is sinful to dismiss them.  We need to seek out the whole counsel of God and not just that which fits into our agenda.

We cross the line into legalism when we add to God’s commands.  And I contend that, by saying Christian families must homeschool, women must wear skirts or dresses only, daughters must stay home until marriage, women can’t be homemakers and work outside the home, we do cross that line!  We’ve read into the Bible what seems culturally relevant to us.

Look at the pet issues of the patriocentrists- homeschooling, dresses-only, daughters at home, women at home… they are all reactionary and are all based on fear of the culture.  We can’t send our children off to Baal worship centers!  Pants aren’t feminine and someone might mistake you for a man from the backside (unlikely, but okay…).  Daughters need protecting, even the very adult ones (and sons do not, apparently) and they can’t go to college or they’ll turn into feminists!  Women must be keepers at home because if they start to earn their own money, they’ll want ownership of it and they’ll usurp the headship of their husbands!  Look at this!  It is totally reactionary!  It’s not from the Bible!  They’ve taken “Come out and be ye separate” to a whole new level!  And they are selling it to us hook, line, and sinker.

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