Archive for March, 2009

There is some interesting blogging going on over in John’s Corner of the World.  John Holzmann is a Christian, father, grandfather, and co-owner of Sonlight Curriculum Ltd..  It seems, according to his recent blogging, that the CHEC (Christian Home Educators of Colorado) have fallen into the hands of the Patriocentric crowd.

The first bit of interesting news was that their recent Men’s Leadership Summit was held in Indiana (not Colorado) at a hotel owned by Bill Gothard, which was the first thing that I found troublesome.  As I read further, it seems that the CHEC have banned the Sonlight Curriculum from it’s conferrence with  concerns about it’s not being Christian enough.  Now, that floored me!    Sonlight has been around for a long time and successfully used by countless Christian families.  It’s hardly a curriculum whose Christian focus I’d question.  They are, however, Christian and not Patriocentric.  I think that’s where the problem lies.

As I read further into Mr. Holzmann’s post I discovered that he, like the authors here at White Washed Feminists, share a great deal of concerns about the Patriocentric movement.  And he makes some excellent points about where the anti-feminist agenda of the Vision Forum Ministry types will end.  They are concerns that we, as Christian women, share.  In Christ we have freedom!  We are co-heirs with Christ!  We are sons and daughters of the Most High!  I don’t see that with VFM and the Patrios.

Personally, when I think about the agenda advanced by VFM, with this idea that the restrictions being placed on women are because we’re so valuable and precious, I can’t help but feel (and keep in mind, this is feeling and thus subjective) that we women are being enticed with the idea of how special we are when what we’re really getting is less.  Less value, less opportunity, less respect, less choice in our lives, and less freedom to be who Christ made us to be.  Because under the Patriocentric model we can only be wives and mothers in the home, under the authority of our husbands who make all the decisions.  It’s like we’re being asked to remain perpetual children, trading in one father for another.

What really concerns me is that what have always been mainstream organizations, like CHEC and other Christian Home Education organizations, are becoming more heavily influenced by what is basically a fringe element in the faith.  And it will push away Christian homeschoolers like me who are doing their best to educate their children while juggling jobs and a reality that is completely foreign to what those in the Patriocentric camp consider normal.

As always, I am a happy wife, contented mother, keeper of my home, and devoted child of my God.  I am not fearful of this movement, but I am saddened by it, concerned about it, and driven to express my disagreement.

Please read Mr. Holzmann’s blog post.  It’s quite well written.


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New Beginnings

My family and I are, once again, embarking on a new season in life.  I guess you could say we are beginning the rest of our lives on Monday.  My husband got a job working for a major city’s water department.  He’s not even done with school yet and they moved heaven and earth to give him the job.

I am just elated for him.  Not only did he get a job that provides enough income for our family, but the job is also exactly what he wants to do.  What an amazing blessing!

I’ve made no secret on this blog and elsewhere how much I admire my husband for his tireless efforts to provide for our family and without complaint.  For eight years, this man worked full time nights while attending school full time days.  It took quite a toll on him.  He didn’t complain, but he is only just now

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Richard Abanes recently wrote an article called Don’t Believe Everything You Read… which I mostly agreed with.   From what I have seen, it seems that those who engage is such behavior are on both sides of all the major divisive issues in the church and many of his points are valid for us all.  Mr. Abanes says in his article:

And such attacks are not just limited to simple assaults on other points of view, but penetrate into the realm of questioning another person’s Christianity, misrepresenting the faith of others, and deliberately seeking to destroy the reputation of various public figures (i.e., fellow believers).

I couldn’t agree more!  Since we started the WWF blog I have had my very salvation questioned over my disagreement with the hyper Patriarchy model of marriage and Christian living.  We have made a very concerted effort on this blog to always attack ideas, and never the character of those whom we believe to be brothers and sisters in Christ.  Sadly, the same courtesy has not always been extended in our direction.  I know of one website where my homeschooling blog was pulled into the fray and listed under the heading “Troublemaker”.

Where I disagree with Mr. Abanes is here:

This “cult,” which I have termed the “Cult of Online Discernment Ministries (ODMs),” has demonstrated that its real mission/ministry is the destruction of fellow Christians with whom they disagree. Ironically, they do it under the guise of defending the faith against cults and false doctrine via apologetics/discernment. This has caused great division within the church—unnecessary division because their attacks are based on things that have NOTHING to do with doctrinal teachings or whether or not a person is in the church. They base their attacks on:

– political views,
– methods of preaching,
– preferred styles of music/dress,
– different perspectives on various non-essentials of the faith,
– positions on eschatology,
– public friendships/associations they enjoy with certain believers/unbelievers
– certain verbiage used to communicate biblical truths

I believe that it is vital that Christians continue to discuss issues which are important to them.  And while I agree that many of those subjects aren’t subjects that should call another’s salvation into question, I think it’s very important to discuss it when any group is teaching that you must believe as they do in regards to them, to be Christians.  For example: a church where women wear dresses doesn’t bother me.  A church that teaches that if you don’t wear a skirt at all times you are not a true Christian woman, is in error, and it’s worth talking about here.

I appreciate Mr. Abanes’s promise that judgment will one day come for those who have been responsible for saying untrue things (since I’ve certainly been on the receiving end of such treatment on the ‘net), but I hope that instead, that people find peace and forgiveness.  I hope that one day, those with whom I have disagreed will meet me in heaven and we will embrace as brothers and sisters with a deep understanding of the issues that once divided us.

I have hope for us as a body of believers.  I do not support rumors, gossip, or slander.  But I do support the honest dialog necessary for creating a better understanding of what it is we believe, and why.

Edited to Add: Mr. Abanes has written a second piece to follow the first, which largely cleared up the few issues I had with the first piece.  In it he says:

Let me be very clear: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ACCURATELY, LOVINGLY, BIBLICALLY, AND TRUTHFULLY defending the faith and the Gospel by pointing out the errors of public teachers/preachers (or churches and organizations). We are not only to defend our own personal faith when asked (1 Peter 3:15), but when necessary, we are to preach the word of God, as well as “reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2).

I couldn’t agree more!  He also says:

The bottom line for them seems to be that if a person does not share THEIR exact mindset regarding one or more of the above, then that person is unregenerate, heretical, unsaved, lost, in need of repentance, apostate, or a deceiver. Such an attitude, of course, tramples a number of biblical verses that deal with freedom(s) in Christ (Rom. 14; Gal. 2:4) and passages indicating that Jesus is our Lord/Master before whom we stand or fall (Rom. 14:4). Also relevant are Christ’s words: “‘If you abide in my word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’” (John 8:31-32).

I felt like shouting, “Amen!” when I read that paragraph.  It’s what has frustrated me to no end with the Hyper Patriarchy movement.  To have my salvation questioned because of extrabiblical requirements placed on women in particular and families in general, has been disheartening and frustrating.  Thank you, Mr. Abanes for speaking out.  I just hope that your target audience hears it.

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The Hijacking of My Tradition

For me, one of the initial attractions to Vision Forum Ministries was their claim to be Reformed in theology.  They quoted from the Westminster Confession of Faith (although they did not claim to hold to the Westminster Standards in their entirety).  In an age where some churches refuse to take a stand on exactly what they believe and teach about the Bible, I found their comprehensive doctrinal statement to be quite refreshing and bold.  It prompted me to take them more seriously because it looked like they had a strong theological basis for their teachings.  In short, their appearance of doctrinal soundness appealed to me and I jumped right in.

I seem to be starting in the middle of the story.  Let me back up…

Many longtime readers know that our family is Reformed in tradition.  I take that name very seriously because I believe Reformed theology to be biblical and I take the Bible seriously.  Unfortunately, that title is being tossed around to and fro recently by all kinds of folks who claim to be Reformed, but who do not embrace those documents that define what Reformed theology is. I think the main confusion stems from a failure to distinguish Calvinism (just one set of teachings within Reformed theology) from Reformed theology itself (a full-orbed approach to the Bible).  By definition, they are not synonymous.  Our culture thinks they are one in the same, but they are not.  There are many Calvinistic-Baptists out there (and that is GREAT!!), but they aren’t Reformed, and that’s okay!  Really and truly.

So how does this relate to Vision Forum?  Well, in short, these folks fall into the same category of those who call themselves Reformed but deny some of the most important tenents of Reformed theology.  Doug Phillips claims this great love for Calvin… but Phillips would be under church discipline in Calvin’s church at Geneva for refusing his children the sign and seal of the Covenant, namely baptism.  The bottom line is that you can’t be Reformed, by definition, and be a baptist.  It drives me crazy to no end to have my tradition associated with Doug Phillips and Vision Forum.  They simply are not the same.  And to have people out there who rightly abhor patriocentricity think that what Phillips teaches is Reformed theology makes me want to pull out my hair.

One of the pastors in our federation wrote a FANTASTIC book called Recovering the Reformed Confession which basically asks and answers the question “who or what gets to define ‘Reformed?’ ”  For a sneak preview, check out ths article on his blog:

Who or What Gets to Define “Reformed?”

Hopefully, reading this will clear up any confusion about whether or not Vision Forum can rightly claim the use of the word “Reformed.”

More to come…

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