Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll Resigns, Claims He Is Not "Disqualified From Future Ministry"

Posted by Christine Pack

Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll, who was first introduced to the world by being featured as a keynote speaker at John Piper's 2006 Desiring God conference, and who quickly gathered a large following along with a "bad boy" reputation, has now resigned. However, in his resignation letter, Driscoll appeared to leave open the possibility of his return to public ministry by stating that he was thankful to the Mars Hill church oversight committee for making it clear that he (Driscoll) has not been disqualified from future ministry. His basis for making such a claim seems to rest on the fact that the oversight committee had stated that Driscoll had not been charged with "criminal activity, immorality or heresy." It should be noted, however, that these things, while important, are not the entire standard against which a pastor is to be held.
Titus 1:5-10 - Qualifications for Elders 
"This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party."
To understand the seriousness of the charges being made against Mark Driscoll, please read the following article:
Documenting the Problems with Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll [UPDATED]
Also, the following articles (most of them by Warren Throckmorton of patheos) have documented questions and concerns that still remain about alleged improprieties over the handling of some of the finances while Driscoll was the lead pastor at Mars Hill, particularly with respect to the Global Fund. The Global Fund was a fund that Mars Hill attendees were encouraged to contribute financially to, and which was positioned as a missions fund.
Mars Hill “Global Fund” Contributors with Concerns Invited to Contact Washington State Attorney General’s Office
Mars Hill Global Fund: Help the Helpless or Use the Helpless? 
Mars Hill Church Scrubs Three Mars Hill Global Fund Videos 
Mars Hill Church’s International Mission Ministry: Mars Hill Global Fund
Mars Hill Member Wants Accounting of Global Fund Donations
Former Mars Hill Church Members Speak Out About Global Fund, Church Finances

 Additional Resources 

Pastor Chris Rosebrough Discusses Mark Driscoll's Resignation

Mars Hill “Global Fund” Contributors With Concerns Invited to Contact Washington State Attorney General’s Office

Posted by Christine Pack

Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll, who was first introduced to the world by being featured as a keynote speaker at John Piper's 2006 Desiring God conference, and who quickly gathered a large following along with a "bad boy" reputation, has now resigned. However, questions still remain about alleged improprieties having to do with the handling of some of the finances while he was the lead pastor at his church, particularly with respect to the Mars Hill Global Fund, a fund that Mars Hill attendees were encouraged to contribute financially to, and which was positioned as a missions fund.

According to former Mars Hill member Dean Watkins:
I just got off the phone with an employee in the Washington State Attorney General's office. They have spent some time trying to figure out how to have accountability for the Global Fund issue. As a church, Mars Hill is exempt from filing with the Secretary of State. But under RCW 19.09 "Charitable Solicitations," whether or not an organization is exempt from filing with the Secretary of State, they must still comply with the law. 
The chain of procedure is for Global Fund contributors to first go to the Attorney General's office, who would then forward to the IRS, if upon examination they felt there was enough evidence to warrant doing so.
For Mars Hill attendees, both former and present, if you at one time contributed to the Global Fund, and you are concerned that the money might have been used incorrectly, please follow the link and file a complaint online. Also, if you do file a complaint please be aware that it will become public record. In the complaint you may even want to mention some of the desired outcomes (i.e., forward to IRS, etc.).
If you did not contribute to the Global Fund, but you still have friends that you think might have, please forward this information to them. I didn't personally give to the fund since I left the church a few years ago. But I thought it was important to investigate what entity might hold them accountable. And this is the best I could come up with. 
If there are enough complaints, the Attorney General's will likely investigate. But the complaints need to be from people who gave to the Global Fund. Thank you each for filing your complaint, or sharing this information with someone that may have a complaint to file.
If you are a Mars Hill attendee or former Mars Hill attendee who contributed tithe money to the Global Fund, and you would like to request that this fund be examined, please follow this link - General Consumer Complaint Form. Please also feel free to forward this link to those you know who might have also contributed to the Global Fund.
Titus 1:5-10 - Qualifications for Elders  
"This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party."

 Additional Resources 

Documenting The Problems With Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll [UPDATED]

Mars Hill Global Fund: Help the Helpless or Use the Helpless?

Mars Hill “Global Fund” Contributors With Concerns Invited to Contact Washington State Attorney General’s Office

Mars Hill Global Fund: Help the Helpless or Use the Helpless?

Mars Hill Church Scrubs Three Mars Hill Global Fund Videos 

Mars Hill Church’s International Mission Ministry: Mars Hill Global Fund

Mars Hill Member Wants Accounting of Global Fund Donations

Former Mars Hill Church Members Speak Out About Global Fund, Church Finances

Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll Resigns, Claims He Is Not "Disqualified From Future Ministry"

Pastor Chris Rosebrough Discusses Mark Driscoll's Resignation

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Enneagram and Christianity, Like Oil and Water

Article by Marcia Montenegro (Christians Answers For The New Age)
"See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority." Colossians 2:8-10
An article by Laura Turner, “What Kind of Sinful Are You?” on the Christianity Today website promotes the use of a device called the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a chart of numbers one through nine, usually depicted with arrows from each number pointing to two other numbers. My article on the Enneagram, written in 2011, can be found here: The Enneagram GPS: The Gnostic Path To Self

Below are selected quotes in italics from the Christianity Today article, followed by my comments.

 CHRISTIANITY TODAY 
"…..The book was Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert’s The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective. (It’s pronounced any-a-gram.) I had been flipping through it, but quickly realized this wasn’t a book to flip through."

 MY COMMENTS ON ROHR 
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan friar who runs the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At his conferences, Rohr promotes not only the Enneagram, but panentheism (God is in everything, i.e., the earth as God's "body"), Buddhism, and New Ager Marianne Williamson.

In the last 8 minutes of this lecture at Texas Lutheran University (from the YouTube video titled "Falling Upward," which can be viewed here), in response to a question re John 14:16 (the question is at 1:25:35), Rohr expresses a Jesus-Christ distinction. He first says that Jesus’ statement that He is “the way, the truth and the life,” is that John’s Gospel is written so much later than the other gospels, and that “this is not Jesus of Nazareth; this is the eternal Christ speaking” in John’s Gospel. The following are other quotes from his reply:
"Jesus became the Christ." 
"Jesus came in a moment of time to reveal what was eternally true." 
"The Christ was born at the moment of the big bang when God decided to materialize” and “to become visible." 
"Strictly speaking, it is not correct to say Jesus is God. Jesus is the combination of God and human." 
“We all have to put matter and spirit together.” 
Jesus is telling us that "Your deepest identity is divine."
In this interview (from the YouTube video titled "Cosmic Christ," which can be viewed here), Rohr says:
"Jesus became the Christ." 
“The Big Bang is the birth of the Christ.” 
The Big Bang was the materialization of the Cosmic Christ, who is later revealed in a human person (Jesus).” The mystics "got this." 
We’ve been concerned with the historical Jesus but missed out on the Cosmic Christ. 
The height of "Christian seeing" is "to see God in everything." 
“The world was the first body of Christ.”
Rohr goes beyond talking about the incarnation because his statements indicate a distinction between the historical Jesus and “the cosmic Christ.” He also states that Christ or “the Cosmic Christ” had a beginning in the Big Bang.

 CHRISTIANITY TODAY 

"The Enneagram is an ancient personality typology, understanding people through the lens of their passions and their temptations…."

 MY COMMENTS 
*Wrong! It was never an “ancient personality typology.”


 CHRISTIANITY TODAY 

"At the recommendation of a friend, I took the Enneagram online assessment, which categorizes each person as a number, one through nine. I was a three…."

 MY COMMENTS 
*This is arbitrary. Why 9? Who decides it should 9 numbers and what each number represents? Read further to see the real reason it’s 9 numbers.


 CHRISTIANITY TODAY 

"….Its exact origins are contested, but by many accounts, the idea of having nine types ('Enneagram' means 'nine-pointed shape')* derives from Evagrius Ponticus’s eight deadly thoughts and the central thought he called “love of self.” Ponticus was a Christian monk and ascetic, a Roman citizen in the late 4th century who lived in a monastic community outside of Alexandria many years of his life."

 MY COMMENTS 
Origins of the Enneagram are disputed but it is possibly from Sufi origins. Nine is seen as a divine number in Sufism, and, according to the Enneagram Institute, support “for the nine types is a Gnostic idea of the "nine divine forms," and a presumption that man's natural essence is perfect and in union with Divinity. Advocates of the Enneagram point to the geometric proportions in the diagram that illustrate the relationship of the numbers to each other as support for their view that there is a special meaning and purpose to the diagram. This is sacred geometry, an occult belief that shapes, patterns, or certain proportions have special inner meaning”) (quoted material from my Enneagram article).

The Enneagram was promoted by mystic George Gurdjieff (1866?-1949) and by his followers, P. D. Ouspensky (1878-1947) and Oscar Ichazo (b. 1931). Gurdjieff claimed to have learned the Enneagram from the Sufis (a mystical spin-off sect of Islam), though many dispute this.

Psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo (b. 1932), a pioneer of New Age related psychological theories, breathed new life into the Enneagram by refining it as a tool of psychological assessment in which a person discovers his number in the chart, and then studies the best and worst traits of that number via the diagram. Each number represents a particular personality type, and is connected to two other numbers, one which supposedly highlights the worst traits, and the other representing the best.

Gurdjieff was an Armenian teacher of esoteric spiritual philosophies based on knowledge he allegedly garnered during travels and contacts with secret groups, which are recounted in his book, Meetings with Remarkable Men (in the beginning years of her New Age journey, the writer of this article saw a movie based on this book and was strongly influenced by it). However, these accounts were never verified. Gurdjieff held that man is not aware of true reality and needs an awakening of consciousness. He is widely credited as the first person to make the Enneagram publicly known.

Ouspensky, Gurdjieff's pupil, presented Gurdjieff's ideas as the Fourth Way. Ouspensky's teachings on the Enneagram appear in his books, In Search of the Miraculous and The Fourth Way. Like Gurdjieff, Ouspensky wrote about the Enneagram in terms of the "law of seven" and the "law of three," based on Gurdjieff's view of the esoteric laws by which the cosmos operated.

Oscar Ichazo, heavily involved in psychedelic drugs and shamanism,* asserted that he had "received instructions from a higher entity called Metatron" and that his group "was guided by an interior master."

Naranjo, the psychiatrist who studied with Ichazo in Chile, passed on the Enneagram teachings to Jesuit Bob Ochs, who then brought it into Roman Catholic circles at the New Age Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, where Naranjo taught (entire comment from my Enneagram article).

The so-called "Christian monk," Evagrius Ponticus, was influenced and inspired by the esoteric philosophy of Neo-Platonism, a deadly mixture of Gnosticism and Christianity. Ponticus was also a student of the heretical teachings of Origen of Alexandria. Ponticus himself was later condemned for his teachings in 400 and 533.

Ponticus held that Jesus was not the incarnated Son of God, but rather a sinless "intellect" who assumed a body to show humanity the way back to its "original union" with God. This is a Gnostic teaching. Through Ponticus, these false teachings spread to monastic leaders and theologians (comment quoted from my Enneagram article).


 CHRISTIANITY TODAY 

"During his tenure in Alexandria, Ponticus developed a list of deadly thoughts: vainglory, anger, greed, gluttony, sloth, sorrow, pride, and lust, to which he added 'love of self' as the first thought of all. This list provided the blueprint for what were to become the Seven Deadly Sins of the Catholic Church, which Pope Gregory I would assemble from this list some 200 years later."

 MY COMMENTS 
These sins can be found listed in the Bible but this list is not directly from the Bible. However, Proverbs 6 does list seven “things which the Lord hates”
"There are six things which the Lord hates,  Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,  And hands that shed innocent blood,A heart that devises wicked plans,  Feet that run rapidly to evil,A false witness who utters lies,  And one who spreads strife among brothers."

 CHRISTIANITY TODAY 
"…..The fact that it [the Enneagram] is rooted in a fundamentally dark view of humanity—that we are sinning people who are inclined to sin in specific ways*—isn’t exactly a cheerful view."

 MY COMMENTS 
Not true – the Enneagram is not rooted in concept of sin, either from its mystical Gnostic origins nor its New Age psychology origins.


 CHRISTIANITY TODAY 

"…..But the real power in the Enneagram lies in its ability to expose the dark underbelly of every person—their sin pattern.*…."

 MY COMMENTS 
This is not true. This was never the purpose of the Enneagram nor can it do this.


 CHRISTIANITY TODAY 

"….Other people will have other issues, but in knowing mine, I can be better equipped to pray, to confide in trusted friends, to read the truths of Scripture."

 MY COMMENTS 
We only can know our sins through the Enneagram? The truth is that we discover and know what sin is from the Bible. There is no need for the use of the Enneagram to “reveal” sins. Furthermore, the Enneagram cannot reveal anything about a person. One might as well classify him/herself using astrology.


 CHRISTIANITY TODAY 

"Every night at 9:40 p.m. I get an email from the Enneagram Institute."

 MY COMMENTS 
The website for The Enneagram Institute openly refers to concepts from Gurdjieff and company, such as "the Work" and "inner work," to refer to mystical work on the inner self. This "Work," as expressed by Ichazo, involves transcending one's ego in order to find one's "Essence." This is fundamental in Gnostic-based, Eastern, and New Age views.

The Enneagram Institute itself admits that "the philosophy behind the Enneagram contains components from mystical Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, and ancient Greek philosophy (particularly Socrates, Plato, and the Neo-Platonists)." (online source)

The reference to Christianity undoubtedly refers to what is sometimes called "mystical" or "esoteric Christianity." This type of Christianity was often claimed by Gurdjieff and other forerunners of the New Age, and in actuality is a Gnostic (neo-Platonic) distortion of Christianity, not authentic historic Christianity (from my article).


 SUMMARY POINTS 


■ The origins of the Enneagram, though disputed, are spiritually based, not as a tool for personality assessment, which came later.

■ Nine numbers is arbitrary: why 9? There is no objective basis for this. It could just as well be 5 or 12 or 15, etc.

■ The categories are arbitrary with no objective basis.

■ While some things may be true about your “number,” it is likely that the traits described would fit most people as we all have common sin issues, especially from pride, which we all share and which is the source of other sins/problems.

■ The goal of the Enneagram originally (and still used this way today in New Age practice) is awakening to true “Self” and “The philosophy for this is directly derived from the esoteric values of Sacred Geometry and from Gnostic views of the self as sacred and pure in essence” (from my article).

■ A Christian should strive to view himself through God's word; man-based categories detract from and may blur or negate that perspective.

■ Focusing on the self easily leads to self-absorption.

■ Christians are being made whole and complete in Christ (Philippians 1:6; Colossians 2:10; 2 Timothy 3:17) through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.


photo credit: Grace Commons (Wicker Park Grace) via photopin cc


 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES 

Interview with Janet Mefferd about the Enneagram  - 10/3/2014

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Warning To Christians About the Enneagram

Posted by Christine Pack

A defense of the Enneagram
by a professing Christian
My good friend Marcia Montenegro, who graciously co-moderates our Sola Sisters Facebook wall, recently did a show with Janet Mefferd in response to an article in the latest issue of Christianity Today in which a psychological profiling tool known as the Enneagram was promoted as something beneficial for Christians to use.  The article, entitled What Kind Of Sinful Are You? encourages the use of the Enneagram, even though, as Marcia discusses with Janet, the Enneagram has its roots in unbiblical mysticism.

Before becoming a born again believer, Marcia was a professional astrologer in Atlanta. And yes, there are actually "professional" astrologers who take serious studies (and have to pass actual exams) based on the occult practice of astrology! Marcia took what she did in the New Age seriously, as I did. Well, we have both repented and turned from our New Age/occultic practices, have become born again believers in Christ, and now we take Christianity seriously, and we both seek to study diligently to show ourselves approved (2 Tim 2:15). Part of that is a desire to help our fellow Christians understand how and why some of the new trends coming into the church aren't always biblical, especially this latest one to become popular, the Enneagram, which was developed about a hundred years ago by a mystic, and is based on occult principles.

We also would do well to remember that ALL that we need to know about how to navigate through our lives we find in God's word, which gives us all that we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). We don't need to turn to personality profiles based on occultic teaching and/or worldly wisdom (1 Cor 1:18-20, 1 Cor 3:18-21).


A friend commented on my Facebook wall that she had briefly dabbled in the Enneagram, years ago, but that she found it very confusing, and also had a sense from the teachers pushing it that there was an acceptance of sin. That is the danger in these kinds of profiles: a minimizing of sin. For example, let's say someone is profiled as a "Challenger" or "Achiever" type in the Enneagram profile, in the same way that in years past they might have been profiled as a "Type A." Well, the problem with such profiling is the tendency for some to then minimize or even excuse certain sinful behaviors perceived to be part of that personality "type" (i.e., an "Achiever" who is excused for being pushy, driven, aggressive, etc., rather than being called to repent).


 Additional Resources 

Marcia Montenegro's Interview About the Enneagram (The Janet Mefferd Show)

An In-Depth Look at The Enneagram (Christian Answers For The New Age)

The Enneagram and Christianity, Like Oil and Water (Christian Answers For The New Age)

Christian Answers For The New Age (Marcia Montenegro's website)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mourning the Loss of a Friend and Brother In Christ

Posted by Christine Pack



I am mourning the loss of a friend and comrade in arms, Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries. Ken was the pastor of Connecticut River Baptist Church, but he was more widely known as the creator of the Apprising Ministries website, a site devoted to exposing false teachings in today's church. Apprising was one of the first websites I found that was devoted to discernment and theological issues, a site which helped me begin to make sense of what I was seeing in the church.  My husband and I were both saved as adults in a seeker sensitive church (though we didn't know it was seeker sensitive at the time), a church that began to drift into emergent theology (i.e., yoga classes and mysticism), all of which was very confusing and upsetting for me especially: as a former mystic and New Ager, I KNEW that yoga and mysticism weren't biblical, and I couldn't comprehend why Christians were doing these things.  Ken's articles helped me understand why I was seeing these changes in the church. And so his site became an oasis for me.

At one point, I gathered the courage to email Ken with a question about one of his articles. It took courage, you see, because Ken's articles could be pretty tough and hard-hitting. But when I received Ken's response, I was immediately struck by how kind he was. From that point forward, I knew he was a safe haven for me to go to and ask questions, which I began to with regularity. Even though Ken's articles were hard hitting, there was one thing that you could count on with Ken: you knew his articles would be accurate and meticulously researched. He knew his stuff. And above all, he sought to exalt God and the truth of God's word.

One thing that people don't know about Ken just from reading his articles was how kind and selfless he was. Behind the scenes, he really had a shepherd's heart. I've lost count of the Christians who, upon hearing of Ken's death, have come forward and shared how Ken personally took time to talk with them via email or phone or Skype about this or that issue they were struggling with. Teaching fellow Christians how to rightly divide God's word, and rightly apply discernment, was extremely important to Ken, and not because he viewed discernment as an end in and of itself, but because he wanted more than anything to exalt Christ, and he wanted to see other Christians maturing spiritually and becoming more steady in their walks, and not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.

Some of Ken's theological opponents have commented on the fact that Ken did not have a prominent media presence, other than the Apprising Ministries website. This was true. Ken did not seek prominence and media exposure for himself. The simple fact is that Ken didn't choose to make himself prominent because he wanted to make Christ prominent. Ken did make his contact information available, and for those who wanted to connect to Ken, he was freely available. All of the behind the scenes discipling he did was done "off the radar." As I said earlier, he had personally helped me, and I knew of a few others who had reached out to him for counsel. But I never knew the sheer scope of how many he had helped, until his death, and Christians began coming forward and sharing how he had helped them personally, patiently and quietly, sometimes spanning months and even years, and none of this in a way that was for public consumption. A true mark of a shepherd.

Ken helped me get my start in writing, and for that, I owe him a great debt. He pushed me to be buttoned up in my research, to document everything, and he often, as noted above, would very patiently work through complex issues with me.

"UltraKen"
Ken had a silly sense of humor. And nicknames, Ken had many nicknames! Being a former high school coach, one obvious nickname for him, and the one I addressed him by most, was “Coach.” It was a good nickname for him, because, like a good coach, he got the best out of those he was teaching. He was honest, patient, kind, committed, loyal and he also wasn't afraid to correct or rebuke if necessary, which he did with great kindness, as a good coach should. A few of Ken's other nicknames were Ninja Ken, Big K and UltraKen.  That last nickname, “UltraKen,” came about when a bunch of emergents, often the target of some of Ken's toughest articles, wrote up their own snarky article about a fictional discernment blogger named "UltraKen" that contained a grainy Japanese video of their nemesis UltraKen, a mysterious Super Hero who somehow cloned himself into an army and battled emergent and other theological foes, all while wearing silver tights and showing off some impressive dance moves. The nickname stuck. Occasionally after that, when Ken would cover an issue that he suspected might be a contentious one, he would joke that he was about to "go all Ultra" or "unleash his Ultra." I once earned from Ken the title "Ultra Sister" over an article I had written, something I considered a high honor.


Ken had been having significant health issues for several years. He always seemed to rally, and I guess I thought he always would, but this time he didn't. But at the same time, like all true believers, Ken knew that this world was not his home, and he looked forward to the day when he would see his Savior face to face. Thankfully, Ken's suffering has now ceased. And I also know that Ken was ushered into the presence of his Lord and Savior, undoubtedly with the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23) ringing in his ears. Someday I will see Ken again, and when that day comes, there will be no more battles for truth: no more hostile attacks from without, and no more “friendly fire” from within. All will be known, and there will be perfect reconciliation and peace among all of us who are in glory together, as we worship our Savior. In the words of the old gospel hymn, “what a day of rejoicing that will be.”

Taps is usually reserved for military funerals, and even though Ken was not in the military, in my mind, he was a true warrior. He fought the good fight, and he sought to uphold the truth of God's word all the time that I knew him. He was my friend, and I will miss him greatly. See you one day in glory, Coach.
"When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'" (1 Cor 15:54-55)
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.'" (Rev 21:3-4)


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pastor Carl Trueman: Concerns With Quiverfull/Patriarchy

Posted by Christine Pack and Cathy Mathews


For anyone wanting to hear a balanced discussion about a movement within conservative Christianity known as the Quiverfull/Patriarchy movement, and the problems with it, please listen to the program entitled "Bully Pulpit: Sinister Headship" on Carl Trueman's Mortification of Spin radio show. The guest is Rachel Miller of The Aquila Report who recently wrote an article entitled The Soul-numbing Dangers of Patriarchy. (For anyone wanting an even more in-depth discussion of Quiverfull/Patriarchy, I highly recommend this radio series by Christian author and researcher Karen Campbell - Part I - 9 programs, Part II -14 programs.)

During the discussion on the Bully Pulpit program, Trueman and Miller name the popular Duggar family as a "cleaned up" example of the Patriarchy movement. Many would say, but they are so wholesome and always look so happy! Here's one little Patriarchy insider tip: those within the movement MUST always look happy. An "unhappy countenance" is considered a sin against the father, and is an infraction that might cause that person to be disciplined or even shunned from their community. So Patriarchy adherents might look happy because they genuinely are, OR, they might be adhering to the "happy countenance" rule. I don't know about the Duggars, and I also don't think it's possible to gauge where they stand by watching a television show: perhaps they are genuinely happy and wholesome and loving, and perhaps there is truly a balanced and loving relationship between Michelle Duggar and her husband, Jim Bob. I sincerely hope that that is the case. But the Duggars notwithstanding, here are some potential abuses that can occur within Patriarchy, according to Trueman and Miller:
- The husband considering himself, and acting as, his wife's high priest and mediator
- A "sanctified" form of spousal abuse
- Wife spanking (Yes, you read that right, and yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. "Wife spanking" is also known as "Christian Domestic Discipline," and is something that Pastor Trueman said would cause him to institute church discipline immediately if he found it in his church)
- Little to no accountability for the leaders of Patriarchy, who have set up their own cult-like empires
Trueman and Miller also noted that not every Quiverfull/Patriarchy family will look like every other Quiverfull/Patriarchy family, and thus not all adherents to this movement will be abusive, or will hold to each and every tenet. Thus, each family has to be evaluated almost on a case-by-base basis. We agree with this evaluation regarding the potential for abuse within Quiverfull/Patriarchy. We're not saying that abuse always manifests itself among Quiverfull adherents, nor do we believe that it is found within every Quiverfull family. However, we do strongly believe that the system lends itself to abusiveness.

Other Patriarchy leading figures:
- Bill Gothard (and the ATI/IBLP teachings, Gothard has now resigned due to charges of sexual inappropriateness) 
- Doug Phillips (the former president of Vision Forum, Phillips has now resigned due to a sexual abuse lawsuit brought against him by the former nanny to his children)
In posting this program, please understand that we are NOT bashing big families. Nor are we saying that parents shouldn't have rules for their children. We are not saying that having rules in your family is legalism. We all must remember Romans 14 as we have this discussion. Any Christian who passes judgment on their sister for having a lot of children violates the "law" of love that Paul is pointing to. Anyone who passes judgement on a sister for not homeschooling her children violates the same law.

So again, we're not condemning anyone for their choices in non-essential areas, nor are we condemning men and women who perhaps grew up under more liberal teachings, and who became involved in this movement out of a genuine and sincere desire to lead their families (for the men) and biblically submit to their husbands (for the women). We're not condemning, not even a smidge. Cathy and I (Christine) both did a season of homeschooling with our children. Both of us submit to our husbands. It's not about that: it's about the extrabiblical laws that those within the Quiverfull movement add to their Christian walks. Quiverfulls also often refuse to have fellowship with others who choose NOT to add these things to their Christian walks. Now, how is that biblical among Christian brothers and sisters? I'm talking about such extrabiblical laws as these:
Jesus + Homeschooling = Righteousness
Jesus + Courtship Dating = Righteousness
Jesus + As Many Children As You Can Have = Righteousness
Jesus + Long Skirts = Righteousness
Jesus + Daughters Required To Live At Home Till Marriage = Righteousness
I'm sure I'm missing a few of the extrabiblical rules, but that's just off the top of my head. But we need to remember that Jesus condemned such extrabiblical law-making with the Pharisees, which means that we should also be on guard against such things in our own Christian walks. The Pharisees looked at God's Laws, and said, "Oh okay, Honor the Sabbath and keep it holy? That's a great Law. In fact, it's so great, we're gonna help God along here and add even more rules to the Sabbath in order to make sure everyone is honoring the Sabbath in the way WE think is best." These were extrabiblical laws (i.e., instructions not explicitly given from God), which are, by the way, expressly forbidden by God (Deut 4:2). And from there, the Pharisees springboarded into adding rules for the Sabbath about what a person could carry or not carry (heavier than *this* but lighter than *that*), about whether or not a man could shave, could get a bucket of water from a well, write something down, etc., etc. God gave the Sabbath to man to bless man (Mark 2:23-27) but in the hands of the legalistic Pharisees, the blessing became a curse. Well, isn't this exactly what the legalism in Quiverfull is about? You have to homeschool or you are sinning against God. You have to wear skirts *this* length. If your children don't find their spouses through courtship, they are sinning (and you are too, if as their parent you allow them to find spouses a different way). You are sinning if you go to the movie theater. You are sinning if you have a TV in your house. Etc. Etc. Etc.

We're not saying it's wrong or sinful for each Christian family to make personal choices in these areas that bless their families. What we're saying is, where something is not explicitly stated in Scripture, we need to tread very, very carefully, and make sure that we're not turning what is our blessing into another person's Law, which becomes bondage for them. Here's a very specific example. I have a friend who was told by some of her fellow Christians that it was a sin to send children to public school. My friend, however, had been divorced by her husband after he had an affair. She had to work. And neither could she afford private Christian schooling for her children. And thus, her children were in public school. By the time I met her, she had been in profound bondage for several years, thinking that she was sinning against God by having her kids in public school.

There needs to be more charity and grace amongst Christians in non-essential areas. We must not make our blessings into laws for others. And we also need to remember that there is no formula that works all the time, for all Christian families, as in, raise a child in *this* way and you will turn out a perfect Christian product. It doesn't work that way. I've known families who sent their children to Christian or even public schools that ended up with what seem to be Godly Christian children, and some homeschooling families that ended up with very rebellious children. Same thing with courtship. In fact, Joshua Harris, author of Boy Meets Girl, which details the courtship method, has had to edit and re-release his book because two of the featured "courtship dating" couples in the book ended up divorcing. An inconvenient fact like that is certainly apt to take the wind out of the sails of those who think that creating and living in a lifestyle of systematized legalism is a safeguard against sin.  After all, we know from the Apostle Paul that legalism does not have the capacity to restrain the flesh; indeed, it can only serve to it inflame it.
"Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death." (Romans 7:9-11)
In closing: please understand, again, that the purpose of this article is not to attack or mock or denigrate large families or wives submitting in marriage. It is to point out the extrabiblical rules associated with Quiverfull and Patriarchy. I (Christine) have personally counseled women who were involved with these movements who were in profound bondage because of the teachings associated with them, and I don't desire for anyone to become enslaved in a man-made system of works righteousness, and thereby miss the beauty and simplicity that is found in Christ. There truly is freedom and joy in Christ.


 Additional Resources 

In-Depth Discussions of Patriarchy with Author and Christian Researcher Karen Campbell:
⁃ Quiverfull/Patriarchy, Part I (9 radio programs) 
⁃ Quiverfull Patriarchy, Part II (14 radio programs) 
⁃ Militant Fecundity (Aggressively Raising Up A "Christian Army") vs. Seeing Children As A Blessing (4 radio programs) 
What Are The Quiverfull and Patriarchy Movements? (Got Questions?)

Wife Spanking Among Conservative Christians (Huffington Post)

Christian Domestic Discipline (a pro wife spanking website that claims biblical support for this practice)

Homeschool Advocate Michael Farris Responds to Sex Scandals of Homeschool Leaders Bill Gothard, Doug Phillips) (Christian Post)

From the IBLP website
Influential Patriarchy Leader Doug Phillips Resigns, Being Sued By Former Nanny For Sexual Misconduct (Sola Sisters)

Bill Gothard Resigns, Duggars Still Slated To Speak at IBLP 2014 Conference (Sola Sisters)

An Open Letter To Bill Gothard's IBLP

Bill Gothard Legalism (Sola Sisters)

Your Money or Your Kids (Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. - p. 8)

When Gothard Comes to Church (Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. - p. 4)

Bill Gothard's Evangelical Talmud (Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. - all begin on p. 6)
 - Part 1
 - Part 2
 - Part 3
 - Part 4

An Evening With Bill Gothard (Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. - begin on p. 6)

Conservative Leader Bill Gothard Resigns Following Abuse Allegations (Religion News Service)

The Duggars, Bill Gothard, Vision Forum, and The Quiverful Movement (I am aware that some of the links in this article are no longer active, but this article still gives a quick thumbnail sketch of Bill Gothard, the Duggars, Vision Forum, Patriarchy and the Quiverfull Movement, and how they are connected)


 Websites by Former Gothardites 


Recovering Grace


Abuse Allegations Against Bill Gothard, Founder of Institute In Basic Life Principles
 (Dr. John Cornish and Kari Underwood, co-founders of Recovering Grace)

Under Much Grace


 Facebook Discussions Re: Christian Reconstruction, Theonomy, Patriarchy, Quiverfull, Bill Gothard, the Duggars 

Bill Gothard discussion - 7-2-12

Quiverfull / Duggars discussion - 9-21-14

Quiverfull / Patriarchy discussion - 9-24-14

Christian Reconstruction / Theonomy / Quiverfull / Patriarchy discussion - 10-19-14


 Secular Articles 


When Having Kids Is A Religious Experience
 (ABC News)

Quiverfull: More Children For God's Army (Newsweek writer Kathryn Joyce)

Inside the Duggar Family's Conservative Ideology (Newsweek, Kathryn Joyce)

God Is Good

Posted by Christine Pack

My twin sister Cathy Mathews, who writes here on the Sola Sisters website with me, shared Christ with me for two years. I was a gospel-hardened, full-on New Ager, who was very cold and hostile to the things of God. But in God's great kindness, it was through my sister's witnessing to me, as well as my father's witnessing, that I was saved.

Love you Cathy, Miss Sassy Molassy, my soulmate sista, my everyday call ❤❤❤ (And Happy Birthday to my sweet sister....it's her berfday today ☺)