Showing posts with label christian reconstruction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label christian reconstruction. Show all posts

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Fault Lines of Dominionism, Theonomy, Christian Reconstructionism and NAR [UPDATED]

Posted by Christine Pack

Have you encountered Christians in your walk who have used confusing language and concepts about "taking dominion" of the earth? Who have talked about having a mandate from God to capture certain designated realms of the culture in order to "reclaim" them for God? Who have talked about the hope of one day on this earth living under a "Theocracy?" If so, you may have been dealing with Christians who hold to Dominionist theology, which often has overlapping views with Theonomy, Christian Reconstructionism (CR for short, going forward) and the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). 

Or, have you ever had an encounter with another Christian in which he walked you through a carefully worded Question and Answer script, at the end of which, if you played along, he announced to you that you have been a Theonomist all along, and never knew it?
Do you love God? Answer yes or no.
Do you think His laws are just? Answer yes or no.
Do you think sin should be punished? Answer yes or no.........
Or, have you attempted to have a discussion with a self-proclaimed Theonomist, only to be told that you don't "understand" Theonomy enough in order to comment on it, and that in order to do so, you must first read the 50 volume set of the collected works of Gary North, 25 scholarly articles by Gary DeMar, and four thousand articles by Greg Bahnsen before you are allowed to interact with them? (The reality is that the Christian walk is not Jesus + The Collected Canon of Theonomist Works. All Bible-believing Christians have the right and privilege to interact on any subject, including Theonomy.)

If you have ever had an encounter with another Christian that played out like one of the encounters described above, you will find this article helpful. And hopefully, this article will briefly demonstrate how Dominionism often outworks itself in ways never prescribed by Scripture.

Please note going forward that there are often very varied beliefs among Christians who hold Dominionist views. In this article, I will mention and/or link to Christian Reconstructionism, Patriarchal, Quiverfull, and the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), even while I understand that these streams and ideologies often vary in many ways. For instance, not all Theonomists will be Christian Reconstructionists, not all Christian Reconstructionists will be Patriarchal, not all Patriarchals will be Quiverfull, not all Quiverfulls will be NARs, etc. However, what undergirds all of these movements or ideologies is their Dominionist worldview, and because of this, there is often a natural dovetailing of ideas between these groups and ideologies.


Theocracy is defined as a system of government in which priests (or rulers) rule in the name of God. So a Christian Theonomist would be someone who wants to impose the Old Testament form of civil government upon the world.

Theonomists are Christians who have a misunderstanding of Bible verses which talk about mankind taking physical dominion of the earth. They misunderstand these verses to mean that Christians are meant to take spiritual dominion of the earth, and not just physical dominion. The verses typically used by Theonomist dominionists as proof-texts are Genesis 1:28 and Psalm 8:
"God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'" (Genesis 1:28) 
"What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made themd a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas." (Psalm 8:4-8)
I have had my own experiences with Christians who hold to Dominionist views. Some years back, I began to realize that some friends of mine held some views that I found to be unorthodox, to say the least. They were (are) members of a Presbyterian-PCA church, which is typically closely aligned to the Reformed Baptist view (which my husband and I hold). Some of our friends' views came to light during a conversation, and once I began to understand where they were coming from, I remember saying to the husband, So are you saying, we're already in the Millennial Kingdom? and if so, well, have you watched the news lately? His response was, Oh yeah, we're in the Kingdom, and the world will only get better and better through God-given blessings, those being primarily the gospel and the spread of the gospel message, but also through science, medicine and technology. I was processing this statement, when he said the kicker that really got my antennae up: "This is the standard Presbyterian-PCA view." Well, I knew that wasn't true, because my father, who has mentored me for years, has been a Presbyterian-PCA elder for almost 30 years. And I knew for a fact that he did not hold these views, nor did any of the other church officers in his church.

 Taking Dominion: Physically or Culturally? 

That conversation with my friend sent me on a researching quest over the next decade to find out where these errant views were coming from. And yes, my Dominionist friend also used the scriptures quoted above to "prove" his Dominionist views. It is a big leap, however, to take God's commands for us to subdue the earth to mean that our dominion should include the spiritual realm as well as the physical realm. It is only the physical realm that is explicitly mandated by God for us to control. The fact is that we live in a peculiar time in history in that we don't really even have to think much about taking physical dominion of this earth, due to the fact that those who lived in the past have already done it so successfully for us in previous generations. But taking physical dominion is no small thing. Remember the Laura Ingalls books? Those were hard, perilous times, and those books were written just a little over a hundred years ago. From our perspective today, however, we often struggle to understand the difficulties endured by those in the past in what it meant for them to take dominion. For the most part, we don't ourselves have to personally fend off bears or survive droughts or fight pestilence or battle floods in order to eek out enough food to keep our families alive; we nip out to the grocery store and get all that we need, often with nary a thought to what a luxury such conditions are, and the fact that such luxuries were virtually unknown to the vast majority of humans who have ever lived on this earth throughout history, and are even now only enjoyed by the relatively few numbers of humans today who have the blessing of living in highly industrialized nations.

So what does Dominionism look like today? In the Christian realm, Dominionists typically align themselves with one of two prominent Dominionist movements: (1) the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) or (2) Christian Reconstruction/Theonomy. As noted, the NARs misinterpret the Bible verses above as meaning that they a mandate from God to take spiritual dominion of the earth.  Out of this mistaken belief, the NARs have developed a teaching known as "Joel's Army," an elitist, end-times movement that exhorts families to raise up youth and children to be a "New Breed", who will be the "Manifested Sons of God." The movement has a decidedly militant edge to it, and those in it believe they will raise up a generation who will take back this world for God.

Some of the teaching materials and imagery associated with "Joel's Army"

The NARs have also developed a theology known as the "7 Mountain Mandate" which is also about taking spiritual dominion of this world (rather than simply having physical dominion, which is the biblical mandate) and which names specific areas of the culture they have targeted to reclaim. The realms they have designated are:
1 - Business
2 - Government
3 - Family
4 - Religion
5 - Media
6 - Education
7 - Entertainment 

But flip the Dominionism coin, and you will find Theonomy and Christian Reconstruction (CR), much more theologically buttoned up forms of Dominionism (and the flavor of Dominionism held by my fellow Christians). Theonomic/Christian Reconstruction leaders exert tremendous influence through the Christian homeschooling movement, and through the Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements. Some leaders in the Theonomy/Christian Reconstruction movement include R.J. Rushdoony, Doug Phillips, Joel McDurmon, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, Greg Bahnsen, Gary North and Doug Wilson. Ministries associated with Theonomy/Christian Reconstruction are Canon Press, CrossPolitic, fight-Laugh-Feast American Vision, Crown Rights Media and the now defunct Vision Forum (Vision Forum's president, Doug Phillips, resigned in 2013 due to a moral failure).

Theonomic/Christian Reconstruction dominionists work very hard to distinguish themselves from Dominionists of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) variety, the latter with their wild worship services where adherents sometimes shake, quiver, bark like dogs, and deceive themselves into believing angel feathers, gold dust and "glory clouds" are manifesting. Theonomists/CRs eschew all this nonsense, and rightly so. They are also, as previously noted, much more theologically buttoned up and biblically grounded, with some of them being highly regarded, and for good reason, in the Presuppositional Apologetics department (Greg Bahnsen and Sye Ten Bruggencate come to mind here). But like their NAR counterparts, Theonomists/CRs also believe they have a mandate from God to reclaim the culture, and the world.

Understanding the Theonomy views on reclaiming the culture and world helps make sense of why the Reconstructionist views dovetail so well with Patriarchy and Quiverfull views.... got to have lots of babies, you see, through embracing the "quiverfull" teachings (which are based on a misinterpretation of Psalm 127:3-5), if you're going to have any shot at taking Dominion of the world, right? There are of course, as I noted in the opening paragraph, varying views within the Dominionist camp. But they all believe that Christians are supposed to take dominion of the world, with there obviously being varied views about how to get there. Theonomists as noted believe and teach that Christians are meant to re-instate the Old Testament civil laws into all the world's governmental structures. These Old Testament laws include the stoning of Sabbath breakers, disobedient children, and unrepentant homosexuals (and yes, you did read that right).

However, the reason we are not under the Old Testament civil laws, and should not seek to place ourselves back under them, is simple: Jesus fulfilled the laws perfectly, all of them, on our behalf. And thus, we're no longer bound by the Old Testament civil and ceremonial laws, but only the moral Law, which is a picture of God's character and nature, and thus stands eternally, and which serves for us as believers as a curb and guide in our Christian walks.
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matthew 5:17) 
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." (Romans 10:4)
In fact, in the book of Romans, Paul teaches that those who live by the Law, will die (and be judged) by the Law.
"All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law." (Romans 2:12)

 Closing Thoughts 

Theonomy and Christian Reconstruction appear to me to be largely (but not entirely) a young person's movement (perhaps a bit of "zeal without knowledge" [Prov 19:2] there?). These young Christian Reconstructionist/Theonomy folks are smart, and passionate, and full of vim and vigor. And while I do appreciate their passion and energy, they come across as seeming to think the Christian life is all gleaming swords and prancing horses as they march with flags flying to the sound of trumpets into Christian battle. They are so wrong on this point. Yes, the Christian cause is the most noble of all causes. There's truth there. But the Christian life is hard and bloody and brutal, and they will never emerge from their battles victorious in the way that they think, having taken back this world completely.

And lest we forget, Jesus plainly taught"My Kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). If these men, many of whom are young now, get to the end of their lives with their families intact, and their children solid in the faith, with just a few faithful friends who have stayed the course with them, they should consider themselves blessed beyond measure. They will suffer painful persecution in long, drawn out ways they cannot even imagine, persecution that might sometimes make them wish for death (and thus heaven). Let's check back in with those guys in a few years, after the joy of riding into battle has worn off a little, and they have been in the bloody, muddy trenches for many months, even years, and have lost comrades right and left. Perhaps they will feel differently then, after the bloom is off the rose.

There's a reason "Onward Christian Soldiers," a hymn penned during the late 1800s that invoked American triumphalism, was quickly adopted by Theonomists. Christian Reconstructionist Kenneth Gentry, who writes for American Vision, also specifically mentions "Onward Christian Soldier" as being representative of the Post-Millennial view in his book He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology. There is a majestic, triumphant fervor that comes through loud and clear in that hymn. But Theonomists/CRs are kidding themselves if they don't realize where their theology ends up. Taken to its ultimate conclusion, it would mean that men (albeit Christian men) would ultimately take over, and rule, this world with Christian virtues. But can we not see the fault line in this thinking? How are Christians, who all must struggle and fight against the remnant of indwelling sin that remains even after conversion, going to rule this world? Who among us has not witnessed ugly church splits even amongst true believers? And what about the silly church splits, over things as mundane as carpet color and music? No, this world will be made right only when Christ returns to make all things new, and that does not include a world rampant with church splits, spiritual abuse, wars, sex trafficking, corrupt politicians, pornography, domestic violence, broken families, drug and alcohol abuse, disease, death and sorrow.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:1-5)

 Additional Resources 

Dominionism? What Is Dominionism? (Dr Warren Throckmorton)

Judicial Warfare: The Christian Reconstruction Movement and its Blueprints for Dominion (critique by former Christian Reconstructionist Greg Loren Durand)

Theonomy: A Reformed Baptist Assessment (Sam Waldron)

What Is Dominionism? (Derek Gilbert interviews Sarah Leslie of Herescope, beginning at 1:08:00 mark)

A Biblical Examination of the Dominion Mandate and the Christian Reconstruction Movement (Bob DeWaay)

Moses' Law for Modern Government: The Intellectual and Sociological Origins of the Christian Reconstructionist Movement (Ligon Duncan)

Christian Reconstructionist Leader Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Resigns, Cites Moral Failure [UPDATED]

Doug Phillips, Repentance and Justice (Sola Sisters)

Hall of Shame: Doug Phillips and Vision Forum (Mennoknight)

Rethinking Vision Forum

 Secular Articles About Patriarchy/Quiverfull 

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)

 Miscellaneous Resources 

What Is The New Apostolic Reformation? (And Why Should We Be Concerned About It?)

Pastor Carl Trueman: Concerns With Quiverfull/Patriarchy (Sola Sisters)

R.C. Sproul Jr Says that the Scandal of Josh Duggar Having Had An Ashley Madison Account Is None of Our Business - Then Responds When his Own Visit to the Ashley Madison Site is Discovered (RC Sproul Jr website)

Ligonier Suspends R.C. Sproul Jr Over Ashley Madison Adultery Website Visit (Christianity Today)

What Are The Quiverfull and Patriarchy Movements? (Got Questions?)

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" with Carl Trueman. 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?)

Patriarchal Figure R.C. Sproul Jr Says that the Scandal of Josh Duggar Having Had An Ashley Madison Account Is None of Our Business
 - Then Responds When his Own Visit to the Ashley Madison Site is Discovered (RC Sproul Jr website)

Ligonier Suspends R.C. Sproul Jr Over Ashley Madison Adultery Website Visit (Christianity Today)

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)

Josh Duggar's Infidelity Outed in Ashley Madison Website Hack (Sola Sisters)

An Open Letter To Bill Gothard's IBLP

Bill Gothard Legalism (Sola Sisters)

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)

 Midwest Christian Outreach 

A Matter of Basic Principles: Bill Gothard and the Christian Life

Josh Duggar, Mike Huckabee and Fodder for Progressives

Is Jesus a Sinner According to Bill Gothard’s Teachings?

If Bill Gothard is Wrong, Then What’s Right?

Bill Gothard: Who Knew What and When? A Question of Accountability


Bill Gothard’s Analogous Teachings

Bill Gothard; Déjà vu All Over Again

Bill Gothard and the Continuing Sex Scandal

Bill Gothard - Truly Repentant?

Leveraging Lunacy: How Bill Gothard Rode a Wave of Evangelical Goofiness

Four part series on Bill Gothard
 - Part 1, Bill Gothard's Evangelical Talmud
 - Part 2, Bill Gothard's Chain of Authority
 - Part 3, Bill Gothard and the Law
 - Part 4, Bill Gothard's Mystical Approach to Medical Issues

An Evening With Bill Gothard

 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)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Former Nanny to Doug Phillips' Family Files Lawsuit, Alleges Sexual Misconduct

Posted by Christine Pack

Beall Phillips, Lourdes Torres, Doug Phillips
World Net Daily is reporting that Vision Forum's former president, Doug Phillips, has been named in a lawsuit by Lourdes Torres, a young woman who worked as a nanny for the Phillips' family beginning at the age of 15. Torres has filed a lawsuit against her former employer, alleging that Phillips committed "inappropriate, unwanted, and immoral sexual acts" against her while she worked and lived in the Phillips' home and tended to his children. The lawsuit was filed in Kendall County (Texas) Tuesday, April 15, 2014, and can be read here (Warning: Explicit content). However, according to Diaz Jakob, the attorney representing Doug Phillips, the relationship between Phillips and Torres was "consensual," and was "initiated, encouraged, and aggressively perpetuated by (Torres)." The statement released by Phillips also makes a point of noting that the contact between Phillips and Torres did not begin until Torres had reached the age of 23. While it has been confirmed by Torres' that physical contact did not begin until she had reached the age of 23, Torres had known and worked for Phillips from the age of 15. (Torres' family first met the Phillips family at a Vision Forum homeschooling conference.) Also, in the Vision Forum worldview, it must be understood that hyper-patriarchalism was in full force, with girls being viewed as property to be passed from father to husband. Many girls and young women in this Vision Forum system appear mature and capable, and in many ways they are, having been trained from very young ages to look after entire households. They are also trained to unquestioningly serve and obey their fathers, as well as all other male authority figures in their lives. It is for these reasons that Phillips's claim of the relationship being "consensual" rings hollow to me. (Phillips' statement released through his lawyer can be read in its entirety here.)

We reported last October that Phillips had resigned as president of Vision Forum after citing a personal moral failure (that article can be read here). As noted in that article, Phillips has long been the face of a particular branch of Reformed Christianity which models very rigid and oppressively legalistic family structures (led by the "Federal Head," the husband), promotes the Quiverfull lifestyle, enforces strictly supervised courtship dating for youth, and also teaches a form of Dominionism (got to have lots of babies, you see, through embracing the "quiverfull" teachings, if you're going to have any shot at taking Dominion of the world). Unfortunately, with Doug Phillips' moral failure, we are seeing yet more proof that Christian environments that have systematically built oppressive legalism into their structure are not safeguarded against sin. The law does not, and never has had, the ability to protect us against sin or sanctify us, and thinking so only leads to legalism, spiritual oppression and sin abounding all the more. Thus, systematizing legalism into entire movements (like Quiverfull, hyper-patriarchalism, Dominionism, Bill Gothard's ATI/IBLP systems, the Shepherding Movement, etc., etc. ) is no guarantee or insulator against sin, which is the great leveler of us all.
"Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin." (Romans 3:20) 
"We maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law." (Romans 3:20) 
"For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death." (Romans 7:5)
Pastor Jeff Crippen of Christ Reformation Church in Oregon addressed this issue of legalism in a recent sermon, specifically naming Vision Forum as a legalistic and problematic movement:
"I think that Doug Phillips and Vision Forum have been proponents of a very legalistic, so called gospel, and it's not surprising then that sin is incited, because we know from scripture that the Law is the power of sin. And if you're gonna pursue rightness with God by the Law, well look out, because it's just going to feed sin." (How God Saves Us in Christ, 11-3-13)  
Lourdes Torres, Doug Phillips
Vision Forum Ministries had created an entire cottage industry devoted to resources based on lawkeeping and rules-based behaviorism, all geared toward producing perfect children, perfect wives, perfect husbands, perfect homes, perfect marriages, etc. Before closing, Vision Forum Ministries produced and sold all manner of material dedicated to training their devotees in the proper Vision Forum lifestyle, including wholesome, family-friendly videos, some of which featured Doug Phillips, his children and Lourdes Torres. By all appearances, those who bought into the Vision Forum mindset thought that by adding extrabiblical instructions and rules to their lives, they could safeguard themselves against sin. Sanctification via a step-by-step methodology: Insert Slot A into Slot B....... Sadly, their leader's profound moral failure has revealed what a demonic deception legalism is.

Some of the allegations in Torres' lawsuit:
"Douglas Phillips—standing in a position of influence and prominence within patriarchy—methodically groomed Ms. Torres so that she would eventually participate in illicit sexual rendezvous with him promising that she could one day marry him. This grooming began when Ms. Torres was a fifteen-year-old child." 
"Phillips repeatedly told Torres that this was possible because his wife, Beall Phillips, was going to die soon." 
"Douglas Phillips, on the evenings he visited Ms. Torres' (bedroom while she was living in the Phillips home), persuaded her that he was not doing anything wrong, that he intended to marry Ms. Torres, and that his wife would die shortly and enable him to marry Ms. Torres. He further repeatedly told Ms. Torres that he loved her, that he would take care of her, and that what they were doing was not wrong. He also stated that if it was wrong, it was completely her fault." 
"Ms. Torres was unable to consent to the sexual contact and repeatedly asked Defendant Douglas Phillips to stop. However, Ms. Torres did not tell anyone about Defendant’s conduct because he manipulated her into believing that it would ruin his reputation, destroy his ministry, and get her in trouble with the church." 
"On or about January 2, 2013—after 12:00 midnight—when Ms. Torres had refused to be alone with Defendant Douglas Phillips for several weeks, had stopped assisting him with Vision Forum work projects, and was no longer communicating with Douglas Phillips, Douglas Phillips came over to Ms. Torres’s house around midnight and began knocking on her bedroom window. Ms. Torres’s family heard the noise and Ms. Torres’s brother and father went outside and chased Douglas Phillips without knowing it was him. When they caught him Defendant stated he had come to “pay” Ms. Torres for her Vision Forum work. Ms. Torres’s father told Defendant Douglas Phillips to leave and he left." 
"On October 3, 2013, Ms. Torres received an e-mail from Beall Phillips threatening her if she did not keep silent about what happened to her, i.e., her abuse."

 Additional Resources 

Doug Phillips, Repentance and Justice

Copy of Filed Lawsuit (Warning: Explicit sexual content)

Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Resigns, Cites Moral Failure

Vision Forum Ministries to Close

Hall of Shame: Doug Phillips and Vision Forum (Mennoknight)

Rethinking Vision Forum

Christian Giant Sued For "Using Nanny As Sex Object" (World Net Daily)

Religious Right Leader Sued For Sexual Battery, Treating Young Follower Like A 'Personal Sex Object' (Right Wing Watch)

Woman Sues Christian Right Leader Douglas Phillips for Alleged Sexual, Mental Abuse (Slate)

Legal complaint filed in Vision Forum case (World Mag)

How God Saves Us In Christ (And Why Legalism Can't Help Us) (Pastor Jeff Crippen)

Why The Law Cannot Sanctify (Romans 7:5-6) (Pastor Kevin Williams)

 Doug Phillips Responds 

Former minister denies allegations that he kept woman as a 'sex object'

Doug Phillips' statement released through is attorney, Jason Jakob

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Vision Forum Ministries to Close

Posted by Christine Pack

Vision Forum Ministries has released a statement that Vision Forum Ministries will be closing, and that donations are no longer being accepted. Doug Phillips, president of Vision Forum Ministries, had recently resigned citing a moral failure.

Statement of resignation by Doug Phillips (10-30-13) (online source):

Statement of the closing of Vision Forum Ministries by the Vision Forum Ministries board of directors (11-11-13) (online source):

 Additional Resources 

Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Resigns, Cites Moral Failure

Thursday, October 31, 2013

(UPDATED) Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Resigns, Cites Moral Failure

Post by Christine Pack

(UPDATE 4-16-14: Doug Phillips' former nanny has filed a lawsuit against Phillips, alleging sexual misconduct. Our article about that can be read here. The filed lawsuit can be read here.... **warning, there is explicit sexual content in the filed lawsuit**)

  Thursday, October 31, 2013  

Doug Phillips has resigned as president of Vision Forum following his announcement of a moral failure, which according to his resignation letter, involved an "inappropriate relationship with a woman." Phillips has long been the face of a particular branch of Reformed Christianity which models very rigid family structures (led by the "Federal Head," the husband), promotes the Quiverfull lifestyle, enforces strictly supervised courtship dating for youth, and also teaches a form of Dominionism (got to have lots of babies, you see, through embracing the "quiverfull" teachings, if you're going to have any shot at taking Dominion of the world). I have personally counseled several women who have come out of this movement, and who didn't quite fit the mold for whatever reason, and whose experiences with Vision Forum leadership ranged from neglect to outright spiritual abuse.

I've also wondered at times, why the Vision Forum form of Dominionism seems to fly under the radar, as opposed to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) form of Dominionism. Probably because the NAR is so easily dismissed, with its angel feathers and gold dust silliness, while the Vision Forum crew are so theologically buttoned up as to seem to earn them a pass.

While I have long disagreed, oftentimes publicly, with many of the Vision Forum views, I have compassion in general for the body of Christ, who so quickly seem to swarm from one big leader to the next, from one hot new book to the next, and are now witnessing the fall of one of the most high profile leaders in the Reformed camp. But Quiverfull legalism and hyper-separationism are no insulation against sin, which is the great leveler of us all. May we all be sobered by this latest scandal, and cleave to our Lord and Savior all the more.

I am sorry for these circumstance for Doug Phillips, and will be praying for him.

The original Statement of Resignation can be read here, along with the Clarification Statement which confirmed that there was a physical component to the "relationship."

 Additional Resources 

Rethinking Vision Forum

Copy of Lawsuit Filed by Former Nanny to Doug Phillips' Family **Warning: Explicit content**

Vision Forum Ministries to Close

Rethinking Vision Forum

Christian Giant Sued For "Using Nanny As Sex Object"

Religious Right Leader Sued For Sexual Battery, Treating Young Follower Like A 'Personal Sex Object'

How God Saves Us In Christ (And Why Legalism Can't Help Us) (Pastor Jeff Crippen)

Why The Law Cannot Sanctify (Romans 7:5-6) (Pastor Kevin Williams)