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It just came to my attention that Voddie Baucham, Vision Forum favorite, has associated me with a chain of causality in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) that does not cast him in such a favorable light.

From Baucham’s The SBC and Calvinism:

This, coupled with the release of Family Driven Faith, and planting Grace Family Baptist Church, set off a chain of SBC events that would culminate in the SBTC Youth Ministry Forum, and (some would argue) the recent “Patriarchy” rant at xxxxxxxxx Seminary by Cynthia Kunsman. [Blog host note: Link to the complete video HERE.]

[Addendum Note 21Nov08: Someone asked me if I mention Baucham in my Patriarchy “rant” at all. I just checked the Powerpoint presentation and the bibliography. Baucham’s book is not even listed as a reference there, and I never mention his name. I did not review his material at all for the presentation which was my own work. I’d not looked at or read “Family Driven Faith” until approximately 6 months after I delivered the workshop. In fact, there are blog posts here that mention when I did first start reading the book. Read more details HERE.]

What thought immediately popped into my head? If Baucham thinks my apologetics workshop at an SBC seminary in March was a rant, what does he call the work of Kevin Swanson, a fellow faculty member with Henry Reyenga’s Christian Leaders Institute. (Take a look at the video that appears on the home page while you’re there.) My second thought regarded who it is that argues that I am a part of that chain of causality in the SBC.

You can read the full discourse by Baucham for yourself (one soul’s discourse is another’s rant?), but I find it interesting that he identifies the SBC with a spirit that is anti-Calvinistic. He identifies the SBC’s rejection of Calvinism as the true, core rationale behind all the criticism that he’s received since he appeared on CNN rejecting Sarah Palin as a sound choice for the McCain ticket. And I find it interesting that he seems to identify me as an agent of the SBC.


What Do I Believe (for the record)?

I just wanted to clarify a bit about my own beliefs because there are so many different individuals with different convictions mentioned in Baucham’s blog piece.

I wholeheartedly embrace the Doctrines of Grace. I actually hold beliefs that conform more closely to New Covenant Theology than anything else, but not entirely. I aspire to follow the Word and my honest comprehension of it with fear and trembling, not a theology, a construct of man. I’m a TULIP girl, though I wholeheartedly reject the increasingly popular practice of mere man’s discerning who is elect and who is not, deeming those who disagree with them to be damned by God for eternity and therefore deserving of abuse in this life. I’ve written before about this HERE, as some seem to use TULIP like karma, a cruel task-master of works. But unlike Baucham, the only thing I breathe fire about perhaps would be Ephesians 2:8-9 and my opposition to the promotion of Hegemonic Patriarchy/patriocentricity as orthodox Biblical Christianity. I also believe that those who do not embrace the Doctrines of Grace are very much God’s elect, as these are also intramural issues that fall within the pale of orthodoxy.

In wrestling with my own issues of the Word of Faith movement and all its inconsistencies, in the early ’90s, I found the soothing writings and mostly all sound teachings of a man named R.C. Sproul. (I’m among the earliest contributors to “Tape of the Month,” believe it or not.) My mentor also introduced these concepts to me in high school, having been influenced by the Reformed faculty at Lee College (now University). Under his tutelage and also influenced by faculty of Pinecrest Bible Training Center, I’ve rejected pre-millennial eschatology since high school. All these things contributed to my understanding of the Word of God, directing me on a path toward a Reformed view. And I read this little book called Ephesians in my early twenties for myself, without necessarily being told what it said or what it meant. It was hard work for a number of years to reckon the doctrine, but as a result and as a balm to my Arminian anxieties, I came to a new understanding of God’s Sovereignty.

A similar thing happened to me when I began to study New Testament Greek. I took for granted that, though women were not given senior pastor positions in the Pentecostal church I grew up attending, I never had a problem with women teachers or ministers or elders. I really don’t have a problem with others who believe this now, but upon studying and reconsidering the matter in my own right as an adult, I changed my mind on what I perceive as an intramural issue. I believe that a very conservative interpretation of the Word of God requires that women not hold the position of pastor or elder. Because the Scripture does not speak openly and clearly without doubt that women can be anointed elders and pastors, I am convicted that I should follow the conservative approach. Based upon the Greek texts and the Apostle Paul’s grammar, I am persuaded and convicted that the Word provides for women to teach and speak. But again, because of the many ways of interpreting the Scripture, just based on the translation issues alone, I believe that this is an intramural issue and that it is not one that should divide believers. I believe that this classifies me as a “soft complementarian,” a defining term that was created to soften the negative connotation of the term “patriarchy.”

That said, I was once very Arminian, and I was very much a Child of God. I once believed that there was no problem with female elders and pastors, and I was very much a Child of God. I was also once very zealous about the Word of Faith movement, and I was very much a Child of God. At every point in my journey and life in Christ, I loved the Word and sought nothing other than to live faithfully to it, always desiring to live in submission to what the Word teaches. These are intramural issues, and I rejoice in the fellowship that I have in Christ with all who Love Jesus, our Messiah.

I Am an Agent of the SBC?

Definitely not. This is the element of all this that I find most amusing.

I must admit that I did attend an SBC church in the deep south for a few months in 1990, but I left it because it seemed to me to be what I call a “rich white people’s church.” I could stay there no longer after I asked why I’d only ever seen one minority in that church on only one occasion in a town with a Black majority. I was told that “they had their own churches” and that this is where the “missionary Baptist” denomination came from. And then I suddenly noticed the monthly Sunday night “report” from the pastor who mentioned their “missionary churches” in the area. I didn’t last long there after that. That’s the duration and extent of my affiliation with the SBC.

I was invited to speak by an apologetics organization (my infamous rant?), primarily because I was asked to write an article by a well known Calvinist theologian who published it in two of his monthly newsletters in 2004. The article came about because of Doug Phillips’ polemic and aggressive response to criticism (circa 2003) of his bizarre teachings and statements that women working outside the home, training of women outside the home setting, and education of children by any means other than homeschooling were sins. And I also would like to point out that two Calvinist ministers and three Calvinists (not to mention the Dispensationalists) extensively reviewed my material before I made the presentation. Many Calvinists have commented on the soundness of the arguments that I presented at the SBC seminary.

And if I indeed was some indirect agent of the SBC by this invitation from someone who does not attend an SBC church, it was certainly undone within about 48 hours after I put the video of the Patriarchy Workshop online. I was asked to remove all mention of the seminary that hosted the apologetics conference as well as the name of the apologetics organization from my web and my blog. I showed such a willingness to comply with what I believed to be an inappropriate request because I was told over the phone that I’d put the employment of the president of the unnamed SBC seminary (which I have agreed no longer reference) in great jeopardy as a result of my criticisms of the patriarchal teachings of Bruce Ware and Russell Moore of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). (Please note that I contacted the apologetics group and offered to remove the name of the seminary and possibly the names of the teachers from the lecture before I printed my handout, one month prior to the presentation.)

So though I am no agent or representative of the SBC, I have no vendettas either. A little respect might have been nice, however, and I could do without the miserable comments that were made about me, some of which have been quite personal and unrelated to the content of the lecture. And as my friend Karen Campbell says (who coined the term “patriocentricity” to differentiate these bizarre teachings from true patriarchy which I would say we both embrace), the statement made by the apologetics group about my scholarship was quite far “over the top.” They sought not to clarify my position or their organizations’ position in comparison to the doctrines and positions of the SBC but to “poison the well” concerning the Patriarchy Workshop so as to discourage it’s viewing and fair consideration. The SBC exercised milieu control, and in their anger, I think the tactic has ultimately backfired on them.

With that, I can say with certainty from my perspective, I am no agent or any kind of voice for the SBC.

As someone within the SBC did mention to me, I “innocently wandered over fault lines” of controversy in the SBC (since most of the material I presented concerned and was drawn from Vision Forum). The workshop I gave voiced what many within the SBC have known for some time but did not have a voice to speak freely about these issues within their own denomination. I did not realize any of this when I prepared and gave the workshop. Since then however, I have been contacted by many SBC survivors of these teachings. SBC seminary graduates and pastors that have been chewed up and spit out by the Family Integrated Church movement account for the highest percentage of people who have written to me, thanking me for so succinctly describing their experience and for directing them to the literature concerning spiritual abuse.

Criticism of Baucham Comes Not Because of Calvinism But Because of PATRIOCENTRICITY

I would disagree with Baucham concerning the central issue of criticism against him stemming primarily from his bold embrace of Calvinism, TULIP, the five solas, the Doctrines of Grace or any other means one can find to describe what I most often describe as a Reformed view of Scripture. I believe that, without any doubt, Baucham has received criticism because of the extreme doctrines that he shares with Vision Forum. Those odd beliefs transcend the divisions between Calvinism and Dispensationalism/Arminianism/Pelagianism, affecting both groups alike. Baucham accepts Numbers 30 as a rational supporting the idea that a woman cannot live outside of the authority and protection of a patriarch (male governance) and be true to Scripture, and he speaks openly about this in the Vision Forum video, “Return of the Daughters.” He believes that Sunday School is Communistic, not just an option that he no longer believes serves the best interest of the church. I’m unclear about whether he permits declining participation in a home catechism for believers or whether he also believes that private Christian school for children is Biblical. I wonder if he also advocates Vision Forum tradition that requires the payment of a “bride’s price” (from the groom to the father of the bride) during wedding ceremonies, or the bride’s washing of the groom’s feet? As many in Vision Forum believe that men govern the sanctification process of their wives (and daughters, too) and thus finding sanctification through the intercession of their male patriarch, I also wonder about Baucham’s specific interpretation Ephesians chapter 5.

Now that Vision Forum no longer seems to prohibit women from voting as it once staunchly insisted (voting would amount to participation in the sphere outside the home and is thus limited to men, violating “kingdom architecture”), I don’t know Baucham’s position on this particular issue. I do know that he believes that college is not in a young person’s best interest and is not an option for young adult women. They are open to harm because they sleep at dormitories without a patriarch’s protection under their roof and because there is no one to protect their daughters from the Communist in every lecture hall and behind every bush. Baucham also discussed this in “Return of the Daughters” and his associate Kevin Swanson states that the father that sends his daughter to college hates his daughter. I would assume that this also applies to the wife who also falls under his patriarchal authority and protection. Women lack discernment necessary to safely navigate life without a patriarch. For more information on Vision Forum’s beliefs and those of their following, please listen to these podcasts.

We do know that Baucham stood with Vision Forum in opposition to Sarah Palin’s nomination as the Republican Vice Presidential Candidate. Baucham stood before the world and voiced his patriocentric views about Sarah Palin, someone who Vision Forum claimed was essentially committing adultery by working for another man. And he did this while the world watched intently and could get online and watch again ad nauseum, opposing the candidate that his fellow Calvinist, Albert Mohler, and even CBMW advocated. Baucham’s associate Kevin Swanson says this is selling one’s flesh to a man other than one’s husband. The Botkins of Vision Forum compare women working outside the home to the harlotry, as the harlots feet always wander away from home. I wonder if he agrees with Brett McAtee who was cited by Vision Forum, along with his own statements, saying “While Christians must continue to insist that it is against Scripture to vote for a female magistrate as our political covenant head, we must at the same time insist that Palin is right about many of the issues on which she has taken stands”? I guess that would have made her our “federal federal head,” had McCain been elected?

In regard to the opposition to the issues raised in “Family Driven Faith” and similar sentiments that prohibit age-appropriate training or youth ministries as a cause for criticism, let me say that I find this to be partially true, but not for the reason that Baucham identifies. People oppose and react to these teachings, not because they’re opposed to viable options that will help young people and old alike live effective Christian lives that are committed to Christ. Christians inside and outside the SBC oppose them because Baucham abrasively and arrogantly denounces any options other than his own related preferences as unbiblical and far less than orthodox. Believers’ equally valid methods of communicating the Gospel to their families and the world have been maligned with a host of pejorative labels in the process, with the Baucham methods and personal convictions defined as their only Biblical option. That may not be Communistic, but I would say that Baucham’s views classify as a fine example of totalism (spiritual abuse). He calls not for unity in Christ but for uniformity among men and within man’s construct, as Vision Forum’s brand of patriarchy is consistent with the pagan practices of Roman culture, not Biblical Christianity. The criticism Baucham experiences derives not from his methods themselves (no age-appropriate groups, courtship and home catechism for his children). It derives from the elitist and exclusive tactics he and his associates use to create gnostic categories of “better Christians” and his cruel and arrogant denouncement of faithful believers who reject his paradigm.


Calvinists Who Oppose Patriocentricity

The other reason that I find Baucham’s claims of anti-Calvinist prejudice to be weak stems from the many Calvinists who reject patriocentricity, both inside and outside the SBC.

I think Pastor Wade Burleson’s example completely discounts Baucham’s claims regarding Calvinism, because like me, he is a Calvinist. Burleson did suffer a great deal of opposition, prejudice and what I would describe as harassment because he also opposed the patriarchal trends within the SBC. The main source of opposition to him while he served on the International Missions Board came from a group of Calvinists associated with CBMW because he opposed the dismissal of women from the mission field and from seminaries. The Calvinism cancels itself out in this case. The crowd that embraces Baucham was responsible for much of the opposition that Wade Burleson still faces because of what I term patriocentricity/”hard complementarianism.” Wade’s example, to me, makes Baucham’s argument moot.

Andrew Sandlin who wrote the aforementioned article, Hegemonic Patriarchy, is another Calvinist who is quite outspoken in his opposition to Vision Forum doctrines. And I also offer the writings of the late John Robbins and the Trinity Foundation as another example of Calvinists who find pagan patriarchy and patriocentritcity repugnant. (The apologetics group classified my presentation with worshops concerning paganism.) These men are also controvercial among certain sets of Baptists because they oppose the Vision Forumesque paradigm and not because they are Calvinists. Note this quote from Robbins concerning “Christians and the Civil War”

Organizations such as American Vision in Atlanta (Gary DeMar) and Vision Forum in San Antonio (Douglas Phillips) are promoting Confederate propaganda. (Oddly, these groups all have “vision in their names, yet they are blind to both soteriological and historical truth.) Wannabe Romanists themselves, their efforts are applauded by genuine papists like Thomas DeLorenzo.

And I’d like to mention that I personally do not think that terms like “hyper-patriarchy” or “hyper-Calvinist” make much sense, since either you are or you are not. Actually, I think that most of those whom most people label with these terms actually fall into the category coined by John Robbins: that of ersatz evangelicals, neither truly Calvinist nor truly patriarchal in the legitimate and traditional understanding of the terms. I would also like to note that I happen to love many of James White’s writings, do not consider him a “hyper” anything, and I think several of the professed Calvinists at SBTS could learn a thing or two from his writings on the Trinity.

For all these reasons, I find the claims that Baucham makes about Calvinism and even his own preference for raising his own family at the source of his own controversy to be nothing more than damage control and more spin, so consistent with his fellow patriocentrists. He stood before the world while the world watched and voiced an opinion about Sarah Palin that was contrary to that of his denomination. Please don’t blame the arrogance of patriocentricity on Calvinism.

And please do not classify me as someone who stands opposed in any way to the Doctrines of Grace. I’m also not anything remotely like an agent of the SBC. I’d be happy and proud to admit it if it were remotely true.

The CHEC and Casting Visions for the Rest of Us?


I don’t believe this 2009 Men’s Leadership Summit has been officially announced to it’s intended broad, target audience, but bloggers are currently discussing it HERE. I wanted to point out the nature of the response that one outside the culture of patriarchy/patriocentricity generally receives when they offer criticism. I would like to point out the lack of cooperation to respectfully and thoughtfully discuss disagreements on the part of the patriocentrists. I encourage everyone to read the blog article and the comments that follow, but I hope to specifically draw your attention to the comments made by someone who represents the group presenting the conference. I could also address the loaded language of “vision casting” which sounds like spell casting to me, but I will let that one pass, for now.

I take it that all previous endeavors of Christians regarding homeschooling were either NOT “rock-solid” or “biblically-based” (or were neither)?

Please note that the emphasis of text
in this post is all my own.

Karen Campbell writes in Phillips, Swanson, Baucham, and Ray Casting a Vision for Whom? Not Me!:

Christian Home Educators of Colorado [CHEC] will be hosting a conference in Indianapolis in March of 2009. They state that the goal of this 2009 “leadership summit” is to define a vision for the future of the Christian home education movement, (to) lay down a rock-solid, biblically-based vision for home education that will withstand the attacks of our current generation and preserve this precious vision for future generation.” In order to do this they are “assembling the key national leaders, authors, researchers, speakers and advocates who have framed the homeschool vision over the past generation (1979-2009).” Headlining this meeting will be Voddie Baucham, Doug Phillips, Kevin Swanson, and Brian Ray…

As I read through the website, I kept asking myself “Who appointed or elected these men as leaders? What makes them think they can speak for me or the millions of other Christian homeschooling families? Where are the voices of the mothers who are doing all the hard work of homeschooling in the first place? Why are they being excluded in this vision casting?”

Immediately I had three thoughts as I watched this. The first is that it appears that the true leaders and founders of Christian homeschooling are missing in this version of the history of this movement. The second is that some of the “leaders” shown in this trailer [also affiliated with the leadership summit] have serious charges against them and their reputations, in my mind, disqualify them from speaking for any of us. And thirdly, I find some of what they are saying to be unsubstantiated and questionable and, quite frankly, more of the same scare tactics I have seen used to promote and sell a paradigm to homeschooling families in the past.

This blog post did not go unnoticed by the CHEC, because the group’s president, Bill Roach, posted this response:

Hi,

My name is Bill Roach and I serve as President of CHEC…we are sponsoring the National Men’s Leadership Summit II.

I have read your comments with great interest.

We could have a robust discussion about this topic!! I’m not quite sure we would come to a consensus about the issues, but I’m sure it would be lively.

First, my sympathy and prayers to those of you who have been the recipient of “angry patriarchs.” Whether you received it by teaching or personal experience…I know that kind of pain is real and extremely damaging. I don’t know if there is a worse roof to live under than one that has an unloving man claiming a biblical headship and living a life of anger.

To be honest, I have come to shy away from the word “Patriarchy”…partly because it has been misunderstood, and partly because it has been misdefined. I prefer to see my role as father/husband in unity with my wife. I guess you can call it “one flesh.” We strive for unity in all areas of our marriage- education, discipline, business, church…etc. I would probably have a different take on egalitarianism than some that have commented on this blog, but I’m sure we would agree on more things that you might think.

Secondly, may I say a warm and hardy thank you to all of you hard working moms. Without you all ,the modern homeschooling movement wouldn’t have even gotten off the ground. God clearly used moms from all over this country in a mighty way. While most men couldn’t see the need for homeschooling back in the 70s and early 80s, the love that you moms had for your children spawned the movement (sorry, I know some of you disdain that word…) From my heart, I say thanks….for all that you did and all that you are doing.

Here in Colorado, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Sandy Lundberg who literally gave her health to the start of CHEC. She is an extremely taleted, giving and godly lady. At one point she served as Executive Director, Conference Coordinator, Newsmagazine Editor and Volunteer Coordinator…all at the same time!! There is not a week that passes that I don’t thank God for her contributions.

I owe my own wife so much for the job that she is doing in raising the 6 we have at home. I have 3 natural born children, 2 adopted children and a young lady who came to live with us after her mom died of cancer. Without my wife, I would be lost at sea…

My only question to you all is this…has anyone here ever met Kevin Swanson?

If not, you should…he is one of the most gentle, humble men I have ever met. I would have to say that if you only know the “radio Kevin,” you wouldn’t get the full picture. In fact you would get about 3% of who Kevin is. He and Dave (his co-host) sometimes do go over the top in their satire and humor. Kevin is very good at visual illustrations…but he would be the first one to tell you that sometimes he misses. But his radio program is a blessing to so many people…I wish you all could read the comments of people who are hearing the Word of God…sometimes for the first time!! The folks who write or visit the church come hungry and hurting I have seen time and again where the love of the church body ministers deeply to their soul.

Just thought I would let you know that this is a man who loves God, loves his family and is a wonderful church leader and Executive Director of CHEC. He serves the organization without pay, he donates his book sales (which are small but growing, to CHEC) and will travel to speak anywhere for little to nothing in return. He genuinely loves people. He is the last person in the world that you would think was in it, “for the money.” Not quite sure where that money is, even if any of us were in it for that. )

I’m sure that if we all sat in a room and talked about the issues, there is no doubt that we would disagree…in fact, I’m sure some of you might even be angry.

But I do know one thing…even though you might not agree with him; you would know that Kevin Swanson is a kind, humble, loving man.

Anyway…just thought you might want to know…

I am not so naive as to think that you have to meet Kevin to comment about him…he has a daily radio program…you have the right to comment on it and disagree with it…but try to remember to be gracious in that disagreement… the way I assume you would want someone to disagree with you, if mentioning you by name.

Thank you,

Bill Roach

Roach mentions the “angry patriarchs.” I think it’s interesting that two of the worst offenders are listed as plenary speakers for his conference. Phillips and Swans are the most outspoken and abrasive angry patriarchs, and Phillips is, by far, the most aggressive. Dr. Raymond Moore (who Karen points out started homeschooling when Doug Phillips’ father was 3 years old and who published one of the first books on homeschooling when Doug would have been running around with a cap gun in elementary school) notes in his White Paper that one of the other speakers, Brian Ray, used Moore’s own research to obtain his PhD, but then was miserably critical of him. (Does that make Raymond Moore an angry patriarch?) As my husband often says, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

After a brief and non-patriocentric sounding explanation of his version of “patriarchy,” he says “I would probably have a different take on egalitarianism than some that have commented on this blog, but I’m sure we would agree on more things that you might think.” What does this mean, I wonder? I guess I’m to unsophisticated to figure it out. Why would egalitarianism come into play in this discussion of homeschooling and why is it significant? To explain why no women are welcome at this conference (just like Phillips’ Witherspoon School)? I find it amusing, considering that Karen Campbell and I share nearly identical views on the role of women, and we classify as complementarian (though we are “soft” complementarians by comparison to the teachings of those participating in the leadership summit).

What exactly is he trying to conote with his comment of those who “spawned” the homeschooling movement. If it was a potentially offensive word, why did he use it and then apologize for the usage? Is that gracious, a concern that he also voices regarding the way these matters are discussed?

Roach also says, “My only question to you all is this…has anyone here ever met Kevin Swanson? If not, you should…he is one of the most gentle, humble men I have ever met. I would have to say that if you only know the “radio Kevin,” you wouldn’t get the full picture.” Frankly, after listening to these broadcasts of Swanson’s, I don’t have any desire to meet with him because his discourses in that venue are so abrasive and reactionary. This is one of the most ridiculous arguments against false teaching and inexcusable conduct, playing upon the principles that Cialdini points out in his writings concerning the “weapons of social influence.” And if the radio program is only 3% of who Kevin is, he might also note that it is the most publicized and is therefore more potent. If he is that indiscriminate about the manner in which he presents his views, what does that say about the remaining 97% of the rest of his character? Sounds like potent leaven that is indicative of and leaven for the whole lump. Oh, wait. Kevin says that Christians are leaven. The Bible speaks of leaven as sin 90% of the time. (Swanson states that Christians are leaven in his Christian shock-jock commentary that my husband begged me to turn off or use earphones because it was irritating.)

And I now assume, reading his second response, when he said that “we COULD have a lively discussion” of this topic, he really meant that it was possible but that this was never his intent. I guess his posts were damage control.

One woman named Kathleen responded with

Thanks, Bill, for your comments. I just remembered Kevin Swanson made the broad sweeping comments about girls who go to college being “vagabonds”, etc.” He may have a lovely family, and have a wonderful “off air” personality, but it is his teaching words that I’m concerned about. I hold the same standard up to the people of leadership in my church (former).

Another blogger named Corrie said

As for Kevin Swanson, it is his words and teachings that we are measuring. I do not see anyone making a judgment on whether or not he is good or bad.

There is no reason for such over-the-top rhetoric. It is embarrassing to me, a homeschool mother, to listen to some of the extreme hyperbole. It discredits us as homeschoolers and makes us a laughing stock for those who oppose us. We look more like the caricatures on SNL than we do logical and rational individuals.

I am not opposed to satire or sarcasm but claiming that working women, for instance, sell their flesh for cheap in one-night stands with their co-workers is beyond ridiculous. It is one thing to believe that women should not work outside of the home and quite another thing to make such claims.

And I take it that this is chastizement for what Roach thinks is ungracious. (I guess he doesn’t listen to Swanson very often who is about as gracious as an angry rodeo bull in a china shop.) “but try to remember to be gracious in that disagreement… the way I assume you would want someone to disagree with you, if mentioning you by name.” Is he offended by the fact that we name names? Milieu control? I guess gracious is defined by anything with which he agrees as opposed to that which lacks grace.

Karen Campbell responds:

Bill,Welcome to my blog and thanks for your comments. I would heartily agree with you that we are most likely in agreement with many, many things, first of all our love for and commitment to Jesus Christ and secondly our love for and commitment to home education. And on a personal note, I was adopted and have a great deal of respect for those who choose this way of welcoming children into their homes so I appreciate your sharing that part of your life with us. (One of my podcasts in the militant fecundity series addresses the growing number of orphans worldwide and the importance of homeschooling families in making homes for them.)

You didn’t say whether or not you would welcome a robust discussion about the issues surrounding your upcoming conference but I would be happy to host that discussion here if you are interested. I will always allow unmoderated comments and will only delete those that are rude or inappropriate. I know that there are many who read here who would welcome the opportunity to have a real discussion about some of the concerns they have. In fact, I often hear from homeschooling moms who live in Colorado and whose families have decided to no longer attend your convention because of the patriocentric beliefs of your leadership and speakers you bring in. I believe it would be wise for you to listen to their concerns.

My chief objection to your conference is that I do not believe that either your organization nor the speakers who are advertised speak for the vast majority of Christian home educating parents in this country. In fact, for your group to assume that you can cast a vision for all Christian homeschooling families is audacious and arrogant. There are so many believers in solid, Bible-believing and teaching churches, whose leaders and teachers are committed to sound exegesis, who do not agree with your conference speakers on any number of issues. In fact, I believe that the number of those who embrace your philosophy of family life and education is becoming more of a minority all the time as the fruits and benefits of relationship homeschooling (see my sidebar) are apparent. Healthy, vibrant homeschooling families practice the one anothers of Scripture and seek to build relationships both within their homes and with those who are in need of a Savior.

Sadly, many of those things that your conference speakers represent are in sharp contrast to those objectives. Let me list just a few of those things that I believe have placed your conference into question and please consider engaging us in dialogue regarding these and other issues, for the sake of the future of homeschooling and the glory of God.

1. Kevin Swanson, Voddie Baucham, and Doug Phillips have all embraced and promoted a view of daughters that is not based on Scripture and, in fact, have misused the Word of God to promote their views. (Numbers 30) Those who have a high view of Scripture and who seek to follow its counsel rather than to use it to promote our own views, bristle at this every time we read or hear these teachings, not because we are feminists, white-washed or otherwise, but because we love the Word of God and cannot bear to see it handled in such a manner. Being a wife and a mother is a high calling from the Lord and it is one that any young woman would do well aspiring to. In fact, most of us who have real concerns about your movement are stay at home mothers who serve our families, some with many children, we homeschool, and would be the first to testify that we love being homemakers. But nowhere in the Bible does it say that it is the ONLY calling for a woman nor does Scripture claim that it is the highest calling. To place this burden on all women to conform to a patriocentric image of hearth and home when the Bible does not do so is legalism. In their zeal to show the value of motherhood, these speakers have gone further than the Word of God does and have superimposed their agenda onto all women.

2. The concept that the father is the only one in the family who has a calling from the Lord and that all family members are to further that calling is also not substantiated in Scripture. While I do believe that God works generationally and through families, it is not the ONLY way that His redemption plan is brought into fruition. The Holy Spirit works in the individual hearts of individuals, in each generation, giving spiritual gifts to each believer at the time of salvation and calling each one to serve and follow Him. Both mothers and fathers are to introduce their children to Christ and are to disciple them, using their own gifts to help their children recognize God’s plan for each of them. Placing the father at the center of the family and giving him a higher calling within that family is idolatry.

3. A few months ago, Doug Phillips made a declaration that a woman who faces an ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening situation, and has surgery is considered to be a “murderer,” one who practices “child sacrifice” or “infanticide,” and is not 100% pro-life. In researching Doug’s position and asking pro-life leaders around the country to comment on his writings, I could not find a single person who could agree with his perspective and many were concerned that homeschooling mothers who are being influenced by Doug could have their very lives placed in danger. He also stated that he would not support any organization that didn’t agree with him so I can only conclude that his is also the position of CHEC, lending credibility to this dangerous view.

4. Kevin, Voddie, and Doug promote the family integrated church movement and use the homeschooling venue to do so. As self-proclaimed leaders of homeschooling who are purporting to establish the standards for all Christian home educators and are casting a vision for all of us, I believe that the FIC agenda will most certainly be part of that vision, further isolating homeschoolers from other Christians and causing further division within the body of Christ. (see my article on the pros and cons of the family integrated church on at http://www.thatmom.com for a more complete listing of my concerns.)

5. No mothers are included being included in your conference, which is unfortunate. Why would this be? Where is the prohibition against women helping to establish a vision for home education? You mentioned that women helped to found the modern homeschooling movement but imply that now the men should take it over. Could you please explain your thinking so moms can understand this?

6. There is concern among some homeschoolers that there is a class distinction agenda being promoted by Doug Phillips because of his affinity for the pre-Civil War south and the lifestyle of that day. Combined with the message that anything outside of this paradigm is “socialism,” the message is sent that there is a certain elitism to home education. R. C. Sproul Jr.’s observations seem to substantiate that and were affirmed by James McDonald.

I have one final thought, regarding Kevin Swanson. I have not meant him in person but have listened to his podcasts. In fact, I have Kevin to thank for inspiring me to have my own podcasts. I was in awe of the lack of a gracious spirit that permeates his presentations and the fact that he was homeschooled himself cause me to cringe every time I heard him speak. My oldest children are just a few years younger than he is and I would be appalled if they behaved as he does. Do you remember those who heard Jesus speak and “marveled at the gracious words that came from his mouth?” I pray that that would be the response to my own children as they represent both Jesus Christ and homeschooling. Maybe you could pass that along to Kevin.

Bill, I look forward to hearing from you and to exchanging ideas regarding homeschooling and the future of this great way of educating children.

And Bill Roach’s response to Karen:

Hi Karen,

Thanks for your warm comments about the adoption of my children. What a wonderful way to experience the love and grace of God by being adopted yourself! Of all the “things” that we have done as a couple and family, adopting two children was the one I was most convinced was of the Lord.

My goal in chiming in was to just present to you a different perspective on the Kevin Swanson you probably don’t know. Nothing more and nothing less.

I hope that you would respect that the first difference we would have between us is the format of a blog to discuss such heavy issues as you have asked of me. Unfortunately, we would disagree on that issue, and I have to respectfully decline your offer to engage in this way.

If you are ever out this way in beautiful Colorado and would like to meet, I would do all that I can to make it a reality. Please contact me at my email that I gave you.

May God grant you wisdom as you raise your family and run this blog.

Sincerely,

Bill

Karen responds again:

Bill, thanks for your response and I will accept your position though I hope you will reconsider.

I really think being open and forthright about our beliefs and a willingness to hear a variety of positions from other Christians whom the Holy Spirit works through will be the first step in understanding the purposes of your conference and to clearing up any misconceptions we might have.

A blogger named Mary responded to Bill also:

I would like to respectfully ask Bill what he would consider as an appropriate venue for the discussion of the points that Karen mentioned? As far as I know there has never been a venue for this discussion . Would CHEC consider some kind of public discussion of these issues?

I guess that’s the $75,000 question:

What is a fair, respectful and productive venue for the discussion of these issues? And I can bet that there will never be a public discussion of these issues. First of all, it would have to include women, and women are not respected as “leaders,” requiring all matters to be digested and discerned by men first as their “covering.” Patriocentricity find women who do assume this role for their families (overseeing homeschooling matters), whether delegated to them by husbands or not, to be acting against God’s kingdom architecture. There is also a trend within these circles to keep these matters out of public discussion forums. The only open forums that they will agree to participate in are those that give the appearance that they are open to discussion but ones wherein there is no real discussion. Appearance is everything. Anything said in private is free game, and it can be the word of the patriocentrist against others, claiming that later discussion of an issue addressed via email constitutes gossip. This is milieu control, folks. Plain and simple. Star chambers can contain the messy business that these types of people would like to keep silent and deny later. It is also more intimidating, in many cases, for the critic.