Letter From a Patriarch – Pastor Brian Abshire

We received a letter from Rev. Dr. Brian M. Abshire, Teaching Pastor at Highlands Reformed Church in response to our article Who Will Be First in the Kingdom?. After writing Pastor Abshire called and we spoke for a while. I found him to be kind, open and very much a gentle man. I had suggested that he upload his letter to his website as our article is public and our response would be as well. His letter, with very slight edits is posted on his website under the title CRITIQUING PATRIARCHY AND VISION FORUM. Our response was sent out on:

August 29, 2007

Rev. Dr. Brian M. Abshire
Highlands Reformed Church
1817 E. Whispering Springs Ln
Colbert, WA 99005

Dear Pastor Abshire,

I apologize for the delay in the written response to your letter of July 25, 2007. I appreciate the opportunity to have spoken with you by phone on Monday August 6th and had desired to attend to this sooner but wanted the input of at least one of the MCOI Board of Directors and Advisory Board member before doing so. I also wanted the response reviewed prior to mailing.

I appreciate your request for a formal public apology but at this point am not persuaded that I or MCOI has borne false witness against you, Doug Phillips or Vision Forum based on the written material we reviewed and quoted. You write:

“We do not believe what you say we believe, we do not teach what you say we teach and the proof is in the very essay you used to criticize us.” (p.1, par. 3).

I cannot comment on what you, Doug and Vision Forum may or may not believe other than what the position papers state. I don’t find that anything in your paper contradicts what we wrote. I will elaborate on this shortly.

As far as the claim of “poisoning the well,” (p. 2 par. 4) the MCOI Journal article Who Will Be First in the Kingdom? lays out categories of “teachings and claims of popular movements and individuals inside the church as well as cults, false religions and false teachers outside of it.” As we work through the categories we address the seeming trust of anything emanating from within the church we use as an example Bill Gothard (p 1, par 4) and state “It isn’t his Statement of Faith in essential orthodoxy that is problematic: it is his addition, mis-/re-definitions, and other claims that move him in to ‘false teacher’ category” (ibid). I am at a loss at to how this differs in kind from Vision Forum’s statement “Egalitarian feminism is a false ideology that has bred false doctrine in the church and seduced many believers. In conscious opposition to feminism, egalitarianism, and the humanistic philosophies of the present time, the church should proclaim the Gospel centered doctrine of biblical patriarchy as an essential element of God’s ordained pattern for human relationships and institution.” The dichotomy is set up between the “Gospel centered doctrine of biblical patriarchy” and views not in concert with the “Gospel centered doctrine of biblical patriarchy” which are being opposed as false and unbiblical by Vision Forum. Your response to the questions I sent to Vision Forum in points 1 & 2 on page 6 of your letter of July 25 state, “but with error.” Error and false are synonyms but do not necessarily imply “cultic” as far as I know. We did say that the consequences for some of Gothard’s followers is that it can turn “out to be a very cult-like situation.” (top par. of page 2). We haven’t said that Bill Gothard isn’t a Christian and we haven’t said that Vision Forum and those associated with it aren’t Christians.

Many of the issues you raise with regard to the section on Bill Gothard probably have more to do with familiarity than anything else. By that I mean that we have researched and written so much on Bill Gothard and IBLP that none of us caught the lack of attributions. I appreciate that you raised this and it is a very important reminder for the future. I was also interested in your statement:

“…if any of my students turned in a paper for one of my classes, with the lack of citations of your essay, they would flunk the course. It is basic scholarship that is a statement is controversial. Especially critiquing another person’s view, you MUST show that this is what they person actually said.” (p.3; par. 4)

As I reread your paper I wondered if the same criteria were applied would you fail your own paper Biblical Patriarchy and the Doctrine of Federal Representation? It appears that you are at least aware that the view being espoused is controversial and though the term “patriarchy” is growing in popularity it is not concretely defined amongst those who are using it when you write:

“While one cannot really yet call it a “movement”, the term “patriarchy” has made a return describing an attempt to develop a counter-cultural model of the Christian family and by extension, a just Christian social order. Those who self-consciously identify themselves as supporting “patriarchy” are not yet united in just what this term entails but there are enough people affirming this view that many in the wider Christian community now believe them to a “serious threat” that needs to be addressed.”

However we find no support for the various assertions in the paper. We find the claim in paragraph 12 that Israel was a “republic” and that:

“The Reformers found biblical warrant in the way that the Hebrews governed their republic in Scripture…”

Isn’t it the case that, at least at the time relative to the biblical passages you site in this paragraph, that Israel was a theocracy and not a republic? Which Reformers and where are the attributions that Israel was a republic and not a theocracy? Additionally, in the same paragraph you write:

“…the ‘elders’ of the twelve tribes ELECTED the king; which was how Saul and David received their kingships (1 Sam 11:15, 2 Sam. 2:4, 3:17, 5:3, etc.). Each tribe elected “elders” to rule over them and these elders then chose the king. Granted God first anointed the king; but the elders had to CONFIRM their ‘calling.’”

As we look at the text and follow the flow of the context we simply don’t find this to be true. It is true that Israel demanded a king (1 Sam. 8:4-5) and in doing so rejected God (1 Sam. 8:7). It would seem that God appointing a king was more in line with being an act of punishment upon the nation (1 Sam. 8:10-18) than a positive biblical example of Federal Representation. In 1 Samuel 11:15 we don’t find an election by elders but rather an affirmation ceremony and commitment to him as king. Similar on 2 Samuel 2:4 where David had his coronation but he was chosen by God years earlier and I haven’t found anything resembling an election by elders particularly in the verses cited. At this point it is not my intention to debate the merits of Federal Representation but rather to echo your point on (page 4 of your July 25 letter), “Is there not an old adage about sauce, geese and ganders that might be appropriate here?”

I appreciate and for the most part concur with your thoughts on church splits. I have heard it said that a church couldn’t truly be a Baptist church unless is had at least two members and the potential for a split. Sadly I have seen my fair share of them and it is a grievous thing to watch as you know. However, it should be noted that contrary to the first sentence of your statement on page 4 paragraph 4 of your July 25 letter we didn’t accuse Vision Forum of “being the CAUSE.” Rather in our article we talk about “Vision Forum advocates” within local churches that contacted us and went on to state in the same paragraph:

“We are well aware that followers can distort the teachings of a leader or organization, and they can do and say things that never were intended to be promoted.”

I have looked in vain to find anything in the article that stated that Vision Forum is the cause of the splits.

On page 4 the last paragraph of your July 25 letter you write:

“Fifthly, you criticize Doug and Vision Forum because you say the web-site ‘looks like a web-site about American patriotism than anything about Christianity.’ This statement is so inaccurate as to constitute false witness as well as demonstrating a puzzling hypocrisy on your part.”

I am not exactly sure how you are able to determine with any degree of accuracy how something appears or looks to me. Certainly there is nothing wrong with being a niche ministry or business nor with marketing items that reflect the niche and I am not sure how that invalidates how something looks to me. Additionally, you state on page 5 paragraph 2:

“In this section you also again, commit the error of assertion without attribution; when you say, ‘Is Christianity supposed to be evaluated mostly through the grid of patriotic Americanism?’”

I would like to point out that this was a question not an assertion. I believe questions are valid and appreciate your response to the question. It may be that the leadership of Vision Forum would concur with your answer and that would be a good thing.

Regarding Bob Renaud, I did receive and do appreciate the written response dated July 6, 2007 with answers to my questions and will enclose same with this letter.

On the topic of daughters being property you write on page 7, first paragraph:

“Never, and I repeat NEVER have I come across ANYONE advocating such a position as what you claim here.”

Sarah Faith Schlissel from The Chalcedon Foundation wrote in her article “Daddy’s Girl: Courtship and a Father’s Rights”:

“The order of God, as indicated in his word, is that God himself defers to the will of the father when it comes to his daughter. God says, “You heard your father. The answer is no. “Thus, the will of the father regarding his daughter IS the will of God.

We are not told why it is that the father knows better how to care and decide for his daughter than God does and it is a bit bewildering. She affirms that daughters are property owned by the father:

“Beyond being an X-chromosome donor, may we think of the “-’s” in “Daddy’s” in the possessive sense, and affirm with legitimacy that Daddy is my owner?

Any man seeking to beg, borrow or steal a daughter’s hand without her father’s endorsement is seeking to gain, in unlawful ways, “property” not his own.”

Like you I find the idea to be repugnant, disgusting and unthinkable.

I appreciate your discussion and clarification on women and education in your letter. It would seem that at least you and I, I am unsure about Vision Forum, would essentially agree that college and higher learning is not necessarily for everyone. It isn’t necessarily a male or female question. College isn’t for everyone and, as is noted in your letter, you are not opposed to women earning an advanced degree and your daughter herself is working on a degree. Clarifying this in your paper “Biblical Patriarchy and the Doctrine of Federal Representation” would be helpful as I do not see this as either explicit or implicit as it stands at the moment and really does come across as a woman getting a degree is both a waste of time and money. In your attempt to alleviate the guilt for some of the poor working class families who cannot afford college, which I would agree with, another kind of guilt for another group of believers has unwittingly replaced it.

The section on women and voting is much more problematic. You insist on page 8 paragraph 3 that we have taken the quote out of context however, in the immediately preceding paragraph of your article (par 18) Biblical Patriarchy and the Doctrine of Federal Representation you state:

“God had not allowed the civil magistrate to outlaw wine and God does not allow women to vote (cf. 1 Tim 2:11 ff).”

We are not told how 1 Tim. 2:11 supports the assertion that God doesn’t allow governments to outlaw wine or that “God does not allow women to vote.” If it is true that God doesn’t allow women to vote than wouldn’t a woman who does vote would be sinning? If you are not trying to take away the modern woman’s right to vote per your letter are you saying you are not trying to take away a woman’s right to sin in this way? I do believe we were textually consistent with the context of the paper. Are you correct that God does not allow women to vote? If that is true than wouldn’t it be a sin for a woman to vote? If not, why not?

It is true that you use a definition of patriarchy as “rule by fathers.” While the word “patriarchy” can be used in this sense, these days it is more often used in the broader sense of a culture characterized by male control or dominance. The word “patriarchy” is not a biblical word, while the word “patriarch” is found only in three New Testament contexts (Acts 2:29; 7:8-9; Hebrews 7:4) where it simply means “father of a nation” or “ancestor” (cf. Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, William F. Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker, eds., [Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1979], 636. Note: the fact that the NIV uses “patriarchs” to translate the Greek word for “fathers” in John 7:22, Romans 9:5, 11:28, and 15:8 obviously has no bearing on this discussion). It cannot be tied to any specific form of government, since three times it refers to the head of a family (Abraham, in Hebrews 7:4, and sons of Jacob in Acts 7:8-9), and once it is used of the king of Israel (David, in Acts 2:29) whose rule was above that of the multitude of fathers who were spread across the nation’s twelve tribes.

The repetition throughout the articles on the website dealing with this topic continually refers to biblical patriarchy. I gave an example of how patriarchy was practiced in the article and prior to giving it I posed the question:

“Does Vision Forum practice patriarchy as it was practiced in Old Testament times, for we find no instruction on it in the New Testament?”

Now while it is true that a particular word does not have to appear in Scripture, for example the word Trinity, for the concept to be biblical it seems to me that when we see it practiced in Scripture and we claim that we are reasserting a biblical practice that is claimed to be part of the “grand sweep of revelation” (“Tenants of Biblical Patriarchy,” par. 5) and that “faithfulness to Christ requires that it be believed, taught, and lived.” (ibid) is that we are following it or at least attempting to follow it as we find it in Scripture. Thus the question:

“Does Vision Forum practice patriarchy as it was practiced in Old Testament times, for we find no instruction on it in the New Testament?”

You make an interesting observation on page 9 4th paragraph of your July 25 letter:

“Instead, the term ‘patriarchy’ is a term used by some (not that I think this is necessarily the best term)…”

I think you are on to something here. The Southern Baptists a few years ago made a public denominational statement on the headship of men. Of course, not all were happy but then not all are happy that the Scriptures actually teach that we are sinners by nature and practice. If that is all you are attempting to say, it may be wise to choose a different term than one that already has a demonstration of the practice in Scripture.

I am unsure where all of this will go but do appreciate your letter as well as the time we were able to talk by phone. I did, as you requested, attempt to call Doug Phillips on August 13 and left a message. I was called back shortly after that by a Michael Gobart who informed me that Doug was out of town and that Vision Forum was working on a letter which they planned to have out by the end of the week. The letter arrived on Monday August 20 and I spoke with Wesley Strackbein (Managing Editor, Vision Forum Ministries) and Michael Gobart by phone that afternoon. I will be working on the response to their letter next and after a few of the Board of Directors, Advisory Board I will send it to them and a copy to you. Vision Forum also requested the contact information for my Senior Pastor, our Board of Directors and Advisory Board which I will be providing to them. I will add the above to the cc list as well as the Board of Directors for EMNR (Evangelical Ministries to New Religions) of which I am the current president and another pastor who reviewed the original article as well as this letter. It is my desire to be fully accountable and transparent.

Blessings,

Yours in His Service,
Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc.

L.L. (Don) Veinot Jr.
President

Cc: Vision Forum Ministries
MCOI Board of Directors
MCOI Advisory Board
EMBR Board of Directors
MacGregor Ministries
Pastor Richard Wollard, Meadowland Community Church
Pastor Paul Winters, Spring Valley Presbyterian Church


Comments

Letter From a Patriarch – Pastor Brian Abshire — 33 Comments

  1. Don,

    Thanks for keeping all of us updated. My browser will not allow me to read Pastor Abshire’s letter so is it possible for you to have a link on your site? Or could you perhaps drop me copy? Thanks.

  2. “As I reread your paper I wondered if the same criteria were applied would you fail your own paper Biblical Patriarchy and the Doctrine of Federal Representation?”

    Don, when I read his letter to you, and went back over his article on Vision Forum, I had the exact, same thought. He did it as well. I noted in an email group that if you go to the web page where this particular Journal can be found,

    http://www.midwestoutreach.org/02-Information/02-OnlineReference/04-Etc/01-TheJournal/index.html ,

    that there are 7 articles by various authors in previous Journals dealing extensively with Bill Gothard, in addition to A Matter of Basic Principles. Granted, you didn’t cite any of those other authors in that article, but it isn’t as though the information is difficult to find, either, when one hunts down that particular Journal article. Those articles are right on that page.

  3. Don, in case you ever wondered what Doug Phillips really thinks of you and your Journal article, get a load of this screed:

    http://www.visionforum.com/hottopics/blogs/dwp/

    How to Respond to a Tale-Bearer: Dr. Brian Abshire Models an Apologetic of Sound Reasoning and Christian Charity for Family Reformers

    [This will turn out to be about your Journal article, Brian’s response to it, with extensive quotes from his letter to you.]

    “The Bible does not, however, teach (a) the subjugation of women under the oppression of men; (b) the right of parents to brutalize or dominate children; or (c) the inferiority of women to men.

    Nor does the Bible teach or encourage the notion that (a) women are barred from Christian ministry; (b) that the mind of a woman is inferior to that of a man; or (c) that women should not benefit from advanced training and higher education.” . . .

    “In the course of his article, [“his article” being a link to Brian’s letter to you, Don] Dr. Abshire defends himself, Vision Forum Ministries, and, indirectly, innocent men and women who embrace the same principles of family leadership, honor, and generational faithfulness advocated by the Reformers and embodied in documents like this [“this” being a link Brian’s VF article that you quoted on your blog].

    In my view, Dr. Abshire’s article is a charitable, logical, and an accurate response to an individual who has set aside fundamental rules of brotherly conduct and journalistic integrity to traffic in accusations which are characterized by imprecision and falsehood.”

    So, Don, consider yourself to have been publicly accused by Doug Phillips of

    1) Setting aside fundamental rules of brotherly conduct and journalistic integrity

    2) Trafficking in accusations characterized by imprecision and falsehood.

  4. thatmom —

    It uses IE specific codes. Open it in IE, it won’t open in firefox.

    Don —

    Sarah has issued on an the record clarification and repudiation of two aspects of her former column. I figure before you drag her into the debate you should at least note that the author does not stand by her words. Chalcedon has as of yet not retracted their endorsement.

  5. Finally (I wanted to separate these comments out from my technical information above) at my blog I address Brian’s claim at length that his views are the views always taught be the church. In fact I show that his views were never the Christian norm as he claims. And moreover during the period of time when his views had wide societal acceptance they were rejected by Christianity.

    http://church-discipline.blogspot.com/2007/07/defense-against-patriarchy-part-1.html

  6. “Lynn, did you also notice that now “complementarian” is feminist?”

    I saw a lot of smearing in Doug’s article, and that was one of them, yes, thatmom.

  7. Doug Phillips:
    “The Bible does not, however, teach (a) the subjugation of women under the oppression of men; (b) the right of parents to brutalize or dominate children; or (c) the inferiority of women to men.

    Nor does the Bible teach or encourage the notion that (a) women are barred from Christian ministry; (b) that the mind of a woman is inferior to that of a man; or (c) that women should not benefit from advanced training and higher education.”

    We KNOW the BIBLE doesn’t teach or endorse these things. But the admonitions for single women to live with their fathers, Brian Abshire’s comment that God doesn’t allow women to vote, Doug’s remarks here and there against college for women, what he wrote to Jen Epstein as to how she should submit to Mark (she could only appeal injurious abuse to their children, not stop it), the fact that women can’t even get their own communion at BCA but a man has to get it for them, the fact that a woman cannot request prayer but a man has to do it for her, the fact that Jen Epstein was told “it’s not your jurisdiction” to even discuss how the outhouses were to be cleaned . . . AND ON AND ON AND ON . . . we KNOW the BIBLE doesn’t teach those things, Doug Phillips, but it sure appeears from many angles that YOU do.

  8. Mr. Veinot,

    Your response to Brian Abshire is well-reasoned and polite. However, I do have a question or two. In your response to Abshire you noted that “Regarding Bob Renaud, I did receive and do appreciate the written response dated July 6, 2007 with answers to my questions and will enclose same with this letter.”

    The questions are these: “When did you submit those questions to Renaud and/or Vision Forum? Were the questions pertinent to your original article? If so, was Renaud’s response timely? If not, would it be fair to characterize Vision Forum/Renaud’s less-than-timely response as contributory to any misinformation they claim you posted (of course, nobody that knows Vision Forum thinks you wrote anything inaccurate and you clearly demonstrated that Abshire is merely whining – whether it’s about footnotes or a twisting of your original written words, etc.).

    As you undoubtedly have already ascertained, those associated with Doug Phillips and Vision Forum (Renaud, Strackbein, Gobart, Botkin, Brown, Kevin Swanson, and now Abshire) have a propensity to make inflammatory statements in the guise of accusations (e.g. “poisoning the well”) or personal insults (e.g. “what makes YOU an expert…?”), even though the writer attempts to caveat their insults with such meaningless prefatory words as “with all due respect.”

    Brian Abshire ought to be ashamed. His article concerning the Christian “mafia” was spot on, but his alliance with Phillips is a disgrace, as evidenced by his straining at gnats.

    Keep up the good work, sir and may we see more exposure of Phillip’s brand of hyper-patriarchy – a biblically unsupportable viewpoint and something that more closely resembles misogyny than the male servant leadership the Bible articulates.

  9. “We KNOW the BIBLE doesn’t teach or endorse these things. But the admonitions for single women to live with their fathers, Brian Abshire’s comment that God doesn’t allow women to vote, Doug’s remarks here and there against college for women, what he wrote to Jen Epstein as to how she should submit to Mark (she could only appeal injurious abuse to their children, not stop it), the fact that women can’t even get their own communion at BCA but a man has to get it for them, the fact that a woman cannot request prayer but a man has to do it for her, the fact that Jen Epstein was told “it’s not your jurisdiction” to even discuss how the outhouses were to be cleaned . . . AND ON AND ON AND ON . . . we KNOW the BIBLE doesn’t teach those things, Doug Phillips, but it sure appeears from many angles that YOU do.”

    Lynn,

    Add to this the writings of Jennie Chancey, Stacey McDonald (they are writing a book together on “Desperate Housewives” who are desperate for God) and the Botkin girls’ new book and movie who all speak against females going to college, voting and other things. This is not guilt by association. These are all things that Doug, himself, himself promotes.

    Don,

    Thank you for your response and for pointing out the inconsistencies in his response to you. Instead of telling you how you misrepresented things that are taught, he should have just told you that the things you said were not true and then pointed you to the teachings that prove you wrong. Instead he just said that you twisted things but never bothered to tell you, for example, that fathers are not to micromanage their daughters’ lives and that women can and do make decisions on their own without the directive of a man at all times.

  10. “How to Respond to a Tale-Bearer.”

    Now how come I immediatley visualize that title in gold lettering on the front of a nicely manufacturer brown notebook accompanied by an eagle-centric logo, with the title’s words themselves in an unmistakeable Bill Gothard Font?

    (“How to Follow God’s Will,” “How to Deal with a Bad Report,” “How to Earn More Grace,” “How to Have Your Best Life Now,” “How to Speak Esperanto in Six Easy Lessons,” et cetera …)

    Moreover, isn’t the accusation “you’re a tale-bearer” akin to a child shouting “tattle-tale! tattle-tale!” without much regard for whether the “bearer’s” accusation has any merit?

    Here of course I realize my comment is slightly frivolous, yet I haven’t the time to delve much further into the details.

    But what’s this, then, about Complementarianism being equivalent to “Egalitarian Feminism”? from whence does this redefinition issue? Now that seems reminiscent — if I may borrow an analogy from U.S. politics — of anti-war protestors accusing the Democrats of compromising on Iraq just because some Democrats are not as extreme in their views as the protestors are. That in itself gives the whole Patriarchal thing away: Biblical Complementarianism simply doesn’t go far enough against feminism.

    Again, we have the sad examples of Christians, zealously desperate to avoid the Feminism extreme, swinging all the way to the polar-opposite, and equally dangerous, course — rather than concentrate on the divine Center of life, the universe and everything. …

  11. My, my, looks like you all have been busy. I thought I should share some thoughts and corrections. The first one would be that the How to Respond to a Tale-Bearer article doesn’t seem to classify complementarianism as feminist. What Doug wrote was:

    (3) the feministic philosophy of the anti-complementarian, pro-egalitarian household leadership;

    These two were juxtaposed to one another, “anti” (or against) complementarian as opposed to “pro” (in favor of) egalitarian. The way the document reads I can understand how that might have come across differently than what is actually stated.

    Second, Bob Renaud responded on July 6, 2007 in a letter to the questions I had emailed to him on January 6 and January 25, 2007. In his correspondence he said he did not recall seeing the questions. Subsequent to that Wesley Strackbein stated that they have no record of them. It is possible that they are somewhere in cyberspace. It was my intention to publicly publish the response but in the mean time received some fairly lengthy correspondence from Dr. Brian Abshire as well as from Vision Forum which I allowed to take priority. The original questions with Bob Renaud’s answers are:

    (Q) Does one have to affirm Calvinism in order to be viewed as a believer?
    (A) Of course not.
    (Q) If a church holds to Dispensational theology rather than reformed theology, would you consider them a Christian church or a false church?
    (A) Surely there are some Dispensational churches that hold to unorthodox views (i.e. baptismal regeneration), but being dispensational does not render a church a “false church.” The same would apply to Reformed congregations.
    (Q) As you talk about a church teaching the “whole counsel of God,” would that mean to be considered a Christian Church they would have to agree with your view of patriarchy?
    (A) Of course not.
    (Q) There are several forms of church government practiced, all claiming to be the biblical form. Are there any that you would regard as not biblical and if a church uses that form of government are they considered to be not a Christian church?
    (A) Christians may disagree on Church government (as they nearly always have) and yet be Christian. Furthermore, local churches may differ widely on their polity and ecclesiology yet still be churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. If course, the absence of any form of government is a significant problem to the status of a local body being an established congregation of Christ.

    Third, with regard to the name calling and inflammatory statements, neither I nor MCOI takes that personally. It sort of goes with the territory and is often the last resort of desperation which is used in lieu of presenting evidence to support an actual argument. Although we take what we do seriously we don’t take ourselves very seriously. For us this goes back to the beginning of the ministry when we dealt primarily with Jehovah’s Witnesses. We say, tongue-in-cheek, that Joy (my wife) has been called the “whore of Babylon” so often we call her floozy for short. It seems to us that staying with the issues is more important. God will sort out the rest in His own timing.

  12. E. Steven Burnett wrote: But what’s this, then, about Complementarianism being equivalent to “Egalitarian Feminism”? from whence does this redefinition issue?

    This comes from the Counsel for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, beginning about one year ago. Cheryl Schatz (with whom you shared some dialogue on the last MCOI blog concerning Doug Phillips) higlights one particular speech by Russell Moore on her blog: http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2007/03/24/should-cbmw-fight-egalitarians/. From there, you can link to the full speech by Russell Moore at the February 2007 “Different by Design” conference.

    In November of 2005, Justice Roy Moore voiced the same argument and language before the Evangelical Theological Society. It seems the sources for these concepts have emerged from both the CBMW and other faculty at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to equating complementarians with egalitarians, anyone who sides with these “white-washed feminists” is also an “open theist.” (Bruce Ware, SBTS faculty, has written books on both the subject of the gender issue and open theism, so perhaps this is where this argument arises. It definitely seems to spring from Louisville, KY.)

    Kevin Giles in “The Trinity and Subordinationism” contends that in efforts to combat feminism, the patriarchists have wrapped their concept of gender around the concept of God, therefore viewing any criticism of their concept of male headship as rejection of God’s Lordship over creation. Their concepts of both God and gender are inextricably bound to one another, hence the spurious charges of “open theism.”

  13. “Vision Forum also requested the contact information for my Senior Pastor, our Board of Directors and Advisory Board which I will be providing to them.”

    Uh Oh. Looks like you are in big trouble. :o)

    There is only ONE big problem with all of this: Doug Phillips’ excommunication of the Epsteins was quite cultish in how it was handled.

  14. Please note that the original article on Doug’s blog used the word “complimentarian” and then it was changed, without comment, to “anti-complementarian.” The patriocentrists would like us to believe that they are akin to complementarianism but they are not. The differences are very real and apparent to anyone who dives through into this madness.

  15. “The patriocentrists would like us to believe that they are akin to complementarianism but they are not. The differences are very real and apparent to anyone who dives through into this madness.”

    But, if they tell the truth they would admit that they view the complementarians as “cop-outs” and that they are weak and trying too hard to find a middle-ground with the egalitarians. There are many patriocentrics who are distancing themselves from CBMW and have even wrote their reasons out publicly why CBMW doesn’t go far enough.

    They [patriarchalists] are, to coin a term from Doug Phillips, “pretending” to be complementarians. To coin another term from a patriarchalist wife who is married to a self-proclaimed complementarian, they are “white-washed” complementarians.

    The patriarchalists refer to many complementarians as “feminists”, if that puts this whole thing into perspective. In fact, you can agree with them on wifely submission, husbands being the head of their wife and male elders in the church and they will still call you a feminist because you don’t see anything wrong with a woman serving as a judge or senator or being able to vote.

    Karen is right: the differences between patriarchalism and complemenatarianism is REAL and APPARENT for anyone [foolish??] enough to dive through this madness.

  16. Don, I have been rechecking, on multiple sites, some terms, namely “theocracy,” “monarchy,” and “republic,” and one of the common ways of saying what a republic is is that it is “not a monarchy.”

    It bothers me a great deal that I didn’t see that at first when reading Abshire’s article. It bothers me that he would write about you about your lack of citations in such certain terms, but not cite which Reformers would think that the OT theocracy, with a monarchy within, is somehow a republic. And I’m guessing the citations just aren’t there, because the terms “republic” and “monarchy” are mutually exclusive.

    Jen has said one of Doug’s sayings is “he who defines, wins.” And whether intentional or not, this was going on when Abshire called OT Israel a republic.

    Thank you, Don, for your hard work. I have noted that I actually considered the other points Brian said, but did not see how much he messed with basic word definitions. And I’ve been upset with myself as well for not seeing it.

    People who are reading this, this is serious. Brian claimed that the reason Federal representation in government is so biblical, is because OT Israel was a republic, and that they held elections.

    I came across a Catholic site yesterday that said a republican form of government is actually evil, for the will of the people prevails, and look what has happened to the USA because of this, and that nowhere in the Bible can you find this kind of government.

    While I disagreed with some of his claims and a lot of his logic — he was right on target when he said OT Israel did not have a republican form of government.

    Don, I hope and pray that you and Brian can continue talking and discussing things, and that these online responses aren’t the end of the matter, even though I have been very much instructed and edified by thoroughly reading your article, Brian’s article, Brian’s letter to you, Doug’s response, and this blog entry.

  17. http://www.christian-civilization.org/2ndletter_donveinot_1.html

    Abshire:
    “Do you really want it to be said that YOU belong to a “cult” just because you love your wife, respect your husband and want to give your children a Biblical education? For, if he is able to make that label stick, whether he realizes it or not, Don Veinot has just opened the door of YOUR home to the Humanist State and invited them to judge your church, your family and your life according to THEIR rules!”

    My word, Don, I had NO idea that your Journal article was accusing people who believed in loving their wives, respecting their children, and who want to give their children a biblical education of belonging to a . . . dare I say it . . . a CULT????

    That’s because what Abshire just set up was a straw man. Don did no such thing.

    Regarding voting:
    “But let us look at that Biblical reference for a moment:

    “Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman, being quite deceived fell into transgression. But women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint…” (NASB)

    “Now, just talking honestly between friends, after reading this passage, which view of “voting” would the average person think more “Biblical” – your view or mine?”

    Don’s view was that you can’t use that as a proof-text that God outlaws women voting in civil elections. Considering the whole counsel of Scripture, I agree with him.

  18. Abshire:
    “Do you really want it to be said that YOU belong to a “cult” just because you love your wife, respect your husband and want to give your children a Biblical education? For, if he is able to make that label stick, whether he realizes it or not, Don Veinot has just opened the door of YOUR home to the Humanist State and invited them to judge your church, your family and your life according to THEIR rules!”

    Maybe the Humanist State will be so concerned about you being in a cult they will send the Mormons Harry Reid, Mitt Romney, and Glenn Beck to your door, so . . . Be AFRAID!!!!!! Be very, VERY afraid!!!! ;-)

  19. It is interesting that Abshire discredits Sarah Schlissel for being a teenager writing these things when the Botkins girls and their views, written by girls who were 15 and 17 at the time they began the book, are highly esteemed and widely promoted.

  20. Brian’s letter number 2:
    “Let me ask this, are you still willing to assert that I, Doug Phillips and Vision Forum treat women as if their minds do not matter? You CLAIMED that we believe this, and practice it- yet we deny that we believe this and have refuted it in personal conversation and in print. So, will you retract that false accusation? If not, why not?”

    Lynn:
    I think what Brian went on to say about Sarah’s contribution to the Chalcedon Foundation makes ME think HE treats women as if their minds do not matter. Reasoning as follows:

    Brian said in letter number 1:
    “Never, and I repeat NEVER have I come across ANYONE advocating such a position as what you claim here.”

    Don responded:
    Sarah Faith Schlissel from The Chalcedon Foundation wrote in her article . . . :

    “The order of God, as indicated in his word, is that God himself defers to the will of the father when it comes to his daughter. God says, “You heard your father. The answer is no. “Thus, the will of the father regarding his daughter IS the will of God.”

    Brian, who is FROM the Chalcedon Foundation, responds in letter number 2:
    “First, you say she is “from the Chalcedon Foundation.” Again here you have failed to do basic research. There is no way that Sarah can ever be considered to be “from” the Chalcedon Foundation; I know because I was on the board of directors for many years as well as a scholar in residence at Chalcedon.”

    “So Sarah is not “from” the Chalcedon Foundation, and she does not represent their views; again we have you failing to do your homework.”

    “Furthermore, even though the essay she wrote was published in the Chalcedon Report, it still has no “official” sanction.”

    “You counter that by quoting from an essay written by a teenager (10 years ago?) where she says her Daddy “owned” her. Do you not find it just a little bit incongruous that when you try to refute my point you have to quote from a teenage girl? In other words, WE did not say that, SARAH said that! Now if we DID believe that why didn’t Vision Forum link to her essay? Maybe because THEY do not believe that her essay accurately represents their views?”

    Lynn responds:
    What Brian is doing here is blowing smoke and insulting Don. Vision Forum DOES advocate single women to remain with their fathers until the fathers die. Vision Forum DISCOUARAGES single women from going to college, and Vision Forum teaches that singel women are to exist to serve their fathers, and they tend to discourage other options as stemming from rebellious, independent thinking. Thus, Don rightly said that single women are “functionally” the property of their fathers. He is countering the legalism, which blasts others for wanting options that ARE legitimate, yet are outside of the VF box for their daughters. The fact that Brian disagrees with some of this doesn’t negate his legalistic claims that God doesn’t allow women to vote, and that four year degrees and more are a waste of money for women who will be wives and mothers.

    I am entertained by Brian’s weasel-wording. When he CATEGORICALLY said he’d NEVER heard ANYONE advocate such a position, and Don pointed him to a foundation he should have been very familiar with, he essentially told us a female’s opinion doesn’t count, and what does this have to do with VF, anyway.

    The answer is it didn’t have to have anything to do with VF at that point, because at that point Brian said he’d never heard ANYONE advocate such a position.

    Brian made acategorical statement of NEVER hearing ANYONE say such things, and all Don had to do was provide ONE example of such from a Patriarchal place Brian should have been familiar with, and the fact that it was written 10 years ago doesn’t matter a hill of beans — BECAUSE IT IS STILL UP THERE, FOR ALL TO READ.

    Brian made an insult to young women. He dismissed a young adult woman (for according to the BIBLE, which is what we are going on, that is what Sarah WAS) from being in the “ANYONE” category.

    That — and the big deal about Sarah not being “from” the Chalcedon Foundation. Big Whoop. Her ARTICLE was there. They ENDORSED it. That accusation regading the word “from” is a trivial side-issue to the main point. It looks like Brian is grasping at straws for anything to insult Don with.

    And I’m also amused, as I’m sure Don is, at the tossing out of words such as “libel” and “slander” and talking to Don as though he is 12 years old, giving word definitions and such, as though Don has not written a book about Gothard and has never had to deal with being careful about these issues.

    You’ve got some more good material with that second letter, Don, and thatmom, I hadn’t thought about the Botkin girls, but they are being taken VERY seriously, you are right. Or, maybe not? Maybe we are not to take ANYTHING young women say very seriously, even though the leaders of these organizations promote what they say? Heheh!

  21. In the same letter, Brian writes:
    “. . . are you still willing to assert that I, Doug Phillips and Vision Forum treat women as if their minds do not matter?”

    “Do you not find it just a little bit incongruous that when you try to refute my point you have to quote from a teenage girl?”

    If I were Don, I’d answer “yes” to Brian’s question.

    How old was Mary when she spoke the Magnificat? Probably about the same age Sarah was at the time she wrote that article Don referenced. The angel talked to her and treated her as an adult, because in that society, Mary was an adult. When the angel gave her the instructions, she immediately went on a trip to visit Elizabeth some miles away from where she was.

    How old were many young men in the early days of our country when they entered colleges and universities? The answer is that some of them were YOUNGER than Sarah was at the time she wrote that article. Jonathan Edwards was barely 13, for example, and I know he was exceptional. Many were Sarah’s age or thereabouts, however.

    I also find it amusing that Abshire decrys the mindset and philosophy of the past several decades, which is what he is accusing Don of having the mindset of, yet here he succumbs to the exact same thing when trying to dismiss Sarah’s words — the category of “teenager.”

    Oh, yes, and “girl” to boot! I’m sure Chalcedon saw Sarah’s article and thought they’d just put up a page they knew wouldn’t be taken seriously or didn’t represent their thinking on the matter . . . NOT!

    Yes, Brian, you sure sound as though you think the minds of women don’t matter.

  22. Sarah seems to think it had official station. When we talked to her and time and time and time again pointed out the issue was the fact that Chalcedon had promoted supported and endorsed those views in publishing them; Sarah agreed that is what they had done.

    1) The article was released by Chalcedon
    2) The article was signed with a Chalcedon masthead
    3) The article has continue to be distributed under their name for a decade

    Either there was a misuse of trademark or Abshire is lying again. Given how truthful Sarah has been about the whole incident, I really doubt she and some other insiders in Chalcedon were misusing trademark.

  23. Don, what an excellent, controlled, well-reasoned response you gave to Brian Abshire. I could definitely learn a lesson or two from you on how to reply to heated missives!

    I was also wondering if someone could supply a link to Brian’s second letter that would be friendly for non-Windows users.

    Don, thank you for providing Bob Renaud’s responses to your four questions. I can’t help but notice the difference in attitude between Bob’s and Brian’s answers, however. While Bob answered “Of course not” to two of your questions, Brian answered with “A believer, but with error…” or “A true church, but with error…”

    I think this small example shows us what the bigger picture is that we need to keep in mind, or at least what I am seeing. Although Brian uses the term “patriarchy,” he himself admits that there is no fixed definition for the movement. At a superficial reading of the “Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy,” a Christian who leans to the conservative side already might not see any problems with these tenets. But when we examine the daily fruit of how this is lived out in the lives of those closest to Doug, we find some extremes that are not clearly delineated in the tenets. I don’t think Brian Abshire has any clue what real life is like in the hyper-patriarchy that Doug Phillips advocates.

    This is evidenced by how he was so taken aback regarding a young lady being owned by her father, that girls cannot go to college or work outside the home, etc. I do think Brian’s position on women not voting is not only extreme, but also unbiblical, however, and this is how Doug is “using” Brian.

    I truly wish that Brian could see that he has much more in common with Don Veinot and most of us here than he does with Doug. There are definitely some areas of contention, but not as many as he is attacking.

    The more gracious manner of his first letter, including his responses to the four questions Don asked, is to his credit. I don’t know what happened with his second letter. Maybe it’s another one of those old sayings: Only time will tell.

  24. If, as Brian Abshire says, God has not allowed the civil magistrate to outlaw wine, and if Patriarchy can be considered to be, in effect, the civil government in its day, then I wonder what Brian Abshire makes of these words from Jeremiah 35:

    Then I set before the men of the house of the Rechabites pitchers full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, “Drink wine!” But they said, “We will not drink wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, ‘You shall not drink wine, you or your sons, forever. ‘And you shall not build a house, and you shall not sow seed, and you shall not plant a vineyard or own one; but in tents you shall dwell all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.’ “And we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, not to drink wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; and we do not have vineyard or field or seed.” . . .

    Then Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father, kept all his commands, and done according to all that he commanded you; therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me always.'”

    Sounds as though God did not mind one bit that this father outlawed wine and outlawed building houses for his sons, and that He was impressed with their obedience, even though these restrictions were not something He had actually commanded.

    Interesting thoughts on God not allowing people to outlaw wine, legalism, and more there.

  25. All I can say is, “how sad.” I am moving right now out of a family that believes everything vision forum promotes. I am a single 25 year old and I can tell you that I love the Lord and strive to do His will, but vision forum’s beliefs don’t apply to the real world. The reason why I am moving out is for a couple different things. The first, that they are moving so they can eventually live with all their like minded.vision forum, Calvinist friends. The second, it could’ve worked, had I quit my job and learned how to run a household. Her husband once told me that I only needed a car because I had a job and that if I didn’t have a job, I wouldn’t need a car.” I am forever asking the Lord to help me forgive them and to help me see all the positive they have done in my life. It is hard. It has been a difficult thing leaving their house and being exposed to the real world again. Not to mention, they treat me like they feel sorry for me and almost like a heathen, just because we don’t agree on a lot of what vision forum promotes. For one, I wear pants and listen to Christian contemporary music and even have a few friends that are not Calvinists.

  26. Oh ya, big deal!!!!!
    Calvinists, I confess, I have had it with.
    Also,if you are sold on what the church fathers have to say, why do you pick and choose what you want to believe from them.
    I mean,they believed in the eucharist and yet Calvinists don’t believe that it really does become Jesus’s body and blood.
    I mean if you are going to read the fathers, at least become Christian orthodox or Catholic. ugh…………….

  27. For those of you under the impression that Phillips’ Graceless and legalistic teachings is somehow the same as Reformed doctrine, I would encourage you to read carefully Jennifer Epstein’s exposé: Doug Phillips’ Parallel Universe of Reformed Legalism.

    What Phillips believes is nowhere near these real doctrines of Grace, either in reasoning or in heart attitude. One may not accept the Reformed ideas of predestination, naturally occuring “perserverance” in salvation, “irresistible Grace” and such, of course! Good Christ-followers often disagree on these concepts. But please, before equating Reformed beliefs with this Graceless gunk, give that article a read-through and compare the true, Grace-intensive doctrines with what Phillips and other “paterfamilias” advocates really preach. :-)

  28. Hello
    I know this is an old string of comments but I am trying to find some recent update on Mark and Jen Epstein. Can someone please help me?
    Thanks
    Wanda S

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