Vision Forum’s Jamestown 400: An Epic Week For Doug PhillipsPosted: June 18, 2007 Filed under: Doug Phillips, Patriarchy, Vision Forum 19 Comments
Doug Phillips “Utterly Shatters The Nonsense” About Misrepresentations On Patriarchy
Last week was an epic week for Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Ministries. Mr. Phillips was at the center of what was touted to be the most significant event in Vision Forum’s history, the hosting of a 400th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Jamestown Virginia Colony. Doug Phillips promoted his event as a “celebration,” whereas the “official” government sanctioned event last month was called a “commemoration.” The most politically correct called it an “invasion.” Doug Phillips is correct to call it a “celebration” for there is indeed much to celebrate.
Speakers for the event included respected Christian historians and scholars such as Gary DeMar, Marshall Foster, John Eidsmoe, Joe Morecraft, Paul Jehle. And then there was Doug Phillips.
“The Jameston Quadricentennial: A Celebration of Our Providential History was the most significant and far reaching event in the history of Vision Forum Ministries.”
A former Vision Forum intern by the name of C.S. Hayden was gracious enough to post a number of event photos and offer some personal commentary. Some of what Caleb Hayden shares, however, is significant in conveying the fact that Doug Phillips was faithfully checking certain blogs last week to see how he was faring in the court of public opinion. For example, here’s a portion of his account of Doug Phillips’ talk from Saturday, June 16:
Doug Phillips encouraged us throughout the day as he shared stories of God’s Providence in planting and sustaining the Jamestown settlement. At the end of the day, he implored all of us to raise up an army of many children for God’s glory, which aroused great cheers and applause from the crowd (including from yours truly). He also said that we must return to biblical manhood and womanhood, and at this point, he utterly shattered the nonsense that some people falsely propagate about the teachings of the “patriarchy” movement. He said that we need visionary daughters who are capable, intelligent, well-trained, and love being women. Doesn’t sound like Mr. Phillips thinks women are “doormats,” as some misguided souls have suggested. He also said we must have sons of honor who will be raised to become patriarchal leaders of their households, with love, sacrifice, a vision for discipleship, appreciation and honor for their wives, and willingness to lay down their own lives. Doesn’t sound like Mr. Phillips thinks men are exalted as tyrannical dictators over women, as some misguided souls have suggested.
Apparently, this was very significant, or at least it was significant to C.S. Hayden, because it’s one of the very first things he mentions in his article. This appears to be a clear reference to Jen Epstein’s three-part series, “Are The Biblical Tenets Of Patriarchy Biblical?“, and perhaps a lesser reference to my own article, “The Vision Forum: Patriarchy Weirdness Exposed.” Other blogs and forums too have picked up on Jen Epstein’s Patriarchy critiques and, no doubt, Doug Phillips is under some pressure to respond.
Vision Forum’s “The Tenets Of Biblical Patriarchy” appear to be a vital document — absolutely vital to Vision Forum’s “vision.” As Jen pointed out last week, Patriarchy is central to so many of Vision Forum’s events. Without Patriarchy Vision Forum’s “vision” is no more, and unless Vision Forum can continue to claim that Patriarchy is “biblical” they won’t have any basis to continue pushing it with any legitimate authority.
It’s remarkable that such a significant document could have been posted for several years on Vision Forum’s web site and, apparently, no one has ever publicly challenged it in any substantive way as being extra-biblical and unbiblical. Then along comes Jennifer Epstein, not a biblical scholar but just a simple Berean, and with relative ease she begins to cast serious doubt on “The Tenets.”
How will Vision Forum respond? According to C.S. Hayden, Doug Phillips has already “utterly shattered” Jen Epstein’s arguments. But the problem is that no one has seen any evidence of it. Furthermore, Jen Epstein isn’t arguing against “a return to biblical manhood and womanhood.” In fact it’s apparent that this is exactly what she is arguing in favor of. What she’s arguing against is calling The Tenets Of Biblical Patriarchy “biblical,” when so much of it appears to be so seriously lacking in biblical support. Worse yet it does appear that Doug Phillips has engaged in a great deal of prooftexting and taking Bible verses out of context to try and make his case. Rather than handling the Word of God with respect and treating it as sacred, Doug Phillips appears to have used God’s sacred Word in a self-serving manner to push his personal and very profitable agenda.
I assume that C.S. Hayden isn’t a Vision Forum employee. However, as a “former intern” he would have been personally trained by Doug Phillips in such things as debate and logic. Therefore, one would suppose that Caleb would have at least some abilities to defend statements that he makes on his own blog. Caleb did receive some comments on his blog. However, Caleb’s “response” was most disconcerting.
Tammy C said….
What a good ending.I am sure we will be reading about this celebration on many blogs for weeks to come.
Enjoy your visit with the family from Mountain Musings.
6/17/2007 7:09 AM
Nate E said…
What? No Jamestown 400 finalist pictures?
Thanks for covering the event. Looks like it was an excellent “building up” time.
6/17/2007 7:45 AM
I really wish we could’ve gone. I’m jealous. Our family just couldn’t afford it. It sounds like it was awesome.
“He also said that we must return to biblical manhood and womanhood, and at this point, he utterly shattered the nonsense that some people falsely propagate about the teachings of the ‘patriarchy’ movement.”
We need to hear more on this! Patriarchy is definitely under attack, and not from the typical non-Christian feminists, but from Christians who claim that they’ve believed in Patriarchy and practiced it. This has got me worried.
I’ve been following the articles on Jen’s Gems this week critiquing The Biblical Tenets Of Patriarchy. I have to admit that I’ve been very bothered about it because it does appear that there may be some theological holes in some of the tenets. I haven’t seen anybody step up to the plate to defend it. At this point I’m not really sure what to think.
Do you know if Vision Forum will be responding? If Doug can “shatter the nonsense” then I hope he does it really soon where we can all see it, like on his blog. This is really important.
6/17/2007 4:33 PM
I share your thoughts when you say, “it does appear that there may be some theological holes in some of the tenets.”.
We are a family that believes in Biblical patriarchy. Which at one time we believed was the same thing that men such as Doug Phillips believed. (We were very early supporters of Vision Forum.) However, having read the tenets shortly after they were first published and some recent writings by men within Vision Forum such as Mr. Abshire, we began to see that what they purport as biblical patriarchy isn’t exactly what we see in Scripture. There are places where their scriptural justification is not sufficient for the claims they are making.
Which in and of itself would be fine. This wouldn’t be the first time that disagreement occurs between believers over doctrine. What is troubling to us is that any disagreement is seen by those that ascribe to their viewpoint as an attack on THEM. Those who have supported and encouraged the various ministries over the years are surprised to see that those who disagree are viewed as “the enemy” simply for saying perhaps this isn’t quite right or supported in Scripture. Don’t misunderstand I’m not saying that must see it our way. But isn’t there something between total agreement and total enemy?
Can sensible bible-believing Christians disagree with the tenets of patriarchy as written by Doug Phillips and Phil Lancaster without being considered a effeminate or thwarting God’s restoration of Western Civilization?
The fact that you or others are looking to Doug Phillips for a response which will “shatter this nonsense” is also a troubling thought. Why must Doug Phillips respond? Rather, let each of us, study the Scripture and decide who is actually moving into nonsense. Relying on men such as Doug Phillips to do the work of the fathers only proves that possibly the men who have written the tenets have become more important than the Truth they seek to teach us.
Let each father become a Berean and see that if what is taught by Godly teachers is actually true.
Isn’t that what a true Patriarch would do to protect his family from possible heresy?
6/17/2007 7:33 PM
“Why must Doug Phillips respond?” He needs to respond because The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy are being accused of being unbiblical and extrabiblical.
We’ve shared The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy with a lot of other families because we want to see a lot of Christian families doing patriarchy. Some have been open to becoming patriarchal too, especially when they see that it’s biblical. It’s hard to argue against something that’s biblical.
Until this week we’d never even heard anyone say that The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy aren’t biblical. We really need some help with this. We believe that God has raised up Doug Phillips as a great teacher. He’s one of the smartest men we’ve ever heard. Even the people attacking patriarchy probably see that he’s really smart. So we’re looking to him to help us with this. He’s been so helpful to our family. Why is it wrong for us to look to him for help with this? We’re really grateful to Doug Phillips. He’s done more for the patriarchy movement than anyone.
6/17/2007 10:17 PM
As far as Doug P. not thinking women are doormats, I submit that actions speak louder than words. God bless him for proclaiming otherwise, but how does he behave? That’s far more telling.
I agree with Spunky – I am a women with a graduate professional education, raised in a patriarchy family. Why is it the patriarchy movement condemns me for living my calling, just because it includes higher education and doesn’t fit some kind of cookie cutter mold? Honestly, I’d have fewer problems with it if people would stop telling me I’m going to hell or can’t possibly be in God’s divine will because I think women should be allowed to go to college if it fits in their life plan.
6/18/2007 1:30 AM
Your sad comment is exactly why it is an awesome thing that people are starting to sit up and take notice of the heresies being promoted as “biblical truth” in patriocentric circles.
God hasn’t called you to wait around for Doug Phillips to tell you what to believe. Paul commended the Bereans for searching the Scriptures themselves. If all you have to offer your own children is what Doug Phillips thinks or believes, why should they follow you as their patriarch?
I offer this challenge to you….set aside any tapes, books, or writings of any kind written by someone in a patriocentric camp. Pick up your Bible and start reading the Gospels. Take notes as you read, paying particular attention to what Jesus says. Then, compare His writings with those of the patriarchs.
It will take a while to detox…believe me, I was there. But when your patriocentric delerium tremmens have passed, all you will have left is God’ precious grace and you can move on to a living relationship with the Lord, as can your family.
6/18/2007 4:25 AM
Joshua, you said “Why must Doug Phillips respond?” He needs to respond because The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy are being accused of being unbiblical and extrabiblical.
I understand that the Tenets are being accused of being unbiblical or extrabiblical. But the question for those of us who believe in Biblical patriarchy shouldn’t be “How does Doug Phillips respond to this?” Instead we should ask, “What does the Scripture say? Are the tenets Biblcial?”
If the Biblical Tenets are indeed bilbical they will hold up to the strongest scrutiny. We have heard from Doug Phillips and what he believes on Biblical Patriarchy, now is the time for every man to examine those tenets as a Berean and see if they are indeed true. Don’t let your supposition be that they are, but test them to see if they are indeed True. Scrutinizing the Tenets is not the same as challenging Doug Phillips personally. It’s obeying the Scriptural instruction to study to show ourselves approved unto God. Paul was scrutinized by the Bereans, surely we are permitted to scrutinize the Godly teachers of our day as well.
You asked, “Why is it wrong for us to look to him for help with this?”
I’m not saying it’s wrong, but troubling when a believer looks to a man FIRST to see what he thinks rather than looking to Scripture to see what God reveals. Doug Phillips is fallible, just like you and I. Yes, he is smart and gifted in many areas. But that doesn’t make him right in all areas. You are free to ask him what he thinks about the criticism. But that doesn’t excuse you from your first obligation which is to search the scriptures yourself to see if the things any teacher teaches are indeed true, that must be done independent of Doug Phillips.
Our focus as believers should be on Truth. Truth will stand up to the toughest scrutiny. It is we who must have the courage to accept what Truth reveals about us and what we believe. Clinging to an idea simply because the messenger has been right in other areas in the past, or his idea has personally helped you, is insufficient to believe the idea is Biblical or that the teacher is consistently right in all areas.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying Doug Phillip’s Biblical Tenets are wrong. He could very well be right, and those that critize need to adjust. But how will we know unless we ALL are studying for ourselves and not relying on someone to study it for us and telling us where the flaws are? Study the Truth of Scriptures and build your own defense for why these Tenets are true. Then when you have exhausted yourself in the effort, petition many great biblical scholars to examine what you have found. And then compare what you have found with the Tenets themselves. See where you agree and where you disagree. Then go back and study some more attempting to resolve the areas of difference.
But of course, that all takes work. It is so much easier to just have someone tell us what to believe. Following someone else who has studied and found what they believe is easier than doing the work ourselves. I’m not trying to be hard on you. It’s true of all of us. But a Christian man or woman will study the teachings of others for the greater good of themselves and their family. And in return, the great teachers will know that they are indeed accountable for the words they teach. And in the end the Body of Christ benefits.
Accountability isn’t to be feared it is to be embraced. For in true accountability, the purity of Truth shines forth. Truth cannot be hidden from view is inescapable. It is we who must have the courage to accept what Truth reveals. That is a harder task than even studying. But in the end it is the right choice.
George Grant wrote recently, “None of us like to hear that we are wrong, that we have to make changes in our lives, that we have to adjust our way of thinking, or that we have to admit our faults. We are loathe to confess that are in need of repentance, forgiveness, or forbearance. And we persist in our pride even when we know the truth.
The truth demands something of us. It may or may not demand something of us as dramatic as what it demanded of the passengers of Flight 93. Though the truth ultimately sets us free, it does so at some cost.”
And that cost is usually our pride. We don’t want to admit that we or someone we admire might be wrong. But the Truth will set us free. And I am glad I have freedom in Christ and not bound to the claims of any earthly teacher however smart or talented they appear to me at first.
6/18/2007 7:31 AM
Lastly Joshua you said, “Even the people attacking patriarchy probably see that he’s really smart.”
Not all who are examining the tenets are attacking patriarchy. That gets back to my first comment. Joshua, why do you view those who question what Doug Phillips teaches as Biblical Patriarchy, as an attack on patriarchy itself?
Brian Abshire warned in the article Biblical Patriarchy and the Doctrine of Federal Representation, “There is also the danger that some men will over-react against the common emasculated concept of the modern “father” and will overcompensate by denying any authority other than their own; including lawful authority in the church and State. The simple fact is that ALL Men will sin; they will sin against God and they will sin against their families. However, the divinely required methodology of dealing with that sin is by meditating and applying the unchanging standards of God’s law, being humble before Him, recognizing and confessing that sin, and then through repentance, taking the appropriate course of action.”
I believe Mr. Abshire is correct in that regard. There is a danger for any man not correctly defining or applying what the Bible says about Patriarchy. That includes Doug Phillips. The remedy is each of us applying the unchanging standard of God’s Word to our lives and those we allow to teach us. This should not be viewed as an attack or threat by anyone truly seeking God’s Truth and His alone.
6/18/2007 8:38 AM
Let me clarify, I am NOT accusing Doug Phillips of sin with his tenets of patriarchy. But that ALL men do sin in their lives. We cannot see the words of any man as infallible, the claim of perfect truth is for God’s Word alone. Sola Scriptura. Therefore the possibility exists that in writing his tenets he MAY have erred just as all men are capable of erring. The only way we will know for certainty is by doing what Mr. Abshire exhorts and that is comparing Doug Phillips words against the unchanging Truth of God’s Word.
6/18/2007 8:44 AM
How did Caleb Hayden respond? Caleb “responded” by deleting all but the first two comments. Thankfully, Spunky saved the comment thread and reposted them on Jen Epstein’s blog.
Caleb may or may not know know who Joshua is. Perhaps Joshua’s questions and concerns embarrassed Caleb. Perhaps Caleb just didn’t now what to say. But is that any cause to just delete his comments? Joshua’s comments do appear to be a sincere plea for assistance. Is this how Doug Phillips trains his interns to respond to people who are begging for help?
Spunky, on the other hand, is someone that, if Caleb doesn’t know who she is, he really should. “Spunky” is no obscure unknown figure in the home schooling sector of the blogosphere. Given that home school moms probably comprise at least 50 to 70% of Vision Forum’s business, that was a very foolish thing for Caleb to delete Spunky’s comments. Spunky is a very thoughtful and circumspect lady, and not one to quickly take sides in a controversy or dispute.
It troubles me to see the way that C.S. Hayden treated Joshua. It would be nice if we could all assume that just because Caleb Hayden isn’t a Vision Forum employee that his behavior isn’t a reflection on Vision Forum. But the fact is his behavior is a direct reflection of the culture that is Vision Forum, a culture of Doug Phillips’ creation. Caleb was trained by Doug Phillips. Caleb is just “responding” as he’s been taught, and by what Doug Phillips has personally modeled for him.
Joshua, keep pressing for answers. Contact Vision Forum directly. However, don’t be surprised if their response isn’t any different than Caleb Hayden’s “response.” That will tell you something: You’re permitted to agree with Doug Phillips. You’re not permitted to disagree, or to so much as even ask him questions that might embarrass him. That’s all part of the hyper-Patriarchy package.
Spunky had some very good insight and suggestions. I’d like to suggest, Joshua, that you carefully consider what she said. In fact I’d like to just recommend what she said to anyone who’s now looking for answers about this Patriarchy thing. I don’t believe we’re going to find any answers by looking to Doug Phillips and Vision Forum. I think they’re part of the problem.
The Vision Forum: Patriarchy Weirdness ExposedPosted: June 6, 2007 Filed under: Daddy Shaving, Doug Phillips, Patriarchy, Vision Forum 88 Comments
If you haven’t been following Jen’s Gems, and the ongoing exposés of Doug Phillips there, you’re missing out on some fascinating discussion. One of the subjects that I’ve personally been following with great interest is “Patriarchy.” Prior to reading about Doug Phillips’ ecclesiastical tyrannies I’ve never really given much thought to the Patriarchy movement. However, in following this story it’s becoming more and more apparent to me that the Patriarchy movement leadership has got some serious problems when it comes to the proper and biblical exercise of authority.
There also seems to be a certain “weirdness” factor about Patriarchy, at least with the leadership of the movement. For example, one of the commenters on Jen’s Gems made mention of some weird goings on at The Vision Forum’s annual Father and Daughter Discipleship Retreats, including “unity” events such as “daughters shaving their daddies” and “daughters dressing their daddies.”
When I first read that comment I thought, “Surely you jest! That’s just too weird!” Unfortunately, the commenter really was telling the truth. It didn’t take me long to find specific references on Vision Forum’s web site to these weird goings on. I’m sure that there are a lot of nice and proper things that happen at these Vision Forum events, and no doubt I’ll get some commenters now telling me how wonderful these events are. But regardless of all the nice and proper things that may happen there, the daddy-shaving and daddy-dressing isn’t proper, at least in my book. It’s creepy.
Some photographs from the Vision Forum daddy-shaving sessions are provided below, and below them are the photo captions from the Vision Forum web site:
The Father and Daughter Retreat was not only a time to serve (and shave) Daddy, but to dress up pretty as a picture.
And of course after shaving daddy we must also dress daddy:
In a video from Vision Forum’s web site highlighting their Father-Daughter Discipleship Retreat, with commentary from Doug Phillips’ daughters, they say, “Our weekend began with Father-Daughter unity games. Each of the games was designed to teach us a principle about our relationship with our fathers.”
What, pray tell, does shaving daddy have to do with teaching principles about a daughter’s relationship with her father? What has this got to do with “discipleship”? I guess I must not be a “Patriarch” so I’m having a hard time with grasping all this. In fact the whole thing just seems creepy. But it doesn’t end with just daddy-shaving. It also includes daddy-dressing, and that seems even more creepy.
I’ve got daughters and I’ve never, ever, had the notion that they should “serve” me by daddy-shaving or daddy-dressing. I wouldn’t even ask my wife to do that! Apparently all this shaving and dressing stuff is supposed to prepare a daughter for marriage:
“Hearing and seeing the example again this weekend confirmed in their hearts that this is the direction they want for their lives. They have both given their hearts to me and I intend with all my (and the Lord’s) strength to guard them and nurture them until such a time as I give them to a godly man in marriage.
“My older daughter is already taking the initiative to learn more on the domestic front and her spirit is noticeably softer now that she has a direction in life that coincides with the way God naturally wired her as a woman. My younger daughter is watching intently the example of her older sister. And both have turned to me as their Dad and their head. It is a beautiful and lovely thing to be a father of daughters when we do things according to Scripture.”
I’m having a hard time seeing how daddy-shaving and daddy-dressing prepares a young lady for marriage. Apparently this is all part of Vision Forum’s Patriarchy package. To me all this appears to do is to prepare a young lady for a life of obsequious bondage to a master, not marriage to a husband.
Apparently, this is supposed to create some sort of a “bonding” experience between daddies and daughters. Why not then have a Vision Forum Mother and Son Discipleship Retreat? And what sort of “unity games” might it include? What about moms shaving their sons? What about moms dressing their sons? Weird? Yes, that would be weird. But to be logically consistent about it we’d need to have sons shaving their moms, wouldn’t we? Daughters shave daddies, so sons shave mommies? So would sons shave mom’s legs? Creepy, right? Of course it’s creepy! And what about sons dressing their moms? So what makes it acceptable for daughters to be shaving and dressing daddies? The only answer is Patriarchy. Only in Doug Phillips’ Land of Patriarchy could such weird things be going on, year after year.
When men want to be shaved they go to a barber. When women want the hair removed from their legs they go get a “wax job.” Fathers don’t solicit their daughters (or even their wives) to shave their faces anymore than do mothers solicit their sons (or even their husbands) to shave their legs.
Fathers should not be soliciting their daughters to dress them, anymore than should mothers be soliciting their sons to dress them. It’s weird and creepy, and it says something about Doug Phillips’ notions of “unity” and “discipleship.”
To me this is just more evidence with what’s wrong with the Patriarchy movement, or at least the direction that Doug Phillips and Vision Forum are taking the Patriarchy movement.