Friday, August 29, 2008

Southern Seminary Guilty by Association or a Case of the Emperor's New Clothes?



I recently received some indirect feedback from a reporter regarding the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s response to the patriarchy workshop I presented in March ‘08 at an unnamed Southern Baptist Seminary. Because the apologetics organization for whom I spoke would not disclose to me who protested the lecture, I told the reporter that I had absolutely no information to indicate that anyone at SBTS had any knowledge of me or my lecture. I was told by a reporter they were well acquainted with the workshop and had reviewed the online video. I was also made aware that Russell Moore and Bruce Ware offered a whole litany of purely personal ad hominem abusive comments against me that had absolutely nothing to do with the content of the presentation.


The reporter confirmed that ONE criticism related directly to the content of the lecture. Now that my critics have names and faces, I would like to address their concern. Essentially, I understand that they are offended because they believe that I have misrepresented them, wrongly associating them with fringe groups and belief systems of which they claim to have absolutely no knowledge. Despite my clear and repeated statements that patriarchy is not monolithic and is a very diverse group that shares a widely varied set of beliefs, Southern Seminary believes that I characterized them as sharing some of the more distasteful aspects of the larger group. I strongly disagree, particularly considering how expertly Spiritwatch Ministries captured the powerpoint presentation which clearly identified which group espoused which belief and practice in the presentation. The extensive bibliography for the presentation also appears online with embedded links to online information when available for those who wish to do further investigation. Many of the frequent church divisions that occur within the patriarchy movement rise from contention over the diverse beliefs, as demonstrated by the RC Sproul, Jr-related controversy in the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly (RPCGA) concerning disagreements over paedocommunion.
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Do the board and officers of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and faculty at SBTS truly have no knowledge of the common beliefs that they share with the larger group of primarily Reformed Evangelical Christians who follow a patriarchal belief system? Because of the many core beliefs, terms and even affiliations CBMW and SBTS share with those within the larger group, I find that to be a very naive and unconvincing claim.
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Apparently, though Randy Stinson is the Family Integrated Church (FIC) specialist at Southern Seminary, they have never heard of and have no knowledge of the FIC concepts followed by other groups such as the Covenant Presyterian Church Presbytery (CPCP), the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC), the aforementioned RPCGA and Vision Forum’s National Center for Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC). SBTS announced Stinson’s appointment as the FIC specialist in 2006, years after these other supposedly insignificant groups established and extensively used the term. The FIC groups such as RPCGA operated under the principles that they defined in the early to mid 1990s with Vision Forum formally refining the concept since its inception in 1998. SBTS never stated that they sought to redefine “family integrated worship” and did not make any attempt to distinguish themselves from these pre-existing groups who originally coined the term. Please also note that Southern Seminary is so committed to the FIC concept that the school is changing its Education in Leadership doctoral program into a Family Integrated Worship program, even for students who enrolled as Education in Leadership candidates and have yet to complete the program.

Southern Seminary claims that they have no knowledge of the FIC activities of the NCFIC’s Director, Scott Brown (an SBC pastor of an FIC in Wake Forest, NC and lecturer at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary). They claim to have no knowledge of Vision Forum’s Voddie Baucham, an SBC pastor of an FIC and a recent contributor to Focus on the Family’s “Boundless" magazine. (Though I certainly don’t expect that Focus on the Family Board Member Al Mohler reads every issue of “Boundless,” Baucham of the SBC and Vision Forum clearly does move in at least two of the same circles as the President of SBTS.) The personal relationship between Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) President Paige Patterson and Vision Forum’s Doug Phillips also represents another informal but strong SBC affiliation. Dr. Patterson’s wife, Dorothy, who is always seen wearing a fashionable hat also shares the FIC custom of wearing headcoverings, such as is the new tradition in SBC pastor Scott Brown’s Hope Baptist Church. (Though headcoverings are not typically an observed practice in most SBC churches, it is a strongly encouraged practice in many FICs.) Most notably however, Howard Phillips (who encouraged the founding of the Moral Majority) and his family share a long and well-documented relationship with the late Dr. Jerry Falwell and his family. Newsweek documents how Jonathan Falwell appeared in his father’s stead to deliver the message that Dr. Jerry Falwell planned to present at Vision Forum’s Jamestown Quadricentennial Celebration in 2007.

Jonathan Falwell and Howard Phillips
at Vision Forum's Jamestown Celebration



PCA pastors Tim and David Bayly as well as Father Bill Mouser demonstrate yet another affiliation that weakens the claims of ignorance of CBMW and SBTS about the broader spectrum of patriocentric beliefs. “At its meeting on November 23 [1997] in Jackson, Mississippi, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood voted unanimously to appoint Mr. Tim Bayly as the first executive director in its history.” Until his resignation from the post in 2000, while his brother David served as a volunteer, Tim states that he primarily focused on development of their online resources. Randy Stinson has at least some knowledge of the activities and views of the Baylys, noting them when he responded privately to questions about a 2005 Bayly blog post that voiced many criticisms of CBMW. Quite interestingly, Russell Moore shares one of these same sentiments regarding their common dislike of the weak term “complementarian,” preferring patriarchy instead. Father Bill Mouser who is known for his widely criticized "Five Aspects" gender teachings also once participated with CBMW and remains a frequent contributor on the Bayly Brothers’ blog. Mouser currently administrates the Complementarian Christian Coalition Forum, the Yahoo group that CBMW established. The CCC Forum site states that supporters of CBMW currently adminster the forum (Bill Mouser). As a side note, the editor of Focus on the Family’s “Boundless” magazine recommends Bill and Barbara Mouser’s “Five Aspects” teachings on their website. The FIC-oriented and Vision Forum affiliated McDonalds (former owners of “Homeschooling Today” magazine), the Federal Vision founders (CREC) and the Baylys also enjoy both formal and informal affiliations with one another. The Baylys speak at conferences with the defrocked Doug Wilson and other Federal Vision affiliates.

Please review the following table outlining the beliefs that are not all inclusive but fairly representative of the concepts and beliefs of patriocentricity. Investigate and determine for yourself whether CBMW and SBTS share beliefs and practices with the “fringe” that they apparently find so distasteful. If they were indeed ignorant of these commonalities, they certainly should have no cause to continue to feign it in the future. And if the gentlemen of Louisville wish to distance themselves from those they dismiss as insignificant fringe, then a simple position statement regarding the groups they do oppose would be of great benefit to everyone involved.

Or would it?

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Biblical Beliefs Claimed by
Patriarchal Groups Professing Gender Hierarchy Focus

(not to be confused with submission of wives to husbands)
BELIEF:
WEAK to MODERATE
STRONG
Eternal Subordination of Christ (in authority)

(What is the postion of Vision Forum and affiliates on this issue?)

CBMW
Federal Vision
Women of Lesser Essence
Gothard
CBMW, Baylys, Pearls, MacArthur, Federal Vision, McDonald, Vision Forum
Marriage as an Adversarial Relationship
Federal Vision,
Gothard, Pearls
CBMW, Baylys, Lancaster, Lindvall, McDonald, Vision Forum
Women Restricted in Worship Services

Federal Vision, Gothard, Pearls
CBMW, SWBTS, Baylys, Lindvall, MacArthur, McDonald, Vision Forum
Women Restricted in Christian Ministry
(not related to governance of men or worship services)
Gothard
CBMW, SBTS, SWBTS, Baylys, Lindvall, MacArthur, McDonald, Vision Forum
Eph 5 Based Salvific, Intercessory or Paternalistic Role for Men Concerning Wives
CBMW, SBTS, Pearls, Gothard
Baylys , SWBTS, Federal Vision, Lindvall, MacAruthur, McDonald, Vision Forum
Family Integrated Worship

SBTS, Pearls, Gothard
Wallace, Federal Vision, McDonald, Vision Forum
Courtship
(What is CBMW’s position ?)
Harris/SGM, Federal Vision, Baylys
Gothard, Lindvall, McDonald, Sproul Jr, Vision Forum
Women Restricted in Home and Society
Federal Vision, Abshire
SWBTS, Lancaster, Lindvall, McDonald, Vision Forum
Novel Birthing and Childrearing Focus

Pearls (child discipline)
Lancaster, McDonald, Sproul Jr, Lindvall, Vision Forum
Neo Confederate Ideals

(What is Vision Forum’s affiliate Voddie Baucham’s postion?)
Wallace, Federal Vision
McDonald, Wilson, Wilkins, Vision Forum

(and Kinist individuals and groups such as Seabrook, Degenhart, etc.)

Not referenced in blog post:
Michael and Debi Pearl
John MacArthur
Phillip Lancaster
Bill Gothard
Jonathan Lindvall
Eric Wallace
Brian Abshire
Greg Harris
Sovereign Grace Ministries

KINISTS:
- Short definition of "kinism"
- Harry Seabrook
- Chad Degenhart who attends HERE
- etc, etc, etc...


Many of these teachers are also referenced in the bibliography for the patriarchy workshop.