Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Attempting to Clarify Voddie Baucham's Position on Matters Related to the FIC

In my correspondence with Dr. Voddie Baucham, he expressed concern over my “wondering” about his doctrine on my blog. I would like to note those doctrines he embraces and those he rejects from the emails that he did send me. I believe that I can also discern which groups with whom he does and does not want to be closely associated. As he expressed some desire to clarify these matters so that I do not have to “wonder aloud” about his beliefs, I would like to point out that which I believe I can identify from our exchange via email. I’ve also posed formal questions to him, and they are listed HERE.

I would also like to state that in his correspondence with me over a few days, Baucham echos my language, a technique I learned fairly early on in my studies and work writing papers. Instructors like to hear the language that they used with you in class, and reflecting their own language back to them (or regurgitating as some would put it) ingratiates the student-writer with the instructor. Baucham reflects back to me some very specific language that I used in the Patriarchy Workshop in his emails, just something I would like to note.

Based on what he’s written to me, because he’s only appeared at three conferences with Doug Phillips, he’s improperly associated with the beliefs of Vision Forum, giving me the impression that he wants to be perceived as having some distance from their group. I do not understand how he can make this statement when he shares and passionately defends so much of Vision Forum’s doctrine concerning women and daughters. He specifically mentions Vision Forum in this statement about what he calls “FIC Reaction Syndrome” wherein critics:

1.) "Wrongly characterize the FIC as a monolithic movement with unified doctrine, which emanates from Vision Forum headquarters in San Antonio (even though it includes Baptists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals)"

[Blog host note: By stating that all FIC minded churches and groups are wrongly perceived as sharing unity with Vision Forum, Baucham implies some sense of desire to be considered quite separate from them. And though Vision Forum (and the affiliated local body, Boerne Christian Assembly) professes to be an independent Baptist denomination embracing the 1689 London Baptist Confession, he contrasts Presbyterians, Pentecostals and Baptists (his own affiliation) with Vision Forum’s example.]

2.) "Attach the most peculiar and questionable teachings of any FIC pastor to the entire movement (i.e., Federal Vision, Kinism, Paedo-Communion, women having to be served communion by their husbands, home education being the only biblical form of education, etc.)"

3.) "Assume that anyone who does not specifically, publicly, and repeatedly denounce any and all of this is in complete agreement the whole"

In another email, Baucham also mentions speaking for groups such as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, emergent churches, and egalitarian churches, but does not understand why he is not perceived as being in league with them, yet he is marked by what he seems to want me to recognize as only a tacit or passive support of the general FIC concept affiliated with Vision Forum. I would say that he is likely not perceived as being in league with them because these groups do not profess a highly rigid and restrictive set of standards for women, claiming that their preferences are Biblical or the only possible righteous ("normative") standard. Baucham's appearance at conferences along with Doug Phillips does not give discerning people cause for concern. The sharing of these venues with Vision Forum in concert with Baucham’s passionate advocacy of their extreme, extra-biblical doctrines – somewhat unique doctrines that most others do not openly promote - that give the discerning person cause to ask questions and to proceed with caution. Vision Forum has used many of these doctrines as something to set themselves apart from other groups, much like Baucham has done in selected venues. Most notably, because of Baucham’s zealous support of prohibiting daughters from attending college, his embrace of the courtship model, and his public statements about Sarah Palin, I naturally associate him with Vision Forum as one of the few groups who also zealously promote many of these same standards to the same degree.

In addition to these doctrines, Baucham appears on the video that Boerne Christian Assembly’s and Vision Forum’s own Botkin family produced, openly advocating their shared views. The Botkins even feature a portion of Baucham’s contribution to their effort on their website (wherein he indirectly argues, while "cooking sacred cows," that if a young woman attends college, that will somehow inhibit her ability to be a faithful wife and mother), but the more controversial material appears only on the DVD.

I also associate Baucham with Vision Forum because the name of his church appears in the directory on their website, identifying his church as a participant in Vision Forum’s National Center for Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC). This signifies Baucham’s agreement with statements made in Vision Forum’s Biblical Confession for Uniting Church and Family (BCUCF), but this document changes quite often without any notations of changes (either by date or occurrence). I recently noted that Vision Forum changed some of the content of the BCUCF sometime in 2008, yet the only noted date appearing on the website in reference to this document gives the reader the impression that the document has not changed since May 8, 2006. So at some point, Baucham would have agreed that the church is a “spiritual ‘family of families’” (what the original document declared as THIS ARCHIVE demonstrates), a position that Vision Forum professed as recently as the early months of 2008. It was noted however on November 30, 2008 that the BCUCF (the NCFIC mission statement) was altered so that it now states that the church is a “spiritual ‘family of families and singles.’” (Though the statement was altered in the section of the document’s “Articles,” the “Resolutions” section was not changed and, as of this blog post, the related resolution had not been changed by likewise adding “and singles” to this phrase.)

This change in Vision Forum’s statement and the doctrinal statement regarding the FIC may have come because of online controversy drawing attention to the flaws in Vision Forum’s FIC doctrine. Randy Stinson of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary rejects the concept that limits the church to only a “family of families” in this audio presentation. The pertinent section wherein Stinson refutes this can be read HERE in this transcription. Perhaps these online criticisms account for the changes made in the NCFIC/Vision Forum statement? In any case, one can only ascertain a limited amount of information about Voddie Baucham or the FIC from the positions that Vision Forum may claim, as they are subject to change when scrutinized. The BCUCF adds to this other blatant example of a change in a major position and practice of the organization, all without any mention of the change to their followers and the public.

Please visit again to learn whether Voddie Baucham will answer the questions posed to him about his specific beliefs and the nature of his relationship to Vision Forum in particular. In the meanwhile, I plan to post more details from the emails I exchanged with “Voddie” as he invited me to address him, to clarify what he purports to believe therein.

Note: This blog post cites the "Cooking Sacred Cows with Voddie Baucham" online clip as it appears on, a section of the footage that was not included on the DVD, so the Botkins chose to post it online in the form of a pre-release film update in August of 2007, prior to its debut later that year. In the clip, Baucham echos the sentiments held by Vision Forum (at that time) that daughters should be educated within the sphere of the home, but they should not follow the "non-normative" standard of contemporary society by seeking "schooling" outside of the sphere of the home. The Botkin Sisters maintain in their book that a woman who works outside the home follows a "non-normative" standard that violates "Kingdom architecture" set forth in the Word of God, thus violating the role of "Biblical Womanhood."

. Link HERE and HERE for a critical audio review of their book, "So Much More."