Thursday, December 9, 2021

Strange Bedfellows in the Duggar Family's Spread-Your-Legs Theology

This post started out as a new introduction that was meant to be an addendum intro to a post I wrote ages ago about Gothard's novel teaching of "taking up offenses."  I didn't get there yet.

Currently, it is December 8th, 2021, and a verdict in the Josh Duggar Trial for is expected tomorrow. When I started this blog in 2007, I knew only of Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips, evangelists for the Quiverfull Movement. I thought of Phillips as the next generation of Bill Gothard followers who took things to the next logical extreme concerning gender. I'd never heard his views until I joined a spiritually abusive church in the early '90s that embraced Gothard and the Shepherding Movement, and my church kept their views on gender largely concealed from me until my third year of membership. I exited four years after joining, was exit counseled, and I eventually became an outspoken critic of them all.

With the verdict looming, I am broken for all of them, but I am very concerned for Anna whose marital sex and submission were supposed to magically heal all of Josh's problems. (Read more about their modern Molech here.) I'm angry about the Duggar Parents. It may even be rage right now, but I'm trying to cope with it productively. As I've always been, I'm heartsick for the girls, now women with their own children. And I'm more sickened by their Spread-Your-Legs Theology than I ever have been before. 

As I chewed on their doctrinal errors over time, I realized in 2011 that Bill Gothard's views were identical to many of those of Ron Williams, the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) who operated Hephzibah House, a 
now-closed Troubled Teen Home for girls. I just didn't see how widely this web of influence stretched when I studied these things a decade ago. And I didn't fully appreciate how much I'd been influenced by the Pentecostal pastors who I knew as a child who held men like John R Rice in very high esteem (while completely ignorant of their views about gender which their denominations did not share).

I haven't done much deep-diving into Rice or his daughter concerning gender because his general ideas are so pervasive in the IFB, but I can say with all certainty that Williams' and Gothard's views about rape that serve to blame the victim do not come from the King James Version of the Bible which is the only text that they will accept. Their views about rape come from old Rabbinical writings, mostly from the Midrash of Rashi
 (an acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki) and the Apocryphal accounts of the women that none of them seemed to like very well. 

A raped woman or child "defrauds" their rapist and is the first sinner in their own assault, soliciting the rape. I also learned just today that Gothard taught something similar about a molested four-year-old boy that was given as an example in one of his workbooks. Gothard does include his weird grace points acquisition system, so a sexual assault will at least grant you those warm fuzzies that you can bank for extra spiritual power to pursue your own vision.

By now, I've listened to enough audio of Ron Williams that I'm to the point that I hear his phrasing and syntax when Jim Bob Duggar speak about the Christian's heart and other topics that Williams includes in his teachings. I am told that the Duggars employed two of Ron Williams' grandsons when they were in need of work after incarceration -- the children of Ron Williams' son and SM Davis' daughter

A friend told me that I should listen to Davis whose phrases also hang in Jim Bob's speech, but I don't think that I can, because the nature of these teachings is so difficult. I instead discovered that the magical, mystical power of the Crying Out Doctrine of Gothard which concerns the rape of Dinah is also taught by SM Davis.

Rashi speaks of that too in his Midrash.  Davis is touted to be one of the foremost contemporary IFB experts on matters of family and children.  An argument from silence that Dinah didn't "cry out" means that she wanted to be defiled, so everyone else in human history who doesn't cry out in the right way probably went out and solicited sexual attention like it is assumed that Dinah did when she "went out."  If they weren't rescued, there's teh proof that they wanted it to happen.

I did more reading on this subject from the Talmud and the Midrash today than I have previously after finding a search engine in English for them and other Jewish and Rabbinical writings. I noted that while everyone speaks of three of the IFB's four named “strange women” in the JKV Bible, embellishing their position with these Rabinnical texts, I only found Rashi to consider Abigail to be sinister. Perhaps that is why Williams and Gothard list her as their fourth "strange woman"?  And Rashi liked Rachel but despised Leah so said "like mother, like daughter."

I did not find any support for Gothard's teaching about the sin of "taking up offenses" which brings bitterness and "discord among the brethren" in the Talmud or the Midrash today. I suspect that it didn't derive from there because it's not directly related to women or rape. However, I do see the same manipulative and obsequious patterns in their handling of rape (think Tina Anderson). But while looking at SM Davis' site, I did find that what I first understood as Gothard's original doctrine was also something that Gothard learned from the IFB.

From SM Davis' message entitled Nothing Shall Offend Them:

A key verse every Christian should engraft into his life is Psalm 119:165: “Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.”

The Bible and human life are full of stories of people who became offended or took up someone else’s offense. True to the meaning of the word “offense,” which is “stumbling block,” those who become offended often stumble and fall or cause others to do so.  

[. . .]

For many years this was Dr. Davis’ most well known and requested message. Some consider it his most humorous message. Here you will learn the key principles necessary for Christians to live in harmony with one another. 

But this highlights a problem in spiritually abusive churches:  they never really give you informed consent.  They get all happy when they recruit you, and then present you with their official and written curriculums. All groups have a hidden curriculum, too, but in non-abusive or open groups where people are free to be autonomous and ask questions, the hidden curriculum isn't that unpleasant. You might learn who really holds power and the hobby horses that are unique to that bunch of people and their own history over time. Sects, spiritually abusive groups, and cults that use thought reform tear you down over time and conceal the ugly underbelly of the real rules. You learn them by punishment for breaking them.

If they had told me during our three-night membership class when I joined my sect in 1993 that they didn't allow women to teach (a doctrine that I didn't really know still existed in the Protestant Church), I would have blessed everyone and walked away to find a different church home. I once watched some IFB coworkers of my father come to our home to get us to become that higher and better level of Christian by separating from our sinful lives that made us twice the children of hell by joining their church. When I was a teen, I was told that my Christian faith was horribly sinful by an IFB adult acolyte. I was not interested in that church.

If I knew that the church loosely followed the guiding principles of the types of Baptists that barely tolerated us at state conventions with the Accelerated Christian Education program that I went to in high school (created by the IFB), I would not have joined. (Me in 1995: “Who wrote my high school curriculum? The IFB? Who are they?”) It took me 15 years to figure out that Bill Gothard was IFB, and I'd joined a kind of liberal IFB church that was charismatic. (It was kind of like Sovereign Grace Ministries with whom we had a relationship locally, especially through our denomination's youth program.)

I'm learning these things now (almost 29 years later). And the more I learn, the more I realize that it was all IFB at it's heart, just like John Piper is and MacArthur, too (who attended BJU, and Jinger Duggar now attends his church while her husband attends McArthur's school). Where do you think Complementarianism really came from? I'm pretty sure that at least a little of it came from Rashi. 

No one gave me informed consent. Maybe I can help you catch up a bit, too, and you can avoid so many strange bedfellows (like Mike Huckabee)?  All I wanted was a church where men didn't beat their wives and no one got molested or had a leadership sex scandal .