Friday, October 22, 2010

Patriarchy and the Family Integrated Church Emphasis in SBC Seminaries: A Potential Embarrassment for the SBC

There is a growing movement within far right conservative evangelical circles called the Family Integrated Church (FIC). The goal of the Family Integrated Church movement is for churches to conduct family worship, so as to not separate families into "age-group" ministries or worship (i.e. children, youth, married adults, etc . . . ). Family Integrated Churches desire "fathers to take their God-ordained role of spiritual leadership" and for a family to worship with their father, the spiritual authority and covering for all the family members. While the goals of the Family Integrated Church sound fine when one first hears them, it is the philosphical underpinnings of the Family Integrated Church that give the potential for future embarrassment to the evangelical church, particularly the Southern Baptist Convention.

The FIC movement is built upon the the principles of patriarchy. Patriarchy is a Greek word which means "father rule." In essence, patriarchy teaches that the male in the family (i.e. the progenitor or originator of the family) has the inherent authority over - and the power to rule - the entire family. In short, patriarchy is the belief in male dominance. Bill Gothard spiritualized patriarchy by proposing what he called "an umbrella of protection" provided by the father for the entire family, and any family member who remains under the "authority" of the father is protected from harm. Gothard's views express the the extreme logical conclusions of patriarchy within Christian circles.

Patriarchy Is NOT Necessarily Biblical

It is unnecessary to believe the Bible to hold to patriarchy, and it is possible to believe the Bible and renounce patriarchy and male domination. For example, Dr. Steven Goldberg, chairman of the Department of Sociology at the City of New York College, wrote a book entitled The Inevitablity of Patriarchy. Dr. Goldberg is not an evangelical Christian or Bible believer and says of his book:

"This book is not concerned with the question of whether male domination of hierarchies is morally or politically 'good' or 'bad'. Moral values and political policies, by their nature, consist of more than just empirical facts and their explanation. 'What is' can never entail 'what should be', so science knows nothing of 'should'. 'Answers' to questions of 'should' require subjective elements that science cannot provide."

Dr. Goldberg believes that the world will be male dominated because of biology - in short, testosterone. Goldberg believes patriarchy is the way the world is because males seek "attainment," "domination," and "power over others" because they are biologically bent to do so.

Likewise, many evangelical Bible-believing Christians who understand biology and the tendency of all men to dominate, renounce patriarchy or "this inherent desire to rule" as the anti-thesis of the Christian life as revealed by Christ and the New Covenant Scriptures. For example, the conservative theologian Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, author of the article I Believe in Male Headship writes that . . .

The word head is used five times in the New Testament to define the relation of Christ to the church. As will be shown below, the use of head is consistent in all of those texts.

Eph. 1:22-23. The passage that immediately precedes this text exalts the supremacy of Christ in his session. But in relation to the church, the role of Christ is described as being appointed as head for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. The headship of Christ is never over the church in the New Testament. Here, it is for the church. As head, Christ gives the church fullness. He provides for the church's growth. The function is not one of authority but of servant provider of what makes the church's growth possible.

Eph. 4:15-16. Christ is the head from whom the whole body grows and builds itself up. The function of the head in relation to the body is to provide it with growth. Headship is not an authority role but a developmental servant function.

Eph. 5:23. The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which is the Savior. As head of the church, Christ is its Savior. If head had meant authority, the appropriate designation for Christ would have been "Lord" instead of "Savior" which is consistently a self-sacrificing, life-giving servant role in the New Testament.

Col. 1:18-19. Christ is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead. Through his blood, shed on the cross, all things are reconciled to God. In a passage that celebrates Christ's supremacy over all creation, this text describes Christ as the source of the life of the church through his resurrection from the dead and because of the reconciliation obtained through his self-sacrificing servant ministry at the cross. Headship is not defined in terms of authority but as servant provider of life.

Col. 2:19. Christ is the head from whom the whole body grows. The function of head in relation to the body is not one of rulership but of servant provider of growth. Christ as head to the church is the source of its life and development.

This survey indicates that head, biblically defined, means exactly the opposite of what it means in the English language. Head is never given the meaning of authority, boss or leader. It describes the servant function of provider of life, growth and development. This function is not one of top-down oversight but of bottom-up support and nurture.

The Implications of Demanding Southern Baptists All Be Patriarchal

It's fine for individual Southern Baptists and Southern Baptists to hold to patriarchy if they choose, and it seems from the connections here that at least two Southern Baptist seminaries have chosen to advocated patriarchy and Family Integrated Churches. Faculty at Southern are currently being asked to begin the process of converting all "Leadership and Christian Ministry" degrees over to "Family Integrated Worship" degrees. The problems, and potential embarrassment for our Convention, come when self-appointed spokesmen for the Southern Baptist Convention act to the media as if all Southern Baptist churches and Southern Baptist individuals hold to and advocate patriarchy.

While some Southern Bapitsts cherish patriarchy and believe "complementarianism" is a compromise word, there are a number of Southern Baptists who believe the advent of patriarchy and Family Integrated churches could be detrimental to our Convention if it is ever allowed to be presented as the ONLY biblical, conservative, evangelical model for ministry and worship. We must remember that we are a cooperating Convention, not a conforming Convention.

The Problems of Family Integrated Churches

Southern Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky announced the hiring of Dr. Randy Stinson in the fall of 2006 as the dean of Southern’s School of Leadership and Church Ministry. Stinson also continues to serve as executive director of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. In the statement that Dr. Albert Mohler, Jr. made concerning the appointment of Randy Stinson as dean and the school's Family Integrated Church (FIC) specialist, he says that Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) holds to a “family-centered vision of church ministry.”

We commend Southern for their emphasis on "the family" but would like to caution all Southern Baptists about the dangers of accepting patriarchy as the "only" Biblical view of church ministry. Cindy Kunsman, a highly intelligent conservative, evangelical female inerrantist is writing on her blog about the connections between Family Integrated Ministries, patriarchy, and Southern Baptist seminaries, including Southern Theological Seminary. It takes persistence and concentration to work your way through her research at her blog, called Under Much Grace, but the end result is a gold mine of understanding of the potential embarrassment patriarchy could cause the SBC if left unchallenged from a Biblical New Convenant perspective. Cindy writes about the effects of patriarchal views in the local church:

The church, per the hierarchical view, becomes a family of many, many families over which the local elders preside. Men, as the heads of their families, become the focus of ministry in the local church, and ministry then proceeds from men to their individual family members. Church ministry is thus mediated by the federal head. As a consequence of this form of government, the wife holds no independent relationship to the church that is apart from the family or male headship.

Therefore, with the FIC emphasis, what does the local church do in terms of:
(1). Ministry to singles, particularly single women?
(2). Ministry to the divorced and widowed?
(3). Ministry to children whose parents are lost?
(4). Ministry to women who come from abusive homes?
(5). Ministry to families who are fracturing?

Obviously, FIC could provide answers to the above questions, but I am uninterested in the specifics and very interested in the principle, suggested by FIC as a "Biblical principle" that the father alone is the "head" and "authority" in the home. This type of "covering" provided by the male, seems to be a direct contradiction to the teaching that in Christ there is "neither male or female" and the head of of all individuals is Jesus Christ Himself. Further, there will be NO marriage in heaven, and the concept of the nuclear "family" with the male providing the authority needed for "Family Worship" is foreign to the New Covenant concept of Christianity. As Cindy Kunsman astutley observes . . .

Our natural relatives do not take precedence over our relationships within the Body of Christ.

The body of Christ is composed of divorced, widowed, orphaned, single, abandoned, outcast, rejected people - as well as families with a traditional father, mother and children. Demands that all Southern Baptist churches be Family Integrated Churches and offer only Family Integrated Worship, even if it occurs through producing pastors who graduate from seminaries that teach the Family Integrated Church concept, will eventually cause our Southern Baptist churches to lose their ability to minister to a dysfunctional and fractured society. The church of Jesus Christ transcends culture, and in heaven there will be neither marriage nor the giving in marriage. A slice of heaven on earth is when men and women are treated equally in the church of Jesus Christ and neither one gender, or the other, are viewed as the "authorities" or "rulers."

I sometimes wonder if our Southern Baptist seminaries teaching of male domination is the reason why Southern Baptist women are being bypassed for, or removed from, positions on seminary faculty, administrative positions at the IMB and NAMB, and other various positions where a woman has "authority" over a man.

I also wonder what some Southern Baptist leaders are saying publicly (and in private) about Sarah Palin?

Stay tuned.

In His Grace,



Anonymous said...

Hey, I am first to comment!

Am at a seminar all day, and just dropped in to see what's going on.

If I could just get my wife to buy into this - I'd have it made, almost. Then, I'd have to get my 15 and 14 year old, extremely independent daughters to do so, as well.

Can polygamy be far behind! I have a herd of goats at my farm that I will gladly trade for a young bride. I am off to tell my family of my new venture. Let me know if you have the names of any young women (or their fathers) who feel that a herd of goats would be a fair trade.

Then, I shall start my own country where I will be King, President and the Great Husband and Lord of the Manor.

Seriously, I don't know enough about any of this to make an intelligent assessment.

We do have a very few families in our church who have made some comments related to youth ministry that makes some of this sound familiar. But we, as a church, have decided as a strategy that we are going to have a separate and distinct youth ministry that will not be simply an extension of families. We are cautious to make sure that parents feel welcomed (not hovering over the kids), that they know everything we are teaching, and that the youth ministry will not be totally divorced from the church and the families. But we have rejected the family ministry approach in that context. That is the only context in which I have seen this come up. Even the families who have brought this up are pleased with our approach.

My guess is this is the latest fad that may take route in some quarters, and will stay localized there. I doubt that this movement, as it has been described here, will direct the SBC or the seminaries any time soon. There will be some influence, probably more rhetorical than real. But I do not believe that will be lasting or strong.


Anonymous said...

I think you might be overreaching on this one, but here is a recent post from CBMW that answers your last question about Sarah Palin:

Does Sarah Palin Present a Dilemma for Complementarians?

by David Kotter

Writer said...


I have counseling a small church in Wake Forest, NC that recently had a run-in with FIC. It seems that their pastor, who is a seminary professor, tried to force this concept on the church and was eventually asked to leave. As a result, a split occurred. We need to be very careful with things that might further divide our churches.

I have no opinion either way on FIC. I only mention this to say that FIC advocates should go very slow with this in the small church. Relationships are vital in a small church and that includes relationships with singles and single-parent families. Anything that appears to exclude any part of the church family in a small church will be viewed with suspicion.


Anonymous said...

This is the first time I have heard of FIC, but it does show what happens when a non-essential view is seen as an essential,and Biblical, thereby being forced to believe and practice it. The result is going to be as Les as said happened in a small church, further division. People being left out. I'd hate to see the church take two steps forward, two steps back.

absonjourney said...

I am a young pastor in a new church in OKC. I have been reading this blog almost since its inceptions and commenting rarely. I am not a fundamentalist and am largely Reformed in my theology. I attended SWBTS pre-Patterson and planted a church to help reach a generation of young adults who were leaving and not coming back here in our state. The average age in my church is 27. Most are young married couples, many with young children. I am also a complementarian.

I have been reading the posts that Wade has written over the past few weeks with growing frustration. I believe that Scripture allows women to teach in seminaries, teach in churches, and hold governmental office. But I also believe the Bible teaches, consistently, that dads are the heads of their households, and the office of elder in a church is reserved for men. We teach these things in our young church and find that young couples, both men and women, benefit and celebrate these Biblical truths.

Why? Because it helps answer the questions they have so much trouble asking in their marriages. Culture tells these young women that they should be superwoman- work, raise kids, make decisions, and boss your home. Culture tells men that they should be lazy, not grow up and take responsibility, and let their wives make all the decisions.

Guess what? That leads to seriously dysfunctional marriages. When husbands and wives in grace slide into their God designed roles marriages thrive.

Now I realize that I am speaking only from my own experiences in a new, young church. But, I think if you will look at other young churches that hols this view you will find a trend- a trend that bears watching and maybe begs a re-examination of the position of complementarianism.

Anonymous said...

I humbly disagree with the young pastors characterization of what the culture is teaching. They do not teach that women should make all the decisions, men should not. Women work while men are lazy.

They do for the most part, believe that it should all be mutual. That women should be able to do any job with equal pay. Jobs that were off limits to women are not. Such as the office of Vice President or even President. Not all that culture says is wrong or bad just because it is culture. In fact it is culture that to a large degree woke the church up by asking some hard questions concerning the Partriarchy view. They woke the church up to their reponse to abused women and children. To civil rights. Mixed marriages.

Now I don't look to culture for my views, but I looking through the scripture for answers, did find that they weren't wrong in everything such as the above.

We seem to have the mentality that because something isn't from the church it's wrong because the Bible says to separate from the world, not to do anything they do but the opposite. I don't agree. Not on everything.

John Stickley said...


Depending on which statistics you believe, the church today loses around 80-90% of our youth once they graduate high school and move on from their youth group to high school.


It's probably a safe bet that much of this is due to families delegating their kids' spiritual development to the church. Hence age-appropriate Sunday School, children's ministers, youth ministers, etc.

The strength of the FIC model, as I understand it, is that it helps to encourage parents to take their God-given responsibilities for raising their kids seriously... to do everything in their power to encourage multi-generational faithfulness and prevent the current mass exodus of young adults from the church.

How is this a bad thing?

Perhaps I just see the FIC concept a bit differently than you, but to me, it seems it could be equally attractive to both the egalitarian and complementarian viewpoints in the above light.

Ramesh said...
This comment has been removed by the author. said...

Abson and John,

I must not be communicating very clearly. I apologize. I believe the husband and father have God-given roles to play, and families are strengthened when husbands and fathers fulfill their roles. My post is to refute the notion or idea that the woman, wife, mother etc . . . is any LESS significant when her husband or father is not a participant with her in worship.



absonjourney said...

That makes me feel a little more comfortable with your arhument, but it does not come through very well in your post.

I went to the website for FIC churches and I'm going to assume that your comment on women being LESS significant is based on their Communion position of having unmarried women and single moms take Communion under the authority of a man in the church. I do not practice this in my church, but on occasions when we have husbands and fathers pray over their families as a part of worship, we invite singles, both men and women, to join with families if they desire. I do think this helps model a godly family model for young women who will one day marry. We have discovered for many of our single ladies that this is the first time they have EVER heard a man pray for or about his family.

Just some thoughts. said...


You are correct.

The inability to take communion without a male "covering" is precisely my concern.

That kind of thinking is totally contradictory to the New Covenant teaching that every believer, whether male OR female, is a priest unto God.


Bob Cleveland said...


If you take the "male headship" thing to its logical conclusion, and add in the command to train up our children, then I guess guys will have to stay home and home-school their kids, too. Or else go to school with them.

The obvious point is that we may be responsible for the kids' spiritual upbringing but that doesn't mean we don't use other people to accomplish it.

For one thing, kids' Sunday School has to be different from adults, for self-evident reasons. Why shouldn't kids' worship, too? I know our church has children's worship service for the little ones to go to while us old folks do our worship-thing. It seems to be effective.

So I'm guessing the SBC Geniuses have simply taken up Eisegesis.


Anonymous said...

"Why? Because it helps answer the questions they have so much trouble asking in their marriages. Culture tells these young women that they should be superwoman- work, raise kids, make decisions, and boss your home. Culture tells men that they should be lazy, not grow up and take responsibility, and let their wives make all the decisions. "

No my friend, Here is the answer they need:


Tim G said...

I have encountered a few people who think like this, usually associated with Bill Gothard. I have found that it is fades with time and when one looks at teh effects on the family down the road, the children "run" at some point and a few of the parents get back involved in a church setting that some would call normal.

I would also add, that people with this type of mindset can really cause trouble in a church and often come across self centered and self rightous. Some, not all, in the home school movement have struggled with this as well.

It will make a Pastor "stay sharp" for sure!

Cally said...

I wonder why you remain with the SBC. Thanks for your thoughts

Anonymous said...

You crazy Calvinist have no clue you're shooting you're own on this one. Voddie, Founders, Al Mohler, et al are all to the far far right of "the SBC genius' regarding FIC. Ol Paige may not want a woman teaching men at his seminary, but he is not about to do away with Beth Moore and youth ministry.

Anonymous said...

1. A century ago, seminary students were granted PhD degrees based upon imaginative dissertations rather than upon intelligent ones; it appears the same may be possible today at 2 SBC seminaries, at the least.

2. The New Testament indicates that a husband is the leader of his family because--at least in part--when Adam sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, he did so without having been deceived as Eve was.

3. For discipling families, seek to influence the head of the household, whomever it may be (in some 2-parent families, the household is "patriarchal" in name only--day-to-day, the wife is the parent who really makes things work; the husband can't serve his way out of a wet paper sack).

4. Not all the SBC seminaries' professors enjoy serving there.

Cynthia Kunsman said...

Bob Cleveland wrote: If you take the "male headship" thing to its logical conclusion, and add in the command to train up our children, then I guess guys will have to stay home and home-school their kids, too. Or else go to school with them.

This is exactly the trend. Jonathan Lindvall, years before the trend became popular, preached that his wife did not do homeschooling. He said that he did it all as part of his priestly calling. His wife only aided him in the homeschooling process, and he was highly offended by the suggestion she did it and that he didn't. Lindvall is of the generation that followed Gothard with teachings, and Gothard actually effectively has said that he takes things too far. (I don't recall the whole quote.)

If you connected with these FIC folks 10 or more years ago, they were teaching creation science and encouraging mothers in their role as the primary educator in the home for the most part, if only because the husband works at least 40 hrs per week while Mom is home all the time. There has been a shift when about roughly five years ago, these folks started teaching that the father acts as the one who homeschools his children, with their wives viewed as their helpers.

They also make arguments against college because, as an extension of the "Gothard umbrella concept," they teach that the daughter is unsafe spiritually as well as physically if she dwells under a roof without any male. A brother can substitute as a male head if there is no male "covering."

What Pastor Burleson presents here only gives you a very, very brief overview of the FIC concept. They also teach that a woman should not work outside the home and liken this to Proverbs' harlot whose feet never stay at home.
There is a host of this writing at the Visionary website. They deny women voting (as this is activity in the social sphere apart from the federal head). Sunday school and other age segregated groups are outlawed because it violates their idea of the father as mediator. It also applies to women's study groups because as I saw on a yahoo group for Patriarchs Wives last week, because it pulls the woman away from the husband's teaching and may interfere with whatever he's teaching his wife.

I could list pages of examples here, such as my dear friend (homeschooling mom of 7) who was called an unrepentant feminist and called before a board and charged with "the sin of sedition" for approaching her pastor regarding a questionable teaching. BTW, they could not come up with a good Scripture for their charge so they drew evidence from two Popes -- and this group was not remotely Catholic. And there's the pastor of a well-established Reformed church who I called this week, and he asked me to keep his name and the church out of a blog post because one of these groups still retaliate against him and his congregation for speaking out against the heartwrenching experience he had with the FIC years ago.

Karen Campbell who hosts the site was cursed when she left an FIC and was told that (as in Gothard style), "Death, Disease and Divorce" would visit their home for their choice to leave this really abusive church. Feel free to contact her to inquire about her experiences in several of these churches. She is currently in a Baptist church that is Reformed, but she sought these other places out because they embraced the doctrines of grace and she no longer wanted to attend a dispensational church. Her story is one of so many, including emails I receive from people in the SBC who have had devastating experiences in their SBC/FIC churches.

Though I mentioned it in the blog piece that is mentioned here on "Grace and Truth," the dispensational denomination of the FBFI has experienced so many problems with the FIC, they passed a resolution (2006-03) declaring the FIC system schismatic. You can link to their website from here:

(Last I heard, dispensationalism and premillenial eschatology did not exclude a Believer from the Kingdom of God or the SBC.)

And if the FIC actually strengthened families and churches, promoting evangelism, I would be all in favor of it. But I found out about the FIC through church splits and friends who left Gothardesque churches and sought these FICs to have just horrible experiences. And even the churches that survive the splits (often called new church plants) don't want to talk about it because of how painful it is and because the aggressive FIC zealots actively harass them, even after they've left or churches have moved on and put the FIC experience behind them.

There are some FICs that do not experience a high degree of problems (depending on how authoritarian they are). But there are far more that are problematic, particularly those who conceived of the system. as another example.

Cynthia Kunsman said...

About SBTS granting FIC degrees. I do not know that it applies to the undergraduate school programs, but it is the case of at least some in the graduate school. Doctoral candidates were informed that they would receive a Family Integrated degree rather than the degree that they contracted for when they first entered the program under Randy Stinson's program division at SBTS. (At least one person in the program is not remotely pleased about this but feels he has no recourse, concerned that his dissent will prevent his successful completion of the degree.)

So it may only apply to graduate school. I don't know, and the 2009 catalog online does not contain any mention of family integration.

absonjourney said...


Based on your last response, you and I share the same concern. Thank you for the thoughtful dialogue and for clarifying your position. And people say you're hard to get along with! :)

Cynthia Kunsman said...

Voddie, Founders, Al Mohler, et al are all to the far far right of "the SBC genius' regarding FIC.

Why is Voddie a Vision Forum affiliate then, even appearing in the "Visionary Daughters" Vision Forum promoted video "Return of the Daughters" then? (That "daughters are daddy's help meet until a young man pays a bride's price for them" video is material for a whole other blog post.) Vision Forum recruited Voddie and he has seemed quite happy to oblige them. Why is Voddie seen all over the VF website? Why does he speak at their conferences then? Vision Forum is one of the strangest and most legalistic FIC promoters (hosting the NCFIC). Why then if Voddie one of their prized affiliates? Poor judgement on his part?

Voddie also participates as faculty for the Christian Leaders Institute with Reyenga, one of the weirdest FIC folks around per people who left one of his bizarre churches. If he is so straight on doctrine and has nothing to do with the fringe, why is he given billing along with folks like Reyenga and Kevin Swanson?

I have actually stated that out of all of these FIC and Vision Forum folks, I think Voddie has the most integrity and is the most likable. I am not familiar with the Founders group, and other legitimate and sound groups with whom Voddie Baucham might be supportive of. I'm concerned about the formal affiliations that he has with the fringe. Is there a formula to figure out how sound a teacher is by comparing the doctrinally sound groups they participate with against the aberrant groups they participate with? How many Founders aflliations does it take to negate a Vision Forum one?

A reporter told me that Bruce Ware and Russell Moore claim to know absolutely nothing about some of these groups, but how SBTS offer programs (Randy Stinson as FIC specialist) and have no problems taking the same name and espousing the same concepts as these groups that created the "FIC" concept. What then exactly qualifies Randy Stinson as an FIC specialist? Did he not know anything about the FIC history and failed to inform Al Mohler? Perhaps he didn't know in the beginning, but if they don't have anything to do with those whom they call "fringe," why don't they declare that they have nothing to do with them.

And Vision Forum, anyway, is not exactly a fringe group with no influence. They boast 10,000 web hits per week. They are a presence at every homeschooling conference and one of their affiliates usually appears as a speaker at ever state homeschooling convention. Homeschooling conventions have dismissed people and boards have split because they've contended over whether or not to invite Doug Phillips. So I don't know how fringe their following really is.

Voddie is apparently proud to be one of them. Google "Doug's blog" or Vision Forum and his name and see all the photos and videos and references that you will find. said...


I remain in the SBC because I represent a number of Southern Baptists, possibly the majority, on several issues.



Cynthia Kunsman said...

I didn't even mention Dr. David Alan Black in my FIC post.

He is a professor at SEBTS, an well-known agrarian (who draw support from the "theological war thesis" concerning the "War of Northern Aggression" to advance Christian causes)and he participates intimately with Vision Forum's FIC Director, Scott Brown who is also in NC.

Some of his writings seem to negate the teachings of the FIC, but I've had two former students from SEBTS tell me that it was Black who recruited them into the FIC and connected them with Scott Brown. One person told me that they trusted Black because of homeschooling and books he's authored, and Black gave them no idea about what they were really getting into.

Dave Black's website is Lots of well-known Christian agrarianslink to him and have online relationships with him. He also has audio available on the topic of Christian agrarianism who believe that one must live off the land to fully and effectively live the Christian life. It is a mix of American nationalism and Christianity.

Anonymous said...

I am so thankful for your words here.

As young and zealous Christians, we fell into the trap of the patriarchy movement (resoundly touted in most homeschooling catalogs). We were smart, Bible-loving young people, my husband in the ministry, etc. But we got sucked in.

It almost ruined us. I can't begin to stress how dangerous and deceptive this movement is. Painting strict gender "role" lines FEELS like it will keep you safe and on the straight and narrow, but all it does is paint out Christ as you begin to find your righteousness through obeying your "Biblical roles," etc.

Keep up the good work and THANK YOU, a thousand times over, for being willing to speak out. We've been out of patriarchy for three years now and only just now beginning to find our stride again. I cannot stress how damaging and spiritually abusive this movement is.

In Him,
Mom of Five

Cynthia Kunsman said...

Note: Another reason why the SBC should not get mixed up with the FIC. The SBC apologized for their distant past history that supported slavery and renounced it. Doug Phillips advocates slaver, per friends of mine who heard the virtues of slavery preached by him on past "Faith and Freedom" tours. (By the time they got to "Dabney's place" as my friend put it, she felt like she was expected to take off her shoes and kiss the holy ground.) Phillips hails Dabney as a prophet and speaks of his gratitude to his friends in the League of the South (a pro-kinist, pro-slavery group) in his booklet on Dabney.

They believe that God's favored will be the aristocracy and that if someone is a slave or lower on the hierarchy, it is God's providence. In other words, the ones that preach this stuff are not the ones who will be slaves because they are God's elect. They use limited atonement and God's providence to argue that if one is a slave, one merited it somehow. It is the same kind of argument that was promoted in Victorian England about the destitute and poor. God willed them to be so.

The FIC group associated with the Federal Visionists also advocates slavery with Wilson and Wilkins publishing their defense of Southern Slavery. ("Southern Slavery: As It Was" and "Black and Tan") The Christian agrarians see indentured servitude and slavery as God's divine plan for solving our economic woes.

So according to the 1995 SBC denouncement of slavery, that is another cause for Southern Baptists to reject these concepts which were developed from Christian Reconstructionists who once appealed to the "War of Northern Aggression" for arguments to advance the Christian Right.

Voddie Baucham may not realize these origins and I'm sure he's fed lots of spin by VF because of their mutually beneficial relationship.

Buy a copy of Philip Lancaster's "Family Man" book and Benjamin Palmer's 1876 book "Family..." and compare them. Much of it sounds identical to CBMW stuff.

So God bless the SBC and honor them for their renouncement of slavery. I hope and pray they continue to follow this all the way through to recognize the FIC connections to this pro Old South business from whence the FIC developed.

If SBTS was indeed ignorant of all of this in the past, fine. But what are they going to do with that information now? And I know for certain that professors and the Dean of Theology at SBTS know it. Now that they know, what do they believe is their responsibility to the SBC?

Pamela said...

This concept is as old as I am. I also feel that probably many that are not a part of the SBC already have this view of them anyway. I know this idea is not new to me after hearing about the homemaking class at one of the seminaries.

This mess is one reason why you have a lot of hurt angry women in the body of Christ. I find it really interesting that this post came up. The timing is really funny to me. At the church I attend they rarely get into the details about the roles of people in families. In recent days the pastor and another BIble teacher at the church have said they were going to preach on this at the right time. I cringed when I heard it not really knowing how they view this issue. I have not attended there too long, maybe three years. They mainly dealt with other areas of our walk relating to character and maturing in Christ.

As I began reading this post I immediately thought about the covering teachings I have heard off and on the past twenty years or so. Women are less than men. They have no brains. They have to filter everything through some man or 'she is not protected'. I as an unmarried female was pretty much viewed as a cowchip having a substandard walk with the Lord, especially if I did not agree with what I was hearing in the pulpit. What a piece of garbage. They are saying that Christ cannot watch over me Himself. Why were we created then other than to produce children? If that is the case all the texts in the Bible that says 'whosoever' 'any' and the like need to be changed to 'men who'.

Another thing I run from are churches that describe themselves as 'family' churches. Many times they buy into this nonsense.

I would suggest that if any men reading this post that run into women that react strongly when you talk about family issues and the roles of men and women in the family please keep this post in mind. You will have an understanding what many women have endured in churches. Again this concept in churches is as old as I am. You can only accept this if you believe that women can only have a relationship with the Lord through a man. I think anyone that can halfway read knows this is not taught in the word.

I am not a rebellious person that loves to buck authority. I just sincerely question the definition of headship. I just had a discussion about this with a couple of women a week ago. I told my friends that I sincerely do not feel that the revelation of the marriage relationship has been realized. I mentioned the definition of headship. If that had happened we would not have as many marriage problems as I have observed in the body of Christ. After reading this post I have decided to do a sincere word study in context on headship.

Pastor Wade, I totally understood the context of this post. It was very clear. Maybe it is because I already had a horrible point of reference on this issue.

Anonymous said...

I am somewhat disappointed in your insight Mr. Burleson. I thought you were dealing with sarcerdontalism in the SBC and the eldership kicking out any aspect of women in ministerial roles. In the home, there is many evidences in the Bible that man need to lead the home but not in authoritarian styles. Passivity and pacifism has been inherited with the "Hooterized" culture. When God allows a woman to lead such as Deborah or Palin, it is to the male's shame for being passive in the culture. That does not deny the fact that God may indeed appoint woment to ministry at all. Men are pastors and spiritual leaders in the home and pastors are to equip them to disciple their family not build another lordship.

Anonymous said...

Correction on the last entry Mr. Burleson... I noticed you clarified the perspective in the blog entries and are mainly dealing with FIC.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that truly top down approaches tend to not work in reforms because the tendency to substitute the Christ-likeness of patriarchs for lordship aspects in re-emphasizing that last blog on pastoring the family. The SBC has enough problems with not dealing with unruly clergy and need to abandon the strict biblical constructualism in this and always lay foundations of God's grace as primary. They are making those who have dual home partners more stressed and ARE NOT empowering them to lead as they did to Mrs. Klouda's husband. Did they go visit him in his heart condition? No. They failed in not "bearing with him" him through his hindrances. As you can see even clearly even the SBC leadership is clearly in a state of triangulation. In just coming off a blog of what some say "bitter" women dealing with unruly clergy, the SBC leadership needs to be better aware that many under 40 persuse the web. Ignoring this will not make it go away andmay we all be subject (meaning believing the best) to one another in this.

Somewhere west of Enid.....

Anonymous said...

At-risk youth need to see how they can be good fathers eventually too. Most have so many problems at home and on the street that they give up all hope and fixate on the moment. Programs do need to have a family perspective to them. The problem does seem an overt dedication to Biblical constructuralism where it can undermine grace. Even John Darby had concerns about churches going to far in that direction of a "perfect" church.

Cynthia Kunsman said...

Very thoughtful comments.

It's just so heart wrenching that in our efforts of carry out what we think will be effective for all the right reasons, we flawed human beings make wrong choices. Terms like family, family togetherness, fellowship, and others all sound lovely and paint a desirable picture on the surface of the FIC.

The simplicity of the Gospel is remarkably simple, and we even have red letters that spell some of these things out for us. Love God. Love others. Study the Word to be transformed and conformed. Preach the Gospel of Jesus and make disciples of all nations.

Yet in our wisdom, we get diverted from Jesus and the simplicity of the Gospel.

I was asked what I saw as a viable alternative to patriarchy and the gender cures for the church and society. I told the person that they might think this droll or naive, but it's the simple message of Jesus. We don't need another program, we need to love one another with the manner of love that the Father has given us that we might be called the sons (and daughters) of God.

I always saw the benefit of all "segregated" programs or even special programs as just one more unique way to create yet another opportunity to present the Gospel and love of Jesus to one more person. When you get your eyes off the message of Jesus and on to anything else -- be it a program or a group -- we loose it. Even something as wonderful as family is not Jesus. He didn't say that He came to seek and save families. He came to seek and save hurt, needy, lost, bruised sheep.

We need to get back to considering the hurts and needs of individuals whom we are called to love and love individuals without regarding their position, appearance, performance or where they fall into the family. It creates all manner of prejudice.

I listened to an audio of Dr. Walter Martin recently and he mentioned eschatology. He said that more ink has been wasted on that matter (in 1979) than any other. I think that today, you could well say that of gender roles. And he admonished us to get back to the essentials of the faith, otherwise we would not have the love for one another as a body and we would not have power to evangelize the world.

The FIC, just as all of these gender foci, concentrated on nothing but our differences rather than on Jesus. And that is something that frustrates me personally, because I really detest this topic. I don't want to talk about these things and would rather ponder righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost. And the topic is a painful one. I've participated in these groups in a variety of ways, and I must acknowledge that I was deceived. I must acknowledge that I aided and abetted those who have perpetrated these very abuses. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? I certainly do, all too well.

We need less pretense and fewer programs, I think. And the answer to our deficiencies might not be a complicated program but humility, honesty and transparency with one another. This FIC business is full of haughty pride and punishment. It looks and sounds lovely on the surface, but as one who has seen the belly of the beast, it becomes a cruel and heartless master and another gospel.

I encourage everyone to listen to this message by Dr. Martin. It's simple, straightforward and profound.

Wayne Smith said...

Wade and All,

Who is the HEADSHIP of HIS CHURCH???

WHO is the HEADSHIP of ALL???


Anonymous said...

First of all, Wade, thank you for a wonderful and insightful post. Cindy, you hit the proverbial nail on the head. It's all about Jesus.

My husband is a former SBC church planter and pastor. He was educated in SBC schools and seminaries and upon graduation served with NAMB for two years and stayed with the church plant as pastor. We were in a Northern State and it was very difficult to plant in this area. We went to an FIC conference in Wake Forest, NC because a professor who taught at the seminary which my husband graduated from was one of the speakers. We trusted him and decided that FIC must be worth looking into because of what we knew of him. It was there that we met another pastor and we told him of our difficulties we had in our church and he and another well known FIC guy began to explain to us why we were having these problems...because we were not family integrated. We weren't doing it the way God intended it to be done. He who encouraged us to come to his city and start a FIC church alongside his church. We agreed along with another to go to this city. Long story short, we found ourselves destitute and homeless...the pastor had lied (we have since found out that we are not the only family that he has done this to) My husband contacted the SBC powers that be, and he was told that he should know that SBC churches are autonomous and that they cannot say or do anything about a SBC church...they told him to get it together financially and then they would talk to him. We had fallen out of grace with these people because our finances were shot....all because of a SBC pastor.

I have given you no real details, but the spiritual abuse in this situation was horrible. We began to move in and out of FIC circles in our new area because these were the "right" people. We soon found out that we wanted no part of this movement. It almost destroyed our faith in God, our marriage and our family.

I don't know how long recovery will last. Survival came first, then anger, then I feel like we are just existing. My husband was "called" to ministry....right? Cindy and her writings have been very beneficial and healing for me. I recommend that anyone who has experienced spiritual abuse to check out her sight...Under Much Grace.

Again, thanks for writing about this topic. I believe the landscape of America will be littered with lay people and clergy alike who will be left to die by these people. It is well worth discussing.

Anonymous said...

According to the article below, don't residents of Pakistan practice a form of FIC--and isn't this the logical (illogical) outcome of it ultimately, save for God's grace (as if FIC adherent really have any of it, our knowing that they choose to contradict Scripture by their teaching and practice)?

Girl Forced to Marry at Nine Murdered After She Sought Annulment

A 17-year-old Pakistani girl forced to marry a 45-year-old when she was only nine was reportedly killed by her parents, according to the Weekend Australian.

The murder has intensified despair among human rights workers in Pakistan over a recent spate of "honor killings," in which two women and three teenage school girls were buried alive in Baluchistan Province because they wanted to marry the men of their choice.

Saira Nusrat Bibi was successfully fighting a legal battle to have her marriage annulled. As she left court in the Punjabi city of Sahiwal, she was surrounded by a group of men reportedly sent by her parents, and shot in front of police, The Australian reported.

The Baluchistan case was worsened by an attempt by a member of the country's national parliament, Senator Israr Ullah Zehri, to defend it, telling colleagues that "these are centuries-old traditions and I will continue to defend them,” The Australian reports.


Tom Parker said...


Please share with us the answer to the last two questions posed. I am waiting in anticipation to know the answers.

Anonymous said...

In reading the blogs following mine earlier, it only affirms that the leadership in the FIC circles is following "strict biblical structualism" which will undermine grace if it is NOT "Christ centered". The result is that the leadership EXPECTS the following of biblical principles instead of EMPOWERING it's flock and BEARING BURDENS to do so. It is not that FIC is a bad thing and that we should all run and "be leary." Did not Luther draw the line in order to tell if his leadership was Father-like at heart or imitating that of a heartless dictator? Christ would never do such a thing. He ALWAYS empowered those in following HIM. Sometimes he did say get up and walk but he always empowered them.

Somewhere West of Enid

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

This is the wackiest thing I have pert'near ever heard of. We're gonna kind of “help” Jesus out by having Dads (where there is one) become a sort of assistant straw boss priest, although each Christian believer enjoys their own priesthood. Ri-i-i-ight. Positively Catholic.

Y'know, we were told that the Liberal Baptists were the ones who were leaving the Bible behind by going off on their own little holy snipe-hunting trips. This is much more worldly, though - it's almost Islamic. It is almost as though anything in Scripture that speaks of individual responsibility and power has to be quashed so these foolish seminarians and wannabes can plot their next little fiefdom.

All in all, there may have been a day for such foolishness - although never in any Evangelical church - but it is two hundred years late and a dollar short.

Only By His Grace said...


While I was in seminary at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth during the sixties under Ralph Naylor, I attended my first Bill Gothard seminar. For the next ten years I went to fifteen Basic Youth Conflict Seminars, eight advanced and seven seminars just for pastors. There were a number of concepts that crystallized some basic doctrines for me concerning "fellowship" with other believers that I thought were marvelous and still do; however, I remember my second or third BYCS that he began riding to death the concept of marriage, divorce and remarriage using the Diamond in the Rough example.

Gohard's main premise taught that if a person married (having sexual intercourse before marriage counted, too), divorced then remarried that person could never be all God intended for them to be, and it made no difference if that person was saved after the divorces. Gothard taught that divorce was a major mishap in the cutting of the diamond (his or her life) and that life could never be fully all God intended for it to be. I took his argument with me to class in my strong disagreement with Gothard. I remember one of my most heated disagreements was with Dr. Curtis Vaughn whom I thought was one of the three or four greatest teachers I ever sat under. Dr. Vaughan took Gothard's position, too.

My position has not changed. I had Dr. Vaughan for eighteen hours at SWBTS and the class at that particular time was I Corinthians. I could not then and have never been able to get around II Corinthians 5:17. If that verse is true, the old diamond is thrown away and a whole new diamond begins with conversion to Christ. I do not care if a person had the proverbial seven wives of Jesus entrapment story with divorces in place of deaths. I have not changed my position in forty years when I heard Gothard and fought with my dear friend and mentor, Dr. Curtis Vaughan. I still preach, come to Christ for a whole new beginning. Gothard was pointing to what Cindy is talking about in her above comments. We need to listen to her; Cindy has done her homework on this one, some of that homework by bitter experience if I read between the lines correctly.

Molly, bless your heart. I was fortunate enough to stop at the forks of the creek and am so thank for "the path not taken." God will use you greatly because of your experience (Romans 8:28; I Thess. 5:18).

In spite of Gothard's great concepts about how to confess faults and how to forgive those who wrong you, it was this one area on divorce and remarriage that collapsed the Gothard house of cards for me. I never attended another one of his seminars nor looked at his materials again. I consider them evil. There are no "second class citizens" in my God's Kingdom because it is all ONLY BY GRACE that any of us stand where we are today.

Phil in Norman

absonjourney said...

I think some of you are going a little far with the "Islamic" comments. Scripture, which we all believe in and trust, does say on more than one occasion, that husbands are the heads of their homes. It also calls for wives to submit to their husbands using the same word that is used to describe Jesus' submission to the Father. There is nothing remotely Islamic about either of those positions. Women are not property. They are partners. Husbands are not ultimate authorities, they are heads of household under Christ. Let's stop the inflammatory rhetoric and be critical of this issue (FIC) without being insulting.

Wayne Smith said...

Tom Parker,

the answer to both questions is Jesus Christ, don't you Agree???

Wayne Smith

Anonymous said...

When I read your comments, I think of my Father.

Pop worked sixteen hours a day (two jobs) and he worked as a garage mechanic on Saturdays. He grew a large organic garden for us because he wanted us to be healthier and smarter. Every morning at five, Pop woke us up to his wonderful hot breakfasts. And every Sunday, our father took us to church.

Now, Pop didn't have more than one suit at a time and only two pair of shoes. He bought us books on subjects that interested us. He bought me a piano (second-hand) and paid for lessons. When my brother became interested in science, Pop bought him a REAL microscope. When the time came for us to go to university and later, my brother to medical school, the money was in the bank. And every Sunday, my father took us to church.

Now our mother was the queen of our home and we all honored her wishes. But, I think my Pop fulfills the idea of a true family patriarch. We would never have done anything less than try to make him proud. We revered him.
Because of my father, I am able to understand so much more about the great love our Heavenly Father has for us.

And every Sunday, my father took us to church.

Lee's Daughter

Anonymous said...

Wade -

You might want to check out

This article talks about how SBC leaders (especially those you've tried to implicate)view Palin's nomination. said...

John D.

I think you may misunderstand my motive. I have no desire to "implicate" any SBC leader.

I have a desire to point out that the patriarchal philosophy among some in SBC leadership could lead to an inconsistent application - with some bending their philosphical arguments in order to allow the inevitable female VP nomination, but holding to a RIGID patriarchal demand that no woman have "authority" over a man when it comes to SBC matters.

I much prefer a consistent, biblical, and philosophical view of women than one that caters to culture.


Tom Parker said...


I knew the correct answer of Jesus Christ. I just wanted to know what you said the answers where since you posed the questions. I am glad we can agree on the answer. My other question to you is it really necessary to put 3 question marks at the end of a question. I was always taught by my English teacher to only put one.

Anonymous said...

Wade -

So you think their support of Palin makes them duplicious?

Could it be that their support of Palin is proof that they're not the extremists you try to paint them to be.

Kathleen said...

I've recently left an FIC that is being led by a prominent homeschool leader. The church is getting into more controversial teachings (when they aren't promoting their self-proclaimed homeschool leader's family's agenda). Those teachings would include Vision Forum's "Return of the Daughters" video. Many families and elders in the congregations are ATI. One elder, on the church's website video ( ), proclaimed that men are the "prophet, priest and king" of their home/family. The Teaching Elder who promotes this, Gregg Harris (who also took pointers from Jonathan Lindvall), also teaches this and was the one who recommended the "Return of the Daughters" video in a sermon.

The teachings in this particular FIC haven't been getting less divisive -- they divide over non-essentials. Get this; Gregg Harris preaches that really, to be more in line with Scripture, men should be owning their own businesses. I have lots of links and in-context quotes. The FIC's might be a good thing if they didn't exlude the very people Jesus Christ reaches out to.

I know this stuff first hand. My husband didn't fit the business-ownership mold; we didn't fit the perfect "full-quiver" mold; we didn't school our kids with Gothard; we didn't eat only organic foods; we didn't support Huckabee; we think it's alright for a woman to have a career; we don't homebirth; the women in my family vote (some young patriarch declared to my face he didn't think women should be allowed to vote); etc., etc.

The FIC's I've been to were quite exclusionary.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathleen,

I wonder if you could share your opinion about the motivation for the "FIC" group to seemingly try to return to a simpler way of life where there is much more "stability" (or control)? Am I detecting a hint of anxiety on the part of this FIC movement that is a reaction to our pluralistic society in America?

Steve said...

I was thinking this FIC bunch had the quickest way back to 1700s "barefoot & pregnant" thinking I have come across.

So are they pro-slavery too? How 'bout tradin' with Britain?
The cotton business?
Capitoline dresses?

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the provocative post.

It seems like some Southern Baptists, like many in our culture, love to get on the latest bandwagon. A few years ago every SBC church was promoting "Promise Keepers," not to long ago you couldn't go anywhere without hearing a canned sermon series on the "purpose driven life," and now the latest new thing may be the FIC movement.

Some of these things are not bad or wrong within themselves, but when we elevate such things to dogma they can quickly become something akin to that.

Just my two cents.


Tom Parker said...

Does any of this sound similiar to the FLDS to anyone else besides me?

Anonymous said...

Seems like the "control" and "be controlled" aspects of "FIC" serve some of the same needs expressed by the FLDS leadership and members.
Over time, it will be interesting to see how the "FIC" movement evolves as new restrictions and exclusionary requirements are added in order to be part of the "in" group. Bears watching.

Anonymous said...


As I read through the blog, I wanted to follow up on a question raised by one of the posters, John Stickley, about why SBC churches are losing the young. My comments are directly related to Mr. Stickley's question, but in some sense they are.

The question Mr. Stickley raised is obviously complex, with no one answer. A dissertation or book could be written about each proposed answer. In the context his question and my thoughts about it, however, I don't see the FIC movement as a response to the problem, much less a panacea for it.

I think one reason people leave, not just those getting out of high school, isn't, at least in our experience, related to a lack of "men being men." In my experience, Southern Baptists are good at "bringing in the sheaths" but not very good at growing them up once they're in the fold with exegetically/expository preaching that both nourishes and grows the believer.

As someone who has moved around a lot, I can say without a doubt that in my experience, at least in the SE US, that the vast majority of Southern Baptist pastors have been trained in what I believe to be a deficient homilitcal preaching style, more suited to a "crusade" than a church service.

Let me back up regarding why the question raised by Mr. Stickley interests me.

My wife and I recently stopped attending a SBC church in favor of a non denominational church pastored by a DTS alum (no, he's not a dispensationalist). When we went to the pre membership class/orientation/etc., I was amazed at how many former Southern Baptists were in the audience. That hit home with me. I now believe that they are there for the same reason we are: the expository preaching style is the style that nourishes and grows the believe, not the three point/evangelistic style that is massively dominant in many SB churches and into which most pastors were trained.

By the way, we did not seek to leave the SB church. My wife and I both came to know and accept Jesus through the ministry of SB churches. I frankly feel about the SBC like Ronald Regan did about the Democratic party: we didn't leave the SBC, the SBC left us.

We found the desire to be
"relevant," program driven ad nauseum, in tune with the latest "hip" thing or fad (i.e., FIC, "purpose driven," etc.), to take away from the main thing that the church should be about.

We're both still baptists in belief and practice. We believe the Bible, salvation through faith in Jesus, the priesthood of the believer, local church governance, etc., but we found over time that the preponderance of the pastors in SBC churches could only preach a three point topical sermon that often times seemed canned. I now know that Lifeway sells something called "sermon outlines." That something that makes me go "hmmm."

I digress. Maybe I'm overly critical. Maybe I'm perceiving things wrongly. Maybe the problem is with me. Maybe I'm just flat wrong in my belief that one homiletic style is superior to another. I pray not.

I'm certainly not answering John's question directly or directly responding to your post. I'm just trying to offer an explanation of why some, including my wife and I, no longer attend a SBC church. It's not because "men weren't being men" as is implicit in the FIC movement, but it does have something to do with the way many SB churches are "doing church." Moving in the direction of FIC isn't going to change that.


Anonymous said...

Until the FLDS was mentioned I hadn't thought specifically of it. But it all fits. Same ideas. This from people who claim to follow Jesus who treated women better than anyone else in His culture/time, speaking to them in public when many men didn't, teaching them His message when many men considered them not worthy to learn, sending them to be the first messengers of His resurrection when women were not even allowed to be witnesses in court (the male disciples didn't believe them!).

But let's follow the way the culture of Jesus' time treated women rather than the way He did. After all, that way men can lord it over women, as has been happening almost everywhere since time began. Even though Jesus said His followers were not to lord it over others. I guess it's ok to treat women that way if they are not considered human, just like some others were not considered human earlier, and so were made slaves by those who could.

If they think every woman should be ruled by a man, they probably will need to advocate some form of polygamy to accomplish it. Scary.
But I have seen other things happen in Baptist life that I would never have expected so maybe this is on its way. Let's hope not.


Kathleen said...

Someone asked me this:

"I wonder if you could share your opinion about the motivation for the "FIC" group to seemingly try to return to a simpler way of life where there is much more "stability" (or control)?"

Well, in my opinion there wasn't anything "simple" about their way of life at all. Everything was so heavily emphasized as "this is the 'biblical' way to ... be a wife, be a husband, father, mother, be a teenager, eat healthily (organic, kombucha-mushroom-craze), court, earn a living, etc. They would put a caveat on it and say that you had a "liberty garden" in your life to live, and everybody would inspect your fruit. It was evident that those who followed the leadership's "rules" of living got in pretty close to leadership.

On the hofcc website they put together a video to market their brand of FIC. They are actively now marketing themselves to other pastors of other congregations across America, asking them to come and visit (and they've already had a few pastors from across the U.S. come to visit) to get ideas to bring back to their own churches.

Instead of reaching out to the poor or less priviledged in society, hofcc is reaching out with a "gospel" of reform to other pastors/men. They actually have some kind of schedule and set-up to house these pastors within the congregation's families instead of a motel.

To me, it's become a heavy emphasis on marketing, reform, and lifestyle choices and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the yet unsaved. It's exclusive, and when I spoke out against the exclusive teachings of business ownership, as well as the constant elevating of Harris' works/empire (as a woman, no less) AFTER I had left the church congregation, Gregg Harris called my husband to ask me (note: Gregg didn't try to talk to me directly; he went through my husband) to take down my blog post. My husband asked me and I said no. Harris then said he'd have to discuss it with the elders what they should do. Hmmm, I had already left the congregation.

In my opinion, Gregg Harris/Co. has been preaching Jonathan Lindvall stuff and Gothard stuff and patriarchy because he's found the perfect niche market to sell his wares/ideas.

I'm irked in this because we TRIED to fit in, going to the lenths of getting really involved, my husband even preached a couple of sermons there and yet at every opportunity, Gregg and his apprentices would put down my husband's line of work, making the case that men who don't work for their own business were "weak and lacking in confidence" (I have that on audio and transcripted.)

Add to the fact that The Rebelution conferences were so hyped up, the books advertised constantly, their promo videos being shown on the overhead screen during a church service, and the intense push for EVERYONE, every family to be involved in promoting and volunteering for The Rebelution conference.

It was sickening for them to promote this as a ministry, making tens of thousands of dollars each conference on it for their "non-profit" in which I still have no idea who sits on that board, and for them to promote it as their livelihood (and to put down my husband's restaurant management job) -- all the while the Harris' get free employees that they aren't paying to fuel their machine. I had enough.

IMO again, the whole FIC movement and the authors/"leaders" in it are trying to get a leg up on other Christians, putting them down in the process. The movement has it's marketeers, that's for sure.

Cynthia Kunsman said...

About the FLDS and similarities to this movement:

Stacy McDonald at her yoursacredcalling.blogspot defended the FLDS and called the government intervention there "spiritual genocide" whatever that means. The co-author of her recent book recommends "Fascinating Womanhood" on her website Look at the book list/sales page -- about half of the way down. "Fascinating Womanhood" is written by a Mormon woman but it describes patriarchal living which they all find beneficial. So it is not such a stretch at all. Hard, rigid patriarchy is man-centered and not Christ centered. The same problems will ensue as the system is one of totalism. Ideological totalism always produces the same characteristics -- those of spiritual abuse. When you get your eyes off of Jesus an on to man's systems, you produce the same kind of fruit.

I have not read all that has been written on the blog of Stacy and her husband, the self-ordained James McDonald of Peoria, IL (not to be confused with the SBC's James McDonald just outside of Chigago). If it is of great interest, you could look back over their blogs, going back through the archives that coincide with the FLDS scandal this past year. I'm told that in blog articles and commentary that they strongly defended the FLDS.

BTW, these folks (connected to both Vision Forum and Federal Vision) have a deceitful history to say the least. They tout 10 children in these homeschooling groups but are both divorced and actually have a blended family. They crashed a Yahoo group that belonged to a friend of mine to destroy evidence about their personal histories, also stealing the mailing list and launching their ministry with the list the very next day. On this list and according to friends, they were Pentecostal, but James could not get ordained. He then claimed previous SBC ordination and used this along with a recommendation from RC Sproul, Jr. to get provisional ordination with the RPCGA. According to Dr. Talbot who headed up this organization (via direct correspondence to verify the online history), the provisional or probationary ordination would have been lifted when James produced his SBC ordination documentation and his divorce decree to them. But he left under censure instead, forming his own denomination. (He was about to get into trouble over paedocommunion anyway, as his advocate RC Sproul, Jr had just been defrocked.) He will not disclose the location of his SBC ordination for verification. (I don't believe that there is one, based upon what friends of theirs say when they knew them in the Pentecostal church.) Their current church in Peoria is involved with Christian militia movements and has close ties to kinists, harboring one at their church. So beware if you venture there.

Cynthia Kunsman said...

For those of you who are doubtful of the "withdraw from culture and have your own patriarchal home business" message, it was delivered by Gregg Harris at John Piper's church.

Link to the audio:

Link to the church info about the conference:

Listen for yourselves. People are honestly not inventing this stuff. As Gothard has over time, this same stuff is becoming more mainstream.

Cynthia Kunsman said...

Someone asked Wade Burleson if this blog post was meant to implicate the SBC. I cannot speak for his reasons, but if you take note of my blog post from August 29, I can tell you why I started writing on the topic recently.

I was recently contacted by a Louisville reporter who had a million questions to ask about this patriocentricity movement. The professors at SBTS that I quote in the apologetics lecture I gave in March (online in video format that makes all these same distinctions about the FIC) stated to the reporter that they had never heard of these groups. So I endeavored to articulate online the very points that I mentioned in that lecture, giving more direct information. The reporter said that Russell Moore and Bruce Ware had absolutely no knowledge of these other FIC affiliated groups and believed that I had mischaracterized them. I discuss this in the aforementioned blog post of mine. I sought to address the naivete of their claims that I had very wrongly associated them with fringe groups with whom they shared no common beliefs or SBC affiliations.

If that theme as communicated here in this forum, as I state in my post about the FIC, that was my purpose and talking point. That theme that some have interpreted as "implicating" the SBC was actually my own apologetic in response to two indirectly communicated messages about me and my scholarship from SBTS. It was not an attempt at implication on Wade Burleson's behalf but an expanding upon that which I began to express in the lecture I gave at a sister seminary in March.

I have begun to offer a more in-depth history of the movement, partly to complete the work I began, for all those who could benefit from a more consolidated and specific history of the FIC. I also learned that the aggressive, authoritarian and ad hominem responses to me in response to March's lecture originated with those at SBTS. I am convicted that I am duty bound to reveal these connections in order to answer these false accusations, to defend my premise and to bolster my own logic and arguments in the face of personal criticisms that address absolutely nothing pertaining to the content of my presentation. It's completely unfair on behalf of SBTS to claim that there is no basis in fact for my associating them with the patriarchy movement, particularly when Russell Moore says that this is the term he much prefers to "complementarianism." Email me if you want references and cannot find them in my blog posts, and I would be happy to provide anyone with these sources.

So if that flavour of "targeting" carries over here, that responsibility should really fall to me and not anyone else.

Cynthia Kunsman said...

About recommending Palin for VP.

The stronger patriocentric groups are opposing her. Read Doug Phillips' blog citing Voddie Baucham and Voddie's daughter on the subject (or on Voddie's own blogs). James and Stacy McDonald reject her. Carmon Friedrich (Buried Treasure Books blog) who moves in the same circles as all of these folks in addition to Dr. David Alan Black of SEBTS also condemns the choice of Palin as VP because she is a woman. They claim that Palin is actually an anti-family choice that is anti-mother. The only notable exception I've found in these circles is that of the Bayly Brothers on their blog. They speak very favourably about Palin because of her pro-life stance. This is very inconsistent with their previous positions on women in leadership positions over men in any venue.

I expect that they all endorse the Taxpayers/Constitution Party candidate "Baldwin" who advocates "culture war" for Christians, much like that which is advocated by Russell Moore.

Tom Parker said...


I would also be very interested in what the SBC leaders are saying privately about Sarah Palin. I feel confident it would not be what they are saying publicly.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy,
How do some Christian leaders see a "culture war" as helping the cause of Jesus?

As for the leaders of SBC, I'm much more worried about where they stand on torture, than on Sarah Palin. I do not know what they support on that issue.

No disrespect intended to Sarah or to any blogger, but she IS an awesome distraction from some unresolved moral issues among Christians.

Anonymous said...

Scripture, which we all believe in and trust, does say on more than one occasion, that husbands are the heads of their homes. It also calls for wives to submit to their husbands using the same word that is used to describe Jesus' submission to the Father. There is nothing remotely Islamic about either of those positions. Women are not property. They are partners. Husbands are not ultimate authorities, they are heads of household under Christ. Let's stop the inflammatory rhetoric and be critical of this issue (FIC) without being insulting.

Sat Sep 06, 10:22:00 PM 2008

Scripture never says only the husband is the head of the home. You are mixing your metaphors. :o)

In 1 Tim 5:14 The word for 'manage' is oikodespoteo and means to .. RULE the home. The word is where we get the word 'despot'

The translators softened it to make it mean what they wanted it to mean.

Scripture also teaches mutual submission for ALL believers. Does that exclude husbands to wives?


Anonymous said...

Hi Lydia,
Thanks for using the original Greek word that the Scripture was written in. I have always wished to study Greek, and Hebrew so that I could read the Holy Scriptures in the original languages of the earliest known texts. In this way, I believe that much of the wisdom contained in the Scriptures could be expanded for me.
I do believe that the consensus of a Christian community does provide some reassurance about a translation's meaning, but then there are so many different Christian communities. I wonder, with so much division in our Christian Churches, would going back to study Scriptures in the original languages and in the context of the original cultures of Jesus' time help to heal the wounds of division?

Anonymous said...

Re: use of "Islamic" in this comment chain:

Both the words "Islam" and "Moslem" are Arabic; the former literally means "submission" and the later means "one who submits." Understood that way, it is not so far-fetched to describe this FIC stuff as "Islamic." And it certainly echoes the structure of Islamic society in the Middle East as well, although I don't think anyone would suggest that it is theologically Islamic.

John Fariss

Anonymous said...

I wonder, with so much division in our Christian Churches, would going back to study Scriptures in the original languages and in the context of the original cultures of Jesus' time help to heal the wounds of division?

Mon Sep 08, 02:09:00 PM 2008

Hi Anon, I believe that the Spirit teaches us through the Word. Sometimes that entails guiding me to dig deeper with word studies in Greek, interlinears, other resources besides Strongs, etc.

But we are told that if we ask for wisdom it will be given to us if we do not doubt. I believe that the Holy Spirit is the BEST teacher for those who are truly seeking the Truth of the Word no matter how much our flesh may not like what it says.

Sometimes it takes a long time for something to be understood clearly but we are never to stop praying and believing for Wisdom. And it is very important to take all of scripture into consideration for the meaning of a few verses. All of this takes time and we must pour ourselves into it.


Steve said...

Perhaps we DO misuse the image of Islamic beliefs when discussing these new Fundamentalist departures from the Word of God into little alleys of the pursuit of power, prestige, and control.

After all, I think of Islam as a hard-hearted after-the-fact demand for the surrender of individuality promised us by Jesus and the NT writers, as opposed to FIC and Landmarkism and the BI Crowd, which simply appear as a hard-hearted after-the-fact demand for the surrender of individuality promised us by Jesus and the NT writers. I see your point.

Anonymous said...

In all honestly, how much do any of us know about the Islamic faith. All I know is from watching a television interview with Queen Rania of Jordan, as she spoke in defense of her faith following 9/11 and calling for people to understand that the attackers were fundamentalist extremists.

I remember finding out about the first five books of the Quran, the Islamic scriptures: they are the same as the first five books in the "Old Testament".

Might be more Christian to show some respect and sympathy for a great faith that has been hijacked. After all, there certainly are plenty of fundamentalists in our own Christianity with their own extreme religious and political views.

greg.w.h said...


Borrowing from the Qur'an entry of Wikipedia:

The Qur’an[1] (Arabic: القرآن ‎ al-qur’ān, literally "the recitation"; also sometimes transliterated as Qur’ān, Koran, Alcoran or Al-Qur’ān) is the central religious text of Islam. Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind, and consider the original Arabic text to be the final revelation of God.[2][3][4][5] Islam holds that the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad by the angel Jibrīl (Gabriel) over a period of 23 years.[2][6][7] Muslims regard the Qur’an as the culmination of a series of divine messages that started with those revealed to Adam, regarded in Islam as the first prophet, and continued with the Suhuf Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham),[8] the Tawrat (Torah),[9][10] the Zabur (Psalms),[11][12] and the Injeel (Gospel).[13][14][15] The aforementioned books are not explicitly included in the Qur’an, but are recognized therein.[16][17] The Qur’an also refers[18] to many events from Jewish and Christian scriptures, some of which are retold in comparatively distinctive ways from the Bible and the Torah, while obliquely referring to other events described explicitly in those texts.

Greg Harvey

absonjourney said...

I would be hesitant to base an entire theology off a word that is used only once in all of the NT canon.

I have never argued against mutual submission. The FIC may, but I don't. However, someone must be a decision maker even in the context of the environment of this mutual submission. The Trinity is a perfect example of this principle. Jesus Himself says he is submissive to the Father using the same word used of wives in relation to their husbands. Does this make Jesus lesser? A non-person or factor? I don't think so.

Mutual submission works fine until there is a decision that has to be made, there is no way to compromise, and you can't hang on the fence any longer. In this case, the Bible is clear and consistent,a husband makes that call, under the authority of Christ, for his family.

How else would you have that decision be made?

Anonymous said...

To Absonjourney:

Check out Genesis 21:12
Here, God tells Abraham to listen to his wife, Sarah.
Not only does God tell Abraham to listen to his wife, God gives Abraham the reason to obey Sarah in the matter of Hagar and her son. Abraham listened to God as let Sarah decide the matter. Should Abraham have argued with God?

I do not think the Bible is as cut-and-dried on the issue as you think.

I admire Lydia's thorough Bible study methods. She is seeking after truth, not assuming she already knows all there is to know from a translation. Would that we all had her humility and diligence.

Anonymous said...


I hope this post doesn't sound to direct, but in a way I guess that's fine if it does. This topic strikes a nerve because it bespeaks a larger issue of narrow viewed fundamentalism that seems to be creeping into not only Southern Baptist churches, but also other protestant groups.

I went to and watched some of the introductory video. Has anyone done that?

Mr. Harris refers that evangelical/protestant/reformed churches uses the family is as as "spare parts."

In my opinion, that suggestion is not only arrogant, but also misplaced. How can this man suggest that our church, by having my children in a Sunday School class with other 3 years olds, is treating them as "spare parts."

How can Mr. Harris suggest that
doing Sunday School is allowing my family to be "divided."

(I do agree that it's not a good thing for a church to disallow families to worship together, but I've never seen that happen and it sounds more like a red herring than anything else; if it happens then that's an aberration to be addressed, not a reason to found a new church model).

I think it's great that these folks want to do church this way, if they're convinced in their own mind. However, they should never suggest that this is the per se NT model because it, simply, is not.

In my opinion, this reminds me of Paul's admonition in Roman's 15. These folks can "esteem" their way as good and right, but they can't suggest or imply that anyone else is wrong. Period.


Anonymous said...

"I would be hesitant to base an entire theology off a word that is used only once in all of the NT canon."

I would think all the 'one anothers' in the NC are 'mutual' and when practiced are 'submission' to one another. I do not see that husbands are exempt from any of them. :o)

"However, someone must be a decision maker even in the context of the environment of this mutual submission."

This is quite the popular argument and one I get a bit weary of when we are discussing Christian adults. Whatever happened to the Holy Spirit? We have so little faith!

" The Trinity is a perfect example of this principle. Jesus Himself says he is submissive to the Father using the same word used of wives in relation to their husbands. Does this make Jesus lesser? A non-person or factor? I don't think so. "

Jesus as Incarnate Son submitted to the Father. If you are speaking of the eternal Jesus then you are describing the Trinity as having separate willsm or Jesus as a lesser Deity within the Trinity. Is there a chain of command within the Trinity? If so, who does the Holy Spirit submit to? Jesus or God?

"Mutual submission works fine until there is a decision that has to be made, there is no way to compromise, and you can't hang on the fence any longer. In this case, the Bible is clear and consistent,a husband makes that call, under the authority of Christ, for his family. "

Where does the Bible say this? Where in the NC is this spelled out clearly? Why would a Christian adult want authority over another Christian adult? That is sinful and no where is taught. We are servants to one another.

"How else would you have that decision be made?"

It is amazing what happens when both are seeking the Kingdom of God. In your scenerio, an adult woman is never allowed to grow up. She is always a child with an earthly priest. Scripture does not teach this at all. It teaches that she is part of the Holy Priesthood and has anointing and is gifted by the Holy Spirit.


absonjourney said...


You're missing my point. Your story illustrates my point. God intervenes. Abraham, a husband, is not the absolute authority. God is.

further, Lydia may be seeking truth, but her hermeneutical method is not sound. You do not overturn a pile of evidence fro the entire canon of Scripture on the basis of a word used one time in scripture. That is not a sound basis for exegesis.

Anonymous said...

To Absonjourney:

If I missed your point, I have to say that I thought you had stated the the Bible was clear and consistent on the primacy of the patriarchal system of a wife's submission to a husband's decision.

If Sarah had believed that, she would never have even brought up how to handle the Hagar situation. Now, I see Abraham as one of the greatest patriarchs of the Bible. In the case of Genesis 21:12, God's intervention shows Abraham the wisdom of Sarah's decision.

May I understand that you believe that God empowered Sarah in this one instance only? u

Confused Anonymous

Anonymous said...

"her hermeneutical method is not sound"

Yawn. A tired old argument, just a way of dismissing the validity of another's points by claiming to have a superior understanding or method of interpretation.

Anonymous said...

"You're missing my point. Your story illustrates my point. God intervenes. Abraham, a husband, is not the absolute authority. God is."

So, a Christian wife has 2 masters? An authority and an Absolute Authority? If her husband has final authoritative decision making then she most definitely has 2 masters.

I am not the one who changed the meaning of scripture. Up until about 50 years ago, most churches taught that women were inferior and not equal to men. There was NO question really about their place. It was accepted...just as slavery was for many years. Now, many have decided they ARE equal but not really equal in 'role'. (I guess that means 'acting' the part?)

Church history has gotten quite a few things wrong for thousands of years such as transubstantiation, sacraments, padeobaptism, church state and magistrates, etc., etc. It is a shame that information became so available that now even the peasants can study Greek and Hebrew. :o)

I am not a bit surprised that men translated the Holy Scriptures for their own benefit. Even the KJ translators were laboring under a church/state mentality.

I believe in the inerrancy of scripture but not the inerrancy of translators.

"further, Lydia may be seeking truth, but her hermeneutical method is not sound. You do not overturn a pile of evidence fro the entire canon of Scripture on the basis of a word used one time in scripture. That is not a sound basis for exegesis."

I was not basing it on a word used one time. For example: Does Matt 5 apply to all of us? And do all the 'one anothers' in the NC apply to all of us as believers? Are they 'mutual' for the Body? And do they require submission to one another if carried out? Does 1 Corin 13 apply to all belivers? How could one apply 1 Corin 13 without submitting?

Servants submit. We are all servants within the Body. Unless you can find where husbands are exempt. :o)


thatmom said...

Pastor Wade,

I appreciate your willingness to discuss this topic on your blog.

I wanted to clarify something. The pastor who used the phrase “death, disease, and divorce” to pressure our family into staying in his church was NOT a FIC pastor. In fact, part of the reason he was so angry with us is that we had expressed concern over the anti-family direction his church had taken on some issues.

We have had some experience with 3 FIC churches, two of them extensively, the other only long-distance. I can fully understand why a homeschooling family might want to be in a FIC church. We have homeschooled for 23 years and have struggled with some pretty weird things at the hands of church members and youth leaders who thought they needed to “fix” our children. Our kids weren’t all that interested in participating in youth groups but were relentlessly pursued and by youth leaders whose own children didn’t even attend church. We also grew weary of the anti-homeschooling talk we heard in the above pastor’s church so FIC churches seemed very appealing to us.

FIC churches encourage family worship or Bible reading and Scripture memory, which we have practiced for decades in our own home. They also not only allow children in worship services but encourage it, which is something else we like. That isn’t to say that we have an issue with church nurseries. But most of our life experience in church has been being on the receiving end of people who really wanted to pressure us into programs that we weren’t interested in.

But there are several down sides to FIC churches. In our experience, there are few if any families who are not homeschoolers, which means they fall into a narrow age group. There are no elderly people and anyone who is not a believer or who is struggling with serious problems would not feel welcome. In one church we attended, the pastor repeatedly used the phrase “boys and girls” during sermons and everything during the service was dummied down to accommodate early elementary age children; sometimes worship service was more like an end-of-the-week Bible school program. There was no solid Bible teaching for the parents or older children and for a mom who is spending her whole week ministering to kids, this is discouraging. We rarely heard the phrase “patriarchy” at this church but the message that women were only to have opinions about the potluck meals and decorating was definitely being sent.

The other FIC church we attended was a totally patriarchy-minded church. It was also very clear that this group embraced the Civil War as a theological war doctrine. Not a Sunday went by that we didn’t hear how evil Abraham Lincoln was or that had the south only won the war, we would be able to live in a truly Christian nation. Once at a Bible study, my husband, son, and son-in-law heard one of the elders say “the Klan has done some good things.” We were really stunned at that. Of course, now that same church has a member who is one of the founders of the Kinist Movement, which is unknown to most people in this area. I also found out later that one of the women in that church had had children dress in “black face” for a homeschooling co-op and I was also stunned at that. We always felt uneasy about the church and it wasn’t until after we left that we began to really piece together those things and to understand what was going on.

One thing that has troubled me in FIC churches is that many of them do not hold to basic doctrines because they are't associated with denominations or they make up their own denominations. This results in a couple problems. One is that the core beliefs can fluctuate according to whomever is in leadership at the time, since what draws someone to an FIC church isn't doctrine but a non-essential lifestyle taught as if it is essential. The other problem is that often these groups form their own denominations, which further dilutes the doctrines and further dilutes the importance of the core issues that have met the test of time of the orthodox church for centuries.

I think that one of the biggest criticisms of FIC churches that I have is the fact that there is an isolationism of families going on. While I fully understand the need to protect our children, I also want my children to have compassion on others and to not be so naïve as they grow into adulthood, especially if they are going to seek to minister to others. Sadly, what I have seen in some groups is that the isolationism for protection is really an excuse for teaching a hierarchical view to your children, training them that they are better than others outside of their group and especially teaching them “roles” for men and women that are not biblical whatsoever.

So much more to say, so little space. I am going to write about this on my own blog in the next few days if you are interested. said...


A well expressed, articulate and balanced comment.

Thanks for your input. I will look forward to reading your blog.

Blessings in your walk with Christ.


Anonymous said...

On this issue, you might be interested in the forthcoming multi-view book by Timothy Paul Jones, Perspectives on Family Ministry (B&H Academic, forthcoming).

Contributors: Gary Almon, Voddie Baucham, Matt Bullen, Mark DeVries, and Randy Stinson.

Pub date: 2/1/10

TL Wilder said...

TL Wilder,

I shall read it with interest.

Hopefully, some perspectives will change through dialogue and discussion before the publication in 2010.


thatmom said...

Just wanted you to know that the first of my articles on family integrated church is now up.

Cynthia Kunsman said...


My apologies for stating that the 3-D curse comment came from an FIC group. I knew you cycled through several churches on the quest to find a local church that preached the doctrines of grace, though your accounts of what went on in those churches were all very similar. I received the same kind of denouncement when I left a Gothard-influenced church, but I also know of several people who left FICs that also received the Gothardesque "harm will come to you for rejecting our authority and leaving against our will" prophecy when they left their FIC churches. Phil in Norman is right to observe that the same submission/authority sentiments overlap in both Gothard-style churches and FIC alike. (Doug Phillips taught at one of Gothard's seminars and enjoys a close relationship with Gothard's law school program, receiving their interns for training at Vision Forum.)

And I'm so glad that you've picked up the topic of the FIC on thatmom, adding so much more to this discussion that I have not experienced. My experience comes from reports of those seeking exit counseling and support after getting out of spiritually abusive groups. I also draw from my experience with Doug Phillips where I attended a Presbyterian church with his family in San Antonio. I interacted with families at that local OPC who participated in Phillips homeschooling support groups, hearing about his controversial and almost unbelievable doctrines from those mothers. I also watched the exodus of those families from our church when Doug did eventually established his own FIC, Boerne Christian Assembly, just north of San Antonio. I've studied the theory, you've lived through it a few times in order to tell the tale, bringing a perspective to the issue that I lack.

shadrach said...

Wow, these comments have gotten ridiculous. Absonjourney, way to go. I am sad to see that although Wade owned up to his inflammatory language, he never corrected the issue.
Lydia, Yawn, et al., please read D.A. Carson's Exegetical Fallacies. I think that will help you see the problems mentioned with your arguments.

So Wade admits that "I believe the husband and father have God-given roles to play, and families are strengthened when husbands and fathers fulfill their roles," alluding to the headship directly cited by Scripture, but does not make this a central point and allows the comments to continue attacking those who seek to bring the Christian family back to its scripture-ordained roles. This is disingenuous at best.

Why is no one quoting Ephesians 5:22-33? Oh uses the word submit! We don't want to talk about that.

Yes, FIC goes WAY overboard and so do many SMALL groups. But is attacking those groups worth destroying the majority who are simply looking to get it right? We need to teach both parts of this issue equally! Wives SUBMIT to your husbands. Husbands LOVE your wives SACRIFICIALLY. Anyone who doesn't teach both is in error.

Wade, here, you are in error. You could have attacked the excesses without undermining the scripture, but chose not to do so in order to be inflammatory. Here, my friend, you are undermining scripture and approving of those who do likewise.

I really do love you, your ministry, and what your church does around the world. Please read this in that light.

thatmom said...

"Yes, FIC goes WAY overboard and so do many SMALL groups. But is attacking those groups worth destroying the majority who are simply looking to get it right? We need to teach both parts of this issue equally! Wives SUBMIT to your husbands. Husbands LOVE your wives SACRIFICIALLY. Anyone who doesn't teach both is in error."

Actually, Shadrack, the Bible also teaches that we are all to love one another sacrificially and that we are all to submit to one another. Anyone who doesn't teach both in in error.

As I continue in writing about this topic on my own blog, one thing that will be apparent is that the heresy of patriocentricity is central within the FIC church model. While I firmly believe in the husband head of the wife and, as such, am an old-school complementarian, this new breed is not biblical and, as such must be exposed for what it is.

shadrach said...

Just asking, but where are women told to love their husbands? And where are Husbands told to submit to their wives?

All Christians are commanded to love the world and be Christ's love in the world, but that doesn't mean that we are all the same. If you're a complementarian, then I'd think we are on the same page. Let's take it to the Scriptures

Mrs. Wright said...

I belong to a family integrated church that:

*Serves communion in the typical manner anyone would be comfortable with. (Evidence that not all FIC's teach that it must be served in a particular way.)

*Out of about 35 families, has two single moms, one a homeschooling mom and the other a public school mom and new believer. Both families are loved and well-cared for. (Evidence that a church doesn't have to have a divorce care ministry program to minister to the divorced.)

*Has several moms (including me) who work outside the home at least part time. Married women are NOT looked down upon for having outside employment, but are encouraged to respect their husband's opinion in this matter. (Evidence that not all FIC's condemn working women.)

*Includes several college students.(Evidence that not all FIC's teach against college education.)

*Is involved in door-to-door evangelism, park ministry, nursing home ministry, etc. (Evidence that FIC's can be extensively active in their communities.)

*Has teaching and training times that equip individuals and families. Examples: Speaking the Truth in love to Mormons, Church History, Praying for Missions- this is even led by youth and young adults. (Evidence that churches without programs still promote Christian education.)

*Enjoys many fellowship opportunities through pot-lucks, recreation nights, family camp, etc.

Perhaps there may be some FIC's that are a potential embarrassment for the SBC. At the same time, there are many traditional non-FIC, SBC churches that already are or could become embarrassments.

Don't you think it is embarrassing that, despite a myriad of programs in most SBC churches, divorce is as much a problem as in the general population? Don't you think it's shameful that many youth raised in SBC member homes are as spiritually lost as those outside the church?

While exposing weaknesses in the FIC movement, please don't overlook the weaknesses in your own churches that are of equal concern.

In Christ

Mrs. Wright said...


In Titus 2:4, older women are instructed to teach younger ones to love their husbands. So, Scripture teaches women to both respect and love their husbands.

And, according to 1 Corinthians 7:4 (concerning marital intimacy), women have authority over their husband's body.

I agree that the general Scriptural principle is for husbands to love their wives and for wives to submit to their husbands. But that doesn't exclude women from the command to love their husbands. And it doesn't exclude men from submitting to their wives in the area of marital intimacy.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian's exegesis of Ephesians 5:23 is very wanting. Verse 22 does use the term "Lord" to describe Jesus and verse 24 picks up, quite bluntly, the idea of subjection. His argument that Jesus is not portrayed as an authoritarian head falls flat on its face for this verse. And to think that the New Testament doesn't portray Jesus as Lord is ridiculous. Yes, the husband's role in the house is to be a servant to his wife but the Bible, including the New Testament, would also seem to teach that the husband possesses some measure of authority in the home as well. Otherwise Ephesians 5:22-24 can't be understood as it is written.

Scott Ross said...

I think if you are going to say that the father is not the head of the household, you must offer an alternative. Someone point me to a scripture that gives one.

It is also a logical fallacy to conclude that because the 5 scriptures listed emphasize the "head" as the underpinning element, that the head is not also the authority. Does anyone want to make the case that Christ does not literally "rule?"

And anyone having to "convince" their wives or daughters has ZERO relevance to what the Bible establishes as true.

Anonymous said...

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Unknown said...

People criticize the family integrated model, and to some degree there is justification: they are too focused on the family. But the bigger problem is the evangelical model is failing miserably at making disciples, which is what Christ called us to do. You can find out some more about our church at: Family Integrated Church

Unknown said...

I realize this will probably get lost in the mountain of previous comments - but I just have to say something . . .

Actually a few things:
1. Your definition of patriarchy is a classic example of straw man argumentation. Biblical patriarchy is about servant leadership - not the definition you give. You have built a straw man, just so you can knock it down. I am sold on family integration, and would invite you into my house any day. It is not male dominated, lord it over leadership - I as well as all FIC men that I personally know - strive to be servant leaders in their homes -- interview my wife any day of the week - I think she would say the same.
2. Your concern that this movement may prove to be an embarrassment someday -- shouldn't your concern be that it may turn out to be unbiblical? I mean, since when does the possibility of being embarrassed in this God - less culture determine what we believe? Using this standard, perhaps we should rethink our belief in creation by divine fiat - that is certainly embarrassing in our evolution saturated culture. Or how about substitutionary atonement? All those implications - like we are all sinner and stand in need of a savior -- what an embarrassment in this "I'm okay, your okay" culture!
3. Why do you feel the need to attack this movement in the first place? It fits a definite niche in our society - my family never felt comfortable in the traditional age segregated church --and we never felt comfortable with Youth group culture (even though I was a youth pastor for 10 years) We feel like we have found a home. Why can't you just accept that and leave us alone? We're not pressuring you to join us . . . far from it . . . Is it now a test of fellowship that you must separate from your children for worship?

Stacy McDonald said...

A small group of individuals have taken a peculiar interest in publicly misrepresenting the McDonald family and their beliefs for several years now. I see some of them have commented on your site.

Please remove the libelous comments contained here.

You can read the truth at:

If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office. 309-387-2600.

Jay Rowland said...

How terrifying to see Bill Gothard's name associated with any new SBC trend! I was not familiar with his teachings until I met my wife. Now she and thousands of others who grew up under Gothard's teachings, lived in his training centers, and new him personally are blogging at about his false teachings.

1. Gothard's poor exegesis is plain embarrassing. Some of his students are now ministers themselves, and they are obligated to point out his errors that have damaged so many people. The theologians who have tried to point out Gothard's false teachings have been dodged for decades. Sadly, many pastors have been duped because they dismiss the man as quirky and have failed to study.

2. Gothard has intentionally twisted Scripture in order to control people, particularly with teachings of authority and his redefinition of grace. Thus, he rightly wears the title of false teacher, and his "ministry" is recognized as being cultic.

3. Even if Gothard's teachings were correct, he does not practice what he preaches. He gets away with this because he is under noone's authority.

4. His teachings create a similar environment within individual homes. When a father is given all authority and taught that grace is earned, abuse often follows. Often abuse by the mother as well. For fathers who already lean toward being abusive, the results are disastrous.

You can read more on the website. Please pray for repentance by Bill Gothard and a public admission of his wrong teachings.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon this blog when googling family centric churches and wanted to share a view from a lay person in a church in the SBC.

Our family has attended our church for 7 years and during that time we have grown more involved in serving, our children are 11,5, & 2.

In the past year or so specifically we have become more and more uncomfortable/disturbed with the fashion that the church is developing in that we come to church and are all sent in a different direction until we leave.

Sunday Morning Sunday School, we teach, our eldest goes to youth group, our middle child Sunday school our youngest nursery. Then for service we (parents) attend service (just this year our eldest joins us), otherwise the younger kids are in junior church/nursery.

Sunday Nights our eldest is in Youth, Middle child in choir, youngest in the Nursery, dad in youth, mom in service.

Wednesday night, everyone again has their own age related classes.

For our family this presents very little time for our family to worship together, learn and grow in our faith as a family unit while at church. Our kids have little time in the church to see worship, fellowship, and learning modeled by adults in the church setting.

For us family centered church has less to do with patriarchy and more to do with our kids being discipled and learning from examples of our families vs. segregated from families and learning from other volunteers while at church.

We do think special programs can be beneficial to the church and age appropriate learning time, but when family worship and discipleship are set aside and only on rate occasions, then a huge imbalance develops.

It is sad when churches develop an atmosphere that kids programs are for kids, worship is for adults, and if kids are in the service the Holy Spirit can be prevented from working. I think this is the atmosphere in many churches today and why there is a draw of many families to Family Centered Worshiip...not patriarchy.