I’ve been watching this situation develop over the past 6-12 months, but was waiting for the right time and the right example to write a post like this. Yesterday this video popped up in my YouTube feed and I knew this was the right one. It’s short and it so clearly illustrates what is showing up all over YouTube, social media, websites, etc.
There are a lot of facets to what I’ve been observing and this video only gets at one of them. It will take me a few posts to tackle the different issues so know that this is just a first post in what will need to be a few. I mentioned in some recent podcasts and posts that I could see this problem coming and I have an obligation to speak up because it is shaping up to be a trainwreck just like Vision Forum and the patriocentricity movement of the early 2000s. Lots of younger people today weren’t around to see it. They might not even know about it. I was. I saw how many families and lives it destroyed. That’s not hyperbole. It was a disaster on an epic scale.
I took down a lot of the posts I had written about these kinds of topics when I moved my other website in a different direction. But I’ve started pulling them out of my unpublished archives and putting them on this website under a Christian Issues – Controversies category. I specifically put three older posts about Vision Forum back up, but there are many more still unpublished that I need to find again. We need to keep a public record of the history of these issues because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Most of the people who tackled these issues have either deleted their websites or removed the content when they moved in another direction. I can still find them in the WayBack Machine, but that’s only because I know which websites to look for or I have old bookmarks still saved. Most of it has been lost which is tragic.
There is a movement of younger and young-ish middle-aged men and pastors who were not around for the disaster that overtook conservative homeschooling circles and the family-integrated church movement. But they are displaying the same attitudes, mouthing the same ideas, and showing the same posture today. It actually makes my stomach hurt to listen to them at times because I do not wish to watch Vision Forum 2.0 play out again. I know there is nothing new under the sun, but I will not hesitate to speak out this time and call it out. I was cautious the first time which you can tell in my posts from 2006 and so on. I’m not hesitating this time.
The problem with Vision Forum, in particular, is that they got quite a bit right and addressed with firmness issues no one else in the church was really discussing with any kind of clarity and conviction. This drew people in for the good that they offered. They were a couple of decades ahead of their time in some of the errors they pointed out. They were all over the Marxism-Feminism connection, for example, which most Christians did not understand at the time. But there was just enough wrong with their teachings that when it was combined with the unhealthy tendencies of some in their leadership it created a total and complete disaster that shipwrecked many families.
Some of the leaders in those circles at that time did learn from the experience and are more careful now. I would put Doug Wilson in that group. He said some questionable things, but his ministry never imploded like others did. There were no moral failings that tanked his life’s work. His ministry is now vibrant and flourishing as best as I can tell.
Here’s a short video clip by Joel Webbon at Right Response Ministries. In sharing this, I’m not saying that he is Doug Phillips 2.0. Not at all. I want to make that very clear. And I’m not trying to make him the face of the problem. His video was simply the first video that encapsulated what I have been observing and so it’s what motivated me to finally write this post. But listen to this clip and tell me if this does not sound disturbingly familiar to what was preached and pushed leading up to those dark days.
For the record, I do agree with some of what he says. I agree that Beth Moore and Jen Wilkin should be avoided. I do agree that women’s Bible studies create many problems in many churches. But he goes too far in terms of what he says about men leading their wives, in my opinion.
Look at the comments underneath the YouTube video as well. This kind of teaching is severe and confusing. It will breed all kinds of problem. Overbearing men will take this as permission to crush their wives even further. This is not conjecture on my part. We know it happens because we’ve seen this play out already.
(And, no, I did not go to him privately about my concerns because this is a public video which he put out there himself as part of his video ministry. I’m going to cut that tired objection out of the conversation before anyone even makes it. If a pastor or teacher publishes their own content in a public forum, it is open to public critique. Period.)
I’ll make some other observations in my own comment section below. What stands out to you, especially if you lived through the entire Patriocentricity, Vision Forum, etc. debacle that destroyed homes and churches?