SSB Sunday Gathering – August 31, 2014

Spiritual Sounding Board  – This is our place to gather and share in an open format.  Feel free to join in the discussion.


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This is your place to share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?



As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther.  But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”  Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

Luke 24:28-35




Photo credit: Raymond Ernst, Bayou in south Louisiana 

From Silence to Exposure: Why did Homeschool Leader Michael Farris Speak Out Now?


Michael Farris speaks out against teachings of two fallen Homeschool Movement leaders, Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard, but why now?



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Michael Farris, one of the pillars of the modern Homeschool Movement and founders of Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and founding president of Patrick Henry College, released an article addressing abuses within the Christian homeschool community in his article,  “A Line in the Sand,” in which he specifically called out two fallen leaders within the Homeschool Movement:  Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips. Farris publicly condemned some of the teachings of Gothard and Phillips, saying they “damage people in multiple ways.”

He’s absolutely right. A lot of damage and abuse has occurred because of the teachings of these men.

I’d like to go over his article in greater detail and also make observations based on other systems in which abuse was uncovered. Let’s start with this doozy right here:

Although some people want HSLDA to be the police force of the homeschooling movement—removing those who miss the mark in some manner—that is not our role.

Would someone please tell me when it is NOT the role of Christians to protect and defend the defenseless?  Chapter and verse, please.

Even though I have been uncomfortable with the teaching coming from each of these men for several years, it is not my place to try to remove viewpoints from the homeschooling community just because the HSLDA board or I hold a different view.

I repeat: Would someone please tell me when it is NOT the role of Christians to protect and defend the defenseless?  Chapter and verse, please.

This next sentence is important:

Our role is to defend the freedom of everyone to homeschool.

This sentence needs to be understood as an underlying theme of HSLDA. Please tuck away this statement because I will be coming back to it. This is key to the ministry work of Farris and HSLDA.

Frankly, we should have spoken up sooner. How much sooner is hard to say.

How much sooner is hard to say? That’s like saying, “I saw the ravaged bodies lying on the side of the road, but decided to walk on by and keep that information to myself. It didn’t seem like the right time to say or do anything, so I didn’t.”

The reason I used such strong imagery is because later, Farris clues us in that he really does understand the damaging effects of these errant teachings. He knows that the teachings have led to a crisis of faith in which some have rejected Christianity entirely:

I’ve come in contact with many young people who were raised in patriarchal or legalistic homes. Almost none of them are following these philosophies today. Some have rejected Christianity altogether.

It’s important to understand WHY Farris and HSLDA did not speak up sooner.  Why did they leave ravaged bodies on the side of the road?

Why would someone knowingly withhold information that could protect children and wives from abuse?  Let’s look at some other situations in which people had information and chose to keep it silent.  We can see similar patterns in other popular stories related to abuse.

In the Jerry Sandusky Penn State sex abuse scandal, there were people who knew information about Sandusky and didn’t report. Why didn’t they report? What was the motivating factor in keeping quiet?

We’ve long suspected, but now have confirmed by sworn court testimony that Grant Layman, a pastor at a Sovereign Grace Ministries church, knew that Nathaniel Morales had sexually abused children before, but failed to report to authorities.  Why did this pastor, a shepherd of God’s precious flock, fail to report?

In June of 2014, Paul Tripp resigned from his position on the Mars Hill Board of Accountability and gave very little reason as to stepping down.  Yet this week, nine Mars Hill church elders (one of whom has since been fired for speaking out) published a document about their grievances with Mark Driscoll. In that document, Paul Tripp expressed very strong words about the abusive nature of Mark Driscoll and his ministry:

This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.”

Why did Paul Tripp not share that bombshell of info back in June when he resigned?

Why did Acts 29 take so long at calling Mark Driscoll out and removing his name and Mars Hill Church from the Acts 29 members list?

At what point did each of these people decide enough is enough regarding known abuse?
What was it that kept them from being completely transparent earlier when they had knowledge that could have prevented more abuse from occurring?


I believe the reason why people remain silent is because they are serving their personal idol, rather than Christ.  A Christ follower would respond appropriately to defend victims, even if there is a personal cost.


Christ followers know there is a personal cost to being a Christian. These men used self-preservation and defended their idols.

What was the idol in the Penn State sex scandal? I believe it was the Almighty Dollar. Sandusky represented football wins for Penn State. If it was publicized that Sandusky was a pedophile, how would that affect Penn State and their record? It was too much of a gamble. People put the thought of pedophilia aside and likely said, “it’s a personal issue,” or “someone else is surely dealing with it.”

What was the idol with CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries abuse cases?  I believe it was his doctrine and authority structure that prominent church leaders adhered to. Mahaney had charisma, he had the right New Calivinism doctrine, people loved him at conferences ($$), he also really understood one of the primary issues in those circles, “biblical” male and female roles, complementarianism. What CJ Mahaney represented doctrinally was apparently more important to them than Mahaney’s victims.

I believe the same is the case with Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill. Why has it taken people so long to call him out? Because once again, he represented their doctrine in a powerful way. Somehow, church leaders could easily dismissing his cussing, his bullying, plagiarism because the more important message to them was that he had the right doctrine – again, New Calvinism. That was the idol.

Going back to Farris and HSLDA – why is it that Farris waited so long to disclose the truth he knew long ago about Phillips and Gothard? Because it would have cost him.

Although Farris knew there were problems with the teachings of Phillips and Gothard, the bulk of their other ideologies lined up with the trajectory of Farris and his ministry’s movement. For him to call them out earlier would mean a loss of supporters and revenue, as both men had a very large following. Farris would have been forced to stand alone. The followers of Gothard and Phillips would have been left in a quandary of picking who they would follow and support, and subsequently, there likely would have been economic consequences at HSLDA. The following quote shows Farris/HSLDA was willing to support and promote errant teachings and now has regrets:

While we did not directly promote their teachings using our own resources, we did allow Vision Forum to buy ad space to promote their products and ideas. We were wrong to do so. And we regret it.

I believe Farris waited until he realized that the court of public opinion had turned against Phillips and Gothard.

For Farris to not speak out at this time would have been a liability to his ministry.


He had to speak out now. Will he do more than speak? Will he use his prominent position in the Homeschool Movement to defend and protect victims? That remains to be seen.




There have been quite a few articles related to Farris’ article and the conflict within the Christian Homeschool Movement:

CHRE –  Why Homeschooling Needs Oversight: Responding to HSLDA and WORLD

HSLDA and CRHE’s positions on homeschooling policy differ because they serve two different audiences: HSLDA’s mission is “to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children” (emphasis added), while CRHE’s goal is “advocating for homeschooled children.” In theory, though, policy recommendations should be able to benefit both homeschool parents and homeschooled children.

Shawn Mathis, – Farris, HSLDA apologizes for silence about Phillips and critiques patriarchy

 In a humble act of public repentance, Michael Farris, on behalf of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) , apologized for not “speaking up sooner” about the errors of Vision Forum and Doug Phillips.

The Christian Post – Homeschool Advocate Michael Farris Responds to Sex Scandals of Homeschool Leaders Bill Gothard, Doug Phillips

Farris had “been uncomfortable with the teaching coming from each of these men for several years” but was reluctant to speak out because he did not believe it was the role of HSLDA to police the teachings of those within the homeschooling community.

The Raw Story – Christian leader denounces Duggar family’s patriarchal movement as ‘truly dangerous’

“With these recent scandals in view, we think it is now time to speak out — not about these men’s individual sins, but about their teachings,” Farris wrote. “Their sins have damaged the lives of their victims, and should be addressed by those with the appropriate legal and spiritual authority in those situations, but their teachings continue to threaten the freedom and integrity of the homeschooling movement. That is why HSLDA needs to stand up and speak up.”

Right Wing Watch – Homeschooling Leader Distances Himself From ‘Dangerous’ Christian Patriarchy Movement Promoted By Duggars

Two leaders of the Christian patriarchy movement — Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard — have been hit with sexual harassment and abuse charges in the past year, which has drawn attention to the movement’s teachings — extreme even within the Religious Right — that women should be completely submissive to the men in their lives

World Magazine – Homeschool leader disavows ‘patriarchy’

HSLDA and Farris have faced particular pressure to repudiate Phillips and Gothard in the past year from some former homeschooled students who have claimed they were abused—physically, emotionally, or “spiritually”—by their parents. Many are represented by a website called Homeschoolers Anonymous, as WORLD reported in its recent article about homeschoolers and abuse.


Shawn Mathis, – Will NCFIC and homeschooling groups imitate HSLDA’s apology about Phillips?

These concerns should be equally applied to radical homeschool and family integrated church leaders.

In fact, it behooves these men and their organizations to make their positions clear: will they continue to silently stand with their past relationship with Doug or will they formally and publicly distance themselves from Phillips’ errors?


SSB Open Discussion




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Last Friday, I completed my second term at college and then had a fun visit with Kathi (Kathi helps me on the SSB Facebook page) on Friday and Saturday.  Today, for the first time ever, I became a “former homeschooling mom” as I sent all my kids to public school – two for the very first time.

At Kathi’s suggestion, I think I’m going to pull back a bit from the blog this week and take a break from writing new posts. It will be good to have some down time while my family is adjusting to this new season of our lives.

Posts will resume on Sunday with our SSB weekly gathering, but I will keep this blog post open for discussion (and will join in, too).

So, have at it – talk about whatever you like, post articles that you come across, share what’s on your heart.  


Russell Moore and John MacArthur Offer Diverse Responses on Challenging Issues


Two Influential Christian leaders offer diverse responses regarding (1) professional counseling and (2) response to [adult] children with same-sex issues or identity.



Christiandom tends to follow church leaders when it comes to difficult life issues. Earlier, when reading an article at Religion News Service (RNS) by Adelle M. Banks, Russell Moore answers all you wanted to know about sex (but were afraid to ask), I was actually surprised to read a couple of things from Russell Moore. Russell Moore is President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.  In this position, he has a big platform from which to share his opinion in conservative Christianity circles. Here is one of the excerpts that surprised me:

In March, Moore took on the topic of a sexless marriage, raised by a pastor of a small congregation, approached by a woman whose new husband had refused sex in the eight months since they wed.

“It seems that I am finding more and more young couples having sexual difficulties,” Moore said at the time.

In his response, Moore was direct. “This is a marriage in crisis,” he wrote.

Among his suggestions: Seek professional counseling to learn whether there was some unresolved trauma in the man’s life.

Seek professional counseling?  It doesn’t say Biblical counseling or even Christian counseling, but professional counseling.  What a nice surprise.  I wonder if he will get any heat from that statement from those who believe anything other than Biblical counseling is evil – like John MacArthur. Here’s a little bit from an earlier article I did on John MacArthur regarding counseling:

Prominent church leader, John MacArthur has been very outspoken about the subject of psychology and his Master’s Seminary teaches against psychology:

Such a thing as a “psychological problem” unrelated to spiritual or physical causes is nonexistent. God supplies divine resources sufficient to satisfy completely all the spiritual needs.  ~John MacArthur (Source)

John MacArthur would not encourage this man to go to professional counseling, but only to receive Biblical counseling.

Now here’s another interesting comment from Russell Moore from the RNS article, this time about parental response to gay children:

Moore has also advised parents not to reject their gay children: “Be clear about your convictions, and at the same time don’t exile your child from your life.”


This statement comes about a month or so after John MacArthur posted an article and video, “John MacArthur on How to Respond to a Homosexual Child.” The video is just under two minutes:

Both of these are very powerful men in conservative Christiandom and so it’s very interesting to see these diverse statements.   I will be keeping an eye on this.

Learn to Discern: Who would you choose to marry, an abusive Christian or a kind and gentle unbeliever?


Learn to Discern:  Is it better for a Christian woman to marry a kind and gentle unbeliever or an abusive Christian?

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JD Hall’s Public Confession Regarding His Twitter Conversation with Ergun Caner’s Son, Who Later Committed Suicide


JD Hall’s public confession regarding the Braxton Caner exchange on Twitter.

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SSB Sunday Gathering – August 10, 2014


Spiritual Sounding Board  – This is our place to gather and share in an open format.  Feel free to join in the discussion.



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This is your place to share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?



So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.  This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Hebrews 5:14-16



Do you see any spiritual applications in this video?

Photo credit:  Hannah Smith

Who is @Rhology? What are #pulpiteers? How Do They Function?


Alan Maricle aka @Rhology defends and imitates J.D. Hall’s (aka @pulpitandpen) bad behavior on Twitter.

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Sound Off on Spiritual Sounding Board


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I’ve got a lot of fires burning, so you get to call it.  Your turn to sound off whatever is on your heart.
Mark Driscoll made the Seattle news KOMO front page. How long can this last?
Ergun Caner’s 15-year old son committed suicide. I can’t help but remember a conversation I saw on Twitter at the beginning of July with JD Hall, Fred Butler and others as they were rudely going after him. I cannot get it out of my mind which might be part of my funk. This is deja vu for me and I’m so tired of “men of God” acting like bullies.



Ken Ham uses “Flat Ken” as an Evangelistic Tool? Or Maybe a Slick Advertisement Campaign Geared to Children to Promote His Business?

Ken Ham & Creation Museum claim to have an evangelistic tool, but who is it promoting, Ham or Christ? Sorry, Ken … just not kosher.

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SSB Sunday Gathering – July 27, 2014


Spiritual Sounding Board  – This is our place to gather and share in an open format.  Feel free to join in the discussion.

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Emotional Chaos after Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual abuse can leave damaging scars, some resulting in real difficulties, including anxiety, PTSD, panic attacks, etc.

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Dr. Albert Mohler and Response to Sex Abuse in Churches

Albert Mohler and Church Leaders’ Response to Sex Abuse in Christian Churches

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Invitations and Altar Calls: Is it Manipulation or Evangelism?


What is going on when a pastor gives an altar call or invitation? Is this appropriate? Is it manipulation?

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SSB Readers Discuss D. Scott Meadows’ “A Christian Wife’s Catechism” and Addendums


I’m opening this thread for discussion on the recent article by D. Scott Meadows, Addenda, Part 2: Clarification of “A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism” posted at Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog.

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Confusing Tweets by Owen Strachan about the War Against Satan


A reader sent me the following tweets by Owen Strachan, president of Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

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A Pastor is Challenged after Releasing a Disturbing and Potentially Dangerous Article Directed to Wives of “Difficult” Husbands

Article by Pastor D. Scott Meadows’ article, A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism, creates a stir among the survivor community.

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