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I listened to Wade Burleson’s eChurch at Wartburg Watch yesterday and was blown away by his sermon based on two verses of the Bible that he wrestled with. Hebrews 11:11-12:
By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
I don’t believe Wade was particularly focusing on the subject of Patriarchy when he was preaching, but my mind has been on that subject quite a bit lately because of our history in homeschooling and trying to put together the pieces of our puzzle of how we got to where we are today. I think I would like to delve into that subject more deeply.
But first, I want to post Wade’s sermon here. I think this may ruffle some feathers. In fact, I am sure it will ruffle some feathers at least privately with some people I know who are reading. But I want to encourage you to do what Wade says: wrestle with the text and see for yourself.
The Patriarchal movement is alive and well in homeschooling circles. Doug Phillips of Vision Forum and Bill Gothard (Recovering Grace is a website dedicated to his dangerous teachings) are proponents of this teaching as well as Mike and Debi Pearl of Train Up a Child. I believe Patriarchy is destructive in marriages and is a false doctrine.
When you think of spiritual abuse, one tends to think of abuse occurring at one’s church home. This is different. This teaching spreads quickly in homeschooling circles: e-mail groups, online homeschool forums, homeschool conventions, homeschool speaking tours, homeschool magazines, podcasts, etc. One family finds “good teaching on homeschooling” and spreads it to another. You can essentially be in a very healthy church listening to very good teaching. But when you get hold of this false doctrine, it can completely reshape your belief system.
The homeschool movement is large and powerful. They are vocal, educated, and very compelling. These are the people who have convinced us homeschoolers that we are doing the right thing by educating our children at home. They have told us the government schools are bad and we need to protect our rights to educate our children at home in a safe and Christian environment. We want to align with these people. They have been our cheerleaders in educating our children. Some of them have paved the way for us, even helping to get laws passed that protect our freedom to educate our children at home.
So much of what they say is true, but there is an underlying current of false doctrine that is creeping in and has been creeping in for a long time. There is a hidden agenda. I’m going to expose it and Wade’s sermon made me realize that I cannot be silent about it any longer because it is part of my story, too.
Here is a comment I posted on Wartburg Watch in response to the sermon.
Wade!!!!!!!!! I’ve been looking forward to this message since Deb mentioned a comment to me earlier this week. After having just listened to it, my brain is about to explode. You may not have been addressing this specifically to those of the Patriarchal camp, but this message has the capability to shut down that camp entirely.
The Patriarchal camp that I have experienced has the belief that my husband has control of my faith and is responsible for my faith. We’ve been taught that we must obey our husbands as the spiritual leaders of our families. We are under the covering or umbrella of his “protection”, that we are not to not question his authority, the man God has placed over us. No wonder the feelings of entrapment, the feelings of no liberty. So many women are in bondage to that philosophy, afraid to walk in the faith that God has given them for fear that it might surpass the faith of her husband and she might take the lead. This is clearly behind the common teaching that “women must not talk in church or ask questions” because if they do, they are preventing the husband from being the spiritual leader as God intended. Instead, the wife must ask the husband the question in private who then may ask the question on behalf of his wife. It forces him to look for answers himself, thus gaining more knowledge for himself so that he can better lead the family.
But is that not really forcing the wives to be manipulating and playing games? It seems to be implying that the wife’s behavior of wanting answers is responsible for her husband’s faith. So Patriarchal teachings actually acknowledge the power of a woman’s faith or influence, but treats it as the enemy causing strife in the home claiming she is trying to take the lead from the man.
It seems to me the Patriarchal camp is projecting and actually creating this strife between man/woman. I’m sure I will be thinking more about this, but those are my thoughts as of 9/9/12 Thank you, Wade, so much for this very enlightening message. I am certainly not done with this topic . . . . you can be sure of that.
I suspect most people may not want to listen to a 30-minute sermon when they are quickly reading blogs, but I would like to encourage you to do just that. I’ve shared bits and pieces of my story of abuse in the church which included the lawsuit by my former pastor and now I’m discovering more abuse that we have been exposed to in the homeschooling movement. I guess you are going on my discovery journey with me as I document what I am learning and open it up for discussion.
I do want to wrestle with the scripture about these issues. I am responsible for my faith – no one else is. This movement says that the father is responsible for his family’s faith. It’s interesting that the Patriarchal movement uses Abraham as one of their primary models of patriarchy and this sermon just blows that out of the water as far as his ownership of Sarah’s faith. Sarah had a mind of her own and a faith of her own. Her faith was her gift from God. It did not come through her husband. It was her faith that caused her to conceive at the age of 90, not Abraham’s. Did you read that, homeschool moms? This is so important. Our faith is our own! Praise God that He has opened my eyes.
Thank you, Pastor Wade for giving me permission to post the sermon here. I so appreciate it.