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Who is benefiting by keeping grown adult daughters at home and single? A look at Christian Patriarchy espoused by Doug Phillips; Steve and Teri Maxwell and their daughter, Sarah; and Geoffrey and Victoria Botkin and their daughters, Anna Sofia and Elizabeth.
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Over 15 years ago, I participated on an internet forum called Titus2.com run by Steve and Teri Maxwell. Steve and Teri Maxwell are well-known names in the Christian Homeschool Movement. We heard them speak at homeschool conventions and now they go around the country on their own, giving talks to homeschool groups and families. The Titus2.com forum was specifically for homeschool moms to connect and converse. The common topics were raising children, homeschooling, how to be a godly wife, courtship, pretty much any and all topics related to being a wife/mother and homeschooling.
The forum was pretty active and the Maxwell’s young daughter, Sarah, helped to moderate it. Soon, Sarah graduated from homeschool high school (in 2000) and I wondered what was next for her. She continued to help with her family’s business with the forum and then eventually the blog after the forum shut down. She also wrote children’s books. We watched as her older brother began a courtship and later married.
But what about Sarah? When would she find a potential husband? How would she even find a potential husband since her life seemed to be so isolated with family, business, and travel to conferences. Now, many years later, not much has changed with Sarah. She is still at home serving daddy and his business/ministry. She helps with their blog. Another brother has been married off and having babies, but as we follow along with updates on their website, we see no prospects in sight for Sarah to marry. I remember reading an article that she aspires to be a wife and mom. Sarah just turned 32 years old this week. What is the problem here?
A while back, I read a very good article on the issue of stay-at-home daughters – this time, about another popular homeschool family, the Botkins. The article was written by Rebecca Davis. Rebecca Davis has written biographies especially with children in mind, hoping that her books “will bring glory to God through the lives of ordinary Christians who serve an Extraordinary God.” I love that! It wasn’t until after reading the article that I realized I have one her biographies on my bookshelf!
I am so grateful that Rebecca has allowed me to share her original article with you here. ~JA
For shame, beautiful Botkins,
by Rebecca Davis
With the very first issue of Patriarch magazine twenty years ago, my husband eschewed the Patriarchy Movement. Every since then, I’ve followed it from afar, often with concern, especially upon finding that some patriarchal churches wanted to keep unsaved people out, lest their children be tainted.
It was with grief that I saw recently that one of the Patriarchs of Patriarchy had fallen, and his organization, Vision Forum, along with it. I say grief, not because I thought of Doug Phillips as incapable of falling, but because I grieve for the many people who put so much faith in him, and especially for the women who have been genuinely victimized—spiritually, emotionally, physically—in the Patriarchy Movement.
In reading various websites recently, I came again to the Botkin sisters, the beautiful Botkins, who I knew had written their book, So Much More eight years ago when they were around 20 and 22. The “so much more” that they outlined and still espouse was for young unmarried girls like themselves—the way to achieve so much more than the modern culture is by staying at home until you marry. Until you marry, serve your father.
Now these young ladies are 28 and 30, staying at home and serving their father. How do they serve their father? Besides “submitting to his whims,” “reverencing and adoring him,” they serve him by speaking and writing on the importance of unmarried girls staying home and serving their father.
In many cases, for a young unmarried woman to stay home can be exactly the right thing (though the concept of serving the father can go to exaggerated and disturbing lengths). But it most certainly is not a Biblical mandate. The Botkin sisters—and all of Patriarchy along with them—teach that if a woman isn’t building the Kingdom of the Man in her life, she will be building her Own Kingdom. There is no other option.
I tossed and turned last night, thinking about all this again. I write missionary books. I wrote one about one of the very first missionaries to the Central African Republic, Margaret Nicholl, a young unmarried woman, who saw God do great things there (and incidentally, met her husband there).
Several of my missionary books have referenced the work of another woman, Joy Ridderhof, who in fact never married, but instead founded the ministry called Gospel Recordings,which has been of incalculable value to missionaries from the 1940s even to the present day.
According to the beautiful Botkins and the Patriarchy Movement as a whole, both of these missionary women, along with many others such as the intrepid Amy Carmichael (whom I also wrote a book about!), were outside the will of God. All of them should have stayed home under their fathers.
Yes, the Patriarchals do give a nod to missions. They teach in their two-hundred-year plan that Christianity will dominate the world. But this plan appears to me to be eerily similar to the way Muslims teach that Islam will dominate the world: by having a lot of children. Building their earthly dynasties.
Sorry to say, but the Kingdom of Islam has got us beat hands down on that one. By birth, Muslims are winning, and until Christians advocate polygamy, we won’t be able to catch up.
But do you know what religion is winning the growth race when it comes to conversions? Christianity. There is no contest here—Christianity is the clear winner. Through the opening of the eyes of the blind—yes, even Muslims—Jesus Christ is being glorified and His Kingdom is spreading throughout the earth. This is what I write books about.
However, for a young unmarried woman in Patriarchy, life is not about building the Kingdom of Jesus Christ through the powerful spread of His glorious Gospel of Grace. It can’t be, because then there might be a conflict between Christ and her Earthly Father. The Kingdom of her Earthly Father must be supreme.
This is not about “the world” that must never darken the doors of “the chosen.” It is not about feminism vs. true womanhood. This is a battle of kingdoms.
For shame, beautiful Botkins. Stop focusing on the Kingdom of Man, and focus instead on the Kingdom of the mighty Savior Jesus Christ, through His glorious Gospel of Grace.
He is the transformer of lives. His is the Kingdom that matters.