Are Desiring God & John Piper shifting to “Biblical Patriarchy” over complementarianism, following Gregg Harris’, Bill Gothard’s, Scott Brown’s, Doug Phillips’ and Doug Wilson’s courtship model?
The champions of patriarchy worked hard last week, busy on the front lines by saving the world through their insight and wisdom. On June 11, Desiring God announced on their blog that they’ve made their new book available as a free download. It bears the title Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood. (Desiring God is the name of the website of John Piper’s ministry to the world as the new Calvin.)
From what I gather from Piper’s introduction in Good, it is an effort on the part of the aging masthead men who pioneered complementarianism to launch the mosaic generation leaders into their roles as the new generals in their culture war. Hannah Thomas read the first two chapters and wrote about this new “comp” effort on her blog, Emotional Abuse and Your Faith. It seems that the book just offers more straw men — ridiculous examples of people who don’t exist that allegedly believe all sorts of horrible things. Everyone is just confused about the way that things really are, and we need these great young ones to share with us the hidden wisdom that I guess no one has been able to figure out before.
The very next day, just in time for Father’s Day, Desiring God offered us another gem of insight and inspiration to help us unenlightened ones figure out how to live our lives called Dads, Date Your Daughters’ Boyfriend. We’ve heard for years at this point about gender roles, though many have pointed out that the only word in New Testament Greek that comes close to the word “role” is the one from which we derive our English word of “hypocrite.” Well, now Desiring God instructs fathers of daughters in yet another they must fulfill: the “role in his daughter’s pursuit of marriage.” All I could say at first concerned my relief that the article noted neither reference to nor instruction in daughters and shaving — a favorite pastime at a once annual Vision Forum event. (Gag.)
Some of the statements were not unreasonable at all — but others sounded strikingly familiar. Perhaps Piper picked up some of the “Biblical Patriarchy” home schooling and courtship ideology taught by Doug Wilson who now blogs at Desiring God? Wilson has been a featured speaker at Piper’s conferences for several years, and Piper now endorses Federal Vision as legitimate doctrine (though several denominations have denounced it). Then again, perhaps Piper is just reiterating some ideas that he picked up from Gregg Harris? After all, Gregg’s son Josh wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye: the definitive book on courtship within the homeschooling movement. Hmmm.
Patriarchy and Quiverfull
Seven years ago, the daughters of Geoffrey Botkin and family “served his vision” by making a video about “Stay at Home Daughters” (SAHD). The film entitled The Return of the Daughters heralded the message that the best place for young women was at the sides of their families until they were given in marriage to their husband and spiritual covering. It spoke of courtship and what sounded to my husband and me like daughter ownership. The film meant to illustrate the lifestyle that the Botkin Daughters (the Visionary Daughters) wrote about a few years earlier in their Vision Forum book, So Much More.
As stated earlier, not every point made in the Desiring God article about daddies dating their daughter’s boyfriends sounded like the courtship movement that is so popular in Evangelical circles these days, especially among homeschoolers. But so much more of it sounded just too familiar.
My GOTHARD ALERT sounded when I read the advice to daughters that they should consider breaking up with their boyfriend if they had misgivings about letting that boyfriend meet their father. Gothard teaches that everything you do as a young adult (and I assume as an old one) must be first cleared by your parents. This is part of the hammer/chisel and umbrella of authority concept proffered by Bill Gothard (and many others). Of course, all of this sounds more and more like courtship with every word. Dating just to get to know someone to see if the relationship develops sounds sinister from the tone of the article. But my stay-at-home-daughter SAHD ALERT sounded as well. It definitely went off when I got to the part where the phrase “get to know an older godly man.” My CREEP METER has been sensitized because of my memories of the “Extras” section on the Return of the Daughters video.
Tips for Discipleship in Dating?
The other issue that bothered me about the Desiring God article concerned this idea of the mentoring and discipling of a potential suitor for a daughter by that daughter’s father. A young woman leaves her father’s house and cleaves to her new husband, according to Scripture. In the patriarchy movement associated with high-demand homeschooling, there is much talk of taking and making a daughter’s potential mate over into the preferences preferred by the daughter’s father and his family. There’s even a picture of some poor young man receiving a Confederate Flag from his love interest floating about, as he was supposed to embrace Christian Reconstruction and the neo-Confederate beliefs that often come along with the package.
There are many lists of questions that patriarchs are supposed to ask young men before they’re permitted to court their daughters. The older ones come from old John Thompson and Phil Lancaster. There are also many new ones floating around among the likes of RC Sproul, Jr. and his circle of friends (read more here). And Botkin has his 200 Year Plan, after all. Interviewing and testing the candidates proves essential. I’m surprised that Desiring God didn’t offer their own longer list of considerations, and perhaps they will. They will find much material for comparison online.
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Below are two audio recordings taken from the aforementioned Return of the Daughters film “extras.” If you’ve read the post at Desiring God, please take time to listen to these segments as well.
Are there similarities?
Is any of this good or bad?
Hmmm. I’m still pondering, but my “alert system” has definitely activated, and my creep meter is alarming. I hope that no one takes this new opining concerning courtship at Desiring God too seriously. (…at least not as seriously as homeschooling embraced the same sort of message.)