june 26 podcast: patriarchy/patriocentricity two, part one


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“Perhaps the greatest influence within this movement was Rousas J. Rushdoony, a 20th century apologist and author, who believed that only a hierarchical view of man was Biblical and any other perspective was a horrible sin. In his book Institutes of Biblical Law, which is popular among patriarchal teachers, he stated: ‘integration and equality are myths; they disguise a new segregation and a new equality. Every social order institutes its own program of separation or segregation. A particular faith and morality is given privileged status and all else is separated for progressive elimination.’ Be sure you understand his words. Rushdoony believed that all other views of people relating to each other that did not align with hierarchy are not only wrong but that true Christians were to fight against them and abolish them and by force if necessary.”

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  1. emr says

    I enjoyed your podcast but wanted to make one clarification. Albert Mohler is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, located in Louisville, Kentucky. He has served in that office since 1993. Bryant Wright is the current president of the Southern Baptist Convention, elected at the Convention’s annual meeting June 15-16 of this year. The president serves for one year, although he may be re-elected next year.

  2. says

    I’m trying to do some background on this Rushdoony. I can only find a Rousas John….You give the middle initial as S. Is this the same fellow?

  3. says


    Sorry, that was a typo I have corrected.

    Once you start reading his actual writings and then realize that the patriocentrists encourage people to read them and you see the agendas being put out there, it all makes sense. It IS disturbing, especially the notion that the law given to Moses is central to the Word rather than the Gospel. Explains a lot.

  4. Michelle says

    Karen I so appreciate your bringing this to light. I listened to your podcast and then did as Laurie and read the Wikipedia article (linked to above) I am appauled as a white, conservative, Christian homeschooler. This kind of stuff is a big reason WHY PEOPLE HATE CHRISTIANS!!! And when we as Christians look at an adulterer or a homosexual and think that they should be killed for their sin we are showing that we are blind to our own sin. Sinners, “us” AND them need Christ! Without Christ we have no ability to uphold the law, nor do we even have the desire. You cannot legislate godliness into a man’s heart. As Christians, we are not here to make Heaven on Earth, we are here to tell people the phenomenal news about Jesus and to glorify Him so that more will be attracted to Him. Who will come over to our side when some of us are saying that gays should be killed, God did not create all men equal, and that the Holocaust really wasn’t as bad as everyone has made it out to be??? WOW! I’d put my kids back in public school before I would identify myself with this crowd. These people are not me and my family, they DO NOT represent us.
    I am confused though as to the true history of our country. Were our forefathers Christians who wanted a Christian nation? Were they dominionist minded? IS democracy fundamentally a Christian ideal? Or is, as Rushdoony has satated, democracy and Christianity at odds with eachother, and the whole basis for our country actually non-Christian? On the secular side you hear that the Founders we not even Christians and on this extreme you hear that they weren’t Christian enough. Where’s the balance? I’d love to know what you and others have used to teach your kids about US history. Is there a balanced teaching/author/cirriculum out there for American history?

  5. says

    Michelle, I think you have brought up a great question….if both public school textbooks and homeschooling textbooks contain “revisionist” history,what do you do?

    When we were at Monticello, one of the tour guides made an interesting observation. She talked about the conflicting view points on slavery that show up in Jefferson’s writings and how even those scholars who spent years researching and studying him don’t know what he really believed about it.

    The same is true for many of our founders. There are conflicting statements in the the body of their work. And then we always have to give people space to grow and change. What someone believes at 18, for example, is likely to have been changed somewhat by the time he is 58!

    One of the reasons I like to use “real” books and original writings when I can is because of this very thing. (It’s hard to argue with a quote, for example, like the one I posted from the VP of the Confederacy.) I like to use a basic textbook that has offers an overview and then go off on tangents with other writings and resources. I, too, would be interested in hearing what others use.

  6. says

    Hi Karen. I thought your opening podcast was very good. My husband and I grew up with Rushdoony as “Bible Study” material (for the men). I can honestly say that I never really cared for his stuff, but still find it incredible that we were so deceived. Have you looked at the magazine Chalcedon which is put out by his son? I know in the past that R.C. Sproul Jr. was a regular contributor to that magazine.

  7. says

    Carole, I am familiar with Chalcedon. We used to have reconstructionist leanings and I think that, honestly, all believers who desire to be salt and light in this crazy world “should” have some. The problem is that I don’t believe any of the changes necessary to “reconstruct” or “reform” the culture, either in the past or presently or in the future, can happen unless individual hearts are changed by the Gospel, one single person at a time. And it certainly can’t be done militantly or forcefully. Seriously, how can anyone think we could ever be salt and light as Christians and demand things like the death penalty for rebellious kids? Hoping to flush this out a little next time….thanks for your kind words.

  8. says

    Hi Karen! I wandered over here again and haven’t had a chance to listen to the podcast, but in all the writing about patriarchy I’ve been thinking something….

    Could a conservative, complementarian homeschooling family who wants to integrate the entire family into the worship service on Sunday morning, while still welcoming VBS and Sunday school classes, fit anywhere???? I certainly don’t fall in line with my state’s homeschooling group, CHEC, but I also wouldn’t say I’m the other extreme either.

    Vyckie Garrison’s stuff is so interesting to me…I can almost see why she up and left the quiverful movement…I think I would, too. It sounds almost like LDS teaching (we encounter a lot of that where I live). In that theology, the husband actually has a secret name he calls to the wife to invite her into the celestial kingdom with him. I’ve often thought what a horrible Mormon wife I’d be, or prairie muffin for that matter. It just seems like the homeschoolers that get all the press are the extreme ones…how can we change that??? I think I’d like to explore that idea more…

    Thanks as always. You’re my favorite homeschool blogger :).

  9. says


    I am hoping to give an entire podcast in this series to the family integrated church. Did you read my article on our experiences in two of them, one of which we help to found? The last section really sums up what i believe are the good and bad aspects of it.

    I like what your approach is. I have no problem with VBS or age appropriate Sunday school classes as long as parents are also encouraged to practice home discipleship and not see the church as the one solely responsible for the spiritual training of their children. I am not a big fan of children’s church. I believe little ones can glean much by participating in worship with their parents. We have always kept our children with us during worship even when “encouraged” to place them in a nursery. The exceptions to that were when Clay and I were asked to teach children’s church for a few weeks and we did, taking our kids with us then. I am not sure what you mean by “the other extreme.” Are you talking about walking in the door of the church and having everyone go separate directions? I think there an be a balance. Hoping to address some of this in the podcast. 🙂

  10. Michelle says

    Yes, Karen (in response to the accurate teaching of U.S. history)I’ve read over and over and now here again that first-hand accounts (autobiographies, real books, etc.) are the very best resources for teaching any history accurately. And that’s a good point about people’s perspectives changing over their own lifetimes – mine sure have!

  11. says


    I am glad to hear you are blogging on this topic again.

    I listened to your first podcast on this on the way back from Albuquerque yesterday – and I plan to listen to the second one shortly. I think you are doing a great service by putting these things out in the public square.

    I would caution you in regards to one thing though. Rushdoony’s views on interracial marriage and the capital punishment of disobedient children and the like are rooted in the Mosaic Law and while advocacy of these things seem very strange to those not involved in movements that support his views–we must remember that the Bible does still advocate the moral principles behind specific Old Covenant Laws that gain Rushdoony’s attention and deliberation.

    The problem with Rushdoony is not his respect for the Old Covenant Law or its principles. After all, the passages of Scripture that mention these things are the words of God and we *must* have respect for them even if we don’t totally understand why they were written or what they mean.

    The problem with Rushdoony’s views, however, is that they are a misapplication (and in some cases, a misunderstanding) of the Mosaic Law.

    To give you an example, the purity laws regarding the Israelites not marrying those outside their people had nothing to do with “race” per se, but were intended to keep Israel holy and pure in line with who God had called them to be as the chosen people. The Canaanite nations they eventually lived among were the subject of God’s wrath for their wickedness and not because there was some racial preference for Jewish blood. The identity of the Jews was never about blood anyway–it was always about God’s calling and what that meant in terms of obedience to His commands. Look at Rahab the prostitute and Gentile(!) who was included in the family line that eventually gave us the Messiah! That is why the fulfillment of such a law regarding not marrying outside God’s people is seen in the New Testament in passages which condemn being unequally yoked together by marrying an unbeliever. But, the moral principles of the Law – in summary, the Ten Commandments – are seen as still binding.

    Rushdoony was a smart man but he was also a man of his time. The idea of “race” as we see discussed today in the public square and that Rushdoony was fighting in a sort of pre-60s-before-Civil-Rights way is part and parcel of his problem. Instead of redefining the discussion about race in accordance with the Bible, he accepted the definition of the term as proposed by Marxists in the nineteenth century and fought on that basis. But, the Bible knows no such term as “race” because it is quite clear to state that all men and women have the same blood and origin (Acts 17:26, Romans 10:12, Acts 10:34-35). Rushdoony ought to have stuck closer to the text of Scripture instead of interpreting it in light of modern-day issues with a bent toward defending his limited understanding developed by a modern reactionary approach to issues like interracial marriage.

    I imagine that I am somewhat preaching to the choir in regards to noting this for you and that you can’t say everything in a brief podcast. But, I wanted to highlight that we must always maintain a high view for God’s Law even when we see it abused and manipulated by those who say that they respect it but clearly act differently (Matt. 23:1-23). In doing so, they ‘neglect the weighter parts of the law’. Sadly, it is often not Rushdoony himself but followers of his thinking that came after him that have made an even worse mess of these issues as we see in places like Vision Forum and the Phillips/Botkin endeavors.

  12. says

    Hi Kevin,

    So glad to hear from you again! I wanted to comment on a couple things from your good comment.

    “The problem with Rushdoony is not his respect for the Old Covenant Law or its principles. After all, the passages of Scripture that mention these things are the words of God and we *must* have respect for them even if we don’t totally understand why they were written or what they mean. The problem with Rushdoony’s views, however, is that they are a misapplication (and in some cases, a misunderstanding) of the Mosaic Law.”

    I completely agree with this. I believe the entire Bible to be the Word of God and to be inerrant in its original text. I sing with the Psalmist “I love Thy law” but I also know it can point me to Christ but cannot relieve me of my sin! All of the Scripture from Genesis to Christ’s incarnation, points to that point in history when God became flesh and dwelt among us. All Scripture after that points back to that moment! Part of believing it to be true and handling it correctly is rightly understanding to whom it was written and for what purpose. And, of course, that is always where the fly is found in the ointment of those who have an over-riding agenda and are trying to use Scripture to support it.

    There is a prime example of this in this month’s Chalcedon magazine where author Andrea Schwartz, in an article entitled The Mediatorial Work of the Law, talks about Rushdoony’s belief in the binding nature of the Levitical laws and she cites several of Rushdoony’s applications where he believes obedience to these laws today are required and, I am assumed, should be made part of our civil law today. (Not sure how far they carry this.)

    Since everything becomes a matter of “gender distinction” with these people, Schwartz gives much of her article to various aspects of that topic, including the rules for intercourse after childbirth and the differences in men’s and women’s clothing. This is what she has to say:

    “Today’s mindset demands apologies when boys and girls are intentionally treated differently. But to treat male and female children differently is to honor the God who “created them male and female” with differing roles and jurisdictions. To obscure the distinctions is something that all humanistic and statist societies work relentlessly to achieve.”

    (I agree that men and women are created differently…..dhhhh. The differing roles statement is true, to a certain extent. Obviously only women can give birth and nurse children so that is our “role.” We are also called to a “help meet” role for our husbands, which I will be discussing on the next podcast. Differing jurisdictions? Not sure what exactly she means. Was Deborah, for example, functioning outside her “jurisdiction?”)

    She continues:

    “A significant law appears in Deuteronomy 22:5, which points out the strong repulsion God has for mixing gender roles: The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God. This prohibition against transvestitism is not simply a law about fashion or style of clothing; it has a much broader meaning and implication. It applies to the standards and practices for gender roles within the family. How parents deal with their sons and expect their sons to deal with their sisters sets the standards for society in general.”

    (Now she quotes Rushdoony) “The law, therefore, forbids imposing man’s duties and tools on a woman, and a woman’s on a man. Its purpose is thus to maintain the fundamental order. A man who allows his wife to support him when he is able-bodied has violated this law.”

    (Man’s tools vs woman’s tools? I had this conversation with my son a while back when he and his bride were moving all the wedding gifts into their apartment. He asked me why women have so much stuff and I asked him what he meant by “her stuff.” Apparently he was under the impression that pots and pans and Tupperware were woman’s tools until I pointed out to him that he could continue to think that if he didn’t plan to eat. But I digress.)

    Andrea again:
    “This means that rather than promote a false “equality” family life should consist of mothers modeling for their daughters what a Proverbs 31 woman does, while fathers guide their sons toward the dual roles of protector and provider. Brothers and sisters should relate to each other acknowledging the physical, emotional, and positional roles God ordains for each, in preparation for every other relationship they will encounter.

    And again she is quoting Rushdoony:

    “The purpose of the law is to increase the strength and authority of men and women in their respective domains. The strength of men is in being men under God and the strength of women in being women under God. The definition of transvestite thus must be made broader than a mere reference to clothing. It can be added that modern culture has a strongly transvestite character. Her as elsewhere it prefers the character of perversion to the law of God.”

    (So I have to wonder how this applies, for example, to Phoebe. Was she a transvestite because she hand-carried the book of Romans? Were those women in Luke who financially supported Jesus and the disciples also transvestites? Was Mary being a transvestite when she wanted to study the Bible instead of help in the kitchen?)

    You said; “In doing so, they ‘neglect the weighter parts of the law’. Sadly, it is often not Rushdoony himself but followers of his thinking that came after him that have made an even worse mess of these issues as we see in places like Vision Forum and the Phillips/Botkin endeavors.”

    Absolutely. And these are just a handful of examples of Rushdoony’s teachings that were part of his agenda that have been embraced by the patriocentrists and are being applied in equally if not more bizarre ways than he did.

    I appreciate your comment on the issue of race as well, since I think many are under the assumption today that a Christian marrying a nonChristian is ok. I don’t think we can address that topic enough among young people. But that is for a different podcast! 😉

    The issue of race, actual racism, I believe, is part of this patriocentric movement and part of their hierarchical agenda. The kinists have many ties to the patriocentrists. Phillips highly reveres not only Rushdoony but Dabney. Perhaps there are good things to glean from both of these men but not once have I read a disclaimer of their racist views and the continual admiration for the Old Dominion in these camps makes it even more of a concern.

    One more thing that you pointed out…the podcasts are limited! I keep them at 20 to 25 minutes generally for the sake of those who have dial up connections. In these podcasts I am taking a HUGE amount of material and trying to sum up and distill it down to help give an overview, mostly in terms of how it effects homeschooling moms. My hope is that people will listen and if they want more information, they will take it and expand it back out and do further study and research. It is frustrating on my end to be sitting on so much great stuff and not being able to share it all!!!

  13. says


    Well, I think you are doing a great job with your podcasts!

    And, I’ll let you in on a secret. I don’t even read the Chalcedon magazine unless there is something important to discuss as you outline above. Nor do I ever recommend it. Their interpretation of the Mosaic Law is generally wooden and misinformed and I concur with your comments in the main. There was a time when they had a few thinkers that could think outside of the box they currently work in, but that time is long gone.

    Additionally, yes, I believe you are also right to point out that there is a relationship between kinists (whose material I greatly despise) and many of the Reconstructionists affiliated with Chalcedon and Rushdoony. Reformedville is a small little village and some of their main players remind me a bit of the dueling banjos and other strange characters in the movie, “Deliverance”. It is a strange and regrettable partnership but both are founded on a sort of fundamentalist/wooden way of looking at the world which does not admit to the complex nature of who we really are in Christ. These are the sort of fringe elements that exist on the edge of Reformed, biblical, and Christian orthodoxy, unfortunately.

    So, keep up the good work!

  14. says

    Kevin, my husband has often referred to these strange characters as like the bar scene in Star Wars! And I agree they are fringe, though I am concerned when I see some of the lead characters being welcomed into mainstream evangelical and reformed circles. I keep thinking “Isn’t anyone paying attention to what is under the hood of this movement.” There are days I wish I hadn’t looked myself.

  15. HoppyTheToad says

    We need help deciding whether to remain at our church or not. We’ve been there for 5 years. Here are some of the considerations, in no particular order.

    1. It is a Family Integrated Church. We like the kids being welcome in the service but since our sons are very, very active, we have started to wish that we could at least put the toddler in a nursery. Our services are 2-2 1/2 hours long. That’s a long time for a young toddler who can’t sit still for more than 5 minutes. Our older son is also very active but could make it through the service at the sane age – which was shorter then – because I had blanket trained him. My understanding of “the rod” issue has changed a lot and I am not willing to use it to practice sitting still for church this time.

    2. Most of the members are patriarchy oriented, although not as extreme as Vision Forum. Doug Phillips is generally held in high regard (Michael Pearl is pretty well like, too, but not as much). One of the founding elders is friends with a leading member of the Family Integrated Church movement, although our church isn’t as legalistic. Several families have daughters attending college via distance learning or a community college although few families would consider letting their daughters live on campus. Some families believe the daughters should follow their dad’s vision but others allow their daughters to have their own goals, at least as long as they live at home.

    3. Most families don’t use contraception. Some believe it’s always wrong while others understand the desire of some families to use it for health reasons.

    4. Most families rely on spanking for discipline. Now that I am starting to understand and try to use grace-based parenting, I am a little frustrated with my friends that seem to think many of my parenting problems (such as boys who won’t sit still in church) would go away if I would just spank a lot, like I used to.

    5. Women aren’t allowed to speak in the service, which is very frustrating, especially when men say bone-headed things like, “Society’s problems are because women work outside the home.” On mother’s day, one man intended to praise the mothers for staying home with their kids. When I read in between the lines, what he actually said was that most of our country’s problems are because of working women! I agree that mothers should try to be home, but come on, men left the homes in huge numbers before women did. Why don’t they get blamed?

    6. I have wanted to homeschool since before becoming a Christian. However, I am a bit tired of the “us verses them” mentality that one is somewhat promoted. My oldest isn’t old enough for kindergarten and I’m already burned out on the homeschooling subculture.

    7. Our church has almost completely ignored evangelism and spiritual gifts. We are just starting to look at them now. Our church website lists evangelism as a practice very low on the list, well after all the stuff about “men’s and women’s roles.”

    8. Women aren’t actively discouraged from studying theology but when talking to others, it’s usually only the men that want to discuss any Bible topics in depth.

    9. I am a fairly intellectual person. The idea of meeting everyone’s expectation of having baby after baby seems to crush my spirit. I want to develop my talents, even the one’s not directly applicable to being a wife and mom. I’m a person, too. I don’t want to be another homeschooling zombie mom with no identity of my own.

    10. My husband and I are tired of the partiality shown to boys. There are father-son retreats and sometimes whole family retreats, but never mother-daughter events. Additionally, there are weekly father-son sports events in the summers. Women and daughters are invited to watch, but not to play. Nothing is offered to them instead.

  16. HoppyTheToad says

    Things I like about our church:

    1. Children are welcome in the service. Nobody gets upset if they make noise or if parents sit in the back so they can play quietly.

    2. Most people stay after for a meal and the kids can play for several hours. This gives the parents a lot more time to get to know each other.

    3. Most people take obeying the Bible more seriously than at other churches we’ve been to. (Of course, many stray into legalism on some issues.)

    4. The children are generally delightful, homeschooled children that we don’t have to worry about teaching our sons bad language or inappropriate things.

    5. Since everyone homeschools, nobody pesters us about that.

    6. Men are allowed to speak (I wish women could, but at least the men are allowed to) which means that at least they can obey the Bible about everyone bringing a song, revelation, or teaching to edify the body.

    7. Families are generally diligent about family devotions.

    8. We have multiple elders and most of them men rotate doing the sermon, so money that would go to paying a pastor can instead be used to support missionaries to poor families.

  17. HoppyTheToad says

    It’s funny, we have no official church doctrine about baptism, end times, Calvinism or non-Calvinism, etc. These things are left almost completely up to the families to decide, and aren’t discussed much. We do, however, have official positions on “roles” and the like. While technically “non-denominational,” it seems like the FIC (based on my limited experience) is a new denomination.

    If the FIC movement wasn’t like a new denomination, then I’d think it would stick to saying something like “God loves children so they should be welcome in the service. Don’t demand everyone put their kids in the nursery, although you may choose to offer one. Learn to tolerate a little noise and the needs of babies and pre-schoolers. Don’t do anything that prevents them coming to Jesus, like insisting that only older children being allowed in the service.”

  18. says


    We just moved to another part of the country… but where we were previously was such a grace-saturated church. Just what I needed. Children were encouraged to worship with families, and were very welcome in the church (and little noises, too — as well as the noises of older people’s snifflings and such.) Yet, both a private room for wiggly kids or nursing moms was available, as well as nursery. Totally set up to minister to families with children, whatever stage of wiggliness or attentiveness.

    Parents were respected in making decisions for their families, respected as Christian liberty. (Homeschool, public or private, for example.) And really. . . all the things that I was tense about from past experiences — here, just love and acceptance.

    In a similar vein, without it being a “big deal” accommodations were made for those who were hard-of-hearing, limited vision, limited mobility, the aged. The respect conveyed towards “the least of these” was almost tangible.

    This doesn’t really help with your specific situation, except to encourage you that in the body of Christ there are churches that reflect these things in a way that reflects the Gospel.

    Grace and hope,

  19. HoppyTheToad says


    How did you find this church? Was it immediately obvious that it was different from other churches or did it take visiting for a while to see? I want to know what to expect in the “church-shopping” process.

    Yesterday, while on vacation in a different state, I visited a church with a woman pastor. They had a short “open mic” time for prayer requests and I actually got to speak! I explained that it was my first time being allowed to speak in church and asked for prayer about where to go. Two men and two women came up after to encourage me. They all suggested finding a new church.

  20. Eliza says


    Run away, Run away…

    This church your in sounds like the type of movement/teaching that is being illustrated here in ThatMom’s podcasts.

    My family is very involved in this type of thing and the sad part to me is that the “FIC/patriocentric” way of “doing church” becomes equated/mixed up with the Gospel. From what I have seen, as the children turn into young adults – they think that they KNOW all of that already (things get dull), and yes if goal is to study the FIC ways as a formula/program you will master the material, but they miss the point of the gospel – we are SINNERS and we never arrive on our own merit, and we never stop learning about God’s ways.

    I will be so bold to say that I am so concerned that I think this teaching as a whole is dangerous to our young children giving them the impression that you can “master being a christian” as if it is a skill.. and not really understanding that we are only here each day by the grace of god.

    The Lord will lead you and give you wisdom, good luck with your choices.


  21. says


    I get the sense that you are teetering on an unstable mountain top and you will go down in either of two distinct directions which will define the rest of your family life.

    I will share the details someday but what started me in a direction away from the patriarchy was seeing what effect it was having on my older daughters. I didn’t want them to live a servile role-defined life.

    I am so glad I got out of that when I did because my daughters are phenomonal people and my best friends.

  22. Pearl says

    Hoppy, get out before you waste anymore time there! I spent ten years in a church like that. Finally, when my kids became teens I woke up and realized my girls (especially) couldn’t continue there for their own well being and that it was harming my marriage. (Everything is fine with little kids-when they hit the teen years it is a lot different.) I left and lost most of the friendships (though those were dwindling fast anyway) and now I have to start all over somewhere else. I wish I had been more alert to the falseness of the gospel preached and had not been so willing to swallow a “few things” for the sake of the family-ness and the welcoming of children, etc. I should have been more concerned with the Gospel and less with homeschooling friendliness. 🙁

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