part ten of the podcast series on the family integrated church movement

This week’s podcast continues with Jon Zens and I discussing the Christian reconstructionist/domimionist movement, especially within the homeschooling community and it’s influence and presence in family integrated churches. Please be sure your homeschooling friends listen to understand a great deal of what goes on within so much of the homeschooling culture today.

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  1. Amy R. says

    Hi, Karen! Listening and enjoying, as always. So glad to hear from Jon Zenns; he fills in so many blanks.

    I’m a little surprised at your vehemence against classical homeschooling. That shocked me a little! 🙂 I’ve found, in my own family, that the Christian classical model has provided me with the best defense against patriocentricity and other modern heresies. My boys are familiar with world history, church history (including confessions, councils, heretics, saints, martyrs, and philosophers), philosophy, logic, and rhetoric. This has not prepared them to be patriocentric statesmen, at all. In fact, the opposite is true. They are prepared to lead others away from these heresies and back toward solid ground.

    I know that’s a bold claim, but we’re living that reality with my teens right now. I’m watching them work out their faith and speak intelligently with other believers on a level that would never have been possible for me when I was their age! They are truly well-educated. Knowledge of the scripture, and of the ways that various men have twisted those scriptures in the past, has made my sons bold to believe that there really is nothing knew under the sun. When it comes to spiritual lies and heresies, the devil is tricky but at least he’s repetitive. When it comes to history, Mark Twain was right: History doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme. 🙂

    The study of formal logic has taught them to think things through carefully. Gothard would have no inroad here because he is not rational. The study of formal rhetoric has taught them to know when to speak, and how much. My sons measure their audience better than I do, when they speak and write! They know how to craft their argument as they go, persuading, defending, teaching…

    Some are called to be thinkers and teachers. Christian classical homeschooling is one way to help some of our children who are gifted in those areas to train their minds and prepare for this era of ignorance in our churches. Someone has to know the ancient doctrines and be able to preach and exhort. Someone has to be able to recognize an old heresy re-packaged, and stop it before it takes hold. A young man trained in these old methods and knowledge will be that guy, if the Lord calls him to use his talents in that way. He might also be a politician, or a professor, or a homeschooling Dad. Who knows?

    Ancient hymns and a great deal of Catholic history are in Latin. The New Testament is mainly in Greek. My sons are learning these languages, because every generation, somebody’s got to do it!

    We use materials from Memoria Press for some of our classical studies. Some of the authors of those materials have directly challenged or answered the new patriarchy in the homeschooling community. Their materials help equip our students to do the same. You can’t walk with C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, GK Chesterton, and Peter Kreeft, and find yourself in alignment with Vision Forum. Not gonna happen. The truth of the former is too brilliant and captivating. It exposes the faults of the latter.

    We also use materials from Peace Hill Press, which is Susan Wise Bauer’s company. She personally has come under fire in the realm of homeschool conventions for presenting a model of classical Christian homeschooling that is very traditional and very opposite of the patriarchy model. She has associated with strong Christian teachers who are unapproved by Kevin Swanson, Ken Ham, Vision Forum, and others who are running the show these days. She gracefully and quietly held her ground even when rejected by convention organizers, and classical Christian homeschoolers have continued to buy her materials.

    I point these things out because I am just not sure you are aware of the battleground that is classical homeschooling. Classical Christian homeschoolers are the ones most likely to persuade other homeschoolers away from these conventions and groups. We’re using persuasive speech and facts to spread the word about the abuses and agendas, and we’re enjoying some success.

    I’ve found more support and awareness among Christian women that I’ve met through this classical homeschooling community than anywhere else, including churches and other homeschooling groups. We aren’t experts on anything, but we know enough history, theology, doctrine, philosophy, ancient logic, and formal rhetoric to recognize what is happening, and we can speak about it intelligently. We have taught our children to do the same, and pray that the LORD will use their writing, reasoning, and speaking abilities for His glory that the blasphemy may be stopped.

    How’s that a bad thing? I don’t think it is. I think if ‘classical’ is defined by Doug Wilson, we have a problem. I think if ‘classical’ is what Gothard believes his ATI curriculum to be, we have a problem. But Plato is still Plato, and neither of those groups read him.

  2. says

    Amy, I hope I can make this better rather than worse! Please go back and listen again….I think “vehemence against classical education” goes further than what I presented and certainly much further than I intended. I didn’t mean to offend and I apologize if I did.

    Here is what I was hoping to say in the context of Christian reconstruction and dominionism:

    There is a HUGE attraction to classical education within these circles, with the exception of Doug Phillips; he is in favor of the Hebrew school model rather than the Roman model. Doug Wilson’s model serves as the standard within these groups; they wouldn’t give Susan Wise Bauer the time of day. Girl,you know. The other great influence within classical education has been the Bluedorns, who have also been involved in the recon movement through the years. Classical ed is also part of the prep for attending Michael Farris’ Patrick Henry College whose goals are to train statesmen. In fact, if you google “methods of homeschooling,” nearly every article lists as either one of or the primary reason for classical education: to prepare statesmen with its emphasis on debate and rhetoric. I do not have a problem with this method. Let me be clear, it is good choice for some children. (Will come back to this.)

    I was also trying to make the point that ruling the world is not the goal set before us as believers. Rather, we are to be ambassadors for Christ and His disciples who preach the Gospel. We should be seeking to be the vehicle whereby the Gospel is presented in order to build Christ’s heavenly kingdom rather than to build a kingdom on earth.

    Whether we realize it or not, we live in a post-modern culture. This means we are dealing with many, many people who have no sense whatsoever of absolute truth and, for the most part, they are not interested in or influenced toward the Gospel by what we know. That doesn’t mean that we are to remain ignorant but I think it does mean that being able to argue and debate and understand Latin etc. is not going to be the way MOST of us will reach MOST of the lost for Christ. We need to develop skills and teach our children skills and, mostly, live by example, in ways that demonstrate love and compassion and absolute truth. That means our communication, rather than debate,must be done in ways that effectively speak a Biblical worldview into their lives. Like missionaries who have to learn another language when they go to another culture, we need to speak through the language of our culture and I believe that a huge part of this is through the arts in our modern culture.

    When I look at the reconstructionist model, I see a lot of fear of the arts and even a lack of understanding or even caring about what our culture is saying through the arts. It is so much simpler, for example, to pretend like the music culture doesn’t exist and listen to only hymns or some sacred music. It is easier to make our own, dare I say, often “cheesy” films rather than examine what the culture is trying to say and then answer it creatively. Francis Schaeffer was so concerned about this and wrote much about it in the 60’s and 70’s, having come through the fundamentalism that he saw as so destructive to thinking. As smart and equipped as he was to debate, one of his central messages was that young people need to speak the culture’s language outside the church and outside their philosophy classes.

    I do not see this happening within the reconstructionist world. Instead, they start schools where their own celebrity teachers reign. (Doug Wilson, R.C. Sproul Jr.) They discourage young people from going to college and promote the apprentice ideal. Women, of course, are to be trained for homemaking only. Acceptable movies are Fireproof, Courageous, and whatever Vision Forum awards at their film festival. (Doug Phillips publicly declared Hollywood irredeemable, though there is a Christian filmmakers group with over 12,000 members trying to live the Gospel in this arena.)

    Now, coming to a concern I have about classical ed for all kids. There are two parts really…

    First, we have to go back to the goal of helping each individual child discern and discover the gifts and talents given to him or her by the Lord. A few years ago I wrote about this:

    I think we do a great disservice to our kids if we step over their individual gifts and prepare them for being someone they weren’t meant to be. We might not think we are doing that when we choose curriculum or a specific learning method but if we ignore areas where they personally will shine, we are doing just that. No matter what method is chosen, there should be LOTS of down time to pursue specific interests and to develop those gifts. I am concerned that many classical ed programs require so much work themselves that little time is left to do this. Self-discovery and passionate learning about things you are interested in should always be a big part of the homeschooling journey. It makes for life-long learners.

    My other concern involves the communication skills: while there is a place for debate, I personally believe a more fruitful and wiser use of time for kids is to take a good speech class where they learn to communicate with all sorts of people on all sorts of levels. I have been involved in a local Toastmasters International club for about 11 years and have taught several high school/junior high classes with their materials. More than half of the time is spent listening to others which builds relationships. The kids learn the power of sharing their lives and their life stories with others, which reaches the hearts not just the heads. Too many times, and I am being painfully honest here, I have gotten to know homeschoolers who were so in to debate that they only cared what someone else was saying so they could correct them. There was an arrogance that was appalling. This is really something we all have to work on with our children because we love homeschooling so much and see the benefits so a better-than-others attitude can creep in. Debate rather than public speaking skills can make that even worse.

    I hope I have not offended anyone…please forgive me if I didn’t choose my words carefully enough.

  3. Amy R. says

    I’m certainly not offended. I apologize if I sounded offended.

    I guess I just disagree. I’m afraid I’m going to have to use a wee bit of bragging to make my point that children taught with very ancient and traditional classical methods will not be unfit to do the Lord’s work in 2012 and beyond. I don’t often do this because I know that all children have gifts and talents, but I want to show how my sons use their classical education in their lives. So here goes…

    My sons are not hindered from speaking with the proletariat; in fact, they are the only teens I know who have been invited to preach, teach Bible lessons to adults, and to teach Aerospace Education and Moral Leadership classes to cadets in Civil Air Patrol. They are the only boys I know who have successfully run self-initiated Bible studies with peers.

    Even though they possess formal debating skills, they also understand when to use those skills and when to use what they’ve learned from their Carnegie speaking course. My older sons have hugely benefited from “How to Make Friends and Influence People,” and “Public Speaking for Success.” They know that debate is a formal thing, with terms and rules set beforehand, and not to be engaged in with untrained opponents or over the dinner table. They know what loving conversation is because they are being brought up in a family that practices loving conversation. They do not alienate their friends with their arrogance or insistence. This is a matter of manners, not education.

    My elder son corresponds with a State legislator, learning from him and offering a youth’s perspective (as requested) on some issues of the day. He met him by serving as a page at the Statehouse. This legislator wrote us a letter saying he was impressed with our son’s professionalism, education, eagerness, and humility. If our son goes to a service academy, as he desires, this man will be the one to write the recommendation. As a Christian, he encourages my son to consider politics because he has been educated in this unique way.

    One of my sons has organized the youth at our church to act in films that he wrote, directed, and produced. One film was about David and Absalom. The other was about the men working on the wall during Nehemiah’s time, done in a style evoking Shakespeare. My son wrote a Romeo and Juliet-style rhyming prologue for it that delighted many. Through these efforts he has been able to teach the Bible, make lots of friends, and forge a job-shadowing/mentee relationship with a local television producer who heard of his work. So there’s the filmmaker aspect. The kid who knows Biblical Greek is a filmmaker.

    This classically-educated kid is also a folk musician. He is a singer and a songwriter, and plays five instruments. He has had the opportunity to perform on stage with many well-known folk musicians. Everywhere he performs, no matter what other music he is playing, he always plays one or two folk tunes that tell the story of the gospel. He’s known for that; everyone who invites him knows that his gospel music will be part of the show. His folk music, which he delivers with very down-to-earth charm, is a vehicle for spreading the gospel. He can do that, even though he’s studied Aristotle’s rhetoric and Plato’s Republic.

    Another son, age 14, is starting to excel at teaching moral leadership. He began teaching in Civil Air Patrol and is now expanding his classes to friends in taekwondo and at church. Young people like to learn more about heroes of the past, and my son includes Bible heroes in his lessons. His main work in the church right now is helping two of our elders with our food pantry. Our church is in a very depressed part of town, and this ministry is becoming one of the greatest outreach opportunities we have in these hard times. This son, who is good with tools and with his hands, also helps his Dad with construction repairs for widows and poor in our community. He volunteers at the library twice each week, helping the librarians and helping with a literacy program for elementary children. He is classically educated at home.

    We don’t go to a FIC or a fundamentalist evangelical church, even though our family beliefs are somewhat in line with the latter. We go to the church of my husband’s choice, which is quite liberal and doesn’t emphasize the scriptures nearly enough, in my opinion. For instance, part of the sermon today included a Veggie Tales clip! And sports. Every allegory has to do with football. It is not an intellectual church. My sons don’t go to Sunday school or youth group because their learning has greatly exceeded the scope of those classes. With the elders’ blessing, they attend adult classes instead. This has not hampered their friendships with the youth; they get together for recreation as well as for good works in the community. And also for special projects, like the aforementioned filmmaking. It’s understood and respected that my sons are being educated differently, and it’s not a problem for anyone because they are not snobby or unapproachable. They do have a few members of the congregation who take time to study, debate, discuss, and pray with them personally, but the rest of the time they just fall in with everyone else and belong.

    Please consider that your assumptions about classical homeschoolers might just be stereotypes. They are homeschoolers, after all, so their school days are intense but shorter than the day that ps kids spend on academics. They have part of each afternoon, every evening, and the whole weekend free to be useful in the church and to develop their own hobbies and interests. Latin, Greek, and theology don’t get in the way of creativity, talents, and service. In our family, our personalities are enhanced by our studies. Our goals are refined, and our scope of work expanded.

    Most of the Christian classical homeschoolers of my acquaintance (none of whom have any connection to or interest in VF, the patriarchy, Doug Wilson) have children who are just as active in their communities and just as busy doing good things for others and for their church. Their rigorous academics don’t get in the way of Christian growth or service, anymore than it did for classically educated Christian Americans of the past.

    I agree to disagree, of course. I just wanted to try once more to defend classical Christian homeschooling that occurs outside the patriarchal paradigm.

  4. says

    Amy, I don’t think you’re really disagreeing with Thatmom. She says that she doesn’t think the classical curriculum is right for all children, and surely you can agree with that. She is not saying that it is right for no child.

    You have some fine sons and you are right to be very proud of them.

    My daughter asked me, around middle school age, what I thought she ought to do when she grew up. I told her, among other things, to consider her personality and what she does and doesn’t like. She thought for a moment and said, “I hate people.”

    “That narrows it down,” I said.

    My daughter doesn’t hate people, of course, she’s just an extreme introvert. She’s a kind and loving person, has always had a group of close friends, and I am proud of her character and accomplishments. But she’s a QA supervisor on the night shift at a citrus processing plant, and she likes nights because there are fewer people and less drama. Somebody has to be that way, right, so you can trust the orange juice you buy at the store?

    The wonderful things your boys have done would be pure torture for her. In her case, public school and then going away to college prevented her from being a complete hermit – by bloody necessity she had to co-exist with other people and she learned to do it.

    Will mention that in her case, four years of Latin in high school -> 750 on the verbal portion of the SAT. And I always supplemented her school learning with solid, time-tested literature because I wanted her to have some perspective about pop culture.

  5. Michelle says

    I’m grateful to get a little better understanding on Rushdoony and resconstructionism and dominionism.
    These are ideas and concepts that I’ve been becoming aware of and it’s helpful to know some of the “why’s” behind a lot of what I’m seeing in the homeschool movement. It’s so easy to just “fall in” to a certain “way” not realizing the philosophy behind it. I’m thankful that my eyes have been opened to the “whys” and “whats” so that I can make better informed decisions about our homeschooling efforts. If it turns out that “classical ed” is a good thing for us (like the mom above)…I can go into it with my eyes wide open.

    I don’t think it will be though. I’m passionate about the arts and my husband is a linguist. 😉

    I would say Amy R. that your passionate defense of classical home education is insightful…but agree that Karen isn’t bashing the concept….simply explaining some of the thought behind it.

  6. says

    I threw down the Bluedorns’ book when they said Dad should teach logic because men are more logical than women. I had to turn on some praise and worship music to help me suppress my desire to send them a large sack of dirty nappies in the mail. I mean, who writes and believes that sort of idiocy and has the gall to call in Christian? Some men are more gifted critical thinkers than some women. And some women are more gifted critical thinkers than some men. To say that our ability to reason well comes from our genitals is just ridiculous. And it makes me doubt the Bluedorns’ ability to think critically. Seriously.

  7. Anthea says

    Hello Tamara — you have a *fantastic* name! You sound like a superspy Bond girl, perhaps the inventive sidekick to Q! It’s also quite English … is there a story there? Re your point, I have nothing to add, since I have only read a couple of short articles by or about the Bluedorns.

  8. Anthea says

    Hello Karen
    First, let me admit that I have not yet heard the mp3 of the show. I’m doing it this morning, since we are skipping our “Learning Time”. The children are fagged out from staying up to watch the Olympic closing ceremony … The Spice Girls jumping out of bejewlled taxis — what glorious nonsense!

    I hope I’m not, therefore, going down some big old rabbit trail. I know I’m always banging on about the little differences in our respective cultures,but is the recontructionist movement about going back to an American Puritan past? How does that fit with a worldwide faith? Most Christians are from the Two-Thirds World. Perhaps it’s about a return to Reformation-era Europe, the “dreaming spires” of Oxbridge, or the mannered world of ‘Pride & Prejudice’.

    I find it interesting that those who advocate a return to certain cultural practices are presenting a European, or even British model which harks back to certain periods in our history. The past is not as straightforward as that, of course. Imagine if a European person saw American history and education as consisting only of Cowboys and Indians, or the American Civil War. (In fact, many of us do just that! Ouch.)

    Some US home edders have romantic blog icons with scenes of Regency life, as if 18th century England was one big Jane Austen novel. In the same way, there is a presentation of European intellectual life which suggests that it was stable and standardised. But Shakespeare lived alongside Aphra Behn and Christopher Marlowe. Shelley was a contemporary of Wilberforce. There were riots and revival. Those beautiful houses in Austen’s novels were built on the proceeds of slavery. And check this out in an article on DNA testing in the UK:

    “The same gene-testing techniques are also revealing surprising things about apparently white Britons. Many are descended from black slaves or from black people who have come to Britain over the past 2,000 years…Cedric Barber, a financial adviser from Stoke-on-Trent, is a direct descendant of Francis Barber, the Afro-Caribbean servant of Dr Samuel Johnson. Francis Barber helped the great lexicographer to prepare his English dictionary between 1747 and 1755.”

    We have a really complicated, messy history. I don’t know if it should be mined for simplistic ideas about what God wants us to do in the future.

  9. Anthea says

    Hello Karen
    I’ve listened to the mp3, and I really appreciated the outline that John Zens presented. I now know that their theory is that revival will create a society run on the Mosaic Law.

    However, when I look at the dominionist websites, blogs etc they do not show examples or images from OT society. They usually quote American Puritans, have costumes from the antebellum South and so on. Mr Zens also quoted a writer who admired Calvin’s Genevan society. It’s all so romanticised and parochial. What has this got to do with believers other parts of the world?

    I also appreciate your warning, Karen, that we should not think that societies are only changed in one or two ways. We should take the Bible’s metaphor of the body to heart, and develop all sorts of little disciples for God’s Kingdom. Wouldn’t it be great?

  10. says

    “I threw down the Bluedorns’ book when they said Dad should teach logic because men are more logical than women.”

    Wow, this is new info to me. Which book was this, do you remember? You know, Laurie Bluedorn made attempts to silence me on FB on two different occasions, one time publicly warning people to never come to this blog, and I was puzzled because I hadn’t seen her as a staunch patriocentrist at all until then. Not long ago someone sent me this link to her website where she talks about courtship and, combined with the fact that her daughter is the illustrator for Raising Maidens of Virtue and her promotion of state conventions, it all made sense.

  11. says

    Anthea, you mentioned the antebellum South. BINGO! Clay and I were talking about my article on my grandmas the the other night over dinner and he was recalling his grandma and her two sisters who were suffragettes and lived in Michigan. He observed that “Yankee women would never put up with this nonsense” and he believes the old southern views of women are the ideal within the patrio camps. Will be writing about this……

  12. Amy R. says

    Well, thanks to all for the additional info. I was not familiar with how much Doug Wilson was pushing his brand of classical education. Lots to think about, here.

    The Bluedorn book Tamara mentioned is “Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style.” It is fascinating, and somewhat (barely) pre-dates (or does it instigate?) this patriarchy movement toward a new and kind of strange version of classical education. Three of the most unusual recommendations are the aforementioned banning of logic for women, the elimination of the study of mythology or pagan cultures (!), and delaying Math and Latin until after age 10.

    I believe I’m right on those three details. I haven’t read it for a really long time.

  13. Kelly says

    Amy – I have never liked the whole delaying math thing. I mean, really? These are prime years (no pun intended!) to get a grasp on the basics of this subject. I read Teaching the Trivium and I guess I either agreed with it at the time (I was a patriocentrist at the time I read it) or I didn’t notice the part that women shouldn’t teach logic.

  14. Jennifer says

    Maybe I misheard Mr. Zens, but did he say that Frank Schaeffer (son of Francis Schaeffer) is a Dominionist?

  15. says

    I was kinda puzzled (tho not at all offended) about your mention of classical ed as well. I never really knew what it was until I left patriarchy and began to question my reasons for homeschooling…I was no longer doing it to shelter them and I felt kinda lost and directionless. I decided to buy a book on homeschooling and so I got Susan WB’s book, The Well Trained Mind, and spent some time at the forums by the same name. Then I went to the Cincinnati GHC last year (the one Ken Ham was banned from) and listened to some of the classical ed seminars…I wish I could remember the one guy’s name but it was refreshing to hear him speak about literature. He mentioned Harry Potter and how Harry Potter is not the problem, it’s just a problem when that is the ONLY thing a child ever reads. He quoted/talked of GK Chesterton & Flannery O’Connor. I loved it and was so glad I wasn’t in the crowded room across the hall listening to Mrs. Duggar talk about motherhood! (which is exactly where I would’ve been a few years prior). Learning about Classical Ed gave me a renewed purpose to focus on high quality education and well-roundedness instead of sheltering.

    Then 2 of my kids went to a classical school last year (a calvinist, reformed school no less) and I was pleasantly surprised by the absence of patriocentric “stuff.” I would’ve removed them in a second if I’d caught a whiff of patriarchy. They had many women teachers, had a Christmas dance with a surprisingly lenient dress code (in my experience homeschoolers typically have very strict dress codes at things like this, if they have dances at all!) and played secular music. The only thing that ever worried me was my son’s history class…the teacher loved the South, had unusual views about Lincoln (negative), didn’t like MLK Jr. much (or the civil rights movement), etc. But we kept communication open with our son on all of this and he knew that we didn’t agree with all of that and why. We got to know some of the other families at the school and none of them were into patriocentricity.

    I was talking to a distant relative recently who is a homeschooler. Or, rather, *was* a homeschooler. Her girls are grown now. She was ALL ABOUT classical education, Charlotte Mason, etc. without being into patriarchy. She has her master’s degree and the way she educated her daughters was quite impressive (just hearing her talk about it wore me out!) and they are successfully making their way in the world as young adults…college, backpacking europe, etc. No hint of patriarchy in that family.

    And I guess Sonlight is considered classical and I’ve always used it (didn’t know it was classical until recently…still not sure if it is classical according to SWB’s definition). And Sonlight is another example of someone (J Holzmann) who is not a fan of patriarchy.

    So anyway. That’s been my experience with classical ed. I never heard from any of these people an emphasis on using classical ed to bring up future statesmen/political activists, though I do know what you mean about Patrick Henry College & Doug Wilson. But are Doug Wilson & Co still the driving force behind classical ed? When I think classical education I think Susan WB & Charlotte Mason. I also think “Lots of work & time!” I could never do classical ed by the book–I am way too laid back for that. And so are my kids 🙂 So we incorporate some aspects of it in a way that fits our style and interests. Like you said, above all we need to keep their unique personalities and interests in mind and make sure they have lots of free, unstructured time.

  16. says

    Jennifer, I was going to ask Jon about that Frank Schaeffer reference and forgot until you mentioned it. He has been outspokenly against the dominionist movement in recent years and I have no idea if he ever embraced it. My impression of him now is that he has embraced the far left end of the religious and political spectrum;l I don’t know if he is even pro-life now. Anyone with links, please feel free to post them. I will be seeing Jon later this week and will ask him about that comment.

  17. says

    Becky, perhaps some of the confusion re: the classical approach is that there is the original classical method that would include the Bluedorn and Wilson material, both that have been around for 20 years or so. Then the more recent type of classical method that would include Classical Conversations, which isn’t purely a classical approach but includes elements of Charlotte Mason, which is a method all on its own as well. From what I understand, CC is one of the fastest growing methods and has a broad appeal because it isn’t as intense as traditional classical.

    Re: the affinity for the South. Doug Wilson is well-know for his pro-south views and ever joined up with Steve Wilkins to write a book about their position. The believe the Civil War to be a theological war where the south was right, they blame Lincoln for holding the Union together and further spreading industrialization into the southern states, etc. After they published Slavery as It Was, which, among other revisionist propaganda, claimed slaves loved being slaves, was discovered to be mostly plagiarized. Here is the crux of it from the Southern Poverty Law Center, not the most reliable source but it sums up succinctly what many sources have written:

    “The two neo-Confederate pastors who were recently at the center of controversy in Idaho over their defense of bondage, Southern Slavery As It Was, are facing a new brouhaha. It turns out that at least 22 passages, some of them quite lengthy, were plagiarized from a 1974 book.

    In early August, Nicholas Gier, a retired philosophy professor at the University of Idaho, dropped a bombshell by announcing that his former student, Doug Wilson, and Wilson’s co-author, Steve Wilkins, were “guilty of plagiarism.”

    Gier wrote a letter to a local newspaper, began circulating a petition denouncing the plagiarism, and produced a series of side-by-side comparisons of pages from the 1996 Wilson/Wilkins booklet and Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery, by R.W. Fogel and S.L. Engerman.

    “I’m a professional academic and he’s a former student,” Geir told the Lewiston Morning Tribune. “I feel a responsibility for the product.”

    Wilson, who has regularly mocked mainstream academics as having no depth or intellectual integrity, hotly denied plagiarizing Time on the Cross. He described the lifted passages as simply reflecting a citation problem, and attributed the latest uproar to “some of our local Banshees [who] have got wind of all this and raised the cry of plagiarism (between intermittent sobs of outrage).”

    Wilson, pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, and Wilkins, who leads Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Monroe, La., are key thinkers in the neo-Confederate movement. Their defense of “biblical” slavery, exceedingly unorthodox views of American history, and harsh theocratic ideology put them at the center of a major controversy when they hosted a “history” conference at ui last February. Some 350 students and others demonstrated against racism outside the conference.

    Wilson told a reporter that he’d immediately pulled Southern Slavery As It Was from the shelves of Canon Press, which is owned by Wilson’s church, when he was first informed of the problems by a local scholar last winter. He said that Canon Press is now preparing a corrected version of the booklet, whose thesis Wilson still stands by.

    But the scholar who contacted Wilson, history professor Robert McKenzie, told a reporter that he actually first raised the problems with Wilson after reading the booklet several years ago.

    McKenzie, of the University of Washington, said that Wilson and Wilkins appeared to have been more “sloppy” than “malevolent.” But, he told The Moscow-Pullman Daily News, “A professional historian would be totally humiliated.”

  18. says

    There are 10 recorded sessions I did with Rebecca Keliher the CEO of Home Educating Family on the various methods and what to consider before you choose one at the online convention site. It is all free all the time but you will need to register to watch. We had one entire broadcast for the classical method and one on the Charlotte Mason method as well. There are tons of great videos all around the site as well. Between the two of us, all our kids and my grandkids, we have used every method I think! 🙂

  19. Anthea says

    Hello ladies and gents

    The story from Becky was interesting, because it exemplifies what Karen’s podcasts have been all about: we choose a course/curriculum for our own reasons, and in the past there seemed to be less pressure to buy into a particular lifestyle/philosophy. Karen has written about how she has seen the homeschool conventions subtly changing, etc.

    I was also struck by her phrase here: “… a renewed purpose to focus on high quality education and well-roundedness instead of sheltering.” Providing a “well-rounded” education is an oft-stated goal by home edders and schoolteachers. One reason I have stuck with Five in a Row is that we have such great experiences.

  20. says

    Karen, a friend sent me this link in response to the Doug Wilson/pamphlet-writing thing. I have a feeling I don’t know the man and the underlying issues well enough to dissect some of his language, but I get a doublespeak vibe off it. I don’t see how what he says here absolves the original content of the pamphlet as you described it…his distinction of “paleo-Confederate” seems more like refusing to acknowledge the Civil War had any final meaning to the old Southern paradigm.

    Another friend, from the deep South, agreed that the war involved Constitutional implications but absolutely not that the South had theological or moral footing. I’m not American, so I struggle to see how any of it bears on a Christian worldview…but then, so does my Southern friend, who does not espouse the “great Christian nation” rhetoric or American exceptionalism, simply on the basis of history.

  21. Anthea says

    Hello Karen

    Thanks for the info on dominionists and slavery. Becky’s story about her son’s history teacher shows that these writers have influenced other people. This is exactly the parochial attitude that concerns me. Wilson loves England, I think the college he runs (St Andrew?) is mimicking Oxbridge, so you would think he’d look a bit more widely before commenting on these things.

    But Wilson does not acknowledge that the way slavery operated in the US was peculiar to the US. The way it operated in the British Empire was peculiar — just peculiar! I don’t know if you know this, but for a while slavery was illegal on British soil, whilst it was legal in the colonies. So there were free black people in Britain, working and intermarrying and so on. Meanwhile, back on the plantation, thousands of miles away … Hence my comments DNA testing and what it has revealed about UK history.

    This is relevant to your podcast, because, if these men want a great revival and a millenial kingdom, it would be a worldwide theocracy. So whose vision would shape the values and practices of this theocracy? The writers you have highlighted have little or no connection with 2/3 of the Christians in the world. I make this assertion because I live in the country that is jokingly called the 51st state of the USA, and we do have lots of things in common. Yet the cultural references by Kevin Swanson et al are nothing to do with me. Why would I want a “second Mayflower”? Now imagine how Christians in Iraq, China or Brazil would respond.

    When I’ve looked at any material from patriocentric writers, it’s all about poeple returning to God to make America great again. It’s good to love my country, but I don’t kid myself that God established Britain and made her Great. Perhaps He did, but He’s done that for all sorts of other countries, when they walk with Him. He’s also lifted up *godless* countries, when it suits His purposes (e.g. Greece and Rome to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus). Should we expect that our own nations will mirror the experience of the Israelites in *every* way? Is a revival supposed to lead to a Christian state? So how come there’s no theocracy in China, or Iran?

  22. says

    Here is a link to Mark Noll’s book that explains the theological implications of the Civil War. (Btw, Noll is a historian with keen insights into the history of Christianity in America and the journey that brought us to this point. Good stuff.)

    I would agree that there is the old double talk in that clip, not unlike the double talk in his assertions on authority and hierarchy in the marriage bed that caused so much chaos as well as confusion a few weeks ago!

    We spent many years in two churches where the affinity for the “Old Dominion” was apparent. In fact, one elder once said at a men’s Bible study “The Klan (KKK) has done some great things.” We repeatedly heard about what a dastardly man Lincoln was and that if he had not tried to hold the Union together, there would have been the North and then the truly godly nation of the Confederacy. Of course, these people want to make sure that no one thinks they are racists so they have to spin this other ways. But why do they fly the Confederate flag? Why do they try to tell us how much the slaves loved being slaves? Why do they sell and highly recommend the Elsie Dinsmore and Henty books? Why do they promote what I call a neo-feudal caste system? Why do they turn a blind eye to the Kinist movement by welcoming kinists into their groups? These are all questions I would love to have answered in more than double talk. I would like to see them prove they aren’t racists in deed as well!

    Here is a truly horrible website….run by kinists. One of the founders of the Kinist movement is still a member in good standing in a leading patriocentric denomination and I have yet to see any public renouncing of his views. Basically, kinists believe that the races ought to be kept separate and, of course, in the superiority of the white race.

    Speaking of DNA testing, we watched these amazing documentaries about DNA testing to find your background. Highly recommend them….on my bucket list is to have DNA testing done because I am adopted.

  23. says

    “This is relevant to your podcast, because, if these men want a great revival and a millenial kingdom, it would be a worldwide theocracy. So whose vision would shape the values and practices of this theocracy? The writers you have highlighted have little or no connection with 2/3 of the Christians in the world.”

    Anthea, this is exactly the point!!!!!! And I believe it applies to the gender wars as well. The dominionists believe they will conquer by numbers in future generations…evangelism via the womb rather than the moving of the Holy Spirit. Of course, they will say it is both but the bottom line is that women need to be on board with this and that means they need to have as many babies as possible. Thus militant fecundity is central to it all. So you get books like Passionate Housewives Desperate for God that tell women that the only calling for all women in all seasons is to be homemakers. They superimpose a dominionist, upper middle class American paradigm on all women for all times in all places without recognizing how ludicrous, let alone arrogant it is. Who gets to decide everything? Why, they do, of course! (By the way, I understand the authors are rewriting this book…can’t wait to see how they make it a kinder, gentler piece of dominionist propaganda!)

  24. Kelly says

    Karen – I went to the SWB website. To say it is disturbing is putting it extremely mildly. Who started this website, do you know? Also, one word I noticed in their “Principles of Kinism” portion was “normative.” Seriously, if I hear these people use that word one more time. . . now when I hear that word, I immediately see red flags going up everywhere.

  25. says

    Rushdooney, of course, was key in this movement. (He also didn’t believe the Holocaust of the Jews occurred.) The names of the founders of the modern day movement, as appeared in the State of Florida documentation, were Harry Seabrook, Chad Degenhart, and Mark Godfrey. A number of years when I blogged about this, especially as I was seeing connections coming together here in Central Illinois, many of the blogs where these names often appeared started go on lock down, some of them still are password protected or have vanished altogether! If you think that blog was bad, you should have seen their first one. Outrageous.

    Here is another link to help people understand what kinism actually teaches.

  26. Amy R. says

    Karen, you said, “Becky, perhaps some of the confusion re: the classical approach is that there is the original classical method that would include the Bluedorn and Wilson material, both that have been around for 20 years or so. Then the more recent type of classical method that would include Classical Conversations, which isn’t purely a classical approach but includes elements of Charlotte Mason, which is a method all on its own as well. From what I understand, CC is one of the fastest growing methods and has a broad appeal because it isn’t as intense as traditional classical.”

    Now I see where we’re talking at cross purposes, a little. The kind of classical education I’ve been talking about, along with Tamara and Becky, pre-dates Bluedorn and Wilson by hundreds of years. It pre-dates homeschooling in the USA. Again, our style is found in the works of Dorothy Sayers, Tracy Simmons, Andrew Campbell, Martin Cothran, Cheryl Lowe, Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise, Sister Miriam Joseph, Peter Kreeft, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Cotton Mather, John Adams, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesteron…

    writings on education by all of these people, from the teachers of Greece and America’s founding fathers to modern interpreters of their methodology, has influenced the style of homeschooling that my family utilizes. It is before, different from, and outside of anything that Doug Wilson invented 20 years ago. It is ancient, and not Christian in origin. Christians have debated since the early church era whether or not to use pagan methods of classical education. It was Augustine who led the way toward the thinking that I myself espouse: Just as the Israelites plundered Egypt for the best that they could carry out from that civilization, so can (and should) Christians plunder the wisdom of the Ancients. And of course, in the medieval era, the Church created a very Christian version of classical education, one my children would recognize because of the similarity to their own studies. Charlotte Mason was an education reformer and quite non-patriarchal in her Christian perspective; her methods (and curriculum content) were classical but mindful of the Gospel and respectful toward the individual souls and callings of both boys and girls.

    If anyone would like to know more about who came first, Socrates or Doug Wilson, 🙂 there are articles and podcasts at .

  27. says

    Amy, I think the real confusion here is that I am talking about the history of classical education within the homeschooling movement and specifically in the context of Christian reconstruction as I stated before. It was Doug Wilson who introduced homeschoolers and private classical schoolers to Dorothy Sayer, btw. What do you see are the differences between Susan Wise Bauer, Doug Wilson, and the Bluedorns, btw? Again, highly recommend the conversation I had with Rebecca I linked to above.

  28. says

    Also, as you recall, I referenced the fact that some recons embrace the Greek and Roman model (the classical model) and others reject it, using the Hebrew school model.

  29. JanuaryK says

    Hmmmmm, it has taken me awhile to work through all the conversations and comments, but a very interesting discussion, indeed! Thatmom, I really appreciate your clarification up towards the top that you were talking specifically about the subset of homeschooler’s know as Christian reconstructionist’s and dominionist’s. That makes things much clearer.

    As a homeschooler who has always abhorred Wilson and the Patriarchy/Dominionist movement (not to be confused with Patriarchy in the Orthodox/Early Church Father’s sense,)I have just a few thoughts.

    For one, I refuse to give up the terms “Classical Education” and “Patriarchy,” because some narcissistic male chauvinist has decided to co-opt them for his own benefit. Both of these are terms of ancient history, albeit in slightly different forms and languages, and some passing nightmare of ideology does not get the right to change there meaning. (Can you tell how I really feel about Wilson and his ilk? ;D)

    As to the “homeschooling movement,” I find this term confusing as well. I was homeschooled through highschool by my non-Christian Mother and Grandfather. My Grandfather was a classically educated lawyer, politician, and activist who is the complete opposite of Douglas Wilson.

    As an Orthodox Christian (Frank Schaeffer is as well) the term Patriarchy is very dear to me and actually conjures up emotions and images very different than when I here “Wilson,” “Courtship,” “Reconstructionist,” or “Dominionism.”

    I know what it is to be deeply wounded by followers of modern Christian Patriarchal movements. I have experienced the deepest wounds one possibly can and ultimately left ministry as a result. Finding Orthodoxy was the only thing that saved my fracturing faith.

    I still believe int he Classical Method and am very grateful for the resources that Amy mentioned, that exist outside the above mentioned Patriarchal movement.

    Thank you, for hosting this needed discussion!

  30. HoppyTheToad says

    Susan Wise Bauer and Doug Wilson probably don’t have much in common. I think she believes in an old Earth. I spend a lot of time at her homschooling message boards and when she started being excluded from conferences because of Ken Ham’s problems with Peter Enns, she didn’t seem to publicly attack people like Ken Ham and his followers did. Her books don’t give off any “you must believe like me or you are a bad Christian” vibes like the patriarchy crowd.

  31. JC Mommaduck says

    Karen, it may be beneficial for you to read SWB’s books and perhaps contact her. There is a WORLD of difference between her and the Bluedorns, as anyone that has spent time (or years) on her forum already know. To lump her in with Philips and the Bluedorns…apples and oranges (and could be considered insulting by some).

    Classical Education is not wrong, but the twisted versions of Classical Education and the twisted reasons by the twisted people (heading into Dr. Suess or some other grating territory here 🙂 ) are definitely wrong. Classical Education and the Philips/Bluedorn version of it are not related, other than one took part of an idea and ran their own direction with it. I believe this is what the other ladies are trying to say.

  32. says

    Hi thatmom,
    I enjoyed your podcast but as a WTM classical homeschooler, I’d like to talk a little about the difference between the Bluedorn/Wilson model and the WTM model. As far as I can tell, Wilson started talking about classical Christian education as a private school model a while back–IIRC he wasn’t too big on homeschooling at the time. I think he’s the one who popularized the Sayers article (which I love), but I’m not sure. SWB and co. meanwhile were working on their own branch of classical homeschooling–Jessie Wise had done it in the 70’s largely by using her own experience and curriculum used by private schools that were still using the old classical model. If you read WTM and look at the materials they recommend, and the *very* wide variety of people that do classical education that way, it isn’t patriarchal or pro-confederacy or any of that stuff. This is also a real movement in the homeschooling community, though I don’t know how large it is compared to any other flavor of homeschooling.

    For a really wonderful look at classical education throughout history, I would recommend the ‘reader’ book “The School of Freedom: A Liberal Education Reader from Plato to the Present Day,” by Marc Sidwell and Anthony O’Hear. It’s British, and doesn’t reference homeschoolers much, although for some reason he mentions TJEd at the end.

  33. Anthea says

    Hello Karen

    I’ve listened to parts 9 & 10 of this series, so I downloaded parts 1 to 4 last night. Shawn Mathis was OK, but you were awe-some! The interchange brought out some intriguing points,e.g. the way some families can’t really “fit in” at an FIC church, the rewriting of history. Why did I not listen before? I found that Shawn Mathis was writing about a conflisct within his own denomination. Your comments brought the programmes back to how home educating mothers and fathers could be affected by the FIC movement.

    I look forward to parts 5 to 8!

  34. says

    Regrouping here because I think we are having a major communication gap….

    First of all, everything that I have written on this thread is written within the context of the dominionist/reconstructionist movement unless I stated otherwise. That is the main topic of the podcast for those who haven’t yet listened. I made a brief statement regarding the fact that classical education has as an end goal educating statesmen and that that is one reason it is so popular within the recon movement.

    Secondly, the push for classical education within homeschooling in general and within the dominionist/reconstructionist branch of homeschooling started with Doug Wilson (NOT Phillips…Phillips is opposed to classical education for Christian children) and the Bluedorns. Wilson is associated with New St. Andrews College and Phillips is associated with Vision Forum. Just a quick look at an accurate homeschooling time line will show you that this is a fact. The Bluedorns began writing/speaking/publishing about 28-30 years ago. I know because I remember being at their booths when the first conventions were held in our area; they live about 1 1/2 hours from us. In those days, long before the internet made online curriculum shopping possible, everyone purchased their materials from catalogs or curriculum writers/vendors at local and state conventions. There was a strong influence of recon thought that spawned these organizations.

    Doug Wilson came along and published Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning in 1991 and it resonated with many homeschoolers. At that same time, there were lots of Classical Christian Day schools popping up all over the country, many of them accommodating homeschoolers as well. Susan Wise Bauer may have been trained using a classical approach in the 70’s by her mom but she didn’t publish The Well-Trained Mind until 2003. At that time her mom was doing some speaking at conferences and eventually SWB did as well.

    I asked what you all see as the differences because from an academic perspective, I see the trivium and studies of classical literature, history, etc. as being central to all of these people. I never said that SWB is patriocentric….LOL……give me some credit! If you have read here for very long, you know I understand the players in this drama. I could include Tapestry of Grace in this line-up as well. Isn’t it based on the same core concepts of the Trivium? If I am missing this, please explain. You might want to drop a note to the various publishers as well as places like Wikipedia,too, because they are under the same impression I am. 😉

    Again, I am not hearing anyone actually explaining the differences in the classical education method among these people and certainly don’t know why it is insulting to ask. Are not all based on the trivium? We are talking methods of instruction here. Now, if we are talking about gender roles etc., I certainly know there is a HUGE difference between Wilson, Bluedorns, and SWB. But that isn’t the point. Btw, Wilson and Bauer both trained at reformed seminaries and Bauer’s husband is a reformed pastor.

    For the record, I have used some of the History of the World materials. In fact, if you want to be amused, listen to the podcast called The Artifact. Have your classically educated kids listen, too. They will get the humor in it!

  35. says

    Anthea, I am not sure we stressed this but Shawn Mathis is in the same denomination and same presbytery (meaning local group of churches) that Kevin Swanson is. Kevin is one of the most vocal proponents of the family integrated church and has said some really over the top things about churches that are not in this category. I believe it is quite significant that this conversation is taking place within their own group and think it has already toned down his rhetoric somewhat. Glad you enjoyed listening. I think you will really appreciate Steve Doyle, too!

  36. says

    January, glad you posted that link. I will ask Jon about that. Perhaps he is referring to the militant political left movement where Frank has associated himself more recently.

  37. says

    AmyR – Could you explain what you meant by this: “My sons are not hindered from speaking with the proletariat”? Who are the “proletariat” in your mind?


  38. says

    Interesting conversation. I read the comments before I had time to listen to the podcast so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

    Background: I’ve taught in a classical Christian school and I am now a homeschooling mom. I’m 45.

    I didn’t get any sense that Karen was vehemently against classical education. I thought her point was well made in the context of a discussion about reconstructionism and postmillenial views. I especially appreciated the point that we live in a postmodern society where Truth does not reign supreme and is not even the primary goal for most people under age 35 or so, especially under 30.

    The past few months I’ve hung out on a lot of different blogs written by younger men and women and it has been an education. Love and community trump truth among most younger Christians. Many of them see them as diametrically opposed. Culture and the arts are huge, just as Karen said. Becoming skilled in debate and carefully crafted arguments is simply not going to be as effective as it was in the past. And I say this as a writer, thinker, and person of words.

    Does this mean we shouldn’t encourage our children to receive a rigorous education? Of course not. I want my daughter to be articulate and a sharp thinker who can analyze an argument and effectively bring forth her own beliefs. But if we are talking about reaching people with the Gospel over the coming years… it really isn’t going to be enough.

    I think one of the challenges facing those of us who are bridging these generations (over 40 but with younger children) is finding a way to bring both Truth and love/community together. It is not being done effectively right now. The only place I see it being done well is in the patriarchal camps where they promote “community” (which is really uniformity, but that’s a different discussion) and their version of the truth. (Just to clarify that I see it being done effectively, but not in a way that I would support.)

    There is much I love about the classical model, but it is not the be all and end all. No method is. I may appreciate the classical model, but I know it is not what will work best with my uber-creative, dreamer, spirited child. I’ve had to rethink everything about my views on education in light of my own specific child. Part of that is pretty much knowing that she will not be getting a classical model education. I am also thinking through how to prepare her for the world she will live in, not the world I wish she was going to live in. I have to prepare her for a completely different world than I grew up in. So I’m trying to find the balance between giving her the best of the world I grew up in and equipping her for what lies ahead for her.

  39. says

    “I am also thinking through how to prepare her for the world she will live in, not the world I wish she was going to live in. I have to prepare her for a completely different world than I grew up in. So I’m trying to find the balance between giving her the best of the world I grew up in and equipping her for what lies ahead for her.”

    Much, much wisdom in these words! I am even more painfully aware of these truths as my grandchildren are growing up so quickly! The world their grandchildren will live in will be vastly different than the one I lived in as a child. I often think of how much more simple life was and even how simple it was for my children compared to our fast paced technology drive culture!

  40. says

    “Does this mean we shouldn’t encourage our children to receive a rigorous education? Of course not. I want my daughter to be articulate and a sharp thinker who can analyze an argument and effectively bring forth her own beliefs. But if we are talking about reaching people with the Gospel over the coming years… it really isn’t going to be enough.”

    Sallie, this truth motivates me in many ways, more than anything to be kind, especially to those who do not have a view of the world and the Word that we have. I often think of what it means to give someone a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name within the world and culture we find ourselves…..very challenging.

  41. Anthea says

    Hello Karen

    You wrote(way back):”No matter what method is chosen, there should be LOTS of down time to pursue specific interests and to develop those gifts.”

    Just be careful, look what happened when a boy called Alec was encouraged by his parents:

    “When he was about eight or nine years old, his father bought him a beautiful Victorian brass microscope,[8] which he used to examine biological specimens, furthering his interest in biology. At about 12 years old he made a small dissecting kit (including a scalpel crafted from a flattened pin) which he used to dissect a bumblebee, but he got into trouble with his parents when he progressed to dissecting a larger specimen. One Sunday morning he found a dead cat on the road while doing his paper round and took it home in his bag. He started to dissect it before Sunday lunch on the dining room table causing a foul smell throughout the house …”

    What became of him? “Sir Alec John Jeffreys, FRS (born 9 January 1950 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England) is a British geneticist, who developed techniques for DNA fingerprinting and DNA profiling which are now used all over the world in forensic science to assist police detective work, and also to resolve paternity and immigration disputes.” I heard the BBC Radio 4 broadcast in which he related the story about his home experiments. He did attend school, but it was the tinkering in his free time which seemed to be the catalyst for his future career.

  42. says

    Anthea, I LOVE that story! It really speaks to my own educational philosophy….I see children as creativity and the passion to know waiting to be unleashed! I have observed it happening over and over and with much joy in both teacher and student!

  43. Susan T says

    Perfect example and Thank you for the wonderful bio of Sir Alec John Jeffrey’s, FRS! I had to go look up more…
    grants dot

    “By afternoon on September 15, Sir Alec and his team were pricking their fingers, smearing blood on tissues and bits of glass to see if they could produce DNA fingerprints from this “evidence”. They found they could. “It was a classic case of basic science coming up with a technology which could be applied to a problem in an unanticipated way,” said Sir Alec.

    A DNA fingerprint appeared as a pattern of bands or stripes on x-ray film. The technology’s applications for forensic science were obvious: It can determine whether two biological samples come from the same person. It can be used to establish family relationships because the banded patterns the technology produces are simply inherited.

    “Half the bands from a child’s DNA fingerprint come from its mother and half from its father,” said Sir Alec. “In paternity testing, you take the child’s banding pattern and that of the mother and the alleged father. The bands on the child’s DNA fingerprint that are not from the mother must be inherited from the true father. And no two people have the same DNA fingerprint, other than identical twins.””

    In late 1984, lawyers involved in an immigration case contacted Sir Alec about using his technology. The case involved a Ghanaian family who had become UK citizens. One of the children, a teenage boy, had returned to Ghana and then when he tried to re-enter Britain, immigration authorities suspected that he was not a member of the family, but a substitute, and denied him entry.

  44. says

    Hello! I have been a long time, sporadic reader of your blog, Karen, and recently began listening to some of your podcasts. I greatly admire your work in exposing the darkness within the patriocentric movement.

    I read the comments on this entry with great interest because you all frequently mentioned Doug Wilson. I attended a CREC church for years, so I am quite familiar with him. In fact, a friend of mine and I started a blog only a couple weeks ago in which we talk about our experiences within the CREC/Doug Wilson/Federal Vision movement. I think some of you may find it interesting! It is located here:

    JanuaryK, your comment really resonated with me because I, too, converted to the Orthodox Church, and hate to see the term “patriarchy” given such evil connotations when I think there is a proper meaning and use for it within the Church. Neither I nor the Orthodox Church endorse egalitarianism.

  45. Susan T says

    Sallie said,

    “I think one of the challenges facing those of us who are bridging these generations (over 40 but with younger children) is finding a way to bring both Truth and love/community together. It is not being done effectively right now. The only place I see it being done well is in the patriarchal camps where they promote “community” (which is really uniformity, but that’s a different discussion) and their version of the truth. (Just to clarify that I see it being done effectively, but not in a way that I would support.)”

    I read this to my young adult daughters who are active in the young adults ministry at our PCA church. They politely disagreed with the assertion “it is not being done effectively right now”. I told them, I agreed with them. We are encouraged to study the Bible on our own, in our family, in small groups, in Sunday School & other weekly classes, in after school Bible clubs at local schools, in the expository preaching and as host church for the non-denominational Community BIble Study class. Community opportunities happen in almost any & every way possible: in typical/traditional age groups for Sunday School & other weekly times PLUS intergenerational: family groups, work groups, service groups, outreach groups, and lots of missionary families — all sharing the Gospel in word and deed. Our church is all about personal relationship w/Jesus, personal disciplines of Bible study & prayer, lived out in family life, in the workplace, and in the church, local, and international communities. The foundation for all of this truth & love/community is The Truth- The Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. I see neither a suppression of Truth, nor a lack of love/community here. I have heard many of these same characteristics spoken of by friends at other area churches. I think the bottom line, that we keep coming back to, is how intentionally the family and church work together on each individual Knowing God’s Word; and trusting each individual, and family when appropriate, to discern God’s unique calling of the individual and/or family. The only conformity is to Christ…not to a pre-defined vision, mandate, or program. We are going the same direction together, but not necessarily identically or at the same time.

  46. Granddad says

    Whew!! Boy have you created a firestorm 🙂

    1. I find Dorothy Sayers “The Lost Tools of Learning” a compelling argument for classical learning and the concept of the Trivium.
    2. It really angers me when men like Wilson, Phillips, and the Reconstructionists subvert an otherwise sound program,

    thatmom, to your podcast:
    1. While I do not have enough information at hand to properly rebut them, I do take some exception to Jon’s comments on Calvin’s Geneva. My VERY cursory study of Geneva is that Calvin was not trying to make it a theocracy.
    2. I am of the opinion that in order to effectively argue against extreme theonomy, etc. in the future, young people (home-schooled or private-schooled) must learn the skills of logic, debate, and writing; these skills are taught in the real Classical Model (not the distorted version.)
    3. Remember, not all post-millennialists are C.R., although the reverse is usually true. Remember also, although amillennialism may sound a bit like post-millennialism, they are most definitely not the same. (I am amill.)

    When I get home tonight I will post a couple of good sites that offer scholarly rebuttals and critiques of theonomy.

    What fun comments I’m reading.

  47. says

    Susan – I don’t think I was clear and that was my fault. 🙂

    When I talk about bridging Truth and love/community, I am talking about taking the Gospel to the lost. I’m sure you have a wonderful experience in your PCA church and it sounds like you are encouraged to grow and be active in your faith.

    I am talking about finding ways to reach the lost who are in the younger demographics. The ones who care deeply about their gay friends and see Christians as hateful. The ones who champion social justice causes and see a church that (as they see it) is indifferent. Speaking well and winning debates isn’t going to fly if it isn’t bridged with love and compassion. People can be well versed in the Scriptures and speak the Truth til the cows come home, but people aren’t going to hear the Gospel if they see people who don’t care about the least of these. The rise of social justice in our culture is going to be a major game changer in the next ten years.

    I’m NOT saying that we should compromise on truth. I’m pretty conservative theologically in most ways and I admit that I don’t have the answers to this. But the Church is going to have to figure out a way to deal with the hard issues being pushed by the younger generations and still bring the Truth of sin and salvation. I think the Church is in for some very uncomfortable times ahead as they work through these things.

  48. says

    ““I think one of the challenges facing those of us who are bridging these generations (over 40 but with younger children) is finding a way to bring both Truth and love/community together. It is not being done effectively right now. The only place I see it being done well is in the patriarchal camps where they promote “community” (which is really uniformity, but that’s a different discussion) and their version of the truth. (Just to clarify that I see it being done effectively, but not in a way that I would support.)””

    Two parts to this:

    First of all, I agree that the FIC movement does a great job of bridging generations. In fact, they do a much better job of it than traditional churches. After all, their goal is intergenerational body life. The sense of community that comes out of that goal is tremendous and is something I really miss about the FIC. There is much intentional fellowship and investing in the lives of each other. I think there has been an attempt to do this in small groups that churches have started but since there is still the dividing of everything according to age, it still doesn’t bridge those gaps. As long as churches continue to divide everything according to age, even the adult groups (including those with babies and those without etc.) this problem will exist. Why, I would toss out there, is there not small groups for whole families including teens and junior highers etc. all doing things together? When our kids were younger it was vital for them and to us for them to have good relationships with other adults who shared our goals and who would encourage them toward maturity and godliness.

    Second point:

    I had another long talk with a homeschooling mom this am who is still schooling a small child and has grown children, too. She has been right in the middle of the whole homeschooling culture on a variety of levels for many years and is also seeing the tension in all these things. She sees it within the homeschooling community as well as outside of it in evangelicalism. You are absolutely correct, there are HUGE issues not only on the horizon but some are here now and I think we have missed the boat on some of these things already. Look at what a HUGE situation was stirred up in the, dare I say it, Chick-A-Filet story. I cannot believe the variety of responses from all corners of evangelical world and on all sides. That is just one topic. Abortion still looms out there, the ugly, horrible blight on this country that brings yawns to many in the church. And look at the women’s issue. In most circles we cannot even have rational, thoughtful, respectful discussions without name calling and labeling. But this isn’t one of those issues that we can slap a few Bible verses on and considered it said and done. I am squarely in the baby boomer generation and am the first to admit we haven’t been much help. And can I say, the Greatest Generation was NOT the greatest on these issues either?!?!?!? And the social justice issue? That is already a contentious issue everywhere….already I can barely stand to see the posts from my FB friends regarding politics!

  49. says

    “Remember, not all post-millennialists are C.R., although the reverse is usually true.”

    This is true. I lean toward post-mil/amil myself; at least, I know I am not dispensational.

  50. says

    What is the distorted version classical model? This is at the heart of what I am trying to understand. Other than the goal of preparing young men to be statesman in their New Republic, I don’t see the difference. Granddad, can you explain what you mean? After all, it was Wilson who first promoted Dorothy Sayers in the homeschool world through his book Rediscovering the Lost Tools of Learning.

  51. says

    “Whew!! Boy have you created a firestorm”

    That’s me. If am ever a super hero, that will be my super power! I will become Firestorm Creator Woman. You ought to visit my FB page!

  52. Granddad says

    I learned about Dorothy Sayers several years ago from The White Horse Inn. I even wrote a short column in our local paper that included references to “The Lost Tools of Learning.” Wilson, et. al. make repeated references to this essay, but from what I know of other things Sayers wrote I seriously doubt, were she still alive, would approve of their application.

    The tools D.S. describe, while certainly applicable to statesmen (in the tradition of Washington & Jefferson), apply equally well to writers of good fiction (remember, Dorothy Sayers was also a playwright and fiction writer) and good movie screenplays. The Trivium teaches kids how to think – something I fear is lacking in much of our society.

    I am not much of a fan of the minimalist approach to home schooling (at least from what I have read). There is nothing wrong with structure; properly thought out it leaves time for spontaneous trips to the zoo, museum, park, time in the kitchen with mom preparing some new type of dessert, or with dad fixing the lawnmower.

    I may be a bit of an old foggy (I turn 66 in November), but I’m glad I took Latin and German in high school (don’t ask how well I did, though). It’s great knowing who the great Flemish painters were. I appreciate good literature and like reading well-structured sentences that display an attention to the rules of grammar and proper syntax.

    Okay, I’ve gotten it off my chest. 🙂

  53. Granddad says

    Whoops…. that should be ‘old fogy’, although some might accuse me of being foggy on occasion.

  54. Kelly says

    Granddad said this “The Trivium teaches kids how to think – something I fear is lacking in much of our society.”

    This is exactly how we use “classical education” in our home. We are currently using My Father’s World (which has an emphasis on missions) because one of my desires is that my children know the world outside our own city/state/country and at the same time have the strong foundation of knowing how to think critically so that they don’t fall prey to those who would lead them astray. We use lots of living books. I do, however, teach things at times many classical adherents might balk at: such as regular math before the age of ten. I do not plan on teaching the children Latin because, for our own family, we would rather learn living languages in order to best reach people in our own time. We plan to travel quite a bit, with hopefully France as our first stop. Because of this, we are learning French. Can you imagine how much more we will be able to be a witness for Christ because we learned this living language instead of studying a dead one?

    (I am certainly not minimizing those who choose to learn latin in their own homes. We are doing only what is best for *our* family.)

    Anyway, all this to say that classical education is a good alternative, but I really think the way Doug Wilson and his cronies see it is definitely the distorted version. Just today I received an email newsletter from Memoria Press (not sure if they are affiliated with DW, but they sure sound like it!) and it included an article that, in its short form, was entitled “The Dangerous Article for Boys.” The article viewed the current, more modern reading choices for boy as trying to feminize them and trying to force them to get in touch with their feelings. The article argued that Henty books, among many others, are a much better alternative. This is a perfect example of how the classical education camp can go wrong when they again make gender the main issue. It seems akin to those who argue that the church needs to become masculine.

    Anyway, Karen, that is my opinion on what good classical vs. distorted classical education is. 🙂

  55. Kelly says

    Maybe a better way to put it is this: DW’s purpose for classical education is to further an agenda; many other homeschoolers use it to further their children.

  56. says

    To my mind the purpose of classical education is not to produce statesmen or apologists, and so I’d point to that as a place where DW has gone wrong. Classical education is for producing *citizens*–people who can learn well, think clearly, and express themselves fluently on whatever they focus on, who are suited to becoming free, active, responsible members of a community. A classically-educated child could equally well become an artist, a plumber, or a college professor as an adult; the point is to learn, think, and express (thus ‘the lost TOOLS of learning’).

    So yes, the trivium is at the core of classical education; those are the tools of learning. I have little idea of what it would look like in a VF-style home–I am not Protestant and have a hard time keeping track of all the different movements within the conservative Christian homeschooling population, though I do try. In my home it means that we read good literature, science, and history, we write a lot, we follow our interests and we also have a structure for learning. Classical education is not rigid or joyless or uncreative. It does involve doing some hard things because they will pay off in the end, but it also involves lots of fun. It means that I have two very different children, one with a permanent visual handicap that we work with and around, and I design their studies based on what I think will work best for them personally.

    I am not sure that the fact that Wilson is the one who popularized Sayers’ essay retroactively contaminates Sayers. I love the essay, and I love to read Dorothy Sayers’ theological, educational, and mystery books–and I’m pretty sure that she would write some scathing stuff about Dominionism and all that other Wilson junk. (You might like her little book, “Are Women Human?” –I enjoyed that one.)

    I don’t know if that helps you. 🙂

  57. says

    Charissa, thanks for posting your blog link. Jon and I will be talking about the Federal Vision theology in two weeks. I wish we could have taken longer and gone into more detail with each of these topics but thought a brief overview for the archives might be best.

  58. says

    Granddad, glad for any links. As I said I purposely planned for a brief overview that related these topics specifically to homeschoolers so I welcome extra resources for those who want more info.

  59. says

    Granddad, I took four years of French in high school and when I got to college they didn’t offer French so I took Spanish. After graduation we lived nearly four years in Germany. So much for language studies!

    If you get a chance read my article called Minimalist Homeschooling on the side bar of the blog. Most homeschooling moms who have been at this for a while tell me they think all new homeschoolers need to consider the principles there. And as Sallie pointed out, we are to be about schooling kids for 30 years from now!

  60. Granddad says

    Theonomy papers:
    1. T. David Gordon, ‘Critique of Theonomy: A Taxonomy’. Westminster Theological Journal.

    2.Todd Bordow, Covenant Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth (OPC)

    3. Doug Schouten. I do not know anything about this fellow, but I did like his article.

  61. Kelly says

    Karen, I loved the five points you made at the end of the Minimalist Homeschooling post. My husband and I form our homeschool very similarly!

  62. Anthea says

    Hello Karen

    you once had a post about debating skills and how they should be applied to speak words of grace rather than to parade our erudition before the world. Do you have time to post the link? Last night a friend told me a few anecdotes on the phone and she really wnts to read your thoughts, aftert I quoted you secondhand.

    Also, bad news from Blighty, the patriocentrists are influencing a few Xian home edders, via a few key speakers who have come over here.

    in haste

  63. says

    One more thought about the CREC churches. We were always told that they were sort of like a “money laundering facility” for renegade pastors and churches, ie, ones that had adopted particular views that their denominations didn’t agree with. One of the most popular points of contention in these churches was the paedocommunion issue, which was a big factor in the R. C. Sproul Jr. defrocking a number of years ago. Supposedly, Wilson’s CREC would take in a pastor, as it did Sproul, so they wouldn’t be “out from under authority,” give them legitimacy, and then release them to yet another denomination without losing any stature as elder.

    Charissa, your description of your experience at the CREC church was almost exactly ours at one of the FIC’s we were involved with. It was eery reading what you wrote!

  64. says

    Karen, it does seem that the CREC accepts pastors/churches that have fallen out of favor with their own denominations. R.C. Sproul Jr., as you mentioned. And then there is Steve Wilkins and Auburn Ave. Presbyterian Church–they withdrew from the PCA and joined the CREC just as Wilkins’ doctrinal views were being examined by a PCA committee and a trial was imminent. And there is a whole blog ( dedicated to the claim that Burke Shade and his congregation joined the CREC in the manner you described; I have only glanced at the blog, so I don’t know the story.

    I was in the CREC when the whole Sproul Jr. thing went down, and we were told by our session that we should trust the wisdom and judgment of our leaders–Doug Wilson, et al.

    It’s amazing how all the various FIC’s have so many similarities! It’s almost like they have secret meetings to discuss policies. 😉

  65. says

    Charissa, I remember when the whole Burke Shade deal went down because we are in the same state and some of these doctrines were just starting to spill over into reformed churches. That has been nearly 15 years ago I would imagine!


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