Thinking thoughtfully about Doug Phillips’ resignation, part two ~ how the patriocentrists raise daughters



A few weeks ago while we were driving across downtown Nashville, we saw a billboard that surprised us. The big round eyes of a young woman stared down below into the windows of a large and well-lit store that advertised “adult toys” and costumes for every sort of sexual adventure imaginable. Printed next to her sweet face was the simple phrase “She’s somebody’s daughter,” a powerful statement against the sexual abuse of women and one that took on new meaning to me as I read through Doug Phillips’ admonition of infidelity.

She’s somebody’s daughter.

The woman who had a relationship with the Vision Forum leader is somebody’s daughter, too. Yet, the outpouring of concern for her is conspicuously absent from so many of the pieces written in support of him in the past few days.Perhaps it is because  for all its talk about protecting daughters, patriocentricity has not really done right by them and has, instead, built a system that prepares its daughters to be used and abused by men.

A few years ago I challenged a statement from Voddie Baucham:

“A lot of men are leaving their wives for younger women because they yearn for attention from younger women. And God gave them a daughter who can give them that.”

I thought of his words again this week as I pondered both the resignation letter and the billboard. What message are the patriocentrists sending to young women? That it is ok to be used to fulfill the sinful “needs” of men? That daughters are given to meet the needs of fathers? Yesterday I read the testimony of a woman who heard Phillips giving a conference message instructing fathers to train their daughters to stand in place behind their chairs at the ready to fetch anything a dad might want. The Botkins So Much More, published and promoted by VF, named daughters as “helpmeets” for their dads, their film The Return of the Daughters depicting the subservience of women wrapped in beautiful cinematography and stunningly beautiful daughters. How can this not set up any young woman for moral failure at the hands of any man who believes this is the purpose and role of women?

Add to this an interpretation of Genesis 3 that says women are more easily deceived than men.

Sprinkle in a dose of “women are not to teach men,” a blanket misuse of 1 Timothy and blatant ignoring of the command to “instruct one another.”

Use the true statement  “a gentle and quiet spirit (for women), which is precious in the sight of God” as a prod to shape girls into passive followers and fail to mention that men are also called to have this same spirit.

Heed Kevin Swanson’s warning that girls who go to college will “have two abortions and sell their flesh cheap in the market place” in order to keep them home and serving their fathers under the guise to “protect them.”

Let them know their virginity is the most highly prized aspect of their lives and that their fathers are the brokers of it through purity pledges.

Arrange marriages for them and control every aspect of a courtship through 150 plus questions for suitors so you can control the next 60 years of their lives.

The entire message that has been given girls in the patriocentric world is that being weak and passive and dependent is godly and being strong, assertive, and independent is not. But just maybe, for all their pontificating about protecting women, it will begin to dawn on the patriocentrists that we need to raise daughters who are strong and capable and able to discern the word of God for themselves without men serving as their mediators or instructors. I sure hope so.

Oh, and we also need moms who can grasp this as well!

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  1. Paula says

    If I could start over with the way I raised my daughter, it would look different. Instead of trying to teach her to be meek and subservient, I would raise her to be opinionated and strong. Thankfully even though I didn’t start out teaching her this she has become a strong young woman. I think that patriarchal teaching sets young girls up for all kinds of abuse: abuse of parents, abuse by a spouse, abuse by men… Obviously I could go on and on. As a mom I am proud that my daughter is going to college at a young age, that she is confident in who she is, that she uses her voice to defend those who are bullied, that she knows her gifts and strengths, that she knows that she is valued as much as her brothers, but most important of all that no one stands between her and her relationship with God. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross she can go directly to Him. For me the most damning thing about this particular brand of patriarchy is the teaching that the father and then the husband is the prophet, priest, and king of his family and that they must approach God through him. That is blasphemous!!! Praise God for the freedom that we have through the work of the Lord Jesus. The veil is torn in two and we can come directly into His Presence, regardless of whether we are male or female, Jew or Gentile, old or young!

  2. Laura says

    As a young single woman, I felt a bit guilty of my “independent spirit,” being raised in a patriarchal environment. But since being married, I realize what an asset an independent spirit is to a healthy marriage. And I am raising my two daughters to be strong, independent girls and women, too. Not man-haters. Not mistrustful of men. Not a brash, angry attitude. But strong, assertive, educated and wise, knowing what they believe, a whole person within themselves, not ashamed of their bodies or personalities, and having their own strong vision and purpose.

    Thanks for your thoughtful and sensitive handling of this topic. I’m sure the young woman involved with Mr. Phillips is going through hell right now. My heart and prayers go out to her. If I knew who she was, I would offer her a place in my home to escape from it all, and heal and grow.

  3. Avelinn says

    In thinking about daughters, I have to say that I really am very concerned about the woman who was involved with Doug. Unfortunately, there are already rumors online as to who she was. And while I think it foolish to listen to rumors, it concerns me that the woman whose name is being thrown around is losing her reputation in all this when she might not have anything to do with it. Beyond that, whoever she really is, likely was a part of this movement and is unlikely to be forgiven as easily as Doug will be, because she’s not Doug Phillips. I really am quite worried for her. It is a relatively small community of believers and those within that circle will undoubtedly be made aware of who she is. Where will she go and how will she receive any real healing? Is it too much to hope that the same grace being extended to Doug within these circles will be extended to her as well? I just don’t know. I’ve read all manner of things about these groups and vacillate when it comes to what exactly to believe the extent of the idolatry there is.

    Additionally, thatmom, I do have a question. Some of the interpretations of scripture that you have sited here are adhered to by others in the mainstream evangelical movement. John Piper, for example, would not encourage women teachers in church, unless they were teaching other women. And while I know that his beliefs aren’t to the extent of the patriarchy circles, there is a strong belief in female submission, male headship, and women staying at home. Do you have any thoughts on that? Because I know many within patriarchy circles hold him in high regard, as well as many outside of those circles.

  4. says

    I know Karen will have more to say about the question you asked, but I want to weigh in as well.

    The extreme patriarchial movement (as well as the Christian Reconstructionist/Theonomy movement) is comprised almost entirely of those individuals who would call themselves Reformed or Calvinistic. Unfortunetly, while they actually represent only a small fraction of Christians throughout the world who are Reformed/Calvinistic the patriocentric folks give the rest of us a black eye.

    I am Reformed (attend a PCA church) and, for lack of a better term, a complementarian; that is, I am opposed to women as pastors/elders. Do not confuse folks like myself with the likes of Doug Phillips or Kevin Swanson. Neither should you put men like John Piper in the Phillips, et. al. group. The impact that theonomy/postmillennialism/Reconstructionism has on how Vision Forum interprets and applies scripture cannot be minimized; understanding it is fundamental to understanding everything about them

  5. says

    Avelinn, I would have called myself “complementation” at one time but do not hold to that label now, in part, because no one who waves its banner can actually define it or explain the correct application of it. Type in “complementation” in the search bar on the top right of this blog and you will find several articles addressing this, including commentary on Piper. In particular you might want to watch the promo video for one of Piper’s books about the young disabled husband and his wife and read the discussion there.

    One of the issues I have with Piper is his insistence on there being a “cone of silence” for women in the pulpit area. though, by his own admission, he is quite subjective about what that means. (he loves Elisabeth Elliott but she spoke (preached) in the pulpit). While I can understand and to a certain extent accept people embracing men only elders and pastors (by accept I mean my own church does this and it isn’t any battle I wish to engage in and can appreciate where people like Granddad and Jack come down on this) I do take issue with women being told they cannot speak in church, as in give testimonies, or pray or read Scripture. Piper teaches that. I highly recommend you listen to Jon Zens on discussion of his book What’s With Paul and Women.

    Also, I have believed for a long time that the Phillips’ end of the patriarchy continuum has been pulling conservative evangelicals his direction and imagine some of that will come to a screeching halt in the next year or so.

  6. Avelinn says


    Thanks for your reply. I think you are misunderstanding me, though. I’m not confusing John Piper with these men, or others like you from Calvinistic circles. My husband and I attended a PCA church when we were in college and new Christians. It’s just that the scripture used by thatmom in this post is also used and interpreted similarly by John Piper and others who consider themselves to be Calvinists and reformed. And while I know that the church we were in was not a patriocentric church in the slightest, I remember literature by Doug Wilson being encouraged while were there. At the time, however, I had no idea who Doug Wilson was and had never heard of the patriarchy movement. As I said, I was a very young Christian, I just happen to remember being given a book by Doug Wilson, although I can no longer remember the title. It had to do with family and gender roles. Additionally, there was a book given to me at that time by Piper as well that I still have to this day detailing the differences between men and women.

    Please make no mistake. I understand that not all reformed/Calvinist believers hold to a patriarchy mindset. But there is some crossover. I was just trying to understand if the scripture thatmom is using indicate that she does not agree with the concept of women not being teachers over men. Because if that is the case, there are many reformed/Calvinist believers who interpret the scripture she sited in the same way the patriarchy movement does. And I was wondering if in light of the post about concerns for women, if she feels the same concern about people like Piper who would not agree with the idea of women teaching over men, and who would also encourage female submission/male headship, even though I am well aware that Piper is not a part of the patriarchy movement himself.

    This really is a question of curiosity and not an attempt to be divisive. I just know that the scripture sited is interpreted similarly by other believers. I was also taught as a young believer that one of the consequences of the fall is that Eve will want to be like/rule over her husband. That was the way that scripture was interpreted. There were no women leaders in the church, unless it was to teach other women, but I never got the sense that women were disrespected nor that they felt way. This was just the way that they interpreted scripture.

  7. says


    I think that interpretation of Eve’s curse has been so destructive in the body of Christ. It says “Her desire shall be unto her husband” and I cannot for the life of me see how anyone came to that conclusion apart from having an agenda. What I believe, and many complementarians also believe,is that women are cursed with a desire for a level of intimacy with our husbands that we cannot have because only God can provide us with something so great, so pure, so intense. Ironically, it is the idolatrous desire for a husband, a mere man, to be a prophet, priest or king when only Jesus is allowed to have that title. I do not believe all women want to rule over all en. Shoot, we would like to rule over the laundry pile if anything. But I think we often tend to want things from our husbands that only God can provide and it is a lifelong battle for most of is.

  8. Avelinn says

    Thanks for your reply, thatmom. That helps a great deal. Ironically, although complementation sounds familiar, I had no idea what it referred to. I also had never heard the interpretation you gave about Genesis before. That is really interesting and I will have to look into that. Maybe I’ll look into the Hebrew as well.

    I’ll have to look into Piper some more as well. I have heard Elisabeth Elliot talk about her feelings about standing in the pulpit, and she has some pretty strict guidelines if she is asked to be there in any way. She herself, I believe feels very strongly against that as well. At least that was my understanding.

    My own feelings on the subject are somewhat complicated and I wouldn’t consider them to be etched in stone by any means. That’s why I have so many questions.

    I agree about many evangelicals being pulled over to to patriarchy, however. I see it in my own sphere. I think a lot of it has to do with fear. Fear about culture and the direction of our country. And I think we as people tend to move towards rule and lawcentric belief systems when we feel things are in chaos or outside of our control. Many evangelicals are full of fear right now and that leaves them vulnerable.

  9. says

    Your last paragraph is spot on! Fear is a great motivator in patriocentric circles.

    I have friends who have heard Elisabeth Elliot speak from the pulpit on a Sunday morning during worship service, (no matter how it is labeled)! Most recently Joni Erickson Tada spoke at a conference at John MacArthur’s church. Though the men all insisted it was awesome and that she was not teaching men, I watched a clip of it ad it sure sounded like teaching from the pulpit it me, expounding on Scripture and all. If it is so confusing to the rule makers, how can any of us survive it? 😉

  10. says

    Avelinn, like thatmom I think your last paragraph hits the nail directly. It is this fear that fuels the theonomic/Reconstructionist agenda . . .and it works quite well. Since the default setting for fallen human beings is to want ‘law’ it is not difficult to be sucked into the theonomic mindset.

  11. Carrie says

    “The woman who had a relationship with the Vision Forum leader is somebody’s daughter, too. Yet, the outpouring of concern for her is conspicuously absent from so many of the pieces written in support of him in the past few days.”

    This fact is tragic, particularly since Jesus had such compassion for women caught in sexual sin, such as the almost-stoned woman (John 8:3-11) and the woman with 5 husbands (John 4:7-26). As far as the pieces written in support of him, while in Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus tells us not to judge, he later tells us in Matthew 7:15-23 to be cautious of and call out preachers speaking a false gospel.

    Thanks for your thoughtful analysis on this issue Karen.

  12. Heather says

    That Voddie Baucham quote was totally weird and gross! Somebody better keep an eye on that guy. Patriocentricity is idolatry plain and simple. Kick butt and take names ladies. Men only respect power. They will walk all over you and not even pause to wipe you off their shoes. This sounds terrible doesn’t it, but most men are held accountable for nothing from childhood. They want and demand and female servitude is expected and required. I know I sound harsh, but I know this: God said it would be this way right after Adam and Eve admitted they took the fruit. What is the cure? We women must pray they will repent, love God, and READ the BIBLE. In the mean time, quietly taking the snide comments, the ridiculous demands, and the self centeredness that borders on the absurd will only get you more. Think about it: power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. God set the order, but sin has corrupted it. Men must be ever vigilant with the power they have been given. My advice to all: repent, love God, develop a relationship with Jesus, ask for wisdom and discernment, read the BIBLE FOR YOURSELF.

  13. Carter says

    ThatMom said, “I think that interpretation of Eve’s curse has been so destructive in the body of Christ.”

    As women our natural reaction is to freak out when we hear extrapolations of Eve’s character and nature onto the rest of female kind.I like to find out as much background information about a topic & in this case I think it is helpful to go back to the early church times & see what the women were like & acted back then.

    I would encourage every person to read, Tertullian’s “Apparel of Women”. It is shocking and disturbing for us modern women to read something that backs up exactly what Paul said in his epistles…

    Here are some excerpts:

    He starts off with:
    “If there existed upon earth a faith in proportion to the reward that faith will receive in Heaven, no one of you, my beloved sisters, from the time when you came to know the Living God & recognised your own state, that is, the condition of being a woman, would have desired a too attractive garb, & much less anything that seemed too ostentatious. I think, rather, that you would have dressed in mourning garments & even neglected your exterior, acting the part of mourning & repentant Eve in order to expiate more full by all sorts of penitential garb that which woman derives from Eve – the ignominy, I mean, of original sin & the odium of being the cause of the fall of the human race. ‘In sorrow & anxiety, you will bring forth, O woman, & you are subject to your husband, & he is your master.’ Do you not believe that you are each an Eve?”
    (Paragraph 1, Chapter 1 “The Apparel of Women”)

    “The sentence of God in this s*x of yours lives on even in our times & so it is necessary that the guilt should live on also. You are the one who opened the door to the Devil, you are the one who first plucked the fruit of the forbidden tree, you are the one who deserted the divine law; you are the one who persuaded him whom the Devil was not strong enough to attack.
    (Paragraph 2, Chapter 1 “The Apparel of Women”)

    I always assumed that Paul was out on his own with his writings, but I would gather that the Early Church times were in agreement on the point of contention – that women by nature are more inclined to be weaker in their flesh to sinful attitudes (in things like deception, gossiping, arguing etc).

    I am in no way, shape or form anything like the women in the conservative circles, or as defined by in the Word…I personally would say that if I have to compare my nature to my husband’s I am far more prone to deception, to gossip, to talk about others behind their backs, to complain, to give up more easily, be more discontent & argumentative. I do these far more easily than my husband. It is more in my nature than his. This is just my observation.

    Paul, the Early Church & up until recent times people believed that women’s nature was weaker…this had nothing to do with culture at that time as there were loads of woman who were prominent, strong forces in the worldly communities of the Early Church. My point being that women in general were not culturally ALL how Paul describes them…so perhaps this was specific to the Christian movement/early church.

    As Christians our only objective guide is to go to the Word of God & run everything we think past it & see if it lines up.

    I personally struggle with this more than most as I was brought up to be a strong, independent, girl. I moved out of home at 17 years old, started uni/college, supported myself completely financially at this age. I have an outspoken personality & struggle with being quiet & gentle. I am a work in progress 🙂

    Elizabeth Elliot, from what I have read, only taught the men in the jungle, because there were no men to do the job. Once she had trained up the men, they took over from her teaching role and she left.

    I look very carefully over the NT & just because we have so many broken people as Christians out there in the world, like Doug Phillips & countless others giving and going to extremes, we tend to skim over the real hidden gems.

    We have a Mennomite family that we are closely tied to through the h/s community. Mennomites are vastly different to the VF movement ideologically, but the biggest difference would be the gentleness & softness about this particular family. They are not in anyway aggressive or manipulative. As Christians we are exhorted to be meek, gentle & patient. This particular family has 10 children (we have 1 ;). The father is a likeable man, who runs his little church strongly & brilliantly. He is strong in an assertive sense but very much Christ like in character. The wife is extremely quiet, too quiet for me 🙂 BUT she has this beautiful spirit about her. I can sense the beautiful presence of the Holy Spirit when we are there. The older daughters are second to none, just incredible, beautiful girls who are strong, forth spoken, confident and yet submissive (not in a VF way). The girls are always willing to serve & help whenever & wherever. Both of the older girls are in courting relationships – the oldest one met her husband-to-be through their little church. He was an outsider & after attending for a while he approached the father to ask to court her. She liked him as well & it was greed. They are able to spend time alone.

    The second oldest is in a courtship with another Mennomite our of country (in the USA), this particular courtship was very much the old fashioned way – the man approached her Dad saying he would like to court the 2nd oldest, as he had gotten to know her through a vacation trip while staying with them. He said he had a number of character issues he would like to work through first & then come back to the Dad once he had sorted these out. Her Dad only then approached his daughter to ask whether she would like to consider this man for courtship. This girl & her father are very close, as is the whole family, and she trusted her Dad’s opinion on the man & has agreed. She likes the man too 🙂

    None of the girls in this family are weighed down or burdened by being at home as twenty year olds. They are free, extremely happy & not at all “abused”. It all depends on the heart of the Dad, & whether he rules by the spirit or sword.

    I have been in Pentecostal churches in the past where the men are “strong” and similar to the way that Doug Phillips behaves & comes across. I had an awful feeling in my spirit when I was in these churches. I was young & naive but thankfully I knew enough of the Word of God & listened to the Holy Spirit to know I needed to leave. Aggressive, stifling, rude, unkind behaviour is NOT Christlike…& is bad fruit. We are surrounded by modern churches that have these types of male leaders, who all try and disciple the younger men to emulate their “strong” personalities which LOL do not remotely resemble Christ. We need to pray for REAL Christian men with Christlike character to lead our churches. They are out there. If we take out eyes off the bad ones & focus on the good ones we may find ourselves having hope again.

    S Carter

  14. Sarah says

    You’re completely misunderstanding Voddie. For one, he does not subscribe to patriarchy. Here is what he says about it:

    “While I am a complimentarian, and fully embrace male headship in the home, I do not ascribe to the type of “patriarchy” some attempt to impose wherein a man serves as the head of his own household and the households of his married children. When a man takes a wife he ‘leaves’ his father’s household and establishes a new household over which he is now head; not his father (see: Gen 3:16; 1Cor 11:3; Eph 5:23).”

    Secondly, he responded to the misrepresentation of the quote you gave in your article:

    “It is easy to see how someone could be worried about that quote. However, if they knew me, knew my teaching, knew my life, and listened to the rest of the statement, it would be a little less likely that they would jump to the conclusion that I am advocating incest (as some are actually doing on the web)! ”

    For the full context, read what he says here:

    Pastor Baucham is an excellent teacher and preacher. Please do not misrepresent him.

  15. says

    Sarah, I would encourage you to go back and read that article where I responded to Voddie’s blog article. He may say he isn’t a patriocentrist and tell you the things he does not believe but there are plenty of thinge he writes and teaches that say otherwise. He is the one I first heard say that Numbers 30 teaches daughters are to remain at home until given in marriage. He teaches that husbands are the prophet, priest, and king of the home. He was on CNN stating that women should not run for public office and voting for a woman is wrong. He is not been misrepresented on this blog.

    Let me also suggest you read this article to see that to some Christian leaders today, patriarchy is the same as being complementation.


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