Such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.
Elrond Book Two, the Council of Elron Lord of the Rings
Part Two in the series All the CBMW's Men
Today we will continue to explore the fourth characteristic of a spiritually abusive system, lack of balance, as described in The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. The spotlight falls on Dr. Randy Stinson, dean of the School of Leadership and Church Ministry at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).
According to the news service of SBTS which can be found at this link:
Stinson graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) in Wake Forest, North Carolina in 1996 with a master of divinity degree. He then went to SBTS to pursue a master of theology degree. He completed his Th.M. in 2000 and began pursuing a doctor of philosophy degree at Southern when the position of executive director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood opened up. Randy Stinson was offered the position and believes that "God providentially used the CBMW position to cement his conviction about the importance of answering gender questions correctly", according to the Towers Online article linked above. Stinson further states, "The work of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood put me in a situation to really understand even at a greater depth the importance of gender roles in the home, the importance of an appropriate structure in the home and in the church and helped me understand at a deeper level the ramifications of getting this wrong," he said. “The health of the home is at stake. The health of the church is at stake."
Stinson earned his Ph.D. in systematic theology in 2005 and was hired by SBTS as the newly-appointed dean of Southern’s School of Leadership and Church Ministry in August 2006. Here is the announcement of Dr. Stinson's seminary position on October 13, 2006, in Towers Online:
New Dean communicates family-centered vision for SBTS leadership school to trustees
"LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The School of Leadership and Church Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will take a new approach to equipping students for local church ministry, but it will be centered around creation’s oldest institution — the family, new dean Randy Stinson told seminary trustees Tuesday during the board’s annual fall meeting.
In recent years churches have fragmented families by segregating them according to gender, age or other categories, Stinson said. Southern Seminary hopes to change that by teaching future leaders how to integrate local church ministries in a way that builds healthier families and churches, Stinson said."
The above article states, "Seminary president R. Albert Mohler, Jr., said the family-centered vision of church ministry is unique among Christian institutions of higher learning." Mohler continues, "I don't think we realize how revolutionary this kind of vision is. No other school on the planet is trying to do quite what we have just described here. There is something very unique that God has given us the opportunity to do here and Randy Stinson is the man to do it."
WOW! Randy Stinson must be brilliant to come up with such a revolutionary plan, or is he?
Interestingly, the October 13th announcement of this newfangled approach to ministry appeared somewhere else in blogosphere on the exact same day! Someone by the name of Doug Phillips posted the Towers Online article which can be found at this link:
Friday, October 13, 2006
Southern Baptist Seminary to Cast New Vision for Unity Between Church and Home
Doug Phillips' blog post begins with this sentence: "The following is an important announcement which details the groundbreaking work of our courageous friend, Mr. Randy Stinson, and his boss, Dr. Al Mohler."
So, Doug Phillips and Randy Stinson are friends. Why is that important? Take a look at the history of an organization called the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches, which can be found at this link:
Church Leaders Discuss Family-Integrated Churches by Douglas W. Phillips, Esq., September 25, 2001
"During the week of September 11, 2001, a gathering of pastors, elders and church leaders from across the country gathered with Vision Forum Ministries and the newly formed National Center for Family-Integrated Churches in San Antonio for the first ever “Summit on Uniting Church and Home.” At issue was the necessity of encouraging a reformation (and praying for a revival) concerning the relationship of the family to the local church…"
What was that? The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches held a summit on uniting the church and home? Stinson may have introduced a family-centered vision of church ministry at SBTS, but the concept was NOT new — it was at least five years old!
If you are not familiar with Doug Phillips who sits at the helm of Vision Forum and is a strong
proponent of homeschooling, consider yourself EXTREMELY fortunate. Doug is an attorney and pastor at Bourne Christian Assembly in San Antonio, Texas. There are reports of what appears to be a considerable amount of pastoral abuse at that church due to its authoritarian structure and its family-integrated church philosophy. We are aware of this because we have spent a multitude of hours researching Doug Phillips on the internet, and he is reportedly one of the most spiritually abusive Christian leaders out there. His good friend Scott Brown, who lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina, leads the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches and is continually conducting conferences to train others in this concept. We are trying to establish whether Randy Stinson became acquainted with Scott Brown while he was a seminary student at SEBTS. Scott Brown has taught classes at that seminary in the past.
One of the best resources for understanding the family "vision" of those connected with Vision Forum is So Much More by sisters Anna Sofia Botkin and Elizabeth Botkin. It's important to point out that So Much More was published by Vision Forum and that the father of the Botkin sisters is a colleague of Doug Phillips. To read a review of the book on the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood website, follow this link:
The Botkin sisters, who wrote So Much More when they were teenagers (!), seem to have ALL the answers! One of us purchased the book and read it from cover to cover. The bizarre ideas they present are reflective of Doug Phillips and his ilk. The Botkin sisters describe ad nauseam how they are their father's "helpmeet". What they mean by this term is that they are to be "under their father's covering" until they get married when they will be under their husband's covering. While they are single, they are to live at home and "help" their father. We thought that was the responsibility of wives! The Botkin sisters have been homeschooled all their lives and are opposed to girls attending college where they will most certainly become defiled. The climax of the book is their jubilant announcement that they fully support a "quiver full" approach to family planning. There is a plethora of excellent Christian books being written, and we can't fathom why CBMW was compelled to review So Much More!
Pastor Wade Burleson wrote an excellent blog post on September 5, 2008, entitled "Patriarchy and the Family Integrated Church Emphasis in SBC Seminaries: A Potential Embarrassment for the SBC" which can be found at this link:
Here's an excerpt from Pastor Burleson's post that relates specifically to the Southern Baptist Convention. We believe implementation of a family-integrated approach to ministry, as proposed by seminary leaders like Randy Stinson, would cause a terrible "lack of balance" in congregations.
"The Implications of Demanding Southern Baptists All Be Patriarchal
"It's fine for individual Southern Baptists and Southern Baptists to hold to patriarchy if they choose, and it seems from the connections here that at least two Southern Baptist seminaries have chosen to advocated patriarchy and Family Integrated Churches. Faculty at Southern are currently being asked to begin the process of converting all "Leadership and Christian Ministry" degrees over to "Family Integrated Worship" degrees. The problems, and potential embarrassment for our Convention, come when self-appointed spokesmen for the Southern Baptist Convention act to the media as if all Southern Baptist churches and Southern Baptist individuals hold to and advocate patriarchy.
While some Southern Bapitsts cherish patriarchy and believe "complementarianism" is a compromise word, there are a number of Southern Baptists who believe the advent of patriarchy and Family Integrated churches could be detrimental to our Convention if it is ever allowed to be presented as the ONLY biblical, conservative, evangelical model for ministry and worship. We must remember that we are a cooperating Convention, not a conforming Convention."
Pastor Burleson then states the following with regard to the LACK OF BALANCE family-integrated churches might bring:
"The church, per the hierarchical view, becomes a family of many, many families over which the local elders preside. Men, as the heads of their families, become the focus of ministry in the local church, and ministry then proceeds from men to their individual family members. Church ministry is thus mediated by the federal head. As a consequence of this form of government, the wife holds no independent relationship to the church that is apart from the family or male headship."
Pastor Burleson then asks these specific questions regarding FIC churches:
"Therefore, with the FIC emphasis, what does the local church do in terms of:
(1) Ministry to singles, particularly single women?
(2) Ministry to the divorced and widowed?
(3) Ministry to children whose parents are lost?
(4) Ministry to women who come from abusive homes?
(5) Ministry to families who are fracturing?"
Because the family-integrated church model has come under scrutiny since it was first announced at SBTS, there seems to be a repackaging of some of these ideas. In March 2009 Randy Stinson spoke at a "Connecting Church and Home" conference in Tennessee along with other speakers. The conference was sponsored by Southern Seminary, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and other ministries. Here's the focus of the conference according to the official website:
"The Connecting Church and Home Conference is designed to equip church leaders with practical ministry strategies for impacting families within the church. Featuring nationally known leaders and ministry speakers, this conference is sure to impact your approach to building stronger families in your church."
For more information on this new ministry direction, check out this web site and see whether you recognize (you may be surprised!) any of the speakers :
Recently, Randy Stinson (and by implication SBTS and CBMW) seems to have shifted away from the specific FIC model that Doug Phillips, Scott Brown, and Voddie Baucham designed. During the previous presidential campaign, Stinson was in direct opposition to Phillips and Baucham over whether Sarah Palin should be the vice-presidential candidate on the Republican ticket. Baucham expressed his candid view of Sarah Palin on CNN, and he towed the patriarchy line extremely well!
In recent years, it appears Randy Stinson and SBTS have become enamored with CJ Mahaney. Tomorrow our spotlight will focus on Mahaney, who serves as president of Sovereign Grace Ministries and vice-chairman of the Board of Directors of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Specifically, we will be focusing on the lack of balance we have discovered in the SGM "family of churches".