Homeschooling Hijackers

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. "
Mark Twain

The Louvre

(Taken by Deb)

We are navigating away from the Mahaney/Sovereign Grace Ministries debacle for the time being and beginning a series of posts on another hyper-authoritarian group that is wreaking havoc in some corners of Christendom. As Mahaney undergoes a time of reflection, we marvel that part of his therapy involves addressing the Capitol Hill Baptist congregation. Here is his sermon topic according to the CHBC website: “September 25 – When Someone Doubts, Guest Preacher: CJ Mahaney.” At some point we will weigh in on Mark Dever’s attempt to rehabilitliate his T4G buddy.

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Back in the mid-1990s, my children were fairly small and homeschooling was becoming big. I did a lot of reading on homeschooling and was fascinated by the prospect of educating my own daughters. I read about Dr. Raymond Moore and some of the other pioneers of the homeschooling movement and was impressed by their tenacity. When my older daughter entered first grade, I jumped on the homeschooling bandwagon with great excitement.

For three years in a row, I attended the North Carolina Home Educators (NCHE) Annual Convention in Winston-Salem. In April 1998 (my last year attending), I heard a dynamic keynote speaker talk of his love for God, family, and country. It was a patriotic speech that made me proud to be an American and a Christian. That speaker was Doug Phillips. I had never heard of him before, and in the years that followed I began receiving several colorful catalogs throughout the year from Vision Forum. I found the books and merchandise appealing; however, I am now grateful that I never ordered anything. It turns out that Phillips launched his Vision Forum enterprise the same year I heard him speak (1998).

For those who are not familiar with Doug Phillips, he is the son of Howard Phillips who has spent most of his life immersed in conservative politics. You can read the elder Phillips bio here.
One of his claims to fame is that he founded the U.S. Taypayer’s Party in 1992. Howard Phillips has a website, which can be accessed at this link.

I attempted to homeschool for four years (trust me, it is not an easy task), and then I heard of a newly established Christian school located just a couple of miles from our home. In the fall of 1999, my older daughter entered fifth grade at this school and my younger daughter began second grade. Once my daughters enrolled in this Christian school, we never looked back. I lost touch with the homeschooling community and had no idea that Doug Phillips and his ilk began their forceful campaign to hijack the movement about the time we stopped homeschooling.

Seven years after hearing Doug Phillips, I attended a chapel service at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The date was April 14, 2005, and the speaker was Voddie Baucham. I had never heard of him either, and he explained that he received his doctorate from SEBTS. Baucham was also an inspirational speaker, and he was passionate about reaching out to share the faith with those who do not know Jesus Christ.

Almost a decade after hearing Phillips address homeschoolers in my state and three years after hearing Baucham deliver a chapel message at SEBTS, I began to discover how the patriarchal ideals of these men were wreaking havoc throughout the homeschooling community. I was stunned to learn just today that Baucham has been invited to speak at the 2012 NCHE Convention, as he apparently has done in the past. 

Then I began to learn about the Family Integrated Church concept and Scott Brown, who is a close colleague and friend of Phillips and Baucham. I have done considerable research on Brown, which I will share in a special post tomorrow. After all, it was Brown’s National Center of Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC) that was recently disinvited to the D6 Conference that is taking place later this week. A recently released NCFIC video, appropriately called “Divided”, has obviously caused such alarm among the organizers of the D6 Conference that they have given NCFIC the left boot of fellowship.

As I conclude my introductory remarks for this series, I want to leave you with an idea of just how divisive Scott Brown (and his BFF Doug Phillips) can be. Later this week I will explain how Brown, who began serving as an elder in 2001 at Trinity Baptist Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina, brought tremendous turmoil to the congregation over the next five years. Here are just some of the statements, teachings, and incidents (witnessed by multiple congregants) that led several deacons and an elder to raise concern of “observable legalism” in the church.

(Link to this list will be provided in an upcoming post.)

• “Sunday School is a sin.” (Scott Brown)

• Sunday School is evil.

• Sunday School and youth groups are from the “pit of hell.”

• Scott insisting that a church baptism take place on Super Bowl Sunday (’06) in order to find out who “the truly committed” were.

• Preaching a sermon where a man who allows a daughter to go to college was likened to Lot not protecting his daughters from rape. (Scott)

• Preaching a sermon on abortion entitled, “Planet Patricide” focusing on the killing of future fathers. (Scott)

• Teaching that the use of birth control was wrong (a sin).

• Teaching that the use of psychological medications – including prescriptions for ADD or depression – was wrong (a sin).

• Asking women to stop making announcements during the lunch after the service and only having the men make announcements.

• Asking people to stop describing the post-service lunch as “pot luck” and instead to call it a “pot providence” meal.

• Teaching that women should not vote.

• Teaching that women should not, as a matter of course, waste money and attend college as their true Biblical role was in the home (however, Scott did allow his daughters to take classes at the local Bible college).

• Teaching that women are Biblically not to work outside the home, either before or after marriage.

Stay tuned because there is SO MUCH MORE to come… 


Lydia's Corner:       1 Chronicles 2:18-4:4     Acts 24:1-27     Psalm 4:1-8     Proverbs 18:16-18

Comments

Homeschooling Hijackers — 40 Comments

  1. It took that long and that much malarkey for someone in the church to rise up and say “Enough!”???? Wow!.

  2. While reading your post, I was reminded of a quote from Dorothy Sayers:

    [On Former “Women’s” Jobs]: ” . . . the whole of the spinning industry, the whole of the dyeing industry, the whole of the weaving industry. The whole catering industry and . . . the whole of the nation’s brewing and distilling. All the preserving, pickling, and bottling industry, all the bacon-curing. And (since in those days a man was often absent from home for months together on war or business) a very large share in the management of landed estates. Here are the women’s jobs—and what has become of them? They are all being handled by men. It is all very well to say that a woman’s place is the home—but modern civilisation has taken all these pleasant and profitable activities out of the home, where the women looked after them, and handed them over to big industry, to be directed and organised by men at the head of large factories. Even the dairy-maid in her simple bonnet has gone, to be replaced by a male mechanic in charge of a mechanical milking plant.” (From the essay, “Are Women Human?”)

  3. Here’s a little more from Dorothy Sayers: “It is perfectly idiotic to take away women’s traditional occupations and then complain because she looks for new ones.”

    Good stuff. And you can call me Nat, if you’d like.

  4. Nat

    One of my favorite people in ministry is Nat so I shall! I love Dorothy Sayers. I just finished reading The Nine Tailors and learned more about the intricate art of church bell ringing in England along with thoughtful philosophy mixed up with a mystery. Reading doesn’t get much better than that!

  5. “Its never too late to be what we might have been…”

    What?

    The Wartburg Watch has so sought with genuine fervor, devoted and enlightened zeal, to discover as to the disconnect that apparently exists presently, in connection with Jesus Christ’s Bride, the Christian Church.

    It has been most helpful.

    Sopy ;~) 

  6. Thanks, Deb, for the article. I am very interested in learning more about VF, Phillips, Baucham, so… thanks!

    I do not know much about this stuff but am learning. I don’t understand why the NCFIC was disinvited to the D6 conference. Can you explain?

  7. Wow! Thank you for this post. When our oldest child was born, we were members of a Southern Baptist megachurch. Because I worked at the church, I knew many of the kids and families. It was hard to find a kid who wasn’t homeschooled or sent to a private Christian school. Homeschooling was/is VERY popular there. For 2 years, I taught high school courses in their homeschool program. As soon as our daughter was out of the womb, we were asked by homeschool parents if we were going to homeschool her. There was/is A LOT of pressure to homeschool. And if you don’t homeschool, which is superior to any education, you should send your children to one of the $15,000/year private Christian schools in the area. Failure to educate your children in one of these superior ways will garner you strange looks, lectures, extreme pity, and offers of prayer. Your family will also be excluded from the “in-crowd”.

    I have always been a public school “advocate” of sorts. I’m an instructor at a community college. I enjoy being involved in the public school my daughters attend. They are afforded some terrific opportunities there. I personally had a great experience growing up in public schools. I felt my education was good and adequately prepared me for college and graduate school. I feel it is a privilege to go to public school. I realize there are many problems with our public education system, but there are also problems with other types of education. There isn’t a perfect system, but I believe each family can determine what works best for their particular needs.

    I have very close friends who homeschool, charter school, and private Christian school. I also have friends who have left those types of education and put their kids in public school for one reason or the other. I respect the choices of other families based on the needs of their children, their personal convictions, their own experiences, their abilities, and their finances. Unfortunately, we haven’t always gotten the same respect. I am no less a godly mother and we have no less a godly home because we choose public school. In fact, being in public school has allowed my daughters and me to share our faith with others. I believe God has a plan for each family.

  8. Deb, are you familiar with the White Paper written by Dr. Raymond Moore?  Titled  “The Ravage of Home Education Through Exclusion By Religion” and available here:  http://tinyurl.com/3c2srjw 

    It shows that homeschool hijacking has been an issue for a couple of decades at least, and I think all goes back to control. Who controls whom and does it make them money? 

    What is remarkable is that even though you are navigating away from SGM, one of the names in Moore’s paper is Gregg Harris.  Father of Josh Harris who was closely mentored by Mahaney…

    I am not a conspiracy theorist most of the time, but when all these names keep turning up like tentacles of some huge sea monster which appears wherever we turn, I begin to wonder! 

    We have HSLDA, who seem to have two contradictory purposes; to further regulate home education while they take money from parents worried about the laws. Which is not contradictory when you realize how the money flows!

    Then there is the Vision Forum crowd with their ecclesiastical arm, Family Integrated Churches, which in turn promote the products of VF. 

    And so on.

    I am just wondering who is the head of the beast? I think it might be the same one that has been tempting, deceiving, abusing, controlling, manipulating and blinding since the beginning.

    Looking at all of this makes it easy for me to examine who and what influences my life and schooling choices and to walk away from the ones who exhibit even the slightest tendencies towards that kind of behavior!  No matter how pretty the package.

  9. Heather,

    I have done some prior reading on the information you shared, and you are right — Gregg Harris plays a key role going back several decades of trying to hijack the movement. I probably won’t get into that now because my focus will be on the current hijacker in the homeschool movement. Thanks for sharing. Please chime in with your knowledge on this topic.

  10. Wendy,

    You bring up a very good point about the pressure to homeschool. This was one of the criticisms some had of churches belonging to Sovereign Grace Ministries. Now that both of my daughters are grown and have godly friends who have been homeschooled, attended private school, and went through the public school system, I have concluded that they key ingredient to success is usually the family. All three of these options are viable for Christian families. My daughter just began teaching 1st grade in a public school, and she sees it as a ministry. This school even has a Christian club that meets after school. I imagine she will be getting involved with that.

  11. Thanks Joey. We did a post on this last week and linked to the article. It was the prequel to this series of posts on homeschooling.

  12. Diane,

    I believe you will find the forthcoming material very insightful. We’ll get back into it tomorrow.

  13. When you think of radical patriarchy and quiverfull and home(fillintheblank) conjure up a mental picture of what the Missus looks like after 20 years of radical feucundity.

    Ok, serious doubts that middle and upper middle class Americans on either coast or a mid-west urban center with a university will embrace that life.

    Enter SGM and its wannabes. They have candy coated the patriarchal teachings and put the Missus on a diet and exercise regimin and slapped nice clothes on her back but if the truth be known, they are the same beast but we’re being made into fools.

    Which makes me go back to my favorite analogy, if you candy coat crap you will still be ingesting crap, just saying.

  14. Writing as a veteran home school mom — 20 years and 10 kids — I have been distressed by what I have observed in “the movement” especially in recent years. (I also have a daughter in public high school, and four daughters who already graduated and gone on to college, so we’ve branched out a bit.) In light of my concerns, I started a blog series called “Gender and Authority.” You can find my introductory post at http://watchtheshepherd.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-history-in-conservative-quiverfull.html and the rest of that series at http://watchtheshepherd.blogspot.com/search/label/Gender%20~%20Authority

    As you will read there, over my years in the home schooling movement, I have a good bit of history (friendship, writing for magazines, etc.) with some of the people who write for Vision Forum or are otherwise involved in the patriarchy movement.

    I am sure most of you are already familiar with http://www.thatmom.com and http://www.quiveringdaughters.com which address many of the same issues.

    I am also a former long-time member of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM). You can find my initial comments on that situation at http://watchtheshepherd.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-thoughts-on-cj-mahaney-and-sovereign.html and the rest of that series at http://watchtheshepherd.blogspot.com/search/label/SGM

    It’s been quite a ride these past few years. And I know if I feel this way, there are so many more who are confused and hurting. In fact, I do get a lot of e-mail from folks who were wondering if they were the only ones. Lord have mercy on us all.

  15. I found the quote by Dorothy Sayers interesting, especially considering so many in the classical homeschooling movement who also tend to like VF and other similar orgs like to quote her article about education.

  16. Interesting. I wonder if it’s because we live in the fruits, nuts and flakes state of California that the Kool-Aid is diluted when it gets here, or we are too rebellious to drink it. I homeschooled my youngest through high school. It was one of the most precious experiences of my life. I went to college, yet learned as much as my son about history, literature, politics, and philosophy. The stuff you refer to was available, but a lot of the moms I met had been lawyers and other professionals, and most of our kids (sons and daughters) have gone on to college. I can’t find anything on your site about Bob Jones U. Did you know that a contingent of homeschoolers here were planning to boycott the national debate tournament held there a couple of years ago because of its racist policies? Maybe you could feature them sometime.
    My favourite Dorothy Sayers book is Gaudy Night.

  17. Virginia
    Thank you for your blog. In fact, it is my belief that the more of us who blog, the more people will find the support they need. In fact, I think there may be more of us out here than those who are into the Calvinista hyper-authoritarian craziness. We all need to keep talking. I am impressed that some of the initial comments over at the Gospel Coalition’s channeling the complementarianism of Jackie O (which has to be the most ridiculous thing I have since Pat Robertson’s statement on divorce being A OK if your spouse gets Alzheimer’s) , were not adoring.

  18. NotFromHere

    Since I was not involved in the home-schooling movement, could you please expand on their views of Sayer? I find this fascinating.

  19. debtortomercy

    I just order Gaudy Night on Amazon. Thanks for letting me know what your favorite is. I often order books that others claim is their favorite.

    We did talk about Bob Jones when we discussed the strange world of the IFB. In fact, we have a picture on one of the stories of the cheerleaders from BJU dressed in lengthy skirts and jeans jackets covering their arms.

    And good for the home schoolers for be willing to boycott that school. They did not allow interracial dating and held onto those policies long after the rest of the country had moved on. Sick!

  20. Heather
    You are not conspiracy theorist. There are many ties between these groups. That is why weirdness is showing up in once normal churches. A former church was getting into some of this stuff as well and then denying that they knew anything about these influences.

  21. Wendy
    I bet you are a great mom. And there is some sort of hierarchy at some churches which seems to rate those who homeschool or Christian school as better, more informed, more Christian, more Godly, etc. Except, I have found that kids in public school who have good parents do just as well as kids who are in homeschool or Christian school. In fact, they sometimes do better because the parents are more alert, etc. In the other venues, parents tend to relax because the are “doing it God’s way.” But, sin is sin and present in all of these choice. I agree with you. God works it out in each family. In fact, I think it is a sin to believe that god has only one plan for education. God has many plans and many ways. Thanks for posting.

  22. Joey

    I read the post and liked it for the most part. Here is my problem. If he believes now as he says, it will also reflect itself in SGM. I think SGM is one big family being home schooled the old way. Hopefully that will change. There are still major control issues.

  23. Here in Wisconsin, we have a very good homeschooling law, largely due to the efforts in the 70s and 80s of the Wisconsin Parents’ Association. The WPA is the organization the has worked so hard for home education in our state, so I get pretty upset when I hear that Christian homeschoolers are only interested in the Christian homeschooling association. The WPA has also alerted homeschooling parents in our state that HSLDA (who doesn’t even have a representative who can practice law in our state) has been advising people incorrectly about how to register as homeschoolers this year. (And it’s not the first time!)

    I’m a major proponent of home education, but I just can’t get worked up about this whole “Christian homeschooling” thing. We teach our kids at home because it’s the best thing for us and our family. This whole idea that Christian families MUST teach kids at home is just terrible. We have to be part of the community in order to share Jesus with them.

    Thankfully, we haven’t come across much of the family-integrated church proponents in our area. My husband and I have always been advocates of churches having activities for the whole family, but also understand that children don’t learn the way adults learn, so age-segregated ministry can be very appropriate. We’ve also seen a number of families come to faith because one of their kids went to AWANA with a friend or their teen started going to church with friends. The family-integrated church movement denies the reality that the family with 2 parents and kids is not a majority. We may not like it, but we are called to reach out to them, not hide away in our churches.

    I try to imagine what Jesus thinks of our churches and “movements”. I don’t think He’s all that pleased.

  24. Dee,
    To answer your question, Dorothy Sayers wrote an essay titled, “The Lost Tools of Learning” (just google it, it’s in the public domain and on lots of web pages) to express her discontentment with the English school system and the fact that children didn’t remember what they learned and didn’t learn HOW to learn. She recommends an approach that was/is embraced by the classical education movement, a large part of which is Christian though there are many secular resources. It basically encourages educators to structure lessons appropriate for a child’s God-given developmental stages – have them memorize stuff when they are young (poems, times tables, etc.), teach them the whys and wherefores of subjects in the middle school stage when they are natural questioners, and teach them how to put together a thoughtful argument in the high school (rhetoric) stage.
    It’s my personal opinion that many Christians are drawn to the classical ed movement b/c they like the structure and rigor of the grammar (elementary, memorization) stage, but they forget to transition to the other stages as their children grow. So, they indoctrinate them rather than educate them, which leaves the children floundering when they have to defend their beliefs.
    Anyway, sorry to go off on a tangent, it’s just interesting that many of the same Christians who would support Sayers’ thoughts on education and how to structure it to work with how God made us would probably not be too happy to read her thoughts on a women’s role in society.
    I look forward to the next post!

  25. Not every parent has the ability to be a good or even decent teacher of kids. So is it a good thing for those parents to give their kids a lousy education? Seems like it would be a sin to me.

  26. You know, it’s unbelievable what passes for the Gospel nowadays.

    This “Pit of Hell” statement sounds familiar. I heard about a homeschool mom telling some other moms, my single mom sister in law was present, that “Public Schools are the Pit of Hell.”

    That statement must be thrown about a lot by these guys.

    It is strange how humans can take some basic truths and twist them into rules to promote legalism.

    Haven’t these guys ever read Galatians?

  27. Apparently this is a little glimpse at how Dever is rehabbing his buddy:

    A post someone sent to me from SGM survivors…

    From  SGMSurvivor blog :

    CHBC Member
    September 19th, 2011 at 9:06 am
    I’m a member of CHBC and am fascinated by all this discussion ever since our pastor, Mark Dever, became so involved. I’m not interested in speculation about why Dever seems to be standing so strongly behind CJ, but I can report what is going on at CHBC. Dever announced yesterday that CJ will be preaching the morning sermon this coming Sunday. Also, he has twice defended CJ publicly during member meetings, voicing his opposition to Josh Harris’s decision to ask CJ to step down and telling the congregation that we shouldn’t read Brent’s expose because it is not “edifying.” He told us we needed to receive CJ and Carolyn with open arms and be continuously in prayer for them as they undergo what he sees as completely false accusations. When asked if this incident would have any impact on CJ’s involvement with T4G next year, he said “absolutely not.”

    Whaddaya think?

  28. If I recall correctly, I am Guilty as charged. I am a homeschool mom and have used “lie from the pit of hell ” to describe a portion of
    Ezzo teaching. And I would use it again to describe some of Pearl’s stuff.
    Mel

  29. My first encounter with home schooling was taking my first born out of a Christian school because he was a behavior problem. I gradually took all four out and dragged them to the office with me, making them learn how to answer the phone, send faxes, run to the courthouse, greet clients, and make copies. What was considered child abuse in to the Vision Forum parents, turned out to form the foundation for some awesome and capable adults (my kids) who have their own faith, and who are all professionals in their fields. At the same time, the Vision Forum families seem like hypnotized cult members, with not a few 30-ish daughters waiting for life to begin. I thank God that we survived the pressure to be like that crowd.

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