Guest Post-Our Experiences With a Doug Wilson-style Classical School

A person's a person, no matter how small.- Dr Seuss


Bhutanese School Children-Wikicommons -Ryanne

TWW  is pleased to have " Leila," a regular commenter, as a guest poster. She is publishing under her pseudonym.  We want to take this opportunity to defend "anonymous" posts and comments. We believe that many people have been deeply wounded in their Christian experience and are reluctant to be hurt all over again.  Also, some of these individuals, who have left churches, leave behind family and friends in that entity. Out of respect for the privacy of their family and friends, they do not wish to identify themselves. 

After a year of blogging, Deb and I went public with our names so that we could advocate for those who wish to remain anonymous. We believe that these narratives are stories that need to be heard by the greater Christian community. We know the identities of those who post and hold those identities in strict confidence. In other words, it would take a subpoena and a guaranteed court fight to get us to release the names we hold in confidence. 

We thank Leila for sharing her insightful story. 


My husband and I planned, from the beginning, to send our children to private school, since we weren’t happy with the public schools in our area. Right before our oldest was ready to start kindergarten in the mid-90s, a new Christian school opened in our area and we eagerly took a look. We loved what we saw. This Christian school was started by parents and was different from any other we’d ever seen. This one was classical. They taught Latin starting in 3rd grade, had a phenomenal writing and literature curriculum, a systematic approach through the grades for history and geography, and, of course, that dangling carrot for parents of students everywhere … small classroom sizes. The method, we learned, was based on Doug Wilson’s “rediscovery” of the classical trivium approach and which assured our children of an excellent education.

Let me say right now that for the most part, we never had an issue with our kids’ teachers. They were great. They were warm, caring, loving Christians who were very good teachers. Nor did we have an issue with the rigorous academic standards at the school. We still love the classical approach … if it’s the right fit for the child.  The school our children attended is on the east coast, and is considered one of the “flagship” schools of the Wilsonian classical schooling movement. People from all over the country who attend a classical school have usually heard of it.

What we didn’t love, as the years went by, was Wilsonian theology and thought seeping into just about every aspect of the school.  It was a gradual transition, and it happened so slowly that we were like the proverbial frogs who are placed in a pot of cold water while the heat is gradually turned up. Unlike the proverbial frog, however, we finally jumped out and escaped.

One of the first things we noticed was that normal childhood behavior was often attributed to “rebellion.” For instance, I got a call one time from one of the mothers who was a founding member of the school. Our children were in first grade together. My daughter was a chatterbox. Apparently, my little 6 year old was leading this woman’s son into temptation by … gasp … talking to him in class! He, of course, being a normal kid, would respond. The mom asked me to work with my daughter so she wouldn’t tempt the little boy to talk in class with her … because if he did, she was going to have to spank him. (For talking in class? Really?) Another time, my son did something wrong (I don’t even remember what it was) and his teacher confronted him about it. Immediately my son denied it. (What kid doesn’t?) But within about 5 seconds, he broke down and admitted it. The teacher punished him, not for the original wrongdoing, but for “lying” about it. No grace, no willingness to give a 10-year-old boy’s conscience and the Holy Spirit five seconds to work!

One of our children, although very bright, struggled with paying attention, focusing on multi-step tasks, and impulsiveness. A number of times throughout the years, I asked the principal (who was also my child’s teacher for awhile), could my child have ADD? No, I was told, my child’s problem was sin and rebellion. It was a character issue. I should have listened to my gut … because years later, while in high school and tested with an IQ of 136, my child was practically flunking out of school.  We worked with a specialist and determined that yes, it was ADD along with a couple of learning disabilities. But sadly, my child was turn off of school forever by that point.

By the time our oldest child was in 6th grade (and we had two younger children there as well), we knew something was very wrong. We could no longer brush aside the gut feelings we’d been having. The school felt spiritually oppressive and legalistic. When we tried to put it into words, it was easy to start second guessing ourselves. (Was it legalistic for administrators to write kids up for wearing the wrong color ponytail elastic? Or was that reasonable?) And we were reluctant to share our feelings with other parents who seemed to be struggling with the same feelings … because the school administration constantly admonished about “gossip.” Maybe our observations and the anecdotes other parents had shared with us really were just isolated incidents. Maybe we were overly sensitive. Nonetheless, the weight of numerous incidents and observations finally forced us to concede that the school was spiritually unhealthy for our children and after six years, we took them out.

All the anecdotes and observations listed here were my own observations or anecdotes related directly to me from another parent.  If I added in the third-party anecdotes (which I can’t verify), this post would be ten times as long.

I would characterize the climate at the Wilson-model school as authoritarian, legalistic, controlling, and misogynist.

Women were to be kept firmly in their place. For example:

  •  Women teachers were paid less than men teachers, because men, of course were “the head of their household” and needed to earn more.
  • It was frequently and loudly proclaimed that at the high school level, the eventual goal was to have mostly or all male teachers because “boys need strong role models.”  (Because women can’t be strong role models?) This goal hadn’t been achieved by the time we left. With 20/20 hindsight, I now wonder, could this really be have been code for “women can’t teach men”?
  • Women were not permitted to serve on the school board.
  • Most alarming of all was what I saw happen to a key group of moms over the course of the 6 years we were there. These were the women who were married to board members or one of the founding families of the school. When we started, these women were normal, happy, friendly moms who wore blue jeans and laughed and just enjoyed life. They were friendly, warm, and authentic. Then things started getting creepy … By the time we left, you would hardly know they were the same women. They rarely smiled, you could read their chronic tension in their body language, and most of them wouldn’t be caught dead in blue jeans anymore – it was skirts only for them.  They really wouldn’t talk with anyone anymore about in depth issues; they usually parroted and quoted their husbands, or deferred to them.  For example, one woman started a home catering business – but anyone who wanted to engage her services had to first approach her husband for permission to hire her! And they started having babies again. Most of these women, when we started school there, were in their mid-30’s and had pretty much finished having their families. By our last year there, there was a baby boomlet among this group. Women now in their late 30’s and early 40’s were suddenly having babies again after a 10-year gap. 20/20 hindsight: Was Wilson’s teaching of “covenant seed” influencing these decisions?
  • Both parents had to attend an interview before they could even apply to the school. One family was denied because when the husband arrived late to the interview, the wife “did not display the characteristics of a submissive wife by standing and greeting her husband with a kiss.” (I have never forgotten those exact words related to me by that women, an acquaintance, who is now thankful their children were not admitted to the school.)

The board and founding families were very much concerned with maintaining control. For instance, they set up the school board to ensure that they would keep it.

• The school board consisted of 3 permanent (male) members, founders of the school, and two “at large” seats (to be held by men only), elected by the parents … but the permanent members could veto an at-large candidate even running.
• If you had an issue you wanted put on the school board agenda for discussion, you had to find a board member willing to do so. They could decline to address any concern.

More ways they tried to keep control included:

  • If a parent had any concern about anything at all, they were to address it directly to the teacher and then on up the chain. It was never to be discussed outside this chain of authority. Parents were reprimanded for making remarks to other parents like, “I was not happy that the kids were given so much homework tonight when they have to be at school for the music program this evening for two hours” or “Johnny is really struggling with the memorization of the long bible passages. The last one was over 80 words long and they had only two evenings to memorize it.” (Yep, I personally got scolded for the latter example for “gossiping.”)
  • The permanent school board members and founding families formed their own “reformed” church, and pressured faculty to join it. The pastor and elders of the church were the same as the permanent school board members.  On at least two occasions that I witnessed, parents had serious disagreements with a board member. The board member told them they could bring it before his pastor to resolve … and you know how that ended.
  • Three of my children’s teachers who attended Doug Wilson’s classical Christian schooling conference one year were verbally attacked by one of the “heavyweight” speakers there. The speaker told them they were in sin for attending churches that weren’t truly reformed. He was so virulent that it brought one woman to tears. (These teachers shared this with me a few weeks after the incident at a Pampered Chef party I hosted.)
  • The school founders and administrators pounded the point repeatedly that parents were responsible for the upbringing of their own children, and that nobody else had the right to decide what was best for your children. Unless you were a teacher there, of course … because if you taught there, you were contractually obligated to send your own children to that school as a condition of your employment. And pay full price tuition with no employee discount. If you had a child who might be better suited to another type of school, tough.

School founders clearly set out to create a school culture that set them apart. One of their chief methods was to put down public schools as often as possible. Only they weren’t called public schools, they were called “government schools,” and always spoken of in a contemptuous tone. The intellectual pride was astonishing. The children who faithfully attended their school, they said, would achieve far more in life than other kids. (Now that the kids who attended school with my oldest child are in their early 20’s, clearly that’s not the case. Just as many college dropouts, unemployed, cohabitation, etc., as the general population.)

Vocabulary was very important to creating this culture. You heard the words “godly” and “biblical” an awful lot. You also heard the words “gossip” and “bitterness” flung around quite a bit too, when discussion needed to be shut down. The vocabulary was even reflected in the curriculum – don’t you dare call it the Civil War. It was the War Between the States.

The school doesn’t have a prom like most high schools. They have a “cotillion.” The students don’t bring dates or go alone like most people who attend a prom.  Instead, each young lady is assigned a male classmate as her escort.  After 11th grade, they go on a “grand tour” to Europe. There have been several grand tours, I’ve been told by parents, that pretty much turn into pub crawls with underage kids getting drunk repeatedly.

Finally, we could ignore the weight of the evidence no longer. We chose not to re-enroll our children after 6 years there, and found another private Christian school that, although also classical, had a much healthier spiritual and emotional climate. Was it as academically rigorous? No. But it was good enough. And after 8th grade, we put our kids in – horrors – government schools for high school!  And they’re doing about as well as the average kid – my ADD child has started and stopped college three times, and is now working two part time jobs and living with a group of friends. My second child has a 4.0 in college, a full academic scholarship, will graduate one year ahead of time, and has saved so much money that she’ll be able to buy a house next year. The other two are still in high school, having fun exploring their interests and making plans for what they’ll be when they grow up.

So a few months ago, we ran into an old classmate (I’ll call him T) of my son’s. The boys had been good buddies in school from 1st through 6th grade.  T had graduated from the classical school and gone on to New St. Andrews, Doug Wilson’s college located in Moscow, Idaho. This sweet little boy was now fully grown. He was smoking a cigar and sporting a fedora … Just like Doug Wilson.

Lydia's Corner: Exodus 17:8-19:15 Matthew 22:34-23:12 Psalm 27:7-14 Proverbs 6:27-35

Comments

Guest Post-Our Experiences With a Doug Wilson-style Classical School — 169 Comments

  1. Thank you for writing this, Leila. I am a homeschooling mother and I am grateful for your take on CC. I know many who use it and I was considering looking into it until I realized it had some affiliation with DW.

    “One of our children, although very bright, struggled with paying attention, focusing on multi-step tasks, and impulsiveness. A number of times throughout the years, I asked the principal (who was also my child’s teacher for awhile), could my child have ADD? No, I was told, my child’s problem was sin and rebellion. It was a character issue. I should have listened to my gut … because years later, while in high school and tested with an IQ of 136, my child was practically flunking out of school. We worked with a specialist and determined that yes, it was ADD along with a couple of learning disabilities. But sadly, my child was turn off of school forever by that point.”

    This is kind of off-topic, but this struck home with me. My daughter has ADHD and for her very earliest years I did as the patriarchs told me to and tried to spank the rebellion out of her. (Thankfully, I never went so far as to use the Pearl’s method) I couldn’t understand why my daughter was more rebellious than her. My patriarchal friends kept telling me to “be consistent, don’t let up, her soul is on the line!”

    This never worked with her. It wasn’t until I realized she had ADHD and got her on the Feingold Program when I realized her behavior had nothing to do with rebellion.

    I feel so very deeply sad for the children who are never given a chance to be helped for their physical and mental needs, but instead punished for “rebellion.”

    Thank you, again, Leila, for sharing with us!

  2. I remember when Doug Wilson and Classical Education really started infiltrating the homeschooling community. It seemed that if you did not teach logic and rhetoric, and the trivium, your children would be completely lacking in education. My 25-yr old college graduate seems to be doing fine without all of that. I’m hearing the same buzzwords and mentality: government schools instead of “public schools”, ours is the best way to educate, control your out-of-control children, extreme reformed/Calvinist and I personally have seen the Dominionist/reconstructionist influence and connections as well. When you add all of this to the story of the courtship and eventual marriage of the pedophile with the single young lady, I simply get creeped out.

  3. There will be a big push by the “Tea Party” legislators in the State of Texas to pay with vouchers for private schools.
    So many of them call public schools “government schools.” I am pretty sure, these are the schools that their friends want their kids to attend with us taxpayers footing the bill. ( I have a problem with my tax money going to religious schools.)
    Sad thing is the rural schools are the one who will suffer. Money will be taken from them and sent to Dallas, Houston, Austin.

  4. “Was it legalistic for administrators to write kids up for wearing the wrong color ponytail elastic?”

    “One family was denied because when the husband arrived late to the interview, the wife ‘did not display the characteristics of a submissive wife by standing and greeting her husband with a kiss.'”

    “‘Johnny is really struggling with the memorization of the long bible passages. The last one was over 80 words long and they had only two evenings to memorize it.’ (Yep, I personally got scolded for the latter example for ‘gossiping.’)”

    “The speaker told them they were in sin for attending churches that weren’t truly reformed.”

    Cult. Cult cult cult cult cult. Thank God you got outta there.

  5. Someone bring me up to speed on the coded language. What exactly is the difference between calling it the “Civil War” or calling it the “War between the States”?

    The church I work for runs a classical school where I teach music. But being a Lutheran congregation, even though my pastor subscribes to “Credenda Agenda,” the vast majority of that Calvinista does’t quite get to us. He’s been to the conference at Moscow, and nobody gave him a hard time for not being reformed. Of course, he’s a dude.

    I’d agree with your disclaimer that your experience isn’t typical of all classical schools. In fact, I’d dare to venture that it had less to do with the classical approach to education whatsoever, and hardcore patriarchal fundamentalism is what did the bulk of the damage.

  6. “The intellectual pride was astonishing. The children who faithfully attended their school, they said, would achieve far more in life than other kids. (Now that the kids who attended school with my oldest child are in their early 20’s, clearly that’s not the case. Just as many college dropouts, unemployed, cohabitation, etc., as the general population.)”

    “I remember when Doug Wilson and Classical Education really started infiltrating the homeschooling community. It seemed that if you did not teach logic and rhetoric, and the trivium, your children would be completely lacking in education.”

    Oh, totally. I was unschooled through high school, so of course I am totally on the outs and fated to be a complete moron, no matter what. The funny part is, the homeschooling parents I know who harped the hardest on classical education? Their kids are the dumbest and least discerning ones of the whole lot – but their parents are the haughtiest.

    The classical “culture” (as currently practiced – pretty far removed from Susan Wise Bauer, IMO) is transforming homeschooling into a white elitist snooty education method (as it always costs big $$$ to get your child such an EXCELLENT education). And Classical Conversations is rapidly becoming little more than glorified private school for the snowflakes who were SO special that the other special snowflakes just weren’t special enough for them anymore. Sorry if that sounds blunt, but that’s what I’m seeing on the ground.

  7. @ Miguel:

    The “Civil War” is the term used by us poor brainwashed Yankees. The “War Between the States” is the term used by Neo-Confederates like Doug Wilson.

  8. ““The speaker told them they were in sin for attending churches that weren’t truly reformed.”

    …Which is likely actually code for “not Federal Vision.”

  9. K. D. : “I have a problem with my tax money going to religious schools.”

    Public schools ARE religious schools.
    They just teach conformity to a different religion – the civil religion of the State.
    Thomas Jefferson said, “It is a tyranny and a sin to compel a person to make contributions toward the propagation of opinions with which he disagrees.”
    Without delving into the propriety of the State forcing its citizens to pay property taxes for State schools, if you are forced to pay for other parents’ children to go to school, you should have the right to insist on a voucher so that you can send your children to the school of your choice – whether you are an atheist, Muslim, Mormon, Calvinista, whatever.

  10. Pingback: Sometimes Culture Includes Cult | Heidelblog UNITED STATES

  11. Leila –

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I’m glad you didn’t feel compelled to stay (like a good Christian soldier). I imagine it was probably still difficult to leave.

    It is interesting how it started as a school but slowly morphed into an entire “way if life,” including attending the proper church. Yes the education may be good but, as you determined in your case, it was not worth the spiritual well being of your entire family.

    It also bothers me that this group comes across as if they are the “superior” schooling model and it should work for “all” children and if it doesn’t, the child is in sin. It becomes a formula for some type of uber righteousness. This same additude is what comes across in the Wilson families’ blogging.

    God created individuals — not robots. I wish some people would stop treating children like a means to an end.

  12. Miguel –

    I’m pretty sure that DW holds a view that the Northern States fired upon their own and had no business doing so. He would not view this as a Civil War but as an abuse of power by the U.S. government against their own Southern members who wanted to secede.

  13. Hester: Thanks for the “extra” opinion on Classical Conversations. I have never gone to a meeting (have been pressured to), but at family camps, I’ve seen little munchkins recite long speeches, etc, at the “talent show” night with their parents watching so proudly. I’m a failure at memorization and perhaps that is why I don’t feel the nudge to push my children in that direction, but it seems to be a lot of memory work for what purpose? Eh, give them a good book to read, go outside and play. I survived well without all of that hoopla, I’m sure my kids will, too.

  14. @ Hester: Thanks for clearing that up. I had only heard the two used interchangeably, I didn’t realize they had been somewhat politicized.

    @ Bridget: I’m not sure how he calls the Southern States “their own” if they were going to start their own country. However, he is right to point out that other countries managed to achieve abolition without resorting to violence. But I have only recently heard this perspective and I’d love to hear a well-informed exchange on the topic, were it possible.

  15. Leila,

    What an incredible testimony! I am so grateful you shared it, and I pray it will be an encouragement to those in the same situation.

    FYI – I homeschooled my daughters for four years and then they attended a Christian school from which they graduated. Both chose to attend public universities, and my older daughter teaches in one of those “government” schools. She is a strong Christian who works so hard to help her students learn.

  16. “The classical “culture” (as currently practiced – pretty far removed from Susan Wise Bauer, IMO) is transforming homeschooling into a white elitist snooty education method”

    For what it’s worth- I believe the “classical culture” is pretty far removed from Doug Wilson. DW is but a loud, obnoxious blip on classical education’s screen. Susan Wise Bauer (my hero) and classical education in general are extremely mainstream. If you ever visit SWB’s classical education forum you’ll find that it’s thriving- thousands of conservative, liberal, christian, pagan, gay, straight, home-educating, after-schooling, private-schooling classically educating parents. (and DW and his ilk are definitely not popular over there) 😉

    We send some of our children to a private classical school that is excellent. We love it. We classically home educated for years before that.

    I just would hate for this post to turn into a bashing of classical education, because of one crazy dude who wrote some books and decided he was the “expert” on a specific method of education. Believe me. He’s not.

  17. “The War Between The States”?

    Don’t you mean “The War of Northern Aggression”? That’s how a lot of Confederate sympathizers down here (South Carolina) put it.

  18. Leila, thanks for your story. Truly the fruit comes from the root, and DW and FV are just bad news. It sounds like you really made the right decision getting out of there.

    However, everybody else please don’t be scared off from classical education from this horror story. I’m a parent of three boys at Cambridge Classical in San Diego, and our school is NOT like this. I’d be happy to correspond privately if anybody wants to discuss what classical education can be like, if done well. Just click on my name above, and leave your email behind a comment anywhere on my blog, and I’ll contact you offline.

  19. Leila, thank you for sharing this. You are the sign on the road warning of the cliff ahead. I pray that anyone still unsure will read your post and turn away. Thank you for seeing and noticing and thinking.

    These men spend their days coming up with more and more insidious ways to separate you from yourself. They make constant appeals to your sex, your depravity, your title in the church, your status in the spiritual hierarchy…you are constantly defined by anything and everything that doesn’t include YOU. You are property of the leadership which TELLS you who you are. In this way they destroy the self, the very reason you were born. Yes, as Christians we deny our selves so that we may find our “life” in our salvation. But we never should concede that God’s glory is ultimately found in whether we wear a bra or not. God is most glorified when we engage what we are in our SOUL-our wants, needs, thoughts, talents, dreams-in loving God and others. It disgusts me that John Piper arrogantly claims that your worth to God is based squarely upon HIS idea of what constitutes a girl. That God sees not YOU but your “role”, your sex. Can any more despicable religion be apprehended? This is not Christianity…these men love themselves in ways that are difficult to understand. The obtuse exegesis, the blatantly self-serving theology, the dehumanization of people…shall I go on?

  20. K.M.L and RubeRad,

    Thanks for chiming in about classical education. There is a private school in our community that uses this method of learning, and it is well-regarded.

    Based on what Leila has shared in this guest post, it appears that schools heavily influenced by Doug Wilson are worrisome. She has raised a red flag, and I hope others see it.

  21. “How many consecutive sentences can your son’s friend generate without quoting C.S. Lewis?”
    @Sergius: I don’t know … they don’t hang out together anymore. I think the boys realized after they reconnected that they don’t have a thing in common anymore.

    @NoMorePerfect – one way they disciplined my child was to put my child on trash duty, gathering every classroom’s trash can, putting it into larger bags, and taking it to the dumpster. Now, honestly, I don’t have a problem with that. But I remember the teacher relating that my child did it every day for a week and always missed steps in the process. Hellooooo! That should have been a big fat ADD clue right there, not proof of “lack of diligence” (another pet phrase of theirs).

    Hester said: “Cult. Cult cult cult cult cult.”
    Yes. And I should have totally gotten a clue when founding family parents and board members went around hanging onto Doug Wilson’s every word the same way Communist party members in Red China used to hang onto Chairman Mao’s quotations from the Little Red Book to show their loyalty.

    Bridget said: “It also bothers me that this group comes across as if they are the “superior” schooling model and it should work for “all” children and if it doesn’t, the child is in sin.”
    They used to say the opposite, actually, but it was really a subtle little dig — “We realize this kind of schooling isn’t for everyone.” Translation: “The unregenerate are not welcome here.”

    Regarding Classical Conversations, I don’t think that had really started yet, or at least hadn’t gained much steam, back when we left the school. But I do keep hearing more and more about it in some circles and I will admit, it disturbs me. And color me cynical, but it sounds like a way for Wilson to capture some of those dollars from people who would never pay tuition for full-time classical schooling – the homeschool community.

    @Deb – we went with fear and trembling into the public schools; we’d been brainwashed at how horrible they were. The ones in our area sure have their weaknesses and yet somehow my kids have gotten pretty decent educations there. And for every mediocre or even just plain lousy teacher they’ve had, they’ve also had outstanding ones who have changed their lives (in ways the classical school teachers never could have.)

    @Kolya – I don’t actually remember much about the science curriculum, believe it or not, other than that I thought it was pretty good, well structured, and interesting for the kids. I do like the classical approach in general. But in the high school, the lack of proper lab facilities for the higher sciences would have been a real lack, I think (we never got that far).

  22. The real devoted Southerners call it “The War of Northern Aggression”, even though it was started by S. Carolina opening fire on a U.S. Army installation and on U.S. Navy ships.

  23. The whole ‘our way of educating is the superior way’ attitude that seems to have been the core ethos of this school disturbs me. Don’t get me wrong, if such an approach does work best for your child, then that’s great. But the experience of your daughter, Leila, is sad and frustrating, and I’m glad you did get her out and into a school and program that supported her needs better. Kids learn in different ways, and have varying responses to pressure, class size, even being in mixed or single sex classes/schools.

    Also, I didn’t realise it was legal to openly pay female teachers less than men for what is surely the exact same job.

  24. The “Civil War” is the term used by us poor brainwashed Yankees. The “War Between the States” is the term used by Neo-Confederates like Doug Wilson. – Hester

    And then there’s “War of Northern Aggression” or “War of Yankee Aggression.”

    Isn’t Doug Wilson the one who defends a certain Peculiar Institution regarding Animate Property?

  25. HUG, please, let’s not be so vulgar. Doug Wilson supports people Finding their Full Potential in their Prescribed Societal Strata.

  26. Speaking of C.S. Lewis (that’s Clive Staples Lewis, for any who didn’t know – you don’t meet many people called “Staples”)… Lewis made the following very interesting observation:

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

    In a rare attempt to post a short comment, I’ll leave it there!

  27. Thanks for this post. I, too, have been subjected up close and personal to Wilson’s Classical approach devotees and can affirm all the pro-south hoopla that comes along with it. We had an elder once tell us “Well, the Klan has done some great things.” And, living in the Land of Lincoln and being a Yankee gal who would most certainly have been an abolitionist, I got pretty darn tired of hearing how the Civil War is a theological war and that the most dastardly guy in history was Abraham Lincoln. These are the same people who welcome in kinist leaders into their churches and hand out the Stars and Bars as birthday presents. We were in awe and the racism finally did us in.

  28. @ thatmom – ‘We had an elder once tell us “Well, the Klan has done some great things”‘.

    Sorry, I had to retrieve my jaw from the floor. Just…there are no words, really. My goodness.

  29. @Thatmom, then you would not be surprised to learn how many folks at this school were heavily involved in/supportive of the Constitution Party … which sounded real good to this conservative until I started to do a little digging and learned of its ties to Howard and Doug Phillips and how it seemed to be so entangled with dominionists, reconstructionists, etc.

  30. @ K.M.L, RubeRad & Deb:

    “I just would hate for this post to turn into a bashing of classical education, because of one crazy dude who wrote some books and decided he was the ‘expert’ on a specific method of education. Believe me. He’s not.”

    Warning: I will probably sound grumpy. : )

    My mom is political science/economics major. She bought the first edition of The Well-Trained Mind and used it so much that it’s now falling apart. I grew up hearing about the Socratic method, classical philosophers, etc. and I taught myself Latin. So I’m in no way against classical education. But the way I’ve seen it implemented (mostly secular-ish, NOT “Wilsonian” aside from one Quiverfull family I don’t know that well) is exactly what I said in my original comment – THE ONLY WAY to properly homeschool your child (or else they will be a homeless trash collector), and you’ll pay through the nose for it. (Classical Conversations charges $1250 per kid for 30 weeks of group class (meeting only 1-2 days a week) in high school (doesn’t include books). That’s a maximum of 60 days of group class TOTAL. That comes out to $20-41 per class day – IF you only have one kid in the program.)

    Which is pretty funny given the fact that many of these people don’t even follow Susan Wise Bauer’s original work at all. The original “theory” of classical education says that children pass through three stages – the Grammar stage (elementary school), the Logic stage (middle school) and the Rhetoric stage (high school). Basically, they move from black-and-white thinking and foundational education (Grammar) to critical thinking and knowing how to educate themselves (Rhetoric). Note well: this doesn’t happen overnight!

    But the parents I’ve met don’t do this. They want to get their kids done AS FAST AS POSSIBLE (mostly to save on that big $$$). If you don’t ACCELERATE ACCELERATE PUSH PUSH PUSH and your kid didn’t graduate at 16 (or earlier), your kid is stupid. For most this means deliberately skipping the Logic stage (middle school) entirely because “the kids don’t need it” and “I hated middle school,” and replacing at least half of high school with “college prep.” Well, sure, we all hated puberty and the social crap surrounding it – but it’s a necessary stage kids have to go through. And per the classical model, you NEED the Logic stage to get the Rhetoric stage. If you don’t have the Logic stage, you are asking the child to jump straight from completely dependent black-and-white thinking to completely independent critical thinking. That’s not fair to the child. You certainly can’t ask a kid to basically jump from 6th grade to their freshman year of high school, and then jump from their sophomore year of high school to their freshman year of college!

    Aside from that, the parents I’ve seen also give their kids no educational choice at all. They implement the classical model extremely rigidly – an obsession with memorization, making the kids sit in little desks and formulaically stand up before they answer a question, etc. They talk a lot about the Trivium, but never actually make their kids read it (or any other great books/novels). They also HATE the (often argumentative) questioning that inevitably comes with the Logic stage, so they shut their kids down a lot.

    I know this is harsh, but this has been my experience with classical education as practiced (NOT with Susan Wise Bauer herself). In my area, it’s basically a shiny expensive label to slap on a specific, often self-important subculture of homeschooling.

    Off rant. : )

  31. @ Nick:

    I love that Lewis quote. I wish more of these Reconstructionists who love to quote him (as if he agreed with them!) would read it.

  32. Leila,

    I am not at all surprised that folks at your school were heavily involved in the Constitution Party. Dee and I have done a lot of research on the reconstructionist / dominionist movement, although we haven’t written that much about it yet… It’s a HUGE concern!

  33. A Libertarian talk show host based in Atlanta uses the words “government schools” to describe public schools. He has also said on more than one occasion that parents who send their kids to public schools are guilty of child abuse.

    What he fails to realize is that for most parents, they don’t have a choice. The law says that I must educate my child. I have three choices: public, private or homeschool. I can’t afford private school, and even if I could, most private schools are not equipped to handle my child’s needs. (He has autism.) And while I like the idea of homeschooling and applaud parents who take on that challenge, I know that if I tried it, it would be a question of who would commit murder first–me, or my son! My son can be very stubborn, and I’m very much of a perfectionist.

    That leaves me with exactly one choice: public schools. Which makes me a child abuser in the eyes of certain people. I wish people would understand that most parents are just doing the very best they know how to do with their children.

  34. Nick Bulbeck, nice quote and very pertinent to the discussion.

    Leila, thanks for the science info.

    Tina, I completely sympathise. To be honest I find it incredible that people like this talk show host can be guilty of such hyperbole. To be sure, in both the UK and USA there are bad schools in the state sector (over here the government is constantly on the prowl to either replace the headmaster/principal or close them down), but as you say most people don’t have a choice and despite the doomsaying of some of these pundits I don’t see that anything overtly wrong is being taught in them. In fact over here some Christian bodies work in schools and are allowed to do so within certain parameters.

  35. Tina said: “And while I like the idea of homeschooling and applaud parents who take on that challenge, I know that if I tried it, it would be a question of who would commit murder first–me, or my son!”

    Tina, I am right there with you! I guess I must be totally unregenerate, because I don’t have the temperament required to homeschool.

  36. Pam – as far as I’ve been able to find out, the C.S. Lewis quote here comes from “God in the Dock”, a collection of his essays.

    (Er – that’s Lewis’s essays, not God’s. Just wanted to clear that one up.)

    A lot more could be said on that subject. One of the greatest sources of frustration in my attempt to find meaningful Christian koinonia (sorry – it’s just that I’ve come to loathe the overly-misused word “f****wship”) has been a more subtle kind of abuse than that of overtly abusive would-be apostles who want to rule over me, and call me “rebellious” for not lining up with their theology. I refer to would-be mummies (that would be mommies in the US, I suppose, but in either case they may be male or female) who want to spiritually nurture and breast-feed me, and call me “hurt” for not lining up with their theology.

    As I say, that’s probably another thread. Better go – it’s lovely and sunny here in Scotland, and I need to drill some holes in the back gate for a new latch, dig some path-foundations for concreting tomorrow, and check the washing. (Am I a proper dude for using power-tools, or a chickified dude for doing the washing? Am I rebellious for not giving a s**t? Help yourselves on that…)

    BTW – how do I get smileys to turn into actual smiley faces – are they converted automatically?
    🙂

  37. Anon

    I believe it takes all kinds of schools to educate our children. Even within each family, I think each children might need different styles. My children all went through Chrisitian school-not the classical kind. We made that choice when our daughter was little and very sick with what we thought would be a terminal brain tumor. We decided we needed a Christian community during that time. However, I have been adamant that this was a choice which worked for us and is not a choice that will necessarily work for others.

    I have friends who have homeschooled and did a great job. The same goes for friends whose kids went to public schools and private secular schools. 

    But, one size does nt fit all. I have met families whose kids were dying in the public schools and would have done better in a smaller, more controlled environment. I have seen the opposite in which kids did poorly in Christian schools and would have benefited from programs that only a large public school system could offer. Also, public schools are required to educate everyone. I volunteer at a residential home for desperately handicapped children. Each day, these children are brought to special classes in the public schools.It gives them the opportunity to see other children that they would not see if they were isolated to their facility.

    I believe that we need all kinds of education for our children. None are perfect. As parents, we need to be cognizant of the individuality of each of children and find an educational style that maximizes their potential.

  38. Miguel

    The United States is an entity like few others. It is made up of people who came here from somewhere else, except, of course, for the Native Americans who definitly got the short end of the stick. We are a union of states and, in that time, a union of people who were despertely trying to find an identity. I, for one, believe that the Civil War was justified although a few of my neighbors around here would have my head. 

    I have a friend from Norway. The country is homogeneous. They share similar beliefs on just about anything. Guess what is causing conflict? The influx of people from the Middle East. So, the chances of Civil War in England, Germany, etc was slim to none. BTW, England had, and still has, it’s own civil disputes regarding Ireland.

    I believe that Doug Wilson’s point, as usual, shows a misunderstanding of the differences of countries and cultural makeup.

  39. Tikatu

    I just got to your comment. i am able to view them in sequence, no matter the post on which one is commenting on, in my “control” panel. (Finally, I am in control) 🙂 I made the same point about 30 minutes ago. The War of Northern Aggression is  a code term in the South.

  40. Leila

    I think Kolya was interested in whether or not they were indoctrinated in the Young Earth Creation “science.”  This is a particualrly insidious problem because, once they get to college, and learn real science, a fair number of them walk away from the faith, believing that they have been the recipients of a lie.

  41. Nick

    I had an unusual conversion experience as a teen and had to find my own help to understand the faith. i discovered CS Lewis early on and he has deeply influenced me. But, folks like Wilson, who quote him, do not seem to understand that Lewis had some rather” unorthodox” views on salvation. He believed that there would be people in heaven who did not follow Christ in this world. Frankly Lewis’ views on humility and arrogance would seem to convict those like Wilson who are sure that they ‘know”  the correct way to do thing.

  42. There is a positive aspect of putting your kids in public schools. You don’t have to explain why many professing Christians are practicing bullies and think “lording it over others’ is a tenant of Christianity. But a downside is that your 8 year old might come home spouting socialistic dogma. Both Christian AND public schools need to teach both sides of issues. Both are good at indoctrinating, unfortuantly. We need to teach children “how” to think. Not just “what” to think.

  43. @Dee and Kolya: I don’t recall seeing any evidence of YEC while my kids were in classical Christian school … BUT I was not tuned into that debate at the time, so it’s possible it slipped under the radar. I’ve never heard, though, that Doug Wilson is a YEC, so I don’t think that was an issue.

  44. Patriarchy people are really utterly blind to truth. Doug Wilson pays lower salaries to women teachers than male teachers, and believe he is acting in a Christian manner!

    God is just.
    God shows no favoritism(Eph 6:9 among others), a false balance is an abomination to Him, while a just weight is his delight (Pro 11:1 among others)

  45. It seems that the Wilsonian crowd took the classical approach to schooling and mixed it with “their” reformed doctrines and thought voila! the perfect schooling medium! But, like most things, when you try to apply it across the board (say with all six of your children) you’ll find it doesn’t work for all. A parent seeking to help their children learn and mature will start with the individual child and work from there, rather than coming up with a “method” and applying it across the board.

    What concerns me are the groups that want to infuse their doctrine into the government.

    The “government schools” started as a means to educate those who had no means (money) to become educated privately. School was eventually forced on everyone and then everyone was taxed to support the school system.

    I’m all for education, but I believe that many, many beautiful human beings are better suited to a minimal amount of formal learning and then creating with their hands and lives. I see many youth minimized, ridiculed, and even “told” by adults that they will never succeed in life if they do not progress according to the “standard” in the educational world, which now includes four years of college. It breaks my heart to see this. You either become one of the educationally accepted or you are nothing. I believe there are whole worlds in between these two ends but many children are only exposed to the either/or scenario and go into their late teens completely discouraged.

  46. Patriarchy people are really utterly blind to truth. Doug Wilson pays lower salaries to women teachers than male teachers, and believe he is acting in a Christian manner! — Retha

    It is written in Shari’a (dictated by Al’lah to Mohammed) that a woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man’s and a daughter can only inherit half as much as a son…

  47. A Libertarian talk show host based in Atlanta uses the words “government schools” to describe public schools. He has also said on more than one occasion that parents who send their kids to public schools are guilty of child abuse. — Tina

    “Always use the proper Code Words. ‘Relocation’. ‘Resettlement’. ‘Delousing’.”
    — Hauptsturmfuehrer Eric Dorf, SS/SD, Seventies TV Miniseries Holocaust

  48. But the parents I’ve met don’t do this. They want to get their kids done AS FAST AS POSSIBLE (mostly to save on that big $$$). If you don’t ACCELERATE ACCELERATE PUSH PUSH PUSH and your kid didn’t graduate at 16 (or earlier), your kid is stupid. — Hester

    “He who dies with the most Overachieved Child WINS.”

    (And this comment is coming from an ex-Overachieved Child. I would like to go back 56 years and be born with a normal IQ and no expectations of Absolute Perfection and Always A Little MORE.)

  49. Dee, thank you for the link to Doug Wilson/YEC. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised but somehow, I am, because in general his classical curriculum is so rigorous. The problems with YEC, IMHO, are so glaringly obvious I wonder how he can even go there with a straight face.

  50. Dee – England *did* have a Civil War. Chas. I was deposed and executed, Oliver Cromwell ruled (and, in the process, started a horrific campaign in Ireland), and then… Chas II was crowned.

    This is a super-over-simplification of a very complex time and diverse conflicts (including religious), but hey… there’s plenty of material on it, and Google will help.

    And… many early immigrants to New England brought their political and religious controversies with them.

  51. Also – there are indigenous people in Scandinavia (the Sami or Saami, formerly known as Lapps) who have experienced very brutal suppression – very much like Native Americans.

    Norway might seem ethnically homogeneous to outsiders, but it’s really not.

  52. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for addressing this issue. I live in Moscow, Idaho and know only too well the problems with the mother ship, aka, Logos School. The women are paid less than men, and if they have small children at home are not hired as teachers. Pregnant woman need “permission” from their husbands to continue to teach until they deliver. Doug does not require an education degree to be a classroom teacher – which is convenient for his non-credentialed wife and daughter who teach at Logos. Superintendent Tom Garfield, aka Dr. Spanky, administers physical punishment with a paddle. He also gives/gave “birthday spanking” and then rewards the child afterward with a coupon at a local fast food establishment. Sick doesn’t begin to cover it. No women sit on the board, or, are in any position of authority. Despite the uber-reformed atmosphere at Logos, I am proud to say that the local “government” school Knowledge Bowl team that both my grandson and granddaughter were on) always beat Logos handily, especially in the category called “The Bible.”
    Rosemary Huskey

  53. Anon1

    Driscoll will continue to generate press within the YRR crowd. Jared Wilson proved that he believes in hardball politics, reflecting Driscoll, in his response to a rather benign comment on my part. Driscoll is the face of the “in your face” Calvinistas who are so convincedthat they know the truth and the rest of us are probably unregenerate and wicked. I have made it a point to avoid Calvinistas in my worship.

    A YRR pastor recently spouted off about the necessity of young marriages showing a blind adherence to a man driven theology that is devoid of historical understanding.The average age of marriage in the early NT was about 14. The average age of survival was in the 20s. Women frequently died in childbirth and it was not uncommon to go through 2-3 wives due to childbirth morbidity. Since the average age in the US  is well into the 70s, the average length of marriage of an 18 year old will be about 50 years. In the time of Jesus, it was about 16 years or so.

     

     

  54. I don’t even know where to start with this topic.

    I taught one year in a classical Christian school. I remember almost nothing from that year. I have blocked most of it out. The story is too long to tell here at this moment, but I was forced out by the headmaster when he told the board lies about me. Thankfully they found out the truth about him and he was removed part way through the next year and I received apologies from some of the board members. I think it was in my best interest long-term that I got forced out when I did. I do think there is value to the actual Trivium model if it is done well (and by that I mean in a way that is appropriate for the child and not in a perfectionistic way).

    Karen had an interesting discussion about classical education on her site. Some of the moms became extremely defensive about the model. I asked one of them what she meant when she wrote: “My sons are not hindered from speaking with the proletariat.” Never got an answer to that.

    http://www.thatmom.com/2012/08/11/part-ten-of-the-podcast-series-on-the-family-integrated-church-movement/

  55. Dee is indeed correct – I was interested in whether a certain agenda was being promoted in Leila’s school.

    Thanks for the link to Mr Wilson’s comments on the creationist site. I draw attention to this one:

    “They believe that the moose, the sperm whale and the meadowlark are all blood relatives” [referring to those who hold to the evolutionary school of biology].

    Unfortunately this sort of rhetoric (for that is all it is) seems to me to show an ignorance of the subject. If Mr Wilson knew anything about zoology and the animal kingdom, then he would understand that compared to the 95% of all species that lack a backbone (invertebrates), moose, sperm whale and meadowlark are indeed blood relatives, the moose and the sperm whale especially so since they are both mammals. Even before Darwin, when giants like Linnaeus and Cuvier began classifying animals, they saw that some had more shared characteristics than others, which in those days was the sole criteria for classification.

    It’s not about academic respectability, Doug!

    Re civil wars, homogeneity of population does not guarantee homogeneity of belief, as a look at the English and Russian Civil Wars will tell you (albeit there was probably more of a class element in the Russian, but not totally). Ireland should never have been colonised by the British (although the Vikings had also been there and I doubt they came peacefully!), but Cromwell complicated matters by planting Scots Presbyterians in the country who eventually became the Northern Irish (if I’m not oversimplifying the story). Since the peace process things have improved greatly, but there are still some diehards.

  56. Dee, I agree with your comment that Driscoll has set the “tone” of the YRR/NC movement. His in your face DNA is all over it. But he went too far and when things started coming out he fast became more of a liability when it comes to money. Especially in the SBC. But also with Piper and you have the dean of the Reformed movement, McArthur, going after Driscoll for some time. It just got to be too much. I mean the guy was on The View. His bizarre behavior and teachings could no longer be ignored as “he preaches the Gospel” excuse they always used for him in the past. It also helped that Petry is a lawyer. That was taken very seriously even if they won’t admit it publicly.

    I will also make the point that many older NC leaders embraced Driscoll years back because the youngen’s were wild about him and they did not want to lose them.(A case of “wait for me, I am your leader!” So they accepted Driscoll and brought him into the fold because Driscoll embraced Reformed doctrine so he was ok. The youngen’s were going there anyway.. Akin of SEBTS is a perfect example of this and even Mohler and some SBTS folks to a lesser degree (who tend to be Mahaney promoters).

  57. Bridget on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 01:13 PM wrote:

    “…I’m all for education, but I believe that many, many beautiful human beings are better suited to a minimal amount of formal learning and then creating with their hands and lives…”

    Well stated Bridget, I think you’ve pointed in a direction that many conservatives would just as soon ignore or sweep under the rug and chant USA! … USA! … USA! instead. It is NOT possible to have a strong and vibrant economy when financial oligarchs are allowed to systematically gut and sodomize its manufacturing base (and the skilled trades needed to run it) by sending it offshore to low wage gulags.

  58. I have homeschooled for years, and have been concerned that there is such an inherently negative attitude towards all public schools. There is an elite attitude from some parents…they must be REALLY spiritual as they sacrificed everything for the sake of homeschooling. I also noticed a real “terror” of all things government…as in an inordinant fear of ANY public official that wants to install laws that mandate that children are tested to see if they are “up to snuff” on all subjects. Have any other homeschoolers noticed that some families do relatively LITTLE with their kids education….I have met others that only teach minimal subjects, or “let the child direct the cirruiculum.” I worry about these kids.

  59. @Rosemary Huskey – Over the years, I have occasionally browsed discussion boards that deal with Wilson in Moscow, and you Rosemary, have always been there gently but firmly directing attention to the many problems with Wilson, his schools, and his minions. THANK YOU for your vigilance and stamina and for never wearying of this whole mess and saying “to heck with it.” I’ve been sort of a fan of yours for years. As far as the spanking goes, thank God I saw none of that at my kids’ school. (I guess if you can couch your kink as “biblical” you can get away with it, though.)

  60. Kolya – and a LOT of those Scottish Presbyterians ended up settling in the Mid-Atlantic states… though it seems (at least in my locale) that a lot of them switched to the Methodist church after they got here.

  61. Hi Numo, yes, would I be correct in thinking that the Appalachians took in many such folk? (From my reading about the mountains).

    Which internecine Scandinavian wars are you thinking of? I know Norway refuted the union with Sweden in 1905 and that Finland had its civil war shortly after the Russian Revolution.

  62. Kolya – the wars go back to medieval times (in Scandinavia) and lasted through the 1st half of the 19th century. I usually hate to recommend Wikipedia, but their brief histories of Sweden, Norway and Denmark have a lot of info.; I’d suspect that’s true of their entry on Finland as well. It’s not something I know much about, but there clearly were imperial ambitions throughout the histories of these countries. (and there are lots of historic maps that can be Googled up, showing how Sweden conquered various parts of what are now norway, the Baltic states, Germany, Finland, etc. etc.)

    As for settlers in the Appalachians, yes – there were a lot of Highlanders there, too, though.

    In this area, Scottish Presbyterians (from Scotland and N. Ireland) are referred to as “Scots-Irish.”

  63. Kolya (cont’d.) – maybe the Northern fighting and conquests are similar to what England and what is now France were doing in terms of trying to (re)gain/hold territory during the Middle Ages and Renaissance?

    At any rate, there seems to have been a *lot* of fighting, shifting of boundaries and allegiances and whatnot.

    Russia: ethnic (aka “Great”) Russians went stampeding all over Ukraine (“Little” Russia), Belarus, the Baltics and Finland, and just about everything they could get their hands on eastwards, all the way to the pacific Ocean, prior to the 1917 revolution… and the Soviets, especially under Stalin (who was an ethnic Georgian) ruthlessly suppressed the many languages and cultures throughout their empire in the name of “Russification.” (Of course, they also formed all those huge state-run music and dance ensembles, but I gather that you had to do music/dance as moscow dictated… or else. At least, that’s what I have heard and read re. Armenia and Uzbekistan, and I’m sure it’s true elsewhere as well.)

  64. Forget the ‘secularists’ or any other group, Christianity is its own worst enemy. These oppressive ‘Christians’ can’t see the truth – they create more nonbelievers than anyone.

  65. Hi Numo, I think the analogy between the “Northern” (Scandinavian) wars and the medieval wars of England and France is probably a good one, esp as various “houses” (dynastic) could actually be united by marriage and thus rulers end up owning different territories, even on different land masses. Often people forget that England is much older as an entity than Great Britain/United Kingdom, as the latter only came into being in 1707 when Scotland signed the Treaty of Union. Another example is that the Stuarts (inc. Charles I) were originally Scottish kings who were invited to become England’s rulers after Elizabeth I (the last Tudor) died a spinster.

    From my reading of Scandinavian history it seems that Norway, Sweden and Denmark shifted allegiance, union and so forth a lot, whereas Finland was usually the wild frontier between Scandinavia and Russia until the 20th century. Perhaps this is due to ethnic and linguistic differences as much as anything?

    Re Scots-Irish, that is actually quite an appropriate name, as in the Dark Ages the Irish were called Scots (I hope I’ve got this right from memory!) and there was a fair bit of to and forth between Scotland and Ireland. The Romans recorded the inhabitants of ancient Scotland not as Scots but as Picts and Caledonians.

    In its own way the USSR was as ethnically diverse as the USA. Although a lot has been made of “russification” which was indeed a policy, the Russians themselves are a bit of a mix as apart from the original Slavs the original “Varangians” were actually Vikings. Similar “English” is actually a mix of mainly Saxons mixed with Ancient British/Celtic and Scandinavian, possibly even the odd Roman!

    I remember the Soviet music and dance ensembles as well 😉

  66. Thank you, Lilah, for your kind words. I didn’t intend initially to get involved in the Wilson mess. But,when it became apparent that in his mind civil laws can be ignored (everything from zoning issues like boarding houses in single family residential zones, opening New Saint Andrews in a central downtown area (again a zoning issue), writing horrendous books on a variety of subjects including Southern Slavery As It Was – a disgusting booklet full of plagiarism and egregious errors in history, I weighted in. As a Quaker I understand the obligation to speak truth to power. I also know that there is that of God in everyone. But what has happened here in Moscow and what passes for the Gospel when it is filtered through the Kirk (the self-important nick-name they used to refer to their church) and Doug Wilson’s lips can not be overlooked. I came to know real people, vulnerable people, who have been deeply hurt by Doug Wilson and they had no advocates. Christ Church in Moscow has shunning down to an art. If you are a church centered family, and you have disagree with Doug or the Elders you and your family instantly become pariah. His cruelty and spiritual abuse is unbelievable. I just think ike all the rest of us, he has to be made publicly accountable for all the harm he has caused, to the Gospel and to people I know and care about.
    Rose

  67. I have been carefully homeschooling my daughter with the Classical method ala Susan Wise-Bauer and The Well Trained Mind for all of middle school. We are in the last year then she is going off to high school, although we are fairly relaxed in our approach by now, I love the method. We are solid Christians but felt very uncomfortable with most Christian Classical curriculum for some reason. I had never heard of or paid any attention to Doug Wilson until spending time on WW this year. I do get the Veritas catalog and just never liked how structured and rigid it all seemed. I am grateful I never went in that direction! She loves Latin, History, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science etc. She has big plans to be a lawyer…very un-Wilsony-ladylike I would imagine. She can’t stand complementarianism although she might not know the term. She thinks Driscol is a joke, which I am thrilled about since we live in Mars Hill land.

    I hope to send her to a local classical Christian high school next year. I have never seen or heard anything resembling what this post describes from friends whose children attend there, but you can bet I will be on the lookout for it. I see all certified teachers, half of whom are women. I’m going to have to ask them about Wilson and if he has any influence in their school or curriculum at our interview this winter…

    My other daughter is in our local public high school and it is the perfect place for her! She takes challenging AP classes, has lots of friends and is blossoming. She also has big plans for her future and is embracing all the possibilities that are out there for her. Both child is unique and different and I have always wanted what was best for them as individuals.

    I have met my fair share of paranoid homeschooling families and always shy away from them. I don’t think I could stand being in the same room as Wilson, let alone allow him to guide or direct or influence either of my daughters.

    I guess I am saying this because I am both grateful for this post about the dangers of places like this to warn others, but also wanting to chime in about the fact that not all homeschoolers or classical homeschoolers are like this. I sometimes worry bout being lumped in with these nuts.

    Homeschooling can be a wonderful option. It is absolutely not for everyone, nor is every style of homeschooling for everyone. I hate it when someone “lords it over” someone else portraying their way of life as the only way. Not to mention how grieved I am whenever I think of those poor women trapped in that world. It is definitely more a result of authoritarianism and extreme patriarchy, at least in my view.

  68. Harbor Girl,

    Thanks for your wonderful comment.  When I homeschooled my daughters in the late 1990s, I felt fairly normal.  Doug Phillips was just coming onto the scene the last year I homeschooled, and I had not heard of Doug Wilson.  I am glad you have been able to steer clear of their nonsense, and I am grateful that we have this forum to warn others about those who may be a harmful influence.  The internet is such a useful tool.  🙂

  69. Hmm.. not sure about Civil Wars not being possible in Europe

    Sort of the whole 17th century European history was one big civil war (English Civil War or more accurately War of the Three Kingdoms) in the UK. The 30 years war across what is now Germany and so on. Have I misunderstood the point? – if so apols.

  70. Pam, my jaw fell on the floor as well at that Klan comment. Some of the weirder things we have witnessed came after we had left the group and the stories we have been told by others now that we are considered “safe” ie, not part of them, have been staggering. One woman told me that some from this group had planned a history unit study on the Civil War for their co-op and the children had to wear black face during their presentation! I was stunned. Another time I got into a somewhat heated discussion with a woman who was insisting on putting confederate flags on tables as decorations for a Veteran’s Day/evangelism conference banquet. Of course, “evangelism” was a word that had strange meanings to them, which I pointed out as part of my insistence that the flags come off the tables. this same group welcomed in one of the founders of the Kinist Institute as a member in good standing. When I once blogged about it, we got an email dinner invite from the wife of the kinist whom we had never met. I was stunned and a bit creeped out to be honest. I wrote back and told her “I’m sorry we must decline but we don’t each dinner with racists.” But you know what troubles me the most in this whole thing? That mainstream evangelicals aren’t loudly proclaiming the same about Wilson and the other neo-confederate types. Sorry but I draw the line at “the slaves had it good” and other stupid hierarchical nuttiness. Where are the men who are taking the lead against this? Seems like this is a more worthwhile effort than trying to genderize everything.

  71. Classical ed: Yes,Sallie is correct, a bunch of classical ed moms left my blog and were pretty offended that I even suggested that we might want to step back and consider the goals of getting a classical education, which I believe, in part, are to train statesmen for the “dominion mandate.” Of course not all classical ed families have this agenda. And I don’t have issues with this as a form of education for SOME children. But it really does go against what I believe about training children, in general, to love learning. And I think that if we look at our culture today we see that the greatest way to have influence as a Christian is within the arts–movies and music–rather than from the top down in some sort of legislative way. I am afraid that there are quite a few children whom God has gifted tremendously in artistic ways who have never been given the time to develop those gifts or perhaps even the desire has been squelched because they have been merely uploaded with information ad nauseum.

  72. ” I sometimes worry bout being lumped in with these nuts.” Harbor Girl, I hear you! You know, the radical fringe homeschoolers. in my opinion, have had a strangle hold on the state conventions and are currently wrangling to keep control of all of us. I saw this up close and personal almost two years ago when there were threats to homeschooling liberties in my state. One homeschooling mom tried repeatedly to warn state “leaders” (I place this in quotation marks because none of them have been elected, they are all self-appointed) but they wouldn’t listen to her. They wanted to control the situation with their paid lobbyists rather than with moms who actually know something about the issue. This mom, getting no help, contacted an online pro-homechooling magazine and the story went viral in the state homeschool world, resulting in thousands of homeschoolers going to the capitol to demonstrate on the day of the hearing. A friend and I ignored the “instructions” of this group to meet in a large room for more “instructions” from the state “leaders” and were able, along with three of our kids, to get into the actual hearing room. What we witnessed was outrageous. The paid lobbyists told us we would not be allowed to make any statements (a violation of the rules of hearings, btw) and had planned their own line up of speakers, including patriocentric spokesmen, and there wasn’t a single woman on the speaking roster. Eventually one long time homeschooling mom made such a fuss that they gave her a couple minutes. Out of that whole situation it was obvious that there needed to be someone other than the patrio homeschooler exerting influence with lawmakers and a bipartisan homeschool PAC was started. You wouldn’t believe the offense this has caused…all because these dominionist homeschoolers want the control and power. And here is the kicker….HSLDA, who represents much of this nuttiness, has stated that they represent less than 10% of all homeschoolers yet they want to speak for all of us! I refuse to let this happen.

  73. Jeff

    You may be right about creating nonbelievers. As many as are pouring in the front door, there is a hemorrhage out the back.

  74. Thatmom !!!!- – – Oh my – – I have been researching this stuff recently. Because of my defamation lawsuit and spiritually abusive church, I wondered if there was a homeschooling connection. I’ve gone way back to our primary influencers when we began homeschooling 20 years ago and have seen the dominionist/reconstructionist agenda. Now it is all clicking for me. I didn’t put 2 and 2 together before, but now see it loud and clear and this mama is pi$$ed that I aligned myself with ridiculous patriarchal teachings, people who were pushing their dominionist agenda.

    When we just moved to OR, I met a homeschooling family at Costco (all homeschoolers can spot homeschoolers a mile a way, right? LOL). We seemed very like-minded, exchanged phone numbers and visited their church. It was a Reformed Covenant church – liturgical, sang from a psaltry – we had never seen anything like it. They were definitely FIC and had a “shared meal” (because you can’t say putluck with the word “luck” in it hahahahah Pharisees!). I later found out that the main pastor was highly political and a key guy in the homeschool movement in the state. You better believe I will be sharing my story on this topic. I firmly believe it was this kind of influence that set us up to find our spiritually abusive church. What I am discovering is that although these folks put such huge emphasis on families and popping out babies (quiverfull), what’s actually happening is families are being torn apart because of spiritual abuse, legalism, etc. I have been in touch with some who have grown up in this movement – of course including my 25-yr old daughter who has nothing to do with church anymore. I will not be silent about the destructive side of the homeschool movement – which most certainly has ties with people in the Classical movement as well. So glad to see your blog. I hope to listen to some of your podcasts soon and read more. Thank you for being bold enough to post what you see going on. I can’t believe I was so blinded.

  75. I completely agree with Jeff about creating unbelievers. I can’t believe how many blogs I’ve been seeing pop up from kids who were raised in this movement their whole lives and are now “coming out”. I expect there will be a lot more, too, as they start marrying, having babies and see what they’ve been missing from being controlled and isolated from “the world”. Now I want to keep my homeschooled kids away from homeschooled kids – lol.

  76. Leila,

    Thanks so much for your post. I find it all deeply upsetting…but not at all surprising.

    I’m a 7th grade math teacher at a Catholic school. This year, my principal tasked me with putting together a class on Logic for middle schoolers. So over the summer, I did a great deal of internet searching for Logic curriculum that would be age appropriate, and of course, I encountered material that’s inspired by/used in these types of Wilsonian environments.

    What I found was appalling. From the standpoint of someone with a degree in math who’s studied formal logic in a university setting, I found the books to be remarkably incomplete and misleading and–dare I say it– illogical. I was horrified that essentially all developments in this field of study since Aristotle are treated as being somehow in league with post-modernism/relativism. From the standpoint of a teacher and parent, I found that much of the worldview that the materials convey to be deeply troubling.

    I’m very sympathetic to the idea of looking to the Trivium/Quadrivium model for inspiration in educating 21st century kids, but if classical education is just going to be a trojan horse for sneaking in militant patriarchy, neo-confederate sympathies, and unmitigated prejudice, then to heck with it…

  77. I was homeschooled and there is definitely more than one variety of destructive homeschooling. The Dominionist and/or elitist variety of Classical homeschoolers; patriarchal Reconstructionist Vision Forum homeschoolers; isolationist KJV-Only IFB Baptist homeschoolers (Abeka/Bob Jones); and the really extreme unschoolers who never actually teach their children anything. There’s often significant overlap between these groups.

    Personally I have the softest spot for the unschoolers – not because I support educational neglect, but because I was one of those kids that didn’t usually need a structured curriculum to learn. I learned most of what I know on my own, without a “class” or even a curriculum at all, and I’m miles ahead of most of my homeschool friends who used these things. That doesn’t mean unschooling is for everybody, though – as evidenced by 17-year-olds who don’t know what a pecan is. (Yep. True story.) What I usually say is – there’s a difference between UNschooling and NONschooling.

  78. @ ThatMom:

    “Yes, Sallie is correct, a bunch of classical ed moms left my blog and were pretty offended that I even suggested that we might want to step back and consider the goals of getting a classical education, which I believe, in part, are to train statesmen for the ‘dominion mandate.’ Of course not all classical ed families have this agenda. And I don’t have issues with this as a form of education for SOME children. But it really does go against what I believe about training children, in general, to love learning. And I think that if we look at our culture today we see that the greatest way to have influence as a Christian is within the arts–movies and music–rather than from the top down in some sort of legislative way.”

    I really like your connection of Classical education with training future Christian statesmen to “take dominion.” I’d never thought of it that way, but you know what? It might be true. This is probably also why “Christian” debate/forensics is so popular in homeschool circles. Debate is really only good for lawyering and politicking, so if the shoe fits… (No, wait, I know! It’s “Gospel” debate!)

    I also find it pretty amusing that many of these Christian Classical parents are virulently anti-Catholic – until they want to teach their kids Latin and buy Catholic curriculum. While at the same time quoting Aquinas.

  79. I, too, rarely announce that I am a homeschooler. I absolutely hate to be considered part of what the “vocal majority” of homeschoolers are. As ThatMom said, HSLDA represents a small percentage of homeschoolers, yet the push their view as the view of ALL homeschoolers. I no longer go to homeschooling conventions because I refuse to give my money to speakers whose sole purpose is to push their personal agenda.

    My family and I were FIC members a few years ago. Our pastor was/is heavily into politics and many of those who came to the church were solely there because the pastor was part of the Black Regiment. These churches are in it for politics, not true Gospel. It is dreadfully shameful. The boys in these churches were being “groomed” (for lack of a better term, I understand their are predatorial implications with that term) to become statesman.

    To read more about what the Black Regiment is, read this link: http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/blackregiment.php . It is pretty scary and very few no of it.

  80. Hester –

    Two words: Patrick Henry.

    *

    And I do feel badly for all the normal people out there who do homeschooling, because people tend to associate them with the kinds of ideologies and trends that are discussed in this post and in the comments.

    Nobody *ever* seems to write about the folks who aren’t part of these extreme xtian movements – I know/know of Buddhists, “lapsed” Catholics and others who’ve chosen to do home schooling, as well as (imo) quite normal people who are xtians. They use “normal” curricula, of course…

  81. thatmom,

    Thanks. That is exactly the kind of culture I’m talking about. We used to go to the convention but just to pick up curriculum and be able to compare costs/content. I attended one workshop the first year and haven’t gone back. I didn’t hear anything freaky or frightening, just lots of stuff that subtly bothered me. Although I have seen things in public and private schools that bother me as well. I have just become an active advocate for my child’s education, however that ends up looking. I have never been a conformist. The second someone tells me I HAVE to do anything I move on. Non-conformist to the core. But that is the very reason I was drawn to homeschooling in the first place, ironically!

    I don’t mean to say that all Christian curriculum is “bad”. It isn’t. But it should all be used with a critical mind and a willingness to question, the same for secular curriculum.

    We are involved with a co-op that I wouldn’t trade for the world. It is a wonderful environment where I teach a class. My daughter has made some wonderful friends and so have I. Other than the typical “mild Complementarianism” that is present in most evangelical circles these days, we haven’t had any problems and I have no problem stating my opinion. Many of these families have one child in school so it is pretty laid back in terms of the over-spiritualized “Wilsonian” sense.

    I did get into a heated discussion however one day with a homeschool mom whose husband is solidly patriarchal and likes to rule the roost. She mentioned his “authority” so many times in our discussion I finally snapped and told her how I felt about it. She never brought it up again.

    The only “side-affect” I have seen that truly concerns me is the tendency towards courtship, which is resulting in very young, right out of high-school engagements and marriages. This is showing up primarily at our church where many of these homeschooling families attend. They jumped on the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” bandwagon years ago and never really questioned it. They also never noticed that all the other churches in town think its weird and moved on from that a long time ago. I think it fed their desire to protect their children from the evils of the world. These kids are terrified of a good old fashioned date and yet have no problem getting married at 18. Um…no. I’m not against it as a rule and know a few people who did in fact marry their high school sweethearts way back when, but I cringe when I notice a trend.

    Our church youth group had the girls in my daughter’s high school group read through a book about it last year, though the purpose was supposed to be sexual purity, which of course I advocate. I was kind of appalled when I saw all the judgments about school dances and things like “don’t go on a date with someone you wouldn’t marry” and even a printed handout from the internet (can’t remember the website) telling kids “before you say I do…” with a list of all the things to look out for. I didn’t disaagree with any of those things necessarily, but for a much older age group. These girls were 15! I want my daughter to spend her time thinking about what college she wants to go to, where to travel to. I want her to choose sexual purity out of a love for Christ and respect for herself…not to save herself for her future husband because she “already belongs to him.” What?!! Needless to say when I challenged the group leader I wasn’t well received. But, I still challenged and am glad I did. It’s not regimented, or preached from the platform by the head pastor (in fact, I believe he is egalitarian!), but rather subtly influenced by other people who have solid roots in, yes, the homeschooling movement. They are always so surprised to discover I don’t agree with them. They simply assume everyone does.

    Sorry so long winded. Can we invent a term for those of us “normal” homeschoolers to separate us? 🙂 Actually, I would have to say we aren’t even classical anymore in the true sense of the word. Beyond an awareness of the trivium, I have never applied it in a formulaic way. I mostly like the chronological approach to history, the language based approach to all subjects, reading lots and lots of secular classics, the familiarity with Latin giving richness to our own language etc. I don’t think I fit in with any label really.

  82. @ No More Perfect:

    ” Our pastor was/is heavily into politics and many of those who came to the church were solely there because the pastor was part of the Black Regiment. These churches are in it for politics, not true Gospel. It is dreadfully shameful.”

    Wow…that website. Wow. Not that the Council on Foreign Relations, Federal Reserve & Fiat Money, and New World Order buttons on the left could have been a clue? ; ) This is pretty funny:

    “I rejoice over the efforts of any and all Christian ministers, regardless of denomination, who will courageously preach and promote the principles of liberty and independence.”

    He really means:

    “I rejoice over the efforts of any and all Christian ministers, regardless of denomination, who will courageously preach and promote the principles of [my wacked-out far-right conspiracy theories].”

    There. That’s better.

    “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” -1 Cor. 2:2

  83. I really like your connection of Classical education with training future Christian statesmen to “take dominion.” I’d never thought of it that way, but you know what? It might be true. — Hester

    “Future Christian Statesmen” or “Future Commanders of Holy Gilead”?

  84. @Harbor Girl: ” I have just become an active advocate for my child’s education, however that ends up looking.”

    Exactly! Isn’t that what MOST parents are doing, regardless of whether they homeschool or send their kids to private or public school? They just want the best for their kids, and they are their advocates. (Funny story, my kids have gone to public high school, which we’ve been pretty pleased with. But the guidance counselor assigned to our kids was a little difficult to deal with any time we were trying to get our kids into or out of certain classes,etc. … but now we’ve got her to the point where if my husband calls, she just does whatever he asks because she knows he’ll pester her until she does.) Why is it, I wonder, that the folks like Wilson or Phillips seem to think we are not advocating for our children, that we’re abdicating our responsibilities, just because we don’t fall into lockstep with their ideology?

  85. Oh yes, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”…. that even had an effect over here in some UK churches. Looking back I think this was at a point where some ministers in the strongly Reformed Anglican tradition were beginning to be influenced by Mahaney, SGM and co.

    It was interesting because I had a chance to observe things in my own church “before” and “after”. It seems to me in hindsight that suddenly young adults were being treated like teenagers again. Shortly after that the maximum age of the young adults group was dropped from late 30s to 25, after which adults were supposed to join a housegroup. Of course people can tarry too long in a group of young people, esp if they’re approaching middle age themselves, but I couldn’t help feeling that there was a hidden agenda here inasmuch as the idea of young singles being together didn’t seem too congenial to the people who openly praised Josh Harris’s book. I may of course be completely wrong.

  86. I can identify with many of the comments here and have nothing new to add (homeschooler here, myself) but I would like to point out one thing that most people seem to get wrong, and it looks like a few of you in the comments have made this jump as well:

    UNSCHOOLING is NOT “educational neglect” or UN-PARENTING.

    Unschooling can be done very, very well. Like anything else, it has huge diversity in implementation. For some kids, like my son, who is severely dyslexic, unschooling is a god-send. We are able to let him tailor his education to his bent, his interests, and RELAX a bit. Unschooling doesn’t mean the kid isn’t learning, or the mom isn’t working her tail off educating her kid. It simply means in these situations that a formal school or curriculum isn’t used. Trust me, I spend a ton of money and time tracking down books and educational resources to have in our home for our “unschooled” son. (My 2 daughters are also homeschooled and follow a traditionalist path)

    Don’t buy into the lie and perpetuate the stereotype, please.

  87. @ Lindsey:

    I’m sorry if I offended with my comments. Like I said, I was basically unschooled myself, used very little formal curriculum except for math and science (not my strengths, esp. science, so I needed the structure there). And yes, most people do make the assumption that I don’t know anything because I didn’t “take classes” or finish a textbook. (My experiences with traditional, classroom-oriented textbooks have been overall horrible – I’ve never managed to actually finish one because the multitudinous pictures distract me so much – so the math/science textbooks I used had to be VERY text-heavy.) I am likely on the autism spectrum, so maybe that is why unschooling worked so well for me.

    So no, unschooling is clearly NOT automatically educational neglect; and yes, the stereotypes are annoying. Sadly, however, I have it seen unschooling done quite irresponsibly (the pecan kid in my comment really is a true story). But that is not unschooling’s fault.

  88. @ HUG:

    I wonder what would happen if I went to the next Christian homeschool convention, parked myself next to the Vision Forum booth, and just sat there all day reading The Handmaid’s Tale while wearing a scarlet letter. You think they’d try to have me arrested? ; )

  89. If you really want controversy get up and sing/recite/play this song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCc_lMcu4ls
    People would very likely miss the point of the song – which is to do with censorship, moral panic, etc – and just think it’s an evil anti-Christian song (although I don’t think the band were fans of religion, that’s not what the song is about).

  90. To all of our homeschooling families,

    I hope you all understand that TWW commends your choice in education. We believe that all sorts of educational styles, even styles within homeschooling, are essential to meet the needs of families and children.Each person who has commented on this thread is intelligent and dedicated to the needs of their children.

    In the end it all boils down to healthy, well-balanced children, no matter the style. And I have seen successes and failures in children within all educational modalities.

    Years ago, I was giving a tour of a Christian school in Dallas. One mother was obviously stressed out as she was trying to find “the best” for her kid.

    I told her to relax and understand that just about any form of schooling can be a blessing and/ or a hindrance. One size does not fit all. I told her my bottom lines is this. Constantly reevaluate. If you find yourself beating your head against a wall over trying to make your kid’s schooling work, look for something else. Thank God we have a choice in this country.

  91. It is easy to get caught up in “cult lingo”, be careful. Check everything with the Bible. I see a majority of the disagreements by the original poster, as her view, not scripturally accurate. “Spare the rod, spoil the child” etc. Having five children myself whom I have home schooled and now leading a Classical Christian High School, I have seen the very opposite of the majority of what has been said. I’ve visited Logos the original ACCS school and I have been around many of the New Saint Andrews professors. My oldest son attends there as well. They are the real deal, nothing but love pours out of each professor. The students and families of Logos were loving beyond words. The experience at the back east school might not have been accurate to the “Wilson movement”. If you’ve never met Douglas Wilson, he is a humble, kind and gentle man. His wife and adult children are wonderful. They wear jeans (contrary to the women mentioned), and his daughters and wife are fun, engaging and rather spitfires (in all the right ways). As the “movement” gets further and further away from its’ original source, there is always risk of legalism pouring in as people don’t get the heart of the issues. The disciples and Jesus warned incessantly about missing the heart of the matter. In this licentious society, we need standards, we need to be set apart, and the heart of that is God wanting us to live righteously, He doesn’t need us, He wants us. For that purpose, I will raise my children with the standards set Biblically, with the heart of obedience coming from the gift of Grace.

    Go in peace sisters, as we write, remember we will be spending eternity together. Blessings to you all.

  92. Dee said:

    “To all of our homeschooling families, I hope you all understand that TWW commends your choice in education.

    Yes, as a mom who spent FOUR YEARS homeschooling her daughters, I fully support thiis educational option.  

    Just as there can be abuses in public schools (which some homeschooling prooopnents mockingly label ‘government schools’) and in private schools, there are problems in the homeschooling community.  Those are the issues we strive to bring to light here at TWW.  

  93. Yes, Dee. “Thank God we have a choice in this country” for our children’s education. Thank you, Leila, for sharing your story. I am always amazed to hear how certain groups can draw people in and before you know it you’re at a point of asking, “How did I ever get here?”

    I especially find that amazing for homeschoolers and Christian private schoolers. It’s fascinating (and sad) to see how the following the group mentality can take over your life. I’ve been homeschooling for 10 years now. This is the second year where I’m not officially a part of a homeschool group affiliated with a church. I miss it a little bit for the comradery with other homeschoolers, but honestly, I don’t miss it that much.

    I have one more at home – my oldest decided she wanted to go to (GASP!) public high school this year and she is loving it. This was not an easy decision for her, and I think she made a great choice. My youngest is finishing out the 4th year of Tapestry of Grace, which is classically based, but I know I am not using it “correctly” as a classical curriculum.

    I feel so outside of the Christian homeschooling community that I didn’t even know Doug Wilson has his own strain of classical education. It makes me thankful for my ignorance in such areas of homeschooling.

  94. “If you’ve never met Douglas Wilson, he is a humble, kind and gentle man. His wife and adult children are wonderful.”

    Online persona speaks otherwise. . .

  95. “If you’ve never met Douglas Wilson, he is a humble, kind and gentle man.”

    @Heather Lloyd, do humble, kind, and gentle men invoke imprecatory prayers against those with whom they disagree? Do they call for Old Testament punishments of stoning, etc., to be inflicted upon homosexuals, fornicators, etc.? Do they encourage marriage between convicted pedophiles and naive young women? Do they mock, belittle, and spew contempt against those with whom they disagree? Because Doug Wilson has done all the above, and more. And there is no “context” (as in, “it was taken out of context”) in which any of that is even remotely acceptable.

  96. Kind of like people may say if you’ve never met Jared Wilson, he’s humble, kind and or gentle – yet, imo, his tweets reveal otherwise. A recent tweet from 15 hours ago:

    “Belicheck’s Patriots sweatshirt is redonkulous. That’s a Wal-Mart mom sweatshirt.”

    A Wal-Mart mom sweatshirt? Rather unkind.

  97. And this, from someone who wants us to buy his “Gospel Deeps” book:

    “Can we get a technical foul called on Flacco’s unibrow? It’s asking for it.”

    Because nothing says Christ-likeness like mocking someone’s physical appearance…even in jest…in a tweet to be read by who knows how many Christians? Gospel shallows please, Jared.

    I do not understand this need to tweet unkind remarks from a professing Christian pastor. I would ask him directly, but since he never replied to my email about Queen Latifah, I will not waste my time, I guess.

  98. Leila,

    “Exactly! Isn’t that what MOST parents are doing, regardless of whether they homeschool or send their kids to private or public school? They just want the best for their kids, and they are their advocates.” Yes. THIS.

    Heather Lloyd,

    “If you’ve never met Douglas Wilson, he is a humble, kind and gentle man. His wife and adult children are wonderful. They wear jeans (contrary to the women mentioned), and his daughters and wife are fun, engaging and rather spitfires (in all the right ways).” I’m sure they are. Their charm and vivaciousness have nothing to do with their dangerous teachings.

    I have gone along with doctrines and ideas that have bothered me for years to be certain I not offend someone. Or because I really liked them. What does that have to do with anything? I mean that with all respect, not to cause offense to you.

    However, it doesn’t take much looking to see things that should cause great alarm, especially for parents.

    Also, “Go in peace sisters, as we write, remember we will be spending eternity together.” Might I suggest this quote be equally applied to our charming “brothers” associated with this movement, as a reminder of those in the Body of Christ they have absolutely no problem offending on an almost daily basis with their rhetoric. I’m frankly tired of being warned to be gentle and quiet and not offend, while those who have placed themselves in leadership are just speaking out for the truth, no apologies. Grace, peace, humility go a long way for all of us I would think. But that does not mean we do not speak out against things that we believe to be dangerous.

  99. Heather writes:

    “I’ve visited Logos the original ACCS school and I have been around many of the New Saint Andrews professors. . . . They are the real deal, nothing but love pours out of each professor. . . In this licentious society, we need standards, we need to be set apart, and the heart of that is God wanting us to live righteously, He doesn’t need us, He wants us. . . .”

    Heather is obviously ignorant of the story about NSA’s most famous student Steven Sitler and how NSA’s professors loved the student body, the local congregation, and the local community so much that they concealed Sitler’s crimes from all of them, pretending they did not have a right to know that a predator dwelled among them. Wilson said he did it to protect the victims but he never explained how his dirty little secret served to protect anyone, though most of us could figure out he was simply protecting his reputation from any more harm. They are the real deal all right.

    Or how about the time when two Logos School teachers confessed that they had been committing adultery. Wilson was all over that one. The very next day he sent a letter to all the Logos families naming the two as well as their sin. Indeed, he put everything in that letter except film at eleven. But that’s not even the ugly part because then they (the Logos School admin) stood the adulterer’s two children in front of the entire Logos assembly and made them confess their father’s sin before all. How’s that for “humble”? I did not witness this particular atrocity but a former Logos School teacher told me that the two little boys bawled their eyes out the whole time.

    Every word that Leila wrote is true and I’ll bet she only told half her story because the other half probably sounds completely implausible. In fact, I’d bet it sounds as implausible as Doug Wilson officiating the marriage ceremony of serial pedophile Steven Sitler, which is exactly what he did, but no one would believe it if he wasn’t stupid enough to videotape the whole thing:

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/07/18/the-real-doug-wilson-encouraged-presided-over-the-marriage-of-serial-pedophile/

    Let’s be clear about this: Doug Wilson molests children’s brains through indoctrination and because that’s not enough, he also harbors sexual predators within the bulwarks of his sick cult where they may — well, you tell me why he harbors predators — because Sitler isn’t the only pedophile in the camp.

    And don’t forget that those loving New Saint Andrews professors consent to all of this, unless you believe they stick around for another reason. Along these lines, Peter Leithart recently announced that he plans to bolt from Moscow. To anyone familiar with the pattern of corruption in Moscow, this means that we should wait for the real reason he’s leaving, which will probably emerge in the next two or three years after some student tells mom and dad what happened. Mom and dad will make some noise and pretty soon others will begin speaking and eventually their story will make it to a forum such as this.

    I am sure Heather means well and may God bless her in all her naivety. But Logos School and NSA are slaughterhouses where Wilson personally shoves children through his hand-held meat grinder for reasons only a psychopath can understand and all parents would do well to remove his books from their shelves, as well as any books associated with the ACCS, because you don’t want anything Wilson creeping into your home or into your children’s minds, because it never ends well.

  100. Trojan-Driven® Wilson approved?

    Somewhere along the line, did Doug Wilson give birth to the Trojan-Driven® School?

    IronClad

  101. Destructive homeschooling?

    @Hester: “….there is definitely more than one variety of destructive homeschooling” ?

    Hester, Could you please explain and expand upon the following groups you mentioned: 

    1. The Dominionist and/or elitist variety of Classical homeschoolers.

    2. The patriarchal Reconstructionist Vision Forum homeschoolers.

    3. Isolationist KJV-Only IFB Baptist homeschoolers (Abeka/Bob Jones); 

    4. The really extreme unschoolers who never actually teach their children anything. 

    IronClad

  102. Insult or injury?

    Is Warburg Watch confronting the substance of Doug Wilson’s  ideas, or is it an attack on his person, and his motives?

     Is this a case where he’s just plain wrong?

     Is this a case where he is possibly presenting difficult ideas that reasonable people could disagree on?

    Is it his methods?, Is it his practices?, or is it possibly the generation of forced outcomes? 

    Are  students at Logos schools being injured by his methods, and practices? 

    Are others being injured by his methods, and practices?

    IronClad

  103. Iron Clad –

    Injury seems to be seen, or not seen, based on the “eye of the beholder.”

    I have seen men injure others in the name of their doctrine and not be terribly concerned where they left the wounded lay. Their doctrine trumps their practice and it is usually well cloaked in “biblical” terms.

  104. I have seen men injure others in the name of their doctrine and not be terribly concerned where they left the wounded lay. Their doctrine trumps their practice and it is usually well cloaked in “biblical” terms. — Bridget

    Doctrine or Ideology?

  105. “If you’ve never met Douglas Wilson, he is a humble, kind and gentle man.”

    Just like Comrade Dear Leader, according to Official North Korean Media.

    Is he as Humble(TM) as CJ Mahaney? With Armorbearers blowing trumpets before him to announce how Humble(TM) he is?

  106. @Diane “I do not understand this need to tweet unkind remarks from a professing Christian pastor. I would ask him directly…”
    I’ll make an attempt to answer for him, based on some of his subsequent tweets: Remarks made during “gathered worship” or “creative elements of your worship service” are very IMPORTANT to the Gospel and must always “adorn the gospel”. Remarks made during football games (although broadcast to thousands of people by a Gospel preacher) have NOTHING to do with the Gospel, so anything goes. If you don’t like it, no one’s “forcing you to,follow me”. IE: “Am not I in sport?” Prov 26:19 KJV
    Seems there’s a great disconnect between Sunday Morning Worship TM and Sunday afternoons (or all the rest of the week).
    Erasing such disconnects wouldn’t be a bad educational goal, IMO.

  107. @ Dave AA~

    “Erasing such disconnects wouldn’t be a bad educational goal, IMO.”

    Quite. It would be the gospel shallows.

  108. @ IronClad:

    1. The Dominionist and/or elitist variety of Classical homeschoolers.
    I already talked about these people in some of my earlier comments. The children are pushed through heavily structured curricula (whether they learn best that way or not) so they can graduate as early as possible; the parents are adamant that Classical education is THE way to homeschool, (often) convinced that their children are SOOOO smart, and only hang out with other like-minded Classical parents; and if they’re Christians, they put their kids in Christian debate/forensics (to “defend the faith” – even though debate is about argumentation, not truth), and very possibly they will go on to attend a Dominionist college like NSA or Patrick Henry. This can be destructive because: 1) right-brained/learning-disabled kids who don’t learn well in a structured environment often get turned off to learning altogether; 2) parents get haughty/superior toward each other; and 3) it often produces little Christian parrots who are gifted at spouting sound bites but will fall apart as soon as they encounter the real world. I have seen this happen several times.

    2. The patriarchal Reconstructionist Vision Forum homeschoolers.
    Just take a look at any ex-patriarchy blog and you’ll see what I mean. Dad is the absolute spiritual head of the house, extreme pink vs. blue dichotomies, addicted to Vision Forum products, etc. Most of this has been covered on TWW already. Add homeschooling into the mix and you usually get very large families who only interact with themselves and other patriarchal families. This is destructive because: 1) the in-bubble isolation leads to difficulty interacting with non-bubble people; 2) emotional incest/extreme codependency is often overtly encouraged (Google “covert incest”); and 3) the kids are indoctrinated into a tiny theological box (which, in this particular case, happens to be basically heretical) and suffer extreme “worldview shock” if they ever have to leave it.

    3. Isolationist KJV-Only IFB Baptist homeschoolers (Abeka/Bob Jones).
    Most of the same problems as patriarchal homeschoolers, but with a Baptist flavor and an insistence on the King James Bible. Often favor curriculum that propagates misinformation, mostly about sex, history and science. Also more prone to wear denim jumpers, in my experience. Patriarchs prefer calico. : )

    4. The really extreme unschoolers who never actually teach their children anything.
    I also covered this in another comment. I AM NOT REFERRING TO ALL UNSCHOOLERS. These are the people who truly don’t care if their 18-year-old son knows what 3 times 3 is. Fortunately I haven’t met many of these people. This is destructive for obvious reasons – the kids don’t know enough to get by. I think this is the smallest group of the four I mentioned.

    And as for “destructive homeschooling” – yes, I do think homeschooling can be truly destructive and damaging in some cases. And I say this as someone who has never attended a public school of any kind. There are some people who simply should not homeschool.

  109. “But Logos School and NSA are slaughterhouses where Wilson personally shoves children through his hand-held meat grinder for reasons only a psychopath can understand and all parents would do well to remove his books from their shelves, as well as any books associated with the ACCS, because you don’t want anything Wilson creeping into your home or into your children’s minds, because it never ends well.”

    I don’t know about his school – but I do know about Sitler and that is disturbing enough, but hey– Doug Wilson has John Piper’s seal of approval…and Piper says Doug’s got the gospel right…and “we just gotta know Doug”, ambivalent though he may be. He’s even coming to speak at Wilson’s upcoming conference. (Piper, imo, is not someone whose endorsement I would covet/broadcast.)

    “But I’ll let you in on a secret: John Piper is coming to speak, Lord willing, at next year’s Grace Agenda conference, so snag your hotel reservations now!”
    http://www.feminagirls.com/2012/09/17/grace-agenda/

  110. There are some people who should not be PARENTS more than there are people who shouldn’t homeschool.

    Normally love this blog, but the judgement & stereotypes are running ripe on homeschoolers today. Leila – loved your post and agree with your thoughts. These comments are just turning me off in a big way. I realize some of you have homeschooled and scrapped it that’s fine. But for those of you who’ve never done it, it is a great deal of time and work and loss of a full second income to boot. Most who do it, do it for the right reasons and do not take it lightly. I have this picture that some of you think people choose to homeschool simply because we’re too lazy to get our kids up early in the morning. Sheesh.N

  111. My comment got cut off. What I wanted to end with is — let’s just cut the crap and say it like it is. Putting schooling methods aside, there are people who should NEVER EVER become parents. That’s the bigger problem here. Trust me, I’ve watched enough drama as a public school teacher, private school teacher, community college instructor, and now as a homeschooler. The “choice” of educating your child is a very private and personal one. But all of these train-wreck examples Hester and others cite above deal with a bigger problem. The heart. Some folks should never “train up a child.”

    Here at TWW we’ve extended grace to so many different groups – I’d ask the same of homeschoolers too!

  112. I agree with Lindsey, not having a dog in this fight (I have no children). Let’s try to be charitable. Personally I disagree with Doug Wilson’s views but let’s try not to be vitriolic about it. Otherwise we are ourselves substituting argumentation for truth, to use Hester’s words.

    I do agree also with Lindsey on parenthood. Some modern adults these days seem to be utterly feckless about the privileges and duties of raising children. As people have sometimes said to me, it’s ironic that you sometimes need to prove your fitness to adopt an animal, but never to sire a child.

  113. @ Lindsey & Kolya:

    I apologize if I came off as uncharitable/judgmental. It was not my intention. I am not, however, quite ready to concede that the groups I described (esp. the patriarchal/Baptist groups) are now a “tiny minority” within homeschooling. The more extreme people within those camps, yes. But it does not take much patriarchy/isolationism to wound a child. And patriarchal theology is itself inherently destructive, because it is false doctrine that puts mediators between women and Jesus. Homeschooling built on that foundation cannot fail to be harmful in some way, even if it is very subtle.

    And yes, clearly, there are some people who should not be parents. But I still think that not every parent is cut out to homeschool, and it certainly doesn’t make them a bad parent if this is the case. If they did homeschool, would it automatically become a horror story like what I described above? Of course not. But it would still likely be less than optimum for their kids.

    And as to whether the parents who end up in the groups I mentioned are “bad parents” who should never have had children – I think that is overstating it a bit. There are many testimonies online in which a family was leading a normal, happy, functional life until they got sucked into the bad theology, at which point they became dysfunctional. This is merely the natural fruit of a false doctrine, not evidence that they should never have had children. Presumably, if they’d never embraced the bad theology, life would have continued as normal and we would have labeled them “good parents.” What changed? The philosophy. Not the parents.

  114. @Diane: Oh, yes, the official John Piper seal of approval, which happens to be the same approval enjoyed by Mark “turn your wife into a dominatrix” Driscoll:

    http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/56609176.html

    Suddenly Piper’s emphasis on Christian hedonism takes on new meaning.

    I’m sure he’d take issue with this, but John Piper’s endorsement of anything is no reason for Christians to abdicate personal responsibility. In fact, any more a John Piper endorsement is probably good reason for Christians to give wide berth, because it’s becoming clearer that the gospel is not a high priority for Piper.

  115. My take on Hester’s comments was:

    1. She was/is incredibly accurate about the groups of people to whom she was referring (as well as in her categorizations).

    2. That leaves out at least 98% of the regular readers and commenters here at TWW – in other words, she wasn’t talking about you!

    Yes, being a parent is tough, but so is being a kid in the kinds of environments Leila and Heather have been talking about *Really* tough. if it weren’t so, there would be no “Quivering Daughters”-type blogs.

    I suspect that as time goes on, we will see more and more blogs – and books, and movies and song lyrics – by people who were raised in impossible “xtian” groups and who have lived to tell the tale.

  116. “that’s not even the ugly part because then they (the Logos School admin) stood the adulterer’s two children in front of the entire Logos assembly and made them confess their father’s sin before all. How’s that for “humble”? I did not witness this particular atrocity but a former Logos School teacher told me that the two little boys bawled their eyes out the whole time.”

    MY BLOOD IS BOILING. What a great way to ensure little ones will stumble. The cruelty is overwhelming. It was NOT their sin to confess. This is emotional abuse and spiritual tyranny. This is right out of Geneva in the 16th Century.

    This man created this evil system and is hailed by Piper.

  117. I feel sorry for the normal people who homeschool. There is so much fringe type of thinking in that industry it is hard for them. Quite frankly, many of our friends gave it up early on. It made them nuts. They hated the convention stuff. Were not impressed with the a lot of the groups they had to coop with…the prairie dress brigrade as one friend put it. But some of them found K-12 and love it. It does not come with all the baggage.

  118. My blood is still boiling over those two little boys. I cannot get that out of my mind. What sort of fruit will this produce in their lives. Please, everyone, pray for them to know the REAL Jesus!!!!!

  119. “that’s not even the ugly part because then they (the Logos School admin) stood the adulterer’s two children in front of the entire Logos assembly and made them confess their father’s sin before all. How’s that for “humble”? I did not witness this particular atrocity but a former Logos School teacher told me that the two little boys bawled their eyes out the whole time.” — cited by Anon1

    AKA Enlightened Self-Criticism before Party Commissars. Did they make the kids sing that little Chinese ditty from Mao’s Red Guard, “I Am A Cow Headed Monster”?

    Quite frankly, many of our friends gave it up early on. It made them nuts. They hated the convention stuff. Were not impressed with the a lot of the groups they had to coop with…the prairie dress brigrade as one friend put it. — Anon1

    And those probably weren’t even authentic Prairie Dresses. The true 19th Century Prairie Dress was also called a “Sack Dress” because it was as shapeless as a sack. What are called “Prairie Dresses” nowadays are actually the 1950s TV Western Studio Wardrobe adaptation of the design, much more shapely and “old-fashioned”.

    My blood is still boiling over those two little boys. I cannot get that out of my mind. What sort of fruit will this produce in their lives. — Anon1

    A “Take Your God And Shove It!” reaction of rabid militant Anti-Theism or total Breaking into Godly(TM) Submission and Hyper-Hyper-Calvinism. Marilyn Manson or Fred Phelps, nothing in-between.

  120. @ Mark:

    I had never heard that adultery story. How can Wilson and his followers spend so much time in the Old Testament that they endorse imprecatory prayer, but missed Ezekiel 18? God explicitly commands that sons do not bear the guilt of their fathers. Presumably this would extend to not confessing their fathers’ sins, either.

  121. Mark

    I thought your comment was amusing. Can you imagine telling one of Piper’s adoring men that Piper is not big on the “gospel?” Seizures would commence and you would be declared a heretic.

  122. Numo

    Every day, I do a tour of relgious news and Christian blogs. I am amazed at how much stuff is now out there. You are correct. More and more things are becoming strident and silly. Sure keeps blogggers busy.

  123. Anon1

    Sad thing about your comment about the evil system is Piper and Wilson would be so proud that you said ” This is right out of Geneva in the 16th Century.” That is high praise for them!

  124. Anon1

    it is stories like that one that causes me to have diffculty falling asleep at night. I often pray for the people in these stories because there is little else I can do except to provide a place to let the world  know what is going on. 

  125. “Hester, Could you please explain and expand upon the following groups you mentioned: 1. The Dominionist and/or elitist variety of Classical homeschoolers.”

    @Hester, Definition, Explanation  and Expansion for the term:  “Dominionist”:

    Definition, Explanation  and Expansion for the term:  “Dominionist”:

     Dominionism, as a trend appeared in the late 70s – 80s and apparently was sparked in part by a series of books and films featuring Francis A. Schaeffer, a popular theologian based in Switzerland.

    A dominionist in simple general generic terms is one that insist that “America is a Christian Nation,” and that therefore “Christians need to re-assert control over political and cultural institutions”; yet “stop short of articulating a position that could be called theocratic.” These usually work within a coalition that includes both postmillennialists and premillennialists seeking political power through political process.

    Dominionism, as a trend in Protestant Christian evangelicalism and fundamentalism, “is that which encourages not just active political participation in civic society, but also seeks pursuit of dominant control of that political process.”

    The rather broad concept of Dominionism is based on the Bible’s text in Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'” (NIV)

    Many Christians interpret this verse as meaning that “God gave humankind dominion over the Earth.” Others consider this “a mandate for stewardship rather than the assertion of total control.”  A more direct assertion or application of this verse is interpreted as “a directive that Christians bring all societies, around the world, under the rule of the Word of God.”

    ___
    For further general reading:

    http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Dominionist
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominionism
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominion_Theology
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvinism
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-Calvinism

    How has “Dominionism” effected higher learning institutions?

    How has “Dominionism” effected homeschooling?

    How has “Dominionism” effected the political process?

    IronClad

  126. Sad thing about your comment about the evil system is Piper and Wilson would be so proud that you said ” This is right out of Geneva in the 16th Century.” That is high praise for them! — Dee

    Geneva in the 16th Century…
    Tehran under the Ayatollahs…
    Only difference is one justified it with the Bible and the other with the Koran.

  127. That story about those children brings tears to my eyes. How could no-one have intervened? Hearts of stone.

  128. Hester, thanks for your comment – please understand that I deplore the sort of actions that have been described here as arising from the patriarchal homeschooling environment. I also think this creeping neo-Confederalism is historical revisionism. I hope nobody will be offended by me, as a non-US citizen, saying that I don’t have a problem with people celebrating General Lee as a great general but I do think celebrating the antebellum South as a shining example of Christian society while glossing over or even accepting slave ownership is perverse and more ideologically-driven than justified by history. Its extreme fringe, kinism, I consider to be on a level with whacky European racial theories that thankfully largely died with Hitler – and good riddance.

    IronClad, I feel driven in spite of the Wikipedia articles to defend Schaeffer (not that you yourself were necessarily attacking him!). Schaeffer made it clear he was never talking about a theocracy when he published A Christian Manifesto:

    “State officials must know that we are serious about stopping abortion,…First, we must make definite that we are in no way talking about any kind of theocracy. Let me say that with great emphasis. Witherspoon, Jefferson, the American Founders had no idea of a theocracy. That is made plain by the First Amendment, and we must continually emphasize the fact that we are not talking about some kind, or any kind, of a theocracy”

    It’s interesting to note also that his conclusion about the American founding fathers seems to go against, or at least make uncomfortable reading for, some of the Christian Right.

  129. IronClad –

    All those references and not a single mention of Rousas J. Rushdoony and Gary north?!

    Francis Schaeffer did *not* start a “dominionist” trend. It was already rolling. (I knew some people – in a peripheral way, at very best – who supported such political agendas, back in the 1980s. Writer Jeff Sharlet discusses one of them at some length in his book C Street, though God knows, he left out a *lot* of things regarding the circles that person moved in.)

  130. Kolya – I understand what you’re saying about R.E. Lee, but I think objections would make much more sense were you to come to the US and go to the HQ of the Daughters of the Confederacy (and other “Lost Cause” sites), down in Richmond, VA… for starters.

    I used to live in northern Va, right outside of DC. For years after Martin Luther King Jr. Day was instituted as a national holiday, VA insisted on throwing it in with Lee-Jackson (as in Stonewall) Day.

    That was really a slap in the face for all the folks who were involved in the Civil Rights movement, as well as a backhanded way of addressing the Loving v. VA Supreme Court decision – the case that toppled the last standing “anti-miscegenation” law in the US. (In the Old Dominion, natch.)

    I haven’t linked to anything because good info. is easily available via Google, but I cannot support the deification of Lee (and other Confederate military leaders) that goes on in far too many supposedly “xitan” circles.

    You might also want to do some searches on Stonewall Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart and US-based “xtian” homeschool curricula. You’re going to turn up some doozies, believe me! (fwiw, many people call Stuart “Jeb,” but his name was actually James Ewell Brown Stuart. he abbreviated it as J.E.B.)

  131. Kolya and IronClad – Schaeffer’s “A Christian Manifesto” *definitely* (imo, anyway) went too far.

    And even though some dominionists have made Schaeffer into a patron saint of sorts, he did not agree with them and stopped associating with them after a certain point.

    To say that he was naive about political and social trends in the US is putting it mildly! He hadn’t lived in this country for 30+ years (closer to 40, I think, but I’d have to check) and back then, it wasn’t all that easy to get hold of US newspapers in Europe. Swiss L’Abri is pretty isolated, even now. (Since it’s high on a mountain slope, in a very small farming village… been there, seen it, etc.)

  132. @ Numo, Kolya and IronClad:

    I don’t get too worked up about Francis Schaeffer, seeing as he’s pretty much claimed by anybody and everybody. Emergent types say he’s one of them, the Dominionists say he’s one of them, etc. I’ve also never read any of his stuff, so the jury is out for me.

    I must also take issue with this:

    “A more direct assertion or application of this verse is interpreted as ‘a directive that Christians bring all societies, around the world, under the rule of the Word of God.'”

    This is hardly a “direct” application of Genesis 1:26. A mountain of “presuppositions” (to use Reconstructionists’ own term) are required to get that out of that verse, and then when you’re finished, you still have to deal with that pesky little problem that everything God gave mankind dominion over is NOT made in the image of God. So if this includes other humans, who gets to decide which people are made in the image of God and which ones aren’t? Are unbelievers made in the image of God? If not, then how do they ever become Christians, seeing as they are on a spiritual level with beasts of burden and insects?

    The Dominionists’ interpretation of Genesis 1:26 essentially demolishes the entire basis for evangelism and most of ethics. For instance, if non-Christians aren’t made in the image of God, then who’s to say the Holocaust was wrong? You can only commit murder if you kill another image-bearer, so you would no longer have any grounds to call the Nazis murderers at all. The Great Commission also begins to look rather silly – essentially on a level with preaching the Gospel to a horse.

    So on this point, we can either believe Jesus, or the Dominionists. Not both.

  133. Wikipedia as a reference for anything controversial isn’t a shrewd move. I’ve seen too many inaccurate, misleading and even fraudulent citations to trust it on stuff as controversial as religion or politics. For comic books, TV and film it’s okay.

    Francis Schaeffer’s stances on politics were influenced in part by the rancor of Frank, not that Frank seems to eager to explain his role in pushing his dad farther and harsher to the political right since Crazy for God got published. Stuff like A Christian Manifesto reflects Francis after, by Frank’s mercurial account, Frank’s own pushing of his dad toward the right and toward more combative political claims. Francis Schaeffer wrote things I do and don’t agree with after twenty years but I think Hester’s right, too many people can come up with too many claims to him to try to connect him to dominionism. Again, don’t attempt to build any real argument or discussion on religion and politics from wiki-anything. 🙂

  134. WTH

    On the Wikipedia issue..I have found it to be useful for some quick overviews. Actually, the most important thing to check in Wikipedia is the footnotes to each post, Those can give you some excellent information if you follow them up, which I do. Wikipedia also gives a framework to an issue so, as you do deeper research, you can have a helpful outlineto the conflict.

    Yes, it can be wrong. However, if one does a bit more homework, one can use Wikipedia as an overview. But, I never take the body of the post as fact. I check out the info in it. But overall, i have found it most helpful.

  135. On the Francis Schaeffer issue:

    When I was much younger, I read almost everything he wrote. He provided a coherent overview to the problems facing society. At the time I was reading him, I did not know about Reconstructionism/Dominionism, However, it was his writings that “convinced” me to get involved with politics. I went down that path for a couple of decades, convinced we could change the world through political engagement.

    I became disillusioned, realizing that the problems lie within our hearts. I still remember a political meeting in which a group of Christians were discussing a man who was not a Christian. It hit me like a ton of brcks. I spoke up and said that political parties were not another bible study but a gathering of those who were likeminded about political solution. That meant we would have people from all sorts of creeds and persusasions. That meeting was the beginning of my disillusionment with politics and the possibility of changing the world on a grand scale.

    Instead, I began to study my faith, and other faiths for that matter, and became convinced that the real change came when we sought Jesus in our lives. That journey eventually brought me to this blog. I still enjoy a bit of the political game and have been known to write a letter to the editor ffrom time to time, but I no longer view politics as anything more than a temporary, superficial fix to the plight of mankind. In fact, that is one of the reasons that I personally prefer (that does not mean that our readers can’t discuss it-I am talking about me) to avoid arguing politics on the blog. I am far more interested in the permanent “fix.”

  136. Dee –

    Couldn’t agree more with you’re last comment! We all need the real “fix” . . . those on the right, left, and in between. And government (or any kind of “force”) doesn’t bring anyone to the “fix.”

  137. @ WenatcheeTheHatchet,

       Hello,

    The references were for ‘general’ talking points to stimulate discussion. We are all free to welcome and consider other references. Just as we could use the 11th. Ed. Of Britannica, or Webster’s Intl. Second Ed., or the Pinguin Ed.of Shakespeare, Chicago Book Of Style, etc.

    Respectfully, (better angels?) Would it not be better to add to the discussion?

    With kind regards,

    IronClad

  138. @ numo: “All those references and not a single mention of Rousas J. Rushdoony… ?!”

         Hello,

    As for Rousas J. Rushdoony:

    How did Christian philosophy influence our U.S. form of civil government?

    Has ‘Christian Reconstruction’ been the historic position of the Christian church over the centuries?

    Is the Church the new Israel? 

    In generating a pattern for Christian society, is the basic starting point the regeneration of man?

    For Christians, is the basic government, self-government?

    What is the basic and prime governmental unit?

    If the basic governmental unit is the Family, then this means that every father and mother will be of prime importance, stewarding children, property, and the future.

    If the basic governmental unit is the Church, then this means that every head of the Church will be of prime importance, seeking to control  children, property, and the future.

    If the basic governmental unit is the State, then this means that every head of the State  will be of prime importance, seeking to control  children, property, and the future.

    (To say nothing of Schools, Employer, or Civil Government, governing you with its ideas, beliefs and standards.)

    Which one should hold our primary allegiance, secondary, and so forth?

    Can we really legislate the biblical standards of morality on non-Christians? 

    As non-Christian do not believe in the Bible, how can talk about building a society based on the Law of God? 

    Should we build a society based on the Law of God, the Bible?

    Was Hegel correct when he told us that the state is God walking on earth?

    Is the Church is the Body of Christ, and therefore somehow God’s voice on earth?

    Are the regenerate of Christ the new humanity of the new Adam, the last Adam, Jesus Christx?

    Are we born in the old humanity of Adam? When we  are reborn, are we birthed  into the new humanity of Jesus Christ?

    Is the Church as the Body of Christ divine? Does it represents the new humanity, the Body of the last Adam?Jesus Christ, yet not his divinity?

    Would a Christian Republic run according to God’s Law become oppressive to non-Christians?

    Did not the courts in the United States, up until around 1850, decided cases out of the Bible, because it was believed to be God’s Word, His Law? 

    For centuries, did not God’s law functioned wherever God’s people have been, whether in Israel or in Christendom?

    Does American Law now represent the word of the God, in our present day society?

    Do we still recognize God as God over the United States?

    Is the oath of office for the president of the United States still taken on an open Bible turned to on Deuteronomy 28 invoking all the curses of God for disobedience to His law and all the blessings of God for obedience to his law?

    In considering the idea that the government should be neutral, should we recognize that we live in a democratic, pluralistic society?

    Are we are to bring everything into captivity to Christ. If so, how so? How does this relate to government?

    Do ideas do have consequences?

    Should the United States be a Christian republic based on biblical law? In such a Christian republic, would non-Christians have as much freedom as they have now?

    Does the society have to be Christian, and reflect Christian standards?

    Should the Untied States be a Christian establishment, committed not to a church, but committed to a Christian faith?

    What about the “establishment of religion” clause in the U.S. Constitution? Doesn’t the U.S. Constitution forbid the display of religion in the civil sphere?

    Originally with the Constitution was it not believed that legally and on good grounds, the states if they chose, could establish a church or several churches or simply say that Christianity is the established faith, but not impose it on the states and counties? Was this not in many cases, settled by local establishment discretion, county by county? Did that not work beautifully well on the local level until shattered as a result of Madelyn Murray and her lawsuit?

    What can Christians begin to do from a practical standpoint to begin to rebuild their nation according to the standard of the Law of God? Should they? Could they?

    What should a Christian nation look like?

    Should a country try to reorder everything according to the Word of God?

    Should our elected leaders be affirming that they believe that God’s law should rule the country? 

    Did he (Rousas J. Rushdoony) not ask these type of questions?

    What were some of his answers?

    What are some of yours?

    IronClad

  139. What should a Christian nation look like? — IronClad

    For that crowd, see The Handmaid’s Tale by M.Atwood.

    Or Iran with global replace string “Christ” for string “Al’lah”.

  140. Phew, IronClad, I think to answer those questions would require an essay if not a book!

    Re Schaeffer (again), didn’t Frank Schaeffer recently write in “Crazy for God” that he helped invent the Christian Right and then lived to take it all back? From the review I read, it sounds as though he encouraged his father in that direction, although at one point when told that some people wouldn’t tolerate artistic nudes, his father muttered “We’re dealing with idiots here”.

  141. @ WenatcheeTheHatchet,

       Hello,

    As for Rousas J. Rushdoony’s question: “What should a Christian nation look like?” You said : “For that crowd, see The Handmaid’s Tale by M.Atwood.”

    Is Margaret Atwood’s Gilead’s ideology, a  Dominionist blueprint for a Christian Society? 

    Anti-utopian, dystopian, indeed a brave new world, and Winston’s nightmare? Ideally, a terrifyingly restrictive proposition? Where a reversal of women’s rights become a dark reality?A nation where a group of conservative religious extremists take power and turned the sexual revolution on its head? A nation where traditional values, and traditional gender roles, are the prevailing standard? A nation where women are subjugated? A nation where widespread access to contraception, the legalization of abortion, and the increasing political influence of female voters, cease? A nation where Women are not only forbidden to vote, they are forbidden to read or write?

    A vision of a totalitarian society run amuck? 

    IronClad

  142. Re: politics, reconstruction, etc.

    At one time Cal Thonas was a mover and shaker within the Christian Coalition and in more recent years has rejected any sort of top down political agenda as the goal for Christians. Rather, he believes, as Schaeffer did, that Christians ought to express their faith in all areas of life, including politics. I agree so much with Thomas in that our only hope for any change away from against and idolatry en masse in this country is through a genuine revival of serious and true faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t walk away from the secular but we seek to redeem it.

  143. @ numo, “Schaeffer’s “A Christian Manifesto” *definitely* (imo, anyway) went too far.”

       Hello, 

    What part of Schaeffer’s, “A Christian Manifesto”, do you think was over the top?

    IronClad

  144. Kolya – if you read Frank’s 1st memoir (Crazy for God), you’ll see a good deal about how he grew up and what his father’s background was (fundamentalist Presbyterian – as in originating from the debate over “The Fundamentals,” which really shook up Presybyterianism here in the US, and definitely bled over into other denominations).

    IronClad – I’d rather not engage in a discussion of Francis Schaeffer’s political persuasions – the plural is deliberate, since he changed stances (again) prior to his death.

  145. Hi Numo,

    I remember that Schaeffer’s background was fundamentalist, but in the late 40s and early 50s although his basic theological convictions didn’t change he became disillusioned with aspects of this background, in particular with the lack of love shown and in the drive for funds. It’s interesting reading his letters from that period.

    Thatmom – I do seem to remember Cal Thomas co-writing a book with a liberal pundit in which they both expressed their regret at the way things had turned so polemical in US public debate (correct me please if that wasn’t him).

  146. IronClad, responding statements with accurate attribution adds to conversation. Both with respect to Francis Schaeffer and with people in this discussion it is nice if you take enough care to do that. That’s going to come across as snarkier than it’s intended to be in print.

  147. @ WenatcheeTheHatchet,

     Hello, 

    Respectfully, If you would care to add content. All of the statements were made by others; which ones do you believe were wrong and do you care to elaborate. Your kind input would be much appreciated here.

    Snark is acceptable here @ Wartburg Watch, I believe.

    With kind regards,

    ironClad

  148. @ WenatcheeTheHatchet,

     Hello, 

    Respectfully, the comment, “as a trend appeared in the late 70s – 80s and apparently was sparked in part by a series of books and films featuring Francis A. Schaeffer, a popular theologian based in Switzerland.” had nothing to do with Francis A. Schaeffer, but is reflective of what others, which later made use of his materials.

    What I enjoyed most was his ability to present  ideas, and stimulate discussion. 

    With kind regards,

    IronClad

  149. “Thatmom – I do seem to remember Cal Thomas co-writing a book with a liberal pundit in which they both expressed their regret at the way things had turned so polemical in US public debate (correct me please if that wasn’t him).”

    The book is called Blinded By Might, and it was written by Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson (no relation to James Dobson). I had to look up the name of the second author. 🙂

  150. Dominionism/Reconstructionism/Take Back America/Perfect Christian Nation is just the Christianese version of Citizen Robespierre’s Republique of Perfect Virtue. The Cause so Righteous it justifies any evil whatsoever to bring it about, the Perfect Future which always beckons from the other side of the “regrettable but necessary” Reign of Terror. Just this time it’s wrapped in God-talk with a Christian coat of paint.

  151. Christianity: Living this out in every area of culture and society.  

    Hi Kolya,

    “Schaeffer made it clear” also: 

    “I would want to emphasize from beginning to end throughout my work the importance of evangelism, the need to walk daily with the Lord, to study God’s word, to live a life of prayer, and to show forth the  love, holiness, and compassion of our Lord. But we must emphasize quality and at the same time to live this out in every area of culture and society.”  Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster. 

    Thought and discussion were important to him.

    Thank you for your thoughts too!

    With kind regards,

    Ironclad

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