Vision Forum Views on Women: Monstrous Regiment and Baby Dolls

From Doug’s Blog today:

The “Best of Festival” Jubilee Award — a $10,000 grand prize — went to The Monstrous Regiment of Women, a fifty-four minute documentary directed and produced by the Gunn Brothers. Featuring an all star, all female cast — including Phyllis Schlafly and F. Carolyn Graglia — the film demonstrates how feminism has restricted choices for all women, brought heartache to the lives of many, and perpetuated an unprecedented holocaust through legalized abortion.

“We made Monstrous Regiment because we believe that feminism is one of the most detrimental philosophies effecting our church, family, and government,” remarked Colin Gunn, whose wife Emily co-wrote and narrated the film. “We want to thank the [Festival] for recognizing the importance of this message. We are privileged and honored to receive this award.”

This marked the second Jubilee Award for the Gunn Brothers. In 2004, they won “Best Political” for their film, Shaky Town. In addition to landing the festivals’ top honor in 2007, The Monstrous Regiment of Women took runner-up for “Best Documentary.”

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From a Vision Forum email advertising their new baby doll today:

The way a child plays will influence who that child will become. And the tools of play are an important part of the equation.

Play is preparation for adulthood. Play can prepare a child for maturity or for teen rebellion. Play may breed noble dreams and actions, or it may reinforce dark and unhealthy attitudes. Play may reinforce biblical gender roles (women as mothers and homemakers; men as defenders and protectors of women; etc.), or it may supplant them with the stereotypes perpetuated by modern feminism.

But one thing is certain — play (like the rest of life) is never neutral.

Our culture is engaged in a battle for the heart and soul of the family. It is even reflected in the present doll wars. At stake is whether the play life of our children will reflect efforts to rebuild a culture of virtuous boyhood and girlhood, or whether it will focus on training the next generation of me-centered, empowered, feminists.

There is a reason why feminists hate the message of the Beautiful Girlhood Collection. They hate it because so many of the contributions to this collection emphasize a message of holy submission to the priorities of the Lord and not the feminist empowerment model. They hate it because it represents many of the historic family values of the old era of Christendom. And they hate the constant emphasis that a girl’s play should pave the way for her to better embrace the feminine models and admonitions presented in such Scriptures as Proverbs 31, Titus 2, and I Peter 3. We disagree with the feminists. We also disagree with any corporate model for success which capitalizes on the most negative influences in modern youth culture to market products to children. And we take seriously our mission to encourage, bless, and promote Christian family culture for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Here we are with a typical either-or dilemma from Doug Phillips and Vision Forum: all women either hold to Doug’s version of patriarchy or they are feminists. Which camp are you in? Are there really only two choices biblically?

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44 Responses to “Vision Forum Views on Women: Monstrous Regiment and Baby Dolls”

  1. Lindsey @ enjoythejourney Says:

    Oh yes. Feminism is a real issue we as the church should be deeply concerned about. You know, it is probably more important and deadly than war, poverty, AIDS, and so on.

    (this is said sarcastically, just in case anyone wonders)

    I discussed this over at truewomanhood.wordpress.com but I’d really like to see Doug, VF, and all these “patriarch” ministries step up to the plate and address a REAL issue.

    There are thousands if not millions dying from poverty, AIDS, war, famine—many being lost without the gospel. What does patriarchy offer them? What does THE CHURCH (aka the body of Christ) need to do more? Fight wars within our own churches and families, or reach out to the dying man?

    What does any of this mean to a dying girl in Africa? Slick catalogs, beautiful dolls and all that offers nothing to a girl such as this.

    Some people in today’s “church” need a REAL problem to deal with.

  2. HappyMom4 Says:

    Or what about all the sexual abuse in the churches??
    The stories I hear frequently in my capacity as a volunteer with “Walking With the Healer”–a ministry by women for women who were abused, molested or raped–are absalutely heart-breaking. The joy of seeing them find healing and hope through God and the understanding caring of fellow women is neat too, and very fulfilling.

    Sadly, too many of them not only were molested by people within the church but then were basically “stomped on” too when they first tried to get help by church leaders, fathers, brothers, or elders. One situation I know about the family actually tried to drag the girl to the Doc for drugs when she revealed that she had been molested.

  3. Bryan Says:

    Since Phyllis Schlafly is a Catholic, and a very outspoken, NOT stay-at-home type, how could she possibly be conforming to Doug’s view of patriarchy?

  4. Bryan Says:

    Lindsay:

    Doug’s brother is taking care of all of that…oh, never mind.

  5. Kristi Says:

    Hmm…or you could be a Christian AND a feminist, as I am.

    • Surprise Says:

      Absolutely. I think that Jesus was a feminist, and by that I mean that he believed that he should engage with women and their minds, that they are capable of extraordinary missions (like spreading the word of his resurrection), and that their homelife was not the be all and end all of their existence (as demonstrated by his visit to the home of Mary and Martha).

  6. Morgan Farmer Says:

    I am so mad now I cannot even make a comment that would be accceptable in a public forum.

    More later when the blood pressure goes down.

  7. Jonathan Says:

    Was that the opening salvo in The Great Doll Wars of ’07?

    So in order to be a good Christian mother my wife should only allow our daughter to play with dolls that are sold by Vision Forum……gimme a break. This man is peddling Jesus junk…..

  8. Jen Says:

    The opening salvo? LOL! No, I only posted part of it. Here’s some more:

    Today’s secular doll manufacturers wrestle with political pressures, marketing realities, and the bottom line. They also recognize trends, including the present dominance of youth culture, sexual permissiveness, and feminist ideals within the culture as a whole. For the trend-conscious secular businessman, this means that unless they can reach girls using an appeal to more mature and sometimes morally ambiguous themes, they will lose their marketing audience. That is why much of the doll manufacturing and marketing business appears to be engaged in a self-conscious effort to use dolls to supplant the old vision of daughterhood with the evolving standards and priorities of a culture which no longer prizes virtue, femininity, and homemaking for young ladies. The “hottest” companies appear dedicated to communicating through their dolls the worst elements of modern culture in a quest to fashion the modern girl — liberated, provocative, independent, and tuned into the latest media-driven fads.

    Greek Goddesses and Feminist Empowerment Toys

    The new feminist theology of dolls includes the doctrine of “empowerment.” This is the idea that politically correct dolls are tools of social liberation. Specifically, they are training vehicles to help young girls break free of oppressive social restraints and confidently express their individuality. This means communicating the doctrine of empowerment by training little girls to identify with new role modelsóincluding, in at least one case, pagan goddesses.

    One example is the Sophia Dolls line, produced by the Nea Matia company which explains that the mission of the dolls is “to educate, inspire, and empower all women, especially girls and their mothers…” Now little girls can seek “empowerment” by identifying with “Goddess Athena: Teacher of Leadership”, “Goddess Demeter: Teacher of Maternal Love,” or “Goddess Aphrodite” (who has no sub-description). The goddess dolls retail for between $99 and $149.

    For 2007, the American Girl companyís latest contribution to the cultural “doll wars” is the release of a new doll named Julie. No longer set in the historic past, the message of this doll is contemporary. Julieís story reflects the ethical conundrums of a humanistic culture at war with God and struggling to find a message that will help girls transcend the sorrow of broken families. For more about this issue, click here.

    And to be fair, this was also included:

    In the case of the Beautiful Girlhood Collection, we hope to inspire the next generation of visionary and virtuous daughters to have a big vision of victory in Christ with our own small offerings of encouragement which come in the form of books, audio material, and even play-tools, like dolls. We do not now, nor have we ever believed that the dolls, books, dresses and images presented in our Beautiful Girlhood Collection are “The Way” or “The Only Way” to communicate femininity or biblical womanhood. But we do believe that they are one important way to inspire, teach, and fuel hope. And from the thousands of letters, emails, and personal comments we have received over the years, it not only appears that God is blessing this work, but that the message is striking a chord of encouragement with many. For this we give praise to the Lord.

  9. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Why do we have to BE anything except what God created us to be? Why do I as a woman have to be constantly on guard about my life so that my so called brothers and sisters will ‘approve’ of me? Did these so called brothers and sisters die on the cross for me? Would they die for me? Or would they be pleased to ‘give instructions’ so that someone could make sure that only my demise was certain.

    Is it a sin that my husband stays at home and takes care of the house, puppies and trades stocks while I tackle the business world? Am I committing some sort of abominable sin because I design web based knowledge domains for master data management applications? Am I some sort of abomination because I deal with other men in my business?

    Is it a sin for me to plan my meals and shop only once a week for groceries? Is it a sin for my husband to bake cookies and apple strudel? Is it a sin for us to share housework?

    The discussion(s) these days are only about two things: 1) patriarchy and the dominion of women and 2) federal vision.

    Where did Jesus go? The church has made her savior completely non relevant. Why is the discussion not about Jesus and His blessings for us?????

    Is it a sin that I am thankful for my weird life, my kitchen-stock market husband and my 2 shih tzus? My children are grown, succesful and are raising fabulous families without the interference or the influence of Vision Forum and other like minded people. Am I wrong to be thankful and grateful that my progeny are doing so well without vision forum and patriarchy?

    Has God somehow given other people the right to
    determine what I think and feel, the way I dress or what color/type of vehicle to drive?

    Has God somehow given other people the right to determine whether or not I will be able to drive a car, read and write, wear blue jeans, carry a big old purse, wear make up and go to Target or Wal Mart?????

    All we ask for from the church is to hear the gospel of Jesus. What we get is something totally different…with Jesus not even being present…in the message of the church today the messge is:

    NO JESUS

    Now I guess we know why Jesus said that HIS YOKE was light…the Doug Phillips’ and all the other patriarchy, christian discipline and the rest of the right wing fundie wackos would have us all in chains.

    I am still stuck on:
    Love Mercy, do justice, walk humbly with God
    Love my neighbor as myself.

    The church tells me that since I do not participate in the patriarchy or federal vision discussions that I am not relevant and that there is no place for me.

    How sad….all I want is Jesus…
    (Jen feel free to edit if you need to).

  10. Olivia Guthrie Says:

    Hello, I’m new here! I wrote a message on the truewomanhood board as well, but wanted to agree with Lindsey…I feel that our job as Christians (from the Great Commission) is to share Jesus with others. Do these people at the VF ever DO anything for anyone else? From what I have read, it seems as if they do nothing but preach to the choir…their own little captive audience. It’s like the leaders at this organization are constantly whipping their own audience into a rabid frenzy over these issues (evil feminism, the “film festival” which seems to be just another big indoctrination session for their own followers, etc.) and are hostile toward ANYONE who remotely acts and/or looks differently from what they define as “Christian,” which is the narrowest of boxes. Aren’t we supposed to live our lives and REACH OUT TO OTHERS so that they will be attracted to Christ within us? Why would any non-Christian be attracted to Christ after being exposed to this group? I am certainly not perfect and have my own vast array of faults, but I’m proud to be part of a church that reaches out to the community and world. From what I understand, the VF official church doesn’t even advertise their services…membership is exclusive.

    As I shared on the other board a few days ago, I am a 35 year old single woman who is almost done with a masters degree in forensic science, and I plan to pursue a career as a police officer. (I’m sure at this point the folks over at VF would already doubt my salvation with this information). Life doesn’t always turn out the way we want. I wanted to be married young but haven’t met the right person. Am I really supposed to sit at home and “serve” my father until someone comes along and rescues me? I don’t think so!

    I have seen the VF catalog from time to time and the things offered for girls really horrify me. Actually, it’s not the things offered that horrify me, because the dolls and other things are beautiful. But rather it’s the things omitted. I think girls can have adventures, explore, learn about science, be physically active, be INDEPENDENT (it’s not a dirty word!) and still be feminine!

    FYI, I’ve seen the new catalog with the Julie doll from the American Girl company…the character comes from a divorced family, and I think one of the stories is about the girl joining the boy’s basketball team because there is no team for girls.

    It seems as if within the VF, everything outside their tiny circle that is different is evil and shunned.

    Anyway…thanks for reading…I appreciate everyone’s point of view.

    Olivia

  11. sarah Says:

    Thanks for bringing a little creepiness to my Halloween celebrations, Jen!

    Personally, even if little girls are playing with Bratz, I’d rather that over cartoons and video games. I’ve seen girls play with their Bratz in loving, motherly ways. I think the girl and her upbringing have more of an impact on how a girl – or boy – relates to a doll than the other way around.

    When I was a kid, all the cool toys were bad or demon possessed. I’m still gettin’ over it. 😉

    Come to think of it, Halloween candy was demon possessed too, but now that I’m an adult, I realize it’s just chocolate and quite tasty, even if there is a pumpkin on the wrapper.

  12. Jen Says:

    Doug Phillips: “But one thing is certain — play (like the rest of life) is never neutral.”

    I’d like to know what others think about this statement. This was pretty much drilled into us constantly. There were no gray areas in life; everything is black or white. Every single decision was regarded as either sin or pleasing to God. So in Doug’s example above, how a girl plays with her dolls, and which dolls they are, she is either sinning or glorifying God. There was nothing in between.

    Some of the specifics I remember that were declared as being not neutral, as being either sin or glorifying to God: science, history, what you wear, books, music, finding a mate, your job, your various roles (such as what we see here), education, how we worship, how the church functions, programs (in the church), and probably a million more.

  13. Jen Says:

    Vision Forum has a special news media outlet on their website called Everyday News Network, or ENN for short. It features young homeschoolers who report on every day events and Doug posts their videos on his website. Things have been really slow lately, as there were no videos posted this month until today, when Doug received a special news coverage of an interview with Colin Gunn, the winner of the Jubilee award for his film “The Monstrous Regiment of Women.” You’ll want to see this one.

  14. Jen Says:

    I just did a little checking to find out how “unbiased” the judging of the winners would be. The judges are Doug Phillips, Geoff Botkin, RC Sproul, Jr., Kevin Swanson, and Voddie Baucham.

    Now consider that Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald are two of the featured women in “The Monstrous Regiment of Women,” as well as Phylliss Schafley, who named Doug’s mother “Homemaker of the Year.

    I looked the requirements for submission, since usually these types of contests preclude employees of the organization, their family members, and those who have worked with the organization in some way. No such restrictions here! This film competition is open to everyone.

    Considering that this is NOT the first time the winning film has had either direct or indirect connections to Doug, especially, and Vision Forum, I wonder how long it will take for those submitting films to catch on that the judging might not be as impartial as they hope for.

  15. Nathanael Says:

    Doug Phillips: “But one thing is certain — play (like the rest of life) is never neutral.”

    Jen: “I’d like to know what others think about this statement. This was pretty much drilled into us constantly. There were no gray areas in life; everything is black or white.”

    This mode of thinking really irritates me because it seems to be used in a misleading way, often to create a false dilemma. I’m no theology expert; my own personal (possibly flawed) opinion is that while it’s true that all things ultimately glorify God or don’t glorify God, some things are more neutral than others — and *more importantly*, since man can’t judge the heart or someone’s intent, it’s not always clear to us (as observers) what is truly going on.

    This is how I think of it: for some things, it’s easy (and right) to say that something doesn’t glorify God, like adultery. (it’s pretty hard to make a case for an instance where adultery glorified God)
    Other things, like buying a car or shopping for groceries, don’t necessarily go either way. It’s reasonable to say that if you go about buying a car in a very un-Christian manner (stealing, for example), that doesn’t glorify God, so you could say that it’s the manner in which you approach the activity (your attitude — your heart, in other words) that glorifies or rejects God. I’m content to conclude that those activities are then “neutral” (or as “neutral” as you can get), and that it follows that some neutral things exist.

    All that to say, I’m certainly not someone who makes the case for everything being gray and nothing being black and white. I think that some things are black and white, some things are gray, and some things humans can’t fully discern the shade of because we can’t see motives and attitudes. Making *everything* black and white, especially when that is immediately followed by a restrictive list of specific blacks and whites (no racial puns intended), seems like a false dilemma.

  16. Jonathan Says:

    Morgan,

    “The discussion(s) these days are only about two things: 1) patriarchy and the dominion of women and 2) federal vision.

    Where did Jesus go? The church has made her savior completely non relevant. Why is the discussion not about Jesus and His blessings for us?????”

    You noticed that too huh? That’s the reason I had to remove my family from the reformed church. I remember one summer our pastor spent 12 weeks on liturgy. I don’t remember the gospel being mentioned once.

    In another instance the congregation found out that a group of families wanted to start their own Federal Vision church but in the meantime still attend our church. So the elders had a meeting to talk about the situation. At the close of the meeting our teaching elder asked God to bless them. That was the last straw for me…..we left shortly after.

    I understand your rant completely Morgan. Looking at that catalouge I wondered were Christ was myself.

    Jonathan

  17. Lovey Says:

    Olivia

    I too am single. I was married and had 3 kids, then my husband died of cancer. What was I to do, stay home on welfare? My parents are missionaries and do not live in the country. I had no one, and I mean no one, to help me. I was 36 when my husband died and after he left, the church basically deserted me. I still went to church but all of my friends dropped off. “They didn’t know what to do or say”. What? Ever heard of love me, and listen, and maybe help me a little in whatever way the Lord shows you? If I talked to any men friends (in the church hall or whatever, and not inappropriately) their wives ran up and dragged them off. I guess they thought as a young, skinny, attractive woman, I was a threat or trying to take THEIR most valuable asset. What a joke. It was horrible. NOT ONE person stepped up to be any kind of a father or authority figure in my son or daughters lives. NOT ONE person stepped up in even the smallest way to do that. NOT ONE person helped me with one home repair, or offered to do so. I cut my own grass, not a problem, but it would be great if someone could show me how to fix a leaky faucet or flapper valve. I asked around on how to do these things, I finally did have someone give me a referal on an honest plumber, who I had to pay a huge amount of money I couldn’t afford just to come out and show me a couple things.

    I do homeschool, started several years after my husband died. It was important and so I did it. I work part time. I find a way. I have no money and my house is falling in but I will continue as long as I can. I left the church though. I don’t go to church anywhere anymore. I do love God, Jesus is my savior, we read the bible and pray and worship every day, and fellowship as far as christian HS groups for my daughter to get some fellowship. That is another thing, there is NO HELP OR UNDERSTANDING for single HS either. That is why we are so few.

    I said all this to say a few things. First, the Bible says that it is best to be single. BEST. For men and women. Period. I don’t care if you call this normative or superlative or whatever. Paul said remain in the state you are, bond, free, married, single, and be content there. Yet I never hear anyone in the Dougy Phillips movement talk about that.

    MOST IMPORTANTLY, the church is not practicing true religion. I know this from personal experience. There is no help or ministering to widows and orphans. I don’t mean paying my bills. I mean helping me know how to do things that my husband always did. I mean playing ball or going fishing with my kids. I mean being someone they can talk to when they have a problem. I mean any help whatsoever. ICHABOD. The glory has departed. God cares about certain things, like the helpless, hopeless, widows, orphans, poor. God is not “stove up” with doctrine and parsing scripture for perfect understanding of every jot and tittle. Jesus IS the word. He is the word made flesh, to dwell among us. Emmanuel. We are his body. This means we are to take that living word to the world, to our area first then outward. The church today is either a spiritless, loveless Pharisee factory or a marketing program for max church growth without aiding spiritual growth. GOD HATES AND FIGHTS AGAINST PHARISEES. I agree with however asked, WHERE IS JESUS?
    ICHABOD. ICHABOD.

    Even so, come Lord JESUS.
    And hurry, before this is not one Christian left in this country.

  18. Lovey Says:

    Jen

    I see that katie and sam collins did the interview you refered to on everyday news. These kids and there mom (I don’t really know their dad) are good friends. They are nothing like Doug Phillips. Katie wrote and made her own movie a couple of years ago, starting when she was 8 yo. From script and story board to wardrobe selection and actors, editing, shooting, etc. She won film awards. She had massive media coverage. They went literally around the world and HSed while they spread the gospel. Around the world, they took the gospel and Katie, a kid, defended the gospel of Jesus Christ and not patriarchy so wonderfully, it was glorius to see.(If I say too much more I will give myself away. )

    Kristi, her mom, and her dad, encouraged her and sam to do whatever she felt the Lord wanted her to do, about this movie or anything else in life. They supported her in every way throughout it, without pressuring her. They paid for everything. I can’t tell you how much her parents let her be herself and encourage every gift. Please don’t let the fact that Katie wears dresses and jumpers lead you to believe that this family is anything but a true christian, supportive and loving family that love their children and do not hold them down or back in any way, as a girl or anything else.

  19. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Lovey says:
    The church today is either a spiritless, loveless Pharisee factory or a marketing program for max church growth without aiding spiritual growth.

    Morgan says: So true and the reformed churches are among the worst offenders.

  20. Patty Says:

    Lovey,
    I am sorry you have been treated this way. I have never married, a christian since my teens, and a little older than you but I can totally relate to your comment about wives running up and dragging their husbands off…. sheesh. I don’t think alot of married women have a clue sometimes, they act desperate.
    I would just encourage you to not give up. I don’t know where you are but I know God has good fellowship for you somewhere. Even if its just two or three. I will be praying for you. You are letting your light shine for Christ .Your children are seeing real life and faith in action and your husband would be proud !!

  21. K. Says:

    This is to Olivia:

    Dear Olivia:

    First of all I am very sorry for your pain. When our dear brother in law died unexpectedly four years ago and widowed his wife and left his four small children it was horrible. Before that a dear friend’s husband passed way – her children were 10 and 14. It was terrible. We became the friends and relatives that supported, loved, listened (until 2am in the morning), played ball, and financially assisted my husband’s sister until she remarried this past September. We saw in the churches that widows and orphans are not cared for. We even saw it as we went through our seeral adoptions that the church does nto support or offer support in this. So we did. Again, I cannot even express how sorry I am for the way you have been treated. It is our prayer that the church will take very seriously the need for the caring of the widows and orphans.

    God Bless you, Olivia.

  22. K. Says:

    I apologize my post is to Lovey not Olivia. Though, Olivia, I do understand what you are saying. Incidentally, Lovey we just named one of our birds that!

  23. K. Says:

    I liked something Lovey just said. Just because someone does wear jumpers or dresses, or only plays with dolls does not mean we should be critical of them – that is not any different than those who are critical of those who wear pants etc. What REALLY matters is the heart. I know lots of families (including our’s) who do wear jumpers/dresses and we love the Lord. We talk about Christ all day – we share him with others and we talk about him when we rise up, walk along the way and as we lay down at night. I would not want someone to see my dress and run the other way.

  24. Del Says:

    Jen: Vision Forum has a special news media outlet on their website called Everyday News Network, or ENN for short. It features young homeschoolers who report on every day events and Doug posts their videos on his website. Things have been really slow lately, as there were no videos posted this month until today…

    It looks like it was a pretty slow summer as well. In May, 2007, ENN started reposting old ‘episodes’. Between May and August, 27 original and 19 repeat episodes were posted. That’s 41% worth or repeats. Lowest month was May (31% repeats) and highest June where (54% repeats). Prior to May, there were no repeat posts.

  25. Morgan Farmer Says:

    “Just because someone does wear jumpers or dresses…”

    For the record….I am wearing a bib overall type of jumper today for Friday while I am doing my AIRCRAFT ENGINE WORK.
    🙂
    Hugs to All and remember…its not the clothes that make the girl its the girl inside of the clothes!!!

    Morgan

  26. Lin Says:

    “Doug Phillips: “But one thing is certain — play (like the rest of life) is never neutral.”

    Ha! This reminds me of hearing my then 5 year old playing a game called “pretending to be dead” with several friends. I was horrified and talked to quite a few older moms about this. They said they all do it…it is a phase. Boys do it, too.

    My daughter never liked dolls. She loves rocks, leaves and sticks and I find them everywhere. :o(

    Sounds neutral to me

    By the way, a reading of history will confirm that tyrants of all makes and sizes rely on a contrived enemy to attain and maintain power. With Doug, it is any independent thinking women that he labels feminists.

  27. Lin Says:

    Lovey, YOu have hit the nail on the head. It is not only patriarchy type of churches that are falling down on their command to help those in need in the body but most churches out there.

    In my years dealing with seeker mega’s I heard more complaints about the ‘benevolent fund’ than just about anything else. These churches. that thought nothing of dropping a few grand on a catered lunch for staff each week, would put single moms throught the ringer to pay one utility bill or help them with fixing a car. I felt so sorry for these women who were treated like welfare scum for even asking for help. Some of the questions they were asked and documents they were required to fill out made me wince in pain for them. For those who were abused by husbands, they were victimized once again by those who are commanded to offer Grace and mercy.

    You know what the real problem is, don’t you? they are more interested in GETTING money than giving it away to those in need in their own Body.

  28. Red Ink Says:

    Jen,

    “But one thing is certain — play (like the rest of life) is never neutral.”

    I don’t really have a problem with this statement. An idea like this has been very helpful to me over the past few years. I really think it depends on how you look at it.

    You said: “There were no gray areas in life; everything is black or white. Every single decision was regarded as either sin or pleasing to God.” I can see where the problem would be. There is so much minutia in life that we could get caught up in. I’m tapping my foot right now – oh Mylanta, is that a sin? If we spent our whole lives casting sideways glances at each other, judging the potluck casseroles according to their godliness (some would argue that any casserole is sinful), well, we wouldn’t lead very happy lives.

    The neutrality question for me is one of wisdom, and when framed that way, leaves room for grace. “No neutrality” is helpful, for instance, with movies. I can’t just watch a movie and not be changed by it. There’s some message, some story that it is teaching to me. Having my wits about me, I am able to watch a movie, decide if the worldview is destructive or maybe even a little off. I can then think about it and be grateful for my changed heart and mind, and I can be edified because of it. Rejecting neutrality helps me not fall pray to insidious doctrines in culture and media.

    I think most all of life is like this. We have to walk circumspectly.

    There are other areas that are more difficult, but I think this still applies. What am I to do with my life? I dunno. I could be living somewhere else in a year, the US could be driven into the ground in 10. I have so many decisions before me, and I don’t think that one is righteous and the rest are sinful. I think that some are wiser than others, and it behooves me to consider that, even in very tiny things.

    If you place God at the center of everything, and constantly seek to please him, I don’t see how you couldn’t behave like this.

    Two things. This can be paralyzing, which is why I brought up grace. Not being omniscient, and being given to certain bouts of sinfulness, we’ll of course not always choose the wisest path. God’s grace will cover it, and his faithfulness will see us through.

    As regards sticks vs. dolls and my foot tapping: the hairs on your head are numbered. God is sovereign, God knows the minutia, and certainly he must think something of it. It behooves us to consider this, ask ourselves questions, and seek after the mind of God in all things. But hey, again, we’re silly little humans and bound to get stuff wrong. No use getting all red in the face over it.

    I don’t have a problem when Mr. Phillips says toys aren’t neutral. They aren’t. We needn’t freak out and burn to dust every toy that isn’t explicitly Christian, but we should be aware that toys do excite the imagination and encourage certain interests in children. This is not a new idea. Our culture understands it, which is why boy toys are guns and soldiers and Nerf balls and the isles of girl toys are emblazoned with pink and every one of their toys has 15 outfits. If Mattel designs toys that will train our girls to become fashion-obsessed consumers, maybe we could design toys that will train our kids to be something more pleasing to God.

    If my parents had known that giving me Legos would have turned me into a freak for economics (I used to flatten little balls of foil, make currency, and establish intricate trade systems on the upper floor of our house using my pirate and space sets), they might have reconsidered and given me a football instead.

    I’ve said my piece. I understand your concerns. But, in the spirit of your objection, I would encourage you not to make this issue black and white. People are possible of rejecting neutrality and still being well-adjusted folks who play well with strangers.

  29. Red Ink Says:

    Aw, crud. Missed a tag somewhere in there. Sorry if the italics make you all dizzy.

  30. Jen Says:

    Morgan, I’ve been taking my time thinking about your comment. A couple years ago, I would have answered that it was a sin for the lifestyle you and your husband have because that is how Doug indoctrinated me. But Mike has since taught me how to understand the Scriptures more properly. I don’t always get it right yet, but I would have to say that I do not see any of those things you mention in your “rant” as being a sin. You probably asked those questions rhetorically, but in Doug’s world, you would be considered to be deep in sin, yes.

    I, too, have noticed that the conversations have become rather narrow and are not focused on Jesus. I think that both are necessary. This last year, a lot has been discussed about patriarchy. Many people have been freed from the bondage they were in, myself included. It has been good to discuss patriarchy. I think there are some issues yet to discuss in that movement, but we should be discussing Jesus just as much. I’m thinking about how to change that.

    Olivia, welcome! I hadn’t noticed this aspect of Vision Forum not reaching out to others, but now that you mention it, I think you are right. Doug always said that he was called to be a missionary to Christian families — that is where his focus is. That is why he is “whipping his own audience into a frenzy,” as you so aptly put it! Take a look at the pictures on Doug’s blog today from the film festival. They are proof of what you say.

    “Why would any non-Christian be attracted to Christ after being exposed to this group?”

    Olivia, this is such a sad statement. I suppose that if unbelievers ever thought they had to become like a patriarch, there aren’t too many who would be attracted to Christ, would they?

    You’re 35 and single? I can hardly imagine you staying at with your father!

    Jonathan: “I remember one summer our pastor spent 12 weeks on liturgy. I don’t remember the gospel being mentioned once.”

    Count your blessings. I was at BCA for five years and don’t remember the gospel being preached once.

    Lovey, thank you for stopping by. You have a very sad story, indeed. I am sad for your loss, but I am even sadder for the lack of love you have experienced. Why do Christians seem to kick those who are down? I wish it weren’t so. It shouldn’t be so. But I can really relate to being on the receiving end of no love.

    I was thinking about this quite a bit this week as I was studying the unity of the body of the Christ. I came to the conclusion that it hurts Christians like you and me, Christians who are already hurting so bad, worse than it hurts unbelievers because we are all one body. If one part of the body injures another part of the body, the body hurts. Why do we self-inflict these wounds?

    But I also came to another conclusion. It is NOT what happens to me that makes a difference, it is how I respond that counts. I can respond in bitterness and withdraw from all believers and it won’t hurt anyone but me. It is, oh, so tempting to become bitter against all Christians at times like this, but we cannot keep our eyes on others. We must stay focused on the Lord. When I pour myself into spending extra time with the Lord, I am forced to choose to either obey Him in loving those Christians who hurt me so much or to choose to wallow in my self-pity and make myself miserable and depressed. Since I detest sin, I consciously choose to praise the Lord when I start feeling sorry for myself. My feelings will follow my actions when I am obedient and it is such a relief to get out of the mire of bitterness.

    I also know how tempting it is to never trust another person again, let alone another Christian. Or how tempting it is to never go to church again. But here, again, I must consider what God would have me to do. It is not fair to lump all Christians together in a group and think that we are the only ones left who desire to truly please the Lord by loving others. There ARE others out there. They might be harder to find, but the search is well worth it. Please don’t alienate yourself from other believers. Ask the Lord to send Christian friends into your life.

    As far as church goes, I don’t know how much of my site you’ve read, but that’s a real stickler for me as well. I have studied and studied the passage in Hebrews that tells us not to forsake the assemblying of ourselves together. This does NOT say that we must attend church every Sunday morning, although that may be the practical outworking of that verse. What this is saying is that we must assemble together with other believers — why? To exhort one another. Simply attending a Sunday morning service will not fulfill that passage. We must develop relationships with other believers. I won’t go into detail on why I think this is important, but the short version is so that we can be there for one another. It’s for one anothering purposes that God tells us to assemble together. And if we hear a good sermon while we’re there, fine. If not, fine as well. So, all that is to say that I would encourage you to look for a church where fellowship and relationships are essential. That is the key.

    The last thing I would like to encourage you in, Lovey, is when everyone around you is blowing it, YOU set the example. If others don’t show you love, you show them love instead. If they don’t invite you over, you invite them over. If they don’t offer their skills, you offer yours. If they don’t know what to say, you say something — something that will encourage them. Focus on Jesus and others and the rest will fall into place. I know it’s hard, but it will be worth it!

    Lovey, thanks for sharing with us the details about Katie in the ENN movie. That really makes it so much more meaningful. I would hope that I never judge a person by their clothes again. Just because some homeschoolers dress conservatively, it does not automatically make them all the same. I know that some dress that way without being judgmental and legalistic. Actually, Katie was wearing a very pretty dress. And, truthfully, I’m sure she didn’t know that Doug doesn’t approve of sleeveless dresses!

    K: “It is our prayer that the church will take very seriously the need for the caring of the widows and orphans.”

    K, you are so right. This is often so neglected. I will say that BCA did take this seriously and I am glad that there were some widows and orphans taken care of there. I do not know all the stipulations, but I know that some women were not willing to go along with the stipulations just to get the money. Lin, I can only imagine how painful that must be for a single mother to be so humiliated like that.

    Del, are you a number cruncher? 🙂 We had also noticed a significant downturn in videos this last summer. You noted that the reruns began in May. We also noticed that there was an average of 13 new videos each month prior to that as well. In August and September, there were only 7 videos total each month, most of which were reruns by this point. And October had only two, one on the 1st and one on the 31st. That is significantly lower than the 13 new videos every month a year ago. I wonder why.

    Red Ink, thank you for a very thoughtful post (oh, and I fixed your italics 😉 ). I really liked the way you addressed grace and freedom in light of evil vs. glorifying God. I think you may have misunderstood my intentions in asking that question, however. While I was at BCA, and up until VERY recently, I had seen everything in that black and white world. Now I’m beginning to question it, based upon my recent Bible studies. But, I do still see Doug’s point, so I was actually asking a very genuine question, wanting to know the answer. That’s why I put it in a comment, rather than addressing it in the article.

    I really think you have given us a wise combination. There are many things that are NOT neutral, even those things which might not be defined outright as sin. Your example of going to the movies is an excellent one. We do need to be careful of what worldview others are trying to foist upon us.

    Thanks for reminding us that God is Sovereign in all things as well. If He numbers the hairs on our heads, then He does care about the details of our lives as well. Great comment!

  31. Jen Says:

    Red Ink, I forgot the most important part of my reply to you. I think you hit it on the head about needing to balance it all with grace and freedom. THAT is what is missing in Doug’s equation. There is so much that is truly not neutral, but balancing our daily lives with wisdom, with liberty, with grace — that’s where we need to be. Thanks again.

  32. K. Says:

    Lin:

    Something we are in TOTAL agreement over. That is the huge problem w/ have with today’s church. I have become acquainted just in the past four months of two men (unrelated to one another – fathers and husbands) who lost their lives and left widows and children (both of them died in car accidents). We will see how the church helps them. And yes, one more thing most Christians do not know what to say – so they say nothing beyond sending flowers and they expect the widow to “pick up” and deal with it. I have learned first hand what a widow really needs – an ear and assistance that is not government assistance – she should not even have to ask. (much less fill out paperwork!) EESH.

  33. K. Says:

    Jen:

    I am glad you addressed BCA’s way of taking care of the widows and orphans – I started too but then decided I would not since I did not attend there and had only assumed their position by knowing some of the families etc. Kevin Swanson has an excellent message (ok, my opinion) called “Suffer the Children” and from that message it was quite clear his church does support widows and orphans.

    Lovey, again thank you for sharing. I sincerely pray for you that someone would come along to help you carry your burdens. I cannot even imagine being in your shoes – my sis in law was 32 when her husband passed away from a very tragic and unexpected and sudden death. God makes all things new though. We are very excited she remarried this past September – but it was not only our duty but our honor to support her for four years. We would have done it forever if needed. Again, we feel strongly as Christians we need to come along side these widows both financially and as brothers/sisters in Christ.

  34. Red Ink Says:

    Jen,

    Thanks for fixing my italics.

    I think we’re in general agreement over this subject. I posted in part because, on the issue of neutrality, I agree wholeheartedly with Doug and what’s in the Vision catalog. It seems that every time a doctrine of Doug’s falls under criticism on this blog, I generally identify myself with said doctrine and don’t find myself to be at all unreasonable, inconsistent, evil, hypocritical, et cet.

    If the issue is that Doug’s doctrines are dangerous, I would agree that the versions I read here are, but I would also argue that they are largely straw men, at least compared to the way I hold doctrines of the same name. Where some have abused them, the doctrines are not responsible, the people are.

    For instance, I live in a community that identifies itself as patriarchal. I have never seen anything even approximating what I read here amongst my friends, neighbors, and elders. I mean, what I read from Doug sounds familiar. But what I read here sounds to me like cruel caricature. We have secular critics in the community who say, like it’s fact, that we all beat our women and use them only for breeding and cooking. Again, caricature. I hope some can see, then, why I remain skeptical of what I read here and stick up for things when I can.

    Jen, you address how these doctrines work themselves out in Doug’s life and in his community. I’m not qualified at all to talk about that, so I won’t.

    For others here though, who in this thread and elsewhere have condemned “Reformed” churches, patriarchal churches, and those who reject the myth of neutrality, I assure you, I’ve seen a lot of pockets of Christianity, and this one works as well as the rest. Actually, this one works better than the others I’ve seen, and that’s why I’ve stayed here.

    Jen, again, I think we largely agree. Where we appeared to disagree, it was probably just me being unclear.

    Thanks again,
    Red Ink

  35. Jen Says:

    Red Ink, I think you bring up a very good point. My original purpose in this blog was to expose Doug Phillips’ ecclesiastical tyranny. That led to examining his teachings, one of which is patriarchy. I do believe that initially Doug was right in taking a position that stood against the extremes of feminists. He saw something wrong and sought to right it, but in so doing, he swung that pendulum too far in the opposite direction. While I do still say that his tenets of biblical patriarchy are NOT biblically supported, I certainly agree that we should follow the biblically-mandated roles.

    What I have sought to portray here is how patriarchy works in real life for Doug Phillips. I am sure that there are many Christians whose only desire is to please the Lord in these areas of life and they have taken the correct biblical meanings and applied them accurately to their own families. But I have also watched Doug, and some other patriarchy leaders, ADD to scripture over time, and I have to speak out against that.

    For example, where does the Bible speak anything about women going to college? Since it doesn’t, don’t we have freedom in that area, freedom to go or not to go? What’s missing from Doug’s messages? Grace. Freedom. He has made a lot of changes in this last year and as we keep exposing his false teachings, I pray that he will continue to make changes.

    Red Ink, if I remember correctly, you are not married yet. I pray that these conversations here will help you to be a better husband to your future wife, as you consider these various aspects. Blessings to you.

  36. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen wrote:
    “I, too, have noticed that the conversations have become rather narrow and are not focused on Jesus. I think that both are necessary. This last year, a lot has been discussed about patriarchy. Many people have been freed from the bondage they were in, myself included. It has been good to discuss patriarchy. I think there are some issues yet to discuss in that movement, but we should be discussing Jesus just as much. I’m thinking about how to change that.”

    Morgan:

    My bad ;). What I mean to say is that the conversation from the pulpit (preaching) as well as the public conversation is about things other than Christ. We should always be discussing things..(like we do here)..but I can pretty well say that the main topic in DPs world as well as a lot of reformed churches is not Jesus.

    And yes we do have a different way of doing it. Hubby could not make the money he does in the market if he held a nine to five job. What bothers me is when people start making up rules to apply to everyone and then start pigenholing people. God created each of us different and put each and every one of us in a different place…thats the reality.

  37. Mark Epstein Says:

    Lindsey (Enjoy the Journey),

    Your comments are spot on. Doug Phillips and those who idolize VF miss the entire point of the Great Commission and what Jesus Christ meant by “love.” In their unbiblical, utopian fantasy land, constructed via pseudo-history and outright historical revisionism (Doug Wilson is guilty of this latter behavior as well), Doug Phillips and his associates have selectively parsed the Holy Scriptures to tenuously support their doctrinal positions. Jennifer has oft times demonstrated this in her lucid, logically sound, and accurate biblical exegesis of the very scriptures Phillips uses to support his various positions. At the end of the day, Phillips is a modern-day Pharisee devoid of the spirit of the Law (grace), who simplistically focuses on the black letter law, as did those whom Christ unequivocally condemned as a “brood of vipers.”

  38. CD-Host Says:

    Red Ink —

    At least for myself the critique of Doug’s positions have been based on his published writings. Nothing in my critique is based on any straw men, its based on the positions that vision forum has openly and publicly taken in their own literature.

    And to pick your specific example, I did a discussion of CREC’s positions on membership. Even their defenders were floored in case after case about how far they went in defending male headship even when such doctrines violated. And the source of this doctrine were on the record comments by an official for the purposes of clarifying on these issues.

    Similarly with Corrie’s stuff. 100% of her critique has been based on published writings. Similarly with Lynn. I think you being grossly unfair to the critiques to argue they are based on straw men and ignorance.

  39. Nick Haight Says:

    This is my first post here. I thought I’d throw in what’s been helpful to me in evaluating VF and its message. VF has an audience because they make it quite difficult to see their standards are beyond Scripture. They exist because people accept their extrabiblical standards as truth and strive after them to settle their guilty conscience.

    In 1 Corinthians 4:1-6, Paul says that the ultimate judge of his ministry is not men, not himself, but God. He acknowledges that even if his conscience is clear, that itself does not acquit him of wrongdoing because his conscience is only as good as the knowledge he allows to affect it. If you accept as true something that is NOT true, your conscience will be thrown off. And, as we all know, there is an emotional component to our consciences. If you believe you are wrong, you feel guilty. If you do not know of any wrongs you have done, your conscience is clear. However, just as Paul said, a clear conscience does not mean you are okay. A clear conscience only means you are not aware of wrong. On the flip side (the side that pertains more to VF), a guilty conscience does not necessarily mean you are in the wrong with God. You may be, but your conscience is not the guide.

    Therefore, Paul says in verse 6 that the key to a healthy conscience is the knowledge you allow to affect it. Paul tells us that we must learn “not to exceed what is written.” Unbiblical and extrabiblical standards, traditions, convictions, etc., will lead to false reads by your conscience and days and days of false guilt. The same is true for a clear conscience.

    Each of us is responsible with what we allow to affect our conscience. We need to discern if a standard is scriptural. If it is, it should be a part of our conscience. If it is false or extrabiblical, then it should be rejected.

    VF and its adherents are masterful in how they lead many to erect extrabiblical standards. They seek to be holier than God. They are the purveyors of “do not handle, do not taste, do not touch.” Their lifestyles give the “appearance of wisdom” when in reality it is nothing more than “self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence” (Col 2:20-23).

    As long as people lack biblical discernment, VF will have an audience.

    This has been helpful for me. I hope it was for you, too.

  40. Jen Says:

    Welcome, Nick. I think you have done an excellent job of summarizing the problem with Doug Phillips’, and by extension, Vision Forum’s, teachings. They ADD to Scripture or twist it just enough to make it say more than it already does. Most of us here are in complete agreement with what the Bible has to say about these various subjects. Why do we need to add more to it? Many of these areas fall into the category of personal preference WITHIN the guidelines of Scripture. Let us always be careful to follow Scripture where it is clear, but let us also be willing to allow others the freedom to choose for themselves in the areas in which God gave us liberty. Thanks for sharing your insights with us, Nick.

    • Lydia Says:

      Hi, I didn’t read every single comment but I read enough to know what you are thinking. I believe this is why the church is falling apart. As Christians we should be very concerned with feminism as how can we reach the lost if we aren’t a strong foundation. My father and I take mission trips to a country that is full of feminism. It’s so sad but I choose to dress in a feminine manor and speak with a quiet and gentle spirit and refuse to conform to their way. They don’t understand as they’ve never been taught “Hierarchy ” but I just use it as an opening to tell them that I love being a girl, I love children and am preparing to parent the next generation. I can tell them Christ loves women and considers them equal to man but never the same. I refuse to compromise. The Bible is absolutely clear in a woman’s role and to play with it like modern feminists are is twisting it. Those who look at history always have a clearer understanding of things. The messages of history are clear and what modern feminists don’t realize is that women understood and lived with Biblical Hierarchy for over 5,000 years.
      Feminism was always there. It started with Eve. Her sin is what caused her to rebel against her God ordained place.
      I don’t enjoy submitting allot of the time. I don’t love being told what to do. However I understand it’s apart of the Christian life. There are lost in Africa that need to be told about God, their are hurting souls who must be tended to and if women are too busy trying to see how high up they can get over men and making their goals the next biggest pay check then that’s not going to happen.
      Psalm 37:11 promises, “But the meek will inherit the earth; and will delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plot against the just and gnash upon him with his teeth. The Lord will laugh at him, for he sees that his day is coming.”
      God laughs at the militant feminists who mock the real woman for her meekness, promising that it will be the descendants of His meek servant that will inherit the earth.
      There must be order for God is a God of order. In the army how would we win if they told the soldiers, “go do your best! Everyman for himself.” What if there was no leadership? No order? They would loose. What would happen to the man who went to the General and said, “It’s not fair that you be above me. I’m going to be equal to you or even better, above you!”
      You say, “That’s stupid.” We’ll that’s what stupid women have done. I’m not angry. I’m burdened and my heart breaks for women who will never know the joy that I have in doing what God desires of me, staying under my head and authority,(right now my father, later a husband) and being a keeper of the home.
      One day the end will come and the true ruler of the earth will not be Sarah Palin, Phyllis Schlafly, or any other woman. It will be Jesus Christ and those who have submitted to Him will be blessed. I’m not fighting to be known in life. I’m fighting to make Christ known to all men and that doesn’t happen by writing blog posts against pastors you don’t like. It happens when you share the gospel with those around you and have all the children God gives you. One day the women who submits to God and humbles herself will be on the winning side when her children grow and take over by sheer population.

  41. bonnie Says:

    Lydia, I appreciate that you have a heart to reach people for Christ because that is truly the most important thing. I disagree with some of the other things you say, however. Your example of how the army works is not necessarily a good example for the kingdom of God. In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus contrasts the hierarchy of Gentile lordship with the heart of ministry which should characterize the followers of Christ.
    Also, it is not clear to me if you are looking forward to earth being ruled by Christ or being ruled by descendents of people who have large families. “Taking over by sheer population” seems an odd phrase. What exactly will be taken over? And how does that fit in with Christ’s example of humility?
    And if I can be just a little picky, it is not fair to characterize this blog as simply being a post against a pastor someone doesn’t like. My understanding is that the core of the blog has more to do with how church discipline was handled and how theological views affected the way in which people related to one another. (I’m not defending the blog necessarily, just asking you to be fair in your criticism.)
    Don’t take my disagreements personally because you come across as a nice, sincere young lady.

  42. RR Says:

    “Take over by sheer population.” Is that really God’s plan ? Do we find any support in God’s Word for that objective or strategy ? Sounds more like what we heard from Adolph Hitler. He had a State run program of population propagation call the Lebensborn program. Young women were encouraged to have armies of children to help conquer the inferior people and rule over them. Some of the folks Adolf found to be well beneath his great Aryan fantasies, the handicapped, certain people with different religious views and 6-7 Million Jews were murdered. Meanwhile Hitlers true believers (the special people) focused on having huge numbers of children for the “movement”. I wonder if Doug Phillips has read Mein Kampf and would remind you that Jim Jones started off as a fairly normal , neighborhood church before they found a “special vision”. Doug Phillips is looking more like a pint size version of Adolph Hitler & Jim Jones combined into one psychopath.


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