thatmom

real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

analysis of voddie baucham’s ministry

Dr. Cindy Kunsman, whom I interviewed last summer on the various aspects of spiritual abuse, has been attempting to correspond with Voddie Baucham the past few weeks, hoping for some clarification on his views regarding patriocentricity, family integrated churches, and other related topics. Dr. Baucham began the exchange by mentioning Cindy in a blog article. After indicating his willingness to answer any questions she put to him, after nearly two weeks she has received no response. The past few days she has posted her questions as well as some helpful analysis on her blog and I would encourage anyone who is interested in this discussion to check it out. Her questions for him are good ones and I know many others would love to see the answers to them.

For the record, we have asked similar questions of Stacy McDonald in the past and still have received no answer. Others have contacted Doug Phillips with the same result and just a few weeks ago I posed questions to the president of Christian Home Educators of Colorado when he dropped by here but he also refused to answer them. I believe that those who love home education and who want to see it continue as a viable option for the educating of Christian children deserve honest answers from those who have set themselves up as the leaders within this movement.

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19 Comments»

  Lin wrote @

Through this whole exchange, I have learned more about Baucham and have been stunned to learn how short a time they have been homeschooling. I would rather learn from someone like yuou who has been homeschooling much longer and with more kids. You and Corrie! And you have mentioned the Moores who have the most experience and got this ball rolling.

I will never understand how folks can become experts overnight and people fall for it.

  thatmom wrote @

Lin, you will enjoy listening to the podcasts I will be airing in January that feature some women who were homeschooled before I was born! I am welcoming representatives from the Moore Institute,including the Moore’s daughter, Kathie, to my program and am so excited to be able to share the insights of those who have gone before me in the world of homeschooling.

I, too, was amazed that Voddie is so new to homeschooling. I find it interesting that one of the key teachings of the patriocentrists is the Titus 2 principle of older women teaching younger women but so many of those doing the instructing are so young, either in actual age as the Botkins etc. or are young in homeschooling experience. I remember being in awe of a homeschooling pastor who had started homeschooling about the same time my son and daughter-in-law did and yet he knew everything and told us about it! The very best thing Voddie could do for his own career and ministry would be to seriously evaluate the questions Cindy put to him and ask answer them honestly.

  Cindy K wrote @

Karen,

One thing I found interesting as I went through all of this material is that Baucham puts forth much presupposition and assumption, but he does not provide a great deal of support for what he says. Sunday School is bad because it came from a collectivistic society that used Social Darwinism to age segregate and pull the family apart. So any time you have age segregation (so you are not showing flannelgraphs to grown adults), that has got to be bad because they say all age segregation is Darwinian. Titus 2 says that older women counsel and admonish younger women, so I take it that they take this to mean that the younger women should never get together at all, as this would be like a social darwinism that defies the older women working with the younger ones. But all this is presuppositional and inferred. He never goes back and builds an argument to support his premise. Hypothetical example: He never offers anything like “John Doe wrote that we needed to inject some social darwinism into the church, calling for teens to be separated out from toddlers so things could be more uniform.” It’s all just “This is what I think, so this is what’s true.” His arguments that youth ministry is inherently wrong comes from presupposition and work like Barna’s and comments from David Black, but he does not show where it went bad or how or why he thinks this. He draws his own conclusions, but the logic is wanting. “I like cheese and breadcrust, therefore pizza is the most popular food item in the US.” He never gets you from one point to the next unless he pontificates. Not to say that what Barna and Black have to say is inaccurate or that some of Baucham’s own conclusions are alltogether wrong. It’s just incomplete and it’s not comprehensive, something I would expect to find in a book on a pretty narrow topic.

I also find it interesting that most of the experts he cites are newer ones. He credits Hillary Clinton with instilling America with the idea that children should be handed over to the state because it “takes a village.” Did he never hear of people like Oliver Wendell Holmes and John Dewey or the Unitarians for their push for public education and the injection of the state into private life and childrearing? He makes it seem like no one had these ideas and no one advocated them until Hillary Clinton wrote that book.

He cites Nancy Pearcy (a student of whom?) regarding worldview, but he doesn’t go back to anyone else on that topic, almost like he and Pearcy are among the first to address the topic, a subject now growing in popularity. He mentions James Sire on worldview, but he only ever talks about people who are near the top of the current best seller lists. We go from Moses in Deuteronomy 6 to Paul in Ephesians 6 which he says are almost paralleled and discuss the same subjects, both supporting home discipleship. But then he jumps to Nancy Pearcy for worldview. A section in the book resembles James Sire’s “The Universe Next Door.” But there’s no mention of Schaeffer and others who wrote on this topic long before these others. (Note that I love all of these authors.)

Think about writing on the history of flight. You might start out with Icharis, go to Gallelio, and the sketches of Michaelangelo, and then get to Kitty Hawk and then to Lindberg to Boeing. Baucham tends to go from birds to Icharis to automated robotic unmanned planes with no stops in between. It’s incomplete.

I was taught to present arguments very differently. For instance, on a book that argues and advocates for homeschooling, I would not jump in the water with only Bruce Shortt and George Barna info as the next layer in the argument on top of the foundation of Moses in Deut 6. I would start with the Moores and talk about John Caldwell Holt from the secular side to build an argument for homeschooling and home catechism and worship. Or even Rushdoony, I can’t help but wonder if Baucham even knows of Moore and Holt? I know about them because I saw them on TV and heard them on the radio in the ’70s.

But Baucham gets an epiphany in 2000, and now he’s an authority? And everyone who doesn’t do it his way falls short of what is Biblical?

  Cindy K wrote @

Another point of ambiguity that I think these guys like Baucham use to keep themselves from facing criticism by claiming “I never said that.”

Baucham talks about education in the home and about spiritual training in the Word in the book, but the two are never clearly delineated from one another. There are too many ambiguous statements where the two areas (Bible doctrine through catechism and academic training via homeschooling) are addressed as a single entity.

Just like in the non-specific apology he sent me, Baucham says “you don’t have to do it like me” and claims to be tolerant. But you never know whether he’s talking about home catechism (that you can and should certainly do if you were not homeschooling) or whether he’s referring to academic training. Some of the theonomists argue that these two things, Christian doctrine and academic training , can be separated. But I cannot tell when Baucham is shifting from one topic to the other.

Baucham may think that anything but homeschooling is a sin. He may think that homeschooling and catechism cannot be divided. We know from his call for an “exit strategy” from the public school system (in the book and in recent history since he started homeschooling), so he is a separatist. He wants to withdraw from some of these cultural venues. But does that mean he is a theonomist? Or an agrarian? Or a Luddite? You never find out because the book is ambiguous.

He says home discipleship should be natural, but he also advocates “first time obedience,” devoting about two or three pages to this in the book. Did he pick that up from the Pearls or the Ezzos or Fugate or Lindvall? He doesn’t reference this. Maybe he doesn’t know where he picked it up from and just heard it being discussed in patriarchal circles when he needed help in “completely retraining” his ten year old daughter. He does not discuss how he went about “completely retraining” her however, save through worship, catechism and first time obedience.

All that makes him like Teflon. Nothing really sticks to him. He can have his cake and eat it too that way I guess.

  Cindy K wrote @

Note: about theonomists == they argue that spiritual training and academics CANNOT be separated. (I missed the “not” above.)

  Connie wrote @

If you keep in mind that to these people pastor/Christian leader=authority, it all makes sense. Not saying I agree, of course; I most certainly do not. Just pointing out what I believe to be their view.

  thatmom wrote @

“One thing I found interesting as I went through all of this material is that Baucham puts forth much presupposition and assumption, but he does not provide a great deal of support for what he says.”

And the worst part of this, Cindy, is that when you ask to have something clarified or explained, you are shut down. We just need to keep putting the questions out there and hope others will ask, too.

  thatmom wrote @

Connie, you has really summed this up quite well!

I had an interesting experience a while back that helped me put this into perspective. I read this comment in Pagan Christianity, which was written by George Barna and Frank Viola. In their discussion on clergy vs laity, they share the history of clerical attire in the church. Some people mistakenly think that special clothing for pastors or elders traditionally came from the Levitical priesthood but really it came from the tradition of Roman secular officials who wanted to distinguish themselves from the commoners. After discussing the history of the clothing, Barna and Viola observe: “The Lord Jesus and His disciples knew nothing of wearing special clothing to impress God or to distinguish themselves from God’s people. Wearing special garb for religious purposes was rather a characteristic of the Scribes and Pharisees. And neither Scribe nor Pharisee could escape the Lord’s penetrating gaze when He said, “Beware fo the teachers of teh law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and lvoe to be greeted in the marketplace and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.” Luke 20:46″ About the same time I noticed how many of the homeschooling leadership who are also pastors where clerical robes…R.S. Sproul Jr. and James McDonald. (Would be curious about Phillips, Baucham, etc. They probably don’t because they claim to be Baptists.) Singling yourself out from the “laity” is an interesting thing. Oh, and the elders in these churches also wear the collars. Anyone know why?

  thatmom wrote @

Cindy, presuppositional really means “it is because I said it is and we all know it so what is wrong with you? How dare you question these things!”

  thatmom wrote @

“about theonomists == they argue that spiritual training and academics CANNOT be separated. ”

Cindy, this is interesting. While I would contend that Christians must approach every calling from a Biblical worldview perspective, that doesn’t mean that Christians are always superior in whatever calling they are in to non-Christians. I hope no one believes that.

For example, I think about needing a medical specialist. I would take my child to an accomplished professional who was a non-Christian over a Christian who was mediocre, if those were my options.

And herein is one of the problems with this wave of thinking I run across among some homeschoolers, that higher education isn’t necessary. (I remember when Bill Gothard was saying that people didn’t need to go to medical school, they could apprentice with a good doctor and learn all they needed to know!) If this sort of thinking caught on in great number among Christians, we would be handing over to nonbelievers disciplines of study like medical ethics, law and government policy, etc. How foolish would that be?

  Lin wrote @

Karen, that book, Pagan Christianity, is quite the eye opener when it comes to what is tradition and what is actually scriptural. Even down to a pulpit with chairs on a stage. It is all tradition.

“…that doesn’t mean that Christians are always superior in whatever calling they are in to non-Christians. I hope no one believes that.”

Chuck Colson wrote about this very thing in Kingdoms in Conflict when it comes to politics. Jimmy Carter would be a good example.

  thatmom wrote @

Lynn, it is interesting that you mention that Colson book. I was just thinking about it yesterday as I followed the news about our illustrious governor and his arrest in his home in the wee hours of the morning. He is thick as thieves (!) with Obama and I think eventually the connections will be made. As I thought about the arrogance and sense of entitlement that someone would have to have to actually offer Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder, among other things, I remembered Colson talking about being drunk with power, how it happens, what it looks like, and the consequences for us all.

When you think about this happening within homeschooling circles, it really does give you pause. How did this happen? We know what it looks like. And the consequences for all of us are quite sobering.

  Peaches wrote @

“Sunday School is bad because it came from a collectivistic society that used Social Darwinism to age segregate and pull the family apart. So any time you have age segregation (so you are not showing flannelgraphs to grown adults), that has got to be bad because they say all age segregation is Darwinian.”
——————-

I grew up in a church that didn’t believe in Sunday school. This was way before the FIC movement, so it wasn’t associated with FIC, but my church was just heavily steeped in “traditions” and they were not interested in change of any kind. I hated church and it’s only by God’s grace that I didn’t completely turn my back on God and church.

I can remember what it was like to visit other friends’ churches or go to VBS at a local church in the summertime. I was amazed at how I longed for teaching that was on a “kid’s level”. I soaked up those precious moments and often wished my parents would take us to a church where I could go to Sunday school with other kids and actually learn about Jesus.

I learned NOTHING sitting in a church pew with sermons aimed at an adult level. My friends who attended churches with Sunday schools knew so much more about the bible and the nature of God than I did. I feel like I spent many of my college and young adult years playing “catch up” on basic biblical theology – things I could have learned if I had been taught at age appropriate levels in Sunday school.

I heard Scott Brown on a local Christian radio talk show last month talking about a conference he is sponsoring this month. (Kevin Swanson is one of his speakers). Brown was talking about Sunday school and really, the only argument I heard him say against it was that “we don’t see age segregated Sunday school in the New Testament.” So what? We don’t see church conferences or vision casting conferences in the NT either, but these people are having them. I digress……………………….

I hope the fallout from this FIC fad is minimal. I think there could be many children who grow up in this movement who will just leave the church altogether as adults.

  Lin wrote @

“Sunday School is bad because it came from a collectivistic society that used Social Darwinism to age segregate and pull the family apart. So any time you have age segregation (so you are not showing flannelgraphs to grown adults), that has got to be bad because they say all age segregation is Darwinian.”

Peaches, thanks for writing that! I needed to hear it from your perspective.

Actually, Sunday School started when British Christians wanted to educate the young kids in poor parts of England who worked M-Sat in the factories, etc. Sunday was the only time to teach them to read and write so they invited them to church to learn, too. It was a good thing for these kids as Christians wanted to offer them some education so they could further themselves….maybe even read the bible for themselves! :o)

If that is a collectivistic society that used Social Darwinism….then they did something right! Notice the fear mongering in describing SS. I guess that would make what George Mueller did a collectivism?

  Cindy K wrote @

Maybe they might say that George Mueller was a collectivist because he cared for a group of children and didn’t provide age integrated care for them. The Christians of the day should have taken in those kids. (I guess George should have left those kids to starve and die in the streets then? Something akin to the sick rantings of Doug Wilson who says we should rejoice to see the orphans of the non-elect naked and hungry? Or we should have prayed for God to kill those babies in the womb through miscarriage before they were born so we wouldn’t have our good senses offended when we see them as starving children later?)

These people are using Doug Phillips’ propaganda techniques to manipulate people and then they call it the Word of God. Hitler did the same stinking thing, hence the name of the fallacy: reducteo ad hitlerum It is a type of ad hominem argument that does not argue facts but throws insults that have nothing to do with content at the topic. Most people pick up on the connotative value of the language and run in the other direction. Social Darwinism means very much to a Christian homeschooler, and they know without instruction that this means sin to them. Sunday School is sin.

If someone’s heart were softened to hear the Gospel of Jesus so that they would hear it and receive it by my doing something ridiculous and BENIGN like wearing a bag over my head when I witnessed to them, I would wear the bag. The Word says that we are to go in the Name of the Lord and minister to those in prison and to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. To do so unto the least of others is to do so unto the Lord. That is what Sunday School is to me. It presents the Gospel in a way that is meaningful to the target audience so that they can see Jesus in a more meaningful way. How a five year old experiences Jesus is quite different from how a 50 year old does, and praise the Lord for that! Social darwinism has nothing to do with that.

And I don’t even care what people do or how they choose to worship in their own congregations. But these are not interested in just their own group but have motives of money and power to bring everyone into their fold. Paul and Barnabus parted ways in peace, but both preached Christ crucified. There’s little preaching of Christ crucified in most FICs. They are more interested in building their exclusive group that will take the world for Jesus in a certain, prescribed way that shows disdain for other believers and condemns them, often openly and literally.

What is so sad about the whole thing is that I believe that most of those involved believe with all their heart that they are fighting for God’s honor and God’s good. I don’t doubt that most all the people involved, particularly the followers, are doing so in earnest because they believe it is the truth. That makes it all the more troubling.

  Lin wrote @

“Social Darwinism means very much to a Christian homeschooler, and they know without instruction that this means sin to them”

Without even realizing that they have instituted their own Darwinian brand of Christianity. Without the Grace.

  Cindy K wrote @

Lin,

You will find my new blog post (Thurs, Dec 12) enlightening since you mention this Darwinian brand of Christianity.

The Spiritual Eugenics of Multigenerational Faithfulness: More Social Darwinism

  Momma Knows wrote @

Oh my GOODNESS! There’s a name for this crazy thought pattern?? Last weekend we attended our local homeschool conference, and the speakers were parents of 14, and the father ranted and raved against Sunday School, youth group, etc. etc. to the point where my 17 year old daughter and her friend grew VERY upset. I spent 45 minutes in the car afterward, trying to explain that what he was saying ISN’T the Gospel, and just because he believes it, and claims Christ, we don’t have to believe HIM. And so many of the families bought into what he said! I’m a very involved, active, YOUTH GROUP MOM. If our youth group shut down we would lose 65 kids right off the top. They aren’t believers, don’t have a church background, and their parents aren’t believers. They come because friends bring them. They are developing relationships and seeing what Jesus is about. The end result, we pray, is that they turn to Jesus and get involved in the church. But without that youth group, they’d have never darkened the door. I don’t care who the guy is, don’t try to tell me that our youth group doesn’t serve a very VITAL purpose! I need more information on all of this. I’ll be doing some more reading on your blog and the other one you posted about. Thank you!

  thatmom wrote @

Hi Momma Knows and welcome to my blog. I hope we can be a source of encouragement to you here as well as a source of information. I wrote a series of blog entries about the family integrated church movement, telling our own family’s journey. You can find all the entries in one article here: http://www.thatmom.com/articles/article-fic.htm

If you read through these articles on the blog you will also see comments from readers.

The FIC movement is using homeschooling convention to promote their philosophies and causing much division within the body of Christ. While I believe both sides in this discussion have much to learn from each other, the FIC movement is unhealthy, in part, because it is part and parcel of what I call “patriocentricity.” Those who embrace these views are keynoting many of the homeschooling conferences around the country and have infiltrated many of the state organizations. In Colorado, for example, the CHEC leadership is almost entirely made up of men from Kevin Swanson’s church and Kevin is the mouthpiece for their movement. They have been successful at weeding out those venders they believe are not “Christian” enough and to bring in those who promote both family integrated church and patriocentric lifestyles. For more information, I would encourage you to listen to the podcasts I did on this movement and where I identify some of the movers and shakers within it.
http://www.thatmom.com/podcasts/podcastspatriarchy.htm

The intro to patriarchy is especially important because it explains the motivations behind this movement.

Please come back and add your insights…..


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