Tuesday, June 22, 2010


In the comment string of this post at Quivering Daughters, I was asked by a patriocentric supporter if I was familiar with Hebrews 13:17.

Let's look at Hebrews 13:17 from, for no particular reason, the New King James...

"Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you."

I'm extremely familiar with Hebrews 13:17. Like buzzwords that are used in cultic, authoritarian systems, buzzverses are a handy item for those imposing their own will on others, too. Given my situation, I've done a considerable amount of research on cults and cultic movements over the last two years, and Hebrews 13:17 is definitely in their quiver. One of their oaks, in fact.

The problem is, it only works for authoritarians when issued as a blanket statement with no context, in such a way as to totally stop critical thought in it's tracks. To understand the verse as the writer intended it, it must be read with the presupposition that the writer was speaking of authorities who point you exclusively to Christ and never stray from the whole counsel of God's word into their OWN extra-biblical ideas for the flock or the extra-biblical ideas of other men - and authorities who don't revel in their own authority. It isn't speaking of those who lord themselves over the flock, or I strongly suspect it would be an entirely different verse. In fact, that takes us over to 1st Peter 4:15 territory, with the word "meddler" (busybody in some translations) being translated from the Greek compound word  allotriepiskopos, which means "not one's own" and "overseer", hence, "not one's own overseer." It's serious business. It's the only place in the scripture that this particular Greek compound word is used. And here you have God placing it in a group with theft, murder, and all sorts of evil (and note that the thief comes to what?...steal, kill, and destroy - theft, murder, evil). Meddling leaves a trail of debris and a legacy of destruction. One who assumes authority over another, authority that God hasn't given, becomes "not one's own overseer."

Those who exercise authority that God doesn't give them, and do so in his Name, do those poor souls under their extra-biblical authority no justice and certainly don't please the Lord. A father exercising extra-biblical authority over his children, particularly grown daughters, has stepped FAR past any biblical mandate into his own ideas and the ideas of men. That's lording. Be there for them? Sure. Encourage them? You bet. Love them with all their heart, offering wise, biblical counsel when called upon? You betcha. Exercise veto power over their daily lives? That isn't the heart of God, nor the counsel of God. It's the idea of paranoid men using the name of God to fight a sociopolitical cultural war. Families end up as prisoners of this war and collateral damage from it's various battles.

I would ask those who lean on this type of buzzverse to very closely examine their hearts on the matter, and see if, at their core, they genuinely believe they are promoting Christ and His heart, or if they're actually just defending a works-based system of faith, perpetuating a systematic cycle of extra-biblical control.

Communism has to be rigidly enforced, too, what with walls being built and people being imprisoned for merely wanting to leave a communist country. It's a system built on the principle of benefitting the system and those at the controls of the system. It eats it's young as a resource.

The parallels are striking.

I suppose what disturbs me the most about this type of use of these scriptures within hyper-fundamentalist/patriocentric communities is this: A verse like Hebrews 13:17 is FAR more foundational to their way of life than perhaps a verse like John 3:16, any number of verses in Romans 10, the 23rd Psalm among many other wonderful, life-giving Psalms, and a breach of it seems to be seen as a greater offense than, say, the 9th commandment - speaking the very language of the devil. Everything about patriocentric life is built around the authority structure, elevating all relevant scripture, no matter if proof-texts, into rare atmosphere. If the authority structure crumbles, the entire galaxy of Patriarchy crumbles (even CHRIST crumbles), which is all the evidence I need to know that it isn't built on the Rock, the chief cornerstone. 

Feel free to offer up some other buzzverses in the comments. There's a boatload of 'em.


  1. Lewis,

    I am so glad to see you blogging!

    There doesn't seem to be any buzzverse traffic or thought-stopping cliches flying around so far this evening... But the night is still young.

  2. Hey Cindy...It's nice to be blogging. Helps me channel my passions and process all of this. Thanks for the encouragement.

    I'll throw another buzzverse out there...I heard my ex use 1st Corinthians 6:20 ("you were bought at a price...") in such a way on a couple of occasions that it was fairly easy to surmise it had been used to buzz her. "You need to remember you were bought at a price..." Guilt-inducer. Gave her a mindset like "I can't do anything I'd really like to do because I'm bought at a price and God will get mad at me." Sad.

  3. Ever since watching the Bounty Hunter episode of South Park all I hear in my head is Cartman demanding "Respect my Authoritay" =D

    Of course a big one is the husband is head of the wife. Instead of head=source, patrios are sure that head=divine soveriegn, as in the man's edict is divine command.

    Here is a thoughtful essay on the other side (if the link still works). Though I heard the author was hounded by complementarian/patrios into explaining away much of what he wrote.


  4. Here's the double whammy used on my mom when she was a baby Christian in her late twenties (and I've heard it since age 5:

    In 1 Chronicles 16 and in Psalm 105, it says in an isolated verse:
    "Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm."


    Romans 11:29 says:
    "The gifts and callings of God are without repentance."

    When the assistant pastor showed up at an unauthorized prayer meeting of about ten people (where my mother was) and confessed that he was having a homosexual love affair with the senior pastor (and to repent), my mother was told by the mature believers in the "faith" that it was wrong to bring the matter before the church. All of those believers to whom she looked for instruction told her that these Scriptures meant that a gifted pastor could not loose his calling and his anointing. And the "touch not mine anointed" verses meant that it was always wrong to point out the really big hidden sins of your pastor.

    So I'd have to say these are my all time "Hate-'em" favorites.

    I ended up spending four years at the Christian School at that church, and two weeks before my graduation, that same senior pastor got caught in the act in the church office. Several young men came forward to tell of how they'd been molested by this pastor. I know two of the guys. The church split, and now any time there is any opportunity to get together with my already tiny peer group from school, we have to tiptoe around the elephant in the middle of the room. The two brilliantly gifted pastors that brought the matter before the church both left full-time ministry.

    So, yeah. They have to be the biggest and meanest.

  5. I have to put this down too. A woman in the Gothardite and Bob Mumford/Chas Simpson influenced church (Christian Growth Ministries) where I attended for four years found photos of her husband's male member on the family computer along with the photos that women had sent to him. (They had a house full of boys, the info on the computer was not protected, and it was in 1996 when the internet first became widely commercially available, and the internet porn industry was not yet as widely accessible as it is today. This perv went out of his way to make this happen.)

    The wife went to the elders, and they said that they didn't believe that it was true. They blamed her and the one guy outright accused her of lying about it. I got pretty mad, and we went to kinkos and printed a copy out for the assistant pastor. She apparently put a notable photo of her red-haired husband on the desk, and the assistant pastor said "How do I know that it's your husband?" ??? Okay, I guess that meant my friend went out and procured porn somewhere to fake out the pastor???

    The family is assigned to what I started to call the "wife beater's home group," as I guess that's where they assigned all of the abusive husbands. The assistant pastor ran that group and admitted that he gets the urge and has to restrain himself from pushing his wife down the stairs on an irregular basis.

    Their advice to the wife (who was held in complete contempt):

    Put up with it because "love covers a multitude of sins." Let your love just cover 'em up, because he shouldn't have to repent. He was that man and she was called to submit to her authority, though he maybe might be unjust. He, of course, was never confronted or held accountable.

    I have to note that they also added that she could change her husband's heart by loving him with "ooey gooey love." (They didn't give a reference for that one.)

  6. Yeah, totally have to respond to this one:

    "children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right!" (even if you're a 23 year old college graduate who's practically lived on their own for 3 years.

    "because this is the first commandment with a promise!" (the promise that if you heed your parents, you will be a miserable shell of a person because you obeyed man rather than God when you became an adult and were supposed to be following HIM as opposed to one's parents)

    I also *heart* (sarcasm) the "love covers a multitude of sins" verse as well. This verse means, that no matter what others do to you, you're supposed to "turn the other cheek" (another great one) and simply forget what happened and stay bff's.

  7. Those are all good ones. So sad how people distort scripture.

    More that drive me nuts...

    When I confronted my ex's father about what he based his authority over her on scripturally, he hemmed and hawed and told me "well...there are traces of it throughout the scriptures." I asked him to kindly point to one of those traces, because there are traces of many things - adultery, fornication, prostitution, murder, and more - in the scriptures, and just because something's IN the bible doesn't mean it's a scriptural teaching. I got, "I don't have time to argue the scriptures with you."

    One of his patriarchal buddies responded to the same question with my all-time favorite, "You have to understand the spirit of the scriptures." So, for patriarchy to work scripturally, I have to be a Christian AND a paranormal investigator.

    My ex was also convinced of the wickedness of her heart and the impurity of her own emotions, so I know that she'd been buzzed with "The heart is wicked and exceedingly evil..."

  8. http://hopewellmomschoolreborn.blogspot.com/2007/11/raising-my-daughter-to-be-keeper-at.html

    Numbers 30:3-6 is apparently used to demand that adult daughters stay home to serve their fathers until the are married off to a man of the fathers choosing.

    How did they wring so much self-serving doctrine out of that passage?

    3 "When a woman makes a vow to God and binds herself by a pledge as a young girl still living in her father's house, 4 and her father hears of her vow or pledge but says nothing to her, then she has to make good on all her vows and pledges. 5 But if her father holds her back when he hears of what she has done, none of her vows and pledges are valid. God will release her since her father held her back. 6 "If she marries after she makes a vow or has made some rash promise or pledge. (Numbers 30:3-6, The Message)

  9. That's definitely a case of reading that passage through patriarchal-colored glasses. For sure.

    I can't speak to the credibility of the sources he cites, as I haven't researched them, but in John Gill's exposition of the bible he says this...

    "Numbers 30:3
    If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord
    Who has not passed thirteen years, as the Targum of Jonathan:

    [and] bind [herself] by a bond;
    lay herself under obligation to perform her vow by an oath: being in her father's house; unto the twelfth year, as the same Targum; that is, that is under his care, tuition, and jurisdiction, whether she literally, or properly speaking, is in the house or no at the time she vows; so Jarchi interprets it of her being in the power of her father, though not in his house, she being not at age to be at her own disposal, but at his: wherefore it is added,

    in her youth;
    which, as the same writer explains it, signifies that she is

    ``neither a little one, nor at age; for a little one's vow is no vow, and one at age is not in the power of her father to make void her vow: who is a little one? our Rabbins say, one of eleven years of age and one day, her vows are examined, whether she knows on whose account she vows and consecrates, or devotes anything; one vows a vow that is twelve years and one day old, there is no need to examine them.''
    He seems to refer to a passage in the Misnah F20,
    ``a daughter of eleven years and one day, her vows are examined; a daughter of twelve years and one day, her vows are firm, but they are to be examined through the whole twelfth year.''"

  10. Shadowspring,

    Many people claim that the patriarchs don't "proof text" by starting out first with a concept they want to promote and then hunt and peck for evidence to support their presuppositions. This gives way to eisegesis instead of the preferred process of exegesis.

    If they drew these conclusions about Numbers 30 and were not "huntin' and peckin'" at the time, how is it that they glossed conveniently over this little ditty just a few chapters before?

    Numbers 27 (The Message Bible)
    The Daughters of Zelophehad

    1 The daughters of Zelophehad showed up. Their father was the son of Hepher son of Gilead son of Makir son of Manasseh, belonging to the clans of Manasseh son of Joseph. The daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

    2-4 They came to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. They stood before Moses and Eleazar the priest and before the leaders and the congregation and said, "Our father died in the wilderness. He wasn't part of Korah's rebel anti-GOD gang. He died for his own sins. And he left no sons. But why should our father's name die out from his clan just because he had no sons? So give us an inheritance among our father's relatives."

    5 Moses brought their case to GOD.

    6-7 GOD ruled: "Zelophehad's daughters are right. Give them land as an inheritance among their father's relatives. Give them their father's inheritance.

    8-11 "Then tell the People of Israel, If a man dies and leaves no son, give his inheritance to his daughter. If he has no daughter, give it to his brothers. If he has no brothers, give it to his father's brothers. If his father had no brothers, give it to the nearest relative so that the inheritance stays in the family. This is the standard procedure for the People of Israel, as commanded by GOD through Moses."

    God didn't first require that these women acquire a male representative to be given their due, and it appears that they were living without a "male covering."

  11. "ooey gooey love."

    A country or teenie-bopper songwriter could make a fortune with that.

  12. http://thepatriarchsbible.blogspot.com/

    thought you might find interest in this, Lewis... i just stumbled on it today and am trying not to gag... hopefully some people can laugh at it!

  13. lol...Some of that is priceless. Some of it is so true it's sad.

    I didn't see this one coming...


  14. 1 Corinthians 7 is one I have had repeated to me over and over and over again... "It is good for a man not to touch a woman...an unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord."