Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Warning Signs

Every dangerous teaching or group comes with it's own unique set of red flags. Recently I wrote about some non-specific (to any particular movement) warning signs that some who specialize in the study of cults and spiritual abuse have come up with. In this post, I'd like to deal with some that are specific to the patriarchal/quiverfull/dominionist/fundamentalist groups that I write about. While this exercise is similar to something I wrote here, I'd like to make it a bit more targeted.

Keep in mind that this exercise I'm presenting is just that - an exercise. Answering "yes" to these questions doesn't make you a bad person, a bad parent, a bad spouse. What it should do, though, is perhaps serve as a wake-up call that helps you determine whether you're a follower of a man or movement and it's culture/lifestyle, or whether you're genuinely following Christ alone.

I think this is of paramount importance, particularly given some of the other movements I've studied in recent weeks. The Jim Jones People's Temple, for instance. People who were so enraptured by the culture of the movement (and the man at the forefront) that they remained steadfast in allegiance to the movement through the transition from Christianity to Communism to Atheism, ultimately to "revolutionary suicide". Jesus left the building...and they never noticed, because He wasn't necessary for their culture. This is, and has been, the case for the majority of cultic movements that have started under the banner of Christianity. A culture takes over.

Again, this is such an important distinction. Christ...or culture.

Simple, unqualified "yes" or "no" answers are all that's needed.

  • Do you home school for religious cultural reasons rather than educational reasons?
  • Do you regularly use the word "worldview"?
  • Do you regularly use the word "biblical", as in "biblical worldview", "biblical manhood", "biblical womanhood"?
  • Do you see your life as the fulfillment of a certain gender role?
  • Do you plan to follow the courtship model in choosing a spouse for your children, even as adults?
  • Did you begin prepping them for the courtship model as children, presenting other options as worldly and rebellious?
  • Do you force your small children to read the bible and pray even when they show no interest in doing so?
  • Are your children subject to punishment for not showing interest and devotion in reading the bible and praying?
  • Do you spend significant time teaching your children to focus on externals, such as dress and countenance?
  • Do you expect your children to be outwardly cheerful at all times, regardless of the circumstances?
  • Do you believe in and promote "multi-generational faithfulness"?
  • Is it more important for your children (particularly adult children) to obey you than to obey the Holy Spirit?
  • Do you determine whether or not they've heard from the Holy Spirit for them?
  • Is an adult child who resists your authority considered rebellious?
  • Is "godly" a common adjective in your speech?
  • If you had to drastically alter your current lifestyle by dropping a particular human authority structure, would your faith in Christ be damaged and left totally drifting?
  • Do you feel a certain amount of guilt in even answering these questions to yourself?
  • Do these questions make you angry and threatened, as if your lifestyle is under attack?

There are doubtless more that could be asked (please feel free to chime in with your own that might apply).

These questions, if answered honestly, should provide a glimpse into the heart of whatever faith you're actually practicing - whether truly following Christ, or truly following a culture and way of life that uses Christ as something of a mask. The things listed above, the things on which the questions are based, aren't things that were taught or lived by Christ, not taught or lived by any of his disciples or apostles. They ARE, however, a large part of the foundation of a modern Christian sub-culture. Big, big, big difference.

Like I said earlier, "yes" answers to these questions don't make you a bad person. "Yes" answers, particularly multiples, would signal, however, a person walking in dangerous spiritual territory in a culture where Jesus is no longer really even necessary.


  1. As I sigh in the peace that I answer "yes" to none of the above, I also sigh in regret that I didn't have a list like this to which to refer a few months ago.

    This is a very comprehensive list.

  2. They also like to speak about stepping out of your 'biblical roles' alot. These are pink things and these are blue things. NO! They should not intersect! That would be 'blurring' the gender lines.

    lol good list!

  3. the list reads like a revolutionary party platform, right or left [they same thing just different means to similar ends]--- and Interestingly--how so much of this list, if you turn it upside down, you have the totalitarian political religion list, such as

    except exchange bible reading to ethics or central loyalty to race, class, vanguard

    all forms of externals must not appear sympathetic to the 'enemy' nor appear western or infidel or low class, etc

    gender roles, you betcha, revolutionary communism put out for the bro and don't Ever say no, remember you're liberated [ha ha do I sound bitter, just a tad, lol, yea why I kind of Do hate the atheist liberal left though yea I'm leftist--don't ask, long explanation], or gender roles in race-loyalty to de race or oppressed class [this Heavily applies to those women who Dare challenge de bro on sexism and misogyny within their race community, whatya mean ya hanging with those white imperialists?, why don't gripe about fgms, it's for solidarity--take your Role sista and remember you one of us, etc...and those other women are imperialists, yea you run into That bull all the time fighting for rights, and it IS the same cultic crap]

    multigenerational, Big one...push the propaganda now, remember get the Youth, target the young, the Revolution is among the Young fodder [academia excels at this, why we have sadly so many duped pro-Islamic liberals out there...or pro-genocidal Aryan green types, oh yea...and why I mention it, cuzz they All over the web fishing for those disgruntled against fundamentalism so Beware because They are just as cultist if NOT worse, because they do theirs with a very liberal face--esp true among women and feminist boards Especially], the Key to seeing this trait btw is their emphasis on Historical Dialectics or Determinism, be it biological determinism [huge one] or today, genetic determinism...

    and WHY do I mention this and WHY is it relevant?

    Because believe it or not, while these are Opposed, diabolically so to the QF/dominion types, on the other side they are Friends when it comes to their 'agendas' against Individualism, even Grass Roots and that includes Progressives, etc., the are Similar in that they Both sneak in with that friendly fascist face playing on the real Needs and-or Fears of people promising them that Vision, that Utopia,

    but their one thing in common--THEY ALL THRIVE ON VANGUARD-ISM, which means, poo poo heads at top, running every thing from a Centralized Platform, and Loose groups Can show signs of this,

    even before the vanguard forms, and that is always I found, the root being, the demand for strict adherence to the platform DOGMA, be it ideology, historical philosophy/social psychology engineering [why many of the so called look liberty yet cultural relativist ARE so dangerous], CON'T

  4. CON'T or any other type of belief system or work for change that demands strict adherence...for that change. Sadly I've seen this numerous times in GOOD causes, gone sour and very activism especially,

    but now Here's what also I have found, and it may very well apply here. And why I do stress it's not just fundamentalism, be aware of the mainstream and overall Culture Because, these groups are reactionary, and they Will splinter, especially in times of conflict. [good example, study former Yugoslavia] anyhow,

    Hannah brought up the blue and pink, but now here's something all commercials, there are gender differences in sales marketing that are Very strong--in their influence, Using, blue and pink colors. It's so normalized that few notice it--which Is ironic when you consider how much these 'anti-worldly groups' as they term themselves are very much following the rudiments of an overall 'group think' engineering that IS in our mainstream culture-that Because it's not 'labeled' or pimped out with any agenda doctrine, is missed by most except those ironically who are fighting the status qua, such as radical feminist [though they are selling out so much it's just on the verge of absurdity],

    the thing is, these Reactionary groups are a tale tell sign of a far more Dangerous culture shift that is happening all around us--those who are strong in their internal locus of control and faith, I think will be able to wade through--

    I think what is more concerning though, is that these extremes are obvious--it's the not so extremes that are also within these same engineering agendas that Are not so obvious to many [both right and left] and that Do have a lot of mental influence, even though we assert to be individualist--when in fact, we live in a very conformist society. This has good points--we ARE social animals,

    yet on the other end of the pole, spiritually, this can be very dangerous because we can lose sight of a much larger and dangerous web set out for us, does that make sense?

    the fringe extremes, are the arms, of the body of the true fascism that does it's dirty work really sad to say, often without the public's knowledge...and don't think they aren't in co-hoots with these fringe groups,

    not only are they in co-hoots, they are the ones actually Steering the wheel, behind it all. This is where foundations will Really be shaken, why it's so vital to have a strong inner circle, inner walk/strength In God, etc. In these days especially,

    just saying...


  5. On another note [see top two], something I've been pondering on of late, you see I think that is Why I saw very quick something was 'off' about the today's church, was Because I spent Years in that very ideological purity revolutionary platform type of thinking, from communism to strict anarchism [left] which grass roots is anarchism but get into the political machinery it can be just as fascist--to libertarianism and well the whole spectrum of 'isms', I guess you could say,

    and then I got back into churchism for a short time--saw the poison immediately, said oh hell no, been there done that, and went alone...

    and here's what I've concluded,


    that is the term, Use to be, one could Be central, could see a bit of truth here, bit of truth there, could wade through here, there, not be chained to one group think to another, NOT anymore...and THAT is why we are seeing and Will be seeing I think far more of these reactionary political/religious political [like political Islam] groups in these days as well as Nationalist,

    and it is because of the Bi-Polar based also on the extremes of both leavens as well as crisis that is unfolding in our world. Which is funny because Daniel, mentions the south and north, king of...the Mayan prophecy mentions the shift of the poles, etc.,

    well and then other 'conspirators' [and there is always a bit of truth in their hypothesis] claim that the magnetic poles are shifting, etc etc etc.,

    I think there is some wisdom to be gained in all of these theories, to shed some light as to Why we are seeing these 'lures' IN people to these extreme poles as well as the fear factor that drives them. That and look at the mental health of our world, bi-polar, depression, etc., the med's, prozac nation, all of it,

    IS there a connection? I think there is, and I think it's going to get worse--that what we Fear with kinetic group energy will come about--remember, Jesus said, they will fear what is to come, signs in sky, etc [paraphrase here, not verbatim], in Other words,

    in these days I think the number one Warfare IS going to be psychological, more than anything, and that the kinetic Energy from that, bipolar, is going to create or manifest itself in the physical,

    why Too much focus on the extremes is Just as dangerous, confront Yes, expose Yes, but be careful of the negative Energy, that drives the mind into the obsession of it,

    this is what I learned in the years of activism, it IS a type of a spiritual snare, remember, we Overcome evil with good, Overcome, inside of ourselves through Jesus Christ.



  6. Good list. :)

    One caveat -- "worldview" is a perfectly good word that has been co-opted by this movement. I find it useful in discussions about what unspoken presuppositions are undergirding my own or someone else's perspectives; indeed it can be hard to understand why two people can have such different responses without keeping an eye on those underlying presuppositions.

    But this has nothing to do with the way this movement uses the word: when coupled with the word "biblical," they appear to mean, "There's only one legitimate perspective on this, and that's the one I've been taught to accept without question."

  7. That's true, Kristen. The same could really be said for the word "godly". Many people unattached to the patriarchal doctrines use it to varying degrees, but, to borrow your phrase, it's been co-opted by this movement and then overused and misused to the point that it loses all substantive meaning and adopts the definition listed in the Patriarchal Dictionary.

    Speaking of presuppositions, I've had a thought or two crossing my mind about them recently and may write a piece about them. A deep subject with these groups.

  8. You're right, Lewis. Some thoughts on what are the underlying presuppositions of this movement:

    1. No uncertainty is allowed in my world. I can control the outcome by pushing the right buttons.

    2. Everything has a place within a hierarchical structure of greatest to least. Knowing my place in it tells me the right buttons to push to control the outcome.

    3. The way they lived in Bible times (specifically in the New Testament Greco-Roman world) is God's divine plan for how to live.

    4. There is only one "right" way to do anything. Pushing the right buttons (see #1) is accomplished by finding out what that is and doing it perfectly.

    5. I am capable of doing it perfectly. Therefore it's my fault, not the system's, when it all falls apart.

  9. Kristen,

    How can you tell which Bible time the patriarchs are referring to? The world of first century Roman empire, or the Bronze Age agricultural/pastoral world of Old Testament fame?

    You know, they use the QF verse from a Psalms, quotes from that era about giving daughters in marriage and stoning rebellious teens. And sending "out of the camp", they like that too.

  10. Shadowspring, I was referring to the fact the Quiverfull "Head of Household" appeared to function almost exactly the same as the ancient Roman "pater familias." The women in Quiverfull are treated more like Roman women than like ancient Isrealite women (when you look at what women in Israel in Old Testament times actually did and were treated as capable of doing).

  11. Yes, they like the pagan concept "pater familia", but it just comes them naturally as they indulge their pride and ego.

    I don't think they have actually studied first century social mores, however, to adopt or avoid. As "inerrant"-ists they would see understanding social context as somehow detracting from the Word of God.

    They pick and choose from both the New and Old Testaments anything that seems to strengthen or support the supremacy of the Pater.

    The life and words of Jesus Christ himself pale in comparison for them as they exalt out of context quoting of the Apostle Paul of the Mosaic Law. :\

  12. Yes, I think that's an accurate assessment, Shadowspring. I didn't actually mean I thought they had studied historical patterns and chosen one to imitate-- just that their household structures really remind me of the Roman ones. Except that instead of slaves, they have older daughters.

  13. If I'm remembering correctly, you've posted a kind of Patriarchal Dictionary on here before, right? The lingo often sounds so right that it's hard to see the actual intent behind it. After all, nothing's wrong with the words "worldview," "biblical," or "godly." However (like Kristen pointed out), "worldview" in QF circles tends to refer to the the whole cultural construct by which "biblical" and "godly" are defined. Both the Bible and God himself are interpreted through the cultural "worldview" rather than letting life be influenced by what God reveals through the Bible, Holy Spirit, etc.

  14. Okay, I said yes to a few of those, and at one stage I could have said yes to quite a few more. But I am worried that we run the risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Such as homeschooling for religous rather than educational reasons. I don't see a problem with that, although I can see how the patriarchal movement uses it to segregate their kids in a cult-like fashion. But I do still think that it is valid to homeschool for religious reasons, just so long as they aren't being isolated.
    Also, there seems to be almost a pendulum swing going on. There is and should be a Biblical Worldview. Now, I happen to think theirs is not it, but I think rather than conceeding that they now have the claim on those words, we should restore them to their proper meaning. In fact, in studying worldviews, I think it is important to recognise our own worldviews and why we have them, rather than letting them be the definition of a Biblical Worldview.
    There are many things that are 'worldly' and need to be either avoided or spoken out against (depending on what they are). And I do worry that this 'grace-based' living excuses us from confronting the issues in all but the fight against patriachy and it's associated viewpoints.
    In my search for information about this movement, I am also finding a lot of negativity towards the likes of Creation Science, which, while being promoted by these groups, doesn't make them guilty by association. I have also heard people saying that abortion isn't our problem, we should leave the decision to the individual - yet we wouldn't promote that towards the likes of rape and murder.
    I am not saying you are doing this, but I would like to see that grace-based doesn't mean apathetic.
    I came into this realm of thinking via the Why Not Train a Child site, and am starting to see how much further this all goes. Things like DD I had never heard of until I started reading here the other day. Very disgusting and disturbing.
    I still don't know what I think about the QF thing (in and of itself, not as part of the patriarchal stuff). I need to do more reading on that. And I do still think that homeschooling is a great option from both an educational and a Christian perspective. As for the dating/courtship issue, I really don't know. I think my beliefs are somewhere in the middle. I do think there needs to be a lot more care taken in the giving of hearts to each other, and also to the dangers that can present with regard to the physical aspects of a relationship. I also think that the blessing of the parents is a great thing to have. However, I totally abhor the idea of parents lording it over their adult children with regards to who they should or shouldn't marry! It's one thing to have an opinion, and to even discuss that opinion, but what happened to your ex is so wrong on so many levels.
    We went through a stage of following the teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl. We were never particularly good at it, which caused me to feel a whole lot of guilt. But now, I am glad for that!! My years in that circle, including Above Rubies etc, did come with a lot of pain. And I am still sorting out the truths from the lies. It is a long process! And I am sure I will lose friends as they learn of my deconversion. But, having left my home country 3 years ago, that process shouldn't be too painful!
    Through the birth of my youngest daughter, 2 year old Samara, God has shown me a lot about gentle parenting. You see, Samara came to us along with an extra copy of the love chromosome. She has Down Syndrome. And she is one of the best things that has ever happened to me! Through her gentle and loving spirit, I am learning so much about His gentle and loving Spirit!
    Praise God!!

  15. Kiwi...If you read much of the history here, you'll see that I've been confronted with the prospect of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" repeatedly. There is no baby in the bathwater.

    Any Christianity that isn't entirely grace-based isn't a Christianity that involves Christ. Nothing about any particular lifestyle choices any of us can ever make will bring us any closer to reconciliation with our Creator. No worldview, biblical or otherwise, will earn us any particular favor with our Creator. I believe that God created the Heavens and the Earth. How and when is, at this point in time, completely irrelevant to me. I probably wouldn't understand a fraction of it if He told me.

    As far as a biblical worldview, mine is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself." That's the entire extent of my worldview, and I'm confident that it's enough.

    I look at issues like QF, courtship, and the like through the lens of common sense and motivation, seeing as how these things aren't biblical instruction. If someone believes in the QF lifestyle for religious reasons, when there's nothing in the bible that instructs the QF lifestyle, it isn't very difficult to add 2 and 2 together. Same with courtship, although I think an even stronger biblical case could be made against courtship than for it. The same, really, for homeschooling. While supportive of the rights of parents, I'm not personally supportive of homeschooling when it's done strictly for religious reasons. I find it dangerous, and by it's intellectual nature, isolationist. This isn't apathy. This is the realization that no lifestyle, no "without" about us, will ever change the within of anyone else - nor will it change us.

    Where children are concerned, I believe the best bet for Christian parents is to point toward Christ wherever life takes us rather than searching for Christ in any particular fundamentalist or conservative lifestyle, because simply put, He won't be found or manufactured there.

    On this blog, I believe exclusively in the atonement and grace of Christ. Everything else is ceremony. If grace isn't enough, I'm in big trouble.

    I think we have to ask ourselves whether we champion Christ or champion things that WE connect to Christ of our own accord. I think this is a good thing to examine in our lives regularly.

  16. whew! ... I did not answer "yes" to any question :)