The Impending Collapse of the Quiverfull Movement

A fascinating essay in The Daily Beast spells it all out.  From this:

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have put many years and a lot of work into putting a smiling, nearly normal-seeming face on the extreme Christian right. The couple adheres to a fringe strain of fundamentalist Christianity dubbed the “Christian patriarchy” or sometimes the “Quiverfull” movement, and while there is a lot of internal diversity to the movement, they generally preach a combination of beliefs that run counter to mainstream America: absolute female submission, a ban on dating, homeschooling, a rejection of higher education for women, and shunning of contraception in favor of trying to have as many children as humanly possible. The movement is controversial even within Christian right circles, but the Duggars have tried to counter that with their popular reality TV show 19 Kids & Counting, where they present themselves as a wholesome everyday family that just happens to be a little more fecund and conservative than average.

To this

But right as the Duggars are beginning to cash in on all this hard propaganda work, it seems the world they come from—the tiny but growing world of strict Biblical patriarchy—is in real danger of collapsing. While adherents to this form of Christianity, like the Duggars, like to paint an uber-wholesome face on their families and beliefs, ugly truths are finally starting to leak out regarding the problems of infidelity and alleged sexual abuse in the community.

To this

The latest scandal is a doozy. Back in November 2013, Doug Phillips, who, in his capacity as the president of Vision Forum Ministries, is probably the most important leader in the world of Biblical patriarchy, confessed to cheating on his wife and resigned as president of his ministry. “I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman,” he wrote. “While we did not ‘know’ each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.” Shortly after his confession, Vision Forum Ministries closed up shop, unable to continue with the stink of sex scandal upon them.

And to this

On Tuesday, it was revealed that there may be more to this entire scandal than the typical minister-caught-cheating story. The woman with whom Phillips confessed to an “inappropriate” relationship, named Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, filed suit in Bexar County, Texas, accusing the powerful Christian right leader of pushing her into a multi-year abusive relationship that allegedly featured frequent sexual assault. While the complaint never mentions sexual intercourse, it does claim that he repeatedly groped and masturbated on her while she protested. The plaintiff alleges she was basically moved into Phillips’ house with his wife and children, taken on many family vacations, and given work as a caretaker for the family, all while secretly being bullied into sexual encounters without consent. She even claims that Phillips told her that they would marry soon, as he believed that his wife was about to die.

Gross.  Just… these guys… these guys with their pompous false piety.  These wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They are a disgrace.  The fruit is rotten because the tree is corrupt.  Read the whole.

Heaven Is for Real: An Observation

Just a cautionary word about this popular film: it is NOT doctrine nor should it be viewed as such.  It is NOT ‘bible teaching’ nor should it be viewed as such.  It is NOT accurate at several points nor should it be viewed as such.  It is simply, merely, and only ENTERTAINMENT.

Getting your Doctrine from Hollywood films is like getting your doctrine from – well – Hollywood films.  If you really want to know what heaven is like, study Scripture.  It at least has the benefit of being theologically correct.

John Hagee: This Week’s Dilly Winner

The heavens are putting on a celestial show next week — and one Christian pastor is convinced it’s a sign from God.  Bestselling author and televangelist Pastor John Hagee claims the four blood moons that will soon appear in the skies over America are evidence of a future “world-shaking event.”  The blood moons are part of a tetrad, a set of complete and consecutive lunar eclipses that will begin on April 15 and continue in roughly six-month intervals until October 2015.

To normal people these celestial events are interesting, even pretty.  But to the Dilly winning Hagee they are grist for his insanity mill.  When nothing happens in the wake of these events, will Hagee be honest and subject himself to the punishment the Hebrew Bible reserves for false ‘prophets’?  No.  He will make excuses- just like Harold Camping did.  8 times.

Anyway, ‘Pastor’ Hagee-  here’s your Dilly (and you’re sharing it with each and every single person who believes what you say) -


Of Course He Preaches a God of ‘Yes’- He’s In Vegas and He Runs a Mega-Church. He Knows His ‘Congregation’

When you think of Las Vegas, you may think of slot machines, strip clubs, and Zach Galifianakis shouting, “There is a tiger in the bathroom.” You probably don’t think of Christian churches. Yet, somehow, Jud Wilhite has managed to grow Central Christian Church to 19,000 members and four campuses in the middle of it all.

The Sin City pastor is now promoting a new message about what he calls “the God of yes.” Believers have often defined Christianity as “no,” reducing it to a series of rejections of just about everything God has created. In his book, “The God of Yes,” Wilhite urges the faithful to throw off these ideas and discover a divine “yes” to all of life. Here, we discuss his message and whether he’s just trying to make faith more palatable and positive.

He must not like the Ten Commandments very much.

RNS: But there are many places in the Bible where God-followers are instructed to reject destructive things with a firm “no.” In fact, the Ten Commandments are largely a list “thou shalt nots.” Your thoughts?

JW: Certainly there are plenty of “no’s” in the Bible. But the big story of the Bible is that God seeks relationship with people. From a Christian perspective, the big picture is that God is for us in Jesus and went all the way to the cross to show His love for us. The “no’s” in the Bible are to lead us more fully to live in God’s “yes” and experience all of life not as guilt, but as gift. The commandments serve to lead us to a fuller life God designed for us, not to keep us from it.

No, the commandments are boundaries set on our selfishness and our tendency to live out our own self interests.  They aren’t intended to actualize we folk but to limit us.

But that won’t sell in Vegas.  Where ‘you are not to commit adultery’ is not only regularly ignored, but when it is ignored, the behaviour is praised and lauded and exalted.  After all, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Winking at sin and minimalizing God’s instructions doesn’t lead to your ‘best life now’, it leads to misery.

More MegaChurch Pastor Misconduct: The Case of Bob Coy

RNS reports

Florida megachurch pastor Bob Coy has resigned from his 20,000 Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale congregation over a “moral failing.”  “On April 3, 2014, Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church he has led since its founding in 1985,” a statement on the church’s website says.  A call placed to Coy on Sunday was not returned.

I guess he’s being coy…   And…

Blogger Michael Newnham wrote that Coy was dismissed by the church board. “We have confirmed that Coy has admitted to at least two affairs in the past year alone and has had a long standing ‘problem with pornography,’” he wrote.

Look, it’s time everyone admit that these mega church pastors become or are already egomaniacs who think that none of the rules apply to them.  They are so fawned over and so wealthy that they act more like tv stars than pastors.

Churches which are so large that they require stadiums are pastored by people who have no business being pastors, because for them the church is nothing more than business.  These super-large churches are doing more harm than good.  It’s time they shut their doors and disburse their congregants to the churches in their actual neighborhoods where their talents and materials can be put to use in service of something besides the mega pastor’s engorged ego.

The Ghastliness that Is ‘Christian Television’

This report by NPR is simultaneously enlightening and depressing.  Just knowing that so many people are being misled by pentebabbleist pseudo-theology is enough to give even John Wesley a coronary.  And knowing, as well, that the ecclesiology of Daystar is profoundly wrong just adds insult to injury.

About mid way through…

The founder and CEO of Daystar is a dapper, often-tearful, 56-year-old Pentecostal minister from Georgia named Marcus Lamb. He’s a spirited preacher and a tireless fundraiser. He declined numerous requests to speak to NPR. But in a four-page letter from Daniel Woodward, Daystar’s director of marketing, the network defends its business practices and notes that all of them comply with IRS rules. As a nonprofit broadcaster, it is little different from NPR, Woodward says, but for its classification as a church under IRS guidelines.

“Both networks are nonprofit entities that are tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3),” Woodward writes. “They both enjoy all of the same benefits and obligations, other than the fact that Daystar does not have to file a form 990, due to its church status, for which it is fully compliant under the law.”

Daystar produces its own lineup of popular Christian talk shows and sells airtime to well-known evangelists such as T.D. Jakes and Joel Osteen. “It just speaks to me, and I feel like I’m being ministered to,” says Jordan Riley, a Christian pop singer in Seattle who supports Daystar.

Despite its self-description as a church, Daystar does not resemble a church in any traditional sense.

“Church to me is when I’m gathered with other believers,” Riley says. “I don’t consider it an electronic church.”

Several former employees also don’t call Daystar a church.

“When the lights are on and the cameras are on, we’re a ministry. When those lights are off, cameras are off, it doesn’t feel like a ministry,” says Lisa Anderson, former executive assistant to Marcus Lamb and his wife, Joni. “It is a business making money.”

Daystar’s former IT manager Bill Hornback agrees. “I mean, there’s no Sunday sermon, no Wednesday night meeting. It’s all business. It’s not a church. It’s a television broadcasting company, that’s what they are,” says Hornback.

A tv show isn’t a church.  A business isn’t a church.  A church isn’t somewhere else, it’s where the people of God are gathered, literally, in one physical place at one particular time.  Nothing else has been or ever will be the church in any respectable responsible theologically appropriate way.

Worst of all, these people are taking advantage of a law that wasn’t designed to feather their nests, but which is.