Thursday, April 30, 2009

CHEC "Men's Leadership Summit," Part IV - "A Vision for the Family"

#4 in an ongoing series on Christian Home Educators of Colorado 2009 "Men's Leadership Summit" (otherwise known as the "The Vision of the Leadership Summit") held in Indianapolis, Indiana, at one of the hotels owned by Bill Gothard's group over the weekend of March 5-7, 2009. Previous post in this series: CHEC "Men's Leadership Summit," Part III - "The Battle for Faith and Family". First post in the series: 2009 Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC) "Men's Leadership Summit," Part I.


The following content is from Doug Phillip's first speech at the 2009 CHEC "Men's Leadership Summit" ("MLS")--"A Vision for the Family"--delivered Friday morning, March 6, 2009 and available in full, audio form from

Phillips' first words, after he was introduced to the audience, are very interesting.

At first, I wasn't going to mention them. But then I realized they say some very important things about where his heart lies. Specifically, Phillips acknowledged his fellow presenters at the Summit:
It is such a great honor to be able to be here with the men who I think are not only some of the finest teachers and speakers that God is raising up, but some of the most important works in the world today, but men that are my pals, my friends. They are my paisanos. They are men that we have had the privilege of being in many battles together, traveling around the country and sharing a synchronous message. Our hearts are linked together.
And then he explained his purpose.

"I don't consider myself, necessarily, the best candidate to deliver [the following] message, or the person who is most capable of articulating it just the way it needs to be said," he said, "but it's on my heart and I have to say it. I have to talk to you about these things. I've been dying to talk to you about these things."

And--as he did pretty much for the rest of his speech--he told a story . . . this one from when he was an incoming freshman at the College of William and Mary.

He said he was assigned to a dorm "just yards away from a sewage facility" that "smelled to heaven." And he described how his sensitivity shifted over that year from absolutely hating and despising the smell so much that he couldn't imagine being able to live there . . . to the point where, as he described it, "[The smell] became very natural to me. It was something I actually liked."

That is the way it is in our culture, he said. "We are immersed in a culture that has become putrid in the eyes of the Lord because of the way we've abandoned God's law word, the way we have turned to our idolatries and away from the Lord, and the way we've lost our first love."

"I'd like to challenge all of you this morning that we need to clear the air," he continued. "We need to bring the wonderful, refreshing scent and the odor of the Word of God, which is able to cleanse the soul, to cleanse the mind, to cleanse the spirit, and bring that into our lives and to drink deeply from that very Word of God."

His speech, he said, was "going to be a talk on perspective"--a perspective of antithesis.
This is a very important word: anti-thesis. It speaks to the tension between competing worldviews, the antithesis between the Word of God and everything else; the antithesis between the system of Christianity and secular humanism; the antithesis between God's priorities for our lives, and the world's priorities for our lives.

Another word I'm going to speak of is the word remnant.

Now I'm going to try to let the Scripture define that word itself. But in the context of this discussion, we'll be talking about those people that are set apart unto the Lord, that are representatives of the church of Jesus Christ and are sent, often alone, in the day of adversity and the day of tremendous apostasy.

So we'll mention remnant and we'll mention antithesis, and we'll mention other things. But let me begin by inviting you to go back in history with me for just a moment.
And so he asked his audience to imagine being part of a nation--like ancient Israel--in which the judgments of God fall upon the people for unfaithfulness to Him--judgments like "barrenness of the womb; national economic disaster; the moral destruction of sons and daughters; servitude to the state and foreign nations; sickness and pestilence; catastrophic weather patterns; and violence from individuals who descend from the air and have no regard for women and children. In essence, all the plagues and the calamities that are prophesied in Deuteronomy 28."

And with this setup in mind, he said,
I want to remind you [that] the most basic proposition to any theory of home education or life . . . is this: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge" [Proverbs 1:7]. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" [Proverbs 9:10--JAH]. "The fool has said in his heart there is no God" [Psalm 53:1--JAH].

But if the fear of the LORD [is w]hat gives you wisdom and . . . knowledge, this, then, is our predicate for our system of thinking, of philosophy, of theology, and everything. It is not the fear of man. It is not the fear of circumstances. . . . It is not the fear of the externalities which are all around us which gives us wisdom. In fact, "faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." [Hebrews 11:1--JAH]

In other words, the fear of the Lord not only gives us wisdom and knowledge, but it is true faith that tells us to believe when all the empirical data seems to be pointing us in the opposite direction. We must believe what God says when you cannot taste, touch or smell the victory, simply because God said it. That's enough. . . . [E]ven our ability to process information and facts is derivative on God's good grace to allow us to see the truth.

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned" [1 Corinthians 2:14--JAH].

How much we need spiritual discernment!
So Phillips urged his hearers to go back to the time of Nehemiah when Sanballat and Tobiah "ridiculed and mocked and reviled and gossiped and organized teams and parties all geared at tearing down the work of the Lord."

That, he said, is the kind of time Christians--and especially, homeschoolers--live in today.

He suggested the Newsweek cover [mentioned by Kevin Swanson in his speech] that said "We're all socialists now!" is an example of "the gloating of the enemies of God."
Thomas Malthus has won. Population control theory is now the only theory that is taught or that is believed.

Charles Darwin has won. He's been elevated to the status of God, and his theory is not a theory. It is fact.

The contraceptive mentality has won. What originated with the evil workings of Margaret Sanger and others who are the greatest despisers of the testimony of God in the 20th century has emerged into something which is vehemently proclaimed as being the righteous end for the church itself.

Euthanasia has won!
--He told the story of a church where they passed out instructions for euthanizing one's parents--all "in the name of Christ," he added, sarcastically.
This is the world we live in. And our enemies are gloating. They're gloating because they see our inconsistencies. They're gloating because they see our hypocrisies. They're gloating because they see that we do not really believe what we claim to believe. And as a result, we have become worthless in the cultural battle. Or at least that's the perception of mainstream Christianity by our enemies. And it's always been this way: Enemies gloat.

God says don't listen to them.
What is the answer? "Not fear" and "not fleeing."
"[L]isten to the words of God to those that are in a state of complete, abject discouragement in the midst of catastrophe and absentee preachers," he pleaded. Remember God's statement to Elijah (1 Kings 19) referenced by Paul in Romans 11: "I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to [the image of] Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace" (Romans 11:4-5).

Back to Nehemiah (Nehemiah 4:14):
The American Standard version Bible begins saying this, "When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke." In other words, when I saw the fear of the people, when I saw them trembling, when I saw them not believing in God, I rose and spoke . . . --and now continuing in the King James, "And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, [which is] great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses."

This is a battle cry of a prophet standing alone in the midst of national judgment and tribulation. This is a battle cry of a man who understands that in his day in the context of what God had given to him, he had to purify again the holy city of God. And that meant building walls. They were symbolically important, but they were also important for the fulfillment of prophecy. It had to be done. And even though everything around him said defeat and destruction, he said, "Families, get together and fight."
Phillips earnestly contended that "those that do not give up; . . . those who are about the business of restoring ancient covenants and who are not about abandoning them; . . . those who repair breaches" can look forward to blessings like what we find in Isaiah 58:12: "And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in."

"Brethren," Phillips pled,
would you like to be a repairer of the breach and restorer of the path to dwell in? I want it so badly I can taste it! I can feel it. Here is something worth fighting for. Here is something worth dying for. Here is something worth living for. Because this is the kingdom purpose of the church of Jesus Christ. . . .

You and I are presiding over the worst international cultural apostasy of the West in more than a thousand years. There [have] been terrible wars, terrible evil. Horrible things have happened. The 20th century was the century of mass genocide. The 19th century was the century of intellectual apostasy by the humanistic elite. The 18th century was a century of confusion and mixture between Enlightenment thought and the residue of Puritanism and Christianity. And we can go back even further and see what wonderful things God birthed 500 years ago as the Reformation fires were burning hot. And we are still living off the light that shone from those days. But there is something different about this time. This is, . . . one of the most unique times, because this is a time of remarkable firsts. . . . Here's what's happened, never before in the history of the West:
  • Never have we had major nations, major cultures that once claimed to be Christian, fundamentally questioning whether marriage is one man and one woman for life. Never has it really been questioned. It's always been a precept. Oh, men have done evil things. But the institution of marriage--though men would sin, though bad things happened, no question--from a legal and cultural perspective, [marriage] was still sacrosanct. It was not to be violated. It is on your watch, it is on my watch that the sodomites are redefining marriage in our land. Never before in history. First time.
Here's another first.
  • This is the first time recorded--at least according to our demographers and our historians that look at this--when more Christians want to prevent babies than want to have babies. More professing Christians want to thwart the womb, to pervert the natural function of the body, to separate life from love, than don't. First time ever. We have no other recorded time that we know of, where there has been such an epidemic of desired barrenness, delayed fertility within marriage, than we have today.
Here's another.
  • This is the first time, the first time, that man en masse, and the church itself, has placed its hand and blessing on sending 18-year-old girls to take the place of men overseas to die in combat. You can call it whatever you want, combat, noncombat, whatever it is, it's combat. It's the field of battle. It's the protection of the families. In many cases while dad stays home and changes the diapers of the babies.
This unbelievable effeminacy, this complete abdication of male responsibility at the level that we are currently having, statistically is born out for a higher number of deaths of women--all combined--in the wars in America have taken place in the last 10 years and then some.

This is a judgment on our land. It's not that America is about to have judgment; it's that America is in the midst of judgment. This is a judgment. It is perverse. It is evil. It is wrong. And where is all this pointing to? The family! The family. The relationships of parents and children, husbands and wives. It is the family. It is the family.

And one need only go into the bookstores today to see a new brand of Christianity in our Christian bookstores that almost seems to magnify effeminacy in men as a virtue.

Oh, the supersensitive, soft, 50-50 marriage man.

I think men should be sensitive. God calls them to live with their wives according to knowledge, to be sensitive to the Spirit. But that's not what I'm talking about, here. I'm talking about watered-down manhood where men will not lead and they think that's virtuous, that's a good thing! It's noble for men to be that way!

It's repulsive.
Phillips continued on this theme of effeminacy for a while.

He noted how Wyoming, whose state motto used to be "The Cowboy State" is now "The Equality State" because they were the first with women's suffrage, to have a female governor and so forth. "Regardless of what you think of that, I would just like you to consider the change of paradigms from the cowboy state to the equality state," he said.

"But brothers," he continued,
This is a time of profound antithesis. This is a time when the dark is getting darker and the light is getting lighter and the difference between the two is clearer and there will be no fellowship philosophically, theologically, practically, between these two competing worldviews. And the road before this nation . . . may be filled with thorns and bitterness and horrors the likes of which we have essentially been spared before in our past, but these judgments and horrors are the product of our worship of the false gods of our day, our idolatries . . . of self, of materialism; philosophical idolatries: evolutionism, social Darwinism, feminism, statism, Marxism, and hundreds of -isms, both personal and philosophical, which have taken us captive personally and, more importantly, as a church. They're the results of our idolatries, our love for things more than our love for God, our love for security more than our love for freedom in Christ.

But rather than this being our season of fear, I believe that wise Christians will view this moment as a time of unprecedented opportunity . . . because God is putting you at the center of an unfolding controversy. He's putting you at a place where there is a need for leadership. There will be need for the next five to 10 years for leadership like there has never been a need for leadership before. Crisis is opportunity in disguise.
And the opportunity?
[M]en are having conversations . . . that men [we] haven't had since the Reformation . . . about fundamental principles of sola scriptura as applied to pedagogy and to education. . . .

We are having conversations about the roles of fathers and family reformation that we have not heard at least since the 18th century. . . . But it was really the 16th century and the 17th century that brought out great works of reformation in the area of the family. Why? The Bible was open. Why? The doctrines were preached: the sufficiency of Scripture; the priesthood of the believer; the self-attesting authority of the word of God; the perspicuity of Scripture (namely, that it is knowable, that it is understandable, it is intelligible to all of us who are believers if we study to shower ourselves approved unto God, rightly dividing the word of truth . . .).

This remarkable moment in history is significant, because we are having discussions about reforming the family in a way we haven't had those discussions before. And some of the conversations we have are hard conversations . . . [because] it's really painful when the entire wave of society is moving in the precisely opposite direction you are moving in.

Antithesis. Antithesis. Remnant antithesis.

And so, in the midst of all these things, we are watching a small, but nonetheless potent, work. You are here and you are men, and 18 years ago, when the homeschool movement was beginning to thrive, there wouldn't have been enough men in leadership to fill one fourth of this room. . . . God did that: progressive sanctification in the homeschool movement! Praise the Lord.

This small reformation is potent and it's taking place . . . in exactly the precise place that God declares it has to take place to make ready a people prepared for the Lord: in the hearts of fathers! Because if you want to make ready a people prepared for the Lord, you must, must, must turn your heart to your family. It is one of your first priorities. It is the manifestation of real revival. . . . [S]o, if you want to say where are the important things taking place in the world, you don't look to Washington, DC. You look to the church. If you want to understand what's really happening in the church, you . . . look to the families that make up the church. And if you really want to know what's happening in those families, you ask what's happening with the heads of the households. What's happening to the men? . . . Are they turning their hearts to their children? Do they love their children and their brides so much that it is a defining principle in their life and fills their hearts with gladness and joy when they think of their little ones?
Phillips then told a number of stories he said he believes illustrate how significant this point is. "While the professing, mainstream church ignores the great works of God and--may I say it?--despises it, reviles it, sometimes hates it, do you know the world is actually fascinated by us? They really are!"

He told a story about the Duggar family, of 20 and Counting fame,1 to prove the point.

As the Duggars attended the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF; sponsored by Phillips and his paisanos).
The blessing of children, he said, was being presented to the people of America on national television. And people were fascinated. The Duggars "seem to love each other. What's the matter with those people? They love babies! They're having fun! They're doing professional things! . . . What in the world is going on here?"

National Public Radio, he said, "[t]he single most liberal radio network in the world, outside of Soviet communist nations and things like that," visited the festival and interviewed a bunch of the participants.

"Gentlemen," said Phillips, "in my entire life I have never heard such an excellent, well-produced, favorable, God-honoring radio broadcast as the one I heard on NPR. Unbelievable! . . . [T]he reporter . . . told our story in a way that no one [else] told our story. And guess what happened after that went out? . . .

Christianity Today, which is, sadly, Secular Humanism Today so much of the time, basically put out an article furious at [us] trying to establish an independent Christian film movement. What a horrible thing! Hollywood is our friend! We love Hollywood! We bask at the feet of Hollywood. Oh, Hollywood!"

So while the [from Phillips' perspective, only ostensibly] Christian publication criticizes SAICFF, NPR lauds it.

Then Phillips mentioned that Fireproof, a film produced by a Baptist church in Albany, Georgia, was "the top grossing independent film of . . . 2008."

The contrast was too great to ignore:
[While] NPR is saying, "This is really worthy," . . . the Christian community says, "We're scared. . . . Let's not rattle this cultural love affair we have with Hollywood, please. At all costs, we don't want to do that."
Another story: Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar on The View with Barbara Walters.
Here he is with his wife Michelle and Jim Bob and Barbara Walters is just squinting and she's making faces and she wants to say something really, really mean, but that other blonde haired girl won't let her do it. And she's looking at them and she's thinking, "This is . . . Blecch! Disgusting! All these children!" But it doesn't quite come out of her; you can just see it on her face.

And Michelle's response is to radiate Christ. And Jim Bob just radiates Christ.

Meanwhile, . . . less than half a million American families even eat dinner together. When they do, they spend less than 20 minutes together. Only 22.1% of the households in America have children. Guess what that does to the American family? It breeds selfishness.
Back to the decline of American society:
  • Data shows that "between 1970 and 1995, the percentage of Americans 15 and older who ever married fell dramatically."
  • "During the same period, the average age of a first marriage rose from 21.8 years to 26.6 years."
  • He quotes at length from Dr. Allan Carlson, to the effect that in the 2000 census, it became clear that there has been "a massive retreat by young adults from marriage. In that year, 73% of women ages 20-24 were in the never-married category, up from 36% in . . . 1970."
  • "There were 4.6 million unmarried couples cohabiting in 2000, an increase of 800 percent since 1970."
  • "The marital fertility rate in 2000, meanwhile, was a third below the 1965 figure."
Phillips quotes Carlson and notes that Carlson places much of the blame for these statistics in the lap of the U.S. government's push for college education and the concomitant increase in college debt. This debt, says Carlson, "creates perverse material incentives for young adults to succumb to cultural trends like cohabitation and the avoidance of parenthood."

And, said Phillips, "[t]his is the antithesis [of what Christian homeschoolers are seeing]."

Remember: he was addressing a group of homeschool dads when he said,
Your children are getting married, maybe not as soon as you would like. Maybe too soon. But they are beginning to get married, and they’re getting married to godly spouses.
He told of going to a wedding in Louisiana where "multiple generations of families came to gather as fathers were honored, as both sets of fathers came out.
And they testified to the concept of covenant before an entire audience as the groom stood up and preached the gospel on his wedding day. It was unbelievable! I mean, it was the sort of thing that you never hear of.

And you know what the most amazing thing of all is? Our children are growing up thinking it's normal! . . . At least some of them are.

If your children aren't seeing, you need to think about where you're going to church. You need to think about where you live. You need to think about a lot of different things, because we are in the midst of a battle for their souls and the antithesis is all around us, and you want to be on this side and not [that] side . . . because the future of America, the status of the church, the hope of our families, rests on our Christ-honoring commitment to take the narrow path of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Next concern: what he called "the birth dearth," "blighted barrenness," "a demographic winter."
Brothers, of the many judgments that are coming and that are, in fact, prophesied as a principle in Scripture, in places like Deuteronomy 28 and others, to nations that forsake the God of their fathers, who break covenant with the LORD, is . . . barrenness. . . .

[R]eplacement fertility is 2.1 children per woman.

In 1987, the fertility rate was 2.1 for women. It's dropped. It's dropping and dropping dramatically. From 1980 to 2005, the population of children under 14 went from 22% to 16%, while the population of people over the age of 65 went from 14% to 17%. From 1820 to 1998, U.S. birthrates fell from 5.5 per family to 1.5 per couple. Now, it's picked up a little and went down a little, but it's nowhere near what's necessary if we're going to have a thriving economy. And while we can look at this--and many people are looking at this--in terms of economic considerations, there is a far greater spiritual issue behind all of this that many people are missing. . . .

Brothers, I hope you get it.

I hope you understand that children are a blessing and not a curse. I hope you understand that debt is a curse and children are a blessing. Let's stop applying for curses and rejecting blessings! Let's start looking for blessings. I hope you understand that you represent one of the few groups in the entire world that are bringing forth an abundance of children, and you're doing it for the glory of God.
--I cut large swaths of Phillips' discussion of this issue. He spent quite a bit of time on it.

Some additional illustrative comments on the subject:
  • "Do you know the main population groups that are bringing forth an abundance of children? Mohammedans and homeschoolers. And, by the way, we're really different. But, you know, not everybody thinks so."
  • "We have individuals, publishers, press, radical left-wingers, even inner-sphere internet blogosphere railers, who would claim that somehow there's something oppressive, something perverse, something terrible, something outrageous that comes from loving children and desiring to have more babies."
  • "In a recent book that was published by Beacon Press called Quiverfull, many individuals in this room are made to look like monsters, absolute monsters! And though we are told we're a small group, Beacon Press, which happens to be one of the leading publishers of radical lesbian, feminist, transgender books, with this recent book by Kathryn Joyce, has come out to tell us this really is a movement of racism. Well, she didn't put it exactly like that. It's our movement to perpetuate white society.

    "Have you taken a look at homeschool families lately? We are some of the most ethnically diverse, so-called racially diverse families, I've seen."
I'll quit there. You've gotten the guts of his pro-life/pro-birth message.

Next subject: seven principles of "what constitutes a real biblical reformation."
  1. "[W]e must open the lost Book of the Law" (with reference to Josiah and the [accidental!] discovery of the Book of the Law by Hilkiah the priest--see 2 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 34). [Phillips did a great job of developing this theme, but I am going to assume my audience realizes, as he summarized the issue: "[W]e have to believe that God speaks through the Scriptures, that the Old Testament and the New Testament, properly interpreted in light of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, are our guidebook."]
  2. "There must be a conviction and a repentance and a turning from sin. Christianity is not an intellectual assent. It is a personal relationship which is born out of repentance. And without conviction and repentance and turning from sin, there is no reformation revival."
  3. A love of God's revealed priorities, "the wedding of orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Sound theology and practical living."
    There is such a fear to apply the word of God. And there is a legalism in this fear. Some of the greatest Pharisees I've ever met in my life rail against those that seek to know the heart of God in making application to their own life. . . .

    [T]here is only one standard and it isn't your feelings and your emotions and it isn't a still, small, quiet voice. . . . It is God's Word, properly interpreted, with the Holy Spirit guiding.
  4. "[A] turning of the hearts of parents to their children to make ready a people prepared for the LORD . . . [which] necessarily means a Hebraic education, . . . a walk-along, talk-along discipleship. . . . That doesn't mean others can't come along and help you, stand beside you, or anything of that nature. It means that the responsibility is on you. You can't take that lightly and you don't want to, because you love them."
  5. The turning of hearts that results in discipleship "necessarily results in the reformation of family life and family culture . . . which is why the family is one of the greatest evangelism tools in the world. What a powerful evangelism tool in a world of broken homes: to bring people into your house and to let them see the love of Christ--the way you live your life in your home!"
  6. "[A] biblical and multigenerational vision of victory to bring forth the Great Commission will emerge . . . the flip side of the coin of the Dominion Mandate which teaches us that we are to be fruitful and multiply. . . . This is not political takeover; it is not forced submission to the Gospel. What this is is our acknowledgment that there is no realm, no sphere, no closet, no window, which is not and must not be proclaimed as being under the Lordship of Christ. This is our duty.

    "And the Great Commission teaches us that we are literally to 'disciple the nations, teaching them all things whatsoever I have commanded.' That means Genesis to Revelation. . . . We are to disciple nations. That's what our founding fathers did, our true founding father up at Plymouth. They began to disciple a nation. They discipled a nation. And we have freedom today."
  7. "[T]here will be a heartfelt desire for the ongoing work of semper reformanda. We will never be content. We will never say we have got it figured out. We are constantly questioning ourselves in this sense. We are constantly evaluating: Where do we stand before the Lord? Are we being prideful? Are we being idolatrous? Are we being selfish? We are constantly asking, Have we really taken this thought captive to the obedience of Christ or have I rendered this as a realm of neutrality?"
Phillips suggested that the homeschool movement of the '80s was a semper reformanda movement that "wanted to absolutely reform education in a way it had never been reformed before, both the methodology and the substance."
Now, fellows, I've got something hard to tell you. And this is for me, too. This is for all of us as we stand at the centerpiece of a great antithesis and a great judgment in our land: . . . If we dream and if we hope to be part of the solution to be more than recluses, more than just mere survivors; if we hope to really make a difference for the Lord and to be salt and light and the breadbasket of love when this world is going to need it so badly, we are going to have to get our personal and collective houses in order.

This means, fellows, that we're going to have to get real serious about repentance. . . . Here's what I'm talking about.

Some of you . . . are not really acting as the heads of your home in love. Some of you men are still struggling with perpetual bitterness. Some of you may still be angry at your fathers. . . . [S]ome of you are porn addicts. The statistics speak for themselves. Some of you have lost your love for Christ. You're content with emotions.

Brothers, judgment begins with the house of the Lord. . . . We will be useless and we will become a statistic if we don't take seriously the need to get on our face before God now.
And so he recited several Scriptures (all in the King James) having to do with repentance:
  • Jeremiah 6:16.
  • Proverbs 3:1-8.
  • Psalm 34:14-15.
  • Luke 9:62.
  • John 3:30.
  • Philippians 1:6.
And, finally, Phillips held out one final antithesis, or contrast, between two men whose multi-centenary birthdays occur in 2009: "In fact, I would ask you to look back over the last one thousand years and just consider: Who are the two most influential men of the last one thousand years?" Phillips suggested they are John Calvin and Charles Darwin.

"John Calvin has been correctly described as the true founding father of America," Phillips said. "[Y]ou don't have to agree with everything Calvin said or did. . . . No man, no system, has had such an impact theologically on this nation or other nations as John Calvin for good. . . . Our republican system of government is largely birthed in the principle of the priesthood of the believer. Presbyterian principles of government and polity . . . were brought over here and established and influenced our founders.

"And yet [Charles Darwin] had at least as much influence for evil," Phillips claimed. "Today most Christians have bought into elements of Darwinian thinking. Even if you say you don't believe in evolutionism, it's amazing how many precepts of Malthusian population control, of eugenics, and of other things come together to poison our mind."

Phillips then made a statement that he would repeat Friday evening:
History is never, ever shaped by majorities. . . . History is made by dedicated minorities.
Whether for good or ill, it's the minorities who make the difference.

And, Phillips urged, the minorities themselves are often shaped by their families.

So with Charles Darwin, "[whose] grandfather Erasmus was a God-hater."
Do you know that there are five generations of God hating Darwins--scoffers, God-haters? [And Charles] Darwin attracted other men who became his good friends, like Thomas Huxley who . . . became the personal mentor of H.G. Wells [and] H.G. Wells became the adulterous lover of Margaret Sanger [founder of what is now known as Planned Parenthood]. . . . [T]he philosophies of eugenics, the philosophies of social Darwinism, the philosophies of government statist education--all of these things can be connected to a handful of individuals who knew each other, who married into each other's families.
I am skipping an interesting story Phillips told about Admiral FitzRoy, the man who invited Darwin to accompany him on the voyage of The Beagle.

But I would like to share what Phillips said in conclusion:
In about 72 hours, I will be on a plane to Ecuador. And, God willing, if all goes well, I'll be standing on the Galapagos Islands about 24 hours after that with a film crew and with homeschoolers thanks to the generosity of some individuals who believe it important enough for us to make a major television documentary teaching fathers how to disciple their children about antithesis and about Darwin. And we will be standing there with the Galapagos turtles. We will be standing there with the penguins. We will be standing there with these amazing marine iguanas, the only iguanas of the world that live underneath the ground, and we will look into our sons' eyes, and we will teach them the truth. We will teach them that we are living in a day of battle.

We are teaching them that if they . . . depart from the principles of Scripture, they will be destroyed. We will teach them that true reformation begins with sola scriptura and those who leave the principle of love in Christ and the Bible as the authority are ultimately damned to hellish philosophy that will poison all of us around them. We will teach them that it was the compromise of the Church which led to the destruction of civilization and it is only the restoration of the fundamental principles which the reformers articulated that we can ever have hope because those principles were true. And seeing the church strong and healthy regardless of whether America thrives or whether America fails. We will teach them these things. And we will desire to give them hope, hope that through the difficulty which is ahead, we will persevere, we will be able to be strong for the Lord, we will be God's witnesses.

I began with reading Romans 11:2-5. I read it to you again:
I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to [the image of] Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Will you be part of that remnant? We need you, men. We need you so badly!

Your children's children's children, in their lives and their hope, in part [depend] on the grace of God working through you at this perilous hour.

May God have mercy on America and may God build up this important homeschool movement for the glory of God.


So. My comments?

Honestly: I found Phillips' presentation, overall, very engaging. The logical connections between various pieces wasn't always clear. It seemed he bounced around quite a bit. But his stories gripped me and held my attention.

Phillips used certain catch phrases that put me on edge.
  • I don't like his derogatory use of "Mohammedans" rather than "Muslims."
  • I thought I could "tell where he was going" with his emphasis on male and female roles, his reference to "effeminacy." But he didn't actually go there.
And if I ignore what I sense I "know" about his bigger agenda; if I listen only to what he actually said in this speech: frankly, overall and, even, in these details, I sensed I could "buy" just about everything he had to say.

I wanted to see him develop the themes, but as far as he went, I sensed I was with him. I agree: There is something inappropriate about men abdicating what I perceive as their (our!) legitimate role as protectors.

Still, at the same time--and this is where I'm not sure Phillips, or I, or our culture has figured things out--I sense men need to receive the offer of help from those women who want to participate in the forefront of the battles at their sides. If God is calling a woman to engage in battle; if she has been granted the spirit of warfare (may I call it that?), the heart to do battle; if she has the physical aptitude and desire and eagerness: why should she be turned aside? --So far, I am unconvinced that Phillips or anyone else, with reference to Scripture or not, is able to show good cause for turning them aside.

Would I volunteer for battle if I were a woman? I don't think so! But let me confess: I didn't volunteer for physical military combat as a man, either. I have never been a "martial" person. But who am I to turn away someone who says he (or she!) wants to fight?


That is, in my opinion, at least at this point in Phillips' two-part presentation (the second portion still to come), a rather minor quibble.

Did Christianity Today deserve the dig he gave it? Did NPR deserve the praise? --I'm not convinced. Having read the referenced articles, I think Phillips misrepresented them a bit. But, okay. The SAICFF is his "baby." I can see why he would become a bit touchy about it . . . and why he would be unhappy that the Christianity Today commentator questions the legitimacy of the "separate" film industry idea Phillips is touting . . . and, even, why he would view the NPR article as being positively disposed toward the SAICFF (though I don't believe it was). But, simply, having an article that presents participants' viewpoints pretty much without editorial commentary . . . I can see why that would be viewed as positive.

Are John Calvin and Charles Darwin the most important historical figures of the last 1,000 years? Well. Maybe. They certainly deserve to be considered right "up there" among the top echelons of most influential. But I don't think I would want to proclaim them, absolutely, the winners. And, come next year, or a few years from now, when some other significant historical person's birthday or key centenary comes up, I wouldn't be surprised to hear Phillips himself say that that person is "most influential."

But, once more: My opinion: these are very minor quibbles.

Is American society as a whole in a state of major decline? --I am happy to register my "vote" with Phillips and agree that many of the issues he raises are worthy of attention. They are symptomatic of some rather deep rot in the culture. And I appreciate his bringing these things to our attention.

Do American fathers, in general, need to pay more attention to their families--their wives and their children? --Again, I think, no question. This is a worthy message. We men, we fathers, need to hear it. And I appreciate Phillips' bringing this message for our benefit (the benefit of our families; the benefit of us, personally, as men and fathers).

And having said this, I think I have little more to say . . . until his next speech, what Phillips called "Part II" of his "State of the Homeschool Nation" address. Because it is there that . . . well, . . . let's deal with that when we get there. [You should see quite a bit faster turn-around on that than you saw on this speech! Sorry about that.]

1 A very nice book, by the way! Return to text.

Next post in this series: CHEC "Men's Leadership Summit," Part V - "Visionary Fathers".
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