REDEFINING FAMILY THE SBC “PROPHET” -MOORE MAY BE PROVING HIMSELF AN EVANGELICAL PARIAH.
Thomas Littleton 3/4/2019
(Russell Moore from Wall Street Journal article in 2013 quote – “Culture war is over we lost-make Winsome” )
The most shocking revelation to come from the radical movements to change the language and redefine historic Christian faith to date has been the brazen Revoice movement. It’s close ties to the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission headed by Russell Moore made some waves which linger among other almost daily controversies surrounding Moore . This reality of controversy and ties to Revoice may now worsen in light of the shared vision of Revoice and Russell Moore to redefine family in the church.
REVOICE CONTROVERSY -ROUND TWO
As massive as the LGBT+ “Flourishing ” story exposing the event became in 2018 – the new line up of speakers provided undeniable integration of the message on “sexual orientation” with the evangelical mainstream movements like The Gospel Coalition and the ERLC. Mark Yarhouse not only was commissioned to draft the 2010 documents for TGC and its affiliates spawning the embrace of sexual orientation- but Yarhouse is now a keynote speaker at the 2019 Revoice event as announced this past week . Revoice is the voice of the mainstream messaging on LGBT. Room for doubt or plausible deniability no longer exist .
RUSSELL MOORE AND THE CORE CHANGE EFFORT
BY far the most disturbing thing to come out of Revoice was the echoed sentiment of feminist theology which labels the nuclear family an “IDOL”. Here are just a few reactions to Nate Collins Revoice lecture where this rhetoric was engaged last year.
Even the ever lagging Denny Burk made note of this problematic “Idol” language
SOURCE OF “THE FAMILY AS IDOL” CONCEPT
Where did Nate Collins find this worn but popular language accusing the Biblical Institution of marriage of being an idol ? His Curriculum Vitae gives some clue.
Collins studies have included a major focus on” Feminine”and “Gender Theory ”
“No issue tests the ability of church members and theologians to define the nature of the
Christian life quite like the question of how the church is to respond to homosexual Christians.There are at least two ways to view homosexuality.6 Some people assume that all homosexual acts are equally sinful. For this reason they believe that the Pauline condemnation of homosexuality as “unnatural” applies to all homosexual behavior (Rom. 1:18-32).””Yet, some biblical scholars point out that this passage can only refer to the homosexual acts of heterosexual persons.7 This is because the writers of the Bible did not distinguish between a homosexual orientation and same-gender sexual acts. If this distinction is accepted, the condemnation of homosexuality in Romans does not apply to the sexual acts of homosexual persons.”
in Paul’s day. These terms, like “heterosexual,” “heterosexuality,” “bisexual,” and
“bisexuality,” presuppose an understanding of human sexuality that was possible only
with the advent of modern psychology and sociological analysis. The ancient writers . . .
were operating without the vaguest idea of what we have learned to call “sexual
the single life of the eunuch for its spiritual potential. Condemnation of all homosexual
expressions of love in the church today can also be questioned from the perspective of Jesus’ law of love. When seen as a life orientation, the issue raised for the church is no longer that of the sexual behavior of homosexual Christians. If the issue is the relationship of homosexual Christians to God, then the most important question is that of how the church can support the spiritual well-being and wholeness of homosexual people.”
“How would you define family in light of the cross?
The church is a household economy, where all of us use our gifts for the sake of the mission. The fact that every person has a gift for the upbuilding of the rest of us is one more way of God signaling to us that we belong. We are wanted. We are loved… We are family. That means no Christian lives alone, and no Christian dies alone. There’s no such thing as a “single” Christian.”
(Also note the ” Holy Family ” Catholic overtones of the response below)
“What can readers expect to find in The Storm-Tossed Family?
“This is a book about the family, but family in light of the cross. It is at the Place of the Skull where we see the hidden presence of a faithful Father, the visible presence of a human mother, the background of a life lived out with an infancy, a childhood, and a hometown. There we see a groom fighting for His bride.”
LEAP OF REDEFINING FAITH
Moore makes huge leaps into asserting the Fishburn assumptions of the church is the real family -displacing the nuclear family as central to God’s Biblical order and cleverly contextualizes the Christians belonging to the family of God in the context of Roman Catholic ideology of the “Holy Family ” represented” – as Moore asserts “at the Cross”.
What does Fishburn say about Family? Fishburn believes that the American Christian view of family is the incubator for many of the things the feminist see as the root of problems in our culture and the church. She addresses those issues through terms like “the family alter, the family pew and the American Dream”. Christian families continued reinforcement of these problematic “values” hinders social change and the church development of community .
Examples ( Note the political overtones of Fishburns thesis and how they mirror Russell Moore and many in the ERLC/TGC conservative deconstructionist and anti American -anti Christian heritage politics)
“My thesis is that Protestants in the United States are not yet fully aware of the extent to which the changing family affects the life of a congregation because our theologies, ministries, and traditions are influenced by a worldview that coalesced before the Civil War. Many people continue to think about sexuality, family, and church in ways that took shape in the Victorian era, a time of empire.”
“Confronting the Idolatry of Family challenges those who believe that “decline” in the family is the cause of moral decay in the nation and membership loss in churches. This perpetuates a belief held by pastors and theologians in the Victorian period that “the Christian family” was the building block of civilization without which neither nation nor children would be moral. This implies that the church exists primarily to support the moral fabric of the American democracy. During the Victorian era — approximately 1830-1913 — an ultimacy was attributed to the formative power of “the Christian family.” Protestants commonly regarded the family as “a little church.”
“The belief that America is — or ought to be — a Christian nation continues to subtly dominate the way many Protestants think about the life of a congregation. I am suggesting that it is not the mission of Protestant churches to make America Christian, or even to transform American culture. Further, we will not be free from family idolatry — the effect of attributing ultimacy to “the Christian family” on Protestant spirituality — unless we are free from illusions about “a Christian America.”
“The church members find dialogue difficult because they rarely question their presuppositions about human nature or how truth is known.3 Yet, these things are similar in many ways. Both assume a hierarchy of social values, moral values, and intellectual values that belong to the Protestant impulse associated with an American religion of empire.4 I refer to this impulse as the American Dream.”
“The present situation of cultural transition and of perceived decline in churches is an
opportunity for reflection about what it means to be Christian in a pluralistic culture. What does it mean to participate in “new life in Christ” for late-twentieth-century Christians? What does it mean to love Jesus Christ more than family?”
“The family is a mediating social institution, especially as it mediates social and moral values to children. But a family unit socializes into its own value system which may be more or less Christian in values learned by children from their parents. If the family unit is believed to be the primary source of Christian faith, as it was in Protestant churches of the Victorian period, then the Church becomes an adjunct socializer and ritualizer of family events. As Sydney Callahan points out, a domesticated church inevitably tends to become conservative, class conscious, sexist, and ineffectual in the society at large. This is why the mission of the church in family religious education is at one and the same time to transcend and support the family.”
ARTICULATING THE CORE CONCERN
Fishburn points to the work of Sydney Callahan -Catholic feminist to assert that the problem with Protestant views and practice of family and raising of children is that” a domesticated church inevitably tends to become conservative, class conscious, sexist, and ineffectual in the society at large”. Clearly the assertion here is that Protestant Christians with conservative (their word Victorian) views of Christian faith disciple their children to be conservative- class conscious -sexist-bigoted and problematic for the church in fulfilling its role (according to feminist theology ) in society. So we find Russell Moore echoing these same ideas from both feminist and Catholic theology.
Moore on Family
” We are shaped and formed by family in all sorts of routine and unexceptional ways that we may never even notice or remember. However, we must see the family clearly, and we must see beyond it. The only safe harbor for a storm-tossed family is a nail-scarred home.”
“Sometimes the Devil tempts us to exaggerate the importance of family so that we make gifts like sex or having kids the single defining feature of our lives. A young couple, for instance, may think achieving orgasm has transcendent importance. In a similar vein, consider how a mechanistic parenting culture—one that gives certain parenting choices determinative significance for a child’s future—can haunt a church.”
“Something has gone terribly wrong,” Moore observes, “when a Christian [mother] feels she must protect herself from the church, for fear that her daughter’s spiritual crisis will be discussed as part of a debate over whether she should have breastfed longer or . . . chosen homeschooling over public school”
Moores liberal Immigration agenda appears in his view of family. Moore asserts that children of immigrants are made “invisible by language—often presented culturally or politically as parasites or as ‘anchors’ for their parents to draw welfare benefits from a wealthier country”( NOTE- Like Collins book on LGBT”All But Invisible” raising visibility appears to be one of the needs in these activist evangelical agendas.)
BACK TO DREW UNIVERSITY – IS MOORE A FISHBURN DISCIPLE?
Fishburn makes the case that it is “unmistakably clear that there is no longer a standard form for family ” and Russell Moore is only too glad to assume she is correct.” Your family, whatever it is, will bless you, maybe in ways you don’t even notice in the blur of busyness at the moment.” Moore again asserts the shaping influence and flexible definition of family in the close of chapter one of his book “I don’t know your situation. I do know, though, that you are part of a family—a past or present or future family, even if you don’t know any of the names or faces of anyone in that family. Someone has shaped you. Someone is shaping you. Someone will shape you”. He subtly but decidedly begins to aim the reader toward how they should allow for family to be “redefined”without much for the scriptural anchor provided for family in creation . By Chapter five – Russell Moore is fully advocating that the Church is the answer as the redefined family- a concept steeped in the teachings of Fishburn and feminist theology.
Chapter One: The Storm-Tossed Family. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Chapter Two: The Cross as Family Crisis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Chapter Three: The Family as Spiritual Warfare. . . . . . . . . . 25
Chapter Four: Family Is Not First. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Chapter Five: The Church as Family. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Chapter Six: Man and Woman at the Cross. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Chapter Seven: Marriage and the Mystery of Christ. . . . . . . 99
Chapter Eight: Reclaiming Sexuality. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 Chapter Nine: The Road to and from Divorce. . . . . . . . . . 157
Chapter Ten: Children Are a Blessing, Not a Burden. . . . . 183 Chapter Eleven: Parenting with the End in View. . . . . . . . 213
Chapter Twelve: Family Tensions, Family Traumas. . . . . . . 241
Chapter Thirteen: On Aging and the Family. . . . . . . . . . . 265
Chapter Fourteen: Free to Be Family. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
REDEFINING THE CHURCH AS FAMILY IS THE GREAT COMMON GROUND OF THE ERLC MOORE AND FEMINIST THEOLOGY AND THEORY
Chapter 5 of Moore’s book is titled “The Church as Family”
By this time we can fully see Moore is concluding that the real family of believers is the church . “How would you define family in light of the cross? The church is a household economy, where all of us use our gifts for the sake of the mission. The fact that every person has a gift for the upbuilding of the rest of us is one more way of God signaling to us that we belong. We are wanted. We are loved… We are family. That means no Christian lives alone, and no Christian dies alone. There’s no such thing as a “single” Christian.”
OTHER ECHOES OF FEMINIST THEOLOGY IN THE MOORE /ERLC DIALOG
Fishburn says of the Victorian Idolatrous view of family that it does not value singleness
“For instance, there has never been a very secure place for single adults in “the family pew.” There is a sense that “something is wrong” with adults who do not marry. An unstated expectation that adults should marry and have children is operative today in parental concern about the sexuality of teens and the failure of young adults to marry.”
“One of the most difficult ethical issues for adult church members continues to be that of the sexuality of unmarried young adults. Programs offered for singles often reflect the Victorian assumption that everyone should marry. The isolation of single persons or childless couples from adults who are married and have children perpetuates the Victorian way of ordering relationships in a congregation; they organized all church activities to give optimal support to their vision of the ideal Christian family: a father, a mother, and several children.”
“Even though there are single-parent and blended families in most congregations today, many church members still imagine “the family pew” with a father, a mother, and several children there together on Sunday morning. Ifa congregation or its pastor visualize membership in terms of this kind of family ideal, it is a sign of a culturally accommodated, domesticated faith. An unexamined commitment of pastors and people to values of “the family pew” is keeping Protestant churches from being able to offer spiritual formation for people from traditional and nontraditional families.”
SINGLENESS AND THE ERLC /TGC
Singleness is also a big topic currently being addressed by ERLC partners who are busily addressing the “idolatry of family” by the church like Sam Allberry and TGC .
Fresh off the press for TGC and ERLC followers comes this new book reviewed below by TGC
“Much of what we commonly assume about singleness―that it is primarily about the absence of good things like intimacy, family, or meaningful ministry―is either flat-out untrue or, at the very least, shouldn’t be true. To be single, we often think, is to be alone and spiritually hindered.”
“But the Bible paints a very different picture of singleness: it is a positive gift and blessing from God. This book seeks to help Christians―married and unmarried alike―value singleness as a gift from God so that we can all encourage singles to take hold of the unique opportunities their singleness affords and see their role in the flourishing of the church as a whole.”
WHAT ARE THEY SAYING ?
So according to ERLC/ TGC and Allberry the view of “Church is family ” and the valuing of singles in the church family life is the answer to singles like Allberry and other Same Sex Attracted people who- by the Fishburn feminist mantra -“cannot change” their “sexual orientation ” by faith in Christ .
HOSPITALITY AND COMMUNITY
In This inclusion culture of family all things are shared in the name of “Hospitality”. Fishburns feminist theory /theology long range goals with the church replacing family is the creation of a Christian “Community “. This is fully onboard with Moore and others in the TGC/ERLC “Communitarian “worldview . Welcome- inclusion – belonging for the common good is the central theme and measure of success .Hospitality by the larger community -seen as the true family -offering inclusion for all -is the new ideal proposed to replace the “idolatrous nuclear family” . Among other concerns like the Socialist ideology this view embodies and imbibes -is the fact that this tactic of displacing – replacing a person’s family ties and sense of belonging is a vintage tactic of authoritarian cults .
Are TGC/ERLC wanting to undermine Christian family to replace it with their own authoritarian structure ? Indications are disturbing but far too involved to discuss here .
PITCHING INCLUSION BY COERCION
The premier TGC/ERLC facilitators to the LGBT “conversation” Sam Allberry along with Tim Keller introduced the Church LGBT Inclusion Audit at the U K Living Out Conference just prior to the Revoice Conference of 2018. Its principle points -including that of the church community “sharing children” with those of different backgrounds and life experiences raised many eyebrows among evangelical Christians after the ERLC Family Conference. Again this conference echoed the Fishburn assertions of Idolatry of family.
The TGC/ERLC facilitators also include Rosaria Butterfield who is herself schooled in feminine theory and the tainted theology of TGC. https://rosariabutterfield.com/biography
“Raised and educated in liberal Catholic settings, Rosaria fell in love with the world of words. In her late twenties, allured by feminist philosophy and LGBT advocacy, she adopted a lesbian identity. Rosaria earned her PhD from Ohio State University, then served in the English department and women’s studies program at Syracuse University from 1992 to 2002. Her primary academic field was critical theory, specializing in queer theory. Her historical focus was 19th-century literature, informed by Freud, Marx, and Darwin. She advised the LGBT student group, wrote Syracuse University’s policy for same-sex couples, and actively lobbied for LGBT aims alongside her lesbian partner.”
Rosaria Butterfield’s current work with TGC/ERLC is focused on “Hospitality ” toward the LGBT community by the Church. Something firmly embedded in the Church as family vision of Fishburn/ Drew/ Feminist Theology .
““Radically ordinary hospitality does not simply flow from the day-to-day interests of the household. You must prepare spiritually. The Bible calls spiritual preparation warfare. Radically ordinary hospitality is indeed spiritual warfare.”
““Our post-Christian neighbors need to hear and see and taste and feel authentic Christianity, hospitality spreading from every Christian home that includes neighbors in prayer, food, friendship, childcare, dog walking, and all the daily matters upon which friendships are built.”
(Note that Butterfield’s ideal of hospitality echoes that of Allberry’s LGBT inclusion audit and the Fishburn ideals of church as family including homosexuals .)
““The key to contagious grace—the grace that allows the margins to move to the center, the grace that commands you to never fear the future, the grace that reveals that what humbles you cannot hurt you if Jesus is your Lord—that grace is ours when we do what Mary says to do in this scene. She says to the servants (and the Holy Spirit says to us): “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). Simple, right? No. We cannot will ourselves into the deep obedience that God requires. We can’t obey until we ourselves have received this grace and picked up our cross. We can’t obey until we have laid down our life, with all our false and worldly identities and idols.” (Idols like family according to feminine theory)
““The Christian life makes no room for independent agents, onlookers, renters. We who are washed in the blood of Christ are stakeholders.”
““Radically ordinary hospitality is this: using your Christian home in a daily way that seeks to make strangers neighbors, and neighbors family of God.”
And a final quote from Butterfield which could easily be taken as coming from the halls of Drew University Theological School.
““Are Christians victims of this post-Christian world? No. Sadly, Christians are co-conspirators. We embrace modernism’s perks when they serve our own lusts and selfish ambitions. We despise modernism when it crosses lines of our precious moralism. Our cold and hard hearts; our failure to love the stranger; our selfishness with our money, our time, and our home; and our privileged back turned against widows, orphans, prisoners, and refugees mean we are guilty in the face of God of withholding love and Christian witness. And even more serious is our failure to read our Bibles well enough to see that the creation ordinance and the moral law, found first in the Old Testament, is as binding to the Christian as any red letter. Our own conduct condemns our witness to this world.”
POLITICAL AMBITIONS OF REDEFINING FAMILY
Janet Fishburn and feminine theology see the central concern of Christian Family as the incubator of Conservative Christianity and the “Christian Right” . So taking down the Christian Family as an idol and replacing it with with a secularized church community impregnated with liberal feminist theology would prove very useful in taking out the foundation of Christian Conservatism and its presence as salt and light in America.
“During the 1960s change in sexual behavior and family roles led some social theorists to predict the end of the family… The churches of America are culture-conserving institutions. Even the most liberal denominations like the Unitarian Universalists function to conserve the cultural commitments of the middle-class status-quo. Despite the equality acquired by women and Afro-Americans during the 1960s, members of middle-class churches are still relatively unaware of the extent to which most congregations are still sexist and racist. .. ” (page 38)
“Evidence indicates that Protestant ways of thinking about the church, family, and sexuality have lost meaning and may actually interfere with the capacity of church members to respond to change in the family. The family as a social institution is not extinct. The Protestant ideal of family is inadequate when dealing with life in a changing culture and can mislead the thinking of pastors about Christian spirituality.
Even though the Bible is an ancient book, it offers ways of thinking about the world that can still be considered a guide to Christian faith. The general attitudes and ordering of values in Scripture contain timeless wisdom about God’s relationship to the people of God and the world. When viewed as a general guide to faith rather than as a collection of specific teachings, the Bible can provide a basis for theological reflection and dialogue about every aspect of life for contemporary Christians.” (page 129)
“The term nuclear family is used by sociologists to refer to the smallest family unit, typically that of two parents and their children. In this time of changing family structure, nuclear is an ironic choice to designate the smallest set of family relationships. The nuclear family is an isolated family. It is often a family wrenched out of extended family traditions and relationships. It is not unusual to find explosive relationships between members of families isolated from friendship with people like themselves. It is not unusual to find congregations where the emotional volatility of the family life of members is replicated in the life of the congregation.”
“As is the case with atomic power, the nuclear family has the potential to be a social force that is constructive or destructive. When a congregation has social networks in which intergenerational relationships are possible, parents are relieved of sole responsibility for the faith of their children. When this happens, it is easier to see that the American ideal of a self-sufficient family is not only impossible; it is undesirable.”
Again Fishburn is asserting here that the self sufficient Christian Family is not only Impossible but- UNDESIRABLE ! In addition the undesirable fruit of Christian family would include such traits as individualism, entrepreneurship, historic masculinity and femininity, the inspiration to seek a better life for your nuclear family in the dreaded “American Dream” . These are all part of the long list of undesirable traits bred in the nuclear family.
As difficult as it may be to admit to the massive collusion in deception by Evangelical leaders of the Flock of God – even over the God established institution of the family -it is far more difficult to ignore the brazen progressive political ambitions of TGC/ ERLC and their operatives.
RUSSELL MOORE AND TIM KELLER’S RELENTLESS ATTACKS ON CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN IDENTITY .
Just in the last two years alone -the progressive political overtones -outrageous rhetoric -and public shaming of Christians for Biblical conservative views reflected in their voting has outed the TGC/ERLC ambitions to change the conservative culture of the evangelical church in America. The most effective way to bring about this social change has been to flood our educational institutions -then trickle down into the pulpits of our churches. Now comes the revelation that they are partnering with feminist theology and theory to take down the incubator of conservative Christianity- the Christian Nuclear Family and working to do so in the name of “Christ or Gospel centered family “.
Read as many examples as need to confirm to your own heart and mind that these men of TGC/ERLC want to change your conservative Christian values to reflect their own progressive views. This includes your views of family sexuality and even pro life ! (Though most of these stories are fronted with the “anti trump” mantra- it is the conservative voting patterns in general of many American Christians that are the target of these evangelical leaders.)
The idea is that Evangelicals who voted for Trump have done so at the expense of the Gospel and have hurt the Church witness in the culture. However the anti-conservative political talking points of TGC/ERLC come into play on every progressive issue from immigration and refugees-to race- #MeToo movement – LGBT+ and every other politicized issue of our time.For those who want to bring about social change in America – they must do so by impacting the Church . To fundamentally alter the church -you must change the structure of the Christian Family. THAT is what we now see in play by our own in the church .