real encouragement for real homeschool moms

The young, restless, and reformed Kevin DeYoung has used the phrase “militant fecundity” in a appeal for evangelicals to have larger families. Reviewing a new book by  Jonathan Last called, What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster,DeYoung has used a phrase that, when googling, only turns up either apologetics for the patriocentric movement or their writings by their critics. Interestingly, Steve Brown from the Nation Center for the Family Integrated Church claims to have coined the phrase. Just a few weeks ago I linked to an ad for a discernment conference where Brown is sharing the speakers’ platform with notable evangelicals like Phil Johnson. What is going on?  Can these people who are opening the door to the reconstructionist movement really not get it that they are legitimizing their agenda?


If anyone still thinks militant fecundity is about seeing children as a blessing,I encourage them to listen to these podcasts from my archives.

38 Responses to Is “militant fecundity” now mainstream evangelicalism?

  • This is a bit of a tangent, but wondered if you had heard this. Somewhere I recently read (and I neglected to bookmark it!) that there is a growing expectation in Christian circles that to be a complete Christian family you have to go through an international adoption. I’m not kidding. I WISH I had saved the place I read it. It sounded so off the wall to me I could hardly believe it. But the more I read around, the more I see Christians pursuing international adoptions.

    Has anyone else heard this?

    Just what we need. Another litmus test to prove you are a real Christian. Now you not only have to have a big family, you also need to make sure some of your children are from overseas.

  • thatmom says:

    Sallie, I have really picked up o this sentiment about adoption in general. And I LOVE adoption….I WAS adopted! But more often than not when I come across a pro-adoption article or blog, the author is attempting to guilt the readers into adoption. This is one reason I like the orphan care ministry of Rice Bowls….not manipulation,just cute pictures of real kids being fed by the donations of Christians. I m thinking adoption is the new homeschooling…the latest way to be better than someone else. And of course I certainly do NOT see this from everyone just like there are skads of gracious homeschoolers!

  • Granddad says:

    My daughter recently adopted a brand new baby. Leading up to their approval she had commented on her blog about people asking if she going to adopt from overseas. What’s rather odd is that she thought that question was ridiculous and yet, she is very much into Voddie B..

    I have a pastor friend who has been pursuing adoption of a child from Africa. Yet he is not into patriarchy (although he is a non-egalitarian), but they do homeschool.

    I cannot comment on Kevin DeYoung’s appeal since I have not read it, but considering how prolific Muslim families are encouraged to be I’m somewhat sympathetic.

    The pastor at the church I attend (PCA) has 5 kids and is absolutely not a friend of VF, Voddie, etc. So I’m careful not to brand everyone who has or wants more than a couple of kids as someone who is into “militant fecundity.” But they do activate my radar (the others, not my pastor.)

  • Michelle says:

    I can speak about the international adoptions… We brought home 2 special needs orphans from Eastern Europe last year, and definitely felt the pressure to adopt. When all is said and done, yes, we made the decision to do so, BUT there was immense pressure that this is a Christian’s duty. After all, the Bible does say to take care of the widow and orphan. We had the love to give, the space in our home, the money, etc… How could we make a solid argument that we should not adopt?

    International adoption is often advocated for since the conditions they are living in in other countries are often much worse than what those children here in the States are dealing with. Often times they are, but sometimes they are not! Children here deal with horrific conditions, too, and much abuse, etc… They do usually have better access to healthcare here, but not always. A child is a child, and deserves a home, no matter where they are born. Sometimes, the exotic idea of traveling overseas is a draw, too.

    I agree with Karen that there many blogs or articles you read that often guilt Christians into adoption, making them feel that is what they must do to be proper Christians. The Bible DOES say to take care of the widow and orphan, but dare I say that does not always mean that a family must take the child into their home and raise them. That does not work for everyone, and it is not right for every family. There are many, many ways to minister to orphan and widow needs, not just adoption.

    I also agree that there are plenty of people who adopt for the right reasons, are Christians, and do not have a militant fecundity agenda. There are people who really are called to take on lots of foster or adopted children, special needs or not, and do a spectacular job of it. I would say they are in the minority, not the majority, but thank God for them!

    Unfortunately, due to health issues with myself we recently found out, we are seeking new homes for our 2 adopted boys. We did not make the decision lightly, but with much prayer. We have found that those we have told about it so far have given us nothing but lots of support and understanding. I do feel, though, that once it is really out there, the ones that will give us the most backlash will be other adoptive parents, and that is very sad to me.

    There is a new book written by Kathyrn Joyce on the the topic of adoption that I am curious to read. I have read her Quiverful book and found it insightful. I know she does not profess to be a Christian, but sometimes those who are on the other side so to say often have the most refreshing and helpful thoughts on the matter.

  • Anthea says:

    “I wanna brahn baby, Wayne. All the ovver mums have got at least one brahn baby and I want one…”

    That’s from a cheeky British comedy sketch. Waynetta Slob tells her husband that she wants the latest inner-city accessorty — a brown baby. It all gets sillier after that (and cheekier, I must warn you), and they end up with one of Naomi Campbell’s children — “I’ve just had octuplets, would you like one?”

    I have read some of what Sallie describes, and whenever I come across another syrupy account of how we should all take in a Liberian orphan, I can only hear Waynetta in my ear calling out, “I wanna brahn baby!”

    PS Militant fecundity sounds a bit less fun than the normal reason for expanding your family. (Shall we try for another baby? It might be nice to have a sister/brother for little Timothy.) Conception as an act of war? It sounds like one more thing for the weary home edding mother to add to her To Do list.

  • Heather says:

    Perhaps it was one of the speakers at the “Together for Adoption” conference……

    I thought adoption was about people choosing to bring a child in to their life. The Catholic church, the Methodist church, they have been doing the work of adoption awareness for years. But it seems that to adopt right you have to first read the books, send your pastor to a conference and get the correct theology.

  • Rob Shearer says:

    ahem… On the other hand (to quote Groucho), sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    Some of us just love children. We didn’t set out to make a statement. We just love children.

    Every now and then, you run across an old hippie, who just loves kids.

  • Susan T says:

    Love the last 3 comments! Perhaps the theme here is “Minimalist Adoption”. Pray, wait & listen, follow promptings of the Holy Spirit as to how you/your family are called to –> support children.

  • Pressing On says:

    Yes, children are gifts from God to be nurtured, not trophies to be displayed in a contest. My heart always falls when I hear someone talking as of the number of children they have is a measure of their standing before God.

    First and foremost, we are to individually walk with the Lord on the path where He leads. For some that may mean childlessness. For some that may mean a large family. Others may adopt.

    So very sad, and yet, yes this is becoming more and more a part of the evangelical church.

  • Laura (old OR vintage) says:

    Now this is an important conversation. Some of us have been becoming increasingly alarmed that, to quote a previous post, “Adoption is becoming the new homeschooling”.

    Adoption can be a beautiful thing. And yes, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. But sometimes, it is a good thing done for the wrong reasons, by people who are in no place to consider it- under pressure to be the “bestest Christian family”- not because you are a Christian family that simply wants to adopt and love a child!

    A child is a child- not a project, not a photo-op to look like a successful and “complete” family to the outside world.

    We have adopted 3 children. Sadly, the 2 who were siblings are living elsewhere now, (one is an adult and their sibling is in a well run Christian treatment program after much counseling, etc.) and our bio family is trying to heal and repair from the trauma of this whole dysfunctional experience. My misplaced motivation cost my bio children dearly in terms of my time and emotional availability :( I will not accept the trite cliche that somehow this will benefit my bio kids, because we ” sacrificed ” to do God’s will. I personally don’t think it was God’s will in this case, but my desire to do God’s will coupled with the feeling that I had to be a “better” Christian .by doing what I thought a “better Christian” must do. The other adoption was totally different, and a blessing to all. So I can say that like all of life, it is not a fairy tale, and not something to enter into without honest and serious prayer and consideration.

    I am afraid that in some circles, it is part of the “Supermom” syndrome…yet another thing that we must do to keep up the illusion of our perfection. This is not how it should be.

    Lest I sound cynical, I will tell you that I know of quite a few families that have had similar experiences to our own. And just to repeat, adoption is a beautiful Biblical picture of what can be a wonderful thing.

  • Aly k says:

    Laura, thank you for sharing your story. I am seeing the pressure in churches to adopt as well. Sometimes it seems like a trendy thing and other times like a competition or a false expression of holiness. I felt pressure to consider adoption myself but realized that it would not be a wise decision for my husband and I who are struggling to faithfully raise the many small children we already have. I have several friends who plan to adopt at some point and when I tell them we have no plans to they always seem kind of taken aback. I’ve seen a few families struggle immensely through some very difficult adoption situations and others that have experienced very little difficulties. Either way, I think many people have a very unrealistic view of adoption which results in some of them heading into it without being prepared.

    I try to explain to people, that just because we don’t plan to adopt does not mean we do not feel called to help orphans or mothers who find themselves unable to care for a child. There are many other ways Christians can help orphans and widows (or single moms) besides adoption. One of the most amazing and heart-wrenching experiences I have had was helping a mom give birth to a precious baby girl that she chose adoption for. My husband and I opened our home to a pregnant mother who we did not know. Her and her young son lived with us for a few very emotional months and I had the honor of being with her when she gave birth and when she chose to go through with giving her baby to an adoptive family. I have tears streaming down my face as I remember holding her hand and sobbing with her when she held her baby girl for the first time knowing that she would not have much more time with her. I remember the way some of the hospital staff and doctors judged her and treated her poorly because of her decisions. And how they did not respect her as the mother that brought this life into the world. Her baby was adopted by a loving, homeschooling, Christian home. Though I am not very close with her adoptive family, I do know that after they adoption they struggled with depression and being overwhelmed and that they had to stop homeschooling at least for a while because of the struggles. I don’t say this to judge them but just to recognize that adoption can be very hard for many reasons even though it is a great blessing as well. And it is not something that Christians should feel pressured into doing.

  • Laura (old OR vintage) says:

    I think the main point is that we need honesty here and so often those of us in Christian homeschool circles seem to want to look like they think they should, rather than how they really are. And I am speaking of myself here! I used to believe that if I ever admitted that things weren’t perfect, I could be a discouragement to other Christians and cause them to lose heart.

    There are many ways to help children in need of a loving home. I have seen adoptive parents display an almost martyr like persona- as though the more horrific things are in the family due to adoptive problems, the bigger their blessings. This is not so! There are struggles that strengthen people, and there are struggles that wound and hurt people. Don’t pursue anguish for the sake of being a hero, or think you can somehow handle more than the next Christian out there.

    Again, I want to repeat- adoption is a thing that God loves- many times, it is a beautiful thing. Can we necessarily rate whether or not we should do something based on how favorable the outcome? Of course not! But as I said above, neither do we pursue something based on how we can sacrifice the needs of our bio family in the most severe ways.

    For what it is worth, and recognizing that every situation is unique, I would say the following 4 things…

    1) If you adopt, consider that it might be wise to adopt children younger than your bio children.

    2) Think carefully about sibling groups…particularly if there are other kids in your family. If things fall apart with one sibling, my experience tells me that the other sibling will blame and resent you 100% for not “making it work” with their sibling. So, in effect, you lose both.

    3) Don’t expect your other kids to be “adoptive parents”. They did not choose this. Consider how it will affect them if the adoption fails. Our younger bio kids were terribly traumatized by the estrangement of their older adoptive sister.

    4) If you are a busy homeschooling mom of many…don’t think that you will somehow balance out your life or serenely complete your family by taking on yet more. Yes, God’s plan often defies human logic- but randomly doing things that make no sense is just like drawing straws and calling it providence. There is a lot of lousy doctrine out there, and some of it feeds into the idea that we somehow have to prove or earn our relationship with God, often at the expense of the very things we are primarily led to do. For example, I have read articles that glibly suggest the way to rid yourself of postpartum depression (diagnosed as a spiritual, “selfish” disorder ?), is to….You guessed it!! Have more children!!!

    If you really feel that adoption is for you- and you really want more children-not a “project”- God bless you. It can be a wonderful, though challenging, adventure. I am seldom this transparent with the general public, only with other Christian adoptive parents who have experienced the same things we have. People DON’T want to hear this message- but we need to. Thanks for listening.

  • Kris says:

    Aly K and Laura, thank you for your comments, and I agree with much of those as I have experience them in my life and family growing up.

    I came from a family where my parents adopted four kids and there were 6 of us bio kids (there were foster kids as well). I can’t say that it ended up being the best situation. It caused alot of pain and heartache for some of us which has taken years in healing. I bear no hard feelings now, but my parents do not see the pain it caused some of us and still stand by their decision to adopt and don’t like the fact that it even hurt some of us, but that they were doing a good thing. There were phsycological issues of some of the kids that caused a great deal of havoc in our home, as well as me and my older sister were there to be “mom” to the adopted, bio and foster kids in high school because my parents were so tied up with the issues of these kids. Several of those adopted children do not follow the Lord and have made some very poor life choices. As a result, we still do not have a close family since that time. Life changed so dramatically at that point.

    I know that for my mom she is very interested in looking good for other people. Whether that was her motive, I don’t know, but I still see it in her. It definitely seemed like a good “spiritual” thing to do. But, I do think that this teaching has been in the church for many years, this is not something “new” in the church, and it is very misleading.

    Definitely be sure that it is something God wants you to do, and I have to agree with Laura that the kids need to be younger then your own kids. Be totally aware as much as possible what kind of issues the child has and be sure that you and your spouse and family are ready to take that on. If your not ready, it’s better not to. God’s timing is best.

  • Heather says:

    Kris said:
    “I know that for my mom she is very interested in looking good for other people. Whether that was her motive, I don’t know, but I still see it in her. It definitely seemed like a good “spiritual” thing to do. But, I do think that this teaching has been in the church for many years, this is not something “new” in the church, and it is very misleading.”

    I have seen the same reasoning, the concept of looking good for others, used to justify marriages, having children, having lots of children, and all kinds of school choices. Come to think of it, there is almost nothing that doesn’t fall foul of the “I’ll look good” syndrome among Christians. I succumb to it myself at times. Lots of times.

    But I am especially sensitive to the reality that children and young, vulnerable, women are often the ones who bear the brunt of those things taught by the church about marriage and parenting and “domesticity”. And large families and adoption and complementarianism and all the rest!

    Which is why I am glad you write, Karen!

  • Nellie says:

    This is interesting and timely. I have a love/hate relationship with the show 19 Kids and Counting. On the one hand, it is a wholesome show I can watch with my children and it is interesting to see how a large famy like the Duggars go about things. On the other hand because of my dislike of anything attached to Bill Gothard’s damaging, extra Biblical, man made system of how you must live your life, I feel uncomfortable with it too. The Duggars are the poster children for the Gothard way.

    Anyway, what is very interesting is Michelle Duggar said recently that she is open to adoption and I thought she mentioned an international one. If you are familiar with Gothard’s teaching, this will get your attention. He has not been very supportive of adoption because of his twisting of scripture and “sins of the father” that might be manifest of your adopted child. If you research some of what he’s said on this, it’s enough to make you sick. I wonder if there has been a softening of this Gothard teaching in more recent years?

  • thatmom says:

    Nellie, I read through Gothard’s adoption brochure again a couple months ago and had forgotten just how horrible it truly is. His position is that adopted children should always consider themselves a not truly equals with their siblings and should see themselves a servants to the biological children. He assumes that there are problems inherent in adopted children because of the sins of the forefathers.
    I found a complete misunderstanding of what adoption is in the first place in that adopted children have full benefits equal to biological children. And given these things any position that earthly adoption is equal to spiritual adoption is completely shattered.

  • Nellie says:

    Exactly! What a perversion of adoption as presented Biblically. Romans 8:17. . . we are heirs and co-heirs with Christ.

    This topic also brings up something I read sometime ago about Above Rubies and the Campbell clan The story is a bit complicated but there were adoptions from Liberia and let’s just say that things didn’t go well, and your heart just breaks when you read about what these now older children report about what they went through. I recall there is very good article about all that at a site called that not only talks about these kinds of adoptions within the patriocentric movement but among evangelicals in general, and the train wreck waiting to happen if people go into this with wrong reasons.

  • Laura (old OR vintage) says:

    I certainly agree that the Gothard position on adoption is strange and as usual with his ideas, full of negativity and oppression. BUT- I think that some of us have bought in too much to the popular idea that a loving family fixes everything. It does not always work that way. And there is reason for great caution when bringing a child into your family who has seen and endured very bad things in their pre-adoptive life. I have come to believe that there are children who do much better in a secure and well run group home facility.

    If you have not lived with Reactive Attachment Disorder, it is hard to imagine. And I thought it was mostly psychological mumbo jumbo until I saw it first hand. Please keep in mind that although adoption is a thing God loves, that it is not always possible or desirable in every case, in the manner we understand it.

  • Laura (old OR vintage) says:

    “In the manner we understand it”- by this I mean that there are many things and ways we can contribute to helping children in need if we believe that adopting into our home is not a good decision for our family .

  • Nellie says:


    I agree with you. There are issues that children or people can have that our beyond one’s ability to cope or deal with, and what happens is more suffering for that child, because this person who is now their parent is not equipped at all to care for them. While I think adoption is a beautiful and lovely thing and a picture of God’s grace to us who are born into His family, that does not make it good for everyone and every situation. These are hard situations in families that are very functional. When you combine the issues some of these children have, with the black and white, authoritarian type structure of a patriocentric family, the results can be just devastating. I’m afraid that adoption can be for some of these groups, just one more “work” to demonstrate spirituality. It is obviously something to do prayerfully, and with much thoughtfulness about one’s ability and many practical issues.

  • thatmom says:

    Wow, my head is spinning.

    Someone had just relayed that story about the Campbells to me on Monday so I was amazed to have the link posted here. We read through the whole article last night. First of all, my past experience in reading Kathryn Joyce’s first book addressing patriarchy: She got it right much of the time but missed the mark often because she writes from the perspective of a professing nonbeliever. My impression of her thoughts on adoption are similar…she may have all the facts correct on many things but still doesn’t quite understand the motives many adoptee families have.

    That being said, several things jumped off the page at me. First is the Pearl connection. Alarming but not surprising. The Pearls have renounced any theories of child development that come from what they deem secular sources. So of course people who refuse to consider possible issues with raising children will find encouragement with Pearl followers. Also, Doug Phillips, militant fecundity proponent, LOVES Nancy Campbell and so I read the adoption promotion from those camps as part of that agenda. Absolutely.

    Now I want to play devil’s advocate.

    Should parents go into an adoption with the idea that they may have to make other arrangements for an adopted child down the road because there could be problems? Should parents expecting their own biological children also be encouraged to take the same considerations into account? Why or why not? What is the difference?

    And here is another big thought.

    Do we tend to think, in the back of our minds, that Americanizing children from other countries is better for them than keeping them in their own cultures? If we don’t think that then why is there more emphasis on foreign adoptions than building orphanages or doing all we can to raise money to help in their own countries?

    These are two things I have been mulling over the past 48 hours. What do you think?

  • Laura (old OR vintage) says:

    Karen, as regards your first question-please don’t answer that one until you either have or know someone who has had a severely RAD (Reactive attachment disorder) child in the home. Where your family can no longer do family activities, or have friends over, or leave any possession unlocked or unguarded. Where your home is like a locked down police station and your bio. kids withdraw more and more because they don’t want anyone to know how we have to live to cope with the behavior problems of the adopted child.

    This is one difference with domestic/state adoptions and international. There is often a period of time in foster/adopt domestic situations during which some of the more devastating issues can come to light (such as, in our case, getting a psychiatric evaluation on a child placed in our home, warning of their potential to cause harm to themselves or others), among other red flags. Unfortunately, this came too late for our family.

    Now I will draw some serious outrage here, but yes. I do think that there should be a period of time in all adoptions during which there is a means to disrupt if it is not going to work. I think in many cases that it is a fantasy perpetuated by well meaning onlookers that there is an immediate bond between parents and adopted child (we had this once, however) , and I have talked to plenty of good adoptive parents on this. I know parents who state that they will NEVER adopt again, due to the havoc in their families over these kinds of issues, and the condemnation heaped on them by other Christians, no less, who offer advice such as “How can you give up on a child”, or “Would you do this with your bio. child ?”. This is not to say that you don’t anticipate many challenges and difficult days, even in a successful adoption, but there is a difference between struggle that causes us to grow and struggle that tears us apart.

    Maybe that is why I don’t plan to adopt again. Because of well meaning people asking if I would “give up” on a biological child in similar fashion.

    As for the Campbells et al, it’s a sad situation but maybe will bring to light the sometimes ill advised push for international adoption. And as for the Pearls child rearing advice, it’s bad news for any children, let alone traumatized, troubled orphans!

    Just trying to be transparent here, not discouraging.

  • Nellie says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. When I consider strong opinions Christians can have with each other over even minor personal choices, I can only imagine the opinions and advice you get from your Brethren on something such as this, when what you need is people to love and support you through this huge challenge.

    I am a Christian. I am also someone with a biological and medical background. There are so many false and strange beliefs in the Christian community considering mental/brain problems. There are some issues that are behavior or possibly spiritually related. There are many though that are organic, pervasive, and cannot be cured. RAD is a very severe disorder. Although this typically an issue with adopted kids who came out of some severe, unstable circumstances, NONE of us are immune to such a trial, even with our natural born children. I saw a documentary awhile back about a family with a young girl who was schizophrenic, which is very rare in children, but psychosis such as this does happen sometimes in children. She was a danger to herself, her parents, and her brother. They had to come up with an unconventional living arrangement in order not to institutionalize her. What they arranged was commendable, but so sad as well. Basically, they couldn’t live as a family, and it wasn’t even clear whether or not it was important to the daughter (who has a severe form of the disease) where she lived.

    Upon viewing this show, I had to ask myself what I would do. I think I would have look for some sort of group home/institution where we could visit our child in a safe way, and maintain a normal home.

    So, to answer Karen’s question, my position is that there are SOME circumstances where after you’ve done all you can do, the best choice is to remove them from the family home in order keep everyone safe. It is not ending the parent/child relationship. When you combine professionals and a structured environment geared toward their specific, severe issues, sometimes this truly is what is best. Unfortunately, we have come to condemn and stigmatize people who would make such a choice. These a VERY personal situations and ones involving much severity, and people need to be careful about their judgments.

  • Laura (old OR vintage) says:

    Thank you, Nellie. I appreciate your thoughts. There is a stubborn tendency (sometimes a good thing) among us Christians to believe that we can fix everyone and everything if we are just “Christian” enough. Other misconceptions are that every single person does best in a family as we know it (sometimes this can’t be), and that there is no such thing as an organic, irreversible behavior problem-such as RAD- only spiritual issues that can be remedied with tons of love and a fine Christian family.

    As not all physical maladies can be fixed, neither can all psychiatric disorders be cured. Yes, these individuals need our love (though sadly, some may never comprehend the experience of human connection), but a family with other children is likely not the appropriate place for this.

    I will honestly say that I think one might hold on longer with a bio child who exhibited these issues- the fact that you might feel more of a grasp on what was going on due to having known them since day 1? But there could come a time when their needs and acting out was harming others and they would require a treatment facility? RAD is most common among kids from a traumatic childhood…but occasionally crops up without explanation. There is some thinking that it might be part organic, part environmental.

    Sorry to expound so on this difficult topic, but I have come across quite a few cases of Christian adoptive parents being judged harshly over these things. I would probably been one of the worst “judges” before I walked through it myself.

  • HoppyTheToad says:

    On the homeschooling forum I go to, several moms have kids with RAD. I had never heard of it before reading some of their stories. It’s amazing how manipulative some of these kids can be. One mom has shared of the slow progress her RAD daughter has made. She’s hoping to just survive until the girl finishes high school and moves out.

    Another mom (or possibly the same one, I can’t remember) wishes she had never adopted. It has nearly destroyed her family and most secular therapists and psychologists aren’t equipped to help. These moms warn of the damage to the other kids and how many marriages end because of the RAD. One of them, similar to someone who commented above, is convinced that many RAD kids would do better and be happier in group homes.

  • HoppyTheToad says:

    As much as I dislike Michael Pearl, he does warn his followers to only adopt kids younger than the rest of the kids in the family. He is particularly concerned about the possible of adopted kids having been s*xually abused and doing the same to other kids. It shows how naive the Campbells were about adoption, when even Mr. “Switching Kids with Plumping Line is the Solution to All Parenting Problems” Pearl thinks some kids can’t be fixed (and some adoptions should be disrupted).

  • Laura (old OR vintage) says:

    You make a good point that even people who are completely on the wrong track can be right on one point…that doesn’t mean that we follow the “throw out the bad part” method of study, but rather, that we would not automatically insist that every single thing a particular person says is wrong, without any consideration.

    The old saying “a stopped clock is right twice a day” comes to mind.

    I have to say that I think in a limited sense Bill Gothard was right when he seemed very wary of adoption- though NOT for the reasons he cited. My understanding of Christianity does not give me a fearful and oppressed view of “sins of the fathers, etc.” I think that’s misapplication and bad theology. If that were true, we’d all be doomed. BUT…. we do need to be very very cautious. A child does not bring his father’s “sins” as such- but he darn sure may bring a whole lot of anger, fear,learned violent and destructive behavior, organic psychological disorders, sexual abuse history, hopelessness, and lack of any sense of attachment to another human being. Sometimes these things heal, sometimes not. I am thankful that it seems that more people are speaking out on this and pointing out how there are times that a child must have an environment other than a family in order for their best interest and the survival of the family as well.

    Also, I don’t know if Gothard’s teaching has changed on adoption, but it seems that more Gothard families are adopting?

  • Thank you for the honest comments and stories up above. We have an only child and have had moments when we wonder if we should have made more of an effort to adopt so she would have a sibling. (It is hard to think of her being alone some day and we pray fervently that God will allow her to marry into a healthy family).

    But the bottom line is I wasn’t willing to take that much of a jump without the assurance it would work out well. REALLY well. And since no one could give me that assurance, I was not willing to seriously consider trying. I honestly felt like the potential for significant problems far outweighed the potential for a really positive adoption.

    I realize other people have different views. :-)

    And the stories about the Campbells? Yikes. I’m STILL trying to get off the Above Rubies mailing list. It feels like the Hotel California.

  • Laura (old OR vintage) says:

    I appreciate the comments from all of you. Let me hasten to say that i am NOT trying to discourage adoption, nor would I ever-if it is for the right reason- and I believe that reason is because you really, wholeheartedly, want another child.

    NOT because…
    1) You think you’s a good thing to do. Shouldn’t we want to do good things?
    2)Others suggest you should…because that’s what “good” Christians should do.
    3)You think it will make you, your spouse, or your family “better” Christians or better people.
    4) You want to do “something” for God (the “project” concept).
    5) You think that your family can “fix” what others cannot.
    6) You wonder why other Christians seem so enthused about adoption…and you feel overwhelmed at the thought. Perhaps other adoptive parents suggest that they felt that way too…until they got over being “selfish” by plunging in headlong.

    If I can help anyone from feeling that they must do more and more tosomehow measure up to God’s standard- instead of rejoicing in His grace and acceptance- I will be glad.

  • Fran says:

    I am sick and tired of the “War among Christians” about how many children one should have, among many other issues. I have 2 and believe me, any more would have put me over the edge. They are not bad children. They know Jesus as Savior and Lord. You are concerned about worldly cares/concerns, endless chores, shopping, cooking, etc. Does anyone understand?!?! Just because one is a Christian doesn’t mean you have to have children at all! Have you ever read I Corinthians 7? I mean REALLY read it? Many choose a life of singleness and service to the Lord and there is NOTHING wrong with that! I am a Christian and in no way will I ever live up to Proverbs 31! Just because Solomon/ David wrote Psalms 127 & 128 doesn’t mean GOD is telling every Christian to have children. I do not judge a Christian or non-Christian at all if they choose to NOT have children and neither should anyone else. It is a personal matter between him/her and God.

  • thatmom says:

    Hi Fran,

    I am not sure if you listened to any of the podcasts in this series or not but I would encourage you to do so. I have tried to bring a Biblical and balanced perspective to this controversial topic and would welcome your feedback.

  • Fran says:

    Dear Karen,
    I am not complaining to you personally but the whole mindset out there of the “fact” that the only option for Christian women is marriage and family. I’m not angry at you, just venting. :-)

  • thatmom says:

    Vent away Fran!!!!!

    I believe the Lord gives various callings to each of us and those can even change through the seasons of life. I love reading missionary biographies of dear women of the faith who were given spiritual children to nurture and mentor. They inspire me and tell me how much the Lord is in control and desires to use all of us, especially women, and our uniqueness as women for His glory alone!

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"In today's homeschooling world, you can find all sorts of formulas and prescriptions. If you just follow the correct method, your children will grow up to live godly lives, and they will always make family (including you) their priority. In this book, Karen Campbell gives you the real story. Homeschooling and parenting are not about formulas and prescriptions. They are about relationships. Weaving together Scripture, her own successes and failures, and her observations of the homeschooling world, Karen provides a wealth of wisdom for the homeschooling parent. If you want a formula, this book is not for you. If you want honest wisdom that will aid you in your homeschooling journey, this book is exactly what you are looking for!" – Dr. Jay Wile, PhD, speaker and author of the popular "Exploring Creation with" series of textbooks. 5856-3733-6823-3495 5856-3733-6823-3495
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The Family Integrated Church ~ Are you frustrated in your search for a church home? Are you considering a family integrated church? The podcast series on the FIC movement is just for you! This series includes Pastor Shawn Mathis who explains the "theological basis" for the movement, Pastor Steve Doyle, who was once an FIC pastor and left the movement, and Bible scholar and author, Jon Zens, who looks at the underlying doctrines that permeate many FIC churches. The series concludes with thatmom's encouragement to homeschooling families as they seek to be part of the entire body of Christ. You will also want to read the series of articles on the pros and cons of the FIC and my exhortation to homeschooling families who are looking for a church home!
thatmom’s thoughts on curriculum

And you can learn about my thoughts on developing your own philosophy of education as well as finding the methods of homeschooling that work best for you and your children by

looking for my presentations on the Home Educating Family media site!
Three Cheers……..
truth from the Word
"Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73: 25-26
Phillip E. Johnson says:
“When pressed in interviews to name my heroes, I have spontaneously responded that they are homeschooling mothers! To me, the heroic mothers who nurture the next generation of faithful Christians are among the leaders of the church.” ~ Phillip E. Johnson
John Stonestreet says:
“C.S. Lewis said that for every new book we read, we ought to read three old ones. But I think for every latest, greatest new homeschooling book you read, go find three old homeschooling moms and ask them what happened and what worked.” ~ John Stonestreet
Oswald Chambers says:
"If we simply preach the effects of redemption in the human life instead of the revealed, divine truth regarding Jesus Himself, the result is not new birth in those who listen. The result is a refined religious lifestyle, and the Spirit of God cannot witness to it because such preaching is in a realm other than His." ~ Oswald Chambers
Carolyn Custis James says:
“The power of our theology comes alive when we take the truth personally. Holding God at arm’s length—no matter how much theology we think we know—will never make us great theologians. We have to learn to write our own names into the plot. God will always be the subject of our theological sentences but our sentences are incomplete until we make ourselves the direct objects of his attributes…..Simply knowing a lot of theological ideas, no matter how orthodox and sound they are, will never turn us into great theologians. Theology isn’t really theology for us until we live it. Not until we learn to make explicit connections between what we know about God and the race we are running will we taste the transforming power of our theology. Fixing our eyes on Jesus means reminding ourselves of all that He is to us now. He brings meaning to our routines and energizes us to tackle the difficult tasks at hand. Fixing our eyes on Jesus gives us hope to offer disheartened husbands and hurting friends, and the wisdom we need to raise children who will fix their eyes on Him, too.” ~ from Carolyn Custis James in When Life and Beliefs Collide
William Carey says:
"Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter."
Tim Keller says:
"God’s love and forgiveness can pardon and restore any and every kind of sin or wrongdoing. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter if you’ve deliberately oppressed or even murdered people, or how much you’ve abused yourself… There is no evil that the Father’s love cannot pardon and cover, there is no sin that is a match for his grace." ~ Tim Keller
Tim Keller also says:
“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.” ! Tim Keller in The Reason for God.
Anne Ortlund says:
“So what do we do to encourage them to grow inwardly, to become resourceful and creative, to think, to meditate, to lay the foundation for growing up well? Don’t push, but affirm them! Give them the sense that all is well, that their rate of progress is acceptable to you, that you like them just the way they are…..Guide them but be delighted in them. Let them know that life is to be reached for and drunk of deeply…..Enthusiastic, that’s how you want them to grow up! The word comes from “en Theo,” or “in God.” Support them with words of faith, hope, and love, and in that framework “in God,” they’ll be ready to tackle everything. Fears and cautions are built in at an early age but so is courage! Tomorrow’s world will be different if your child has been released to experiment, to risk, to lead others, to pursue righteousness, to be an affecter for good in society, to go courageously after God.” ~ Anne Ortlund in Children Are Wet Cement
J.C Ryle says:
"Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys, these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily, these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart." ~ J. C. Ryle in The Upper Room
Kathy Thile says:
"I say this gently, as the parent of grown kids, knowing *insert parenting guru* is also the parent of grown kids: we have wonderful children — he does, I’m sure — and so do I. But without even knowing his children I can know this about them: they are not perfect. They hurt. They make mistakes. They struggle. They are prideful and overly simplistic at times; and crippled by shame and hesitancy at others. Yes — they are beautiful examples of human beings, his children (I assume), and mine (I know.) But they are not perfect. If they were, they would not be human. If it were possible to raise children to perfection, then God would have sent a parenting method, not Jesus. Our marching orders are not to raise our children by a method to be like *insert parenting guru* children. Our marching orders are to be Christians to and with our children." ~ Kathy Thile
Clay Clarkson says:
“Many Christian parents, myself included, tend to speak to children as though they were Pharisees. We can speak harshly and with judgment, implying by our manner that their hearts are hard and resistant. But this attitude is not justified by Scripture. There is no record of Jesus ever speaking to a a child in a harsh tone. When the Gospels record Him speaking to a child, it is always with gentleness. Our children are not our adversaries. Though our children’s hearts are corrupted by sin, they are not hardened sinners who have made conscious choices to reject the Savior. Our children are simply immature and childish. That’s why children need love and compassion, not harshness and guilt.” ~ Clay Clarkson in Heartfelt Discipline
Tim Kimmel says:
“Grace can’t be some abstract concept that you talk about in your home. It has to be a real-time action that ultimately imprints itself in your children’s hearts. To talk about grace, sing about grace, and have our children memorize verses about grace – but not give them specific gifts of grace – is to undermine God’s words of grace in their hearts. Grace means that God not only loves them but that He loves them uniquely and specially. The primary way to give our children grace is to offer it in place of our selfish preferences.” ~ Tim Kimmel in Grace-Based Parenting
Chuck Swindoll says:
"You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here's how - guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality. Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do's and don'ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately...yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it - emotional and spiritual damage will occur. "
Anna Quindlen says:
“The biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less." ~ Anna Quindlen
Winston Churchill says:
“My education was interrupted only by my schooling." ~ Winston Churchill
John Taylor Gatto says:
"The shocking possibility that dumb people don’t exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the millions of careers devoted to tending them will seem incredible to you. Yet that is my central proposition: the mass dumbness which justifies official schooling first had to be dreamed of; it isn’t real." ~ John Taylor Gatto
Fred Rogers say:
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” ~ Fred Rogers
thatmom says
"The truth is that the way a marriage becomes truly heavenly is for each husband and each wife to pursue, really pursue, a relationship with Jesus Christ, to commit to obey the Word of God, to set aside each of their own agendas and paradigms, and then as they walk in the Holy Spirit, as they are sanctified, a little at a time each day, they will grow closer to one another. Godly wisdom will manifest itself in purity, peace, gentleness, mercy, a willingness to submit to one another, the fruits of the spirit, and no role-playing (the true meaning of hypocrisy). (James 3:17)" ~ thatmom
thatmom says:
"We need to approach our children not as character projects, but rather, we must see them with hearts of sympathy, with compassion and understanding, and with ears that listen. You see, homeschooling is not about lesson plans and research papers and standardized tests. Homeschooling is about building a relationship with our children, friendships that will last our entire lives on earth and clear into eternity. Homeschooling is merely the tool whereby we build those relationships." ~ thatmom
thatmom knows:
As a homeschooling mom, I have realized that everything, ultimately, is outside of my own control. I have learned that the unique circumstances that happen in my family have occurred because God’s plan is so much bigger than my own. It is knowing this truth about God and in experiencing that truth with those in my home that has enabled us to face past challenges and that will prepare us for all those difficulties that still lie before us.
thatmom says:
"Real books from the library, a tub of art supplies, being read stories rich in vocabulary, a variety of good music, the daily discussion of God’s Word and how it relates to the world around him, and the attention of a loving parent who includes him in all the activities of real life are the secrets to a great learning experience for children." ~ thatmom
thatmom realizes:
If I think about nearly 40 years of marriage, times the number of loads of laundry I have done for 2 parents, 6 children and 1 grandma, I am amazed to know that I have washed, dried, folded, (sometimes ironed) and put away roughly 27,526 loads of laundry. That is over 215,000 socks! Or, in that same amount of time, provided 38,324 meals for a family and sometimes guests. Or that I have overseen nearly 21,500 hours of education of one sort or another during that time. Just thinking of these numbers takes my breath away. ~ thatmom
thatmom says:
"Being a mom is sort of like being all the people who crowd into a basketball arena all at once. Sometimes we are the players, the ones who are responsible for everything that is going on and our presence is front and center. Sometimes we are the coaches, giving comfort and encouragement, instructing with a clipboard in hand. Other times we are the referees, no striped shirts required but whistles are a must to break up the disputes when the game isn’t played as per the rules. Still other times we are the fans, cheering wildly from the stands, shouting from a distance but not from the floor. And then there are the days when we are the cheerleaders, the ones who scream 'Yeah, you can do it.' " ~ thatmom
thatmom says:
“The beauty of homeschooling is building relationships within our families and inspiring our children to become lifelong learners, gently leading them into the truth of Scripture and trusting that the work we have begun will be brought to completion by a sovereign God who has a plan for building His heavenly kingdom.” ~ thatmom
thatmom also says:
“After parenting for 36 years, I have come to realize that all paradigms are basically a list of do’s and don’ts that someone has created. Instead of embracing a list, I have discovered that it is best for me to run all ideas, philosophies, and paradigms through my “one-anothering hopper.” I ask myself if the suggestions or ideas I am hearing will serve to build my relationships or will serve to tear them down; will they reflect the one-anothering commands of Scripture? I ask if they are a picture of Christ and His relationship with me as His needy daughter. If not, I am not interested, no matter how much appeal they might have for any number of reasons.” ~ thatmom
thatmom says this, too:
“The word wisdom is used in Exodus to describe the knowledge that the Lord gave to the skilled artisans so they could make Aaron’s garments for worship. We are told that these workers “were given wisdom and understanding in knowledge and all manner of workmanship.” I have never had to sew any garments for a priest to wear for worship. I have not had to sew any draperies or build any walls or prepare any inner sanctuary as per the Lord’s instructions. But I have been called to give all I can toward the goal of building up children in the faith, preparing children for life outside my home, children whose bodies, we are told, are called the very temple of the Holy Spirit, children whose job it is to worship in spirit and in truth." ~ thatmom
what does thatmom believe?
" What is thy only comfort in life and death? "That I, with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with His precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him." ~ Heidelberg Catechism
What does it mean to be a Christian?

1.We must acknowledge that we are all sinners. “For we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6) and “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

2.We are all accountable for our own sins before God. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

3.There is only one way to be forgiven of these sins and that is through the blood of Jesus Christ. “Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

4.If we confess our sin to the Lord and repent of it (not allow it to rule in our lives) we can be forgiven and be in right standing with God. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousenss.” (1 John 1:9)

5.Genuine salvation will result in living lives of good works but none of those works contribute in any way to our standing before God which is based solely and completely on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:12) and “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5) and “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

6.We all, men and women, boys and girls, have direct access to the throne of grace because everyone who is a born-again believer in Jesus Christ is called a “priest and king” in God’s economy. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9)

I believe that many of the false teachings within the patriocentric movement are in direct contrast to these Scriptures and I would encourage each of us to first examine what we believe about Jesus and His work on the cross, its implications and its marvelous power.

Secondly, I would challenge anyone reading here to examine your own heart and ask yourself whether you have been trusting in good works….baptism, homeschooling, church attendance, modest dress, the list goes on and on, or if you have placed ALL your faith and hope in Jesus’ blood and righteousness alone.

And finally, I would challenge you to examine the teachings within your own church system, whether it is Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, etc. Ask yourself what your church teaches about ecclesiastical authority and family authority. Does it line up with the Word of God? It is a top down system that requires certain works in exchange for a relationship with Jesus Christ or do you have the assurance that you are saved for eternity by His death on the cross in your stead? Does it teach that the fruits of the spirit and obedience to all the one anothers is what our lives will demonstrate or is there a list of man made rules?

If you desire to talk with me about this, please send me a note to My desire is that no one who visits this website will leave without knowing the glorious truth that we can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and can enjoy a life filled with His goodness and grace!

Adoration of the Home was painted by regional artist, Grant Wood. The original hangs in the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Ben Campbell and Lon Eldridge deserve extra cookies for writing, performing, recording, and mixing Mom’s Prairie Song for the podcast intro and outro. Great job, guys. Garrison Keillor would be proud.

Copyright © 2014 ~ ~ Karen Campbell ~ All Rights Reserved.