real encouragement for real homeschool moms

by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald

passionate housewives book

Since I have been a conservative Christian for 46 years and a housewife and homemaker for 35 years, have homeschooled a large family, and have grown children walking with the Lord, one might think that this book resonated with me and that I loved it. After all, I have spent most of my life living the life this book describes and would encourage other wives and mothers to do likewise. Serving a husband and family is an incredible and high calling.

But I was greatly disappointed in Passionate Housewives.

I believe the Word of God to be sure and true and applicable to all people in all times and in all places. In this book, Jennie Chancy and Stacy McDonald attempt to Americanize and Westernize Scripture, imposing their own worldview onto passages like Titus 2, instructing all women that it is a Biblical mandate, foreordained before creation, to live just like them.

One interesting theme that runs throughout the book, and that shouldn’t be taken lightly, is that anyone who is a Bible believing Christian, but who differs from them on any point concerning the roles of women, is a “white washed feminist” and is headed down a path to worst destruction than secular feminism has produced. This is poppycock.

You must remember that the authors are both hardcore Dominionists who believe in only one role for all women within the Kingdom of God, that is, to be wives and homemakers. They consider anyone outside that paradigm, single women, barren women, those women who have given their lives to missionary work, those who have already raised children, etc. to be outside the “prescriptive will of God,” indeed, they are said to be “blaspheming God’s name” (sinning) if they are not at home.

As with every book published by Vision Forum, there is a one-size-fits-all approach that teaches that family life centers around the father of the home, rather than Jesus Christ, making for a patriocentric lifestyle that is merely idolatry rather than genuine Biblical Christianity.

I would encourage any husband who sees his wife with this book in her hand, to take it immediately to his pastor and elders and ask for their opinion on the Biblical soundness of the teachings it contains. Ask your leaders about Dominion Theology and the National Center for Family Integrated Churches. Become a Berean, doing all that you can to understand the context in which this book was written and then decide how “Biblical” it is. To blindly accept this book as truth for all women without doing your homework will be to your own folly and that of your family.

For more insights into this book along with a list of questions I posed to the authors (still unanswered) be sure to check out this blog entry.

10 Responses to Passionate Housewives Desperate for God: 0 Stars

  • Nikki says:

    I think this review is poppycock! It is clear that there is a grave misunderstanding not only of this book, but also of Vision Forum Ministries. We are going through this book right now in our church’s women’s group. I have found nothing but encouragement in this. The subtitle sums it up: “Fresh Vision for the Hopeful Homemaker.” I have felt that the authors are very clear that our lives will all look different from one another and humbly declare that they have by no means arrived, yet, like the rest of us are seeking to be conformed to Christ as they continue to serve Him in the roles he has called them to. I believe you have also taken a couple things out of context. Please site where they claim that a barren or single woman is blaspheming the Word by not being at home.
    This review has been used as an excuse for a certain person to not join our study and benefit from being in fellowship with other mothers and women. Unfortunately, it is inaccurate.
    Our church has also been greatly blessed by other resources from vision forum. I think you are making a very false accusation in saying that they promote idol worship in their belief of patriarchy. Hello?!? The aim of their entire ministry is to glorify God in the reformation of culture, to stand up for the truth of His Word and to do so uncompromisingly applying truth to every sphere of life. I give this review 0 stars.

  • thatmom says:

    Nikki, here is a link to an article that was published in the Midwest Christian Outreach Journal last year that documents all the claims I made in this brief review. I think you will find it interesting. This cult awareness group has other pieces on Vision Forum you also might want to check out:

    http://www.midwestoutreach.org/Pdf%20Journals/2011/fall_2011_mcojournal.pdf

    I would also encourage you to listen to the series of podcasts I produced on the topic of pstriocentricity. There are actually two series and on them I welcome several guests who join me to discuss various aspects of this dangerous movement. Before you dive head first into this movement or give blanket endorsement of Vision Forum and before you judge those who have chosen to run far away from it, I would encourage you to listen to these. I would welcome your thoughts about where exactly I have misinterpreted their teachings. You can find them on the pull down menu above under post podcasts on the menu bar and can listen either directly from this website or you can download them from i-tunes.

  • Granddad says:

    @Nikki
    I wrote a 16 page essay on just part of the Vision Forum’s basic approach to everything and I’m writing another on their approach to education (almost finished.) Their approach is summarized in the Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy. Unless you fully understand the implications of their hermeneutical presuppositions (i.e. theonomy, dominionism, Reconstructionsim – pick your descriptor) you will not see the danger they present.

    MacDonald, Phillips, etc. are vocal and extremely dogmatic. I’m fully commited to Reformational theology (in other words, I am a Calvinist) but find their approach worrisome and a misrepresentation of historic Reformed theology. While much of what they teach is biblically sound I’m afraid that the unsound portions are, in my opinion, so aggregious that it taints everything else.

  • eliza says:

    “One interesting theme that runs throughout the book, and that shouldn’t be taken lightly, is that anyone who is a Bible believing Christian, but who differs from them on any point … and is headed down a path to worst destruction…”

    My feeling is that the authors attempt to present a spiritual elite of ones who chose best. A community that embraces these principles so tightly can not help but be judgmental of others and therefore don’t realize that they lose sight of God’s grace and all of humanity’s sin.

    I have experienced first hand over many years of those I have lived closely with and love dearly who have studied this book and other ideas/resources from vision forum and the like and the result was not the fruit of the spirit or the love of christ in their relationships to the world or the body of christ. The result of the application of these ideas was self righteousness, pride, bondage and isolation from the world and other christians causing division in their relationships with in the body of christ even those with in their own family that didn’t agree with the thoughts of these men (or these ideas).

    What the authors hope to produce in the christian community is well intentioned perhaps but it is not focused on the grace of God and it becomes a formula for walking with God and that doesn’t work, it basically legalism and it destroys relationships little by little.

    From someone who has been a conservative christian my whole life and have been affected negatively by this type of thinking, I would encourage you to look again. It is possible that your friend who has decided to steer away from these ideas has made the righteous and holy choice.

  • Granddad says:

    Critical thinking is, in my opinion, a lost art, especially among adults in the <40 category. I can't help but think that at least one causative factor is the very media I'm using at this moment — the Internet. The plethora of blogs hosted by individuals or groups with a determined agenda but lacking in the skills needed to formulate properly constructed arguments makes it easy for people to find quick answers or support for their own ideas. While the Internet can certainly be helpful (I use it extensively) it does require discernment and most of all it demands that you check out the material carefully. It means going to the library and actually engaging in real research. There is no substitute for holding the book in you hand and reading each page.

    While I have not read any of the books mentioned on this blog (I don't want to waste my money) I have read articles written by Vision Forum leaders and supporters. The writers present what appear to be convincing arguments against those who oppose them; debunking their arguments can be a time consuming project. (That's partially why it's taking me so long to put together my next paper on VF's Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy.)

    As long as groups like VF promulgate the position that men are always superior when it comes to interpreting and applying Scripture, women involved with these type of churches will have a difficult time exposing VF’s faulty hermeneutics and strained exegesis. (Bare in mind, as some of you will recall, I am basically a complementarian and yet reject the patriocentric approach taken by VF et. al.)

  • Anthea says:

    Well put, Granddad. Remember also the FIC ‘four legs good, two legs bad’ approach to raising our youth — that is, that youth groups are always bad. What about young people whose parents are not in the church? I could go on, but thatmom blog has a link to Karen’s podcasts on this topic.

    BTW, Karen, on the Ambleside forum there are ladies getting into Mr Baucham’s theory about this, and they have been swept along by his enthusiasm. He is an entertaining speaker, but he doesn’t have your perspective and experience. But of course, he is a man, and a preacher, so he must know what he’s on about, right?

  • A mom says:

    I am deeply disappointed in this review. It seems that too often readers hold all of their cards in what the author of a book is saying without keeping it in the back of their minds that all books apart from the Bible are written by sinful men! I don’t believe it is ever wise to buy into everything someone is saying just because it sounds good! We need to use our own discernment and do our of studying on what God’s word says on a particular topic. Because of a few misleading statements in this book, some are quick to say there is nothing to be gained from it. Not true. As a young mom looking for “that mom” to model biblical womanhood, I find these discrepancies deeply concerning. I am saddened that this type of labeling continues to go on in Christian circles. A particular ministry, VF for example, has a passion and a conviction that wives need to respect their husbands, that God created male and female each with their own unique attributes and that the unwavering Christian family is a great tool to God and people are so quick to jump on their backs, name call and condemn them for doing so. It’s a sad state of affairs that we, the body of Christ, need to get better about. How can we ever be salt and light if we are too busy openly-expressing our disdain toward other believers? May God help us in this endeavor!

    I am reading this book right now and will continue to do so. In addition, Created to be His Help Meet (as mentioned in your article) has done wonders for my attitude and marriage. I believe God can use these books for His glory if they are read with discernment and carefully weighed against Scripture! And before we read any nonfiction book, Christian author or not, we should pray to that end!

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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.
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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 shesthatmom@gmail.com. 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!

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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.

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