What Does the Bible Really Say About Patriarchy?

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The Roys Report
The Roys Report
What Does the Bible Really Say About Patriarchy?
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Have Scriptures been twisted to keep women in bondage—and to promote a patriarchy movement that’s grossly misogynist?

On this edition of The Roys Report, author Rebecca Davis joins Julie to examine this movement and the Scriptures used to support it. Diving into Rebecca’s book series on Untwisting Scriptures That Were Used to Tie You Up, Gag You, and Tangle Your Mind, their talk centers on book two in the series entitled: Patriarchy and Authority.

Many leaders in the patriarchy movement, like Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard, have largely been discredited. Unfortunately, their ideas live on in popular misguided teachings such as:

  • Women are too emotional to interpret Scripture, so they need a husband or father to reveal God’s will to them.
  • Children obey your parents—all the time, in every way, and forever!
  • The “Umbrella Heresy,” which asserts that those in a position of authority over you provide a “spiritual covering” and protection for you.
  • Loyalty is virtue, even if it means sacrificing righteousness.

Maybe you’ve heard some of these teachings and wondered if that’s what the Bible really says. On this podcast, Rebecca explores the context of relevant Bible passages and the author’s intent, and you may be surprised by what she uncovers.

This Weeks Guests

Rebecca Davis

Rebecca Davis is the author of 19 books (and counting) for children and adults, among them the Untwisting Scriptures series. Rebecca’s personal ministry includes serving as a spiritual coach through Immanuel prayer ministry while acting as a compassionate witness to people’s hard stories, helping women who are in or coming out of abuse, untwisting Scriptures that have been used to keep people in abusive situations, and offering hope through Jesus Christ. She writes about these things on her blog, www.heresthejoy.com, drawing from her 40 years of study of the Scriptures.

Show Transcript

SPEAKERS
JULIE ROYS, REBECCA DAVIS

JULIE ROYS
Have Scriptures been twisted to keep women in bondage—and to promote a patriarchy movement that’s grossly misogynist?
Welcome to The Roys Report—a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys.
And joining me today is Rebecca Davis, author of a series of books on Untwisting Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind. And on this episode, we’ll be examining the focus of Rebecca’s second book in her series: Patriarchy and Authority.
Many of the leaders in the patriarchy movement, like Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard, have largely been discredited. But unfortunately, their ideas live on. And today, Rebecca and I unpack popular teachings like:
·        Women are too emotional to interpret Scripture, so they a husband or father to reveal God’s will to them.
·        Children obey your parents—all the time, in every way, and forever!
·        The “Umbrella Heresy,” which asserts that those in a position of authority over you provide a “spiritual covering” and protection for you. And . . .
·        Loyalty is virtue, even if it means sacrificing righteousness.
Maybe you’ve heard some of these teachings and wondered if that’s what the Bible really teaches. Well today, we’ll examine the Scriptures, and you may be surprised by what the Bible actually says.
But before we dive in, I’d like to thank the sponsors of this podcast, Judson University and Marquardt of Barrington.
Judson has been an incredible partner and supporter of this ministry. And I’m truly grateful for the school’s commitment to the truth and to The Roys Report. If you’re looking for a top-ranked Christian University providing a caring community and an excellent college experience, please consider Judson. For more information, just go to JUDSONU.EDU!
Also, if you’re looking for a quality new or used car, I highly recommend my friends at Marquardt of Barrington. Marquardt is a Buick GMC dealership where you can expect honesty, integrity, and transparency. That’s because the owners there—Dan and Kurt Marquardt—are men of character. To check them out, just go to BuyACar123.com.
Again, joining me today is Rebecca Davis, an award-winning author of several books on sexual abuse—and spiritual abuse—in the church.  And, I am so excited to have her join me today to talk about the second book in her series on Untwisting the Scriptures, entitled: Patriarchy and Authority: Untwisting the Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind.
So Rebecca, thanks so much for joining me once again—and for writing this phenomenal book!

REBECCA DAVIS
Thanks so much for having me, Julie. And thanks for reading the book late last night, so I heard.

JULIE ROYS
I was really held captive to the news cycle this week and didn’t get to it as soon as I wanted to. And like I said, before we started recording, I couldn’t put this book down once I started reading it, and I thought I was just gonna skim it, but I was so engrossed in it. And by the way, I should mention that the entire month of August, The Roys Report is offering your Untwisting the Scriptures book on patriarchy and authority to anyone who gives a gift of $20 or more to this ministry. And if you’d like to do that, just go to JulieRoys.com/donate. And just so you know, those gifts are what fund not only this podcast, but also the investigative work we do. So, if you want to see this work continue, please consider supporting The Roys Report. So, Rebecca, I’d like to start with just a basic definition and understanding of what biblical patriarchy is, and why you decided to address it. Would you explain that?

REBECCA DAVIS
Yes, I am addressing a very specific movement in Christianity, called the biblical patriarchy movement. It is a subset of the homeschooling movement. So, I initially addressed it on my blog back in 2013, when I said something about the Botkin sisters. And only people from biblical patriarchy will recognize what I’m talking about when I talk about the Botkin sisters.

JULIE ROYS
I know now, because I read your book, but I hadn’t even heard of that. Yeah.

REBECCA DAVIS
But those who’ve come out of it will know exactly what I’m talking about. They did a video called The Return of the Daughters and wrote a book called So Much More about how daughters ought to stay home, under the roof of their parents until they marry and then they just slide from their parents’ home to their husband’s home. So that’s the patriarchy I’m addressing. I’m not at all addressing any larger problem of men ruling over women, it’s nothing about that. It’s about this very specific problem of biblical patriarchy, because a few people have addressed this, but I felt like some facets of it weren’t addressed the way they needed to be. And that is specifically, what do the Scriptures say about this? And that’s my niche. You know, that’s where I work, to go to the scriptures and say, This is what those teachers of biblical patriarchy, such as Doug Phillips, he’s one of the people I talk about in here. And Bill Gothard shows up in all my books. But what do they say that the scriptures mean? And then let’s look at the scriptures and see what they really mean. How they twisted it, and how it can be untwisted. So that was my goal. That was my focus here.

JULIE ROYS
And I think some people might think and wrongly that because Doug Phillips, who has pretty much stepped away from ministry because of a relationship that he had, that was I think he called it inappropriate, and yet romantic or something to that effect. And Bill Gothard, who has had some accusations actually quite a few allegations of sexual abuse against him. So, they’ve kind of fallen out of favor. So, a lot of people might think, oh, they’re not really that influential anymore. You say, that’s not the case.

REBECCA DAVIS
I have heard that.

JULIE ROYS
What have you found?

REBECCA DAVIS
You know, the people themselves are gone. But it’s like when the scaffolding is taken away after building has been built. The scaffolding has gone, but the building’s still there. People still have these teachings in their hearts. And I’ve heard from many who say, I didn’t even realize I was still thinking this or that or the other way, until I read your book. And I saw Oh, yeah, that is so ingrained in me, I didn’t even see that it was part of my worldview. But that’s what I want to do is help people take these things that have been unquestioned in their lives and actually pull them forward. When I’m working with someone in person, I’ll say, let’s take that out of the back of your brain and bring it around to the front of your brain and actually look at it and see, is this who God really is, this what God really says? So, it’s the teachings. It’s not the people themselves. It’s the teachings that were so ingrained and many of these people grew. The people reading the book, they grew up with these teachings, they were their entire lives. So, for some people, they just dismiss it all, they walk away, and they don’t have anything more to do with Christianity. Well, those people won’t be reading my book. It’s the people who still want to understand what Christianity is really, who is Jesus Christ, really. Those are the people who are going to be reading the book.

JULIE ROYS
I grew up in a church that I think was actually really healthy. Even looking back as a 50- something adult, I look back and say, Wow, that really was a very healthy church and my family, my father, we always considered him, you know, my mother would always say, he’s the head of the home. And yet at the same time, she was very active in our church. She was a superintendent of Sunday school, she was very bright, she actually ended up getting a seminary degree and my dad blessed that. And so, I just I saw this really beautiful working of male and female and women in ministry. And it just wasn’t an issue when I was growing up. It’s just women did what they were gifted to do. Men did what they were gifted to do. And there wasn’t really any competition that I saw. It was just very complimentary. And so, I saw a beautiful vision of how men and women should work together. And yet, I’m reading this book, and it reminds me of then, when I became an adult, and I began entering other Evangelical circles, and I just got confused by what I heard. And I was like, Well, that doesn’t sound quite right. And then they’d point to Scripture. And it did, sort of launch me on my own investigation of what the Scriptures really say about men and women and masculinity and femininity. So, I think anybody who listens today will say, if you’ve been in the church for a while, if you listen today, you’re gonna say, Okay, yeah, I’ve heard that or shadows of that before. And that’s why I think I couldn’t put this book down because I was like, oh, my goodness, what did she say about this? And in the beginning of the book, though, you talk about having a meeting with someone you call a daughter of patriarchy, somebody who had been raised in this biblical patriarchy movement, and she told you and I quote, ‘My father told me so often that God works through men to reveal His will for women. My parents nailed me with it before I left home, you can’t know God’s Will without a father or husband. Women are too easily deceived; they cannot trust their own hearts.’ I found that absolutely breathtaking. But I also found breathtaking what she told you about the 30-something friend that she had that grew up in this biblical patriarchy movement and where they are now. Can you describe that a little bit?

REBECCA DAVIS
Yes, she told me of all the people she knew who grew up in patriarchy, and she was thinking, you know, maybe 30, about 10% of them were still following Jesus. Now 10% of 33, that means around 27 had walked away not just from biblical patriarchy, which needs to be walked away from, but from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. And then later with another young woman, she said, that confirmed her own perspective, what she had seen among her friends and connections. And she said she knew about 200 people, if I remember correctly, and she would agree that it was about 10%, who were still Christians. So, it is horrible. I wrote to three sets of people in one chapter, it might have been the first chapter, where I made a plea to three sets of people. One of them was my generation, I’m 63. So, I’m the generation of the parents of patriarchy. I sat in those meetings when we were all young. And everybody was so excited that this was the way to raise a godly generation. And I made a plea to them to let go of the system, the institution and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. And then I made a plea to the 90%, the ones who walked away. And this was a blog post originally, so I hoped and prayed somebody might come across the blog post and be willing to investigate who Jesus really is. And then I made a plea to the ones who are still in patriarchy, because I don’t know what that percentage is, but they are still stuck in it. Now, the young men who grow up in patriarchy, often have a very good deal because they get to be the boss, they get to make all the decisions. They get to have their way. They’re like a king. The young women who grow up in it, do not have a good situation at all. But some of the young men I know some young men personally who grew up in it and are out and are very glad and thankful to be out because they want to follow THE REAL JESUS. So it isn’t across the board that men choose to stay, and women want to leave. It’s just the people who want to follow Jesus, who want to know who he really is. And they’re the ones who write to me too. They come across my blog for some reason, and my blog is here’sthejoy.com. They come across it for some reason, somebody sent it to them or something and they write to me.

JULIE ROYS
You’ve researched patriarchy at length, and I’d really like to know what is the root problem with patriarchy?

REBECCA DAVIS
A lot of people would say the root problem is worshipping men or men being exalted, men being in the superior position. And so, they go on a track of, let’s bring down the patriarchy. But that isn’t the tact I take because I don’t see that as the root problem. I believe the root problem of what is called biblical patriarchy, and I don’t believe it’s biblical at all, but that’s what they call themselves, is leaving the true God, removing Jesus Christ from being in the central place in a person’s heart. And instead, putting a male authority figure there, that would be the father or the husband, or in some cases, maybe the pastor. And in fact, long ago, and this is one of the chapters in my book, I gave a talk about this to a group of women because I was invited to speak. And I was allowed to talk on whatever I wanted to talk about. And I thought, well, I see this problem of women putting their husband and children in the center of their world, instead of having Jesus at the center of their world, and this would be maybe 25 years ago. I personally wasn’t in biblical patriarchy, because my husband didn’t want to go into it. I did, because I thought, oh, we’ll have such a godly family.

JULIE ROYS
We all thank your husband. Yes. Good thing.

REBECCA DAVIS
That’s all in there, too. So, I gave this talk. And one of the women came to me later and said, That was really good, but these women won’t like it. Because you said something, or someone should be the center of their lives other than their husbands. And they believe their husbands should be the center of their lives. And I said, What in the world? Are you kidding me? And that was patriarchy. I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t hear the word used. But that’s what that was. And it’s just wreaked devastation.

JULIE ROYS
Well, what I love about your Untwisting the Scriptures series is that you take each one of these faulty teachings, and you do exactly what the Bereans did with the Apostle Paul’s teaching, right? I mean, Scripture says they went, and they searched the scriptures to examine if what was being taught was true. So, let’s look at some of these teachings within patriarchy. And let’s start with children obey your parents. I mean, this is a command in Scripture, right? It’s one of the 10 Commandments. We also read in Colossians 3:20, Children, obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord. So, tell me, Rebecca, how do leaders within biblical patriarchy, how do they teach on children obeying their parents?

REBECCA DAVIS
It is taught you obey your parents, and there’s no recourse. You just obey. And this isn’t even just in this biblical patriarchy movement, but in many abusive Christian homes. It’s taught, you obey without question, you obey the first time, you do whatever you’re told. Well, this is an environment for abuse to thrive. So, Colossians says, obey your parents in everything, but Ephesians says, children obey your parents in the Lord. So, what I do in that chapter, is I take those scriptures and put them side by side, compare them. Look at the Greek, look at the commentaries. And I have a friend who is a Hebrew and Greek scholar. So, whenever I was working on the Greek or Hebrew, I would always send it to him to make sure I was doing it correctly. So, I got verification there. But untangling that one means looking at what that phrase ‘in the Lord’ actually means. And I actually have two chapters on this, one for underage children, and then one for adult children, who are wanting to follow the Lord and trying to figure out what that looks like. So, one of the things I emphasize is that the Lord doesn’t want children to sin. If parents tell them to sin, they’re not supposed to sin, and that is a time to disobey. That’s what in the Lord means. And then we expand that in both of those two chapters together. What does it look like to follow the Lord when your parents tell you just simply obey your authority?

JULIE ROYS
So, we’re going to get to some of that untangling. I want to start though with something we had referenced, the Botkin sisters. And I was just absolutely floored when I read what they teach about Dinah and again, this is a story in Genesis 34, about one of Jacob’s daughters who was sexually assaulted by a city leader. And what they teach, I mean, it actually sounds like they’re saying that it’s somehow Dinah’s fault that she got sexually assaulted? Can you unpack that?

REBECCA DAVIS
Yes, this would be taught by Bill Gothard, by Doug Phillips, by the Botkin’s. It was the common teaching in patriarchy. In fact, one of the chapters is called The Return of the Daughters Meets Rachel Denhollander. People coming out of biblical patriarchy will understand what I mean when I say ‘the return of the daughters’ because that was a video that everybody in the biblical patriarchy movement watched. So, Rachel Denhollander is a sexual abuse survivor who has made national headlines as exposing being the first to be willing to go public to expose Larry Nasser, the Olympic doctor who abused hundreds of girls. And in her book, she talks about how in 2007 at a family camp, she and her fiancé Jacob saw the video Return of the Daughters. And how one of the leaders, who happened to be Doug Phillips, who was a big patriarchy leader in Vision Forum, one of the leaders talked about Dinah and how she shouldn’t have gone out and that was disobeying the Bible and disobeying her father. And so, then she got raped. And the Botkin sisters really emphasized this as well. And Bill Gothard wrote long pieces about it. How bad Dinah was for going out. And so, the rape was in, at least in that way, her fault. So, that blog post, which became a chapter in the book, addresses that wrong teaching, and how it shames victims and survivors of abuse and what the true scriptural teaching on the matter is.

JULIE ROYS
I mean, doesn’t Doug Phillips and the Botkin sisters and Gothard they all seem to argue that in the Old Covenant, this is the way things were and that the Dinah story would have been interpreted just the way you said, that it’s her fault, because she didn’t follow her father’s teaching.

REBECCA DAVIS
Well, she should have stayed in her father’s house. That’s the key. That point wasn’t about following her father’s teachings, it was about staying in her father’s house. And I have a whole chapter about that with Doug Phillips. He teaches on a Deuteronomy chapter where fathers can annul their daughter’s vows. And from that he extrapolates to say all daughters should stay inside their father’s houses. And so, I examine that one. So, then that’s where the Dinah story applies. Well, the scripture never teaches girls need to stay in their father’s house, I mean, never teach us that. That is a total extra biblical teaching in the biblical patriarchy movement. And I do know people who didn’t leave their property, their family property for a year at a time. Because they were trying to stay in their father’s house and stay subject to their father. He wouldn’t let them go visit people who were dying. He wouldn’t let them take meals to sick people, wouldn’t let them go to church. They stayed on their father’s property and were obedient.

JULIE ROYS
So, it makes a daughter basically a prisoner to her father’s home.

REBECCA DAVIS
Oh, absolutely.

JULIE ROYS
Unbelievable. You also talk about how this also is taking an Old Covenant principle. And we’re not under the old covenant anymore. As believers we’re under the new covenant. Can you talk about that a little bit?

REBECCA DAVIS
Yeah, that’s one of my favorite things to talk about, actually. Back in the 1990s, my husband and I, through a series of things we found on this new thing called the internet, started learning more about the superiority of the New Covenant over the old, which is so clear in the New Testament, but somehow, we had just not seen it, and especially in Hebrews. So, in a chapter where Doug Phillips is talking about how girls are supposed to stay in their father’s homes, because of this Deuteronomy teaching, I explained that Deuteronomy didn’t really teach that. But I also say, we are not under the old covenant, we’re under the new covenant. And I give a lot of scriptural support for that statement, because that is an uncomfortable statement to a lot of people who have been in patriarchy. And what I’ve heard about the patriarchy churches, is that they preach from the Old Testament a lot more than they preach from the New Testament, because they want to lay on the laws and rules and make sure you know how you’re supposed to live. And it ends up being pretty much abusive teaching, because it’s not just, Well, here’s what the Old Testament says. But it’s more like, here’s how I’m going to tell you need to apply this today. And that’s exactly what Doug Phillips did. He said, here’s what Deuteronomy says, but here’s how you need to apply it. Deuteronomy does not say girls can’t leave their father’s house. But Doug Phillips applied it that way.

JULIE ROYS
And it’s very self-serving to the leaders that are teaching this because their men and their fathers.

REBECCA DAVIS
Yes, it ends up being like a cult.

JULIE ROYS
Yeah. Well, and it is from people I’ve talked to, it’s exactly like a cult. Let’s go to some of these limits. You talked about limits on you can’t leave your father’s house. That’s just not what the scripture says. And we are under the new covenant, we’re under freedom. But there’s also when Bill Gothard was teaching on obedience to parents, again, saying whatever your father or your mother tells you to do, you have to do and yet you point out, it’s interesting. He talks about Jesus growing in wisdom and character in this really interesting story. In fact, I’ve often found, you know, just that story and what happened that Jesus gets left when he’s 12 years old. When his parents go to Jerusalem, he somehow gets left at the temple, and they return home. But again, they’re probably going with a big group and probably a lot of the time, Jesus was with his friends, you know, and they just figured he’s with the pack, but they recognize after, you know, a couple of days, oh, my goodness, he’s not with us. Where is he? And so, they have to go back to Jerusalem and find him. Talk about the way that Gotthard would take that story and teach it and then really what the scripture says in that story that’s actually very illustrative.

REBECCA DAVIS
It’s so interesting how Gotthard just would kind of gloss over the stories that didn’t back up his teaching. So, Jesus was actually in the temple. And this is such a familiar Bible story, that in Christian families, parents teach this to their little children. He was in the temple, with the temple teachers, discussing things with them, and they were amazed at his learning. And when his parents came, he rebuked his mother. He was 12 years old. Mother didn’t you know, I needed to be in my father’s house? And Gotthard doesn’t even try to grapple with that. He just says, Jesus went home, and he was under the authority of his parents. And that’s how he grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. And that’s just not what the Scriptures show at all. When you really look at that story, you see that, what is actually there, if you’re going to actually read the Bible, instead of just reading what Bill Gothard writes, then you see that what’s there is very different from what he says.

JULIE ROYS
The story does remind me, I’ve only listened to I think one CD of Doug Phillips teaching, and it happened to be on that particular passage. Isn’t really related so much to children obeying their parents, but I remember because I was raising my kids at the time, my son was 13. And Doug Phillips was teaching on this saying, Well, you know, because Jesus was able to be left by himself for several days in the temple in Jerusalem, obviously, his character was developed to the point that he could do that. And he was basically a man. And so, by the time your kids are this age, they should have their character all in line as well and have all these things developed.

REBECCA DAVIS
Oh, my goodness!

JULIE ROYS
I remembered it. And this was my firstborn, who was 13 at the time. And I’m sitting there thinking, Oh, my word. There’s a bunch of these character qualities that are really in process with him, and he doesn’t have set yet. And I’m just thinking, I’m an absolute failure as a mother.

REBECCA DAVIS
I would have thought the same thing. Yes.

JULIE ROYS
Absolutely! I have failed, my child is not going to turn out okay. And I mean, it was awful. And that’s just one message I listened to. And now I look back, and I just laugh because my son has married, he’s gotten our only two grandkids who we adore. And he’s just a wonderful young man. He’s a wonderful father. And he’s a wonderful husband. And no, all those character qualities weren’t there in 13. And I’ve noticed with most men, they take quite a while to develop into the man that they end up being as an adult. But yeah, it just gave me a flavor of the system. And what it does the guilt it puts on the legalism. All of that is just unbelievable.

REBECCA DAVIS
Oh, yes, parents are so guilted. And the peer pressure is so strong in these groups. And I speak in the present tense, I don’t know what it’s like now. But I know this is what it was like, when these young people were growing up. Their parents were under so much peer pressure for their children to look and act a certain way. And for them to have a certain number of children. If you have fewer than five or six or seven, then you’ve failed as a Christian family, things like that. So much peer pressure.

JULIE ROYS
Well, another thing that you unpack is something in First Samuel 23. This statement that rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft. Talk about that. Explain how Gotthard uses this verse to teach authority and what some problems with that might be.

REBECCA DAVIS
So, this is a piece of a verse, rebellion is a sin like witchcraft. And Bill Gothard took that little piece and developed a whole theology around it. About umbrellas and so forth. And it struck fear into the hearts of children and young people because parents would hold it over them. Don’t disobey me because, here’s how it goes. If you disobey your parents, then you are obviously in rebellion, and rebellion is a sin like witchcraft. And you know what happens to witches? I mean, witches are the devil servants. So obviously, if you disobey me, you’re obeying the devil, you’re following the devil. There’s no wiggle room. There’s no room to look around and say, Do I have options? I just have to do what my parents tell me to do. So, then I was thinking, let’s look at the context of this Scripture. So, I’m not sure that people really did look at this scripture. Mostly, my impression is that people who were in Bill Gothard’s training or under Vision Forum, they were just listening to their leaders, and they were not really studying the Scripture. There wasn’t a lot of time to because in the Bill Gothard program, he gave you so much work to do, you didn’t really have a lot of time to really dig into what the scripture was saying. So, this I Samuel, it’s Saul, who’s in rebellion, King Saul. And it’s Samuel, who’s speaking to him. Saul had disobeyed, he was supposed to kill the king and all the livestock, and he didn’t do it. And Samuel came to him and said, You disobeyed the voice of the Lord, You are in rebellion, and rebellion is a sin like witchcraft. So, what I pointed out was, Saul had gotten a command directly from the Lord. Because the only source of God’s voice at that time was the Prophet. That was it. They didn’t have anything else, just the Prophet. And so, he had heard directly from the Prophet what to do. And it was a thing he could have done. It wasn’t like he was unable, he made a choice, a decision not to do it. He thought he knew better. So that’s what we’re looking at. So, Saul was definitely in rebellion directly to God. It wasn’t just some person who was put in a position. It was the voice of God speaking through the prophet. So, if parents are comparing themselves to Samuel, then parents or pastors, pastors do this too. Then they’re saying, I am the voice of God for you. Now, some parents and pastors do that. They do say, I am the voice of God for you. But that’s a cult. Because we’re in the New Covenant, and we all have the Holy Spirit. If we’re Christians, if we love and know and worship the Lord Jesus Christ, we have a direct line to him, because there is no one between us now. We go to the Heavenly Father directly through the Lord Jesus Christ. He has opened the veil, the Holy Spirit is in our hearts, we can have a personal relationship with him. As adults, it is completely different. So, we can say to this person who says, I am the voice of God for you know, No, you are not the voice of God for me. I want to listen to God’s voice myself, through the Scriptures, through the Holy Spirit, in my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. And that can be very, very hard when you’re coming out of a cult, then the voice of the cult leaders, whether it be parents or pastor, the voice of the cult leaders can still be in your head. And it can sound like the voice of God. So, you have to spend time going to the Scriptures, and listening to the Lord to get that untangled. And that’s hopefully what these books are about. Getting those voices out of the head, is this truth? Or was this just used to manipulate me to help people understand that?

JULIE ROYS
That’s so good. I mean, I’m just thinking of Acts 2. You were saying how God’s Spirit I mean, you just read it, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. And we see young and old men and women, that’s what we’re under. We’re under the new covenant. We all can hear from God. It’s not like you’re saying, where the Prophet had 100% heard from God and was 100% right or he was put to death, right?

REBECCA DAVIS
Yes.

JULIE ROYS
I mean, that was standard for the Prophet. I mean, think about that. If our parents had to follow that test of being 100% right, and we were put to death if we got it wrong.

REBECCA DAVIS
Yes. it pertains so deeply to realize we are in the New Covenant. This is where we are now. What are the implications of that? Do you understand that? That believers in Jesus Christ are not still stuck back in the Old Covenant trying to find a human to obey, hoping that that human hears from God accurately, because we can listen to God and follow God ourselves.

JULIE ROYS
So, liberating. I can just see how that could be so abused and how a leader could use that to twist, and a father could lead that to even twist the scriptures to manipulate his children. Let’s talk specifically though about John Bevere, about a book that he wrote called Undercover, that kind of takes this teaching from the home and you’ve alluded to this, but it takes it from the home into the church. And now your pastor, it seems, becomes the ultimate authority. Is that correct?

REBECCA DAVIS
Yes. So, this book covers patriarchy and authority. So, the first approximately half of the book is directly about the patriarchy movement and addressing some of their teachings, and then the second half or so, is about pastors who claim that they are the ultimate authority for you. And I’m talking about spiritual authority. So, I address the Bill Gothard umbrellas. And this John Bevere book is called Undercover. It’s about how I forget the subtitle, but something like how being under the authority of your pastor will make your life wonderful, something like that.

JULIE ROYS
That’s worked really well for people at Harvest Bible Chapel and Mars Hill.

REBECCA DAVIS
That’s right. So, you know that some churches make this required reading. They buy this book by the hundreds and tell all of their church members; they need to read it. So that these church members will know how to obey their pastors. So, in the chapter that I address this book, I point out how John Bevere compares the church leader, the pastor, to Moses, to a king, to the Apostle Paul, and then ultimately to God Himself. He is in the position of God to you. So, it’s not like john Bevere says your pastor is God to you. He doesn’t say it that directly. He says it in a crafty way that isn’t quite so clear and needs some light shone on it for you to see what he’s really doing. And that’s what I do in this chapter. I take what he has said, show how he is making this comparison, and then shine the light of Scripture on it for you to see, that is not true at all. And so, some people have really been tied up in knots through this book, because they felt like something was wrong, but they couldn’t put their finger on it. So, this has opened it all up to show what’s going on in this book.

JULIE ROYS
Hmm. Can you give one example of that, where you take a scripture and then shine the light on it and then show this is not at all what’s being said in Scripture?

REBECCA DAVIS
He doesn’t directly say your pastor’s in the place of Moses. No. What he says is you may consider yourself wiser than the children of Israel, you would have discerned that Moses was right when they rebelled against him. You would have been right there with Joshua. And then I say, you see what he did there? Yeah, he put you in the place of the Israelites, then it’s a seamless assumption to put your pastor in the position of Moses. And then he says that because Joshua said, No, we can go into the Promised Land and defeat these giants, that shows that he had discernment because he was obedient to Moses. And I’m thinking what in the world? That’s because he had faith. He had faith in God. He knew who God really was. And then I say, I explained that nobody goes in the spiritual position of Moses, except the one person that Moses himself said was going to follow him. He said in Deuteronomy 18, he said, The Lord is going to raise up a prophet like me. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. Then I asked in the book, So who was that Prophet? Was it your pastor? No, it was not your pastor. It was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It’s sort of like Sunday School, where the teacher asked a question, and everybody raises their hand and says, Jesus? Yes, the answer is Jesus. Jesus is the right answer. He is the right answer in almost every question I present in this book. The person that Moses was talking about was the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s the one in the position of Moses. And in fact, Hebrews says, Moses was faithful in God’s house as a servant, but the Lord Jesus Christ is faithful as the son in charge of God’s house. So, Hebrews, just like all through the book of Hebrews, it shows Jesus is better. Jesus is greater. And this is where it shows Jesus is better than Moses. So, John Bevere, in comparing your pastor to Moses, I feel like it’s committing blasphemy, because Jesus is the one in that position, who is greater than Moses, who is here.

JULIE ROYS
Absolutely. And if you miss that the Old Testament is all pointing to Jesus, that Moses, for example, is pointing to Jesus. That’s why he’s there to point to Jesus, he’s there for us to understand when Jesus comes. To miss that and to say he’s pointing to your pastor? I mean, that’s blasphemous. And yet when you say that the thing that just like it was like, you know, sirens go on in my head, because I remember when I was reporting on Harvest Bible Chapel and James McDonald and I was interviewing Dave Corning, one of the former elders. In fact, he was the chairman of the elder board for 20 years. He said, when James McDonald was making changes, I think it was in 2010, to basically reorganize the board so that he could transfer all the power to himself.

REBECCA DAVIS
Yes, I remember.

JULIE ROYS
When he was doing this, he had previously taught against the Moses idea with a pastor. And all of a sudden, now he accepted it, and he adopted it. So that theology gave him the legitimacy then, to do what he was doing, which now we know was just to set the stage for incredible abuses at Harvest Bible Chapel. It’s so so dangerous.

REBECCA DAVIS
Julie, I did not know that. I didn’t know that he shifted his teaching. That’s fascinating. It’s such a perfect example of this.

JULIE ROYS
Yes, it is.

REBECCA DAVIS
It’s a devious, it’s like the serpent in the garden. It’s a devious teaching, that almost gets slipped in unnoticed, and people can hear it, unless they’ve got their discernment antennae up really strong all the time, it can just be slipped in without they’re realizing it.

JULIE ROYS
And a number it wasn’t just Dave Corning told me about that. Other people, you know, even pastors with Harvest Bible Fellowship, and several other elders said the same thing. And just how notable it was that all of a sudden, like, Whoa, now we accept this? No. So yeah, well, let’s go to another one. Hebrews 13:17. It says, obey. This is the King James version, by the way. Obey those that have rule over you and submit yourselves. For they watch for your souls, as they must give an account that they may do it with joy, and not with grief, for that is unprofitable for you. Interesting, the King James version has the word obey. And that’s why I noted it. The NIV however, says have confidence in your leaders. So, you unpack this word obey, which I think is critical, because if we’re saying obey, in the way that we obey our parents or God, obviously, that is a different standard. So, what are we talking about here with this word that’s translated again, in the King James Version, as obey?

REBECCA DAVIS
I had been kind of stuck on this verse myself in the past, because I was in a cult-like church for about a year. We got out of it. But it was difficult. And we got to learn a little bit what a cult was like during that time. And this one verse was used against people a lot, that really, you’re really just have to check your brain at the door and just do whatever we say. And basically, part of what I talked about John Bevere, was that you do what the pastor says, no matter what, even if it doesn’t make sense to you, even if it seems like a waste of time, even if it seems opposite of what you believe the Holy Spirit is saying, you do whatever he says. And so first of all, I present can this really be what God means to obey without question? And I present through the Scripture, like especially in Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a really bold prophet who called out these false shepherds a good bit. And I was saying, he called out these false shepherds. Do you think God wanted the people of Israel to just obey these false shepherds without question? And then in the gospels, Jesus called out the Pharisees who were the spiritual leaders of that day. And I said, Do you believe God wanted the Jews of Jesus’ day to just follow those Pharisees without question? Now, the answer is obviously not. So, it can’t mean, follow without question. It doesn’t fit with any of the rest of the Bible. So, then I go through, and I borrowed heavily from a couple of different blogging teachers that I credited in this chapter, who did a beautiful job examining this passage and understanding what it means. So, because the word obey isn’t the typical word used for obey, I spent a lot of time looking at the different ways it’s used in the New Testament. And what it actually means is allow yourself to be persuaded by, which is so completely different. And when you think about allowing yourself to be persuaded by someone, it means you have to keep your brain turned on. And you have to listen, and you have to think, and you need to pray through it. Allow yourself to be persuaded by and then it says in the King James, those who have the rule over you, but really, what it means is, those who are leading, those who are farther ahead of you on the path, basically. Those who carry the torch ahead of you. One of the bloggers that I cited, refer to a mountain guide. You’re trusting this mountain guide, because he’s been on this path before. He knows the way and he have a good reputation for being a good mountain guide who can really help you know the way and so you follow Him, and you keep your brain turned on the whole time. And that’s just in a worldly or physical sense, not in a spiritual sense. In a spiritual sense, we have to be thinking about the spiritual realm. And this is why, in here I talk about asking these leaders, or requiring of these leaders, whether you say it or not, requiring of these leaders, show me your life. Let me see your life because this isn’t just about pointing me from here to there on a physical road in this material realm. It’s about my spiritual health. It’s about my spiritual life. And so, we want to follow the godly ones. And some people cringe at that word godly, but not the ones who just have the appearance of godliness, the ones who truly know the Lord. So, when you really examine this entire scripture, it is full of beautiful truth. Show me your life, and let me follow you, as I see that you’re leading me well.

JULIE ROYS
But also examining what’s happening. I mean.

REBECCA DAVIS
Exactly.

JULIE ROYS
Look at the life. And when you say, Show me your life, we know that there needs to be fruit. And the fruit, if you examine it scripturally is not how many people you’re leading to the Lord, or how many seats are being filled in your church. It’s your character. What is your character? Does it have the fruit of the Spirit? Does it have the evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in your life? And if that’s true, yeah, we should be teachable. But like you’re saying, don’t turn your brain off. Because you got to put these other things together with as well, you know, that are about examining whether something is true before you receive it.

REBECCA DAVIS
Yes, living a life of integrity is so important, not just in public, but in private and in secret. What is the private life like? What is the secret lifelike? Which can be hard to determine, but often that can come out.

JULIE ROYS
Absolutely. You have another chapter entitled, and honestly, this one, I was like, Yes. When I read the title, Loyalty is Not a Christian Virtue. I wish I could get this in the hands of every single member of the Trinity Church where Mark Driscoll is pastoring right now, where they have this whole spectrum of trust and loyalty scale that he rates them on. And that will determine whether they get access to him and to the church, or whether they get booted from the church, and nobody’s allowed to associate with him. I mean, so wicked, and loyalty is used in such perverse ways. So, I’m getting on my soapbox, but I’m going to let you do something. I feel so passionately, because I’ve seen how loyalty can be used by a wicked leader, to compel people to do the exact thing you were talking earlier about with children. Doing things that are sin, and that are wicked, instead of following the Lord and using this loyalty ideal to just twist and manipulate them. And I’m so excited for you to present this to those listening, of why loyalty is not a Christian virtue in the way that it’s often taught.

REBECCA DAVIS
Yes. So, I have followed the Driscoll story as you’ve been interviewing people. And it’s astounding, really, really astounding that he’s not only doing the same thing again, as what he did in Mars Hill. But it seems even worse in some ways. So demanding loyalty. And in fact, when I first wrote about this years ago, it was on a different blog called BJ You Grace, which was addressing the situation at Bob Jones University. Some people were amazed that loyalty wasn’t a Christian virtue. And that continues to be the case that people write to me and say, Wow, I didn’t know that about loyalty. So, what I do is make the case that loyalty is a medieval concept that Knights in the Middle Ages would swear allegiance to their lord, they’re king. And it was basically the concept of fealty. And that means, essentially, my king right or wrong, I am going to stand with my king. So that right there shows that it’s not a Christian virtue. When should we stand with another person if they’re wrong, if they’ve done something wrong? I mean, we can invite them to repentance, but that’s not what loyalty is talking about. So, it means I’m going to fight for him. So, what I say instead, that the biblical and Christian concept that should replace loyalty is the concept of faithfulness. We are faithful to others when we call them to repentance. When we point out what they’ve done wrong, like a wife, or a husband is faithful to the spouse. We think about adultery that I’m going to be faithful to you with my body and my heart, but faithfulness is also calling them if we see that they are moving into sin. A faithful spouse is going to call the other spouse to repentance. So, this is what a faithful Christian would do with a leader like Mark Driscoll who has become what appears to be a cult leader, demanding unquestioning loyalty, and people who are standing with him, “Their souls are shriveling. They’re unable to think about what’s right and what’s wrong.” They can’t do that, because then that would be disloyal. So, if you step back and say, I’m not going to be loyal, instead, I’m going to be faithful, then we can examine what’s right, what’s wrong about this. So, the reason I originally wrote this blog post was because I was a graduate of Bob Jones University, and I was accused of disloyalty to the university, because I was blogging about the things they were doing wrong during a time when they were being examined for miss handling of sexual abuse cases. Now, they’ve never really set that right? As far as I know. But it made me step back and examine the issue of loyalty because I thought loyalty is not what’s in question here. So that’s when it was first written. And then I revised it a little and put it on my own blog, Here’s the Joy. And then it went into the book.

JULIE ROYS
And we’re told in Scripture, that if our brother or sister is sinning, to go to them and to point out their sin lovingly,

REBECCA DAVIS
That is faithfulness. Yes.

JULIE ROYS
That is faithfulness. The loyalty that is being taught by some of these people really is idolatry. It’s saying, serve me and put me in the place of God. I remember when I again, so much of this book, and I think this is why it was so engrossing for me too, is it just reminded me of my reporting. And I remember Mike Bryant, who was a Harvest Bible fellowship pastor who got booted from Harvest Bible Fellowship, which was this network of like 100, and I don’t know, 20-50 churches that had been planted by Harvest Bible Chapel. He got booted from this whole network simply because he went in private to James McDonald and confronted him about having TD Jakes speak at this Elephant Room conference. And it was wreaking havoc in his church, because now people were buying TD Jakes’ books and thinking he was wonderful. And, again, TD Jakes if you don’t know anything about him, I mean, he’s a prosperity preacher. And he also has this whole heresy that he seems to embrace, although he’s kind of repudiated that, but he kind of hasn’t, but it’s called modalism. And anyway, it was just it was just a mess. And so, he said something about it, and then he wouldn’t let it go. And he did press it with James McDonald, with the elders. And then for that he was kicked out and told he was I mean, he felt like a bad pastor. And his quote to me, and this has always stayed with me. He said, they want loyalty above righteousness. And he said, that just really messed him up inside.

REBECCA DAVIS
Yes, well, I see that he followed Matthew 18. And one of the biggest accusations made against bloggers is, why aren’t you following Matthew 18 by going in private? And my response often is, how do you know I haven’t, because in some cases, I actually have gone in private first. And the people who are speaking on my blog have gone in private. But this man who was booted out, went in private, follow the protocol of Matthew 18. And yet because he wasn’t loyal, he was kicked out.

JULIE ROYS
Well, exactly. Matthew 18, that deals with personal offenses, not with leaders who publicly are leading people astray.

REBECCA DAVIS
Thank you. Yeah.

JULIE ROYS 48:31
Publicly are sinning. That’s I Timothy 5:20. And I absolutely drives me nuts. I’m reporting a story right now about another church where there’s just all sorts of havoc. And they have it written right in there that if you have a problem with an elder or pastor, you have to follow Matthew 18. And I’m like, Huh, no, no, no, no. If you got a pastor, or elder who has a lot of power, you’re expecting a congregant to go to the pastor and confront them? You know that I mean, the differential power is unbelievable. And again, this is someone in authority. If an elder is sinning, I Timothy 5:20, then you publicly expose him.

REBECCA DAVIS
You rebuke him before all so I’m really glad you mentioned that. Yes, absolutely.

JULIE ROYS
Anybody who’s listening to my podcast, you know, at all will get that I’ve harped on that. But it’s still such a widespread miss application of Matthew 18. And so, I pointed out as often as I can. Let me just kind of bring this down to where we’re at right now. And I have to say I was so heartened by the way that you landed the plane, so to speak, in your book. I think it’s really easy to despair, and I hear a lot of people despairing when they see the word of God, it’s being used by these wolves to abuse and manipulate people. And yet you say in your book, and you land in your book on a really hopeful note. Why do you feel hopeful about the future?

REBECCA DAVIS
I think I am a continual optimist, because as dark as the world is that I work in, and I do work one on one with people who’ve suffered extreme abuse, often in childhood. Because I know who Jesus is. I know him personally. I’ve had personal experiences with him. And so, chapter 17, is called Thoughts for the Hopeless from Isaiah 40, that was born straight out of my own Bible study. And then chapter 18, The Authority We Have in Jesus Christ, as I was working on the book, I thought, okay, boy, this sure is negative. I mean, it’s positive, because I’m showing what the Scriptures really mean. But it’s negative thinking, Man, so many people are doing this so wrong. But when I’m writing a book about authority, I do want to emphasize at the end, the authority that true believers really do have in Jesus Christ, and because a good bit of my work is in what I might call the spirit realm, because there is spiritual warfare going on, I want believers especially like the evangelical believers, who don’t hear a lot about the spirit realm, to recognize, yes, it is there. Some of these leaders have willfully given themselves over to the devil, in order to get power and pleasure. Some of them have walked into his realm, without realizing because they end up enabling these evil leaders. But this is who we really are. Let’s step back and talk about who Jesus really is, and who we really are when we are in him. And that’s part of the untangling. If I don’t do that, I feel like I haven’t finished the job. Because you’ve been told you are dirty and rotten and hopeless. But I want to step back and say, let’s look at who you really are in the Lord Jesus Christ, and who he really is and what he’s really accomplishing.

JULIE ROYS
We are in the midst of a spiritual battle. Yet we know someday, this is all going to be made right. Someday there will be justice. And I think of if it weren’t for that, and knowing that God’s sovereign, I would so easily despair. But I know I feel like I’m sounding the alarm. You’re sounding the alarm. We’re getting the truth out there. And it’s up to people whether or not they decide to join the battle on the right side. I have to say just the last podcast I did was with a rape victim at Liberty University in 2005. And she said how hopeful she is now. And she’s been through unbelievable – I mean, she was gang raped, and then Liberty. I tell the story in a couple of articles, but how it appears that they, the school covered it up, and they kind of punish the victims. But despite all that, she said, Here we are 16 years afterwards, and now we’ve got a class action lawsuit, and we’re going to hold Liberty accountable for what happened. And she said, I’m so encouraged, because of all the people that have come around me, and that have helped me and advocated for me and walked with me to get me to this point. And she sees the sovereign hand of God. And I think if you look back, you know, and of course, I’m in the thick of it. But I’d be interested in from your perspective, Rebecca, what we’ve seen of so much of this. I mean, your work, what you’re doing uncovering what’s happening in patriarchy. But throughout the entire church, so many of these scandals being exposed. Is this not the hand of God working to expose?

REBECCA DAVIS
Absolutely every time evil is exposed, the hand of God is there, and it is an ongoing thing. There is much that still hasn’t been exposed. I work with people one on one, as I said, and so I know many, many things that haven’t come out. And I know that eventually they will, because God will ultimately bring perfect justice. And he will execute perfect righteousness. So, we continue to work in this field, knowing that we’re working on the right side. And somebody said, you know that famous quote, ‘Stop just pulling bodies out of the river. Go upstream and find out what’s making them fall in.’ I mangled the quote, but anyway, I basically know what’s making them fall in, but I can’t really do anything about that. What I can except pray and ask God to bring it to an end. What I can do is keep pulling them out and telling them about Jesus. And helping them in any way I can. So that’s what I keep doing. And I keep doing it with hopeful optimism. I’m an incurable optimist, because I know the Lord and keep trusting Him.

JULIE ROYS
Well, you and me both. And I do believe truth, and sunlight, is the best disinfectant. So, keep doing what you’re doing Rebecca. I just so appreciate it. I appreciate your books. I appreciate your blog. Everything that you’re doing to advocate for truth and really, to release slaves from bondage. So, thank you so much.

REBECCA DAVIS
Thank you so much for what you’re doing too Julie. I’m so so glad we connected.

JULIE ROYS
Yeah, me too. Well, and thanks for listening to The Roys Report, a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. And again, if you’d like a copy of Rebecca’s book on Patriarchy and Authority, we’re happy to send it to you for a gift of $20 or more to The Roys Report. If you’d like to do that, just go to JulieRoys.com/donate. And again, your gifts are what fund this podcast and all the investigative work and articles we publish. So please consider supporting The Roys Report. And thank you so much to those of you who have generously given to this ministry. We couldn’t do it without you. And just a quick reminder to subscribe to The Roys Report on Apple podcasts or Google podcasts. That way, you’ll never miss an episode. And while you’re at it, I’d really appreciate it if you’d help us spread the word about the podcast by leaving a review. And then if you would share the podcast on social media, we’d really appreciate that as well. Again, thanks so much for joining me today. Hope you have a great day and God bless.

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14 thoughts on “What Does the Bible Really Say About Patriarchy?”

  1. Thanks for this! I just listened to that story in Rachael’s book and went looking up the Botkin sisters. Interesting on their website they note Rachael as a brave woman who stood against abuse….so good to know about this thinking and how much we need to be able to interpret Scripture for ourselves instead of having it predigested by others!

  2. My comment is, woman-hating patriarchalists and egalitarians are both wrong, and they use each other to look biblical.

    1. True, but those (and they are mostly men) that want to subordinate women ignore these Biblical women and definitely ignore Galatians 3:28.

  3. I found the “loyalty” discussion interesting, as I don’t think I’ve ever heard it addressed in Christian circles. I’ve recently read former FBI director James Comey’s book on the topic (A Higher Loyalty). While the book is a different context, the dynamics seem pretty much the same. I definitely see how unconditional loyalty to anything but God amounts to idolatry.

    1. A small anecdote here:

      About once or twice a year at a former mega church I no longer attend, Lthe wife of the pastor would preach the sermon that Sunday whilst the pastor was away at some or other church business out of town.

      And guess what?
      She preaches better than him. She spoke from the heart, deeply loved Jesus and it came out in her sermons and touched all of the congregation that day. She fills the house whenever she rarely is “allowed” to preach.

      But many “men of the mega church” refuse to attend church on the days she preaches.

      So what would Jesus say?

      – Get out the pulpit woman how dare you preach my gospel?

      – You righteous men who shunned a child of mine preaching my gospel, please stand here and receive your reward?

      Christian “men”, NOT atheist men are the most misogynistic people ever against woman in church and it needs to stop.

    1. I appreciated the podcast and have your book. The first place I ever heard of blaming Dina for what happened to her was a message preached at a homeschool conference by Voddie Baucham. Another was along the lines of how Joseph was a disappointment to his parents for living and fitting into secular culture. We need to be aware that popular preachers of today require just as much examination for the Gothard/Phillips teaching that they promote. Voddie has also made a comment along the lines of when you wife ages, that is why God gave you daughters. Listeners please beware.

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