While Baptist Lori Alexander might believe that human agency plays a role in receiving Christ as one’s savior, that doesn’t stop her from embracing Baptist Voddie Baucham’s views about racism. (Baucham, the “fire-breathing Calvinist” believes that human agency plays no role in salvation.) Though this notable doctrinal difference between types of Baptists in the US presents the most significant dividing force among them today, why does it present Alexander with no difficulty? A recent NLQ post noted the role of the Doctrine of Separation in the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) denomination which distinguishes them from other Christians. While Alexander of the IFB does so for different theological reasons, the same spirit of separatism seems to create a bond for these two. Rather than building upon commonalities among Christians, both expend great effort emphasizing the errors of the less dutiful and less enlightened. Baucham echoes Anderson’s perception of superior commitment to the cause.
Separatism certainly does exemplify Quiverfull (QF) whose battle cry may well be, “You’re not doing it right.” The Alexanders and the Bauchams always point out just how everyone else gets it wrong. QF always relies on its righteous formulas that always ration love. While the theological reasons for each differ significantly, both Alexander and Baucham also convey veiled misanthropy. Calvinists emphasize total depravity, and apart from God’s direct intervention through the right kind of Christian, there is no hope for any good for anyone – ever. For this reason, the idea of autonomy and self-governance prove impossible for Christians because Calvinism pits them directly against God’s sovereignty. It leaves no room for good neighbors because no such thing exists. Only holy-enough Christians (who ‘do it right’) can correct the wrongs of society.
On the other hand, Alexander’s theology derives its pessimism from a shame-based, authoritarian system that drips with conspiracism, demonization, and scapegoating. It doesn’t denigrate agency, but it pits loved ones against one another as adversaries. It claims that the nature of a wife seeks to overthrow husband as his destroyer, and child seeks to conquer parent. And those who persecute their pure version of faith are the greatest adversaries of all, though they strike me as their own worst enemy through such paradigms.
Consider that John Piper‘s father moved to Greenville when Bob Jones University (BJU) opened because of his family’s close relationship with John R. Rice. I believe that Rice’s influence framed his gender beliefs which he advanced during the Conservative Resurgence. John MacArthur‘s roots also trace back to BJU, and he defines women as unfavorably as Rice did. Jinger Duggar married Jeremy Vuolo, a student at MacArthur’s seminary who sometimes shares a dais with Baucham. And droves of former followers of Bill Gothard have found a comfortable new version of faith through Piper.
Is any of this coincidental, or does it owe to the influence of a common, power-oriented source?
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Cindy is a nurse who was raised in Word of Faith, a Second Generation Adult of cultic Christianity. She and her husband dabbled in Calvinism and Theonomy as a foil to Christian anti-intellectualism, and they were exit counseled together when the walked away from a church that embraced Gothard’s teachings. Cindy escaped many Quiverfull pitfalls but became a social pariah for failing to birth a family. She’s been decrying the abuses of the Patriarchy Movement since 2004, and she writes about spiritual abuse at her blog, Under Much Grace. Read more about her here.