For many of us the end of the year brings reflection on the year past and a strategic focus on the one to come. So today I thought I’d share the “ministry report” from Doug Phillips’ Vision Forum. Entitled Ten Lessons from 2010 and Ten Visions for 2011, it is, as the title promises, a great overview of this Christian Reconstructionist organization and a glimpse at what we can expect from them in the coming year.
For today we’ll focus on 2010.
Framed as “lessons,” the report lists Vision Forum’s accomplishments, beginning with their work in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti and the founding of “Rescue Haiti’s Children.” Vision Forum brought medical aid, clothing, supplies and shelter to those in need.
The remaining nine “lessons,” though, are solidly rooted in Christian Reconstructionist dominionism and Biblical Patriarchy. Promoting a multi-generational understanding of history as the unfolding of God’s plan (a vision of history rooted in RJ Rushdoony’s work The Biblical Philosophy of History) Vision Forum’s “Faith and Freedom Tour” led well-heeled biblical, home schooling families on a tour of Europe. They sought to “chronicle and record” the history of the “perseverance of the church” in an effort to remind them that “the gates of hell will not prevail” against it.
Celebrating the success of their San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, they reveled in the fact that their keynote speaker’s Christian films are now available at Wal-Mart and that TV and Christian movie star Kirk Cameron joined them as a featured speaker: “Our movement is maturing, God is blessing the work of principled filmmaking.”
Encouraging men to form “godly and devoted friendships,” (later referred to as “conspiracies of friendship”), to “rise up and lead”—especially in terms of promoting manliness among their sons at a father and son retreat—and contentment at home among their daughters in a Father and Daughter retreat, the promotion of hyper masculinity and patriarchalism dominated most of the remaining “lessons.” They promoted the biblical “discipleship” of children at 22 home schooling conferences, meeting what they call “one of [their] primary goals: to promote the restoration of the biblical family.” They see the “home schooling community as central to this effort [and] seek to encourage home schooling parents to faithfully disciple their children.”
In response to the 50th anniversary of the release of “the Pill,” they “celebrated the blessing and preciousness of life amidst a culture of death, by hosting a Baby Conference. At the conference they honored Michelle Duggar, mother of 19 children as an example who “has encouraged many women to embrace the blessing of children and rejoice in the high calling of motherhood.”
Finally, while 2010 saw developments in the Creationist Movement, it also sought to frame environmentalism as an anti-Christian Pantheisic religion that threatens human life across the planet and launched the Mysterious Islands Campaign to challenge the movement. In distinctly Reconstructionist phrasing and tone, they write:
Without a proper understanding of the biblical doctrine of creation, man, the animal kingdom, dominion and sovereignty, our children may well fall prey to the vision-destroying false worship and spirit of the age—environmental pantheism. Environmental pantheism is a direct attack on the biblical family because it devalues human life and seeks to obliterate the mandate that men through their families take dominion over the earth. Most importantly, it substitutes the worship of the creature, for the worship of the Creator.
So how did the Vision Forum do in 2010? Well, it promoted patriarchal male authority, framed any activity outside of motherhood on the part of women as promoting “the culture of death,” opposed efforts to protect the environment as anti-Christian, and generally worked to transform culture according to its “vision”: quite a year, indeed.