New Book Puts Quiverfull, Patriarchal Beliefs Under Spotlight

Growing up in a family environment where the men rule the nest can be pleasant and full of security or sometimes can be dangerous and abusive depending on the family dynamics. There are some families where the loving father is highly respected not because it is demanded of his family, but because he has earned it as a loving, gentle, father and husband, leading his family and providing for his family.

There are other families who take scripture to extreme and take the passage of Ephesians 5:24 completely out of context.

Ephesians 5:24 (NIV) states, “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

This passage has been used for hundreds of years as a means to degrade women and children to make them seem as they are less important to God, when in fact, all are equal in God's eyes and all should be treated with mutual respect and consideration, out of love for one another.

Hilary McFarland, the author of Quivering Daughters, had the unfortunate experience of living within a patriarchal family system, and thus such, her beliefs and thoughts were distorted from such an existence. Women who have grown up in environments as these tend to have little self-confidence and trust in the world around them. However, it is important to point out that not all who choose to follow these extreme movements live as Hilary lived.

The term “Quiverful, ” is derived from the verses Psalms 127:3-5 (NIV), “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”

Quiverfull families simply choose to put the choice of family planning in God's hands. They've made a choice not to use birth control, but allow God to bless them with as many children as He desires. Most Quiverful families are Christian, home school, lead a conservative life-style and are usually patriarchal in belief, but not all of them.

The term Patriarch Movement refers to the beliefs that there is a certain headship and hierarchy to God's plan for the universe: God, men, women, children, in that order.

Families who practice these beliefs, believe that women and children should obey and honor the husband's and father's wishes unquestioningly. In some extreme circles, church beliefs go beyond just the husband to include all the men and boys within the family. In some congregations, women are not allowed to speak in church. Her husband must speak for her. If he is not there, her son or another man would make her request known.

It seems foolish to think such beliefs still exist within these modern times, especially when we are taught that salvation in Jesus Christ is a gift of Grace and nothing is required of us other Love God with all our hearts, souls and mind, and love each other as we love ourselves. Salvation in Jesus Christ is a free gift. Just ask Jesus for it and accept it. All of these other, “requirements,” set aside by movements and legalism, they are choices. God has given us all free will to make our own choices. However, in the case of this one girl and many others like her, they weren't given a choice, and suffered greatly because of it.

Remember, though, our lives are full of choices. Everyday, we as Christians choose which way we will go. What's right for me may not be right for you, and that is OK. Choose for yourself what is the right thing to do between you and God. There's is no condemnation in Christ. Do not judge somebody for the choices they make just because you think they are weird or wrong. In the end, it really is all between us and God.

However, it's very important to point out that not all Quiverfull are patriarchal in belief. Not all patriarchal are quiverfull, though most are. Just as not all quiverfull will turn out to be like Andrea Yates

Each family and person has their own choices and circumstances to be considered. This book is a good read to see what viewpoints are out there, but please, for the sake of Christ's love, grace and mercy on all of us, sinners that we are, trying to do what feel God is leading us to do, please don't sum up all quiverfull and patriarch beliefs as a bad thing. For some Quiverfull is a good and blessed thing. For some, the Patriarch Movement works well. We're not all in the same category and not all of it is bad. It all comes down to the way you were raised, the way you believe and the choices you make. Learn from this book. Gain insight from this book and help others see the TRUTH.

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  1. Joe_Sewell said:

    I was first introduced to this concept by a series of items on Twitter, which led me to a video and a blog by another woman who was victim of the dark side of this belief system. I want to say she wrote the foreword to Quivering Daughters, but I don’t recall with certainty. What struck me about the discussion, though, wasn’t the abuse involved nor the reasons behind it. While I am a guy, and I didn’t suffer the same kinds of abuse these women did, I know it’s out there. What struck me about the discussion was the terminology used. They pointed the accusing finger on “fundamentalism.” As often as that label is misused, misapplied, and abused in its own right, I wasn’t surprised … or I shouldn’t have been. I believe this article puts a well-balanced light on the issue. It’s not about “fundamentalism” per se, but rather an abuse of the Scripture.

    January 21, 2011

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