Teach Them Diligently Focused on Discipleship Not Patriarchy as Suggested in Doug Phillips Lourdes Torres-Manteufel

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Plant Seeds of Truth

Over the past several years I have witnessed a lot of different situations arise in the Christian Homeschool community. Some of it has warmed my heart and a lot has driven me to my knees. Many of these situations have shown me why many do not want to be part of the homeschool world (even if they do homeschool) and why the world has such a bad mentality toward Christians – especially Christian Homeschoolers….and why I quit blogging.

I have remained silent on many of these things, like my friends, because I do believe in Matthew 18. Now, I still believe in that and this post is not about calling anyone out, but sharing a truth about something I know to be a fact.

In 2011, I met the Nunnery family and we became very good friends. Our friendship was a family friendship. Our families have spent a lot of time together in both of our homes, on the road and in church. Over the past 3 years, we have shared a lot of good times and a lot of difficult times.

The most difficult times have been those in which incorrect (rather false) information has been shared about them. During these difficult times, I have witnessed them share how they are not perfect, but because they don’t believe in calling others out, especially when they have not witnessed specific situations, they have no right and would actually be false witnesses (I believe there is a commandment about not being a false witness (commandment 9).

Recently, the situation with Doug Phillips has swept through the Christian and Christian communities like wildfire. Many who haven’t spoken out before are now doing so because they are being grouped with Mr. Phillips ideals – only because they may have past relationships with him. However, many who have had Mr. Phillips speak or had relationships with him have not been called out. Here is one blog that states he was to speak at a convention in 2011, one year before the only year he spoke at Teach Them Diligently in 2012 and here is another site with a person stating he was scheduled to speak this year at another convention.

Teach Them Diligently has had many other speakers they wanted who have been focused on equipping families to be disciples within their homes and educating their children. That is the focus of Teach Them Diligently – Family Discipleship – not patriarchy.

Why do I mention this? The lawsuit states in line 31: “Groups like Teach Them Diligently (operated by David Nunnery)……..continue to promote and encourage the philosophy of patriarchy…….”

That is an incorrect statement. 

 I am a friend of the Nunnery Family and was an employee of Teach Them Diligently. For two years, I ran  the Teach Them Diligently social media and never heard any remarks or saw anything in their home that suggested a patriarchal mindset. What I witnessed was a husband and wife (the Nunnery’s) working together, praying together and identifying ways to share the gospel around the world while equipping families to disciple their children in their home. Not just homeschool families, but any family. I also witnessed a family who truly believes in loving all and opened their hearts and homes to anyone and everyone. (side note, I had to step down due to the behind the scenes bullying I was receiving from organizations outside of Teach Them Diligently and began experiencing health issues).

In addition to my own personal knowledge, Teach Them Diligently has had many female speakers – good, strong speakers on their main stage who are not part of the ‘patriarchal’ movement – IE: Heidi St. John, Jeannie Fulbright, Carol Barnier, Pam Tebow and more.

Side note: This year, several speakers and vendors could not attend Teach Them Diligently because another convention  forced them to sign contracts stating they would not speak or vend at any other convention with a 100 mile radius. Several of these vendors shared this with me during the 2012 Convention season and asked me what Teach Them Diligently was going to do about it (since they were the ONLY convention with a 100 mile radius). I explained that really, Teach Them Diligently couldn’t do anything, it would be up to the vendors and speakers to identify what they wanted to do.

So, while this law suit incorrectly states that Teach Them Diligently (others are listed, but I am not speaking on behalf of any other organization) “promote and encourage the philosophy of patriarchy”, that can easily be refuted by the fact that 1. If you have attended an event, you know that the focus is on Jesus, Discipleship and the family, not on Patriarchs 2. Mr. Phillips has spoken at one of the Conventions Teach Them Diligently held 3. Mr. Phillips has indeed spoken at other conventions (multiple times) who are NOT listed in this case. You can listen to this Podcast on Homeschool Leadercast and this one on Rejoicing Daily and hear the hearts behind Teach Them Diligently and 4. Nothing written nor stated at any of the conventions or on their blog has any indication, promotion or encouragement for the philosophy of patriarchy.

I’ve been silent long enough. This week, I spoke with my husband about this and he reminded me – this is why I write. To share truth. I’ve been quiet long enough about the harsh treatment my friends have received and I want my readers to know, I do support Teach Them Diligently. I thoroughly enjoyed the event in Spartanburg and only regret I am unable to attend the National Homeschool Rally they are hosting in Washington DC.

I highly recommend attending their events this year – one in DC and one in Dallas. I promise, you will be encouraged and blessed. You will walk away knowing more about discipling your family and educating your children. We have to remember, wisdom comes from God and if we want to grow good strong Christians, we need to be equipped to do so – Teach Them Diligently will do that.


Apparently some people find the term ‘family discipleship’ to be a term that means patriarchy – let me be very clear: I do believe in the husband being the head of the home and in submission. I do not believe in a patriarchal form that oppresses people. God is the head of our home and we worship, pray and read the Bible as a family. That is our definitely of Family Discipleship. People must be quick to listen and slow to speak – the same goes with reading. Please do not press any man made definitions into this post. Families should worship together and enjoy family discipleship. If you teach or follow a pattern opposite to the truth in the Bible and both the teacher and the follower will be held accountable for not following God. I am so thankful for people like Wycliffe and others who worked hard and gave up their lives so that we could have Bibles in our languages to read and seek God’s guidance in our lives.

-Someone who has followed and spoken against the patriarchal movement recently explained to me that the TTD Convention may have been named in this because of some of the speakers they have had and/or currently have at the TTD convention. I thought this was an interesting way of identifying who is part of the movement. There are several state conventions, churches and other organizations that have these same speakers, yet they are not mentioned.

Let’s have more grace and mercy.

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  1. Thanks for speaking out! I have been “sitting on” some things that I feel need to be brought to light as well. Sometimes it’s just so hard to know what is right – do you keep silent or share? I often have to ask myself what Jesus would do and what the Bible says. I surely don’t want to have to answer for being an accomplice to someone else’s sins (because surely I’ll have enough of my own to answer for).

    We really enjoyed TTD in Nashville and I wish I were able to attend the other two events this year.

    • Heidi, Yes, it is difficult. I think speaking OUT against others really can be devastating to both parties. You have to identify your heart. I am not speaking out against anyone here, but sharing truth where someone else has made an incorrect statement.
      I can’t speak out against something I don’t know. For the VF, DP issues, I have not witnessed any of that. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but I can’t say it did happen.

      BUT, I do know the heart of TTD and the family behind it – it has nothing to do with the statement made in this law suit and that – that is what I want to share truth about.

      I have admired the way you have not spoken out against the many atrocities committed against you. In the end, truth will be known – it is all known by God and one day we will all stand and give account. Some washed with snow, but each word, thought and action has an eternal impact – that is what I am considering here.

      Love you sweet friend!

  2. Rebecca, thank you so much for speaking up. David Nunnery’s family is as lovely and Christlike a bunch as I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and whatever kind of dysfunction the teachings of that nasty Philips man can cause in a family or organization is completely lacking in these precious people. I still don’t know exactly what that man taught, and I guess I’ll just stay in the dark, since he is exposed and disgraced. That’s good enough for me, so I won’t bother finding out. All I know is that there isn’t even a whiff of that kind of abuse and manipulation in the ranks of the ttd family. I’m proud to be a (very small) part of it. I pray that the Lord exposes this slander as clearly as he has exposed Philips. It’s good that he’s cut off. It’s disgraceful that innocent people are being smeared by the mud he’s created.

  3. PS: I’ll bet all the lady spekers with their pantsuits and college educations will be shocked to find that they’ve been hanging out with patriarchalists all this time. ;-)

  4. Thank you for sharing your heart, Rebecca. People will really say anything that fits their emotions at the moment. They don’t need reason or fact. I guess the question is how do we respond when people do speak fallacies. Most of the time we do as you have done. Quietly take it to the Lord in prayer. Other times, He instructs us to speak up, and take action. I will be praying for those involved in this matter that they know exactly what God is leading them to do.
    With much love,
    Mrs. Joseph Wood

  5. Rebecca,
    I am sickened by all this nonsense. And it is RAMPANT.
    My family had to leave our church of 15 years this past year due to horrible slander, and pastors lying to us and about us. We were told one thing, and yet the opposite things were being done. And through it all, we have remained silent. Nobody knows why we left. We haven’t felt the need to make the whole ugly mess public.
    But I wonder sometimes, who are we hurting by not speaking? Could we perhaps save someone else some heartache if we spoke out against the pastor who holds himself up as a perfect example, but is a known liar?? It is just so hard to know. SO in the meantime, we remain silent…and try to press on in the remainder of our hurts.
    God help us all.

    • Dawn, It is never easy when you’ve been slandered about and lied to. I pray God will help you heal and move you into a church that will pour love and blessings on you. My thoughts on speaking out are this: Follow Matthew 18. One person recently told me to follow Ephesians 5:11 but I think all of Ephesians 5 should be taken into consideration and remembering the woman caught in adultery – truly no one could cast a stone because all were with sin. So, in the end, it’s about the heart. If your heart is to help heal and bring grace and truth, probably. But never for revenge – that is judgement and that belongs to the Lord of Lords.

      I will definitely pray for your healing. I know your heart is for truth and not judgement. Your sweet words are proof of that. There’s a fine line and it’s easy to cross when we become angry and bitter and merely want to shout out the wrongs done to us for vindication.

      there’s always more to the story….but only one truth and have peace in knowing God knows you and your heart.

    • Dawn, I love you. You can come live up here. Our pastor is pretty neat. ;-)

  6. Brian Grawburg says:

    I have very strong feelings about patriarchy and Vision Forum. I have written two essays on VF’s “Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy” and encourage those who may be sensing that their homeschool group is, or has, adopted some of the doctrines of Phillips, Swanson, et. al to read my essays.

    • So, Brian, are you against John Calvin? Or just the way others have twisted his teaching?

      • Exactly, Rebecca. VF may (I reckon, since all I know for sure about them is that I sniffed something weird when I saw their catalog and moved on without ever considering giving them a listen) be twisting things, or maybe some followers of theirs did, but you can’t blame everyone who believes the Bible for the ways some people use it wrongly.

      • Oh, I am most definitely a Calvinist: I attend a PCA church and subscribe to the Westminster Standards and the other Reformed confessions. My pastor and I have had numerous conversations about VF, etc. He, like me, is not at all in agreement with VF. Most of the families in our church are homeschoolers, but I am unaware of anyone endorsing the extremes of VF.

        VF, and those churches supporting this teaching, do not represent the majority of Reformed/Presbyterian congregations.

        • Brian, I agree. However, many do lump anything with Calvin and this type of Patriarchal movement together (I’ve recently learned this) and this it is very sad. It’s sad that people are not reading their Bibles in their homes and it’s sad that if I say we believe in family discipleship someone automatically assumes I believe in this type of extreme – or close to it. We have been members of a PCA in the past and really learned a lot. I’m learning more about Calvin and respect his writings a great deal. In the end, it’s all about God and His word. Thanks for responding.

  7. Rebecca,

    Thank you. As disheartening as the sinfulness and tragedy of the Phillips’ scandal is the inappropriate “lumping” and slandering that is being done by Christians is just as awful. We have to be SO discerning. I’ve been “lumped” with VF for years, because I was affiliate seller and I did appreciate many of the *sound* teachings that were espoused. We can’t deny that there was no good teaching or sound doctrine, encouraging to many families across the globe. But I always maintained that I am a “Christ follower” not a “Doug follower” or follower of anyone else. Still, everyone likes their boxes and labels and it’s doing more harm to the Christian community than this scandal, I think.

    Anyway, I appreciate your writing and defending this conference. I am a speaker at the WA homeschooling conference next week where Doug has spoken before. It pains me to think that the whole conference would be jaded by association. Discernment.

    • Kelly, oh sweet friend I am so sorry for that. It’s a difficult path when we do step up for Jesus – we become the target for amny stones. I’m thankful for the reminder He gives us in His word that the world will hate us and yet also when he told others to cast the first stone at the woman caught in adultery (where was the other party, anyway?) I think part of his point – there’s never one side to any story – and what you see isn’t always truth.

      Yes, we all need discernment and be disciples of Jesus – not man.

    • I too was briefly an affiliate for VF, because we found a lot of their classic literature offerings family friendly and spiritually strengthening. But I find it disturbing that there were people viewing them as some type of religious organization (dare I say “cult”) rather than simply another business offering hard-to-find resources to our family. We have to be discerning ALL THE TIME, and stop letting the idea that someone calls themselves “Christian” or “Biblical” blind us to their behavior. We need to stop looking for someone to “Follow” other than the Lord.

      • YES, that is exactly what we need to do – Follow the Lord, not man. And when we do follow a man, we need to be willing to accept the consequences of it.

  8. Rebecca,
    Like you, I have observed the interactions between the Nunnerys in their own home and can say nothing about the way they relate as a husband and wife bears a hint of patriarchy as I understand its definition. I agree that the college educated women who speak at their conferences indicate how far removed they are from that dogma.

    For the last 2 yrs, I have been part of the blog team covering the TTD event in Spartanburg. I have been impressed by the totality of the speaker panels and vendors and by the comments of the attendees I have spoken to re their experiences while there.

    I am so sad that the folks who are being hurt the most are the very folks who are the most sincere in their desire to rightly discern and follow scripture and who are working hard to encourage and equip homeschooling families to thrive vs survive.

    My concern applies to the many sincere folks caught up in this unfolding chain of events like yourself and speakers/vendors being forced to choose between one business model or the other as well as the many fine folks who are reeling because of the reckless actions of a man like Doug Phillips. There are so many who are sad today because of the dominos a few set in motion.

    My prayers hover over all involved because a house divided cannot stand. May the Lord protect us from ourselves and from wolves dressed like sheep so that our community will emerge stronger and more fortified to equip our children for the future.

    • Carol,

      Very well written. In the midst of seeking justice, so many forget grace and mercy and tend to cause harm to others. In the end, we are all responsible for our teaching and our actions. When we teach, we are held accountable and when we follow others, we are held accountable. God shows us that throughout the Bible.

      I pray many will lay down their gauntlets and realize, we fight against the spirit, not the flesh. We should never cause a division and force people to choose one thing over another. Sharing truth in love and grace, that always reflects Christ more than condemnation.

      You are a true blessing, sweet friend. I know the Nunnery’s have been blessed through your friendship and your readers are blessed through your encouragement.

  9. Alycia A says:

    Dearest Rebecca,
    Thank you for posting this. As you know, i was at TTD Spartanburg this year. I didn’t catch one whiff of patriarchy from the Nunnery family. The focus was in following Christ as a family, either large or small. I am glad that you spoke in defense of your friends. You are a blessing.
    Much love,

  10. I searched this topic out because I read TTD listed in the Torres lawsuit. It has been devastating to be so deceived and then punched in the guts by the patriarchy movement.

    I was first introduced 5 or 6 years ago by hearing VB teach about children as blessings. God convicted me through that and we are blessed to have 2 more children from that change in my heart. So I continued learning from these men. It was only 3 years ago I learned of VF and DP. I was just learning the top surface of family discipleship, family worship, courtship, generational vision from DP, KS, VB. And only this year I learned of patriarchy. It has been very difficult to search for resources that teach me how to point our kids to Christ so when these companies and men teach ways to do such a thing and speak to the men of the family it seemed to be an answer to prayer. Now I find myself searching out every name that has been associated at any time with DP to scour their teachings looking to see if they hoodwinked me too. It is a daunting task but I have been slammed before and I don’t want to be sacked in again. I am absolutely a Calvin is by theology but I als I find it hard to believe everything a man sassy about scripture if their name is not written on one of the 66 books of it. This searching at arms length is from finding out about calvinist doctrine only a few years ago but having been raised in church as a pastors kid. I didn’t know who to believe.

    So as I look through sites and blogs it has been very clear just how confusing the definition of all the see terms are. Every person a preconceived idea on calvin, patriarchy, courtship, submission, and all the other buzz words. The difficulty comes when I think I agree with a one sentence description of one tenet of the patriarchy or quiver full movement but I totally disagree on the next. It takes a huge conversation to explain what I agree with and give scriptures to support my adherence to them just as it takes a considerable amount of time to state the points I disagree with and to show examples of why those points are unbiblical and harmful. The whole “movement” is a challenge.

    So thank you for posting this so that I can read a perspective that this ministry does not push patriarchy. I have friends who follow often and it has been helpful for them. I would not want to encourage another person to a site that would lead them to VF teachings. So thank you for clearing up the non connection with DP. I am very grateful for those brave souls who are exposing the truth of his and other organizations so that folks like me are warned. I have been watching to see who is safely distancing themselves to protect their own business and who is actually warning the community with boldness.

    Thank you again. I pray we are all better at looking upward to the God who loves us instead of searching for a person on earth to lead us like the isrealities when they wanted a king. Shame on me for falling for such idolatry.

  11. I will add that since the Gothard resignation I’ve seen the lies coming from AT I too. So I used to highly regard the duggars but now I question their teachings from the books. Even the girls new book share what AT I teaches and it is not all scripture but stuff Gothard made up to groom his staff.