Dads shouldn’t need their adult daughters to give them adulation and affection.

That’s called emotional enmeshment and triangulation, and yet that’s what Voddie Baucham, who has been nominated for President of the Southern Baptist Convention (he may not actually run) believes.

On Fridays I like to share what’s been happening on social media, and this has been a busy week with a TON of comments coming in. It all started when I shared this Fixed it For You about Baucham:

Yes, there really are people who say creepy things like this who are actually high up in huge denominations.
It’s not just fringe people who think this way.

Voddie Baucham is a proponent of the “stay at home daughters” movement, meaning that daughters are under their father’s authority until they marry, when they come under their husband’s authority. So daughters shouldn’t be educated or work really, but should instead serve the father and then the husband.

And he honestly said this in a now-deleted video (that was talked about at length online at the time).

He’s called babies “a viper in a diaper” and has made headlines for talking about spanking kids “5 times before breakfast.”

And he is in the running for SBC President–President of the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.

My friends, we have to do better than this. Please.

I was surprised at how many people pushed back and said that this really wasn’t that bad, and he didn’t mean anything sexual by it. In the context of the original audio (it starts around 30 minutes in), he was saying that we distort love and make it into lust (which is true), but then he does have this bizarre part where:

  1. Men leave their wives for younger women
  2. What they’re really looking for in younger women is affection and adulation that a daughter can give
  3. And so what these men are doing when they have affairs is looking for daughter substitutes

There is absolutely no context in which that accurately describes a healthy relationship. This is called emotional enmeshment and triangulation–and the comments were quite interesting!

Let’s revisit the spanking debate and “vipers in diapers”

Ironically, if people hadn’t defended Voddie so vigorously I would not have looked more into what he said about parenting. But I found some very disturbing things, and so thought we should look at the spanking issue again.

This one got a ton of engagement, and I may revisit it on a podcast sometime, because we do need to deal with the idea that “I’m fine and I was spanked” does not actually outweigh the evidence from a meta-analysis of 160,000 children. And we need to revisit the difference between anecdotal evidence and large scale academic studies.

But regardless, I wrote this, while sharing my post about what the research says about spanking, and why Christians need to stop talking about disciplining babies:

Are kids just “vipers in diapers” who may need to be spanked 5 times before breakfast? Do kids desperately need to be spanked, and spanked often?

Voddie Baucham would say yes, and there’s been quite the debate in the comments about this since last night.

Mamas, I know so many of you just want to do right by your children. And you’ve grown up in churches that have told you that God wants you to spank your kids and break their rebellious spirit, and if you don’t, they won’t know God. Their salvation is at stake.

And I hear your heart and I know you want to do what’s right.

But please hear me on this: The Bible does not tell us to spank babies or toddlers or our children. It just doesn’t. It’s a misinterpretation of the Hebrew from a few verses, where the word for “child” there means more like teenager, and certainly not a toddler; and it’s not about spanking but about a metaphor for discipline.

And research? It shows that spanking either has neutral or negative outcomes, but not positive ones. Other parenting techniques have much better outcomes, without the risk and harm.

Your children do not need to be scared of you. And you do not need to hurt them. You can discipline them and correct them and guide them in far more effective and emotionally healthy ways.

Here’s a post where we elaborate on that a bit. Parents, we can stop this negative cycle for the next generation. We can do better

Sheila Gregoire


Is God calling you out of a toxic church?

Julie Roys wrote a very important investigative report this week about an incident at John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church, where a woman came to ask for help because her husband was severely abusing her and the kids, and they instead told her she had no biblical reason to be angry (let alone separate or divorce); that she must forgive; and that she must submit more.

She got a restraining order instead, and the church put her under discipline, and twice in the service of 8000 people John MacArthur named her and told the congregation that they must treat her as an unbeliever.

Her husband is now serving a decades-long sentence for multiple counts of child abuse and sexual abuse of a minor.

I shared Julie’s post with this:


A woman went to John MacArthur’s church for help because her husband was violently abusing the children and her–and she was told she had no biblical reason to be angry; she was told she had to submit more; and she was put under church discipline when she got a restraining order and separated. And he announced this in front of their 8,000 member congregation–that she should be treated as an unbeliever.

Her husband is now in jail on multiple charges, including sexual offence of minors and child abuse.

They knew that he abused her and the kids. And they said she had no biblical reason to leave.

Thank you, Julie Roys, for this in-depth article. It’s so needed.

But I want to say something else today.

Some of you are in churches like John MacArthur’s, and you agree that this terrible. You’re remaining in that church because you’re hoping you can change it.

I get it. Ten years ago that was me too. I thought I could be part of the change.

For some of you, that may be true.

But remember: By attending that church, you are giving your money and your seal of approval to that church. If you are a healthy, safe person, and other people in your community see that you go to that church, they will think, “that is a church where healthy, safe people go.” And they may start to go to that church.

What happens if the youth group gives their sons Every Young Man’s Battle? If the premarital counseling gives them Love & Respect? If they host a Love & Respect conference?

If they go for counseling for abuse, and they’re told that they need to submit more?

Are you using your money, your volunteer time, your good name to support a church that is actually harming people? What if the best way to change it is to leave?

I don’t know if that is the message that God has for you today. Some of us are called to stay. But I believe that more and more of us are called to leave.

What would happen if the healthy people got together and joined healthy churches (and there are many out there!) Churches where they did not blame women for their own abuse. Churches that protected the vulnerable. Churches that did not teach toxic things to teens. Imagine how if all of us at unhealthy churches banded together in healthy ones–those churches would be HUGE! And the unhealthy ones would shrink and lose their influence.

This story is horrific. Please read it. Please sit with it. And know that I hear stories like this EVERY SINGLE DAY. We have to do better. And I believe that may only come when enough of us say, “Stop.”

Sheila Gregoire


The Good Guy’s Guide and The Good Girl’s Guides launch on Tuesday!

I’m so excited that these books will soon be able to be in your hands! And I shared one of my favourite quotes from The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex:

Sex Should be a Knowing

The All New Guides to Great Sex!

Available now!

Imagine building a great sex life--from the ground up!

What would it look like to build a picture of sex that was MUTUAL, INTIMATE, and PLEASURABLE FOR BOTH--with no harmful messages?

Welcome to the The Good Guy's Guide to Great Sex and the ALL NEW Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex.

Get them NOW!

And let's make these the go-to wedding shower gifts!

Does your body tell the story of your sexual self?

So often we get angry at our bodies for not responding sexually the way we want them to, or for not having a libido.

But what if your body has actually been doing its job–and has been protecting you? What if your body’s reaction to sex is a signal about the messages you’ve been told about sex? 

I recorded this live on Instagram that I really like, and that is super important, and I’ll likely turn it into a post sometime. But I know it will help some of you and this is what some of you need to hear today!

That’s all for this week!

Make sure to follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss an Instagram live. And may we all start talking about the route to emotionally healthy relationships more, even if it means letting go of some of our sacred cows (like spanking). As I wrote this week, may we talk better about why we wait for the wedding night. May we not be afraid of what academic studies show us, because Truth will never point us away from God. It only reveals more. And the picture that I am seeing of a God who loves us and nurtures us and cares for us is really quite beautiful.

Any thoughts on the spanking debate? On how to choose when to leave a church? On how our bodies tell our stories? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find BIBLICAL, HEALTHY, EVIDENCE-BASED help for their marriage. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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