Matthew and Maranatha Chapman Withdraw from 2014 CHEO Convention

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

As of yesterday, Matthew and Maranatha Chapman are no longer presenting at Christian Home Educators of Ohio’s (CHEO) annual homeschool convention this summer. 

The Chapmans have recently provoked controversy due to increased attention to their advocacy of marrying homeschool girls in their “middle-teens” to older men.

The Chapmans have recently provoked controversy due to increased attention to their advocacy of marrying homeschool girls in their “middle-teens” to older men.

Matthew Chapman was a keynote speakers and his wife Maranatha was slated as a featured speaker. The Chapmans have recently provoked controversy due to increased attention to their advocacy of marrying homeschool girls in their “middle-teens” to older men.

The following statement appeared on CHEO’s convention page as of December 16, 2013 (PDF version):

The CHEO board regrets to inform Ohio homeschoolers that Matthew and Maranatha Chapman have notified us that they will not be attending the upcoming CHEO convention in 2014 as previously planned. The Chapmans deeply desire that all those attending the convention would be built up and encouraged in the Lord, and expressed that they will miss seeing the many friends and acquaintances they made from when they were here several years ago. CHEO appreciates their humble service in ministry and wish for them the best.

CHEO has not specified the reasons for the Chapmans’ change of plans, nor have they made any public comment or statement on the Chapmans’ advocacy of child marriage or whether this advocacy was the reason for withdrawal.

11 comments

  • Happy Homeschool Grad

    I respectfully submit that this group (HA) and others provoked the controversy AND the increased attention to their “advocacy of marrying homeschool girls in their “middle-teens” to older men.” The Chapmans do not teach on child marriage or advocate for it.

  • But she got married in her teens to a man in his 20s and married off her own daughter on the same manner. The poor child had just barely hit puberty… not acceptable

  • Happy Homeschool Grad

    You can not possibly know the age of either of these women’s puberty, so that should not even be part of the argument. Besides – WHO CARES if she was a teenager? Maranatha has never stated that she was forced to marry – she WANTED to marry him. Abigail Adams was 17 when she married her 3rd cousin, who was 29. They had a long an beautiful marriage. Should we have an expose on that relationship when all public record and private communication points to a loving and happy marriage?

    I understand that there are former homeschoolers who have had traumatic childhoods and want to expose serious issues to save others. Please stick with the real issues of abuse. This was not abuse. This was a young woman marrying an older young man because she wanted to. Not forced. Not sold. She WANTED to. Same with their daughter. I am sure they were as surprised as anyone that this happened twice in their family. Go back and read the ‘advocating child marriage’ article used in this witch hunt. It was written TEN years ago (2003) and Matthew even said, “I, obviously, don’t have a problem with betrothal—I did one. But, I would be shocked if the Lord led for any of our children to get married in exactly the same way as He did for Maranatha and I. The specifics of what we did was certainly not your norm, but it was orchestrated and blessed by God. Which begs the question: What is normal? I see aspects of moving toward marriage, as I have already said, that are clearly commanded by the Lord, but I do not see in the Scriptures an exact mandated procedure.”

    The Chapmans do not teach or advocate what they are being accused of.

    Quote: http://www.biblicalbetrothal.com/thoughtsmc.htm 2003

    • You have a very different reading of the situation than I have. The timing of the relationship between Matthew and Maranatha was based entirely on the desire of Stan Owen. Stan dictated when the two members of the couple could express romantic interest in each other. He told the Matthew when he could ask Maranatha to marry Matthew. Every interaction moving toward marriage started with Maranatha asking “Does my father know about this?”. Heck, Stan married them off legally then dictated when they could actually start their lives together. This is not a healthy way to start a marriage. Until the Chapmans begin to discuss the obvious flaws in their courtship, they severely undermine their credibility.

  • Even if HA “provoked” the controversy, it’s based on materials that are still archived on the Chapman’s Life and Liberty Ministries website. If they do not teach on or advocate parent-facilitated marriage of teenagers to older partners, they should remove “A True Romantic Betrothal” from their website.

    • Happy Homeschool Grad

      I appreciate your concern and admonishment for the Chapmans to remove the article from ‘their website.’ However, Life and Liberty Ministries is not the Chapman’s website and the article was written by Jonathan Lindvall, not the Chapmans.

  • Warren Jeffs would certainly approve of marrying off naive homeschooled middle teens to older men. Clearly, those girls absolutely know what they want – to be dominated in a patriarchal relationship, with zero option for escape.

  • If they are married under the age of 18 they are not legally an adult yet and therefore they cannot consent to the marriage. In the time of our forefathers life expectancy was much shorter and so people married earlier. Minors aka those under the age of 18 should not be getting married or be pressured into marriage. Teens having babies are at higher risks for medical problems during pregnancy. http://www.intelihealth.com/print-pregnancy/pregnancy-risks-for-teens .
    Maranatha’s daughter Lauren married at 16! The people who speak out against underage marriages in Christian communities just do not want this country to turn by a Christian version of the Taliban. I am a Christian and this country should have better standards than to allow minors to marry.

    • Happy Homeschool Grad

      I am pretty sure the two marriages in the Chapman family are not an attempt to promote Taliban sentiments in the US. People need to consider that this is a simple family living their lives, rarely speaking in big venues, not promoting extreme betrothal in their materials or talks, and that articles being used to stir up trouble are over 8 years old. Maybe using some perspective would be helpful and this can stop. Instead, perhaps the focus can be on Miss Kay of Duck Dynasty fame. She was 16 when she married and has a much larger audience – over 11 million.

      • There is a different between patriarchy-daughters marrying young and public-schooled teenagers marrying young.
        Most patriachy-raised girls have no mind and are parrots of everything their parents/father teach. I was for over 19 years!!! If I had married under the age of 20 I would not have given educated consent, much less at the age of 15 or 16.

        I do not have personal experience, but I think that a public-schooler chosing to marry their high-school sweetheart young is a CHOICE. Which (I repeat), it is not a choice for quiverfull, patriarchal daughters.

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