Doug Phillips’ Resignation from Vision Forum

I thought I should say something about Doug Phillips’ resignation from Vision Forum, but it won’t be very much. The news was of course tragic, sad, and humbling. That said, I thought his letter of resignation was good, and accomplished what a letter like that needed to accomplish. I am glad he stepped down from leadership, and am glad he cancelled his future speaking engagements, and that is all to the good. Given the sin, that is what should happen. We should grieve over the damage done, rejoice in his repentance, and wish him and his family nothing but the best.

The second observation has to do with the snark shown by those who see such things as an occasion for venting their spleen. One of the reasons why men in Christian leadership have to be so careful in their lives is that this response is so entirely predictable. When Nathan the prophet rebuked David for his great sin, he referred to this response as one of the obvious and predictable consequences — “by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme . . .” (2 Sam. 12:14).

And that is what they do. But for those who know how the story goes, this is one of those occasions where the enemies of the Lord can be readily identified. By their glee ye shall know them.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or semi-Pelagian.

146 thoughts on “Doug Phillips’ Resignation from Vision Forum

  1. Trying to figure out why the ESV and NIV do not mention “enemies” in the translation of 2 Samuel 12:14, but the KJV, NASB, and AMP do.

  2. Thanks, Pastor Wilson.
    For the ones who are the targets of that the question should probably be: “What broad impact is my sin having? Because I know I have it, and will until That Day comes for me.”

  3. Pastor Wilson,
    Am I being too nitpicky by noting that, when I read his resignation letter, I notice Doug Phillips did not step down from Vision Forum but rather Vision Forum *Ministries*?
    As I can see it, Vision Forum is the for-profit arm and Vision Forum Ministries is the not-for-profit arm. 
    Perhaps I am reading this too hyper-literally, but nowhere did Doug say he resigned from Vision Forum himself. And the Vision Forum website still says he is president and doesn’t acknowledge his resignation in any way.  It sounds like he’s going to continue being president of Vision Forum, just not Vision Forum Ministries.
    Anyways, I don’t mean to impugn his resignation or anything, but I think this is a little nuance that most people aren’t really noticing (or maybe I am just misinterpreting it).

  4. Interesting how people who Philips castigates while in good standing are “enemies of the Lord” (ie: people who don’t buy into the whole courtship mentality as set out by Philips, having many children, wives staying home and not working, daughters staying home with parents until they’re married, etc), and then people who detest the hypocrisy of such a “godly leader” sinning in a way that his formula claimed shouldn’t happen are also “enemies of the Lord”. Very interesting.

  5. Rudolph, I don’t anywhere call people enemies of the Lord for differing with Vision Forum. I have significant differences with them. I call people enemies of the Lord if they chortled over the news of this.

  6. It’s always sad to hear stories like this. And scary. No one is immune to indwelling sin. I pray for a hastening of the day when we will have no more sin. Until then, I hope that grace abounds.

  7. So, Mark, the issue is whether a Christian, when this type of sin happens, should step down from other positions of leadership (business, political)? A second question comes to mind with a more obvious answer: Should Vision Forum, as a store for Victorian dolls and wooden longswords, necessarily face consequences for Philip’s behavior? I think the answer is no,…but they probably will.
    Some consequences are required and others may or may not come to pass, depending on the organizational structure involved, shareholders, trustees, markets etc. My recommendation to Doug Philips would be that he take an ex officio status for a time as President of Vision Forum (the for profit arm). He doesn’t need to give an explanation for this, either. That is requiring too much. Besides all will “out” in time. But such a status may go far for not only those who he ministered to, but also for his “customers”.

  8. I followed the link you posted.  The comments are an overwhelming compilation of snarky women and effeminate men hissing from the porch at both Philips and Wilson.  It sounds more like the glee from the witches in MacBeth rather than a  sorrowful Christian response.  I think that you both hit a nerve so deep that now they must respond with vigor to cover their real desire, to “rule” over their Adam or an Adam still capitulating to Eve.  I attempted to post but they would not allow it.  Go figure.

  9. Jacob,

    Yeah, the concern wrapped up in my question was not so much exactly how the organization decides to handle this matter (I really feel I have no vested interest in that answer), but rather a desire for clarity: I’m moreso trying to get to the bottom of whether he is stepping down from Vision Forum as a whole, or just Vision Forum Ministries.
    If its just “Vision Form Ministries”, then unfortunately, a lot of the blogs and news sites might be giving people the wrong impression (ie. that his resignation is more significant than it actually is). A great deal of them are saying he is stepping down from “Vision Forum”.
    IF it is indeed true that he is staying on as president of Vision Form, I suppose his resignation letter could have been clearer. In that scenario, he shouldn’t assume that everyone is going to understand the Vision Forum vs. Vision Forum Ministries nuance. Perhaps he could have said “I will be resigning from Vision Forum Ministries, but I will continue my duties as president of Vision Forum”. This might have then prevented people from misreading and misreporting it. Anyways, just my opinion, which is, of course, would only come into place if I my conjecture is correct.

  10. Along with D.W., I think it is most appropriate that Doug Phillips step down, cease his speaking engagements and take some serious time to seek God’s face and work on his marriage.  I also think DW accurately notes the evil of the gleeful ones.

  11. Mark,
    I noticed the Vision Forum/Vision Forum Ministries nuance as well.  As I don’t know, I can only speculate.  It may be that Vision Forum is a family run business and Vision Forum Ministries a non-profit.  If Vision Forum is wholly owned by Doug, to resign would be to quit his job and source of income.  That step may be necessary in time, but provision for his family still needs to be considered even while going through this situation.

  12. Doug,
     
    That has to be about the best letter of its kind I’ve ever read.
    A sad day, to be sure. And sadder still that the feminist enemies of the a gospel (for that is what they surely are) are greeting this with glee. For, you must understand, no sin ever exists in their camp. If it did, that would be proof the sinner was never anything but a faux feminist in the first place. But patriarchy is inherently sinful and it’s leaders self-righteous deniers of their sin. Any good a patriarchalist does is because they aren’t being true to patriarchy. 
     
    Shameful.

  13. Well, I think that he overreacted. If he didn’t have sex with her and he realized that he was getting too close, back up. Don’t act like you slept with her, when you didn’t.

  14. Robert, I think he did the right thing not to get into Clintonesque equivocations.  There is so much more to infidelity than intercourse.  As someone who has been the betrayed spouse, I found the emotional aspects harder to understand and to forgive than the merely physical.

  15. I don’t have a problem with him not stepping down from Vision Forum’s for profit arm.  He still needs to provide financially for his family.

  16. So Doug and the woman “did not ‘know’ each other in a biblical sense.”  What exactly does that mean? That does seem to have a heavy hint of Clintonese.  How far can a man and woman go without “knowing” each other?  Some are describing this as an “emotional affair” but Doug’s description is quite equivocal in that regard.  Certainly this is a cause for mourning and recognizing that no man (including a very personable, conservative one) is above the temptation of such sin.

  17. “I call people enemies of the Lord if they chortled over the news of this..”  Rejoicing in the truth is not the same thing as ‘chortling’.  Yes, some (mostly those who have long since left the faith sometimes due to abuse such as Phillips’) are rejoicing in his downfall.  Perhaps we shouldn’t judge them so harshly either.  You have no idea what they may have been through.  I THANK GOD for ministries such as Wartburg Watch who keep a sharp eye out for wolfs preying on the fold.   And Jill Smith?  He absolutely did get into Clintonesque equivocations.  That’s *what he did*.  “I did not have sex w/ that woman.”  Leaves a whole lot of questions unanswered doesn’t it?  And kudos to whoever noticed that he didn’t step down from the business end of Vision Forum. 

  18. Doug Phillips’ resignation from ministry was both necessary and right. The need to resign from a business endeavor in neither necessary nor right, though it might be prudent.
     
    We must be careful not to expect or demand more than is scripturally warranted.

  19. All, I corrected my spelling of Doug Phillip’s name. Apologies to all, and this also lets the Wartburg Watch be right about something. Win/win.

  20. “As those of you in the military know, it’s the XO’s job to disagree with the captain when he sees a danger to the ship or the mission. Then, after full and free discussion, the captain has the final word. Unless the captain is absent, incapable of serving, or deliberately sabotaging the mission, in which case the XO takes over.”  http://www.home-school.com/Articles/patriarchy-meet-matriarchy.php/   If this was a longterm affair, I’m guessing Beall knew or at least suspected.  And this is one of the huge problems w/ patriarchy.  The wife is guilted into never questioning, never challenging.  Even if she KNOWS, she is rendered powerless.  I agree w/ the folks at Wartburg.  The confession brings up far more questions than it answers.  I sense a strong vibe that this involves someone’s daughter, as in , a Vision Forum daughter.  In which case, if this was ‘long term’ there could be a chance the inappropriate behavior began at a time when this woman was underage.   One reason I say this is b/c it seems obvious that the Vision Forum hierarchy is not expecting the woman, whoever she is, to tell her side.  Which means they have some kind of power over her.  She is a non-entity in this equation, a non-person. 

  21. Sarah — Yikes. You are attributing motives all over the place. 1) You don’t know what Mrs. Phillips knew or when she knew it or when she took action on it. Period. 2) It is not Mr. Phillips’s responsibility to publicly confess the other woman’s sin. And, thanks be to God, he has not publicly named her. You have no data by which to guess at her identity, her age, or her relationship with the organization. It’s between her, her family and church, and the Holy Spirit whether or not she should publicly address her role in this matter.

    “But what are we to do?” said Susan. She felt that the conversation was beginning to get off the point.
    “My dear young lady,” said the Professor, suddenly looking up with a very sharp expression at both of them, “there is one plan which no one has yet suggested and which is well worth trying.” 
    “What’s that?” said Susan.
    “We might all try minding our own business,” said he. And that was the end of that conversation.

    For pity’s sake, let it be the end of this one, too.

  22. Mmmm, Valerie, no.  I attribute no motives.  I am speculating.  For a reason, namely, the odd nature of the ‘confession’.    I never said Phillips should name the woman….I said it’s obvious they aren’t expecting HER to come forward.  Instead of, “nothing to see here, everybody move along!” it’s my feeling there ought to be much more scrutiny, and many more questions at least asked, if not answered.  Putting men in ministry on pedestals contributes to what has happened here.  MINDING OUR OWN BUSINESS????   Wow.  I’d think putting oneself out there as an expert and authority on godly living, and making his livelihood in said venue, would make it the business of anyone who has followed him and bought into the narrative. 

  23. I agree, Valerie. I think it’s weird that so many people want all the salacious details. “So just HOW FAR did they go??? Were there clandestine SECRET MEETINGS??? Was there TOUCHING? ” I’m sure within Doug Phillips’s family there were many detailed confessions to all the people who *needed* to hear them. As a public Christian leader, it was important for him to confess the FACT that he sinned and the general nature of the sin in order to explain why he is stepping down and withdrawing from public view. That should be all that is needed for people outside the immediate situation. I think the internet has created a culture of voyeurs where we all feel like we have the right to know the intimate details of people whom we don’t know personally and have no connection to. We can see this in the distasteful and vulgar way that Frank Schaeffer has written his tell all books about his parents’ marriage, and the way the internet gossip mongers try to chase down every detail of every instance of church discipline that happens in Doug Wilson’s church in order to try to ferret out any nefarious dealings. As for me, I don’t personally know Doug Phillips. I am glad, in light of his sin, that he has done the right thing by making a public confession and stepping down. There is no need for me to know anything more about the situation as it couldn’t possibly be in any way edifying to anyone at all.

  24. Any of you cyber-sleuths (pro-or-con patriarchy) know whether Phillips

    (a) was still serving as an elder at Boerne Christian Assembly Church, and

    (b) if so, did he resign (or was relieved of duties) as an elder?

    The church site doesn’t appear to have been updated since 2008!

    Thanks.

  25. As long as the woman wasn’t A) an employee or B) underage at any point in time, I have absolutely no interest in how, where and when.  But I don’t trust the accountability partners any farther than they can be thrown.  There have been too many instances in my church as well as many others, where things like this have been treated as ‘church business’ when in actuality there was a crime committed.  But I have full confidence that the truth will out, given time. 

  26. Yes, but once again, even if there were a crime committed, that is a job for the police. It’s not a job for Scooby, Shaggy, and the Internet Mystery Solving Brigade. And it certainly not our job to speculate about a situation in which we were not involved and about which we do not have all the details.

  27. It is astonishing to me how many commenters on other sites are using Doug Phillips’ situation to entirely discredit the idea of Christian patriarchy, as if a man is supposed to be perfect at all times and if he is not, then his wife no longer has to obey him.  
    I am very sorry to hear about Doug Phillips’ affair and have prayed for him and his family, but his sin (and repentance) do not invalidate what the Bible says about the marital hierarchy.  Every husband sins.  David sinned mightily with Bathsheba, yet that did not mean that David was no longer fit to lead his people or his household, nor did it mean he was no longer able to serve his Lord.  David repented, just as Pastor Phillips has.  

  28. Sarah, what church do you go to? Who is your pastor? Your elders? They should probably know they are accused of being criminals by a lady in their church. Give names and phone numbers, please.

  29. That was my thought, Janet. The man has a large family to support. He willingly stepped down from ministry for crying out loud. Now people want to criticize him for not quitting his job – his only livelihood at this point. Do they want him out on the street? If nothing else, consider his wife and children. Aren’t they suffering enough from personal hurt AND public humiliation? Wow.
     

  30. Every relationship in your life has sin in it in some way or another, You were rude to them. You were uncharitable in some way at some time in thought if nothing else. The sins that would disqualify a man from such a ministry are high profile and public. Greed, quick temper, Financial dishonesty and adultery.. If he felt that the relationship was heading for adultery, then he should have just severed the relationship, not convict himself of what he hadn’t done.

  31. What I think he should have done is gone to his elder board and said, Hey I have gotten a friendship that has gotten too close. Sever the relationship and have an elder start checking in on him every day for the next three months to make sure that he is staying away. This would include having the elders regularly look at his cell phone records. I am all for taking the risk seriously and using the elder board as support and accountability.  He should get some counselling and if she is amenable, her as well. Spouses should be made aware of the situation. This way is fleeing an adulterous situation before it becomes full blown, addresses the temptation and doesn’t convict someone of what they haven’t done. That is not so different than what Doug has suggested on dealing with sins of the family of the preacher. That is how I see it.

  32. Robert, which is exactly why I think there is more to this story.  That’s undoubtedly what he would have done had it been confined to what he is claiming.  It doesn’t ring true.  Jamie:  I’m Catholic.  I didn’t refer to my local church, but the Church as a whole, worldwide.  It’s taken us a long time to learn the lesson that there’s an important  difference between crime and sin, and to stop covering up in attempt not to ‘give scandal’ but just making it worse in the end. 


  33. Should Vision Forum, as a store for Victorian dolls and wooden longswords,[and multiple sermons on family values, and teachings on purity, and loud holdings forth on gender roles and the sins of Eve, and how wimmins should always submit and obey their earthly lord, etc]  necessarily face consequences for Philip’s behavior? I think the answer is no,…but they probably will.” 

  34. Robert, you have absolutely no way of knowing that, no one anywhere has said that is the case, and you have just accused a woman of being complicit in her husband’s sin based on absolutely no real evidence or testimony. That is completely unacceptable.

  35. Doug Wilson, you are correct. Anyone who is glad that Doug Phillips has been found out as a “legalistic hypocrite” is an enemy of God. God is the protector and defender of legalistic hypocrites, as long as they publish notes on the internet about how sorry they are.

  36. Some are saying this was not an affair because he did not know her in the Biblical sense.  Jesus said if he even thought about it, he was guilty.  He admitted there was a heart entanglement.  Public acknowledgment of sin always brings about greater accountability.  The more people there are who know your weakness, the more people there are who will watch you and warn you (their intentions in doing so, God will judge) and thus help you avoid it in the future.  BUT the people who refuse to forgive him and help him out in *love* are the ones who are hypocritical and blasphemous, teaching a false gospel; because their motivation is not Godliness that corrects, but vengeance and vindication.

  37. I have to question, not necessarily disagree, but question the initial assertion that it was the right thing for Mr Phillips to step down. More specifically, should the church pressure or demand the resignation of a leader that has stumbled yet found repentance?  I think of David declaring a seemingly new found ability to reach sinners and teach them the ways to righteousness after he had personally needed forgiveness himself.  Consider Peter in the gospels compared to his epistle and the transformation into a humble foot washer once he learned what Jesus said he’d soon understand, that being compassion for those who need forgiveness. Even after he was openly rebuked by Paul for siding with the Judaisers there’s no call for his resignation , though the the sin was extremely egregious in that day. 
    Do we talk a gospel of forgiveness yet inwardly require infallibility and perfection as though they must be as sinless as Christ Himself?
    I fully believe in the example of the shepard, just seeing a tension between the New Testament practice and the church’s expectations.  

  38. “Let’s keep in mind that Mrs. Phillips must have known about this friendship for a long time and she didn’t say a word.”

    I agree with Jane on this one. The former is a probability, but the latter is sheer speculation.

  39. I am a big boy. I can take criticism, especially if it is true. I overreached in that comment about Mrs. Phillips. If she is lurking, I apologize

  40. Doug Wilson is against snark if it’s against Doug Phillips romantic liasons with someone other than his wife. Doug Wilson’s snark by calling other Christians the “bottom of the monkey cage” for daring to blog on spiritual issues in a way he disagrees with is A-OK, however. LOL! In my view, Doug Phillips carefully crafted PR letter to cover his backside while staying on board at the for-profit arm of Vision Forum as well as his church as elder is actually behavior at the bottom of the evangelical monkey cage. And Phillips will be back, in leadership, having been unfaithful to his wife, in short order. Narcissists in the zoo called the “church” are all the same.

  41. That was my thought, Janet. The man has a large family to support. He willingly stepped down from ministry for crying out loud. Now people want to criticize him for not quitting his job – his only livelihood at this point. Do they want him out on the street?
    I’m absolutely positive many do.  

  42. I agree w/ this comment: “Phillips should step down because his whole message is man-centered, not God-centered. He should step down because the girls whose parents follow his message are prevented from reaching emotional maturity, because he opposes the existence of child protection services, because his “ministries” are not of God.
    The wrongness of an emotional affair  is small fry compared to the wake of pain he’s caused and the simple fact that his message is not a Christian one.”

  43. Hypocritical?  Did Mr Phillips relish the affair or repent of it?  Do our sins prove we’re hypocrites or that the flesh is warring with the spirit?  The accountability passages carry the word”if” theres repentance. If there is, Matt 18 is done.  
    Seems Mr Phillips would’ve suffered a different fate if Jesus asked many today if they would cast the first stone. 
    I agree Mr Phillips may have lacked mercy at times, but I think Doug Phillips is only today more in agreement with the Apostle that there’s no good in us. Maybe one day those with rocks in their hands will agree as well. 
    I believe he’s more fit for ministry today than he was a year ago
     
     
     

  44. Yes, hypocritical.  I think you must have missed his confession.
    “I have acted grievously before the Lord, in a destructive manner HYPOCRITICAL of life messages I hold dear, inappropriate for a leader, abusive of the trust that I was given, and hurtful to family and friends.”
    He confessed he was hypocritical and later one went to say that he needed to PROVE his repentance.  You can’t just write a letter and talk about your regret and that pass as repentance.  You can have all the regret in the world and it not amount to repentance.
     Praise God we get forgiveness and we can restore our walk with the Lord, but that doesn’t mean we could or should hold the same positions as we did before.  For example, he should no longer hold the office of elder in the church because he no longer meets the qualifications, repentant or not.   He now has a marred reputation and cannot lead a church or even that business effectively.    I doubt very seriously I will ever buy anything from Vision Forum again as long as he is a leader.   
     
     
     

  45. Chad, I could be wrong,  but you seem to be the type of guy that is okay with a man like John Hagee being in the pastorate after he left his first wife for a church secretary.  I believe although that sin may be forgiven, a man that has that reputation can never be qualified for the pastorate again.    A man can be repentant and forgiven, but the damage of sin remains.  I do pray for and hope that Phillips truly is a repentant man!  I am not wanting to show him no grace or mercy. 
    However, In this case, you shouldn’t lead a “family values” business if you have a horrible reputation for having a “LENGTHY” relationship with a woman other than your wife.  We aren’t talking about a one time sin, but a persistent pattern of willful sin. 
    This, of course, leads to another problem with many of my Calvinist friends.  (of which I tend to identify).  Many Calvinists I know would say to have a long term affair and to persistently fall into a state of sin would mean the “saint” didn’t “persevere.”  (No allowance for some backsliding and I slightly disagree with that point). When one of their own falls to a sin like this, it must be a bit of a conundrum for a man like say….Paul Washer…who preaches that you can’t be in a constant state of sin like that and say you are saved.   Wonder what he makes of Phillips now?  Saved or no?

  46. You can’t know he has repented.  He even acknowledges that by saying it has to be proven.  In the mean time, he has no business as an elder or even a businessman selling family values type material.   
    I am encouraged he says he is still “in the process” of reconciliation.  I pray that godly sorrow does truly work repentance in this case.   

  47. People need to look up the definition for hypocrite…
    .(1) A person who engages in the same behaviors he condemns others for.

    (2) A person who professes certain ideals, but fails to live up to them.

    (3) A person who holds other people to higher standards than he holds himself.
     
    Doug Phillips certainly has not practiced what he has preached.
     
     
      According to 1 Tim 3 Doug Phillips is disqualified as a pastor, teacher, leader of any kind, other than to his family.

  48. Nor does the need to show fruits of repentance mean you’re a hypocrite in the mean time. 
    Jesus made it quite clear that if you even look on a woman lustfully you’re guilty of adultery.  
    I preached a sermon on Samson years ago and was amazed at how many members in that church stated beforehand that Samson was a great failure. All they could see was Delilah.  But God saw differently and put him in Hebrews 11. 
    Many talk of being saved by grace through faith, but inwardly it’s still a balance sheet.  

  49. As far as Phillips admitting hypocrisy, he was admitting to behaviour sinful and contrary to what he preached, and I think he did well to say what he did. But a true hypocrite  isn’t one who sins contrary to their message but rather one who feigns a life…
    “simulation; a feigning to to be what one is not; or dissimulation, a concealment of ones real character or motives.  More generally, hypocrisy is simulation, or the assuming of a false appearance of virtue or religion; a deceitful show of a good character, in morals or religion, a counterfeiting of religion”
    Beware the leaven of the Pharisee. 
    I understand what Mr Phillips was trying to confess when he said it was hypocritical, but Doug Phillips is no Pharisee. He’s no hypocrite. 

  50. This is unfortunately turning into the all-too-common win/win we afford those unspoken members of “our team” when they stumble: for them, it’s all repentance, forgiveness, and life anew while for those who dare linger for a moment on the ironies of their hypocrisy, it’s the pit of hell. Sure, if someone “chortled” at the news, that would be wrong of them, but until an actual example of such chortling is linked up to substantiate it, it is nothing more than a euphemism for an inside audience to interpret according to their own biases. And for what it’s worth, I’ve seen precious few instances of chortling; most are just glad to see that sanctimonious legalism has once again soiled itself.
    That’s it’s even a matter of discussion whether he is still fit for ministry (or, as one commenter ludicrously suggested, MORE fit) is astounding.
    Enough with the good ol’ boy wagon-circling.

  51. I’m so glad that Doug Phillips is only resigning from the non-profit side of Vision Forum. Otherwise we might have to endure a longer delay while we wait for the story of his fall, which is being made (as we speak) into a Vision Forum video and will soon be available for the low, low price of $39.95.

  52. Phillips needs to focus on his family, he said, so all these speculations about his business are moot. He really should take the time to lead his children to make sure they have no inappropriate relationships in their future. That’s the wonderful thing about God-ordained patriarchy: even if a man has a proven track record that is contrary to everything coming out of his mouth, his wife and children are still required to obey everything coming out of his mouth. Phillips needs time to re-connect with them and re-instruct them in the way to live. What a wonderful blessing.

  53. Amen, Valerie!

    Our self-righteous tendency is to scoff, “That’s what you get.” And to judge or speculate whether or not someone is “really sorry” (not very Presbyterian, by the way). But we forget our own equally loathsome sin in other areas, and we fail to realize how badly we would want/need that same mercy.

    We compare our strengths to someone else’s weaknesses and we pat our back pockets…the one containing those stones. What’s a letter of repentance when we can have our pound of flesh? Nothing less than blood. But we forget whose blood that means.

    Maybe I’m just more sinful than say, Larry, who reminds us that we “can’t know he’s repentant.” But it’s not for me to know, is it? All we can go on is his testimony, unless he proves otherwise. Either way, it’s not my job. I”m not his wife. I’m not his elder. I’m not even a part of his life. Are you?

    I am grateful for the grace of God and I want to be careful to extend the same grace to Doug Phillips (at his word) that I hope to receive from Jesus.

    “With the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

    I think he did the right things to step down. But I still grieve for him and his family and for all those who have been effected by his sin. I can’t imagine the consequential weight of knowing I had hurt so many people. Life will never be the same for them. Is there no mercy?

  54. And where in the Bible does it say that a man who has an inappropriate relationship with a woman must quit his job? – A man who is simultaneously called to provide for his wife and children? It’s all well and good for everyone to speculate over what they think he “should” do, but the fact is we don’t KNOW all the facts. And I’m sure there are numerous and far-reaching complications – details we know nothing about, and aren’t called to know.

    The man repented. He stepped down from ministry. And since I’m not a part of his life, that’s all I really need to know.

  55. I’m not sure if the previous comment was snarky or sincere. If it was sincere, I agree. If not, what man doesn’t have a proven record contrary to much of what comes out of his mouth? (Doug didn’t fail in EVERY area of his teaching.) Do you know how many times I tell my children to talk sweetly to each other in exasperation? They still have to obey me because what I’m saying is what God says. I believe those in my generation who grew up in Christian homes have suffered greatly because their parents thought they had to be perfect to be obeyed-so they pretended to be perfect. Children are supposed to obey whatever comes out of their parents’ mouths ‘in the Lord’ whether the parent has ever obeyed it or not because God is the judge, not the parents and not people. If the Bible says it, it must be obeyed. If the teacher fails, the Bible has not failed, the teacher has.

  56. In truth, we don’t know that he has repented. Repentance in such cases takes time to discern as it must be proved (2 Corinthians 7:9-11). It is going to be harder to discern if he was caught in this affair versus coming forward and confessing of his own volition as the later case demonstrates repentance in a more immediate sense. If he was caught, it’s going to take some time to see if his confession is complete and that he isn’t doing damage control (which isn’t repentance). Hopefully his church will censure him for an appropriate period so that these matters can be reasonably discerned.

    In a similar vein, I must confess I find his resignation vague as to the nature of the relationship.

    “While we did not “know” each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.”

    This seems to imply that the relationship was not physical but merely emotional. That’s how many people are taking it. However, upon closer inspection, he is not saying it was merely emotional. What he is saying is that intercourse was not involved but he leaves the door wide open for the potential discovery over other indiscretions. Should it be discovered that he was physically intimate in other ways, he can claim that he never denied it. My concern is that equivocal language is more indicative of damage control than it is of repentance. If there were a physical aspect to this relationship, I think it would have been better to simply call it an affair and leave it at that.

    Regardless, it is the duty of his elders and church to oversee this matter. We need to remember them in our prayers, that God grant them wisdom.

  57. Sarah…thank you for asking the important questions.  Was there a coverup?  how much did it involve others?  was it an employee?  how is she being “taken care of” also? 
    What is the purpose of stepping down if not stepping down?
    I agree with most everything you said…and you are not conjecturing…you are asking the investigative and necessary questions…just how deep did it go.
    Too often at the fear of “losing members” dishonesty is the rule of thumb in these situations, and I am curious just how much VF is really suffering the consequences, since it seems people are going to continue to support it, even though Mr. Phillips committed a sexual sin?  and yet all the people in “other bad churches” who just have different clothes/music/maybe even a different Bible..are so bad?  Yet the sexual sin is poo pooed?  That is how it appears to me to be…glossing over the seriousness of his sin, by those who are member of his “congregation”.  Sadly…this only means that many will continue to follow a man’s teaching instead of God’s word on issue of morality and following the Holy Spirit’s leading instead of mere rules.

  58. Someone named Robert asked what I meant by the ‘failing to achieve emotional maturity’ comment.  Young ladies are prevented from emotionally maturing by being taught that they need not make any significant decisions of any kind b/c either their father or husband is in charge of that department, and since they aren’t allowed to have their own ‘vision’ but must serve the ‘vision’ of their father or husband, they quite often have never determined such simple things as what their own musical preferences, style in dress, theological beliefs and political persuasion, etc. might be.  It’s deemed to be inconsequential.  Often they don’t gain basic life skills such as opening a bank account, making major purchases, choosing their own doctor, and can be prevented from choosing their own mate, or even rejecting the parentally chosen one.  Think ‘Taliban’.

  59. The repentance letter by a Doug Phillips is quite touching and has undoubtedly deeply saddened me.  Doug represented a few remnants of Men who are courageous enough to fight the high tide of liberalism which has swept nearly all the mainline churches.  I am in prayer that God will lift him again together with his family. God is not through with him yet in spite of the unfortunate sin in His life. I estimate that a majority of us probably are not as holy as we portray ourselves to be.  I believe that gloating over somebody’s tragedy is the clearest sign of a soul that does not have the Holy Spirit.  Reading some of the blogs kept me wondering whether we are any different from the heathens. If Christ is our model then we would be compelled to learn from Him as to how to react to situation that are less than ideal.  The betrayal of Jesus Christ by Peter has to be far more serious than flirting with some lady, which I suspect a good number of contributors may not be innocent of after all. And yet Jesus does not condemn Peter nor his communication reflect rancour.  Vision Forum and a few Ministries with similar standards are a gift from God and are in my opinion a welcome piece of fresh air amidst serious compromises by the mainline Churches. Most of the Churches are a disgrace to the Body of Christ and Vision Forum’s main sin has been to remind Churches of the need to be faithful to Scripture. One evidence of Vision Forum’s faithfulness to scripture is the opposition it draws from nominal Christians and spiritual liberals. Both Doug’s active Ministry’s life and teachings have provoked a battalion of individuals whose only gifting in the body of Christ is to hate and malign men of God. Let me remind all that we will have to account for every word of gossip that we utter. Let God be his judge. I believe that God has used and is using Vision Forum to reform the Church which has drifted away from Biblical Truth in many ways.  I have no intention of unlearning what Vision Forum represents.  God did not blot out the Psalms just because David was involved in adultery. The negative reaction to Doug and Vision Forum in part reflects how far the Church in North America has drifted away from Christ’s standards.  It is my prayer that the remaining faithful soldiers of Christ will not succumb to the malicious onslaughts but rather stick to truth even when it hurts. Democracy is nearly always an antithesis of Truth and no where does it rear an ugly face much more than when faced with Biblical Doctrine which most consider repugnant.  As for me and my House we will continue to worship the Lord, walk in Christ and pray for Biblical Ministries such as Vision Forum
     [Please ignore and delete the two earlier version in favour of this one]

  60. Doug, Thank you so much for your response– I agree with what Jimmy Lipunga says in his comment– I too am sad about the sin that has occurred– but I am thankful it appears he is repentant– I have learned so much from Vision Forum I will not be turned away by this one man’s sin. I pray for their healing as a family, I do not understand the ugliness and judgement I read on the Internet– perhaps these folks are without sin themselves and feel they are able to cast such stones? I believe we all fall short of the glory of God and are in need of a Savior– and I believe Satan is a great deceiver and We must be on guard at all times taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. The situation saddens me and causes me to desire to know my Lord more and more, this could be any of us– none of us are immune from sin and the lies of the devil.

  61. Douglas Phillip’s choice of words to explain the nature of his relationship did make me cringe and wonder at his choice of those words. He used the words  ” romantic and affectionate”. It made me cringe for his wife who must hear that someone she loved and trusted and had heard words of romance and affection from herself and had eight children with was actually turning his heart to someone in a deeper way and for a long time.  It also might mean he was involving the woman with words and actions of romance and affection which tends to bind a woman to a man. In that case what could he offer her?  That makes me think he was guided by more than romance and affection. Additionally, I wondered if there was self deception in thinking that with a romantic and affectionate and long term attitude it could not be so very bad (meaning at the time). Perhaps a distorted gentlemanly approach? Was he kidding himself,the woman, and later his wife when he speaks of no Biblical knowledge and romance and affection instead? Even Godly Christian men admit that sexual attraction is part of their interest in a woman with someone they are considering (for a wife). Though of course he did admit and repent of the inappropriateness of the relationship but  was he thinking to soften the blow by framing it as romantic and affectionate  when there was more of the physical self driving him? I belabor this because it seems rather cruel to his wife and an underlying message to the woman (it WAS romantic and affectionate he might be letting her know–that is,he wasn’t lusting after her). Also, those who must deal with this as a sin and its consequent discipline ,including how Phillips sees himself in the matter, can only see this as: 1. romance and affection,meh, it ONLY involved the heart so not so sinfully horrible (human interpretation).The heart however is very important to God and between a man and woman. 2. Or–he is mightily deceiving himself and others with the “no Biblical knowledge” statement  because even IF he didn”t do random other sexual things with this woman he most likely DID have thoughts other than romance and affection toward her to keep this going on long term and responding strongly enough to overcome all his belief systems,relationship ties,example to others,etc. After all,this is a MAN,a mature man,a man that after having a large family knows SOMETHING about how to encourage a woman to respond to him and not just romantically. I guess I don’t think he is being honest  with others and himself by using these words.
    And one more tiny admittedly gratuitous thought: did the patriarchy idea go so far as to Phillips sympathizing with Abraham and his multiple wives and  concubines,etc. as a patriarch? I hope not since that part of Abraham’s life didn’t turn out so well.

  62. There are several reasons I do not believe this is true repentance on Doug Phillips’ part and that is why I am being vocal about it.  Apart from inside information, which only confirms what I had suspected, his words are posed as a slick, political move.  

    What President steps down from a major ministry for “flirting?”  Do we really believe that?

    If he was truly repentant, why does he find it necessary to respond in a Clinton-esque manner — “I did not have sex with that woman.”  Wouldn’t simply admitting his “serious sin” be enough?

    As others have rightfully noted, there are two sides to Vision Forum — the ministry side and the business side.  While no one wants to kick someone who is down, the hypocrisy comes down to the fact that Doug Phillips looks like he is stepping down, while in reality, he is not.  Just because he is not speaking this year, first, does not mean that he will not go back to speaking again the following year.  He has clearly set that up.  Second, he is still receiving a “salary” from Vision Forum Ministries in the form of a “parsonage,” worth about $6K a month. Not shabby.  Third, the majority of his income comes from the business side of Vision Forum.  As long as homeschoolers continue to buy from Vision Forum, they are still supporting Doug Phillips.

    Newsflash:  Doug Phillips = Vision Forum  :-)

    The fact that Doug Phillips resigned from being elder in February, but did not resign from Vision Forum Ministries until nearly nine months later is a HUGE concern to me.

    I pray for Doug and Beall and their family, and for the young lady.  I pray God’s best for them. But I cannot stand by blindly ignoring the continued hypocrisy.

  63. Repentance is not intended to satisfy theological and philosophical curiosity of “Athens”. God is not impressed with our verbal dexterity as in the contrition of the heart of the subject repentant. None of us have any right to prescribe what genuine repentance is and to chart a way forward for Doug. Doug is very clear as to who he is accountable to.   One thing we should never do is to judge other people’s motives.  Scriptures are emphatic about human limitations in judging motives or indeed anything that is unseen.  Do not Judge and you will not be judged!! As such, no one is competent, whether an insider or otherwise, to judge Doug Phillips’ motive other than his maker.  If anything I find it easier to decipher the motives of his sworn enemies whose dark and rebellious articles and anthems are now evident even across the border.
    By the way in case you are wondering about my identity. I am certainly not American; I really wish I was! I am a contented African with literally not paid association with Vision Forum other than my sheer admiration of the Ministry and its allied associates. I have learnt so much from Vision Forum. For once it has been refreshing to hear Men of God candidly speak out about truth that has been compromised so much by the forces of liberalism and its familiar accomplices.  I have studied and followed American Christianity over the last 30 years and have been deeply encouraged that at last God is using courageous Men like Doug Phillips to reawaken His Church.  There are many more but without their permission, I hesitate to mention. The Mainline Churches have  compromised so much in the area of purity of doctrine for the convenience of egalitarian dictates. Sometimes I am tempted to think that we no longer have Protestant Churches.  Most pastors in the Church are so scared to stand for truth and God is using Vision Forum and other allied Ministry to bring reform.
    If Vision Forum is distasteful to the USA, it is certainly a very welcome Ministry to Christians outside the USA.  Militant and pervasive feminism is certainly a major headwind to the healthy spiritual growth of the Church.  I know very few in the western world who would have the courage to say this. Feminism, bent on destroying the Church, has succeeded to cower so many churches and men of God. If theologians are quiet and are simply contented with knwolege which puffs up, God will use uneducated and probably unsophiscated Africans like me to defend truth if  we choose to malign the dedicated servants of God. 
    Doug has sinned.  He has acknowledged it.  No one has a right to tell him what to do.  You have so much in your own life that needs to be put straight.  Focus on the log in your eyes and Doug will deal with the speck in his own eyes.
    For the sworn enemies, take the time to reflect.  Is that all that you want to be remembered for.  Do you really want to leave a legacy as someone who sought gratification in hating, embarrassing the men of God.  which Scripture can you reconcile yourself to.  Remember, the worst of God’s men are doing some good and the owner is pleased with them do not judge someone’s servant.

  64. I have followed Vision Forum since its inception and learned much about fatherhood and being a good husband.  I failed many times to fully apply the Word of God to my life and had to ask my dear wife for forgiveness many times.  For me it was not actual adultery but mental adultery.  I would say that the issue here is how much of an impact his life made and how hard it is to separate his sin from the good that he has done.  Overall, I do not fully follow every aspect of the Patriarchy movement but the Biblical aspects of what God wants for men and women is solid.  We come to the conclusion without excuse that sin affects all of us and that is why the Lord Jesus Christ had to come and die for sinners.  We cannot stand in our own filthy rags but only in his perfect righteousness.  For us men, it gives us a sobering splash of cold spiritual water that says watch and pray.  We must avoid the temptations because none of us is immune to this type of sin.  God be merciful to His church in this dark age. 

  65. Pastor Wilson, I’ve seen some of the gleeful comments too, and they disturb me. They are sinful, no doubt. But does that sin, in and of itself, necessarily identify them as “enemies of the Lord”? You go too far in committing the same sin of judgmentalism found in those you seek to condemn. Why not just issue a pastoral call for the gleeful to repent, without assuming they are God’s enemies? I fear you evidence a similar legalism, and hastiness to condemn, as Doug Phillips has shown.
    Many have commented that Bourne Christian Assembly, the church founded by Doug Phillips, is a cult. One indication I would look to in a cult is how much control do the pastors/elders/deacons exercise over their members, such as how tightly do they control the flow of information to and between members and from the inside to the outside world. We’re only learning now that Doug Phillips resigned as elder/pastor of Bourne Christian Assembly in February 2013. That in itself should have been significant news, but word of that never leaked out. That’s some impressive people control! Only a handful of people outside BCA knew of Doug Phillips’ resignation in February 2013. It included Voddie Baucham and Scott Brown. Maybe one or two others. Other than that his resignation was very hush hush. Why the secrecy? The fact is Doug Phillips has been trying hard to clamp the lid on a scandal that’s been boiling up for some months. Eventually he could control it no longer and had no choice to out himself in an effort to minimize the damage.
    Voddie and Scott started distancing themselves from Doug even some months prior to that resignation in February, as have some of his other close associates. Would they have done so had Doug Phillips genuinely, convincingly repented when he stepped down as elder in February? Unlikely. Had there been genuine repentance it could have all been handled “in house” and privately. Repentance means we not just acknowledge the sin, but that we stop sinning. What many commenters here are assuming is that Doug Phillips can be trusted to have repented solely on the basis that he says he repented. But some of his closest associates, men in the know, aren’t convinced and long before his Oct 31 VFM resignation pulled away from him.
    They have known of Doug’s infidelity for quite some time. Most chose not to cover for him but just quietly distanced themselves. Now that Doug Phillips has outed himself (or rather been compelled to out himself), many of his faithful patrons/customers are defending him, as is evidenced by some of the comments right here (not saying such comments here come from Vision Forum patrons, but merely that they evidence the same bias). But a few of his closest former associates, in the know, aren’t doing the same.
    One of Doug Phillips’ long standing and closest former friends and ministry associates preached a sermon yesterday entitled The Smell of Apostasy (I’ve linked to it above). It was clearly motivated by the October 31 public announcement of Doug Phillips that he had resigned from Vision Forum Ministries. I’ll quote from a key point in that sermon. 

    The Smell of Apostasy, Isaiah 5:8-30
    Scott T Brown
    39:37 — “One of my dear friends has fallen into a great sin. And there are many people that say, ‘Oh, that could have been me.’ But the truth is I hope not, because one falls into that kind of sin after many, many small compromises long before. No one just immediately falls into that sin. They fall because they have been falling. My friend Paul Washer says, ‘You don’t fall into sin. You slide into it.’ Because every public sin is a private sin beforehand. I was telling our interns the other day that I could take everything I’ve done over forty years and destroy it in one second. All I would have to do is kiss a girl and in one second it would all be over. Everything. It would all be burnt to the ground. But let me just make this point. You do not kiss a girl without doing many other things beforehand. You do not fall into sin. You slide. You make one compromise after another. Every public sin is a private sin for a very long time before… Brothers, mortify, expunge, every vestige of lust that would inflame it… But you would not do it [immorality] if you did not cultivate it. So do not cultivate it… Please do not burn everything to the ground. Please do not destroy everything that you’ve worked for your entire life. Everything you’ve ever done will be compromised and everything you’ve ever done will be burned to the ground.”

  66. “That said, I thought his letter of resignation was good, and accomplished what a letter like that needed to accomplish.”
     
    Sorry Pastor Wilson, but in light of the Board Of Directors officially shuttering Vision Forum Ministries today, I can’t help but note the obvious disparity between your opinion in this matter and the Board Of Directors opinion.
     
    http://www.visionforumministries.org/issues/news_and_reports/the_closing_of_vision_forum_mi.aspx
     
    Another article from you is in order, but I hope it will be considerably more circumspect and insightful than this one was.

  67. Some of these comments are ridiculous. Those of us who have appreciated Doug Phillips’ ministry over the years, did so because his message was a biblical one. Now he has once again had the courage of conviction to live out what he believes, he confessed a grievous sin and took responsibility for wrongdoing. To suggest that he should hide his face in shame all of his days and that his confessed behavior somehow negates his past work is like suggesting we rip the Psalms of David from our bibles because God chose a murderer and adulterer to pen them. Perhaps the Book of a Proverbs shouldn’t be looked to for wisdom considering Solomon amassed enough wives and concubines to have several different flavors on a daily basis. The beauty of the gospel is that God chose to save sinners, love sinners, and call us to Himself through the foolishness of preaching through imperfect vessels of clay.

  68. It was good to read T. W. Eston comments.  Just based on the fact that Doug Phillips resigned as an elder back in February, but waited until now to publicly announce his infidelity says volumes about strategy being more important than true repentance.  Also, the fact that pastors so often seem to “circle the wagons” to protect their own is something that also ought to be addressed and stopped. 

    I’ve never been a fan of Doug Phillips – heard too much about his legal threats against others, and about his perverted hyper-patriarchy and how it has destroyed so many families.  Although the many enemies of Doug Phillips seemed mostly to be into “love theology” and feminism, rather than the righteousness and justice of God, some of them have justifiably tried to hold Doug Phillips accountable for his tyrannical edicts and behavior – which is a good thing, because the ecclesiastical branch of the church sure wasn’t doing that!
       
    The most tragic result of the “ministry” of Doug Phillips, however, is that it maligned Dr. R. J. Rushdoony, whose vision of Christian Reconstruction and Dominion Theology promoted the spread of Christianity into every area of life and society.  Why weren’t pastors and members holding Phillips accountable for his distortions of that years ago?  As for patriarchy, Rushdoony supported the male headship of the family, but definitely did not endorse the perverted hyper-patriarchy promoted by Doug Phillips. 

    As it is, most of the blogs that came out against Phillips also maligned Rushdoony and other Christian stalwarts, such as Greg Bahnsen, who promoted the need to establish God’s Law within our society.  There are now convoluted multiple versions of what are referred to as “dominion theology” and “reconstruction” found all over the Web, but they don’t even resemble what Rushdoony and Bahnsen taught!  A lot of damage has been done, not only by Doug Phillips, but by the failure to hold him accountable for his abuses and warped theology, early-on.

  69. Shannon, I’ll assume that you include me in “Some of these comments are ridiculous.” I can see that you’re having trouble connecting the dots. Let me help you with that in a way that, hopefully, will serve to encourage you not to be so dismissive of the seriousness of these matters.

    Scott Brown, the man from whose sermon I quoted above, the sermon that was crafted especially for, and targeted at, Doug Phillips, is one of Doug Phillips’ closest friends and confidants and has been for a number of years. Scott Brown is also one of the three Board members of Vision Forum Ministries. He’s an insider, a man who knows far more the extent of Doug Phillips’ sins (and likely crimes) than do you, or Doug Wilson. He has good cause to vote, along with the other Board Members, to dissolve Vision Forum Ministries.

    The Board of Vision Forum Ministries would not have taken such an extreme measure had Phillips only been guilty of the sin of cheating on his wife. Boards of lucrative and financially viable ministries don’t ever dissolve over relatively minor scandals like this one. If that were all that had been all that had been going on the board would be more than competent to handle the damage control and move forward with someone else at the helm, at least until such time as Phillips went through the necessary steps of restoration. It’s been done successfully before. The real scandals (and likely crimes) of Douglas W. Phillips are much more damning than an “inappropriately affectionate” relationship. The extreme measure of dissolving Vision Forum Ministries is commensurate with the egregious sins of Doug Phillips that made it necessary.

    Scott Brown also has good cause to direct an entire sermon at Doug Phillips and to speak of him as an “apostate.” Because of Scott Brown’s knowledge, and the knowledge of the other VFM board members, all of whom were close personal friends of Doug Phillips for some years, they acted swiftly to put an end to the most important venue through which Doug Phillips perpetrates his apostasy. Scott Brown isn’t charging Phillips with apostasy as it concerns moral beliefs and teachings. He and Phillips are on the same exact doctrinal page — home schooling, patriarchy, family integrated church, stay at home daughters, quiver full, etc. Just read his statement at http://www.visionforumministries.org/home/about/the_board_of_vision_forum_mini.aspx  When Scott Brown speaks of Doug Phillips’ apostasy he’s addressing Phillips’ sinful behavior which is diametrically opposed to the messages that Phillips preaches, one of which would be “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” But that’s only one of the ways in which Doug Phillips has become, over the period of at least ten years, apostate. There is much more long term sin in Phillips’ life than just the sin of years of adultery, and those are sins that Phillips has never repented of and likely never will.

    Scott Brown is now aware of some of those apostasies and over coming days and weeks will become aware of even more. We’re talking heinous sin, even criminal acts, far worse than just cheating on his wife. As Brown points out in his sermon these sins aren’t one time events of having “fallen into sin” (your mention, Shannon, of David would be an example of “falling into sin” — Solomon would not be such an example, but it would be a good example of what Brown calls “sliding into sin”). Brown is addressing sins that Phillips “slid” into and remained in willfully and unrepentantly over years and years. He slid down the slippery slope because he was drawn in by his own pride and lust — he was enticed by sin (as we all can be), but rather than hating it he toyed with it over and over, he drew closer and closer, and once he outright acted on it he justified it rather than repent of it.

    Doug Phillips still hasn’t repented because repentance must be robust and thoroughgoing, as does the confessing that goes along with it. Doug Phillips’ so-called “confession” is the confession of the crafty attorney that he is. He conceals far more than he discloses. The “smell of apostasy” indeed. Most commenters here, including Doug Wilson, seem more than eager to trust in the sincerity of the so-called confession and repentance of an apostate. But that trust will evaporate in time as more and more of Doug Phillips’ sins and crimes become widely known.

    I agree with Doug Wilson that it’s wrong to be gleeful over the downfall of a religious leader, though I disagree that the gleeful are by their actions necessarily “enemies of God”. I tend to agree far more with Scott Brown that Doug Phillips is apostate, and that he needs to come to repentance. I don’t rejoice that he had to step down nine months ago as the teaching elder of the church he founded, that he’s had to resign from his ministry, and that that ministry is being dissolved. It’s all very tragic, no doubt even more so for those who had put so much of their trust in the man. I pray for Doug Phillips’ repentance because, unlike so many others here, I don’t assume an apostate is repentant merely because he says he is. I’m still waiting to see some evidence consistent with repentance. “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt 3:8). Such fruit goes far beyond a lawyerly “confession”.

  70. The public controversy triggered by the resignation of my dear brother Doug Phillips is working out to be a good platform for discerning the reality of the human heart.  The manifestation of hatred and anger has forced a re-examination of my own spiritual standing.  I have been thoroughly impressed by just how much we seem to know about doctrine and theology overall.  The professors in these seminaries are not doing a bad job at all in imparting knowledge to us.  However, the understanding of the grace of God and His compassion would appear to be rather a scarce commodity.  The amount of gloating, rejoicing and vindictiveness over the fall of VF and the man behind the Ministry has convinced me that our urgent need is certainly not knowledge.  It is humility and an appreciation of the grace of God that gives one the capability of radiating love and dignity.  I have certainly determined to know very little if it comes with so much cruelty and pomp.  Perhaps I would do well to be identified with the disciples who were described as “uneducated and untrained” and yet so Christ like. I am also literally impressed by how much theological liberalism has swayed public opinion. One is left with the impression that patriarchy is close to being a swear word. This is obviously an covert acknowledgment that Scriptures are not sufficient for the post-modern era.  Scriptures are Sufficient to me.  I would rather obey scriptures even if that makes me look foolish before the eyes of men.   
    At first, I was of the view that the unfortunate sin committed by Doug is primarily a test to his family, Church and VF.  But actually, it is increasing turning out to be more of a test to the wider body of Christ. I have read no less than a hundred commentaries regarding the VF saga and was literally frightened by the eagerness to malign, ridicule and mock the man of God!
    And yet I have across a few most gracious contributions from those that seem to understand sin.  If we simply realized just how far all of us fall short of the glory of God we would literally tremble with fear before damning our dear brother. As someone who has served in the Church it is interesting how men magnify adulterous scandals and minimize the secret sins of pride, jealousy, rage, envy, greed and lust.  I have yet to find a Church court that will summon its member to answer to the charges of pride!  Most equate the absence of adultery to holiness.  If Christ were to examine our thoughts, the mode of our dress, the materials we read, we would be shocked to be accused of adultery.  Apart from Christ, there is no righteousness in us. Only Christ is our righteousness.  Of course I fully understand that this can be no ground for licentiousness.  The acknowledgement of Christ as our righteousness is a truly humbling truth.  Very hard indeed for those that rely on works for their righteousness to accept this.
    As someone who is not a stranger to Ministry,  I have been stunned by how the brethren trivialize the sin of gossip, slander and malice.  The Bible has isolated a few things which God is known to hate and, apart from divorce, all them relate to slander, gossip  and malice. [Proverbs 6:16-19].
    Doug, I love you and do not condemn you. Your teaching ministry has been a blessing to me and my family in Africa. I am not as concerned about how your Ministry is characterized. I am sufficiently literate to know what is scriptural and what is not. They call your Ministry a cult. That is only because the world is so confused and compromised that we no longer know what a cult is.  Those that blatantly disobey scriptures as has been the trend during the last 40 years can justifiably be referred to as cults as they have departed from the Apostolic tradition. If the world hates and condemns you as a sinner, you are in good company. There is enough grace on the Cross of Jesus Christ to forgive you and cleanse you from unrighteousness; not only you but even the rest of us. There is so much filth in us not least a spirit of self-righteousness. And for the few that have shown remarkable humility let me encourage you endure in love, patience and compassion with the following Scripture:  ” If any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree-in order not to say too much- to all of you. Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.” [2 Corinthians 2:5-8].
    If an African is writing in your defense, it goes to show that your Ministry has positively impacted far more than you will ever be credit with. By the way, I have gathered all the materials you have produced on the website in case the extinction of VF also means the disappearance of spiritual gems.

  71.  

    Stacy McDonald wrote: “The man has a large family to support. He willingly stepped down from ministry for crying out loud. Now people want to criticize him for not quitting his job – his only livelihood at this point. Do they want him out on the street? If nothing else, consider his wife and children. Aren’t they suffering enough from personal hurt AND public humiliation? Wow.

    If the pastor of your church admitted to a lenghty affair and stepped down from pastoral ministry, shoud your church continue to pay him because he has a family to support?  If for nothing else, at least pay him for the sake of his wife and children?   Even in secular business,  affairs often end in loss of job and pay.

  72. As a Christian and a homeschool mom for 22 years I am so saddened by this. I read Doug’s stuff for awhile but threw it all away when I saw how his family lived in extravagance but was still asking for money. It just did  not hit right with my heart or my husbands. While I do believe in forgiveness in the Lord as I have been forgiven for much before I came and after, I do  question Doug. Nowhere in his letter does he mention the sin he committed towards this girl he committed sins against. Doug put himself up as the person to follow, all the while having an affair. It makes me sick, as well as my husband.
    I am not rejoicing, in the least, about this. He has cast such a light on the homeschool community-just like Micheal Pearl, who a child in my community has died from homeschoolers following his teachings. I just say this. Jesus overturned the money tables. Take heed.

  73. No child has died as a result of anyone “following” Michael Peal’s teachings. If you are referring to Sean Paddock he died of asphyxiation due to “bundling” which is found nowhere in Pearl’s teachings. Lydia Schatz died as the result of tissue breakdown in her bloodstream due to ongoing multiple day beatings. It is hardly likely that her parents were “following” Pearls’ instruction to test the switch on the under side of your forearm to be sure that they were not using too much force as to cause injury. If you are referring to Hana Williams, she died of hypothermia as the result of a combination of malnutrition and then being left outside overnight with very little clothing. In all the investigative reporting no one has found anything like this in any of Pearls writings or teaching. This just scratches the surface of the evidence that undeniably proves that these parents were not “following” the teachings of Michael Pearl. Apparently you are just repeating what you have read in the media.

  74. Darrell – I did not imply that the ministry should continue to pay him. But if he worked at Toys R Us, would you expect him to quit his job? That was my point. I realize it’s a little different because the retail side of VF is so closely connected. I guess I was putting myself in the place of his wife. They are going to need time to figure out how he is going to suddenly support his family. My point is we don’t know the back story – mostly because it’s none of our business. I am sure those in his life who are holding him accountable (and they are) will figure it all out. I’m glad it’s not my job.

  75. @Stacy McDonald: “Do they want him out on the street?” It appears that that is exactly what some people want, and I agree with you that that is taking things too far. “My point is we don’t know the back story – mostly because it’s none of our business.” There are many back stories here that most certainly are our business. Doug Phillips is a very public figure in the church and has worked hard to gain a large following of loyal supporters from whom he has profited handsomely from. Your assertion that it’s none of our business is a non-starter. Furthermore, there’s a great deal to this back story that we can know by careful observation, and that many of us already do know, and have known for years. Your strategy appears to be the attitude of “Nothing to see here — move along everybody.” But inquiring minds within the body of Christ believe there are important lessons to be learned from all this and are unwilling to sweep it all under the carpet, as you imply should be done. They’re asking, “Why is this man so disliked? Even more than just disliked, why has he made so many enemies? Why do so many disbelieve the sincerity of his confession and repentance? What has he done to bring all this on his own head? What has he done to cause one of his best friends to preach a sermon in which he calls him apostate?” This last question is especially significant in helping everyone understand much of the back story of not just past events, but also the current events of Doug Phillips’ life. Scott Brown preached that sermon almost two weeks after Doug Phillips’ public “repentance.” Brown didn’t accuse Phillips of being a repentant, former apostate. He was speaking present tense apostate. Stacy, would you allege that Scott Brown doesn’t know the back story, he doesn’t know the current story, and that it’s none of his business?

  76. I find it interesting that detractors of patriarchy are defining the graciousness and truth of an idea based on how many people it attracts or repulses.  Pastor Wilson writes that just because a doctrine has been abused by sinful people, it cannot be said to not be Biblical and truthful; meanwhile, back at the ranch, the detractors go on to do just that.

  77. I don’t mean to say that assuming the worst of those with whom I disagree here in the comment section, as it seems that they may genuinely be concerned about the Gospel and the welfare of bruised reeds, which Jesus does not break.  I pray that I speak with allowing that my “enemies” may not actually be enemies, but rather a different member of the Body of Christ.

    _________

    Though, I think Wilson has been misunderstood.  I didn’t understand him to be calling those who disagreed with Phillips, or who may be sincerely glad that sin has been brought to the light and confessed, enemies of God, but rather those who, as he said “chortled” at the falling of a confessing Christian. Celebrating the downfall of anyone who at least confesses to have faith in Christ and to be a member of the Church invisible IS setting yourself against the Bride of Christ and, consequently, against her Groom.

    _________

    I can pray the God would crush His enemies, as David certainly prayed, both inside and outside of the Church visible, but may I pray hoping that, as Leithart has somewhere said, he drive out the Canaanites in the Promised Land by turning them into Israelites.  I often pray that the LORD would vindicate His righteousness and His Truth, and also vindicate His righteous and His truthful, His servants, and that by delivering them from the hands of those who persecute them, but we bear in mind:

    And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:24-26

    That doesn’t mean we don’t war, that we don’t defend, that we don’t engage, that we don’t use sharp words to call evil, well, evil.  I would think–I say “think” because I’m not a master theologian or a prophet and not because I think it up to individual interpretation–it means that we OUGHT to discipline where we are able, but that we DON’T attempt to take it upon ourselves to separate the wheat from the tares.  We shouldn’t trivialize evil and sin by brushing over or winking at it, and in fact, we SHOULD drive evil out–but we shouldn’t become the pharisee that we’re supposedly combatting by withholding grace.

  78. Stacy, When I look at the situation at hand, I view it from the light of scripture.  James 3: 1 is just one passage that comes to mind: ” Let not many of you become teachers, my brethern, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgement.”  I view Doug as a biblical teacher not as a shelf stocking employeee of Toys R Us.  God is no respector of persons.  The patriarchs family incurred judgement as well.  Think of Korah and Achan.  
     

  79. I thoroughly love Doug and will greatly miss him.  He was designed by his maker for a specific purpose; to deal with the hard stuff not for the fainthearted.  He was not cowardly as most teachers tend to be these days; teachers who interpret scriptures with truth that is heavily embellished with political correctness.  Talking about why he has created so many enemies and his sin has gratified a legion of sworn enemies. Should this really be surprising; this has to do with his ministry approach and calling.  You will not speak against abortion, ungodly education systems, modesty, biblical manhood and womanhood and modesty and expect that you will be a darling to the world. Strict Biblical truth will always exact a huge price in return.  The personality profile and gifting is not unlike that for John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul. Herod and his wife were naturally not great fans of the well known Baptist. Men like this often times they end in prison like John the Baptist and Apostle Paul. They are an eye sore to those who wish to maintain the status quo. That is the wilderness is a perfect environment for the likes of John the Baptist. Actually,  if for some reason you wish to listen to a sermon by the Baptist, you found him in the wilderness.  He was always ready to confront soldiers, tax collectors until one day he preyed on Herod by commenting on his illicit marriage.  Herod didn’t like the sermon and got him in prison although it is clear that the wife preferred a much stiffer punishment.  Retribution is an old habit.
     Such is the nature of those that are called to do not so hard Ministries.  There is nothing that Doug Phillips teaches that is not taught by other faithful men of God.  The only difference is that most of Doug’s messages are not as localized as others’ and this greatly exposes him.  Does he have serious weaknesses?  Absolutely possibly including the one that has caused his down fall.  Has he committed a serious sin.  I hate to say yes. And yet that does not change the fact that God has used him mightily.  The fact that I know him from a remote part of Africa means that he has done something which God considers worthwhile for some of us who are slow to think. Africa is experiencing a huge revival amongst young people because people are tired with manipulative messages and lies.  By the way I come from a matrilineal society where marriage concepts are so distorted and anti-Biblical.  This I honestly believe that this is a curse from Satan.  I could very easily have defended my culture.  And yet when the Holy Spirit Illuminates the teachings of Vision Forum and many others, I have to surrender to the cross whether or not I like Doug as a person or not.  At the end of the day Scripture is Sufficient to govern every area of our lives.
    I love the United States of America.  God has endowed this wonderful country with so much.  Not so much in terms of gold and silver alone but men that have learned to say no the trappings of this world for the sake of exalting Christ. Unlike Europe, America still has a remnant of men and women who live according to Kingdom commands.  Every time I travel to this amazing country, I do not waste opportunity to be benefited by deep insights taught by men such as Dr Tony Evans (Another gem from heaven), Dr Erwin Lutzer (where can you find a man like this one), Dr M Craig Barnes, Eric Homberg, William Einwechter etc.
    God bless you Doug Phillips.  Doug, your statement of repentance and the subsequent clarification only goes to show that God is using you to teach some of us even in your weakest point. This may not be true to the majority but God is scarcely concerned about the majority.  Your statement was full of grace with no element of self defense and no complaint.  Obviously some will be baying for more of your blood. But remember, to others crucifixion was not enough, they felt it necessary to pierce the Lords temple with a spear! such is the heart of man. Amen
     

  80. I thoroughly love Doug and will greatly miss him.  He was designed by his maker for a specific purpose; to deal with the hard stuff not often addressed by the fainthearted.  He was not cowardly as most teachers tend to be these days; teachers who superimpose scriptures with truth that is heavily embellished with political correctness and vain philosophy.  Talking about why he has created so many enemies and why his sin has gratified a legion of sworn enemies; this should not come as a surprise. It has to do with his ministry scope, approach and calling.  You will not speak against abortion and the ungodly education systems and expect that you will be a darling to the world. The world hates any one who will insist on modesty, Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, respect for elders, the primacy of family and the final authority of the Word of God. Faithfulness in dealing with these matters will exact a huge price in return.  The personality profile and gifting of Doug and many others within VF is not unlike that of John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul. Herod and his wife were naturally not great fans of the well known Baptist for his unsolicited commentary on their illicit marriage. It is no wonder that John the Baptist as did the Apostle Paul finally ended in prison and the execution chamber. They are an eye sore to those who wish to maintain the status quo. That is why for John the Baptist, the wilderness was a much more welcome environment than the city. If for some reason you wished to listen to a sermon by the Baptist, you were often referred to the wilderness where the Baptist was contented with honey and locusts.  He was always ready to confront soldiers, tax collectors until one day he went “a little too far”.  Herod didn’t like the sermon which was full of condemnation.  This earned him a prison sentence although Herod’s wife probably would have been more pleased with a much stiffer punishment.  Retribution is our habit.  There is really nothing that Doug Phillips teaches that is not taught by so many other faithful men of God.  Scotland is now raising young men like Martin Fairley and his Fuel Project to confront sin and to say no to the  pervasive cultures of the world. perhaps the only difference is that most of Doug’s messages are not as localized as those from the pastorate and this greatly exposes him.  Does he have serious weaknesses?  Absolutely; possibly including the one that has caused his down fall.  Has he committed a serious sin?  You bet! sorry for the language. God is in the habit of using sinners and was pleased to choose Doug as his vessel. God has used him mightily.  The fact that I know him from a remote part of Africa means that he has done something worthwhile for the benefit of some of us who are slow to think. By the way, Africa is now experiencing a huge revival amongst young people because everyone is tired with religious entertainment and manipulative messages and lies.  I come from a matrilineal society where marriage concepts are so distorted and anti-Biblical.  A husband at the very best is a glorified slave. This I honestly believe is a curse from Satan.  Listening Doug preach, I could very easily have defended my culture.  And yet when the Holy Spirit Illuminates the teachings of Vision Forum and many others to His glory. God has used me, by His grace,  to be an agent of reform in many failed marriages. I treasure the teachings whether or not I like Doug as a person or not.  At the end of the day Scripture is Sufficient to govern and regulate every facet of our lives. I love your country the United States of America.  God has endowed this wonderful country with so much.  Not so much in terms of gold and silver alone but with men that have learned to say no the trappings of this world for the sake of exalting Christ. Unlike Europe, America still has a remnant of men and women who live according to Kingdom values.  Every time I travel to this amazing country, I do not waste opportunity to be benefited by deep insights taught by men such as Dr Tony Evans (Another gem from heaven), Dr Erwin Lutzer (where can you find a man like this one), Dr M Craig Barnes, Eric Homberg, William Einwechter etc. God bless the United States of America. As for you dear friend Doug, your statement of repentance and the subsequent clarification only goes to show that God is using you to teach some of us even in your weakest point. This may not be true to the majority but God is scarcely concerned about the majority.  Your statement was full of grace with no element rancor, self defense and no complaint.  Obviously some will be baying for more of your blood. But remember, that evil men were not contented with crucifying the Savior, they felt it necessary to pierce the Lords temple with a spear! such is the heart of man. Amen (delete the earlier version).

  81. I thoroughly love Doug and will greatly miss him.  He was designed by his maker for a specific purpose; to deal with the hard stuff not often addressed by the fainthearted.  He was not cowardly as most teachers tend to be these days; teachers who superimpose scriptures with truth that is heavily embellished with political correctness and vain philosophy.  Talking about why he has created so many enemies and why his sin has gratified a legion of sworn enemies; this should not come as a surprise. It has to do with his ministry scope, approach and calling.  You will not speak against abortion and the ungodly education systems and expect that you will be a darling to the world. The world hates any one who will insist on modesty, Biblical manhood and womanhood, respect for elders, the primacy of family and the final authority of the Word of God. Faithfulness in dealing with these matters will exact a huge price in return.  The personality profile and gifting of Doug and many others within VF is not unlike that of John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul. Herod and his wife were naturally not great fans of the well known Baptist for his unsolicited commentary on their illicit marriage. It is no wonder that John the Baptist, as did the Apostle Paul, finally ended in prison and the execution chamber. Strong men are perceived as an eye sore to those who wish to maintain the status quo. John the Baptist was so committed to his mission that the wilderness was the only place he felt welcome. If for some reason you wished to seek his counsel, the wilderness was the only place that guaranteed his availability and you had to agree to a modest meal comprising honey and locusts.  He never felt indebted to anyone and was courageous enough to have a go at soldiers, tax collectors until one day the sermon went “a little too far” for Herod.  Herod didn’t like the sermon which was full of condemnation of his private life.  This earned the Baptist a prison sentence although Mrs. Herod would have preferred a much stiffer punishment.  Retribution is our old habit.  Back to Doug. There is really nothing that Doug Phillips teaches that is not taught by so many other faithful men of God.  Scotland is now producing brave young men like Martin Fairley and his Fuel Project who are speaking out against the pervasive cultures of the world. May be the only difference is that most of Doug’s messages are not as localized as those from the majority of the pastorate and this I must say greatly exposes him to intense hatred.  Does he have serious weaknesses?  Absolutely yes; possibly including the one that has caused his down fall.  Has he committed a serious sin?  You bet! sorry for the language. However, some of us are worse sinners except the sin cannot be discerned with a naked eye. Nonetheless, God is in the habit of using sinners and was pleased to choose sinful Doug as his vessel. God has used him mightily and some of us are a fruit of his labor.  The fact that I know him from a far, the remotest part of Africa means that he has done something worthwhile in His kingdom. God has used his gift to enlighten some of us who are slow to think. Africa is now experiencing a huge revival amongst young people because everyone is tired with religious entertainment and manipulative messages and lies. People are hungry for truth however painful the messages may be. For instance,  I come from a matrilineal society where marriage concepts are so distorted and anti-Biblical.  A family structure that is often taken for granted is an alien concept in my culture. A husband at the very best is a glorified slave. The breakdown of family and the fatherless child phenomenon is commonplace.  I honestly believe this is a curse from Satan. The vision from VF is probably meant for us.  Listening Doug preach, I could very easily have defended my culture.  And yet when the Holy Spirit Illuminates the teachings of Vision Forum and many others our souls simply melt in search for Biblical truth. I have used the material developed by VF in the Men’s Ministry which I am involved in and God has blessed the ministry and is doing wonderful things. I treasure the teachings whether or not I like Doug as a person or not.  At the end of the day Scripture is Sufficient to govern and regulate every facet of our lives. If Doug’s Ministry is not for you, I fully understand, just skip it as I will against the ministry you deeply cherish. Incidentally, I love the United States of America.  The USA is a gift from God, a repository for purity in doctrine. God has endowed this wonderful country with so much.  Not only in terms of gold and silver, but with men that have learned to take a stand no matter how much it hurts for the sake of exalting Christ. Unlike Europe and most parts of the world, America still has a remnant of men and women whose primary drive is to love and serve God and to manifest Kingdom values.  Every time I travel to this amazing country, I do not waste opportunity to be benefited by deep insights through men such as Dr Tony Evans (How do you get such men; a gem from heaven), Dr Erwin Lutzer (why cant we have our own man like this one), Dr M Craig Barnes (A man of tremendous grace), Eric Homberg (a strong man in apologetics), William Einwechter (God bless this man) etc. All I can say is God bless the United States of America. As for you dear friend Doug, your statement of repentance and the subsequent clarification only goes to show that God is using you to teach some of us even in your weakest point. This may not be true to the majority but God is scarcely concerned about the majority.  Your statement was full of grace with no element rancor, self defense and no complaint.  Obviously some will be baying for more of your blood. But remember, that evil men were not contented with crucifying the Savior, they felt it necessary to pierce the Lords temple with a spear! such is the heart of man. Amen (delete the earlier two versions).

  82. All of this makes me sad…those that rejoice over his failure, and those that are so brainwashed that they fail to notice the intentional ambiguity in his confession.  Mr. Phillips (and others) want to play the local church card when it comes to discipline, but you can’t have it both ways.   If you run a para church organization and business that makes money off the backs of people who thought you were wise, the you are accountable to more than the congregation and the board of directors.  

  83. If you make yourself the head of a movement, then you are accountable to every person you dupe over the years. Your association with them harms their testimony, therefore you can’t write it off as a private family and church matter.

  84. We’ve never followed the VF teaching but have seen the confusion it has caused. Just because someone cites the Bible does not make the teaching Biblical. If we would just cling to the word of God instead of to men who can make charismatic and moving speeches and book covers, we’d all see more fruit when it comes to biblical discernment. The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth. I do hope that Doug Phillips receives more grace from his church family than he extended to those who also fell into sin under his ministry. The lesson to learn is that those who are teaching must be sure that they are actually living lives that would survive the “My God Seest Me” test…and still stand under His penetrating gaze–the  God who sees our innermost thoughts and motives. Nobody should be rejoicing. God’s name has been dishonored as it is whenever we sin, and this man’s wife and family are probably hurt beyond belief. I’m praying for them right now. And for myself, that I would be wise and learn from the mistakes of others, and look to myself to see if my own heart, mind and motives are what they ought to be. 

  85. Larry, Could you show in Scripture where you see that Mr. Phillips has to step down from heading up a para church organization and a for profit business after committing a sin and repenting from it? God allowed Moses to continue to lead the Children of Israel but with the punishment of not entering the Promised Land. God allowed David to remain King after he repented for murder and adultry but punished David with the death of his child. God allowed Abraham to be the Father of a nation even though he lied about his relationship to Sarah. Perhaps we are culturally determining Mr. Phillips punishment instead of strictly following God’s Word. I think this is why God says that only He can see a man’s heart and truly know it. We question everyone’s motives but our own. Are you able to let God deal with the sin and repentance of Mr. Phillips or do you believe God needs your assistance in this matter? Side note to remember is that a para church organization is not a church (churches are very quick to point this out as well) and cannot truly be treated as one whenever it is convenient. As individual Christians those within a para church organization will be held responsible to the laws of the land and to the laws of God but no more and no less. We cannot pretend to act as concerned Christians when our hearts and words betray us as judge and jury. God forbid that! Keep us as humble as we desire our leaders to be. I have to wonder how many husbands who run their own businesses, who serve as Deacons or Elders in their church, have sinned today and therefore have written a public letter on social media, told their Elders, their children, their friends, their co-workers and then quit their jobs and all their ministries. Some confess maybe to their wives, some may confess to their Elders and some confess only to God. Really, what Mr. Phillips did takes a lot of conviction to do and I have to admire that. May we all be humble enough to repent, strong enough to endure the ridicule, and wise enough to remember the beam in my own eye before I even consider the splinter in another. Let’s stay Biblical and not get culturally and emotionally abusive but be sensitive and prayerful for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

  86. @Jimmy Lipunga: “The personality profile and gifting of Doug and many others within VF is not unlike that of John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul. Herod and his wife were naturally not great fans of the well known Baptist for his unsolicited commentary on their illicit marriage. It is no wonder that John the Baptist, as did the Apostle Paul, finally ended in prison and the execution chamber.” I’d agree with you about “personality profile and gifting.” However, there is a huge difference between Doug Phillips and John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul, far more significant than mere personality and gifting. It’s called “character.” In character Doug Phillips is as far removed from these godly men as is night from day. Doug Phillips is indeed very gifted, and one of his most used gifts is the gift of acting. He is indeed an immensely gifted actor. But the real man is a duplicitous attorney and politician, not the man of God that he masquerades as. The 10+ year adulterous affair he engaged in, all while he was expounding on “modesty, Biblical manhood and womanhood, respect for elders, the primacy of family and the final authority of the Word of God”, and making millions of dollars from in the process, is just one of many examples of this man’s extreme hypocrisies. So please, Jimmy, spare us the comparisons of Doug Phillips with godly men.

  87. I just want to see the kind of grace that is extended to the hypocritical, seared conscience (from the extended time period), cheater also extended to his wife and children when they decide the “repentance” of a man who still wants to make money selling “family building” teaching products has a long, long way to go. I have not heard if he came out with his sin himself or was he “caught” by others.  If he only repents when caught, this will probably not turn out well. Patriarchal husbands that decide to “stray” have no problem throwing their stay-at-home, moms of multitudes under the bus in divorce court. Being home and homeschooling for the wife was Biblical until it interferes with a man’s financial status when he wants to move on to a new relationship. Pastors will tell women they must forgive (which they define as acting like nothing ever happened) or they are not Christians. The cheating husbands are not kept accountable for their past, present or future behavior by the church. This sin is rampant in the homeschooling, big family, Christian community. I wonder why their is interest in keeping the name of the adulteress secret?  If she was a teen when this began, the relationship is criminal. If she was an adult why the reluctance? Call me bitter and snarky if you want, but I happily stayed home for 32 years, birthed, fed and homeschooled eleven children and shortly I will be homeless, working for minimum wage 3 years after my divorce from my cheating husband who gave many tearful “repentance” speeches while still trying to contact his affair partners.  Be forewarned, the lying that covered their sin, the personality that perpetuates long term sin, will not give it up quickly or completely.
     

  88. @Sandy.  I need not show Scripture.  Mr. Phillips himself said the problem came from lack of accountability.  I call balderdash when he says its only a church matter. He’s the one who elevated himself above the church as a leader of a movement.

  89. He doesn’t have to give up his business but I question the intelligence of anyone who would still buy anything from him as a family building aid.   BTW, it takes no courage to confess when you get caught, if that is the case…who knows.

  90. Larry – You can’t decide a person’s fate based on your opinion of the person. The Bible will always be the measuring line and if you choose to pick varying measuring lines depending on their personality well, simply God forbid. It doesn’t matter what Mr. Phillips wrote or didn’t write in his letter. You have decided that punishment should be based on how angry you feel. You must see that your hatred is directing your vengeful thinking instead of a loving concern that Mr. Phillips be restored to Christ fully and completely. BTW when David sinned against God it never nullified the truth of God’s word. If a Christian man preaches God’s word but later commits a horrible sin it doesn’t make what he previously preached heretical. If anything it makes the truth of God’s word more important and more crucial. I pray that we would avoid gossip, anger, spreading false assumptions, bearing false witness, and the ugliness of judging with hatred. Whether you believe Mr. Phillips isn’t the issue. Whether you like or don’t like the teaching of Vision Forum is not the issue. It doesn’t even matter how long or how little he sinned. The proverbial ball is in God’s court and He alone will judge the man, forgive the man, extend grace to the man, restore the man as He sees fit. We can only hope we receive the same grace when our turn comes. Finally, you are aware that Mr. Phillips doesn’t write or even record every CD that they sell. Many authors are represented from John Calvin to John Knox to Martha Peace to Ray Comfort. I think you will find a few semi-intelligent people reading their books. So family training comes in many forms and Vision Forum does sell the works of various authors. Also, it does take courage to confess even if you get caught. After working for the police department many years ago I can tell you that many people get caught and still refuse to confess. Have you never been in the position of lacking the courage to admit to a sin even when you were caught red handed? Oh, and one small note, everyone is caught in their sin the moment they commit it. God sees everything. For David it took a prophet to expose his sin even though God saw his sin when it happened. But surprise, surprise, God forgave David when he repented. Not all of us appreciate the type of courage it takes to confess a sin especially if we possess little of it ourselves. 

  91. Many thanks to Mrs. Sandy Bryan.  Your gracious and wise counsel has greatly uplifted my soul and certainly those who stand for truth but are afraid to speak.  I hated to be alone against “believers” who do not hesitate to unleash tons and tons of malicious gossip spreading like fire and slander.  Your magnanimity and fearless commentary has blessed some of us. May God bless you! 

  92. Actually,  I have just ordered several dvds and cds from VF; will do so for the foreseeable future; even those directly produced by DP.

  93. I’ve been saying on other forums, and will now say here, that unless we have intimate knowledge of these matters, and some here may have such, that we can say nothing more of these matters than that we ought to pray for the repentance/sanctification of all parties and the glory of Christ.
    If we only know this through public means, all that we know is what Mr. Phillips has said (in two letters) and the very brief comment form the proper officials that VF ministries will be closed. Proverbs 18: 13 and 17, and more than two decades of dealing with church discipline cases at every level, prompts caution and reserve on my part. We have no way of knowing what really went on here and, unless we have intimate knowledge of (not a casual meeting with) the parties, we best serve by simply commiting the matter to prayer.
     

  94. @Alan D. Strange: “that unless we have intimate knowledge of these matters, and some here may have such, that we can say nothing more of these matters than that we ought to pray for the repentance/sanctification of all parties and the glory of Christ.”

    While repeating the mantra of your peers, Alan, you are to at least be congratulated at least doing something none of your peers here have done: you’ve acknowledged the possibility that there could be some people commenting here, and elsewhere, who do have intimate knowledge of Doug Phillips, his character, and the basis for his recent actions. There indeed are, and there are many more of us than you could imagine. Among us are former business associates and partners whom Doug Phillips has defrauded by stealing our intellectual property and products, stealing our customer/donor email lists, former employees who left in utter disillusionment over the unethical practices they witnessed, former VF interns who witnessed first hand the astonishing hypocrisies and viciousness, former BCA members whom Doug has spiritually and emotionally abused, former victims of the philandering, and the many that Douglas W. Phillips has threatened to sue and intimidated into silence. Doug Phillips has accumulated many such victims for well over a decade.

    Thank you Alan for at least thoughtfully considering the possibility that we do exist, which is far more than the non-thinking Stacy McDonald and others of her ilk have been willing to admit. To quote again from her comment above: “My point is we don’t know the back story – mostly because it’s none of our business.” Her position is also a defense strategy, albeit an idiotic one: “I don’t know because I don’t want to know.” I can’t help but wonder where this woman got her education from. One thing is certain — she never took a class in logic.

    “I don’t know anything about it because it’s none of my business, and it’s nobody else’s business because, well, I say so. Don’t ask any questions about it so you too can remain blissfully ignorant like me. I’ve determined to bury my head in the sand and I’m instructing everyone (including men, which I’m not permitted to instruct since I’m into Patriarchy) to pay no attention to what you hear about my friend Doug Phillips. I routinely bash a lot of other people, but that’s okay because they’re bad people and it’s not gossip to publicly criticize bad people. But Doug Phillips is good because, well, I say so, and it you criticize Doug that makes you a hateful gossip who needs to repent of bitterness. I’m a really in-the-know person, and I normally have an opinion about everything, especially about people I don’t like; but that’s not hateful bitterness when I do it, because they’re bad people and deserve it. But Doug Phillips is a great guy and everyone else should like him too. But if you don’t like Doug, keep your big mouth shut and just pray for him. If I don’t know anything about this whole Doug Phillips kerfuffle, and I’m never going to know anything because it’s none of my business to know anything, that means no one else can know anything either. I’m not going to ask Doug or anyone else any hard and embarrassing questions because that would get really embarrassing for me and my husband James since we’ve been close friends with Doug and Beall all these years and we ignored all the warning signs because, well, that’s what good friends do — not say anything while their friends are sliding down the slippery slope of apostasy. So we’d better just sweep this all under the carpet. And since I don’t know anything, I can be 100% confident that Doug’s letter of resignation is sincere because, well, it’s Doug, and if Doug says so we can know it’s the truth.” Stacy McDonald is a case study in Hegelian dialects albeit a Three Stooges version of it, and some of the other comments here follow a similar pattern.

    Unlike Stacy McDonald and her ilk, there are many of us who actually do know Doug Phillips, and we know him very well. We know the backstory with his so-called “repentance.” We know it’s a sham . We know he didn’t “confess” but was busted and forced to confess under considerable duress. We know that he’s already formulated his comeback plan, and we know the predictable outcome is that many thousands of gullible dupes will believe this silver tongued devil and resume sending him millions of dollars per annum, once he’s published his own Jim Bakker “I Was Wrong” book and is “restored.” This Doug Wilson article that served to inspire the so many willfully-ignorant comments here, are proof that there can always be a bright future for religious hucksters and carnival barkers.

  95. To CJ: I’m sorry, but all of those instances you cited where the Pearls don’t teach the things they teach?  So easily refuted.  Just get a copy of the book.  And step away from the koolaid.  The Sean Paddock case was less clearly related, IMO but the others were very much in line w/ Pearl teachings.  One huge problem w/ TTUAC is that make a few token disclaimers but then proceed to cancel them completely out by their advice. 

  96. In response to TW Eston’s comment – I am one of those who rushed to DP’s defense out of a sense of loyalty and respect for his deceased father, Howard Phillips… But I did not have all the facts at the time and now make a public apology to those whom I’ve dismissed and chastised when it appears they were for the most part seeking to make the truth known.

  97. Forgiveness is granted but trust is earned.  How do you expect people to trust this man, when he at this point is not trustworthy.  He committed adultery ( which start in the heart) matt 5: 27-28 and lied about it for years.
     
    BTW,   Larry I concur with your comment.

  98. I’d like to clarify that I am not defending Doug Phillips or his sin. I was basing my words on the fact that we SHOULD take someone at their word when they repent (until they are proven otherwise to be false words) – and I will always believe that, as difficult as it sometimes is.

    Though no Christian should ever be happy to see someone fall into sin, I would like to make it understood that I was referring here how to respond to the sin of a repentant brother or sister. If the person refuses or pretends to repent it is another matter all together.

    And I stand by my belief that sin should grieve us for the sake of Christ, His glory, and His love for the church. As Christians there is NEVER reason to gloat or rejoice over the sin of another.
     

  99. Well I guess we all know by now, that we should not have just taken Mr. Phillips’ word for true repentance and that we should follow the Scriptures that say there is fruit to be borne that lets us know whether someone’s repentance is real or not. I will also just state here, that there is plenty of reason, always, to rejoice when a false gospel or a false shepherd gets brought down, which is what has happened here, maybe on both counts, and which is what is going to continue to happen in the future. Any man who claims to lead God’s sheep all the while he is living a life contrary to the Gospel, is a false leader and it is our business to know who is true and who is false. It is our duty to know and expose every deed of darkness, especially in the leaders. It is not as if Phillips has taken a wee stumble and fallen into a sin and immediately repented and turned from it, asking for help from his “accountability scouts” to aid him in that return to Christ-like living. This was going on for a very, very long time and hidden, purposefully, from his wife and others’ sight, or so he thought. It’s so funny to me, how he thought God just didn’t see. Seems to be such a common problem today. So many have so much “knowledge” about God and doctrines and hermeneutics, but they don’t “know” Him intimately, deeply and personally. Maybe through all of this, Phillips will come to know the true Christ and really fall in love with Jesus, instead of himself and his ministry and his idols. That’s my prayer.

  100. Doug lost me  at a message in which he said men should not work in the secular market but instead should all run their own home-based businesses.  Custom furniture manufacturing isn’t really my thing, so I’ll stick with middle-management tech, but I will say this: Doug’s was a loud and calrion voice for fathers to lead their families and take the role seriously, and its unfortunate that this act pretty much silences any future credibility he and VF could have.

  101. I have enjoyed reading the comments especially T.W Eston’s comments. In all of the high control groups that I have observed and escaped , the leader never had real accountability. The leader claims accountability but the “accountability” group has been stacked with sycophants who cower to the narcissistic sociopath. Young people , I know , who grew up in households that pushed this high control philosophy are now agnostics – abandoning Christianity. They did not read a Christopher Hitchens  or a Richard Dawkins book to get to that place.

  102. I am just glad for anything to bring down vision forum. We had a great little church with lots of home school families including myself, until one man followed these men and guess what it became a cult. Everyone being harsh with people, proud, unloving, unmerciful, flat out legalistic. I actually moved out of state to get away from the hate. They have used homeschooling to push an agenda. If ain’t with them your against them mentality. Frozen Chosen. God has different good works for each of us and who are these men to tell people it has to be done just like the way they run their families? Isn’t the point of home schooling to each his own?

  103. What about to each his own? Isn’t that the beauty of home schooling? Not with these sect. Legalistic all the way. I hope these false pastors will continue to be exposed.

  104. I think everyone here has forget about the planks in their own eyes. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. 

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