Vision Forum and a Season of Meditation

If you read through the complaint filed against Doug Phillips and Vision Forum by Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, it is plain that the tangled mess there — a mess that is entirely the responsibility of Doug Phillips — is a tangled mess.

I make a point of saying (again) that this whole catastrophe is the responsibility of Doug Phillips because it is, and also because — as should be apparent in the comment threads of my previous posts on this — there is a certain kind of mind that does not understand careful adjudication of claims and counter-claims. While they don’t understand how justice is supposed to work, they do understand taking up sides based on a partisan agenda. Thus it is that any expressed desire for caution in practice is taken as a full-throated defense of abusive behavior in principle. If it seems like someone doesn’t want to hang Doug Phillips right this minute, the accusation is thrown at them — “how would you feel if this had been your daughter?” I think I would feel about the same way as I would feel if false accusations of sexual abuse were thrown at my son.

I continue to believe that this whole thing should be sorted through by Christians, with a view to our testimony before a watching world. Based on the undisputed facts that have come out thus far, I have no doubt that if this were adjudicated properly, we would all see at the conclusion that Doug Phillips acted the part of a manipulative scoundrel. I met him once, in 2010, and he took the opportunity then to blow sunshine up my skirt. So nothing about this is a defense of the indefensible.

In the meantime, there is the civil suit, and Phillips is not responding to it in a godly way at all. In a recent radio interview, Doug Phillips’ attorney Jason Jakob said that Torres “is just after a paycheck.” Given everything that everyone acknowledges about this travesty, that hardly seems credible to me. But suppose for a minute it is true. Suppose she is just after a big payday — why wouldn’t Phillips just give it to her? By arguing the finer points of justice in this setting, he is just dragging the name of Christ through the slime bog of his grotesque pattern of his earlier injustices. Phillips plunged headlong into this sin because he was abhorred by the Lord (Prov. 22:14), and so his behavior needs approximate that of a penitent. He has been brought low because of his disobedience to the Lord. If he continues to disobey, does he really think the Lord can’t bring him lower?

At the same time, outside observers can and should see that she was not simply a mannikin. Just taking her complaint at face value, it is plain that she is not taking the right kind of responsibility for her poor responses to Doug Phillips’ immoral advances. The complaint acknowledges, “She did not at all times refuse Defendant’s sexual advances, but submitted to them based on the fraudulent statements Defendant had made to her.” Those fraudulent statements would include promises of marriage in the future and so forth. While she objected numerous times to his sexual behavior (according to the complaint), the complaint also uses phrases like she “came to see her situation as abusive,” he “persuaded her,” she continued to work for him for several years “not wanting to disappoint,” and so on. On her terms, she was seduced into a compromised position and conflicted state of mind. But despite her continued presence and availability, the complaint alleges that during the entire time she was “incapable of giving consent.” It says this because it is clear that there were instances where she did give consent, and her attorney wants to say that she was in effect in the position of a minor when she did so.

Her incapacity is allegedly the result of the whole patriarchal world that she was enveloped in. But you can’t have it both ways. The behavior that she did not run from after the first incident was behavior on Phillips’ part that was high hypocrisy according to that same patriarchal world. She was an adult, and she should have identified the hypocrisy for what it was upon the first manifestation of it, and she should have recoiled from it. Recoiling from it is not the same thing as putting up with it for years.

The things that are alleged about the “tight little world” of Vision Forum do give a plausible explanation as to why she wouldn’t bring charges against Phillips within their system of church courts. But they don’t explain why she didn’t tell her parents about what had happened immediately, and it doesn’t explain why their whole family wasn’t gassing up the car the next morning to head down the road to find a place where the spiritual leader wasn’t a toad. According to her complaint, when her family did discover what had been happening, they stood up to Phillips despite all the patriarchal teaching. When her family discovered what had happened, they believed her, not him. The reason they didn’t stand up to him years earlier is that, according to her complaint, she did not give them the opportunity to do so.

Scripture never finds fault with a woman who is a victim of some man’s sexual predations (Deut. 22:26). But if she has an avenue to get help, she is responsible to use it. In this case, at a bare minimum, she had a responsibility to get out of range. And if holding her to this standard comes across as a defense of Phillips, then I would urge you to return to my third paragraph for a season of meditation.

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  • MKT

    While I’m no fan of VF’s brand of patriarchy, I’m also not a fan of the hateriarchy movement. I associate that term with the numerous websites and blogs devoted to tearing down anything related to VF, conservative home schoolering, etc. One such site was written by a young lady who blasted Doug Phillips in a post while devoting other sections of her blog to a STD she acquired.

    Unfortunately, that crowd won’t be happy unless you accuse Phillips of eating live babies and proclaim LT-M a near perfect, sinless being with 0% fault in the entire ordeal.

    Good post, BTW. Based on what we know about all of the events, I think you’ve made a fair assessment.

  • Valerie (Kyriosity)

    So your definition of victim in this context hinges on “capacity for consent”? That helps me understand the last post a bit better. If she had capacity for consent, she wasn’t a victim; if she hadn’t had it, she was. Which is not at all the same as saying that if she had capacity for consent, she wasn’t sinned against. She was sinned against…and very, very badly. I’m not sure I’d define things quite the same way — I think there’s room in this situation for the language of victimization (at least in common usage, if not in a technical legal sense) — but I absolutely agree with your conclusions about the lawsuits.

  • Valerie (Kyriosity)


    “hateriarchy” <– nice one.

  • AShore

    Excellent article – and I liked this statement very much
    “The things that are alleged about the “tight little world” of Vision Forum do give a plausible explanation as to why she wouldn’t bring charges against Phillips within their system of church courts”

  • carole

    I don’t know how anyone could write more clearly than this. If the points are still misunderstood, I have to believe it is willfully.

  • Bert Perry

    I am guessing that as the trial pans out, we are going to hear a lot more about how VF was set up in such a way to (a) be the person’s whole world and (b) be set up in such a way that no “insider” could confront Mr. Phillips and come out “intact”.  I would even guess that the offers for Christian reconciliation may be used as evidence if they were to be done by friends of Mr. Phillips–rightly or wrongly.  The parallel is teachers who misuse students, who (again rightly or wrongly) view administration and police as “in the teachers’ corner”.
    Given that the schools subject kids to nonsense like the Pledge of Allegiance, I can’t completely blame the students, honestly.  I’ll withhold judgment in this case, though.

  • Anne Garboczi Evans

    Let’s just look at the first incident. He came to her room in the dark and molested her. She said, no, stop! He didn’t.

    You said she should have told her dad immediately. She said Phillips told her that if she told it would ruin his ministry and family. After that first incident, Lourdes didn’t want Beall and the kids or Vision Forum to get hurt so she just told Phillips to stop rather than starting a lawsuit. You can’t both criticize Lourdes for going to the authorities now and not going to them earlier.

    Also, Phillips told her that the sin was HERS. That she had somehow seduced him and made him do it. So by that warped perspective that Phillips brainwashed her into, there was nothing for her to tell her parents. It was Lourdes fault for not being modest enough or something (an evil lie!) As soon as Lourdes did figure out it wasn’t her fault, she did tell her parents and they did stand up for her.
    Nowhere in the lawsuit are acts of consensual intercourse described. Rather, it’s all Phillips with porno moves. If Lourdes really was consenting why didn’t they have regular intercourse? (Not that regular intercourse would make her not a victim. Just, seriously, how can one think any woman would want a man to do porno moves on her.)

  • linda k.

    When I read this, a few years back–

    it seemed as if you respected him. Were you able to discern at that time that he was ‘blowing sunshine up your skirt’ ??

  • Thomas Lemke

    Pastor Wilson: In this post it looks like you are saying, in effect and with Proverbs 18:17, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

    If that is all you intended all along, I agree, and apologize for leaping to any conclusions. I do, however, think it is much too soon to write off victim classification for Lourdes (as it seems you were saying pretty decisively in your last post on the subject), but I can also understand the need to keep from denying any culpability whatsoever on her part for the time being.

    Thanks for the further clarification.

  • Paulette Murphy

    Someone help me–I must be dense. (not being sarcastic)

    What on earth does “he took the opportunity then to blow sunshine up my skirt” mean?

    Sometimes, Pastor Wilson, you’re a bit too witty for me.

    Excellent post, by the way.

  • willis

    I think sunshine up skirt is another phrase for flatter in an artificial way.

  • Kimberley

    God never leaves us without an example, does He? Doug Phillips is Potiphar’s wife using his power and influence for his own gratification. And Lourdes is Joseph. But she is the Joseph that didn’t resist and run.

  • Daniel

    Has anyone considered that it may have been near impossible for her to resist Doug Phillps advances? Consider her sheltered background and the high esteem those in the homeschooled community places on Doig Phillips. She undoubtedly trusted him and very well likely found herself powerless to say no to him. Victims who are groomed by sexual predictors and deviants have an extremely difficult time fighting off their advances.

  • Sydneysider

    Pastor Wilson, are you seriously asking why the victim here didn’t run? She didn’t run because Patriarchy trains women to show unquestioning obedience to men. And because this was not just any man, but her pastor and spiritual guru to the “Visionary Daughters.”

    And is the idea that “this whole thing should be sorted through by Christians” a serious suggestion? What authority do you think Doug Phillips would recognise, given that he has already threatened legal action against the men who persuaded him to resign ( What makes you think that Doug Phillips is even a Christian? Also, past attempts by the Church to “sort through” such things internally haven’t exactly been great successes, and have often left the victims with a feeling that justice was not done.

    As to “our testimony before a watching world,” I’m not sure that this lengthy series of “blame the victim” blog posts are helping at all with that.

  • Valerie (Kyriosity)

    “Reading comprehension!” said the Professor half to himself. “Why don’t they teach reading comprehension at these schools?”

  • Chris Twilley

    “I have no doubt that if this were adjudicated properly, we would all see at the conclusion that Doug Phillips acted the part of a manipulative scoundrel.” It is much worse than this. He has paraded as a minister of the Gospel. He has functioned as an elder at his church all the while committing terrible sins of adultery and fornication. Preaching to others about how to have “Glorious Marriages” and “advanced family strategies.” He is a hypocrite of the highest order (I think the New Testament description of Pharisees comes to mind). I am pastoring a ‘family integrated’ church (I prefer the term “age-integrated”) and have many members who have been duped by this guy. We are all victims in the sense that he has deceived us all. I am sounding a clarion call of warning to anyone who will listen and sending a consistent message to the world that Doug Philips is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and Christ told us clearly “by their fruit you will know them” (Matthew 7:20). As pastors are asked about this a common refrain is “we can’t judge anyone’s heart.” Christ never told us to judge anyone’s heart. He told us to judge the fruit and this fruit is rotten. I have researched 15 years of this guys life. The Alisaur dinosaur controversy, 5 years of habitual sexual immorality (1 John 3:6;9), and threatening lawsuits against those who came to him in the spirit of Nathan the prophet when he confronted David) all lead me to the inescapable conclusion: Doug Philips is a false teacher. Any response that falls short of this biblical assessment, falls short of an accurate diagnosis. You are right, the world is watching. Let’s call it what it is and lift up the gospel and the life changing effects of conversion by saying that this guy is lost, has always been lost and has an unrepentant heart that is in desperate need of regeneration. Sadly, this young lady, living in this culture of ‘family do’s and don’ts’ in which the gospel was not central, may be lost as well. Wouldn’t it explain a lot? Maybe they both need to repent and trust the Savior.

  • MKT

    “Pastor Wilson, are you seriously asking why the victim here didn’t run? She didn’t run because Patriarchy trains women to show unquestioning obedience to men.”

    Please cite a source for this. Any VF book, video, etc. will do. Where do they teach that women should obey a man to the point of committing adultery? You’re basically saying LT-M has no moral agency here.

    Again, I agree the mess itself rests entirely on Doug’s shoulders. (Anyone saying this is purely “blame the victim” hasn’t read Doug’s posts, or has read them with with a huge amount of bias.) However, this doesn’t mean we should misrepresent the facts.

    The same goes for Chris Twilley’s comments about fornication. How did Phillips commit that? If you’re saying that he forced LT-M into fornication, I don’t think that’s true from what I’ve read. It doesn’t sound like she was a willing participant in anything in that category. Then again, I only skimmed over the lurid details (having no desire to dwell on them), so maybe I missed something.

  • MKT

    Since we have two Dougs here, I should have used last names only. My third paragraph should read:

    “Again, I agree the mess itself rests entirely on Phillips’ shoulders. (Anyone saying this is purely “blame the victim” hasn’t read Wilson’s posts, or has read them with with a huge amount of bias.) However, this doesn’t mean we should misrepresent the facts.”

  • Neo

    I wish there was a link to the recent news story, as other than this post I was unaware Phillips was in the news.

  • Ross Clark

    And for what this is worth, a near-identical episode is playing out within the Fundamentalists: Bill Gothard, where the charges facing him(according to are nearly identical to those facing Doug Philips, with the qualifier that Bill Gothard is single. Which begs a horde of other questions, if not for discussion here.

    Tony Campolo once observed (in a different context), “we have met the enemy and they are partly right”. When patriarchy, to coin a phrase, ‘goes bad’, it goes bad in spades.

  • carole

    It boggles the mind, doesn’t it?!

    Chris, well said, ” Let’s call it what it is and lift up the gospel and the life changing effects of conversion by saying that this guy is lost, has always been lost and has an unrepentant heart that is in desperate need of regeneration.”

    I wonder if the need we see here to blame patriarchy and homeschooling is a classic case of looking for a reason to assure ourselves it won’t happen to us? In other words, if we don’t follow God’s design for families,patriarchy, if we don’t homeschool, then this sort of tragedy will never happen in our home. But sin is everywhere. And only Christ can change that.

    For those of us who do try to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, either by homeschooling or through a Christian brick and mortar, this is a lesson that sin will find its way there too. I will speak for myself, it is a good reminder that I can not do these things because I am afraid of the world, but because I am called to do them.

  • MKT

    Carole – Remember Cain and Abel? They had about as “pure” an environment as possible: no bad movies, internet, Common Core, neighborhood kids from dysfunctional homes, etc. They couldn’t even blame “oppressive” homeschooling or hypocritical patriarchy gurus either. And look what happened to them…

  • SarahS

    linda k: Good catch.

  • brian

    Pastor Wilson, was it with in the “divine” will of an all powerful being that this happen to this young lady? I ask this honestly as someone truly struggling with faith, it just appears that divine will and completely arbitrary seem to go hand in hand. I have personally been aware of IE I took care of the people afterwards, who were so badly sexually abused that it make the person unable to walk. That does not include the kids who were smacked around so much, I mean literally beaten half to death. So I am a bit emotional, I should not and I understand that, well actually I dont but that is another post. Do you feel that those events had some type of Divine involvement? I honestly cannot think of a better word.

    The second question, have you ever been in a cult? One does not choose in a cult, when one is caught up in the “worldview/ social / family”, it encoumpases all aspects of a person’s life. I was spared that but I think I could have fallen in as a young adult because I was asking questions and looking for black and white answers that make sense. Of course we live in a world that is very complicated and simplistic answers can be truly sought after but limit the ability of a person wrapped up in the community the ability to actually protect themselves. I think you might agree with some of this. I think we agree Doug Phillips is a tool. Im a tool in some areas and need to be on guard to my toolishness. I think we all have our issues.

    I still dont get why God does not intervene in these situations, but that is a different post. I mean I dont get why God did not divinely intervene in the Holocaust, the killing fields, etc ? Hope you have a nice day.

  • Valerie Jacobsen

    As I understood your argument in “Vice, Victims, and Vision Forum”–
    1. It is not appropriate to prejudge the case with regard to DP.
    2. But since both sides concede that the sexual contact started when LTM was over 21, we don’t have to wait and see what the facts are with regard to her complicity.
    3. Since LTM did not or could not fight DP off and did not report him to the police, we may not describe her as a “victim”. Rather, her failure to go to the police indicates that she was most likely a “player in the vice”.

    As I understand the initial section of this piece–
    1.People who have superior minds, who understand claims and counter claims and how justice works, wouldn’t offended by your assertion that LTM is “not a victim” and is most likely a “player in the vice”.
    2. The necessary corollary is, of course, that those who thought that it was wrong to insinuate that LTM is a liar have urged great caution simply because they do not understand the justice system and cannot reason well. They have inferior minds.

    This is just an “Emperor’s Clothes” test. Thinking that it would be best not to mock, deride, or shame someone who alleges sexual abuse does not demonstrate an inferior mind, or an inability to understand how justice works. That underhanded argument makes no actual defense, if you do want to defend your earlier claims.

    Not many people (if any) are claiming that LTM was sinless, not led into sin, not scared into sin, and not shamed into sin. And the text of the civil suit is not the place to discover whether she herself would make those claims.

    Sexual abuse victims should be courageous and tell, so that they can get help and so that perpetrators can be justly punished. It’s the right thing to do, and we should not only encourage people to do it but make safe places for them to do it, not implying that the best place for such evil is the Christian closet, as if Jesus ever suggested that.

    While encouraging victims to be brave, here’s a thought: Could there be some connection between the reluctance of victims to tell and the eagerness of third parties to shame and speculate, not only in our churches but even on the Internet?

    It’s possible to have concerns with the text of the Final Complaint and yet still believe that we have a great duty to make the Church the world’s safest place for victims of abuse. One of the best ways to do that would be to continually establish and reinforce a Christian culture wherein it is extremely inappropriate to dissect complainants in public.

    You could easily seek justice for any of the church’s sons without passing around rumors or speculatioh against one of the church’s daughters.

  • brian

    One last question if anyone can help me with this, from your worldview and your view of Scripture can you please help me with this, what is inerrancy of Scripture? Dont need a long answer here just a link to your (who ever answers) to your view. Thank You. Hope everyone has a nice day. I admit I am most likely a functioning Agnostic but I do hope all those involved find healing and true repentance so that said healing can happen.

  • Tim Mullet


    In terms of inerrancy:

    Some Verses:
    2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

    2 Peter 1:20-21 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    2 Peter 3:15-16 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

    Some features:
    -The Bible is the very word of God
    -The Bible is not primarily dictated, i.e. God uses the personalities and writing styles of the biblical authors
    – The Bible is without error in the original manuscripts

    Hope that helps

  • Brian


    In addition to all that Tim Mullet said, John 10:35’s “and the Scripture CANNOT be broken” teaching of Jesus Christ, who is the living and enduring Word of God Incarnate (i.e., made flesh), is also another good portion of God’s word Inscripturate that authoritatively teaches on the inerrancy of Scripture.

    Thus, Isaiah says that unlike grass, flowers, and men which are destroyed (Isaiah 40:6,7,8), the word of the Lord is enduring, and thus preserved which even ~750 years later as Peter testifies in 1 Peter 1:22,23,24,25.

    Although this doesn’t guarantee that a person copying the word of God cannot write errors (accidentally or in deliberate disobedience against Deuteronomy 4:2,1 & Rev 22:18-19,7 or accidentally), despite the textual variants throughout the manuscripts, none of them effect what we can know “for certain/sure” (Acts 2:34,35,36; 2 Peter 1:19,20,21) on how we are to believe and obediently live our life of repentance and sanctification unto saving faith/trust in Jesus Christ toward God as Paul testified to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14,15,17 regarding “all of” Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16), whether written in Greek in the Septuagint/LXX (to which the New Testament makes more direct reference) or in Hebrew/Aramaic (to which the New Testament also makes authoritative reference) as found in the Masoretic.

    God’s purposes for His word in Scripture are that it would be sufficiently reliable without error as the standard of everlasting truth (Psalm 119:160) for salvation (2 Timothy 3:14,15) which includes the sanctification (Hebrews 12:14) of our thinking and behavior (John 17:17).

    Therefore, in predetermining this purpose, God has predetermined the means throughout history that His word in Scripture will be sufficiently authoritatively preserved without error (Matthew 5:18), even the least of the commandments (Matthew 5:19) so that the God’s purpose of His word will never be overpowered by the sin and fallible limitations of man so as to return void of accomplishing that saving and sanctifying (separation from what is clean from what is unclean) purpose of His desire/will unto His glory (Isaiah 55:10,11).

    Brian, as Isaiah also writes in the immediately previous parenthetically referenced passage, you ought to trustfully repent and believe (Isaiah 55:6,7,8,9) the Lord God through His inerrant and effectual Word in Scripture, to include Scripture’s teaching of the Word made flesh (John 1:14,17) the reigning resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Revelation 1:5; 19:13,15,16; John 20:27,28,29,30,31).

  • Shelly

    I would like to begin by stating I think I understand what you are saying. He sinned and holds the greater responsibility. She sinned and also must take responsibility for her part in it. They both sinned, and let Christians mediate a resolution between the two parties.

    One scenario: After all is said and done he pays restitution, is put under church discipline until their governing leadership believes he has fully repented of his sins and after a time returns to his former life and continues to live as if nothing ever happened. She is given monetary compensation, put under church discipline (yada, yada, yada) and tries to move on with her life.

    No one outside of the church leadership or mediators know what happened and we the public continue to praise what a great man he is. Or maybe you, pastor wilson (I would hope since you advocate it) have a better understanding of what this church sentencing would look like.

    I have two very different daughters ages 19 and 13. My oldest has a very direct, this is right this is wrong personality. I could see her running and screaming at the first inkling of something not feeling right. My younger daughter is very emotional. She loves all over everyone and desperately needs it in return. She’s the first to offer sympathy when a family member or friend is hurt or sad. She LOVES to receive praise as well as give it. She’s also very intelligent.

    In regard to our younger daughter, I would not want to have tested whether or not beginning in her early teen years and on… if lavished with attention, adoration and praise (from a man like philips) that she would be able to resist inappropriate feelings for him. The teen years are a very vulnerable time in a young girls life. They have not reached full mental maturity and still require a great deal of protection and guidance. I believe there are many similar personality types who could fall VICTIM to a older man who develops an inappropriate attraction to them.

    LT-M’s family thought she was protected. In my opinion, this is a grievous crime against her and her family. Although the physical component did not take place until her early twenties, it is likely the emotional component began in her teen years. Did she make the wrong decisions? Clearly. Should she have told her parents? Absolutely. And I would hope she knows this. Do I think the possible added guilt, fear, and stresses under the patriarchal society she lived in may have attributed to the length of the alleged abuse? Definitely Possible.

    You want us to say she sinned? Fine, she sinned. Now what? I’m skeptical that her church or even yours are fully prepared to handle the complexities that this particular case would involve. I may be wrong but my understanding is that you would like her “sin” in this to be acknowledged so as to downplay and diminish the seriousness of her claims.

    Take her teen years out of the equation and let’s talk again. However, I suspect that you believe young teenagers should be held to the same standards as mature adults. Am I wrong?

  • Boxelder

    One can fall prey to manipulations. Fear clouds judgment. One can make bad decisions (or not make good ones). None of this makes her a culprit. There’s only one bad-guy in this little drama.

  • Bert Perry

    I’m wondering if it’s Deuteronomy 22, or Exodus 22: 16, that is more applicable here. If we view the alleged acts as grooming, the better Biblical comparison would be “seduce” or “entice”, and Exodus 22 is interestingly mute on whether the woman is guilty or not of anything. The father can either allow the marriage or not, but the bride-price is to be paid.

    So apparently the father (and maybe village elders?) gets to suss out whether both fell into lust and nature took its course, or whether the man is a cad that does a good job of persuading people against their better judgment. So there is least a hint of a Biblical case for the idea that a person can be enticed into a sinful relationship while their guilt is far less than that of the perpetrator.

    I don’t know exactly where the evidence goes, but suffice it to say that with denying the claims before he’s heard them, suing former business associates, and the like, Phillips has an uphill battle before him–he’s actually building a case that he’s capable of the enticement by doing this by intimidating people he knows had Biblical reason to confront them.

    Not smart, especially since victim’s lawyer is the son of the guy who defended Jack Schaap, and might have learned a thing or two about such cases from his dad–or, possibly, Ken Starr, if you catch my drift.

  • Terri

    I keep seeing a link to this post all over Facebook and a link to other people’s posts countering this one.

    One of the biggest problems with abuse towards women is the silence that too often happens- silence from the perp, and silence from the abused woman for various reasons, and silence from all of us who sit and read and never comment.

    So let me state clearly that you, Doug, are a bombastic ass. You do not know the turmoil, fear, temerity, the lack of self esteem, the fear of the unknown future, the fear of being David against Goliath, all that would make a woman unable to do as you think would be so easy to do: “if she has an avenue to get help, she is responsible to use it. In this case, at a bare minimum, she had a responsibility to get out of range.” Seriously?! Shut up. You don’t know what you are asking and you don’t know what you are talking about.

    It appears you are so utterly and utmost-ly concerned with preserving your damned patriarchy and your warped view of Genesis 3:16, that you can not see clear to defend the defenseless.


  • Douglas Wilson

    Terri, no, “bombastic ass” is not actually possible. I just double checked my WordPress settings, and they are clearly set two notches below that.

  • A. Nonny Mouse


  • A. Nonny Mouse

    20 or 25 years ago when I was working through my childhood abuse with a counselor, I insisted that there was sin I needed to confess. She tried to insist that all of the sin was on my abuser’s side, but I remembered clearly enough, and I won that argument. I was about 9 when it started, and my sin was wanting affection and intimacy so much that I was willing to go along with my abuser. I am NOT saying that every girl who is abused sinned the way I sinned!!! There are LOTS of different circumstances!!! But I was 12 when I finally told my abuser, “No”, and it stopped. I was way smaller and weaker and less educated and less mature than Ms. Torres-Manteufel, so if I could do the right thing and be brave enough to do what I could to make it stop happening then she could have done the right thing and been brave enough to do what she could to make it stop happening. That doesn’t mean my sin was anywhere near as bad as my abuser’s!!! Or that her sin is anywhere near as bad as Mr. Phillip’s!!! And Mr. Wilson isn’t saying that it is!!!

    If I had not confessed my sin, I would still be trapped under a burden of shame. I hope this young lady doesn’t get trapped under a burden of shame because she’s refusing to confess her sin. Her lawsuit surely isn’t going to get rid of that burden. Mr. Wilson isn’t being a “bombastic ass” he’s just not pretending that anybody’s sin isn’t really sin. Other people’s bigger sins don’t cancel out anybody’s smaller sins. Nobody is “not guilty by reason of somebody else being more guilty”.

  • Terri

    Really, Doug? It’s still all about you? Really!?

    There is an abused woman looking for strong men, a church, a God, a Savior who will be for her and you are concerned about being a bombastc ass? Seriously?

    • Douglas Wilson

      Terri, no, it is not about me at all. Those settings are set even lower. As I recall, the concern about bombastic assery was raised from another quarter. But I am not in charge of those settings.

  • matilda

    I concur with Nonny Mouse – I was in similar circumstances only much older at the time, and she is brave for bringing that up.

    Terri, I know you mean well but comments like that are actually really unhelpful because a) it doesn’t tell me anything about me and why it happened; and b) it doesn’t help me prevent it from happening again. I don’t know what your circumstances are, but people like myself and Nonny Mouse find it very hard to speak up sometimes because of misconceptions about sex abuse all around. Not everything in life is black and white and not everyone has the same experience, and what one person needs to hear might not be helpful to someone else.

    PS. I was raised in a semi-cult so I know how those work.

  • brian

    Brian and Tim thanks for the information made it through most of the links the declaration was helpful as was the biblical ref and your commentary. Much to think on I may ask more questions.

    Again to be honest I disagree with most of the info posted here but I felt it would be better to come to people who actually hold the view of the bible I am looking at to understand it better. Have a nice weekend.

  • jay niemeyer

    Terri, where did Doug even imply that it would be EASY to get help if a girl in the situation found an avenue of escape?
    Responsibility does not mean ease – ever.
    But if there is knowledge that there IS a way out of an abusive relationship – that there is indeed a smooth stone fit for sinking deeply into a very thick skull – we have a case where a woman thus EMPOWERED must act accordingly.
    Escape is an excellent means of defense. For Doug to advise its use when possible means that he IS providing a form of defense for one that might otherwise have been defenseless.

  • Tim Mullet


    Glad you found the information helpful. If you need clarification let me know.

  • Jon Swerens

    If a young woman in this grievous situation does not immediately see the need to turn for help from her own father, then we can call this problem lots of things. But by definition what we cannot call it is too much patriarchy.

  • Brian

    You bet, Brian. I’ll keep an eye on this thread if you’d like to discuss anything more.

    Here’s an answer regarding the questions/concerns you raised to Doug a couple evenings ago (since he may not give a response).

    Yes, what happened to Torres is in the “divine will”, i.e. God’s decretive will, His will for what He decrees/plans will happen in history. This includes the decretive will to “give over” (Romans 1:28,29) Phillips to sexual/sensual lust (and if Torres allegations are true) and to also a lust/desire to sexually coerce/oppress. Torres, as a sinner also, would’ve in God’s decretive will would similarly have been “given over” by God to her lust/desire for whatever idolatrous advantage (e.g., a more manageable suffering/oppressive experience — again, if her claim is true) as she would’ve been willing to disobediently settle by not “crying out” (Dt 22:24,27) against Phillips’ adulterous/harlotrous sin.

    It is also God’s decretive will to work in the conscience of man so that man knows that he is condemned without excuse for violating God’s “divine” prescriptive will (Ro 2:15) as revealed to man not just on the pages of Scripture, but also instinctively on man’s heart (Ro 2:14,15). All of which is revealed to man’s heart is demonstrably & explicitly defined through God’s commandments to live righteously by faith in trustful obedience according to His will/desire unto His glory (even in cases where such violations of God’s prescriptive will would involve both disobedient coercion of sexual immorality as well as not maintaining resistance against such coercion so as to disobediently not “cry out” per the implicit prescriptive ethical duty of Deuteronomy 22:24,27).

    God predeterminatively” “plans” (Isaiah 46:10; Psalm 33:11; Proverbs 16:4; Acts 2:23; 4:27,28; Ephesians 1:11) how man will voluntarily (i.e. without unsurpassable physical force/compulsion) choose how they will fulfill in accordance with their own sinful character their love/desire for darkness (John 3:19,20) against both His prescriptive will and the witness of man’s conscience in his disobedient enmity towards God (Ro 8:7). This is true whether in the case of succumbing to the temptation of an oppressor’s coercion or even when choosing how to act in response to such oppression (through the temptations of eventually going along with the oppressor’s sin when not actually unsurpassably physically/physiologically forced, to include “crying out” against the sexual oppressor’s agenda, for “crying out” would likely initially and fearfully make the oppressor even more angry and brutal).

    Man, being made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27; 9:6), has limited sovereignty to choose (for good or bad) how he will reason/think, and how he will act. Although various temptations and (oppressive) psychological pressures (such as those of a cult leader) may make give the oppressed more apparent short-sighted incentive/promise/hope for disobeying God’s prescriptive will, the oppressed person still remains in God’s image with sufficient limited and accountable limited sovereignty to voluntarily choose what to think/do apart from sufficient physical forces that truly compel him to do otherwise due to contingently deterministic (i.e. non-voluntaristic) forces as describable by physical law when discovered/known. Therefore, just as God is not deterministically forced/compelled against His will to necessarily and voluntarily think and do righteousness in His sovereignty according to His own perfectly righteous nature, sinful man necessarily as a marred/fallen image of God (Ro 3:23) also volunteers in his limited sovereignty to think and do the sinful darkness he does according to His fallen (psychological) nature.

    Accordingly, Jesus Christ’s suffering and death for the forgiveness of sins was planned according to God’s divine descriptive will (Acts 2:22,23), while Christ Jesus’ oppressors as “murderers,” who against love wrongfully shed innocent blood (Ac 2:23; 3:13,14; 7:52,53; Ro 13:8,9), were given over to their lusts/desires to not act according to God’s divine prescriptive will for what it means to truly love God and man. There is also the case of God’s decretive will regarding Joseph’s kidnapping & enslavement (Ge 37:18,22,23,24,26,27,28; 40:15) by his oppressive brothers, the sons of Israel, who disobeyed God’s prescriptive will — which in the general revelation of the knowledge of God is known “instinctively” and “clearly” without excuse from general revelation (Ro 1:18,19,20,29,30,31,32) or demonstrably/objectively from the pages of Scripture (Exodus 21:16; Dt 24:7; 1 Timothy 1:8,9,10,11).

    Yet, we do know generally or partially to some extent via a couple reasons why God decrees evil. First, God is just/righteous to bring about curse, evil disobedience, and suffering/calamity against fallen Adam and his family/descendants “whom have sinned” (Ezk 18:4,20; Romans 5:12) against God by disobediently not trusting God in His descriptive & prescriptive will/desire and personal nature. This curse, evil, disobedience, and suffering/calamity extends into all aspects of fallen creation such as: spiritual life (Ge 3:3,4,5; Ro 7:8,9,10,11; 1 Corinthians 15:56; Ro 7:13); Ephesians 2:1,2,3,5); physical life (Ge 3:19; 5:5); moral and psychological well-being (Ge 3:17,19; Ro 1:24,26,27,28); and Adam’s home/environment including those aspects in the environment in general (Ro 8:18,19,20,21,22) and even those things in the environment that haven’t “done anything bad” like the ground (Ge 3:17,18), animals (Ge 3:21; 4:4), those in a mother’s womb (Ro 9:11,12; 2 Kings 15:16; Hosea 13:16; Amos 1:13), and even the sinless atoning/redeeming Christ (Ro 3:25,26; 4:24,25; Mark 15:34; Ro 8:32; Galatians 3:13; Is 53:10).

    This curse includes God giving men over to their wicked lusts/desires which He Himself, in wrathful hatred of sin, does not tempt men to do (James 1:13,14,15); but, on the contrary God works (in their conscience against the behavior they know is wrong as they are given over to be ultimately tempted/enticed by the lusts of their own wicked character (heart’s desires) in their enmity/rebellion against (trusting) God. For by grace, whatever sinful desires God does not cleanse/heal, then by also grace God restrains when man is not given over to follow his heart (Jeremiah 17:9).

    Secondly, we also know that God, in working all things for His glory (Eph 1:11), is thereby implicitly working all things for the good of those who love Him (Ro 8:28) when He decrees evil. Thus, the disregard of God’s prescriptive will is given with definite purpose for His decretive will when Joseph says to his disobedient brothers in Genesis 50:20:

    “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”

    Moreover, the fact that we don’t know every consequence to know how everything fits into the good and righteous plans of the one true omniscient & omnipotent God means that we are being arbitrary if we believe that God is actually/possibly being arbitrary (That is, in order to justifiably declare God is being arbitrarily without good purpose we would first need to know all that God has descriptively decreed in order as precondition for evaluating it as arbitrary without good purpose). Finite man not knowing the sufficiently moral reason for something is not to have justification that that there is no sufficiently moral reason for something since our thinking does not self-sufficiently govern/determine all that is real and ethical/moral/good.

    Furthermore, without such exhaustive knowledge about the consequences of God’s working; if we arbitrarily (and thus hypocritically) say in our so-called wisdom that God is immorally arbitrary (as Satan also intimated to Eve in Ge 3:4,5,6), then we perpetuate sin and evil since we imply that God is not worthy of our trust/faith for obedience. Hence, we would be morally free to arbitrarily disobey His alleged arbitrary prescriptive will, which is exactly what oppressors do when they unjustly crucify, traffic (kidnap & enslave), sexually abuse, even to the point of “not being able to walk” or of “being beaten half to death,” etc. So, if we without hypocrisy truly hate the arbitrariness that results in such darkness/evil, then we would not in rebellion against the Lord Jesus arbitrarily make accusation or speculative conjecture that God is (perhaps) immorally arbitrary. Rather, we would/should trust in God and all that He has prescriptive willed/desired without attempting to make excuses for disobeying Him (including the disobedience of not “crying out” among the psychological pressure of rape or sexual coercion as God prescribed in Dt 22:24,26). It’s God’s revelation and only God’s revelation of His prescriptive will that allows us to justifiably/unarbitrarily condemn disobedient arbitrariness (i.e., evil), which is always against God’s prescriptive will, while reflecting/imaging His thoughts after Him.

    Furthermore, since God’s word in Scripture teaches that He is just and righteous in His nature and therefore necessarily in all He thinks & does, then (apart from trusting in our own derived speculations of righteousness as condemned sinners who have better reputations than what we deserve in being guilty of immoral and disreputable conduct) we have through Scripture an additional revelatory way to clearly know (without any excuse for doubting) that He has sufficient moral reason for the evil that He decrees/plans to take place (such as in the Holocaust or Killing Fields).

    The Lord, in having sufficient moral reason for the evil He decrees in his “divine will”, is therefore without any logical inconsistency or compromise to His unlimited power/ability in doing all He desires according to His righteous nature as the Originator/Author/Executor of His infinitely wise & just plans (1 Co 2:7,8,9) where men voluntarily (i.e. without compulsion) untrustingly disobey His prescriptive will according to their own unrighteous/evil lusts/character (– aside from it being arbitrarily foolish anyway to believe that sunlight itself must have an originating and transmissive stench after noticing that dead flesh stinks after the sunlight causally acts upon it).

  • Jane Dunsworth

    Sarah and Linda, I’m not sure why a post demonstrating that Wilson was successfully hoodwinked by Phillips’ personality is some kind of gotcha against the point that he now realizes that Phillips was being insincere. Could you explain?

  • Jane Dunsworth

    Jon Swerens — that is the most concise and spot-on summary I have seen of what the real point is here. If Phillips’ brand of creating an untouchable leader-figure is in some way the culprit here, “patriarchy” is not the name for that, nor is that in any way a necessary ancillary feature of “patriarchy.”

  • Rebecca Prewett

    “Terri, no, ‘bombastic ass’ is not actually possible. I just double checked my WordPress settings, and they are clearly set two notches below that.”

    I’m reminded of why, when they were still children, my sons rejected a particular resource purporting to teach logic in favor of another. “We want to learn real logic,” they said, and they considered Canon Press, because of its affiliation with Douglas Wilson, to be a dubious resource at best. They had read enough from him to be familiar with this oft-used tactic of his: when one can’t, or won’t, engage with the substance of an argument, make a silly joke.

    That’s the default setting of many little boys.

    Some of them are raised by mothers who, after a good laugh, don’t let the discussion end there. Others are surrounded by adoring fans who praise them for being clever, witty, and brilliant — and don’t notice, or care, that there are so many non-answers, evasions, distractions, and empty nonsensical words being spewed. After all, the fans are being amused and having their ears tickled — and the dissenters are being ridiculed and mocked. For many, little more than that matters.

  • Rebecca Prewett

    For some reason, my browser did not recognize my attempt to indicate the end of my italics. I only meant to emphasize “real logic”.

  • Valerie (Kyriosity)

    Rebecca, Doug wasn’t engaging with an argument, but with an insult.

  • Rebecca Prewett

    Silly me, you’re right, Valerie. I should not expect the sort of mature response that would overlook the insult and engage the argument. After all, we’re talking about Douglas Wilson here — what would make me hold him to the same standard I’ve come to expect from the men in my family and fellowship? My apologies. Chalk it up to forgetfulness and idealism.

  • Rebecca Prewett

    Besides, I didn’t realize Mr. Wilson was so thin-skinned. I thought he liked being called names. Or is it calling other people names? It’s late and I’m tired…

  • Jane Dunsworth

    Rebecca, he engaged arguments all over the place. This was an insult. He chose not to engage with it, but display it for what it was. As for engaging the argument, the arguments he has been consistently making are right here, on this very page you’re looking at now.

    You’ve made yourself clear, you don’t think his manner of engagement is appropriate. Is calling him a little boy your idea of more constructive engagement, then?

  • Valerie (Kyriosity)

    Rebecca, laughing off an insult is rather the opposite of being thin-skinned. As Jane has noted, Doug has spent about three posts engaging with arguments. Terri, much to my chagrin, did not make an argument. Calling someone a “bombastic ass” is not an argument, but an insult. And telling him to “shut up” is not a request for engaging with an argument, but explicitly the opposite.

  • Rebecca Prewett

    For the record, I did not call Mr. Wilson a little boy. I did, however, point out that a tactic he has often used in the past, one that my own sons — as young boys — found to be lacking in the sort of logic they wished to learn, was the “default setting” for many little boys.

    The “default setting” for my hair is a frizzy mop similar to that of my toddler granddaughter, but that hardly makes me a toddler. Were I to appear in public with my hair in its untamed state, people would not mistake me for a toddler but they might cast a few odd looks my way.