Doug Phillips Ends Friendship Rather than Admit Excommunication Error

Elders From Another Church Wash Their Hands of Him for His Refusal to Repent

(Start with chapter one, if you are new here.)

The elders of this other church were quite eager to help us and quickly set up a phone call to Doug Phillips on Wednesday of that week, February 9, 2005. Although Doug Phillips talked on the phone with these four elders, it was only to accuse them of violating Matthew 18. Despite the fact that Matthew 18 is a passage about how Christians should seek to resolve personal offenses and does not prevent elders in one church from trying to reason with an elder in another church over a disagreement about a church disciplinary matter, Doug Phillips was insistent that this church was sinning by harboring “heathens and publicans.” Doug Phillips insisted that these four elders should have come to him alone first, then to some larger group apparently, and then to all of Boerne Christian Assembly. Since these other elders were not the ones offended, but were merely trying to be peacemakers between brethren, Matthew 18 clearly did not apply in this situation. Although some of these elders were long-time friends with Doug Phillips, Doug was willing to break off these precious friendships rather than work together on this issue of our excommunication. He was only interested in them admitting that they had sinned by allowing “heathens and publicans” into their church. These four elders worked hard to get an appointment to actually meet with Doug Phillips but, as usual, Doug was too busy and could not meet with them for eight or nine more months. One of the elders expressed it this way: “A priority issue of this nature did not receive the attention it should have.”

Meanwhile, a dear friend suggested that I write a letter to Boerne Christian Assembly asking forgiveness for anything I could think of, so I prayed about it and decided to apologize for defending myself in writing, when Mark had already come to my defense by taking full responsibility at the congregational meeting for discipline. While I still maintained the truthfulness of my original letter, I did apologize for inadvertently hurting the five men involved and their wives by writing about them, but emphasized that my main intent was only to help prevent others from being hurt. I offered them my forgiveness, my love, and my fellowship, asking them to forgive me in return. This letter was written under the authority of the four elders as well, and sent with their blessing.

The next morning, May 20, 2005, the Boerne Christian Assembly “leadership,” which consisted of one unordained “elder,” Doug Phillips, and two deacons, sent an email to us (and copied to the whole congregation), reminding us that we were excommunicated and stating, “The excommunication took place according to Holy Scripture” {I’m still waiting for the verses that say I did something serious enough to warrant excommunication}, “with the 100% approval of the household heads of BCA” {I know this is not true, because at least one family didn’t know about it for months. Of course, even if it were true, it wouldn’t mean much, as fully half of the families who are members of Boerne Christian Assembly are employed by Doug Phillips, creating quite a conflict of interest}, “and only after the church which loved you and cared for your soul had demonstrated tremendous longsuffering and patience to you and Mark after five years of working with you, and in the midst of your longstanding and grievous sin” {For some reason, I think Doug Phillips truly believes he did the right thing, but I hope seeing it all here in writing will prick his conscience.}

“As you know, the Bible requires that excommunicants are to be treated and understood as ‘heathens and publicans.’ This is your status. All faithful believers of the Lord Jesus Christ will honor Christ’s command neither to eat nor fellowship with you as long as you remain excommunicant.” {Note what he is saying between the lines about the other church that took us in, as we had a potluck meal with them each Sunday. He is also warning the members of his own congregation that they will be regarded as faithless if they have any interaction with us.} “Though you may not understand this, your formal disfellowship and excommunication is an act of true love.” {In cases of true rebellion, this would certainly be true. But I was now in a lose/lose situation, and rebellion did not factor into it at all.} “Your life will in large part be defined by the way you respond to God’s discipline in your life through His local church.” {This is very true; our lives have in large part been defined by this situation, especially the lives of our children, who had every friend suddenly taken away from them.}

“When a person has been formally adjudicated ‘a heathen and a publican,’ and cast out of the body in the hope that they will flee to Christ under His kind discipline, the only way for such a person to be restored is to demonstrate true repentance by humbly returning to the local church, publicly and genuinely repenting for all sins which were the basis of the excommunication and seeking restoration under the oversight of the church leadership…” {In other words, my letter wasn’t good enough; I had to come in person and confess to all the false accusations in the original excommunication, and do whatever Doug Phillips wanted me to do. My husband has a favorite saying: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I had already foolishly gone into that second meeting with Doug Phillips when I knew what had happened in the first meeting with him. Doug Phillips refused to forgive me when I asked for forgiveness, both for gossiping the first time, and now for this very letter. Doug Phillips called me names, lied about me, falsely accused me, preached against me, refused to protect my children and me, and looked down on me just for being a woman, in addition to not allowing me due process in any stage of discipline, and now he expected me to seek restoration under the oversight of the church leadership, which I know means Doug Phillips. Not only do I have no desire to be in an abusive situation like that again, but I hope to warn others of the potential abuse of Doug Phillips if they find they ever need help from him or they even disagree with him. I do not think it would be in anyone’s best interest to be under the oversight of Doug Phillips at this time.}

Something else that Doug Phillps’ comment here reveals is the claim that the local church is an absolute authority in matters of church discipline and that the leaders of that local church need not themselves be under any authority or accountable to anyone else. This is in direct contradiction to what Doug Phillips, Scott Brown, and others teach at the Vision Forum Uniting Church and Family Conferences. But imposing limits on others that he refuses to submit to himself is something Doug Phillips does all the time.

“Today, members of our local church received a letter which claims to offer some qualified repentance.” {I was extremely careful to ensure that my apology was without excuse, summarizing it thus: “I am sorry for responding when I should have kept quiet. I am sorry for saying hurtful things about others, especially the leadership. I am sorry for responding in less than a gracious manner. I was wrong to fight back in the manner in which I did, even though my intentions were to help others. Will you each forgive me?” I think that is a completely unqualified apology. However, what Doug Phillips is probably referring to here is when I say, “I will not be apologizing for the accusations brought against me. I am not seeking to be in covenant with BCA anymore…” Rather than accepting what I do apologize for, he is expecting me to apologize for things that I did not do.} “The letter continues to justify your sinful behavior” {doctrinal differences?} “and fails to address the issues for which you were excommunicated.” {I am still waiting for Doug Phillips to specifically address these issues as well.}

“Moreover, the fact that you would bypass the local church leadership and urge members of the local church to disregard the judgment of the local church is evidence of continued unrepentance.” {I said in my letter to them: “I consider each one of you brothers and sisters in Christ and have already forgiven everyone involved. I hold no bitterness nor grudge toward anyone and pray for you often. I hope that when we see each other, which we will, it will be with open arms and joy! … I know that Christ would be glorified if the world knew we were Christians by our love for one another.” And this is how Doug Phillips believes that I urged BCA members to disregard the judgment of the local church, by extending an offer of Christian love to them. Even though I knew that they were turning their backs on my children and me in public, I was offering them love instead.}

This is another example of Doug Phillips trying to have things both ways. He claims that the excommunication was decided by a unanimous vote of the heads of household at Boerne Christian Assembly. That means they exercised the disciplinary authority. Now he says I cannot repent to them and they cannot consider my repentence because they aren’t the church leadership? Make up your mind, Doug: If you want democratic church government (i.e., the heads of household voting for discipline), then they also get the right to independently evaluate a letter of repentance. But if you believe in republican church government (i.e., as in a presbyterian church where the elected and ordained plurality of elders decides on discipline), then the “leadership” at Boerne Christian Assembly needs to stop avoiding responsibility by hiding behind a heads-of-household vote. That kind of abdication of masculine responsibility goes straight back to Adam. It is unworthy of any self-respecting patriarch, let alone anyone who claims to be a church shepherd.

“Since defying the church discipline” {I still don’t know what that refers to}, “you have continued to lie and to slander as well as cause division within the community of believers, thus adding to the sins for which genuine repentance and restitution would be necessary.” {I have not lied or slandered, but I did tell the truth of the situation to the elders of the other church. I guess that attending another church is causing a division. Actually, it was Doug Phillips himself that was causing division within the “community,” by requiring the other churches to treat us as “heathens and publicans,” and coming against them when they refused to treat us that way, embracing us as Christians instead.}

“Should you truly repent for your sins, turn to the Lord, submit yourselves to Christ’s authority, and in humility seek restoration through the proper channels of the local church, we will welcome you with open arms.” {In other words, if I agree with everything Doug Phillips says, and I admit to doing things which I didn’t really do, and come crawling back to BCA and pay restitution (see above), and keep my mouth shut forevermore, then I can get back into this spiritually abusive church.} “Until that time, no true believer is to treat you as a Christian.” {For anyone who has treated me as a Christian, I fear for your soul, as Doug Phillips would say that you are not a true believer. I wonder how Jesus would treat me, if He were here.}

The timing of Doug Phillips’ email was somewhat significant, again, as it was sent at 12:32 a.m. on Friday. That particular weekend was the annual homeschool conference in San Antonio and we both knew that I would see many BCA members that weekend for the first time since the excommunication. I had a booth there selling an algebra program, which is the only homeschool business activity I have ever engaged in. My booth was very close to Vision Forum. The day before the conference (the same day I sent the letter to everyone at Boerne Christian Assembly), while we were all setting up for the conference, Vision Forum deliberately blocked my truck so that I couldn’t leave for an hour. Some teenage boys who used to attend Boerne Christian Assembly came over and helped me unload my truck and carry boxes to my booth. Upon seeing this, some Vision Forum employees made some very snide comments to these teenagers about helping a “heathen and a publican.”

The next day, several of the Vision Forum young ladies, when they had to go past my booth during the conference, would start running at full speed in their long skirts when they reached one edge of my booth, and then sprint to the other end of the booth, where they would then resume walking. That was my comic relief for the day. Most others would just turn their head away as they passed so they wouldn’t have to see me.

Due to significant doctrinal differences, we left the church at which the elders tried to assist in dealing with Doug Phillips after the requested six months, yetwe willingly remained under their authority in the area of the excommunication as they continued to try and reason with him. These four elders had requested that we let them take the lead in dealing with Doug Phillips on behalf of the Epsteins. Having a true desire to submit to authority, we both felt that since we were excommunicated, by biblical standards the church was to treat us as “heathens and publicans,” so we thought the best way to submit was by staying home on Sundays, as unbelievers would, while the elders of this church continued pursuing reconciliation with Doug Phillips and Boerne Christian Assembly. We recognize now that such submission was not necessary, but I point this out to stress that we were willing to go to great lengths to try and submit to church authority, even when we believed it was wrong.

We were blessed to be able to watch sermons each week on video from Dr. SM Davis, who deals extensively with solving family problems. Not long after beginning to watch these videos, Mark decided to fully repent from his sins toward our children and me. The more counsel we received from Dr. SM Davis’ sermons, the closer we began to grow as a couple and as a family. Even though we do not recommend home video or TV sermons as a legitimate substitute for church membership and regular attendance, we do believe that God honored our intentions in doing the right thing in our special circumstance, and He used the biblical teaching in the SM Davis videos to transform our family for the better.

In the fall of 2005, Doug Phillips and some other Boerne Christian Assembly “leadership” finally met for the first and only time with these four elders from the other church. Doug Phillips’ main concern still appeared to be that he wanted these four elders to admit they had sinned by taking excommunicants into their church and that they had violated the “letter of the law” of Matthew 18. Even if Matthew 18 had applied in this situation, which it did not, the “spirit” of Matthew 18 was never violated. These four elders were gracious and patient with Doug Phillips, going to him privately to work things out. By the close of the meeting, these four elders told Doug Phillips and the others present that they still love the Epsteins and would do the same thing if they had it to do over again. In fact, they told Doug Phillips that they would do the same for any other person from Boerne Christian Assembly if they were hurt by Doug as well, taking in the wounded family and loving them as Christ would.

Unfortunately, this resulted in severed long-term relationships on the part of Doug Phillips and the other elders, and between Boerne Christian Assembly and this church. There are now many divisions in what used to be a very tight-knit community. This is probably what distresses me most about this whole situation – that other relationships had to be torn on our account. I would never have wanted that. Of course, the division was not my choice but that of Doug Phillips, after he insisted on maintaining his autonomy and refused the loving admonition and wise counsel of elders from another community church.

In March, 2006, nearly 14 months after this other church began attempting to work with Doug Phillips and Boerne Christian Assembly on our behalf, and having repeatedly pursued reconciliation with Doug, they finally gave up and washed their hands of any further responsibility in attempting reconciliation on our behalf, leaving us free to now pursue the matter ourselves.

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58 Responses to “Doug Phillips Ends Friendship Rather than Admit Excommunication Error”

  1. Lynn Says:

    “Even though they all knew that my daughter had just run away and I had no idea where she was, they refused to even glance in my direction, let alone offer a word of encouragement.”

    Jen, I am praying for her to find a place where the love of Christ will be showered on her from true believers. And she certainly must be dealing with a *lot* of internal pain, having to go through her teenage years with family conflict, and watching a church badly mishandle it. We know full well, from seeing what she has said elsewhere, what her opinion of Boerne is, and that is where she spent her adolescent years. I truly pray and hope and wish the best for her. I don’t know if she reads here, but if she doesn’t, tell her that Lynn is praying for her.

  2. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Oh NO he didn’t!!!!

    DP attempts to assert his authority over another sovereign independent congregation? In all my trials and troubles when I was caught in a church split have I never heard of anything like the situation you described at the beginning of this post. I nearly fell out of my chair!!!!

    [DP] has the idea that ALL of the body of the church whatever group or denomination needs to submit to his directives and desires. This is completely unbiblical.

    If it were ME..I would be taking some serious steps to protect my family physically and financially. I believe that further attempts on your part to try and reconcile with BCA could be extremely precarious for you and your family. You need to be as far away from them as you can be.

    Tell your story by all means….to the very end but it is clearly time to just walk away…you have done all you can possibly do.

    Forgiveness is the absence of malice…and I believe that you are there….thats all you need to worry about..the issues that everyone else has are always going to be their issues with you. Tell them to get in line and take a number.

    ..and your daughter? safe? at home????

  3. Jen Says:

    Thanks for the concerns about my daughter. I will tell a little more about her situation later, but she is still not at home.

    Maybe I should make it clear that it wasn’t just one other congregation that Doug Phillips asked to shun us, but several. In fact, he fully expects all Christians to treat us as “heathens and publicans.”

    Morgan, you are correct about us forgiving them. We prayed for a long time that we would have full forgiveness in our hearts before we did anything about going public. I actually feel sorry for Doug and Beall Phillips, but I know this is necessary for the protection of other people.

  4. a friend Says:

    This is one of the saddest and most bizarre cases of spiritual abuse I have ever seen. I hope that someone will be spared the pain you have suffered because of your willingness to tell your story.

    I am praying for your daughter as well, and hope that ultimately she will heal from all of this, and understand what she has experienced at church is not TRUE Christianity.

  5. Lynn Says:

    Morgan Farmer said:
    “I can only guess that his hatred for you and Mark is so deeply ingrained into his psyche that any and all ability to reason regarding your situation is now beyond the man.”

    Those who have dealt extensively with [these kinds of] Christian churches say that [these types of] leaders often come across as quite blind to what they are inflicting on their followers. Boerne certainly seems to fall into at least the category of [these types of] churches, not only from the Epsteins testimony, but also on account of Boerne’s view of women as needing have a man as mediator in order to receive communion from the server, and other legalistic unbiblical practices. Here is a quote from Ron Eroth’s book, RECOVERING FROM CHURCHES THAT ABUSE:

    “Do the abusers intend to inflict hurt? In most cases, probably not. They are usually unaware of what they are doing to people in the name of God. They may, in fact, be convinced that their behavior is what the Lord has mandated. What others interpret as control they may view as caring for the flock. Ken Blue notes that ‘spiritual abusers are curiously naive about the effects of their exploitation. They rarely intend to hurt their victims. They are usually so narcissistic or so focused on some great thing they are doing for God that they don’t notice the wounds they are inflicting on their followers.'”

  6. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Doug Phillips demanding that ALL Christians submit to his authority just shows how far gone he is. I can just see myself discussing how I should submit to DP in regards to Jen & Mark.

  7. Joshua Epstein Says:

    Natasha and I were very hurt by what happened at BCA. Before Natasha left, about two months ago, she would cry almost every night. I don’t cry every night, but believe me, I have cried several times over losing my friends. I haven’t lost all my friends (there are two families I’m friends with who never attended BCA), but Natasha has lost every single friend; there is one family that she is friends with that live in Montana, but she hasn’t seen them for about four years. A lot of times at night my mom and Natasha would be talking about what happened until midnight. But throughout everything that happened my mom always told us that we needed to forgive our father and everybody that had hurt us, because if we didn’t we would just become bitter and angry. At 13 years old I still cry over everything that happened, especially lately with everything that has been going on. Because of what happened I have a hard time trusting other people, even though I wasn’t exactly excommunicated.

  8. Debbie Says:

    I am so so sorry for all of this heartache. I hurt even more so for all the ripple affects on your kids. Sadly the examples that they have of Christian living is atrocious in how you all have been treated. That example is also carrying over to the Phillips children and the others at BCA. Teaching your children to snub a repentant sinner is a gross misuse of power and very Pharisaical. Christ’s treatment of the woman and the stones was a great example of His love and discerning spirit and definitely an attitude that we should emulate. Only the Lord can bring good out of this ugly ugly situation. Thankfully I am seeing that in you and your husband and I pray that for your kids as well. It seems that your blog has helped in the healing process. Being accepted and believed and cared for even in cyberspace is in my book a good thing. Please know that you are all in my prayers and that includes Josh. I appreciate his honesty and being open enough to tell his story. That is kind of unusual for a teenager. May He give you encouragement and HOPE!

  9. A caring christian Says:

    While I am sure after reading your site you have been abused, slighted, hurt, offended, shunned, misrepresented and taken full advantage of, and lets add ‘almost’ destroyed by the claims from DP and clan, I think you need to see the bigger picture here. You have done your “part” to warn others of the deception. While the devil meant to harm you God wants to heal you. God knows the truth and he sees your hearts. It does not matter what DP thinks and that he will not forgive you! All that matters in life is that you obey God and serve him. If someone else is making false accusations against you and you biblically have responded to them (sounds like you have)there is nothing more you can do.

    You are only hurting yourselves now, and your family. This must be taking a toll on your health and day to day life by continuing to be labor this point of truth even though you have been wronged I am sure. It is time to move on and forgive. Use this opportunity to grow… save your family while you can and move on. Each day you update this you are continuing to stew in the ugly mire of how you have been hurt. Walk in love and forgive them. I am not saying these people deserve love and forgiveness but that is what the Bible commands us to do.

    You will be able to be free and hopefully find some new joys in your life and family and God will reward you for your faithfullness. I am sorry this has happened to you and I feel for you terribly… But, at the beginning I stated how you have ‘almost’ been destroyed, SAVE YOURSELVES and don’t let these people ulitmately destroy what little is left of your precious family… MOVE ON!

    Godspeed, with much love and prayer…
    A caring christian thank you for warning us of the deception!

  10. A caring christian Says:

    i forgot the question i was going to ask, if you will answer it? What are you looking to accomplish by this blog? An apology? Maybe I am misuderstanding your intentions. I wouldn’t get my hopes up for an apology from someone who is “untouchable” with a group of followers that “protects” him…

  11. Lynn Says:

    “You are only hurting yourselves now, and your family. This must be taking a toll on your health and day to day life by continuing to be labor this point of truth even though you have been wronged I am sure. It is time to move on and forgive.”

    It may actually be healing for their children to see their parent’s side of the story on the internet, after so much has happened.

    You also don’t know that they have not forgiven Doug and Beall, just because they are now talking about it. I wouldn’t say that they are hurting themselves by “continuing” to “labor this point,” because Jen has not finished telling everything she wanted to share, number one, and number two, this has only come to internet-wide attention in the last couple of weeks, after being sat on and great attempts were made to deal with it for many long months. I say let Jen keep talking until she wants to stop.

    Compared with how long this has been going on, and all the mediation attempts, I would not say Jen has gone on too much and needs to stop now, after just starting to discuss the matter.

  12. Jen Says:

    Caring Christian, thank you so much for your concerns. I do believe if I was doing this with a vengeful spirit at all, or with any unforgiveness, you would have a legitimate point. However, I truly have forgiven them, but that does not mean that they are no longer responsible for what they’ve done.

    I suppose there are many reasons to have this blog. I have kept quiet for so long, that it has become a catharsis to be able to share my story. Each day as I write, it feels like that little section is being put to rest in my life. I think I will breathe a sigh of relief when I put the last period down.

    As I share my thoughts, though, I realize that there are many Christians, many homeschoolers especially, who idolize Doug Phillips, whether they intend to or not. It is easy for us to idolize others who seem to have it all together. But Doug Phillips is one of the biggest hypocrites I know, and although I am willing to say that he teaches many wonderful things and he puts on some great conferences, the man that you see up front is not the real man. It is not right to deceive Christians like that, and since he is such a public figure, and since he influences so many Christians right now, I hope to warn others not to be duped.

    I have heard of many other people who have been hurt by Doug Phillips, but are afraid to say anything because they know what he can do to them. I know that he will threaten with legal action, that he will attempt to convince other churches to discipline and/or excommunicate people who rub him wrong, I know that he will try to get people fired from their jobs, I know that he will ruin people’s reputations, among many other tactics. It is no wonder that most people are not willing to go public with me. Just know that I am not the only one, not by far.

    I am under no delusions that he will ever apologize. If God, in His providence, actually restores our relationship with anyone at BCA, including Doug Phillips, that is entirely up to God now. But I think that the BCA members truly have no clue of the truth behind how Doug Phillips manipulated them into believing a lie either. So another reason is to let them know that they have been lied to.

    The Bible tells us to expose the evil deeds of darkness. If I don’t tell this, who will? If I don’t warn others of impending danger, who will? This is a responsibility that is clearly from the Lord at this time in my life and I will fulfill it. I am glad that it will only be for a short season. I will not go on and on and on after I finish telling my story. I will probably write a few analysis pieces to tie it all together, but this is only for a very short season in my life.

    For those who come behind me.

  13. A caring christian Says:

    OK all, i am easing into all of this and thinking more about it… :)

    More questions: What do you mean by your statement, “But Doug Phillips is one of the biggest hypocrites I know,” do you mean in his marriage, treatment of his wife and children, finances, modesty values or what? Does he do all this for a show to get peoples $ to support VF? I do not understand your statement.

    Remember, I did say I believe you were hurt and I am in no way defending DP or VF. My husband actually had some bad vibes about them about a year ago with his fancy jeeps and all.

    Does he have these contests for kids with essays and all to further his “groupie following” ie: DP awards so and so’s child an essay award and then his/her parents will support VF financially or anything? Kind of like a clique? Not a fair and honest competition for children? this concerns me…

    Thanks for responding to my first question. I am glad you are healing and that your children can see that, just be careful for your own sake… I do care for you and yours.

    Would DP and BP even be friendly to someone not in their inner circle? Is this just one big groupie cult? and even BCA is blind to it all?

    How does RC JR come into play here? I read about that whole fiasco about 3 weeks ago?

    Lots of questions?

    What about SCOTT BROWN?

  14. A caring christian Says:

    My last comment at 4:37 was not meant to be harsh, I am being honest and have some honest questions. i noticed a comment was posted after mine and I dont see my most recent one, i am not trying to stir the kettle, I am sincere in my quest for truth :)

  15. A caring christian Says:

    Are you aware of what sharperiron.org has posted about the warnings of patriarchy by VF and DP? it is a different issue but a lot of other Christians are concerned on this site also

  16. Frank Vance Says:

    Jen,

    I’m impressed by the grace with which you handle these same questions and statements that have gotten thrown at you over and over again. “Why don’t you just move on? Why are you wallowing in the past? Why are you so bitter? You’re just hurting yourself. You need to forget about it and just focus on your own family and let Doug Phillips worry about his own church.” I don’t know how you do it. If I were in your position there’s no way that I could be so patient.

    I really do have to wonder how so many Christians can be so naive. Christ warned us to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. When we’ve been personally ravaged by a wolf is the responsible thing to do to just “move on” and not warn other sheep about the wolf? Is that loving? No, that would be the height of reckless irresponsibility.

    Thank you Epsteins for caring enough about the body of Christ that you won’t just turn a blind eye to the tyrannies of Doug Phillips. If just one family that had intentions of joining Doug Phillips’ church reads this and then decides they’d better check things out a whole lot more thoroughly, then you’ve done a great service for the body of Christ.

  17. Jen Says:

    Caring Christian, I believe Doug Phillips is very sincere in all his beliefs and he lives them out as long as they don’t get in his way of promoting his vision, his business, himself. Every relationship that I have noticed is only to further himself. If you can do something to make his vision look good, he will use you. He has no interest in many of the people in his own church. He is a hypocrite because he uses people for his own gain, whatever that might mean. He is also a hypocrite because he puts on a certain “image” in public, but treats people differently in private when he doesn’t like what is happening. See if you can find all the ways he treated me privately, but would never have done the same thing in public. I happen to know of MANY other instances he has treated people different in private as well, but the general public knows nothing about these. He is the ideal Christian in public, but beware the man when he is offended.

    All those competitions he has for the children? What do you think? Write an essay after you read all the GA Henty books? Or all the Elsie Dinsmore books? And where do you get those books? And what would people want to read after they read the glowing children’s reports on such wonderful books? And where would they get those books? And then what else would they want to buy? And what conferences would they then go to? And then where would their loyalties lie? And then what else should they learn from this man of vision? Etc. I think you get the point. Marketing. But not a bad marketing ploy.

    Doug Phillips once gave a sermon on circles of relationships. He described a large circle in which you, for instance, have something in common with a large group of people, say, Christians. You treat them in a certain fashion because you have that one thing in common. Then you have a smaller circle within that circle, say your doctrine, for example. You have a little more in common with them so you treat them in a little more intimate fashion. You have a smaller circle inside that, your church. And a smaller circle inside that, those that have the same lifestyle values as you. And then you would have your best couple of friends. And this is probably generally true of anyone. But there is a sense in which this treatment of the different circles can be warped, such as patronizing others who are outside your small circle. So, yes, Vision Forum is a very tight, nearly impenetrable group, unless you can help propel Doug Phillips’ vision in some way.

    RC Jr.? The Austins story is one of the reasons I went public with mine. Their story is so similar, isn’t it? And Doug publicly sides with RC, Jr. even though RC Jr. at least admitted his guilt, and even though he was disciplined by the presbytery for what he did. Doug Phillips is being very dishonorable by honoring such a man.

    Scott Brown? We’ll leave him for another day.

  18. A caring christian Says:

    thank you for your lengthy answer

  19. Always Batya Says:

    Joshua,

    Don’t worry about having a hard time trusting people because of this. I had something really bad happen to me at church a few years ago and I have a hard time trusting people, too.. And I am waaaaay older than you! But you know what? God used it to show me that I only have to trust Jesus. He showed me that I was putting too much trust in ‘men’ and not enough in Him.

    What is really cool about what happened to me is that I really studied scripture and found out what Jesus was really like.

    I realized that by finally studying and seeking Jesus I can now spot a ‘counterfeit’ a mile a way. And sometimes they are really hard to spot. But the Holy Spirit gives us discernment if we ask consistently.

    I think you sound very wise for your age. I have been praying a lot for your family. And, I think your mom and dad are very brave.

    God Bless you. Batya

  20. praying and thinking Says:

    Jennifer, Over and over I notice in Doug Phillips no fear of God and no love. Concerning publicans and heathens, the Lord wants us to treat those who have professed to be believers and who did things worthy of discipline (so very far from you and your situation), to regard and treat them as unsaved people, but always with genuine love for them and desire for them to come to the truth in Christ. Thus, such ones (again, ones truly worthy of discipline) should not be allowed to partake of communion, nor to vote in church matters, nor to lead in prayer, to be regarded and treated as not being believers. But the Lord never meant that we
    should be hateful toward them: we should love them, welcome them to the church (though not as believing members), welcome them into our homes, show them true love, want to help them see the truth and follow the Lord in truth. The idea of treating such ones as if they had bubonic plague or as if they should be shunned and despised, is so far from the love of Christ, so far from true love that wants them to repent and know the Saviour. How are we to treat unsaved people? With love, showing them the truth and genuinely desiring for them to come to Christ and to be saved from their sins. The harsh and remarkable behavior toward you and Mark does the opposite, and would only drive lost people further away from the truth.
    I appreciate the way you pray for Doug and Beall Phillips, genuinely wanting them to come to the truth and truly follow the Savior. That is love, and true forgiveness.
    You and Mark are true examples to me. God bless you.

  21. Prairie Girl Says:

    Jen,

    Today’s story, in my mind, places your situation into an entirely different category. You are now mentioning witnesses who can substantiate your claims! I would think that hearing from the elders of the church who came to your assistance with proof of who they are would answer your critics. Do you have any documented correspondence between the church who helped you and Boerne Assembly that could be uploaded? I would think that that would be a turning point in this whole story. If you have been trying to be a part of a reconciliation process and they have refused then what else can you do? Sadly, I do know how this is, though. Men who are a law unto themselves will refuse any sort of mediation because they do not believe they have done anything at all wrong and they wouldn’t want a mediator to even suggest such a thing! Did you ever try to bring in Peacemakers? Sorry if I am getting ahead of the story!

  22. Jen Says:

    Prairie Girl, I keep having to remind people that my experience tells me that Doug Phillips is so ruthless that he will stop at almost nothing to get what he wants. Most people, therefore, are very afraid of what he will do publicly, because he has already brow-beaten them privately. There are huge risks involved in coming forward publicly. These four elders at the other church have too much to lose to let their names be used publicly, but many people can testify that this all happened as I said here.

    Check back tomorrow for a mediation story!

  23. utterly shocked but not surprised Says:

    Jen, I came to this site via the “Ladies know your Limits” I don’t know what made me continue to read but I did. Ironically I know a few people who have gone to BCA, who are going to BCA and who work for VF. I have met BP once at her house for a class in natural diet and stuff. And to be honest, I was wowed by meeting her and seeing her in her abode. She was nice to me though I wore pants. :-/ I have met DP a few tims at the homeschool conferences. I always felt like there was something shifty. I find it odd that demands women to stay home, homeschool their children, have as many children as God will give you. But yet charge hundereds of dollars for father daughter/father-son retreats. How does one on one income afford that? So scales began lifting off my eyes. Of course now the scales all fell off at one time. I thank you for exposing us to this, for confirming that one thing I couldn’t put my finger on but knew something was off. . When you started mentioning R.C.Jr my ears perked up even more. Now you are getting close to home. See the denomination that we are currently a part of has welcomed him in with open arms and no questions. I see some concerning things when you start lumping in DP with R.C. and now Doug Wilson *who along with R.C. and his father* were some of my all time favorite speakers and writers. It seems my fears of the beautiful theology of the Reformed seems to link itself with arrogance. Hmm? Something to ponder on all the more.
    You are in my prayers and I pray God bring you a church home to worship in where you are loved and safe and fed the Word of God and the fellowship of the Saints.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, may it bring new peace and joy and new beginnings for your family.

  24. Sue Says:

    Oh my! That must be it!
    “Doug Phillips once gave a sermon on circles of relationships.”

    There was a woman I thought was my friend. We’d worked in ministry for a few years together and I thought enjoyed each other. Where I was big picture, she was details. I’m very much like her husband which I always thought we both found funny:) She would often know my response or perspective because it would be very similar to his.

    Then they started going to bca and I felt there was some withdrawl. Shortly after a new family in this homeschool group asked where this friend went to church. When I told them dp’s fellowship this new person said, “They won’t be in this group long then.” At the time I thought that was stupid because they had been leading this group with us for about 3 years at that point. They’re awesome people who really liked being part of our homeschool group. So, I thought??

    As my mistakes in this relationship increased and I couldn’t seem to comprehend or “get right” anything I said or did, I wondered if that new person had been right.

    About a year after these friends joined bca I got an email from her stating basically I wasn’t the “right” sort of person to be a true friend. I was just a passerby in her life.

    I didn’t know what to say and probably didn’t say anything very nice in response. It’s never made sense to me until reading that synopsis of the “circle of relationships.”

    I spent the next year or so trying to figure out what I was doing wrong in the relationship even though my husband would encourage me and tell me I was doing alright. (not mistake free but alright:) I tried listening better and paying attention to details but it just went down hill. Until they left our group on a negative note.

    How easily we’re led astray! Our Father wants everyone in the “inner” circle of His love, shouldn’t we also? Why would you want to leave someone out?

    Thanks Jen for that – fight the good fight! What you’re doing I believe will save someone else from harm. Hopefully some of those currently at bca will find freedom from this bondage through your effort. I know already a friend and former member of bca has found some healing in your story so they don’t feel singled out and alone. Your kangaroo court portion really struck a chord with them.

    Even those not associated with dp may read some of this and examine their “fellowship” and find a place of freedom, worship and fellowship without this bondage.

    Thanks for being a willing sacrifice so that others will see the truth
    Sue

  25. theIronHare Says:

    Wow…it’s sort of like a scale, with one side holding the sheer AWFULNESS of the nature of the antics of BCA, etc. and the other holding the evident Christian virtues displayed by the Epsteins in their handling of the situation including their humility in admitting mistakes. Being so blessed by the latter makes it a lot easier to deal with the reality of the former. I’m pretty bad about remembering to pray for people but I will make a special effort to keep all the Epstein family in my prayers. God bless you all.

    Note to commenter a caring Christian: I attended the RC “Jr.” cult and still live in the same area (as St. Peter Presbyterian Church). The parallels to what went on here are significant. DP and “Jr.” are wolves in sheep’s clothing. – Dennis

  26. Kelli Says:

    Um, wow. I’m speechless right now. I’m so sorry for all that you and your family have gone thru.

  27. Zan Says:

    I have never been a huge fan of VS, but am shocked that he is a leader of [this].

    I sympathize with your experience and can readily relate. My family was involved with a church (there was a pastor and one elder, but they agreed on everything and when my dad questioned a few of their teachings-the whole church was ordered to shun our family. The church was independent, so there was no session or synod to go to.). I was 15 at the time, and this experience really hurt my faith. Our family just had some simple questions about the lack of love being taught in the church and they shun us?

    Over the years, Christians who used to shun us discovered, on their own (with God’s help), that we were innocent. We praise God for that.

    God bless you and take care.

  28. Milehimama Says:

    I came here by way of Barbara Curtis at Mommylife.
    I find it ironic that DP promotes the Elsie Dinsmore books, when I won’t let my daughter read them because the heroine is so unsubmissive and disrespectful of her father; legalistic; and does not submit to proper authority!
    I’ve only browsed the VF site, after finding them while looking for Christmas gifts for boys, so I don’t know about a lot of this. But, as one Christian to another, I will treat you as a heathen and a publican just as soon as I am a perfect Christian myself. ;)

  29. Jennifer Says:

    Just a quick question and maybe this has already been addressed- isn’t the goal of excommunication to eventually restore the excommunicated to fellowship within the body? Just wondering how shunning is supposed to accomplish that. I mean, if regarding excommunicants as heathens and publics means that we don’t talk to them or try to work with them through the issues then how exactly is fellowship supposed to be restored?

  30. Jen Says:

    Jennifer, that is certainly something I can’t figure out. I suppose the premise is that if we were truly good friends to begin with, and I was truly an unrepentant sinner, the loss of their friendship would be so great that I would desire to repent in order to gain their friendship again. While I was friends with many at BCA, I really only truly miss one or two families. Although we spent hours and hours together fellowshipping, I did not develop any deep relationships there. Since I do have those with other people outside of BCA, I doubt the fault is entirely mine. So, my loss of relationship with them, while still a considerable loss, is not enough to motivate me to admit to doing something I haven’t done.

    I would suggest, however, using love before discipline to correct sins that need correcting. I would have been much more likely to respond to loving examples rather than more of the emotional abuse I was already receiving at home.

  31. Jennifer Says:

    I would suggest, however, using love before discipline to correct sins that need correcting.

    I wholeheartedly agree.

  32. Mark Epstein Says:

    Jennifer and Jen,

    My wife (Jen) has made a very important statement that I think requires some additional commentary.

    Jen said: “I would suggest…using love before discipline to correct sins that need correcting.”

    As we’ve read in her recounting of events, Jen never received any love from any person involved in “disciplining” us or, as in her case, the two women who supposedly were charged with “discipling” Jen.

    She went for help in her marriage, she suffered minor excommunication (loss of communion). She privately answers a public challenge on Doug’s website, she is threatened by the pastor. Jen raises the increased severity of her home life, she is humiliated by the public recounting of her pre-conversion behavior. Beall Phillips then suggests Jen send a written defense to the allegations in the discipline document (including the ridiculous charge of “sinless perfectionism”), which then formed the basis of our excommunication. In other words, there was no love exhibited by BCA’s leadership, and the prima facie example of this was the pastor’s wife shunning Jen for two years before we were excommunicated!

    Lest there be any confusion, allow me to reiterate the fact that I publicly confessed to having told lies to the leadership about my wife’s behavior. Instead of providing a basis for dropping all the broad and unsubstantiated charges against my wife, my confession only served to indict me and BCA persisted in their persecution of my wife.

    Mark

  33. Violet Says:

    ::::Warning:::::
    Steer clear of anyone who requires rules and regulations that are rigid to the point of extremes.
    They require people to follow their rules to the minutest item.
    Many people who try to befriend these type people get the feeling that they are inadequate and fall short of being loved and accepted. The frightened person will use extremes to punish the one who dares to approach them with close love. The one who wants to love punishes themselves with suicide attempts at times. Some succeed suicide.

    I will tell you about my Mother. She required us children to follow many rules she made for us. She had a long list of them. We tried hard to follow them. We wanted her approval so much. We wanted her acceptance and love.
    When we followed all the rules successfully, she upped the list so that we had to be much better in order to even get encouragement. I was suicidal since the fourth grade and into adulthood.
    I sought Christian help and found a loving counselor. He was accepting and caring.
    I learned that it was a problem of my Mother, other than me being a failure as a daughter.
    My Mom was horrified of close relationships. She could not love others. She was stifled in her childhood. Her hurts were too big and she never learned they could be healed by the great Healer, God.
    Some pastors try to tell us they preach Truth only and other churches are in error. This is true to some extent but those who are rigid and condemning are those who do not know what it is to be loved and to love in return. Truth without Grace is empty truth.
    So..watch for personalities in churches, social gatherings, families, etc. Know what they are all about. Ask God for His wisdom and He will give it abundantly.
    I know some pastors who are abusive and controlling and demanding. I know they too suffer from a simple thing of, fear of love. They make dictatorial rules to cover the issue that they suffer from lack of love. They try to cover this lack with the rules, anger, control, accusations, evasion, abuse, isolation, desertion, etc. They will do much to lead others away from the real issues.
    The problem is a fear of bonding with others. So many do not bond these days and when they get the opportunity, they find ways to provoke anger in others and blame others for this problem. Anything to avoid that scarey feeling of closeness and commitment.
    Women do this as well as men. They will get involved in all sorts of activities or some men and women have argumentative spirits. Some withdraw. Some are shopaholics. Some go to porn.
    The world is isolated from love these days and cannot find the way back to it. God has all the answers for fear of love and closeness.
    From my caring heart to yours, Violet

  34. thank you Says:

    People keep saying that you are being hateful in this website. They keep saying that you need to stop being bitter and angry. Am I the only one who DOESN’T see that?? You have been so graceful in your posts. You have been direct and honest, but I do not see any hate or even vegance in your posts. I don’t think you are dwelling on anything, simply sharing your story. And I for one appreciate that you are doing it and that you are doing it in the way that you are. Not everyone would be so graceful about it.

  35. Joanna Says:

    You’re welcome in my home and at my table anytime. :)

  36. Cynthia Gee Says:

    I was hesitant to post this, Jen, given that you and the Phillips’s church are seeking reconciliation, but lately I’ve been reading about a still darker side to the Reconstructionist/Patriarchy movement. What I have learned is scary, and bad enough that my conscience demands I warn folks about it.
    Quite simply, it is this:
    There are those among the movement who claim that since SLAVERY is not condemned in the Bible, it is a perfectly legitimate thing, and advocate a return to the same.
    J.R. Rushdooney, the father of Reconstructionism, advocated a return to debtor slavery. So does his son-in-law, Gary North.
    And so do a number of patriarchal successionist “religious” groups in the south today:

    “Key members of a white supremacist organization called the League of the South are moving to take control of conservative churches around the South, prompting a possible split in a major Presbyterian denomination. The central player in this little-noticed drama is the Rev. Steven J. Wilkins, pastor of the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Monroe, La., and a founder and current board member of the neo-Confederate League.
    Wilkins has said that the goal of the League of the South is to save America from “paganism” and restore it as “the last bastion of Christendom” — a Christendom that, in Wilkins’ view, sees slavery as “perfectly legitimate.” “:

    http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?pid=432

    Sites linking to Steve Wilkin’s include Ladies against Feminism (whose owner, Jennie Chancey, is associated very closely with Phillips and VisionForum), and The Patriarch’s Path website, (run by James and Stacey McDonald), which links extensively to both Steven J. Wilkins and Doug Wilson, and Doug Phillips as well.
    And it seems that Wilkins himself has been a very busy man: in addition to teaching his worldview to his own congregation, he and pastor Doug Wilson, another well-known figure in the Patriarchy movement, have been writing what many would term racist curriculum for a large North Carolina private school:

    As printed in The News and Observer, 12/04:
    “Leaders at Cary Christian School say they are not condoning slavery by using “Southern Slavery, As It Was,” a booklet that attempts to provide a biblical justification for slavery and asserts that slaves weren’t treated as badly as people think. Principal Larry Stephenson said the school is only exposing students to different ideas, such as how the South justified slavery. He said the booklet is used because it is hard to find writings that are both sympathetic to the South and explore what the Bible says about slavery.
    “You can have two different sides, a Northern perspective and a Southern perspective,” he said.”

    The booklet isn’t the only connection its two co-authors have with the school. One of the authors, Douglas Wilson, a pastor in Moscow, Idaho, wrote a book on classical education upon which the school bases its philosophy. Wilson’s Association of Classical and Christian Schools accredited Cary Christian, and he is scheduled to speak at the school’s graduation in May. Some school leaders, including Stephenson, founded Christ Church in Cary, which is affiliated with Wilson’s Idaho church.

    The booklet’s other author, Steve Wilkins, is a member of the board of directors of the Alabama-based League of the South. That is classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights group.
    “Doug Wilson and Steve Wilkins have essentially constructed the ruling theology of the neo-Confederate movement,” said Mark Potok, editor of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report.”

    More chilling is the fact that to Steve Wilkins and his associates and their followers, LYING is perfectly permissible, and even virtuous, if it advances the Patriarchal cause. From page two of the same article:
    “An important tool of the movement is stealth. Theonomists justify this strategy with a Biblical story, “Rahab’s Lie,” of a young woman who lies to protect the lives of Israelite spies in Jericho. In an article posted on the web site of Wilkins’ church, Deacon Kevin Branson praises Rahab as “a spiritual hero” because “she deceived the wicked who sought to kill God’s own people.”
    Branson said he writes about Rahab because “some of us don’t have a clue about honorable and necessary deception of the wicked.” His conclusion is that “sometimes God requires that we offer by way of our right hand a sweeping sword, and from our lips deception, that the wicked might fail, and Christ and His Bride might flourish.”

    http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?pid=432

    and for a perfectly sickening read anytime, 24/7/365, check this out:

    http://www.littlegeneva.com/

  37. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Hmmmm… I have to amend that last posting, and with some good news, too. The kinist Little Geneva website, whose URL I provided at the ending of that last posting, claims to be shutting down for good.

  38. WOW Says:

    I have never, ever seen a better example of a whited sepulcher in my life. Doug Phillips wants to appear pristine and holy, pure, sacred and doctrinally perfect outwardly to others. Yet he is a yawning cavern full of dead mens bones and the stench of death inside. His outward appearance and the actual condition of his heart as evidenced by his fruits could not be more discordant. He places grievous, unscriptural burdens on others yet lifts not a finger to relieve what he has caused. If anyone is a publican and an unrepentant, bloviating sinner, it is Doug Phillips.

    I wonder how he makes it through each day not realizing that what he lives and what he says he believes are polar opposites? I haven’t seen that much cognitive dissonance or Pharisaical arrogance since before Saul became Paul. I hope Mr Phillips one day has his Damascus Road experience and the scales drop form his eyes. I guess it is never too late for a Pharisee until they draw their last fetid breath.

    I haven’t heard you address these issues yet, Jen, but don’t you know:

    1) … that 99+% of all attorneys are arrogant jerks? Most lawyers will laughingly admit that this is true. Getting a JD just hones the fine art of prevarication and teaches verbal techniques the practitioner can use to prove anything, including the illogical or impossible, or at least how to deny anything long enough for whatever it is to go away. This is only a problem if the attorney begins to believe his own elaborate fabrications and fantasies, and abandons reality.

    2) … that all short men have Napoleonic complexes? This tiny little man obviously has trouble measuring up in his own mind and so he feels that he must vanquish and conquer all in his path. This overly emotional and in the end fatally illogical strategy did not end up working too well for Napoleon. We shall have to see how Doug fares in the end.

    3) … that Doug’s most fervent wish is to be among “God’s chosen” … better yet … a believing Jew ? Do you think he envies you as a Messianic Believer, a Completed Jew, a status that he can never achieve as only his father was born a Jew? I mean, how supremely ironic is that that Jewishness is determined maternally? HA! How it must bother Doug that he can never be a Jew by birth because his beloved father could never confer this status? I love it!

    Keep up the good work. Jesus is alive and well on planet earth today, and he is sick of poseurs and fake Christians of all stripes who purport to love him yet injure others in his name and flog and abuse His sheep. Peter Popoff, RC Jr, Kenneth Copeland and Doug Phillips are all going to be exposed one way or another, and dealt with accordingly. Hopefully they fall on the rock and repent before the rock falls on them and grinds them to a powder.

  39. Jen Says:

    WOW, you have some fairly strong sentiments here. You do have some interesting points to consider, but I wanted to address the three issues you brought up.

    While I suppose that these three issues are “possibilities,” I am trying to keep this site focused on facts. Not only is my story factual but, for instance, the way Doug “lives” honor is also verifiable. And we can now clearly see at least partly where he learned it.

    So, no, just being an attorney does NOT make Doug an arrogant jerk. Yes, he learned some of those techniques in law school but, for the most part, I am not impressed with them.

    Does it really matter how tall or short he is? I will have to say that God created him to be exactly as tall as God wanted him to be.

    Considering how Doug responded when we would invite the whole church over for the biblical Feasts, I would have to say that being a “completed Jew” is not on Doug’s list of desires. I think that he has rejected both judaism and catholicism.

    But as far as his hypocrisy goes, I think you may have some very valid points there.

  40. Vik Says:

    Gee-whiz. I wonder what I am going to tell my son. We left a very abusive church situation once already, and I got the brunt of it because “it” was all my fault (whatever “it” is). I introduced my boy to VF and its catalog, toys, and books, and he loves perusing through that All-American Boy catalog (or whatever it’s called). Can’t say the same for my girls; the girl’s catalog is booooring. Since my husband is gone so much, I was looking for resources to teach my son how to be a boy and man.

    We are being shunned by the church we left, and being here in Amish country, we see those folks play the shun game as well. All my poor kids hear is shun shun shun.

    I just donated all my books by DP, DW, RC,Jr, et al to the public library sale. I’m thinking I should have just thrown them into the woodstove — not because the books themselves are bad (THEY are great) but because others might start to admire these power-hungry nuts.

  41. WOW Says:

    Jen,

    Yes, I know that DP is as tall as God wanted him to be.
    I am afraid that what I meant to say was not clearly communicated. DP’s height is relevant only in re to his apparent Napoleonic complex, a subconscious compensatory mechanism.

    The Napoleonic complex causes the short man to constantly prove that he is a strong, competent, manly man. His honor must be defended at all costs. There is also a need to quickly “shut down” anyone perpetrating any form of perceived disrespect against his manhood or authority. A tendency towards fighting and other forms of inappropriate aggressiveness is a given. If such a man has a father that is very accomplished, the need to prove himself is further amplified.

    My major point was that the Napoleonic complex is not based in LOGIC, it is an EMOTIONAL response. I thought it was ironic that while Hyper-patriarchal Reformed types tend towards being INTJ or ENTJ personalities, revilers of emotion and lovers of intellectual knowledge and logic almost to the point of idolatry, here we have a man whose entire life and belief system seem to be based NOT on a logical framework, but on an emotional one. In my opinion, this is what is hilarious.

  42. Jen Says:

    Sorry, WOW. I certainly misunderstood you! Now that you put it this way, I can clearly see that Doug responds emotionally rather than rationally. For someone who teaches that we should never let our emotions rule us, I would say that he must not see this in himself.

    Emotions often show up in the eyes, even if the rest of you stays cool. I have seen some extreme emotions in Doug’s eyes and this comment is just to him. He knows exactly what I am talking about. I saw that in your eyes when I tried to apologize to you for gossiping, and I saw that in your eyes when you first read me the disciplinary action statement. This is not about emotions, Doug. Let’s be rational.

    Come, let us reason this through together.

  43. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen,
    I am a Jewish Christian, (the maiden name is completely unspeakable and un-spellable :)….the ‘completed jew’ theme is extremely offensive. It speaks to all of the anti semitic prejudice that still exists by telling those of us that we were somehow inferior and bad before our conversion and now we are magically good and pure. We are now ‘good enough’ to be a part of a gentile world.

    Think about it….if sin is a human condition…why is it worse for the jewish person? Is it because I am a christ-killer…?

    Being Jewish is an inherited ethnic identity. Religion is merely a mediator. I was a complete depraved human being before faith in Christ and I am still a complete depraved human being now. It is my natural state. So now for the record…..I am still Jewish….and yes I have had people tell me that I was not Jewish anymore… :(

    I have never heard the ‘completed’ term used in the reformed churches, I have however heard it in the arminian groups and have been called that (among a plethora of other ‘names’) a number of times by well meaning and not so well meaning christian goyim.

    Admitting to ‘being a jew’ in the church these days still has its’ negative side. Perhaps thats why DP isn’t completed, he does not want the stigma (oh-isn’t-that-sweet-the-jew-became-a-christian-and-now-we-do-not-have-to-watch-what-we-say-about-jews-to-them-because-they-are-no-longer-jewish) that the gentile christian world attaches to it.

    Think about it…how would DP act if someone called him a christ killer?

    I can’t believe you missed “SMS” ie: short man syndrome :) I could write a book about one boss I had!!!!

  44. Elizabeth Giromini Says:

    Wow says “The Napoleonic complex causes the short man to constantly prove that he is a strong, competent, manly man. His honor must be defended at all costs. There is also a need to quickly “shut down” anyone perpetrating any form of perceived disrespect against his manhood or authority. A tendency towards fighting and other forms of inappropriate aggressiveness is a given. If such a man has a father that is very accomplished, the need to prove himself is further amplified.”

    I say SIN causes the man to constantly prove that he is a strong, competent, manly man. His honor must be defended at all costs. There is also a need to quickly “shut down” anyone perpetrating any form of perceived disrespect against his manhood or authority. A tendency towards fighting and other forms of inappropriate aggressiveness is a given.

    There is no need or right to lay blame where it doens’t belong. God made some men short and some tall. The height of short men is not responsible for their sins, God is not responsible for their sins, they are. Let us call them to repentance, not give them an excuse with modern psychology.

  45. TheIronHare Says:

    Well, Elizabeth, height is no excuse but I at least could easily see someone like DP being resentful over being short and that resentment fueling his other crud. I wouldn’t necessarily assume it. RC “Jr.” is short too…well, maybe we could call it a potential temptation factor.

    Dennis

  46. Mark Epstein Says:

    William Wilberforce was much shorter than Doug Phillips but I think I would match his faith and love of God against anyone. :-)

  47. Light M. Says:

    I appreciate the comments about the phrase “completed Jew.” I never looked at it this way before. It has really opened my eyes to how insulting this may be to some people.

  48. WOW Says:

    I too am a believer with Jewish roots that I assure you I enthusiastically embrace and celebrate. I even worked with JFJ for a short time many years ago. I wish that my circumstances had allowed me to take the job offered at the end of that summer, because working with them was a very joyful and comfortable experience for me.

    There was no disrespect meant in any of the terms I used to describe Jewish Christians. I have never known a Jewish Believer who has taken offense with the concept of the “Completed Jew”, or that has equated this term in any way with antisemitism.

    The term is not a reference to any additional sin or deficiency inherent in the descendants of Abraham. Rather, it is a reminder of a most precious promise made to Abraham that has been completely and utterly fulfilled in us.

    The Pharisees (and their descendants today), while accepting the prefiguring types and symbols, as well as the sacrifices, prophecies, laws and feasts of God, have rejected the One who came to fulfill all of these things. Therefore, the Pharisaical Jew’s understanding of God’s plan of redemption, and their appropriation of it, was and is NOT complete.

    A Completed Jew is a wonderful reminder to the entire world of the faithfulness of God. As Abraham apprehended by faith, God HAS provided a Lamb. You and I, as well as all those that God has called, stand complete in Him. Rejoice!

  49. WOW Says:

    BTW, Morgan, I find the term “Christian goyim” EXTREMELY offensive. And so should you!

    “Jew” is not in itself a pejorative term, and in it’s original Torah usage neither is “goyim” necessarily, generally meaning “nation”.

    However, if you are honest you will admit that in its common usage by Jews, and in the Talmud and it’s commentary, (which as you know means more to most Jews than the Torah as far as interpreting Judaism is concerned), “goyim”, meaning HUMAN CATTLE, is meant to be horribly offensive. Sadly the intent is to convey that non Jews are less than human, and are nothing but filthy, stupid animals.

    We won’t get into any Talmudic proofs here … lets just say that Peter had it right when he stated in relation to Gentiles after his ‘vision of the sheet’ : “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean”, and “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”

    Perhaps it would be less offensive if you used the term “Gentile Christians” instead of goyim in the future.

  50. Mark Epstein Says:

    WOW,

    You make some excellent points. I particularly enjoyed the one about Peter’s ‘vision of the sheet.’ You are one of a select minority who does not go on to use the verse as a proof-text to eat unclean food, you use it correctly — in relation to the gentiles no longer being “goyim.”

  51. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Jen,
    I’m preparing to post my letters to and from Chalcedon regarding their blog which states:

    “A letter has been circulating to various homeschool oriented groups and individuals that calls for organizations to disassociate themselves from Doug Phillips and Vision Forum. You may have received or read such a correspondence. As an organization that is friendly to the Phillips family and Vision Forum, we recommend that you disregard this correspondence and any and all web sites espousing such defamation and strife. The husband and wife team that sent this letter are currently under church discipline, and the accuracy of their personal complaints are contradicted by reputable ministries.”

    Are they referring to this letter that you sent out to BCA after excommunication, or is this soemthing else? Are they accusing you of all the faxes and emails etc. to among others, Brad Phillips? (You know, the big martyrdom statement and attorney letters that they talk about on that Cross Exam section on the VFM site.) Did you send a letter to more people than just those at BCA, or are they lumping you in and accusing you of participating in whatever went on with Joe Taylor and whatever the “Little Geneva” site was. (I tried to read that Mrs Binoculars stuff, but it was really poorly written narrative and the background made it hard to read, etc.) What did I miss?

  52. Kate Says:

    Cindy,

    It’s found on Jen’s blog here —

    http://jensgems.wordpress.com/2007/04/24/home-school-leaders-warned-about-doug-phillips/

    She sent out an email to many homeschool leaders, according to this blog post April 24th, 2007.

  53. Jen Says:

    Thank you, Kate. I appreciate your help. That was very kind. She’s right, Cindy.

  54. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Kate and Jen:

    I’ve read the letter twice and it seems fine to me. The racism thing seems inflammatory, but Doug has posted that same material on his own site, etc. for all to see. All you did was restate information that can be obtained by anyone who is interested in it. It would be an entirely different letter if you called him a racist. What’s the big deal?

  55. Jen Says:

    Cindy, the big deal is that I sent it at all. I took this situation to a new level and some people did not agree with that decision.

  56. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    This bothers me. It says that

    1. You have no right to an opinion via self-directed discernment
    2. You have no right to communicate that opinion in the church at large (beyond the four church fellowship which includes BCA and LWF, etc.)
    3. You’ve lost the right to participate fully (or perhaps at all) with homeschooling communities because you were excommunicated (a point which you are candid and forthcoming about in the letter)
    4. People in receipt of the letter don’t have enough self-direction or independent discernment ability to process the letter. (If a person receives a letter that is full of accusations they believe to be untrue or of questionable motive from someone that they do not know and that admittedly has been excommunicated, THEY CAN CHOOSE TO THROW THE LETTER OUT! They do not need to have VF tell them what to do.)

    Vision Forum then, if everything was false should say, “These are lies and truth will bear things out. We don’t need to do anything but pray for this poor, crazy woman who is clearly wounded and full of malice. We will not answer this folly in her foolishness. We can make a statement for those interested, but God will bear us up on truth.” No retaliation necessary here, however because their is no weight of credulity…

    They have not done that . As the saying goes, you only intimidate the weak. They act threatened and retaliate. Then they implicate and manipulate good people like Little Bear and Chis Ortiz (who now wont converse with ME because I copied a letter to you that mentions you by name for the sake of accountability concerning already public matters)!

  57. rob Says:

    MR PHILLPS HAS NOT BEEN GIVING A VOICE.I DONT AGREE THAT WE AS CHRISTIANS SHOULD PUT SUCH THINGS ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB. CHISTIANITY IS NOT LIKE A SAOP OPERA.

  58. CD-Host Says:

    Rob you are incorrect. Mr Phillips has been given a voice on this issue he’s addressed it several times in a variety of forms. In addition several other blogs were created which addressed parts of this story.


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