Home School Leaders Warned About Doug Phillips

The following letter went out to a number of home school leaders across the nation and abroad. A copy was also sent to Doug Phillips asking for his response.

We know that there are many more leaders, home school groups, and home school families out there who need to hear this, so if you would like to forward this to them yourself, please feel free (just be sure the links are included). Or you can send us their email address and we would be glad to send it to them.

Dear Home School Leader,

I’ve been a Christian home educator for twelve years now and have been president of a local home school group for seven years. I’ve been active in the home school community for quite some time and have helped to coordinate numerous home school functions and co-ops in the San Antonio, Texas area and have worked at many homeschool conventions.

Home schoolers have worked very hard for a number of years to earn a good reputation for Christian home education. Our proven track record of educational excellence has largely overcome the criticisms of the government educrats. However, we need to remain ever vigilant to maintain that good reputation. If our reputation is undermined by any among us who have divisive and potentially harmful agendas, we stand to lose much.

It’s vital that the most prominent of our home school leadership be men and women of impeccable reputation and strong moral character. We’re very concerned that one of the most prominent of our home education leaders runs the risk of causing the entire home school movement great damage. We speak of Douglas W. Phillips, the founder of Vision Forum. We believe that Doug Phillips’ intentions may be good for his attempts to shed light on a number of wrongs that have crept into the Christian home, the church, and society on the whole, in recent decades. However, a number of Doug Phillips’ methods and ambitions for correcting these problems are seriously flawed. Rather than working to bring about reformation, Doug Phillips embraces opinions and methods which are reactionary, harmful and even potentially dangerous to the family and the church.

Home schoolers are already considered by many to be “radicals” and “extremists.” Of course, we know that most Christian home educators are actually very moderate and do their best to “live at peace with all men” (Rom 12:18). However, Doug Phillips, even by many Christian home schooling standards, is very much an extremist. We’ve known Doug personally for many years and have spent much time studying and analyzing his opinions, as well as his actions. As a result, we’ve become increasingly concerned that Doug Phillips may be far more a liability than an asset to the Christian home school movement.

There is much to show how unhealthy and problematic Doug’s views are, and in this brief email we hope to demonstrate just a few of those. Our goal is to warn you as a Christian home school leader so that you can take any precautionary steps you deem appropriate to minimize any adverse impact to your own family and home school organization. In order to protect the Christian home school movement, we believe it is important that Doug Phillips be isolated and relegated to the outer fringes where he properly belongs, and where he can do little harm. We believe that it is risky for your organization to be identifying yourself with Doug Phillips, and to give him a platform from which he can promote his views. Please now allow us to explain why.

Doug Phillips has just expressed his views publicly on the massacre at Virginia Tech in an article entitled On The Horror At Virginia Tech. Though Doug makes some valid theological observations, his timing couldn’t have been worse. Doug is taking considerable heat over how insensitive and calloused his remarks appear to be. Most troubling is the fact that Doug is publicly advocating arming students. This is a classic example of Doug’s reactionary thinking. Because gun control advocates are calling for further gun control legislation, Doug reacts by saying the solution is to permit students to bring guns into the classroom. This isn’t to say that he wants all students armed, though. In Doug’s patriarchal world, only male students would be armed.

Doug Phillips is known as a significant leader of “Patriarchy,” a movement which seeks to restore homes and churches to an idyllic antebellum image, a time of chivalrous gentlemen and ladies in fluffy dresses. However, just below the surface of this superficial “Gone With The Wind” veneer lurks a far less honorable side. Doug Phillips often challenges radical feminism, and he’s right to do so. However, the solution to radical feminism isn’t a shift to the opposite extreme. Phillips’ views aren’t “complementarian,” or even just patriarchal, but rather hyper-patriarchal, a world in which women are effectively treated as doormats and not permitted to have any opinions of their own. Phillips’ patriarchy vision is an autocratic pseudo-feudal world in which women are completely dominated by husbands, and daughters are deprived of higher education and careers of any kind.

Doug Phillips’ jaded view of women is no more clearly evidenced than the way that he directs his own church, Boerne Christian Assembly, as its self-appointed and unordained pastor and sole elder. At BCA, “Let your women keep silence in the churches” (1 Cor. 14:34) is interpreted in such an extreme manner that women aren’t even permitted to introduce guests, women aren’t permitted to make prayer requests, and women aren’t even permitted to get their own communion (if her husband isn’t present, she must be served by another man, or one of her own sons, even if that son is too young to partake of communion himself). We were members of Doug’s church for five years, and so our comments about this are based on personal experience.

Doug Phillips takes his low opinion of women into the marriage counseling setting as well. Where marital problems are brought to his attention, he’s known to avoid any judicious examination of underlying issues, but rather immediately side entirely with the husband and seek out any excuse to blame the wife for any problems. We know this not only because of what’s been reported to us, but because of what we personally experienced. Some of Phillips’ more common questions to husbands of troubled marriages are: “Isn’t your wife a dripping faucet and a nag?” “Isn’t your wife rebellious?” “Isn’t your wife a Jezebel?” In Doug Phillips’ world, the wife is always to blame. Doug Phillips is not known to have ever asked a wife, “Does your husband love you as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her?”

Considering the fact that women quite often are doing the majority of the practical teaching at home, and also making many of the decisions about home school curriculum, we consider it remarkable that Doug Phillips evidences all the tendencies of a misogynist. Since women are probably making many of the decisions about what materials to order from Vision Forum, and women make up such a large percentage of the home school leadership, one would think that Doug Phillips would want to treat women with much more regard than he does.

Doug Phillips is an attorney and claims to have a biblical world view about law and justice. He even sponsors an annual law conference. This is one of the reasons that we recently exposed Doug on the internet for having conducted a Kangaroo Court in his own church, Boerne Christian Assembly. For those who will take the time to carefully examine the facts, they will come away deeply troubled by the huge disparity between what Doug publicly espouses about justice versus what he actually practices when given the opportunity to exercise justice himself. Without any due process whatsoever, Doug Phillips unjustly excommunicated us for sins that we’d already repented of, as well as sins for which there wasn’t a shred of evidence to support. In fact, one of Doug’s charges against Jen was over a sin that she had committed years before she had even become a Christian, and years after she had repented of that sin! The Lord Jesus forgave her of that sin over seventeen years ago, but apparently Doug Phillips’ standards of forgiveness are far higher than the Lord’s.

After leaving Boerne Christian Assembly, we were welcomed into a church led by Richard “Little Bear” Wheeler. Pastor Wheeler’s church is a “sister church” to BCA. Aside from being a pastor, Little Bear Wheeler is a prominent home school leader and the founder of Mantle Ministries. Doug and Little Bear were close personal friends and have spoken from the podium at many of the same home school conferences and retreats. Little Bear Wheeler worked diligently for fourteen months to reconcile our relationship to Doug Phillips and BCA, but Doug refused to make an appearance for any of the numerous meetings that Little Bear arranged between us. Doug rebuffed all efforts at reconciliation. Worse yet, Doug retaliated against Little Bear by terminating their long friendship, and he even removed most, if not all, Mantle Ministries products from the Vision Forum catalog. For his kindness toward us, Doug Phillips shunned Little Bear Wheeler.

Doug Phillips is a significant leader in the “Family Integrated Church” movement. Many churches do indeed segregate family members by age and pressure parents to have their children participate in youth groups which, though often consistent with the values of public school parents, are often at odds with the values of “family integrated” home school parents. While well intentioned, the family integrated church movement, much like the patriarchy movement, has too often shown itself to be extremist, self-righteous and divisive. Rather than seeking to reform churches from within and wean them from being “programmatic,” the Family Integrated Church movement has become a “program” in itself and has caused a number of church splits. Though Doug Phillips has spoken on “how leave a church honorably,” much of the fruit of the Family Integrated Church movement has been anything but honorable.

Most troubling in its ramifications for how it could adversely impact the cause of Christian education is Doug Phillips’ video documentary “Raising The Allosaur.” Some have referred to this video as a “fakeumentary.” Indeed, there is overwhelming evidence that many of the claims made by Phillips in “Raising The Allosaur” are blatant fabrications. Phillips has never been able to provide any reasonable explanations for the glaring inconsistencies and serious allegations that have been put to him as a result of his video production, masquerading as a documentary. Phillips suffered so much negative public exposure for his fakeumentary that he withdrew it from the Vision Forum catalog, without any public explanation, and he did so in spite of the fact that “Raising The Allosaur” had been a very lucrative product for Vision Forum. Phillips’ fakeumentary has greatly harmed the cause of creationism. If even just a few of the allegations against this video are true, then Doug Phillips is guilty of perpetrating a huge fraud against many thousands of Christians, and especially against Christian home schoolers (in the video Phillips falsely credits home schoolers as having been responsible for finding the allosaur). Phillips owes the Christian public either an explanation or an apology. However, after many such demands, he has completely evaded doing either one. There are numerous other issues that call into question Doug Phillips’ integrity, but “Raising The Allosaur” may be the most glaring example yet.

Perhaps the single greatest risk of all though, in associating with Doug Phillips, are the numerous concerns expressed that he may be a closet racist. We ourselves are not prepared to make such an allegation. We believe that some of these allegations are based on the logical fallacy of “guilt by association.” The problem for Doug, though, is that some of the things that he has said and written do tend to cast strong suspicion on his views of race. Many of Doug Phillips’ personal heroes are notorious racists. As just one example, Doug has written a poem about Robert L. Dabney in which he says, “Hail Dabney, defender of the South!” This is an obvious reference to Dabney’s book, “A Defense Of Virginia and the South.” If you’ve read Dabney’s book, you already know that it was written for one purpose only — as a defense of Southern slavery. Dabney was the South’s strongest apologist for slavery. Dabney had an extremely low view of Blacks, believing that their only appropriate station in life was in perpetual servitude to Whites. For Doug Phillips to “Hail Dabney!” seems extremely problematic.

Doug has left himself wide open to scrutiny on the question of racism. This isn’t to say that we personally believe that Doug is a racist. We do believe, however, that Doug has been very foolish by using his close personal friends to make “racist” allegations against others, based on nothing but guilt by association, when his own associations with known racists are so problematic. We haven’t and we won’t accuse Doug being a racist. However, we believe that the allegations against him of racism are potentially very dangerous to the home school movement.

We would ask that you carefully consider the ramifications of your organization’s relationship with Doug Phillips, through his serving as a speaker at your conferences or otherwise, and the great harm that it could cause to not only your organization’s reputation, but to Christian home education in general, by promoting him and giving him a platform to advance his extremist views.

We recognize that some will choose to immediately dismiss our concerns on the assumption that this is some kind of “personal vendetta motivated by unforgiveness and bitterness.” That’s simply not the case. We both worked for nearly two years to privately reconcile with Doug. We attempted to do so by going through appropriate ecclesiastical channels with not just one, but two different different churches and their elders in our area. In both cases, Doug refused their offers of reconciliation. We’re not motivated by vengeance. We’re motivated by a genuine concern for the well-being of the Christian home school movement.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.

Yours for Christian Education,

Mark and Jennifer Epstein

_________________________

*Our concern about Doug Phillips’ blog article on Virginia Tech is not that Doug is a proponent of the Second Amendment. We are, too. But we also believe that Doug should be consistent. What Doug advocates is a disparity, based on gender. Men are free to carry guns anywhere, including to their college classes, and they do so allegedly to protect the poor, helpless women, while not allowing for women to carry guns for self-defense as well. What would happen if a public university was full of armed men and unarmed women? What would happen if everyone was armed and a debate ensued in a classroom? How long before the first gun came out? Or maybe we have a problem with the hypocrisy of Doug espousing that only the young men be armed, when we see this video of his daughter?

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345 Responses to “Home School Leaders Warned About Doug Phillips”

  1. Light M. Says:

    Jen, I suggest you also send this to World Net Daily. They are big supporters of the homeschool movement, and Doug was one of their guest columnists awhile back.

  2. Email From Nevada Says:

    I happen to agree with arming teachers…if the teacher holding the door while students escaped would have had a weapon, many fewer students would have been killed! Why should only the murders be armed? The right to bear arms is one of our most important rights provided to us in the US Constitution!

    As to the other accusations you make, Vision Forum has always been outside the “norm” of hsing, and that is what they are. This does not mean that some of his points are not valid about hsing. To say that we don’t agree with someone, therefore, we should not give him a platform to speak on those things we do agree on, is limiting the freedom of thought and speech. You claim that you aren’t calling him a racist, but he associates with some–I believe that Jesus himself associated with thieves, prostitutes and tax collectors.

    I think that you should consider, prior to sending out letters such as this, if you could be considered libeling the man in question–something that I don’t think is Biblical, and something that could put you in an uncomfortable situation legally speaking.

    I’m wondering, personally, why you are sending out letters such as this maligning a fellow Christian in time you could be spending building up the kingdom. I’m also wondering, if you believe that it is up to you to “save the reputation of homeschooling” by doing this. I don’t believe that Mr. Fields is going to do any more harm than your letter would do if it got out to the public.

    Please reconsider this approach,

  3. Marie Says:

    The thing is, Jen, in his article he did not say that “only young men should be armed.” That is an inference that you have made on nothing but your own assumptions. All that he said was the young men should be allowed to carry weapons to class. He has never said that women should not be able to carry arms. There is no hypocrisy involved in this statement or in this video.

  4. Email From Overseas Says:

    I am dismayed to hear some of your comments as you are quite right in saying Doug Phillips is a prominent figure in the homeschooling world. I did read his article on the Horror in Virginia and thought most of it was quite right helping to understanding “why”. You say that the timing was bad, but when these things happen in life, that IS the time to address that “why” question. As for his opinions on gun control, I come from a background that is against gun control and appreciated his guts in purporting a politically incorrect opinion. I don’t know that I agree with it, but at least it gives another view to the opposite extreme.

    I am glad you provided the links to look into some of the statements you made. I hope to look into it some more when time permits.

    I have been concerned for some time about Doug Phillips’ view on Patriarchy and have been hesitant to order his books on the subject. My husband and I saw first hand the kind of church divisions his movement can cause when 2 of our dearest church elders, and numerous other members, left to start their own church in following Doug Phillip’s advice.

    I do hope that you have sent a copy of your letter to Doug Phillips so that he has the opportunity to respond. And if your allegations are true, I will pray that God softens his heart to repentance, as he is in grave sin.

  5. Email From Home School Leader Says:

    Thank you for the timely warning. Just last night I had been considering re-fueling my business relationship with Vision Forum. Now, I will use much more caution.

    I would like to know how you knew I was involved with Vision Forum. Am I on a list or something? Or, are you emailing all home school leaders?

    If you really and truly feel that Doug Phillips is a problem for the home school movement, I will support you and pray for you. I hope you can remain strong in your opinions and not let people destroy your reputation.

  6. Email From Colorado Says:

    THANKS for sending this to me! My first reaction…heartbreaking…but not surprising. S. has made mention of a few of these situations, but never felt that she could go into detail, thinking that it would seem more like gossip. At S’s retreat in October, one of her long-time board members from North Carolina spoke of similar accusations, and while she seemed as if she had first hand knowledge, I was really hoping she didn’t have the whole story.

    How SAD for Doug Phillips, his family and their ministry. They risk losing the impact they have made…another leader gone astray. It’ll be interesting to see how CHEC responds to all of this and what will happen to their father/son retreat this summer.

  7. Email From Michigan Says:

    Thank you for your note. I understand your concerns. We are familiar with Mr. Phillips and have purchased some of his tapes. We have just a couple families here that follow him out of about 100 homeschool families. Most of us prefer to keep our eyes on the Lord and not on sinful man. If you follow Mr. Phillips or any man, you cannot follow Jesus as you should. Listen to a Pastor and examine what he has to say in light of the scriptures. But do not swear allegiance or give deference to any one other than Christ.

    As far as youth groups go, we have a wonderful home-schooling dad that leads our mostly home educated youth group. They do fun things, we do not have boy-girl couples, and the group reinforces what we teach in our homes. The parents are all involved and we do not see anything wrong with this. The public school children are seeing our group and their dedication to the Lord and they are coming to the Lord and being Baptized. They are coming to us! We have taught our children and they are following our teachings to be light in this dark world. We recently had a young lady killed in an auto accident-guess where the public high schoolers came looking for answers? The whole church supports our young people in learning to GO, TEACH, and BAPTIZE, (Christ’s commands), with Godly example and action. We pray for our youth continuously.

    I have found Mr. Phillips isolationist policies and ideology concerning women radical. I do not wear a head-covering as my husband (a man with a Godly heritage that goes back for centuries-unlike Mr. Phillips) would prefer that my heart be right with the Lord than to have me wear a head covering or even have long hair. I can wear women’s modest pants, work in a cottage industry and yes, pray out-loud in church when appropriate. I have this freedom in Christ and as an equal child of the Father created in His image Gen 1:27. I have never been a feminist, just a help-mate to my husband who depends on me to be a full person in Christ.

  8. Email From Utah Says:

    Thanks for your post. My wife and I have been concerned about what we perceived as unBiblical legalism from Vision Forum, et al. We are similarly concerned about the Book, Created for His Help Meet, by Debi Pearl, which clearly supports the unBiblical view of marriage that you have portrayed in Phillips.

    As the President of XX, I plan on sending your complaints to Phillips to give him a chance to respond and then write an article for our newsletter. Do I have your permission to send your email to Phillips? My concern is that Jesus Christ be glorified in our homeschooling rather than man’s works and thoughts. There are increasingly unBiblical and anti-body of Christ speakers and writers that are negatively affecting homeschooling in this country.

    In His Service,
    John 15:5

  9. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    If Doug thinks women receiving the Eucharist is feminist, then I guess all of the Patristic Fathers and the Byzantine Church were feminists. While, yes, the communion rail was in practice, and the bishop normally administered the sacrament, the deacon and deaconess would help administer the Lord’s Supper in large congregations, such as the Hagia Sophia (which had 100 male deacons and 40 female deaconesses). The Canadian Presbyterian Church, the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod, and the Reformed Episcopal Church all have deaconesses (guess they’re not macho enough).

    But I maybe they’re just on an estrogen high, or something.

  10. Email From Texas Says:

    First, where and how did you obtain the email addresses that you sent your message out to?

    Second, what is the scriptural basis for your email? You said you are not bitter or unforgiving, however it is not clear what you are trying to do — force reconciliation? isolate Doug Phillips? warn of Biblical heresy?

    You bring up:
    1) theological issues (you disagree with his views in the patriarchy movement)
    2) historical issues (was the civil war fought over slavery or not)
    3) racist issues (this is linked I suppose with the thought that the civil war again was not fought over slavery)
    4) science issues (the raising the allosaur dvd is faulty science)
    5) personal issues (you were kicked out of Doug Phillip’s church)

    In bringing all these issues up, what is your purpose? Not all homeschoolers agree on the reasons the civil war was fought, not all homeschoolers attend similar churches that have the same theological stance, and not all homeschoolers agree in areas of how to teach science.

  11. Jen Says:

    Dear Texas,

    I obtained these email addresses from the very same source that Doug Phillips obtained his original email list when he started Vision Forum. :-)

  12. Email From Alabama Says:

    I just received your e-mail about Doug Phillips and his radical views. I am on the way to begin our home school group’s week of achievement testing. But I wanted to thank you for the effort and thought that went into your e-mail.

    My husband and I are acquainted with a congregation in our area that has similar views to what you have described at BCA. I really don’t have the time this morning to go into all the details. But I wanted to let you know that your comments are received in the spirit that I believe you sent them out … as a warning to homeschoolers to beware. I’ll pass your e-mail on to my husband, and I’m sure we’ll discuss it. We have very strong feelings about these church leaders who are leading the flock under their supervision into divisive and controversial thinking.

  13. Email From Ohio Says:

    How very interesting. Thank you for a warning and for a look at the non public side. I would have never known this and I will take it as information to validate. Thank you for being brave enough to caution against a leader. Sometimes I think homeschoolers follow blindly. Though I may not be able to personally validate this information, it gives another side of the story and some information that needs to be addressed by Doug or at least lets me know to be cautious. Reminds us we need to be checking into any leadership.

    Thank you for non hateful caution.

  14. Email From California Says:

    Thank you for the information. It helps to be reminded that we need to stay alert.

  15. Email From California 2 Says:

    I don’t know who you are, but this is wrong!!!

    http://www.boernechristianassembly.org/index.html

  16. Email From California 3 Says:

    Thank you for sending out your well thought out e-mail.

    It is good to know things – to be aware.

    I too have been in leadership (in a very small town) for 13 years and have seen a lot of nutty theology.

    I admit that I dismissed the anti woman bias you wrote about. My first thought was there are a lot of churches to choose to attend. If a family does not care for that non-sense they can move on.

    As for an unjust ex-communication, I will pray that the hurt of that quickly goes away. Very sad treatment indeed.

    Your points about a woman’s influence in the homeschool area is very true.

    I will probably not go read Doug Phillips view on VT.

    But the part about Richard Wheeler made me take notice. He is a man I have deep respect for and if he has concerns, I am more apt to be concerned.

    Thank you for taking the time to send this out. 4 of our children are girls and sometimes I wonder if I want them to marry a homeschool taught young man.

  17. Email From California 3 Says:

    Hi Again,

    I Stopped over at your blog.

    Oh my.

    Were you around when the [homeschool] lawsuit took place?

    If you have a home business like C. did, the “new wave” of school leaders may try to take you out of the arena. Be careful.

    Amazing how this is happening in sorts all over again.

  18. Email From California 4 Says:

    Thank for your note of warning. I do not think that any of my 85 families have even heard of Doug Phillips. We have of course heard of Little Bear but not Doug. My families are very discerning and would weigh anything they would hear from anyone against scripture and discuss it openly at our group meetings. If his name comes up I will bring it to their attention. I have been homeschooling for 22 years and there is (and I am sure always will be) someone out there who takes the Bible and makes extreme interpretations to fit their own agenda. Here in southern California my biggest challenge is families that have bought into the world’s system too much. I pray that this “ugly” experience has and will continue to help you grow in Christ and in discernment in being “in” the world but not “of” it, that you and your children can reach your world for Him, and that He will use even this to “work together for good”.

  19. Email From Illinois Says:

    Assuming that what you say is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, you raise some valid points.

  20. Email From Homeschooler Says:

    I read through the mail you sent. I did send it to the head of the home school group I was a part of. He will decide on sending it to the mailing list.

    I am shocked at the situation. I believe you. The scripture from the OT, “…cursed is man who trusts in man”, (Cant remember where at the moment.), is a warning about putting trust in man. They will always let you down.

    I will be praying for the Lord to grant repentance and correction on Doug P.’s part. I know that it is difficult to be part of a group for a long time and have to face that a leader is in error. You have my prayers for healing in this matter.

    Please keep me posted. I will bookmark the link /blog and check back to go into more detail. I believe that there are many deceptions going on in many churches today. True believers need to really be in the Word as never before.

    Leaders all throughout the church are falling from truth and bringing in apostate teachings into their own churches. We are witnessing the social gospel replacing the real gospel through a brainwashing technique using small groups. From what I understand so far, IMO, Doug is into dominion theology. Am I wrong?

    I have recently started researching that movement. Rick Warren has his part. My family has had to leave our church last year. And it started with Purpose Driven life, which led to small groups, which led to a very eye opening revelation of the brainwashing that was occurring in my church through the small groups. And this led me to start researching dominion theology.

    I have been concerned that the whole home school community, myself included, are the types to be easily swayed by a wolf.
    Because we yearn for that perfect world for ourselves and our children. It is making many throw out discernment and trust a man that sounds like he is very centered on family and God.

    But, wolves are not coming into the church dressed like a wolf, but looking like us, the sheep. And their sole purpose it to steal, maim, and kill the sheep.

    We have to use discernment and think.

    But the small groups purpose is to push conformity, (brainwash), not personal discernment.

    And leaders use small groups to advance the theology of their choosing.

    Very dangerous. Very subtle. “…..cursed is man that trusts in man.”

    May the Lord continue to lead you and be your comfort and source of wisdom.

  21. Email From Wisconsin Says:

    Frankly, I have little time to listen to gossip. Did you know that gossip, not only the spreading, but the listening to, is a sin in the eyes of the Lord?

    If you have problems with Doug or Little Bear, why don’t you do what the Scripture says and go straight to them with your concerns?

    As for the writing on the school massacre, I read it and I do not believe Doug is saying what you are interpreting. He said “if” they were armed, and guess what?? He is not the only one who has said that. I heard that on DAY TWO of this tragedy, and not by a Christian, but by some very well known secular journalists.

    Did you ever stop to think about the way society was back in the day when every family had a gun over their mantle or over their door? There was VERY little crime, as criminally minded people knew that their evil deeds would not succeed.

    He is right, if any ONE person in those classrooms had a gun, there would not be the great numbers dead and/or injured. Maybe folks should think about that. There is nothing wrong with defending yourself or your loved ones. And, yes, soon it will be criminals and police ONLY who have guns!!!

    Please stop HARMING the home school community by bringing divisiveness in this manner.

  22. Email From Illinois 2 Says:

    This is a copy of what I sent to the one who decides what goes to the group. I will still inform my friends even if this doesn’t get sent on. I know that a knee jerk reaction will be that we should not judge or get involved. So I wrote to him with that in mind. To correct any potential wrong reason to assume you are the one causing division.
    In Him,
    L
    ______________
    Dear P,
    I am forwarding this to you because it is addressed to homeschool leaders. This is a sad situation.

    Read and pray about whether you should or should not forward to the homeschool group. I am no longer a member, but I still homeschool.

    I am rather shocked by this mail.

    But, it’s up to you to pray whether it would be right or wrong
    to pass on to members.

    My opinion off the top of my head is this.
    Some things are gossip.
    some things are not.
    If gossip, then drop it.

    If not gossip, then it is a valid warning to those who admire the person discussed.

    The bible commands that believers expose error. We are commanded to NOT be deceived.

    We are to use discernment and mark those who walk disorderly,
    and give false teaching.

    We are to avoid those who cause division.

    Division is caused by false teaching and walking disorderly.

    It’s sin, false teachings, and walking disorderly that causes division. Marking, avoiding, exposing is not divisive. Hurtful, yes, but not what causes the division.

    Marking is an act of obedience to the Lord, concerning the issues of sin, false teachings, and walking disorderly.

    May the Lord guide you in this, with His wisdom.

  23. Email From Concerned Mom Says:

    I just had this email forwarded to me from an individual who home schools their children. My daughter is currently dating a man, and he gave her a book which had Vision Forum Ministries on the inside cover of the book. The book was written by Tom Eldredge called “Safely Home”. I have not read the book, but this is the second girl he has given this book to while dating. What is the book about and what does it have to do with “home schooling” and Doug’s ministry?

    I have done some research on the Internet of Vision Forum Ministries and have even contacted the National Office of the church I attend to see if they knew anything about this or Doug Phillips. They had not heard of him and was not aware of his ministry. However, after they did some research on the Internet, they came up with the same conclusion I did, that this was not the kind of “church” I would want my daughter involved in.

    Currently she is tuning us out and I believe has all intentions of marrying this guy. As much as we have tried to warn her about this ministry, she has chosen to close her eyes and ears to us and continues to walk down the path of destruction — even though she doesn’t even know it.

    If this is true what you have written, what advice can you give to us so that we can warn her once again about this ministry and these teachings?

  24. Email From Michigan 2 Says:

    I thank you for taking the time and I am sure your concern was not for gain, but for us as Christians. I commend you for your passion and your level of details in this letter. Even though we may not agree with everything that Doug and Vision Forum are offering, we do not follow him, but HIM who created us.

    Just like Doug’s messages, I do not agree with yours in many aspects. I hope that you can see how your portrayal of Doug’s character about things like the VT Shootings, may have rubbed you or others the wrong way, but you too have rubbed the wrong way now also.

    Where do we draw the line? Should I craft a 2 pager about Mark Epstein and the idealistically difference I have with what you have said? Should I call you names or dig into your past to find sin, flaws, or forgotten regrettable moments. No, I think not.

    It is tempting to launch letters of concern to the masses, but instead, pray. Stand in faith and if you choose, send out a letter that simply says, Please be Concerned and Pray over the Messages of Doug Phillips. That is all.

    Now, that being said, if you can with all surety say that the Lord was leading you to send that letter, then forget my words, and do what the Lord would want. Please, just make sure it was from the Lord.

    I Praise Him for bringing folks that will stand for something, into this nation and for you. I do not agree, but that is the wonderful being that God is, making us the Body and not all hands, feet or elbows. How boring would it be if we all thought the same way.

    May Jesus bless you and Keep you.

  25. Email From Montana Says:

    Over the years I have witnessed strong disagreements in either church bodies or the homeschool community. In 1 Cor 5 & 6, there is specific instructions on how to handle disputes. And ultimately we are called on to depend upon our church to find resolution.

    I have only met Doug Phillips once, over 10 years ago. I have had no communication with him since.

    Please do not burden myself and others in our state, with letters that slander people whom you are having problems with. This ultimately will do nothing more than place yourself in potential litigation with the accused. Keep me out of it.

  26. SWSmith Says:

    Humbly submitted from a homeschool, reform minded parent totally outside of the subject of the comments above:
    I read much bitterness in between the lines of your commentary above, but mostly just feel sadness for this situation. Your purpose is not clearly stated and regardless of any disagreements you may have with Mr. Phillips (or anyone else, for that matter), it does not make sense to my perspective that your approach here has legitimacy. I have heard Doug Phillips himself say, on numerous occasions and settings, that ‘men are imperfect’ – the men at Jamestown were imperfect, all the men during the civil war were imperfect, Doug Phillips is imperfect – YET we acknowledge a Providence and a Sovereignty at each moment in history and in every circumstance in our lives. We also strive for continual reformation – sempor reformanda, Mr. Phillips calls it – Note that we are not “reforming” or changing a perfect God, but we are continually improving our imperfect understanding of God and His call on our life. I see Doug Phillips pushing forward a reforming agenda with amazing perserverance. How can he not step on some toes or offend some sensibilities at one time or another? Your certainly should feel free to disagree with Doug Phillips (or anyone else for that matter) – disagree strongly! Make your case, try to improve the arguments you want to present but find it in your heart to leave the bitterness, the gosip and scandal mongering out of your commentaries.

  27. Email From Texas 2 Says:

    I am sorry to hear that efforts at some sort of peace, even to just both go your separate ways was unattainable from Doug Phillips. It is telling that DP expects the whole Church worldwide to accept his discipline and yet he thumbs his nose at the discipline of the RPCGA toward Spoul Jr. Even the article by Joe Morecraft on the Vision Forum Ministries site is in stark contradiction to what Phillips actually practices or you would have had an avenue of appeal. Judged by the documents DP publishes on his site his own church is declared illegitimate. It is a sad thing.

  28. Email From Georgia Says:

    Thank you so much for the warning. Please realize that this is a matter of spiritual warfare. We will pray for Mr. Phillips, Little Bear and you.

  29. Email From Florida Says:

    I wanted to give you a bit of feedback regarding your e-mail, which we received this morning.

    Needless to say, we were shocked. As long time supporters of Vision Forum (and the Christian Men’s and Boy’s Titanic Society before that!), we were dismayed by your unsolicited e-mail.

    Nonetheless, we felt compelled to research what you had written, and, of course, are disappointed and saddened by what has transpired.

    It seems that in our personal Christian walk, many of the men we have admired have stumbled badly. Gary Ezzo, Randall Terry, Hank Hanegraaff, R.C. Sproul Jr., and now Doug Phillips (and R.C. Sr as well). Today has been an eye-opener.

    I am sure that you will (and may have already) encountered some bad responses to your e-mail. You probably expected it. I would have been one of them had you not mentioned Little Bear getting the heave-ho from the vision Forum catalog (I had not read your entire e-mail, and so missed that tidbit.)

    So I checked out the links, and was dismayed at the information therein.

    Your treatment by Doug as pastor seems to mirror that of RC Junior to another family. The deceit regarding the “Raising The Allosaur” DVD is just as shameful (no wonder we were not allowed to see it when we passed through San Antonio 3-1/2 years ago. We didn’t even go to Vision Forum). I know there are other issues as well, but I do not need to go into them here.

    May the Lord strengthen and protect you, and thank you for your courage in sending the e-mail out. I can see how it may be perceived as “gossip” and retribution; I think you are doing the Body of Christ a huge service by exposing these sins so that repentance may occur. Pride seems to be one of the biggest sins within the Church (and I am by no means immune myself!)

    As an aside, I have forwarded your e-mail to G. of A. V., with an exhortation that he speak with Doug regarding these issues. Hopefully, he will do so.

    Blessings in Our Lord Jesus Christ,

  30. Lin Says:

    “If you follow Mr. Phillips or any man, you cannot follow Jesus as you should. Listen to a Pastor and examine what he has to say in light of the scriptures. But do not swear allegiance or give deference to any one other than Christ.”

    Amen, Amen, Amen!!

  31. Email From Alabama 2 Says:

    He who has not sinned should cast the first stone. That’s what Jesus says.

  32. Email From Virginia Says:

    I am personally very concerned that you would feel the need to slander a Christian brother in this particular manner. Jesus did not write to everyone in Bethlehem or any other place about what Judas was doing. We are not, as a company, aligning ourselves with anyone. However, I am concerned that you have dragged your former – and as Jesus would see it – current brother’s name through the mud. Unfortunately for you, doing so could land you in court. As you said yourself, he is a lawyer, and if I was him, you would be receiving a summons tomorrow if time permitted.

    As a homeschool graduate, and current homeschool mother, as well as someone who has been involved with homeschooling for over 25 years, this is the exact type of thing that destroys a homeschooling community. I hope you prayed long and hard about what you wrote, the book of Matthew speaks of the type of reconciliation that you spoke of, but nowhere in there does it mention that if your brother won’t reconcile with you, that you should write to anyone and everyone that you think of in order to destroy your brother. In fact, it says to forgive your brother and turn the other cheek.

    You have successfully done exactly what Satan sets out to do, divide the strong and creating dissension among the strong. I have seen far too many good homeschoolers crushed over the years and the homeschooling community split by just this type of response. I don’t know how many people you sent this to, but I would watch my door for the delivery of a summons. You successfully committed liable and slander during this email, and you could have just opened up a large can of worms for yourself. As a Christian sister, I don’t completely agree with everything that Doug Phillips puts in his books, but he is a Christian brother, and saying unsolicited remarks about him is not the way to fix things. After this, I personally wouldn’t talk to you either. Just thought I would share my personal thoughts on this email, I will pray for this situation, but I don’t agree with the way that you have handled this. Perhaps bitterness is creeping in and you just don’t realize it yet.

    Please don’t take this response the wrong way, but know that I am concerned about how you handled this, and concerned about the damage you may have caused to Doug Phillips’ reputation.

  33. K. Says:

    Jen and Mark:

    My husband and I are in agreement that this is horrible! I am sure we will write more – but I just saw this letter.

  34. K. Says:

    By the way I have a question: Did LBW actually “tell” you that DP retaliated and cut the friendship or is it possible there was a reason other than the Epsteins? Just curious . . .

  35. Esther Says:

    “However, I am concerned that you have dragged your former – and as Jesus would see it – current brother’s name through the mud.”

    Looks as if more homeschoolers should read their Bibles more. Was John sinning for publicly warning about Diontrephes in a letter for all the read for 2000 years. Or how about Paul publicly rebuking Peter in a letter for all to read? The Bible is filled with warnings about false teachers. But then, I guess Paul and John were just gossips that ignored Matt 18.

    ” Unfortunately for you, doing so could land you in court. As you said yourself, he is a lawyer, and if I was him, you would be receiving a summons tomorrow if time permitted.”

    Sounds like someone who knows DP pretty well.. and ignores 1 Corinthians 6, too.

  36. K. Says:

    I would like to make a couple of comments on the below statement:

    “which women are completely dominated by husbands, and daughters are deprived of higher education and careers of any kind.”

    1. I am not COMPLETELY dominated by my husband (I am a submissive wife to the leader of the household who loves me as CHrist loves the church and;

    2. Our daughter (and her many friends) chose not to go to college and get a “higher” education as she felt what point was it when her prayer was to be a wife and mother? What kind of career would she have as she was raising all of her children that God has blessed she and her husband with?

    I am sorry is there a crime being committed in this? EESH! It is just an opinion that a certain group of people have – Again, I am not telling you to do it but allow those of us who desire to live this way to do so!

  37. Jen Says:

    Yes, K, Little Bear told us what happened between him and Doug. I would never presume such a thing.

    Please understand that this blog is not about dissecting everything that Doug teaches or believes. I fully realize there will be all sorts of differences of opinions on those issues and there is a time and place for them as well. But it is the unrepentant and continual sin that we are calling Doug to repent from here. It is the abuse that we are warning others about.

    No, K, it is not a crime to believe in Patriarchy. It is a gross sin when Doug uses that particular belief in an extra-biblical manner to excommunicate me for something I did not do. I am accused of not submitting to my husband (which I don’t think is an excommunicable offense to begin with), but Doug has never been able to give me even one example of my being unsubmissive. Instead, because of HIS views of Patriarchy, he then assumes that all problems in the marriage are the wife’s fault, so I MUST be unsubmissive.

    Do you see the difference?

  38. Ann Says:

    Jen,
    I just read on your regular blog from 8/20/06 your documentation of the past four churches you attended. Looks like the 4th one was LBW’s church. You wrote:

    Church #4 ~ Although we had major doctrinal disagreements when we agreed to attend this church for six months, the love of Christ that permeates that church was what drew us there. However, when they started a series on how you can lose your salvation, we had to draw the line. Eternal security is a major doctrinal issue, but we still have many good friends from this church.

    We will stand on only what God’s Word says.

    Should doctrinal differences divide us? Yes, if they compromise the truth of the gospel of God’s Word. Yes, when it comes to choosing a church, if a doctrinal error is consistently being taught from the pulpit and it is enough to cause either confusion or irritation.”

    The fact that this church taught against the doctrine of Eternal Security was enough reason for you to discontinue fellowship there.

    Coud this also be the reason Doug discontinued selling LBW’s products in his catalog? Doug as a “reformed” believer would believe in Eternal Security, and as you said “you drew the line.” Maybe Doug did too???? Just a thought.
    Ann

  39. Esther Says:

    “Coud this also be the reason Doug discontinued selling LBW’s products in his catalog? Doug as a “reformed” believer would believe in Eternal Security, and as you said “you drew the line.” Maybe Doug did too???? Just a thought.”

    Why would DP sell those materials all that time and have a close relationship with this man and not know this if it were true?

    Obviously he has no problem with the Mrs. Binoculars/Fed up websites and those sites should be enough for any Christian to ‘draw the line’. Especially since they broadcast a privately confessed information that should never have been made public by the ‘pastor’ to his friend Matt Chancey and his interns. Shameful!

  40. K. Says:

    I am sorry there is more I need to say here:

    I used to work out of the home for YEARS while my children were young. In fact, I did not homeschool until our oldest was 11. My kids were in the public school (and by the way I was a secretary in a middle school and it was HORRIBLE!)When we moved and decided to homeschool I realized how much I had missed out on my children and on my husband. The blessings of children and the helpmeet part to my husband – oh and yes, the “s” word. Anyway, I have been on both sides of the fence – working mother who was criticized by church members for not being home with my children and now homeschool mom with lots of children we have been since blessed with – and criticized by church members for not having a “career” or higher education. My husband and I are on oru “second” family so-to-speak. Our oldest married and had her first baby last month. (baby last month, married last year :) )

    I am very thankful for the ministry of DP as well as LBW – different ministries but still revealing. I especially appreciate DP and how our family has come to better in a more cohesive, loving and honoring family unit.

  41. Ann Says:

    Hope you don’t mind a quote by a Godly man from the past:

    Jonathan Edwards in his exposition on 1 Cor 13, convicts of our sin when we are pleased to hear evil of others,

    “Some are always so ready to catch up an ill report that it seems to be pleasing to them to hear evil of others. Their spirit seems greedy of it; and it is, as it were, food to the hunger of their depraved hearts. They feed on it as carrion birds do on the worst of flesh. They easily and greedily take it in as true without examination, thus showing how contrary they are in character and conduct to him of whom Psalm 15:1-3 speaks as dwelling in God’s tabernacle and abiding in his holy hill, and of whom he declares that “he taketh not up a reproach of his neighbor.” They show also that they are rather like “the wicked doer’ who “giveth heed to false lips,” and as the “liar’ who “giveth ear to a naughty tongue.” , From, “Charity and It’s Fruits”, P182

  42. Esther Says:

    “Jonathan Edwards in his exposition on 1 Cor 13, convicts of our sin when we are pleased to hear evil of others,”

    Ann, have you sent this quote to Mrs Binoculars and Fed up? Are you not shocked that DP has not publicly spoken out against such slander, lies and sensationalism that his interns and good friend Matt Chancey have posted about Jen? Is Doug not a pastor? How could he condone this by linking to Mrs. Binoculars from VF?

  43. Jen Says:

    Ann, I would hope that no one here would be “pleased” to hear evil of others. This is not a site for gossip. I will say it again: I am here to WARN others and call Doug to repentance. This is simply step three of Matthew 18. I do not detect a spirit of glee from anyone here when they hear of sin in another Christian’s life.

  44. K. Says:

    How could he condone this by linking to Mrs. Binoculars from VF?

    Where is the link to Mrs. B. from VF – I could not find it.

  45. Vik Says:

    Hi, Esther; you said:
    “Looks as if more homeschoolers should read their Bibles more.”

    Did you really mean to say, “homeschoolers”? Or is there another aspect I’m missing here? What does homeschooling have to do with it? I’m not mad or anything, just wondering why you think homeschoolers don’t read their Bibles. I homeschool… er, home educate. Know somethin’ I don’t???
    ———————————–
    I’m not sure that I would have blitzed out this email, actually. Since so many of the people on the receiving end don’t know the whole story or know all of Doug’s antics, it could definitely come across as gossip or downright slander. I know it isn’t, but I can see how many would think so.
    ————————–
    Sounds like I’m the only one in agreement with LBW’s docrinal stance on Eternal Security ;-) though I don’t believe you can “lose” your salvation like you lose your car keys (hmmm, lost my salvation, now where did I put it?) :-)

  46. Corrie Says:

    That is a great quote by Edwards. It seems that DP and Co. at BCA were very eager to believe the evil reports about the Epsteins and to base an excommunication on these evil reports.

    Now the Epsteins can’t even fellowship at church because Doug readily spreads his evil reports to people who are willing to listen to it.

    Honestly, this is so hypocritical. You can’t make that quote from Edwards be a rebuke to the Epsteins without it first being a rebuke to Doug and all of his loyal followers. Look at the sites that went up that delighted in all the juicy gossip concerning the Epsteins?

  47. Vik Says:

    WHISTLE BLOWERS!
    Jen and Mark are handling their blog in the exact same manner as the people in this link are handling/have handled Hank Hanegraaff–telling their stories. Detailed testimonies of what happened, with Hank behaving even worse than Doug, if you can imagine that.

    The entire thing is worth reading (it’s lengthy). If you scroll about half-way down, there begins “A Trail of Wounded People”. They were all totally humiliated and devastated by Hank *for doing the right thing*. Don’t tell me they should have all remained silent. Thank God for Whistle Blowers.

    http://waltermartin.org/cri.html

  48. Pensees Says:

    Everyone reading this blog who is inclined to defend Doug Phillips, needs to give careful consideration to the Allasaur issue. This has nothing to do with Jen, but raises a serious concern about DP’s integrity.

    Set aside the ad hominem responses to Jen, and respond in this forum about the Allasaur video.

  49. Brandon Giromini Says:

    K:

    Look at the 3 links on the bottom of the page, which point to Matthew Chancey’s hit piece/wild conspiracy.

    Vision Forum calls Chancey an “independent investigator.” You can read more about Matthew Chancey’s “independent” status, at my blog

    Jennifer, I still stand by my suggestion that the racism section is a passive accusation and should have never been included. Also, you never corrected the statement about why the Allosaur movie was removed from the catalog.

  50. Jean Says:

    Jen,

    As much as I dislike the fact that such a letter has to be written and sent, you have done the right thing. The difficult thing to be sure, but it’s the right thing.

    You wrote: “While well intentioned, the family integrated church movement, much like the patriarchy movement, has too often shown itself to be extremist, self-righteous and divisive… the Family Integrated Church movement has become a “program” in itself and has caused a number of church splits.”

    This speaks to a very real danger (and only one of the handful in your email) and I applaud you for warning others. It looks like reactions to this letter were a real mixed bag. I am encouraged by comments like:

    Ohio: “Thank you for a warning and for a look at the non public side. I would have never known this and I will take it as information to validate. Thank you for being brave enough to caution against a leader. Sometimes I think homeschoolers follow blindly.”

    California: “Thank you for the information. It helps to be reminded that we need to stay alert.”

    Georgia: “Thank you so much for the warning. Please realize that this is a matter of spiritual warfare.”

    Florida: ” As long time supporters of Vision Forum (and the Christian Men’s and Boy’s Titanic Society before that!), we were dismayed by your unsolicited e-mail. Nonetheless, we felt compelled to research what you had written…thank you for your courage in sending the e-mail out…I think you are doing the Body of Christ a huge service by exposing these sins…”

    There is a general tone in all of the supportive responses to your email to homeschool leaders that needs to be echoed clearly here. It is one of gratitude for the heads-up, and of a call to faithfully sift teachings of men through scripture; and tirelessly validate information for oneself. These appear to be mature, grounded repsonses from fellow believers and homeschoolers.

    There is also a general tone from those who oppose your initiative. Overall, they seem defensive and whiny to me which gives their responses an immature spin and leads me to believe they are blind followers of whoever sounds good at the moment (a trend among homeschoolers unfortunately).

    I really hope that your story will cause believers, and specifically homeschoolers, to practice the diligent sifting of all teaching through scripture for themselves. We need more Bereans!

    Have a pleasant day, Jen!

    Jean

  51. K. Says:

    No, K, it is not a crime to believe in Patriarchy. ”

    Quoted from your letter: “Doug Phillips is known as a significant leader of “Patriarchy,” a movement which seeks to restore homes and churches to an idyllic antebellum image, a time of chivalrous gentlemen and ladies in fluffy dresses. However, just below the surface of this superficial “Gone With The Wind” veneer lurks a far less honorable side. Doug Phillips often challenges radical feminism, and he’s right to do so. However, the solution to radical feminism isn’t a shift to the opposite extreme. Phillips’ views aren’t “complementarian,” or even just patriarchal, but rather hyper-patriarchal, a world in which women are effectively treated as doormats and not permitted to have any opinions of their own. Phillips’ patriarchy vision is an autocratic pseudo-feudal world in which women are completely dominated by husbands, and daughters are deprived of higher education and careers of any kind.”

    Jen: I stand by my comment: You are nto just attacking “Doug’s sin” as you say . . . You ARE attacking patriarchy . . . and here is more:

    ” While well intentioned, the family integrated church movement, much like the patriarchy movement, has too often shown itself to be extremist, self-righteous and divisive. Rather than seeking to reform churches from within and wean them from being “programmatic,” the Family Integrated Church movement has become a “program” in itself and has caused a number of church splits. Though Doug Phillips has spoken on “how leave a church honorably,” much of the fruit of the Family Integrated Church movement has been anything but honorable.”

    Jen what church are you in again? And why are you not in a church?

    “Yours for Christian Education”

    UMMM – Jen – I do not think “homeschooling is at risk for a bad reputation” because of DP or anyone else for that matter. However I will comment that this letter makes us homeschoolers look pretty bad . . .
    and that is why I made my comments:

  52. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Actually, homeschooling IS gaining a bad reputation. The average Christian “man on the street” is coming to equate homeschooling with racism, willful ignorance, and participation in religious cults, and this perception is growing. Ask around, or take a look around the internet.

  53. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Actually, K, Jen is attacking hyper patriarchy, as she said in the paragraph which YOU just quoted. Nice try.

  54. SWSmith Says:

    I responded above to the April 24, 2007 – Jen letter BEFORE I had a fuller understanding of this whole situation. I deeply regret that I have participated in what is clearly a bitter, sad situation for some individuals. Regardless of the precise details presented on this site, this is a matter that DOES NOT deserve such a public airing on a website or blog. Despite some comments to the contrary, there is no way the litany of complaints described herein are anything other than gossip and slander. I encourage others to refrain from making my mistake – commenting without clear and full understanding – leave this matter to the parties involved and don’t fan the flames by participating in comment here.

  55. Ann Says:

    SWSmith,

    I wholehearted agree with you.

    We have confidence that the Lord’s Will WILL be done:)

    Peace,
    Ann

  56. Email from Home School Leader Says:

    While it may be true that you definitely have some major disagreements with Doug Philips, I do not think that it was appropriate to use the home school leaders mailboxes to further your discontent with Mr. Philips. As a support group leader, I feel invaded upon with only your side of the story, which I didn’t ask to hear about or be involved in in the first place.

    I also don’t believe that is it your place to “get the whole world” involved in your dispute. I do believe that if we seek the Lord, and cry out to Him (the God of all Justice), He will vindicate those whom He wills need vindication and expose/chastise those whom He wills need chastisement.

  57. Lawdog Says:

    email From Virginia said, “I don’t know how many people you sent this to, but I would watch my door for the delivery of a summons. You successfully committed liable and slander during this email.”

    Jen, the issues that you’ve raised about Doug Phillips are certainly derogatory, but derogatory statements don’t constitute “liable” [sic] “and slander.” Libel or slander arise from defamation. For derogatory statements to arise to defamation they must be shown to be false. But even if any of your statements can be shown to be false, defamation generally isn’t an actionable offense. In other words you generally can’t sue someone just for defamation. Phillips would have to sue you for libel.

    Libel (not “liable”) is defamation committed by a durable medium (i.e. some form of publication, such as email, letter, blog, etc.). Slander is defamation committed by some transitory method (i.e. phone conversation, etc.).

    If Doug Phillips were to sue you he’d sue for libel. In order to make his case, one of the first things he’d have to prove is that his reputation was materially harmed. That’s much harder to prove than it may sound like because hard evidence must be brought into court. Where would such evidence come from other than the testimony of witnesses that he would have to produce? Just imagine the logistical problems there. Furthermore, if he was seeking monetary damages he’d have to show that his business had been materially harmed and suffered financial loss as a direct result. Again, this is much harder to prove than it may sound like. Speculation isn’t admissable as evidence. Hard dollar numbers and the evidence to back it up would have to be proven in court.

    However, since Doug Phillips would easily qualify in the law as a “public figure,” any proven defamation, and any proven financial harm and loss of reputation that directly came from it, would also have to be shown to have been made knowingly and with intent to cause harm. In other words, even if it could be shown that any of your statements about Doug Phillips legally qualified as defamation, it would have to be proven that you knew that the statements that you made were false, but you made them anyway, and that you did so with the intent to cause him harm.

    Therefore, in this type of case the question of intent would have to be answered. Intent is often one of the most difficult things to prove in a court because, in most cases, the accused simply will not confess that they had any malicious intent against the plaintiff. In your own case your email has plainly stated what your intent was. Your intentions are obviously not malicious. “We’re not motivated by vengeance. We’re motivated by a genuine concern for the well-being of the Christian home school movement.”

    In addition to all this we have to take into consideration that many courts consider bloggers to be members of the Press, with all of the legal protections afforded the Press by the First Amendment. Blogging, being a new and explosive area of growth in the internet, it’s also a new area of law that many lawyers are eager to get in on the action. Many legal questions about blogging remain unsettled, and not one that a plaintiff should be eager to test the waters with and potentially set a bad legal precedent for other potential similar plaintiffs. It also happens to be a very “hot” topic of legal discussion in the Press, as we saw in the Ligonier Ministries vs. Frank Vance case. Vance apparently had numerous First Amendment law firms volunteer to represent him pro bono. If Doug Phillips sued the Epsteins for libel they’d probably soon receive the same offers for free legal representation.

    To sum up, in order to make a case against the Epsteins, Doug Phillips would have to show that:
    1. The Epsteins made derogatory statements against Doug Phillips publicly.
    2. The statements made were false.
    3. The Epsteins knew those statements were false, but they made them anyway.
    4. The Epsteins’ intentions were malicious — to harm and injure Doug Phillips’ public reputation and business.

    It looks to me like you’ve probably retained some legal counsel because your email appears to have been reviewed by a lawyer. From what I can see you didn’t cross the line of libel. If Phillips did want to sue you he’d have an extraordinarily complex and difficult case to make. The expense to him would be enormous, and his odds of winning would be remote. The loss of such a case would become widely known in short order and would be devastating to his business.

    Phillips would also be opening himself up to Discovery. With all the skeletons in his closet (yes, pun intended, re Allosaur) he’d be wise to avoid suing you or anyone else for statements they’ve published about him, unless he’s first extremely confident of being able to disprove those allegations. Nevertheless, even if he can show in court that these allegations are false, he must still show you intended to harm him. I don’t see any evidence in any of your writing that could show that you had any such intentions.

    None of this is to say that Phillips might not sue you anyway. People sue one another everyday when they don’t have a chance of winning their case. Phillips is an attorney, so he of all people should know he doesn’t have a case. But then again maybe he doesn’t understand that. Doug Phillips hasn’t practiced law in years, and even what he did practice through HSLDA wouldn’t have included any practical courtroom experience that would be in any way remotely related to libel law. Phillips may just be ignorant enough to believe that could win such a case.

    If he does sue you he’d not only lose legally, I think his biggest loss would be with his own patrons and supporters. Long before the court announced a judgment his own patrons and supporters would judge him in the court of public opinion. Christians tend to take a very dim view of Christians suing Christians. I’m a lawyer and I disdain it as much as anybody.

  58. Esther Says:

    Vik, If you read some of the responses you will see people referring to the letter as gossip or even saying that Jen should just pray and let God handle it.

    If you read the rest of my statement you would see that is not what scripture teaches. We are to rebuke publicly false teachings and false teachers. We are to warn. We are to contend for the truth of the Gospel. There are warnings all through the NT and the book of Jude is all about false teachers.

    Jen would be remiss if she did not warn about Phillips and his unscriptural handling of this whole thing. He has been shameful. People do not like to have their idols torn down.

    If people dig enough they will definitly question DP’s character when it comes to the Allosaur. When he and some other homeschoolers literally ruined Mr. Taylor financially.

    One homeschooler gets it who wrote: “If you follow Mr. Phillips or any man, you cannot follow Jesus as you should. Listen to a Pastor and examine what he has to say in light of the scriptures. But do not swear allegiance or give deference to any one other than Christ.”

    Vik, I have no allegiance to Jen. I have only allegiance to Jesus Christ. Unless we are Bereans we will blindly follow false teachers. False teachers are usually subtle and charismatic. People want to be like them. And quite frankly, they are everywhere. From Rick Warren, Billy Hybels, Sproul, Jr. and DP…they are all around us.

    Jen won’t win any popularity contests. As a matter of fact, she will take quite a bit of abuse and snide arrogance about her ‘motives’ and even about the facts! But I have noticed that these same people do not question DP’s motives. Even with glaring facts.

    Folks, we no longer have a high priest we must go through. Even ‘women’ can go directly to Christ and His Word.

  59. Lynn Says:

    Lawdog, thanks for the reminders about what constitutes defamation, and the distinctions between libel and slander.

    A lawyer I’m acquainted with by e-mail groups once told some of us that proving damage could be bypassed if what you were doing is suing for something called defamation per se:

    “In order to establish defamation, you must have a false statement knowingly or recklessly made, published to third parties which causes damage. You can bypass the damages requirement if you show that the statement amounted to defamation per se. Defamation per se involves the false allegation of a crime, a loathsome disease, or a lack of chastity. The primary defense to defamation is truth. In other words, if the defense proves the allegations
    true, or even colorably true, there is no defamation. The secondary defense to defamation is opinion. In other words, if the statement made was one of opinion, there is no defamation.”

    Other than I don’t know what is meant by “colorably true,” I think that is pretty clear.

  60. Curious Says:

    Jen:

    I have been reading the comments here for a while and I just came across the latest statement from BCA regarding your dealings with Faith PCA. What can you tell me about these new revelations? You have been saying that Doug Phillips refused to deal with Peace Makers when in fact BCA says Faith never discuss Peace Makers with them?

    http://www.boernechristianassembly.org

    Thanks for answering these questions

  61. Still Not Trusting Says:

    Proverbs 18:17
    The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him.
    ————-

    Well the otherside has made it’s case and it looks to me like it has more than a ring of truth to it.

    http://boernechristianassembly.org/faith.html

    It seems that you (Jen) have been lying about FPC’s role in this and what exactly took place while you were attending there.

    Somehow I don’t expect this comment to go through but I’d love to hear what you have to say for yourself!

    Still Not Trusting (the Epsteins)

  62. Esther Says:

    “The Epsteins responded to this godly admonition by: (a) refusing to meet with the elders; and (b) demonstrating hostility, disrespect, dishonesty, and vengeance, even as they had previously responded to the loving admonitions of their former congregation at BCA.”

    Funny, I could say the exact same thing above about Doug Phillips and his dealings with the Epsteins! Doug is describing himself!

    One has to wonder why Jennifer let this comment go through? Why indeed.

    A ‘ring’ of truth? Know anything about the Allosaur and the lengths Phillips went to on that one? The man is diabolical and he expects you to believe it because he is an ‘authority’…an ‘elder’ and a ‘patriarch’. Yet, he condoned Mrs.Binoculars and Fed up. Explain that one to me…please!

  63. Lucy Says:

    Esther, didn’t those two websites come up after the inital article from Ministry Watchman?

  64. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “A ‘ring’ of truth? Know anything about the Allosaur and the lengths Phillips went to on that one? The man is diabolical and he expects you to believe it because he is an ‘authority’…an ‘elder’ and a ‘patriarch’. Yet, he condoned Mrs.Binoculars and Fed up. Explain that one to me…please!”

    Rahab’s Lie?

  65. Still Not Trusting Says:

    Wow Cynthia the fact that 2 churches have the same opinion of the Epsteins has no weight to you at all does it?

    Well I guess birds (rebels) of a feather flock together.

    Repent the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand

    Still Not Trusting (the Epsteins)

  66. Lynn Says:

    Probably not written by Doug Phillips, but who knows:

    “In an effort to encourage the repentance of the Epsteins, the elders of Faith PCA admonished the Epsteins to remove all defamatory writings form the Internet and to cease and desist from wrongful behavior, defamatory writings, and sowing discord among brothers. While paying lip service to this directive and feigning compliance, the Epsteins defiantly disregarded the directive. They declined to remove all of their offensive material,”

    Oh, man, this is too funny, when you stop and think that mrsbinoculars was left up that whole time! WHO IN THE WORLD DO THEY THINK THEY ARE FOOLING WITH THIS NONSENSE???

    We saw Jen’s site go down! We saw mrsbino left up!!!

    You think mrsbino isn’t defamatory? You think Jen’s nose is like that picture? Get an eye appointment if you do!

    What a joke that link is. Once again, no specific information, a long history of Doug canceling meetings, accusing Mark and Jen of the same, Doug accusing them of not taking down sites and continuing with internet stuff all the while mrsbino left up, and VF linking to mrsbino, and the FPC bound by its statement that it will acknowledge a previous church’s discipline.

    Thanks for the laugh!

  67. Still Not Trusting Says:

    One itty bitty difference Lynn

    Mrs Binoculars is truth and Mark and Jen’s blogs are well spun lies.

    But her why let a little thing like facts get in your way.

    Still Not Trusting (the Epsteins)

    PS Yes everyone can see that it is Jen in that Picture

  68. Elizabeth Giromini Says:

    Still Fed Up, I mean Still Not Trusting:
    “a conspirator was apprehended and formally punished for helping Jennifer Epstein … has currently fled the country to a non-extradition nation”
    What on Earth? I’d like to see BCA try and supply a name and proof on that one!

  69. BillR Says:

    I am from the San Antonio area and neither attend the church where Doug Phillips is an elder or Faith PCA. However, I have visited Faith PCA in the past and I know that their leadership is made up of some very godly men whom I would greatly trust.

    I have never been to BCA but from what I understand their assembly is much different in terms of structure and what they allow so I assumed there could be some major differences that could have lead to the Epsteins troubles.

    Now that I have found out that Faith PCA, a more traditional church, has also found the Epsteins to be wicked and in need of repentance, I have no choice but to think very poorly of them.

    I would suggest taking down your website and seeking forgivness for your actions Jen! It is not right what you are doing and it is obviously very dishonest.

    I base these comments off of this article I have just read…

  70. Lucy Says:

    Actually, Lynn, (if we’re talking about the same period) during this blog’s “down” stage, the articles were gone, but you could still read every one of the scanned letters and documents that passed between BCA and the Epsteins. For example, Jen’s “defense” was still readable and it contains just about all of the accusations she makes against Doug today. Hardly compliance in it’s truest form….

    By the way, when you say that Doug “condoned” Mrsbino, what do you mean? I think someone asked on the last thread whether or not Doug was on record responding to it or linking to it, and as far as I can tell, the question was never answered.

  71. Lucy Says:

    Hey, Still Not Trusting – linking to mrsbino doesn’t help…. you have to admit some of the content (and the time spent on it) isn’t really defensible, either.

  72. Jen Says:

    Thanks for informing me about the new article on the BCA website. I see that Doug wrote this article, although it is unsigned. I would be very glad to respond to all these allegations and will do so in a forthcoming article. I will not be responding to any questions here until I write my response, but you are welcome to discuss it here. Remember that there are always two sides to every story and that while it may seem believable at first, the truth will rise in the end!

  73. Praying For Reconciliation Says:

    Proverbs 18:17
    The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him.
    ————-
    Well the otherside has made it’s case and it looks to me like it has more than a ring of truth to it.

    Thanks for reminding us of that. Just one problem Still Not Trusting. The Epsteins never publicly detailed the events of their FPC experience. Why? Not because they have anything to hide.

    Esther said, “One has to wonder why Jennifer let this comment go through? Why indeed.”

    The “why” is because the Epsteins have nothing to hide from. It’s unfortunate that Phillips has now opened this can of worms. This will force the Epsteins to publicly address a subject that will be very embarrassing to FPC. The only reason the Epsteins haven’t addressed it before is because they weren’t interested in dragging a Presbyterian church into this mess. They were trying to do the honorable thing, even though FPC did them dirty. They were still holding out some hope that the FPC session would issue them an apology. Now they won’t be able to wait around for that.

    Jen, I appreciate the fact that, because you’ve got nothing to hide from, you approve practically all comments, unlike the blogs of Phillips’ defenders.

    It’s a pity that Phillips posted that new article on his church’s web site. What a mess he’s just created for himself, and unfortunately now FPC has just gotten drug into it as well.

  74. Debbie from CA Says:

    Long-time lurker here. I have a dear friend and sister in Christ who knows and idolizes this man, and has adopted his hyper-patriarchal standards. The result? Rebellious children, family estrangement, abuse and incest.

    I see the homeschool movement reacting in fear at losing one of their key leaders. They panic at the evil oozing beneath the rug as Jen rightly exposes it to daylight. Cultish leaders operate with fear, darkness and intimidation. How about a strong leader who also demonstrates love and grace?

    As far as the link with his reactionary response, I see nothing substantial or note-worthy. Repeatedly accusing someone of lying without proof or example does nothing for me. And Jen already explained how her subsequent churches suggested she repent for repentance sake alone, even though she was without guilt. I don’t remember that lesson from any Bible studies.

    Thank you, Jen. You may save others the pain and devastation my friend has suffered and continues to suffer. I pray her eyes might be opened with your words.

  75. Frank Says:

    How do you know Doug wrote this article? That isn’t even close to how Doug Phillips writes. As a student of studying human behavior, and specially writing styles, that claim is quite far from even being close to the truth. Its written very similar to the other BCA letter, which was done by someone named Bob Sarratt — whom is an elder at BCA and has been for several months now as I have been told recently informed.

    You’re not trying to spread untruth, are you Jen? This is clearly not a letter by Doug Phillips. I would doubt Phillips spends very much time related to your website, actually. A man as busy as someone like Phillips probably has other folks that would handle all of that so he can focus on his business / church / ministry related endeavors . He probably knows very little about what is going on other than on an advisory level I would estimate. He probably doesn’t even read your site by choice. He has a lot of other things he would consider more important.


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