Vision Forum: Culture of Deception by Doug Phillips’ Example?

“Mom, that was such a great birthday present!” ~~Natasha Epstein

Vision Forum’s widely advertised Open House on Saturday, April 21, 2007, promised lots of excitement and fun. With exclusive book signings, clearance specials, and workshops planned, this event portended a large turnout. Complete with refreshments and decorations and cops, it was a gala event.

Wait a minute! Did I say “cops?” What were the cops doing at a Vision Forum Open House? The last time we went to one of their Open Houses, there were several hundred people in attendance, but I don’t remember seeing any cops. In fact, I’ve attended many Vision Forum events and I don’t recall ever seeing any cops.

Oh, well, let’s get on with our coverage of this grand event. It seems that things were a little slow ’round about mid-afternoon. Vision Forum announced on their web site and their email list that Doug would be doing a book signing from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM. Anyone who wanted to meet Doug should have had no trouble doing so between those hours. Then the excitement suddenly began to pick up. In fact, for Doug Phillips, things suddenly got very exciting. Exciting as in heart-pumping, adrenaline-rush “Oh no! What do I do?” exciting. They say that a man’s true character is best shown when the veneer of his superficial exterior is suddenly stripped away by an event that catches him totally off-guard. That’s exactly what happened to Doug last Saturday.

The significant thing that I want my readers to see from this story is the fact that not only is Doug Phillips a deceiver, and that he told a whopper of a lie, Doug Phillips has created an entire culture of institutionalized deception within Vision Forum. Not only did perpetrate a deception last Saturday at the Vision Forum offices in front of multiple witnesses, including his own wife, he orchestrated the broader deception by instructing his staff that were present to lie for him, too. They all knew that he was on the premises, but they deceived someone who came there looking for him with “He’s not here.” Like the “honorable” people that Doug has trained them to be, they were only too eager to assist with Doug’s duplicity.

The following is the story of two people who were in attendance Saturday afternoon with Doug Phillips, ever so briefly, prior to being escorted off the premises. The one was a legal process server. The other is my daughter, Natasha. At the request of the process server and his company, I have blurred their names on the official notarized legal affidavit.

This entire incident took place on Natasha’s birthday. She called to tell me that Doug had given her one of the best birthday presents she’d ever received. Natasha now wants to reciprocate Doug’s thoughtfulness by including her personal testimony in this article.

Process Server: “Location is a business, Vision Forum. I first arrived at 3:07 PM. It appears they were having an open-house style function to develop more business. A man wearing a yellow Polo-style shirt greeted me as I entered the main entrance. The man appeared to me to be a security person. I mentioned I had a delivery for Mr. Phillips and he directed me to a young man named Peter [Last Name Unknown]. When I told Peter I had a personal delivery for Mr. Phillips, I was escorted down a few stairs into a warehouse-looking storage area. A table was positioned sideways in front of where I stood. There, I met Joshua Wean, CFO for Vision Forum, Inc., standing with three ladies. He stated he could sign for anything being delivered. At this point I informed him I was a process server and needed to deliver to Doug Phillips personally. I was escorted by Peter and Joshua into an office, apparently so as not to disturb the function and to discuss the situation privately. A person dressed in a Hollywood Park Police Officer uniform also stood inside the office door as we spoke. Joshua insisted he was able to sign for all company business. I informed him that what I have is addressed to Doug Phillips, not Vision Forum, therefore, as a process server I could not and did not feel comfortable leaving the package with him, since I did not know the contents of the documents being delivered. I then stated, “All I need to do is hand Mr. Phillips the letter and depart. Mr. Phillips won’t have to sign for anything.” Joshua and Peter wanted to know what the letter was about. I stated that it had something to do with a dispute over a movie or video, but that I didn’t know the specific details since I hadn’t read the letter. (I had put the letter it into an envelope and sealed it, before making the delivery.) At this point, Joshua discussed scheduling the delivery for Sunday or Monday. I said it would be illegal for me to deliver the documents on Sunday; however, I would make a call to get permission for Monday. I made the call and was told the package needed to be delivered that day because Doug Phillips was supposed to be there. I asked if Doug was on the premises and Joshua stated “Doug was scheduled to leave at 2:00 PM for another engagement”. By this time it was already approximately 3:15 PM, well past the time that Joshua told me that Doug was scheduled to leave. However, I was suspicious about this, since I had been specifically instructed that my best time to catch Doug Phillips at the event would be between 2:00 and 4:30 PM. It was because of that information that I arrived at 3:07 PM, to make sure that I would make an attempt during the time specified in my instructions. Joshua then made a phone call. Based upon the content of the conversation, it appeared to me that he was talking to Doug Phillips. Joshua asked him, “Are you still here?” After a few moments while Joshua listened, a response was relayed through Joshua, who asked, “Where are the documents from?” I informed them that I didn’t know for sure, but I could open the letter in front of everyone to determine where it was from if that would be agreeable to Mr. Phillips. (I made this offer with the understanding that the person on the phone was Doug Phillips, and that he was giving his permission for me to open and read the document). It was relayed through Joshua that I should open and read the letter to find out who it was from. I opened the letter and said it was from Joe Taylor at Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum. After a few “OKs” and “That’s what I needed,” Joshua hung up the phone. Joshua then stated “Mr. Phillips is not here.” He also said Doug Phillips would not be accepting anything from Joe Taylor and that all documents needed to be directed to their attorney. Joshua looked up and gave me the info for the attorney on a sticky yellow note. Don Hart, 7389 FM 3405 Liberty Hill, TX 78642. I shook hands with Joshua and Peter, thanked them, departed and called my superiors.”

Natasha: “The process server came and went, and then a friend and I showed up and walked in the doors around 4:15 PM. The first people we saw were the Ringers. I spotted Doug right behind them signing a book. I only saw one other family in attendance. The Ringers kept staring at me and whispering, and right after that, Doug looked my way and immediately bolted into his office. Some guy I didn’t recognize followed him. Beall peeked around the corner and saw me and whipped out her cell and started talking on it while she looked at me a couple times. This all happened within 2 minutes of my walking in the door. As soon as that all happened I called the process server’s boss while I was still standing by the front door and she said the process server was going to call me. So I moved and browsed around and Peter Bradrick came and said hello to my friend and me. The process server called at that time and I told him that Doug was in the building but he was hiding and I gave him a description. He showed up a few minutes later and two little girls at the front door asked him to fill out some sheet to enter in a drawing, and then I showed him what Doug looked like in a video that they had playing on a TV in the lobby and he took description notes.”

Process Server: “Around 4:00 PM I received a call from my superiors, directing me to return to Vision Forum and meet with a young lady, last name of Epstein. I was told that Ms. Epstein knew for certain that Doug is at the function now and she could point him out to me. When I arrived at 4:15 PM, I met Miss Epstein inside the foyer entrance. She said that Doug Phillips had spotted her, recognized her, and immediately ducked inside the office to the right. Miss Epstein also said she was seen by Doug’s wife and would probably be asked to depart at any minute. Miss Epstein pointed to a video playing on the lobby TV. She said it was Doug, so I studied the video for a few moments.”

Natasha: “We stood there for about two minutes when Josh Wean and three other Vision Forum employees came over and Josh said that this was private property and was going to have to ask us to leave.”

Process Server: “Just as I was about to fully enter the main area, another man dressed in a yellow Polo-style shirt (security?) approached us, said that this was private property and that we would have to leave. As instructed, Miss Epstein and I quickly left the building.”

Natasha: “So we exited the building and I turned around as I was walking out the door and said, ‘Nice seeing you again, Josh.'”

Process Server: “Once outside, Peter, the man who asked us to leave, and another man stood in front of the doors as if preventing entry back into Vision Forum. I spoke to Miss Epstein and told her the parking lot was also considered private property and that we should leave before anything else happened.”

Natasha: “Then we walked over to the process server’s car and talked about it and he said there was nothing he could do at the the moment because private property trumped what he was doing and that maybe he could have someone else come over and give it to him now that he had a description and all. Peter Bradrick and two others stood outside this whole time watching us and waiting for us to leave, so then we got in our cars to leave.”

Process Server: “As I was driving away, Peter flagged me down to ask why I came back for a second time. I said someone had identified Doug Phillips at the function, after I had departed the first time, and was told they would identify him to me so that I could make the delivery. Peter asked who hired me to which I could not give him the answer since I did not know. I showed him the top portion of the letter addressed with Joe Taylor’s contact information. Peter then asked for my business card, which I gave him; then I drove away.”
__________________

The process server’s boss appreciated Natasha’s assistance in verifying that Doug was indeed on the premises, and visually identifying Mr. Phillips for the process server, since both the VF employees and Doug Phillips lied about him not being there.

According to the Texas Rules of Civil Process, a process server has every right and reason to be on a property to do the job they are appointed to do. As a lawyer, Doug knows that. Doug also knows that a process server is an “officer of the court.” Doug orchestrated a deception on an officer of the court.

What I don’t understand is why he was asking the process server to leave, based on the private property trump card, when he was supposedly conducting a business function that was open to the public.

With all Doug’s talk last week about Christian men needing to be armed, I wonder why he was so afraid of a 20 year old young lady that he felt the need to run and hide in his office when Natasha arrived. What also doesn’t make sense is why he would run away and lie, and have his employees lie for him, over a letter from Joe Taylor. Joe isn’t even suing Doug. But this kind of avoidance is SOP for Doug.

Doug’s deceptive actions, and the deceptive example he sets for his employees, should really make people wonder whether anything he says can be trusted.

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564 Responses to “Vision Forum: Culture of Deception by Doug Phillips’ Example?”

  1. K. Says:

    Corrie said:

    Concerning your above statement, I think of the Salem Witch Trials. I am not trying to be funny, either. There is a definite phenomenon that took place and still takes place. There were many respectable and credible people and people in positions of authority in the church who voted to put INNOCENT people to death. If you have ever studied this, you will see how this hysteria spread very fast and soon got out of control.

    Corrie; I feel like this attack on the Phillips family, VF etc. is a witch hunt itself.

  2. Joan Hathcote Says:

    “Red Ink”–Thanks for your thoughtful response to my question. I can see wisdom in the points you make.

    However, as someone who obviously uses the internet yourself, I wonder why you would single out this particular medium and say it’s not appropriate? If information is “kosher” for publication, shouldn’t the venue be kind of a non-issue? Or are you objecting to this particular online format, which is more like a discussion forum?

    I would agree with you in that I’m not fully convinced that this back-and-forth banter is all that productive…fascinating as it may be. I don’t see it, though, as any sort of “jury”–it’s not like Jen is ASKING for these comments to validate what she says. She just wants people to know what happened to her. And while I agree with you that official church discipline usually carries more credibility than anything on a blog, what do people do when said discipline is arbitrary or unfair? Particularly when the “pastor” involved is someone who has a lot of clout and might be the type of person to sway opinions by throwing his weight around?

  3. Jen Says:

    I just want to say that everyone’s comments here have helped me tremendously — both pro and con. They have caused me to stop and consider many different issues that had never crossed my mind before you brought them up. I also think the comment section allows for clarification of things that are not clear. Sometimes these discussions take some bunny trails which, at first, I tried to stop. Now, I see tremendous value in considering these issues as well. I take every comment here seriously, and I think some others do as well. My position has become much better defined in my own mind and heart than when I began this journey. Commenters are great people!

  4. Corrie Says:

    “Corrie; I feel like this attack on the Phillips family, VF etc. is a witch hunt itself.”

    K,

    I don’t think you really understand that term.

    The Salem Witch trials involved religious leaders falsely accusing those under them of certain sins and then punishing them. Some of them were put to death because of the false accusations from their own leaders.

    Jen came out with her story about how her church leaders treated her. This is not a “witch hunt”.

    But, we can look at the aftermath and see how people have reacted to this and what they have done to others and the great lengths they have gone to and that to me fits more with the description of a witch hunt.

    It seems you think that religious leaders can never be wrong and can’t be corrupt?

    I sure hope you hold your gurus to the same standards. Next time they rail against others who are “liberal” compared to their own brand of Christianity, I sure hope you remind them that they shouldn’t be running down other Christians like that.

  5. Red Ink Says:

    All:

    I appreciate your comments, and I want to respond to them. It’ll take me a little time, especially in light of the fact that Spiderman 3 is coming out today. *hooray*

    Just for the record, I don’t dispute any of the claims that what I said might be anti-Reformation and thus pro-Catholic. I’ve watched all of this so carefully, in part, because I’m trying to sort through many of these matters myself, and I am by no means settled. I believe authority is something we Americans misunderstand. I believe that this situation stems, in part, from this misunderstanding.

    I like the Eastern Church, and being an FVer and thus a damnable heretic, am also inclined to admire the cohesiveness of the Catholic church over against Protestantism. That being said, I don’t imagine we’ll agree on some of these points.

    As for the Salem Witch trials, you’re all right – the argumentum ad populum (I hate Latin names for these things – it’s INFORMAL logic, and Latin seems stuffy to me) does tend to reduct like that. But you know, ad populum reminds me of a few other things, like democracy, the US Judicial system, elder election standards, the ratification of the Nicene Creed…

    I could go on. I never said it was airtight. I just said that I’m inclined to believe a host of voices instead of one. That inclination requires a certain amount of evidence to squash, and I don’t believe the internet is capable of giving it. That’s all.

    As for your other points, all: I’m not ignoring the flaws in the Epstein’s communication. First, I’m trying to take this step by step; like I said, I could write a book about everything. Secondly, I’m not entirely convinced we have the entire story, so I’m trying to examine issues I /do/ know something about.

    Alas, I’m rambling. I’ll put something more comprehensive together in the next few days.

    Thanks,
    Redink (I like that.)

  6. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “2. I must confess I don’t know when it would be Ok for Jen to share her story. I would hope that she could quietly amass a case, gain the backing of a church, ANY CHURCH, and keep this off of the Internet. The sharing of her story has caused division, and not the good pruning kind. Doug is still around. People are flustered, upset and angry. ”

    Personally, I see nothing wrong with Jen sharing her story on a blog, but if she wanted to take it somewhere else as well, there are sites who make it their business to expose and warn the public about cults:

    http://www.rickross.com/

    http://www.cultwatch.com/

    http://www.howcultswork.com/

    .. to name a few. I’m not endorsing these sites, mind you, just provinding a sampling of what is available.

  7. Mark Epstein Says:

    Ann said: “Don’t you think Jen should check the facts thoroughly before ever posting anything, and make it a point to be very clear.”

    Ann, I’ve read you and your friends Lucy, Marie, and K. shoot from the lip (I mean hip) fairly often. Marie went on and on and on about “blocked out” signatures, when what she meant to say was “missing” signatures. That’s a big difference, wouldn’t you say.

    Again, the point is this: If you want to nitpick, there are more than a few people that can scrutinize your comments and apply to you the same amount of grace you extend to Jen. Frankly, I don’t think you would appreciate that type of treatment.

  8. Vik Says:

    At least Marie and Lucy (and Red Ink) have something to say. Seems K and Ann just want to grasp at straws with their teeny remarks and jabs that ask questions that have been answered ad nauseum. “Where is the document?” Where is that affidavit?” Show it to ‘em, and it’s more “Where’s this? “Where’s that?”

    If this is a waste of time, why the heck are you here, girls? And don’t tell me that you’ve never said something where you thought you had your facts straight, and realized later you missed something. Don’t even go there.

  9. Vik Says:

    Jen, before you took your other article down, I had a link that contained, of all people, Rushdooney. He wrote what I thought was an excellent article on what patriarchy is and is not. Whether he lives what he says, I know not, but his article was good, and *clear* unlike some writings about the subject.

    I don’t remember the website.

  10. Vik Says:

    Red ink said:
    “I like the Eastern Church, and being an FVer and thus a damnable heretic…”

    Nah. But regarding SPIDERMAN 3? We have to have a talk!

    (What is an “FVer”? Fickle Varmint? Frosty Vagrant? Fairy Vitamin?)

  11. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “And don’t tell me that you’ve never said something where you thought you had your facts straight, and realized later you missed something. Don’t even go there.”
    :D
    Vik, wouldn’t “going there” be pretty close to claiming “sinless perfection”?

  12. Jen Says:

    This Salem Witch Trial conversation reminds me of the first time I spoke with Little Bear, immediately after being excommunicated. After I showed him all the documents, the first thing he said to me was, “This reminds me of the Salem Witch Trials.” Coming from a historian, I thought that had some merit.

    FV = Federal Vision, and don’t even go there on this thread! It’s enough to say that Doug is against it, although several of his former interns are heavily into it.

  13. Red Ink Says:

    Jonathan said:

    so you believe the Epsteins received a fair trial?

    That’s just it – I don’t know what to believe. I don’t think I can decide, beyond a shadow of a doubt, one way or the other. I have at least two issues:

    1. Like I’ve said before, Jen’s blog proves nothing to me about what actually happened. It’s amazing to me how two people can earnestly and honestly recount the same event in two very different ways. We’ve seen back and forth here about actual printed comments, typed in electronic stone, that have spurred all sorts of misunderstanding. As much as Lynn likes to apply her logic to this, people are messy and irrational creatures and no amount of invocation of Latin can cut through that. People see things differently, and BCA hasn’t given us their side, and I can imagine plenty of reasonable and wise reasons why they haven’t.

    2. If I had to take a guess and whether it was fair, I would say it’s more complicated than the Epstein’s have made it out to be on this blog. I engaged briefly with Mr. Epstein in another thread concerning his definition and defense of what a “fair trial” is. I have several questions in particular that I don’t have answers to myself:

    a. What are the rules of evidence in a “fair trial?” It seems that arguments from inference, which are essential to Christian wisdom, would not be admitted to a trial conducted by Mr. Epstein. The Epsteins had accumulated five years of fruit, and the congregation was undoubtedly familiar with this fruit. I would find it odd if they could actually produce evidence of “lies” and “rebellion.” If, every time Jen or Mark lied or rebelled or were angry, somebody wrote it down, notarized it, and filed it away, that would be frightening to me.

    b. In terms of burden of proof, the biblical standard seems to me to be “on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” If I’m not mistaken, there were more witnesses than that to testify against the Epsteins. Perhaps the majority of the church body could have. I’m not sure.

    c. I understand the concerns about an in absentia trial. It seems a fair request, but I have two questions about that. It appears that Jen had a chance to defend herself in front of the church, to which end she even drafted and sent a letter. I realize that this doesn’t pertain specifically to the excommunication, but it appears that all of the same sins were at issue (please, Jen, correct me if I’m wrong). Also, in 1 Cor 5 Paul says concerning the immoral brother: “For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed.” I know that there are many differences between the situations, but does this at least open the door for the possibility of an in absentia trial?

    My point here is that we can’t simply say “the court system has standards and the Bible obviously has higher ones.” I think they’re different. While we can tell they are both a type of fruit, and maybe some of the principles of picking a good piece of fruit might apply to both, I’m of the opinion that they’re apples and oranges and that we need to think more about this.

  14. Vik Says:

    Jen said:
    “FV = Federal Vision, and don’t even go there on this thread!”

    Okay! Okay! I won’t!
    I don’t even know what it is, but I’m NOT ABOUT TO ASK on THIS THREAD!!!

    (hope wikipedia has some insight)

  15. Vik Says:

    Red Ink, suppose the Epsteins had never been born (okay that’s far reaching); what of Doug’s character sans the Epsteins? Lying about the Allosaur, stealing what belongs to others, taking credit due others, shunning children, his swiftness at turning against his own friends… that says something about his credibility. I mean, it’s to the point where you can tell when Doug is lying — it’s when his lips are moving. Not to mention allowing the display of a person’s sins–past or present–on the internet for billions of people to see (I never saw it; don’t know what they were and don’t wanna).

    The Epsteins like anyone else would do a few things differently, just like we all do in our 20/20 hindsight, but they never have tried to cover it up. Look at Doug. He uses people for his own gain. He’s using the Chanceys, and I don’t think he’d blink twice at turning on them if they questioned him even a little regarding this issue. But Jen allows herself to be called to task. And stays nice.

  16. Corrie Says:

    “Don’t you think Jen should check the facts thoroughly before ever posting anything, and make it a point to be very clear. Her words said she was in “too much of a hurry.” She wants it to be true, so why not take plenty of time checking it out and go over it with a fine-tooth comb before posting. Because when you post something, then take it down to fix something, it looks suspicious, in my opinion.”

    Not to me. It just looks like she is human.

    OTOH, do you see any admissions from the other side of the coin that would lead you to believe that they were human or made an errors?

    Now, that is suspicious.

  17. Red Ink Says:

    Vik:

    Sans Epsteins, well, I’m still not convinced. The Allosaur thing, as far as I can tell, is still complicated and disputed, and many sides haven’t had their say. Until I know more about the mediation, and why that was needed if things were so clear cut we could discern them easily on the internet, and why Mr. Taylor chose to violate the gag that accompanied it (unless he’s provided some explanation I haven’t seen), it sounds to me like it is reasonable not to come down on one side or the other. I’m unaware of the friends you say he’s turned against. If you mean Little Bear Wheeler, I believe the Epsteins were, charitably speaking, dead wrong about that.

    Mr. Phillips is also well respected by a host of people, and a good reputation speaks favorably of a man. Not conclusively – and I recognize that – but to me, in the face of inconclusive evidence, a choir of respected men is more convincing than a family such as the Epsteins. That’s why Proverbs encourages us to live uprightly and cherish a good reputation. It makes it easier when you need to be believed.

    I know: guilt (or innocence) by association, ad pop, et cet aliaque in aeternum, Amen. It’s just that I can’t syllogize anything Jen has given me, and Proverbs seems to favor wisdom and induction, reputation and fruit, over and against Logic and her many tangled truth trees. If I’m going to allow character as a witness, I see tons of respectable men and a few church bodies lining up on one side (and, admittedly, some trouble makers with them). On the other, I see Mrs. Epstein, and Mr. Taylor, and neither come with too terribly many commendations at this point. Which do I chose?

    I have a response for Lynn prepared. It also happens to be about a billion words long. I’ll hold off on it until tomorrow maybe, so Mrs. Epstein doesn’t think I’m hijacking her blog (I don’t want to let on until at least next week).

    Finally, I realize that I have been a bit rude in referring to Mrs. Epstein as “Jen.” Yes, I know this is your name, and I’m sure you don’t mind me using. But I’ve used formal titles and surnames for most everybody else, and you are a notable exclusion. I’m sorry. My bias is obviously showing – I’ll try to tuck it back in.

    Pro Boculum,
    Red Ink

  18. Jen Says:

    RedInk, please, feel free to call me Jen. I am really comfortable with that and I would like to feel that we are conversing on a friendly level.

    RedInk: “a. What are the rules of evidence in a “fair trial?” It seems that arguments from inference, which are essential to Christian wisdom, would not be admitted to a trial conducted by Mr. Epstein. The Epsteins had accumulated five years of fruit, and the congregation was undoubtedly familiar with this fruit. I would find it odd if they could actually produce evidence of “lies” and “rebellion.” If, every time Jen or Mark lied or rebelled or were angry, somebody wrote it down, notarized it, and filed it away, that would be frightening to me.”

    From my perspective, RedInk, I have only repeatedly asked that they simply give me one example of each sin of which I am accused. I don’t need the exact date, time, place, etc., but at least the circumstances should be easy enough. Everyone likes to tell a story, especially if it’s a juicy one! So, I’m asking them to tell the juicy gossip about me. If I have really done these things, it shouldn’t be so hard to find at least one person to tell a juicy story about me, don’t you think? For instance, I gave this challenge to Swordbearer John and he hasn’t been back since. Say something like this: “On October 29, 2004, Jen disagreed with her elder, Doug Phillips about who she should vote for for President. That is a sin because (chapter and verse). That is an excommunicable sin because (chapter and verse).”

    RedInk, it is very hard for me to repent when I have absolutely NO IDEA what I’ve done that was wrong. I keep saying that I’m willing to change, but I don’t know WHAT to change.

    RedInk: “b. In terms of burden of proof, the biblical standard seems to me to be “on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” If I’m not mistaken, there were more witnesses than that to testify against the Epsteins. Perhaps the majority of the church body could have. I’m not sure.”

    Witnesses to what? We have to go back to your first question now. Were there witnesses to a pattern of sin? Was there more than one witness to a specific sin? If so, what were those sins? What I saw was four “yes” men and their wives who were willing to go along with whatever Doug said, even though they had NO proof, NO evidence, NO stories, NO testimonies, and therefore NO witnesses. One of those four men actually did question the entire congregation and asked, “What if Jennifer is really telling the truth? What has she done wrong?” Doug quickly shut him up and that was the end of that.

    RedInk: “c. I understand the concerns about an in absentia trial. It seems a fair request, but I have two questions about that. It appears that Jen had a chance to defend herself in front of the church, to which end she even drafted and sent a letter. I realize that this doesn’t pertain specifically to the excommunication, but it appears that all of the same sins were at issue (please, Jen, correct me if I’m wrong). Also, in 1 Cor 5 Paul says concerning the immoral brother: “For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed.” I know that there are many differences between the situations, but does this at least open the door for the possibility of an in absentia trial?”

    Yes, you are correct that I was given an opportunity to defend myself after the initial reading of the disciplinary action statement. I was NOT given time to prepare a defense. I was NOT given a chance to have witnesses. I was NOT given an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses for the other side. And I was also NOT given a list of my sins. There were broad, vague, general accusations made against me, of which I merely asked for specifics. Again, none were forthcoming.

    I was not given a chance to defend myself at the trial, however, since I wasn’t even invited.

    If I was accused of committing adultery, for instance, and it was well known, and I was tried in absentia, as in I Cor 5, I wouldn’t be here on this blog. At least that man was charged with a very specific offense, there were obviously witnesses, and it was an excommunicable offense. And you have just made my point for me. Show me my specific sins. Provide some witnesses. Show me the chapter and verse where I was sinning and that it is an excommunicable offense. And then if I refuse to repent, do anything you want to me. I deserve it.

  19. Vik Says:

    Redink, thank you for the tone of your response. I highly disagree–no surprise–but you have done better than I at keeping sarcasm at bay.

    And for the record, I’m STILL not used to having kids call grown-ups by their first names. My kids are not allowed to address an adult that way, and they say “ma’am” and “sir”. As an adult, I just call people what they want to be called (I have no problem with saying “Jen”), but not my kids no matter how much an adult tries to convince me to let them. I’m very Southern in that respect.

    Now, can we really judge a character by his popularity, or how well-known they are? Jim and Tammie Faye Bakker were popular and well-known. Or if we don’t want to use them, what about R.C. Sproul, Jr.? (and Sr.) He is a heavy drinker, smoker, a tyrannical leader, and has been defrocked. He is popular and well-known. He’s Doug’s buddy too, for now anyway. Doug isn’t holding R.C. accountable for anything. That, my friend, is hypocritical.

    Which brings me to:
    “I’m unaware of the friends you say he’s turned against. If you mean Little Bear Wheeler…”

    Well, how about the obvious? It’s been the talk the last few days: David Linton. As far as Little Bear… I don’t know what is up with that, but Doug would not speak to him for a long time, ignored him totally at conferences when LBW tried to approach him, and LBW’s stuff is no longer in the Vision Forum catalog. I don’t think Noelle is in there, either–I know her book isn’t, and boy Doug raved about that book as much as he raved about the marriage of Joshua and Noelle. He raved about David Linton’s visit, too. Anyway, I have a hunch that over time, people will realize that they’re only Doug’s friend as long as they are useful to him. That last sentence is my opinion.

    What LBW stated in his letter makes no sense, after witnesses stated Doug brushed him off at conferences. Jen said she’d write about that later, so why don’t we sit on that for awhile, eh?

  20. Vik Says:

    Jen, the concern I have with Doug naming the exact sins you need to repent of is that I think he’ll make them up, or grossly exaggerate something, or dig up old preconversion dirt. What then? He hasn’t yet, so perhaps he knows you’ll call him to task. But I’ve wondered about that.

    You wouldn’t repent of something you didn’t do just make peace, I hope? That one letter you wrote to Doug apologizing (the one that made him teary)–well, I just didn’t think there was anything to apologize for, like you were saying what he wanted to hear just to smooth things over. In any case, it wasn’t good enough and it probably never will be.

  21. Bryan Says:

    I have been thinking about Doug’s behavior at the Vision Forum open house. Why did he run away when he saw Natasha? That is NOT “QYLM” behavior. Was he afraid of her, or afraid that he would be unable to maintain composure (self-control) in her presence? If he was literally afraid of her (maybe she was carrying a concealed handgun?), then why did he up and leave quickly, leaving the “women and children” behind? Why did he not immediately alert the Hollywood Park police officer who was on the premises that this person could be a troublemaker at best, or a danger at worst (esp. in light of the VA Tech massacre)?

    On the other hand, if he simply did not want to be around her, his antics seem pretty paranoid to me. He is so insecure that he cannot handle himself with poise and grace in the presence of a 20 year old woman? It is his premises and his event; he cannot “command” himself (and the situation) in that environment?

    As Mark has pointed out previously, those of us with actual military experience find this type of behavior to be cowardly, not that of a true leader. And it is therefore indicative of DP’s lack of leadership skills. That alone should make people stop and think about his abilities as a pastor/elder, and simply strengthens the Epsteins’ story, IMHO.

  22. Bryan Says:

    Oops: “Epsteins’ account”, NOT “Epsteins’ story”. Sorry Mark and Jen!

  23. Bryan Says:

    I love how over at SJ/SFU’s blog, he has an article entitled “Truth Cops”. It is excerpted from an article written by … R.C. Sproul Jr.!!!

    Amazing! Quote a pastor who has been defrocked for abusing those in his flock to defend another pastor who is accused of abusing those in his flock.

    Can anyone else say, “Unclear on the concept”! :)

  24. Mark Epstein Says:

    Red Ink said: “Most of my concerns about this Blog Trial are similar to the Epstein’s complaints about their own excommunication. It occurs in absentia (even if Doug’s been invited, he’s not here). The jury – and you can see it here – is misinformed, often irrational, and terribly polarized. There aren’t any breaks anywhere. It’s jury by mob rule, even if ‘evidence’ is posted. Misinformation quickly turns to ‘fact,’ and there is little room for discretion or protection of the principals on both sides.”

    Red Ink, your statements are the “why” of your allegations, if your assertions are even true. From my perspective, they are not true. Here’s why: (1) Doug Phillips has two blogs on which are posted “undocumented” lies, some of which Jen has already demonstrated to be untruthful, and much that she will demonstrate to be dishonest in the future; (2) In addition to Doug’s two blogs, he has proxies blogging throughout “First Blogpist” (Fed Up/SFU, mrsbino, Jennie Chancey writing to Barbara Curtis, etc.); (3) Just because Doug does not post on Jen’s or my blog (even though he has been repeatedly invited), does not mean this occurs “in absentia,” because he reacts to what Jen writes; (4) Just as your analogy breaks down because of 1 thru 3 above, when one dismisses logic, we then read what is on Doug’s church and business blogs: emotive literature (commonly known as “fiction”); (5) Doug’s own behavior is the reason he may not receive any “breaks,” as you call them, from some of Jen’s commenters, but he receives far too many “breaks” from his commenting supporters who directly state or infer that (a) it is better for the church not to deal with this issue and, therefore, Jen should take her blog down, be silent, conduct a great deal of introspection, and then confess she was wrong and trot off to Doug Phillips to beg forgiveness and (b) Doug is the master of his own fate, as it pertains to this blog, and anytime he wants this to end, he can make it end – by repenting for gross ecclesiastical misbehavior, including reading Jen’s pre-conversion sins in public, having his proxies post these pre-conversion sins for everyone at “First Blogpist” to read, reading counseling notes in public, removing all links to the lies and wild theories at mrsbino, having Matt Chancey take down mrsbino, Jennie Chancey publicly apologize to Jen, and admitting he conducted an unbiblical and unjust excommunication, which he nulls and voids. Jen and I took our blogs down at the request of FPC’s elders, as they sought to engage Doug in Peacemakers mediation. Doug refused reconciliation and then went on to tell the elders that only our repentance was sufficient. Meantime, he has not told us or anyone else that we know what specifically we need to repent of. As I’ve made clear and as Jen has made clear, God wants our hearts to be tender enough to repent of specific sin, and God does not want us to repent of accusations of sin that are not true. By so doing, the individual would be bearing false witness against him or herself, which is a violation of the Ninth Commandment that pertains to the civil law violation of perjury.

    Red Ink, perhaps you should ask these questions: If Doug has it in his power to end this, why doesn’t he? Does he sincerely want the Epsteins to repent and be reconciled in a way that honors God or in a manner that honors Doug Phillips? Why does Doug use such emotive language on his two blogs? I think if you meditate on these 3 questions you might find they lead to a whole lot more questions that you could pose to Doug Phillips.

    Lastly, this blog is not a “trial.” As Jen noted, Doug hasn’t refuted the accusations on this blog in any substantive manner. Doug relies on the hope he can muster enough of the following mindset: “Doug said it (the Epsteins are liars), I believe it, that settles it.” As you’ve probably already noted, there are a lot of commenters who do not let such narrow thinking stand for long on Jen’s blog. Furthermore, Jen has leaned over backwards to be godly, courteous, and polite to those who adhere to such a mindset. As you can see, I’m not as inclined to give this behavior a free pass. Jen’s behavior on this blog is completely antithetical to Doug’s behavior and, therefore, to allege she has conducted a similar trial is devoid of any evidence. It is your OPINION and should be identified as such, just as your “opinion” that the jury is misinformed, etc. If this is not an opinion then, since you couched your assertions in the analogy of a court, prove your allegations.

  25. K. Says:

    RedInk, I have only repeatedly asked that they simply give me one example of each sin of which I am accused. I don’t need the exact date, time, place, etc., but at least the circumstances should be easy enough. Everyone likes to tell a story, especially if it’s a juicy one! So, I’m asking them to tell the juicy gossip about me. If I have really done these things, it shouldn’t be so hard to find at least one person to tell a juicy story about me, don’t you think?

    Jen in their letters on the website I feel it has been clear of your sins. WHy should Doug need to keep telling you? It is in black and white.

  26. Mark Epstein Says:

    K.,

    No, they are not in “black and white.” What is in black and white are “generalizations.” See my comment to Red Ink about violating the Ninth Commandment. For Jen (or me) to confess something we didn’t do would be perjuring ourselves in God’s “court.”

    Furthermore, as Phillips’ and BCA’s own documentation states, I confessed my sins in public and stated that I lied about Jen’s alleged sinful behavior in our home, but we were excommunicated anyway! Therefore, the one witness to Jen’s alleged misbehavior in the home publicly recanted of his testimony, which should have ended it there. But it didn’t end it, did it?

    So much for the 2 or 3 witnesses in Deuteronomy.

    I will say it again, Phillips’ conduct is antithetical to the Bible; his conduct of the excommunication violated secular standards and, therefore, certainly violated biblical standards of conduct; and Phillips needs to be held accountable for his actions before a Holy God.

  27. Mark Epstein Says:

    K.,

    One more item, I see you used an emotive term (“I feel it has been clear”). You didn’t say “I *think* it has been made clear because Phillips demonstrates your sinful behavior in the following examples he posted to support his allegations….”

    Do you see the difference? This isn’t about “feeling,” this is about Phillips, a man who claims he has the authority to act as an undershepherd of the Most High God, blatantly ignoring biblical standards of conduct.

    This should trouble you in your mind first and then your “heart,” which is what we in Western culture analogize our center of emotion.

  28. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “Jen in their letters on the website I feel it has been clear of your sins. WHy should Doug need to keep telling you? It is in black and white.”

    K. , the fact that so many people keep asking should show you otherwise. So out of kindness for those who are less astute that yourself (and that obviously includes me), won’t you please explain this whole thing, using small words, clear examples of sin, and easy-to-understand concepts?

    I would like to challenge those who feel that Jen needs to repent, to make an enumerated LIST (1., 2., 3., 4., etc) of the sins of which you feel that she needs to repent. And, please be specific. For instance, don’t just list, “rebellion”, rather, clearly state WHO or WHAT Jen rebelled against, and be prepared, in such a case, to prove that the person or thing had authority to begin with.

    Also, it is crystal clear that certain people just want Jen to shut up and go away, so for the purpose of clarity, please do not list this blog as a “sin”.

    If anyone can list honest-to-goodness, documentable sins of which Jen has not repented, we can always discuss the significance of this blog afterwards.

    But, I’m not holding my breath….

  29. Corrie Says:

    “If he was literally afraid of her (maybe she was carrying a concealed handgun?), then why did he up and leave quickly, leaving the “women and children” behind?”
    :-)

    “As Mark has pointed out previously, those of us with actual military experience find this type of behavior to be cowardly, not that of a true leader. And it is therefore indicative of DP’s lack of leadership skills. That alone should make people stop and think about his abilities as a pastor/elder, and simply strengthens the Epsteins’ story, IMHO.”

    I don’t have any military experience but I would think a leader would walk TOWARDS Natasha and handle the situation in a dignified manner and try and diffuse any trouble before it starts.

    I know I would have done that but I am not a leader, so what I would have done might be different.

  30. K. Says:

    I have no time to go through and list all of Jen’s sin and for the record I do THINK (for you Mark) that this blog is sin. For me to list Jen’s sin is ridiculous shall I list mine as well? Marie, Lucy, Ann, Redink and I have shown what we think and believe, our thoughts have been backed up with scriputure and comomon sense – but no one agrees -what more can we really do?

  31. Mark Epstein Says:

    K.,

    You’ve backed-up your viewpoint with proof-texting, and others have shown the fallacious nature of said proof-texting.

    “Common sense,” as you call it, is what “folks” call logical analysis,while those in academia refer to it as logic.

    You have demonstrated that you know how to proof text the Bible, but you have not demonstrated that you can make a logical (common sense) argument that proves anything.

    K., let’s remember what this is about: A trial. A trial devoid of biblical underpinnings. Again, you are putting the cart before the horse when you take Jen to task for her employment of Matthew 18:17 AFTER Phillips’ misconduct.

    As I noted before, even the most conservative *secular* appellate court would throw out the Phillips’ *conviction*. As I’ve also noted, because Doug is an attorney and a publicly proclaimed undershepherd, he had a higher duty to conduct the trial in a manner that would honor God. Phillips’ conduct of his Star Chamber excommunication DISHONORS God, and this should bother you immensely – much more so than straining at gnats.

  32. Jen Says:

    Vik: “You wouldn’t repent of something you didn’t do just make peace, I hope?”

    After all this? I couldn’t live with myself! No, peace at all costs is never a biblical solution. In fact, I’ve learned that when you “repent” from something you didn’t actually do in the first place, it only enables the abuser to continue his abuse and emboldens him to carry it even further next time. No, I will be looking for signs of TRUE repentance from Doug and I already know exactly what that will look like.

    K: “I have no time to go through and list all of Jen’s sin”

    What you really mean is that you cannot name even one because Doug did not name even one. Let’s be honest.

  33. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “I have no time to go through and list all of Jen’s sin and for the record I do THINK (for you Mark) that this blog is sin. For me to list Jen’s sin is ridiculous shall I list mine as well? ”

    List your sins, too, if you wish, K, but do it AFTER you list Jen’s. Otherwise, you’re simply evading the issue, again. YOU are the one saying that SHE needs to repent, not the other way around. The burden of proof rests with you.

    “Marie, Lucy, Ann, Redink and I have shown what we think and believe, our thoughts have been backed up with scriputure and comomon sense – but no one agrees -what more can we really do?”

    Well, since you asked, K, with all due respect, you can put up or shut up.
    You can show us exactly where Jen has sinned, like I asked, or else admit that she hasn’t.
    Anything less is a cop-out.

  34. Corrie Says:

    “Marie, Lucy, Ann, Redink and I have shown what we think and believe, our thoughts have been backed up with scriputure and comomon sense – but no one agrees -what more can we really do?”

    K,

    Just so I have this straight. You are the only ones who have backed up what you think and believe with scripture and have used common sense?

    No one else has used scripture or common sense? Not Justice Prima, not Cynthia, not Vik, not Bryan, not Lynn, not me, etc? Also, you think of yourself as logical (common sense) but the rest of us are????

    Wow! Just WOW!

    Also, why not just list 5 of the lies or rebellious actions of Jen? Why waste all that time with writing what you just did when you could have EASILY typed up five lies or 5 rebellious actions or 5 cruelties that Jen committed. If you had time to tell us what you just did, you certainly had time to answer an honest question in an honest fashion. This is called “evasion”. It is a tactic used by people who don’t have an answer but refuse to retract their assertions.

    Now, THAT, is just common sense. :-)

  35. SWG Says:

    Red Ink said: if you mean Little Bear Wheeler, I believe the Epsteins were, charitably speaking, dead wrong about that.

    How do you know they are dead wrong? Do you know something we don’t know?

  36. Mark Epstein Says:

    Jen,

    I just noticed how many comments you have on this post. There are certainly more comments here than folks at Doug’s open house. :-)

  37. Esther Says:

    k wrote: “Jen in their letters on the website I feel it has been clear of your sins. WHy should Doug need to keep telling you? It is in black and white.”

    When asked to list the sins she read on the website we get this reply:

    K-I have no time to go through and list all of Jen’s sin.

    K, You must be much more astute than the rest of us because we cannot discern the specific sins Jen committed in these statements. Won’t you help us and list them?

  38. Kim Says:

    I came across this when I read an article accusing Doug Phillips of some wrong doing. I am puzzled, why is this even here? Where is the face to face confrontatin, Church (Blblical) discipline? Do you belong to his church? What is your responsibility to bring him to repentence? Have you prayed about this? Is this God’s will for you to possible slander another? There are many logs not addressed here. I believe we focus on our own responsibilities, personal, family, local body, dealing with the universal church at large is not the first place to spend your energy. Do I go to your house and chastise your children or write posts about your personal walk? This site is an embarssment to the body. The division it can create is a disgrace to the church. Shame on you!

  39. hanna Says:

    Jen i have read a little of your trials and will be praying for you. I am so sorry but remember God will use your suffering’s for His glory. Jesus said ‘in the last day’s the very elect will be decieved if possible’ We are seeing this in so many churches as well as with false teacher’s such as Bill Gothard..Paul crouch. These false preacher’s and teacher’s refuse to be held accountable and have lifted themselves up as elitest’s.They worship ‘attitudes’ character. priniciples and tiwst the scriptures to make it apply to their agenda’s. There is no love in these people nor accountibility. Dear..as a new christian what you needed was to learn about the amazing grace of Jesus Christ..what He did for you..who you are in Him. You will not hear of the love of Jesus Christ nor His grace in the likes of doug philips and bill gothard. We are to expose these false teachers who are leading so many away from Jesus Christ. These false teachers are creating so many neo pharisee’s who follow men and their tradtion’s and are clothed not in Christ but in pride and spiritual arrogance. Many children who were homeschooled in ATI are now coming out telling of the abuse they suffered and the absolute fear daily they lived in. Follow Christ not a doug philips or bill gothard.


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