Is Doug Phillips a Cult Leader?

” In general, a cult is a small religious group outside the established churches, usually with a charismatic leader who is a strong authority figure. One psychiatrist has described cults as “religions that haven’t grown up yet.” Ray Moseley, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 3, 1978

Doug Phillips seems obsessed with the use of the word “cult” this week, so we shall attempt to determine why he is so fixated on the term. The following is an eclectic mix of certain cult characteristics I found on various lists. The general rule of thumb seems to be that if a group exhibits at least half of these characteristics, it qualifies as a sociological cult. I am not going to list the characteristics of a heretical cult because it is quite obvious that those criteria do not apply. This is merely a list for discussion purposes. Everyone is encouraged to interact with this list regarding Doug Phillips, BCA, or Vision Forum. Based upon the following criteria, does the cult label apply?

  1. Excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to the leader.
  2. Dependency upon the group or leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without leader involvement.
  3. Seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the leader in personal behavior.
  4. Hyperactivity centered on the leader’s agenda, which seems to supersede any personal goals or individual interests.
  5. The leader is not accountable to any authorities.
  6. Anything the leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.
  7. The leader’s belief system, ideology, and practices are law.
  8. They insist on total, unquestioning obedience and submission to the group, both actions AND thoughts.
  9. They are always right.
  10. They are the exclusive means of knowing “truth” or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.
  11. Whenever they are criticized or questioned, it is characterized as “persecution”.
  12. The leader claims new revelation from God, within the past 200 years, in which all but their group are rejected by God. They, alone, speak for God.
  13. Focus is on group doctrine and writings. The Bible, if used at all, is referred to one verse at time to “prove” group teachings.
  14. Group dwells on members’ “sinful nature” (many use public confession). Guilt and fear arising from “failing God” are magnified to manipulate new member.
  15. Followers feel they can never be “good”
  16. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
  17. Critical thinking is discouraged as prideful and sinful, blind acceptance encouraged.
  18. Use of mind control techniques (taken from Dr. Robert Jay Lifton’s book “Thought Reform & the Psychology of Totalism“)
    1. Mileu Control: Control of the environment and communication within the environment
    2. Mystical Manipulation: Seeks to promote specific patterns of behavior and emotion in such a way that it appears to have arisen spontaneously from within the environment, while it actually has been orchestrated
    3. Demand for Purity: The world becomes sharply divided into the pure and the impure, the absolutely good (the group/ideology) and the absolutely evil (everything outside the group)
    4. Confession: Cultic confession is carried beyond its ordinary religious, legal and therapeutic expressions to the point of becoming a cult in itself sessions in which one confesses to one’s sin are accompanied by patterns of criticism and self-criticism
    5. Sacred Science: The totalist milieu maintains an aura of sacredness around its basic doctrine or ideology
    6. Loading the Language: Words are given new meanings — the outside world does not use the words or phrases in the same way
    7. Doctrine Over Person: If one questions the beliefs of the group or the leaders of the group, one is made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to even question –
    8. Dispensing of Existence: Since the group has an absolute or totalist vision of truth, those who are not in the group are bound up in evil, are not enlightened, are not saved, and do not have the right to exist
  19. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
  20. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader and members.
  21. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, everyone outside of group lumped under one label.
  22. Study and service become mandatory. New member becomes too busy to question. Family, friends, jobs and hobbies are squeezed out, further isolating the new member.
  23. A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.
  24. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group.
  25. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members.
  26. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
  27. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
  28. Recruiters are told that “Satan” will cause relatives and friend to say bad things about the group to try to “steal them away from God.” Recruits soon believes group members, alone, are truthful/trustworthy.
  29. Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.
  30. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
  31. The group is preoccupied with making money.
  32. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.
  33. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
  34. Group “love” and acceptance becomes dependent upon obedience and submission. Unconditional love…isn’t.
  35. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
  36. The most loyal members feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.
  37. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
  38. Former followers are at best considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.
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198 Responses to “Is Doug Phillips a Cult Leader?”

  1. Lynn Says:

    PS, I think Open Theism is heresy. Psalm 139 says even before there is a word on our tongue, God knows all about it. And he knows the end of human history as well. He knows about the particulars and the grand finale.

  2. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Hmmm… hard to tell on that. God does know the eventual outcome of everything, certainly. But if it is ALL carved in stone, why did Jesus, being fully divine as well as fully human, pray in the garden, “Father, IF if be possible, let this cup pass from Me”?
    I think that this may be one of those God-things that is too big to get our minds around in this life, but will seem ridiculously simple when we get to heaven and can see it from God’s point of view.

  3. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Here’s a good cop-out to which I will add: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_theism (what can’t you find on Wikipedia? Doug Phillips bio. Now that will appear there!!!)

    I was first alerted to this problem when someone posted a link to Doug’s Blog wherein he quoted Roy Moore. Moore gave a speech concerning egalitarianism and made several leaps stating that anyone who is really only a complementarian is really just an egalitarian and they are essentially open theists. Then I realized that Bruce Ware authored books on both his view of Trinity (with his version of the Trinity as our exemplar of roles in Christian marriage much like Wilson’s camp) and also on Open Theism. I wanted to understand how and why these patriarchalists could make the logical leap from complementarianism to open theism. I’m concerned that they are misrepresenting yet another solid concept to mean something that is just different enough to beguile people.

    Basically, the opponents of open theism state that Christianity and the language thereof had capitualted to culture. Many believe that even the Jews “Hellenized” Judaism and certainly many philiosphers and Christians have forced God into a box of Greek inspired, logical and philosphical concepts. This problem that has haunted Western Civilization had mushroomed, first with the printing press, but now it has exploded with the availability of easy publishing without peer review. We also have the internet, where prior to all of this computer-aided access to info, the information affecting Christian thought was controlled and regulated.

    Another huge component of open theism concerns free will and it, as a system, embraces an Arminian concept of sovereignty. In it’s pure form, it argues that God is not entirely omniscient and “takes risks.” This is the extreme and oversimplication of the view, and on lesser levels seems to correspond to my experience in the Pentecostal church.

    I am also, like Lynn, opposed to open theism, and certainly more so now than I was when I was a less mature Christian. My concerns involve the improper application of this term as yet another pejorative that the patriarchs can use as a very powerful, thought-stopping cliche and term to squelch criticism. It’s the flip side to their use of “Biblical Patirarchy.” The connotation of “open theist” is terrible to someone who honors orthodoxy and truth.

  4. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Cynthia Gee wrote: I think that this may be one of those God-things that is too big to get our minds around in this life, but will seem ridiculously simple when we get to heaven and can see it from God’s point of view.

    Oh Cynthia,
    Many people will attest that this is an unBiblical view of reality influenced by both Hellenistic and Enlightenment thought. They will then argue that we are able to comprehend God (despite that no man has seen Him at any time) and then describe things about the Trinity for which we do not have a strong Scriptural basis. From those who would argue against your comment, we have the concept of the covenant that is shared between the Persons of the Trinity.

    As I mentioned in some private correspondence with several people, I have a “Flatland” (Edwin Abbot novel) type of respect for things beyond my understanding. James Sire also discusses this and quotes several who have stated things in more Biblical language, but essentially we cannot really comprehend that which we have not seen. Many state that this perspective derives from Greek philosophy and the rules of logic which have been integrated into Christian thought.

  5. Lynn Says:

    “My concerns involve the improper application of this term as yet another pejorative that the patriarchs can use as a very powerful, thought-stopping cliche and term to squelch criticism.”

    From Moore’s quotes it sounds as though they are using the term as an unwarranted smear.

  6. Jean Says:

    All,

    Doug has posted a blog entry (surprise!) about this Abshire response letter and quotes him addressing Veinot: “… you have publicly accused us of being cultic and teachers of false doctrine… If we do not believe it, then you have born false witness against us, breaking the Ninth Commandment and slandering the brethren. Therefore, you need to recant here, publicly and confess your sin to your readers.”

    So THAT’S how it works? “you have publicly accused us of being cultic and teachers of false doctrine… If we do not believe it, then you have born false witness against us.” They simply don’t believe it, therefore, it’s sin to accuse them.

    Abe Lincoln asked a guy how many legs a dog had if you called the tail a leg. Guy answered, five. Wrong. It’s still four. Doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s still a tail. I see the same kind of thinking going on here with these patriarchy folks. Fine, I won’t call it a “tail”…but it is.

    Have a pleasant day,

    Jean

  7. Lynn Says:

    [Jean, I just posted this to Don's blog, concerning Doug's article on Brian Abshire.]
    Don, in case you ever wondered what Doug Phillips really thinks of you and your Journal article, get a load of this screed:

    http://www.visionforum.com/hottopics/blogs/dwp/

    [Title] How to Respond to a Tale-Bearer: Dr. Brian Abshire Models an Apologetic of Sound Reasoning and Christian Charity for Family Reformers

    [This will turn out to be about your Journal article, Brian’s response to it, with extensive quotes from his letter to you.]

    “The Bible does not, however, teach (a) the subjugation of women under the oppression of men; (b) the right of parents to brutalize or dominate children; or (c) the inferiority of women to men.

    Nor does the Bible teach or encourage the notion that (a) women are barred from Christian ministry; (b) that the mind of a woman is inferior to that of a man; or (c) that women should not benefit from advanced training and higher education.” . . .

    “In the course of his article, [”his article” being a link to Brian’s letter to you, Don] Dr. Abshire defends himself, Vision Forum Ministries, and, indirectly, innocent men and women who embrace the same principles of family leadership, honor, and generational faithfulness advocated by the Reformers and embodied in documents like this [”this” being a link Brian’s VF article that you quoted on your blog].

    In my view, Dr. Abshire’s article is a charitable, logical, and an accurate response to an individual who has set aside fundamental rules of brotherly conduct and journalistic integrity to traffic in accusations which are characterized by imprecision and falsehood.”

    So, Don, consider yourself to have been publicly accused by Doug Phillips of

    1) Setting aside fundamental rules of brotherly conduct and journalistic integrity

    2) Trafficking in accusations characterized by imprecision and falsehood.

  8. thatmom Says:

    Hey, has anyone else noticed that now complementarianism is now a feminist philosophy?

  9. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Thatmom:
    complementarianism

    Where oh WHERE did all these extemporaneous words and definitions come from?

    Its enough to make a girl go on vacation.

    QUOTE:
    If we do not believe it, then you have born false witness against us, breaking the Ninth Commandment and slandering the brethren. Therefore, you need to recant here, publicly and confess your sin to your readers.”

    Morgan: This is one of the most insanely immature illogical statements I have ever read in my earthy existence.

  10. Cynthia Gee Says:

    thatmom said,
    “Hey, has anyone else noticed that now complementarianism is now a feminist philosophy…”

    Yes, I noticed that, and I also noticed that they are now able to dictate what is and is not reality – “If we do not believe it, then you have born false witness against us.”
    Don Veinot may not have called Abshire, Phillips & Co. a cult, and others may argue that they are only “cultic” and not heretical, but I’ll go on record for calling a spade a spade: these guys are making this stuff up as they go along, and they are howling, barking, MAD.

  11. Lynn Says:

    http://www.visionforum.com/hottopics/blogs/dwp/2007/09/2947.aspx
    Here is the permalink to Doug’s “railing” against Don Veinot’s Journal article, and his defense of Brian Abshire.

    Methinks Doug Phillips is an admirable “internet assassin.” ;-)

  12. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Lynn:
    Methinks Doug Phillips is an admirable “internet assassin.”

    Morgan: Nah Doug Phillips is a rank internet amateur…trust me…in the annals of cyber attacks and cyber assinations he does not even get in the top 100.

  13. thatmom Says:

    Methinks Doug Phillips is on the verge of having a stroke….his ranting of the past few days, between his mad cow disease diatribe and his Veinot/Abshire moment, are the best I’ve seen him do yet. I hope he drops by my blog for my patriarch podcast series I am starting tomorrow, just to add a cherry to the top of his ice cream sundae. Oh, I forgot, he can’t listen to a woman teach. Too bad.

  14. Mike Says:

    “Where oh WHERE did all these extemporaneous words and definitions come from?”

    From several possible sources:

    1) An attempt to define a newly discovered reality.

    2) An attempt to define a recently rediscovered reality.

    3) An attempt to explain a new perspective on reality.

    4) An attempt to clarify.

    5) An attempt to obfuscate.

    6) An attempt to claim the high ground.

    7) An attempt to vilify one’s opponent [used especially by those who insist on renaming and redefining one's opponent].

    8) An attempt to correct false ideas.

    9) An attempt to create false ideas.

    10) It’s fun.

    I can probably think of many more. Neologisms are nifty. I create them all the time. We all do, in fact.

    There is nothing wrong with creating the term “complementarian” to describe what one believes to be true. There is nothing wrong with creating the term “egalitarian” to do the same. The question would be why the term was created, and it appears to me that both sides often falsely accuse the other of bad motives in their self-designation and in their characterization of each other.

  15. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Mike we can always count on you to get to the meat of the matter……having been through the theology war(s) of the PCA and escaping with my faith intact…I find the ‘terms’ divisive as used by both sides as you so aptly pointed out. Terms are a sad way to define doctrine.

    As for me…I’ll just stay with Jesus.

  16. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Oh and I COMPLIMENT my husband at least ONCE a day..does that mean I AM a COMPLIMENTARIAN? ;)

  17. Bryan Says:

    “Internet assassins, dishonorable tale-bearing gossips and blog gangsters”.

    Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that exposing the spiritual abuse and hypocrisy of a high-profile Christian may result in this type of name-calling.

    Doug (or Doug c/o Bob Renaud): Matthew 7:1-5

    Entertaining vocabulary is no substitute for unrepentance.

  18. thatmom Says:

    Please note the original statement has changed. It originally said: We at Vision Forum have raised serious objections to: (1) the working-woman philosophy of the late 20th century; (2) the cultural depravity of the modern university; (3) the feministic philosophy of complementarian and egalitarian household leadership; (4) the culture of death and self-gratification, with its emphasis on closing the fruitful womb; and (5) attempts by liberals or vendetta-driven individuals to viciously mock fruitful mothers as baby machines, etc.

    Now it says “anti-complementarian.”

  19. thatmom Says:

    Actually, I think the word comes from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Danvers statement.

  20. Mike Says:

    “Actually, I think the word comes from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Danvers statement.”

    Correct — and that statement goes to great lengths to define, describe, and clarify the term — including affirmations and denials. I don’t know what CBMW folks have been up to recently, but back in the mid-90s, when I was paying attention, they were not claiming the ontological superiority of the man over the woman.

    During that decade of the 90s, I found myself spinning my wheels trying to get people to stick to the definition and descriptions given by those who coined the term. I have done the same with “egalitarianism” — with equally fruitless results, for the most part.

    I never took sides strongly, but I did reach some strong conclusions. The problem is that I could never explain those conclusions without being dragged into yet more and more rounds of incrimination and straw man attacks. I gave up about eight years ago.

    [shrug]

  21. Bryan Says:

    From Doug’s Blog: “My criticism goes out to those … resort to the type of disreputable tactics which Dr. Abshire has rightly censured. These are the half-cocked and sometimes agenda-driven commentators. From such we have come to expect an avoidance of documented, confirmable facts, in favor of ad hominum attacks, caricature, and whopper stories which appear designed to present as freaks and cultic those proponents of family reformation who sympathize with the type of ideas summarized in the first paragraph of this article.”

    “…avoidance of documented, confirmable facts, in favor of ad hominum attacks…” My goodness! Can anyone say, “Physician, heal thyself!”? Amazing!

    More Doug: “At this point, more and more people realize that there is a big difference between a sloppy diatribe, on the one hand, and a real argument marshaled by reputable sources who have done their homework, on the other.”

    Again, check your mirror, Doug. One only needs to read through the exhaustive documentation here and on other sites such as DinoDeception, Ministry Watchman, etc., and compare it to the lack of specific documentation at Vision Forum and Boerne Christian Assembly in order to ascertain who presents “sloppy diatribe” vs. “real arguments”. Notice Doug never once mentions “truth”. Doug’s sad argument is instead focused on “reputable sources”, “disreputable tactics”, “credible individuals”, “infantile Christians”, “undisciplined, professing Christians”, “immature or unscrupulous ‘Christians’”, “reckless, uncharitable, ungoverned Christian brothers”, “half-cocked and sometimes agenda-driven commentators”. You know, discredit the messenger and the message itself is automatically discredited. Ask President Bush or any conservative commentator if these liberal tactics are effective!

    Doug seems to forget that homeschoolers are smart. We can see through his liberal tactics. While he does lean on Abshire’s article to fight his battle for him, I’ll let Mr. Veinot respond to Abshire’s response. Again, to quote Doug, “more and more people realize that there is a big difference between a sloppy diatribe, on the one hand, … and a real argument.” I left out the “reputable sources” since one man’s “reputable source” is another man’s “agenda-driven commentator”.

    Doug may have shot himself in the foot with this blog post. By spotlighting this issue, well-read and mature-thinking homeschoolers who read “Doug’s Blog” will do their due diligence. They will read Mr. Veinot’s article and compare it with Abshire’s response. They will be Bereans and search the Scriptures for themselves to see if his teachings are actually true. That’s how most of us got here. We didn’t just take Jen and Mark at their word; we did the homework. And I suspect that many homeschoolers who have no idea of Doug’s sordid history of spiritual abuse, filmmaking fraud, and Patriarchal Scripture-twisting will likewise do their own homework and draw their own conclusions. For the “cultic” thing for them to do would be to take Doug at his word simply because he is Doug Phillips.

  22. Cynthia Gee Says:

    So somebody fill me in… Vision Forum has always been anti egalitarian. Up until recently, Phillips, VF & Co. been described as complementarian; now, all of a sudden, they are anticomplimentarian. What’s up with that?

  23. Cynthia Gee Says:

    OK… answering my own question here:
    I just checked the article and it seems that the original wording, calling complementarianism a “feministic philosophy” was a misprint. The article now reads:

    “We at Vision Forum have raised serious objections to: (1) the working-woman philosophy of the late 20th century; (2) the cultural depravity of the modern university; (3) the feministic philosophy of the anti-complementarian, pro-egalitarian household leadership; (4) the

  24. Mike Says:

    “So somebody fill me in… Vision Forum has always been anti egalitarian. Up until recently, Phillips, VF & Co. been described as complementarian; now, all of a sudden, they are anticomplimentarian. What’s up with that?”

    Cynthia — they are not describing themselves as anti-comp. They are describing their opponents that way. At first they left out the “anti” — but then they put it in there after this omission was pointed out in here. Apparently — from all the times we have seen this happening — this blog provides most of the editing for Doug’s entries.

    He seems to be posting in a hurry and not proof-reading very well. I can identify with that!

  25. Mike Says:

    Oops — sorry, Cynthia. I should have refreshed before responding. You answered your own question before I did.
    You stop taking the lead like that! Jezebel! I mean……… Eve!

  26. Bryan Says:

    Back to Doug’s ability to covenant with God at will, I ran across an interesting article:

    http://www.fwponline.cc/v18n2reasonera.html

    An excerpt: “Therefore, we cannot negotiate a covenant with God. It is always God who makes covenant with someone; never that God and someone make a covenant. He is the initiator and we either accept or reject his terms.”

    I believe that it is “cultic” for a mere man (such as Doug Phillips) to proclaim that he can “covenant with God” at will.
    Of course, I am relying on the Scriptural use of the term “covenant”; often, cults/cult leaders will use Scriptural terms but assign their own different meaning.

  27. Mike Says:

    “I believe that it is “cultic” for a mere man (such as Doug Phillips) to proclaim that he can “covenant with God” at will.”

    When I tried to make this point, K-Theo got the vapors and behaved as if I’d spit in the communion wine or something. I am still waiting for him to tell me who the “we” is in the statement, “We have a covenant with God.”

    It is clear from my use of that word “we” in the post in which I discussed this — the post that caused K-Theo such distress — that I was referring to “our entire country.” I would ask K-Theo again to explain to me what HE means by “we” in his incredulous question directed at me about this.

  28. Corrie Says:

    “I believe that it is “cultic” for a mere man (such as Doug Phillips) to proclaim that he can “covenant with God” at will.
    Of course, I am relying on the Scriptural use of the term “covenant”; often, cults/cult leaders will use Scriptural terms but assign their own different meaning.”

    Bryan,

    Wouldn’t that make you an “infantile Christian”? ;-)

    Seriously, though, the whole covenant thing has been bothering me since the Virginia Tech article when Doug used it to tell us that the reason that the shootings took place is because we broke covenant with God, the covenant that “our fathers” made with God.

    You are exactly correct about cutting covenant with God. God cut the final covenant with man when He shed Christ’s blood on behalf of our sins. We have no need of any man-made covenant based on man’s works that seek to gain approval by these works.

  29. Jen Says:

    Bryan: “I believe that it is “cultic” for a mere man (such as Doug Phillips) to proclaim that he can “covenant with God” at will.
    Of course, I am relying on the Scriptural use of the term “covenant”; often, cults/cult leaders will use Scriptural terms but assign their own different meaning.”

    I don’t know if it’s fair if we rely on the Scriptural use of terms, Bryan. Perhaps we should concentrate more on following Doug’s example of using red herrings, ad hominem attacks, straw men, either-or fallacies, hasty generalizations, proof by lack of evidence, appeals to fear, and repetition, among probably many others. (I am taking a big risk talking about logical fallacies with Mike around. Well, go ahead and correct me if I’m wrong.)

  30. Jen Says:

    Cindy, thank you for reminding me that others have indeed noticed the discrepancies with the “Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy.” I stand corrected. I pray that these tenets will be blown wide open and that no one will be led astray by these extra-biblical teachings again. The warnings are going forth. Soon, I hope, no one will be able to say that they were not warned. The choice will be up to them.

  31. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Jen,

    My point wasn’t to draw out your statement as wrong but that for those outside the influence of the ideology (those like Hurst and Sandlin who were among the first, very publicized critics), it seemed completely unnecessary to do a point-by-point refutation of the Tenets, although some of the obscure Scripture references were refuted in sermons on the subject.

    I think that it’s great though, that in this latest blog of Dougs’ that he has a link to his own response to Sandlin’s “baby machine” phrase. (And for those who do not know him, Andrew is not one to demean any woman, nor does he hate children or large families. He dearly loves and respects his wife who sometimes contributes to his newsletter and leads people to the Lord all the time in her work as a hospice nurse. They have five children and at least one grandchild.)

    This brings up an important point for those who have not been subjected to the “Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.” With all of this new dialogue about “patriarchy,” hopefully, it’s provided those who have not experienced it with some insight into getting “royally duped.” So many Christians look down their nose at those who have been deceived into participation in aberrant groups, believing that (we) were vulnerable due to lack of previous instruction or knowledge of the Bible. That is not the case. More of it relates to emotional and psychological manipulation (“Don’t you want to raise children in the safest, wisest, most efficient, most godly means possible? Aren’t you interested in standing against feminism? Are you against ‘Biblical Tenets?’”). All these movements of manipulation capitalize on idealism, so anyone with idealistic aspirations (all of us) can be manipulated.

  32. Jen Says:

    Cindy: “So many Christians look down their nose at those who have been deceived into participation in aberrant groups, believing that (we) were vulnerable due to lack of previous instruction or knowledge of the Bible.”

    So true, Cindy. In fact, I believe it those who are most sold out for the Lord who are the most vulnerable to these types of aberrant teachings. I was drawn to BCA because at that time in my life I was earnestly seeking holiness and I thought I had found it at BCA. Everyone seemed to live such a holy life. I didn’t realize that outward “holiness” comes with a great price: inward judgmentalism and the false impression that outward legalism equates in any way to true Christianity.

    And the pot boiled so slowly that even when I was excommunicated, I could not begin to see how deceived I had become. A veil, a very thick veil, lay over my heart and my mind was blinded. But, I truly did love God with all my heart, and I studied the Bible in earnest daily. I was no baby Christian who could be easily duped.

    Doug started out teaching mostly biblical truths. He has gone down a slippery slope ever since BCA started, at least, and if we just look at the last two weeks of his blogging, most average Christians will not be in the least enticed to begin listening to him if they haven’t already done so. It is those who are already Dougites who need to be set free now.

  33. RefCal Says:

    JMK Says:
    August 30th, 2007 at 7:35 pm
    “To me, the mark of a true church is one that PUBLISHES its worship times and location and welcomes visitors.”

    Two entirely different animals.

    Churches I’ve gone to for the last decade don’t do the first but do do the second–by appointment only, basically.

    Home churches especially are just not set up to be deluged with unannounced visitors.

    True seekers will find ways of getting the invitation they need, and will not be refused (like Jen was her first try at BCA).

    Well, gotta go. This blog sure is sucking up my time, but it’s also freeing me from legalism I never knew I had.

  34. Jen Says:

    RefCal: “This blog sure is sucking up my time, but it’s also freeing me from legalism I never knew I had.”

    You and me both. That is so encouraging to hear that you are being set free! That is music to my ears. I pray the same for many, many people.

  35. Jean Says:

    Jen,

    Why is Doug posting an article from 2005 (which, even in 2005, was a reprint of the original 1998 writing) on his blog this week? Is there nothing more current for him to ponder and make available? Seems like he’s really pounding this us-vs-them mentality (point 21 above) right now. Curious.

    Have a pleasant day,

    Jean

  36. Jen Says:

    Jean, I noticed that, too. It seems that whenever Doug wants to emphasize something that he’s already said, he just posts that same article again.

    The problem lies in the fact that he keeps calling us feminists. Surely any thinking Christian could see that this is NOT an either/or argument. Doug posits that either we must stand for patriarchy (and his definition of it) OR we are a feminist. I keep trying to tell him that the Bible is in the middle there somewhere. :-)

    Thanks for posting here and reminding me that I need to finish this list. It was getting rather redundant, though, simply saying that all these characteristics apply to Doug. I suppose Doug needs to see why, though, so shall I try to indulge him.

  37. Hutch Says:

    Jean-

    Good point and perhaps the content on Doug’s blog is not as up to the very instant as he claims? Anybody interested in Doug’s latest travels? What about a book recommendation? He sells those you know. What, your not interested? Come on now, its Doug Phillips after all!

    Doug really strikes me as one of those “now that’s enough about me, now what do you think about me” types.

    See below:

    Herein inscribed in this weblog journal are the up-to-this-very-instant comments and reviews, criticisms and commentary, and reflections of Doug Phillips. Whether you are interested in his latest travels, book recommendations, historical commentary, cultural insight, encouragement for the family, or random musings, Doug’s Blog is where you are most likely to hear about it first.

  38. LilyHill Says:

    Cult Identification and Recovery Sites:

    REST Ministries– Recovering from Experiences of Spiritual Tyranny-
    Spiritual Abuse Recovery–
    Ron Henzel’s site has some of the best stuff out there–
    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/9575/index.html

    Characteristics of Spiritual Abuse–
    again, a Ron Henzel page –
    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/9575/charactr.html

    From REST Ministries: Recovering from Experiences of Spiritual Tyranny–
    again, a Ron Henzel page (includes articles on Bill Gothard) –
    Online Articles –
    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/9575/onlinart.html
    *
    Controlling Personalities in the Church–
    Excellent series –
    http://dory.typepad.com/wittenberg_gate/2005/05/controlling_per.html

    *

    Under Much Grace:
    CONFRONTING SPIRITUAL ABUSE IN BIBLICAL AND CHRISTIAN CHURCHES

    http://www.undermuchgrace.com/view/?pageID=340954

    contains:

    NEW CULTS OF BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY:
    Theological Innovations in the Postmodern Age

    How Can I Tell If My Church is ABUSIVE?

    How Thought Reform Works in a Spiritually Abusive System

    Watchman Fellowship’s SPIRITUAL ABUSE Profile

    Characteristics of a CULT LEADER

    HELPFUL LINKS CONCERNING SPIRITUAL ABUSE AND CULTIC GROUPS

    *
    IDENTIFYING A CULT

    http://www.ex-cult.org/General/identifying-a-cult

    *
    What Religious Cults Have In Common:
    http://www.culthelp.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=193&Itemid=8
    *

    How Cults Work:
    http://www.howcultswork.com/
    *
    Bleating Lambs – devoted to making all churches healthy, thriving, and safe
    Resources page:
    http://www.bleatinglambs.org/resources.html

    *
    Christian Top Sites – Helping You Find What You Need
    Lots of churches and ministries that list their goal as meeting the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of people. Therefore, not every Christian thinks that it’s wrong and sinful to seek the fulfillment of emotional needs, or that the call of God for self-denial in the Scriptures is automatically opposed to and mutually exclusive to the emotional needs of people.
    http://www.christiantopsites.com/cgi-bin/links3/search.cgi?query=emotional
    *

    The following article is by a professional hypnotist. It is useful to this discussion in viewing how much of hypnotic technique is used in many worship services in many denominations Used intentionally or not, the effect is still the same.

    The Battle for Your Mind
    http://www.hiddenmysteries.com/freebook/neuro/sutphen.html

    • Duane & Michelle Evans (Michelle Hartley & Bethany Hartley, Mariah, David & Ben) Says:

      My wife and daughter are survivors of Gordon Powlison’s Faith Fellowship in San Jose, Ca. please call me
      at 408-858-6494 or email to duane.michelle@sbcglobal.net, the whole extended family was ravaged by this cult pretending to be a church

  39. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Jen,
    How long did you say that BCA went with Doug Phillips as the sole elder and no pastor (ie. the only authority)?

  40. Jen Says:

    Hi Cindy! I haven’t seen you for a while!

    As far as I know, it was four years. There was a sudden rush to add some elders when my story came out almost a year ago.

  41. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Hey Jen. I don’t know that I’ve seen me for awhile either.

    Just collecting data for my expose so that I can get called a tale bearer and egalitarian (which I always believed was a Christian concept)! But I am basically a complimenarian (but apparently the white-washed feminist variety).

    I remember that this topic came up several times, but I couldn’t remember how long Doug went without another elder in the “fellowship.” The Biblical Confession for Uniting Church and Family doesn’t address the fellowship of one. I was so incredulous that he was the only one holding the title (or should I say “shepherd,” I don’t think that I ever processed how long he went as the sole leader.

  42. Jen Says:

    Cindy, I think those of us who are being called names that obviously don’t apply to us wear them as badges of honor. I remember the first time I saw Corrie describe herself as a white-washed feminist, liberal, and lesbian, or some such list, and since I didn’t know her at all then, and she didn’t provide any context for the comment, I didn’t realize that she was just rattling off what names other “well-meaning” Christians called her. I thought I would stay far away from her! I’m glad she didn’t know what I was thinking at the time, though, because now she’s one of my best friends and I think she may only be white-washed, or maybe brain-washed, or maybe just washed in the blood. ;-)

    Hey, what’s the expose?

  43. Scot Gilmore Says:

    I have heard DP on several occasions and I do not know him personally but I can say this, no one has the market cornered on truth. As the Body, we need each other and the accountability that naturally comes with fellowship. I am thankful for anyone standing up for the family…including…DP.

  44. pilgrim Says:

    I didn’t realize there were such hateful, anti-God websites like this one until I stumbled upon it inadvertently. It’s amazing how someone with the “power” to blog chooses to talk over and over about someone else. Use this time and “power” more wisely my friend. I’m finding the gossip and hate speech to be a turn off. It may interest people to know truth. Instead of coming up with a long list of things you find wrong with someone in a leadership position, look at how effective someone like Doug Phillips has been at promoting good. As far as I know, he’s always pointed people back to God and what God’s word says. Not one of us can say “Follow me”. The Bible itself is full of imperfect– yes, even adulterous people– who are used by God. Isn’t that amazing?! God is about grace, forgiveness, and conviction of sin. Read the Book! I hear it’s a best-seller. Have you ever heard Doug Phillips speak in person? Anyone with a blog or their own website these days falls under the same catagory as a leader speaking in-person at a location… in my humble opinion. Followers are what bloggers are looking to obtain. Isn’t that a crazy thought?!

    • MM Johann Says:

      You call this site “anti- God.” Quote one negative thing
      this site say about God. (Doug Phillips is not God, and being
      anti-DP is not synonymous with being anti-God.)

    • Jen Says:

      Pilgrim, you asked if I have ever heard Doug Phillips speak in person. That is enough to tell me that you have not read my story and therefore you do not understand the true purpose of this blog. Please read my story in full before you comment again. Thanks!

    • Turkey Says:

      Pilgrim, First of all, happy Thanksgiving! You say Mr
      Phillips has been effective at promoting good and pointing people
      back to God. But if, at the very same time, he’s been effective at
      destroying those closest to him– in business, in church, and
      especially in his family— what terms would Jesus use to describe
      a man like that?


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