Doug Phillips’ Kangaroo Court Cancels Communion

Convicted of Pleading for Help

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

When Mark and I arrived at Boerne Christian Assembly in 2000, our marriage was the best it had ever been. We had seemingly put the past behind us and were spending a lot of time praying that God would show us all the sin in our lives, both individually and together as a family. We were listening to dozens of sermons on topics that related to family life and theology, repenting together as we learned so many new things. When we arrived at Boerne Christian Assembly, Doug Phillips continued teaching us many incredible things about what the Bible says regarding families and daily life.

And while I appreciated much of what he taught us, I began to notice that he used very little Scripture and a lot of “vision,” very little practical application, but lots of theory. Some people can easily translate vision into reality, but in my own teaching experience, I’ve found that most do much better learning from actually doing it themselves, from demonstrations, and from stories or examples. For example, Doug Phillips often preached about men leading their families in “family worship.” I am in full agreement with that, and think it is a vital teaching. However, in my five years of listening to Doug Phillips, I cannot recall one specific example, one demonstration, one story about the specifics of “family worship.” I know there are many different methods and ways of carrying that out, but if you have never seen it done, it is a scary step for a man to attempt to try something he’s not only never done, but really has no clue about how to do it anyway. Mark described this as “frustrating.”

While much of what Doug Phillips teaches regarding Patriarchy sounds biblical, because of the lack of practical application, his teachings are often taken to extremes. Sometimes, men just hear his vision of men always “leading,” and they become domineering and demanding, causing undue stress on the wife. I know of one family that divorced precisely because of hearing this teaching and not understanding what it really should be. Sometimes, men will try to emulate what they see in Doug Phillips, and start requiring their families to have all the same rules as the Phillips. Unfortunately, if there are no personal convictions behind the rules, they soon become extremely oppressive and smother the family. Some men just have no clue about how to “lead” their families; they just know that it’s being constantly preached at them from the pulpit. Having come from a home without a godly leader, these men need lots of practical examples.

As Mark sat under this teaching, knowing the right thing to do, but not knowing how to do it, he began to get frustrated and angry. Our marriage began to deteriorate. I went to Beall Phillips on three occasions, in their new home now, asking her help in how I could be a submissive wife to an extremely angry husband. She reminded me of a gentle answer turning away wrath and how wives can win their husbands without a word. On each occasion, I went home and tried even harder, but to no avail.

Mark continued to grow increasingly angry, threatening divorce almost daily, until one day it seemed as if it would become a reality. Retiring from 20 years in the Army, he had a job offer in another state and decided to leave us for good. Standing by the pool that Sunday at church, I briefly closed my eyes in prayer, asking God for help. When I opened them, Doug Phillips was walking past me at that moment so, sensing that this was from the Lord as I never had occasion to really speak to him before, I asked if I could talk to him for a moment. Explaining that Mark was going to leave us the next day, I asked if Doug Phillips would be willing to talk to him. Doug Phillips then started asking me if I was fulfilling I Peter 3: “Are you submissive? Are you trying to win him without a word? Do you have a gentle and quiet spirit? Do you obey him?” Why was I getting the third degree when all I did was ask for help? Assuring Doug Phillips that I was doing all these things to the best of my ability, Doug then went outside after Mark.

Finding Mark just getting ready to leave, Doug Phillips approached him by his car and started peppering him with questions as well: “Is Jen a nag? Is she a dripping faucet? Is she disrespectful and unsubmissive to you? Is Jen rebellious and churlish?” Desperate to justify his own actions, Mark clutched onto these inappropriate adjectives and agreed with Doug. Rather than trying to find the root cause of Mark’s obvious anger that day, Doug Phillips immediately jumped to the conclusion that it must all be my fault for causing Mark to be so angry. Then when Mark starts spewing forth bitterness and unforgiveness about my past sins before I was a Christian, Doug Phillips suggested that maybe I hadn’t fully repented after all, and that must be the problem. Although Doug Phillips convinced Mark not to leave the next day, he did not use this occasion to even speak to him about his own sin in threatening divorce.

Doug Phillips is highly inaccessible, even to his own small congregation, but I did think that imminent divorce and abandonment might be cause for at least some quick intervention. Six weeks later, however, in October 2002, Doug Phillips was finally available to meet with us. Bob Welch was also there, but I believe it was his last official duty as an elder because he left right about that time, if I remember correctly. There was also one deacon present, as well as Doug’s wife, Beall, and Bob’s wife. When I entered this meeting, I had no clue that Mark and Doug had this conversation previously, so I came with hope that someone was going to be able to help us.

After giving an appearance of being fair by letting us each tell what was going on, Doug Phillips then quickly turned to an obviously prepared line of interrogation, bombarding me with questions about my pre-Christian behavior thirteen years earlier and from which I had already fully repented in 1990, when I came to know the Lord. Doug Phillips kept wanting to know details about what had happened, (which he has since told some of his supporters, who have posted them online for everyone to see – although the online versions are greatly distorted and untrue). Doug Phillips kept pressuring me to admit that I had not repented from my sin, behaving very much like a prosecuting attorney trying to get the witness to plead “guilty,” calling me a “whore” and a “Jezebel” (which to Doug means a woman who tries to rule over her husband in rebellion). Beall Phillips chimed in by totally misrepresenting our three conversations in which I asked her for help in being a submissive wife, and instead she said that I was disrespectful and unsubmissive in my attitude toward her. Shocked at her total change of attitude, I could hardly believe it when Doug Phillips joined her in calling me name again and added his own terms of endearment such as “churlish.”

Doug Phillips then proceeded to tell three outright lies about me as he totally ignored Mark’s extreme outbursts of anger right in the middle of the meeting turned Kangaroo Court. Doug Phillips stated that I said no one was counseling me; no one was, although Bob Welch was counseling Mark at the time. Doug Phillips stated that I said no one was holding Mark accountable; although Bob was counseling Mark, he was clearly not holding him accountable in any way. Although I cannot remember the third lie, I clearly remember Doug Phillips calling me a liar while he sat there and falsely accused me himself. Although Doug and Beall Phillips accused me of being unsubmissive and disrespectful, they could not give me any examples of that in my life when I asked for them. The truth was that because of Mark’s extreme anger, I tried extremely hard to do my best at all times to be a godly wife. I had enough anger from my husband as it was; I didn’t need to invite anymore.

As if playing the role of prosecuting attorney instead of shepherd and counselor wasn’t enough, Doug Phillips then declares himself to be the judge as well, deciding that it must be all my fault, and pulls out my sentencing papers, which he already prepared before the “court” began. Although Mark is listed on the “Guidelines for Accountability,” this was mostly a sham, as Mark was never held to these standards. Because there are so many spelling errors in the paper, I will list my requirements here for you, but you may see the original document with all signatures here as well to verify it.

Jennifer may not:

1. Ever question, contradict, criticize, correct or end-run any communication or decision by Mark to Mark or to anyone else.
2. Speak ill of her husband or family matters to third parties.
3. Speak critically of Mark to the children.

Jennifer must:

1. Agree to submit to the guidelines for accountability of the leadership of the local church with a full heart as unto the Lord, recognizing their goal is to facilitate obedience to the Lord and help rescue a marriage.
2. Demonstrate genuine reverence and submission to her husband in all things as unto the Lord.
3. Examine herself for unconfessed, or inadequately confessed, sins against her husband from any time during their marriage.
4. Not take communion until love is once again restored in the family, or on an individual basis, until the spirit and letter of the above is followed, and deemed such by the leadership of the local church. (Minor excommunication)
5. Forgive and love one another.

Accountability:

In the case of violations of the “may not” guidelines listed above, Jennifer will be willing to submit to reasonable accountability reporting guidelines to be determined.

These “reasonable accountability reporting guidelines” consisted of each of us being assigned people to whom we could call 24 hours a day to “tattle” on each other if there was a problem. Mark was told he could call Doug Phillips on his cell phone, although Doug never answered. Mark did talk to Jeff, the deacon, a couple times. I was assigned to call Beall Phillips, but since I don’t let my children “tattle” on each other, I did not feel it was right to “tattle” on my husband either, so I never called her. In turn, Beall Phillips never once asked me how my marriage was going or why I hadn’t called her.

Making himself prosecutor, judge, and jury, Doug Phillips orchestrated the whole Kangaroo Court in a fashion that seemed designed to be a quick fix to a serious problem. As one friend commented, Doug Phillips liked putting bandaids on open, oozing wounds. The outcome of this Kangaroo Court was that Doug Phillips determined that I had not fully repented for sins committed thirteen years earlier, before I was saved; that it must be my fault that Mark was so angry and wanted a divorce; that I now had strict “rules” to follow; and that I could no longer take communion each Sunday — indefinitely.

These guidelines were not temporary guidelines, something that would go away when communion was restored. These guidelines turned out to be what is generally expected of every wife according to Doug Phillips’ hyper-Patriarchical view. Men are in charge, and as such, wives are never to question them. There is the occasion for an appeal, as if we were little children, but these guidelines were never intended to be temporary in nature. Even after communion was restored, and even though my family was in danger, I was reminded that I could not speak ill of Mark to anyone. But that’s another story for another day!

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24 Responses to “Doug Phillips’ Kangaroo Court Cancels Communion”

  1. Mark Epstein Says:

    Hon,

    I completely concur with your description of these events — as they pertain to my actions.

    Mark

  2. Lynn Says:

    Jen, just so I have this straight, it was at this *very* *first* meeting you were banned from receiving communion?

    Secondly, all he had to go on was the fact that Mark agreed with his questions about you being a “dripping faucet” and such? There were no specific examples Mark gave of negative behavior on your part, just his agreement with Doug? Or did Mark give specific examples?

    Where I used to work, when evaluating the performance of students, we were always told to back up any criticism with examples, and that a minor problem, which when corrected when first seen and never done again, did not count on a formal appraisal — it had to be something that was ongoing or a tendency seen, again, with examples, in order to be placed on record.

  3. Rose Says:

    I am confused, under “Mark Must:” numbers 2 and 3 are directed at you, Jen? #3 says that “They must” search for any unconfessed sin against HER husband from any time during their marriage.” #2 talks about the requirement to show genuine reverance and submission to Mark.

    I guess I am confused as to why Mark is being told to search for any unconfessed sin that Jen may have committed. That is too weird and really not biblical and frankly, really not his job. The guidelines under “Mark Must” are confusing. I can imagine being given these guidelines and then not being allowed to ask questions. I can imagine the state of confusion that existed. It seems like these guidelines would cause more problems. I have never seen marital counseling like this. Usually the counselor has to meet with the people several times together and individually to get an accurate assessment of what the main problems really are.

    The whole thing is really odd. I guess I don’t understand how in the world that he could come with this paper BEFORE the meeting took place.

  4. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen..you are a woman of great character. I can only imagine the hurt and rejection you felt at this time. The saints truly do ‘persevere’.

  5. mosaic Says:

    Jen, praise God you all got out of this community and that the God of all comfort is healing your wounds.

  6. Come Unto Me...if you homeschool Says:

    Jen,

    There are some strange inconsistencies in your post.

    1. To your point about “practical application”. You say such was lacking from the teaching and therefore people could not “get” how to do this in their own lives. But you also complain that some of the people just did what Doug did in his own life and that was framed as a legalistic or problematic state of affairs.

    Question, if Doug gives what you consider to be “practical” advice from the pulpit, wont he just be telling folks what Doug does (his rules). It seems he is in a no win situation, be pracitical but dont tell us how you practice because those are “your rules”.

    2. Curious, when in public and praying privately, why close your eyes? Just curious, I am allergic to modern day pietism…so I wonder about these things.

  7. Jen Says:

    Lynn, yes, it was at this very first meeting with Doug, when he knew absolutely nothing about me yet, that he came in fully prepared to just ban me from communion.

    Mark did not give Doug any specific examples of my being a nag, a dripping faucet, unsubmissive, disrespectful, etc. because there weren’t any to give. All Mark had to do is agree with Doug’s assessment of someone he’d never met (me) and I was convicted. I am not claiming to be a perfect wife, and I certainly sin here and there in my marriage, for which I immediately apologize when I am made aware of it, but I was extremely cautious in everything I did, kind of like walking on eggshells, you know. I simply wanted it known that while I wasn’t “perfect,” I also didn’t have a pattern of sin in my marriage.

    I have struggled with calling Boerne Christian Assembly a cult. There are some extremes in practice, but most of the teaching is very biblically sound. I truly believe most of the members love the Lord and are dedicated to the truth of His Word. However, when you follow a man rather than God, you are deceived, and that is what is happening right now.

  8. always batya Says:

    I know it seems incredible to some that people who act as ministers of the Gospel can outright lie and be hypocritical. But they can and do. I had something similar happen to me with some senior church staff. (Because I would not go along with something very unethical with tithe dollars and was considered not to be a ‘team player’.)

    What is even worse are [those] who follow them. Many knew that I was being lied about but hid away for fear of losing their job. And these were people who were also uncomfortable with what was being done! (people were fired all the time for disagreeing in staff meetings but I did not know that at the time.)

    All I knew at the time was that truth was the casualty. I could not believe that no one cared about the truth save one single elder. And he resigned in disgust.

    I have been shocked to discover that hypocrisy, deception and greed for power is rampant in many churches. I had no idea it was so bad out there. I have been doing some research (within the mega community) and one reason this sort of thing happens at churches is because they do not fear God. They also do not fear lawsuits because they can just point and say ‘sinner’ to anyone who dares file one. They do not have to abide by any labor laws, either and they abuse that stewardship all the time.

    Churches have become organizational power structures without the restraints defined by the law.

  9. truth seeker Says:

    Come unto me wrote: To your point about “practical application”. You say such was lacking from the teaching and therefore people could not “get” how to do this in their own lives. But you also complain that some of the people just did what Doug did in his own life and that was framed as a legalistic or problematic state of affairs.>>

    I thought it was very clear. Be the ‘leader’. Doug was presenting himself as in control of his family. That is interpreted many ways. Jen has an excellent point here by the way because this is a problem with many ‘submission’ sermons. People need to see what something like that ‘looks like’ in practical terms because they usually have no baseline experience. Especially men who tend to be task oriented and concrete problem solvers.

    I have sat through many submission sermons in my life and I can tell you that most men and women go away totally confused. (they would be better off studying the scriptures on this together)

    Many pastors do not realize that they are preaching it from one side: Women. They should be preaching it as the text reads in totality which includes: Love your wives as Christ loved the church. A woman ‘can’ be a dripping faucet but she can rarely be a tyrant mainly for physical reasons. But a man can.

    I have come to conclusion that most pastors do not preach the full text (or dash through that part without full explanation of what loving her like Christ loved the church…which is HUGE and could be a series) because they are not doing it themselves or do not really understand what that means. (Think of how Jesus describes His church)

    CUM writes: “Question, if Doug gives what you consider to be “practical” advice from the pulpit, wont he just be telling folks what Doug does (his rules). It seems he is in a no win situation, be pracitical but dont tell us how you practice because those are “your rules”. ”

    Why can’t Doug tell them how he loves his wife like Christ loves the church? What that means from scripture?(His wife could but that would be speaking in church!) He is also ‘showing’ it everyday in everyway.

    CUM wrote: “2. Curious, when in public and praying privately, why close your eyes? Just curious, I am allergic to modern day pietism…so I wonder about these things.”

    Sorry to keep answering for you, Jen. But this comment saddened me. It was a bit ‘pious’ and I am sad Come unto me was compelled to write it.

    But I will answer for myself: To keep out distraction. Sometimes it is necessary (or one is led) to pray in public (was Jen really in public or over by the pool alone?) not always but sometimes.

    This IS hard while driving, though. :o)

  10. Jen Says:

    Come Unto Me, thank you for giving me the chance to clear up a confusing point.

    Some things need to be taught rather than caught, such as creative ideas on how men can lead their families in worship. There are endless ways to teach others, but a few examples might be to have families over for dinner and then have family worship together. There are only about 25 families or less in this small church, many of which are singles, so to fellowship at each other’s homes consistently shouldn’t have been too difficult. We invited everyone in the church over to our home at least six times and some came many more times than that. Other than group functions, though, we were invited to someone’s home by only three of these families, and we appreciated that very much. So hospitality is a great teaching tool.

    A demonstration can also be very helpful. When I teach other mothers how to homeschool, I give a full demonstration of different ideas, often involving the moms I am trying to teach. They go home excited because now they know they can do it, too.

    Sermon examples and stories are powerful as well. I’ve heard Scott Brown give examples of what he does in family worship and it was an immediate clear picture of a good idea.

    I am not saying the family worship should be a set way or follow a certain pattern, but when you don’t have any idea where to start, you need some creative ideas, which are not too hard to pass along to others.

    As far as following Doug’s rules in real life, an obvious example can be found in clothing. The Phillips’ family is very modest in what they wear, and they do it because they have a personal conviction from God’s Word about clothing. However, when most people first come to Boerne Christian Assembly, they do not have this conviction, but they SEE the pattern that is being set and so they change their clothing, still without a conviction. This created a lot of hurt feelings and hardships. For example, one lady in pants went to a local store and saw another lady from church there in a dress. The pants lady was so worried that the dress lady would judge her that she stayed in her car until the dress lady left. This kind of judging was prevalent. That’s why I asked for a time when we could talk about specifics after Jeff Pollard came to talk about modesty. The sermon, although excellent, was so broad, it left open a wide area for interpretation. I know several women left over just this issue.

    I believe this could have been mostly solved if we had all gone to the Scriptures together to see what God’s Word truly has to say about it and come to an agreement. I do know churches that have done this.

    I hope these two examples shed some light on the difference between giving practical application examples and just copying what you see someone else do, without having your own conviction. I have lots of friends with different convictions from mine and I have even asked a couple of them not to act one way in front of me and another way when I’m not there. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone feeling that they need to be hypocritical around me.

    Why do I close my eyes when I pray? Habit. You are right; there is no biblical reason. However, for myself, I find that I am easily distracted if I pray with my eyes open, except when I’m driving, which is when I do a lot of my praying with my eyes open!

  11. Kevin L Says:

    What makes something a cult, anyway?

  12. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Cult members are “focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.” The leader is a strong-willed, domineering character who rules the group with tight control.
    He lets it be known in subtle ways that he is “in charge” of the movement. He makes the plans, he orchestrates the movements of the group or groups (sometimes he exercises his sway over several groups). He dispatches the workers, assigns their chores, etc.

    Frequently, they even begin to imitate his mannerisms in terms of voice inflection, language patterns, aggressive attitudes, etc. They become “clones” of their esteemed leader. It is not uncommon that the leader knows of weaknesses or past problems of people with his group. Thus, through subtle intimidation and fear he keeps them under his control.

    “Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged,” and there can be pressure or social punishment when there is disagreement with the “boss.” Those who disagree are made to feel as though they are stupid or inept. They are brainwashed with the notion that they do not have the knowledge or experience to question the leader.
    Younger people are particularly vulnerable to the leader’s “gift of gab,” and his feigned expertise. No matter how radical the leader becomes in his decisions or actions, the cult members will not criticize him. Even if there should be mild disagreement, no specific expressions are voiced. The members reason that though he may be mistaken in some of his judgments, yet the overall good he accomplishes outweighs any minor flaws.

    Members are taught to “rationalize” the conduct of the leader in matters they have always “considered unethical before,” under the guise that the “end justifies the means.”

    The leader “is preoccupied with [raising] money.” There is always a need for increasing finances. New projects are ever in the planning. Members are strongly encouraged to greatly sacrifice for the leader’s current “pet” enterprise. There is little pressure let-up; members of the group must be kept “revved up” on a continual basis.
    The cult leader always takes the major credit for the movement’s accomplishments. Members become psychologically dependent upon him. “What would we ever do without our leader?,” is the cult mentality.

    The cult leader generates within his members “a polarized” mentality. His people evolve an “us-versus-them” mentality. Little-by-little he criticizes other groups with which his members might tend to associate, undermining confidence in them, attempting to discredit anyone who could have influence over his “flock.”
    Cult members become suspicious; they imbibe the critical disposition. No one is really as “sound” as “we” are. We are an “elitist” group. And so, seeds of isolationism are sown. The movement leader discourages reading any material, examining any ideas that he does not generate. He seeks to control the inflow of knowledge relative to “his group.”

    Kip McKean actually has charged his followers not to read certain books dealing with “mind control,” characterizing any breach of this rule as “sin” (Steve Hassan, Releasing the Bonds, p. xvii). “Jehovah’s Witnesses” generally will not read any literature other than that published by the Watch Tower association.

    The cult leader has a clearly defined “anti-authoritarian” disposition. Within the context of the church, for instance, he would have an “anti-elder” attitude. Elders would be recipients of constant critical remarks. No cult leader would affiliate himself with a congregation having elders to whom he must be in submission. “Control” could not be maintained in such an environment.
    The cult leader would constantly criticize preachers, particularly those whose knowledge of the Scriptures eclipse his own. Members must be made to feel that he is the “chief authority” in spiritual matters.

    Cult members are seen occasionally to take on a new personality. They begin to act differently. They become increasingly antagonistic to family members and long-time friends. They may even boast that, “I am not the old [name] that you used to know; I am a new person now.” And indeed they are. They have become strangers to those who knew them well. They have been transformed into the image of their leader.

    The Christian must always be on guard against cult-like figures who would control their thinking and life-patterns. Our challenge is to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5), and to none other.

    This is a cut and paste from an article on the website ChristianCourier.com, The article is by Wayne Jackson and is dated August 28, 2000

    …it’s amazing what you can find with GOOGLE. 😉

  13. Jen Says:

    Morgan, I’ve several many different definitions of a cult, which is why I was hesitant to label Boerne Christian Assembly as a cult. However, with one minor variation here, you have described Doug Phillips, Vision Forum, and Boerne Christian Assembly to a “T.” I may do a whole post on this! This description is so accurate, I wonder if the author was using Doug as his prototype.

  14. Morgan Farmer Says:

    The descriptions I ‘pasted ;)’ need not be ALL applied to define a cult…many variations exist. After reading and re-reading everything about your situation I am convinced that BCA is a cult. Believe it or not there are many mainstream churches even within respected denominations that have ‘gone cultish’ around a pastor.

    Keep telling your story…your ‘support group’ is here for you.

  15. Jean Says:

    Jennifer,

    BRAVO! It’s not often that you see someone stand on principal and protect others, knowing full well the hateful personal attacks that will result. I applaud you and Mark for your courage to stand before the giant that is Doug Phillips and Vision Forum! As best we can, from miles away, our family stands with yours. We will bring your needs before the throne daily in prayer during these next weeks of expected turmoil.

    I must say, first, that I am so thankful for the season that the Lord allowed our paths to intersect! You are a faithful, dependable leader of women in the true spirit of Titus 2 and I am so fortunate to benefit from your example. I will treasure your friendship over the years.

    I knew that your family had been shunned by the group, but I had no idea of the depth of your pain.

    About the clothing convictions, you stated: “The pants lady was so worried that the dress lady would judge her that she stayed in her car until the dress lady left.” Good grief. I’m a pants lady, myself, as you know, and it’s this **hiding** that disturbs me. Clothing is not a salvation issue, and, as such, should not be divisive among Christians. Instead, our differing non-salvation-issue-convictions should be refreshing. I just had the most insightful discussion this past weekend at church with a visiting family whose females not only wear dresses, but also headcoverings. It was interesting! We talked about clothing and then moved on to lots of other things. I’d like to think we just behaved like loving Christians. There were no judgments being passed either way. But let me just take this public opportunity to officially thank you for daring to befriend me, a pants lady. HA!

    Jennifer, I wish I had just the right words to encourage you, to strengthen you. I am not one to be at a loss for words ordinarily. I do know, however, that the Lord will supply exceedingly abundantly all that you and Mark need to weather this attack. Your family and reputation will be restored, and God will set right this gigantic wrong.

    Please let me know how we can best cover you in prayer.

    Jean

  16. Mark Epstein Says:

    Jean,

    I wish to personally thank you for your words of encouragement to Jennifer. We certainly appreciate your fellowship and friends praying for us. I have never encountered such opposition in my life.

    Please greet your husband and family for me.

    Mark

  17. Jen Says:

    Rachel, you will find the answers to your questions in the first paragraph of the first post here.

  18. ReformedCalvinist Says:

    The question of “what is a cult” can be confusing because there are actually two separate ways of defining a cult. The first was well stated above, and is sociological. This is also the way a government would use to define a cult (it’s kind of scary, but some governments do that).

    The second way, which is what I’m more familiar with from cult studies of the 1970’s and 80’s, is theological. A cult is any religious movement based on and claiming to be a part (or, more likely, the only true representative) of Christianity, which either:

    1) Diminishes the Diety of Jesus Christ
    or
    2) Adds sacred writings to the canon of Scripture.

    Most churches which fit the sociological definition of a cult would pass the theological test. That, in fact, is what makes it so much easier to leave them then it would to break free from the clutches of a doubly defined cult, which to a struggling cult member is tantamount to throwing away one’s salvation, and likely that of family members as well.

  19. Sue Says:

    Hi Jen, I was so encouraged when you came forward with your “ministry watchman” article. I thought the next day we would all see the countless other families that have left BCA coming forward and telling their stories. I couldn’t believe it when no one came forward even after I called and asked a friend if she wouldn’t share her story and their “Kangaroo Court.” Now, after seeing the kind of response from DP friends I understand their reluctance. However, it has made me appreciate you even more! 🙂

    To the former members of BCA – my neighbor, swimteam mom, long time friend etc. . . I would appreciate you telling your story. For the friend currently in BCA I hope you have the opportunity to hear the stories and get out.

    On a more humorous note: Somewhere on here a question was posed, when would these women be required to take the veil for modesty’s sake – VF sells a “modesty slip” for young girls:)

    Former Members speak out so that the other folks can get out of this “assembly.”

  20. Vik Says:

    I see the last reply here was December of ’06, but I just had to say that DP’s church is so much like the one I left. There was a preacher only; no elders or deacons. Women were lucky if they were as good as doormats –major authoritarian rule. A long time ago I would have thought, “Well, why not just leave? So what?”

    But it happened to me and it wasn’t as easy as that. Well, not at first. The preacher is an excellent carpenter and housebuilder, and had done some major work on our house for free, just beautiful. I felt really guilty leaving after that. Leverage. Maybe that’s why he did it, who knows. At least women could speak in his Bible studies, I guess DP wouldn’t even allow that?

    Somebody mentioned cults happen in all denominations — yep. This was an independent Baptist church — the kind I grew up in. None I attended had been like this. This preacher went through no seminary (“not Biblical” you know) and was a self-proclaimed, God-called preacher. Look out for those! What applies to others doesn’t apply to them! And they know just enough Greek to be dangerous, oftentimes. And no matter what, it is ALWAYS the woman’s fault.

    I won’t go into great detail because the situation was basically just like the description of a cult above. But I wrote a kind letter, *kindly* explaining why I was withdrawing my membership from this one-and-only “true” church (my husband hadn’t yet decided what he was going to do, but the kids and I were NOT going back after Preacher crossed the line and husband agreed with me). I was called a coward and other names by Preacher and son, was yelled at all the way out the door… and at that point I turned around and smiled at them all. A great burden had been lifted right then even as I was leaving. I felt no sadness. I think that’s unusual. Most folks are devastated. Anyway, they weren’t expecting that reaction from me and went silent.

    I was so thankful they were shunning me so I wouldn’t have to speak to them (this is a very small town). They DO point at their excommunicated people in public and glare and make a spectical of themselves doing it… but they don’t do it to me. I am not afraid of him and he knows it. I think that’s what it takes, women standing their ground (I don’t mean getting out of line or sinning in the process).

    Nowadays, only his own family attends that church –no one else. Has been that way since I left in 2003. And it isn’t because I spread the word. I didn’t have to!

    Thanks for telling this story. I once looked up to so many seemingly Godly men: my own ex-preacher, Doug Phillips, Doug Wilson, R.C. Sproul, R.C. Sproul Jr., Gregg Harris, Michael Farris, Matt Chancey, Denny Kenaston, and others. Mostly Reformed men (funny, because I lean to Arminianism). Sometimes I wish I didn’t know all this bad stuff.

    God bless ya,
    Vik, husband, and 3 precious home educated kids who are all now stronger people

  21. Steve Austin Says:

    This is the craziest stuff I ever heard of. I’ve looked and Islam and Mormons, but for this sort of thing to be going on with “leaders” of Christians is mind-boggling. Oh, to be present when a returning Christ pronounces judgement of people like Phillips!

  22. A discerning look at Biblical Patriarchy and those who abuse it | For Christ's Crown & Covenant! Says:

    […] come from a home without a godly leader, these men need lots of practical examples. (Taken from: Doug Phillips’ Kangaroo Court Cancels Communion by Jen Epstein, written Dec. 13, […]

  23. A discerning look at Biblical Patriarchy and those who abuse it | Christian Liberty News Says:

    […] come from a home without a godly leader, these men need lots of practical examples. (Taken from: Doug Phillips’ Kangaroo Court Cancels Communion by Jen Epstein, written Dec. 13, […]

  24. Michael Says:

    Reblogged this on 2Peter1.12 and commented:
    This is a head shaker…


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