Doug Phillips Refuses Reconciliation With The Epsteins

“This is not about reconciliation; this is only about the Epsteins repenting.”

We were informed last week that Doug Phillips has refused to be reconciled with us.

Doug Phillips has rejected the peacemaking/reconciliation proposal that the elders at Faith Presbyterian Church of San Antonio attempted to facilitate. As I wrote previously, we were very encouraged to know that all the FPC elders have gone through the Peacemaker Ministries training and that several of them are “Certified Christian Conciliators.” We were led to believe that if anyone could help us, these men could. We also believed that Doug would be hard pressed to refuse to enter into Christian conciliation when it was to be facilitated by men who are certified with a conciliation ministry that is as highly respected as Peacemaker Ministries. Doug Phillips told the elders that there is only one way for the Epsteins to be reconciled with me; they must come to me and repent fully without any equivocation of everything that we excommunicated them for, and they also have to repent for blogging about me.

Doug Phillips told the FPC session that our blogging about him “hurt him.” We’re not exactly sure what that means (did we hurt his feelings?), but that’s obviously just a smoke screen and a means of shifting focus from the original issues. We weren’t excommunicated for blogging about Doug Phillips, so even if we were to now “repent” to him for blogging about him, as far as he’s concerned, it wouldn’t change anything anyway. He remains convinced of all of his original allegations against us, and he sees no problems with his Kangaroo Court excommunication of the Epsteins.

From Doug’s perspective, the Epsteins are 100% wrong, he’s 100% right, end of discussion. We have to admit to everything he accuses us of, we’re not allowed to accuse him of anything, and if we won’t do that, he won’t ever lift the excommunication judgment against us. In other words he seeks to hold us as hostages in a state of perpetual spiritual enslavement.

Although many others have commented that Doug’s behavior is “cultish,” we ourselves have avoided making those allegations. However, in the future we may not avoid making those kinds of allegations ourselves. Doug has now more than proven to us that he’s completely devoid of any character attributes that would qualify him as a shepherd, and it would seem that he does evidence all the character attributes of a (sociological) cult leader.

For those who’ve been following this story, you already know why Doug’s dictatorial formula for reconciliation can’t possibly work, and why reconciliation by such autocratic edicts is futile. Doug Phillips’ latest decree requires that we lie. We would have to lie because what Doug demands is that we confess sins and beg forgiveness of things:

  1. That we’re not guilty of and that no one can provide any evidence that we’re guilty of.
  2. That I committed years before I even became a Christian, and that I confessed and repented of years ago.
  3. That are so vague and ambiguous that we can’t possibly comprehend what they even are.
  4. That in the case of the few charges that we were guilty of, we confessed and repented of those things, but Doug excommunicated us any way.

In other words we’d have to lie. We’d have to bear false witness about ourselves. We’d have to break the ninth commandment. Furthermore, we’d have to lie by saying that our blogging about Doug is sinful. We have no such convictions and no one has provided any credibly biblical support to show that our blogging about Doug was a sin.

We didn’t take our blog articles offline because we believed that our blogging about Doug was sinful. We took them down only because the FPC session asked us to as a means of paving the way for reconciliation. They also told us to refrain from any further blogging about Doug and BCA, as well as commenting on other blogs, during the time they pursued peacemaking and reconciliation with Doug on our behalf. We complied with everything we were told to do (and no, we didn’t comment anywhere under aliases either). We complied fully with every single thing the FPC session required of us, and we did so without a complaint. In so doing, we hoped to demonstrate that we’re not rebellious and we’re quite capable of submitting to elders. We also wanted to demonstrate our sincerity in seeking reconciliation.

Obviously, though, Doug shares no such interest. During the time of our compelled silence, Doug Phillips’ close personal friends and “former interns” continued their assaults against us with a string of false accusations and weird conspiracy theories. It was no easy thing for us to keep quiet while we were being falsely accused. Our compelled silence only served as an opportunity to show the world Doug Phillips’ true nature. Doug Phillips is a master saboteur. When he was our pastor, we came to him for help with our marriage, but instead of helping us, he effectively sabotaged our marriage. In fact, he sabotaged our entire family. Our children have yet to recover from the betrayal they were subjected to by Doug Phillips.

It therefore came as no surprise to us that Doug would employ the services of his close personal friend and political hatchet man, Matt Chancey, and his “former interns” (often used as code language for “current Vision Forum employees”) in particular, to keep up a steady assault against us during our time of compelled silence, in an all too obvious attempt to sabotage our relations with Faith Presbyterian Church. With two phone calls or emails, Doug could’ve called for a cease fire. But continuing to smear us by his internet assassin friends and “former interns,” while he knew we had to remain silent, gave him a huge advantage. We believe, however, that many were paying close attention and that all Doug’s tactics really accomplished were to confirm what a bully he really is.

Not only is Doug a bully but he’s a politician. He was raised by a politician and has been well trained in political scheming. Tragically, it appears now that Doug Phillips has successfully sabotaged our formerly good relations at Faith Presbyterian Church. Make no mistake, it took more than a couple of attack-blogs by his friends and “former interns” to accomplish that. Doug himself was personally and actively involved in that.

Unless we’re provoked into making additional disclosures about that situation, we’re not likely to blog about FPC. At this point we’ll just say that we’re very disappointed with the FPC session, and their apparent lack of courage in standing up to a bully. We did warn them that Doug can be not only cunningly persuasive but that he will resort to threats and intimidation to get what he wants. It appears now that the FPC elders were cowed by Phillips in a similar way that the pastor of our previous church was cowed. He, too, attempted to facilitate reconciliation on our behalf, but he proved himself less than manly.

The only bright spot in all this is that it didn’t take two years like it did last time. Last time, Doug agreed to meet for reconciliation. In fact, he agreed multiple times, only to cancel every single meeting at the last minute. After 14 months of attempting to set up a meeting with Doug Phillips, he finally met with the elders of our last church, only to accuse them of sinning as well. We warned the FPC session of Doug’s MO of cancelling meetings and using intermediaries and blaming everyone but himself. FPC agreed with us that they wouldn’t wait around for months for Doug to make an appearance, and they agreed with us that they couldn’t negotiate with Doug’s intermediaries. Reconciliation can only occur with the parties who were directly involved in the original offense.

This time, after only a few cancellations, Doug actually did meet with the elders. But just like he did with the previous church session, he called the FPC session “wicked sinners for fellowshipping with and entertaining ex-communicants.” Apparently that may have been all it took to cow the FPC session.

We had been told not long ago, “Doug Phillips apparently expects everyone to have to shun you. If he expects the FPC session to do that he’s going to be disappointed.” In the end, though, it was the FPC session that bent to Doug’s will. Through political arm-twisting, or threats, or whatever other pressures he brought to bear, Doug Phillips “won.” Doug Phillips sabotaged our peacemaking efforts. But is Doug’s refusal of peacemaking and reconciliation really a “win” for him? We don’t think so. In fact, it’s likely to only hurt his reputation even more.

In spite of our great disappointment with the FPC session, we don’t intend to speak further about them. We therefore would prefer to not address any questions regarding FPC. Our blogging is going to remain focused on the problem, and the problem is Doug Phillips.

We won’t be making any more attempts at reconciliation with Doug Phillips. Having now exhausted every conceivable avenue of reconciliation with Doug Phillips, we believe that we have no choice but to re-post all our former articles.

More to come… soon.


103 Responses to “Doug Phillips Refuses Reconciliation With The Epsteins”

  1. Lucy Says:

    …. in the meantime (while I work on my post) I wanted to make a small clarification to one of my statements. I said that I didn’t see many of your commenters challenging you in good directions. I want to be clear that I do realize several people have “challenged” you, but in some cases, either the subject matter was not coherent, or the tone was uncalled for.

    However, I did find one interesting example after your post wherein you replied to BCA’s formal reply to your article. The comment was left by K.P. on 1/4/07, and while I thought the tone was a bit harsh, I thought he/she made some interesting points. Here’s a bit of what was said:

    “….for you to stay around and cause disruption is [in this congregation] inexcusable. You had issues coming into this congregation, but you brought those issues into the church and then blamed the pastor for their existence after you did not get the response you were looking for.
    You didn’t agree with a lot of the philosophies, i.e., women remaining silent, modesty, college, etc. But those principles are part of the belief system of that church, so why would you attempt to change them, and re-make the church and its pastor into your own image?
    But the worst part of this all is that you have chosen to become a talebearer and practice character-assassination by shamelessly blasting all of this one-sided gossip across the internet. The Bible has much to say about talebearers.
    Is this church perfect? Of course not. Was it the church for you? Obviously not. But instead of quietly leaving, you chose to become all of the things that you have now been accused of and claim to be innocent of.”

    Like I said, the tone may not be ideal, but the post raises points worth discussing (in my opinion). However, as I followed the thread, I couldn’t find anywhere that either you or Mark had responded. Would you mind doing so, now? I think it would help me in formulating my next post.

  2. Jen Says:

    Sure, Lucy, I’ll answer it. It must have been lost in the shuffle last time. Sometimes there were more comments than I could answer at once!

    “for you to stay around and cause disruption is [in this congregation] inexcusable.”

    I don’t recall ever causing a disruption in BCA. Remember that I was told I could not tell anyone what was going on. I was silenced while we were there. In my heart, I was begging for help, but I did not ever cause a disruption. Everyone was shocked at the charges against me when they were read before the congregation.

    “You had issues coming into this congregation, but you brought those issues into the church and then blamed the pastor for their existence after you did not get the response you were looking for.”

    Actually, our marriage was the best it had ever been when we came to BCA, but because of the heavy Patriarchy emphasis, Mark took a different direction after we’d been there a while. Our family wasn’t perfect when we arrived, but we came with teachable spirits and we made a lot of changes in our family that first year. We thought all the changes we were making were biblical changes. Mark was very frustrated, however, because, looking back now, he realizes that Doug taught about vision, vision, vision, but Mark had no concept of the practical application of the vision of men leading their families. So Mark extrapolated an even more extreme position than what was being taught.

    “You didn’t agree with a lot of the philosophies, i.e., women remaining silent, modesty, college, etc. ”

    When we first arrived at BCA, these were all new concepts to us. We soon came to embrace them as our own, and for the most part, I agree that the underlying teaching is biblical still. However, the manner in which these areas were enforced grew more legalistic over time. You need to understand that the BCA when we first began attending was a totally different church than when we were excommunicated. So much changed over time. I would give almost anything to go back to the first year there again. It was solid teaching and no judgmentalism. Now, that formula seems to be reversed.

    Let me explain a little. Yes, I think it is clear that women are to remain silent in church, but isn’t it a little extreme when I can’t even introduce my own parents? This happened four years into our time there. I have exactly the same standards of modesty that Doug and most others at BCA do now. We still agree. What I am adamantly opposed to, however, is judging someone, at church or elsewhere, who has different standards from my own. I am opposed to church members taking women aside and telling them they are sinning because they don’t dress like the rest of us. I am opposed to visual dressing down when someone shows up wearing something not considered modest. A friend told me about taking her daughter with her to see the premiere of Doug’s fakeumentary, “Raising the Allosaur.” She and her daughter went up to compliment Doug afterward, but he gave them a visual dressing down, a look of disgust, and turned away in the middle of her daughter speaking to him. Why? Because they were wearing pants. I am opposed to that. But we didn’t see any of that at the beginning. Those kinds of things didn’t happen until the last two years.

    I listened to Doug’s message about college. For the most part, I still agree. It is not always practical, however, and there should be plenty of room for each family to decide this on their own. There is no Scripture that says, “That shalt not go off to college.” But a sister church, an elder very closely related to our story, severely disciplined a young lady for saying that her parents had given her permission to go away to college. That’s extreme, but it’s also somewhat recent. Things didn’t start out that way.

    “But those principles are part of the belief system of that church, so why would you attempt to change them, and re-make the church and its pastor into your own image?”

    I never go into a church with the intent to change either the church or the people there. Changes do happen, though, some for the better, sometimes because of people setting a good example, which is my method, and some changes are for the worse, such as these examples. I think you might be referring to my story about the sermon about modesty and my request to discuss it with the ladies afterward. That is really no different than what we are doing on blogs – having a discussion. I had no ulterior motive. I had been dressing modestly for only a month or so at that time and I had a million questions of practicality. I wanted to see exactly what Scripture said about dress. But I had no intentions of changing anyone. I was in the learning stage. In fact, when I first started attending there, I felt that I was at the bottom of the barrel, spiritually speaking. I had a lot to learn and had a lot of questions. Can you just imagine the men sitting around discussing the practicalities of what the women should wear, while we sat there silently listening? That wouldn’t have worked either, and it didn’t. The men weren’t very interested, so the discussion time was very short.

    “you have chosen to become a talebearer and practice character-assassination by shamelessly blasting all of this one-sided gossip across the internet. The Bible has much to say about talebearers.”

    I am sorry you choose to see it this way. The intent of talebearing has to do with the glee of seeing someone harmed by telling stories about them, whether they are true or not. I take absolutely no delight in what I am doing. I waited for two years, patiently petitioning Doug to reconcile and repent. I practiced Matthew 18. I exhausted my resources. And then at the very end, when I didn’t know what else to do, God brought several people into my life who all had similar stories to share about Doug Phillips. I quickly saw a pattern of abuse and threats. My Bible tells me to expose evil deeds, to mark the man who refuses to repent, to expose wolves in sheep’s clothing. How can I do that without giving the details? This hurts me greatly to expose Doug, for I still love him dearly and think that he could have a tremendous ministry if he wasn’t such a hypocrite. I want to see him succeed in his ministry, but not at the cost of hurting more people along the way. A Christian simply cannot step on others to make his way to the top, but this is exactly what Doug Phillips is doing. If there were a predator in your midst and I knew about it but didn’t tell you, would you hold me responsible? Of course you would. Even the secular world knows this. Teachers and doctors are held responsible, for instance, if they don’t report suspected abuse. Why? Because they have personal knowledge. I have personal knowledge of a “predator” in the midst of the Christian homeschool community, and God WILL hold me responsible if I don’t warn everyone.

    “Is this church perfect? Of course not. Was it the church for you? Obviously not. But instead of quietly leaving, you chose to become all of the things that you have now been accused of and claim to be innocent of.”

    It was the church for us, at first. When it changed, we were too deeply entrenched to go anywhere else. There was no place else for us to go, just as there really isn’t now. Our values, standards, and beliefs are not very compatible with the every day church.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see how I “became all of the things that I have now been accused of and claim to be innocent of.” Please give me examples.

    I hope this helps, Lucy, and I await your reply.

  3. Lucy Says:

    Thanks Jen. That did answer some questions, although the problem remains quite difficult to address.

    Ever since I began reading your blog, I’ve been trying to put my finger on what is so troubling to me, and now that I’ve taken the responsibility to post, I’m finding myself beyond troubled…. more like exhausted. And I know the problem now — I’m simply enraged at sin. And this is quite different because this is happening between believers, and there’s just no excuse for it. None.

    I’ve spent a good bit of time over the last day or so, re-reading your articles, letters, and storylines, along with all the relevant BCA documents. Then, while doing research elswhere, I got a good taste of just how many other bloggers/supporters of both sides/other sessions and churches/random bystanders are either participating in or are affected by the backbiting and bitterness — to the point where I can’t possibly see how the good you claim to represent could possibly outweigh the bad results.

    Jen, this kind of divisiveness amongst Christians greatly angers God, which should deeply sadden you…. to the point where you’re willing to do anything in your power to make it end, and I just don’t see your use of this public forum as helpful in furthering that goal. Our purpose for being on this Earth is to seek to glorify God. Anything contrary to that, goes against our design and causes pure chaos; and it only takes a few moments to see the chaos going on in this situation, and while you’re not solely responsible, you certainly play no small part in it.

    I began typing out my thoughts and references, and two or three pages later (much too large for this format), I stopped and prayed. What I kept coming back to was a deep sadness at how Satan seemed to have such a chokehold on this situation. Unfortunately, the situation has no easy solution as long as pride, stubbornness, (and a myriad of other things that God hates) continue to dominate in the lives of those involved.

    I said early on that I did not want to get into the particulars of the situation with BCA or Doug Phillips… that I only wished to address your attitude and subsequent behavior. I now realize that this is close to impossible if I am to provide references for my points. The problem, Jen, is that after reading your posts and discussion threads, I feel like I would just be promoting the problem if I participated in them. I’m very frustrated, as I’m sure you can tell. Part of me wants to discuss the particulars, and part of me knows I’d just be entering the circus of what you’ve already been through…. Perhaps I should just email it to you.

    Here’s the bottom line for me. I have much I want to say regarding the story, but I feel that the ultimate message to convey is one of forgiveness and unity. Everyone involved here could stand to take a scriptural refresher course on these subjects.

    Your mission statement seems to indicate that the only acceptable resolution to you would be for Doug’s ministry to end. Jen, the statement below is a part of his ministry:

    “…remind yourself that the most despicable action taken against you by another, utterly (and infinitely) pales in comparison to the least of your offenses against the Lord Jesus Christ – And yet He has forgiven you.”

    Doug has many drawbacks, and no ministry is perfect, but if he truly believes what he said above, I have faith that the Lord will handle the particulars. He will not let His church be shaken. God has promised this.

    Search your heart for forgiveness, Jen… and see if it doesn’t take you down another path. I pray that it will.

  4. Kate Says:

    “…remind yourself that the most despicable action taken against you by another, utterly (and infinitely) pales in comparison to the least of your offenses against the Lord Jesus Christ – And yet He has forgiven you.”

    Lucy, that is an excellent quote, and very appropriate. I think your comments have been very insightful, helpful and encouraging to me. Jen, her comments seemed to come from a very sincere and genuinely concerned perspective. I’ve read and been involved in spiritually abusive situations before, and it is tragic and discouraging. God is greater than the evil that tries to tear us down, though. There is a better sanctuary – the Lord Jesus Christ!

  5. FFGBG Says:

    ” Jen, this kind of divisiveness amongst Christians greatly angers God, which should deeply sadden you…. to the point where you’re willing to do anything in your power to make it end, and I just don’t see your use of this public forum as helpful in furthering that goal. Our purpose for being on this Earth is to seek to glorify God.”

    So…the message “God” has for Jennifer and others who are attempting to warn others that there is a proven wolf in the pasture is to shut up and call it “peace.” Predators thrive on this sort of “peace.” I agree with Jen’s fear of God’s judgement on those who refuse to speak out when there is a proven threat in our midst.

    I think it is very interesting how Jennifer is once again being accused, even by the “peacemakers.” “I said early on that I did not want to get into the particulars of the situation with BCA or Doug Phillips… that I only wished to address your attitude and subsequent behavior.” I guess the actual events are irrevelant when one has a point to make. Jen, unless your parents are blogging as “Lucy,” I don’t think that anyone is in a position to speak to you like this. (not to ever say that your parents would be so condescending!) Maybe it’s your vice-principal from middle school. YIKES!
    There’s a lot to be said for following Matthew 18….even in this forum.

  6. Lucy Says:

    My tone was neither condescending, nor parental, and Jen is certainly under no obligation to “obey” me. My thoughts come as a sister in Christ who is deeply concerned over the unfortunate outpourings from one who claims to represent God’s will. If Jen feels my comments are insulting or inappropriate in some way, she’s free to delete them.

    I’m simply taking the logic of this blog one step further… If (in your opinion) Jen is in a position to cast herself as judge and jury over Doug Phillips (just as she believes he’s done to the Epstein family), then it only stands to reason that I’m in an equally appropriate position to, at least, question her…..”As iron sharpens iron”.

    You seem to be taken aback at the idea that Jen would be accused of something. Is she above reproach, now? Or a victim, perhaps? It’s very dangerous to hang your hat on the “God laid this on my heart, so it can’t be wrong” mentality. It’s equally dangerous to assume one’s righteous indignation makes them bulletproof.

    Jen has a very solid point with many of her claims — however, any suggestion that the blame lies exclusively with one person, in a situation like this, is completely irresponsible. The overall message of scripture (not cherry picked verses) should be our guide. And the recurring theme (in my opinion) points quite a bit more directly to self-examination than to our responsibility of finding sin in others. Let’s be careful that we’re not using God to further our own agenda.

  7. Jen Says:

    Lucy, in response to your comments, I am preparing an article. I have been working on it this weekend, but I think it will be foundational to this website, so I want to take my time in getting my thoughts together. You are free to disagree with me here, as long as you continue to follow the comment etiquette, as you have done. I think I understand what you are driving at and I want to thoroughly address it.

  8. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Maybe I am clueless here…but what about Phillips’ unjust outpourings against the Epsteins? When is it wrong to defend yourself and call attention to unjust treatment?

    Jen looking forward to your response to Lucy.

  9. Lucy Says:

    Well, Morgan, that’s a perfect example of one thing that disturbs me, here…. When anyone wants to talk about Jen’s behavior, Jen and her supporters only want to talk about Doug…. as if his actions could ever validate anyone else’s.

    Keep in mind that I’ve never said Doug was blameless — in fact, I’ve said quite the opposite. However, the moment we allow the behavior of others to dictate our own, is the moment we begin serving man instead of God.

    In my opinion, that doesn’t reflect the attitude of a people who are truly aware, and therefore, truly grateful for Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.

  10. Jen Says:

    Lucy and Morgan, I am going to allow your comments to stand, but no personal attacks, OK?

    You can discuss the issues without attacking others. But, Lucy, if you are going to discuss my behavior, as I said last time, you’d better provide examples. I’m willing to listen, but your allegations need to be supported.

    I’d better get to work on that article!

  11. Lucy Says:

    My apologies if I’ve done something to offend you or the blog etiquette, Jen — ertainly not my intention.

    My short retort to Morgan was meant to point out a pattern of behavior avoidance I’m seeing on this blog and by its commenters. I believed that post to be a specific example of it.

    However, I understand your concern for threads that get out of hand, and I respect that. I’ll await your article.

  12. momofkings Says:

    Find a non-denominational church that is part of an apostolic network. They won’t care at all about this issue as long. In my church we wouldn’t. We’d welcome you with open arms. It amazes me how many times Christians shoot their own wounded.

  13. CD.Host Says:

    In terms of Doug Phillips and twisting scripture I’ve been doing a series on patriarchy for church discipline. I finally got some time to finish the 3rd part today. The link next to my name directs to the 3rd part and the blog itself is

    Hope you all enjoy and as usual feel free to leave any comments.

  14. Kim Says:

    I am thoroughly disgusted with this website- that there is even a place to make your case against Doug Phillips or anyone for that matter. This is gossip at it’s worst. You should be ashamed of yourselves for even having a forum for talking and broadcasting to the world your disagreements. Ultimately, God is watching to see how you are handling this situation ( and BTW- so is the world). SHAME , shame on you all. “Christians” you call yourself! As the world would say- “If this is how CHristians handle themselves, I want no part of it”

  15. april Says:

    The letter kills but the spirit gives life.

  16. auntie em Says:

    Jen, I can empathise with what you went through with your husband. Mine seemed to be a Christian when we were married, but gradually kept getting more and more out of control temper-wise, until he backslid and refused to go to church.

    At the time, I truly did believe that most of the problems in a marriage were a woman’s fault, not that we were in a patriarchal church: this was before the whole patriarch movement. I remember asking him, “What do you want me to be? I’ll try to be it.” But this only fueled the flames of anger.

    This was many years ago, and we are now involved in a church-planting situation in partnership with our “mother” church. The point I am trying to make is that blanket, abject submission does not always work, and Doug may truly not understand this. Maybe most men respond positively when their wives treat them like a potentate, but obviously SOME men like your and my husbands, are wired differently.

    At least in our case, when my mother was visiting us one time, she recognized the unhealthiness of our situation, and called our pastor, who came and confronted my husband (instead of blaming me). At the time, I didn’t really appreciate it, as I had been covering up my husband’s behavior, and the pastor’s visit inflamed my husband even more, but in GOD’S PROVIDENCE, it led to further backsliding on my spouse’s part, which then led to repentance.

    By no means was I “sinless” during this time: I responded to his emotional abandonment and cruelty with bitterness against God. (“How could this happen? I made sure to marry a CHRISTIAN”, as if God “owed” me, conveniently forgetting that all we are owed is hell.) But anyway, that’s in the past.

    NEW TOPIC: I do have a problem with your link to the ministry watch website. I know you are not responsible for their postings, but there is some very unsavory language: “The Dick” and sarcastic parodying going on there, and having that link only undermines your sober recounting here.

    Yes, a parody might be funny, but that should better be left to share privately with your friends, instead of on a public blog. You shoot yourself in the foot by having that link, and actually damage the credibility of this site. People will lump you together with them; I was NOT impressed with most of what was posted there. And, they aren’t a church, either, so whose authority are they under?

    Leading onto another topic, it seems that most “ministry” problems arise when a man sees a problem in society, (OR MAYBE ANOTHER “MINISTRY”?) starts a ministry, then becomes famous, and then things spiral out of control. I believe the problem is repeated over and over again, BECAUSE “MINISTRIES” ARE NOT CHURCHES–they are PARACHURCH organizations.

    Thus, there is no trying of the idea by the ordained elders of the man’s own church, there is no CHURCH sending out the man to do the work, etc. Christ ordained the church, not “ministries”. “Ministries” are accountable to no God-ordained body, churches and pastors are (or should be).

    I have a problem with non-denominational mission societies for the same reason; the CHURCH sent out Paul and Silas. I remember Bill Gothard (who I understand is still around). I recall reading that he was a high schooler when he got his “call”, which was an inner conviction. To my knowledge, he was never approved by a church.

    We had friends who were into his movement, and there was only one thing I needed to read in the materials they gave me, re. Eph. 5:25-28, claiming that a “husband had to cleanse his wife”. That was enough for me! I read no further!

    The HUSBAND is to be LIKE CHRIST, “who gave himself for it (the church) that he might sanctify it and cleanse it…” Gothard’s presentation made it seem as if Christ was to be “like the husband”, not the other way around, and actually presented the husband AS A MEDIATOR FOR THE WIFE. But there is only ONE mediator!

    I can relate to your church situation, too. We were in a church (after repenting from backsliding), that had been started by some “ministry” group. It was a “Presbyterian” church by that time, but was very unhealthy.

    They never had an annual congregational meeting. The pastor would sit only with his elders during the potlucks, and never interacted with mere members. There were spies in the congregation, so if you said for example, you didn’t agree with letting your kids watch a certain movie that HE happened to think was OK, you’d hear reference to it in his next sermon.

    They would “trial” you before allowing you to be a member; in other words, you were treated as a member, but not “officially” made one until you crossed some invisible line. The pastor was not a lawyer, but made sure he was good friends with the member who was…in preparation for what was next.

    His wife was not what she ought to have been, true, but he ended up trying her in a kangaroo court, and announcing to the congregation that she was disbarred from communion. His next step was to divorce her “for abandonment within the home”, whatever that was.

    He then did what he must have been planning all along: hooked up with another woman whom he’d been “counseling” (by this time we were in a sister congregation, where she was from, and he was pastoring both congregations). She divorced her husband “because he wasn’t a Christian” to marry the pastor.

    At least in that situation, the presbytery (group of churches for you Bappies) was going to bring changes against this man, which is what ought to happen…But he quickly got his elders to vote to remove their church from the presbytery! So our churches couldn’t try him. But God is not mocked, and that church is no longer there. (Our congregation did try the woman for adultery, after private, then public warnings. Matt 18 followed fully).

    And thus life goes. It bothers me when people act so surprised, agitated, disturbed, etc. by this type of thing. WE WERE WARNED ABOUT WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING FOR A REASON. And we sinfully persist in putting our trust in MEN and “ministries” instead of in CHRIST. It doesn’t matter what denomination you’re in, this type of thing WILL happen over and over again, because WE ARE SINNERS.

  17. Marvin Says:


    I read your entire story and now I am reading it again. It has really touched me.

    Believers are misguided when charismatic leaders take doctrines to extremes. 911 was done in the name of religion . . . just not my religion. Suicide bombers give their lives because of extreme religious beliefs.

    Doug Phillips and BCA are just as dangerous as the Taliban.

  18. Rob Says:

    So why is the business of the world and not just for you and Phillips? Had you handled this privately that would be one thing, but by broadcasting this soap to the world you’ve basically reduced this matter to simple gossip.

  19. Webfoot Says:

    You know, I am not crazy about VF, Phillips, the Botkins and so forth, but I’m not convinced by the arguments against them, either.

    Why, you ask? Actually, no one asks. People just yell at, threaten, and trash me, so what have I got to lose?

    It’s not so much what is said about the patrios that bothers me. I’m not part of the patriarchal movement, but I do believe that they have every right to practice their sincerely held religious beliefs as they see fit.

    What really gets to me is what the opponents do not say about who they are and why they oppose these teachings so extremely. There is something else going on, here, besides just exposing dangerous teachings.

    What is it?

    I’m not convinced that the opposition to VF is all about freedom in Christ, discernment, and the grace of God – though those topics should interest all believers. If the opposition is all about extreme, dangerous, cultlike Christianity, then why are the CBMW and their main proponents often drug into the discussions?

    Certainly excellent teachers such as Dr. John Piper, Dr. Bruce Ware, Dr. Wayne Grudem, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and Mary Kassian are not promoting a form of cultic Christianity, are they?

    Then, I know that the extremist anti-patrios have been out on the Internet bad-mouthing Jen. What is that all about?

    This is a mess, and I don’t see anyone even trying to deal with it logically and rationally.

  20. Webfoot Says:

    I guess that I just want to figure out why each person is against VF and those associated with them. Not everyone has the same reasons. Some have hidden agendas. What is mine? 🙂

    Maybe I want all the mistreatment I have suffered to make sense to me personally – so I guess mine are selfish, self-interested reasons. I long ago gave up on being part of an online group.

    In real life, I am part of many groups, so I’m not all that pathetic.

    Hey, sorry to bother you, Jen, or to cause you distress. I believe your story, FWIW, and find it to be sad. I hope that you are doing well now.

    God bless, and Merry Christmas!

  21. Webfoot Says:

    Okay, now I have a clearer picture. Jen, a lot of what you have said is just made up.

    There are several things that bother me about this whole debacle.

    First, the fact that Jen would make up stories about others and post them on the Internet is pretty shocking.

    Second, that the war between Jen and Phillips was waged in public, on the Internet. I’m not sure that was right on either side.

    Third, there were other interested parties who took your “testimony” and used it for their own agenda. They already had things agains Vision Forum, and Jen’s testimony dovetailed nicely with their agenda.

    Fourth, when the interested parties saw that there were many holes in Jen’s story, instead of doing the honest thing themselves and publically apologizing to VF and Doug Phillips for all the grief they had caused, they began to beat up on you, Jen, for having deceived them.

    Fifth, if they were deceived, it was because they wanted to be deceived.

    Sixth, it is well past time for them to repent and make things right. Many people formed their opinions of Vision Forum based on lies.

    Seventh, those who actually study Vision Forum for themselves need to be brave. They will encounter much opposition, but it is worth it. No, I am not an apologist for VF, and I have never talked to Doub Phillips. However, I like much of what I have read. I love many of their materials and have purchased a few things from them – including an inspiring DVD about the Scottish Covenanters. There are other things that I don’t like. They have their pros and cons, but in general, I have nothing against them. No, they are not racists nor do they have any racist policies.

    Last, if you study it out for yourselves, you may still not like VF, but you will know why you don’t. It will be an honest dislike, not one based on lies, falsehood, and those who have the agenda of destroying any and all things patriarchal.

    That’s it for now.

  22. Webfoot Says:

    Jen, I don’t believe your story anymore, FWIW.

  23. RR Says:

    Webfoot you should change your name to WEBHOOT, as in too funny. In the space of a couple of weeks you decide Jenn has”made up ” much of this. Obviously you were a VF supporter long before you read Jenn’s story and did zero fact checking. So what year were you in the Midget’s security team/men in black.

  24. Rick Says:

    These things are very sad. Man’s desire to control and lord over people.

    Jer 12:10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

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