Does Doug Phillips Have a Mother?

“It’s a son’s task in life to spread the fame and the glory of his father in the same way that the Lord Jesus Christ spread the fame and the glory of His Father in heaven.”

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A friend recently asked me this seemingly odd question: “Does Doug Phillips have a mother?” I had to laugh because I understood immediately what my friend was really asking me. Doesn’t everyone have a mother? Yes, and of course Doug Phillips has a mother. Why then does Doug so seldom ever speak of his mother, or even publicly acknowledge her?

Doug Phillips is known for his teachings about honor, a subject which he seems to take extremely seriously. It’s also a subject that he’s used to make tremendous profits from.

The subject of honor is much needed in both the world and the church today. In fact, before I sat under Doug’s teaching and preaching, I didn’t know much at all about honor and the 5th Commandment. It was a foreign concept to me. I learned a lot about honor from Doug Phillips’ teaching and from what I saw lived out in his life… at least with his father. My friend is well justified, though, in asking about Doug Phillips’ mother. Doug seldom ever mentions her, whereas he routinely “spread the fame and the glory of his father.”

There’s no question that our culture has lost interest in honoring parents, elders, and others that Scripture instructs us to honor. Doug Phillips is rightly challenging a culture of dishonor. However, sometimes in their enthusiasm to right a wrong, Christian leaders have a tendency to swing the pendulum too far in the opposite direction. In other words, they become extremists. I believe that is the case with at least some of Doug’s teachings, and this includes what he teaches regarding honor. When does honor become adulation? When does honor place practically as much value on men as on God or His Word? When does honor cross the line into becoming idolatry?

Doug has set a good example for us in showing us how we should honor our military veterans, our fathers, our pastors and teachers, and others who have positively influenced our lives. But I had to cringe when Doug teamed up with his father, Howard Phillips, and the elder and younger Sprouls, for a conference on honoring parents last May. It was bad enough that Doug Phillips was obviously honoring a man who had just been recently defrocked by the RPCGA for ecclesiastical abuse and tyranny, tax fraud, breaking his ordination vows, and other serious things. Doug Phillips took a public stand with RC Sproul, Jr as a speaker when RC, Jr had just been severely disciplined by his presbytery. Rather than submitting to the RPCGA, Sproul publicly dishonored the Presbyterian elders that he vowed to submit to by publicly disparaging them.

I looked at my own excommunication by Doug Phillips and saw that he had required that ALL Christians not only treat me as a heathen and a publican, but never to even eat with me, as Doug would consider that a sin. Doug Phillips expected everyone to uphold what he tried to pawn off as a biblical excommunication. But did he follow that same biblical pattern when his own good friend, RC Sproul Jr, was justly disciplined and that he’s never repented of? At least RC, Jr. admitted to some of the accusations leveled against him. But he has not repented, and he is currently preaching in open rebellion to the presbytery that disciplined him. But Doug Phillips chose to honor a defrocked minister, and he insists that others honor him too.

Then Doug Phillips went on to speak about honoring his father. Anyone who knows the least little bit about Doug Phillips will agree that Doug obviously honors his father. No one can dispute that. And we can learn some things from his example. But has that sense of honor gone a little overboard? Does Doug Phillips go on and on and on in talking about his father to the point of making those around him uncomfortable? Has he elevated his father to a level that is above honor? Does it border on idolatry? When I compare his honor of his father to that of his mother, I certainly have to wonder.

Which brings me back to my friend’s question: “Does Doug Phillips have a mother?” Well, of course he has a mother, but what my friend was really asking was if Doug Phillips preaches so much about the fifth commandment, and we see his constant and extreme honor of his father, did he forget the other half of the commandment? Why don’t we see Doug honor his mother?

If you look through Doug’s blog, for instance, you will see Doug write about his father over and over and over again. That’s good. But, now go look for his mother. If I remember correctly, Doug has only mentioned her three times. I may be off in my total, but not by much. Why the disparity?

From personal experience, I remember several occasions when Doug’s father would attend BCA. Although he had been several times previously, and everyone already knew who Howard Phillips was, Doug always made a point of introducing his father each time anyway. It was never a nice, simple introduction, but was usually an elaborate occasion, another opportunity for Doug to “honor” his father. I wouldn’t have minded if I hadn’t seen how he “honored” his mother when she came to visit. I only remember her coming to visit once while I was there (she may have come on a Sunday when I was not in attendance; I am not saying that she only came just once.) But I do clearly remember the lack of any introduction of his mother that Sunday. That is how I remember Doug “honoring” his mother.

When I went on a tour with Doug Phillips once, and his mother was in attendance, I do not recall him paying her any special attention, and this is in stark contrast to the considerable attention that he never fails to give his father. Whenever we had the opportunity to observe Doug’s interaction with his parents it was always apparent that Doug’s treatment of his father was vastly different from that toward his mother.

Again, why? Does Doug’s mother not deserve as much honor as his father? Did she do something horrible to Doug growing up? Doesn’t the fifth commandment include both father and mother? I could speculate, but I’d rather not do that. However, something is terribly wrong and even hypocritical about the glaring disparity between the way Doug honors his father and the way he doesn’t honor his mother.

One thing is obvious though; if Doug Phillips were one to honor his mother, it’s unlikely that anyone would ever ask the question, “Does Doug Phillips have a mother?”

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143 Responses to “Does Doug Phillips Have a Mother?”

  1. Cynthia Gee Says:

    And another thing… If it does end up in the courts, I wonder what the odds are that the judge will be female? I’d like to be a fly on the courtroom wall, if she is!

  2. Jen Says:

    Thanks for keeping the conversation going while I was otherwise occupied today! I shall attempt to clear up a few loose ends here.

    Kate: “Forgive me for my earlier tone in my comments; no excuses – I was just weary of the provoking comments by *anonymous*.”

    Jen: Kate, I sincerely appreciate the change in your tone on my blog today and I accept your apology. Thank you for your private apology as well. However, I do think you need to understand that a true apology with “no excuses” would not include explaining why you were provoked by anonymous (alias, really) commenters. Many anonymous and critical comments have been posted on my blog, yet I’ve never complained about them. The issue isn’t the identity of a commenter, but attempting to honestly and forthrightly address everyone’s concerns. In fact, I would rather have people use an alias here than be afraid to leave a comment. Just something to consider.

    Kate: “How could [the BCA members] be influenced by anything you claim? How could it be helpful to warn them?”

    Jen: I think you are missing my whole point, Kate. When I first wrote my “defense,” and sent it to all the BCA members, I was intending to warn them. However, by going public on this blog, I am now warning the church at large. That will, of course, include the BCA members if they ever do read this, but my target audience is primarily Christian homeschoolers who are in some way influenced – past, present, future – by Doug Phillips.

    Kate: “If your blog entries are to just encourage and support those who are abroad who have in the past been “abused” by BCA”

    Jen: No, that is not the point either. If my story encourages someone who has been through something similar, that is fine, but that is not why I am here. I am here to warn other Christians who don’t know the truth about Doug Phillips.

    You then thought I should just set up a private blog. Since I am here to warn the public, that probably wouldn’t work either.

    Kate, if you want to know my motives, you have only to ask me. However, I have stated them over and over and over again on this blog, so trying to determine my motives shouldn’t be too hard at this point.

    Kate: “Who is that one family that did not vote? I am not asking for names at all, I just want to know if that statement is referring to Your Family. If it was not your own personal family that did not vote, why was that family prevented from voting? Could it have been for other reasons, than for the implications of fear or tyranny that prevented them? Were they on vacation or attending to other matters, etc.?”

    Jen: Kate, I really do appreciate your asking me questions here. This should have been done a long time ago. That one family happened to be on a missions trip at the time. They were very accessible by phone and email. Not only did they NOT vote, but they were not made aware of the situation until five months later. I know because she was one of my best friends and we talked about the situation in great detail, from overseas. If Doug had wanted to get their vote, he could have easily obtained it. I only mention this because I find it dishonest to claim 100% when that clearly wasn’t the case, especially in such a small congregation. And this particular family was a very prominent family as well, so it wasn’t like Doug forgot about them.

    Kate, you also asked for proof that the BCA members are forbidden from reading my blog (and others). I have no written proof, only word of mouth. However, I seem to recall reading something on Doug’s blog about it being a sin to read blogs that “violate the ninth commandment.” I can’t seem to find that now, but I did find this quote on Vision Forum:

    “[T]he Larger Catechism to the Westminster Confession of Faith provides a relevant challenge both to unruly bloggers and the readers who receive their ungodly reports.”

    Marie: “I don’t really see how any of this is opposite or contradictory to being a keeper at home or a helpmeet.”

    Jen: Marie, I think you are missing the point as well. Balance has nothing to do with being contradictory or in opposition. In fact, balance would be a little more in the middle, I would think. Here is what I see: Women used to have very few rights, especially in abusive situations, so the women’s rights movement came along. At first, it was intended to right some wrongs, and that was commendable (not all would agree here, but that’s alright!). But then the pendulum began to swing in the opposite direction and we eventually end up with full-blown feminism, which most of us here would agree is contrary to God’s Word. Most people didn’t know what to do about that situation, however, until the Patriarchy movement came along. (OK, I’m GREATLY simplifying the story here.) Again, some very godly men desired to right some wrongs, and some men began fulfilling their biblical roles again SO THAT women could fulfill theirs as well. (That is not the only purpose, of course, but for the sake of our story, that is our focus.) At first, there were gentle changes made. Then, gradually, more and more changes came into being. And then the pendulum began to swing past the balance, toward the opposite extreme, where some women began to be devalued and abused again, until we’ve come full circle right from where we began.

    When I say “balance,” Marie, I am thinking of the pendulum on the clock that should stop right in the middle. In the middle of what? In the middle of Scripture. Let me give you some examples of this pendulum swinging too far to the other extreme, but before I do so, I would like to state, again, that I am all for BIBLICAL patriarchy. In other words, if the Bible states something about the roles of men and women, I’m there. But, as Alexander Strauch once said, “Don’t try to squeeze five gallons of orange juice out of one orange,” when he was talking about expositing Scripture.

    So, here are some practical examples, some of which I may have already stated earlier, which cause me to believe that some BCA members, which is my frame of reference here, have taken this to an extreme. “Jurisdiction” is a very popular term around BCA. When the ladies would meet together after the “Pot Providence” meal (here is an example already of an extreme behavior), I once asked if we could discuss the sermon. I was told by another lady that it was not in our jurisdiction. We would let the men discuss theology and let them tell us what to believe. Marie, I would ask you to please support that position in Scripture if you think that is balanced. In fact, whenever I tried to ask Beall a question about the Bible, she would say, “I have to ask Doug about that and get back to you later because I don’t know his position on that issue.” What a crock! Didn’t God give us women brains for a purpose?

    Or if you think that is a balanced perspective, I was also told that it was not our jurisdiction to discuss how often the porta-pottys were cleaned. We did not have indoor plumbing that worked, so we used outhouses. When the temperature is over 100 degrees outside, cleaning the porta-pottys once every six weeks is UN-sanitary and I didn’t want to touch the filthy things. But it wasn’t our jurisdiction.

    I know some women whose husbands write out a daily schedule for the whole family every day, including the wife and the menu. Is that balance? These are intelligent women who could think for themselves, given half a chance.

    Or take the ladies’ meetings that we would have after church. We always passed around a sign-up sheet to take meals to those who needed them, but half the women couldn’t sign up because they had to go ask their husbands first. Is this really how Scripture describes women? This is what I mean by going past the point of balance.

    Don’t come here and try to pick apart my examples, Marie. There are many more where these come from. My point is that the people I personally know in this movement have taken a biblical principle – Patriarchy – and have gone to another extreme, an extreme that allows for women like me to abused. And that is NOT biblical.

    Marie: “[My husband] would say “Just look at the children she raised” because to him, this is the culmination of all of my efforts, all the details, and so therefore the results should speak for themselves.”

    Jen: Marie, do you know how telling this comment is? I bolded one little word for you – she. In the Patriarchy movement I know, the men take all the credit for raising the children. If your husband would truly say this of you, you live in a very different world than the one I just left. Maybe that is why we are clashing on this subject. Maybe you are truly living it out according to God’s Word, while Doug is squeezing too many gallons of OJ from that poor little orange.

    Marie: “[J]ust because it’s what you want or it seems like a good idea at the time, it doesn’t always represent God’s will.”

    Jen: You are absolutely right! That is exactly why I prayed for God’s will first before I did anything. I asked for Him to lead us and guide us and direct us in this whole situation. Every day I pray that prayer. When we got to the point where we thought we had exhausted every possibility, God would point us in another direction. This particular one was a biggie, but it could not have been clearer that it was from the Lord. I did not seek this. God seemingly dropped it into my lap. Maybe I will be free to tell that story someday, but that’s about all I can say right now.

    Marie: “If reconciliation and peace are her true motivations, I have a feeling that it wouldn’t have manifested itself this way.”

    Jen: I think Lynn answered this one very well. In fact, I will say that Lynn took up the slack for me today and did a great job of answering all these comments here. Cynthia, you have a lot of tremendous insights into the big picture here as well. In fact, I do appreciate how everyone handled themselves today, even though there are some strong disagreements. This is healthy and good to see.

    Lucy, you asked about the BCA women not being permitted to respond. I am sorry they are in such bondage. Maybe they will realize their freedom in Christ someday and not feel so bound to a man who doesn’t allow them to settle this issue. Please keep in mind, however, that the purpose of this blog is not to reach those women. They’ve all had their chance and they’ve all turned their backs on me. If they want to defend themselves, anonymously or in person, here is my open invitation. I cannot control Doug’s authoritarian control on their lives.

    Lucy, you said I was not taking this to the visible church. We live in a different world today. I am not saying that the visible church equals the internet, but that one of the places we can find the visible church is on the internet. Yes, I am risking unbelievers reading this as well. I considered that well before I began and determined that the odds were in my favor that the vast majority of my readers would be not only Christians, but those with an interest in either Doug Phillips, patriarchy, homeschooling, and church abuse. I chose the greater good. My question for you, Lucy, is how else do you think I could have taken it to the visible church? What would you recommend? If I have a responsibility to warn others, which I have already stated numerous times, how do you think that should be done? In other words, how would someone like yourself be notified by someone like myself?

    Lucy, I am absolutely convinced that both Doug Phillips and the BCA members DO believe they are in the right. And I believe I am in the right. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I am here. Let the “visible” church decide between us. That’s really not my goal here, though. I don’t care about who was more right. I care about protecting my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Would it really be so hard for BCA to at least talk to us, to reason this through as brothers and sisters in the Lord? What good does it do to forever shun us? There are a TON of issues here that should be discussed. That’s all we asked for, really.

    Lucy, I am staying up late again tonight to answer all these questions. Would you do me a big favor and provide the link to where I said I was demanding an apology that I pre-approved? I would like to answer your question, but I am too tired to go searching for that quote and you have obviously recently read it, so I am hopeful that you can get your hands on it quickly. Thanks!

  3. Lucy Says:

    It’s on page 16 of your defense letter.

  4. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “I know some women whose husbands write out a daily schedule for the whole family every day, including the wife and the menu. ”

    “…..the men take all the credit for raising the children.”

    “I once asked if we could discuss the sermon. I was told by another lady that it was not in our jurisdiction. We would let the men discuss theology and let them tell us what to believe.”

    Jen, I thought I had a handle on what was going on in the movement, but I see that I didn’t really have a clue as to how bad it actually is. This is craziness. It reminds me of a certain type of nutcase featured on the Dr. Phil show occasionally, men who claim to be the “king of their castle”, and who tell their women what to do and what to think, and discipline them physically when they fail to “behave”.

    Look at it — these women have no autonomy, even in small things — the men are telling their women everything — what to do, what to think, and even dictating what they are to eat each day.
    Of course the men are taking credit for raising the children — they ARE raising them! All wives are doing in these cases are following orders, as did nannies or maids in Victorian times, (or slave-mammies in the old South), who were employed to fufill a function given specific directions on how to fufill it.

    Worse, these women are being separated from God, and are being “told what to believe”, as though they have second rate souls. Mary learned theology at Jesus’s feet, and nowhere in the Bible does it say that women are not to discuss theology among themselves.

    These men have reduced their wives to the level of unpaid employees — slaves really, because even employees have time off, and are allowed freedom of thought and action in their off-hours. These women don’t even have that, and to be treated as though they do not have minds reduces them to the level of CATTLE — soulless, mindless breeding stock.

    This isn’t Christianity. Since I’ve been observing this movement, I’ve wiondered just what it is, and I think I know now. I could be wrong, but what this whole thing most resembles is a Christian-flavored, cleaned up version of Baalism. “Baal” means, “master”, “lord”, and “husband”, and Baal-worship was a phallic cult centered in the material world, not in the spiritual Kingdom of God, and in which man worshiped MAN, not God — man in his masculine power, virility, and procreation. It had a lot of things that the patriarchal cult doesn’t have — nasty things like child sacrifice, and temple prostitution; also things like sodomite rape, where STRAIGHT men raped other straight men, to take dominion over them — but the basic scenario is the same — the worship of fertility, procreation, fatherhood, and masculinity– in short, MAN worshipping MAN.

  5. Jen Says:

    Thank you for directing me to my quote stating that I would need to pre-approve Doug’s apology, Lucy. That was written over two years ago, the day after my disciplinary action statement was read to the whole church, so I am trying to remember exactly why I wrote that. We had not been excommunicated yet and were attempting to resolve the situation.

    Doug Phillips has an odd way of dealing with people; he is not forthright and up front with anyone. A commenter here recently told of how she asked if Doug were a Calvinist, and he replied by asking, “Define Calvinism.” The exchange continued back and forth, with Doug never even taking a theological stance on anything.

    I KNEW this about Doug already, and I knew that he would give a very qualified apology, one that would most likely be essentially meaningless. If I didn’t accept his qualified apology, then I would look bad. By asking to pre-approve his apology (just as he did the same with me), I was heading off my being caught in a catch-22 situation.

    I think it is sad that I couldn’t even trust him to issue a heartfelt apology. Am I demanding an apology today? Not necessarily. I am praying for repentance, and with true repentance will come any true apologies that are necessary. When it comes from the heart, I will know there is genuine repentance. So, no more pre-approved apologies.

  6. Lucy Says:

    “I never claimed to know Jen’s intentions. I wanted to convey the point that when you are on the side of truth, if you cause divisiveness, then tough toenails to people who say, ‘You are divisive!’”

    Lynn, you’re presuming too much about truth. I’m not claiming that Jen is lying, here. What I’m saying is that, in certain parts of this story, there’s obviously a misperception of the facts (on both sides), combined with varied translations of the same scriptures. This is described as an “opinion”… not truth. It doesn’t boil down to fact or fiction. It’s just not that simple. When you have two people who are convicted differently on the same point, one cannot be content to cast off the other person with a sentiment no more useful than, “tough toenails”. You have to have the humility and maturity to consider what your words/actions are going to cause. God tells us to “Guard our tongues”… He didn’t say, “Go announce your version of ‘truth’ no matter what you might stir up, because I sure do like noise.” Prov. 10:19 is useful here.

    “The overall goal is purity of the Church. The immediate means is warning people of how a couple was treated at Boerne Christian Assembly. If what they are saying is true, then let them say it. Just because people are outraged that Jen is talking about this doesn’t make it wrong, as long as Matthew 18 has been followed.”

    See, this is a good example of my point above. I would have said that the overall goal was the UNITY of the Church… not in a way that ignores heresy, but with the understanding that while there are differences of opinion, the body is more committed to peace than to being right, or drawing attention to themselves. There isn’t a church body on the planet that doesn’t have the slightest bit of theological diversity, but we have to focus on the importance of peace amongst the saints… especially if the issue at hand is not essential for Salvation (which is often the case). Otherwise, we are no different than the rest of the world.

    “Reconciliation with Phillips is over, for the foreseeable future. They aren’t motivated by it.”

    They should be, Lynn…. How it manifests itself is up to God, but the motivation should be there.

    “They have BTDT, and bought lots of tee shirts in the process. The Epsteins are past caring about that aspect of it, because they think they have done every thing they know how to do, and now they are warning others about what happened to them.”

    In my opinion, because of Christ’s sacrifice, there should never be a time when you say “I’ve done enough”. You can always do more….even if it means having the humility and penitence to change directions. You mentioned the actions of Paul and Jeremiah, I’m not altogether comfortable with comparing this situation to theirs, but since we’re looking to follow their examples, here’s one from Paul: Phil 2 – “But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” I wonder if we ever truly give proper attention to what it might mean to be poured out like a drink offering….

    “So why are you suggesting this is outside of God’s will?”

    I don’t know for a fact that it is, Lynn. I will not claim to know what God has truly laid on Jen’s heart. What I do know is this:

    Ecclesiastes 5:2
    Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

    Proverbs 11:2
    When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

    Galatians 5:22-26 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

    Colossians 3:15
    Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

    From Philippians 2 on Imitating Christ’s Humility:
    …make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who…. made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, …humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore, my dear friends….continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling….Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure….

    Lynn/Jen – The overall focus should be God and His Son. Period. Their example doesn’t leave much room for pride, or much time for us to sit around thinking about ways we’ve been offended. I guess that’s part of what distresses me so much. Realizing the time it took to collect all this documentation, write the articles, patrol other blogs and websites for dissent, etc., when there are so many other things that could have been done with that valuable time.

    In fact, I may be fast approaching the time when I should take my own advice on that one….

    Lastly, in the interest of fairness, I want to place a small excerpt from Doug’s blog:

    “Say ‘Thank You’ to Those Who Have Invested in Your Life
    [I] cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. (Ephesians 1:16)
    Whatever happened to the man who first opened to you the words of life from the Scripture? Where is the comrade, coach, or instructor who believed in you and helped you to accomplish a great goal? What about the Bible teacher whose careful handling of the Word opened up new vistas of understanding? Where is the friend who stood with you through thick and thin? Most importantly, what have you communicated to the mother who carried you in her womb, loved and nurtured you, or the father who labored to provide for and shepherd you?”

    It just seemed to be a fair reminder to those of you on this thread who are under the impression that Doug does not acknowledge his mother.

  7. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Marcia said, “Actually, I have read patriarchs who have an interesting spin on Mary and Martha. They have stated on the Bayly blog that the “true” Marys are the Marthas, meaning, of course, that being in the kitchen where the women belong is what makes a Mary. ”

    Wow…. next they’ll be saying that when Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” what He really meant was blessed are the warriors, because the true peacemakers are those who achieve peace through superior firepower.
    Such sophisticated paradoxes… these guys are DEEP, man! LOL

  8. Lucy Says:

    Jen – small qualifier:

    When I said “the body is more committed to peace than to being right, or drawing attention to themselves”, I was referring to ‘right’ in terms of winning small arguments, or getting their own way…. not ‘right’ as it relates to God.

  9. Concerned Says:

    Cynthia,

    I am afraid I have to agree with you. When some of this came out I thought it an over reaction that the way of the Patriarch was holding women in a lesser view. I am a Christian woman who believes in Biblical Submission of wives. I believe the greatest call on my life is that of wife to my dh and mother to our 9 children. After researching this further I will say I agree with you that Patriarchy is damaging to women and children.

    I have listened to several of the VF Cd’s. I recently listened to “Why Modern Churches are Harming Families”. In it the speaker (Not DP, but DP gives the intro) talks of building the faith of the sons several times, but does not once mention building the faith of the daughters. This disturbs me. The whole CD disturbed me, but that is another topic.. I have also listened to “What’s a Girl to Do.” which is DP. This CD is giving all of the reasons a girl should not go to college or work outside the home and be under the father’s authority until marriage. One part I found troubling was when DP told the fathers that having daughters made a man wealthy because they can go out and minister in HIS name and it will increase his reputation. Aren’t we supposed to ministering in Jesus’ name? Time and time again I hear in the VF movement how daughters are to support their father’s vision. Aren’t we supposed to support God’s vision?

  10. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Jen wrote, “Doug Phillips has an odd way of dealing with people; he is not forthright and up front with anyone. A commenter here recently told of how she asked if Doug were a Calvinist, and he replied by asking, “Define Calvinism.” The exchange continued back and forth, with Doug never even taking a theological stance on anything.”

    That’s not such an odd thing, its the very SAME thing that Marcia described the Bayly brothers as doing whan they say that the true Marys are the Marthas.

    If you fiddle about with definitions, you can make words mean anything at all:

    Humpty Dumpty took the book and looked at it carefully. `That seems to be done right –’ he began.

    `You’re holding it upside down!’ Alice interrupted.

    `To be sure I was!’ Humpty Dumpty said gaily as she turned it round for him. `I thought it looked a little queer. As I was saying, that seems to be done right — though I haven’t time to look it over thoroughly just now — and that shows that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents –’

    `Certainly,’ said Alice.

    `And only one for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!’

    `I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘

    `But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.

    `When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    `The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    `The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’

    Liberal theological revisionists have been doing this for decades (at least), and wreaking all kinds of mischief in the church. It appears that the uberconservatives have learned from their example.

  11. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Concerned wrote, “DP told the fathers having daughters made a man wealthy because they can go out and minister in HIS name and it will increase his reputation. Aren’t we supposed to ministering in Jesus’ name? Time and time again I hear in the VF movement how daughters are to support their father’s vision. Aren’t we supposed to support God’s vision?”

    Yes, and that’s the crux of it. As Jen also points out at the top of this article, Phillips has said, “It’s a son’s task in life to spread the fame and the glory of his father in the same way that the Lord Jesus Christ spread the fame and the glory of His Father in heaven.”

    But Jesus said, in Luke 14:26 “If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

    And He said, in Matthew 23:9, “And call no [man] your father upon the earth: for ONE is your Father, which is in heaven.

    He went on,
    Mat 23:10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, [even] Christ. Mat 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. Mat 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

    Being a “credit” to our parents is well and good, but if we are sons and daughters of God, we are to be glorifying our Father in heaven. This way, we are all working towards the same goal, and glorifying our common Father in Heaven.
    If every man seeks to glorify his earthly father, that is only one step removed from men seeking to glorify themselves; and, using this model, one of the goals of having children becomes self-glorification, as Phillips perfectly though unwittingly points out. This sort of thinking is competitive in nature (“My Dad is bigger than your Dad!”) and causes division, because it is based in plain old ornery Pride.
    C.s. Lewis writes,

    Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive – is competitive by its very nature – while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone. That is why I say that Pride is essentially competitive in a way the other vices are not. The sexual impulse may drive two men into competition if they both want the same girl. But that is only by accident; they might just as likely have wanted two different girls. But a proud man will take your girl from you, not because he wants her, but just to prove to himself that he is a better man than you. Greed may drive men into competition if there is not enough to go round; but the proud man, even when he has got more than he can possibly want, will try to get still more just to assert his power. Nearly all those evils in the world which people put down to greed or selfishness are really far more the result of Pride.

    Take it with money. Greed will certainly make a man want money, for the sake of a better house, better holidays, better things to eat and drink. But only up to a point. What is it that makes a man with œ10,000 a year anxious to get œ20,000 a year? It is not the greed for more pleasure. œ10,000 will give all the luxuries that any man can really enjoy. It is Pride – the wish to be richer than some other rich man, and (still more) the wish for power. For, of course, power is what Pride really enjoys: there is nothing makes a man feel so superior to others as being able to move them about like toy soldiers. What makes a pretty girl spread misery wherever she goes by collecting admirers? Certainly not her sexual instinct: that kind of girl is quite often sexually frigid. It is Pride. What is it that makes a political leader or a whole nation go on and on, demanding more and more? Pride again. Pride is competitive by its very nature: that is why it goes on and on. If I am a proud man, then, as long as there is one man in the whole world more powerful, or richer, or cleverer than I, he is my rival and my enemy.

    The Christians are right: it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people or unchaste people. But pride always means enmity – it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God.”

  12. Justice Prima Says:

    Whether you agree with Jen’s and Mark’s actions or not, whether you think their story is true or not, here are two facts that are undebatable, and I don’t understand why they are not more troubling to some of you they are.

    It is a fact that DP excommunicated the Epsteins and expects every other church to respect that decision.
    It is a fact that he did not apply that standard to himself in regard to R.C. Sproul, Jr.

    It is a fact that DP shared details of a preconversion sin with the church, in spite of the sinner’s repentance, the wronged party in that sin insisting that he had forgiven her, and the *sinned against* pleading with DP not to break pastoral confidance and reveal what should have been kept private. There is really no excuse for that.

    That is information I would want to know about a pastor before I placed my family under his shepherding, and I am glad that I and others have been warned.

    As for those who think the fact that Doug has not sued the Epsteins yet is proof of his devotion to biblical principles, will you change your minds if he does sue? I find the doctrine that Christians may biblically sue ex-communicants deeply troubling, as it is extra-biblical and sets the stage for an incredible abuse of power.

    Look at this in order according to DP:
    1. A pastor may excommunicate anybody, without answering to anybody (and nobody has yet explained to us who it is that DP answers to- who is his ‘authority?’)

    2. and even if the pastor is not part of any session or organized synod, assembly or denomination, every other congregation in the world must respect his decision and bar those excommunicants from communion, refuse to eat with them, and refuse membership in their local congregations.
    (Unless he’s DP and Sproul Jr. is involved)

    3. The pastor, and anybody else, can sue excomunicants because the pastor’s excommunication apparently separated them from Christ and they are no longer Christians.

    Where is your protection from a greedy pastor who wants your property? I am NOT saying this is DP, I am just pointing out that DP’s theology leaves sheep at the mercy of greedy and covetous Ahabs after Naboth’s vineyard.

    What biblical authority does any man have for claiming his excommunication of you, especially an exommunication with no appeal process, makes you no longer a Christian?

  13. Jonathan Says:

    Well said and asked Justice Prima. These are the issues DP, Chancey, and the Stillfedup gang (I probably should include Metzler too) have been dodging from the very begining.

    Jen I have a question. If it has been answered can you or anyone else direct me to it. Did DP ever deal with the discription of a Godly woman from Proverbs? I can’t remember the exact number but i know it’s the last chapter in the book. Reading the chapter would lead me to conclude that she would’ve cleaned the out house without waiting for an order to.

  14. Cynthia Gee Says:

    So what happens if two pastors disagree and decide to excommunicate each other? Who decides who is right, and which of the two is no longer a Christian?

  15. Lucy Says:

    Prima, your points are well taken — and would be more relevant if we served a God who relieves us of Biblical responsibility if the actions of others are bad enough — but we don’t.

    My questioning of Jen has nothing to do with Doug Phillips or his behavior. Furthermore, nothing he does now or for the rest of his life will ever change how Jen is commanded to respond to it.

    This does not mean Doug’s behavior is not “troubling” to me. If I had the time or the inclination, I could fill a library with all the things I see wrong with Doug’s theology, based on his posts at Vision Forum ALONE… but this discussion is not about him…. it’s about Jen and her presupposed Biblical mandate that I’m asking her to defend.

    You claim to be grateful for her warnings, because you feel you’ve been protected from Doug. However, it seems to me that if a person really wanted to know someone, they would go to the source. They wouldn’t allow someone’s 2nd hand, and rather tainted opinion to determine their conclusions. You need only go to his blog if you want to find out what he thinks about, what he reads, who he admires, etc. If you agree with everything you see there, and you need more than that, or if you are considering joining his church, then I would think any discerning Christian would make sure plenty of visits, and interviews with the pastor or church leaders would precede them adding their name to the membership.

    The point is, I have a hard time seeing how this information is useful. It may be informative, but I’m not sure to what end. Warnings? No. It just sounds more like gossip to me.

  16. Cynthia Gee Says:

    LOL!!! Jonathan, the same thing crossed my mind.
    Hmmm….. I wonder if the women whose husbands throw their socks under the bed, like eating hamburger and pizza everyday, and never notice dirt until they start to trip over it, also have to wait to be told to clean the house? I know women whose husbands are like that.

  17. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Lucy, in one or two sentences, what do you feel is the Biblical response Jen must make towards DP regarding the excommunication?

  18. Jen Says:

    What is my overall goal? Is it unity? Purity? Maybe it’s peace. Or how about reconciliation? Maybe my goal changes or maybe it’s complex.

    I believe in promoting the peace and purity of the church. Obviously that would include reconciliation and unity. However, sometimes that focus is too narrow. Sometimes we are thwarted at every turn in the road.

    Lucy, I think I have not only bent over backward in my attempts to reconcile with Doug Phillips, but I have exhausted all biblical standards to do so. At this point in time, I have had two churches attempt to intervene. I have offered mediation and arbitration. I have also offered Peacemakers. I took down everything online that was about Doug in order to facilitate that. I have offered to just get together and talk. I have apologized for everything I know that I have done wrong. We even offered to let the other elder who suggested excommunicating us be a mediator.

    In return, I am barred from BCA and Vision Forum property, under threat of legal action. I have been contacted by Doug’s “personal” lawyer with a threat to sue me. Doug has threatened, on his blog, to sue me. Doug has told me that legally I may not contact him except through his lawyer. His lawyer refuses to take my calls. I know that Doug has a habit of “refusing” mail from people he doesn’t want to hear from, so I can’t waste my time that way.

    What other way can I reach Doug other than online, Lucy? At least I know that he is reading this. What is your SPECIFIC suggestion for reconciliation? Don’t tell me to keep doing the same things over and over and over again. If Doug has not even communicated with us ONCE in the last two years, that would not be a very wise use of my time, would it?

    So, my overall goal must be much bigger than reconciliation with Doug Phillips and BCA. My overall goal is to promote the peace and purity of the church, as a whole. I am here to prevent whatever SIN I can. I am here to warn Christians about a wolf. I am here to help keep others from being hurt. I am not the only one who has been deeply wounded by Doug Phillips; I am simply the only one brave enough to speak out about it. And I know many other stories, so I understand why others are afraid of him. I am here to expose evil and, IN SO DOING, I AM promoting the peace and purity of the church.

    Lucy, your ideas about thoroughly investigating a church or a man before investing your time or money are very wise ideas. Unfortunately, they are not realistic. Doug Phillips, as well as others like RC Sproul, Jr., puts on a real good front. There are MANY Christians who agree with everything on Doug’s website, but if they were to know about the REAL Doug Phillips, they would be horrified. They could visit him in person and he would charm the socks off of them. But if they don’t get on his bad side, they wouldn’t know about the REAL Doug Phillips. It is for those people that I am here. I know of several families, for instance, who thought they had thoroughly investigated RC, Jr. before uprooting their families and moving out to join his church. The abuse and tyranny they suffered is real, but they did everything you suggested to do, Lucy. If someone is truly a hypocrite, you aren’t going to find that out by “investigating” them in your manner. You are going to find it out because of people like me, who expose Doug Phillips, or Peter Kershaw, who exposed RC, Jr.

    This is NOT fun. This is a lot of work. And I don’t expect any thanks for it. I expect plenty of persecution. But I know what God has called me to do, and I will do it.

  19. Jen Says:

    Jonathan, I am not aware of Doug ever teaching on the Proverbs 31 woman. I am not saying that he hasn’t, but in the five years I knew him, he did not during that time.

  20. Lucy Says:

    “Lucy, in one or two sentences, what do you feel is the Biblical response Jen must make towards DP regarding the excommunication?”

    Cynthia, this could never be a one or two sentence response. Besides it’s not about how “I” feel…. It’s about what God requires. I’m simply questioning whether Jen is driven by Christ’s example, or by her own hurt and bitterness because of her experiences at BCA. This is a complicated situation, and the true specifics of it are between Jen and God. But, as I listed in my post above, I believe He has given us a prescription in the Bible for how we are to deal with other believers (particularly as it relates to sin) and, in my opinion, this blog doesn’t reflect it.

  21. Elizabeth Giromini Says:

    “Lynn, I hear what you’re saying, but please understand that the point doesn’t change with Jen’s supposed intentions. The point is governed by the commanded overall goal as compared to the current results.”

    “I’m simply questioning whether Jen is driven by Christ’s example, or by her own hurt and bitterness because of her experiences at BCA.”

    Lucy, I’m confused, is it about Jennifer intentions and what drives her or not?

  22. Lynn Says:

    “My questioning of Jen has nothing to do with Doug Phillips or his behavior. Furthermore, nothing he does now or for the rest of his life will ever change how Jen is commanded to respond to it.”

    Mark and Jen sound like they have exhaused all avenues of appeal and reconciliation. If they think what transpired is untrue and unjust, and that they have seen similar things happen to others, I have a request for you, Lucy, and that is where you tell me exactly what the Bible COMMANDS Jen to do in this situation.

    “This does not mean Doug’s behavior is not “troubling” to me. If I had the time or the inclination, I could fill a library with all the things I see wrong with Doug’s theology, based on his posts at Vision Forum ALONE… but this discussion is not about him…. it’s about Jen and her presupposed Biblical mandate that I’m asking her to defend.”

    Lucy, I’m beginning to smell a rat here. This discussion IS about Phillips. Period, end, finish.

    The reason I am smelling a rat is because you are sidestepping not only JP’s comments, but mine, and I DID give verses which demonstrate giving warnings and naming names in Scripture. In short, I DID talk about what Jen is doing, and you have not answered why you think my comments are biblically wrong.

    You said the Bible “commands” Jen to respond in a certain way, but you have yet to deal with the verses I gave you — Alexander and Paul being one of the verses.

    Lucy has sidestepped dealing with my argument. The fact that Lucy doesn’t like what Mark and Jen are doing doesn’t prove anything. The fact that she keeps calling it gossip doesn’t make it so.

    I would suggest that Lucy prove, from Scripture, that giving a warning about a false shepherd, after all Mark and Jen have attempted to do in private, is gossip. Let’s see the evidence, Lucy.

    “Warnings? No. It just sounds more like gossip to me.”

    “What it sounds like to ME” — That’s exegeting your emotions, but if you really think it is wrong, show from Scripture where it is wrong. I see from Scripture where Mark and Jen have followed Matthew 18, and they are free to tell the world their story now, and I think it is appropriate to warn people. Don’t just keep coming out and insinuating that it is wrong without laying out a biblical case.

    You either have to prove what Jen has shared on this forum is a fabrication, including the documents, or else you have to give a Scriptural case as to exactly what she should do now. But don’t just keep going on and on and on with the insinuation and accusation without giving a good reason.

  23. Lucy Says:

    “What other way can I reach Doug other than online, Lucy? At least I know that he is reading this.

    Jen – Like I said before, “how [reconciliation] manifests itself is up to God.” My point was that you needed to be sure you’re doing your part (an ongoing process), and let God work on Doug’s mind and the particulars of the reconciliation. This will requre patience on your part…. it may also require silence.

    “What is your SPECIFIC suggestion for reconciliation? Don’t tell me to keep doing the same things over and over and over again. If Doug has not even communicated with us ONCE in the last two years, that would not be a very wise use of my time, would it?”

    Obviously he doesn’t respond well to being goaded into formal arbitration or “called out” online. So, maybe what God is telling you is that he wants you to spend a little more time learning what He wants to teach “you”, rather than what He wants you to do about Doug.

    You want specifics? How about closing down the blog for a while? How about spending that time devoted to helping someone… maybe spend it in prayer… maybe that will soften hearts…. maybe one of those hearts will be yours…

    Not an option? Why not, Jen? If closing down the blog is unthinkable to you, then you have to be willing to say you believe it is more important to God that you “Expose DP’s Ecclesiastical Tyranny” regardless of any hurt, strife, or confusion it might cause — and I don’t think you’ll find that in scripture. This is my opinion.

    You need to realize 2 things:

    1) You are not guiltless in this matter.

    2) That knowledge should temper your willingness to talk about what anyone else does wrong.

    Whether you like it or not, Jen, you DID do things that offended Doug. This is an undeniable fact. It is unfortunate that his heart has been hardened, but until you back away from this “as long as he does that, I will continue to do this” mentality, your heart will be the picture of hardness as well.

  24. Lucy Says:

    Elizabeth – You’ve taken my comments out of context and apparently not read them very well. They are not contradictory in any way. They need to be read in light of the post they were directed towards.
    My apologies if I’ve been unclear.

  25. Jen Says:

    Lucy, I DID shut down this blog for two months and I did everything behind the scenes that was asked of me from the elders at Faith, as a gesture of good faith to show how serious I was at reconciling with Doug. In return, Doug said he REFUSED to reconcile with us, as he was 100% right and we are 100% wrong. And you are asking me to reconcile with that arrogance? Talk about sinless perfectionism!

    Lucy, you say I am not guiltless in this matter. I am going to expose myself to the whole world now. Show me my SINS, supported by Scripture. I have already apologized for gossiping about Doug and for saying, “Shame on you” to my elder. Before I approve another comment from you, Lucy, I want you to show me my specific sins and have Scripture to back them up. I have asked this question over and over and over again. Doug couldn’t answer it, but maybe you can.

    I am NOT claiming sinless perfectionism here, but in two whole years I have yet to hear even one example of anything that comes close to being an excommunicable offense. I would be very grateful if you could make that clear to me. Any other sin you see here I am willing to be confronted with as well. Just make sure it is a sin, and not your opinion.

  26. Lucy Says:

    Lynn –

    1) I don’t believe Mark and Jen have fabricated anything. I meant to address their current actions.

    2) I didn’t realize I hadn’t dealt with Paul and Alexander as completely as you wanted me to, and I don’t think I called it ‘biblically wrong’. I did acknowledge your example, but I was on a different track at the time. I’m happy to give it some more thought.

    3) I have qualified just about every one of my posts by saying they were only my opinion, based on my interpretation of scripture.

    4) I realize you’re talking about Phillips. But that doesn’t mean he’s the sole issue. It was a psychology-based suggestion.

    5) I think the scripture commands lots of things that I fear Jen may have ignored because of her past hurt.

    6) ….I know she’s been deeply hurt

    7) I did lay out a biblical case for my opinion. It’s a few posts up on this thread.

  27. Lucy Says:

    I’m sorry you’ve made the decision to ban me. It’s probably a wise decision since your last post shows me what a horrible communicator I must be…. I meant to address your options in light of the scriptures, but it has translated as me aligning myself with DP and BCA. This was not my intention and I would only be contributing to the confusion if I addressed his decision of excommunication.

    I said early on that only the people involved in the excommunication knew the full circumstances, and I think it will always be that way. I never wanted to address that, here.

    Again, I apologize for whatever it is I did to get banned. However, I will respect your decision.

    God’s peace to you Jen.

  28. Kim Says:

    I have been getting so much out of these comment conversations here. I may not contribute, but I am very glad for those who do.

    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control

    Jen, I don’t see you violating any of these. Just wanted you to know that. 🙂 And you have been a big blessing to me. The truth really does set you free. Keep up the good work.

  29. Brandon Giromini Says:

    2) That knowledge should temper your willingness to talk about what anyone else does wrong.”

    If we are to realize your above statement, Paul should have never called out Peter BY NAME IN PUBLIC, because “knowledge should temper your willingness to talk about what anyone else does wrong.”

    Lucy, please show us where Jennifer has at anytime claimed to be guiltless? I await your answer.

    “Obviously he doesn’t respond well to being goaded into formal arbitration or “called out” online. ” Show if DP doesn’t like being “called out”, we should stop because it he might be offended?

    Lucy, this man punished the Epstein family by having Natasha removed as a runner up in the Elise Dinsmore essay contest on vision forum’s website. I will tell you with all of the knowledge I have that is utterly reprehensible behavior and is 100% WRONG.

  30. Jen Says:

    Lucy, I did not ban you. You have made an accusation against me and I would like you to support it. If you run now, you will have lost all credibility. If you cannot support it, simply admit it. Here is your accusation:

    “You need to realize 2 things:

    1) You are not guiltless in this matter.

    2) That knowledge should temper your willingness to talk about what anyone else does wrong.”

    This is what I am asking you to support. Plain and simple. Tell me my sins. Maybe you should tell me which matter as well. If you are not talking about the excommunication, then please show me my sins on this blog, with Scripture.

  31. Lynn Says:

    Lucy:
    “Lynn, I hear what you’re saying, but please understand that the point doesn’t change with Jen’s supposed intentions. The point is governed by the commanded overall goal as compared to the current results.”

    Lucy:
    “I’m simply questioning whether Jen is driven by Christ’s example, or by her own hurt and bitterness because of her experiences at BCA.”

    Elizabeth:
    Lucy, I’m confused, is it about Jennifer intentions and what drives her or not?

    Lucy:
    “Elizabeth – You’ve taken my comments out of context and apparently not read them very well. They are not contradictory in any way. They need to be read in light of the post they were directed towards.”

    I’ve read both posts, and Elizabeth has taken nothing out of context, and yes, those statements are contradictory.

    In the first case, you made it out that *I* was the one talking about intentions of the heart, and I had to correct you, because that WASN’T what I was talking about. In your mistake, you said this situation is being governed by what the ideal results would be compared to the present results. I disagree with that, too. Just think “Jeremiah.”

    So you did, indeed, say to get off of intentions of the heart and onto some kind of objective measure. I just think Scripture is the measure, not desired results.

    Your second question, which is simply wanting to know if Jen is being driven by Christ’s example, or by her own bitterness, IS about intentions, and is NOT one that can be answered in this forum, and IS contradictory to your first statement that Elizabeth copied in.

    Here’s a demonstration. I will give your second statement frist, and then answer it with a corrected paraphrase of your first statement:

    Lucy:
    “I’m simply questioning whether Jen is driven by Christ’s example, or by her own hurt and bitterness because of her experiences at BCA.”

    Lynn (borrowing an argument from Lucy):
    “Lucy, I hear what you’re saying, but please understand that the point doesn’t change with Jen’s supposed intentions. The point is governed by what Scripture teaches we should do when we are dealing with pastors who are accountable to nobody, when we firmly believe they exhibit a pattern of behaving unjustly towards us and others.”

    Jen, I agree with you. Unless Lucy can pony up with a biblical argument, or else show you specific sins, please don’t let this illogic go on.

  32. Mark Epstein Says:

    First, I would like to thank everyone for their candor, civility, and concern for the purity of Christ’s bride – His church, both visible and invisible.

    Secondly, for the record, Jennifer is helping me, her husband, by exposing Doug Phillips for what he is – a lawsuit-threatening, ecclesiastical tyrant that is a hypocrite. Therefore, Jennifer is my “helpmeet” in this endeavor.

    Third, we have both taken great pains to limit our focus on certain issues and to refrain from naming names. However, these self-restrictions are nearly at an end. I can no longer sanction moral cowardice.

    Fourth, it is fundamental to everyone’s understanding that one approaches my wife’s blog with the realization that Jennifer is a woman under biblical authority. Furthermore, it serves equally to understand that I expressly prohibit and forbid any unbiblical “repentance.” Doug Phillips and his attorney did not answer my July 31, 2006 letter asking for specific clarification regarding alleged sin. Therefore, the matter is closed. If Phillips cannot answer legitimate questions from someone whom he expects to repent, then he is no longer entitled to any further submission from anyone in my family – period.

    With these items noted, here is my two cents regarding some of the statements I’ve read.

    Unbelievers read the Bible; does this mean we have to remove all verses that pertain to inter-believer squabbles?

    What is more important – the purity of the church or Doug’s reputation? From what I read in Holy Scripture, I agree with a previous writer: Paul names names for the sake of Christ’s bride.

    I disagree with Jennifer regarding her opinion that Phillips and members of BCA believe they are “right.” Nobody who has the living God present in their lives by the power of the Holy Spirit can believe that employees “voting” in an excommunication, an excommunication devoid of the defendant’s presence, can sincerely believe this was “right.” Even the Roman Catholic Church allowed Martin Luther’s and Joan of Arc’s presence at their respective trials. Thus, the RC Church sets a better example then the Baptist lawyer Phillips!

    Just so we can truly understand the context, the extreme form of patriarchy is little more than, in practical application, biblically sanctioned misogyny. Instead of being liberated by Christianity, these modern women are, as Jen noted, coming full circle to a former place of pre-Christ liberation and, therefore are, in practical application, baby machines expected to endure all manner of physical discomfort in order to fulfill their “pharisaical-mandated roles.” As Cynthia noted, “These women…to be treated as though they do not have minds reduces them to the level of CATTLE — soulless, mindless breeding stock.” Exactly, Cynthia, exactly!

    Regarding Jennifer’s “pre approved” apology. I had and still have some very strong thoughts on this subject. Phillips owes Jennifer, our daughter Natasha, me, and everyone present that Sunday an UN-qualified, “will you please forgive me,” apology for reading about Jennifer’s pre-conversion sin. There is only one word that describes Phillips’ actions in having these FORGIVEN sins resurrected – contemptible. Christ and His blood paid for Jennifer’s pre-conversion sins. Who does Phillips think he is to defy the Living God in this matter?

    Jennifer and I have both taken down our blogs – to no avail. Is it inconceivable to some that Phillips does NOT want reconciliation? Could it be he only wants humiliation for the Epsteins? Based on his arrogant actions, lack of accountability, lack of due process, conflict of interest associated with his employees voting, etc., I am inclined to believe the Machiavellian outlook driving an affirmative answer to the second question being more plausible.

    Lastly, I can assure everyone that Jennifer is NOT a bitter and unforgiving woman. You need only read what I did in the marriage to realize this fact.

  33. Lin Says:

    “See, this is a good example of my point above. I would have said that the overall goal was the UNITY of the Church… not in a way that ignores heresy, but with the understanding that while there are differences of opinion, the body is more committed to peace than to being right, or drawing attention to themselves. There isn’t a church body on the planet that doesn’t have the slightest bit of theological diversity, but we have to focus on the importance of peace amongst the saints… especially if the issue at hand is not essential for Salvation (which is often the case). Otherwise, we are no different than the rest of the world. ”

    This comment says it all about where Lucy is coming from. A false unity. There can be no unity without truth. Perhaps Lucy does not understand what constitues heresy. DP is a false teacher (wolf) and I am glad to be warned. I base this not only on Jen’s consistent account over a long period of time…but on reading DP’s own writings.

    He is a Pharisee. Sorry, Lucy, but he really is and if you are under his teaching, I hope your eyes will be opened.

  34. Justice Prima Says:

    Oh, so much to say, so many points:

    1. Jen explained that in over two years since their unbiblical excommunication, in over two years of seeking resolution and reconciliation, they have never heard from Doug himself once. And Lucy’s reply:
    Obviously he doesn’t respond well to being goaded into formal arbitration or “called out” online. So, maybe what God is telling you is that he wants you to spend a little more time learning what He wants to teach “you”, rather than what He wants you to do about Doug.

    Lucy, I am sorry, but your chronology is wrong and you are now blaming the victim in a classic ploy. You’re saying that somebody’s actions in 2006 are responsible for somebody else’s choices in 2004. He wasn’t ‘called out’ online until quite recently, so that can hardly be his reason for refusing to talk to them two years before, now can it?
    As for your claim that Doug is being ‘goaded’ into formal arbitration- that’s another accusation that I think you need to back up. Requesting arbitration from elders or peacemakers (particularly when you’ve already been judged by a kangaroo court where you were denied self defense, or even presence) is reasonable, and I hate to think what sort of a machiavellian mind could term that as ‘goading.’
    And the horribly petulant removal of young Natasha’s award for her Elsie Dinsmore prize- was that also a pre-emptive response to ‘goading’ for reconcilation?

    (Natasha, Darlin,’ if you are reading this, please know that what you went through was poisonous, and is not Christian at all. I have ached for you and your siblings in reading all of this).

    2. Lucy also says this: Prima, your points are well taken — and would be more relevant if we served a God who relieves us of Biblical responsibility if the actions of others are bad enough — but we don’t.
    Indeed, you’re right about the God I serve, but you are demonstrably (from scripture, not opinion) in error about the relevancy of my points. My points are relevant precisely because the God we serve requires us to warn the visible church- with public rebukes in certain circumstances, and to expose the deeds of darkness. If your opinions were correct, then Paul was in sin when he confronted Peter, Euodia and Syntyche, Demas, and others. Jesus sinned by calling the Pharisees whitewashed tombs. John the Baptist sinned by preaching on the sins of Herod. Your way leads to unchecked tyranny, not the Gothardite ‘umbrella of protection,’ and thankfully, it is not God’s way.

    I also find it interesting that you back up your claim for a vague biblical standard with your far more specific personal opinions. Your opinions, and anybody else’s here, really don’t matter. What matters are the facts of what happened and what the Bible says about that behavior.

    3. Joining a DP’s church isn’t the only reason a warning is a good thing. He teaches in the homeschooling community by tapes, books, and conferences, and as a member of that community with DP materials constantly being foisted on me I am glad to know what I have learned about DP’s hypocrisy and dishonesty. I am always glad to know more about how to be a good steward of my family’s funds.

    4. You rebuked Elizabeth (quite unnecessarily) for ‘not reading well.’ That’s rather ironic, isn’t it, in view of your strange response to Jen’s warning that if you did not support your accusations of her with scripture and facts you _would_ be banned. Since you have now been reassured that you misread Jen, I hope you will be backing up your accusations with specifics.

  35. Lynn Says:

    Lucy, you are right in this respect — I wasn’t there. But I have seen the primary documents, and I have read the BCA statement.

    Both the ex-communication statement and the BCA statement are woefully lacking as far as specifics. The charges are couched in vague, general terms, and the “sinless perfection” charge Jen denies.

    There really does need to be an answer for breaching pastoral confidentiality, and the mockery of justice done here. And since Doug and BCA are not explaining this, I am glad Jen is warning us in the homeschool community about this.

  36. Lin Says:

    If your opinions were correct, then Paul was in sin when he confronted Peter, Euodia and Syntyche, Demas, and others. Jesus sinned by calling the Pharisees whitewashed tombs. John the Baptist sinned by preaching on the sins of Herod. Your way leads to unchecked tyranny, not the Gothardite ‘umbrella of protection,’ and thankfully, it is not God’s way.>>

    Let us not forget Diontrephes! Called out by John publicly in a letter to the church for all to read for the last 2000 years.

    I fear Lucy has fallen into the trap of following men and their opinions above the full counsel of God. Many of us have done the same thing and it is hard but God has a way of forcing us to draw closer Him in total dependence that can be painful but also very freeing.

    Isaiah 2:22

  37. Brandon Giromini Says:

    I need to make a correction. I misread what Lucy had said, in regard to her 2 points. The “knowledge” in point 2 was referring to Jennifer’s guilt in this manner, not a general knowledge. Sorry Lucy for not having better reading skills. So basically my point isn’t fully in context.

    I do believe that even if Jennifer is not entirely guiltless in this manner, that she can make a judgment on another’s wrong, as long as she is not being hypocritical and has examined herself. Jesus calls us to righteous judgment.

  38. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “I do believe that even if Jennifer is not entirely guiltless in this manner, that she can make a judgment on another’s wrong, as long as she is not being hypocritical and has examined herself. Jesus calls us to righteous judgment.”

    Exactly, Brandon. And it was was partially to illustrate this very point that I asked Lucy what she thought would comprise a proper”biblical” response to DP’s excommunication .

    You see, it looks as though Lucy believes that it is the Epstein’s Biblically mandated duty to take the moral high ground and withhold righteous judgement — to instead accept their excommunication, “repent”, and restore the “unity” that has been broken, regardless of whether Phillips and his theology are right, wrong, or somewhere in between.
    Lucy wrote,
    “Prima, your points are well taken — and would be more relevant if we served a God who relieves us of Biblical responsibility if the actions of others are bad enough — but we don’t. My questioning of Jen has nothing to do with Doug Phillips or his behavior. Furthermore, nothing he does now or for the rest of his life will ever change how Jen is commanded to respond to it. ”

    Lucy also writes, “I would have said that the overall goal was the UNITY of the Church… not in a way that ignores heresy, but with the understanding that while there are differences of opinion, the body is more committed to peace than to being right, or drawing attention to themselves.”

    By those lights, Paul should never have excommunicated Alexander, and should have rolled and consented to the demands of the Jewish Christians, when they were insisting that Gentile converts obey the Law. Martin Luther should have repented of having nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door, and the whole Reformation should never have taken place. Actually, it would have been NICER in the short run if all those things had happened differently, and it would have maintained church unity, but at what cost? Sometimes the NICE is the enemy of the Good. When it becomes apparent that a church or its leader is practicing heresy, it is our duty to separate ourselves from that group, if changing it or bringing it to repentance from the inside is impossible. In the Epstein’s case it looks as though God used Phillips’ own pride to eject Mark and Jen from an abusive situation, in much the same way as Pharoah finally ORDERED his Hebrew slaves to leave Egypt and be free.
    As I see it, any “repentance” towards DP on the part of the Epsteins would effectually be a sign of their tacit approval of Phillip’s false teaching, heresy, and SIN.

  39. Lynn Says:

    I agree with the last few comments, which basically say we shouldn’t equate “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” to “let’s all just get along; I’ll roll over and agree to everything you say and no waves will be made.”

    We see open debate and discussion in the NT — and sharp disagreement, rebuke, and more from the apostles. Names are named, and charges are made. At one point the civil authorities wanted to quietly deal with Paul, and he, using his privileges as a Roman citizen, said, “NO!”

    Yes, Cynthia, Martin Luther didn’t *leave* the Catholic Church. He was thrown out and hunted down.

    What a tragedy it would have been if everybody back then treated Luther the way Boerne Assembly is treating the Epsteins! And what a tragedy if Martin Luther would have done like Phillips wants the Epsteins to do and “repented.” It wasn’t the case back then, thankfully, and it isn’t the case now, amongst Christians who are not part of that church, whose leadership appears to be accontable to no one.

  40. Jean Says:

    “In the Epstein’s case it looks as though God used Phillips’ own pride to eject Mark and Jen from an abusive situation, in much the same way as Pharoah finally ORDERED his Hebrew slaves to leave Egypt and be free.”

    Cynthia, spot on! HA!

    Following this thought…there isn’t a single life vest that will save VF when the Lord churns it in the sea. I know at this moment it looks as though the sea has been parted to allow DP to have his way. I can’t help but think about all the many homeschool conferences across the nation that will welcome this pharoah and his teachings into their midst. Perhaps the Lord is orchestrating some sort of major, visible fall for DP. He is sovereign, after all!

    Best wishes to you, Mark and Jen!

    Jean

  41. Lucy Says:

    This has been quite a windfall —

    I must have misunderstood when I thought I had been banned. But, as I said, it may not have been such a bad idea, because the responses here are getting chaotic, and I’m only contributing to the confusion I sought to avoid.

    The comment flurry after my last post contains accusations so confusing, I hardly know where to begin. In some cases, conclusions have been drawn from statements intended completely differently when they were posted, and in others, I’ve had my arguments twisted to suggest things I don’t even think.

    Here’s a few clarifications:

    1) I do not, nor have I ever, sat under Doug Phillips’ teaching… neither in his church nor through the purchase of his internet Vision Forum materials. I do not know or support him in any way.

    2) I do not believe that Mark and Jen have lied about their story.

    3) When I mentioned DP being called out online or goaded into arbitration, I was referring to the original article from Ministry Watchman and Mark’s letter to Doug (sent several times, as I recall). These weren’t received well by him, so I simply meant to suggest that she try other methods… perhaps ones that included periods of silence. e.g. – “Let go and let God.” They were only suggestions.

    4) I do not believe in false church unity through merely being nice. That was a rather unfortunate comment. I do, however, believe that God will protect the purity of His church from heresy, through his believers. Sometimes that manifests itself through questioning the pastor, and sometimes through excommunication of a member. The examples of Paul and Timothy would certainly apply…(the example of J.T.B. and Herod is a bit off, but mainly because they aren’t really comparable to a pastor and a church of believers). If God has revealed to Jen that DP is a heretic and is dangerous (in the manner of I Tim.1, for example), then power to her….she’s the one of the few involved here who’s actually met him, and in any position to lay that claim. I just wanted to be sure she was being careful. It’s a dangerous claim to make.

    5) My logic was simple: Attitudes determine intentions. Intentions drive actions. Actions affect others. Jen is responsible for the state of her heart and the outpourings of her attitude. If Christ is her guide for all of this, and these are the results, then, ok. If not, then what “drives” her becomes of utmost importance…. and at the same time, makes DP’s behavior irrelevant. I don’t know how much more clearly I can state this: DOUG’S ACTIONS DO NOT CHANGE JENNIFER’S RESPONSIBILITIES AS A CHRISTIAN. My whole point has been to question Jen as a sister in Christ as to the state of her attitude…. a subject God is very serious about…yet, so many here just want to keep talking about what Doug has done, as though you expect me to defend him, or something. I’ve already said that I can’t, and I won’t even try. He is NOT the focus of my point.

    6) Why it should frustrate anyone that I use words like “my opinion” and “my perspective”, is beyond me. A true understanding of Phil. 2 and Titus 3 shows that God deals with his followers in different ways. When dealing with issues that have nothing to do with salvation, I have to be allowed to qualify my statements this way. I have to be permitted to have a different interpretation of scriptural “non-essentials” than Jen. I extend the same courtesy to Jen, and the same courtesy should be extended to Doug. If you’re looking for black and white answers from me, I can’t provide them. I’m sorry. I am only here to provide the way in which I read the scriptures. I can’t speak for Jen or Doug the way some of you have tried to speak for me.

    In one of my first posts (on another thread for those of you who are new), I said that if God had laid this mission on her heart, then there would be little point in trying to argue her out of that. I attempted to catalyze a shift in her attentions for the purpose of self-examination. She assured me that she had been well examined, and furthermore, was confident in her present course. Perhaps I should have left it at that….as it has become evident that all we really have, here is a difference of opinion. Jen has stated she is no longer interested in reconciliation. Her stated purpose is to warn. So be it. If God is in this, I wish His best for her.

    Finally, for those of you who want a few scripture references that have molded my viewpoint on peace, humility and unity:

    Ecclesiastes 5:2
    Proverbs 11:2
    Galatians 5:22-26
    Colossians 3:15
    Philippians 2
    Titus 3
    I Peter 5
    Mark 9:50
    Romans 8
    Romans 14:19
    Ephesians 4
    James 3:17

    I do not belie the warnings against false teachers, but I see a much greater emphasis on other things. This is the crux of my point.

    Jen, I’m sorry you believe I will have lost credibility by not posting here anymore. But I feel that I’m only repeating myself and causing confusion in the process. I hope you understand.

  42. Morgan Farmer Says:

    For what its worth….

    I had a visit from 2 elders last evening to address some preaching questions I had with the pulpit supply. (We do not have a called pastor yet). We also discussed at some length the situation at the previous church that the founding members came from. One of the elders visiting was a part of that group also, one was not.

    The elder that came from that church with me pointed out the previous church we were in had NO LOVE. Yes there was doctrine and high worship and hymns but no love. Somehow that jelled all my emotions and everything came together for me as to ‘why’ certain things happened. Before and for the last 2 1/2 years I had been so thoroughly confused as to the why of it all….no love for one another.
    Elder #2 pointed out that southern Presbyterianism was also very ‘cerebral’ I think is the word we agreed on. (hes from California).

    So there maybe in a nutshell is the why of all of this.

    My elders stressed that our church is going to be first a loving church…after all they were SO THERE to help me understand a lot of the background noise thats’ going on and to reassure me that all was well. Our little group is SO blessed to have these precious godly men with servants hearts to serve and shepherd the frightened scarred sheep.

    Churches that have lots of doctrine and teaching but have no love are predisposed to abuse because any ‘love’ is conditioned upon the contextual behavior (within the guidelines of the doctrines & teaching of that group) of the members.

    I would also offer to Lucy that just because there is peace within the church does not mean that there is love. For peace to be a reality in the church there first must be love…peace naturally follows. Everyone is SO worried about the peace of the church and no one cares about the love…peace and love are sometimes used together to mean the same thing….they do not mean the same thing.

    I Cor 13 certainly has a new meaning for me now.

    Reading and re reading all of Jens posts I find ‘love’ the main ingredient missing from BCA and Doug Phillips’ camp.
    For Mark & Jen to pursue reconciliation with BCA and Doug Phillips even after time and blogging have since passed to me shows that they are certainly more mindful of love and forgiveness than I have been.

    Now I understand….

    Best, Morgan

  43. Jen Says:

    Lucy, I am not saying that you will have lost credibility if you choose not to post here anymore. I am saying that you have made rather serious allegations against me, against my character, and I have asked you to back them up, and you have failed to do so.

    Thank you for clarifying some of what you have said here, but you still have not supported your allegations that I am sinning here.

    Here is the first time I asked you this:
    “So, Lucy, I am going to ask you two things: first, that you specifically spell out what underlying issues or sins you see in me; and second, that you show me the verses where I am sinning by what I am doing here. Does that sound fair?”

    You responded that this was fair and that you would do so.

    Here is the latest time:
    Lucy: ““You need to realize 2 things:

    1) You are not guiltless in this matter.

    2) That knowledge should temper your willingness to talk about what anyone else does wrong.”

    Jen: “This is what I am asking you to support. Plain and simple. Tell me my sins. Maybe you should tell me which matter as well. If you are not talking about the excommunication, then please show me my sins on this blog, with Scripture.”

    Lucy, if you make allegations against me in public, you need to back them up in public. Am I being fair? Or am I asking too much? If you cannot back them up, simply say so. An apology would probably then be in order.

    I don’t care if you agree with me or not, Lucy. That is not the point. And I am opening myself up wide here, asking for you to show me my sins. If you don’t think I should go public with this, you are entitled to your opinion. But if I have sinned, that is an entirely different matter.

    So, Lucy, I am telling you that you have an obligation to support these charges you have made against me.

    Thank you for helping us all think through these matters. It was a good exercise and a good discussion.

  44. Elizabeth Giromini Says:

    Lucy, you’re entire argument boils down to one assumption, that Jennifer has a bad attitude. You have not backed up this assumption with fact. You have not given us examples of a bad attitude. You simply say it is there. If Jennifer does not have a bad attitude then your entire argument falls apart and you need to apologize. Please prove your assumption.

  45. Lucy Says:

    Well, that was the point, Jen. Originally, I was referring to the ways you offended Doug. I believed it needed to be dealt with — not AGREED with, necessarily — but more thoroughly dealt with, and that this might be done in ways you had not yet considered. You assured me that it had, and you were confident in God’s directives. Case closed.

    Additionally, I suggested the very existence of this blog was the guilt…that it was contrary to God’s (ultimate) desire for his children and his church. You disagree. You’ve presented scripture for your case and I’ve presented scripture for mine. We just disagree. I’ve said nothing about your character. I don’t even know you. I was just concerned about the blog and it’s usefulness. However, now, I am convinced that you believe what you are doing comes from God. There’s very little left for me to say, and in the spirit of Ecclesiastes 5, it seemed wise for me to stop.

    I do find it interesting that you’re still requesting apologies….

  46. Lynn Says:

    Lucy, I’m sorry I did *not* see your comment to me in the line-up here, of 28 March 8:56AM. I missed it, and now I want to respond to it.

    The last thing you said in that comment was about Doug not honoring his mother. I have already expressed my disagreement with Jen on some of the article, and was done with that aspect of it. But I will summarize what I said again.

    My basic argument was Jen wants to base her views on Scripture. Scripture mentions men and the fathers far more than it does mothers. One of Jen’s points was that there are many articles up about Doug’s father, but only a few up honoring his mother, and Jen noted this because (implication) it indicates Doug does not honor his mother.

    I said this reasoning doesn’t make sense to me. So you can see that I do have differences with Jen, and this particular article is one of them.

    I said:
    “I never claimed to know Jen’s intentions. I wanted to convey the point that when you are on the side of truth, if you cause divisiveness, then tough toenails to people who say, ‘You are divisive!’”

    Lucy replied:
    Lynn, you’re presuming too much about truth. I’m not claiming that Jen is lying, here. What I’m saying is that, in certain parts of this story, there’s obviously a misperception of the facts (on both sides), combined with varied translations of the same scriptures. This is described as an “opinion”… not truth. It doesn’t boil down to fact or fiction. It’s just not that simple. When you have two people who are convicted differently on the same point, one cannot be content to cast off the other person with a sentiment no more useful than, “tough toenails”. You have to have the humility and maturity to consider what your words/actions are going to cause. God tells us to “Guard our tongues”… He didn’t say, “Go announce your version of ‘truth’ no matter what you might stir up, because I sure do like noise.” Prov. 10:19 is useful here. ”

    If all this blog was was about Doug Phillips and his mother, I would agree with you, but it isn’t. It’s about ecclesiastic tyranny, and in this case how one views women, what women are permitted to do and not do, how women are treated, IS a significant issue. Jen has come to some realizations since putting up the article, and has expressed how Doug’s overall view of women causes him to treat his mother the way he does.

    Jen’s blog started after so much effort at reconciliation and efforts at peacemaking that I think, if one were inclined to write comments about somebody not breaching confidences and spreading things around that shouldn’t be spread around, that it is *Doug Phillips* who ought to be dealt with first and foremost. I can only hope you are writing to Doug Phillips as much as to Jen about this kind of thing.

    Lucy:
    “See, this is a good example of my point above. I would have said that the overall goal was the UNITY of the Church… not in a way that ignores heresy, but with the understanding that while there are differences of opinion, the body is more committed to peace than to being right, or drawing attention to themselves. There isn’t a church body on the planet that doesn’t have the slightest bit of theological diversity, but we have to focus on the importance of peace amongst the saints… especially if the issue at hand is not essential for Salvation (which is often the case). Otherwise, we are no different than the rest of the world.”

    What you are saying has to be true, while at the same time pastors who do things like what Doug Phillips did, you *don’t* tell his victims in the interests of peace to keep their mouths shut.

    I wrote:
    “Reconciliation with Phillips is over, for the foreseeable future. They aren’t motivated by it.”

    Lucy replied:
    “They should be, Lynn…. How it manifests itself is up to God, but the motivation should be there.”

    Lucy, I meant they were willing to reconcile, but now that this has been spurned, and spurned down to the nth degree, they want to warn the church about what happened to them, so they reposted their blog articles. The motivation to post the articles was to isssue a warning, according to them. They can’t continue to be motivated by reconciliation when it is very clear Doug doesn’t want to reconcile. If and when Doug shows a genuine interest it it, they can be motivated by it again. I’m not saying because they aren’t motivated by it, that it still isn’t something desirable. It’s just that once a course of action, motivated by a desire to reconcile, has been spurned and spurned and spurned, and you think other people might get hurt by this person, you are then free to be motivated to warn others about him.

    Lucy quotes:
    “Say ‘Thank You’ to Those Who Have Invested in Your Life
    [I] cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. (Ephesians 1:16)
    Whatever happened to the man who first opened to you the words of life from the Scripture? Where is the comrade, coach, or instructor who believed in you and helped you to accomplish a great goal? What about the Bible teacher whose careful handling of the Word opened up new vistas of understanding? Where is the friend who stood with you through thick and thin? Most importantly, what have you communicated to the mother who carried you in her womb, loved and nurtured you, or the father who labored to provide for and shepherd you?”

    “It just seemed to be a fair reminder to those of you on this thread who are under the impression that Doug does not acknowledge his mother.”

    I already expressed my thoughts about this to Jen above. Lucy, I am truly sorry I missed seeing this. I hope this clarifies things.

  47. Lucy Says:

    It does. Thank you, Lynn. I appreciate that.
    I don’t have much to say on the subject of women in the church, but I appreciate your point of view. I had only quoted Doug’s blog in the interest of being fair to him.

  48. Cynthia Gee Says:

    But Lucy… how HAS she offended –ie, SINNED against– Doug? I believe that Jen has apologised repeatedly for any transgressions she may have committed against him. Please note, too, that it is not always necessary to offend (sin against) someone in order for them to feel offended — after all, whenever folks do bad things (or even innocent but dumb things!) they hate to have their embarrassing deeds exposed. I’m sure Doug does feel offended that Jen has come out and told the whole world about BCA’s dirty laundry, but that doesn’t mean that it was wrong of Jen to air out Doug’s altar linens. A lot of other people will now know to avoid VisionForum and the heresy from which it originates, thanks to Jen and Mark. The Epsteins have no obligation to apologise for exposing a false shepherd.
    Whistle-blowing takes courage, and that’s VIRTUE, not a vice.

  49. Saddened, but not shocked Says:

    Lucy said:
    The point is, I have a hard time seeing how this information is useful. It may be informative, but I’m not sure to what end. Warnings? No. It just sounds more like gossip to me.

    Indeed, useful. We bought a lot of VF resources in past years. They had an effect on the way we did things. I confess we weren’t very Berean in our understanding at first. The more we’ve studied the Scriptures lately, the less we’ve honored DP and RC Jr. in our choices. Jen’s blog, its documentation (read through everything a few days before it was all taken down), and the name-calling rather than thoughtful, grieved discourse–for the most part–by the “other side” has given us reason to re-examine our library, to discard some materials, and to decide to spend our money elsewhere in future. I for one am grateful for the warning of a false prophet in sheep’s clothing. The time is never wrong to examine the messages we are being encouraged to swallow, in the light of Scripture, to check for spiritual cyanide.

    It is no wonder that Mr. Phillips (Dr. Phillips?) might be eager to see these voices stifled. This controversy, among others, has begun to have an economic impact on his business, just from word of mouth among homeschoolers I know, in addition to our own decision.

    Personal opinion, perhaps not relevant to the discussion here. Disregard, if so. I have long felt as if VF is manipulating and exploiting Christian homeschool families, offering expensive “toys” to reinforce the qualities we’d like to see in our sons and daughters. I don’t have to pay nearly $100 for a “liberty doll”–I can get something like it at Target for $30. I guess we can sew our own clothes if we want old-fashioned costumes. How do single-income homeschool families afford these luxuries? I know that we can’t, and it fosters discontent in our children when they see others playing with them. If it were truly a ministry, prices would reflect the desire to serve rather than amass a large income. And one other thing: the quality seems to me substandard. Just a small example: I thought that video about honoring our fathers was stilted and poorly done, albeit heartfelt. A lot of the material I’ve read/heard/seen from them is sentimental schlock. Sorry to go off on a tangent.

    Back to the subject: I was shocked when I first read about this conflict, though not surprised. I’ve known super-strict legalistic conservative churches, and I’ve known the other extreme (a different sort of legalism, where for example the requirement to be loved and accepted in the church body is to embrace and promote the gay couples there).

    Any time a man (or woman) is given a great deal of power, influence, and access to wealth, there is a great deal of necessary responsibility and accountability that goes along with it. It’s not a sin to be rich or powerful, but our Lord was right when He talked about the difficulties such “blessings” would bring.

    Having seen other ministries brought down by the growing arrogance of a charismatic leader, I can only shake my head and grieve in advance for those who will be disillusioned if things keep on going as they have been.

    Who was it that said “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

  50. Saddened, but not shocked Says:

    “I can’t help but think about all the many homeschool conferences across the nation that will welcome this pharoah and his teachings into their midst.”

    I must admit I am troubled by this fact, knowing that just such a conference is to take place locally this summer. I have always supported the local homeschool conference, but this may be the first year, since we started homeschooling, that I give it a miss.

  51. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Jean said,
    “Following this thought…there isn’t a single life vest that will save VF when the Lord churns it in the sea. I know at this moment it looks as though the sea has been parted to allow DP to have his way. I can’t help but think about all the many homeschool conferences across the nation that will welcome this pharoah and his teachings into their midst. Perhaps the Lord is orchestrating some sort of major, visible fall for DP. He is sovereign, after all!”

    Perhaps. And I have a feeling that like Pharoah, DP himself will be the deciding factor in whether, when, and how that fall finally occurs. I tend to believe that Pharoah had hardened his heart so many times, that when the final moments of decision came, he was unable to choose to do otherwise (and thus it can truly be said that God hardened his heart), and so, locked into a course of action by his own deliberately repeated sin, Pharoah strode proudly to his own downfall.

  52. Kate Says:

    Jen,
    I just read through again the “2004 submission guidelines” and thought, “Good grief! I’ve been transported back in time to somewhere around 1955! Where’s Marty McFly and the Doc when you really need them?” Except that it’s not in a DeLorean. In all seriousness, though, I think that what you probably had to deal with under that church’s teaching/mindset must have seemed next to impossible, coming from a sort of real-time world like the rest of us. While I have really had my disagreements with you and my doubts to certain aspects of this whole drama on the web, in all the shouts from both sides, I am ready to say here and now that I am terribly sorry for all the pain you have publicly and privately endured, my words included, (God being Sovereign and good always), I have had enough of the finger pointing and want to desperately follow Christ. I do not know whether you have been 100% truthful or the other people have been 100% truthful, God knows. I can not try to satisfy my flesh in this debate. Christ died for the unjust. That’s me, that’s you, that’s Doug. I have clinged to that blood-soaked cross in my walk and have wept tears of joy for what He has done for me. I have been really, really debating in my mind to either leave all my posts up, put up a marker on my blog showing my grief over all the words exchanged, stating something to the effect of, “Here stands a marker of a great battle where blood was shed, and testimonies shredded and the cross was not glorified”. But maybe I should just delete all that was said, because I just can not keep the destruction rolling on, not when I think of you as a mother and wife, and your family suffering in the bondage of sin (the bondage of sin in your PAST, not today or the present, like all of us whom the Father has been kind enough to show us our need for the Savior. His promises are for today and forever). I can relate to your pain and loss and shame (in your past) and can truly see the victory won for His saints, and it is necessary for me to encourage people to only look to Christ and His sacrificial love for them to cover their (mine, yours, His elect) sins. We will celebrate His resurrection here pretty soon (well, I do all the time) and I hope there is true fellowship and eyes captivated by His glory.
    I am being sincere, and even though we’ve disagreed, I do not want to cause you any more grief. I would much, much rather find the things we have in common, and even swap funny movie quotes or some such light-hearted thing. I also love, just love to talk about God’s wonderful Word, and lately I’ve liked talking about eschatology. I even have some guilty pleasures such as a prime-time tv show on ABC that Corrie has even said she likes on her blog.

    I am the last person to ever, ever claim sinless-perfectionism 😉 and just wanted to let you know these things.

    May the Name of Jesus Christ be exalted and lifted up,

    Kathleen


  53. Mark Epstein Says:

    Can someone please help me here? Lucy wrote, “My logic was simple: Attitudes determine intentions. Intentions drive actions. Actions affect others.”

    My question is this, since when do attitudes determine intentions? My understanding is that the “heart,” and how it is related to God, ultimately drives our thoughts from which intentions and attitudes are derived (take every thought captive is what the Bible says).

    Although I agree with Lucy’s statement that “DOUG’S ACTIONS DO NOT CHANGE JENNIFER’S RESPONSIBILITIES AS A CHRISTIAN,” I briefly want to share the biblical and secular view on leadership.

    Jennifer wrote an earlier article regarding the expected leadership traits and behaviors associated with being a student at the United States Military Academy (West Point). That article is a good summary of the secular viewpoint.

    At my office, I have posted the traits of a Christian leader. The two areas that Christian leadership and military leadership have in common are (1) servanthood and (2) the expectation that leaders will be wrongly maligned but must respond in love.

    If Doug’s allegations against Jennifer and me were true, it is his responsibility as a self-proclaimed and unordained elder (i.e., a leader) to respond in love – as mandated by the Bible.

    Lucy is correct, Doug’s actions are his and his alone, and he bears full responsibility for his failure to respond in love, conduct a biblical excommunication, ensure no conflicts of interest existed, provide a fair and impartial trial of the accused, and respond to humble letters seeking clarification of what needed to be repented of. Doug failed to do all of this and, as a leader, the Bible holds him to a HIGHER STANDARD than Jennifer and me, and we just cannot change this biblical reality.

  54. Lynn Says:

    Wow, Kate, that is something to read!
    You wrote:
    ““Good grief! I’ve been transported back in time to somewhere around 1955! Where’s Marty McFly and the Doc when you really need them?” Except that it’s not in a DeLorean. In all seriousness, though, I think that what you probably had to deal with under that church’s teaching/mindset must have seemed next to impossible, coming from a sort of real-time world like the rest of us.”

    Kate, if 1955 were a better time than now, because people were beleiving and following the truth of Scripture more than now, then nothing else matters for God’s people. We *should* go back to 1955. But that’s not the case here.

    The real trouble with some of what is on those guidelines is that it was feeding right into the problem they came to Doug for help for in the first place, and they went beyond what the Bible teaches. If you forgive a person, you don’t continually examine that person for all kinds of past unrepented of sins to make them repent and ask you forgiveness for — over and over again.

    And this was a one way street. It was Mark who was told to do this with Jen.

    And the guidelines really gave Jen no recourse for talking about serious issues with competent people, if the case ever arose.

  55. Jen Says:

    Lynn: “And the guidelines really gave Jen no recourse for talking about serious issues with competent people, if the case ever arose.”

    Which it did, Lynn. Time after time after time. That is the whole point. It is not just that these guidelines were not helpful in restoring my marriage, but because I was under those guidelines, Doug set me up for years of abuse. And I had no recourse, no place to go, except to an abusive authority as well.

  56. Kate Says:

    Lynn,

    I didn’t mean anything with my attempt at “tension easing” with my thought about the 1950’s. I just meant that I got a taste of the perhaps idealized perspective Jen must have been dealing with in that congregation’s persuasion. The ’50’s may have been a great time for God’s Word being proclaimed and lived out, I don’t know, I wasn’t there. God’s Truth wil be proclaimed and lived in the lives of His saints in every era, ’till He returns, in my understanding. Idealized (or even imagined) lifestyles that show good works may be people’s convictions, but they will still not be good enough to place them at the feet of a holy God and His finished sacrifice. Hope that made more sense.

  57. Corrie Says:

    Marie,

    ” A woman’s children should be her greatest earthly accomplishment. This bio speaks volumes of the priorities of this woman. She always put her family first. There were no “side ventures”- no situations where she wanted to say “look at me,” she totally and completely devoted her life to her husband and her children. ”

    What about a man’s greatest earthly priority? Shouldn’t that be his children, too? I do read in the Bible that it tells us that a married man will be concerned about how to please his wife and a married woman will be concerned about how to please her husband. I don’t see that a man’s greatest earthly priority is different than that of a woman’s, at least according to the Bible which I base the reason for believing anything I believe. I know the extreme patriarchal movement has gone way too far in defining things and has sliced and diced up things beyond what scripture does.

    As disciples of Christ, we have the same priority. If a woman’s greatest priority is her husband and children then a man’s greatest priority is his wife and children.

    And I wonder why it is a good thing for a woman to quietly serve and give her life up in service for others and a bad thing to be in the spotlight but a man can grab that spotlight? In fact, the Bible instructs men, specifically, to love their wives in a sacrificial way. Basically, marriage is not about them. It is about their spouse.

    Why would it be okay to give a man glory and public praise for his accomplishments but not okay for a person to give a woman public praise for her accomplishments? Or that a woman is only known by the accomplishments of the males in her life? Why not give a tribute to the woman? To her loving, self-sacrificial ways?

  58. Lynn Says:

    Kate, I knew the comment about the 50s was not the main point, but I do see your point better because of your reply to me. The fluffy dresses for the women and the 50’s look for the men, and all the behaviors that go along with it, still will not effect a heart change that only the blessed Savior can provide. Is that right?

    He is faithful to us when we are faithless toward Him!

    http://graceindelible.blogspot.com/2006/02/gods-faithfulness.html

  59. Kate Says:

    Yes, Lynn, I believe any time someone tries to rely on their outward appearances or convictions of what they believe as their standard of God’s approval is under a false understanding of what the Bible states is the natural state of man, and Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection that was needed to satisfy a Holy God, who sees only what Jesus did on the cross for the elect, the chosen, those for whom He loved and paid their sins in full. The heart-change that only God can do in a person will manifest it’s fruit in the life in that person, and the fruit is the fruit of the Spirit.

    Convictions can be quite varied amongst believers, and are subject to our own preferences, culture, plain old flesh, etc., and it takes great discernment, and maturity (something I pray God continues to grow me in) to live out your life with grace toward others who differ from you (in general) in your convictions. Some things are very basic, such as marital fidelity, or public modesty, or rebellious children, etc., (just for some top-of-the-head examples), and The Gospel/Cross/Resurrection of Jesus Christ should be quite evidenced in our lives and/or speech. I’m in agreement with you on God’s faithfulness and our unfaithfulness, and our encouragement and instruction from Him in guarding our message of His Hope from His Word in our daily lives.

  60. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Corrie wrote, “Why would it be okay to give a man glory and public praise for his accomplishments but not okay for a person to give a woman public praise for her accomplishments? Or that a woman is only known by the accomplishments of the males in her life? Why not give a tribute to the woman? To her loving, self-sacrificial ways?”

    The Bible agrees with you, Corrie. Lemuel’s mother, the OT prophetess, taught her son all about that.

    Lemuel’s mother taught him,
    Pro 31:23 “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”
    AND,
    Pro 31:28 “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her. Pro 31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Pro 31:30 Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
    Pro 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. “

  61. Cynthia Gee Says:

    A couple of days ago, Corrie wrote,
    “I do wonder why an education for the Phillips women is so important and mentioned so many times but when it comes to other women, it is forbidden and not something that we need to concern ourselves with?”

    Well, call me a cynic, but I think it’s a case of “Do as I say, not as I do.” Quite a few of the wives of the men in the patriarchal movement are very well-educated. Remember, patriarchy is not just about relationships within the home, it’s about social hierarchy, too — in fact, patriarchy is all about who is in authority over whom.
    In a stratified society, a few well educated people always are on the top running things. Some folks are in the middle, and a LOT of people are at the bottom. If the children in such a society are homeschooled, they will tend to stay at the same social and educational level as their parents. The fellows at the top of a patriarchal society MUST have well-educated women as their wives, if their families are to retain their social position from generation to generation, because these are the women who will socialize and educate their sons.

  62. Mark Epstein Says:

    Cynthia,

    You are NOT a cynic – you are a realist.

    I fail to see any difference between the “Vision of the Anointed,” whether it be from the left, right, atheist, secularist, or Christian worldview. Whenever one believes a society’s stratified “classes” need “leadership,” we enter the realm of feudal lords and fiefdoms instead of a constitutional republic.

    Unfortunately, we will always have those who lust after such power despite the country’s political system and laws. Christians are not immune from this idolatrous view of power, which is why Patrick Henry’s refusal to serve in a more centralized Federal government is an example to all wannabe politicians and voters.

  63. TheIronHare Says:

    Maybe BCA should put a sign on its door saying “People who feel obliged to be Bereans NOT WELCOME! Slavish man worshippers VERY WELCOME! Rank hypocrisy encouraged within” Something like that. Then blogs like this wouldn’t be necessary.

    Mark, remember that mobs can be tyrannical too. A righteous people under a righteous earthly king wouldn’t necessarily be SO bad, right? And in the history of Israel at times the king was better than the people and held evil in check more than a ruler they would have elected. I would guess this has happened outside of biblical history as well. Don’t put too much stock in politics including forms of gov’t. If a people seek the Lord in earnest (as a result of his sovereign work in their hearts) proper biblical forms and modes will result in time whatever they happen to be.

    Dennis

  64. Laurel1861 Says:

    The last line in her bio says “…Alexandra is an active recitalist and a student of ashtanga/vinyasa yoga.”

    That last would explain why there is virtually no mention of her by the Phillips men, as it places her outside the Christian church.

    God bless,
    Laurel

  65. Light M. Says:

    So glad to hear she escaped the cage they would put her in. And she may well still be a Christian, who knows? (Just not in Howard and DP’s eyes.)

  66. Sarada Says:

    Although this thread is quite old, there was some speculation earlier on as to the religion of Doug’s children. Reading through the bio on Howard Phillips page, the youngest son, Sam attends a Catholic college. It is a very conservative Catholic college, so unlike Notre Dame, it would be unusual for a protestant to attend.

  67. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Sarada,

    About Sam Phillips attending a Catholic College: What is his major? Is it a school known for excellence in his chosen field, or did he go there to study theology.

    I went to a small, mostly female RC college because they had one of the best schools in the area that offered a two year program with easy transition into a four year program. They also accepted all of my transfer credits from community college (since my parents were not too hip about sending their 16 year old off into the world from a small, Christian school). There was only one Christian college in our state at that time, and their Nursing program was not accredited by the American Nurses Association which would create a lifetime of problems in licensure outside of the state (which I’ve now done five times in 22 years). My other fiscally attainable option at the time (in a 4 yr college) was Penn State which seemed to my parents like sending me out into Sodom or Babylon, from classes of 20 to 60 people into classrooms accomodating near 1000 students in one sitting.

    My fellow Assemblies of God churchgoers drove me nuts asking me millions of times why I would go to a Catholic school (where I was granted permission from the Dean to take all religion classes in Judaism –where I figured I would be theologically safer). I would not have Catholic doctrine slipped in under another guise that way.

    Does that make me Roman Catholic in any way?

    Until one considers the field of study chosen by Sam Phillips, it is hardly fair to ascribe religious affiliation to him. I have heard of this same problem from other Protestants attending Catholic schools (some from in my program at the RC school). It can be a very unfair and painful experience bringing about rejection owing to “guilt by association.”

    It’s grossly unfair, especially since on the floor of my tiny dorm, I was considered to be the expert on matters Christian, even from the perspective of my Catholic schoolmates. They knew better than anyone that I was not RC, especially after a Q&A session after a visit from our off campus priest (when I publically compared his insights that evening to standard secualr humanistic thought). I never watered down my faith or capitulated to Cathlolic teaching while in attendence there: quite the opposite was true.

  68. CynthiaGee Says:

    Sarada, I went to a small, conservative Catholic college, and lots of Protestants attended there — in fact, it’s where I met my husband, who was raised in an AME church.


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