The Doug Phillips’ School of Logical Fallacies

From the time that my husband and I were “excommunicated” from Boerne Christian Assembly we have repeatedly requested that Doug Phillips provide a specific and detailed list of the excommunicable offenses of which we were found guilty. We don’t believe this to be an unreasonable expectation. After all, how are we to ever be able to repent of sins if we don’t even know what they are? Repentance of specific sins necessitates naming specifically what those sins are. We can’t repent of vague and broad generalities.

When someone is tried in a secular court, the charges are clearly and specifically stated, the charges must be supported by evidence and testimony, the accused has the right to examine their accusers, and the court functions according to established rules that everyone (especially the accused) has available to them. These are some of the most basic and essential requirements to ensure that justice can be carried out. Without these things there can be no justice.

To this day the best that Doug Phillips can do is to vaguely allege,

“Mark and Jennifer Epstein were excommunicated by Boerne Christian Assembly for habitual lying, railings, contempt of authority, cruelty, gossip, revilings, and other sins for which they were patiently and lovingly admonished by numerous brothers and sisters in Christ at BCA and their church leadership.”

Since that time we have asked for no more than what any secular court knows that justice requires: a specific, detailed accounting of our sins (excommunicable offenses), supported by evidence and testimony of witnesses. We’ve also asked for Doug to provide us the rules by which we were tried, since he claims that we received “Excommunication With Due Process.”

“Contrary to the claims made by this couple and the publishers of the defamatory article, the excommunication of the family followed biblical procedure consistent with our doctrine and confession, procedures which we believe to fairly represent the parameters laid out in Scripture.”

If that were true, then why won’t he specifically name the “doctrine and confession” that BCA holds to? We certainly knew that BCA subscribes to The Second London Baptist Confession Of Faith, but that Confession doesn’t at all address the specifics of the “Due Process” that Doug claims that he gave us. Where is the Book Of Church Order, the Book Of Church Discipline, or the Church Constitution that spells out how BCA was supposed to conduct a church trial? There wasn’t one, and as far as we know BCA has never had one, and they still don’t have one. If BCA has since adopted one, we’d like to examine it to determine if our “trial” conformed to it.

The fact is that Doug fabricated the “rules” out of thin air, and the rules didn’t in any way “follow biblical procedure.” Our trial was a Kangaroo Court, and no Kangaroo Court can render a just verdict.

In recent weeks, Doug Phillips has employed the “bandwagon” logic of trying to get as many people as he can to disparage us. Doug’s first bandwagon ploy was to publish the fact that our “excommunication” was voted on by the BCA congregation, and they voted unanimously in favor of Doug’s excommunication. Other than showing that BCA probably has a herd mentality, what does this prove? One of the things it proves is that our trial was a sham of justice. At least half of the BCA congregation were Vision Forum employees. Any votes from Vision Forum employees would have been a major conflict of interest. Not one of them was free to vote their conscience. To go against Doug might have cost them their jobs. They should have abstained, but they didn’t, and the result was totally predictable.

In recent weeks Doug has continued with his bandwagon logic. He obtained a brief letter from Living Water Fellowship which appears to support Doug. But again, what does this prove? Little Bear Wheeler would very much like to get back into Doug’s good graces. He stands to benefit financially if he can patch up the relationship. Just like Doug’s own vague allegations, the LWF letter doesn’t give us anything specific that we can work with. How are we to repent from such vague allegations as “the e-mail contained inaccuracies and misleading information?” We asked to meet with Little Bear and his elders so that they could give us specifics. They initially agreed to meet with us, but then they cancelled our meeting, and it doesn’t look like they’re now willing to meet with us at all.

Also now jumping aboard Doug’s bandwagon are Gavino and Ruth Perez. In their letter, this couple gave the impression that they personally knew me. Yet, that’s not the case at all. The Perezes allege, “Jennifer Epstein has engaged in unethical practices toward our own organization during the years of 2005 – 2006.” In a style all too typical of Doug Phillips, the Perezes fail to specify what my alleged “unethical practices” are. I’ve responded to Ruth in the spirit of step one of Matthew 18, but I didn’t write to Gavino, since I don’t ever recall even meeting him. Ruth Perez is the director of FEAST. I asked for Ruth Perez’s reply. She’s failed to do so, and so I’ll post my letter to her here:

Dear Ruth,

I’m very troubled by the ramifications of your recent public statement. Most people reading it would presume that you have had some sort of personal relationship with me. Yet, I think you know perfectly well that we’ve barely had any personal interaction at all. We have chatted only briefly at various occasions throughout the last several years, but we have never really even had what could be called any substantive dialogue about any subject. Aside from greeting one another when we cross paths, we’ve barely said much of anything to one another.

The only possible exception I can think of to this is an incident in which you called me to express a concern over a particular situation. I had been in the FEAST bookstore, showing some missionaries to Korea some books from your store that I recommended for homeschooling. Knowing that money for them was scarce, I recommended to them that they might be able to save a little money by buying some of the same books from CBD for substantially less. Apparently, my conversation with them got back to you. You called to tell me that FEAST had a price matching policy. When you made me aware of that, I immediately apologized to you and subsequently retracted my advice to my missionary friends to Korea and encouraged them to buy the books from FEAST. That is the only actual conversation of any kind that I can recall ever having with you.

Imagine my utter surprise, then, when I saw that you had written a defamatory statement about me and posted it on the internet. You speak as though you know me personally and that you’ve had sufficient interaction with me to make conclusions about my character, when the fact is that you barely know me at all.

Ruth, if I have offended you in any way, I would fully expect you to come to me in the spirit of Matthew 18, privately, and to have done that a long time ago. Ruth, I will not claim that I believe that I am without any faults. I am a frail human with many failings. Obviously I’ve done something to offend you. Just how long have you been carrying this antagonism against me? Why have you waited so long to bring your concerns to my attention? Actually, you didn’t really ever bring them to my attention at all, did you? Rather than confronting me in my alleged sins and giving me the opportunity to hear you, be convicted of the Lord, and repent of them, you paraded them out for the whole world to see.

Your actions cause me to suspect that you never really have had an issue with me at all, and certainly not serious enough to confront me privately about. More than likely your only real beef with me is my blogging about Doug Phillips. If your goal was merely to side with your friend Doug Phillips, without hearing the facts, you are certainly free to do so, and state that as your opinion. But to blatantly tell these falsehoods about me the way you have isn’t just unbiblical, it’s libelous. If I have done any of the things which you have accused me of, you must now provide specific and detailed evidence, not vague and baseless rhetoric.

I will list your public accusations against me and ask you to address each of them, point by point, by responding to me with specific and detailed testimony in support of your accusations.

1. The Epsteins are a disgruntled family.
2. The Epsteins decided to aggressively attack Doug Phillips and Vision Forum.
3. Email lies
4. I insinuated that HSLDA was critical of Doug.
5. I launched an all out internet/email war to destroy Doug and Beall.
6. Terrible accusations against them
7. I engaged in unethical practices toward FEAST during 2005-2006
8. Past offenses dealing with deception
9. My deceptive character was not unknown to you
10. Attacks on Doug Phillips
11. My self-appointment as a home school leader is misleading
12. I have a Charlotte Mason business
13. My leadership consists only of my customers
14. The Phillips battle false accusations from us.
15. We are a troubled family
16. We are bitter
17. We are full of hate
18. We were excommunicated for serious sins.
19. We have an email hate campaign

The accusations that you have made are the same kind of general and unspecific accusations, and the very same tactics, that Doug Phillips used against me and my family, and that he continues to use. Of course, Doug went far beyond what you have done, by “excommunicating” me and my husband, and shunning my entire family, including my children. We’ve been asking for a list of specific and excommunicable sins that we’re guilty of for over two years now. Doug has never provided it. Do you think that by joining Doug’s little chorus of, “The Epsteins are liars and unrepentant sinners,” without ever providing even a single specific example of our alleged sins, and not a shred of evidence, that you can help bolster Doug’s unsupported and vague accusations?

I ask that you now make your allegations with some specificity, and furnish the specific and detailed evidence to back up your accusations. If you’re not able to do so (and we both know that you can’t), I’m asking you for a public apology and retraction for the falsehoods and unsupported (and unsupportable) accusations you have told about me, and I am asking you to send that apology and retraction of your public statement to me, as well as to everyone you sent the original libelous comments to.

Please respond to me at your earliest opportunity. If I hear nothing from you by Monday, May 7, 2007, I’ll assume that your intention is to ignore this request.

Hopeful in Christ,
Jennifer Epstein

Doug remains popular with at least a few, and so I’m not surprised that the cast of characters on Doug’s bandwagon continues to grow. But bandwagon logic is still a logical fallacy. Doug knows that. Doug even teaches logic to his interns. However, Doug is also aware that even though logical fallacies are often dishonest, they still often work with large segments of the population. They often even work with people who should really know better, people like Christian home educators.

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268 Responses to “The Doug Phillips’ School of Logical Fallacies”

  1. Corrie Says:

    http://timbayly.worldmagblog.com/timbayly/archives/022418.html

    Here is a very good link to a case of a session making formal charges. Read through it and see how ironic this is. I mean, what he says is very true and it shows how a real session functions and how the accused has a right to appeal to a higher form of government. But, where are the same people showing this fairness when it comes to the Epsteins? Also, when the pastor making the charges is accountable to NO ONE and accused has no where to go to appeal his popish proclamation (meaning: his judgment is not to be questioned and all churches are bound to accept his judgment and honor it).

    This is a quote from the person who owns the blog who happens to be, along with his brother, a Presbyterian minister:

    “David and I are trying to think this matter through carefully. So far, only one side has been heard from and it’s a basic rule of Scripture that in conflict, both sides must be heard before judgments are made. The side making the accusations and claiming they’ve arrived at a judgment seems quite official, especially given the vocabulary they’ve used for announcing their judgment and that the judgment was to defrock four men, all supposedly on the basis of those four men’s self-accusations.

    So we might be tempted to exclaim, “Well, that’s it! What more is there to say?”…

    Well again, both sides haven’t been heard and that’s why the right of appeal is always protected.”

    Isn’t this exactly what has happened here? “Well, that’s it! What more is there to say?”??? And notice his remark about the vocabulary used. Now, I have read through all of those documents and the do NOT EVEN compare to the vocabulary used in the documents against the Epsteins. I have no doubt that the words were carefully chosen to obfuscate the issue and reel in people over to their side.

    Who has protected the Epsteins *RIGHT* to appeal? Even our sometimes corrupt judicial system recognizes the fact that the accused has a right to defend him/herself and appeal to a higher court.

    Again, I am not an attorney but there are plenty of them involved with this whole sordid affair you would think one of them would show by his actions that he knew the law?

  2. Mike Says:

    Corrie: “So, you may be thinking that I shouldn’t talk about things I know not and that I should be talking about little fuzzy duckies and peach pies.”

    BWAAAA-HAAAA-HAAAA!!! Fuzzy duckies! Hahahahahahahaha! Is that “crazy monkey talk?” Corrie, you are keeping me in stitches!

  3. Lynn Says:

    Let’s see, characteristic laugh, check.
    Reference to something only Mike and a couple others would know about, check.
    Humor, check.

    Hi, Mike. This is illogical Lynn. It has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?

  4. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Hi all…
    Does it strike any of you as strange, that ANY Presbyterian church (or any church in any mainstream denomination)
    would honor an excommunication done by Doug Phillips?

    Phillips is a LAY PERSON, for crying out loud, who was never ordained. He has no elders and is accountable to no one; he “excommunicated” the Epsteins in absentia, without giving them the right to appeal.

    If churches are going to recognise any “excommunication” done by any group calling itself a “church” (Bourne is a prayer group really, since they have no ordained minister or any Scriptural type of leadership structure) they should also recognise Adventist excommunications, and Amish ones.

    In fact, what the Epsteins should do is form a home prayer group, with Mark as the unordained leader, and their pseudo”church” could excommunicate Phillips in absentia. The excommunication would be just as binding as was Bourne’s excommunication of the Epsteins, which is to say it would be totally bogus, and for the same reasons.

    But it just might wake Doug up.

  5. Jen Says:

    “In fact, what the Epsteins should do is form a home prayer group, with Mark as the unordained leader, and their pseudo”church” could excommunicate Phillips in absentia. The excommunication would be just as binding as was Bourne’s excommunication of the Epsteins, which is to say it would be totally bogus, and for the same reasons.”

    Oh, Cynthia, you are giving me WAY too many great ideas!

  6. K. Says:

    K, the Yellow Journalism article did not replace the other article. It is the same article, but with a few necessary changes.

    I shall ask my husband to treat you like a lady. I’m sorry for that, K.

    Jen: THat is fine and thank you – but it still does not answer my question. You stated that David would be “writing on here” as a guest writer and you would have more information but have presented nothing from him. I am holding you to words you speak. These are the kinds of things that make your story less credible.

  7. Jen Says:

    And you will see, K, that that is one of the changes I made in my article. I do not know if David will be writing or not. There is much unfinished business in this story and I cannot presume to know whether or not he wants to tell his story.

  8. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “Oh, Cynthia, you are giving me WAY too many great ideas!”

    😀
    Hey, I didn’t mean that you should actually form a church.. I just meant that if you had a homechurch, and Mark started calling himself a minister, and you subsequently “excommunicated” Doug, that excommunication would carry about as much weight as Doug’s excommunication of you, (which is, as far as I can tell from Scripture and from church history, none whatsoever!)
    Like Bourne, your group wouldn’t be a church in the Scriptural sense, because Mark isn’t ordained.

    Of course, if your “church” had a minister, or if Mark were ordained, that would be a whole different kettle of fish,
    but righting an injustice, while a very noble cause, is not sufficient grounds for persuing a career in the ministry — you need to have a true vocation for that, and discern God’s calling in your life.
    Perhaps that is the case, though, you never know — maybe God WILL lead Mark into the ministry someday.
    But if He does, something tells me that somewhere along the line, between first hearing God’s call and recieving the Laying on of Hands in Ordination, this whole episodewith Doug, the abuse, the COMPLETELY bogus, unscriptural excommunication, the whole MESS, will slip away into the category of forgiven and forgotten wrongs, which were perpetuated upon you long ago by those lost in error and heresy, who “know not what they do.”

  9. K. Says:

    Okay – Jen – I undertand but now this makes it look like the LBW stuff – you said he was in agreement with y’all, you say David sides with you but I see nothing that indicates either one. All I am saying is, where are the credible witnesses who knew you at BCA and who could stand with you – just like J says.

  10. Esther Says:

    K wrote: All I am saying is, where are the credible witnesses who knew you at BCA and who could stand with you – just like J says.”

    How does one find credible witnesses in a cult with a false teacher? Also, how many at BCA are employees of Doug Phillips?

    The facts are clear: Excommunicated with no trial or specific charges given. Refuses to discuss it! Private confidential information of one of the sheep made public by the pastor to punish and condemn. Refuses reconciliation.

    What part of that is biblical to you? Why you cannot see that such behavior is cultish is beyond me.

  11. K. Says:

    Esther – were you there? Were you a party to the whole thing and a witness – I am just saying where are the witnesses?

  12. Esther Says:

    “- I am just saying where are the witnesses?”

    Good question! Not even Jen and Mark were allowed to be at their own trial!

  13. SCOTT Says:

    After looking at the many sides to this, I have excommunicated Vision forum from my favorites list.

  14. Corrie Says:

    http://timbayly.worldmagblog.com/timbayly/archives/022418.html

    I think everyone needs to put aside the he said/she said stuff for a while and just look at the facts.

    The above link talks about church discipline procedures and how we are supposed to reserve judgment concerning the accused and that the accused always has a right to defend himself/herself and to APPEAL.

    Now, were Mark and Jen allowed to give answer to their accusers at their trial? Where they allowed an appeal? And, you have to know what an appeal is. Mark and Jen would have to be there in order to be able to give their side of the charges. An appeal is NOT what LW and FPC did.

    Basically, everyone has to be in the same room. That would be the best solution for this.

    As you are reading the following quotes, keep this in mind:

    What is good for the goose, is good for the gander.

    K, Lucy, J…..just stop with the knee-jerk defense of someone you follow. Were they given a chance to defend themselves at the excommunication trial? Were they given a chance to appeal? Does their tiny little group of people, made up of one elder (Doug) and some deacons and then a very small few members of the church mean that the conclusion they came to was the correct one? Isn’t this a dangerous precedent you are wanting to set? Think about it.

    Here are some quotes from the above link:

    “David and I are trying to think this matter through carefully. So far, only one side has been heard from and it’s a basic rule of Scripture that in conflict, both sides must be heard before judgments are made. The side making the accusations and claiming they’ve arrived at a judgment seems quite official, especially given the vocabulary they’ve used for announcing their judgment and that the judgment was to defrock four men, all supposedly on the basis of those four men’s self-accusations.

    So we might be tempted to exclaim, “Well, that’s it! What more is there to say?”…

    Well again, both sides haven’t been heard and that’s why the right of appeal is always protected.

    But anticipating the quandary the men of St. Peter church find themselves in, we wonder what the court of appeal could possibly be given that the men of Westminster Presbytery who claimed to defrock the men of St. Peter make up such a substantial part of the national denomination. In this sort of situation where the numbers are so tiny, one naturally questions the ability of an appeal to be heard and judged objectively on the national level. But leaving that to the side, for now…”

    “In the case of R. C. Jr., it’s best for us to be silent as the different courts do their work. To some, it may look like an open and shut case because of the way Westminster Presbytery has worded the judgment it released to the public. But there’s more to the issue than their statement, hence the provision for appeal that is central to presbyterian polity. (To this point I have had no personal contact with anyone related to this case, nor have I been privy to any documents other than those put out by the presbytery.)

    It would be perfectly proper and would not reflect negatively on the men defrocked by Westminster Presbytery for them to appeal the defrocking to the RPCGA national level. Keep in mind that the judgment of Westminster Presbytery, though self-proclaimed as “unanimous” and called for by a “super-majority,” was the judgment of a very small presbytery of a very small denomination. Westminster Presbytery only has four churches, one of which is St. Peter whose elders were defrocked. So if you add in the two mission churches within Westminster Presbytery’s bounds, we may be talking about a unanimous, super-majority of what, six or eight men? Not to disdain small things–we’ve been a part of many of them through the years–but this is a very small group to try to handle an appeal objectively.”

  15. K. Says:

    K, Lucy, J…..just stop with the knee-jerk defense of someone you follow.

    I think you forget that LUCY does not support VF!

  16. Lucy Says:

    K., I appreciate your attempt at clarification, but I’m starting to think it’s just falling on deaf ears. I have stated it numerous times, but I still keep getting lumped in with VF followers.

    For some reason, there are several here who think that finding any wrongdoing with the Epsteins means you must be a mere lemming under Doug Phillips’ control. It’s actually getting a bit funny. And every time I present scriptural backing for my points, there’s always someone who comes back with the, “Well, what about Doug?” argument. “He doesn’t follow those verses!!”…..as if Doug needs to be perfect before anyone can question Jen……It’s just that diversion tactic, again.

    If just one person employing this argument could explain to me where they’re getting this theology of being given a “free pass” to sin just because of the behavior of others, I’d be so happy to hear it.

    Once again…..

    I do NOT support Doug Phillips.
    I DO believe hyper patriarchy is a misinterpretation of scripture.
    I do NOT believe the Epsteins were handled perfectly.

    and, because of what I see in scripture…
    I do not believe this blog is God’s will for resolving this situation.

  17. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Then Lucy… how do you think it should be resolved?
    Untold numbers of people have learned about the hyperPatriarchy because of this blog, and perhaps if enough people begin to see the dominionist heresy for what it is, we will someday be rid of it.
    Whether or not Doug Phillips ever repents, this blog has done a lot of good.

  18. Lynn Says:

    “If just one person employing this argument could explain to me where they’re getting this theology of being given a “free pass” to sin just because of the behavior of others, I’d be so happy to hear it.”

    Lucy, my problem is that your Scriptural arguments haven’t convinced me that the Epsteins are not free to have this blog. Jen has shared she believes I Corinthians 6 prevents her from suing Doug. But what is wrong with exposing what happened to her? I just don’t see your arguments as being valid, and you never did deal with Paul talking about Alexander — warning others about him — to my satisfaction.

    But there is another point here, and that is Doug’s refusal to meet with people and answer questions. I know of someone who is planning on dealing with the issue of Patriarchy in his journal publication, and several months ago he said he tried to contact Phillips, but never received a reply. He told me at least he could say he tried.

    If the Epsteins really wanted to sin, they could have and still could (there are a LOT of Christians who don’t know who Doug Phillips is) find a church and join it and either lie about or else never mention the excommunication. But they have been upfront, and Doug has gone into hiding mode. So they really don’t have a venue for dealing with this directly with Doug Phillips.

    In addition to this, there is that pesky issue of the Allosaur video. I am glad there are others who are feeling free to share their side of the story over the internet. What happened at that first arbitration meeting stunk to high heaven, and Doug just tried to quietly walk away, when he either should have defended the video, or else repented of gross misrepresentation. Many copies of that video are still out there somewhere, and this should have been addressed.

    http://dinodeception.com/

  19. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Did you ever notice, back in the late 80’s and early 90’s when the big name televangelists were falling into all sorts of scandals, that those scandals always seemed to involve either sexual misdoing or financial misdoing? It seems like celebrity preachers are always undone either by lust or greed. In Phillip’s case, I’d say it’s greed.
    $1000 per head per day just to dig for dino bones…. Sheesh.

  20. T. Reformed Says:

    “I’m starting to think it’s just falling on deaf ears.” In a way, Lucy, you’re right. I’ve tuned you out. That’s what I do with people who keep saying the same things over and over again. Lucy, you’re beating a dead horse, and people who do that should be ignored. You’ve done nothing but pester, ridicule and harass Mrs. Epstein. Why do you and K. act so surprised that so many here think you’re nothing but Doug Phillips shills? That’s what you act like, Lucy and K. You’re shills and hero worshippers.

    If the two of you ever had any constructive criticism to offer to Jen, then you probably wouldn’t sound like such shills. But you have yet to offer anything constructive to this dialogue.

    “I do not believe this blog is God’s will for resolving this situation.” Lucy, you don’t know the first thing about “resolving” anything. You’re about ridicule and mocking. You’re a common heckler. Well here’s your golden opportunity to redeem yourself and start sounding like something other than a heckler. Here’s your opportunity to offer some constructive criticism.

    What IS God’s will “for resolving this situation” Lucy? You’re certainly more than audacious enough of a person to presume to know God’s will for Jen’s life. So what is “God’s will for resolving this situation”?

    I don’t think you’ve got a solution, Lucy, and I’m 100% convinced that you haven’t got a clue about God’s will. But I’d be delighted now to be proven wrong.

  21. Lucy Says:

    T.R. – If you could provide even one example of how I’ve ridiculed, heckled or mocked Jen, I’d be happy to apologize for it. I don’t believe I have. Those were unfortunate comments to make about me.

    I’ve never said that I know the full extent of God’s will for Jen’s life. I’m talking about God’s will for ALL of us. The specific prescription He has given us for how Christians are to behave is clearly spelled out. I think we can know His will by studying the whole of scripture, and not just the parts that agree with our agenda. This is why I accept the importance of calling out false teachers, but with methods that have been compared to the commands in scripture.

    This is also why I can’t give you the step-by-step syllabus for what Jen should do. I believe it will involve more time in prayer and the Lord will handle the particulars.

    I can, however, tell you what I would have done……

    Day 1:

    – I call BCA and ask if I can visit.
    – They tell me “no”.
    – I pray for them and their unfortunate attitude of separatism.
    – I attend somewhere else, and encourage others to do the same if they ask me.

    This way I have not ignored the commands against sitting under false teachings, I have warned others in an appropriate way, I have caused no confusion or divisiveness in a church body (let alone two other churches), and I’ve been peaceful.

    The Epsteins are much deeper into the problem, but I still believe it’s never too late to quiet down and pray. The public has been warned against Doug. It’s time to let the Holy Spirit take over. In my opinion, of course.

  22. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Lucy, how can the Epsteins attend somewhere else? They’ve been excommunicated. If they believe that the excommuniction is binding ( I do not) then they have three choices: go back to BCA and sit under a false teacher, OR stop going to church altogether, OR fight the excommunication, and do so as publically as possible, because that’s how to “get a false teacher where he lives” — hit him squarely in his reputation, because he will feel it in his WALLET.

  23. Jen Says:

    Lucy: “Day 1:

    – I call BCA and ask if I can visit.
    – They tell me “no”.
    – I pray for them and their unfortunate attitude of separatism.
    – I attend somewhere else, and encourage others to do the same if they ask me.”

    Lucy, this is very interesting. Now we are able to understand better where you are coming from.

    First, did you read the excommunication email we received? We were told not to set foot on the property or we would be forcibly removed, so I couldn’t quite follow your particular pattern. But no matter. I see what you are trying to say. I think that you believe that an excommunication is not binding. While I do not think that Doug has any power over my soul (my God is much bigger than that), I do believe in church discipline, and I will continue to believe in church discipline, as I think it was given to us by God for a very important reason – to discipline serious sin in the church. When used correctly, church discipline should bring a sinner to repentance, and that is VERY biblical and should be taken quite seriously.

    Lucy, if I thought our situation was just an isolated incident that only affected those at BCA, I would have done what you suggest a LONG time ago. But our excommunication is only a small part of a larger pattern going on here, Lucy, a very public pattern. Doug has left a trail of hurt all over the world, and everyone he’s hurt seems to think they have no recourse.

    Lucy, let me ask you something. If you saw someone in imminent danger, would you warn them? Or would you just stand by and be more concerned about not disturbing the peace? Lucy, I see thousands of people in imminent spiritual danger by following Doug Phillips. I don’t know which ones are going to be hurt next, so I am warning the whole crowd that there is danger out there. I am so concerned for my fellow believers’ welfare that I am willing to expose myself to people like you, and others, who are going to speak against what I am doing. You say that you are not a Doug Phillips’ fan, and I believe you. I would also venture to say that you will probably think twice now before you ever consider being involved with him or Vision Forum in any way whatsoever. Why? Because in the back of your mind, there will always be my warning to you. And if I am able to protect even one person from being hurt by Doug Phillips, and even if that one person were you or Marie or Ann or K or any other person who opposes what I am doing, then it would all be worth it.

    I know that LOTS of people have been very grateful for this warning I have given here, and so I know this blog has born much fruit in that regard already. But I also know that until Doug Phillips repents, there will always remain a need for others to continue to be warned.

    My hope and my prayer is that one day Doug will repent and I can use this blog to promote his ministry instead. God has given him many gifts and abilities and I pray that he will one day use them for the glory of God again.

  24. Lucy Says:

    Thank you, Jen for your response. I just wanted to make one point of clarification: When I said “Day 1”, I was referring to the very first time you ever asked to visit BCA and were told “no”. Not post-excommunication visiting.

    And, I do believe excommunication is binding (if it was biblical to begin with). This was challenged by you and others due to the status of BCA as a “church” and Doug as a “self appointed elder”. You certainly have a point, there. However, when you received counsel from the leadership of two other churches (with ordained pastors and discipline structures you agreed with), and were told to repent, I just thought that was very telling.

  25. Lucy Says:

    I’m sorry, I hit submit too early (before I answered your question).

    I would warn someone I believed to be in imminent danger. I’m just not sure Vision Forum qualifies as imminent danger.

  26. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “And, I do believe excommunication is binding (if it was biblical to begin with). This was challenged by you and others due to the status of BCA as a “church” and Doug as a “self appointed elder”.”

    Now here, I agree with Lucy.
    Jen, your excommunication wasn’t Biblical, and I doubt that it is binding.
    Try looking at it this way — if one of your children left home and joined a the Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and was subsequently excommunicated from the cult, would the excommunication be binding?
    I maintain that church discipline is binding only when exercised in a Biblical fashion by a real church.

  27. Lucy Says:

    “Lucy, how can the Epsteins attend somewhere else? They’ve been excommunicated.”

    Cynthia, if the excommunication is not binding, then what (in the church discipline model) prevents current church attendance?

  28. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Jen’s conscience, and the scruples of those churches which she might choose to attend.

  29. Lucy Says:

    What to you mean by “scruples”?

    (I know what the term means, I’m asking for examples)

  30. Jen Says:

    Thanks for clarifying that, Lucy! That makes more sense. But let me try telling that part of the story again, since I don’t think I made it very clear. When I called the first time, the lady I spoke with was talking about a different church. Although BCA is not advertised anywhere, you don’t have to have an invitation to visit, either. When I called the second time, I called because I felt that was where the Lord wanted us. God does not ever tell us to only ask for things once. In fact, there are verses in Scripture that talk about persevering in asking for what we want, if it’s biblical.

    I LOVED our first year at BCA. It is one of the best memories of my life. I enjoyed most of our time at BCA. There was a whole lot more to that church than just our relationship with Doug. I do not regret having attended BCA and, looking back, think it was definitely the Lord’s will for our lives at that time.

    As far as BCA having the authority to excommunicate us, I have mixed feelings about that. I think that since we submitted to them as a church, we were definitely under their authority and therefore they had the right to discipline us, if necessary. However, I do not think there was a biblical reason to excommunicate me, nor do I think the process was in any way just, biblically or legally. So, since they had “authority,” I submit to that authority. But since it was unjust, and there is no way to appeal, I want to expose that as well. So here I am!

    Lucy: “when you received counsel from the leadership of two other churches (with ordained pastors and discipline structures you agreed with), and were told to repent, I just thought that was very telling.”

    This is NOT what happened, Lucy, but I will address both those churches in upcoming articles.

  31. Lucy Says:

    “I LOVED our first year at BCA. It is one of the best memories of my life. I enjoyed most of our time at BCA.”

    So when you talked about all the things you saw wrong in the church early on (muzzling women, etc.), do you mean that you didn’t realize you disagreed until much later?

  32. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen says:
    So, since they had “authority,” I submit to that authority. But since it was unjust, and there is no way to appeal, I want to expose that as well. So here I am!

    Morgan says:
    (This could be a can of worms but try and go with me here….)

    Where did BCA obtain their authority as a church body? Were they an offshoot or planted church by a group such as the PCA?

    Who ordained Doug Phillips? Someone to whom he would be accountable? Like say a Presbytery?

    Does BCA have a structure of elders & deacons and a BCO where the local church governing rules are laid out for all to see? (When you go into the OPC you get a BCO and an OPC Church directory and a directory of the local group too.)

    What system is in place in the government of the group to show conformity with biblical principles?

    Do the elder(s) and deacons meet regularly and with body members as well?

    The context (there I go again) for authority is that it must first be lawful. There has to be an authoritative beginning if you will, then rules and regulations governing HOW the authority is to function. Those who rule must be willing themselves to submit to the ruling law and its guidelines.

    If you have no rule of law…as in a BCO, then what you have is lawlessness. That is my understanding of the context of Jen & Marks excommunication from BCA.

  33. Lucy Says:

    Yeah, I’m curious about some of that, too. The importance of accountability can never be overstated. So, if Jen believes that church has no authority to excommunicate because they have no accountability and their pastor was never ordained, then what’s the point in submitting to their authority in the first place? Why even attend their church? Why become a part of something she clearly believes is against the scriptural model?

  34. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Lucy… In some cases all we have is hindsight and that is what we have here….OH NOW I GET IT!!!!!

    It’s like being an abused wife…more on that later. Ya’ll are really going to have to work with me…OK?

  35. Morgan Farmer Says:

    I do not believe that Jen & Mark had the intellectual tools to be ‘spiritually discerning’ when they first started to attend BCA. Remember..they were looking for the ‘perfect church’. What could be ‘more perfect’ than an covert abusive situation complete with biblical references?

    I am quoting from Wathcman Exposition author David Hencke:
    http://www.watchman.org/profile/abusepro.htm

    “The most distinctive characteristic of a spiritually abusive religious system, or leader, is the over-emphasis on authority. Because a group claims to have been established by God Himself the leaders in this system claim the right to command their followers.

    This authority supposedly comes from the position they occupy. In Matthew 23:1-2 Jesus said the Scribes and Pharisees “sit in Moses’ seat,” a position of spiritual authority. Many names are used but in the abusive system this is a position of power, not moral authority. The assumption is that God operates among His people through a hierarchy, or “chain of command.” In this abusive system unconditional submission is often called a “covering,” or “umbrella of protection” which will provide some spiritual blessing to those who fully submit. Followers may be told that God will bless their submission even if the leadship is wrong. It is not their place to judge or correct the leadership – God will see to that. ”

    That quote is in full. How many of us ***all of us here*** have been at one time or another nearly taken in by something that ‘sounded right’ but when examined was totally wrong?

    People caught in authoritarian abusive situations, whether they be church related or relationship related often look at the abusive situation as ‘normal’ since they don’t have the necessary intellectual tools to refute what they see, are being told or even what they are experiencing.

    Time to ‘fess up”. I was raised in a home where my stepdad beat my mom on a regular (daily basis). To me this was normal and how life just was. I made the mistake of choosing someone who listened to both my step dad and Mom when they told him to beat me to keep me in line. I remember looking at my mom one day…and realizing that I did not want to be like her. All of a sudden I ralized that this was not normal and was very sick. I was gone within a week. The light came on and I left the situation. My mother and I are still separated because of it 30 years later. She has always contended hat I needed to stay put and take my medicine like a good wie…after all she took hers.

    Mark & Jen did NOT KNOW what spiritual abuse was, and probably had no idea that such a thing even existed. Its was only when ‘the lights came on’ that the trouble began. When Jen started asking ‘why’?

    Abusive men, pastors, parents, bosses, co workers will never give a reason as to the why of the abuse. The only reason that can possibly be relied upon is that the ‘authority’ of the abuser has been challenged and this ‘rebellion’ must be stopped at all costs. My husbands answer to me was ‘because you need to be kept in line’. I suppose that Doug Phillips would answer the question the same way….thos who would DARE to disagree need to be ‘kept in line’ and what better way than by threat or act of ex communication?

    Questions asking ‘why’ are referred to as ‘railings against truth’ since the abuser is the only one that ‘has the truth’.

    The point has been made about Faith PCA. Since my church horror was from a PCA church I can only imagine the ‘poli-tricks’ behind the scenes. I will say this: Jen did what Faith PCA asked her to do, to remove posts and tkae a breather while things were being worked out.

    Unfortunately Mark & Jen again did not have all the info they needed regarding the appellate/judicial system in the PCA.

    Remember..there is always someone willing to tell each and every one of us that they have ‘authority’ over us. Some will even pervert Gods word to make the point.

    I guess that is what frustrates me so much about mark & Jens situation. Its devoid of any logic or lawful proceedings.

  36. Jen Says:

    Lucy: “So when you talked about all the things you saw wrong in the church early on (muzzling women, etc.), do you mean that you didn’t realize you disagreed until much later?”

    Not exactly. When we first arrived, everything was kind of new and shocking, but we were at a particular point in our lives where Mark and I were praying together that God would show us EVERY sin in our lives. We had a true desire for holiness, so we were like sponges soaking up all this “new” stuff. We had tended in this direction on our own for a long time, but this was the first time we had ever met anyone who had similar beliefs and values. Even so, I didn’t necessarily agree with everything that was being taught, but I also realized that I could easily live with the differences. At the beginning, they were not extreme positions. Women had slightly more freedom in the beginning and even Doug wasn’t firm in a lot of his own positions at that time. We didn’t even have a church doctrinal stance.

    But as time went on, things began to change, especially with Doug. He began to solidify his beliefs and values more and more, and with each successive elder leaving, by the time we were down to just one elder, Doug Phillips, BCA had changed dramatically, in both doctrinal beliefs and daily practices. So, part of what I wrote about the practices of the church were things that were happening more toward the end of our time there, although some of it was taught from the beginning. But even so, at the beginning, there was so much love in the church, that I didn’t mind some of the extreme positions. It was after the love seemed to die, and legalism seemed to set in, that I became so frustrated with those positions.

    Morgan: “Where did BCA obtain their authority as a church body? Were they an offshoot or planted church by a group such as the PCA?”

    Morgan, I realize that the PCA, as well as many other churches have a certain form of church government. I also realize that many churches do not believe in that particular form of church government as well. I believe that the Bible provides for various forms of church government and I am NOT here to state that one form is biblical, while another is not.

    Like most independent Baptist churches, they obtain their authority from the congregation itself. I am not here to judge that. The reason I state that I was under their authority is that we willingly signed a membership covenant with BCA, placing ourselves under their authority. I do not dispute that I was under the authority of BCA.

    Morgan: “Who ordained Doug Phillips? Someone to whom he would be accountable? Like say a Presbytery?”

    I don’t believe he is ordained, but that is not uncommon in churches like this as well. As far as I know, Doug was “commissioned” by a pastor in his church in Virginia. No, Doug Phillips is TOTALLY unaccountable to anyone or any denomination, both in church and in his business.

    Morgan: “Does BCA have a structure of elders & deacons and a BCO where the local church governing rules are laid out for all to see? (When you go into the OPC you get a BCO and an OPC Church directory and a directory of the local group too.)”

    No. They believe in a plurality of elders, but Doug was the only elder for 4-5 years. There is no BCO of any sort.

    Morgan: “What system is in place in the government of the group to show conformity with biblical principles?”

    Interesting question. As I remember it, when a situation would arise, the men would sit around and talk about how to handle it. BCA had to go through some growing pains.

    Morgan: “Do the elder(s) and deacons meet regularly and with body members as well?”

    Well, Doug was supposed to meet regularly with the deacons, but those meetings were often canceled at the last minute. They did not meet with the church body as a whole, because women are basically non-entities, remember? They did have men’s meetings about once a year or so, or when something came up.

    Morgan: “The context (there I go again) for authority is that it must first be lawful. There has to be an authoritative beginning if you will, then rules and regulations governing HOW the authority is to function. Those who rule must be willing themselves to submit to the ruling law and its guidelines.

    “If you have no rule of law…as in a BCO, then what you have is lawlessness. That is my understanding of the context of Jen & Marks excommunication from BCA.”

    I see what you are saying, Morgan, but I just can’t go there. The context for my saying that I was under authority is that my husband signed the covenant of membership, which means that we willingly placed ourselves under their authority, and I recognize that authority. And the reason I am here is partially to protest HOW everything happened in our situation. I agree that the process was conducted unlawfully, but that does not relieve me of my responsibility to respond both biblically and lawfully. I will do my utmost to stay within the confines of recognizing BCA’s authority, while at the same time protesting the unlawfulness of their actions.

  37. Jen Says:

    Morgan: “Mark & Jen did NOT KNOW what spiritual abuse was, and probably had no idea that such a thing even existed. Its was only when ‘the lights came on’ that the trouble began. When Jen started asking ‘why’?”

    Wow. That’s pretty hard to swallow. I hate to admit that I got “took,” but that certainly appears to be the case, doesn’t it? But, actually, it just seems that everything changed so gradually and that’s why it was so hard to see what was happening. If I just started attending BCA the way it is now, I probably would have run far away the first day. It’s that slowly boiling the frog concept.

  38. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen says:
    I agree that the process was conducted unlawfully, but that does not relieve me of my responsibility to respond both biblically and lawfully.

    Morgan says: Jen I totally agree, you have been biblical and lawful in your responses.

    Jen says:
    I will do my utmost to stay within the confines of recognizing BCA’s authority, while at the same time protesting the unlawfulness of their actions.

    Morgan says: Jen honey. No…no..and some more no again and again and then some more again. You have to break the ‘I am under the authority of BCA mentality’. OK so Mark signed a covenant of membership. Covenants have two agreeing parties not one party that dictates and enforces terms to the other party with no consequences or accountability to the offering party of the covenant. (contract)

    You need to make this ‘covenant document’ public. That is if you even received a copy of it…..

    Jen says: Wow. That’s pretty hard to swallow. I hate to admit that I got “took,” but that certainly appears to be the case, doesn’t it? But, actually, it just seems that everything changed so gradually and that’s why it was so hard to see what was happening. If I just started attending BCA the way it is now, I probably would have run far away the first day. It’s that slowly boiling the frog concept.”

    Morgan says: EXACTLY!!!!Thats what happened to me…the changes were so subtle and sooooo gradual that one day I realized something was wrong but sure fire…..I could NOT PUT MY FINGER ON IT. So hey, in a greater sense…. I was totally clueless in my situation whereas you started asking questions. I was not even clued in enough to know WHAT questions to ask. double Duh for me….

    There is nothing to be ashamed of in ‘being took’ in spiritual abuse. We learn mnost of lifes lessons the hard way anyway…this is just another one of those.

    But you do need to re evaluate the ‘authority’ that you are granting to BCA in your life still. Its like the child whose mother was not a good mother (speaking from experience): One day you realize that she can’t hurt you anymore and all you have to do is walk away.

    I think that you are unknowingly choosing to let BCA still hurt you by using the ‘authority guise’. How can one submit to unlawful authority?

  39. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    After reading this section and many of the responses, I’ve copied this summary of techiniques of manipulation from the Cultic Studies Journal website. These techniques were identified from surviors of the Korean war who were subjected to thought reform at the hands of the Chinese government. How different are they really from the dynamics of Doug’s narsicistic behavior? Militant control of information, dissemination of confabulated information via his propaganda machine, etc.

    Dr. Robert J. Lifton’s Criteria for Thought Reform

    Any ideology — that is, any set of emotionally-charged convictions about men and his relationship to the natural or supernatural world — may be carried by its adherents in a totalistic direction. But this is most likely to occur with those ideologies which are most sweeping in their content and most ambitious or messianic in their claim, whether a religious or political organization. And where totalism exists, a religion, or a political movement becomes little more than an exclusive cult.

    Here you will find a set of criteria, eight psychological themes against which any environment may be judged. In combination, they create an atmosphere which may temporarily energize or exhilarate, but which at the same time pose the gravest of human threats.

    (a brief outline)

    MILIEU CONTROL
    The most basic feature is the control of human communication within an environment
    If the control is extremely intense, it becomes internalized control — an attempt to manage an individual’s inner communication
    Control over all a person sees, hears, reads, writes (information control) creates conflicts in respect to individual autonomy
    Groups express this in several ways: Group process, isolation from other people, psychological pressure, geographical distance or unavailable transportation, sometimes physical pressure
    Often a sequence of events, such as seminars, lectures, group encounters, which become increasingly intense and increasingly isolated, making it extremely difficult– both physically and psychologically–for one to leave
    Sets up a sense of antagonism with the outside world; it’s “us against them”
    Closely connected to the process of individual change (of personality)

    MYSTICAL MANIPULATION (Planned spontaneity)
    Extensive personal manipulation
    Seeks to promote specific patterns of behavior and emotion in such a way that it appears to have arisen spontaneously from within the environment, while it actually has been orchestrated
    Totalist leaders claim to be agents chosen by God, history, or some supernatural force, to carry out the mystical imperative
    The “principles” (God-centered or otherwise) can be put forcibly and claimed exclusively, so that the cult and its beliefs become the only true path to salvation (or enlightenment)
    The individual then develops the psychology of the pawn, and participates actively in the manipulation of others
    The leader who becomes the center of the mystical manipulation (or the person in whose name it is done) can be sometimes more real than an abstract god and therefore attractive to cult members
    Legitimizes the deception used to recruit new members and/or raise funds, and the deception used on the “outside world”

    THE DEMAND FOR PURITY
    The world becomes sharply divided into the pure and the impure, the absolutely good (the group/ideology) and the absolutely evil (everything outside the group)
    One must continually change or conform to the group “norm”
    Tendencies towards guilt and shame are used as emotional levers for the group’s controlling and manipulative influences
    Once a person has experienced the totalist polarization of good/evil (black/white thinking), he has great difficulty in regaining a more balanced inner sensitivity to the complexities of human morality
    The radical separation of pure/impure is both within the environment (the group) and the individual
    Ties in with the process of confession — one must confess when one is not conforming

    CONFESSION
    Cultic confession is carried beyond its ordinary religious, legal and therapeutic expressions to the point of becoming a cult in itself
    Sessions in which one confesses to one’s sin are accompanied by patterns of criticism and self-criticism, generally transpiring within small groups with an active and dynamic thrust toward personal change
    Is an act of symbolic self-surrender
    Makes it virtually impossible to attain a reasonable balance between worth and humility
    A person confessing to various sins of pre-cultic existence can both believe in those sins and be covering over other ideas and feelings that s/he is either unaware of or reluctant to discuss
    Often a person will confess to lesser sins while holding on to other secrets (often criticisms/questions/doubts about the group/leaders that may cause them not to advance to a leadership position)
    “The more I accuse myself, the more I have a right to judge you”

    SACRED SCIENCE
    The totalist milieu maintains an aura of sacredness around its basic doctrine or ideology, holding it as an ultimate moral vision for the ordering of human existence
    Questioning or criticizing those basic assumptions is prohibited
    A reverence is demanded for the ideology/doctrine, the originators of the ideology/doctrine, the present bearers of the ideology/doctrine
    Offers considerable security to young people because it greatly simplifies the world and answers a contemporary need to combine a sacred set of dogmatic principles with a claim to a science embodying the truth about human behavior and human psychology

    LOADING THE LANGUAGE
    The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliche (thought-stoppers)
    Repetitiously centered on all-encompassing jargon
    “The language of non-thought”
    Words are given new meanings — the outside world does not use the words or phrases in the same way — it becomes a “group” word or phrase

    DOCTRINE OVER PERSON
    Every issue in one’s life can be reduced to a single set of principles that have an inner coherence to the point that one can claim the experience of truth and feel it
    The pattern of doctrine over person occurs when there is a conflict between what one feels oneself experiencing and what the doctrine or ideology says one should experience
    If one questions the beliefs of the group or the leaders of the group, one is made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to even question — it is always “turned around” on them and the questioner/criticizer is questioned rather than the questions answered directly
    The underlying assumption is that doctrine/ideology is ultimately more valid, true and real than any aspect of actual human character or human experience and one must subject one’s experience to that “truth”
    The experience of contradiction can be immediately associated with guilt
    One is made to feel that doubts are reflections of one’s own evil
    When doubt arises, conflicts become intense

    DISPENSING OF EXISTENCE
    Since the group has an absolute or totalist vision of truth, those who are not in the group are bound up in evil, are not enlightened, are not saved, and do not have the right to exist
    “Being verses nothingness”
    Impediments to legitimate being must be pushed away or destroyed
    One outside the group may always receive their right of existence by joining the group
    Fear manipulation — if one leaves this group, one leaves God or loses their transformation, for something bad will happen to them
    The group is the “elite”, outsiders are “of the world”, “evil”, “unenlightened”, etc.

    Excerpted from: Thought Reform And The Psychology of Totalism, Chapter 22, (Chapel Hill, 1989) & The Future of Immortality, Chapter 155 (New York 1987).

    Copied and pasted from http://www.csj.org/infoserv_articles/lifton_robert_thoughtreform.htm

  40. David M Zuniga Says:

    Cindy,

    I think that’s a little over the top. As an (infrequent but regular) guest over the past 2+ years at Boerne Christian Assembly meetings on the Lord’s day, I simply have not seen evidence of any of the above manipulations, machinations, and/or maladies.

    On this blog, Kevin T. Jenkins said that “Anabaptism is a heresy that needs to be suppressed by all lawful means.” Now THAT is more real, and more chilling, than anything you’ve listed.

    In the first place, consider the manifest ignorance of the statement. “Anabaptist” is an historical grab-bag epithet, used to denote anyone during “the Reformation” who would not wet their infants and young children and call it baptism. That was the single common thread among all the non-denominational Christians of Luther’s and Calvin’s time, that caused them to be collectively branded as “Anabaptist”.

    “Anabaptist” means “re-baptiser”; all of the Christians so designated had the one thing in common, regardless whatever else they believed: they refused to acknowledge unbiblical baby-wetting as Christian baptism. They required people to be baptised as laid out in the NT: believe in Christ, repent, and then be baptised. There is no other order in the New Testament.

    Although there were certifiable cultists and mentally unstable false prophets among the spiritualists, Swiss “Anabaptist” Christians, South German “Anabaptist” Christians, and Low Countries “Anabaptist” Christians, really the common thread was that they held to biblical baptism, versus the infant-wetting demanded by the Vatican and followers of Luther and Calvin.

    It is demonstrably a lie that “Anabaptists” were only the fringe wierdos like Thomas Munzer and other cultists of that day. For instance, I believe that one of the most level-headed, biblically sound “leaders” of the “mere Christianity” movement of that day in South Germany was a fellow engineer named Pilgram Marpeck. One would be hard-pressed to find any sign of unbalanced or unscriptural teaching in Marpeck’s circle — yet he was despised and harried by the Calvinist and Lutheran “inquisitors” of his day, simply for not agreeing that wetting a baby is “baptism”.

    All present-day Christians who do not wet their infants and call it “baptism” — including of course all branches and forms of Baptists — qualify as “Anabaptists”.

    Kevin T. Jenkins, I sure hope you have a BIG fire, and a VER big drowning pool, because you have a great deal of work ahead of you if you ever get your wish of a Calvinist theocracy!

    The Lord’s work is never done, eh?

  41. Michael D Says:

    It seems to me that this entire website gives evidences to the state of your heart – evidences which oddly enough mirror the very accusations which you state in your blog. Whether Doug is right or wrong in this situation (and I have no first-hand information so as to make a judment), I do not know. What I DO have (just look at your website – first-hand information) is evidence to judge correctly that you are harboring bitterness in your heart.

    If Doug has sinned in this issue, let him give account to the God he claims to serve. It then becomes your duty to love those who have wronged you and to forgive them. If you are unwilling to forgive him, God will be unwilling to forgive you.

    But if Doug is right in this issue, I would certainly not want to be in your shoes….

  42. Deb Says:

    Jen,

    I’ve recently been reading the writings by you and also ministrywatchman. I’m very sorry for what you went through. Several years ago I got a Vision Forum Catalog and upon the first look through realized that it was based in some pretty sick stuff. Whatever they think it might be, I didn’t see a thing about Jesus or any spiritual disciplines. I have a hard time calling that Christianity, when the very essence of Christianity is following Christ. I also have a very difficult time justifying the large sums of money to spend on their junk toys when I live in a world of suffering and claim to follow a homeless man (Jesus!).

    It’s a sick perversion of what is really important, which is why I think that you speaking out is very important. It’s not about an axe to grind, it’s about stopping the spread of militant legalism that is turning so many away from Christ.


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