Cult-Watch Ministry Publishes Article Exposing Doug Phillips’ Connection to Bill Gothard

Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. is about to release the Spring 2007 edition of their Journal. The lead story for the Journal is an exposé about Doug Phillips entitled Who Will Be The First in the Kingdom?

MCOI’s practice is to post their articles in pdf format on their web site approximately three months after they mail out their Journal to subscribers. If you don’t already receive the MCOI Journal you can contact them and request to be added to the mailing list. They are a faith ministry and you may want to consider sending them a donation or perhaps supporting them on a regular basis.

Doug Phillips with Bill GothardMidwest Christian Outreach’s focus is “evangelizing and ministering to the victims of cults and spiritually abusive groups.” For over ten years, they’ve written extensively exposing Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other cultic and abusive religious groups, including Bill Gothard. Needless to say I completely concur that an exposé on Doug Phillips seems to be in order. In his article, Don also addresses some of the teachings of Bill Gothard (Don has written an entire book exposing Gothardism). This is entirely appropriate as Doug Phillips has been greatly influenced by Gothardism. Among other things, this includes Doug’s views on authority, Patriarchy, and courtship.

The author of the article and President of MCOI, Don Veinot, has given permission for me to post some quotes from his article. It’s a lengthy article, so in order to appreciate these quotes in the context of the full article I recommend ordering the Journal from MCOI.

Who Will Be First in the Kingdom?

As most of our readers know, the mission of MCOI is to look at the teachings and claims of popular movements and individuals inside the church as well as the cults, false religions, and false teachers outside of it. This mission arises from Paul’s mandate to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:28-31 to guard the flock from false teachers who would creep into the church from the outside and from false teachers who arise from within. If they utilize Scripture to support their teachings, we try to determine how they use it, and whether or not they abuse it…

Evangelicals would be generally opposed to using cultic material containing extra-biblical, unbiblical and, at times, outright heretical teachings in our churches’ services, Bible studies or Sunday school classes. That is a good thing, but many churches do not have as good a track record when it comes to recognizing false teachers who arise from within. We tend to have a “black-hat” vs. “white-hat” mentality in this area: Cults, false religions, and false teachers outside the church are the black hats—the bad guys; and we can just tell our people to stay away from them. Evangelicals, on the other hand, are the good guys with the white hats; and what we believe is orthodox. As a result, however, many believers are not prepared to challenge and help cultists outside our doors or to evaluate false teachers or teachings within the church. Discernment, along with a good understanding of the essential, basic doctrinal teachings of the faith, generally is not taught in any depth in many churches. Due to this deficit, and because we tend to view Evangelicals as the “white-hat” crowd, there is a great deal of difficulty evaluating the teachings of teachers and groups who have a fairly orthodox statement of faith and are viewed as being on “our team.”

We ran into this problem when we first began looking at the teachings of Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles in the 1990s. It isn’t his Statement of Faith in essential orthodoxy that is problematic; it is his additions, mis-/re-definitions, and other claims that moves him into “false teacher” category. He presents his teachings as “non-optional” truths that should be accepted by all. Many Christians are completely blind to the problem, which continues to result in division within churches and separation of family members. Many of his followers believe his allegations that all true Christians should unquestioningly follow all of his teachings, rules, and principles for living. After all, if his prescriptions are “non-optional,” are they not just suggestions, but rather commandments? Why do his followers seem to believe failing to obey his ironclad “spiritual laws” will incur the wrath of God? And who wants that? Those who question his teachings are viewed as spiritually inferior and even their status as Christians can be seriously doubted by Gothard’s hard-core followers. The peer pressure on those inside is oppressive, and independent thinking is strongly discouraged which has resulted in the painful devastation of many families and individuals within “Gothardism.” It turns out to be a very cult-like situation for many Christians who are just trying to please God and happen to get caught up with a false teacher.

The Courtship of “Edie’s” Father
Many times false teachers have a Bible verse, or collection of Bible verses, which makes their view sound not only plausible, but also mandated from the very mouth of God! Let’s take courtship, for example. Courtship as defined in these circles is winning the heart of the father who will assist the future son-in-law in bringing about the marriage to the young woman in whom a young man is interested. The idea is strongly conveyed that this sort of courtship or betrothal is found in the pages of Holy Writ and is, therefore, God’s mind and will on the matter. Well, is this concept taught in Scripture? It doesn’t really matter; for if the inspired teacher makes the assertion, then it must be true. Even if an example of this “courtship of ‘Edie’s’ father” was found in Scripture, does that mean it is God’s way for it to be done? Isn’t it true that not everything found in the Bible represents God’s will on a particular matter at all or, perhaps, does not hold true for all time and every situation? A few years ago, Ron Henzel, MCOI’s Senior Researcher, came across a satire of this methodology:

Top 10 Biblical Ways to Acquire a Wife
10. Find a prostitute and marry her. (Hosea 1:1-3)
9. Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. (Ruth 4:5-10)
8. Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she’s yours. (Deuteronomy 21:11-13)
7. Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. (Judges 21:19-25)
6. Cut 200 foreskins off of your future father-in-law’s enemies and get his daughter for a wife. (I Samuel 18:27)
5. Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a beauty contest. (Esther 2:3-4)
4. Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. (Exodus 2:16-21)
3. When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, “I have seen a woman; now get her for me.” If your parents question your decision, simply say, “Get her for me. She’s the one for me.” (Judges 14:1-3)
2. Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman’s hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. That’s right. Fourteen years of toil for a woman. (Genesis 29:15-30)
1. Have God create a wife for you while you sleep. Note: this will cost you a rib. (Genesis 2:19-24)

We can’t imagine the 200 foreskins idea will actually fly in Twenty-First-Century America. Moreover, grabbing a POW doesn’t sound very practical either. Of course, this is a satire demonstrating how virtually anything can be made to sound right and biblical. First, we start with the false assumption that if something is recorded in the Bible, then it is God’s will on the matter. Next, we abandon the context of the passages and/or the overall context of biblical revelation in order to support our contention. Further, if we add the idea, preferably by implication, that true, obedient Christians will embrace and put into practice (without question) what we have set forth, we can impose our idea while effectively squelching any dissent…

Catching the Vision … Forum
Several years ago, we noticed Doug Phillips of Vision Forum was a speaker at one of Bill Gothard’s conferences. Of course, not everyone who speaks there is aware of Gothard’s false teaching on authority, circumcision, etc. Since then, however, we have received requests for info about Vision Forum via e-mail, regular mail, and phone calls. Suddenly, churches are having divisions and splits erupting as Vision Forum advocates insist that Sunday schools and youth groups be disbanded, and all church functions become all-family events. Anything else is being called unbiblical. Christian parents who do not home school their children are leaving some churches, because the Vision Forum home-schoolers are looking down on them and referring to them as “Canaanites.” We are well aware that followers can distort the teachings of a leader or organization, and they can do and say things that were never intended to be promoted. However, Vision Forum is growing in influence; and with so many requests for information about them, we decided we should probably look at their material that is available to the public. I started with their web site.

At first glance, Vision Forum’s web site looks more like a web site about American patriotism than anything about Christianity. As I read through the opening page, I came across this statement: “Vision Forum Calls for American Christians to Remember the Mighty Deeds of God at the Quadricentennial of Our Founding as Nation.” Well, I am an American patriot, and I do believe God has done some great works in this nation. However, is there a theme here? Is Christianity supposed to be evaluated mostly through the grid of patriotic Americanism? Certainly, this is not stated and may not be intended, but isn’t that how it comes across?

There didn’t seem to be a readily accessible Statement of Faith on the site, so I emailed Doug Phillips to request one. I received a response from Doug’s personal assistant, Bob Renaud, with a link to the Statement of Faith. After looking over this portion of the web site, I e-mailed Bob with several questions:

– Does one have to affirm Calvinism in order to be viewed as a believer?
– If a church holds to dispensational theology rather than reformed theology, would you consider it a Christian church or a false church?
– As you talk about a church teaching the “whole revelation of God,” would that mean that to be considered a Christian Church they would have to agree with your view of patriarchy?
– There are several forms of church government practiced, all claiming to be the biblical form. Are there any that you would regard as not biblical and if a church uses that form of government are they considered to be not a Christian church?

I have sent these questions via e-mail on January 6 and January 25, 2007; and so far, I have not received a response. This increases our concerns rather than lessening them. Is it intentional or do they realize that the language in this section of the web site comes across as implying that if one doesn’t agree with Vision Forum’s position, they are at the very least in rebellion to God’s revealed will?…

There are many things within the writings of Vision Forum which are good and biblical. They, like MCOI and many others, see the Church has not been strong in Christo-centric (Christ-centered) teaching for several hundred years, and false world views have captured the imaginations and minds of Western culture and even many in the Church. But as is so often the case, the more reasonable positions they take serve to draw in concerned Christians, and the very problematic teachings are added on top. Although there are constant assurances that women are equal before God, there are also constant reminders that her mind is the least important aspect of who she is and something which must daily be set aside. This is demeaning, and it is an absolute tragedy if a woman becomes truly convinced of this! Does this view ultimately accuse God of making a mistake? Why would He create women with a mind that they constantly have to work at not using?

A Patriarchal Gospel
Is patriarchy, as defined by Vision Forum, part of the “grand sweep of revelation” which Scripture requires to be believed, lived and taught in order to be faithful to Christ? Does Vision Forum practice patriarchy as it was practiced in Old Testament times, for we find no instruction on it in the New Testament? Are those who disagree with Vision Forum truly rebellious believers? These answers have to be “no.” Vision Forum asserts that patriarchy is “Gospel-centered doctrine.” If Vision Forum’s claim about the practice of patriarchy being “Gospel-centered doctrine” is true; then according to this thinking, if one rejects the Vision Forum view, one is rejecting the very Gospel!

It is true the patriarchs were rulers. Not all males were patriarchs, nor did they have the opportunity to become patriarchs. Patriarchs were tribal chieftains. The patriarchal father would typically pass his position of patriarch to his firstborn son. We have instances in Scripture where the family headship was passed to the second born, but the effect was the same. All of the relatives became, in effect, his servants and property. We see an example of this in Genesis 27 when Jacob deceived Isaac into giving him the patriarchal blessing that naturally would have been passed on to his firstborn brother, Esau. The result and full import of what this meant is spelled out by Isaac in Genesis 27:37:

But Isaac replied to Esau, “Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?” (NASB)

Sorrowfully, Isaac let Esau know that his hands were tied. The mantle of rulership had been passed on and now all of Jacob’s relatives, aunts, uncles, brother’s sisters, cousins, etc., including Esau, are to be Jacob’s slaves, Jacob’s property. The point is Vision Forum isn’t going far enough if their objective is to embrace Old Testament patriarchy! If they want patriarchy, they cannot simply pick and choose which elements they wish to leave out. Are tribal fiefdoms really supposed to be the pattern for the Church? Forget about wives submitting to husbands—all our relatives have to submit to Uncle Ned!

We find nothing in the Old or New Testament setting up any system of “Christian patriarchy,” nor making patriarchy “Gospel-centered.” If in order to be faithful to Christ we are required to believe, teach and live patriarchy as it was practiced in Scripture; then all brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., would have to submit themselves to the rulership of whomever son the patriarchal father designated as the new patriarch! Simply because a concept can be found in Scripture, does not mean it is ordained by God. And even if something was ordained by God for a certain place or time, that fact does not mandate the same for all eras and times. We have to discern and rightly divide (2 Tim.2:15) when we read Scripture…

The Israelites were allowed to practice polygamy and own slaves. Even though God did not command Israel to practice polygamy or own slaves, He allowed and regulated both. Are these practices mandated or even encouraged today?…

“Submit to One Another”
Most often at the core of these distorted authoritarian teachings is an unbiblical view of leadership. The Scriptures are clear that we are to submit to authority in such passages as Romans 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13 and Ephesians 5. But what does that mean?

The biblical patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—had been called out of paganism, and so they continued practicing certain pagan customs. God didn’t change everything all at once. Their view of authority was a rather harsh top down structure. The one at the top was the boss, and all the rest were underlings—basically his servants. The disciples still harbored a similar view, and on several occasions were arguing over who would end up at the top of the authority structure. Who would sit at the right or left hand of Jesus? Jesus set them straight, however, and turned the authority structure on its head…

Christian authority is not merely a circumstance of birth order or gender, which bestows a position of power in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus Christ, who as God, is the only rightful heir of all “authority” (Matt.28:18) demonstrated by His sacrificial life on how Christian authority is to be attained and wielded. Authority is earned by sacrificial living. We are all to focus on serving those around us. It also means that the higher one ascends to a position of leadership in the church, the more accountable they become to a larger number of people. Those who are truly leaders in a biblical sense live in glass houses, and everyone around them has Windex! It also means that those who follow do so because they are able to observe and trust those who lead (1 Thess. 1:5)…

The world around us is still mostly ordered in a top down structure. We in the western world enjoy more political equality and freedom than most, but authoritarian leadership as a concept is not dead. Our political leaders may claim it is their desire to “serve the people,” but we mostly see them jockeying for positions of good-old-fashioned power. The Church has some of these same problems. Many people seem to desire to be freed from responsibility by being simply “told what to do.” It eliminates the need to have a personal relationship with God and to diligently practice biblical discernment. And although we are aware of the many true servant/leaders in the Church, there seems also to be no shortage of “leaders” who are more than happy to rule like little kings. This type of leader becomes the mediator for his followers, and the followers simply have to hear and obey. God becomes merely the “big stick” the leader uses to keep everyone in line…

Christian leadership is about serving others—it is about servanthood. Jesus “did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life” for all of us. Why don’t we get this? His headship over us is not overbearing or abusive—that is how the pagans understand authority! He loves us and wants what is best for us. He is gentle and humble in heart; His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:29-30). In the same way, as husbands are as the head in order to serve their wives, the wives willingly serve and follow their husbands. In good marriages, the husband is not threatened by his wife; and he builds into what she is doing. He would thank God for her mind, not only for her own development, but also as a great asset to him and to the family! In turn, there is not much she would not willingly do for him. Marriage is not meant to be a power struggle…

If all of us were busy considering others better than ourselves and serving each other in love, then the power struggles would end not only in gender issues but also in all personal relationships within the body.

Why is the pagan top-down view of authority promoted by Vision Forum so pervasive that it is present in most paragraphs in their “Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy?” Even in Old Testament times, a man was wise who did not oppress his wife, but partnered with her for the good of the family…

There probably are many things Vision Forum does well. However, why would they allow this unbiblical and harmful authoritarian core or foundation, which as a result, eclipses whatever good things they may do? Don’t they realize that as they thrust their pagan and unbiblical view of authority on their followers, it will create stress and schisms on family relationships, relationships with friends and splits in churches? A refocus on biblical leadership and serving as Jesus Christ served is what is needed.

In recent weeks I’ve been giving much thought to the subject of Patriarchy, or as Doug Phillips and others call it, “Biblical Patriarchy.” This article by Midwest Christian Outreach only challenged me to more carefully examine a number of assumptions that I had long held about Patriarchy. Now I’m of the opinion that a great deal of it isn’t very biblical at all, nor is it “Gospel.”

In the near future, I hope to write some articles exposing why Patriarchy, according to Doug Phillips’ Tenets Of Biblical Patriarchy, has a number of serious flaws. I believe that Doug’s views on Patriarchy played a major role in his “pastoral counsel” to Mark and me, and that “counsel” was injurious to our marriage. I also now see how his views of Patriarchy played a direct role in his “excommunication” of us as well.


441 Responses to “Cult-Watch Ministry Publishes Article Exposing Doug Phillips’ Connection to Bill Gothard”

  1. Lin Says:

    “Out of respect of the creator of the blog, comments should be on topic, don’t you think?”

    Micah, the irony is that it IS on topic. Unfortuantly. Besides, I will let Jen rebuke me for being off topic if she thinks it is. Thanks.

    BTW:Didn’t Rushdoony mentor DP?

  2. Micah Gelatt Says:

    I give up………

  3. Jen Says:

    Lin: “Jen if what Jenkins is writing is anything close to what you were taught at BCA.”

    Jenkins is right that this is NOT BCA’s position. We never even discussed these issues.

    “BTW:Didn’t Rushdoony mentor DP?”

    I believe indirectly. Rushdoony mentored his father, if I remember correctly, and Doug does endorse much of what Rushdoony teaches.

    My main concern with this topic right now is Kevin’s reliance on everything but Scripture. I would ask that if you are going to discuss this, that you stick to Scripture, on both sides. I realize there are some here who think that church history is nearly as important as the Bible itself. I strongly disagree. Where church history is supported biblically, that’s great! However, there are some areas where it might be possible that our church fathers were dead wrong. So, please only use those examples when you can clearly support their position with Scripture as well.

    And it might be nice if this topic was a little more directly related to the post. 🙂

  4. Jen Says:

    Micah, I’ll give you a clue. I have found that if I just say that we should get back on topic, that simply doesn’t work. But if I CHANGE the topic, sometimes that works! Don’t give up. Persevero, as Doug would say!

  5. CynthiaGee Says:

    So everybody… how DO you think these cults get started and stay in business? The people who get sucked into them are not dummies — most of them are successful, intelligent people with good jobs.

    Many of the younger Baby Boomers, ages 30 – 50, lost their religion in the 70’s. Then when they or their children rediscovered it in the 80’s or 90’s, rather than returning to whatever church their parents’ families attended, they turned to televangelists, pop-religious authors and their movements, and slickly packaged “independent” churches.
    The returnees eschewed the traditional denominations, the Methodists, the Lutherans, the more normal sorts of Presbyterians, the Catholics, the Anglicans, etc, as too liberal, too conservative, too stiff, too lax, too TOO.
    (But, right about now, the antics of Phillips, Sproul, and the like are making those tired old denominations look pretty good!)

    So how did our generation lose the faith of our fathers, and end up following Patriarchs instead?

  6. Micah Gelatt Says:

    denominations are not all they are “cracked” up to be. 🙂

  7. Micah Gelatt Says:

    “how DO you think these cults get started and stay in business?”

    I am not sure, but I seriously am thinking of starting my own cult. It would just be temporary. Just to help pay off some debt.

    And perhaps buy me a “big ol’ Cadillac.” And a “big ol’ ranch house.” And some minions to work for me. And I want to have and control my own town. And a planet. And I want everyone to call me “Micah the Great.” And they must always bow on one knee (the left one only) whenever they are in my presence. And they must kiss my gold-lined shirt cuffs. And at least one chapter of the Bible should be named after me and my great ideas. And anyone who disagrees with my ideas will be sequestered on a remote island filled with leprous cannibals who really enjoy the taste of “fried colon.” You know, ordinary stuff.

    Ok… so e-mail me if anyone wants to join. If not, please ready yourself for my wrath to burn hot against your soul. 🙂

    Micah the Great

  8. CynthiaGee Says:

    So, as your loyal minions, would you cover our travel expenses to and from conventions? How about the de rigueur navy blazers– would they be made of genuine imported wool (with brass buttons stamped with your illustrious likeness), or cheap knock-offs done up in polyester? Would we get our own ranch houses? health benefits? and I think I want a pony, too…. 😀

  9. Micah Gelatt Says:

    As long as my minions remain loyal, they may have a ranch house that is SMALLER than mine, but exactly like mine in scale, color and yard decor. My minions MUST look just like me. Any deviation from this Biblical rule will result in their immediate removal to the remote island mentioned above.

    Not being a fan of the color navy, I prefer that myself and my minions be decked out in white rayon leisure suits with a “superfly” collar. I proclaim that this type of wardrobe more closely fits the Biblical pattern, AS I SEE IT! I could easily provide a word or two from an obscure Scripture passage that leads me to this wise conclusion.

    Polyester in every form will be outlawed in my Demonic (oops… I meant Dominionic) kingdom. Rayon will be the only material allowed, since the root word is “ray”, and um… the sun has “rays”…and, um, yea…. Jesus is called the “Son” which like rhymes with the “Sun”, which has those “ray” thingies…..So, basically rayon is Biblical, because it is of Jesus. I have spoken!

    On second thought, I think they should name the New Testament after me. This cult stuff is a lot of work.

  10. CynthiaGee Says:

    OK… that’s good.. now, what about my pony?

  11. Micah Gelatt Says:

    I don’t think ponies are Biblical. After all, God killed many of them when He closed up the Red Sea. From that passage alone, I think we can safely conclude that not only does God not like ponies, but He believes them to be utterly sinful. Not just sinful, but utterly sinful, which is like…really bad. And, anyone who even looks at ponies is inheriting the fruits of the devil. This is all substantiated Biblically. Trust me.

    However, the Bible says God speaks from the mouths of donkeys (edited for content) so I desire that a vast extension of my cult be focused on selling donkeys under the guise that God will actually speak out of them. We will dedicate several 100 acres to this project, which should generate an obscene amount of money, making God very happy in the process. To celebrate this facet of my cult, I will roll around once a month in the vast pile of money, in my underwear, laughing maniacally the entire time. This should also make God happy. It’s in the Bible. Somewhere.

  12. Corrie Says:


    According to Revelation, you are right about the clothing. It should be white. Rev. 6:11, 7:9, 7:13, 7:15

    And, if we lived back in the 70’s and were watching John Travolta’s dance scene in “Stayin’ Alive” we would think that he looked just “heavenly” in his white leisure suit with a super-fly collar.

    Also, if Cynthia gets a pony it should be white, too.

    Rev. 19:11

    I think you are on to something here, Micah.

    Can I join?

  13. Micah Gelatt Says:


    I seem to like you, so you may join. Especially since you have 10 kids, and the number 10 is Biblical.

    And since you found proof-texts to prove that my cult is indeed based on the Bible, you are now Vice Cult Lord. Lordette, sorry.

  14. Brett Rollins Says:

    Dear Greatness,

    I promise to remain loyal and to always kiss your golden sleeves. If Cynthia gets a pony, may I please have a Lambroghini Mercieligo?

    I must confess to His Greatness, however, that I have just recently been anathemized by Pope Blastus. He’s also blocked my email address and will no longer permit me to communicate with him. I further confess that I seek to be a member of your Greatnesses cult because I seek to have you absolve me of Pope Blastus’ anathemas.

    May I offer my services to His Greatness as Chief Counselor? I’ve been studying up a lot on how to become a successful cult leader. I’m not interested myself in becoming a cult leader. I took an NPD test recently and didn’t score nearly high enough to qualify. However, I did score very high as an obsequious bootlick. His Greatness could also benefit from my counsel Greatly.

    For example, your idea about making the wearing of Rayon mandatory for your devoted followers is wise. However, you should permit yourself to wear Polyester because, as we know, “Esther” is a book of the Bible. By wearing Poly-ester you then are able to lay claim to all the many (“poly”) “Esthers” who will join your cult and take them to be members of your harem. If they’re already married, grant yourself the authority to annul those marriages. Tell the husbands, “You are in sin my son for having married her. It wasn’t God’s will for your life. I will deliver you of this great sin.” If any really hot babes join your cult, tell them, “Your parents sinned by naming you _______. I now call you by your true proper name, Esther.” Now she’s yours!

    You’ll need a name for your cult. In honor of your own name your cult should be called, “Gelato” and your followers will be called “Gelatos.” If any of your followers get out of line, you could discipline them by relegating them temporarily to a second-class status of Gelatos, which would be called “Spumonis.” If they really get out of line and refuse to repent you could exgelatocate them.

    P.S. My wife is very hot. We’d need to come to an understanding that you couldn’t change her name to Esther.

  15. Micah Gelatt Says:

    Genesis 33:14 contains the word “leisure”

    II Timothy 4:3 contains the word “suit”

    So therefore it is Biblical that a leisure suit is of God, especially since one word is found in the OT, and the other in the NT. It is as if God is saying that BOTH of my testaments show you what to wear. Amazing!

    This teaching is the very CENTER of the gospel message, I would go so far to say.

  16. Micah Gelatt Says:

    Chief Counselor Brett,

    I am completely in love with your ideas, as I think they easily flow from what the Bible says.

    As an aside that will not be made public, I hereby quickly change that polyester is the main material that will be worn by all hot…I mean by all the ladies in my cult. I shall be claiming many Esthers, I do believe. We shall talk more of this in secret. Wink wink nudge nudge….

    The name of the cult shall be Gelato, and we shall shamelessly sell the accompanying tasty treat as a front for our illegal, I mean Biblical activities. Also, true to Hollywood cheezy movie fashion, we shall make untold sums of money illegally dumping caustic, toxic chemicals into wildlife preserves and third world nations.

  17. Micah Gelatt Says:


    I shall also be purchasing at least one of those cars you mentioned for myself, so you may have one, as well.

    I hereby absolve you from any further of Pope Faustus’s enemas. I mean, er um, anathemas.

  18. CynthiaGee Says:

    well…… I guess I can make do with a donkey.
    But I want the smartest one, an’ I’m gonna teach it to quote the Leader’s sayings, so everybody will know how virtuous and intelligent my donkey is.. and it has to be a white donkey, too, ’cause the Leader’s suit is white, and I want my donkey to be just like HIM!

  19. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Morgan has determined that the cults described above are vile and evil.

    Being a good cult leader myself I know that to keep the people happy they must have their OWN on site Starbucks. All women must wear white cotton since the Texas sun is soooo hot with cute little straw hats (like at Chicos) and the women get to choose their mates. Oh and God help the man that decides to abuse one of the ladies….

    The men do all of the heavy cleaning, yard work and all repair fix it stuff and oh the cult has its own chef and we have a lovely chauferred limo that takes us to the mall.

    There are other benefits as well…all the latest technology, cell phones, ipods just name it….and we have ladies bible study…

    MY WORLD…welcome to it. No troublemakers allowed…. 😉

  20. Corrie Says:


    “For example, your idea about making the wearing of Rayon mandatory for your devoted followers is wise. However, you should permit yourself to wear Polyester because, as we know, “Esther” is a book of the Bible. By wearing Poly-ester you then are able to lay claim to all the many (”poly”) “Esthers” who will join your cult and take them to be members of your harem. If they’re already married, grant yourself the authority to annul those marriages. Tell the husbands, “You are in sin my son for having married her. It wasn’t God’s will for your life. I will deliver you of this great sin.” If any really hot babes join your cult, tell them, “Your parents sinned by naming you _______. I now call you by your true proper name, Esther.” Now she’s yours!”

    I see where you are going with this and it does make sense with all the poly and esters and such but may I make an appeal to both you and his greatness, Gelato, concerning the “hot babes”?

    Cynthia and I would like to prepare a banquet for both of you by the fountain in Gelato’s garden in order to discuss your proposal.

  21. Corrie Says:


    If I can get an iPhone, I am THERE!

  22. CynthiaGee Says:

    Yeah.. Micah, I’m jumping ship for Morgan’s cult, and I’m taking the donkey with me!

  23. Micah Gelatt Says:

    I now decree that Morgan’s world is a false world, and therefore must die.

    And donkeys are now considered Jezebel’s, thusly I rename them…

    Jezebel. They will no longer be called donkey.

    We not only sell iPhones, but we have free Mobile-to-Mobile and unlimited Anytime minutes. Also, anyone who joins my cult gets their very own 24/7 massage therapist. Sign up today!

  24. Lin Says:

    Micah…you are off topic…:o)

  25. Micah Gelatt Says:

    (serious tone)
    Actually, I am very on topic, and trying to show, in a humorous way how easily Scripture can be twisted in order to advance an ideology. That is precisely what the article above was concerning.

    (now back to Cult Leader tone)

    Besides, a Cult Leader is never off-topic.

  26. Jen Says:

    I think Micah’s cult is too male-friendly (hyper-hyper-patriarchal) and Morgan’s cult is too female-friendly (I won’t label it!). Having recently been excommunicated from a cult myself (a friend recently predicted that I would soon be calling BCA a cult, so I am just trying it on for size today), neither of your cults are attractive to me. I shall wait for a more appropriate cult leader.

    I will say that Micah is doing a much better job of taking Scripture out of context. Morgan, your cult needs more Scripture!

    I’m off to join the sun-worshipers cult today. Beach — thataway!!

  27. Morgan Farmer Says:

    I now decree that Morgan’s world is a false world, and therefore must die.

    Oh no…The Cult of Morgan aka the cult of morgon the gorgon is like the sun…even if you decree it’s not there…it really is…yes we have iphone and all things Apple, HP and Best Buy for Business :p….your wish is our command…we must keep the Minions of Morgan happy, content and secure…..

    Old technology never dies….it gets remembered…

    BTW anyone remember FLOPPY FLOPPY DISKS like the
    5 1/2″ ones? whooooooooooooo

    kind of like crazy theology???????

  28. Micah Gelatt Says:

    Those 5 1/2 ” floppies make for great target practice. Wonderful when you can’t find any clay pigeons to launch and shoot.

    I shall now steer my cult back on course, and basically profess that if you give me your money, I shall make sure that God gives you WHATEVER you want. Oh, wait….Trinity Broadcasting Network already says that message, huh? I shall be thinking of a new cultic approach as I proof-text through Scripture today…..

  29. Brett Rollins Says:

    Dearest High Greatness Golden Sleeved One,

    Thank you for the absolution. I’ll sleep so much better tonight knowing that the anathema of Pope Blastus no longer has any grip on me.

    “Oh, wait….Trinity Broadcasting Network already says that message, huh? I shall be thinking of a new cultic approach as I proof-text through Scripture today” Becoming a successful cult leader need not involve any original thought at all. Many successful cult leaders have just plagiarized the ideas from previous successful cult leaders. We can and we should just steal the ideas of other successful cult leaders. No sense in reinventing the wheel.

    We could follow the example of the successful “Christian” cultmaster, Doug Phillips, and organize as “Gelato Ministries, Inc.” and get a 501-c3. We could raise millions for the “ministry” by selling all sorts of “vision casting” items. We should also conduct “Faith and Gelato Tours.” What about starting a Boy’s and Men’s Gelato Society? “Women and Sorbet first!”

    I eagerly await the arrival of my new Lambroghini. While that’s being arranged you might want to review some of the handy online “how to” items cult leader wannabes:
    Instructions On How To Become a Cult Leader
    How To Become a Cult Guru


    Your Obedient and Obsequious, Chief Counselor Brett

  30. CynthiaGee Says:

    “And donkeys are now considered Jezebel’s, thusly I rename them…Jezebel. They will no longer be called donkey”

    So I guess I’ll take over the donkey farm and bring it over to Morgan’s cult. Trouble is, all of those jezebels… er, donkeys, have learned to talk, and they now repeat every word that falls from the Gelato-Leader’s lips.

    They all sound JUST LIKE HIM! 80

    We’re gonna have to de-program them… sigh…

  31. Micah Gelatt Says:

    As the late Rich Mullins used to say…..

    “God once spoke out of the mouth of an ass, and He has been doing it ever since…”

    Wait, did I just make fun of myself? I think so! URGH !

  32. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Dear Micah,
    They already gave me their money and I gave Apple, HP and Starbucks in return…..
    BWAHAHAHAHAHA (for mike)

    Thats How cults get around it…the Word of God is not even important anymore only what the cult leader says….

  33. Micah Gelatt Says:

    To quote a famous theologian….

    “Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries”

  34. Morgan Farmer Says:

    “Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries”

    That sounds like Luther…but you really need to know that you are being rude to me for no reason at all. I did not deserve that comment.

  35. Micah Gelatt Says:

    🙂 Relax, Cult Woman

    It was actually Monty Python, not Luther. Even though I believe Luther would have LOVED Monty Python.

  36. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Fine…but the comment was still rude and uncalled for. That was my point. Finis.

  37. CynthiaGee Says:

    Morgan, I don’t think that Micah meant it that way. The Monty Python quote he used is a standard joke insult, the kind you make when you’re teasing a friend — sort of like, “Your momma wears army boots!” Right, Micah?

  38. Brett Rollins Says:

    Please, dear budding cult leaders. One thing you need to appreciate is that a cult leader must never bicker with another cult leader. Unity! Always unity!

    Even though your ideologies may differ dramatically, always make a strong effort to agree. Or at least never disagree in public.

    Let’s look to the examples of despotic national dictators, such as Hugo Chavez, Bashar Al-Assad, Kim Jong-il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, etc. It doesn’t seem to matter what their ideological differences, tyrants and dictators seem to always have very cordial relations with one another. Therefore, if the two of you are going to become cult leaders the first thing you’ll need to do is to learn to get along.

    No need to compete with one another, either. There are millions and millions of people who are eager to be come your faithful drones and have you rule their lives. Just ask Cindy Kunsman about this. She’s studied it extensively. One of you had better snatch her up quickly and appoint her as “Mind Control Czar.”

  39. Micah Gelatt Says:

    Exactly, Cynthia…..

    My goodness……we need some perspective here, people…

  40. Micah Gelatt Says:

    If I were going to insult you, you would certainly be aware of it. lol 🙂

    and it would probably make you cry. But I would never do that.

    as far as you know.

  41. Mike Says:

    Micah — I understood it wasn’t an insult. These youngsters just don’t get our old movie lines. I’m used to it.

  42. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    My main concern with this topic right now is Kevin’s reliance on everything but Scripture. I would ask that if you are going to discuss this, that you stick to Scripture, on both sides. I realize there are some here who think that church history is nearly as important as the Bible itself. I strongly disagree. Where church history is supported biblically, that’s great! However, there are some areas where it might be possible that our church fathers were dead wrong. So, please only use those examples when you can clearly support their position with Scripture as well.

    Jen, a few things.

    1. It’s kind of related to theonomy in a way, which Doug Phillips espouses.

    2. I gave ya’ll Scripture, proof-texts for the WCF passage on the civil magistrate. No one interacted with any of the texts I gave. I guess there were too many things from the Old Testament. I take it that that wasn’t inspired. Maybe the Gnostics, Marcionites, and Freemasons were right, a mean old angel named Abroxis created the world and the old covenant, but Jesus came to set us free from his tyranny?

    3. My issue is this; I’m sick of treating the Scriptures like a card game. I did that for years on various discussion boards and in e-mail exchanges. When I was in what Slug Wilson calls “the cage stage” (I think I’m over that, or perhaps on the tail-end of it), I would fight the Arminians by duking it out with the Bible. They’d present a verse about Jesus’ mercy and kindness, and the passage in the Old Testament that says God desires not damnation for anyone, but for all men to come to repentance. I’d just throw in my verses, like an ace of spades in a game of black-jack. I’m afraid of doing that again, and the issue at hand is not, “Do I believe in the Scripture”, but what is the Scripture saying. And the issue is not Cynthia or myself wanting to hearken to the plain teaching of Scripture, but who’s interpretation am I to believe. And as she says, she’s asking me to believe her interpretation, just as novel as Alexander Campbell’s “New Testament” religion, over and against that of virtually every Christian for 1,500 years. That’s incredibly arrogant, and it’s about as conservative as Rick James.

    If you want to talk Scripture, fine. But pick a text, and let’s examine it with other passages of Scripture, and tradition and reason where insightful. We need biblical balance, not bickering and playing black-jack with God’s Word.

  43. Micah Gelatt Says:

    Mike said:

    “Micah — I understood it wasn’t an insult. These youngsters just don’t get our old movie lines. I’m used to it.”

    Thanks, Mike. Gotta love Monty Python, although I don’t know if Jesus would look on it with much favor. It reminds me of my reckless youth……

  44. CynthiaGee Says:

    Well, at any rate it’s better than Benny Hill.
    Ah, the good old days of the BBC!

  45. Jen Says:

    Kevin, here is a list of what you quoted from just last evening:

    1929 Book of Common Prayer
    any Banner of Truth publication
    To quote from the Westminster Confession, Chapter XXIII:
    as Rushdoony pointed out
    That’s what Luther and Calvin did
    here are the Scriptures the Westminster Confession offers as proof-texts
    This is historic Christianity. This is Reformed theology. John Winthrop exiled Roger Williams to Rhode Island for heresy.
    This matter was summed up well by ole’ Rousas Rushdoony

    And then you said: “The fact is, you’re asking me to take your opinion on something like this over and against that of the Puritans, Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, and just about every Protestant confession of faith you can think of, whether Augsburg, Westminster, the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Belgic…you name it. You’re asking me to believe all of the Patristic, Medieval, and Reformation fathers got it all wrong, and that a dispensationalist got it right about this one point.”

    I am not looking for Scripture in every comment here, but when you make a doctrinal assertion such as “However, when the civil magistrate tolerates heresy in their land, they are not “impartially administering justice” or working for the “maintaince of thy true religion and virtue”, as the BCP says, but are doing just the opposite,” and the very next commenter mentions something about using Scripture rather the Book of Common Prayer, then you should back up your position with Scripture, not with the Westminster Confession and another long list of outside sources. Just in case you are not aware, there are many commenters here who do not hold to your list of quoted texts. However, I believe nearly every commenter here is willing to engage you regarding what the Bible says. Quotes from people are used often on this blog, and that is fine, but if someone questions how they line up with Scripture, Kevin, I would like to see you answer with Scripture, not with another outside document.

    It appears that most commenters here are quite interested in looking at Scripture in context, so if you provide a verse to support your point, they will interact with it appropriately. It sounds like your previous experiences online in debating others were none too profitable. I hope you will be encouraged here then.

  46. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Anyone have any comments on the full “Cult Watch” article from MCOI? I’ve read mine several times and love it. Replies from anyone who’s read the complete hard copy?

  47. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:


    I gave the BCP citation because I thought it summed up well what I was trying to communicate. I gave the WCF citation to a guy called, “T. Reformed”, for manifestly obvious reasons, as TR people hold the Confession in very high esteem (he has yet to reply). The only other thing you listed where I quoted something extra-biblical as authoritative was Rushdoony, but that was just because I liked the way he phrased it. I do not consider him a “church father” or “tradition”; I simply liked that quote. I’m afraid people now might get the wrong idea about what it is I’m trying to do here.

    What I think you’re asking me to do is counter Cynthia’s comment with Scripture. I gave Bryan Scripture, but that was completely ignored. I think, if anything, we need to find one text to start with, examine it in light of the rest of Scripture, and then move to other passages. Simply “refuting” Cynthia by tossing out more verses is not something I care to engage in. She can find nice Jesus and I can find mean Jesus and we can toss verses back and forth all day.That’s why I’m sick of the contemporary Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate; it’s just my verses against your verses. People who were raised in a strict authoritarian Calvinist church get older and go to a fluffy-wuffy ultra-mega party church. People raised in emasculated party-churches end up going to extremely authoritarian Calvinist churches. It’s almost like to reactionary extremes, but I don’t think was the intention of the Reformation, and certainly not what Christ and His Apostles came to found on earth.

    If Cynthia wants, as I take it you have no problem with publicly continuing this discussion, we could both agree to show how her passage from Luke teaches either antinomianism or theonomy, and what the spirit Christ was talking about truly is. That could lead to finding more Scripture passages, and might be an edifying endeavor.

  48. CynthiaGee Says:

    Goodness, Jenkins, it isn’t as complicated as all that, and it isn’t even about “nice Jesus” vs. “mean Jesus”.

    It’s about Scripture ( and the New Testament specifically) vs. the opinions of mere men — men of God, some of them, but mere men nonetheless.

    If it’s ok with Jen, by all means, “bring it” 🙂 …

    …. but bring it next week, because starting this evening and into the weekend, I’ve got a lot of family stuff going on.

  49. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    I know that’s not what it’s all about. That’s not what it’s about at all. I was trying to make a point about how twisted that is.

    Ok, next week hopefully we’ll get to it.

  50. Jen Says:

    Kevin: “I think, if anything, we need to find one text to start with, examine it in light of the rest of Scripture, and then move to other passages.”

    Agreed. Let’s do that.

  51. CynthiaGee Says:

    And just to make things interesting, how about asking Mike to sit in on this?

  52. · Doug Phillips Promotes Pagan Authoritarianism Says:

    […] Don Veinot has also published an exposé about Doug Phillips and his Patriarchy entitled, Who Will Be The First in the Kingdom? The article appears in the current edition of the MCOI Journal. Jennifer Epstein previously posted an article about it entitled, Cult-Watch Ministry Publishes Article Exposing Doug Phillips. […]

  53. Jen Says:

    Cynthia, that’s up to Mike. Anyone is always welcome here.

  54. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    I received this in an email notice from MCOI this morning (you can sign up to get them for free). I don’t know if this feedback letter concerning the Cult Watch article (mailed out over the past two weeks) is actually posted on the webiste, so I’ll copy it here. Very validating.

    Dear MCOI
    We appreciated your good article on Doug Phillips and the Vision Forum crew. He used to run the National Center for Home Education under HSLDA, the homeschool legal ‘insurance’ group.

    This patriarchy run amok stuff is everywhere in homeschooling unfortunately and the so-called Christian Reconstructionists are driving the bus with many homeschoolers in it unknowingly. Many people have swallowed Gothard and then taken it another step. Some of the prominent names in the homeschool movement are involved — Jonathan Lindvall (in Calif.) espouses betrothal taking courtship yet further. Many of the people have either gone through Gothard training, used his curriculum or are fellow travelers. Another one is the guy who edits Credenda Agenda, a journal of reformed theology. Cannon Press, and New Saint Andrews College all of which are run by hard nosed Calvinist Douglas Wilson. He has published a number of books on the family all of which are of the “keep the women at home and don’t let them do anything” persuasion. Unhappily we have seen Gothardites split churches and now his spiritual descendents are doing the same.

    There is also a strong anti-church movement among homeschoolers that want no church organized youth activities and the fathers to decide everything for the family, effectively neutralizing pastors. The Pearl Family is an example of this tribalistic approach. They wrote a book To Train Up a Child. There are other couples traveling around homeschooling circles promulgating the same sort of teaching. Don’t forget the ‘never any birth control’, submit even to committing sin at your husband’s request (because God will blame him not the wife they say) and other allied teachings.

    Keep up the good fight for sound exegesis and application.

    P. M.

  55. Marsena Says:

    I agree with every person here on this blog who said that the unBiblical patriarchy movement is a cult, because that’s exactly what it is! It is a cult that wants to turn the world into their idea of utopia.

    In their world, the men (particularly white men) would be in charge of EVERYTHING! The women would be beautiful decorations, seen but not heard (unless, of course, they are staunch defenders of keeping their fellow sisters ‘in their place’). After all, they’re only needed to cook, homeschool, and have babies anyway.

    The children would be raised to have no mind or will of their own. No wonder Jen saw so few marriages at BCA. I think that in their heart of hearts, very few young men want to marry young women who are so emeshed with their fathers (I personally think that all this ‘giving your heart to your father’ stuff sounds incestuous to me. I am to love and honor my father, not give my heart to him like I would give it to my husband!).

    They can keep their utopia. I’d rather walk in the liberty of Jesus Christ.

  56. David Says:

    Bill Gothard is a legalistic heretic. I make no apology for saying this. He teaches, “another Jesus,” and, “another gospel.”

  57. rooftopministries Says:

    OMG-osh – is there some sort of Biblical teaching FOR birth control, age-segregated church, secular, anti-God schooling of children, and PASTOR-centered families??? You DON’T see a patriarch-centered Bible? Which freaking perversion are you reading? I am a homeschooling mother of six – of MY OWN FREE WILL!!!!! I see in scripture where “the two become one flesh for a godly heritage” – how many ways is there to interpret that? And I don’t seen ANYWHERE where children are NOT a blessing from the Lord, a reward from him – blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them???? What else does THAT scripture mean? And oh yes – the “dating” scripture where you kiss and hug on mulitiple partners (among other physical and emotional and spiritual things) until you get married, yes THAT’S very biblical. You are the very thing you are perporting to report upon – you are your own cult of rebellion. You use all these things to walk in your “liberty” and spout a bunch of sarcastic, cynical tripe where nothing is sacred anymore. I’m not brain-washed, I can read and interpret the Bible with the power of the Holy Spirit. I can listen to these men and see what they are saying in scripture like a good Berean. No, you don’t “have” to court a spouse, but it is the BEST way to protect your heart for GOD through your father’s counsel. You shouldn’t be giving away your body and soul in little pieces through dating. Then enter in to marriage “lightly” – with little to no outside input. That’s why over half of “Christian” marriages end in divorce – who know’s how many more are unhealthy – what’s your grand explantion for that statistic? What’s your grand explanation for only 4% of “Christians” agreeing with the 5 basic tenents 65% of Americas USED to believe in: Inerrancy of the Bible, Jesus’ Divinity, Absolute Truth, The Resurrection, Faith in Jesus Alone for Salvation – 96% of people do NOT believe all five of these any more???? So homeschooling, family as the center and 1st step in authority in a community, and courtship are going to make this statistic worse how???? You’re “liberty” of birth CONTROL, dating, little patriarchal authority (cause that’s scriptural), and SECULAR ANTI-GOD schooling with age-segregated ENTERTAINMENT CENTERED youth PROGRAMS – make that statistic better how?? OH, that’s right – ALL THAT CRAP IS WHY THAT STATISTIC EXISTS.


  58. Karen Metson Wallace Says:

    I was doing a search to see if anyone has done an examination of Doug Phillips theology and wanted to make a comment about the ‘dispensation” theology issue….and what a straw man it is. Different aspects of theology can be called “dispensational”. For instance, in salvation theology (soteriology) if you are dispensationalist, that means you believe in that at different times God has had different ways to be saved. If you are covenant, you believe that there has always only been one way to be saved….Christ’s atoning death on the cross. Before Christ came, you could look forward to God’s provision (Christ’s atoning death), and after Christ’s death, you could look backwards to Christ’s atoning death. I had heard that the 7th Day Adventists believed this, but I recently checked and this is definitely not the case at this time. Eschatology is the study of the theology of the end things. Supposedly this is a major study of doctrine, but since I don’t care about it, I think it is a MINOR study of doctrine that has little or nothing to do with salvation. Clearly, as a Christian, if you think there are different ways to be saved, Dispensational Theology is a big problem. If you think people are going to hell for believing in the Rapture, well…that is another thing altogether. I wonder if you can be sent to hell for believing such a silly thing? Hmmmm….

    • Jen Says:

      Karen, Doug Phillips is definitely NOT dispie! He is covenantal, baptistic, Reformed. He also believes in theonomy, Reconstructionism, dominion theology, and takes a post-mill eschatological stance.

      However, I would have to disagree with you on your position regarding eschatology, Karen. I have found that a person’s eschatology drives most, if not all, of the rest of their beliefs about God’s Word, which then greatly impacts the way they live their lives. A biblically accurate view of eschatology is well worth studying and seeking God’s truth. I fear few have found it, but am praying that God will open eyes everywhere!

  59. Finleeport Says:

    Dear Jen, you have friends in many places. Doug is a false prophet and a misogynistic androcentrist. He may worship his God and praise his divine macho masculinity, but I have the Virgin Mary on my side, I praise God the Father and his Mother the Queen of Heaven.

  60. Half truths abound Says:

    That’s a really interesting photo in the article… where did you find it?

    • Jen Says:

      HTA, I do not remember where I got that pic of Doug and Bill Gothard, but I’m thinking it might have been from his blog.

  61. Chip Says:

    What do you make of Bill Gothard being placed on “administrative leave” concerning allegations from 34 women concerning his sexual impropriety dating back to the 1970’s? Kinda odd that DP’s infidelity comes to light and now Bill Gothard’s does too. Since his brother sexually harassed women at the HQ and nothing was really done, does anyone believe anything will really come of it?

  62. Doug Phillips’ Alleged Victim Files Lawsuit with Explosive Accusations | The Wartburg Watch 2014 Says:

    […] who launched Vision Forum in 1998, was influenced by Gothard's teachings, according to Jen's Gems.  Here they are pictured together (Phillips is on the left, Gothard is on the […]

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