Doug Phillips and Brian Abshire Team Up Against Cult-Watch Journal Article

I think Doug likes giving me more things to write about. I just couldn’t pass up this latest blog entry from Doug:

(Here is the original article Doug is referring to.)

How to Respond to a Tale-Bearer: Dr. Brian Abshire Models an Apologetic of Sound Reasoning and Christian Charity for Family Reformers

A husband and father is the head of his household, a family leader, provider, and protector, with the authority and mandate to direct his household in paths of obedience to God. (Gen. 18:19; Eph. 5:22 – 6:4) A man’s authority in the home should be exercised with gentleness, grace, and love as a servant-leader, following the example of Jesus Christ. Leadership is a stewardship from God. (Ps. 103:13; Mal. 3:17; Matt. 11:29-30; Col. 3:21; 1 Pet. 3:7) The authority of fathers is limited by the law of God and the lawful authority of church and state. Christian fathers cannot escape the jurisdiction of church and state and must be subject to both. (Rom. 13:1ff.; Eph. 5:21; 6:4; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13ff.) Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy

The Bible rejects the egalitarian doctrine of feminism. It expressly teaches hierarchy within the home, including the servant-like, Christ-honoring leadership of fathers. It expressly teaches differences of roles and responsibilities between men and women (although there are many areas of overlap). (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-24; Col. 3:18; Tit. 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1-6)

The Bible does not, however, teach (a) the subjugation of women under the oppression of men; (b) the right of parents to brutalize or dominate children; or (c) the inferiority of women to men.

Nor does the Bible teach or encourage the notion that (a) women are barred from Christian ministry; (b) that the mind of a woman is inferior to that of a man; or (c) that women should not benefit from advanced training and higher education.

Yet the fact that there are no orthodox Evangelical ministries or preachers of note (of whom I am aware) who teach such things does not prevent immature, hateful, or merely misguided individuals from leveling all sorts of fantastical and sometimes humorous charges against ministries who fight for the biblical family and hold to historical Reformation views of male leadership within the church and home. (See the The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy, Marriage and Family in John Calvin’s Geneva, The Role of Women in the Church, An Exegetical Defense of Women as Keepers at Home, Making Wise Decisions About College and Life After Home School, The Blessed Marriage, Discipline: The Biblical Doctrine, etc., etc., etc.)

We at Vision Forum have raised serious objections to: (1) the working-woman philosophy of the late 20th century; (2) the cultural depravity of the modern university; (3) the feministic philosophy of the anti-complementarian, pro-egalitarian household leadership; (4) the culture of death and self-gratification, with its emphasis on closing the fruitful womb; and (5) attempts by liberals or vendetta-driven individuals to viciously mock fruitful mothers as baby machines, etc.

While raising these objections, we have also discussed and published material addressing: (1) alternatives to traditional college for both men and women; (2) the importance of cultivating the minds of both men and women to the fullest (for example, training both to be vigorous entrepreneurs); (4) the necessity of holding abusive husbands (and wives) accountable through the local church; and (5) the biblical imperative that men act nobly and sacrificially for women and children first. (See So Much More: The Remarkable Influence of Visionary Daughters on the Kingdom of God, The Wise Woman’s Guide to Blessing her Husband’s Vision, Strength and Dignity for Daughters, Defending the Fatherless: How the Body of Christ Can Help Single Mothers, Suffer the Children: The Blessing of Imperfect Children, Raising Maidens of Virtue, etc., etc., etc.)

These positions may be distasteful to some, but they are neither novel nor innovative.

Furthermore, we have stood with those men and women who are part of the growing chorus of concerned Christians who are exposing the deception perpetrated by “Christian” leftists, Marxists and/or feminists of many shades, as well as Internet assassins, dishonorable tale-bearing gossips and blog gangsters who have unscrupulously attempted to silence real debate and lodge their opposition by aggressively bringing a false witness against defenders of biblical principles of patriarchy and by attributing to them views which they do not believe and attitudes which they detest, as part of an effort to objectify individuals by painting Christian mothers as mindless drones and fathers as wife-denigrating tyrants.

Such behavior is nothing new to Bible-based reformation movements. Within the last fifty years alone we have seen similar tactics lodged against six-day-creationists, home educators, advocates of the fruitful womb and parents concerned about the modern birth control ethic, and others seeking to recapture the historical biblical principles of orthodoxy and orthopraxy embraced by Church fathers and Reformers alike.

And we believe that the message of Scripture is as true and applicable today as it was when the words were first penned by divine inspiration:

These six things doth the LORD hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

But Christ’s message is not merely condemnation for the sowers of discord, the gossip-mongers, and the dividers of the brethren. Scripture exhorts a holy boldness for every mother and father who must endure the revilings of the Sandballats and Tobiahs (Nehemiah 4:1-7) of their day, while they as visionary parents seek to rebuild the walls of their family for the glory and honor of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel message:

Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. (Nehemiah 4:14)

Towards the Self-Government of Our Collective Tongues

Cults do exist. They are wretched abominations, which rightly should be denounced. But if people are going to raise the “C” word publicly, they had best be prepared to defend such a charge before the world, and if found guilty of defaming a legitimate work of Christ, they must be prepared to face the consequences which are rightly due to those who divide brethren and slander the servants of the Lord. Doug’s Blog, August, 2005

I wrote that comment more than two years ago, and I stand by it today. I stand by it because as a former attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association, I have defended parents whose families and basic parental rights have been placed in jeopardy by reckless, talebearers who throw around such language before the world. (I watched innocent mothers and fathers undergo tremendous persecution at the hands of professing Christians who believed that it was weird and cultic to home educate.) I stand by it because, as Geoff Botkin pointed out, it is the tool of “infantile Christians” to send those brothers with whom they differ to the coliseums of the 21st century. I stand by it because one need only watch the news to see the comparisons that some in the Press are trying to make between Christians who teach role distinctions between men and women and militant extremist groups like the Taliban. Nor do we have to think hard to remember at least one case where American children were sent to their deaths by the Clinton administration because their parents were part of real cult groups.

Finally, I stand by my statement of more than two years ago because our ministry receives too many reports of mothers and fathers who are mocked, belittled, and accused of being “cultic” by fellow Christians, because these parents home school by conviction, or actively desire the fruit of the womb, or spank their children, or educate their college-age daughters at home instead of thousands of miles away at a defiling university, or embrace courtship and betrothal over the dating model when it comes to their children’s marriages, or believe men should be leaders in the church and the home, etc., etc..

This brings me to the heart of the article before you:

For all of the above reasons, I applaud men like Dr. Brian Abshire who help the Christian public understand the tactics of “infantile Christians” who lightly use the “C” word to discredit those Christians with whom they personally disagree.

I applaud him for many reasons, one of which is Geoff Botkin’s point: If men like Dr. Abshire do not take the time to address the reckless public name-calling of undisciplined, professing Christians, tension within the Body of Christ is likely to escalate. If the Body of Christ does not learn to control our collective tongues and be a self-governing household of God for the glory of Jesus Christ, there could be very hard days ahead of us. History is replete with stories of the inhumanity of professing Christians against professing Christians. It may very well be that the immature or unscrupulous “Christians” — filled with self-righteousness, intolerant of differences that clearly fall within the pale of orthodoxy — will be the ones who pave the way for a new wave of statist tyranny and destructive family intervention. And if the Lord is merciful, and none of this ever happens, we would be foolish to believe that there will be no spiritual consequences on a Church so immature that the viciousness among professing members towards each other exceeds anything directed at the world itself.

Dr. Brian Abshire Helps Christian Students, Parents, and Pastors Model a Charitable Response to Tale-Bearers and False Accusers of the Brethren

Enter Dr. Brian Abshire — pastor of Highlands Reformed Presbyterian Church.

Dr. Abshire recognizes that the plague of talebearing is a heartache to the Church, and that those who use the Internet to traffic in tale-bearing, as well as those who receive the tale-bearing, are guilty of breaking the Ninth Commandment.

He finds especially distasteful talebearers who use words like “cult” or “cultic” as a fear-mongering tactic and to attack the credibility of ministries, mothers, fathers, and pastors who reject feminism and hold to historic Reformation doctrines of the family. In fact, he finds their behavior sufficiently distasteful that he has authored a devastating response to one of them.

In the course of his article, Dr. Abshire defends himself, Vision Forum Ministries, and, indirectly, innocent men and women who embrace the same principles of family leadership, honor, and generational faithfulness advocated by the Reformers and embodied in documents like this.

In my view, Dr. Abshire’s article is a charitable, logical, and an accurate response to an individual who has set aside fundamental rules of brotherly conduct and journalistic integrity to traffic in accusations which are characterized by imprecision and falsehood.

And because this sort of behavior is becoming so very commonplace — especially on the Internet — articles like this are instructive. Dr. Abshire has given parents, pastors, and students a helpful model of how to respond to reckless, uncharitable, ungoverned Christian brothers who err by using the Internet and other means to bring a false witness against their neighbor in violation of the Ninth Commandment.

Specifically, Dr. Abshire’s rebuttal is quite instructive because he exposes the numerous basic fallacies, errors in logic, research omissions, unbrotherly conduct, lack of elementary principles of academic and journalistic integrity, and outright falsehoods employed by an individual who was unwilling to retract his accusations after being confronted in writing and verbally. And Dr. Abshire makes his case with manly firmness, but genuine Christian charity, ever willing to give the benefit of the doubt to an accuser who was most certainly not willing to do the same for him.

Below are just a few samples of the categories addressed by Dr. Abshire in his response:

Dr. Abshire on Equating Personal Differences with Cultic Teaching

…you declare Christian brothers to be teaching “false doctrine” when in reality, they are simply teaching something that you may not personally believe. You then imply that they are “cultic” using a pejorative term that you deliberately associate with heretics and false religion. This is NOT fair, equitable or honest; it is propaganda — it is the straw man argument. Simply because YOU disagree with an interpretation of the Scriptures (and as will be shown later, an “application” of the Scriptures) does not necessarily mean that those who propose it are “false teachers.”

Dr. Abshire on Accusation without Attestation

…most of your essay makes accusations without attestation; in other words, you SAY that someone believes “such and such” but provide no actual quotes from essays, articles, lectures, books, etc., where the person actually makes such statements. And since when you DO actually make an attribution, as in the case of my unnamed essay and you leave out important qualifying statements or ignore the context, it leaves me wondering just how accurately you have represented other people’s views.

Abshire on Talebearing, the “C” Word, and Willful Misrepresentation

You take statements out of context, ignore qualifying statements that actually DENY what you say we believe and implicitly call us “cultic” when our views are Right Square in the middle of historic Christian orthodoxy. I am afraid that I must say that it appears you either did not understand the issues, or you deliberately misrepresented our views for some reason…My point is that you declare Christian brothers to be teaching “false doctrine” when in reality, they are simply teaching something that you may not personally believe. You then imply that they are “cultic” using a pejorative term that you deliberately associate with heretics and false religion.

Dr. Abshire on the Duty to Perform Basic Research

There is a recurring problem in your essay; a failure to do basic research…It is basic scholarship that if a statement is controversial, especially critiquing another person’s view, you MUST show that this is what the person actually said. This you fail to do throughout your essay.

Dr. Abshire on the Misrepresentation of Actual Citations

…you write, ‘…women cannot be trusted as decision makers but are at their best when micro-managed by their fathers or husbands.’ You then give a long quote which has NOTHING to do with your assessment. The quote simply does not say what you said it says. In fact, the quote rejects autonomy, especially in regards to a girl following her ‘heart’ and affirms her trust in her father to help her make decisions on some basis other than emotions. Nowhere does this quotation imply, necessarily or otherwise that fathers are to “micro-mange” their daughters or that women are not trusted to make decisions on their own…Therefore, the question becomes this; if when you DO give an actual citation, your assessment is clearly contrary to fact, how can anyone trust your assessments when you do not provide the citations? You either horribly misunderstood the quotation, or you deliberately misrepresented it.

Dr. Abshire on Historic Doctrines vs. Modern Feminist Assumptions

…the view that you propose here is at best about forty years old, originating in Liberal universities and mainline theological seminaries in the late 1960’s and filtering into evangelical ones in the 1970’s…

Dr. Abshire on Tale Bearing, the “C” Word, and the Duty of False Accusers to Repent

Will you repent of your false accusations, or maintain them? Please remember-this is not an attack against you… you have publicly accused us of being cultic and teachers of false doctrine… If we do not believe it, then you have born false witness against us, breaking the Ninth Commandment and slandering the brethren. Therefore, you need to recant here, publicly and confess your sin to your readers.

The War against 1900 Years of Established Church Orthodoxy

Multi-generational faithfulness is not a new concept. Male leadership in the family, church, and state is not a new concept (Ex 18:21ff; Prov. 31:23; 1 Cor. 11:3ff; Eph. 5:23). Biblical femininity(Prov. 31; Eph. 5:22-24; 1Tim. 2:9ff), women as “keepers at home” (Titus 2:5ff) and helpmeets to their husbands is not a new concept. The duty of fathers to protect their daughters until they are “given in marriage”(Dt. 7:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:37-38) is not a new concept. The importance of seeking the Lord for children as His reward is not a new concept(Ps. 127:1-5). All of these are important elements of principles of biblical patriarchy.

These are not new concepts, nor are they concepts rooted in cultural traditions or pagan precedents. We maintain that they are exegetically defensible, biblical concepts rooted in the creation order itself, communicated through the dominion mandate and subsequent law revelations of God, and reflective of His transcendent character and eternal righteousness.

And the weight of church history and biblical scholarship favors these understandings.

Critics of these principles who claim to be Christian within the historical Reformation tradition, but who don’t want to be called “feminist,” have their work cut out for them. Because, in the end, they have to pick a fight with scholars and teachers far more astute than most of the best ones alive today: They have to pick a fight with the likes of John Calvin, John Knox, Martin Luther, and Martin Bucer— just to name a few. (Frankly, the positions adovcated by Vision Forum Ministries are mild and tempered compared to some of the conclusions advocated by these men.)

But these critics appear disinclined to do so. At least no credible individuals have done so to date. True, there is a spate of liberal university scholarship arguing for an anti-hierarchical, anti-patriarchal, anti-complementarian, pro-egalitarian view of Scripture. (And much of it follows the rules of civil dialogue and discourse.) But most of these individuals do not claim to be within the pale of the historic, conservative, reformation or evangelical tradition. They are liberals, and they are honest about that fact. They are honest about their feminism. Some of them are even excellent scholars — like Gordon Fee (Author of numerous books on evangelical feminism). I just happen to disagree with them.

My criticism goes out to those who pretend to be neither feminist, nor liberals, but who have adopted the premises of both and who resort to the type of disreputable tactics, which Dr. Abshire has rightly censured. These are the half-cocked and sometimes agenda-driven commentators. From such we have come to expect an avoidance of documented, confirmable facts, in favor of ad hominum attacks, caricature, and whopper stories which appear designed to present as freaks and cultic those proponents of family reformation who sympathize with the type of ideas summarized in the first paragraph of this article.

At this point, more and more people realize that there is a big difference between a sloppy diatribe, on the one hand, and a real argument marshaled by reputable sources who have done their homework, on the other. Brian Abshire’s exhaustive refutation of an episode of serious talebearing demonstrates that people who resort to shadowy tactics have disqualified themselves from the right to be taken seriously — at least until they clean up their act and turn over a new leaf.

Dr. Abshire’s article accomplishes one other important goal: It brings encouragement to fathers and sons, moms and daughters committed to family reformation — and there are many — who have been subject to unfair harassment or vicious talebearing. It should encourage them, not only because of his charitable spirit and reasoned argumentation, but because his article is a sign of what can be — reasoned, brotherly discourse for the glory of God.

Click here to view the article.

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360 Responses to “Doug Phillips and Brian Abshire Team Up Against Cult-Watch Journal Article”

  1. Mike Says:

    Zan wrote:

    “If girls like the Botkin sisters aren’t trusted to be able to read a blog that debates what their book teaches, than they have no business writing anything. I just think that if you have to shelter your **adults** than there is a serious problem with the way you are raising your children.”

    But remember, Zan — Doug Phillips also forbids all the ADULTS in his church to read this blog. You know how powerful those Jezzie-cooties can be!

    For those who actually “obey” him in this way — kinda reminds me of all the thousands of grown men, heads of their families, patriarchs par excellence, who obediently shave their beards because Gothard demands the right to dictate their facial grooming.

    And these guys want to be seen as strong leaders?

  2. Mike Says:

    “I am sorry I meant to put a winking face with mine”

    But how do you make an all-caps winking face to fit in with all your shouting?

  3. Jen Says:

    Zan, I think you are right about the hyper-patriarchy movement being such that they protect their adult children from the world. Many of them are not prepared to deal with the world. Unfortunately, I had to learn that one the hard way with my eldest. I allowed my children much more freedom than most of my friends at BCA, and I exposed my children to many more “worldly” activities, but it was still a major culture shock to my daughter when she went out on her own. I am very proud of her for how she’s handling life’s lessons lately and I pray that she will be able to separate the good from the bad in all that I taught her growing up.

    Although it seems that the girls are always extremely sheltered in hyper-patriarchy, most of the young men I know have not gone to college either, except for Oak Brook, which is the college of choice right now. They are allowed a little more freedom in experiencing the world, it seems, with many of them not living at home. I say only a little more freedom because I can just imagine the incredible pressure to conform while working at Vision Forum. It’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle.

    Was Ryan Dick (Sproul’s grandson) underage when that picture was taken? I looked up the Florida laws to make sure and they say no alcohol at all before 21, even with a parent’s consent. It appears that Ryan is 23 now. That picture was taken at least 15 months ago, because that is the earliest I saw it online. So, in other words, I don’t know if he was drinking under age or not. And I am not opposed to drinking alcohol; that is not the purpose for posting the picture. It just seemed to fit well with his description of his own lifestyle as a party boy.

    And yes, I see the similarities in our children. I raised my daughter the hyper-patriarchy way. Tim Dick did not. Obviously the method alone is not the answer.

  4. K. Says:

    Mike:

    Since you “know” me when have I shouted? I don’t spit and I don’t shout AND I was multitasking and forgot to remove the “caps lock” key

    AND, yes, my mind is made up and I believe your mind is made up too . . . BHWAHAHAHAHAHA

  5. Nathanael Says:

    K: “[…] and I don’t shout AND I was multitasking and forgot to remove the “caps lock” key”

    Understandable; however, all-caps is almost universally considered shouting on the Internet.

    K: “AND, yes, my mind is made up and I believe your mind is made up too .”

    In my opinion, that in itself is not a bad thing (on either side). My mind is “made up” on a number of things as well; that is to say, I have come to a conclusion that I hold to fairly strongly. (If I couldn’t “make up my mind”, I’d be forever be wondering about everything.)
    However, I think it can be dangerous (again, on either side) to “make up your mind” so strongly that you ignore all possibility or suggestion that your conclusion may be incorrect, or based on incorrect data/assumptions, or whatever. I do not believe that Mike operates this way, as he has shown himself to be very capable of jumping in and defending his viewpoints. Not that defending a position makes it *correct* per se, but I think that engaging in constructive debate is a good step towards healthy openmindedness.

  6. Amy Says:

    Wow. I came in the middle of this while researching something totally different. I didn’t even know who Doug Phillips was a half an hour ago. Most of the comments I see are a pretty sad commentary about the Christian blog community. Let’s just pick out everything that offended us and then slap back. I think “infantile” was right on the money.

    The Lord DETESTS one who “stirs up’ the brethren. May I caution you that “an accuser of the brethren” puts you in league with Satan? If your first thought was, “Yeah, that’s what he’s doing.” Then you should get off the blog and back to the Scriptures. We are responsible for bringing “all thoughts captive to Christ”. You can’t control someone else’s thoughts, just your own. Good place to start.

  7. Hutch Says:

    Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
    Or you will also be like him.

    Answer a fool as his folly deserves,
    That he not be wise in his own eyes. –Proverbs 26:4-5

    Hutch:

    FUnny thing is when I used that verse to support my position too Thank you.

    K.

    K-

    Um, I know…that was my point.

  8. Lynn Says:

    Amy:
    “Most of the comments I see are a pretty sad commentary about the Christian blog community. Let’s just pick out everything that offended us and then slap back.”

    Amy, welcome to the club, and thanks for joining in with that kind of comment! IOW — you fit in very well with those you are condemning! 😉

    Blanket accusations, judgmental attitude — the whole enchilada is right there in your comment. Congratulations.

    Now, please back up your accusation with specific examples of what you see that is Scripturally wrong, and explain why they are sinful, otherwise your comment is worthless.

    Amy wrote:
    “I think “infantile” was right on the money.”

    Amy also wrote:
    “The Lord DETESTS one who “stirs up’ the brethren. May I caution you that “an accuser of the brethren” puts you in league with Satan?”

    What verse do you use in support of the Lord detesting those who “stir up the brethren.”

    And by saying “infantile” here, don’t you see that you are doing the exact, same, thing as what you accuse others of? I’m not saying you are in league with Satan, though, just that you are extremely judgmental and accusatory yourself.

  9. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Amy,

    I agree that we could all benefit from reading more of the Word. However, after looking into the mirror of the Word, when we return to the activities of life, we cannot ignore the problems inherent in the “patriarchy” movement.

    Whether you find this blog unsatisfactory or not, hopefully you will consider the suggestion that there is something very wrong with “patriarchy” as it has been presented by Vision Forum, etc. Should the name “Doug Phillips” come up in your future, may your own good mind recall that something is amiss before you patronize with Vision Forum.

  10. Nathanael Says:

    Amy said: “The Lord DETESTS one who “stirs up’ the brethren. May I caution you that “an accuser of the brethren” puts you in league with Satan?”

    Could you please point to an example of this? I don’t believe that “accusing the brethren” is the same thing as “critical intellectual debate”, which is what I see around here, for the most part.

  11. Corrie Says:

    K.,

    The Bible also tells us to answer a fool according to his folly.

    What I would like to know is how YOU define the word “fool”? Someone who disagrees with Doug Phillips’ version of patriarchy? Gothard teaches that there are 5 different kinds of fools.

    The Bible defines it as someone who says there is no God. That is one definition of the word. Do you have any more?

    What gets me is the lack of biblical support for all the rules and regulations and beyond-biblical applications of verses that don’t even carry a hint of having that teaching.

    I would LOVE for someone to engage me in a discussion concerning what the Bible actually says about this issue. It really hasn’t happened yet. Yes, people have engaged me by calling me names and ascribing motives for why I do not view patriocentric teachings as biblical. But, that isn’t the kind of discussion I would like to have. I would like to look inductively at the biblical text and reason together like the saints of old reasoned together.

    I think most people can’t do that because they take any sort of disagreement and argument as a personal offense to their own person. And, instead of being honest about why they won’t discourse in an intellectually honest fashion, they will tell me that they cannot throw their pearls to swine.

    “May I caution you that “an accuser of the brethren” puts you in league with Satan? ”

    Hi Amy,

    This kind of thing is nothing new around here. You say “in league with Satan” someone else says “devil’s whore” and someone else will use the term “Jezebel”.

    Thank you for being a person who keeps her thoughts to herself and goes to scripture when you see people doing something wrong because you know that you can’t control their thoughts.

  12. Zan Says:

    I think the method is not always the answer on how to raise kids. I don’t know why my sisters and I turned out OK. My parents were very strict with us, but they motivated us in certain areas. They had rules, but they weren’t ridiculous. By the time I was in college, I didn’t want to get into the bad crowd. I probably would’ve been able to if I really tried. I was too busy with school and felt convicted if I would even think of dating a nonChristian or drinking underage. I hope I am able to do the same with my boys. We weren’t sheltered or prohibited from pursuing careers, but the two of us who are married are SAHMs and faithful to church.

    When I was talking about the Botkin’s not letting their daughters read controversial blogs, I wasn’t just picking on them and Doug Phillips. I was using them as an example for homeschoolers who shelter their adult children the same way. Homeschoolers seem petrified of exposing their children to the world. I don’t think we should be exposing them to the world while they are young and impressionable, but we should be preparing them. How you prepare is debatable, but this overbearing behavior is not the answer.

    That is really sad about RC Sproul’s grandson. He seems like he is going through the typical PK (pastor’s kid) problems. My husband was a PK, but he came back after a few years. I am familiar with Ligionier. My husband and I rarely support Christian ministries. We give our tithe money to the church and buy our books from Amazon. When we homeschool, we will probably buy our books from A Beka. I just have a problem with huge Christian based ministries. It doesn’t seem very biblical. In the Bible, I see a local church. The local church is who should be teaching Christians and Christians should use their money to support it.

    I have a lot of opinions about these huge monster ministries and the millions that go into them. I think that it would be better that people were out feeding the poor than making Christian films or giving their money to the poor than investing in yet another book that tells you how to be submissive.

  13. Hutch Says:

    Corrie-

    The word for fool in the Old Testament means one who stops up his ears, one who will not hear.

    Hutch

  14. Hutch Says:

    Zan-

    Excellent points and examples. I am also very leery of “Big-Money Para-Church” organizations, especially those “ministries” whose stated goal is to “fix” the local church. I do not know if Doug Phillips draws a salary for being an elder/pastor at BCA, but I am sure the bulk of his income comes from his business Vision Forum. It seems to me that all of DP’s “ministry” and I use that term loosely revolves around building a base of converts to sell his Vision Forum products to. I also believe that Doug intentionally split the last church he was at in order to form BCA as a real life laboratory to test drive his “Vision”.

  15. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Hutch wrote: “I am also very leery of “Big-Money Para-Church” organizations, especially those “ministries” whose stated goal is to “fix” the local church.”

    I recently read an essay that stated that postmoderns love the para-church organizations. They avoid accountablility (within “academia,” doctrine and practice) because their organizations are outside the church. The boards of these organizations are drawn from the confidants of the leadership and all of the leadership draws all of its support from the followers. With desktop publishing, their ideas can be propagated with little to no scrutiny, and consumerism/commercialism takes care of the rest. (Consider the Petraea/betray us issue. Would someone been able to pull that on MacArthur years ago?) Doug has gone the extra mile and formed his own, new denomination to create even greater appearance of support and legitimacy. (But unfortunately, he’s been able to succeed at much of it.)

    Hutch writes: I also believe that Doug intentionally split the last church he was at in order to form BCA as a real life laboratory to test drive his “Vision”.

    At the time of BCAs inception, Doug and fam supposedly attended Grace OPC (at least, the membership at Grace OPC thought that he attended there). I don’t know if he was a full member, but the membership considered him a congregant when I also attended there circa ’99-01. When BCA transitioned from Doug’s not quite every Sunday morning non-church homegroup for homeschoolers into a formally declared “church,” he did cull homeschool affiliated families with him from Grace OPC in San Antonio. There was no church split of any kind at that time, however, unless Doug also attended other churches in the area. Those Grace OPC families had been attending Doug’s other hosted meetings and just transitioned right out. There was no controversy (just much “unspoken” or barely articulated suspicion of Doug and his group).

  16. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Again, in reference to my comment regarding the unfortunate success of the FIC.

    I think that however a local church agrees to conduct their worship services is wonderful. I love to see families and large families actively involved in the life of the church and believe that families should also have the right to dispense with their chlidren as they see fit while at worship services. (They should be supported if they want to remain together as a family in the congregation, etc.) But the local body should be able to opt for Sunday school, etc. as they see fit and as those members and elders agree.

    What I believe to be a shame is that Doug has created a group to provide support for his own legitimacy as a religious authority without appropriate training. Does anyone know if he has been ordained by a group other than the one he created– a ministry that plants churches? I don’t believe that people realize that Doug is not a trained minister and that the group that supports him was created by him from a para-church organization. On a superficial level, the FIC looks like a wonderful thing, so I believe that people just sign up without knowledge of how others may “interpret” the FIC documents. With the benefit of the doubt, the sophistry of it all can deceive well-meaning believers into lending support to Phillips without the opportunity to critically review these lesser known facts.

  17. CD-Host Says:

    I also believe that Doug intentionally split the last church he was at in order to form BCA as a real life laboratory to test drive his “Vision”.

    Hutch —

    Sorry to play devil’s advocate here but even assuming that’s true I have a hard time seeing the problem. A laboratory is useful for testing the ideas out. He runs several major organizations (vision forum, national center for family integrated churches…). If he had to break a church to get a lab I’m hard pressed to see the problem. That seems like the kind of call that leaders (or would be leaders) of a denomination have to make.

  18. Hutch Says:

    Cindy-

    Perhaps my use of the term “church-split” may not be absolutely accurate. I was going off of an account I read written by William F. Hill Jr. Mr. Hill originally left with Doug and company and later returned to Grace OPC. It seems that he considered himself an actual member of Grace OPC and he seems to indicate that other families who left would also have been considered members of Grace OPC. It also seems like it was an issue the elders of Grace OPC had to deal with within the congregation as they encouraged the congregants in an official written document to not follow those who were departing. You would obviously be better prepared to comment on how big an issue this event was for the leadership of Grace OPC, but it sure was hypocritical of Doug and company in light of his teaching on how to leave a church. Maybe it was a small “church-split”?

  19. CynthiaGee Says:

    “Homeschoolers seem petrified of exposing their children to the world.”

    I’ve noticed this myself, and it’s one of the things that bothers me about the whole movement.
    These folks seem to feel that if their kids, especially their daughters, are ever exposed to the world, they’ll “fly the coop” and never come back — in the words of the old cliche, “You can’t keep ’em down on the farm, once they’ve seen the lights of the big city.”
    Quite likely they are right. The whole let’s-separate-ourselves-from-society/racial-purity/agrarian/homeschooling/patriarchal movement is not found in the Bible, and it is not a historical part of any orthodox denomination. It is a 20th century phenomenon, born of the paranoia of the mid-to-late 90’s, back when Gary North and Phil Lancaster were predicting catastrophe at the stroke of midnight, 01/01/2000 (remember Rivendell in Floyd County?)
    As such, the movement is all about lifestyle rather than faith, and once these sheltered kids see this, and learn that it’s possible to be a perfectly useful disciple of Jesus Christ while wearing normal clothes, going to college, engaging in chaste dating and attending a normal church, they will see their parent’s lifestyle for what it is — a dying late 20th century fad — and they WILL fly the coop, no doubt about it.

  20. CD-Host Says:

    Hutch —

    William Hill left an entirely different church (http://www.calvaryrpc.org/) years after the whole Grace issue. While Doug encouraged this split, he wasn’t even a member of Calvary.

  21. CynthiaGee Says:

    “I also believe that Doug intentionally split the last church he was at in order to form BCA as a real life laboratory to test drive his “Vision”. ”

    …This sort of reminds me of Amy’s comment about people who “stir up the brethren.”
    That particular phrase isn’t found in the Bible, but maybe Amy was thinking of THIS verse, which, incidentally, perfectly describes someone who would cause a church split in order to achieve his own agenda, er, “vision”:
    Rom 16:17 Ҧ Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
    Rom 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. “

  22. Hutch Says:

    CD-Host-

    I understand your point. Denominations have historically developed by adherents rallying around ether doctrinal distinctives. My point is Doug teaches that the only way to biblically leave a church is to have the permission from the elders of that congregation. My observation is that Doug does not have the heart of an elder/pastor as evidenced by his incompetence in teaching God’s Word and the disastrous consequences of his “biblical counseling”. His primary passion does not seem to be to minister to his flock but to build his business. He seems more like a guest speaker and figure head at BCA. Do not get me wrong, I am a supply side economist and a capitalist. Doug having a thriving business is not my beef, more power to him! My problem is how he masquerades as a pastor/elder of a church and how is primary motive in conducting “ministry” seems to be to further his business.

  23. Hutch Says:

    Yep, I still cannot spell! Can somebody teach my computer to know what I am thinking?

  24. Hutch Says:

    Cd-Host & Cindy-

    William Hill left an entirely different church (http://www.calvaryrpc.org/) years after the whole Grace issue. While Doug encouraged this split, he wasn’t even a member of Calvary.

    Wow, I am embarrassed! Wiping egg off of face. I better go back to bed. Sheesh.

    Seriously: Thank you for correcting me.

    My apologies to this blog and to Doug Phillips for misrepresenting that situation.

  25. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Hutch,

    My husband and I were very hard-pressed with illness and other life circumstances during the latter phase of our attendance at Grace OPC, so I don’t doubt that they encouraged families to remain at their fellowship. If anything formal did take place, it was not really all that big of a deal. (The congregation was a very healthy mix of all ages, IMO, so the families that left didn’t disrupt the main focus of the church.)

    It is all confusing though, because as Jen told me, Grace OPC did suffer a split since I left there and Texas. They got a new pastor sometime circa 2002, and I assume that it took place after that time. I don’t know what they split over…

  26. Jen Says:

    Zan: “I think that it would be better that people were out feeding the poor than making Christian films or giving their money to the poor than investing in yet another book that tells you how to be submissive.”

    You are wise beyond your years, Zan. While I am not adamantly opposed to para-church ministries, I do see some significant issues, accountability being a main one. With the Christian films, I am still wondering about the target audience. Billy Graham’s ministry has produced some films targeted at evangelizing the lost. The films Doug is promoting seem to be preaching to the choir. A lot of money goes into producing those. It might be money well spent on reaching the lost by providing for basic necessities of life. What a concept!

    Hutch: “It seems to me that all of DP’s “ministry” and I use that term loosely revolves around building a base of converts to sell his Vision Forum products to.”

    Yep. I agree absolutely.

    Hutch, I also agree that it was a church split at Grace OPC. Doug Phillips left and took several member families with him. They were not commissioned to go out and start a church plant. It caused lots of heartache for those who were left. Church splits are not always wrong, but considering the heavy emphasis Doug now puts on how to properly leave a church, you are again correct in stating that he is a hypocrite in this area. As of a few months ago, I know that Doug had not apologized for not leaving Grace properly, as his understanding of Scripture (however improper) leads him now.

    Would it have been wrong to have started a new church for the purpose of “test-driving” his vision? Probably not, if he had gone out under the blessing of his current church. You know, come to think about it, he always told us that he went out under the blessing of a pastor in Virginia. If it weren’t for Cindy Kunsman, I might not have realized that he wasn’t telling us the truth about that either.

    Again, Hutch, you are right that Doug’s primary passion is not to shepherd his flock, but to further his business. By this time last year, he was averaging attendance at BCA once every eight weeks. I understand he is there MUCH more often this year, but I’m not sure that is his choice. 🙂

    The Family Integrated Church movement has become a booming part of his business. BCA is one of the two main model churches for the NCFIC. Doug does everything he can to maintain appearances at BCA, I believe, in order to further promote the NCFIC, including excommunicating a hurting family rather than help them when it seemed divorce was imminent. What a nasty blot a divorce would have been for the model family integrated church!

    Cindy: “Doug has gone the extra mile and formed his own, new denomination to create even greater appearance of support and legitimacy.”

    It is interesting how this evolved, Cindy. John Thompson had the idea of putting together a webpage where people could find churches that didn’t have Sunday School or youth groups. Doug volunteered to let him put it up on Vision Forum. It wasn’t too long before it became a Vision Forum ministry. Now some people even give it the authority of a denomination. It is only a matter of time before Doug is the new pope of the Family Integrated Church denomination unless something happens to stop it.

  27. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    CD-Host wrote: “My point is Doug teaches that the only way to biblically leave a church is to have the permission from the elders of that congregation.”

    This is very cultic. What are the ramifications for leaving without permission? I was informed upon leaving my Gothard-influenced group that all manner of serious evil would befall me. (I’m not sure if they still hold to that after several tragedies struck the inner circle of leadership since I left there- without permission.) My pastor lied to me and leadership was soft and supportive of pornographers and wife-beaters, etc. Why would I continue to consider them legitimate leadership, especially after the unbiblical curses?

    m*** wrote to tell us a few moons ago that Doug cursed her and any church she might attend after leaving BCA. Jen and Mark Epstein have certainly endured this treatment as well, although I don’t know if they were actually told that evil would befall them.

    And Doug is upset that people charge him with “cultic behavior?” http://www.geocities.com/athens/forum/9575/theytold.htm

  28. Jen Says:

    Cindy, it may be cultic to require that members cannot leave without the elders’ permission, but wouldn’t that same standard apply to Doug when he left Grace OPC as well? As he teaches at the NCFIC conferences, did he go to the elders and explain his concerns? Did he try to work with them and show them his thoughts in Scripture? Did he volunteer to have a family Sunday School class? I found them very willing to let our children stay with us in Sunday School.

    I don’t think we were told that evil would befall us. I was told when the disciplinary action statement was read to me that it would be a watershed moment in my life (that was the understatement of the year!) and that they feared for my soul if I didn’t repent. As far as being cursed, Doug did tell me that I would pay for writing that voting piece, so I guess he was going to be the one to bring the curse.

    Your link doesn’t work, Cindy. Could you try it again?

  29. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Jen wrote: Hutch, I also agree that it was a church split at Grace OPC. Doug Phillips left and took several member families with him. They were not commissioned to go out and start a church plant. It caused lots of heartache for those who were left. Church splits are not always wrong, but considering the heavy emphasis Doug now puts on how to properly leave a church, you are again correct in stating that he is a hypocrite in this area. As of a few months ago, I know that Doug had not apologized for not leaving Grace properly, as his understanding of Scripture (however improper) leads him now.

    Would it have been wrong to have started a new church for the purpose of “test-driving” his vision? Probably not, if he had gone out under the blessing of his current church. You know, come to think about it, he always told us that he went out under the blessing of a pastor in Virginia. If it weren’t for Cindy Kunsman, I might not have realized that he wasn’t telling us the truth about that either.

    You know, I was nearly “overcome by events” nearly the whole time that we lived in Texas, so I don’t even know if Doug was going to Grace OPC when he was free or whether he was a card carrying member. It could be that he just attended when convenient (Beall did not attempt to come without him at that time), still considering himself to be a member of that Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Virginia. (He cites that pastor as his mentor on the “About the President” page on the VF website.) Perhaps Doug considers the “church plant” to be from that church in Virginia? I wonder if that pastor officially “ordained” Doug for the planting of a new church? I couldn’t tell from that website whether Sovereign Grace Baptist Church was independent or whether they were with another denomination. That would be interesting to know.

    That would make some sense, as I wrongly thought BCA was Presby because Doug attended a Presby church. Perhaps he was just slumming until he built his “work” into BCA? But many considered him to be a part of the BCA body, including one elder that I know of.

  30. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    I don’t know why that link didn’t work, but here’s the same article on battered sheep’s site:

    http://www.batteredsheep.com/they_told.html

  31. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Jen wrote: “Cindy, it may be cultic to require that members cannot leave without the elders’ permission, but wouldn’t that same standard apply to Doug when he left Grace OPC as well? As he teaches at the NCFIC conferences, did he go to the elders and explain his concerns?”

    Jen,
    During the interim that I attended Grace OPC, I think that I saw Doug twice. He told both my husband and me (as did Beall) that it his poor attendance was due to his activities as Henry Morris’ “Director of Apologetics” (expressly stated several times). My husband piped up right away, because he never saw Doug’s name on any literature (and hubby was a member of all the creation science groups at the time including the ones that required advanced science degrees to participate). That may have been another big nail in our non-normative coffin. (It is interesting to note that Doug’s VF Bio does not state that he was “director.”) Then Beall offered that when Doug was in town, they often had Sunday morning homegroup meetings which they stated numerous times were not church services, although there was some preaching that went on. I received an email from a former member of Grace (who attended there about the time of the church split at Grace, long after we left…) who asked why Doug was not disciplined for holding these concurrent meetings. I was not privledged to know to their dealings with Doug and was barely able to keep up with the events of my own life at that time. But he was virtually never there, so perhaps the elders did not perceive things as a big issue.

    Only those families who went to BCA fussed over Doug and everybody else treated him (appropriately) like a regular Joe, and I only saw Doug fuss over his adoring homeschooling families. But everyone knew who he was, including some aging couples that I spent time with there. They didn’t flock around him, and even my husband said that Doug treated us with a quickly declining interest during the meeting because we did not “adore” him with the appropriate level of “awe.” (And we were very excited to finally meet him after we’d heard that he attended there.) So I don’t know if they just didn’t care or didn’t see him as worth the effort? (That leadership had their own share of struggles and issues, too. The church had once been very large and had dwindled, and the pastor was aging and ill himself, with an elderly parent with alzheimers at home to care for. Leadership was stretched quite thin in many ways.) If he was so infrequently attending and had these excellent excuses, they may have given him a pass. I got the impression that Doug didn’t have much awe for the leadership, so he may not have sought their cooperation or blessing.

    As is sometimes best with larger than life characters, it’s best to leave them be. The people who knew the Phillips avoided discussion of them, but their conversation about Doug was always “pregnant.” Vision Forum must have been discussed at some time, because a grandmother there expressed her opinion to me that Doug was practically running a cult in Boerne. (And she certainly didn’t spend time heavily involved in the homeschooling community!)

    Again, to get back to the initial question, Doug may have explained his concerns, and the elders may not have been all that concerned about them. (They all seemed to know his concerns…) There was never a formal announcement about BCA formally opening as a church entity. That came through the grapevine when asking, “What happened to so-and-so.” But Grace was cliquish, so many things were communicated like that. Much went “unspoken” because people were not given to gossip which I did appreciate.

  32. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Jen wrote: I don’t think we were told that evil would befall us. I was told when the disciplinary action statement was read to me that it would be a watershed moment in my life (that was the understatement of the year!) and that they feared for my soul if I didn’t repent. As far as being cursed, Doug did tell me that I would pay for writing that voting piece, so I guess he was going to be the one to bring the curse.

    If you look at that “They Told Me If I Left..” article, groups can tell you a wide variety of unbiblical things when you leave. Basically, they don’t necessarily have to issue a curse, but they can tell you a host of things to create self-doubt, shame and keep you off balance. Someone fearing for my mortal soul would definitely fall into that catagory. They did excommunicate too, but as many have said, they never hoped that you would come back. Otherwise, they would have pursued some of the reconciliation attempts. (That’s also another interesting point made in that article by Henzel. They may send someone to contact you under the guise of calling you back.)

    The cultic aspect rests in denouncement of some type by the group. “Off balance” is an excellent descriptor of the goal of this tactic. This can be done in a host of ways, but they usually result in a troubling denouncement of some variety.

  33. Thinking Says:

    Zan: “I think that it would be better that people were out feeding the poor than making Christian films or giving their money to the poor than investing in yet another book that tells you how to be submissive.”

    Scott Brown, director of NCFIC and on VF’s board of directors from the first year it filed as a 501(c)3 teaches that “The Greatest Untapped Evangelistic Opportunity Before the Modern Church” is ” the salvation of millions of children under the evangelistic and discipleship ministry of fathers and mothers in the home. This is not the only mission field, to be sure, but it is perhaps the most neglected mission field before the church in our time.”
    http://www.visionforumministries.org/issues/uniting_church_and_family/the_greatest_untapped_evangeli.aspx

    Wow. He should do his homework on the 10/40 window.

    and

    Approximately 2/3 of the world’s population, 80% of the world’s Poor, 95% of whom have never heard the Gospel. There are about 600 American churches for every unreached people group. Imagine the possibilities. . .

  34. Zan Says:

    I’m not against all para-church ministries, either, but they shouldn’t be our main focus. It seem like these ministries spend a lot of time trying to prove things instead of doing things. My FIL often says that no one was ever argued into being a Christian. I think it would be better if we acted on our beliefs instead of just arguing or writing another book about them. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. We just need to be doing more acts of charity, IMO. 🙂

  35. CynthiaGee Says:

    Zan, Thinking, I agree with you.
    The churches of America should be evangelizing and feeding the 10/40 window, rather than advising American Christians to sit home on our comfortable, well nourished butts and out-breed them.
    These people who advocate spreading Christianity mainly via way of the womb are in effect claiming that we should for the most part ignore these lost sheep, condemning them to lives of poverty, starvation, and possible eternal damnation, in favor of tending to our own prosperous houses.

  36. Maggie Graham Says:

    Cynthia said:

    “These people who advocate spreading Christianity mainly via way of the womb are in effect claiming that we should for the most part ignore these lost sheep, condemning them to lives of poverty, starvation, and possible eternal damnation, in favor of tending to our own prosperous houses.”

    I have thought the same thing for a long time now, but never seen anyone phrase the thought nearly so well! Thank you for a real gem of a quote here! I’d applaud you, if the truth of what you say wasn’t such cause for grief.

  37. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Zan:
    We just need to be doing more acts of charity, IMO.

    Morgan: I heartily concur…
    More people need to realize that it really is a ‘one another world’ and act accordingly.

  38. RR Says:

    Having to get permission from the elders to leave the “church” resulted in 913 deaths at Jonestown. I wonder what this extra-biblical requirement will lead to at Phillips-town. Especially since they only have ONE elder with another ” in training ” or in the advanced brainwashing program.

    Yep Botkin, I think you guys are in a Cult and will continue to pray that you gather the courage to cut the umbilical cord from Doug, and set your family free. Thinking for yourself is not so bad, you will get the hang of it. Glad you read this blog, I promise not to rat you out to Doug.

    Word Porn is a sin.

  39. Corrie Says:

    “My FIL often says that no one was ever argued into being a Christian. I think it would be better if we acted on our beliefs instead of just arguing or writing another book about them. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. We just need to be doing more acts of charity, IMO. ”

    Zan,

    Exactly!

    I heard this same thing on Sunday and I truly believe this is what is needed. We will not argue anyone into becoming a believer.

  40. Mike Says:

    K wrote to me: “AND, yes, my mind is made up and I believe your mind is made up too.”

    My mind is made up about some things. For example, I love broccoli, regardless of what former President Bush had to say about it. But that’s just a personal preference. I am certain that paraphsychology is hogwash. I consider brainless defense of indefensible false teachings to be laughable.

    When it comes to Doug. vs. Jen — I lean toward Jen’s side, that’s for sure, but I have written plenty of comments defending Doug, too. I’m not fully convinced either way at this time, but the more I get to know Jen, the more I trust her story, in the same way you lean the other way for the same reason.

    But there is one huge difference. You told Cynthia not to bother showing you the evidence to support her assertion, because your mind was made up. That is not the same as being strongly inclined one way or the other. That is not the same as being convinced on the basis of facts and truth.

    That is the epitome of closed-mindedness. That is exactly what I said: “Don’t confuse me with the facts; my mind’s made up.”

    On the other hand, since I am aware that I can be wrong — I am constantly asking for correction, clarification, and evidence. I seek the evidence to support assertions from both sides. I am willing to be proved wrong, and when that happens, I am grateful, not resentful, toward the person who has corrected me. There are a few folks in here who could support these assertions I just made — with evidence — but I venture to guess that your mind is made up about me, too.

    Here’s my rationale: The person who is confident that he is in the right can afford to examine the best evidence the other side has to offer — and he should desire to see that best evidence, for several reasons:

    1) He could find errors in that evidence and strengthen his own confidence in his position.

    2) He could find weaknesses in his own position and make it stronger through correction.

    3) He could even change his mind and admit he has been wrong.

    I have dealt with many, many people defending Gothard and Ezzo, for example, whose minds were made up, just as strongly as yours is concerning this whole “Sturm und drang” in here. But the issue is not how strong you think your position is; what counts is whether or not you are willing to look at the evidence as fairly and thoroughly as possible, because you want the truth.

    You, K, have given us overwhelming evidence that you are entirely unwilling to do so. I, for one, am not inclined to go to the enormous effort of trying to change that situation. I have done so with a lot of folks before — folks that were just as hostile toward me as you are now, and who are now good friends.

    But since I am NOT in possession of all the facts in this case, I do not believe I can fairly and accurately persuade you. I have found through much experience that in order to persuade someone so obstinately closed-minded as you show yourself to be, it takes enormous energy and time, and a near-complete mastery of the evidence. That is energy and time I just don’t have right now, for personal reasons.

    And since you have already expressed your desire never to converse with me again on any subject at any time, I won’t bother trying. Trying to reason with you makes that proverbial brick wall look mighty inviting by comparison!

    But of course, right after you said you never wanted to talk to me again, you then addressed me directly! LOL! So I just put that declaration in the same category as your constant refrain of “I’m leaving forever” — “Oh, one more thing,” — “My husband told me to stop” — “I have permission again” — “Mike’s an ass.” You know — all those — um — shall we say: all those “terminological inexactitudes.”

    All of that is easy for me to tolerate — and in fact, I have just enjoyed laughing at it. But your shameful mistreatment of God’s word for the purpose of personal attack is no laughing matter. I will continue to confront you about that, even though it is obvious that you refuse to hear it right now.

    Maybe some day you will see the great harm you are doing to your own testimony and to the cause of Christ by misusing God’s word so flippantly and with such malicious intent. Maybe someone else will finally get through to you, and if that happens, maybe you will think back to those long-ago days on Jen’s blog and that “ass” who tried to warn you way back when.

    Now since you have already left for good — again and again and again — you won’t read this, anyway. And since you have no desire to ever converse with me again about anything, you won’t be responding to this if you do accidentally see it. And since you are being honest with us when you say these things, both of those above statements are true. Right?

    RIIIIIIIIIGHT!

  41. WOW Says:

    Amy, you said:

    “The Lord DETESTS one who “stirs up’ the brethren. May I caution you that “an accuser of the brethren” puts you in league with Satan? If your first thought was, “Yeah, that’s what he’s doing.” Then you should get off the blog and back to the Scriptures. We are responsible for bringing “all thoughts captive to Christ”. You can’t control someone else’s thoughts, just your own. Good place to start.”

    Dear Amy, perhaps you were referring to this scripture?

    “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. Proverbs 6:16-19”

    It is typical that you picked out one phrase from this vitally important verse, and used it to attempt to prove your point. As usual when doing this, most of the rest of the verses pointed back at yourself and the one you were defending, Doug Phillips. A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood (Jen’s kids, metaphorically), feet running to mischief, a false witness speaking lies, and what the hey, even he that soweth discord among brothers applies (as Doug condemns those not adhering to his extra-biblical psuedocommands).

    Please think before you post, Amy. Especially when making the self-servingly proud, slanderous, lying, wicked, mischievous, false witness claim that another is in league with Satan.

  42. WOW Says:

    CynthiaGee said:

    “The churches of America should be evangelizing and feeding the 10/40 window, rather than advising American Christians to sit home on our comfortable, well nourished butts and out-breed them.
    These people who advocate spreading Christianity mainly via way of the womb are in effect claiming that we should for the most part ignore these lost sheep, condemning them to lives of poverty, starvation, and possible eternal damnation, in favor of tending to our own prosperous houses.”

    Well, Cynthia, this is a natural consequence of HyperCalvinism. If God irresistibly calls those that are his own, and every single predestined person comes to salvation as part of God’s plan no matter what we do, then why would you waste your time going to tell those people? And if Jesus did not shed his blood and die for those people that do not come to him, why would you care about them either? Why would you go and care for them and feed them? I could say so much more, but I will say that this is a big part of the reason that I no longer attend a Presbyterian Church. No one seemed to be interested in any of the verses where Jesus commands us to go and tell the whole world the Good News, or when we care for the poor we are caring for him, or any of the many other similar verses. At least in this particular church, Christianity was an intellectual exercise in parsing Doctrine and Phariseeism. While claiming themselves wise, they seemed to be fools. They claimed to microscopically tease apart scripture for complete understanding, yet they literally DID NOT SEE any verses that required evangelism. And they considered anyone that pointed out their blindness to be a heretic. I decided I wanted to live in the New Testament. And I have never looked back.

  43. K. Says:

    WOW says: hands that shed innocent blood (Jen’s kids, metaphorically),

    Now that to me is a misuse of scripture – Jen’s children’s blood was not shed – wouldn’t that put them in the same light as Christ who shed his innocent blood? Sorry WOW that was far reaching even as a metaphor.

  44. Corrie Says:

    K.,

    Instead of the “innocent blood” verse, how about when Jesus said it was better for a person to have a millstone tied around their neck and thrown into the sea than to cause one of these “little ones” to stumble?

  45. Lynn Says:

    No, it wouldn’t put them in the same category of Christ. Shedding innocent blood can mean a person kills someone who has not committed a crime or done anything for which he or she should be killed by another human being.

  46. Corrie Says:

    “On the other hand, since I am aware that I can be wrong — I am constantly asking for correction, clarification, and evidence. I seek the evidence to support assertions from both sides. I am willing to be proved wrong, and when that happens, I am grateful, not resentful, toward the person who has corrected me. There are a few folks in here who could support these assertions I just made — with evidence — but I venture to guess that your mind is made up about me, too.

    Here’s my rationale: The person who is confident that he is in the right can afford to examine the best evidence the other side has to offer — and he should desire to see that best evidence, for several reasons:

    1) He could find errors in that evidence and strengthen his own confidence in his position.

    2) He could find weaknesses in his own position and make it stronger through correction.

    3) He could even change his mind and admit he has been wrong. ”

    I just had to repeat this because this is so good and so right on the mark. All I have to say is “Yeah, what Mike said.”

    I am where he is on this issue. I can support the assertions you have made, since I have known you for a decade.

    I cannot vouch for him, though, when people violate formatting and grammatical standards during a full, blue or harvest moon. I cannot be held responsible for any psychological injuries incurred during these events. 🙂

  47. K. Says:

    well, sorry there were still not murdered and you are right I did not use a very good example.

    Corrie: Parents can cause their children to stumble by their own actions. I do not buy that BCA caused those children to stumble.

  48. K. Says:

    sorry -THEY not there were still not murdered

  49. Lynn Says:

    K:
    “I do not buy that BCA caused those children to stumble.”

    Let’s all remember what Natasha shared:

    Natasha Epstein:
    “Do any of you realise just how much my family, myself, and my siblings have been hurt by all this? I don’t think you do, so I’ll tell you my part. I attended that church from age 13-17. All my friends were from that church. All my social activities revolved around that church. BCA was my world basically. Not only that, but almost every Sunday for 2 years I took care of Honor Phillips for the entire day. And at just about any church function I took care of Honor as well. He was like my own baby. I also helped out with the rest of the Phillips children from time to time. I did a lot with the Phillips family, especially since my best friend was their maid and nanny. When we were kicked out, I lost my whole world. Everything and everyone that I knew was taken from me practically. I lost my award, all my friendships, fellowship, Honor, my good name. No one was allowed to associate with me. And certainly not MARRY me! Not that I would want to marry any of those self-righteous, patriarchal, stuck up, dougite young men, who have their noses sn stand up for right when they see wrong being done. I used to be held up as an example of a GODLY young woman, now another friend of mine that was excommunicated and I are both held up as examples of UNGODLY young women. And 3 years later this is still my lot in life.”

  50. Bryan Says:

    Matt. 5:21-24
    “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

    Tongues can shed innocent blood too.

  51. Corrie Says:

    “Corrie: Parents can cause their children to stumble by their own actions. I do not buy that BCA caused those children to stumble.”

    K.,

    You may be right but you can’t really say for sure that BCA and its theology and its practice and its treatment of other believers didn’t have an effect on those children, can you?

    James tells us that teachers should be careful because they will incur a stricter judgment.

    IMHO, the counseling that the Epsteins received was woefully inadequate and did not address the REAL problem (forgiveness for long ago sin committed before conversion; sin that was already repented of) and instead, by their counseling, inflamed sinful anger because of their own skewed worldview. Instead of causing healing in that family and leading the husband to forgive, BCA’s counsel caused damage, hurt, pain and sinful anger to blossom. They did not go after the root of unforgiveness because they were too intent on nurturing a sin that God doesn’t even remember anymore.

    If Natasha and the other children saw wrong treatment towards their family, it would be a source of stumbling, would it not? What about the award that VF/Phillips stripped from Natasha? I am sure there are many other stories that could be told of the events that happened well before the Epsteins ever went public.

    I guess I would caution you to be a bit more objective when it comes to absolving VF/BCA of all guilt since they were in a position of leadership. I am tired of the hyper-patriarchal crowd wanting their patriarchs to have all the power, control and authority but responsibility and blame is the stuff of women and rebels.

    What came first, the chicken or the egg? What came first? Bad leaders/teachers/false teachers or rebellion?

  52. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “What came first? Bad leaders/teachers/false teachers or rebellion?”

    That’s easy. If I’ve read Jen’s account correctly, the Epsteins weren’t “rebellious” when they first began attending BCA, or else they probably wouldn’t have stuck around; rather, they were eager to learn everything that they could. The problems started after they had been there a while, and came to realize that not only did the nonsense that was being passed off as doctrine not work, but they were blamed for its not working! Bad teachers/leaders and false doctrine caused the entire situation, anyone with an ounce of sense would rebel against a mess like that.

  53. K. Says:

    Corrie: There have been unanswered questions on here of things that have come to light shall we say. one was Mark’s drinking so badly he was in a hospital several months ago – was this a sin that was going on back then while they attended BCA? No one has ever said whether or not that was an issue at BCA (not even BCA) – also the question was asked but never answered several months ago if Natasha’s award information was removed after her web page came out. This young woman was a role model — (In her own words she took care of the Phillips’ children) in the world of sports people have been stripped of their award when they have had misconduct (IE: Pete Rose comes to mine) THis is not uncommon. One more thing – is there anyone on this blog who has actually been in attendance w/ the Epsteins in church who can vouch for their story? I have seen no one. Jen can say WHATEVER she wants and spin any tale (truth or lie) and who was there that knows what really happened?

  54. Jen Says:

    K: “Jen can say WHATEVER she wants and spin any tale (truth or lie) and who was there that knows what really happened?”

    If that’s the case, K., why should I bother to answer any of your questions?

    It has been nearly 10 months since my story first came out, K. Can you point to even one specific refutation of my story? How long do you think it takes to say, “That is not true; this is what really happened.” I am not talking about a general, broad denial. If anything I’ve said here is not true, I have stood willing all these months for anyone to refute it. Not only has there been no documentation or evidence showing otherwise, but Doug has not even said so; he just issues attacks, such as the latest article, which I see you have not responded to yet.

  55. Mike Says:

    Jen wrote: “It has been nearly 10 months since my story first came out, K. Can you point to even one specific refutation of my story? How long do you think it takes to say, ‘That is not true; this is what really happened.’ I am not talking about a general, broad denial. If anything I’ve said here is not true, I have stood willing all these months for anyone to refute it. Not only has there been no documentation or evidence showing otherwise, but Doug has not even said so; he just issues attacks, such as the latest article, which I see you have not responded to yet.”

    This reminds me that the SFU children made a big production of starting a “new category” back in May — “in direct response to Jennifer’s constant ongoing plea that someone please tell her the sins she committed.”

    Here is the first item in that new category:

    “Doug never called Jen a Jezebel. Didn’t happen. It’s a lie.”

    That is the extent of the refutation — an assertion to the contrary, with no supporting evidence beyond their characterization of Jen as a liar! LOL! This perfectly epitomizes Jen’s words above: “I am not talking about a general, broad denial.” There has been no second “sin” listed.

    Since that time, the SFU children have posted nothing but a stupid “Three Stooges” video in an attempt to ridicule Jen’s blog — and now they have fallen silent for the last four months.

  56. Lynn Says:

    “Since that time, the SFU children have posted nothing but a stupid “Three Stooges” video in an attempt to ridicule Jen’s blog — and now they have fallen silent for the last four months.”

    They fell silent because one of their own — one of Vision Forum’s darlings, played in a band, a band which performed for a man who is famous for sponsoring pornography and immorality.

    Thanks to Sword Pen and Trumpet blog for informing us of that little gem.

  57. Jen Says:

    Mike: “Here is the first item in that new category:

    ‘Doug never called Jen a Jezebel. Didn’t happen. It’s a lie.’

    “That is the extent of the refutation…”

    And what pattern have we seen of Doug calling others, especially women, not only a Jezebel, but dozens of other equally charitable terms as well?

  58. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “Since that time, the SFU children have posted nothing but a stupid “Three Stooges” video in an attempt to ridicule Jen’s blog — and now they have fallen silent for the last four months.”

    Actually, SFU posted that video on May 23, about half an hour after I posted this picture here on Jen’s blog in reference to Doug and Chancey’s spiff fedoras….

  59. james Says:

    Great post, People need to read this.

  60. Ava Says:

    Interesting Read


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