The Atlantic Wire: “An Infidelity Scandal Just Shuttered a Major ‘Biblical Patriarchy’ Organization”

A major conservative Christian organization shuttered its doors on Monday after its president, Doug Phillips, resigned from his position in the wake of an extramarital affair. Phillips is an extremely influential leader in the “Biblical Patriarchy” movement, a wing of conservative evangelical Christianity that believes men should have “dominion” over women. Phillips and his organization, Vision Forum, are enormously active in a cluster of related ministries, including the Christian homeschooling movement. The group also advocates against access to birth control and abortion. Even if you don’t know Vision Forum, you know some of its friends: Kirk Cameron, for one; the Duggars, for another.

Here’s what happened.

31 Responses to “The Atlantic Wire: “An Infidelity Scandal Just Shuttered a Major ‘Biblical Patriarchy’ Organization””

  1. DesiringToDiscern Says:

    No photo of Doug… just the Duggars who have no connection to this scandal !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This does affect non-VF owners and non-BCA members !

  2. DaMom Says:

    I guess the media is portraying them as “guilty” by association with Doug Phillips due to their TV personalities. They practice patriarchy, quiverful,,,,,among other things….the same as DP/VF.

  3. Jen Says:

    Yes, I certainly don’t like the “guilt by association” aspect of this article, but it shows how the world views this situation. And that is something we need to keep in mind as we make our own public comments.

  4. Morgan Farmer Says:

    For the life of me, I cannot see where anything he has said or will say in the future is valid.

  5. Angela Wittman Says:

    Dear Jen, I’ve been reading some of the comments posted on your blog and besides being offended at the gossip, I’m also concerned with you attacking Biblical patriarchy. I hope you’ll please take time to listen to this sermon by Rev. William Einwechter: . I realize it isn’t a popular message, but it is Biblical. Thank you, Angela Wittman

    • Maxwell Says:

      Angela, I know I’m not Jen but a friend of mine just posted the following article on her FB page, I thought it timely and it is just as Biblical as anything else. Interesrting thing about “Biblical” articles, sermons, churches, etc… they all claim to follow scripture but they all seem to disagree.

    • Maxwell Says:

      Ya know, there’d be a easy way to stop any gossip and speculation about Doug and thatb would be for Doug to tell the truth and come clean. Confess, repent, tell the truth, seek forgiveness, make restitution, and seek peace within the body of Christ. He doesn’t seem to interrested in doing that though.

      • Angela Wittman Says:

        I think Doug Phillips has probably said too much as it is… Let’s not forget there are innocent parties suffering from this humiliation – his wife and children. My prayers and thoughts are with them.

      • Retha Says:

        Angela – are any of your prayers and thoughts with the young woman, the one who probably grew up with the message that she should obey men whether they are right or not, that when a man treat you wrong it is your fault for not being “godly”/ submissive enough, that was, if she grew up in Vision Forum, never taught she has a right to say no to Doug, who he had an “affair” with?

    • Jackie C Says:

      Angela, you seem to be confused. Even Rev. Einwechter acknowledges that his worldview is just how he interprets the Bible. “It is our belief that the traditional interpretation is the correct one.” By traditional, he must mean how Americans lived 100 years ago, because it’s certainly not what Jesus expected. Perhaps you need to go back and read the story of Mary and Martha. Martha had the same complaint about Mary that you do about Jen, and look at what Jesus said to her. I think it’s time you read the Bible in its entirety for yourself. Buy some commentaries and read what others think outside of your culture. You might find you have been missing a lot.

      I am glad to see that you are reading this blog, despite being offended by some comments, comments generally made out of concern for the injured party. Perhaps God is calling you to view him in a new way and you are seeking out alternative views because God is calling your name?

      • Angela Wittman Says:

        I don’t read this blog – but stumbled across it while doing research for an article I plan to write regarding Biblical headship in the family, civil and ecclesiastical realms. I am Reformed Presbyterian and well grounded in Scripture – if anyone is calling out to me to view God in a new way, it is Satan.

    • Retha Says:

      Angela, about your “keepers at home” link, it seems the reverend wants to go a lot further than what is actually in the passage:
      The passage never say these things should be the main or only focus of a woman’s life – only that she should be taught how to do them.

      • Angela Wittman Says:

        LOL! So, a woman should just be taught how to take care of the home? But why if it isn’t her calling? Perhaps the good Lord is giving us instruction on how to handle lazy and messy men? Sorry Retha, but this doesn’t make sense. I hope you will take a look at the whole of Scripture and refrain from nit-picking to make your point. Perhaps you should read more of Paul’s letters giving instruction on how Christians are to live… Or do you think he is too patriarchal?
        Your comment is a blessing in that it motivates me to take the time to write a blog post about Biblical womanhood and those controversial men desiring to lead their families, (aka patriarchs.)

      • DaMom Says:

        Retha…that’s a common problem with false teachers who take a few spiritual truths and then weave in their twisted philosophy deceiving Christians. Men *and* women latch onto these concepts because they enjoy the power that comes with controlling people, be it men, women and children.

      • Retha Says:

        Hmmm… Perhaps your LOL at a comment which you don’t get (it don’t make sense to you, you said) is unwise. I think you know what the Bible say of mockers.
        I believe that every instruction God gives to Christians indicate at least some little part of our calling. For example, Jesus said we should make peace with enemies. But that don’t mean we should spend all our time on it. So I’d say that loving a spouse is part of the calling of every wife and husband, and loving their children part of every parent’s calling. Keeping (in context it means guarding, rather than cleaning) is something God calls women to know how to do, for when he leads them to do it, but just like someone who is not a full time missionary can keep a command to witness, a woman who is not always at home – like the Proverbs 31 woman – could guard her home.
        Paul is not too patriarchial, Paul is taken out of context. You see, I’ve read all of Paul’s letters more than once, not just the parts patriarchy supporters pick.

      • Maureen Says:

        Angela- If a woman is called and has the gift of healing (doctor) or inventing (engineer) or any other gift, she shouldn’t go to school? She shouldn’t have a career? These gifts are from Him, we are to use our gifts and not be lazy (Matthew 25 & Proverbs 6). A woman can take care of her household and be industrious outside the home (Proverbs 31). The Bible has been perverted by many to say what “the anointed” want to read. One of those items is thinking that a woman working outside the home or a stay-at-home mom that sends her children off to school is not following her husband’s lead.

        Another big thing many have forgotten, is most of the women in the Bible were rich- they had household staff, they had wet nurses, tutors/scribes to teach the children, slaves/servants to do household and gardening, etc. They hired help. The stories that are eluded to, but not written very often in the Bible, are the women that had to work to feed the family. (Ruth2) My point, taking care of the household does not just mean being a stay at home mom and homeschooling. Taking care of the household means providing the best for the household, sometimes that is by sending the children to public or private school, sometimes it means working outside the home, sometimes it means hiring help. It is what is best for the household. So yes, a woman can be taught how to take care of the home but not do the household chores herself but provide for the household in other ways. As for “Perhaps the good Lord is giving us instructions on how to handle lazy and messy men”- Read Proverbs, it is a huge instruction book on how to deal with a lazy person; I didn’t read in Proverbs that we are to coddle and serve the lazy. And if your husband is lazy he already isn’t living Paul’s instructions on how to live as a Christian.

    • Matt Says:

      Bill Einwechter? I remember him! He wrote that article about the biblical justification for stoning recalcitrant children back in the late nineties. He came to speak at our church in NE Ohio way back then… that is, before BOTH our pastors had to step down due to “emotional/non-sexual” affairs.

      • Angela Wittman Says:

        Hey Matt, I agree that there is much abuse in the churches and trust the good Lord will give the wolves in sheep’s clothing their due punishment. Also, I am a little familiar with the controversial “stoning” article, but not enough to comment at this time.

  6. Angela Wittman Says:

    Re: Andrew Sandlin’s article on patriarchy: “Rachel” wrote this comment:
    Is this a joke? The Head of the woman is the man, the head of the man is Christ, the head of Christ is God. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

    If the head of the woman is the man, it would apply to all aspects of their marriage, including child rearing. A godly husband will gladly respect his wife’s opinions and desires, and godly wife will do the same. However, there can never be perfect equality in any relationship, let alone marriage, which is scripturally shown to be a husband lovingly leading and his wife willingly following. Eventually, someone has to make the final decision, and the authority of scripture makes the husband the one who must make the final decision.

    Don’t be fooled into egalitarian doctrine. It is false, wicked and destructive. Be true to God’s Word and let Him show Himself faithful!

    I commented (awaiting moderation):
    I was just directed to this article and have to agree with Rachel. I might not always like submitting to my husband, but I do it as submitting unto the Lord and trusting Him with the results. 🙂 My sons are now grown, but they always knew dad had the final say and this brought great peace and order to our home.

  7. DaMom Says:

    Angela, what’s worse than a garbage can mouth that gossips? Those that have garbage can ears/eyes that listen and read gossip.

  8. DaMom Says:

    Back in the day, marriage was looked upon as a picture model of Christ’s love for the Church, which in turn led hearts to the gospel of Christ. I don’t see that within the patriarch movement where domination by the husband is commanded.

    My husband and I come from successful models of marriage from our grandparents and parents who have been married 50-65+ years. Theirs was a commitment to love one another for life..’til death do us part’. They have been the picture of the Gospel Message of love, grace and forgiveness.

    We’ve seen these men *and* women in this movement up close and personal. They are egotistical, prideful, and very arrogant.

    My husband and I allow God to lead “both” of us and we also treat each other with respect. It’s what worked for our parents and grandparents…a model we will continue to follow…31 years and counting.

    • Jackie C. Says:

      DaMom, so glad you’ve had a successful marriage! Neither my husband nor I can make those same claims about our relatives but we’re doing okay at 25 years. He has PTSD and if he hadn’t listened to my leading and gotten help, we wouldn’t have made it this far. Patriarchy seems to have pride and arrogance, along with a lot of assumptions, at its center. It seems when we search for the perfect recipe, that which will prevent us from failing, we set ourselves up to do exactly that.

      • Johnny Says:

        DaMon, you are arguing from pragmatism and the ends justify the means. Listen to yourself as you describe what worked for your family and then state that like it has equal standing with God’s word. You do err greatly!

  9. Angela Wittman Says:

    I rushed to DP’s defense out of a sense of loyalty and respect for his deceased father, Howard Phillips… But I did not have all the facts at the time and now make a public apology to those whom I’ve dismissed and chastised when it appears they were for the most part seeking to make the truth known. Thank you.

    • Jen Says:

      Angela, thank you very much for persevering in finding out the facts. Sometimes the truth is not what we wish it was.

      • Angela Wittman Says:

        Dear Jen, I am truly sorry for what you’ve suffered; I had a similar experience with a local church when I was a new believer. If not for good friends who counseled and let me talk things out, it would have been much more difficult. Please accept my heartfelt apology and repentance in this matter – I should have investigated the facts before rushing to judgment.

        • Jen Says:

          Absolutely, Angela. And I am sorry that you experienced something similar as well. It has made me a much stronger person, as I suspect it has for you also.

  10. Angela Wittman Says:

    A point I want to make which I feel really needs to be made is that abusive men in the church isn’t exclusive to “patriarchs.” And as a woman who has been involved in para-church ministries, as well as Church ministries for 20+ years, I’ve experienced quite a bit of abuse from men (not my husband), which really angers me. But as Jen alluded in her comment, it has made me a stronger and wiser woman. I am much more careful to not allow myself to be put in a position where a man can bully me; I try to stay independent and not submit myself to any church or organization that doesn’t have proper oversight or at least a higher authority that I can complain to if an abuse of power happens. So, while I applaud those who expose bullies in the church and Christian organizations, I also want to express my concern that you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, but be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” I subscribe to the Westminster Standards, including the Establishment Principle, so some call me a theonomist. But I have never been a student of Rushdoony (sp?) or some of the other big names. I prefer to study the works of the reformers, including the Scottish Covenanters. Hence, I think it is wrong for folks to exalt men, and as it appears in the case of DP, it leads to inflated egos and tyrannical tendencies. This is probably my last word on the DP disaster, which has not only harmed his family and followers, but the Name of Christ as well. May God help us as we seek to serve Him in a dark and depraved generation.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Angela, your apology here is something I deeply appreciate. Thank you for doing that.

      I agree with your assessment that “abusive men in the church isn’t exclusive to ‘patriarchs’.” Spiritual abuse can happen anywhere. However, it does appear to be far more common in authoritarian and legalistic churches.

      Let me also note that women aren’t the only victims of Hyper-Patriarchy. Men in such churches often find themselves not even in charge of their own homes anymore but, rather, ruled over and dominated by their elders. I know of many cases where church elders have meddled and interfered in household affairs that was absolutely none of their business. To object or resist an elder is tantamount to “contumacy”, an excommunicatible offense, and with the threat of excommunication comes shunning, and “turning over to Satan.”

      One of the first warning signs of such authoritarian churches is Ecclesiolatry. Anytime a pastor/elder is put on a pedestal there is great risk for Ecclesiolatry. Once that happens the risk is great of it going to that man’s head, and it only magnifies his sense of power entitlement. That can happen in any church, but it’s especially likely to happen with gifted charismatic leaders. A dry boring preacher is unlikely to turn into a spiritual abuser.

      • Angela Wittman Says:

        I agree… Thanks for the response! It was your comments here and at other blogs that helped open my eyes that this is a serious problem that isn’t really being addressed. I suppose I thought the abuse I’ve witnessed and suffered was rare and more likely to happen to women. Please feel free to contact me through my blogs with any articles you think I can benefit from and share with others regarding this matter.

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