Doug Phillips’ Mentor and Spiritual Father Speaks Out

Negative comments appeared here recently regarding Doug Phillips’ “spiritual father” Pastor Robert Gifford. In response we received word from Pastor Gifford, via one of his daughters and one of his church members, that Pastor Gifford is in no way pleased to be portrayed by Doug Phillips as his spiritual father, and that he is in no way responsible for teaching Doug Phillips Dominionism, Patriarchy, Family Integrated Church, home school elitism, etc. According to these commenters Pastor Gifford has for years been openly confronting Doug Phillips for his unbiblical and extra-biblical positions.

I was subsequently asked to interview Pastor Gifford for this article. Interspersed in this article are direct quotes from my interview with Pastor Robert Gifford, including this statement which explains his motivation for giving me the interview:

“I grieve over the way Doug Phillips has misrepresented me. But that doesn’t bother me the most. God will vindicate me. What bothers me the most is how Doug has defamed the testimony of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It breaks my heart the way he’s discredited and maligned the Word of God. He twisted the Word of God for his own advantage. I also grieve that so many people have been harmed by Doug’s teachings that I think it’s necessary for me to speak out. Doug has a dual personality. He’s been leading a secret life. It’s like the movie Catch Me If You Can.”

Doug Phillips has often made mention of Pastor Robert Gifford, crediting him as his “spiritual father and mentor.” He has done so numerous times from the podium at various venues, as well as in print:

“When I was a young man, my spiritual father, mentor, and pastor gave me a copy of John Gill. He told me it was the most trustworthy and foundational commentary in print. He explained to me that my hero Charles Spurgeon had feasted on John Gill’s writings when he was a young man. Nearly twenty-five years later, I want to once again publicly thank Pastor Robert Gifford for introducing me to the great John Gill who has remained my constant companion in my life.”  2007 Vision Forum Catalog, pg. 38

“It was during those days that two men helped transform my boyhood dreams into the vision of a man. One was my father, and the other was my pastor, Robert Gifford. Both men gave me many books which fueled my interest in the story of Creation and even the quest for dinosaurs. They practiced discipleship and communicated a Creationist message of dominion.” 2003 Vision Forum Catalog, pg. 2

Robert Gifford taught Doug and Brad Phillips, both as their church pastor, and beginning in their 8th and 7th grades, respectively, when they were students at Fairfax Christian School in Vienna, Virginia. FCS is a prestigious school that has attracted many Washington politicians, local celebrities and famous athletes who have sent their children there for a Christian education. Five FCS parents have run for President of the United States, including Howard Phillips.

When Doug and Brad first began attending FCS, “They were deep into Roman Catholicism. Doug also believed in theistic evolution.” Through the influence of Robert Gifford they turned from Roman Catholic evolutionists to make professions of faith in Christ and becoming creationists.

“As a young man, Doug was also discipled by Robert Gifford, a great preacher of the Word and pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, who communicated to Doug a passion for Christian apologetics and the sovereignty of God.” Vision Forum Ministries, About the President

I asked Pastor Gifford, “Why do you think that Doug has so often claimed you as having been such a significant influence in his life, right along side his natural father, crediting you as his spiritual father and mentor?”

“I think that I most definitely influenced him in regard to the fundamentals of the faith. I taught him biblical doctrine. I taught him in school and at church. But I also taught him one on one, in my home. I taught him the doctrines of grace. I taught him soteriology. I taught him creationism. So I taught him the fundamentals in his early age, I was influential in that. Secondly, my family had a big influence on him. He was over at my house a lot. He saw the way my family operated and he liked that. I have seven kids and my family had a big impact on him. I think Doug is sincere about my influence, but I also think he’s being dishonest about some of it too. I think part of why he uses my name is to establish credibility within the evangelical world. Look at me. I’m under a spiritual father. I think it’s also his way of trying to cover up, camouflage, some of the aberrant doctrines that he has.”

Doctrinally, Pastor Gifford is and always has been an evangelical Baptist. He is Dispensational and Premillennial. This demonstrates how highly the Phillips family has always respected him because doctrinally Howard Phillips, after converting from Judaism, became a Reformed Covenantalist, Postmillennial, Reconstructionist, Theonomist and Dominionist, and his sons Doug and Brad later followed after their father in doctrine. Though Doug and Pastor Gifford are at opposite ends of the theological spectrum, in all these years Doug Phillips has always spoken with great fondness of Pastor Robert Gifford.

The Phillips family became members of Pastor Gifford’s church, Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Woodbridge, VA (not affiliated with Sovereign Grace Ministries). Pastor Gifford was a significant influence in teaching the Phillips family the doctrines of grace, both from the pulpit, and in the Christian school.

Doug Phillips would go on to graduate high school at FCS and then attend the College of William and Mary. It was while Doug was at William and Mary that Pastor Gifford started noticing troubling changes in Doug, and Pastor Gifford often addressed his concerns with Doug.

Doug then attended George Mason School of Law. While in law school he married Elizabeth Beall Dewey. Pastor Gifford performed the wedding ceremony.

Perhaps one of the reasons Doug Phillips has admired Pastor Gifford is because he has been so direct with Doug. According to Pastor Gifford he warned Doug Phillips many times about problems that he saw developing in Doug’s life, both in the doctrines he began to embrace as a young man, as well as his immense pride.

On Patriarchy:

If anyone deserves credit for indoctrinating Doug Phillips in Patriarchy, home school-only elitism, and family integrated church it would be John Thompson. Among other things Thompson is the founding director of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches. While Doug Phillips was a staff attorney at Home School Legal Defense Association, he invited Pastor Gifford to his home to introduce him to John Thompson:

“I was supposedly Doug’s spiritual father, but he invited this man, John Thompson, to come and instruct me about marriage and family. Doug knew I’d been teaching what the Word has to say about marriage and family for years. I had over a hundred messages I’d given on marriage and family. Doug orchestrated this whole evening so that Thompson could indoctrinate me in Patriarchy. We sat around the table while everyone listened  to this man lecture me. After he got done Doug had us all move into the living room where the men all sat down on the couches. My wife sat next to me; but I noticed all the other women stood behind their husbands, including Beall. It was very strange. They just stood there the whole time behind their husbands. I thought we were going to have a nice conversation. But it wasn’t a conversation, and it was very uncomfortable. This guy Thompson took over and started asking me questions. The last thing he asked me was, ‘If you were in a grocery store and your children started to act rebellious, how would you respond?’ So I said, ‘I don’t go shopping. My wife shops. Honey, what would you do?’ So my wife starts to answer and this Thompson guy cuts her off and says, ‘Excuse me! I’m speaking to the men!’ At this point I really had to hold myself back. Doug just sat there the whole time and said nothing. It was obvious that Doug set this whole thing up. At this point we got up and left.”

“When Doug left Virginia to move to San Antonio to start Vision Forum, I warned him to stay away from John Thompson and Patriarchy. I told him ‘It’s a tyrannical way to lead the family. It’s not biblical’.”

“I think men like Doug get into Patriarchy because they’re weak insecure men. So they gather a bunch of other men around them to figure out how to make their wives do what they want. They don’t know how to lead their wives. All they know how to do is force them. A man is supposed to lead his wife lovingly, sacrificially. unreservedly. It’s clear from Ephesians 5. The Bible calls the wife a ‘helpmeet’. What that means is that she’s a counselor. She’s supposed to give counsel to her husband, and the husband is supposed to listen to her. I’ve taught this for years. We men have blind spots. We need godly women to give us counsel. She’s a counterbalance to us.”

On Family Integrated Church:

“Doug was going around behind my back in my church telling people that Sunday school was evil. I confronted him about it and he lied and said he hadn’t. But I confronted him with the fact that ten families had come to me and told me he’d told them that Sunday school was sin. He told me, ‘I never said that. You’re misrepresenting me’. Doug was very divisive of the church. Several families left because of him, but I was able to prevent a church split. But that’s only because I put a stop to what he was trying to do behind my back. I kept catching him doing dishonest things like that where I’d confront him for something and he’d lie about it. It happened four times in a row.”

On Women Working Outside the Home:

“It’s not a sin for a woman to work outside the home. In fact there are times where it may be necessary for a woman to work outside the home to show her love for her husband and to complement him. This idea that a woman has to remain within the four walls of the home is nowhere found in Scripture.”

On Dominionism and Quiverfull:

vfcatalog2007cover“Doug has misrepresented me in the worst sense. He’s made me out to be a Dominionist. He’s put it in print. He’s said it many times. It’s libel. Dominionism is completely contrary to everything I taught. I think that much of Doug’s views of Dominionism came from the Shepherding movement. There’s a lot of similarities. He also teaches the same thing the Muslims teach which is you take over the world by having lots of babies. You establish an army through your children. It’s important to understand this. If you look at Doug through all his advertisements, the Vision Forum, he’s got his kids on the covers dressed in armor. This is what they’re doing. They’re forming armies through their families. I’m just the absolute opposite of all that.”

On Home Schooling Elitism:

“Doug and his brother Brad came to my home and told me, ‘Pastor Gifford, we believe that the qualifications for membership in the church are wrong. We believe that only home schoolers should be members of the church’. I told them, ‘Do you realize what kind of elitist attitude you have? Do you realize what you’re doing? This is totally anti-biblical. This is the problem that the early Jewish converts had when they thought only they could be members of the church and the Gentiles had to be excluded. What you have is an elitist mentality, and it’s going to turn into a cult if you’re not careful’. It was over that issue that Doug left my church and moved to Texas to start Vision Forum and his own church.”

On Moving to San Antonio To Start Vision Forum:

” ‘Doug, you’ve got a lot of natural talents and pride. Prideful men who rely on natural talents don’t depend like they should on the Holy Spirit. If you get prideful you also won’t rely on God’s Word to lead you. Pride goes before a fall, and that’s what concerns me. You’ve got to be very careful that you don’t do this in the flesh. You need to learn wisdom from above rather than the wisdom that comes from the world. You need to rely on the Holy Spirit to lead you. I’m concerned that in your pride you’ll just rely on your charisma and natural abilities’.”

” ‘Doug, don’t mix business with church. It always ends up that the business controls the church’.”

“I saw Doug’s abilities and charisma all along, and I always saw those more as a danger than a help. I told my wife that Doug was going to depend on his performance, and his charisma and his persona, more than on the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit.”

On Doug Phillips After He Started Vision Forum:

“Doug sent me some of his Vision Forum materials. I listened to them and was really disappointed. I called him and said, ‘Doug, where in any of this are you speaking of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ? All my teaching on the family always points people to Jesus Christ. You’re just teaching moralism. If we don’t lead our children to Jesus we fail. Moralism isn’t enough Doug. You’re de-emphasizing the gospel of salvation. You’re preaching moralism and Dominionism, not Jesus Christ’.”

“I’m not a Dominionist but even I can see that Doug’s militant form of Dominionism is extreme. I also confronted him about his Patriarchy. I pointed out to him that even the Dominionists weren’t teaching the kind of extreme Patriarchy that he does.”

Warning To Doug Phillips At Howard Phillips’ Funeral (May 2013):

“Doug, I’m really concerned for you. You’ve gotten far away from the Word of God by creating this Dominionist/Patriarchy/Family Integrated Church/Home School thing. You need to get back to the gospel of Jesus and stop being a moralist or everything you’ve done is going to fall. Point people to Jesus or your ministry will collapse.”

Pastor Gifford On Doug Phillips’ Infidelity

“All the these issues cause me great heartache, but nothing is so dreadful to me as Doug’s infidelity. In his pride Doug came to believe that he could live like a king with no accountability to anyone, even to God. The result is always immorality. Doug was taught in word and deed to live a pure and holy life that honored our triune God and His Word. He’s “turned from the holy commandment delivered unto him” (1 Thes 4:1-8) to a system of belief and practice that justifies immorality. May the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ quicken Doug and bring him to a place of true repentance and faith.”


Robert Gifford is an elderly man who, of his own admission, isn’t computer literate. Pastor Gifford has reviewed and approved this article for posting. He’s informed me that he likely won’t be monitoring comments to this article or responding to questions here. However, his daughter Grace, has informed me that she likely will.

1,188 Responses to “Doug Phillips’ Mentor and Spiritual Father Speaks Out”

  1. DesiringToDiscern Says:

    THANK YOU, Pastor Gifford and Mr. Eston !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • NeverAgain Says:

      Amen! So good to hear the gospel of Jesus being taught simply and faithfully. If Doug Phillips and his family-integrated friends had preached the gospel as beautifully as this, we would not be seeing so many divisions among Christian homeschoolers.

    • Refugee Says:

      Thank you, Pastor Gifford, it is good to hear your perspective.

      Which brings me to my next question. Pastor Gifford says that he told DP to stay away from Patriarchy and John Thompson. I am engaged in debate with dear friends who insist that Patriarchy is the only Biblical relationship, that you can have Biblical, workable Patriarchy without DP’s vision. In other words, his went wrong because he went too far, or something like that. We have been members of a Patriarchy teaching church for more than two decades. How do we find some other way, if there is one?

      • just a shadow Says:

        Read your Bible. Return to Jesus. Quit seeking man’s approval and opinion. Quit seeking a formula. Quit seeking a hierarchy. Return to seeing women and children as PEOPLE rather than as possessions to be managed. Quit thinking that you as the man have all the answers. Turn your back on anything that does not smell like Jesus. Turn your back on speaking to issues where Jesus is silent. Quit being afraid of other Christians. Quit believing you are superior to other Christians. Turn your eyes to the hurting and lost. Feed the poor. Help the widow. Obey the Great Commission. Quit thinking that Victorian culture was inherently Godly – it wasn’t.

        Turn your eyes upon JESUS
        Look full in His wonderful face
        And the things of this world will grow strangely dim
        in the light of His Glory and Grace.

        The things of the world of Patriarchy will grow strangely dim when you look to JESUS ALONE.

        Beside Him there is NO OTHER. No patriarchy, no DP, No Gothard, no church system.

        He is GOD ALONE.

        Run from putting other men & their systems in the place reserved for JESUS.

        Otherwise, you will reap the fruit that so many Patriarchy adherents are reaping now – children departed from the Lord, broken young marriages forged through “courtship”, damaged family relationships etc.

        Return to the ONE way. There is no other. Jesus is THE way, THE truth and THE life.

        Quit looking for it somewhere else.

        Spoken by one who has been there and done that. Come back to Jesus.

      • thatmom Says:

        Scripture has the answer. Look at the one another passages, meditate on them, memorize them, practice them every single day in your home, husband with wife, wife with husband, parents with children, children with parents, siblings to each there. Life will never be the same!

        Click to access 59one_another_scriptures.pdf

        • Refugee Says:

          Thank you for giving us a starting place. I have read the Bible so many times that sometimes I think I don’t even see the words part of the time, now. You know, when something is so familiar you don’t really pay attention? I’m not proud of it. I’m not just going through the motions (trying not to, anyhow) but my mind just tends to go out of focus when I read something familiar and it’s hard to concentrate. And yet, I haven’t read much in Scripture for the past year or so, after years of daily reading… Perhaps it will be new and fresh. His Word used to be new and living and spoke to me when I read it, with passages suddenly taking on relevance even though I’d read them many times before. I can hope for that again. I’m afraid that in the past few years the rules have overtaken the relationship, and I didn’t even notice until last year when our family almost broke apart.

        • matthew2323 Says:

          I have had a similar experience; where I could not sit and ready my Bible after years of hearing it misinterpreted. May I offer you a suggestion? Try picking up a different translation; one that is well beyond your comfort zone. I know in some circles The Message or the Amplified Bible are tantamount to blasphemy but see if that helps you get past the religious spirit that is disrupting your understanding of Jesus’ words. If those two are not to your liking, perhpas J.B. Phillips Modern English translation would be more appropriate.

        • Just a shadow Says:

          Refugee- I remember feeling the same way after years in the DP system. Scripture seemed dead. I felt tired, dead…

          When I finally turned my back on that system and ran for my life to Jesus, He was there. And I grabbed hold of Him like a little kid grabs their daddy after they’ve been lost in a scary place.

          Jesus was there.

          He was there.

          I’m never letting go of Him again.

          He alone is my Shepherd.

          I listen to His voice alone.

          Run to Him.

        • Donna Says:

          Yes, Romans 12 and Colossians 3 are a couple of good ones. Also take a look at Titus 3.

        • Jen Says:

          Thatmom, in addition to that being excellent advice, what is so very ironic about what you said in this comment is that when Doug first began BCA, the elders preached through a series on “one anothering.” That, and the lies about Pastor Gifford commissioning him to start a church, were the foundations of BCA. Look how far he has come from that sound biblical advice, but it seems that deception has been a very long pattern.

        • Refugee Says:

          Thank you for the suggestions and heartfelt sharing from experience.

        • Refugee Says:

          Re: Romans 12, Col 3 and Titus 3. Ironically I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten past Titus 2. (Well, I have, in reading through the Bible every year for years, but I don’t remember anything about Titus 3, whereas parts of Titus 2 (just guess) are burned into my memory. Colossians is one of my favorite books, and Col 3 one of my favorite chapters.

        • Jen Says:

          Refugee, now that you mention it, we probably should take a more accurate look at Titus 2, in context. Coming soon!

    • Refugee Says:

      Ironically enough, I don’t remember ever reading any of those tributes to Pastor Gifford in the VF catalog. I mainly just looked at the alluring pictures of products, most of which we couldn’t afford to buy. Oh, and our girls were always way more excited about the toys for boys than the stuff for girls. Yes, they loved dolls and tea parties, but their interests didn’t end there.

      They loved dolls, as I said, but the presentation in the American Girl catalog was way more inviting to them (and imagination-inspiring) than the layout of the girls’ things in the VF catalog. I recycled all our VF catalogs when I recycled all our DP and Doug Wilson and Botkin stuff last year, or I’d be able to go back and look to see what the difference was.

      It’s interesting to note that they saved up and pooled their money to buy a couple of American Girl dolls that were going out of production (their favorites, Samantha, Felicity, and Felicity’s friend Elizabeth), but were not inspired by the VF advertising to buy VF dolls instead.

      We wanted to burn it all but regulations where we live prohibit that, so I had to settle for putting the materials in the recycling bin with the knowledge they’d be turned into pulp.

      • Refugee Says:

        And now, after thinking about this a little more, and remembering what those catalog pages looked like, I’m thinking that the Liberty Dolls (is that what they were called? or am I remembering wrong?) were a lame imitation of American Girl dolls, just as DP’s “doctrine” is a lame imitation of Christianity.

        • Jen Says:

          Yes, Refugee, the Liberty (Doug’s daughter) dolls were American Girl’s imitations. We loved our AG dolls. 🙂

    • Ed Says:

      It’s not a major point and I may be mistaken but just in the interest of accuracy–I think Doug Phillips graduated Langley High School in 1983 or 1984. I also do not believe his father converted until well after DP left home.

      • Jen Says:

        Ed, I don’t think Pastor Gifford mentioned where he graduated from, but rather that he did attend Fairfax Christian for a period of time.

    • zooey111 Says:

      Pastor Gifford (& family):
      I am sorry for having thought ill of you. You never knew it, but I had felt real anger at the folks who (as I imagined) started DP off on his strange & hurtful odyssey.
      Thank you for responding with this message of Christian hope, love, and–above all–grace.
      God bless you at this season when we pause in our lives to remember how the King of Kings came to us, as a baby, & changed this tired old world forever, making it to be “the Kingdom of Our Lord, & of His Christ”.

    • Refugee Says:

      I can’t send from my email address, so please pardon me for posting this question here. I’m posting these questions, Jen, because you mentioned in a comment that there would be an upcoming series dealing with VF (and patriarchal) doctrine. Please delete this if it is inappropriate.

      I recently heard in a prayer about our participating in building the kingdom of God here on earth. It bothered me somehow, so I whipped out my phone to look it up, a little while later, right there in the church service. (Perhaps a modern version of being a Berean? I tried to be discreet so I wouldn’t distract anyone else from the service.) I couldn’t find it in a quick Bible search with the limited web access where I was (i.e. I couldn’t figure out how to use “building” and “kingdom” in a search in my electronic Bible). I googled it quickly and came up with LDS websites, but also a message from Ligonier ministries and a few others. I didn’t have the bandwidth to click on the links, just read the summaries on the search page.

      I’m still trying to find it in my Bible. Is building or helping build the kingdom of God a dominionist thing? Is it Biblical? Is it Mormon? Is it a biblical term that the Mormons have adopted, or the other way around?

      I’m still wrestling with the recent statement (recent to my hearing, that is) that God’s tool for building his Church is through godly families. I always thought that since the NT came out, it was the Great Commission.

  2. Tinuviel Says:

    Thank you for setting the record straight. I appreciate you taking the time and effort.

  3. Grace Alone Says:

    Thank you for interviewing Pastor Gifford, Mr. Eston. It helps us understand the danger when we remove Christ from being the center. Our hearts certainly are idol factories as Calvin reminded us.

    • MomT Says:

      Amen…so thankful to hear that there were godly men in Doug’s life trying to warn him. We all need pastor’s like this to warn us of the danger of adding or taking away from scripture.

  4. Bob Says:

    You mean, when Phillips told us that he had been commissioned by his church in Virginia to come to TX and establish a church, it wasn’t true?

    • JPGR Says:

      Bob – seriously?

      I think we are shocked that you would be shocked…

    • Bob Says:

      Do you understand what a rhetorical question is?

    • Jen Says:

      Bob, I am feeling very deceived right about now. It sounds like BCA was founded on lies and deception.

      • Bob Says:

        Yes, that is what the evidenced, if correctly reported, seems to indicate. If so, Phillips has a lot more confessing and repenting to do to me and a lot of other people. I haven’t heard from him yet. I was hoping if he was really repentant he would call people like me and seek to make things right. Let’s just say I am not waiting by the phone.

      • Sarah Pressler Says:

        Jen – this is all I could think about while reading this article – Doug Phillips is a complete and utter deceiver! I cannot imagine – for the LIFE of me- why ANY of us never took the initiative to reach out to this “spiritual father” and confirm any/all of this. That would have been the first, best, smartest thing to do.

        In my life, I have made many mistakes. I have made wrong choices. I have to live with those. BUT – I almost ALWAYS do. my. research. before hopping on a bandwagon.

        We ended up at BCA b/c a friend from Waco was friends with Doug and they thought we’d enjoy it. Friend from Waco turned out to be a real douche bag – guess it’s fitting that his friend, Doug, is categorized the same.

        What a joke.

        • Jen Says:

          Sarah, I am guessing that NONE of us ever thought to check on Doug’s qualifications because he was so open and vocal about being commissioned by Pastor Gifford that there was no reason to ever question it. At the time, the thought that he might have lied about it would have been ludicrous indeed!

          Now, I have to wonder what, if anything, he ever told the truth about.

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          I think it’s time to go through his recorded sermons and deconstruct them.

          I was dead on when I discerned all this the day he gave the fateful David and Bathsheba sermon. Man, I am just blown away by his arrogance!

        • Jen Says:

          Sarah, I don’t think I OWN any Doug Phillips’ sermons any more! LOL!

        • Sarah Pressler Says:

          They’re probably all archived online somewhere. He’s a narcissist. They’re archived somewhere. He probably sits and listens to his own sermons, gloating at his “success.” Well anyway that’s what Royce always did with his trophies. All of that’s online if you know the right search terms! Lol

          This whole thing is so ridiculous!

      • Red Says:

        @Sarah Pressler, on deconstructing Doug Phillips’ recorded sermons. Hester’s Scarlett Letters blog is an excellent resource. She is doing a series called “The Big Box.” She’s going through a big box of his sermons one by one and critiquing them. (I am pretty sure it is the same big box my family ordered a while back, and we listened to many of them – wish we NEVER had, some of the ideas turned out to be very destructive in our lives). She is the first writer I’ve ever come across who can tear his arguments to shreds, point-by-point.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      I spoke again this evening with Pastor Gifford. One of the things I asked for clarification on was whether he and his church had ever commissioned Doug to be a pastor. Pastor Gifford not only denied that anything of the kind had ever happened, he stated that he had asked Doug if he was planning on becoming a pastor in San Antonio. Doug responded that he didn’t know. All he knew was that he was going to start a business there to support home schoolers.

      • Jen Says:

        I, too, have had a couple really long, really good conversations with Pastor Gifford and he related that Doug Phillips was SO divisive in his church that he was pretty much asking Doug to leave right about the same time Doug left HSLDA. It was a necessary parting for them.

        • Observer Says:

          Jen, TW:
          Can you ask why Pastor Gifford did not speak out earlier? Is this just another case where nobody reacts (other than you) until there is either sex or money involved?

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          I’m a bit surprised by your question. You’re accusing Pastor Gifford of “not speaking out”? Really?

          Pastor Gifford has been speaking out by confronting Doug for almost twenty years, far longer, far more consistently, and far more boldly than anyone else in his life. What more do you think he could have done?

        • Jen Says:

          Observer, Pastor’s Gifford’s daughter can probably answer this more precisely, but there are a couple things going on here. Pastor Gifford does not use the computer much, but what he heard about Doug from various people and who he associated with at various conferences was enough to let him know that Doug was going down the wrong path. As such, when Pastor Gifford did see, or speak with, Doug over the years, he would oppose him to his face. In fact, as told in the article, just a few months at Howard’s funeral, Pastor Gifford withstood Doug publicly, and strongly rebuked Doug in front of his friends, including Scott Brown.

          Pastor Gifford does not like to write, but he does speak out. And last Sunday, he preached a whole sermon against Doug and his teachings as well.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Forgive me if this has already been asked and I haven’t seen it yet, but do you have a link to that sermon, Jen?

      • Tinuviel Says:

        oneh20, Pastor Gifford preached that sermon last Sunday evening and it has not been uploaded to the website as of this minute.

      • T.W. Eston Says:

        I just confirmed that the sermon Pastor Gifford preached last Sunday evening about Doug Phillips was not recorded. Normally everything gets recorded, but the recording engineer assumed that the sermon was “church business” and made the decision to not record it without consulting Pastor Gifford.

      • Tinuviel Says:

        Well, I can say that what he said Sunday evening was very much along the lines of what this article says. I was there and heard it and I’m pretty sure this article covers most, if not all, of what Pastor Gifford said.

      • Sarah Pressler Says:

        Businestry is an appropriate term for Vision Forum. He’s an opportunistic snake oil salesman. Nothing more, possibly less. LOL

  5. Lally Says:

    You expressed so succinctly the simple truth versus the VF elitist, cultish nonsense. Thank you for sharing and setting the record straight.

  6. NC Says:

    OK people, all of you who think Doug just succumbed to Delilah take a close look, his ways were apparent to his spiritual father and the end result not surprising. For all of you FIC members out there, watch out. For all you FIC leaders out there, call Pastor Gifford and ask for help.

    • JPGR Says:

      the women standing behind the men in silence was a nice early touch by the patriarchalist in training…..he caught on rapidly! what a quick learner!

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        (See – Stepford Wives 1972) Yikes ! So the HUSBAND asks his helpmeet and both of them are in essence SLAMMED by Mr. Hyper authority freak. So unkind, unChristian, and just plain MEAN ! Good for Pastor G for leaving.

    • Bob Says:

      Talk about over reach. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with what you are calling a FIC. Exactly where do you find a verse, or in principle, that there is something wrong with families that meet together as a church and don’t desire to separate for worship into age segregated groups, etc.

      If you don’t like families beging together, fine, but don’t try to impose that on the rest of us.

      • NC Says:

        Bob, lets start with the NCFIC, I believe that is the mothership right? if not I’m willing to be schooled. The NCFIC, and its leader would side with Doug on calling Sunday School sin, Youth group sin, any splitting of the family during the church service sin, not wrong, but SIN. So, I place the burden on you to show me where these are sin? I never suggested families cannot worship together, but NCFIC says its a sin if they do not. Please help me understand?

      • Refugee Says:

        Just my take, though I think it’s similar to the thoughts of whomever you’re addressing: I wouldn’t say there’s anything wrong with an FIC. The wrong is in insisting that an FIC is the only Biblical way to go.

        • NC Says:

          I agree totally, but with the NCFIC being the flagship of the FIC movement, and embracing the same teachings as Doug on church practice, it puts all who want to identify with them at risk. Thus I said in the original post, “watch out” not bail out.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Agreed. I love my FIC, but my eyes are open.

        • Bob Says:

          You way over reached when you stated that leaders needed to call for help if they were in a FIC. You didn’t qualify it in any way. The clear reading of what you posted is there is something wrong implicitly in being a part of a FIC. You need to stop painting with such a broad brush.

          Also, you are completely off base on your additional comments about the NCFIC being the “mothership” or whatever. There is no such relationship between any of the FICs I am aware of and the NCFIC. In fact, FICs predate Doug Phillips and the NCFICs. The Plymouth Brethren, just to name one, meet this way and have for many decades.

        • ColleenInWis Says:

          Hi Bob. I’d be interested in documentation for this: “In fact, FICs predate Doug Phillips and the NCFICs. The Plymouth Brethren, just to name one, meet this way and have for many decades.” Our brethren assembly (as well as the assemblies from which it descended) has had Sunday School and youth group for decades. When a father recently tried to change the meeting structure because of his agreement with the FIC, it produced strife and hurt. Brothers and sisters who had taught S. S. for years were suddenly being told S. S. was evil and a result of evolutionary teaching. If your statement isn’t accurate about the brethren assemblies, perhaps you can give an example of another type of local church that has been family-integrated separate from the modern FIC movement.

        • Bob Says:

          We were part of a PB church in the 80s and it as clearly a FIC. When we wee a part of that church, we became aware of other like-minded churches.

          In the early 90s, we were a part of another FIC that was non-denominational. We had a “Bible Study” time, a brief break, then the main worship time on Sunday mornings. Our “Bible Study” time was similar to “Sunday School”, but it was held in the main meeting room with all ages in attendance.

          These types of gatherings are all over the place and they predate Vision F./Doug P.

          And, most notably, churches in American before the modern Sunday School movement were FIC by definition.

        • ColleenInWis Says:

          Bob, you are right. Local churches that hold age-integrated meetings have been around longer than VF/NCFIC. And, you are right that some Plymouth Brethren groups do not have S. S./youth group. However, is this all you mean by “FIC”–not having age-segregated groups? Because in my mind, FIC means a lot more than that, and that’s why I questioned including PB as support that FIC has been around longer than VF/NCFIC.

        • Donna Says:

          I agree about the term “FIC”, Colleen. That sets off a whole different set of alarms beyond just merely “not having SS or age-segregated classes”. Sometimes those age-segr. classes just don’t happen for practical reasons — not enough kids, not enough qualified adults in the church to teach, not enough space, etc. Sometimes they don’t separate because the leadership and/or parents don’t see the *need* since the kids are actually trained to sit quietly, are well-behaved, respectful, and the parents actually ARE teaching the Word to their own children at home. (Many parents who are church-goers don’t teach their children at home, and thus the “need” for SS if the kids are going to get any Bible training at all).

          BUT…. none of that ‘necessarily’ translates to FIC. To me, and to many others we know who’ve experienced DP’s way of thinking to some degree (as well as the *church division* that was mentioned earlier by another poster, I think TW described it well in one post), FIC is an entire philosophy in and of itself. What DP and his peers at VF and NCFIC propagate is quite different than simply not separating the children for age-segregated classes. What they’re doing down there is attempting to keep outsiders out in order to build their “dynasty”, for the same reason they propagate the extreme, controlled version of courtship where daddy has to pick the “perfect” man for his daughter — Dominionism.

      • T.W. Eston Says:

        The FIC movement is an outgrowth of the home church movement, and like the home church movement, there is nothing inherently wrong with either. The problem with the FIC movement is that it has always held to the position that “age segregated church programs are sinful”. Some like Doug Phillips don’t feel that “sinful” is strong enough, so they call them “evil”.

        I agree with NC. The burden of proof is on Doug Phillips, Scott Brown, John Thompson, and their cronies to prove their charges. The problem is they don’t even try to prove it. They just march into existing churches all across the land and covertly infiltrate with their “Sunday school is evil” mantra, just as Doug Phillips did in Pastor Giffords’ church. Then when they’re confronted for dissension and subversion they lie, just like Doug Phillips. If any of them were honest they’d speak directly to the pastor and try and sell him on the idea, and only him. Instead they go around him and subvert not just his authority, but the wishes of the members.

        There are numerous churches that FIC advocates have split through their elitist attitudes. If anything can be legitimately called “evil” it is the leadership of the NCFIC. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing that feign “family unity” but the fruit of their ministry are numerous church splits.

        I’m perfectly fine with FICers starting up their own FIC churches. No problem at all with that. If that’s what you want then peacefully leave your current church and start up your own FIC church from scratch. Don’t poach half the members of your current church by causing a split. My beef is the way that so many infiltrate existing churches and subvert them, often resulting in church splits. The legacy of the NCFIC is riddled with those.

        • oneh20 Says:

          “I’m perfectly fine with FICers starting up their own FIC churches. No problem at all with that. If that’s what you want then peacefully leave your current church…”

          That’s what my pastor did. There was no drama whatsoever. And we’re listed under NCFIC. We left the same church but for different reasons and I ran into someone who invited me to their church – the FIC – and God has used to sweet people there to pour out His love.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          I always appreciate hearing success stories like that. There are plenty of good FIC churches. I’ve worshipped in several myself. Unfortunately there are too many that were started by a man, or a group of men, who did so by splitting another church and poaching half their members. To call Sunday school sinful, while at the same time acting so viciously and duplicitously in splitting churches for their self-righteous “family unity” cause, is the pinnacle of hypocrisy.

        • oneh20 Says:

          RIght, and there is definitely a VF influence there, but these men are dedicated to God’s Word first and foremost. Its a very open Bible, biblically literate church and not everyone agrees with one another – but love rules there. I could tell you so many good things. Jen knows some of it. Bless you!

        • Tim Says:

          I remember at one time there was a conference in the NW region by current leaders of the NCFIC and it was titled Pilgrim or Puritan. I believe the theme was you either reform your church from within (Puritan) and get them to change from traditional church (Sunday school, youth groups) to Family Integrated or you leave (Pilgrim) and start your own Family integrated church.

          Has anyone watched the films Divided and Weed in the Church that is being sold by NCFIC? I think it would enlighten you as to how strongly they feel that their way of doing church is the biblical way. NCFIC is the fruit of Doug Phillips and all those leaders who have learned from him are very much like minded on all of the issues written in this article. As far as FIC goes, I have never heard the terminology until VisionForum. If a church didn’t do SS or Youth Groups it was just church.

        • Michael Says:

          Yes, it is true there is nothing wrong with the family integrated church model. We attend one now. However, and this is a big however in my mind, we also attended a Doug Phillips/Scott Brown church for a year, where we signed a covenant, etc. The problem with these churches arises, in my opinion, with unaccountable leadership, that has no real training outside this little circle. The church named “elders” while we were there, and very quickly there were new rules being implemented. Things like “encouraging” the sons, regardless of age, to sit with their fathers after the service, while the dads were “encouraged” to discuss the hour long sermon we had just heard. At that point I had an eight year old and I took him outside for some air and some play. It was when I noticed the elder’s two boys were being cared for by their older sisters, instead of sitting and hanging on every word of their father, that I realized I was dealing with amateur and unaccountable leadership. Asking my son to sit and discuss a sermon that was never directed at him, and that he didn’t understand was ridiculous, in my opinion. By the time the sermon was finished, along with the obligatory rambling comments by the men at the Lord’s Supper every week, it was time to go and BREATHE. We ended up leaving there after a year, and I am glad we did. My point here, as referred to in the beginning, is that men like Doug Phillips, who obviously has a bad track record with churches in his life, can go somewhere and start their own church, based on their own doctrines, and we as Christians believe they are godly men. Why? Well because they say so! They have no training, they have no human accountability other than themselves, and we buy into them without question. For example, I never knew that Scott Brown had helped destroy his former church until just a few weeks ago, even though we were familiar with NCFIC, and have friends who sent their sons to his church as interns, etc. I found out about him by googling him and reading the open rebuke from his former church. I learned that there was a “rat in the woodpile” from another guy who lives in NC, and told me the basics of the story.

          Folks, it has been alluded to here more than once, but we really do tend to idolatry. We want a “king like all the other nations” just like ancient Israel did, and we need to quit falling for every Tom, Dick and Harry that comes along, saying they are “God’s man.” If a guy says he is an elder, we need to hold him to the same standard as the Bible holds him to, and if he doesn’t pass muster, then he doesn’t qualify, case closed. We should demand references, and check out his record. What real experience does he have with shepherding God’s sheep? Is his life an open book, or does he seem to be hiding something? I’m far from suggesting an elder must be perfect, and I know everyone has to grow, but Doug Phillips had a trail of wreckage already behind him before he started BCA. I would be willing to bet nobody there knew anything about his track record with his former pastor until this article appeared. The question is, WHY? The answer is that while Christians speak of “discernment” we don’t tend to exercise it where church leadership is concerned. May the Lord awaken his people and give us the spine to stand up and ask the right questions, and act according to the answers to those questions.

        • Jen Says:

          Michael, how did you get out of your “till death do us part” covenant?

        • NC Says:

          Michael, you nailed it, great post!

        • Donna Says:

          The “marching into existing churches with the purpose of changing them” is exactly what we’ve witnessed some of our former friends doing, and that was one of the red flags (patterns) we began to see that made us realize something isn’t right about it. THIS is what makes FIC families (the VF version of FIC, I mean) so dangerous. They’re not content to just keep their OWN kids with them, if they choose not to utilize SS classes or nursery, or keep their daughters out of college…. they have to try and “educate” everybody else, too, and end up causing division both in the church, and among friends.

        • oneh20 Says:

          I wouldn’t generalize that. Some have done that from what you say, but our church has never done that. I was in the church my pastor left when he left and he was extremely gracious and maintains many friendships there. I left later for other reasons and by the grace of God ran into a family that invited me there and have been there ever since. Because a few are divisive doesn’t mean all are. Something to consider… Blessings.

        • Donna Says:

          Oneh20, would you describe your experience as a “VF version of FIC”, though? I meant to separate THOSE from others who may in fact practice *some* of the FIC ideals, but I wouldn’t call them FIC because to me, the term “FIC” refers to something very specific…. and with the philosophy of Dominionism behind it. I’m sorry if it sounded like I was generalizing. I was referring to the militant “evangelists” of FIC a la Doug Phillips and Scott Brown. We have had personal experience with some families/men like that, and they are *quite* divisive.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Yes, I would say it really leans that way. All the conferences, etc. – both the VF and NCFIC conferences… All the names… That said, almost all of us come from heavy backgrounds of incredible expository preaching so the Word is definitely preached. The VF/SB thoughts are not expounded upon during the sermons, but the ideas get tossed around in conversation afterward and/or in other settings – ideas of which I have spoken out against.

        • NC Says:

          Michael, I think your referring to the following link that educated you on Scott Brown

        • Michael Says:

          Yes, NC, that is the link. I read it only AFTER a friend told me the basic story and then googled it. Every one of these cultic scenarios seems to be similar as far as leadership is concerned. The leaders have a track record, but they are never questioned about it. They have a few followers that are content to “drink the Kool Aid” and they start their own gig. The ironic part of it all is that the leaders demand absolute submission to their authority, but their records show they were anything but submissive to authority in their own lives. If we learn anything from this whole disaster, it should be that NO authority is absolute. The whole essence of proper government, whether it be church or civil, is that EVERYONE is accountable to a higher law. Otherwise we end up with a whole cadre of “Protestant Popes” building their own little kingdoms. This incident should strike fear into the hearts of every leader in every church out there, in my opinion. God doesn’t share his glory with anyone.

          One other thing about church leadership. Just being able to speak eloquently doesn’t qualify anyone for church leadership. Neither do previous careers. Phillips was a lawyer…of course he can talk (and talk and talk!). Also, the ability to glad hand and manipulate others is NOT a spiritual gift, the last time I checked. Any guy that comes along and says he is a leader of the flock that Christ purchased with his own precious blood had better take stock of the responsibility entailed in such a position. When Paul spoke to the Ephesus elders, as they wept at his departure, he warned them of the wolves that would look like elders. In the letter to the seven churches in Revelation, Jesus told them they had “left their first love.” Looks like the the Ephesus weren’t above the deception of following wolves either. Lord, teach us to trust HIM.

        • Jen Says:

          Michael: “The ironic part of it all is that the leaders demand absolute submission to their authority, but their records show they were anything but submissive to authority in their own lives.”

          Hmm. That sounds familiar. Oh, yeah. Doug demanded submission from nearly everyone in his life, yet blamed his own “serious sin” on not having enough accountability in his life. The problem for Doug is that there was literally NO ONE who had any authority over him so there was NO ONE who really could hold him accountable. His peers, his fellow elder, his board members, his employees, his interns, even most who shared a pulpit with him, were all simply “yes men” to Doug. Who did he think would really hold him accountable? THAT WAS NEVER THEIR JOB. Doug, and others like Scott Brown, simply need to take full responsibility for their own actions.

          Michael, your comment brought this to mind: Blessed are the charismatic, for they shall deceive many.

        • Eva Says:

          I’m starting to see that there are two things going on. There is nothing wrong with homeschooling but the Homeschooling Movement is another thing entirely. Same with family or home churches, but the Family Integrated Movement is something else. So I am thinking that it’s the Movement that we need to watch. Especially when it’s under one man with no accountability. I’ve been in a PB church since 1957 and I have not ever seen what Bob has talked about unless it would be in a “closed” meeting and there aren’t many in our area. I only know of one for hundreds of miles.

        • Jen Says:

          Eva, I’m not sure if I am opposed to the term “movement.” I think movements can be really great things! But movements should be driven by an already formed and established ideology rather than drive the ideology. If we allow a “movement” to tell us how to homeschool, we’ve missed the boat. If we love homeschooling and we share with others how much we love homeschooling, that passion is fueling the movement. I’m all for the latter.

        • revtup Says:

          As a former pastor I 100% agree with your comment above. This is what Titus 3.10-11 and Philippians 3.2 are talking about.

      • Michael Says:

        The way we got out of the “covenant” was we sent an email and told the leadership we were going elsewhere and that we didn’t see any point in discussing it. Keep in mind the leaders had only been made “official” a few weeks before all this, and they knew that going to battle against us was going to be less than fruitless, so they “released” us in a blanket email to the congregation, while admonishing them not to speak with us about the situation and to encourage us to come back and play by their rules. They knew our minds were made up and let it go. I saw so many holes in their leadership style that I didn;t consider the “covenant” binding on us anymore. I wasn’t in frame of mind to let our family be the experimental proving ground for these guys, and we had already had some negative interaction with them on a matter that was mishandled by them. Since then, we have had a couple of folks from there contact us, and only one has suggested we talk with leadership. We also don’t try and contact other families to discuss the situation. We simply moved on. Once I saw there was no accountability with these leaders, and that they were flying by the seat of their pants, and that they were avoiding discussion with me on some things I considered important, I said, “bye bye.” I also should include the fact that I found out, after we had signed the paper, that the lead guy was a devotee of Doug Phillips, and I had never liked the guy. No concrete reason for that, just a gut reaction.

        I also think it is important to say we had been through the totalitarian church leader thing several times in the past, and within the last ten years I said, “no more.” When the arbitrary rules start coming out I am history. I was told 20 years ago by an iron fisted ruler in a church that I wouldn’t make a good church man because I had read my Bible too much (I kid you not!). So just a heads up to you that I am not a good example of a patient and kind individual. I don’t jump on bandwagons anymore. Once (more than once) burned, twice shy.

      • Michael Says:


        I also should point out that during the “installation of elders” (whatever that means), I had the great privilege of meeting THE Scott Brown and his entourage, and I have to say I was unimpressed with him as well. Now I would have to say, with the information I have on Brown and Phillips, it seems God had protected us from what certainly is an ugly mess. I know what is going on in the minds of the poor people who are still in this mess. As I read the comments on this blog, and see the dots being connected, I really feel for the folks who have been burned. We have been there in the past, and I can only echo what so many are saying here, and that is run to Christ, pour out your hearts, and He WILL be there for you. Keep in mind, as God had reminded me so many times. it isn’t HIM that moved, it is us. He still reigns and is overseeing this entire mess for OUR GOOD. He is clearing the decks of the idols and bringing his people back to him.

    • Refugee Says:

      Sadly, I fear that those who think he just succumbed to Delilah are probably the same people who would discount anything written on this blog. I would post a link to this article on my FB if I thought any of the VF families I know would click on it. “Jensgems” is anathema to them. (I think that’s the right use of the word.)

      • NC Says:

        Refugee, your right about one thing, they hate Jen. But they also have their boys-in-waiting (interns, Peter Bradrick types) combing her blog for information, hopefully some of them will begin to see the light before they fall like Peter.

      • Jen Says:

        Refugee, you would be surprised at how many secretly read this blog anyway. Please feel free to share it!

        • Mike Says:

          I have heard Scott Brown say that he believed Sunday School is a sin. He told me this when I pressed him for an answer while sitting around a camp fire. I also remember that there was a conference down in Georgia and Dan Horn (NCFIC Speaker) spoke at this conference and caused a bit of an uproar by stating he believed Sunday School was a sin.

          Scott applies a Regulative Principle for Worship in the Church. I am not sure that his understanding of Regulative Principle is proper either. Their position is that if it isn’t specifically stated in Scripture then it is forbidden in the church, e.g., Sunday School and Youth Groups, etc. This is based on Patterns And Principles found in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. So don’t bother to ask for a specific verse to support this view of theirs. I hope that others realize that the NCFIC is a clone of VFM.

          This article addresses the heart of the issue and that is the faulty handling of the Word with a distorted understanding of Scripture. This is how all cults are born I would guess.

        • Jen Says:

          Mike, yes, I would agree with your assessment of this. It is all based on an argument from silence. Although Doug was not consistent in this, I know some churches try to be. Some examples would be using a pulpit, microphone, audio system and recordings, communion trays, pews, and pacifiers to keep the babies quiet. I’m just being silly, of course, but my point is that the regulative principle is first, based upon a logical fallacy, and second, almost always completely inconsistent.

          Perhaps reading the Bible on your smartphone is allowed, though. 🙂

        • fact Says:

          Mike, so you were camping with Scott B?

        • Mike Says:

          Fact: Yes it was at a Father/Son camp out on his farm. It took some prodding to get him to admit it. Afterwards he left and I asked a young man there what he thought about this and said he didn’t know what to think he was trying to process it all. I really hope that Scott realizes the best thing he could do is to admit he was duped by Doug and get under some good sound teaching. This Reconstructionist/Dominionism/Theonomy/Patriarchy/”Church Reformation Movement” is not going to produce anything good.

      • NC Says:

        Mike, how well do you know Scott Brown, do you think he will try to take over where Doug left (or fell) off?

      • Half truths abound Says:

        There really needs to be a new site started by someone out friends trust. They need to hear the truth about Harvey Dent…

      • Just a shadow Says:

        Harvey Dent is a fictional character from Batman.

        What’s your point, “Half truths” ?

        • Jen Says:

          Just a Shadow, I don’t keep up with modern culture much, so I’m clueless! Just my personal preference — not a rule for anyone else!

      • Half truths abound Says:

        As stated above jensgems is a site managed and run by an excommunicant that many in these circles still consider guilty and unrepentant. That may be worth revisiting as well, but that automatically biases them against them against the possibility that a large majority of the recent content here is generally accurate.

        • Jen Says:

          HT, I have maintained for seven years now (here) and two years before that that I was excommunicated but that NO ONE was ever able to tell me what my (excommunicable) sin was. I have never pretended to be perfect, but when I asked for help in my marriage, not only was I first told it was my fault (because I am a woman), but then I was excommunicated on top of it all, mainly for taking a stance on politics. You do know that Doug Phillips told me that I needed to apologize for sinning against him, and when I asked him what my sin was, he told me that it would have been all right if my husband had written him that voting paper, but since I was a woman, it was wrong, even though I did so with my husband’s FULL blessing (of which Doug was WELL aware).

          So, if I am still guilty and unrepentant, you are certainly free to tell the world what my SPECIFIC sin is/was.

          You are also free to correct any errors in my excommunication story. Doug had EVERY opportunity to do so in 2007 and he had NOTHING different to say then.

      • Leslie Says:

        Fortunately, I was in a fellowship that encouraged women to study, study study the Bible. I did so for 20 years. We had homework and in some cases got college credit, My Bible study teacher often said we were were more qualified than those who went to Seminary. I know the Bible really well, but have stopped going to Bible study, and started using what I learned during that time. Fortunately I learned a lot about false prophets and anti-christs and am able to sniff them out almost immediately.

  7. PioneerHomeschooler Says:

    Well. That living room scene with John Thompson certainly sets the stage for the past couple of decades, doesn’t it? That tells you almost everything you need to know.

    • Corrine Says:

      Did you – any of you who we’re involved in BCA- see that type of behavior ? Wives standing behind, not being allowed to answer etc? My FIC was not that extreme at all. So crazy !

      • Jen Says:

        Corrine, I don’t think women stood much, but we were definitely expected to be quiet when the men were talking. Outside of the church service, I ignored that and joined right in!

      • saoirsewoman Says:

        Sounds pretty far short of equality to me. I preach at my church. So do a score of the other women. (And, obviously, the men).

      • Sarah Pressler Says:

        Totally not allowed to talk in church. At all. It was seriously frowned upon. I remember once when a visiting family was there and the elder asked if there were any prayer requests before the hour long prayer session….aka gossip time… began. The visiting Mom stood and asked for prayer about something or other and you could have heard a pin drop. It was AWKWARD! Women were to be seen and not heard. Very … oppressive…. environment.

        The women could visit after the 3-4 hr sermon during the “pot providence” meal as long as it was cordial. Let’s not get started on the infantile and catty behaviour of the wives at BCA. That’s a WHOLE ‘nother blog!

        • Jen Says:

          Yeah, I had a BIG problem with being quiet in church, Sarah. Before you got there, on my first couple Sundays, I didn’t know the rule, so I joined the “men’s discussion” after the sermon. Oops! Then, if my husband wasn’t at church (he traveled a lot), I would pass notes to other men to either ask questions or give prayer requests. It was crazy! I remember some would say to ask my husband the question at home. He didn’t have a clue! I just wanted to participate in the conversation!

        • Donna Says:

          I can’t imagine the women in our church not being able to discuss theology. How suppressing!

        • Jen Says:

          Donna, most of the women didn’t WANT to discuss theology. Their interests were in feeding babies, or sewing and quilting and knitting, and other stay-at-home activities. I am interested in some of that to a degree, but I have much broader interests as well, and definitely craved intellectual stimulation. 🙂

      • just a shadow Says:

        True. Women were not allowed to speak in the church service. Catty behavior afterwards. True. A lot of gossiping/judging going on. True. Women trying to “one up” each other with:

        the first time obedience level of their kids ( “my kids are sooooo obedient. Sister, have you read “To train up a Child”? Hmm. Maybe you should…”)

        their level of submission to spouse,

        the level of rage concerning vaccinations and all things medical ( ” I hate doctors more than you. No, you don’t! Yes, I do! No you don’t! Well, my kids have NEVER been on evil antibiotics, Well, MY kids have NEVER been vaccinated. Well, MY KIDS have NEVER even been to a doctor! )

        The women also gossiped about their own children – esp. older ones who were struggling with the “community standards”. It was always shared in a “pray for ME” way with great emphasis on the BURDEN the child was placing on the family & esp. the mother and how *grieved* they were about said child.

        This always turned my stomach.

        In reality it was a sly way to keep their social standing by telling others that even *they* didn’t approve of their child’s “rebellion” for wanting to:

        go to college (horrors, sister!),

        or get a job outside VF world (Nay, sister! We shall pray!),

        or for speaking to a boy/girl in a “defrauding” (read: without parental permission) manner ( This is grave, sister, very grave),

        or for exhibiting a “disrespectful” attitude for not wanting to walk the 10th baby around *again*/change the diaper *again*/walk the toddler AND the baby around *again*/ walk the toddler, the baby, and entertain the 4 year old *again* (whilst mama chats) etc. etc.

        Talk about betrayal. And they wonder why their kids RAN from them?

        • oneh20 Says:

          I’m in a local FIC but I have to say – again – lets be careful with the broad brush… I so value the friendship and and examples of the women in our fellowship. I did, however, see all of that in the church we left – a big, modern style reformed church that is very popular – but I want to be clear that I’m not painting those churches with a broad brush. The characteristics described are in every church. For that matter I don’t think SS is evil or sinful, my kiddo will be going to college and I’m very vocal about supporting that decision, etc., etc. I won’t carry on too long about this – just want to add some balance. 🙂

        • Jen Says:

          Just a Shadow, oh, is that what the women talked about? That must be why I was often the Jezebel who had theological conversations with the men instead. 🙂

      • Just a shadow Says:

        I’m speaking to my experience only – not another person’s or church’s. This is what I saw at BCA. It may have only been true of the people I interacted with, or it may have been true overall. I’m not omniscient, so I can’t know what others discussed in their conversations. But I do know what was discussed in the ones I was part of.

      • Just a shadow Says:

        And as far as “balance” that did not really exist at BCA. Maybe it does in your FIC, but BCA had a set of values you were expected to embrace. As far as the same “characteristics being present in every church” I have to disagree there. I’ve never been in another church that condemned kids in the way I described above. The church I belong to now has zero of those characteristics.

      • Leslie Says:

        I really like what Pastor Gifford said about the term “helpmeet” means counselor. And a wife is to lovingly counsel her husband and he is to listen, because men have blind spots and women counterbalance them.

        I think that is so true. Maybe Doug would not be in ths mess had he asked for his wife’s counsel.

        In the Hebrew text of the OT of the names for God, at least three of them are feminine.

        Therefore I believe to get a good balance in marriage, the church, business and politics that the input of both men and women is necessary

        • Jen Says:

          Leslie, I thought that was an awesome point about “helpmeet” as well! It really underscores how important it is that we study the Bible for ourselves.

      • Leslie Says:

        Thanks Jen,

        Unfortunately it didn’t help prevent my daughter from being sucked into ATI and VF. am sayinmg very little to her about the downfall of VF, but trying to keep her apprised of it at the same time. A fine lin e to walk.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Hi Leslie,

          Indeed, it is a fine line. Some friends in our church are very much into ATI/VF and today was the first day I broached the subject with them. It must be harder with family. Bless you as you navigate this.

  8. oneh20 Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Encouraging, clarifying, straight forward, and simple.

  9. just a shadow Says:

    This article was GREAT. And sad. I took DP’s word on it till now that Pastor Gifford had commissioned him to start BCA, and that Pastor Gifford had taught him “everything he (DP) knew/taught”. I’ve actually held a very low opinion(wrongly) of Pastor Gifford for awhile and wondered where *he* got all his crazy ideas. Now I know that they WEREN’T his ideas. If I were him, I’d be mad as heck at DP for supposedly speaking for me all those years. I’d be FURIOUS at DP parading around the U.S. using my good name/reputation if I were Pastor Gifford. Good grief! What a charade!

  10. Corrine Says:

    Great article! Pastor Gifford sounds like a sweet & godly man.

  11. Jayhawk (@Jayhawk1991) Says:

    Link to Pastor’s sermons here:

    I’m listening to this one on How to Prevent Being Deceived.

    He sounds quite sharp to me. Too bad Doug decided to ignore his warnings and sound teaching.

  12. Scott Says:

    Well I’m not married but if I was married I would only want my wife standing behind me in one situation. Let’s say the dominionist wackjobs have taken over and we (sane, normal people) have circled the wagons, literally. I want her standing right behind me handing me fresh mags for the AR-15. Then again if she out shots me like that NINE year old girl at my last competition, I will gladly stand behind her.

    Yeah, I know I would never hack it as a patriarch, but I’m not short, bald or crazy either so there ( crazy is debatable my niece insists) .

    I know many people that attended Fairfax Christian School. Even a few very dear friends that I’m still in touch with today. All of them hated the family that owned it with a passon. I also attended a wacked out christian school run by psychotic nutJOB fanatics. Part of me can sympathize with Doug turning into a cult leader. He was groomed by crazies for the part.

    Pastor Gifford just isn’t one of them.

  13. Dr. Postulate Says:

    I understand the feelings toward the NCFIC and Doug Phillips. However, I must point out that the NCFIC is NOT the “Mother Flagship.” FICs have been around much longer than the NCFIC. (Think historically, but I will only address recent history.) A pastor by the name of Mark Fox (Author of “Planting a Family-Integrated Church”) has been at it for over 25 years but without all the elitism and rules. Some of us who worship in FICs don’t go for the VF/DP line of thinking. Like I mentioned on a previous thread, there seems to be at least TWO different schools of FICs.

  14. Dr. Postulate Says:

    I am not saying that anyone has it “right,” including the church where my family and I worship. And, as we all know, there is no perfect church – or perfect church model. The only perfection is Christ.

    • NC Says:

      Bob, it seems you have a few more years on me, thank you for the education on FIC’s. My comment about calling pastor Gifford for help was simply meant to underscore how carefully pastors need to shepherd their flocks, and in light of Dougs refusal to listen to sound counsel.

      Regarding my comment on NCFIC being the mothership, I am referring to the movements recent growth and their aggressive practice of splitting churches to form an FIC church. Many reading here, including me, went through this. So, whereas there may have been a past history with healthy FIC churches, it seems the NCFIC has taken over that brand and is making it what they want it to be.

      In the future I will be careful to paint with a smaller brush, thanks for the advice,

  15. Rebecca Says:

    Reading Pastor Gifford’s words have brought me so much peace. Learning that DP was repeatedly warned time and time again of the error of his doctrine sickens me. I have friends who won’t even question DP’s teachings because they have been soaking in his extra-Biblical practices for so long. It has caused me to definitely get back to following Jesus and to stop trying to live some ultra glorious Christian life that no one can ever actually live up to. I wish I had never been handed a VF catalog by a fellow homeschooler, but I know God allowed it in my life to purge my own pride in order to draw me closer to Him. I’m more in love with my Savior by the day! Thank you for Pastor Gifford’s side of the DP tale. It’s still all hard to believe, but I appreciate Jen and T. W. so much for pressing on. The web of lies of the DP teachings are very, very, tangled with the homeschooling families I know. Even those who’ve never heard of DP know of the teachings. May we all put our focus back on Jesus!

  16. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Amazing article. Thanks TW. It’s like pastor Gifford was DPs’ theological scapegoat for all his bad acting. It’s like DP said all those years: It’s HIS FAULT. HE taught e these things.

  17. Morgan Farmer Says:

    ..taught me these things… sleepy fingers

  18. NeverAgain Says:

    Question for Grace, if she’s reading and doesn’t mind answering: In some of Doug’s early messages, he talked about eating dinner very frequently at the Giffords’ house. Something that impressed him were the servants’ hearts of Pastor Giffords’ daughters. The girls would serve the food, clean up afterward, and constantly work to make sure everyone was fed and comfortable. This made a big impression on Doug; he took this behavior as a model for how all women should act. Can you discuss these dinners from your perspective?

    • Tinuviel Says:

      I’m not Grace, but I have been to the Gifford’s for dinner and I can tell you that Pastor’s daughters are some of the most precious ladies I have ever met. The dinner table was loud and fun – everyone talked at the same time and everyone laughed and enjoyed the conversation. The daughters were not treated as slaves – they had hearts to serve and just pitched in and helped where ever they were needed. It was a lively, enjoyable time. I hope that gives you an idea of what life at the Giffords’ house was like back then.

    • GMV Says:

      My sisters and I loved serving our family and still do to this day … as well as our own families the Lord has blessed us with. Our family dinners were wonderful and we have many happy memories of them. It was a great time of sharing our thoughts and feelings while we all sat together around the dinner table…we had so many joyful times. Usually after dinner our father would have family devotions…it was during these times we were able to learn more about our wonderful Savior as well as our roles as women the Lord would hopefully call us to later on in life. We were never forced nor were we coerced into believing something which we did not have our own convictions on from fully believing what the Lord wanted us to be from studying His Word. We watched our mom care for us and her husband with joy and love…we learned by her example knowing that this is what the Scriptures taught. Looking back I see that we loved our parents so much we were happy to please them and do everything we could around the house to help serve. Our parents always showed us unconditional love so it was easy for us to serve and help as Doug may have mentioned during his speeches. Most importantly we knew how much our parents loved Our Lord Jesus and how they wanted to please Him in all that they did….truly the Lord deserves all the credit and it is only by His Grace and Mercy I can even mention any of these wonderful things regarding our upbringing. I hope this helps.

    • teacupsoh Says:

      Having had the opportunity to dine in the Gifford home many, many moons ago, I would describer their meals at their home as Christian hospitality with Southern charm. Emily Post would have highly approved. Mrs. Gifford trained her daughters to be gracious to their guests and serve in a very appropriate manner. Sunday afternoon dinners were refreshing and a lot of fun. Yes, the time was impressive, but it wasn’t done in such as way to as to be a weird emphasis on women/men roles. What a delightful family and fun memories!

      • saoirsewoman Says:

        I will be sure to train my sons to be gracious to our guests and to serve in a very appropriate manner. Very good preparation for them.

        • Jen Says:

          saoirsewoman, I had one daughter and one son who were capable of helping in any capacity (my other daughter is severely disabled). I trained them both to do pretty much everything. My son now works at a restaurant and performs more than double what any other employee does, and won “employee of the month” for it. He “credits” me with teaching him a good, hard work ethic in any situation, and he now earns the tips he does because he learned to serve at a young age. 🙂

  19. DesiringToDiscern Says:

    DP did not invent the wheel re: Godly home. He saw an opportunity and twisted the beautiful plan that God created for the family. He personally NEVER knew it.He was warned! He came, he pillaged, he lost. The good values (in God’s Word !) that we have practiced go WAY back. We were FAMILY (home-based, home-educating, hospitality-minded, etc.) when FAMILY wasn’t cool. I am so thankful for light that exposes darkness.

    • NC Says:

      DTD, you are so right, DP and Scott Brown are businessmen, they saw an opportunity and capitalized. They found good sound homeschooling families and used them to help gain a customer base. DP’s game is up, but keep an eye on Scott, chances are high he is looking to keep the income stream alive with the same customers Doug pilfered, and being on the VFM board and bosom buddies with Doug he has complete access to all he needs to do it. I personally know of men in his life similar to Pastor Gifford who have warned him repeatedly on many of the same concerns Gifford had about Doug.

      • Jen Says:

        NC, I hope these men in Scott Brown’s life realize the amount of damage and devastation caused by Doug Phillips and step up their game a little. It’s not time to pussy-foot around regarding these issues any more.

      • NC Says:

        Jen, I hope they do too. One small difference I see is that Doug seemed to have some kind of relationship that allowed Pastor Gifford to continually confront him. Scott burns bridges, those who used to confront him have become despised by him. I’m not sure how it was at BCA, but at Hope Baptist you were either IN or OUT, IN meant you did what they did and believed what they taught, OUT meant you questioned things that didn’t seem right to you and actually thought for yourself. When you became part of the OUT group you either put up with more intense indoctrination or just left (which could very well prompt an excommunication). All that to say I hope there are enough men left who Scott would listen to long enough to make a difference.

        • Jen Says:

          NC, it did seem to be an odd relationship that Doug had with Pastor Gifford. I think he truly recognized how much Pastor Gifford impacted his life, but then he took all that good and twisted it into something unrecognizable. Sometimes there are relationships that transcend doctrinal differences. I pray that Scott Brown may have one or two of those left in his life as well, someone who can speak both truth and life into him.

  20. cptruthlover Says:

    Thank you Pastor Gifford! We appreciate your ability to speak the Truth in love. The Lord knew your heart in telling Doug the Truth throughout his life, and I pray you are richly blessed for defending the Word of God.

  21. cptruthlover Says:

    I have a question? It sounds like the men at HSLDA started Doug on the Patriarchal thinking, or at least to the extreme he took it? Maybe the culture at HSLDA isn’t as healthy, or wasn’t, as people would like to believe? Or was it just that one man at HSLDA?

    • teacupsoh Says:

      The men at HSLDA did not start Doug on Patriarchy. They are well-grounded men and did not and do not subscribe to that line of thinking.

      • cptruthlover Says:

        Oh, good to hear. So who were the guys at the meeting that were trying to talk Pastor Gifford into patriarchy? I thought he stated they were DPs friends from HSLDA. I would have to look at the article again.

        • cptruthlover Says:

          Sorry, I was able to read it again and for some reason my brain transferred DP working at HSLDA to the group was from HSLDA. I will have to read without kids around!

  22. revtup Says:

    Thanks for your great articles about DP and VF.
    When my wife and I started getting their products several years ago we thought it was decent Christian stuff highlighting roles of boys and girls and etc. As things progressed I told my wife something was wrong. (As a former pastor, the Lord has allowed me to have discernment toward false teachers.) She thought I was being to hasty in my judgment.

    We then went to the Baby Conference in San Antonio in 2010. My concerns became more apparent when I noticed that no one prayed or mentioned the gospel or even Jesus Christ in the sessions.

    I wrote to Doug, Scott and Geoff and shared some of my concerns about their Dominionist views. No on replied.

    I tried my best to acquire sermons from Boerne Christian Assembly to which I was quickly told from a member that only members can have sermons. I then replied that shouldn’t gospel preaching be readily accessible by all. No reply.

    In 2011 we went to the Marriage Conference at Ridgecrest, our final conference. We got to see firsthand how the hero-worship of Doug was at an idolatrous level. I then really started noticing that he was taking all of these round the world trips and making videos that said nothing and selling them for ridiculous prices.

    As I have told my wife, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

    • NC Says:

      revtup, your experience is shared by so many; unanswered concerns, no replies to questions, hero-worship, absence of the gospel and the lavish use of other peoples money to make trips around the world. I only wish more men with firsthand experience like Pastor Gifford had the boldness to speak the truth to these men and now to offer clarification to those affected by their actions.

      • revtup Says:


        My family and I have lost a good friendship over my views of this ilk (before all this came out of late). The former friends refused to consider my then concerns.
        It may be a bold thing to say but of my dealings with preaching and teaching about cults I believe followers of these charlatans may need a type of deprogramming.

      • NC Says:

        revtup, I spoke with a friend of mine recently who had lost friends also, mostly due to him forcing his views and withdrawing from fellowship with them. He actually went back and apologized to each of them, maybe something like this would work for you.

        • Jen Says:

          NC, awesome advice!

        • Andrew McDonald Says:

          Dear NC, After about two years in a house church with Mike Bradrick and leaving, I also went back and tracked down the folks that had been ‘disciplined’ and asked forgiveness. All these teachers seem to be brutal and litigious. Something that is hard to see during the process. In addition to the fact that I was not saved at the time. It was very hard coming out and we did not go to a church for 2 years afterwards because even though we had left we still clung to the teaching as spot on. Very legalistic and judgmental and that’s not gossip, it’s just true.

    • Jen Says:

      revtup, pardon me for laughing so hard about your attempts to acquire sermons from BCA! Obviously Doug preached fascinating sermons when he showed up (every 3-4 months), but they were definitely NOT preaching the gospel! While I was there, we did have one man who preached well, even out of the OT. But everyone who’s been there will know exactly who I am talking about when I say that you can count your blessings that you never received those other sermons! That was not the strong point in our church. 🙂

      • Andrea Says:

        Jen, I’ve seen you mention a few times about DP rarely being in church. Why on earth was he there so rarely? It is quite interesting to me as just yesterday I read an article he wrote several years ago that was all about being committed to church attendance, no matter what!

        • Jen Says:

          Andrea, he was so busy attending homeschool conferences and all the VF events that he often didn’t make it to church. It was interesting because all four elders, when BCA began, were homeschool conference speakers and they all seemed to be able to find their way back to church by Sunday morning. I really don’t know. He always had some excuse, but after the first couple years, he was rarely there.

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        And yet Jennifer Grady’s brother Michael Billings left a conference that seemed to be very special to him, to get back to *church*….though he never made it back to BCA 😦

      • Jane Says:

        Scott Brown and Dan Horn are not good at preaching either! least the few times I got to hear them. 🙂

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Jane, I agree. The Patiarchy-Quiverfull-FIC-Dominionist movement has lost its most prominent and charismatic leader. It will be hard to recover. Who will rise up to take Doug Phillips’ place? Plenty possess his deviousness and megalomania. But who possesses his charm and charisma? Who possesses his polish and dapper-Dougness? Who else can make the ladies swoon like Doug?

          It’s that last one that’s the most critical because, as I’ve pointed out before, women have purchased 80% or more of all VF merchandise.

          So who will be the next home school lady-killer? Scott Brown? No charm, charisma or eloquence, and he doesn’t play dress-up. Geoff Botkin? Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin are charming and have made a lot of money for their dad; but Geoff is about as dapper and charming as an ostrich. Kevin Swanson? Every movement seems to have its Fred Phelps and Scary Kevin Swanson is the Fred Phelps of Christian home schooling. R.C. Sproul Jr? He does like to play dress-up, but try as he may to be dapper that beer belly doesn’t help him sport a kilt. Being defrocked doesn’t add to RC Jr’s credibility either, and his reputation for being a boozehound, while making him much beloved among the “Christian liberty” party crowd, doesn’t endear him with most home school moms.

          Doug Phillips was a brilliant strategist, but one thing he failed miserably in was grooming his successor. Peter Bradrick was “Executive Assistant to the President” from January 2005 – January 2009. Prior to that he was a VF Intern. Why would Doug Phillips choose someone like Peter who is so lacking in charm, charisma, public speaking skills, and good looks? It seems that Doug had given no thought at all to a successor unless, that is, his intention was to groom his son, Josh, as his successor. In point of fact that probably was his plan. The problem was that Doug got caught with his pants down before he could pass the baton.

      • Refugee Says:

        On “grooming a successor”: The problem with successors is that they have the potential to be supplanters. Sounds as if DP might have deliberately avoided choosing someone who might be able to take over, for just that reason — to avoid the possibility of a coup.

      • Refugee Says:

        Sorry, that last was complete speculation. Sorry about that. Please disregard, if you’re looking for facts. I was only thinking out loud. I like to try to make sense of why people do what they do — it’s an outcome of my training in psychology, which I laid on the shelf some years back due to VF and other Christian teachers, but never quite got out of the habit of applying IRL in an attempt to figure out the *whys* of a situation.

      • T.W. Eston Says:

        I believe that speculating over such matters is completely appropriate. It’s appropriate because if there is a successor it will likely be another wolf in sheep’s clothing, and people need to be warned. Jen and I have been asked repeatedly who we think the next Doug Phillips will be? So we’ve been trying to figure that out ourselves, and there don’t seem to be any obvious successors.

        I completely agree with your assessment that Doug didn’t groom a successor (unless it was Josh) because of his fear of a coup. That would be completely consistent with his pathology. Doug did groom fawning sycophants and henchmen through his intern program. But that’s a far cry from grooming a successor.

  23. Keith Blankenship Says:

    Our church is on the NCFIC website . As a (not so ) crypto-Lutheran member of the church, I noticed that someone had listed the Augsburg Confession as our confession of faith. I promise that I did not do that, but found it quite amusing! Our confession is the original Westminster.

    Here is how we conduct Bible study and worship:
    1) We have a Sunday school which is not age segregated. It is pretty challenging, Women and children ask questions, make points and engage in discussion. There has never been any question about that. It is led by either the TE or our RE.
    2) We have a Wednesday study as well. Working through Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics. I cannot attend because of work. We also went through Dabney a while back.
    3) Wednesday evening we have a prayer meeting. men women and children all pray.
    4) Our Sunday Service consists of the Apostle’s Creed, Hymns and Psalms, prayer, a lengthy sermon (very Christ-centered) and so on. Before the service starts, prayer requests are taken, from men, women, children. Lunch afterwards.
    The ladies, and a couple of the men are fine cooks, so we usually have quite a good “dinner time” as we call it in southern Appalachia.
    Our TE as well as the TE of our sister church proclaim the gospel constantly and consistently. Although i have theological differences with them, our elders are Christ-centered, and love to tell folks about salvation through Him.

    • NC Says:

      Keith, if you don’t mind me asking, why is your church listed on the NCFIC website? Does your church gain credibility or exposure by being there or is is just to inflate the number of churches NCFIC can claim?

      • PioneerHomeschooler Says:

        Several churches have tried for years to get their names removed from the website with no response. Wouldn’t look good for the roster to be shrinking, would it?

        • NC Says:

          sounds like a job for a skilled hacker…….or a small missile:)

        • Jen Says:

          Pioneer Homeschooler, I wondered about that. I know one in particular that could not get their church removed. It is interesting to see that this is happening more often.

      • oneh20 Says:

        Its kind of like a directory so that people who want a family integrated church can locate one. Not all listed there are “exactly” SB/VF total adherents, but there is a strong influence. There is a good deal of autonomy.

        • Jen Says:

          If I remember correctly, there are certain “rules” that you must agree to before you can sign up, either as an individual or as a church.

      • oneh20 Says:

        I forgot to click to be notified of follow up…

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          It took several requests over 2 years to have our names removed from the NFIC search , even after they replied that they would do it.

      • Keith Blankenship Says:

        My answer would be none of the options that you mentioned. I think our elders just wanted people to know that we don’t systematically exclude children from worship. A couple of families have joined our church after seeing it on the website.

    • Jen Says:

      Keith, thank you for telling us about your church. It sounds very healthy!

      I have not checked in a long time, but it used to be that to post anything about a church on the NCFIC website, that you had to affirm that you were the one authorized to make the posting. Apparently someone in your church has a bit of a problem with deceit, or is just VERY confused!

      • Keith Blankenship Says:

        Jen, i think it is a healthy church. We have a range of views on things. The elders are postmillenial, while I am amillenial. They are very solid on the WCF, and use Dabney, Bavinck, Calvin and other resources in Bible study. Some men wear ties, I don’t usually wear one because I have one around my neck all week. The women wear a variety of clothing styles, from dresses, to jumpers, to pant suits.
        When I looked up the NCFIC site, I saw that there is a “confession” listed there. Frankly, I don’t think we need any new confessions, as innovation has caused too many problems in the church. I have not studies it in any depth, so I cannot really comment. Both our TE and our RE are honest men, so it may be that terms used on the site can be interpreted in varying ways.

        • Jen Says:

          Keith, what I like most about the description of your church is that you have a “range of views.” THAT is healthy!

  24. Just a shadow Says:

    You know what makes me spitting mad? There were many situations that arose at BCA (during MY time there, not speaking for anyone else’s time) during which some members were fearfully whispering, “Is there anyone that is ‘over’ Doug that would listen & step in here?” If we had known that Pastor Gifford did NOT share DP’s views & also had some level of say in his life, I guarantee you we would’ve been on the phone to Pastor Gifford. It boggles the mind that DP ran around claiming that his spiritual authority was approved of by Pastor Giffords when the exact opposite is true. Every single thing was a lie – relationship to Gifford ( which DP made MUCH of), relationship to his family, relationship to his wife, trotting around the US talking about his “Biblical” church w/ it’s plurality of elders( when in reality none existed). Every single thing was false. It’s really astounding that he got away with ALL of it for years.

    It’s like opposite world – anything he says, the opposite is true.

    God’s people (me included)were deceived by a man who likes to play dress up & tell tales. Tragic.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Pastor Gifford spoke to me of that very issue last night. Doug repeatedly told him over the years, “Pastor Gifford, I’ve got a church that’s just like yours.” No one is hurting more right now than is Pastor Gifford in having to come to terms with how much Doug had deceived him, and to discover how much Doug has used his name as the source of his doctrines and practice. Yet, the two men couldn’t be more different. You’re right, it does boggle the mind.

      • Just a shadow Says:

        I don’t want to exaggerate things in my mind. But I have a memory lurking in the corners of my mind that DP claimed to be “ordained” by Pastor G. Can anyone else confirm this? Or am I conflating the word “commissioned” in my mind with the word “ordained”?

        • MomT Says:

          Yes – I have wondered who licensed and ordained him? Or was he a “self-proclaimed” elder?

        • GMV Says:

          Pastor Gifford (my dad) did not ordain Doug.

        • Jen Says:

          GMV, thank you for confirming that.

        • revtup Says:

          As an ordained minister in our state of Georgia if you are not ordained by a governing body then you cannot conduct weddings. If you do they are not recognized by the state as legit.
          Keep in mind states may have different laws regarding this.

        • Jen Says:

          The closest I could come to this regarding Doug Phillips is this: “Persons authorized to perform weddings in Texas include … officers authorized by religious organizations.”

        • Mike Race Says:

          There are organizations out there that will ordain anyone and will be their governing body. It can all be done on line, legally and recognized by all 50 states.

        • Jen Says:

          I remember “commissioned,” but the story could have changed over the years.

      • Jen Says:

        TW, I also came away from our conversations knowing how much Pastor Gifford truly does love Doug and desires for him to turn his heart fully to the Lord.

      • zooey111 Says:

        Yes, indeed. Pastor Gifford has been sorely used by DP & Co.

        In re: Ordination– A number of years ago, in response to a dare by a friend, I sent off to an online organization, & had my cat ordained. The “Reverend Lily” was quite legally ordained, though she never used her services for anything–much less a marriage. It was quite hilarious at the time– or, at least the pastors of my personal acquaintance were amused by it.
        It is not funny at all to realize what some people have done with their so-called “credentials”.

        • Jen Says:

          Zooey, thanks for that visual — the “Reverend Lily” the cat! ROFLOL! So sad, but I’ve heard others say the same thing.

          I suppose Doug Phillips could have sent off for one of those “ordinations,” but I don’t think he even did that.

    • JPGR Says:

      It’s like opposite world – anything he says, the opposite is true.”

      Exactly He portrays himself as hyper-successful in every aspect of life. The truth?

      Doug Phillips is a miserable FAILURE in everything that he has ever done:

      Failure as a husband
      Failure as a father
      Failure as a pastor
      Failure as a businessman (today is 12-20 incidentally….)

      • Sarah Pressler Says:

        He and my ex husband have a lot in common. So much it’s sad, not even funny. And you k now what – Doug will NEVER take responsibility for this. In a few years he’ll reemerge and play the “I was Saul and now I’m Paul” card.

    • Jen Says:

      Just a Shadow, it is still sinking in, several days after speaking with Pastor Gifford for the first time, how much we were all deceived. I guess I feel like Jacob right about now when he found out he had married Leah instead of Rachel.

  25. Observer Says:

    revtup: Why did you think something was wrong? What were your first early clues? How ironic that so many women (the main homeschooling teacher for the most part) were deceived (like Eve) as so many men just let it happen (like Adam).

    When we received VF catalogs, I thought that these were things that were nice but really copycats of secular things (like American Dolls). And the trips were akin to these trips that National Review does. So for us the issue was lots of money and an inferior product.

    • revtup Says:

      I suppose
      1) discernment itself had a lot to do with it
      2) Doug using the term “Doctrine” loosely. “The Doctrine of Women and Children First.” How about “The Teaching of …”
      3) Doug trying to draw attention to himself by showing off with his outfits and accents.
      4) His intro in the Amazon video series shows him swinging from a vine which was made to appear to be dangerous when in fact it was a photo shoot that earlier shots showed a dozen or so of his peeps shooting the pic at the same time. Disingenuous!
      5) Ladies, I am sorry but I think ladies were drawn and later deceived by Doug’s over the top attitude and demonstrative ways.
      6) Lastly, the money was a big issue. The conferences, trips and products were not even reasonably priced. It reeked of a for profit business as opposed to a ministry in all ways.

      • MomT Says:

        For my dh it was lack of scripture, lack of scripture, lack of scripture. Anyone who can talk for three hours without standing on and exposing or illuminating scripture and scripture alone does not really believe in the authority of scripture – no matter what they say with their lips. Whatever is in a man’s heart is what comes out of his mouth.

      • JPGR Says:

        I thought whatever Doug said was automatically Doctrine?


      • Tinuviel Says:

        Observer and Revtup, I think your suggestion that the ladies were deceived may be true. Whether I like it or not, the Bible does say that Eve was deceived by the serpent but Adam was not. Perhaps the source of the problem in this case is fear. I still remember being blindsided by that fear the day I brought my firstborn home from the hospital when I feared mostly for his physical well being. I was completely overwhelmed with the notion that he would not live to adulthood (btw, he’s married and has two children of his own now). I had nightmares about him falling out of his carseat onto the pavement while I was carrying him and every news story about a carjacking where the baby was left in the car sent me cowering. I simply was not trusting my little one to God’s care. This fear grew with each baby and it was difficult to accept God’s sovereignty in my life in this matter. I had to realize that if any of my children were to die early, God would give me the grace to deal with it and no matter what my circumstances were (are), God is always good, loving and just.

        As my children grew I began to have the same intense fear over their spiritual well-being. I thought teenage rebellion was a natural part of child development and parents were helpless to stop it. I believed my children would reach an age when they naturally talked back, hid drugs in their rooms, ran away from home, etc. and there was no way to prevent it. God graciously placed me in Pastor Gifford’s church where I had many older women to turn to and learn from. Pastor taught “redemptive child training” where the parent lovingly trains the child and always points him/her to Christ. He taught me to make sure my children understood that we are all sinners – even mommy and daddy – and that we all need a Savior. Having been saved so gloriously myself, it always brought me to tears while explaining to my children how thankful I was that God, in His great mercy, plucked me out of the fire and saved me by His marvelous grace.

        All that to say, it is natural for moms to fear for their children, which makes them vulnerable to false ideologies that promise to keep their children safe. Fear makes it so easy for moms to latch on to any teaching that assures them if they do this or that combination of things, God will necessarily save their children. As has been said here by others, we must simply keep our eyes on Christ, trusting that whatever comes our way He will supply our needs. We must trust Him completely with our children – not forgetting our responsibility to train them in the nurture and admonish of the Lord – but also with the understanding that ultimately it is God that saves, not parents.

        • Observer Says:

          Tinuviel: Thank you for sharing that. Brave of you. Lots to ponder. BTW, love your name.

        • Tinuviel Says:

          *admonition* (sigh)

        • Corrine Says:

          Well said !

        • revtup Says:

          A great post you shared.
          My wife reminded me (and which I know to be true) that mom’s might not have been wow’d by Doug but drawn to the idea of bringing family close, daddy being the spiritual leader, and coming against the world’s emasculation of the male role model.
          Those mentioned above are noble but the way that Brown, Botkin and Phillips have gone about it are cultish at best.
          Though I do believe there are some who are wow’d by his Napoleonic attitude.

        • Jen Says:

          revtup, and we should be drawn to those ideas as well. That part is the good part!

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          “it is natural for moms to fear for their children, which makes them vulnerable to false ideologies that promise to keep their children safe.” I couldn’t agree more. I was just speaking to Jen about your comment and how fear drives so much of the home school community. Home schooling wasn’t about fear in the early years, but thanks to Doug Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr, and my favorite scaremonger of them all Kevin Swanson, many home schoolers are doing so out of fear. That’s always a bad motive.

          Moreover fear is guaranteed to get you headed down multiple wrong paths because fearful people are incapable of thinking calmly and rationally. Fearful people are reactionary rather than proactive. They make themselves easy targets for charlatans and hucksters. Doug Phillips is the best example of them all – he made millions off tens of thousands of Christian home schoolers, and fear was one of his primary marketing tools.

          IBM was among the first to discover the power of fear as a marketing tool. Their marketing department coined “FUD” – fear, uncertainty, doubt. They successfully utilized FUD for many years, and it made IBM an incredibly successful company. It wasn’t technological innovation that made them successful. It was FUD.

          I’m thinking of doing an exposé on home school scaremongers, quoting extensively from the top home school scaremongers who’ve made lucrative careers out of scaring the living daylights out of Christian moms and dads.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Just please distinguish that not all homeschoolers are alike and follow the VF/ATI teachings. 🙂

        • Jen Says:

          oneh20, I think the focus is the use of fearmongering, and how SOME people react to that logical fallacy. We are against ALL forms of “guilt by association” here. 🙂

        • Grace alone Says:

          “it is natural for moms to fear for their children, which makes them vulnerable to false ideologies that promise to keep their children safe.” This is exactly what kept me homeschooling which in itself led me to a works mentality. By God’s grace, I pray God will woo my children’s heart and delight them to understand that Christ is sufficient. BTW, they are now in public school and I’m working, and we’re trusting in God’s grace because nothing we can do will keep their souls except the blood of Christ!

        • Jen Says:

          Tinuviel, what a beautiful testimony that God’s love casts out all fear! Keeping our eyes on Jesus makes it impossible to live in fear. Very well said!

      • Jen Says:

        revtup, I like your list. 🙂

        Doug Phillips was a master at combining business with ministry in such a way that they were indistinguishable. I imagine that even the IRS will have a difficult time telling the two apart.

    • Number 41 Says:

      I apologize for the length, so if you don’t want to read, I’ll just say that Just a Shadow’s counsel is the best, no matter where you find yourself in the journey:

      My impression and experience (mostly from afar):

      My wife and I saw Doug as the “keynote” speaker at a homeschool conference in Atlanta, probably 2004-2005 era for the first time. We had seen the VF materials and about that time he was pushing the honoring veterans/patriotism angle hard, replete with his restored WWII era jeep (which would be soon followed by the Jonathan Park stuff beginning at Iwo Jima with relatives). I remember him using the “esquire” title at that time and thinking he must come from old money or made a lot of money as an attorney to have the apparently lavish lifestyle he does with the large family, because the bulk of his customer base in the SE could never afford this. At that time, I had not heard of NCFIC, not sure it existed yet, but I do remember getting the impression he was buddies with Scott Brown (who I also knew nothing of but apparently he was important and his association should matter to us for some reason). We bought the Botkin book So Much More at this time considering it as a gift for a young lady we were teaching in “youth group”. I read it and threw it away. Now I have different convictions about young, inexperienced people instructing others and would likely reject it for other reasons, but the some “teaching” in that book was….well, I threw it away. Very legalistic, I knew it would overwhelm a 19-20 year old growing up in a home with divorced parents where her father was remote. That stuff is like porno for women. It creates an unrealistic virtual perfect dad/boyfriend while simultaneously crushing whatever actual human you are stuck with.

      About this time my wife and I became convicted about how we were assembling (southern baptist), what we were really doing there in our “busyness for God” and that we had relationships a mile wide and inch deep. Questioning why do we baptists do the things we do. We were the only homeschooling family and desired to have our children be part of our time at church meetings (this is not at infant stage, but old enough to sit through the typical 59 minutes). This meant no “children’s church”, giving up singing in the “choir” and simply sitting with our family together. This was met with some admiration and some resistance. We further were convicted about single-man leadership (though we have been through nothing like some of you folks) and could not see this modeled in the scriptures either, nor pigeon-holed age/marriage status/parent status group teaching. We had to withdraw. These were not “bad” people, but participating in a system of man’s traditions (and amendments for “efficiency” or “convenience”) that had and still has a lot of potential to go wrong. It has some practical good result, but is not what I saw in the scriptures. I could no longer stay and teach other people’s children with shoddy Lifeway material who were placated by little Johnny being in Sunday School one hour a week as spiritual training. It just isn’t happening. At the same time, we did not have the grace to stay and “fight to change things” and thought this would be more divisive than anything. So we were on our own and seeking others that were like-minded to fellowship with. So we should have been ripe for the picking by VF/NCFIC.

      I remember some time after this discovering NCFIC in its early stages. There were no assemblies close to us, but I was intrigued by the idea that others had this same conviction of the entire household of faith actually spending time together, not segregated apart the entire time you were there. Not long after this (2006 I believe), Voddie Baucham made the impromptu “Centrality of the Home” speech at a pastor’s conference. After this gained attention, I noticed he was immediately co-opted by VF and included in the latest Casting A Vision for Conference that was half way across the country and several hundred dollars to attend. We had begun to meet with several other families in homes with participatory meetings where all the men were teaching. I remember going to another homeschool conference in Atlanta about this time and VF had a seminar on family integrated meetings. This was also the first time I remembered seeing the anti-youth group material in a booklet on their table. I don’t remember the presenter’s name (Doug was not there), but they had some decent reasoning for the whole household to be together, spoke explicitly against youth groups and probably used the stealing the heart of a child reasoning for that. I was more convicted about 20-somethings who were unmarried or never raised children being responsible for teaching all the children. So, they wanted to tear down the youth minister, but were also very careful to take a shot at home church meetings, calling them “rebels” because they did not have their under-shepherd or vison-caster or covering or one of those terms. They were also pushing the “reformed” trappings hard at this time and Calvin’s tulip. So it was all “Sola Scriptura”, but they didn’t offer much scripture and instead a DVD for $19.99. I came away thinking that VF plainly declares (contrary to scripture) there IS more than one mediator between God and man – but only ONE more. At that time I marked Doug and VF as being probably the most dangerous group to homeschooling because of their appeal in so many other outward ways. So, I was not sucked in and told my wife we could keep the VF materials we had, but needed to be very cautious about recommending anything VF to others because of what we had seen and heard (and read in the Phillips-praised Botkin book).

      Following this was the era of the weird daughter/Daddy stuff surfacing, Don Veinot’s “Who Will Be First In The Kingdom” interaction with VF and my discovery of Jen Epstein’s story. Now I was sure Doug Phillips had to answer for this situation in Texas, but was not doing so. I could see in the VF dealings with Don that they were not forthcoming. I also saw this demonstrated about the same time with Swanson/VF responses, or rather refusing to directly address (because she is a woman?) and instead ambiguously slandering on his blog, a sincere professing sister and well-experienced homeschooling mother I have a lot of respect for (Karen Braun).

      This man-made kingdom model is played out all over the country. Phillips, Swanson, Sproul,Jr., Gothard, Farris, Driscoll/Piper, Calvary Chapel, et al, have a certain bent to lord it over others and these are just the “famous” ones that you hear about. These “great men of God” usurp their unscriptural “undershepherd” role and then when it comes time to discipline them, their principles are non-existent (who arrests the sheriff?). The games they play as accounted in Jen’s story are used by many, many men: The grievous wolves Paul warned with tears about that would come even among the elders at Ephesus and speak perverse things to have people follow after them (Acts 20). We have been warned. We just don’t want to believe it is true. When their man-made kingdom leaves the scriptures with one-man control and further has no form of accountability from the assembly, but only from their fellow celebrity-“shepherds” who do not live there, it becomes a monster indeed.

      • stillhealing Says:

        I’m wondering why you included John Piper in your list….and wondering if there is something I should know but don’t! The rest, I understand 🙂

        • HoppyTheToad Says:

          Here’s a quote from John Piper:

          “Consider what is lost when women attempt to assume a more masculine role by appearing physically muscular and aggressive. It is true that there is something sexually stimulating about a muscular, scantily clad young woman pumping iron in a health club.

          But no woman should be encouraged by this fact. For it probably means the sexual encounter that such an image would lead to is something very hasty and volatile, and in the long run unsatisfying.

          The image of a masculine musculature may beget arousal in a man, but it does not beget several hours of moonlight walking with significant, caring conversation. The more women can arouse men by doing typically masculine things, the less they can count on receiving from men a sensitivity to typically feminine ”

          Weight lifting helps bones get stronger. If all women lifted weight their whole lives, there would be fewer broken hips in old age and less frailty from muscle wasting away (use it or lose it). This kind of nonsense is both bad health advice and silly “theology.”

          I got the above quote from the October 12, 2012 blog post at The Wartburg Watch. There are other posts discussing other bizarre things he’s said – he seems to like to declare that various natural disasters are God’s punishment for __________ (fill in the blank with various things he dislikes). Any time a pastor declares that a specific tornado, bridge collapsing, etc. is punishment for a specific sin, our “spidey sense” should go off. The punishment for false prophets in the OT was death, so people should be very, very wary when someone claims they absolutely know what God thinks about current events.

        • Jen Says:

          HoppyTheToad, welcome!

          I used to do some serious weight-lifting and had very defined muscles. I guess I’ve always been a bit aggressive. But that is also who God made me to be. I’ve always been strong, both physically and in handling many aspects of life. When I came to understand that I am just the type of person God wanted me to be, I had no interest in being a delicate little church mouse type. Much of these terrible misunderstandings come from being afraid to study philosophy, psychology, and other sciences that tell us all about differences between people, as well as differences between men and women. I will always be stronger than some men. That doesn’t mean I can’t spend hours walking in the moonlight having a significant, caring conversation.

          Thankfully, Doug never said these things (while I was around), but I’m all for women being strong and healthy in every way possible!

        • HoppyTheToad Says:

          Here’s another weird Piper quote, as mentioned in the February 18, 2013 post at The Wartburg Watch:

          “Suppose, I said, a couple of you students, Jason and Sarah, were walking to McDonald’s after dark. And suppose a man with a knife jumped out of the bushes and threatened you. And suppose Jason knows that Sarah has a black belt in karate and could probably disarm the assailant better than he could. Should he step back and tell her to do it? No. He should step in front of her and be ready to lay down his life to protect her, irrespective of competency. It is written on his soul. That is what manhood does.

          And collectively that is what society does—unless the men have all been emasculated by the suicidal songs of egalitarian folly. God created man first in order to say that man bears a primary burden for protection, provision, and leadership.”

          I wonder if he’d stand by this if he had the flu or a broken hip and someone threatened his life or the life of someone nearby. Would he really tell a female police officer or armed daughter or wife, “No, no, you put the gun away. Let me handle this?” These people take their views on gender roles to ridiculous extremes.

      • Jen Says:

        Number 41, thank you for sharing that story with us. We love hearing EVERYONE’s story here! Please do not be afraid to tell long stories like this!

        What struck me most about what you shared with us was your own personal desire, along with your wife, to worship together as a family. The details you shared are similar to the path that we also walked. But having passion, or even having conviction, as a family is quite different from telling others that they must worship in EXACTLY the same manner, or it is sin. That is where the NCFIC crosses the line.

        If small home churches were allowed to be completely autonomous and were encouraging believers in loving one another and fellowshipping together in an atmosphere that encouraged families and individuals in their walk with the Lord, then they would be doing an awesome service! It is when they start making up their own list of “holiness” rules that puts them in the same category that Jesus put the Pharisees.

      • stillhealing Says:

        Ah, that’s interesting. Thanks for replying. Now that I think back there are things about Piper that have twigged my radar at times, but I often wonder if I’m just being overly sensitive.

      • E. Stephen Burnett Says:

        Piper is naive about some things — including how his male/female teaching comes across and how misogyny is just as prevalent and potential among evangelicals as misandry. At absolute worst I’d consider Piper as simply ignorant of these issues, and not an aggressive promoter similar to Sproul Jr., Phillips, Bauchum, Botkin, et. al.

      • Number 41 Says:


        I include Piper because of his association with Driscoll and his refusal to act as an “elder” should to the victims of Driscoll (and instead kept including him in conferences, etc.). There is a Jen’s Gems equivalent out there for Driscoll (Petry). I have been watching this story for years (just as Jen’s story) wondering when the men-of-God leaders were ever going to step up rather than maintain their autonomous celebrity. Piper has avoided it despite being appealed to by Driscoll’s “flock”. There also is a story of his son being put out of the assembly, but John allowed to keep his position despite their previous interpretation of Paul’s writing to Timothy and Titus on appointing elders (old men) as overseers as being a sort of litmus test of qualifications. Once John obviously failed their standard because of his son, the tap-dancing began. Suddenly the elders needed to decide rather than the scriptures they had already interpreted. And then there are the sabbaticals, where everyone seems to be so understanding of the need for “time away” for months at a time, but seem simultaneously willing to abandon the default, nonnegotiable requirement of their “shepherd” and “covering” (again for months at a time). For me, it just reveals what a mistake it is to create these grand corporations and lay all the responsibility on the shoulders of one man.

      • stillhealing Says:

        I think Mark Driscoll is slowly self-destructing with the latest plagiarism controversy AND the lying about books being “confiscated” at the Strange Fire conference. I’ve often been puzzled by John PIper’s relationship/endorsement of Driscoll. I’ve listened to some audio of Driscoll and read some articles. He comes across to me as arrogant and abusive.

        You’ve mentioned a few things here that I was unaware of.

  26. MomT Says:

    Bob – if you don’t mind my asking….are you a former or current member of BCA? If so – are you saying that DP lied about Pastor G’s blessing of his starting BCA?

    • Jen Says:

      MomT, yes, I heard Doug lie about that many times. At the time, of course, I had no reason NOT to believe him, so I was actually shocked when I spoke with Pastor Gifford and got an entirely different story.

      • Bob Says:

        I don’t want to tip my hat here, so I will say nothing about my past affiliation with BCA and so all I will say at this point is “yes”, I have personally heard Phillips say that he was commissioned by his church in VA to plant a church here in SA. I heard it more than once and I guarantee it can be found on recordings, but who knows which ones.

        My guess is that everyone that attended BCA for any length of time has probably heard this assertion in one form or another.

  27. NeverAgain Says:

    We first heard about VF in 1999 when we received a catalog from them. At that time my husband was in the military and gone from us for many months at a time. When he was home, he was exhausted from working long days. He just wasn’t leading our family, spiritually or emotionally. I ordered some of Doug’s tapes, which we listened to for hours at a time. We both liked them — Doug’s stories were very appealing, and he described a world that we wanted to be part of — a world of involved dads, loving moms, and happy, obedient children. By hanging around the VF orbit and ordering more and more tapes, we became part of that world, though we were never part of the “A” group. We sent VF several thousands of dollars a year (on the last weekend of each year my husband and I would always choose which charities to donate to, and for a long time VF was on the list).

    Our children had autism-related issues, and other homeschool families tended to overlook our family. I was very isolated. Even at church we were failing to find close friends. The VF lifestyle became a substitute for reality for us. We would read Doug’s Blog faithfully, and we felt that the people pictured there were our friends. (We actually had met many of them on Faith and Freedom tours.)

    My husband and I had many, many conversations about theology and patriarchy. I was evangelical Baptist, and I couldn’t deal with heavy doses of reformed theology — I mean, intellectually I understood it, but it didn’t pass the “wayfaring man shall not err therein” test for me. We wanted our children to attend college. We wanted them to be prepared for modern adult life. So we didn’t completely drink the Kool-Aid, but we still considered ourselves VF devotees.

    Over the years, we saw a number of things that gave us raised eyebrows about VF. The Daddy-Daughter conferences were a little over-the-top. We thought one particular Faith and Freedom tour was unnecessarily extravagant. (I won’t say which one, but we were definitely in the lap of luxury.) We never heard the gospel preached. Some of the people were arrogant. The ever-increasing appeals for money made us shake our heads. We felt that VF had “gone Hollywood” and was no longer a sweet organization devoted to raising up fathers who would lead their families toward Christ. We saw plenty of nepotism and rules being bent. I think we really started to check out emotionally when the tours (especially the Hazardous Journey tours) became virtual, as in “we’re going on vacation with our favorite friends, and we’re not inviting you, but you can watch us having fun over your computer if you pay us $200.”

    We definitely felt something was wrong, and that our dear Lord did not call His people to behave that way. We had a strong feeling that Doug was in for a fall, though we would never have predicted it would happen the way it did. I miss the “old” Vision Forum and feel that Doug really squandered an opportunity to be a powerhouse for Christ. It is so tragic that I have to keep reading this blog to take it in and convince myself that VF’s downfall is true. Pathetically, I want to hold onto my old CDs and play them over and over and block this nightmare out. (Pray for me!!)

    • fact Says:

      NeverAgain, I just prayed for you, and I will continue

    • just a shadow Says:

      What you need to understand “Never Again” is that there apparently never was an “old” VF. It did not exist. It was apparently based on a false foundation even back then : being commissioned by a dear spiritual father (false), being a devoted husband (false), being a devoted father (false), being the pastor of a biblically run church (false), being the protector of women and children(false)…FALSE.

      As hard as it is to admit ( Believe me, I know) we were all deceived by a pretty picture – a false, alluring world that did not even exist even as it was being marketed to others. IT DID NOT EXIST EVEN BACK THEN.

      Throw your CD’s away. Sorry to be blunt. But they are a fairytale.

      The world you and I though we saw did not exist – ever.

      Turn you eyes to Jesus. He is real.

      • Jen Says:

        “What you need to understand is that there apparently never was an “old” VF. It did not exist. It was apparently based on a false foundation even back then : being commissioned by a dear spiritual father (false), being a devoted husband (false), being a devoted father (false), being the pastor of a biblically run church (false), being the protector of women and children(false)…FALSE.”

        That is SO good, Just a Shadow, that I just wanted to repeat it. If the foundation is weak, the whole thing will come crumbling down. Now it makes a whole lot more sense why everything is crumbling so quickly. There was a small earthquake, but the foundation was built on lies and deceit, so the whole thing just came tumblin’ down.

        Time to build on the one true foundation — Jesus. 🙂

    • HoppyTheToad Says:

      “Pathetically, I want to hold onto my old CDs and play them over and over and block this nightmare out.”

      My guess is that you wish you could hold on to how you felt at that time in your life. It doesn’t mean that Vision Forum was ever less-corrupt, just that there hadn’t been enough time for most people to see the rotten fruit. Now that you’ve seen the fruit yourself, you can’t unsee it, even though you may long for that time in your life. Now that “The Matrix” has been exposed, which pill are you going to take? It may take years, but Jesus will guide you through.

    • Jen Says:

      Never Again, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yes, there is a mix of all those aspects in Vision Forum. Since I was only involved in the early years, some of what you describe in the latter years is almost unreal even to me. I’m kind of surprised that people put up with this type of elitism and still kept sending Doug money. From the financials I’ve seen, people were plenty willing to throw money his way.

      I know this is a very difficult time for many people. Each one of us must walk his own journey, but we can do so together. You are free to grieve here — grieve for the lost dreams, the friendships that may be on shaky ground now, the false ideology, the utopia that was never quite attainable. I hope that as time goes by, you will also feel free to find truth and love and grace here, as we focus on Jesus and the abundant life he has for us today!

      You’ll find your way. And we’ll walk side by side through this together. Glad you’re here!

    • HoppyTheToad Says:

      “At that time my husband was in the military and gone from us for many months at a time. When he was home, he was exhausted from working long days. He just wasn’t leading our family, spiritually or emotionally.”

      Vision Forum and other wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing get many of their followers from homeschooling conventions. I think one reason they appeal to moms is because they promise that if moms just follow the formula, all the sacrifice needed to homeschool a large family will be worth it. Many of these moms are alone with young kids all day, with no family around, no ability to get a break from the kids, always pregnant or nursing, and with husbands who work long hours. They are tired and any doctrine that prods their husbands to relieve some of the burden sounds appealing. Unfortunately, they end up with a bigger burden than they started with.

      • Jen Says:

        HoppyTheToad, good point about “any doctrine that prods their husbands to relieve some of the burden sounds appealing.”

        And that is actually a good thing. Homeschooling should be a project, a lifestyle, that is undertaken by BOTH parents. It is a HUGE burden for the woman to carry alone. And so when Doug loosely based his teachings on this principle (very loosely), it was enough of a glimpse of hope for weary homeschool moms to hang on to and hope that Doug would provide the magic pill that would make their family the PERFECT godly family they always dreamed of. (Hmm. Speaking from experience here.)

        • Mike Race Says:

          My wife and I have 10 children, 9 of which are daughters ages 26-5. I have always been involved in helping to get things done. When we began to lose ground, being constantly worn out and tired, my wife having health problems from a moldy parsonage, I pulled the plug on any more children. My wife still complains about not having more as if that is all she is good for. I don’t regret not having more and I think so many in the quiverfull camp continue to sacrifice health over more children. This too is an area that needs work for the stay at home mothers. There is so much worth they have more than just having children. They are such blessings as a help-meet in this life and in raising children with hearts that desire to serve our Father. There should be no guilt in stopping child bearing if your health or energy is being compromised to the extent you cannot give loving care to the blessings Father has already given to us.

        • Jen Says:

          Mike, I agree 100%!

    • Observer Says:

      NeverAgain: There was an Illusion, but the best Deceiver is one who distorts real Truth, and that is Jesus. There are wonderful, majestic things about Patriarchy that should not be thrown away, God’s very Fatherly love, his covenantal love where when we fail, He will never, and so much more. God bless you as you sort it all out.

    • Andrew McDonald Says:

      Dear NA, we were involved in a DP Lite fellowship, the leaders sent their son to be an intern with DP. We were given to understand that if we did or followed the directives (like ‘train up a child’) that we were promised success. As I look back on it the teachings are very much like the Word of Faith movement where you “speak things” into existence and testify them to be true, only with DP and his disciples you “do” things into existence by following patterns and them. Both are wrong. My Christian life is a walk of faith and trust in my sovereign Heavenly Father. I love my new “DAD” He’s the best and I do not mean to be blasmephous, it’s true.

  28. edwardsheridan Says:

    Since I gave you grief before, Mr. Eston, I feel I should applaud you on this article. You went directly to a source with a name, and I greatly respect that. Thank you for your efforts.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Thank you Edward (I think). All my sources have names. Not everyone is willing to use them, and most have good reasons when they choose not to.

      Think of Doug Phillips as the Capo of a Christian Mafia Family. The intimidation and fear are just as palpable, and it will take some time for that fear to subside.

      • Bridget Says:

        I’m finding it difficult to understand why readers expect sources to be made public. People read newspapers for hundreds of years and never expected a writer to divulge their sources. Writers would go to jail to protect their source. What is the difference here?

      • UMMM..... Says:

        Give me a break, do you really think that people are “intimidated by” or “fearful of” Doug Phillips? This just seems so silly. I am family integrated and not ashamed to say so, since I still believe it is biblical (regardless of a mere man). I have been to many NCFIC events and what-not, but fear and intimidation? how silly (and I am a….. dare I say……A WOMAN!!!!!!) How can that be? You are a bit over the top, and that is also coming from someone who has experienced……dare I say……sexual abuse!!! Oh my!!

        T.W. Eston says: “It will take take some time for that fear to subside.” ——-OH BROTHER!!!!!! I am so scared of doug Phillips that I am shaking in my shoes, can you tell?

        • Jen Says:

          UMMM, not everyone is fearful, but yes, there are MANY who are living in various forms of fear. Please allow them the space they need to deal with their fears.

        • just a shadow Says:

          Dear UMMM-

          You obviously don’t live around here. Otherwise you would know that what you are saying is completely ignorant. Did you ever work for DP? Attend his church? Get sideways with him?


          Then, please, do not presume that you “know” anything at all – you DON’T.

        • UMMM..... Says:

          Well, it seems that you would like to think that there are many who are fearful (hurt is more like it). It seems to to me that you are trying (very hard) to cultivate that ungodly mindset of being so fearful of Doug Phillips. I mean, please…… I believed he was a man of God too, but, fearful? We are to fear God, not man, aren’t we?

        • UMMM..... Says:

          Not only that, but, respectfully, I have been to MANY conferences, and Doug Phillips was really not scary at all. I mean, no matter how “ignorant” you want to say I am.

        • NC Says:

          UMMM, is your real name Jennifer, because your comment there looks mighty suspicious.

        • UMMM..... Says:

          You make me laugh. I have never met Jennifer. I guess I am the ignorant one because I know enough to not be afraid of a mere man, even though I am a woman who knows what it is like to be sexually abused by someone who was supposed to be my protector.

        • just a shadow Says:

          So you’ve been to some *conferences*, and somehow you think you can tell those of us who live here, attended his church… you want to tell us how to FEEL?

          Really? Are you serious?

          And no, I would not “like to think” that many are fearful.

          I know MANY who are. I KNOW their names. I KNOW their children. I KNOW them *personally*. I KNOW their stories.

          “Been to MANY conferences” SHEESH.

          I guess you regularly advise women going through chemo that it’s “no big deal” too because after all you’ve watched A LOT of shows where women get chemo and their chemo didn’t hurt *YOU* at all?

          Please try not to embarrass yourself next time by advising others how to feel when you have NEVER walked in their shoes.

        • just a shadow Says:

          And quit throwing your own abuse story (sad as it is) around as if it is some kind of credential that magically makes you able to judge whether ANOTHER person *should* be fearful or not.

          * Rant off* I think.

        • UMMM..... Says:

          I’m sensing a little anger from Just A Shadow. I know what it is like to recover from a LIFE TIME of sexual ABUSE from someone who was supposed to PROTECT me, and guess what? We don’t need to FEAR. There is HOPE in that. I have forgiven that person through the blood of Christ and I LOVE that unsaved person today. WOW, what HOPE in CHRIST is found. Sorry that Doug Phillips is not that scary. In fact Please, whoever is reading this and is scared of DP, That kind of fear is not of God.

          Also, people who keep trying to drum up fear of this guy, it is still really silly. I hope you can see that someday.

        • NC Says:

          UMMM, I’m sorry to hear you have been abused, and by your supposed protector no less. I hope I didn’t offend you with my earlier comment. Having gone through what you did I bet you have something you can share here that might be helpful. It is clear you have moved past any hurt that might have been there at first, can you share how you did that?

        • just a shadow Says:

          I have no problem forgiving someone. What I have a problem with is you deeming other people’s pain and fear as “silly”. That’s offensive.

          And yes, it makes me angry.

        • just a shadow Says:

          And if you can’t see that calling someone else’s fear/pain “silly” IS offensive, then well, I guess I don’t know what to say to that.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Ummm, there would be no reason why anyone who casually meets Doug Phillips at an NCFIC event, home school conference, etc. would afraid of him. In fact he’s quite charming to most people. I’m speaking of those insiders who are eye witnesses to his corrupt ways, i.e BCA members and VF employees, as well as some VF interns. Anyone who has dirt on him has been threatened by him. His most common threat is that he threatens to sue people, and such threats have silenced many. What few that are left who are willing to speak out won’t do so under their own names. As a direct result of my articles here Doug has been stepping up the legal threats against insiders even more intensely.

          Perhaps you’re new here and haven’t read my other articles? At the very least you should read Doug Phillips: Portrait of a Religious Sociological Cult Leader.

        • UMMM..... Says:

          NC, Thank you. I am not calling other people’s fear and shame silly. I am calling this site silly for trying to drum up silliness. I do know the difference. With all due respect, maybe my past experience has made me the LEAST fearful of man that one can be. I could tell Doug Phillip’s PRIDE a mile away. I am one who would have giggled in his face and not even tried to hide it if he tried to act like God Himself in front of me. I am NOT bragging. This comes out of a lot of experience of PAIN and suffering on the inside. I can relate to Cassandra (I think that is what you are calling her) quite well. But you really are being silly on this website. You are OVER STRETCHING. I personally know many people (myself included) who are very hurt by this wolf. My doctrine WILL NOT CHANGE because of Doug Phillips and it is not because I am fearful. I wonder if you just hate the London Baptist Confession of Faith. I wonder what YOUR doctrine is. What is your goal? To take down the reformed faith?

        • Jen Says:

          UMMM, when I hear stories about people weeping because they are afraid to let go of patriarchy because it is “safe” for them, I weep, too. And that fear is real.

          What is my goal? Healing for the brokenhearted. Strong, healthy families. Strong, healthy churches. All rooted in the love and grace of Jesus. My goal is that people would learn to think for themselves, to study for themselves, to have their own passions in life, based upon the freedom that God has given us to live life abundantly.

        • oneh20 Says:

          UMMM, I understand what you are saying – I think its the broad brush you are using and the tone with which you are coming across that is putting people off. But amen, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. Give these people a little room to catch their breath here. People are handling it in different ways and in different time frames. You can’t specifically know how it affected each family. I’m similar to you in that men like DP would never gain an inch from me, but I have been hurt in other ways as have you. Speak the truth in love, with a goal to encourage and not judge and it might be beneficial for us all. Bless you.

        • NC Says:

          OK UMMM, I get it now, your not fearful of Doug, but you are fearful. Fearful that maybe the system under which you make sense of life is coming under attack. Settle down, nobody here is trying to take away your belief system. But to the degree that system (or any system) binds the conscience of man and places the Law above the cross, it will be criticized here.

        • UMMM..... Says:

          Whoever is fearful of DP needs to repent at the foot of the Cross. No, I DO NOT understand being afraid of Doug Phillips. Are you even telling me that there are actually even MEN out there who are afraid of DP? Oh my! NOW That IS FUNNY. I am a lady and I wouldn’t fall for his antics. You guys really are S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G!

        • Jen Says:

          Ummm, when men dressed all in black, wearing sunglasses, and packing pieces, show up at your front door demanding certain things from you, you might change your tune.

        • UMMM..... Says:

          NC, Thank you for responding so kindly, but… what is YOUR doctrine? I am sorry, I missed it if you did answer that question.

        • NC Says:

          Ummm, no I didn’t answer the question, and this is not the forum to do so, nor do I believe your tracking with the purpose of this blog if my doctrine becomes an issue. Please consider your real intent here, is it to help those who have been affected by VF, or just tell us all off?

        • just a shadow Says:

          Ahh. Now UMMM your true “beef” comes to light. You are afraid that we are threatening a *system* you have come to embrace. You accuse others of “stretching” and yet YOU stretch by asking if the goal here includes taking down the Reformed Faith and you wonder if we ” just hate the London Baptist Confession.” Huh? Who said anything about taking down the Reformed Faith? How is the London Baptist Confession relevant to any discussion here? Huh?

          How is disagreeing with/having concerns about DP going to “take down the Reformed Faith”?


          Your lack of ability to empathize leads me to believe that you are young. Very young.

          And your words reveal your true sentiment ” I wonder what your doctrine is?” This kind of statement is classic VF code talk. People are to be judged/trusted based upon their DOCTRINE, meaning, if you are of the Reformed Faith you are A-OK, dandy, and smart to boot! If you are not of the Reformed Faith, well then, you probably need to repent as you have a man centered, rebellious doctrine. Been there. Heard that, dearie.

          What do I hope for as one who HAS walked in the VF world?

          I hope for young women to be able to pursue education. I hope for them to marry who THEY love, not who daddy chooses FOR them. I hope for young men to be able to follow their dreams and obtain an education without being branded “rebellious”. I hope for families to quit trusting in a doctrine, a system, or a leader and to turn to Jesus. I hope for Christian brothers and sisters to stop experiencing shunning due to whether they wear dresses or not, whether they court or not, whether they listen to contemporary christian music or not. I hope that young people will be able to actually get to know the person they will wed before they marry them.

          I hope parents will begin to care for their kids as much as they care for their own social standing within the group.

          Take down the Reformed Faith? You must not be any kind of a *real* Calvinist to think it could be “taken down”.

        • Jen Says:

          Just a Shadow, you hope that young people will be able to get to know the person they will wed before their wedding day? Surely you are asking too much now! 😉

        • NC Says:

          Just a Shadow, you have a way with words, very clear, ummm needed to hear that,

        • just a shadow Says:

          Call me a rebel.

        • just a shadow Says:

          The “rebel” comment was to Jen.

          NC – UMMM eerily reminds me of many VF interns I heard speak in just the *same* way – “Identify yourself as a true Reformed Christian or I will discount anything you say, and I *might* even call you names, ‘cuz that’s all Godly
          and stuff.”

          Then the litmus test questions would begin. I saw this kind of inquisition happen many times to young visitors, friends of members etc.

        • Jen Says:

          Just a Shadow, I like certain types of rebels. 😉

        • UMMM..... Says:

          Just A Shadow, I am a 44 year old woman. I have been saved by Grace for 17 years now. I was raised unchurched. I was saved at the age of 26 after years of being a crack addict. My first church after salvation, was Assembly Of God (Pentecostal). I was there for 6-7 years and then have been reforming ever since. I am very happily married with 3 grown boys. My only point here is that it is this blog that is trying to elevate a mere man. I do question the motives of this blog as everyone should.

        • NC Says:

          Ummm, one last shot here. The motive of this blog is out in the open, if you can’t see then your not really looking. Perhaps your own hidden agenda is getting in the way. Take a look at the articles, read some of the posts, consider even the title of Jens blog. Nobody here is hung up on doctrinal differences, I guess if the title of the blog was “Reformers Anonymous” then maybe, but its not, and its really plain to see.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Well, I must say, if there ever was a Reformers Anon group, I’d be interested in at least checking it out. 😉

        • Just a shadow Says:

          Great. You’re 44 *wink,wink*. I’ll play along, intern. Then act like you are 44. Quit with the needless Reformed litmus test (London Baptist Confession) line of questioning (“What is your doctrine “). No one is here to discuss doctrine. It is irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

        • Just a shadow Says:

          And I question *your* motives UMMM.

          So, we’re in the same boat there, I guess.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          Jen, TW, I hope you don’t mind me adding this but for some reason when I think of DP lately, this comes to mind (except that DP is not as kind as this man)

        • Jen Says:

          Like this, DTD?

          Doug Behind the Curtain

        • Andrew McDonald Says:

          Dear Ummm… I appreciate your confidence but until you have been in one of these fellowships don’t be too confident and remember that many of us got involved because we were really seeking a ‘better’ way and had an investment that the person who just reads about these groups would be hard pressed to understand. Try empathy and sympathy; the word ‘silly’ paints a false picture of most of us. Most everyone came into these groups with some baggage and that is why they were there. I am an imperfect sinner and not always clear thinking. I have found that those who admire themselves as ‘above’ being fooled are already there, if only in their estimation of themselves.

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        Jen, Yep! Esp. love the part where they lose their fear and see him exposed as just.. noise, threats, smoke and mirrors…. *a very bad man* (quoting Dorothy)

      • Teresa N Says:


        Not trying to be mean but you are a very self righteous person. Mostly all your comments are about you, I this and I have done that, me this and me that. Where is our compassion for our bothers and sisters in Christ whom are hurting here and out there. Are we not to pray for them?

        BTW This is not a silly blog

    • HoppyTheToad Says:

      I agree that this post was heads and shoulders above the others.

  29. just a shadow Says:

    The difference here is that some people want to hold onto the false premises they’ve built their lives and their children’s lives around. They’ve got skin in this game: daughters in their 20’s & 30’s who have been denied an education/chance to find a spouse, young marriages that were arranged through courtship ending in divorce ( I can think of 5-6 in the community without straining my brain too hard), young men denied a college education, young people who have left the faith, young people estranged from the family, polygamy on the horizon in at least one case…

    All of this is now staring these parents in the face. And they need to rationalize it – that somehow they weren’t deceived. That somehow the system works, that DP just didn’t do it “right”. They need to be right because they have staked A LOT
    on this system being THE right way.

    They have demanded that their children stake THEIR futures on this system being right.

    If they were actually wrong/decieved…there’s alot of crow to be eaten and a lot of apologizing to be done to the kids.

    Some things won’t be fixable. They are beginning to realize it. That daughter whom they have harangued to “wait, be patient, trust your parents, give daddy your heart” is still sitting at home – uneducated and single.

    AND NOW there aren’t even any VF events to cycle through during the year so that daughter can meet a spouse.

    The fall of the VF world is nothing short of catastrophic for these families. It means the end of a social cycle upon which they have become dependent. It means no more exciting trips to take your college age kids on so that they *hopefully* don’t notice that the world is passing them by. It will be harder to keep the college age kids caged at home when they are actually at home all the time and not given the promise that they *might* meet at spouse at the next VF function. This is slowly dawning on the parents. And it is unsettling to say the least. What to do? Where to go?

    Those who refuse to acknowledge that this system is/has been corrupt, abusive, and deceitful will be looking for a replacement leader QUICK! Their ability to keep the older kids mollified and at home depends upon it.

    That’s my take on the push back, the refusal to believe the obvious, the demand for hard “evidence” – they demand it so that in the absence of evidence they deem appropriate, they can justify to themselves and their older kids the journey that they have insisted on for years now.

    They’ve got a lot of eyes looking at them now. Their own kid’s eyes.

    Parents, run to Jesus. You and I forsook our first love for the song of the Pied Piper.

    “Rescue the perishing
    pray for the dying
    Jesus is merciful
    Jesus will save.”

    • Jen Says:

      Just a Shadow. great points about the young people. How will they arrange all these courtships now? This is indeed a serious dilemma for numerous families.

      • oneh20 Says:

        Through SB conferences, of course. 🙂

      • teacupsoh Says:

        Having grown up under the courtship philosophy just as it was becoming vogue, I can attest that young ladies in this environment aren’t doomed. No need to continue thinking that there is only one venue to meet suitors. Make a serious course correction and God will open up opportunities. It happened for me 10 years ago. There is hope.

        • Jen Says:

          Teacupsoh, yes, there is indeed another way, but only if people are willing to consider possibilities other than courtship. I think the point we are trying to make here is that if everyone who was following the courtship model and relying on VF events to find suitable life partners continues on that same path, potential mates will soon dry up. You are very correct that this issue needs to be re-examined yet again.

      • Just a shadow Says:

        Donna – SB means Scott Brown conferences.

      • Teresa N Says:


        I am glad you asked because I was having a DUH moment too. I did get a laugh out of the “single boys” that cracked me up.

        I thought it was southern Baptist convention….I can not keep up with all these abbreviations…LOL

  30. 12510ken Says:

    I wish I could say this is all just a horrible nightmare, but unfortunately the evidence is there that what Jen and the others are saying about Doug Phillips is true. I have never dealt with him personally, but I have had dealings with his staff a few times. My impression was he was being protected and made unavailable as a king would be protected by, and made unavailable by his staff. I have also been hurt by his attitude against women. I wanted to go to a conference he was having about legal stuff and politics. I was told I would not be able to come because I was a woman. It was just for Fathers to take their sons to. . .
    I also saw the film of him walking around at the film festival holding hands with a young woman. I was bothered by that and thought it was strange, and wondered who this woman was. Normally, a man would have his wife with him holding her hand. . .
    I’ve also seen the pain in Beall’s eyes in some of their family pictures. Now I know why. . .

    Also, I have been bothered by the extravigence and the amount of money required to go to one of their father/ daughter retreats. We are not poor, but we couldn’t afford to go to something like that.
    I have been hurt, my daughter’s been hurt, and my husband and I have yet to tell my son and our other daughter yet about all this. But, I do thank God it is finally coming to light, that other families may be spared the pain of their extreme beliefs, etc.

    • Jen Says:

      12510ken, thank you. Welcome and thanks for sharing your impressions. I am sorry you have been hurt. We should be sharing stories of how we all love one another, not how we’ve all been hurt. I hope to turn that around soon!

    • Just a shadow Says:

      Where did you see the film of DP holding hands with the young woman? Can you post a link?

    • hannahhill Says:

      Where is the film of his walking around hand-in-hand with a young woman? A link would be appreciated. Thanks!

      • T.W. Eston Says:

        I’ve received more than one email noting there was such a video — a recap of the 2012 SAICFF. However it was scrubbed some time ago from the VF web site, along with many other videos and photos. If anyone happened to have saved a copy of that video please let me know.

  31. tlc3 Says:

    As a former newspaper reporter and editor I am very impressed that you interviewed Pastor Gifford and posted his quotes. Not many bloggers will do that. I’m also impressed you got this information first by monitoring your comments and taking the initiative to contact his daughter and church member.

    You are painting a picture of this man and this ministry that becomes clearer every day. That is a picture of pride, greed, lies and fraud. Please keep filling in the details to help make sure everything is brought into the light.

  32. Observer Says:

    T.W., Jen:
    I do not mean to sound accusatory towards Pastor G. I apologize. Pastor Gifford was magnificent in his private rebukes. And you have clarified that he publicly rebuked Doug at the funeral. Mathew 18 does address a widening circle of rebuke from public to private such that everyone in the church (unwieldy of course) if there is no repentance. But you have explained that he did not have the access to a wider computer literate audience. A tough call all the way around.
    I am thinking about the future. How would one proceed? There are many little “dougs.”

  33. Just a shadow Says:

    Observer – “There are many little Dougs.” Very true statement. There have been around 10-12 years of “intern classes” at VF. These are young men who have been indoctrinated and then released back to society. Some of them will pick up where Doug left off – or try to. Of course, not every intern left VF full of correct doctrine, correct orthopraxy, and a belly full of warm fuzzies. There are a few interns who left disgusted with what they saw. But some did become “little Dougs”. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future with the “little Dougs”.

  34. jonathan10121971 Says:

    I’ll be honest, some times I don’t know what to make of you.

  35. Flora Says:

    Read Judges ,Chapters 4 & 5 – perhaps the actions of women like Deborah and Jael will help you as you agonise about what to make of women like Jen!

  36. tlc3 Says:

    Random side note: I just checked There are no products available for sale, and the catalog is not available, either. Will we get an announcement soon?

    • stillhealing Says:

      I subscribe to a blog written by the wife of a long time Vision Forum employee. She hasn’t really written in depth about what is happening other than recently pointing out other resources for Christmas shopping, for people who will miss VIsion Forum. A blog comment mentioned they were praying for her family while they were going through “this transition”.

      I really feel for these people with large families who are losing their jobs right around Christmas. My husband lost his job three days before our fourth child was born and I still remember what that felt like. So although I am not a Vision Forum/patriarchy supporter and am glad to see the truth finally come out, I feel a lot of compassion for those who are being hurt by the fall out.

      • Jen Says:

        Still Healing, yes, the VF employees who are innocent in all this (not all of them are) are the ones I truly feel sorry for as well. However, from what I’ve been able to ascertain, most of them have known, or been looking for work, since September. If you will look back over that blog, you will notice a marked change in posts right about that time frame.

      • stillhealing Says:

        Hi Jen, I understand what you’re saying. I’m not in the know or connected enough to understand who is innocent and who is guilty. I hope nobody takes what I’ve written to mean that there aren’t some who deserve to experience the negative consequences of their actions!

        I do see a difference before September. Are you only saying that the employees of Vision Forum Inc. knew it would be closing since September, or did they know about Doug Phillip’s affair since September? Because I saw something last night on the blog we’re both aware of, a big event in October (photos) that strongly suggest either some staff didn’t know about Cassandra or there was quite the cover up for awhile. I actually had a little trouble sleeping last night after coming across it – couldn’t turn my brain off.

        If I’ve shared too much feel free to delete this. I was wrestling today with whether to even leave this comment.

      • just a shadow Says:

        Are you talking about the wedding pics?

      • stillhealing Says:

        Hi Just a Shadow, specifically the professional photographer’s slide show you can view if you click on the last photo in the post.

      • T.W. Eston Says:

        Thanks for the caution with which you’ve approached this subject. However, in my view it’s okay to discuss openly what’s already an open secret.

        Perry Coghlan was the Vision Forum Inc. warehouse manager for some years. Perry’s wife Kim blogs at and she has consistently sung the praises of Doug Phillips to the high heavens for years. With Doug’s resignation that abruptly changed and she started scrubbing her blog of all things Vision Forum.

        The wedding photo you’re referring to on Kim’s blog shows the backside of Doug Phillips, and he’s in the foreground, of a wedding that happened on Oct 19, 2013. Beall was not at that wedding with Doug, but Cassandra was. Yes, that’s highly problematic. That, and other public sightings of them together throughout this year, indicate that they were still in a relationship as of that date, even though he confessed the relationship to the BCA congregation back in February and stepped down as Elder, announcing the relationship was over.

        Did Perry Coghlan know about the relationship? It seems that just about everyone in BCA and VF did. It was an open secret. Somehow it was dismissed, rationalized, justified and ignored for years and years. That’s life in a cult. You don’t ask questions of the cult leader. You are conditioned to trust your elders.

        Those who do ask question come under “church discipline” and/or get fired on the spot. This happened to one man who asked Doug why he didn’t fire Josh Weans after porn showed up on Josh’s computer for the second time. Everyone heard Doug tell Josh the first time that if it happened again he’d be fired. It happened again and Doug ignored it.

        Did Perry know of the numerous dirty deeds of Doug Phillips that he included key VF employees in as his henchmen? Perhaps not. To the best of my knowledge Perry was never one of those henchmen. He just ran the warehouse. Doug kept his skulduggery operations a secret to everyone but to those whom were the special objects of his wrath. The problem is that there are any number of those henchmen. Not a single one of them has ever come forward to confess and repent of their complicity. We know who they are and we know many of their deeds. They are very foolish to think they won’t be publicly exposed for it all. It would be much better for them to out themselves and repent. As in real repentance, not Phillipsesque repentance.

        • Grace alone Says:

          Mr. Eston,
          Is DP in the photo of the bride tossing her bouquet from the top balcony (end of photographer’s slideshow)? It appears he has a child on his shoulders. If that is him, did he bring his kids and not his wife??

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Yes, that’s him with Virginia, his youngest, on his shoulders. Cassandra is a member of the wedding party, as is Josh Phillips. I see none of the other Phillips family there. I won’t get specific about identifying Cassandra in any pictures. Suffice to say she was there.

        • Grace alone Says:

          Are you sure BP was not there? It’s hard to tell from the back, but there is a photo where in the 3rd row a gray suited man with balding spot is sitting next to a woman. The shot is a ceremony shot from the back of the audience when the dad is kissing the bride.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Yes, I would say it would be pretty hard to identify Beall from a rear shot of her head. I’m just passing along what I’ve been told from others.

          Speaking of Beall and Doug and public ceremonies: Beall did attend Howard Phillips’ funeral in May with Doug. However, when they walked in they didn’t sit together for the funeral ceremony. Eye witnesses say things were quite chilly between them. Apparently by this point Beall wasn’t even trying anymore to keep up an appearance of a normal healthy marriage.

      • Sarah Says:

        @ TW Eston I am confused by your below post where you state that Doug and Cassandra were seen together as recent in October. I thought it was earlier stated that she left in January and had broken off the relationship?

      • Sarah Says:

        I should also at the over at Lifeinashoe she posted on December 21, 2012 that Perry and her older girls were working at VF that day.

      • Sarah Says:

        Just one more thing to add. I was on the photographers facebook site. Not only is the proof in the pictures of Doug and Cassandra being at the same event as recent as October 19th but to top of off it would appear the HJS took a trip the first week of December to Peru with Josh Phillips in tow. Hundreds of pic on there to view. Ridiculous! What is wrong with there people? Sheesh!

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Josh wasn’t just “in tow.” He was heading up a six week mission to “map a remote area” of Peru that ended just this past Saturday, all while his dad was in the midst of his resignation and sex scandal. We heard from a friend of Josh’s who just couldn’t believe that Josh would stay down there while all this was going on. I believe he used the word “surreal.” A major scandal unfolds and you continue your vacation, all at donor expense. That was done in very poor taste.

          In my view any remaining donor funds should have been refunded. But instead Hazardous Journeys even conducted an additional journey after the Peru journey concluded. One has to wonder when all the international globetrotting will come to an end once and for all. That probably won’t be until all the remaining donor funds are squandered away.

        • Grace alone Says:

          Did said photographer do all the work for VF? His bio talks about his world travels to Peru, etc.

      • stillhealing Says:

        Yes, I was sure that was Doug in the barn, blowing bubbles with his back to the camera. What surprised me even more though was the very prominent role Cassandra played in the wedding party if people already knew about the relationship and that’s what kept me up last night, trying to process what that meant.

        But like you said T.W., this is a cult we are dealing with. I guess the weirdness of it all is still sinking in for me. There was a time when I was quite enamored with the beautiful (but false) family image VF marketed.

        I was drawn to these large family bloggers because I was looking for wisdom in raising children, from ladies older and more experienced than I am. Makes me so sad to realise things were not so lovely as they seemed.

        • Jen Says:

          Still healing, I will never forget the day we had a ladies’ meeting after church and one of the mothers who has a very large family was saying that her biggest regret was that she didn’t really know her children very well. Although she spent all day with them every day, she had so many children that she didn’t really know their hearts. That was the day I counted my blessings that I only had three children because I do know my children ‘s hearts, very well.

        • Donna Says:

          I have thought a lot about this, as we wanted more than 3 kids, but ended up having 5 miscarriages along the way. It made me sad for a lot of years that we couldn’t have more children, but when I consider how much I have to juggle NOW with two high schoolers and a middle schooler, between their academics, their extracurriculars, their chore training/jobs at home, all those “little” things like making sure they learn how to drive and tie their shoes (not in that order, LOL), and knowing their HEARTS, staying “in touch” with them, etc., and think about how often my dh has been gone off and on over the years due to college/seminary/ and various jobs he’s had, I think the Lord knew what He was doing with our family. :o)

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        The Coghlan blog states that they are affiliates of …j m cremps

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          We haven’t been able to identify the basis of the relationship of Doug Phillips to JM Cremps Boy’s Adventure Store. I try to avoid guilt by association, so the mere fact that Vision Forum sent out a mass email recommending them doesn’t make JM Cremps crooked people. However, it may make them foolish and/or naive. If it were me I wouldn’t want that kind of association, especially if it involved paying Doug commissions, finder’s fees, etc. Knowing Doug as I do I know that he isn’t doing it out of the goodness of his heart (of which he has none). Doug does no man any favors for free. There are always strings attached.

      • fact Says:

        Regarding Donor funds continuing to be used, how about asking?
        Scott Brown 919-623-3449

      • Teresa N Says:

        Can someone please tell me how to find this photo that you are talking about.

      • just a shadow Says:

        Anyone else smell a move to Peru?

        The photographer is apparently married to a Peruvian woman. Wouldn’t it be interesting if she still has family there in Peru? As I browsed the photographer’s facebook page, it became clear that his wife has been prominently featured in VF functions of late cast in various Indian-ish roles. I think that the same woman is featured on the second page of the latest VF catalog in the “Library” scene with the DP’s daughter.


        • Grace alone Says:

          Well, I just dug a little deeper and see where this photographer has photographed many VF events under his events tab.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          I have wondered why Josh needed six weeks in Peru for a “mapping” expedition.

          Another option would be Kenya with brother Brad.

      • just a shadow Says:

        Ok. So. I felt like doing some facebook sleuthing. It seems that the Photographer Daniel P.( who photographed the wedding in question and who is married to a Peruvian woman) is in Peru with JP and others, one of whom is JL who is married to the sister of Daniel P.’s wife. JL & wife have (according to their Facebook ministry page) moved to Peru to spread the gospel in Peru. In a post on their ministry page, JL states that his wife’s parents (same parents as Daniel P.’s wife) still live in Peru.

        Interesting much that JP is down there as well.

        I think it is fair to speculate that we may be seeing the development of some convenient coat tails – friends who have family and a ministry in Peru, far from the US and its problems. I can envision speaking engagements where DP would be invited and presto would have native speakers as translators ready and willing to help him spread his message to a whole new unsuspecting audience.

        This is all public on the photographer’s site ( has lots of pics of the trip to Peru complete with names of some of the guys). JL ministry page is open to the public as well.

        Time to pray.

      • S.H. Says:

        Hi, T. W. – I was at the wedding on October 19, 2013 and the entire Phillips family was there, including Mrs. Beall. I did not see Mr. Phillips speaking with either “Cassandra” or her family, but, of course, I wasn’t keeping him under surveillance. 🙂

      • stillhealing Says:

        Jen and Donna, I hear you! We have four children. We wanted more but are at peace with being done now. I’m pretty maxed out just keep up with their needs (physical and emotional) and our relationship with them is a top priority, second only to a happy marriage.

        My last pregnancy set me up for a serious back injury that had me very disabled for a year and I will never really be normal again. I had a flare up a few days ago and have to spend a lot of time resting, hence the unusual amount of time I am spending on my computer reading and commenting on this website 🙂

    • Refugee Says:

      Have you tried this link?

      Click to access download.pdf

      (Perhaps it works for me because I accessed it early this morning and maybe it’s still in my cache? Or maybe it would work for anyone. I don’t really know how this stuff works.)

    • BrandonG Says:

      VF stopped selling products on Dec 20 per the most recent blog post.

      • Donna Says:

        I belong to another forum where several of the ladies have ordered VF products since Thanksgiving, and they’ve had an AWFUL time either getting the order, the proper amounts charged, or a refund. One lady’s credit card company even called her to ask about the wacky triple charges. At one point she had received notification that the product shipped, including a tracking number, but THEN she got a refund instead of the product! Another lady got an email with a tracking number, but the link didn’t work. Lots of crazy stories about this!

        • Jen Says:

          Donna, it sounds like they were using a skeleton crew at the end, and perhaps some temp workers. I am truly sorry that they fizzled out like that. Just because business is closing does not mean that customer service goes out the window.

          However, on the other hand, I would have been EXTREMELY reluctant to trust Vision Forum with my money in the last few weeks.

        • Donna Says:

          Exactly. There was NO WAY I would order from them during the last month!

      • Jen Says:

        Yes, Brandon. This chapter is finished!

    • Jen Says:

      tlc3, I’ve been weighing whether Doug Phillips will go out with a BANG and leave one final email/blog post thanking everyone for the last 15 years, or whether it will all just fizzle out quietly and end as a dud. We’ll see.

  37. jonathan10121971 Says:

    Did Doug ever suggestion some form of Christian Polygamy?

  38. Tim Says:

    Jen, Just a suggestion, but maybe you and TW could look into how far out the tentacles of Doug Phillips reach. Are there other ministries that Doug has spun off from VFM? Is any of his former interns looking into following in his steps? Are those who have done ministry with Doug legalistic also? Why didn’t RC Jr, Voddie Bauchman, Paul Washer, Andy Davis, Geoff Botkin, Einwechter, Scott Brown, Ken Hamm and others notice that Doug was trouble? Did they ever google his name? Were they concerned about him being above reproach? It seems to me from surfing the net that some homeschool Mom’s have done a better job of warning the flock than these spiritual wannabe shepherds.

    I found this on the Wartburg Watch and thought it was very interesting.

    Perhaps NCFIC was spun off Vision Forum to give the perception that it is independent of Phillips’ business and ministry. As the two boards demonstrate, the same people are in charge, so there is no true independence. These two organizations are intentionally intertwined. Read more

    • NC Says:

      Tim, Andy Davis should not be listed with these others, he has renounced them for the most part. In fact he is very cautious about having ex members of Scott Browns church (they are relatively close to each other) attend because of their divisiveness.

    • stillhealing Says:

      I used to know Paul and Charo Washer a little, before he was “famous”. We’ve had a few meals with him and also spent some one on one time talking through an issue with Paul and our pastor at the time. His wise counsel actually saved my husband and I from making a very foolish decision to go into full time ministry with a questionable para-church organisation. Within months there was a major fall out with some of the staff that would have really, really hurt us.

      Paul can be quite fiery on stage (especially in his earlier years) but in person he is kind, gentle, and very humble. I can imagine he’s also extremely busy with Heartcry and his young family, and it wasn’t so long ago that he was also living with serious chronic pain.

      I heard him recommend VF materials at a conference once (not sure when it was) but the recommendation came with the caveat that he did not agree with everything VF promoted. From my personal experience I definitely wouldn’t call Paul legalistic and my understanding is that anything done with DP was pretty limited.

      I know a lot of what I’m saying here is just conjecture and largely based on experiences and connections I had more than ten years ago so I’m not sure how valuable it is. I would hate to see Paul become guilty by association if he hasn’t actually done anything wrong, or simply didn’t know what was happening behind the scenes at VF.

      • stillhealing Says:

        …..and now I’m remembering that we once owned the movie Divided and that Paul was on it. Ouch. I like it at first but my husband wasn’t impressed. We didn’t even donate that, we threw it away…

      • oneh20 Says:

        StillHealing, I love that you shared that. Thank you. Guilt by association can be very, very damaging. I’ve noticed Jen steers clear of that, for which I’m thankful.

      • Tim Says:

        That is very good to hear. It is such a shame that DP has caused me to be suspicious of a lot of ministry leaders. Just more of the fallout from this mess.

      • Donna Says:

        I agree that Paul Washer should not be labeled “guilty by association” with DP/VF. We have a new family in our church because the parents recently got saved by finding a Washer sermon online. He *truly* preaches the Gospel…. unlike DP. I believe that Phillips, Brown, and Botkin have an entirely different agenda than Washer.

        • Jen Says:

          Donna, to me, the difference is that Washer teaches salvation by fear, while Doug Phillips and Scott Brown teach holiness by fear. Legalism abounds in all these camps.

        • Donna Says:

          I have to disagree on one point. We should ALL be afraid of God’s wrath. John 3:18 ~ “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

          There are many different ways to preach and teach the Gospel, and being “fiery” is one of them. I think we have too many pastors and church leaders today who are WIMPS, quite frankly, so *somebody* needs to be preaching the truth! Now granted, my own pastor’s preaching style is very different than Washer’s (more “teaching” than “preaching”), and that is my personal preference…. but I’m not going condemn those who preach like Jonathan Edwards, either (“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”), because a lot of people need to be woken up. But the important point is the fact he actually IS preaching the true Gospel…. not just legalistic lifestyle choices as a way to holiness.

          As I said before, I’m thankful for Washer’s preaching because I personally know 3 people (parents and a son) who were saved because of it.

    • Jen Says:

      Tim, I am sure that the DP/VF web is so intricately woven that just closing the ministry and businestry down will do little, in and of itself, to stop the far-reaching impact of Doug and his teachings. Yes, there are many who shared the pulpit with him who will continue his aberrant messages, and perhaps some, especially some of those who were interns or employees, who will attempt to continue his brand of abuse as well. Perhaps, if necessary, we will shine the spotlight on those who pick up where Doug left off.

      Certainly anyone here is free to contact any of these men, and many others, for statements. I have contacted a few so far, and none are willing to say anything.

      If you are unaware, Doug ran a VERY tight ship in the beginning years and was EXTREMELY successful in keeping ALL bad press silent. If someone posted anything remotely negative about Doug, all stops were pulled in order to immediately silence them. And it worked. Until I came along. I didn’t play by their rules. So, before I told my story seven years ago this month, there was NOTHING bad about Doug Phillips online whatsoever. Now, after that, these men should have done their due diligence.

      As far as NCFIC and Vision Forum go, Vision Forum did indeed establish NCFIC (there might be a story there someday), and at some point, it was transferred over to Scott Brown. Yes, all the people remained the same, but Doug gave his BFF a nice source of income in transferring it over to him. We cannot truly separate NCFIC from Doug Phillips in our minds, however, as the man built this “ministry.”

  39. Jannette Says:

    My daughters graduated from homeschooling.

    As a Christian, I do hold to the dominion mandate and Christian reconstruction. However, DP distorted, manipulated, & tortured the meaning of these things.

    DP & VF would never have approved of the accomplishments of my daughters or myself.

    Patriarchy is evil &, I thought it pretty much died with the ancient Romans who persecuted Christians.

    Rightly or wrongly, I hold those that worked with him as accountable. I know that is not a popular expression of thought by many here. I will not hold my breath waiting for them to apologize and make amends they directly caused to my business or my husband. At the time, they thought it was funny because they thought no one could touch them or DP.

    Thank you for allowing me to speak out. I still feel uncomfortable with presenting my real name or the name of my business and I was NOT a member of DP’s cult!

    Sorry my writing is disjointed. This is still difficult for me to talk about or address.

    • NC Says:

      Jannette, I completely understand the difficulty in talking about this, I have also been affected by this group and my blood pressure rises whenever think back on it.

      I agree with you that these men who worked closely with him are to be held responsible, they enabled him and led their sheep into the mouths of lions in addition to destroying anyone who stood in the way. However, with almost complete confidence I can assure you they will not be held accountable by each other. Their kid glove treatment of Doug up to this point ought to be an indication of that, and those who have spoken out didn’t do it to bring accountability, they were either venting or rambling on about how it’s a warning to us all.

      For your part, if you have already followed Matthew 18 in dealing with a wrong done to you, and there has been no repentance on their part, then tell your story. The purpose of Matthew 18 is that if repentance is not made, the matter becomes public (tell it to the church), and that by public exposure they would be cast out.

      • Jen Says:

        NC, I keep waiting for the board of Vision Forum to hold Doug Phillips accountable. Maybe they are waiting for the New Year? Or more scandals to be exposed? I don’t know what they are waiting for.

    • A Shore Says:

      “Rightly or wrongly, I hold those that worked with him as accountable” I have been waiting to see ministries who have supported DP and VF in the past , speak out about the fall of VF and the collateral damage left in its wake but they have either written some kind of milquetoast article , IMO, or they have been silent. There might be something out there but I have missed it. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and wait to see if anything will be forthcoming after the air has cleared. However, if it never comes , I don’t know how these ministries can keep leading the charge of Christian dominion in the culture when they can’t even call out a wolf in their midst.

      • Just a shadow Says:

        He may have been a wolf among…wolves.

        My hope is that the whole wolf pack that has caused division, hurt 1000’s of young adults, hijacked honeschooling to further their cause, and “believes that godliness is a means of gain” ( as the Bible says) will come tumbling down.

        Not holding my breath.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Wolves don’t call out a wolf. Love that. There is no room for the Boys’ Club mentality in true Christianity.

        • Mike Race Says:

          Came across these interesting verses this morning in family devotions.
          Pro 22:22 Do not rob the poor because he is poor, And oppress not the afflicted at the gate.
          Pro 22:23 For יהוה pleads their cause, And shall plunder those who plunder them.

      • A Shore Says:

        agreed – maybe wolf among wolves.

      • just a shadow Says:

        In fact, I’m *very* suspicious any more of *anyone* who is make loads of $$$ off of their “Christianity”.

        Most of these types (esp. in homeschooling) are not connected with any real church that can hold them accountable. Most of them are lone ranger types – it’s their ministry. They pick the “board of directors”. etc.

        I have a rule for myself now. When I see the above scenario ( lots of $$, lots of marketing, fake “board of directors”, no accountability, no one in mainstream Christendom has *ever* heard of them) my rule now is :

        RUN LIKE HECK.

        • Jen Says:

          Just a shadow, it is sad that charlatans use Christianity to con well-meaning people out of their hard-earned income, and trust, and values, and beliefs.

          But now is a wake-up call for all of us. Time to learn from our mistakes, to learn to be wise, and to move forward in love, in Jesus, and in one anothering.

      • Jen Says:

        A Shore, perhaps the charges are not serious enough yet for these men who shared the pulpit with a wolf to speak out. However, many of them have no problems disciplining or excommunicating their own members for FAR less.

    • Observer Says:

      Thanks for sharing. Could you please define what you mean by the terms dominion mandate and Christian reconstruction?

    • Jen Says:

      Jannette, I am SO glad you are here! I am glad you are beginning to speak out! I pray that these last many years of living in fear and all the trouble that Doug caused you and your family personally would soon all be behind you. I pray that God will give you the confidence to shout from the rooftops the truth about who Doug Phillips really is. Life is good. God is good. And you still have a long, good life ahead of you. I pray for God’s healing for you and your family, my friend. 🙂

    • stillhealing Says:

      Hi Janette, I suspect your comment may be a reaction to the one I made above. If so, I’m really sorry I upset you. I live really, really, REALLY far away from Texas and have had only minimal involvement in VF mostly through books, videos, and blogs. I am not connected enough to know which staff at VF are guilty and which are innocent. Please don’t take my comment to mean that those who are guilty of injuring others (such as your family) don’t deserve to experience the negative consequences of their actions. That is only right.

      My family has been seriously impacted by spiritual abuse, slander, and shunning. In our case we are still waiting for justice to prevail, so I totally sympathise with what you are saying here!

  40. Eileen Says:

    We’ve talked about all of the tentacles of Doug & VF’s “ministry” for a while now but there’s one thing that I encountered recently. Doug’s Damage is still out there? How? By having “copykat churches”. There are many many churches trying to be just like BCA. They have the legalistic bent, the “extra/non bilblical” issues plus the oppression towards women. sad!

  41. Justabeliever Says:

    I find it ironic that VF promoted the whole “manly man” stuff all the while the underlings of Doug just acted like wimps and kept their mouths shut….it took a WOMAN ) (Jen) to bring some of this stuff to light. Sadly, they will find out now what happens when you follow a man, not Christ himself. There is a cost to blind obedience.

    • Jen Says:

      Justabeliever, it is ironic that God is using a woman in all this, but please don’t forget that I am just a “Jezebel.” 😉

      • Jane Says:

        My family and I are so very thankful for you and your contribution in exposing the false teachings promoted by VF and the abuses of DP’s “leadership”! This blog was instrumental in encouraging us to really examine what we believed and practiced against Scripture and the Holy Spirit convicted us to repent and turn to the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus! Even if we were not directly under DP; our church (at the time)followed his teachings. Needless to say, we are now attending a wonderful congregation that is sound in theology.

  42. Curious Says:

    I have been wondering as I have read about BCA if there were any or many older members of the congregation. The older I get the more I see how much those who are well into their grandparenting years have to offer in wisdom to the younger generations in all areas of life. A healthy church needs congregants of all ages to bring balance.

    • Jen Says:

      Curious, we had a couple grandparents attending while I was there. They both had one or two of their children attending as well. One of those older couples left several years ago.

    • Leslie Says:

      As grandparents we are appalled that our daughter and SOL have bought into ATI /VF. They have ignored our warnings for 13 years. I guess we are not “spiritual” enough for them. Our younger kids listened to contemporary Christian music, and according to SOL this was a great sin. Enough for them to distance themselves from us. So we have 8 grand kids we hardly know.

  43. Scott Says:

    Getting excommunicated by Doug Phillips and his very small, brainless group of idiots ,has about as much spiritual credibility as my three year old niece kicking you out of her room for being a dum dum head.

    • just a shadow Says:

      BAHAHAHA. “Dum Dum Head”. If only we had regarded DP as such years ago.

    • Leslie Says:

      I will second that

    • Donna Says:

      This is what I always think when people point out the fact that Jen was “excommunicated” by DP. SO WHAT? Like it matters. “You made me mad” is NOT biblical grounds for excommunication, LOL. Now, RC Jr. getting defrocked and excommunicated by the PCA was justified, IMO. But I think the *real* reason that Jen was “excommunicated” is because she made DP feel uncomfortable, not because she actually did anything WRONG. DP has serious authority issues, and practices spiritual abuse as a result. My guess is that his peers who are self-appointed pastors without any real accountability do the same thing.

      • Just a shadow Says:

        Oh, there was a whole network in place. And locally there was the “community” that acted as the enforcers of anyone being on the “outs” with DP. He pronounced the verdicts, the “community” saw that the social ramifications were carried out.

  44. Bbb Says:

    I consider myself a smart person, great homeschool mom, fairly good helpmeet with a bit of an attitude, and also a talented lady with many talents that help provide for our family. Most of these involve working outside the home about 1/3 of the week. I loved Vision Forum toys, books, games, and the DVDs that were film festival entries and the like. How did I not pick up on all that is being covered in this blog? I never saw it. We started sending donations to support this company because what we saw was homeschool resources, American values and preservation of history, cool toys. I confess I did not ever listen to a DP audio CD. Maybe that is where this came shining through? Some of our favorite VF purchases were the amphibious tank, swords, nerf darts, ballyntyne books, film making DVDs. I believe what I am reading here – it makes perfect sense. But I am wanting to tell you as an outsider Baptist family at a church w/ SS & youth groups – we never saw a hint of any of this Patriarchy stuff (didn’t even know it existed.) So – it really is not effecting us as deeply as it has some of you except we are just angry we gave our money to a con. I am thinking this is why our last appreciation gift was 2 whole packs of DP audio CDs which are still unopened.

    And another interesting topic – the film festival again – we were there 2 years and there were many young ladies and some older taking classes, submitting their own work, receiving awards – and now I am reading that DP looked down on women working? I am having trouble wrapping my brain around the logic here. Why give a female a coveted SAICFF award (and they were coveted) when you don’t approve of her working?? Help??

    • Donna Says:

      How appropriate that your appreciation gift was audio CDs of himself. :p

      You ask a GREAT question about the young ladies who worked hard to win awards. My guess, based on the patterns we’ve seen in everything else he did, would be that DP was just using those young ladies and their talents for personal gain.

    • Just a shadow Says:

      DP never hesitated to break his own rules if it advanced his cause $/power. Wealthy, important people were given a “pass” regularly in VF world to do things that the underlings *might* find themselves under church discipline for doing. The girls you saw were most likely daughters of power brokers that DP hoped to reel in.

      • Donna Says:

        I’m curious… did the young ladies who had entries in those festivals have to “apply”? Or could anyone submit an entry? I guess if literally anyone could submit an entry, but the entries were then voted on, the PTB could still give the awards to daughters of the biggest $$ givers. So if *our* daughter submitted an entry, for example, we’d spend a lot of money and time going to the festival (which of course would make DP a lot of $$, either directly or indirectly) with the hope that she had a legitimate chance at winning something…. when in reality she doesn’t.

      • Just a shadow Says:

        Right. And if you lived here locally, and new the names & faces & stories of some of those awards, you’d know how rigged the whole thing was for the most part.

    • Tim Says:

      If you didn’t listen to his teachings then it would appear to be a nice little business promoting American values and history. Once you start listening to Doug on theology then you realize how off base and extreme his teachings are. It all starts with his Reconstructionism and understanding it. TW’s latest article hits at the heart of the issue….how Doug interprets the world through his faulty theology. I think that Paul Thibedeau had a good summary of what consists of Reconstructionism. Dominionism, Covenant Theology (distorted by DP I might add), Theonomy, Post Millenialism all come together under the umbrella of Reconstructionism. I would also add Patriarchy (he may have had this has been awhile since I studied it) and Orho-Praxy (how you do church) under the umbrella of Reconstructionism as well. It all starts with what we believe about the bible. I just wonder how he justified his actions in his mind. I would bet he looked to Abraham, Solomon, and other Patriarchs to justify his infidelity.

    • ColleenInWis Says: Here are some thoughts from a young lady from the UK who won an award at the 2004 SAICFF, as she reflects on her experience and wonders why her documentary won first place.

      One quote for those who don’t have time to read the whole post: “The prize came to Broad Oak for one reason: we were foreign. I couldn’t quite realise this at the time. I was under the impression that America and the UK were separated only by an ocean. But we were the exotic marketing pitch. We made the winners group look and sound like the festival was big and important.”

  45. Just a shadow Says:

    One of DP’s modus operandi was to give an award to some big wig, have big wig come to a VF event, give him the award, schmooze/flatter him while here, then reel him in & attempt to ride his coat tails. It worked really well. For examples of awards given:
    James Dobson “Man of the year” award by Titanic society
    Ken Ham – can’t remember award name
    Kendrick brothers – film award
    Michelle Duggar – mother of the year award

    And there have been others that slip my mind just now.
    But he used these awards to gain access to people/organizations that he could benefit from by being associated with their organization/ministry/ tv show.

    This was a primary way that he established credibility with a wider audience.

    “Well, he can’t be off base, he’s friends with the Kendrick brothers! They even endorse his products.”

    He was a master at forging strategic alliances that would give his ministry the “flavor” that would appeal to the next demographic he hoped to sell stuff to.

    It worked really well for a very long time.

  46. Just a shadow Says:

    And all the little people he stepped on through the years, well, who cares about that when you’ve got photo ops with Kirk Cameron, Kendrick’s, Dobson, Duggar, Ken Ham etc….

    And when said big wigs lived faaaar away & * only * saw charming DP, concerned DP, Visionary DP.

    Powerful fortification against *anything* the little people might say.

    • Refugee Says:

      Wow. just, wow. Suddenly something makes sense. I remember when I was reading Jen’s story several years back. DP was supposed to speak at our big state homeschooling conference. I don’t know how I had stumbled across Jen’s story, but it brought up concerns in my mind. I spoke those concerns to some people who were very high in our state organization. I asked how well they knew DP, and got the response that he was a dear, sincere, godly man, and yes, there might be problems with people following VF teachings, but it was because DP’s followers went too far, in that they added on to his teachings. These leaders didn’t have a problem with DP himself, or at least, that’s what they said.

      However, something must have happened behind the scenes, because even though DP had been announced a year ahead of time as the keynote speaker (they usually announce next year’s keynote at the last day of the conference), someone else ended up speaking that year, and although DP was invited to speak in a neighboring state’s conference(s) (at least one that I remember seeing a brochure for, but maybe more than one), I don’t remember seeing him here after that.

  47. Thomas Says:

    Just a shadow nails it. I saw that same strategy used by DP as well. I fell prey to one of DP’s earnest pleas for one of his many “most important ministry opportunities of our generation” after I met him in person and I became a 5-figure donor to VFM. I was immediately ushered into the inner circle. What joy!

    After my initial involvement, I received several calls urgently forced on me by a breathless intern that told me Mr. Phillips was standing by to talk to me regarding an urgent matter! DP would then grab the phone and try to extract some much needed cash.

    It took a while, but once DP figured out I was no longer going to financially support him and that I had abandoned the VF movement and left the reservation, I was quickly sidelined and scorned. Alas I was no longer part of the inner circle!

    On the film festival, the awards definitely favored the submissions/submitters that were “doctrinally” aligned with DP and VF. Excellent entries that were “Arminian” in their message were discounted.

    • DesiringToDiscern Says:

      …and he had no hesitation in taking money from WOMEN (gasp) ..widows with young children (double gasp) and even continued begging for money through expensive fundraising letters. However when the same donor drove hundreds of miles with her children (who bought new clothing for the event) to attend the Titanic dinner, she and her family were turned away with the excuse that there was a mistake and that the room was full. (It was NOT full!)

      • Just a shadow Says:


      • Andrea Says:

        It is no wonder God is exposing and bringing DP’s ‘ministry’ to a horrible ending………….don’t mess with the widows!!!!! I’m so sorry, DTD!! Sickening!!!

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        And on the flip side…ATI/Gothard helped the widow, NEVER asked for money, never pressed any legalistic nonsense, HELPED the widow financially, held beautiful God-honoring single mom events and retreats, and acted in nothing less than a loving, kind and gracious Christian manner….asking nothing in return.

    • Just a shadow Says:

      Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this.
      – from the little people

    • Just a shadow Says:

      Wow. Yep. That’s the way he rolled.

    • Thomas Says:

      Too bad for her on making the trip and then being shut out. I was “uninvited” from an important dinner one night at one event as DP and his team schmoozed a new prospective donor instead. DP’s tactics were pathetic and matched only by his desperation because he always seemed to be overcommitted and underfunded. He was not a good operator financially.

  48. watching Says:

    and in the Pacific Northwest…

    check out the board…

    • Refugee Says:

      Quite the slate of speakers lined up for next year. DP was scheduled to speak at their conference this year, but due to his father’s death, he was not there and I think Voddie Baucham filled in for him.

      On the board, I recognize only one of the names.

  49. DesiringToDiscern Says:

    Just a side note here…. Several have lumped ATI with VF… DP had NO fondness for ATI whatsoever. Just the opposite. There was great pride/arrogance when an intern left to come to the alleged *truth* of VF 😦 (Ducking for cover, waiting for responses) 😉

  50. Thomas Says:

    True. DP did not like ATI, but the two ministries were uncommonly similar in terms of their legalism and many of the same folks were followers of both ministries with lots of crossover. Since DP was legalistic and critical of everything, he was also of course critical of ATI. Plus I think he saw ATI as his closest competitor and therefore he strained to make distinctions between the two ministries.

    • Just a shadow Says:

      “Closest competitor”.

      NAILED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!


    • DesiringToDiscern Says:

      ATI never, ever came across as legalistic. Mr. Gothard is very approachable. No security guards. There were some families in it that were/are legalistic but those were ones who had connections with VF (and they were cold-hearted acting, self-righteous and mean). From ATI there is no shunning, hounding…No guys coming to your door to intimidate…no flying across the country to ruin people’s lives. They also reach out to the lost… no hyper-calvinist superiority at all.

      • Andrea Says:

        DTD, have you read some of the stories over at Homeschoolers Anonymous? The stories make me want to run as far as I can from ATI/Bill Gothard. I think it was ‘Mary’s’ story that make me literally, physically ill. Truly unbelievable and done in the name of Christ………

        • oneh20 Says:

          I’m very careful with the Homeschoolers Anonymous site. I rarely go there at all anymore. I’ve already mentioned my concern with them on another thread, so I’ll leave it at that. There is a blog entitled, “Recovering Grace” that seems to be very well balanced and encourages former ATIers.

      • Refugee Says:

        Not legalistic? We investigated ATI in the early years (couldn’t afford it, which turned out a blessing in disguise) and one of the things that made me anxious was that I was told they had regular home visits to make sure you were keeping house properly. And there was some joke (with underlying truth) going around that they regulated facial hair amongst ATI families… Don’t mean to turn this into a discussion of ATI.

        Someone’s statement that the ATI families were likely to be buying VF products rings true, though, when I think upon what I remember of our acquaintances. (And sadly, more than one of them have lost adult children “to the world” despite the best of intentions and careful adherence to the formula.)

      • Donna Says:

        DtD, you don’t think it’s legalistc when a newly saved 15yo boy approaches Gothard and asks how he can become more Godly, and the response is that the first thing he needs to do is cut his hair? (That was my husband.) You don’t think it’s legalistic to make young ladies wear head coverings when they visited our church to sing as a choir? (This group of teens came there *with* Gothard… ATI kids.) I honestly thought they were Mennonite, but someone corrected me and told me who they were/and had come with.

        My husband has NEVER had hair past his collar. In fact, when it touched his collar (several years AFTER we were married), that was the longest it had EVER been. My husband has *always* worn his hair short in a typical boy’s style. But for Gothard, it was too long. My husband walked away from him a very discouraged young man. He was sincerely looking for HELP in his spiritual walk, and he was told simply to get his hair cut.

      • PioneerHomeschooler Says:

        Wow, DtoD, you were certainly acquainted with a completely different incarnation of ATI/Gothard than we were. The world we knew absolutely rivaled any legalism and meanness found in VF. And as far as Gothard being approachable? You must be speaking of someone who looks just like him.

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        No home visits. No head-coverings. Never were criticized….with ATI. Always encouraged.
        The FI church we went to later did that. Horror stories of ours come from the FI church. Control, home inspection, lifestyle monitoring,women treated horribly, fashion/modesty police, and families utterly devastated at the DP style *church*.

      • just a shadow Says:

        Yeah, I didn’t want to pick a fight b/c we’re here to discuss DP not ATI. And I’m sure that ATI flavors vary from place to place.


        All I can say from my own experience is that ATI is pretty close to VF in terms of legalism. ATI families can be every bit as mean as VF families. And most of the families that I know here locally who were strict ATI’ers have lost some if not many of their children to the “world”. Many of these kids have divorced at a young age, left the faith, are estranged to some degree from their families. Very few local kids raised in strict ATI homes hereabouts are still following God at all. If they are, they might have had the good fortune to be born late in the birth order and so came into ATI at a time that the parents were pulling back some or exiting it entirely. I’ve read the stories on Homeschoolers Anonymous, and I have to say, I believe them. I don’t find them *hard* to believe at all.


        That is just my experience. I have no doubt that ATI/IBLP may have presented/existed in different forms in different locations b/c there wasn’t quite the control by headquarters via the social cycle that came to exist in VF world.
        There wasn’t quite the royalty or in/out group on a national scale that there was with VF. And I don’t think there was the issue of excommunication from headquarters that existed in the same way it did in VF. Or maybe I just didn’t hear about it. I do know there was excessive control by IBLP staff over young people when those young people went to live/work at IBLP headquarters. I’ve heard those stories straight from people who experienced them.

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        Andrea, I do not know any of those people. I only know how our experiences have been with families in several states with ATI folks and knowing many of them personally for many years. There are sure to be situations that arise from humans acting like less than people. Sadly, People who are part of a group, business or ministry can act wrongly and therefore give a poor reflection on the group that they are part of.

        BTW, There are people from all denominations who use ATI. Some are Mennonite, some wear head coverings and are not Mennonite. Most are not. They were accepted and not asked to change their own beliefs.

      • Anon-a-mouse Says:

        ATI not legalistic? Seriously?

        I could give you scores of stories. My personal favorite was when Bill was talking to girls about how they should not wear pointed collars because it drew attention to their chest. One of the rebels (guy) stood up and asked in light of that, why did he advocate guys wearing ties? I don’t think I’ve ever seen Gothard speechless, but that one gave him pause.

        • Leslie Says:

          HaHa! Priceless.

        • DaMom Says:

          @A-mouse….I would’ve loved to have been a “fly on the wall” and heard that! I was in an ATI home and noticed that the children’s music books had words with “white-out” over them. I asked the kids why did they do this and was told that their parents read the book ahead of time and marked out any “bad” words. The reason for this, that I found out later, was because words like elves, magic, fairy, etc., are “poisonous words” that can build up over time in a child’s heart and the buildup can have bad effects later on. This concept is found in the Maxwell’s book, “Keeping Our Children’s Hearts: Our Vital Priority” (super uber Gothardites). I thought the ‘helicopter parenting” style was off its rocker, but they are worse. I couldn’t finish the book and chunked the other two books they have (managers of their schools and chores). Blech–waste of time read and money that bought them. ATI/Gothard is VERY legalistic.

        • Traveler Says:

          Being ex-ATI and all, I would love to know what happened to the young man to dared to point out Gothard’s hypocrisy. It was years ago, so I can’t remember if we were wearing name tags or not. If we were, I’m sure there was some snitch wanting to earn gothard goody points who ratted him out.

    • just a shadow Says:

      I think ATI was also seen as a competitor for the main free labor base – the legions of homeschool teens/young adults. We can’t have those young adults going off to the ATI headquarters for months at a time or (horrors!) going to work in orphanages over seas, now can we? That would *seriously* impede the amount of free labor available.

      • JourneyGirl Says:

        DesiringtoDiscern, I must refer you to the book “A Matter of Basic Principles” by Don Veinot. It is obvious that you are ignorant of who Bill Gothard really is, and the serious abuses that occur within ATI /IBLP. Gothard is the exact opposite of Godly. No, he is not a good man. He is a false prophet, an imposter in the church. There are many reasons why Phillips would align himself with Gothard… Namely, power, spiritual control and money. Please look deeper into who the real Gothard is. Please be discerning. He is an evil man.

    • Donna Says:

      Yep, we know *many* people who are followers of BOTH to some (or a lot) degree. One is just as legalistic as the other where lifestyle is concerned. Gothard is happy to take the money of young ladies who enroll in his online “college” even though he insists they don’t need college, and DP is happy to take the money of young ladies who buy his products, too. Btw, does anyone know if DP or Scott Brown or any of those guys profit from College Plus?

      As long as you don’t mind the theological differences between VF (Reformed Baptist — which makes me ashamed to say, because DP is *not* a true, historic Reformed Baptist and puts a blight on the doctrinal distinction) and ATI (IFB Baptist), it’s a natural jump from one group to the other… regardless of whether it’s from ATI to VF, or vice versa. They are waaayyyy too much alike. Yep, competitors is what they are. I bet Bill Gothard is as gleeful as the first robin to get a worm out of the ground in Spring that VF has closed and DP has been (at least temporarily) silenced.

      • Eva Says:

        It was true in the beginning of ATI that the only fathers who could have a beard were Mennonites. We almost signed up for it in the 80s and that turned us off even though my husband didn’t have a beard. I personally regret any contact we had with Bill Gothard, or his seminars.

        • Donna Says:

          Eva, my husband regrets it, too. Many years later, his mom cleaned her basement and found his ATI books from the seminar and brought them to us. He couldn’t even stand to LOOK at them, and told me to throw ’em in the trash. He didn’t want them in the house, as he has many scars from those days.

      • Jane Says:

        A meeting was already had by Gothard, Gary Smalley, and Chris Hogan to discuss what to do about all of this. I’m sure they are gleeful in a godly way! 🙂

  51. stillhealing Says:

    I have a slightly off topic question for those of you who have had to leave abusive churches. Did any of you move away in order to get a fresh start away from the bad memories and toxic relationships? Did moving help?

    We’re in a small town where everyone seems to be connected, especially in the Christian community. Even ten years later I am really struggling to make connections with other believers. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that we were slandered and shunned after my husband publicly stood up to our abusive pastor in a business meeting. In many cases we’ve been vindicated and have been able to share our side of the story as people have slowly left that church. But, whenever someone is less than friendly I always wonder what they’ve heard…what anyone has been told really…and who believes that it’s true.

    We were recently part of a small church plant that imploded on itself a year ago. Two really toxic families came in and wreaked havoc. One man in particular was very power hungry and verbally abusive. Unfortunately my husband was their main target. So now there’s that more recent history too….

    We are seriously talking about moving to a new community so we can get a fresh start away from all this negative history.

    • stillhealing Says:

      I should just clarify that in my above comment these are two different churches in the same community, and the earlier shunning occurred ten years ago.

    • Corrine Says:

      I would definitely move. Sad what people do to each other!

    • Donna Says:

      We would move because of our kids. In fact, that IS reason we’ve moved or changed churches a couple times over the years, and it’s the reason we eventually decided to STAY where we are now. Because if it were just husband and I, we could deal with ‘whatever’. But the influences on our kids as they’re growing up is HUGE. (I will say that DP is right about that… unfortunately, he seriously warps the *method* because he has warped *motives*.) But depending on how much you or your kids “bump into” the VF crowd, it might be worth leaving the area *despite* being near the grandparents. Which influence do you think will be greater on your children as they grow up?

      Another idea is to move on the other side of the grandparents? IOW, geographically speaking, put the grandparents *between* you and the VF crowd. IF that’s even possible…. I don’t know how things are logistically in your area, and whether it’s even possible to stay near the grandparents (even if just a bit farther away) while getting away from the major negative influences. Sometimes just moving an hour or two, or even three, can make a big difference. Then you could at least still see the grandparents on holidays and occasional weekends. I do wish we lived closer to the grandparents (3-4 hours away instead of 9), but no, I wouldn’t want to live back in that same community, as husband’s mom still attends the church where our church abuse situation took place.

      Most importantly, pray, pray, pray! God knows the needs of your children and has a plan for *their* lives. Pray for and about that specifically where you and husband’s decisions are concerned. Think long term.

      • Donna Says:

        Oops, I just re-read your post… I mentioned above you being near the “VF crowd”, but you didn’t say that. Okay, replace that with “your toxic community”.

    • Jen Says:

      Still healing, moving can sometimes bring a necessary fresh start. Looking back now, that might have helped our kids much more than the continual trauma that followed our excommunication.

    • Ladyjane Says:

      You are very wise to consider the options the Lord is placing before you. Toxic churches manifest themselves in numerous ways and even more importantly we must remember that we are not called to fix them. As a pastor’s wife I can give testimony of the Lord’s unlimited grace to our family, but consequences from ill treatment, unhealthy relationships and staying longer then necessary will bring devastating results. Again, the Lord will use everything for our good and His glory, but if avoidable move on quickly without hesitation leaning hard into Jesus with every step you take. I would even advocate driving a longer distance across state lines to find a healthier church for the sake of your family. Pray and act! Praying for you and your dear sweet family.

      • Observer Says:

        Ladyjane: Excellent advice.

      • stillhealing Says:

        Thanks Ladyjane. We really struggled in the past with a sense of responsibility to stay and try to fix our churches, and there were some who strongly reprimanded us for leavning. It was a blessing to have young children or we would have stayed longer.

        We live in a small community in northern Canada and the nearest communities that may have viable churches are three and four hours away, on very dangerous roads for six months of the year.

        We’re in a nice church now but there are some problem people there from our past. One older, and I would say abusive, man will not speak to us, or even acknowledge our presence there (though his sweet wife goes out of her way to make up for him). Others have connections and friendships with people I would consider toxic, so I`m always on guard and it`s hard to relax.

        Our only option for starting over is to move out of the community, and we are seriously considering that.

    • JBee Says:

      Lots to think about, lots to consider and stern warnings to be heeded, for sure. With all respect, how long will the accusations against Mr. Phillips continue? I’m wondering if there aren’t more positive ways to promote healing besides continued accusations. Since I no longer consider him to be an active threat, I am seeking new ways to “move on”. Personally, I have purged all our (somewhat costly) ATI and VF materials to the dust bin instead of selling them and leading others astray. Thank you for the insight.

      • Jen Says:

        JBee, there will be a mix of stories (if necessary and helpful to showing a long-term pattern), as well as articles designed specifically to help bring healing. Those healing articles will begin in a couple weeks. Thanks for asking!

  52. Just a shadow Says:

    If you have kids, I’d move if it is an option. Yes, our family has talked about moving, but haven’t had the opportunity to do so.

  53. stillhealing Says:

    We have four children. We home school and my husband telecommutes from a home office so we are able to live anywhere with internet and an airport. BUT what makes this hard is we have grandparents living nearby 😦 that’s really the only reason we have stayed so long.

    • just a shadow Says:

      That would be a hard decision 😦

    • Eileen Says:

      be willing to drive further for church then…….

      • stillhealing Says:

        This is easier said than done Eileen. Driving further for church would be three or four hours on very dangerous roads six months of the year. We live in northern Canada where the population is sparse and church options are very sparse. Added to this, I have a chronic back injury and sitting for long periods causes extreme pain. Sitting through a long drive plus a church service is not physically possible for me. Just a ten minute drive to our current church and then sitting through 1.5 hour service is already hard and I often don’t even make it. Our only choices are to stay or move.

  54. Mike Race Says:

    I have talked with the owner of J. M. Cremps as they are only about an hour away from us. As far as I know they are not associated with DP and VF. I can call and ask if you desire. This is a small family run business.

    • DesiringToDiscern Says:

      Mr Eston said *Perry Coghlan was the Vision Forum Inc. warehouse manager for some years. * …and his wife posts that they are affiliates with Cremps? Just a coincidence? …and DP encouraged his customers (more than once recently) to shop there. Too odd. AND Cremps has now expanded NOW OPEN!
      JM Cremp’s
      Mall of America
      Wow! …..hmmmmm

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      It might be worth pursuing. However, I seriously doubt they’ll disclose anything regarding any financial considerations they have with Doug Phillips.

      I think neither good nor ill of JM Cremps. They may be a very fine company. As far as the merchandise goes it looks to me like they’ve got some first-rate products, and at fair prices too, unlike Vision Forum which sold a lot of mediocre products at ridiculously inflated prices.

      • JPGR Says:

        just glancing at the website…it “looks” like they just sell boy stuff with a very light and easy touch of Christian presence. perhaps…perhaps…they have salvaged what is good from the other company and salvaged it and will do it without the totalitarian impulse, the financial lack of integrity and so on.


    • Jen Says:

      Mike, sure, give them a call and let us know what you find out! There is obviously some connection there.

    • Just a shadow Says:

      Yes, I for one would like to know if they are affiliated in any way at all w/ DP.

  55. Jane Says:

    Of course!

  56. Bbb Says:

    So back to the SAICFF – because it still sticks in my craw – why do you think they would award the 2013 money to The Drop Box other than because it was indeed a great film with an awesome testimony behind it? Same as above? Some kind of stepping stool? And do you think that film is now VF property? It says they are releasing it soon on their website. And I still would love to know why Ace Detective was due to show at 2013 festival and they canceled it last minute with no explanation. No one knows the story of this?

  57. Jane Says:

    Jen, I’m friends with one of them. Mr. Gothard felt the need to “evaluate” where the family was headed in light of what has happened. VF put a big dent into Gothardism (I don’t see much of a difference between the two) so perfect timing to pick up the slack, maybe?

    • Donna Says:

      Gary Smalley is a psychologist. If Gothard is so sure of himself, and his teachings and methods as he has touted all these years, why would he need Smalley’s input? And what does Chris Hogan have to do with it? I don’t understand the connection between those three.

      • Jane Says:

        Smalley and Gothard go way back to the very beginning of ATI. They had a falling out because Gothard wanted to take the institute in the direction that it did. They made peace with each other recently. Hogan is the current president of ATI. Like DP used to do, getting “big names” involved kind of validates what wants to be accomplished! Forget to mention that Bill Federer was also there.

        • Jen Says:

          Jane, thanks for sharing that information with us. I wonder why they think it was necessary to meet. Are they that intertwined with Doug Phillips that it will impact them as well? Or are they concerned that homeschoolers will start questioning EVERYTHING related to this whole lifestyle? Or are they finally ready to learn how to accurately handle the Word of God?

      • Bridget Says:

        I find it interesting that a man who didn’t marry or ever raise children somehow became an expert on all things family. I hope I’m not the only one that finds this difficult to swallow. We were never involved in Gothardism or VFism, but as homeschoolers, we certainly felt the ire and shunning when we didn’t march to the same tune as those involved with these groups.

        • Donna Says:

          Bridget, you are not alone. There are many (including me) who are troubled by Gothard’s “authority” on the family.

    • just a shadow Says:

      I’m confused. Mr. Gothard needed to evaluate which family?

      • Jane Says:

        I guess the only ones that really matter…homeschooling ones 🙂

      • zooey111 Says:

        As far as I can tell, pretty much all families.
        (Snark alert) I mean, we have to let these 😉 geniuses tell us all what to do. Even if they can’t find their way out of a paper bag.(end alert)

  58. oneh20 Says:

    This short documentary is so good on so many levels. Two Amish men become biblically literate and realize their faith has been in man made rules and not Christ. They face excommunication, shunning, breaking off from the family and culture they love so much, and more. I think many here will relate to this and if you should so choose to watch, I believe you’ll find it to be a huge blessing. The parallels are uncanny.

    • Jen Says:

      oneh20, I watched both parts of this documentary. Thank you. I guess my underlying impression was “out of the frying pan, into the fire.” Did they really leave one set of rules for another? That is something I PRAY does not happen to all those who are struggling with where to go and what to do next.

      “After a lifetime of rules, they have no experience in making decisions for themselves.” That quote summed up the documentary, and it sums up MANY who have not been taught how to study the Bible for themselves.

      • oneh20 Says:

        I couldn’t find the second part unfortunately but I think I grasped the point from reading all the comments. I do think its easy to exchange one set of rules for another. Kind of goes back to the other point I was making about abusive backgrounds of one nature or another. One can experience a level of healing, forgive – really forgive, and still find themselves gravitating to the familiar. I really think the cycles are hard to break because cultic tactics or systems are everywhere in one form or another. I found another documentary entitled “Colorado City: The Underground Railroad” and can link it if you’re interested. Same web site. Its about Mormon women and children breaking free from polygamy. Again with the parallels – so many!

        Yes, we really do have to study to show ourselves approved, workers unashamed – rightly handling the word of truth and be truly transformed by the renewing of our minds through studying the Word, being good Bereans.

        What I’ve noticed locally is that when people get saved and end up in a system like this as new believers – I think its harder for them to recognize things because they don’t know anything different. It takes awhile to get biblically literate – its not an overnight job. In all the joy and excitement, it can be easy to be very vulnerable and trusting in learning the Christian walk, which is not a bad thing if one is in a healthy local Body, but awful (at least in the long run) for someone who isn’t.

      • oneh20 Says:

        I should really proof my words before I post! If its confusing, just ask! 🙂

    • ColleenInWis Says:

      oneh20, Thanks for posting the link to this video. Very interesting to me. We have many amish in our rural area; many of our friends are neighbors with amish families, but I’ve never known any personally. Part 2 just automatically started for me when I finished Part 1. Or, you may see a Playlist at the top of video screen if you “mouse-over.” Of course, our amish here have a different color of buggy, they are allowed to ride bicycles, and probably a number of other differences. 😉 Did not know that they couldn’t understand their Bibles!

      • oneh20 Says:

        Most welcome! I’m under the impression, from what I recall, that there are different “denominations”, so to speak. The best part for me was seeing the joy and excitement when they began to study for themselves and realized that there was freedom in Christ as opposed to the bondage of the “doctrines of men.”

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        These people are *interesting*. 😦

        • ColleenInWis Says:

          DTD, I didn’t mean to imply that! The *video* was interesting to me… Yes, oneh20, the joy was wonderful to see.

      • ColleenInWis Says:

        P. S. I haven’t watched Part 2 yet…

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        Colleen, I was saying that the people in the video are *interesting*. Do not think that this explains all that are in that *denomination*. It does not. 🙂 Lots do read and understand their bibles and have very loving home lives/marriages. Some look to rationalize their behaviors by leaving and hyper- spiritualizing things…putting themselves on a mentally higher (enlightened) level. ..Like DP did.

      • ColleenInWis Says:

        Ok, DTD, totally not what I thought you meant, so thanks for explaining.

  59. oneh20 Says:

    I should add that they find incredible strength and faith in Christ.

  60. A Berean Says:

    Thanks T.W for a great article and to you Jen for your work at this site.
    As I sit and ponder if I should share or what to share.Where to begin at because for me I was in both camps ATI and BCA for a period of time and explain clearly how I got there and it make some sense to all of you. So briefly here goes.
    I first got involved with IBLP (Institute of Basic Life Principles) about 6 months after I became a new believer. What really appealed to me was my first Basic seminar and how in my own life as a new believer I was making restitution to those that I sinned against and stole from and would also give a track and witness briefly to them. My problem is that when I heard Bill Gothard teach on the things that God had me doing in my own life I totally dropped my guard and took in everything he said without checking it out in scripture and how the truth is taught in the BIBLE and not distorted by man. I really enjoyed the like-mindedness of everyone there.
    Fast forward 8-10 years and I started to attend BCA off Walnut Way or Walnut Grove in Boerne after the second Sunday. After it was formed by Doug Phillips, Bob Welch and Norm Wakefeild. Those are the three original leaders and I’m not sure when Richard Wheeler(Little Bear) came on board as an elder. I was informed at the time of the formation that initially Bob, Norm and Doug were going to meet and talk about and pray about a church and about 50 people showed up because Doug invited them. So I came the following week and was there for I think 8 months. I have nothing negative to say about Norm Wakefield and was disappointed when he left. I really liked his teaching on the Bible and I still think he is with Elijah Ministries.Maybe someone could interview Norm and Bob about Doug since they both left BCA.
    I left for a few reasons. One was that I really stated to feel out of place as a single and there were only a few of us at the time. Out of place because I come from a highly dysfunctional family and yes my parents are divorced and got remarried and who in both the ATIA (Advanced Training Institute of America) and BCA circles would want that pedigree in their families? Yes, I felt hurt and rejected being turned down for courtship and for a few years turned myself over to the world and its pleasures. I went down a path of clubs, and prostitutes and felt like they accepted me while living Romans 7 and feeling miserable the whole time. Yes, by the grace of God my life finally got turned around and it was the story of the prodigal son that I read about when I received David Wilkerson’s newsletter titled Boldness to Enter God’s Presence May 21, 2007. When I comprehended the love of God the Father it totally rocked my hypocritical world. I also heard Michael Ramsden from RZIM teach on the prodigal son and another teach on the same subject and I could not get enough of the truth that I have rejected by being lazy and following men and wanting to be a part of an organization or movement. I am over both ATIA and BCA. Thinking back, I believe that Doug has always been a cause oriented teacher vs a Christ centered teacher. One example that I will never forget is when he was talking about Gensis 34 and Dinah. He said how Dinah went and visited the other girls in the land and she was raped. That is a truthful statement but Dougs implication was whith a smirk on his face that she deserved what happaned to her because she went out by herself and not her siblings. At that moment I knew he was wacked and was amazed, that as he looked around his living room he must have seen the shock on peoples faces on what he said because he quickly changed his expression.
    Yes, in both ATIA and BCA and a part, (I mean only part ) of the homeschooling movement in the San Antonio and outlying areas there is an arrogance and attitude that( for kinder words) they believe that their dukee doesn’t stink and their ways are the correct ways. One example is the whole courtship idea. Men are taught to look for a Proverbs 31 women. How many fathers in both ATIA and BCA would really let their daughters do the work that a P-31 women did or the work that Ruth did. Remember how Ruth also worked and laid at Baoz’s feet in Ruth 3? I can only imagine the talk of the men in both circles about Ruth’s actions.
    Before anyone asks I am not bitter about the whole ATIA and BCA experience. God has given me a wise and discerning P-31 wife who met DP at a pre-wedding dinner we attended and could see through him years ago. She could also see through another man in a church whom in his private life I call an ” opertunist”. I don’t mean to be vague with his or my identity but I believe that there is about to be a big, shall I say ,eye opening event in his life that will shake his life and possibly open the eyes of those in the home school community and his sphere of influence.His followers will probably blame satan or say it is the result of miguided people. I will not say any more about him here until the truth comes out.
    All I can say to everyone who has been hurt or misled by the teachings of Bill Gothard,Doug Phillips or any false teacher or Pastor is to find healing in the Living Lord Jesus Christ and use this experience as a steping stone to instruct others in the truth.
    Thanks for your time and I don’t know when I will be back at this site.
    I will end with a quote that one of my teachers used to say….”God’s wheel of judgement may grind slowly,BUT it will grind to a powder”.

    A Berean.

    • Eva Says:

      That story about Dinah is one that Doug Phillips apparently “stole” from Bill Gothard as he has written about it… Or maybe it was the other way around.

      • Teresa N. Says:

        May current Pastor loaned me and my husband the Character sketches book by Bill Gothard. We were looking for some kind of devotional type material to do with our children. I can not tell you how relieved I am for this eerie sick feeling I got, when my husband did a few devotions from that book with our children. I told my husband that this man(BG) was adding to these characters and inserting his own thought, ideas and implying things to the stories that the bible did not say … I took the book back to my pastor and I told him I did not like the book and why.
        I told my husband the best devotional literature we can ever use is the Word of God, so that is what we do.

        I praise the LORD for discernment.

      • Just a shadow Says:

        Teresa N. – thank God for your discernment. Character Sketches is one of those IBLP “entry” books that are innocuous enough to reel in new Christians, those with little Bible training etc. To the untrained ear they can sound so “good”. CS has been the tool used to reel in countless families to the IBLP system. Good for you taking them back.

      • Eva Says:

        I’m pretty sure it originally came from Gothard since he has been around longer than DP

    • Grace alone Says:

      A Berean,
      Thank you for sharing your story. I have experienced everything you have written about. But I want everyone to know that this type of cultic behavior is typical of all cults. I grew up and spent 15 years in a separatist fundamentalist “christian” cult (church, Christian school, and college) which deemed itself to consist of the only Christians in the world, and looked down on other IBF colleges (BJU, PCC). This cult used every type of control I have seen discussed on this board in regard to DP or BG–from needing to marry a virgin raised in the cult, to attending the Christian school they owned, to extreme shunning, to the elite getting by with murder and the peons taking the brunt of everything, etc. Thank God I don’t know everything that has occurred since. The control is the same even though DP used homeschooling mantra instead of the Christian school ideal used on us. This control all goes back to the demonic sin of pride. God has taught me SO much about grace over the years after we were excommunicated, and God used the wonderful story of the prodigal son to help me understand much about phariseeism and true grace (Tim Keller’s “Prodigal God”). Praise Christ for His never letting me go and wooing me to Him and opening my eyes to falsehood. It does take years for God to delicately remove all the remaining vestiges of cultic error ingrained on those who have gone through it. I’m thankful my husband has much discernment and smelled something fishy in DP quickly after hearing him. Yes, I got caught up in the ideal that DP presented. But God showed me that Christ was missing in DP’s message.

      Does anyone think that certain personalities are more liable to accept cultic teaching than others? My husband believes that people controlled by cults are allowing themselves to be controlled. Since his dad never got sucked into the cult I grew up in, I wonder if my husband just doesn’t understand the control or if he does have a point…..

      All Glory be to Christ for grace!

      • oneh20 Says:

        Dear Grace Alone,

        You asked, “Does anyone think that certain personalities are more liable to accept cultic teaching than others?” I do. Cultic techniques are very much the same as techniques used by abusers of any nature. Ultimately that’s what this is – spiritual abuse. I grew up with abuse on many levels and although I even worked for a “discernment ministry” at one point, looking back I can see that I have been drawn to Christian groups/churches that were not so overt in terms of being a cult, but the techniques were very effectively in place. In large reformed churches these often show up in small group settings. I’ve seen cultic techniques employed in parachurch organizations also. Basically, anywhere there are power grabs instead of centering on Christ. I think for those of us who tried to appease the abuser, its easy to fall into systems where we can follow rules and try to control our environments or whatever – I won’t get too deep, but basically, anywhere there is serious underlying fear, there is a vulnerability to these systems in whatever form they come. Its much harder to walk by the Spirit than to follow rules.

        These blog, no matter what others may say, is helping me more than I could have ever expected. I am seeing through the eyes of others how I have been dominated by subtle fears in many areas and for a lifetime. If you met me its the last thing you might expect. I am fortunate to love the Word of God immensely and be an enormously diligent Berean, so I’ve been protected from a good deal, but I’ve still been vulnerable. Right now, I think there is a process of grief going on for me at some level. And anger… and hope.

        I’m sorry if this seems to be a bit of a ramble. Here it is Christmas day and I am on this blog – at least for a little bit – because I am fighting out of a stranglehold of some sorts and grabbing onto GRACE like a life raft in a storm.

        I’ve never been a follower of man, so to speak, but these things run deep – so I will continue to keep my eyes on Jesus – the Author and Finisher of my faith.

        Merry Christmas – let’s celebrate the FREEDOM He died and rose again for!

        • Jen Says:

          oneh20, Christmas Day is often a time when we experience deep emotions. I’m glad there is a place where you feel safe to grieve and struggle and find your way, even on Christmas Day. And even if we don’t agree about personality types, since I see we both posted about the same time. 🙂

        • oneh20 Says:

          Merry Christmas, Jen! I read your post and agree that anyone can find themselves involved. I should clarify that I think people who have come from abusive backgrounds are very susceptible.

        • Jen Says:

          oneh20, I would very much agree that some coming from abusive backgrounds could be very susceptible, especially if they have not dealt with their past and forgiven those who hurt them, and learned how to move forward in life.

      • Jen Says:

        Grace alone, no, I don’t think that certain personalities are more liable to accept cultic teaching than others, nor do they all allow themselves to be controlled.

        First, I say this after studying personalities in great depth and through several different methods.

        Second, I think that people come in to this for various reasons. Many people truly desire to live holy lives and, at first, this whole lifestyle “appears” holy. By the time you realize that the focus is all on outward appearances and morality and following a list of rules, rather than on Jesus and love and grace, then it is like the slowly-boiling frog in the pot and it is often too late to disengage, at least not without a lot of pain and suffering. Relationships, deep relationships, have been forged. Lifestyle choices have been ingrained. A line in the sand has been drawn, and it is difficult to cross that line.

        If I think back to my BCA days, I can describe every personality imaginable in that congregation, and in those who left. I cannot think of any one personality trait that would apply to those who are easily susceptible to cults.

        Third, there are many who, once they realize that Utopia does not really exist, rather than run away, stand and confront, in various ways, those areas that need confronting. I know TONS of these stories and I am really hopeful that we can post or two of these here soon.

        However, I can understand how those who have never been a part of a “cult” do not realize the power and pull that “community” has. We should use that for good, the way God intended it to be, rather than build little cults.

    • Just a shadow Says:

      This “other man” ( the opportunist) that you speak of – was he at BCA or are you referencing a different church entirely ? I have to admit that your post has left me wondering how many skeletons are in closets in this “community”. It’s alittle scary.

    • Just a shadow Says:

      Jen – do you know what “big event” Berean is referencing?

      • Jen Says:

        I have a good idea, Just a Shadow, but we will wait. 🙂

        I also believe we have NOT heard all the dirt we NEED to hear about what is going in the patriarchy world.

    • Jen Says:

      A Berean, thank you for sharing your story here, and welcome! I do hope you come back.

      I guess we must have just missed one another by a couple months. It is interesting that you felt out of place even in the beginning of BCA. When I first attended BCA, it was on their one-year anniversary, and I thought it was relatively tame in comparison to how it has evolved over the years. Guess it’s a good thing you got out when you did!

      I am truly sorry that you were hurt in the way you were, but I am glad that you were able to find your way back to God, who was patiently loving you all this time. That is one thing I want everyone to realize — that God has never changed, that He is still there, that He still loves us, and that His love for each one of us has NEVER changed. Be still and know that God loves us. 🙂

      While I doubt Norm or Bob will say anything publicly, I wish they would.

      Blessings to you and your wonderful wife, A Berean!

      • Corrine Says:

        Since you mentioned Bob & Norm, I wondered if they were there when you attended? I used to follow Norm’s daughter Alyssa’s blog & she has written extensively about legalism / VF / Patriarchy & her harrowing brush with it. I just figured out that Bob is her father in law. She does not paint him in a favorable light at all & says they are not involved in their life anymore. Funny to connect some dots. I wish she was still blogging.

        • Jen Says:

          Corrine, yes, Alyssa was, and still is, very much connected to both Norm and Bob, of course. I know my daughter loved her blog, but I never really read it. I would love to see where she’s at today! I hope she has found her own way in life, and is still loving all those kids!

        • Corrine Says:

          Thx Jen!
          If her blog was any indication, she seemed to be in a good spot spiritually. Preaching Jesus alone . Now her blog makes more sense 🙂 having heard all the craziness that existed in that circle. I always wondered if she was just over sensitive . Guess not 🙂 !

        • Jen Says:

          I didn’t answer your question. Yes, Bob and Norm were both there when we first started attending BCA. As first Norm, then Little Bear, and then Bob each left to start their own churches, we seriously considered each of their churches as well. We went to Norm’s house for a few weeks. It was very special, but he was more Calvinistic than we were. We went to Little Bear’s mid-week services (before he started a Sunday church) for a year or more. We LOVED those! By the time Bob Welch began his own church, we were fairly well entrenched in BCA, and Bob’s church was quite a bit further away.

          Those four churches, plus another one that lasted for about a year or so, made up the “community.” We all really loved “community” events where we could visit with old BCA friends and meet new families. I still miss it a lot.

          When I think back over the last 14 years or so, I can think of so many families in what should have been a LOVING community whose lives and families are in ruins, or at least deeply hurt, because of all that has happened. So, so terribly sad.

      • mum23 Says:

        Could you elaborate a bit on Norm? I’m in shock that he was a part of BCA. Did he share DP’s philosophy on everything? Norm’s ministry has been a blessing to me and our family. We also have a child with DS. I’ve only been familiar with Norm for the last 3 years or so but in that time everything I have heard him say is always pointing to Christ. I really am in shock to learn that he was ever a part of BCA.

        • Jen Says:

          mum23, I think there was a good reason Norm left BCA. 🙂 From what I know of his ministry, he has a real heart for shepherding.

  61. Mykl Says:

    I’m new to this site but my wife’s been following it for over a month. She disagrees with patriarchy but she knows that I agree with it. So she’s encouraged me to get on and interact. After reading everything in the patriarchy threads, I thought I might have something to add here.

    I have been learning from some of the men in this movement for over 15 years. The most insightful I found to be Phil Lancaster, R.C. Sproul Jr and Geoff Botkin. I have always found Doug Phillips rather a windbag: his own talking style is more cheerleading and motivational, not much really thoughtful or insightful.

    Now it becomes clear that Phillips’ life was not consistent with his message. That’s awful. I grieve.

    But evidently the issue here is bigger than Doug Phillips. This blog is opposing an idea called patriarchy, which claims to set forth some of the Bible’s truth and righteousness as it applies to men as fathers and husbands. As far as I’ve ever heard any of those men teach, patriarchy is Biblical. If they’ve taught anything that wasn’t Biblical, I haven’t heard it. So because I believe this idea is true, and it’s very important, and I’ve tried to live my life accordingly, I would like to defend it if I can.

    This blog is also opposing a recent movement called Patriarchy. This involves a great number of people, some high-profile and most not, some godly and some not, some consistent and some not. I cannot defend them all, obviously. I can only say that while I may only know few dozen of them, 100% are humble, godly, consistent men with thriving, joyful, fruitful families of many years. If the ones I know are a statistically significant sample, I would offer that most people in this movement have not abused these truths.

    I’ll start with definitions, an assertion and a question.

    Def 1: Patriarchy is the belief that the man ought to lead his family as God leads him. He is an “UnderPatriarch”, just like a pastor is an “UnderShepherd” (1 Pet. 5:2). Thus he should do all the things Scripture commands, and avoid all the things It forbids. It is opposed to the idea that a wife ought to lead, or that a democracy ought to lead, or that the children ought to lead, or that the state ought to or the church ought to.

    Def 2: The Patriarchy movement, including the men listed as well as many others like Scott Brown, Kevin Swanson, Bill Einwechter, Jeff Pollard, John Thompson, intended to encourage men to shoulder this leadership responsibility, give them suggestions on how to do it, and offer tools to help them do it.

    Assertion: the principles taught by these men are Biblical, but they are out of balance. I have never heard an inaccurate statement, but there is an extremely foundational statement I’ve rarely heard. Leadership is a necessary part of a man’s responsibility, but it’s not the theme of marriage. Rejecting male leadership in the home is a disaster. But leadership is a minor side-theme in the marriage relationship. Along with many other true and Biblical but minor aspects, like provision and protection and symbolizing Christ and the Church, and seeking godly offspring, these are like landscaping on the mountain. The mountain itself, the theme of marriage, is COMPANIONSHIP.

    Again, with every possible emphasis: COMPANIONSHIP

    -The Bible first mentions marriage as a cure for loneliness. Adam had a companion shortage.

    -The defining passage (Gen 2:24) is the second most-quoted passage in all Scripture.

    -The Song of Solomon is the Bible’s Marriage Book, and it doesn’t even mention any of that landscaping; it’s entire focus is the deepest, most intimate, most satisfying companionship humans can know.

    -All Paul’s commands to the husband are commands to deepen and widen companionship. Intimacy, affection, love, nourishing and cherishing. (God never commands the man to be the head of his wife. He says the man IS the head, and he needs to be a Christ-like head. But when God tells us how to be a Christ-like head, all the commands are commands to deepen companionship.)

    -When a man seeks a wife, or a woman seeks a husband, they should be looking for the same thing: a friend. Is he my “bestest friend in the whole world”? Am I lost without her? No one else will do? That is the first and paramount question.

    -When a man invests time in his marriage, the first and most consuming priority is to be better friends with his wife. When we disagree, my goal is to deepen their oneness by humbly working toward agreement. I want to share everything with her I can: fun, grief, learning, decisions, etc. When we’re apart, I want to be together. When we’re together, I want to be together.

    Call it what you will–friendship, companionship, oneness, unity, togetherness, soul-mate, chemistry, affection–that is the stuff of marriage.

    I have never heard anyone in the recent Patriarchy movement, high-profile or not, disagree with this. The many aspiring UnderPatriarchs I know who aren’t hypocrites, have lived as companions with their wives. The flaw I see is that they didn’t make it central in their teaching. They do believe it, but they don’t emphasize it. They believe all the right things, but in the wrong order.

    And this unbalance, this wrong emphasis, may lead to false conclusions. If leadership is the essential matter, it’s more likely to lead to unbiblical recommendations, and unbiblical behavior. Read: tyranny. And that has happened, as the principals on this blog will attest.

    And the question: can someone who disagrees with Patriarchy give me a definition that I would agree with?

    I hope I’ll be able to interact with comments, but actually being an UnderPatriarch takes priority over defending it.  (I suspect that’s why there aren’t more godly Patriarchs on this blog giving “the rest of the story”. I know many men who haven’t distorted this teaching and have Biblical loving families with overflowing fruits of godliness, and I could name them. But they don’t have time to defend this belief. They’re too busy living it.)

    • Dom Walk Says:

      Mykl, I challenge your assertion that “Patriarchy” is Biblical. Male headship in the home and its cocomittant responsibilities and sacrifices has been taught faithfully from scripture for millennia. “Patriarchy” is an unnecessary and carnal modern invention. It’s “unbalanced” at its core.

      • Mykl Says:

        I expect this challenge of course but I can’t respond to it unless we get more specific. What exactly about patriarchy violates Scripture? Otherwise we’re just each in our ivory towers shouting “Right!” and “Wrong!” to each other.

      • Just a shadow Says:

        They also conveniently ignore the verses that speak of mutual submission & they neglect to teach that “do unto others as you would have them do unto to you” applies to spouses as well(females included). What man would NOT want to be consulted on matters pertaining to the family? Well, then, the Bible says if he wouldn’t want that done to him then he shouldn’t do it to his wife!

      • Mykl Says:

        Wait, wait. Before we go any further, can we define our term? Can someone who disagrees with patriarchy give me a definition I would agree with? Otherwise we’ll just be arguing over a word and bypassing the actual ideas where we might agree or disagree.

      • Mykl Says:

        A good point, J a s, well argued. As a leader in the patriarchy movement put it, a man’s wife is his chief counselor. (Happened to be Bill Einwechter, elder in the church I was part of for 13 years.)

      • Mykl Says:

        Mutual Submission is an excellent case in point. From men in this movement, (Bill in his sermons, from RC in his Basement tapes and from Phil in his magazine, not from Doug who rarely said anything insightful) I learned three senses in which the Bible teaches mutual submission. 1. I must submit my comfort and convenience to my wife’s and children’s well-being. I love my wife as Christ loved me: He GAVE Himself for me. (In other words, on those rare occasions when I need to make a final decision, that decision must NOT be what’s easiest for me, but what’s best for my family.) 2. I must submit to my wife’s Biblical and practical exhortation and admonition, to gain wisdom from her as my chief counselor. (In this sense, all Christians must be willing to submit to all other Christians. How much more should husband and wife to to each other.) 3. In bed, each has authority over the other’s body. In other words, whatever both want is fine, and whatever one doesn’t want, that’s a no.

        Of course, selfish people will always see only half these commands: the half that applies to their spouse! I’m sure men in this movement have done so, though I don’t know any. But this is hardly the teacher’s fault, any more than it’s Paul’s fault. These men DID teach that.

        Now, I don’t know how those men lived their lives. (Except I know Bill has always practiced it, to a fault!) That’s not relevant to me. It’s their teaching I need to evaluate. And that’s why I say, All true and all Biblical and all important. But in the wrong order.

        My beef with the Patriarchy movement, and where patriarchs outside the movement (like Doug Wilson or Donald Owens ( have done better, is that mutual submission is not the main theme of marriage. Neither is leadership, or procreation or providing or protecting or dominion or giving and receiving counsel. Those are all true and necessary, but miss the main point. COMPANIONSHIP. I’ll say till I fall over.

        Anyone who makes primary what God made secondary is asking for trouble. And it seems like, they got it.

    • Refugee Says:

      One specific thing I heard RC Sproul, Jr. teach was that a man was “prophet, priest, and king” in his home. (I remember my dh took exception to this stretching of Scripture, and got a lot of flack for it.) The Bible calls Jesus “Prophet, Priest and King” but I think it’s a stretch to apply it to men. Yes, we are a priesthood of believers, but that priesthood is not limited to men only, if I’m reading right. “In Christ there is no… male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28) If I’m connecting the wrong dots, someone please set me straight, with Scripture, please.

      • Robert S Says:

        Refugee, Pastor Jeff Crippen at A Cry for Justice blog has posted a good 6 part series rebutting the teaching about men being prophet, priest, and king. Go here for part 6 and then look for the prior articles:

      • Mykl Says:

        Where did R.C. teach that? I’d like to hear his explanation for myself. Knowing how meticulous he generally is, I’m sure he included all kinds of qualifiers for those terms. You know, in what ways a man is NOT a prophet to his family, etc. I suspect it ended up being merely a handy summary for three categories of duties we already know a man has in his home.

        • Donna Says:

          Not R.C. We’re (well, you all.. I’m just reading, LOL) talking about R.C. JUNIOR here…. Do NOT confuse him with his father. Please!

      • Just a shadow Says:

        Robert S – This is an amazing website that you linked to ! Wow! I am so encouraged that there is at least one pastor out there trying to stop this issue of abuse of women in the church.

        EVERYONE – take time to read this pastor’s story!!!

      • stillhealing Says:

        Whenever I hear this nonsense about the husband being prophet, priest, and king I always think….isn’t that supposed to be Jesus? And why would any man want to take His place? I think the fact that some of these men DO want that position speaks volumes about their character….

      • Refugee Says:

        “Where did R.C. teach that? I’d like to hear his explanation for myself.”

        Mykl, it was a long time ago, but I think it might have been his “Bound for Glory” DVD series, which we used in our small group at church. It is available on the web (you can watch the first session for free):

        I’m not sure which session it might have been, perhaps the one on The Role of the Covenant Husband, which is available for a fee.

        • Donna Says:

          Okay, looking at the Table of Contents for that series, I see that it refers a lot to various “Covenant” members of the family. I wonder if the “father son discussion” is specifically a Presbyterian thing… the doctrine that justifies infant baptism for them. That whole “Covenant child” concept, they say, is what they use to describe how infant baptism basically “replaces” circumcision of the Old Testament. Problem is… circumcision was only for BOYS. Yet they baptize baby GIRLS….

          I don’t mean to get into denominational doctrine here, and I have NOT listened to this series. I’m just taking a wild stab at the main focus of their discussion because of the use of “Covenant” in reference to ALL family member positions (based on the TOC). This is a point that both Sproul Jr. and Sr. would agree on. (Although Jr. also believes in paedo- *communion*, whereas Sr. does not.) Doug Phillips (and Gothard and many others) in the Patriarchy movement do NOT agree with infant baptism. However, they would somehow (I’m not sure how?) still claim that their children are “Covenant” children, even without the practice paedo-baptism.

          Anyhow, when you get into the discussion of infant baptism, it’s not a far leap to go straight to an OT Patriarchy family — and societal government — system, because both concepts come from the Old Testament.

        • JPGR Says:

          I once heard someone say that they were discussing these things with RC Jr. and that he said that if he were to tell his wife to go stand on her head in the corner, and she didn’t, then he would have her put under church discipline.

          My immediate response was why wasn’t he put under church discipline for not loving his wife like Christ loved the church?

          Seems like that route doesn’t come up with these guys….

        • Refugee Says:

          The “father and son conversation” is actually a conversation between RC Sproul and RC Sproul, Jr. That one is available for free — I put it on for a few moments but since it was a week ago I don’t remember the exact content.

      • Refugee Says:

        (We had the book Bound for Glory, that went along with the video series, but I’m pretty sure we recycled it with all the VF and Doug Wilson materials that were on our bookshelves.)

      • Refugee Says:

        Sorry to spam the list. Am listening to the (free) first session of Bound for Glory now, and just heard that children are to bring glory to their fathers, and that “as Christians our vision is to defend the family and our understanding of the family… that we need to do is [go beyond the nuclear family and] get back to the vision of Patriarchy.” So this series may well contain his definitions on the subject matter of patriarchy.

        I don’t know about added qualifiers, but I do know that in this specific instance my dh found his teaching extrabiblical because of what he said during the discussion time after the video, and how disapproving the other men were of his apparently not taking the teaching seriously, though he was perfectly serious in his criticism.

        • Donna Says:

          “…children are to bring glory to their fathers, and that “as Christians our vision is to defend the family and our understanding of the family… that we need to do is [go beyond the nuclear family and] get back to the vision of Patriarchy.”

          Except, this is NOT a command of the New Testament Church. We are to bring glory to GOD first and foremost. CHRIST is our Prophet, Priest and King (see Hebrews), and WHY must we “get back to the vision of Patriarchy”? That is NOT the goal of the New Testament. That is an OLD Testament principle in place because a) that was their *culture* (not ours), and b) God had a very specific purpose for keeping the bloodline of Christ sound and secure… and that purpose was for CHRIST! Christ has COME already. We no longer have a “need” (nor is there a NT command) for a “vision of Patriarchy”.

          Matt. 12:46-50 ~ While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

          Can someone give me ONE New Testament scripture that commands an OT style “vision of Patriarchy”? In context, please. Just ONE.

      • Mykl Says:

        Come on, friends. _What did RC actually teach?_ Until some content is put into this criticism, it’s just an insult. I can think of a sense in which all Biblically-minded Christians would agree with that statement. Without having heard RC’s own teaching I think it’s only charitable for us to assume this is what he meant:

        1 A prophet’s main job is exhortation: warning and encouragement for his wife and children. A man tells them what courses will succeed and fail, based on the ways of God as revealed in His word and His world. To give those answers means finding them, and that’s a tremendous amount of work. That’s why every man ought to be a Bible scholar. Learn so you can teach and serve.
        2. A priest’s main job is intercession and mediation: Intercede for your wife and children, begging God’s forgiveness for their sins and healing for their soul. Mediate by relaying God’s word to them: assuring them of His forgiveness and healing. To know what needs intercession, and to relay God’s word to them is a tremendous amount of work, and that’s why every man ought to be a student of his wife and children, and a prayer warrior. Learn so you can pray and serve.
        3. A King’s main job is protection and leadership: Protect your wife and children by providing, by forseeing physical and spiritual needs and dangers and standing in the gap. Lead looking at all their gifts and callings to show them how to Seek First God’s Kingdom in their calling. Learning the various causes and results that will affect my family, and how God’s Word applies to all our decisions is a huge task, and that’s why every man ought to be a hard worker and a wise-living man. Learn so you can lead by serving.

        Now, I’m just making this up on the spur of the moment. But would anyone say it’s unbiblical? Is anyone claiming RC was saying more than that? I can hardly believe it. “A man would have to be a coxcomb, why a very turkey coxcomb and a blasphemer” to think he can take the place of Christ as Mediator or the Spirit as Intercessor or the Father as Emperor. I’m sure there are such men: so much the worse for them and their families. No teacher in the Patriarchy would ever countenance such garbage.

        Let’s get specific here.

        • Refugee Says:

          “Come on, friends. _What did RC actually teach?_ Until some content is put into this criticism, it’s just an insult.”

          That is why I included the link to the series. My budget is a little tight at the moment, so I’m not willing to pay to listen to the series. However, I included the link for the convenience of anyone else.

          All I have said (and am able to say, without re-listening to the series) is that my dh took exception to the “prophet, priest, king” teaching, and spoke out about it, which is why I remember it in particular. He’s usually a pretty easygoing guy, and since he doesn’t spend a lot of his time (as other men in the church do) reading puritan writings and such, he doesn’t often speak up on theological issues. However, the “prophet, priest, king” teaching sounded ridiculous to him, not a logical application of Scripture, and since he’s a logical guy, I tend to trust his judgment.

          To sum up: It was a memorable incident for me, at a time when I was eager to learn (and to fit in) and not as discerning as I might have been.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Mykl, I agree with your definitions. Prophet, priest, king are not only used in patriarchy. However, these terms have been abused by some in patriarchy and as a result there is simply a heavy backlash – especially from people who are not aware that this is not new and its been twisted. DP/RC Srpoul/GB didn’t invent the term or phrase. When explained rightly, as you did here, its a beautiful thing and a huge sacrificial responsibility. I think an example that might help you to understand would be the weddings in this circle where the father “transfers authority” over his daughter to the groom. Its like selling cattle. When I first saw that caption over a wedding picture I was genuinely sickened.

      • just a shadow Says:

        RC was defrocked for abuse of power in his own congregation. Is that specific enough for you?

      • Lindt Says:

        “Let’s get specific here.” Okay, Mykl, I’m game. Are you okay with wife spanking? R.C. Sproul, Jr. is, as anyone who *really* knows him knows. He regularly spanked his wife and he taught the men in his church to spank their wives. He was also abusive of his children, even the babies. He was deep into Gary Ezzo and blanket training. Just listening to his Basement Tapes won’t clue you in to that. You’d have to know him up close and personal, or have friends who are members of his church in Virginia, to figure any of that out.

        I get really suspicious of men who jump to defend wife spankers and child abusers like R.C. Sproul, Jr. So are you in to wife spanking yourself? Blanket training?

        • just a shadow Says:

          Amen to that Lindt. I get so tired of people defending these guys they’ve never even MET.

          Sheesh. It’s like vehemently recommending a restaurant you’ve never even BEEN to. And shouting down those who HAVE eaten at the restaurant and gotten sick from it!

          Speak to what you know. Not to what you don’t Mykl.

    • Cori Long Says:

      I agree with your description of marriage & a man’s role, I just don’t think that is what Patriarchy means or asserts. I do think you did a nice job describing a godly view of marriage.


      • Mykl Says:

        But I learned all those things from men in the Patriarchy movement, and from a few other patriarchs (Doug Wilson, my dad, my brother) not associated with the movement.

      • Refugee Says:

        Um. Doug Wilson is not a part of the Patriarchy movement? It’s hard to frame this question without sounding sarcastic, but I’m honestly bewildered. Is he part of another movement of the same genre?

        We used to have (nearly) all of his books that were available at Reformed conferences and homeschool conferences.

        • Donna Says:

          Yes, Refugee, he is. Doug Wilson belongs to the same denomination as Sproul JR., which is the CRE. They believe in both paedo (infant) baptism and paedo communion, as well as something called the “Federal Vision”. It’s part of the whole Dominion Theology thing. The CRE is made up of FIC churches.

          A family that we were once close with — and were ultimately shunned by because we didn’t jump fully on their bandwagon (and because our marriage was hurt *badly* by the man’s advice), and from whom my dh received the “Family Man” book by Phil Lancaster (of VF), also belonged to that denomination. The father of that family absolutely *idolized* Doug Phillips. I can still see the Phillips’ family photo (a personalized card, not a picture from a magazine) hanging on their refrigerator.

          Here’ s a link to the CRE denomination website:

          Aside from some denominational specifics, Wilson and Phillips have a LOT in common. (Although I’ve never seen pictures of Wilson dressed up in costume. LOL)

        • just a shadow Says:

          Donna – Yes, and if you read RC’s articles on paedo communion it is obvious how very far from Christ he is. The article I read ( which was handed to me in person by RC himself) stated that you give kids (even babies) communion so that this will convince them that they are saved and are “covenant children”. How dangerous it is to attempt to convince kids ( who may or may not have come to faith in Christ) that they are “already” saved, and “here’s your proof, dearie, I just gave you communion and have done so since you were an infant” is beyond comprehension. It is unbiblical, presumptuous, heretical, misinformed, and loony.

      • Mykl Says:

        Thank you, Refugee. I am quite eager to hear that. FWIW, R.C. Sproul Jr., is one of the few men who, like C.S. Lewis, says something insightful every time he opens his mouth. I have serious disagreements on a few points, but I’m always glad to hear him.

        • Lindt Says:

          I wish I could agree. What comes out of R.C. Sproul, Jr every time he opens his mouth is hypocrisy. Same thing with Doug Phillips. Eloquence doesn’t make for integrity, and neither man have an ounce of integrity. R.C. Sproul Jr. spanked is wife, abused his babies, and drinks like a fish. Doug Phillips cheated on his wife for many years. Neither man’s name should ever be mentioned again with anything other than contempt. They are biblically disqualified from teaching again and you are a fool to listen to them.

          Mykl you are either a very ignorant man or you are a deliberate promoter of hypocrites and wolves in sheep’s clothing. Hopefully it’s the former. If you have a personal opinion on Patriarchy then some of us might like to hear it. The problem is you just destroyed all your credibility with your ignorant name dropping, so now it will be a hard sell.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Mykl does not appear at all to be ignorant in a general sense. He just jumped into something he hasn’t thoroughly researched – not so much patriarchy, but VF/DP/GB/SB et al in general. Lindt, I am writing this in an overall sense – not only to you 🙂 He’s obviously not aware of the abuse and hijacking of terms here. So maybe educating, rather than being defensive, might be beneficial. 🙂

      • Mykl Says:

        My replies are not going on the threads I want them to, sorry. No, I don’t think you’d ever have seen anyone associated with Doug Wilson (Canon Press, ACCS, Credenda, CREC) on stage at a VFM event. I know no one who has been part of both. I know many people who like me, in private learn from both groups. Likewise Biblical Horizons, and Chalcedon, and New College Franklin, etc: these ministries have a lot of beliefs and goals in common, but they don’t share personnel and they rarely interact in public. This DP showdown is almost the first I’ve ever heard any of them do so.

        • Refugee Says:

          Ah, I see. It seems as if you are using the word “Patriarchy” in this discussion as “Vision Forum Patriarchy” then, to refine the term. Always good to be on the same page in terms of definitions when holding a discussion.

          So Doug Wilson’s version would be “Canon Press Patriarchy” or something like that? Sounds logical, since this website has been focused on Doug Phillips and Vision Forum. Although I seem to recall that Doug Wilson spoke up in defense of Doug Phillips early on, suggesting that the latter had fallen because of a temptress, IIRC.

          It was enough to send me searching for more about Doug Wilson and his brand of patriarchy, just for comparison’s sake. There is some awful stuff out there, about him facilitating a marriage between a young lady and a convicted (of molesting children) sex offender, for one thing, and justifying antebellum slavery as actually good for the participants. (I heard a lot in person on the latter teaching myself, when he conducted a history seminar in the area.)

          However, this website is not about Doug Wilson, so I’ll leave it to you to do your own research, if you wish.

        • Refugee Says:

          P.s. The patriarchal fans of Christian Patriarchy who were leaders in our church just happened to be fans of Wilson, Sproul Jr., Schlissel, Wilkins, Swanson, and more. All of these men were invited to speak locally. I’m sure they would have invited Phillips as well, except that it would not have been an important enough venue. Instead, they made many VF recordings available for church members to borrow, and encouraged us to go to the state conferences where Doug Phillips and Voddie Baucham spoke.

          I’m not sure I would divide them up into their own little brands of Patriarchy. As you said, they have a lot in common, even if they don’t all interact or run in the same circles.

    • JPGR Says:

      Well, this is an excellent essay on being a Christian husband. That said, DP’s message was not inconsistent with his life; it was entirely consistent. His message has been from the beginning one of despising women (note the charming anecdote in VA of him making the wives stand behind), and setting minute rules for others which he has little interest in following…and then on his end personally, he gets to skirt the big rules also.

      I really can’t stand Geoff Botkin, either …he basically aspires to be Doug Phillips and that sort of tells us all we need to know.

      That said…again…this is a very good essay and your point that those that live like this probably are not talking much about it is spot on. Likewise, the converse is true. Those husbands that do talk a lot about these things – including the men you mention – probably aren’t living it as they are too busy talking the game and messing even that up…..

      • Just a shadow Says:

        Agree JPGR. The most miserable women I know are those who are married to men who thump their chest about being godly patriarchs and who make their wives cower to some twisted view of “submission”. Yes, I know people personally who live this way. The husbands are power hungry weak greedy mean spirited men who treat their families like prisoners. And it is all justified ( and submitted to) b/c of Patriarchy as taught by DP, Botkin ( who reduced the wedding of one of his sons to a speech event since it is “wrong” to make the bride feel like a princess & the center of the show in his opinion), Gothard( the unmarrried childless expert), and others.

        The pics of that Botkin wedding represent one of the most misogynistic, mean spirited, crush-the- woman-at-all-costs- lest- she- forget- her -inferior -status events I’ve EVER seen.
        It is beyond sad.

        • Mykl Says:

          Now this is the sort of thing that kept me from getting involved on this blog for two months. Why should I care what Geoff Botkin did at his kid’s wedding? He’s not answerable to me, and I’m not answerable for him. As the story’s been told here of course it sounds dreadful, but I can’t make a judgment until I hear his side of the story. If it was my business to judge him, I must “judge not according to appearances but judge righteous judgment”. Since it’s not my business I won’t judge the matter at all.

          Likewise we’re told that DP won’t let his wife have a cell phone. First of all, since I know for a fact that Liberty has had one for years, I very much doubt that it’s a simple matter of “No, dear, you can’t have one.” But the real point is, why should I care? To his own master he stands or falls. Let it go!

          I know from being subject to slanderous half-truths myself how easy it is to make someone look bad. I don’t know how these reports might be defended. But I don’t need to. 1. They’re not public matters and we shouldn’t be discussing them in the first place, 2. We haven’t heard both sides of the story so we can’t make a righteous judgment anyway.

        • just a shadow Says:

          The Botkin wedding was most certainly a public matter. It was prominently placed on the Visionary Daughters website complete with Botkin’s explanation of why it is wrong/dangerous/unmanly/unbiblical/ to allow brides to be the center of attention at weddings (nay, brother the spotlight rightly belongs to the Patriarch and his speechifying), why wedding gowns promote a very dangerous “princess” mentality in brides ( brides are only good for breeding, doncha know, and need to get back in their place), and why Patriarchs don’t need no stinking officiants to conduct a wedding.

          None of this is gossip. It was written, complete with pictures & accompanying editorializing, on their public website for all the world to see. It is not here say or even second hand info. It is straight from their blog and they were loud and proud about it. Not sure if it has been scrubbed now, but it was most certainly intended to be public, instructive, and imitated by others.

        • Lindt Says:

          Mykl. you’re not just defending Patriarchy, but you did so by name dropping too, and you even praised the defrocked R.C. Sproul, Jr. Your defense in promoting these men is that it doesn’t really matter what they’re guilty of so long as what they teach is the truth. I disagree. I think it matters even more how they live their lives than what they teach. If they live their lives the opposite of what they teach they are hypocrites and liars. Maybe you believe it’s right to follow the teaching of hypocrites and liars, but no thanks. I’ll follow Jesus.

          Even if you could get around all that, there’s much more to what you’re recommending than that we should just follow their advice and ignore the hypocrisy and lies in their lives. For most of us we can’t just follow their advice. We also have to send them our money to buy their books and CDs and DVDs and pay to hear them speak at conferences. These hypocrites and liars have made a fortune off naive people (I used to be one of them) who believed they practice what they preach. It all sounds so good, doesn’t it? I feel very badly I ever handed over our family’s money to these evil men. I’ve thrown it all out. I won’t even give it away to friends because that would send a message that I endorse them.

          Since the defrocking of R.C. Sproul Jr. and the public resignation of Doug Phillips the adulterer most people have had enough sense to not mention their names as though they deserved any respect. I just don’t get it with you Mykl. I don’t understand how you can praise their names without any shame at all.

        • Mykl Says:

          Friends, friends. 🙂 I’m not defending anybody. Honest, I’m not. That’s why I keep saying things like “To his own Master he stands or falls.” I’m not the one to judge them. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be judged, by men. Somebody ought to. Their elders, for sure. But not me. It’s not my business. I don’t have the right or the ability to exonerate or condemn them and it’s gossip for me to talk about it. The end.

          Public matters of course are different. I didn’t know the Botkin’s wedding was so public. I retract that illustration. Public folly should be cried foul publicly. For instance the way DP hugged Michelle Duggar, on camera, should have been decried.

          Lindt, this one phrase says a lot: “Maybe you believe it’s right to follow the teaching of hypocrites and liars, but no thanks. I’ll follow Jesus.” Amen! The operative word through all of this is “follow.” We must not ‘follow’ any person. We must not follow any teaching. We must not follow any movement, or any ideology. No way. None of them will ever be completely true or truly complete. Only Christ is completely true and only His Word is truly complete.

          With people and teachings and movements, Christians must examine them all and hold fast what is true. In bumper sticker summary: Learn from people, but follow Christ.

          No, I don’t personally know those men, any more than I’ve met C.S. Lewis or Jonathan Edwards. That’s exactly why I need to judge their teachings by their teachings. Are their teachings of Christ? I believe, as I’ve said, that they are accurate but unbalanced.

          Their lectures and books and resources were expensive, weren’t they? My family and I have often joked about how their conferences should be called Courtship for the Wealthy, etc. “Know anyone rich? We’ve got a Vision for ’em!” But because teaching materials are expensive doesn’t mean their content is false.

      • Just a shadow Says:

        Anybody who thinks it is OK to steal the wonder & grandeur of a bride walking down the aisle in a beautiful gown on her wedding day b/c she “might feel like a princess” is a sick, bitter, mean person.

        Those pics made me furious as woman.

        • Molly Says:

          “I believe, as I’ve said, that they are accurate but unbalanced. ”

          My kl, how can they possibly be accurate if they are unbalanced? Anyone can take a few scriptures and twist them out of context to show “Biblical” support for the point they are making. That does not make those teachings accurate.
          The Bible says “you will know them by their fruits.” Most of us here have seen the fruits of these teachings- lives changed, churches split, and families torn apart when others get caught up in this teachings. People like Doug Phillips sell a system. Do this, read that, don’t do this, don’t watch that…then your family will be “godly” and your children will never rebel. But there is no system that can give us guarantees in life. ONLY God. ONLY Jesus. God desires our hearts, not our allegiance to a system.

      • Mykl Says:

        Again, I don’t know how DP and GB live their lives. I’m not a part of their problems or solutions so any criticism of them to me is gossip. I’m responsible for what I do with their _teachings_. And since I have not heard anything misogynistic in either, and since virtually everything Botkin teaches is on other subjects entirely, I don’t particularly care.

        My only point here (the only point I think is relevant to those who don’t know these men personally) is that these biblical principles of marriage came from men associated with Doug Phillips. If Doug himself, after saying for years that men ought to be faithful to their wives, and warning what will happen if they aren’t, wants to go and be unfaithful, he deserves what he gets. “This is what will happen to hypocrites! Here, let me show you. Ah, sure enough.” He has proved his own teaching by negative example. We can laugh, we can cry, we can take warning. But we can’t reject his teaching just because he himself hasn’t followed it! Can we reject the Surgeon General’s warnings about tobacco because he is a chain-smoker? What if your dentist has rotten teeth?

      • just a shadow Says:

        If my dentist had rotten teeth, then I would choose a different dentist from which to learn how to care for teeth.

        Because he is obviously an idiot and most likely will give bad advice.

        If the surgeon general is a chain smoker then he has nothing to say that I want to hear about smoking b/c he will inherently be biased.

        Yes, whether the messenger lives what he teaches *matters*.

        Have you ever actually met the men you are defending? Botkin, DP, RC jr.,?

        Well, I have met ALL of them. And a couple of them I have “met” *alot*.

        I wouldn’t take ANY teaching from a man defrocked for abuse of power.

        I wouldn’t take advice from a man who cheats on his wife.

        I wouldn’t take advice from a man who feels his power is threatened by a girl in a wedding dress.

        No, I reject advice from any of them.

        • just a shadow Says:

          Case in point. Have you ever * known* a dentist who openly sported rotten teeth? And was unashamed of it?

          I thought not.

          He wouldn’t be in business long.

        • just a shadow Says:

          Most people would call this – not patronizing dentists with rotten teeth – *common sense*.

        • Mykl Says:

          I wouldn’t want a dentist with rotten teeth because I wouldn’t want him that close to my face. 🙂
          C. Everett Koop was a smoker, and I bet you do follow his advice. 🙂

          Seriously, you may not choose to take advice from them, but can you say that their teachings are wrong just because they’ve been inconsistent with them? There’s no logical connection.

        • just a shadow Says:

          I’ve never read anything by C. Everett Koop and if he was a smoker, then I most certainly will NOT take his advice on smoking. Besides, your question is faulty. Gov’t opinions of smoking predate him, and were settled before he ever took office. He was articulating the gov’t position( and the then president’s position) NOT SOMETHING HE CAME UP WITH ON HIS OWN.

          I say he is a hypocrite if he is a smoker yet preaches against it and I have learned the hard way in my life to NEVER follow hypocrites who claim to be teachers/wise/authoritative.

          If you choose to cling to unbiblical positions espoused by men who have been publicly( RC – publicly defrocked by his own denomination, DP – Exposed Publicly by his Board) proven to be less than honorable, then that’s your business.

          I choose Jesus. And he in no way taught Patriarchy.

          Consider the story posed to him by the teachers of the law – the one wherein multiple men are successively married ( due to death) to a single woman. The teachers want to know whose wife she will be in heaven. Jesus tells them that they are greatly mistaken – that it is not this way in heaven. Basically the teachers of the Law wanted to know to whom the *woman* BELONGED. Jesus brought them up short. In heaven she *belongs* to NO MAN. She is “neither male nor female, slave nor free, jew nor gentile but all are one…” In heaven ( in which God’s will IS done and we are to pray for His will to be done on this earth “as it is in heaven”) there is no distinction. The woman in the posed story is simply a child of God, belonging to Him alone. She *belongs* to NONE of the men.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Nooooooo, that’s not the point at all. The Sadducees and the Pharisees were always at odds. The Sadducees were trying to entrap Jesus to score points against the Pharisees. This is about being resurrected, which the Sadducees did not believe in.

        • Mykl Says:

          C. Everett Koop was the U.S. Surgeon general who wrote all the warnings posted on cigarette ads. If you don’t smoke, I’m sure you’ve taken his advice. 🙂

        • just a shadow Says:

          I can’t “take the advice” of someone whose words I have personally never read. Sorry. Impossible. I don’t know what he said, so there is zero percent chance that I “took his advice”.

          Actually, the advice I took about smoking was given to me by someone I greatly admired and who was in no way a hypocrite.

          Enough with the smoking parallels. They do not pertain to the subject at hand.

        • Mykl Says:

          Sorry, jas, I was being too light-hearted. But surely if a thief tells you the consequences of stealing, and the value of honesty, you won’t DISbelieve him because he’s a thief? And if a thief tells you that if you spend more than you earn you’ll run out of money, would you disbelieve him because he’s a thief?

          That’s all I’m saying. Not that I think you or anyone should certainly listen to them. Only that their teaching need to be examined the same way everyone else’s teaching should.

        • Donna Says:

          The difference between your thief analogy and Phillips, Sproul Jr., et al. is that these men claim to be men of God, born-again Christians who are teaching the BIBLE. That alone should give us pause. Mykl, do you not read the many, many warnings given to us in the New Testament to beware of apostates, liars and hypocrites? And to not associate with such a one? How about Jesus’ very *direct* accusations against the Pharisees for bringing more rules and laws against the people than they should have been…. and for being hypocrites? Jesus directed His followers AWAY from men like that.

          Granted, it’s very difficult not to do business in the secular world with liars and hypocrites. I do have to buy gasoline for my van, after all, and I can’t interview or examine the lives of every gas station owner out there. But I don’t expect as much from them, either (morally speaking), because they’re LOST. They’re not *claiming* to represent God or Jesus Christ. But…. that’s why I watch our bank account like a hawk.

          There are plenty of good Bible teachers out there whose lives match what they teach, and who aren’t portraying the marks of a cult. Why follow the teachings of (and give your money to) known hypocrites and liars… when you have a CHOICE?

        • Molly Says:

          But we can’t reject his teaching just because he himself hasn’t followed it!
          We reject his teachings because they are extra-biblical and place believers under a heavy burden, just like the Pharisees did with the Jews in Jesus’ time. We reject his teachings because of the damage and destruction they have sown into so many lives. We reject his teachings because we follow Christ, not man.

    • JourneyGirl Says:

      Mykl, If Patriarchy as you describe it is so inherently Biblical, as you determine it to be, then why didn’t Christ teach this? Or Paul? Or Peter? Or any New Testament writer? Doctrines or tenets espoused by the Patriarchy movement are found nowhere in the New Testament. Neither are they actually exigetically derived from the Old Testament. These doctrines are proof-texted from the Old Testament in order to attempt to make a case for Dominion Theology, the premise for the modern Patriarchy movement. These doctrines are really just reactions to the Christian church’s failure to obey and live out the clear, direct teachings of the Word of God. If the doctrine of Patriarchy is inherent in Scripture, then it would have been evident in the writings of the New Testament, and clearly preached from the pulpits of the men of God down through the centuries.

      • Mykl Says:

        Well, of course I believe that the Biblical writers did teach these things. I think the major teachings and emphases of patriarchy are derived directly and by sound inference from the Bible.

        You say they didn’t.

        I guess it’s a stalemate and we should just stop talking. 🙂

        Or we could get specific. Define patriarchy in a way I would agree with, and show me which tenets are unbiblical or extra-biblical, and we’ll have something we can actually talk about.

      • NC Says:

        Mykl, “sound inference” really? What’s that suppose to mean? Please do better than that.

        • Just a shadow Says:

          “Sound inference” means stretching scripture to address issues it doesn’t address. Another code word for stretching scripture is “applying Biblical *principles* ” This was Gothard’s favorite term to describe the application of certain verses out of context.

        • NC Says:

          I’ve also heard the terms “normative patterns’ and “data points” used in defending unbiblical teaching.

          I really want to hear back from mykl on his definition of this term. Please mykl, get back to me on this,

        • Mykl Says:

          Logical deduction, good and necessary consequence, sound reasoning, choose your term. It means taking principles from the Bible and applying them in areas where the Bible doesn’t directly speak. We condemn abortion and pornography, for instance, by sound logical inference from the 6th and 7th commandments, et al, even though the Bible never describes those exact things. We logically deduce that God is Three Persons in one Substance even though the Bible never precisely says so. It’s standard exegesis. We all do it.
          Not everyone does it well. If you take a passage out of context, you haven’t got a legitimate Biblical principle. What Jas describes is not exegesis, it’s eisegesis. I’m afraid Mr Gothard did this rather often. But he’s not really the subject here.

    • Chris Says:

      I just want to post a small shout out to Mykl. I too have been following this blog for several months (I think I’ve read everything). I have a LOT of thoughts but have been keeping it to myself as I see a lot of hurt that has skewed Biblical teachings. I’ve enjoyed a lot of the teachings and motivations given to me by those in the Patriarchy movement. I have 5 daughters and 2 sons. I’ve taught oldest my daughter how to shoot a bow and fletch arrows. We’ve built generators and have camped. She has a beginners understanding of Biblical Greek. We don’t mind her having a different understanding of scripture but encourage her to back it up with scripture rather than feelings. We teach her that and teach her to hold us to the same accountability. We hold to the fact that her husband will be the Biblical head and that marriage is the normal thing for a girl. We work hard to keep her (and her siblings) heart and as such desire to have her enter into a courtship than a dating relationship (been there, done that, got the t-shirt). I have been to the father-daughter retreats and have gotten to know several other men who take their role seriously. I don’t always agree with them on scripture (I rarely do) but they also rarely agree with each other. A lot of the daughters and sons I’ve met seem to be rather well adjusted and actually more outgoing and confident than their peers.

      All of the above said, have I met some crazies? Sure! I’ve also met a lot of crazies in the seeker-friendly and mainstream churches. Have I met a lot of domineering pastors? Sure! Most of them hate things like the NCFIC. Like I told one member that invited me to his church “I can handle your doctrine but I doubt your pastor can handle me”. This is because I’m fairly opinionated in my doctrinal beliefs so I’m not going to just agree with a pastor that asks me what I thought of his sermon. It’s not to be divisive but I’m not just going to lay around and give homage to some guy that has a KJV only stance and then asks what I think of it. I’ve seen a lot of high-end leaders in very, very large mainline christian denominations and para-church organizations do very bad things. In fact, I saw one leader have 5 secret affairs (continual relationships) and then wake up one day to divorce his wife and disavow the faith. This organization is definitely not patriarchy central so does that invalidate their ministry?

      I see a lot of people in this movement that come in half-hinged. They take a statement and they treat it like gospel and then use it in perverted ways. They take scripture like the rod of reproof and interpret it to beat your kid with 100 licks or start swatting them at 6 weeks. They take homeschooling to a crazy degree and do sex acts in front of their kids for sex-ed 101. They then wonder why they lost their kids (and yes the above descriptions actually have happened in separate families…crazy) or ended up with a divorce. I see women lead their husbands to lead. At a father-daughter conference, about half of the guys were “talked into” going by their wives. Sooooo….I’m going to submit by nagging my husband….yeah, right. In my experience, it is these people (not the people on the site) that say patriarchy does not work.

      As far as DP, I probably would have laughed at him if I visited his church. Call me crazy but he gets up and puts his pants on every day like me. If you even look into the Biblical definition of what an elder is, you can easily point out that his church does not follow it. His “downfall” is testimony to the fact that he was too young to hold that type of position and he never had a real-world challenge of dealing with pride before being placed in the position he was in. I mean sola scriptura.

      Again, all of the above said, I have met a lot of wonderful families through VF, NCFIC and other patriarchy groups. I’ve met more stable homes and happy marriages in these groups than I’ve seen in mainline ministries. I’ve met men whose kids have established businesses, while at home, and are now full-time self-paid missionaries. Are these people perfect. Nah. None is good but God. Should we throw the baby out with the bath water? I should hope not.

    • Jen Says:

      Mykl, welcome! And thank you for your comments here. I wish I had time to converse with you about this, but my work schedule will prevent that for a couple days. I hope to get back here soon.

      In a couple weeks (after another job I have), I hope to change the focus of this blog to really studying each of these issues in God’s Word and applying them to our lives. We will begin with patriarchy as the foundation, and go from there, so if you don’t sort it all out in the comments, I do plan on writing a series of articles that will help us find healing and truth in all this. In the meantime, please continue these conversations! Thanks!

      • Mykl Says:

        Thank you, Jen. My wife greatly admires you and your work here, and I hope it will all lead to righteousness, truth and healing. So far no one has been willing to try defining patriarchy in a way I could agree, so we’re slipping around a bit. Hopefully your change of focus will change that! 🙂 God’s best.

        • Molly Says:

          My kl, do you ever go by the name “Alfred” on other forums? You writing and argument style sounds familiar….

      • NC Says:

        Mykl, thanks for the reply. And what commandment or teaching of Christ necessarily makes the practice of OT patriarchy the conclusion? Obviously and necessarily there is a direct link between thou shalt not kill and abortion, or teaching on sexual purity and pornography. Even the doctrine of the Trinity is an obvious and necessary conclusion to explain One in Three. What teaching, NT/OT, is patriarchy the obvious and necessary answer to?

        • Mykl Says:

          That’s like asking, what Biblical teaching makes dispensationalism, or feminism, or calvinism, or whatever, a logical necessity? The term ‘patriarchy’ is a catch-all for a number of ideas. I believe they are all taught plainly in Scripture or can be deduced from Scripture by sound reason. But I can’t defend them all at once. I can try to defend them one at a time, as I’ve tried to do today..

          What parts would you like me to try to defend from Scripture? That’s why I asked, “can you give me a definition of patriarchy that I would agree with?” If we clearly define where we disagree, we can start discussing where it’s taught in Scripture or not.

          The method, though, is nothing new or weird. It’s just what Luther meant when he said “Unless I am convicted of error by the testimony of Scripture or plain reason…” It’s just what Richard Hooker meant when he explained the method we must use to find the truth from Scripture: 1. The plain statements of Scripture in historical context and grammatical context. 2. When that doesn’t yield an answer, sound reasoning based on the plain statements of Scripture. 3. When that doesn’t yield an answer, the voice of church tradition (what Christians have always believed) applied with sound reasoning to the plain statements of Scripture.

          It’s just standard Biblical hermaneutics.

          It’s not the only way to interpret the Scripture. There is allegorical interpretation, or mystical interpretation, or interpretive maximalism, etc.

        • NC Says:

          That’s like asking, what Biblical teaching makes dispensationalism, or feminism, or calvinism,

          Mykl, this is not true, these you listed are man’s way of interacting and making sense of scripture and how we ought to live. These teachings have authors, books, chapters and verses one can cite to build, explain and/or dismantle the system, but the system itself is extra-biblical.

          Patriarchy has a biblical history, it was practiced, the word “patriarch” even appears a few times in the Bible. So please take what we know Patriarchy to be from OT examples, and show me how this way of living is what I am called to today?

        • just a shadow Says:

          ” Old things are passed away…”

        • NC Says:

          Your right JAS, but even that phrase is referring to things we were commanded to do, I don’t believe patriarchy was ever intended to be a pattern for all people and all times. This is why the teaching has no teeth, and must be defended by normative patterns, logical deductions, and inferences.

        • just a shadow Says:

          NC – Agree. One thing that we have taught our children is that not everything mentioned in the Bible is endorsed by God. Shocking!

          For example:

          – Lot’s daughters got him drunk & slept with him to produce heirs. God endorsed? Nope, just reporting what happened. In fact, God specifically addresses incest in other places.

          – King David & others had multiple wives. God endorsed? Nope, just reporting what happened. In fact, God warned Israel prior to King Saul that they were not to multiply wives to themselves, but never specifically calls into question David’s polygamy. I kinda think God expects us to *remember* what He said a few pages back.

          – OT Joseph caused the Egyptians to trade their land in for grain during the famine. How many think this is a good idea now – the gov’t demanding land in exchange for escaping starvation so that the land of a country falls into the exclusive possession of the king/gov’t? Did God approve? I don’t think so, but He does report the incident in the Bible.

          – The man in the OT who sacrificed his daughter. God endorsed? Nope. All the scripture says is that the man & daughter thought they had made a promise to God – but no mention of God holding them to that promise.

          – The courtship stories of the Patriarchs. Endorsed by God? Nope, just reported to have happened. There is no “Thus commanded the Lord to Abraham ( marry your half sister)” etc.

          We have to be very careful about applying the lives of OT characters to NT believers. Rightly dividing the word means to find out exactly what God has directly COMMANDED.

          Most accounts in the OT are there to point to the fallen nature of man, to point to the coming Christ, to show us the eventual consequences of the way in which sin plays out in the lives of even God fearing people.

          It’s the same with Patriarchy. It was a fact of culture during OT times. The fact that it existed & is reported to exist does not mean that it is a God ordained family arrangement.

        • Mykl Says:

          JCP “So please take what we know Patriarchy to be from OT examples, and show me how this way of living is what I am called to today?”

          Why? OT examples are not our standard. Neither I nor any of the men in this movement, nor anyone who tries to be a Biblical UnderPatriach today is basing our belief on the OT Patriarchs, any more than we’re basing it on the Patriarchs of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Any more than Reconstructionists today would sympathize with Reconstruction of the South after the Civil War. (In fact, quite the opposite!) We just happen to have used the same word. We summarize the Biblical teaching of male leadership in the home with a word that means “Father Leader.” Irrelevant that Bible scholars use it for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

          Accidental nomenclature coincidence. The whole teaching of Scripture is our model, not the lives of any OT figure.

          JCP “these you listed are man’s way of interacting and making sense of scripture and how we ought to live. These teachings have authors, books, chapters and verses one can cite to build, explain and/or dismantle the system, but the system itself is extra-biblical.”

          Very well said. Same is true of Patriarchy. I wish everyone had remembered that. Don’t follow the system! Use it if it helps understand Scripture and how we ought to live. You follow a system, even a really good and thorough system, and you’ll go astray, or your descendants will. Always let your system be corrected by Scripture.

        • NC Says:

          Mykl, I believe I understand where you are coming from now, you have just borrowed a title and are using it to describe your understanding male leadership. What is the purpose of adding “under” to it? I understand what an under shepherd is, a biblical term used for the office of elders, describing their position as under christ. But for this made up word “under patriarch” who are they supposedly under, is it hearkening back to the OT patriarchs? If so your description is a little faulty.

          Just so you are aware, many of the current leaders in the patriarchy movement today do not share your description of the term. Many would be delighted with a society that was put back under OT laws. I know from hearing you that your just getting the “male headship in the home” version of it, but believe me it goes much deeper than you think. My sister sat and listened to a sermon on the merits of stoning women caught in adultery if the laws permitted it.

    • Chris Says:

      Tried to post earlier but no dice. 😦

      I just want to post a small shout out to Mykl. I too have been following this blog for several months (I think I’ve read everything). I have a LOT of thoughts but have been keeping it to myself as I see a lot of hurt that has skewed Biblical teachings. I’ve enjoyed a lot of the teachings and motivations given to me by those in the Patriarchy movement. I have 5 daughters and 2 sons. I’ve taught oldest my daughter how to shoot a bow and fletch arrows. We’ve built generators and have camped. She has a beginners understanding of Biblical Greek. We don’t mind her having a different understanding of scripture but encourage her to back it up with scripture rather than feelings. We teach her that and teach her to hold us to the same accountability. We hold to the fact that her husband will be the Biblical head and that marriage is the normal thing for a girl. We work hard to keep her (and her siblings) heart and as such desire to have her enter into a courtship than a dating relationship (been there, done that, got the t-shirt). I have been to the father-daughter retreats and have gotten to know several other men who take their role seriously. I don’t always agree with them on scripture (I rarely do) but they also rarely agree with each other. A lot of the daughters and sons I’ve met seem to be rather well adjusted and actually more outgoing and confident than their peers.

      All of the above said, have I met some crazies? Sure! I’ve also met a lot of crazies in the seeker-friendly and mainstream churches. Have I met a lot of domineering pastors? Sure! Most of them hate things like the NCFIC. Like I told one member that invited me to his church “I can handle your doctrine but I doubt your pastor can handle me”. This is because I’m fairly opinionated in my doctrinal beliefs so I’m not going to just agree with a pastor that asks me what I thought of his sermon. It’s not to be divisive but I’m not just going to lay around and give homage to some guy that has a KJV only stance and then asks what I think of it. I’ve seen a lot of high-end leaders in very, very large mainline christian denominations and para-church organizations do very bad things. In fact, I saw one leader have 5 secret affairs (continual relationships) and then wake up one day to divorce his wife and disavow the faith. This organization is definitely not patriarchy central so does that invalidate their ministry?

      I see a lot of people in this movement that come in half-hinged. They take a statement and they treat it like gospel and then use it in perverted ways. They take scripture like the rod of reproof and interpret it to beat your kid with 100 licks or start swatting them at 6 weeks. They take homeschooling to a crazy degree and do sex acts in front of their kids for sex-ed 101. They then wonder why they lost their kids (and yes the above descriptions actually have happened in separate families…crazy) or ended up with a divorce. I see women lead their husbands to lead. At a father-daughter conference, about half of the guys were “talked into” going by their wives. Sooooo….I’m going to submit by nagging my husband….yeah, right. In my experience, it is these people (not the people on the site) that say patriarchy does not work.

      As far as DP, I probably would have laughed at him if I visited his church. Call me crazy but he gets up and puts his pants on every day like me. If you even look into the Biblical definition of what an elder is, you can easily point out that his church does not follow it. His “downfall” is testimony to the fact that he was too young to hold that type of position and he never had a real-world challenge of dealing with pride before being placed in the position he was in. I mean sola scriptura.

      Again, all of the above said, I have met a lot of wonderful families through VF, NCFIC and other patriarchy groups. I’ve met more stable homes and happy marriages in these groups than I’ve seen in mainline ministries. I’ve met men whose kids have established businesses, while at home, and are now full-time self-paid missionaries. Are these people perfect. Nah. None is good but God. Should we throw the baby out with the bath water? I should hope not.

      • Ladyjane (@8Reich) Says:

        Remember that it is always easier to live in one extreme of the tension being either liberalism or legalism, rather then living in the middle of the tension. Living in the middle of the tension forces us to trust God and walk by faith. It forces us to rethink, read, educate ourselves and stand on our own understanding of the scriptures rather then blindly accepting the views of others, no matter their position or status in a specific sphere of influence. Living in either extreme position is a product of fear not faith. As Christians desiring conformity to the image of God thru His word and by the work of His Holy Spirit we must embrace faith over fear, while extending much grace to ourselves and others along the way. Realizing only one man, Jesus the son of God, ever got it right! 🙂

      • just a shadow Says:

        So, you ( the dad) have already decided how your daughter will conduct *her* marriage ( “We hold to the fact that her husband will be the Biblical head…”)? Does she get a voice in how *her* marriage will be? Does her future husband get a voice, since you have already “pre-decided” for them both?

        You see, this is one of the problems – Patriarchal households deciding things *for* their grown children.

        I actually knew a family that had a meeting of the parents to “decide” for the engaged couple that no birth control would be used after they were married.

        Why was this not the job engaged couple, or to at least to be intellectually honest, why was it not the job of the future head-of-house – the young man in question? Why was it the job of the papas to have a formal meeting to decide the private matters of a young couple’s married life?

        In my experience here locally in “Patriarchy Central” I personally know more divorced young couples ( at least 6) who are products of courtship/ATI/Patriarchy than those who dated and when to public school. Seriously.

        And 6 couples is A LOT per capita in a community that is not that big.

        I know others who are staying married, but whose marriages are miserable.

        I know of more “failed courtships” than I can count. Honestly. And then the explanations (damage control) start by the parents as to how the son/daughter really *still* has an emotionally pure heart, and although engaged, they never *really* gave their heart to the fiancé, so they can still enter other courtships…unblemished. Or something.

        On the other hand, I know plenty of young couples who went to public school, went to mainstream churches, dated each other and are blissfully happy.

        So, based on local data, I remain unconvinced.

        • Chris Says:

          The numbers that you have experienced sound fairly staggering but a couple of thoughts.

          The first is that experience does not equate to truth. Only the Word of God equates to truth. If we were to go by experience, we would say marriage is a horrible idea because of what happened when people got married in the Bible. The only “successful” believers were the single apostles. That, of course, negates the preponderance of scripture that encourages marriage. If I was to go to “my” experience, I would say that dating in church is a great way to perform certain acts without “knowing” someone. I would point out that I don’t know of one “sane” person from these groups that have had a divorce. I do know of many (probably over a hundred) non-patriarchal Christians that have had pre-marital relations and extra-marital affairs. So, based on numbers, I think I have you beat. But it is only based on experience and not scripture.

          The second observation is that you’re dealing with people that have missed fundamentals in raising their children if they are needing to do a sit-down on how to have a family for the engaged couple. If that is needed, you have failed with a capital “F” and the marriage is trouble before you even began.

          As far as your first paragraph, I don’t even know where to begin. First, your premise is wrong. Training a child has nothing to do with “you will do this, thus saith your dad”. It has to deal with living life with your child as he/she grows up. You win their hearts and you pour as much of yourself into them as you can while praying that the Lord will filter the muck in your life away from them. Why do I teach my daughter how to shoot bows, build engines and dance a waltz? Is it because she grudgingly has to? Know she loves going outside and making things blow up because dad loves doing the same thing! The idea behind courtship is that I’m the buffer to her heart before that snot nosed kid gets her. LOL. After the boy passes my approval, she then enters a courtship where she and my family pray with her for God’s guidance. She ultimately decides because of God’s leading in her life. Sure, I’ll challenge her with scripture because I want her to have scripture for those hard times during her marriage where she says “God, did you really want me to marry this blockhead?” Once she is married, that is it. Her husband will rule the home. Could he start beating her? Sure and I pray I don’t beat him in the name of Jesus. LOL. Seriously. We’re more interested in character qualities than pedigree. If people are looking at pedigree then they missed it in scripture where Solomon, huge pedigree, failed the Lord. Is this man kind. Is he humble. Does he see himself as a leader or a servant? These things are huge.

          To get to what I think you are trying to ask, “Can your daughter think for herself?”. She better. I just expect her to have a sound scriptural standpoint so she is not moved by emotion nor circumstance. For instance, I’m neither Armenian nor Calvinist. I do present both views in the best way I know how and then I give where I am (Once saved always saved but definitely a 5 pointer…not even a first…kind of…LOL). Anyways, she had been hammering me with Calvinism for about 6 months. She was really convinced with it until the Lord, I think, gave me an answer and a question that stumped her and swung her back to my side. Would I mind if she became a Calvinist? Not at all unless she didn’t have a scriptural standpoint. She is allowed to challenge me as long as I can challenge her. Open relationship. Call me to the carpet. It helps me to lead, disciple and build the relationship.

        • just a shadow Says:

          So, once again Chris, instead of responding to what I wrote ( particularly about your own children’s sexual explorations & your feeling “comforted” by hearing about your friend’s 16 year old son who molested another child in the sandbox when he was 3) you are once again attempting to attack me personally (by saying I have “issues with my past etc.) rather than engage with what I said.

          Did you read what I said?

          I answered most of the questions you asked of me.

          But I will say it here again.

          Yes, I’m happy. Yes, I have a wonderful marriage. Yes, I have kids of whom I am enormously proud. Yes, they are walking faithfully. I have friends who have known me for over 30 years who love me and no, they don’t think I’m bitter – THEY WONDER WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG TO SPEAK UP. I have a wonderful, balanced, gospel preaching, loving, lost reaching, community serving church. I serve the poor, needy, and broken on a several times a week basis. I’ve had the enormous privilege of leading others to faith in Christ through the ministries in which I am involved. None of those that I serve on a weekly basis would ever call me bitter. In fact, for some of them, I’m the first loving person they’ve ever met.

          No, I don’t like to see adult daughters kept at home & treated like children.

          No, I don’t think the results are good.

          No, I don’t think the marriages arranged by courtship are successful. I have 6 young couples here locally that would back me up on that assertion. They are not fans anymore either.

          Did you read the things that Anon-a-Mouse wrote? Or Molly? Are they unbalanced as well? You have NOTHING to say about what they wrote?

          And now you are attempting to *shame* Jen in to telling me *not to post* here anymore, all because you don’t like what I am posting?

          And you go even further by suggesting that Jen CUT OFF COMMENTS to her blog!

          But you are not in the LEAST bit controlling.

          Your actions say otherwise.

          You would have us silenced because you don’t want to face what we are saying here on this blog.

          I’ll say it again.

          Get your 4 & 5 year old to a pediatrician and have them examined since they are sexually acting out & if they have spent anytime around this 16 year old ( whose story “comforted you”) and who has a history of molesting other kids.

          I cannot for the life of me figure out why you would use the word “comforted” when you found out that this 16 year old had molested another 3 year old in the sandbox.

          Wake up! Quit trying to psychoanalyze me and get busy being concerned about your 4& 5 year old who clearly need help.

          Or would that threaten your standing in the homeschool circle you run in to perhaps uncover something unlovely about the 16 year old who has a past history of molesting other children?

          I answered your questions to me. Did you read them?

        • Chris Says:

          I hate going back and forth on this whole not being able to post bit but I’ve responded to your 1,2,3 piece but apparently this site has issues. I try and repost but it says thatt it is a duplicate though it is not up there. I have multiple posts that keep getting dropped or blocked. I don’t know what is going on but at this point it points back to this site if it is telling me that I’ve already posted it. I can’t “defend” myself or make a “defense” if I’m constantly being blocked. JAS, do some parenting 101 or search google. You will find that most peditricians (including WebMD) will tell you that kids do stuff like this and it is very normal. As far as this site, I would like for someone to give me an avenue to be able to respond. I don’t know what you’re deal is but it is very frustrating that I’m being silenced. I guess this is the attitude of jensgems. Please prove to me that I’m wrong. Jen I would love to e-mail you several of my responses that I’ve tried to post. Hopefully you guys will figure it out. You should have my e-mail address. Feel free and I’ll be glad to help.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Chris, When you want to respond to something, go to the “Reply” link and DON’T scroll to the bottom and post there. Then, when you post, there is a little box on the left that says, “Notify me of follow up comments via email.” Check it. Then hit the “Post Comment” button and you may or may not be asked for your username and password again. Fill it out if you have to – usually you won’t. I highly doubt you are being censored.

        • Jen Says:

          Chris, I am just now getting caught up with comments here. The only reason a comment may not post right away is if you use a “trigger” word. Since you do not know what those trigger words are, please be assured that we will approved your comment here as long as it is respectful.

        • Chris Says:

          Thank you! A post that actually shows up!

      • Mykl Says:

        Thank you, Chris. I was really beginning to think I was the only one on here who knew any sane, balanced patriarchal families!

        • Chris Says:

          No, thank you for the encouragement! I try to stay away from such things because I have a proclivity to enjoy talking too much. I swear, when I came to know Christ, one of the gifts of the Spirit that was given to me was the gift of gab. I just can’t find it. Maybe in 1st Calamaties? LOL

        • Mike Race Says:

          mykl, you describe the way we try to live in our household. Thank you once again for all the input you have had here. I just couldn’t quite put into words my views on this. You did it for me.

        • Just a shadow Says:

          Ah. The chorus of patriarchal men congratulating each other …

          So. Very. Familiar.

          You would have fit right in at BCA!

          Heard this kind of self congratulatory “encouragement” almost weekly.

          Fast forward several years….same guys have divorced kids, broken courtships, kids who have run away from them, kids who are pagan, kids who are polygamists, kids who are lost, kids who are cohabiting, kids who are atheists etc.

          Carry on.

        • Jen Says:

          JAS, you missed a few: kids who are on drugs, in jail, on probation, etc.

          But the main thing is that these kids, and I know MANY of them outside of church now, are HURTING. These hurts go way deep. I pray for healing for them as well.

        • Just a shadow Says:

          Patriarchy = “Sanctified” version of the good old’ boys club.

          Plenty of back slapping to be had!

        • NC Says:

          back slapping, yes! face slapping, never; notice as the silence from all DP cohorts continues.

          For those here who are jumping in these discussions and are ignorant of the type of patriarchy preached by VF/NCFIC I suggest you check into it, at the least you will be warned of danger ahead, but perhaps you might join the chorus of many here who are calling these wolves to account for their actions.

        • just a shadow Says:

          NC- I agree with you. They are defending that with which they have no real experience. They speak out of ignorance, thinking that “their” brand of patriarchy is ,of course the same that DP preached and inflicted on others, yet failed to live himself.

          It is flawed logic at the get go to defend a system in which you have not participated personally.

          I point again to my restaurant analogy. If you haven’t eaten at a given restaurant, then don’t recommend it to others, and don’t shout down those who have eaten there and gotten sick. ( “But, But, I ate at a restaurant very similar to yours in MY hometown and I didn’t get sick.” Great. Except a “similar” restaurant several states aways is not the SAME restaurant I ate at and got sick from. )

          Yes, the silence from the cohorts is disheartening.

          Perhaps the wolf pack is regrouping.

        • DaMom Says:

          Mykl, care to answer Jen’s question from yesterday?

          {{Mykl, I just have a minute tonight, but I was wondering about something today. You say that your wife doesn’t believe in patriarchy, but what you describe as your version of patriarchy sounds relatively harmless, and may in fact be good. (We will get to what the Bible actually says about it later.) So your wife asked you to read/participate here. If you are following what you are espousing here, what exactly does your wife not agree with? Where is the disconnect?}}

        • Chris Says:

          For myself, I really just feel sorry for you folks. I do kind of have a life outside of this board and turning all of my energy on someone. I’m kind of lazy and it takes a LOT of energy to hate someone or a group of people so kudos to you for having so much energy. Personally, I’m convinced that you have sent us your flu as we’re all dropping like flies. LOL

          I’ve been at the retreats and I’ve seen a plethora of people. The people range from being on the fringe to being rather sane and balanced. I was thinking of the blogs my wife follows and the people we actually know and none of what you are saying is in our world. JAS, the more I read of your posts the more I’m convinced that you’re letting this eat the very soul out of you. You say that you’re doing fine but your anger and hatred has to be negatively affecting the people around you. You just can’t be this negative towards people that are trying to bare out their souls to you and then call them wife beaters without channeling some of that energy to those whom you love around you.

          In the end, I don’t know you and I didn’t walk your shoes. I would encourage you to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with your husband, children (if they are adults with some perspective) and friends. Ask them to be brutally honest and say if you are out of balance. You want to make sure that they will not feel guilty and hesitant to tell you the truth. A wise man loves reproof. I don’t do things perfectly and my wife (and others) does call me to the carpet. At our home, we always have those sanity talks. You’re not going to find it on this message board and you’re not going to find it from me. Ask the Pauls in your life. If you don’t have one, then that is a huge red flag.

        • Jen Says:

          Chris, JAS is trying to recover from being in a cult. A little grace for healing goes a long way as well.

        • Anon-a-mouse Says:

          Chris, it sounds like a convenient use of “sane” to me. Let’s just put everyone we don’t want in our data set in the “insane” category, lest they cause us heartburn.

        • just a shadow Says:

          Chris – I’m going to respond in 1-2-3 fashion ‘cuz its easier for my flu riddled brain to organize it that way.

          1. Yes, we (hubby & I ) are blessed with several “Pauls” in our lives. 6 families in particular. Most of them have know us for over 3 *decades*. Most of them tried hard to dissuade us from joining up with the VF movement. Some of them were downright panicked for us when we did. They are glad we’re not there anymore. We love them.

          2. I do have heart to heart talks with my hubby daily. We are on the same page.

          3. Do you realize that the favorite term to sling at people who disagree with “the movement” is “bitter”?

          4. I’m not bitter, but injustice does make me angry. And some of the kids from Patriarchal homes that *I personally know* have been treated in an unjust manner. I don’t apologize for feeling angry about it. God says anyone who stumbles a little one deserves to have a millstone tied round his neck & be cast into the sea. Bitter God? Angry God? No, one who hates injustice. Since I follow Him, I kinda feel like He does about it.

          5. My family is part of a wonderful, gospel preaching, lost reaching, servant hearted church now. We love it. My kids love it.

          6. Jesus has opened up more opportunities for us than I could have dreamed possible.

          7. I am happy.

          8. I grieve for the kids I still see on occasion from the community. I grieve for the hollow look in their eyes , for their cowed demeanor, and limited opportunities. I see them trying to catch my eye, hoping for sympathy. I wish I could hug them. I am angry at their arrogant, self satisfied parents who find joy in treating children this way.

          9. I find it odd that you were “comforted” by the knowledge that your friend’s 16 year old son molested another child in the sand box when he & the other child were 3 years old. No red flags for you in that story? Just how does one 3 year old know to molest another 3 year old? That story is more than something you “just roll with” to use your term. That story would send up all kind of red flares in my mind.

          10. If your 4 & 5 year old who were “experimenting” in the closet have been around this 16 year old much, I would get them checked by a competent pediatrician. Sadly, molestation by older boys is not unheard of in homeschooling circles. Michael Pearl has some good articles on this -eye opening. I’m not a Pearl fan, but he has some good things to say about isolated homeschoolers & molestation incidents he’s come across in homeschool world.

          11. I have posted on this blog my own experiences and my own opinion of Patriarchy. I have attacked a concept.

          12. You, on the other, have chosen to attack me personally assuming all kinds of things about my life about which you couldn’t be more wrong.

        • Molly Says:

          You win their hearts and you pour as much of yourself into them as you can while praying that the Lord will filter the muck in your life away from them.

          Wrong, Chris. JESUS SHOULD BE WINNING THEIR HEARTS. Our children should be giving their hearts to GOD, not to their parents! I think you are putting way too much pressure on yourself and your own efforts to ensure your daughter’s salvation and future happiness. Yes, we have a huge responsibility as parents, but I fear that you may be leaving God out of the equation and focusing too much on your own efforts.

        • Chris Says:

          Jen, I had a feeling that JAS has had issues with her past. I use to pull people out of cults. I even got nationally banned by a well known one from their members from ever talking to me. That said, the best thing for her is not to be involved in something like this blog. I’ve seen waaaayyyyy too many people turn to alcohol or some other form of self-destructive tendency when they leave a cult. One of the main things that got them into that direction was fellow hurt people coalescing together and go off on the organization. At the end of the day, the person feels crummy for all of the crummy things they’ve said. They become a lot more like the cult than the cult. I’d see these guys and they just walked in anger. The best thing was to point them to Christ and be tough. Tell them that they are a sinners and so are the people that hurt them. They need to forgive and love the people that hurt them. This is probably a well read blog and you have the responsibility to urge such people to not focus on DP or VF. Not because you’re covering up sins but because you’re also interested in protecting the hearts and lives of those that are hurt. Maybe that means you should cut off the comments from now on. Maybe that will help because I, and people like me, will come and defend the general notion of patriarchy. Do you actually think Mykl’s wife is more endearing towards you’re point of view or mine after some of the comments hurled my way? Come on…get real. You seriously want to impact people that go to DP’s church? Set up a local ministry that deprograms them. Otherwise, you just look like a group of people going after your pound of flesh.

          As a note, I’m having a lot of issues posting to the comments. Given that it is wordpress and I doubt that you’re trying to censor, the problem must be on my side. I’m thinking it is because I use a TOR in all of my internet travels and that wordpress has issues with some of the nodes I go through at times. Since I’m not willing to not use TOR, I’ll try and do my best to respond given work, family and other things.

        • Jen Says:

          Chris, thank you for your thoughts. I am glad you have experience in pulling people out of cults. Perhaps you can use that here. I would appreciate your insight in that.

          Regarding this blog, I initially started this seven years ago to warn people that Doug Phillips was not who he really claimed to be. At that time, I was the ONLY person speaking out about him being a wolf in sheep’s clothing, hence the sub-title of my blog. After Doug recently resigned, I initially thought I would post a follow-up post about his resignation that would put an end to the story. I had no idea it would turn into the huge mess that is far worse than I ever imagined even for Doug Phillips. But knowing Doug as I do, I could easily see in his resignation letter (NOT repentance letter), that he had every intention of coming back within a year or so, and I know that would not be right, so I continued to post here.

          I am planning a series of articles, in a couple weeks, that will address each of the issues within patriarchy, so that people can learn to think for themselves and study the Bible for themselves and truly decide what standards they want for their own family by their own convictions, not by someone else’s. There may be a few more stories interspersed, if I think it will be helpful. Is Doug Phillips down for the count? I’m not sure about that yet, but I do intend to do everything biblically possible to make sure he is.

          As for comments on this blog, there are many hurting people right now. They need a safe place to talk to others who understand. Will some of them experience some bitterness? Probably. But I pray that each of us will be able to go past the bitterness to healing, and that takes time.

        • Chris Says:

          JAS, I’m cool with 1,2,3.
          1. Cool.
          2. Cool again.
          3. Probably because a lot of people are bitter at a lot of things. Usually, it is misplaced anger and self-condemnation.
          4. Anger is a very dangerous thing. I’ve never seen it produce good fruit in my or anyone else’s life. A good talk about it is on and the refer to another sermon (can’t remember the guy’s name) that is really, really good. People talk about righteous anger but who are we to define that we’re allowed to have anger over something because we have now deemed it to be “righteous.” Almost the same thing as us saying we can be righteous like God by our works.
          5. Cool
          6. Cool
          7. Cool, just didn’t sound like it based on past comments.
          8. Hey, I understand but that is not my community or the others that I’ve seen. Have I seen families like that? Sure but I’ve also described how the parents are un-hinged. This is not a result of patriarchy. It is a result of messed up people trying to take the lazy way out in parenting.
          9. Okay, you have children and you know people with children. In all of your interaction, you’ve never had heard of little boys comparing each other? Are you saying that you’ve never heard of little ones kind of interested why one has one body part and the other does not? Seriously, you need to get out more or google it a little. You’ll find out that it is fairly common and that it is not cause for concern. As a parent, do you freak out? Sure but you become comforted that you’re not the only one.
          10. I quipped about it to our family doctor (great guy) and he said he definitely wouldn’t worry about it. Like I said, it shook me up. You do worry if there is something wrong that you’re doing and I want people to be honest with me. I’m not the source of all knowledge. As far as isolation goes, I don’t think it is within my or my family’s makeup to be isolated. I would probably run around screaming. LOL
          11. And that is what I’m addressing. Baby with the bath water.
          12. No, you’re the one who first raised up attacking others and whole people groups on a personal basis. That, in turn, causes me to question your motivation. If you think what I said is a personal attack, you’ve never been personally attacked. Maybe I just have thicker skin than you. I don’t know. I would challenge you to reevaluate your anger. Sadness and pity for others is a good response. Anger is a poisonous one.

        • just a shadow Says:

          Well, my comment to Chris posted in the wrong place.

        • Bridget Says:

          Why do Chris and Mykil (sorry if I missed the spelling) have the need to come to a site that is dealing with people harmed by a man steeped in “some sort” of patriarchy belief to defend patriarchy? Why do the two of you appear to be more concerned about the system of patriarchy than about people who are trying to recover?

          Both of you talk a good talk but there is always some kind of jab at the people who comment or read here. Above, Chris seems to be telling Jen how she should proceed with this blog. Chris also assumes an enormous amount about JAS. You both wander about this blog like bulls in a china shop. You seem to be attempting to set everyone straight when you don’t have a clue who people are and what they have experienced.

          I’m perplexed by your words and not convinced you’re here to help people. You seem to be more about being right and defending patriarchy — whatever that word means to you. Neither one of you have defined it, that I can tell. Mykil sure did want people on this blog to define it to his agreement though, which I found to be a ridiculous and demanding attitude. How could anyone on this blog know what his definition of the word is, unless they know him? No where in scripture are people commanded to believe or obey a concept of patriarchy.

      • Not Fooled Anymore Says:

        Well we too met many seemingly well rounded, happy families. What you don’t see is what they don’t portray to ANYONE. They show up at BCA and the surrounding community looking like big happy families. No one knows what is really going on. Talking to them you will be very impressed. Even going to their homes you don’t “see”anything but a wonderful family. What you don’t see is the fear, pride and lying many of these folks are doing to keep up the facade. Folks it is hard to have huge families and be perfect and have to act perfect all the time- especially for every child to never have a hiccup or glitch along the way. This is what is expected to climb the social ladder, so who is ever going to let on that there is a problem on the home front? Little Johnny and Suzy must behave or they will get it later and we night not get invited again to the next big ta-do. And many will do anything and turn a blind eye to anything to climb this ladder. This is so sad and so disheartening and we pray DP’s situation will cause many to think about who they have been protecting and that the sin is not less than defending the cause and movement! Many real families have been destroyed, devastated and had their faith shaken to the core from these people who turned a blind eye for the greater cause. What greater cause than the souls of the young people who are reeling out there and totally hurting as a result of this movement? This is real and sickening.

        Those of us who wised up and got out had decent, good relationships with our children and listened to the horror stories kids were telling behind the scenes. Folks this is real and please stop saying if I don’t hear it is not my problem. It is a problem and if you keep giving money and just generally supporting and encouraging any of these ministries you are supporting such travesties and allowing others to make a dime off of these folks still promoting this hogwash.Please just go back to a Bible teaching church and follow Christ and His Word. He is your only hope to truly raising your children.

        Here are a few examples of things we have seen: How about the guy who runs his own business and makes his sons work for him during the entire school day? . All appears to be hunky dory, but what you don’t know is they were not allowed to finish their education past maybe Jr. High if lucky and in many cases they did not even get books supplied past a certain age. If they wanted to study anything they would have to borrow the books from friends and are paid zilch for wages while mom and dad keep popping out kids and they must help support them. No education, no diploma, no way to start supporting a family of their own in this system even though they are in their early and mid mid twenties. Unfortunately many of these businesses are not big enough for the sons to branch out and go on their own. They have great skills but are stuck. Or how about parents who were lied to in courtships about young men and porn addictions that others knew of but never let the family know? If they had been allowed to date and truly get to know each other like the rest of the Christian world this would have been found out and maybe some of these marriages would still be together. Or if the system allowed them to get real marriage counseling and accountability -marriages could have been saved. Or the young woman we know who in her courtship was asked if she was fertile as if she was being viewed as breeding stock? What about the betrothals taking place where daughters must completely trust daddy and tell their daddy yes they will marry a young man and they do not even know the young mans name until they completely submit and say yes? Then the next day they are engaged and married within a month? Or the family that does not have a real house and lives in tents ( we have known several in several states even in snowy climates) or the families our married children have met who won’t even get medical care for wives who are very sick. Or another thing we have heard is if a teen is going south then they must not have nor ever will be saved and never were one of Gods “elect “or chosen ones.But hey, one man that has shared the teaching podium with DP actually has an article on the internet that advocates stoning disobedient children. I think the site is on Puritan Board. . Folks you need to do some real studying. What about GB’s background and involvement in the Great Commission Cult? Who are these men really and where have they all come form ? What do they really believe that they are not candy coating and smooth talking at conferences and on their slick packaged CD”s and DVD’s? Some are very mysterious and are not telling the whole story folks. It has already been mentioned about RC Jr’s defrocking and why and it is all on the internet. Also Scott Brown’s way he left his first church was discussed too.

        So you say ,”so what?” Well “so what” is why we are in this problem in the first place – a lot of do as I say and not as I do is going on and it is time to call these folks out on the carpet for their deceit. Our eyes were opened to a lot of craziness when we attended the “free” 200 Year Plan. We left saying what the heck and so did many others. If you don’t think that all these guys are tied together then folks need to think and look real hard again. Look at who the circuit conference speakers are. Who are your state leaders and what are their ties? Who will speak at your next conference? Same names in many camps. It is alarming and I fear for young and new home-school families entering the scene who like us go to conferences, think “this sound so great and we want wonderful families like this” Some will even move like our family did to be part of the big scene to find they have been duped and trapped. I can easily liken it to the frog in boiling water scenario. It gets many. And YES there are many Christian Homeschool Conferences where not all these types are speaking at. You need to study and seek them out to avoid this stuff , Ask questions and go in prepared and ready for buzz words and know how to discern.. He is the Way, The Truth and The Life and He is all you need plus some good well rounded untainted curriculum. Please, home schooling is great and you can do it for Christ and with Him and you do not need nor is there any formula other than following Jesus tempered with the fruit of the spirit and no more extreme legalism then you will be able to do this.

        • Just a shadow Says:

          Well I got up from my bed of flu to take some tylenol. And checked this blog…*sigh*

          Anyway, “Not fooled anymore” you have hit it on the money. Every single thing you say above I have personally witnessed too. Yes, there is a whole pack of wolves who dominate the Homeschool speaking circuit and help promote each other. It is very creepy how long it’s gone on. I pray Jesus brings an end to the wolf pack’s power.

          Living in tents, crazy businesses, lack of any real education, child labor, children treated like keys to the next big event, children routinely over disciplined for the smallest things at church in full view of others no less, parents gossipping about their own children, girls required to consent to wed Daddy’s choice even before the poor girl knows the guy’s name( just trust me daughter), disastrous marriages ….

          The list of real harm goes on & on.

          And yes, people who name the name of Jesus should care.

        • oneh20 Says:

          “He is the Way, The Truth and The Life and He is all you need plus some good well rounded untainted curriculum.”

          Do you have any suggestions?

        • Chris Says:

          I just realized that I had accidently responded to this in a different thread. I won’t rehash what I wrote but I do hope you did get a chance to read.

        • Chris Says:

          I apologize….I was wrong. It told me that I had posted this but it’s not in the comments. Also, I now have 3 (I think…I know at least 2) comments that have not been posted. I hope that this isn’t some form of censorship. We’ll see if this is posted. If not, then I will probably just leave all together as it will speak out what is going on here.

          Okay….so let me get this straight. I should run and destroy any movement that has ministries that have sexual sin in it (tel-evangelist), has covered up the sins of their leaders (catholic church) and has messed up people proposing crazy solutions to impossible situations (about every denomination). Well, time for me to live in hole (or maybe a tent in a snowy region) and not involve myself with anyone.

          It is my livelihood to know the muck in everyone’s life that I do business with before, during and after any transaction. Are there crazies? Sure. We live down the road (errrr…a few hours) from the Botkins. I’ll look them over and let you know what I think (give me a couple of years…we move slow…LOL). I have met him. Tall guy (felt like a grasshopper) but I wasn’t in awe of him. The danger with any minister is thinking too highly of himself and the danger of any follower is thinking to highly of a leader.

          Everyone that knows me knows that you get what you see. I’ve been told that I intimidate people so I try and tone it down but it is like that last bit of clothing in the luggage that you’re trying to zip in. It’s hard to do it. All of that said, we love life and we have excellent, not perfect, kids. I remember recently my 4 and 5 year olds “exploring” each other. They knew it was wrong (rendition of running for the bushes but it was the closet doors and us wondering what is going on). First time that ever happened to us. After we calmly dealt with who was doing what and why (i.e. is this accidental or deliberate), we quickly ran out back took a chicken, sacrificed it, rent our clothing and walked around in sackcloth and ashes. Actually, I called up three other families with older children and asked for a sanity check. I was comforted when one father told me that his now 16 year old had molested, when he was 3, the next door neighbor’s 3 year old in the sandbox. Bad things just happen and you roll with it. LOL.

          My “experience” is that families will tell you, not everything, things you need to be aware of when dealing with a child. With one, we had mother tell my wife not to trust her 8-year old because he was having a problem with lying. We appreciated that. It doesn’t disqualify him for marriage. Shoot, I wouldn’t repeat to you what I did when I was 14! We’re sinful and the pretenders are fairly easy to point out. Is the home immaculate? Pretender. Are the ones below 5 willing to talk to you easily and are generally joyful (they haven’t learned to hide stuff too well)? Do the kids cower at mom and dad? Do the teenagers have a placid feel of “I’m performing but just wait until I leave” look about them? How do the siblings treat each other? Do the older siblings invest in the younger siblings? Do the older children take part in adult conversations or do they tend to just hide?

          Can you catch everyone? No but there are general patterns and flags that should be raised when you see things. I generally run from jumper dresses and head coverings.

          Look at the examples you are pointing to and everyone I know would be like “man, that is crazy”. When the temple was being rebuilt, they had to build the walls to protect themselves from marauders. Infrastructure is key. If you don’t have any (and even if you do), pray for guidance as your resources are limited. Also, who in their right mind say “is your daughter fertile?” How would the dad know?!? If he does, I don’t think I want to know how but the authorities might be interested. Your examples are craziness that is not indicative of the culture that I know so it only points out that this subset went off the reservation.

          In the end, I don’t think anyone is “defending” DP or even some of the crazy stuff mentioned. When a “leader” isn’t willing to meet with you and be held accountable, that is just a recipe for disaster that you should stay away from. The point of contention is if patriarchy works and we can both show examples where it (and other things like dating, matriarchies, etc) does and does not work based on experience. The issue is scripture. Based on scripture (and depending on your eschatology) the ideal form of commerce in the kingdom is agrarian and having no one help you build your house. Is that what we do and is that practical in our current situation? No. So we appeal to the Lord for wisdom.

        • Jen Says:

          Chris, no, I do not think we should throw out the baby with the bath water, but I do think it might be time to change the bath water. It seems a little dirty, so let’s pull the plug and fill the tub back up with some clean water this time. 🙂

        • Chris Says:

          Good, it posted this time. I just got kind of concerned. A strange hicup but I do have one other post that has not yet shown that I know of at this time.

        • Jen Says:

          Chris, welcome! Just a point of housekeeping here. The first time anyone posts, the comment is automatically held for moderation. After that, there are certain “trigger” words that will moderate a comment as well. If that happens to anyone, please don’t worry; we will approve it unless there is a real problem. If that is the case, we will let you know.

          There are a couple people who have crossed the line here and they DEFINITELY know it, but that is extremely rare. For the most part, respect goes a long way!

        • Eva Says:

          Chris, I would not be surprised if your children (4 and 5?) had already been molested by the 16 year old next door. That is why they were in the closet “exploring” some more.

        • Chris Says:

          Wow…can we say rude? Thank you for that Christian love. Makes me feel reeeaaalllll warm inside. Actually, we never allow anyone to babysit the kids so we know that wasn’t the case. Look it up or talk to your peditrician, it is a normal thing. Kind of like boys comparing…errrrrmmmm….stuff.

        • Anon-a-mouse Says:

          Not Fooled Anymore, I couldn’t agree more. If there is one thing I know about the movement (and I grew up on the leading edge of it) is that homeschoolers are masters at putting on a show. Much like the Catholic church, it looks great on the outside, but its going to take years to sort through the mess.

          I speak as one who growing up, it was all I knew. Many of my friends are deeply entrenched as are my parents and some of my siblings. I’ve heard it all, Schlissel, DP, Swanson, Gothard, Bodkins, Thompsons on to infinity. I’ve attended national homeschool conventions, helped run local homeschool conventions. To the Chris and Mykl types out there, you say you know many families, but do you really know them? Do you know the kids? Do you know their hearts and passions? Or do you know what their parents project? I would know, I was a model homeschool kid. I drank the cool-aid you would have never, never ever spotted me as a pretender. It took a huge amount of pain in my life for me to break out of all of it an see it as a sham. Sometimes it feels lucky to have escaped, but I see so many of the kids I knew in the movement, especially the girls who seem to be perpetually frozen in their twenties. It’s like they finished high school and stopped maturing, like a plant without nutrients, rather like a zombie (in the old fashioned sense of the word).

          As I youngish man I was able to break out of it, but the scars are still there. My parents are wonderful people who really want to please God, but that did not stop them from dragging us out and “showing” us off all the time like talent show performers. People looked up to us, but it wasn’t us, it was a carefully molded image we projected to the world. My parents might not have even “molded” us that hard, but constantly hearing DP, Gothard and so on, we crammed our into the mold. We chucked our passion, our education, our dreams to fit into this cult dreamworld these false shepherds portrayed. I saw young people who could be turned on like a switch by their parents to “shine Christ’s example for families”, only to go back home and die out.

          Please look behind the curtain! Good grief, I can show you a hundred great families on the outside, which is perhaps what you see not having grown up in it. You willfully ignore what is going on and only put the people you like in the sane box. What about all the sons who have been pushed to home business, who failed and now struggle to find work because of debt and lack of education? What about the daughters who are driven to such musical perfection that the Dr tells them they will damage their wrists and have no desire for music? What about the talented artist who longs to express her worship to God who is told she can’t go to art school ’cause she might have to draw a nude or can’t pursue ballet because her father thinks its wrong and it doesn’t serve the family. I’ve seen many young women like that who just shut down. Yet they still seem wonderful from the outside.

          Think what would have happened if Eric Liddell had listened to his legalistic sister and ignored his passion? We wouldn’t have had his amazing testimony. That is many if not most homeschool parents I know are asking their children, especially their daughters to do.

          What about the kids that are treated as servants in their own family?

          Wake up! This is normal every day in the movement. Take your blinders off! If you can’t spot it, find someone who grew up in it, we can spot it a mile away! Even in all these “sane” people you see. Encourage your kids to pursue their passions! Fathers, once your daughter is an adult, treat her like one! If she wants education, help her get it. Don’t spend your whole life brainwashing her that it’s bad, that is not your job. I see young girls sitting at home all the time waiting for their white knight who will never come, most men in their right mind would never ever want to go through courtship if they knew the hazing they were about to endure. I see soooooo many wilted flowers in the homeschool community that it makes my heart break. I’ve courted and dated and I’ll tell you that dating with a purpose is much better. Courtship is supposed to help you get to know the other person, but from what I’ve see from my own and may others I know it’s all about the parents and what they want.

          I feel so passionate about this, my hands are shaking. Please, please, please listen to those who have left, the ones who have broken out. Please look behind the curtain. Please join a real church (the body of Christ with many parts, not just a bunch of homeschool families) for your own sake and that of your kids. This movement started out as a good thing, but much as the pendulum on a clock swings from one extreme or the other, this has gone too far. I see so many homeschoolers who make family their idol, and spend most of their time carving it into the image they desire. They become so inwardly focused that it becomes family everything, family church, family dating/courtship/whatever. They forget missions, the lost, the rest of the body of Christ, ministry outside of their small circles. The people you read on this blog are crying out with pain saying “listen to us, change, listen to your family.” Stop asking us to prove to you what’s wrong, open your eyes, take the blinders off. Look behind the curtain. Not all that glitters is gold.

        • oneh20 Says:

          I think your input might help Mykl and Chris to see what is being dealt with on this blog – (very detailed!), but please be very careful to note that homeschoolers are by no means represented strictly by VF/ATI types. We have a huge circle of homeschooling friends here and only a tiny handful of those families are inclined toward ATI/VF. It seems like there is so much isolation in the VF/ATI camps that they really do seem to believe they represent most of homeschooling. – maybe because of the conferences… I don’t mean that disparagingly, but sincerely… Thankfully, its just not true.

        • PioneerHomeschooler Says:

          Anon-a-mouse, you are so right. Thank you for being one from the inside who has the courage to speak out. It’s only by the real-life testimony of people like you who lived behind the curtain that the ones who have been snowed will finally come to face reality.

        • PioneerHomeschooler Says:

          (Well, your testimonies and the grace of a God who is not thwarted by the lies of Pharisees.)

        • Anon-a-mouse Says:

          onhe20, its true, there are many who don’t seem to get sucked into it. In many cases is it seems to me like a state by state thing, also whichever homeschool group people are associated with (generally referring to state homeschool organizations). However I do know that in my particular state, there are literally thousands of homeschool families who follow “patriarchy.” I know many of their kids and am grieved by what I see. My wish is that those who are so passionate about defending the movement would take a step back and look through the movement through their children’s eyes. We are the product of the movement and honestly have a better idea of its fruits than you do. Sorry to be blunt, but there it is. I’ve spoken to my parents about this issue on multiple occasions and they simply aren’t interested in listening.

          There are many people on here (this blog and everywhere within the movement) who honestly wish that leaders and parents within the movement would stop defending what they are doing and just listen for a while. It’s time.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Oh, I do know about the fruit. Like one woman on here, I have seen part of my own family Devastated. Literally. I also attend an NCFIC church – which is where the families that I do know who homeschool this way come from. These are the families I am closest to in this world. They still don’t represent the majority. The need to believe VF/ATI represents most homeschooling families comes across almost as prideful, to be blunt. 🙂

        • Jen Says:

          Anon-a-mouse, I would love to hear your perspective on how patriarchy has affected young people like you. Please write me (my contact info is under my picture on the right here) so we can discuss you writing an article, if you would like.

        • PioneerHomeschooler Says:

          Anon-a-mouse, do you still have one or more siblings living this lifestyle? If so, it’s possible that your parents are so heavily invested (and I don’t mean financially) in defending what they’ve done all these years that it’s just too painful to acknowledge the truth of what you’re telling them. Is it possible that you could share with them your appreciation for the things they did right and that that would make them a little more willing to listen to the parts that they may still be blind to? Even if right now it seems a real stretch to find those things, it could be the opening you need to get their ears opened again…?

        • just a shadow Says:

          Well, I said I would ride off into the sunset.

          But then I found out that women on Tylenol Cold & Flu don’t ride horses very well.

          And when I saw Anon-a-mouse’s comment, I wanted to encourage him.

          So, Anon-A-Mouse, my hat is off to you. I know the bravery it took for you to write this.

          You are correct in what you have stated here. There are literally hundreds of people just in this area alone who look perfect but whose lives are a sham. The pressure to conform is unreal.

          Dear, brave, homeschooled young man. I am proud of you for continuing to seek Jesus. I am proud of you for being willing to speak the truth, knowing full well that you will likely be shouted down and called “rebellious/bitter/worldly or maybe even “not one of the elect” by those who wish to silence you. Many of us from the community have seen what happens to those who don’t tow the line, haven’t we? We are well acquainted with the attitudes, the slander, the gossip, and the mean spiritedness.

          But Jesus isn’t like that. If you hear one thing that I say at all, please hear this: Those community attitudes do not look like Jesus. He isn’t the author of them. The community isn’t Jesus.

          You are loved by Jesus. You are loved whether you are perfect or not. You are loved whether others choose to love you or not. You are loved even if you never really “succeed” at anything at all in life.

          You are loved.

          And your experiences are not unnoticed by Jesus. He has heard you. He hears all of you – the sons denied an education, the young men put through the harrowing hazing of father led courtship, the daughters growing older who are unmarried and uneducated, the tiny girls made to be surrogate mothers while mama has one baby after another.

          Jesus hears all of your cries.

          God has begun to pull the curtain back, dear son of the community. Already the light begins to shine in the dark places. Already the darkness begins to dissolve. It will not be easy. Those deceived will most likely not be willing to put away their idols. They love their idols and what their idols have purchased for them in the community – invitations, esteem, a social circle that never sleeps, pats on the back from the like-minded, acceptance etc.

          Dear son of the community, hold tight to Jesus. You are loved even if you stumble along your path. You are loved even if you make mistakes along the way.

          I am so very sorry for your shaking hands. Put them into Jesus hands. He is kind, full of mercy, and near to the broken hearted.

          Everything you mention in your post I have seen with my own eyes. You are not alone, even if it feels that way.

          It was when the mask of the community began to slip that we looked at our own kids and knew that we did not want that life for them. So we left.

          Take courage, little brother, pray diligently that everything that needs to be exposed is finally brought into the light.

          I’ve been praying that for quite some time now.

          Peace to you, little brother. May Jesus uphold you.

        • oneh20 Says:

          I’m glad you didn’t ride off into the sunset, but I’m sorry you’re still sick!

        • stillhealing Says:

          I appreciate the testimony above, but I would be careful not to paint home schoolers with such a broad brush. Where I live ATI/VF is mostly unknown and many people home school simply because our public school system in the area is at the bottom of the province and the level of education/graduation is abysmal. Many of the home schoolers are not religious in any way. Heck, I know public school teachers who work full time yet send their children to local private schools to get a better quality education.

          In my experience I would say ATI/VF have much more influence in the USA, perhaps even more so in the southern US? The only reason I’ve even heard of ATI is because of the Duggar’s TV shows. I think Gothard is creepy. I became familiar with VF through home schooling blogs from the US. The glossy image fooled us at first, but not for long, and the VF influence was minimal and superficial at best.

          My children have participated in all kinds of classes taught in the community by all sorts of people, everything from art classes, swimming lessons, computer animation, robotics, cake decorating, nature exploration and day camps, music lessons, and children’s clubs. They go swimming at the public pool every week and “gasp!” wear normal bathing suits 🙂 I hold my daughter to the same high educational standards as my sons and would never, every tell her she was not allowed to pursue post secondary education. Our family is not the exception in our community, this is the norm for home schoolers here.

          I’ve never even attended a single home school conference 🙂

        • oneh20 Says:

          Bingo. Exactly.

        • stillhealing Says:

          Just want to clarify that I absolutely believe everyone who has shared their story here, and I respect all who have the courage to do so! I’m not questioning the truth of your personal experiences….just trying to share that not all home schoolers are guilty of raising their children in such harmful ways.

        • oneh20 Says:

          I’m with ya!

        • Anon-a-mouse Says:

          Just a shadow, thanks for your kind comments! God has been gracious to me. I have a wonderful wife, who came from outside all this stuff (college educated and private schooled) and we support each other. She does have a hard time understanding my family though. I’m really trying to help some of my younger siblings make more informed choices, although that’s not always viewed positively by my parents.

          I tend to get a little passionate when I write. I’m over a lot of this, but my grief is seeing my family and others still chasing this nonsense. It would be great to have normal relationships with my siblings and feel like I have a normal family, but it does seem like that will be years of healing away.

          I’m getting off track, thanks again for your comments.

          Oneh20, I’m sorry that my comments were painted with a broad brush. I do realize there is a whole world of homeschoolers out there that are normal. I was mainly trying to make the point to Chris and Mykl, that these things are not happening in tiny pockets and therefore worth ignoring, but do affect thousands of families. Believe me when I say that I feel no pride in coming from a ATI/VF background. If anything I wish I could have known more of the “normal” families out there.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Thank you. You remind me of a friend of mine who was terribly hurt by ATI and is thankfully is very vocal about it. I tend to bring this up when ever I see it because I think we are going to have to fight hard to keep our rights to homeschool very soon and I’d hate to see those laws more fragile than they are because of the backlash of ATI/VF. I DO hope people like you continue to speak out and I do hope God will use these major upheavals like what we are seeing with DP to wake up the seeming dead. Like Jen has said a number of times, it will take staying on topic and true diligence to the end. Bless you!

        • Not Fooled Anymore Says:

          Mykyl, We wrote the above based on our own observations of going to BCA, sister churches and living in this community in TX for years. This really happened and is still happening. We firmly pray that others across the nation will read this blog and question if they are caught up in legalism. We are not bitter. We have been gone enough years and have gotten enough counseling to recognize this movement and BCA as a cult.

          We are very curious too about your relationship with BCA and others. Also what is your family relationship like? If your wife likes this blog so much, it sounds to me as if you may be at differing opinions on some of this Are you and she on good terms or is this or has this movement caused dissension in your marriage? We honestly have know ay of knowing but the fact you state she is so passionate about this blog and you don’t seem to be. How many children do you have? Are they young or older? Have you truly walked the walk and gone through the great things such as courtship that DP pushed and yet he had never done it himself nor had a child go through it? How do your children truly feel about this?

          We are here to say that we have and we are speaking the truth along with JAS of whom we fully support and stand behind as someone who has been there, walked in the real shoes and done that. We tried to state that many like us even moved here and have been blown away by what this is really all about. It is the biggest sham, facade, cover-up, travesty, sickening thing we have ever seen. Have you ever joined one of these churches and actually tried to leave? Do you know that if your wife is a member and she is on this site at BCA you would most likely end up on church discipline? That would include instant loss of friends for your children, loss of status as a member in good standing and the list would go on and on.

          We fully support and believe in homeschooling. We still home school. My wife and I had to force ourselves to seek out home school conferences here in TX that VF and their ilk were not at. It was like a breath of fresh air to see others who were doing this and not living by every word these, “great me of Patriarchy” were speaking. We have found a great local church we can be part of. Some of our children still struggle in certain areas, but we have seen them come to truly love the Lord not DP and his great sayings anymore. That is a true problem we saw especially of the young ladies idolizing DP- thankfully none of ours did but their friends did and it was alarming. We have some in college, married and some in school still.. We want to encourage others that yes there is life beyond this way of homeschooling and that it can be done with lots of joy and love.

          Mykyl we do take offense to the fact that you are saying we followed men and that those who aren’t on here must not. We came to a place and joined a church having no idea the leader was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and that others in the community will turn a blind eye to protect him and or are fearful of him. Once you joined there was no way out. We were one of the families that saw all this crazy stuff going on at BCA. We had the “older woman” calling our sons, acting inappropriately to them and we spoke up many times. The leadership at BCA is well aware why all these families left. They know and have yet to make amends for all the families they disciplined while Doug was carrying on with his gal. How long has it been since DP stepped down as elder at BCA.? This is all public now and they have never apologized for treating us families the way they did. We were disciplined for the sin of DP and others. According to them we are still under church discipline. This is absurd and needs to be called out. No you don’t see others on here. That is because many are still in the good old boy and girl club. They are not making public their very real part of this. But don’t think they don’t have their good old boy network of support throughout this whole thing going on behind the scenes as we are positive they do. We are still waiting for all of them to come forward, But wait, father in laws and parents are heading up some big ticket conferences soon so we wont’ dare tell the truth. Their buddies have new products and books and speaking engagements ready to come out and make a very good living off of. This is what we mean by folks you need to see and know how intertwined all these people are across the nation and if you don’t want to end up in a church you will be disciplined to leave or called a gossip if you question or ask about something you better wake up and know who you re dealing with. We have been there, have had many of these big name folks at our dinner table, to our home and have never seen anything like all of this in our lives. We have waked in these trenches, come out and are surviving. It can be done!

          We would like to help make sure new homeschoolers don’t get this type of indoctrination at their state homeschool and local conferences. We feel they should be made to state their take of Patriarchy, legalism, etc as part of their listing of conference speakers so families can discern what they are giving their money to. This my be a long shot but we feel the truth needs to be told and new homechoolers need to know the bill of goods they are being sold. What happened to the days when we first started homeschooling before DP and all this became so strong? We did it then and we are doing it now without them! In the meantime teach your children the love of Jesus Christ!

        • JourneyGirl Says:

          NFA, Thanks so much for sharing. Excellent insights. I hope people like Mykl heed the truth and warnings. Do you have contact with or have you heard anything from Norm Wakefield on any of this? I am so interested to know his responses to recent DP issues. His articles on The Curse of the Standard Bearers are excellent (published in ’07 & ’08). I ‘ve often wondered if there was a specific personal reason that he wrote them… If it had anything to do with calling out DP and offering a response to those still at BCA after Norm left. Any thoughts on that?

    • Mike Race Says:

      These were some of the same thoughts I had, not wanting to throw the baby out with the water. Thankyou for taking the time to put this into words.

  62. New Covenant Pastor Says:

    Dear Mykl and JourneyGirl,
    A gentleman named Mark Hanson wrote a very helpful article called “Patriarchy and Hermeneutics: he who defines wins.” I found this article by following this blog. In a nut shell, Hanson convincingly argues that some patterns found in the Old Testament are not necessarily prescriptive for us in the New Testament. Hanson is a former “passionate Biblical Patriarchy adherent” who now has a better hermenuetic when coming to the scriptures. You can locate his article at

    • Jen Says:

      Thanks, NC Pastor. Actually, Mark Hanson is a very intelligent young man who also went to BCA with me. I do highly recommend his article!

    • Mykl Says:

      Thank you, NCP. I would be happy to read that, if I can find time away from being my family’s patriarch. 🙂 By the way, Jen, who wrote the Biblical Tenents of Patriarchy critique on this blog? I wish I could interact with that since most of the disagreements seemed to be just missing the point and could be rebutted in a few sentences. But the prospect of reading 900+ comments to join the discussion was too daunting!

      • Molly Says:

        My kl, I can’t help but notice that every time someone asks you a direct question, you do not answer it. If they refer you to an article, you say you are too busy to read it, or that it is too daunting for you. A little give and take might be helpful here.

    • JourneyGirl Says:

      Yes, it is a good article exposing the fallacies and inconsistencies of the Patriarchal hermeneutics. Very well written. Unfortunately, Mark Hanson is a member of a Catholic church, and a proponent of finding unity with pagan Roman Catholicism and biblical evangelical Christianity, which discredits him on so many levels. We must stay focused on the absolute, inerrant truth of God’s Word and the gospel of Christ in order to sort through these many issues facing Christian families today.

      • Mykl Says:

        Oh, that’s okay. I’m willing to learn from such a man. Just like I’m willing to learn from Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard. 🙂

        • just a shadow Says:

          You are still willing to “learn” from DP?

          That tells me everything I need to know.

        • just a shadow Says:

          What in the world would you “learn” from him? How to carry on a decade long infidelity? How to teach one thing but do another? How to set up a “biblically ordered” church, er, or not? How to *not* set up a biblically ordered church but then parade around the country selling CD’s that you have? How to excommunicate people without cause?

          What, exactly, is he an expert on? Do tell.

        • just a shadow Says:

          How to apply the Scripture in your life? Would you learn that from DP? How to love your wife? Or your children? How to run a successful business? How to one another your fellow Christian? Would you learn this?

        • just a shadow Says:

          I know!

          You could learn how to match your hat and breeches!

          And how to buy nifty costumes!

        • just a shadow Says:

          Here’s a clue for you Mykl –

          The scripture says that if there is a brother ( or one who calls himself a brother) who is immoral or a drunkard that we are not even to EAT with him, much less obtain teaching from him!

        • Chris Says:

          JAS, I would like to encourage you to think about what you are writing. I understand that you have personal issues with DP and VF but it appears that Mykl is trying to be humble. He’s not responsible for the bad things in your life and he’s coming here to try and be challenged over what he believes. Trying to make fun of him neither advances your argument or casts a good light on you. We would hope that DP has repented and we could learn from a man that has fallen. Let us not think so highly of ourselves lest we fall under the same temptation.

        • just a shadow Says:

          Thanks to Jesus, I don’t have any current “bad things” in my life. My children are thriving. They are strong in their faith. Unlike other “model” families here locally, we have not lost ONE of our children. My marriage is stronger than it has ever been. I have a very happy, blessed life. Jesus has more than met our needs in every way.
          Thankfully, we got out of the system before it was able to gut our children.

          I’ve seen that system gut plenty of kids here locally.

          Do I have issues with VF? Yes. Why? Because the teachings espoused have hurt so many, many people that I personally know. I know the kids that were forced to tow the courtship line and are now divorced. I know the many, many unmarried girls in their 20’s & 30’s who are unmarried and uneducated and who are not happy about that. I know the wives married to these Patriarchal thugs who wield the scripture like a battering ram to keep their families in line. Not one man. Many.

          I know the many young adults who have left the faith b/c of VF teachings.

          I lose patience with people who come here and defend someone they have *never* met.

          As I said earlier, that is like vehemently recommending a restaurant you’e never eaten at, and shouting down those who have eaten there and gotten sick.

          I happen to be sick today and grumpy.

          I don’t think highly of myself.I don’t go around the country teaching others “God’s way”, live a double life for 10 years, shun/shout down anyone who dares to disagree with me, enlist hordes of unpaid workers, and make loads of money off of all the above.

          I don’t apologize for feeling angry when I see someone selling stuff in the temple deceitfully while simultaneously openly disparaging/mocking other churches, ministers, and believers as less than “godly/holy” all the while cheating on my spouse.

          If you or Mykl are offended, well, I am offended too. I am offended that either of you would defend such a situation.

          You truly do not know what you are defending.

          If you are the type of person you say you are I believe you would be angry too to see this travesty play out.

        • just a shadow Says:

          And since I have the flu, I’m going to bed for the night. Maybe I won’t be so grumpy tomorrow.

        • Leslie Says:

          Satan knows Scripture better than even the best educated of us. And uses misdirection of Scripture to fool who he can.. I would not want to learn from anything from Satan or his minions no matter how much truth is mixed with the lies. Also, I would not want to learn from anyone who has been so fooled by Satan as some of the religious leaders under discussion.

        • Donna Says:

          And this is exactly how this whole mess got started in the first place…. Eve listening to Satan’s half-truth, half-lie. Of course, then Adam just went ahead and ate without thinking. Totally caved to the flesh without an ounce of brainwork. No discernment whatsoever.

          Jesus, however, knew (and repeated) EXACTLY what God said — right context, no half-lies — when Satan tried the same trick on Him.

          And iff WE don’t know what God *actually* said, and use that knowledge *properly*, then we WILL be deceived by apostates in the Church. The Apostle Paul warned us of that over and over again.

        • Mykl Says:

          Whoa! I didn’t think that was the most provocative thing I posted today! In fact, I can tell you what I’m willing to learn from DP: He has a unique understanding of the role of Science Fiction in the philosophical history of movie-making. Seriously! That’s almost the only thing I’ve ever heard him talk about that was really insightful. But I have a number of his other talks here on my computer, and I’ll listen to them in the future the same as I would have when I just “thought” his smile was too plastic. I will listen to them. Sometime…

          But what do you want me to do? Throw out everything I’ve already learned from him because he is a hypocrite and a liar? In that case, who could I learn from? No, there’s not a lecture or a book I can dive into that didn’t come from a liar and a hypocrite. In fact, before I start one, I need to ask myself, “Would I still believe this if I found out this guy was an embezzler? Or a drunkard?” That’ll keep me from _following the man_, rather than _learning from him_.

          When listening to a human, you’re always, ALWAYS going to hear part truth and part lies. Do you doubt it?

        • Chris Says:

          JAS, I just want to encourage you in the understanding that we’re all hypocrites and that we all live double lives. Romans 7 teaches us that plainly. I can’t vouch about anything at Doug’s church or his community. I can say that he has some really good and encouraging words for families that are trying to train up the next generation for Christ. I can also say that he was unqualified on probably many levels to be an elder at his church before he even became an elder. When you throw your dice and put yourself under a person that doesn’t conform to the strict tenants of elder, you’re asking for trouble. Patriarchy is not dependent upon DP just like salvation is dependent upon the person preaching the gospel. How many people have come to know Christ because of some loony? Probably millions. Just because it is some loony doesn’t make it true. The Theory of Realitivity is true even though it was proposed and championed by a guy who divorced his wife and married his cousin. The guy’s personal life is a mess but it doesn’t make his discovery less true.

          I can’t speak for your experience or those around you. It sounds like DP’s church is messed up. I’ve seen a church in Florida that sounds very similar. In the examples given above of crazy families, 1 of them comes from that church. In truth, the husbands were mostly not involved in their families and yet espoused Biblical Patriarchy. These guys are pretenders. They come in after living the Navy life for years and then expect their 12 year-old to now be this prim and proper young lady after yanking her out of public school. It doesn’t work that way and most of these families don’t realize that. In fact they don’t want to know the sacrifice required of the husband to raise a family under the fear and admonition of the Lord. They just want a cleaned up version of coming home from work, sitting in the recliner, sticking a hand in their pants and yelling “woman, get me a beer.” They’re the “religious” Al Bundy but Paul made it clear in Galatians that these “leaders” don’t affect him.

          DP’s church was just a galvanizing force for these families in the local community. Some people probably moved near their church to try and be more “Christian”. Let us dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. When people try and make things happen, you get in trouble. Did we entertain to visit his church? We sure did but not because DP is there. We just saw it as a way in which we could get to know other families of like mindedness. We’ve done this on many occassions just like others that we know that have done the same.

          Patriarchy is hard work. I’ve said no to my corporate job for something that is better. I work at home so I can be involved. Yesterday, my wife went to me, in my office, and asked if I could take off for an hour so she could nap. I’ve asked her to do that. I am to nurture her as she nurtures my children while I’m away. In a perfect world, I would include my family in everything I did but the Lord is providing. God never asked me to be perfect so I never ask my wife and kids. I want them to lean on me when they need strength but not in the place of first leaning upon the Lord. Yesterday, I washed dishes, wiped bottoms, read books, changed diapers, passed out medicine, cooked supper, brushed teeth, put littles to bed, fed a bottle, watered the cows, stayed up to talk to the oldest until 11, stayed up until 1 to talk to my wife while eatting DQ Blizzard for our mini-date, and as I slipped into bed commented how I was amazed that I didn’t pet the wife and kissed the dog with it being so busy (yeah, she has a lot to put up with me…LOL). That is the normal patriarchal life and I love it. Last I checked, they love it too. Am I the boss? Sure. Being the “boss” is like a weapon. You have to be careful or you’ll cut yourself. It sounds like the people in your “community” went Ginsu on themselves.

          You’ll never offend me because you can’t offend dirt and that is what man was made from. LOL. I just want to encourage you to look beyond VF and your local community as the sole source of truth behind patriarchy.

        • NC Says:

          Chris, I liked what you had to say up to this point;

          “I just want to encourage you to look beyond VF and your local community as the sole source of truth behind patriarchy”.

          So in your mind what IS the truth behind patriarchy? You described a lifestyle that you like, and maybe your family likes. But are you trying to suggest your choices on how to DO (not live) life as somehow reflective of a biblical truth we all need to follow?

        • Just a shadow Says:

          Then you deny the scriptures Mykl by insisting on learning from an immoral man that the Bible says we are not even to eat with. Are we all hypocrites on some level? Yes. But we don’t all carry on an affair with our nanny for 10 years while teaching others.

          The Bible is the one that says those who hold themselves out as teachers will be held to HIGHER standard than the rest of us.

          The Bible is the one that says if a brother is immoral then we are not to eat with him( much less learn from him)

          The fact that you excuse his immorality as just “hypocrisy” is telling.

          He is not just a hypocrite. He is immoral.

          Jesus instructed us to examine the fruit of teachers over us. He told us there would be wolves. We know who they are by what they do…their fruit.

          Are we all hypocrites? Yes. But not all of us move from simple human inconsistency right into full blown deceitfulnsess.

          With DP, we are not talking about inconsistency. We are talking about 10 years of outright PUBLIC lying, 10 years of willfull active deception, 10 years of taking people’s $ in a ministry, all while he was having an affair.

          If you cannot see the difference between these actions and regular day to day hypocrisy, then you are truly blind and I pity you.

          Again, it is not me who sets the standard. The Bible tells us that teachers will be held to a higher standard.

          You ask above who you should learn from. I’d suggest Jesus.
          Put away the writings of men. Put away the Puritan writers et. al.

          Go back to Jesus.

          He has a lot to say about wolves, wheat&tares. He most certainly did not say, “Oh you’re all alike – hypocrites”.

          He said their would be wolves & he told us how to spot them.

        • Chris Says:

          To be honest, my vision of Biblical Patriarchy is probably different from everyone in this world. LOL. That said, it is not complementarianism (sp?) and it isn’t “thus saith your husband/dad”. I should be a conduit of God’s grace in the lives of my children and wife. Positionally, we’re all slaves and Exodus 22 (I think) probably best describes our relationship to the Lord. We’re all His slave (yes I know, we’re also His son, wife, etc. but this is the allegory for the moment). My wife is given to me as a fellow slave. She helps me to perform the will of our master. I’m responsible for her well being and spiritual growth. As such, like the CEO of a company, it is best that I invest in her so she can do her job in the most efficient manner so she can derive satisfaction, significance and joy from what she is doing. In the end, everything is going to burn. It’s nauseating to watch both men and women talk about needing to be some doctor, engineer or whatever to find significance. I’m not going to go into my personal life but I’ve had enough success in my life to know all of it is rubbish. When a woman tells me that she needs to have the opportunity to be a CEO for Christ, I think to myself that it is sad that she is that deluded. I also think the same thing for the men that tell me that.

          This is what I find so bothersome by many of the posts here. There is this lack of personal accountability. It is human nature to blame someone else. She gave me the fruit! He deceived me! It is the same thing over and over and over. Patriarchy is about accountability and self sacrifice. It’s not about having the perfect family or the perfect marriage. I do think that there is blessing that does derive from it. Like I said about dating and courtship, been there, done that and I have the t-shirt. No thank you. Do you guys really want your 16 year daughter to be going out in private with a “good” 16 year old boy? Really!?! Are you that naive? You know how many good church girls I had my way with? Suuuuurrrreeeee, we don’t go do anything on the first date but I guarantee you that on week 5 she is making plans for the wedding while physically pleasuring me. Not every girl did that but after breaking up with her she would be doing that with the second or third guy after me. That is reality and every man here knows that to be true. That it is the temptation that every guy and girl struggles with in those ages. If not, you were either the little nerd that couldn’t get a date, lying or the person that had 0 social life. Sure, VF guys could be struggling with porn but so do 80% of all men below the age of 21. It doesn’t mean every patriarch guy struggles with it.

        • Eva Says:

          Mykl, you certainly said something I can agree with in your comment about the science fiction aspect of DP’s movies/DVDs. That’s exactly what he did with Raising the Allosaur – science fiction. And besides that we bought the Amazon series from AiG and that was the biggest waste of money we’ve spent in a long time. So ridiculous, poor filming, etc. Wish I had my money back. It doesn’t seem like he knows anything about filming movies.

        • Molly Says:

          “what do you want me to do? Throw out everything I’ve already learned from him because he is a hypocrite and a liar? In that case, who could I learn from? No, there’s not a lecture or a book I can dive into that didn’t come from a liar and a hypocrite.”

          Try the Bible. Good stuff there, breathed to us from God himself.

        • Molly Says:

          Chris, my Bible teaches me that I am a new creation in Christ Jesus. I am no longer a sinner and a hypocrite. I am washed clean. Old things are passed away, and behold, all things are made new! Praise God! Not my righteousness, but His!

        • Just a shadow Says:

          Molly –
          Wonderfully concise yet insightful comments ! Thank you !

      • Mark Hanson Says:

        I attend both an evangelical church as well as a Catholic Church. I believe that Scripture, properly interpreted trumps everything and everyone. It is because of my loyalty to Scripture as well as properly understanding church history that drives me to see unity, rooted in the Gospel, between all Trinity confessing Christians. I would love to interact with you further on why you see unity as being so problematic.

        • JourneyGirl Says:

          Hi, Mark, thanks for your willingness to dialogue. I grew up in a Roman Catholic country, where paganism, idolatry, witchcraft, and a false gospel of Christ permeate the hearts and lives of the people and have witnessed first-hand the devastation of their despair and hopelessness. These devout people worship false gods in a false church. When they come to Christ, they see truth and light and they totally forsake all remnants of their prior belief system, seeking after the the God of Scripture. I have had a number of Catholic friends, both American and foreign, and when the truth of the Scripture is held against the Tradition and doctrine of the RC church, they are in direct opposition. Those who fully embrace the RC faith fall into the same category as Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindus….. False religions. Absolutely antithetical to the true Gospel of Christ. While there are others who have dealt with the subject more in-depth, I agree with Dr John MacArthur’s teaching on the Catholic church.

        • zooey111 Says:

          Mark, I am right there with you on this subject!
          All whose Lord is Christ are my brothers & sisters in faith.

        • Keith Blankenship Says:

          Mr. Hanson: No desire to address JourneyGirl?

        • Mark Hanson Says:

          I do want to respond to JourneyGirl but I have had some family things that I’ve needed to tend to. I’m hoping by the end of the day I’ll have a response.

        • JourneyGirl Says:

          Methinks this is not the place for a discussion on why or why not Roman Catholics preach a different religion than that of true Christ followers. I followed up on Mark’s question to me, but I won’t be continuing this topic here. A final thought: it is interesting how some who are so concerned about false teachers, apostasy within the church, wolves in sheep’s clothing and the purity of the Gospel of Christ can still embrace people who are in false religions and act as though we follow the same Lord and Savior.

        • JourneyGirl Says:

          (cont.) This acceptance reveals ignorance and a lack of spiritual discernment. Mark, I welcome your response, but this discussion isn’t a priority for me right now. As I deem profitable, I will respond to you through your website. Anyone else is welcome to jump on in and take it away! 🙂

        • Lisa Says:

          Journey Girl,
          I, too, am Catholic and SAVED. You have spoken of kind and gracious speech, but obviously don’t practice it when speaking to Mark. I hv found that those that were involved in cultish groups can often times still be controlled by that same narrow mindedness that makes them prey to a cult in the first place. My way is right, my way is better than yours, etc…Catholicism is not a false religion. It is not to be grouped in with Muslims, etc…I’m not going to argue about it in this blog.
          You said in a previous post that you are helping others, etc…I hope your speech is more gracious to them when you discover they don’t toe the line with your exact doctrine.

        • Lisa Says:

          And one more thing, Journey Girl, you encourage others to “jump on in and take it away”. How cruel to encourage others to attack as you did,, besides it’s utterly ineffective at that. Surely you don’t think that being absolutely offensive to someone would encourage them to come to the Lord, or to a right doctrinal position. My Baptist grandmother would tell you: you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Where’s the love?

        • JourneyGirl Says:

          Lisa, when I said that, i meant that anyone else is welcome to discuss the Catholic/Evangelical issue, while I bow out of it. I’m not sure how what I said, or the way that I said anything to Mark was unloving. I suppose Mark will have to clarify whether or not it came across that way. Straightforward, yes. I believe strongly that the RC church does not preach the true Gospel, but this does not mean I am making a personal attack, or have an unloving spirit in it. If we are serious about the Truth of God’s Word and exposing anything that leads people away from Christ, then we must draw lines. It doesn’t have anything to do with “my doctrine” or even my convictions. It has everything to do with how various belief systems and doctrines hold up under the scrutiny of the word of God. The Bible is the final authority, the only yardstick for measuring our Christian lives, in all areas pertaining to life and godliness.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Mark Hansen, I won’t be approving your latest apologia article, posing as a comment, in this thread. Feel free to debate the alleged merits of your flavor of Roman Catholicism on your own blog, but as Journeygirl put it so well, “Methinks this is not the place for a discussion on why or why not Roman Catholics preach a different religion than that of true Christ followers.” My apologies to you for having allowed anyone to post critical comments about Roman Catholicism in the first place, but that discussion is now officially over. If you have any comments pertaining to the subject of this article, or anything else related to Doug Phillips and his fellow ecclesiastical bullies then that would be most welcomed.

        • JourneyGirl Says:

          TW, you are welcome to forward Mark’s thesis to my email. I’d be glad to read it.

        • Mark Hanson Says:


          If you would, forward my comments and my email in case JourneyGirl wants to interact further.



  63. Bbb Says:

    I would like to find a link showing where RC Sproul supports wife spanking.

    • Donna Says:

      To clarify, be sure to indicate Sproul JR. the son, not the father. JR. is the one who’s into the patriarchy movement, extreme courtship, etc., and who was defrocked from the PCA.

      • VFknowMORE Says:

        JR is a creeper. I “met” him in Jamestown while talking to his very sweet, now deceased wife.

        • Scott Says:

          In a way I’m glad she has peace now. If her idiot husband really was spanking her ( or discipling her in any way) she was an abused wife.

          I think we should set RC up with Mary Winkler of Selmer, Tennessee.

    • Lindt Says:

      I wish I could point you to a teaching he’s done that clearly shows he endorses it. R.C. Jr has said some incredibly stupid things in his life, but even he isn’t stupid enough to go on the public record endorsing wife spanking. That’s only something several men in his church in Virginia know about, and only those in “marriage counseling” with R.C. were ever encouraged to spank their wives.

      • just a shadow Says:

        Most of these Patriarchal types are very crafty/careful to make sure that their most *shocking* teachings are never, ever recorded/put in print. If they were put in print, it would harm the bottom line- profit.

        • Mykl Says:

          Well, if they don’t put them into print, why should we care?

        • oneh20 Says:

          That’s where you are missing it, brother. What’s unrecorded in these circles does not make it unspoken and it then has the potential to infect families like a slow killing virus – and it does. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.”

        • Lindt Says:

          Mykl, I hate having to quote myself, but it seems like you’re deliberately ignoring the comments I’ve addressed to you. So here goes.

          “Mykl, you’re not just defending Patriarchy, but you did so by name dropping too, and you even praised the defrocked R.C. Sproul, Jr. Your defense in promoting these men is that it doesn’t really matter what they’re guilty of so long as what they teach is the truth. I disagree. I think it matters even more how they live their lives than what they teach. If they live their lives the opposite of what they teach they are hypocrites and liars. Maybe you believe it’s right to follow the teaching of hypocrites and liars, but no thanks. I’ll follow Jesus.”

          A man who preaches that he loves his wife, but then beats her with a belt, as though she were a little child, is a liar and a hypocrite. A man who preaches moderation and yet gets drunk is a liar and a hypocrite. A man who has been defrocked from the ministry but keeps preaching like nothing ever happened is a fraud. Most people have the good sense to care about those things. The fact that you don’t care reflects badly on you.

        • just a shadow Says:

          Exactly my sentiments, Lindt. Perfectly said.

          Of course we should care what these men *do* and *say* in private. The private life is where the real person exists rather than the carefully managed image.

          Of course it matters if they abuse their children or spouse.

          Even if they *never* put in print that they do abuse them.

          It still matters. Obviously!

        • just a shadow Says:

          That was Jesus’ point to the Pharisees about washing the INSIDE of the cup as well as the outside and about being white washed tombs full of dead men’s bones!

          Of course what is done in secret matters.

        • Chris Says:

          I’ve heard people talk a lot about these guys beating their wives but I’ve never witnessed this. Not saying it doesn’t happen as I can’t see whether their t-shirts have sleeves or not under the oxford shirts. Sorry..bad stereotype and joke. Anyways, I can think of a Church of Christ guy that did beat his wife and guess about a Baptist family that I knew but they weren’t sane VF guys (like I said, there are crazies that like VF but that is everywhere in any ministry).

        • Teresa N. Says:

          I know this comment is off topic……..I am kidding but I would take a broom upside my husbands head if he tried to spank me.

        • Teresa N. Says:

          oops commented in wrong place sorry

        • Mykl Says:

          Hope you feel better tomorrow, jas. Flu is dreadful.

          Sorry, I didn’t respond earlier, Lindt. I’m not ignoring your questions (a few minutes ago I did respond, above), but I needed to spend a few hours being an UnderPatriarch. 🙂

          It makes a great deal of difference why the man was defrocked. Is that public information? I assumed it was because of a change in theology. I know he did change his theology anyway, and he now holds to the “Federal Vision” theology which the PCA opposes. R.C. Jr. doesn’t think it’s an issue to divide over (and I wonder how many people would even understand the difference), but the PCA sure does! In that case, I think the defrocking is irrelevant to me. I don’t hold to the FV theology, but I learn from a lot of people who do. Why should I care that the PCA won’t allow them in their denomination? That may not be the reason he was defrocked.

          You are right. I was imprecise. A man’s personal life IS relevant to his teaching. A man’s lifestyle dictates his theology. His morality dictates his philosophy. (That’s what you’re saying, isn’t it? Anyone remember who came up with that phrasing? 🙂 )

          But again, what do you think I should do? Reject all I learned about macro-economics and movie-watching discernment because the teacher has an unbalanced view of marital harmony?

        • Donna Says:

          Yes, Jr.’s change in theology WAS one of the reasons he was defrocked. But only one. Read this article…. and within the article, there will be a link to the entire Declaratory Judgment, so you can read the details for yourself.

          The “Federal Vision” theology is Dominion Theology — basically the idea that Christians need to “take over” America in order to get it ready for Christ to return…. and there are certain things they have to *do* in order to make that happen. (i.e., lifestyle choices) That’s a *very* simplistic definition, but it goes deeper than that. It has given Reformed theology a bad name because many people equate “reformed theology” to Dominion Theology or Reconstruction. THAT is the basis that Phillips, Sproul Jr., and several others are coming from, and it’s not based on whether you baptize your babies or not.

          Furthermore, Sproul Jr. teaches that homeschooling is *commanded* in Scripture. It is not. I’ve always homeschooled my children, and always will until they’re graduated, and my children plan on homeschooling their children. I believe homeschooling is best in MOST cases, for many reasons. But I do not see it “commanded” in Scripture.

          But the PCA (from which Sproul Jr was defrocked) does NOT believe homeschooling is *commanded* in Scripture, as Sproul Jr. says. In fact, the PCA believes very strongly in Christian schools. As an ordained ELDER within the PCA, he would have to absolutely agree with and *teach* the same things the PCA teaches… and he was NOT doing that.

          Those are just TWO major differences that I can think of off the top of my head between Sproul Jr. and the PCA. They had good reason to defrock him. Do you think it’s right for an ordained elder of ANY church to begin teaching things that oppose what the church denomination believes? I sure don’t! (I am not a Presbyterian, btw, but I do appreciate the PCA’s accountability system that it has in place for its elders…. very unlike what Doug Phillips had or has!)

        • Jen Says:

          Here is a link to the whole thing, with many documents linked inside:

        • Mykl Says:

          Thanks for the clarifications, Donna.

          Just a couple clarifications of my own 🙂 : Dominion theology has nothing to do with Federal Vision Theology. They are dealing with completely different topics. I know many Dominionists and very few hold to the FV.

          And Dominionists certainly do NOT believe that “Christians need to “take over” America in order to get it ready for Christ to return…” Christians aren’t going to “take over” anything. Anyone who says so is being reprehensibly sloppy. But more on that in the Theonomy thread. 🙂 When I have time.

        • Jen Says:

          Mykl, I just have a minute tonight, but I was wondering about something today. You say that your wife doesn’t believe in patriarchy, but what you describe as your version of patriarchy sounds relatively harmless, and may in fact be good. (We will get to what the Bible actually says about it later.) So your wife asked you to read/participate here. If you are following what you are espousing here, what exactly does your wife not agree with? Where is the disconnect?

        • DaMom Says:

          {{You say that your wife doesn’t believe in patriarchy, but what you describe as your version of patriarchy sounds relatively harmless, and may in fact be good…. what exactly does your wife not agree with? Where is the disconnect?}}

          oooh…I’ve been waiting for someone to ask this question.

    • Randy Says:

      I would like to find one wife that would allow her husband to spank her without knocking his teeth out. I mean come on is this really going on in christian marriages ? I think maybe a few kinksters are hiding behind patriarchal B.S. justify their sexual fantasies.

      Hey I say fair is fair, if you are going to spank your wife she should get to wack you a few times too. WITH a big lead pipe !

      • Mykl Says:

        Wife-spanking is a horrible travesty. It’s as far from Biblical teaching as polygamy or chattel slavery. If anyone seriously advocates it (and obviously if there are any, the wife must agree with it or it wouldn’t be spanking, it would be criminal domestic abuse), it could only be the result of exactly the unbalance I started out writing about. If you see Leadership as the core idea of marriage, rather than Companionship, you may come to think the man ought to train his wife. From there, a short step to using the same tool used in training children.

        Terribly ungodly.

      • Teresa N. Says:

        Exactly Randy. I personally would take a broom upside his head. Horrible if JR promotes such a thing.

      • zooey111 Says:

        I, personally would reach for the cast iron frying pan…..but then, I admit to having a wee bit of an Irish temper.

        And you’re absolutely right: It is indeed a sexual deviation. (If you google the subject, be prepared to be sickened & disgusted. There are some sick, sick people out there, & they all are more than willing to quote cherry-picked scriptures to support their perversions).

      • Mike Race Says:

        I know Christian couples that do this. No, they are not kinksters, no, the husband is not controlling, and yes, the wife has willingly asked for this type of relationship. No, it is not being abused and she is not either. There are Christian forums and groups out there that deal with this. To just say it is all wrong without really understanding what it going on in the household and family dynamics isn’t right. Prov. 20:31.