Doug Phillips of Vision Forum resigns

“I have stepped down from the office of president at Vision Forum Ministries and have discontinued my speaking responsibilities… There has been serious sin in my life for which God has graciously brought me to repentance.” Statement of Resignation

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Mike Harding's picture

It's always sad and tragic when something like this occurs. It causes the enemies of God to blaspheme. Nevertheless, Doug's repentance is clear, thorough, an precisely Scriptural.  Proof-positive that we believers must guard our hearts with great diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.  No one is exempt.  Pastor Jesse Boyd of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church once said that any man could conceivably commit any sin at any time.  Perhaps, it's a bit hyperbolic. However, I think the warning is good for us all.  1 Peter 2:10-11

Pastor Mike Harding

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Whether you agree with Doug Phillips' views on the family, family-integrated church, etc., this is a very tragic situation that will send waves throughout sectors of Christianity that you may be involved in—for instance, the homeschool movement, the Biblical creationism movement, etc. Many, many people will be affected by one man's failure.

This is a great reminder for all of us to pray for ministry leaders, and for all ministry leaders to be on guard.

 

 

Church Ministries Representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

dgszweda's picture

It shows you how each and everyone of us needs to be constantly in watch for the sin that encompasses all of us.

Julie Anne's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

Nevertheless, Doug's repentance is clear, thorough, an precisely Scriptural.  

 

How can you tell his repentance is clear?  One cannot tell if someone is repentant by one statement.  Repentance is shown by the fruit over time.  Those who live/work closest to him should be able to clearly identify it.  Why did he not ask for prayer support for the woman he sinned against?   Also, there is the minimization of the sin by saying, "“didn’t know her in the biblical sense."  (Sounds kind of like Clinton, no?)

Did he issue this statement because he was forced to or voluntary?   

 

 

 

 

Steve Newman's picture

Mr. Phillips said it was a non-sexual relationship, and I am thankful for a leader who is willing to deal with sins of the heart. Too many would not have stopped...

How would you feel about restoring such a person once he has proven repentance and accountability? He was not a "one-woman man", but did not commit the physical act of adultery, though he definitely did commit spiritual adultery.

Jay's picture

How can you tell his repentance is clear?  One cannot tell if someone is repentant by one statement.  Repentance is shown by the fruit over time.  Those who live/work closest to him should be able to clearly identify it.

Julie, let me help you out here by quoting the statement.  When I read stuff like:

There has been serious sin in my life for which God has graciously brought me to repentance. I have confessed my sin to my wife and family, my local church, and the board of Vision Forum Ministries.  I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman. While we did not “know” each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.

I et the feeling that he's repentant, unlike, say, Jack Schaap, who had to be thrown out of his church by the board after the police got involved.  It doesn't minimize the consequences at all, but being willing to admit you were wrong when confronted and confessing it to the Board and family seems like a good starting off point for someone who claims to be repentant.  Time and truth go hand in hand, as John MacArthur says, and this looks like a good start.  We'll see what happens.

Julie Anne wrote:
Why did he not ask for prayer support for the woman he sinned against?  

He shouldn't ask for prayer for the woman because he should be breaking off all - and I do mean ALL - ties with her.  End of story.  Imagine if he'd said: "Hey everyone - I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman I work with - pray for her please."

Really?  What would you be saying on SI if he'd said that in the press release?

Julie Anne wrote:
Also, there is the minimization of the sin by saying, "“didn’t know her in the biblical sense."  (Sounds kind of like Clinton, no?)

Did he issue this statement because he was forced to or voluntary?

Why are you even asking this?  Are Christians supposed to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart?  Why can we not just accept that he sinned and has resigned and move on?  If he lies, are we supposed to do something about it?  If he's truthful, do we need to respond any differently?  Did God give you the gift duty of making sure that fallen leaders are walking rightly before Him?

I have enough problems - and I bet everyone else here does too - without putting other believers (whom, btw, most of us have never met) under electron microscopes to ensure that their repentance is genuine.  Some of this sounds more like unwarranted gossip and criticism in line with Proverbs 26:17 than it does actual concern for anyone involved.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Julie Anne's picture

Steve Newman wrote:

Mr. Phillips said it was a non-sexual relationship, and I am thankful for a leader who is willing to deal with sins of the heart. Too many would not have stopped...

How would you feel about restoring such a person once he has proven repentance and accountability? He was not a "one-woman man", but did not commit the physical act of adultery, though he definitely did commit spiritual adultery.

 

 

From the statement:  

"While we did not “know” each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate."

I'm not sure he said it was non-sexual, he did say that they didn't "know" each other which I understand to mean intercourse.  We do, however, know that it was lengthy and inappropriately romantic and affectionate.  

What about restoration?   If he violated the covenant with his wife, is he qualified to be elder or teaching?   

Frankly, as a wife, if my husband had an emotional affair, that would be far more devastating to me emotionally and spiritually than a physical affair.  I think in light of this man's underlying theme of teaching others how to be godly fathers/godly husbands and raising godly families, he is a huge distraction by his blatant hypocrisy - and especially knowing that this behavior was going on for a lengthy period of time, all the while pretending to be a godly father, godly husband, AND godly pastor.  

A truly repentant person will understand the gravity of the sin and will not want to put themselves in a position that could hurt others even if there is restoration.  This is no longer about Doug Phillips.  This is about the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ.  If Doug Phillips goes back into ministry, I will be convinced that his ministry is about him and not about our Lord.  Repentant people concern themselves more about others than themselves.  Interestingly, Phillips wrote about Repentance in August (after he was either removed or stepped down from his pastoral position at Boerne Christian Assembly):

Restitution: Those who experience godly sorrow and true repentance will desire to make restitution to the victim. There is a spiritual debt to God himself which they can never pay and which only the blood of Christ will satisfy. But there is a temporal debt to their fellow man which they must be willing to pay. It is not enough that they will cease and desist from the wrongdoing. They will do whatever is necessary to heal those they have injured by restoring to them what they have taken. Godly sorrow produces such compassion for the injured party that the penitent man aches to bring health and wholeness to those he has injured.

Phillips' long-time good friend, Pastor Scott Brown (director of NCFIC) had this to say about repentance.  It was posted on the NCFIC blog late February, probably around the time Phillips stepped down or was removed from his pastoral position:
 

So these are the earthquakes of the soul, that come from the pressure points that are building in people’s lives. At some point there is a breaking point, a metanoeo, a restructuring of life. These changes all come from the question, “What do I do with the things that God has given me?” The answer is, repent and let the landscape change. You may ask, “What do I do with my job?” Repent; let the landscape of your labors change. You may ask, “What do I do with my family?” Repent; let the landscape of your family change. You may ask, “What do I do with my church?” Repent; let the landscape of your church life change.

 

 

 

 

Steve Newman's picture

I do hope that Doug Phillips is able to restore his relationships with God, his wife, and family before any other considerations. I took a very short-sighted look based on some of the discussions that have taken place regarding others who have been in adulterous relationships. Your quotes were spot on!

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I think the underlying premise of some of Phillips' teachings lead into the realm of infidelity. The idea that a man's daughter should act as his 'help meet' until she marries is not Biblical. This term is never used in reference to a daughter, the husband/wife dynamic is never used as a measure for the father/daughter relationship, and while a daughter may learn many principles of healthy relationships from her parents, I think it is highly problematic, for both dads and daughters, to have a young woman 'practice' being a wife with her dad. One of the events at the Father-Daughter Retreat was having daughters shave their dad's face. Really? Did we need to go there to show a daughter 'serving' her father? 

God’s Word speaks volumes to the relationship between fathers and daughters. . . He leads her, woos her, and wins her with a tenderness and affection unique to the bonds of father and daughter. http://www.visionforumministries.org/events/fdr/

Woo and win? We use these terms to describe a man romancing a woman for the purposes of courtship. 

If a man believes Scripture allows for him to have multiple 'help meets', then I think the trap has been set for him to engage in emotional and physical infidelity. 

Similar thoughts were offered by Voddie Baucham some years ago -

"A lot of men are leaving their wives for younger women because they yearn for attention from younger women. And God gave them a daughter who can give them that. And instead, they go find a substitute daughter, You've seen it! We've all seen it! These OLD GUYS! Going and finding substitute daughters. Why? Why? We don't understand what love is, folks."

He explains 'what he meant' here, but in spite of agreeing with much of what Voddie Baucham teaches and writes, I found it unsatisfying and still believe this patriarchal slant is dangerous at its core. 

Mike Harding's picture

Good observation Susan.  I have three daughters 29, 31, 31.  Two are married and have children.  Never dreamed of thinking or using such terminology with my daughters.

Pastor Mike Harding

Brenda T's picture

I wasn't aware of this particular teaching of Voddie -- thank you for pointing it out. Seems like if what he's saying is true, then every married man would have a daughter, but we know that simply isn't the case.

Jay's picture

Re: Baucham...this is what he wrote:

Here is the statement in a larger context:

"A lot of men are leaving their wives for younger women because they yearn for attention from younger women. And God gave them a daughter who can give them that. And instead, they go find a substitute daughter, You've seen it! We've all seen it! These OLD GUYS! Going and finding substitute daughters. Why? Why? We don't understand what love is, folks."

And then I go on to give the definition of love, never touching the subject again.  My point here has nothing to do with the role of a daughter in a father’s sexual life.  On the contrary, I am talking about our misunderstanding of the nature of love that leads to the erroneous belief that true love is about sex!  In the broader context, I am arguing for embracing a biblical definition of love that will allow fathers to overcome the awkwardness they often experience when their daughters become young women.  Is this dangerous?

If this statement was “dangerous,” then why did Northpoint Church (where I preached the message) reproduce it and sell it?  If I was talking about incest, then why was I invited back the next year?  Moreover, why is it that it has taken the patriarchy hunters over three years to uncover this blatant, sinful, egregious heresy?  If I am promoting incest, then why have these women failed to contact me, my church, my family, or the authorities?

I’ll tell you why; because no honest human being who knows me, my teaching, my life, and listens to these messages in context would come away with such nonsense.  Listen to the message in context and it is clear that I am talking about a very particular kind of man with a very particular kind of problem, and using him as an illustration of the worst expression of the error I am condemning in the message.  I am in fact calling men to embrace a biblical relationship with their daughters, and reject the practice that we have all seen of chasing young women who (though used for sex) become substitute daughters for these “Old Guys”.

I'm all in favor of being careful - and especially calling the cops if he did actually advocating incest or some other form of criminal activity - but I see no reason not to believe what he's saying here.  Does anyone actually think that this preacher is going to look at anything as abnormal as incest with any kind of approval?   This kind of accusation, as Voddie put it, is completely "nonsense".  It smacks of the "gotcha journalism" espoused by the "Do-Right BJU" wingnuts and their ilk.  He even comments that this is a kind of baseless attack by people with agendas:

When and if you see this attack on the net, please know that the attackers are not seeking to correct me, or advance the gospel.  These women are seeking to discredit me because of their hatred of what I represent.  They hate the fact that a respected, mainstream, orthodox teacher espouses a clear distinction on the matter of manhood, womanhood, headship and submission.  They would prefer I pastored a church that was not growing; that I did not have a reputation for clear exegetical teaching; that I required my wife (and other women) to wear head coverings; that I refused to preach from anything but the King James Bible; that I required my daughter to be ignorant and uneducated; that I came across as an ignorant, oppressive neanderthal instead of a man who loves and respects his wife and daughter (darn that Voddie Baucham for being a man who changes diapers, shares the homeschooling load, and loves to cook the occasional gourmet meal for his family).

Susan, I know that there is more than enough whackos out there in churches, but I don't think you're being fair to Mr. Baucham here.   And the idea that we can just trot out that kind of unfair and inflammatory accusation without it being challenged is more than a little bit disturbing to me.  When I read his response (which you did helpfully link to), I don't see any "patriarchy" in it.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Brenda T wrote:

I wasn't aware of this particular teaching of Voddie -- thank you for pointing it out. Seems like if what he's saying is true, then every married man would have a daughter, but we know that simply isn't the case.

I don't know that the above is a 'teaching' of Mr. Baucham's, but there are some terms used in the descriptions of father/daughter relationships border on the incestuous. Especially when daughters are taught to stay home and be a 'help meet' for their father until their prince comes along. Or they pledge their virginity to their father with elaborate ceremonies like Father-Daughter Purity Balls, which often include a ritual where the father gives the daughter a ring or necklace that symbolizes that her heart and her sexuality belongs to him. 

The idea may to be influence the daughter to remain pure, but IMO it leads men to view young women as sexual objects. Imagine- an entire evening spent dancing with your daughter and talking about her hopefully-non-existent sex life. Don't tell me that the guys there have pure thoughts about those young ladies, or that they aren't setting themselves up for a fall.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Jay wrote:

Re: Baucham...this is what he wrote:

Here is the statement in a larger context. . .

Susan, I know that there is more than enough whackos out there in churches, but I don't think you're being fair to Mr. Baucham here.   And the idea that we can just trot out that kind of unfair and inflammatory accusation without it being challenged is more than a little bit disturbing to me.  When I read his response (which you did helpfully link to), I don't see any "patriarchy" in it.

The link to the original video is no longer working on Mr. Baucham's website. I can't find the original message on YouTube so that we can listen to or read his original remarks. All you are quoting is what he says he said. Plus some other stuff that doesn't offer much in the way of clarification.

I am in fact calling men to embrace a biblical relationship with their daughters, and reject the practice that we have all seen of chasing young women who (though used for sex) become substitute daughters for these “Old Guys”.

I doubt very seriously that men who are chasing young women for sex are looking for "substitute daughters".  It still sounds like he is saying that men who receive 'attention' from their daughters will be satisfied and not desire the attention (sexual) of other young women. Which sounds hinky no matter how you slice it. 

I don't know what "Do-Right BJU" wingnuts and their ilk" have to do with this. I'm simply exploring the underlying premise of some of these teachings that IMO have major weaknesses, both in the realm of healthy relationships and the proper interpretation of Scripture.

Brenda T's picture

By "teaching" I was not referring to anything physically sinful. Yes, others have taken his statements to refer to that, but I didn't. I was referring to this statement:

"A lot of men are leaving their wives for younger women because they yearn for attention from younger women. And God gave them a daughter who can give them that."

The word "that" in that context is clearly referring only to "attention" and we all know that attention can take on many forms not related to anything physical. However, he is, in that statement, teaching that one of the purposes of daughters is  so certain fathers can get their (apparently) yearned-for attention from younger women.

 

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

In light of the serious sins which have resulted in Doug Phillips’s resignation from Vision Forum Ministries, the Board of Directors has determined that it is in the best interests of all involved to discontinue operations. We have stopped receiving donations, and are working through the logistical matters associated with the closing of the ministry. While we believe as strongly as ever in the message of the ministry to the Christian family, we are grieved to find it necessary to make this decision. We believe this to be the best option for the healing of all involved and the only course of action under the circumstances. http://www.visionforumministries.org/issues/news_and_reports/the_closing...

This doesn't surprise me. Ministry to families is what VF is most known for, and Doug Phillips is such an integral part of the VF 'brand' that I can't imagine VF being able to stay in business.