Thoughts on the Resignation of
Doug Phillips from Vision Forum

By Mary Stephens

LAST EDITED: Jan. 2014

Ecclesiastes 10:1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the
apothecary to send forth a stinking savour:
so doth a little
folly him that is in reputation for wisdom

The real problem comes when it is a lot of folly in him that is in reputation for
wisdom and honor.  Then it's much worse than stinking ointment!

Romans 2:21-24
Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?...
Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery?
thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?

For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

There are some who will accuse me of "attacking a man when he's down" by addressing this subject now.  However, it's my hope that some people who may be questioning the whole "patriarchal" and "Quiverfull" movement may start to figure out some things through this debacle. So here I wish to specifically give some observations relating to the resignation of Doug Phillips from Vision Forum Ministries on October 30, 2013.

Please take the time to read the entire resignation statement here.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Psalms 38:18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

In this day and age it is generally to a man's credit when he stands up and takes responsibility for sin publically.  In this case, Mr. Phillips is quite hard on himself by modern standards.  He tells us frankly that there has been "serious sin" in his life.  He acknowledges his injury to his family.  He admits that he thought too highly of himself, and did not have proper accountability; that he was a hypocrite in respect to the things he has taught, abused his trust, acted inappropriately for a leader, and hurt his family and friends.  He expresses shame, repentance, and grief and admits that his behavior was dishonoring to God and the Lord Jesus Christ.  He claims his determination to prove his repentance and to withdraw from leadership in the ministry while focusing on his family.  He also claims that he has confessed his sin to his wife, family, church  and the board of Vision Forum Ministries.

This is all commendable in as far as it goes (and if it is true).

UPDATE Jan. 2014: As was predictable, though not desirable, the situation with Doug Phillips is a lot uglier than it first appeared.  The information that is now coming to light shows a picture much more wicked than Doug would have us believe.  This "resignation statement" is as faulty as it is because there is a much darker picture behind it.  The indications now coming from various sources are that Mr. Phillips not only was involved with this young woman for years - perhaps even when she was a teenager, if reports are true - but he also responded hatefully to the efforts of men he had worked with closely when they tried to bring him to repentance and restoration.  To add insult to injury, Vision Forum Ministries was not informed of Doug Phillips' sin problem for months after he had stepped down and made the thing known to the leaders of his church, Boerne Christian Assembly.  These are not the signs of a truly repentant man.

A Non-Issue

Some people have taken exception to the statement that the board of Vision Forum will make provision "for the management of the ministry during this time."  Those objecting to this seem to think that it is inappropriate for Mr. Phillips to ever want to be involved with the ministry again.  I can't agree with this for the simple reason that King David wrote, "Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee."  Psalms 51:9-13  David fully desired to return to a teaching role and asked God to allow that.  God obviously did allow it as we see Psalms written after this event in scripture.

UPDATE Jan. 2014: However, David was a man who had a habit of walking in truth and eschewing error and he returned to that.  Mr. Phillips has proven to be otherwise.  (Links will be given below.)  As such, Mr. Phillips is not qualified to teach anyone in the Lord's church.

Romans 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Jen of Jen's Gems web page has this to say: "Our goal, at this blog, is to make sure that Doug Phillips never has an opportunity to be in public ministry again. He has caused tremendous harm to countless lives, yet he seriously thought he could just hunker down quietly for a year and then make a grand comeback. If he had only had a semi-physical, inappropriate relationship, or even a one-night stand, then there would have been room for possible restoration after true repentance. But the reality is that Doug Phillips has been living a double life for the last fifteen years, all while 'demanding' near perfection to almost impossible standards of legalism for everyone else." (Source) [As usual, disclaimer on all versions other than KJV and some content.]

Based upon how the Lord dealt with David (and some other Bible characters), I feel it's unfair to expect a man to stay away from the ministry indefinitely because he sinned once.  Certainly there must be a clear separating from sin, obvious repentance and a higher level of genuine accountability at what time he may return to the ministry.  That's obvious.  But, to insist that he's never "qualified" to teach again is not biblical.  If it were a case of child molesting and he was involved in a children's ministry that would be another matter, and it would be better for a man in that situation to find another line of future ministry altogether.  It is true, however, that a period of living a quiet life and focusing on his own family is very much in order.  And, it doesn't hurt to recall that David suffered a lot of family problems later, as God promised Him he would.

UPDATE Jan. 2014: As it turns out, Mr. Phillips stands accused of some pretty heinous things.  The young woman with whom his "affair" was conducted was probably a teen when the thing commenced - basically molesting or forcing a minor.  Plus his situation as her "pastor" makes it clergy sexual abuse, which is a punishable crime, from my understanding, and makes it all even more hideous and complicated.  Added to this there are other stories by former members of the Boerne Christian Assembly coming forward now that are even more obscene, if they true, because the leadership in that assembly ignored the problem willfully.

Take Note:  It is a curious thing how often those who build cultic followings and groups around themselves develop serious problems with sexual sin and/or financial dishonesty.  It's a pattern.  Check it out.

Having said all this though, there are some numerous causes for concern in this matter.

For What It's Worth

In thinking about King David's sin and repentance, I don't want to be guilty of requiring more than what God did. (See Forgiven article.)  Consequently, I don't want to make too big of a deal out of this, but considering all of the people that Mr. Phillips has injured who are followers of him and his ministry, it seems to me that he might should have made this a public confession rather than a "statement of resignation". 

When a man puts himself into a position of power and authority in a specific area - such as the "restoring of the family", marriage and courtship relationships and the other ideologies - as Mr. Phillips has, and then he falls into sin in an area that is directly related to this subject (adultery/sexual abuse, in this case), it really seems that he should offer more than a statement of resignation to all his followers.  Mr. Phillips has been very forward and outspoken in his leadership on many fronts of the (alleged) "Biblical patriarchy" world.  There are many people that rely on his materials and have followed his teachings regarding the family, marriage, betrothal/courtship and the church (for better or for worse).  Many of these people will now suffer in some way or another because of his sin.  Many fathers will find it hard to explain to their young adult children.  Many young people will be confused and hurt.  Many wives (dare I say it?), who have been forcing "patriarchy" upon their husbands will find it hard to continue to convince their husbands and possibly themselves of these doctrines. [Which may or may not be a bad thing depending upon whether they come to a knowledge of God's truth.]  It seems that some sort of apology toward these people would have been appropriate as well - nay, is essential from a truly repentant man. (Jan. 4/14)

UPDATE Jan. 2014: When a teacher/preacher does great damage to the church of God on a larger scale than his own personal assembly, he owes the church of God as a whole an apology.  It is not enough to just say that he has confessed to family, church and ministry leaders.  The destruction caused by his behavior and teaching is far reaching, and so should be his confession.  A statement of resignation is not in essence a confession to all parties hurt.

Paul wrote in Galatians 2:11, But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.  Peter's sin was something much less significant than Mr. Phillips' sin, and yet Paul rebuked him openly before all so that Peter had to take responsibility for his behavior before all.  1 Timothy 5:19-20 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.


Speaking of the confused young people, this brings to mind the fact that there will be considerable consequences for Mr. Phillips' sin.  As with David, it is impossible for a man of leadership to get into this kind of sin and not leave a trail of problems behind for years to come.  The word of the Lord that was spoken to David through Nathan the prophet was clear enough on this point.  2 Samuel 12:10-14 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

I am not suggesting that all these specific things will happen to Mr. Phillips and his family, but he has certainly opened up a large excuse to his children (and others) for abandoning the faith, and certainly his teachings.  He has also given the enemies of Christ, as a whole, great opportunity to mock, specifically those who have left the "Quiverfull" and "patriarchal" movement in favor of full blown unbelief.  There are likely to be parents who will find it hard to convince their children to "stay in the faith" after seeing the "man at the top" fall in the very type of sin that they have been warned against repeatedly.  The consequences of this will probably be quite grave and far reaching, which is very sad.

Perhaps Mr. Phillips would have found it easier to stay out of this kind of trouble if he had obeyed 1 Corinthians 7:1-2, Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

In a video clip on YouTube from the 2010 Vision Forum presentation of the "Mother of the Year Award" to Michelle Duggar, I found it rather disturbing that Mr. Phillips took so many physical liberties with Mrs. Duggar.  When a man will handle another woman like that in front of her husband, his own wife and a large audience, all thoroughly familiar with his teachings on purity and honor, it shouldn't come as a shock that he would have troubles with the flesh where the ladies are concerned.  I am guessing that his emphasis on "chivalry" is the excuse for such behavior, but no matter how good an ideal sounds, if it contradicts clear scripture, it's wrong.

PLEASE, understand that I am in no way implying that Michelle Duggar was the woman with whom Mr. Phillips had an affair.  The point of this is simply to illustrate that Mr. Phillips had issues with touching other women long before the present situation came to light. Whatever he thought of Mr. Phillips' behavior, Jim Bob Duggar's body language with his wife was a very clear "no trespassing" message to Mr. Phillips.

Here is a link to the video starting at the point when the Duggars are called to the stage.  Watch for Mr. Phillips to 1) kiss Michelle's hand (does he look nervously from Jim Bob to Beall?); 2) kiss her cheek with his hand on her other cheek; and 3) stroke her hair and pat her shoulder and apparently keeps his hand on her shoulder.  4) When he finally removes his hand from Michelle's shoulder Jim Bob immediately puts his hands on both his wife's shoulders with a rather deliberate movement and keeps them there.  5) When they move away from the microphone area Mr. Duggar keeps his hands very much on his wife and appears to make sure she stays on the opposite side of him from Mr. Phillips until they sit down.  Mere coincidence?  Maybe.

For those who don't have good access to video, or in case the video is removed now that the ministry in closing, here are still shots I gleaned from the video.
Unanswered Questions

In considering the statement of resignation and other surrounding items, there are some questions that come up.  Some of these seem to warrant further consideration.

1.  Semantics or inattention?

First of all, I take some exception to some of the wording in his "statement of resignation".  While his language is plenty strong in many respects (he states that he was selfish), it is curious that he does not clearly call his sin adultery.  He is willing to own that it was sin, but he seems to hesitate to name what kind of sin it is.

I suppose that the reasoning would be that he didn't "know" her in the Biblical sense of the word, so it wasn't actual adultery.  Some people only define marriage as a physical relationship, so perhaps they also don't consider it adultery unless intercourse occurred.  This is not what Jesus taught. 

Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Exodus 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Mr. Phillips is to be commended for calling what he did "sin", but we question the integrity of defining what happened as an "inappropriate relationship with a woman".  Jesus Christ calls it adultery.  Since it was a serious enough situation to require a public statement and resignation, it is serious enough to be called what it is.  Based on Mr. Phillips' knowledge of Biblical terminology and the fact that he is a lawyer, I think know he's smart enough to figure that out, so I have to assume that it was an intentional avoidance of reality, or an attempt to reduce personal damages.

It's also disturbing that he avoids naming the sin when one reflects that Mr. Phillips has "taken the moral high ground" and "talked down", as it were, to so many people about his very high standards and views.

NOTE:  See update in box below.

2.  Who is the Woman?

In the statement we are told that he had an "inappropriate relationship with a woman" and that it was "inappropriately romantic and affectionate."  One disturbing point in this is that we're not given any information on who the woman was.  Was she an adult?  Was she a minor, and thus is he guilty also of a crime?    Was the woman "consenting" or was she being victimized by an authority figure?  (As has been the case with Bill Gothard and others.)  Was she one of the "shining lights" connected with Vision Forum Ministries - one of the "great, godly women" who is held up as a model and teacher for all women to follow?  These are all serious questions and do make a difference in the situation.

For example, if the woman was one of the female leaders of the "patriarchy" movement, she most certainly should be removing herself from any position of teaching or instructing as well!

My husband and I feel that more detail needed to be given.  If the situation was purely a flirtation between a grown man and a willing grown woman it is quite different than if he was molesting a minor!  It would certainly make a difference in the matter of future ministry, and according to the laws of the land he may be in a position of having committed a prosecutable crime.

UPDATE Jan. 2014: As it turns out, this may be a very vital question to the whole situation.  I have read in one place that in Texas there is no statute of limitations for some sexual abuse crimes, so if the truth is that the young lady was in fact quite young when this business started, it is possible that Mr. Phillips could "qualify" as a criminal by Texas law.  Mr. Phillips more than likely knows this due to his profession as a lawyer.  This could account in part for his great care in wording in the statement of resignation.  The claim that is being made by various people is that the young woman involved served (without pay) in the Phillips home as a nanny to their children.

Another thing that should be mentioned here is the matter of defrauding a brother in the realm of sexual things.  1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 tells us, For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.  For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.  Hopefully Mr. Phillips' comment, "I am still in the process of trying to seek reconciliation privately with people I have injured..." means that he is trying to address the issue with the defrauded woman and her husband and/or family, but it doesn't seem likely in light of further "clarifications" (see box below).  His comments come off sounding just a bit too much like those of another lawyer who got himself in a mess - "I did not have sex with THAT woman."  It is rather a serious matter, however, to confront the Lord as an avenger, and as a professed "brother" in Christ this is where Mr. Phillips stands!

Further Update Nov. 14 - Mr. Phillips today posted a "Clarification on Resignation" some of which has direct bearing on this question.  Mr. Phillips says, "Some reading the words of my resignation have questioned if there was an inappropriate physical component with an unmarried woman. There was, and it was intermittent over a period of years."  So, we know that the woman was unmarried.  Whether she was a minor during any part of the years is not stated.  Also, we are still left without clarity as to whether she is one of the "leading lights".  [Still he doesn't call his sin adultery and it is glossed over with legalese.  We don't need gruesome details, but "inappropriate physical component" smacks of lawyer-speak used to cover something.  Such careful language is not encouraging.]

Another very disturbing aspect of this clarification is that the woman is not included in the request for prayer at the end.  After all the careful language surrounding her, we still come away not knowing if there is any real concern in him for her and the injury she has sustained.  He concludes this statement, "Please pray for the Phillips family, the Board, and the men who have made up the staff of Vision Forum Ministries."  Where is the hurting or angry woman?  Are we not to pray for her?  This is very disturbing from a man who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ when we think of Jesus' compassion toward the woman found in adultery (John 8:1-11).

Aren't you thankful that the Lord told us all that we needed to know about King David's sin so that we knew that his sin was not with a little girl or some unwilling victim?  There are reasons why God tells us the grubby details of some things in scripture.  It keeps us from having to ask a lot of very unsavory questions.

Quote from sermon by Scott Brown, close friend of Doug Phillips and one of the three board members at the time of the closing of Vision Forum Ministries.   [Disclaimer on sources in general.]

The Smell of Apostasy, Isaiah 5:8-30
Scott T Brown

39:37 — “One of my dear friends has fallen into a great sin. And there are many people that say, ‘Oh, that could have been me.’ But the truth is I hope not, because one falls into that kind of sin after many, many small compromises long before. No one just immediately falls into that sin. They fall because they have been falling. My friend Paul Washer says, ‘You don’t fall into sin. You slide into it.’ Because every public sin is a private sin beforehand. I was telling our interns the other day that I could take everything I’ve done over forty years and destroy it in one second. All I would have to do is kiss a girl and in one second it would all be over. Everything. It would all be burnt to the ground. But let me just make this point. You do not kiss a girl without doing many other things beforehand. You do not fall into sin. You slide. You make one compromise after another. Every public sin is a private sin for a very long time before… Brothers, mortify, expunge, every vestige of lust that would inflame it… But you would not do it [immorality] if you did not cultivate it. So do not cultivate it… Please do not burn everything to the ground. Please do not destroy everything that you’ve worked for your entire life. Everything you’ve ever done will be compromised and everything you’ve ever done will be burned to the ground.”

 Editor's note: A "lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman" is not "falling into sin".  It started with regarding iniquity in his heart.

3.  Was it as simple as he makes it sound?

He says in his statement, "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."  Well, you can call me a cynic if you like, but I'm married and I know there's a lot that can happen in a "relationship" before reaching the point of "knowing" in the Biblical sense (intercourse).  Considering the fact that he refuses to call it "adultery" as Jesus Christ does, it seems quite disturbing that he is so careful in his use of terminology here.  (Remember, this man is a lawyer - he knows what he's doing.)  Since he has seriously compromised his trust, it's a bit dubious of him to expect us to trust his integrity at this point.  Most of us have no personal knowledge of his personal life and habits.

NOTE:  See quote in update above.

Is he hiding something?  Was it a nanny who served his family, as some are suggesting?  Was it his own daughter?  Was it "sexting"?  (Which brings us back to the unpleasant question as to whether one of the women leaders was involved.)  While plenty is admitted, it seems like more is hidden than revealed.  One could even wonder if this statement is a toned down admission designed to placate offended parties while still covering for Mr. Phillips.

Curiously enough, while I was in the process of researching and writing this article, Vision Forum Ministries actually announced that they are closing (Nov. 11, 2013).  Their statement and decision to close entirely is quite odd if the relationship was no worse than he described.  They write, "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." [sic]

Do you note that they call them "serious sins" (plural), not "sin" singular as he described it?  Also, the tone of their post is not one of thankfulness for repentance and forgiveness received as his is.  The board's announcement has a very somber sound to it.  It gives the appearance that there is much more to all of this than has so far met the eye.  One wonders if other revelations are possible and the men left in charge do not wish to deal with them on behalf of the ministry.  One could hardly blame them.  Whether they are entirely innocent or not is still uncertain.

UPDATE Jan. 2014: Further information indicates that it is quite likely that there were highly irregular financial relationships between Vision Forum Ministries (a non-profit corporation) and Vision Forum Inc. (Doug Phillips' for-profit business).  More later on that.

4.  Was he really able to have a "lengthy relationship" with another woman without his wife suspecting anything?

Some may think this an unfair question.  However, due to the nature of the teachings of extreme "patriarchy" which makes the father the central figure in the home and the absolute authority for the wife and children, it is fair to ask if his wife knew and if she was able to do anything about it.  Or, was she a victim within her own marriage and to the teachings of "patriarchy" which required her silence in the face of her husband's unfaithfulness?  Some people might not see this as a likely problem, but for those who have been inside extreme "patriarchy" or who have done much reading about it, it is quite concerning realizing the huge fear factor that controls so many of these women and children on the inside.  From reports given by various sources, it seems rather obvious that there is much suffering in silence on various levels within this movement.

It is a curious thing that in so many legalistic "Christian" groups where women are downtrodden, minimalized, highly protected, and/or heavily ruled by the men, there so often follows some sort of sexual sin or abuse - of the women or of the privileges of marriage and/or of the children.  When a man is convinced that he has the "God-given" right to absolute and silent obedience it seems to often follow that he will presume upon that to excuse himself in breaking the very rules and regulations he forced on others.  It reminds me of something Jesus said,  "...Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers."  Luke 11:46

Women are not stupid.  Wives are not stupid.  Could he possibly have had a "lengthy relationship" with another woman without causing any concern, fear or suspicion in his wife?  If the answer is "yes", that is in some ways more disturbing than if she knew and felt she couldn't say anything.

UPDATE Jan. 2014: It should also be noted here that it is entirely possible that Mrs. Phillips, enjoying the luxuries of life provided by her husband's position, may have "overlooked" his dirty little secret.  This is not as uncommon as some might think.  I know a woman who was molested by her father as a child whose mother was aware of the situation and did nothing about it.  If a mother would do this with her own daughter, it certainly isn't unfair to observe that a wife might do this regarding someone else's daughter, especially when her husband is providing said wife with a prominent, wealthy position in the Christian community.

5.  Are they going to continue to sell and disseminate all the materials he wrote, preached, etc. while he was living in sin?

This is a tough question that some people don't like to deal with in relation to prominent Christian figures who get into gross immorality.  It is perhaps the most important one, though, for those of us outside the situation so it needs to be asked.

Psalms 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Years ago there was a church in Michigan that discovered their pastor was having affairs with several women in the church.  (I want to say five, but the actual number may have escaped my memory.)  As I recall, when he was caught and exposed, he made a confession and also assured the people that all the preaching he had done during that time was perfectly good.  A leader from that assembly had opportunity to consult my dad on the subject and my dad's advice was to burn all the tapes from that time period.  Why?  Because when a man is living in willful sin, knowing full well that what he is doing is wrong, how can he possibly be preaching and teaching "in the Spirit" and with the wisdom of God?  Is it not quenching the Spirit for a man who knows the word and preaches it regularly to live intentionally in sin?  1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.

Mr. Phillips is without excuse.  He has preached, published and taught things relating directly to relationships between men and women, marriage, purity, and honor.  He knew better!  How can we accept the things he has written and spoken during a "lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman" as being faithful to the truth?  We cannot.

As of this writing (Nov. 12, 2013) the situation is somewhat complicated.  Vision Forum Ministries has only just announced they are closing their main ministry.   Mr. Phillips has not stepped down from Vision Forum, Inc., which is the "for profit" part of the organization.  As we have since seen (Nov. 26), Vision Forum, Inc. is not closing, and things written during this time of living in sin are most likely continuing to be sold.

UPDATE Jan. 2014: As it turned out, Vision Forum, Inc. DID close at the end of December.  However, they liquidated their products before doing so.  This means that there was no conscience about selling many materials by Doug Phillips that were written, preached, and taught while he was sexually abusing a woman/living in adultery!  This sound more like money grubbing than repentance. 

1 Timothy 6:9-10 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

The situation gets more muddy and confusing. relates that apparently Voddie Baucham (a friend of Mr. Phillips, and fellow "patriarchy" proponent) admitted that Mr. Phillips stepped down from his position as teaching elder (pastor) in the Boerne Christian Assembly
in February (approximately 9 months before his resignation, which is, um, a curious number).  An anonymous commenter also claimed this.  The question is, was this in relation to the adulterous relationship, as some are claiming, or was it not?  Baucham seems to claim not, but then why did Phillips step down?  If it was related to this situation, why would the church allow Mr. Phillips to continue till October in the leadership of Vision Forum Ministries?  Why would he also continue speaking engagements?  [There was at least one speaking engagement - a homeschool/fatherhood conference on Sept. 5-7 at Kerrville, Texas, sponsored by FORGE Ministries.]  The author at Spiritual Sounding Board, "Julie Anne", also claims that she checked the web page at the Boerne Christian Assembly as soon as the statement of resignation came out and that Mr. Phillips' name was still listed as an elder.  She posted a screen shot of this, but unfortunately it did not include a date.

UPDATE Jan. 2014: As it turned out, Boerne Christian Assembly did know in February of 2013 that Doug Phillips had been living in sin.  They openly admit this in their recent statement on the situation, which was months later than it should have been in appearing on their site.  It is quite obvious that the board of Vision Forum was not informed until months later while Mr. Phillips continued as president of VF Ministries and Inc. and also continued his speaking engagements.  Did Boerne Christian Assembly really need 9 months to determine that Doug Phillips needed to step down from all ministry related things?  This is absolutely without excuse.  It is boldly deceptive and dishonest.  It's is shameful behavior for men who profess godliness.  It also points out once again that Doug Phillips' resignation statement was not the result of true repentance.

Godly sorrow and dealing with sin looks quite different!
2 Corinthians 7:10-11 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

This scenario as represented in the statement by the alleged leadership of Boerne Christian Assembly also begs an awkward question.  If their efforts to restore Doug Phillips were successful, why then did he resign from Vision Forum Ministries nine months later?  They were hiding it all along.  If he were truly repentant, as he claims, and made good progress to victory, why the resignation?  That sounds really bad when you think about it.

Also, we find on the Vision Forum Ministries' web page, at the time of the resignation, an article published on August 7, 2013 by Douglas Phillips, Esq. on the subject of repentance.  What is the meaning of this?  If the man just recently acknowledge his sin then it would seem August is rather a recent date for him to have been writing anything we should be reading, particularly on the subject of repentance.  If indeed Doug Phillips entered upon repentance back in February and is now considered qualified to write on repentance again - then why did they wait so many months allowing him to continue in leadership of the ministry, speaking engagements, etc.?   And, what is the intension in posting this particular item so soon before the statement of resignation?  It seems more than likely it was obviously to prepare the way for the resignation itself, but was it wise to use something by Doug Phillips himself on this particular subject?  I think not.

As mentioned before, if the situation is only as bad as described in Mr. Phillips' statement of resignation, why are they closing everything?  It is very strange.  The whole situation is disturbing and complicated to say the least.  As I said before, there appears to be much more hidden than revealed.

Further Update Nov. 14 - As noted above, Mr. Phillips has made some clarification to the situation.  Among other things he has stated, "Some reading the words of my resignation have questioned if there was an inappropriate physical component with an unmarried woman. There was, and it was intermittent over a period of years." 
This does clarify quite plainly that he has apparently been living in sin for some time.  How much of his material was produced during "a period of years"?  Again - how can we be expected to trust a man to teach us about the sanctity of marriage, the home, and honor while he was living this way?  And yet, it appears that there were many things produced during this time frame that are still up for sale continuing to be sold on his commercial page.

UPDATE Jan. 2014: I find it horrifying and mindboggling that Vision Forum Inc. apparently sold out all or most of their merchandise!  This means that there are many, many people out there who are blind followers of this man.  I don't like to say it so bluntly, but this is nothing but delusion.  People who would refuse to seek out further information on a thing like this and then proceed to fill a man's pockets as he goes down in flames have some very disturbing issues.  Plainly said, this is a cult.

In the same context, I would remind you that if the woman who was involved in this sin was also a writer, speaker, and/or promoter for Vision Forum, her materials from that "lengthy" time ought also to be pulled from his "for profit" branch of the ministry (or from an other ministry in which she was involved).

In Conclusion

1 Corinthians 10:12-14 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

The only encouraging facts in all of this are that a) Mr. Phillips did in fact acknowledge sin and Doug Phillips has closed his deceitful business; and b) that the board, in closing their branch of the ministry down, seem to be responding in a wiser manner than many have done in similar situations and have removed a source of error-filled teaching from some people's lives.

This has not been a pleasant article to write.  As the situation develops there may be corrections and/or additions made here.  But, if there is nothing further that needs to come to light I'll be very thankful.

When a man lifts himself up and promotes himself into a position to become a "great leader" of the church, ruling many with his doctrines and teachings, he often finds himself tempted to become a Nicolaitan ("conqueror of the people").  Jesus Christ tells us in Revelation chapter 2 that He hates the deeds and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.

Revelation 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Revelation 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

This is strong language from the Prince of Peace!  It is a fearful thing to lift oneself up above the people, commanding them to keep certain doctrines or laws that are either contrary to scripture, or not clearly supportable by scripture (this is a topic for another discussion). Doug Phillips set himself in a dangerous place, and he did not do well with the responsibility he took upon himself.

Dear ones in Christ, please, please do not follow man!  Follow the Lord Jesus!  Only He will lead you paths of righteousness for His name's sake, Psalm 23:3.  Man will fail you.  He is but flesh and ...All flesh is grass..., Isaiah 40:6.  Only the eternal Son of God, sinless and holy in His entirety, is worthy of our unquestioning trust and belief.  He only is named Faithful and True!

Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.


Poem - Follow Thou Me

graphics by mary stephens
published Nov. 2013