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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Some Thoughts On the Resignation of Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Ministries

 

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 and honour.

This post is not likely to be a popular one.  Some things in this life are not pleasant to deal with.  For those who wonder why I would address this subject, let me give a brief explanation.

The “patriarchal” movement, as it is called, is generally an extremely conservative Christian sect which promotes and preaches the idea that the father is the central and most important figure of the home.  It is considered his right to rule the home as he sees fit, but in a way that too often goes well beyond the requirements of scriptural headship.  The so-called “Quiverfull” movement is based on the ideology that we should “trust God with our families” and by “faith” “receive every blessing He wants to give us” in regard to children – usually meaning that any form of birth prevention (even non-life-threatening ones) is “wicked” or sinful.  (It is not uncommon for this to extend even to the point where the mother’s life is in danger or her health is seriously compromised.)  Because there are many different groups who hold to part of the theories surrounding these views, it’s hard to give basic beliefs that apply in all cases.  One common view seems to be that through having large, father-centric families, they will be able to “reclaim” society and win the “war” against an evil culture.  Of course, this is not the message of the gospel preached unto us.  See 1 Corinthians 15:1-10.

Doug Phillips is a well known and prominent leader in the “patriarchy” and Quiverfull movements as well as in the homeschooling world.  He has taught many followers on the subjects of fatherhood, motherhood, marriage, the family, the father-centered home, purity, homeschooling, courtship/betrothal, the restoring of America and the church through the restoring of the home/family, multi-generational family “Visions”, and the need to “take back” America through large families that are then trained up to be “warriors” who will go out and win the “war on culture”.  After all of this, he has been unfaithful to his wife – a direct failure of the things for which he has so strongly spoken. 

Galatians 6:14  But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

The entire situation is very unpleasant, but it is my hope that through this perhaps some people will begin to question the ideology that places the father and families in a place of importance that often supersedes that of Jesus Christ and his bride, the church.  I hope that there will be those who in questioning this ideology will find that it is not a righteous and biblical interpretation for the church age, but is based upon a misguided doctrine that removes Israel from all of the promises and blessings in the Old Testament and appropriates them to the church, and that in realizing this, they will also realize that “patriarchy”, as taught by these people, is not true Christ-centered, Christianity.  It is my hope that they will re-examine the teachings of the New Testament and realize the liberty that we truly have in Christ.

Galatians 5:1  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Because so many people in the conservative parts of the Christian community have bowed to Doug Phillips and Vision Forum in one way or another, accepting their teachings without examining the scripture to see if these things be so (Acts 17:11), it seemed needful to bring this subject forward for examination.  If you’ve never had to deal with this subject nor its adherents, you are blessed.  There are some sweet people among them, but there is also a strangeness to the manners and behavior of too many of them that has bothered some of us on more than one occasion.  The smell of legalism and bondage is heavy around this movement.

So, here are some things to consider specifically relating to the details surrounding Mr. Phillips’ sin and resignation.

15 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading this, very good pointers! You said something that made me think back to some of the Patriarch Movement folks, that they don't check the Scripture. I remember I had said that "God is love" from John to someone from the movement and they said I was making up Scripture :/. Many of them don't actually read the New Testament.

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    1. Hi, Chava. Thanks for stopping by to read - and comment. :-)
      Your experience with quoting the verse from 1 John and having that person say you were making it up is horrifying and sadly not as shocking as it should be. :-/ I hope and pray that some of these folks will wake up and realize they need to study the scriptures for themselves instead of taking man's word for it.

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  2. "The smell of legalism and bondage is heavy around this movement."

    I agree...I am friends with a young gal who was raised this way. She is now seeing how skewed the teaching has been. That is as close as I have gotten to the movement, which I am grateful for. Though I homeschooled my kids, I was pretty separate from most homeschooling families. We didn't fit in. ;)

    Have a wonderful Sunday. =)

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    2. Hi, Amy! Thanks for commenting. My parents homeschooled us too, but we never got into any of the big groups or movements either. My family dabbled around the edges of some of this movement but we never dived in to "faithful" following at all.

      I'm glad your friend is seeing the error of those things and trust from what you say that she's also seeing the truth at the same time. It saddens me to see how many leave and go to worse lies. I believe they go to worse lies because they never understood the true Gospel of grace and mercy and so they don't realize that it is not the same as the bondage they lived under.

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    3. P.S. I hope you have a wonderful Lord's day too. :-)

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  3. Thankyou for writing this and being honest - I completely agree with you and from what i have read of the Quiverfull movement I felt it was falling towards a Cult and less to do with Christ. I am also felt that power had gone to the heads of the men in charge of this movement which is always a dangerous thing, especially for the women in the movement. It is interesting that he doesn't refer to his actions as adultery, what else is it?

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    1. Thank you for you comment, Joluise. I agree that the Quiverfull movement tends towards a cult and that power has gone to the heads of the men in leadership. And, yes, it is dangerous!

      In considering this situation in question, I'm quite bothered that the "unmarried woman" has apparently figured so little in the repentance, forgiveness and concern. I'm wondering if she will be judged as permanently "unclean" and if any of the men within the movement will ever want to marry her now due to the nature of the situation (assuming she is within the group). And, yet, the very man who put her in this difficult spot (either with her permission or against her will) is one of those who taught such stringent "purity" rules that may now cause other men to hesitate in considering her for marriage. It's extremely shameful.

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  4. Hi, I found your blog via Chava's Permafrostthaw

    Thank you for your blogpost, it was very informative. I have read something about the movement in question but never anything negative (well, except from some feminists, but I have a very thick feminist filter)

    It is very sad every time a group with a powerful and charismatic leader comes crushing down. I'm sorry Patriarch Movement falls into this category too. There's much human suffering, I'm sure, in everyone's heart, because the movement stood for something good , at least in the beginning.

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm glad you found this informative.

      I am inclined to disagree that the Patriarch Movement that I'm discussing here stood for something good in the beginning - speaking of it as a whole. I think they had some good points, but I'm not sure that they ever understood New Testament teaching regarding the church. I am not even convinced that they have correctly viewed the Old Testament teaching on patriarchy. It would take awhile to explain this, and perhaps I'll post more on that subject in the not-too-distant future.

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    2. I should clarify - When I say they had some good points, it is a common thing for many movements to have certain essential truths that they get right. However, in order to build up their own following and keep the followers faithful, they must add a necessary fiction. The Patriarchy Movement of which Mr. Phillips is a leader certainly has its' fictions.

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  5. Really? Thank you for being even more informative with me. When you hear something and read something from distance, without really knowing the truth about the subject, you can get a very different impression. When I first heard of PM I was glad that we had something like that in our modern and all too liberal times. But, as in most cases, things are seldom how they seem to be.

    Thank you and all the best!

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    1. You're welcome, Miriam. :-)

      I think that one of the problems these folks tended toward that is sadly common in Christendom is what I call reactionary Christianity. In seeing some evil in the world that is contrary to scripture, some people tend to run as far in the opposite direction as they can, not stopping to realize that they are going too far the other way and are again guilty of being out of line with God's word. It's something we all need to beware of.

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  6. Can you further explain your belief of the Church's role in a families' life? I actually come from a different perspective than the movement you speak about here. Have you heard of IFB? Independent, fundamental Baptist. There has recently been 3 pastor's fall. One was the pastor of one of the largestchurces in America and one was the pastor of a large church local to us. The situation you describe is so similar to these situations EXCEPT IFB teaches the opposite- the pastor is the "high priest" - so to speak. And the church is more important than your family. Over the past two years my husband and I realize 1. You can never put your trust in men. 2. The pastor is to feed the sheep - a help. 3. It's Christ, the family and then the church. The same order that each institution was introduced on the Bible. Do, I was curious where you see the churches role? BTW - we are not a part of any movement. We just try our hardest to live the Bible way.


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    1. Hi, Anonymous. Thanks for reading and for commenting.

      There is not a simple answer, as you might have guessed. :-)

      First off, my husband and I are also not part of any movement, but at present we attend an IFB church, but for the simple reason that the pastor of our church does not consider himself to be in charge of all the families in the assembly. Not all IFBs believe that, but they are getting to be rather rare.

      Secondly, it might surprise you to learn that Doug Phillips, despite his teaching on the importance of the father in the home, was a "superpower" in his own local assembly from the things I've been reading. He apparently was the only elder for quite a long time because he couldn't find anyone who agreed with him 100%. My experience with pastors/elders who require 100% agreement is that they are little popes at best, brutal dictators at worst. Doug Phillips seems to qualify for both. So, extreme patriarchy can still have domineering pastors/elders.

      Thirdly, I'm really glad that you and your husband have learned the things that you have. May the Lord bless you in that, as there are many people who are so confused about what a pastor should be, who follow men, and even make "being in church" an idol.

      Lastly, and most difficultly, the church's role in relation to the family should have a separate post or article written on it. I will try to write something on this soon, Lord willing. I think it is needed and had already been thinking about it.

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