It’s Not the Affair that Irks Me, Mr. Phillips

Kirk Cameron and Doug Phillips.
Kirk Cameron and Doug Phillips.

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Lana Hope’s blog Wide Open Ground. It was originally published on October 31, 2013 with the title, “He’s Priest Over Our Courtship Life, But Fails His Own.”

Doug Philips, president of Vision Forum, and popular advocate of Christian Reconstructionism, Christian Patriarchy, and the Stay-at-Home-Daughter Movement, who has influenced 1000s of homeschool families to not use birth control or send their daughters to college and keep daughters at stay home until they marry, cites some kind of emotional affair as reason he is stepping down from Vision Forum.

by Douglas Phillips, Esq., October 30, 2013

With thanksgiving to God for His mercy and love, 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. 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.

There are no words to describe the magnitude of shame I feel, or grief from the injury I caused my beloved bride and children, both of whom have responded to my repentance with what seems a supernatural love and forgiveness. I thought too highly of myself and behaved without proper accountability. I have acted grievously before the Lord, in a destructive manner hypocritical of life messages I hold dear, inappropriate for a leader, abusive of the trust that I was given, and hurtful to family and friends. My church leadership came alongside me with love and admonition, providing counsel, strong direction and accountability. Where I have directly wronged others, I confessed and repented. I am still in the process of trying to seek reconciliation privately with people I have injured, and to be aware of ways in which my own selfishness has hurt family and friends. I am most sensitive to the fact that my actions have dishonored the living God and been shameful to the name of Jesus Christ, my only hope and Savior.

This is a time when my repentance needs to be proven, and I need to lead a quiet life focusing on my family and serving as a foot soldier, not a ministry leader. Though I am broken over my failures, I am grateful to be able to spend more time with my family, nurturing my wife and children and preparing my older sons and daughters for life. So, for these reasons I want to let my friends know that I have stepped down as a board member and as president of Vision Forum Ministries. The Board will be making provision for the management of the ministry during this time. To the friends of this ministry, I ask for your forgiveness, and hope that you will pray for the Phillips family at this time, and for the men who will be responsible for shepherding the work of Vision Forum Ministries in the future.

Doug Phillips

When I read this letter,  I was hurt.

It has triggered so much. I’m the weak sex. I need a man to protect me. Eve at the fruit first, you know.

I couldn’t date in high school. I was not supposed to go to college because I would lose my virginity. I couldn’t be trusted anywhere. I needed accountability.

I couldn’t speak in church. God couldn’t entrust me like he did men. I remember laying my head up against the “men’s meeting” at church (not his church) as a young adult, hurt because I couldn’t hear from God like them.

I remember so much of Vision Forum, all the catalogues and books and dolls. My sister as a kid entered their film festival, but was told she couldn’t receive the award alone (if she had won), not without our dad by her side.

Yet at the end of the day, what the heck? Mr. Philips has an affair.

It’s not the affair that irrks me. Whatever there. We all get messy. It’s that he said I couldn’t be entrusted to go to college. And he said I couldn’t be entrusted to be pure before marriage if went on dates or to college or whatever. And he said I was underneath the man. And Eve ate the dang apple.

This is what Mr. Philips needs to do.

He needs say look folks, I get it now. I’m messed up human like the rest of us, men aren’t better than women, and assuredly men in Christian leadership aren’t better than a lay woman. In fact, most of you are probably doing better than me.

And then he needs to send daughters on their way.

Yea, that right there. He needs to say it.

17 thoughts on “It’s Not the Affair that Irks Me, Mr. Phillips

  1. lanamhobbs November 1, 2013 / 7:22 am

    The hypocrisy, the pride, the sexism. Ugh. In Phillips, not Lana hope


  2. N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ November 2, 2013 / 7:02 am

    ” I remember laying my head up against the “men’s meeting” at church (not his church) as a young adult, hurt because I couldn’t hear from God like them.”

    Your post brought back so many memories of how I felt as a woman. I have much empathy and compassion for you. You are certainly not alone, and it took years for me to recover from such inhumane psychological abuse. I still get triggers sometimes. Thank you for your courage in sharing.

    “In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God.

    It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die… Woman, you are the gate to hell.” ~Tertullian (early church father who played a primary theological role in Western Christianity)


  3. James Fin November 5, 2013 / 7:20 am

    If you actually read the bible, you might find that some of what Philips taught was unbiblical/legalistic and some of it was actually quite sound. For example, the bible does teach that Eve was more easily deceived, but that does NOT necessarily mean that women should not go to college.

    As another example, the bible SAYS women are to keep silent in church and should not be in church teaching positions (once again, go read your bible). However, this does not mean that men get some kind of special revelation from God – and Phillips would never say this. He is merely supporting the idea of male headship (a biblical concept)

    Lastly, the comment that Phillips believes men are better than women is just 100% slander and simply not true. If you can quote him saying this even one time, I will change my mind.

    At the end of the day, the problems you have with Philips are largely him taking biblical principles (headship, authority, etc) and going too far in applying them (legalism). So why don’t you do us all a favor and go read your bible before you start condemning other people and putting up straw men. If you’re going to blog, at least pretend to be fair, accurate, and balanced.


    • Lois Ann Manning November 6, 2013 / 7:23 pm

      James Fin: Your comments are silly because they are moot: The bible is provably a myth from one simple fact: SNAKES CANNOT TALK! I knew that as a three-year-old when I was first told about that ridiculous Garden of Eden story. “It’s a fairly tale,” I thought and still do, “like with the talking wolf in Little Red Riding Hood.” I assumed everybody knew that animals can’t talk, too, and that we were all just going through the motions of saying we believed it because, well, everybody else did. That’s where you are James…Insisting on something that even a toddler knows is wrong. You don’t really believe snakes can talk, so why do you keep pretending you do? If you have empirical evidence to the contrary (an actual talking snake), why don’t you produce one? It’s important: Your entire theology is based on it.


    • Mike the Law Prof December 18, 2013 / 3:30 pm

      James, There is little to say to you at this point other than you are blinded and a fool–you sure don’t need the poison that’s running through your soul. By the way, are you aware that DP’s notion of a woman being silent in church even extended to not allowing women to ask for prayer, introduce family members, etc.? That is most decidedly not a biblical standard. This young lady never slandered a soul, but you’ve slandered her. [HA note: Comment modified due to Comment Policy #4.]


  4. LivingGod'sway November 5, 2013 / 9:02 am

    I believe the correct term is we, as women, are the weaker sex; we are not weak. According to the Bible we are to be under man: our father and then our husband; ie. Gen 3:16, Eph 5:22 & 6:1-3; Col 3:18&20. And God has entrusted us as women; He entrusted us so far that a woman bore the Son of God.
    Mr. Phillips didn’t say you couldn’t go to collage, or out on a date; your father did. Perhaps he was influenced by Mr. Phillips or Vision Forum Ministries; but he still, as your father, made those decisions. Yes, I too was disappointed with what has come out. But I think that we need some of I Corinthians 13 in our lives and conversations these days. We seem to have left brotherly love and compassion at the door; as well as the parts of the Bible we happen to disagree with.


    • Mike the Law Prof December 18, 2013 / 3:34 pm

      DP undeniably taught these things about young women and college. And he seemed utterly incapable of extending the principles of Cor 13 to others. This is so typical of the circle-the-tens mentality of cultists (and you probably qualify, LGS), they immediately attack the victims and then ask for compassion for the perp. [HA note: Comment modified due to Comment Policy #4.]


  5. Optimisticmomma November 6, 2013 / 4:00 am

    Just for the record Tertullian was one of the few church ‘fathers’ who went way off track into Montanism and was not recognized by even the Catholic church as a saint. He was a very screwed up guy, so to quote him in reference to Christ’s teaching on females, is just wrong. Tertullian seemed to start out okay and became very confused and anathema.


    • N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ November 8, 2013 / 6:00 am

      OptimisticMomma, thanks for your comment. Tertullian’s view of women was no different than other church fathers and male protestant reformers. To my knowledge, the Catholic Church didn’t reject his views about women.

      “Saint Augustine:‘Saint’ Augustine: Augustine’s view of sexual feelings as sinful affected his view of women. He considered a man’s erection to be sinful, though involuntary, because it did not take place under his conscious control. His solution was to place controls on women to limit their ability to influence men. He believed that the serpent approached Eve because she was less rational and lacked self-control, while Adam’s choice to eat was viewed as an act of kindness so that Eve would not be left alone. Augustine believed sin entered the world because man (the spirit) did not exercise control over woman (the flesh).”

      Due to the fact that leaving multiple links can flag a post as spam, I will leave a few links in the following posts for you to look over and educate yourself of the vial things “men of God” have believed and said throughout history about women, which have been the source of untold suffering, even today.


    • N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ November 8, 2013 / 6:06 am

      “Greek philosophy which was adopted by Christians, held women to be inferior to men by nature. Roman law, which became the basis for the Church’s laws, gave women a low status in society.

      Theologians too copied this line of thinking, integrating the anti-women views of Greeks and Romans into their theological reasonings. Church lawyers formulated Church Law on the basis of Roman Law, and on the negative statements of Fathers and local Church Councils..”


  6. mona November 7, 2013 / 9:04 am

    I must agree with James Fin. Most of what Phillips taught IS biblically sound–and the Biblical teaching of how women are to be treated is actually quite beautiful–loved, adored and cherished. Phillips is not immune from temptation and sin–and it does not mean he does not believe in what he has taught–it means he was weak in some area and not guarded in a situation and fell into sin. As far as the Bible being a fairytale–well there is more historical evidence for than against–but that is between you and your God. We all know in their heart there IS a God–we can argue there is not, but we all know, deep in our hearts the truth.


    • Mike the Law Prof December 18, 2013 / 3:36 pm

      There was and is nothing beautiful about DP’s vision–it is sick and destructive, and brings disrepute to the very God you seek to follow–and Whom you quite likely don’t know based on your attitude expressed here.


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