Nov
30
2013

Revisiting Vision Forum

There are a lot of Vision Forum folks who frequent this website. The recent news of the affair of its leader and the closing of the ministry’s doors is not easy. To many of you, this is serious business, a heartbreak and travesty.

Fall of Vision Forum

Perhaps you know little of who Doug Phillips was or the ministry of which he founded. Wendy and I had a lot in common with Doug and the people close to his ministry. In fact, we still do. This news — now a month old — hits close to home. If you feel the same, I invite you to join us in how we’re handling the revelation of the fall of the top man in the Vision Forum movement.

Our Story

Our history with Vision Forum starts with me, the “patriarch,” more than a decade ago. I first heard of them when I was an editor at Focus on the Family. One of my co-workers told me of a ministry that teaches kids to use slingshots. I thought, “cool!” and investigated. I still have a couple of those slingshots lying around.

At the time, our family fit the Vision Forum mold quite nicely. We had eight children. We preferred attending church together as a family, so the concept of “family integration” was attractive to us. We home schooled, were politically conservative, and were Bible-believing Christians. In many ways, we still fit the mold.

But we began walking away from Vision Forum in 2004. It wasn’t all at once, and it wasn’t all about Vision Forum. It had more to do with our walking away from legalism, that which we write about in our 2007 book Love in the House. Our first step away from it was when we left a church that was profoundly steeped in its teachings. Trouble is, we connected with and befriended many people who are still — to this day nearly a decade later — deep into Vision Forum’s teachings.

It’d be easy for a daddy blogger like me to chew them up and spit them out. But I love these people, some of them like family. I feel a strong connection to them, and Wendy and I want to walk life’s journey with them. They are real people with spouses, businesses, lots of children, and a community who want to stick together and love one another.

This hits to the core, doesn’t it? Doug Phillips resigned, Vision Forum closed its doors, and simply walking away is not that easy. It seems our Love in the House journey is painful and long. I find hope that the Doug Phillips scandal is a step in the right direction. For you, perhaps it’s the first step.

If you’re a family like us (are you, too, on the Vision Forum mailing list?), please consider being a Berean and weighing all things. I suspect you have had doubts all along, just like we did over the years. We believe this crossroad is a good place to be. It’s right where Christ wants us, an opportunity to rewrite some fundamentals in our families. Good can come of this, I’m certain of it.

The Fall of Doug Phillips

Perhaps you don’t even know who Doug Phillips is. Chances are you have come across his influence — especially if you subscribe to this site. We homeschool, we love lots of children, we are conservative Christians, and so on. Doug was an advocate for such things. It helps to understand exactly where we’re at before we start questioning.

On October 30, Vision Forum Ministries president Doug Phillips posted an open letter of resignation. In it he stated he had a long-lasting romantic relationship with an unmarried woman. Phillips is a most popular public speaker at homeschool conferences and at all the Vision Forum events. He cancelled all his engagements to focus on his family and, as anyone would guess, rebuild that which he broke.

Doug’s letter left a lot to the imagination. Not many questions were answered, even leaving the impression that Doug’s sin was perhaps petty. He gave a Clintonesque explanation that he did not have sex, whatever that means. He also made it clear that he was returning to his patronage duties to “raise his sons and daughters” and rebuild that which he holds dear.

I’m not sure about you, but I had several questions. Hardly satisfied, I was asking:

  • How long was “many years”? What does “intermittent” mean?
  • With whom? A subordinate? Co-worker? Other leader? Intern? Nanny? Church member?
  • Was there financial impropriety involved?
  • Did his church or ministry circle know about this? If so, for how long?

News from the ministry since the resignation letter has been tight. Only two press releases have come out since the resignation. The first was an announcement of the closing of its doors. The second was a clarification from Doug Phillips of what happened in his affair. I do not think Vision Forum’s tight-lipped secrecy is helping them any. It sure isn’t answering the questions I have.

At this point, who knows where this will go. Wouldn’t it be great if Doug renounced the bad and clung to the good? Yeah, that would be something, but the history of these kinds of things don’t leave me much hope. I smell conspiracy and coverup, which isn’t a rush to judgment, just an honest opinion.

Judgment

I’ve been involved in many conversations with close friends trying to make sense of this. I have friends in both camps: some hate and some love Vision Forum. This is a complicated mess, but I have found it interesting to witness a particular defense, and I don’t believe it helps. I hope you resist this kind of reaction.

I’ve jumped in with my share of criticism, especially on my personal Facebook profile. Whenever I post criticism, almost knee-jerk are responses reminding me that no one is perfect, that he with no sin should cast the first stone, that we should love one another. I can see their hurt. “Christians shoot each other,” so the accusation goes. “We should be quick to forgive.” One dad got very angry with me, “What side are you on?” he rebuked me.

I find this response peculiar. Doug Phillips was known as a stern critic of all things immoral and, as he deemed it, unholy. He held deep criticisms of women in any leadership position — business, military, the home and church. He publicly excommunicated people from his church for marital infidelity. He challenged men to abandon pornography, be leaders of their home, and paved the way (at least appeared to) to biblical manhood and fatherhood.

He’s now proven to be a hypocrite. A false prophet. A fraud. Attacking me for being skeptical of him is strange, even revealing.

We should just forgive and forget? I don’t believe forgiveness is for me to give. Doug has his own conscience to deal with. I can only relate to who Doug was publicly, and if I had an unrealistic image of him, that’s my problem.

I find it ironic that the same week Doug Phillips apologized, Barack Obama apologized for his handling of the Affordable Care Act. The Vision Forum crowd is extremely intolerant of liberalism, as am I. No slack was going to be extended to the President of the United States, but complete grace was to be given to the President of Vision Forum. The hypocrisy of these men weren’t the only sins being exposed. Those quick to cover for these sins were guilty accomplices, it seemed.

Attacking the disillusioned doesn’t help any. Neither is a blind defense of all things previously held true. Instead, an honest analysis of how the fallen ministry impacted you and your family is what you should do. That’s what has filled my conversations for a month now.

The Next Chapter Is Yours

That’s where this story is tough: Doug isn’t going to write our story for us. He’s out. The next chapter is up to us. We can only bravely face the facts and start separating the truth from the fiction, rebuilding our lives for the better.

That’s what Wendy and I are doing: we’re thinking through the good and removing the bad. We’re analyzing our own beliefs on all sorts of things that, perhaps, we took too much for gospel truth. We’re keeping the slingshots, but we’re ditching the legalism. We’ve been doing this all along since 2004, but now we have a reason to make a cleaner separation. Good will come of this cleansing.

If you ran with the same crowd as Doug Phillips and Vision Forum, I encourage you to do similar introspection. What Vision Forum beliefs do you still hold onto?

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • anna

    I agree that this is very sad! I’m not trying to throw a stone at you, so to speak, but what do you mean about legalism? So many Christians throw that term around so lightly. I know I, for one, was surprised when I saw that one of his employees, and someone who had spoken at one of their gatherings, posting trick or treating pictures on their blog. I was thought that they were NOT legalistic since they clearly spoke against it, but they didn’t try to govern those families that were working for them to live exactly as they did. Now, I’m not saying I agree with everything! :) I threw away one of his cd’s that I thought was just horrible, but I do love a lot of their things. I guess I’m just asking this because I want to guard against my own family becoming legalistic or prideful and not even realizing it. You know it kind of creeps up on you. I don’t want to swing the other way of anything goes as a Christian either. That really bothers me that he would excommunicate someone with the same sin. Do you know of this personally? Were they repentant? I agree that if a person is not repentant they should be excommunicated, but repentance should find forgiveness. Because I cannot speak personally with Mr. Phillips, I choose to believe he is repentant and forgive him for the lie he caused us all to believe of him. At the same time, that doesn’t mean I won’t be cautious of what they teach. There are so few companies that offer good reading and good toys for children. I’m glad to hear that the retail store will not be closed, for now. My boys have the slingshots too! :) I would love to read Love in the House when I have the money to buy the book. It sounds like it would be a good reminder to have convictions while also having love for others differing views. I have both Love in the Kitchen books and I have never bought canned sloppy joe mix again! Thanks Wendy! Yours are delicious! Love you guys!

    • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

      Thanks Anna. I read this reply in our living room, and I yelled over at Wendy (who’s preparing lunch for the kids) your reply about sloppy joe mix. You put a smile on her face!

      Here’s an article I wrote concerning legalism: http://www.jeubfamily.com/2013/11/13/republished-on-an-anti-quiverfull-website/. The term should, in my opinion, be taken much more seriously by Christians. It tends to be downplayed by (go figure) legalists.

      The story of the excommunication can be found here: http://jensgems.wordpress.com/category/jens-story-01/

      I plan to post some specifics of what Wendy and I are working through, as far as Vision Forum teachings go. We’re praying through all of them. It’s nice to hear your thoughts.

      • Taunya

        Concerning repentance Peter Bradrick, a close friend of Doug’s, his former executive assistant for many years and Scott Brown’s son-in-law, is now posting publicly on his own facebook page. He claims that Doug is not repentant and that claim is verified in the comments by another close friend of Doug’s and Joe Morecraft.

        This post has gone up within the last 24 hours. So it would seem in the eyes of the men closest to him repentance has not taken place as of yet.

      • Jennifer

        Thank you for posting your thoughts on the Doug Phillips and Vision Forum undoing. Our eyes have been opened to some of the skewed teachings coming out of the Christian Homeschooling movement. We never followed Doug Phillips but we had been reading a lot of material brought forth by Doug Phillips friends and followers. The rabbit trails of lies and deception had originally left me feeling cheated and taken advantage of. I spent my husband’s hard earned money on Vision Forum products. I’m sorry I ever supported them knowing what we know now. All in all it has drawn us closer to God and led us to look closer at the teachings of a “church” before we jump in and get our family involved. Learning to discern Truth and to “take the meat and spit out the bones” is an ongoing journey. Keep up the good fight, Chris and family!

  • anna

    Can I ask one more question? :) Do you still believe in worshiping as a family? As in no youth group, etc? We prefer that. Sometimes I wonder though if something like Awanas is a good thing, or should the family just focus on Scripture memory together? We’re trying to decide on a church now. We’re driving an hour to a family integrated church because it got so hard always telling everyone no, that our kids could not participate in the age segregated classes. It bothers me to just drop my kids off with someone that I don’t even know that well. Or, when someone that should not be in a leadership position is teaching the kid’s class. Christians looked at us as though we were not “spiritual”, but the funny thing is we read the Bible and have family worship time every day. We guard what is shown on our tv. But they could watch whatever they wanted on tv, etc. as long as their kids are their for every class, they’re holy. Bleh. That just bothers me. This is controversial, I know. If you don’t want to answer, that’s ok. I’m just seeking answers as to what is best. It was also a Vision Forum hot topic.

    • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

      We worship as a family, yes, though I’m not impressed with the NCFIC, one of Doug’s offshoots. If you want to see a pathetic rant of legalism, grown men wrapped up in judgment and condemnation that they totally miss the Gospel, watch this video: https://ncfic.org/blog/posts/worship-of-god-qa-what-about-holy-hip-hop

      • Pamela

        NCFIC has posted several apologies for this. Not particularly disagreeing with your statement, but I thought it was only right to point this out.

    • Heidi

      I love worshiping as a family. We go to church service together. But we have decided to attend a congregation is 1/2 block from our home. It is a Baptist type church and we are Reformed believers. They don’t have ‘family integrated church’, but it is a growing, healthy church with excellent preaching and people in love with Jesus, There is no perfect church or place. But we choose to worship at this place because we can be involved and experience true community. We will teach them theology at home and let our kids weigh out theology as they grow. The kids and youth programs have many families involved:-)

  • anna

    Thank you so much, Chris. It will take some time to read all of that blog! Your link didn’t take me to the specific part of excommunication, but I am bothered by what I read. I think this is timely since we have been praying so hard for God to lead us to the right church. Wish you guys lived closer! :)

  • Angela C

    Has anyone brought into question why he is resigning from the non profit but yet continuing with the for profit that is selling the very messages he is a hyppocrite of?? Wasn’t he even quoted as saying himself he should not be in leadership? Just wondering?

    • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

      A lot of bloggers have been asking that. A story broke yesterday saying that the for-profit is set to close Dec 31, but I haven’t heard any formal announcement.

    • Jen

      I don’t see running a store as the same thing as being in leadership. Isn’t the store a big source of revenue for the Phillips family? I do think that should the store remain open, his teachings should not be sold. They sold a lot of other items from other people and companies, which I would have no problem still buying.

  • Sheila Mom to Seven

    Someone who has truly repented should receive forgiveness and acceptance into the “fold”, so to speak. I don’t know where Doug Phillips stands in that regard, except to take his word for it. Only God knows the heart. I do think it’s wrong for anyone to hold any human being in such high regard as to “lose it” or be devastated/shocked if that person falls or fails – there is none that is righteous, no not one. Sad, but not shocking.
    In regard to VF and its teachings, I’d say our family holds pretty similar values. But, not on everything. You take the good, you chuck the “bad”. (I don’t happen to a Calvinist, so that rules out some of the theology VF promotes. :) )

  • shawn mathis

    Good conclusion and call to all readers:

    “That’s what Wendy and I are doing: we’re thinking through the good and removing the bad. We’re analyzing our own beliefs on all sorts of things that, perhaps, we took too much for gospel truth. We’re keeping the slingshots, but we’re ditching the legalism. We’ve been doing this all along since 2004, but now we have a reason to make a cleaner separation. Good will come of this cleansing.

    If you ran with the same crowd as Doug Phillips and Vision Forum, I encourage you to do similar introspection. What Vision Forum beliefs do you still hold onto?”

    • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

      Thanks Shawn. You’ll find it interesting that I met recently with the pastor from our church we left, and he is rethinking much of the Vision Forum stuff. That, to me, is promising.

  • cynthiajeub

    Wow, there are some stinging remarks here, all well-said. Especially the comparison to President Obama and the hypocrisy within the movement to forgive one and hate the other.

    • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

      Isn’t it interesting how the two coincided?

  • D Hitzel

    As I said on FB, it is sad that men we place men on a pedestal or the flip side and more often than not they place themselves upon that pedestal themselves. It is a snare that sets heavy upon many anointed – not just the few we see. We all can be like that, weak within our selves, to fall into sin. It is my long-held belief that the “Church” has often failed to properly teach the need for and methods of Spiritual Warfare. And because of that they are not strong enough to defend themselves from a tiny push into sin…. Satan is not overly powerful, but our own sinfulness needs little pressure to submit to our unholy past ways… Consider this… Very carefully. We can point fingers… We can say he was overly legalistic, that he was deliberate in his actions and we are immune.

    That would the saddest part of this story. Take those that we see weakened, and consider the Resolution #8 of Jonathan Edwards, “Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.”

    May you see God in all things and give honest thanks for TRUTH that only comes via the Blood of Christ covering you for your sin as he has done.

    • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

      I can’t roll this way, and I don’t think it’s a biblical response to hypocrisy. The saddest part of this story is not the introspection Edwards seems to be referencing. It will be if we jump to Doug’s defense and learn nothing from his deception and fraud.

      • D Hitzel

        The issues of deception and fraud are real, considerably more real than the general public understands. I agree that D Phillips has failed to properly repent. But right now the feeding frenzy is pretty thick. And the idea that “It can only happen there” and “not me”. Currently I can see no real value in endless chatter that has no facts. Now Chris Jeub’s series of facts are helpful, and pertanent for us all – and it is very timely and needful. But to spend time being textually critical and finding the “worst thing” he describes seems more on the sad side of the conversation.

        But if any can have an impact upon protecting others from the future acts of an unrepentant D Phillips then by all means.

        And Chris I am saddened that you thought that any part was defending D Phillips – I have re-read and quite sure it had nothing of that sort of language. It was completely opposite my intent.

        Blessings and Peace
        D Hitzel

  • Kendra Fletcher

    Thank you, Chris.

  • jesfrs

    Can you list some of VF’s teachings? Maybe with a short description and whether or not you still ascribe to it? You listed some you still agree with, so maybe those you don’t?

    • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

      Wendy and I are still working through what we agree/disagree with, will post more in the future. Here is a short list that we will probably address:
      - Quiverfull. VF took a strong anti-birth control position.
      - Homeschool. VF believed in the destruction of public education.
      - Women. VF had a narrow view of the role of women.
      - Patriarchy. VF had a narrow view of the role of men.
      - Reconstruction. VF believed in rewriting history and taking over the country.

      • jesfrs

        Thanks Chris! :)

  • Lisa Nehring

    Excellent post. I, too, am deeply disturbed by the lak of critical analysis regarding the “apology” and where things are with the ministry. I hope that Phillips doesn’t re–emerge in a year or two all shined up and ready to “lead” again.
    “We’re keeping the slingshots but we’re ditching the legalism.” Love that.

  • Lacey Walker

    I wonder: how many women, young or old, sat under the teachings of this man over the years thinking, “If only my father were like him,” or, “If only my husband were like him.” This is an excellent reminder that it is unscriptural to put any man on a pedestal or to follow any man outside a Biblical framework of the family and local church.

  • brian

    Let me first say for honesty’s sake I am not a historic Christian so basically by many of the historic doctrinal distinctives I am not a Christian and I am under the wrath of God. But by different distinctives you to are under the wrath of God, we are all someone else’s heretic. I was in the evangelical corporation for many years, I bought into it hook line and sinker, shame on me, but I got a reality check when I made the mistake of questioning someone higher up the bean poll than myself. It was there where I experienced the true “love” of the Lord.

    Thanks but no thanks to be honest. I ran into some folks that who really liked Mr. Phillips, I know I listened to the guy a few times and read some of his articles and I kept walking away with the fact that this guy is a tool and a talking suit. I am sad he is going through this, mainly for the young woman (victim) involved, his wife, and his kids. I am also sympathetic to him I get no pleasure seeing anyone cast into a painful situation. I never quite achieved the spiritual ability to gain satisfaction with the falling of a person. I know I am a spiritual degenerate for that but some fine folks, whom I totally disagree with lost their jobs near the holiday. It makes me deeply sad and it breaks my heart. I understand that makes me scum, they had it coming bla bla bla. I hate gloating over the falling of any person, another spiritual gift I have never gained, thank God.

    I am a total heathen, but I want to believe in Jesus because He offers hope, which I should not need because that shows weakness and God hates people who actually need Him. I always found that a rather strange aspect of the evangelical religion. I really do. I just hate to see people crash and burn no matter what their political, religions, etc. perspective. That to is a spiritual weakness on my part or at least that was made clear to me on and off line. Trust me I would fight people in your camp in the political realm but never would I wish you ill will and at times I actually wandered over to your side of the camp with issues like abortion and the attack on church / pastor tax exemptions. There are some abuses but the many pastors I know are hard working folks holding two or three jobs just preaching the Jesus they love. We need to give them a brake, churches of all stripes help so many.

    I can’t stand Mr. Phillip’s theology I loath it deeply on so many levels but I would never wish pain on the man or his family, just education and enlightenment, I wish that on myself as well. Im a little speck on a ball of dust revolving around a rather common star in a sea of light and darkness, and I, at times, look up and hope with the most faithful.

    So Mr. Phillips if you read this post, I am as far as two people can be but I wish you well, that whole repent thing Jesus talked about it actually really does work, just let it all go and fall into His holy hands and find the true meaning of the gospel, if an evolution “believing” ecumanist like me can see this sure you can. Brother ( in the human sense) you have a wonderful wife and some wonderful healthy kids, sow into that. You want real power brother not that fake claptrap, sow into your family come clean even fall on your face and repent. Be a healer. If an old heathen such as myself sees that power surely you can. Offered for what very little I am sure it is worth. Mr. Phillips it is actually very good news. Drop into His hands. Brother join the human race and find rest for your soul.

  • J P Williams

    Two thoughts dominate this discussion for me: 1. Be on guard because the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. It may not be sliding into an affair, but something, some weakness that we have, the Devil intends to exploit. 2. Nearly every single ultra fundamentalist ministry that I have known has had something like this lurking in the shadows. It is almost as if we try to compensate for our sinfulness by being outwardly righteous. I know that I have done that; although at the time did not realize what I was doing.

    In the meantime, as we sift through what we can retain from the VF; we also need to do what is obvious and what has been widely stated: PRAY for the families involved. God help them. Amen.

  • T. Gates

    Is the Institute in Basic Life Principles and Advanced Training Institute similar to Vision Forum in the way that Vision Forum seems to be more legalistic and requires people to obey “rules” to earn favor with God instead of being more grace-oriented?

  • TG

    I feel as if Mr. Phillips has not wronged me personally, so I have no reason or need to forgive him. I hope that Mr. Phillips has been convicted of his wrongdoing and has repented to God and asked forgiveness from Him and those he has done wrong against. I think that God can and will heal the wounds caused by Mr. Phillips and his poor choices. But, it’s also up to Mr. Phillips to prove that he truly wants to mend things and change his ways. :)

  • Julie Filter

    I am highly interested in what legalistic ideas you had been influenced to follow by Vision Forums? I have been a fan of theirs for several years and honestly still approve of many of the guidelines I learned from them. I still agree that male headship is a biblical concept but I never heard any lessons of that without accountability. I still believe women in the home hold so much value, but I never accepted some high place to judge a working mom since we never know the plight of others. I still believe that children are a gift of The Lord and we welcome them as The Lord sees fit =0). I hope this is not coming across as me being angry or judgmental at all of your post because I found it enlightening and certainly far from rude as many other posts I’ve read have sadly been. I’m just trying to get a foothold on what lies you think Vision forum has supported? It seems to me that maybe the enemy has done his job to twist honest things in scripture like the aforementioned topics to make them legalistic and our flesh follows with judgment of others, but that’s not because of a faulty message but faulty audience, which we all are prone to do. Just trying to understand. Thanks!

    • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

      I’m still thinking through the list I have. It sets people off, because what I have found abusive and unbilblical others have found rewarding and helpful.

      • Julie Filter

        Thank you for he response. I admire your caution on sharing your list. Honestly, I have been praying over this issue all day today because it does burden my heart when we have disunity in the body. In my experience I have a little different perspective on this issue. I came out of the Catholic Church, and because of that had some element of legalism in my life overarching all we did. My mom raised us as she knew best, but she had been brought up in legalism at home and the church too, so how could she yet have raised us any differently when The Lord had not yet seen fit to remove the veil on it from her eyes. My husband came from a different background in the evangelical movement and his father was incredibly legalistic and abusive, though nothing of the patriarchal movement or homeschooling group at all. In other words, I find that legalism and it’s tentacles are simply one of those Inge that will be found into. E midst of people because there are those of us who are bent towards the perfect picture it promises. Doeshat deserve the wrath of man? No. It takes a movement of The Lord to remove the veil from our eyes to help us shed the weight of the yoke that we have in our flesh. Does that mean any teachings are then wrong because the messenger was flawed? No. I personally was helped greatly by many things taught in the few Vision Forum things we purchased. I never ever heard any specific heresy that denounced women being “allowed”outside of the home, or men having the authority to be overbearing or dictators, or that children may not have a voice, etc. But, there are those of us who cannot even be around such teachings, benign as they are, because we have a bent towards legalism and the enemy knows this and will use the opportunity to twist the words of the message to suit our flesh. So, I may now be bent towards yelling at my kids because of their mistake because they are supposed to be trained well, etc. The message never told me this was right, in fact it taught the opposite, but my flesh is bent towards yelling, so I yell. But, then The Lord comes in and helps me to see my sinful, selfishness and bit by bit chips away at my pride and works with me to be transformed and sanctified. For example, the same thing is true in the food world. There are those who teach about foods that are awesome and supreme in their nutritional content…powerhouse foods, if you will. These foods are GREAT for us and help to boost our health in ways other foods cannot match. There are plenty of people who listen to the teaching and walk away thinking that the food is awesome and they want to incorporate it into their daily food choices, but then there are others who get caught up in eating the perfect diet and feel terrible when they fall outside of its parameters. Was the initial message wrong? No, but the interpretation and individual weaknesses of the listeners affected it’s influence into their lives. I feel this is the same with ministries like Vision Forum. There are sadly those of us who have a bent towards extremes, which The Lord knows, but does this mean that touchy topics ought never to be addressed in the pulpit or otherwise simply because the enemy has a foothold to attack with them? Like in the area of Ephesians 5 and the submission that keeps order in a household, but not forgetting the love that ought to balance it. I don’t know if I am making any sense, lol, but I hope I am. Anyway, these are some of the things I have been praying over today. I am glad to have stumbled upon your site. I found it when searching for info regarding Samaritan Ministries which we hope to join next year when my husband ends his military time (whole other story). Thanks for your response. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts to my above ramblings, =0)

  • Jen

    I’m curious to know what if any effect this will have on other organizations similar to VF, such as ATI, & IBLP. They all share the same beliefs and seem to put on a “perfect” front. We all know that anything that seems to be perfect on the outside is never that way on the inside. I have wondered about ATI and IBLP falling from grace one day because it seems like anything that is put up very high one day comes crashing down.

    • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

      Is ATI and IBLP the same thing? I don’t know much about them, but have talked with someone who used to work for them. They apparently have been dwindling in size for the past several years, VF is a very recent development.

  • Richard Williams

    I grew rather weary of this “ministry” in recent years – particularly when I started receiving requests for “donations” – knowing the business side was reaping huge profits. That disgusted me, and still does. Reminded me of Jim Baker. Sadly, I’m all too familiar with the authoritarian ethos practiced by the leader(s) of this organization. I have more faith and confidence in the Duck Dynasty boys.

  • Dad of fourteen

    Chris,

    I just want to congratulate you on your gracious approach to this situation. It is very powerful. Sin should never be covered up – the offender can never be set free otherwise. Whilst I will never condone hypocrites such as Mr. Philips, it should be our heart to see this man not necessarily restored to ministry – time for that has passed – but restoration IN HIS REPENTENCE (should that ever come in its entirety) should be the goal for all, not a slanging match with Christians dropping bombs on the home base.

    I too had a similar view of Vision Forum. Whilst some of the principles were admirable, I could not see past the fact that it had a tick box approach to Christianity – there seemed zero content of relationship with Jesus, the very thing that I have attempted to instill in my family (I have fourteen children and have been married for 30 years).

    I have also not seen real fruit from ‘followers’ of ATI. Its approach seemed very similar.I wondered how a man who from what I know has never married or had children could show me how to raise my family. No offence intended to anyone who has been biblically blessed by these ministries. i just, like you, sincerely ask them to seek the face of God to take what meat maybe there and get rid of the bones rather than blindly taking on board whatever may be being presented simply because the ministry has a big front.

    Thanks again and may the Lord continue to bless, protect, guide and provide for you and your family.

    • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

      Thanks! I couldn’t agree more: Jesus needs to be front-and-center. This whole situation is a learning opportunity.

    • T. Gates

      Families like the Duggars and Bates’ seem to really have a heart for God. They are a part of the ATI/IBLP group, but I hope they are able to discern what the Bible really says and what some man is telling them it says. It seems that they are able to do that, at least for the most part. It really does seem to be a tick box approach, and it scary that some would see that as the way to salvation instead of Jesus.

  • guest

    Hello! I am “growing weary” of these sorts of discussions. The familiar, “how can we dissect the Doug Phillips situation in such a way that distances ourselves and simultaneously makes us look very, very holy” line of reasoning. Well, although it seems to be the largest sin in Christendom to even think of
    “defending” this vile, vile man (after all, he actually SINNED for an
    extended period of time while hiding it – my goodness, we should stone him immediately), allow me to defend him for just a moment. What is Doug Phillips anyway? Is he some sort of saint? Is he perfect? The last time I checked, I seem to recall that he is just dust and flesh like the rest of us – he is a man. Men sin. Men sin all the time and rationalize, justify, or just plain hide it. Or, at least I do.
    I realize that the fully sanctified writer of this blog doesn’t do anything like that as he is perfect and could never, ever even be liable to such sins. In fact, that is basically the theme behind all the many discussions that I have heard about this topic. “Let’s all act like Doug Phillips is the worst person on the earth and we could NEVER do anything like that – how horrible, how shameful!” Etc.,
    etc., etc. Or so the reasoning goes. How amazingly self righteous. How
    incredibly arrogant. The only thing that keeps any man from falling into the
    exact same sins is purely the grace of God, period. I for one will not throw
    stones in this instance. I will not sit around speculating as to whether or not he is apostate for goodness sake. I will pray for him and hope that he comes to full
    repentance, as I would for anyone else caught in this sort of sin (or any sort
    of sin for that matter).
    Humility is realizing the amazingly frail nature of our human existence. We are all sinners and will be until the day we are fully glorified. Or, at least some of us are. I do realize, after reading this blog, that the Lord seems to have created a sort of “hyper saint,” if I may be so bold as to coin that phrase, who are completely above this sort of thing. These are the sort of folks who, had they been present when the woman caught in adultery was dragged before Christ, would have thrown not just one stone, but would have scrambled to find three or four more! If this entire episode does not cause you to look deep inside of yourself, to deplore your own sinfulness … maybe perhaps you are the greater sinner than this “wretched creature” whom so many of you would just love to see writhing atop a lighted pile of sticks. Perhaps, despite the public nature of his sin, despite all the billions of people (or so the reasoning goes) that he has misled, despite the rank hypocrisy (there isn’t a hint of that in any of us is there?), maybe we should consider – dare I suggest it – giving him a “break”?

    • guest

      So you are judging someone …..for judging?

  • Priscilla

    So glad you are “ditching the legalism” even more. Your kids will thank you when they grow up and see from an adult perspective how important it was for them to have freedom to express themselves and pursue interests that are aligned with who they are, instead of what they may be “told” to like, like I’ve seen with some Vision Forummaterials. . .

  • K

    I am glad to hear you are no longer as bad as those other sinners.