Thinking thoughtfully about Doug Phillips’ resignation, part one



Last week’s resignation and confession of having engaged in an “inappropriately romantic and affectionate relationship with a woman” by Vision Forum founder and president, Doug Phillips, should have been more stunning than it was to the homeschooling community. Though a few sycophants have labeled him their “fallen hero,” many have pronounced it a long time coming; others observed that these are the expected fruits when there is little to no accountability.  Was I surprised at Phillips’ confession? Not exactly. I have an email folder full of similar stories of unfaithfulness and abuse perpetrated by “godly men” who have followed patriocentrists over the cliff to family destruction.

In the past few years, as more and more people have been exposed to Phillips’ “Biblical patriarchy” and its companion family integrated church movement, I have been amazed at the acceptance of their extremes in the evangelical community and the unwillingness to call out these teachings as legalistic,extrabiblical, and even dangerous. They have done and continue to do damage to the entire body of Christ in spite of the “ such a lovely family” window dressings and whether anyone wants to admit it or not. Maybe this will serve as a wake up call for those who have yet to experience the fruits of these abhorrent teachings.

I do not know what to make of Phillips’ letter of resignation and certainly cannot assess its sincerity or truthfulness. What does “lengthy” mean? 6 months? 1 year? 6 years? There is a world of difference between a romantic attraction and a long-term relationship. For some reason it was important to tell us that he didn’t “know the woman in the biblical sense” yet in his world, emotional impurity, ie, having a crush on someone, requires confession and repentance and has given many parents grounds to declare their children to be rebellious. And why did he resign only from Vision Forum Ministries and his speaking engagements while maintaining his role in the business side of his operation? Why is he still listed as an elder on his church’s website? These are legitimate questions and those who ask them should not be condemned for doing so. He has established himself as a public figure in the homeschooling community; it is too late to scream for a right to privacy. In the end, even though its ripple affect has been felt all across the homeschooling community, there are only two people who know and can define this infidelity and, hopefully, they are willing to receive and follow genuine godly counsel as well as church discipline. Scripture tells us it is not true admonishment unless the goal is restoration, the means is gentleness, and the fruit is bearing another’s burden (Galatians 6:1-2), so we must pray for those things to happen. We must pray for his wife and children and for a marriage and family to be restored. And we cannot forget to pray for healing for the woman Phillips has been involved with. (more on this in part two)

But desiring these good outcomes does not negate the need to remind others of the dangers within the patriarchy paradigm. If anything, it is past time to challenge the church to clearly examine the teachings within the patriarchy, family integrated church, and militant fecundity movements and warn each other of their dangers. Being remorseful for sin is useless unless one also repents of the root sins (beliefs) that preceded it. 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 makes the appropriate observation: “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”

Look at the teachings that have come out of patriocentricity, especially in the last 6 or so years. Teaching that men are the prophets, priests, and kings of their homes, daughters are helpmeets to their fathers, women are here primarily to fulfill the creation mandate and are expendable if threatened with ectopic pregnancies, women do not have their own callings from the Lord but rather are to fulfill a man’s calling, and a strident hierarchy that hearkens back to the antebellum south, these are just the tip of the ice berg. They certainly reveal a heart attitude toward women that can lead to unfaithfulness to a wife and broken dreams for a younger woman taken as a mistress, emotional or physical. Though many are spinning it otherwise what has been taught and promoted by the patriarchs absolutely does matter and absolutely can lead to adultery! “As a man thinks in His heart, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7) Any “clearing of yourself” must include repentance for these and many other wrong interpretations of Scripture that have lead to the destruction of countless families who bought into the Vision Forum paradigm. Until we hear these as part of any confession, restoration cannot take place.

Since I have spent a lot of time already discussing the problems within the patriarchy movement on this blog(use the search feature for related articles), let me particularly encourage you to pass along these links for further study for those who are coming late to the party. Be prepared to help other homeschooling families who will be looking at these things with more discernment and wisdom in the days to come.

Free podcasts:

Patriarchy and Patriocentricity Series One

Patriarchy and Patriocentricity Series Two

Militant Fecundity

Family Integrated Church Movement


Excellent article by homeschool dad and attorney Tim Swanson:

Patriarchy, Christian Reconstructionsim, and White Supremacy


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  1. Aly k says

    Thank you so much for this. I have been waiting for a post that deals with this situation properly. What disturbs me the most is the response from pastors who are well outside the patriocentric movement. I have read a few blogs from pastors (and not the famous, showy ones) in my theological tradition who, while acknowledging they are “uncomfortable” with some of the teachings of Vision Forum et al, will not call these teachings unbiblical and dangerous. And they will even state they have benefited from many Vision Forum resources. I was raised in the “reformed tradition” and I attribute a lot of my ability to discern truth from being raised in churches that taught me to pursue and understand scripture and theology on my own. So why is that I can so plainly see that Vision Forum and Phillips are dangerous and harmful and extra-biblical, but for the most part, most pastors will not clearly and strongly state that this teaching is wrong? It is so frustrating. I have seen many friends who are in “normal”, Evangelical churches buy into some of the ridiculous stuff from Vision Forum and it infuriates me to no end that I am the one showing them why these ideas are false while their churches are silent on it.

  2. Amber says

    I’m shocked no one has pointed out the blaring inconsistency with your post. I’m not really familiar with Vision Forum but I am familiar with sin in the church and infidelity, particularly, among Christian men.

    Let me assure you there is NO ONE TEACHING that lends itself to adultery more than another. I’ve seen men from every denomination and every type of marriage slip into this kind of sin, unfortunately. Some in my own family–good men, godly men, men who loved their wives and children.

    It doesn’t matter how you feel about this man or his ministry, don’t do the Christian community a disservice by not acknowledging that ANYONE is equally vulnerable to this kind of temptation. Those on the outside of Christianity already brand us. Please don’t make it worse.

    To paint one man more susceptible because of a certain set of beliefs is nonsense.

  3. Nellie says

    “Being remorseful for sin is useless unless one also repents of the root sins (beliefs) that preceded it.” I really love this particular sentence.

    It is interesting how some people are stating what a beautiful statement of repentance Doug gave. Strange. I never thought that a written statement had one thing to do with repentance. I hope it is genuine. As Karen emphasized, discussion of him in light of these events is more about his dysfunctional and false teachings and the abuse of people. I have no desire to celebrate his moral failure, and it doesn’t concern us. I do think given his public persona and all his very hardline public stances, some of the questions people have are valid though.

    I do have an uncomfortable feeling about how the “other woman” may be treated within his isolated enclave. It would have been nice if he had said something publicly showing concern for her. Given views on women, it doesn’t give one much assurance that she will be treated fairly.

    When people have to have “exit counseling” from a particular belief system, then perhaps mainline churches need to take notice and start addressing it among their flock. Unfortunately, church leaders not only are late to this party but still haven’t shown up.

  4. says


    If you aren’t familiar with VF and DP, I would encourage you to do some reading about their belief system. I agree that anyone can sin no matter what background they come from. But some attitudes do far more to promote it than others.

    To remain silent about this theological system he promotes isn’t doing the Christian church any good either. This particular belief system is troubling beyond words and it portrays Christ and Christianity in a horrific way. This goes far beyond different views of communion or baptism.

    Read this and then tell me if you think this is a system that promotes positive things for men and women.

  5. Nellie says


    I think your point is well taken. Infidelity is a problem among Christians of every sort, and obviously in the secular world too. People of every shape, color, belief system, and religion can struggle with immorality/infidelity.

    I think the concern and point being made is that you can have ideologies that lend themselves to certain forms of abuses.

    I am going to now to use an extreme example to illustrate. I realize that not all Muslims are jihadists and quite a few have more Western views on gender and equality. However, when you go outside of the US even in “moderate” countries, women are not allowed to drive. I likely do not need to list all the things thats are done to women, but in these cultures you have honor killings; child forced arranged marriage; and raped women put to death because it is viewed as their fault. One can see that the cultural view of woman and these horrendous acts are most certainly linked.

    Again, an extreme example, but I think one should ponder if sometimes there are beliefs within a culture or sub-culture that can be associated with certain acts. I think this issue is not just about beliefs and doctrine but accountability structures. When you have groups where someone becomes unquestioned and up on a pedestal, bad things tend to follow.

  6. says

    Also, Doug Philips has been (apparently while all this has been going on for a very long time) touting his approach and philosophy as strengthening the family, asserting that keeping women out of the workplace and higher education will protect them from . . . just this kind of situation. Therefore, it’s an excellent time to point out that, no, it doesn’t. Sin is in our hearts and we cannot hide ourselves or others away from it.

  7. Avelinn says

    I’m afraid I have to agree with Amber on this one. Although, I am very familiar with Vision Forum myself. And while I agree that there are many things to be concerned about with this particular movement within evangelicalism, it has been my experience as well that this an across the board problem within the church. I’ve seen it myself. Not just on a national level, but a local one, and within my own family. And I’m not anywhere near the patriarchy movement. So while it may not have been the intent of this post to deny that this problem isn’t more widespread, unfortunately, that’s the way it sounds. And that’s concerning because I do think this is a huge problem that needs to be addressed across the evangelical sphere. While it’s true that Doug Phillips may have been vulnerable to falling into this sin due to his own personal hangups and struggles that can manifest as legalism within the patriarchy movement, this really is a widespread church problem. And we need to acknowledge that. I’m worried that focusing too much on patriarchy concerning Doug’s sin is a disservice to the church at large.

  8. Stephen says

    Interesting take, that some form of patriarchy causes immorality. Especially, when Scripture says fairly clearly that as a belief system, it is in fact MATRIARCHY that causes immorality. (Rev. 2 :20) Have not been a Vision Forum fan, know little about it, except that they were making an effort to stem a tide of wickedness in a godless culture. What surprises me is the ‘christians’ who love the wickedness of the culture, and jump on Doug Phillips like vultures….. There is absolutely no possibility whatsoever that Doug could have crafted a letter that would satisfy all the critics, haters and accusers.

  9. Don says

    Everyone – If indeed you are Christ followers then simply compare your opinions to God’s Word. If you hold it sacred and flawless you simply need to compare the doctrines of Phillips and Vision Forum with the Word. If you do this, as I have, you will find that his efforts are laudable. He has made a distinct effort to bring forth the truth of God’s Word in a practical way. It is practically effortless to sit on the sidelines of life, participating in the culture of godlessness and hurl insults at a warrior. He has lost this battle. Can we not pray for him instead of ridiculing him? If you have a critique, please – PLEASE – have the wisdom to bring it from God’s Word, in context, and in truth.

  10. Believer says

    First, I agree with the great majority of the comments in this article, and I find the scripture verses to be particularly appropriate.

    Second, I also agree with the ladies here who say that immorality is rampant in every ‘belief system’ in the Body of Christ. I’ve seen that myself, among people who’ve never heard of Doug Phillips, have never heard of patriarchal-oriented churches.

    Third, I cannot agree with Stephen that Rev. 2:20 is about matriarchy: “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.” This is not about a matriarch. Jezebel in the OT was married to King Ahab, and she did not run the country. She WAS an extremely ungodly influence. A NT prophetess was not a pastor; see Philip’s daughters in the book of Acts.

    Patriarchy in churches today is not the answer to societal ills. JESUS, and Him alone, is the answer. Setting up elaborate systems which supposedly suppress sinful leanings does not work. This has been proven time and again in every spectrum of the Body of Christ. We must get back to the old-fashioned Word of God which is timeless, will never be out of date, read and receive it, and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into obedience.

  11. says

    Don, would you be able to take just those few FV ideals I listed in the article and show us how they are, in fact, representative of Biblical truth?

    “Teaching that men are the prophets, priests, and kings of their homes, daughters are helpmeets to their fathers, women are here primarily to fulfill the creation mandate and are expendable if threatened with ectopic pregnancies, women do not have their own callings from the Lord but rather are to fulfill a man’s calling, and a strident hierarchy that hearkens back to the antebellum south, these are just the tip of the ice berg.”

  12. says

    Stephan, is there anything in this letter that troubles you? For example, hypothetically,would you respond differently to it if it is discovered that the relationship lasted a few months than you would if it was 6 years long? Since you “know little about VF” why are you giving an opinion and hurling accusations as those who have studied this movement for many many years?

  13. says

    Avelinn, I am not saying that adultery is only a problem within the patriarchy movement. What I believe is that in any group that does not place a high value on women and girls, there will be a tendency to see us as here specifically to meet the needs of men, including sexually.

  14. Nellie says

    Don, Here are the “practical ways” Phillips has brought out “truth”

    1. Daughters may not get a job or go to school as adults
    2. Daughters can only be courted by guy who Dad approves
    3. Daughters told their calling is to get married and have babies…lots of them.
    4. Wives may not work even if husband is unemployed
    5. Wives may not take communion unless her husband is there and allows her to take it
    6. Homeschooling is mandatory no matter what special circumstances exist
    7. Daughters are Dad’s “helpmeet” until he approves of a husband
    8. Wives not able to worship corporately because they must care for their young children during service ( and there usually are many children to care for). See Family Integrated Church
    9. Children are labelled rebellious for an assorted host of reasons that are normal, such as wanting an outside hobby or having a “crush” on someone

    Finally, since we haven’t been holding up what the Bible says, according to Don, it would be nice if he could explain how militant fecundity, neo-confederateism, and Christian Reconstruction are sound Biblical theology (all part of Phillips’ doctrine).

  15. Keri says

    With just a little research, it’s easy to see what the belief’s systems of people involved in this are. It is terribly sad and just sick! It’s time we stop looking to these organizations and people like they have the answers. I think basically the author of this blog is just trying to expose what they have been about. Don’t be fooled. She doesn’t seem to be rejoicing over his fall.

    Personally having been involved in homeschooling circles for many years, these things are believed. Someone just said something to me the other day about something so stupid…I about screamed! We’ve got to study the Word for ourselves and pray for discernment and wisdom. I’m about sick of this stuff! So as difficult as it is, I’m Thankful for the people who speak against it.

  16. Keri says

    I just thought I would share what was said so you might understand the pull of this stuff.

    Someone actually told me that my 24 yr.old son and his fiancé..should have had a “Chaperone” every time they went out. I’m like…You’ve got to be kidding me!!!! Why do two Christian People in there 20’s need a Chaperone! This person was Adamant about it. Where does that come from?
    All the junk that is written and read about courtship..courtship…courtship!! If you don’t do it this way it’s wrong!! That is the attitude!!

    This stuff is written to make it sound like if they are ever alone together, they are going to not be able to control themselves. It sickens me. Since when do the parents of an adult need to tell them how to deal with a relationship. That is not Biblical! Okay-finished with my rant!

  17. Lois Brown Loar says

    Aly K, your response brought some thoughts to me on the subject of “why aren’t pastors addressng this?” One thought comes to mind is that there probably is no pastor in this country who doesn’t personally know another pastor who “fell”. It’s heartbreaking for them, and I think they keep hoping for someone, some system, that will prevent it from ever happening to a pastor again. The patriarchy system is one of those systems in which people believe, “It can’t happen to one of us.” And then it does. If one questions, then one must also look more closely at one’s self. Am *I* staying true to my Jesus and my spouse? If he can fall, then……. And it’s a fearful thing to look upon, to realize that we are all sinners saved by grace.

    All Christians need to be vigilant against the temptations of this world, and retreating from the “world” will not make us immune to them. Any one of us can fall. Especially if we get proud about what “we” have accomplished.

    I am hopeful that through this event some will take a closer look at what is biblical and what is not. That all of us will examine ourselves for any pride that will take us down. God will not be mocked. We must all be vigilant.

  18. says

    Keri, that chaperone ideal applies in other ways too. I know some patriocentrists who do not allow adult daughters to go out with other adult daughters with a parent.

  19. Nellie says

    Keri, I relate to your frustration. I attend an evangelical church not remotely patriocentric in its teaching. There are, however, a large population of homeschool families and we are what would be considered a “conservative” congregation.

    Imagine my shock at speaking to a woman in the church about a scheduling issue and she told me that I needed go talk to her husband, although it was something that was more a “woman” issue. She then corrected her statement and stated that I needed to have my husband talk to her husband about it. Wow, really? Over a casual pot-luck this wife wasn’t free to give my any sort of response. What she was suggesting was actually laughable because my husband wasn’t even around and was not the knowledgable one.

    It’s so sad the construct people choose to live within that has little to do with living righteously or Biblically. What a burden.

  20. Keri says

    Thatmom and Nellie,

    It is sad. I suppose the reason this is so believed in the churches today is because of fear. I honestly believe that! We all want our kids to do better and not make the same mistakes(some of us) did.

    When we raise our kids in Christian homes, are we really doing them justice when we try to dictate how they should live as adults. That is just not Christian. So if our kids make a mistake, can God not use it in there life to show them his forgiveness and truth.

    I really do believe that when we are confronted with these issues that we Truly do need to speak the truth..Expose untruths!!

    My son is not engaged anymore to this young woman and you know..He still has a testimony out of it. We can’t shield our grown kids from heart-ache! You care about people, you will get hurt sometimes but God is there to pick up the pieces!! My prayer for all of this is that maybe now the truths of God’s Word would become real!!

  21. Jack Brooks says

    The idea that there are no connections between false doctrine and sin is absolutely untrue. Gnostic teachings in Colossae led Paul to remind them of the eternally-divine supremacy of Christ, which directly leads into the lifestyle section of the letter; legal Jewish soteriology in Galatia led that congregation to bite and devour one another. Bad doctrine always leads to bad living.

    This principle is as true for a Rachel Held Evans type as for a Doug Phillips type. The Bible teaches that God is a Father, and it teaches male leadership; it also teaches male/female equality of essence, sin, redemption, talents, and gifts. A man who believes that God runs a harem and that women exist to facilitate his existence will be more easily tempted to immorality; a woman who believes that God is Mother and that men are the enemy is more easily tempted to sin the sins of arrogance and rebellion. Like Screwtape’s illustration of the souls of a Pharisee and a Saduccee mingled in outrage together into one wine decanter, the Patriarchalist and the Feminist belong to the same vintage.

  22. Granddad says


    VF presents their view of Scripture viewed through their distinctive hermeneutical lenses; Theonomic/Christian Reconstructionism flavored thoroughly with an Americanized version of Postmillennial eschatology. The influence of the late R. J. Rushdoony and Greg Bahsen cannot be overstated.

    Take a look at what I wrote last year about just part of VF’s Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy; I hope to finish Part 2 this week. []

  23. says

    As of yesterday, Doug’s name was removed as a board member off of NCFIC. Also as board member on Vision Forum and elder of his church. Also Doug’s Blog on vision forum is now just called blog and all the blog posts he did for the last few weeks his name was removed from and replaced with Vision Forum.

  24. Robin says

    Wow. Doug Phillips claims Christ. You claim Christ. Unless one of you is lying, he is your brother. It’s amazing how quick “Christians” are to attack other Christians, and to kick the one who is down. Rather, shouldn’t you take the plank out of your own eye long enough to offer understanding and mercy? Aren’t we supposed to love one another in the Body? Wow. I’m saddened, but not surprised, at the division promoted by this blog post.

  25. Jack Brooks says

    Robin, he’s a false teacher. He was a false teacher long before this sad incident with his marriage. Exposing him is a good thing, not “division”, any more than exposing Benny Hinn is “divisive.”

  26. says

    Jack, I so appreciate it that you are a pastor who is not willing to back peddle or ignore the patriocentric teachings. Thanks for your strong voice.

  27. Lori Dellinger says

    Just have to weigh in here. My husband is a family integrated pastor. And I love it as his wife. He treats me with amazing respect and my opinion is sought on everything. We have yes “many children” ( 10 to be exact). I actually feel sorry for those who do not have my life!! We have a lot of fun, laughing and loving Jesus! So please be very careful when you lump everybody who is family integrated into the damaging dictatorial family. We just desire to worship together as a family! If you saw our family, you would realize that there are families in this movement who are normal, imperfect, loving Jesus and each other! So please do not judge unless you have investigated every family in this movement. I promise you, I am not oppressed:)

  28. says

    Lori, I do hope you will take the time to read my articles on the Family Integrated Church Movement and listen to the podcasts. If you do, you will find how many things I like and appreciate about FIC’s. However, the views of patriarchy that are so dangerous are sprinkled everywhere through this movement and many FIC’s are the breeding ground for them. The “our way of the highway” mentality of the NCFIC should be the first red flag, as should Doug Phillips’ pronouncement that one of the goals for the manifesto outlined at the 2009 Homeschool Leadership Summit was to see “ALL homeschooling families in an FIC.” This is all well-documented.

  29. Lori Dellinger says

    I understand your concerns! But I hope your examining other church denominations as well! It is very damaging to be critical of one way of worshipping The Lord and not realize that imperfect men are leading every body of believers! I know of one particular denomination right now who struggle greatly with immoral behavior amongst their congregation but I am not going to write blogs about how wrong they are because I also know that their worship is very beautiful and God honoring! And again the problem lies with how dad’s are not leading their families. Give me a dad who is concerned about his family over a dad who is checked out any day!!!

  30. says


    “I understand your concerns! But I hope your examining other church denominations as well!”

    First, I am a bit confused. You say your husband pastors an FIC church but in what denomination? The FIC church is just a type of church not a particular denomination hence my writings have addressed the differences between traditional churches (yes I have plenty to say about them) and FIC’s rather than particular denominations. Again, let me encourage you to follow the links to articles and podcasts in the top right column.

    “I know of one particular denomination right now who struggle greatly with immoral behavior amongst their congregation but I am not going to write blogs about how wrong they are because I also know that their worship is very beautiful and God honoring!”

    Please let me challenge this way of thinking. How can worship be God-honoring if the congregation is participating or covering up or even passively condoning immoral behavior? John 4:24 warns us that “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” We cannot ever confuse beautiful music with true worship that demands a commitment to truth.

    “And again the problem lies with how dad’s are not leading their families. Give me a dad who is concerned about his family over a dad who is checked out any day!!!”

    I am a huge supporter of fathers being involved in the lives of their children! My husband has been a wonderful example of this during the 37 years we have been parents and as a result, our three sons who are married are also amazing and highly engaged dads. But, there are dads who are leading their families but who have no relationship whatsoever with their children. There are dads who read Scripture to their children and listen to memory verses but who have no idea what their children’s hope and dreams might be because they are too busy making sure everyone is following their hopes and dreams or the hopes and dreams of some guru. It isn’t a choice between patriarchy and bad parenting. That is a lie this movement has taught. I hope and pray you understand what I am saying.

  31. says

    I know where you stand, Karen. But for those out there who may be new to this blog and/or this whole patriocentricity (which is NOT the same thing as biblical patriarchy), militant fecundity, home schooling and all…just as Lori above pointed out that not all FIC assemblies are run the same way, not all home schoolers believe the same things.

    Yes, I agree that there are teachings that run in and out of many assemblies and home schooling groups, but they are not necessarily endorsed by either. We all need to look at scripture, keep what is good and throw out the rest.


  32. says

    And yes, it saddens me that this happened and it saddens me that these kinds of teachings are not exposed and opposed. Eph 5:11 tells that we are to expose and oppose evil. I don’t see any rejoicing over this…only discussion about the lifestyle and a desire to understand how and why it could happen. I sincerely hope that Doug Phillips and all other patriocentrics learn something from this and focus more on having a real heart for the L-rd. It is great to want to bring about real and positive changes in our culture, but there is a right way to go about it and a wrong way. Rules and tight control, denigration and dominionism are not the right ways.

  33. Lori Dellinger says

    I am really not defending a dictator type dad or legalism with no heart for their kids. I just don’t want people to think that everybody that has large families, homeschool, believe in family integration are lead by a father who doesn’t love them but just wants to control them! Your article definitely suggests that. FIC churches are not a denomination particularly but in methodology we are similar, so lack of a better way of saying it that’s the way I said it. When you attack family integration lumping them in with Doug Phillips it is harmful and I guess I feel there is a better way to go about this!

  34. says

    Lori, you know I completely understand your concern! My love of large families and children and their moms was the motivation behind the series of podcasts I did on the militant fecundity vs seeing children as a blessing series. Since you have a large family, I think you would really appreciate it.

    I am not sure how to separate Doug Phillips from the family integrated church movement since he founded it. Is your church a member of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches? I know they are required to sign a document guaranteeing the teaching and practice of certain things in order to be listed on their site. Is your church on it?

  35. says

    Don said:

    If indeed you are Christ followers then simply compare your opinions to God’s Word. If you hold it sacred and flawless you simply need to compare the doctrines of Phillips and Vision Forum with the Word. If you do this, as I have, you will find that his efforts are laudable. He has made a distinct effort to bring forth the truth of God’s Word in a practical way.

    I have a whole blog on the topic of Phillips’ doctrines, which he wrote down as “The tenets of Biblical Patriarchy.”.
    I measured every tenet against the Bible, and found only 36% of his message Biblical – and that 36% is found outside of patriarchy too.
    If you want to see why I believe he abuses the Bible, look here:

  36. Jon says

    It is quite obvious from your blog that you are quite enjoying watching this man fall. How unChristian and hateful to take such pleasure in the sin of another believer. I know you hate his theology – that is quite apparent – but is it really charitable to pounce on a corpse before it has even had time to cool? Sounds like you are the one in need of repentance. You aren’t doing your cause any good in attempting to bring people over to your point of view.

  37. Jon says

    I wonder if you would attack Voddie Baucham as well since he is a family integrated church leader? RC Sproul Jr.?

  38. says

    Jon, I find it interesting that you can see my heart and pronounce judgement on me for questioning the teachings of the patriocentrists, not them personally. Let me encourage you to read all five of my entries on this blog last week addressing these teachings. And, yes, I would place Voddie and R.C. in this camp as well and have written about their teachings here too. Check out the search feature on the top right hand side and also listen to the podcasts linked at the bottom of this article. Lots of info here, lots of names, many concerns of many people regarding this movement.

  39. says

    Joining in with Karen – I’m a confirmed Calvinist and I reject both Voddie Baucham’s and R. C. Sproul, Jr.’s approach to family dynamics. I’m especially angry about all those within the patriarchial movement who insist; a.) daughters should not attend college unless it is on-line and closely monitored by their fathers, & b) homeschooling is the only educating option for Christians.

    VF’s “proofs” for point ‘b’ are classic examples of logical fallacies and an extremely biased, and I believe faulty, hermeneutic.

  40. julie says

    There is a weird assumption on a lot of these sites that it is because of the “patriarchy movement” that this happened. Folks, read Genesis 3:16. What does it say? Adam and Eve were not part of the patriarchy movement, and yet because of sin, because of the fall, God tells Eve “and he will rule over you.” And I do not think God means that this is going to be a positive thing. Why? Because of sin. It happens everywhere, every day. It happens in (gasp!) unsaved households, it happens amongst Christians who have never heard of the patriarchy movement. Why? Because of sin. This is a sin of men, fallen men. Sinful men will be tempted by their flesh to misuse their physical strength, their positions of authority and their resourcefulness in sinful ways. They ought to love their wives sacrificially, yet because of sin, they fall short. Or in the case of Mr. Phillips they sin grievously. I am not for the patriarchy movement and I am not defending it or Mr. Phillips. But just trying to bring some balance to this discussion.

    Because here’s the thing: If you do not understand that the abuse of power is part and parcel of the makeup of all fallen sinners, especially men, then you will not understand that it could happen in your own home. Even if you are not part of the patriarchy movement it could happen. You yourself could be guilty of it and not know it. Why are we shocked at sin? Because we are naïve and self-righteous and think it could never happen here or it could never happen in my home. But this is naïve and unscriptural. There should be order in the home and the husband is to lovingly lead his wife. And she is to submit to him as her head. If he is a Christian his model and head is supposed to be Christ! Yet we also have to bear in mind that we are fallen sinners and we are all going to fall short.

  41. Mama of 10 says

    The teachings are so destructive! I for one am so grateful for those who bring these issues to light. What love and grace that this brings!

  42. says

    My first thought after reading his response was that he was coerced into coming forward. His confession seemed worded more like he was covering all of his bases legally. Sorry, but I never trust men who have such a long list of wounded “followers” in their wake. I honestly pity his wife. Imagine living that kind of life with that kind of man. He excells in glossy photos of himself, and in eloquent speech, but his teaching is dangerous and unbiblical, and although some say that he is only wrong on minor issues, he makes them major issues in teaching and focus.
    I believe God is glorified when these men are exposed. I just wish the wife and kids could have been spared.

  43. Nellie says

    Due to what many interpreted as intentional vagueness of the initial statement, Doug has issued a clarification.

    It did involve something physical and long-term. Unfortunately, again he misses a great opportunity to show concern for the young woman. Why is it that a man who chastised people so much over “impure” thoughts not expressing grief over the woman? After so much obsession over first kisses being at the alter and sinfulness of any form of touching, why no plain talk about how he used his authority to “defile” this woman?–at least in the way his group has always talked about purity.

  44. Alice Robertson says

    I can’t help but wonder about it all. I used to have a huge site and list that was big time into complimentarianism. A huge percentage of the women divorced after jumping over into egalitarianism. They seemed to be in perpetual victim mode. So I wonder…I ponder ..if it’s the teaching or the person…or both. And, yet, after reading here I found myself wondering if they would rejoice if announced I am now divorced….rejoice if I committed adultery (realizing the gasps that no one here is rejoicing….and yet….reading between the lines and all the cross-posting any thinking person would wonder what happens with all this Monday Morning Quarterbacking and hurt souls that refuse to be healed.

  45. says

    Alice, I guess I am confused and hope you can explain. Are you really saying that people who are hurt from these teachings are “refusing to be healed?”

    I am also puzzled by this: ” A huge percentage of the women divorced after jumping over into egalitarianism. They seemed to be in perpetual victim mode.”

    Please explain.

  46. Keith Blankenship says

    I am no acolyte of Doug Phillips, but can’t help but notice that the social Leftists seem to be positively gleeful about his failings. Male headship ( I am not sure how this differs from patriarchy) is a biblical principle. The violation of this principle has resulted in chaos and decline both in the ecclesiastical and political spheres.

    Phillips may well have done some damage, but it pales in comparison with the damage done by the Boomer women we now have to suffer under. Politically, we have the pro-death abortophiles running the show thanks to Boxer, Pelosi and neutered men who cower to them.

    It is especially ironic to hear PCA types criticise others. The PCA is so neutered they can’t even take a stand against sending my daughters into combat.

  47. Granddad says

    Keith, I think your theonomic leanings may be showing (“…decline both in ecclesiastical and political spheres”). I am strictly a male-only within church leadership but find nothing within the NT to buttress the Vision Forum (and hence, essential Theonomy) position regarding the prohibition of women in secular, which includes political, realms.

    I reject your assertion that Vision Forum (which is/was Doug Phillips, after all) is somehow less destructive than the liberal politics of Barbara Boxer or Nancy Pelosi. Boxer and Pelosi (and dozens of others in their political/social camp) do not pretend to be presenting the truth of “Biblical Patriarchy”. While Doug Phillips never overtly said, “thus saith the Lord”, he came pretty darn close to it. The extreme liberals today, male or female, will ridicule and demean any form of Christianity at a moments notice.

    And as far as sending women into combat; while I may be personally opposed to it, I’ve yet to find a well-structured biblical argument in opposition from which the PCA could issue a stand.

    Make no mistake about it, the Christian Reconstructionism/Theonomy of Doug Phillips is dangerous and causes great harm to the body of Christ. [See my post of Nov 5th for more.]

  48. Keith Blankenship says

    I am not a Theonomist. I am a Confessional Lutheran who attends an RPCUS church because it would be an economic hardship on my family to travel to the nearest LCMS church over one hour away. The RPCUS in our town is the only church which is monergistic in its soteriology here.

    As far as women in leadership in the political realm, they have been mostly great failures, and a positive evil to USA. There are a few exceptions, and I would like to think it is only a generational problem, i.e. “Boomers”, but when i look back over history, women, both “religious” and secular have been at the forefront of movements which have degraded morality at every turn. From Carrie Nation, to Betty Friedan, to Margaret Sanger, these types have been toxic. For a Lutheran view on this topic, google WELS on women in governement. In passing, I should note that i am personally acquainted with a fine Circuit Court judge in our area who is
    a woman.

    As I have not followed Phillips closely, I don’t know that much about him. I have been acquainted with people who were sympathetic with his views, and know that I disagree with what they say he teaches, e.g. women should not be educated outside the home.

    Still, while I don’t agree with him, the glee from the Secular Left is unmistakeable. They must have feared him somewhat. Unless we present a united front regarding principles (not fallible persons), Christians will continue as we have for all 49 years of my life, losing battles in the public sphere. Christians, too, have to live in the State. Why then should the policy preferences of the secularisers always prevail?

    As regards reconstructionism, I will make a controversial statement: The Ten Commandments apply to Governments, Political parties, businesses and all other collectives, for they are made up of people. to say they God does not want individuals to sin, but excuses various collectives makes no sense. If this is “Theonomy”,I will put my hand up to it. I don’t think this has been a particularly controversial notion, until perhaps the last fifty years or so.

    I could go on about the PCA, our current RPCUS congregation having been originally a PCA church plant, but I am sure you would find it tedious. The argument against sending mothers and daughters to face death was explained to me in a very sound way to me by a PCA pastor, and i might be able to find a link to it, but the bottom line is that the feminisation of the PCA is deplorable.

  49. says

    Hi Keith! Welcome to the blog!

    I am guessing that you arrived here via The Aquila Report. We were members of a PCA congregation many years ago.

    I am not aware of “social Leftists” who are gleeful about Doug Phillips but am sure willing to learn and read about them so please feel free to share any links you have.

    I am very sad for Doug’s situation from the standpoint of his precious wife and children. What a tragedy whenever a marriage suffers from infidelity, especially within the body of Christ. The affects are multifaceted and far reaching, even into many future generations. I have been praying that true repentance and restoration will be found for the Phillips family.

    That being said, I think one commenter here said it best….we should rejoice when idols have been toppled and that is how many see it. Those whose families were directly affected by this man’s pervasive teachings and the teachings of the patriocentric movement in general do rejoice in that perhaps now some of these dangerous views and interpretations of scripture can and will be exposed for what they are.

    But it also goes beyond adultery. Phillips has committed fraud. This was not a fling or indiscretion, it was a long term relationship with a much younger woman (many are now saying 6 years) all the while he was teaching a rigid and legalistic view of courtship/betrothal/marriage/raising daughters system and selling products to help families achieve his paradigm.

    Interestingly, as I began to think about this in terms of fraud and looking at the patriocentric landscape, misleading the public in order to portray your life in such a way as to sell products has been the way many of those who are leaders in the patriocentric movement have done business. Often being the messenger who delivers that news has gotten believers excommunicated from their churches and lawsuits thrown in their faces.

    You have shared that you don’t know much about this movement but let me encourage you to do the research. I have spent the past ten years doing so and writing on it after living inside it for a number of years. Please listen to my podcasts on patriarchy/patriocentricity from the pull down menu at the top of this page under “podcasts” and listen to what I have found and what my guests have to say. All are Bible-believing Christians, not a Lefistist among us!

  50. says

    Keith said : “When I look back over history, women, both “religious” and secular have been at the forefront of movements which have degraded morality at every turn.”

    Keith, you hav fallen for the patriocentrists propaganda! Let me encourage you to read this piece I did after hearing this same nonsense for so long:

    Also, let me encourage you to read some good missionary biographies of women who dared to lead and see significant change. I actually recorded a few podcasts about some of these women. Just look for Betty Greene in my search bar and read today’s story of Mother Bickerdyke.

  51. Keith Blankenship says


    I hardly think I have fallen for propaganda, but will read the article you referenced. As my morning is quite busy, i cannot respond at this time.

  52. says

    Theonomy extends far beyond the 10 Commandments. They want to include the majority of the judicial/civil laws of Torah, which were applied only to the theocratic nation of Israel. For me, the Decalogue (i.e., the moral law) is still very binding upon the totality of mankind, but not such things as stoning a rebellous son, which was part of the civil law. The ceremonial law was fulfilled in Christ.

    As I point out in my two articles on VF’s Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy theonomy/Christian Reconstructionism is part-and-parcel of Doug Phillips, Kevin Swanson, et. al.

    My apology for suggesting you are a Theonomist; glad you clarified that.

    As for the “feminization of the PCA” I feel quite certain many on this blog with disagree with you considering that the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood includes numerous PCA ministers (Dr. Ligon Duncan, for example. . .whom I happen to like).

    I wish to be very careful in how I word these next sentences so I will not be misunderstood.
    The RPCUS seems to have a distinctly theonomic bent and some of the congregations within the denomination present doctrinal statements I strongly disagree with (cf, That being said, as a confessional believer committed to the historic Reformed tradition, I most certainly consider RPCUS folks to be brothers/sisters in Christ while disagreeing with them on issues relating to eschatology and the application or use of the OT law.

    I do hope you’ll continue posting here.

  53. Anthea says

    Keith Blankenship wrote:”women, both “religious” and secular have been at the forefront of movements which have degraded morality at every turn”

    As a European (can anything good come out of Galilee?) may I just point out that Darwin, Marx, Stalin,Freud were all blokes. Sin is an equal opportunity problem. We had some daft women over here who suggested that the banking crisis wouldn’t have happened if women had been in charge. Yes, it would, only they’d have spent their bonuses on shoes instead of champagne and Coke.

    Does Karen’s stance on Mr Phillips mean that she is a “social leftist”. What is that? Is it the same as a socialist? In the UK we do use the term social conservative, as opposed to a political Conservative. In any case, so many people don’t make it clear what they mean.

    Karen, in contrast, is clear and specific. If yo don’t treat people in a Christlike way, and in a way that is in keeping with the *whole* of the Bible , then it is , to use a technical term, well dodgy.
    Her email inbox has revealed to her the wreckage left behind by formulaic and power-driven models of leadership — within and without the home.

    Wait a minute — what am I doing? I am paraphrasing Karen Campbell. I should encourage all of you who are newcomers to the blog to use the search engine, listen to her podcasts and then you’ll know that Karen’s heart is full of many things, but not glee.

  54. Keith Blankenship says

    Huffington Post has covered the Phillips resignation. Sorry I don’t know a better way to post a link, but the article states that Phillips is a homeschool “leader” before it even gets into the resignation. So we are all being tarred with the same brush by the left.

    The social Left, as i define it, means all those who seek to destroy Biblical institutions. This would include the mostly male legislators who destroyed marriage in the 60’s and 70’s with the passage of so-called no-fault divorce laws. Today, the social Left includes most of the old media, the bulk of academia, the Democratic party, much of the Republican party, NARAL, NOW, LBGT organisations. An exhaustive list would be huge. i did not mean to imply that anyone on this site is a social Leftst. In the UK, it looks like Liberal, Labour, SNP are all part of the Left. DUP in Northern Ireland seems to be somewhat Biblical.

    As a Lutheran who is a member of Presbyterian church, I am a bit of an outsider looking in. When we were in the PCA I was astounded by such things as a debate on 6-day creation. LCMS, WELS and ELS are 6-day creationists. It also seems that someone is always coming up with a new movement. This “patriarchy” movement is a little like the neo-Romanizing views of soteriology of “Federal Vision”, an innovation.

    By “men of European descent” I mean just that. Such men are found in Europe of course, but also NZ, RSA. Zimbabawe, Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Canada, and other places. We are told both in secular media and in many churches that we are evil. I find that hard to square with history. In USA this has been a concept that I have seen grow from a small number of Leftists to now being a dominant theme in the culture.

    This post is somewhat disjointed beacause I am trying to answer questions raised above. I can’t seem to locate the article regarding women in combat, but am still looking. The purpose of the military is to kill the enemy and come home safely. Men are simply better at this than women. Also, i don’t want either of my daughters being drafted to fight in the silly wars USA wages.
    No one questioned the idea that women should not be placed in combat roles until the so-called feminist movement. I think the OT examples were of women fighting because of the unavailability/unsuitability of men.

    My eschatology is amillenial and historicist.

  55. says

    You wrote: ” When we were in the PCA I was astounded by such things as a debate on 6-day creation. ”

    Not wishing to create an argument I would only say that those who do not agree that Genesis 1 demands a literal six 24 hour periods for creation, and thus the earth is young (i.e., <10,000 years) are not heretical, liberal, or whatever other adjective that might be applied. Genesis is not a science text book and to treat it such is to miss the point.

    Arguing for how long the days were, or even if Genesis 1 is describing the creation of the entire earth as opposed to just Eden (the view of Dr. John Sailhamer), or the Framework theory (Dr. Meredith Kline and others) is far beyond the intention of this blog.

    Everyone who posts to this blog – me included! – must remember that the primary focus (at least as I understand it) revolves around home schooling, wives and mothers, raising children and abuses within the church such as exemplified by Doug Phillips and Vision Forum that directly impact these areas. We must be careful not to become distracted by topics that, while important, are not essential. Some "arguments" are fun — such as the one I periodically have with a very close friend who is a Baptist pastor. Other arguments can have a significant influence on others "listening in" and we should exercise care when bringing up some topics.

    End of my soapbox…. 🙂

  56. JT says

    The fall of Doug Phillips is a tragedy, not because of his particular doctrine(yes, I am familiar with it), but because sin is a tragedy in all of our lives and it is destructive…it brings death.

    Is his reponsibility greater becasue of his position of influence? Yes, Scripture is clear on this, but should our response be different than if it was our Pastor, our brother, our father or your husband. I’m not so sure. I don’t think we should or would so quickly drag them under microscope of doctirnal purity during this time. We should mourn that a brother in Christ, be he right or wrong in some of his doctrine, has fallen and brought pain and desctruction to himself and many around him; while giving the lost a chance to glory in the fallability of Christians.

    We should earnestly and hopefully seek for his repentance and we should look to restore him. We are to be a light in the world and Jesus is clear that the world will know Him through our love for one another. Is our demonstration of love for another shown by dragging a fallen brother, who has committed a sin that any of us are cappable of committing, to the doctrinal whipping post for all to see. Indeed, the secular world has found fuel in this situation with which to attack Christianity, let us not add to the fire, but seek to love and restore a brother as I think we would do if he were a part of our physical family or local church.

  57. says

    Keith said: ” the article states that Phillips is a homeschool “leader” before it even gets into the resignation. So we are all being tarred with the same brush by the left.”

    Keith, though I do not believe all of the “left” is finding glee in this (too many from either end of the spectrum simply yawn and say they aren’t surprised) I have been making this same point for many years and calling on homeschooling groups to stop allowing the patriocentric voices to speak for all of us in the political real, with government officials, and even in churches. I believe we need to hold each other accountable for this sort of nonsense that pervades the homeschooling culture. If we don’t I believe the government will step in and take over here we do not want them to. Some of the strongest voices for that intervention right now are coming from adults who were homeschooled and are still struggling after growing up under the burdens Phillips’ false religious system placed on them. Among those souls are the children of patriarchal leaders, too.

  58. says

    JT, what needs to be recognized is that Phillips had a lengthy (reports now are saying 6 years) romantic relationship with a woman and his repentance is suspect because he continues to sell his teaching materials. This man has perpetrated fraud by selling his paradigm to many people, often with disastrous results, while not living it himself. I think what true repentance and restitution should look like is tied up in what is doctrinally sound and what is not.

  59. says

    I agree with much of what you’ve said, however, the problem I have, and many others as well, is that Doug Phillips portrayed himself as the bastion of correct doctrine and quite often strongly castigated those who took objections to his application of scripture. It’s not his sin that we’re commenting on it’s his hubris and hypocrisy.

    Sin is a horrible no matter who has fallen victim to it.

  60. JT says

    If there was a man with a family in your congregation, say an elder, that owned a Bible bookstore, sold materials on line and traveled to special events to sell his materials and he committed the same acts as Doug Phillips, I do not think that you or anyone else would call for him to close down his bookstore. Nor do I think that if he was showcasing material that you did not believe was doctrinally accurate would you accuse him in a public forum of being fraudulent. My point in adding to this blog is that I do not think that you or many others are handling this situation the same way they would with somebody in the body of Christ that you were closely familiar with and I do not think that it is being handled in a doctrinally sound manner.


  61. JT says

    That last post was in response to thatmom…


    That may be true, although I have seen him act with great honor in the face of much criticism. Again though, even in light of your point, I do not think the way this is being spoken by many and what is being called for is biblically correct.

  62. says

    JT, I would ordinarily agree that the elders of Doug Phillips’ church ought to be the ones who are to deal with this situation rather than the court of public opinion. In a local situation, that would be the situation and I believe it would include having him go back to his original career as an attorney, not selling products that are based on a lifestyle he does not have. What gives me pause is that he either stepped down or was removed as a teaching elder in his church 9 months before he stepped down from the ministry, all the while speaking and teaching at conferences. Someone had to be aware that something not right was going on…some friends of the young woman are coming forward and saying it lasted 6-10 years and people did know. I believe there is just too much of the story not being told and continuing to sell to his followers IS fraudulent.

  63. Keith Blankenship says

    If this has gone on for such a long time and others knew about it, then it is cause for greater concern. I think that it would indicate a a lack of accountability within this church. The polity of this church seems to be congregational, and one wonders if this contributes to a lack of accountability.

    Philips’ resignation of October 30 does not mention that this was a “physical relationship”, while the November 14 “Clarification” says there was. Unless i missed it, he does not say that he is sorry to the woman involved. This is inexplicable. I wonder about the age of the woman involved. It is stated that she is unmarried. This relationship was apparently consensual, if so then I hope she has apologized to the wife and family and asked their forgiveness.

    Philips does acknowledge that he thought too highly of himself. This is refreshing, but I do think he should express concern for the woman and her family. Odd.

    I am acquainted with Kline, at least a little, but don’t know Sailhammer. A debate on their theology would be off-topic, but my point is that there always seems to be some new “movement” cropping up in the Reformed camp. I do not know why. As I post under my true name I should add that what I know of Kline, I disagree. I also disagree with the so-called “Federal Vision”. I further disagree with “patriarchy”. Which brings us back on topic.

    A few years ago some people in our church were reading a book by two teenagers from New Zealand. I made the point that they were not qualified to make pronouncements on Christian family life. These were adults. Are they part of the “patriarchy movement”.

    The bottom line: i don’t think Phillips speaks for most homeschoolers. I had not really heard of him until a few years ago. Homeschoolers should make this clear to the world at large. Also, we need to be vigilant in defending our rights. The other side never give up, neither shoud we.

  64. Kris says

    I have seen some home school acquaintances really almost idolize Doug Phillips in the past few years and rave about all the trips he took various places to put into video, CD or write another book his views. I am saddened how this has caused pain for his wife and family and the woman who the affair was with. I have already heard a comment or two within the home school community who I have spoken with. It is sad that this lasted so long and much of the story is not being told. Someday, the truth will come out.

    His views are damaging and women do take them hook, line and sinker. When you are new to home schooling you want to learn everything you can because alot of women feel overwhelmed by the amount of information. When you go to these conferences you need to go to them with eyes wide open and be very discerning if you choose to attend. There are helpful ideas and suggestions, but really look at scripture and for the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom.

  65. says

    Over the past 2 years I’ve had an opportunity to casually ask several home schoolers if they had heard of Vision Forum; I was surprised how few had. At first blush this may be encouraging, but I wonder if while they haven’t yet heard of VF, they are slowly being introduced to the overarching agenda of VF – extreme patriarchy and theonomy – through other means.

    My guess is that how much these families are being exposed to the VF-type mentality depends a great deal on the church they attend and their actual reasons for deciding to home school. If the reason is primarily a desire to give their kids a good education then I suspect they will know less about VF and others indirectly associated with VF.

  66. says

    I know this is a very old post, but one thing i Have noticed is many in these groups say they value women but if they really cared about women, they would note that women are safer in cultures such as the US and France that have strong feminist movements and a view of male-female relationships as between equals (although not sameness.).


  1. […] Thinking thoughtfully about Doug Phillips’ resignation, part one and Thinking thoughtfully about Doug Phillips’ resignation, part two ~ how the patriocentrists raise daughters sharper than any two-edged sword and Thinking thoughtfully about Doug Phillips’ resignation, part three ~ not every man and Thinking thoughtfully about Doug Phillips’ resignation, part four ~ danger markers along the patriarchy path By That Mom […]

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