Doug Phillips: Repentance and Restoration – Is it Possible?

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Articles continue to be written about fallen pastor and Christian ministry leader and pastor, Doug Phillips, who resigned from the non-profit arm of Vision Forum Ministries and from his public speaking engagements.   But what is next?  What does repentance and restoration look like?  Can or should he assume his former positions again?

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While many are commenting on how beautiful and appropriate Doug Phillips’ public statement was, others are saying, “wait, not so fast.”  I’d like to explore some thoughts by others on repentance and restoration.

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Repentance, Restoration of a Fallen Leader and Pastor

Over at Pastor Doug Wilson’s blog post, I saw this excellent comment:


November 5, 2013 at 4:54 pm

In truth, we don’t know that he has repented. Repentance in such cases takes time to discern as it must be proved (2 Corinthians 7:9-11). It is going to be harder to discern if he was caught in this affair versus coming forward and confessing of his own volition as the later case demonstrates repentance in a more immediate sense. If he was caught, it’s going to take some time to see if his confession is complete and that he isn’t doing damage control (which isn’t repentance). Hopefully his church will censure him for an appropriate period so that these matters can be reasonably discerned. In a similar vein, I must confess I find his resignation vague as to the nature of the relationship. “While we did not “know” each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.” This seems to imply that the relationship was not physical but merely emotional. That’s how many people are taking it. However, upon closer inspection, he is not saying it was merely emotional. What he is saying is that intercourse was not involved but he leaves the door wide open for the potential discovery over other indiscretions. Should it be discovered that he was physically intimate in other ways, he can claim that he never denied it. My concern is that equivocal language is more indicative of damage control than it is of repentance. If there were a physical aspect to this relationship, I think it would have been better to simply call it an affair and leave it at that. Regardless, it is the duty of his elders and church to oversee this matter. We need to remember them in our prayers, that God grant them wisdom.

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Commenter 1689er is saying what I and many others have been saying – it’s too early to see repentance.  He also rightly suggested that we have no way of knowing  if Phillips voluntarily issued the statement or was told to do so.  That is important.

Some may think this is not our business.  I disagree.  It is our business.  This man has been in a public position of leadership affecting scores of Christian families and their lives.  Many have shaped their lives around this man’s teachings.  I dare say that many families have heeded the words of this man more than the words of their very own pastor.  You better believe his words and life are going to be put under a microscope.

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Dr. Douglas Weiss, has written an article entitled, Restoring the Fallen.  Dr. Douglas Weiss Ph.D., is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He has been counseling pastors with infidelity, pornography, and other sexual sins for over 20 years.  Weiss listed key patterns he saw for people who were able to be successfully restored.  Here is a brief summary of the list.

Key patterns to look for in successfully restored leaders:

  • this person voluntarily discloses the sin to his spouse an/or spiritual authority.  This action is prompted by a desire for restoration and healing.
  • he has a humble heart, truly remorseful, and broken by his sinful actions
  • he is ready to accept 100% responsibility for his sin, not blaming anyone else for his sin
  • he is willing to take direction and guidance from others and fully submits to those people placed over him
  • he readily embraces accountability
  • he voluntarily makes efforts to work on the restoration of his marriage
  • he voluntarily seeks out professional counselors who can help discover why he did what he did
  • he submits to regular polygraph tests (this helps in building trust for the spouse and others).

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Also on the topic of forgiveness and restoration is a recent article by Heather Doney, “We All Sin:” A 15 Step Path To Forgiveness for Doug Phillips.  This article is a pertinent read because she identifies specific patterns often found within this “movement” and offers her predictions based on her familiarity of how this movement typically responds.

I was very intrigued by the comment my friend Brad Sargent left at Doney’s blog:

brad/futuristguy says:

Heather, thank you for posting this. I’ve been doing research on systems of spiritual abuse for over five years. I believe you’ve provided one of the best pieces of analysis I’ve read about a particular christianized authoritarian system. You’ve succinctly addressed the core theological, cultural, and personal dynamics involved here in a way that shows a depth of reflection, discernment, and compassion. As a survivor of spiritual abuse myself, I see these all as indicators that significant healing is happening for you, and I trust that will continue for you and thereby encourage the journeys to health of those you relate with.

I suspect your conclusion about Doug Phillips’ probable restoration to public ministry is correct, barring some revelations that make sidelining him long term absolutely unavoidable. This rush to restoration without rehabilitation seems to have become a hallmark of those held enthralled by their charismatic leader. Those so entrapped fail to see that, as you pointed out, the greater problem is Mr. Phillips’ entire paradigm and systems of control with their pervasive evil … not merely his personal sins and moral failures with their supposedly limited impact.

For those who insist on his restoration to ministry, I have my own opinion about an appropriate period of rehabilitation: I believe Mr. Phillips needs to spend seven years away from public speaking, leading, or ministry of any kind for every one year he was engaged in the self-proclaimed “lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman.” [And, since it appears that his business is viewed as resourcing ministry, he should step down from that as well.]

According to this formula, restitutionary repentance may indeed take the remainder of his lifetime. However, if there is true change of heart, mind, and behaviors, then that shouldn’t seem an undue hardship or inappropriate. In fact, that lengthy, appropriate time of reflection will hopefully give Mr. Phillips the substantial opportunity needed to consider the widespread and destructive impact of his paradigm, his theology, and his personal activities.

Actually Phillips’ own words on repentance are pretty compelling and could very well line up with some of Brad’s thoughts.

Here’s one additional comment/dialogue I found on Voddie Baucham’s Facebook page.  I was especially interested to read his perspective because he is a friend of Doug Phillips.

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  • Dennis-(removed) How many times do we see this in Christian leadership? They come out explaining their mistake “sin” and then within a few months they are right back in the same leadership position again. They get to write a book and do interviews on the news about how they’ve overcome their past. Everyone just smiles and nods but nothing really changes. Creating a relationship with someone other than your wife is not a one time event. It takes time and effort and a lot of deceit. You have to live in the sin and cover your back over a long period of time to make this work. Foregiveness is one thing, trust to lead again is another.
    • Voddie Baucham Ministries Dennis,You ask, “How many times do we see this in Christian leadership?” The answer may surprise you, but it is actually quite rare. There are hundreds of thousands of churches in America. We hear of these types of things on a national basis when they happen to high profile people. However, considering the number of people in Christian leadership, the numbers are quite small.As to your other point, most men who go through something like this never recover. Of course, there are exceptions. Moreover, there are some circles wherein things like this, and much worse, are merely swept under the rug. However, in circles where leadership is taken seriously, it is very difficult for a man to come back from things like this. People have long memories, and tend to be rather unforgiving.Of course, I’m on the outside looking in, so I don’t know the details. This could be a matter where people are involved and have a program of restoration in place (sometimes these things take place over a number of years).

      Nevertheless, it is important to remember that failure is not final in the Christian life. Forgiveness is available. And even if one finds himself disqualified in the short run, there is always the possibility of future service in a legitimate capacity after proper restoration. As you said, “forgiveness is one thing, trust to lead again is another.” But praise God, they are both possible!

    • Dennis-(removed) The question I ask is if Moses wasn’t allowed to lead the Israelites into the Promise Land because of his sin and if David wasn’t allowed to build the Temple because of his sin, then how do Christian leaders today feel they can sin and have no life-long repercussions? How can a person be above reproach if they are not? If so few are doing the wrong thing then it should be easy to replace them. (Source)
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Here are some of the questions mulling around in my head:

  • Do you think Phillips can ever be restored to ministry?
  • Can Phillips return to ministry because of the fact that he didn’t “Biblically know” the woman?
  • Where does God’s grace fit in this aside from forgiveness?
  • Are we cruel and heartless to not want him to go back into ministry?
  • Is this really not our business?
  • Have you ever seen anyone fall from ministry and have a glorious restoration and healing and assume old ministry positions?  What was that like?
  • Is it cold-hearted to keep someone out of ministry altogether after this kind of sin?
  • Can you give Biblical examples of a fallen leader and end results?

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Special thanks to crecmemes for permission to use image.

188 comments on “Doug Phillips: Repentance and Restoration – Is it Possible?

  1. Pingback: Open Letter To Chalcedon Foundation Regarding Its Defense of Doug Phillips | Jen's Gems -- Doug Phillips' Ecclesiastical Tyranny and Abuse

  2. Julie Anne, I want to comment on a “clarification” you issued several posts earlier. You wrote, “I did notice you said this: ‘If they follow its counsel, you will know they took the Bible seriously.’ Actually, I’d say – if they follow its counsel, they would be following someone’s Reconstructionist interpretation of how it should be handled. Let’s not confuse people here, please.”

    I agree, we shouldn’t confuse people here. The counsel arrived at in that article was based on verbatim citations from commentaries extending as far back as the 1650s (Raupius and Greenhill) up through the mid-20th century (Eichrodt), with the majority falling in the 18th and 19th centuries (Keil, Lange, Fausset, Schmieder, Fairbairn, Matthew Henry, Gardiner, Currey). No reconstructionists in the bunch, just three centuries’ worth of Bible scholars across many ecclesiastical traditions and orientations.

    Is it then fair, for the sake of five corroborating words quoted from a work by Rushdoony (“a freedom from bad shepherds”), to assert that the counsel laid down unanimously by the other dozen non-Reconstructionist scholars should be pigeon-holed as “someone’s Reconstructionist interpretation”? If the author were to remove those five words from Rushdoony, would the article’s counsel (which wouldn’t change one iota) no longer be deemed “someone’s Reconstructionist interpretation”?

    It is understandable that folks here would be gun shy (note the significance of screen names like “BeenThereDoneThat”), but “Reconstructionist interpretation” has absolutely nothing to do with what God requires in Ezekiel 34, and that article’s counsel would remain unchanged even if no Reconstructionists had ever walked the earth. The many cited non-Reconstructionist scholars are asserting what’s on the face of the Hebrew text, that God requires permanent, not temporary, removal from office if a shepherd has harmed any sheep. To dismiss the labors of those scholars with a wave of the hand is surely an overreaction. To describe the combined testimony of those historical voices as a “Reconstructionist interpretation” is to seriously misrepresent the situation.

    In that light, perhaps the “clarification” that was posted created more confusion than it managed to clear up. Reattributing the work of scholars to a camp to which they couldn’t possibly have belonged is misleading. This surely must have been inadvertent rather than intentional.


  3. Chalcedon F. said: “the biggest difference between Sharia law and Biblical law is that the former must be imposed, while the latter can only be voluntarily embraced.”

    So, you’d never suggest that anybody be stoned who did not volunteer for stoning? Those who don’t want to pay tax under such a goverment don’t have to? Those who don’t want to make restitution don’t have to? Is that really goverment, if only those who want to obey the laws have to do so, for only as long as they want to?


  4. Chalcedon F. said: “the rich young ruler of Mark 10 was guilty of failing to pay this poor tithe (Jesus mentioned the commandment “Thou shalt not defraud,” using the Greek word apostereisis meaning to defraud the poor of their due”

    After I looked in a e-sword Bible with Greek references and not finding the word “apostereisis” in the 2 places with the rich young ruler story, I typed that word, “apostereisis” into a search engine – google contains only reference to the word. That one reference is in a PDF from … the Chalcedon foundation.

    I’m rather sure that there will be more than one teacher in the world expounding on this if it was true.


  5. Doug Phillips repentence letter strikes me as very ambiguous; I don’t think he explained the nature of the problem. What was it that he and others know he did wrong? Perhaps it is not our business. But I do think it is the business of his church in order for them to properly discipline and restore him. I hope people of his persuasion come to see that it is not only a problem concerning Phillips, but also the philosophies that they have come to share.


  6. τας εντολας οιδας μη μοιχευσης μη φονευσης μη κλεψης μη ψευδομαρτυρησης μη αποστερησης τιμα τον πατερα σου και την μητερα Mark 10:19 It’s right there, 13th word. The transliteration into English isn’t always standardized.


  7. Looks like posts here have triggered something unusual on Jen’s Gem’s: an Open Letter to Chalcedon, which prompted an invited response from Chalcedon’s Vice President in which he sets the record straight in an unexpected way.

    Why do you claim an unexpected way? Unexpected by whom?


  8. Patrice
    November 7, 2013 @ 12:22 PM

    I see no reason why a pastor who betrays his profession should ever be eligible to go back into the job. It’s not that there is nothing else for him to do—it’s a big world out there.

    “Out there” in the big world Phillips is a nobody.

    He wants to continue living as a parasite off the host (Christians for whom he’s a somebody).


  9. Patrice
    November 7, 2013 @ 12:22 PM

    I see no reason why a pastor who betrays his profession should ever be eligible to go back into the job. It’s not that there is nothing else for him to do—it’s a big world out there.
    Well said, Patrice
    He should have a nice HUMBLE job where he can learn/relearn the values he promoted…. and have time to get to know the God who is love (agape).

    BTW, He is in no position to NURTURE his family. They have no reason to trust anything he says or does. Trust takes time and must be earned. Is this man accountable to anyone?
    And…We are called to be fruit inspectors of those claiming to be brethren. It is not the same as judging non-believers.


  10. Concerning Mark 10:19, this website: says that the word means deprive, or “to cheat, taking away what rightfully belongs to someone else.” Pretty much what CF was saying. It’s related to the word used in I Cor 7:5, which instructs married couples not to deprive each other.

    I’ve been visiting this site for months. I came from an IFB background, which is very personality driven and sexist. None of the churches I was in had any sexual abuse situations (that I know of), but there was definitely ecclesiastical tyranny.

    In the early ’90s I went to hear Rushdoony speak. I actually have a picture somewhere of Rushdoony holding my infant son. There’s a lot of anti-woman feeling in reformed circles, even though they were a little more sophisticated about it. I still remember how I felt when I was investigating courses at the local seminary, and I was told there were some advanced courses that I would not be permitted to take because I’m a woman.

    Then something happened that I still don’t fully understand, and I left the faith for several years. I didn’t outright reject it. I just lost interest because it all seemed too hard and like too much pressure. And I wanted to leave all that behind and enjoy life.

    A while back I stopped being able to feel superior to and sorry for people who were still in Christianity, who obviously saw something in Christianity that I couldn’t see. I prayed for the first time in a long time, “God, please show me what I’m missing.” Then I came across books that said the Resurrection is something that has to be dealt with historically, and when you do, you realize it really happened. And once you realize that, everything changes. The resurrection validates what happened at the Cross. And it means that God = Sacrificial Love.

    Since then I’ve come to believe that the Reformed emphasis on God’s wrath doesn’t match up with God revealed in Jesus. I’m reading a lot of Ben Witherington (who says “God is suffering love”) and NT Wright now. Not sure what direction to go next. I guess I need to look into Methodist or Episcopal churches.

    I said all that to say this: I want to find a way to understand the bible so that it make sense as a whole. So I’m interested in what the Chalcedon poster has to say. I’m not interested in his benevolent patriarchy, as T.W.Eston calls it. But If they can explain the OT law so that I can see God’s loving care in it, so that I can recognize the OT God as the same God who was revealed in Jesus, then that’s something I need to hear.

    My son, who recently told me he’s now agnostic, threw this very topic in my face the other day. He said, “Why should I respect a God who makes the laws that he made about women?” I told him that was a good question, and I didn’t know the answer, but that Christianity depends on the crucifixion and the resurrection, not the OT laws. But my son is stubborn like me, and he’s not letting me off the hook. And I believe he deserves an answer. And I’m curious myself. That’s why I’m on a quest, and why I hope Chalcedon comes back to the conversation.


  11. Seems my comment didn’t post, so fortunately I had copied it to Notepad before hitting the Post Comment button, so I’ll try again. If that results in a double post, please remove one of them.

    @Julie Anne,

    Looks like posts here have triggered something unusual on Jen’s Gem’s: an Open Letter to Chalcedon, which prompted an invited response from Chalcedon’s Vice President in which he sets the record straight in an unexpected way.

    Why do you claim an unexpected way? Unexpected by whom?

    I am thinking that the “unexpected way” is in reference to Chalcedon’s Vice President having revealed the assistance that they gave to Joe Taylor when Phillips launched a legal suit against him in regards to the allosaur fakumentary. From the response to the Open Letter post at Jen’s Gems:

    “Consequently, when the legal burdens surrounding the allosaur debacle began to rise beyond Joe’s ability to mount a proper defense, he put out the call for help. He was asking, in effect, for people to help him defend his museum against Doug Phillips. He stood to lose everything.

    As Vice President of Chalcedon at the time, I took this issue to President Mark Rushdoony and we decided it was morally incumbent upon us to offer Joe Taylor what help we could against the legal onslaught he was facing. On the condition that Joe never reveal the source of the money to anyone, Chalcedon sent him an “officially anonymous” check for $5,000 (which we really didn’t have to give) to help Joe defend himself against the legal assault Doug Phillips had initiated. This proverbial “gift in secret” remained so until the moment this paragraph was posted here on this site.”


  12. Julie Anne, Pam is correct: the unexpected revelation involved Chalcedon working with Joe Taylor against Doug Phillips’s assault upon him. Less unexpected (sadly) was how quickly Chalcedon’s motives were impugned anyway (a response to that at Jen’s Gems is reportedly in the works).


  13. Retha wrote, “I’m rather sure that there will be more than one teacher in the world expounding on this if it was true.”

    From H.A.W. Meyer’s 10-Volume New Testament Commentary (1883), Vol. 2, Page 132, on Mark 10:19 —> “μη αποστερησης (me apostereisis) is not a renewed expression of the seventh commandment (Heupel, Fritzsche), against which may be urged its position, as well as the unsuitableness of adducing it twice; neither is it an expression of the tenth commandment, as far as the coveting applies to the plundering another of his property (Bengel, Wetstein, Olshausen, deWette), against which may be urged the meaning of the word, which, moreover, does not permit us to think of a comprehension of all the previous commands (Beza, Lange); but it applies to Deut. 24:14 [Septuagint and Roman citations here for proof], to which also Mal. 3:3, Ecclus. 4:1 refer. Compare also Septuagint of Exodus 21:10. Jesus, however, quotes the original special command, according to its moral universality: thou shalt not withhold. According to Kuinoel, He is thinking of Lev. 19:13.” Meyer further acknowledges that this commandment isn’t one of the Ten Commandments (hardly a big deal, since the Two Greatest Commandments aren’t in the Big 10 either).

    That PDF at the Chalcedon website is of a 2-page position paper on a very broad topic, and only a few lines were available to summarize the position taken. But the position is not some innovation concocted by a reconstructionist in the 21st century: it has support embedded deep within the strongest tradition of New Testament scholarship.

    So, should we accept the Position Paper’s position now that we have more than “one teacher in the world expounding” it? I don’t think anyone here meant to say that a view is correct if two teachers adopted it (that’s not a fair way to interpret Retha’s challenge), but the opposite position also has a problem: there’s no safety in numbers either (“Let God be true, but every man a liar” — Romans 3:4).


  14. Retha was looking for a response to her questioning of the assertion, “The biggest difference between Sharia law and Biblical law is that the former must be imposed, while the latter can only be voluntarily embraced.”

    99.9% of the time, the caricature of Rushdoony’s position is that it calls for Christians to seize political power, change all the nation’s laws, and ram that down the country’s throat (see books/articles by Kevin Philips, Maureen Dowd,, Frederick Clarkson, Chip Berlet, etc., to see that this is precisely what is meant by these critics). The context is imposition of a legal system upon a society that doesn’t want it (such as Prohibition had attempted on a smaller scale). The term “imposition” here doesn’t refer to imposing a penal sanction upon a transgressing individual.

    FYI, it took some time before critics Clarkson and Berlet, after actually studying Rushdoony closely, had to acknowledge that the man really did mean it when he said that “regeneration, not revolution” is God’s way. Further, most of God’s Law contains no penal sanctions to be applied by the state. But to think one is then off the hook, that those laws won’t be enforced directly by God, is delusional: Israel violated the land sabbath law for nearly 500 years, and God deported them to Babylon for 70 years for the land to rest: “My land shall enjoy her sabbaths!” God’s forbearance for that long was misinterpreted when he gave Israel “space to repent” (see Rev. 2:21), but Israel’s response mirrored Eccl. 8:11 — “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set in them to do evil.”.

    So, Retha’s original question seems to reflect category confusion. What Rushdoony referred to is an entire society voluntarily embracing God’s law as its legal framework. The voluntary component is made clear in Isaiah 2:2-4 — the people invite one another to be taught out of the Law. Their appreciation for the Law is obvious (they delight in it as Paul does in Rom. 7:22, following Psalm 1). But we today live in a nation having more in common with Ephraim, as depicted in Hosea 8:12 where God says, “I’ve written to Ephraim concerning the marvelous things in My Law, but they were esteemed by him to be a strange thing.”

    I’d write more about grace and the gospel if the questions were about grace and gospel, Julie Anne, but then my replies wouldn’t be responsive, and I’m apparently not catching everyone’s questions as it is.


  15. So, Retha’s original question seems to reflect category confusion. What Rushdoony referred to is an entire society voluntarily embracing God’s law as its legal framework.

    This response was helpful. Thank you.


  16. JA,
    That response was indeed helpful.
    “So, Retha’s original question seems to reflect category confusion. What Rushdoony referred to is an entire society voluntarily embracing God’s law as its legal framework.”

    The problem with the Reconstructionist movement is that it does not intend to limit its scope of influence to the voluntary realm (i.e. the church) by offering advice to VF (or other religious organizations) on how they believe discipline should be applied to an errant “shepherd.” That is all well and good. The problem arises when they seek to impose what should be voluntarily embraced through the State’s legal framework. The State, by its very nature, ENFORCES laws. This is a conflation of the kingdoms of this world with the kingdom of God, Jesus himself made distinctions between the two.


  17. To CF’s assertion regarding Retha’s alleged “category confusion,” Julie Anne says “This response was helpful. Thank you.” Maybe Julie Anne was making a statement of fact, but if I had made the same statement I would have been speaking in what I would now call the first person present sarcastic.

    You see, I had to go searching for the meaning of the term “category confusion.” Having found an excellent article on the topic as applied to Christian life (see I remain somewhat bewildered. It seems that all one needs to do to understand the concept is to “read an article on bounded-vs.-centered sets by anthropologist Paul Hiebert titled “Sets and Structures: A Study in Church Patterns.””

    Whatever CF means by her reference to “category confusion,” it seems to me she is inviting us to fall into the trap of binary, black-and-white, either/or, thinking. She is inviting us to fall into the trap of considering only whether Rushdooney was all for compulsory imposition or all for voluntary acceptance. Sure, Rushdooney may have had the sense to not openly advocate for compulsory imposition of his views. However, that still leaves room for his ideology to ultimately and necessarily depend upon imposition by main force.

    As applied to the overall topic of this blog, the question is whether Rushdooney’s ideology is ultimately abusive. It does not matter what Rushdooney’s intentions were. It only matters what the outcome is. Only the fruit matters.


  18. Blackbird

    Your comment touched my heart. I’ve read it a few times.

    “I prayed for the first time in a long time,
    “God, please show me what I’m missing.”

    “The resurrection validates what happened at the Cross.
    And it means that God = Sacrificial Love.”

    “I want to find a way to understand the bible
    so that it make sense as a whole.”

    Thanks for opening your heart. – And – Like you – “I’m on a quest”
    “to understand the bible” – To understand – the Word of God – Jesus…
    To be one of His Sheep – To hear His Voice – And Follow Jesus…

    Sounds to me like you’re on the way – By asking God to show you…
    Because, Jesus is – “the way, the truth, and the life:” John 14:6
    Keep asking Jesus for the “Truth” that’s been written.

    Came a time, I could NO longer trust in mere man, for Truth, For Me, Today.
    If I wanted, Truth, For Me, Today – I had to go directly to Jesus.

    When I did my own research, I found today’s “Religious Leaders” were teaching many – Commandments of Men, Doctrines of Men, Traditions of Men, that Jesus warned us would Make Void “the Word of God and NOT the Bible.

    The “Religious Leaders” were teaching lots of stuff NOT in the Bible.
    Eventually found out – I was in agreement with Jesus – and His Word. 😉

    Jer 17:5 Thus saith the LORD; *Cursed* be the man that trusteth in man,
    Matthew 24:4 …Take heed that no man deceive you.
    Mark 13:5 … Take heed lest any man deceive you:
    Luke 21:8 …Take heed that ye be not deceived:
    Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words…
    2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means…
    1 John 3:7 Little children, Let no man deceive you …
    Ps 118:8-9 – It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

    Yup – I had been deceived by man. – The Benefit? – I had to go to Jesus . 😉
    Jesus wanted to be “The “ONE” Teacher. Mat 23:8. – And teach ALL Truth.

    John 6:45
    It is written in the prophets, And they shall be ALL taught of God.

    Deuteronomy 4:36
    Out of heaven he made thee to *hear His voice,*
    that *He might instruct thee:*

    Psalms 32:8
    I will *instruct thee and *teach thee
    in the way which thou shalt go: I will *guide thee with mine eye.

    And the best teacher is….

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}


  19. I see no reason why a pastor who betrays his profession should ever be eligible to go back into the job. It’s not that there is nothing else for him to do—it’s a big world out there.
    Well said, Patrice
    He should have a nice HUMBLE job where he can learn/relearn the values he promoted…. and have time to get to know the God who is love (agape).

    Taco Bell, Wal-mart and Dollar General are always hiring.

    But that’s just it. If this guy were your average Joe Schmoe church goer who sat quietly in his pew and was known only by a small handful of other families, we’d be more generous in compassion.

    This guy set himself up as a guru – telling other people how to live, admonishing them when they didn’t “follow” his orders, living high on the hog in a multi-million dollar house and property, and just generally being a jerk on the scale of Anthony Robbins.

    Time to eat some humble pie.


  20. BeenThereDoesThat writes: “This is a conflation of the kingdoms of this world with the kingdom of God, Jesus himself made distinctions between the two.”

    This distinction is real enough: the question is whether it’s dynamically changing. Isaiah 9:6-7 says that the government is on Christ’s shoulder, and of the increase of that government and of peace there shall be no end. Like the mountain cut without hands in Daniel 2, it grows until it fills the whole earth. Then we will see the angel’s announcement realized, when “the kingdoms of the earth are become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ.” (Rev. 11:15). That is what making disciples of (not “from”) all the nations is about — the nations become Christ’s disciples.

    What is happening isn’t conflation, it’s absorption by the work of the Spirit, which is slowly being poured out on all flesh century after century.


  21. Chalcedon –

    Enough already. I can’t speak for everyone on the Blog but it would seem to me that laws that evolve/get rewritten/keep up with changing society are better for the Western world and its people. Laws generated in the 1st century belong with that society, in my opinion. I’m wondering what Biblical law, for instance, would apply to cyber-bullying. . .please get real. And give us all a break from your sermons.


  22. @Chalcedon Foundation: “Looks like posts here have triggered something unusual on Jen’s Gem’s: an Open Letter to Chalcedon, which prompted an invited response from Chalcedon’s Vice President in which he sets the record straight in an unexpected way. You can see it here:

    That would be a reasonable assumption. In fact it was this comment which motivated my writing the article:

    @Julie Anne: ” Reconstructionism (you’ll see footnotes from Rushdoony, a Reconstructionist), is the core of the Homeschool Movement and the driving force of many of the practices: keeping daughters at home, out of the work force, away from college, marrying young, having lots of babies, etc.”

    I have high regard for Julie Anne, but I believe she is misinformed on this point. As I have noted in my article, R.J. Rushdoony is one of the founding fathers of the modern home school movement. It would not then be unreasonable for those who condemn home schooling to disdain Rushdoony. But oddly enough there are many home schoolers (Julie Anne being one of them) who believe in home schooling but who at the same time disdain one of its most significant pioneers. Such is the sad state of confusion so many live in today.

    We are all vulnerable to the temptation of seeking out easy targets to blame for all the evils we see around us. What makes for an easy target? Someone (or some thing) that it just feels good to blame. In other words, easy targets are often not especially logical targets. Apparently R.J. Rushdoony is one such easy target. Feel good as it may for some to blame Rushdoony, it simply doesn’t follow logically that Rushdoony bears responsibility for the numerous aberrant and extra-biblical teachings and practices that are so widely manifested in Christian home schooling today. To the best of my knowledge, Rushdoony never advocated for, or practiced, any of those things Julie Anne mentioned above (anyone here is welcome to correct me where they can provide evidence that I am wrong, with the caveat that it must come from primary source documentation — with the volume of material Rushdoony published there is no shortage of that). Therefore, to say Christian Reconstructionism and Christian Patriarchy, as Rushdoony taught it and practiced it, was, or is the “driving force” for “keeping daughters at home, out of the work force, away from college, marrying young, having lots of babies”, etc., is simply false. Rushdoony taught nor practiced any such things.

    Nevertheless, Chalcedon’s Vice President does not “set the record straight”, as you claim, Chalcedon Foundation. I have invited you to do that very thing but, so far, it hasn’t happened. Martin’s reply so far has been helpful but my challenge remains unfulfilled. The invitation remains open.

    Martin Selbrede has, in his reply to me, at least referenced an insightful article of his in which, speaking of Kathryn Joyce and her less than scholarly research approach evidenced in her book Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement, he says, “She would have recognized that the second and third-hand information she appeals to is a sad caricature of Rushdoony’s position.” I’ve read Kathryn Joyce’s book and I quite agree with Selbrede’s critique. I believe this is exactly the problem with the vast majority of those who have blamed R.J. Rushdoony and the doctrines he promulgated for all the abuses and evils we see evidenced today in Christian home schooling. They have taken second and third-hand information and turned it into a sad caricature.

    Julie Anne, it would seem to me that’s what you, and many other commenters here, have done in unjustly attributing to Rushdoony those things in the modern home schooling movement that you (and I too) object to. Place the blame squarely where it belongs: Phillips, Sproul, Swanson, McDonald, Botkin, and others of their ilk, not with a man who did not promulgate those things that you have unjustly accused him of.

    Lastly, this thread has gone way off point from the original comment of Julie’s that triggered all this unproductive back and forth. It started out with a poorly informed charge against Reconstructionism, which made a leap of logic turn into Dominionism, and then off into the weeds with Theonomy. I’d respectfully request that the discussion return to the original point that Julie made. Please?


  23. Mr. Eston, could you kindly reiterate your challenge? If I can, I will try to fulfill it.

    I also drew attention to the “into the weeds” deflection. I could either ignore the questions (nonresponsive) or answer them (windbag). I’d prefer to rerail the train too.


  24. T. W. Eston,

    When I first posted here, I logged in as Chalcedon Foundation. When your Open Letter to Chalcedon on Jen’s Gems was forwarded to me late Monday night, I was at home, and I completed writing my reply around 3 AM. Exhausted by the late hour, I mistakenly used my Facebook account to log in and post my response at Jen’s Gems, thereby listing me under my personal name rather than my affiliation.

    Because I thought that interested parties here would like to see what had developed at Jen’s Gems regarding your Open Letter, and because I intended to retire this login shortly to avoid any ensuing complications as a result of responding to two different websites, I briefly described myself in the third person. The generic login lasted longer than intended (things didn’t wind down here as expected), and although I never used more than one name at any individual site (I regard that as unethical), I felt obligated to reply to the continuing questions here with the login name everyone already knew.

    After your last post, I realized that you were monitoring both websites, and this put you at a disadvantage I never intended. In short, Mark Twain and Samuel Clemens are the same person, and Martin Selbrede at Jen’s Gems is Chalcedon Foundation at Spiritual Sounding Board. From your vantage point switching between the two sites, this must have been as confusing as the statement found in Zechariah 3:2 — “And Jehovah said unto Satan, ‘Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan.'”

    As a result, should I post anything more here, it will be under my personal name rather than my affiliation, in deference to any others monitoring both sites like you’ve been doing.

    As a gesture of good will, I will email you my phone number tonight via your Gmail account. I’ll be driving from Austin to Houston tomorrow between 4PM-7PM CST, and you are more than welcome to contact me by phone during that time so that we can better address your remaining concerns about the issues raised in your Open Letter.

    With respect,

    Martin Selbrede


  25. Pingback: Chalcedon Foundation Privately Donated Funds to Joe Taylor to Help His Legal Defense Against Doug Phillips | Spiritual Sounding Board

  26. I am posting this at both Spiritual Sounding Board and at Jen’s Gems in response to yesterday’s charge that my presence and statements at these sites amount to nothing more than “damage control.” And by damage control, the critics don’t mean what the Good Samaritan did, but what King David did (getting Uriah drunk, sending him to the front lines, etc.).

    This accusation at first looks to gain weight when we read how surprised people at these sites are that Chalcedon is even there in the midst initiating a dialogue. As if to say, “Okay, so now Chalcedon comes out of their ivory tower and tries to reach across the aisle to their critics. NOW they start a dialogue — how convenient. They never did before. Pretty transparent damage control, isn’t it?”

    This is a challenge concerning Chalcedon’s track record. This is something of a no-win situation: if I correct the record, I look like I’m touting our track record and therefore lack humility. So those who can evaluate the matter objectively might learn something, but the sceptics won’t be able to see beyond their confirmation bias (which, given the church’s general’s track record, is understandable).

    So, is our participation at these sites merely a flash-in-the-pan attempt by Chalcedon to reach across the aisle and dialogue with critics, or does Chalcedon have a record of doing so, which would make our participation here just one more example of its consistent conduct? Let’s take a look.

    In 2005, Chalcedon attempted to enter into dialogue with critics gathered in New York at an Anti-Dominionism Conference, doing so in person in several instances (e.g., with Katherine Yurica). No takers.

    In my Nov.-Dec. 2006 FFAOL review of Rev. Mel White’s book, “Religion Gone Bad,” I was saddened to note that the author had adopted a policy of refusing to dialogue with the other side, despite his critique of fundamentalists and their “no discussion” attitude.

    In 2007, Chalcedon invited journalist Jeff Sharlet, a critic of perceived historic revisionism, to enter into a dialogue in the wake of his Harper’s Magazine article. He didn’t take us up on it (but did acknowledge that my published response to him in the March-April 2007 issue of Faith for All of Life was, to his surprise, quite good).

    In the Sept-Oct 2007 issue of FFAOL, we ended up publishing “Answers to Tough Questions About Christian Reconstruction,” answers I offered to questions posed to Chalcedon by a major Bay Area atheist group. The group had initiated the exchange, promising to publish our answers, but after they read my responses they failed to follow through. We had to publish the resulting dialogue ourselves.

    An clear and explicit invitation to dialogue with the author of Quiverfull (Kathryn Joyce) was extended to her in the March-April 2010 issue of FFAOL. No response (yet!).

    In the July-Aug 2012 issue we appealed to Dr. Paul McGlasson to address concerns about his new book, “NO! A Theological Response to Christian Reconstructionism.” (Insert sound effect of crickets.)

    Chalcedon has regularly reached across the aisle: it’s in our DNA to do so. And it’s not a hard thing to do. Nonetheless, nobody accepted our overtures. So when T. W. Eston’s Open Letter appeared at Jen’s Gems, we accepted his invitation, not grudgingly but gladly. Constructive dialogue with those across the aisle was something we’ve been openly seeking for years, without success.

    But it was not for lack of trying.


  27. Home School Enrichment Magazine just sent me a Black Friday add for Vision Forum’s Catalog. I could see Vision Forum sending it to me, but another homeschool company? Doesn’t that seem like an innapropriate endorsement given the circumstances? Maybe I am reading into it too much!


  28. Pingback: Compelling Evidence that Vision Forum Inc. is Closing, Liquidating and Doug Phillips “Show” of Repentance Revealed | Spiritual Sounding Board

  29. Pingback: Fallen Patriarchy Leader Doug Phillips Leaves Former Church and Becomes Member of New Church without “Letter of Transfer” | Spiritual Sounding Board

  30. Pingback: Is Clergy Sexual Infidelity Rare? | The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser

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