Doug Phillips & Vision Forum, Homeschool Movement, Patriarchal-Complementarian Movement, Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches, Vision Forum

Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 2 – The Victim

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The Account of Doug Phillips and the Victim

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All forms of sexual behavior or harassment with clients are unethical, even when a client invites or consents to such behavior or involvement. ~American Association of Pastoral Counselors

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Note:  This article is Part 2 in a series.  The first part is Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 1 – The Puzzle of Control.

I have written the majority of this article in my own words based on information sent to me and many hours on the phone with a specific person who has had a birds-eye view of Doug Phillips and his ministry for many years.  Before publishing, it has then been checked by other sources to ensure that the account is as accurate as possible.  Doug Phillips’ victim will be referred to as “Victim” throughout the article.  ~ja

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Doug Phillips, Vision Forum Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.03.20 PM
Doug Phillips

Douglas Phillips, the man who founded Vision Forum Ministries, spoke strongly about family values, modesty/purity, about the role of fathers in Christian home, loving their wives, etc. He also got himself entangled in a sexual affair with a young woman from his church.  He continued speaking at conferences and conventions with his wife by his side, acting as if their marriage was fine for many years while his heart was with another young woman.

Who was this young woman? 
How did her family not see what was going on? 
What was their response when the truth came out?

The Victim’s family were long-time members at Boerne Christian Assembly (BCA). They were a humble and hard-working family. The father spoke in broken English, the mother had better command of the English language. They were passionate folks who lived within their means. Their work ethic and good character earned them respect within the BCA community.

Another notable man, billionaire James Leininger, was also friends with the Victim’s family through BCA.  Leininger, who previously attended BCA, donated a house to Vision Forum Ministries, which became the Phillips family home while Phillips was head of the ministry. The Victim’s family had worked for the Leiningers and the Victim’s brother is currently employed at one of Leininger’s businesses.

Over the years, Victim spent time with the Phillips family. It has been reported that she was a full-time nanny.  Although she did work as a nanny and helped them in other ways from time to time, it was never full-time or on a consistent basis. She did, however, travel with the Phillips on some of their trips and helped with the children on those trips and at home.

The victim was a simple young lady. She became interested in health and fitness and educated herself in those topics.  Health and fitness became a priority for herself and consequently she was healthy and fit. At BCA, special attention is given to appropriate modesty guidelines and Victim adhered to them, i.e., she didn’t wear skirts too short, or revealing outfits.  However, even with those guidelines, nobody could miss that she was in good shape, quite attractive, and made heads turn when she entered a room.

Victim’s parents were not opposed to her going to college. And perhaps this might have occurred had Phillips not been so involved with her.

Victim stayed closely connected with the BCA community and as a result, she was not very street-smart.  She was naive, especially about things of a sexual nature. Most likely it was because of this naivety that Doug Phillips was able to successfully groom her. It has been reported that she was groomed as a minor. This is not true. All of the sexual grooming occurred after she was a legal adult and this information has been validated by both Phillips and Victim.

What was it about Victim that attracted Phillips?  As previously mentioned, Victim’s physical beauty certainly played into the picture. But she also had an engaging personality, was kind, and loved to serve people and make them happy.

Phillips was smitten by her and eventually began grooming Victim.  The grooming of Victim eventually led to an emotional affair.  In 2007, the relationship became sexual.  Phillips was honest in that he did not “know” Victim in the physical sense, i.e., there was no sexual intercourse, but there was sexual touching.  This information has been corroborated by both Victim and Phillips a number of times.

During this time, the victim was spending much more time at the Phillips’ home and was considered to be a close family friend.

In 2007, Phillips began employing Victim to write Jonathan Parks scripts with his daughter in an effort to spend more time with her. This was a paid position. Despite what others have said, Victim was compensated for her work on Jonathan Parks project. This provided Phillips more opportunities to spend time with her in his home after the children had gone to bed.

Phillips was confronted by a member of BCA and friend of Victim in 2008, but there was no evidence to prove his guilt. Many people at this time began to notice the relationship with Phillips and Victim, but no one had real and hard evidence of any wrong behavior other than it just did not look right.

In 2009,  Victim’s mother caught Phillips and Victim having sexual-based chat sessions in the middle of the night. Doug and his wife, Beall, met with Victim’s parents. This was the first time the Doug and Beall and Victim’s parents met together. Doug confessed to having romantic feelings for Victim, but there was no acknowledgement of any sexual impropriety. At the time, Victim did not disclose any sexual impropriety, but only the feelings they shared together.

Phillips told Victim they were soul mates. He told her he loved her and had promised they’d eventually get married and have children together. During these years, the relationship with Victim ebbed and flowed. Phillips worked very hard at keeping prospective courters away from Victim. There is a story published on a specific blog about an engagement ring.  That story is not true.

There were quite a few men who expressed interest in courting Victim. But Phillips did everything he could to keep her affections turned towards him, even going as far as telling Victim, “that in every other generation of the Phillips’ family, the wife dies early, so she would only have to wait.”  This statement was not to imply in any way that Doug was planning on killing his wife. This was said based solely on the early demise of wives in the Phillips’ family.

In turn, Victim also loved Doug Phillips and was willing to wait for him so they could eventually get married.  She had a servant’s heart and seemed to “blow sunshine” in Phillips’ direction. Phillips loved this affirmation and his heart drew to hers even more.

Beall Phillips was made aware of the adulterous nature of the relationship at least by October 2010 when Victim’s mother informed her that Doug Phillips and Victim had been kissing. Beall, at this point, had enough of Victim, and began to get other young ladies to help her with the children at home and on trips.

Doug Phillips’ double life starting to unravel in December 2012 when he was caught trying to climb through Victim’s bedroom window. Victim’s father and brother chased Phillips down the street with a shotgun until Doug stepped under a street light, revealing his identity. The relationship with Victim ended on that day.

It is interesting to note that to this day, Victim admits that she has sinned, feeling that she herself should have stopped the relationship sooner.  As Victim has been sharing the story to her friends, she has made it very clear that she wants to confess her sins and wants Phillips to come clean and do the same.  She is not trying to play “victim” in order to gain anyone’s sympathy.

Where is Victim now?

Victim is living in her own apartment and attends a new church, the same church her parents attend.  She remains close with her parents.  She is employed and is doing as well as can be expected.

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Clergy Sex Abuse and Legal Considerations

This final section expresses my own understanding and opinions of this situation, based on the specifics that have been made known to me and the general patterns of abuse and victimization that I am all too aware of.

Victim’s response of accepting responsibility for “her part” in the sexual affair is very typical of those who have been sexually violated in a clergy/victim situation.  It is my firm belief that she is not to blame and she is a true victim.  She is not responsible for Doug Phillips’ fall in any way.  Doug Phillips was in a position of trust and authority over Victim.  He knew her for many years while she was a minor and earned her trust. Later, their relationship deepened and he completely crossed the line of integrity. Because of the sheltered environment in which Victim lived, Victim was naturally in a vulnerable position.  She did not have street smarts, she was unable to protect herself.  Emotionally and intellectually, Victim was not mature enough to make rational decisions that others might have been able to make had they understood the nature of sexuality, power, and control.  Doug Phillips knew she was vulnerable and he used his power over her and her vulnerabilities.

While Doug Phillips was emotionally grooming her, this did not make sense to Victim.  As Phillips made sexual advances towards Victim, she didn’t understand what was going on in her body sexually.  She was naive about sex (this, too, has been reported by Victim).  Doug Phillips stirred the feelings of sexuality in Victim that had never been awakened.  One of the challenging issues for sex abuse victims is that sex does sometimes “feel good,” even as a victim.  How does one make sense of this pleasurable experience, yet being done by someone who is an authority figure?   It can produce confusion,  shame, and guilt – and yet, we must constantly remember, Victim was the one being pursued by Phillips.

This relationship was not consensual and cannot be considered consensual by the fact that Doug Phillips was in a position of authority.  It doesn’t matter whether Victim received pleasure in her sexual encounters with Doug Phillips.  It doesn’t matter if she may have flirted with him (I’m speculating.)  The basis of this relationship can only be interpreted as abusive because of Doug Phillips’ position of authority in her life.  Doug Phillips used his position of power and trust to control and gain access to a naive young woman, and he used her for his benefit for many years while hiding under the public guise of promoting family values.  It is important to not shift blame onto the victim.  Doug Phillips, because of his position of authority, is the perpetrator here, period.

It is also important to note that, legally, the courts would see Doug Phillips in a position where he must ensure fiduciary duty.

The clergy/parishioner relationship is no different than other professional relationships where there is a fiduciary duty. The “professional”, whether it be a teacher, therapist or clergy has a fiduciary duty to whomever they have a professional relationship. A fiduciary duty is a relationship based on trust. The Latin definition for fiduciary is none other than ‘faith’. The trust or “faith” in a fiduciary duty relationship is established even before the relationship begins. The trust does not have to be earned. In most cases a person grows up with the belief system that certain professionals can be trusted with no questions asked. (Source, emphasis added.)

The most damaging myth is the belief that the sexual relationship between clergy and parishioner is a consensual affair. The reality is the sexual relationship is a sexual assault. No matter if it happened once or if the sexual relationship lasts for 30 years. A sexual relationship between clergy and parishioner can never be consensual. The power differential is too great. As with all victims of sexual assault, the parishioner victim takes on the responsibility of the assault. Thinking they must be the “cause” of this “holy man of God” falling from grace and going against his vow of celibacy or, in other denominations, the vows he took with his wife. That feeling of responsibility topped off with guilt keeps many adult victims silent. (Source, emphasis added.)

See also:

“Why Adult Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse Are Not To Blame” By Mark Scheffers, M.Div., M.S.W., Child Trauma Assessment Center, Western Michigan University.

Understanding sexual abuse by a church leader or caregiver.

It is also important to note that there are states in which clergy falls within fiduciary duty laws and codes of ethics:

Fiduciary duty refers to the responsibility of licensed caregivers (doctors, therapists, lawyers, social workers, etc.) to “do no harm.”  Society’s expectation of these caregivers is that they will attend to the needs of those in their care.

All forms of sexual behavior or harassment with clients are unethical, even when a client invites or consents to such behavior or involvement. Sexual behavior is defined as, but not limited to, all forms of overt and covert seductive speech, gestures, and behavior as well as physical contact of a sexual nature; harassment is defined as but not limited to, repeated comments, gestures or physical contacts of a sexual nature.

We recognize that the therapist/client relationship involves a power imbalance, the residual effects of which are operative following the termination of the therapy relationship. Therefore, all sexual behavior or harassment as defined in Principle III, G with former clients is unethical. (American Association of Pastoral Counselors. Code of Ethics, emphasis in the original)

Caregivers are prohibited by state criminal statutes, fiduciary duty laws, and by codes of ethics from exploiting their clients or patients to meet their own emotional and psychological needs.

One important note: This illicit relationship occurred in Texas, and Texas is a state in which it is a crime for clergy to have sexual relations with a congregant. The relevant section of the Texas Penal Code are below (emphasis added).

Texas Penal Code Chapter 5. (22.011)

Title 5. Offenses against the person.
Chapter 22. Assaultive Offenses.
Sec. 22.011. Sexual assault.
(b) A sexual assault […] is without the consent of the other person if: […] 10) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser …

Texas Penal Code 22.011(b)(9): “by exploiting [the patient or former patient’s] .  .  . emotional dependency”; and (b)(10) “by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual advisor”

So, while Victim said her involvement with Doug Phillips was consensual, by law, it was not consensual in that Doug Phillips, acting as clergy, was in a position of trust to “do no harm,” but he violated this position of trust over her.  While Doug Phillips is on his high horse threatening to sue Muela, Renaud, and Bradrick, methinks he should drop the threat against those innocent gentlemen and lawyer up because he was in the WRONG state to be violating clergy ethics laws.

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Related links:

BREAKING: Doug Phillips Threatens Lawsuit Against Former Vision Forum Associates Who Had Earlier Confronted Him about His Sexual Sins

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128 thoughts on “Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 2 – The Victim”

  1. I just listened to this sermon audio. I think it was about 23 minutes. The interview was with Jamie Dean, the author of the recent World Magazine article. I didn’t hear any new information. Interviewer, Pastor Kevin Boling, seemed to minimize the “patriarchal” issue as one of the issues of the Phillips story.

    I’m afraid he missed the boat. The whole Patriarchal system helped this sexual infidelity to continue for so long. Think about it – -it was a system in which Beall couldn’t question authority. Doug, as patriarch, would not be questioned because of his position. Church leaders would always believe a patriarch over a woman. Women, who because of the fall, are said to want to rule over men. Women are viewed as suspect. The Victim didn’t have a chance, either. Who would believe that Doug – the guy who taught about godly fatherhood – would do such a thing? I’m sure it took a long time for people to finally get it. In my opinion, patriarchy is the key culprit that allowed this to remain hidden for so long.

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  2. So glad to hear Victim is employed, living in her own apartment and remains close to her parents. I don’t want to minimize the effect DP’s abuse has had on her life and will no doubt continue to have. However, it does seem like Victim is getting a chance to have a normal life now unlike so many SAHDs in this movement.

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  3. Just a note: SAHD = Stay-at-Home Daughters is a common phrase in the Homeschool Movement for adult daughters who “choose” (it’s debatable whether it is fully their choice or not) to not go to college, but remain under their father’s “protection” until he chooses a spouse for them to marry (*if* he chooses a spouse for them that he approves of or allows her to get married). We’ve seen some daughters of notable Homeschool Movement leaders remain unmarried in their late 20s and even early 30s.

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  4. devaneyjoy , you speak of “restoration in Christ.” Can you give some pointers on that topic, because I, a long-time Christian, need some.

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  5. Lydia (24th.5:03pm). Good solid thoughts. I’ve been slowly coming to the conclusion that the people who Lily asks about, are my enemies. That word is sometimes directed at me from angry legalists but I think they might have a point. What do you think of that?

    I certainly don’t mean “enemy” in a “go postal” way, but since I’ve been entertaining the idea, I’ve been feeling relief. I don’t have to try to make these people fit near me anymore. I’m called to love my enemies, but it’s a much different love than I have for my brothers/sisters in Christ. I know where to put enemies in my head and how to handle them online and in my life. It feels cleaner.

    I brought this up to my friends and they look at me like I’ve gone around the bend. But I’m beginning to think that they are exhibiting part of our cultural problem. We tend to want to schmooze the negative away. Now, my friends are of the liberal bent and that is a major weakness of that side, but when so many people, not just liberals, refuse to recognize that there are enemies among them, it promotes a kind of passivity that allows destruction to continue while they try to arrange themselves around it instead of standing against it.

    Anyway, I welcome your (and anyone else’s) opinion.

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  6. @Retha

    There is such power in the blood of Jesus and word of God! We have access to so much healing and wholeness, but we (the church as a whole) don’t know the word well enough and belittle the blood. I received prayer counseling, and instead of getting the worldly wisdom from even a christian counselor, we received from the Holy Spirit clear, personal, distinct direction in how the enemy was coming against me and using injustices from my past to build strongholds against me. I was able to clearly see, for the first time, how the enemy was and had been working against me for years. I was able to clearly repent of my sins and rebuke the demonic’s work over me. That is what I have been doing once more, in the last couple of days, concerning all of this. I see now how my weak places made me more vulnerable, I take responsibility for it, but I will not beat myself up for having been duped/gullible. We have a very active, persistent enemy who’s only mission is to steal, kill and destroy, and as he has gone after me….so has he gone after them. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but the principalities of darkness. This darkness has worked with and against the pride and fears of these same people we are so fed up and angry with today.

    Retha, learn your position and power in Christ Jesus. The Greek word for “save”, used multiple times in the NT, is “sozo”. It does not just include eternal salvation, but healing, restoring, wholeness and protection while we are still here, part of this broken world. Call out to Him and His promise to sozo save you. Pray with trusted, godly women and men and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you personally and intimately reveal to you and them where the enemy has done his own work against you. Repent of any sins God reveals. Rebuke the work of the enemy against you. Receive forgiveness and replace all that wrong thinking with truth. Or as the scripture says, once you clean out the garbage, you may have more demons move in than was there before.

    I am praying for you today!

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  7. devaneyjoy, much as I respect your story and the clarity with which you are going forward in your life, I am going to firmly disagree with this: “Or as the scripture says, once you clean out the garbage, you may have more demons move in than was there before.”

    I don’t believe that for a minute and have not experienced such, ever. Those who are God’s do not find demons rushing in. The Holy Spirit resides in them, the place of the spirit is filled, so it would be impossible.

    I do know that after a Christian has discovered a new life-altering revelation, she will often find that there is a lot to re-order and revise, much more than she thought because she didn’t know how deeply and broadly the old lies affected her. The Holy Spirit accompanies her on that process and she is completely safe with Him/Her.

    I also know that the old lies can re-emerge after they’ve been gone a long time, usually because something in current life reminds one of when they first developed. This can cause old habits to re-ignite and on top of whatever is going on in one’s current life, it can feel like regression. But one simply needs to back off a bit and do another review with the Spirit. Having severe PTSD, I need to keep on this in a regular fashion, and also be very very patient with myself (arg).

    There is no need to fear that real demons might come galloping in and take over. God loves us and is very powerful.

    Here’s what I quoted to Andrew on another thread, that wonderful verse of comfort and triumph: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

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  8. “Lydia (24th.5:03pm). Good solid thoughts. I’ve been slowly coming to the conclusion that the people who Lily asks about, are my enemies. That word is sometimes directed at me from angry legalists but I think they might have a point. What do you think of that? ”

    Oh my! You have opened the can of worms and I admire you for it. Few are willing to go here and they should for their own sake.

    “I certainly don’t mean “enemy” in a “go postal” way, but since I’ve been entertaining the idea, I’ve been feeling relief. I don’t have to try to make these people fit near me anymore. I’m called to love my enemies, but it’s a much different love than I have for my brothers/sisters in Christ. I know where to put enemies in my head and how to handle them online and in my life. It feels cleaner

    This is exactly it. And while I abhor “Christianese” in these convo’s there is scriptural support for what you are describing above. As in we are not to judge the world but we are to judge the body and so on. Lots of pastors out there selling the sanctification verses as both sanc/justification. It moral chaos.

    I think it is also good to make distinctions between what is jsut plain old deceiving, making bank off Jesus, trying to control people, etc and what is criminal and heinous. The latter,? call the authorities quick. The former, we MUST have serious boundaries. And that can mean lonliness in many cases because this stuff is rampent. And long time friends will choose their favorite guru over you even though they know you better!. It is mind numbing. Must of what passes for Christianity is upside down.

    You know, I think Protestantism is awash with this idea of a cheap grace which plays out with both seeker and those who subcribe to worm theology. That is: “Chrisitans” are people who sin all the time. They can live deceptive lives, take advantage of people and all sorts of despicable unethical things and we are to STILL call them siblings. I don’t buy it for one minute. Especially since many in this category are in ministry making a living off the Name of Jesus. This thinking is moral chaos. It is ceeding the point that we should not trust long time Christians at all. Is that really the way it is? I think not.

    It is above my pay grade to pronounce anyone as not being a real Christian. It is NOT above my paygrade to think their fruit is rotten. To avoid them as much as possible and warn others of my concerns. That is healthy.

    “But I’m beginning to think that they are exhibiting part of our cultural problem. We tend to want to schmooze the negative away. Now, my friends are of the liberal bent and that is a major weakness of that side, but when so many people, not just liberals, refuse to recognize that there are enemies among them, it promotes a kind of passivity that allows destruction to continue while they try to arrange themselves around it instead of standing against it.”

    Oh, it is a “conservative” problem too. I used to be in corporate training and we had a saying when we were doing things like environmental scans in organizations. We would warn people: Silence means consent. They have no idea how true that is and how that plays out in any organization whether church or work. And I am speaking to the passivity you mention above. So much of spiritual abuse coudl be prevented if people were not so passive and would speak up early on when they encounter red flaps. Many reasons they don’t but those are the things they should be asking of themselves. Like I did.

    But there is so much cult of personailty now, I am not sure we have not turned a corner. People will overlook a lot if their personality cult is a good speaker or makes them feel good or whatever it is that attracted them to it in the first place. It is the “inner ring” problem Lewis wrote about.

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  9. Patrice, one last thing. Could it be that many Chrisitans have not been taught that love and justice go together? We hear from many pastors about not getting justice here and waiting for eternal life,etc. But that is not what Jesus Christ was teaching at all. It misses the whole point of living the kingdom now. Of being a light to the world, etc. Maybe the idea that sin is so normal in a Christians life that we have lost the concept of basic justice and we actually expect Christians to be selfish, greedy, entitlted, taking advantage of people, deceptive and so on? We want to give them a pass because they claim to be followers of Christ? I just don’t buy it anymore. I mean how are we to recognize them from the world? A plastic fish on the bumper? A title? A ministry?

    At the very least shouldn’t believers in ministry be people of intergrity, character, honesty, etc? We are the standards so low for Christians?

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  10. Lydia, thanks for responding. It’s left me a little befuddled not because of your comments but because they remind me that I need to do more thinking about what an enemy actually is. On the battlefield, it’s someone to kill but at home, it’s someone to love. I guess?!

    I also need to consider whether I could actually have an enemy who is a fellow Christian. I don’t think I could, thus apparently I do assess the salvation of an individual when I begin to think of them as an enemy. I need to think that over carefully, remembering that I am not God who knows the whole picture, but also believing my eyes that see people who consistently do awful things, and not only don’t repent but are sometimes proud of it.

    It seems that having an enemy is as serious a business as having a close friend.

    You wrote, “I think it is also good to make distinctions between what is jsut plain old deceiving, making bank off Jesus, trying to control people, etc and what is criminal and heinous. The latter,? call the authorities quick. The former, we MUST have serious boundaries.”

    That people often don’t call the authorities for the criminal/heinous is particularly appalling because that’s the easier part, really.

    I agree that boundaries are important throughout, but they are for protection of the individual. Does the concept have any transfer/application to social/communal responsibility? It seems we come up missing on the latter again and again. Maybe a reflection of our deep individualism, not sure.

    I’m going to be swamped by stuff in my actual life for a few days. I’d like to continue the discussion here/there across various threads if that’s ok with you and Julie Anne.

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  11. Patrice, Here is one for you and I am sure you can relate. What if you come to the realization from many years that close friend or even family member does not want best for you. In fact, they have used you for their own ends (in whatever way) and they are long time Christians. Of course in the psuedo Christian world we live in it is considered sin and gossip to even mention it. So it is all underground while a totally different facade is presented to the public. In fact, if ever mentioned at all then one is ostrasized made to feel less for even bringing it up?

    Are they enemies? Are they siblings in Christ? Are we enabling evil by being silent? (I am NOT including children in this. They are innocent. I am speaking solely of adult relationships)

    How could such a person be a sibling in Christ? Is not trust a crucial aspect of such a relationship? But are they an enemy?

    As I have had the occasion to think about this in real time, I do think we enable evil by staying silent even though we risk losing much. Christians do not harm others. Ever. Christians do not use people for their own agendas without having severe remose and making restitution. And before they are “caught”. Why can’t we be honest about this?

    There are many who think it “Christian” to cover over evil. To say nothing. To “move on” as they say. But I am here to tell everyone reading, you CANNOT move on until you have boundaries. And one way to have boundaries is to not keep negative truths a secret. It matters not who believes you because sunlight and time are great disinfectants. It is a hard life, though. But an honest one.

    Is it that we do not know what a Christian really looks like? But lets say said Christian thinks s/he is really doing the right thing for Jesus. Does that let them off the hook? I don’t think so and in fact, I find it quite scary when people think they are speaking/doing things “for” God, We are simply to do right. Can we really do anything “for” Jesus Christ to further His cause as they like to say. Wouldn’t furthering His cause mean we treat people with fairness, justice and dignity? We don’t have to break eggs to make omelettes in Christendom. What I mean by that is we do not have expendable people. Of course, people can volunteer as an egg to be broken. But that is their decision. We don’t offer them up. We don’t use them for our own agenda to build great churches or win a seat on the elders board.

    Over the years I have adopted “Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves” as my guide.

    Am I am convinced that most of what passes for Christiendom is totally corrupt. Making merchandise of people. And the corruption can only exist with willing followers who think it is sin to question leaders. Thankfully more and more are waking up and gertting out.

    Yes, I think they are enemies. As to “love”….I would think it is more of a pitying love because they are getting their “reward”here and now. Not a good thing.

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  12. “Lydia, thanks for responding. It’s left me a little befuddled not because of your comments but because they remind me that I need to do more thinking about what an enemy actually is. On the battlefield, it’s someone to kill but at home, it’s someone to love. I guess?!”

    Another thought: How do you love a professing Christian who does not question their Christianity into living as a Christian. Wouldn’t they have to come to some realization they aren’t the real thing?

    This is the message so many pastors give abused women. That they are to love and submit to them and they will change. We all know it is hogwash and actually makes that sort of person even worse and lives become in danger. So WEtell them to get away fast. Jesus Christ was their sacrfice too. If they want to spit on Christ there is not much we can do about it. We are not responsible to change other adults.

    Taht does not mean you hate the spouse but the spouse is your enemy not because you say so but because of how they behaved toward you. They decided to become the enemy. It is wise to get away from such people.

    The reason why this thinking works is because most of Protestantism has been drilled with some variation of worm theology/cheap grace. So our expectations for living as the kingdom now are nil. We are all sinners, sinning all the time so what should we expect? Being sinned against. How can you hold perpetual depraved sinners to account after they are saved? They cannot help it. None of us know the depths of our total depravity. It is only God’s grace we are not murdering each other constantly.

    It is a lie from the pit of hell and takes away our responsibility to ourselves, God and one another.

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  13. @Patrice

    I was referencing Matthew 12:43-45 where the unclean spirit leaves (at conversion) only to come back with 7 “more wicked than itself” and finding the house (heart/mind) “unoccupied, swept and put in order” go and live there, making the man worse than before. I was not speaking of demonic possession, but influence of the demonic world (Satan and his cohorts) on the heart and mind of one either passive in their walk with Christ or deceived by the father of lies or any other number of situations. We can make a lot of attempts in our own efforts to “sweep clean” our soul (mind/will/emotions) but without active, attentiveness to setting our heart to seek God, abiding with Jesus and being alert to the cautions/revelations of the Holy Spirit, we can be deceived and led astray all the more than before, thinking we are okay because we’ve outwardly (through our own efforts) “cleaned” ourselves up or dealt with our “issues”. Anyway, I apologize if I was confusing. We may disagree on this as well. But It is clear to me in scripture (from the convo between God and Satan in Job and other places) that we are in a spiritual battle. It is the Lord’s, but we must call on Him and not think that anything that we can do of our own efforts will be a match for the cunning of the enemy. But we also must remember where we are placed (in Christ; Eph 1:20-23 & 2:1-9) and where the enemy is (far below His feet) so we come from a place of victory–not towards it!

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  14. Note: Per Source, I removed reference to “shotgun” and replaced with “gun” because there was not 100% clarity on that issue. The point is there was pursuit with a lethal weapon.

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