Doug Phillips and family-integrated churches, his family’s new church, and Beall Phillips’ response to HSLDA’s Michael Farris’ statement
Attention: All of you families who may have abandoned life-long friends and stopped going to traditional age-segregated churches, proclaiming them anti-Biblical because of the teachings by Doug Phillips and Vision Forum . . . . . . . your ringleader has abandoned you.
We haven’t had an update on Doug Phillips in a while. The last we heard was from the current teaching elders at his former church, Boerne Christian Assembly (BCA). As you may recall, the Phillips family did not follow the church guidelines that Doug Phillips himself helped establish. He was an elder and member at BCA, and members there don’t just get to leave BCA when they want to find a new church home – again, those were the rules he helped to establish. But according to the current elders, he failed to get the required “letter of transfer” from BCA before becoming a new member at another church. Here is part of the public statement from the current leaders at BCA:
As previously noted, Boerne Christian Assembly has sought to exercise oversight and accountability with our former Elder, Doug Phillips, who last year publicly confessed to an inappropriate, long-term relationship with a woman other than his wife and verbally expressed his repentance for his behavior. Recently, contrary to the position established many years ago at Boerne Christian Assembly under his Eldership and which he reaffirmed on multiple occasions, Doug Phillips has left Boerne Christian Assembly and advised that he has become a member of another Church without a letter of transfer from Boerne Christian Assembly. (Source)
But wait . . . .what happened to the family-integraged church mantra, Doug?
Those who have followed Doug Phillips’ teachings for any length of time will certainly remember this important part of his core teachings: family-integrated churches. Phillips was strongly opposed to age-segregated churches, Sunday schools, youth groups, etc, the “biblical” way was to have the family remain together at church. Many new family-integrated churches popped up all over the States because of his teachings.
In the beginning of August, I was sent information easily verified on the internet that four members of the Phillips family have indeed become members of a new church. Doug Phillips, his wife, Beall, and two sons, were listed on a church posting online. I’m unclear why his older daughters have not become members. Do they do not have voices to become members?
For privacy reasons, I will not be naming the church, but it’s important to note the kind of church he and his family is now attending. On the church website, I noted a section, “Age Group Ministries.”
Beneath that column heading were the following listings:
- University Students
- Young Professionals
- Single Adults
- Young Adult Families
- Median Adults
- Senior Adults
Now, my church probably has around 400 attendees on an average Sunday and there’s no way our church could provide the same variety of groups and have them fully staffed. That should give you an idea of the size of the church the Phillips family is now attending. I’m not sure what numbers define a mega church, but I suspect Doug Phillips’ new church would be identified as a mega church.
So, apparently, while Phillips has been on the run from his former church – having left BCA without following the guidelines that he established and strictly enforced on everyone else, he seems to have ditched at least some of his own teachings that thousands of homeschooling families followed and from which their lives were shaped. Take a look at what Phillips previously taught thousands of families:
It is obvious that the normative practice for Israel and the early church was to integrate children into the normal practices of the gatherings of the people. Nowhere do we find a trace of teaching or example of our modern age-graded approach to the church.
Let’s bring our children back into the meetings of the church. I sincerely believe that if the Lord Jesus Christ were here in the twenty-first century, He would be the first to invite them back. (Source)
That is the lite version. Now here is where we Phillips says what he really means (emphasis is mine):
At a time when God is turning the hearts of many fathers to their children, and where biblical patterns of Hebrew discipleship are being rediscovered and implemented in the homes of many families who have embraced home education, a glaring dichotomy still exists in those churches which practice unbiblical family-segregating, and teen-culture driven philosophies of church life. (Source)
Did you catch the word unbiblical? Yea, so evidently, the Doug Phillips family is being unbiblical as they attend their new age-segregated church, that is, unless he has changed his core beliefs. But if he had a change of heart and truly believed he was wrong in his former teaching, wouldn’t he retract his old teachings? Wouldn’t he be repenting of his erroneous teachings? Maybe not. What we’ve seen of his public statement(s) of repentance has been lacking.
But wait, there’s more: not only does this new church offer age-segregated church activities and groups, it also offers a :::::gasp::::: a school. A school would certainly go against the teachings from Phillips/Vision Forum that only parents should train their children in the way in which they go. So how could he attend such a “heathen” church? Has he lost his mind? . . . or has he finally come to his senses?
The hypocrisy in all of this is astounding. I hope that homeschool parents who read this really challenge themselves to test his old teachings. Has this man gone astray by bringing his family with him to attend this more contemporary church? Or was his original teaching baseless and extra-biblical?
It’s very important to understand how many people changed their lives, from how they raised their children, to where they went to church, because of Doug Phillips. Some families were so swayed by his “biblical” ideologies they quit jobs, sold homes, left family and friends to be closer to San Antonio and the Vision Forum empire. They wanted to parent their family biblically. I have actually spoken with someone who made the move and have heard of many more.
And now Doug Phillips is kissing all of that “biblical” teaching good-bye with nary a word to his followers? That is so wrong. I’ve heard from scores of people who have been harmed by his errant extra-biblical teachings. My heart goes out to them as they try to put pieces back together and hold their family together. I find it ironic that in the attempt to keep families together, the very opposite has happened for many families.
Beall Phillips Publicly Responds to Michael Farris’ Recent Statement
Moving along to other related matters, with the recent statement from Michael Farris of Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) in which he discussed the ideologies perpetuated by Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard that have caused harm to families, a surprise commenter appeared on the HSLDA’s Facebook page. The comment came from Doug Phillips’ wife, Beall Phillips.
Note: I have heard from multiple sources that Beall’s words actually resemble wording that Doug would use, so keep that in mind when reading. Here’s an excerpt I wanted to discuss, keep in mind, Beall’s words are directed to Michael Farris:
Your caricature of our views would be humorous if it were not so grossly offensive.
Let me help you with a couple of things. I have voted as my conscience dictated since I was 18. So do my sons and so will my daughters. I’m glad for Vickie that she is not under Dennis Rodman’s authority. And I am glad that I am not under your authority. I would choose my husband again any day.
Ok, that’s interesting. Let’s take a look at what was posted on the Vision Forum website in 2005. This quote comes from an article written by Brian Abshire. You can be sure that whatever was posted on the Vision Forum website was fully endorsed by Doug Phillips:
In regards to a woman’s right to vote; if husband and wife are truly “one flesh” and the husband is doing his duty to represent the family to the wider community, then what PRACTICAL benefit does allowing women to vote provide? If husband and wife agree on an issue, then one has simply doubled the number of votes; but the result is the same. Women’s voting only makes a difference when the husband and wife disagree; a wife, who does not trust the judgment of her husband, can nullify his vote. Thus, the immediate consequence is to enshrine the will of the individual OVER the good of the family thus creating divisions WITHIN the family.
Karen Campbell, of thatmom.com blog, has done extensive research on the Patriarchy Movement, including Doug Phillips, responded to Beall Phillips and also noticed the hypocrisy in Beall Phillips’ comment:
I am sorry to say that what has been taught on the pages of Vision Forum is very different than what you are now saying. VF posted an article by Jennie Chancey where it is made very clear that women ought not to vote. This author has also declared that women working outside the home is “blasphemy” also on VF and in the book she co-authored with Stacy McDonald (also published by VF) made it clear that women only have one acceptable role, that of being wives and mothers. VF has also made it very clear through the years that daughters are to remain home under their father’s authority until they are given in marriage and are not to work outside the home. Did you not watch The Return of the Daughters film?
It’s interesting that some leaders will express certain ideologies for their own congregants, while living a completely different lifestyle. We have a word for that: hypocrisy. Perhaps that is the case here.
There were responses posted on Beall Phillips’ public Facebook page where she also posted a copy of her note to Michael Farris. Take a look at some of the responses to Beall:
I’m so sorry you are having to go through this, Beall.
Our family has listened to your husband in many forums, at conferences, on CD and DVD. We have never witnessed him teaching or advocating any of these ideologies. August 28 at 10:26am
‘”Gross misrepresentation” was the phrase I was thinking when I read Mike’s post.’ August 28 at 10:29am
“I remain thankful for your husband’s many years of contending for the faith, for his wise interpretation of Scripture, and for his bravery in sharing in a day and age when so many were and yet are inclined to disagree with even the most clear and simple reading of the Word.” August 28 at 10:34am
“My heart just breaks. The responses of several cultural feminists in sharing their glee over this hit piece is even sadder. They are now circling the wagons, hopeful that others who teach a biblical view of the family like Kevin Swanson will be condemned next. Will it stop there or will Voddie Baucham, Paul Washer, Scott Brown, Peter Bradrick, Geoff Botkin (and his daughters) and hundreds of other fine pastors and teachers be in line to take their shot from a brother and friend? Our family has benefited greatly from the teachings of all these men, Doug Phillips and Vision Forum certainly included. We use them daily and greatly miss the wonderful resource that VF was, helping to fill our home with love, peace, joy, laughter, world history, obedience, and a better understanding of sin, confession, repentance, grace and restoration.” August 28 at 6:37pm
There certainly is confusion in the Homeschool Movement camp.