Doug Phillips & Vision Forum, Family Integrated Churches, Full-Quiver, Homeschool Movement, Lourdes Torres vs Doug Phillips lawsuit, Marriages Damaged-Destroyed by Sp. Ab., Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches, Spiritual Abuse, Vision Forum, Women and the Church

Doug Phillips: The Sex Abuse Lawsuit Conclusion and Epilogue of His Vision Forum Shipwreck

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Doug Phillips Lawsuit, Lourdes Torres, Sex Abuse, Vision Forum, Spiritual Abuse

 


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

It’s been a long while since there have been any updates on the Lourdes Torres vs Douglas Phillips lawsuit. Normally, I received updates from Attorney David C. Gibbs III, who represented Lourdes Torres. Either he would e-mail or text me, or I would inquire of him, and he or another attorney from his office would respond quickly.

Because of the influence Doug Phillips had in so many lives in the Christian Homeschool Movement, I’ve tried hard to get information from first-hand sources. Sadly, after several requests, I have not received any response from Attorney Gibbs’ office regarding recent updates on this case; however, Free Jinger, a website that hosts discussions on the culture, abuses, and key people in Christian fundamentalism, noted mid-May that the court case was dismissed:

 

dp
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didnothave
Source

I was also told by a couple of very reliable sources that the lawsuit was dismissed, settled out of court, and a gag order in place, so that would explain why we haven’t heard anything from Lourdes Torres or anyone.

I’m disappointed with the outcome of this case for a number of reasons. Although this case primarily concerned Doug Phillips’ inappropriate relationship and grooming of an underage teen, then using his position of authority as clergy, boss, and mentor to continue the relationship after she became an adult, it represented much more than that.

While Phillips’ ship has sunk, and the case has closed, it doesn’t really feel finished to me. Lourdes Torres was the sacrificial lamb who bravely spoke out about this clergy abuse. She helped to sink the ship of Doug Phillips’ ministry, Vision Forum, which had been a mainstay in the Christian homeschool community for many years. However, it feels like Phillips got away with harming much more than a Titanic-full of people. People who boarded his ship, expected a captain who would safely navigate them. They had no clue that he was going to cause a shipwreck.

One cannot say that this lawsuit only affected Lourdes Torres, Boerne Christian Assembly, and the Phillips family. As a result of Doug Phillips’ so-called ministry demise, some families have shattered and had difficulty picking up the pieces. Some have shipwrecked their faith. I read e-mails from divided spouses and families: one spouse wanted to discard the teachings of Phillips, while the other wanted to continue Phillips’ teachings. How does a family reconcile this kind of conflict?

While Doug Phillips and his family have now abandoned the idea of family-integrated churches (which he claimed was the right way to go to worship as a family), he and his family have joined a traditional church in Texas with segregated age groups (something he taught against). He also failed to abide by the church rules he helped establish when he founded the church, Boerne Christian Assembly.

In November of 2014, elders Jeff Horn and David Fry posted a note at the Boerne Christian Assembly website (which now doesn’t seem to exist) that Philips was excommunicated. Doug Phillips has done nothing to resolve that issue. No big deal for him, he just wiped his hands clean of his old life and is starting a new one with his family.

In closing the final chapter of Doug Phillips and his shipwrecked ministry, I thought it would be good to reflect on a couple of comments left here at SSB by two individuals during the height of the Doug Phillips scandal. I do not believe these two individuals have commented since that time, but they obviously had a need to share what they had gone through. Their personal stories about sex abuse and patriarchy represent real lives and most likely echo the experience of others.

 

I was sexually and spiritually abused by a spiritual leader in our church starting at age 13. Unless you have lived that experience, you cannot understand the anguish and struggle it is to be whole again with both God and self. The shame, the confusion, the lost innocence, losing the childlike faith you had in God and “Jesus loves me this I know” because you no longer “know”. S’s comments obviously show her own unhealed, bitter woundedness from her husband’s unfaithfulness, as it is a very selfish stance to ever blame the one under the control of a man of such age, authority, spiritual position and charm as DP (and my own abuser).

I was sucked into the Patriarchial [sic] mess 9 years ago when our state’s Christian homeschool conference changed from teaching us how to teach our children, to guilting us in how badly we were living as families of faith. In my own spiritual mess of striving to please God, as I was not yet whole from the abuse, I quickly fell for the charm, the smiling, happy-looking families, the mandate that to be right with God we must live their way. To have our children saved, faith-filled, strong in the Lord, we must live their way. To pass on the mantle of faithfulness that the world could not destroy in them or future generations, we must live their way–and of course, that meant buying and using what they sold.

For 3 1/2 years I wore skirts only. I finally convinced my husband to let us go to a FIC [family-integrated church]. We were all miserable, but that only meant that I was failing to “get it right”. Somehow, someway, I was missing the message. So much fear grew in me. My family, my children were not going to turn out right. I was failing them and failing God. Wow!! Exactly what my abuser had once told me, “Saying no to him was saying no to God and failing him was failing God.”

I just found out about all of this on Saturday when I came across the World magazine article on DP [Doug Phillips] someone posted on Facebook. Although we have been away from the FIC for 5 years and patriarchial [sic] thinking in general for 3, it was fresh salt to the wounds. I have thousands of $’s in materials from VF that have been sitting on shelves untouched because I have been so unsure, uncertain in what to believe. Today, I will box them up for the dump. I see freedom in my future. But for now, this is all so very painful.

Unless you have walked in any shoes similar to Victim, you CANNOT understand. To be sinned against in such a way, in the name of Jesus, is indescribable. I apologize for writing so much, but I do appreciate having a safe place to express these deep emotions. Thank you!

 

 

 

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Longtime lurker as I’ve been sorting through extricating my family from this patriarchy culture. As a father of 4 daughters, reading what this sociopath has done makes me want to meet him in a dark alley and educate him in the usefulness of Israeli special forces training. And by this I completely mean I would kick his @#$. Your pushup regimen wouldn’t help one iota Doug.

All these patriarchy wimps can ‘pray’ for him and his wife, and try to sound holier than thou with their long-winded sophistry. Deep down they are still intimidated by him and wondering if he’ll rise like a phoenix. Better to not be too overt in their dismissal right? Quietly distance because ‘its the ‘Reformed Christianese’ way to handle it, right? Some are merely swooping in to fill the patriarchy vacuum and acquire the cash flow stream that was VF.

No. Real men kick @#$ when things are obvious. Real men protect and fight when needed. This is why Lourdes’ family chased this predator down the street after he jumps out her window. They are the real men. They don’t just ‘play’ one on stage or in self-aggrandizing ‘crockumentaries’. They ended it right then and there. Looking down the barrel of a gun. Real men. With fire in their betrayed eyes. No lifts in their cowboy boots needed, Doug.

Patriarchy puts the weight of the world via Old Testament manipulation on families, then runs to the New Testament for ‘forgiveness’ when the fruit of these doctrinal entrapments are shown in the light of day. It’s called EVIL doctrine. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. We’ll know a tree by its fruits. Their brand of ‘forgiveness’ is attempting to hide it (VF Board) to protect the cash cows (I mean ‘ministries’).

Equally culpable are the sycophants who equate Phillips with some kind of modern-day King David archetype – ‘well, he ‘fell’ but I still believe what he taught was Biblical’…are you kidding me?! This knee jerk quasi-biblical response is merely projection. They actually do (or did) view him as their king. Not Christ. Little doug fricking phillips.

They are that blind. *I* was that blind. Lock, stock and barrel. A one time conference speaker, leader in a well known ‘reformed’ church, the whole shootin’ match. Could smell the megalomania on Phillips from the first time I met him, but ignored my better judgement. Just wasn’t ‘reformed’ enough I told myself. Wrong. I was ignoring red flags because something inside me wanted to be in the ‘inner circle’ with these yahoos. That’s how a cult is designed – to make people deeply revere and subsequently want to become one of the leaders.

Strange brew because this cult is more like a network – almost like the tapes and seminar kingpins of Amway. Different leaders and power structures around the U.S. – all vying for paid speaking gigs at each other’s events. They are information and event marketers, pure and simple. These are not ministries. While small potatoes in the world of business, they still rake in hundreds of thousands a year – under the guise of 501c3 status. It’s profitable! And just like Gothard and every other deceived ‘celebrity’ minister turned information marketer – they believe their monetary ‘success’ is God’s blessing. God’s ‘approval’ on what they are doing in this world to ‘take dominion’ and reconstruct America in the vanity of their mind’s eye. And if *they have ‘God’s’ approval, who are you and I to question it? MenoGAWD syndrome in the worst sort of way.

But thank God for the Holy Spirit opening my eyes and getting my family out of this mess. We are truly free in Christ, led by the Holy Spirit and in relationship with a loving Father.

We’ll be reading about this ‘movement’ on wikipedia as another creepy anomaly history lesson in American Churchianity. Beware of future iterations of it however. The wolves have to eat until they stand before God for their duplicity.

 

 

If you were affected by Doug Phillips’ teachings on Patriarchy, the Homeschool Movement, Courtship, family-integrated churches, etc, and would like to leave an update on how you and your family are doing, I’d especially love to hear from you.

Oh, one more thing – – I checked out VisionForum.com to see if there was anything left of the site. It has changed [see updated note below]. I don’t think it is quite what Doug Phillips, Esq. had enVisioned . . . or not.

 

vision forum, doug phillips
visionforum.com

 

Edited to note:  Gary W. correctly pointed out that the Vision Forum website used the address: http://www.visionforumministries.org, not Vision Forum.com.  I’m going to leave the above photo posted because of the irony of a website named Vision Forum. To me, this aptly describes how Doug Phillips lived his life. He lived the high life, while gambling with people’s lives. ~ja

Update again:  Ok, the Vision Forum store/catalog which sold books and gender-specific toys did use the VisionForum.com site!!  The ministry used the http://www.visionforumministries.org site.

222 thoughts on “Doug Phillips: The Sex Abuse Lawsuit Conclusion and Epilogue of His Vision Forum Shipwreck”

  1. You’re a little late to the party, Mitasis. This case was settled out of court. He publicly admitted guilt and there was a settlement. What more do you need – a video?

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  2. Aha. What good is an admission that bears no consequence? What good is a consequence that is not based on proof of wrongdoing? There is no way to settle a sexual abuse case. This is because sexual abuse is a CRIMINAL charge. Settlements are for CIVIL cases. Therefore, either there was abuse or there wasn’t abuse.

    When you’re talking about a settlement in the context of sex, then you’re talking about consensual activity between two parties who ended up dissatisfied with the results of their earlier consensus. Or you’re talking about a charge that cannot be proven true and got DISMISSED, which is not the same as settled in the sense that you’ve used for this term.

    The charges were dismissed because they could NOT be proven true.

    So Douglas confessed unethical behavior. Fine. Don’t mix stupidity with committing a crime. They’re not the same thing even if in many cases the former is often present in the latter. The man acted like a fool. I give you that. But you people instead judge him a criminal. Yeah, show me a video rather than your opinion. Prove what the DA couldn’t prove. Judge with righteous judgment.

    No greater sickening Christian exists than your sanctimonious variety.

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  3. Suits me perfectly. Isn’t it amusing, though, that you didn’t think so before responding to my first post? That’s how “old news” the case really was to you.

    Think what YOU like.

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  4. @Miltasis Solios

    and this is a CRIMINAL not a civil case)

    Am I missing something here? Was there a criminal charge? There was a lawsuit against Doug Phillips, not an indictment.

    Julie Anne, this is what you get when you google “Doug Phillips,” your blog shows up near the top. I guess it’s good and bad.

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  5. Mitasis, “But you people instead judge him a criminal.”

    Yes, in many states, his behavior would be criminal. The fact that Texas laws don’t seem to consider it criminal for a pastor to masturbate over a young adult female congregant in his employ, because it’s not “penetration”, is I think more a judgment against Texas than a judgment against his victim or those here disgusted by his actions http://codes.findlaw.com/tx/penal-code/penal-sect-22-011.html.

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  6. But, hey, if you want to call me “sanctimonious” because I judge that using a position of financial (employer) and emotional (pastor) authority to coerce a woman into providing sexual gratification is more “criminal” than “foolish”, I’ll take that label any day.

    To make matters worse, Phillips was an attorney for HSLDA, meaning he has a legal degree. That means he knew exactly how far he could push that coercion before it became criminal. More calculated than foolish in my book.

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  7. foolish

    I too dislike that term for this case. Foolish is entirely focused on Doug Phillips himself.

    Focus on others would include things like lying. Predatory behavior. User. Many criminal things are less harmful.

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  8. I judge that using a position of financial (employer) and emotional (pastor) authority to coerce a woman into providing sexual gratification is more “criminal” than “foolish…

    Mark, is that which GOT PROVEN to have happened? And if it wasn’t proven, does your Bible grant you leave to judge what YOU and NO ONE else EVER witnessed?

    This is what fries me about you so-called Christians. You try to use the Bible as the ultimate standard of right and wrong. And you tell people that whatever they think or feel is neither right nor wrong UNLESS the Bible, the Word of Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Unchanging God says it either is or isn’t. And yet, next, when it’s convenient for you, you feed us instead your personal opinions. Yeah, I call that being sanctimonious in order to avoid calling it simply callous, hypocritical hogwash.

    I could care less whether in one state (country, jurisdiction) a bunch of people decide to call something a crime while the same thing gets called in another state (country, jurisdiction) not a crime. I want you hypocrites to own up to the Bible either being the ultimate standard EVERYWHERE ON EARTH or human perspective being the ultimate standardard EVERYWHERE ON EARTH, such as via majority rule. If you’re going to be human-centric (humanist, you call it) rather than Bible-centric, then own it. Either your God rules over ALL things or he is just a little “g” god like all the others.

    If your claims against Phillips had any merit, he’d be behind bars right now. All I see coming from you in defense of your posture against him is presumptive speculation: “If he hadn’t been a lawyer then he wouldn’t have done blah blah…” or “Since Texas law permits criminal sexual behavior, then he got away with blah blah…”

    Bull!

    Texas law skewers SUSPECTS (not only defendants but SUSPECTS!) on the mere basis of probable cause. It enforces incredible bail amounts to keep them encarcerated on mere suspicion. Can’t pay your bail? Then Texas makes criminal defense a wretched affair once behind bars. If you have money, then you’ll pay tens of thousands of dollars to a private lawyer for a protracted process that may end up in the same place as that which a criminal suspect under public counsel would achieve while being one defendant of over 300, 400, 500 cases that a public defender has to represent per year — more cases than there are days in a year! And what place is where either of these two suspects may end up? It’s called the plea bargain.

    When instead the case is DISMISSED, however, what this means is that the pressure tactics from the DA, such as overcharging, fabrication, dead-runs to the courthouse, offer removals, etc., could not work on the accused, resulting from a LACK OF MERIT for that case. Otherwise, it’s a plea bargain that gets that man off the hook. And plea barganing for sexual charges against a minor ALWAYS requires prison time, because these charges are ALWAYS criminal in nature. You’re an ignorant man of the very process of law that you suggest to be disfunctional. But you love a lie no less. And that’s my beef with people like you.

    Be disgusted by that which Douglas Phillips admitted to. Fine. Go ahead. Be disgusted. But read carefully what it is he did admit to. What’s the term you people use? Exegize it. Don’t eisegeize it. That is, read what he did say rather than read into what he said that which you want him to have said. For, if you do otherwise, isn’t that what your Bible calls being expedient? And weren’t the Pharishees the best at practicing expediency for which they killed your Christ? What did he call them always because of it? Wasn’t it hypocrites??

    I’ve read of people like you in history. You go on witch hunts. You find demons behind every statue and literally put people’s feet to the fire and call it righteous. And yet all that kind of behavior that I’ve read about is forbidden in your Bible by your God. So, I don’t know what kind of God you appeal to in order to justify your slander. But the one I’ve read in that book hates gossip and considers it tantamount to murder: “You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and YOU ARE NOT TO ACT AGAINST THE LIFE of your neighbor; I am the LORD.”

    You ought to be ashamed of yourself for calling criminal that which this Phillips man never admitted to, was never proven in court to have done, did not even get negotiated in plea bargaining because of a high degree of suspicion, and yet you and the like proudly presume it all to have occurred as you believe it should have occurred, that you may call it criminal. All this while a merciless, impersonal, draconian Texan system chews and spits suspects like bubble gum all day long right into prison for lesser, UNPROVABLE offenses through pressure tactics, simply because it has the power to do it.

    And your shame should be rooted in using your biblical standard only when it’s convenient for you. A false witness is as worthy of derision according to your Bible as a proven criminal. The woman who filed the report against Phillips openly confessed she made up “facts”. Her credibility was shot. That’s why the case got dismissed.

    So both Lourdes Torres and Douglas Phillips LIED, and not a soul knows but God and those two what REALLY happened between them. Who gives you the right to presume to be God and know what actually went on and conclude that it was Phillips who is guilty when your own Bible establishes a merciless standard for false witnesses?

    Hypocrite. Stick to your Bible consistently or shut the blank up!

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  9. “The fact that Texas laws don’t seem to consider it criminal for a pastor to masturbate over a young adult female congregant in his employ,”

    The plaintiff officially recanted /withdrew that and all other accusation she had made publically.

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  10. Acorduan, recanted or withdrew? Those two have different meanings. The case was settled out of court, and that involves withdrawing the lawsuit. That doesn’t mean that she has said the events never happened. However, a settlement like that will typically have a gag order where the defendant is legally barred from talking about the events.

    Claiming that withdrawing the lawsuit (as part of a settlement) is equivalent to “recanting” is whitewashing at best.

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  11. Mitasis: “Hypocrite. Stick to your Bible consistently or shut the blank up!”

    Why should I have to stick to my Bible if you refuse to stick to yours?

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  12. Why should I have to stick to my Bible if you refuse to stick to yours?

    HA! HA! HA! Precisely, buddy. Precisely. That’s why you’re a hypocrite, since you call me to stick to something I’ve never told you I abide by while you obviously do call others to abide by it.

    My Bible? It is YOU people who call THE Bible the ultimate standard. So now there are many Bibles, huh? One to suit every individual’s desire, eh? Thank you for proving my very point, that you people DON’T believe what you call the rest of us to have to obey in the Bible.

    What it’s obvious here is that you CAN’T be consistent to its teachings because you actually DON’T believe in everything it teaches. You cherry pick what’s convenient to you, and make your own religion with it, and then say “Oh, it has the authority of the Word of God, boo-hoo!” Yeah right. Spare me. It’s only YOUR opinion wrapped in some holy-looking, pious-smelling frock — a cover-up of sactimoniousness. What did your Jesus call it? Whitewashed tombs, Mr. Dead-Bones-Inside?

    Seen with the eyes of objectivity, this Douglas guy did get it on with that 29 year-old chic, but nobody knows what went on between them years before. Both denied going all the way or, as he put it in his holy-roller lingo: we “did not ‘know’ each other in a Biblical sense.” At least he admitted that he’d “acted grievously”, “in a destructive manner”, that he’d been “hypocritical” and “abusive of the trust that [he] was given” plus “hurtful to family and friends”, which took more cojones than our esteemed Billy Bob dangled after the Monica Lewinsky bungabunga.

    The fact is that Ms. Torres went after money. She filed a CIVIL complaint to get damages because she didn’t like the outcome of the so-called ecclesiastical court that had adjudicated over the case, even though the allegations were in essence criminal to begin with and Dougie could have been sent to prison simply with what he had already admitted to, had she really gone for blood. This is another reason why you people are a joke.

    You hold church court. But since you don’t like to stick all the way to what your Bible says when you don’t get the outcome that you actually want, then you proceed to…how does that Paul icon of yours put it in your Bible? Ah yes! “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, GO TO LAW BEFORE THE UNJUST, and not before the saints?”

    So, given that Torres went to law before “the unjust” AFTER going to law before “the saints” and not getting justice, clearly either there is justice with the unjust, which contractics your Bible, or you confidently practice injustice as “saints”, including her disobeying what Paul told her not to do. Oh, but I forgot. Phillips was guilty any way. So that justifies anything the chic chose to do how many YEARS after the incidents?

    And yet your Bible even talks about that:

    “If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them BOTH out to the gate of that city, and you shall STONE THEM to death with stones, THE YOUNG WOMAN BECAUSE SHE DID NOT CRY OUT IN THE CITY, and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you.”

    It took her a while to cry out, didn’t it? I’d say that explains why she lied and eventually had to withdraw her complaint. Funny, though, that your church courts didn’t call for her stoning AND Dougie’s as well for adultery in both, huh? But then why “put away the evil from among you?”

    Yeah, you people are no different than us, except at playing at being pious and, thus, supposedly better than us. Well, you know where y’all can stick that!!

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  13. Mitasis: Enough with the personal attacks and name calling. This case is closed. You are bringing up Old Testament law as if it is relevant today. That is ridiculous. You also fail to understand the challenges that women face when disclosing sexual abuse. Your words are making my blog unsafe. You are now in moderation. I will check each post of yours before allowing it to go public.

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  14. Wow… this very tragic situation brings out the worst in everyone… after reading a couple of these comments, I immediately have to ask the question that no one seems to address: what does God think? The real culprit here is the devil, who obviously came through the deceitfulness of pride and greed and ego and lust. Hey, we all sin! Obviously, DP surrounddd himself with “Yes” people and has lived to regret it! There are multiple people “responsible” for this tragedy. DP being the most responsible, obviously! But as a parent of two teenaged daughters, I would not allow my daughters ” nanny” a whole brood of kids without my involvement in asking very detailed questions about what they were doing each day, where was the wife, mother… what conversations were had and would ask if there were any concerns or problems that needed working out… open and very frequent conversations as well as knowing your own chikd and your personal parental duties to love and protect your own children before God and not surrender them up to another no matter who they are is of utmost priority and duty as s parent. To me L. Parents and BP the wife of DP should have been better acquainted with th general and specific goings on. I am a hawk-eye where “friendships/relationships ” are concerned with my children. My kids and I talk! We are close, open, real, raw, honest, forgiving, and we pray together on a regular basis… keeping our relationships real will provide the opportunities needed to know the people surrounding your own children, keeping our relationships alive in Hod allows the Holy Spirit to show you things that just don’t seem right and cause you to pursue the matter… o am sorry, but for that young lady to have been abused for so long (is not her fault), but the adults fault who were closest to her!
    The backlash against clearly Biblical teaching regarding the authority structure in the home,, that I am reading here is not founded on logic or an honest critique of Scripture, but of offense against a man who sinned against Gif in his heart and against others in so many ways. People cannot blame Vision Forum for any of their own decisions! Each of us is accountable to God alone to hear from God, to listen to teachers does not require blind obedience, but respectful inquiry. If that is not allowed, then one must learn to distrust that teacher and search the Scriptures for one’s self! The devil wants to cause confusion, blame, hatred… he is winning more ground than you realize… young people who grow up with strictness are free to leVe the burden of legalism, but should lanelnrebellion as the same thing as becoming free from unhealthy bondage. There is a fine line between breaking the chains of legalism and personal rebellion. We each are called to walk humbly with our God. God will lead us in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake! As Christians, we must seek to glorify God through loving Him and loving one another with God’s love, not our own… my take away from this whole thing is that Christians must turn back to the Lord, seek His face, learn of zjesus for ourselves and Do the good works of Christ who IS our example and stop following after man or woman…. and please stop assigning bad names to godly principles that have been hijacked by man’s flesh! The truth can be perverted by those whose hearts are deceived… but the truth taken with a humble pure heart will produce life, freedom, and self-control… all the fruits of the Holy Spirit. A real patriarch will look like Jesus, who lives to love His Father in heaven and is committed to laying down His own life so that others may prosper… that is Biblical leadership…

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