Yesterday, Doug Phillips resigned from Vision Forum citing an emotional affair with a woman other than his wife. He did not identify the woman, but has not only resigned from all leadership positions but has also cancelled all speaking engagements. Former fundamentalist homeschool mother Julie Anne describes Phillips’ role in the Christian homeschooling world like this:
Doug Phillips has been very influential in the sub-culture of the Homeschool Movement. He was a popular keynote speaker at state-run homeschool conventions, speaking on topics of Biblical manhood, Patriarchy, men taking spiritual leadership of the home, creationism, a proponent of family-integrated churches and full quiver lifestyle. He and his wife, Beall, have eight children. We heard him speak numerous times.
With thanksgiving to God for His mercy and love, I have stepped down from the office of president at Vision Forum Ministries and have discontinued my speaking responsibilities.
There has been serious sin in my life for which God has graciously brought me to repentance. I have confessed my sin to my wife and family, my local church, and the board of Vision Forum Ministries. I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman. While we did not “know” each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.
There are no words to describe the magnitude of shame I feel, or grief from the injury I caused my beloved bride and children, both of whom have responded to my repentance with what seems a supernatural love and forgiveness. I thought too highly of myself and behaved without proper accountability. I have acted grievously before the Lord, in a destructive manner hypocritical of life messages I hold dear, inappropriate for a leader, abusive of the trust that I was given, and hurtful to family and friends. My church leadership came alongside me with love and admonition, providing counsel, strong direction and accountability. Where I have directly wronged others, I confessed and repented. I am still in the process of trying to seek reconciliation privately with people I have injured, and to be aware of ways in which my own selfishness has hurt family and friends. I am most sensitive to the fact that my actions have dishonored the living God and been shameful to the name of Jesus Christ, my only hope and Savior.
This is a time when my repentance needs to be proven, and I need to lead a quiet life focusing on my family and serving as a foot soldier, not a ministry leader. Though I am broken over my failures, I am grateful to be able to spend more time with my family, nurturing my wife and children and preparing my older sons and daughters for life. So, for these reasons I want to let my friends know that I have stepped down as a board member and as president of Vision Forum Ministries. The Board will be making provision for the management of the ministry during this time. To the friends of this ministry, I ask for your forgiveness, and hope that you will pray for the Phillips family at this time, and for the men who will be responsible for shepherding the work of Vision Forum Ministries in the future.
This is huge. Doug Phillips founded Vision Forum in 1997, and for the past sixteen years Doug Phillips has been Vision Forum and Vision Forum has been Doug Phillips. What will happen to Vision Forum remains to be seen. Its new leaders, whoever they may be, may successfully make the transition and it may continue to be influential in the Christian homeschool world. Or, it may decline in popularity in reaction to this announcement and as a result of the departure of Phillips. What will happen remains to be seen. In the mean time, if you want to read more about Doug Phillips or Vision Forum, I recommend browsing the archives of Rethinking Vision Forum.
For Further Reading: