Doug Phillips Resigns, Martyrs Self

by Joe Sands cross posted from his blog Incongruous Circumspection.
Yes. You heard me right. Doug Phillips, the man behind Vision Forum, “engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman,” and thanks God for his mercy and love, asking for all of us to pray for him and his family.

Statement of Resignation

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.

Doug Phillips

I will write more on this soon, but, suffice it to say that, while I am orbitally elated at the news, I am also livid beyond words. I’m sitting here, smoking out of my ears.

In the entire 4-paragraph resignation post, Phillips doesn’t show ANY MEASURE of concern for the woman he may have harmed. Nor does he ask people to pray for her.

Nope. He doesn’t give a shit. He’s more interested in the MEN that are going to be running his gig. AND that he’s going to still be a “foot soldier” for his god.

I can’t begin to convey the heat of my wrath right now. Phillips has overplayed his male chauvinistic, woman  hating hand.

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I am a 30 something husband of one and father of 6 dynamic and loud children. My wife and I are still madly in love – at least in my view. My world is exciting, tense, and full of life. I love to write and hope to one day, do it full time. – Incongruous Circumspection

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Bruce Gerencser

    Another man who told others how to live but could live it himself.

    I would be gleeful about this, ok I am a little, but he does leave a wake of hurt people behind him.

  • Madame

    I may be mean, but I wish his wife would boot him out and get out of the cult.

    Those leaders have spent years, sometimes decades, pontificating and making everyone around them feel like they are never good enough. Yet, when they are caught committing sins that are worse than those of their followers, what do they do? They write long letters full of big words and false contrition that sound more like another sermon intended to make others feel less good. As a “foot soldier” he’ll just go on hurting people.

  • Fledgeling Feminist

    What gets me is that they preach “emotional purity” to young people and teach that you cheat your future spouse if you don’t “guard your heart.” But his affair is only emotional. Nothing to see here, folks.

  • Jennifer

    He admitted his actions were hypocritical to everything he taught and very much a big deal, never using the word “only”.

  • Sarah Pressler

    I went to church with them. Have worshipped in his house. Have felt the sting of his judgmental glances. Have watched him stand at the pulpit and all but give a flat out confession about his personal struggle with his own sexual sins. I know, personally, so many families who were damaged – utterly torn APART – by his “ministry” AND the “elders” who offer him accountability right now.

    I called this years ago – when I left the “community.”

    I knew it was a matter of time.

    He’s a false leader.

    The whole thing is such a sham.

    I’m sorry his family is having to go through this but those who have been with this community since it’s inception, and who didn’t drink the koolaid, have seen this coming for a LONG time.

    I don’t think he’s done sinning. I think he got caught. And this is him grasping at straws to keep up the facade.

    This is such a joke.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    Any time one of these guys falls, it confirms in my heart that God has a sense of humor.

  • Jennifer

    I’m so glad you left and always pictured his deceptively genial face as darkening with judgemental looks at others; ugh. But Idk how much of a facade this would be since he’s sinking into the shadows.

  • Nefercat

    “In the entire 4-paragraph resignation post, Phillips doesn’t show ANY MEASURE of concern for the woman he may have harmed. Nor does he ask people to pray for her.”

    I suspect if you asked him, his family, or his church, the response would be something to the effect that she tempted him, led him astray, blah, blah, blah, but that out of the goodness of his heart he will let her decide when to ask him, his family, and his church for their forgiveness for the harm she caused them.

  • Nea

    I can’t click “like” to that, but I certainly agree that’s exactly how it’s going to play out.

    What I worry about are the people who have lost their idol and will want to punish the person responsible for it in their mind. And it’s not him. It’s never the guy who’s responsible…

  • Jennifer

    Well they’ll just have to take it out on him, bc the woman’s nameless.

  • Saraquill

    Wow, so much humblebragging in that thing.

  • Jennifer

    Ok, I can’t stand the man, am thrilled that he’s stepped down and not THAT surprised, but I don’t see anything wrong with him not mentioning the woman. Please, she knew what she was doing just as he did, and he took full blame here, even admitting for the first time in his pedestal-high position that he thought too much of himself!! So, sorry, I can’t feel angry about him focusing on his own sins instead of her or hers.

  • AlisonCummins

    You have no idea if she “knew what she was doing.” Maybe she was a teenager who was being counselled by him and she reported his creepy-come-on tactics to her dad who was about to make it public. (I’m not saying that’s what it was, I’m saying you don’t know.)

  • Jennifer

    Often times, teen girls DO know what they’re doing, and if he’d been lassoed by someone he considered a subordinate in age and position, I doubt he’d be so lengthy in explanation and apology. I’m simply going by the evidence here, and it says, “This was my fault, I did wrong.” There’s not even a whiff of vilification towards the woman, so I’m just not getting angry that he didn’t ask for prayers for her, especially not on the large assumption she was in victim status for a one-sided hurt.

  • Jennifer

    Ohh, so you guys are the ones Stacy Mcdonald mentioned in her sad post about people feeling glee towards someone who fell; lol, you even use the words “gleeful” and “idol”, which Stacy used when she chastised anyone treating Phillips like an idol for seeing him as such. I recognized instantly, of course, that this was what she was referring to as soon as I was blown away by the news here, and my friend Corrie ALWAYS said you can tell when something’s going on with the Mcdonald’s or in their world by their posts, and wow, THIS is a whammy. I’m almost laughing at the whole strange, wild thing, the ironies, surprises and unfairnesses as well as justices, from plain and simple shock. But not really glee; the proper response here should be chagrin that this is going on, even if it’s tinged with justification. Be happy he’s no longer steering the ship, by all means, but not dancing around your room at the thought of his huge folly (which, again, he’s almost stunningly candid about). And please: divorce isn’t something to take lightly, and its occurence at an emotional affair would be pretty darn harsh after all their years and kids together; yeah, I know he’s a jerk, but for pete’s sake she’s not a victim, I’ve never seen that woman be anything but gleeful and smiling in that weird place. Marriage failing is rarely ever positive.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I see nowhere in the original post the words “gleeful” and “idol”. What I do see is someone who’s been hurt badly by the words/actions of Doug Phillips. He’s left a long trail of hurting people.

  • Jennifer

    I was referring to the comments, Suzanne, not the post. But we really can’t know if that woman’s been hurt badly; numerous women in such positions know exactly what they’re doing. I’m amazed he let a woman get that close, they’re usually ignored or rebuffed.

  • Fledgeling Feminist

    I suppose its possible that he went to an airport bar and hit on successful independent businesswomen. But very unlikely. Women outside that world would be more free to call hmm in his bullshit. His church, office, and ministry probably supply a constant stream of women and girls conditioned to respond to male authority and well aware that they would be treated like jezebels if they call any negative attention to him. Remember, Jack Schaap raped a 16 year old and called it “adultery.”

  • Bruce Gerencser

    You raise a point I have raised many times. These men, if it is really about the sex, have all kinds of options, from masturbation, hiring a prostitute, going to a massage parlor, to having an affair with a consenting adult they have no connection to.

    Instead they prey on underage girls and women who they are in a place of authority over. This is why I don’t think the biggest issue is the sex. It is all about power and control. They do because they can. And it never dawns on them that they could be caught.

    Jack Schaap, his brother-in-law David Hyles, and his father-in-law Jack Hyles, used their place of authority in a church that demanded submission to their authority, to abuse teens and adult women. It is way too easy to blame the victims. Those of us who were in the IFB church movement know the tremendous power and control IFB pastors exert over the church. Granted, most IFB pastors don’t sexually abuse people, but those who do seem to do it with impunity. (and we see this in Evangelicalism too)

    I am glad that through the internet, blogs, and public forums, these acts, which were once kept secret, can now be exposed. The predation can not be undone, but we can do our best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    Here in Ohio, a person who is in a place of authority can not legally have a sexual relationship with someone they have authority over. We tend to ignore the law when a pastor or religious leader has sex with an adult person he was counseling or helping, but it is still against the law. I wish the state would be more aggressive in their prosecution of clergy who abuse their place of authority. (and I say the same for ANY person in a place of authority, religious or not) The law rightly understands that people are often vulnerable when they go to a member of the clergy. Even when there is transference or the person comes on to the person of authority, the person of authority MUST act professionally and ethically. They are to blame, period.

  • Jennifer

    Fledgeling, you are jumping a HUGE gap when you even bring up a case of rape. This was not rape, certainly not a Bathsheba vs. king situation according to any evidence we’ve seen, and the fact that Phillips took full blame tells me he was pinned big time, whether by someone outside their family or his own wife and maybe partly his own conscience; remember that he could have downplayed this whole affair, such as claiming it wasn’t as bad as rumors might have said or that it was a private affair between him and his wife and sniffily dismissed it as “nobody’s business”, or even airily glossed it over by some type of, “My bride and I have been going through a difficult time and ask for your prayers, this is all I can say on the matter.” Instead, I find him down, beyond anything I would have imagined, and by his own words. It’s the first time he’s confessed, completely, to abusing trust, hurting family and friends (which may have included that woman, one of the ones he could also have hurt “privately”) and admitted to downright hypocritical action contrary to the type that he teaches. I thought I’d see him one day brought down by others maybe (and likely marching off with his head still high). Instead, he’s wounded by a sword he held himself and showing his wounds, something I do indeed take satisfaction in seeing, vindication extreme. But I also have to admit what I’m seeing, and that’s a pretty blunt mea culpa, with not even the words “led astray” involved. I offer no excuse for the man in any wrongdoing now or past, and rejoice that he’s not the captain of the still wayward ship anymore, but I also acknowledge this is a clearly utter admittance of guilt and one I never expected.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    It’s possible to appreciate the irony of Phillips getting his comeuppance and, at the same time, understand that his actions hurt many people … including his wife, of course, and children. No doubt the woman herself was hurt, too, and it’s entirely feasible she was someone in a vulnerable position to begin with, either by age or by need. I know in the Sovereign Grace mess that’s playing out here in Maryland, the victims were either young or vulnerable in some other way. I don’t think anyone here was happy about the trail of hurt people in Phillips’ wake.

  • Jennifer

    “It’s possible to appreciate the irony of Phillips getting his comeuppance and, at the same time, understand that his actions hurt many people … including his wife, of course, and children.”
    Exactly, and it’d be very nice to see female children and wife not treating him any longer as “prophet, priest and king”. I mean seriously, it’s very possible to forgive and even see your partner the same way eventually, but how on earth could you still seem him as some asinine prophet, priest and king?? I pray this will be a wake-up call to more than Phillips.