Confessing his sin, Doug Phillips of Vision Forum, resigned as president of the ministry, and the ministry is closing its operations.
Douglas Phillips has done much good for our family and for countless thousands of others. His lectures have given insight, the books and family building items in the Vision Forum (VF) store have been a blessing to us time and again. We first learned of VF in 2000 when my daughter saw an ad in World Magazine. We got on the web and discovered a treasure trove of family edifying helps. I will forever be grateful to Doug Phillips for his ministry.
There have been times through the years that I have been aware that the place of prominence and privilege, the gifts and talents God had bestowed on Doug set him in a place of greater temptation. I remember praying for him on occasion specifically that God would grant him special grace as he carried these large responsibilities and privileges.
Today my heart is sad. We have learned that Doug has resigned from the presidency of VF because of an improper relationship with a woman which Doug tells about here. This has led to the closing of Vision Forum Ministries by the VF Board of Directors.
What should we think about this, and what should we do? Among other things, we should forgive. A great wrong has been done, not only to Doug’s wife, to his children, and to the staff of VF, but also to me and my family, to many of you, indeed to the entire Body of Christ. We have been betrayed by our brother. He set a standard of faithfulness in word and example by pointing us to THE STANDARD, Jesus Christ. Many of us looked to Doug as a leader and faithful brother, as an example to follow. This trust has been broken. Our hearts are wounded, our minds confused and troubled. Doug’s sin is real, grievous and damaging. He has and does confess his sin and now in repentance and humility he seeks to walk faithfully before the Lord, his family, and before you and me. There is none without sin. Jesus does not condone Doug’s sin and neither do we; nor does Christ’s forgiveness give license for further sin. Jesus says, “go and sin no more”. We then should also forgive. I do forgive.
What should we do? If we are “spiritual” we will seek to restore Doug by prayer and other means God may give (Galatians 6:1-3). Our brother, a soldier in the cause of Jesus Christ has fallen. He is wounded, and many with him because of this sin.
What should we do? We should pray. Doug has “given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14). The secular media will use this to ridicule Christ and his people. Those who war against God’s people, and those who war against homeschooling and Christian education, and those who war against the sovereignty of the family will use this in whatever way they can devise as a weapon against us. Doug’s own family will in some measure suffer lasting harm that will only be mollified by the mercies of God. David’s great sin comes to our minds and his deep repentance, and God’s forgiveness, and the sad consequences David faced for the rest of his life. We should pray for Doug even as we give thanks to God for all the good the Lord has done for us through Doug’s ministry. Pray for his family, pray for the godly men who surround him, pray against the enemies of God that they will be put to shame as they ridicule and seek to use this as an occasion against the Kingdom of Christ.
What should we do? We should scan the horizon for other men of prominence in Christ’s service. We should recognize that they too have a greater vulnerability to pride and misuse of the talents and resources God has entrusted to them. Let us pray that God give these leaders wisdom to gather around them men of integrity who will hold them accountable and help to keep them from the pitfalls that surround these gifted men.
What should we do? We should take courage. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Doug has and does confess his sinfulness; he recognizes he is a sinner. Jesus came to save such a one as Doug. We take courage therefore and confess that God in his mercy restores Doug to fellowship with himself and with the Body of Christ. And this same God will uphold us also. Jesus is able to make us stand (Romans 14:4; Jude 1:24).
What should we do? We should fear! “…restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” Not one of us is exempt from temptation and compromise. Let us daily walk “considering” ourselves lest we “also be tempted”. Let us set our hearts to walk faithfully before the Lord, all the while crying out for and depending on his grace to uphold us, ever praying, “…and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…!”
What should we do? Perhaps you can think of more that we should do. Share your heart with us on this page; you are welcome to leave a comment below.
Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD;
Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
Psalm 130:1-4 (NKJV)
May God give grace to Doug and his family, to the Vision Forum staff and board, and to you and me!