Most of you missed this, but last week on the Visionary Womanhood Facebook page I linked to an article by World Net Daily about the Doug Phillip’s scandal. I didn’t make any comment—I merely linked to it. The responses were interesting. How about a little analysis?
Please note: we can’t know the motivations or the heart behind the women who wrote these comments. But we can address the actual words they wrote. Keep that in mind as you read. I actually had a very sweet private Facebook conversation with one of these ladies. She was very sincerely wondering about these things and was not trying to be contrary.
Nevertheless, I think Jesus gave us noggins so we could analyze stuff, so let’s begin by looking at the following comments:
I’m a Sinner, You’re a Sinner; Therefore, Let’s Ignore It.
People sin, we all do, and we need not forget it. I don’t think it’s our place to analyze the situation. Pray for all involved.
And a similar comment:
What’s the purpose in sharing this? Will it further the kingdom of God? I don’t like it more than anyone else, but prayer is what these folks need. Our family loved and followed this man and his ministry for years. We are deeply grieved at watching it unfold. I guess…I am no less a sinner.
The purpose in reading news articles and discussing them is so that we can be an informed, thinking Church. So we can engage the culture. So we can see blind spots and correct errors. So we can grow in humility. So we can see justice and mercy.
The purpose in sharing this particular, tragic story is to bring sin to light where it can no longer have a strangle hold on God’s children.
“For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” Luke 8:17.
There are thousands of people hiding in abusive situations. They are scared to DEATH that if they expose their abuser, they will topple little kingdoms (whether it be a ministry or a family). They are scared to DEATH that nobody will believe them. They are threatened by their abusers and, in some ways, by their churches, to keep their problems a secret in order to protect reputations and “bring glory to God.”
When we stand up for what is right and expose sin for what it is, we impart courage to those who are hiding in shame. We teach the world that we are God’s children who stand for righteousness and justice. We are humble. We admit we fall – and we take the just consequences of that, learn from it, and turn away from it in repentance. That is what brings God glory.
When we stick our heads in the sand and ignore it or make unthinking excuses for not looking at it like, “I’m a sinner too,” we are using humble sounding words, but we are not being truly humble. True humility is not afraid to face sin. It doesn’t run and hide. It is not angry and accusatory. It is broken. Broken.
It’s true we should pray. It’s true many of us loved Doug Phillips and his ministry. It’s true that many of us benefited from what we learned through him. It’s true we can grieve. But none of that negates reality. The reality is that Doug Phillips, by his own admission, has engaged in sexual sin and covered it up over the course of many years.
While teaching everyone else about purity.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. James 3:1
He has defrauded thousands and thousands of families all over the world by teaching one thing and living another in secret. And now he is taking the whole affair to the public courts instead of making restitution in private. That’s what makes this a public matter now, in case anyone is wondering.
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! 1 Cor. 6:1-8
The Demon of Gossip
Here’s another comment:
What this man may/ may not have done is no better/ worse than what we do/have done. His sins have been paid in the blood of Christ.Yes, justice should be served if a wrong has been done, but we need to undo the nails from the cross we r trying to crucify him on. He has repented. All is forgiven. I thank u for your heart in sharing this, but beware the demon of GOSSIP is not far behind this article.
First of all, the Bible doesn’t mention a specific demon of gossip. Secondly, reading news stories about public figures does not equate to crucifixion. Just sayin’. This comment is another attempt to sweep the whole thing under the rug and ignore it. We could say this about any sin. “Well, what he/she does is no better than what I do. It’s all paid for. Live and let live. Forgive and forget.”
God doesn’t talk about sin that way, and neither should we. Sin isn’t trivial. We don’t sniff at it and turn away with a shrug. Sin destroys lives, families, and churches. It’s dead serious business.
Gossip, by the way, is this: casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true. This news story doesn’t fall into that category.
This commenter claims to know that Doug has repented and all is forgiven. And wouldn’t that be peachy if it were true? In a perfect world, we’d all love to believe that and move on. But a public court case with both sides fighting doesn’t sound like repentance or forgiveness to me. The whole point of the article was to demonstrate that.
Christians, of all people, should not turn a blind eye to impropriety. God doesn’t. To call a careful analysis of public sin “gossip” is silly. If we don’t talk about it, the world will, and they will know we are a bunch of imbeciles for smiling piously in the face of vile behavior.
I’ve saved my FAVORITE comment for tomorrow. It’s a doozy and deserves an entire blog post all to itself.