Doug Phillips of VF and Biblical Vision: On Lenses

I’ve been recently reading about the Doug Phillips affair, and thinking about how the media coverage has been purposefully and maliciously skewed. Even–perhaps especially– by Christian sites which have covered Ms. Lourdes Torres-Manteufal’s suit against Phillips have used unfair weights in their measure of reporting. One gets a sense of this with the manner of the reporting of their names; which is just as I have done here. Lourdes is presented with her title and full name throughout the coverage. This conveys a sense of status. Doug, after the first introduction in a report, is relegated to merely “Phillips”.

Before I discuss the particulars of what I found in that sorry mess, I want to talk about my priorities in examination; how I look at the things I see. Like anyone else, those near me in my youth greatly informed how I perceived the world. By God’s grace (and not a little discipline) my lens has been ground down and refined as I realized (to my surprise, anger and sadness!) that–with the unstudied lens I had–I could not touch truths that appeared to be right at hand, yet toppled over stumbling blocks that had seemed much smaller and distant than they really were.

The successful bits of the lens-grinding process, basically, was to encounter pain and trouble and then turn to the Lord in prayer (often angry and bitter), the Bible, and the counsel of men I respected…part of the grinding process was to scratch off the list of the respected those men whose counsel did not match my readings of the Bible; many of them my close friends.[1] Do not put too much emphasis on the word match and think I mean verbatim, or exactly. I mean that there was no resemblance to the Bible’s teachings. My lens was revealed to have been largely formed by a haphazard scouring of instincts, baseless taboos, unfounded liberties, and platitudes; all conserved as a sort of tradition.

Unless you have experienced it you cannot imagine the joy and peace of relief  from simply the acknowledgement from the Bible and Its pin-point descriptions of the distortions around and within me, and to which others around me were pained (while yet oblivious!) about the causes. There was no fix applied to me, per se; just relief that I was not insane.

I want that those problems were fully behind me, but there is still more work needed. Though…sanity can be lonesome.

[1]I’m very sorry to say that my family was eradicated from the list. I still see these people; still love them. We’re just not close. Cannot be close, however we try.

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12 thoughts on “Doug Phillips of VF and Biblical Vision: On Lenses

  1. I’ve only read one story about this, on World Net Daily, and while they unexpectedly trashed the tenets of patriarchy as outlined at Vision Forum, they didn’t do that name thing you mentioned.

    For a whole host of reasons, I will refrain from saying what I really think about all of that, but will mention something I witnessed recently that through me for a loop. That thing about feminine tendencies.

    A woman I’ve pegged as fairly devout said something to the guy who teaches our kids’ homeschool P.E. class. It could have been innocent enough so I immediately chastised myself for being shocked by it. And then I saw his face. He read it the same as I did. I suppose as a good looking personal trainer he’s had his share of experiences sifting through such comments, but he’s young and she isn’t so it was a little harder for him to hide his surprise.

    I thought to myself, very similarly to what I thought in the Phillips case, “We women have to be careful that we aren’t sending signals because men don’t generally pursue full grown women (which this Lourdes woman was) without some indication that they won’t be rejected.”

    If she had been a child when the thing began, I might have viewed it differently. Lenses and all that. This was very good:

    By God’s grace (and not a little discipline) my lens has been ground down and refined as I realized (to my surprise, anger and sadness!) that–with the unstudied lens I had–I could not touch truths that appeared to be right at hand, yet toppled over stumbling blocks that had seemed much smaller and distant than they really were.

    To your larger point, it is painful to realize that there are certain bonds that must be allowed to weaken for the sake of the Greater.

    But you’re right. Family can go on even when we disagree.

  2. I am reminded of a William Blake poem that is frequently quoted by Ravi Zacharias:
    This life’s dim windows of the soul,
    Distorts the heavens from pole to pole,
    And leads you to believe a lie
    When you see with, and not through the eye.
    Thus when we look to the issues of our day, through a biblically based perspective, tempered with a humble and contrite heart, we are able to discern truth. We may not apprehend it’s meaning at first, in fact we may even recoil from it with revulsion. However it will not be denied. We will know. And we will understand. And just as Christ said, “The truth will set you free.”

  3. Sorry about the family bit. Believe me I understand.

    I haven’t heard anything about this story though. Summary somewhere that’s worth reading?

  4. The Wisdom of God does lead a person to question all of their assumptions( sacred cows) to bring them into conformity with Christ.

  5. GKC,

    I recommend going here, although it’s more analyses than summary:

    http://dougwils.com/?s=doug+phillips

    If you Google, you’ll get a bunch of sites/blogs full of gossip and libel. They’re allegedly run by people who were in Phillips’ church (and similar churches) and have huge chips on their shoulders.

    Some of those folks now apostates, others still claim to be Christians but clearly reject the Bible’s teaching on men/women’s roles, submission,etc. Some use guilt-by-association and smear anyone who defends patriarchy or has a large, conservative homeschooling family. “If Phillips did this, we can safely assume everyone of his ilk does the same.” That kind of thing.

    You may not agree with everything in the blog I linked to, but it doesn’t abandon clear Biblical teaching like the “quiverfull” haters do.

  6. This is a trap I’ve been very fortunate to never fall into. But it is also a trap that the ancient Fathers thought the most common. Dante assigned such folks to the outer rings of Hell. I have to wonder if the wife knew.

    Hopefully they will adjust and heal as much as possible. She will be lauded as some sort of strange hero in our society while his career will justifiably suffer.

  7. Pingback: Whose Blog is This?… | A Man, His Wife, and the Bible

  8. It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

    But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭5‬:‭1, 11‬)

    Somebody dropped the ball a long time ago with this one.

  9. @ John Nesteutes: How can you love the sinner if you have nothing to do with him/her? Shouldn’t the sinners be in the Church? Where else would you show them that while you certainly do hate their sin you also certainly do love them?

  10. @Bobbye

    How can you love the sinner if you have nothing to do with him/her? Shouldn’t the sinners be in the Church? Where else would you show them that while you certainly do hate their sin you also certainly do love them?

    You hit upon a problem with the oversimplification of concepts; in this case: “Love the sinner but hate the sin”. The Bible is clear that those who are in unrepentant sin should be turned away from the church body–even to the point of physical suffering–that they learn their need for repentance and then take it up.

    It is a different case with non-Christians, or Christians who don’t realize that they are repeatedly committing a sin. Those people need to be pleaded with and corrected.

    Also, I have been told by my former parish’s priest that in the early church only confirmed Christians were gathered, and that there was a period of extensive investigation by both the church and the catechumen. Of course, there are many stories in the Bible of people being immediately baptised and accepted. Those decisions are where leadership, tradition, wisdom, and discernment are needed. I have seen a lot of errors in judgment in difference churches, but I remain convinced the solution is to help resuscitate good judgment rather than abandon church.

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