Monday, February 3, 2014

Doug Phillips, Cleansed by Fire

During a family Thanksgiving celebration, we received some news that saddened us very much. A well respected, much revered, prominent Leader of the homeschool community had fallen. He was our Hero. We thought he was "unsinkable," above reproach.

This news struck a blow at our hearts. His preaching, work & ministry have drastically changed the way my family thinks, lives & operates. I even wrote three blog posts (here, here and here) about three of his messages. God has used him instrumentally to affect & influence many fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, pastors & families over the years. But he has done the unthinkable- sinning against himself, his family & our community.

Many people have spoken out about this event. His actions have influenced many more people that he could ever have imagined. His wife, family, friends, Church, the homeschool community, critics... the world. Some people have spoken out in sadness, anger, reproach & support. Others (enemies of the conservative homeschool movement) have reacted in joy, that the Enemy has "triumphed".

You can read about Doug Phillips' resignation letter, a clarification & about the closing of Vision Forum here. Scott Brown (director of NCFIC, formerly on the board of Vision Forum & a friend of Doug Phillips) wrote about the need for repentance here. The Summers family (of Family Covenant Ministries, formerly CHEF) wrote about it in their November newsletter. Soon after this happened, I read this article in the Wisdom Hunters Devotional series.

Here are my humble thoughts on the topic. Take them for what they're worth.

It is my belief that God will use this event for good- both for Doug Phillips, his family, the Church & the homeschool community as a whole.

Events like this are like the Refiner's Fire- purifying & cleansing the Body. Showing what one really believes, at the core of his being. Time will tell just what the impact & influence of this grave event truly is.

- We are all subject to sin, weakness & temptation. No one is exempt from this, except Christ Himself. Not even our leaders. I think too often we place these men of the faith on a pedestal, elevating them to heights that they cannot reasonably live up to.

“Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day,
and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
-Luke 17:3,4

-  Instead of judging & pointing fingers, let us instead examine ourselves before God. Let God be the Judge. It is very important for us to hold fast to our Confession of Faith (knowing what we believe & why), lest we too fall away. "There, but for the Grace of God, go I." If a godly leader such as Doug Phillips could succumb to sin & temptation, then you & I should go forth in much fear & trembling!

"Therefore let anyone who thinks that
he stands take heed lest he fall.
- 1 Corinthians 10:12
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass,
you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness;
each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”
- Galatians 6:1-3

- What then is our response to this? Be gracious.

"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, 
so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. "
- Colossians 4:6

 - Why are we surprised by this? We know that the devil is a roaring Lion, seeking whom he can devour. Do not discount his ability to trick, destroy & deceive.

"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil
prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking
someone to devour.
Resist him, firm in your faith..."
- 1 Peter 3:8-9a

- "A lone ranger is a dead ranger."  Accountaibility, confidence & prayer are vitally important.

- Don't let anything get before your love, commitment & devotion to the Father. Keep Him first in everything.

- Do not put your faith in man, but rather in God. For man will always disappoint us & fall short of the mark. But only Christ, the one & only sacrifice, perfect & without sin can satisfy our thirst & desire for Truth.

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!"
- Isaiah 55:1 

- Just because the leader fell into sin, does not mean that his beliefs, lifestyle & teachings were wrong. He spoke on the importance of family, duty, faithfulness, leadership, motherhood, patriarchy, virtuous femininity, chivalrous manhood & boyhood. These are all good, important topics rooted in the Bible. They are not to be thrown out, cast aside or ridiculed. Man's actions cannot void God's Word.

- God's ways are not our ways. He sees the bigger picture. He has the Heavenly Perspective. 

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord.
'For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways
    & my thoughts than your thoughts.'"
- Isaiah 55:8-9

- This is not the end of the story. God is Sovereign, Faithful & Just. He knows the End of the Story... Whereas we do not.

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope
without wavering, for He who promised is Faithful."
- Hebrews 10:23

- Let us repent & cry out to God as a whole, with genuine sincerity & repentance.

"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves,
& pray & my face and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven & will forgive their sin & heal their land."
- 2 Chronicles 7:14

“Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.”
-Psalm 51:2

Please join with me, in praying for Doug Phillips & his family in this time of hurt & pain- for repentance, faith, grace, forgiveness & restoration.

"If you call out for insight & raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
& search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
& find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
 from his mouth come knowledge & understanding;
 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
watching over the way of his saints."
- Proverbs 2:3-8

To God be all the glory! Persevero...

Related Posts:
Faithfulness in Marriage
Unrepentant Sin & the Unrepentant Believer
Guard Your Heart!
The Power of the Will
Forgiven Much, Loves Much
Don't Waste Your Life!
Walk with the Wise
God Moves in a Mysterious Way
Whose Vision Are You Serving?
The Potter & the Clay
Are You Who You SAY You Are?
More Sin, More Grace
A Multi- Generational Vision
Idolatry: Part I & Part II
Do Hard Things- Part I & Part II
All for the Glory of God
Our Identity in Christ
Only What's Done for Christ Will Last
The Tragedy of a Wasted Life

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