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By Angela Wittman

Woman_at_the_Well012While much of what Doug Phillips teaches regarding Patriarchy sounds biblical, because of the lack of practical application, his teachings are often taken to extremes. Sometimes, men just hear his vision of men always “leading,” and they become domineering and demanding, causing undue stress on the wife. I know of one family that divorced precisely because of hearing this teaching and not understanding what it really should be. Sometimes, men will try to emulate what they see in Doug Phillips, and start requiring their families to have all the same rules as the Phillips. Unfortunately, if there are no personal convictions behind the rules, they soon become extremely oppressive and smother the family. Some men just have no clue about how to “lead” their families; they just know that it’s being constantly preached at them from the pulpit. Having come from a home without a godly leader, these men need lots of practical examples.
(Taken from: Doug Phillips’ Kangaroo Court Cancels Communion by Jen Epstein, written Dec. 13, 2006)

For Husbands.
Ye husbands, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered. 1 Pet. 3:7. And be not bitter against them. Col. 3:9.
For Wives.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord, even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord; whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 1 Pet. 3:6; Eph. 5:22.
(Taken from the section Table of Duties in The Small Catechism by Martin Luther)

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve.”
(Romans 16:17-18 ESV)

It recently came to my attention that Doug Phillips, a popular leader in the home school and patriarchal movement, resigned his position at Vision Forum due to marital infidelity:

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.

My first response was to make a point to not “add fuel to the fire” by refusing to post any coverage of this event at any of the blogs I own and edit. I then proceeded to chastise those who were talking about it as “gossiping” on various other blogs.  And while my intentions were well-meaning, they only served to encourage suppression of the truth and for this I am sorry.  Because while the recent actions of Mr. Phillips disgust me, the knowledge that others have been maligned for sounding an unheeded alarm regarding Vision Forum and Doug Phillips to the greater Christian community for years disgusts me even more.  And those who have served on the board of directors at Vision Forum and in leadership/fellowship at Boerne Christian Assembly are in grave error for not practicing church (or Christian) discipline when allegations of ungodly, bullying behavior by Doug Phillips was first brought to their attention (I found blog posts documenting his strange behavior dating back to 2006!). Perhaps they should take a good hard look at themselves in accordance to Scripture and discern if they are partly to blame for his most recent scandal which not only hurts their cause, but brings shame to the Name of Jesus Christ.

So, what practical “patriarchal” instruction does our God give to both husbands and wives? In the book of Ephesians, chapter five, God says:

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a]28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Frankly, I am not hearing much about husbands loving their wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for us… Instead I am hearing of men who pull rank on their wives and daughters in a worldly manner.  Where is the biblical message of loving your wife with gentleness, kindness, respectfulness and actually laying down your life for her? Instead the message has become worldly and one of “don’t do this” and “don’t do that” and “don’t question men in authority over you.”  Have you forgotten that it was a woman who first suckled our Lord at her breast as a new born babe? Or the respectful way He spoke to the ignorant woman at the well? What about His humility in allowing a sinful woman to wash His feet with her repentant tears and then lovingly dry them with her very own hair?  Or perhaps you have forgotten that it was a woman who our Lord first revealed Himself to after His resurrection?

Oh men who abuse Biblical headship, you should tremble with fear at the thought of facing our Redeemer and King! I believe He takes special care of His female followers and will soundly rebuke those men who have treated them shamefully.

I am posting some links to blogs that will more fully reveal the abuse that has been going on for years in the name of Jesus Christ and my advice is for the reader to truthfully search their heart to see if they have been guilty of destroying their family with abuse in the name of “Biblical Patriarchy.” If so, may you truly repent of abusing the precious, sacred trust given to you by God Almighty to protect, love, and respect your wives and children. After all, He is their Sovereign – not you. You are His steward.

In Lord Jesus Name, I pray this message brings revival to Your Church and families all across America. I pray to hear reports of men falling on their knees before You and humbly asking Your forgiveness. And may You show them grace and mercy that will truly give them new hearts, changed lives and godly love for their wives and children. Amen.

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Updated 1.16.2014