Pooh’s Think

… with comments

Response to Allegations Against Doug Phillips

You can see the response of Doug Phillip’s church to Ministry Watchman’s allegations here.

I have included the text below:

November 30, 2006

Response of Boerne Christian Assembly to a Defamatory Attack Circulated by an Anonymous Source Against Church Leadership, Church Families, and Women of the Congregation

Background: Boerne Christian Assembly (hereafter cited as BCA) is a duly constituted local assembly which has, since its beginning, been governed by plural leadership, bound by a church covenant, and has subscribed to the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689.

Purpose: We have received notice that a highly defamatory article laced with personal character attacks has been widely disseminated by e-mail from an anonymous source. We also understand that it has been posted on a website run by individuals acting under pseudonyms. The defamatory article has been sent by e-mail throughout our own church community and across the nation. The article involves numerous fictitious accounts of events, malicious accusations against BCA elder Doug Phillips and his wife Beall, the families of BCA, and its leadership. The numerous accusations center around the relationship of BCA with a couple biblically and lovingly disciplined for gross, unrepentant sin in the beginning of the year 2005. The purpose of this letter is to offer a brief response.

Summary: The article attacking BCA is a work of fiction. It is rife with pure fabrications, dangerous half-truths, malicious innuendo, and vicious personal attacks. It attributes to BCA leaders statements they never made, actions they never committed, and beliefs to which they do not subscribe. The article demeans women in so far as it viciously attacks Beall Phillips and presents the women of BCA in a most unflattering and defamatory manner. The article is undocumented, unsubstantiated, and unbiblical in so far as it is the result of a cooperative effort with an excommunicated couple to bring a false witness against Christians contrary to the Ninth Commandment and to the biblical requirements pertaining to those under church discipline. We deny the vicious charges presented in the document, stand by the character of the men and women defamed, and affirm the propriety of the excommunication both as to the substance and as to the procedure.

Excommunication With Due Process and Unanimous Approval of the Voting Church Body: Contrary to the claims made by this couple and the publishers of the defamatory article, the excommunication of the family followed biblical procedure consistent with our doctrine and confession, procedures which we believe to fairly represent the parameters laid out in Scripture. Tremendous patience, longsuffering, and love were shown to the couple even in the face of violent railings, vicious accusations, cruelty and threats on their part directed at each other, other women at BCA, the families coming alongside of them in counsel and prayer, and the church leadership. The initial reason BCA intervened with this couple was to prevent their divorce in light of the husband’s constant threats to divorce his wife. Just prior to their formal excommunication, the acrimony and venom between the couple was at such a level that the wife suggested her husband was guilty of attempted murder and of psychological instability, while the husband presented compelling evidence of ongoing cruelty on the part of the wife. When confronted for sins, the wife insisted on a novel and unbiblical variation of the doctrine of sinless perfectionism to justify her claim that she had essentially not sinned in her home for close to half of a year. Over a period of years leading up to the excommunication, the elders of BCA and appointed families from the local church logged hundreds of hours counseling both the husband and wife in the Word of God, sometimes with signs of hope, and other times with none. At no time was inappropriate language leveled against the couple by leaders of BCA. The gradual and patient process involved counsel, appeals, confrontation, admonition, warnings, censure, discipline, and, ultimately, excommunication with the full consent of the church. As the final stage of a lengthy disciplinary process, the couple was brought before the church where they were admonished by the body, including men and women. The response of the wife in particular was to bring many hateful railings and false testimonies against women of the church and against the leadership. The husband was admonished for his violent anger, his lack of loving leadership, for unrepentant anger and hatred, and for bringing a false witness. The wife was formally admonished for habitual dishonesty and lying, for railings and reviling against both her husband and church authorities, for cruelty, gossip, and attempted division of the brethren. Despite fervent and loving appeals on behalf of individual brothers and sisters, men and women within the body assembled, and the leadership of this church, the couple hardened their hearts to God and defied the admonition of the church. After careful prayer and deliberation, and pursuant to the clear commands of Scripture which states, “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican” (Matthew 18:17), the couple was afterward excommunicated from BCA. It should be noted that Doug Phillips did not make the initial recommendation to excommunicate this wayward couple. The motion for excommunication came from another member of the church body, and the BCA congregation voted unanimously in approving it.

Tactics Rooted in Dishonesty: The decision to isolate and attack Doug Phillips, both as an elder and also as the head of a ministry unconnected to the local church, is reprehensible. It is a strategic tactic, the goal of which appears to be to confuse uninvolved third parties and to deflect attention from the real sin of the couple and the due process of accountability brought against them by a covenanting body that knows them very well and has walked with them for many years. The facts are these: There was unanimous agreement on the part of the more than half a dozen families who had been privately involved in helping the family prior to their excommunication, on the part of the church leadership, and on the part of the entire voting body present (around twenty-five families) on what the outcome should be. The decision was this: that for the good of the body and the spiritual good of the couple, excommunication was necessary. Concerning leadership: From its first days as a constituted assembly, BCA has maintained plural and equal leadership in the governance and oversight of the local body. Even during times of transition, men have always stepped up into leadership. The suggestion that BCA is run by one man, or that the excommunication process was managed or run by one man, is a fraud and contrary to the clear facts. The isolation of Doug and Beall Phillips for censure, the connection with Vision Forum Ministries, and the absurd charges leveled against their character are tactics used by a couple who has become notorious for extreme behavior within their marriage and towards others, for gossip in the congregation, and for dishonesty. In fact, at one point their behavior was so extreme that a shepherd from a nearby congregation who also had counseled this family strongly advised Doug Phillips to get a court restraining order for his physical protection, a recommendation he declined.

Ongoing Sin and Unrepentence: Subsequent to their excommunication, the couple published lengthy defamatory letters and disseminated them widely, bringing numerous false and railing accusations and demands against specific and numerous men and women of BCA. They also raised the issue of a lawsuit against BCA. They further sought and were successful at using the spread of falsehoods to create active divisions within the community. Next, they began to launch hateful and slanderous websites comparing Doug Phillips and Vision Forum to Nazis, among other unkind and defamatory representations. Next, they attempted via letter to blackmail Doug Phillips by threatening to destroy him via the internet unless he capitulated to unbiblical demands. The unlawful nature of their behavior was explained to them, as was the fact that they have no protection under I Corinthians 6 against lawsuits should they persist in such behavior. Next, they specifically positioned themselves as Internet whistleblowers against ministries that sue bloggers. Finally, they worked in conjunction with the website to mass disseminate rank lies and slanders against one of their former elders and to disparage the congregation that loved them. As a part of their most recent actions, they have facilitated the posting of doctored and misleading documents onto the internet. In sum, their ongoing behavior has been consistent with some of the very issues for which they were excommunicated by the BCA congregation without a single vote in opposition.

How Should the Church Respond to the Couple: In order to preserve the flock of God from damage caused by railers, extortioners, disorderly, disobedient, unruly, unrepentant and dishonest individuals, as well as to encourage such individuals to flee to Christ while there is yet time, the Bible offers the following directives:

Romans 16:17-18: Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

I Corinthians 5:11-13: 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. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person

II Thessalonians 3:6-7: Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;

II Thessalonians 3:14: And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Psalms 101:5: Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.

Proverbs 22:10: Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.

Conclusion: Recognizing that church discipline, like all godly administrations of discipline, is to be an act of love, the families of BCA have for nearly two years been praying for this couple and for their children. It is our heartfelt desire to see love return to their family, hope to their children, and lasting harmony between husband and wife. Though we cannot capitulate to their extortions, condone their ongoing destructive behavior, nor remain silent in the face of the spread of divisive falsehoods which they continue to propagate, we remain constant in having a genuine spirit of love toward them and earnestly desire their reconciliation through repentance first with God, and second with the families and loved ones who have poured out their hearts and lives for them. We encourage those who desire the best for this couple, as well as the peace of the Body of Christ, neither to receive their slanders and false reports, nor to set aside Christ’s commands in dealing with them as an unrepentant man and woman under formal censure.

Bob Sarratt, on behalf of the BCA session

December 4, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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