Evidence & Embodied Persuasion, Part 2
I have received fairly direct, inside information that Mark Epstein was healed of his severe anger problem through which he abused his wife and children for a number of years while Doug Phillips was minding his own business (running a multi-million dollar company and caring for his own wife and children). In fact, this direct source tells me that this miraculous healing came about a number of months before his wife sought revenge against Doug Phillips through Ministry Watchman for daring to excommunicate her along with her abusive husband (if you recall, her husband was ready to repent and be received back into fellowship but Jen demanded a hearing about her blamelessness). However, Mark seems to be falling back into a bit of anger. His 19 year old daughter who has fled the tyranny of Mark Epstein’s roost commented publicly of her disgust when Mark called her up and demanded that she take her “crap” off the world wide web. Now, that’s censorship if you ask me! This is similar to the tyrannical and abusive censorship I’ve received from the Ministry Watchman for daring to criticize the methodology of their new reporter instead of remaining an obedient “ally” (I’ll comment further about the strange idea that I was some kind of “ally” with the Watchman at a later date). Mark Epstein’s daughter is the only person commenting to this situation who seems to offer a sincere and coherent point of view, and I thank her for that. And just today, Mark seems a little angered with anonymity on the world wide web. Mark writes:
Don’t you post comments anonymously to avoid vulnerability?. . . .Why don’t you make yourself vulnerable and quit posting using an alias? Why don’t you demonstrate some courage as an example and encouragement to others?
Indeed. I’m reminded of a comment I made privately to Ministry Watchman’s Frank Vance December 3 rd:
You know who I am and can predict what I might do. You could also sue me in a heart beat; you even know my emotional, familial, and financial burdens, along with countless other vulnerabilities. I do not know who you are and so cannot predict what you might do and cannot go after you legally or use known vulnerabilities to manipulate you
However, in line with the level of coherence the Epstein’s internet story now enjoys, Mark is not here rebuking Ministry Watchman for using his wife and family anonymously. Rather he was rebuking a commenter who wrote:
“the Epsteins claim they have tried to deal with this privately for a long time . . .”
Need I say anything in response? I will ask my question again: Why are we to believe the testimony of embittered excommunicants? If they tried to solve the problems by working through other churches, why don’t the elders and members of these other churches come forward and testify that Phillips and BCA were not willing to resolve the issue?
I leave you again with Charles Spurgeon:
Never write what you dare not sign. An anonymous letter-writer is a sort of assassin, who wears a mask, and stabs in the dark. Such a man is a fiend with a pen. If discovered, the wretch will be steeped in the blackest infamy
I beg the Epstein’s to pull their blogs and learn how to love each other for more than a number of months before opening up a ministry for the purpose of counseling young women on how to be good wife and mother and for the purpose of destroying the leader of a multi-million dollar corporation. I also beg them to rather devote their energies to pursuing their 19 year old daughter before her hatred of her own parents causes her much irreparable harm. It would be nice if their 19 year old daughter doesn’t have to open up a web site 20 years from now “exposing” how so many men have used her, although Ministry Watchman and her own father have already given her material for posting and sent her on her way. Their 19 year old daughter also claims that Mark Epstein has nothing to do with his younger, handicapped daughter. If this is true, then the need is all the greater. I would also highly recommend that Mark Epstein quit his job that currently takes him away from home two to three week out of each month. Given his predicament, the money can’t be worth it. Outside of their need to be as close to their daughter as possible, they should also consider moving away. A sober analysis of what they have been through would seem to either entail one of two things: 1) sufficiently agree with the excommunication—as faulty and weak it might have been—and thereby be restored to the small congregation that had to deal with their horrifying family life for a number of years or else 2) move away, start over.
As a side note, I can assure you that the thought of starting a blog about Doug Wilson and Christ Church would not have crossed my mind if it were not for the fact that:
1. I was currently a member of Christ Church in good standing
2. Was primarily defending others and not myself
3. Had a good marriage with children who loved and respected me
4. Was sufficiently “inside” to be a real whistleblower (e.g. Greyfriar student, Credenda writer, attended regular meetings, followed Wilson’s blog, etc.)
Given the credibility problem with the Epsteins just on the face of it, it is simply scandalous for Ministry Watchman to cajole and manipulate the audience with emotionalism and mild forms of deceit instead of judicially presenting a coherent story firmly backed by evidence.