Patriarchy proponent Doug Phillips resigns after extramarital relationship

Doug Phillips (far right) with his family.

Doug Phillips (far right) with his family.

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(RNS) Doug Phillips, an outspoken proponent of male "dominion" over women and a leading home-schooling activist, has stepped down as president of his Texas-based Vision Forum Ministries after admitting to an inappropriate relationship with a woman.

After cancelling all planned speaking engagements, Phillips, however, on Wednesday (Nov. 6) said he will still maintain ownership of the affiliated Vision Forum Inc., a for-profit company.

Phillips, who has eight children with his wife Beall, wrote on the ministry website on Oct. 30 that he would step down as a ministry leader.

"I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman," he wrote. "While we did not 'know' each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate."

Calls to Vision Forum Ministries were not returned. In describing its mission, Vision Forum calls the family "the basic agency of dominion on earth," one that "is under attack from every side today."

Phillips is a leader among conservative Christians who reject birth control and believe that large families are a sign of God's blessings, as seen in his friends Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's family on TLC's "19 Kids and Counting." He preaches a message of "biblical patriarchy," in which a man is called to "rule over his household" and "the God-ordained and proper sphere of dominion for a wife is the household."

Phillips also takes a dim view of women in the public sphere, saying it is not "the ordinary and fitting role of women to work alongside men as their functional equals" outside the home in business, government and the military.

In 2011, the San Antonio-based ministry reported about $3.3 million in revenue, the most recent available financial records. Phillips received $44,000 in salary from the ministry for a 30-hour workweek, according to the ministry's financial documents.

The related for-profit company was paid $193,176 in 2011 by the nonprofit for "labor and services," according to records.

"I retain ownership of Vision Forum, Inc., a distinct and private company, but consistent with my desires to lead a quiet life focusing on my family and serving as a foot soldier, I will not be giving speeches or running conferences at this time of my life under the banner of VFI or VFM," Phillips wrote.

Dan Busby, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability -- a certification agency that does not count Phillips' ministry as a member -- said it's not unusual to see a related for-profit business next to a nonprofit ministry. For-profits are often used for unrelated business income that would not jeopardize the tax-exempt status of a nonprofit, but it can cause perception issues.
"Segregating the nonprofit and for-profit activities and the financial transactions related to the two types of organizations is a critical aspect of these side-by-side organizations," he said.
Phillips was formerly an attorney for Home School Legal Defense Association. He also founded the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, which former Sen. Rick Santorum attended this year.
In his resignation letter, Phillips sought forgiveness.

"There are no words to describe the magnitude of shame I feel, or grief from the injury I caused my beloved bride and children, both of whom have responded to my repentance with what seems a supernatural love and forgiveness," he wrote. "I thought too highly of myself and behaved without proper accountability."



  1. apparently the shame he feels is not enough to keep him gaining finically from the “ministry”…

  2. Selling the Word of God for profit is a $in . When the Word of God was (GIVEN) to man FREE .
    $ money lies $ and people KILL to want more of its Lust of Greed . My Prayer is that all whom is Called to the Lord our God Jesus Christ be DOERS of what Jesus teaches us to →DO← and not just be mere listeners of the WORD . Read
    REVELATIONS 22:v11 . Amen

  3. Why would he?

    That is why he did it in the first place. To make money, gain unquestioning authority over people and to fool around with impunity because ladies dig clergy.

  4. Making money off of the church is what Jesus sought to destroy through sacrificing himself…and he even turned over the tables set up by the moneychangers of his day as an example for other believers. Making a profit off of God is not religious or spiritual two important aspects of Doug’s teaching. He is as I grew up knowing him to be a hypocrite. The same result with my parents that I grew to love I still see his message being about him, his family in a place bought by easy believism or what some call today: cultural Christianity. Americans are so lost, I am the worst of them, but claiming deity through being worshipped by people paying money juuuuust to hear him talk is divisive. Belief is individual community is to serve as communion keeping each in line with each other through communicating the truth together. The flock of God today are riddled with wolves and are trained to be ignorant sheep apart from the truth.

    I look at Christianity today and want to flee to my many Buddhist friends for direction and pursue the truth that Jesus explains while communing with faithful individuals dedicated to the knowledge of knowing the happening. Atleast these members of the body of Christ pursue truth, which in the case of religion is far and few between. These men in religions today are wolves in sheep skins. Fundamentalism is so devastating to the faith. So many who believe do not realize faith is a beginning to knowing the truth that illuminates itself to you through God or that existence we plainly see, but fail at understanding the mystery behind it’s happening. God is a mystery yet not so complex we cannot understand the truth represented in nature. Christians in America and those fundamentalists that believe in patriarchy use OT script to understand an NT world with fulfilled promise and commanded living constructs through a man of truth, Jesus. Nothing else before that matters beyond understanding it’s timeline.

    The Word is alive within you if you become aware to its attributes an imbue them to others through living the truth God will sanctify you through the happening. Making the one-two-three step process of belief denies the life that must be lived to understand the one you already live within, but are separated from by your will to be a “self.” The illusion being there is nothing you do beyond letting God use you as God would have you be in the timeline the of life that has been made. Understand that everything about you is encapsulated by God and representative of God. Life is art.

  5. Christianity and Buddhism don’t mix. Friends are friends, but syncretism is a mess. Jesus is not a Buddhist. Also Jesus never did any hanky-pankies with the womenfolk (nor the menfolk either!).
    So don’t blame Him, instead follow Him. (Exclusively).

  6. Sounds like the IRS needs to take a closer look at his finances.

  7. I thought the whole idea of patriarchy was that you get to mess around, Sarah. Speaking, of course, as an anti-patriarchy husband of one wife.

  8. Let me say, there is nothing I can possibly say in response which can do your post justice beyond saying, well done!

  9. Without syncreatism you would not have Christianity as it stands today. It is a necessary component to prosletyzing.

    Buddhism is at least up front and honest about that sort of thing. They never tried to displace the native religions of places which adopted it. Not being inherently monotheistic makes it easier to reconcile.

  10. I don’t like his views at all, and his religious thought seems shallow to me.

    But I think most off the comments here are mean spirited. Obviously he strove to keep that extra-maital relationship free of coital sex based on trying to be true to his religious convictions. Obviously he is a needy man, hungry for emotional intimacy, something that may be difficult within hidebound patriarchal structures, with the woman so subordinated that “playing together” or being open with each other becomes difficult, or the woman is so busy with being a mother of many children that the husband feels neglected.

    I hope this family can repair the damage and find a religious spirit that is generous to both sexes and offers more of a partnership and friendship between spouses.

    As for holding on to the non-profit, there’s nothing wrong or hypocritical there. It’s a business. He built it. He needs a good income, he has to support his large family. Religious publishing can be done by secular publishers. So why not an ex-pastor?

  11. I think you are taking the notion of an apologist a little too far. His striving to keep his affair “coital free” sounds like an cheap post-facto excuse and doesn’t sound credible to anyone in an objective fashion.

    As usual for a hypocrite, he would rather find solace in seeking forgiveness from God than from the people harmed by his actions (like his wife and family).

  12. At least one good thing may come out of this: Maybe since his children have seen their dad knocked off his pulpit, they will start questioning the things he tells them.

    They are trapped by their dad’s patriarchy and ego, the brainwashing effects of isolation from others their age because of home schooling.

    Maybe seeing that he is just a regular horny guy will help them start thinking for themselves.

  13. As someone outside the USA and maybe with an outsiders perspective, I get the impression Doug and those of his kind see Christianity through an American historical grid rather than the Bible first and foremost. I sense that Southern manners and social hierarchy are fundamental in his approach, and it’s no surprise that he holds RL Dabney in high regard for he was a prime example of such an outlook. Then there is the fundamentalism and quest for ‘Christendom’ which is in his writings. How sad it is that many good, sincere home schooling folks have been taken in by this warped theology. The Christian faith and life comes from the life and example of Christ the only Saviour, not national or historical examples as these may nourish values and approaches which are cultural and not necessarily good at all.
    I greatly hope that in God’s providence that those who have been suckered by this para church teaching Doug and all like him will now learn that Biblical teaching should be in church and given by those authorised to teach (pastors and elders). How Christians have their children educated is not written in stone in the Scriptures, so it is a matter of conscience. Those children taught in schools are not ‘government kids’ as I have heard of them being disparagingly called.
    The issue of women’s treatment in churches has a long standing and deeply damaging history.The teaching of patriarchy by those in dominion circles or tainted by it gives rise to many concerns in it’s treatment of women. Doug’s reference to John Knox and John Calvin to buttress his position on such matters did him no favours. I know personally of women being mainly verbally abused by their ‘Christian’ husbands, and it is appalling and must stop. If Doug and all those who teach like him inadvertently foster such poor treatment of women they must be exposed with hopefully repentance being the result.

  14. Hey, what’s to be sorry about? Isn’t this what male domination is all about, access to a variety of women? And restrictions on the women precluding their access to a variety of men? Isn’t that the whole purpose of male “dominion” over women?

  15. Hey, it was a woman this time. Getting back on the right track with God.

  16. If anyone believes his relationship was “coital free”, then you need to really examine your reasoning skills. Please. If he lied about the relationship in the first place, why believe he’s telling the truth about this aspect of it? Get real.

  17. “While we did not ‘know’ each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.”
    Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky”

  18. Modern Christianity and modern Buddhism May not mix as practiced, but the spiritual teachings of Christ and Buddha are the same right down to the essentials: hatred does not cease by hatred, hatred ceases by love.

  19. Not defending his behavior, but he says he did seek forgiveness from his family and got it. I was actually positively impressed with his public attitude. I pray his inner attitude is as humble, but only God knows…

  20. I am not buying it either.

    Am I the only one who finds the irony with John McGrath’s statement, “Obviously he is a needy man, hungry for emotional intimacy, something that may be difficult within hidebound patriarchal structures”?

    Doug Phillips actively supported creating hidebound patriarchal structures! Somehow he is a victim of his own preachings? That it wasn’t as fun for him as previously imagined? Maybe he found the downside to preaching about his wife being his property?

  21. He also said he had a non-sexual relationship with the mistress.

    I don’t believe either of those things from him.

  22. The last time I checked, the fallen nature of man was self-evident across the board, but there are so many comments here that make it look like non-patriarchal/non-biblical proponents don’t have womanizers among them. I guess it is the patriarchal guys that keep the porn industry afloat since non-patriarchal guys are above such temptation. Now, I can understand why a womanizer might be partial to being domineering over women in a selfish way. However, again – the last time I checked, biblical patriarchy holds that the man is suppose to love the wife as Christ loved the church. I’m not an expert on Doug Phillips’ tenants, but there is something about being a womanizer that does not seem to fit the biblical ideals of patriarchy. Oh, and regarding rules to live buy, unless there is a changed heart, trying to live under rules by their own merit alone brings guilt, condemnation, and such – this is why the Law is a ministry of DEATH, not life. The law is to be used as a schoolmaster to teach the need for redemption and a changed heart – without those, living under rules for the sake of aspiring to master them can lead to the dysfunction that some of the posts in this string have encountered (They blame biblical patriarchy by association but it was not the root cause of their problem).
    And for the false prophetess that stated, “Christ and Buddha are the same right down to the essentials: hatred does not cease by hatred, hatred ceases by love,” Christ taught that we are separated from the Heavenly Father and can only regain access through HIM alone. Buddha never made such a claim, nor was Buddha ever heralded as God come to live among us in the flesh, nor did Buddha suffer and die for my sins. God is Love ( 1 John 4:8) but love can become ANGRY (1 Corinthians 13:4). What do you do when Love itself is angry at your rebellion? Hint: Buddha can’t help.
    One last thing, in Scripture women ran certain things when there was no male to rightfully take charge. Phillips’ wife should run his business because his business is not something like brick laying but rather it makes decisions and proclamations on moral issues. Doug has shown himself to be a novice in this area requiring remedial training.

  23. ” However, again – the last time I checked, biblical patriarchy holds that the man is suppose to love the wife as Christ loved the church.”

    Check again. Nothing about the word patriarchy denotes treating a women with a level of respect. Its about domination based on gender.

    As for your comment about Buddhism, its all about missing the forest for the trees. Rather than take to heart the message of meeting hate with love, you chose to bog yourself down in theological nonsense about the divine nature of Jesus. Typical dodge for people who want to call themselves Christian, but find the actual words of Christ inconvenient to their petty hatreds and ignorance.

    Philips job was to sling bullcrap to make men feel better about treating women like less than people. He cloaked his nonsense in religious language because its the best way to get people to accept ridiculous ideas. Doug has shown himself to be the kind of hypocrite one comes to expect from religious fundamentalism.

  24. WE ALL underestimate the power of sin and temptation. Sin, which is the violation of God’s Law, crouches at the door. Satan desires to sift us all. And there is protection only in Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the One Who has all power in heaven and on earth. Those who gloat over Phillips’ fall are fools and exhibit precisely the kind of pride that goes before destruction, the kind of haughty spirit that goes before a fall

    John Lofton, Recovering Republican
    Director,The God And Government Project
    [email protected]

  25. I’d like to hear from Beall. But as a submissive wife her speaking on the issue is a complete no no within their patriarchal culture.

  26. Thank you John, for bringing a proper biblical response to this sad story. Self-examination is always the good fruit of such tragedies. It does little good to claim that any religion can produce anything good in anyone.

  27. Sad, sad comments. Home school mom for 7 years. Isolated? no. Socialized? yes. I truly do believe that a mother’s place is in the home, since I have been on oth sides of that world. of was gracious to offer me that double vision. Seeing the change in the entire dynamics of our family once we transitioned to single income, home school family. Wow! Talk about amazing! Truly a faith walk, but our relationship with our very well balanced and mature children is so different from that of our peers…who chose to stay the other path. Once you are here, you get it. I am not talking about dominions my husband (we truly are partners in this life) I am specifically talking about how much more fulfilling all four lives are now. 18 year old daughter and 11 year old son. 20+ years of marriage, and we are extreme happy, thankful, and content. All rarities these days! Very blessed lady, I Am!

  28. Wow…thanks Apple;) sorry about all the half words. I guess I need to slow down my typing. I apologize.

  29. Here is a youtube video in which Lourdes Torres, his supposed mistress, is going on and on about what a godly woman Michelle Duggar is. Doug Phillips made this video to “thank” Michelle. If you think that him giving his mistress the final word and lengthy talk time is the most nauseating part (her schpeel starts at 4:48), wait til he ogles Michelle like a pathetic 12 year old perv and grabs her and KISSES her on the cheek as he presents her the Mother of the Year award. Oh wait, Beall hands her the plaque, but Doug does all the talking, and kissing. This is the weirdest affairs in history, he elevates his mistress as a model “stay at home daughter”, supposedly staying with her family to be more protected and pure, while he simultaneously kisses another man’s wife and praises her for trusting God with her fertility. Doug Phillips is the biggest fake ever. I pray his family and all those he has hurt may lean on Jesus during this time.

  30. I don’t think any of those things are “obvious.” Just because he says they did not have sex does not mean that is true. And we don’t know that he is a man who needs emotional intimacy- maybe he just has a heart full of lust and he chose to indulge his desires with another woman. Frankly, I sense a bit of “blame the wife for not being there for him” in your post.

    I’m trying not to be harsh or mean-spirited. I feel for this family. But it is hard when you have seen your church nearly torn apart by this man’s teachings.

  31. The thing is, part of this teaching of patriarchy/gender roles/etc is that, if you practice these things, you won’t fall into sin. Your children will never rebel. You won’t have to worry about affairs. You won’t fall into drug addiction. Patriarchy is a system of things you should and should not do, and if you do everything right, everything will be peachy. At least, that is how it was presented to me. So a lot of people are going to be very shocked and disappointed by this news, but hopefully it will be a chance for them to learn that it is really all about Grace, not good works.

  32. I feel so sorry for his kids. They must be going through a lot right now. I feel like no one cares about the kids, they just care about how their dad did something wrong. Anyway, how many men on here have never looked at a woman without wanting her? That’s the same thing as adultery.

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