Like many of you, I was shocked last week when I read Doug Phillips’ statement of resignation on the Vision Forum Ministries website. As a homeschooling father of seven children, Doug Phillips and Vision Forum Ministries have been foundational in many of the decisions my wife and I have made in regards to family size and the ways we both parent and educate our children. I immediately knew I wanted to write about this on the blog, but chose to take a few days to pray about it and process this unexpected news.
David Murray and James McDonald both shared insights last week that I’ve found particularly helpful in properly framing this matter. In a blog post titled One Vital Lesson From Doug Phillips’ Resignation, Murray says:
“Does Satan attack our strengths or our weaknesses? Does he try to destroy us where we’re strong or where we’re weak? For most Christians, it’s usually our weaknesses that the devil targets. But for Christian leaders it’s usually their strengths, the areas they’ve built ministries upon, the moral and spiritual qualities they are best known for promoting… That’s why when I heard that Doug Phillips had resigned from Vision Forum Ministries, it was no surprise that it involved an “inappropriately romantic and affectionate” relationship with a woman not his wife.”
In a blog post titled When Heroes Fall, McDonald remarks:
“While we may stagger under the sorrow of the recent news, we should remember, such reports have always existed within the Christian church. Since the Fall, there have been many in leadership who fell during various battles with sin.”
The big question I’ve been asking myself all weekend is, how do I respond? If you search for “Doug Phillips” and “Resignation” on Google, you’ll see there has been a wide range of responses. Those who are a part of the homeschooling and “quiverfull” communities or are are at least positively inclined towards them, have tended to express sadness and are calling believers to intercede in prayer on behalf of Doug and his family. The responses from folks on the other end of the spectrum are just the opposite, expressing joy over Phillips’ fall. This post and its long comment stream over at thewartburgwatch.com is a good example.
I’m still waiting for other key homeschool voices like Scott Brown, Kevin Swanson, and Joseph Morecraft, who are a bit closer to the Phillips’ inner circle to weigh in, but at the time of this writing they have not.
In just a few short days, many people have put forth a lot of keystrokes over Doug Phillips’ brief resignation letter. I caution readers to not infer more information than is given in the letter. We have only very minimal information at present from which to draw our conclusions. That being said, based on the information before me today, here are the ways I’m going to choose to respond to Doug Phillips’ resignation:
- My family and I will be praying for the Phillips family and Vision Forum.
- We still plan on buying Christmas gifts from Vision Forum and will encourage our kids’ grandparents and aunts and uncles to do likewise.
- We will continue to use the many excellent Vision Forum resources that have been a part of our family library for years.
What are your thoughts? I’d love for readers both inside and outside of the homeschooling community to weigh in.