Repentance and Forgiveness
After yesterday's article about the lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct brought against Vision Forum's Doug Phillips by Phillips' former nanny, there were a few on our Facebook wall who took exception to my post. I was told that writing about Doug Phillips' alleged sexual abuse of Lourdes Torres was a "rush to judgment," and that I wasn't "leaving room for the gospel" and "forgiveness and reconciliation." All I can say is, I just don't see evidence of true repentance on Doug Phillips' part. And while I would certainly not withhold true reconciliation from Phillips, neither should I (or anyone) rush in to offer forgiveness and hugs when he's not truly repentant. I would never do with my own children! If one of my boys has his arms crossed, and is hemming and hawing, and trying to build his case about sure, he may have done *something* but really, it was all his brothers' fault......no, I'm not rushing in with forgiveness and cuddles while he's being stubborn and unrepentant. Nope. We all know what true repentance looks like.
So then I am told....hey, you just can't know what could be going on behind the scenes. Well sure, I can't, but what I can do is evaluate what I do see. There are a lot of us I think who have been watching this play out, and we're waiting....and waiting......and watching, and what comes forth? A carefully parsed statement about an inappropriate "romantic" and "affectionate" relationship in which Doug Phillips states he never "knew" the woman in the biblical sense. *Shew* went everybody, because gee whiz, it wasn't good, but at least there was no physical component to the relationship. But not so fast. Then came statement #2 from Doug Phillips, clarifying oh wait, yes, did I forget to mention that there *was* physical touching of a sexual nature? And then silence for a long time. And now Camp Phillips, after lawyering up, has finally spoken again through attorney Jason Jakob to say that it was all Miss Torres' fault, *she* instigated the affair (if a circumstance in which the power imbalance was so vast could even be called that), and so therefore it was entirely consensual (again...the power imbalance thing......). So, no, I'm not buying what he's selling. And I'm not seeing repentance. Maybe others are, and if so, that's great. But I'm not.
Justice for the weak and disenfranchised is a big deal. It's a big deal to God, and it should be to us as Christians. I obviously don't mean in a social justice/social gospel kind of way, but rather, in the sense that we ought to look after the members of our church body as if they were members of our own blood families. One concept that was a big takeaway for me the year that I did a study of Isaiah was that God is angry with those who don't seek justice. He also despises those in authority, especially spiritual authority, who prey upon the weak and helpless in their care:
"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." (Isaiah 1:17)
"Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow's case does not come before them." (Isaiah 1:23)
"Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent." (Isaiah 5:22-23)
"Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless." (Isaiah 10:1-2)
"This is what the LORD says: 'Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.'"(Isaiah 56:1)
"No one calls for justice; no one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil." (Isaiah 59:4)
"So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice." (Isaiah 59:14-15)Yes, justice matters to God. So if Lourdes Torres' allegations prove to be true, I pray that she receives justice.
Former Nanny to Doug Phillips' Family Files Lawsuit, Alleges Sexual Misconduct
Copy of Filed Lawsuit (Warning: Explicit sexual content)
Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Resigns, Cites Moral Failure
Vision Forum Ministries to Close
Hall of Shame: Doug Phillips and Vision Forum (Mennoknight)
Rethinking Vision Forum
Christian Giant Sued For "Using Nanny As Sex Object" (World Net Daily)
Religious Right Leader Sued For Sexual Battery, Treating Young Follower Like A 'Personal Sex Object' (Right Wing Watch)
Woman Sues Christian Right Leader Douglas Phillips for Alleged Sexual, Mental Abuse (Slate)
How God Saves Us In Christ (And Why Legalism Can't Help Us) (Pastor Jeff Crippen)
Why The Law Cannot Sanctify (Romans 7:5-6) (Pastor Kevin Williams)
Doug Phillips Responds
Former minister denies allegations that he kept woman as a 'sex object'
Doug Phillips' statement released through is attorney, Jason Jakob