More than one person has approached me about Doug Wilson’s commentary on the scandal surrounding Vision Forum’s Doug Phillips. I had no desire to visit Wilson’s blog, but I was curious enough about the scandal to google ‘Doug Phillips.’ At the very top of the search results was a precarious blogger I knew from years ago. Second on the list was a recent Huffington Post series. A little further down, I found a hard-hitting, albeit tardy, article from the evangelical World Magazine.
‘This is what Wilson is talking about?’ I thought to myself.
So I read Wilson’s blog too. I was not disappointed.
After briefly acknowledging Phillips’ misconduct with three words, “tragic, sad, and humbling,” Wilson goes on at some length praising Phillips for the way he resigned from Vision Forum Ministries. More than a few words are also spent castigating Phillips’ public critics. God’s thoughts about them are obvious: “the enemies of the Lord can be readily identified.”
Because of my investigative endeavors while on my way out of Wilson’s inner ring (2005), I do not find this response surprising, or even curious. Yet, there is something about this new scandal, which is now partially constituted by Wilson’s chosen response to it, that finds important intersection with some of my current writing.
My interest regards foremost the extent of incoherence in the person and work of Doug Phillips. Phillips was not your average down-the-street preacher. He was passionate about a highly specific cultural vision of chastity and marital fidelity, and this vision defined his core identity, both public and private. Further, his recently exposed naughtiness was not a ‘two ships passing in the night’ affair. The relevant rendezvous, many not explicitly sexual, spanned over a decade, often in the broad light of a Sabbath day. Please see Julie Ingersoll’s reporting at the Huffington Post for an introduction to Phillips’ alleged long-term oppression of the young lady that here concerns us. (more…)