Dec 11, 2006

New Blog for Exposing Tyranny

I would like to thank Ministry Watchman and especially Charles Fisher for being willing to take my story to the internet and stand behind me and my family in exposing Doug Phillips. Both the Watchman and Mr. Fisher have spent many hours working on our behalf and I am eternally grateful to them.

Ministry Watchman sought to protect our identities because they knew of the serious abuses that we'd already suffered as a family. They knew that by telling our story it would bring retaliation on us and probably on them as well. Doug Phillips' employees and ex-interns at Vision Forum decided, however, that the world should know who we are anyway. The original intent therefore of having Ministry Watchman tell the story for us is now gone.

Therefore, it has been mutually decided that our story might be able to be handled better in small, bite-sized pieces written by me, making it more personal and allowing for important details to be covered in depth. Mark will continue to provide commentary about our story on his new blog. Ministry Watchman and Charles Fisher still stand behind us in their desire to see the ecclesiastical abuses of Doug Phillips, as well as any other ecclesiastical tyrants, exposed. As our pastor said in his sermon today, there are times to be gentle, there are times to be firm, and there are times to really lay it on the line. Exposing sin of this nature demands that we lay it on the line.

In the interest of keeping this story separate from the intended purpose of this blog, I have set up a new blog for the sole purpose of telling my story. I will be starting over again from the beginning and telling the story in small, bite-sized pieces several times a week. The flavor of the comments there should be a little different, as I have a different comment etiquette. Be sure to read that before you post a comment. I will graciously answer all charitable questions and expect commenters to remember that this is a site for Christians. Be sure to read the "Why We Are Here" page as well to set some background. The new blog has the same name, but is hosted by Wordpress, so it should be easy for you to find! See you there! (This blog will remain under its intended initial purpose, for those who are interested.)

25 comments:

Recovering Prairie Muffin said...

Great idea, Jen. I'm looking forward to reading the whole story, from the very beginning. I'm glad to see that you have already started. Explaining where you were before going to BCA is very helpful. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer:

One of the charges which has been floating around about you by your unscrupulous detractors is the notion that you are not now a member of a church. I was so encouraged when you talked about your pastor in your recent blog. Where do you go to church and who is your pastor? I am guessing that this is a church with more than one elder, unlike the BCA cult?

Wondering in Ohio

MTG said...

Bless you and Mark for being so courageous in exposing yourselves so that this monster could be exposed for what he really is. People like him count on the unwillingness of people to 'go public' in order to cover up what they have done. When the victims are too embarrassed to stand up and say I have been wronged...the criminal gets away with his crimes.

YOU GO GIRL!!!!! Love & Prayers.....

Jen said...

Given the closeness in proximity to everyone I am writing about, I think it would prudent to not name the church we are currently attending. It does have several elders, however, who are fully behind us in this endeavor.

BTW, there are many false charges floating around out there.

Anonymous said...

If people are going to take you serious (which is the whole purpose of this endeavor from what I understand) there has to be complete and utter disclosure and candor when people ask you questions.

Since this is an ecclesiastical matter I would involve your church because it is their jurisdiction. You will get much farther going this route than being an independent, shooting-from-the-hip Reformed posse. Most people will not take you seriously unless you play the game by the rules, which is first to be under the authority of a church that would support your cause publically. Your church should try and straighten this out with the leadership at BCA first before going public anymore.

If your church truly backs up your case after their attempt at reconciliation then I think you should let them publically and officially endorse you. Fear of retaliation is not a framework to be operating in either strategically or Biblically (because it shows a lack of trust in the LORD if this is something He has truly called you to do).

Berean said...

Anonymous: Since this is an ecclesiastical matter I would involve your church because it is their jurisdiction. You will get much farther going this route than being an independent, shooting-from-the-hip Reformed posse [sic].

Anonymous, who misuses the word posse, seems to have forgotten that the Epsteins have already testified that they did work with a church authority apart from BCA in an effort to deal with Doug Phillips. That was part of their two-year effort to be reconciled with him after the "excommunication". It was only after Doug Phillips refused further dialogue and threatened a lawsuit through his attorney mouthpiece that the Epsteins took the next step of going public.

Now that Doug Phillips is feeling the heat of the public exposure of his ecclesiastical tyranny, it's no surprise that his supporters are suddenly calling for a return to a private, purely ecclesiastical process.

Jen, I hope you and Mark have enough respect for Doug Phillips' final decision refusing further ecclesiastical involvement that you stay the course of "taking it to the church" in public as the final step of Matthew 18 rather than short-circuiting the biblical step to return to what is, at this point, just an excuse for Doug Phillips to escape further public scrutiny.

Mark Epstein said...

Berean,

As the head of my household, I can assure you we will “stay the course.” The church deserves to live free and clean before a holy God, true elders deserve the biblical honor due them, and Christ deserves a “spotless” bride. We are bound by a loving and gracious God and those who have gone before us to humble and, if necessary, to see ourselves scorned, ridiculed, and humiliated for the cause of Christ. He did it for us, why shouldn’t we do it for Him?

Mark

Always Batya said...

Since this is an ecclesiastical Anon writes: .."matter I would involve your church because it is their jurisdiction. You will get much farther going this route than being an independent, shooting-from-the-hip Reformed posse. Most people will not take you seriously unless you play the game by the rules, which is first to be under the authority of a church that would support your cause publically."

So, you are saying that the 'rules' say that her new church must come out publically against DP in support of Jen for her to have any credibility?

First tell me where to find these 'rules'. Then define 'church' for me, please. Then once you have done that, please tell me where I can find the above in scripture.

Thanks!

A friend said...

>>Your church should try and straighten this out with the leadership at BCA first before going public anymore.>>

Let me get this straight. You think her current church should take on the sins of DP and confront him? (Where is this in the NT?)

You are saying that Jen has no right to publically tell her story?

Are you living in Medieval Europe?

I suggest you do a study of Hebrews. We no longer have a high priest we must go through. We can go straight to Jesus. We can submit to godly elders in the church but we will answer for following ungodly men...for we have been taught the truth.

Anonymous said...

If you are wanting to hold anyone in an ecclesiastical position accountable, someone at their level needs to be a part of the censure. For instance, if a senator is accused of wrong-doing, an everyday citizen can say all they want to but no censure will take place. The way censure would take place is if another fellow senator were to hold the offending senator accountable.

Yes, you have the freedom in America to speak out, but is this going to effect the purposes that you have in mind? Are others perceiving you as being Christ-like or vindicative? You may have a clear-conscience but you must consider how things come across to other people if you are to be effective. You have to be strategic, Biblical and wise in your thinking.

If you are claiming that Doug is not accountable to anyone, at least he has publically declared who the other deacons are in his church and what the name of his church is. You have not done that yourself. So from an outsiders point of view you are not willing to be vulnerable to the outside body of Christ by declaring what church you are a member of.

"Anonymous, who misuses the word posse, seems to have forgotten that the Epsteins have already testified that they did work with a church authority apart from BCA in an effort to deal with Doug Phillips."

If this is so then I would have that other church step up and defend you. From an outsiders point of view if it is just your word against BCA's, the public will side with BCA. The only way you will get credibility is to have others defend you and to have documentation. This is how things work whether we like it or not.

"So, you are saying that the 'rules' say that her new church must come out publically against DP in support of Jen for her to have any credibility?"

Yes and no. Their church must publically come out and verify at least the veracity of the Epsteins. Be a public character reference. You have to have other public witnesses. Like it or not this is the way the world works. Even people that are normally hostile to Doug like Michael Metzler and Badonicus are siding against the Epsteins. This is because of the way that things have been approached by the Epsteins.

"First tell me where to find these 'rules'."

These are strategic rules mostly. This is how the world and the Christian community works. If you want your voice to be heard you have to play the game according to the rules of the larger community that you are wanting to impact.

"Then define 'church' for me, please."

Concerning the definition of what a church is I say the following: The Apostles established the church, so all assembled churches should have a plurality of deacons and elders. Their teaching should be apostolic. The elders ordination should come from someone within the apostolic church.

"Then once you have done that, please tell me where I can find the above in scripture."

I do not need to because the New Testament was never intended to explicitly give all of the information that we would need for ecclesiastical structure. Remember, the New Testament documents were occassional letters written to specific churches. The Apostles teaching was just as authoritative in person as it was in their letters. Most of their letters were follow-up and clarifications to new situations that had arisen to other churches that had already received months and months of personal teaching.

Historically, their was no such thing as an autonomous church in the early church. Churches were accountable to other churches. This is how the Apostles set it up.

berean said...

If you are claiming that Doug is not accountable to anyone, at least he has publically declared who the other deacons are in his church and what the name of his church is.

By definition, an elder is not accountable in any jurisdictional sense to a deacon. So even if it were true that Doug Phillips has publicly declared who are the deacons in his church (which is not true in any official statement BCA has released), it would mean nothing. The name of the church also matters not, as the elder in it is not under authority himself.

Historically, the[re] was no such thing as an autonomous church in the early church. Churches were accountable to other churches. This is how the Apostles set it up.

Exactly. And this is exactly how Doug did NOT set up Boerne Christian Assembly. BCA is loosely affiliated with three others churches in "the community," but the elders in those churches have zero authority over Doug. And if no authority, no accountability. That's the way the world works.

This being so, Doug has no one but himself to blame that the Epsteins have taken their story public. Whatever the demerits of this approach, absent existing formal church authority over BCA, it is the only remaining option to warn others. Very few Christians ever bother to issue such a warning, which is why the Epsteins stick out, but that doesn't mean they are wrong to do so.

truth seeker said...

Anon wrote: Like it or not this is the way the world works. >>

Christians are not to emulate the 'world'.

Anon again writes: "Even people that are normally hostile to Doug like Michael Metzler and Badonicus are siding against the Epsteins. This is because of the way that things have been approached by the Epsteins.>>

You really want to use these two sources for credibility? A kinist and a paranoid and overly verbose young man who has been banned from Pyromaniacs where NO one gets banned unless they are overly obnoxious!

Charles Fisher said...

Jen,

I've greatly enjoyed the privilege of getting to work with you and Mark in telling your story. The task would have been a challenge even had we not all come under such a fierce and malicious attack.

I'm impressed by your tenacity and your commitment for shedding some light on a corrupt and unaccountable man, along with the corrupt and unaccountable empire that he's erected for his own glory.

Please know that I pray daily for your family, and that one of my prayers for you comes from Joel 2:25, "And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten."

In Christ Jesus,

Charles

Filled with Joy (unspeakable) said...

Truth Seeker said:

“Anon again writes: ‘Even people that are normally hostile to Doug like Michael Metzler and Badonicus are siding against the Epsteins. This is because of the way that things have been approached by the Epsteins.'"

"You really want to use these two sources for credibility? A kinist and a paranoid and overly verbose young man who has been banned from Pyromaniacs where NO one gets banned unless they are overly obnoxious!”


Not to distance myself from Truth Seeker’s observations, but I do not view Gildas Badonicus as a “kinist.” If one studies kinism, it is readily discernable the overwhelming majority of American minorities practice “kinism” far more than the white majority. Gildas, by contrast, is a hate-fueled racist whose writings border on the demonic. This said, one must wonder where Doug Phillips parked his conscience recently, since his tacit approval has led his “disciples” to repeatedly post on Badonicus’ site.

If one were to equate guilt by association, Doug Phillips would be guilty of the most vile form of racial hatred – including a public “call” for Jennifer Epstein’s suicide, as the only true act of repentance, for her pre-conversion sin. Fortunately, it is illogical to cast aspersions via association. Thus, Phillips is granted a reprieve – for the present.

In the future, perhaps Doug Phillips can explain the actions of his underlings.

FWJ

Sword of Truth said...

Anon writes: "Remember, the New Testament documents were occassional letters written to specific churches. The Apostles teaching was just as authoritative in person as it was in their letters. Most of their letters were follow-up and clarifications to new situations that had arisen to other churches that had already received months and months of personal teaching."

That is a strange and pedestrian way to describe God's Holy Word.

You may want to check out Hebrews 4:12

Anonymous said...

"That is a strange and pedestrian way to describe God's Holy Word.

You may want to check out Hebrews 4:12"

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

I heartily affirm all this. My point still stands. The Word of God in the New Testament was the Deposit of Faith, the body of teaching by the Apostles. Their ORAL teaching was just as authoritative as their teaching by letter. Their oral teaching was as much as the Word of God as was their letters. There was NO distinction.

Reading some of the New Testament letters is like listening to a one-way conversation. Paul and others are often offering clarifications on teachings they had already given in person. The book of I Corinthians (which by the way is Paul's second-letter) is full of them. One must understand this if they are going to exegete properly. This is seminary 101(:

Anonymous said...

"Christians are not to emulate the 'world'."

This is taken out of context. We are not to emulate the EVIL things of the world.

I Corinthians 9:22b - I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

We take on various customs and follow various procedural traditions to win people over that would not be won over otherwise.

One can claim their freedom to do XYZ all they want but if they are not accomplishing their goal then they have wasted their effort. This was Paul's whole point in I Corinthians 9.

This is why Paul had Timothy circumcised in Acts 16 even though it was not required in the New Testament, Acts 16:1-3 - He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

"Anonymous...seems to have forgotten that the Epsteins have already testified that they did work with a church authority apart from BCA in an effort to deal with Doug Phillips."

It would be helpful for all of us to know what church this was and why they are not coming forward to verify that they did in fact do this.

"You really want to use these two sources for credibility?"

My point is that if people known for being rebel-rousers are saying that they are questioning the validity and the approach of the Epsteins already, then this should cause one to pause and think, "If rebel-rousers consider what we are doing is wrong then what would the general populace think"?

"I suggest you do a study of Hebrews. We no longer have a high priest we must go through. We can go straight to Jesus."

We do not need a High Priest to intercede for our sins because Jesus has paid the price. He is at the right hand of the Father constantly interceding for us. I am speaking about being under a church authority.

"Let me get this straight. You think her current church should take on the sins of DP and confront him? (Where is this in the NT?)"

Matthew 18:16-17, "But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church..."

1. It says, you take two or three witness OTHER than the offended party.

2. When it says to tell it to the church, Jesus did not mean across Jerusalem, Samaria and the utter ends of the earth. He meant the local church. THEN if the OFFENDER does not listen to the local CHURCH (not two people) the CHURCH, let them be as a tax collector and a publican.

Jen said...

Anonymous, I really wish you would refrain from using anonymous and pick a name for yourself. That would be so helpful here.

The only part I am going to address at this time is why the other church has not come forward publicly in support of us. In case you haven't seen this pattern yet, and you may not if you don't know others that Doug Phillips has trampled on, you may not realize that Doug Phillips is ruthless in getting his way. I know many people who have been hurt by him, but so far he has managed to keep them all quiet - until now. We are risking a tremendous amount by going public. And so would everyone else who publicly supported us or publicly exposed him. I understand that there are extremely serious reasons that these people cannot be public at this time and I respect that. I am not asking anyone else to risk what I am risking here.

Jen said...

Rose, I'm sorry I had to reject your comment. I understand your point and you are quite right, but I don't really want to advertise that evil site here. If you could write it a little more generically, I would consider posting it.

sword of truth said...

From anon: >> It says, you take two or three witness OTHER than the offended party.>>

Where does it make that distinction?

All your explanations are quite good for seminary 101!! Good for you.

There is only one teeny weeny problem. There is NO NT defense for the extreme patriarchy and legalism that DP teaches. This is false teaching and must be exposed publically.

To say otherwise is to condemn our Lord about Mary Magadelene.

Matthew 18 does not apply to false teaching. Nor does it apply when confidentiality is broken by a minister which is a public sin. Matthew 18 does NOT apply to public sin. Period. Ask Peter....

Stop drinking DP's kool-aid of legalism.

Truth seeker said...

unspeakable writes: "Their ORAL teaching was just as authoritative as their teaching by letter. Their oral teaching was as much as the Word of God as was their letters. There was NO distinction."

Ok, I'll bite. What IS your point?
(In context of Jen and Mark?)

P.S. I want you to know that I am saying this with love in my heart for you: You sound like a very young man who is in seminary and very proud of his new found knowledge. There are signs, you know. (sigh)

Truth seeker said...

Quote from joy: "If rebel-rousers consider what we are doing is wrong then what would the general populace think"?>>

Gee, I may use that 'reasoning' on my kids. But wait, I am not teaching them to look to what rebels or even the general populace thinks. But what the Lord says.

quote: I am speaking about being under a church authority."

That depends on the authority. We will answer for who we followed. We don't get a pass card for following a egomaniac. Be a Berean. (Beware, there are some wolves in seminary garb, too)

Worsham said...

unspeakable writes: "Their ORAL teaching was just as authoritative as their teaching by letter. Their oral teaching was as much as the Word of God as was their letters. There was NO distinction."

Recommend you consider Gal 2:11-14. Peter's actions (which must have included words from the context of the passage) were wrong and had to be "opposed ... to his face". This is recorded in Scripture to remind us that even the great Peter (the rock, upon whose confession Chirst would build His church) could be wrong when not inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Ergo, II Tim 3:16 says that "scripture" is inspired, not the speeches of the Apostles (one of whom by the way was writing this to Timothy).

The Truth contained in the Scripture must be our only standard by which to judge thoughts and actions, not what we might suppose the Apsotles might have said that was not included in Scripture. We must remember that the "T" in TULIP stands for total depravity!

On another note, the purpose of reconciliation is to restore relationships. The purpose of Church discipline is to restore the offender, guard the purity of the church and to honor the name of God. The Epsteins should seek reconciliation because that is what their Lord is all about -- reconciling sinners to a Holy God. If (and He did) Jesus could accomplish this, how hard can it be to get a couple of sinners to reconcile, considering what God has done for us?

Will Doug Phillips and BCA be willing to reconcile with the Epsteins? I don't know, but I do know that we "have not because we ask not." When we ask and do not receive, it is because we "ask wrongly, to spend it on [our] passions." Jas 4: 2-3. Will all of you pray for reconciliation for all involved (my theology tells me that there is sin enough to go around!)? Will all of you pray for Doug's heart to yearn for real Biblical reconcilation that the Epsteins might be reclaimed? (Remember, his church has claimed that they are lost in their sin.) What a jewel in Christ's crown would be Doug Phillips, BCA and the Epsteins publicly telling of God's glory and forgiveness to all of them! Will you all pray for this?

Jen said...

Worsham, reconciliation is ALWAYS right for true Christians. I haven't finished my story yet, but we did offer to go to mediation with Doug Phillips a few months ago and, in turn, he threatened to sue us. That is one of the reasons why it was necessary to go public. Keep following my story and you will see that we have really tried everything possible for reconciliation.

Truth seeker said...

Worsham wrote: On another note, the purpose of reconciliation is to restore relationships. The purpose of Church discipline is to restore the offender, guard the purity of the church and to honor the name of God. The Epsteins should seek reconciliation because that is what their Lord is all about -- reconciling sinners to a Holy God. If (and He did) Jesus could accomplish this, how hard can it be to get a couple of sinners to reconcile, considering what God has done for us?>>

That really depends on the sinners and if both of the sinners are really Christians then it should be possible.

My experience shows that there are quite a few people in leadership in churches that show no fruit of being saved. They talk a good game but the fruit is not there.

In mega church circles, you may be shocked at what passes for being a Christian. I have seen with my own eyes, lies and deception rationalized as pragmatism to grow the church. And these are the leaders! Can one reconcile with false teaching and evil actions that is unrepented?

In these situations, I do not think reconcilation is possible. Forgiveness, yes.

We are not to have fellowship with darkness. As a matter of fact, reconciliation with unrepentence in these circumstances can enable and cover sin that should be exposed.

The bottom line is that our churches are infested with this. We have traded worldy titles and acceptance instead of holiness.