The Christian homeschool world is left dismayed by the latest developments in the scandal concerning former Vision Forum Ministries president and Christian home school advocate Doug Phillips. Phillips, who admitted an adulterous relationship, has recently alleged that three of his former employees are attempting to tear down his reputation and organization and is threatening legal ramifications.
"It is disappointing to see someone with such an influential voice for Christianity and homeschooling completely blame shift and choose to make this a legal battle," says Thomas Poole, a homeschooling parent of three. "Christians understand sin, grace, and forgiveness-but to completely deny responsibility for one's actions is extremely saddening."
Vision Forum Ministries, Phillip's nonprofit organization, was shut down four months ago following his admittance to engaging in a "lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman."
"While we did not 'know' each other in a biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate," he wrote. Phillips, who has eight children with his wife Beall, wrote on the ministry website on Oct. 30 that he would be stepping down from his role at Vision Forum.
Phillips originally sought forgiveness in his resignation letter, stating "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."
However, Phillips is now changing his tune, accusing two of his friends, Bob Renaud and Peter Bradrick, and a former Vision Forum employee, Jordan Muela, of "conspiring together, and with others, in an attempt to destroy Doug Phillips, his family and Vision Forum Inc.," reported WORLD magazine.
Phillips is a frontrunner among conservative Christians who advocate homeschooling, reject birth control and hold to the idea that large families are a sign of God's blessings. His mantra includes the idea 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."
In addition, Phillips believes that "the ordinary and fitting role of women is to work alongside men as their functional equals" outside the home in business, government and the military.
In 2011, Vision Forum Ministries reported about $3.3 million in revenue, with Phillips receiving $44,000 in salary from the ministry for a 30-hour workweek, according to the ministry's financial documents.
Poole believes Phillip's decision to take legal action will hurt his reputation as a leader among the Christian homeschoolers, a community that once applauded him as a leader.
"This issue needs to be resolved by the church, not by the government. [Phillips'] actions fly in the face of all that he teaches and claims to believe. I believe he has severely damaged his reputation among the Christian homeschool community."
Jeff Horn, an elder at Boerne Christian Assembly-- a position he accepted after Phillips stepped down from the role following the scandal-released a statement saying that while Phillips had been reprimanded in church in November for his "marital unfaithfulness, hypocritical deceit and dishonesty as grievous sins against God, his church, against his family and against those who invested their trust in Doug as a leader," the church should have done more to resolve the situation.