Disgraced Religious Leader Doug Phillips Unexpectedly Leaves Church He Founded

( [email protected] ) Jul 09, 2014 10:33 AM EDT
Doug Phillips
Doug Phillips and his family (AP)

Controversial religious leader and homeschool advocate Doug Phillips is once again making waves after unexpectedly leaving the church he founded.

In a rare public statement regarding the former Vision Forum Ministries president, the leaders of Boerne Christian Assembly (BCA) announced Phillips had  joined another church without receiving a letter of transfer from BCA, WORLD reports.  

Although the occurance is seemingly insignificant, the BCA called it "a matter of great concern" as Phillips had formerly stressed the importance of following church procedures to the congregation.

"Recently, contrary to the position established many years ago at Boerne Christian Assembly under his Eldership and which he reaffirmed on multiple occasions, Doug Phillips has left Boerne Christian Assembly and advised that he has become a member of another Church without a letter of transfer from Boerne Christian Assembly," read the statement.

"This is a matter of great concern to the body at Boerne Christian Assembly and we are attempting to work through this entire situation in a manner that would be honoring to our Lord. We should continue to pray for restoration, wisdom and grace as we determine how we should succeed."

This latest development is relatively benign in comparison to the controversy surrounding the fallen leader, who has eight children with wife Beall. Last year, after being confronted by several friends, Phillips confessed to having an "lengthy and inappropriate" relationship with former employee Lourdes Torres, but claimed he did not "know her in the Biblical sense." At the time, he asked for forgiveness, saying there were "no words to describe the magnitude of shame" he felt.

However, a lawsuit filed by Torres revealed more sinister story, accusing Phillips of sexual battery, fraud and sexual exploitation, claiming he used her as a "personal sex object."  

According to the claim, the Biblical patriarchy proponent used his power and influence to "indoctrinate" Torres with the "patriarchal mindset," forcing her to perform shocking sexual acts over the span of several years, starting when she was a teenager.

 While the sexual interactions that Torres alleges occurred after she was of age, her lawyers argue that she "was incapable of giving consent" due to "years of continued conditioning and indoctrination by Phillips and the patriarchal leaders."

In response, Vision Forum Ministries' Board of Directors discontinued operations in light of the "serious sins" which prompted Phillip's resignation from his company in addition to his leadership role at Boerne Christian Assembly.

Although initially repentant, Phillips has since threatened litigation against those who confronted him on his sexual sins, accusing the men of orchestrating a campaign of slander against him and conspiring to "destroy Doug Phillips, his family, and Vision Forum Inc."

Currently, the case is still in court and undergoing investigation.

Ultimately, the Doug Phillip's saga is a sobering lesson that even the most respected of Christian leaders can fall says Evangelical theological Doug Wilson.

"The news was...tragic, sad and humbling. One of the reasons why men in Christian leadership have to be so careful in their lives is that this response is so entirely predictable," he wrote on his blog.

"When Nathan the prophet rebuked David for his great sin, he referred to this response as one of the obvious and predictable consequences -'However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme,' (2 Samuel 12:14)."