As many of our readers are probably aware, the recent closure of Vision Forum Ministries and the retirement of Mr. Doug Phillips from public leadership has been an event of dynamic impact in conservative circles.
Though I feel intimidated at even mentioning this issue, with my parents blessing, I want to share a few brief thoughts, with the prayer that they will cause you to seek the Lord as to what your response should be.
First, I am renewed in my desire to put my hope and trust in the Lord – not in my relationships, my circumstances, my possessions, or my mentors. He alone is the Author and Finisher of my faith – the One Who has promised to bring it to completion – and it is in Him alone that I must trust. He is the only factor of life that will never change; what better rock of assurance, what safer haven of rest?
Second, I am reminded of the vital importance of intercessory prayer on the behalf of those who are leading in the gates. My first thought upon hearing this news was one of regret that I had not been more faithful in lifting up the Phillips family before the Lord in prayer. Think of those who are influencing your life right now, who are doing battle – especially public battle – with the ideas and issues of our culture. They are on the front-lines, often on the behalf of those of us who are leading quieter lives, and do we not do them a disservice (or rather an act completely unworthy of the name of Christ – 1 Samuel 12:23) to neglect fighting with and for them in prayer?
Third, I am convinced that my response should be one of gratitude, instead of criticism. Mr. Phillips has probably been one of the most influential speakers/presenters of truth in my life, and for that I will ever be immensely grateful. The truths of Scripture do not change with the shortcomings of man.
Fourth, I am humbled, with mingled feelings of awe and fear. If a man so godly, so esteemed, could fall, how much more could I? There is not one individual on this earth, no matter how spiritually minded or intellectually gifted, that is above a fall with such consequences. How earnestly, how frequently, then, must I be seeking the Lord, entreating Him for mercy and remaining surrendered to His Word.
Finally, I am filled with hope. Our actions do have results, but we have been chosen by a God of second-chances, a Father of mercies, and a Redeemer from our wretched condition. He delights in impossibilities. Though an aspect of my life that was highly influential and important to me has now changed, I believe that the Lord is not finished yet. I rest in the hope that He does all things well and will perform that which works in the extension of His Kingdom and for His glory.
In closing, Paul’s words from Philippians 3 seem quite applicable:
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”