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.”
Thank you for these encouraging reminders Kathryn! The Lord has been showing me similar things, so I could not agree more! I am challenged and convicted, to be all the more faithful in praying for my leaders, my friends, and my family!
Beautifully put, Kathryn!! These are exactly things that I have been pondering, only it hadn’t even occurred to me to write them down. This was very concise and understandable, and a great blessing – thank you for sharing!
Thank you for sharing! What a good reminder to see the good in a circumstance and to also pray for our leaders! I am sure Jesus put those thoughts in your head and directed your pen as you wrote them down! Continue to share and glorify the Lord!
Well put! Same thoughts here. 🙂
Thank you for your thoughts.
We are very grateful that the Lord gave him the grace and humility to repent.
Well put. I couldn’t agree more. I am challenged to spend more time in intercessory prayer!
I agree and am so glad that I have obeyed promptings to pray for those who have been great influences in my walk with the Lord. Brother Phillips has not been one of those for me, but now I see that it would be wise also to pray for other leaders as well, who have been a big influence in other circles. I am often prompted to pray that they would humble themselves according to God’s Word. Humility does far more to advance God’s kingdom than any kind of “outreach” or “ministry”. That is another thing that fills me with hope, that Doug will remain a broken man, as we all should, and that this state is a better and more powerful state than his previous ministry without such brokenness.
Thank you for the reminder to pray for our leaders, I know that they certainly can benefit from our prayers. It is also our responsibility, just as remembering those in bonds is our responsibility. The scripture also commands us to pray for those in leadership (speaking of political rulers but could also refer to our spiritual leaders). Let us remember that although we may attend a different church, those who are the children of God are all striving toward the same goal(ultimately) and thus we need to remember our fellow comrades.
The Lord really used your post to encourage and help me think through things, Kathryn. I wasn’t sure how to respond or what to think of all this. It is so sad. Thank you for this godly perspective. I also really appreciate what you mentioned, Michael, about brokenness – Being broken is better and more powerful than having a ministry without brokenness.
How beautifully said. The truth of Our Father’s word does not diminish with man’s shortcomings. Amen.
It is interesting what Paul says just a few verses later there in Philippians 3: “Brethren, be followers together of me.” But then in 1 Cor. 11:1 he adds the key phrase, “even as I also am of Christ.” May each of us seek out those who have chosen to emulate Christ and pattern our lives after theirs; but if perchance they falter, may we never allow their imperfect shadow to distract us from the glorious light of our Ultimate Example. Keep pressing toward the Mark!