Wednesday, January 2, 2008

No Excuses and No "Rahab's Lie"

Certain Theonomists teach that it is acceptable to lie under certain circumstances and deceive in order to accomplish the greater good, citing the story of Rahab as a proof text. I wholeheartedly disagree.

Near the end of May ’07, I was a person who checked email twice per month, but I hopped online to check my facts about Doug Phillips when writing a letter to declare exactly why I no longer could support American Vision. This ministry began featuring Vision Forum products and hosting Doug Phillips as a speaker at more of their events, and I had already voiced my serious concerns about Phillips to their ministry on many occasions. I entered “Doug Phillips” into a search engine that day in late May, and I discovered Jennifer Epstein’s website: “Exposing Doug Phillips Ecclesiastical Tyranny.” Based on my personal knowledge and experience, and having already authored a published article critical of Phillips’ spiritually abusive system, I had no reason to doubt the well-documented, online chronicle of the experiences of these excommunicated members of Phillips’ local church.

I would like to say that my opinions about Doug Phillips, Vision Forum and patriarchy are much more intense than they ever were as a result of what I’ve learned since discovering the Epstein website. My views about Phillips and patriarchy were never based upon the Epsteins at all, and I still believe that Vision Forum did behave poorly in dealing with the Epsteins. I’ve been contacted, very much without solicitation on my part, by plenty of others who have experienced treatment that parallels the treatment that the Epsteins received. I’ve also heard from many others who have experienced the pain of the tyrannical behavior of Phillips and other of his Vision Forum affiliated friends, and these dynamics closely parallel the Epstein saga.

It is no secret that I defended Jennifer Epstein very strongly because I believed her story and I did not believe that there was any credence to some of the salacious charges that were made against her. I honestly did not want to believe any of these claims asserted by Vision Forum for the purposes of “damage control,” and the Epsteins insisted that they had no validity. I have come to learn that this is not exactly the case. I’ve also had some of my own experiences with Jennifer, and those experiences gave me additional reason to question her integrity in general. Since that day in late May, I’ve accumulated a great deal of information about the Epsteins and patriarchy alike, and I have come to many conclusions.

Vision Forum claimed that the Epsteins collaborated with kinists and that kinists assisted the Epsteins in their efforts to expose Doug Phillips online. I have seen enough solid evidence to convince me beyond doubt that the Epsteins did obtain a great deal of help from these people from the very inception of her Jen's Gems website. Out of loyalty to her kinist friends, Jen Epstein began directing her aggression at other critics of patriarchy this past week. This intensified the body of evidence against her, for Jen appeared online, defending kinism itself along with her kinist friends. The Epsteins were treated very poorly by Phillips to put it mildly, but I believe that the Epsteins betrayed the trust of all who earnestly supported them by not openly admitting their kinist connections.

What does all this mean?

I am even more disgusted and more outspoken regarding patriarchy, but I am far more disgusted to learn that I was deceived by the Epsteins. I was lead to believe that these claims concerning kinism were entirely untrue. Jennifer now claims (when no longer able to refute that she did have long-standing relationships with some of these folks) that she had no early knowledge of the kinist beliefs of those who assisted her. Why then is Jen defending her kinist friends and working to debunk the “myths regarding kinism” online? Because of her allegiance to kinist Chad Degenhart who attends James McDonald’s church, Jennifer is now a defender of the McDonalds and their many deceptions.

If I am willing to speak boldly against the sins of the patriarchalists, I must be faithful to speak out against the deceit and dishonesty of those who oppose patriarchy. Whether Jennifer Epstein has been dishonest about other aspects of her saga, I do not know, and I don’t believe that her personal dishonesty in any way negates the criticisms of made against patriarchy. Limited to this issue only, I owe an apology to all those with whom I argued, contending that any connections between the Epsteins and kinism were unfounded. I believed wholeheartedly at the time that the Epsteins were completely innocent. Now, I am convinced that the Epsteins relied upon the support of known kinists -- kinists who in fact participated in establishing formal kinist organizations.

I hope for the sake of everyone that the elements of the Epstein account are honest and truthful. Her story, like patriarchy itself, is a very “mixed bag.” Given that everything was so well documented and that the Epstein story parallels so many other accounts of those under spiritually abusive systems, I still believe aspects of the story. Based on the distain that I have for kinism as a concept and upon the lack of personal integrity that Jennifer Epstein has demonstrated with me offline over the past six months, I can no longer support her or her actions. This is heart wrenching to me because I believe that her story had a great deal of value and did much good, but the damage done by this deception regarding such a serious issue irreparably erodes that value.

In summary:
  • My views about patriarchy as false teaching and spiritual abuse have intensified
  • My views concerning evangelists of patriarchy and their deceitful behavior have intensified
  • I have great distain for any form of racism or racialism
  • I believe that Jennifer Epstein found succor with enemies of Doug Phillips (the kinists) and used their help to establish her blog
  • People would have probably supported the Epsteins to a limited extent, but Jennifer Epstein behaved deceitfully regarding the valid aspects of the claims (concerning kinism) that Vision Forum made against her and her family
  • The Epsteins behavior in no way negates, excuses or exonerates the improper, unchristian, unbiblical behavior of Doug Phillips, BCA and Vision Forum in their dealings with the Epsteins and others whom they have mistreated
  • Rather than excuse her behavior by denying her associations with known kinists or by denying that she had knowledge of the kinist beliefs of Frank Vance, Chad Degenhart and Harry Seabrook, Jennifer Epstein should openly admit that she did participate with these people and repent publicly to those who supported her 

    [Late Entry/Addendum 09Jan08: Apparently Frank Vance has vehemently denied being a kinsist, however I originally posted this when my tolerance for this miserable kinism was quite low. I have not personally seen where "Frank Vance" ever admitted or denied kinism but I made assumptions based statements from Vision Forum and because I saw this pseudonym's posts on kinist blogs.]
The public should be aware that
  • The Epstiens did post on kinist blogs and websites making racist comments and/or responding in favor of racist posts (long prior to setting up the Jen’s Gems website) The Epsteins continue to deny this
  • Jennifer continues to deny the evidence concerning her kinist associations despite private confrontation with that evidence, some including her own admissions to trusted friends who have confronted her regarding this deception of the public
  • Jennifer stated to me in private email that she refuses to admit her kinist associations until I produce the sources of testimonies against her because “she has more dirt on them than they have on her”
  • Jennifer Epstein suffered a stroke (just like others who have been targeted by Phillips) while struggling through these bitter conflicts and continues to suffer with some degree of sustained short-term memory loss
  • Jennifer states that she will not attend a church unless it is "family integrated"
  • Jennifer, in recent past, argues online and on Christian email list-serves that both kinism and polygamy are valid and acceptable beliefs that do not represent false teachings but are matters of Christian liberty based on personal and acceptable interpretation of Scripture
Jen said...
Cindy, you'd better be glad I believe in I Cor. 6 or you would be in a lot of trouble for defamation of character and libel. This post is nothing but LIES and I am very sorry to see you resort to such tactics.I don't know what your motives are, but you need some serious help. I will pray for you.
January 2, 2008 5:31 AM

Kathleen (Kate) said...
Jen, I thought it was very grievous 1/2 a year ago when you demanded me to apologize for calling you a liar, too. Did you forget proper blogging/confrontation etiquette? YOU can call people liars, but you (a lying liar who lies) get to lob that one out on Cindy? I'll shout it from the rooftop: Cindy is right, you're wrong, Jen. She's exposing you and you're panicking.Marcia, many of us have been through this for quite a while (a year even) with Jen and know a lot of stuff. Jen just likes to hide the stuff that will incriminate her -- like how she's privatized her blog; doing damage control.You know, I privatized some of the posts on my blog months ago for the sake of peace. I hadn't seen anything going on for awhile and realized that many had probably moved on. I WAS WRONG. People who supported her from the beginning were being lied to and manipulated. In the meantime, I collected my journey I had this past year in trying to get some to see what was going on with Jen (because I've had my own personal interactions with her) and did post them on my blog, but I privatized them, with an invitation to anyone who had a need to see them, they could email me and I'd send them the privatized links. I didn't want to cause any more unnessasary grief to Christ's church.As this unfolds, I see that I may have to "un-privatize" those particular blog posts, because they may help others to see that I went through some very similar things as some of Jen's former supporters are going through now. It's almost the process of coming out of a spiritually abusive (as in church) situation. I want to help people, not exploit them for my own sick manipulative games and personal vendettas like these krazy kinists and patriocentrist leaders do to each other and, regrettably, some of God's people.
January 2, 2008 8:10 PM
Anonymous said...
I hope that, now that Jen is being exposed as having lied, that some of the year's "hot" stories will be questioned. She was a major catalyst in some of them, and innocent people have been slandered and abused. I have sat back and watched to see what the outcome of it all would be and I am heartened to see that it is coming around in the end. Be careful, all of you that blindly support what you read online. You have NO idea who you are getting involved with. Not everyone is who they seem to be.
January 3, 2008 5:41 PM

Anonymous said...
It was so she all of a sudden turned off comments with NO explanation leaving people wondering. The she 'closes the book' and pretty much admits she was wrong about what she said and did. I wondered at that time if she meant she had lied. I mean why say that if what you wrote was true and helped people come out of a cult? Then she started defending kinism. Saying it was not racist...and now it looks like she was hanging around with kinists for a long time while denying it so much on her blog after Matt Chancey accused of her it. So many people defended her! And she has made liars of them all.She keeps saying she is NOT a kinist but she keeps defending it at the same time...saying it is not racist. Well, what else could it be? She is not making sense at all. And why would she be defending that woman who wrote Passionate Housewives with Jenney Chancey? None of it makes sense. It is like she wants to be in a cult...she cannot break free.... [Edited comment]
simplegifts3 said...
Anonymous, contra your claims about the many and Matt Chancey, Jen has not made a liar out of me. I knew all along she was at least in some kind of communication with Kinists, therefore associated with them, just as James McDonald has for years associated with Chad Degenhart.The problem I always pointed out was Chancey employed guilt by association tactics on mrsbino., and now that his wife authored a book with Stacy McDonald, Jennie also has a problem. Jennie has written to Barbara Curtis that her husband exposed Jen for associating with Kinists, thus agreeing with him, and Jennie wrote a book with a woman who associates with Kinists. I thought that was so hilarious I wrote a blog entry about it.I'm not confused, and I was not wrong in this, because I knew Jen associated with Kinists. Just like the McDonalds do. And Jen still does. Just clarifying for other readers--- Jen associates with Kinists- James and Stacy McDonald have for years associated with Kinists- Matt Chancey thinks associating with Kinists is bad -- so bad he hoped it would make the injustices Doug Phillips did to the Epsteins go away by pointing out that fact- Jennie agrees with Matt- Jennie co-authored a book with a woman who associates with KinistsVoila -- hypocritical double standard! I still think your comment about Jen and Doug was disgusting.
January 7, 2008 7:58 AM
Corrie said...
"I have sat back and watched to see what the outcome of it all would be and I am heartened to see that it is coming around in the end. Be careful, all of you that blindly support what you read online. You have NO idea who you are getting involved with. Not everyone is who they seem to be."One of the "Anons" said this and I think it is a very good warning. I have learned a lot from this. That is why I always went after the teachings I saw as not lining up with the scripture and not with all the personal stuff because I knew nothing about it. I have often said that even though Doug was right about everything he accused the Epsteins of doing, I do not feel that the situation was handled correctly nor was the excommunication. There were blind supporters and there were blind detractors and then there were those who questioned things on both sides and were working to resolve this and come to the truth. There is a huge cult of personality in the homeschool movement and it is dangerous. People blindly defend their favorite homeschool guru all the time. Just because certain truths have become evident does not mean it absolves those in leadership of certain responsibilities. This family was in crisis and they needed help, help that could not be gotten at BCA. They needed professional help, both physically and psychologically. Yes, there is a huge spiritual aspect but we cannot ignore the very fact that our bodies are fallen and that includes all of the physical aspects of our bodies. I haven't been able to read through this thread thoroughly but there have been, imho, some misunderstandings. Lynn, Mike and I were involved in a "bible study" of sorts behind the scenes. This was not a group of people who blindly followed, believe me. It was heated. This issue is very complicated and this has become an emotionally charged issue for very good reasons but I hope that we can reason with one another and come out the better for it.
January 7, 2008 11:46 AM
Hutch said...
Just wanted to put my two cents worth in here: I am a previous poster on Jens blog. I have never met Jen or Mark personally and do not know anything about whom their friends are or who they personally associate with-my posts on her blog mainly dealt with how Doug Phillips teachings and those of the FIC and patriarchy movement’s teachings contradict scripture. In the process, I had the privilege to become acquainted with some of the teachings of Mike M. a retired pastor regarding New Covenant Theology. Mike’s teaching helped we solidify my thoughts regarding how a wrong understanding of a believers obligations under the New Covenant can lead to many forms of legalism. I have been blessed to have been exposed to this excellent teaching from God’s Word. I still believe that Jen and Mark were hurt by DP and BCA, but I never thought that they were perfect or sinless individuals, I thought like all of us that they needed love and encouragement. It is important to know that behind the scenes I was consistently and gently trying to convince Jen to modify her approach to this issue-I think others may have been doing the same, but I do not know for sure.This does not mean that I now agree with DP’s ministry and interpretation of scripture. I guess my point is that just because someone has taken down their blog or modified it; it does not necessarily mean they are trying to hide something. The Epstein’s really need to leave this behind, find a loving church and continue to heal. I do not know if they will do that, but I hope that they can-do you think that you can let them do that? Do you think this is helping them to grow and to heal? Jen has already changed her doctrinal positions on many issues, do you think God can change her and you and me in other araes of life as well? BTW, the close connection with the Sons of the South and Kinist groups by many within the FIC and patriarchy movements is just one of the many reasons that I have recently left a church that was heading down the FIC/Patriarchy path-so don’t even go there accusing me of being a kinist! Grin.In Christ,Farewell.Hutch
January 7, 2008 1:15 PM

Cindy said...
Hutch wrote: [D]o you think that you can let them do that? Do you think this is helping them to grow and to heal? Hutch,Absolutely and absolutely.We've all made mistakes in this process, all the way around, but we are all still accountable to God and to one another. We don't get mercy until we repent -- God requires every one of us to take responsibility for our actions and repent before He offers us forgiveness. God certainly changes us, but when we refuse Him and reject truth, there is no Rahab clause for us or pass that we earn because of what we may have suffered.Until the Lord brings us together in the knowledge of the truth, Cindy
January 7, 2008 2:35 PM
Lynn said...
Cindy, I don't know the answers to my comments still in moderation, because they haven't been approved yet, but I've looked through the comments here and I do not wish to converse with anonymous any more, based on the first comments made about Jen, not the snide comments to me.I'm with Marcia on this one -- I'm out of here. I'll talk you y'all some other place. I admit I didn't read your last bullets carefully, and when I finally saw that Jen denies that she posted to Kinist blogs, I was a little taken aback. I've never heard her deny this to me, and it appears to me that she claimed she did, but . . . I forget -- that didn't change her story, or that doesn't make her a kinist, I can't remember, but I don't ever remember her denying she posted to kinist blogs.See you around in other threads!
January 7, 2008 5:12 PM
Corrie said...
You know, after thinking about this whole thing, I do not remember Jen denying the fact that she has posted on kinist blogs. I think she just did not comment on that issue at all and instead, she focused on the other accusations against her. I remember at the time not being okay with the posts I did see her make before Little Geneva was taken off of the net. It just never sat right with me. I can understand why people think she denied posting on kinist blogs but really there was no way she could deny this. I think Kate posted about this back then, so maybe she would remember more details? What I do remember her denying was any involvement behind the scenes at Ministry Watchman and of being the woman in the masthead. Lynn is also right in pointing out that there seems to be all sorts of people who have relationships with kinists. The hypocrisy factor of Mrs. Binoculars is astounding. I hope Matt will write some new articles about all of his friends who are hanging with kinists.I also think that some of you came in after we did so you might have gotten a different idea. I went to Little Geneva before it was taken down and saw those posts. I also saw them on other kinist blogs. That might be why some have a different recollection of the events. I admit that it is hard to keep all the stories straight.
January 7, 2008 8:38 PM

Lin said...
Corrie, Jen NEVER denied posting on LG because there was proof. Several of us posted a comment or two there before we knew they were Kinist. However, she did say she did not know they were Kinists at the time she posted. Many of us did not know and and were shocked. I believed her because I had never even heard the word Kinist. However, she also denied at this time knowing any Kinists or even knowing what they believe, etc. All this came up after the mrsbinoculars site.She denied having any relationship with Ministry Watchman except to tell her story. Now we know that is not true.For anyone to suggest as Lynn did that we all knew about these associations all along is a lie. Lynn made it sound above that these associations were obvious. I had no idea and if I had known I would have left her blog forever. If Lynn knew about these associations all along she should have warned us. I personally do not care who has a relationship with Kinists at this point. I am appalled that Jen was not forthright about this for the last year. She mislead many people about who she really was and kept much of it in the dark.She ran the biggest internet con since the Ponz1 scheme and it will hurt those who really are sincere about stopping spiritual abuse. She knew she would have little support if her Kinist connections were known. That is why they were so carefully hidden.
January 8, 2008 6:07 AM

Cindy said...
Kate,Your blog piece deserves honorable mention here: you!
January 8, 2008 8:29 AM