The Glory of God in the Failure of Man

By Devin Maddox

After reading the details of the lawsuit regarding sexual misconduct by Doug Phillips as reported by WND, I am reminded of how much damage and effect sin can have in the world. Whenever a man sins, he transgresses the law of God, he dishonors his Maker, and hinders his own soul from peaceful existence. For Christians, we are always reminded of our sins and the weakness of our flesh as we take in the pure light of God's Word.

However, most of us are blind to the effect sin has on other people. Even sins that we think are private and containable can, ultimately, be projected from the roof tops. But that is just the beginning. Once the sin is projected, it spreads like wildfire through the tongues of the people. But that is not the end either, because then all the associations start to come into people's consciences until overreactions are made and hypocritical judgments begin. Therefore, one man's secret sin actually can become a chain reaction of desolation to the progress of faithful people.

Again, that is not the end because there are enemies outside around the hedges lurking about for a weak point to attack. Alas! There is a breech! Then begins another series of attacks that infiltrate and destroy whatever good there may be left to defend.

With the news of Doug's sin, many people were affected, such as, ministers, churches, families, movements, and people like me, who mostly read and follow Christian leaders in order to better live my life for the glory of God in this present society. There might be someone reading the WND article who finds themselves looking up at the bookshelf of their study area and accounting for all the books that were either authored by Doug Phillips or forwarded by him. If you’re like me, you might be thinking of all the connections that he had made, the conferences held, and the speakers associated with him.

There is no doubt that this sin of one man has caused much turmoil and despair among those who are closest to him. But that was not the end, because there are thousands of people who are going to have this blot in the back of their minds for a long time and anytime they think of certain topics. Why? Because we naturally associate things together. Just like the WND report associates homeschooling with Doug Phillips and Doug Phillips with shameful sexual misconduct. What about family integrated churches?  Well Doug was a founder of NCFIC, and he engaged himself in inappropriate, shameful sexual misconduct.

Still, that is not the end because sin is a transgression of God's law and a dishonor to Him. God has been transgressed and His name has been dragged through these reports. The lesson we should learn from all this is that our own flesh is just as corrupt as another sinner. We all possess the ability and will to sin. In fact, all our righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of God. This report should humble us and remind us of the weakness of man and the power of God. We should remind ourselves of the depravity of man and the righteousness of Christ.

We should also remember that every group or individual that was ever against anything the Vision Forum or Doug Phillips promoted is going to use this shameful detail of misconduct for a platform to point the finger at their opponents. That should not be a surprise to any, but should be a fact that is comprehended nonetheless. So be ready.

What good can come out of this messed up situation? How can people who are associated with Phillips ever get back to normal? How can the readers and followers ever trust any person with such a high reputation in the ministry again?

The answer is to trust in the providence of God and the love He has towards His people.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."-Romans 8:28

"According to Romans 8:28, the universe is ruled by God for the benefit of the called of God; therefore our future is secure. Every fact in the universe is God-interpreted and is being moved by God to a God-ordained goal. Nothing is meaningless or ruled by chance. Everything holds meaning and purpose for us. Progress and victory are ours because God is our God and because His plan and providence encompass and govern everything for His glory and our benefit." -Joseph Morecraft, Authentic Christianity, Vol.1, p. 599

"The events of redemption that happen within the framework of ordinary history give us deeper assurance that all of history is in His hands. It means the crisis moments in our own lives are not expressions of vanity or futility. The tale of history is not left to idiots. The Bible is concerned with a time that is moving in an appointed direction...The present time is a time of crisis for the world, a time in which every moment counts forever."-R.C. Sproul, The Invisible Hand, 107-116 (Quoted in Authentic Chrisianity, Vol.1, p.601-602

O Lord, have mercy! Have mercy on us poor and wretched sinners! Protect us from our own sin nature and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Glorify Thy Name in all the Earth!