Doug Phillips and Why “People In Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones”

I received an email today from Joe Friday. He gave me permission to post his email as an article. I’ve also included my response.shattered-glass

from: Joe Friday
to: Watchman
cc: Frank Vance
date: Jan 24, 2007 1:38 PM
subject: Doug Phillips and racism


I’m outraged by all the “racist” slams by Matthew Chancey against you and the Epsteins. Little Geneva can take their lumps because obviously they ARE kinists, and they don’t even try to deny it. But I don’t see anything in Matt Chancey’s “investigation” that leads me to believe that any of the rest of you are kinists, or racists, or anything of the kind.

Frank, did you notice that Chancey even quoted an email from you to Michael Metzler in which you deny being a kinist? But then Chancey goes right on to accuse you all of being kinists anyway, with no proof, and in spite of your denials!

Despite Seabrook’s “wink-wink” implying that “Vance”‘ had solid Kinist credentials, “Vance” himself continued to vociferously deny any connection with Seabrook and his fellow white separatists. When Michael Metzler asked this genuine question of “Vance”—”I have a friend who is convinced you guys are kinists. Could you help me out here?”—he gave this angry reply:

Good grief! You too Michael? You’ve got to be kidding me! Why don’t you just have your friend contact me himself? What’s his agenda Michael? Trying to find some foolish ad hom excuse to derail us? Are you really so certain he’s a friend? If he wants to find some lame and completely baseless justification to dis Ministry Watchman then watch out! He might do the same to you.

Are we kinists? No. Is any Ministry Watchman writer a kinist? No.

Feel free to email any of the other Ministry Watchman authors and ask them that question.

On second thought, DON’T. It’s getting really old. If I never get asked that question again it’ll be too soon.

Yet, the ties between Ministry Watchman and Little Geneva were as strong as ever.

Your denials mean nothing to Chancey and the lack of proof means nothing. The guy’s got an obvious agenda and the truth be damned! This has got to be some of the most outrageous behavior that I’ve ever seen professing Christians perpetrate. The entire premise for Chancey’s story is guilt by association, and as far as I can see the proof for the association is weak at best. I’m having a hard time believeing that Phillips and Chancey could be Christians at all. What they’re doing is so incredibly evil.

The whole thing is so repulsive. But what makes it even more repulsive is that Doug Phillips is probably a racist! Did you know this? I’ve been suspicious of Phillips, and especially of his father, for a long time. They both have a lot of personal friendships and close ties with notorious racists, and they both have often publicly sung the praises of notorious racists! If anyone could be rightly accused of being a racist because of guilt by association it would be Doug Phillips. Matt Chancey has got his own racist connections too, including right in his own family. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

I emailed some of what I found to Lynn at Indelible Grace and she’s posted it as an article. But what I’ve sent her is just the beginning. It really hasn’t taken me much time at all to find a whole lot more. I’ve already got enough material for a few more articles. What I’d like to know is if you’d be interested in posting what I’ve uncovered? See the enclosed text file and then let me know if you’d like to do anything with it.

As far as I’m concerned Phillips could stand a big dose of his own medicine. Phillips and Chancey need to be taught to never pull a stunt like this again.

God Bless,



from: Watchman
to: Joe Friday
cc: Frank Vance
date: Jan 24, 2007 6:02 PM
subject: Re: Doug Phillips and racism


I’d like your permission to post your email on Ministry Watchman. I’m also going to give you a far more extensive reply than what I’d normally do, with the idea in mind of posting this on Ministry Watchman as an article.

Someone else had already sent us a link to your article on Indelible Grace. In fact we’ve gotten a number of emails about this. Needless to say we’re all shocked. I’m even more shocked by the Word document you sent us. For us to be accused of a sin, and falsely so, when the accuser himself is very likely guilty of that very same sin, is a very hypocritical thing.

I’ve talked this over with Frank Vance. Neither one of us are enthusiastic at this time about going down this path. I don’t want to say that what you’ve assembled is gossip, or that it’s factually wrong. You seem to have really done your homework, but it still just doesn’t seem right to us, even in spite of what Phillips is doing to us and the Epsteins. To me it seems like hitting below the belt. Just because Doug Phillips, through his “former interns” and Matt Chancey, are all hitting below the belt, it doesn’t give us the right to respond in kind.

If at all possible I’d really like to avoid our having to stoop to that level. I’m not going to say though that I’ve ruled out the possibility that it could come down to that, but I’d like to hold off for at least for a few more days to see how things develop.

Phillips is obviously now engaged in the “politics of destruction.” He’s set this up through his close friend Matt Chancey in such a way that he thinks he’s got some plausible deniability. But the reality is he doesn’t have any more plausible deniability over Mrs. Binoculars than he does with the Still Fed Up “former Vision Forum interns.” It would take a very naive person to believe that he doesn’t exercise significant influence, if not outright control, over them all. Anybody who knows the relationship between them knows that all it would take to stop this war of words is a phone call from Doug Phillips. The only reason it hasn’t stopped is because Doug Phillips doesn’t want it to stop.

Joe, let’s keep all this in perspective. The real target of these “kinist” slurs isn’t Ministry Watchman or Frank Vance. The real target isn’t even Little Geneva (like you say, Little Geneva has always acknowledged that they’re kinists, and they seem proud of it too). The only reason Little Geneva ever got thrown into Phillips’ war of words is because they are a kinist blog, and any alleged “association” with them could be spun into a guilt by association story by Chancey.

The real target of all of this is the Epsteins. Phillips did them dirty by unjustly excommunicating them. The Epsteins spent almost two years trying to be reconciled. Phillips repeatedly refused the Epsteins’ overtures. The Epsteins then took their story public, first through Ministry Watchman, and then directly with their own blogs. Phillips is now intent on destroying the Epsteins and anyone that he perceives as having aided them.

Matt Chancey is Phillips’ primary hatchet man in his political war. Here’s how Chancey’s “logic” and political strategy progresses:

  1. Chancey overlays a picture of Jen Epstein on top of Ministry Watchman’s masthead. Voila! Jen is “Mrs. Binoculars.” Any objective-thinking person with reasonably good vision can plainly see they’re not the same person. I have rebutted that Jen is “Mrs. Binoculars” as has Jen herself. For us we thought the whole story was funny. But Chancey had already made up his mind about it, and therefore that makes it so. It’s essential to Chancey’s political strategy that he be able to merge Jen Epstein with Ministry Watchman, regardless of how thin the evidence. For Chancey the facts don’t matter, so he continues on with the next in his series of conspiracy theories.
  2. Having unequivocally established to the satisfaction of his own brain that Jen Epstein is the force behind Ministry Watchman, Chancey then moves to discredit Jen Epstein, and therefore also the Ministry Watchman that she is allegedly the force behind. To do so Chancey uses an old political trick of smearing the opponent with an allegation that the public would find morally reprehensible — racism. Racists are viewed by many as being as loathsome as wife-beaters and pedophiles. The very term “racist” is emotionally charged. The same applies to the term “anti-Semite.” Brand someone a “racist” or “anit-Semite” and many people will immediately take up a “you’re guilty until you prove yourself innocent” position.
  3. Chancey makes his “racist” accusation against Jen Epstein through guilt by association. The only “evidence” of an “association” comes from a couple of comments that Jen posted on Little Geneva, as well as favorable comments by Little Geneva of the Epsteins, and links from Little Geneva to the Epsteins’ blogs.
  4. Chancey applies the same guilt by association logical fallacy to Ministry Watchman. Little Geneva has spoken favorably of Ministry Watchman and linked to Ministry Watchman, and even before Ministry Watchman existed Little Geneva linked to Frank Vance’s blog. As far as evidence goes that’s not much to go on, but in Matt Chancey’s conspiratorial world that’s all that’s necessary to brand someone a “kinist” and therefore a “racist.”

Doug Phillips’ use of “former interns” and close personal friends masquerading as “independent investigators,” who in reality are nothing but political hatchet men, is malicious and vindictive. In my view Doug Phillips has accomplished nothing but to prove what the Epsteins were saying all along — Doug Phillips refuses to be held accountable, and anyone who attempts to do so will receive a “You’ll pay for this!” response.

The Epsteins have paid, and now Phillips is trying to make us pay too for agreeing to tell their story. Even the mere act of agreeing with the Epsteins in their efforts to seek reconciliation and peacemaking with Phillips just provoked an even more vindictive response.

Where do we go from here? Right now I’m not exactly sure, but here’s some things that I am sure about:

  1. Peacemaking and reconciliation is the biblical path for the Epsteins, Doug Phillips, and Boerne Christian Assembly. Regardless of anything that’s happened in the past, differences need to be set aside and reconciliation needs to occur for the sake of the peace and purity of the church.
  2. The Epsteins have agreed to peacemaking and reconciliation as a condition of becoming members at Faith Presbyterian Church, San Antonio.
  3. In order to best facilitate reconciliation, the session of elders at FPC have required that the Epsteins take down their blog articles. The Epsteins not only did that they even requested that Ministry Watchman do the same, and we have complied.
  4. Instead of responding in kind, Doug Phillips’ cohort has only escalated their ad hominem attacks.
  5. The Epsteins have, per their elders mandate, stayed off the blogosphere, not responding to the numerous attacks against them. They’re taking a verbal lashing without defending themselves, and in so doing demonstrating their sincerity for reconciliation.
  6. The Phillips cabal has only taken advantage of the Epsteins’s weakened strategic position by escalating their attacks while the Epsteins are unable to respond.
  7. One can only conclude that Doug Phillips’ intention, and the intentions of his “former interns” and Matt Chancey, is to sabotage reconciliation.

As I said over a week ago, “I’m more than just a little skeptical that further attempts at reconciliation with Doug Phillips will be productive. But I can also appreciate that if that’s an obligation that the Epsteins’ elders have for becoming members, and if the Epsteins really want to join Faith Presbyterian Church, then they at least have to make a good faith effort.” The Epsteins have now more than demonstrated a good faith effort, and just as I suspected would happen I now have even more cause to be “skeptical that further attempts at reconciliation with Doug Phillips will be productive.”

Joe, you might be able to soon convince me that Ministry Watchman should run your “Doug Phillips Is A Racist” articles, but for right now I’m still holding out a teeny bit of hope that Phillips will come to his senses and put a stop to this vicious slander. If we continue seeing the Epsteins being slandered as “kinists” and “racists,” and if Frank Vance and others continue being slandered, then there will be no doubt left in my mind that Phillips’ intentions are to sabotage reconciliation with the Epsteins. What incentive would we have left to cooperate any further? We’re certainly not going to continue being silent while we’re being slandered.

If the slander continues I may very well be forced into reevaluating the propriety of posting your articles. But I pray it won’t ever come down to that. I really wouldn’t like having to do something like that. I don’t want to see Doug Phillips ruined, and I’m afraid that the evidence that you’ve gathered could very well do that.

I’m very confident of one thing — if what you’ve assembled were to be widely disseminated to the home school moms that are the very lifeblood of Vision Forum, it would probably be devastating to Vision Forum. So far what you’ve written hasn’t been very widely disseminated. I’m familiar with how much traffic Indelible Grace gets (Lynn has shared that information with us), and I’ll just say that Ministry Watchman’s readership is multiple times more. Giving wide dissemination of the information that you’ve documented about Phillips would not be my first choice. My first choice would be for Phillips’ reconciliation with the Epsteins and repentance.

Joe, I trust that you’re a brother in Christ and that you will be praying along with us for a successful and Christ-honoring remedy to these matters.

Yours in the bonds of Christ Jesus,