August 30, 2014

My email conversation with Philip Stallings

(3-1-2015 Philip Stallings seems to have vanished off of Freedom Outpost.  The article above is still on archive.org here. )
(4-16 as of today Joel McDurmon and Tim Brown have both come to realize that Stallings is an unrepentant sinner who deserves to remain excommunicated from the body of Christ.)



(Update: I've restored Tim Brown's name to the thread, and struck through the paragraph explaining why I'd redacted it. Briefly, I didn't want to hold him responsible for something he hadn't read. I've since found out that he has read it and is badly mischaracterizing what I've written.  I'm comfortable that what I've said is accurate and clear; Tim is free to prove otherwise, and I'll clarify as needed.)

I don't often post on this blog, but I was recently contacted by Mr. Philip Stallings about some of what's been written here, so it seems like the right place to post the conversation. I'm not planning on writing him any more, but if there are more messages from Mr. Stallings, I'll update the post accordingly. Please note that in my first response to him, I reserved the right to give the emails to anyone I thought should see them; I've taken his continued responses as assent.

I'm making this available because, as I told him more than once in the thread, I think his emails demonstrate he is still not dealing honestly and fully with his own past behavior. Also, I'm aware of recent actions by him that continue in the same pattern: escalation of conversations with women in inappropriate ways, with extremely crass, abusive language once the woman grows uncomfortable with what he's saying. At a minimum, such behavior is disqualifying for a Christian teacher/leader, but if he's continuing other types of behavior that I've seen from him in the past, it's goes far beyond not meeting standards for leadership.

This is an attempt to warn the flock, especially women, about this man, so that he isn't given authority and credibility by those ignorant of his ongoing behavior, and to let anyone who has been victimized by him know that they are not alone, that people are trying to keep it from happening again. I'm keeping this post focused on the email thread; if you do some searching online, I'm sure you could find more specific details about how Philip has been acting.


An aside: I'll admit I initially misunderstood Philip's request regarding Matthew 18; I thought he was accusing me of having not followed that approach in confronting him regarding his sin, when actually, he seems to be citing it as his reason for confronting me (as having offended him). I believe I've answered him regarding either case.

I understand that I'm referencing evidence that is not all public, and that may cause the reader to be skeptical about my claims. I can only say that the evidence exists, and both Mr. Stallings and I know that what I've described is true. I've tried to limit my comments to what I've heard from primary sources, but I haven't provided details out of respect to the women who shared it with me; I have no desire to victimize them further, or expose them to more unwanted or abusive attention.

I've removed the name of a third party from the thread. I had a brief, generally friendly, email correspondence with this man about Philip last year, and I think it's safe to say he and Philip are still in regular contact. Philip offered to bring him in to any discussion he and I had, but since I haven't heard directly from that individual (though I know he has a copy of the entire thread), I have redacted his name for the present.

One last point: Mr. Stallings seems convinced that my wife and I have no standing to bring this up, that it's none of our business.  I have two responses:

  1. Philip is writing and speaking publicly, identified as a Christian apologist, so confronting him regarding things which disqualify him from such office are the business of the entire Church, not only those people who are directly affected by his behavior.
  2. How can he be sure that my wife and I are not closely associated with a woman he's victimized? He's done this to a lot of women (single, married, and juvenile), after all.

This is posted just as it was sent (all typos included), in chronological order (most recent last). To clarify the thread, I've given timestamps and color-coded Philip's emails in purple and mine in blue-grey.

Aug 8, 2014 06:37

Mr. Jason Coyle, 


My names is Philip Stallings. I am writing to you regarding the blog that you and your wife have written about me. The Bible teaches that the man is the head of the wife and therefore I believe it is proper and Biblical to address you regarding this matter. I do not believe that it is honoring to Christ nor the body for this blog to be posted because nowhere in Scripture are we told to display the sins of brothers to the world, but rather there is a procedure for dealing with sin (Matt 18:15-20). I am hoping to address you one on one and hope to resolve this matter so as to not involve any others. Please let me know what would be the best way to converse regarding this matter ASAP. 

Regards, 


Philip Stallings


Aug 9, 2014 14:23

Mr. Stallings,


I have no objection to being the one to communicate with you about this, though for me, it's about protecting those for whom I am responsible. To that end, I'll make this conversation available to my wife or anyone else I feel should be aware of its content. One question, however: Did you follow the Biblical headship model by contacting the husband or father of each woman to whom you sent suggestive messages or pictures, asking their permission first? We both know your truthful answer.


I'm not convinced Mt 18 is the correct paradigm for dealing this situation, but for the sake of discussion, let's explore what that means. Bear in mind that the sin we are dealing with is your frequent and long-standing sexual predation (at least online) of women and underage girls as well as your sinful efforts to underplay or deny such activities, including involving others as your surrogates in such denials.


The approach specified by Mt 18 is straightforward. 


First, someone should go individually to the one who sinned. This has been done.


Second, if the one-on-one approach does not produce repentance, go with witnesses to the one who sinned. This has also been done.


Third, if there still has not been repentance, bring the matter before the church. I believe a strong case can be made that this has also been done, given the nature of the offense. Online stalking is


Fourth, if nothing has happened after every other step, treat the sinner as an unbeliever. This would include public statement of the sin, which is what's found in the multiple blog posts from various individuals regarding you. So your assertion that "nowhere in Scripture are we told to display the sins of brothers to the world" is disingenuous.


In short, I think Mt 18 has been followed, and that includes the public statements about your behavior. Feel free to explain how you've satisfied the process above; from the evidence I've seen, you have not.


But as I said, I'm not convinced Mt 18 applies here, especially in the way that you are using it. Mr. Stallings, you have repeatedly used the accusation that others have not followed Mt 18 as a weapon and a gag, to prevent them from making the truth known and protecting others from you. That is a cynical misuse of the passage, whose goal is the reconciliation of the sinner into the body, not making the sinner the victim and excusing their behavior. Manipulating Scripture and the genuine desire of Christians to be forgiving and merciful does not help your case.


But even if Mt 18 applied, and even if you could demonstrate you have fulfilled its approach, you need to realize that actions have consequences, and sinful acts have horizontal consequences (i.e. regarding other people) that can far outlive the vertical forgiveness (i.e. from God) that is freely offered through Christ's blood to the repentant and contrite heart. Your behavior to this point, even in writing what you have to me in your last email, does not indicate you understand this.


As I wrote to Tim Brown when he contacted me last year, I urge you to truly repent and get help, and I will pray to that end. But in the meantime, the primary responsibility I have regarding you is to preserve the innocent from further action by you and to protect those who have been victimized by your prior sin.


Jason


Aug 11, 2014 09:35

Mr Coyle, 


I believe that at this point it would be fruitful to discuss this matter further via a conference call. I would like to add Tim Brown to the phone call as well. If you wished to have a second party on the line as well, I believe that would be perfectly appropriate, seeing as how your wife is also involved in this. Please let me know if you would be willing to do this and what would be a good time for you.


Philip Stallings 


Aug 11, 2014 23:08

Mr. Stallings,


In my last reply, I explained why I thought your reasons for contacting me lacked foundation, so I don't know what we have to discuss. Clearly, you think otherwise, but you will need to convince me. I'd like you to answer the following questions, and if I find your answers satisfactory, I will consider your request for a conference call.


  • What do you wish to discuss, and what outcome do you hope comes from such a conversation?
  • Do you deny or reject anything I wrote in my last response to you? If so, what and why? Please be specific.
  • Do you consent to my recording any conversation we have?

This last question is less important, so I'm separating it from the others: Would you be open to an email discussion instead of a conference call? I believe it would be a better medium for any substantive discussion, allowing a more measured response and time for consideration.

Since you mentioned Tim Brown as another person you'd want to have involved, I'm taking the liberty of sending this entire thread to him as well.


Jason


Aug 13, 2014 11:55

Jason, 


I would like to remind you that the point of me contacting you is that you have offended me by sinning against me by publishing regarding these matters. 


Regarding your questions, I wish to discuss your sin against me and seek repentance from you and your wife. I deny that you have a proper understanding regarding Matthew 18 in this matter. "People" coming to me that were essentially "third parties," which includes yourself, is no where found to be honoring the Matthew 18 passage. The passage is actually speaking to the ones that were "offended" in seeking out the brother and confronting him. This is not the notion of, lets get people that have heard about the situation or have even been contacted by others that were in fact offended, and then, by way of a third party, contact Philip. So, not only has Matthew 18 not been applied in this situation, it was been completely subverted through the participation of third parties that were not directly involved. 


I am now coming to you, via the Matthew 18 passage, to confront you in your sin against me which is libel and gossip and sinning against me by publishing these matters publicly. 


Regarding the notion of "recording the call," I have no problem with that if you can provide for me those that are in authority over you and those that you are accountable to spiritually and if you promise not to publish it publicly. We would also like to record the call holding to the same stipulations noted here: that we will provide information regarding those that I am spiritually accountable to and also that we will not publish the call publicly nor reproduce it in form whatsoever. 


There is also another option that Tim has suggested regarding a Church council, whereby, evidence would be presented on both sides to elders that would listen regarding these matters.


Philip


Aug 16, 2014 13:14 

Philip,


You are manipulating Scripture, making a club of God's Word and a snare from the reverence in which the believer holds it. You claim that you are the offended party and can approach me and my wife, per Matthew 18, because we did not follow the Matthew 18 process of dealing with your sin. I utterly reject this cynical attempt to deflect attention away from your behavior. Rather than insulating you against proclamation of your transgressions, identifying yourself as a believer magnifies the need for the Church to post the truth, because now your actions reflect badly on the Gospel itself.


I don't doubt that you feel offended, but this is not about how you feel. It's not about me or my wife, either. It is about your victims, past, present, and (God forbid) future.


You claim to have been libeled, but a statement must be false to be libelous, and we both know better. My wife and I have read the testimonies, seen the evidence, and spoken with some of those whom you've hurt.


You accuse us of gossip, but it's not gossip to point out a thug on the prowl. It is protection, warning the innocent and assuring others who have been harmed that they are not alone. You stalk the public 'net, so that is where you should be called out.


You have demonstrated a pattern of inappropriate, verbally abusive, and sometimes pornographic interactions with women, some of whom were underage. In spite of being confronted with your sin numerous times, you have continued acting in the same way for years. When pressed, you have blamed the women or otherwise framed your actions in a way that absolves you or minimizes your fault.


Are the women you've dealt with blameless? Not all of them. Does that lessen your responsibility or justify your continuance in sin? Of course not; only a child would think otherwise.


What I've mentioned thus far would be be reason enough to publicly warn others about you. But to make matters worse, you are putting yourself forth as a Christian apologist and one who proclaims and stands for the truths of Scripture! I shudder to imagine the damage that could be done to the young believer who naïvely trusts you, and what judgment that would bring on you (Mt 18:6-7).


Philip, I chose to be part of this conversation in the hope that you were finally willing to acknowledge your sinful and inappropriate online behavior, repent without reservation, and seek help for yourself and healing for your victims. I see now that is not the case, and I am simply the next person you want to intimidate or cajole into silence.


You are not the injured brother. 


You are a predator and a bully.


I will not validate your twisted self-justification by participating in some sort of trial by elders, and I do not plan on responding to you on this topic any further. I will provide this entire thread to the pastors of my church, however, and explain exactly what led up to it.


Repent, Philip. Turn away from this sin, seek help, and for your sake and the sake of the Church, stop any sort of public ministry.


Aug 22, 2014 08:59

Jason


There are godly men that have standing in my life and whom to which i am accountable. I do not know you. I have never met you. You have no standing in my life whatsoever and I could care less what reports you have heard or seen. You have no right to come out on this matter which never even directly involved you nor your wife. You have sinned greatly against the body as your entire blog does with this unfounded position to simply go to the streets bearing personal and private information to not only believers but unbelievers. You should be ashamed for what you have done. I stand accountable to the godly men in my life and ultimately to God for what I have done. Where is your accountablility? What standing did you have in my life? None. While I have repented and continue to repent on a daily basis for sins, I pray that God deal swiftly with you and your entire family for constantly harming the body of Christ while parading around as innocent protectors of others. I find it ironic that, while I am the one portrayed as being everything but repentant that I'm willing to subject myself to elders and accountability regarding any and all evidence against me, while you reject any sort of council or simple conference call while claiming the disposition of integrity. 


This matter regarding others never involved you. To be frank, it was none of your business. You had no Biblical standing to assert yourselves in this matter and have only made matters worse. Let me repeat, I have repented of my sins and I have never attempted to justify my sins towards others which were simply wrong. But my sins never involved you. They involved others. So let me be clear, whenever I am able to contact those that are interested in confronting me regarding any sin I have committed against them, I am willing and ready to listen to them and repent TO THEM, NOT TO YOU. You have no place in this matter and you never did. You have rejected my attempts to confront you regarding your sin against me by attempting to justify your actions. The irony here regarding you and your actions here is quite telling. I ask you again, as a Christian, to repent of your sin against me and against the body. Stop justifying your actions and repent. Meanwhile, I will continue to follow Biblical procedure regarding my sins towards others and continue to repent to those that I have sinned against, which again, NEVER INVOLVED YOU NOR YOUR WIFE. 


How in the world you believe that your wife calling me a "psycho" and suggesting I go and get a hooker in a public forum is somehow honoring to Christ is beyond belief. 


I hope you will again consider a conference call to deal with your sin against me.


Aug 30, 2014 14:07

Philip,


I have already answered your questions and refuted your objections.


I will continue to pray for your repentance and for wisdom and discernment for those to whom you claim to be accountable.


I will add your last email to what I've already given to my pastors and to Tim Brown. Since this conversation further demonstrates your strategies of self-justification and deflection of valid criticism, I'll also post it in its entirety on the blog.

Jason