#1 The Beginning: 3/3/06 to 4/22/06

The following four-part report is based on emails, testimonials and notes from various meetings. Most all of it was given in testimony during the 4/30/06 Emergency Congregational Meeting, of which Scott Brown made a recording. The rest was gathered together after the discipline took place.

At the time of these events, Trinity Baptist Church was “Elder-led”, with all 4 Elders constitutionally having equal authority and responsibility.

Fri., March 3, 2006

For several months, two men from Trinity Baptist Church (TBC) had been growing more and more concerned about several theological issues that God had been pressing upon them. After individual prayer and Bible study, God brought Mike, a deacon, and Todd together on the same issues and led them to approach the Elders, Scott Brown, Jason Dohm, Jerry and Don B., with their concerns.

Before the meeting could be arranged, a third man, Don A., who was concerned about many of the same issues, was Providentially made aware of Mike’s and Todd’s concerns, and joined them in their petition to the Elders. The meeting with the Elders was scheduled for Monday, March 27.

In the interim time, the Elders and three men had many informal discussions both in person and by email. Mike, Todd and Don A., were careful to keep their concerns between themselves and the elders.

Mon., March 27, 2006

Mike, Todd and Don A. met for the first time with all four Elders to have formal discussions on the 7 key concerns that the three men believed that God had laid on their hearts:

  1. TBC’s position on or view of the Law, specifically how the Elders viewed Sanctification and the Law.
  2. TBC’s position on Theonomy, a belief system held by several leading men in the church, particularly by Dan Horn, now an Elder at Hope and a VF speaker, and Stiles W., a writer for Chalcedon.
  3. The danger of the above Theonomists being granted access to the pulpit, without examination of or approval of their Theonomic doctrine.
  4. The lack of Biblical support for “Family Reformation” to be a “Pillar” of the church, as was the case for TBC.
  5. Observable Legalism in the church, causing matters of conscious to be treated as matters of Law.
  6. The lack of Biblical support for Scott’s statement in League of Grateful Sons (LOGS), “It’s a son’s task in life to spread the fame and the glory of his father in the same way that the Lord Jesus Christ spread the fame and glory of His Father in heaven.”
  7. The need for TBC to separate from its affiliation with Vision Forum as the lines between the two ministries were becoming more and more blurred.

At the end of the meeting, the Elders agreed to look into these concerns and told the men that as the concerns were “serious and complex“, it would be a “lengthy process” to come to any sort of conclusion. However, the Elders committed to remain in contact with the three men.

Wed., April 12, 2006

The Elders had their first meeting amongst themselves to discuss the LOGS statement. All four were unanimous that the statement was “indefensible“, “cause for concern” and that it should be removed from both the DVD and Doug Phillips’ blog.

At this time, Scott told his fellow Elders that he had already contacted Doug Phillips and that his requests to Doug to have the statement removed were unsuccessful. Further, he told them that he was not comfortable with approaching Doug again.

To remedy this, all of the Elders, including Scott, agreed to draft a statement that would come from all four of them in support of Scott’s requests. Scott agreed to write the actual statement himself, while Jason committed to writing a letter to Mike, Todd and Don A. to apprise them of the elders’ appeal to Doug.

At the same time, Scott suggested that they also send the list of the additional 6 issues raised by Mike, Todd and Don A. to Phillips. The other three Elders voiced that this was unnecessary since those were internal Trinity Baptist Church issues.

Within hours of this meeting, Scott contacted his fellow Elders to inform them that he had changed his mind on sending a letter to Mike, Todd and Don A., and defended his decision by saying that it was “not any of their business if the Elders of Trinity ask Vision Forum to remove something [from a blog/DVD]”.

Thurs., April 13, 2006

The next morning, Scott additionally changed his position on the appeal to Doug. He unilaterally declared,

“there is no sin here . . . the [LOGS} statement should be taken in context and our explanation should end the matter. . . “

Scott announced that he believed “the matter [was] closed”, as he had already made a request to Doug in the past and had been rejected.

Adding to the confusion, however, he told the Elders that he would not oppose their decision to continue to draft an appeal.

[When considering Scott’s possible reasons for changing his mind, it is important to know that during  2005, he worked 30 hours per week for VF and received $53,089 in compensation ($57,333 total in “Director’s Fees”) from VF – more than even Doug Phillips as President/Treasurer.
In 2006, Scott  worked 30 hours a week for Vision Forum, and received $37,095 in compensation from Vision Forum ($41,596 total in “Director’s Fees”).
Both of these years, Scott worked five hours more a week for VF than the President of VF, Doug Phillips.
The Congregation of Trinity, including the Deacons, was completely unaware of any of this at the time, in spite of the fact that Scott was the only elder receiving a salary from Trinity, $28,000, annualized.]

Fri., April 14, 2006

Two days after their first meeting, the Elders met again to continue to address the LOGS statement. However, at this point, Scott refused to participate further in discussing the subject.

The other three Elders decided that it was necessary to continue drafting both letters. In spite of his original agreement with the other Elders’ commitment to keep Mike, Todd and Don A. informed of their decision, Scott now adamantly opposed any letter to them and additionally now refused to commit to signing the request to Doug Phillips.

Surprisingly, however, he continued to say that he would not oppose the other three elders continuing that request process.

Mon., April 17, 2006, morning Elders Meeting.

The following Monday, Scott reversed his position yet again. In open opposition to the other three Elders, Scott decided that he was now completely opposed any appeal whatsoever to Doug Phillips to remove the LOGS statement.

In spite of this division, the other 3 Elders continued to advocate for such a request and Jason committed to continue drafting the appeal to Doug.

Trying to move on, the four Elders then began to address the concern of Legalism within TBC.

Mon., April 17, 2006, afternoon

Later that afternoon, Mike, Todd and Don A., grew concerned after they received a late morning phone call from Scott. In that discussion, Scott had relayed that the Elders had been “meeting a lot” to discuss the seven issues, but he had also warned them that the concerns were “so complex” that “it [would] take a very long time” to come to any consensus.

This came on the heels of an earlier email from Scott in which he told the men that he would be “willing to discuss the issue [of Sanctification and the Law] in detail” only after all the elders and the three men had taken the time read and write short chapter summaries for each chapter of

This would have encompassed over 4,400 pages of commentary before Scott would even begin to discuss the question of “What is TBC’s position on the Law?” And during that interim, Scott was not willing to stop allowing Dan Horn or Stile W., to preach, effectively approving the doctrine of Theonomy while at the same time maintaining that he didn’t understand it.

In response to all of this, the men sent an email to the Elders to communicate their discouragement and even alarm that the discussions would take so very long. They also stated their desire to open up the discussions to the “Congregation of the Church.” They believed that it was wise to seek counsel on these issues from the entire congregation as TBC’s Constitution (Article IV) was clear that “the Congregation of the Church is the final authority within [the] local church.”

Mike, Todd and Don A. further wrote that they were concerned that the “investigation” of Scott’s LOGS statement was not being handled correctly according to the church’s Constitution. Wanting to keep the Elders apprised of all that they were considering, they told the Elders that they were exploring other options within the Constitution and Bylaws for bringing the issues before the church. However, the three men still had not talked about their concerns with other members of the congregation.

Mon., April 17, 2006 evening Elders Meeting.

In an unusual move, Scott called for another Elders meeting that very afternoon. The elders began by discussing the email from Mike, Todd and Don A.. Although lacking any evidence for such a claim, Scott insisted to the other Elders that it was Mike’s, Todd’s and Don A.’s intention to bring charges against him and to put him “on trial” before the church.

The Elders reviewed the Constitution noting that to hold a trial or investigation required an unanimous vote from the Elders. Immediately, Scott demanded that the Elders  “put an immediate end to this possibility” by taking the vote among themselves right then.

In reality an investigation had already taken place during the April 12, 13 and 14 meetings. In those meetings, the elders had already come to the unanimous conclusion that the LOGS statement was Biblically indefensible and had already made the decision to request that Doug Phillips remove the statement from his blog.

Nonetheless, Scott continued in his assertion that the men’s intention was to put him on trial and noted that Article V, Section 2 of the Constitution provided for “any ten members in good standing” the ability to call for a “special meeting” without the elders’ consent.

In a move to forestall that possibility, he called into question the three men’s membership status by suggesting that since they had not completed the formal interview process and signed the “Membership Covenant” they were not true members. They would then be ineligible to call such a meeting.

However, one of the elders pointed out that as Elders they had not been consistent in following the formal process with many families that had been faithful attendees and participants – including the Elders themselves and many of the deacons. By the standard of “formal membership”, the Elders and many of the deacons were not members of TBC.

Ignoring this, Scott continued and warned that allowing the complaints to become public would attract the attention of the “national media.” He demanded that the other Elders help him develop talking points, and study a Celestica media manual to learn how to communicate with the media in preparation of such an event.

At this point, Don B. strongly cautioned that they really didn’t know what Mike, Todd and Don A. were intending and suggested that instead of reacting in this manner, they should ask the three men for clarification.

Bypassing that suggestion, Jason declared that he would vote against a trial, and that he further intended to block a trial from ever happening. Jerry agreed with Jason and also stated it was his intention to also prevent a “trial”.

Alarmed, Don B. asked to meet with Jason and Jerry alone. Scott was agreeable and left the room. During the following discussion, Don communicated his grave concerns that after multiple meetings on the LOGS statement, Scott continually resisted the Biblical and Constitutional authority of the other 3 elders and repeatedly reversed his decisions.

Don had other concerns as well, in particular about Patriarchy. He let them know that it was evident that he differed significantly in his understanding of the Bible on these issues and must resign as the other Elders had shown that they were concretely set in their interpretations of such.

When Scott returned to the meeting, he immediately wanted to know if they had already drawn up their media talking points.

After telling Scott that their discussion had not been about “talking points”, the elders discussed Don’s concerns about the Elders’ unbalanced views of Patriarchy. Don advocated a statement to the church to the effect that TBC considered women working outside the home and going to college to be matters of conscience. However, Don learned definitively that he was the only one of the elders who either believed this or thought it necessary to communicate such a thing to the congregation.

Jason concluded that discussion by stating, “the normative pattern is for a woman to be a keeper at home. So, if she does not, it should divide [the Church].”

At this point, Don felt compelled to resign over the significant theological differences as well as what he considered to be an “abuse of Biblical authority” by the remaining Elders. He was specifically distressed at how they were treating Mike, Todd and Don A. and their concern over the LOGS statement.

Scott remained pleasant and accommodating to Don’s resignation – even offering to help Don plant a new church.

Tues., April 18, 2006

After an email inquiry from Scott on the previous afternoon about the intentions of the men, Don A. responded by email to all the elders to reassure them that Mike, Todd and he had “no intentions” that were “cause for alarm.” He wrote that the issues were doctrinal and that they only desired to be “good Bereans”. He wrote further that the purpose of the previous day’s email was because he, Mike, and Todd wanted to be completely open about what they were considering and not circumvent the elders’ authority.

Thurs., April 20, 2006

Two days later, in yet another discussion with Don A., about the Biblical indefensibility of the LOGS statement, Scott asked, “Can’t you just look the other way?”

Alarmed, Don, Mike and Todd asked for a meeting with the other Elders, this time without Scott.

Fri., April 21, 2006

Jason and Jerry met the next day with Mike, Todd and Don A.. The three men wished to address the LOGS statement and Scott’s increasingly disturbing behavior. The men learned just prior to this meeting that Don B., had resigned, but there had not yet been an official statement from Don to TBC.

Assuming that this would be a time for dialog on whether or not the statement could be Biblically defended, Mike, Todd and Don A., come to the meeting prepared with a Scriptural defense of why the LOGS statement was not only deficient, but why it came dangerously close to heresy.

However, unknown to the three men, by this time Jerry and Jason had reversed their earlier unanimous conclusion concerning the need to retract the LOGS statement for being Biblically unsound.

The meeting began with Mike, Todd and Don A. asking if at any point they had not followed Biblical process. Jerry and Jason affirmed that the three men had conducted themselves Biblically at all times.

In spite of the affirmation just given, though, the two elders immediately rebuked the three men with charges of “reckless, and unsubstantiated” claims and declared that as elders they “[would] not move forward on the League of Grateful Sons statement”.

They also demanded to know, “Who knows about this? Who have you shared this information with?”

Astonished, Don told them that the statement was public knowledge as it was in the DVD and on Doug Phillip’s website.

The three men asked about about the elders’ previous meetings on the statement.Answering, one elder claimed that they “never came to an agreement on this statement.”

Astonished further, Don pointed out that Scott himself had previously acknowledged many times that the statement was Biblically false .

Ignoring this, Jason informed Don, that he was

“reading into it. . . This [statement] does not warrant [retraction]. You made an appeal and Doug said ‘no.’ He won’t delete it.

It is not a perfect statement and is not the center of a sermon.”

[Mike, Todd and Don A. had not ever made a direct appeal to Doug Phillips. They had only brought their concern to the elders.
Additionally, Jason later testified in the 4/30 church meeting that the elders, in fact, had not contact Doug Phillips either, as was claimed here, but instead spoke only with Don Hart of VF.]

Don then pled with the the elders to not give “a pass on [the statement] because it is not the center of a sermon.”
Jason simply replied, “Sure.”

Stunned, Mike appealed to the elders that they were “doing a disservice to the body of Christ by not bringing this before the whole body.”
Jason retorted, “Wow.”

Don followed up, “Don’t wow him. He is demonstrating from Scripture that doctrinal issues should be brought before the church.”
Jason replied, “I thought this was to discipline Scott Brown.”

This caused the the discussion to break up as the astonished men asked the elders where they had gotten this idea. The elders refused to answer.

Todd then brought up the troubling incident from the March 26th meeting when Scott defended himself by asserting that he “did not know” the LOGS statement was on Doug’s Blog, a claim which had been immediately exposed to be untrue.

Jason shrugged this off with, “Guys, mountain out of molehills. Or rocky mountain out of a molehill is a better way to put it.”

The meeting continued with the elders providing no Scriptural support for the LOGS statement, but instead maintaining that “this issue is closed and we cannot go to the members with it. Our duty ends here.”

Dumbfounded, Don asked, “Is there accountability for elders?”
Jason answered, “Yes. I have to honor my father.”*

[As odd as this answer is, it is the exact question and answer from the meeting’s transcript and was read without any rebuttal by Jason at the 4/30 Congregational Meeting.]*

Don continued to plead, “We need to fix this because of God’s glory.”
To which Jason responded, “[I’ve] got to go.”

Mike then repeated their earlier question regarding whether or not the three men had done or said anything offensive for which they need to repent.
Both elders answered, “no.” *

As the meeting concluded, Mike, Todd and Don A. announced their decision to separate from Trinity in protest over how these issue were being handled with Mike saying, “I feel that you are squashing and lording [your authority] over us.”

And Todd, “the theological issues are too deep.”

Jason responded, “We are not infallible, we don’t want to squash or lord [our authority] over anyone.”
To which Mike replied, “I disagree, I feel that you are squashing and lording it over us because this is all behind closed doors.”

Further astonishing the three men, Jason then apologized “for thinking that you wanted Scott Brown disciplined” but inexplicably did not offer any sort of redress for the earlier rebuke.

With that, the meeting ended.

* [Later, after learning of these matters, the deacons also acknowledge that Mike, Todd and Don A. had continually conducted themselves in a Biblical manner by not prematurely discussing any of these issues or their treatment from the elders with anyone else in the congregation.]

Crisis Week

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