"If we knew that all of our secret thoughts, words, and actions would be displayed publicly so that everyone could watch them and evaluate them, it would make a profound difference in the way we live! We have an instinctive concern about what others think of us and how they will judge the things we do. If we have this much concern over what other men and women think of us and our actions, how much more should we be concerned about God’s evaluation of our thoughts, words, actions, attitudes, and motives?"
It is with a broken heart that we focus once again on Bill Gothard, whose ministry has had a far-reaching impact in Christendom for nearly a half-century. For those who may not be familiar with Gothard, he came up with a teaching called the Basic Seminar, which has been attended by over 2.5 million according to his website. Bill Gothard's bio further states:
In order to focus completely on the Lord and the life work God has given him, Bill has never married. Each day is an exciting race to see how much can be accomplished to advance God’s kingdom.
Over the years, many have taken Bill Gothard at his word — that he chose to remain single in order to advance God's kingdom through his teaching. It has only been in recent years that a darker side of his ministry has emerged.
When we published our top posts for 2013, we included in the Honorable Mention category — Recovering Grace' Reaches Out to Those Harmed by Bill Gothard's Teachings. Last year we promised our readers we would take a closer look at Gothard, and we did so in the following posts:
Those who have been hurt by Bill Gothard and his ministry have begun to share their testimonies on the internet, primarily at a website called Recovering Grace.
According to their belief statement:
Recovering Grace is a Christian organization dedicated to helping those affected by the teachings of Bill Gothard, the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), and the Advanced Training Institute (ATI). As the foundational statement of our faith, we adhere to both the Apostles and Nicene creeds.
And here is their mission:
Recovering Grace is an online organization devoted to helping people whose lives have been impacted by the teachings of Bill Gothard, the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), and the Advanced Training Institute (ATI). Recovering Grace provides a unique perspective in that it was founded and is operated entirely by adults who were raised as children in Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute. We all have attended Bill Gothard’s seminars, and most of us served within the IBLP organization in some form or fashion. Among the members of our team are pastors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, businessmen, and stay-at-home moms. We have all taken different journeys, but we all have one thing in common: We survived ATI. (For more about who and what Bill Gothard, IBLP, and ATI is, visit our FAQ section).
To read the remainder, go here.
Last Friday Patheos re-published a post by Libby Anne under the title Bill Gothard, Sexual Predator. (Link fixed by GBTC, Oct 04, 2017) She writes:
Bill Gothard never married. In the years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve heard more than a few people comment on this. How odd that someone who makes his living off of preaching about godly family life never married! It’s not like there would have been a shortage of picture-perfect Christian women who would have been honored to marry him, after all.
Well, the reason Gothard never married is starting to come to light—and it’s very, very ugly.
Please take the time to read Libby Anne's entire post, which includes links to testimonies from the Recovering Grace website. (Warning: these posts are at times graphic).
As these testimonies and others have poured in, the Recovering Grace Team posted the following on February 3, 2014:
Dear Recovering Grace Reader,
Today we would like to prayerfully share with you some important information about what is going to be happening on our website over the next few months.
When we launched our website in July of 2011, we did so with the express mission of helping people whose lives have been impacted by the teachings of Bill Gothard through the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) seminars and the Advanced Training Institute (ATI) homeschool program. We have attempted to fulfill that mission through regularly posted articles primarily written by former students of ATI—articles that have covered a wide variety of issues such as theological discussions of IBLP teachings, personal stories of discovering grace, and bringing to light some of the darker aspects of working at an IBLP Training Center. What we truthfully did not realize at the time of our launch was the strong undercurrent of depravity displayed for decades at the highest levels of IBLP leadership. Our thought at the time was that the most viscerally damaging effects of Gothardism were spiritual, and that Bill Gothard’s worst flaws were theological and hermeneutical. As such, most of our attention for the first year of our website was focused on these areas.
In early 2012, this all changed for us when a young lady shared with us her experiences working for Bill Gothard at Headquarters. While it has long been widely known by anyone who worked there that Bill had his favorites, this young lady opened our eyes to what being a “favorite” meant: unwanted and unwarranted emotional and physical attention from a man in a position of authority to young women who could not refuse it. In other words, it was textbook sexual harassment.
So, on April 20, 2012, we published Lizzie’s story. And as soon as we did, we discovered that we had opened Pandora’s box. The emails and comments poured in like a flood, and we knew that we had stumbled across something bigger than we could have ever anticipated.
The post concludes as follows:
Guiding our release of this information will be one singular resolution that we hope will put an end to this malevolence once and for all:
"Whereas Bill Gothard has exhibited a 40-year pattern of moral failure,
abuse of spiritual authority, and mishandling of Scripture, and is therefore
disqualified from Christian ministry according to Titus 1 and I Timothy 3,
we believe that the only biblical course of action is for Bill Gothard to step down
from all ministry and leadership positions, publicly repent of the above sins,
and exhibit fruit in keeping with repentance (Matt. 3:8)."
After two and a half years of publications, we hope and trust that our readership has grown to understand that this statement and this series of posts is not one born of vindictiveness, spitefulness, or gratuitousness. Our hope is that this undertaking will provide healing for the many victims and repentance to Bill’s heart. Each member of our team has donated countless hours to this project at great emotional, mental, and physical cost, and each of us has, in many ways, left our current lives to revisit a time in our lives that we could just as easily forget. But for the sake of our younger brothers and sisters in Christ who are still in danger, we refuse to look the other way and allow the abuse to continue.
Amidst all of this, it is our ultimate calling before God that drives us now as it has since our first day in July 2011: a calling to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). It is our deepest prayer that God would use the efforts of Recovering Grace to demonstrate publicly what justice, mercy, and humility look like when exemplified in the church of Jesus Christ. We would ask for your prayers and support as we embark upon this endeavor.
In case you haven't seen Bill Gothard or heard him discuss his ministry, here is a short clip from a visit to Mexico. Yes, Gothard has worked hard to export his teaching around the world…
Thanks to the internet, the Gothard survivors are sharing some crucial information with one another and with the blogging world. At long last, the truth about Bill Gothard must be revealed. Please join us in praying to that end. For those who have escaped the 'system', you might enjoy this clip.
Lydia's Corner: Jeremiah 12:1-14:10 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:8 Psalm 79:1-13 Proverbs 24:30-34