Mr. Gothard’s teachings on sex within marriage is not one of The Institute in Basic Life Principles’ (IBLP) central doctrines. However, this section of the Advanced Seminar is an excellent example of how Mr. Gothard both views the Law and how he abuses Scripture. Both are very important to understanding Mr. Gothard’s overall teachings. However, for this article I will be using what is found in the Advanced Seminar Textbook (pp 171) to show just how blatantly Mr. Gothard can abuse Scripture.
Above is a classic examples of Mr. Gothard mutilating Scripture. Here is the basic process:
1. Choose a subject.
2. Search for passages that are remotely related in vague ways to the subject.
3. Then quote them as if they support your claim with out explaining how.
4. Move on and hope no one notices.
So let’s look at his claim and see how this process works. We want to show that Scripture teaches that God’s “hidden” design is for men to live harmoniously with the wife’s cycle. So, first find a verse which talks about a wife’s cycle. Leviticus 15:28 – But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean (pass over the fact that this is about everyone’s interaction with all menstruating women–wives, widows, daughters, whatever). Second, find a passage related to men living with their wives in a good way (ignoring that it says nothing about living harmoniously with the wife’s cycle). Lastly, quote the two verses at the same time and PRESTO! we have instant proof of God’s “hidden” design. Oh wait…better remove the quotations from “hidden.”
While we are at it, I think I need to point out some more of God’s “hidden” design from Leviticus 15:
Key: Living in harmony with the husband’s nocturnal emissions.
Leviticus 15:16 – And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.
I Peter 3:1 – Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.
Key: Living in harmony with your family member’s bleeding ulcer
Leviticus 15:2 – Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean.
Hebrews 3:13 – But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
In as far as men should be sensitive to their wives, he is correct. If it’s uncomfortable for the wife to have sex during her period, then a loving husband should be more than willing to be sensitive to this.
However, this isn’t what he is saying. Instead of simply saying that the husband should be sensitive to the wife’s needs, he is saying he should be sensitive to her cycle itself. This implies (and will be reinforced later on) that either:
a. its always physically insensitive to have sex with a wife during her period, ie. it hurts, it’s uncomfortable, and/or it’s unhealthy,
b. or it’s somehow morally insensitive — that is, no woman *should* want to have sex to during her period, thus the husband is being insensitive by causing her to break some taboo rule.
Actually, we will find that he ties in both meanings at various points. He has already hinted that sex during the period is taboo — ie. contrary to God’s command — and will later make “health/comfort” arguments against it.
There is little doubt that the normal reproductive functions in a woman were in place before Adam and Eve sinned. God’s first command to them as a couple was to bear children. Labor in childbirth was a consequence of the fall, but was given to the woman for her spiritual benefit, not for her physical destruction.
Ummmmmmm….this was about the woman’s cycle, right? And how it’s a sign of promise between God and the woman, right? So why are both verses, as well as his explanation, missing any mention of the woman’s cycle? The passages were all about childbearing weren’t they? Sure, childbearing and menstrual cycles are related, but how many woman have you known who have had children simply because they have menstrual cycles? Sure, having a cycle is a necessary aspect of being able to have a child, but having a cycle is NOT directly related to childbearing… there has to be a man involved somewhere.
So, passages about childbearing are NOT passages about cycles, much less about how cycles are a sign of promise, etc. Another case of pulling passages from Scripture that are somewhat related to the claim and hope nobody looks closely at it.
It would be like taking the passages about children being a blessing from God and using them to claim that an erection is a sign of blessing between God and man. Shocked by the parallel? No more than you should be by Gothard’s claims about the cycle.
Oh look, a verse about Eve being beguiled.
Eve was a wife.
Eve had cycles.
Therefore this passage must be about how the woman’s cycle is for the purpose of warning of the dangers of being beguiled. Ignore the fact that Paul is talking to the church as a whole, not just women (read vs 1-5). And ignore the fact that subject is about Paul not wanting them to be deceived by false teachers. Just ignore the context and Mr. Gothard’s use of the verse makes perfect sense…