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This month has been a sobering one for Recovering Grace. While we are aware that many of these stories have been difficult to read, we absolutely believe that they needed to be told. Based on the overwhelming traffic to our site this month, we believe that they have had an inestimable impact in bringing the truth to light. And based on the many comments and emails we have received, we believe without a shadow of a doubt that there are many more hurting individuals that need to discover the healing grace of Jesus.
As we conclude the April series on sexual abuse, we wanted to share with you a few practical ways you can be involved in the war against sexual abuse and harassment. This is so much bigger than just IBLP, ATI, or Bill Gothard, and involves children that each of us come into contact with every day.
REPENT: If you were convicted of wrong personal behavior through what you read in this series, you need to repent and turn away from these sinful behaviors. Sexual abuse and harassment causes lasting damage in the lives of children and adults alike. You need to admit you need help, and make things right with those you have offended.
We make this same call to Bill Gothard. We received an overwhelming response to the article on Sexual Harassment at Headquarters, and upon further investigation have discovered that this pattern of behavior has been ongoing for 40 years. It was first exposed publicly in an account published by the LA Times on April 5, 1982, an account we verified with an eyewitness to this incident just this past week. And one of our website commenters told of her experiences which took place in 2011. This, and many other first-hand accounts, has established there is a pattern of inappropriate behavior that Bill Gothard needs to confess and repent of. Furthermore, we believe that this pattern of unrepentant sin disqualifies him from ministry under the Biblical guidelines for spiritual leadership given in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. We call upon Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) Board to take the appropriate Biblical action.
REPORT: Perhaps you are aware of children who have been abused or whom you suspect are currently being abused. One of the issues within IBLP leadership that was illustrated through this series was the failure to report and proactively confront known sexual and physical abuse. Although IBLP may have thought they had no legal obligation to report such abuse, they most certainly had an ethical obligation before God to protect the innocent. However, we believe the leadership was blinded by their extreme authoritarian leanings to the point that they could not believe the children over the parents.
We plead with you, our readers: If you ever observe or become suspicious of any form of childhood abuse, it is your Christian duty to become involved. It may only take a few questions to draw out the truth, but you might need to dig deeper and report your concerns to the appropriate civil authorities. You do not have to have concrete evidence to report suspected abuse. You only have to have reasonable suspicion, and the authorities will investigate. Remember–most of the families in this month’s series appeared to be normal, healthy ATI families on the surface. Please don’t ever cease to be vigilant.
REACH OUT: Finally, perhaps you have been sexually or physically abused. Don’t suffer alone. Don’t keep it a secret. There are people out there who can help you. Recovering Grace has set up a special email address where you can seek help confidentially. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you find the help you need.
Additionally, many young ladies have contacted us stating that they also experienced sexual harassment by Bill Gothard. If this describes you, and you would like to help put a stop to this 40-year pattern of behavior, you can email us using the same secure address: email@example.com. You can report confidentially what happened, and your personal, identifiable information will not be shared without your express written consent.
As we move out of this series and into other issues related to finding grace in post-IBLP life, we would like to say that sexual abuse and harassment are just two of many byproducts of a system that corrupts the power of the gospel into a system of bondage based on outward performance. Our ongoing ministry will continue to focus on sharing stories of recovering grace, giving practical insights for healing from spiritual abuse, and untwisting the beauty of the gospel from the thorns of legalistic moralism.
~The RG Leadership Team
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