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The two former IBYC (Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts) staffers now share the results and a further warning to the Church. The letter below has been edited slightly to aid our readers. You may click here to read the original letter. A distribution list and copies of cover letters follow this letter.
June 24, 2015
Rev. William Gothard
[mailing address redacted]
With much prayer and consultation, as called for in Proverb 12:15, we are informing you in writing and as a follow up to our May 29 conference call that it is necessary to take our involvement in seeking your repentance to the next level, as called for in Matthew 18:17. Sadly, this is just one of the many times we had to follow this command of Christ in the past 35 years. Each time Matthew 18:15–16 was followed, and each time you were unrepentant. This is not done lightly, capriciously, or with malice, but it is with much prayer and deep regret that we take this action. While we can’t judge your heart, your resistance to publicly dealing with your sinful past for a very public ministry is the heart of the problem. Your actions and words over the past year have clearly told us you are not willing to publicly and carefully lay out your sins to those you have offended. The reason this is needed is to aid in the healing of those whose lives you have negatively impacted and damaged over the past forty plus years.
Bill we each choose a path and, in the end, we will answer before our Eternal Judge for that path taken. God has made it clear that when we stand before Him, He will either say “well done thou good and faithful servant” or “I knew you not.” (Matthew 7:13–29 and 25:21) In Leviticus 19:2, God says “Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.” Again in the New Testament Peter repeats the command in the era of Grace, “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16) That should be our desire: to be holy.
Often in your seminars you discussed your pride and how it cost you your first job. That same problem has followed you for the past 45 plus years. The things you have done have not been holy, you have lied, covered sin, beguiled women, been inappropriate with women, and been duplicitous in your leadership, and your false humility has been the evidence of your true prideful behavior because it conjures up the adulation you so desire. Lastly you have twisted scripture to show your followers that they need to follow your interpretations of scripture to truly reach God. Your latest confusing material, called the “Inner Brain,” is further evidence of that practice. It effectively put you between your followers and God as being the only person who can interpret this bizarre material. Christianity and salvation are simple and do not need a new approach to living where you become the only oracle who can relay its true meaning.
In the past we have used the example of King Saul and David and have compared you to King Saul. King Saul’s biggest failures were his needs for the approval of man and being fearful of enemies by not solely relying on the power of the mighty God. Saul didn’t completely believe that God would fulfill His promises and protection; as a result, he lost God’s favor. That’s why you are so much like Saul; you are too worried about protecting your reputation instead of trusting that God has something even better for you with a truly repentant heart. But first you have to fully trust Him in your repentance. James 5:16, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
We have spent much time in the past over the past 35 years trying to show you the path God demands of all of us, but it has fallen on deaf ears. This statement is backed up with what we have tried to accomplish in just the past 22 months. It has included three days of face-to-face meetings in Denver last June, totaling over 14 hours. Then 14 conference calls totaling 12 hours and another 2 hours of one-on-one calls, plus untold emails. That’s just from Bill Wood and me. This does not include the hundreds of pages of correspondence from Tony and others, including hours of calls with them over the years. Even others also have spent countless hours with you, and it all has fallen on deaf ears. Your desire is to move on with what you want to do, with your ministry that is about your life message. In those words I fail to see what is commanded of all of us followers of Jesus. Our message should be all about Christ and what He did for us: His example, His ministry, and His life’s eternal and perfect message. Your message now should include specifically confessing your sins to those you offended, repenting, and asking forgiveness.
Over the past year we, along with others, have provided you with suggested statements to replace your April 17, 2014, billgothard.com statement. Our involvement with your statement was part of an agreement reached in our Denver meeting. While we were open to minor changes, we felt led of the Lord to insist that any new statement include the specific facts of your sins that you have acknowledged to us at one time or another. We could not support anything less than complete openness and truth. (James 5:16, 1 John 1:9)
During many of our conversation you always stated that you want to seek oneness with those you have offended. However, Bill Wood has mentioned several people who have been deeply hurt by you and your staff’s actions. As of this writing there has been no attempt to contact these people; instead, you wait for people to seek you out. This is not a sign of a Godly man, but of a man that is only concerned about himself, a self-centered man. You have never understood the Parable of the Lost Sheep.
While Christ calls us to forgive 70 times 7 in Matthew 18, it is assumed that the request for forgiveness comes from the heart of repentance. That should be evident by a change in thinking that has led to a change in behavior. The outward evidence is manifested by a “brokenness” in the person asking for forgiveness; this is something we have not seen either in our time together or in conversations. The further evidence of that is in all the proposed public statements you provided us over the past year. None of your proposed statements dealt with the problem of your sin and only made excuses for your behavior by projecting your perceived positive accomplishments. In the last statement you submitted to us, on May 28, you used the word “I” over 30 times in an attempt to put yourself in a positive light. When you published that statement on June 2, against our recommendation, the response was not positive and the statement was pulled down for some reason. Then, on June 20, you again refreshed your website but failed to repent of your sin and shifted the blame to others for not understanding your intent. You also filled your web pages with those who gave you glowing reports, but again failed to recognize the thousands whom you have sinned against and are responsible for their turning away from God or causing emotional, spiritual, and mental damage. (Matthew 18:1–14)
We will continue to pray that God will open your eyes and that you will truly seek a repentance that would bring healing to those who gave you so much. Based on Matthew 18:17, we must follow Christ’s command; “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” With this command of Christ, we are severing all relationship with you until we see by the public affirmation of your confession of specific sins and true repentance. If that time comes, Bill Wood and I would be praising our Lord and would be open to assist you in your effort of true repentance. We, too, are men under authority and are accountable to them. They have been prayerfully supporting us during the past 22 months. We are required to report our findings regarding these matters to those men and others as outlined in Matthew 18:17. This includes taking it to the Church to warn our brothers and sisters in Christ of your unrepentant sin.
Servants of a Just and Holy God,
Romans 12 (all)
2 Corinthians 13 (all)
Cc: Dr. Charles Swindoll, Dr. John MacArthur, Dr. Albert Mohler, Dr. Charles Stanley, Dr. Doty Murphy, Dr. Gary and Norma Smalley, Bill and Joy Wood, Dan Edds, Ken and Nancy Nair, Dr. Jack Taylor, Ann Graham Lotz, Rev. Franklin Graham, IBLP Board of Directors, Dr. Tim Levendusky, Recovering Grace, Christianity Today, Decision Magazine, Christian Post (CP), Religious New Service (RNS), World News Group (WNG), abused staff women from 1980 and ATI era.
Attached to this email is Dr. Chuck Lynch’s material on “Biblical Pattern for Reconciliation” [click to read] that I recommended for you to read last year and again last month. I am again providing you with that same opportunity. If you have questions about how to truly repent, Dr. Lynch would be a good person for you to contact at the Living Foundations Ministry: firstname.lastname@example.org. [Editor’s note: Dr. Lynch is supportive of this effort, but not directly involved in the meetings mentioned.]