Here are some questions commonly asked about our ministry:
Bill Gothard was the founder of the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts in 1961, renamed the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) in 1989. Although the organization reached its peak between 1970 and 2000, Bill’s influence is still strong in many fundamentalist circles. Additionally, some of his teachings have found acceptance in the broader evangelical community, specifically his teachings on authority, spiritual gifts, and male/female relationships. For detailed discussion of Bill Gothard and his ministry, we highly recommend the book A Matter of Basic Principles
, available from Amazon
. For a shorter overview of the problematic nature of Bill Gothard’s theology, see the article entitled A Call for Discernment.
The Advanced Training Institute is a homeschooling branch of IBLP that was founded in 1984. Families in ATI center their curriculum around “Wisdom Booklets” and other materials written and published by Gothard and IBLP. ATI families are typically extremely conservative and often have large numbers of children.
While it is true that in some cases Bill Gothard has influenced people for good, the truth is that the damage his organization has caused far outweighs any good. That being said, our focus is not to attack a person, but to expose an ideology for the trap that it is.
There are indeed elements of truth in the principles that Gothard teaches, but he has so interwoven these biblical principles with legalistic rules and regulations that it is nearly impossible to separate the good from the bad. We believe that it is better to avoid Gothard’s teachings altogether, and to find the “baby” somewhere else.
Recovering Grace does not believe our issues with Bill Gothard are the type that Christ is speaking to in Matthew 18. Our issues are primarily doctrinal, as they pertain to what we believe are faulty interpretations of Scripture–and the effects of such–rather than personal offenses by Bill Gothard against us. As any person who has spent time browsing our site will notice, we firmly believe that Gothard teaches a definition of grace and a view of sanctification that misses the heart of the gospel and of the New Testament. This leads to many negative consequences of which we seek to warn others. For our complete stance on Matthew 18, please read this article.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have been utilizing the Advanced Training Institute homeschooling curriculum with their family for over 15 years. Many of the ideas and beliefs shared on their program originated with the teachings of Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles.