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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).
Some of us had pretty great parents who, by the mercy of God, were able to bring balance to Bill Gothard’s legalism. To this group, survival means that they graduated high school and moved on. However, many of those involved with our site survived physical and/or sexual abuse that causes nightmares and trauma even today. Some survived spiritual abuse at home or training centers that has left them with years of untangling who God is, whether faith is worth having, and whether church and religion are anything more than a cosmic joke. Others have survived emotional abuse, being told that they weren’t good enough, weren’t pretty enough, didn’t look right, or whatever. To these people, survival means a lot more. It means there is a lot of hurt, guilt, and pain that is dealt with every day.
Together, we have decided it is time to speak out. Others have done so before in books, magazine articles, and websites. Still, they couldn’t speak from the perspective we can. They wrote about Bill Gothard’s ministry from the outside. We write about it from the inside. They observed our legalism and tried to warn our families. We lived in legalism and wish we’d listened sooner.
We have identified 3 groups of people as our target audience:
The Entrapped—those who are still fully involved with IBLP and ATI. We seek to warn, plead, and persuade them to leave behind the shackles of legalism and walk in the joy that comes in seeking a vibrant relationship with the living Christ.
The Seeking—parents who are asking questions and students who are trying to determine what they believe about critical issues. Our goal is to provide sound teaching, especially in the areas emphasized by Bill Gothard. We want to help safely guide these people from bondage to freedom without the fear and anguish that tend to accompany such a journey.
The Recovering—those who have left ATI or IBLP and are still working through spiritual, emotional, and theological issues related to their involvement. We desire to help those in this group “reprogram” according to the truths found in God’s word. Many of us are still healing, and we want to go through this journey together.
So, wherever you find yourself, we hope this project and our website is a blessing to your life. It is indeed a labor of love, bathed in prayer and dedicated to the glory of God.