Issues of Concern—Bill Gothard and the Bible (1984)

2 September 2013, 05:00



A Report by Ronald B. Allen, Th.D.
Professor of Hebrew Scripture
Western Baptist Seminary, Portland, Oregon

May 30, 1984

iblp booksThe week that I spent at Basic Youth Conflicts in 1973 (Portland) was one of the most difficult of my life. In this seminar I was regularly assaulted by a misuse of the Bible, particularly of the Old Testament, on a level that I have never experienced in a public ministry before that time (or since). All speakers, including myself, fail to interpret and apply the Bible rightly from time to time. But in the Gothard lectures, Old Testament passages were used time after time to argue points that they did not prove. I was as troubled by the errors made from the lectern as by the seeming acceptance of these errors as true and factual by the many thousands of people in attendance.

At the time, I made my complaints known to Dr. [Earl] Radmacher who proposed a meeting with Mr. Gothard in Portland. Gothard subsequently told Radmacher that the two of them might meet together, but that he had no interest in meeting with me to discuss these issues. I am setting these issues down on paper at this time at the request of Dr. Radmacher for a meeting that he will be having with Mr. Gothard on May 31, 1984.

I do not raise these issues with any desire to deny that God has been pleased to bring blessing to many thousands of people through the ministry of Bill Gothard. But I do raise these issues to demonstrate—willful or not—Gothard’s use of Scripture is so suspect as to render him a poorly informed and untrustworthy teacher. To cite letters of approval based on success stories is beside the point, unless one wishes to argue that the end justifies the means.

Here are a few of the issues that concerned me then and which have been added to over the years:

1) A mechanistic approach to human personality.

There are ten steps for this and five steps for that, yet eight steps for another. Such an approach to human personality accords neither with the variations in people or with the dynamics of Scripture. The listing of these “steps” is pure human invention, but Gothard presents each of the lists as though they were the direct teaching of the Bible. This is my principle objection to his ministry.

For example, the wisdom literature of the Bible uses many terms to describe the fool. One word peti (Prov. 1:4; 14:15; 22:3) describes the naive, the one who is inexperienced and is at a crossroads, drifting along to temptation, but still within hearing of wisdom. Another word is les (Prov. 1:22; Psalm 1:1), to describe the scorner who is unteachable, idle, foolish and irrational. These two words depict two extremes in folly, but the Bible does not spell out the steps that leads from the stage of peti to the stage of les. The Bible uses various terms at various times to describe differing people, or even the same person in differing aspects. That is, the presentation of folly in the Bible is dynamic and relational, not mechanistic and impersonal.

Gothard’s approach is not that of the careful exegete who wishes to determine the meaning of the text, but of the engineer who wishes to use the material in his own programmatic approach which is mechanical and not personal, mechanistic and not dynamic. Gothard does not really teach the Scripture; he really uses the Scripture to fit into his own categories.

It is particularly in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, a section that Gothard uses often, that Gothard is at his weakest from an exegetical and theological point of view. He uses the Proverbs not as general maxims, but as specific, predictive, authoritative predications. He has not really entered into the world of biblical wisdom, a world which does not present the simple answers to the complex questions of life that he imagines.

Qoholet,* for example, presents quite a different picture than Gothard’s simple lists. Qoholet presents a world of ambiguity, of uncertainty, of questionable value—but a world in which the man or woman of God may demonstrate resolute faith in God even when one cannot pin down the nature and value of reality.

The Book of Job presents a point of view that is dramatically different from Gothard’s lists. In fact, Gothard is a splendid modern example of Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar—each of whom approached the problems of Job from a mechanistic, cause-and-effect, point of view. Here was their principle error: while there is a cause-and-effect approach to reality that is found at times in the wisdom literature of Scripture, that is not the only approach to life that the Bible teaches.

The clear teaching of the Book of Job is that a mechanistic, cause-and-effect approach to life may be way off base! Is it any wonder that Gothard tries to evade the clear teaching of the Bible that Job was a righteous man (the only reading on which the book works!), and finds many sins and character flaws in him (overwork in Christian causes, neglect of his family, embittered sons, estranged from family, wrong attitudes toward the workers). In this way the book is turned inside out and by this strange alchemy Job supports Gothard’s lists.

Given Gothard’s low view of the body and his repressed views of human sexuality, it is not surprising that he neglects entirely the Song of Solomon with its beautiful eroticism and its delight in human sexuality. For Gothard, the things done between a man and a woman are the secret things of Ephesians 5:12, a disgrace even to speak of such. Only on the basis of his own negative, programmatic approach to human sexuality would Ephesians 5:12 refer to the marriage bed. Serious exegesis matters little in such an approach.

Similarly, only one having a point to prove, and not a passage to understand, would say that the Chain-of-Command applies in all cases to commands from parents whether they are regenerate or not. Gothard says: “Notice that the spiritual condition of the parents is not listed as a factor in obeying these clear commands.” Then, without giving the source, he quotes Prov. 6:20-21:

My son, keep they father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother; bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.

To assert that the spiritual condition of the parental teachers of wisdom is irrelevant in this text is an absurdity, a mark of sheer incompetence of biblical interpretation. The writer of Proverbs 1-9 is presenting teaching that is in the mold of the Torah of Moses. These words of Proverbs 6 (see verses 22-23) are reflective of Deuteronomy 6 and are responsive to Psalm 119. To say that they may be applied indiscriminately of unregenerate parents in a chain-of-command mentality is not to interpret the Bible, but to use the Bible for one’s own ends.

2) A dogmatic presentation of personal opinions as though they were the word of God, when in fact they are countered by the Bible itself.

Paramount among these is the terrible picture of the chain of command in the family with the husband as the hammer, the wife as the chisel and the children as the gems in the rough. (In my Red Notebook, this is page 3 of the “Chain-of-Command” Notes). The ghastly picture is that he beats on her and she chips on them. If ever there were a reason for a women’s movement in the evangelical church—this is it. This illustration is simply not reflective of biblical theology; it is a parody of patriarchalism.

Lost is all concept of mutual submission and inter-relatedness of wife and husband which the Bible truly presents; instead there is the basest form of male chauvinism I have ever heard in a Christian context.

Women are stripped of dignity other than that which they have in their husband; children are to be broken; the husband is to be permitted tyranny over the grin-and-bear-it little woman. Gothard has lost the biblical balance of the relationship between women and men as equals in relationship. His view is basically anti-woman.

3) Presentation of discredited opinions of Scripture as correct evangelical insights and “new discoveries” for the church today.

I will never forget the presentation made in the seminar I attended where the Torah’s injunction not to boil the kid in its mother’s milk (the mistaken basis for the Jewish tradition of meat-dietary laws) was applied to the Christian church!

“Why do Christians get sick?” he asked. “Because they do not eat as God has commanded!” He then proceeded not only to lay the burden of the Levitical dietary law on the people, but the non-biblical injunction of meat-dairy distinctions as well! I cannot understand why people did not rise en masse and object to this error then and there. But all wrote these notes in their red notebooks as another insight from his peculiar mount. Even Jewish authorities now admit that Maimonides was correct, that the passages on boiling a kid in its mother’s milk had nothing to do with diet but with an abominable sacrificial practice of the Canaanites from which Israel was to abstain. But in the teaching of Gothard an ancient bad turn of Judaism was made the new path for Christian people.

4) A surprising use of Scripture texts to produce guilt on the part of godly people.

Women with rebellious sons are made to believe that these heartaches are the direct result of their own lack of submission to their husbands. Guilt is piled on guilt.

Surpassing even my credibility level is the audacious new teaching reported to me that Gothard now warns parents of adopted children that they may be under the injunction of God’s displeasure because the children they have adopted may be visited by God for the iniquity of their fathers. The only result of such a teaching is guilt—something Gothard seems to desire to produce in his people.

That the Bible never ties adoption and the “sins of the fathers” is not a consideration. Imagine the consequences in the life of both the adoptive parents and the adopted children of such a pernicious teaching. This is an example of a mechanical use of the Bible that shows no sensitivity to context, culture, theology or the character of God. What could be the motivation for such a teaching? I really do not know.

5) A hypocrisy of life standard.

Gothard makes an issue of a low personal profile. He shuns magazine and news reporters, refuses to allow interviews or photos. But somehow he does make it well known that he lives on a sub-standard wage (about $600 per month, as I remember), without mentioning that every creature comfort is provided by company funds. A person who does not think through these issues would imagine Gothard to be living at a poverty level—as a modern monastic.

I have no brief for low wages, nor any compelling complaint against a very high wage when it is earned by true industry and when it is used with compassion for the needy and not only for a fine life-style. My complaint here is against what is said and what is real—the disparity of statement and life-style.

6) The personal problems in the life of Bill Gothard and his organization were not a matter of public record when I attended the seminar in 1973.

It appears to me that these sad problems—and the failure to rectify them—are the results of using the Bible but not really learning from it. When the Bible becomes something that one can manipulate, then personal difficulties can be rationalized away with impunity.

I close with this quotation from Wilfred Bockelman, Gothard: The Man and His Ministry: An Evaluation:

One final example should be sufficient to warn the reader against distorting the scriptures to support a preconception. In one of his lectures I heard Gothard say: “There are those who say, ‘What’s wrong with drinking a little wine? Doesn’t the Bible say that Jesus himself made wine?’ It is inconceivable that Jesus made wine. Wine comes about through a process of decomposition. Decomposition is a part of death, and Jesus was the exact opposite of death. He is life himself. It is inconceivable that Jesus could be party to something that involved death. It is inconceivable that Jesus made wine.” It should be obvious to the reader that when scripture is treated like this, it can be made to say anything. [Santa Barbara: Quill Publications, 1976, (p. 56)]


*Qoholet refers to the narrator of the book of Ecclesiastes. It is a Hebrew word meaning “Preacher,” and is sometimes used as the title of the book.

Ronald B AllenDr. Ron Allen is currently the Senior Professor of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at Dallas Seminary, Dr. Allen ministers as a guest professor or lecturer in schools in North America and in numerous countries abroad. He preaches in churches across the country, speaks at Bible conferences, regularly leads study tours in Israel, Turkey, and Greece, and has been a biblical and theological consultant for Maranatha! Music. He has written a dozen books, was one of the senior editors for The New King James Version, Old Testament, and was the Old Testament editor for both The Nelson Study Bible (aka The NKJV Study Bible) and The Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary. His ongoing research interests are in the worship of God and in studies of the grace of God in Hebrew Scripture.
All articles on this site reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of other Recovering Grace contributors or the leadership of the site. Students who have survived Gothardism tend to end up at a wide variety of places on the spiritual and theological spectrum, thus the diversity of opinions expressed on this website reflects that. For our official statement of beliefs, click here.


  1. Chris Symonds September 2, 2013 Reply

    I particularly wanted to comment on Don Allen's point

    ") A dogmatic presentation of personal opinions as though they were the word of God, when in fact they are countered by the Bible itself.

    Paramount among these is the terrible picture of the chain of command in the family with the husband as the hammer, the wife as the chisel and the children as the gems in the rough. (In my Red Notebook, this is page 3 of the “Chain-of-Command” Notes). The ghastly picture is that he beats on her and she chips on them. If ever there were a reason for a women’s movement in the evangelical church—this is it. This illustration is simply not reflective of biblical theology; it is a parody of patriarchalism.

    Lost is all concept of mutual submission and inter-relatedness of wife and husband which the Bible truly presents; instead there is the basest form of male chauvinism I have ever heard in a Christian context.

    Women are stripped of dignity other than that which they have in their husband; children are to be broken; the husband is to be permitted tyranny over the grin-and-bear-it little woman. Gothard has lost the biblical balance of the relationship between women and men as equals in relationship. His view is basically anti-woman"

    I went through this same issue with a man regarding his wife and children. I would like to add that it is worse than anti-woman it is misogynistic! There is an author who takes the view that through the fall woman cannot be trusted to make spiritual decisions and places them somewhere above animals but below males. I don't see much difference between Gothard's chain of command and this view.

    I posted on the rest of this elsewhere so I wont repeat myself. I will say this, I think it is a theology of convenience that men can use to justify their own actions.

  2. MatthewS September 2, 2013 Reply

    This piece is right on. Dr. Allen saw all this in the early 1980s or so, before all the problems had worked themselves out over the next generation. I find that impressive. To me, that is real wisdom in action - seeing beneath the surface and knowing what you are seeing.

    • GuyS September 9, 2013 Reply

      An expression I like is, "Bad theology is a cruel taskmaster?" My experience is that you can count on bad fruit with bad theology, you just don't know how bad.

  3. MatthewS September 2, 2013 Reply

    Regarding number 5, "A hypocrisy of life standard", that shows up in the ebook about "being reviled" that Gothard just published, where Gothard "rejoices" in his 1973 automobile and the "fact that he owns no real estate." To call it hypocritical to is to give it the benefit of the doubt when he controls millions of dollars in assets and lives in the lap of luxury, complete with personal assistants to attend to his needs. The day to day lifestyle versus the image cultivated: there is a world of difference.

  4. Gayle September 2, 2013 Reply

    I think my mother attended the same basic in Portland wish she had had this teaching right after that event it might have saved her much pain.

  5. esbee September 2, 2013 Reply

    Gothard's opinion about Jesus not making wine because it involves death ... "It is inconceivable that Jesus could be party to something that involved death."

    .... then what was that little event involving Jesus, nails and a cross ?????????????????????

    • MatthewS September 2, 2013 Reply

      or "except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and dies..."

      I'm sure you won't find this gem about alchohol in writing, but Gothard is chock full of "wisdom" that he runs around sharing with people, especially to the kids when the parents aren't around. People who follow him literally accept his words as though he speaks for God, directly from God, to his followers. His logic is often faulty and his interpretation of the Bible is often questionable. It is truly scary when you think about the situation that he has created and that his followers have helped him create.

      • Lara September 3, 2013 Reply

        Actually I believe it was in writing - I remember reading in one of the Wisdom Booklets about the water-into-wine miracle: "That Jesus did this is impossible; fermentation is a process of death, and he is life." Struck me as ludicrous even at the time.

        • LBrown September 3, 2013

          This idea is also quoted in the "Virtue" journal. That's where I remember reading it.

        • Greg September 4, 2013

          Fed 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes---no doubt the fish were dead,,,, also the disciples were out fishing early one morning and Jesus was cooking up breakfast for 'em when they rowed in.....Oh yeah---Christ not only raised Lazarus from the dead, but took His time getting to him so lazarus would be nice and ripe just so Christ would prove who He really is....come on bg,,learn your scripture

    • Lauren S. September 4, 2013 Reply

      I came across this little gem of Jesus not creating wine because it is a process of death when I went through EXCEL. My first thought was, "Uh, what do you call what happened to that fig tree he cursed?"

    • susanna September 5, 2013 Reply

      As part of a family with a beautiful garden that has provided us with "living" nutrients, I can attest to the fact that this abundance is the direct result of the decomposition of plant matter, i.e. "death". Not to mention the "death" of the seed as it germinates under the earth before it can sprout. There is no life without death. This is not the death of eternal separation from God, of course, which was the result of sin, but the transformative power of "laying down" of life for the sake of increase. Also, when wine is made--when anything is fermented or decomposed--it is done through the action of living microbes. These microbes multiply and change the composition of the original substance, but in a sense there is indeed a whole lot of life going on. This is what so many pay for in probiotics. Also, in Jesus' day, wine (and other foods such as milk) were fermented in order to preserve them. This was a common practice in all ancient cultures living in warm climates.

      On a different subject ... WHY did we (those attending seminars and staying at the training centers) just "take notes" when we heard this stuff ? Why did so few of us question Gothard's teaching?

      • grateful September 5, 2013 Reply

        I have thought about that often as well since (why not look deeper.) In fact, I am ashamed to admit, but I would sometimes just ignore something that "didn't see right" in my spirit because the rest was so "rich in truth" & plus, he's so Godly, right? Now, thanks to RG, I have actually taken the time to look up the thousands of references attached to some of the more off the wall teaching and have found very little support from the text - like tearing ligaments trying to stretch. I am just 'grateful' that what I did get from the Basic has been relatively positive in my walk and I was either wise enough or lazy enough to just blow off the rest - probably lazy :) However, what I have discovered (mainly from reading this website) is that the true damage was done to those brought up with these "principles" -

        • grateful September 8, 2013

          So was this information overload tactic intentional and a plot to subvert thoughful reasoning (in your opinion) or is this a case of "deceiving and being deceiced"?

        • MatthewS September 8, 2013

          grateful, not sure if you are asking someone in particular?

        • grateful September 8, 2013

          yes, was curious about your (Matthew) take (just put the comment in the wrong spot) Is this a tactic purposely used to throw people off? intentionally malicious? rather thought provoking when you try to dig down to motives ...

        • MatthewS September 8, 2013

          and that's the problem, how can you know someone's motives? Even our own motives are opaque to ourselves sometimes.

          So what do you think? And the $64,000 follow-up question is: What can you base that on?

      • Anonymous September 7, 2013 Reply

        There was SO MUCH "information" overload in the overhead screens and fill-in-the-blanks in the workbooks that folks were constantly writing and not really processing at that point. So most of the information & anecdotes slipped into the minds without struggle and sunk in deep, below the conscious thought process.

        It was how Dr. Allen said in the above article: "In this seminar I was regularly assaulted by a misuse of the Bible, particularly of the Old Testament, on a level that I have never experienced in a public ministry before that time (or since)."

        Most folks would not have the preparation or tools to be able to work through or even see the abuse of scripture on such a large scale.

        • MatthewS September 7, 2013

          Agreed. It's an effective tactic, "information overload."

          Check out this paper (it's a google result, I don't know anything about the source of it) about tactics used by Scientology:

          When a person is on a Scientology course full time, the hours are very long -- usually from around 8:30 AM until 10:30 PM, where the person is exposed to endless Scientology tapes, writings of Hubbard and other Scientology indoctrination techniques with very little time for breaks. If a person is working a nine to five job, they spend their evenings and weekends on course part time. This is just as bad, because the person still has no time to rest. This overloads the person's mind with information since the mind can only handle a certain amount of information at one time. The overload will cause the person to blank out and go into a non-critical trance state where they will just uncritically soak up the information like a sponge.

          (some other items in there are hair-raisingly familiar as well, including sleep deprivation and information control, not letting people read information that disagrees with the group. Gothard's version is to call his "critics" "revilers" and tell his followers not to be wounded by the venom of the revilers. )

  6. LM September 2, 2013 Reply

    Um. Digestion is decomposition. Did Jesus not eat?

    This is a great evaluation. I no longer believe the Bible, but if you are going to say that you base your life on it, you must be consistent. Even as a young teen at the basic seminar, some of these things rubbed me the wrong way, when I didn't fully understand all of it (things like his "rules" for when married couples could have sex). I was in ATI for about 5 years. I am glad that my family gave it up (I hated it, though I tried to be "godly"). We all went to college, and for the most part moved on from this nonsense. I am surprise that my dad, who was a biblical scholar, elder in our church, and usually very careful with doctrine, ever was in support of Gothard's teachings.

    • it is so sad that many have given up totally on believing god and the bible because of gothard's misinterpretations, etc. . I hope and pray all those who have done so can find their way back to Him -- btw, think of it like this...would anyone throw out all their plumbing, toilets, sinks, faucets, etc because one plumber who had no idea what he was doing caused a flood in your house?

  7. Micah September 3, 2013 Reply

    It's crazy that this stuff was written 30 years ago and was so clear even then. Why didn't our parents listen? Could have saved us all a crapload of pain.

    • Julie Anne September 3, 2013 Reply

      Micah: Even today on the internet, information is suppressed very quickly. Look at how TGC and T4G has come to CJ Mahaney's defense amidst years of stories on numerous survivor blogs. The lawsuit is said to be the biggest sex abuse scandal in modern evangelical history. It's a corrupt system. Now take it back 30 years with no internet. It's easy to see how this man has been so influential.

    • GuyS September 3, 2013 Reply

      Micah, what Julie and Tangent said. I am an ex-gothhardite ati father who looks back and is ashamed of allowing myself to get sucked in the madness and what I put my family through. It seemed so right and proper and such an answer to prayer. Also many pastors I knew highly praised the seminars. Apologies if this sounds like excuses.

      This is from Wikipedia (wiki) on bg, (yes the bg w/the Cracker Jack Box phd)"The authority principle is that inward peace results when people respect and honor the authorities (parents, government, etc.) that God has put into their lives. It is based on the idea that God gives direction, protection, and provision through human authorities."(not how Dr Allen would put it)

      It would be nice to link this Dr Allen article to that quote on wiki. But even that would be hard to do. You can see there is a controversy at wiki about bg.

      The quote from wiki is the kind of picture that was painted for me . Sounded biblical to me. "we were sold a package deal. Truth and lies, hope and despair, real and fake..." ( hope that becomes a famous quote from a famous author:)

      I was warned by some after my first seminar. However, even if more had warned me, I might have still been so desperate for answers that I still went to my first seminar with the insidiousness inoculations. (
      Gothard’s Biblical Inoculation July 2011) he is only capitalized, because I could cut and past thereby not defiling my keyboard by showing respect where none is due:)

      Here on RG it has been pointed out that many who joined ati came from dysfunctional families with no healthy extended family support. That is true. That is me, and others I know. I wish I could somehow apologize for all us ex-gothardite cool-aid drinking dads.

      BTW (I hope this is not presumptuous) but it looks like you are doing good. I love your articles, especially "When We Criticize The Church."
      Thanks for asking the question. It gives us parents a invitation to come clean.

    • GuyS September 9, 2013 Reply

      Micah, two days after your question, the second article by Dr Allen was posted. Quote:

      "In 1984 the issues of concern that many of us in Oregon had concerning the Seminar led to a new paper, the one cited in the article by Veinot and Henzel. This paper, and the concerns of others, led many churches in the Pacific Northwest, including my own, to withdraw all active support for the Gothard ministries.6"

      "6. In our church (Gateway Baptist Church, Portland, Oregon) as in many others, the decision was made not to make a public announcement of the dropping of support. Since we knew that many in our church had come to faith through the Seminar, or had received significant spiritual direction through it, we believed we would only cause confusion by attacking the Seminar directly. Instead, we decided no longer to send buses, no longer to buy block tickets, and no longer to make any announcements whatever about the Seminars."

      So, it turns out (unless I misunderstand) that 30 years ago even in Dr Allen's church it was not so clear to the members of his church of "a public announcement of the dropping of support." Of course with perfect 20/20 hindsight Dr Allen perhaps could have done things different. It would be interesting to have the total number of "issues of Concern" letters that were sent out. Evidently (unless I misunderstand) his own church members did not get a copy.

  8. Tangent September 3, 2013 Reply

    Micah, as a parent who became involved with IBLP/ATI in the early 80's; We didn't have the internet to research and learn about Bill Gothard. Our church supplied the bus to go to the city to attend this seminar. Our church encouraged attendance. All those who attended were so enthusiastic. The amount of information given at the seminar was, as some say, "like trying to get a drink out of a firehose". Basically, we were just bowled over by Bill Gothard, too busy with everyday living, and unprepared to study out the lessons of the seminar.

    • Heather September 3, 2013 Reply

      Hey Tangent, thanks for this comment. You kinda made me realize I've been a bit unfair in some of my thoughts towards some of the parents. It's such a pity that the churches did not thoroughly examine these teachings. Of course everyone is responsible for themselves, but still.. Well I guess this is why RG exists in the first place. To expose and help explain the wrongs.

  9. Tangent September 4, 2013 Reply

    Yes! we were sold a package deal. BG is very skilled at persuasion, and would have done very well in sales. Oh, he has done very well in sales! In the religious realm. He led us into ATI with such skill and subtlety. He set us up with the need for "character-based" education (whatever that means), and while we sheeple sat there in his seminar trying to figure out how to do that, he began to "sell" us the answer. Just like the con-man in River City, IO, he created a "need" and then supplied the answer.

  10. Joel September 4, 2013 Reply

    Interesting coincidence: your quoting of Bill Bockelman, good friend, mentor, and an influence to countless other's lives; many of whom would not even know it.

    It just so happens that, after over nine decades of a very full life, Bill passed on to greater life on September 2, 2013 — the same day this was published.

  11. […] Talmud.”2 Near the close of the article, a quotation was made from a paper I wrote in 1984, “Issues of Concern–Bill Gothard and the Bible.” In the article I am very critical of Mr. Gothard’s use of the Bible. Veinot and Henzel observe the […]

  12. Travis Penner September 5, 2013 Reply

    I would hasten to add that the verse in Ephesians 5:12 is taken FAR out of context by Bill Gothard. If read in Context, Paul is admonishing the Ephesian reader to abstain from foolish and false teaching about Christ, which was becoming tragically common in his day (Galatians 5 is another example). These secret things of darkness is probably best described as false doctrine, of which Gothard freely spreads around.

    It is shameful to even teach of these doctrines. (Gnosticsm, Ascetism, and many other popular doctrines that are still even taught today)


  13. […] of Basic Seminars, Knoxville conferences, Wisdom Booklets, and even Character Sketches books and definitions had […]

  14. Jrzrichardson February 15, 2014 Reply

    Excellent article. I attended several seminars about 20 years ago and it is just now dawning on me how unbiblical/out of balance some teachings were. BG branches off frequently into (at best) "spiritual musings" and passes them off as Biblical teachings -- like people "seeking thrills" by eating hot peppers; and something about furniture, we're not supposed to use furniture apart from its purpose or some nonsense. Chairs are made for sitting, etc. It plants in ones' mind, for years to come, "It's a sin to eat a hot pepper"; "I can't eat a meal on the couch, I have to eat it sitting at the table, that's what it's for." It feeds into us the idolatry of following RULES because in our flesh, we feel better for doing so.

  15. Guy Cooksey April 23, 2014 Reply

    I believe my wife and I was helped by the IBLP (basic and advanced). I had just finished seminary and was pastoring my first church (1988). BG's information seemed biblical and useful and it was new to me. However, even then I sensed something was wrong. Dr. Allen has now put it all into perspective for me. When Christian leaders use the Bible to teach a pre-conceived notion it is like playing with fire: it may be useful (as in a camp fire) or very damaging (as in a wild fire)! BG's teaching has done both and for this reason it must be rejected. Christian leaders should only TEACH the Bible in context and from proper exegesis. I find it refreshing and sad at the same time that BG's ministry is now unraveling. I was helped by it, yet I also felt it harmed many people--and now with the sexual harassment allegation coming in like a flood I really see the mis-teaching and abuse clearly.

  16. Larry Dozier June 10, 2018 Reply

    Gentlemen! Although there is only one way to academically interpret all scripture, there are MANY personal applications. And when those applications 'set people free' from from bondage, while enabling them to love God and others more deeply, I think that we should remember that we all teach from our narrow, fallible understanding of scripture. Therefore, as Christians, we need to "Do what Jesus says and follow him, laying down our divisive ways and clothing ourselves with humility and love. And one thing we can all agree upon is that Jesus said, Follow Me"; not follow Dr. So'n'So or any other man except Jesus. And I think we can all agree that Jesus DID HAVE PERFECT THEOLOGY. Shalom!

    • Karen June 27, 2018 Reply

      For a fresh perspective on the interpretation of Scripture, I can recommend a book I am currently reading: The Soul’s Longing: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on Biblical Interpretation by Dr. Mary S. Ford, a teacher at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary in Pennsylvania.

      As you can see by the book’s author, the arguably oldest continuous interpretive Christian tradition, that of Eastern Orthodoxy, has no problem with qualified women teaching the Scriptures and the faith even to her future priests! However, no Orthodox teacher—whether Bishop, Priest or layperson—has the authority to teach in contradiction to what has always been taught are the parameters of settled dogma, and the general interpretive framework for the Scriptures (which is the Person of Christ as He has been proclaimed in the gospel and Creed), and all interpretations and applications of the Scriptures, all faith and practice, must be consistent with that which has always been taught (dogmatically) within the Orthodox Church throughout her history.

      • kevin June 27, 2018 Reply

        Thanks you for the info on the book and Amen to qualified women teaching Scripture!

      • rob war June 27, 2018 Reply

        Thank-you Karen, downloaded to my Kindle, looking forward to reading it. You pointed out something that is very important in that the Bible should be interpreted as how scripture point to Christ. Jesus Himself said the law and the prophets testify about Him, that He came to fulfill the law, not abolish it. With Jesus own statements, we are given the basis of proper Christological used of scripture which I am guessing this book talks about.

    • Matt Arnott July 22, 2018 Reply

      Dude, there are plenty of wonderful, insightful, and knowledgable ladies on this forum!

    • JM February 27, 2023 Reply

      Really late to the part, I know. But here's an interesting morsel for thought.

      Is there really only one interpretation of Scripture? Or should it more properly be worded this way: for many Scriptures, there is but one primary interpretation?

      If we believe in just one interpretation, that actually opens a massive can of worms, doesn't it? Who's to say your interpretation is right? Or anyone's? Could not the divines of old be mistaken? Were they not human?

      I'm not here to answer those questions. I am insisting that we take a step back and see God's Word for what it is - a beautiful, vibrant Book more complex than we understand.

      There are multiple passages, especially in the Wisdom literature, where a meaning of verse is ambiguous. Psalm 119:98 is a great example.

      "Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me."

      Who is "ever with" the Psalmist here - the commands or enemies? I'm a grammarian myself (two accredited degrees in it). A case can be made for both based on the wording of the sentence.

      If we stick to the "only one interpretation of Scripture" bit, do we not risk mis-teaching this verse? How can we nail down what this verse means? Perhaps, we're not supposed to. Perhaps the ambiguity is intentional. BOTH the commands AND the enemies are before me, there I am wiser. I meditate in the word, and I am challenged by my enemies.

      We also have cases in prophecy. Matthew tells us that Hosea's prophecy "out of Egypt have I called my son" was referring to Jesus. But in Hosea, the prophecy had a historical application - the Jews coming out of Egypt to establish the Kingdom of Israel.

      There's a historical meaning, but ALSO a messianic meaning according to Matthew. If we believe Matthew, then both meanings MUST be true. Two interpretations at the same time.

      I think we may be leaving a lot on the table overlooking Polysemics such as these. And I hope it will cause us to look closer and study the Book more. That is what we need so much these days.

      • rob war February 27, 2023 Reply

        There historically has been four layers of interpretation; literal, allegorical, tropological and anagogical and they all can apply together. The literal is generally considered the foundation, but all the others apply as well. Abraham offering Isiac, was a test of Abraham's faith as well as a type or preview of God the Father offering His own Son, Jesus as a sacrifice. Jonah and whale happen, but it also was a type and Jesus referred to it as a sign (His three days being in the tomb), and the list goes on. One interpretation is a false notion which usually means hyper-literal. But obviously, many parts cannot be interpreted literally such as many passages in Psalms which if interpreted very literally, would give God hands, wings and body parts. The apocalyptic parts found in Revelation, Daniel and Ezekial run into problems if interpreted in a hyper-literal manner since they use very symbolic imagery. The other extreme and false interpretation is found in historical critical method used by many liberal and progressive Christians. Typology was used as a method by the early Church which connects OT and NT together. Your points are well taken.

        • JM February 28, 2023

          I believe I've learned of these four layers before. Ironically, I remember hearing of them in some hyper-literal studies that still rely on the "one interpretation" rule. This was the way Jack Hyles specifically taught it.

          It went something like this. There are many TYPES of interpretation, but only ONE per passage can be correct.

          If that leaves you scratching your head, well, you're not alone. Some folks just want it both ways.

          I do see in many places in Scripture that there is only one straightforward reading and meaning, but need to be very wise indeed. Poetic language and symbolic imagery needs to be treated carefully, obviously.

        • rob war February 28, 2023

          Well, claiming only one interpretation can be correct is obviously false and I think you are beginning to realize that. Who then says which or what interpretation is or can be correct? Even more importantly, where is the Bible is this idea even taught because it isn't taught anywhere. It is a made-up constraint. It is not either/or but both/and. Look at the Song of Songs. One of the best explanations of it was by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who used it allegorically to talk about the love of God for us and divine intimacy with Him. It also is about the blessedness of marital love as designed by God. A point-blank literalism causes the Song of Song to be a sex manual in the Bible. Allegorical does lift the book to also mean some higher and deeper things about love and intimacy with God. It is a both/and not and either/or. It isn't just one interpretation that is the one and only correct one, but layers or more than one way to see, understand and interpret sections of scripture. They work together, not against each other. Claiming only one is short sighted and causes problems which I think you are seeing.

        • JM February 28, 2023

          Yes. That is partly what I'm seeing (and have been seeing for years).

          I might want to split the hair a little more finely. I do believe there are times where only one interpretation is possible. But these are passages we would not fight over.

          Possible examples would be the Wedding at Cana when Jesus turned water into wine. I don't think we need to fight over what happened and why. We don't even need to fight over whether it really was water that really turned into wine (alcoholic or not is neither here nor there for me - it's still wine).

          I don't think this passage lends itself to much more than just one interpretation. But the poetic books and prophecy can be a different matter altogether.

          I certainly agree we can't be too rigid, and we need to see the either/or as a both/and. Anything that lifts our understanding up to Scripture is preferred.

        • rob war February 28, 2023

          There is so much to unpack in the wedding of Cana. First of all, this miracle happen due to the request of His mother Mary and she asked not for herself but out of concern for others. He at first turns her down but changes his mind in seeing her wisdom. Her last recorded words in scripture are "do whatever he tells you". Wise advice. Not only does this first miracle bring a blessing at a wedding, but the 6 jars for water purification are for the precursor to water baptism. They hold about 30 gallons each, so that is a lot of wine and it was the good stuff which means alcoholic. So this miracle also preludes to baptism, the wine preludes to the Eucharist. There is so much there. Degenerating this to some minor debate point about alcohol or not misses all the other rich points here.

        • JM March 1, 2023

          Rob, that wasn't what I was suggesting. I am not concerned whether the wine was alcoholic or not. It matters little to me. Everyone agrees the water was changed to wine. That was the point, regardless of what the wine actually was.

          Point being, there isn't much room here for alternate interpretations. It's a straightforward account.

          I would agree there's a lot to unpack here in this account, but that doesn't change the fact that we all come to the same conclusions about the account. This isn't like a Psalms passage where the language can be intentionally vague, thus leading to multiple readings/understandings.

  17. rob war June 23, 2018 Reply

    Since you started out with "gentlemen", I am assuming that women don't count? All you have done is spit out Bill's standard line here which was "one interpretation, many application". That is a false idea on many fronts. For one thing, one cannot even support that from scripture to begin with. On top of that, the "one interpretation" is usually a hyper-literal" one at that which if followed out to it's logical conclusion, pits the Bible against the Bible which is one of the methods atheists do use to disprove the Bible and the existence of God. Application is based on interpretation so to even say "one interpretation, many applications" is another false premise. To brush off the problems that come from this mode of Bible usage as "we just need to follow Jesus" sounds nice but again sweeps under the rug the problems of Bill's "one interpretation".

  18. rob war July 19, 2022 Reply

    Four steps on how NOT to read the Bible:

    1. find a verse you think justifies your beliefs

    2. Ignore all other verse around the verse (ie. context)

    3. Fight any urge to understand author's intended meaning. This will come with practice.

    4. Apply your own meaning to the verse.

    This is going around social media, When first read, I almost thought Bill wrote these rules himself.

    • kevin July 19, 2022 Reply

      Perhaps Bill lived his life trying to follow these steps, but missed the crucial word "NOT" in the first line. He was the king of prooftexting.

    • JM July 20, 2022 Reply

      I definitely agree. But let's be fair. Bill was and is hardly alone here. MANY preachers and authors do this, and it is not just an Independent Fundamental Baptist issue.

      In my experience, this is entirely common among Christian laity worldwide. I believe it arises from well-meaning people trying to seek and understand the Word of God and either not having the right resources available or avoiding said resources for one reason or another.

      The issue then invades the pulpit and classroom when that same laity, their beliefs unchallenged and unchecked, find themselves put in teaching positions.

      It's a serious problem, and one that I really wish I knew the answer for.

      • rob war July 22, 2022 Reply

        Yes, this applies to many popular "teachers" and ministries. I had a discussion once with someone that liked to listen to Joyce Meyers. This person liked to listen to her because "she knew her Bible very well" because she was always quoting it. Yes, she and the other WoF types do quote the Bible like a machine gun, but the problem is that what they teach is total heresy. I use to read Kenneth Hagin Sr.'s little booklets which are filled with quotes from the Bible, but again, total heresy. The original proof texter of the Bible is Satan himself, who tempted Christ with "quotes" from scripture. All major heresies do start with someone quoting Bible verses to support what they are trying to teach. Now there shouldn't be a problem just to quote the Bible at all. We all should do that, but the problem is that one line zingers all over the place are usually taken out of context and are misleading to the young and inexperienced.

        • kevin August 1, 2022


          " I had a discussion once with someone that liked to listen to Joyce Meyers. This person liked to listen to her because "she knew her Bible very well" because she was always quoting it."

          This reminds me of my friend who spent a couple of decades "learning" from Gothard. He commented how he really loved the teachings, because he had a Bible verse or two referenced with every teaching. The problem is that he never bothered to check to verify that said verse actually supported the teaching. When the teachings were bright shiny new Biblical insights, the verses never actually supported his view, obvious to anyone who approached them with their critical thinking cap on.

          Yet, to those who drank deep of the Koolaide, in their minds they will still look at the referenced verse and somehow believe that it supports the teaching. You usually can't reason with them, although it is not impossible. I have had some success in having former Gothardites recognize that the supporting verses don't actually offer any support at all and were usually either taken out of context or misunderstood. Sometimes there is not even a context to twist and the verse is completely unrelated in any way.

  19. rob war August 30, 2022 Reply

    came across this brilliant quote from the late Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, of the Orthodox Church. In case you have not heard of him, CT had a very nice article about him and his passing:

    The quote is this: "We see that it is not the task of Christianity of provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge but the cause of our wonder."

    Bill Gothard reduced the Christian faith to simplistic answers to problems and reduced the Bible to point blank answers that he promised would always be successful. There is nothing about a relationship with God except to get something from God. Bill teaches moralistic therapeutic deism basically.

    • David S. Knecht Sr. September 9, 2022 Reply

      I once saw Kallistos Ware interviewed. He seemed like a very good man, much like Father Zossima in The Brothers karamazov. Even the CT quote sounds like something Father Zossima would say.

      • rob war September 27, 2022 Reply

        Yes, Metropolitan Kallistos was from everything I've read about him, isa holy and devout man. But what he is quoted here is the opposite of what Bill Gothard reduced the Christian faith to which is easy answers to everything under the sun which is more in line with MTD or moralist therapeutic deism and that is not a relationship with the living and loving God that Metropolitan Kallistos was talking about in this quote or in his other writings and books.

        • David S. Knecht Sr. September 28, 2022

          Perhaps the wisest words about easy Christianity, came from C.S. Lewis: “The Christian way is different: harder and easier. Christ says, ‘Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.’

  20. rob war October 3, 2022 Reply
    My quote was not about easy Christianity but reducing Christianity to easy answers which Bill Gothard does. This is an very interesting article about quoting CS Lewis and the tendency to quote Lewis to support anything and everything.

  21. David S. Knecht Sr. October 4, 2022 Reply

    In the Patheos link, Josh Parks seemed fussier about “weaponizing” Lewis than Lewis himself would be. Is Lewis sometimes quoted in ways which do not perfectly align with an author's point? Undoubtedly so. Isn't that the mild price of popularity? The freshman rhetoric student might lose points for such a misdemeanor, but so what?

    The Lewis quote above fits our topic because it aligns with what Gothard taught in his “eight callings” material. It was a narrative of what we should expect from the dedication to Christ which Lewis exhorted. Lewis said to give Christ all. Gothard explained eight dimensions of that process.

    • rob war October 4, 2022 Reply

      I don't know anything about 8 callings or dimensions of Bill and I don't want to know. It was been brought up here, more than once, that Bill Gothard did not like CS Lewis. Any connection between Bill and CS Lewis is only by you. The patheos article was about "men without chest" quote that has been used by many to claim Lewis supports a macho man type of masculinity as promoted by the likes of TGC crowd etc. What he was saying and you are blowing off is that the Lewis quote from "Abolition of Man" was not at all about macho man masculinity. But misquoting either Lewis or Bible seems to be part and parcel with people like Bill Gothard. Maybe you see nothing wrong with this, but it ends up making the Bible say things it really doesn't. Just look at the recent article by Bill about climate change. One doesn't defeat faulty science with faulty bible quoting and much of it painted God as using the weather to smack people down and punish them. Pretty sad timing on this considering Hurricane Ian and what just happen in your State of Florida.

      • David S. Knecht Sr. October 5, 2022 Reply

        Shining light on the teaching of Bill Gothard is the stated purpose of this blog. To participate, Gothard's teachings should interest us. In this case, the Gothard teaching about callings happens to overlap with a C.S. Lewis teaching. But in his writing, Gothard did not mention Lewis. He had other fish to fry.

        The Abolition of Man was three good essays by Lewis which Gothard never mentioned, so far as I know.

        In Gothard's weather essay, I counted nine Bible references. Where did Gothard err? Which of the nine passages was faulty? What can you illuminate for us?

        Having "weathered" a hurricane on Oahu in 1982, plus four consecutive Florida hurricanes in 2004, I can affirm that they are effective at smacking down, whether or not Gothard says so.

    • rob war October 5, 2022 Reply


      why do you still comment here? If you are die-hard Bill fan, why bother? If you think everyone here just "hates" Bill, why bother? You need to ask yourself these questions because what seems to come out is harassment and trolling. Just because this blog is basically open and barely monitored doesn't mean someone should be commenting. I wonder if you really ever read the hundreds of testimonies here on the harm Bill's teaching has had on their lives, education, family, and faith or do you think everything is just a pack of lies by people that "just hate Bill". You have made these sorts of sweeping statements before. Ask yourself honestly if Bill really has helped you as much as you think. You do not have to answer me, you need to answer honestly to yourself and your family. I don't care to have your answers because I am tired of you bothering me here because it borders on trolling and harassment. Here is a great article about sweeping rash judgements on others.

  22. David S. Knecht Sr. October 6, 2022 Reply

    Indeed, Feser wrote a good blog entry about rash judgement. How much rash judgement has been indulged on this very blog? The stated purpose is to shine light. What is the proportion of light to darkness you read here?

    Why do I contribute? I believe in good works. Don't you?

  23. kevin October 11, 2022 Reply

    Rob said:

    "Just look at the recent article by Bill about climate change."

    Yeah, that was pretty nutty. It also shows us that Bill is still up to the same nonsense, suggesting that the extreme weather events, which have affected millions, are God's judgement. Thanksfully, I don't believe that more than a handful of people listen to him anymore.

    • rob war October 11, 2022 Reply

      I don't think he even understands what climate change is. No matter what one thinks about global warming, for and against, it is not about man setting himself up as God to control the weather but about bad influence from the heavy use of fossil fuels on the overall environment. The aims of those in the global warming camp is more focused on controlling human behavior and eliminating the use of fossil fuels. That is not the same as what Bill opened up with with which is man trying to be God in controlling the weather. Then he jumps to the idea of only God controlling the weather (which in basics is true) and God controls the weather to bring punishment. One does not defeat faulty science with faulty Bible quoting. I am not sure if this understanding due to a corrupt mind, old age or what but he clearly doesn't understand the basics of this. The timing of this is just incredible with Hurricane Ian.

  24. kevin October 11, 2022 Reply

    I do wish that there was a section of Recovering Grace for general comments, but since this article is where the most recent comments were, I'll post my comments here.

    I was just checking out the IBLP website and noticed in their News section the report on their recent family gatherings. The east coast gathering appeared to maybe have about 50 people.

    Then I took a look at the west coast family gathering and it was even smaller.

    I guess the days of filling up stadiums are long gone.

    Now, I know that there is another Gothard cheerleading site out there that would claim that the current situation at IBLP is because Bill is no longer leading. But, if he were still at the head of things, I think those groups would be even smaller. These days people tend to keep their families away from individuals who have been accused of the things which Bill has.

  25. kevin October 11, 2022 Reply

    I do wish that there was a section of Recovering Grace for general comments, but since this article is where the most recent comments were, I'll post my comments here.

    I was just checking out the IBLP website and noticed in their News section the report on their recent family gatherings. The east coast gathering appeared to maybe have about 50 people.

    Then I took a look at the west coast family gathering and it was even smaller.

    I guess the days of filling up stadiums are long gone.

    Now, I know that there is another Gothard cheerleading site out there that would claim that the current situation at IBLP is because Bill is no longer leading. But, if he were still at the head of things, I think those groups would be even smaller. These days people tend to keep their families away from individuals who have been accused of the things which Bill has.

  26. Eilonwy October 11, 2022 Reply

    What I observed in the early 1990s was that the ones that questioned BGs teaching were labeled as rebels. I started questioning his teaching when I was in college and decided to reject whatever came from him at that point, but I had to keep it to myself. Thankfully my husband also doesn't buy what he taught. Most of the people from our church that are younger than us have never heard of him, but some of his poisonous teachings such as generational curses comes up occasionally.

  27. Susan Perricone-Barackman January 29, 2023 Reply

    now that Jinger Duggar has come out with a book, would it be a good idea to do a review on it and how what she has gone through relates to similar stories on this site.

    I am so happy she is coming out of all that legalism and perhaps it will take a high profile person such as her to get the church to see the damage done by patriarchal beliefs no matter who they were promoted by be it Gothard, the Pearls, Transformed Wife, Biblical Gender Roles, etc.

  28. rob war January 31, 2023 Reply

    Any thoughts on Jinger's new book?

    • kevin February 2, 2023 Reply

      "Any thoughts on Jinger's new book?"

      I am very proud of her for writting this book. I watched a couple of interviews she gave about the book and in which she talked about the contents. She is very articulate and communicates very well the anxiety and damage caused by Bill Gothard's teachings.

      It sounds like this was a very difficult book for her to write, but felt that it was important. She sounds like she is on firm ground now, with a solid understanding of the paralyzing damage that legalism can cause.

      She speaks about how the rules that her family followed were not biblical, but the ideas of one man, Bill Gothard.

      Have you read the book Rob? What are your thoughts? I am more of a audio book person and will try to get an audio copy when I can.

      I was considering make a post on that other site with the Gothard fans, but they are so sick over there. As one would expect, they are already doing their best to throw her under the bus, as they did with all of the women who came forward sharing how Bill harassed them.

      It seems that Recovering Grace is not very active anymore, but perhaps her book will spur some commentary once again. Perhaps everyone has gone to FB or something, but I don't do FB, so I'm not sure.

      Maybe it is quieted down so much because Bill has been deposed from IBLP and is fading away. But, there are still many thousands who are trapped in the man made rules that he taught, not realizing that they are from a man and not from God.
      So, I think that there is still a role that RG can play. I do hope that they at least do an article about her book with links to where people can purchase it.

      It appears that from Jinger's Instagram bio there is a link to get the book, and I know that it is also on Amazon. I would post a link, but I have noticed that lately any links posted on RG comments causes the comment to never get posted for some reason, so I won't.

      • rob war February 3, 2023 Reply

        Yes, I read the book, I ordered it from Amazon and it downloaded to my Kindle on the release date. It is very well written, I was totally engaged with it. Even though she does use a ghost writer, I felt this was really Jinger's voice coming through and it read as if she was sitting across from you, sharing a cup of coffee and talking. She shares how his teaching and ideas affected her is so many ways. She developed a lot of fear and anxiety in trying to be perfect and follow all the ideas of Bill Gothard. She talks about how little she was prepared to try and make friends outside of her family when she was first married and living in Texas. She wrote about meeting with someone from the Church once and became so overwhelmed with fear and anxiety about just talking with someone that she broke down in tears. She comes out and takes down all of the seven so called non-negotiable principals of the basic seminar. She goes after the umbrella of authority. She does in one of the later chapters mentions Bill and the sex abuse scandals around him as well as the scandal with Steve Gothard. She also mentions this web site and her change of opinion on Recovering Grace. Her stories just match everything I've read here. Her opening chapter about Bill started out with a story of when she and her sisters were visiting the headquarters and took a break to go to the mall and came across a wig shop with a blond wig and she describes how all of them made fun of this wig as being like a "Gothard girl" and that everyone was aware of his favoritism towards a certain type of look and her own witnessing of Bill approaching certain young woman and flattering them and asking them to come to work with him at headquarters. Jinger is a first-hand witness to this.

        The book does not bash her parents or family member except Josh. She does not write negatively of them at all and this book's focus is only on Bill Gothard, his teachings and how they negatively affected her in so many ways.

        It is an easy read, quick but totally effective and I highly recommend it to anyone.

  29. Susan Perricone-Barackman February 1, 2023 Reply

    I did not read the book but just the synopsis about how growing up under gothard that she was always in fear of disobeying god --that is exactly what gothardism did to me

    I was able to write to her on her fb site to let her know how happy i was for her getting out of legalism.

    I also wrote to whoever authors this site that they should write a commentary review on Jinger's book and how the stories here are very similar to her experience.

    since she is so high profile i think it is an opportunity to let the religious legalistic patriarchal believers know that gothardism and others who spread similar teachings ARE NOT GOD'S DESIGN AND WILL FOR THE CHURCH!!!!!!!!

    It has been 12 years since I found this site and it has launched me into a voyage of learning God's true will for my life as I did research and study of patriarchy in the church and its effects and damage....

    Someone else wrote this and I added what is in the parenthesis--- and it makes a really important point----...."Patriarchy, (like camels, deserts, sheep and shepherds, Romans in togas) is part of the backdrop of the bible, not the point of it!!!"--yet men have turned patriarhcy into an oppressive and abusive theology, with all its rules, laws, commands, all aimed at women!!!!!!!!! Men only have 2 rules--lead and breed!

  30. Larne Gabriel February 2, 2023 Reply

    I ordered it on Amazon Prime, expected delivery Feb 16-27th, $21.48 + tax. Just curious.

    I do see similarities that she has expressed in her interviews about her deconstruction experience, that Ruth, my late wife, also experienced after the 1980 scandal. She is a brave woman and I pray for her. It took a toll on Ruth to speak the truth.

  31. kevin February 11, 2023 Reply

    Thanks for the book review Rob!
    I’m so glad that Jinger is speaking out about the damage done by Bill Gothard’s false teachings. She is not the first to expose the problems with his teachings. Theologians have been doing it since Bill’s early days. Recovering Grace is now in its second decade of doing it. Scores of individuals have come forward sharing their testimony of the harm it caused them, and their journey out of the bondage of legalism. I believe that thousands have been helped out of these man-made rules by Recovering Grace and the brave individuals who have come forward.
    It is thanks to these voices and the brave voices of the women who shared their testimony about Bill’s creepy behavior, that he now has been dethroned, far from his platform, his harmful voice muzzled. The organization he founded, IBLP, now just a shadow of its former self, with dwindling members, losing millions each year, surviving only by the gradual sell off of their real estate.
    Yet, those of us in evangelical homeschool circles know that his teachings do live on, the harmful false teachings continue to be passed on to young children. From my observations, it seems that most of the younger generation have come out of the darkness, thanks is in large part to RG. Yet, I know that there are still thousands trapped in the bonds of spiritual legalism. I know families where about half the children have come out of the darkness, and the other half are still trapped, unaware of its harms.
    Jinger is not the first to point out the falseness of Gothard’s teachings. She is not the first to share of how it damaged her. But, what I see is the potential for her to reach many of the individuals who have not yet broken free. In our own homeschool circles, 19 Kids and Counting was one of the only shows that was permitted to be watched by many families. The kids in these families grew up feeling as if they knew Jinger. While many of them managed to dismiss Recovering Grace, heading the warnings of their parents to “Stay away from that evil website”, it may be far more difficult for them to dismiss Jinger. She has done a lot of interviews about her book in the past few weeks and those interviews have been already viewed by millions online. I’ve read a lot of the comments posted and it sounds like she is reaching many of these individuals and having an impact.
    She seems to genuinely care about helping others come out of spiritual legalism. Due to her semi-celebrity status, she has a big platform and I’m glad she has added her voice to shining light on the darkness.

    • Susan February 14, 2023 Reply

      Jinger's book is perhaps the start of exposing the harm that patriarchal legalism has done in the church and is how deeply embedded it is in how the church functions.

      The fact that "rules" such as BG put forth for women to follow has morphed into wife spanking with several sites like 'biblical gender roles" endorsing that (God gave the example by punishing Israel when she went astray that it is god's will that Christian men should spank their "disobedient"

      --talk about abusive, sick and twisted!!!!!!! If these men really wanted to follow God's example then they should, like Christ, take the punishment that they would dish out on their wives.

    • Susan Barackman April 2, 2023 Reply

      i would like to add that kudos are due to RG for having this site. You were among the first, if not the first to show how damaging the false teachings of patriarchal leadership is in the church.

      Jinger mentions RG in her interviews on youtube. She saw the truth revealed through all the stories.

      You guys were the first to allow these stories of abuse and failure coming out of patriarchal teachings to see the light of day and get into the minds and hearts of christians.

      I hope you open up your site to more stories since Jinger's book will obviously have an impact on those still struggling with patriarchal teachings. Perhaps some follow ups to the stories and how those writers are doing today and their take on Jinger's book and their walk in freedom and liberty that Christ offers all of us.

      • JM April 20, 2023 Reply

        I would be very curious to hear exactly which patriarchal teachings, and specifically which false ones, you're referring to.

        I certainly agree there is much error in Bill's teachings, but that is not unknown to other facets of popular Christianity. The problem is that there is plenty of good Biblical teaching as well, even within Bill's work. If anything, a broken clock is still right twice a day.

        I would suggest we be careful painting any of these issues with too broad a brush. We might need to see some intricate nuance. If we're honest, we brush things off because of a bad experience we've had, or we throw the whole parcel out because of a damaged corner. I'm not sure these are wise approaches.

        • rob war April 25, 2023

          Susan is clearly referring to the "chain of command" that Bill taught as well as its side kick the "umbrella of protection" which is patriarchal since it creates a pyramid of authority with the male at the top. Jinger's book along with all the articles and comments here document what is wrong with this and the damage it does to women as well as men and children. I would suggest reading three books, one of which I am currently reading now. "Jesus and John Wayne", "The Making of Biblical Womanhood" and "The Bible vs Biblical Womanhood". The first two do mention Bill Gothard and his influence on what is called patriarchy. The last book, I am in right now, hasn't yet mentioned Bill Gothard but does go over and into all the verses people like Bill do quote to support patriarchy teaching.

        • JM April 25, 2023

          The retort I would make to this, in counter, is that the model of authority Bill espouses is not in and of itself unbiblical.

          The Bible DOES describe a form of patriarchy and even demands it in a few locations.

          I would like to hear more of Susan's elaborations, rather than someone speaking for her. MY concern here is that "patriarchy" becomes code for "anything we don't like."

          Obviously, the patriarchy gets negative treatment in our society today. Thus, labeling anything we feel is bad with this moniker fits. But that isn't sound argumentation, especially when Scripture itself seems to work toward patriarchies rather than away from it.

          Where I would diverge from Bill is in his more extreme views of patriarchy - his hammer and chisel comparison, for example. He is certainly wrong in application and points, but that doesn't mean the concept is completely bad. (Again, the broken clock).

    • Tukahn April 17, 2023 Reply

      Jinger's recent in-depth interviews with some of the lady Christian youtoobers have been extremely helpful to me. In particular, she describes how Gothard would talk and teach, and how his interpretation and application of scripture was made to sound logical and reasonable, while also stimulating impressionable minds to create laws and rules for themselves without real biblical basis--i.e. train them to be pharisees who don't have any sense of "I do the will of my Father."

  32. Miriam February 11, 2023 Reply

    I just finished listening to it on Audible, and it was the first time I had heard about Bill Gothard's teachings not being biblical. It opened my eyes to the training my parents forced on us (my sisters and me) yearly at his Atlanta seminars. Jinger clearly articulated the falsehoods and the cultlike community his teachings created. It helped explain a great deal about my own feelings about Christianity, which were severely shaken during those years. I only wish my parents were still here, so I could talk to them about all of this. They followed him, believing they were on the right path, and it ruined my relationships. Jinger scripturally deconstructed Gothard's teachings in a way that was easy to see the falsehoods within. I'm thankful I happened upon it.

  33. Tukahn April 17, 2023 Reply

    Beware the satanic strategy here. Gothard used unbiblical teachings and mixed human phariseeism into the plain, good patriarchy that God made. Patriarchy is not bad. Humans (men AND women) are sinners and drag God's good gifts into their acts of sinfulness.

    The satanic play for women and children is to misdirect patriarchs, and in so doing, make patriarchy disgusting to women and children. Phase 2 is to work women into copying an evil, tyrannical patriarchy in their own way. An unbiblical, self-serving matriarchy that is no better than an unbiblical, self-serving patriarchy.

    Currently this slight of hand is best seen among the likes of Gary Thomas. I call him "Ms Gothard" because his sparing use of the Bible and healthy dose of pragmatism echos Gothard, but in a woman-oriented way. Same pharisaical prison, different wallpaper.

  34. David S. Knecht Sr. April 24, 2023 Reply

    Patriarch and patriarchal have become smear words. The original words referred to natural law. The pater is the natural head of his family, and the patriarch of his tribe. As in Romans 1, our generation has rejected many forms of "natural use.”

    When will our rage against nature abate? We reap what we sow. We are surgically mutilating and hormonally altering men and women, boys and girls. Might a little natural law might come in handy just now?

    • rob war April 25, 2023 Reply

      Pater is Latin for father. That has nothing to do with Romans 1. The word itself has nothing to do with the body of teachings called patriarchy where men are at the top in a pyramid scheme designed as an "umbrella of protection". Unless you are reading the Latin Vulgate, Pater isn't found in your KJV Bible.

      • JM April 25, 2023 Reply

        Actually, the word is totally fitting, since patriarch and its derivatives come from pater, the Latin for father. It doesn't have to be in any particular translation of Scripture for it to fit. Most of our language is derived from multiple sources. English is not a Latin-based language, but has several hundred influences from the Latin, ipso facto. Quid pro quo.

        I happen to be a languages expert, with linguistic origins and etymology what I studied on the graduate level. The word pater does apply to patriarchal structures as Bill describes, unfortunately. It does because that is exactly the environment in which the word was birthed. Those are the structures employed by the Caesarate Romans who spoke Latin (having viciously conquered the ones who originally spoke it - but that's a long and terrible story).

        The Romans not only believed such structures existed but rigorously practiced them in many aspects, most of which are inappropriate to mention on this forum. In that sense, Bill is correct in hammer and chisel comparison. But we would hardly agree that approach is Biblical.

      • David S. Knecht Sr. May 1, 2023 Reply

        Schemers scheme and paters pat. On 4/25 above, we read an objection to a pyramid scheme which oppresses the hoi polloi at the base of the pyramid. Supposedly, this disaster follows when a man rules his house. Also, this supposedly has nothing to do with Romans 1. On the contrary, St. Paul taught about this not only in Romans 1, but also in his epistles to Timothy and Titus.

        Romans 1 is where he describes the disaster which follows when men contemn natural law. Aren’t bad men likely to oppress weaker souls? Don’t such schemers become knuckle-dragging tyrants instead of noble Christian officers? Indeed they do.

        St. Paul was a realist, yet he insisted that men must rule their own houses well, before they qualified for church office. Schemers need not apply. Only proven paters qualified for church office. Can this happen? Does this happen? St. Paul thought so.

        • rob war May 1, 2023

          Since you seem interested in Latin words, do you know the Latin word for moon is Luna. We see that word still used in English such phrases as lunar eclipse, lunar month etc. It is also thought and there is some weak science behind it, that a full moon brings out the crazies and kookiness in people, so the English words lunacy and lunatic are based on the Latin for moon. What I just read here borders on lunacy. You didn't prove your case and you can't clobber together Bible verses because you feel justified in "ruling" your house. Not sure if you watched any of the 50+ interviews with Jinger over her book, but the ones she did with Jeremy were most insightful and what he observed and implied about Jim Bob is that top heavy authoritarian teachings that emphasize men "ruling" over their homes is that the controlling Narciss types get drawn in and gravitate towards teachings like Bill Gothard since it justifies controlling behaviors. Maybe you ought to think about this.

  35. rob war April 26, 2023 Reply

    yes I realize I jumped into a question directed at another, but have you bothered at all to read the numerous articles and comments here that do testify to the harmful ideas of what is called patriarchy? Stating that it is an abused term to apply to anything someone doesn't like does not cut it. I gave recent books by Evangelicals about the development and its problems which are legitimate resources to read.

    Your broken clock analogy is curious as well. That only works if one is using an analog clock, with digital this idea doesn't work. But whether or not a broken clock is correct twice via an analog clock or not, no one can use a broken clock to tell time and the broken clock of Bill Gothard's teaching is not fixable and needs to be tossed out. No one in their right mind keeps a broken analog clock around to be right twice a day, you either fix it or toss it and with Bill and IBLP, you need to toss the clock.

    The burden of proof here is on you in stating that Bill's teaching and ideas maybe correct even twice a day via the clock analogy you are using. It isn't on anyone here to define what they mean by patriarchy when they use it. It's on you to state what is right about it, but there now is a growing number of articles, blogs and books that state otherwise, and the reality is the burden of proof is on you to defend it. Patriarchy and all its fingers and toes are a broken clock that needs to be tossed. It can't be fixed.

    • JM May 1, 2023 Reply

      Well, the analogy is still an accepted analogy. I agree it doesn't work for digital clocks, but we are still using it in these days, aren't we? I mean, digital clocks have been around most of my life, but I still hear it.

      Anyway. Look. You can't go around making statements about certain things, then when questioned, just say, "Do your homework and read the articles."

      1. You're assuming I haven't read any of the articles. I have. They are interesting.

      2. It is still on the person being questioned to make the discussion. Directing someone to articles after making a claim is not productive. I'm still interested in knowing exactly what Susan was referring to.

      I think you misunderstand me. I don't mean to suggest that any of Bill's teachings are necessarily right, even if only twice a day.

      I mean to insist that if any of Bill's teachings ARE correct, it is because of this concept. Meaning, the teachings of Bill's that are correct do not make him a fully-functioning timepiece. That is precisely what his followers have and are still doing.

      This is where a lot of us get taken in, and it is not exclusive to Bill. In fact, wouldn't we all be wise to turn that mirror on this very website and its articles as well? No? We wouldn't any of this to be in danger of the very thing we despise, right? That is - the broken clock that must be tossed.

      But wait a second. A broken analog clock can often be fixed. The question is whether we want to. As I see it from Scripture, the concept of patriarchy is not only just there, it was actually demanded by God in a few instances. The idea that a bishop must be the husband of one wife to hold that office is one of them. The Greek there is straightforward. We can't say that such a person need be married; therefore a woman could hold the office. It is absolutely impossible to make that argument linguistically. (And again - I have the credentials to back that up).

      So we can't just throw the clock out. We have to properly understand what and why here. It's a matter for good study.

  36. kevin April 30, 2023 Reply

    It is good to see some discussion here on RG again. I’ve noticed that this site has been very inactive the past few years. I would suspect that this has a lot to do with the fact that Bill Gothard was removed 9 years ago and no longer has much of a voice. One could say that he’s been cancelled.

    At 88 years old, I suspect that Bill is no longer actively influencing anybody. I know that there are a few die hard Gothardites that somehow believe that he will miraculously be brought back to lead IBLP. Such delusion! The idea that someone who has been accused by so many women would be brought back to the helm is the stuff of lunacy. After all, it was his own organization that basically cancelled him. They even had him trespassed when he went to one of the IBLP gatherings at Big Sandy a few years back. So, they clearly don’t want him back. Also, his cancellation was even before the #metoo reckoning which occurred in 2017, which has brought much more attention, and less tolerance, to the behaviors of men in power. And let’s not forget his age- he’s 88. So, yeah, delusion to think he’ll make a comeback at this point.

    Complaints about the questionable and damaging teachings have been around for decades. There was even a book written about it. Then Recovering Grace came along and started a number of very good articles pointing out the issues with the teachings and the harm caused. But, I believe the watershed moment was when the women began to come forward and share their testimonies of the inappropriate behavior. As a result, though there was initially some denial, ultimately, I believe that they were heard and action was taken. Bill is no longer in leadership. He’s basically been tarred and feathered, apparently shunned even by the organization which he founded.

    I still see damage from the teachings and believe there is much healing that still needs to happen. I do hope that those harmed continue to warn others and the issues continue to be discussed. It is nice to see that Jinger Duggar’s book is being well received and has become a best seller. The more sunlight that can expose the dangers of these teachings the better.

  37. kevin April 30, 2023 Reply

    I see the discussion of patriarchy above and it is sad to see some trying to defend it. Recovering Grace has had so many great articles by knowledgeable writers and is a tremendous resource. The article above by Dr. Ron Allen is one such example.

    There are a number of other articles which might be of interest to the readers who happen to stumble upon this one. I would put the links below, but for some reason the website seems to be on a setting which does not allow links. However, if you go to the search bar in the upper right hand corner, you can put in keywords, such as patriarchy or umbrella and find the following articles which discuss in further detail some of the problems with his patriarchy teaching, chain of command and umbrella of protection.

    Some articles on this site:

    Peering Underneath the Umbrella: Musings on Gothardism

    An ATI Education, Chapter 1: Under the Umbrella

    Bury My Umbrella at Wounded Knee

    The Umbrella of Oppression

    Can God Speak Past the Umbrella

    Without an Umbrella in a Broken System

    The Leaky Umbrella

    At ATI Education Chapter 5. We the People Under Authority

    And many, many more.

    • rob war April 30, 2023 Reply

      thank-you Kevin for this summary. Bury My Umbrella at Wounded Knee is one of the earliest articles questioning the Umbrella concept with a real-life example (a very terrible one) of where being under authority did not work at all. Jinger in her book describes without using the word patriarchy how she as an adult woman was unable to make her own decisions and have her own opinion. Both books "Jesus and John Wayne" and "The Making of Biblical Womanhood" mention Bill Gothard and his key role he played in the development of what is called patriarchy. Those that come here and want to question others on what they mean by patriarchy have not either read any of the articles here, have not read Jinger's book or even the recent book I just mentioned.

      All one has to do is look at Anna Duggar to know what is wrong with patriarchy teaching. Here is an adult woman with 7 children, no real education where she could work to support herself and her children and Josh now in in jail. She was raised just to be a stay-at-home mother who homeschools her children in a sham married with an abusive immoral pervert. She was raised to be dependent on Josh and now is dependent on the Duggars and her family. I think that is why she hasn't left him which I feel she does have every right to do. It is very sad and tragic. Her father was all in on her marrying Josh, ignoring the red flags of his previous moral issues. So, her umbrella of her father did a terrible of job of protecting Anna from a marriage to someone that can't kept his vows. Yet Bill guarantees that having parental approval was essential protection from bad marriages. This didn't work out too well for Anna and she is now a dependent on others raising 7 children by herself.

      • kevin April 30, 2023 Reply

        Hi Rob.

        I just re-read the article, Bury My Umbrella at Wounded Knee. Such a powerful example of what nonsense the Umbrella of Protection is.

        This comment:

        "It would be interesting to hear Black Kettle and Col. Chivington discuss Bill Gothard’s concept of God’s chain of command with regard to the special tragedies beyond even prayer for those outside it’s protective umbrella.

        It would be interesting indeed.

        Joel Crosby wrote that article in 1973, which RG reprinted. So, it has been at least 5 decades that people have been articulating the misuse of scripture by Gothard.

        Of course, the goal line is always moved, which makes it challenging to get the truly committed Gothard followers to take anything on board. One can imagine Gothard now, asking if perhaps the Native Americans slaughtered, and not protected by the umbrella of protection, had any Cabbage Patch dolls amongst them. Oh, wait, their music had a beat to it, drums, perhaps this is the cause of the leaky umbrella, which led to their massacre.

      • kevin April 30, 2023 Reply

        Indeed, Anna was not protected by the so called Umbrella of Protection. A man-made idea, presented as if it was in the Bible.

        Bill is still at it, promising success. In his video promoting Embassy University he claims: "Your succcess in the program is guaranteed by God." What utter nonsense. No one can promise such things.

        Fortunately, I get the impression that very few listen to him anymore.

    • JM May 1, 2023 Reply

      I wouldn't dream of defending the ATI approach or any of Bill's logic regarding the umbrella of protection. But the umbrella concept isn't necessarily patriarchal.

      Bill would claim, and has in many cases, that women in charge would indeed facilitate a God-ordained umbrella, in such cases where a woman in charge would not counter any divine instructions (such as women preachers).

      But we can't simply throw out the idea of the umbrella, because it is based on some sound Scripture. Scripture does speak of authority, and the need to be under authority, and the proper reaction to authority by believers. When believers have had to resist authority (twice in the book of Daniel), Scripture gives us examples of how they did it - with great respect for the authority and in full submission of consequences.

      In other words, no one can just "throw out the clock" on the concept without properly understanding the Scripture that Bill is (mis)using. I can certainly agree that he went way too far with his umbrella analogy, but the concept he is basing it on is not un-Biblical.

      Neither is the concept of patriarchy. God actually instituted some of those structures, specifically in regard to the church. The difference being it was not intended to be a boy's-club method of excluding women. Contrarily, it was about carving out special niches in which BOTH genders would ministry, with BOTH working together and alongside each other. Again, if we take the modern idea of "down with the patriarchy" that is so popular these days, we risk doing a disservice to the very Text that we claim to obey.

      I read a lot of these articles. I like them. But we have to be very clear and objective in these matters. Are these articles actually refuting any of Bill's teaching? Or do they aim simply to inform others of WHAT he taught? I see a lot of the latter and less of the former. And I want the former. I want to see the actual refutation.

      Otherwise, we risk being a site that invites ridicule of a thing. I don't believe we want that here - just another web forum to bash someone or something. The web has enough of that. I understand this site wished to be something else, and they did succeed in many ways. I think we need to meet that mark again.

      • rob war May 1, 2023 Reply

        There is a difference between when the Bible does talk about different authorities such as civil, priests in the OT, Bishops and Apostles in the new, parents etc. but all these different authorities had limits because in the final, God is the ultimate authority, over and above all of the others. There is no mention anywhere that authority is an umbrella or an umbrella of protection. You can't have it both ways which you seem to be trying here. Maybe the various articles here weren't up to what you are looking for, but they are honest, and echo like in Jinger's book the damaging effects of top-heavy authoritarianism that Bill taught which puts males at the top and women and children at the bottom. Recent books about patriarchy and all its forms do list Bill Gothard as someone that was once key in this. All you have to do is read them.

        • Susan May 2, 2023

          This lady goes so far as to call out patriarchy as sin. And uses scripture to show why

        • David S. Knecht Sr. May 3, 2023

          Which two ways are we withholding from brother JM? Has he said anything mutually contradictory? He gives the impression of neutrality (stopped clocks) about Gothard and his teaching. But isn't neutrality often a virtue? Isn’t this a website about grace?

          The authority model presented on 5/1 above is layered, just like real authority. Apostles, bishops, priests, centurions, and fathers have authority only as they are under authority.

        • JM May 8, 2023

          I don't believe anyone anywhere is suggesting that authority doesn't have limits. We all know God is the ultimate authority.

          As for having it both ways, I ask you to kindly elaborate on that. In which two ways am I trying to have it?

          The fact is that Scripture plainly supports a form of patriarchy. That can simply not be denied. It is just a matter of what and how.

          As for authority being an umbrella. I don't know that I propose that concept. I don't believe I've given that impression. I am on the fence on this one. I agree it isn't explicitly mentioned in the Bible.

          But does it have to be mentioned for it to be true? Can a thing not be logical when not stated? We never explicitly see the words "church membership" in Scripture either, but the concept is still valid, and we would even point to the concept in certain passages. Yet the exact words are not there.

          We could go on to other subjects as well, such as "rapture," but that would be very lengthy indeed. Point being, we don't have to have it mentioned for it to be true. The question would then be simply is authority a protection?

          I have to say it would be a logical yes. If someone is between you and something else (another authority or some other force), that authority is by definition of position acting as a buffer. Whether the buffer works well or at all is another question entirely.

          No one would argue the bumper on your car is not a protection from backing into a tree. Its position determines its function to some degree.

          I would probably agree that Bill argued and made a spiritual application where one does exist from Scripture, but again, that cannot mean the problem is in concept. That would be in connection. I know several supervisors that have had to put out fires between upper level management and ground level employees. That is authority acting as protection. No problem in concept.

          If that is "having it both ways," then it is logical. Nothing contradictory here.

          And again, the problem I see in some of these articles ought to be obvious. Anyone can share a story. When that story is passed off as objective proof, or when an article claims to refute the claim of another, these elements must pass a logical test. The refutation has to stand up.

          What comes across to me is "Bill taught this; I believed it for years; now I do this; what freedom I have!" These may be compelling stories, but they are not disproven Bill's claims. They are simply telling the story of someone who changed. It is what it is and nothing more.

          I believe this site intended to do more than that. And these articles are by title claiming to do more than that. Then they simply should, and so many of them do not. That has to be a problem. In some area.

          There's nothing wrong with the stories shared. I'm glad we have them. But then the site becomes complaint fuel, no better than the comments section of a Facebook or YouTube review. Don't we want more?

        • JM May 11, 2023

          I'd like to ask you kindly to elaborate on your meaning of having it both ways. I don't believe I've done that here.

          The fact remains that Scripture not only allows authority structures, but sanctions patriarchy at times. That is a fact. BUT Scripture does indeed include examples of authority that abused their positions or were corrupt, such as pagan rulers, and even David in a few instances.

          The two concepts are not mutually exclusive. Patriarchy in itself isn't an evil concept.

          I would agree that the issue of authority being protection isn't expressed in Scripture. But does it need to be? If an authority is between you and a higher authority, that immediate authority is indeed acting as buffer. It is protection. We don't need Scripture to tell us that.

          I've seen a number of times in the workplace where an immediate supervisor mediates a dispute between upper level management and the employee. That isn't all that uncommon.

          It would appear to me that Bill erred in making it spiritual or connecting it with Scripture. Since there isn't any time in Scripture where authority is codified as protection, a spiritual application from Scripture along these lines would be drawing a faulty conclusion at best.

          But that doesn't negate the concept. Scripture supports authority and authority structure. And authority can and does act as protection. These are solid concepts. They're just not connected in Scripture. Problem here is in connection, not concept.

          This is why I say we have to be careful. In wanting to warn of false teaching, let's not throw out the things that are good. It's a case where the meat and the bones have to separated carefully in order to chew and digest. We don't have to throw out the whole steak. The steak is perfectly. It's the bones that need be removed.

          I want to make clear what I say about the articles on this site. I believe they are good, and they are/were very important to the subject. It was important to bring people together to share stories. In so sharing, we find corroboration on details. That is why Charlotte's story carries more weight for me than it does to, say, Alfred over at DG. There are claims made, and corroboration on at least two elements. That makes Charlotte's claims plausible, making the entire story more plausible.

          Sharing personal stories is great. But, in truth, nothing is establish just with a story. Evidence has to testify. In the absence of such evidence, we are left with hearsay and controversy. That is convincing to many, but it simply can't stand as fact.

          If you want to disprove anything Bill claimed, the burden is, and always will be, on you to do so. We need to do more than simply "Bill taught this; I do this now; look at how much better it is." This site isn't necessarily guilty of that. But where is the Biblical refutation? Again. I am not saying it doesn't exist. I'm saying it needs to be plain. If it exists in such great numbers, show it. Do it. It shouldn't be difficult, right? Simply saying "read the articles" doesn't help.

          I have not intended to be disagreeable here. Nor do I wish ill upon any of you or the moderators. But I am a creature in search of truth. I must find truth in order to side with anyone or turn from anything. I have to be particular. It is a high standard to meet at times, but the truth is worth it. The truth is what matters, not my opinions, not my feelings.

  38. kevin May 5, 2023 Reply

    Susan wrote:

    "I hope you open up your site to more stories since Jinger's book will obviously have an impact on those still struggling with patriarchal teachings. Perhaps some follow ups to the stories and how those writers are doing today and their take on Jinger's book and their walk in freedom and liberty that Christ offers all of us."

    I think this is a great idea. It would be nice to have an update on how the writers of the early stories on RG are doing today. An article about Jinger's book or even an interview would be a nice touch also.

  39. rob war May 12, 2023 Reply

    with all due respect, Bill's teachings are a broken clock that can't be fixed. You claim that you want nothing to do with supporting or promoting Bill and IBLP's teachings yet claim that his teachings are corrected like a broken clock twice a day. You stated you have read the articles here that Kevin kindly has pointed out and that you have stated you find "interesting". This probably means you don't agree with them in some form or another. Trying to play both sides here isn't working for you. No one can fix heretical teaching (false teaching, off teaching, whatever term you want to use). When the cup of water has poison in it, you get rid of the cup, you don't try to divide the cup of water and claim this part is poison, but the rest isn't. You are trying to play both sides for whatever reason. This isn't working for you.

    • David S. Knecht Sr. May 12, 2023 Reply

      Is our hyperbole helpful? Even poisoned cups can be neutralized by an antidote. In 2 Kings, Elisha famously cured a poisoned pot. If God can make healthy stew from a poisoned pot, is a stopped clock really such a dire threat?

      Meanwhile, why such absolutism about Gothard? Must all the world be divided into Gothard haters and Gothard lovers? between allies and enemies? between seething hate and fawning devotion? What if we recover grace? Blessed are the peacemakers.

      • rob war May 12, 2023 Reply

        You must be a fan of Neville Chamberlain. But the real hero for England in WWII was the uncompromising Churchill, not Chamberlain. There is no neutralizing error or heresy. I think you have heard of St. Polycarp, early bishop and martyr. He was trained by the Apostle John. While in Rome at one point, around the year 150 AD they think, he ran into Marcion, another Bishop and Marcion became a heretic and gnostic. A modern-day Marcion would be Andy Stanely, son of Charles Stanely who has basically discounted the OT. You can look them up. Marcion went up to Polycarp and asked him, looking for recognition "do you know who I am?" Polycarp's response to Marcion was this, "I recognize thee as the first born of Satan". This sound rather harsh to our modern ears today but maybe we need more Polycarps in the Church as opposed to Marcions. This encounter between the two bishops has been attested to by a number of ancient writers of that time period.

        You know the Koran attests to the virgin birth of Christ? That's right, the Koran does claim that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus and the Koran and Islam do have even a high regard for Mary, more so than some Christians do. Yet, I am not about to read the Koran just because it is correct on this part, like a broken clock twice a day. Astrologers were the wise men that followed the star to baby Jesus. Yet, I am not about to study or follow Astrology and its signs because the wise men were doing that. There is a saying "you can't dance with the devil". You can't have peace just to get along. That is not peace. There should be no compromise with heresy which is poison and there is not a way to neutralize or sanitize it even though lots of well-meaning people try to. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" (St. Bernard of Clairvaux.) That is a pretty powerful quote if you think about it. If you watched that recent movie on Churchill, he was under a lot of pressure to cut a peace deal with Hitler. The movie goes into that. He didn't and in the end, he became the English hero of WWII, not Neville, who was trying to appease Hitler right and left to have peace and get along.

        • David S. Knecht Sr. May 14, 2023

          Chamberlain is poorly reputed among warmongers. But Churchill later regretted the war which destroyed both his empire and his political career. He called it "unnecessary." We can be both friends of peace and enemies of evil. But if we are clumsy, we can end up with neither peace nor goodness.

          Pat Buchanan analyzed the politics of the European war in his book about Churchill and Hitler. There was plenty of blame to go around. Folly and evil came from manifold sources.

        • Rob war May 14, 2023

          Pat Buchanan had and wrote some very controversial views on WW II among other things. He is to history research like Bill Gothard is to Bible study. Your views are from only one source which is questionable to begin with.

        • David S. Knecht Sr. May 15, 2023

          All movies are given by inspiration of God? Movie portrayals of Churchill and wars must be true? When a movie portrays Tom Hanks meeting Lyndon Johnson, that also must be true?

          As for Churchill's regrets about the war, a quick internet search pulls them up. His regrets are not in dispute. Pat Buchanan elaborated on the obvious.

          Strife and slaughter have many friends, so long as they keep a safe distance from us. Which spirit befriends them, the spirit of Christ or the spirit of Satan? St. James was right: "From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence? even of your lusts that war in your members?"

          On CNN recently, Trump promised to end the slaughter in Ukraine. Hopefully he succeeds, or at least somebody does.

        • rob war May 15, 2023

          I have no idea what you are talking about. Instead of defending your views which are copied from an extremist like Pat Buchanan about WW II which have been condemned roundly by a lot of people as pro-Hitler and antisemitic, you go off on a tangent about movies of which I only generally mentioned. Pat Buchanan is to history like Bill Gothard is to bible study. Neither one should be doing it. Maybe it shows what kind of mind set gravitates to the likes of Pat Buchanan and Bill Gothard and that picture is not a healthy one.

    • JM May 12, 2023 Reply

      None of you have yet to point out any article that plainly refutes any specific idea or teaching of Bill. That is a problem.

      I can play both sides. That is being neutral. That is searching for truth.

      You can't fault Bill if he were correct twice a day, could you? You could only fault him for the things he is. . .at fault of. I have humbly asked you to do so. That isn't a sin, and it isn't siding with Bill by default. It is as I have stated, a search for truth. This shouldn't be difficult.

      The burden is yours here. If Bill's teaching is a broken clock, why can't it be fixed? We can fix broken clocks. Shops in Europe do it all the time. This doesn't sound productive. And it's exactly why I'm having a problem here.

  40. kevin May 13, 2023 Reply

    Fixing broken clocks?

    Are you guys kidding?

    JM said:

    "None of you have yet to point out any article that plainly refutes any specific idea or teaching of Bill. That is a problem."

    Are you kidding? This site has about a decade of articles pointing to the toxic teachings of Bill Gothard.

    Let's take a couple and look at how absurd the idea of fixing the brokenness of his clocks.

    His teaching on sexual abuse.

    I would suggest that you read the article on RG titled:

    "How “Counseling Sexual Abuse” Blames and Shames Survivors"

    The article utilizes IBLP materials and the 10 points are taken about point by point. How exactly would you suggest fixing this "broken clock", when the very core of it blames and shames the victims. It is so backwards in its foundation that it needs to be thrown out and those who were victims of this teaching may very well need help.

    How about the teachings about adoption?

    I would suggest you read the following articles on this site:

    "Adoption: The Ultimate Act of Grace"

    From the article: "Any Advanced Training Institute (ATI) family considering adoption is asked to first consult the ATI staff. Gothard’s CARE Booklet on the topic offers so many warnings and case studies of adoptive failure that its cumulative effect is most certainly to dissuade prospective parents from considering this option. "

    Have you read the IBLP adoption booklet that he mentions in the article? I have the booklet. It is terrible, giving anecdotal examples in the final chapter, detailing how families that returned their adoptive children were showered with unexpected blessings from God after casting their adoptive children out of their homes. It is nothing short of sickening.

    How exactly would you fix this teaching of which every thread of it is backwards and toxic?

    If you want a very detailed and thorough analysis of the dangers and teachings of Gothard, I would suggest you read the article, found here, titled:

    "A Call For Discernment: A closer look at the teachings of Bill Gothard"

    This was actually first printed in 1998 by the leadership of Calvary Bible Church in Fort Worth, TX.

    • David S. Knecht Sr. May 13, 2023 Reply

      Polycarp sounds like the Donald Trump of ancient church politics. Generations later, Martin Luther was just as blunt.

      But Churchill's heroism was as fragile as that of G.H.W. Bush. Both were rejected for re-election after war “victories.” As Churchill himself lamented, he squandered the British empire in an unnecessary war.

      But Christ seemed to be heedless of men's political ambitions. As Psalm 2 says, the politics of man are comedy entertainment for God. Jesus said his followers would be distinguished by love, not political conquest. Are we overdue for recovering grace?

    • David S. Knecht Sr. May 13, 2023 Reply

      Brother Kevin, may I defend JM’s neutrality? Consider the adoption essay which is supposed to budge JM from his neutrality. But adoption is controversial, with two sides.

      As an adoptee, I agree with the nuance in the essay. Adoption is no more immune to the stain of sin than anything else. Even at best, adoption combines good and evil, altruism and falsehood. It even entangles charity with fraud.

      Charity helps the helpless, but adoption begins with a lie. The adoptee’s “amended birth certificate” falsely certifies that one man is the natural father of another man’s son. Grace is supposed to be about truth, not fraud.

      In Gothard’s other teaching, JM may also be neutral. Even the RG “call for discernment” letter is both negative and affirmative. It leaves the burden of discernment about Bill Gothard on each individual Christian. If that is good enough for RG, shouldn’t it be good enough for JM?

      • kevin May 16, 2023 Reply

        “Charity helps the helpless, but adoption begins with a lie. The adoptee’s “amended birth certificate” falsely certifies that one man is the natural father of another man’s son. Grace is supposed to be about truth, not fraud.”

        Where are you getting this David? Is this what Gothard teaches or you came up with this on your own? Is this what your adoptee birth certificate says?

        I’m not sure how they do it in your state, but in my state the term “Father” is used, not “Natural Father”. If your own adoptive birth certificate indicates that your adopted father is your natural father, that is legally incorrect. I would chalk it up to laziness on the part of your county or state to not have the form be accurate, rather than using the inflammatory term of “fraud”.

        I’m looking over 6 birth certificates right now, from 4 different counties and all of them say Father. One of them is for an adoptee and it also says Father. Legally, a person can become a father by adoption, so this is not a fraud at all. The legal terms vary somewhat state by state, but in family law, the term biological father or natural father are generally used to specify birth father.

        I’d suggest that you have a look at your birth certificate. Does it really say “natural father”? If so, I bet that that your county is more accurate now than it was 50 or 60 years ago and they likely have more correct terminology now. Even if yours has that clerical error, to say that adoption starts out with a fraud is over the top. Lazy clerical error perhaps, but to say it is fraud is reaching to find something to criticize in an act of grace.

        • David S. Knecht Sr. May 16, 2023

          We non-lawyers reply on context to determine meaning. Because a live birth is a natural event, shouldn't "mother" refer to the woman who bore the baby named on a live-birth document? George Washington was honorary "father of our country," but wouldn't you be surprised to see his name on your certificate of live birth? or on millions of others?

          Unless you are being sneaky, why substitute legal fiction for natural fact? Unless you are being sneaky, why amend an original birth certificate which tells the truth?

      • rob war May 16, 2023 Reply

        Your views David on adoption are shameful and sickening. There is no fraud in the birth certificate stating the adoptive parents are the father and mother. You are demonstrating the fruit of following Bill Gothard which is a corrupted view on life and faith.

      • kevin May 16, 2023 Reply

        "Unless you are being sneaky, why substitute legal fiction for natural fact? Unless you are being sneaky, why amend an original birth certificate which tells the truth?"

        There isn't always an original birth certificate. For the adopted child with no birth certificate, a court ordered birth certificate is a statement of facts that the court certifies as accurate, with respect to age and legal custody of the child. Your trying hard to be offended on this one and taking issue with legally defined terms on the birth certificate, which acts as a form of important form of identifcation for the individual. A father can be an adopted father, a natural father or biological father. There is nothing misleading or sneaky about the document, because the court recognizes that these are the adopted parents.

        My adopted child calls me father. Her biological father is dead. I love her as a father and she loves me as a daughter. There's no deception or fraud. We both know that I am not her biological father, and there are no legal documents which incorrectly state that I am her biological father. You're trying hard to find offense in an area where there shouldn't be any.

    • Rob war May 14, 2023 Reply

      Thank you Kevin, so we’ll put

    • JM May 15, 2023 Reply

      Kevin, kindly. You need to take a long look at what I am saying and what I am attempting to get at.

      I am, and have been, and intend to continue to be, neutral in this fight. I am searching for truths in the matter. As such, I cannot take a side until I see that truth.

      That means I might have to make everybody mad. I'm okay with that. The truth is worth it. But that also means I have to have an incredibly high standard to determine what is truth. I can't let just anything pass. Nor should you.

      What if we could determine that all of the stories shared on this website were demonstrably false? What would you say then? From where I sit, that would be a disappointment, but you would be more than disappointed. You'd be devastated if you had believed everything. That isn't wise.

      Now, on to the subject at hand, I believe, and I have stated, that the articles expressed on this site are valid and important. My contention is that we have to keep them contextualized. Most of them are perspective pieces, not refutations. Even the ones you mentioned are not refutations. It concerns me that you may not know the distinction.

      Refutation occurs when someone's position is presented, then facts are used to determine its ineffectiveness in standing. Neither of these articles you mention do that.

      By way of example:

      How “Counseling Sexual Abuse” Blames and Shames Survivors

      Article proclaims:

      Point 8 presents a vicious false dichotomy that pressures the abuse victim to symbolically “choose” sexual abuse as a necessary accompaniment or gateway to being “mighty in Spirit.” This is not mere acceptance that the past cannot be changed, nor just a choice to make something positive of the situation going forward; this is a theoretical active choice in favor of being abused. Here Gothard defies his own admonitions to his followers to avoid answering questions about hypothetical situations.

      This is fair analysis of the sheet's claims, if a bit pointed. But where is the author going with this? If there is a false dichotomy, where is the correct dichotomy? Who says this view is wrong? We need more than just this for proper refutation. This article doesn't pass.

      I believe Call for Discernment is the best this site ever did. I have often looked to it for good examples. But it, too, doesn't get into many details. It keeps referencing some of Bill's examples without stating those examples.

      This isn't a problem necessarily. Many in research do this when responding to essays. The assumption is that the reader is already aware of the essay or has the essay in front of him. But this poses a problem for me, who does not the Wisdom booklet or a background in ATI and IBLP besides the passing friends who were.

      My environment wasn't shaped by his teaching. I don't know what Bill said. So when the article mentions Bill's teaching in Hebrews 9:22 referring to the menstrual cycle, that obviously comes as a shock to me. Did Bill really teach that? There's a citation, but I don't have the source material to confirm it. I can't fact check the author to determine that Bill did indeed teach that. So the author is perhaps right. If so, the refutation stands (provided the author actually offered a counter-view, which the author does not).

      Actually typing out a block quotation from the material would have helped here. It's not required, but in this case would help.

      Problem being, it would be easy in this case for Bill to simply say, "I didn't teach that, I don't adhere to that any longer, or you don't understand what I meant." It's easy to do this in the case where the source document is not present. I can't confirm how old it is, and whether the teaching continues.

      But that is a treatise on research and refutation. I have two accredited degrees in this field. I am qualified to speak authoritatively on it.

      But I still challenge on this front. What do we do when we find that Bill is correct on any of his teaching? Even on minor points? Do we throw that away with the bad, or can we accept it as correct and admit it? None of you are answering this question. It's important, especially when you seem to accept the "broken clock" analogy. If a clock CAN be right twice a day, the clock has correctly reported the time. We might be able to repair that clock, depending on the mechanism.

      I just keep hearing about throwing the clock away. That might be wasteful in some circumstances. I am calling for fair evaluation of the correct claims. I don't seem to see that you want to give Bill any credit here. Some of his elements are indeed correct Biblically. Can't we at least accept that? No, It won't justify all his conclusions, but we have to be fair, don't we? Doesn't the truth demand that of us?

      • David S. Knecht Sr. May 16, 2023 Reply

        Brother JM, with many years of ATI experience, I can explain.

        Admittedly, Bill Gothard's teaching is vulnerable to scrutiny. Gothard spent his life learning how to orient young people to Christ. Along the way, he employed whatever lawful gimmick turned up. He created chalk art, graphic illustrations, long seminars, and homeschooling curriculum. He packed his teaching with anecdotes and analogies, which can be helpful, but always break down somewhere.

        Good men could use Gothard's material to build a disciplined life or a good homeschooling program, but bad men could use it to justify evil. Isn’t that true of religion in general, and even the Bible itself?

        Some of the material here attempts to discredit Gothard’s teaching, but some is ad hominem, attempting to discredit Gothard himself. If we are wise serpents and harmless doves, we will filter gossip from academic critique.

  41. rob war May 17, 2023 Reply

    you claim and probably sincerely believe you are neutral, but the reality is that you are not. If you are not familiar with Bill Gothard and IBLP teachings, then how can you claim that you think some of it is biblical? According to you, what parts are Biblical in your mind? Whatever one thinks of his teachings, Bill Gothard was very black and white, all or nothing. The basic seminar built upon itself. It was very interlocking so no matter how sincerely someone wants to be, one really can't take part and pieces of it and state this is right and that is wrong. Have you ever bothered to watch the free basic seminar which is now available online? There are more negative and critical reviews of Bill's teachings all over the place, not just here, than there is in support which basically comes down to only one blog, of which you also participate on. A number of current books bring up Bill Gothard as a bad influence on Evangelicals. The uber Gotharite family like the Duggar is having their own older children leave the teachings. For you to imply that the articles, stories, personal testimony here might be made up or false states that you really are not neutral as you claim. Maybe you can try to explain what you think is right about Bill's teachings and support that beyond your personal opinion.

    • JM May 22, 2023 Reply

      Rob, respectfully, you are either not reading what I am saying, or worse, you don't care.

      Be honest with me. Do you want truth, or do you want people on your side? I am committed to neutrality here. Yes. I am.

      But neutrality by position means fairness. I have to be fair when looking at Bill's teaching, as much as I do the criticisms of it. That is how it works.

      I didn't imply the stories here are false stories. I'll ask you to look at what I said again. I insist that most of the articles here are personal stories. In other words, truth can not readily established in such cases - they are personal experiences.

      It's the same issue if I were to tell you the account of my loblolly pine that I planted in my youth, cut its sapling a year later, only to find it had 5 rings in the center instead of the 1 we would expect. You would have no way to confirm or deny what I said outside knowing me and my family to know where I lived at the time and what access I had to forestry knowledge. It simply can't be established.

      That doesn't mean it's not true. It's that we can't establish it as such. BUT with teachings written in a book, we can do that. We can see what Bill said. We could refute it should we choose to.

      But we don't largely. My insistence is that we should. Simply saying such teaching caused some great hardships is not refutation. It could never be. When truth matters, we must look beyond personal stories. At the same time, let's do reach out to those that are hurt. Absolutely. But truth is what matters. It's bigger than all of us.

      I have already given examples of how some of what Bill teaches is Scriptural. Authority does exist. It is described in terms of patriarchy. Yes. This cannot be denied. But we can go further than that. Does it mean the same as what Bill claims? We could answer that, but we by and large do not.

      That's what I'm after. Actual discussions on the work, not just stories of personal hurt. Let's deal with facts. It shouldn't be difficult.

      If you don't think this is good, I have nothing to say to you. You're convinced by the multitude of personal stories. I am less so. I believe we should listen, but critically. Facts are more important. Facts are where the truth lies. And that truth is what is truly beautiful.

      • rob war May 22, 2023 Reply


        thank-you for your response. I can only be honest with you and that is in my meaningless opinion that you are not as truly neutral as maybe you think you are. Again, that is just how I interpret you. Beyond the personal stories, again for me, is how Bill Gothard uses scripture, which is heretical and false. The personal stories here and elsewhere and all over the place just confirm this because all these personal stories demonstrate how heretical use of scripture is harmful to those that follow them. Bill Gothard uses scripture like a lot of others for personal gain and benefit. He is similar to word of faith teachers and his interpretation does stem from his fundamentalism which is hyper-literalism and cut and paste, out of context, out of line. I have read enough early Christian fathers and teachers to know that none of his ideas line up with how the apostles, apostolic fathers and early Church fathers taught, read and used scripture. That is for me the gold standard. It may not be your gold standard, but it is mine and I am sticking to it. Bill Gothard like to think he is like the early Church. I can tell you without reservation that he is not and is only going off his fantasies of the early Church. I think for someone like yourself that works for a Fundamentalist University, attends most likely fundamentalists churches, Bill Gothard's teachings and ideas would be hard to separate out, because many of them are similar to what is taught in fundamentalist circles. In my observation of you and interactions of what you have written here and on DG, that is probably the struggle in a nutshell. You will probably say that this isn't true, and you are broader than this, but I can only go by what you have put out here and on DG. I appreciate your thoughtful responses. You try to be very respectful, and I do appreciate that about you. For someone that I think really does try to search out and seek truth, I do pray that you someday will reach that goal. All I can do is state honestly how I view you based on your various responses here and on DG whether or not that is how you see yourself.

        • JM May 22, 2023

          But no. That cannot be.

          A personal story can never confirm how Scripture is used. Scriptural use confirms how Scripture is used.

          We can see that. We can know that.

          If someone claims anything about Scripture, we can simply look at it and determine that. Can we not?

          Besides that, personal stories can only confirm truth if we can indeed verify them. But we can't in most instances. I give Charlotte's story a big plus over others, because there are two witnesses that can confirm aspects of it. That satisfies the OT requirement for establishing truth. I have to rule the story as plausible.

          Other elements, such as the scandal of 1980, are less of concern to me. They're already independently verified, and no one challenges these events.

          But in a court of truth, a personal story can always be challenged. Usually, it's by the opposite party. In the absence of any other evidence, we cannot rule that story as truth, no matter how emotionally driven or plausible it may seem.

          Let's be honest here. You have a hard time with my neutral position, because you are not neutral yourself. You've already made your decisions about all this. That is fine. But you cannot reasonably expect others to do so, especially when evidence is wafer thin at times. That won't work.

          I do strive for that centrist position. But being in the middle means I will irritate parties on both sides. I am okay with that. It means I will lean one way on some issues and other ways on others. For me, Bill was never an influence. He was not someone I listened to or went to his conferences. I am familiar with him, of course. But that means I enter this game without any inclination negatively or positively. And I still think this discussion begs a question.

          If teachings are false, are they false in whole or in part. If yes or no, what do we do then with the whole body? Is it not possible to use only what is true and discard the falsehood. We have to agree that Bill was correct in some parts. We have to. (If we can't get there, we will NEVER be in accord here.) Scripture does describe authority in patriarchal terms. That cannot be disputed.

          So what do we do? My contention is that we need to discard only what is false, not the whole body. If we're not careful, we throw the concept of truth out with it. If Bill were to agree with Augustine or Clement of Rome on a few points, would we throw these divines out with him, or would we keep what is true?

          If we can do it in that case, we shouldn't have any problem with what I'm suggesting.

          I'm concerned the vitriol some feel toward Bill serves to blind them to what truth exists. That may be understandable, but it is not only unfortunate. It is a handicap at best. I don't believe we need to do that.

        • rob war May 22, 2023

          I have never claimed to be neutral. I generally do not believe people are neutral when they claim this. The only neutral is the color beige.

          Of course, one can example the fruit of a teaching and false and heretical teaching produces bad fruit, and we see this bad fruit all over the place concerning Bill Gothard's teaching. Screwed up faith, marriages, childhoods, education have all been attested to here and in many other places. Claiming and stating that "this is God's way etc." when it is not. As Jinger said, her book was for anyone who sat under the teaching of someone claiming, "to speak for God but didn't". That is definitely Bill Gothard. Whether or not you can see this, want to see this or will ever see this belongs to you. I can remember the first scandal very well with his brother because that was the time period, I did attend the seminars. ATI for me was a later development of Bill. That sex abuse scandal should have shut the whole thing down. I also read the book from 1976 called "Gothard" which was raising critical red flags about him and his teachings. You can still get copies from Amazon. The book was suppressed by Christian bookstores because his seminars were so popular at the time. I knew people that followed him back then, hook line and sinker over a bunch of stupid stuff like not buying a car unless one had the cash, no business partnerships, etc. Stuff that is not anywhere in scripture. People believed single adult children should live at home. This list is endless and had nothing to do with the later ATI. No, I am not neutral

        • JM May 23, 2023

          Well I never expected you were neutral. That's not what I claimed. I claim you have a problem seeing neutrality because you are not neutral yourself. I'm accusing you of being a poor judge of it. You've confirmed this by claiming the only neutral thing is the color beige.

          But saying that doesn't make neutrality not a thing. As I've said before, you are not the judge of reality. Neither am I.

          I am neutral here in regards to Bill. I'm neither inherently pro or anti Bill. I will fall on one side or another depending on what the circumstance is and the facts involved.

          Which is the exact problem here. We can't establish facts from personal stories in and of themselves. We'd have to see some evidence outside the story. We'd all love to have that evidence, too. We'd love to see the whole incident on video tape. But in the absence of that, the story becomes a he-said, she-said. You don't see too many convictions ruled on that alone. Someone else has to verify a claim one way or another to sway a jury vote.

          I follow those evidentiary procedures.

          It is true I don't have the background in this that many do, and that is likely why I side in the middle of the debate. But doesn't that pose a problem? If the only measure of this is to see the tree by its fruits, wouldn't we need to take account of all the fruit?

          You see, if millions of young people come through this system, and we have bad stories and bad cases, it then becomes a matter of percentage. (By the way, businesses all across the world do this on a daily basis.)

          If one million people have come through, but we have a dozen negative stories, then the percentage of bad accounts is .0012%. It's not just negligible; it's laughable. That is no basis to say the entire tree is bad. We must conclude that 99.9918% is either perfectly good or at least hasn't experienced the same circumstances.

          The response then is to find what caused the fluke and fix it. Should be simple, since it is such a negligible number.

          Obviously, I don't know how many came through the system here, and I don't know how many had terrible experiences (or even what the experiences were). So I can't make any mathematical determination. That is the problem here. I can't just take anybody's word for anything. I don't know the people. I can't jump on that offense. I have no way to vet it.

          But neither do you. I can't take the side you do. My intellectual honesty will not allow me to. Go ahead if you want. You're claiming to just throw all of Bill's teaching out because some of it for sure is false. I say that's too far. I say to deal with the falsehood but keep the good stuff.

          I don't believe you can keep your position consistently. If you treat Bill's teaching this way, you will of necessity need to throw out everything that has the remotest hint of one falsehood there. That's going to be a tall order, one that you won't be able to do for very long. Many of the early church fathers were off here or there. Do you throw them all out? If you don't, you owe Bill an apology.

          I state again what I have stated before. I believe Bill is wrong in many areas, but he did get some basic truths corrects. None of it justified any of his behaviors, real or alleged, but we should give credit where it is due. Truth is still truth, regardless of the proclaimer.

        • kevin May 23, 2023

          JM, you wrote:

          "We'd love to see the whole incident on video tape."

          The interesting thing, to the true die hard believers, I doubt this would matter. They would find a way to explain it away.

          If you doubt this, go to that other pro Gothard website and read the story about Bill Gothard going down to Texas. Read the article and their narrative. Then find the actual video and audio tape on Youtube, recorded from the police officer's recording device. You will see that the narrative was very much twisted. And, listen to Bill try to deny saying things he clearly said earlier in the recording, about refusing to leave.

          The article was printed before the tape became made public, I believe. Yet, as far as I am aware, they have not updated the story to reflect the facts as demonstrated in the audio.

        • JM May 24, 2023

          Well I would agree with you there. Believers, especially zealots, believe without proof. That is the nature of belief.

          But we're not really talking about that. We're talking about factual matters. That is where I can claim what I am claiming. We need more than just personal stories to establish FACT. What we have otherwise is hearsay and controversy, both of which are fine. They are simply not facts, in and of themselves.

          BTW, if you have read the articles on that other website, you will know that I had a LOT to say about Bill going down to Big Sandy, and it was not positive.

          That actually plays exactly into what I'm saying. We know the Board asked Bill NOT to come on property. We know he signed documents agreeing to that. We have that evidence. We know he went to Big Sandy anyway.

          Therefore, we know that Bill violated a legally binding agreement. The argument Alfred and others made was that Bill didn't do anything immoral. They conclude the ministry property still belongs to him because it was given to his ministry. I argue that cannot be established legally. Legally, we know the Board's authority and Bill's obligations here.

          The argument they made is "right" versus legal. In that case, I'm less concerned about "right." They're using a rubber ruler to measure it. I have a hard time believing anything "right" could be contrary to legal.

          But I did indeed inveigh against that. That is the beauty of fact-based neutrality. I can stand on both sides here, depending on the issue, depending on the facts.

        • rob war May 24, 2023


          The audio from the police cam at Big Sandy also demonstrated what a befuddled old man Bill Gothard had become which also does not fit the narrative Alfred has put forth about Bill as being sharp and with it and ready to step back into control at IBLP. Just like befuddled old Biden not doing press conferences, although I don't think Bill is as brain dead as Biden. I would guess this is why Bill has not come out with all the negative press, books and now docu series coming at him. He would just come across as a confused old man, something like Biden but maybe not as bad, but bad enough to hide.

  42. kevin May 17, 2023 Reply

    JM, you are an interesting character. I’ve been directly or indirectly associated with Bill Gothard’s teachings for about 20 years. In my experience, all of the parents who brought their families to IBLB/ATI, and returned over and over, were seeking control over their children. Not one of them was ever truly seeking the truth. Mind you, I’m not talking about the family that dabbled and went to a seminar, I’m talking about those that returned repeatedly.

    So, here you are, not a parent seeking control over his children, just a man seeking the truth. And, somehow your search has brought you to the teachings of Bill Gothard and this website. Well, there is a first for everything.

    You’ve been here awhile. From your comments, it seems you have done a lot of reading here. And still, you find yourself as a truth seeker trying to determine what is true. Well, we all should be truth seekers. We all should be slow to judge. So, I can’t fault you for taking your time to try to discern the truth.

    At the same time, it perplexes me that you have spent this much time here and still can’t come to any personal opinion or at least any definitive one. Most of those that I’ve known who have put themselves under Gothard’s teachings have repented in one way or another or at least acknowledged the harm and now see him for the perverted narcissist that he is. A few have doubled down on his teachings and have locked their blinders firmly into place. For them, to acknowledge that they led their family into the influence of a false teacher for years is too much to internalize, so they deny and embrace what they need to embrace to feel at peace with their decisions. "Those are all just disgruntled former students." ect

    I’ve known a number of people who can’t discern anything no matter how much they take on board. I know one person who can’t even come to terms with acknowledging that Nazi Germany was evil. He’s not a bad man, but he still grapples with such questions as whether the Holocaust really happened or was made up. So, when you ask questions about whether all the stories on RG are made up, this is not unfamiliar ground to me. There are some whose personal discernment can’t allow them to draw any conclusions.

    This is not to equate Gothard agnosticism with Holocaust denialism, only to point out that there are some parallels. There are a handful of individuals who can look at volumes of data and can never come to a decision on what they believe to be true. It’s just how it is. The rest of us move on with things.

    If you have not yet drawn any conclusions about Gothardism, well, I doubt that you ever will. Now, I don’t know this to a certainty, of course, but I’d wager that a year from now I come to this website and you are still trying to figure out where you stand. I'd happy to be proven wrong and would be interested to see if you ever decide where you stand on things.

    • David S. Knecht Sr. May 18, 2023 Reply

      Speaking of interesting characters, doesn’t that describe most of us parents who try to keep chaos at bay? Since Adam and Eve, parents have been seeking control of their children. It doesn't seem to have worked with Cain and Abel, but parents usually realize that their alternatives are control or chaos.

      When JM reads the material here, he sees that there is no love lost for Gothard. Whether Gothard deserves all the bile is another question.

      • kevin May 18, 2023 Reply

        "Speaking of interesting characters, doesn’t that describe most of us parents who try to keep chaos at bay? Since Adam and Eve, parents have been seeking control of their children. It doesn't seem to have worked with Cain and Abel, but parents usually realize that their alternatives are control or chaos."

        We are not talking about typical parental control, but an organization that teaches over the top control and psychological manipulation. To suggest that Gothard's version of over the top parental control is needed, or else chaos is a false dichotomy and folly.

        In order to have control over their children, parents don't need to join a cult which twists the meaning of God's grace. They don't need to give a false representation to their children about their relationship with God, using the non-biblical Umbrella of Protection, to suggest that the children can only access God through their parents and under their umbrella. Dare they step out, God's wrath to fall upon them.

        "When JM reads the material here, he sees that there is no love lost for Gothard."

        This is a website is dedicated to helping people recover from the teachings of Bill Gothard. It is host to the accounts of many young women who describevery disturbing sexual harassment and grooming behavior from him. Are you truly surprised to find that there are those here who are critical of Bill Gothard?

        • David S. Knecht Sr. May 19, 2023

          Brother Kevin, neither I nor JM are surprised that Gothard has enemies. Enemies are usually the cost of achievement. Probably, that is why JM has not budged from his neutrality. JM can speak for himself, but what does it mean to recover from a teaching?

          Recovering from teaching? A Christian is supposed to be transformed by the renewing of his mind. We need recovery from the world, the flesh and the devil. Teaching helps.

          Don’t most Christians dismiss bad teaching as unworthy of their attention? When people are suckered by bad sales pitches, aren’t they usually more embarrassed than outraged? Outrage only showcases their gullibility.

          JM is neutral about Gothard, but I still benefit from the Bible memory habits I learned from Bill Gothard. If Bible memory is false teaching, I want more. Don Quixote was driven mad by excess reading, but not by excess Bible reading!

        • rob war May 19, 2023

          It is phony to reduce Bill teaching to Bible memorizing. There are a lot of different people that have supported and encouraged Bible memorization. Bill went beyond that and made false promises of "success" attached to Bible memorization and claimed this was the way for success. Bill would claim and state that "if you want success, memorize the Bible". So one's motivation is success, not trying to draw closer to God, become more holy etc. It is the grandiosity the Bill attached to Bible memorization.

          Please quit making sweeping false statements that people "hate" Bill because he was successful. He is not successful. IBLP and his teachings are in tatters. His reputation is shot. He is no way is an example of success no matter how many Bible verses he or you have memorized.

    • JM May 22, 2023 Reply

      I still think you are missing what I've said.

      Yes. I am a truth seeker. I am different here in that I had no background with Bill Gothard except for friends who were involved in it. I was not in ATI, nor did we attend the conferences.

      I did however have doubts and concerns about the movement. It did seem to me that those folks did everything Bill told them without question. I hold questioning in very high esteem.

      But if we question, we have to be consistent. I have to demand proof from everyone, not just the people I agree with.

      That is why, as I have said, if we wish to refute Bill's teaching, we have to refute Bill's teaching. There's a way to do this. We know what it looks like.

      When Bill makes his claim about authority and uses the umbrella analogy, we should be able to show him why the verses he is quoting do not support his argument. We should be able to decisively show that, if it were that wrong.

      But we don't do that. Very few of these articles are active refutations. Most of them are personal experience pieces. That is just fine. We need to hear those stories. But it is NOT refutation.

      Furthermore, you can't really refute some of that. Authority is a concept taught in Scripture. And it IS defined in terms of patriarchy. Bill happens to teach that much. That does make what he teaches here correct. It is that simple.

      No, it doesn't mean he's right on every aspect of it. And yes, we need to look deeper into his claims, even if he is right on one point. But isn't that fair?

      It's not often someone is absolutely wrong on every measure. Even a bold-faced lie has an element of truth to it. We can fault the lie. But we can't overlook the grain of truth. It's still truth. We have to be careful we don't lump what is true in with the lie.

      I'm not convinced Bill got much right. But he did get some parts right. I insist we must accept that and properly refute his incorrect teachings. We simply have far less of that and more "Look what Bill taught; this is what I do now; look how free I am." That's not a refutation.

      That is my position. I have read nothing in these posts to convince me otherwise, though I welcome discussion. And I welcome the attempts. But I have to be fair and judge it as I see it.

  43. kevin May 20, 2023 Reply

    Well, it's been long awaited, but the Bill Gothard/IBLP/Duggar family docuseries is finally being released. According to the Amazon Trailer, it will be released June 2, 2023.

    The more exposure that can be given to the rot that is IBLP and Bill Gothard, the better. This is going to get a lot of exposure, much more than anything else has to this date. Let the sunlight disinfect and let all learn of the dangers of these twisted teachings.

    RG forum does not seem to allow links anymore, but if you go to Youtube and search for: Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets - Official Trailer | Prime Video, you will find the trailer.

    From the trailer:

    "The IBLP teachings aren't Christianity,"

    Jill Duggar seems to play a big part in the series:

    "There's a story that's going to be told," Jill, 32, says. "And I would rather be the one telling it."

    "The shiny, happy images is the sugar, and we're all high on it," a different woman says. "They were just deceiving us all."

    " Bill Gothard 'turned every father into a cult leader and every home into an island.' "

    They are not pulling any punches.

    • JM May 22, 2023 Reply

      I am looking forward to this, too. You can be certain I'll be following this with a fine-toothed comb. I hope they'll expose which teachings they are talking about. I really want this to be good. But you can also be certain, I'll be analyzing it for proper refutation.

  44. kevin May 20, 2023 Reply

    Per David:

    "Enemies are usually the cost of achievement. "

    Said virtually every sycophantic follower of every predator ever, to explain away the testimony of scores of witnesses and victims.

  45. David S. Knecht Sr. May 20, 2023 Reply

    On May 19 above, we look at Gothard's teaching about Bible memorization. Did Gothard make false promises that Bible learning produces success? Indeed, there is Bible text which seems to give these assurances of success. To test the question, we have to define success. success at what? at sinning? God forbid.

    Hopefully the man who learns his Bible wants to succeed at following Christ faithfully. Do we know anyone who learned his Bible, then succeeded at sin? who submitted to God and resisted the devil, yet still failed?

    Then we raised the question of Gothard’s success. Again, success at what? If Gothard was trying to build a thousand-year reich, then he failed. But what if he was imitating his Lord, whose multitudes fell away by thousands until only a fragile remnant of twelve remained? Was that success?

    • rob war May 21, 2023 Reply

      Just look at the Embassy University web site by Bill Gothard. He is "guarantying true success" and he repeatedly make this statement because "every student will be meditating" which he equates with rote Bible memorization which is what this whole program is about. When he shares what is considered success stories, he points to multimillionaires like the Greens of Hobby Lobby, some chick named Cristina Guerra, who is now a sowing of money (ie. wealthy), a pastor named Ken Pierpont, someone named Grace etc. All of these people are now rolling in the doe because they memorized their Bibles. He has as one of his books, "Do you qualify to get money from God". Bill has become another prosperity Gospel peddler. These are false promises he is making. I don't see any difference between Bill Gothard ideas as presented now on Embassy University than Kenneth Hagin who wrote a pamphlet "How to write your ticket with God". Same sort of thing. Bill in the past promoted memorizing a chapter a week. These are false promises and guarantees. The only thing I have seen from people that are heavy into rote memorization is that they become very good at mis-quoting scripture and their own understanding of scripture is totally lacking. Quoting the Bible like a machine gun isn't the answer and doesn't in the end make one more Christ like, more holy, better understanding and all we have to do to see this is look at Bill Gothard.

      • kevin May 21, 2023 Reply

        You mentioned Embassy University, indeed, what a joke. Yes, the promise of success, as if anyone could promise such a thing. It is hard to imagine that anyone is falling for this program, in which you can earn a 4-year degree, masters degree and even a PhD, all while you sleep. I doubt many have signed up for this turkey, but I'm certain that there have been a few takers.

        Can you imagine what future job interviews would be like for those who earned their degrees from this program when asked to describe the nature of their post graduate education? I can't think of many legitimate companies with whom such credentials would pass muster, and would probably lead to an enormous about of side splitting laughter when the interview is over.

        I wonder how many companies are looking for employees who earned their degrees in their sleep? Hmmm, maybe being a tour guide for Ken Ham's Ark Encounter? lol

        • rob war May 21, 2023

          there is so much bad material on that web site, I don't know where to begin. One of his books claims and is titled, "first Century founding of America" where Bill states that America really got its start with the Apostles. One simply cannot make this stuff up. Bill quotes from four founding fathers in his "God Bless America" stuff. Ben Franklin was not a Christian. George Washington was a free Mason and even in that quote, does not refer to God but as a force or divine hand. John Adams was an early Congregationalist. There are two extremes when viewing early America. One which paints all these guys as agnostic deist, the other which Bill Gothard promotes is painting all these different people as devout Christians. Neither extreme is true. Considering that the new docuseries by Amazon is taking a hard look at political involvement from his followers is only supported by what Bill is putting out there on Embassy University web site.

          Trying to claim that one can just sleep away towards on education is just plain fraud and perverts Psalm 16:7.

        • JM May 22, 2023

          Some of us have applied at the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.

          Best be careful what kind of accusations you throw out. They don't just accept fly-by-night applicants.

          I was asked at length about my university degrees and asked to present a portfolio of my work. They are pretty careful about who they hire. I'm not sure what you think they're doing there.

  46. kevin May 20, 2023 Reply

    "Then we raised the question of Gothard’s success. Again, success at what? If Gothard was trying to build a thousand-year reich, then he failed. But what if he was imitating his Lord, whose multitudes fell away by thousands until only a fragile remnant of twelve remained? Was that success?"

    And we see yet another attempt to draw comparisons between the story of Jesus and the story of Bill Gothard. Persecuted by their own people. And you die hard Gothardites are just like the disciples? Staying with their messiah when all others turned on them? Oh, please spare us the messianic parellel you are attempting. Parden me while I vomit. No, Gothard is no messiah, with his handful of disciples. The devotees, rather, have blinders on that will not let them see the victims or hear their stories.

    For some Gothardites, telling themselves such twisted narratives helps them to continue in their denial that they led their families into a cult. That is a lot to swallow.

    • David S. Knecht Sr. May 21, 2023 Reply

      Brother Kevin, if the Lord is too lofty a comparison, we can bring it back down to earth for you. But that sidesteps the point. If you fail to build an enduring institution, have you failed? Hopefully not, because all institutions have limits. But what if you were building men? Remember Kipling's lines?

      If you can keep your head when all about you   
      Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
      If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
      But make allowance for their doubting too;

      As someone else said about us armchair critics, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.”

      If Gothard did poorly at building men, how does our record compare? Are you and I doing better? If not, why not?

  47. rob war May 23, 2023 Reply


    If you truly think there are parts of Bill Gothard's teaching that are correct, why don't you watch the basic Seminar which is free now and on-line and tell us what you consider what is correct about IBLP/Bill Gothard and then tell us how all these testimonies and personal stories are not correct. Have you ever bothered to read Jinger's book?

    • JM May 24, 2023 Reply

      I can't comment on something I haven't read, but Jinger is not the subject of my posts here. The question is the correctness of Bill's teachings and what is typically found here. Within those confines, we ten to agree what is found here is largely personal stories. That is fine, because that is what this site was largely established to do - bring people together through telling of stories. But telling of stories is not factual in and of itself. It couldn't be. As such, I consider Jinger's accounts equal to all others. I have to. It is only fair. That does not mean I will not listen. I'm looking forward to the docu-series as much as you are.

      But then again, Amazon also had that docu-series called All In, which got the nature of Georgia's voting issues completely wrong and made terrible conclusions because of it. So maybe an Amazon documentary isn't the most credible of outlets.

      If there are two sides to every story, we must apply that here. If a false accusation is punishable legally (and it is), then we have to consider that when hearing personal accounts, and we must apply the standards of evidence fairly.

      I have already said I consider Charlotte's story plausible, because she has two witnesses that corroborate aspects of it. That satisfies the Biblical mandate for establishing truth. Problem solved here.

      I have also already told you two aspects of Bill's teaching that are accurate - the teaching of authority (the Bible describes and insists upon it) and patriarchy (the Bible describes authority in patriarchal terms). We can discuss these principles, and do so somewhat controversially. There's a lot to be said about context and intent. That is all good. But nothing can change these basic facts.

      And again, I have stressed that I don't agree with Bill's conclusions here. But I can separate his basic fact from his conclusion and see where he got it right.

      If you want me to analyze the entire Seminar, I am up to that challenge. I wasn't aware it was available online for free. Again, I'm not part of Bill's immediate circle. I know what others have given me (and I still have a LOT of acquaintances in that circle). I am not afraid to go through the Seminar. I did just that for Frank Garlock's music studies several years ago.

      But be careful what you wish for. I am willing to do so. The question is are you really willing to hear it? Are you willing to accept that there are things Bill got right? If so, what does that do for your position?

      The beauty of my position is that it can accommodate for such things - Bill being accurate in some, if very basic, tenets. I am, if anything, far less affected. But what about your position? I see you in more vulnerable place should it prove so.

    • JM May 24, 2023 Reply

      Well I've already addressed two such positions in these posts. Authority is a Scriptural concept, and it is expressed Biblically in patriarchal terms. Bill was right on that.

      That's basic, of course. But it is what it is - truth. Now, it doesn't justify his conclusions. I would say he erred with the umbrella of protection concept, but it still begs the question.

      What do we do with such truth, even when we disagree with the conclusion? I'm fine separating it out. My position allows for that. Years ago, the best book I had ever read on speaking in tongues was written by John MacArthur. I do not stand with MacArthur on several issues, but his logic and exposition on this topic, I felt, was solid. I have no problem recommending it, though I do so with caveats attached.

      I do the same for many subjects. I have to be consistent here. I couldn't hold your position consistently, which is why I've withstood it. I can't throw out good truth just because there are falsehoods associated with it or its speaker. I will give credit where it is due.

      And Jinger hasn't been my concern recently. I can't comment on something I haven't read, but I will apply the same standard to her. It is only fair, given my position. I will have compassion and listen. I commit to that, but I have to be consistent.

  48. kevin May 24, 2023 Reply

    JM, you wrote:

    "What we have otherwise is hearsay and controversy, both of which are fine. They are simply not facts, in and of themselves."

    First hand testimony is not hearsay. It is evidence. In court, there have been people sentenced to prison for life or even the death sentence, based primarily on eye witness accounts. There have been scores of people who have testified as to the actions of Bill Gothard. Also related, there have been thousands who have shared their personal accounts of how his teachings, removing and twisting God's grace, the non-optional principles, the countless mandatory steps for everything from dress to starting a conversation, that the evidence becomes far more than the standard for any courtroom.

    You can hear their voices, and you can read their words, or you can ignore them. It is a choice.

    "The argument they made is "right" versus legal. In that case, I'm less concerned about "right." They're using a rubber ruler to measure it. I have a hard time believing anything "right" could be contrary to legal"

    In my experience, those to continue to support Bill blindly look for anything to cling to for their defense. Fortunately, this seems to be a very small number of folks.

    Btw, I don't have an issue with your approaching and evaluating all the issues from a point of neutrality. That is how we all should be ideally, discerning any situation- without bias. It was David who suggested that I had an issue with your neutrality. David likes to frame the debate along his terms, and I have never had an issue with your neutrality. I took issue with a specific statement you made, in which you said:

    "None of you have yet to point out any article that plainly refutes any specific idea or teaching of Bill. That is a problem."

    I found this kind of hard to swallow, given the enormous amount of material, just on this website, picking apart almost every aspect of Bill's teachings.

    But, as far as being neutral and continueing to evaluate all things with level headed discernment, I'm in support of it.

    Personally, I did not come into the Bill Gothard situation completely neutral. I came into it favoring Bill Gothard. Not IBLP/ATI, but my small church used a good deal of his material, and I saw him as someone who was advancing the cause of Christ. I defended him in discussions initially.

    Then, I got a hold of his Basic Seminar textbook, which I purchased online on eBay and went through it page by page, comparing his teachings against scripture. Wow! His teachings are almost totally manmade, and yet he claims they are directly from God. He has a unique interpretation of Scripture and makes some outragious claims with that. This was before Recovering Grace, btw.

    Next I found A Call for Discernment, which had been published in 1998 and read through that. I then read Venoit's book and a bunch of other material, and also a couple other books written by Gothard and/or his material published by IBLP, these included the Advanved Seminar textbook, a book about marriage, the Character Sketches books, the adoption booklet and a few others. I would say that I entered semi pro Bill Gothard, but after evaluating the material, was convinced that he was not a teacher whose teaching biblical material, only claiming to be. To say that he twists scripture and proof texts would be an understatement.

    I should also add that I reached out to Gothard and had some communications with him directly along the lines of "Did you really say this? Do you really believe this?", trying to give him an opportunity to explain himself.

    This was before RG and before the allegations started coming out. I felt I had done enough homework to have an opinion and a pretty strong one.

    Then the women came out and I read all of their stories and all of the follow up counter arguments, followed the court procedings closely, reading all that was made available, which was lot, the entire court transcripts ect. I've watched every documentary I have come across and have listened to so many testimonies that it is hard to know why I had so much spare time, lol. I should say that I have also read every article published on that other website, which is pro Gothard. Anyway, I have my personal reasons why I follow this entire situation so closely, which I'm not going to share all of, to protect the privacy of certain people.

    So, I know where I stand on things. I have taken is all the evidence that I can and I believe I see the situation clearly. You and I are different individuals, however. It does not mean that you have taken enough on board to draw any conclusions. Generally in life, we can't ponder forever, at some point we need to take in all there is to take in and make a decision. This is the way a court room operates. There is never 100% of all information available, but as much as possible is put forward and a decision must be made, guilty, not guilty or hung jury. I take it you're still in the gathering evidence phase. To me, it seems this courtroom has drug on for over a decade with all the evidence needed. But, as I said, you are not me. You can stay neutral as long as you like, even if that is forever, if you feel that there is not enought "evidence" to take a position.

    • JM May 24, 2023 Reply

      Well, yes. A firsthand account IS hearsay IF it cannot be confirmed by other lines of evidence. That is the rules of evidence.

      It is true some have been convicted based just on eyewitness accounts, but it is not that simple. I have sat on two juries where this question came up, and I was in four other callings where it happened as well.

      Whenever you have a single testimony alone, that testimony CAN be evidentiary by itself. But there's a problem - controversy. Rarely in legal cases is there ever an instance where a single accusation goes unchecked. The defendant has the right and privilege under law to challenge the testimony.

      In US court cases, where two pieces of conflicting testimony stand by themselves, the tie goes to the defendant. Juries are typically instructed in this regard. I was in both juries I served, one state, the other Federal.

      In order for eyewitness accounts to produce a guilty verdict, one or two things must take place. Either you need several eyewitnesses claiming the same things (corroboration), or the jury must simply better believe the accuser. The first instance is what I am insisting on - corroboration before I consider anything established. The second is problematic. It does and has occurred. But in each case, there is more than enough ground for appeal. Usually, those appeals are successful to a degree.

      All I have insisted upon is corroboration of facts. I agree there are a lot of accounts, and we must listen with compassion to these accounts. But a false accusation is serious and punishable by law. Let's not take it lightly.

      The issue I find with these accounts is they stand in isolation. Everyone is alleging something that can only be verified by themselves. Charlotte's Story is the only one here that has two witnesses that corroborate aspects of her story. I consider her story plausible thereby.

      Again. It doesn't mean the others are wrong or lying. The issue is that I cannot establish them as fact or truth. They could very well be, but it's not enough for me to jump on the bandwagon. Therefore, I must stay neutral.

      But the case we're actually discussing presently is a question of Bill's doctrinal teaching. That is different because that is a matter of fact. We should be able to refute it soundly. But I don't see a whole lot of that, and in many cases, it's not the entire concept but conclusion or aspects. The example would be his teaching on authority. We all disagree to degrees on his conclusions - the umbrella of protection. But we don't disagree that authority is a Scriptural concept.

      So at least some aspects of his teaching must therefore be accurate. No question. It's a matter of how much and what we do with the rest. I have no problem separating stuff out. That may not be for you. That's fine. But you cannot expect or require me to do the same. I can't of you either, and I admit that. I simply challenge you to acknowledge it.

    • JM May 24, 2023 Reply

      There's not enough evidence for me to say the majority of personal accounts can be established as fact. Yes, a personal story IS hearsay IF it cannot be verified by either corroborating testimony or forensic evidence.

      That doesn't mean the stories are not true. I don't suggest that. It's just not enough for me to jump on the bandwagon by itself.

      Charlotte's Story is different here, because there are two witnesses for it. I consider this plausible.

      But the subject I am really discussing is Bill's doctrinal teaching. Is there any part of it that is accurate? I say yes, but it may be very basic - such as authority being a Scriptural concept. That issue is less controversial.

      I do disagree with the extents he reaches with his conclusions - such as authority being an umbrella of protection. But that doesn't mean the root concept (authority) is untrue. That is the distinction I'm trying to make. What do we then do with the teaching?

      I'm fine separating it out. If you're not, that is okay. But it wouldn't be fair or kind to insist that all of us do as we do individually. I am a student of truth. I have to be impartial. That means I may lean one direction in some areas and the opposite in others. I'm fine with that. My position allows for that. But I can't agree to something that I believe is fundamentally flawed. Thus, I have to split with you here.

  49. kevin May 24, 2023 Reply

    "Yes, a personal story IS hearsay IF it cannot be verified by either corroborating testimony or forensic evidence."

    In a court of law, testimony is evidence. Many of the witnesses shared their story while under oath in a court of law. If you personally are defining hearsay as testimony without corroborating testimony or forensics, you are coming up with your own definition, it would appear.

    "In the law, testimony is a form of evidence in which a witness makes a "solemn declaration or affirmation ... for the purpose of establishing or proving some fact".

    "But the subject I am really discussing is Bill's doctrinal teaching. Is there any part of it that is accurate? I say yes, but it may be very basic - such as authority being a Scriptural concept. That issue is less controversial."

    Of course some of Gothard's teachings are true. Also, he encouraged habits such as memorization of scripture, which is a good habit. I don't doubt the claims that some have made that this benefited them. But, there are also twists and contortions given to many scripture, which can undue much of the good of this behavior, if you think a certain scripture is warning against adoption, for example, when it clearly is not. Hitler made the trains run on time and built new schools. Yet, is there any sound minded person who would say that it is hard to establish whether Hitler was good or bad on the balance of things, given that he did some good things?

    • JM May 24, 2023 Reply

      I have sat on two juries, one state, the other federal. I am aware of the rules of evidence, and I agree with you.

      The problem is it is very rare that you ever have just one testimony. The defense will usually if not ALWAYS put up their own testimony. Outside any forensic evidence or corroboration, the controversy ends in a tie, which by American legal standards MUST go to the defendant.

      We're innocent until PROVEN guilty, not ARGUED AGAINST it. That is where I find most of these stories. They are wonderfully shared. I move with compassion over many of them, but I cannot establish them as truth without corroboration or forensics.

      And again, this is where I credit Charlotte (something Alfred and his ilk don't like). She has two witnesses. I don't see that for any of these other accounts.

      Therefore, I can only conclude that are interesting stories, possibly true. I can't say they are true. And that is just that. Nothing pro or con from me.

      I think you are understanding what I'm saying here. But you need to realize something - I am not claiming Bill is good. I am simply insisting we not throw the baby out with the bathwater. I don't suggest Hitler was good because of the road system he built or the promptness of his trains (even though we took inspiration from both for our own systems here later). I simply insist we give credit where it is due. Hitler did have good roads (at least, a good system - he ruined them all by the end of the war). That is something worth talking positively about, while not praising the man.

      It's something I'm trying to be careful to do, but that is the nature of my position.

      • David S. Knecht Sr. May 25, 2023 Reply

        JM, about those two Charlotte witnesses you cite; did you notice that the witnesses did not witness? The named witnesses were Dixie and Ryan. They testified only about opportunity and probability. Neither was cross-examined under penalty of perjury.

        Dixie described her disillusionment with Gothard, then opined that Gothard had opportunity for mischief, although she saw no mischief. Ryan explicitly denied seeing any mischief, but opined that mischief probably happened.

        So the witnesses testified about opportunity and probability, but observed no wrongdoing. Was unexamined testimony of non-witnesses admitted as evidence during your two rounds of jury service?

  50. kevin May 24, 2023 Reply

    JM said:

    "We're innocent until PROVEN guilty, not ARGUED AGAINST it. That is where I find most of these stories. They are wonderfully shared. I move with compassion over many of them, but I cannot establish them as truth without corroboration or forensics."

    The legal standard is proven "beyond a reasonable doubt." I would argue we are there. I accept that you don't believe so. When you have 30+ women with stories which give detail as to the grooming and harassment, almost all following the same pattern, it becomes something much stronger than he said/she said.

    Bill Cosby was convicted largely based on he said/she said. I suggest you google and read the article titled: "Andrea Constand and the Burden of Being the Only Witness"

    Constand was the only victim for which the allegations fell within the statute of limitations, but there were 60+ other women who told similar stories of Cosby's abuse. When it becomes he said vs she said, it is one thing. He said vs/ 30+ she said, it is another, and another when it is 60+ she said vs the lone voice claiming that they are all lying.

    "I am simply insisting we not throw the baby out with the bathwater. "

    Point taken. However, I'll share something one person said in response to the same statement about 12 years ago, with respect to the teachings of Bill Gothard: "The bathwater is toxic. Don't throw the baby out, but get it the heck out of that toxic bath water."

    Do you plan to watch the docuseries?

  51. kevin May 24, 2023 Reply

    Agreed. He certainly comes across as a befuddled old man. The idea that a befuddled 88 year old man would be returning to lead IBLP, when coupled with the scores of accusations from the women, well it is the stuff of lunatic delusion. Only the sycophantic fringe clings to such an insane thought. In the pre-internet days of 1980, it might have been possible to sweep accusations of wrongdoing under the rug and say “nothing to see here, move along.” Today, this will not fly, and not with today’s climate and lack of tolerance of sexual harassment.

    • rob war May 24, 2023 Reply

      thank-you. I really was shocked at how bad he sounded, which was very much his age, and it wasn't the robust picture that had been painted of him by Alfred. I can understand somewhat that Bill probably was in shock at being kicked out and was tired after a long road trip, but he brought all of that on himself.

      • kevin May 25, 2023 Reply

        Bill's behavior in that trespassing episode was so terrible and also so ironic. All those years teaching about obedience to authority. Then, when he is in a situation in which authority figures give him lawful instructions, he does not obey repeatedly. He would not obey the board telling him to leave the property, which they had authority over. Then, he was very insubordinate to the police officer, not respecting his authority. You could tell Bill is use to getting his way, as he tried to get the officer to alter the trespassing document, over and over and over. "Here's what you need to put down on the document."

        He would not take "no" for an answer and kept trying to control the situation. Good for the officer for not backing down and doing his job.

        I give the officer credit for his extreme patience.Given how long it took him to leave the property, and given how long he took to sign the trespassing citation,refusing for so long, there are probably many officers who would have taken him away in cuffs after a few minutes of noncooperation.

        • rob war May 25, 2023

          "Rules for thee but not for me". This was hypocrisy at its best. If I remember right from listening to that recording, Bill's assistant and help encouraged him to sign it, otherwise, I don't think Bill was going to. I also believe that this wasn't the first time Bill tried to attend an IBLP conference and was kicked out. Alfred admitted that Bill tried to attend some IBLP conference in California and was asked to leave or escorted out. So this wasn't the first go around, just the biggest and most dramatic. While I think that Big Sandy was given to Bill, the property deed is registered to IBLP and not Bill, so the claim that Bill owed the land because it was given to him is inaccurate. Bill had no more claim on the property after he left IBLP.

        • kevin May 25, 2023

          " If I remember right from listening to that recording, Bill's assistant and help encouraged him to sign it, otherwise, I don't think Bill was going to."

          Yes, that was my impression, after listening to the audio a few times. I believe the woman, whom I believe to be his assistant, finally talked some sense into Bill and got him to sign the trespass document. If not for her, Bill would likely have been wearing a nice pair of silver bracelets.

  52. kevin May 26, 2023 Reply

    David, you asked the questions:

    “If Gothard did poorly at building men, how does our record compare? Are you and I doing better? If not, why not?”

    I suppose that we might contemplate what it means to build men. Hard to compare one man against another, in this regard.

    Would it be successful building of men, and count towards this record, to build up men who would close their eyes and ears to the voices of dozens of women who described an experience of predatory grooming and sexual harassment? Would such successful men say, “They must all be lying, because my Dear Leader, would never do such things."?

    Would it be successful building of men, and count towards this record, to train up fathers to not believe their own daughters when they told them of a creepy old man who touched them inappropriately, and, would say to them: “ My Dear Leader would never do such a thing, you lie!”

    Would it be successful building of men to raise up men who could not hear the voices of thousands upon thousands who tell their stories of spiritual destruction, living a life filled with anxiety faced with countless man made rules, nearly impossible to follow, ostensibly from God?

    Building men? Some would say that fathering and raising hardworking honest young men would count towards this record of building men. If this is the measure, I can say that my record compares favorably, as Gothard has not raised even one son. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that you out point him in this regard as well.

  53. kevin May 26, 2023 Reply

    Does anyone else plan to watch the docuseries on Amazon Prime?

    I’m very glad that the dangers of these teachings are getting the exposure that they deserve. I don’t really expect to hear anything new, except maybe some personal anecdote from the Duggars. Those of us who have been following Gothard for years have probably seen and heard it all. But, this will be exposure on a scale that dwarfs all other warnings to date.

    RG has done an amazing job and compiled such an impressive library of content. Anyone wishing to go deep on these teachings has an incredible resource here. But, I’m not sure how much exposure it has received. Clearly, many raised in IBLP/ATI, eventually found their way to the site, but I think that most of the world does not know that RG exists.

    The exposure took a quantum leap when Jinger Duggar Vuolo came out with her book a few months ago. Her story was really not anything new to those of us familiar with Gothard. But, where RG managed to reach thousands, I think that Jinger clearly reached millions, due to the fame associated with the Duggar name. Good for her to tell her story and to warn others.

    Now, the docuseries will bring about even more exposure. I expect that it will likely reach tens of millions, with a big producer like Amazon behind it. I do hope that they did their homework and tell the story with accuracy.

    It is a good thing that others learn of the dangers of these teachings. They have reached so far into Christian culture. Many believers don’t even know the origin of some of these twisted manmade ideas. With the amount of exposure that this should generate, perhaps this will finally be the nail in the coffin. Time will tell.

    • rob war May 26, 2023 Reply

      One has to sign up for Amazon Prime Video of which I am debating doing. I know one can cancel that at any time. I am wondering how long each of the 4 parts is as well. This is the only thing that is holding me back from watching..

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