Bill Gothard responds to allegations

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SharperIron's picture
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Bill Gothard responds to allegations

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"More than a month after stepping down as president of the ministry he founded, Bill Gothard released a statement that attempts to respond" WORLD

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If Bill loved Jesus ...

then he and IBLP should accept that he is not blameless and can never lead a teaching organisation again.   He admits to 'platonic' touching, but used the same standard to publicly crucify others for decades.

In reality, the mere fact that an unmarried man was leading a 'family training institute' demonstrates fundies selective use of Scripture.  (husband of one wife, ruling household well, etc).   It boggles the mind that fundies use the 'husband of one wife, ruling household passage' to warn against women preachers, yet at the same time tolerated this situation for decades.   The hypocrisy and failure to speak out against Bill's position, behaviours and teaching over the last 30 years is the real tragedy here.  While people who reject Christ are responsible for their own decisions, the fundamentalist movement has given them plenty of genuine excuses.

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most of Bill's support has been from charismatics

I don't think many fundamentalists have been all that enamored of him for a long time, so spare us the bitter diatribe. Many of us have had no patience with Gothard and have had turmoil in churches because of the poor people he had influence over who would drift in and out of our assemblies.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Really?

Many of us have had no patience with Gothard and have had turmoil in churches because of the poor people he had influence over who would drift in and out of our assemblies.

 

Then why the silence for all of these years?  What is it 30+ victims who have come forward now?  Would there be this many victims if someone would have had the courage to speak up and call this man out for his false teachings?

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Ditto Julie!

Much of fundamentalism was quite fond of Gothard for a number of years before they gradually parted ways for reasons unknown. After their parting the silence regarding any problems with Gothard was deafening. BTW, in 1980 Gothard took a temporary leave of absence from IBYC for similar problems and the only Christian publisher to address it that I could find was Christianity Today and an insignificant church paper in Florida. In fact, a number of fundamentalist leaders came to Gothard's defense at that time.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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There is absolutely no

There is absolutely no question that Gothardism found a comfortable home in fundamentalism. I don't know the stats of what percentage of Gothardites were fundamental baptists but it was a large percentage and still is. And no in fact, there has been little confrontation of Gothard that I know of among fundamental baptists. I am trying to think of anyone who really took him on in a public way. For decades, the victims of Gothard have been talking on ignored message forums across the web. I am glad they finally got a voice.

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Since I last had anything to

Since I last had anything to do with Gothard (35 years ago) I have been a part of 9 different IFB works.  None had anything to do with him and at lesat 4 or 5 had a public stance against the heresy of Gothard.  I guess I don't see where he has fit in to Fundamental Baptist church thinking since the late 70s.  And even then the talk was that he was getting a more charismatic crowd.

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Not being bitter, just telling the truth.

I am pleased you heard rebukes.   However, as recent at the year 2000, Gothard seminars were being promoted and 'sold' within the IFB circles I was mixing in.

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In the 80's and 90's

At my Christian school (GARBC) in the 80's,there were a handful of teachers who promoted Gothards ideas and conferences, but most of the faculty felt it a bridge too far. In the early 90's, I heard faculty at BJU speak critically of Gothard's teachings.  I began examining his teachings myself in the 2000's, and I was surprised to see how much overlap there was between some of his teachings and the rationale used to support parts of the disciple-system/rules at BJU. It seemed to me there had been plenty of cross-pollenation at some point, but I can't say how far back that might have been.

M. Scott Bashoor Happy Slave of Christ

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There is for sure a lot of

There is for sure a lot of uncomfortable correlations between Gothard and fundamental baptists in areas such as music and dress. That being said, I have known many IFB pastors who were uncomfortable with Gothard because they saw him as a threat to their authority over the church. They tended to be the more authoritarian pastors and they had the same problems with legalism and externalism that Gothard did but were still concerned because they did not have the control they wanted over the Gothardites in the church who might for example blow off a church service for a Gothard seminar. So they criticized him for that, but I am not aware of any IFB leader who stood up and said that Gothard was legalistic and dangerous.

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Gothard and Fundamentalism

There was division in fundamentalism over Gothard in the late 70's and early 80's. There were problems in the IBYC  and some leaders in fundamentalism stepped in to help settle matters. Meanwhile, a small fundamentalist newsletter that used to be distributed at a Christian college published a series of articles critical of Gothard and particularly his Chain of Command teachings. Two interesting things about that were that the editor of the newsletter was a strong proponent of extreme pastoral authority himself and his newsletter was no longer distributed at the school after the articles were published.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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make all the breathless allegations you like

The fact is that there was once a time when Gothard was popular among fundamentalists. That's true. But the interest waned. He wasn't a separatist and his support amongst fundamentalists has been pretty well non-existent amongst fundamentalists for years.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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@Don Johnson

@Don Johnson,

Not sure why you refer to personal testimonies as a 'breathless allegations'.   I fully accept that in your circle of fundamentalist churches the support for Bill Gothard may have waned.   That is not my experience.  My point is also this.  The fundy energy with which female preachers are condemned does not match 'waning support for Bill Gothard'.   And as others have testified, the fundies who did speak out against Gothard seemed more concerned about the competition than his teaching and qualifications.

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From at least 1977-1981

each academic year, B. Myron Cedarholm (as president of MBBC) brought a message warning about what he perceived to be the dangers of Bill Gothard and Gothardism.  And Dr. Cedarholm wasn't worried about competition.  I'd have to dig out my chapel notes from 40 tears back for the particulars.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

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Gothardism's strongholds

I would have to say that my experiences align with what Don Johnson is saying.  I've been involved since 1985 with various fundamental Baptist churches in SC and NC, and in those circles, Gothardism was a non-factor.  (I also don't recall hearing his name mentioned in the fundamental Methodist church in which I was raised before college, though like many high-schoolers, I didn't always pay attention to "political" issues in fundamentalism.)  I don't remember any sermons condemning him or calls for separation, but his followers and teachings were just not an issue in those churches at all, by leaders or members.  Whenever I heard his name mentioned, it was from people I would have considered more to be more generally evangelical than fundamentalist, and it always seemed to me to sound more like a proto-cult than anything else.

Regarding some of the standards of Gothard matching up with fundamentalism, that's not really a surprise given some types of application of the scripture.  Correlation does not equal causation, and I would have to say that even though a number of the more "legalistic" (not really a completely accurate word, but often used by those who want to blow off all applications that affect behavior) standards may be shared by some fundamentalists and Gothardites, it's not at all obvious that those applications came from Gothard instead of arising from a common background or source used by both.

There's no question that Gothard has strongly influenced some fundamentalists, but that strong influence certainly hasn't been in all areas or circles of fundamentalism, at least for a number of years.

Dave Barnhart

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I suppose this argument about

I suppose this argument about whether how prevalent Gothard is in fundamentalism is sort of a waste of time because everyone is arguing for experience. However, in the IFB churches I have been in in my life, every single one had Gothard families that tended to be prominent and influential. What percentage of Gothardites are in IFB churches? I don't know but I do know that Don is wrong when he says "his support among fundamentalists is pretty much non-existent" because there is plenty of evidence to prove him wrong. For example, I was reading one of Gothard's support boards the other day and was uncomfortably aware that I knew most of his strongest supporters on there. They are from my IFB contacts. In addition, I know at least two of Gothard's board members personally and they are both prominent IFB.

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Earl Radmacher, Midwest Christian Outreach, the early 80's

Worth noting: 

Anecdotally: In NJ in the early 80's ... GARBC pastors who attended Gothard pastors' conferences began to compare notes and see through the mist to the core of the problem of Gothard's teachings.  

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In the San Franciso Bay Area

he used to fill the Oakland Coliseum then the San Jose Civic Auditorium, the last one I attended was at the Cathedral of Faith in San Jose.  Each of the venues though progressively smaller were still good sized and well attended.  My point being there simply weren't and aren't enough Fundamentalists in this region to make up the size of crowd in attendance.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

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Has anybody here read this book?:
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Gothard Who?

I've been going to IFB churches & colleges all my life in numerous states.  I didn't hear of Gothard at all until I was in high school when a friend went to one of his seminars.  Even then I barely heard anything about it.  No church I went to had any kind of Gothard influence that I recall.  It wasn't until I was in my late 20's that I met a family that I believe was really into Gothard.  Good family, but a little "out there" of you know what I mean.  Even now in my 40's I can't ever recall being exposed in any substantial way to Gothard or his followers.  All I know of him and his world is what I've read on the internet.

Very thankful I wasn't in that world.

I agree with dcbii's comment above that correlation does not equal causation.

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Re "Gothard who?"

Influences:

  • Courtship 
  • Anti-modern medicine
  • Anti-post secondary education - especially at secular colleges

Additionally his ecumenical approach drew from Billy Graham AND influenced Promise Keepers 

See: http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/gothard/general.htm

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I was exposed to him through

I was exposed to him through my New Evangelical church in high school.  However, i had a roommate at BJ that had his devotions out of character sketches...wierd but true.  I also know that the last church that Gothard recommended was an IFB church.  That church has send men to pastor other churches in the region.  You can see Gothard's influence, even though none of them would even realize that's where it came from.    As far as I can tell, the only part of the country that Gothard had any real impact in Fundamentalism was the MidWest.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

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Yep.

Larry Nelson wrote:

Has Anybody Read This Book?

http://www.amazon.com/Matter-Basic-Principles-Gothard-Christian/dp/09742...

I read through it about 10 years ago when I had several ATI families begin attending my church. It was a helpful book, but a bit oddly written IMO, alternating between chapters of analysis of his teaching with anecdotes of people burned by those teachings or the IBLP/ATI machine. The tone is a bit sarcastic at times, but overall helpful. It's the most extensive book length critique of Gothard I've come across.

M. Scott Bashoor Happy Slave of Christ

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Thanks SBashoor:

SBashoor wrote:

 

Larry Nelson wrote:

 

Has Anybody Read This Book?

http://www.amazon.com/Matter-Basic-Principles-Gothard-Christian/dp/09742...

 

 

I read through it about 10 years ago when I had several ATI families begin attending my church. It was a helpful book, but a bit oddly written IMO, alternating between chapters of analysis of his teaching with anecdotes of people burned by those teachings or the IBLP/ATI machine. The tone is a bit sarcastic at times, but overall helpful. It's the most extensive book length critique of Gothard I've come across.

That was helpful information.