More allegations against Institute in Basic Life Principles, Gothard

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Bert Perry's picture

Regarding Jim's comment, it strikes me that the urge to put a lot of non-Biblical rules on believers dates back to well before Christ.  What were the Pharisees except for early Basic Seminar attendees, really?  So even if every single allegation against Gothard turns out to be 100% true (or even worse than advertised), some fool out there is going to dig up those IBLP booklets and recycle them in the same way that Gothard recycled a lot of his ideas from previous sources.

And to step on a soapbox I stand on regularly (sorry), this is what happens when people circle the wagons around a leader instead of throwing a flag at un-Biblical behavior.  Known problems with IBLP date back to the 1980s, but people still kept coming around and welcoming Bill Gothard as a leader.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

GregH's picture

For a bewildering look at how some people think, consider this statement from Gothard:

In an affidavit attached to the amended lawsuit, Gothard states that he has attempted to contact all the women "in accordance with Matthew 18:15–17," and that he is ready to return to active ministry because he has "fulfilled as far as possible [the] instruction" of Matthew 5:23–24, which guided his earlier resignation. He also states:

Here is the article: http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/january/more-women-sue-bill-gothard-iblp-alleging-sexual-abuse.html

 

Julie Anne's picture

He has already returned to "active ministry."  He's written 6 or 7 books, he has a new program - has access to all of the ATI e-mail addresses. I spoke with him on the phone a while back and he told me about the program that he was heading up. I asked him if he thought it was acceptable to return to ministry so soon. He said he had done everything that needed to be done. I told him that there were still women he had harmed who hadn't heard from him and he said he was unaware of that and that they should contact him.  

He greatly minimized his sin and involvement with women, acted like it was grandfatherly touches, and kept changing the subject to what the Lord is doing in his life now. He went on and on about Rhema - - how he realized that during those days, he wasn't meditating on God's Word before he went to bed and that's how sin got in his life. So now, he's meditating when he goes to bed and wakes up.  And of course he has materials to sell about this new discovery. 

His behavior is grandiose, arrogant, and it's really hard to get a word in edgewise because it's all about him and his so-called ministry. Is anyone holding him accountable?  Of course not.

GregH's picture

In my experience and observations with this issue, abusers do this constantly. They orchestrate a repentance, flying though a checklist so that they can be absolved of their past misconduct. They are good at repenting. They say all the right things. People want to give them the benefit of the doubt and that is where the train goes off the rails because in real life, almost always there is a cycle of repentance right back into abuse. It goes on and on.

 

 

Jim's picture

Institute in Basic Life Principles represents the very bad para-church:

  • Built on the personality and popularity of Gothard
  • Poor financial accountability
  • Doctrinal error (gross in my view)
  • Detached from local church direction
  • Sexual abuse
  • Cult-like

 

Bert Perry's picture

Proverbs 10:19 (oops, not 10:9) comes to mind for the abusive person who embodies the old proverb "If you can't blind them with brilliance, you can baffle them with.....[nonsense]"  They will slip up with something they say or do and will give you the rope to hang them, figuratively speaking.  Per Jim's comment, you can build off Gothard's weird definition of grace, the lack of sound finances (JA, there's some accountability from the donors), or even a strange view of Matthew 18.   

Side note is that as the ECFA is accrediting IBLP despite a business model that has horrendous cash flow issues (how do you spend $17 million taking care of only $70 million in assets?), I'm going to have to suggest that the ECFA accreditation model needs a bit of work.  

Look carefully and (rhetorically) hold on for dear life.  We do not need to be flummoxed by the sweet talker, be it a poltician, Bill Gothard, whoever.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

Pettit supposedly spoke or is scheduled to speak at a Purity Conference at Gothard's home church.  The senior Pastor is a BJU grad along with all the other Pastors.  The Senior Pastor is allegedly recommending that Gothard can return to his ministry.  I was greatly disappointed to see Dr Pettit make this move.  Someone tell me that this is untrue.  If Pettit did this he is tacitly approving that Gothard should return to his ministry.  What makes it worse it is at event where father's give daughters purity rings Sick.  

Joeb's picture

pettit

Jim's picture

Joeb wrote:

Pettit supposedly spoke or is scheduled to speak at a Purity Conference at Gothard's home church.  The senior Pastor is a BJU grad along with all the other Pastors.  The Senior Pastor is allegedly recommending that Gothard can return to his ministry.  I was greatly disappointed to see Dr Pettit make this move.  Someone tell me that this is untrue.  If Pettit did this he is tacitly approving that Gothard should return to his ministry.  What makes it worse it is at event where father's give daughters purity rings Sick.  

Suggestion: Nail down the facts before you make a conclusion like this: "Pettit ... is tacitly approving that Gothard should return to his ministry"

Do a little investigation before you drop a cannonball into the pool like the above:

  • What church? Who is/are the pastor(s)
  • What conference? What dates? Was (or is if it is future) Petitt even speaking?
  • Is Gothard really a member there?
  • Is above pastor really recommending Gothard return to the ministry?
  • Document somehow

Report back before worth discussing

Julie Anne's picture

Recovering Grace is a website which discusses the teachings of Gothard and also has published personal testimonies of approximately 40 victims of Gothard/IBLP.  On the Recovering Grace Facebook page, they posted the following.  I am glad they have a robust anti-SLAPP law in the state of Illinois. 

**************************************************************************************************************

Dear friends, we wanted to share with you the following letter that was forwarded to Recovering Grace by the law firm representing the plaintiffs suing Bill Gothard and IBLP. While every story that we have ever published was with the knowledge that we might one day have to defend our decisions in a court of law, it is nonetheless disturbing to see these threats in print. Your continued prayers are appreciated.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Counsel -- It is unfortunate that Plaintiffs’ attorneys feel the need to circulate these pleadings to the press. Just remember this once the Court rules on the pending motions to disqualify.

Also, demand is hereby made upon any and all of your clients that have posted false and defamatory statements on the Recovering Grace website to immediately remove them.

Those persons can anticipate a counter-claim or cross-claim against them, in conjunction with the principals behind that website, for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress seeking actual and punitive damages in an amount in excess of $1,000,000 (with such an award after expenses be payable to an appropriate not for profit organization) along with such other injunctive and equitable relief the Court deems just.

Every day those postings remain in the public domain undoubtedly will enhance the damages recovery.

Glenn Gaffney
(gg@gaffneylaw.co)
Gaffney & Gaffney PC
1771 Bloomingdale Rd.
Glendale Heights, Il 60139

Rob Fall's picture

defense is attempting to play hardball.  It is pitching fast and inside.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Seth Johnson's picture

Why do I keep clicking on the stories about _________ (Gothard, Clinton, Driscoll, Richards, etc) hoping to read that they have admitted fault resigned completely, exited public life and the ______(IBLP, Clinton Foundation, MDM, Planned Parenthood etc.) has shut down, their followers having seen the light of their folly and abandoned them.   

Why oh why?  

Joeb's picture

Pettit allegedly  spoke at the teen purity banquet at Independent Baptist Church Bolling Brook ILL on February 13 2016.  The Senior Pastor is David Sheaf.  Sheaf is allegedly named in the lawsuit as having Gothard under disciplinary management and is allegedly recommending that Gothard return to his ministry.  I have a copy of the church web page but can't copy it over. My question to you guys is this true or manufactured.  If this is Gothards home church and Pettit spoke at a Gothard type event to me that would give an appearance of evil that I think Pettit would want to avoid concerning the unresolved problems with Gothard. Obviously not publicized.  This maybe false info but I don't know so again I'm asking you guys since it is relevant regarding Gothard.  

Jim's picture

Joeb wrote:

Pettit allegedly  spoke at the teen purity banquet at Independent Baptist Church Bolling Brook ILL on February 13 2016.  The Senior Pastor is David Sheaf.  Sheaf is allegedly named in the lawsuit as having Gothard under disciplinary management and is allegedly recommending that Gothard return to his ministry.  I have a copy of the church web page but can't copy it over. My question to you guys is this true or manufactured.  If this is Gothards home church and Pettit spoke at a Gothard type event to me that would give an appearance of evil that I think Pettit would want to avoid concerning the unresolved problems with Gothard. Obviously not publicized.  This maybe false info but I don't know so again I'm asking you guys since it is relevant regarding Gothard.  

Who "alleges"? (By the way one maening of "allege" is "to assert without proof.")

I asked once on S/I if anyone knows Gothard's home church. Perhaps someone answered but I don't recall.

You are using the "appearance of evil" verse incorrectly! I Thessalonians 5:22 (NKJV): "abstain from every form of evil." See other versions

I think you are falling into a trap of BJU haters (not calling you a hater ... but I've seen some folly on Facebook about this!) to find fault in Pettit over nothing! 

Rob Fall's picture

been under the impression Mr. Gothard attended a Bible Church.  At least in the 77-81 time frame, one of the points of the late B.M. Cedarholm's opposition to Gothard and his ministry was Gothard wasn't a member of a Baptist church.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Jim's picture

Rob Fall wrote:

been under the impression Mr. Gothard attended a Bible Church.  At least in the 77-81 time frame, one of the points of the late B.M. Cedarholm's opposition to Gothard and his ministry was Gothard wasn't a member of a Baptist church.

Ditto

Joeb's picture

Jim Exhibit in  A of the lawsuit Gothard's affidavit in which he names Sheaf as his Pastor, says he is submitting to Sheaf's spiritual authority, and claims Sheaf is recommending that he (Gothard) can return to his ministry.   Of course Gothard could be lying but if this is true then the aforementioned church is his home church for now or at least at the time of the affidavit.   Of course Dr Pettit might not know these facts but correct me if I am wrong isn't a Purity Banquet a Gothard invention.  

Joeb's picture

If Sheaf is backing the return of Gothard to the ministry prior to the resolution of the allegations in civil court I highly question his judgment as a Pastor.   This may be a big if based on Gothard claiming it   Still if true I don't see how one couldn't question Sheaf's judgement very critically. If you didn't then one is following into and giving credence to all the allegations against the IFB.  By Pettit speaking at an event that is connected to or an invention of Gothard's ministry Pettit is giving the appearance that he is showing support of Gothard and Sheaf.  

Jim's picture

Joeb wrote:

If Sheaf is backing the return of Gothard to the ministry prior to the resolution of the allegations in civil court I highly question his judgment as a Pastor.   This may be a big if based on Gothard claiming it   Still if true I don't see how one couldn't question Sheaf's judgement very critically. If you didn't then one is following into and giving credence to all the allegations against the IFB.  By Pettit speaking at an event that is connected to or an invention of Gothard's ministry Pettit is giving the appearance that he is showing support of Gothard and Sheaf.  

Isn't it possible that Pettit would have been unaware of of the Gothard statements in Exhibit A? Possible that:

  • He was booked months (even a year ago) and
  • The civil deposition (with Gothard's statement) was unknown to him?

Wouldn't it be prudent to give him the benefit of the doubt? I am

TylerR's picture

Editor

If you would, follow this trail of sinister apostasy:

  • Pettit lives on planet earth - Gothard lives on planet earth
  • Pettit lives in the US - Gotharrd lives in the US
  • Pettit is a US citizen - Gothard is a US citizen
  • Pettit is a Christian - Gothard is a Christian
  • Pettit is a conservative - Gothard claims to be a conservative
  • Pettit resides in South Carolina - Gothard has set foot in South Carolina before
  • Pettit knows people who know Gothard
  • Pettit has (gasp!) actually spoken at places where other people (gasp!) personally know Gothard
  • Pettit needs oxygen to survive - Gothard needs oxygen to survive

Look at this! Clearly, they are both false teachers. There is just way too much similarity here to be a coincidence. I hope somebody takes this for action . . .

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

GregH's picture

Here is some clarification: http://www.discoveringgrace.com/questions/

Search for Petitt's name and you will see his justification for going including an email response to someone about it before he went.

---- Moderator [Jim Peet] added the following from the above link (so no need to search for it) -----

“Dear —–:

Thank you for writing and expressing your concerns about my speaking at Independent Baptist Church.

According to my sources with Independent Baptist Church, Mr. Gothard is not an official member of the church and Pastor Shoaf did not recommend that Mr. Gothard retake the reigns of IBLP.

Since purity is a Biblical command and Independent Baptist Church is committed to teaching and encouraging Christian teens to be pure then I will keep my commitment to speak at their upcoming banquet.

God bless!

Steve Pettit

Joeb's picture

If the affidavit is the real deal it shows Gothard is a liar and adds a lot of credence to the allegations.  Gothard will be exposed by this lawsuit and it is just a matter of time.  Hopefully the victims will get some kind of settlement out of the deal and any Politicians or church leaders heavily involved with him will learn a lesson that it is your local congregation and Pastors where the believers should put most of their money and time into and not organizations like Gothard's.  PS TRUMP has taken SC YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PLewis's picture

SO - this is quite a LONG time ago...  We're talking 1970's .. Gothard's mother attended LaGrange Bible Church.  From what I understood that is the church he grew up in.. (not POSITIVE - but that's what his Mom told me.  As a teenager I attended there off/on with a friend .. worked VBS every summer for 3 or 4 years.  Met his Mom ..  I had attended IBYC my freshman year of high school - and was fascinated by the fact that I was meeting him mother.  

I attended high school at Marquette Manor (at the time Christian Academy .. now Baptist Academy).  There were families that had parent(s) working with Gothard.  He did NOT attend Marquette -  in fact I seem to remember thinking it weird that he seemingly did NOT have a home church. 

Interesting side note .. as it was pointed out that someone had an objection to his attending a Bible church / not a Baptist church... I was saved at Summit Bible Church when I was 7 years old.. laugh.. didn't start going to Baptist churches until Junior High... 

Bert Perry's picture

Regarding Pettit and this, Pettit spoke at a church where the pastor has, in my view, made an egregious mistake in endorsing Gothard's return to ministry.  Egregious because Gothard really doesn't have a good reputation among outsiders for obvious reasons.  So even if we overlook some of IBLP's weird theology, a good pastor should stand against Gothard returning to ministry until he's either exonerated (I won't be holding my breath, looking at the lawsuit) or has made a lot of restitution and spent some time in the penalty box.

But that said,  for Pettit to be culpable here, we have to assume that he knew of this at the time, and was also familiar with the accusations against Gothard.  I can't go with that--too much assumption for my taste.  That said, if the church was endorsing IBLP despite its weird view of grace and Matthew 18, I can see Pettit refusing to speak there because Gothard is really contradicting the Gospel by making grace into works.

One other thing to note here is that when I read through a summary of the charges, it struck me that a significant portion of the victims were people who already had a history of being victimized.  Now I haven't done a statistical test of that portion vs. what we'd ordinarily expect, but it did strike me that it is possible that someone learned to have an eye out for people who had already been victimized--now take a look at that weird exegesis of Matthew 18 again.  You get somebody in, tell them they're damaged goods, and then tell them they've got to be good wares to complain.  That would explain a lot of the silence over the years.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

The Pastor IBC Sheaf is saying Gothard is not a member and he did not recommend him to return  ie Gothard lied.  Gothard has nothing to loose by Lying.  He is 81 years old and all the allegations are out of statute for prosecution.  Even if caught lying in a sworn doc what's the most that's going to happen besides loosing the lawsuit.  He will get 60 days and three hots and a cote for perjury.  I'm sure he has money squirreled away for a Rainey day.  Even his Attorneys can make money on this deal.  What do they care and I'm sure they got a big retainer out of Gothard.  Gothard is going to go down fighting.  Not the Christian thing to do but at this point he appears to be a phony Christian or severely sinful Christian as all cult leaders are.  Sad that so many believers went down the road with this guy.  They based their whole lives on him in a big way ie Duggers Bates etc.  These people are still in denial.  My father said 40 years ago when people in my home church were buying into his act that he was a phony and my father was right on.  My father was also a big time democrat so that did not sit well with those true believers.  If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's a duck.  Bert in sure if you were my father's age 40 years ago you would have said the same thing. Bert you have a lot of commonsense and decernment.  

Bert Perry's picture

If true, that could actually be a problem for Gothard beyond what (thank you, Joe & Greg) appears to be perjury on Gothard's part.  Another famous man from Chicago, a used furniture salesman, was sent to a little island off San Francisco for tax evasion, and if Gothard's got a pile of money that he hasn't reported as income, I'm guessing the same would apply to him.  He was famous for not taking much official income, wasn't he?

It is also my prayer that "our tribe" would develop a little more discernment regarding people that get big names.  Let's be blunt; if a pastor can't parse out "charis" or "chesed" enough to realize that Gothard's definition is, charitably speaking, garbage, it's time for him to step down from the pastorate.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

Bert makes a good point about Pastors having some better  discernment about who they get involved with in the para church field. More importantly what do current Pastors, who were heavily involved with Gothard,  do with his  Programs ie Purity Banquets.  To me if the allegations pan out its time to throw out the baby and the bath water.   Now as far as the biblical counseling is concerned I have had a change of heart when we are talking about addictions  like substance abuse gambling and pornography.  I believe that these areas can only be changed through biblical counseling.  Pretty much the facts point to this whether were talking for believers or non believers the biblical counseling model speaks for itself.  So I don't know if any part of Gothard's program can be salvaged in the counseling area.    The taint of sin  is so strong maybe throwing the baby out with the bath water is the only way to go.