In a prior article called “Bill and the Beautiful Ones” we explored reasons why Bill Gothard has at times focused on attractive young people, especially young women, in the counseling ministry. As we discussed these things with him at length he gave us his perspectives on this, and just this week wrote out an article in his own words, which we appreciate very much. This is what he sent us:
Learning the Meaning of My Name
When I was about seven years old, an incident took place that impacted my whole life. My mother was sitting at the kitchen table and asked me to come over to her. She had a serious look on her face as she said, “Billy, do you know what your name means?” I answered, “No.” she replied, “Your name means ‘protector’”. That is all she said. That is all she needed to say. From that moment on I purposed to live up to the meaning of my name.
About a year later, I was facing a neighborhood boy who had offended me. The scene is even now very vivid. It took place behind the local shoe store. His name was Wayne. I planned to fight with him when suddenly, I remembered the meaning of my name. I realized that fighting him was not being a protector, so I told him to forget it, and I walked away.
A few years later, my very attractive sister asked me to walk with her to school. As we walked, she said to me, “You are a strong protector! I am glad you are my brother.” Her comment reinforced my determination to be a protector.
When I entered high school, I went on an outing with a group of other high-schoolers. I climbed in the back seat and found myself sitting next to a girl I had never met before. During the ride she made a statement to me that stunned me. She said, “You can do anything you want to with me.” My first thought was, “No I can’t! I am a protector!” We rode in silence for the rest of the trip and I never saw her again.
Seeing the Need for Godly Wives
I was both surprised and delighted when a nationally known youth leader invited me to drive with him to a special youth leader’s conference in Kansas City. There were about 35 national youth leaders attending. I was only about 13 years old and getting ready to begin high school. During one of the sessions, several wives began to weep. When they were asked what the problem was they answered, “We are bitter over our role as wives of youth leaders. We do not want this way of life.”
When I saw the pain and despair in their faces, and also in the faces of their husbands, I made a resolve that has motivated my life since then. I would train up dynamic young men and godly young women who would come together in outstanding marriages. By God’s grace, I have seen hundreds of such couples come together
Making Vows for Moral Purity
One day, I overheard my two older sisters telling how ashamed they were of a fellow in their church youth group. He had kissed one of their girl friends after a date, and then dropped her. When I sensed their outrage, I quietly made a vow to God. I would not kiss any girl until I was married. God has given the grace to keep this vow.
During my Freshman year in high school, I stopped in at the corner drug store. As I passed the magazine rack, I noticed that they were featuring the first Playboy magazine. I still remember the sadness I felt as I realized the moral ruination that would come to millions of people. Suddenly, the thought came to me, “What if you were interviewed some day on a national TV program and they asked you if you ever looked inside of a Playboy magazine?” Right there I vowed that I would never look inside of one. God has also given the grace to keep this vow. This led to related vows such as not owning a TV or turning one on in a hotel room and never touching a girl immorally.
Meeting Attractive Girls Who Had Been Abused
During twenty years of giving large seminars, my greatest delight was talking to individuals during the breaks. Scores of youth and adult would surround the platform and ask for counsel on many different subjects. Often, I would notice a very attractive young lady. When it was her turn to speak, she would usually say, “I am in trouble and I don’t know what to do.” She would explain that she and her boyfriend had gone too far and now she was going to have a child. Her parents did not know about it.
My heart would grieve, and I would ask her, “How old are you?” Very often, the answer was, “I am 15 years old.” I remembered the meaning of my name. I also realized that attractive girls are prime targets for evil men and for Satan. He knows how effective they can be for His kingdom. Sarah, Rachel, Rebekah, Esther and other world-changers were all attractive women. I purposed to do whatever I could to protect them from corrupting influences.
Opening Nations With Attractive Young People
When I brought about 45 young people with me to Russia. We went to the headquarters of a Moscow educational official. As I talked with him, his eyes were riveted on the young people filing in the room behind me. Suddenly, he said, “Excuse me, I need to make a phone call.” He went in an adjoining office and called the district superintendent. He said, “You must come down here immediately and meet these young people.” She explained that she was busy and could not come. He answered, “You must cancel your plans and see these young people!” In a few minutes she and her staff arrived.
Years later, she spoke before 15,000 people at a Knoxville ATI Conference. She stated, “When I saw those young people I could not decide if they were human beings or angels. I decided that they were somewhere in-between.”
The superintendent invited us to return in the fall with as many students as we could bring. We filled a 747 with 300 young people. When we arrived, we were taken to the Moscow Department of Education. The superintendent went up to the fifth floor and invited the Director of Education to meet the young people. Dr. Kezina replied, “My morning is filled with appointments. I cannot meet them”. The superintendent said, “These young people are from America.” Dr. Kezina replied, “I have been to America and I am not impressed with their students!” The superintendent then said, “But these are Christian young people.” Dr Kezina then said, “I have visited Christian schools in America and I am even less impressed with them!”
After further urging Dr. Kezina agreed to peek in at the group on her war to her next appointment. I watched her as she cracked open the door and saw the 300 radiant young people. She said to her assistant, “Cancel all my appointments.” She then walked up to the stage, picked up the microphone and said, “What I see here is what I want all my students to look like, and I will do whatever it takes to see that it happens!”
I experienced the same results in New Zealand, Taiwan, Romania and many other nations. I was on a continual search for outstanding young people who could open up nations to the gospel. The leaders would say to me, “We are impressed with your young people but especially the young ladies. Their dedication to the Lord confirms to us that you have an effective message.”
Responding to the Appeals of Concerned Fathers
All the young people who came to the headquarters were sent by their parents for training and learning practical skills. The majority of young ladies came in response to an appeal by their fathers. The fathers would often explain that they had an attractive daughter, and she was being drawn to the wrong kind of fellows. Could they send her to headquarters in order to get her away from the young men? I remembered the meaning of my name, my commitments to help young ladies and the potential they had to impact nations.
These assignments were eye-opening. The majority of attractive girls were convinced that they were “ugly” The felt inferior and vulnerable. They were resentful but flattered that fellows would pay attention to them because of their appearance. They needed periodic affirmation that they were valuable. Any extra attention I gave to them was for this purpose.
Notice that Bill’s entire focus is on himself and how he helped people and changed lives. Not directing people to find GOD’s love and acceptance which is unwavering, rock solid, reliable and infallible. This narcissistic focus is heartbreaking and appalling!
Bill was attempting to answer the question of why there was a special focus on young women in the ministry. Since the question was focused on him, he probably wasn’t terribly out of line here.
Interestingly, it was a priority with Hitler to encourage and favor attractive Aryan young people to represent Nazi Germany. This is not a new concept, but it certainly also causes one to wonder how, in Gothard’s case, it squared with the teaching that man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart.
We would encourage you to read the prior article, “Bill and the Beautiful Ones” where we discuss your general question in some detail. God also focuses on “beautiful ones”, as highlighted by the example of Moses, whose parents received the faith to understand that he was destined for greatness . . . JUST because he was a “beautiful child”, no other reason (Hebrews 11:23). Those that were handicapped were prohibited from serving publicly in the temple. This by the command of God (Lev. 21:16-24), the One who makes people handicapped or “beautiful”. Clearly His love for the “beautiful ones” is no greater than those that are not so, perhaps even the opposite, choosing to gift those lacking in earthly measures with extra faith. The absolutely most beautiful being, created to serve at the highest level was Lucifer, who later fell to become the devil . . . So beauty is not by far the most important thing in the universe. But when it comes to His temple on earth or in heaven, only inward AND outward perfection will do. It is a principle of limited importance we have lost hold of in our eagerness to not make anyone – maybe ourselves – feel bad.
re: playing the Hitler card above
Could there be any more ad hominem card than the Hitler card? Did virtue become vice when Hitler acknowledged the virtue? Was beauty discredited when Hitler sought it?
Did Christ pronounce doom on God’s beautiful temple? Indeed he did. No wonder he wept over Jerusalem. Zion and her temple had damned themselves in spite of their beauty, not because of it.
re: Bill’s focus vs. Anna’s focus
In the comment above, Anna’s focus is on Bill Gothard and her revulsion at the defect she sees in him.
If BG had devoted his essay to Bible exegesis instead of autobiography, would Anna be satisfied that he did not explain his association with pretty girls?
Since Bill sees himself as a protector we might wonder who he is protecting. Many years ago in a meeting several women on our staff had told us, that they had gone to Bill privately and told him specifically what his brother was doing with them or trying to do with them. They were clear about where his brother was touching them. There was no doubt about what they were telling Bill about the actions of his brother and the VP of IBYC (name at the time). In retrospect, they were asking Bill for protection. I asked him directly how he could forget these conversations and his response was classic; “I have learned to put these things out of my mind”. Exact quote. Obviously Bill’s understanding of protection did not extend to the young women on his staff. To say nothing of their fathers who, according to Bill, had sent their daughters to him for protection.
So, to be clear, in a prior post you, Dan, indicated that it was one (1) specific woman, not several, who told her story to an assembled group as something she had previously told Bill. Bill had at that point no recollection of it and we are left with the testimony of the young woman as the only witness.
The matter with his brother was a full scale nightmare. Coming at the apex of the ministry with Bill jetting around the country speaking in two different cities each week, 20K people or more. He told us of the difficulties he experienced attempting to come to ground on the matter. He DID get some confusing testimony as he attempted to deal with it. Those that were the “first responders”, the ones that caught Steve and a young woman in his office . . . Were only able to attest to seeing far less than we now know actually happened. And Steve “confessed” to such a lesser offense that was not, well, full scale sex. Bill and his father interviewed a woman, whether this one or the one that was in Steve’s office – and she immediately recanted her entire story.
So . . . There was a mess and a lot of confusion. Coupled with office jealousies that were definitely in the mix which gave a motive for why things might have been exaggerated. And Bill took his brother’s word as the bottom line and apparently “put the rest out of his mind”. I know that he was deeply grieved for the harm that came to the 7 women, in part for exactly that reason – it was his job to protect, and he had failed at it.
Let’s see how unclear and confusing this is:
1) There were multiple women, we single guys were either asked to step out of them room or volunteered to leave to provide some level of respect to our friends. However, the intent was clear. They were going to remind Bill of exactly what his brother either did, tried to do, or both. As one who stepped out, there was no ambiguity, nothing was unclear, and no confusion.
2) However, there was one, a good friend, who did not ask us single guys to step out of the room, she wanted us to hear it all and concerning her own modesty (not sure this is the best word) her exact words were “I don’t care”. In reminding Bill and explaining to all of us what had transpired, she was clear where Bill’s brother touched her and she was equally clear that she had told Bill the exact same thing when she had gone to Bill. It was as clear as hands on chest and mid-stomach and not this was not an innocent friendly gesture.
3) Bill’s response when I specifically asked how he could forget this, his said, “I have learned to put these things out of my mind”.
There was no office jealously, there was no confusion, no one was too busy. There was no way Bill could have missed the message. Bill’s brother and SVP was sexually abusing them, they told Bill about it and he did nothing. We can debate all day about young women just saying “no” and who is right and who is wrong. But when a young women tells Bill with absolutely clarity and shows him on her chest where his brother tried to touch her, it is absurd to think he is some kind of a protector let alone that he would just “put these things out of his mind”, Even an ounce of concern for his staff should have triggered a response. But since he did not want to sully his mind with images of sexual abuse (somewhere in there he quoted Job) he just …. forgot. Outrageous.
It is a disgusting statement for him to think he is a …. protector. I am still friends with a women who’s own father called Bill and told him his daughter was coming home and Bill’s response was anger. He actually phoned me and told me this was not done right and he had written 10 pages of material on how to leave a ministry. I guess a father, acting upon is own duty as a father, desiring to protect his daughter, does not have the right fulfill this basic duty unless Bill gives him his own blessing. The methodology was as simple as a phone call and saying “we have discussed this as a family and ________ is coming home”
I am saddened by the whole disgusting idea…. protector?
We held on to your comment for a bit, apologies. I wanted to cross check with Bill because of the specificity of your claims. After getting a chance to talk today, I will say:
1) Bill is emphatic that he was NOT involved in any public “confessions” of women. Perhaps others orchestrated that, but it was not he. “Ridiculous” was a word he used. He was forced out in a coup – there were subsequent meetings which friends of his, including Charles Stanley, conducted. I guess I would like more details, even more witnesses, to nail this down.
2). That statement about him putting such things out of his mind was not something that triggered any recollection, although I asked pointedly in several different ways. He told me that he made a diliberate point of boxing away memories of lurid details confessed in private counseling as a rule, particularly once resolved. But in the context of a woman’s public testimony, allegedly the second time through? No.
3). There were 2-3 women involved in the first wave, 1977 or 78. Fathers happened to be there at that time (he gave me names, presumably your friend is one of them), he recalls speaking to them, trying to handle this correctly. Steve, for his part, went to the Board and confessed. What he confessed was NOT all of what happened – the Board agreed that this should be a “stepping stone, not a stumbling block”, and based on the clear steps he had taken – including memorizing the entire book of Proverbs and detailed accountability – he should be considered recovered.
4). If your friend is willing, I would appreciate the opportunity to interview her. For that matter, we could set something up with Bill and yourself as well. What I have learned in the wake of the strong, detailed, repeated attestations by Gary Smalley that he emphatically, with his wife confirming, recanted just a year or two before he died, is that memories do very weird things after 20 years. Which is why having 2-3 witnesses on EACH offense is the unyielding Scriptural mandate before even “receiving” an accusation against “an elder”.
Sorry my friend but there is nothing to nail down. I would be stunned if Bill had any memory because he always seems to forget when convenient but has vivid memories when it suits him. And no I will not give you the name as she probably just as soon remain anonymous and has put this way behind her. As many have done.
The very idea that Bill sees himself as some kind of protector is just ludicrous. And it was no Coup. What was the coup was Bill getting the Board to hire a corporate trial attorney to fire everyone who was not willing to bow down and get rolled over. It was worse than sheep among wolves. His staff were trained to honor authority and be compliant. Then they bring in this attorney, complete with his son-in-law as his legal aid to take notes. Protector? Bill was no more interested in protecting his staff than a wolf is to pass up a free meal. Protector? Disgusting.
So, I have formally offered to come to ground on this with you. I am not surprised in your lack of interest in pursuing it further. When I – for the most part most know who “I” am – started engaging the accounts on RG I stated publicly multiple times that I pretty much accepted the accounts at face value, with a couple of exceptions. That was because I believed that those presenting them were fundamentally honest folk. I no longer say that. This is not necessarily because I have learned that some are not, in fact, honest. No, it is primarily because of the degree to which we have been stunned to discover how messed up the memories of individuals get with the passage of time . . . how the trading of stories back and forth creates a false reality. Going, again, no further that Gary Smalley, one of the most trustworthy and respected servants of the Lord of the last generation. Saw this recently in our team, a critical detail of a significant event in the last 4 years, dear individual getting angry because the recollection in opposition what what actually happened, documented, was so vivid. It was because OTHERS had discussed it, and knowing the players, familiar with the item, it melted into a false memory.
So, Bill for his part cannot remember you. If your email is an indication of your name, that also did not trigger a memory. Perhaps you could help us in this by giving more specifics. Speaking to your friend would be worth a lot. We have interviewed two of the 7 women involved in the scandal, and have considerable documentation on another, Ruth, who is with the Lord. One gave us full permission to share, even share her name, the other asked for no details to be passed along. We honor what is asked of us.
So we can drop it. Our position at this time is what Bill has told us without any verification of your account. There was no open confession of women orchestrated, moderated by Bill like you described. Maybe Larne wants to weigh in – not sure if he was there during that time. Ultimately we want the truth, although we side with Bill every chance we get when things are not clear, to us. Everything of substance we bounce off him and come right back here with his statements to be examined.
Oh, and there most definitely was a coup according to Bill. Saturday meeting, led by Tony Guhr and Bill Wood, demanding that Bill resign or they would see to it that no seminars would be conducted the following week, 35,000 folks signed up. Does that ring a bell?
35,000 folks signed up to attend a seminar. Does that ring a bell? Actually it does and I think your number might be off by several thousand but it would mean setting exact dates from nearly 40 years ago. I was in Philadelphia for a few days and then Washington DC either setting up seminars or getting ready for one. So yes, that does ring a bell? A rather loud one actually.
The thing about Bill Wood and Tony Guhr is that both are really smart. They are not exactly what you might call “followers”. Once they give someone their trust it is sacred. Break that trust by lying to them and they are not very forgiving. I know them both well.
And as for a coup, I am sure Bill sees it as such. However, if he gave an ounce of care for his staff at the time and had even the remotest protective interest in how we were treated, he would have encourage the Board to hire counsel for us, at Board expense, so we would not be thrown to the professional litigator and his son-in-law legal assistant. It was inviting a wolf into the pen full of stupid sheep who did not have enough experience to know their leader had just fed them to a shark, (or wolf to keep the metaphor straight).
I am reminded of what Bill said to that Sheriff in Texas a few months ago. If memory serves, Bill said to him: “you should know, this property was given to me”. This is a statement of a man who is either stupid, of which Bill is certainly not, or delusional. Donations are given to the organization and not the CEO or founder. Bill always took great pride in not owning assets and receiving a very limited income. Bill’s statement is an accurate description of how he views himself – I did this, it is all mine.it is both inaccurate and outrageous.
And if he does not remember who I am, I’m not going to lose much sleep over it. One of my vivid memories is a 4th of July picnic where his estranged sister and husband came by. Bill had not seen her in something like 4 years to say nothing of her children. Yet he practically drove right by her house everyday. So if he could not find the time to stop by and say hello to a sister (I think his brother and father pretty much provided the same treatment of her). I’m not too concerned that he cannot remember me.
And by the way, do you really think women who would now be in their late 60’s or 70’s would really want to be interviewed by you about events that they were involved with 40 years ago? Events that represent them at their worst and most embarrassing moment? You claim that you want only the truth. A noble objective. However, who’s version of the truth are you seeking?
So . . . With the added information Bill did indeed remember you, and your sister, as we figured out that part of your email must be a middle initial, not part of the last name.
35,000 . . . That was the total attendance for all the seminar participants registered for the following week across a number of cities. So it appears that you are, in fact, acknowledging the “coup” as Guhr and Wood sabatoged the operations, sort of a “strike” to force Bill to resign.
As to “smart”, let’s say we have had extensive interactions with Tony over many years. We have been given to understand that he had many positive qualities, but when the sun set, “smart” is not a term we would use.
1). He gave information to the world accusing Bill of “fondling staff women” and then also calling him an “adulterer”. To clarify, he prepared his infamous packet of data, a copy of which reached the LA Times for sure, as he told us himself, although the immediate vector was allegedly not known to him. He provided the “packet” to a number of folks, including Recovering Grace, but to us, attempting to defend Bill, somehow he could not bring himself to do that. His assertions were completely false. I was in intermittent contact with him for 10 years, asking the same question: WHAT did Bill do that merited these designations? In the end he admitted . . . That the now debunked “Cabin Story”, with a secretary allegedly sitting on Bill’s lap in her “skimpy nightgown” was good enough for a “fondling” claim, and that, since he was sure Bill had “looked lustfully” on some of these women, he is therefore “an adulterer”. THAT is not smart – it is very wrong, in fact, something that Satan made absolute destruction out of.
2). According to the testimony on RG, Tony was the agitator for the lawsuits that eventually were filed, with Bill Wood standing in as the “class representative”. The ones that stuck their necks out were surprised that he failed to join them in it at the last minute. That is not “smart”, that is hypocritical, at best.
3). He complained for decades about Bill’s abuse of him, going to his church and lodging a complaint which, he alleged in public, caused them to excommunicate him. There is enough evidence to make it clear that his excommunication was not due to Bill, in fact, that action was pending on unrelated (non-moral) matters. Not smart.
Mr. Wood I do not know. If his full throated participation in the doomed lawsuits with their “nice guy from Kansas” taking on a high powered law firm is any evidence of being “smart”, then perhaps I might also disagree with you on that.
As to Big Sandy, boy, I would wonder that you would not have a tad of sympathy, comparing it to any life focus of yours, where you have shaken the world, and now your own children do not even acknowledge you, commanding the significant organization with all its resources that were, in fact, given to YOU to manage for Jesus. Jesus knows all. If He is pleased, His will, then it will go on as it is. If not, He may make a change at some point. But, surely you can have some understanding for an almost 84 year old man who has no kids and grandkids to go fishing with, being told he is no longer wanted in that which he built.
If your friend might be Linda, you know that she told me, personally, to use her name and any part of her story in any way we saw fit to help Bill. So we do know that women in their late 60’s and 70’s may well be up for that. If your contact is not Linda, then we would appreciate that being at least asked.
I have written some online this week to Friends of Bill Gothard on the topic of ideologies that were a part of ATI that are really the heart and soul of the way that people are deeply hurt by this ministry. There are two things said here that I would like to highlight. One is Bill Gothard being the “protector.” Whose job is it to be the protector in our lives? When we put our trust and faith in human intervention and men, we are pulled away from the Lord Jesus who is our Protector. He is my refuge and strength. That is the thing about this ministry. On the one hand, I heard messages about, for example, the definition of security being that we pul out trust in things that are not temporal. That was a real revelation to me. But when we put our trust in man as though any of us is more righteous, more connected to God, more respected by God (who is no respecter or persons), we find ourselves in these situations. I feel like the Body of Christ needs to be aware of these issues because it is a trap we fall into due to our need to be discipled. At some point, those discipling us should be constantly pushing us to seek the Lord for ourselves and trusting in Him. And let me tell you as a woman who lived amongst predator men that perverted men are not always after the pretty girls. Black women, Hispanic women, Jewish women, many Asian women and many other women have been preyed upon by evil men. As a nurse now, I have to take a course on human trafficking. Most of those women are not blonde haired/blue eyed. A real protector would have realized that. But as humans, we don’t see the bigger picture the way the real Protector does. We really need to exalt Jesus in this day and time.
Secondly, something else that stood out here was that supposedly Steve was delivered from sin by DOING something. This is the kind of statement that sends up my red flags and alarms. In this case, it was memorizing Proverbs. Wrong again. What Steve needed is to get before God by his own free will choice, not man, and fully confess to Him his sin and cry out for His grace to be set free from the sin He was in and pray to be baptized in the Holy Spirit to receive power from on high. That’s how we get free. Memorizing Scripture is a good thing. In fact, I have this ministry to thank for the amount of Bible I know in detail because of that practice. It didn’t save me. Because of the Holy Spirit teaching me through that, it has helped both Doug and me to put ideas to the test and to answer difficult questions from atheists, gross sinners, and you name it. Lots of people know the Bible and they are no more saved or set free from sin than the man in the moon. Remember how young people were put into a blank room for sometimes a month with nothing but a Bible until they repented. That is not genuine repentance, my friend. A forced repentance under coercion is empty. Hope Steve is free.
I don’t have a problem with his desire to protect, I do have major concerns with his attraction to attractiveness. (please read in a tone of honest discussion)
From where I sit, which is admittedly at a distance, I see someone who desired to protect these young women and bless them in Christ, but lacked some combination of humility, honesty, self-awareness and/or self-accountability to rightfully guard his own weakness and the dynamics of the 2-way interaction. He sought to give protection and the attractive young women were the multi-decade delivery device for the chemicals released in attraction. From a Harvard article, “High levels of dopamine and a related hormone, norepinephrine, are released during attraction. These chemicals make us giddy, energetic, and euphoric, even leading to decreased appetite and insomnia – which means you actually can be so “in love” that you can’t eat and can’t sleep.” While he may not use a term like “attraction” – but, correct me if I am wrong, he has referred to some young attractive women he sought to protect as his “Energy Givers”.
Many marriages and Ministries are ruined by a Man or Woman’s tolerance and addiction to the chemical/emotional rush given by non-sexual interaction with another. I don’t say this with judgement, but as a man with the same nature who knows the exact sensation and the dangers/consequences. With any potential for attraction – leaders must direct the other to a place to safely share emotions and to guard against selfishly consuming the biologically released chemical experience that could come from the interactions. Being a voyeur looking at an attractive person (say, online or at a distance) is more overtly wrong, while being with an attractive person may provide a complex combination of the same kind of results and can be as wrong and as addictive. I theorize this unrectified and unsubmitted area in Dr. Gothards life often negated his efforts to protect and played a substantial part in the demise of his role in this ministry.
I was blessed by the Basic Seminar and encouraged young people to consider this teaching as wisdom – not as the one source of all truth, but as a perspective to consider. I have been saddened by Dr. Gothards handling of these issues and it appears, from a distance, that he is going against his own teaching by self-defending, self-protecting, and self-reinstating.
If some of the above is true, I believe that over many years God preemptively, prophetically and sufficiently warned Dr. Gothard by the Word, his authorities, circumstance, verbal correction, experiential testimony, failures of others, and his own failures – not to prioritize, be alone with, or touch young beautiful women. This is not Christ. Heeding these corrections to abstain from selfish indulgence of the attraction experience could have protected him and countless others.
If any of what I observe from a distance is true, I would expect Dr. Gothard to confess something along these lines ‘I was wrong to use my relationships with you and other attractive young women to satisfy my own selfish desires. I was warned by the Holy Spirit, my authorities, and past feedback not to do so and I did not stop. My selfish indulgence of your attractiveness was wrong and hurt you rather than protect. It was not Christlike – would you forgive me?’. This should be discussed with all those that were used and those that brought this to his attention in the past.
I have been concerned about this attractiveness issue and this article did not help alleviate the concern in the least – as it seems to make a defense on why he is right. I am also not saying that some of the other testimonies are false, I truly hope not, but I am dealing with the attractiveness issue here. I truly desire that Dr. Gothard walk in the fullness of God’s redemption.
Thank you for posting, Greg.
Here the hackles go up . . . old propaganda driven prejudices. He DID guard his weaknesses and was appropriate in his dealings with his charges. Were he not, even a consistent pattern to that end, can you imagine not 1 but 3 respected national law firms would give up so completely without recouping a penny of the likely half a million $ they expended on this? I need you to at least be willing to accept the possibility that this ENTIRE program, headed by “Recovering Grace” for the past 6 years or so, was invented – bit by bit – out of rumors and possibilities and even strong surmisings . . . but nothing, absolutely nothing of substance.
RG was up to “60+” women that they claimed were accusing Bill of “sexual harassment and worse”. When they were threatened with a libel lawsuit the numbers suddenly cut in half, and the subsequent expressions were so nuanced that you finally got the idea that, well, they didn’t know. They were commanded 3-4 times and then subpoenaed by the court in the lawsuit to produce their evidence in the form of the very active “Gothard Girls Group” that was set up just for that purpose, get all those ladies together to talk. They never produced it, and on the “drop dead day”, with the judge in no mood for any more delays, instead of producing it, all of the plaintiffs just walked away.
See . . . I don’t think they ever had 60 women claiming any such thing. I don’t think they had 30. In fact, they apparently didn’t even have 17. That was the number of women they ended up being able to cobble together to try to make this action so intimidating – $8 million in claims – that the Board would just throw up its hands and settle. Yes, we read them discussing this over and over in the discovery documents.
Sorry – it has been a long and wearying 4 years. And we have sort of . . . had enough.
If you knew the number of “confessions” that have been written for Bill to publish, you would be amazed. Even the one statement he did approve he has regretted many times for it was not taken the way he intended. I do not know you, but I believe you to be a straight shooter. We invite you to take this up with Bill directly and personally. You will not be the first one to do so. If you live in the Oak Brook, IL area, I will personally walk you in the front door of Bill’s home and be a witness with you. You can bring anyone you want. If not, Bill will talk to you by phone. Tell him, ask him whatever you want.
Read our “Did He Do It?” section in this blog, BTW. He . . . didn’t. But talk to the man yourself and then draw your conclusions. [Send an email to email@example.com to get the contact information – or just state in your reply that you want it, and we will email your address of record]
Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the info and the offer.
The “attractiveness” issue that Dr. Gothard and Discovering Grace brought up and attempted to clarify/justify remains a question for me. For the sake of discussion, let’s completely remove the Recovering Grace issues, the accusations and the court cases.
The use of the word “attractive” fundamentally implies a personal experience of attraction somewhere on the scale of 0-100. It cannot be 0. It would be one thing to say Dr. Gothard sought to be a protector of the downtrodden, the outcast, the forgotten. Once he uses “attractive” as a descriptor – he is admitting some level of attraction to that young women. Being attracted is not immoral, but creating a counseling relationship to be alone with the person with whom you are attracted can be. Using the descriptor is not wrong nor is ministering to someone who is attractive, but prioritizing ministering to those that are particularly attractive to Dr. Gothard raises flags – but it seems I shouldn’t think this? He acknowledges these individuals are attractive to him, then spend substantial time with them, and repeats the process with others for a multitude of years.
Why is this admitted desire to prioritize attractive young women defended and justified? I am not talking about legality,court cases or testimonials on Recovering Grace. More generally, should any husband, elder, pastor, or single man specifically prioritize ministering to late teen girls, whom he defines as attractive to protect them and see them become like Sarah, Rachel, Rebekah, Esther? Which other ministers have? I am not questioning adults ministering to youths, nor men ministering to women. 1:1 counseling happens all the time with proper boundaries, accountability and SOPs and I am not saying Dr. Gothard shouldn’t have ministered to young hurting women, but what are the names of the counselors/ministers who gets to create a special program for those he sees as physically attractive.
In the recent articles here, Discovering Grace and Dr. Gothard seem to provide justification of a single man’s right and even calling to intentionally, personally and privately minister to select young women who have physical attributes that he defines as attractive. Can this principle be applied more broadly to faithful ministers in analogous circumstances? Should my local church allow our youth pastor, who has taken similar vows, to start this type of 1:1, multi-month, private ministry with the entrance criteria of being a young attractive woman?
Ah, I see where you are going. Bad logic based on bad definitions. Moses, the baby, was not “sexually attractive”, right? THAT is what we are talking about. The aspects of a child, young man or young woman that cause the average non-pervert to say, “Wow, what a beautiful kid”. Women – and in this day and age we have to say “straight” women – as well as men find the individual “attractive” . . . for the common reasons both men and women watch “Miss America”.
In reading through your comments . . . you got stuck on sex appeal. That has nothing to do with what we are talking about! Please re-read with this new understanding.
I don’t mean to imply sexual and I don’t mean to belabor the point.
When I met my wife, I would use the word attractive and it was not sexual – but it was 2-way, dynamic and energy giving and I wanted to have her around more. God gave humanity a primary drive of seeking out a help-mate and multiplying. He gave us an innate ability to seek out those that are ‘attractive’ to us – which includes a vast amount of unspoken and immeasurable data (beauty is but one). This doesn’t turn off with a vow of singleness or a covenant of marriage, though there is grace for those that are humble about their weakness and guard it accordingly.
Honestly, I believe Dr. Gothard would openly discuss experiences of being attracted (not sexual voyeurism) to various women in the past. This is something he strove to deny. It is not an on/off switch for any man on earth. Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.
With this in mind: 1) Dr. Gothard is a man just like any of us, he does not have an on/off switch and needs new mercies and the power of the HS each day to chose singleness and deny natural attraction, 2) no humble man who knows his innate weakness (this side of glorification) should intentionally single-out and select certain young attractive women from a larger population of youth for a special personal ministry knowing that one of the 2 parties may experience attraction and attachment.
I will leave it here as it seems we disagree. Thanks.
And, again, as we pointed out at the end of the article, you completely preclude a man of God working with women in any kind of ministry setting. While there is wisdom there, is that a command of the Lord, do you think? Does the corruption of our society let alone the general corruption of the human heart make that a God mandate? A point worth pondering.
Jesus said: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24) Bill has been subjected to the most horrible public ridicule let alone an $8 million lawsuit for the past 5 or so years, losing his place in the ministry he founded and has guided for 50 years. The reasons are exactly what you are expressing . . . Appearances, judging by externals. Perhaps he would have been wise to forego this aspect of working with young people, have sort of a monastery for young men. That was just never his burden. Now that the dust has cleared and we can see that there is absolutely no substance to the “evil surmisings” he has been subjected to, IS it a righteous thing to continue to seek to condemn him? Maybe, in the furture, he could fall, as David and any number of other men of God have. Perhaps . . . But . . . He hasn’t. There is a point where God circles back to begin judging the judgers, using the same standard against them that they sought to unfairly apply to another. Biggest Scriptural example of that is Job.
Again, there is enough evidence, proof to establish or deny his innocence. You, uniquely, have been offered a spot at the top of the table to see it done. The Lord who has supervised every step of this process, including any tears shed, heaviness, grief that has come to Bill or others that have been affected here, even money lost, weighs the spirits. This is not a game, armchair quarterbacking caries divine responsibilities and consequences.
I don’t know Greg, but he certainly comes across as a voice of moderation, reason, and wisdom. The points he makes ring true.
I am sure Greg will appreciate your vote of confidence. 🙂 We also do not know him, but respect his perspectives.
re: private contact?
In his 9/12 comment, brother Greg warned against the hazards of private contact between Bill Gothard and pretty girls. But that is not what we see in this autobiographical essay. BG did not mention being alone with pretty girls for counseling, nor defend the practice for any man. The nearest he came is the final sentence which speaks of giving extra attention.
If Greg would accept the offer to confront BG as sharply in person as in his comment, he could settle whether BG was indeed defending intimate counseling with pretty girls. But this essay doesn’t really go there.
Is there any update with the effort to bring Bill back to IBLP leadership? I am finding that increasingly difficult to imagine.
There are multiple processes which are underway, some of which are very much focused in that direction. Anyone who knows Bill to any extent and particularly has walked this miscarriage of justice with him for the past 4 years can well imagine it. The notion that, as long as the Lord grants him life and strength, Bill was ever just going to “walk off into the sunset” to go fishing or retire to some vacation spot doesn’t know him well.
re: BG back to IBLP
Like many IBLP alumni, I know BG only remotely. But one gets the impression of a man well stricken in years, yet with more energy reserves than his peers, even counting the peers who aren’t dead yet. So why not resume a leadership role in IBLP, so long as he has the energy and desire? Someday both energy and desire will wane. Use them or lose them!
There are many things that a person who has a lot of energy can do with it, to be productive. But, I just can’t imagine him coming back at this point. With the questions over his previous conduct, it sure seems like he is not wanted back, except for a small minority. After all, did the board not have him hauled off by the police when he tried to come back uninvited?
As you undoubtedly know from other contexts, the “majority” is rarely right. Popularity hits, even at the end of a long and productive ministry are not that unusual. Ask the Apostle Paul about that:
“This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:”(2 Timothy 1:15-16)
Moses “inner circle” began openly criticizing him, perhaps vying for his position, in his later years. See how that turned out: Numbers 12
Many others pushed into backwater roles in their last days by a world that had forgotten. The Lord does not forget. But . . . to find encouragement in the actions of some of Bill’s former friends and “children” that the Lord has rejected him would, at least on the surface, not be a godly perspective.
As to imagining, if Bill’s life has taught you anything, it is that “Nothing is Impossible”. So . . . stay tuned.
” Popularity hits, even at the end of a long and productive ministry are not that unusual.”
You use Paul and Moses as examples of those who became unpopular at the end of their ministry. You could also use the following as examples of Christian leaders who became unpopular at the end of their ministry, due to scandal:
I know a bit about Bakker and Swaggart, less about the other two. You may have heard that Jim Bakker had a complete reversal of his federal conviction based on malfeasance on the part of the prosecution. He openly confessed to his sin with the woman. God recovers broken, sinful people . . . like David. Swaggart had a problem over many years that he refused, apparently, to address. Too bad. Maybe there is more to the story, I don’t know.
The good news is that Bill didn’t do any of that! In fact, he has been unjustly accused, like Paul and Moses. I have no idea what that means the Lord wants to do long term but in that respect he is in good company. Even if that means a popularity hit. SOMETIMES that is exactly what the Lord wants.
re: BG and a small minority
As brother James says above, the Big Sandy incident shows resistance toward BG among the officers of IBLP. Maybe that settles the question. But Big Sandy also shows good will toward BG among the paying customers.
Who will prevail? The customers or the present officers? The officers are stewards of the assets, but the customers created the assets through commerce and donations.
And we ourselves who post on the Gothard blogs are also small minority; a minority of the many who have attended Gothard seminars and used ATI homeschooling curriculum. We are noisier than the majority influenced by Gothard, but we are outnumbered by the satisfied customers.
If the ministry needs Bill to survive, I will argue it’s not a very good ministry. If the business needs him to survive, I say the same thing.
Did Wal-Mart collapse after Sam Walton died? Did Walt Disney Pictures close after Walt’s death? (Yes, I am aware folks have sharp criticisms of both these examples, even saying the founders would be ashamed. The principle is still solid.)
I am seeing that the organization still has momentum to carry on without Bill at the helm. In my opinion, that ought to be the ultimate testament to what he has accomplished. The work is continuing without him. Has it deviated that much in his absence? Maybe we could discuss this.
So I hope you’ll understand why I take a critical view of bringing Bill back. Honestly, it affects me none. I am not an ATI homeschooler or in any way affiliated with IBLP. If you supporters do want a restoration, I think you are asking for a bit too much. I don’t see the Board doing that, unless there’s a radical change of heart there.
Perhaps you could just get the Board to bring Bill back in some advisory capacity. He could still be involved in the work that way, but in a more quiet, less public form, one that the Board might tolerate.
The Big Sandy incident was a debacle, and it was terrible for Bill. I still stress he asked for that. He does not have any ownership of the property or the product anymore, and therefore did not have any right to go there. He was in fact told not to attend these events. So, yeah. That much of it was open and shut. BUT. . . I will give you this. It does appear to me that Bill simply wanted some form of reconciliation. I think he just went about it the wrong way.
The bottom line out of Big Sandy was this: The Board saw Bill acting as if none of their decisions and statements mattered. He came anyway. If we want him restored, this is the mindset that needs to be overcome.
So I put it to you all this way. Work the middle-man position. Talk to the Board, talk to Bill, and see whether there is some middle position. Consider this: all colleges hire full-time faculty. (I know – that’s a duh statement.) These are individuals the school has confidence in putting before students. Breaking that confidence would mean dismissal or other disciplinary actions, unless tenure applies (which is another can of worms). BUT many colleges hire adjunct faculty. These are professors the school has confidence in, but for some reason or another cannot hire full-time. The reasons could be that the professor has another committment somewhere else and cannot relocate, or it could even be that the school wants the teacher for one reason, but the teacher holds to some view or belief in another area that the school is not comfortable with. This option gives the school the ability to have faculty for a purpose, even if they do not tow the institutional line per se.
This could be Bill’s ram-in-the-thicket. Perhaps we should all set about discussing this instead. I might be willing to lend my assistance here as well.
Interesting suggestions, thank you.
Bill and his ministry do differ from others. He overtly has never had a succession plan because, as he has stated over and over, this ministry is HIS personal testimony. And, truth be told, above everyone that has worked for and with him would tell you that . . . It is Bill from start to finish, no matter how much help he gets along the way.
So, see, the Board, all the members of which are those that have expressed how that ministry powerfully impacted them, have violated his personal wishes by kicking him out and attempting to reform it into something different, something for others to start expressing THEIR personal testimony through. They have deprived him, at least temporarily, of that which is completely and unequivocally . . . His, given by the Lord.
So, in the end, it is for the Lord to weigh in on. But Bill will never be happy with someone else directing the ministry God gave him in his lifetime. It is just the way it is.
I understand your opinion and respect it. Having studied this extensively, I’ve come to a different conclusion than you have. I see Mr. Gothard’s end of ministry as more parallel to James Bakker
Jimmy Swaggart, John Geoghan, and Tedd Haggard than to Paul and Moses.
We too . . . have studied this intently. You can only lump him in with those that we know – by their confession – have fallen into moral sin if you believe that Bill has fallen into moral sin. What do you base that on? Bill recounted the other day . . . a dear man recognized him, indicated what a blessing Bill had been to him over many years, then urged him to “repent and confess” his sins to clear this all us. Bill asked him incredulously, “What do you want me to confess?!” He had no answer . . . And so it goes.
So . . . what do you find Bill guilty of, to publicly condemn him?
If Bill did nothing wrong, why did he feel the need to resign as the head of IBLP for his actions? He now feels that he made a mistake in doing this?
When the coordinated deluge of attacks came end of 2013/beginning of 2014, Bill was determined to address each and every matter of substance. The Board was spooked and asked him to step into the background and let them handle it. That has never been Bill’s way and when they insisted he indicated he had to do what the Lord was telling him to do and would rather resign. They pleaded with him to not resign and he backed off. He told us, however, that some in the administration came to him privately and urged him to step away, sort of a “you go or we go”. With the continued insistence of the Board to “reconcile” without his involvement he felt he had no choice and resigned so he could pursue, personally, the matters where others had “ought against him” (Matthew 5:23) That verse, BTW, explicitly states that we “step away” to be reconciled, and THEN come to offer our gift. He never intended to be gone for a long period of time, just wanted unencumbered, unfettered time to do what he needed to do.
re: stepping away
Yes. In Matthew 5:23 we hear an explicit command to abandon our religious activities when they conflict with our duty to reconcile with our neighbor.
Anglican bishop N.T. Wright points out that Jesus issued the leave-and-reconcile command at a venue about three days journey away from Jerusalem where sacrifices were offered. It sounds like hyperbole, but we can see the point Jesus was making. Spare no effort. Do whatever it takes. Pay the price. Be reconciled, even at the expense of your ministry. Trudge three days from Jerusalem to Galilee to settle a quarrel? Just do it.
BG was unable to reconcile with his enemies, but at least the attempt might explain his resignation from IBLP.
re: what to confess?
There’s the problem. Current events stories are planted thick with sexual assault accusations. Some are supported by evidence, others are unsupported but agenda-driven like Christine Ford’s. What new evidence about BG has brother James unearthed in his studies? And why was it not weighty enough to sustain the late lawsuit?
I have neither studied Gothard’s life nor feel comfortable with all this gossip which surrounds it. Some conclusive evidence would be a relief. But where is it?
It is not a matter of new evidence, it is a matter of how we look at the same set of data and draw different conclusions than you and the moderator.
You bring up the currents events that the nation just wrestled through. I don’t know if the events alleged by Christine Ford really happened, but, it is a major problem that her story is uncorroborated, even by her best friend who she claims was there that night. God and two other people may be the only ones who know the truth about that night, but she is going to need more than that to block the appointment of Kavanaugh. I don’t think there is any comparison with that situation, other than some of the alleged events happened a long time ago.
One person telling a story, with no corroboration- it does not mean the story is false, just not convincing. 5 women with similar experiences? Now, that is a problem. 10 women, 15 women, how about 30+? And all of them can document that they were a part of this person’s life? Now, there is a problem. A big problem. It becomes one person’s word against 30+.
Why was the suit against Bill dropped? It should never have been brought. All of the victims were beyond the Stature of Limitations. An attorney can make an argument that the Stature of Limitations should be waived, but such cases are an uphill battle. You have to have a really good reason why the judge would waive the statute. They did not have one in this case. The moderator has argued that this is not a valid point, because this judge was allowing the case to proceed. I disagree. The judge never ruled on whether the argument was sufficient to waive the statute. What the judge effectively said by allowing it to proceed was “I will hear your argument for why it should be allowed to proceed and then make my ruling.” But, the case was withdrawn before such ruling. You have a have a very strong reason to pierce the Statute of Limitations and they never had one.
When the number of accusers reaches a certain point, it becomes very difficult to maintain the position that it is all made up- a giant conspiracy. Bill Cosby had 60 women come forward and accuse him. Of those only 3 chose to remain anonymous. He was only convicted for raping one woman. No court found him guilty of assaulting any other women. This does not mean that he did not assault them, but the one court case that prevailed was the only one that was within the Stature of Limitations. Because no court found him guilty of assaulting these women, are we to say that the assaults did not happen? Do I believe these women? Yes. Too many accusations, the vast majority of whom had nothing to gain. And, it is worth noting, that at the time that legal charges were made against Cosby, the statute of limitations was about to expire for this one victim. Had it expired, this one charge would not have been tried. Cosby would be a free man today. Would this mean that none of it happened? Some believe none of it happened, a few. Cosby’s wife believes it was a big coordinated conspiracy, along with a few die hard supporters.
It is hard to believe that a person we love did something terrible. There are always those who will bend all logic and hang their hat on anything to cling to their belief of innocence for the one they hold dear. The mother of the Boston Marathon bombers believes her sons are innocent, falsely framed by the US government, despite the overwhelming evidence. The surviving son even confessed and was convicted in court, and still, she believes he is falsely accused.
In my observation, the only people that see the events surrounding Bill in his favor are those that hold him dear. Many of them are good friends of mine. I think that even if Bill confessed (some would argue that he did in the letter that was published, as vague as he was) these friends would still insist on his innocence, like the mother of the Boston bombers. They have invested too much of their lives in his teachings to accept that he could have done the things alleged.
At some point, with the number of women making accusations, you have to admit that there is a problem. I read the article on this website, in which excuses were made attempting to justify why Bill surrounded himself with beautiful teen girls. It was quite the feat of mental gymnastics to buy that one. Sorry, I’m not buying it.
So, I expect that there will be a small handful of individuals who will believe what they choose to believe about him being innocent, and continue to say “Confess to what?” And, similarly, will continue to believe that the rest of the world is seeing this whole thing wrong, bringing up parallels to Moses and Paul. But, I’ve read the stories of the victims, heard the moderator’s arguments for why they are all part of a coordinated conspiracy and so forth. There is just too much corroboration for me to cast them aside. We will continue to see this one differently, I expect.
What we provided were not excuses – they are the reasons for Bill counseling in the way he has. For 50 years. Common sense would tell you that if Bill were remotely the compromised pervert you suggest, there would be way more than 17 women out of ten thousand counselees to come forward, with at least ONE accusation that has clear proof.
Three professional, national law firms, one of which specializing in personal injury and, from what we keep hearing over and over, highly regarded in this particular court . . . Three such firms would not walk away from such a situation prepared to lose hundreds of thousands of their own money unless . . . There simply is NOTHING THERE. These guys only needed one (1) real crime, and they could turn that into a multi-million dollar win. Bill filed a Motion to Sanction the plaintiffs for filing a frivolous lawsuit. Everyone we spoke to, friend and foe alike, told us how virtually impossible it was for the judge to even consider it, the bar being so high. Yet the judge has allowed it to continue, recently demanding full court testimony on the matter. The only way that could happen is if there is in his mind a real possibility that Bill is right on this.
In all things we need to follow the Lord’s direction, especially with servants of the Lord. Here is what the Lord says . . . To you:
1 Timothy 5:19-20. “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
In the case of Bill Cosby, one validated offense corroborated by 2-3 witnesses was all it took. It took a lot. Statutes of limitations REALLY MATTER because memories fade over time and psychology let alone the criminal justice system is all too familiar with the amazing way imagination takes over. But, it was done, and he is proven guilty.
Your job is to refuse to receive any one such accusation against Bill . . . Until corroborated by 2-3 witnesses . . . Like in a court of law. Facts validated, examined, cross examined. THEN . . . Your job is to rebuke that “elder” before all.
We have searched in vain over the past 4 years for 2-3 witnesses for any of these things that have been alleged. We opened the doors to this blog for that very purpose. Look around – we have squashed nothing. Well, we did squash a couple of folk who had nothing to do with Bill or his accusers but insisted on screaming at us. For that, we bear our shame. But anyone with basic respect for order has been allowed to say, present whatever they wanted, fact or opinion.
The Lord is the personal defender of those that are falsely accused, especially those that cry out to Him. If you are sure you are doing right by joining the chorus of those condemning Bill of moral sin, then continue to stand before the Lord and do it. Our challenge is that you do so without having fulfilled the most basic requirement of the Lord for such matters.
re: cui bono, convenient truth, our eye health
Brother James reminds us that the lawsuit plaintiffs could not meet the high threshold of evidence to waive the statute of limitations. Which raises the question, why then did they risk a lot of money to make the attempt? Their prospects for gain outweighed their risk of loss.
Cui bono? In our internet age, large numbers of motivated people coordinate and cooperate. The large number of BG accusers surfaced only recently, not in the pre-internet past. So with vast IBLP spoils to be divided among accusers, how probable is it that Gothard’s accusers are innocent distressed damsels with no interest but justice? The financial interests are obvious. Cui bono indeed?
Also, would it not be a convenient truth for Gothard’s enemies if he could be proven an evildoer? Gothard used to teach about the folly of balancing guilt with blame. If blame can be heaped upon Gothard, does that not relieve his enemies from the guilt of their own wrongdoing?
What about us? Do we want a man to be innocent or guilty? If we want him to be guilty, what then? What about our eye, that soul-window that Jesus warned about? Full of light or darkness?
I John 1:8-10
If we say “we are without sin” we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, “we have not sinned ” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us”
The man didn’t answer Bill because Bill himself should know what his “sins” are, Bill shouldn’t be asking this man “what do you want me to confess?”. It’s the obvious sign of pride and arrogance which last I checked, are sins and “pride goes before a fall”. If Bill does”t see that his current situation might be due to Bill himself, not the board, not RG, not a law suit, not conspiracies, not IBLP etc. is stating that Bill’s “sin” is related to his own pride and arrogance and that is obvious by what you just stated he told you as how he responded to that man.
All generally true, but with the obvious implication that Bill must be guilty. Of moral sin, that being the topic. We can all confess to pride, which Bill has and does, as well as any number of other “besetting sins”. But violations of women? Something entirely different. He didn’t, and there is nothing to confess.
I am assuming that you did not witness this conversation and that Bill was the one that relayed it to you correct? From what you described, the other man did not identify the sin or sins, to assume that all of this is due just to physical sins is reading into the stated conversation. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew clearly stated that if a man looks at a woman and lusts after her in his heart, he is guilty of adultery. Bill also stated on his own web site that since he as recommitted himself to a new regiment of Bible memorization that he hasn’t had “sensuous thoughts” (his wording). I frankly think that Bill not being at IBLP and surrounded by attractive young women would have more to due with conquering “sensuous thoughts” than his new Bible memorization has. Now you are claiming here that Bill is not guilty of “immorality” because he “didn’t do anything”, but the Biblical standard set by Jesus Himself is that if someone “thinks” sensuous thoughts, he is guilty. The individual telling Bill he needs to “repent” and confess his sins sounded like a concern admirer. Bill by telling him to name his sins was blowing him off. Any man that repeatedly and even deliberately surround himself with younger attractive women has obviously more going on in his heart than the stated (by you) ministry.
First of all, please get me over to where Bill confesses to “sensuous thoughts”. To my knowledge Bill has never said that. Not to me or anyone I know. He HAS committed himself to regular meditation on Scripture which he feels was always the key to his success but he had neglected. Being surrounded by attractive young men and women is not a crime or a sign of sin. In fact, it may be the sign of a very effective counseling ministry.
No, I was not there, but the same sequence has been repeated a great number of times. Including yourself. You are quick to judge Bill, judge his motives, condemn him of sin. With no proof. That is really not wise. Armchair judging is high on God’s list of things HE judges.
re: without sin
Above, Rob quotes 1 John 1, which warns that no man may claim to be without sin. But it does not follow that all men are guilty of all sins.
Rob floats the possibility that BG brought his present grief on himself through pride and arrogance. 1 Peter 2 warns that this is sometimes our problem. But 1 Peter also covers the opposite possibility; that a good man may be falsely accused. If he follows Jesus and suffers for doing well, this is acceptable with God.
Where is the evidence that BG is suffering for wrongdoing instead of welldoing? Does Rob have any? If so, Gothard’s enemies and friends both want to see it. A judge has already ordered some of Gothard’s enemies to put up or shut up. Does Rob have anything to put up?
You have the 80’s scandal with Bill and his brother and recent meetings with people from that time to work out some kind of reconciliation which fell through. Those issues still have not been solved. Likewise, you have the IBLP that has not brought Bill back, publically stating why and on top of that, called in the police to escort him off the property and warn him for trespassing. Bill has publically stated in the seminars I attended that he was fired for pride in a previous ministry, before starting IBYC. The articles from the failed Denver meetings with Larne and the rest have stated that Bill has refused to repent. There are hundreds of articles and well as commentary from former ATI students about problems with Bill and his teaching. There were failed attempts with Don and those from Mid West ministry about meetings with Bill and their concerns about what was being taught. Chapter 2 in their book was all about their attempts and meetings with Bill before they published their book. You can believe whatever you want about Bill, you are going to anyway, but when Bill tells a man that actually was giving Bill a compliment about “What sins do you think I did?” is really showing his arrogance and pride in that Bill think he has done “nothing wrong” and all of this is just a big cabal against Bill. You and do blow off all of the above but when Bill is escorted by police off of his own ministry he founded, ought to tell you and there is a huge problem and that problem is Bill.
Rob: Dedicated opposition, EVEN from brethren in Christ, is no proof of sin. History is littered with examples that are recognized as such, in situations even far removed from spiritual things. That can instead point to deep seated prejudices, cultural, societal sins.
The fact remains that a great many people continue to agree with Bill and support his positions. We have spent a great deal of time corresponding and speaking with Don Veinot and Ron Henzel, as well as anyone else who will speak to us. We reviewed the book a decade ago and posted a “book report”. It was stunning how that after all of the promises of meticulous documentation, virtually nothing was offered up to us to corroborate. Instead we were passed from person to person, that THEY were the ones with the goods. Of course, several of those roads lead to Tony Guhr, and we have documented how we chased him around for a decade while he refused to even name the sins that he claimed Bill had done under the heading of “sexual fondling” and even “adultery”. Finally he admitted that it was grounded in the subsequently debunked “Cabin Story” as well as the event on the Learjet where Bill “vigorous wiped Coke off a secretary’s blouse and skirt”, all in open view of other staffers including Gary Smalley. Who related the event. And who willinging signed an avadafit back in 2008 that he had NEVER seen Bill act in an inappropriate way.
Surface accusations are easy to make. Hardly anyone bothers to check into them, yet Scripture says we are not to RECEIVE such a story without the official backing of 2-3 witnesses.
The Board is wrong on this, completely wrong. They reacted in fear instead of searching the matter out. Leadership told me, in these literal words, “We have wax in our ears – we cannot hear what Bill is saying to us”. Mind closed, ears shut. The entire matter has been shown to be completely different than what presented itself 4 years ago and a terrifying $8 million lawsuit with 17 plaintiffs. How interesting that we just passed the 1 year period available for the first 5 plaintiffs who left last October to refile their claims. That included, stunningly, Gretchen Wilkinson, “Charlotte” on Recovering Grace, who started all of this with her claims of sexual contact by Bill. After all of the media appearances, giving interviews to a number of large newspapers, headlining the suit bundled as “Wilkinson vs. Gothard” . . . She just quietly disappeared. She can never refile, but we knew she wouldn’t because we knew what she would have to answer to had she done so. She stands before God to give account.
It is most definitely time to pull the wax out and correct the errors of judgement that ensued. Including the absolutely reprehensible act of calling the police on Bill Gothard. As I have said . . . Stay . . . Tuned.
“The Board is wrong on this, completely wrong. They reacted in fear instead of searching the matter out. ”
I don’t think this is a fair statement. The Board hired David Gibbs to complete an investigation into the allegations that Bill Gothard had acted inappropriately with teen girls. How can you say that they did not search the matter out? The investigation found that he acted inappropriately, and the Board concluded, based on the findings in the investigation, that Bill must not work for IBLP in a counseling, leadership, or board role.
The Board has the benefit of the information of this report. You have acknowledged that you have never seen this report.
Perhaps the Board is wrong for not publishing the report. I imagine that you and I agree that they should do so. Perhaps they can not do so to protect the privacy of people involved. But, it is not fair to say that the Board acted wrong, when you have not seen the report.
The Board was put into a situation that was not of their making, but Bill’s. It would appear that they took the appropriate and responsible steps.
Do you think that the Board, too, is part of a big conspiracy trying to take Bill down?
In support of the statement, and to speak to your points:
Yes, the board hired David Gibbs to conduct the investigation. It remains our opinion, shared by friend and foe alike, that the inquiry was woefully incomplete, satisfying no one. The main reason remains that it has never been seen by anyone besides the Board. The main objective satisfied was to provide the Board with an excuse to refuse to deal any further with the founder of the ministry they now occupy. At that time he was just too risky, too “toxic”. Motivated by fear.
Our understanding is that the investigation involved taking stories from individuals, presented as given. If so it would likely mirror the stories on RG and in the lawsuit. Everyone would be aware by now that recollections after 20 years are seriously tainted by the passage of time, let alone the politics, emotions of a present day movement with a focused agenda. This is frankly “hearsay” . . . And invalid when it comes to depriving a man of his position and influence – 2.7 million alumni – let alone in the face of assets in the hundreds of millions of dollars. All of that published volume, all of that “smoke”, and yet nothing worthy of establishing a single count of “negligence” against Bill or the ministry using the “preponderance of evidence” standard of civil cases, let alone criminal matters.
In support we go back to Gary Smalley and his completely erroneous recollections of the details of his encounter with Bill and his secretary back in the 1970s. He had them in an isolated cabin, her in a “sheer nightgown”, and no context. With his wife’s clear recollections he clarified all of that to us and a number of others . . . That it was in Bill’s office, no idea what she was wearing, but impossible, as testified by others that knew her, to be in anything but her business attire . . . And a context where he had told several that they were in a relationship, as Gary told others in separate settings.
We have interviewed a number of women and can cite instances where they changed – reversed – key allegations on cross examination. Changing a shocker into something completely understandable. There are 30,000 pages of conversations of the women who sued Bill to hold up against their declarations in the lawsuits. One that wrote a titlating 6 part love novel on RG about her time with Bill told a PI in a formal setting that the worst thing that Bill ever did to her was . . . ALMOST kiss her once. The Board had that story and a bunch more in front of them, likely part of this investigation. Probably had Gretchen Wilkinson’s story as told on RG as “Charlotte” that Bill ran his hand up her skirt while sitting next to him in his car. What they didn’t have in front of them then was all that came during discovery, including depositions from others, when she tried to sue Bill for $500,000. That which stood against her tales were enough, apparently, for her to quietly disappear just before having to answer interogatories under oath. We know SO much more now than they did then.
And Scripture, again, is crystal clear. BEFORE receiving ANY such accusation against “an elder”, the Lord demands 2-3 witnesses. Witnesses that can be cross-examined, stories cross checked. They do not have a single such matter carrying that required backup. If they did they would have brought it to our attention, since we asked for such proof and they put out considerable effort to convince us of their position.
The Board has to this day never confronted Bill with anything specific, verified, in the category of moral trouble. In fact, they have told us over and over that they do not now believe Bill to be guilty of any sexual matter. What they have cited is appearances, Bill alone on occasion with counselees. That is is. After 50 years of practice and all of the blessing God has wrought through Bill and to the ministry, it simply is inappropriate to reject 84 year old Bill based on that. Nothing new here. We believe they expected stuff to come out of the lawsuit that would solidify their stance. It didn’t. What they did was wrong.
We emphatically do not believe Bill acted in any inappropriate way requiring them to turn away from him. It is for them to present their reasons for doing so to the Body of Christ let alone Bill and the membership of the various ministries and substantial number of alumni. To fail to do so leaves one with the suspicion that they are simply happy to wrest the fruit of his labors away from him, with no compensation even, to pursue whatever visions they would have to substitute for his. Bordering on fraud.
Perhaps the report should be made public. At least it should be given to Bill with any specific action items they feel required. We would fully support that. What we are finding is that the women that gave accounts simply do not want to be involved any longer. They don’t want what they wrote published or used in any way. All the more reason for the Board to correct what has been proven to be a grave wrong
“The main objective satisfied was to provide the Board with an excuse to refuse to deal any further with the founder of the ministry they now occupy. ”
Once again, you engage in wild speculation, assigning evil motives to the men on the Board. You do not know that this was their objective and it is highly irresponsible to accuse them of this. Why would you not give them the benefit of the doubt? They appear to be God fearing men who have acted in good faith, trying to do the right thing, while placed in a very difficult situation, not of their own making.
“We believe they expected stuff to come out of the lawsuit that would solidify their stance. It didn’t. What they did was wrong.”
Again, reckless speculation as to the Board’s intent and motives.
“To fail to do so leaves one with the suspicion that they are simply happy to wrest the fruit of his labors away from him, with no compensation even, to pursue whatever visions they would have to substitute for his. Bordering on fraud.”
Happy to wrest the fruit of his labors away from him, to pursue their vision to substitute for his?
Yet again, you assume the worst and act reckless in your accusations against the Board. Please stop this.
There seems to be a pattern. You tear down everyone in order to prop up Bill Gothard. 34 or so women with accusations- tear them all down and belittle them. The Board, when they will not yield to Bill Gothard’s will – tear them down. Former staff members who bring forward evidence of Bill’s wrong doings, such as Tony- tear him down.
There appears to be a great number of people that need to be torn down in order for Bill Gothard to remain in good standing. All of these people, part of a giant conspiracy to tear down Mr. Gothard? Or, could it be that Bill Gothard has some serious things that he needs to repent for?
We have given every benefit of every doubt. Please accept that many hours of conversations have been held with various ones holding positions of authority. The point was to hear in detail all that they wanted to share. After 4 years and a lot of activity, this represents our conviction. I did mention the “wax in our ears” comment, correct? That was given very early in this process. We find no other explanations than what we offered here.
See, now you are being unfair. There are no 34 women. We have a total of 15 women and two men that stepped forward to make a complaint. All of their accusations are highlighted in the lawsuits filed and pursued in public court. Accusations that they all simply . . . Walked away from when proof was demanded. Here is the challenge: Name an instance where we have been unjust in any of this.
Nothing unfair has been done toward Tony. Again, if you feel that is the case, point it out. It is not unfair to challenge accusers who are publicizing untruths – stopping short of calling them lies because we believe Tony thought he was dealing in truth. He was not, and those that he cited to back him up have changed their accounts. That is very unfair toward Bill and the ministry. But again, we are willing to correct errors we have made, both in fact and in attitude.
Here is a great verse to ponder:
Exodus 23:2 “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment”
Here is another one:
Isaiah 42:3. “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”
And a third:
1 Timothy 5:19-20. “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”
You have accused Bill of wrongdoing. Because a lot of people have said things about him. We have investigated each complaint and published our findings. Three teams of top notch lawyers have done their own investigation, seeking to find him guilty of a single count of a civil crime of “negligence” . . . And failed. Your rationale is on very dangerous ground, dealing with the Lord and His work.
Again, your job is to prove a matter with 2-3 witnesses, then rebuke Bill publicly based on your proof. This is 2-3 witnesses to nail down a particular accusation of evil. The Board has not produced this, and neither has anyone else. Can you?
“See, now you are being unfair. There are no 34 women. We have a total of 15 women and two men that stepped forward to make a complaint.”
The figure of 34 women was not a made up number.
That figure is from The Washington Post and the Christian Post.
It is even on Bill Gothard’s Wikipedia page: “As many as 34 women who worked for Gothard claim that he harassed them.”
When you use the figure of 15, apparently you are only counting those who chose to join the lawsuit. Clearly, not all of them chose to do so. Regardless of whether we are talking about 15 or 34, that is a very large number of victims.
You have not proven that their accounts are false. You have tried to poke holes. This is what defense teams do. Bill Cosby’s defense team poked a lot of holes in the testimony of his victim. Ultimately, the jury did not find their holes sufficient to counter her testimony, nor the evidence of the other victims who testified that Cosby had assaulted them in a similar manner.
Your biggest evidence seems to be that they withdrew their case, which was always an uphill battle, give the Statute of Limitations. This is not evidence and proves nothing. You chose to extrapolate as to what it must imply. But, it is nothing more than your extrapolations. It certainly does not prove that their testimony is false.
I want to laugh. Read the Washington Post citation documenting that “fact”. Guess where they got it from? Right, “a representative of Recovering Grace”. I am on the run and do not have the page in front of me. THAT is the reason that landed in Bill’s Wiki. Wikipedia will publish “facts” stated by a public news source, like the Washington Post, but not private blogs like RG or this blog. The Washington Post basically laundered that unsupported claim. Check out “New Math” for our analysis of those number. As we state, as soon as RG was challenged with the prospect of a defamation lawsuit, the numbers . . . Stopped. When the judge in this case subpoenaed RG for the contents of “The BG Girls Group”, a chat group that was for all such accusers, the plaintiffs quit instead on the day this was supposed to be produced. There never were 34 women accusing Bill of “sexual harassment and worse”. Once you clearly define those terms and attach a few dollars to the prospect of that RG statement not being the case, the story changes.
re: Rob’s evidence against Bill Gothard
In her 10/14 comment, Rob cites four facts to prove that BG is an evildoer who deserves suffering.
1. nearly 40 years ago, Steve Gothard did evil
2. some of BG’s former IBLP friends are now enemies
3. BG confessed pride in the past
4. BG has enemies from his past who remain enemies in the present
Those are very negative facts. But does it follow that BG is guilty of any particular charge that his enemies now lay at him?
Since all concerns are apparently invalid (the vast conspiracy), here’s an excerpt from Bettina’s Story on BillGothard.com. That’s truth, right? This testimonial is given as positive evidence in favor of Bill Gothard. It is very candidly written and I have no reason to doubt it. She states that Gothard’s relationship with her was strictly non-sexual. I believe every word she states in that regard.
Let’s remember that Gothard’s “office” is a stand-alone building with multiple rooms that is a fair distance from other buildings. Again, I believe her version of the story.
Here’s my beef. Gothard’s willingness to promote this type of behavior (while not overtly sexual) is very troubling. Remember Steve? And we’re still going to put ourselves in situations like this?
Who in their right mind thinks this is okay? He’s filling a relationship void in his life with young women that God intended for marriage. Again, non-sexual in this story, but overly intimate.
“There were times at Headquarters when I could not sleep and would see Mr. Gothard’s office lights on. I would make my way over in sweatpants, t-shirt and ponytail only to have him offer me a soda and candy, while we chatted. I have sat next to him on planes, traveled with him in his van, I have fallen asleep on the couch in his office and spent time with him while visiting his mother.”
Betina has become a member of our team, actually active in helping set this site up. There is nothing in this for her, so, yes it is the unvarnished truth. Remember that Bill was her legal guardian, so the relationship was somewhat different than most other participants, staff members, counselees. But she would also absolutely be the most vulnerable class, no family, having been abused, familiar with “the ways of males”. The fact that Bill treated her like a daughter at times and never, ever, even remotely crossed any lines of propriety speaks volumes. We have talked through the details of her situation repeatedly. She knows some of the plaintiffs very well, firsthand knowledge for their world where they were supposedly abused by Bill.
She is a somewhat private person. Obviously she could answer for herself directly. We have found nothing about her situation problematic. You are right on one count, though. If she had wanted to join the crew accusing Bill – she could really use the money – her testimony would be there in the lawsuit. Conveniently twisted by the lawyers to make completely innocent things look like crimes. She was recruited by the others. Would have been plaintiff #18.
I’m curious if there’s any news re: the upcoming hearing next week… what is being argued then? Are all of the plaintiffs turned defendants testifying?
Hi, Curious :-). Two of the plaintiffs requested a “continuance” due to hardship and with Bill agreeing, the hearing was moved to Jan. 10th. As I understand it all plaintiffs will be there, specifically the 7 that were cited in the “Motion to Sanction”. The judge ordered this “Evidentiary Hearing” to examine the claims in the Motion so he can make an informed decision. Bill claims that the plaintiffs knowingly filed false and frivolous lawsuits that they never expected to win solely for the purpose of damaging his reputation. If you read the Motion you will see the reasons cited in support of that. The judge could have dismissed the Motion months ago but has elected to allow the matter to continue, presumably because he finds the complaint plausible. The standard to find plaintiffs – and their counsel – guilty is high. Relief being sought is recompense of his legal bills.
Thanks for responding to my comment above. I really did intend to be helpful.
But unfortunately, I think you’ve confirmed what I believe is the biggest problem here. Bill set this up, in his mind at least, that the whole deal was his. Well, if you don’t have a succession plan, then it will die when he does. That’s the way it works. I really have a hard time with this. Did Bill and does Bill really intend for it to end with him, or does he want to leave a legacy?
If he wants to leave a legacy, then he needs to be content that it is continuing without him. If he does want to return, you and he need to get together with the Board and mash out some form of middle ground. It’s the only way forward here. If he is not content with whatever limited role they give him, then he has no right to complain about it.
I still argue the existence of a Board weighs this differently. Board of Directors exist to give leadership of an organization some measure of accountability. They do not exist to just rubber stamp the leader’s decision. You see, the minute you appoint a Board, the organization is by definition no longer yours. The minute a group of individuals other than you can hold sway in the operation of your organization, it is no longer yours.
Bill should have known this when he formed it. You should know this, too. If neither of you do, you ought to take some MBA courses (I have – in fact, I edit them for distance learning students). In this regard, Bill’s ministry is NOT not like everyone else. He had all the trappings of a growing corporation, yet he expects it not to run as such. Okay. The defense that it is a ministry not a business did not work for Kent Hovind. It won’t work here. It can’t work here.
So no. By definition the Board hasn’t done anything but act as a Board. They are the highest level of authority here. Bill reports to them, not the other way around. They do not have to rule in his favor. They do not have to acknowledge his leadership. Ultimately, because he appointed a Board, ownership of the ministry gets very complicated. If he really felt it was God’s gift to him, he should not have formed a Board of Directors. He could have had an Advisory Panel if he needed advice. A BoD is a different thing entirely legally. And that is why he will not get any leadership back at IBLP as long as the Board exists. He needs to find some middle ground, something the Board will go for, or he needs to step out of the picture. You and his friends ought to work very hard to get him to see that. If he and you are not, you really have no leg to stand on here legally. This is all just blowing smoke. I don’t think that’s what you intend.
Well, that is rather moot at the moment as there is absolutely no discussion underway, nor has there been since the day that they acted against him. He has plead, demanded, insisted, gotten others involved . . . To no avail. The closest we got was the agreement by Dr. L to “reconcile” on a personal level. First he and Bill and Bill’s pastors met for Dr. L to explain how Bill had offended him personally, and Bill asked forgiveness. Then they met on another day for the purpose of Bill explaining how Dr. L has offended him. As I heard the tale from Bill, Dr. Levundusky declined to engage on any of the issues Bill brought up, declaring them “IBLP issues” and hence outside the reconciliation scope. And that was it . . . To this day.
If you have some insights for how to bring them all to the same table to hash things out, we are all ears. We don’t think the Board’s stance is Biblical. It is small wonder that big, good, important, well heeled folks have not just suggested but demanded that Bill bring legal action. When you push matters underground that have not been addressed, let alone resolved, they tend to grow up and produce all kinds of unpleasantness.
That is how the State of Illinois sees it. Some of us think differently. From a Biblical side we have yet to find support let alone mandate for a “servant of the Lord” to be under any authority other than the government or his own church. We get the government’s interest in Boards, similar to what Darius set up so the “King would suffer no damage”(Daniel 6:2). They want things run well so that taxes are paid, people are not defrauded or hurt. But that is not a mandate from the Lord. As we have pointed out, George Muller created and governed a substantive enterprise, the orphanages, thousands of children, a ton of money passing through his fingers, for decades . . . Without a board. He was one of several elders in the Bethesda Chapel, so was not even “under” a church government. The accountability is directly to the Lord, and it works. Bill set up the Board to comply with state laws, but as with many things, intended that it not substantially hamper the calling the Lord placed on him.
Boards can claim the authority of the state to safeguard the finances. When it comes to limiting a man’s ministry, they are on shaky ground. We understand that Dr. Dobson, arguably one of the most effective, useful ministers of God in our generation, was let go from the ministry he founded . . . Because the folks on the board didn’t like his political involvement. To whatever extent that is true, it is a grief. God is the one that raises a man up and gifts, calls him for a specific job. Woe to the men or women that rise up to derail that because their faith is not touched by the Lord in the same way. The folks around a “prophet” often are the absolutely WORST qualified to judge his ministry:
“And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.” (Matthew 13:57)
Bill’s board was “offended” by Bill. Dobson’s Board likewise. Moses had a board, his siblings . . . And they too were “offended” (Numbers 12). Paul’s folks were so offended that in the end hardly a soul stood with him in his last days. We see it over and over. The Savior warned us – the “others” – about this.
I sensed your desire to help. And perhaps you can. Contact us privately if you feel this to be the case.
You know. Unfortunately, if attempts have been made, and it was a no, there is probably nothing anyone can do about it. My only suggestion might be attempt it again, but make it clear what you’re after – advisory, consulting position, not leadership, not dominance. If they resist this, it’s over. Nothing you can do. If it were clear to them that Bill is just wanting a role in his former ministry, not control or leadership of it, I would be very inclined to listen, if it were me.
But I’m not the Board. If they feel Bill is toxic enough to the ministry that it is better off without him entirely, there won’t be a way forward. I understand that is sad. I understand that is unfortunate. It should probably never happen in Christian circles. But that is the way of it.
I don’t disagree with you on the legality of Boards. You’ve hit it squarely here. The existence of a Board is entirely a legal matter. I can’t speak for Illinois. I have lived in Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Florida. I have never seen any of these states recognize Board leadership differently than I have described.
And I agree with you about the Biblical mandates too. You’re right. There is no Biblical mandate for one. It appears to me that they exist for practical reasons, to address the issues you and I have brought up. The problem is once you establish one, you’ve got one, Biblical or not. That is the sticking point here. There is a Board, and legally, they have control. It’s probably not the best for the ministry, even Biblical, but we have one here. Got to deal with it. Got to play by these rules.
It is for that reason that I don’t think I can agree that they have done anything wrong. They have acted the way a Board would in situations such as these, and they have exercised their legal authority properly. If you want to argue whether Biblical, that’s a good question to raise. It seems to me it would have been best not to have ever had a Board in the first place. Taxes and financial matters can be handled by well-trained staff (a number of business operate this way without Boards). Or better yet, a Board can exist, but as a Board of Trustees, not Directors. There are ways to organize to counter a Board’s power, but the time for that is long past us.
It seems you’ll just have to deal with it as it is. There’s nothing anyone can do about it. Though if I do have any ideas that I believe could help, I’ll be quick to send you guys a nice email.
“Right” and “Wrong” here would be “Biblically”. The Board overtly expressed the basis of their action on following what godly individuals would and should do in such a circumstance. This has been expressed to me privately. On that foundation they are Biblically wrong. They have not following the clearly defined steps of dealing with an “erring” brother, as they would see it. Their constituency would expect them to be fully Biblical. And if not, ultimately THAT is a matter to be brought before “The Church”. Secular boards have no further accountability. Not the case here.
I guess I would disagree that there is “nothing more to do”. That was advice that Bill was given years ago. Had he done so the picture today would look so different than it does. There are always things to do.
Thanks again for your pertinent and wise counsel.
re: needed to survive?
Brother JM raised the question of whether an enterprise can flourish without its founder. In the examples he cited, the answer comes back no in one sense but yes in another.
Whether Wal-Mart or Disney or IBLP, each changed under subsequent leadership. IBLP has ceased to be what it was under Bill Gothard. The change can be either progress or regress, but assets in different hands produce different results.
IBLP can be the Bill Gothard IBLP only under Bill Gothard. No evidence has settled whether the BoD wants a Bill Gothard IBLP. They seem to prefer a non-Gothard IBLP, even though they were recruited by Gothard.
Ultimately, it’s a question of whether the enterprise IS the founder and the founder IS the enterprise. Change under new management happens. It is inevitable. It is always a question of change for good or bad, as you mentioned.
I believe the ultimate success of Bill Gothard’s work is going to be what happens when he is off the scene. In my lifetime, I have seen him pass off the scene at IBLP without dying. The work is still continuing, but it is different. I see little reason to be concerned on that end of things.
Sometimes the hardest thing for us to admit is that not everything someone we liked did was great. It’s not necessarily that the person was a bad person, or a sinful human being. It’s just that in the course of events, times change, equipment changes, and social trends and expectations change as well. If you don’t adjust somewhere, you’re going to lose some of the market.
This is not the same as changing Biblical truth. The truth doesn’t change. God is still God. Jesus is the only way to Heaven. But the principles by which we govern our lives might shift as society changes. I personally feel the prohibition many conservative fundamentalists have against women wearing pants is misguided in today’s society. But that’s not because any truth of Scripture has changed. It’s because our understanding of what society deems acceptable for women to wear has changed.
I don’t think we should demonize any Board’s decision to change course after installing new leadership. They are simply trying to do what is in the best interests of the company.
re: benefit of doubt and different directions for IBLP
Years ago I was recruited to the governing board of a church. I turned out to be a huge disappointment to the pastor who recruited me. The poor pastor expected me to be his ally, but as I thought his leadership was inept, I set about trying to rectify defects. I withheld support from the pastor in most matters.
Fortunately my term eventually ended, and with it the tension between the pastor and me. It was a relief to take a demotion back to pew-warmer. So we owe benefit of doubt to the IBLP BoD. (at least as much as we owe benefit of doubt to Bill Gothard). Wielding power can be thankless. It can make more enemies than friends.
re: different directions and Steve Jobs
Some thirty years ago, the BoD at Apple Computer decided to jettison co-founder Steve Jobs to install new leadership for a different direction. During his decade of exile, it was absurd to suppose that Jobs would ever return to Apple. But in 1997 a desperate Apple BoD recruited Jobs to rescue them from imminent bankruptcy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc. And we all know about Apple’s revival when the founder returned.
Is there any analogy between Apple/Jobs and IBLP/Gothard? Don’t we wish we knew?
Perhaps. These are very good discussions.
I would like to believe for Apple and Jobs that the period of exile was exactly what both needed, but possibly for different reasons. Did you know that in that time, Jobs propelled a startup animation company to the forefront of success? That company was Pixar.
In the case of Apple, it wasn’t simply “we’re nearly broke – what can we do?” It was a case of recognizing that the former leader had grown in his absence from the company, and therefore had ideas that could benefit the company (and did he ever!).
If we were to make an analogy to Bill here, I would say two things would need to happen:
1. IBLP would need to go through a period of struggles – either in terms of support or finances or both. This would put them in the mode where they would feel a return of old leadership would be necessary.
2. Bill needs to spend his time refining his ideas. This would mean developing new products. It seems he has taken the step in that direction already. The question I would have would be is it different from what he did at IBLP? Is the new product (or products) just more of the same? If it’s the same, you have two companies selling the same thing. That creates a bit of a mess in the market (ask anyone who buys sneakers). But if the product is different, or just takes a different approach, it can establish itself in its own niche.
Then it becomes a matter, when the time to return comes, that what the old company is doing is fortifying their existing brand with a new source of income. And for old leadership, that means keeping the current product line going and growing while having the opportunity to take up an old product line, possibly integrating the two (Disney and Fox, anyone?).
That’s more and less what happened with Apple-Jobs (who by the way got his start at Atari – talk about a diverse portfolio).
My opinion on the bottom line is this: as painful and unpleasant as the situation is – it might be wise to consider it is painful and unpleasant for BOTH Bill and the Board. Perhaps it’s more the Board’s fault – I don’t shy away from that possibility. Bill is separated from the ministry he built from itch (before he had the scratch), and the Board is trying to move forward without someone who has not only been the face of the company but its driving force all these years. It’s not a good formula, and I would heartily agree both sides need some benefit of the doubt.
I am not sure where to post these questions but they relate to the current news of Queen Elizabeth and the British royal family. In watching Queen Elizabeth through the years, my first thoughts of her didn’t include what seems to have come out now, her Christian devotion which according to all the interviews and articles I’ve seen was sincere and even deep. I honestly never saw her that way. From what I’ve read, it fueled her commitment and devotion to her role as queen. I think it also fueled her devotion with Prince Philip as well. Yet, despite her personal Christian devotion, England itself has become one of Europe’s most secular and unchurched nation. One of her duties was to sign legislation from parliament, and despite so called deep Christian devotion, she did sign bills that legalized abortion as well as same sex marriage. An interview with Raymond Arroyo concerning the Queen and this, the two gentlemen he was interviewing thought that if she refused to sign bills like this, it might have thrown England into a constitutional crisis so in essence they thought that she thought she had to. All of this is just guess work though because she saw her duties as a queen not to express personal opinion on things. So my first question is when does duty to positions or roles end and duties as a Christian begin?
My second question and this sorta will relate to Bill Gothard is over King Charles. It has come out now that he only met in person about 16 times face to face with Lady Diana Spencer. His heart and emotions was still really with Camilla, now married to another man so under pressure to marry and start having children, he ended up with Princess Diana and the rest is history. Again, with both Camilla and Charles, they were both discouraged from marrying each other, her family wanted her with her first husband, and on Charles side, several figures like Prince Phillip, Queen Mother etc. didn’t want him with Camilla. In a strange sort of way, he married following Bill Gothard’s ideas of having parental support and approval, quick engagements to marriage etc. Yet, he didn’t seem to have his own mother’s and father’s sense of duty to make this marriage work and after an heir and spare, he went off seeing Camilla and Diana while trying to make it work, went off herself with a number of men. The long term commitment to marriage that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip had didn’t seem to be passed on to their own children since 3 out of the 4 ended up divorcing their first spouses. The queens own sister also divorced. It does seem in the case of King Charles, that the pressure and advise he was given and followed didn’t really work so well with him. Any thoughts?
I speak for myself and not for Bill . . . Although I could run this by him.
As for the Queen and her Christian duty and devotion, I am sure she saw these acts as her duty in the figurehead government. Were I in her shoes, I am sure I would be greatly stressed. I frankly do not know the extent of her actual authority there. She served her nation well, but, as you say, perhaps should have taken a firmer stand. As head of a church, particularly. We will leave that with the Lord to judge.
As to Prince Charles, I personally have no problem with a marriage based initially on practical matters. If each is committed to honoring the Lord above all, I believe any marriage will work out. Love will grow. Every marriage has issues, no exceptions.
The problem was that neither Charles nor Diana – apparently – feared the Lord enough to refuse to entertain adultery. That is sad. Even sadder when one ponders the chilling reality that the lead in to the story of a “rich man” and a beggar in Luke 16, the verse preceding (vs. 18), is a stark recitation by the Savior of the prohibition on divorce and remarriage, no exceptions. The entire story is about a rich man who thought he was doing OK . . . And awoke in hell.
Beggar or King, we all stand helpless and trembling before the Lord of all flesh. We all need to repent and to receive the forgiveness provided by the Lord Jesus through His blood. If King Charles, Queen Consort Camilla, Princess Diana did that, then we will see them in glory.
There isn’t really anything I disagree with here. Yes, royalty marriages including King David and King Solomon were often more political than based on common mutual love. King Solomon’s first wife was Pharaoh’s daughter. This is true through-out European history. I also think the double rainbow over Buckingham Palace at the time of her death was divine or a God job for sure. Until her passing away, I never saw or considered her a personally devout Christian. It never entered my mind. Yes, she was admirable for her sense of duty to her position and commitment. Sounded like she had a friendship with Billy Graham, she met with all the Popes, JP II a number of times, so she did reach out and connect to other people of faith. It sounded like from the different interviews since her passage, she treated all around her with dignity and respect, she was kind to everyone no matter who they were. She stated to others to do little things with great love. She had a genuine sense of humility about her. All of that does stem from someone with a deep faith. Psalm 11 says, “Once the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do”. So maybe as England and the rest of Western civilization walks away from its Christian foundations, there isn’t much or anything one can do even if one is a monarch in England except stand as a silent witness. I also have to remember that when she was 10 years old, she went from being another pretty princess to becoming next in line to the throne and 3 years later WWII started. All of that upheaval did have a profound affect on her and her own sense of duty. The Royal family did not evacuate from London. King George refused to go like Winston Churchill and the Queen mother told others she wouldn’t go either and the two girls were staying as well. So while she didn’t make any list of most admired Christian women, I can now appreciate her now and how she understood and saw things in the context of her times and circumstances. God bless her soul.
Agreed. Much to be learned from, much to be emulated. She was exceptionally forward in her confession of her faith. We can leave her in the Lord’s gracious hands who doesn’t miss a thing, sees the heart like no one else does.
re: private conscience and public duties on 9/21 above
Consider A Man for All Seasons, especially the quote by Thomas More to Cardinal Wolsey: “When statesmen forsake their private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.”
This was More’s answer when Cardinal Wolsey pressured More to affirm royal divorce and remarriage.
More was right. There is no point where conscience ends and public duty begins. They must be one and inseparable.
Rob alluded to royal chaos in England. Does that prove Thomas More correct? He predicted chaos when statesmen forsake private conscience for public duty. Does it prove that Queen Elizabeth should not have signed corrupt legislation? Did public corruption beget private corruption?
The secularization of England mirrors that of a majority of Western civilization and Europe. Those forces are not something the Queen or really anyone else could stem the tide of. Her Christmas addresses which was started by her father and she continued were very Christ orientated, especially the last one she gave from the video I saw of it. Could she have done more using the “bully pulpit” so to say that she had as queen of England. Maybe yes and maybe no. That is not how she interpreted her duties as a monarch as well as how she was raised and quickly trained to be so when her father did become King. Probably in the end, the only one who can judge this is God and not any of us here. The last Hapsburg monarch was King Charles IV who was also a very devout Christian and is considered a saint. He also oversaw the ending of the Hapsburg dynasty and the beginning of secularization of that part of Europe. He issued warnings and his concerns which were ignored. In looking at past King and Queens that are either considered saints or very devout, there is a give in take on how they saw or what they did to promote Christian faith and devotion. It isn’t so clear cut at all and what they did or didn’t do is often dictated by the times they lived in. Someone like King Alfred the great way back in the 9th century actively promoted Church building and the faith but the times he lived in, England was only partially Christian and was being invaded by pagan Vikings. His efforts built up a more Christian England. I am not sure what Queen Elizabeth could have done more to encourage Christian devotion more, the secular forces at large were stacked against her.