Christianity Today published a recent article in review of Jinger’s book. There is the usual broad brush acceptance of moral sin for Bill and direct link with Josh Duggar, her brother. She openly calls him a “false prophet” which is bold and consequential. The risks of calling a work of God to be in fact from Satan are substantial, linked with the “unpardonable sin”, whatever that is (Matthew 12). She stands before God to answer for all of this.
They also acknowledge that her husband is a “Reformed Theologian”. This is worth another look as it figures heavily into what turned Jinger into the person she is today in opposition to Bill. “Sovereignty” as taught by the Calvinists believes that we have no ability to will or to do God’s pleasure. If we do, it is because He sovereignty willed it. She learned this from her brother-in-law and then her future husband Jeremy. She speaks of the relief from discovering that she is not responsible for her life in the final analysis. Our fate, heaven, hell, and all of the twists and turns of life are in the final analysis a divinely controlled tapestry. [The image above of the coin toss in reference to her citing Proverbs 16:31 in support, that God controls every coin toss, every “lot”.]
“Responsibility”, on the other hand, is one of the seven Universal Principles as Bill teaches them. He believes that much of what is called “mental illness” is varying degrees of personal irresponsibility. God lays much more at our feet than we realize, and shouldering that God-given responsibility with the grace He gives – while bowing to His sovereignty – is key to long term success. The effectiveness of his counseling, testimonies we see weekly if not daily even 50 years later, stands in support.
Here was a response we wrote:
“Josh Duggar was convicted of child pornography. Bill Gothard was sued for $8.5 million by 17 plaintiffs, one of which was Emily Anderson, quoted in the article, spearheaded by 4 legal firms, including a prominent personal injury firm based in Chicago. In the end the plaintiffs initial attorney was kicked off the case for malfeasance, the most prominent plaintiffs dropped out rather than submit interrogatories under oath, and the rest walked away before depositions. Ask Emily why. It was not because of the ‘statute of limitations’ as they claimed, because Judge Popejoy overtly declared that their claims could be tried on the merits if the allegations were as claimed. Why she walked away from the $500K she was claiming, why she never refiled as was her right.
It is a crime against the Lord to continue to try to accuse Bill of sexual improprieties. Bill had to go, and any means was fair game. He did NOT do it.
As for Jinger, her awakening came, from her own testimony, the moment she embraced the “Sovereignty of God”, hallmark of Reformed Theology, also commonly called Calvinism. These are her words from the book:
“But until I started to focus on God when I read my Bible I didn’t have category for God’s sovereignty. I hadn’t truly understood what these verses were saying; I am not in charge of my life.”
Yes, everything about Bill Gothard is focused on personal responsibility. Yes, a sovereign God has made us responsible in our lives. There are many problems that are the direct consequence of unwise choices we have made. Becoming a fatalist does give relief from that burden, but it is also a lie, criminal in taking Christians out of the direct fight we were designed for. Let alone the crime of believing that the lost were so predestinated by a loving God.
Getting rid of Bill Gothard and the fear of God that he creatively taught the understanding of was a key goal of the Enemy before ushering the final onslaught we are all now enduring. God will hold us all personally responsible for our part in making that happen.”
re: disentangling, Darth Duggar, and Dulcinea
Shall Mrs. Vuolo disentangle Christian orthodoxy? Christians believe that Jesus is Lord, which means that he is sovereign. We also believe that God holds man responsible, especially that he must repent and believe. Are we predestined yet responsible? How do we solve this paradox, which surfaced during the Protestant Reformation?
Now that Mrs. Vuolo has settled a five-century theological paradox, she rescues us from Bill Gothard, the dark force who seduced her father. Supposedly, Gothard’s dark side made Mr. Duggar more machine than man. Darth Duggar oppressed his house, but it wasn’t his fault. Darth Gothard deserved the blame.
Finally comes sweet disentangling and deliverance. Jinger Quixote Vuolo wielded her literary light saber against the Gothard windmill to rescue Dulcinea Duggar from the malevolent Gothard Force.
Is this tragedy or comedy? Does Sancho Panza Jeremy get a share of the book royalty spoils?
It is foolish to comment on a book one hasn’t read. Why don’t you read the book first before you go ahead and start calling others names.
Our essay above linked a Christianity Today article which summarized the Vuolo book. Did CT neglect to read the book? or read it poorly?
As for folly and names, do the Star Wars and Don Quixote analogies apply? if not, why not?
CT gave a very fair summary of the book which they obviously have read as well as I did. When someone resorts to name calling which you did on a book you haven’t read is a sign of many things, none of which are positive about the person calling the names.
But I did read the book, not every word, but a fair amount. I quote from the book 🙂 What name calling offends you?
What in the world does it mean that one has read the book but “not every word”? What that means to me is that you didn’t really read the book because either you couldn’t because it upset you too much or you it just was too effective in taking down Bill’s false teachings.
It means I took the time to read it like I read just about every other book in my library. So we can focus on what you read and what I read. What would you like to talk about?
re: Swift signs and scary lessons
When Jonathan Swift satirized the follies of his day, he invented Lilliput, Brobdignag, etc. He employed metaphors and exaggerations. That was a sign of what? If caricature offends, does that show that the exaggeration was deserved?
CT says Jinger was scared by Bill Gothard’s teaching. Is anyone scared by Bill Gothard? He had better not listen to Jesus of Nazareth! Seven basic principles are pretty mild compared to outer darkness and the lake of fire. Jesus also warned that the wide gate and broad way lead to destruction. Christ knew that fear is the only way to divert some kinds of people from destruction. Is Jinger one of those people?
re: rules, rhemas, and vain imagination
According to CT, Jinger opposed Gothard’s rules, and also his teaching about rhemas. According to the CT article,
“In her 20s, [Jinger] finally found a gracious God who made himself clear in his Word, without the need for Gothard’s rules and rhemas.”
Did Jinger find a gracious God without rules? He would not be difficult to find. Men have often selected idols from a menu of three antinomian deities, namely the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Can a God without rhemas exist outside of Jinger’s imagination? Because a rhema is a specific word which God speaks, Jinger’s God must be a Word without words. Did Jinger really find a gracious God who made himself clear in his Word, yet without words? Is this the vain imagination of a foolish heart? A rhema from Romans 2 might suggest that.
I believe Jinger may have been led (or walked) into Hyper Calvinism. A simple definition is this: hyper-Calvinism is the belief that God saves the elect through His sovereign will with little or no use of the methods of bringing about salvation (such as evangelism, preaching, and prayer for the lost). To an unbiblical fault, the hyper-Calvinist over-emphasizes God’s sovereignty and under-emphasizes man’s responsibility in the work of salvation. The doctrine of double predestination is damnable teaching. My daughter who is a University Professor did an extensive study of Hyper Calvinism and found that at times in history, there were a good number of suicides committed due to the hopelessness wrought by this heresy. The Word of God is a balanced book and truth out of balance
leads to heresy.
First of all Fish Bowl, did you actually read the book? My one concern before I actually did read the book and whole thing, was whether or not there would be a lot of Calvinism in it considering she does go to John Macarthur’s Church. If you think I don’t like Bill Gothard, I am absolutely not a fan of John Macarthur and hard-core Calvinism. There is no hyper-Calvinism in this book, and she only mentions John MacArthur in the last chapter. There is no reference to TULIP and Reformed views on a lot of other things and she documents in this book very well the toll Bill’s teaching had on her life and once she moved away from home due to marriage and was exposed to other views and use of scripture and the new freedom from fear and anxiety she now has as she untangled her faith from what she grew up with under Bill Gothard and IBLP.
re: disentangled, re-entangled, and hard-core
Did Jinger hop out the Gothard frying pan, but into the MacArthur fire? Is she disentangling, or only binding with other bonds? “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.” New gurus are still gurus. Binding differently is still binding.
Is MacArthur hard-core? somewhat, but there is plenty of space to his right. Some Christians object that he is not sufficiently five-point for them! MacArthur’s church would be no refuge from fear, but rather a place to confront danger bravely.
re: despair and doctrine
Above, brother Fish Bowl relates a story of despair. Have many people committed suicide because of exaggerated theology? That would be among the worst of tragedies. Hopefully the poor theology was not the cause, but rather a catalyst to their despair. Jesus said that we find what we seek. When we seek hopelessness, we find it.
Did suffering souls seek a religious excuse for despair because they wanted to blame God for their tragic lives? May that motivate us to cultivate the Christian virtue of hope!
whatever one thinks of Calvinism, there is no proof to Fish Bowel’s statement that Calvinism causes suicide. There is none. No proof was offered for this statement. No study, nothing. It is a false statement.
re: unproven vs. false
Let’s not indulge in non sequitur. If a thing is unproven, it is not necessarily false. Although links to academic sources are helpful, would it be shocking if men who believe bad religion destroy themselves? Whether it seems far fetched, is it impossible?
it is a false generalization. Calvinism in its many forms and branches has been around since the 1500s. This is a blanket false statement. There is no proof for it anywhere. This is a great example of non sequitur.
I believe a lot of this reaction amounts to pendulum swing. When someone is so steeped in a movement, wherever it may be, and then decides to come away from the movement, for whatever reason, the result is often so far removed from the original position that it is often complete opposition.
I’ve seen this hundreds of times with many of my friends. It’s more than troubling for me as a Centrist, which I hope I’ve tried to convey. I search for fact, truth. I want to stay outside the pull of popular opinions, of either direction.
That means I might side with Bill one day and against him the next. I know that makes me frustrating in many of these conversations. But I hope we all agree that in these issues, there is room for “good people disagree.”
For Jinger, this is likely a case where the pendulum in her mind has swung. I hope and I pray for her that it doesn’t go too far to the extreme. Many lose their faith entirely here. It doesn’t have to happen.
re: pendulum swing, reality, and illusion
as JM says above, we are prone to pendulum swing. That’s why patience is a virtue, including patience with our own opinions. If we temper our emotional undulations, we avoid extremes. But if our faith is shallow enough to perish in a pendulum swing, was it real? or fake?
I would honestly recommend that you read her book. Her first chapter focuses on people like Josh Harris, who has left Christianity all together and now offers courses on how to deconstruct from faith. She also mentions others un-named that she knows that have also left the faith. Her book is about her not going that route and trying to reach out to others that have been hurt by harmful teachers and bad theology. This is not about a pendulum swing. Pendulum swings would be a conservative type of Christian becoming a progressive Christian and rejecting everything in the past. Someone like this would be Francis Schaeffer’s son Frank Schaeffer who has swung from his father’s ideas and politics to a very progressive faith and politics, pro-abortion etc. Jinger goes to John MacArthur’s church which is pretty conservative. Wearing pants and jeans now is not a pendulum swing. Clothes, food, drinks are just superficial issues and dressing. There are a number of deconstruct people besides Josh Harris. John Piper’s son Arthur also is now an atheist and puts out videos and blogs about it. One of the big wigs from Hillsong also left the faith. The common denominator in all of them seems to be people coming from a very hard edge ridged theology that is either hard cord fundamentalism or Calvinism or loosey goosey shallow prosperity thinking like in Hillsong. Jinger is not a pendulum swing.
Josh Harris would be a focus for Jinger, not only because he was so prominent among the homeschooling young of her day, but also . . . Because he was the most prominent voice for them of the “YRR” (Young, Restless, Reformed) movement . . . Bringing “Calvinism” into evangelical mainstream. She found Bill’s perspective of personal responsibility wanting and moved into the Reformed world of sovereignty, “fatalism” . . . As he has now exited it, and all things Christian. One would think that there is a lesson there. I am not the only one noting a pendulum swing, and the dangers inherent.