Bill and his ministry have relaunched his personal website, BillGothard.com. It features many of the over 20 books he has written over the past four years. He continues traveling from time to time to speak. At 82 he shows no signs of slowing down.
A new focus in a number of his books is the “gut brain”, the principle that we do more thinking and planning with our “gut” than we do with the grey matter between our ears. Scripture uses the term “reins” in the King James Version to refer to this part of our “Inner Man”, the Hebrew word for “kidneys”. The importance of these “reins” is given in Psalm 16 where it becomes the means of God’s direction and instruction to us:
“I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel:
my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.”
Jesus also refers to the “reins” or kidneys – in this case the Greek word – as distinct from our “heart”:
“I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.”
Check it out!
Yes, I visited this site the other day and noticed the fresh rebuttal to the MCO guys. I remember the exasperated remark of a comrade when he butted heads with a bureaucrat. “My job is to make things happen; he only stops things from happening, which is far easier!” While Gothard has devoted himself to making things happen, MCO seems limited to stopping things from happening.
I have met Don Veinot, albeit briefly, and I believe he is fundamentally a sincere, godly man. He hits a lot of groups . . . very focused on the orthodox, agree with most of his opinions. I believe he has fallen into the trap of judging on the surface, lumping . . . prejudices. Plus being heavily influenced by naysayers that he interviewed almost 40 years ago. I personally fact-checked his book and was troubled by the obvious bias when it came to presenting – perhaps skewing – the facts. Accepting unproven things, someone’s word, as “fact”, things later proven false, as we have documented. The Savior is one who will not “snuff the smoking flax, break the bruised reed”, meaning . . . a complete lack of prejudice, jumping to a conclusion. Something we all seem to have a hard time doing.
His new books look to be a rehashing of his teaching. His ideas that we really are controlled by our “kidneys” based on KJV English is delving into voodoo science and taking scripture out of context. I would suggest that Bill stop trying to practice medicine without a license. His claims on his web site of helping Vets avoid suicide is not backed up with any facts. To claim that he has the answer to complex problems such as Chicago’s high crime rates is again misleading and false. And finally, the repeated assertion that Bill is “still busy”, still on the go, still looks like using busy busy busy as an avoidance. If Bill really has committed to meditation and reading the Bible, I do not see that in anything you are describing about Bill’s current activity levels of always on the go. I’m not sure why the idea of “being busy” or always on the go is so appealing to you. That’s more of a sign of being manic. Our whole culture is addicted to activity and busy and always on the go. Bill needs to stop being Martha and start being Mary and maybe sit down at the feet of Jesus for a while which is what is most important than the other.
Worth a read 🙂 For my part, I have heard about everything Bill has put forward in 45 years . . . and, no, this is no rehash.
Those are, of course, easy charges to make. First of all, the “reins” may be KJV, the “kidneys” is Hebrew . . . AND Greek. In the instances cited, the Lord clearly differentiates “heart” from “kidneys”, the latter in the Hebrew “dual”, clearly refering to “a pair”. Here is another one:
Jeremiah 17:10 “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
He “searches” the heart, yet “tries”, pulls on the “reins”. WHAT is this thing that is often listed with the heart, yet not the same? I have yet to find another theologian to offer an explanation.
As to phoney science, I would encourage you to check that out.
“Given the two brains’ commonalities, other depression treatments that target the mind can unintentionally impact the gut. The enteric nervous system uses more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain, and in fact 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is found in the bowels. Because antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase serotonin levels, it’s little wonder that meds meant to cause chemical changes in the mind often provoke GI issues as a side effect. Irritable bowel syndrome—which afflicts more than two million Americans—also arises in part from too much serotonin in our entrails, and could perhaps be regarded as a “mental illness” of the second brain.”
“95 per cent of the body’s serotonin is found in the gut.”
“The gut or the digestive system has close to 500 million nerve cells and 100 million neurons and is almost the size of a cat’s brain.”
“Recent research reveals that there is tremendous amount of information flow from the gut to the brain via the vagus nerve and this flow is mostly one-sided.”
In response to other comments: Bill has had tremendous results turning around troubled youth in “impossible” situations over many years. His stuff . . . works. Mostly because Jesus stuff . . . . works. Which is why he became an international leader with millions of alumni.
And . . . he is constantly meditating on God’s Word. Hardly an interaction with him goes by without him sharing something the Lord gave him in the night seasons as he meditated. His activity is far from busy work . . . he really gets a lot done 🙂 You can’t publish 22 books in 3 years by just looking busy. I don’t see him that often, but have had the privilege of observing some of his activities, which certainly continue to included interactions with “movers and shakers”, including national leaders.
Are these books as in the length of “War and Peace” or are these “booklets” in the style of Kenneth Hagin Sr.? If Bill has helped “millions” of troubled youth as he claims and you are vouching for, then where are these “millions” he has helped and why aren’t these “millions” coming to his defense? However there are many blogs (not just RG) that talk about the problems of his teaching, many of them. Maybe it impresses you that he has “published” 22 booklets in three years, however, I’m not really impressed and see it as more rehashing or remixing of previous teaching and someone that really now has time on his hand to write booklets. He sounds like he hasn’t changed, just has more time on his hands to do these activities that you are impressed with. Bill’s hey day was in the 1970s. The 1980s scandal did cause the gradual backing away from him and his teachings. The ATI program was pretty isolated within Fundamentalism. I’m not sure what movers and shakers he is still involved with if any but if so, there should be names (real names) than innuendos and if there are big name (whatever that means), then they shouldn’t be afraid to say that they still support Bill. Sorry but none of that means anything to me and what would be more meaningful would be for him to spend time in solitude and real prayer.
The Savior’s record of people “coming to His defense” when under attack was dismal indeed. For those miraculously healed, it was 1/10th, right? In his darkest hour, Paul lamented that everybody except a handful he could name on one hand had “forsaken” him. Nothing unusual here. But I can personally attest to the constant steam of folks coming to “bear witness” to how the Lord has blessed them through Bill.
Book lengths are not War and Peace, but enough chapters to carry a punch. They are not “booklets”. Movers and shakers are between him and them, but they sport current and former government officials, some from foreign nations, business leaders of companies you would recognize, church leaders. They seek him out. No, the environment is still not conducive to grand public associations, but the interest, respect and love are genuine.
I think many of the scriptural insights are actually quite marvellous, especially about the gut brain. Many people in the secular world will tell you to follow your gut, because it works, but the scientific and especially the scriptural proof texts to support this thinking have been sparse to say the least. Mr. Gothard brings both together, also proving that science and scripture agree when the science is in harmony with scripture. I’m praying for IBLP and Mr Gothard.
Thanks for the encouragement, Walt. It will be passed on to him, he will deeply appreciate it.
I appreciate the links but this is very new and still experimental. However, Bill with no science or medicine background should not be taking new and experimental research, combining that with a couple of Bibles verses out of context and them coming to the conclusions that if one just memorizes the Bible till the cows come home, they will change their “gut brains” which according to Bill will eliminate fear, worry etc. etc. Sorry but one can’t take verses out of Psalms which are more allegorical and poetic and turn them into cutting edge science. Bill has been preaching memorization and meditation from the start. This isn’t new material for him. One should “contemplate” and pray to draw closer to God, not to get goodies from God. But true contemplation and prayer take time and even solitude. There is a big difference between Bill’s ideas on this and the books I read from true contemplative masters and Lectio Devina which is one of the oldest ways and methods to read and contemplate scripture. Someone that spits out 22 books in 3 years is not a great sign me someone the is truly spending time alone with God. Quantity is not quality. Now I’m sure that you are going to say that all these books are high quality but anything from Bill is that to you.
Now would be the time to clarify the out of context part :-). I am pretty sure they are in context . . .
Dear sister Rob,
Some thoughts: Suppose Bill Gothard is processing medicine without a license (whatever that means). I infer from your comment that you consider it a bad thing. Which raises a question: Why should caesar have a monopoly on who is permitted to help his subjects be well and strong in the flesh? Like me, I bet you do much to help your loved ones be strong and well, without even bothering to secure a permission slip from caesar! If you and I do it, why shouldn’t Bill Gothard?
As for Gothard’s levels of exertion: You and I may be in spry, productive middle age, but don’t you aspire to more than a rocking chair in your eighties? If not, give me a call thirty years from now and we can rock on the front porch together reminiscing about the bad old days of Bill Gothard.
Your rock star brother,
Bill Gothard does not have any science background, degree or experience. He has through the years given out “medical” advice to people that they should go to their doctors about, not to Bill Gothard. “Practicing medicine without a license” means just that. Medical licenses are given out by medical societies which require degrees and passing board tests and all the rest. I’m not sure why you keep bringing up the government in this. I have no clue what rocking chairs and age have to do with anything. My comments on Bill’s activity level means to me that someone that is always on the go no matter what their age borders on manic or hyperactive and is addicted to that. Someone that teaches others to meditate day and night yet is always on the go is a contradiction. I am comparing Bill’s activity levels as reported by Alfred to people that truly spend time in prayer that I would find more genuine that Bill. I would suggest to you to read the outstanding book by Cardinal Sarah “The Power of Silence against the Dictatorship of Noise”. One of the most incredible books I’ve read and it has nothing but 5 star ratings on Amazon, it is that good. I am comparing Bill to what is talked about in that book, not that I think all 80 years ought to be sitting in rocking chairs on the porch. You are mistaken.
I pray Bill’s eyes are opened and that he can catch a glimpse of the wonder of God – red, hard covered books aside, 10,000 non-optional steps to success aside, and images of grand pursuits aside – JUST JESUS and Him crucified.
My family has personally experienced too much heartache, frustration and double standards at the hands of the Institute both with Bill at the head and now with those who follow in his footsteps. My entire life has been flooded with Bill’s philosophies and it wasn’t until we were deeply wounded by Bill and his kingdom nearly two years that our family stopped and reevaluated so much. And we are moving forward and not back.
I am saddened that the mighty steam engine just keeps chugging along.
I pray God’s best for Bill and those still supporting him and his kingdom, but pray that that best includes the Spirit of Truth.
We are – I am – deeply sorry for what you have gone through, Beth. The strange thing is, the Bill I know would not disagree with you on most of your concerns. Regardless, were you to reach a point where you would like to speak to him face to face – or as close as feasible to that – and express your grief and concerns, that would be arranged. He has no great staff surrounding him these days.
May I contribute a perspective from a former ATI father? From your post, I infer that you are former ATI or possibly a member of a Gothard-admiring church. I have been both.
Of course, nothing about following Jesus necessarily excludes red books, steps to success, or visionary thinking. You can also follow Jesus faithfully while rolling your eyes at all those if they are not your style. Christian liberty includes liberty to ignore Bill Gothard.
The steam engine is only as mighty as Christians make it by their free choice.
I was never part of a Gothard leaning church. My dad consistently pointed us to us to seek Christ alone and evaluate everything thru the wisdom of God’s Word and the Spirit,of God within us.
I am former ATI, left public high school as a junior to enroll over 20 years ago, though being nearly finished with formal schooling, we mostly plunged into the free labor of apprenticeships. I have amazing friendships, awesome experiences and memories, and my now family as a result – not because ATI/IBLP is good, but because GOD is.
I (as single, then part of a staff family) have worked in a paid staff capacity with the Institute for 15 years – plus my husband’s years before we married. The Institute sells material that I personally invested hours and hours and hours developing. Yet. Bill does not know our names. And in the lawsuit requesting the removal of David Gibbs III, Bill and his lawyers made it very clear that all the Institute is (materials, alumni lists, properties) are all Bill’s life work, his STUFF. That alone was a slap in the face to every young person, every family who labored for years, whose testimonies impacted lives, whose blood, sweat and tears, whose sacrifice made all of that possible.
Where is the humility? What about if you hang on to your life, you’ll lose it. That revealed so much to me about the mighty steam engine that my family hopped off of.
You are correct in what you said about the liberty to ignore Bill. I won’t though. “Ignor” seems so callused and sad. I’ll move on, not join in the social media chaos regarding IBLP (have avoided it for years). BUT I will pray for Bill sincerely. And I will share my experiences and perspectives with those I interact with as the Lord directs.
As for meeting with Bill, a part of me would love to, but it would have be at the Lord’s prompting and timing. I have forgiven Bill, he owes me and my family nothing. We are WELL.
Blessings to ya!
You have a wise father. But, truth be told, that IS what Bill preached, even if not everyone practiced it, and even if Bill’s zeal sometimes drove him to motivate for more direct and personal commitments to his agenda. Our group of ATI Dads in Southern California felt this extremely strongly as well. As we met from month to month, we rarely even watched the provided resource from HQ, instead focusing on needs and questions of our families.
I understand, but . . . Give credit where credit is due. Bill is the proverbial whipping boy these days. It is my opinion that the Lord will roll in here at some point, like Job or even Joseph, and land a lot of this. And HE will express His perspectives that may be completely different from the blogs and media and everything else. The fact that Bill built something that grew so much good is not an accident. The harshest warning Jesus ever gave was a rebuke to those that ascribed a work of the Holy Spirit . . . To Beelzebub. Because the ones claiming it simply could not accept a good explanation for the good stuff.
No different from a general – or a President – claiming a great victory over the bodies, blood and sweat of untold others. I work for a large corporation – in the last 6 months I have been uprooted 4 times, several on an emergency basis, to fly across the country and work day and night in a dungeon to support a needs of the company. If we prevail, the company will reap billions of dollars. If that happens, will they remember me in the press conference? :-). Not a chance.
I too had – HAVE – a young man that has given over a decade of the prime of his life to Bill and IBLP. None of us regret it. The flow of blessing coming to him is at least as great as anything provided to Bill and the ministry.
Point being . . . It is kind of how it works. Nobody had to participate. When the sun sets, you pray God’s work has been pushed forward, that your contribution does that. And, along the way, you KNOW that young people have been given opportunities that they would NEVER have had otherwise. Traveling the world, meeting with world leaders, saying on their resume that they developed or produced things that had a worldwide impact. That kind of experience is worth its weight in gold.
As far as meeting with Bill, understood. But . . . Remember that Scripture is very, VERY focused on not giving out evil reports when we have not personally gone to the person to verify – in the mouth of 2-3 witnesses – the evil and the lack of repentance. Speaking evil becomes a record in heaven that we will give account of in the day of judgement. There is a time to do it, but, again, if that record does not show us loving that person enough to go to them – and I can get you in phone contact with him very, very quickly – that will be laid at our feet. I appreciate your spirit . . . And am suggesting you be one in a million and do the right thing. I had no special claim on Bill’s attention, indeed, he had no idea who I was, even with a son on staff . . . But I had a burden I could not shake. So . . . I called HQ, and Bill answered the call (this over a decade ago). He answered every question, provided me the ability to validate . . . And kept the channel open. I have gone to him with EVERY accusation that has come to my ears, taking the time to also interview every accuser that will talk to me. My wife will verify that we have never sugarcoated anything, sitting multiple times across his kitchen table in the last several years, looking him in the eye. I could not do this if I had not done that, and I am so glad I have. Beth, do the right thing.
Sir, if you personally feel that I crossed the line in my comments, I respectfully ask that you delete my thread. Sincerely, please do.
I have avoided online debate on any public platform for nearly 3 years. And, I won’t start now. 🙂 My mistake.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
May God be glorified in each of us.
🙂 Thanks, Beth. Yes, when we enter the “platform” we suddenly have a lot more responsibility before the Lord. Few understand that. It appears that you do. The Lord bless you.
I looked over at the new web site and most of these books are under 100 pages. I think there is one at 211 and one includes a CD. A couple are fancy journal types and most of them are clearly rehashing his previous teaching. He obviously is self publishing them and not selling anywhere else. In other words, I don’t see them on Amazon and e-book format. Sorry but trying to boost his ballon isn’t working. Anyone with 40+ years of teaching can easily turn around and spit out 22 books (very short books) in 3 years. I don’t see this working for him is this is what he is trying to do and while you care for him, you don’t need to blow his trumpet.
IF you think that is a piece of cake, I suggest you try it 🙂 But I have read them – most of them – and I, again, heartily disagree with your assessments. Well assembled, beautifully adorned, clearly presented.
I’m not following what you think I think is a piece of cake. Do I think writing books is a piece of cake? For you and me no, for Bill who has written books all his life, yes. Do I think repeatedly defending Bill is a piece of cake? No, I don’t think that is. Maybe all these small books are impressive to you and some kind of sign of Bill’s greatness to you, but I really don’t at all for many of the reasons I’ve stated above.
Having been part of the process for several of the books, I would not characterize it as a piece of cake. Again, our perceptions differ.
How are you a part of the process? In setting up the self-publishing and computer links?
Helping at various times with facets beyond writing . . . Proofing, editing, images . . . Mailings 🙂
That’s what I was guessing. 🙂
For more on pieces of cake by masters, see Cal Newport’s excellent books, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, and Deep Work. When one has mastered his craft, it looks easy to outsiders. But there are still those countless hours (ten thousand, according to one source) of deliberate practice.
Yes, again 60 years of being in teaching ministry, he was able to redo or represent some of his teaching with some added new stuff in little book forms.
And as the only one in this discussion who has purposely studied both his “old” stuff and his “new” stuff, I get to be the best qualified to judge on that matter. And . . . each book presents new stuff. Good stuff. 🙂
Well, my bucket list of reading material is pretty big and doesn’t include anything Evangelical or Fundamentalist so what one considers “good stuff” is certainly not going to match what you consider “good stuff”. I am curious if there was any effort to sell Bill’s “new books” on places like Amazon or Barnes and Noble?
Not at present. Probably will get some posts up on Facebook soon. Baby steps with limited staff.
In reviewing again Bill’s material on the new web site you helped him redo, what appears to be “new” is his emphasis on “gut brain”. Again focussing on meditation and conquering things like fear, purpose in life, conquering depression, deep rooted faith, love and prayer are really not new themes for Bill, they just now have been repackaged with the gut brain stuff he has latched onto. He has also repackaged the so called 7 principals of the basic seminar plus his character and command book. Again, 2 of these books are fancy journals. The art work and illustrations are also similar to his previous books and materials. I don’t see how the book “Our purpose in Life” is anything new but to say “pray for everyone”. Ok, what is really earth shattering new about that? Bill always had a big emphasis on meditation, even “day and night”, except now it appears to be mixed with his “gut brain” ideas. He has two books about fear alone which makes me wonder if fear is some big issues for Bill himself. So now his focus isn’t “bitterness” but “fear” and has attached that to everything. To say in one book (or imply) that dementia is caused by lack of gratefulness is just beyond the pale. Likewise stating that adrenaline addictions are behind diseases like cancer etc. is again practicing medicine without a license. I’m just gleaning all of this from the short explanations on Bill’s web site that you helped him set up. So what looks to be “new” is that Bill has replaced fear instead of bitterness as the bogey man for the causes for a number of physical illnesses. In the consuming fire book, Bill makes the same charge he always has that physical diseases and illnesses are caused by us or God trying to get our attention so these things are allowed by God. That isn’t new at all and is basically pretty horrific theology and thinking.
Au contraire! Check this out: http://www.alzheimers.net/2-01-16-negative-thoughts-affect-risk-of-dementia/
You love experts way too much.
For the record, I had nothing to do with the latest web revision. 🙂
One more thing Alfred, since a number of these books focus on health, has Bill ever taken his theories to an independent physician (non-bill fan) for an independent review to confirm a number of Bill’s allegations and conclusions?
Again, the world worships experts in ways we should only worship our living God. Psalms 119:99-100. “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.”
Do you believe that . . . That you can understand more than the experts if you love and obey God’s Word?
2 Chronicles 16:12. “And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians.”
Nice try Alfred but the study about “negative” attitudes from Yale was very specific. The negative attitudes was about aging and what people thought about the aging process and those that “negatively” viewed aging seemed to have more dementia etc. It was about AGING not about ingratitude which according the book’s blip, that ingratitude can cause dementia etc. If Bill is using some experimental study like this to boost his conclusions and you agree with that, then God help you. If you think people “worship” experts then that same accusation can be levied against you in that you worship Bill who is trying to make himself an expert in medical problems which he is not at all. If someone wants to build a bridge, do they consult someone like Bill that will quote Bible verses at them or should they go to “experts” in engineering and math to build a bridge. That true about a ton of things. Again the Yale study which was only 2 studies talked people’s negative views about aging and getting old and Bill (or you or whoever) want to twist that into trying to make some case that ingratitude is going to cause or the reason for dementia is bordering on voodoo science again.
There are current studies on negativity and dementia. I presented one promoted by the Alzheimers Assicuation as I would have thought that would carry weight with you. Based on what I have run across in the media in the months since Bill published made me sure I could easily find corroboration. I would be glad to find more, if I felt it would have any effect on your perspectives. Bottom line: Bill is far from the unsupported quack you make him out to be.
Scripture has nothing to say about bridge building, so bad example. Pick a topic that is real.
Back when I served as officer in charge of ALERT basic training in the Northwoods, Bill Gothard would sometimes come up and speak at the graduation ceremony. Commanding officer Ron Fuhrman once asked Gothard how he could speak so well in public with such brief preparation. Bill quietly replied, “Ron, I have been preparing that message for more than forty years.”
As Bill Gothard has been writing for more than sixty years now, the market will judge how worthy the publications are to buy and read.
Thank-you, whether you meant it or not, you have just confirmed my opinion on this. And yes, the market will determine the success of these “books”. Considering that they are self-published and only sold on his web site and not on any major book selling website like Amazon or Barnes and Noble and not in any e-book format, I have a feeling that this is not going to be big.
Welcome back to our fields of friendly strife.
I didn’t have any intention except an over-statement of the obvious. Mr. Market is a ruthless regulator. If something offered to the public resonates with human needs or desires, it will thrive. Otherwise, not. I have authored no books nor taught any seminars, so I can’t fathom what it must take to connect with people. But Bill Gothard has and does.
What he has created for the public has been very widely received in decades past. I don’t know whether that season has come and gone. But Gothard’s products have been well enough received to appear on the radar screen of MCO and other opponents. It follows that Gothard’s products are significant enough for enemies to bestir themselves.
Yes, certainly in the 1970’s, Bill’s material and teaching was widely received and used and promoted. After the 1980 scandal with his brother broke open, there was a quiet backing away from him and this is from direct observation from that time period of my own. Many of his ideas and views are and were widely copied and used and reused. I think he refocused his efforts with the homeschooling program which also as limited appeal and leads more to an isolated group of people. I remember in that Church I was involved with at that time, before the scandal broke open, there was no critical disagreements with anything Bill taught. Afterwards, the elders of the church spoke about some of their disagreements with things like divorce and music. It seems like the 1980 scandal open the door for a more critical review and even ability to disagree with Bill Gothard. Again, this is my own direct observation from that time period. Fast forward to today, I really don’t think Bill has any credibility with the wider Evangelical community that use to follow him in the hey day of the 1970s.
Paul had lost all credibility with his converts and churches by the time he was executed:
2 Timothy 1:15 “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me”
That being the picture of complete success, I suspect that Bill ending his days in similar manner is not necessarily an expression of failure. As you said, the scandal – in which Bill was guilty of insensitivity, not reacting quickly and firmly enough – was used to allow those that wanted to question him . . . to do so. That is actually a pattern of a normal harvest in spiritual things:
Matthew 13:47-48 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.”
In the Savior’s case:
John 6:60, 66-67
“Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? . . .
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, — Will ye also go away?”
You can see why such things may not be that big of a concern.
Lets look at each of the three verses you just quoted. First of all, in II Timothy, St. Paul was writing from prison, his reference to “being deserted” was referring to people leaving him due to being in prison waiting to be executed. It has nothing to do with people “deserting” his teaching. The John 6 and those that left Jesus was due to Jesus stating about “eating His body and drinking His blood”. Again and based on how one reads Jesus here, which at least the Catholic view is literal, would have been more of a shocking statement to the Jewish ears of that time because the Jewish understanding of the passover and bread would have been seen as Jesus equating Himself to God. Lastly, I’m not sure how Matthew 13 fits in with the other two since the reference of a net and sorting between good and bad is about final judgement, not people leaving Jesus. None of these verses are based on people leaving or backing away from someone due to sex scandals. St. Paul’s situation was being in prison and he could have been deserted by the simple fact that the other’s lives could have been at risk. The John 6 which was early in Jesus ministry was about people not accepting that Jesus is God and the perfect passover lamb. Matthew 13 is about final judgement when the good and bad are finally sorted out. None of these are due to hidden and secret sex scandals that came out and exposed hypocrisy of Bill and his teaching. Once people saw that what was being taught in having high moral character and having someone involved having sex with secretaries under Bill’s nose, they started to back out and move on.
Bill is in prison! And someone who is your “father”, having seen you saved or growing strongly in the Lord . . . You don’t abandon them when they are in their lowest point unless you have reason to find fault with them. That is what Job’s three friends did. Because, truth be told, NOBODY but Jesus is without fault.
Compared to a great many things that Jesus said, including hating family to follow Him, the statement was not, alone, worth the majority of disciples turning and leaving. What offends people is the demand of a commitment that, basically, means I lose my life . . . My stuff for sure. THAT is where He was going. Regardless, most folks, when they realized what following Jesus REALLY meant . . . Left.
Not so sure. Nothing would evoke the following . . . Like a sex scandal:
1 Corinthians 4:13. “Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.”
That makes no sense. EVERY godly organization has had its issues, even the inner 12 of the Savior. The question is whether it is rejected as sin . . . And dealt with. Most folks have lived long enough to keep that in perspective. Sinners sin . . . Even some close to the light.
Bill’s teaching over the years has been refreshing and insightful to me because he was not hindered by the paralysis of professionalism. He didn’t buy into the idea that you can’t do accurate exegsis without a seminary education or you are not able to do a good job home schooling your children without a degree in education, etc. He would not discount the professionals and he had close contact with many of them from various disciplines. He believed the Scriptures to be true and their teachings were to be chosen over the opinions of men when there was disagreement. Creation vs. evolution would be a stark example of man’s opinion vs. God’s truth. Several men I graduated from seminary with stated going to the basic seminar added to their understanding of the Scriptures and helped round out their ministries. I have read a few of Bill’s latest books and he is spot on. Moses, Paul and Jesus had their critics, some of them were hateful and vicious. Those less than gracious individuals didn’t stop the progress of the gospel then and they won’t hinder Bill’s contribution to the kingdom now.
I looked over Mr. Gothard’s new website, and I was wondering: is he still teaching the Basic Seminar in person? I ask because his website says “What I Really Teach in the Basic Seminar” (present tense).
Bill has fronted a number of hour long seminars in the last 4 years, but at 82 I suspect his days of 32 hours on his feet in a week are long over. :-). But the seminar lives on, online. So he keeps preaching. https://embassymedia.com/media/session-01-how-trace-problems-root-causes
I have found a lot of top-quality material on Embassy Media, espially the old greats from the Knoxville ATI conferences. Ron Dunn, Roger Magnuson, Keith Daniel, Otto Koning and others are there.
I’ll have more time later to discuss the dementia book but I quickly wanted to point out to you that Ronald Reagan was probably one of the most positive outlooking person and presidents I know of and yet, he ended his life “loosing his mind” and memory. While this is just a quick counterpoint, I again want to point out to you that making broad based diagnosis of why people get arthritis, dementia, cancer etc to simplistic cause and effects that Bill has done as his MOO through-out all of his years of teaching is simply again practicing medicine without a license. For every so called example Bill may try to point to as “proof” of his ideas, there are just as many that don’t and Ronald Reagan would be a prime example. The man that said it’s still “morning in America” and we are still a “city on a hill” is not someone that is negative about himself or his future. The Bible has more directly to say about immorality affecting our bodies, abuse of alcohol, and gluttony than about twisting people’s normal emotions as the reason for physical problems. All all those things certainly cause serious health problems for too many people. If the biggest killer in the US is heart disease and the biggest adult disabler is stroke, what one eats has more to do with those two than anything Bill is coughing up in his current books.
I was just discussing with my wife a relative that lived into her 80s . . . smoking like a chimney. Exceptions do not disprove cause and effect relationships. Some of us must get dementia, being in our genes. Others are negative and avoid it. But even the Alzheimers association was impressed with the study I cited. There IS something to it.
I read the study, the negative was very specific about attitudes about aging. The Alzheimers web sties clearly state that there is no know one cause of Alzheimers and dementia. Yes, the study is interesting and maybe there will be more research in this area. This was a 25 year long study and others are going to take time as well. Bill’s teaching was very cause and effect. But in many of the problems he wanted to make simplistic root causes, and there for many things is not one simplistic “root” cause but a conglomeration of many things fitting together in not just health but relationships and emotions.
At least acknowledge that Bill’s assertion is backed up by at least one – and there have been several – good study. Making it far more than speculation and quackery.
I cannot acknowledge that because the study only found that many Alzheimer patients seem to have held negative attitudes about the aging process, nothing more and there would need to be more studies on why or how and what the connection is. The little blip that you probably helped Bill write or put up in order to sell his book on this focused on “gratitude” as the cause of dementia, not a poor view about getting old. They are not the same thing and if Bill used this study to try and support his theories in this book, then he is manipulating evidence for his ideas. This wasn’t an all conclusive study and not a for sure thing that one can use it and then turn around and state that negative attitudes cause dementia.
That’s a witty choice of words, if it was intentional. You said that poor diet causes disease, in contrast to what Bill Gothard coughs up. Nice pun.
As for substance, have you seen any conclusive evidence that diet causes heart disease and stroke? Conventional wisdom agrees with you, but causation is difficult to prove. The case against dietary cholesterol seems to get weaker and weaker just during our own lifetimes.
My suggestion is to visit American Heart association web site as well as stroke prevention web sites. I have to yearly be tested on these issues at my employment. The focus on diet isn’t just cholesterol but more with saturated fats, high sugar content, high salt and preservatives and lack of physical activities. As to the wit, I guess I’ll let you ponder that yourself.
Yes, I visited the AHA site. I’ll give them credit for being much more balanced than I expected. They didn’t just promote statins and low cholesterol. They actually warned against neurological problems from statins and low cholesterol. It was no surprise to find a health trade-off like that, but it was a little surprising to see that warning on on the AHA site. But I did not see anything I would call conclusive proof. Things are depressed more in terms of probability than proof.
I have not read any of the new Gothard books, but the topic of moral conduct affecting our health reminds me of Gulliver’s visit to the houynymns. These noble creatures were immune from disease. This fascinated Gulliver, who was a medical doctor. Gulliver came to realize that men make themselves sick by their gluttony and misconduct.
As for practicing medicine without a permission slip from caesar, why should caesar have a monopoly on dispensing wellness?
Agreed. Funny how the stamp of imperfect, fallible, even unrighteous people somehow makes something God’s idea. 1 Cor. 6 says that we, believers, will “judge angels”. We are qualified to correctly decide the punishment and fate of those amazing and wise beings. As Paul points out after that . . . That qualifies us to speak to things now, in this life. Nobody is talking nuclear physics here . . . But the human body, designed by God, IS something where wisdom is given, both practically and through the means of Holy Writ.
Well, I don’t see anyone else doing any better in dispensing wellness but there are plenty of crack pots that try.
Of course you see dispensing of wellness all the time, and not just by caesar’s cronies. Parents wipe their kids’ fevered brows. Spouses nurse ill spouses back to health. Ancient folk wisdom recommends an apple a day to keep away you-know-who. Why shouldn’t Bill Gothard join the parade of non-crony health advisors?
Sometimes even your online penpal recommends T-Tapp! For a hemiplegic, you should see how strong and buff I am! Ha!
Moving right along,
A final thought on Bill’s bonaza of writing books after IBLP. One view which is probably yours Alfred (and those loyal supporters) is that Bill was able to do so under divine inspiration. The other extreme of that would be Bill wrote under diabolical influence. The third which is mine is that Bill used his new found time on his hands with 60+years of teaching and writing to reformulate and rewrite with his gut brain ideas. I’ll finish with this quote from Thomas Merton who wrote 70 books and poems in his lifetime. “This afternoon, I tried to be as quite as I could for two hours in the vault (this is Good Friday) and came but with the conclusion that writing is something very low and insignificant, and that I, who seem to have become identified with writing, am also low and insignificant”. (from Sign of Jonas one of his earliest books). He began to write in obedience to his superiors who saw his talent and yet it was a struggle for him in the beginning which is what Sign of Jonas documents. Later, he went on to 70 books. I am not seeing or sensing any humility from Bill in writing books or at least with you in promotion of his newer material. Merton’s attitude of humility is the better here.
Try to find the best you can :-). Seems like Bill can’t win. Not aimed specifically at you, but I am continually reminded of this exchange:
“But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.”
There is a lot of depth in that exchange by Jesus. It should make anyone stop and think. Jesus was making the comparison to the religious leaders of that day and the comparison is basically calling them a bunch of spoiled brats. Not really a compliment. They didn’t like John the Baptist because he was severe in his ascetic practices and they didn’t like Jesus because He wasn’t the ascetic (He ate and drink and hung out with the crowd). They were stuck on themselves and saw wrong with anyone that wasn’t with them and their little group. John the Baptist and Jesus were not of their little group. “The Pharisees rejected God because He was not a Pharisee. The Pharisees would have nothing to do with God because God turned out to be not make in their own image” (Thomas Merton)
That is the basic idea I see. Nobody but they were right. Even the holy Son of God failed. They had a little echo chamber support group . . . From which they mocked and judged everyone outside hat didn’t join them. The endless attacks on Bill remind me of that . . . Is all. All of his teaching has problems, never had a truly pure act or motive. “Wisdom is justified of her children”.
I honestly don’t think you really mean “the Holy Son of God failed”. God doesn’t fail, humans do. In all fairness, I don’t think you really mean what you just wrote.
Thank you for letting me correct that. In the eyes of “the experts” He failed . . . Meaning . . . EVERYBODY came short of their wishes or expectations. He did NOT fail.
No wonder you enjoy reading Merton. He may have a low view of his own writing, but that looked pretty good to me.
Over and out,
Exactly right. Even the secularists of biblical times were not worried about the teaching of the desciples, unless they had political or other motives. They only thing that has sometimes bothered me about the IBLP teachings (notice, I’m not personalizing this to Bill) 😉 is that there is an absolutist tone to much of it. The newest books are no exception. The crime problem in Chicago is an example. Paraphrasing – The only way the murder problem will be solved is via scripture meditation. If by that, Bill means that only by intervention inspired by the Holy Spirit that can only be had by a people who seek God in spirit and truth, then, OK I guess. But statements like that have left many Christ followers stuck, questioning their own spiritual integrity. I know what meditation means to me now. It means , and is the embodiment of, praying without ceasing, being in constant communication with God, all the time, and allowing Him to both encourage and rebuke me as I have need. But it took me many years to get there, and throughout, I felt deeply discouraged and inadequate in my ability to have that conversation. God led me to churches and good teachers as well as informing how I studied the scriptures. I had to throw out a lot of what I was taught, and realize as Paul did that no man taught me, but God himself. That was the beginning of owning my own faith. IBLP, as do MANY other well meaning Christian organizations, give many of the “seven steps” and “three keys” types of things, instead of just teaching how God wants to relate to us at a very personal level, all of the time, day and night, because as one man put it “He’d rather die than be without us”. If we have that piece, and own our own salvation, we’ll figure out all the do’s and don’t, doctrine, etc.
You raise good points. EVERY aspect of spiritual help, if isolated as a means to an end, becomes an ugly caricature of itself. The six points or steps help a lot of people get through the confusion, disorder of their own brains. But they must never be confused with “Thus saith the Lord”.
I reread Bill’s opening on his current web site where he again emphasis “meditation” on the Bible. Bill attributes “meditation” to success and the reason to “meditate” is to have success. Bill has always taught that the gateway to meditation is rote memorization and has always suggested Sermon on the Mount, passages in Romans, Psalm 119 which I would assume are passages that Bill has memorize. I find this troublesome because one should be seeking a union with God over and above “success” which at least to me, Bill has used material success as a sign. (or having a big ministry, or money etc.) I’m not sure if the video on “One Accord” is still on IBLP web site but Bill in his opening comments repeated and emphasized these same ideas. Shouldn’t one be seeking God and reading the Bible not because of goodies God will give us but because we are empty without God and because God is all love and truth. Bill seems to appeal to one’s baser motivations of rewards or success instead of truth and love.
I’m not sure if you ever heard of this but Lectio Divina (Divine reading) which has it’s roots in early Christianity is a much better method and outline in reading the Bible and incorporating that into one’s life. The four stages of read, mediate, pray and contemplate is a much better guideline in private devotion that just trying to rote memorize the Bible as a basis of “meditation”. I don’t see in Bill’s emphasis on rote memorization as a step towards seeking communion with God. It is just too mechanical. The Bible in Lectio Divina is not read or used as an analytical tool but a stepping stone to seek and communion with God. Point blank rote memorization doesn’t really do that. Memorization may be a by product of repeated reading and praying but it’s not the sole goal. Contemplation is defined as “hearing the Word of God in an attentive mode”. Bill seems to equate rote memorization with meditation which Bill teaches will bring success with no mention of communion or closeness with God which should be our main goal instead of “success in this life”.
The steps outlined are good. The memorization adds the ability to meditate “night and day” . . . when the mind is free to chew.
BTW, it should be noted that it is the Lord who adds the reward of “success” as an incentive here: “Then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8) “Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:3) So I have felt that promoting this as “Guaranteed Success” is not out of line.
Thanks for commenting, BTW 🙂
Well, it depends on what is meant by “good success”. Is “good success” material things? Is “good success” having a relationship with God? When Jesus sent out the 72 to minister and they returned rejoicing about the miracles that happen, Jesus stated that one should rejoice “that their names were written in the book of life”. Jesus also stated to “store up treasures in heaven”. When Jesus was at the temple and watching what people put in, the widow that put in 2 little coins was the one Jesus commented on as giving the most, above everyone else.
Memorization is a tool. However, one can “ponder and contemplate” scripture without having to have it rote memorized. If one is regularly reading through-out the day as well as follow some kind of reading guideline or order or calendar, then one will become very familiar with the Bible as well as incorporate it into their life in “ponder and contemplate”. I think I’ve seen Billy Graham mention that he reads a chapter of Proverbs as day as well as 5 Psalms a day, Liturgy of the hours, office of divine reading does the same sort pattern (covering Psalms in 4 weeks plus many other parts). Those sorts of patterned Bible readings goes a long way then picking out (or having Bill Gothard tell you what to memorize) rote type of memorization which is daunting and difficult for a majority to do effectively. Now maybe that works for you, more power to you but I think I’ll stick with Liturgy of the hours which is mentioned in both OT (Daniel praying 3x a day, Psalm 119 “praying 7xs” a day verse) and the Apostles going to the Temple at different times of the day.) The natural memorization that takes place slowly because of repeated use and reading gives the person the ability to “chew” on God’s word in their heart.
It depends on whether one believes the actual, literal words to be “holy”. If every word that God speaks, or has spoken, written, matters . . . the same words that spoke the universe into existence . . . then memorization is an act of worship. Does that make sense?
Psalm 12:6 “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”
BTW . . . I do need to apologize for the delay. Besides the fun of life – and there is much activity with the lawsuit that we can’t go into at the moment – I got to fight my way through 800 (!) spam messages to find your comments. We may have to break down and start paying for a service . . . since this, ladies and gentlemen, is getting ridiculous.
Hello again, Rob.
I never heard that Latin term you used, so I looked it up in Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lectio_Divina
The definition given there is very close to what I remember from Gothard’s teaching. Here is a sentence from the article: Traditionally, Lectio Divina has four separate steps: read; meditate; pray; contemplate. “First a passage of Scripture is read, then its meaning is reflected upon. This is followed by prayer and contemplation on the Word of God.” Gothard probably never used those those exact words, but they capture the essence of what he taught.
As modern Christians, we have an advantage which would have made our ancestors envy us. Only in modern times have we middle class laymen had access to Bibles. First we needed Gutenburg for the printing technology, then Aldus for the technology to make Bibles small and portable. Then Steve Jobs to give us access on portable electronic devices. So we Christians of 2017 have a better stocked Lectio Divina toolkit than our ancient brethren. If Bill Gothard exhorts us to actually use it, so much the better!
You also objected to the promise of success as bait for meditation. Fair enough, but beware of trying to be more altruistic than God. Our Bibles document His lavish promises of personal gain and pleasure. If He is not shy about dangling carrots to motivate us to do as we ought, must we be more shy? At his right hand are pleasures forevermore. So says the psalmist.
Your brother forevermore,
Your view of God dangling carrots in oder to “get” us to follow God is beyond anything I can say. If you want to view God as a manipulator, you can be my guest, but I find this sort of view of God horrific in polite terms. I also don’t know where in the world “lavish and pleasure” are coming from. Sounds too base and even “worldly” to me. Trying to quote different verses from Psalms, out of context and not considering it’s poetry in order to justify these views is another sad case of proof texting the Bible to justify the typical Santa Claus mode of God that’s too prevalent in Christianity, especially in America. I would suggest the book “God is not Nice” which is recently published and debunks Santa Claus God you are promoting here.
Thanks for the Halloween reply, sister. Happy All Saints Day!
Okay, I admit my carrot metaphor was too clumsy. But permit me a smile at the irony in our message exchange. One of the fiercest criticisms leveled at Gothard over the years was the charge of legalism, right?
Doesn’t legalism often posit a fussy Felix Unger God who may be bought off only via strict adherence to technicalities? So I went the opposite direction toward John Piperism.
But I’ll defend myself from the charge of calling God a manipulator. That’s no fair. You used a smear word.
The Bible term is “rewarder,” not manipulator. Right there in Hebrews. You know, the faith chapter which says that he who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder. So can we agree that God is a rewarder? We need not mean carnal rewards. Sometimes they are, sometimes not.
Of course the Psalms are poetry. How would that change the meaning of pleasures evermore? I hope the psalmist didn’t really mean misery evermore!
Thanks for the book tip. Please be patient as my reading list is backed up pretty far now. It may be a long while before I get to the Lehner book, although I see very positive reviews on Amazon. Did you read it yourself?
As for being an American Christian, I am guilty as charged, your honor! I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Your fellow “saint,”
Well, I’m not a fan of John Piper either. If you read Hebrews chapter 12 a little closer, none of the people listed got their “rewards” in this life, but the next. What is listed by the author of Hebrews was the suffering and challenges faced, not the prosperity type of teaching. John Piper is the “Christian hedonist” guy correct? That sounds like such an oxy-moron.
I’ve learned to separate my values from what I would consider typical American cultural values which are be number one, be big, be rich, riches are a sign of “blessings”, bigger is better, be the best etc. etc. which I no longer share. All of that stuff invades a lot of the Christianity found here. God values the little, the broken, the poor and the humble. So, I don’t consider or want to be a Yankee doodle Christian.
Yes, I read that book and LOVED IT! He wrote it in such a way that is actually very ecumenical, considering that he teaches in a Jesuit University. He wrote about something that is near and dear to my heart.
We are all saints in the make. “please be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet” So just to have some fun conversation, who is your favorite saint (or past religious person) that you admire, look up to, read about, emulate etc.? Can be more than one person (and my list is pretty big) and why is that person or persons your favorite?
I am not even sure how you can equate the four steps of Lectio Divina with Bill Gothard. Yes, I’m familiar with the Wiki article which I consider well done as well as many other web sites that talk about this ancient method of reading and incorporating scripture in one’s life. In all of these, the one thing Bill does promote and is not even mentioned is memorization and having memorization being the gateway to meditation. What Bill Gothard is calling or considering meditation is not the same as the meditation step of Lectio Divina which considers meditation to be more of a mental step (understanding the scripture, considering how that verse applies to me). All four steps are interrelated to each other where prayer lead to contemplation or mulling it over in one’s heart and being open to God in speaking to you from that verse. Maybe Bill’s ideas of meditation is more like contemplation but Bill has always used meditation instead of contemplation which are similar but different none the less. One does not need to rote memorize scripture to do or follow Lectio Divina and memorization is not the gateway to this and that is my main point.
I part with this quote from Thomas a Kempis (The Imitation of Christ)
” For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophies if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of Vanities and all is vanity, except to love God and serve Him alone”
Point taken, sister. Memorizing is not always essential to meditating. Perhaps the case for memorizing lies elsewhere.
Personally, I memorize Bible verses for many reasons. The case for memorizing Bible verses seems so axiomatic to me that it is almost absurd to defend the practice. Daily memorization and daily prayers fit together very well. It has been said that men need reminding more often than they need instruction.
Daily memorization and daily prayers both serve to bring important truth to mind. (At least for me!)
I have read through his website and also one of the new books. My question is: where is Jesus?
Bill clearly lays out steps to guaranteed success and solving problems by taking a scripture and reciting it. Says it was the basis for the original seminars (I hadn’t heard that before). He says if only he would’ve taught this better from the beginning there would’ve been more success.
But where is Jesus? I really am not gathering that Bill’s teaching is the Christian gospel, although he borrows some of those verses and such for his teaching.
I am seeing a lot of his formulas for living, but teaching on Salvation through the shed blood of Christ is absent.
What does he mean when he says it doesn’t matter what religion you are, that (doing what he is teaching) guarantees success?
Thanks for participating. Bill loves his Savior, but this is not a “devotional” website. Think of the book of Hebrews. The Savior is clearly exalted – higher than the angels, tasting death for every man, His priesthood, He who endured the cross, despising the shame – but this is very much primarily a “get busy” book for those who call themselves His disciples. Indeed, a key section is this:
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.” (Hebrews 6:1-3)
Nobody can accuse the author (I go with Paul) of not loving Jesus . . . but he actually warns, in starkest terms, against “hanging around” the opening credits and never “moving on”. He actually says, “leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ”. Interesting, yes? Seems like . . . if we never get past our acceptance in Him, our forgiveness by Him, what He did on Calvary . . . we are in grave trouble. What follows is one of the meanest sections anywhere in Scripture. If we do not bear fruit . . . well, read it for yourself:
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” (verses 4-8)
I happen to be one who knows that you cannot “lose your salvation” once you are His . . . but you have to admit, this is quite serious. Like, end of life kinds of things.
And that is what Bill’s unique ministry is all about: Fruit bearing and discipleship. Moving on, past the beginning, to all that Christ saved us FOR. Be an adult, not a baby. Irritates some folk. Personally . . . I think the message is desperately needed.
Was or has Bill been consulted on the Museum of the Bible which is to open this month in DC. With Steve Green being behind it and all over it, I would think Bill Gothard’s influence was key here. Is there any plans by you or Bill to visit it?
Interesting. The Greens have been big Bill supporters in the past, not aware of current involvement. I will have to check it out. I should know . . . but where is it?
Alfred you must be hiding under a very large rock not to of heard of the “Bible Museum and all the controversies regarding illegally obtained artifacts and the subterfuge of getting them past customs. They were fined 3 million and had to return the 1.6 million in illegally obtained artifacts. Its in downtown Washington DC an apt place for misdeeds. They were trying to do something amazing and I personally want to visit but sadly the place is tarnished by “the ends justified the means”, boy that sounds familiar. In Romans 2:17-24 reminds us, “But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” I think verse 24 says it all.
So, I had heard something and just read up on it. Sounds like some of the items came from Iraq, under unclear circumstances. If the federal government is clear that these are violations and Hobby Lobby has accepted responsibility, well, I guess there are lessons that have been learned. With the trouble perpetuated by ISIS and the prospect of them destroying a great deal of other priceless items in their hate fueled religious zeal, I can’t help but wonder if, had ISIS not been beaten back as they have, this might have been seen in a different, perhaps noble light? Occasionally, thinking outside the box can save the day.
And, look here, National Geographic decrying the acts of ISIS in destroying archeology back in 2015:
“Here Are the Ancient Sites ISIS Has Damaged and Destroyed ”
Maybe, just maybe, Hobby Lobby protected relics that would otherwise have been destroyed. Possible?
Alfred ISIS really did not influence the Hobby Lobby decision to purchase illegally obtained ancient artifacts (5,548 item). In 2009 Hobby Lobby started acquiring artifact for the museum. According to the DOJ statement, “”In October 2010, an expert on cultural property law retained by Hobby Lobby warned the company that the acquisition of cultural property likely from Iraq, including cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals, carries a risk that such objects may have been looted from archaeological sites in Iraq.” The ISIS califate didn’t start acquiring territory till 2013. Mosul was taken in 2014 and Nineveh about that same time period and is when the ISIS looting took on an industrial effort.
Unfortunately, how they got them into the US is of bigger concern and is the basis of my reference to Romans 2:24 “Hobby Lobby received falsely labeled artifacts from a supplier, according to the Department of Justice. The UAE-based dealers involved in the transactions falsely labeled the artifacts as “ceramics” and “samples” and illegally shipped them to Hobby Lobby stores and corporate affiliates in the United States, the DOJ said.”
One of my interests in Biblical Archaeology, finding artifact in their context is probably more important than the artifact themselves. The Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in 1946-47, one is the complete book of Isaiah (The Great Isaiah Scroll circ. 125 BCE) its 98% accurate to the previous oldest text, the Leningrad Codex. It predates that Codex by 1000- 1100 years. The two percent difference is unrelated to any doctrine, prophesy or meaning of the text. This was an extremely important find from a doctrinal position of proving the unchanging and unaltered truth of scripture through the millennium. We know that Isaiah has not changed since the Leningrad Codex, because of the Dead Sea find now we can go back another 1100 years, through some very turbulent times, and find it still word perfect. Then to go back from 125BCE to the time it was written, between 701-681BCE, a mere 576 years at most. Its an easy stretch to say the text is unchanged since its writing and the same could be said for the other 39 books of the Old Testament. Portions of other OT books have been found and they too are unchanged.
Where am I going, original there were eleven caves explored for the Dead Sea Scrolls, last year the Israel Department of Antiquity decided to make one last exploration of the area. This decision was based on illegally acquired antiquities that had been recently discovered. A twelfth cave was found, but it was void of complete documents only broken pottery, scroll fragments and exploration tools were found. Somewhere around the world whatever was looted is in sitting in someone personal collection. Even if it was made public its in-situ and provenance could never be proven.
Participating in illegal antiquity trade only encourages it, thus nations have strict laws. Your attempt to justify their action doesn’t hold up to scripture and only encourages the covering of sin, does that sound familiar. In Matthew 22:21 Jesus tells us,” “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” It means follow the law. I will die for my Savior and God but not a piece of clay.
Thank you for the clarification, Larne. I note that the Greens were not charged criminally, but did what they were asked to to fix it:
So I am guessing that they were naive about the law. We all know that there are grey areas where the ambitious, those with initiative, skate and accomplish things that other are too afraid to do. And if what you say is true, again I come back to . . . would you rather those Dead Sea Scrolls end up in the private Hobby Lobby collection, or some foreign potentate that may mishandle them? The looting is a reality. Looted artifacts without a buyer PROBABLY will get destroyed . . . right?
ISIS has also sold things to eager collectors to fund themselves. So collectors such as the Greens have unwittingly funded terrorists. There are documented meetings with Steve Green about the laws that have been around since the 70s that try to protect such things from being taken from countries like Iraq, Egypt and Israel. The Greens also have not been very careful about the authentication about their collection. They have a Coptic fragment of Galatians that was first illegally put up on Ebay. Then it suddenly disappeared and now have appeared in their collection. There is also some thought that their dead sea scroll fragments may not be authentic. I think the Greens are sincere but sincerity is not and excuse to be illegal or careless.
Well . . . I consider the players . . . and the relative value to each of the players. Like I said, the looted stuff will get sold and there is nothing anybody can do about it. Most of the buyers on that market are not terribly committed to genuine archeology. I just can’t bring myself to be too grumpy. Others do – we are responsible for our grumps of lack thereof before the Lord.
Hello, brother Larne.
If Alfred as been under a rock, it must be a rock with room for at least two. I also never heard of the Bible Museum. Your description made it sound pretty shady. Lol and kudos for the shot at imperial DC. Maybe you’re right about Romans 2 applying, but I found two sides to the story.
I found them in the Wiki article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museum_of_the_Bible which had a balanced account of the artifact controversy.
Slowly emerging from under the rock,
The controversies with this museum is more than just artifact collecting and includes the accusations that some of these artifacts which were hastily gained are not authentic. There is controversies on the so called “non-sectarian” approach which is reality is not so “non-sectarian” as well as the “experts” they are using. Even looking at the stated “history” is more about KJV that actual Bible history and how the books were chosen in the Bible. Yes, they have Vatican borrowed items but one of the Catholic priests they are using is pro-homosexual Fr. Ralph Martin and he is not a “bible” or scripture expert and is considered in many Catholic circles to be borderline heretical. The mixing of the Bible with American history and politics is also questionable. While it sound glitzy and glamorous and techno-advanced, they are only telling one side of the “Bible” story and have completely left out Orthodox Christians while throwing a few bones to Catholics in order to sound “non-sectarian” or ecumenical (but they don’t use that term). The book “Bible Nation” documents many of these problems.
So you have looked into this museum thing too, sister Rob?
Wow, the thot plickens! I did not know you Catholics would countenance pro-homosexual clergy in your ranks! (That sounds like something we Methodists might do!) I don’t know anything about Martin (no wiki page), but “borderline heretical” means “yet orthodox until he veers into heresy,” right? If senior clergy have not censured him, shall we assume he is still within the boundaries of orthodoxy?
Personally I would place much more weight on the authenticity point you raised rather than whether the DOJ got a bee in their bonnet about some political question. Whether the artifacts are real interests me more than whether politicians and bureaucrats endorse their acquisition.
I have not read Bible Nation, but if the Greens do Bible promotion as a means of Gospel proclamation, I hope they succeed.
But I hope they steer clear of coercion. Schools where attendance is compulsory should be left alone. No compulsory evangelism.
Yes, I have just finish the book. The authors were actually very fair to the Greens, painting them as sincere but also pointing out that they are rather locked in their views of the Bible and history and their failed attempt to be “non-sectarian” as their public statements are. The museum’s history part is more about KJV than about true Bible history, how the decisions were made in what goes into the Bible etc. The authors do not mention Bill Gothard at all, but paints very broadly that the Greens views on the Bible and history and education are very widely based in conservative evangelical/fundamentalist ideas. The museum scored big and gave themselves some gravitas with exhibits from Israel antiquities and the Vatican. Going to Washington and seeing the museum is not on my radar. The Vatican exhibit is placed right before they launch into the rest of their history which focuses on English translations, mainly KJV. This is not an ecumenical story line nor are they “non-sectarian” as they claim. And to your final statement about promoting the “gospel”, the museum is stating that all they are doing is trying to have people “engage” with the Bible. I’m not sure what that means really or how that is really done except that they think glitz, glamor and technology will do that. Maybe if they read the Bible, they would look at the Ethiopian that was riding along reading Isaiah and Philip joined him and explained that that verse meant to the Ethiopian because he couldn’t figure it out. Also, II Peter 1:20-21 where scripture is not “a matter of one’s own interpretation”.
True . . . but that statement – “no private interpretation” in the KJV – applies to Philip, the one explaining to the eunuch, no less than you or me. Scripture clearly points to the Holy Spirit as the One to enlighten, and THAT is available to anyone who is seeking the Lord . . . and has found Him.
“We have the mind of Christ” is quite a statement. We have His mind . . . we know what He is thinking, because His Holy Spirit is teaching us. As you know that this perspective undergirds all of Bill’s ministry from start to finish. WE, each individually, is blessed by getting saved – receiving the Holy Spirit upon trusting Christ – and then taking those raw words of Scripture, memorizing . . . meditating . . . praying them back to the Lord . . . crying out for His wisdom. So I see where the Greens may be coming from. The BIBLE, all by itself, changes hearts and lives.
I think you might be confusing the two sections. II Peter does not make any reference to Phillip and the Eunuch. The Eunuch was reading Isaiah which he didn’t understand. II Peter never mentions Phillip at all and is talking about his own apostolic witness and then in Chapter 2, talks about being aware of and avoiding false teachers. No one reads the Bible in a vacuum and none of the missionary efforts in Acts ever talked about just giving people Bibles and letting them figure it out for themselves. Scripture was used to support what was being taught as true and of course the Bible the apostles had was not the NT or the KJV either. I Timothy 3:15 states that the “Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth”. St. Paul didn’t say Bible, he said “The Church”. II Timothy 3:16 talks about “scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction and for training in righteousness”. So scripture is useful for teaching etc., St. Paul doesn’t say “ONLY” scripture, nor does he say as in II Timothy 3:16 that it’s the foundation or pillar of truth which St. Paul says is the Church. So, your thoughts.
2 Peter makes reference to a general principles, that there is ONE primary interpretation, although there certainly are reflections of that interpretation that are also within scope. Classic case is the “Abomination of Desolation” that the Savior indicates was referred to by Daniel the prophet (Matt. 24:15). In the middle of that discussion He says, “(let the READER take note)”, indicating that the primary interpretation will be clear to us, the reader. See . . . the “Abomination” could be Antiochus Ephipanes during the time of the Macabedees . . . but that was past, and Jesus was referring to future events. So . . . that is a reflection. Future was the fall of Jerusalem, the burning of the temple . . . but we, the reader, can see that none of the signs took place, i.e. the sun as blood, the moon as black cloth, stars falling. So . . . that is also a reflection. The true interpretation then is still coming. We understand that to be the “antichrist”, the “Man of Sin”. And . . . there will have to be a temple (absent today).
Philip in Acts was not giving his own private interpretation, but, guided by the Holy Spirit, he was able to explain how that referred to Jesus. The Assembly of believers together, a “called out group”, shows the truth, embodies the truth, based on the truth, holds up the truth. God is the truth, and His Word is truth. And, as we are told in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, . . . think on these things.”
As to “giving them Bibles” . . . we get our love of the Word of God from Scriptures such as these:
“Paper” was scarce . . . so they memorized it all, all 5 books of Moses. So I would disagree with you. I expect that the Words of Scripture were very faithfully taught and distributed in NT times, at least verbally read and memorized . . . so they could be meditated on, folded into their very being. The Alexandrian manuscripts are examples of scholars hiding the Scriptures away for safe keeping, hence we have manuscripts dating back to the early 200s after Christ . . . the Byzantine manuscripts give evidence of great wear, great use, copied over and over again, so the earliest there are 1200, as I recall. The church tradition you favor would have an “Alexandrian” mindset, whereas the evangelical tradition that Bill moves in . . . is “Byzantine”.
And as to the ability for ordinary Christians to get the correct sense of God’s word for themselves, as pointed out Paul says the Scriptures are “Spiritual”, and as such incomprehensible to the “carnal”, soulish mind. Jesus confirms:
The very WORDS of Scripture are Spirit . . . and make alive. And they are discerned by our spirit, not our mind. The mind/soul just get in the way:
Byzantine is either an eastern Orthodox or an eastern Catholic. I have no clue whatsoever where or how Bill would consider himself “byzantine”. He is absolutely not anything like or similar to Orthodox or eastern Catholic spirituality or their monastic traditions. You do realize that the final cannon of scripture was not settled on till 397. There were and are lists of books earlier used for the NT which basically our current NT contains. It was monks that copied scriptures before the printing press which basically was taking over what the scribes did in OT times. Since the Bible is a big book, hand copying was long and laborious as it was in OT times. The faithful that couldn’t afford or were illiterate to have or read the Bible went to Church to hear scripture being read to them which is the liturgy of the word in Catholic and Orthodox Masses. The stain glass windows and Orthodox Icons were visual pictures of Bible scenes for the faithful. If Bill is giving you this line or explanation of history or of what is means to be “Byzantine”, I really am at a lost for words but that Bill is or has become delusional.
For the record, this little exploration of terms is entirely my own, having nothing to do with Bill. The connection is with the “Alexandrian” manuscript class, and the “Byzantine” manuscript class of Greek texts of the NT. “Alexandrian” derived from that school of tradition and scholarship found in Alexandria, Egypt in the early centuries, and known for all uppercase Greek, how it was in those early centuries. For this reason they are also called “Uncial”, uppercase. “Byzantine” . . . I really don’t know about the name, but they are known by the use of both upper and lowercase Greek, as came into practice much later. “Alexandrian” manuscripts are generally prized for their age, an obvious advantage, the “Byzantine” less so by scholars, having a much larger volume of members – hence called the “Majority” text – but also sporting a great many more variances, some obviously introduced during the many copies that were made.
So keeping the terms within this narrow context, some scholars, a minority certainly, prize the Majority text – Byzantine – because THOSE were the manuscripts that believers trusted, copied, memorized, recited from. Alexandrian text showed the effects of scholarship, decisions made based on many of the linguistic rules that modern scholars might use, both “Higher Criticism” and “Lower Criticism”. Some feel that because those texts were not as trusted, they never “caught on”. Bottom line: The perceptions of more ordinary believers vs. the scholarship of the highly trained scholar. While many favor the latter, I – and I believe Bill – would favor the former. Which “Majority text” largely, BTW, forms the basis of the KJV, which Bill does favor.
Yes, the city of Alexander in Egypt was a huge center of learning and knowledge with a world famous library. The dry desert climate is the reason why many of the oldest books can be found there. I grew up with “higher” so called Biblical criticism. I am not a believer in it at all and this “higher” criticism was formed and found in liberal Protestantism. This is not found in Catholic Biblical studies except in some Catholic circles that have copied it from liberal Protestants. Whether one goes into the size of the Greek letters or not, it’s immaterial really, were the Greek words the same? If so, then who really cares if the letters were all caps or not. If this is the angle taken to promote the superiority of KJV, then it sound more like trying to split hairs (or letters) just like the liberal higher critics of the Bible. And, I’m not a KJV fan either. What isn’t being added to the KJV is that they borrowed many things from Tyndall and he had problems too. And having a secular government “authorize” a Bible translation is suspect enough for me.
I am with you with “higher” criticism. Got introduced to it in a “Survey of the New Testament” class in a Christian university. By the time they were done, you MIGHT be able to trust the Pauline letters as legit . . . Basically nothing else. “Lower criticism”, of course, it focused on the manuscripts, “Higher criticism” on the way texts change and morph through various influences . . . Which, for example, might lead you to believe that it was a compendium of tales from various sources rather than a single author (writing this not for your benefit, but “the reader”).
The Ancient Greek had no lowercase letters, so old manuscripts all had all caps – and no spaces between the words, BTW. SOTHATYOUHADTOGETCREATIVETOFIGUREITALLOUT. We know when lowercase letters came into play, so manuscripts sporting them cannot be older than that time in history. KJV is based on mostly “Majority” texts, i.e. lowercase, with a few “Uncial” – Alexandrian – mixed in. Vaticanus, Codex “B”, stored in Rome, is one of the few Uncial texts available to the translators of the KJV. Many more were later discovered . . . Modern scholars rely on them heavily because of their age, but, again, others doubt that perspective since those were “tainted by scholarship”, whereas the majority texts would have been the trusted texts in constant circulation.
Thank-you for the Greek explanation. I was not aware of that but I am a little more familiar with Hebrew and that language has it’s own challenges too in that it doesn’t have vowels. The vowel markings were an later addition. So, based on what vowel you read into the Hebrew, can determine the word or it’s meaning. Hebrew also reads from right to left like Oriental languages. Language interpretation is a very tricky thing and one’s own theological mind set can determine how something is interpreted as well. One of the previous long ago churches I attended had as it’s main teaching elder, someone that was a Greek scholar. So the Bible used there was the New American Standard because he knew from his knowledge of Greek that this particular translation was the more accurate and faithful to the Greek and Hebrew languages. I think I have about all of the different English translations. Some of them like NIV, EBV etc. have certain evangelical prejudices in them which would make them suspect. RSV which is the one I was raised on has liberal Protestant prejudices in the translation. Groups like JW have their own “Bible” where the deity of Christ is in question. So with so many English translations out there, I would guess that one should read a translation that is approved by their particular Church which I would guess for you is KJV, for me New American or NABRE. ( different from the New American I mentioned above).
I have always heard a lot of good things about the NASB. I have it in my cadre of versions to consult.
With respect to the Hebrew . . . if you find Hebrew text without the Masoretic diacriticals, you would understand that text to be very old. That is the same deal with the all uppercase Greek.
And I agree with the prejudices and spins that we all tend to put on things . . . translators are not excluded. Which, again, is one reason the KJV has stood the test of time, because the king brought two opposing points of view in – Anglicans and Puritans – scholars from each, and demanded a translation they would both sign off on. As a result, all of those things where you or I would “spin” it a bit, they were forced to leave deliberately vague. The classic is “baptism”, the Greek word meaning “dipped” or “immersed”, but one group believing that to mean sprinkling or other symbolic ritual. If the English read, “Repent and be immersed”, well, that would not sit well with the ritual folks. So . . . they took the Greek word βαπτίζω (baptizo) and invented a new English word, “baptism” . . . that could be anything you needed it to be. Forgoing editorializing in favor of vagueness has stood it in great stead. People that want to dig in, can, with lots of helps available.
Yes, the Greek word baptizo does mean immersion. The interesting factoid you shared about a compromise over it, adds more to the the concern about putting in or avoiding what words to use in translations. The earliest depicted artwork found in the catacombs concerning baptism shows the person standing in water or a pool of water with water being poured over their head, which is actually how baptisms are performed in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches today. Considering the climate and times, fresh clean water wasn’t abundant and easily available. Even in the Didicade in describing how to do baptisms, immersion, pouring and even sprinkling were allowed based on fresh water availability. So while the word is immersion as well and St. Paul’s imagery of being buried and raised from the dead in baptism, the practicality of water availability was considered. When one thinks about the 3000 conversions at Pentecost and all these people were baptized, one has to consider how that might have realistically been done which most likely was not by immersion in a city with scarce water supply and scarce clean water at that. These sorts of things are what need to be taken into account before one reads a word in the Bible like “baptizo” and then runs off to claim baptism only has to be by immersion because “it’s in the Bible”.
All acknowledged. So we can see . . . that the Greek word does not say any more than it does . . . and can be taken this way, or that way. If one translation says “immerse” and the other says “sprinkle” . . . you have collapsed on a particular perspective. If you say “baptizo” or “baptism”, you defer to “whatever Paul meant when he wrote that word” . . . and both are happy. 🙂
Not to over do this topic but in reference to sprinkling, Ezekiel 36:25-27 says: ” I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hears. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statues, careful to observe my decrees”. (NABRE) Baptism came from the OT Mikveh, which was a ritual cleansing via water. From this reference in Ezekiel, it could include sprinkling. The jugs of the wedding in Cana were jugs used for ritual cleansings or mikvehs. Interesting connection there with Jesus telling the servants to fill these jugs with water and turning that water into wine as His first miracle.
Right. Maybe like a shower? And blood was also “sprinkled”. Elsewhere blood is presented as a fountain, where one goes to “wash”. That washing would not be “sprinkling”.
But . . . the New Testament practice seems to be focused on “dipping”, like a cloth being dyed. At least that is the meaning of the word. And the idea of a “bath” is presented here:
“That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:26-27)
So . . . that is what most folk go with that I know. Given that there is no evidence of “sprinkling”, or the practice of some people I respect of cupping some water in the hand and splashing on the forehead . . . none . . . I feel the “all in” is the best expression of what we do see. Personally . . . I would never argue that a person “baptized” in whatever manner they and those applying it felt was the fulfillment of the NT mandate is not baptized. Some groups would have a problem so, hey, nothing wrong with doing it again to make the point. But . . . as an act of those old enough to know what it is that they are doing symbolizes. There is no support in the Bible I read for infants being “baptized”. Circumcised, yes . . . but not baptized.
When Jesus washed the disciple’s feet at the last super, St. Peter wanted Jesus to also pour water on his head as well to be clean. The valid form for baptism is the Trinitarian form “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit …” which is directly mentioned by Jesus at the end of the Gospels. The other forms of either sprinkling, pour over the head or total immersion are not specifically mentioned. Concerning infant/young child baptism, while maybe not specifically spelled out in Acts, there are mentions of “whole households” being baptized such as Cornelius and the Jailer with St. Paul, plus St. Paul also implies whole households being baptized in his letters (Lydia). So in other words, what children or infants in these households were not excluded from being baptized. Infant baptism has been apart and the practice from the earliest days of the Church. Only until the 1500’s and starting with Anabaptist groups, did infant/young child baptism and Luther as well as Calvin were both vehemently against Anabaptist and considered them heretics worst that Catholics. Calvin himself participated in the execution of one such Anabaptist. So having been around the block myself on this issue, I look at the totally of the whole picture. While one maybe in your words can’t “prove” infant baptism from the NT, one cannot “disprove” it either. And looking at the totality of Christian history and practice, adult only or believer only baptism is a recent tradition from the 1500’s and the Protestant reformers themselves were split on this issue which continue today.
Interesting. The notion of a “bath” was less defined in those days than now. What exactly Peter would have Jesus do is not clear, other than “cleaning” the various body parts . . . not a ritual, in other words. Whatever you could get done with a basin of water at your side. The word baptizo is not used in John 13, instead nipto . . . to cleanse, wash. Baptizo IS used, however, in another instance, where a Pharisee was amazed that the disciples had not “baptized” themselves before dinner. So . . . maybe that was a bath, maybe that was the basin, I don’t know.
Yes, households were “baptized”. Whether that was, as we believe, believing adults and children old enough to confess Christ only, or not is not said. Different people see it differently. As you may know, a child was not “counted” as a “member” of the household until the age of 5, at least as far as the official censuses that were done in ancient Israel.
As to what the church did . . . you likely know what the “Catholic” church did, records . . . what is not so clear is what other groups did. Based on the record of Jesus “climbing out” of the waters of Jordan after being “baptized”, and the fact that it does, really, truly mean “immersed” . . . that remains the understanding I am going with.
You’re right. Piper is the guy credited with Christian hedonism. One of my sons in law really likes him. I read one of his books of which I had a mixed opinion, but I really liked his eulogy to Elisabeth Elliot: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/peaches-in-paradise
Thanks for elaborating about the Lehner book. To answer your question, this was the scene at my house for family prayers on All Saints Day:
Me: “Apart from God’s all-star team of canonized saints, which Christians have most influenced you for good?”
Annette and the kids: various pastors, friends, etc.
Me: various Christian friends, my beloved spouse, Bill Gothard, Ron Dunn, Otto Koning, etc.
Here is why I admire whom I admire: If I had not implemented Bill Gothard’s teachings about friendship, I would have neither Annette nor our ten children. Ron Dunn and Otto Koning taught me about following Jesus, property rights, and suffering. Annette taught me how to love people who need love.
I partly agree about Hebrews 12. Hebrews 11 exhorts us us face the trauma of Hebrews 12 bravely (chastening, scourging, etc. until we arrive at “Mount Zion.” So the “reward” of Hebrews 11 is the upgrade for God’s people from Mount Sinai to Mount Zion.
Sharing the view from the top of Zion,
I understand why so many greatly admire Elizabeth Elliot. I did actually see her speak live and did read her book “Let Me Be a Woman”. Someone that goes ahead to minister directly to the people that killed her husband obviously is an admirable person. She was a very talented woman and gifted writer. She even was a consultant on the NIV translation of the Bible. What I have issues with her and John Piper touched on it was her coldness and robotic emphasis on obedience. She seems to lack natural empathy which was a turn off for me. Likewise and after seeing her live and reading the one book, I just find that she didn’t live the life of a subservient wife that she promoted in that book. She had her own career, ministry, speaking tour, taught in a seminary and was even a consultant on a major Bible translation. Again, we are all different and different people speak to us or are models for us which doesn’t make it right or wrong, but missionaries that go off to exotic, far away places are not those that speak to me. Empathetic women like Mother Theresa of Calcutta, the “little way” of St. Theresa of Liseaux speak to me and are more realistic models of showing love and empathy towards others in our everyday lives on here and now.
I expect that no less an authority as Jim Elliot would partly agree with you about his beloved “Betty.” Before their marriage, he described her as having a “sledgehammer personality.” BTW, do I sometimes detect a sledgehammer in Rob’s toolkit, too?
But I dispute your claim that EE lived contrary to her teaching. She went to the jungle mission field as a single woman, an experience she narrated in These Strange Ashes: https://smile.amazon.com/These-Strange-Ashes-Still-Charge/dp/0800759958/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1511810402&sr=1-1&keywords=these+strange+ashes+by+elisabeth+elliot
As the spouse of Jim Elliot, she did not spend her life in a denim jumper in the trailer park, but did her wife and mother thing on the jungle mission field. These roles of single missionary and missionary spouse were in harmony with her later teaching, so far as I can tell.
BTW, here is the EE wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisabeth_Elliot
I myself joined EE and husband Lars for breakfast back in 2001. I was as tongue tied as a boy on a first date with his crush. How I wish we could do it again. The questions I would ask! Maybe in the resurrection.
As for the good women you mention, they must deserve your admiration, too. Different women, different vocations!
Well, I’m not sure how someone being more “stoic” and having a non-empathetic personality is a jump to “hammer-head” which I suppose you mean “tough”? But anyways, what a very nice opportunity to meet a personal heroine and have lunch with them. That sort of thing is always very special. But, I also admire St. Teresa of Avila who would qualify for your “hammerhead”. I read a comment by a bishop of her time that he would rather argue with the Pope than with “that nun”. But, she was also very passionate. If you mean “hammer-head” is passionate about what one believes, then she would be my model. But lack of emotions or passion to the point of coldness or hardness is not a hammer-head.
So the bishop and Jim Elliot had something important in common! A quality woman to admire. And admire is an apt word. I think it is exactly the word that Darcy used when he confessed his love to Elizabeth Bennett.
Sorry, but this is a pretty “off the wall” comparison. The bishop was not “interested” in St. Teresa of Avila as Jim Elliot was in “Betty” and strung her along for 5 years. St. Teresa was a reformer of the Carmelite order and she butted heads with bishops over her reforms and the comments are from that. I have no clue how you come up with the “similarity”.
“Sledgehammer” in my tool kit? Well there is a funny meme that say:
If anyone ever asked you “What would Jesus do”?, remind them that flipping over tables and chasing people with a whip is within the realm of possibilities”. I guess I’ll stop there. Of course, there is the old rumor about St Nicholas (Santa Claus) slapping Arius at the counsel of Nicea. So with jolly old St. Nick coming to town, you might want to duck if your a heretic.
Happy 1st Sunday of Advent eve!
I never heard that funny one about WWJD, and Nicholas.
As we are talking Bibles — a vote in favor of a gem from my boyhood:
Does everybody remember the Kenneth Taylor Living Bible? Here is the wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Living_Bible
As the Hobbit and Winnie the Pooh began as a father’s effort to entertain his children, TLB began as a father’s effort to teach his children. And I once heard that the revenues from it were directed to world evangelization.
I still occasionally use my copy from 1977. Like the velveteen rabbit, it looks well-loved!
Your TLB fan,
I like the concept, respect what he was trying to do. He has some connection with Bill, possibly Bill had him speak, or told the story in the seminars.
Here is Taylor’s wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_N._Taylor
Quite a fruitful man. I remember hearing the report on Moody radio when he died in 2005. I think Donald Cole mentioned it on his broadcast.
I gave one of my sons a used Living Bible I found on Amazon, and he reads it regularly.