From time to time some have alleged that Bill Gothard and his ministries, including IBLP and ATI, constitute a “cult”. In 2017 when a young high school student needed a topic for a video he had to produce for a class assignment, he focused on IBLP and entitled his film, “The Cult Next Door”. It received a lot of air time simply because it was a common accusation from those that disliked Bill’s ministry. A number of us watching the film were interested to see how the clips of Bill speaking and others speaking about him highlighted many of the reasons families were drawn to his programs. The focus on a woman being protected under her husband ‘s leadership and children under their parent’s authority, of intense focus on godly standards for living and Bible study to the exclusion of much of what is called “normal” in this day almost seemed like a recruiting piece for the program. Many found these teachings and practices, along with the restrictions, an answer to prayer, balm for the weary soul, anything but a “cult”.
Few would disagree that it is not reasonable to call a group a “cult” simply because the members dress or talk or believe or live differently, or even if the leader is charismatic and convincing and makes many “disciples”. A true cult is dangerous to the individual as well as to society around. So, what allows us to call a movement a “cult”?
We are pleased to feature an article by Dr. John David Lehman, an expert on cult behavior and constitution, to answer this question. We trust it will be enlightening and an encouragement. Use it to examine Bill and IBLP and decide if he qualifies as a “cult leader” or his ministries as “a cult”.
The True Nature of a Cult and IBLP
By Dr. J. David Lehman
Some have accused the Institute of Basic Life Principles of being a Christian Cult and Bill Gothard as being a cult leader. I have attended 46 Basic Seminars, approximately 10 Advanced Seminars, about 6 Anger Resolution Seminars and several Ministers Seminars of the Institute in Basic Life Principles taught by Bill Gothard. I have a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, a Master of Divinity from Grace Theological Seminar, a Ph.D. from Oxford Graduate School, a second Ph.D. from Louisiana Baptist University and have taught cults and world religions for 20 years as staff advisor for Christians for Origins and Religious Research at Purdue University. I studied under Larry Crabb in his Master’s in Biblical Counseling at Grace Seminary for two years as well. I am familiar with the teachings and methods of most major cults and many Christian cults in America and around the world. It is my professional opinion that IBLP as taught by Bill Gothard is the most Biblical approach to Scripture of any organization or denomination I have seen and none of the qualities of a cult.
When “Cult-Accusers” Are A Cult!
It is now common for people to call a group they disagree with A CULT. This label is charged with mental and emotional overtones which bring about an immediate repulsion and rejection of the accused group. The label is being freely used to convict, condemn and ostracize any group that does not embrace the social norms of our day. The accused is instantly guilty with no investigation needed. When this label is used to numb the conscience of those who reject the moral standards that are inscribed in their own hearts, the accuser is himself in a cult!
There are cults and they need to be identified. However, many who have made lists of the characteristics a cult have a problem because most of their characteristics would fit the Apostle Paul. Cults were prevalent in Paul’s day and he defined them with precise accuracy, so we are safe in using his inspired descriptions to identify a cult:
1. The cult leader has a secret or open sexual addiction.
Many “cult-accusers” attract followers by attacking the moral standards of their parents or church as “legalistic” and “repressive”. They are told that they have “liberty in Christ” and are not held to the “outdated restrictions” they have lived under.
Scripture states: “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for when a man is overcome, of the same he is brought in bondage” “Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls; a heart they have exercised with covetous practices, cursed children” (II Peter 2:19,14).
2. A cult leader appeals to the sensual desires of his followers.
Those who are secretly involved in sensual activities will be attracted to the arguments of the cult leader. He will appeal to those sensual drives and lead them into further sensual bondage. Each member will find his or her support in the cult and their justification for their open opposition to those who disagree with them.
Scripture states: “When they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh through [pleasures with no restraints], those who [temporarily] escaped from them who live in error” (II Peter 2:18).
3. A cult leader will draw followers away from their families
The faults and failures of parents will be emphasized and condemned along with their refusal to let their sons and daughters make final decisions on worldly activities. The parents will be accused of “controlling” their sons and daughters who are “old enough to make their own decisions.” Pressure will be put on them to reject their parents.
Scripture states: “For of this sort are they which creep into houses and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with a variety of lusts” (II Timothy 3:6).
4. A cult leader will reject God-given authority
A cult leader will convince his followers that government authorities are their enemies and must be avoided and resisted. This is directly opposite to the teaching of Scripture that all governmental authorities receive their power from God and whoever resists them is resisting God (Romans 13:1-10). The cult leader needs an enemy to unite his followers.
Scripture states: “These walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self -willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities” (II Peter 2:10).
5. A cult leader demands total loyalty to himself and his cult
Having removed the authority of parents and all other God-given authorities, the cult leader is now the only authority left. He is unopposed and demands that the loyalty that should be given to parents and other authorities now be given to him. He does not allow any dissent or disloyalty. Anyone who disagrees with him or leaves the cult will be banned from any further fellowship. The cult and its leader speak evil of those who follow God’s moral standards.
Scripture states: Cult leaders “shall bring in damnable heresies…and many shall follow their sensual ways: by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (II Peter 2:2).
6. A cult leader will promote doctrines that are contrary to Scripture
A cult leader will claim that he has a special connection with God and has been given special revelation or understanding of Scripture. This makes him the undisputed leader. His teachings, however, violate basic truths of Scripture and are used to reinforce his twisted interpretation of a godly life. A man’s morality will dictate his theology.
Scripture states: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth…these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith” (II Timothy3:5,7,8).
7. A cult leader has an ulterior motive of getting personal wealth
Followers of the cult are required to donate their money to the cult along with any money they earn. The leader then controls the money and the followers. He will use the money for items that directly benefit him. He has a love of money which is the root of all evil.
Scripture states: “Through covetousness with feigned [artificial and fictitious] words they shall make merchandise of you…following the way of Balaam, the son of Bosor who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (II Peter 2:3,15).
I have known Bill since I was in high school. (Mid 1960’s) He and his secretary (Marcy Mack) became close friends of our family. In all those years, Bill Always taught people to go back to their home church and share what he taught them. It was always based on scripture. God bless him.
using these definitions proves IBLP and all the rest are a cult. You can’t use someone steeped in IBLP and Bill to define that Bill isn’t a “cult”. You did not prove your case using Dr. Lehman. He is too involved to see out of it. Bill is not under authority of anyone, Bill has a problem with young women, Bill demands total loyalty, Bill promotes doctrines that are his own, and the repeated emphasis on wealth as a benefit proves the last point too.
For those that know Bill, this list is welcomed. Bill does not “have a problem with young women” – all voices raised against him have been stilled as this blog, at the very least, has openly pursued this in every conceivable way. If he did, SOME portion of the highly publicized, well financed $8.5 million 160 count lawsuit against him at a point where he was very vulnerable as most of his associates abandoned him would have found a footing. As to “total loyalty”, I am not aware of any individual that ever felt hampered from leaving ATI or IBLP. That is more than I can say for certain churches I am aware of. The doctrines Bill promotes are grounded in Scripture. One of the primary features of the “Wisdom Booklets” that form the cornerstone of the ATI curriculum is the requirement that the family first do their own Bible study on the passage in question and come to their own conclusions. They are subsequently free to mold the remainder of the segment to that understanding. Nobody checks up. That is the complete opposite of cult “mind control”. As to “wealth”, I have no idea what you are referring to. A common allegation against televangelists, right? I am at a loss to find a correlation in IBLP.
The ATI curriculum was billed to give graduates the equivalent of a pre-med degree, a pre-law degree, and whatever else.
It was subpar on so many measurable academic levels. I had friends beating themselves up over not being to teach their children basic skills with it. Some realized it might make an ok supplement and went with something else to teach actual academics.
That was a fail.
Some of his other schemes were also fails that were dressed up by talented marketing people.
Many have gotten full law degrees and gone on to be highly successful in many walks of life. Rachael Denhollander is an attorney that had a crucial role in exposing and bringing to justice Larry Nassar, the USA women’s Olympics gymnastics coach, who abused her and many other top tier athletes. Much was made of the fact that she went back to school to get a law degree so she could do this. Any ideas what law school she attended? It was Bill’s Oakbrook College of Law and Justice. Bill’s stuff works. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachael_Denhollander
If this Rachel became a lawyer and did ATI curriculum as an elementary/high school student, it did not mean she graduated high-school with an equivalent to a pre law degree. It meant she went to law school after she was done with her childhood schooling experience. I was not referring to any school or curriculum Gothard may or may not have developed post graduate level. He claimed cycling through the Wisdom Books would net pre law and pre med level high school graduates.
To further your line of thought by using Rachel as an example, there are more law school graduates who did NOT do ATI as a child than did. I am not sure what your point is.
And I am mystified by yours. She was trained in ATI and then attended OBCLJ and then passed the bar. She is known and respected around the world, a “who’s who”. ATI was “pre-law” and OBCLJ was “law”. She has no other training. Clarify your point.
This is absolutely false. I was NOT trained by ATI, my family did not participate in ATI specifically because my parents were concerned about cult-like claims of authority from Gothard. I discovered OBCL through a non-IBLP source and was not even aware of IBLP’s connections to OBCL.
Moreover, when I worked for OBCL I advocated strongly for the victims of Gothard, and have continued to advocate for them publicly and privately.
I believe them, and have urged for years for IBLP to submit to a fully independent third-party investigation.
My readiness for law school is the result of intensive education by my parents, college-education prior to taking required CLEP exams, and had nothing whatsoever to do with IBLP. Please do not use my name in support of Gothard, his methods, or his materials.
I have and continue to, stand with the survivors of IBLP and advocate for them.
Our apologies on that Rachael. You had no connection to IBLP previously, whatsoever? We had some evidence, somewhere, that suggested otherwise. Sounds like we were mistaken.
I would suggest that OBCL remains an example of the education that Bill produces. It was, in fact, a challenge that others kept throwing in his face, that his “model” could not, for example, produce a lawyer or a doctor. The medical part never came together, but the legal part did.
I am glad that you advocated for the accusers. I am wondering how much you were able to dig into their accusations. I have in my basement 5 heavy boxes encompassing the totality of the legal proceedings against Bill (IBLP had their own lawyers and operated largely separately). The documents that were acquired during discovery might shock you. I have 11 children, there are those in my extended family that have suffered sexual abuse from trusted people. What you and the other women endured in a supposedly safe, official setting makes one weep. I hate charlatans and fakes in ministry that prey upon the trusting. I can look anyone in the eye and tell them – Bill did not do this.
I agree with Rob. A point could be made demonstrating that Gothard pretty much tracks with each of the numbered above.
Bill seemed to create his own sensual, moral, and ethical economy. Shrouding behaviors in euphemisms and new definitions, he never appeared guilty to himself or his most loyal followers.
While he didn’t promote literal million dollar prizes for following the Gothard plan, he promised God’s blessings.
He “coached” pretty girls to “help” them use their assets to “be more useful to God”.
He was full of formulas for this and that, many of which have nothing to do with Christian doctrines.
So . . . This post represents a host of prejudicial statements with absolutely no fact. We could say that the Lord Jesus was known to associate with crooks and prostitutes, with many women following him around the country “ministering” to Him, as the KJV would say it. Implied guilt? Of course not. Focus on specifics that you are aware of that we can talk about and investigate as necessary.
re: served or serviced by women? facts or wishful thinking?
Because the facts proved Our Lord’s goodness, his enemies smeared him as carnal and faithless. Flailing and fact-less, they hinted that he was a bastard and whoremonger. But they could do nothing but invent innuendo. When enemies resort to smears, they lack evidence. Do any facts align Gothard to the Lehman definition of cult? Or only the wishful thinking of enemies?
re: ad hominem and Lehman
In what way does Lehman’s involvement with IBLP invalidate his seven-point definition of a cult? Lehman gave an orthodox definition of a religious cult. Where did he err? and where in Gothard’s decades of teaching do we find either demands for personal loyalty or any unusual emphasis on wealth? On the contrary we find much material about renouncing ownership and embracing stewardship.
As for loyalty, if may possibly have been a condition for remaining on the IBLP payroll. Is it good stewardship to subsidize treachery on one’s payroll? But that is speculation as I was never on Gothard’s payroll.
This is the fox guarding the hen house. Someone that has attended 46 Basic seminars on top of all the rest is not an objective observer and has no qualifications at all to declare that IBLP is not a cult. His own list given here likewise is very damning.
If a man is arguably a foremost expert on cults AND found the ministry so much to his liking that he went that many times, that is the opposite of damning. It means there is nothing professionally that would embarrass him by being associated with Bill and IBLP. Go back and reread his credentials. A lot on the line there.
Who is saying he is the “foremost” expert on cults? Never heard of him before. If he is an “expert” on cults, it would be because he is steeped in one. Everything on his list can be, should be and in reality is, applies to IBLP and Bill.
Did you read his credentials? Just because you never heard of him doesn’t mean he is not an expert.
“Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, a Master of Divinity from Grace Theological Seminar, a Ph.D. from Oxford Graduate School, a second Ph.D. from Louisiana Baptist University and have taught cults and world religions for 20 years as staff advisor for Christians for Origins and Religious Research at Purdue University. I studied under Larry Crabb in his Master’s in Biblical Counseling at Grace Seminary for two years as well. I am familiar with the teachings and methods of most major cults and many Christian cults in America and around the world.”
You don’t get to teach at Purdue if you are a fake or a lightweight. Right?
I did a quick google search for foremost cult expert and his name does not come up but Bob Larson does. The PHD came from the same place as Bill’s PHD and that school is unaccredited. All he said is that he is “familiar” but that is meaningless because there is no offering of what he is familiar with except IBLP teaching and fundamentalism. Biblical counseling which he also listed is considered by those in the rest of the therapy and counseling world to be a fraud. His list here absolutely can be applied to IBLP and Bill. It is curious to me why someone so closely tied to IBLP and Bill want to promote his education credentials when Bill taught very clearly that higher education, college education etc. was not “God’s way”. His list is similar to other list I’ve seen about signs of cults and everything he did list is true about Bill and IBLP. He just handed IBLP the noose by which to hang the charge cult by around IBLP and Bill’s neck.
Getting lost. This is not “Bob” but J. David. Here was a hit from the internet: https://csf.cccm.com/archives/textual-evidence-supporting-genesis He is real, a real scholar.
Again, he is not an “unbiased” observer of IBLP/ATI/Bill. He is up to his eye balls and then some in all of this and just using his list alone which is very similar to other lists for markings of cults totally condemns IBLP/ATI/Bill as a cult, he does not make the case that IBLP is not a cult or cult like etc. All of that in one form or another applies to IBLP/ATI/bill. All your attention you are giving to his education or credentials does not make this man a “cult” expert at all. The link provided concerns creation science and has nothing to do with cults.
OK, you have made your point. You do not believe he is a cult expert. I am not sure what list of credentials you might look to that would impress you more, but we best leave it there.
Wow! Your points prove that you do not know. I never saw Bill Gothard do any of the things you said.
That Mr Lehman is a well-educated man who knows IBLP makes him a good witness.
Bill never told us to totally obey him. He told us to stay in our home church. He told us to search the scriptures and improve his points in lessons. Mr G was self-depricating, and gave honor to other people.
Bill did not have a problem with girls; but Bill has a continual problem with a certain critic, to whom I have spoken.
It is wrong to agree with a false accusation, when a man has been tried in the press.
I learned many things through IBLP and ATI: that I can trust myself to study the Bible, and I ought to add small disciplines to my life. No one in those organizations ever checked up on me.
Bill was not after a lot of money. He only took about $1500/mo or so salary.
I love Jesus.
I love Bible lessons.
That’s basically it.
The lesson I like the best is a list of 49 Commands of Christ, which is taken from command-tense things that Jesus said:
“Repent, Follow me, Let your light shine…” etc.
I found much of Bill’s past and current teaching to be Jesus optional. His teaching can remove the idea of having a personal relationship with Jesus entirely and still be a marketable package. Inserting Jesus makes it easy to pitch it to Christians.
As for loyalty. His 1980s/90s requirement that families attend his seminars and yearly conferences make his organization suspect on this charge and was one of the first read flags I was awarded when presented by his followers.
I have been had Gothard followers turn on me for not eventually joining them in their enthusiasm for that lifestyle. They deluded themselves into thinking they had found the golden ticket to a perfect life when, really, their family was so much more dysfunctional than they realized other people saw them as. The deception was completely missed by them because they heartedly believed everything Gothard taught.
In more recent times, his works about the sexual abuse of a 4 year old boy by a neighbor and other various things Gothard taught about sexual abuse in general has been exposed to be extremely concerning. Not only was it bad doctrine, but harmful to victims.
Once in a while Gothard comes up in conversations amongst Christians I know. Many of them react with surprise that he is still living and/or that any one takes him seriously.
We appreciate and invite serious, thoughtful concerns. Will try to speak to the points you have raised. I see there are several more pending posts you have sent. Hopefully can do them justice.
1) “Jesus Optional”: Many would strongly object to that allegation. Bill’s ministry has never been focused on the emotional aspects of our walk with Christ, but that is hardly unique. He is also much into the practical aspects of Christian living, rather than doctrine. That would be a purpose difference between his gift, “Exhorter”, and others who may have the gift of “Teacher”. Christ is the center of all, and it all stands or falls as He does.
2). Seminar Attendance: Again, hardly unique. Repetition means that things stick. We are called to be “disciples” and we are also called to “make disciples”. That implies repetition and discipline.
3). “Golden Ticket”: If the Lord invented it, it is indeed the “golden ticket”. Unless our God is small, ineffective. Psalms 1:3. “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” This is one of Bill’s favorite verses. Before shouting it down – this is Bible, God’s words, not Bill’s.
4). Sexual Abuse of a 4 year old: Please elaborate. His policies and doctrines on sex abuse I find to line up with Scripture. We would like to know what specific concerns you have. We routinely go back to Bill for clarification.
5). Moving on from Bill: Rest assured there are still lots of folks that care and seek Bill out. Psalms 92:14 “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;”
re: Jesus optional, golden tickets into perfect life
Are the Gothard teachings any more Jesus optional than the teachings of Jesus himself? C.S. Lewis called them part of the “Tao” of natural moral law. When Jesus commanded the “golden rule, it was already golden among decent people. His uniqueness lies in his person, not his teaching.
Jesus is optional to the Law of Moses in one sense, yet he is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.
Repent and believe is the Christian’s golden ticket into a perfect life, so long as your notion of perfect includes a full quota of suffering. Christ, his apostles and Bill Gothard all agree on this version of perfect. Let’s get on with it.
The Bible says there is only one way to the Father which is Jesus Christ.
Gothard lays out a plan (in steps) on how to wrest promises from God. His steps come with a guarantee that if you do “a” God will have to do “b”. This is a formula for a way to God without Jesus.
I was not satisfied with the answer given about ATI curriculum and the claims that by the end of cycling through the Wisdom Books you would have students graduating from high school with a superior education equivalent to a 4 year college degree, pre med, pre law, and business degrees. That is a very grand claim.
You said someone went to law school after graduating ATI homeschool curriculum. Did this person bypass all the prerequisites when doing so? I am guessing the answer is no. The person was undoubtedly smart and a high achiever. Many people are and are able to go to law school after completing various elementary and high school curricula.
You used an example of a person going to law school presumably after completing an elementary/high school tour through the awesome Booklets. Allow me to bring my own anecdotal example. I know people who also did the WB for their homeschooling who can barely read and are quite ignorant as to how to function in the larger world. What makes your example more relevant than mine?
The woman you brushed off so easily (did you read her Wiki?) is a super public examples of everything you suggest can’t happen. I know scores of OBCLJ graduates practicing law. Bill built that very school because folks such as yourself told him it could not be done. I figured it would at least give you pause. As a 27 year member of ATI I guess I haven’t the troubles you describe. Quite the opposite. One of the sons in our ATI pod in So. Cal. learned Mandarin, travelled the world, graduated from high school with a BA, and THEN got appointment to West Point. A little on the overachiever side, but not atypical.
As to barely read and write? I think you exaggerate . . . Much. I have never seen anything like that. “Quite ignorant as to how to function” is also usually prejudicial. One person’s “anti-social” is another’s “separated life”.
I did not brush her off so easily. It is frustrating that you ignore the points I am bringing out. You choose to go with side topics instead. I am tempted to explain again, but have decided not to because I have repeated myself several times already.
The points you brought up are your own unverifiable (to us) experiences. Here is an experience that is open and public and very verifiable. It makes the exact opposite point.
re: quality in, quality out vs. garbage in garbage out
When a good man enters an institution he is likely to exit a good man unless he ruins himself by wrong decisions along the way. Conversely the bad man who enters is likely to exit a bad man unless he changes his heart. The phenomenon is universal and obvious.
Audiences were not surprised when the movie Good Will Hunting showed bad men graduating from such a good school as Harvard.
Why should ATI or any other program be exempt from this natural law?
You totally missed the points that Stopping By is saying. If you google search “Moralistic therapeutic deism” , you have a very good picture of what Bill’s teaching is all about and that he reduces the Bible and God to a formula for being “healthy, wealthy and wise” and the perfect, conflict free life. That is what Stopping By is saying. This is far beyond just the “golden rule” has you are trying to reduce it to. The body of Bill’s teaching is very similar to word of faith stuff. Reducing the Bible to a bunch of principles to have the perfect life missing what the Bible is really all about which is our relationship with our loving Father and Creator. Just look at this new Embassy University were the examples given of success are millionairs like the Greens etc. It is a false message.
Now God DID say that He would bless those that meditate in His Word day and night and EVERYTHING would prosper. For our part we are usually more enamored with other things that will “get us ahead”. God is no liar. He will not be mocked. Here it is again:
Psalms 1:2-3. “But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Is it true? Verbatim, as stated? Bill thinks so. I would bet my eternity that the God who cannot lie meant every word. “Word of faith” states that all you need to “prosper” is to claim it. Sort of a birthright. There is some more work suggested here.
that’s the problem, a point blank “verbatim”, cut and paste, hyper-literalism, proof-texting zingers which ends up twisting the Bible to say things or states the Bible “promises” things in an absolute which it doesn’t. Psalm One has nothing to do with how Bill has twisted it to say.
You have highlighted a key difference between those that respect Bill and those that do not. On “literal interpretation of Scripture”, Bill is guilty as charged, and a reason many are attracted to his teachings while others reject them.
Romans 3:4 “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”
The one line zinger Bible quotes don’t work. They don’t prove your point. All I think is “there goes another proof texting attempt”. Satan can quote scripture too. Just read how he tempted Jesus in the desert. Satan tempted Jesus by proof text quoting and then claim that God’s promises these things. So jump off a building because God promises angels to guard and protect you “lest you dash your foot against the stone”. So claiming that Psalm 1 “promises” wealth if one just memorizes the Bible long enough and hard enough is a false promise and twisted around what Psalm 1 is about overall, just as Satan tried to tempt Jesus into jumping off a high building because God promises angels to protect you based on Psalm 91. Yes, there is literal interpretation of scripture along with and in balance with allegory (including typology), moralistic or tropological and anagogic or future. Bill’s one “interpretation” which is a hyper-literal or sometimes called Biblicism leads to the abuses of scripture he has done and is accused of. He actually is more in league with atheists which often use a hyper-literalistic to try and disprove the Bible because this method pits the Bible against the Bible. Satan did the same when he tempted Christ.
Now, apply your analysis to any body of law. Obviously everything is placed with preceding and following text. Key matters are often expanded or clarified elsewhere. But failure of a reader to understand the intent does not become the failure of the text. And “everybody” disagreeing with a certain understanding does not negate it. In the end it just “stands” . . . Like a rock. Bill and a lot of folks – myself included – have looked at Psalm 1 and find no ambiguity. In fact, we find other witnesses to the same thing:
Joshua 1:8. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
This uses the word “prosperous” and the phrase “good success”. Two different witnesses some 250 years apart. The first one is God’s literal words, the second “inspired” from the pen of David. There are those that seek to eliminate all supernatural – non-natural – explanations from Scripture, particularly as they apply to today. That stance would eliminate this obvious interpretation. Bill believes in a literal, real, powerful God that says what He means, means what He says, and does what He says. He dares us to prove Him.
I couldn’t follow your “logic” here even if I wanted to. Scripture is more than a “body of law”, it is divine revelation. Psalm 1 is the gateway to the whole collection of Psalms. It contrasts to paths, the one that follows God and the one that doesn’t. Prosperity is a bigger picture than the crash materialism that you seem to be attracted to as a follower of Bill. Jesus clearly told us not to store up treasures on earth but treasure in heaven. The poor widow in dropping a couple coins in the collection gave more than those that poured them in. The places like Psalm 1 ought to be viewed as a bigger picture and promise than materialism. You didn’t answer any of my points, just avoided them. Memorizing Bible verses (which Psalm 1 never mentions and meditation is not the same as memorization) based on the idea that God “promises” riches and wealth and material prosperity is really the lowest form of reasoning and motivation. whatever few people end up like the Greens of Hobby Lobby are a hand full but those that don’t are the much bigger group.
And we would be quick to point out that Bill’s – God’s – definition of “prosper” is not the same as “money”. Because so many other things are better than money. Like how much we know Jesus, how many treasures are laid up in heaven, even how many children and grandchildren we have. Things like joy and honor and peace. And food and clothing and houses and money at times too. No disagreement with what you said, excepting your insistence that Bill is promoting wealth. I am frankly clueless where you get this impression. It is a classic prejudice against “big preachers” which sometimes is true and other times is not. In this case that could not be further from the truth.
Here is a description of some very prosperous people:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Some years ago I was meeting with several Brothers and Sister in a Bible Study Group. One Gentleman with a horrific past life stood up and said “I am clothed and in my right mind because of the saving power of God’s grace and the healing ministry of Bill Gothard.” Every leader has critics and distractors, however My observation has been many more have greatly benefited from Bill’s ministry than those who claim to have been harmed by such.
re: more good or more harm?
When asking whether more gain or loss has come from Gothard, we might also ask about sort of people are influenced by him. Bad men may attend a Gothard seminar, only to glean yet more things to resent about God.
As with seed and soil, good soil nourishes seed which yields fruit. Rocky soil yields shallow-rooted outcomes, etc. The outcomes from Gothard’s ministry should vary as much as the souls who were influenced by it.
So what you just said here is that people that attended Bill’s seminars, attempted or tried to follow what Bill taught and ended up screwing up their lives, families, education, etc. were really just bad soils? Is that what you mean because that is what you just said and are accusing others of.
re: objection to seed and soil analogy
In the 4/8 post below, sister Rob accused me of accusing. An answer follows.
Sometimes when our neighbor does wrong we don’t formulate words which describe without accusing. Probably this explains why we are warned so sternly against gossip.
Yet this raises the question; when our Lord told parables, he often outraged his enemies because the saw themselves accused in the parable. Did our Lord accuse? He did not, though he warned his enemies that Moses accused them.
What shall we Christians do? Let us tell the truth charitably, though Truth sometimes accuses.
In this case, let’s be realistic. Aren’t there some who decide to hate a public figure like Bill Gothard, and their soul is planted so thickly with confirmation bias that they hear only fresh excuses to hate him yet more?
You didn’t answer my question but went off on a tangent about people hating Bill. You didn’t clarify your statement about trying comparing to Bill’s die hard followers to good soil for seeds as to those that ran into problems with his teachings as bad soil. This has nothing to do with hating bill, but if that is all you have in your defense of Bill, a broad brush accusation that people just “hate him”, then i think bill needs some new defenders out their because this doesn’t make your point or his case.
That’s kind a sick commentary David. I know people harmed by Bill Gothard’s teachings. Your suggestion that they are bad soil is repulsive. Some would call that victim blaming, which Bill Gothard engaged deeply in.
Maybe it would help if you detail the harm you observed, James, from Bill’s teachings. What is your worst example? We live in a day where Christianity itself – worship of Jesus Christ – is suddenly a “cult” and damaging. Major leaders in the church suddenly “coming out” as unbelievers. Defections from Christ are not Christ’s fault. Bill gets blamed for stances that, frankly, are simply holding on to what Jesus said in the Bible. So . . . What have you seen that would lead you to say that?
Psalms 69:9 “For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.”
“Once in a while Gothard comes up in conversations amongst Christians I know. Many of them react with surprise that he is still living and/or that any one takes him seriously.”
About three years ago I was on a short term mission trip in Mexico as a leader, with many college aged men and women. The organizer had a few speakers come and speak to the group during he down time when they were not out serving the local community. One of the speakers was a missionary who had spent the last 20 years or so in the mission field, sort of off the grid. I was taken aback when he presented a Bill Gothard teaching: “Bill Gothard used to always say……..”
I looked around and the college students were looking amongst themselves in disbelief. Did this guy just quote Bill Gothard? A few of the students had never heard of Gothard, but most knew who he was and knew what he was all about.
After the talk I brought the missionary up to speed with the events that had unfolded in recent years regarding Bill Gothard. He was completely oblivious to the recent events. He understood now why he seemed to have lost his audience at that point. I doubt he will ever quote Bill again.
Most that I know who were deep now see the incredible harm in his teachings. Obviously, a few are still drinking the Kool-Aid.
So, James, what did you tell the good missionary? Did you repeat the slander that has been repeated over and over and has come up empty of any objective basis? If so, that is a crime against the Lord Himself. Every issue that has, at least, been brought to our attention, including the ins and outs of the manifold legal actions, had been addressed in the clearest of terms. There are no accusers. The women in the lawsuit alleged they “stood by” the claims made in the lawsuit as the unilaterally withdrew, but immediately scattered to the four winds. They had every right to refile their claims and $500K apiece would make it so worth their while. They have been silent because all of them either know that lies were entered into the proceedings in their name without their permission – which they acknowledged privately – or they know they made up everything of substance, anything that would be worthy of a lawsuit. Not a thing that a large, savvy, secular, politically connected personal injury law firm – standing against a pedestrian lawyer Bill picked out of a court provided list at random – could find, among 17 plaintiffs, strong enough to drag to the finish line.
James, WHAT did you tell the missionary?
Leviticus 19:16. “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.”
“If so, that is a crime against the Lord Himself”
Indeed, to take a position against Bill is a crime against the Lord. Do you not see how incredibly deep you have gone- how dangerously you compare this man to your Lord?
“There are no accusers.”
“They have been silent because all of them either know that lies were entered into the proceedings in their name without their permission – which they acknowledged privately – or they know they made up everything of substance, anything that would be worthy of a lawsuit”
So interesting that someone who would say such a thing would dare lecture others about slander and being a talebearer. Please take a look in the mirror.
Gaslighting is clearly one of your greatest skills. In what universe are there no longer any accusers? It is a public record that they withdrew the case but stood by their accusations. Your attempted gaslighting will not work here.
Gaslighting ignores or suppresses facts. We have done the exact opposite. Which is, of course, exactly what is needed here. If you have evidence to the contrary, trot it out, the floor is open. If you make the accusation, be prepared to back it up. Waving your hand at a website of unsubstantiatable and, in fact, refuted claims is not proof. The facts I have are . . . Right out of the mouth (texts, documents). Strange how only women are to be believed implicitly. Their tales have been examined and have been officially found to be without merit.
re: both sides of an accusing mouth
Gothard’s enemies are standing by their accusations? Standing by even while withdrawing? Which is it? Gothard’s enemies have no case to present to a neutral magistrate, yet they reserve the right to accuse him?
Of what? Exposing their slander in discovery documents?
You said: “There are no accusers.”
“On February 26, 2018, the former plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles released the following joint statement:
“Due to the unique complexities of this case, including the statutes of limitation, we have made the difficult decision to voluntarily dismiss our lawsuit against Bill Gothard and The Institute in Basic Life Principles. We want to make it abundantly clear that by dismissing our lawsuit at this time, we are not recanting our experiences or dismissing the incalculable damage that we believe Gothard has done by his actions and certain teachings. Nor are we disregarding that his organization chose to protect themselves instead of those under their care.” ”
They did not recant. Do you have evidence that they have? Or do you just have the Kabuki Theater logic that you have presented ad nauseum to convince yourself of what you have believed from the very start?
How can you claim that there are no accusers? That flies in the face of the facts and is gaslighting, unless you have evidence that they have recanted. Please present it- and please just the actual recanting by those who brought the lawsuit, not your twisting argument that you keep going through for how you connect your own dots and convince yourself.
That was a statement that was face saving and frankly flew in the face of statements that they made privately. And the “unique complexities” were the fact that besides the evidence Bill’s lawyers had of deliberate lies and self-impeachment none of their accusations could be verified to a point that a jury would believe it. I was privy to communications between the opposing lawyer and Bill’s lawyer as the firm representing the women was struggling to find something, anything to move ahead with. Long before the final 11 plaintiffs gave up we were told that the firm had dropped any consideration of 10 of them and was focusing on just one, trying to pull something together. And that did not work out either.
And the fear on the other legal firm was palpable when Bill’s second legal team chose to pursue “Rule 137”, basically malpractice, fraud. It came within inches of succeeding, failing because the filing targeted the plaintiffs . . . Instead of the firm. Rule 137 in the state of Illinois is next to impossible to obtain.
So, no, there are no accusers.
re: not all standings-by are created equal
On 4/24 James reiterated the non-recantations of Bill Gothard’s enemies. Citing “unique complexities,” they withdrew their suit against Gothard. But actions speak louder than words.
The accusations by Gothard’s enemies exposed them to penalty and humiliation, if they were found bogus. Officially, Gothard’s enemies opted to shut up rather than put up. Caesar’s justice was too just and risky for them. It involved “discovery” of their secret words which would humiliate them if they became public.
But unofficially, they “stood by” their accusations. What is the difference between their official recantation and their unofficial non-recantation? Risk. How much credibility does a zero-risk parting-shot accusation deserve? How meaningful is a standing-by which will not stand by when it counts, but only when it doesn’t?
“James, WHAT did you tell the missionary?”
Funny that you should ask. I merely told him that there had been a lot of news regarding Bill Gothard in the recent years and suggested he Google his name, as we had internet in this location. He seemed to spend a considerable amount of time using one of the PCs, presumably doing just that. I doubt that any thinking person would exalt Bill or anything he said after doing so.
Did you by chance send him to this site? Or to Bill, directly? On the internet is a salacious story about Bill and a secretary in a remote cabin in the Northwoods. That has been completely debunked by the source, Gary Smalley. Another story of Bill raping a young woman at the ITC. No mention of the fact that police in Indiana AND Canada independently investigated and around absolutely no merit to the troubled young woman’s tale. And many, many more lies. What is the likelihood that the missionary came away with only facts once his search of the internet was done? “Cancel Culture” – Bill has been cancelled.
Your crime is continuing to slander Bill directly or by proxy when you, yourself, have nothing to corroborate, and in the face of all that you know has transpired and been presented to the contrary. You “whispered” a possibility in his ear because you wanted to weaken his respect for Bill Gothard. The unfairness of all that has befallen Bill in recent years makes me weep. If the Lord is anything He is just, He is fair. Michael the archangel did not even dare to rail on the devil for all of his obvious crimes, but left it with, “The LORD rebuke thee”.
One of life’s greatest gifts to me was meeting Mr. Gothard in 1990 after my freshman year of college. He provided a foundation of faith from which I have built upon over the past 30 years. He taught me a mindset that is healthy and life-giving – a mindset that comes from scripture that renews my spirit.
Both of my parents met in a half-way house in Chicago. My mother was in and out of mental hospitals and my dad couldn’t guide me because of his mental health challenges and addiction. Mr. Gothard was like a spiritual father to me and protected me from harmful influences at a very vulnerable time in my life.
He gave me a vision of how I could develop a life message and how God could work through my pain. I now give out this message he taught me to survivors of sexual exploitation as I teach these precious women to meditate on scripture to renew them. His encouragement to me to meditate on God’s word daily has brought so much hope and joy that I am teaching this principle to this particular group of vulnerable woman.
I am SO grateful for his encouragement in my life!
I really think the problem here is one of universality. Just because an organization or ministry is a cult to someone, by whatever metric you subscribe to, that does not mean it will be a cult to EVERYONE.
I would agree with Dr. Lehman here. Since most, if not all, of what Bill did with his ministry was voluntary, there never was any climate of forcing people to stay in a certain location. There was also not any forcible digestion of his teaching. You could certainly have come and gone as you willed, even from the headquarters as one of his workers.
But here is where I would disagree. These matters are as much personally felt as they are objective. It is entirely possible for something to be a cult to you and not to me and vice versa. If a person’s FEELS as if they cannot leave or FEELS as if they must do something or believe something, then that atmosphere is indeed a cult to that person.
There are a number of reasons why a person may have felt that he cannot leave a place where he has freedom to do so. Consider someone who is in a bad job. It’s abusive and oppressive, but if he were to leave, he would have to find a new job. What would that mean for the 5 kids he has to feed every day? What happens to them while daddy looks for work? What about the mortgage he still has to pay regardless of what job he holds?
You see, a bad job to this person is terrible, but it keeps his life moving. He can live and breath, as can his children, even though he faces a horrible work existence every day. This person feels he can’t leave. For him, that job would qualify as a cult to him.
I don’t want to presume any of that on Bill or his ministry in and of itself. But, it isnt hard for me to believe some of his volunteers at Oak Park would say it was a cult. These elements change significantly when you consider that many of these involved were minors at the time.
These are individuals that do not understand so much of life just by nature of their human development. These are individuals more likely to feel stuck for a number of reasons. If they went to Bill trying to get out of a home where a parent sexually abused them, they are not going to feel that they can leave HQ. For them, looking back, they will say that environment is a cult.
I am trying to suggest that it may not be wise to look at these issues objectively. There is a personal aspect here. I don’t like this. I like the objective look. I want it to be black and white, able to be looked up in a dictionary. But to do so in this case might cause us to ignore the pain these individuals felt. I don’t believe that would be wise.
For me, my contention with Bill has nothing to do with whether he was building a cult or not. I am just not concerned with any of that. I think the real argument is elsewhere. I am more critical of his teachings in an of themselves. I believe that is where we should spend our time discussing.
There is objectivity and truth in what you say. My only comment: I think serious minded Christians want an objective, Bible definition of “cult” to work from. Christians were called a “sect” in Acts. Most every movement of God that shook the world was called “cult” by someone. So, that, to me at least, is not very interesting, other than to possibly prove that this is of God, having the same degree of persecution. I can shrug off the ridicule of others, provided that they do not have an objective, Bible-based reason to make their accusations.
I don’t think it’s just serious minded Christians. Many people want that objective answer. We want to know that the light is either on or off.
I get that. I do too.
But we live in a world that is often more complex than it should be. We want the simple light switches. But the world has dimmer controls as well. We need to be mature enough to know the difference and when what applies.
It is also possible that two conflicting truths can both be accurate, so long as they are qualified. I believe a lot of these principles are at at in the situations with Bill and IBLP. I have several family and friends who went through the Seminars and had no problems. They are perfectly well-adjusted Christians.
And there are the few I know that did not come out right, such as County Alexander (yes, I don’t mind using his name). Came through the program along with the rest of his family. Married a girl from another IBLP family (pastor’s daughter).
He murdered her before they had been married for a year.
Lots we could say here. For sure, it cannot be stated that IBLP led County to murder his wife. A person is more complex than one set of traits. But can we say it played no role? I don’t think we can conclude that either.
That’s where I sit in this whole mess, for the most part. The word cult has both a denotative and a connotative meaning. There is objectivity here, but we can’t just overlook the personal side of things as well. Now how much attention can be put toward giving attention to the personal side of things can be a matter for debate.
I think we simply want to get away from the slur use of the term. Sort of like “homophobic” is hurled at every person that has a conviction that homosexuality is sin. True “homophobia” is a technical, precise situation where a person is clinically terrified of homosexuals. To use the term to slur and denigrate “people of faith” whose Bible condemns that condition is unjust. Same with using “cult” to slur those with certain deep convictions that others disagree with.
Yeah. I could get behind that.
As I said from the start of this thread, my contentions with Bill and his ministry have nothing to do with his ministry’s identity as a cult. I’m not concerned with that part of the debate.
I would say we probably should look at this two ways. I would say no. Bill and the ministry we’re not a cult in a strictly technical sense of the word.
But to those who experienced negative treatment from the inside, they have some right to call it such. For them, it certainly was.
This is probably one of those “consider the source” opportunities. I wish we didn’t have to have slur terms like “cult” thrown around. I don’t think it helps anyone at all.
re: IBLP participant Mrs. Alexander slain by her husband
What is the correlation between IBLP affiliation and spouse slaying? Dunno, but vigilance is the price of safety. Let me hide the kitchen knives whilst I live. No telling when I shall reap the vengeance I sowed when I taught my family from IBLP Wisdom Booklets. Wait, do I hear footsteps behind me?
She was a daughter of a pastor and he was from another IBLP family and both families followed and practiced Bill’s teachings to a T. So four months into this marriage and she is now pregnant, he shoots her in the back of the head which not only kills her, but kill their unborn baby and goes off to work. It doesn’t get much sicker than that. So these perfect followers of IBLP and Bill Gothard obviously had some serious problems and people that were following all this stuff to be perfect and have perfect lives and courtships and marriages, this jerk decides that the answer to the marriage problems was to kill her and their unborn child. This symbolizes what is wrong, not what is right. What part of “Thou shall not kill” don’t you get?
That response sounded all over the place. Rob answered the gist of it though.
Both County and Christa were from IBLP famous who participated in the Seminars.
Really, most of my acquaintances from that part of Louisiana were IBLP families. They were not just participants, though. These were churches that were structured entirely around the IBLP mindset. Trinity Baptist pastored by Pastor Baker still is.
Couty and Christa both came through the school program. Couty chose not to go to college, instead opting to take some EMT training. He bacame a paramedic with the local ambulance team. He and Christa married during this time.
A lot of mess came out in the trial. For those of us who followed it, it was one of the most emotional trips ever. Couty basically had some expectations of marriage from the teachings at IBLP and the way his church had pushed it (in other words, Bill isn’t entirely to blame). It just didn’t match the reality of his situation with Christa.
At the same time, he had drawn closer to one of his co-workers. With the strain in his marriage, the two had formed a more intimate bond. As far as we know, there was no actual sexual activity, but they were close enough to make Christa notice changes in her husband (this marriage was less than 6 months old).
We believe she had threatened to leave him, went to gather clothes from her closet, and Couty panicked. I believe, based on my reading of court documents and County’s testimony, that he put the gun to the back of her head trying to scare her. Regardless of intent, that trigger was pulled and both mom and baby went to Heaven then and there.
I believe Couty further panicked. He staged his home to look like a break-in and went to work. He called the police after he returned home. Well the rest is a trial and a guilty plea hat resulted in a life sentence. Terrible mess.
The crime shook many of the churches in the area, all of whom that were affected being IBLP fans. This caused some of them to question the Wisdom Booklets altogether.
It is my belief that for these people, IBLP was a form of cult. Some of them really believed nothing of this kind could have happened if they believed and followed Bill’s teaching. This situation is not the case everywhere you go, for sure. It may not even be the norm. But I believe it’s a good example of what we are discussing.
Couty spent at least one night with his “strange woman” (not his wife) according to reports. https://hsinvisiblechildren.org/when-homeschoolers-turn-violent/couty-alexander/ This relationship started before he married. Boy, I have a hard time finding cause to blame Bill for that. Or the church, for that matter. ALL of us, from Couty to Ravi Zacharias, stand on our own two feet before Jesus. I see no pattern that would suggest that ATI leads to adultery or murder. For those of us who have followed, or, like David, been part of the administration, for years, decades, have been able to watch the results in many families. The allegation simply has no basis in fact. We are all sinners. Those of us closer to the “front line” of trying to establish and hold to high standards that the world and the devil hate will get more scrutiny from that Evil One. But grace also abounds as a result. It simply means we have to work a bit harder, cry out to the Lord more, keep ourselves humble and hungry more, to stay out of his traps. It can be done.
I also caught when reading the different account of these two, was the pressure Couty felt being the sole bread winner of the family on an $11 per hour job which points to the fallacy that they were taught and acted on it to forgo college. Again, this points to very inadequate education that ATI offered and gave. Rarely do families become rich and famous like the Duggars and the Bates and for the most part, there are major struggles supporting big families on one income in minimal jobs.
I also think this whole terrible story points to another concern about children raised in limited isolated situations and that is maturity. It is immature and thoughtless to take a weapon like a gun in order to scare someone into staying if that is what she threaten. If she really was going to try and leave, where really would she go? If she went back to her parents, all they would have told her to do was go back and “submit” which is what she was raised in. She also has no job or education on which to support herself. Her whole trajectory was to be a stay at home mom. Likewise, this situation is similar to the Duggars where there are guns laying around and easily accessible (the Duggars have repeatedly been criticized for having guns out with small children around) and he readily and easily was able to grab a gun to “scare” her if that is what actually happen. This is just a terrible story.
*sigh*. This is fraught with endless prejudices. There is simply no basis for these stereotypes. The majority of ATI kids are motivated, successful individuals. Quite a few attend college for what it is worth. Best, much as my challenges to JM, is to focus on examples you are personally familiar with. Then we can examine the situation. Fair enough?
What endless prejudice? There are many public blogs and sites that discuss the problems of homeschooling and further education. The article you linked to yourself is from an anti-homeschooling web site that talked about this situation as proof that there are some serious cracks in the conservative home schooling movement like ATI. The Duggars are a public entity and they have been heavily criticized for posting pictures themselves of guns laying around with small children in the area. All I did was connect the dots here which is leading to conclusions that do not support the picture you want to paint of Bill. It came out in the trial and investigation that Couty felt the financial pressure of a $11/per hour job supporting a wife and upcoming baby. That is more of the reality of these ATI grads than the rich and famous like the Duggars, Bates and Greens, of which the Duggar boys seem very tied up with their Dad financially for jobs and houses. None of this is prejudice.
The one difference between David and myself is that we count a great many ATI families as friends, have watched their progress and trajectory for decades. I am at a loss to think of one doing poorly financially. Not all have walked with Jesus, but overwhelmingly most have. Outsiders see things and get “evil surmisings” as the KJV calls it. We have spun around on this point several times, so maybe we can see if there is anything else that has substance that can be discussed.
re: ATI winners and losers
Rob’s 4/21 post laments ATI losers who are do not produce enough to support a family, yet they marry anyway. Who doubts that such losers exist?
But who really believes that losers are more common among ATI kids than any others? To cite my own family, one son interned a year in construction management, then produced middle-class income and married a homeschooled girl. His brother paid his own way through a debt-free degree at our local university and enters grad school soon.
One son-in-law earned his law degree through ATI and produces professional-class income. For every ATI loser Rob can name, I can name more winners. Would anyone care to itemize winners and losers?
Brother JM makes a good point above. Some will be uninterested in the objective definition of cult. For them, “cult” is an emotional word to smear a religious association they resented. That is unfair but understandable.
re: quo vadis Trinity Baptist Church?
On 4/21 JM gave us some context for Couty and Mrs. Alexander. They were members of Trinity Baptist Church whose officers were supposedly devoted to Bill Gothard. But a visit to the TBC website gives a different impression.
TBC appears to be a thriving “contemporary” mid-to-mega-sized Baptist church, complete with praise band and other worldly stuff which Gothard warned would lead to apostasy. More than two decades ago one of Gothard’s griefs was the downward trajectory of formerly supporting churches. Some had abandoned their conservatism and gone worldly. When the funky music came in, Gothard seminars went out. Was that the way of TBC? If so, Mrs. Alexander was probably victimized by the ancient combination of world, flesh, and Devil. The unholy trinity claimed yet another corpse. R.I.P.
Would it occur to you that maybe this whole terrible story started the process of re-evaluation of Bill Gothard and his teachings and that just maybe Churches started to back away from him and IBLP just like the earlier Steve Gothard scandal caused people to back away and re-evaluate Bill Gothard and IBYC. Church music is usually a reflection of theology being taught, not visa versa. Are you sure you have the correct Trinity Baptist Church that these two kids attended?
I promise you that isn’t the right Trinity Baptist. For the life of me, I can’t recall the town it is located in, but there are several Trinities around there.
They are not contemporary by a long shot. If they are today, it is only after a decade plus of change. The murder of Christa happened in 2008. Plenty of time in between for the church to rethink and reform.
The actual word cult has more than one meaning and application. Cult actually has about four meanings. 1. a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object. 2. a small group of people having religious beliefs or practice regarded by others as strange or sinister. 3. misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing. 4. a person or thing that is popular or fashionable. If one looks at definition 2, groups like the Amish would or could be regarded as a cult. Using definition 4, big movies like Star Wars have a cult following. Using definition 3, excessive admiration of Bill Gothard could be considered a cult. Using .the list of signs of this article all apply to IBLP and usually are leveled against groups like IFB. Freedom to leave is tricky to define even if on the surface IBLP is voluntary. Just looking at the Duggars, I don’t see those kids really have the freedom to leave, most of them seemed too dependent on Jim Bob for jobs and finances. Leaving not only means leaving the group or church but when the family ties are all wrapped up together, leaving often results in cut off family ties or at least like in the case of Jill, nearly severed ties. The Amish work the same way, leaving mean a cut off from the family. That goes beyond your thought about physical location. I think your point about focusing on actual teaching instead of the term cult which has different meanings, good and bad, is really better. Maybe the question ought to be, “is this teaching heretical”?
If I hear you correctly, “cult” is basically a slur to denigrate those I disagree with. A fight of ideas with each pointing at the other and yelling “cult”. There are those that consider the Catholic Church a “cult” and its teaching heretical. I think the article is seeking for a more objective definition than “bad doctrine”.
I find the shade cast on the Duggars interesting. As near as I can tell they are flying far and wide . . . In fact, some are somewhat estranged. Nothing remotely controlling or cult-like there. No more than, say, the Jacksons (musical family).
So, be it resolved: IBLP and other Bill Gothard ministries do not constitute a “cult” in the strict sense of the word.
No, you did not hear me correctly. The word cult has a number of meanings. Excessive adoration for someone or something is a cult and there definitely a “cult” following of Bill Gothard. Most people use the term to mean a group, usually religious, run by a strong personality that when people once join it, they seemingly can’t get out of very easily. I brought up the Duggars because in my observation of them, the adult children seemed to be still very much controlled by Jim Bob in where they live, etc. All the married boys except one, are tied to his own reality and house flipping businesses. Justin is in Texas, but now working with his father-in-law. The recent batch of marriages (and upcoming marriages) all seem to be with IBLP committed people unlike the earlier marriages. To outsiders, this does make IBLP look very cult like, especially with the over the top wedding vows of Jed. So yes, IBLP and even IFB groups do look “cult” like and have been accused of being a cult.
OK. We are committed to allowing other viewpoints to be aired as long as those viewpoints can add to a constructive discussion. Really, REALLY liking Bill is not a definition of a cult in our view. Since we can think of lots of reasons to like him and what he has been teaching. We continue to believe the definitions provided by the author represent the best, most objective perspective on this. If one has to reach outside of those to continue to claim “cult”, it may be more personal than objective.
“Just because an organization or ministry is a cult to someone, by whatever metric you subscribe to, that does not mean it will be a cult to EVERYONE.”
Well said JM. I know a lot of people involved with IBLP when Bill was in charge. Most of them I would not consider to be cult members. They went to a few seminars and learned from many of the teachings. They dabbled, if you will. However, there are others whom I would characterize as having been involved in a cult. One of my best friends is one of them, who took his family deep for 10 years. He now sees it as a cult. Another family I would characterize the same way, only they doubled down at every turn and could never see how deeply they had become involved. Fortunately, their kids are now mostly grown and most now see it for what it was.
“But, it isnt hard for me to believe some of his volunteers at Oak Park would say it was a cult. These elements change significantly when you consider that many of these involved were minors at the time.”
Exactly. And from the stories told by many, they certainly were not free to leave.
“And from the stories told by many, they certainly were not freed to leave.” Those under court appointment or directed there by their parents, probably not. If you know of anyone other than that, bring out your best account. I presume you have at least one person willing to identify themselves and tell their story. Because . . . I don’t believe it. I have personally been asking for stories that could be brought to ground since at least 2005, back in the day when Don Veinot alleged in his book that he had documentation of such restraint. When I, personally, asked him for details that I could pursue, he told me that the facts were “in storage” and not accessible (I still have the email). Then told me to join the large anti-Gothard Yahoo group of the day, and THEY would tell me. I asked, openly, pointedly. Even though the very young women to whom Veinot devoted a large portion of a chapter to, detailing her “escape” from a training center, was in the group, I received not one, not a single account of such abuse and restraint. And the young woman had already deleted her website with her story on it.
No . . . It didn’t happen. “Prove me wrong”.
re: smears that were embraced
“Lutheran” began as a smear which mocked 16th Century German reformers.
Two centuries later, “Methodist” was the smear which mocked the 18th Century followers of Wesley and Whitefield.
I never called anyone that had was trained under ATI to be called “looser”. You really ought to stop using inflammatory rhetoric. For someone that actually does not use and has not used the ATI program for years to repeatedly defend this as sound education is hypocritical. You left it and you have admitted so on this very blog. Just looking at the actual wisdom booklets published on line, one can see that this system is a bunch of bunk. The handful of shining examples of success are countered by the repeated stories of those that found it to be a dead end system and those first hand stories are all over the internet on more than one blog. This horrible murder is an example of inadequacy, that is why an anti-homeschool blog featured it that the moderator here did link to.
re: sound education, systems, and losers
Is sound education a meaningless abstraction, or should its soundness be decided by results? As a former ATI user, I submit that “system” is a poor term to describe the ATI program. Rather, ATI is a program which Bill Gothard created from his ministry materials, to equip Christian parents to raise their kids well.
With ATI, most parents raise their kids well, but unfortunately some raise their kids poorly. In any case, one could hardly call ATI a system. Institutions operate systems, while families operate families.
Speaking of terms, is “loser” too harsh a label for a man like Anderson who murdered his spouse? Such a man is certainly no winner, unless you count winning for he wrong side.
The correct term for Couty is murderer, actual a double one at that.
re: mild vs. harsh label
After rebuking me above for inflammatory rhetoric, Rob escalated with a more severe term for Mr. Anderson!
I am well rebuked. Shame on me for rhetorically coddling an evildoer. But seriously, may Mrs. Anderson rest in peace until the resurrection of the just.
The law school that Rachael went to does not mention at all any connection to or founding by Bill Gothard or IBLP at all. They only state on their web site that a “group” of guys got together and wanted to found a law school that was affordable for Christians. They have obviously cut whatever ties they had. Many promising Olympic hopefuls turn to home schooling in order to train like Rachael which put her on the path to Larry Nassar. There is nothing IBLP or ATI like about Rachael and the sex scandal she brought forth not only caused Nassar to end up in jail, but a lot of other heads to roll, causing the women’s Olympic gymnastic program to turn over and nearly shut down sports for MSU where Nassar also worked from. Her accomplishments have nothing to do with Bill or IBLP even if OBCL was under IBLP when she attended. She is a very outspoken advocate for women and abuse victims and is the exact opposite of other IBLP examples such as seen on reality TV in families like the Duggars and Bates.
It remains that the law school was established by Bill, his vision, run according to his direction, and he was very much firmly in control when Rachael attended. Yes, “Cancel Culture” has removed all references to Bill now . . . Every person gets to give account to the Lord for all such things. It still speaks to the fact that Bill makes good stuff, stuff that works, stuff that endures.
That school has certainly developed beyond the roots of IBLP and Bill. There is nothing even in the listing of the current faulty that mentions Bill or IBLP. Rachael’s success has much more to do with her own tenacity in seeking justice for herself and other victims of sexual abuse, something the Bill and IBLP have covered up and Bill himself ignored going all the way back to his brother. It is totally ironic that you pick someone for an example of “success” for Bill that is a lawyer and an advocate for victims of sexual abuse. Her success is in spite of not because of and she stands for everything, works for everything that is in polar opposite of Bill and IBLP. I don’t even think you realized this when you mentioned her name or brought her up. And the rebuke she gave you when you claimed she was an ATI grad ought to be an embarrassment.
Rob, I think we beat this one to death . . . Again. Nothing new is being added. I applaud Rachael advocating legally for abused women. Nothing remotely ironic there. Bill strongly supports that. The only irony is if you continue to believe the lies that Bill abused women. Yes, I was well aware that Rachael was not in Bill’s orbit. She and I have mutual friends on Facebook and I have seen her comments. If she has anything to add to the “Did Bill Do It?” discussion, we are more than happy to entertain it. I say, cautiously, that I took significance from the fact that given her strong position in that role and knowing the case, she never involved herself in it. I know others backed away. I have no idea why David Gibbs III took it on, given all we know he knew. I hate to think that he is sleazy, but . . . He was censured by the judge, kicked off the case, and the national ethics arm of the ABA was breathing hard down his neck.
I am still waiting to hear what you have to say about the claims made that cycling through the Wisdom Booklets as a child through high school teen nets the equivalent of a pre med, pre law and business school degree.
There is enough material in the wisdom books to provide that, yes. Most of us felt that we were drinking from a firehouse, especially with a bunch of participants at different levels, so getting through all that data was a challenge.
re: OBCL and Bill Gothard
About thirty years ago, Bill Gothard and IBLP experimented with bold initiatives for homeschoolers to access fields which had been monopolized by expensive institutional cartels.
Among these initiatives was law credentialing. The late Roger Magnuson took upon him the task of apprenticing bright Christian young people who sought law credentials. Apparently it worked well, and many OBCL graduates passed the California bar exam.
What does it betoken if the 2021 OBCL does not credit Bill Gothard with anything? Neither at its 1995 founding nor ever, did OBCL boast of Bill Gothard. Does the vessel praise the potter who formed it? Rather, the potter delights in the vessel he formed.
I apologize that I can no longer read and respond right away.
I do have a personal connection with both County and Christa. I have observed that many news sources who have reported on the case have embellished and states things that are hard to verify. Yes, fake news is very much a real thing. A case in point was the Led into Temptation episode of the ID docuseries Unhappily Ever After. The psychologist in that docudrama tried to analyze Couty’s motivations and came away with two scenarios that didn’t match Couty at all. Needless to say, many of us who knew him knew it was television and not truth at that point.
You will get no challenge from me on the relationship with the other woman, to a point. I have however found that news reports are skewing it considerably. My sources are primarily the court transcripts. Both Couty and the woman testified under oath about their relationship, with the other being absent from the room. Both testimonies agreed on all the points.
Only one night of indiscretion happened, and it was not complete. According to both Couty and the woman, Couty could not bring himself to consummate his relationship because he loved his wife. Of course, that did not stop him from staying the night in the hotel room.
And of course, you don’t have to actually do the deed physically to have cheated. I think we all agree on that.
As to how much of this we can pin on Bill. I’m with you. It is very much an individual case. BUT Couty has maintained that the expectations and pressures along with the beliefs he had were the result of his ATI education and the Wisdom Booklets.
So I would say this. It is certainly Couty’s fault. He did it and he knew better. On this we agree. But if he did have some inclination based on what he learned, can we not say what he learned is also partly at fault? Even if it were a case where he learned it incorrectly or incompletely, I don’t think we could just overlook the teaching. It did play a part.
I do know this situation shook up BOTH the churches involved, because they both believed in Bill’s teachings that strongly. That did happen. There is still fallout to this day because of it.
If I were to sum up my position here, I would say I worry the most about naive thinking on these subjects. I see this in many other places too, such as a conservative Christian camp where the leadership believes they would never have any homosexual teenagers show up. (Yes, I have seen this happen). Then they are totally unprepared when it happens and a major incident comes out of it.
It just isn’t wise to have expectations from formulaic teachings. I do believe we should preach the word, train up a child in the way he should go, but we need to have sound wisdom in the program too. There are always individuals who won’t get it exactly right. But at some point, we might need to look at the system as well, not just the program we use, but our entire approach to it.
“BUT Couty has maintained that the expectations and pressures along with the beliefs he had were the result of his ATI education and the Wisdom Booklets.”. I am sure that we all would start finding something or someone else to blame when we have done something really bad. I remain unable to find ANY connection to justify that. Nothing even remotely, exactly the opposite. IF Bill were encouraging husbands to put, say, physical pressure on their wives to “comply” . . . “Wife discipline” or something like that, as I reach for hypotheticals, one could make the connection. Sinful, angry men from ANY background abuse and kill their wives. About the only point you could make . . . Is that Bill insists that men marry the women that they love and want to have children will. Wait, that is Scripture. People argue that the bonds and expectations of marriage cause problems. To which I say: THAT one is on the Lord.
Well I don’t know about that. If the expectations are taught in a manner where someone misunderstands them, is it the Lord’s fault?
Here is where I ask the question. Had Couty not come up through ATI and the Wisdom Booklets, would he have murdered his wife?
To that, I can’t say we can know. But can we by the same measure claim the background had no influence? No. I would sharply disagree. He was from a family who took the separation it stands Bill promoted.
We would all agree Scripture calls for separation, but I contend we don’t understand it the same way Paul understood it. Couty’s family took it to mean they had to remove all worldly influences from the home. They got that Bill. (They will tell you as much). For them, it was no tv, no movies, no vacations, no modern popular books, and above all, the family was always together.
Couty’s decline started when he finished high school and took a job. He had to leave the cocoon. He was unprepared because he had always been in such a protected environment. Now out in the real world, he was exposed to things outside the pale, and they didn’t feel evil.
I have a very hard believing Bill and ATI did not influence this. I know they did. Do I think Bill is a co-conspirator in Christa’s murder? No. It is still Couty’s fault. But I do believe we have a good idea why he felt and behaved the way he did.
And it’s not just Couty. There are about a dozen churches that I know across the North Shore area of Lake Ponchartrain that would say the same things. They do what they do because Bill taught it. It isn’t difficult to get them to say it either.
ATI attracts really strong individuals. Strong before ATI, during and after. I recall one family that we knew that went off the rails . . . After starting ATI they deemed it “unclean” and invented their own, much more hardcore program. That may skew your results somewhat.
Bill never encouraged separation from life. Just specific influences that could not be controlled. COVID19 is a great example. If your goal is to not get or promote it, what to do? The world runs the gambit of responses to that. Some ignore all restrictions, some stay indoors, even with masks, isolate family members with minor coughs, have all supplies delivered and disinfected. Which is right? Haha! I dare say we would still get no consensus.
Who gets COVID? Well, the more promiscuous get it more, of that there can be no doubt. The more promiscuous get over it and don’t pass it on, true. But the promiscuous also inadvertently pass it on to the .3% of the population that is likely to die from it. When someone gets it and dies, WHO gets the blame? Some say it is just going to happen, old and sick people going to die, cost of living. Some really, really don’t like that answer.
SO . . . If certain kinds of sin is COVID, if atheism is COVID, if killing people is COVID . . . How to we protect our families. As many answers as in the COVID world. You have reason to blame isolation . . . Others blame exposure. You freely admit you can’t be sure. So . . . Pray for your family and cry out for wisdom . . . And, I would say, be careful when seeking to place primary blame on Bill because, well, he is different and has new and weird ideas, at least as far as society is concerned. A lot of those ideas are solidly biblical, just not practiced because the world puts so much pressure on us. 2 Cor. 6 IS startling, no matter what translation you read it in.
I don’t believe I said Bill was to blame. If I did I apologize. I mean to suggest his teaching is a contributing factor.
I think this illustrates another very uncomfortable truth. We like having one and only one object of blame. We like things tied up in neat little packages. That way we can discard it and say, “problem solved.”
Reality is just not that simple at times. In this case, a lot of factors contributed to Couty’s behavior. But it cannot be denied that Bill’s teaching was one of them.
Does that mean Bill’s teaching is inherently bad? I would say no, but it is something that we should approach with caution, as we should all things. I don’t think we disagree here.
To eliminate Bill we would have to acquire statistics of spousal abuse segregated by “likes Bill” and “doesn’t like or even know Bill”. I don’t have those. I bet they would fall dramatically in Bill’s favor.
You do realize it’s not just Couty here. There were two churches involved in this case. And there are about a dozen more in the area that are Gothardite.
I do agree that many find something to blame when they are caught. But in Couty’s case, it is more than a little plausible. I know this background personally. I have seen it. I know that they do indeed push certain expectations on youngsters.
As to these expectations being biblical, they are to a degree. We know Scripture commands a wife to be submissive to her husband. But I would disagree that she would be expected to submit if the husband were breaking the law. Nor do I believe she would be at fault if she were to call the police on her husband. That may sound ridiculous to even suggest that people believe that, but many in thia group I am referring to believe just that. Ask them where they got it from, and they will all say without hesitation that it was the Wisdom Booklets.
We can say they didn’t get Bill’s teaching correct, if the shoe fits. But I go back to original question. Can we throw out Bill’s teaching as a cause altogether? I say no.
But we do need to consider this is just one case, terrible and tragic as it was. There are hundreds of others out there that were not the same. Many of them had no problems.
The point I want to make is that just because there is a problem, that shouldn’t lead us to conclude a massively flawed system. But conversely, a success isn’t proof of a good system. However, in both cases, it is wise and prudent to look and see what happened.
I personally do not know anyone reticent about calling the police on a family member breaking the law. Bill, of all people, taught that the police, the authorities are the “Ministers of God for good” to us. The exact opposite of hating or mistrusting authorities, an attitude common among conservative folks. Any chance that some natural inclinations of folks like that overwhelmed the good, Biblical teaching that Bill has been giving?
You really have not met any family members who would be reticent to call the law on another family member? That seems to be the norm where I come from.
I can name dozens of them.
No. In this case, I don’t know that we can say y was natural inclinations. Everyone involved here has and will readily admit it was IBLP teaching and the Wisdom Booklets.
Whether it really was what was taught in the Booklets or they misunderstood it is probably the real debate.
That, then, is a fundamental difference of opinion. Bill’s teachings do not lead to irresponsibility. Quite the opposite. Obviously nobody wants to have their family shattered because of legal action if there is any hope of another resolution. To many in that situation Daddy in jail is worse than finding ways to reduce the risk. We had a family in our church where it came out decades later – at the very least I was not read in – that Daddy had molested the children. The deeply committed, God-fearing mother did not involve the police. She installed locks on the bedroom doors, for example. BTW, they had never heard of Bill Gothard.
re: expectations from formulaic teachings
What spouse does not have expectations from formulaic teachings? In a way, every marriage depends upon them. When my wife vowed to “forsake all others” I presumed she meant it. And she presumed it of me. What could be more formulaic than that? Sometimes that formula does not restrain sin. Yet it is one of the most enduring formulas in our grim and glorious history.
But JM makes a good point above. Does the man keep the vows or do the vows keep the man? In my case, some of both. But for Alexander, something went horribly wrong. Systems cannot save. Only Christ can.
Presumably Couty knew the formulaic Sixth Commandment when he slew his spouse. Had “Thou Shalt Not Kill” been less formulaic, would Mrs. Alexander be alive today? That depends. Every man must submit to God and resist the devil. That is spiritual warfare, not formula.
Since you have a personal connection to the people in this terrible situation, I am wondering if this ponderance of mine could be correct. I am wondering if some of the pressure here is a result of the courtship set up under Bill and IBLP (and as we see with the TV families like the Duggars), where young people of the opposite sex are never allowed to get to know each other in a more relaxed and natural setting like dating instead of the high pressurized chaperone courtship set up that is very quick courtship and engagement and marriage. So Couty works with someone that maybe was more of a natural fit or attraction to him than Christa and maybe if he was allowed to just date both, get to know them in a slower more natural setting such as dating that Bill just bunked as wrong. That doesn’t justify his actions here at all but maybe if he felt he could have been honest with Christa, his parents and her parents that more time was needed of figure all this out, he wouldn’t have been in this horrible situation of quickly marrying someone while attracted to another. I think this situation calls into question the courtship set up as highly pressurized, too quick and ends up with more unhappy marriages than healthy happy marriages.
re: relaxed vs. high-pressure romance
Above, Rob raised the question of which romance model is more relaxed, less rushed, and therefore superior.
Setting aside her straw-man caricature of the Bill Gothard courtship model, where shall Christian young people find helpful love and marriage guidance? Two books by the late Elisabeth Elliot answer this question. The titles and subtitles describe them:
Passion & Purity: Learning to Bring your Love Life Under Christ’s Control
• Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity
I would suggest you read the book “Courtship is Crisis” which documents the many problems and bad fruit of the Courtship model as promoted by Bill and Josh (I Kiss Dating Good-by).
Not interested. “Courtship” is Biblical. Not a specific incarnation thereof, but young people operating under the direction and guidance of their parents. About anything Scriptural will have detractors with lots of evidence. If God directed it, it is right and will work. If it doesn’t appear to work we may be mistaken (that it didn’t work) or we failed to follow through on things He told us to do.
There is nothing Biblical about the “courtship” model as promoted by Bill and the likes of Josh Harris who has since apologized and renounced what he wrote in that book. You cannot point to anything in scripture. The few recorded arranged marriages are due to the culture of that time and have nothing to do with “God’s way” or design.
On the contrary, young people are commanded to be under the authority of their parents . . . Until they “leave” and “cleave” to a spouse in marriage. The last act of authority by a parent is to approve the marriage. How old was Jacob when he “obeyed” his father and journeyed to Padanaran to find a wife among his relatives? He was 75 years old. Culture is culture and Scripture is Scripture.
Genesis 28:6-7 “When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padanaram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram . . .”
Leviticus 19:3. “Ye shall fear every man [“Ish”, grown man] his mother, and his father . . . ”
Mark 10:7. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife”
Josh Harris has apparently come out as gay. I am guessing that cognitive dissonance destroyed any foundation of faith. Meaning . . . His problems were a lot bigger than getting messed up by a “courtship model”. According to his own testimony he was heavy into porn and sexual impurity, before he outwardly repented and wrote, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”. Courtship is no cure for sexual sins. Neither is dating.
None of the examples you gave support a courtship model as taught by Bill Gothard. Those scripture examples you just quoted do not support that. When Jesus called James and John on the shores of Galilee, they left their father right then and there and there is no indication that they got the father’s permission or approval. When someone told Jesus he was going to follow Him, but first let him bury his father, Jesus told him to “let the dead bury the dead and come follow him. Jacob was to marry within the family which was typical in that culture and time frame. It has nothing to do with staying at home and obeying parents until one is in courtship and marriage. These examples which I knew you were going to bring up, these responses are so typical, do not support what Bill teaches in the area of courtship and marriage.
Based on Peter already being a married man it is not far fetched to suggest that James and John were also married. Of course we follow Jesus and His commands above those of our parents . . . But I am hard pressed to find selection of a life partner in that realm. Esau had already married several local women, as did Joseph, so, no, they didn’t move heaven and earth to marry a relative. And, I bet you don’t even know what Bill teaches about “Courtship”. Am I right?
re: Courtship in Crisis
Mr. Ulmstattd subtitled his book, “The Case for Traditional Dating.” Who denies that such a case can be made? Not I. But “Courtship in Crisis” sounds like a hyperbolic title. Both experience and the scriptures affirm that men have been in crisis since The Fall. This raises the rhetorical question which Paul asked at the end of Romans 7, “who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
A generation ago the Gothard courtship model emerged as a hedge against worldly promiscuity and alarming divorce rates. Unfortunately, a hedge is no more reliable than the sinners who operate it. It is also easy to caricature.
One reviewer of Courtship in Crisis described the caricature. A hypothetical woman aged thirty-five has her love life regulated by her age-seventy father who lives five hundred miles away. Therefore courtship is bad, traditional dating is good. Q.E.D.
Another thing which made traditional dating good was its endorsement by the author’s grandmother. If we lived in Grandmother Ulmstattd’s culture, who should disagree? But we don’t. What then?
What indeed? In my house I have mixed results, to put it mildly. More than a decade ago my three eldest daughters married men whom they knew through homeschooling. Last year, my two adult sons married after obtaining consent from the bride’s father. But one of my daughters lied her way into a marriage last spring.
Courtship is not necessarily in crisis. But sinners always are.
In response to “Am I right?” is no, you are wrong on many accounts in the last post. It is considered by most all of the earliest sources that by the time Jesus called Peter, he was already a widower and this can be supported by the healing of his mother-in-law at his home who was serving them, not his wife who is never mention anywhere in scripture. Likewise, his brother Andrew, James and John and Phillip were all previous followers of John the Baptist who is considered an Essenes by all early accounts and fits with the description of going and living in the desert in an ascetic life style which included being single. The followers of John the Baptist were the same, single, not married men which Andrew, James, John and Phillip would have been but not Peter who had been married and in partnership with Zebedee, the father of James and John in fishing along Galilee. It is also considered by all early sources that all of the Apostles were single men, with Peter having been a widower. No wives are ever mentioned anywhere, not even in the group of women listed that followed and supported the Apostles. In getting back to the idea that Bill taught that singles needed to stay with the parents until married is not supported anywhere with the actions of Jesus and the calling of the Apostles. You are just grasping at straws here and claiming that the Apostles were married is “fake news” and fake Bible interpretation. And in a final savoy to your crack about if I knew what Bill taught on Courtship, I have been to 5 Basics and 1 Advanced and watch from afar the Duggar’s fleshing out Bill’s teaching on courtship, of which I find horrific.
Well, it certainly is not everyone’s cup of tea. What you find horrific others find encouraging and God honoring. We best leave it there.
I only read one book by Elizabeth Elliot and that was “Let me be a woman” as well as heard her speak live once. The problem I have with her is that she did not live out the advise she gave in that book. She was a very talented woman for sure. For someone that wrote books, had a radio show, taught in a major seminar, help in the translation of the NIV etc. to give the patriarchal advise that she gave in her book, really does not set and sell well with me. I”m not sure what her advice is in the books you mentioned and yes I have heard of them is going to be anything I agree with anyway.
re: Elisabeth Elliot, patriarchy, and living out advice
Elisabeth Elliot submitted to four Christian heads of household over the course of her long and productive life. First her father Philip Howard, then husbands Jim Elliot, Addison Leitch, and Lars Gren were very fortunate to have such a woman to grace their household.
How does the headship of such good men contradict her message or diminish her achievements? Quite the contrary. She did them great credit and they treated her with love and admiration.
As for living out her advice, her writings on courtship are both autobiographical and biographical. By definition she lived out the autobiography.
In response to the book “Courtship in Crisis”, I would suggest you actually read the book. The author starts out at first being a supporter of courtship and very excited about this and shares this with his grandmother who told him that this will never work. The author found out the hard way that she was very right and the book uses real life cases to talk about the problems with the courtship model. There are no straw men put up by the author, but real examples and problems people ran into following Bill Gothard and Josh Harris. The book ends in full circle in describing how right his grandmother was and that casual traditional dating was and is the best way for young people to meet and get to know others and potential life long marriage partners. The book on Amazon has 82 reviews and 75% of them are five star which is very high.
Elizabeth Elliot’s talents and success are due to her, not due to her having 4 patriarchal heads. That is just totally ridiculous. But that is not the advise she gave out. And there is another book that does point this out called “Jesus and John Wayne”, Something I know you will NOT want to read but I was very happy that the author covered Elizabeth Elliot’s advise given and finally was able to read something the supported what I have always thought about her.
Lots of difference opinions. Many of us growing up in the ’70’s were really disillusioned with the dating culture that was in vogue. That dissatisfaction has not dissipated. Many of us have seen enough problems with “courtship” to not wholeheartedly endorse it in all circumstances for all families. But whatever else may be said, Josh Harris has done little to engender confidence that this new version of him is wiser than the old. We live in a day where anything that smacks of “God rules” is under attack. “Patriarchal” is a slur to describe the Biblical model that has the husband and father heading up the household, right? To get rid of that we have to get rid of the Scriptures, which I suspect is not what you are advocating. Beyond that, we all have a lot to learn. May the Lord have mercy on us all.
That actually hits it pretty good, Rob. It is largely the intense separated atmosphere that produced the pressure. Now you don’t need Bill and IBLP to have that, of course. Many have it from other sources. It just was true in THIS case.
But I will be quick to make one distinction. Couty and Christa DID know each other. They lived just an hour away from each other and attended all the same church events. They had been an unofficial item for nearly a decade, childhood sweethearts.
It wasn’t that they didn’t know each other. I really think it was the unfamiliarity with life itself that took Couty.
Thank-you for the clarification on their relationship
Like it or not, but all eyes are now on Christianity, very specifically the ILBP form of Christianity due to the recent arrest of Josh Duggar on child porn charges.
*This* is the very thing people see when they think of a cult, with a super emphasis on the things IBLP espouses. Most of the teachings are not wrong in and of themselves, but as an entire package it starts looking *off*, especially the seemingly blind allegiance women have to bare many children and remain submissive to men who have proved themselves to behave very wickedly.
You can excuse Bill from this this (he isn’t directly to blame, everyone makes choices), but in reality his name is tied to this and his teachings are on trial by the larger world. The Duggars have long been held up as ATI/IBLP examples, so it is not easy to just brush it off and say, “Well, they did it wrong, so….”
No need to get offended by this, but this presented as a tangible example of what people try to tell you about the culture looking like a cult. I don’t even type this hoping for you to publish the comment. I just wish you would step back and try to understand what other people are saying to you.
Those ideas . . . Of bearing many children and submitting to sometimes unworthy husbands are solidly biblical. Of that there can be no doubt. So the problem you see shifts from IBLP to “whoever” wrote that library. Application is imperfect by imperfect people. But THAT is what the IBLP appeal is . . . Finding an environment that supports actually doing what the Bible says. That injects a family squarely into the middle of the spiritual battle that has raged in the world on the day Adam and Eve let the devil in and surrendered. People on the front lines of wars tend to get hurt more, maybe even killed. But they also participate in great victories and see things done others can only dream of . . . And will get that blessed “Well Done” in that coming, eternal day.
The Josh Duggar arrest is a total tragic situation. Even being a big critic of them, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, especially Josh’s wife and children and I do pray for them. However, the Duggars have been held up as the ideal IBLP family. Josh had moral problems starting at 14. He was never sent to have proper counseling and therapy. Instead he was put on construction duty and Alert academy. Then he gets married and when away from controlling Jim Bob, involves himself with in an affair site and pornography. He spent another year in another fundamentalist program. This is just more of the same. But in following Bill who didn’t believe in therapy. this is just horrible and another fruit of following Bill.
It is tough living under the spotlight most of your life. Josh is a sinner . . . Saved by grace, but a sinner nonetheless. I would wonder how many 15 year olds, after giving into sexual curiousity would have the courage he had to confess it and “face the music”. Josh was never in ALERT, to my knowledge. The program he was on was NOT just construction, but a ministry by a respected man of God that has been effective in seeing those tripped up by moral issues recovered. What the outgoing chief of police in their locality did to him by leaking records sealed due to his minor status is unconscionable. I would agree, one’s worst enemy is not worthy of that. After the Ashley Madison matter he was in formal therapy, as I recall. As to the arrest, we will all see. If he is guilty he needs to accept his punishment. If not – and I am really troubled by evil people using trumped up charges to harass and destroy those they hate – may that version of justice be served as well.
You are quick to call any opposing view to yours “hate”. Let me challenge you that many (most?) of the responses to you are not spoken from a place of hate, but of a different perspective.
I have seen too many situations where the father molests his own children or is involved in the type of thing Josh is accused of. The wife is always told to take the guy back (often waiting patiently through years of incarceration that she is coached to believe is unfair because he “repented”).
The children are never considered to be at risk and the mother is never advised to put their safety and well being ahead of her husband’s need to have a wife. Naive ideas that God will disable the husband’s ability to abuse in the future if only the wife does her part are not helpful. Surely you can not believe Anna Duggar somehow messed up the prescribed formula and thus is reaping the consequences for Josh’s next indescretions. He is accused of possessing (and I presume viewing) children in sexual ways. Let that soak in. That is a very sick man, especially one who has children the very ages of the ones in the videos. Given his past track record coupled with his recent arrest, he has a real problem.
All this you are suggesting is just a fabrication anyhow. That someone is just making this whole accusation up to do harm to God’s people.
Don’t get me wrong, marriage is for life and I am not even recommending a remarriage (though some may argue it isn’t out of the question for wives in such situations. The adultery clause. It is even more disturbing when a husband breaks his marriage vows by relating to his own children (or any children) in a sexual way.
The uber emphasis on marriage over all else goes against a mother’s natural, God given inclination to protect her children from harmful men (even if that man happens to be the one she married).
I do not believe mothers will get a pass from God someday when asked to account for not protecting her children. To teach women to have as many children as the Lord sends (I have a large family myself, not opposed to that) but then neglect to provide the most basic, safe environment is very irresponsible.
“The wife is always told to take the guy back (often waiting patiently through years of incarceration that she is coached to believe is unfair because he “repented”).”
Everyone wants a marriage to survive. In fact, GOD wants a marriage to survive. We teach that Jesus will love us and take us back “no matter WHAT we do”, but somehow our version of Jesus love doesn’t include that, right? Hypocritical, methinks. That having been said, I can’t speak for everyone but the folks I know would never encourage a dangerous situation to continue. Bill is very much about involving the authorities for matters that involve crimes. Josh and parents went TO the authorities to figure out what needed to be done with his first offense.
“He is accused of possessing (and I presume viewing) children in sexual ways. “. *I* have not seen the evidence, have you? So let’s reserve judgement. It is kind of our responsibility.
“a mother’s natural, God given inclination to protect her children from harmful men”. That is the most powerful of human motivations. Even stronger, though, must be our commitment to follow Jesus “no matter what”. THAT is what allowed mothers to survive having their children taken away and abused and killed because they were Christians. God’s purposes and will trump ALL matters of life, including our loyalty to our family. This is a general principle – God’s Holy Spirit will direct each one as to what he or she must do.
“I do not believe mothers will get a pass from God someday when asked to account for not protecting her children. “. How about fathers? God told Abraham to offer his son as a sacrifice. God told Eli to have his sons put to death because of their rebellion, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. Protection of our offspring is NOT our most important priority. Although . . . It is about as close to the top as you can get.
Josh was sent to Alert as all the other Duggar boys have. He spend a year in a Fundamentalist group in Chicago in order to fix him when the Ashley Madison came out. He has has serious problem that memorizing Bible verses etc. have not fixed for him. His problems started before they started the TV shows and did so knowing they had a problem with Josh. Megan Kelly asked them why when the Ashely Madison scandal broke out in her interview with Jim Bob and Michelle. Their answer to her demonstrates their complete ignorance of the instrusive fruit of becoming famous.
I cannot confirm Josh’s involvement in Alert. I will ask around.
Some of those “Fundamentalist” groups have an amazing success rate. A lot better than a lot of expensive therapy. The secular psychiatric community has such a lousy track record that they are largely giving up . . . And redefining sex addictions as “normal” and “healthy”. These “experts” are not worthy of our worship.
re: hate, a different perspective, and a certain point of view
Above, Stopping By objected to “hate” as a label for the attitude of Gothard’s enemies. SB opined that differing perspective, not hate, motivated Gothard’s enemies.
By pop culture analogy, would a “certain point of view” affirm that Darth Vader murdered Luke Skywalker’s father? The famous story says so. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nO0uJenOgw
Hate is a bitter term, but not one that our Lord eschewed when it fit. Why, he even commanded his followers to hate their closest kin, even while loving their enemies! Go figure.
re: how therapeutic is therapy?
Above, Rob lamented that Duggar did not have therapy which might have reformed him. If only. Can Rob supply a link to a therapy source which boasts an overwhelming number of perverts transformed to chaste Christians? Wouldn’t that be something?
re: critical race theory, religion, and politics
In her 5/4 post above, Rob endorsed a book subtitled, “How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.” Can we tell a racist book by its cover? Apparently so. Reviews describe how it laments the election of Donald Trump by white people. Shall we not eschew racism and politics on a thread about Bill Gothard and IBLP? Or is being a white male among Bill Gothard’s greatest offenses? If so, say so.
I mentioned the book but the book isn’t about race or racism at all and actually has little in it about Donald Trump. It covers the Evangelical movement from before 1940s till now. Sadly, American society and culture has become so fractionated and divided that people just give knee jerk reactions without thinking it through and this includes Christians. I would not recommend the book to you or even others here, you wouldn’t like it at all and I stated that. Please re-read what I wrote and why I mentioned it and take a deep breath.
Moderator, I will go on record and at risk to my standing in your eyes and state that Rob is right about courtship not being Biblical. I have said this myself
But. . .
What I mean when I say it, and what I believe Rob to be saying, is that the model is not PRESCRIBED in Scripture. Having examples of something is not saying it’s what everyone must do. For the record, the actual method described in Scripture is NOT courtship as we tend to think of it. It is Betrothal, a form of arranged marriage.
Even then, there are examples of unions outside the normal pattern, such as Boaz and Ruth and Samson and his Philistine wife. You just don’t see anywhere in Scripture where any one method is described and then commanded for the Israelites or the New Testament Church. It just doesn’t exist.
Now I am one who does get a laugh out of people talking about “traditional dating.” Dating as a practice is barely 130 years old. It is a tradition of largely the last century. It has just become a dominant practice in today’s society. But that is likely because society today is incredibly different from society of the late 1800’s.
I am not of the opinion that any one method is inherently godly or another evil. The right mindset during the course of it makes more difference. But each method will come with its own set of pitfalls and advantages.
Your standing remains intact. We are in agreement. What IS completely, absolutely prescribed is young people referencing their parents and operating under their authority and council. The notion of a young person in their parent’s home acquiring a wife or husband without involving and respecting parents is completely unscriptural. The examples you gave, Boaz, involved grown, adult folks. And, again, Jacob “obeyed” his father’s directives – on his death bed, more or less – at the ripe age of 75. HOW the interactions that lead to romance and love happen are not prescribed. What is prescribed is – watch out, lest you fall.
Proverbs 30:18-19. “There be three things which are too wonderful for me,
yea, four which I know not … and the way of a man with a maid.”
It takes the wisdom of Solomon to figure this out . . . And even he put up his hands in amazement.
Courting moves those very Biblical principles into the center lane. Which makes it “more Scriptural” than “spouse acquisition behaviors” that do not.
Yes. Of course. In principle there is no disagreement I make here.
It just isn’t a Biblical command to practice any one KIND of method. Scripture never commands any specific method. It is just as you said, children are to obey their parents.
In that sense, I think it would be more whatever method Mom and Dad decide is best for their children is what the children are duly bound to.
I don’t think that means the kids can have no input whatsoever. It might be wise in many cases to communicate back and forth.
And I am not an opponent of courtship. I believe it can work and work well. But it would be very unwise to believe it will work well in every situation. The heart of man is still wicked, and anything that man gets into can produce wicked results. I don’t think we disagree there.
I like that . . . And agree. Thank you.
re: courtship outcomes and dragons
Back on 5/2, Rob endorsed a book which made the case for “traditional dating,” a term which JM dismissed because the dating “tradition” is so recent it barely deserves to be called a tradition.
Though I have known both negative and positive marriage outcomes for courtship, the positives win by a three-to-one ratio.
The book which Rob favored warned against dragons. These dragons were fire-breathing fathers who guarded their daughters more fiercely than Smaug guarded stolen treasure. But the dragon metaphor works both ways. If some dragons are paranoid fathers, others are horny young jerks who would prey upon vulnerable maidens. Such dragons must be vanquished by a St. George.
I would be St. George for my daughters. Though I did not slay the dragon youth who leered at my unmarried daughters, I have stood between some of them and my girls.
So not all dragons are created equal. For every paranoid father who guards his daughters like stolen treasure, there are ravenous young dragons who would seduce a fair maiden into their lair if not intercepted by a Don Quixote father in rusty middle-aged armor.
You paint a picture of women being bimbos and unable to make their own decisions and think on their own. Maybe you ought to re look at the women that are actually in scripture. Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah all had their own thoughts and ideas. Maybe you ought to re-read Proverbs 31 which describes actually a working, business type of woman who makes her own decisions. And finally, the first miracle Jesus performed at the wedding of Cana was due to his own Mother’s suggestion and idea, not His. Maybe that’s how you want to see women, as helpless boobs that need some “St. George”, but that view is not found anywhere in OT and NT.
Yes, JM hit the nail on the head. Again, I am not sure how Proverbs 30 fits in the discussion. Boaz took Ruth as his wife in response to the Mosaic law prescribing the brothers of a deceased man to marry the widow to raise up off spring for the deceased brother which is what Boaz did with regards to Ruth when the closer relative turned it down. Boaz own mother listed in scripture is Rahab so he probably had a soft spot or understanding of women that are not Jewish coming into the Israeli tribe and life. Again, this had nothing to do with courtship as taught by Bill Gothard. Within the last year or so, I read about the oldest married couple in the world, they were out of South America and I think they reached 80 years. Their story is interesting because both their families were against the marriage but they married anyway and ended up becoming one of the longest marriages on record. This again flies in the face of what you are trying to say here. You keep referring back to Jacob but not only Jacob was marrying his first cousins, something I don’t think you would even agree with but he also had children by Leah’s and Rachel’s help maids, something else I think you would not agree with. You just can’t pick and choose out of scripture what you think you want to use to support Bill’s ideas of how to get married. You have to look at the whole story there and the whole story there of Abraham, Issac and Jacob includes endogamy, polygamy, concubines, arranged marriages etc. There are not simply about obeying parents in marrying.
Yup, lots of things that work. Of course, your example of a marriage that lasted for a really long time formed in opposition to both sets of parents . . . Has clear Scripture in opposition. God was not pleased. A long marriage is therefore no proof of God’s blessing.
Ephesians 6:1-3. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”
A long marriage to 80 years means that the people involved obviously lived a long life, well to 100 years. The verse you just quoted stated “live long on the earth”. Well, these people “lived long on the earth”. So this means either, the verses you are quoting are not actually proof texting support for what you are trying to say or they are an exception to the rule. The Ephesian passage does not mention marriage. The Ephesian passage does not say “obey” parents about who you are going to marry. It is a general guideline, not a proof text support for what you are trying to use it to support Bill’s ideas. This longest married couple is and example that Ephesian passage is NOT about marriage. You cannot quote it when it clearly states “long life” and then turn around and tell me that a long life with a long marriage to go along with it is not an example or proof of God’s blessing. You can’t have it both ways. When I read about them, all I could think is how this couple is a prime example of how much bunk is in Bill’s ideas of marriage.
Galatians 6:7-8 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
Proverbs 21:30. “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.”
Whatever nuances we may find in Ephesians, God commands obedience and respect to parents. In the simplest terms, it is simply not possible to despise and disobey parents, and say, when life is over, “I am really glad I did that”. God writes every last chapter.
And we can trade earthly blessings in for eternal ones. Jim Elliott died a young man at the hands of savages he was seeking to win for the Lord – and which his wife and daughter subsequently were able to see saved. He cashed in the blessings of obedience that were his right for a “better resurrection”.
Genesis record Jacob as passing away at 110. This 75 age is not listed anywhere and does not fit the time frame of going to Laban, waiting 7 years to marry his daughters, then having 12 children on top of that, then having 10 of them conspire against Joseph, then Joseph sitting in jail in Egypt 14 years until he becomes prime minister etc. There is not enough time between 75 to 110 for all of what is recorded in Scripture. Not sure where you got this from but it appears to be inaccurate and does not support your notion here that Jacob was so obedient to Isaac, that he even waited until age 75 to marry. Again, this is grasping at straws and trying to twist scripture to fit ideas that really are not there.
Check out the wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob “Arriving in Haran, Jacob saw a well where shepherds were gathering their flocks to water them and met Laban’s younger daughter, Rachel, Jacob’s first cousin; she was working as a shepherdess. Jacob was 77 years old, and he loved Rachel immediately.”. I have done the math. Take his age when Joseph was born and work backwards.
Maybe either you or whoever wrote that for the wiki article actually ought to read their own foot note to the Craig Olsen paper he wrote for Dallas Theological seminary. The paper Craig Olsen wrote is actually debunking the notion the Jacob was 84 years old when he married Rachel and Leah after a 7 year service to Laban. I am not sure why the paper is used as reference to support it, but I just looked into the footnote in the wiki article and reference and that paper DOES NOT support the notion of Jacob being 75 when he went to Laban. Nice try, but the research paper does not support this notion.
I am unable to find more information, footnote, etc., so perhaps you can clue me in. The Bible is clear on his age. I am a mathematician by training, so . . . Check my math:
Joseph was 30 when the 7 years of plenty started (Genesis 41:46).
“And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.”
9 years later[7 years of plenty plus 2 years of famine] (Genesis 45:6) Jacob was 130 (Genesis 47:9).
“For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.” … “And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.”
So Jacob was 89-90 when Joseph was born (give up to a year to get Jacob from Canaan to Egypt). Jacob left Padanaran right after Joseph was born (Genesis 30:25), having been there 20 years (Genesis 31:41), so was 70 when he arrived there. He served for 7 years before marrying both Rachel and Leah (Genesis 29:18) so was 77 at that point.
Wiki has a link to foot note #23. All one has to do is click the footnotes through the article and it will take you to the reference. I then googled the author’s name and article and was able to read it myself. I think you are very capable here, being a computer programmer yourself in doing this. But back to the point of Jacob’s age at time of his marriage to Leah and Rachel, scripture does not give it and Bible scholars do not agree on his exact age at the time of marriage. The bottom line is no matter what Jacob’s age was, this does not support Bill’s idea that adult children need to stay at home until they are married. This one example does not prove anything in anyway and is another example of taking scripture out of context and out of the culture of that time to fit some notion of Bill’s.
Saying that the Scripture doesn’t say . . . Is false. I presented it above. I have been clicking around on 23 and it is going nowhere. Perhaps you can copy the link here. BUT . . . If it is a matter of choosing the apparent testimony of archeology over the words of Scripture, I am not interested.
Genesis does not directly state Jacob’s age when he finally married Leah and Rachel. It doesn’t. Any conjecture of his age is guessing and good Bible scholars can and do disagree. But the whole family situations of Abraham down to Jacob cannot be used or juxtaposed into current times and culture because there is a lot there that actually would not be considered Christian, let alone even legal. Using him does not support Bill’s ideas and teaching on marriage and family life. You and him can’t hen pick out bits and pieces in order to support some idea Bill has that single people just sit at home until they get the green light from the ‘”patriarch” in order to marry because that is what Jacob did till the ripe old age of 75 (which isn’t even stated there in Genesis).
You last statement is a good example of something called fidelism which is the opposite of rationalism. Rationalism is the problem with liberals and progressives. Fidelism is often found in very conservative/fundamentalist Christians.
All dating in Scripture follows the same lines as what we are doing. You take the facts you do know, milestones with known dates or ages and you work out the timeline. Fascinating stuff. You learn things like that Shem, the son of Noah, was still alive when Abraham was born . . . AND the age of Jacob when he married. A great clue on the latter is that Daddy Isaac was already blind because of old age when he bestowed the blessing and charged Jacob to fetch a wife from Haran. Esau was expecting him to die any day after which he was plotting to kill him, which was why they pushed Jacob out the door. Jacob got a really late start in the matrimonial business.
But we have likely committed way too many cycles to this.
re: not-biblical vs. anti-biblical
Above, JM rubs our nose in the obvious, and we need that sometimes. Courtship is not biblical in exactly the same way that cell phones are not biblical. Yet there is a wide gap between not-biblical and anti-biblical.
Might we agree that God is more interested in our doing well in marriage than our method of marrying well? Isn’t that the essence of what Christ and his apostles teach us? “He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
Well that is exactly what I intended. Non-Biblical not anti-Biblical. You got it, Dave.
Thanks for your help here.
re: nursery rhyme truth
To double down on the above; how about the truth in the old nursery rhyme? Peter the Pumpkin Eater won his bride. We are not told whether he courted or dated her. Then came the main event of “keeping her” for a lifetime. Isn’t that where God does his most gracious work for lovers? I hope my own spouse appreciates the pumpkin shells we have shared for nearly forty years.
Rachael Denhollander Said:
“This is absolutely false. I was NOT trained by ATI, my family did not participate in ATI specifically because my parents were concerned about cult-like claims of authority from Gothard. I discovered OBCL through a non-IBLP source and was not even aware of IBLP’s connections to OBCL.
Moreover, when I worked for OBCL I advocated strongly for the victims of Gothard, and have continued to advocate for them publicly and privately.
I believe them, and have urged for years for IBLP to submit to a fully independent third-party investigation.
My readiness for law school is the result of intensive education by my parents, college-education prior to taking required CLEP exams, and had nothing whatsoever to do with IBLP. Please do not use my name in support of Gothard, his methods, or his materials.
I have and continue to, stand with the survivors of IBLP and advocate for them.”
Thank you for your support of the victims and thank you for not allowing this website to gaslight your education and for setting the record straight. The vast majority of time there is no one to challenge their gaslighting directly, but you caught them red handed in their revisionist history.
🙂 Bill invented the law school and firmly guided its operation during the entire time that she was there. That HAS to be worth something, right? I know my disclosure of this fact was a shock to a number who believe that all of Bill’s stuff is worthless. Especially distance learning spun hard around the Scriptures (the Dean of that school was at the time Roger Magnuson, who memorized the entire New Testament). Oral Roberts can invent a successful medical school which does not make Oral Roberts an expert in medicine. It DOES mean that Oral Roberts has sane principles when organizing an educational program. It is proof that he is not entirely an idiot or kook, no matter what you believe about his theology. Give Bill honor where honor is due.
The hospital of Oral Roberts later closed and went bankrupt.
True. And Bill’s law school is still operating.
re: thinking on one’s own
On 5/26 above Rob made a case for my daughters thinking on their own. No advice is more ancient than that. Our first parents took that advice in Eden, and it worked poorly for them.
Identity and sovereignty came up again in Romans 7 as the apostle agonized over which self would prevail within him. Would it be the inner-man “I” which would submit to the law of God, or the rival law of sin which operated in his flesh?
Apparently we have contending identities on the menu; spirit and flesh. Which is operating when we think “on our own?”
Realistically, isn’t autonomous thinking inevitable for sinners, and isn’t it probably the most common activity in hell, the place of ultimate autonomy? Where we are granted the absolute self-sovereignty we have coveted all our lives?
Meanwhile, I husband my house and Rob would be relieved to find it a bimbo-free environment.
“I have personally been asking for stories that could be brought to ground since at least 2005, back in the day when Don Veinot alleged in his book that he had documentation of such restraint. When I, personally, asked him for details that I could pursue, he told me that the facts were “in storage” and not accessible (I still have the email). Then told me to join the large anti-Gothard Yahoo group of the day, and THEY would tell me. I asked, openly, pointedly. Even though the very young women to whom Veinot devoted a large portion of a chapter to, detailing her “escape” from a training center, was in the group, I received not one, not a single account of such abuse and restraint. And the young woman had already deleted her website with her story on it.”
“No . . . It didn’t happen. “Prove me wrong”.”
Perhaps they did not trust you. I can’t imagine why. Do you honestly believe that you are perceived as a person seeking the truth? or a person looking to go to the ends of the Earth to exonerate the person whom you have indicated was your father, in terms of how you looked up to him and what he meant to you. Please correct me if I am wrong that you said this, but I distinctly remember you writing something along these lines several times. It seems to me that you have gone to great lengths to dig up dirt on alleged victims and throw them under the bus. The type of behavior that one might expect if they are protecting their father. But, not the type of behavior that makes someone a trusted safe person with whom to share their testimony.
If I were right, would your narrative look any different? Of course not. The Lord is ultimate judge, but you are free to openly examine us. So if you see fault, point it out. Attacking my character is the old “ad hominem” and really not fair or right. If there are steps that you would take if you were in our shoes that we have not, make it known. We are not running. That is the ultimate test. The reason courts of law exist, to hold someone down and separate truth from fiction by open examination, because they will not do so willingly. We have been at our post for many years now. Not going away.
re: trusted with the truth?
On 6/3 above, brother James asked whether anti-Gothard men like Veinot could trust our moderator with the truth, given the moderator’s bias in favor of Gothard. He also reminded us of dirt which soiled Gothard’s accusers. This dirt cast them under the bus, so to speak.
But if truth is true, shouldn’t it expose the guilty and vindicate the innocent, regardless of anyone’s bias? Isn’t that the outcome we should all desire? Isn’t that the essence of justice?
“On 6/3 above, brother James asked whether anti-Gothard men like Veinot could trust our moderator with the truth, given the moderator’s bias in favor of Gothard.”
I was not thinking of Veinot when I made my comment. The point is that if Veinot was going to expose a victim, he would need her consent and, given the nature of the moderator’s history, I can’t imagine why any young woman would give such consent and trust him.
He also made a direct appeal to the Yahoo group, for such alleged victims to come to him directly, per his narrative. Again, why would they trust the wolf in lambskin?
“But if truth is true, shouldn’t it expose the guilty and vindicate the innocent, regardless of anyone’s bias?”
It is never a good idea to expect to find truth from a biased source. Would you trust the cigarettes manufacturers in a study as to whether cigarettes caused lung cancer?
Ostensible evidence is not that something should ever be ignored, whether it is being presented by the de facto attorney’s assistant in a case or by the cigarette manufacturers, but when such evidence is presented it needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt, especially when there is a lot of narrative and very little substance that would rise to the level of evidence. For example, taking a comment on a message board regarding having a drink with an umbrella when this is all over and then extrapolating that into a conclusion about motive is just a bunch of fluff when you realize that the author of such conclusion is the one who has motive.
Don Veinot openly offered himself and his documentation for examination in support of his conclusions. Perhaps you would assume that only those that agree with him would take him up on it? Unbelievable.
Apparently the only truly unbiased individuals are those who doubt Bill. There is nothing objective acceptable to indicate otherwise, apparently. One would hope you could step back from that for a moment and see that for what it is. The Lord, once again, has the final word. We commend our conscience to Him.
re: truth from biased or neutral sources
Let’s be realistic. Bias is planted thick around Bill Gothard. His enemies oppose him. His friends support him. The nearest we were likely to approach neutrality would be in a court. Gothard’s enemies petitioned a court for redress of grievance, but afterward withdrew their petition. So the controversy is suspended.
Meanwhile Gothard’s enemies have a standing invitation to meet their burden of proof on this website.
re: no victim, no crime
Was Don Veinot too polite to expose a Gothard victim, but insufficiently polite to refrain from accusing Gothard? If so, he must be restrained by an axiom of justice.
Whomever accuses a man must produce a victim to meet his burden of proof. Supposedly in Latin they call it corpus delicti or “body of crime.” Without the corpse, the crime must be presumed fictional. An accuser without a corpus is merely a talebearer. Gossip is naughty.
Don V had Ruth and Larne’s story. At that time, they did not want to or were not ready to share what happen to Ruth. Don instead focused his book on Bill’s faulty used of scripture and teaching instead. It had nothing to do with being “polite”
I just read another book (one you will not like) “The Making of Biblical Womanhood” by Beth Allison Barr. Even though Bill Gothard’s name is not prominent in it, he does come up in more than once. He last chapter was the most personal, because she recounts going to the Basic Seminars, being invited by a boy she had started to “court”. She also began to be abused by him, being influenced by Bill’s authoritarian teaching and that women need to submit to men. She escaped the relationship and writes this about Bill in her last chapter of the book, “I only skirted the fringes of the Bill Gothard movement. But I can tell you from experience that it was a whitewashed tomb.” For me, that quote summarizes what I think of his teachings, IBLP and all the rest, it is a whitewashed tomb”.
Well, We know what Jesus meant when He called the Pharisees a “whitewashed tomb”:
23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
The Pharisees were “whited sepulchers” because they were hypocrites. They were really strict in small things – like tithing herbs (which Jesus confirmed they were supposed to do) – but were neglecting the law, judgement, mercy and faith. Curious how you would find Bill and his followers to be condemned in similar manner. Indeed, I find some irony in there.
As to the abuse this author indicates she experienced, curious what she found abusive. The clearly Biblical role of a wife as defined by Paul and Peter and others is considered “abusive” and “cultish” by the world today. One of the things that drew so many to Bill, and I remember this so distinctly in the 1970s, was that he could bless and creatively explain and support the stances of Scripture in these and so many other areas. Suddenly submission and authority, as commanded in Scripture, was a good thing, made sense. The fact that it offends our modern sensibilities, hooted off the stage, is not an indictment of Bill let alone Scripture, but of us. And we will ALL be standing before Him to give account . . . Just another day or two, it will not be long.
Even more curious that you can’t see that many people have found Bill too focused on details and he has been accused himself and his teaching of being rule orientated and like the Pharisees. White washed tomb mean looking good on the outside but dead on the inside. That was her assessment, it hit a cord with me and I agree with it.
We, we shall move along. We could not disagree with every part of that assessment more.
I had never heard of the author. Turns out she has made it her life calling to disrespect any teaching that suggests that a wife submit to her husband, be a “ruler of the house” focusing on home and hearth and children instead of equal breadwinner, mover and shaker in the world. No wonder she finds Bill offensive. She is entitled to her opinion. But to do so we have to leave Scripture far behind. I know she knows that. She too will give account in that day to come.
1 Timothy 5:14-15
14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.
I don’t think you even read the interview with her in the link that you shared. She stated in the interview and in chapters in her book that St. Paul has been misread and verses like the one you are quoting here, misapplied. She points out in her book very well that these verses in early and especially the middle ages, were not viewed, interpreted or applied in the same manner as in current conservative Christian circles. She also goes back to the original languages of Hebrew and Greek to demonstrate how even they have been misinterpreted and recodified in Bibles like KJV etc. She attended the basic Seminar when she was “courting” someone that was into Bill Gothard and that relationship turn abusive towards her. She is also friends with Rachel D. Since I have read a number of the medieval women she refers to such as St. Katherine of Siena, St. Hildegard von Bingen, St. Julian of Norwich, I could verify and related to the things she was stating in her book.
No, I read that. I find it funny. Anytime you don’t like what the Bible says, you “obfuscate” by appealing to ancient languages and what ancient people supposedly believed. I can handle my own in the Greek and declare her perspective wishful thinking. “Misapplied”? See, the first thing she needs to do is show how any of that is true, rather that declare it so based on her credentials. Do you know what she might be appealing to? It is not in the interview.
re: bad lip reading of Paul?
Former Southern Baptist Allison Barr wanted us to believe that the misogynist KJV translated Paul so poorly that it transformed his leftist theology into right-wing complementarianism? That would be grievous if true.
What examples did she cite for a correct leftist translation of Paul, in contrast to the oppressive complementarian KJV? The sympathetic interviewer did not ask.
Read her book and you will know
re: questions raised by Barr’s failed romance with a Gothardite
Miss Barr wrote a book to rebut biblical womanhood. She supported her case with a personal anecdote. Supposedly during her courtship Miss Barr was constrained to submit to men. Constrained by whom? she must submit to which men? to all men or some men? to what extent? what if the men took contradictory positions? to which should she submit?
Did Barr’s father and abusive suitor conspire to ruin her life? Was Barr victimized by an patriarchal straw man which existed in no mind but her own?
To summarize: Miss Barr blamed Gothard for an aborted romance. Some former ATI students blame Gothard for ruining their teen years. Are we seeing a pattern here? Have we filled our absurdity quota yet?
I really don’t even know where to begin with what you wrote. She just didn’t “blame” Bill because of an aborted romance. She pointed out through her own personal experience of a brief but abusive dating relationship which lead her to realize what was wrong with patriarchal teachings. Personal experience is not anecdotal. Yes, many point out how the false teaching and ideas of Bill in a number of areas ruined peoples marriages, family life, education, etc. Just have to really read and listen to the hundreds of personal testimonies that are out there. You didn’t read her book, you don’t know what she said. You don’t know the case she is making. The lack of empathy towards others is just amazing.
What did she find wrong with so-called “patriarchal teachings” that you agree is not Scriptural? Start with Bill if you want. Present something he teaches that is not Biblical, which others call “patriarchy”. I am at a loss.
That really would that a mountain of writing to go through all of it but for the sake of being brief, the emphasis of Bill on a authoritarian chain of command with the male on top and the constant emphasis on that over and above other scripture verses which balances marital and family relationships when the NT family codes are read in their entirety. She point out that the family code verses of the NT were not interpreted the way they are currently by the likes of Bill Gothard, Bob Larsonand John Piper until 1500s.
So . . . I am going to put out a couple of fundamental doctrinal passages. I am assuming
Barr would have a problem with these, right? If not, please elucidate me. The Bible stands like a rock. When the fussing and complaining and fist waving has evaporated, it will still stand. Bill teaches exactly what is stated below.
I Timothy 2:8-15 “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” <-- the correct translation - I can walk you through the Greek - says that a woman is "saved" by means of childbearing. Ephesians 5:22-24. "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands."
this must be your favorite passage in the Bible, you quote it a lot.
The whole of I Timothy 2 is advising Timothy about proper behavior and function at Liturgy. So there are comments about praying, there are comments about leaving conflicts out, there are comments about dressing properly and modesty for the occasion and there are comments on who is allowed to function in the teaching which St. Paul is pointing out to only be reserved for ordained men. This is not about that women cannot teach outside of the function of a liturgy. This also needs to be balanced against many of the other statements by St. Paul that woman can pray within Christian worship (I Cor. 11:5) and women have teachings functions in other context (Titus 2:3-4). St. Paul affirms the equal dignity of men and woman in Gal 3:28 and has women serve with him in his travels and ministries. This passage has been sadly used a a club too often and out of context of which it was written in and intended for. It is not a blanket command that women can never teach or have teaching ministries outside of a liturgy. The constant abuse of this passage is out of control. Maybe you ought to ask John Wesley how he viewed this because he was very progressive in having women speak and teach at his meetings and services.
When these topics come up, yes, it gets to be a favorite, definitive Scripture. As I have often said, the big appeal of Bill in the early seminar was that he, finally, could creatively explain and support passages like this instead of explain them away. Scripture twisting is a process of making God’s Word say the exact opposite of what it says. The so called “patriarchal” interpretation is exactly what it is saying. Men and women, husbands and wives, have completely different roles based on the way God created them, and also because of the Fall in the Garden of Eden. You apparently see that clearly in what you call “liturgy” – I am guessing Barr would reject even that notion outright. Wives are told repeatedly to reverence and obey their husbands. There is simply no way to relegate that to “liturgy”. The commands mirror instructions given to children in their roles with their parents. It cuts across the grain of every natural inclination of human society so no wonder it is rejected. That does not make it a “misapplication”. If we fear God deeply we leave our concerns and discomforts at the door … and find a way to make it happen. When someone like Bill comes along and actually makes it sound safe and exciting and glorious, in that case we rush over to get all of the help we can.
1 Peter 3:1-2,5-6. “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. … 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
Maybe your “favorite” verse ought to be about Husbands loving their wives and laying down their lives for them. This is the problem I see with “patriarchy”, it is one sided. it strings together bible verses, usually always about what women should be doing or being and totally ignores what MEN what be doing or being. The family codes were always in balance with all members, not just focused on women. The result of this are the problems one sees with groups and churches that emphasize the bible verse you love to quote, which is second class status of women, abuse of women and child etc.
Every verse is God’s favorite. But when the debate rolls in to try to make the Bible “woke” and non-offensive, well, we end up having to double down on passages that counter that. Husbands loving their wives doesn’t appear offensive to anyone, much. I hear that some radicals are decrying acts of care, respect and grace specifically from men to women as demeaning. You just can’t win when folks have decided to do the exact opposite of whatever God wants.
What does “second class” mean to you? The Bible is in many ways “racist”, relegating races other than Jew to a “second class” status. Do the verses quoted relegate women to “second class” status in your mind? Nobody supports abuse of women and children, at least in my world. But, again, a woman not permitted to preach or teach and asked to submit to her husband is “abuse” to many in this case. I am sorry, we can’t accept definitions of pejorative terms that shade Almighty God. Well we can, but . . . We really don’t want to.
re: Barr, patriarchy, empathy and Gothard
Supposedly Miss Barr’s case against patriarchy was supported by her victimhood. We are told of her love affair with a wolf in sheeps clothing. This bad man appeared good at first. When his badness was manifest, Miss Barr ended the romance. From this we should conclude that a man should not rule his house?
The anecdote illustrates another side of the patriarchy it supposedly refutes. Might Miss Barr have been spared the tyrannical boyfriend if her father had filtered the jerk out of her life before the disaster she lamented?
With which character in this tale should we empathize? Supposedly Miss Barr was a victim. Supposedly her suitor was a bad man. Do the facts support these conclusions? Might we reserve judgement until all the facts are in?
Might we also reserve judgement against Bill Gothard until all the facts are in? But Gothard’s accusers have withheld their accusations from formal vetting in court. This leaves us with gossip instead of facts.
Rob, you’re a little off here.
First, personal experience absolutely can be anecdotal. If it is presented as something that cannot be independently verified, it certainly is.
In Barr’s case, it would fit. No one of us can verify that anything claimed actually happened. Nor can we verify that the events in question fell out the way described (in other words, how could we determine other events played just as strong a role in the conclusion – without that context, we are literally left in the dark). It is good proof if it is true. But how can we know that?
This is the biggest problem with these experience stories. They are good as far as they go. I would say it’s good proof for Barr. But we can only use it as one example, and we can argue as to an example of what. That’s only fair.
Second, I would really question Barr’s credentials. I am personally educated in Greek. I have actually done translation studies in many of the manuscript types that she is talking about. I would like to see her rubric for the conclusions she came to.
The issue of some Bible translations recodifying or mistranslating certain passages is a very mixed bag. I have found every time this claim is made, you have to look at the person making the claim and why they are making it.
If the claim is coming from someone who has already accepted certain beliefs, it naturally follows. In translation studies, rarely do you find anyone truly objective. Preconceived notions proof the publishing unfortunately.
I mean, if you wanted to know about the Holocaust, your first source to consult wouldnt be Goering, Himmler, or any of the top leadership in the Nazi party, would it? Would you consult a modern-day neonazi or sympathizer? Or would you ask the Von Trapps, the Ten Booms, the Franks, and all the other survivors?
An objective observer has to look at both, and in the volume of all accounts has to come to a decision. The result is often the preponderance of the evidence.
With ancient teachings, it can be complicated because we have to ultimately ask ourselves the question of what has survived. Preponderance can be clouded if we don’t have all the records, and we don’t.
But it can also be simpler in one very important respect. It’s not always about what ancient people thought. God’s Word is clear, but not everyone who has read it has understood it correctly. I know we all agree on that.
But if we’re going to use that metric for Bible teachers today, we have to use it for all teachers across time. I know that many of the church fathers got a lot of things right. But some of them equally got things wrong. We know this because we can read the Scriptures for ourselves. And thanks to Strong’s and other study aides, we can know what it meant. So we measure all teachers by the standard of Scripture.
We don’t use teachers to measure the Scripture. That is a dangerous formula. If Barr has embraced that metric, anything said is automatically questionable. That would make anything she published potentially a poisoned well.
re: in defense of personal anecdotes and Bible translation
Well said, JM!
Her personal example is at the end of her book, it is in the last chapter. She did not go into details of what happen between her and the boy but it was obviously traumatic. She had a number of advance degrees which included Greek. She also teaches at the university level as a professor in all these areas. All I can say to you is to either read her book and the different points she actually makes concerning Bible translations which are influenced often times by one’s theology and views. You can judge for yourself whether she is right or wrong using your own background in Greek that you have. Lots of people use Strong’s Concordance but that doesn’t make them Greek experts. I’ve only personally known one person that would or could be considered expert in Greek. He was a pastor that went to Gordon Cromwell. But if you have a background and experience with Greek, I could say that I’ve read many of the early Christian writings ( Ante-Nicene, Nicene and post-Nicene) as well as a number of Medieval works that she mentioned and used to know that she knows what she is talking about. I appreciate and understand your point about Andectodal.
Moderator and Rob,
I’d like to offer a mediation to your recent dispute. The problem I see in these debates.on submission is on BOTH sides.
Rob, the Moderator and folks of such conservative mindset will never accept alternate readings of the passages in question. The problem is that alternate explanations often do try to explain away the submission aspect of it. In other words, folks on your side don’t like submission and don’t talk about it. (At least that is the perception.)
Moderator, folks like Rob will never accept your explanation because submission sounds too much like oppression. Preaching submission to the women sounds like we’re making slaves of them. (At least that is the perception.)
But guys, here is the truth. Submission is absolutely a biblical teaching. So is love and value. Rob is right to want us to talk about loving our wives as Christ loved the church. That is as much Bible doctrine as is submission.
The two concepts are not mutually exclusive. Imbalance is the real problem. I think we can all agree on that. But we can’t avoid teaching or resigns Scripture just because we don’t like it. That is true for both sides here.
I see some parallels in this issue to the preciousness of God’s name. We are told that His name is powerful, one of wonder and majesty. At the same time, we’d better not use it in vain or to swear with. Both truths are true.
I would like it to a rare Stradivarius violin. It’s beautiful, something of exquisite value. But it exists to be played. It does not exist to sit in a display case (though often we do that). It’s an instrument. It is only good in the hands of an artist.
At the same time, inexperienced hands can wreck that instrument. We have to be careful how we treat each instrument, but make no mistake. That instrument exists for a reason. Submission and Value. Now and forever. Both and inseparable.
yes, submission is clearly stated and taught. I certainly believe that truth is not a matter of opinion nor is truth dependent on whether I like it or not. There is a lot of truth that challenges all of us, no matter the sex. But sadly, these teachings are not put in balance at all. Just look at the recent wedding vows of Jed and Katie Duggar. Those vows, totally in line with what Bill taught and promoted by IBLP were absolutely one sided on what Katie is promising for this marriage. All I can say is God help her. I also believe that Timothy 2 teaches clearly that women are not to service in the capacity of priest/pastor/bishop. But I also think that women do have an important voice and say. The first person to see the risen Lord was a woman, Mary Magdalene and she has often been called the apostle to the apostles because she was the first one to go and testify to them that Christ is risen. The woman at the well became an evangelist to the rest of the Samaritan village, causing their conversion. Women like Anna from the infancy narrative is called a prophetess and after encountering infant Jesus went around and told everyone as recorded in Luke. The Deacon Philip had four daughters that are called prophetess as recorded in Acts. The first miracle that Jesus did at the wedding of Cana was at the request of his own mother, which at first He told her no. Pricilla and Aquila were a husband and wife team that served along with St. Paul and she is always listed first when mentioned. That is the opposite emphasis of what we see in people like the Duggars. There is something seriously off if one’s children all need to have a name that starts with J to match the father. Is there something wrong with Michelle’s name? They couldn’t have named the girls they had with the letter M to match their mother? The verses that mention submission should never be used to justify abuse and control and unfortunately they have repeatedly in what is called “patriarchy”. There is no balance, it is one sided. Whether or not one agrees with different points of Mrs. Barr’s book concerning interpretation of Greek or that women can serve in roles of pastors but her main points of imbalance within “biblical” womanhood or manhood do remain.
I would agree with you here. I have no intention to endorse people who abuse these teachings.
What I am seeing by and large from films critical of submission is not what you have suggested. By and large, I see people want to throw it out entirely. They do this sometimes subtly, by saying we don’t know what the Bible is saying.
I am all for learning and arriving at truth, but one of the chief doctrines of our faith is the perspecuity of Scripture. Scripture is clear enough to be read and understood, at least at the basest level, by everyone.
Definitely what is needed is balance in the equation. If taught correctly, Biblical Christianity is the most liberating faith for women.
I really don’t think Perspecuity of Scripture work really well. That is something Luther taught but the reality is that there are 20K denominations teaching and claiming this and there are some major and big conflicts in what people are claiming and teaching as “biblical”.
Sorry to see this so late.
But of course Perspecuity works. Of course it exists.
The fact that we have denominations is not proof is doesn’t. Quite the opposite, perhaps.
Most of the conflicts between denominations are not “major” as you might think. Much of it involves the proper way to Baptize (either sprinkling or immersion), or among the organizations of church government (some have an active Presbytery, some conclaves, some a simple structure). The major conflicts that do exist, such as the tongues controversy, can be traced to understanding of exact Biblical terms.
In all things, the fact that Scripture is true and clear is never in question. Seventh Day Adventists use Scriptures to justify worshipping on Saturday. We use others to justify our position.
A lot of times in debates such as those, it boils down to one party not understanding other Scriptures. SDA adherents often believe the early church met on Sunday in error and the error stuck. It’s being married to a bad decision. Nevertheless, we point out that it was the practice that Paul specifically addresses. And if there were and error, God had plenty of time to correct it.
Really the problem there exists when one party or both believes the opposite is living in sin. And that does happen. But we can view these positions as simple matters of disagreement between people who believe in the truths of Scripture, we can exist peacefully in disagreement. (And there are adherents of these views who do just that).
The bottom line here is that it is always Scripture that gives us our authority and truth, never the men who interpret or write on them. When the wise do get it right, it always Scripture that is the ultimate source. If we forsake the doctrine of Perspecuity, we open ourselves to be deceived by any and all teachers out there.
re: what alternative to perspicuity?
on 7/14 above, Rob questioned whether the doctrine of perspicuity works well. For evidence she cited the multitude of denominations. Yet how pitiful we are if we cannot access the truth in our Bibles.
Obviously Christians have organized themselves into differing communions scattered around the globe. How probable is it that we all have uniform opinions about all the content of our Bibles? Of course we do not. Even within denominations, Christians dispute one doctrine or another yet affirm the perspicuity of Scripture. Christians realize that both we and our neighbors sometimes err in our opinions, yet our Bibles do not err.
Realistically, what makes our Holy Bible holy? Either it contains accessible truth or nonsensical gibberish. Doesn’t truth becomes holy to us when we can access it?
You really have not explored this. One teaching and practices infant baptism, other claims adult only. Some teach there are 2 sacraments, others claim that communion is just a symbol. If you want to go down this road of clarity of scripture, you have missed the boat because there are there are 20+ thousand groups all claiming scripture and proof texting Bible verses to support their beliefs and practices and yes there are significant and major differences that you are really unwilling to look at. Good luck with that but there is no such thing and Luther who originated the idea later claimed that he got rid of one Pope but made 100 more and towards the end of his life spend more time fighting and condemning other Protestants than the Catholic Church. I really don’t think you have read him either. I wish you well but trying to make a stake on the clarity of scripture is so laughable. Bill Gothard claims he is scriptural, the moderator here would support that.
Heresy is that special moment when you think you have greater spiritual insight than the apostles, apostolic fathers, early Church fathers, the Church because you have a Bible that they wrote, complied and gave to you.
re: favorite verses
on 7/4, Rob nominated a good one about husbands loving wives. I second that Ephesians 5 nomination and amend it with the verses which appear afterward, which describe the outcome of patriarchal love. The beloved becomes holy and without blemish. Both lover and beloved end up holy. As Christ is holy, he imputes his holiness to his beloved. When a man loves, he sanctifies both his beloved and himself. Talk about win-win? Love sanctifies in both directions.
I will take St. John Chrysostom’s quote and understanding above anything that Bill Gothard, IBLP, John Piper, TGC, etc. on marriage, family life and all the rest. That is actual historic and ancient Christian understanding on marriage and family life, not what is currently being taught by some circles found in some conservative Evangelical/fundamental circles. In fact I’ll take any of the early Church fathers above Bill Gothard, IBLP, TGC, John Piper, James Dobson and all the rest.
There is nothing in the good Saint’s explanation that at all addresses the “favorite passages”, as you have called them. Why? His explanations therefore are incomplete.
the good Saint’s explanation is about marriage and involves the family codes as given out in St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s epistles. I Timothy 2 is addressing order in public worship and assembly (church service, liturgy, Mass whatever term you want to use). http://www.bible-studys.org/Bible%20Books/1%20Timothy/1%20Timothy%20Chapter%202.htmlee:
re: Chrysostom, etc. on marriage
Those were beautiful sentiments from Chrysostom. How do Dobson, Piper or Gothard contradict him?
Also, C.S. Lewis took Chrysostom’s sentiments beyond mutual submission to realistic conflict resolution:
As long as the husband and wife are agreed, no question of a head need arise; and we may hope that this will be the normal state of affairs in a Christian marriage. But when there is a real disagreement, what is to happen? Talk it over, of course; but assuming they have done that and still failed to reach agreement. What do they do next?
They cannot decide by a majority vote, for in a council of two there can be no majority. Surely, only one or other of two things can happen: either they must separate and go their own ways or else one or other of them must have a casting vote.
If marriage is permanent, one or other party must, in the last resort, have the power of deciding the family policy. You cannot have a permanent association without a constitution.
If there must be a head, why the man? Well, firstly, is there any very serious wish that it should be the woman? As far as I can see, even a woman who wants to be the head of her own house does not usually admire the same state of things when she finds it going on next door…There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives over husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it and despise the husbands whom they rule.
I said they don’t compare, ie. they don’t measure up to someone like the “golden mouth”. Carefully read what St. John said, he said that marriage is not like a military rule. That is certainly not what Bill Gothard taught in his rigid “chain of command” . Not is what St. John wrote anything like what John Piper and TGC teach either concerning marriage and what they call “biblical” manhood and womanhood.
re: religious and military doctrines
Chrysostom used two military analogies to illustrate spiritual truth. The first was submission to orders. Chrysostom, Lewis, Gothard, and many loving couples agree that the mutual submission of Ephesians 5 is the rule in good marriages. No one needs to issue commands, because agreement is routine and spontaneous.
Next, Chrysostom compared marriage to a castle. A castle is a fortress for military defense. To resist the assaults of enemies, it must be commanded by a head.
My military instructors taught nine principles of war, and also tactics which apply the nine principles in most situations. Similarly, Gothard taught seven principles of life, plus tactical steps of action which applied them in most situations. Fortunately, we find more agreement than disagreement among Christian teachers, even when their teaching is separated by many centuries.
There is too often cookie cutter answers given for marital disagreements that state if there is an impasse between husband and wife, the decision should always fall to the husband. That isn’t the example of Abraham and Sarah where there was a strong and obvious disagreement over Ishmael. God told Abraham to listen to Sarah and do what she wanted. Relationships between husband and wife are much more complex than this. The venerable CS Lewis might have opinioned this before he was married and that is easy to make blanket statements of how marriages should be or go like Bill Gothard when one is not married. CS Lewis did spend most of his life as a bachelor. The Bible records a number of situations where the wife went around the husband. Just look at Rebecca (concerning Esau and Jacob), Abigail concerning David and last but not least Jael, wife of Heber who killed Sisera by driving a tent peg in his skull while he was sleeping. Can’t even imagine trying to do that to anyone. All these wives are commended in scripture, not reprimanded..
I would probably advise caution using some of those examples. Often Scripture gives us accounts of things not meant to be examples of pattern, but simply of recording events.
God doesn’t need any of us to fulfill his plan. He can do that just fine without us. In the case of Rebecca, she did not have to deceive her husband to get Jacob his blessing. But since it happened, God used it for His plan. We don’t need to assume that her behavior was good. And I am not sure she is actually commended for it.
In Sarah’s case, what Sarah wanted was in line with God’s plan. That is why He told Abraham to go along with it. The fact that God had to step in actually argues more for the position that husband is in charge. It took God to overrule it. In other words, the only authority that could get Abraham to rightly reverse his decision was the Almighty. Sarah wasn’t wrong in that sense. She was going to abide by Abraham no matter what happened. She should be commended.
With Jael, Jael’s enemy was God’s enemy. You might have the same situation here as with the Imprecatory Psalms. David could pray for God to literally kick in the teeth of his enemies because his enemies were God’s enemies. He was simply praying that God would accomplish what He said He would accomplish.
Jael is to be commended. Sisera was not her husband, as far as we can tell, and he was God’s enemy. God had already appointed a Judge to rescue Israel. She was in line with His plan.
Bottom line: we need to be careful we don’t make rules of things that might be exceptions. We should talk about them, and in every instance where we talk about these issues. But I think we need caution not to make the exception the rule.
Jael was not Jewish and her husband was at peace with the people that the Jewish people were fighting with. it would be very reasonable for Sisera to feel he was safe with the Kennites. Jewish commentaries always commend Rebecca for her actions in that she is considered the person that saved the Jewish people by her actions.
re: commendation and ventilation
JM makes a good point above. For example, David earned his place among Bible heroes and was commended for his heart. He was famous, but also infamous for the sin he lamented in Psalm 51.
As for headship, imagine the exhausting honeymoon if Sisera were married to Jael. Sisera would have to sleep with one eye open. No telling when the bride would ventilate the “head” of household!
Jael was not married to Sisera, she was married to Heber the Kenite who was at peace with King Hazor, of which Sisera was a general for. Whether or not Jael was Jewish or not, we don’t know it is evident that she took it on herself to drive a tent peg into the skull of Sisera on her own, while he slept. Please reread Judges 4:1-24
re: want of imagination, and safety
If Rob cannot imagine driving a peg through a man’s skull, I know my head is safe for the time being. Sisera had no such luck.
If one were to apply John Wesley’s Quadrilateral pillars to the idea of scripture perspicuity, one can easily see that this fall flat on it’s face.
1. Scripture does not even teach it. There are several times in OT and even NT where it is stated that scripture is not clear and has to be explained. St. Peter directly said the “prophesy is not subject of one’s own interpretation. Likewise St. Peter in speaking about St. Paul stated that his letters and teaching can be hard to understand and the people twist it wrongly. Jesus on the road to Emmaus, explained scripture verses supported Him. Deacon Philip had to explain to the Ethiopian Eunuch what Isaiah suffering servant passage was about. Ezra in the OT had priests explain the the people what the Torah meant were it was being read during a revival.
2. Tradition. the idea of perspicuity first came on the scene from Luther 500 years ago. This is not found before Luther. It is not supported by Catholic, Orthodox and Coptic teachings.
3. Reason. It is totally dishonest to state that anyone is going to read the Bible and then come up with the same ideas. Doesn’t work that way
4. Experience. We now have 500+ years of scripture perspicuity and the result is 20+ denominations all teaching radically different things yet all claiming they are true to the Bible.
This may have a bearing on the general topic: 1 Corinthians 2:13-16 “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
The key to understanding Scripture is having the mind of Christ . . . Which we have. The “spiritual man” gets it . . . And, interestingly, is “judged by no man”.
re: who are we?
Our text above declares that “we” are spiritual and judge all things. Who is among the spiritual “we” who have the mind of Christ? Let’s begin with the obvious candidates. In Acts we are told about the first Christians who “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers.” Doesn’t that sound like a description of people who have the mind of Christ?
Let us imitate them. We break bread with our brethren. We access the apostles’ doctrine though our perspicuous Bibles and through faithful teachers who teach our Bibles well. In so doing we form a culture, not a cult.
I am not sure how this would apply at all. Maybe the context of that statement determines what is meant which is about St. Paul and his beginning of evangelization to the Corinthians and how he initially approached them. This along with certain passages in St. John’s letters ought to be understood in the context of the letter. This doesn’t explain the wide divergence of views and interpretation, many of which are in conflict with each other with everyone reading the bible and coming up with all these views, statements and teaching and claiming they are “biblical”. So obviously using this passage, who is spiritual here and who has the “mind of Christ”? You cannot determine that even just using this passage from Corinthians as well as from the Johannian letters.
John Wesley spoke of the “Inner Witness”, God speaking to our spirit. Paul said it this way:
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
God’s Spirit testifies to our spirit – and we know. And when we know, when we have the Mind of Christ, that same Spirit testifies to those that hear . . . That those are His words and His thoughts. That very personal understanding of God, communicated to us, that is THE basis of our justification and condemnation in that coming day. WE know, even if no one else heard it – and for that which He showed us, for that we will give account:
John 3:19-21. “And *THIS* is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
re: darkness vs. light
Notice the irony built into John 3 above? Our scene opens with “ruler of the Jews” Nicodemus sneaking around in the darkness like Gollum. Rulers do not sneak around in darkness like Gollum. They arrive on a white horse like Galdalf. Christ discoursed about spiritual birth, blowing wind, and the Son of Man being lifted up. Then he declared that “ye” (those who ruled with Nicodemus?) “receive not our witness.”
Christ delivered a warning against skulking about in the dark, yet apparently the warning did not apply to Nicodemus. Night owl Nicodemus received truth from Christ, even though it was wrapped in mystery.
What about us? When we sneak and obscure, are our deeds evil? Or do we do truth in the light?
lots of people claim “inner witness”. Lots of people claim God showed them this or that from the Bible. None of these sorts of claims that lots of people make mean that they are true, accurate and faithful. Mormons also talk about ‘”inner witness” or “burning in the bossum” as proof that what they believe and teach is true. You can quote all these sorts of verses to try and prove that all we need is “inner witness” or light but heretical teachers claim all the same. In reading about the different heresies, they all have one thing is common and that is the person that started the heresy starts out by quoting (actually misquoting) the Bible to “teach” what they believe is true or orthodox.
What people claim and what is real are different things. Every liar knows that, regardless of what may be true or not true for others, they violated light that is given them. It in the end comes down to me, the individual. Only I know the light that God has given me, and what I have done about it. And that, again, is the basis on which *I* will be judged. And once I, with my conscience bearing witness, respond to God’s voice to me, then I discover a fellowship of others who have also responded, individually, to the light and discover it is the same light. It is, again, a spiritual thing, not a mental thing, not a commitment to a series of facts. When you know, when you have a relationship with the Living God, you know. And nothing can drive that out of you.
Take the simple reality of God’s existence. Much debated and analyzed. The fact is you cannot prove God’s existence any more than you can prove your own existence. The agony of the best and brightest philosophical minds, struggling to prove they exist. That breakthrough moment when Descartes declared in the 1600s: “I THINK, therefore I am!” (Cognitio, Ergo Sum). Self awareness is the process of thinking, a conversation between our mind and our spirit . . . And God awareness is a communication between our spirit, our conscience even, and His Spirit. We SEE Him, HEAR Him, FEEL Him, TOUCH Him, even TASTE Him. Spiritual senses He has given us that allow even little children and the mentally handicapped to know Him. He communicates with our spirit and directs us to His Word and then to the Savior. We see it, we understand . . . And then we either believe, or we reject that light.
I am not quite following why the father of modern philosophy and the enlightenment would be quoted as proof for God. He saw all faith as irrational or what is called fideism. He was a soldier in the 30 Year War and as a result basically turned from faith which he saw as the source of all conflicts and turned to rationalism which he believed would solve all conflicts. Your quote from him has rather broad consequences I don’t think you have thought of. So someone “thinks” they are a female but in a male body is considered “female” because they “think” they are and then act on this thought and mutilate their body because they “think” they are female even though they can never change what their genes say they are. I am trying to figure out how this quote from a rationalist like Descartes supports your “inner witness to truth”. They don’t go together.
Yes, there is not a scientific experiment to “prove” God. Science has limitations and those limitations are space, matter and time. God is outside of space, matter and time because God is pure spirit. One can’t take the tools of science which are limited by creation itself to go beyond creation which is God. St. Thomas Aquinas did better and came up with a list of 5 proofs of God which are based on scholastic philosophy, not scientific experiment. They are arguments from motion, efficient cause, necessary being, graduation and design. One can google search these to go more in depth. When Moses asked God for His name, He stated “I am”, which is going beyond creation and being into what supports existence itself, which is God.
Rene Decartes figures not for his relationship to God, but rather discerning that the answer to the largest question of philosophy – “Do I exist?” – is solved in the simplest terms, by noting the conversation, the discussion, the progressing thinking process involved in even the pondering of the question. I am self aware because I reflect parts of me against other parts, and things change. God is also to be known by the conversation that we have with Him, a conversation we could not have if He were not there.
The question of “am I a boy or am I a girl” cannot be addressed let alone solved outside of a common definition of “boy” and “girl”. If I have an accepted understanding of that definition and I meet the criteria I believe for “boy” and then declare I am “girl”, I am a liar. If I accept other’s definitions of “girl” then I might conclude, based on that, that I am one of those. The difference – why that is irrelevant to this discussion – is the what we are taken up with here are relationships, not facts. Does God exist, and do I know Him? How do I know He exists and how do I know I know Him?
Since, as you point out, God exists above our ability to probe Him with reason let alone physical tests, the ONLY answer to that lies in the ability, senses He has given us to see, hear, taste, touch and smell spiritual things. If we have violated, “seared” those senses we are left with complete confusion and darkness. If we have been true to those senses in the general sense – accepted the light when given to us – then they will accurately declare both things to us. You can’t tell from the outside. Indeed, a child, a mentally handicapped person unable to speak or communicate in any way can know Jesus, walk with Him, gather treasure in heaven, and be exalted and honored in that coming day. No court or forum on earth can declare, adjudicate that. The only thing we have . . . Is that others who also are “plugged in” to the spiritual reality that is the Lord and the Lord Jesus and Scripture who, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things, can perceive that. And that interaction, that “currency” – as opposed to books and preaches and endless debates using facts and logic – is all that God cares about.
1 Corinthians 2:13 “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
I almost don’t know where to begin with this, but using Descartes for proof of existence is strange, the metaphysics of Scholastic philosophy is the better with Aquinas using Aristotle (at least the parts that are compatible with Christianity). Likewise, I don’t know how you come up with using “senses” to prove God. Our senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight) are physical and for our physical world. God is not physical and only took on a physical body in the incarnation of Jesus. But that is do to the action of God, not do to our senses. That is divine revelation. I still find it completely strange that someone who has put forth a lot of effort to defend Bill Gothard who openly condemned philosophy in his seminar (I remember him very clearly doing so, he stated he thought Francis Schaffer messed up his mind when studying philosophy) would quote the father of modern philosophy and the rationality of the Enlightenment as proof of or for existence. Just when I think things can’t get much stranger than they are, they take a turn for even more strangeness.
I suppose we could take Paul to task for quoting Epimenedes multiple times. In any case, when we start stepping outside of Scripture we find a few folks that might make us think or that, at least, have influenced a lot of others.
As to senses, we most definitely have 5 spiritual senses – We see the Lord, we hear Him, we feel after Him, handle spiritual things, and we even taste and smell spiritual things.
Acts 17:27-28 ” … that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’”
Psalms 34:8. “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”
2 Corinthians 2:15-16. “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?”
the above link I think explains St. Paul few quotes from Greek philosophers than I could. I don’t think your quoting Descartes falls in the same boat. You are trying to make a link between thinking and existences or thinking is proof of existence.
Not all of those philosophies were men of God. Not our first choice . . . Sort of what the article was saying, minor supports. Descartes is a pillar in modern philosophy. I was passing a coffee shop today bearing his name . . . With the motto “I drink, therefore I am”. It was funny. Most everyone has heard his rather famous statement. I think he was on to something, as silly as it may be in the overall scheme of God’s things.
I’m sure some clever coffee shop owner latched onto this quote and name trying to be hip and with it in order to muscle out places like Starbucks. If existence depended on thinking, then there are a lot of people that shouldn’t exist because they obviously don’t think at all. Still scratching my head on how Bill’s chief and only defender quotes Descartes. Does not fit.
You had to be there :-). Descartes was obviously also a famous mathematician. Some people like him just for that. Philosophers around the world respect him, thought it might connect with those that do. We can drop it (there be a great many other “defenders” besides those represented here, BTW. Most pick their fights more carefully than we do. But that also supplies a forum for you to raise whatever issues that burden you and, hopefully, feel they are given a fair hearing).
re: explaining divergence of views and interpretation
On 8/24 above, Rob sought an explanation for wide divergence of views and Bible interpretation among men. Why explain the default state of fallen man? Isn’t it obvious? Sometimes we sin, sometimes we merely misunderstand. We Christians need not apologize for needing councils and synods to find consensus.
We want consensus to be spontaneous, yet consensus eludes us until we convene in good faith to confirm the Truth where we find agreement. When everything works well, our officers in council agree on important truths like the Nicene Creed. Aren’t our creeds sufficient proof that our ancient bishops believed and understood their Bibles?
Whether bishops have a monopoly on perspicuity is another question. We Protestants say not, but shouldn’t all Cristians rejoice when at least somebody understands his Bible?
The Nicene Creed was decided on before even the final cannon the scripture determined and set. There are many groups and sub-groups of Christians that do not believe or have any creeds at all. They just have their Bibles and believe that is it. This does not support your points.
re: timing, consensus, creed, and canon
On 9/7 below, Rob reminded us that The Nicene Creed preceded the Bible canon. Even so, what sources of doctrine did our ancient church officers consult when finding consensus for the Creeds?
On 9/4 above, Rob gave us Wesley’s four-part answer. Wouldn’t the Nicene bishops have consulted scripture, tradition, reason, and experience? Probably they would.
Our Bible canon was still unsettled back in 325 A.D. when the Nicene Creed was agreed upon. Yet our church fathers had access to the texts which form our Bibles today. Therefore they formulated a creed which was a sound summary of scripture, even before a later generation defined scripture as we have it now. Our generation of Christians should be glad they did.
Unlike man, God is not restrained by time. He can decree timing for his purpose. He sequenced events to deliver the creeds and Bible and we have today. What follows? His glory and our good.
re: monopoly on perspicuity?
Speaking of culture and cults, let us answer the four Vatican talking points set forth by Rob on 8/23 above.
1. We are begging the question. Does our Bible teach its own perspicuity? If we cannot understand our Bible, how can it teach anything at all? We have lapsed into nonsense. A claim about what the Bible doesn’t teach presumes the Bible’s perspicuity even while denying it.
2. Why should the perspicuity of Scripture be made explicit when it was implicit for centuries? Why overstate the obvious? Only in crisis must our noses be rubbed in the obvious.
3. Reason. The Holy Spirit works diversity, not uniformity. If he gives diversities of gifts, does he not also accommodate diversities of good-faith opinion?
4. Experience is a two-way street. It shows us that some men are faithful while others are treacherous. Some are true while others err.
If our Bibles are not perspicuous and accessible to all men, who gets the monopoly on perspicuity? Either somebody understands his Bible or nobody does.
Your talking points here do not answer the question of why there are possibly 20K groups that claim the Bible is their source and final authority yet teach, practice, believe and promote opposite and conflicting beliefs, practices and actions. Much if this division and conflicts stem from this idea that all is needed is just reading the Bible and everyone is going to come up with all the same. That doesn’t bare out in history and reality and you and the moderator here are not answering this point but trying to skirt around the issue in making all of this about inner witness and being spiritual. Lots of people claim they are spiritual, lots of people think they have a hot line to God and a corner on the market of faith. Lots of people claim they are just spiritual and not even religious. Quakers talk about inner witness and being guided solely by it. Mormons even talk about inner witness.
re: 20K different opinions vs. 20K identical opinions
O 9/5 above, Rob lamented 20K different opinions among Christians. This raises the question, does God prefer 20K identical opinions to 20K different opinions? Why should he?
On the contrary, when Christ prayed his most earnest prayer for his followers, he sought oneness in love, not opinion.
Christ did not specify the form our oneness should take, but rather its purpose. For what purpose does Christ want his followers to be one? He revealed this at the end of John 17, “And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Christ wants his love and presence to be within and among his followers. We who are parents recognize this in our attitude toward our children.
In a sense, we want our children to be one. We want them to love one another and love their neighbors. Yet we do not want them to be identical, in either opinion or personality. We raise our sons to be manly and our daughters to be womanly. We accommodate both introverts and extroverts.
What worship does God seek? Christ taught the woman at the well that God is much more interested in spirit and truth than goose-stepping uniformity. So let us give Christ the mutual love what he wants. Uniformity? we can take it or leave it.
it is just totally dishonest to say opposite and conflicting teachings, ideas, practices and worship is all the same. They are not and trying to equate them as such is denial or self-delusion. There just are too many examples I could give. That isn’t unity. The excuses you just gave justify nothing but the mess you find ok.
This is completely off topic. But i just wanted to know, what is Mr. Gothard doing now? How’s is health? How old is he now?
There is hardly a good place to post general questions the way the website is set up, so no problem. Bill is well, 86 years old, still keeping up his schedule which is anchored by around 4 hours of sleep a night. Furiously writing books at the rate of about one a month. They are available at EmbassyUniversity.com. If you would like to make contact with him, let us know, and we can find a way to get that contact information to you.
re: Gothard’s energy
Bill Gothard’s energy is amazing. I felt smug about rising at five a.m. and hosting family prayers at six. That is realistic for a man in late middle age. But Bill Gothard in old age? Who could keep up with him? very few.
Wow!!! How he can keep up like that at that age is incredible!!!! He does everything himself?
He has folks that help him, typesetting, web development and so forth. He is grateful for everyone.
re: Bill Gothard and helps meet
It was not only Father Adam who received “an help meet” for him. So do we all. As Adam Smith wrote back in 1776, national economies happen because man helps his neighbor by taking on a variety of specialized tasks.
As St. Paul said, Christians operate a form of gospel economy by exercising complementary gifts. That’s a “culture” of productivity. That’s cause for rejoicing!
Praise God for his life!!!
re: strangeness and senses
Can we trust our carnal senses to receive God’s revelation to man?
On 9/9 above, Rob dismissed the notion as strange except for Christ’s incarnation into our material world. In Jesus we find the ultimate exception.
Indeed there is nothing stranger than the gospel of Christ. “Strange” is a milder term than our Bible uses. Our Bible gets blunt. It employs a rude label for unbelief. To the perishing, the incarnation and atoning crucifixion of Christ are not mere strangeness but foolishness. Every reasonable pagan should dismiss the Gospel as cult doctrine.
Yet the apostles affirmed that God in Christ revealed himself to man’s senses. That is how St. John refuted Gnosticism, the hyper-spiritual heresy of his day. John’s great epistle opened with sensual revelation piled high.
Christ’s apostles had “seen and heard” God’s word of life. Their very hands had handled it. Where is their shyness about carnal senses? Senses were central to God’s revelation.
Lest we forget, communion liturgy reminds us that bread and wine are made “spiritual food.” As C.S. Lewis affirmed, God feeds us spiritually through material means.
re: opposite and conflicting messes
Long live opposite and conflicting messes! Back on 9/10, Rob bristled at the notion that Christians may have unity in spite of opposite and conflicting opinions. She dismissed it as messy and dishonest. May I cite a modern example which proves that unity can shine through such a mess?
Consider Reverend and Mrs. Billy Graham. Lifelong Presbyterian Ruth Bell Graham held opposite and conflicting opinions compared to those of her famous Baptist husband, yet they sustained sixty-four years of unity until they were parted by death.
Remember also what C.S. Lewis said about the messiness of reality:
“Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have. So let us leave behind all these boys’ philosophies—these over simple answers. The problem is not simple and the answer is not going to be simple either.”
I don’t know what the quote from CS Lewis has to do with contrary and conflicting teaching with those claiming they are “biblical”. Likewise, I am not sure what the Graham’s marriage has to do with this topic either. It is easy for Ruth to remain in the Presbyterian Church when her husband spend most of time traveling and she basically raised their 5 children by herself. Again, it doesn’t answer or justify the mile wide canyon of teachings. This has nothing to do with life being messy. God is not a God of confusion or conflict. You can try as you might but there is nothing that justifies any of this and shoots the idea of “scriptural clarity” out of the universe. Jesus clearly prayed for unity before His crucifixion, just read John. St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “ONE faith, One baptism, One Lord, etc…” Which by the way if there is One baptism, why is Jinger Vuolo (Duggar) re-baptizing? Wasn’t she a Christian already and baptized as a teenage? Does that mean the first one wasn’t good enough? Wasn’t real? It’s this sort of thing that goes on all over the place. There is ONE baptism, not many, not re-do again and again and again.
re: rending Lewis, Graham, Jesus, Paul, or Mrs. Vuolo?
Christ warned that some things stir up reactions that are like rending by beasts.
Of whom is the rending on 10/3 above? Is it of Lewis for a liberal view of reality? Or Billy Graham for insufficient unity? Or Jesus for unanswered prayer? Or St. Paul for defective doctrine? Or Mrs. Vuolo for binary baptisms?
I have know idea what you are saying and I don’t even want to try.
re: complimentary Basic Seminar streaming now available
Speaking of culture and cult, Bill Gothard’s Basic Seminar may now be streamed free of charge at basicseminar.com. Having not seen it for a few years, I am now on session Seven and enjoying it.
Who is putting up this site and paying for it? IBLP or Bill?
IBLP sent me a notice which announced the complimentary streaming. If you missed your notice, at least now you found out from me. The seminar website includes original workbook pdfs for note-taking.
No, I did not get my “notice” but I would not want one to begin with. Too curious to me how IBLP which does not have Bill as the head anymore is able to put up for free clips that feature Bill doing the Basis seminar. They can’t get away from Bill even as Bill can’t get away from them because his new adventure with his Embassy University calls for one attending the Basic Seminar.
Is is not just “free clips”. It is free, the entire seminar.
Well, these clips add up to about less than 24 hours. The entire basic seminar was about 32 hours, so it isn’t the entire thing and David who did watch them confirms this. I’m not certain what the point is for IBLP. They don’t make money off of this if it is free but more importantly, I do not think it is ethical to put out videos of Bill doing the seminar when he is no longer with them, and even banned from their properties and conferences. Yes, they seem to own the copyrights to this and Bill had no more say but morally and ethically it sends a double message. From my vantage point, IBLP is just as corrupt as Bill is. These teachings are not timeless and Biblical as stated because they need Bill to present them. The teachings are too tied up with Bill. With Bill not there, they need to call it a day and close shop and go home.
I stand corrected. In this thing you and I share a concern. While I am thrilled that it is available in a full of a manner as it is, it is not theirs to edit. But that is between them, Bill, and most importantly the Lord.
Dale Carnegie shares timeless truths, but . . . Nobody can share it like Dale Carnegie can. So too for so many others. Nothing wrong with a “life message” most effectively expressed by the life that got the message.
re: completed Basic Seminar streaming
I viewed all nineteen Basic Seminar sessions for the first time in a few years. Some observations follow.
First, the material seemed too tame to stir up the outrage we hear among Gothard’s noisiest enemies. Gothard’s teaching about authority would have been taken for granted by any small-town Baptist deacon in 1964. Yet Gothard’s enemies have complained that Gothard advocated a cruel theocracy in both home and nation. Gothard’s authority teaching makes leftists squirm and alienates antinomians, but seems consistent with middle-class Christian morality.
Second, there is plenty of editing. The version now available for streaming has twenty-four hours of material, about a third less than the original thirty-two hours. Some of the material seemed dated from 1984 when he created ATI homeschooling, and other material was from seven years later when ATI was invited to begin work in Russia.
Computer graphics have replaced the original overhead projector illustrations.
Bill Gothard, thanks for the stroll down memory lane.
re: seminar hours
IBLP explained that the seminar length is unchanged and contains about the same quantity of material as always. So the twenty-four hours currently streaming is effectively the same as before.
That is what I was wondering. Good for them in that case. Yes, dated is dated . . . But I have lived my life reading the King James Version, and I love its “dated-ness”. With Bill, same thing. At least for me . . . Memories, good ones.
re: dated devotions
For daily family prayers I use the KJV in the morning and The Living Bible in the evening. My homeschool group Bible class uses both KJV and ESV. It all works out.
Bill Gothard always stated that his teachings is “new approach” to life. So if it’s a “new approach”, I am not sure how it is “dated” or that Bill liked “dated” things like KJV and that is why you have liked him. Can’t have both dated stuff and yet promote oneself as “new approach to life”.
Assuming the KJV is the focus of this matter – and I apologize that a couple of major life events have moved us away from responding for a time, meaning I hope I am picking up the right thread – the KJV is unique among Bible translations to this day. As Bill has pointed out, it remains the only translation executed under the authority of a government. As a result, the king forced all of the various factions to “get along”. Which forced them to leave major points of contention deliberately vague. This is a point we have likely made in the past. All of the translations created by ecclesiastical committee “smell” of the particular doctrinal persuasion that brought that team together. The KJV is unique in its ability to be used by disparate groups equally well. I like that. I prefer to do my own digging on what the made up word “baptism” means (Greek βάπτισμα baptisma) – I find “emersion” all over that, but those that see “sprinkling” in there . . . Are not driven away. That keeps the translational editorializing to a minimum.
I’m not sure what Dale Carnegie has to with this, he has been dead since 1955 and his institution and spill offs still go on as done by others. If a message, idea , teaching etc. is too tied up with the presenter, that message, idea, teaching is no longer “timeless” because it has become dependent on personality and in the title of this article a “cult of personality” . IBLP is making it evident that the Basic Seminar can’t be re-done by anyone else. They need old clips of Bill to do this. Real truth or true teaching isn’t dependent on a personality or person. Is so then IBLP would have a new presenter doing the basic seminar. They don’t. They are using Bill whom they have legally barred from their properties and conferences. Really so unbelievable.
Perhaps so, to some extent. But I know it is also NOT true in many cases. A “life message” is just that, a message tied up in a life. It lives on in the writings and videos of the individual, but forever tied to . . . That individual. I used to listen to J. Vernon McGee on the radio – Many, many decades after his death “Thru the Bible” is still “on the air”, McGee preaching the Bible in his own special way. There was nobody like him.
There then seems to be a fine line between a message and then tying the message to the messenger where it is viewed that only that person can give that message. That becomes a personality cult. Only Bill Gothard can do IBLP seminars (like the basic). Only J Vernon McGee can do “Thru the Bible”. Look at different Mega Churches. When the head guy leaves, retires, moves etc, the place begins to fall apart. Good example are D. James Kennedy in Florida, Mars Hills, John Piper’s Church is having problems and splitting up now that he is retired. There are tons of examples. American culture thrives on personality cults, stardom, celebrities. It is endemic everywhere. I’ve known people that will drive across a major metro area to attend a Church now run by a certain Priest. I don’t think you see this issue in being caught up with Bill Gothard. When one is caught up in this, it is hard to step back and see that is is a problem. I could never get past Vernon’s accent. It was a turn off for me.
Some found McGee’s accent charming 🙂 Regardless, I am not sure your blanket condemnation is warranted. I see no emphasis in Scripture on “ministries” and every emphasis on individual gift.
I cast my vote in favor of McGee’s voice. It was like listening to Pat Buttram preaching, as though Mr. Haney got a second career after peddling junk in Hooverville.
When we follow a good man we call it sound leadership. When we dislike him, we dismiss his following as a personality cult.
There are several articles by Evangelicals themselves discussing the problem of celebrity based Churches and Ministry. All you have to do is go to Christianity Today and they have several articles. They did an ongoing series about Mars Hills and Mark Driscoll and it’s rise and eventual down fall. There are also books about the same, written by Evangelicals themselves like “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind”. This isn’t something I made up because I don’t like someone or their Church. You can brush this off as nonsense but it isn’t. A recent Christianity Today article is titled “The Antidote to Celebrity Church is Mere Church”. This is an endemic problem that affects more Churches than just Evangelical type. Our materialistic celebrity based culture infiltrates our Churches. We end up being influenced by our unhealthy culture instead of influencing our culture for the better.
I am definitely not into “celebrity church”. (I am also not thrilled with CT, but that is a different topic). But it remains that there is no evidence anywhere in the New Testament of a “church ministry”, that I can see. Not sure it is unscriptural, just noteworthy its absence from Holy Writ. What we see is individuals with differing, specific, special gifts that are recognized by the church for that gift. The idea of “passing on” a ministry is also absent. The notion that any number of other people can pick up the role of a man or woman of God flies in the face of the specific, authoritative working of the Holy Spirit. Numbers 12 is a tremendous rebuke of that notion.
re: CT objections to celebrity church leadership.
I have not read the CT objections to Evangelical celebrities, but it sounds worldly if CT opposes a man only because he is popular. It sounds like their version of Yogi Berra’s famous quip, “no one goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.” Does CT insist that no one should attend a church because it’s too crowded?
Is CT rationalizing envy? Do they object because a church has a larger membership roll than their subscriber roll? Do they envy greater success than their own? Would they repent if they became publishing celebrities?
If you haven’t read any of these articles or books that I mentioned then why go ahead and make blanket comments and assumptions that all of this is due to envy of popularity. This is a prime example of the problems that many devout and sincere and concerned evangelicals are writing about which is a lack of anything deeper than an inch and people church hopping from one thing to another because it is “popular”. Many of the big name churches run by big name personalities fall apart after the big name pastor retires, leaves or dies.
re: Rob the gotcha victim
G.K. Chesterton and Bill Gothard had something important in common. They teased with paradox.
Chesterton was explicit about his paradox pranks. He once defined paradox as “truth standing on its head to get attention.”
Gothard simply employed quotation marks for his paradoxical motto, marketing Christian truth as “new.” Though the gospel of Christ is old, Gothard taught that each new generation needs to repent and believe, just as their forebears did. Get it? old, yet also new!
Bill and Chesterton have nothing in common. They don’t even belong in the same sentence. Bill is way too black and white to delve into paradoxes that the “apostle of common sense'” is noted for. A strict teetotaler like Bill isn’t going to share a chuckle with someone that liked his drinks and cigars like Chesterton. If you want to read something funny, look up Chesterton”s opinion of the US when he came to visit and at that time America was under the ban on alcohol due to the efforts of the temperance movement. I would say he was not impressed.
re: the misnamed temperance movement
Chesterton probably believed in the virtue of temperance, but objected to abstinence mislabeled as temperance. We Americans probably deserve whatever scorn he heaped upon us for our hypocrisy. C.S. Lewis also believed in liquor temperance instead of abstinence. I agree with Lewis and Chesterton on this one. Temperance is probably harder to sustain than absolute abstinence. That’s the way our flesh seems to work, or at least mine does.
But those seems to be one of those topics which St. Paul exhorted us to defer to our weaker brethren. Bill Gothard and I are unlikely to enjoy a beer together, but I agree with him that the gospel of Christ is the power of God to save each new generation, if only they have eyes to see.
Pardon the sloppy proofreading above.
The temperance movement was a real thing and was the main reason for Prohibition. Although the actual word means moderation and is one of the four cardinal virtues, the actual movement which stems from Wesleyan piety movement worked to ban all alcohol and succeeded when Prohibition went into effect which was a giant flop and appealed years later. Chesterton may have had a minor drinking problem and being overweight as he was, probably isn’t the model of temperance. I am not here to start a fight or debate over drinking alcohol but want to again point out that Chesterton and Bill have absolutely nothing in common and don’t even belong in the same sentence no matter what one feels about the issue of drinking alcohol or not. When Chesterton became Catholic, he was able to control his drinking which impressed his wife since that was an issue for her with him and she followed him into the Church.
One of my favorite GKC stories is from World War One. Because Chesterton did not join the army and fight in France, some disputed his patriotism.
One woman confronted him, asking why he was not out at the front. Chesterton turned to display his profile and ample belly. He breezily replied, “Madam, if you view me from the side, you shall see that I am!” Okay, so a little dietary temperance would have served him well. Doesn’t that describe the rest of us, too?
I did not know that Chesterton influenced his wife toward Christ. That is good to hear. Isn’t that what we read in 1 Corinthians 7? When one spouse is following Christ and the other is not, the believer should forbear his spouse’s unbelief in hopes of winning his beloved by example.
Frances, his wife was already a devout Anglican and a writer in her own right so I would say she was already a Christian. She joined him later after she witnessed his changes in becoming a Catholic.
What are Mr. Gothard’s thoughts regarding Josh Duggar’s situation??
We have not spoken to him regarding that as of yet. I am sure it breaks his heart. Some of us know Josh and have been holding out for the best. I have not been in direct contact with him for some time, but my council to him above all would be that whatever crimes he did commit, to confess them regardless of the legal opportunities. I see they are appealing the verdict. I do not know on what basis. If innocent he should fight with all his might. On the same day as the verdict was handed down I read of the state suing Jana Dugger for “child endangerment”. Reading what we can on the internet, it appears a little one under her care wandered off and was found by someone else. Anyone with a lot of kids will have had that happen on occasion. To charge her with a major crime, especially with the track record of carefulness that preceded it, seems heavy handed. Almost like persecution. Which suddenly had me finding the notion of an even complicated hit job on Josh plausible. I don’t know, may the truth be made plain.
According to what has been published, the child which was around 2 years old was found near a road by the house alone and the people that found the child called the police. She is being charged as a misdemeanor which is not a “major crime” per your words. Yes, this could happen to anyone with small children. What I think people see in this is the concern that poor Jana is misused as the grand babysitter not just for her younger siblings but also her older sibling’s children as well. That seems to be her lot in life which is pretty pathetic considering she is over 30 years old and has done nothing else in her life but babysit. If the police thought it was “just an accident” that could have happen to anyone with or watching small children, then I think the charges would have been dropped and not gone forward to begin with. There have been safety issues that others have pointed out with many of the children and grandchildren with the Duggars, pictures that they themselves have posted on line which include guns laying on the ground with small children around, bike riding without helmets, and other safety issues. Thankfully, the child wasn’t hurt, hit by a vehicle or even kidnapped.
Thankful there was no damage. The same thing happened to neighbors, grandparents watching a grandson. Don’t be too hard on Jana. If her name wasn’t Duggar, nothing would have been charged.
Jana has now pleaded guilty and has to pay a fine of $890. What has come out in the police report does not reflect well on her character. In the police report, it is stated that when the police went to the home with the child (one of Anna and Josh’s) Jana denied even knowing the child. Also, Jana insisted to the police that there were no children missing from the home. She was the only adult at home at the time. The police asked Jana to come to the station and she said she would but was going to follow them in her car. She started to follow them but then abruptly turned around and went home to call a lawyer. Now yes all of us with kids always have the fear of a young child wandering off. But just maybe some of the lies she told them at that time might have cause this citation and in reality if she was honest to begin with, this might not resulted in this citation. When Jessa came out with the story, this actually forced Jana to make and statement herself and plead guilty. Thankfully the most important thing is that the child was not hurt or harmed.
Have no knowledge of the particulars. But if I were Jana, I might become convinced that the entire world, the legal system were – without objective cause – out to get her. Which may be true. Makes it hard to know what to do sometimes.
This is typical paranoid thinking that usually following in the world of Bill Gothard, IBLP and fundamentalism in general. There is no responsibility that one”s own actions and choices may have caused this situation. If bad things happen, it is because they are out to get me, it’s satan’s fault, etc. There is never any thought that just maybe some of these bad things are do to me, myself and I and my own choices and behaviors. I feel sorry for Jana. She is a 32 year old that has done nothing in her life but raise her young siblings, keep her parent’s house and now babysit her sibling’s children. What a pathetic existence. She looks more like an entrapped animal than a 30 year old. What a sad life.
We see her and them so much differently. We have the honor of actually knowing them. They sleep in their own beds and under the circumstances of their own making every night. After seeing the real people for the past few decades – as opposed to the worst possible snippets in the news or even the somewhat crafted narrative on the shows – I respect them intensely. God is the judge in the end. Final chapters are His.
I personally, after everything i’ve read about him, don’t like him one bit. Is one of those persons that is better to be away from (excuse my english as it’s not my first language and sometimes I make mistakes)
It is important to reserve judgement because . . . A great deal of what is stated in the media is not reliable. IF what he currently stands convicted of is true, I cannot disagree. The law would see to that.
The Josh Duggar situation is as bad as it gets. I really do pray for Anna and their children. While they are trying to appeal it, from the evidence presented, it looks like that probably will not be successful and this whole thing brings up other concerns about the teachings of Bill and IBLP and ATI and namely that is the improper education women are given and the emphasis of just being a stay at home mother. If Josh ends up serving 20 to 40 years, how is Anna with just ATI education, who has never worked outside of the home in a paying job and done nothing but have babies with Josh going to support herself and 7 children? She can’t and even if she did try to get a paying job to support herself and seven children, the only type of jobs that would be open to her to work are going to be low paying entry level type of basic positions which is really not enough to support herself and seven children. She will either end up being a ward of the state or another dependent on Jim Bob and Michelle, which is already where she is living (on their property in a converted warehouse). So she is stuck. It is terrible and exposes the downside of Bill, IBLP and an ATI education where women are objects of either their father’s or husbands and God help them if neither is around to support.
A lot of prejudices there. Let’s see what happens. Her extended family may well not want her to work, but she would not have any problem finding a good job if she so chose. She is anything but an idiot.
some of her own siblings have publicly stated she should divorce him. that was in 2015 when this all blew open with the Ashley Madison scandal. whether she really wants to divorce him or not, she has no where to go, she can’t support herself and is a dependent on the Duggar (who are millionaires) or her parents. She has no job, she never worked, what jobs would be open to her in her situation are entry level minimum wage type which will not support a single mom with 7 children. She and those children are in a terrible situation. It is dilutional to state she could get a “good job”. Right now she is living on the Duggar’s compound in a converted warehouse. The defense rested their case early when they couldn’t call Caleb up who the guy Josh was claiming downloaded this junk to his computer. Since they couldn’t prove that Caleb was in the State at the time, nor couldn”t prove that this stuff on Josh’s work computer was downloaded “remotely” by someone like Caleb who currently is registered as a sex offender in the State of Ill. He is busted and Anna is now facing raising 7 children by herself with no means of supporting herself and those 7 children. All of this just highlights what is wrong with the things Bill taught and perpetuated by IBLP.
You just repeated what you said previously. I think you have it completely wrong. As to motivating for divorce, yes, well meaning friends and family will do that. Where the terror of the Lord in these things has gone, I have no idea. The horrible story of the rich man (some name him “Dives”) and Lazarus, the former tortured in hell is preceded by an indictment of the Pharisees:
Luke 16:15 “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
After assuring them no matter what logic might lead them to tell people to relax let alone ignore even the smallest of God’s commandment, He says the following:
Luke 16:18 “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”
And then He immediately dives into the story of that rich man . . . Who thought he was “OK” because he fed the poor people . . . And couldn’t believe he was in the flames of hell. WHY would Jesus put THAT verse in THERE in that context? It carries a final period and no exceptions. It makes me tremble.
Malachi 2:16 “For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel.”
No I have it completely right. Anna Duggar is stuck, she has no means of supporting herself and her seven children. She was raised and trained and even lived to be a dependent herself. With Josh sitting in jail, she is now faced with being a dependent on the Duggars on whose property she now lives. It doesn’t get much worse than that. If the gossip and rumors are right, she is considering a possible divorce. I’m not saying whether she should or not. Divorce is a very serious thing. I”m not sure how easily she can divorce him in the laws of Arkansas. I look are their marriage as corrupt to begin with. They hardly knew each other and from what I’ve read, Josh’s moral problems were kept hidden from her. So I don’t think there was total honesty to begin with and it was a short courtship following the ideas of Bill so from my frame of view, she would quality for an annulment if there is such a thing allowed in Arkansas. There is in Michigan because I had a relative that received a legal annulment from the State of Michigan.
OK. You said it again. Time will tell.
What if she loves him, besides her vows before a holy God? Or is that not possible, do you think?
The State of Arkansas has a “covenant” marriage which is suppose to make it difficult to obtain a divorce. I believe all of the Duggar children that married in Arkansas were in covenant marriages. I do know that Jill and Derek were. I think Anna and Josh as well. Anna is stuck in my opinion. She doesn’t have the resources to divorce him, she doesn’t have the means to support herself with 7 children and covenant marriages in the State of Arkansas are harder to get out of. This is a terrible situation and I do pray for her and their children.
Once again, the reason for “Covenant Marriages” is to honor the command of the Lord. If HE commanded it, then it is the very best. Even if one believes the situation to be a dire as you do.
re: widows indeed
On 12/20 above, Rob raised the question of how a faithful and productive keeper at home might survive in crisis. We find the apostolic answer in our Bibles. St. Paul addressed this topic in his pastoral epistles. In Titus 2 we read his famous text describing keepers at home. Then in 1 Timothy 5, he wrote about the keeper in crisis. Was she a “widow indeed” who should be husbanded by her church? That depended on whether she was a virtuous keeper before the crisis. The church would support authentic and virtuous “widows,” but worldly phonies were on their own.
Did Bill Gothard teach doctrines which would leave women desolate and vulnerable in crisis? If anything, he doubled down on the keepers-at-home model from the pastoral epistles of Titus and Timothy.
Let’s not believe the absurd. Are worldly women more secure than chaste keepers at home? We might obtain the answer from either of two sources. We might consult our Bibles or we might interview the destitute wretches in the trailer park with neither husband nor church, but sick kids and a demanding job. They were proud and worldly until the world cannibalized its own.
Is the solution more worldliness or more chastity? more Christlikeness or less?
The rich person in this whole sad saga of the Duggars is Jim Bob. Maybe your worldy concerns ought to apply to him. In the NT, the gospels records women that supported Jesus and the apostles from their means ie. their own money.. Proverbs 31 woman is a business woman. Anna Duggar is not a widow. She has never worked, as an ATI education that gave her nothing and is a total dependent on either her family, the Duggars or the State if both of those fall through. I don’t see anything “Godly” about the situation. It is terrible and no joke and has nothing to do with Titus or Timothy which you are trying to quote to justify the big mess.
re: Duggar wealth, virtue and vice
An internet page says Duggar is worth $5 million. That dough buys a lot of pizza. Obviously the Bible warnings directed to rich men apply to him. They also apply to the rest of us. Statistically, we Americans own most of the world’s wealth.
Productivity is virtue and envy is vice. If Duggar earned his wealth, he deserves it, doesn’t he? If we envy his wealth, what do we deserve?
I could care less whether Jim Bob is wealthy or not. The TV shows is basically what made him wealthy ( as well as giving him fame). You made a crack about women working and they do so because of greed and aiming for wealth. It is a completely false characterization of women working and why. But in this narrow view point comes from a view that women can’t or should not work outside of the home and if they do, they are greedy. But it’s ok the Jim Bob has made himself wealthy and famous by prostituting himself children on reality TV. You can’t have it both ways.
For the record, Jim Bob has spun up a number of businesses and money making ventures completely unrelated to the TV show. That includes the used car business and buying and fixing and selling houses. All of his offspring seem to have that creative and entrepreneurial flair as well. THAT is why the TV show part has worked – they are real people doing above average things which makes for a great reality show.
Yes, he had a number of different business adventures in cars, real estate and through his sons in flipping houses. But all of that did not make him the money that 45K did per show over these many years. Reality TV isn’t real. It is very staged and a number of people that have been involved with them have stated so. Josiah Duggar in an honest moment himself stated that many of the scenes were practiced and rehearsed. This is true for all “reality” TV whether it is the Duggars, the Bates, the duck dynasty guys, the Kardashians, the Real Housewives of whatever, etc. etc.etc. Jim Bob may have had his fingers and toes in a number of adventures but what made him rich and famous was the reality TV whether or not he and Michelle will admit it or not. That is why they can afford owning private planes and have their sons as pilots, Give the kids expensive and exotic honeymoons all over the world and buying houses for his kids. It wasn’t selling used cars and flipping houses.
So many assumptions, some of which I know are not correct. You and I know bonafide movie actors and actresses that make orders of magnitude more than Jim Bob did on the show, and they are in bankruptcy. I wish I had half the business sense and money management skills that he does.
I am sure that Jim Bob who started out in Real Estate since his parents were real estate agents, (Even Michelle had a Real Estate license in the past), probably had to expand into other types of businesses with a growing big family and little available opportunities in rural northwest Arkansas. I don’t think that just doing Real Estate or just doing used cars was going to be able to support a large growing family. Doing the TV shows was very lucrative for him and I just don’t buy the notion that they have often put forth that this was done just for “ministry” and that they didn’t need the TV shows for the money. Jim Bob seems to be a very ambitious man. Maybe you admire that in him and find that sort of thing a role model.
I don’t, I see this sort of ambition for money and fame to be greed. His dabbling in politics hasn’t been successful. The people of his area that would know him the most as well as more likely be conservative Christians of the Bible Belt have rejected him in the voting booth. 15% in the last election with his big name recognition ought to tell you something about what those that live in northwest Arkansas think of him. His son Jed was rejected too. I will leave it at that.
re: envy, size, depth, rhetoric 101, and CT
On 12/11 above, Rob wondered why a reader would bring questions to a text which criticized a brother. I asked whether the critics might be motivated by envy. Bill Gothard proclaimed Christ to millions, but Gothard’s critics drew a much smaller hearing.
When the ancient Jews envied Jesus of Nazareth because of the multitudes he drew, what did they grumble? “The multitude is accursed!” Was Christ more popular because he was shallow and his enemies less popular because they were deep? The question answers itself.
In freshman rhetoric class, we learn questions to filter out blarney which is not worth reading, that we might peruse material more worthy of our limited attention. Which hour is better spent; an hour attending a celebrity church, or an hour reading the CT article which dismisses it? It all depends.
Your premise is “Bill preached the Gospel”…. That is a matter of opinion really and one I obviously don’t share. I can’t follow the rest of your reasoning at all.
re: Gospel opinion
Ever since the Council of Nicaea found a consensus for Christian orthodoxy, we have all agreed on a gospel outline. Christ was incarnate of God, died a death which atones for the sins of all who repent and believe, then arose on the 3d Day, someday to raise us also and reign over his restored creation.
One can dispute whether Gothard proclaimed all gospel elements all the time, but opinion? Ever since Nicaea, orthodox Christian opinion is settled.
I really don’t know why you keep bringing the counsel of Nicea with Bill Gothard. He didn’t “preach” anything remotely similar to anything related to the counsel of Nicea. Most Fundamentalist groups as well as Anabaptist groups which are Bill’s base generally believe the counsel of Nicea was corrupt and the start of corruption of the Christian faith with Constantine. So I am not sure why you bring Nicea up in defense of Bill.
re: mere orthodoxy
Christians have always found consensus on a core creed. Chesterton called it Orthodoxy. Lewis called it Mere Christianity. The ecumenical creeds convey a good summary. When a teacher abandons or denies that consensus, we call his disciples a cult. Even Gothard’s noisiest enemies don’t accuse him of straying from orthodoxy. Some dispute this or that teaching, some complain about authoritarianism or hypocrisy, but not heresy.
Again, the majority of Bill’s base were fundamentalist types and Anabaptists Christian and groups, none of which believed in “creeds” and considered themselves just to believe in the Bible alone. Maybe yes, you see the creeds of Nicea, Apostles etc. as a basis of faith and you want to project that onto Bill Gothard but that projection is not reality at all. I don’t know why you keep bringing this up, it doesn’t fit.
Amazon is now going to do a docu -series on IBLP and their connections to the Duggars/Bates etc. which probably will include Bill Gothard as well. Not sure if you are aware of that.
Yes, we are aware. We shall see. Others have come with great intensity with the same objective, interviewed a lot of folks. Seems like the world had turned in other directions . . . No money in it.
Isn’t Bill worried that they won’t leave him alone. Isn’t he tired of all of this? I would be!!!
Bill seems never worried about anything. Some things do affect him deeply. But he moves along. I am quite sure that he sees being hounded on every side as very much of a proof that the devil especially hates him for good reason. The entire inquisition from 2014-2018 was guaranteed to rid the world of Bill Gothard once and for all. The fact that he and his pedestrian, small time lawyer was still standing when all was said and done with all his adversaries, backed by three respected law firms, voluntarily exiting the arena is stunning. The ways of God are not a beauty contest, where the one with the most votes wins. The Final Day is so near when everything will be addressed. He certainly has his eye on that day . . . But also is absolutely convinced the Lord continues to have a vital role in these days. It gives him an amazing amount of energy at 87. He continues to publish a new book about every month and he is actively crafting and promoting Embassy University. God writes final chapters, as he often says.
But what do you mean the final day is near? Are you reffering to his death?
No, Jesus returns to earth and then the final judgment of all. Every little wrong is righted.
re: worried and weary?
When he preaches Christ, should Bill Gothard be worried and weary in the face of opposition? What about the rest of us? We dare not. The stakes are too high.
We find suffering in the exact middle of the seven life principles which Bill Gothard taught. Suffering is the fourth principle, after design, authority and responsibility. We must temper our emotions of worry and weariness. Let us hold out for God’s promise. In due season we shall reap if we faint not. “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
re: little wrongs righted
On 1/10 above, our moderator reminded us of our hope that God will right every little wrong. This is yet another category where Bill Gothard has been helpful. He once commented on Christ’s teaching about motes and beams.
From my perspective, my offenses are little wrongs. But to my offended neighbor, they seem as outrageous, oversized beams which must be made right. Whether mote or beam, the famous song lyrics kindle our hope: Christ comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.
re: covenant marriage
On 1/10 above the topic of marriage under Arkansas statute was raised. Rob lamented that a spouse in covenant marriage is “stuck.”
Indeed is there any marriage which is not a covenant marriage, regardless of statute? Doesn’t the one-flesh union bind for life? So says Christ and his apostles. Isn’t the lifetime oath the main thing which distinguishes marriage from fornication or going steady?
The State of Arkansas seems to have two tiers for their marriage licenses. Supposedly the covenant marriage is suppose to be more “divorce proof” or not subject to the standard no fault divorce laws that every State now has. How they are able to do this, I am not sure and I think it would be more helpful if someone that has background in the marriage laws of Arkansas to actually explain it. To answer your question of “is there any marriage which is not a covenant marriage”, I would yes, there are marriages that I would consider not to be “covenant marriages”, whatever you mean by “covenant”. You did not explain what you consider “covenant marriage”. I had a family member have their 3 month very brief marriage annulled by the State of Michigan. This means the marriage was null and void and invalid to begin with. These situations are very rare but there are marriages that are “null and void”. So yes, there are marriages that are null and void, invalid or whatever term you want to use. I read about a Christian woman in Texas that had her marriage annulled in the State of Texas and she was still kicked out of her Baptist Church because they called her divorced even though the State of Texas declared her marriage “null and void” and granted her an annulment, not a divorce. The farce of a show “Who wants to marry a Millionaire” ended in an annulment afterwards. These are real time examples that not all marriage are “covenant”, which I am assuming you consider means divorce proof.
re: when a thing is not itself
Poor Aristotle would bristle at the above. He insisted that every thing is itself and nothing else. Obviously an annulment declaration means that no marriage bond ever existed, regardless of a flesh bond. Where there is no marriage, there is no covenant.
Marriage isn’t a “Thing”. Aristotle dwelt with metaphysics or existence. Totally different. You are most confused. A marriage that has been declared ‘null and void” means the marriage was invalid to begin with. Are there invalid marriages do to fraud, forced, deception etc. Yes, there are.
Jumping in, marriage is God joining two people together, gluing them into “one flesh”. So God defines a marriage, whether it is or it isn’t. And once He gets done joining, NOBODY is to rip that apart. There was nothing illegal or immoral about Josh and Anna’s marriage. I am assuming he disclosed his misfortunes as a 15 year old to Anna prior to marriage, things that Bill Gothard emphatically taught. I recall first hearing about that event as generalities via trusted church Duggar friends long before this marriage, so it was not a hidden thing for important people with a need to know.
Adultery, even, which Josh did not commit, does not nullify the marriage bond – under God’s law death did that, i.e. the execution of the sinful spouse. The “innocent party” had to wait until that justice was carried out if they wanted to remarry. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. If sin dissolves the marriage bond, then Christ likewise can presumably dissolve His “marriage” to us for cause. Scripture is clear that He will never do that, even if we are really, really bad. And neither should we.
Again, there are situations where the marriage is not valid. I am not arguing at the moment whether or not Josh and Anna’s marriage is valid. I was asked by David if I thought all marriages are “covenant” marriages. I do not. Josh did commit adultery on Anna in the Madison Ashley scandal of a few years back which caused 19 kids and counting to be removed and renamed basically as Counting On. I have no comment whether I think Anna could or should divorce Josh. It is a terrible situation. Again, there are situations which would make a marriage invalid, which are currently married, deception, forced marriages like child marriages in some countries. So if someone divorces their first spouse and then marries another, is that second marriage valid in your opinion?
Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, “For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband.” (John 4:18) So each marriage was a legal marriage. This is contrasted with this: “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” (Luke 16:18) So . . . The act of remarriage is an act of adultery . . . Worthy of death. If the judgement is not executed, then the marriage that follows is God ordained. God takes broken “second best” and, for those that repent, like David did, He will make something beautiful out of it. “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Haggai 2:9)
That being said, no one has ever broken a commandment of the Lord and afterwards said – or will say in that coming day – “I am glad I did that”.
Jesus mentioning to the woman at the well about her history isn’t an endorsement of her numerous marriages and divorces. This should not be used by you to claim that Jesus is accepting divorce and remarriage when He clearly condemned them in Matthew 19 (also see Mark 10 and Luke 16). The so called divorce exception used the Greek word Porneia which has often been mistranslated into either adultery or fornication. Porneia mean illicit or unlawful. In Ezra 10:1-19, there was a mass putting away of non-Jewish wives because those marriages were “illicit” and “unlawful” according to Jewish laws (they were forbidden to marry outside, non-Jewish women) so the conversion and rededication, there was a mass “putting away” of these unlawful marriages. So again, a 10 year old girl is forced into a marriage with an adult male, would you consider that to be a “lawful” marriage (or valid or whatever term you want to use)? This does happen in Muslim countries? Have you ever read the novel “Jane Eyre”? Mr. Rochester was hiding from Jane that he was already married. If the marriage had gone through (which is didn’t in dramatic fashion), his marriage to Jane would have been null and void. Stuff like this actually does happen, not just in fantasy novels. These are the sorts of this that would invalidate a marriage. Do you see?
First of all, porneia does NOT mean “illicit and unlawful”. It comes from root word meaning literally “prostitute”. From Strongs:
g4202. πορνεία porneia; from 4203; harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively, idolatry: — fornication.
AV (26) – fornication 26;
It means “bad sex”, basically. Matthew is the only writer that acknowledges a “porneia exception”. And given that Matthew was so definitively written to Jews, there has to be related reason. You can be absolutely sure that the other writers did not just “forget” about the exception. It just didn’t apply to the Gentile world. And that brings us to the exception in the law for premarital sex committed curing the engagement period. Very unique to Jews. That is precisely what it means. Again, the same thing that righteous Joseph was intending to do, “divorce” his engaged fiancé.
I have pondered the matter you brought up in Ezra. There is no precedent for it. Marriage to a foreigner was NOT forbidden under the law. Boaz married his cousin’s Moabite wife – Ruth – with the full blessing of the Lord. Her offspring included not only David and Solomon but the Lord Jesus Himself. So . . . What prompted the folks there in Ezra to divorce their foreign wives is beyond me. When I brought this up with one of our most decorated preachers, his three word response was, “New Christian zeal”. Meaning, just like new Christians sometimes go to unnecessary and even dangerous extremes in their new zeal to please the Lord, these folks did something they should not have. It is the best answer I have heard to date.
Because Ruth left her people to follow Naomi, in essence she joined herself to the Israelites and became what we call a “convert”. Rahab who was Boaz’s mother, likewise joined herself to the Israelites and was a convert. That is different than the marriages described in Erza which in a mass rededication and commitment to the law, were ended. They were not converts or women dedicated to the Jewish faith. These marriages were forbidden under the law and hence forth ended. You and those you are consulting in this debate can’t make sense of it because you are not considering that there are marriages that never should have happen in the first place and were and are illicit. Ruth and Rahab were converts that is different from those in Erza.
If this is correct, why did Orpah turn back to her family . . . And gods? (Ruth 1:15-16) Ruth’s words suggest that that was the moment she “converted”, as you state it. That would, according to your calculations, make Ruth’s marriage null and void and hence no burden would be felt by Boaz or any of the relatives as a “kinsman redeemer” under Jewish law.
In any case, the NT deals with unbelieving spouses. They are not to be divorced. The believer “sanctifies” the unbeliever:
1 Corinthians 7:12-14
“But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.”
AND, to make a legal point, you do not need a divorce to exit a fake marriage. That is what an annulment is. Never was. David’s wife Michal was simply removed from her man by Ishbosheth when David demanded her back (2 Samuel 3:13-16). You “put away” – divorce – when there is a real marriage.
David Armstrong’s article explains the translation of Porneia. Since he demonstrates all the different translations, I thought it was fair https://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2016/08/matthew-199-divorce-exception-translation-bias.html
I cautiously believe he is correct inasmuch as he is pointing out that it is not a synonym for “adultery”. Emphatically not. The KJV and others focus on the idea of illicit sexual activity. However, again, my point stands. The fact that only Matthew mentions this “exception” – and he does so twice (Matt. 5; Matt. 19) suggests that whatever this is it does not apply to gentiles. There is simply no way the other Gospel writers forgot such a crucial sub point.
Well, when we reach that part of Ruth, both her and Oprah”s husbands have died, leaving them free. She obviously decided to stay in Moab and return to her family. Ruth clearly stated to Naomi “your God will be my God”, sounds like a conversion to me. I think St. Paul advise about staying with an unbelieving spouse is dealing with the situation of someone that became a Christian after they were already married. He does clearly state in other parts not to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. All these different situations in the Bible that we are mentioning such as Ruth, Ezra and advise from St. Paul all ought to be understood in their context and time frame. Ruth was during the time of Judges where there was a lot of chaos. Naomi’s family left and went to Moab which resulted in their sons marrying local Moabite girls. Erza was during the time of the Jews returning back to Israel and there was a reconversion or dedication to following the law and this resulted in a mass divorce of foreign women that probably were not too interested in conversion. St. Paul’s advice applies to newly converted pagans which was stay with your unbelieving spouse but if they want out, you are free. All these situations are not the same.
SO . . . the original marriages of Mahlon (Ruth) and Chilion (Orpah), were they real marriages or fake, in your mind? Everybody seemed to treat them as real, which, all by itself, made Boaz a “kinsman redeemer”. If not, then Boaz would have worked whatever other part of the law that related to marrying a foreign woman. The implication appears to be that God saw them as married, took the lives of the young men perhaps as part of the judgement on Elimelech for heading into Moab instead of staying in the difficult circumstances found in Bethlehem. Of course that left her free to remarry – I am trying to make a point that this votes against your idea that because the marriage was not completely kosher, it was not a marriage.
Paul’s advice does NOT define whether the believer was an unbeliever when they married their current unbelieving wife. I would go so far as to note that the careful language – not calling them wicked or “unsaved”, but “unbelieving” – could cover situations where a saved person makes “shipwreck” of their faith and, as Peter states, 2 Peter 1:9 ” … is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” Living like the unsaved, putting all kinds of pressure on the marriage. Your assertion that this has to be “newly converted pagans” is not supported.
While we are not to be “yoked” to unbelievers, once we are, other rules apply. “Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed.” (1 Corinthians 7:27) The context includes slaves in verse 21, so it points an undesirable marriage bond.
Naomi’s family left Israel and went to Moab. Their sons married local Moabite girls. The father and both sons died. This isn’t a question of if their marriages were real or fake. They were in violation of the law. The question isn’t if a marriage is “real” or “fake”. That is your term and it doesn’t apply to the discussion.
Forgive me if I misunderstood, but I thought you were making an appeal that dissolution of a “fake” marriage is not a divorce, at least in the eyes of Scripture. If the marriage between Ruth and Mahlon was invalid, then he was never really married to Ruth. Releasing all thoughts of “kinsman redeemer” responsibilities by Boaz.
I know we have been around and around on this issue but I have a couple of questions for you. While same sex marriages are legal in all 50 States now, do you think that they are licit in the eyes of God? Does your Church perform them or recognize them? Do you think a child should be forced into a marriage? Do you think that sort of marriage is licit in the eyes of God even though this sort of thing is legal in many countries? So while SSA and child marriages are legal, are they approved in the eyes of God? Do you think being married to more than one person at the same time should be legal, do you think polygamy is actually licit in the eyes of God? So my point in asking you this is that maybe certain marriages are legal and recognized legally that just maybe that certain marriages are actually illicit in the eyes of God and just maybe that is what Jesus is referencing to in Mathew 19. We probably won’t agree but I think I have made you think, I rest my case.
Sodomite marriages are not marriages because the relationships are condemned by God in both the Old and New Testaments as worthy of death. God does not specify an age for marriage, so I would find no basis to declare such invalid. Important people believe Mary was as young as 14 when she become the mother of Jesus and married. Being married to more than one person, multiple wives, is recognized by God repeatedly in Scripture, as you well know. I am not aware of any instance of multiple husbands for a wife, so have no basis to comment.
Matthew 5 and 19 refer to “putting away” or divorce. If a man found his wife to have committed fornication during their engagement, he had the right to have her put to death. (Deut 22:23-24) Or he could “put her away privately”, divorce her, like Joseph was intending to do with Mary. That was a kindness in lieu of the alternative. The fact that this was the ONLY basis of a just divorce for “fornication” is born out in that should the groom-to-be “beguile” – deceive – his bride-to-be into having sex with him before marriage, he HAD to marry her and could NEVER divorce her, for any reason. That really should settle it. No other basis, even adultery, would allow him to divorce her. (Deut 22:29)
re: creeds and Gothard’s base
On 1/29 above, Rob declared that Bill Gothard’s base rejected creeds. Who is Gothard’s base? the millions who attended his seminars? the thousands of pioneers in ATI homeschooling? If they applied Gothard’s teaching, these Christians thought about God and neighbor, not Gothard.
These Christians believe their beliefs. Creeds are beliefs. By definition, Christians are believers. Can there be believers without beliefs?
re: supporting a large family
On 1/31 above, Rob disputed whether a real estate agent could support a large family without resorting to greed. Wouldn’t that depend upon whether the large family were net producers or net consumers?
Obviously a family of slothful, avaricious mooches could out-consume just about any income. But a family of any size with temperate appetites is a joy to support, even on a blue-collar income. History and personal experience are full of examples.
“My Amish neighbors say that before seven the children are a drain on the family — costing money and time. Between seven and fourteen they pay their way. After fourteen they become an asset, bringing in profit. Certainly by the time a child reaches seven, he should be making your life easier. A houseful of seven-year-olds could easily be self-sustaining.”
It will be interesting to see how they cover things in the Amazon docu-series in the works:
I expect that they will give Bill considerable coverage.
If done right, such a documentary should seek input from both sides. Have you reached out to them to give your input?
A point on which we have found agreement is the need to release the report from the investigation, from which so many decisions have been based. Given its ostensible role in things, I find it remarkable that they have been allowed to keep it secret. If there is a platform given to Bill’s side, perhaps it could be an opportunity to get some attention given to this issue.
The report you refer to is allegedly protected by client-attorney privilege. That having been said, I have a source that indicated to me that he was told by someone who had seen it that there was nothing in there that found fault that would motivate a Board of Directors to separate from Bill. And I spoke personally to the pastor who made the most recent attempt to reconcile Bill and the Board, trusted and known by both sides. He was adamant that when he, meeting with the Board, asked them what their problems with Bill were, get everything on the table, not one of them raised any moral issue, any “impropriety”. The only issues brought up related to his mishandling of staff, broken promises and the like. They wanted Bill to “make things right” with offended members of his organization, some of which were sitting in the room and on the Board. You can see why this appears to have been about personal griefs and vendettas instead of any moral concerns.
No, no one from this organization has reached out to us. Others have reached out in the past. One gentleman presented himself as an unbiased brother in Christ and we assisted him in making contact with various women. We verified that he never reached out to any of the women that were prepared to support Bill and deny allegations – and he published – sold, perhaps for a handsome profit – a hack piece with unverifiable quotes from unidentifiable women, women that somehow, mysteriously were unavailable during the recent very public 17 plaintiff, $8.5 million lawsuits.
A more organized documentary maker was even more aggressively attempting to gain access to Bill and others subsequent to that. We offered some help but then backed away as we found nothing to suggest it would be any different. Sleaze sells. Boring doesn’t. But there is a Judge in heaven that sees all, knows all, and will render to every man according to his deeds. That includes Bill, every accuser, and those who might be able to profit off of the recent issues. Not every score is settled in this life. Which has only hours to go before it is all brought to a final end.
re: report from investigation?
Which report from which investigation by whom is being discussed above? A report from a state investigation should be available through FOIA. Obviously an investigation by and for a private party could remain confidential.
This is the investigation that the Board of Directors commissioned immediately after major accusations were made about Bill during a coordinated 2014 attack by the group calling themselves “Recovering Grace”. Bill was still on the Board and agreed. The investigation was done by David Gibbs Jr., Christian Law Association (CLA), fast friend of Bill and IBLP, frequent speaker at IBLP conferences, who was acting as IBLP attorney. The results were never provided to Bill. This was however used as a basis of a statement that IBLP published that said that while no criminal issues were found, Bill had acted “improperly” and thus was being severed from the ministry.
To this day this “impropriety” has never been defined by the Board. Board members and senior administration officials have told us repeatedly that they do not believe Bill ever molested or abused a woman. When we asked the Board provided us with three issues in support of their action. We investigated these in some detail, returning our findings to the IBLP principals that presented them to us, with no further response on their part.
The largest “smoking gun” there was an episode with a suicidal young woman that refused to speak to anyone but Bill and with whom he counseled late at night after openly and deliberately removing all other staff. The woman in question had threatened repeatedly to kill herself that night – She was “debriefed” the following morning and everyone was satisfied that all went exactly as Bill had indicated. Knowing Bill and his manner of life for 50 years it was stunning that they elected to tear his life’s work away over something like this.
And, as indicated above, when asked to put all of their matters on the table before the mutually selected mediator just a few years ago, no one on the Board raised any concern with how Bill handled young women, including this matter.
The likelihood that it will ever be released seems to us remote. At the very least they owe him a chance to engage with the matters that motivated the Board at that time, or an apology. 50 years of ministry should buy him that. We suspect that the Board expected that some part of the 17 plaintiff $8.5 million lawsuit would have “stuck” to Bill thus justifying their action. The suit completely collapsing was a result that no one expected. Perhaps release would reveal that they made a grave mistake.
re: on or off topic
Might our February musings about other men’s marriages, divorces, and annulments be off-topic on a page which supposedly asks when a culture is a cult? possibly and possibly not. Remember that an old synonym for “cult” is “sect.” St. Paul himself was not shy about his membership in a sect. If fact he almost boasted about it. When defending himself before Agrippa, he squared his shoulders and declared his membership in of the “straitest sect” of their common religion. Centuries later, we of the Christian sect struggle to find truth and consensus whether a given marriage is valid or invalid, true or null.
The article which Rob linked on 2/5 above makes a good point, and it illustrates the point Jesus made to his enemies when trey tried to entrap him in a marriage controversy. The greatest threat to marriage is always the hardness of men’s hearts.
Maybe yes and maybe no. People like the Duggars who follow Bill’s teaching very closely on the topic of courtship, marriage and all the rest are examples of cult following and behaviors. This very quick courtships and marriages their older children are done are questionable. This again relates to the current news with Josh Duggar and his wife Anna. I rewatched their wedding special, “A Very Duggar Wedding”. Everyone was on board etc. They were all following what they believed was “God’s Way” and this would set them up for a perfect marriage and family. The reality for Anna, was not. She claims she and her parents knew about Josh’s previous moral issues but I really wonder what all of them really knew and I wonder if it was glossed over because the Duggar were famous and rich. Anna’s parents and family were more of what is typical of large families just eking it along. So maybe it may seem off topic about cults but it is not and being apart of cult like groups often results in pressured forced marriages that don’t turn out so well.
re: pressured, forced, questionable marriages compared to what?
Was there any any extraordinary pressure, force, or haste associated with Duggar marriages?
Are Duggar marriages questionable compared to what? fornication? cohabitation? dawdling in romance? Is there a cult which prefers these to even the least perfect marriage?
As for haste, I dated Annette Conti for only a dozen weekends from the day we met, then proposed marriage. That was more than forty years ago. Many who were much more deliberate (poky) in their courtship have long since divorced. Were we hasty? possibly. But if haste in marrying is a vice, isn’t it among the mildest vices associated with marriage?
Really David, You were both able to met and talk and date without chaperons, you did not have TV cameras on and running for reality TV. You didn’t have an overbearing Jim Bob to micro-manage the whole thing. When people marry in a super haste, I often raise my eyebrows and wonder what else was going on.
re: unchaperoned love
Admittedly, I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Joe Conti had been more circumspect about whom his daughter courted and married. Fortunately the 1981 version of me was satisfactory to the 1981 version of Joe Conti.
Would I have withered under the scrutiny of chaperones? If so, did I deserve her?
This narrative of “hasty courtship” or “haste to wed” is patently false.
The Duggars and Anna’s family knew each other for years. Josh and Anna quite literally grew up together. There was nothing hasty about it. They knew each other very well.
It was in fact for that reason why Anna and her family were so easy to approach with the idea of marriage. There was common knowledge of the family.
The idea of quick marriages or relationships always comes up in these cases. But it misses the mark. When you have families that see each other several times a year at conferences, camps, retreats, and then spend more time getting to know each other through personal visits, the idea of the quick relationship is easily falsifiable.
Now that is also not to say that courtship is automatically right by default. The concept has built in problems, as does anything man sets his hands to.
But we need not misrepresent it. The narrative just doesn’t hold up.
Anna and her family are from Florida. The Duggars are in Arkansas. I hardly think that is growing up together and knowing each other very well. From the testimony from Josh’s trial, it sounded like he was set up with the other girl until she and her father turned Josh down. Anna met Josh at one of the IBLP conferences. It really is a question on what Anna or her parents really knew about Josh’s moral problems. They claim they knew, but did they really? Anna and Josh talk about when they first met in a very Duggar wedding which was at IBLP conferences. She knew about Josh because of the TV shows. A number of followers and pro-Duggar blogs have compared the time frame of all of the married Duggars from courtship to engagement to marriage and all of them have been very short. John David first met his wife at her Church where his parents were speaking at. They were married withing 6 months. Jim Bob was conversing about it with John David right before he was married and telling John David that this was “the very spot” he met and started talking to her 6 months ago. Any criticism of this shortness was brushed off by them as “she knew of him”. That is flimsy, of course she ‘knew of him” because he is famous and everyone “knew of him”. Maybe you find this all normal and healthy and the model. But you are the one that brought up the horrible murder in the ideal IBLP/ATI couple that were following Bill’s teachings and ideas. The Kellers and Duggars are also ideal IBLP families, following Bill’s teachings. Boths sets of parents were all in on this. I really don’t think the so called parental approval that was suppose to “protect” Anna from marrying a bad character really worked out so well for her. Josh was addicted to pornography that was never dealt with, he has been unfaithful to her more than once and now sitting in jail facing 20 to 40 years. She has 7 children from infant to 12. She doesn’t have a way to work or support herself. She is stuck. Really looks pretty horrible to me. If Josh gets the minimal sentence, that infant will be 20 years old when he gets out. If he get the max of 40 years, that infant will be 40 years old. She is facing being a single mom to 7 children. They will all be adults when he serves his time. This really didn’t work out so well for her and these children. You think this is a good situation? You really think all of the courtship rules and parental approval worked out so well for her? I would say the courtship rules, approval etc. didn’t protect Anna from marrying a pervert that has landed him in jail. This is a major failure just like that terrible murder you are familiar with.
The horrible courtship I mentioned followed exactly what I told you. The shortness is just patently false.
Tell me. You have experience with Bill’s conventions and conferences, as do I.
Has living in different states really kept people from attending such conferences? It hasn’t in the circles I ran in.
Anna and her family and the Duggars all attended these conferences and yes. They knew each other well.
Consider that they are also good friends with the Bates family, but they are in East Tennessee. Does that keep them from getting to know each other?
I mean. Really.
I am a big fan of criticism when it is based on facts. But I don’t believe you succeed in this particular subject. We have no reason to believe this relationship was rushed or forced. That makes this a narrative.
I myself have such a marriage, and I can assure you it doesn’t just happen. My wife and I knew each other long before we started courting. So did Couty and Krista.
We just can’t go blaming problems that arise in the marriage on the perceived problems with the relationship. Problems arise in every marriage, no matter the method or relationship that came before.
re: Bill Gothard and David Armstrong
Interestingly, Bill Gothard once caught some grief from fellow evangelicals for lodging the same exact complaint against the NIV as David Armstrong. In his Rebuilder’s Guide, he complained about the permissive implications in the NIV translation of pornea. Some evangelicals used this to accuse Gothard of having “a Romanist view of divorce.” But Armstrong agrees with Gothard on this point. If Christ had intended to create an adultery loophole for divorce, the Greek noun moicheuo was available to make it explicit. Our English synonym is “adultery.”
re: remote love discussed by Rob and JM above
Two of my daughters married men who lived hundreds if miles away, and whom they met at Christian conferences. One was an ATI man, the other was at a Christian military conference. I even knew a military officer who married a woman whom he had never met, but who was his pen pal while he was in Vietnam! They were devout, hospitable Christians. Whatever that has to do with culture or cult, at lease those were good outcomes from remote love.
“Remote love.” I like it. That’s a clever way to put it. History and literature are indeed rife with several cases of such relationships that went on to be very successful.
I do get troubled when I hear folks like Rob making such accusations. I do get it, though. Many of us have this image of a forced or arranged marriage where there is no knowledge of each other. And this turns out to be a pairing where there is either constant strife or just convenience – both spouses living together and tolerating each other but no real love.
But ever the skeptic, I question that concept. Where do we get that image from? Is it from fear of such a relationship, or is it formed from media interaction? That is where I say it’s a narrative. We can’t come to conclusions based solely on the narrative.
Problems can arise in these kinds of marriage, but is that because the concept is flawed, or because man is flawed? (I think I can reasonably answer that in part.)
One incident, no matter how horrible, is not cause to conclude that the entire concept is bad. We would have to look at the vast number of cases good and bad to come to that conclusion. Thus, we can only deal with those failures on a smaller, more personal level.
These can be difficult truths to swallow, but the truth is that important. Truth alone is what matters.
BTW . . . We did post a new . . . Post this week. Been a long time. Have a feeling there shall be more. It relates indirectly to the Duggar matter, directly to former plaintiffs and their positions.
I read it. It was . . .interesting.
This Duggar matter has been a real roller coaster. It’s one I really hesitate to weigh in on, but I do feel the half has not been told.
I worry people take a far too vindictive tack in these matters. Rarely is the truth ever as sensational as the media makes it out to be. Sometimes, it’s not as straightforward as it seems, either. But getting to that truth is the necessary quest.
For what it is worth, I thought Josh had a great defense. The jury didn’t buy it, but if it had me on that jury, I don’t think I could have voted guilty. I thought they reasoned it well.
I, like you, am not sure what to think. But there have been enough shenanigans by the haters for me to, like you, defer judgement. Folks seem to forget that not one but two adult actresses sued him for sexual abuse in the wake of his being outed on Ashley-Madison. Turns out – they had never even met him.
re: the ultimate remote love
We read about the ultimate remote love in 1 Peter, where the great apostle commends believers for loving Christ remotely, “whom having not seen, ye love, in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
Of course remote love can be healthy and real. But better still is the love of spouses who have forborne flawed spouses who are too close for comfort (not that I have any personal experience of this; my beloved has no flaws).
re: hypothetical, thank God
On 2/16 above, Rob asked whether forced marriages are right. This question this conjures up the comic scene of six simultaneous shotgun weddings in the old musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Happily, forced marriages are hypothetical in our western civilization. We may as well ask whether anything coerced is right. Is it right to force a child to eat his vegetables? Force is force; often unjust, but other times just.
re: lordship of marriage
Rob’s 2/16 questions also raise an old problem of lordship in marriage. I have sometimes wondered how Christians should handle this. In one sense, caesar claims lordship of marriage, but so does Christ. C.S. Lewis entered a civil marriage for civil purposes, but later upgraded to a Christian marriage. The Book of Common Prayer even has a ceremony for such an occasion. So when a pastor marries a couple, of whom is he agent? Christ or caesar? Ye cannot serve two masters.
I have often wondered whether government recognition of marriage is really a good thing. I love my tax status as married filing jointly, but having the government give us that opens a massive can of worms.
The government isn’t a religious entity and arguably shouldn’t regulate moral issues. Marriage isn’t first and foremost a civic institution. It is a moral one. Arguments are typically made for it in the light of government keeping perversions such as bestiality and polyamorous relationships as outside government sanction.
But having government recognize something as marriage opens the door for the opposition to wonder why stop there? Government isn’t a religious entity; therefore, why would it be concerned with the principles of a religious tome? Why wouldn’t we update our definitions of marriage as the times and culture change?
I argue that the whole reason why gay marriage was an issue in our government (and wound up at the Supreme Court at all) was simply that we had government recognition of marriage in the first place.
But what is the alternative? Absence of any recognition swings the door open for every form of . . .well anything.
I believe the Supreme Court should have ruled that government has no business recognizing a moral institution. Government will only recognize marriage performed by ordained clergy and official government offices. The burden then is where it should be – on the churches and justices of the peace.
Surely there would be churches that would sanction a gay union (and who knows what else). But instead of lobbying the government for it, the battle would be fought in the church (where it should be).
Those are my two cents. I don’t know that Caesar should have lordship of marriage. Obviously, that is the world we live in, and we have to abide by our laws. But I argue it is certainly not ideal.
I read somewhere that Alabama was considering a bill which would repeal state lordship of marriage. The state would merely register marriages, not license or forbid them. Supposedly this was their reaction to the sodomite marriage movement. I believe Alabama already recognizes common-law marriage, so they have a head start on the basic idea.
But Duggar marriages don’t interest me, except to hope that that they glorify God as much as possible. Similarly, what if if caesar wants to squabble with Christ about marriage lordship? May the best lord win. I know where I’m placing my bets.
They do. I live in the panhandle of Florida. Alabama has recognized common law marriage for a long time now. Florida does not. Some states do. Some do not. It’s up to the people of the state, and I like that.
I have the same mind as you on these matters. Whether any of the Duggars have God-honoring marriages is something that is hard for.me to judge. I want the best for them as I do everyone.
Ultimately we don’t answer to Caesar for our marriages. We have a higher authority. Of course, we show honor to our civic authority. That is what God expects of us. So we get marriage licenses.
But I think we both agree that the license isnt what determines our marriage for us. It’s what God hath joined together.
re: Alabama culture and statutes
Not only does Alabama not license marriage, today’s news says they mostly ceased to license firearms carry. Love, liberty and the pursuit of armament prevails in the old South. Yankees, beware!
it has been 12 years since i found recoveringgrace.org and read all the stories of how following gothard went wrong, from legalism to abuse. I have since done my own research and have come to following conclusion.
1—patriarchy is biblical in that it is mentioned in the bible as how life was run back then. slavery is also biblical as it was a part of the culture yet we in no way condone it today, neither is patriarchy endorsed as god’s will.
2- patriarchy is a result of the fall —adam and eve were created co-equal.
3-women can be anything god calls them to be
4-the NT verses eph 5 on submission uses 2 different verbs that mean submit—the verses where paul mentions each other and spouses that verb means to submit one to another. —t but the following verses on children and slave submission the verb is different in that it means submission to one in authority over you.
5- the hundreds of abuse stories where patriarchy was how the family was run. women were abused because men could hide behind bible verses that seemingly say that women should submit and men lead. – i have yet to find one story of abuse where mutual submission was how the household was run
6- the rules under patriarchy are legion. they keep growing and getting more stringent and strict. it is tragic that it now includes christian men spanking those “disobedient wives” (there is no such thing as a disobedient wife.)
Thank you for your comments. By way of response:
“Patriarchy” is an extra-Biblical word, like “legalist” or “narcissist”. As such it becomes a slur to denigrate those that believe that God has ordained wives to submit to their husbands.
The “fall” did not introduce wives submitting to husbands – what the fall introduced was the trouble of childbirth, and the selfish battle between husbands and wives:
Genesis 3:16 “To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.””
The trials of childbirth are part of what came in after the fall, trials which are designed by God to “save” a woman from the natural inclinations that came from her being deceived by and following Satan. As Paul instructs us:
1 Timothy 2:14-15 “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.”
The part that you are calling “patriarchy” is women submitting to their men. That submission is part of the order of universe, with Christ – “co-equal” with the Father as a wife is “co-equal” with her husband – submitting to the Father:
1 Corinthians 15:28 “When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
No, the new challenge after the fall is the tension of marriage . . . The wife “desiring” her husband, and him “ruling over” her. This word “desire” is the same word used for “sin”, lying at Cain’s door, “desiring” to have him, but he needing to rule over it. (Gen. 4:7) The word can mean to “desire to control” or, in a very human sense, to desire to have respond, love, cherish. Regardless, the Lord guarantees that, for as long as a man must work by the sweat of his brow in this fallen world, the tension in marriage will be a constant reminder to both spouses how much they need the Lord’s moment by moment help, and that, ultimately, all of our desires must be in Him, to be fulfilled when we shed this life for that which is to come.
As to rules abounding, we do not need to go further than Scripture and if we do, we are going to get in trouble, so no argument there. In terms of equality, we read:
1 Corinthians 7:4 “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”
1 Corinthians 11:11-12 “However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.”
But we also have:
Ephesians 5:24 “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
The word “subject” means: “to subordinate; reflexively, to obey: — be under obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto.” (Strongs) It is hard to objectively find wiggle room in there for anything other than very different positional roles for the spouses. When, again, we realize that Christ submits to the Father in a distinct way, then it does not seem so onerous.
As to “wife spanking”, I have no idea where that originated. Not in the Bible. I have never seen it or heard of it.
re: biblical sin
Is sin biblical? Much sin is documented in the Bible, but who is approved of God? Paul assured Timothy that the workman who rightly divides the word of truth is approved.
So why be absurd? If bad men abuse the Bible to rationalize their sin, is the defect in the Bible or in the men?