God Bless The Ones Who Speak Out …

If you came to Christ in the mid to late 1980s, you likely heard about Bill Gothard and his various ministries and outreaches, and even if his name was and is unfamiliar to you, it’s far more likely than not that you, as an evangelical,  were influenced by his teachings — which focused on authority, submission, hierarchy, chains-of-command, and such under his various “Christian” programs and outreaches.  He’s a favorite of most Quiverfull patriarchs, home-churchers, and arch-conservatives, and even municipal governments have incorporated his teachings on authority and service — stripped of their Biblical references, of course, but chock-full of his insistence that top-down hierarchy is the Gospel way, the Godly way, and, by Golly, the only way to instill order in church, home, and society.

It’s as toxic and disturbing as it sounds, as this report from Recovering Grace, a ministry of support to those fleeing the ruination Gothard’s teaching and conduct has wrought, illustrates:

http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2014/02/the-gothard-files-a-case-for-disqualification-x2/

The article speaks for itself — Gothard is clearly, by the Biblical standard of evidence, a predator and a molester.  He is a bully and a liar and a false teacher whose esteem in the Church ought not to have lasted more than about five minutes, if that, and the harm he has visited on individuals and families is incalculable.  May God have mercy on his victims — and mercy on a soul clearly in need of the Holy Spirit.

But I want to take this time to publicly thank Recovering Grace for their courage and integrity in posting this information.  They’ve provided a powerful, prophetic, service to the Church, for which they will undoubtedly receive great blessing from the Lord Jesus and great condemnation from His people.

See, we don’t like it when our heroes tumble, and we like it even less when someone tells the world about it.  The evangelical Protestant Church in the U.S. has for decades demonstrated a trifecta of bad judgment, non-existent discernment, and Biblical illiteracy that has lead it to elevate particularly vicious men to absurd heights, often not in spite of their bad teaching or weak characters or shallow intellects, but because of them.  Even messages that clearly don’t sound like anything Jesus ever said sound appealing to people convinced by bad teachers that the priesthood of the believer is applicable only insofar as it convinces you — or your “covenant head” or “Biblical authority” — to set it aside to follow them.

That such a message is not only an example of head-spinning self-promotion but also jaw-dropping theological manipulation is evident only to those the Gothard ministries teach are operating outside of their “umbrella of authority” — those divisive truth-tellers, unsubmissive women, and arrogant self-learners who, his defenders have already begun to maintain, are simply out to ruin a good man and spread division in the Body of Christ.  It’s unlikely that any serious examination of the man and his message will result among his defenders, but the rest of the Church should be grateful to Recovering Grace, and Gothard’s many victims will, I pray, take comfort in the validation of their stories.

They deserve that.  What they’ve suffered only reached its apex of horror in the predictable sexual abuse of young women by a man deemed too vital to the Body to be confronted or questioned.  These girls’ victimization began the moment their families welcomed Gothard’s masculinist, authoritarian, non-Biblical blather into their homes.  From that moment, they were vulnerable to the perverted machinations of a man who inspired unquestionable allegiance not only by preaching unquestionable allegiance, but also by insisting that any “disobedience” was simply sinful rebellion.

May God grant us not only a generation of Jesus-following girls and women who rebel — vehemently and vocally — from any hint of authoritarianism-as-Gospel, but also from men who finally understand that whatever pumps up their masculine thirst for power and privilege must, for the sake of the Church and the sake of all in it, be resisted with every fibre of their being as antithetical to Christ’s message.  I pray for Gothard’s repentence, and I pray for the destruction of those institutions that made his ascent to power even possible.

 

 

 

 

One Response to “God Bless The Ones Who Speak Out …”

  1. This article was very compelling. I am so grateful to understand that people, who believe in Jesus Christ’s teachings, understand that abuse of power in any form is a sin. Well written and informative.

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