Saturday, March 22

Controversial Thoughts on Recent Controversies: Part 1 of 5

Warning: You will likely disagree with at least one thing I have to say.

One week ago I stood before my dad and told him about the resignation of Bill Gothard: "The stuff with Doug Phillips is different, when you see the Basic Seminar, there's no way any of the accusations could be true."

It makes me sick--literally makes my stomach turn-- to think that the many accusations of sexual harassment and emotional manipulation made against such a Godly, wise, leader of ministry are true.

If you know me, you know this:

  1. I'm skeptical of most everything.
  2. I don't believe most of what I hear.
  3. I do my research.
So after hearing the accusations I chalked it up to another media biased, liberal Christian propaganda, 'attack the conservative Christians' story. A year ago I would have probably cared less. This relates directly to me now, after having finished the Basic Seminar, subscribing to Mr. Gothard's daily emails, almost daily viewing his ministry's sermons, advocating several of his books to others, using his character curriculum with the children I nanny for, utilizing his Commands of Christ devotion series, and knowing personally several families in his ministry. And as an early childhood education learner and lover of all things homeschooling I ordered a sample of the ATI homeschool curriculum last year… and loved it. In fact, the curriculum was so impressive, I seriously consider(ed?) adapting it with my own family and it was very similar to a curriculum I considered developing on my own.

I'd come across the supposed website "Recovering Grace" filled with ex-ATI/IBLP people in the past, but mostly chalked it up to bitter women who came from abusive and domineering homes, irregardless of the teachings of the ministry. Emotionally abusive fathers exist all across the country, but I fear many may lean on legalistic teachings (rather than faith) to validate their unGodly power. To be clear, a sub-sub-movement exists of supposed 'fundamentalist' Christians turned 'mainstream' Christians who spend their time speaking out against the dangers of legalism (ministries of Doug Philips, Bill Gothard, Michael Pearl, Voddie Bachuam, John Piper, and Nancy Campell are frequent targets whether deserving or not).

But the skeptic/researcher in me decided to look into the accusations made against Mr. Gothard. Maybe it's having gone to a super-liberal public school, or maybe the novice historian in me, or maybe the fact that my convictions have forced me to become an amateur apologist, but I had to research further. This wasn't another Doug-Phillips-infidelity-public-apology situation. Mr. Gothard hasn't made an admission of guilt of innocence.

Could it be true?

What I found made me sick.

Stay tuned for part 2 of 5 on Sunday

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