One of the things that I do is spend a lot of time on blogs and notice boards and commenting on You Tube video’s there is a blog which I will not name here that challenged me to watch the first installment of a group of seminars by a man called Bill Gothard. Here is my response after watching it.
Okay watched it. I am going to be brutally honest with you. Bill Gothard could have made millions doing infomercials. There was nothing outstanding in his presentation that gives me any allure to his teaching. I have to question his anecdotes that he claims supports his 7 non optional principles as there is nothing by which they can be substantiated. The testimony from the psychiatrist and the story of the boy whose bones wouldn’t heal because his meals contained milk and meat together have no medical evidence to support them. This was an abuse of scripture in the first order which had nothing to do with the result of eating it the point of not boiling the kid’s meat in its mothers milk was a reference to the pagan ritual behind it. If meat inhibits the metabolizing of calcium then eating many greens should also be prohibited as the also contain calcium. The point here is that Gothard’s attempts to use scripture to support much of what he claims just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny either biblically or otherwise. I took the time to stop the video and compare the bible verses Bill quotes and place them within their context. Bill uses an acontextual ( Eisegesis) approach which on the surface seems fairly innocuous at first glance but can lead to wrong conclusions. The sales pitch is that if we use these principles we will have success and God will bless us. From the families I know personally who have followed Bill’s teaching I am yet to meet one which has had anything but hardship and heart break. Is it that because they didn’t follow the 7 non optional principles? No! It’s because this type of one size fits all, promise of success and prosperity has no more substance to it than the word of faith movement from which it springs. It lacks the razzle dazzle that the word of faith movement often has with it, but it gives the same hollow promise. It is nothing more than a Christianize’d version of all the self help and life coaching schemes that are out there. Let me know if you want more of my opinion. I am happy to oblige.
I watched it in fairness for the person I am in dialogue with. I have no ax to grind with the person I am in discussion with. I do have an ax to grind with Bill Gothard. I won’t go in to excessive detail about Bill there is plenty of stuff out there that one can watch on the internet should one choose to investigate him.
What I will say here is that I have seen the damaging effect of this man’s teaching. I have been touched personally by the havoc this man has wrought in the lives of families and churches where I live.
Having once been under the control of a cultic group myself at one time in my past, I still wonder how I missed the cues in my own life after having debated many from various cults including Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses prior to my own entrapment.
Cults and false doctrines can be very appealing from the outside. We all seek assurance, acceptance and stability so it is no wonder people are trapped by them. The biggest lie these groups foster is that they have the answers that everyone else missed. Or that they in some way eclipse the rest of Christianity so that if you follow their methodology you will reach maturity more quickly or gain better results from your church Ministry.
Much of this inevitably turns out to be very surface level in its approach. In other words it relies heavily on outward appearance. From the outside these groups appear to have the answers, they appear cohesive and stable.
Don’t ever be fooled by appearance. On the inside which you don’t see is very often a volatile thrashing mat of heartless judging of outsiders. They are often at each others throats in one form or another trying to upstage each other and compete for the place of preeminence.
If you don’t quite make the cut you are belittled dismissed and treated like extra baggage but don’t think they want you to leave. No! Those who consider themselves more spiritual use those in the lower ranks as their spiritual punching bags. This feeds into their own need for validation from those higher up.
Then you have the leaders and its guru at the top. You don’t question them or their authority. You don’t challenge their teaching. The rules and guidelines they apply to others don’t apply to them. Depending on how much you mimic them will determine how much grace or leeway you are given.