With deep regret we feel the need to encourage the reading of this book. We are "insiders" who understand and have experienced life under Bill first hand (for 10 years) and have been under his teachings for 15 more. I have worked for him at his headquarters in Oakbrook, IL. With great sincerity and respect we accepted his material as "gospel truth" and applied it to our lives. It would not be fair to omit that we experienced many benefits for making the scriptures the center of our lives, as his followers are encouraged to do. However, the more I became involved with him first hand, the more I began to realize that the ministry, as it appears on the outside, is not at all what it is on the inside. Great inconsistencies surfaced almost immediately after "signing on". With highest regard for Mr. Gothard we over and over again (almost foolishly, looking back at it) gave him the benefit of the doubt; and this to our hurt (almost losing all our savings, our home, our relationships with our children and our health) as so many others have. Bill Gothard's organization has many devoted and sincere followers who accept him at face value. He is one of the best salesmen I have ever met...his apparent success, testimonies and achievements are carefully promoted (usually by himself). But what is sadly lacking is the absence of genuine love, Christ's kind of love that "seeks not its own", but the welfare of those it serves. He carefully maintains the image of a super-Christian and keeps himself on this pedestal by pushing away any who get too close and would dare to question him or provide any kind of healthy accountability. He is an authoritarian tyrant whose treatment of others is nothing less than oppressive, heartless and cruel. What's so confusing and keeps people coming back is that he can be quite charming and kind at times. When Jesus walked on earth, the greatest problem He had, was with the religious leadership of His day; for although they had an outward display of religious zeal, Jesus pointed out that a heart for God (which should be demonstrated by love for others) was sadly lacking in their lives. This error was so serious that Christ considered them His enemies - they later confirmed their "enemy" status by openly turning on Him and putting him to death. Great pains were taken in the writing of this book to be fair and accurate. Much room and allowance was given for normal human frailties. But as we have witnessed, the half has not been told. Having now been away from this organization for some time, I am amazed as to how blinded I have been. If it had not been for the pleas, prayers and fastings of my closest friend I don't think I would have realized my mistake before it was tragic. Sadly, most that leave are not as fortunate as I have been, but leave used, destitute, and disillusioned. This book very clearly explains the irony as to how this could continue to happen over and over again. The final chapter of Bill Gothard's life has not be
My Eyes Are Opened
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 19 years ago
I read the book, A Matter of Basic Principles, last July. I am so grateful for having my eyes opened to the truth of the IBLP ministry. I personally talked to Don Veinot as well as made phone calls to some of the persons involved in the incidents mentioned in the book. I wanted to be sure that the documentation, which is well cited by the way, was indeed accurate. As sad as I was to find out about the deception and scripture-twisting within the ministry, I will be forever grateful. A man in ministry should never be exempt from accountability. Those who are devoted to him will not even listen to the allegations brought against him, a dangerous practice indeed. All in all, the book was well written and well documented. I believe it is a must for all Christians to read and evaluate.
An Amazingly Helpful Book
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 19 years ago
I should probably say right up front that I'm nearing completion of my master's degree in Christian Apologetics. My emphasis has been on the study of cults, toxic groups, and borderline ministries. In particular, I've had a lot of exposure to, as well as personal experience with, the "ministry" of Bill Gothard.I should probably also share another observation: I have never met anyone who was not a Gothardite that thought that Bill Gothard was a responsible minister, faithful teacher, or solid Christian. It has been my experience that the only people who think highly of him are his own followers, who tend to be fanatically loyal. Futher, it has also been my personal experience that Gothardites mimic Gothard in responding to criticism: they attack, slander, and defame anyone who goes after their beloved leader, Bill Gothard. These personal attacks are often accompanied by lip service to concepts like "Christian unity" and "forgiveness." It's ugly to watch, but I've seen it, in person, many times. This ugly behavior is not unique to Gothard and his followers, however. It's a classic symptom of those involved in many similar fringe groups.I was not surprised, therefore, when I saw a few reviews on this site in which Don Veinot was attacked and slandered, Gothard praised, and Gothard's utterly bizarre book on prayer was recommended. I expected this exact type of thing, I'm sorry to say.Having read both Gothard's and Veinot's writings, I must heartily recommend Veinot's book. It is among the most gentle, fair, and patient displays of genuine Christian character I've ever seen. Don Veinot and his co-authors bend over backwards to avoid calling the IBLP (Gothard's organization) a cult, even though it has all the markings of one. They document, in vivid terms, their attempts to discuss Gothard's teachings with him, and his un-Christlike response to these attempts. They further document some of his teachings, which range from the strange to the extremely harmful. (Truthfully, they only scratch the surface here. Gothard's teachings are so bizarre as to be almost beyond description. Gothard attributes Noah's flood, for example, to the fact that people in his time had begun "dating," instead of engaging in "courtship" or arranged marriages. I'm not kidding. I have Gothard's booklet right in front of me as I write this. He claims that God brought the Flood on the world because people were going on dates with one another.) Veinot continuously attempts to hold Gothard accountable with grace, charity, and with a constant eye to the possiblity that Gothard might repent and see the light. Thus far, Gothard has shown no signs of doing anything like this, but the patience of Veinot and his co-authors continues. This book is a modern textbook example of the way church discipline in situations like this should be carried out. I would highly recommend this book to those trying to escape Gothardism, or who are dealing with friends, relatives, or churc
A Matter of Basic Hermeneutics: The Hollow Christian Life
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 19 years ago
I have been to the Basic Seminar many times, with my family growing up and then individually as a young man. I attended the Advanced Seminar at least once, went through the video-based seminar on finances in our church, the one on the Founding Fathers a few times, spent a week in Indianapolis, and more. The church I attended through these many years was very much into Gothard's ministry, as was I. Most or all families home-schooled with the ATIA curriculum and sent their older children on mission trips to Russia through the program.As someone interested in finding the correct approach to knowing God and living righteously, I wasn't as interested in the accounts of Gothard's possible personal failings (as instructive as they might be) in the Veinots' book so much as his failure to accurately handle God's Word (2 Tim. 2:15).I don't think it unfair to say of many I've known in the program that "they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge" (Rom. 10:1). I believe that my own spiritual growth was stunted by a hermeneutic (method of interpreting Scripture) that left the deepest truths to the inscrutable feelings or senses one might get while meditating or in the presence of certain objects (e.g. evil Cabbage Patch dolls). Those principles of Gothard's that seemed disconnected from Scripture were derived, I assumed, from mystical insights that I just didn't have, probably because of sin in my life.It wasn't until I got older, my involvement with Gothard's ministries wound down and friends from other churches began taking me to task on certain Biblical issues, that I was forced, like the Bereans (Acts 17:11), to really study Scripture, not just memorize it, or meditate on it, or find anecdotes to support a list of principles. Only then did I really start to study the Bible, not based on the mystical guidelines of a guru, but just by putting in the work to really understand the grammar used by the writer and the culture in which he wrote. I felt like I had been told for years to spend time in the gym but never how to use the equipment, never to actually exercise.I would consider this a purely personal shortcoming if I hadn't observed those who were experts in Gothard's principles and character qualities nonetheless stupefied by fairly basic interpretive or doctrinal issues, and if I didn't know many of Gothard's own principles to be Scripturally indefensible.
Just the facts, ma'am!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 20 years ago
Having spent nearly 30 years in Christian ministry and writing, I know that sometimes biblical deficiencies and spiritual ignorance that are propagated publicly need thoughtful, well-reasoned, documented examination and critique. There are few who do it well. The authors of this book are in that class. From cover to cover the reader will find evidence, logical analysis, first-hand interviews, balanced presentations, and kind corrective. Should I ever be a party to the doctrinal errors and hurtful practices such as those documented in Bill Gothard's ministry, I pray that I will be corrected and admonished as gently, patiently, accurately, and lovingly as has Bill Gothard in this book. Venoit, Venoit, and Henzel have demonstrated the best in biblical and doctrinal discernment.I usually am reticent about books -- especially in the Christian market -- that claim to be critical evaluations of a particular ministry, teaching, or leader. They are usually full of emotive language, sectarian bias, and would best be reserved for use as a journaling exercise for a Christian who needs therapy because he/she has been hurt in the name of Christ. This book does not belong in that category. However, a number of the negative editorial reviews posted here (nearly always anonymously) demonstrate the worst in discernment. The supporters of Bill Gothard who wrote these reviews demonstrate the very deficiencies noted by the authors.If you have been impacted by Bill Gothard and his ministries -- positively or negatively -- you owe it to the scriptures (1 Thess. 5:21-22, Acts 17:11, for example) to check it out by reading A Matter of Basic Principles.
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