Over the years a number of leaders and organizations have expressed concerns over certain IBLP teachings which they have found unbiblical and harmful. Many of them have attempted to work with Bill Gothard to correct and/or drop the more problematic teachings but have been rebuffed, ignored, and on occasion attacked. We believe that certain of these teachings are at least partly responsible for the recurring moral failures of Bill Gothard and other IBLP leaders.
Prior to the sex scandal of the 1980s, Dr Earl Radmacher, then president of Western Theological Seminary, made such attempts and his associate, Dr. Ronald B. Allen had made attempts since at least 1973 as Dr. Allen notes in his May 30, 1984 “Issues of Concern — Bill Gothard and the Bible: A Report.” Dr. Radmacher expressed concerns about where the teaching on authority would lead. After the sex scandal he reiterated his concerns to the late Ruth Gabriel in a November 7, 1983 letter :
I have watched the development of the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts from its inception. From the very beginning, I have expressed in my classes grave concerns over the unbiblical nature of the concept of “chain of command” (similar concerns to those expressed by Dr. Sam Schultz to the Board of IBYC upon his resignation after 15 years of service). I have shared repeatedly with Bill Gothard that this concept is utterly foreign to the Scripture and exactly the opposite of that which is presented by Jesus Christ in a passage such as Matthew 20:20-28. The concept may fit the “Gentiles” and the military, but not Christ’s Church. Early in the history of IBYC, I warned that the “chain of command” way of thinking would lead to disaster, which disaster was exposed in 1980.
These warnings went unheeded then, and in spite of the attempts by these and other leaders and organizations, including Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. and RecoveringGrace.org, as in prior cases Bill Gothard’s consistent response has been to issue denials, attacks, and even threats from an ever more strongly entrenched position. This has brought the Institute to its current position. As fellow servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, we, the undersigned, challenge the acting President of IBLP and the Board of Directors and other ministries leaders, to biblically evaluate the core teachings and claims of the IBLP materials in partnership with a doctrinally sound and apologetically qualified seminary. This evaluation should include but not be limited to the teachings on:
- Umbrellas of Protection/Chain of Authority
- Meriting Grace
- Faith as Visualization
- Circumcision as a Moral Requirement for Christians
- Obedience to Levitical Dietary Commands
- Obedience to Levitical Marital Practices
We believe that it is morally and biblically incumbent upon all of us, before the Lord, to respond in a biblical manner which Bill Gothard has consistently refused.
– The signers of this document are representing their own personal position. The views expressed are not necessarily those of their institutions, organizations, or employers.