For Immediate Release
June 12, 2001
Resignation at Gothard’s Institute
Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. (MCO), a Christian apologetics ministry based in Lombard, IL, learned last week that a senior official at Bill Gothard’s Institute for Basic Life Principles (IBLP) of Oak Brook, IL, recently left his wife and eight children in order to pursue an affair with another IBLP employee. Sources within IBLP have confirmed that the Executive Director of IBLP’s Advanced Training Institute of America (ATIA, the home-schooling arm of IBLP) and his 26-year-old secretary left their positions at the end of May 2001.
MCO is not releasing this information in order to embarrass or harm anyone, but in order to express deep concern, and to invite all Christians everywhere to join in prayer for everyone involved. While MCO has exposed problems regarding Bill Gothard’s teachings, at this time it expresses hope that the manner in which this crisis is handled may serve as a model of God’s grace for the rest of the Christian community.
“This is truly a tragic time for the family of this man, and for everyone involved in IBLP and ATIA,” said MCO President Don Veinot, who is editing an upcoming book on Bill Gothard’s teachings. “We grieve over this tragedy and those who suffer because of it. This kind of thing could have happened anywhere, and it has happened in every kind of church and parachurch organization you can imagine.”
Veinot, who would not disclose the names of the two former IBLP/ATIA employees, expressed his sympathy for the family of the former executive director.
“At first we hesitated to speak out about this due to our concern for the family of the former executive director,” said Veinot. “But the more we thought and prayed about it, the more we realized we should speak out because of his family.”
Veinot explained, “I strongly believe it would be in the best interest of the Institute, as well as the body of Christ as a whole, for IBLP to take responsibility for the future of the wife and eight children this man has left behind.”
He suggested that how Bill Gothard and IBLP handle this incident will have broad implications. It will affect not only how other Christians view IBLP, but reveal how much Christian grace is available in IBLP either when people fail to live up to Gothard’s teachings, or when questions arise about the effectiveness of his teachings themselves.
“According to Gothard, if people follow his ‘umbrella of authority’ teaching they will be protected from satanic attacks,” said Veinot. “Well, here’s a man for whom Gothard’s way does not seem to have worked. Gothard has also made repeated public claims to the effect that his employees and volunteers are a cut above those found in other Christian organizations because of his ‘non-optional principles of life.’ Well, now it seems that even those who are very high up in Gothard’s ‘chain-of-command’ are on the same level as the rest of us.”
Veinot grants that IBLP will have some explanation for this, and that it’s entitled to provide one. Nevertheless, he expressed hope that in the process of dealing with this tragedy IBLP will not treat the offender’s family as an unwelcome reminder that, in this case at least, Gothard’s ‘principles’ did not seem to work as advertised.
“We hope and pray the man repents and returns to his family — and, of course, that his former secretary also returns to the Lord. But what if he doesn’t?” asks Veinot. “I’m not saying the former executive director should be relieved of one iota of responsibility to continue to provide for his wife and children. However, what happens if he doesn’t? He and his wife were obviously loyal followers of Gothard, since they obeyed his teaching that Christians should have large families. (They had eight children together.) According to Gothard’s teaching, she is not free to remarry, and mothers who work outside the home do not meet with the Institute’s approval. IBLP is a multi-million dollar organization. We hope it will realize its obligation to this family, and not allow them to slip through the cracks.”
Bill Gothard and his Institute have never been accountable to any church, denomination, ecclesiastical body, or to the Christian community at large. That’s one reason why, to many people, this recent tragedy seems like an after-shock from the huge scandal that resulted from sexual improprieties at the Institute in the late 1970s and early ’80s. Many people believe the basic issues that fueled that scandal remain unresolved, and this new incident is evidence of that. Veinot, however, indicated that not enough is presently known about this latest incident to conclude there is a connection.
contact Don Veinot by phone at (630) 627-9028,
or by email at CULTSRUS@aol.com.