Friday, March 25, 2005
Bill Gothard thanks his critics
Dear Mr. Gothard:
Thank you for the opportunity for unbelievers to express criticism of your ministry and teachings. I must warn you, however, of a group of critics who claim they could bring marvelous blessing and reform to your work if given a hearing. I refer, of course, to the hundreds of students raised in your program who have rashly turned their backs on the Seven Basic Principles.
These young people have made it their purpose in life to rid themselves of all your teachings. Worse yet, they continually speak evil of you and revile the Institute despite the 2.5 million people who have attended the Basic Seminar. They reject the precise meanings of words, and actually insist that "sin" and "iniquity" are the same thing.
In your book The Rewards of Being Reviled, you share important truths for resisting the darts of evildoers. I was especially blessed by your testimony of concern for evil-speakers: "I actually became so detached from my own name and so committed to defending Christ's name that when people speak evil of me, for what I believe to be a Biblical stand, I am "dead" to any reaction to them or the reviling. My concern is not what they are saying about me, but how I can help them see what I believe is the truth."
Oh, for the confidence to proclaim the truth as you do!
Of course, you have the strength to endure such trials because you understand the blessings of reviling: "When I experience the venomous sting of a reviler, it causes deep anguish in the pit of my stomach. If I do nothing about it, this anguish increases in intensity and in emotional grief. But when I ask God, out loud, to bless those who have reviled me, I can honestly say that the hurtful emotions that were there clear up, and that in their place I experience a sincere love for the reviler. There is also confidence that God will both bless me and deal with the reviler in ways that will bring glory to Him."
I pray that God will protect you from a wounded spirit and a root of bitterness toward these mindless critics whose only motivation in life is to tear down the Institute. They cheapen the grace of God by actually claiming that it is free.
Your letter to critics ends by saying, "I will continue to and welcome all the counsel, suggestions, or criticisms of the seminar message or ministry."
Mr. Gothard, I urge you to resist the counsel, suggestions, and criticisms of all ex-ATI students. Remember your own words in The Rewards of Being Reviled: "Reviling comes from a heart of scorn and contempt. It is the spewing out of anger and hatred. It is a verbal attack upon another person, given with deep emotional fervor. Its purpose is to vilify, to defame, to bring shame upon, to discredit, and to attribute evil and sinister motives to what that person says and does."
No good can come of these evil-speakers. They have left us because they were not of us, and God has not called you to waste time on these critics.
Remember also when you said: "It is particularly wrong to speak evil of a leader, Paul inadvertently did this when he was falsely accused by the council." These critics who would speak evil of your leadership deserve no quarter. They should be strapped to a little black box and have electro-magnetic pulses shot through their spirits, souls, and bodies until they are free of the bondage of criticism.