Need serious info on ATI and Bill Gothard

Discussion in 'Christian Issues' started by mamaof3peas, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. mamaof3peas

    mamaof3peas New Member

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    I just met a mom who hs her dc. she is using ati, and is very involveed in the bill gothard ministry. is this a dangerous ministry? when i googled, it looked like the camps are scary? it that true? does anyone know anything about it?? focus on the family said that they think he is a good preacher, but dont agree with him on all things??

    it is hard to explain. at first i was so excited, bc this mom seems so right for me. i mean as a friend. she is courtship minded, very strict in how they dress, and what they watch, very very conservative christian. so she started talking about the curriculum, and then started telling me how they go to all the conferences and her children attend the camps, etc. it seemed great. well, i started googling this, and it seems that some christian orgs call bill gothards org a type of christian cult. you know how we were just discussing the sabath, and how when Jesus came, we were not held by the laws and rules of the new testament, etc? well, he seems like he thinks we should still be held by those laws. first of all, he doesnt believe you should be able to divorce for any reason except if the marriage is incest. not beatings, not anything. his view of courtship takes all the choice away from the child. it isnt their decision, they have to do what the parents say,no matter how they feel about the suitor. he believes that we shouldnt eat milk and meat together, ?? cant remember, something about leviticus., he believes that cabbage patch kid dolls create monsters in children. he believes that demons are in a family line, and that if you had a troubled teen in your families past, you could be demon possessed. the camps have reports of serious abuse. He suggests that, unless they have parental consent, adult single children should remain at home and that married couples should exercise what seems to be excessive dependence on the counsel of their parents (even if the parents are unsaved and in spite of Psalm 1). he told married couples to abstain from physical relations: 1. During the wife’s menstrual cycle; 2. Seven days after the cycles; 3. 40 days after the birth of a son; 4. 80 days after the birth of a daughter; and 5. The evening prior to worship.14he told married couples to abstain from physical relations: 1. During the wife’s menstrual cycle; 2. Seven days after the cycles; 3. 40 days after the birth of a son; 4. 80 days after the birth of a daughter; and 5. The evening prior to worship.14 he teaches there is only a certain way a church service should be run, and to do any other way is sinning. here is his order, “1. Enter with praise
    2. Give sermon first
    3. Confirm message with singing and testimonies
    4. Examine self with Communion
    5. Unite in righteous prayer
    6. Conclude with the offering.
    Equally serious is Gothard’s misunderstanding of key doctrines. The Advanced Seminar Textbook offers “operational definitions.”30 They are misleading and wrong. “The Grace of God,” which is God’s unmerited favor, is defined as: “The desire and power to reproduce ourselves spiritually.” In this redefining and recasting of grace, Gothard does not even come close. The source of grace is God, not ourselves. It is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). There is no perfect denomination or teacher. However, Jesus warned us to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees (Matthew 16:6). This has to do with additions and the adding of human error to truth. It has to do with creating traditions and building into the texts what is not really there. It has to do with creating elaborate systems of practice that in the end are a subtle diversion from the pure Word of God and the New Covenant.

    ok, some of this i copied and pasted to not take so long, but this sounds like his org is very legalistic. like you have to do exactly as he says or you are going to hell. i dont know, help me understand this stuff. although i agree in theory on some things, i dont like the way he presents it. im just feeling a very weird feeling, something i have never encountered bfore, like the Holy Spirit is trying to stear me clear of this. it sounds cultish to me, am i wrong? help me out, do you guys have any other info on him?

    sorry so long, can you help me?
     
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  3. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    I've not heard of this guy - but that's not surprising because I don't watch TV or listen to Christian radio. (Am I out of touch or what?) Simply based on what you wrote, "leaven of the Pharisees" would appear to be a rather apt term. Does this man tell you when to blow your nose?

    Frankly, rules and regulations of this type (and many of them are sheer nonsense) come across to me as someone's attempt to exert power over others. I agree with you 100 percent about the grace of God. It is unmerited favor, God giving us what we don't deserve. It has nothing to do with desire and power (there's that word again).

    Still, I write this without having first-hand knowledge, so I bow to the opinion of those who have encountered this group directly.
     
  4. mamaof3peas

    mamaof3peas New Member

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    thanks for the input steve, i wasnt really sure what to think of it. i thought i had heard of him, but i think it was the scandal at one of his camps that i had heard of. oh well, hopefully someone will have some more info!
     
  5. Jackie

    Jackie Active Member

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    I attended three seminars of his a VERY long time ago. The first was when I was a student at Oral Roberts in the 70's, then again a few years later in Detroit when I was attending Bowling Green, and the last not much after that in Columbus with my parents. So what I'm saying is based on what I saw over 20 years ago. Things change, so it may be different now.

    At that time, I was very impressed. While I don't agree with everything he said, I learned a great deal from him. He spoke about authority and an "umbrella of protection". I felt his teachings were VERY Biblically based, and it did influence how I looked at things.

    HOWEVER, a good deal of what you said were NOT brought out at the Seminars. Now that may be because he's become more legalistic (which is what I'm seeing in what you're saying!) as he got older. Or he just "went off the deep end", or perhaps we're reading our own biases into what he believes. I don't know. If I were to read that on its own, without having my previous knowledge about him, I would be staying away.

    Edited to add: After thought, I didn't attend the Bill Gothard Seminar at ORU. It was too expensive for a college student at that time. They needed a Deaf interpreter, and I was approached as one of several (I had helped interpret one of President's Robert's Seminars), but the BG people only wanted interpreters that had previously attended a seminar, so I didn't qualify.
     
  6. Ava Rose

    Ava Rose New Member

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    I say what Steve says...lol.

    I would also be careful of what you read when googling someone. Yet, I do know you are an intelligent woman who is not going to believe the first thing she reads.

    It amazes me what people can dismiss about a person because they like something else. Ok..that was weird..like the Peter Ruckman guy that many at my church love. A few even went to his unaccredited college, PBI. (don't bother asking...they do not hold down good jobs or even jobs that take a college degree.) Anyway, this guy holds some beliefs that are off doctrine and out of this world to an extreme. yet, he makes a few good points...LOL!

    Does your friend echo any of what you found out? Where do you think she stands?
     
  7. Brooke

    Brooke New Member

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    My bestest friend attended his seminar (Basic Life Principles sound right, Jackie?) a number of years ago. She still has his book from the seminar and we have looked over it a time or two throughout the years. From what I've read, it is very biblically based.

    The info you got....was it from his own website? That is what I would do. I'd find his official website and read ALL of it before subscribing to be a supporter. I'm sure the Lord will lead you to the information you seek. He takes care of us when we are seeking his will with our whole hearts. :) Now you've got me curious...off to research...
     
  8. P.H.

    P.H. Active Member

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    I've been to several basic seminars, the anger seminar, and the advanced. I wouldn't have repeatedly attended if there weren't a lot of good principles. Like you, Jackie, I have benefited from the "umbrella" example. However, we began to notice inconsistencies which showed up in the reports B.G. sent to us "alumni." When he would be invited to another country to meet with leaders, for example, he would report the event as if only he and his organization went. Then, later, we would see him pictured in reports from other organizations as only one along with a whole group of Christian leaders who had been invited! Egotistical!

    He was dishonest when adultery was discovered among his staff. He covered that up. He has refused to submit to fellow Christian leaders who have concerns. You might want to read the book, A Matter of Basic Principles, which documents his track record.

    His views are very Old-Testament-like. The cult accusation comes in part because he will not make his homeschool materials available to anyone unless you have been through his seminars, he seems to regulate every aspect of home life, and because his followers tend to depend upon his teaching more than the Bible. If you ask a question of someone enrolled in his training institute (ie homeschool courses) they will almost certainly look up the answer in one of their numerous "wisdom" booklets, rather than in the Bible. Quite a few families in our area have used his materials. They hold him up next to God.

    Mr. G. has "everything" figured out in step-by-step formats so that you can find the root causes of whatever is wrong in your family from why (and this one really bugs me!) children who have been adopted have more problems (some of his ideas on this topic are totally unrealistic) to why you and your spouse may not be communicating well to why your health may be failing, etc. It's easier to turn to his charts, sometimes, than to search the Scriptures and rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you.

    What is worse, is that he twists Scripture, uses it out of context, and makes wrong comparisons. What I have learned from his methods, though, is to look at nature and see analogies to the spiritual. I like that. I also think that much of what he teaches has value, but you have to be careful. Very careful--especially of the way he uses selected Scripture to substantiate his doctrines, jumps to conclusions from isolated examples, and purports that his way is the Biblical way.

    A person can emerge from his influence feeling condemned. Either that or, if you comply, feeling self-righteous because you are able to abide by his principles.

    Oh, and by the way, he has a pleasing, disarming, seemingly humble personality. People love him. I enjoyed his seminars and allowed God to use them, but I did regret following his advice in certain matters.

    I hope my seeing some of both sides of this issue makes some sense to you. Because he claims to be a Spirit-filled, born-again child of God, I don't want to judge his Salvation. I do want to point out, however, that it's easy for a sincere homeschooling family, wanting the best for their children, to be led into bondage by someone who seems to have all the right Biblical answers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  9. Jackie

    Jackie Active Member

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    It's too bad the good, Biblical stuff he's teaching will be lost among the unBiblical stuff. Sounds as if it will be too much trouble sifting through the tares to get only a grain or two of truth from it.
     
  10. mamaof3peas

    mamaof3peas New Member

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    PH, this is exactly what i was feeling as i read through stuff, but i need to go to my mom friend and maybe just ask her what she believes about all this stuff. i would love to be friends with them and the other families that are going this route, simply bc we are of like mind on alot of stuff. but i dont want to become friends and then get ridiculed and subjected to constant berating bc maybe they think we arent good enough. i have not seen this yet, but ive only seen her twice, so im new to the family, i just get that legalistic feeling from it, like not being able to interpret for the deaf bc you havent been to a conference previously??
     
  11. Jackie

    Jackie Active Member

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    I think with the interpreting they wanted someone who was already familiar with the material. It didn't bother me at all not to be able to do it. (Believe me, there were PLENTY people MUCH MORE QUALIFIED than I was!)
     
  12. Lindina

    Lindina Active Member

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    Interesting. All I have ever heard of BG is what little I found out when I looked him up online because of a Duggar family tv show. In the tv show, they'd showed a little bit of Michele homeschooling the kids using this curriculum, and a little about them all attending a big homeschooling event. What I heard about at that time was how BG dictates that if you want to use their homeschool curriculum, which does not cover the same "normal" subjects as everybody else, the family has to agree to follow the entire lifestyle for as long as they use the curriculum: ladies skirts only and long hair, no facial hair for men, no birth control, and so on. Now, as I understand it, however, the Duggars are using SOS curriculum and not BG's anymore, but I really don't know what to make of that little fact.
     

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