Bill Gothard has reached a new low.
After bragging about his tremendous victory when the lawsuit against him was dropped, he proceeded, today, to respond to former plaintiff Emily Jaeger’s statement in a disgusting way. He not only revealed details about a medical condition that Emily suffered from, but even stated how much her parents had spent on medical treatments not covered by insurance!
He begins by stating, “I want you to know that you cannot say or do anything that will diminish my life-long commitment to serve you and your family in whatever ways I can.” But the rest of his letter is a below-the-belt punch that is totally opposite of a serving attitude. It would be one thing to share his side of the story. It’s quite another to reveal private details that the public does not need to know.
The interesting thing, however, is that Gothard ends up corroborating the timeline of Emily’s statement in the lawsuit. When I compared Emily’s account (begins on page 79) with Gothard’s letter, the dates and times match up. They even both confirm that Gothard bought supplements for her. Except that the lawsuit explains that she didn’t want them.
Bill Gothard Is Not Trustworthy
It is helpful to interject into this matter a little reminder. Bill Gothard has not only shown himself to be dishonest in the past. He is currently, at this very moment, spreading demonstrably false statements.
Last year, he revised his website. He included a new article entitled, “What I Really Teach in the Basic Seminar”. As I showed at the time, he not only misrepresented the details of what he teaches, he even changed his foundational list of seven basic principles!
I just checked. That article is still up.
It is not hard to fact-check Gothard’s article. Anyone with a Basic Seminar textbook can examine his claims and compare them to the actual textbook. You don’t have to have inside information or know details from 30 years ago.
So why should we believe his claims, now, about the details of the lawsuit, quoting from documents that none of us can access?
IBLP Stated That Gothard Acted Inappropriately
On June 17, 2014, several months after Gothard stepped down from his leadership of IBLP, the Board of Directors released a report from their internal investigation. It’s worth noting that this investigation was even conducted by Gothard/IBLP friend David Gibbs, Jr. Yet they reported:
…the review showed that Mr. Gothard has acted in an inappropriate manner, and the Board realizes the seriousness of his lack of discretion and failure to follow Christ’s example of being blameless and above reproach. As a Christian leader, he is to avoid the appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22), and he must have a good reputation, even with those outside the Church (I Timothy 3:7).
We believe God still desires to use Bill Gothard for His work in the Kingdom of God, but we also believe it is important that he be held to the high standards clearly taught in the Scriptures and upheld by this ministry.
The “inappropriate manner” and lack of discretion were severe enough that the Board said:
At this time the Board unanimously agrees that Mr. Gothard is not permitted to serve in any counseling, leadership, or Board role within the IBLP ministry.
This would be an overblown reaction if Gothard was only guilty of being misunderstood, or of something like “cleaning spilled Coke off of a female co-worker’s blouse”. But it is perfectly reasonable if he had engaged in more serious harassment.
“It is better to remain quiet and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”
I do not believe that we have heard the last of this case. But I suspect that if Gothard or his team speak further on this matter, it will only dig them an even deeper hole.