Bill Gothard’s New Program/Ministry: Total Success Power Teams

Narcissists and legalists rarely quit. That’s because they don’t believe they are ever wrong and don’t understand the propriety of stepping back. They are usually driven by their need for affirmation and control.

Now, I am not accusing anyone in particular of being anything in particular here, but I wanted to pass on this information from Julie Anne at Spiritual Sounding Board. This came through on Recovering Grace without more information, but the rest of the story is here. What do you think?

Spiritual Sounding Board

Bill Gothard launches new accountability ministry/program: Total Success Power Teams


A few weeks ago, I was given some information regarding a new “program” that Bill Gothard is promoting.  I was shocked that he’d want to get back in the saddle of ministry work so soon after resigning from the Board of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP)   Gothard founded IBLP in 1961 but was banned from participation due to accusations of sexual harassment from more than 30 women. The  IBLP Board did eventually clear him of what they called “criminal activity,” leaving unanswered questions. (Source).

I think it is important to show a timeline of events related to Gothard’s scandal:


March 5, 2014 -Mr. Gothard indicated that he wanted to follow Matthew 5:23-24 and listen to those who have “ought [sic] against” him. In considering what was in the best interests of the Institute, the Board of…

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14 responses to “Bill Gothard’s New Program/Ministry: Total Success Power Teams

  1. newlyanonymous

    I’m thankful that you post things like this so we who are forced by situation to have to continue to deal with an abuser are continually reminded to be on guard and vigilant. Even when presenting themselves as contrite or repentant, it’s wise to let the passage of time reveal true repentance from the false presentation we know all too well. Your first paragraph sums it all up beautifully.

  2. Kathy H

    I think that is sick behavior and very typical of abusers. They never quit. As newlyanonymous stated above, “we always need to be on guard and vigilant”. When I was young, my uncle the marine biologist always told us while at the beach: “Never turn your back on the ocean; you can’t predict it and it’s not a safe animal.” So it is for abusers & their victims.

  3. Ann

    I attended 3 of Gothard’s Basic Seminars. Two years ago I threw out my “syllabus”; the notebook containing preprinted outlines and the notes I took during the seminars. I was unburdening myself from all that legalism and patriarchy spirit. Doing this coincided with facing the truth that my Christian husband holds *ill* will towards me and abuse is what he perpetrated against me in all it’s forms.

    2 sources of oppression exposed for the freedom of one, me.

  4. UnForsaken

    The title of the new ‘program’ seems unreal in it’s tone, but I once knew a N who talked just like that. Never trust the repentance of someone who still talks in grandiose terms. ‘ Success!’

    Only thirty woman may have had allegations, but there have to be So many more.

    Ann, I was never part of IBLP, but did read some of their material . Hopefully I threw it away too. Freedom! Yes, I got some good out of it, but since then I’ve learned we can get good out of almost anything… long as God is the One teaching us. The horrifying but blessed thing is to look back and see what He saved me from in that program. SOOO glad you got out!

  5. Jennifer

    There is a difference between worldly sorrow (for everyone else’s benefit) and godly repentance (for God’s sake and therefore also for the sake of the Body of Christ, the Church). Change takes time. Time is NOT 3 months. 😛 Therefore this is probably worldly sorrow (Oh dear god, I got caught out!) rather than godly repentance (Oh dear God, against you only have I sinned).

    Gotcha, Bill. 😛

  6. Damage control, part 2= Narcissistic Apologies (2)! This whole sordid affair plays out as a real-world example of narcissism unleashed. The statement by the IBLP reads like a narc organization unwilling to smash their idol[s] (i.e.: “we believe that God still desires to use Bill Gothard for His work”) using carefully worded platitudes designed to make them look good (image is everything); oblique references to the victims lacking in empathy and pushing reconciliation (i.e.: “We also know that the Word of God teaches that believers should have a good conscience toward God and men (Acts 24:16). We want to encourage reconciliation within families and are very supportive of efforts toward reconciliation with Mr. Gothard or with IBLP.”) while at the same time defending Gothard (“no criminal activity has been discovered”). As Dave has said before, the narc apology has the narc at its center “I am hurting”, not the victim “YOU are hurting”. It is so classic: hold the victims to a higher standard than the perpetrator: demand that they have a “good conscience”, push the victims to reconcile without providing them any tangible resources such as abuse counsellors, while giving Gothard a support system of “Christian leaders who will direct his reconciliation process”. So the abuser gets coddled by a group who is invested in repairing his image, while the victims’ voices are shouted down & silenced by carefully selected verses designed to induce guilt & make them stop. They have no value, b/c after all, there was nothing “criminal”. This reminds me of Dave’s excellent post on narcissistic apologies: “Understand that the purpose of the narcissistic apology is not to admit the offense and lessen your pain. The purpose of the narcissistic apology is to get you to shut up.”

    • Mylifen0w

      EXCELLENT observations Penny. The I am hurting vs YOU are hurting one especially hits home with me.

    • MovingOn

      Yes!! Exactly right. Unfortunately I think it might take someone who has been through the narcissistic abuse to recognize the patterns…the patterns of the narcissist as well as the “yes-men” around him who “coddle” him – all the while the one(s) being silenced suffering in pain and isolation. And within the “church,” especially when it comes to sexual offense, speaking up causes you to lose all credibility and perhaps accept the isolation, the shunning, the pain, as being deserved for sinful actions. This is NOT how Jesus treated those in sinful relationships. And lastly, “reinstating” someone in ministry when they haven’t reconciled/apologized or there isn’t evidence of a changed heart/life hurts WORSE those who have suffered under their hand. It almost feels like God chose one over the other because of their status. I hope this comment made sense, just wanted to affirm Penny in her dead-on comments!

  7. Finallyfree

    I’m torn about this posting. No, I don’t like the idea of an abuser who will not turn from his ways, but I am also a sinner who is dependent upon the grace of God. One of the most challenging and beautiful passages of the love chapter is…..”(love) rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” No matter how repulsive the action, I don’t like it when warning turns to judging…..something I felt myself doing when reading this article. Otherwise, aren’t we falling into the same trap?

    • Finallyfree, I understand your concern. We are called to love. Yet, we are also called to protect those who lack knowledge. I have a friend who is a convicted child molester. He has paid a great price for his actions. I wish the best for him, especially in his walk with the Lord. But, if I hear that he is working with children, I will sound the alarm. In the same way, I published this so that people could see how certain kinds of people just can’t seem to stop putting themselves in situations where their flesh will hurt others, and so that those who are unaware of Gothard’s methods and problems would have a warning. I know that some people do rejoice in the fall and suffering of others, particularly those who hurt them. I know that some of the comments on the many blogs that carried this information have been less than loving. Really, that’s understandable and doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t post the information. I have written very little about my feelings on Gothard and his work. This is just a “heads-up.”

  8. FinallyFree: No, we are not falling into the same trap. A.W. Tozer once said that “we need the whole Bible to be a whole Christian”. It is important to read the whole Bible to understand “love” in context. 1 Cor 13 has often been misconstrued (especially by those who refuse to repent) that “love” does not judge. And yet, a few chapters back, in 1 Cor 5, Paul reproves the Church for tolerating the immorality of one of its members! In 1 Cor 5:9, Paul says “not to associate with immoral people” but is careful to say “not the immoral people of the world [ie:unbelievers] but actually “not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be immoral…covetous…idolator…reviler…swindler…not even to eat with him”! But here’s the kicker: are ARE called to judge those within the church and to “remove the wicked from among yourselves.” Peter says the same thing in 1 Peter 4:17~ “it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God”. James 3:1 says “let not many of you become teachers, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgement”. Ephesians 5 tells us to walk in the light and “do not participate in deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them”. Jude warns us to “contend earnestly for the faith” by rejecting those who “turn the grace of God into licentiousness” and describes them as “following their own lusts, they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining and advantage…these are the ones who cause divisions, worldly minded, devoid of the Spirit”. Titus tells us to “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemend”. Finally, in 2 John (the “Beloved disciple”, who said much about “love”) John writes that “if anyone …does not bring the teachings of Christ. do not receive him into your house, do not give him a greeting, for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds”. These things are all written to believers, to the Church, not the world. We are absolutely called to expose those who harm the Truth! We are called to judge them. I have no interest in participating in the evil deeds of those who distort the message of Christ, who believe they are above reproach, who use the Word of God to take advantage of people, and refuse to repent. If we really LOVE the Truth, if we love Jesus, then “rejoicing in the truth” in 1 Cor 13 means to love Jesus more than men, and to expose their error so that we don’t “rejoice in iniquity”. We are called to speak the Truth, even if it is uncomfortable, even if we are then accused of “judging”. We ARE called to judge those who claim Christ but pervert the gospel. May the Lord rebuke them.

  9. Narcissists is just an egoistic show off. We are all humans who have feelings.

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