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Bill Gothard
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Bill Gothard

Bill Gothard resigns from ministry

Religion | IBLP’s longtime leader steps down amid allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct

Bill Gothard has resigned as president of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) and from its board and affiliates.  

The announcement came Thursday night in a letter to families associated with the IBLP’s Advanced Training Institute from David Waller, ATI’s administrative director.

Gothard’s resignation comes just days after IBLP’s board of directors placed its longtime leader on “administrative leave” while it investigated claims that the 79-year-old years ago engaged in sexual harassment and other misconduct. Attorney David Gibbs of the Christian Law Association, who has been conducting the investigation, did not respond to repeated attempts by WORLD requesting comment on the nature of the investigation.

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In the 1970s and ’80s, Gothard filled 20,000-seat auditoriums with evangelical Christians who came to hear his weeklong seminars on biblical principles and practical applications, which included warnings against rock music and exhortations to stay out of debt. His seminars, attended by more than 2.5 million people, were particularly popular with the rapidly growing homeschool community.

The accusations against Gothard became public as a result of the work of Recovering Grace, which has statements from 34 women regarding incidents dating back to their youth in the 1970s and thereafter. The statements concern sexual harassment and—in one case—sexual abuse that included fondling but not rape.

In Waller’s letter, neither Gothard nor the organization admitted wrongdoing. “Mr. Gothard communicated to the Board of Directors his desire to follow Matthew 5:23-24 and listen to those who have ‘ought against’ him,” Waller wrote. “To give his full attention to this objective, Mr. Gothard resigned as president of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, its Board of Directors, and its affiliated entities. The Board of Directors expects to appoint interim leadership for IBLP in the very near future.”

Waller said the organization would continue operating under the leadership of President Chris Hogan, who, according to Waller’s letter “will play an active role in the upcoming conferences.” ATI has events planned for Big Sandy, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; and Sacramento, Calif., in the months ahead.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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