News: Bill Gothard’s Mea Culpa

News: Bill Gothard’s Mea Culpa April 18, 2014

A statement from Bill Gothard has gone up on his website in the last 24 hours in which he attempts to explain himself.

I have withheld this statement in order to honor the request of the Board of Directors to wait until an initial review has taken place. As the review continues, I now want to make this statement.

God has brought me to a place of greater brokenness than at any other time in my life. It is a grief to realize how my pride and insensitivity have affected so many people. I have asked the Lord to reveal the underlying causes and He is doing this.

For many years I have been building the Institute but losing my first love for the Lord. God warns “I know thy works, and thy labour . . . Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent. . . ” (Revelation 2:2, 4, 5). I was finding value and affirmation from the accomplishments of the ministry and those involved in it instead of filling this void in my life with God and His love. I have repented in deep sorrow. However, over the years many people have been offended in different ways because of my lack of genuine love.

I put the Institute and its goals ahead of people and their needs. Standards became more important than relationships. People who didn’t “measure up” were cut off and those who were not seen as adding value to the ministry were treated as though they were expendable. The more I have listened to people describe their experiences the more grieved and sorrowful I have become.

My wrong focus produced a further consequence. Families were made to feel that they must “measure up.” This resulted in some parents putting undue pressure on their sons and daughters in order for the family to be accepted. When there was a lack of love or consistency, sons and daughters saw this as hypocrisy and rejected it. Also, many felt that the expectations where so high that they could never measure up to them. This resulted in a feeling of deep defeat.

This emphasis on outward appearance was also manifested by bringing selected young people to serve at the Headquarters and causing others to feel rejected and offended by my favoritism. My actions of holding of hands, hugs, and touching of feet or hair with young ladies crossed the boundaries of discretion and were wrong. They demonstrated a double-standard and violated a trust. Because of the claims about me I do want to state that I have never kissed a girl nor have I touched a girl immorally or with sexual intent.

I have failed to live out some of the very things that I have taught. I am committed to learning from my failures by God’s grace and mercy, and do what I can to help bring about Biblical reconciliation as Jesus commands: “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

More than anything I want to make right what I have done wrong and deepen my relationship with the Lord. I trust in God’s undeserved mercy and pray that those whom I have offended would find grace to forgive me. I know that I do not deserve this. I would certainly appreciate your prayers during this time that God would bring healing to those who have been so deeply affected by my actions. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had thus far to be reconciled with individuals and it is my goal to contact as many others as I can, fully hear them, and do whatever I can to bring about Biblical reconciliation.

My greatest offense has been against God. I have earnestly sought His mercy and forgiveness and have asked Him to allow me to experience more of Him and the power of His resurrection.

Bill Gothard

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Nea

    I handled only the pretty hand-picked girls, but it wasn’t sexual. My greatest offense is against god, because the girls don’t count and don’t have a real complaint.

    Real good apology there. *eyeroll*

  • Astrin Ymris

    Some mea culpa! “I cared too much about people instead of God, and some young people who were denied love by their parents misinterpreted my physical affection as being sexual, which it totally wasn’t.”

    I’ve read that it’s quite common for child molesters to blame their depredations on parents who didn’t give their kids enough hugs or attention. Gothard manages to go beyond that by blaming emotionally neglectful parents while denying any actual wrongdoing.

  • JustJane

    Touched the feet? I’ve never been in any platonic relationships where someone has touched my feet. How would that even come up?

  • Allison the Great

    Well, he is right that his ministry has caused a lot of damage to various families who were trying to be something they were not. What he fails to do is take any real responsibility. He denies doing what he had done to those girls, which shows that he doesn’t really think that what he had done is a bad thing, he’s just saying these things to cover his ass.

    Is anyone else bothered whenever some fundamentalist or Real Christian ™ uses a bunch of scripture in their apologies or really anything they write? To me, when someone does that, it shows that they’re insincere, because first of all, the words in scripture are not their own, and it all it does is indicate that the person writing the apology/blog post/whatever is just trying to show how much of the bible they read. It doesn’t seem genuine. It seems even less genuine with this guy, because I know that he doesn’t really mean what he says and he’s just trying to appeal to an audience.

  • Trollface McGee

    Wow… what an apology…not. “God tarnished my reputation as a test/because I work too hard/because I love God so much and I’ve offended God but I haven’t done anything wrong or sexual. I’m sorry I made families live up to “high expectations.”
    No mention of the victims, no mention of the toxic environment his teachings have created, no apology, no talk about changing the fundamental doctrine that leads to this kind of thing happening every day. Just covering his bases so he’s made amends to God and so he can be forgiven out of Christian duty. Pathetic.

  • I love the word: pervert.

  • SAO

    “My greatest offense has been against God” and “I trust in God’s . . . Mercy”

    How soon do you think he’s going to declare God forgave him? And that anyone who doubts him is doubting God’s grace?

  • Nea

    I think we can count that moment coming in days, not weeks. Phillips is close to playing that card himself, I’m betting he’ll do so before the trial date.

  • jkarov

    Any minute now, Bill Gothard is going to declare himself forgiven, and start all over again with the same routine.

    He’ll be like thousands of others taking advantage of gullible fools that send their money and their kids to his care.

  • Christie

    A non-apology apology. It was carefully calculated to bring back the wavering while not putting himself in any actual trouble.

  • ILoveJellybeans

    Never touched a girl in a sexual manner?
    The fact that he did it in private means he knows it is wrong and did it anyway.