Saturday, August 15, 2015

Josh Duggar's Infidelity Outed in Ashley Madison Website Hack

Posted by Sola Sisters

Screenshot from the TLC website
After being "outed" by the recent Ashley Madison website hack, Josh Duggar, eldest son of the 19 Kids and Counting Duggar clan, released a statement admitting that he was addicted to pornography and had been unfaithful to his wife, Anna, with whom he has four young children. As sad and distasteful as discussing this is, I feel the need to write about this in sort of an informational way, because I think so few Christians, who have only experienced the Duggars through their popular TV show, understand the Duggars' worldview.

When I first heard that Josh Duggar was "outed" in the Ashley Madison hack, I felt sick, and hoped that it wasn't true. This was before the information was verified. But now that it has been verified, it is not wrong or unloving to raise questions about the systematized legalism of Bill Gothard's ATI/IBLP teachings as well as the longstanding relationship between the Duggars and ATI/IBLP. Nor is it wrong to publicly call into question the problems that legalistic systems (like ATI/IBLP) tend to engender in their adherents: chiefly, there is no meaningful or biblical way of dealing with in-dwelling sin. After all, if you have a system to "work" for righteousness, why would you ever cry out to Christ for cleansing and sanctification or help in walking in obedience? or even for salvation, for that matter? You'd just get busy "working" the system, by cranking up your rule-following and hoop-jumping. Take note of the very astute observations by one homeschooling mother, Nikki Roscizewski, who said:
"Growing up in the home school circle I knew a lot of families like the Duggars. The problem I always saw was the pride of being ultra conservative and anyone outside the circle of ATI ultra conservativism was treated like a leper. We were a conservative family but we weren't ATI and we weren't proud in our conservative views. Proud meaning that we did not act puffed up. The kids I grew up with who were brought up in ATI now as adults don't hold to there views anymore. It leads me to believe that the things they were so proud of like not owning a Tv or the fact that they wore skirts and dresses were in obedience to Gothard not God. I even questioned some of my friends about there family rule about wearing skirts and dresses and they told me they were Gothard girls. That scared my dad enough that he said we would never join ATI based on what we saw in our own friends. My mom and I wore skirts and dresses and were very modest in our dress but we did it out of personal conviction not the influence of Gothard.........We need to train our children what is appropriate and not appropriate to look at. I remember watching the Duggars a few years ago and one of the girls and Michelle said they have a code word when they are out and about.. If the girls see someone dressed immodestly the boys are trained to turn their heads when the word is said. When I saw that I just thought that I want to train my boys to know for themselves when to turn their heads. It is a shame that your sister has to tell you when to turn your face I don't think your wife will want to do that when you are married........Christian parents (often) don't have their children's hearts because they only say "no" and don't allow their kids to know why. I have known too many kids that have turned from the faith because they never knew why their families did what they did. We have some great conversations in our house about issues of the day and things that are out there. If our kids can think for themselves from a biblical world view and know we are on their side and can ask us anything without being brought down, then I think our kids have a better fighting chance to survive all of the junk that is out there.......We have such an awesome opportunity to teach our kids to live in the world and survive the culture without being a bitter compromiser."
The Duggars have long been associated with ATI/IBLP, which is an ideology (more on that below). Unfortunately, I think that many who have liked the Duggars in the past (and yes, they are very likeable) don't necessarily understand this, nor do they understand the beliefs that comprise this ideology, and which undergird the Duggars' worldview.

Some of us who spoke up about what we saw as an insincere apology on Josh Duggar's part this past May when his childhood molestation of his sisters came to light were virtually demonized for doing so. We were also chastised for raising concerns about how Duggar's parents (Jim-Bob and Michelle Duggar) handled his molestation. It was frustrating, to say the least, to have been portrayed (by fellow Christians no less) as being "professional victims" and "unloving" and "harsh" and "unforgiving," simply because we said, Hmmm, not so sure this was handled correctly, and that Duggar truly is penitent. 

So this is chiefly an informational article about the Duggar family and their ties to Bill Gothard's (pseudo) Christian parachurch organization which is, again, ideologically driven, and is at its core extremely works righteous and legalistic, bordering on cult-like.

 Bill Gothard / ATI / IBLP 

➤ Bill Gothard is the creator and director of a parachurch organization known as IBLP (which stands for Institute in Basic Life Principles). IBLP is alternately known as ATI (Advanced Training Institute).

➤ Created in 1961, ATI/IBLP are part of a multi-faceted system which "sells" an entire way of life to Christians, with a focus on homeschooling (including ATI/IBLP homeschool curriculum), debt reduction, character training, Bible memorization and extrabiblical rules designed to keep sin at bay. ATI/IBLP conferences have been ongoing for decades (note the busy current schedule under "Events" in the attached graphic).

➤ Bill Gothard, a life-long bachelor, resigned in 2014 under fire from the institute he founded (IBLP) over multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and molestation of the young women employed to work for him.

➤ Gothard's view of grace is nothing like the biblical understanding of grace. He has historically taught, and still teaches, that grace is  "the desire and power to do God's will." This is works righteousness.

➤ Gothard has historically taught, and still teaches:
• An extrabiblical view of authority/submission 
• That only parent-approved courtship dating is allowed for teens/young adults
• Unbiblical views on spiritual warfare 
• That women should not go to college
• That victims of sexual abuse are to blame for their abuse
IBLP homeschooling materials: "Many surgeries are performed to correct conditions which can be traced directly or indirectly back to sin or guilt."
• That Christians cannot listen to secular music or go to movies 
• That pork should not be eaten by Christians  
• That Christians have a moral obligation to circumcise their male children
➤ Gothard systematized his skewed views, as noted above, into ATI/IBLP. ATI/IBLP are organizations headed by Gothard, and which produce and sell homeschooling materials. Thus, ATI/IBLP teachings, with their inherent legalism and extrabiblical rules, have been embraced on a large scale by many homeschooling families.

➤ The Duggar family (of the popular TLC show "19 Kids and Counting") has been associated with Bill Gothard and IBLP for more than 15 years. They have regularly spoken at IBLP conferences, and their daughters have been leaders with the IBLP program "Journey To The Heart." Many Christians have been introduced to the ATI/IBLP teachings through the Duggars, who speak regularly at ATI/IBLP conferences.

➤ Christian parents have been enticed by the formulaic structure of IBLP, which gives the impression that following the "system" will ensure that their children will become true, born-again believers ("insert Tab A into Slot A..."). This last one, as a parent, I completely understand: after all, what Christian parent doesn't want their child, or children, to be saved? But children aren't widgets, and there is no "formula" for raising Christian children that guarantees the outcome. If anything, legalism (i.e., following laws/rules for righteousness in God's eyes) causes the flesh to rear up more than ever, as Paul noted in the book of Romans:
"Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death." (Romans 7:9-11) 

 Key Points 

➤ Gothardism is an ideological cult bound up in legalism and works righteousness. And my saying that doesn't mean I hate those ensnared in it. It means that I've got my discernment filter set on "high" when examining anything said by any of its adherents. After all, they are speaking from their platforms as professing Christians,* and so what they say and do will reflect on the rest of us. (*Please note that I am not saying that ALL ATI/IBLP adherents are lost. I do know, in real life, some former ATI/IBLP adherents who were genuinely born again believers while involved in the movement, although they were, by their own admission, terribly immature and undiscerning at the time.)

➤ Lest anyone think that the annual ATI/IBLP conferences are just like the many other Christian conferences which take place very year, and in which speakers can and often do have differing viewpoints, that is NOT the case with Bill Gothard's tightly controlled ATI/IBLP empire. ATI is selling an ideology and an entire lifestyle, and their speakers are in alignment with Gothard-driven legalism, or else they would not be allowed to speak. 

➤ Christians with legitimate concerns about Gothardism shouldn't automatically be characterized (and thus dismissed) as closet liberals who hate homeschooling families. I'm saying this as a conservative, Bible-believing, young earth Christian who formerly homeschooled.

 Bottom Line 

★★I am sincerely praying that the Duggars (including Josh and Anna Duggar) awaken to the fatal flaws of legalistic Gothardism, and get out of it★★

 Miscellaneous ATI / IBLP Terms 

Gothardism - a term given to adherents of cult leader Bill Gothard's pseudo-Christian systemetized legalism, known alternately as both "ATI" and "IBLP."  It is not associated with a denomination or particular church, but is a parachurch organization.

Grace - as redefined by Bill Gothard: "the desire and power to do God's will."

Faith - as redefined by Bill Gothard: "visualizing what God intends to do in my life.”

ATI - Advanced Training Institute

IBLP - Institute In Basic Life Principles

Disease - According to IBLP homeschooling materials: "Many surgeries are performed to correct conditions which can be traced directly or indirectly back to sin or guilt." (online source)

Journey To The Heart - an ATI/IBLP retreat for young women. Two of the Duggar daughters have served as retreat leaders with Journey To The Heart.

Cabbage Patch Dolls - back in the 1980s, Bill Gothard warned (really) that Cabbage Patch dolls were possessed by Satan. (online source)

Pork - must not be eaten by Christians. (online source, #5)

 Important Links 

The Duggar Disaster (by Pastor Carl Trueman)

Growing Up Gothard
 (The Gospel Coalition)

 Additional Resources 

Pastor Carl Trueman: Concerns With Quiverfull / Patriarchy (Sola Sisters)

TLC Pulls 19 Kids Over Josh Duggar Misconduct Scandal (Aquila Report)

The Duggars and the Evil Outside (Aquila Report)

In-Depth Discussions of Patriarchy with Author and Christian Researcher Karen Campbell:
⁃ Quiverfull/Patriarchy, Part I (9 radio programs) 
⁃ Quiverfull Patriarchy, Part II (14 radio programs) 
⁃ Militant Fecundity (Aggressively Raising Up A "Christian Army") vs. Seeing Children As A Blessing (4 radio programs) 
What Are The Quiverfull and Patriarchy Movements? (Got Questions?)

Homeschool Advocate Michael Farris Responds to Sex Scandals of Homeschool Leaders Bill Gothard, Doug Phillips) (Christian Post)

Influential Patriarchy Leader Doug Phillips Resigns, Being Sued By Former Nanny For Sexual Misconduct (Sola Sisters)

Conservative Leader Bill Gothard Resigns Following Abuse Allegations (Religion News Service)

The Duggars, Bill Gothard, Vision Forum, and The Quiverful Movement (I am aware that some of the links in this article are no longer active, but this article still gives a quick thumbnail sketch of Bill Gothard, the Duggars, Vision Forum, Patriarchy and the Quiverfull Movement, and how they are connected)

 Midwest Christian Outreach 

A Matter of Basic Principles: Bill Gothard and the Christian Life

Josh Duggar, Mike Huckabee and Fodder for Progressives

Is Jesus a Sinner According to Bill Gothard’s Teachings?

If Bill Gothard is Wrong, Then What’s Right?

Bill Gothard: Who Knew What and When? A Question of Accountability


Bill Gothard’s Analogous Teachings

Bill Gothard; Déjà vu All Over Again

Bill Gothard and the Continuing Sex Scandal

Bill Gothard - Truly Repentant?

Leveraging Lunacy: How Bill Gothard Rode a Wave of Evangelical Goofiness

Four part series on Bill Gothard
 - Part 1, Bill Gothard's Evangelical Talmud
 - Part 2, Bill Gothard's Chain of Authority
 - Part 3, Bill Gothard and the Law
 - Part 4, Bill Gothard's Mystical Approach to Medical Issues

An Evening With Bill Gothard

 Websites by Former Gothardites 

Recovering Grace

Abuse Allegations Against Bill Gothard, Founder of Institute In Basic Life Principles
 (Dr. John Cornish and Kari Underwood, co-founders of Recovering Grace)

Under Much Grace

 Facebook Discussions Re: Christian Reconstruction, Theonomy, Patriarchy, Quiverfull, Bill Gothard, the Duggars 

Bill Gothard discussion - 7-2-12

Quiverfull / Duggars discussion - 9-21-14

Quiverfull / Patriarchy discussion - 9-24-14

Christian Reconstruction / Theonomy / Quiverfull / Patriarchy discussion - 10-19-14

 Secular Articles 

When Having Kids Is A Religious Experience
 (ABC News)

Quiverfull: More Children For God's Army (Newsweek writer Kathryn Joyce)

Inside the Duggar Family's Conservative Ideology (Newsweek, Kathryn Joyce)