How False Accusations
“Worked Together for Good”
After 50 years of giving seminars on Basic Youth Conflicts in major cities across America, and in other nations, with over two and a half million attending, a web site was established with the stated purpose of destroying me and the ministry. One of the founders of the website wrote, “As long as Bill Gothard is at the helm, nothing will change.”
The founders of this website recruited young women who had been part of the ministry twenty years earlier and convinced them that I had “sexually harassed” them. These same women had written marvelous letters of gratefulness to me during those 20 years, thanking me for “being their best friend,” “bringing about the turning point” in their lives, and “giving them help and encouragement” that they will always remember. There was never a hint of harassment because there was none.
So now, seven years later, why am I rejoicing for their false accusations? The answer is that God has used their false accusations to get me back to the one message that He raised me up to teach and demonstrated with my life.
When I was a teenager, I quoted Bible verses to God while going to sleep at night. God promises that whoever does this will be successful in whatever he does. The tens of thousands of young people and adults who packed out arenas and colosseums week after week were coming to hear how God rewarded me for that nightly discipline.
As the years went on, I became so busy with ministry that I stopped meditating every night on God’s Word. God knew that if I did not get back to it, I would never fulfill His calling for my life.
During the past seven years, by God’s grace, I have not missed a single night of quoting one or two new verses of Scripture to God while going to sleep.
The results have been astounding! God has revealed far deeper truths on how the Christian life really works! I wish that I had known these truths 50 years ago. These powerful new insights have all come at night. I will wake up in the middle of the night and type them out.
The result so far is the writing and publishing of 48 new books and over 170 one-page messages! The books and messages have been life changing. In addition to this, God has enabled me to establish Embassy University, a free online university that has the authority to grant degrees and to guarantee true success. But the biggest reward is the discovery of my life calling which will have a major influence on bringing America back to its Biblical founding.
How Do Best Friends Become Bitter Enemies?
Before best friends become bitter enemies, you imagine that it could never happen. There is a mutual trust between you and them and regular confirmations of gratefulness for the friendships. You make investments of time and money in them which you freely give, because you are strengthening relationships that you expect will grow in the years to come.
Then, suddenly, and without warning, these friends turn against you. Communication is cut off. You try to find out what happened. Any information that you manage to get is given in a cold, adversarial manner. All past assurances of gratefulness and loyalty evaporate. There is the heartfelt sting of sensing that treasured friendships have been shattered and will probably never be put back together again.
No doubt, this is what David experienced when he wrote, “Yes, my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, who did eat of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9). He gives a fuller description of this heart-wrenching experience: “For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have endured it; neither was it he who hated me that magnified himself against me; then I would have hidden myself from him. But it was you, one who was my equal, my guide, and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together and walked to the house of God in each other’s company” (Psalm 55:12-14).
This was my painful experience seven years ago, when several of those in whom I had invested part of my life suddenly turned against me. But God had a purpose in allowing it to happen, for which I am very grateful. I also know that what happened to me has happened to thousands of others. For this reason, I want to explain the causes of broken friendships. Before explaining the causes, I would like to illustrate the strength of our friendships with excerpts from over 100 of their letters to me of their gratefulness for my investments in their lives and families.
Example number one:
In 1990, the Prime Minister of New Zealand invited me to bring the Basic Seminar ministry to his nation. The response was beyond anything they had ever experienced with over seven thousand youth and adults attending the first three Basic seminars, and over one thousand requesting information about our home school program. We needed a family to coordinate the ministry, and Rachel and her family volunteered to do this. I knew that they needed training, so I invited Rachel and her sister to the Oak Brook Headquarters for a year of training. Fifteen years after returning to New Zealand, Rachel write the following letter:
“Dear Mr. Gothard,
Nothing will ever change my gratefulness to you for all the time and care you have invested in my life. I can never ever forget it…the hours you spent with me straightened out much of my thinking and instilled the truths of God’s unchangeable word…You have always been a blessing to me, and you always will be, and I will always remember your kindness to me, your generosity, your support and prayers and the valuable time you gave me. God bless you, Mr. Gothard. Love from Rachel.”
Just a few years later, Rachel joined the group that purposed to destroy me and the Seminar ministry!
Example number two:
During a home school conference in Knoxville Tennessee, I met another young lady named Rachel. I recognized her potential for ministry in other nations and invited her to receive training at the headquarters. Three years after returning home, she wrote the following letter:
“Dear Mr. Gothard,
I want to thank you so much for your investment in my life…I look at you as a father; and I know that without the Lord’s faithfulness and your direct influence in my life, I would not be walking in truth today. So, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. May the Lord give you many more years to serve Him. I look forward to being with you at Oak Brook again in the future! Your Obedient Daughter, Rachel”
Ten years after returning home, Rachel got married and wrote the following letter:
“Dear Mr. Gothard,
Thank you so much for the beautiful wall clock you gave us as a wedding gift. We are really touched with your generosity…I appreciate you so much, Mr. Gothard! You have always let me share my heart with you…I’ll never forget (almost 10 years ago), kneeling with you by the couch in your office and rededicating my life to God. It was a turning point for me, and I thank God for using you. May God bless you with good health and continue using you for His glory! Love, Ben and Rachel.”
A few years later, Rachel joined the group to destroy me and the ministry!
Example number three:
While Lauren was at the Oak Brook Headquarters, I was able to help her restore a broken relationship with her father. She later wrote:
“Thank you, Mr. Gothard, for all of your kind words of encouragement to me and for all the time you took to invest in my life and the lives of others. I have a huge debt that I owe to you for your investment in my life. I look forward to serving you any way I can in the years to come. Love, Lauren.”
In another letter Lauren wrote:
“Hello Mr. Gothard,
Thank you for teaching me how to experience God’s blessing in my life. I will be forever grateful to you and for the many sacrifices you have made to teach me Biblical principles. Lauren.”
Lauren also turned against me and the ministry a few years later!
What Causes Best Friends to Become Bitter Enemies?
I have written a book from my experience entitled, Seven Hidden Causes That Turn Best Friends into Bitter Enemies. From these seven causes, I want to focus on two. These two causes are tremendously devastating! And unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to stop them. They determine “death and life”. They unleash “a world of iniquity.” They “defile the whole body.” They “turn the course of nature and are set on fire of hell.”
The first cause is “the whisperings of a talebearer.” How true Scripture is! “A whisperer separates chief friends” (Proverbs 16:28). Notice the word “chief.” A whisperer does not just separate friends, but chief (best) friends!
The one who listens to a whisperer is immediately defiled in his heart brain, and his or her gut brain that produces agape love and great faith is severely damaged. “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down to the innermost parts [chambers] of the belly [the gut brain]” (Proverbs 18:8).
My “chief” friends listened to false reports about me and that ended our friendship.
The second cause is taking up offenses for someone else. This also causes defilement and roots of bitterness. If a person is offended, God gives him the ability (the power of God’s grace) to forgive the offender.
God also gives grace to the offender to humble himself and ask forgiveness. However, the one who takes up an offense for somebody else is not given any extra grace. Therefore, long after the offender and the offended have been reconciled, the one who took up their offense is still bitter! God warns, “Look diligently lest any of you fail in the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up [from your gut brain] troubles you, and thereby many be defiled [by you]” (Hebrews 12:15).
My “chief” friends took up offenses for others and that caused them to become bitter against me.
How Basic Seminars Gave Freedom to Cult Members
At the conclusion of a Basic Youth Conflict Seminar in Long Beach, California, a married couple came up to the front of the arena to talk with me. They identified themselves as “missionaries;” however, they were really ex-members of the Children of God cult, and the wife was actually the daughter of the cult founder!
They both expressed deep gratefulness for what they had learned during the week of the seminar. They stated that the principles that were taught gave them freedom from all the indoctrination which they had received during previous years!
Every year thereafter, this couple re-attended the Basic seminar and brought other former members of the cult. Eventually there were about 35 in the group. We would have a meeting in the hotel after a session and discuss the basic principles of God’s Word.
After several years that couple wrote their story in a book entitled, “The Children of God: The Inside Story” by Bill and Deborah Davis. You can order their book on Amazon.
Bill and Deborah Davis would be quick to assure anyone that the Basic Seminar and the Seminar ministry are far from being a cult. In fact, they would state that they are just the opposite of a cult!
A FEW EXAMPLES:
- A cult draws followers away from their families. The Basic Seminar brings alienated family members back together again.
- A cult teaches their members to view government officials as “enemies.” The Basic Seminar explains that government officials are “ministers of God” and must be respected, prayed for and obeyed.
- A cult appeals to the sensual desires of prospective members. The Basic Seminar warns of the destruction of sensual actions and teaches how to get freedom from sensual addictions.
- A cult leader uses members to increase his personal wealth. The Seminar ministry never asks for money and looks for ways to give to those in need.
- A cult leader teaches things that are contrary to God’s Word. The Basic Seminar bases every teaching on the total message of the Bible.
- A cult leader demands total loyalty to himself and to his cult. The seminar ministry teaches total loyalty to God and the Bible.
For anyone to say that the Basic Youth Conflict Seminar and ministry are a cult is the furthest statement from the truth. This false accusation is, in fact, often used by those who have rejected the Biblical disciplines that are taught in the Word of God and are following a leader who agrees with their sensual way of life. As the Scripture warns: those who judge are guilty of the very thing that they are judging (Romans 2:1-4).