Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
RBTR 1:1 (Jan 2004) p. 157
Readers will understand that we are not able to supply these books.
A Matter of Principles: Bill Gothard and the Christian Life, Don Veinot, Joy Veinot and Ron Henzel (Springfield, MO: Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc., 2003, Second Edition)
Reviewed by Michael T. Renihan1
Precept or Prescription: A World of Difference
The Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP) has a strong appeal to many well-intentioned outwardly religious folk. This is especially true when the principles are contrasted with the darkness of this present age. Externally, the organization looks good, has a sense of morality about it, and through its apparent focus of family values has been found appealing by many who admire conservatism, modesty, and a system of prescriptions that seem to give an answer for everything.
On the inside, however, reality does not match that outward appearance. The volume under review starts the process of identifying the problems inherent in the organization and the means of leadership and control used by its leader Bill Gothard. The work is also about informing the Christian public of what has been discovered. Every pastor should read this book with a noble-mind and place it on the shelf for reference.
The Epilogue is a strange place to begin. But, it may be the place of greatest value. In this section the authors identify IBLP’s authoritarianism. As Reformed Baptists we must be careful that we do not do what we find ungodly in others. The issue of heavy-handed authoritarianism is always relevant. Gothard’s variety, however, is a bit bizarre. He is set up as the authority in a para-church ministry. In reality, he has no authority derived from the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus gave His authority to the disciples as He gave them the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16–20). As the Commission is to continue to the end of the age, the right way of making disciples must also include those to whom that authority succeeds. It is given to the Churches of the New Testament. The Book of Acts establishes the pattern and the Pastoral Epistles
RBTR 1:1 (Jan 2004) p. 158
confirm the place of legitimate authority in local churches. As elders and pastors were ordained in every place, the office of apostle was ceasing. Therefore, there is a succession from Jesus to the Apostles to the Churches to ordain their leaders. The place and legitimate authority of para-church ministries is, therefore, called into question. Gothard has no divine authorization to engage in a teaching ministry. He is not a shepherd given to the Church. He i...
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