198 thoughts on “Gothard: There’s No Such Thing as a Victim”

  1. This isn’t uncommon in the Fundy world. When I attended BJU my Freshman year, I had an Orientation class with the Dean of Students, Jim Berg. 

    I was allowing my mind to wander off one day, my daily routine, when something Berg said grabbed my attention. He was talking about his wife. He said if a man knocked on his door and announced that he was there to beat Berg’s wife because she was a Christian, Berg would step aside and let it happen. He said he wouldn’t stand in the way of the heavenly reward she would get for being persecuted for Jesus.  I was shocked. I’m sitting there thinking about all of the levels this was messed up on.  Obviously, it was straight crazy. Secondly, why wasn’t he pontificating about HIM getting beat up for HIS Christianity. Lastly, if it was legit on any level, which it can’t be, why would he share the story bragging about his supposed level of  commitment to his faith??  I was 18 at the time, but all I could think about was how much I wanted to beat his ass. 

    I can’t imagine King David or Samson, or any other MAN in the Bible “stepping aside” to allow another man to physically attack their wife. David was the closest person to God’s heart, and he was a straight up warrior. Jim Berg is a straight up modern-day Pharisee. 

    1. Somebody should write an opera or something about Jim Berg.

      If somebody said he wanted to beat my wife for ANY reason whatever (and meant it), I’d smack him with a two by four (or the nearest heavy object). And I’m a pacifist.
      Surely ANY man worthy of the name would do the same.

      1. Beating up my wife would be a very fatal mistake for any aggressor…His last mistake!

    2. Gotta give him some credit – that is the most creative excuse for cowardice I’ve ever seen!

    3. Dear Jim Berg:

      Is this your idea of loving and honoring your wife?

      Do you believe that she felt honored when word of your despicable behavior reached her ear?

      I may be a pacifist, Mr. Berg. But you are an unmitigated coward. Even if you don’t raise a hand against this attacker, you could at least have the decency to bar entry by standing in the door and taking the beating yourself.

      Christian Socialist

      PS: Did I mention that you are a despicable coward?

    4. What about that OT dude who pushed his concubine out the door so that the friendly natives could rape her to death, rather than him?

      Chivalry was not an OT concept, I guess. :p

      I’m thinking that dude served as a role model for the preacher you quote!

      1. Aren’t you thinking of Lot, who offered to let a violent mob have its way with his two virgin daughters in lieu of his houseguests?
        (Genesis 19:4-8)
        I guess this was supposed to have been virtuous, because Lot was rewarded for this display of bravery.

        1. No. Look at the end of Judges. The war was precipitated by an attempted attack (for homosexual rape) on a Levite, who sent his concubine to be raped (and killed) in his place. Just remember the ending of the book before drawing conclusions about the behavior.

        2. As the book says, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

          But I do find the end of Judges rather fascinating in that there’s no real commentary on what occurs. The facts are stated, but it’s never said “this was totally cool!” or “this was totally awful!”

        3. Yes absolutely !! Whatever happened later was / is irrelevant.

          Me being punished subsequently for not having protected my wife does NOT change the fact that such a failure was (would have been) cowardly and immoral.

    5. I knew a female married town student who went to Jim Berg for counseling because her husband was beating her.

      Berg’s advice? “Duck and let GOD hit your husband.”

      Wanted to make hamburger of Jim Berg’s face when I heard this.

      1. “Let GAWD hit your husband…” WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot? ❓ ❓
        Great advice, oh yeah, except the LAWD seems to be taking an awful long time getting his lightening bolts ready…

    1. “Poe’s law states:
      “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.”


      On Stuff Fundies Like, “Poe” (noun) has come to mean “someone pretending to believe something outrageous for satirical, trolling or other insincere purposes.”

    2. And just to expand on Big Gary’s definition – here on SFL a few regular posters will occasionaly create a fake account and name and then post outrageous comments in supprt of some crazy fundy. If done properly we can’t tell if they are a real fundy jsut trolling or if they are in fact a Poe.

      1. I feel challenged. I bet I can do this.

        How did this get to be called Poe? Anything to do with Edgar Allen (whom I would assume is cast into outer darkness for his demonic stories)?

  2. I actually had a “friend” respond similarly when I confided in him being sexually assaulted. His exact response, no delay, was, “Praise the Lord!” When I was confused, he clarified, “I’d give anything to suffer for the Lord like that!” 😥

    1. He wants to suffer for the Lord?

      a)Get a pair of rusty pliers.
      b)Tell him to drop his pants.
      c)You can work out the rest.

      1. Can I help him suffer for the Lord? Can I help? Can I? Please? Please? Pleeeeeeease? (hopping around like a hyperactive puppy) :mrgreen:

  3. I just wanted to add that I, too, had Orientation with Dr. Berg. I’m another witness to his heritical philosophy of ‘Christian suffering.’ It’s true. He said it. And expounded on it.
    I remember whispering to my seatmate that I wondered just how far he would suffer his wife to suffer. Would he allow her to be raped? Murdered? What if he himself came to bodily harm? His children? Nothing too great a sacrifice for Jesus, right, Jim? 😕

    1. No matter what happened, Dr. Berg would never, ever allowed his wife to forget it, even for a moment, nor the fact that it would have been All Her Fault. 👿 After all, “suffering for JAY-zuz” is a wife’s proper duty, right? Right? 😡 😥

  4. So what does this Berg guy think about war? Is his odd pacificsm only personal, or would he have stood again going into Vietnam and Iraq?

    I have a sense that I know the answer. And I have a sense that he wouldn’t be consistent.

  5. My mother went to our pastor to talk to him about my alcoholic, physically abusive father. The pastor told her to go home, be submissive and pray for her husband.

    The pastor called my father before my mother made it home.

    My father finally got help from AA after an incident where he lined up the whole family and threatened us with a double-barrel shotgun.

    The pastor was not supportive of his going to AA, but as far as I know, my father never got drunk again after he started.

    1. I am not aware of any Baptist church hosting AA meetings. It’s not just IFB, none of the American Baptist or Southern Baptist churches around here do it either.

      There are various criticisms of AA that seem to have at least some validity. Not only theological criticism, but criticisms from sociologists and psychologists.

      But it works. People’s lives are changed by it. Hard to argue against it when it means kids are no longer getting beaten or neglected by their parents.

  6. @mulme944 – What year did you hear Berg say it? I was a freshman in 93-94. That’s when I heard it.

        1. Indeed, it is quite eye-opening.
          I hope and expect that Darrell will do a whole daily post on recent developments in this case (the sentencing memo from prosecution and the 141 letters FBCH generated pushing for leniency), at which time we will have more conversations about them.

        2. I’m guessing that those letters of leniency wouldn’t be posted if for example Schaaper the Slapper was found be be secretly having Fellowship With Catholics (the horror!!)

  7. In my pre-BJU days my family followed Bill Gothard and his Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts. I went to an all-day seminar.

    Fortunately he was not the primary source of Scriptural knowledge. He did have some influence on my family, particularly in the idea of submission to authority. From a practical standpoint, that allowed me to go to Bob Jones University and follow the rules there. It took a while before BJU had instilled in me a sense of curiosity to enable me to begin thinking for myself.

    Bill Gothard seems to think that he has life all figured out, though. And as I see it now, he did pretty much talk the victims into being more willing victims in order to “bring glory to God.” As if the “authority” structure was God-ordained and unchangeable and somehow even if “authority” was abusive, you were putting yourself in mortal danger by stepping out from under it.

    The more I look at my past, the more I realize how glad I am to be out from under the fundamentalist yoke of bondage.

    Gothard’s denial of “victimhood” denies clearly God’s condemnation of Israel for hurting widows and orphans and the poor. As a political matter it means that those who are not afforded equal rights should not seek to get them. According to Gothard, it isn’t the treatment from others that is important, it is your reaction to the treatment. And rebelling is a definite no-no.

    Gothard was in something of a bit of trouble around the early 1980s, when it was exposed that his brother was sleeping around with the women in the IBYC staff. Of course, even though Gothard resigned, he came back.

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