Bill Gothard, Hypocrisy and Me! The Canaanite Prize

trigger warning:  links leading to articles on child abuse/sexual abuse/sexual harassment 

‘southern church member’ trigger warning: sarcasm, bitterness


John Mark Reynolds of Eidos, over at Patheos, is giving out a prize.  For being a Canaanite. I am trying to win it.  He is explaining what I have to do to win.

The Canaanite will show the “shallowness” or “hypocrisy” of the movement the parents helped build, though the Canaanite misunderstands the nature of the term.

Notice how this starts? The movement their parents are/were involved in?

Hold that thought.

Just so we’re on the same page, here is a dictionary definition of Hypocrisy.


noun \hi-ˈpä-krə-sē also hī-\

: the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel

plural hy·poc·ri·sies

Full Definition of HYPOCRISY

:  a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially :  the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion
:  an act or instance of hypocrisy

Examples of HYPOCRISY

  1. When his private letters were made public, they revealed his hypocrisy.
  2. the hypocrisy of people who say one thing but do another
  3. Teenagers often have a keen awareness of their parents’hypocrisies.


Middle English ypocrisie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latinhypocrisis, from Greek hypokrisis act of playing a part on the stage, hypocrisy, from hypokrinesthai to answer, act on the stage, from hypo- + krinein to decide — more at certain

First Known Use: 13th century


Canaanites expose hypocrisy? Awesome! From the definition it sounds like exposing “hypocrisy” would be a good thing, wouldn’t it?  It’s as if they are actually carrying forward the banner of their parent’s movement!  After all- what sincere believer in ANY cause would want that cause hijacked by opportunistic bottom feeders?

Here’s JM’s next sentence.

The Canaanite parent is generally trying to live up to standards and failing in some area: this is called being a hypocrite even if the parent acknowledges the failure! This parents is imperfect, not a hypocrite. [sic]

JM has played a little game with us. He’s trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

Or possibly his reading comprehension is so bad that not even HE realizes that he’s done this wrong.

Its a toss up.

He says a Canaanite is defined by a struggle against the hypocrisy of the movement. It’s a movement their parents helped build, granted, but unless their parents ARE the movement (standing in relation to it as, say, Bill Gothard does to ATI), in that first sentence JM is implying that their struggle is not with their parents.

Given the above definition, this must mean that the movement itself enforces rules that it doesn’t follow.  JM doesn’t specify what he means by the movement- is that sort of- the  unofficial group gestalt? the official collective agreements of the movement? the sum total of the members, the majority of the members, the leadership and founders of the movement…? So further than ‘the movement’ his meaning is ambiguous.

His example is of one individual (a child) finding fault with another individual (their parent) who has openly attempted to reach a goal, failed, and openly admitted their failure.

Which, as he rightly points out, is not the definition of hypocrisy.

But is also not what he defined Canaanites as doing.

Oh, but wait! He senses that there is something wrong with this! He gives us another example to clarify his vague ambiguous blatant contradiction in terms.

Example of a ‘Canaanite’ in action?

…we discover that church members (especially Southern Church members!) struggle with sin (especially sex sins!). This insight, discovering sinners in the Church, is akin to finding sick people in the hospital, but somehow shocks the finders every time.

So now we’re back to exposing… not our parents… but church members…? but that isn’t a movement like he said at the beginning still… so.. are these LAY members? Or are they the LEADERSHIP… who founded and spearheaded the movement?  JM, what are you talking about…?

Well, JM seems either unwilling or unable to give a coherent answer.  So I will give an example of the “hypocrisy” that Canaanites are trying to expose.

Without even understanding the term! Gosh!



Bill Gothard is not a parent.

And that’s probably a good thing.

It appears that Bill Gothard built a community according to certain rules.  Structured the community such that no one could question him. Then systematically, habitually, sexually harassed/molested minors under his authority.

This is not akin to finding sick people in a hospital. Its akin going to a hospital, checking yourself in, then finding out that the Doctors and Nurses are the Living Dead.

The closer you follow their directions, the closer their teeth get to your brain.

Emotionally complicated by the fact that you didn’t even take yourself to the hospital.  Your parents did. And abandoned you there.

What part of this isn’t hypocrisy?

I think that I qualify for this second trait of Canaanites.

I never suffered abuse like the girls and women in these stories did.  But JM is careful to point out that, for the Canaanite Prize-

Of course, I am not talking about people who experienced horrific or abusive situations: these stories need to be told on the right and the left.

Which is why we can be sure that JM himself is telling, on the right and the left, the stories about the abuses suffered by Bill Gothard’s followers.  Right?

Because JM is a SINCERE Christian who would NEVER put up with abuse inside an organization referring to itself as Christian- any more than Jesus put up with money-lenders inside the Temple!

Mark 11:15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”


My parents weren’t really into Bill Gothard- not like some people- but they had a couple ATI books on their shelves and phrases like ‘umbrella of protection’ floated around within easy reach of their sense of justification.  I’m not really criticizing them for that, as they had eight children on a single, low income and didn’t really have time to research.  Not when the apocalypse was coming and warranted so much attention, anyway.

But I have serious complaints against one of the organizations they associated with.

And come on! I mean, just look at my example of hypocrisy in the church! I think a teacher (someone who is supposed to help people grow) who routinely molests children (threatening, if not destroying their ability to grow) is a hypocrite!

I must not even understand the meaning of the word. Right, JM?

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