Have you noticed that people who start cults invariably turn out to be sexual deviants? Warren Jeffs. Charles Manson. Jim Jones. Muhammad. Yep. As much a “prophet” as the rest of them, Muhammad started out “marrying” little girls and inspiring teachings that seem to me to take it for granted that men will rape women whenever they get the chance. In addition to okaying the rape of women who are bought in the slave market (because they’re slaves) or women they capture (because they’re captives), they tell other women “Cover up, or you’re fair game.” Find a woman in a short skirt? Start molesting. American newswoman reports on your mob? Assault away.
And then there’s Bill Gothard and his authoritarian Institute in Basic Life Principles and Advanced Training Institute. They sent their membership a piece called “Lessons from Moral Failure in a Family,” which dealt with a brother molesting his sisters. Guess what. The little girls didn’t always act as modestly as they should. Molesting them was a “moral failure,” as opposed to a crime, apparently because males are visual, and, you know, if they catch a glimpse, they just can’t help themselves. Girls, cover up, or you’re fair game. Did I mention that Gothard himself has been exposed as a sexual predator? He resigned last year after numbers of girls came forward and told how he had abused and harassed them. Creep.
One factor in all these cases is Biblical illiteracy, not knowing what the Bible is really about, even among people who know a lot of verses. Something to watch out for: if anyone says the church has had it wrong all these centuries, and he finally has the right way, be very suspicious. The Apostle Paul knew this stuff was out there. In Galatians 1:8, he wrote, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.” Law won’t save you. Authority won’t save you. Revolutionary suicide won’t save you. Submission won’t save you. Only Jesus can do that. If someone says “Jesus plus ___” or “Instead of Jesus,” run.