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Differences between ATI/IBLP and the now defunct VF


upkacrane

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Hi. Could someone briefly summarise the main differences between Gothardism and Vision Forum? I think ATI/IBLP is considered Baptist, but I'm not sure about VF...maybe Reformed? Most importantly, are there any substancial differences in the way they implement Christian patriarchal beliefs? Were Gothard and Phillips (before his fall from grace) friends or ever seen together? Did they have any contact at all? Maybe all this was already explained in a post/thread somewhere but I don't seem to be able to find it...any help would be appreciated!

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  • 3 months later...
Hi. Could someone briefly summarise the main differences between Gothardism and Vision Forum? I think ATI/IBLP is considered Baptist, but I'm not sure about VF...maybe Reformed? Most importantly, are there any substancial differences in the way they implement Christian patriarchal beliefs? Were Gothard and Phillips (before his fall from grace) friends or ever seen together? Did they have any contact at all? Maybe all this was already explained in a post/thread somewhere but I don't seem to be able to find it...any help would be appreciated!

In a nutshell:

Founding:

IBLP: Founded in the 60's(I believe) by Bill Gothard

VF: Founded in the late 90's by Douglas The Tool Phillips

Main Income Sources:

IBLP: Initially, Gothard would put on conferences that would attract thousands of people. In the eighties, they established ATI, their homeschooling program. Gothard also established programs like Excel, Sound Foundations, and Verity. As Gothard has aged, the focus has transitioned to promoting their online site, embassy institute, and other publishing effots.

VF: Initially sold old fashioned toys to a conservative christian market. Then, they moved on to publishing conservative propaganda. At the end, it appeared that most of their income was probably coming from conferences and tours.

Theological Background:

IBLP: Independent Fundamentalist Baptist. Arminian, strong focus on evangelizing. Little focus on theological underpinnings.

VF: Calvinist to the core. Two main denominations, Reformed Presby and Reformed Baptist. Almost no evangelism. You're either one of God's chosen, or you aren't. Extremely focused on theology and doctrine.

Typical Demographics:

IBLP: Working class, high school education at best. Aging fan base.

VF: Upper middle class, usually very educated and well-read. Attracts a slightly younger crowd than IBLP.

Thoughts on Women:

IBLP: Should submit to males, but usually given some authority to work independently. For example, as camp counselors in Journey to the Heart.

VF: Women are completely inferior, to the point of being only a step above an animal. The woman is only seen in context to her headship. You are not "Sally", You are "wife of Bob", or "daughter of Bob" . Single women do not exist in this system. If you are single, you are a whore and a jezebel who is out from under proper authority. You can have no other interests or functions than those your Father/Husband delegates to you.

Thoughts on Children:

IBLP: Have as many as you can manage. Homeschool them, then send them off to headquarters to work for Bill (If they're pretty enough.)

VF: Have as many as you can manage, even if it kills the mother in the process. Homeschool them. The sons may apply for an internship at VF or NCFIC. The daughters must be married off ASAP. Unless they're a Botkin. Rules don't apply to Botkins.

Similarities:

Believes in the submission of females.

Believes homeschool is the only option for True Christians.

Board of Directors filled with yes-men.

Leininger supposedly has financed both of these ministries.

Racist undercurrent.

CEO demands complete submission from flock. Personally submits to no one other than himself.

CEO's tend to make exaggerated claims about their importance.

CEO's facing allegations of sexually abusing young people entrusted to their care.

In-crowd gets wealthier and wealthier off the backs of poor families who buy their products in hopes of unlocking the magical formula for salvation.

Connections with each other:

Doug has given at least one speech at an IBLP regional conference. There are pictures of the two of them standing together. And they have some of the same followers (Duggars, the Bittners, etc.) They are certainly aware of each other. I imagine their relationship is like that of two rival pimps. Things will be cool as long as each of them stays in their own corner. However, they will make alliances if it's in both of their best interests.

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  • 1 year later...

Wow, thank you very much indeed! Nobody seemed to answer for a while and then I forgot to keep checking. This is really helpful, thanks again for taking the time and being so thorough :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, that answer was great! I've been around here for a while but was never entirely clear on the doctrinal and cultural differences. Thanks for asking, OP, and thanks for that really clear answer, PP!

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I appreciate the answer too. I thought they were from the same time/background, that explanation really helps! :)

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