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Scandal-plagued home schooling institute loses key accreditation

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Bill Gothard founded the Institute in Basic Life Principles.

Photo courtesy of Institute in Basic Life Principles via Wikimedia

Bill Gothard founded the Institute in Basic Life Principles.

CHICAGO (RNS) Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles has lost its membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, which gives accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations.

Its membership was terminated last Friday (March 11) for failure to comply with its standards for governance, according to the ECFA website.

The loss of accreditation is yet another setback for the Institute in Basic Life Principles. Eighteen people are suing the Oak Brook, Ill.-based institute, and Bill Gothard, its 81-year-old founder, for sexual harassment.


RELATED: More women sue home-schooling guru for sexual harassment


Christianity Today noted ECFA’s explanation of its governance standards on its website:

“When a ministry encounters failure—or even worse, scandal—its difficulties can almost always be traced to a breakdown in governance. For this reason, ECFA places much emphasis on strong, effective governance.”

Those standards require organizations to be governed by a majority-independent board that must include at least five people and meet at least semiannually to establish policies and review accomplishments.

Thousands of conservative Christian families have used the Institute in Basic Life Principles’ home schooling curriculum. Others may be most familiar with the Christian ministry from its association with the Duggar family from TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.”

The institute has distanced itself from Gothard, who resigned in 2014 amid allegations of sexual abuse.

(Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS)

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

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