If you’ve blogged for over ten years as I have, you probably have scores of jotted ideas, half-baked posts, drafts, and . . . what do you know it, full posts that somehow never got posted.

Today, when I had a few moments but wanted to avoid listening to the news that literally put me to bed yesterday on Pentecost Sunday, I began scrolling through my files and files of blog ideas. 

And then, there before me was a complete post about Bill Gothard’s umbrella heresy that I never had posted. And since Gothard—a man that I, along with many thousands of others, used to adore—has been in the news again recently, and since his teaching promotes complete compliance to abusive authorities (talk about being pertinent to the news!) I’m posting it now.

My previous blog post about the Umbrella Heresy is here.

What Gothard himself actually STILL says

Here’s what Gothard still says, even now(!):

As long as a person is under an umbrella, he finds shelter from harsh weather conditions. If he steps out from under the umbrella, he exposes himself to the environment. . . .

By honoring and submitting to authorities, you will receive the privileges of their protection, direction, and accountability. If you resist their instructions and move out from their jurisdictional care, you forfeit your place under their protection and face life’s challenges and temptations on your own.

Of course, for anyone who actually knows the Bible (which I didn’t in the 1970s and 1980s when I was in my twenties and devouring this teaching) the natural response would be . . .

At first Gothard called this concept the “chain of command”—that’s what it is in my old books from the 1970s. This is where he used the centurion as an example of a “man under authority” (to buttress his “chain of command” ideas instead of showing him to be an example of great faith in the power and authority of Jesus Christ, as the Bible does).

Then later he changed the name to the “umbrella of authority.” I’m guessing it was because he wanted to withdraw a bit from terminology that sounded so very much like the military.

Then in later years this very same concept became the “umbrella of protection” so it could sound really nice. Good PR move.

In order to help indoctrinate all those with their eyes on the prize in this teaching (which is not only nowhere in the Bible but is actually counter to what the Bible teaches), here’s a catchy ditty they can sing together at their conferences.

When the sky grows dark and the thunder roars
When the strong winds blow and the cloudburst pours,
I know I’m safe as I can be
When I’m under the umbrellas that God places over me!
For instruction – so I know where I belong,
For correction – so I know when I am wrong,
For provision – for the things I need,
For protection – that is guaranteed.
When the sky grows dark and the thunder roars,
When the strong winds blow and the cloud burst pours,
I know I’m safe as I can be
When I’m under the umbrellas that God places over me!

But instead of protection and provision—which good parents should give to their children even if they don’t own any umbrellas—the Umbrella Heresy applauds control and engenders fear.





This article has now been incorporated into the book Untwisting Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind: Book 2 Patriarchy and Authority. You can find that book here.




Go here to download your free Guide, How to Enjoy the Bible Again (when you’re ready) After Spiritual Abuse (without feeling guilty or getting triggered out of your mind). You’ll receive access to both print and audio versions of the Guide (audio read by me). I’m praying it will be helpful.

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