Christian Artist Steve Taylor Called Out Bill Gothard 30 Years Ago

Covert art from Steve Taylor’s “On the Fritz” album.

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Kathryn Brightbill’s blog The Life and Opinions of Kathryn Elizabeth, Person. It was originally published on May 26, 2015.

The music hasn’t worn well with time (so very ‘80s), and this isn’t one of Taylor’s better songs, but it’s all there. The chain of command, the seminar notebooks, the umbrella of authority, all of it. So next time people try to play dumb about how Bill Gothard was just some fringe figure that nobody in mainstream evangelical Christianity had ever really heard of, here we have one of the most important figures in Christian music calling the whole thing out. In 1985.

No wonder Steve Taylor was one of my favorite artists when I was a teenager. He’s one of the only people in American evangelicalism who have consistently called out the problems within American evangelical Christianity. We need more of that.

I’ve posted the lyrics after the jump.

I Manipulate

Does your soul crave center stage?
Have you heard about the latest rage?
Read your Bible by lightning flash
Get ordained at the thunder crash

Build a kingdom with a cattle prod
Tell the masses it’s a message from God
Where the innocent congregate
I manipulate

Take your notebooks, turn with me
To the chapter on authority
Do you top the chain of command
Rule your family with an iron hand

I dispense little pills of power
From my hideaway ivory tower
From the cover of heaven’s gate
I manipulate

Now it’s time to fill in the space
Where we talk about a woman’s place
Do you want to build a happy home?
Have you sacrificed a mind of your own?

‘Cause a good wife learns to cower
Underneath the umbrella of power
From the cover of heaven’s gate
I manipulate

Yes, I know that parable
That’s the story of the prodigal
If you question what I’m teaching you
You rebel against the Father too

If he loved him why’d he let him go?
Well, I guess I don’t really know
But I see it’s getting late

2 comments

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    I’ve been commenting with lyrics and YouTube links to that song on several spiritual abuse watchblogs when Got Hard’s name comes up. Glad to see someone else is publicizing it.

  • I adore Steve Taylor’s music & writing, & will always count him among my favorites. Thanks for posting this.

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