In the spring of 1973 a Lutheran minister named Wilfred Bockelman first heard of Bill Gothard, and the fact that 8,000 people were sitting through his 32-hour, six-day lecture series in St. Paul, Minnesota.  A year later Rev. Bockelman was director of communication research for the American Lutheran Church, and Bill Gothard was making his third trip back to the Twin Cities since he first heard about him.  This time they were projecting an attendance of 27,500, with some people planning to drive as far as 100 miles each night!  Bockelman attended, if for no other reason than to see how Gothard was able to attract such a crowd without a lot of fancy promotion.
     Bockelman did not set out to write a book.  After attending the fall 1974 seminar he wrote a 13-page evaluation paper titled, ďThe Pros and Cons of Bill GothardĒ that he circulated to 100 leaders in his denomination.  He had no plans to write further about Gothard, and thought that his involvement would end there, but requests for additional copies began pouring in and before long his office had sent out 5,000.
     Then The Christian Century ó a left-of-center publication favored in mainline denominations ó solicited an article from him which later appeared in their September 25, 1974 issue.  It had the second highest request for reprints of any Century article that year.  Since no one had yet produced a book-length treatment on Gothard, and the demand for it seemed to be there, Bockelman pursued the task.
     He eventually secured a personal interview with Gothard, who only granted such meetings very reluctantly.  In the process he got an ear-full about Gothardís rationale for keeping disagreements among Christians behind closed doors.
     As Bockelmanís work was coming to completion, Christian bookstores around the country caught wind of the fact that a book-length treatment on Bill Gothard was soon to be released, and when they found out who the publisher was they placed a lot of advance orders.
     But when the 150-page book was completed, hundreds of Christian bookstore owners were aghast to discover that it was not a ringing endorsement of Gothardís Basic Seminar.  While Bockelman had attempted to be balanced and found some good things to say, he not only criticized Gothardís teachings and use of Scripture ó like the Eternity articles from three years earlier ó but he did something the Eternity authors had not done: he critiqued Gothardís chain-of-command teaching.
     After placing huge orders for the book many Christian booksellers refused to let it see the light of day in their stores.  They returned caseload after caseload to the distributor, many unopened.  Itís hard to say whether it was because the book was a generally critical treatment of Gothard, or because it was specifically critical of Gothardís chain-of-command teaching, but the publisher really took a bath on this one!  And the Christian public was deprived of the opportunity to read a thoroughly-researched, carefully-documented and excellently-presented alternative viewpoint ...