Breaking: John Ortberg Responds to the Willow Creek/Bill Hybels Situation

John Ortberg just posted Observations on the Chicago Tribune article re: Willow Creek Leadership. I have to go out for a couple of hours and wanted to give our readers a heads up on the matter. I will post the first couple of paragraphs but urge you to read the entire post.

After hearing from some folks this weekend, I continue to believe the victims in this matter.

Also, I call attention to the phrase *grave risks.*

It takes great courage for women to tell their stories.

Even in ordinary settings, it is often risky for women to report misconduct. The high visibility of Willow Creek Community Church makes it even more daunting than an ordinary setting.

When anyone who believes they have been the object of sexual misconduct finds the courage to step up, a robust process needs to be in place to safeguard their testimony and their reputation, as well as to safeguard the church’s ministry and congregation. Most of us will never know the price a woman pays in such a situation. It is rare that there is only one story of misconduct, and if a supportive process is not in place, others who have important information to share may well be discouraged from coming forward.

I was approached over four years ago with disturbing information that I did not seek out. Along with others who received this information, I directed it to the elders of Willow Creek. The process that followed was, in my view, poorly designed and likely to expose any woman who came forward to grave risks.

Continue reading here

 


Comments

Breaking: John Ortberg Responds to the Willow Creek/Bill Hybels Situation — 149 Comments

  1. I had been thinking all last week that as soon as Easter Sunday was past, something else would come out re: this story.

  2. “… elders of Willow Creek. The process that followed was, in my view, poorly designed and likely to expose any woman who came forward to grave risks.”

    How many times do we have to see this to realize that “the process” of handling sexual abuse in the American church is greatly flawed?! When a victim steps forward, they are victimized again!

  3. I knew from the first hearing that there was no “thorough, independent investigation”. A former classmate of mine is embroiled in a similar battle and his company hired a lawyer to conduct an “thorough investigation” which I know is a sham.

    I especially find the phrase “exclusively represents management” interesting…

    “An independent investigation by an outside, trained expert should have been thoroughly carried out before the senior pastor was first approached. To my knowledge that did not happen. The firm chosen to investigate (more than a year after the first report) is one that, as stated on their website, “exclusively represents management.” Of course, both sides of an accusation deserve a hearing and fair representation, but a firm that is retained by one side, and whose principal work is to represent one side in such disputes, cannot be considered independent.” -John Ortberg

  4. Although he is generally well-known, I don’t know a great deal about John Ortberg – as it happens, I’ve read more books by Bill Hybels * than by him – but I’m encouraged by his post.

    * One, to be exact

  5. An “independent” investigation is not independent if it is funded by the organization under investigation. This only sells to gullible members of an organization who desire a positive outcome for the organization and its leaders. Third party firms hired to investigate and audit disputes between two parties must be totally free from their control and get no paychecks from them. Being cleared from any wrongdoing by a third party auditor paid by either of the disputing parties means nothing at all.

  6. Max wrote:

    “… elders of Willow Creek. The process that followed was, in my view, poorly designed and likely to expose any woman who came forward to grave risks.”
    How many times do we have to see this to realize that “the process” of handling sexual abuse in the American church is greatly flawed?! When a victim steps forward, they are victimized again!

    The American church needs to stop ceding their oversight responsibilities at the church door and being spectators in this aspect of their spiritual walk.

  7. Max wrote:

    An “independent” investigation is not independent if it is funded by the organization under investigation. This only sells to gullible members of an organization who desire a positive outcome for the organization and its leaders. Third party firms hired to investigate and audit disputes between two parties must be totally free from their control and get no paychecks from them. Being cleared from any wrongdoing by a third party auditor paid by either of the disputing parties means nothing at all.

    I am confused, though, as to the practical aspects, even as I agree that there is a conflict of interest if the third party is hired by either side. Third parties have to eat, too. Where does their money come from?

  8. @ Max:
    In consideration of the push back that abuse victims and their advocates are receiving in which supporters of the accused are decrying a “victim” mentality, I am choosing to use the word “re-traumatized” rather than “re-victimized.” By using re-traumatized, it maintains the focus on the WRONG ACTION by the alleged abuser and their supporters – and choosing to NOT re-labeling the target (victim) of the wrong action.

    While it may make little difference to those who choose to abuse, the hope is to re-focus on the abuser and not the victim as the source of the wrong action.

  9. dee wrote:

    Divorce Minister wrote:

    it being motivated by a desire to destroy Hybels reputation isn’t true either.

    That was the moment they lost me.

    Yeah, it wasn’t very believable even before Ortberg’s statement.

    The 1500 emails also are shocking enough…

  10. refugee wrote:

    Third parties have to eat, too. Where does their money come from?

    Many professions have accrediting agencies which perform audits against a set of standards. While members pay annual dues, they don’t control audits performed on them. The third party in this case is funded by a larger pool of money provided by all of the accredited members. Within Christendom, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) is an example.

  11. refugee wrote:

    Max wrote:

    An “independent” investigation is not independent if it is funded by the organization under investigation. This only sells to gullible members of an organization who desire a positive outcome for the organization and its leaders. Third party firms hired to investigate and audit disputes between two parties must be totally free from their control and get no paychecks from them. Being cleared from any wrongdoing by a third party auditor paid by either of the disputing parties means nothing at all.

    I am confused, though, as to the practical aspects, even as I agree that there is a conflict of interest if the third party is hired by either side. Third parties have to eat, too. Where does their money come from?

    Perhaps a start would be through requiring 501(c)(3) organisations to pay funds into a pot to cover investigations when there are serious allegations made against them or their leadership. Otherwise, he who pays the piper…

  12. Forrest wrote:

    refugee wrote:

    Max wrote:

    An “independent” investigation is not independent if it is funded by the organization under investigation. This only sells to gullible members of an organization who desire a positive outcome for the organization and its leaders. Third party firms hired to investigate and audit disputes between two parties must be totally free from their control and get no paychecks from them. Being cleared from any wrongdoing by a third party auditor paid by either of the disputing parties means nothing at all.

    I am confused, though, as to the practical aspects, even as I agree that there is a conflict of interest if the third party is hired by either side. Third parties have to eat, too. Where does their money come from?

    Perhaps a start would be through requiring 501(c)(3) organisations to pay funds into a pot to cover investigations when there are serious allegations made against them or their leadership. Otherwise, he who pays the piper…

    It sounds like churches should have an “insurance policy” given this is becoming more common, like malpractice insurance.

  13. Forrest wrote:

    Perhaps a start would be through requiring 501(c)(3) organisations to pay funds into a pot to cover investigations when there are serious allegations made against them or their leadership.

    Yes, have something in place like the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) … call it ECAA, Evangelical Council for Abuse Accountability.

  14. Mercy wrote:

    like malpractice insurance

    I was covered by a malpractice policy when I was a pastor. The church paid for the policy. I never used it. It was to established to shield against frivolous law suit costs.

  15. drstevej wrote:

    Mercy wrote:

    like malpractice insurance

    I was covered by a malpractice policy when I was a pastor. The church paid for the policy. I never used it. It was to established to shield against frivolous law suit costs.

    Then there should be no valid reason for a completely independent investigator.

  16. Mercy wrote:

    drstevej wrote:

    Mercy wrote:

    like malpractice insurance

    I was covered by a malpractice policy when I was a pastor. The church paid for the policy. I never used it. It was to established to shield against frivolous law suit costs.

    Then there should be no valid reason for a completely independent investigator.

    That should read that there should be no reason to “avoid” a completely independent investigator.

  17. The firm chosen to investigate (more than a year after the first report) is one that, as stated on their website, “exclusively represents management.”

    (emphasis added)

    Can we add TIMELY to the parameters of an investigation that should also be INDEPENDENT, THOROUGH, and TRANSPARENT?

  18. ishy wrote:

    I knew from the first hearing that there was no “thorough, independent investigation”.

    Yes.

    Also, I agree with brad that the timeline for this investigation is ridiculous. Justice delayed is justice denied.

  19. drstevej wrote:

    I was covered by a malpractice policy when I was a pastor. The church paid for the policy. I never used it. It was to established to shield against frivolous law suit costs.

    It seems to me there is a lot of emphasis on shielding churches and individual from frivolous or false accusations…and very little idea of what to do with them when they are true.

  20. Lea wrote:

    drstevej wrote:

    It seems to me there is a lot of emphasis on shielding churches and individual from frivolous or false accusations…and very little idea of what to do with them when they are true.

    The whole system appears to be designed to protect the organisation and its leaders regardless of the truth. Only this explains what we have seen.

  21. Thank you for this post, Dee, with the link to Ortberg’s complete blog post.

    From his post: “Anyone who may have been victimized by people in power needs to know that the church of Jesus is their refuge and champion.”

    Really? What church actually does that? Malpractice is in the news, with congregations applauding and leadership still in place or simply moving around the country, the world. Andy Savage stood before his cheering fan club alongside his bro partner.

    Jules Woodson sat heroically alone for her NYT video interview without fanfare – a picture of an old testament prophet crying out to Israel from the desert, while even the “good folk” silently hide in caves.

    Has an actual church gotten behind Jules Woodson or Rachel Denhollander? They are prominent in the national media. Imagine the many onesie witnesses out there bearing truth (as in “The Keepers”) that would upset the church applecart and bring a deluge of churchy hate on themselves. They guard their truth and who would blame them.

  22. This mentions Hybels:

    Friends Without Benefits by Chaplain Mike
    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/79922/

    The opening:

    In his insightful response to the recent revelations that egalitarian extraordinaire Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church might have behaved inappropriately with female colleagues, flirting and displaying affection with women not his wife, initiating intimate moments with women in hotels and on business trips, Dan J. Brennan puts it out there plainly — even those evangelicals who espouse that there is “no male or female in Christ” are often pretty clueless about sex and the power dynamics involved in it, and have little idea how to construct close friendships and partnerships between males and females without ongoing sexual tension.

  23. Daisy wrote:

    how to construct close friendships and partnerships between males and females without ongoing sexual tension

    This is not rocket science. People go to work every day without playing with fire.

    The Deebs have repeatedly pointed out, for example, that most 22-year-olds working with youth (teachers, coaches, camp counselors) NEVER violate their charges like Andy Savage did. And if they do, they go right to jail and lose their license to work with kids. The church sheltered pedophile Savage while no other institution would.

    If the pastor wants to play around, he/she can legally do it with similar consenting adults and get another job. It’s civil liberty but doesn’t belong in the church.

    NFL Coach Bud Grant said that though his work day could be long, he’d always end up at his home dinner table at night – with Mrs. Grant, never doing afterhours (bars, etc.).

  24. Forrest wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    drstevej wrote:
    It seems to me there is a lot of emphasis on shielding churches and individual from frivolous or false accusations…and very little idea of what to do with them when they are true.

    The whole system appears to be designed to protect the organisation and its leaders regardless of the truth. Only this explains what we have seen.

    Yes. The assumption they operate on appears to be that accusations are not true…and regardless of the facts of the actual case, we will proceed under that assumption.

    Not a healthy model.

  25. JYJames wrote:

    Daisy wrote:
    how to construct close friendships and partnerships between males and females without ongoing sexual tension

    This is not rocket science. People go to work every day without playing with fire.

    Yeah, I’m with you on this. The article was more interesting to me than that quote, as I am highly resistant to the idea that people are ‘confused’ or ‘accidentally’ taking sexual advantage or making moves. All of this is generally well planned out by people like Hybel and others.

    I wish people would stop seeing them as well meaning men who make ‘mistakes’ and start seeing them as predators.

  26. Mercy wrote:

    That should read that there should be no reason to “avoid” a completely independent investigator.

    I was pretty sure that was what you meant, but I’m glad you clarified!

  27. “These concerns, shared by myself and others, were communicated by counsel (who shared those concerns) directly to Willow Creek attorneys, but they proceeded as planned.”

    So typical of the celebrity mega world. Our attorneys talked to their attorneys.

  28. @ refugee:
    Bingo. Victims need to file civil suits against the accused and the org if there are SoL. But even then the insurance company has their say. The problem is in keeping these things an internal issue. That’s like getting the fox’s to admit they raided the chickens.

  29. @ Lydia:
    This is exactly how businesses, and big non-profits/Universities talk/conduct business… oh, we are talking about a church, silly me, I though the Church was different… preachers sure like to tell us that! and they have the “right” to function above the law… like SGM??

  30. Also from: Friends Without Benefits by Chaplain Mike
    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/79922/

    He reminds us that Jesus broke all kinds of gender-based intimacy codes in his own day — meeting with the Samaritan woman by himself, allowing “fallen” women to touch and exhibit love in public toward him, even appearing to Mary alone in the garden after the resurrection. Women traveled with Jesus and the disciples and supported him financially, making them part of his inner circle of associates. To the Pharisees and others, this must have seemed utterly compromising and morally dangerous.
    In our sexualized society, it is easy to understand why some people might want to erect strong, rule-based boundaries about cross-sex relationships. I have news for you. Those boundaries haven’t stopped or even slowed down immoral behavior, and if I read Paul correctly, trying to control sin by implementing law only exacerbates the problem (Romans 7).
    From I believe God calls us to maturity and wisdom in all of our relationships. I have long been “egalitarian” in my theological position (I’d rather say I believe in full partnership and mutuality between men and women). But this article has caused me to question a huge blindspot in egalitarian teaching and practice.
    We have not truly learned to welcome each other, live with each other, and serve one another as true brothers and sisters until we can learn to be friends. Without benefits.

    Hmmm…this makes me think of the Law of Christ – to love as Christ loved us… how the world would know that we are his disciples. I think the church has much to learn.

  31. @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    It’s probably a shock to some of the Pew sitters that they pay for counsel on retainer. But they rarely ask to see a detailed budget or even insist on being a part of developing one. Big mistake.

  32. Wow, from the comments here, John Ortberg seems like the all knowing God who can determine truth. He seems to be above the wisdom of Matthew 18:15-17, and he can all knowingly determine if an investigation was proper. In my Bible, I did not read, go the the Chicago Tribune and destroy that person?

    And of these women that came forward? Bill said Nancy Beach had nice arms 19 years ago? Wow, that is really a crime?

    Is it possible that his accusers have an alternate agenda or have they themselves have been misled? The shame should go on Ortberg, Mellado, and Beach for bringing forth the accusations with no proof. All that does is divide the church.

  33. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    I thought the Church was different…

    In theory. Upthread someone mentioned that the church attracts needy people. Truth be told, everyone is needy (“… it is not good for man to be alone…”). However, secular orgs are transitioning to accountability (reporting, legal action) while the church shelters predators: “Jesus saves…” without accountability.

  34. I would hope that Bill Hybel’s marriage survives; it will be tough but they’ve been married a long time. It’s a brutal position for Mrs. Hybels. May she find grace.

  35. Rob wrote:

    Is it possible that his accusers have an alternate agenda

    Why don’t you suggest one that makes sense? Why would the BFFs of Hybels risk a close, long friendship over something like this?
    Why don’t you explain to us who it was who told Pam Orr and the leadership that they were out to “tarnish Hybel’s reputation?” Seriously? Someone said that? Who? Why won’t they tell us?
    Why don’t you tell me why women would be willing to put up with this garbage from all the critics, laughing at them for their complaints?
    What is the percentage of women who lie about these things? I know- do you?
    What you are proposing is a conspiracy of friends and former employees to take down their own friend. Who has the most to lose here? The answer is rather simple in my book.

  36. This is all so painful. I was doing my internship at Willow when most of this allegedly happened. I love Bill and John and Jim and both Nancys. Honestly, I certainly can’t begin to weigh in as it’s all so fresh news to me. I will pray the Holy Spirit reveals all and healing and forgiveness for all involved can truly begin. The local church is the hope of the world, but it can be brutal at times! May Jesus reign!

  37. dee wrote:

    Rob wrote:

    Is it possible that his accusers have an alternate agenda

    Why don’t you suggest one that makes sense? Why would the BFFs of Hybels risk a close, long friendship over something like this?
    Why don’t you explain to us who it was who told Pam Orr and the leadership that they were out to “tarnish Hybel’s reputation?” Seriously? Someone said that? Who? Why won’t they tell us?
    Why don’t you tell me why women would be willing to put up with this garbage from all the critics, laughing at them for their complaints?
    What is the percentage of women who lie about these things? I know- do you?
    What you are proposing is a conspiracy of friends and former employees to take down their own friend. Who has the most to lose here? The answer is rather simple in my book.

    And even if they DO have an agenda in this (which I HIGHLY doubt), that still does not necessarily mean they are lying about Hybels behavior.

  38. I want to be careful to ascribe motivation, but what I find ironic and strange is that this is Ortberg’s first blog entry on anything in almost four years…since June 27, 2014 to be exact.

  39. I went to Willow Creek Community Church from 1987-2007. I am very aware of all persons mentioned by the Chicago Tribune, including, of course, Bill Hybels. First, I need to say that everyone involved, including the entire Willow Creek Congregation, are my prayers. These situations are never easy. That is why, in my personal opinion, the “matter-of-fact, cut and dry” decision by the elders not to let the congregation know about the allegations is the very first mistake that the elders made. Authenticity breeds authenticity. Silence breeds silence. So, if the Chicago Tribune never wrote the article about Bill Hybels being accused of sexual misconduct by high ranking, beloved for employees, the fact is s, the Willow Creek elders would have never disclosed anything to its congregation. The only reason the elders did mention the investigation is because the Chicago Trubune wrote the article. Hmmmm.

    Secondly, John and Nancy Ortberg were convinced, along with others, that an investigation into the matter by an organization that works for Willow Creek is flawed before it begins. That is like saying that a family practitioner accused of negligence is going to investigated by the hospital the doctor represents. Wouldn’t anyone who heard this have to think, “Well, I suppose that an organization hired by a particular hospital to investigate a doctor which represents the hospital might find it in their best interest to come to the conclusion that the doctor was not negligent.“It is a no-brainer. The investigation was flawed before it started.

    Also, the family meeting that was organized seem to be in the best interest of Bill Hybels, and the board of elders, not Willow Creek Community Church and its members. Why? Because the information came out on March 23rd, via the Chicago Tribune, and within one week it was talked about, explained in the case was closed by the elders. The “family meeting“ was very convenient way for Willow Creek’s elders and Bill Hybels to:

    1. Not tell the congregation anything until it had to.

    2. Respond to the Chicago Tribune article by telling the church members of WCCC that, despite the fact that allegations have been going on for over four years, the elders had already “accepted the conclusion” by the investigation team hired, of course, by WCCC, Red flag? Of course not!

    3. Bill Hybels, and its elders then reiterated what the “independent investigative team concluded,” that there was no “pattern of inappropriate behavior“ by Pastor Hybels. This conclusion, in effect, cleared Bill Hybels of any wrongdoing. Wow. Hiding the facts for four years, and then coming out about the matter only after the newspaper article, and then…within a few days having a “family meeting” all seemed to put a nice bow on the whole package……all within one week of the members finding out that for over four years there have been allegations…dating back to 1995. Wow. The power that Bill Hybels and the WCCC elders have over the WCCC is almost “cult like.”

    4. Why would Nancy Beach and Vonda Dyer, two highly respected former WCCC members and employees accuse Pastor Hybels of sexual misconduct if it was not true? What can they possibly gain by doing this other than humiliation and the pain of being called “liars.” They have absolutely no motive whatsoever to bring allegations against Bill Hybels unless what they were saying was true. None.

    5. As it’s stated in the newspaper, Bill Hybels constantly talked to the WCCC “family” about how his “number one rule” to keep the WCCC free from any potential scandal or presumed scandal was: that he never committed to the practice of “never being alone with any female” in a private setting. Yet, even if he invited Vonda Dyer to his “Hotel Conference room” and not his “hotel room,” he still invited her to be alone with her. By doing this, he exposed the fact that he did not “practice what he preached,” which opens the door to the possibility of him not “practicing what he preached” regarding being faithful to his spouse. If he Was so willing to break an important rule that he consistently stated he was following, what else was he willing to do?

    6. I remember, especially in the early 1990s, that Bill Hybels, during his sermons would tell the WCCC members that he “did not drink at all.” He never “Condemned drinking as a practice, “but stated that he did not want to put himself in a position in which he could be out of control or look to be out of control. I mentioned this only because this was yet another thing that Pastor Hybels stayed that he was “willing to do,” in order to “protect the image of WCCC,” yet, when A couple of his accusers mentioned that he invited them to have a drink with him at dinner or in his room, he never denied anything about the “glass of wine.” Why is this significant? Well, this is yet another “self-imposed“ rule which Bill Hybels was so “adamant” about practicing which he did not practice. What else is Bill Hybels so “adamant “ about that He is not practicing? Fidelity?

    7. Pastor Hybels stayed sarcastically that it was “ convenient” that these allegations were coming out now…20 to 25 years, after they “supossedly happened.” Are you kidding, Bill. What about the ”jumbling” of 1500 emails to the point where they could not be read…which happened to be emails he wrote or received from a married woman who told other well respected WCCC employees that she and Bill had an affair. Later, she “recanted” her story…but talk about “Convenient!” Please!

    8. OK, the woman who originally stated that she had an affair with Bill, then recanted, obviously lied
    originally or when she recanted. Did it ever occur to Bill that from an “objective” Point of view, it seems that this woman would more likely lie when she recanted her story that when she originally told it. Why? Well, why would someone who was married, lie about having an affair with Bill, especially if she was married? By making it public, she humiliated her self, her husband and her family. By recanting her first story…this did nothing to alleviate the suffering she brought upon her husband, herself, and her family. It only alleviated the suffering of Bill Hybels, who was exposed. So, if this woman was going to lie about this situation, she obviously would seem much more willing to lie about “not having the affair” than lie about “having the affair with Bill.” Again, what could this woman possibly gain by admitting that she cheated on her spouse and had an affair with a beloved pastor. Absolutely nothing. What could she gain by recanting her story? Well, she could receive counseling from Bill. If she was “in love with Bill” wouldn’t re-canting her story, and therefore being able to be around Bill make more sense, than sticking with her story of cheating on her spouse?

    9. Speaking of Bill Counseling this woman. The mere fact, that this IS a FACT, is completely disturbing and totally inappropriate. I am a licensed professional counselor and there is absolutely no way that someone who was accused falsely by a woman of having an affair with that woman -would or should “counsel” that woman, even if she was suicidal…ESPECIALLY if she was suicidal. If she was suicidal, she should’ve been in the hospital getting treatment, not in the office of the person that she supposedly “falsely accused her of having an affair with.“ The fact that the elders just accepted that Bill did this clearly demonstrates to me that they Pretty much allow Bill to do whatever he wants to do. And, then they pick him up no matter how inappropriate his actions are or were. The fact that he was counseling this woman is absolutely ridiculous. Ridiculous! The fact that the elders allowed this is unacceptable!

    As a former Willow Creeker, who knows The players involved, I completely believe the accusers and there is no doubt in my mind that the woman who stated she had an affair with Bill Hybels did indeed have an affair. Bill Hybels is A tremendous preacher, but he simply does not practice what he preaches. He’s a bully and his ability to influence the elders and 95% of the congregation on anything was apparent to me from the start. That being said, I never thought in 1 million years that I would have read an article like this a couple weeks ago. However; his denial of the allegations “fits the mold,“ of adult to have sexually violated others-either in word or deed. Sorry, Bill, but this is my area of expertise!

    Note:
    Every single Willow Creek Community Church “message” is recorded, so the many times Bill Hybels talked about not drinking as well as the the importance of never being alone with a woman in private-in order to protect the image of the church-can easily be verified. Again, these were “ self-imposed rules“ which Bill would make a big deal about in order to a sure the congregation that he always did what was in the best interest of Willow Creek Community Church.

  40. @ Max:
    Brad Brucker wrote:

    Honestly, I certainly can’t begin to weigh in as it’s all so fresh news to me

    Brad: okay–but seriously, silence implies consent, and this is doubly true for men in these situations.

    I do wish that Willow Creek had been less defensive, and more kind to the many victims, in its ongoing response. Imagine you are a victim, frightened of the blowback were you to say anything, watching the entire leadership team and the entire congregation close ranks around Bill and openly call the victims liars and read their private emails without their consent publicly etc. etc. etc.

  41. @ drstevej:

    “I was covered by a malpractice policy when I was a pastor. The church paid for the policy. I never used it. It was to established to shield against frivolous law suit costs.”
    +++++++++++

    was it assumed that any potential lawsuit could only possibly be frivolous?

  42. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    oh, we are talking about a church, silly me, I though the Church was different…

    There are two different concepts in there, of course:
     a church
     the Church

    Anyone can plant a church; so…

  43. @ Benjamin Ady:
    “okay–but seriously, silence implies consent, and this is doubly true for men in these situations.”

    Haven’t heard that in a while outside strategic planning. It’s very true because manipulators/bullies, etc always take advantage of the silence.

  44. Tom P wrote:

    I want to be careful to ascribe motivation, but what I find ironic and strange is that this is Ortberg’s first blog entry on anything in almost four years…since June 27, 2014 to be exact.

    And what does that say about his *motivation?* To me it just says that he needed to say something about the issue so he used a platform he owned.

  45. Rob wrote:

    The shame should go on Ortberg, Mellado, and Beach for bringing forth the accusations with no proof.

    Should they ignore evidence in the form of testimony from the women in looking for proof? Is an investigation not for the purposes of discovering proof?

    This line of thinking is part of the problem. No one can bring accusations unless the matter is already settled, I suppose.

  46. Brad Brucker wrote:

    The local church is the hope of the world, but it can be brutal at times!

    Jesus is the hope of the world, not the local church – particularly in its current condition throughout much of Christendom. Jesus and “brutal” do not go together. Too many folks put their trust in local churches and their leaders, ending up disillusioned when they fail them.

    Brad Brucker wrote:

    May Jesus reign!

    Amen! At the root of failed ministries is a man who tried to put himself on the throne rather than Jesus. In many American churches, the authority of Christ is waning – Jesus has almost no authority in places who call themselves by His name. When Bill Hybels began his ministry, he removed the Cross from the sanctuary – indicating it was a hindrance to seekers. That was a red flag for me about the Willow Creek model years ago.

  47. Rob wrote:

    Wow, from the comments here, John Ortberg seems like the all knowing God who can determine truth. He seems to be above the wisdom of Matthew 18:15-17, and he can all knowingly determine if an investigation was proper. In my Bible, I did not read, go the the Chicago Tribune and destroy that person?
    And of these women that came forward? Bill said Nancy Beach had nice arms 19 years ago? Wow, that is really a crime?
    Is it possible that his accusers have an alternate agenda or have they themselves have been misled? The shame should go on Ortberg, Mellado, and Beach for bringing forth the accusations with no proof. All that does is divide the church.

    It’s possible. But here is the problem. It’s almost always a he said/she said situation. Add to that the insulated world of top tier yes people surrounding a mega pastor. So legal proof becomes a problem in the spiritual world of church. And pew sitters are more celebrity fans than the Body of Christ who think they know the persona on stage.

    Since I am extremely familiar with that world and how it operates, a tiny clue makes me question Hybels. Mega church pastors don’t counsel nobodies. They don’t do weddings or funerals of nobodies. There is ALWAYS something personal in it for them if they do. And it’s not money. It could be a humble image rehab. I have seen that. Like the pope washing peasants feet and the paparazzi just happens to be there.

    But never fear. The lawyers from each side are talking to each other. Sigh.

  48. Steve Schreiner wrote:

    Bill Hybels is A tremendous preacher, but he simply does not practice what he preaches.

    Matthew 7 talks about preachers who walk contrary to what they preach. The 21st century church in America, particularly the mega corners of it, has more than its share of such leaders.

  49. In my opinion,

    J.O. talks about not seeking this out but being approached about the initial “victim” story. That alleged “victim” recanted her story to the WC elders, BH’s wife (most important), and the world, many times with many apologies. The entire recant email was read to the WC congregation. She was a close, personal friend of BH’s wife. Of course BH is going to care if she is suicidal. This is what started it all. J.O. and his group (who are all previous employees, remember) did not believe it or let it go and continued to dig for more “dirt” on BH. If I remember correctly, JO, NO, NB & JM always preached about love & Christian living.

    The congregation was told that ALL of BH’s emails are destroyed over time, because of the sensitive info that he deals with. It was not just emails between him and the 1st alleged “victim”. They weren’t hand picked and deleted. I believe them.

    If NB and VD were “victims”, why did they not talk to the elders or the outside investigator, (or anyone at Willow) about there alleged stories? They discussed it with the Chicago Trib first? Really? with a picture of VD all dressed up and made up looking out the window? Really?

    The hypocrisy of VD is that she continued to search out and is still friends with the entire BH family on social media; now crying victim? 20 years ago, when alleged conduct happened, per IG,she went on vacations with them, probably was pretty close friends. If I was sexually abused by my friends’ husband or father, I would run far,far away from all of them. She was a grown adult. VD is a musical performer and she works for a PR firm.

    NB always wore sleeveless tops when she preached at WC. She HAD very nice, tanned, toned arms. My husband thought so too (please don’t accuse him of sexual harassment). I would’ve told her that and I’m sure other people (men and women) did too. She showed them off. NB never told a soul about her “so-called-incident” until she talked to the Chicago Trib, not even her husband? Really?

    The hypocrisy of Christians (supposedly Christian leaders) is so nauseating to me. To want to destroy someone whom they called friends like BH, ALL of his family, a church like Willow Creek by going to the Chicago Tribune to get attention, literally makes me want to throw up. Does that group think about anybody besides themselves or their agenda?

    Will we ever know the whole truth? Probably not. I have lost all respect for the JO.
    I guess by doing this, it’s one way to increase book sales.

  50. @ Steve Schreiner:
    I would like to get ahold of you behind the scenes. Your email bounced back. Can you send me contact info?
    dee@thewartburgwatch. All of your info will remain confidential. I promise.

  51. @ Sue:
    Sue I think you responding accurately to some of the misinformation being disseminated on this blog. Thanks for bringing into focus some of the context that others are missing. It is exhausting and non-productive to engage in protracted discussions with some who have foreclosed on these matters and who have limited their reading to the original tribune article.

    Based upon what I heard at the community meetings, I do have concerns related to Vonda Dyer’s allegations. I believe that while BH denied these allegations, the Elders still need to sort this out. That being said, the tribune article does not present a persistent and pervasive pattern of behavior toward women by BH, especially considering the 40 year span of his body of work.

    As it relates to motivations of JO and others, I’m not sure. It is strange to me that JO activated his blog after being dormant for 4 years. Further, demands presented by the JO group as conditions for their participation in the investigation were conditions that nobody would accept…especially the requirements for a lifespan forensic investigation and indemnification. They are really getting bad legal advise. (And if it is coming from Bos, perhaps he should mind matters with Tullian first!)

  52. Rob wrote:

    The shame should go on Ortberg, Mellado, and Beach for bringing forth the accusations with no proof. All that does is divide the church.

    19 Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.
    20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. (1 Tim. 5:19-20)

    The standard has been met. Note that this is very different from the Matt. 18 standard for private sins.

    1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1)

    He’s disqualified.

  53. @ Sue:
    Sue, you sound like some of the preachers I have listened to who ask a lot of questions from the pulpit but by the way they ask them, I can tell they are not really looking for the answer; because I’m sitting right there in the pew and I have the answer. If I am mistaken about your line of questioning, I apologize. But as a #metoo survivor I can answer some of your questions. If you are implying that you were a braver #metoo survivor, are you saying that you did talk right away, and to all the right people, and that you never lessened or backtracked on any part or even the whole of a story? If that is so, that would be a great encouragement for future victims to here.

  54. Willow Creek published additional information.

    https://www.willowcreek.org/en/willow-creek-response-to-local-media/willow-creek-response-faq

    Amazed at all that have drawn conclusions from one post from JO. Amazed that some many here are all knowing of the truth. I don’t know the answer, and I am confident that no one that has posted knows either.

    I do agree SteveS that there are concerns about “practicing what you preach” in terms of not putting oneself in a questionable situation, but that is not the same as improper behavior.

    Suggest we all spend less time convicting and spend more time praying for the truth.

  55. Rob wrote:

    Amazed at all that have drawn conclusions from one post from JO.

    I completely agree. It’s terrible that so many people are throwing JO under the bus for that one post. It’s just plain wrong for so many to be falsely accusing JO without a full investigation.

  56. Rob wrote:

    I do agree SteveS that there are concerns about “practicing what you preach” in terms of not putting oneself in a questionable situation, but that is not the same as improper behavior.

    Hmmmm… are you so sure about that?

  57. Sue wrote:

    The congregation was told that ALL of BH’s emails are destroyed over time, because of the sensitive info that he deals with. It was not just emails between him and the 1st alleged “victim”. They weren’t hand picked and deleted. I believe them.

    Seriously? All sensitive emails were destroyed. I don’t buy that excuse for one second. My husband is a cardiologist and every time he sees a patient- quite a few each day- sensitive and private information is shared. He records all of that sensitive information into a computer that has a confidential electronic record. Your doctor does the same. Buy husband is standing here having a good chuckle about *delete the sensitive emails.*

    There are plenty of programs for keeping emails secure. Instead, Hybels deleted all of them. Egads! Shades of recent political situations. Believe what you want. I don’t believe this was innocent.In fact, your comment has made me become even more concerned.

  58. Sue wrote:

    If NB and VD were “victims”, why did they not talk to the elders or the outside investigator,

    Maybe because the supposed *outside* investigator was not really an outsider? Stay tuned. I plan to present some info on that tomorrow.

  59. Chris wrote:

    Then who pays for it?@ Max:

    Yes, that is a dilemma in these situations. Allegations of church leadership abuse in one form or another are becoming so frequent that a system needs to be in place to handle more independent investigations/audits. I addressed this earlier @ @ Max:

  60. Dee wrote:

    Buy husband is standing here having a good chuckle about *delete the sensitive emails.*

    There are plenty of programs for keeping emails secure. Instead, Hybels deleted all of them.

    Hybels’ actions give the impression of something to hide. His enormous public image seems to mask the character of a small man (Wizard of Oz, or more recently the Tina Fey episode where John Hamm’s character gets a pass or privilege because he is “tall and handsome Dr. So-and-so”).

    Normally in a work situation, emails are required to be saved for the sake of all concerned. It’s a digital trail of what really happened to audit, first and foremost, the professional. Legislation was considered here (don’t recall if it passed), to make all emails of professors legally owned by the state, just in case of indiscretions or questions come up.

    Law enforcement can often find what it is looking for (in a defendent’s computers) in a trial, with private parties even, to assess engagements and intentions (the surviving spouse who searches for methods, etc.).

  61. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    It’s just plain wrong for so many to be falsely accusing JO without a full investigation.

    This is true. If he pays me a reasonable fee, I’ll independently exonerate him, and that will (or should) put an end to all the gossip.

  62. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Most non-profit professions have licensure. Professionals dare not touch a kid, take a bribe for a grade, or embezzle funds lest they lose their integrity and their license, livelihood, future, stature, reputation, and then go to jail. Malfeasance comes at great cost to the predator. Friendly with the funding, and fondling in their friendships end deadly.

    The church seems to operate outside of all professional checks and balances. If a leader can convince someone to fund them or pleasure them, the leader can do as they please, which is exactly what some church leaders seem to be doing, until their con catches up with them in Eternity.

    Frank Vennes did a business con, served time for it, got out, and then took his con to the church where he embezzled billion$ from retired missionaries and other church folk in a perfect predatory environment.

    One does church at their own risk.

  63. @ Sue:
    Your comment reminds me so much of the shallow, empty, phony, hypocritical cult of personality, covert world of the typical mega church. So glad to be out of that world. One thing I know for sure is it’s a totally different place for staff than the pew sitters who come to be entertained.

  64. JYJames wrote:

    The church seems to operate outside of all professional checks and balances. If a leader can convince someone to fund them or pleasure them, the leader can do as they please, which is exactly what some church leaders seem to be doing, until their con catches up with them in Eternity.

    One does church at their own risk.

    Exactly! There are far too many examples operating this way. Churches are easy targets for predators and conmen.

  65. @ JYJames:
    None of that applies to churches. People need to understand before they walk into a church that courts view them differently. They don’t even fall under 501c3 for reporting officer salaries. They can hide all that because church is voluntary. People don’t have to give them money before demanding to see budgets. No one on staff would have to turn over emails of a private nature because of laws protecting counseling/confession, etc. the only exceptions I have ever seen are child porn.

    People are not protected at church as they are with other non profits. It’s all voluntary. That’s why I just can’t recommend them. And Megas are the worst.

  66. Lydia. wrote:

    @ Sue:
    Your comment reminds me so much of the shallow, empty, phony, hypocritical cult of personality, covert world of the typical mega church. So glad to be out of that world. One thing I know for sure is it’s a totally different place for staff than the pew sitters who come to be entertained.

    In my experience, so are some of the smaller churches. When I was on the inside, in leadership, I saw an ugly side of things that made me question not just the personal commitment of senior leadership to Christ, but whether in fact they were covertly committed to destroying all faith in Him.

  67. Tom P. wrote:

    (And if it is coming from Bos, perhaps he should mind matters with Tullian first!)

    Really trashy comment there. You’re a hypocrite if you think you have any standing now to comment about anyone taking shots at another without having all the facts. As you well know or should well know, Boz stands pretty well against what Tullian has done and has been a great advocate against church abuse.

    You do a great job of indicating just why there needs to be a great deal more legitimate investigation of Hybels situation—and you also give some insight into the mindset of a megachurch member who thinks it right to follow a pastor who’s spitting mad because he’s not allowed to drift off into retirement with his carefully-cultivated reputation protected. Good luck with that, sir, following a man who thinks he has any right to lead anyone when the first thing he gets up there and does is speak angrily about hits to his reputation. I’ll let you in on something that’s an irrefutable fact: That was absolutely nothing like Jesus—zero, zilch, nada.

  68. Rob wrote:

    The shame should go on…

    You’re really good at meting out shame. You’ve been well-trained.

  69. dee wrote:

    Maybe because the supposed *outside* investigator was not really an outsider?

    i.e. “The Fix Is In”?

  70. Rob wrote:

    Is it possible that his accusers have an alternate agenda or have they themselves have been misled?

    (Conspiracy Conspiracy Conspiracy Conspiracy Conspiracy…)

  71. Rob wrote:

    I do agree SteveS that there are concerns about “practicing what you preach” in terms of not putting oneself in a questionable situation, but that is not the same as improper behavior.

    Eh. It shows you something about the man, though, that makes accusations more credible.

  72. Law Prof wrote:

    Tom P. wrote:
    (And if it is coming from Bos, perhaps he should mind matters with Tullian first!)

    Really trashy comment there.

    Right? Like you can control your brother anyways. They’re adults, they do what they want.

  73. Rob wrote:

    In my Bible, I did not read, go the the Chicago Tribune and destroy that person?

    You do know that many things are not mentioned in the Bible. The word *Trinity* is not mentioned, for example. However, it is implied.

    There was no Chicago Tribune or internet in those days. Little people had nowhere to go for help in matters like this. Here is where you go wrong. If the church is supposed to be the shining city on the hill, to be seen by the world, the church does not get to dictate what the world sees. If business is being conducted in a godly manner, then the world will have nothing to see.

    However, when.a mega church jumps up and down to be recognized and to get tons of people to attend, the church better be prepared to be looked at good and hard. You do not dictate what they get to see.

    One thing I mentioned to some people in the Highpoint situation is relevant here. God often used the pagans to bring discipline to the people of Israel. He allowed the pagan hordes to come in, put rings in the noses of the people, put chains through the nose rings and lead them off into captivity in placed like Babylon and Egypt.

    Frankly, a story in the Chicago Tribune is mild compared to that.

  74. Rob wrote:

    he shame should go on Ortberg, Mellado, and Beach for bringing forth the accusations with no proof. All that does is divide the church.

    Oh good night! You are smarter than this comment. You do understand that sex abuse, etc is usually a one on one situation. There are usually only two people who know what went on. There is rarely *proof* like Lewinsky’s dress.

    Your comment would imply that all people, without definitive proof, should shut up about any sort of injustice. I would not want to be in a church in which you were in charge.

  75. Divorce Minister wrote:

    nd even if they DO have an agenda in this (which I HIGHLY doubt), that still does not necessarily mean they are lying about Hybels behavior.

    This reminds me of the old saw “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.”

  76. Sue wrote:

    NB always wore sleeveless tops when she preached at WC. She HAD very nice, tanned, toned arms. My husband thought so too (please don’t accuse him of sexual harassment). I would’ve told her that and I’m sure other people (men and women) did too. She showed them off.

    Would someone be willing to donate a box of red flags to me?

    She showed off her arms??? You mean instead of wearing a burka? You and your husband discussed the toned arms of another person?

    Last night, I said to my cardiologist husband when he got home: “Would there be an issue of you told an employee that they had *pretty arms?” He said “I wold be reported to Human Resources and get possibly lose my job.”

    This arm thing is beginning to weird me out. How many of you were sitting around remarking on *toned arms* at WC?

  77. Rob wrote:

    In my Bible, I did not read, go the the Chicago Tribune and destroy that person?

    If it’s the truth, who cares whether they go the the Trib or the NYT or social media or have it sky written above Willow Creek?

    By the way, in my Bible I read of whispers in inner rooms being shouted from rooftops. But Jesus said that, and indeed, sad enough to say, seems that He is the stumbling block for the average megachurch leader.

  78. Sue wrote:

    The hypocrisy of Christians (supposedly Christian leaders) is so nauseating to me. To want to destroy someone whom they called friends li

    OK-there are lots of problems with your statement.

    First, your little dig at the Christian faith of another is wrong. You may disagree with the actions of another, you may speak against the actions of another, but only God gets to determine salvation. So please stop that nonsense.

    Secondly, you are saying that the Ortbergs and the Mellados WANT to destroy your church and the Hybels. Codswallop! Splash some cold water on your face and take a deep breath. They believe something is terribly wrong. They care about the victims. You may disagree with them but stop assigning crazy motives to them. It tarnishes the case you are attempting to make.

    Years ago, I confronted a church that I attended which I believed mismanaged a pedophile situation. That pedophile is now in prison for hurting numerous teen boys in my church. I was mad at the church because I believe they could have caught this guy sooner. They kept ignoring warning signs. I did not WANT to DESTRO my church. I wanted them to be held to account. Just like you, they claimed I wanted to hurt the church and the pastor. That was bull crap and deep down inside they knew it.

    I may not like those pastors now but never once did I want to *harm their reputation.* In fact, it is their response that was the fire under my bottom to start this blog.

    I know lots of people. I can assure you that everyone, no matter what they believe, are sick about this situation. It is time for you to understand that feeling.

    You are employing an old tactic. You are making the messenger the problem. You have helped me to see that there are deep problems in the church and in how you were taught to respond to conflict in a godly manner.

  79. Law Prof wrote:

    By the way, in my Bible I read of whispers in inner rooms being shouted from rooftops.

    oooooh-good one! Wish I had bought of it.

  80. dee wrote:

    There was no Chicago Tribune or internet in those days.

    No, but there were housetops!

    “There is nothing covered up which is not going to be exposed nor anything private which will not be made public. The things I tell you in the dark you must say in the daylight, and the things you hear in your private ear you must proclaim from the house-tops.” (Matthew 10:27 Phillips)

    DEEBS, thank you for efforts to inform and warn others about ministers and ministries that are off-track. I know you have been mockingly referred to in the past as a “discernment blog” … take it as a compliment, for you have indeed discerned much wrong in the American church. Shout it from the housetops!

  81. Max wrote:

    know you have been mockingly referred to in the past as a “discernment blog” … take it as a compliment

    I do. Thank you. It seems that critique is starting to die down as time after time the truth has come out. Let me say this. I believe the victims in this situation. I have my reasons but the *pretty arms* comment was a tell for me. It’s little details like that the corroborate a story.

  82. Lydia. wrote:

    Church is voluntary. Enter at your own risk.

    The American church needs a counterpart to the Better Business Bureau … a “Better Church Bureau” where comments can be posted for all to see, and ratings assigned from A to F. Lord knows we need better churches in America and a way to find them. In the meantime, take Lydia’s advice “Enter at your own risk” – things are not always as they seem at first glance.

  83. dee wrote:

    This arm thing is beginning to weird me out. How many of you were sitting around remarking on *toned arms* at WC?

    I can see this if they were particularly impressive, somewhat like people remarked on Michelle’s arms. There is no reason for her employer to point it out, however, and people are ignoring a lot of context that makes it creepier. She apparently found it odd, which should tell us something.

    Also wearing a sleeveless top is not ‘showing off’ it is totally normal in summer for just about everybody, at least where I live.

    I find it interesting to read descriptions of all the issues get reduced to the *one* thing someone thinks is defensible. IE, stories of being invited into hotel rooms and being greeted by roaming hands, get ignored and people just talk about a hug. Pfft.

  84. dee wrote:

    This arm thing is beginning to weird me out.

    I know what you mean!! Tullian’s fake & bake tan always creeped me out, too. 🙂

  85. Yes, we know that your husband is a cardiologist.

    If because of #metoo movement that we cannot compliment someone (male or female) for obviously working hard at creating something, we are all doomed.

    Also, you should read the FAQ on the WC blog regarding this whole matter. Remember, there are always 2 sides to every story.

  86. dee wrote:

    Sue wrote:

    NB always wore sleeveless tops when she preached at WC. She HAD very nice, tanned, toned arms. My husband thought so too (please don’t accuse him of sexual harassment). I would’ve told her that and I’m sure other people (men and women) did too. She showed them off.

    Would someone be willing to donate a box of red flags to me?

    She showed off her arms??? You mean instead of wearing a burka? You and your husband discussed the toned arms of another person?

    Last night, I said to my cardiologist husband when he got home: “Would there be an issue of you told an employee that they had *pretty arms?” He said “I wold be reported to Human Resources and get possibly lose my job.”

    This arm thing is beginning to weird me out. How many of you were sitting around remarking on *toned arms* at WC?

    Very good point re. mentioning the arms. Clearly, many *church* people don’t understand thecdifference between what is appropriate and what is not.

  87. @ dee:
    Maybe you aren’t well versed enough in seeker mega thinking or forgot. Botox central. It’s a thing. Appearance, presentation, image, etc, is more important than substance. I can see where well toned arms woukd be a thing to admire on stage in that world.

    In the 90’s, many had a crush on Hybels. He was an it guy in Christendom.

  88. ___

    Social Media Wheel: “Thou art the man…” Tall 501(c)3 And Other $uch Tales, Perhaps?

    hmmm…

    Kirrrrrrrrrrrrk!

    Woman A, who accused BH of having a sexual relationship with her, later said/confessed to BH and his wife that she was lying and apparently became sducidal after her lie got greater traction than she had initially anticipated, requiring some type of crisis church assistance. A candidate for a #metoo victim?

    Woman B, that apparently took the story to the CT, had apparently some minor ax to grind. She apparently neither encountered nor experienced any sexual acts of any kind in relation to BH. She said she encountered an inappropriate comment/question/hotel ‘suite’ invite for a conversation and an offer of a glass of wine many years ago and a sometime single occasion BH ‘affectionate’ peck on the cheek. These issues if true, make her a prime candidate for a #metoo victim?

    RO apparently is attempting to cash in on his nine years at WC. He apparently wants something. (shooting for the top WC spot perhaps?) It would have made more sense to approach BH ‘his friend’ privately about this possible scriptural ‘thou art the man’ misconduct ‘brought to his (RO) attention’ before moving forward as scripture stipulates with additional witnesses. Did this happen? Some say no. Now what?

    BH seeks to retire in October 2018 after forty years of 501(c)3 ministry,

    Now in flames…—in moral/character/integrity disgrace without any hard evidence to support his detractors aged claims.

    Woo Hoo…

    Who will be the next 501(c)3 media target?

    ♪♩♪♩ hum, hum, hum … the 502(c)3 wheel in the media keeps on turnin’; I don’t know who will be ‘the accused’ tomorrow; The #metoo wheel in the social media keeps on a turnin’, 501(c)3 ‘truth’ tellers are now making bank a dime a dozen…What will tomorrow bring?

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9WFUqXPJCu0

    Doze big O’ Gates O’ Hell shall not prevail…

    ATB

    Spy
    —-
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SPsHCWBHOhU

    ;~)

    – –

  89. ___

    Social Media Wheel: “Thou art the man…” Tall 501(c)3 And Other $uch Tales, Perhaps?

    hmmm…

    Kirrrrrrrrrrrrk!

    Woman A, who accused BH of having a sexual relationship with her, later said/confessed to BH and his wife that she was lying and apparently became sducidal after her lie got greater traction than she had initially anticipated, requiring some type of crisis church assistance. A candidate for a #metoo victim?

    Woman B, that apparently took the story to the CT, had apparently some minor ax to grind. She apparently neither encountered nor experienced any sexual acts of any kind in relation to BH. She said she encountered an inappropriate comment/question/hotel ‘suite’ invite for a conversation and an offer of a glass of wine many years ago and a sometime single occasion BH ‘affectionate’ peck on the cheek. These issues if true, make her a prime candidate for a #metoo victim?

    RO apparently is attempting to cash in on his nine years at WC. He apparently wants something. (shooting for the top WC spot perhaps?) It would have made more sense to approach BH ‘his friend’ privately about this possible scriptural ‘thou art the man’ misconduct ‘brought to his (RO) attention’ before moving forward as scripture stipulates with additional witnesses. Did this happen? Some say no. Now what?

    BH seeks to retire in October 2018 after forty years of 501(c)3 ministry,

    Now in flames…—in moral/character/integrity disgrace without any hard evidence to support his detractors aged claims.

    Woo Hoo…

    Who will be the next 501(c)3 media target?

    ♪♩♪♩ hum, hum, hum … the 502(c)3 wheel in the media keeps on turnin’; I don’t know who will be ‘the accused’ tomorrow; The #metoo wheel in the social media keeps on a turnin’, 501(c)3 ‘truth’ tellers are now making bank a dime a dozen…What will tomorrow bring?

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9WFUqXPJCu0

    Doze big O’ Gates O’ Hell shall not prevail…

    ATB

    Spy
    —-
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SPsHCWBHOhU

    ;~)

    – –

  90. Tom P. wrote:

    (And if it is coming from Bos, perhaps he should mind matters with Tullian first!)

    This dig seals the deal for me. This is rude and uncalled for. Boz is a good and decent man who spoke out against Tullian’s despicable number of affairs. It is apparent that you do not think that was appropriate which makes me wonder why that is the case…

    Your comment leads me to believe that there is a problem at Willow Creek. This mean comment proves it.

  91. Lydia. wrote:

    @ Tom P.:
    Why is grown up Tullian, Boz’s responsibility?

    This is the beginning of the attack dogs. I saw this at Highpoint. Attack and take no prisoners.

  92. dee wrote:

    This is the beginning of the attack dogs. I saw this at Highpoint. Attack and take no prisoners.

    We know them by their fruits.

  93. Sue wrote:

    Yes, we know that your husband is a cardiologist.

    Now I understand just how mean-spirited you are. I tried to answer in a civil manner to show you why I believe that the missing emails excuse is not valid.

    I mentioned that my husband is a cardiologist to call attention to your theory that Hybel’s emails were deleted to protect people who confided sensitive information to him. I wanted to show you that my husband is also one who gets told sensitive info all the time and he does not delete what he knows. It is all entered into an electronic record which is super safe. There is no deleting of emails in the medical world.

    You were unnecessarily unkind and sarcastic and that is why I do not take what you say seriously. I give a hoot about sex abuse in the church and have a record of doing so for 9 years. I am fortunate to be in a family which has several people in the medical world. If you followed this blog, you would see that I often include comments from them. I am a retired nurse. I have a daughter who is a critical care nurse and a son in law who is a dentist who specifically cares for indigent people.

    I started a ministry which provides medical/dental care to victims of human trafficking. My husband has been invaluable in helping me contact physicians and others who donate care to serve this population,. In fact, today I am rejoicing because we were able to find a plastic surgeon who will see a man who was knifed in the face so badly he will not leave his house. This happened when he ran from his trafficker.

    Go ahead and make your digs. Between that and the weirdness surrounding compliments about *toned* arms, I am officially irritated. I also believe there is a bizarre culture at WC and you helped me see that.

    So, take a look at my ministry and the good thing my son in law did and try to be a bit kinder.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2017/12/18/tww-initiative-help-us-bring-vital-health-care-directly-to-actual-victims-of-human-trafficking/

  94. Sue wrote:

    If because of #metoo movement that we cannot compliment someone (male or female) for obviously working hard at creating something, we are all doomed.

    This is just gibberish.

  95. I’m sure that sales for Pastor Hybels’ book, “Who Are You When No One’s Looking” have suffered significantly in the past couple of weeks.

    Kidding aside, this whole situation makes me very sad for the entire Christian Church as the world watches our dysfunction. Weeping for Jesus’ bride.

  96. @ dee:
    My everlasting regret is time wasted in that world. Big things for Jesus. Big money. Big buildings, big audiences. Afraid I am a bit caustic with it. Will settle down.

  97. @ Lea:
    I have plenty of problems with the #metoo movement for victims. But not that. It’s creepy–at church? But that’s the mega world where people are exchanging plastic surgeon referrals. You would not believe the men who had their eyes done.

  98. Sue wrote:

    Remember, there are always 2 sides to every story.

    While I agree that both parties have a right to be heard, not every story has two sides. But sometimes there is enough story on an accuser’s side for a #MeToo person to make a retraction. I think that is cool that you let us know that we can be in on the WC blog FAQ to listen to the other side. But please comment directly instead of bashing TWW if you have good reason to believe that there is a conspiracy against BH. I am confident that TWW has prevented countless numbers of children from being molested by corrupt Christians primarily because Dee and Deb allow us to work out the things we hear. That is why we get so angry when someone misaligns our purpose. If there is a commenter here and there that condemns a person before they are proven innocent, that may be so. But this is no “fly by night blog.” Please contribute concretely. The way you have been communicating cheapens this blog. And in my opinion, only makes BH’s his case sound more believable.

  99. Lydia. wrote:

    Appearance, presentation, image, etc, is more important than substance … In the 90’s, many had a crush on Hybels. He was an it guy in Christendom.

    Some of the most humble men of God/used by God on earth have no physical appeal, nor marketing gimmicks. They are the real deal; they are making an impact for the Kingdom of God, not bringing reproach upon it. You usually don’t find them in mega church, nor comfortable with mega method and message. They often work in obscure places, staying faithful to their calling without a stumble or a scandal in their ministries. Praise God for them – I hope you can find one in your area … they are a rare and endangered species.

  100. ___

    ☞ “Nuge, Nuge, Wink, Wink…”

    hmmm…

    Let me ‘attempt’ to translate Sue’s infamous comment above ↑ , :

    le mouvement #metoo, peu importe comment favorable, peut certainement être abusé … (1)

    (sadface)

    ➵ To be continued…? (2)

    ATB

    Sòpy

    (1) fr. tr. the #metoo movement no matter how favorable,—can certainly be abused…
    (2) intermission: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=J4LI_EqnJq8

    ;~)

    – –

  101. Patti wrote:

    The way you have been communicating cheapens this blog. And in my opinion, only makes BH’s his case sound more believable.

    Actually, it cheapens her position, makes it absurd, and by comparison, it makes the blog look better. There’s no nice way I can think of to say it. And, as you say, it sure does make Bill Hybels look guilty, if not of sexual infidelity or harassment, at least of inspiring positively chilling subservience and blind trust in him.

    If Bill Hybels were wise and he saw attitudes like Sue’s expressed, he should be screaming “NO! No! Good gosh, folks, even if I’m innocent of this, why in the world would you be so quick to defend me by all means necessary when you know I’m just another selfish, often misguided person. Defend Jesus, not me, hold up His reputation, not mine, because even if I’m innocent of this and these are false accusations, attempts to destroy me, I am not an innocent man and could be condemned for a thousand other things I’ve done.

  102. Sue wrote:

    Remember, there are always 2 sides to every story.

    That is true, but this is also: Sometimes the two sides to the story are 1). The truth; 2). The lie.

  103. Lydia wrote:

    I have plenty of problems with the #metoo movement for victims. But not that. It’s creepy–at church?

    My opinion on the metoo deal is basically the Anne Lamott quote — ‘You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.’ Period. If a thing happened and it is true and you want to tell it, go ahead. The fallout is a different question entirely but it is not the fault of the truth being told.

    BTW, I saw you mention people being attracted to Hybell and I looked for pictures…I don’t see it.

  104. Patti wrote:

    But sometimes there is enough story on an accuser’s side for a #MeToo person to make a retraction.

    And it seems like people often ‘retract’ simply because they don’t want to deal with the fallout. That story of the lady who was not believed about an assault by the police and finally just retracted and then they attempted to charge her, and then the guy was caught in Colorado, is stuck in my head here.

  105. Lydia wrote:

    @ Lea:
    I have plenty of problems with the #metoo movement for victims. But not that. It’s creepy–at church? But that’s the mega world where people are exchanging plastic surgeon referrals. You would not believe the men who had their eyes done.

    i.e. The rules of CELEBRITY are in effect.

  106. dee wrote:

    One thing I mentioned to some people in the Highpoint situation is relevant here. God often used the pagans to bring discipline to the people of Israel. He allowed the pagan hordes to come in, put rings in the noses of the people, put chains through the nose rings and lead them off into captivity in placed like Babylon and Egypt.

    During the late Cold War, this expressed itself in such tactics as “GOD’S JUDGMENT FOR AMERICA’S SINS SITS READY AND WAITING IN THE NUCLEAR MISSILE SILOS OF THE SOVIET UNION!!!!!”

  107. ConcernedExCreeker wrote:

    this whole situation makes me very sad for the entire Christian Church as the world watches our dysfunction

    “the butt of their jokes; they shake their heads at us in scorn” (Psalm 44:14)

  108. I thought we were the BODY of Christ The Family of God. What on earth are we doing sharing family business with the world. Are we no different than the world. They just couldn’t keep this with the family. I guess they don’t know how. Couldn’t they find other pastors/leaders to bring to bare what ever concerns they had against Bill. So lost respect for the leadership of Ortberg and Beach. Whatever they and all these women have against Bill, taking it outside the family is not God’s way I am sure. You all have not only shamed Willow and Bill but the body of Christ and the church at large!!!! What is it they want from this? Whether he is guilty of some or all of this or none, you all have handled it with disgrace and certainly not in love for the body of Christ. It is not a testimony to the world of how to handle family business @ Rob:

  109. Schumacher wrote:

    I thought we were the BODY of Christ The Family of God. What on earth are we doing sharing family business with the world. Are we no different than the world.

    I have answered this with another who raised that issue. You are new to the blog and I think you have not read up on this matter. Here is what I said to another person.

    “Let me fill you in on something. You do not get to jump up and down and say “Come to my church.” “Buy our books.” “Listen to the sermons of my pastor,” if you are not willing to listen very carefully to what those you invited see. I have purchased some thing from Willow Creek. I get to tell you what I see. Did you know that the world actually sees churches hiding their sins and abusing victims? Did you read Rachel Denhollander’s statement in which she said the church is the last place you want to be when you are abused?

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rachael-denhollander-the-church-isnt-safe-for-sexual-abuse-victims_us_5a73264ce4b06fa61b4e1574

    Did you know that everyone outside of the church sees those inside the church attempting to cover things up, just like the secular world. See Matt Later and Bill O’Reilly. We don’t do things any differently. We abuse those who come forward ands make it worse.

    One of my former pastor said something that has stuck with me for years. “If we truly understand the Gospel we should be the first to confess and repent and step down.” He know because he did it. The world needs to see serious confession, serious repentance, serious consequences and slow but steady restoration. Also, a pastor who abuses his office should never be allowed in the pulpit again just like teachers who have sex with students and go to jail and lose their license to teach. Why should the church have LOWER standards than teachers, doctors, etc.?”

    Schumacher wrote:

    Whatever they and all these women have against Bill, taking it outside the family is not God’s way I am sure. You all have not only shamed Willow and Bill but the body of Christ and the church at large!!

    You shouldn’t be too sure of that. How well do you know your Old Testament? Guess who God used to bring judgement on Israel when they sinned? Nice guys? Did He hush it up and meet in a dark room in the Temple somewhere?

    Nope. He sent in the pagan tribes who took Israel into captivity. Are you familiar with the great diasporas?All truth is God’s truth whether it is told by Christians or atheists.

    Your church is called to be the light on the hill. That does not mean that those who are looking at that light only get to see what you want them to see. You know, the nice stuff. You are fooling yourself if you think that the world doesn’t see your sin. They do.

    It is time for all of you to understand what is meant by “simul justus et peccator.” All of us are both saints and sinners and it is time for us to tell the world that we are sinners as well as nice people bringing nice dinners for the shut ins.

    Do you want to know how to win over the world who sees out sins? They do, you know. I bet you have sinned in how you have treated others just this week. I know that I have. What we need to do is confess our sins, show the depth of our repentance, and take the long hard road to repentance. We need to model to the world how to confess our sins and how to repent. Instead, we want everyone to look away from the reality of that and instead cover it up with *doing nice things for others.*

    Let’s get real. The world already knows that we are all a bunch of jerks at times. Let’s show them how we Christian deal with that. It’s called the Gospel.

  110. I knew a woman very well, who was well-known in Christian radio and political circles, who tried time and again to subtly throw herself at Bill Hybels to no avail. It is very difficult for me, as a result, to believe that Bill would attempt any inappropriate behavior toward women. Is it possible that these women assumed ill-intent where none was intended? Why couldn’t this have been handled privately? Are these women’s allegations of more importance than the reputation before the world of a church that has had such great impact. This seems very self-absorbed on the part of these women.

  111. Kathy wrote:

    Is it possible that these women assumed ill-intent where none was intended?

    No because he stepped down.

    Kathy wrote:

    Why couldn’t this have been handled privately?

    It was. She got fired.

  112. Kathy wrote:

    Are these women’s allegations of more importance than the reputation before the world of a church that has had such great impact

    Wow!!!! Are you really saying this? In the kingdom of God your church is more important than a woman who was hurt? You are applying a capitalist viewpoint to the kingdom of God. Never, ever forget the wir=dow’s mite.

    Kathy wrote:

    This seems very self-absorbed on the part of these women.

    So women who are sexually harassed and are upset about it are self absorbed? Really? I think there is some self absorption going on here but it has nothing to do with those who were harmed.

    Big church, big money, bit everything is more important than a woman who was sexually harassed. What Bible are you reading?

  113. dee wrote:

    Kathy wrote:
    Why couldn’t this have been handled privately?
    It was. She got fired.

    BAM.

    ‘Handle it privately’ means just let him get away with it, 99.9% of the time.

  114. James 3 says that “when there is selfish ambition and bitter jealousy there will be disorder and every evil thing.” I have been a victim of injustice and I have been in the inevitable position of helping someone who is being treated unjustly, both are excruciating! Yet we have processes that God allows us to follow and there is a Biblical manner in which to handle it. Forgiveness, repentance, reconciliation and not dealing with it in the public forum is always the best way to handle it. Yet when selfish ambition and jealousy find their way into hearts, everything goes south! Ortberg, Beach, others need to look deep into their hearts as do the woman who made an accusation and then came clear and admitted she lied. The question is stated is “why would people like Ortberg and others do this if it is not true?” The answer is simple James 3. If they carried bitterness, misexpectations and resentment from something is the past has been growing and growing and they thought they could pile on. The problem is the original allegation was not true. Now they bitterness towards Hybel and WCCC has been revealed and they CAN’T humble themselves and admit they were wrong. I listened carefully to the March 26 Family Meeting video. I find what the church did to check into everything very credible. If they went to court on this, the judge would laugh Ortberg and others out of the courthouse! Too bad Hybels has been treated this way after 42 yrs giving his life to the ministry and helping the world. The Christian community is much better because of Hybels and his leadership. Ortberg better watch out along with the others, their enemies will be less kind when the shoe drops in their world. I have seen it happen too often and it has happened to me.
    Broken Pastor

  115. @ anon in the EFCA:
    Confused about IT email retention anyone?

    If emails were deleted, how does anyone know there were 1150? Or 10? Or any number? No email client I know saves a record or metadata of deleted emails between a sender and a recipient once deleted. Gmail or Outlook doesn’t. They either exist or do not exist – period.

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