Was Vonda Dyer Fired From Her Position at Willow Creek Because She Confronted Bill Hybels? #churchtoo

“This is what happened to me.I believe the women who have come forward because our stories are so similar. For the sake of the other women and for the sake of the church, I cannot stay silent.” -Vonda Dyer

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=66150&picture=woman
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Today, Vonda Dyer posted her statement about her experiences with Bill Hybels of Willow Creek. This disturbing account merely serves to bolster my belief that Bill Hybels should be removed from the pulpit. Let me say it another way. I believe Vonda Dyer. I think many of you will feel the same way after reading her account.

Dyer has a website and yesterday posted her response to the Chicago Tribune article, filling in a number of details. The following are a few things that jumped out at me. I look forward to hearing your impressions of the statement.

  • I became aware for the first time that many of the situations I had encountered with Bill had also occurred with other women spanning more than 30 years.
  • These emerged as patterns-what I now believe to be classic behaviors of grooming, perpetration and abuse of power.
  • He often spoke to me privately about how difficult his marriage was, in detail.
  • He sternly told me to change my brunette hair color back to blonde, because he did not like it.
  • He invited me to his room for a leadership talk on a trip in Switzerland and asked me not to bring my husband.
  • Her husband (on staff at the time) was removed from a planned trip to South Africa but not Dyer.
  • (Hybels) “You’re an ‘A Player’, Scott’s a ‘B Player.’”
  • A detailed account about what happened in the hotel room in Sweden is given.
  • Dyer reports her concerns to some people on the team at Willow Creek but asked that it not be reported to the leaders, hoping it was just a moment of weakness.
  • She confronted Bill Hybels about his flirting with other women and told him to cut it out. He said *understood.”
  • In 2003, shortly after giving birth to her daughter, she was fired from Willow Creek after being told that 12-15 people had issues with her. She was not allowed to talk to anyone about this. For remaining silent, she was allowed to resign.

Interestingly, one of our readers, a long time member of Willow Creek, told me that the pattern of Hybels’ speech, reported by victims, is the same pattern that he observed. Specifically, Hybels had a habit of saying simply “Understood” in conversations. In this account, Dyer confronts Hybels regarding his flirting with 5 female leaders.

I went into his office, sat across from his desk, looked him straight in the eye and listed the women by name (including Nancy Beach), counting on my fingers 1-5. I then said, “You need to knock it off!” He sat silently staring at me. Then I said, “Do you understand what I am saying to you?” He said, “Understood.” I then said, “OK?” and he said, “K”, and I got up and left his office, trembling.

Finally, I am concerned that there are leaders or employees at Willow Creek who may have covered for Hybels and may have taken actions which assisted him in his pursuits.

In the mid 90’s Bill singled me out on one of my first international trips with the Willow Creek conference team in Australia. During the first leg of the trip, I was told by a leader that Bill liked how I looked and that I was his “type”.

…In 2000, I noticed Bill flirting with 5 female leaders that he was mentoring. The term for this behavior among leaders was Bill’s “flavor of the month”.

I have been a victims’ advocate since 2009 (actually before that but that is another story.) When I read the report in the Chicago Tribune, I believed the stories of the victims. One reason (there are many others) is the *little details* in their accounts. Victims remember small details due to the impact of the event. It is like their brain takes a snapshot of that moment. They want to talk about those details because they are telling the truth and every little detail matters to them.

My heart goes out to those who served the body of Christ at Willow Creek while dealing with the stress of a boss who does not appear to understand boundaries in relationships. Now, once again, the victims are undergoing much stress as they do the right thing. They are in the line of fire from critics who apparently do not understand that all of us are simultaneously saints and sinners. Heroes can fall. That is why we need the Cross and Easter.

Finally, why go to the secular press? Shouldn’t this stay inside the church? God uses those outside of the church to bring justice to those inside of the church. Think about the Old Testament. After many warnings, God allowed pagan nations to come in and lead the people into captivity and slavery. All truth is God’s truth, whether it is delivered from the pulpit or from the pages of The Chicago Tribune. I believe that this problem was known and  could have been handled years ago. It wasn’t. Silence was the answer of the church but God doesn’t like silence when it comes to the sufferings of victims. I hope the leadership of Willow Creek is listening.


Comments

Was Vonda Dyer Fired From Her Position at Willow Creek Because She Confronted Bill Hybels? #churchtoo — 224 Comments

  1. Hybels and his Willow Creek model were apparently too big to fail in the minds of the elder team. A “pastor” does not get away with this sort of behavior for 30+ years without church leaders knowing about it, justifying it (?), and covering it. This is a textbook example of the cult of personality.

  2. I thought the movie Case for Christ was well done. Of course, this church and its pastor are featured within it. Now, the effectiveness of the movie as far as witness has this matter attached to it. This is why pastors are called to be above reproach, for amongst other reasons the effect on ministry and witness.

  3. JDV wrote:

    I thought the movie Case for Christ was well done. Of course, this church and its pastor are featured within it. Now, the effectiveness of the movie as far as witness has this matter attached to it. This is why pastors are called to be above reproach, for amongst other reasons the effect on ministry and witness.

    Yes. You’re right! I forgot that Lee Stroble was a Creeke. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. @ Forrest:
    Forrest, my first red flag with Hybels and his seeker-friendly way of doing church was his reluctance to display the Cross. He claimed it was a hindrance that was not friendly to attracting seekers. Perhaps ‘he’ didn’t want to look at it.

  5. Finally, why go to the secular press? Shouldn’t this stay inside the church?

    If the Assyrians and Babylonians can be used to discipline Israel, why not the Chicago Tribune for an errant church.

  6. When someone writes a book about “culturally-relevant” ministers and ministries which fail, they will find a common mentoring link to Robert Schuller. Hybels, Warren, and even Driscoll looked to Schuller for how-to advice on growing a church. Schuller didn’t finish well either.

    “If their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail” (Acts 5:38)

  7. Thersites wrote:

    Finally, why go to the secular press? Shouldn’t this stay inside the church?

    If the Assyrians and Babylonians can be used to discipline Israel, why not the Chicago Tribune for an errant church.

    I went to a Bible study last night including Zech 11:16
    “For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hooves.”
    Commentaries see this referring to chief priests or the Romans, but seems appropriate to many of the current “shepherd” hirelings and wolves…

  8. Thersites wrote:

    Finally, why go to the secular press? Shouldn’t this stay inside the church?
    If the Assyrians and Babylonians can be used to discipline Israel, why not the Chicago Tribune for an errant church.

    Outstanding point, as we’ve seen so many authoritarian entities use the good will of the people — including spinning Bible interpretation toward that end (touch not anointed and Hebrews 13:17 for 100, Alex) — apparently to evade oversight and accountability. If it doesn’t happen amongst the body, it’s left to others to call it out, with all that comes with that.

  9. Max wrote:

    @ Forrest:
    Forrest, my first red flag with Hybels and his seeker-friendly way of doing church was his reluctance to display the Cross. He claimed it was a hindrance that was not friendly to attracting seekers. Perhaps ‘he’ didn’t want to look at it.

    Wow, never heard that.

  10. Max wrote:

    When someone writes a book about “culturally-relevant” ministers and ministries which fail, they will find a common mentoring link to Robert Schuller. Hybels, Warren, and even Driscoll looked to Schuller for how-to advice on growing a church. Schuller didn’t finish well either.

    “If their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail” (Acts 5:38)

    Max, I was aware of these things years ago. But when the new kids, the Emergents, gained center stage, the Creekers and Seekers took a back seat. I had forgotten some of these things as now we are spot lighting New Cals. Thank you so much for jogging my memory. My background is very similar to yours and I find myself agreeing with your posts very often. It seems that some of these guys have dirty laundry and it is time to air them out.

  11. Max wrote:

    When someone writes a book about “culturally-relevant” ministers and ministries which fail, they will find a common mentoring link to Robert Schuller. Hybels, Warren, and even Driscoll looked to Schuller for how-to advice on growing a church. Schuller didn’t finish well either.
    “If their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail” (Acts 5:38)

    Apparently not.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2010/10/29/robert-schuller-bankrupt-in-more-ways-than-one/

    (However, you can still get Schiller book The Power of Being Debt Free (1985) on eBay…)

    How much groupthink took place there? How much ‘past is prologue’ cruise controlling went on? If you rely on spectacle and shiny packages because you don’t think the truth of the Gospel is sufficient for the work at hand, you’re asking for this. Where accountability and oversight ever had a place at the table is a good question.

  12. Max wrote:

    When someone writes a book about “culturally-relevant” ministers and ministries which fail, they will find a common mentoring link to Robert Schuller. Hybels, Warren, and even Driscoll looked to Schuller for how-to advice on growing a church. Schuller didn’t finish well either.

    Schuller actually said that if he wasn’t a preacher he’d be in Showbiz, he liked putting on theatrical spectacles so much.

    The reason the former Crystal Cathedral is now Catholic is that when Schuller retired, his heirs ran Crystal Cathedral into the ground with infighting and bickering. Few personality cults survive their founder.

  13. @ JDV:
    They need to be above reproach which means they MUST repent and confess, something these guys have trouble doing.

  14. Mercy wrote:

    when the new kids, the Emergents, gained center stage, the Creekers and Seekers took a back seat … now we are spot lighting New Cals.

    Mercy, I hope to live long enough to see a new breed of preachers return to preaching Jesus and Him crucified, without charisma or gimmick.

  15. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Few personality cults survive their founder.

    Not everyone is cut out to be a Brigham Young to Joseph Smith, or a David Miscavige to L. Ron Hubbard. /snark

  16. Max wrote:

    Mercy wrote:
    when the new kids, the Emergents, gained center stage, the Creekers and Seekers took a back seat … now we are spot lighting New Cals.
    Mercy, I hope to live long enough to see a new breed of preachers return to preaching Jesus and Him crucified, without charisma or gimmick.

    I hear you, Max. But I’m not holding my breath. Sigh.

  17. Finally, why go to the secular press? Shouldn’t this stay inside the church?

    A church that is constituted as a 501(c)3 non-profit is required by IRS regulations to function for the public benefit. So, even if it is a religious organization, it has obligations to the general public and “secular” media should not be excluded from investigating and/or reporting on it.

    Also, I doubt anyone can convincingly argue that sexual harassment or other forms of clergy misconduct benefit the public …

  18. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Few personality cults survive their founder.
    Not everyone is cut out to be a Brigham Young to Joseph Smith, or a David Miscavige to L. Ron Hubbard. /snark

    Which is a point I’ve made many times regarding early Mormon history.

    Brigham Young turned Joseph Smith’s movement from an ad hoc grouping with the vibe of a personality cult into a self-sustaining religious system. That’s why I consider Brigham Young an important historical figure of the American West.

  19. dee wrote:

    @ JDV:
    They need to be above reproach which means they MUST repent and confess, something these guys have trouble doing.

    Exactly, rather than crisis manage like government bureaucrats or a business facing a recall.

  20. “This is what happened to me.I believe the women who have come forward because our stories are so similar. For the sake of the other women and for the sake of the church, I cannot stay silent.” -Vonda Dyer

    I found this and Ms. Dyer’s story quite believable.

  21. Max wrote:

    @ Forrest:
    Forrest, my first red flag with Hybels and his seeker-friendly way of doing church was his reluctance to display the Cross. He claimed it was a hindrance that was not friendly to attracting seekers. Perhaps ‘he’ didn’t want to look at it.

    I think you may be right, Max.

  22. People go to the press and secular authorities because the poor theology in Evangelical churches actually contributes to evil. There is no justice in a lot of Evangelical churches, just weak, watery grace that allows popular and charismatic leaders to victimize multiple people.

  23. Beth wrote:

    @ Forrest:
    Forrest, my first red flag with Hybels and his seeker-friendly way of doing church was his reluctance to display the Cross. He claimed it was a hindrance that was not friendly to attracting seekers. Perhaps ‘he’ didn’t want to look at it.

  24. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Few personality cults survive their founder.

    Not everyone is cut out to be a Brigham Young to Joseph Smith, or a David Miscavige to L. Ron Hubbard.

    …or Andy Stanley to Bill Hybels. Stanley’s current model is based off of Hybels’ Willow Creek “seeker” based platform and one of the reasons he split from his dad’s (Charles’) church. Andy has also adopted the Hybels’ leadership conference with his own Catalyst conferences (now outsourced to Craig Goeschel?) just like Hybels’ Global Leadership Summit. Just another connection to consider/watch.

  25. I doubt that his problems originate from not wanting to “look at the cross” (That comment appears a bit “snarky” to me).

    There are many parts of traditional services that Willow eschews for the sake of the seeker. No robes, for instance. Never hear an organ. Reminder that passing of plate is for members’ convenience.

    Additionally, he often uses a HUGE cross for baptisms. New believers are baptized after pinning a list of their sins to it.

  26. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    I think the cult of the celebrity pastor needs to end.

    This. All I can think of is how much of Bill’s “Leadership” BS was being* used to groom women. While many of the people in his $150/person (even to watch via Satellite!) Leadership Summit are great people, knowing how much of this leadership crap is just more of the same self-help nonsense – coupled with these upsetting revelation — makes me want to barf.

    The cult of leadership and celebrity needs to stop in Evangelicalism, and start with the BS “Servant-Leader” language.

    *alleged, for now

  27. Max wrote:

    Hybels and his Willow Creek model were apparently too big to fail in the minds of the elder team. A “pastor” does not get away with this sort of behavior for 30+ years without church leaders knowing about it, justifying it (?), and covering it. This is a textbook example of the cult of personality.

    He didn’t even get as far with that as many do. Most of his close team has spoken out against his behavior now.

    His initial response was all about his reputation, which seems to be the response of most abusers. They are always concerned about themselves first. If someone was truly following God, I think they would say very different things.

  28. What a creepy dude. It’s time the church cleans out the money changers. Seriously this is absolutely insane with all of these abusers coming out of the woodwork’s.

  29. Dave A A wrote:

    Commentaries see this referring to chief priests or the Romans, but seems appropriate to many of the current “shepherd” hirelings and wolves…

    If you have been forward enough to mention to an occasional local pastor the observation that many of their fellow professionals seek “the most important seats” and “the places of honor” you may also notice the reactions run the gamut. A few will sigh and drop their shoulders as if to admit they’ve seen it too, others bristle as if to say “how dare you”.

  30. “(Hybels) “You’re an ‘A Player’, Scott’s a ‘B Player.’”

    I have yet to find a mega staff that wasn’t rated this way in terms of power and influence. It’s sick.

  31. “In 2003, shortly after giving birth to her daughter, she was fired from Willow Creek after being told that 12-15 people had issues with her. She was not allowed to talk to anyone about this. For remaining silent, she was allowed to resign.”

    Let me guess, she had to sign off on something to receive severance.

  32. @ brad/futuristguy:
    Churches are exempt from those “non profit” laws if not criminal because church is voluntary. Going to the secular media is the one thing they fear the most. The Image is money.

  33. Mercy wrote:

    JDV wrote:
    I thought the movie Case for Christ was well done. Of course, this church and its pastor are featured within it. Now, the effectiveness of the movie as far as witness has this matter attached to it. This is why pastors are called to be above reproach, for amongst other reasons the effect on ministry and witness.
    Yes. You’re right! I forgot that Lee Stroble was a Creeke. Thanks for the reminder.

    Irony: Strobal was an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

  34. @ Thersites:

    “Finally, why go to the secular press? Shouldn’t this stay inside the church?

    If the Assyrians and Babylonians can be used to discipline Israel, why not the Chicago Tribune for an errant church.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    if the secular communities around Willow Creek church(es) are subsidizing Willow Creek’s tax-exempt share of public services which Willow Creek enjoys and expects to be available to them, i think the secular press has every right to scrutinize their beneficiary.

  35. Lydia. wrote:

    Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:
    I think the cult of the celebrity pastor needs to end.

    It will when the money dries up.

    But there’s a Sucker born every minute.

  36. I cant count now many preachers I have seen get busted messing around, going off with someone else abandoning their wives or carrying on an affair while still being married. Often it was swept under the carpet and the pastor left to go work somewhere else. I know for a fact if a pew sitter, such as myself, ever even asked a single woman out for a date I would have been rebuked even disciplined. That was made clear. Leadership, it never applied, ever. They live in a different world.

    As for the Case for Christ, reasonable acting, the apologetics was well, like evidence that demands a verdict. Not very convincing.

  37. Linn wrote:

    Elmer Grantry was written in 1926, almost 100 years ago. We still don’t get it.

    Twenty-first century Elmer Gantries would have no stage if they didn’t have an audience willing to finance them. The great God of Entertainment is on the throne in the American church. With a little charisma, the gift of gab, and a pocketful of gimmicks it seems that anybody can reach mega-church status. “Elmer Gantry II”, depicting a modern celebrity preacher, may soon hit the theaters. Which one will it be? There are lots to choose from.

  38. Shauna wrote:

    It’s time the church cleans out the money changers.

    Willow Creek is not ‘the church’. It’s just another creepy personality cult with a thin Christian-y veneer – good for sales, you know. Hybels won’t have a Cross in his church – don’t tell me he is Christian.

    It’s ‘buyer beware’ time if a believer wants to join a church. Most so-called Christians that I meet (here in the US) don’t really know what Christianity is – it’s more like a superstitious thing. Or a political thing. Your random unaffiliated independent ‘evangelical’ church is usually based on the person of the ‘pastor’.

  39. Well, we may now know why they refused a truly independent investigation. There sounds like too many skeletons in that closet…best to keep the door firmly shut and push Hybels off into the sunset in retirement. Ish.

    And what an awfully hard situation for her and her husband…employment connected to this man who was–assuming her report is true (which I believe, btw)–harassing her. So, Hybels takes a pass at his wife and then belittles him…what a Class A jerk!

  40. roebuck wrote:

    Your random unaffiliated independent ‘evangelical’ church is usually based on the person of the ‘pastor’.

    “If their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail” (Acts 5:38)

  41. @ swings:
    I have bee a member of large nondenominational for decades. Recently, my husband and I tired of it and are now members of a Lutheran church. Interestingly, there is growing interest on the part of evangelicals in liturgical practice. Our church is booming right down the street from a large Baptist seminary.

  42. truthseeker wrote:

    Either she lied then or she is lying now. Which is it?

    Carefully read her reasons for not saying anything years ago. This is not an either/or situation. Lie is a strong work.

  43. @ dee:
    Dee, the last paragraph of your excellent post is particularly compelling. Finally, you state:

    “I believe that this problem was known and could have been handled years ago. It wasn’t. Silence was the answer of the church but God doesn’t like silence when it comes to the sufferings of victims. I hope the leadership of Willow Creek is listening.”

    True. God is not silent about suffering.

  44. Lydia. wrote:

    Churches are exempt from those “non profit” laws if not criminal because church is voluntary. Going to the secular media is the one thing they fear the most. The Image is money.

    As far as IRS stuff, yes, the IRS has not investigated a church since something like 2009 — which helps explain why the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association switched over to declaring itself “a church.” However — one can still file a complaint with the IRS against a church non-profit, AND also with state agencies that govern corporations and charities. (This happened at least in Washington State with goings on at Mars Hill.) So, the IRS may not be scary to church non-profits but the state officials sometimes can be.

    And therefore media investigation and reporting is the main way to get behind any facade to what’s really going on. Although isn’t it intriguing to note that in the last 2 years or so, survivor blogs have been cited by secular media as key sources for breaking news about spiritually abusive shenanigans by churches, ministries, and “ministers”?

  45. dee wrote:

    @ JDV:
    They need to be above reproach which means they MUST repent and confess, something these guys have trouble doing.

    This will always be a problem for people. It’s why the cult of personality is so dangerous.

  46. @ brad/futuristguy:
    Courts will usually throw out discrimination, pay or labor suits, etc as church is voluntary for the staff, too.. Most church staffs don’t even pay into state unemployment funds. People need to think long and hard before working at a church.

    I am way too libertarian to want the government to start regulating churches. I want the grown ups in them to tell the media and the money to dry up. There isn’t enough bubble wrap in the world to protect us from all the cons out there. I have no control over people but I can raise a ruckus. 🙂

  47. truthseeker wrote:

    Please read the link:

    https://churchexecutive.com/archives/musical-couple-holds-life-loosely-while-shaping-the-heart-of-worship

    It is an interview with Vonda & Scott Dyer from 2008 about their experiences at Willow Creek Church. Either she lied then or she is lying now. Which is it?

    Or trying to make it more palatable It sounds like from her more recent interview that she had chosen not to speak about the stuff with Hybels until recently. I suspect the truth is somewhere between the two stories. They were contemplating leaving and then she was told to leave.

  48. Notice the timeline from 2000 to 2003. In 2001, Vonda was still on the “A” team and was supposed to make the trip to South Africa. This was AFTER confronting Hybels in 2000. But she was terminated in early 2003, following the birth of her first daughter in December, 2002. It strikes me that she was no longer of interest to Hybels after the baby was born.

  49. Lydia. wrote:

    There isn’t enough bubble wrap in the world to protect us from all the cons out there.

    This. People need to just stop being chumps! But the holy-man shtick has been a very lucrative con for millennia. I have no doubt it will be for millennia to come. If there are in fact millennia to come.

  50. truthseeker wrote:

    Please read the link:

    https://churchexecutive.com/archives/musical-couple-holds-life-loosely-while-shaping-the-heart-of-worship

    From the linked article: “Scott eventually ended up in adult ministry and worked with the Willow Creek Association, its fifth employee, he recalls, that today numbers 12,000 congregations that share the “prevailing” approach to ministry.”

    Her husband, Scott, sure doesn’t sound like the “B-type” that Hybels kept referring to in speaking with Scott’s “A-type” wife – again, Hybels reference. Hybels wanted his wife, obviously.

    #10: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife. (Unless you are an A-type and the neighbor’s wife is an A-type but her current husband is a B-type. Twisted Scripture, like Twisted Sister, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.)

  51. Catherine Martin wrote:

    It’s why the cult of personality is so dangerous.

    Because of the similarities in tactics, Hybels seems like Harvey Weinstein-lite. Didn’t get the A-type lady employee for himself – in his hotel room, no less, after hours, so he conspires, then fires her. Refuses to work with her. No more roles/employment.

    Calling a female employee to his hotel room specifically alone at night, wine and drugs. Talks about her body, then degrades her husband and belittles his own wife. If that isn’t entrapment, what is.

    If he is successful, it is her fault. Wonder how many times that happened, and the ladies, shamed and blamed, aren’t telling.

  52. roebuck wrote:

    People need to just stop being chumps!

    We’re all chumps. Or, at least I’ve been chumped. Romans 3:23, we all fall short of the glory of God. By His grace, I’m being de-chumped via God’s Holy Spirit, His Word, decent Christian fellowship (including TWW), and learning from mistakes.

    There are folks right now, chumped at WC, for example, that the Holy Spirit is working on to move on and find decent fellowship elsewhere.

    It’s a big decision. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” Joshua 24:15. OT and NT, decisions, and the end game is Eternity.

    For Willow Creek, this is a watershed moment. I don’t envy those folks. Truth time.

  53. https://eewc.com/hey-bill-hybels/

    A writer weighs in on her own experiences with Bill Hybels:

    “Bill, … We believed in you. But as the news broke, some of your biases came to my mind. I remembered things that didn’t quite fit with my notion of you as a crusader for women’s equality.”

  54. one of the little people wrote:

    People go to the press and secular authorities because the poor theology in Evangelical churches actually contributes to evil. There is no justice in a lot of Evangelical churches, just weak, watery grace that allows popular and charismatic leaders to victimize multiple people.

    Rachael Denhollander was asked about her view of the church responding to the issue of sexual abuse. When asked “how do you trust the church to point to justice and truth in these situations?” Denhollander responded “You don’t. You don’t trust the church, you trust Jesus.” http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2018/april/you-dont-trust-the-church-you-trust-jesus-says-nassar-victim

  55. Lydia. wrote:

    Mercy wrote:
    JDV wrote:
    I thought the movie Case for Christ was well done. Of course, this church and its pastor are featured within it. Now, the effectiveness of the movie as far as witness has this matter attached to it. This is why pastors are called to be above reproach, for amongst other reasons the effect on ministry and witness.
    Yes. You’re right! I forgot that Lee Stroble was a Creeke. Thanks for the reminder.
    Irony: Strobal was an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

    I sometimes feel like Alice. Things keep getting curiouser and curiouser. It leavs me with zero trust in man and his systems. Zip! I know people turn their backs on God after experiencing this type of betrayal. That is what saddens me most of all.

  56. Ewww! I don’t know why it didn’t click until right now, but Hybels was hitting on his worship leader while they were at ministry events?! I didn’t realize Vonda is a worship leader. Ewww!

  57. Bill Hybels had/has absolute power at Willow Creek Community Church. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!

  58. one of the little people wrote:

    his worship leader

    So why does a church need a ‘worship leader’ anyhow. In researching who in the world is this that we are talking about I found an article from about ten years ago which included a discussion of when she an her husband changed jobs, went to a different church, and how the leadership at the new church asked them to teach them how to worship because they did not ‘know how’. WTH for crying out loud. What could it possibly mean that a church did/does not know how to worship.

    Fast forward. So now I assume they know ‘how to worship’ since they have become acculturated to a different style of music and lighting and preaching and perhaps seating and glory be have learned the appropriate body movements to practice at the appropriate time. Now, for the sake of disclosure, we do that also about style and movement-only it looks different in the details.

    So what is worship exactly? IMO it is none of the above, and if all people do is learn a different style and procedure then they are just as bad off as they always were-be it they or we.

    Just saying.

  59. dee wrote:

    I am going to post your post tomorrow.

    I’m on my way out the door to Louisville. Pray for me!

  60. okrapod wrote:

    one of the little people wrote:
    his worship leader
    So why does a church need a ‘worship leader’ anyhow. In researching who in the world is this that we are talking about I found an article from about ten years ago which included a discussion of when she an her husband changed jobs, went to a different church, and how the leadership at the new church asked them to teach them how to worship because they did not ‘know how’. WTH for crying out loud. What could it possibly mean that a church did/does not know how to worship.
    Fast forward. So now I assume they know ‘how to worship’ since they have become acculturated to a different style of music and lighting and preaching and perhaps seating and glory be have learned the appropriate body movements to practice at the appropriate time. Now, for the sake of disclosure, we do that also about style and movement-only it looks different in the details.
    So what is worship exactly? IMO it is none of the above, and if all people do is learn a different style and procedure then they are just as bad off as they always were-be it they or we.
    Just saying.

    I wondered the same thing. Instructions on how to worship, etc. I thought the Bible tells us us to worship in Spirit and inTruth. That indicates that God is involved. Seems to me it’s about the heart in unison with the Spirit. So how is it that we now need lessons? Preposterous! And the sheeple have lapped it all up.

  61. All of the things she talks about are bad, but the thing that strikes me as the most insidious is the effort to drive a wedge between spouses. The message that “you’re better than him” seems designed to create cracks in the marriage, and probably has that effect even if the person hearing it doesn’t believe it.

  62. S. Tuttle wrote:

    It strikes me that she was no longer of interest to Hybels after the baby was born.

    Or was she let go because she took the initiative to confront Hybels after he hit on five young ladies (his “flavor of the month” his staff called it)? Timeline.

  63. JYJames wrote:

    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife. (Unless you are an A-type

    The Scarlett Letter comes to mind ..,,.,

  64. okrapod wrote:

    them to teach them how to worship because they did not ‘know how’.

    I, apparently, need to re-learn how to worship. We recently attended a service where I was able to be in the congregation rather than accompanying at an instrument. A song we sang called a scripture passage to mind that I wanted to read as the song continued. I realized that the lights were so low that I wouldn’t be able to read a hard copy but my phone app would stick out like a sore thumb. I never thought that reading the Bible in a worship service would be problematic.

  65. @ okrapod:

    “….how the leadership at the new church asked them to teach them how to worship because they did not ‘know how’. WTH for crying out loud. What could it possibly mean that a church did/does not know how to worship.”

    It’s bizarre. But it’s definitely a thing. It’s all about creating an emotional experience for the attendees.

  66. okrapod wrote:

    the new church asked them to teach them how to worship because they did not ‘know how’

    Staged production. Church show biz, again.

    (Just a thought – if one is going to play with fire – make church into a show – it’s no surprise when getting burned backstage – hit on by the celebrity superficial, looker-type [“A-type”, Hybels calls it] pastor/leader. Maybe this is a package deal. However, doesn’t excuse Hybels’ Weinstein-esque bad behavior.)

  67. Deb wrote:

    truthseeker wrote:
    Please read the link:
    https://churchexecutive.com/archives/musical-couple-holds-life-loosely-while-shaping-the-heart-of-worship
    It is an interview with Vonda & Scott Dyer from 2008 about their experiences at Willow Creek Church. Either she lied then or she is lying now. Which is it?
    I read the article and don’t see a contradiction at all. They just chose to leave out the ugly part of their Willow Creek experience.

    Click on the link to their business at the end of the article. Anyone with a shred of wisdom is not going to trash their main, well heeled, influential former employer while building a business targeting the same market was the WCA! That isn’t selling out or lying. That is survival.

    Why not just buy a tent and plan on living in it for the rest of their lives? People don’t get how it works in that world. The mega churches have the power to ruin people who dare bite back. And they are rarely believed, anyway. Best to be in a position to protect your family, first. There are many lessons to be learned here if we analyze it all. The big one is the wisdom of choosing a church “career”. Or any financial ties to a Megas. They have too much power over people (including vendors) on staff at Megas.

    Saying Vonda lied in the article is ridiculous. Look at the publication. Purpose of the article.

  68. Tina wrote:

    Bill Gothard, Bill Hybels, Jim Cymbala, John McArthur

    Ok, maybe I have missed something at sometime, when and why did Jim Cymbala “qualify” for this list?

  69. @ okrapod:
    You forgot the fog machines…. and the singers on stage with tight pants!
    In to many places, “worship leader” means lead entertainer.. because that is what it is… sit back and be entertained….. kind of like the Easter service with the worship team singing High Way to H#$$ imitating AC/DC to the best of their ability…

  70. Dee has twittered that WC is circling the wagons:

    “Something is seriously up at Willow Creek. Willow Creek has called a mandatory staff meeting today at 4 pm and another family meeting at 7. It will be live streamed. Is Hybels going to retire now instead of the end of the year?”

    https://twitter.com/wartwatch/status/983672467108646912

    My guess is that, behind the scenes, BH gets a buyout to retire early. The “golden parachute” will be funded by faithful contributors.

  71. @ Mercy:
    True. We shouldn’t trust man’s systems. you know how we often ignored things our parents told us over and over until we experience it for ourselves? My mom used to warn us about this all the time ending with, ‘Jesus Christ never fails us’. She had passed by the time I really figured that out.

    Sometimes you have to get old before you realize that learning from other people‘s mistakes is more wise than having to experience them for yourself. Sigh. swings wrote:

    I doubt that his problems originate from not wanting to “look at the cross” (That comment appears a bit “snarky” to me).
    There are many parts of traditional services that Willow eschews for the sake of the seeker. No robes, for instance. Never hear an organ. Reminder that passing of plate is for members’ convenience.
    Additionally, he often uses a HUGE cross for baptisms. New believers are baptized after pinning a list of their sins to it.

    Yikes. Seeker leaders built big baby boomer consumer churches. If Millenials discover and fall in love with the organ, WC will trot them out. Same with robes, etc.

    Many small CBF churches here are adopting a more liturgical service (complete with robes and weekly communion) to appeal to certain segments of society. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself, it’s just strange for Baptists. It’s marketing.

  72. @ FW Rez:
    BH is already rich from all the “ministry” income streams created over the last 30 years from conferences to speaking to publishing. The big issue is “legacy.”

  73. There is no connection between Case for Christ/Lee Strobel and what’s happening at Willow Creek today. The movie is about what God did in one man’s life and how it changed the world. Lee has not been involved with Willow for nearly two decades. We want to be careful and not lump others in this sad story. @ Mercy:

  74. Hmmm. Great point. Max wrote:

    JDV wrote:
    Max wrote:
    “… reluctance to display the Cross.”
    Wow, never heard that.
    “Willow Creek is no typical church … There are no crosses and no stained-glass windows.” (LA Times, 1995) http://articles.latimes.com/1995-12-02/local/me-9604_1_willow-creek
    “No religious symbols or icons are to be found here, outside or inside” (Chicago Reader, 1992) https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/superchurch/Content?oid=880201

    truthseeker wrote:

    Please read the link:
    https://churchexecutive.com/archives/musical-couple-holds-life-loosely-while-shaping-the-heart-of-worship
    It is an interview with Vonda & Scott Dyer from 2008 about their experiences at Willow Creek Church. Either she lied then or she is lying now. Which is it?

  75. No connection.
    Lydia. wrote:

    Mercy wrote:
    JDV wrote:
    I thought the movie Case for Christ was well done. Of course, this church and its pastor are featured within it. Now, the effectiveness of the movie as far as witness has this matter attached to it. This is why pastors are called to be above reproach, for amongst other reasons the effect on ministry and witness.
    Yes. You’re right! I forgot that Lee Stroble was a Creeke. Thanks for the reminder.
    Irony: Strobal was an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

  76. Lydia. wrote:

    Many small CBF churches here are adopting a more liturgical service (complete with robes and weekly communion) to appeal to certain segments of society. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself, it’s just strange for Baptists. It’s marketing.

    That may be the whole story-marketing-but one has to wonder why this is a marketable product? I think that there is a shift in thinking for some, and this may be marketing for the baptist churches which take it up but it may not be just totally superficial for the individuals who respond to it.

    In addict world they used to say that when people get sick and tired of being sick and tired then they will or may do something to change. Sometimes people get sick and tired of A and swing to the opposite of non-A, but sometimes people are hungry for something and just mistake appearance for substance.

    For us, the core reality is not vestments but rather the eucharist. People can get that confused until they have some aha moment and are able to separate the two.

  77. Lydia. wrote:

    The mega churches have the power to ruin people who dare bite back. And they are rarely believed, anyway.

    Like anyone who blows the whistle on any slick successful Sociopath who has pre-groomed everyone else as allies.
    “GO AHEAD AND SEQUEAL, TATTLE-TALE! NOBODY WILL EVER BELIEVE YOU! EVER!!! BECAUSE YOU’RE JUST THE CRAZY KID AND I’M THE SWEET LITTLE ANGEL!!!!!”

  78. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    You forgot the fog machines…. and the singers on stage with tight pants!

    Don’t forget the pole dancers and MMA cage matches!

    In too many places, “worship leader” means lead entertainer.. because that is what it is… sit back and be entertained….

    In the words of the Prophets Emerson, Lake, and Palmer:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwSTe9uit48

  79. FW Rez wrote:

    We recently attended a service where I was able to be in the congregation rather than accompanying at an instrument. A song we sang called a scripture passage to mind that I wanted to read as the song continued. I realized that the lights were so low that I wouldn’t be able to read a hard copy but my phone app would stick out like a sore thumb. I never thought that reading the Bible in a worship service would be problematic.

    To paraphrase the Star Trek shtick,
    “WE’VE EVOLVED BEYOND ALL THAT BIBLE!”

  80. … or John MacArthur?
    Raswhiting wrote:

    Tina wrote:
    Bill Gothard, Bill Hybels, Jim Cymbala, John McArthur
    Ok, maybe I have missed something at sometime, when and why did Jim Cymbala “qualify” for this list?

  81. Steve S wrote:

    Bill Hybels had/has absolute power at Willow Creek Community Church. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!

    I prefer the Frank Herbert Corollary:
    “More like Power attracts the already-corrupt and the easily-corrupted.”

  82. Lydia. wrote:

    @ Mercy:
    True. We shouldn’t trust man’s systems. you know how we often ignored things our parents told us over and over until we experience it for ourselves? My mom used to warn us about this all the time ending with, ‘Jesus Christ never fails us’. She had passed by the time I really figured that out.
    Sometimes you have to get old before you realize that learning from other people‘s mistakes is more wise than having to experience them for yourself. Sigh. swings wrote:
    I doubt that his problems originate from not wanting to “look at the cross” (That comment appears a bit “snarky” to me).
    There are many parts of traditional services that Willow eschews for the sake of the seeker. No robes, for instance. Never hear an organ. Reminder that passing of plate is for members’ convenience.
    Additionally, he often uses a HUGE cross for baptisms. New believers are baptized after pinning a list of their sins to it.
    Yikes. Seeker leaders built big baby boomer consumer churches. If Millenials discover and fall in love with the organ, WC will trot them out. Same with robes, etc.
    Many small CBF churches here are adopting a more liturgical service (complete with robes and weekly communion) to appeal to certain segments of society. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself, it’s just strange for Baptists. It’s marketing.

    According to his bio he was a teaching pastor from 1987-2000 at WillowCreek. He was on staff.

  83. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    As far as IRS stuff, yes, the IRS has not investigated a church since something like 2009 —

    Thank You, David Miscavage.

    — which helps explain why the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association switched over to declaring itself “a church.”

    So has Focus on the Family.
    When all their financial statements became Top Secret.

  84. dee wrote:

    truthseeker wrote:
    Either she lied then or she is lying now. Which is it?

    Carefully read her reasons for not saying anything years ago. This is not an either/or situation. Lie is a strong work.

    Truthseeker(TM) is a known Attack Dog for Gawd’s Anointed.

  85. Sally R. wrote:

    There is no connection between Case for Christ/Lee Strobel and what’s happening at Willow Creek today. The movie is about what God did in one man’s life and how it changed the world. Lee has not been involved with Willow for nearly two decades. We want to be careful and not lump others in this sad story. @ Mercy:

    Sorry, i responded to a different post. Stobel was on staff from 1987-2000 as a teaching pastor. His position there made was as a leader. The fact that he is no longer on staff there does not change the past.

  86. Lydia. wrote:

    The mega churches have the power to ruin people who dare bite back.

    There is a benefit to living out here in the largely “unchurched” West.

  87. @ Thersites:
    Many believe the birth of the seeker mega “movement” began in California with Saddleback. And if you trace the rise from the late 70’s/80’s it was focused on the “unchurched” baby boomers in suburbs. It was basically a market driven church movement. Rick Warren literally went door to door seeking a consensus from people on what they wanted in a church. So rebranding was built in. “Unchurched” was the buzzword so smaller churches in the vicinity would not feel threatened. A big selling point was that cradle Catholics, Baptists, etc, etc, were coming back to church after college.

    It also followed the model of hiring very young people out of college for responsible positions on staff they were ill prepared to handle but easily moldable.

  88. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Truthseeker(TM) is a known Attack Dog for Gawd’s Anointed.

    Sounds like it. I don’t see anything in that article that remotely conflicts with what she is saying now. Looks like God told them to fold their tents, load their camels and move on. Maybe Truthseeker has never had that sort of experience with God and is assuming that it does not happen. There is a lot of that going around. ‘It has not been my experience therefore it has not been somebody else’s experience’ apparently because I am so specially spiritually gifted that had it been going to happen to anybody it would have happened to me??? If that is it, then somebody needs to rethink a few things. Any idea of a dead God who only quotes scripture when he talks to people is pathetic.

  89. @ okrapod:
    I have no idea. It doesn’t really matter. I just found it interesting for Baptists who typically viewed communion is a memorial not a means of grace. To each his own!

  90. Wow, thank you all for the prayers and compassion for those of Willow Creek who are in the midst of this. It sounds as if you all attended there for many years and know all of the evil ministry done in the church and, like Jesus, are ready to stone the man as Jesus did with Mary. I believe you can bring rocks from whatever church you belong, size only matters so long as you will be able to hit him from the distance you toss from. All sarcasm aside (or is it?) Willow Creek is not and never was Bill Hybels church. It is Christs Church. A bunch ragtag sinners who God lead there to introduce them to HIs Son. They are Christ followers, not Bill followers. Has the church as a whole made some bad decisions, has Bill, did King David, have you? The answer is a resounding, DUH!. It sounds as if you all were around when David was was king the Book of Psalms would be much smaller! Please remove the planks from your own eyes as you examine from afar the stated, one sided facts you have been presented. If he is guilty, he will be judged. If a cover up, it to will be found out. In the meantime God is still using His Church to expand His Kingdom. Your judgment is not necessary, you prayers for the conjuration are. God Bless.

  91. Lydia. wrote:

    I have no idea. It doesn’t really matter. I just found it interesting for Baptists who typically viewed communion is a memorial not a means of grace. To each his own!

    How often one does a memorial is a separate issue from how one views the memorial. The little baptist church of my adolescent years had communion once a month-in the morning worship service-with the doctrine that it was a memorial. SBC mega here a few years back had communion once a quarter with only one of those being in the morning worship service, with the doctrine as a memorial.

    I am trying to make the point that confusing issues, like robes on the one hand and communion on the other hand does not lead to clear thinking about said issues. Remember the historical difference of opinion as to the use of academic robes in the pulpit-or not. I doubt that the baptist churches you mentioned had adopted any sacramental doctrines.

  92. Beth74 wrote:


    Rachael Denhollander was asked about her view of the church responding to the issue of sexual abuse. When asked “how do you trust the church to point to justice and truth in these situations?” Denhollander responded “You don’t. You don’t trust the church, you trust Jesus.” http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2018/april/you-dont-trust-the-church-you-trust-jesus-says-nassar-victim

    I was there and my notes are slightly different. (Which doesn’t surprise me – of the four times a reporter has put quotation marks around my words in a news article, only two did they get the quote right and one of those two was given the text in writing.) Unfortunately that was late in the Q&A which is not available in the online recording. What I wrote down for that is that she said “Don’t! [pause] The church is made of fallen people. I trust my savior.” The message is the same with either the wording I captured or the wording in that article.

    I’ve emailed my notes to Deb & Dee. They can post or share as they see fit. The recording of Rachael’s prepared speech is at http://www.veritas.org/denhollander.

  93. I would like to know who is Vonda Dyer following? She is not following Christ Romans 14.. Also really, why have you waited so long? This is a selfish act on your part, you don’t care about Willow or the Christians that attend… You sound like a woman scorned and didn’t get your way… I agree the evil one is trying to have his way.. There is something good happening with this church..

  94. Thersites wrote:

    truthseeker wrote:

    Either she lied then or she is lying now.

    Creating a false dichotomy is typically not associated with truth seeking.

    That is so true. But if there’s one thing I’ve seen over the years, it’s that those who follow churches and self-proclaimed leaders over Jesus seldom think through what they say, seldom think critically, and seldom p0lay fair with their rhetoric. When dealing with an apologist for a system, you’ll typically see moving the goalpost, ad hominem, poisoning the well, raging invective, cynical hypocrisy, and, of course, false dichotomies. What you won’t get, typically, is the truth or any genuine desire to seek it.

    A greater one than I’ll ever be once said we’ll know them by their fruits.

  95. @ okrapod:
    I didn’t necessarily correlate robes on a Baptist pastor as automatically denoting a means of Grace sacrament. Even though the method seems very similar.

    The more recent adaptation of both robes and the communion method (weekly) seems to communicate a more ceremonial and formal “high” church feel. Separating out the ‘spiritual guide’ sort of thing. It’s just strange to see in a Baptist Church. I am, however, very glad most of the ones I have visited still value organs. 🙂

  96. GC wrote:

    All of the things she talks about are bad, but the thing that strikes me as the most insidious is the effort to drive a wedge between spouses. The message that “you’re better than him” seems designed to create cracks in the marriage, and probably has that effect even if the person hearing it doesn’t believe it.

    Certainly, it’s what abusive, destructive people do. They’re divisive—while calling everyone else around them “divisive”. Last church where I was an elder, the pastor went behind my back to my teenage children, telling them the problem with their daddy was he was insecure. Guessing it was because I’d started to question his leadership based on a clear pattern of abuse and consistent lying. That, and the fact that he was perhaps one of the most insecure people I’ve ever known past the age of 15.

  97. Very interesting viewpoints expressed here. There is, however, one viewpoint that has been completely ignored: Has anyone considered the fact that maybe there’s more to this than meets the eye? Why has pretty much everyone on this board already jumped to the conclusion that the man is guilty? Were any of you there during the alleged incidents? Were you there when the elders of the church along with Bill laid out their case? Does anyone on this board have TRUE and INDISPUTABLE evidence that they uniquely know about that the rest of us do not? We are so quick to rush to judgment without having heard both sides of the story and allowing the facts to play themselves out. Lots of people who posted above are bringing their own baggage into this. Not fair. I don’t know if this stuff happened or not. But neither do you. So instead of playing judge, jury, and executioner, how about we all band together and pray in earnest for this church that has done amazing things for the Kingdom over the past four decades, this pastor who has led diligently and with honor for so long, and for our sisters in Christ who have been hurt? In the end, God will not be mocked. He WILL bring forth the truth. There’s no need for us to help Him along. Devoid of anything concrete (other than a point of view), let’s let God be God and show compassion for both sides on this unfortunate episode. Our job should be to encourage and pray, and not to pass hasty judgment … especially when we just don’t know. Let’s covenant to be shining examples to the rest of the world and show them that casting stones first and asking questions later is not the way we do things. May God use all of this to bring more glory to Himself.

  98. He was on staff, but so were hundreds of others. Doesn’t make them complicit in any of this. I just want to make sure that people aren’t connecting the two and trying to discredit Lee or The Case for Christ.@ Mercy:

  99. @ Thersites:
    There are lots of advantages, including being able to speak your mind, and what you believe to be the truth…… as a practicing scientist, I know what is like to have to “keep your mouth shut” about ones opinion of the young earth “religion” that many evangelicals spew…

  100. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    So has Focus on the Family.
    When all their financial statements became Top Secret.

    Don’t forget James Robeson too. The guy who shows vid clips of mal-nourished and parasite infested African children as an inducement to ‘give’. Same story when asked for financial transparency:
    …it’s none o’ yer’ beeswax…

  101. FW Rez wrote:

    Dee has twittered that WC is circling the wagons:
    “Something is seriously up at Willow Creek. Willow Creek has called a mandatory staff meeting today at 4 pm and another family meeting at 7. It will be live streamed. Is Hybels going to retire now instead of the end of the year?”
    https://twitter.com/wartwatch/status/983672467108646912
    My guess is that, behind the scenes, BH gets a buyout to retire early. The “golden parachute” will be funded by faithful contributors.

    Ain’t that too often the way; they get Kingdom-dedicated funds aplenty without having to necessarily ‘fess up.

  102. Lydia. wrote:

    @ FW Rez:
    BH is already rich from all the “ministry” income streams created over the last 30 years from conferences to speaking to publishing. The big issue is “legacy.”

    Yep, as that affects future cash flow.

  103. dee wrote:

    truthseeker wrote:
    Either she lied then or she is lying now. Which is it?

    Carefully read her reasons for not saying anything years ago. This is not an either/or situation. Lie is a strong work.

    Women are in a no win situation here. If she had said something publically then everyone would have torn her apart and shouted that she should have gone directly to him, matt18, stop gossiping, you’re hurting his family, yadayadayada.

    She instead confronts him directly, doesn’t ‘gossip’ or ‘slander’ him, and only goes public when she realizes she can support others by doing so, and then she’s blamed for NOT doing what they would have suggested she not do.

    Bah.

  104. Deb wrote:

    I read the article and don’t see a contradiction at all. They just chose to leave out the ugly part of their Willow Creek experience.

    Right?

    The teaching of Bill Hybels and John Ortberg brought another dimension — “more depth than we ever had before in teaching, a golden era with worship and teaching for the six years when John was there.

    *When John was there*
    Read between the lines.

    Interesting that it sounds like they went to Bent Tree after.

  105. Lydia. wrote:

    Click on the link to their business at the end of the article. Anyone with a shred of wisdom is not going to trash their main, well heeled, influential former employer while building a business targeting the same market was the WCA! That isn’t selling out or lying. That is survival.

    Also, they left without jobs lined up. That lends credence to her story as well.

  106. Lydia. wrote:

    Many small CBF churches here are adopting a more liturgical service (complete with robes and weekly communion) to appeal to certain segments of society. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself, it’s just strange for Baptists. It’s marketing

    I bet CBF is catching people who would otherwise go to mainlines. Robes and liturgy are common in those.

  107. Lea wrote:

    That lends credence to her story as well.

    I think she is telling the truth. There seem to have been several variables in play. She/they got the word either from God or from their own brains, or both, that ‘now’ is the time. So they moved on. Apparently they were going to bail our of church work at the time. It makes perfect sense to me; all of it that I have heard to this point.

  108. Lea wrote:

    I bet CBF is catching people who would otherwise go to mainlines. Robes and liturgy are common in those.

    “And if WE do it, it’s Not ROMISH!”

  109. Lea wrote:

    *When John was there*

    Somehow I don’t think this was the same John who wandered Appalachia with a silver-strung guitar…

  110. Law Prof wrote:

    That is so true. But if there’s one thing I’ve seen over the years, it’s that those who follow churches and self-proclaimed leaders over Jesus seldom think through what they say, seldom think critically, and seldom p0lay fair with their rhetoric.

    The Rules of The True Believer go into effect:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_True_Believer
    And a cheater will ALWAYS have the advantage over someone who plays by the rules.

  111. Sally R. wrote:

    I just want to make sure that people aren’t connecting the two and trying to discredit Lee or The Case for Christ.

    I’m wondering about you . . .

    The issue here is Bill Hybels/Willow Creek and his/their dispicible treatment of women. And all you keep worrying about is Lee Stobel and The Case for Christ. Really? Are you a publisher?

    A little concern for what these women had to deal with would be more Christ-like than worrying about Lee Stobel’s reputation and a book/movie.

  112. See my new post I just put up. Is Hybel’s resigning tonight? It also links to Betty’s post. There will be another humdinger tomorrow. But, by then. Hybels may be out.

  113. Lea wrote:

    Interesting that it sounds like they went to Bent Tree after.

    I attendded Bent Tree for an number of years when I lived in Dallas. Pete is one awesome guy. He has women pastors now, something he wanted when I was there.

  114. Reinhold wrote:

    Were any of you there during the alleged incidents?

    Reinhold, you are new to this blog and you are asking questions that everyone always asks. No one was present in that hotel room, just the two people. Unfortunately this is almost always the case for sex abuse. Did you know that the testimony of the victim is considered evidence in a court of law. Please do some reading to get up to speed on this issue and don’t tell me that you have. You question and comment are indicative of a lack of understanding.

    Reinhold wrote:

    Lots of people who posted above are bringing their own baggage into this. Not fair.

    Actually, it is quite fair. Experience by victims and their advocates helps in these situations. For example, I knew you all would do a standing ovation for Hybels. Why? I have been doing this for 9 years and sadly, your church response is the same old, same old. Read this post called The Standing Ovation Heard Round the World. https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/january/andy-savages-standing-ovation-was-heard-round-world-because.html

    Reinhold wrote:

    So instead of playing judge, jury, and executioner,

    I am not doing that. I believe that his actions were inadvisable and, according to the Bible, I am allowed to judge actions but I am not allowed to judge salvation. As for executioner…seriously? That is codswallop.

    Reinhold wrote:

    pray in earnest for this church that has done amazing things for the Kingdom over the past four decades, this pastor who has led diligently and with honor for so long, and for our sisters in Christ who have been hurt?

    First of all, how do you know that people are not praying? Then, I have news for you. All churches should do good things for the Kingdom. You do not get brownie points for doing those *good things.* The Spirit within you should move you to do those things so stop making it seem like Hybels is somehow *special.* Finally, if he did these things to women over decades, he did not lead with *honor.*

    Reinhold wrote:

    ot to pass hasty judgment … especially when we just don’t know.

    Question: Do you believe that OJ Simpson is innocent in the murder of his wife? Are you not passing judgement on that matter. We all pass judgement in this world and we should do so when it involves actions that can be judged. Please do some reading about predators and how they groom their victims. Sadly, you seem ignorant of all of the work that has been done in this area. I am spending time answering your comment with the hope that other Willow Creek members will educate themselves so they can be of real help to victims.

    Reinhold wrote:

    He WILL bring forth the truth. There’s no need for us to help Him along.

    So, you do not believe in the court system? You believe that God always brings forth the truth in these situations? Always? Each and every time? Do you believe that sometimes justice is messy in this world and there is great injustice, even for people who know Jesus? Jesus was sent to the Cross over lies and trumped up charges. He stands as a witness to injustice in this world.

    If God always brings forth the truth, then why did he appoint Judges (read the OT) whose job it was to judge like they do in courts? Could it be that, due to sin and our cold hearts, justice and truth is often muddied? Could it be that your pastor is both a saint and sinner? Are you familiar with the phrase “simul justus et peccator?”

    Reinhold wrote:

    Our job should be to encourage and pray, and not to pass hasty judgment

    Actually I believe that I am doing all three of these things. I am encouraging the victims. I am praying for your church and I am not making a *hasty* judgement since this mess has been ongoing for decades.

    Reinhold wrote:

    Let’s covenant to be shining examples to the rest of the world and show them that casting stones first and asking questions later is not the way we do things

    I don’t think you mean to say *covenant* together. You don’t know me and I don’t know you and we don’t even attend the same church.

    I don’t need to be a covenant to be a light on the hill That was a command of Jesus that ALL of us are required to be. Matthew 5:14.

    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.?

    Hope this helps. Please. please. please, do some studying. There is so much in the stories of the women that I believe points to problems with your pastor. Educate yourself and become and advocate for those who have been abused.

  115. Reinhold wrote:

    n the end, God will not be mocked. He WILL bring forth the truth. There’s no need for us to help Him along.

    Apparently there is, at least in this life. There is no guarantee of justice here.

    Only people who bring the truth that was hidden into the light, which by the way is biblical.

  116. Dee, thanks for your responses. You’re right, I am new around here. And now I guess I have been schooled. I wrote my post in a conciliatory spirit and was surprised to see how you took something that was meant in that spirit and tore it apart. I won’t get into all the nitty gritty, but felt the need to address a few of your comments.

    dee wrote:

    Please do some reading to get up to speed on this issue and don’t tell me that you have.

    “Don’t tell me you have…”? That’s EXACTLY what I’m going to tell you. I have read every stitch of information about this situation, and I know more about it than anyone on this page will ever know. So, please try and refrain from making declarative statements like that when you don’t know what I know.

    dee wrote:

    For example, I knew you all would do a standing ovation for Hybels. Why? I have been doing this for 9 years and sadly, your church response is the same old, same old

    Again, you’re making an assumption here. I never said I attend Willow Creek. But in your statement above and in several other places, you keep talking about Willow as if it’s MY church. And maybe that’s the problem. You’ve already made up your mind about things you don’t know, but you are quick to defend them.

    dee wrote:

    I am not doing that. I believe that his actions were inadvisable and, according to the Bible, I am allowed to judge actions but I am not allowed to judge salvation. As for executioner…seriously?

    Lighten up, Dee. I never once named you, personally, in my post. Heck, I never heard of you prior to this morning. I was addressing everyone who had posted on this subject and was very careful to make sure that was clear. I never singled you out.

    dee wrote:

    Do you believe that OJ Simpson is innocent in the murder of his wife? Are you not passing judgement on that matter.

    Yes, I do believe OJ was guilty. You know how I came upon that conclusion? Because of the preponderance of the evidence, offered up in more than a year’s worth of testimony, witnesses, and new revelations. Once ALL the evidence was presented, yes, I made the determination in my mind that OJ was guilty. This Willow Creek story broke three weeks ago. We’re ready to pronounce a verdict here? Really?

    dee wrote:

    Sadly, you seem ignorant of all of the work that has been done in this area.

    Again, presumptions on your part. Please stop. You don’t know what I know.

    dee wrote:

    I don’t think you mean to say *covenant* together. You don’t know me and I don’t know you and we don’t even attend the same church.

    Again, you’re being trigger-happy presumptuous. I never meant YOU and ME together. I was speaking to everyone on this page who had commented on this story.

    dee wrote:

    Please. please. please, do some studying.

    I’ve studied more than you’ll ever know, Dee. Again, you are not the depository of all knowledge here. Yes, it’s your blog (I think), so you get the last word. I get it. Look, I never meant this to be a tit-for-tat kind of thing. I posted what I did very respectfully and asked that everyone just pause and pray. I didn’t defend Bill or Willow Creek. I just asked that we not rush to judgment and asked that everyone please just pray for ALL parties involved. Christ died of all of them.

    I won’t continue to go back and forth with you, so this will be my last post. I hope you’ll resist the need to get the last word in, and just let both of our words stand. I think we both know where each of us stands on the issue. At the end of the day, I know that you are doing your best to be a truth-bearer for the Kingdom. I’ve poked around a bit and sincerely appreciate the work you’re doing. Keep going. We need voices like yours. We can certainly agree to disagree and neither of us has to walk away with a bloody nose. I truly respect the work you’re doing for the Kingdom. Let’s just let this one end here. Either way, after tonight’s meeting at Willow Creek, things are likely to look very different in the morning. Let’s just pray that when all is said and done true healing and reconciliation takes place and that God’s Kingdom moves forward. — Respectfully, Reinhold

  117. Lea wrote:

    . Did you know that the testimony of the victim is considered evidence in a court of l

    Also, any contemporaneous journals the victim kept and if she told anyone. ALL of this is considered evidence in court.

  118. Reinhold wrote:

    this pastor who has led diligently and with honor for so long, and for our sisters in Christ who have been hurt?

    Reinhold, you don’t get to have it both ways – if your sisters in Christ have been hurt by Hybels, he has not led with honor, NO MATTER WHAT YOUR PERCEPTION OF HIS LEADERSHIP HAS BEEN.

  119. Reinhold wrote:

    I have read every stitch of information about this situation, and I know more about it than anyone on this page will ever know.

    That is not what I am talking about. Think about it.

  120. Ray wrote:

    Wow, thank you all for the prayers and compassion for those of Willow Creek who are in the midst of this. It sounds as if you all attended there for many years and know all of the evil ministry done in the church and, like Jesus, are ready to stone the man as Jesus did with Mary. I believe you can bring rocks from whatever church you belong, size only matters so long as you will be able to hit him from the distance you toss from. All sarcasm aside (or is it?) Willow Creek is not and never was Bill Hybels church. It is Christs Church. A bunch ragtag sinners who God lead there to introduce them to HIs Son. They are Christ followers, not Bill followers. Has the church as a whole made some bad decisions, has Bill, did King David, have you? The answer is a resounding, DUH!. It sounds as if you all were around when David was was king the Book of Psalms would be much smaller! Please remove the planks from your own eyes as you examine from afar the stated, one sided facts you have been presented. If he is guilty, he will be judged. If a cover up, it to will be found out. In the meantime God is still using His Church to expand His Kingdom. Your judgment is not necessary, you prayers for the conjuration are. God Bless.

    I attended WCCC from 1987 to 2007. I do pray for the entire WCCC congregation, including Bill Hybels, as well as for those who have made accusations against him. Your comment is just about as “angry and defensive” as Bill Hybel’s was-which he apologized for tonight, as he was resigning.

    Please remove the plank from your eyes, as you examine the tress within the forrest. Your entire argument makes it particularly clear how biased you are, not from a far, but from way up to close.

    The fact of the matter is that WCCC was and is filled with many Bill followers. It was the same way during the 20 years I was there. Let’s see what attendance is like over the course of the next year. Then it will become painfully obvious that as Bill goes, so does Willow. Why don’t we chat in one year.

    Btw… you may want to pick up the brick that just threw at the many good Christian people who have a different opinion than you on this matter. It really is “OK” if everyone does not have the same opinion on this matter. It really is “not OK” for you to bash people who think differently than you. Everyone has All right to believe what they believe, including you. Nobody has a right to shame people for what they believe, including you. We are all sinners, including me. God bless!

  121. Lydia. wrote:

    Mercy wrote:

    JDV wrote:
    I thought the movie Case for Christ was well done. Of course, this church and its pastor are featured within it. Now, the effectiveness of the movie as far as witness has this matter attached to it. This is why pastors are called to be above reproach, for amongst other reasons the effect on ministry and witness.
    Yes. You’re right! I forgot that Lee Stroble was a Creeke. Thanks for the reminder.

    Irony: Strobal was an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

    His last name is Strobel. Neither of you spelled it correctly.

  122. Or maybe he is telling the truth and a vengeful ex-employee whom many people seemed to have a problem with got fired is getting her retribution. Max wrote:

    Hybels and his Willow Creek model were apparently too big to fail in the minds of the elder team. A “pastor” does not get away with this sort of behavior for 30+ years without church leaders knowing about it, justifying it (?), and covering it. This is a textbook example of the cult of personality.

  123. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    And a cheater will ALWAYS have the advantage over someone who plays by the rules.

    I think some describe it in game theory of life as a sequence of games. Yes we can cheat to win one game but then we lose participants in future games. In similar fashion when someone comes here and uses subterfuge they become irrelevant to further discussions and end up the greater losers.

  124. Maggie wrote:

    I would like to know who is Vonda Dyer following? She is not following Christ Romans 14.. Also really, why have you waited so long? This is a selfish act on your part, you don’t care about Willow or the Christians that attend… You sound like a woman scorned and didn’t get your way… I agree the evil one is trying to have his way.. There is something good happening with this church..

    Are you kidding me? Your nasty little comment only confirms the things that are discussed here regularly. Hang around and learned somehing before you begin to sling your diatribes.

  125. Sally R. wrote:

    He was on staff, but so were hundreds of others. Doesn’t make them complicit in any of this. I just want to make sure that people aren’t connecting the two and trying to discredit Lee or The Case for Christ.@ Mercy:

    There were many on staff. The fact that he was allowed to do what he did and not be held accountable when there were hints as well as suggestions of bad behavior makes each one complicit. Granted, some could have been unaware. In the end, there is corruption at the core. And for all of you who say that God is the judge, perhaps God is exposing this and allowing it to clean out that rotten core. Just saying….
    We believe the victims.

  126. Bridget wrote:

    Sally R. wrote:
    I just want to make sure that people aren’t connecting the two and trying to discredit Lee or The Case for Christ.
    I’m wondering about you . . .
    The issue here is Bill Hybels/Willow Creek and his/their dispicible treatment of women. And all you keep worrying about is Lee Stobel and The Case for Christ. Really? Are you a publisher?
    A little concern for what these women had to deal with would be more Christ-like than worrying about Lee Stobel’s reputation and a book/movie.

    I wondered about that too. Seems a bit over protective of the dear author…..

  127. dee wrote:

    It’s over. He ‘s gone.

    He may be gone but it’s not over. The effects will continue for a long time and the system that allowed this to go on for so long remains in place.

  128. E wrote:

    His last name is Strobel. Neither of you spelled it correctly.

    I apologize. I should have checked.

  129. @ Steve S:

    Let me see if I understand your viewpoint, because what I hear you saying is this.

    If you build a big enough following and/or big enough organization then you get cut some slack on your personal morality. That includes a religious organization because after all the core value is bigness.

    If you build a following based on ‘sinners’ then you get to think that said ‘sinners’ are not capable of achieving the level of spiritual maturity as if somehow you had found non-sinners on which to build your organization. It is not clear just where these non-sinners would be found, however, so I suppose the idea is that converts to christianity cannot be expected to develop spiritual maturity?? That is good since they can then be reminded of their sinner status such that they neither require of themselves nor require of the leadership anything that the leadership does not want required of itself.

    If women want to be put in positions of religious leadership, then they have to understand that there is a price to pay, and that price may be to tolerate sexual harassment against themselves or it may be just to keep silent about sexual harassment against other women. In other words, ladies, if you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, then get out of the kitchen.

    And base line each person is entitled to their own opinion even if it is counter to evidence, counter to scripture, and even if it is demonstrably false and/or self serving. That would be because whatever one does in becoming a christian one certainly does not give up the ultimate rule of his own will over all else. Kind of like the two year old whose motto about everything is ‘mine!’.

    But I do agree with you in saying something to the effect that it ain’t over ’till it’s over. I think that is sad while you seem to think that is good, but clerical misbehavior is warned about in scripture, seen over the centuries since the very beginning of the church, and will continue until Jesus comes back and solves it once and for all.

  130. Mercy wrote:

    Maggie wrote:
    I would like to know who is Vonda Dyer following? She is not following Christ Romans 14.. Also really, why have you waited so long? This is a selfish act on your part, you don’t care about Willow or the Christians that attend… You sound like a woman scorned and didn’t get your way… I agree the evil one is trying to have his way.. There is something good happening with this church..

    Are you kidding me? Your nasty little comment only confirms the things that are discussed here regularly.

    I agree. Incredibly nasty comments.

    She’s ‘selfish’ for waiting so long, and also now that she says something she sounds like a ‘woman scorned’. Sigh.

  131. Steve S wrote:

    Willow Creek is not and never was Bill Hybels church

    The test of that will be in the days ahead. Mars Hill was dissolved when Driscoll left … the Crystal Cathedral crumbled after Schuller left … PTL, Jimmy Swaggart, etc. But there are other ministries that survived when prominent faithful leaders exited. If it is of God, it will stand under new leadership.

  132. Barb Andersen wrote:

    @ truthseeker:
    I agree. Total dissociation with recent revelations. Please read the article interview from 2008. I’m confused.

    Vonda’s husband Scott was telling half-truths in the 2008 article. Notice that there are no direct quotes from Vonda about their departure from Willow Creek. And Scott puts everything in the realm of feelings. I felt this strong leading, like God was saying… That freaked me out… She said…I felt God telling me… It scared us… We just felt the sense… No specifics follow about what prompted their departure 3 years after all these feelings. But once they left,”They didn’t feel they wanted to go to another church. Writing, teaching and consulting were in their future, they felt.”
    I’ve learned that whenever Christian entertainers/leaders leave a profitable gig without a better one lined up, something else is going on. Usually it’s a non-disclosure agreement they’ve had to sign in order to get severance pay. Then, a cover story is needed, and they don’t want to outright lie, so they must talk about feelings. I don’t excuse their doing this– if they’d been courageous in 2003, maybe Hybels would have been fired then, as all bosses with a pattern of sexual harassment ought to be. None of this is inconsistent with Vonda’s statement of last week. Finally, notice that last night Hybels denied not one single accusation made by Vonda. This confirms she is telling the truth.

  133. Max wrote:

    If it is of God, it will stand under new leadership.

    It may very well “stand” even if it’s not of God. And the current leadership has already gotten off on the wrong foot. Betty Schmidt claims they mishandled 2 previous family meetings just in the last month, and gives 5 specifics in which they misquoted and misrepresented her. To pass Vonda’s and her claims off as “we respect their story, but it’s not our story” as if A and Not-A can both be true doesn’t speak well for the prospect of improvement.

  134. Max wrote:

    Steve S wrote:

    Willow Creek is not and never was Bill Hybels church

    The test of that will be in the days ahead. Mars Hill was dissolved when Driscoll left … the Crystal Cathedral crumbled after Schuller left … PTL, Jimmy Swaggart, etc. But there are other ministries that survived when prominent faithful leaders exited. If it is of God, it will stand under new leadership.

    I did not say this. I was merely quoting the person who did say it and responded to it. In fact, I thought that Willow Creek was a Bill Hybels church, for the most part. I’m sure there were and still are many good Christian people who seek to follow Jesus Christ, not Bill Hybels, Or any other human being, but Jesus Christ himself. However; that being said, it was apparent to me during the 20 years that I was there that a majority of the people bought what Bill Hybels said hook line and sinker Simply because he said it. That made me a little cautious to say the least.

  135. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Steve S wrote:

    Bill Hybels had/has absolute power at Willow Creek Community Church. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!

    I prefer the Frank Herbert Corollary:
    “More like Power attracts the already-corrupt and the easily-corrupted.”

    I cannot pretend to know Bill Hybels “agenda” when he first planted and started WCCC. So, you may be absolutely correct to say ‘More like Power Attracts the already-corrupt and the easily- corrupted. However; in 1987, when I originally started attending Willow Creek, I did not feel like Bill Hybels was corrupt…but that is my opinion. However; as the church continued to grow steadily in numbers and influence, I did see Bill Hybels become more and more enamored with “ The accolades he and the church was getting.” He always seemed to project an image of humility, but his consistent name-dropping of important people that he was around made me think otherwise. I saw this pattern continue on from the early 90s until I left in 2007. So, I’m just telling you what my experience was of the man when I first got there, and how it developed over the years. I could be absolutely wrong, and he could’ve been a power-seeking, corrupt individual from the start. I just did not feel like he was.

    So, I’m sure that there are many people who do fit that description. In my opinion, Bill Hybels did not in the beginning.

    I do think that many good people can be easily corrupted once they obtain power and celebrity status and that’s what I observed with Bill. Bill was not a bad person, as he had many great qualities, including being a tremendous preacher. However; in Bill‘s case and in the case of many others, I think he got bigger than he ever anticipated
    and that His power and influence over the congregation and the elders became more and more apparent the more popular he became. Therefore, I will stick to my original comment, because it is what I experienced as being a member of Willow Creek community Church for over 20 years: “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I think many good people have fallen into this trap-which is spoken about a great deal in Proverbs, and, ironically happened to the person who wrote about it. Again, Just my opinion based on being there for 20 years in observing changes in the way Bill perceives himself, the congregation, the elders, and the incredible attention and accolades he was getting as the congregation grew to prominence. I absolutely could be wrong but I don’t think so.

  136. Steve Schreiner wrote:

    Max wrote:

    Steve S wrote:

    Willow Creek is not and never was Bill Hybels church

    The test of that will be in the days ahead. Mars Hill was dissolved when Driscoll left … the Crystal Cathedral crumbled after Schuller left … PTL, Jimmy Swaggart, etc. But there are other ministries that survived when prominent faithful leaders exited. If it is of God, it will stand under new leadership.

    I did not say this. I was merely quoting the person who did say it (Ray) and responded to it. In fact, I thought that Willow Creek was a Bill Hybels church, for the most part. I’m sure there were and still are many good Christian people who seek to follow Jesus Christ, not Bill Hybels, Or any other human being, but Jesus Christ himself. However; that being said, it was apparent to me during the 20 years that I was there that a majority of the people bought what Bill Hybels said hook line and sinker Simply because he said it. That made me a little cautious to say the least. Peace, Steve

  137. okrapod wrote:

    @ Steve S:

    Let me see if I understand your viewpoint, because what I hear you saying is this.

    If you build a big enough following and/or big enough organization then you get cut some slack on your personal morality. That includes a religious organization because after all the core value is bigness.

    If you build a following based on ‘sinners’ then you get to think that said ‘sinners’ are not capable of achieving the level of spiritual maturity as if somehow you had found non-sinners on which to build your organization. It is not clear just where these non-sinners would be found, however, so I suppose the idea is that converts to christianity cannot be expected to develop spiritual maturity?? That is good since they can then be reminded of their sinner status such that they neither require of themselves nor require of the leadership anything that the leadership does not want required of itself.

    If women want to be put in positions of religious leadership, then they have to understand that there is a price to pay, and that price may be to tolerate sexual harassment against themselves or it may be just to keep silent about sexual harassment against other women. In other words, ladies, if you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, then get out of the kitchen.

    And base line each person is entitled to their own opinion even if it is counter to evidence, counter to scripture, and even if it is demonstrably false and/or self serving. That would be because whatever one does in becoming a christian one certainly does not give up the ultimate rule of his own will over all else. Kind of like the two year old whose motto about everything is ‘mine!’.

    But I do agree with you in saying something to the effect that it ain’t over ’till it’s over. I think that is sad while you seem to think that is good, but clerical misbehavior is warned about in scripture, seen over the centuries since the very beginning of the church, and will continue until Jesus comes back and solves it once and for all.

    I am not exactly sure which of my quotes you are referring to. It appears that many people think I stated something that I did not state, but instead responded to: see below:

    It appears that many people think I stated something that I did not state, but instead responded to. See Below:

    Ray, not Steve S wrote:

    “Wow, thank you all for the prayers and compassion for those of Willow Creek who are in the midst of this. It sounds as if you all attended there for many years and know all of the evil ministry done in the church and, like Jesus, are ready to stone the man as Jesus did with Mary. I believe you can bring rocks from whatever church you belong, size only matters so long as you will be able to hit him from the distance you toss from. All sarcasm aside (or is it?) Willow Creek is not and never was Bill Hybels church. It is Christs Church. A bunch ragtag sinners who God lead there to introduce them to HIs Son. They are Christ followers, not Bill followers. Has the church as a whole made some bad decisions, has Bill, did King David, have you? The answer is a resounding, DUH!. It sounds as if you all were around when David was was king the Book of Psalms would be much smaller! Please remove the planks from your own eyes as you examine from afar the stated, one sided facts you have been presented. If he is guilty, he will be judged. If a cover up, it to will be found out. In the meantime God is still using His Church to expand His Kingdom. Your judgment is not necessary, you prayers for the conjuration are. God Bless.

    I attended WCCC from 1987 to 2007. I do pray for the entire WCCC congregation, including Bill Hybels, as well as for those who have made accusations against him. Your comment is just about as “angry and defensive” as Bill Hybel’s was-which he apologized for tonight, as he was resigning.

    Please remove the plank from your eyes, as you examine the tress within the forrest. Your entire argument makes it particularly clear how biased you are, not from a far, but from way up to close.

    The fact of the matter is that WCCC was and is filled with many Bill followers. It was the same way during the 20 years I was there. Let’s see what attendance is like over the course of the next year. Then it will become painfully obvious that as Bill goes, so does Willow. Why don’t we chat in one year.

    Btw… you may want to pick up the brick that just threw at the many good Christian people who have a different opinion than you on this matter. It really is “OK” if everyone does not have the same opinion on this matter. It really is “not OK” for you to bash people who think differently than you. Everyone has All right to believe what they believe, including you. Nobody has a right to shame people for what they believe, including you. We are all sinners, including me. God bless!”

    I think When I went to reply to Ray which I did-see below-I accidentally screwed up so it looks like I was the one who said the above comment. I was not. This is how I replied to Ray:

    “I attended WCCC from 1987 to 2007. I do pray for the entire WCCC congregation, including Bill Hybels, as well as for those who have made accusations against him. Your comment is just about as “angry and defensive” as Bill Hybel’s was-which he apologized for tonight, as he was resigning.

    Please remove the plank from your eyes, as you examine the tress within the forrest. Your entire argument makes it particularly clear how biased you are, not from a far, but from way up to close.

    The fact of the matter is that WCCC was and is filled with many Bill followers. It was the same way during the 20 years I was there. Let’s see what attendance is like over the course of the next year. Then it will become painfully obvious that as Bill goes, so does Willow. Why don’t we chat in one year.

    Btw… you may want to pick up the brick that just threw at the many good Christian people who have a different opinion than you on this matter. It really is “OK” if everyone does not have the same opinion on this matter. It really is “not OK” for you to bash people who think differently than you. Everyone has All right to believe what they believe, including you. Nobody has a right to shame people for what they believe, including you. We are all sinners, including me. God bless!”

    Unfortunately, it all got clump together and it appeared to be that I wrote the top part and the bottom part. I just want to be clear, Ray wrote the top part and I replied by writing the bottom part. I am in agreement with all of you, and in fact defended you. Peace, Steve

  138. Steve Schreiner wrote:

    It appears that many people think I stated something that I did not state, but instead responded to

    I agree, I think it was just an issue with your formatting…

  139. Steve S. inadvertently reposted Ray’s comment under his name. All comments responding to a comment by Ray which begins with “Wow, thank you all for the prayers and compassion for those of Willow Creek who are in the midst of this.” at Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 12:52 PM are actually the comments are Ray. Steve apologizes for any confusion. (Ed.note: Steve is a good guy.)

  140. Editor’s Note:
    Steve S. inadvertently reposted Ray’s comment under his name. All comments responding to a comment by Ray which begins with “Wow, thank you all for the prayers and compassion for those of Willow Creek who are in the midst of this.” at Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 12:52 PM are actually the comments of Ray. Steve apologizes for any confusion. (Ed.note: Steve is a good guy.)

  141. If Ray, Maggie, Reinhold, or Dave Martin is still still reading, will you kindly comment on Bill Hybels’ early retirement, so we can interact further?

  142. Aha. When I click on Steve in my comment aka denunciation there is no response, so I must have been replying to the ill-attributed comment from Ray.

    Good to hear you are a good guy, Steve. I thought Ray’s comment to be worse than ridiculous.

  143. Reinhold wrote:

    I wrote my post in a conciliatory spirit and was surprised to see how you took something that was meant in that spirit and tore it apart.

    The spirit didn’t get through to me.

    Reinhold wrote:

    ? That’s EXACTLY what I’m going to tell you. I have read every stitch of information about this situation, and I know more about it than anyone on this page will ever know.

    You didn’t get what I said and I will give you the benefit of the doubt since you are not a regular reader of this blog. I don’t care that you read every stitch of info and had an inside source or two, just like me. I am discussing a bigger issue regarding how to understand the statements of victims of sexual abuse and harassment.

    I am somewhat of an expert of that because I have been writing and dealing with this subject for 9 years. I have written a number of posts on how to interpret statements and how to come to a conclusion given a *he said/she said* situation. I can tell by how you approached your comment that you are not versed in the area or you would not have said some things that you did. I will leave it at that. If you are interested, look up my posts or, better yet, go to the NIH and other sources (which I have quoted in the past) to gain perspective.

    Reinhold wrote:

    I did very respectfully and asked that everyone just pause and pray. I didn’t defend Bill or Willow Creek. I just asked that we not rush to judgment and asked that everyone please just pray for ALL parties involved. Christ died of all of them.

    Your comment did not come off as respectful. In fact, why would you assume that we have not prayed for all involved? Why would you assume that we did not know that Christ died for all of them? Did you know that each and every time we divulge a difficult situation, the people who have trouble with it always pull out the “pray for them because Christ died for them” card. Even when I say it in my posts. There seems to be an underlying assumption that somehow we are not praying or that we do not understand the Gospel when we write about these things.

    Reinhold wrote:

    Once ALL the evidence was presented, yes, I made the determination in my mind that OJ was guilty. This Willow Creek story broke three weeks ago. We’re ready to pronounce a verdict here? Really?

    Reinhold knows when it is appropriate and we do not? This story didn’t just break 3 weeks ago. This story covers decades of apparent harassment by Hybles. Details have been offered along with dates, etc. There were a number of women involved and a number of people who knew about this. It was 3 weeks of an information dump and, being experienced in reading and listening to victims’ statements, I knew from the moment I read the Tribune story that Willow Creek was in big trouble.

    The victims offered up some interesting comments that lead me to believe this was true. And, it appears I was right since Hybels, in his *mea culpa,* intimated that “Gee, I guess I didn’t[t understand some things.* To which I say *baloney.* Anyone with an attention span gets what is going on with the #metoo #churchtoo movement. In fact, I bet there are a bunch of pastors out there who are sweating it today.

    Reinhold wrote:

    I hope you’ll resist the need to get the last word in, and just let both of our words stand. I think we both know where each of us stands on the issue.

    Again, I do not think you fully appreciate the scope of this blog. Besides focusing on abuse, I also help people to understand Christianese and how certain assumptions, prevalent in the Christian community, can lead to further abuse and pain.

    So, knowing that is a goal of this blog and knowing that the Deebs run this blog, understand that I will respond; not to have the last word but to show how things can be misunderstood or misrepresented. I knew that Hybels would step down. Why? Did one of my inside sources tell me? No. I knew he would need to when I read the Chicago Tribune story. I am hoping that people like you can learn to read the stories of victims and come to see more quickly that there is a serious problem.

    I do not write the story of everyone who contacts me. There is a reason for that. I know when I feel comfortable with the story and I know when I do not. The history of TWW speaks for itself in this area.

    Today you have your answer. Bill Hybels stepped down and it wasn’t to “help the church.” I have heard this excuse os many times I want to scream. Do you know the story of Tom White-the head of Voice of the Martyrs -who was about to arrested for molesting a child and committed suicide?

    https://www.christianpost.com/news/voice-of-the-marytrs-tom-whites-suicide-confirmed-molestation-case-closed-80529/

    I wrote extensively on this story. There were most likely other kids involved as well. Did you know that one man wrote me, and in all seriousness, told me that Tom White killed himself to save Voice of the Martyrs. This poor man had a serious case of cognitive dissonance and a misunderstanding of what the sacrifice of Christ says about the human soul.. We must be willing to understand that our Christian heroes have feet of clay, just like we do.

    I am sorry about Bill Hybels. I wished I hadn’t been correct but I do believe the victims and his resignation is one more sign of their truth telling.

    BTW- I know that Reinhold might not read this. I wrote this comment for others who read this blog.

  144. Forrest wrote:

    He may be gone but it’s not over

    Agreed. The part that is over is the part of getting him out of the way so the real work of victim healing can begin…. or at least I hope it will.

  145. Dave Martin wrote:

    Or maybe he is telling the truth and a vengeful ex-employee whom many people seemed to have a problem with got fired is getting her retribution

    I know that Hybels is gone but I want to respond to your comment. There was more than one *vengeful, former employee* in this story. There were also BFFs who were telling Hybels that he had a problem. What you might be wanting to say but can’t is that this was a conspiracy of a bunch of people who wanted to take down Hybels. Do you see how silly that sounds?

    Do you know how few people actually lie about sex abuse? It is so small that it should cause any concerned individual to listen carefully to complaints.

  146. grberry wrote:

    Beth74 wrote:

    Rachael Denhollander was asked about her view of the church responding to the issue of sexual abuse. When asked “how do you trust the church to point to justice and truth in these situations?” Denhollander responded “You don’t. You don’t trust the church, you trust Jesus.” http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2018/april/you-dont-trust-the-church-you-trust-jesus-says-nassar-victim
    Thank you.

    I was there and my notes are slightly different. (Which doesn’t surprise me – of the four times a reporter has put quotation marks around my words in a news article, only two did they get the quote right and one of those two was given the text in writing.) Unfortunately that was late in the Q&A which is not available in the online recording. What I wrote down for that is that she said “Don’t! [pause] The church is made of fallen people. I trust my savior.” The message is the same with either the wording I captured or the wording in that article.
    I’ve emailed my notes to Deb & Dee. They can post or share as they see fit. The recording of Rachael’s prepared speech is at http://www.veritas.org/denhollander.

  147. Ray wrote:

    They are Christ followers, not Bill followers. Has the church as a whole made some bad decisions, has Bill, did King David, have you?

    Now, why don’t you explain to us what actually happened to King David due to his sin. I think Hybels got off rather lightly, don’t you?

  148. dee wrote:

    I can tell by how you approached your comment that you are not versed in the area or you would not have said some things that you did.

    He doesn’t know that you (and by extension we) hear the same things over and over again. It becomes rather transparent.

    I was amused by the repeated insistence that he get the last word.

  149. Reinhold wrote:

    Let’s covenant to be shining examples to the rest of the world and show them that casting stones first and asking questions later is not the way we do things. May God use all of this to bring more glory to Himself.

    I’ve never been able to figure out why a Super Being (which I believe in) who created the Universe and all its nuances both seen and unseen from nothing (not even Cartesian space as we know it) would need to bring constant glory to himself?

    To me it doesn’t follow from a common sense vantage point.
    How does that kind of power need constant glorification from his creatures?

  150. Sometimes the #metoo movement gets taken too far… Sometimes victims want to pick apart every tiny particle of something to gain more empathy… Sometimes victims can manipulate others into believing they are a victim too. Honestly grow up and move on. You have just ruined someone’s life. Is that in the Bible? The affair was proven to be a lie… a “longer” hug oh come on… You meant to tell me that you Nancy Beach, John Ortberg, Nancy Ortberg has never EVER flirted with someone or said something or made a gesture that could have been taken out of context… Christian or not you are all human. This #metoo act has gone too far.

    You really think that for over 30 years every single person would cover things up? You really think that Bill Hybels had a “flavor of the month” and every single church member who knew about this just thought nothing of it… grow up.

    Look at you and your family. Now look what you did to someone else’s. Pray for forgiveness.

  151. and I am not saying he did or didn’t do any of this. But much was taken out of context and has simply ruined lives. Your life isn’t ruined, Nancy’s isn’t John’s isn’t…. so really stop.

  152. @ okrapod:
    okrapod wrote:

    Aha. When I click on Steve in my comment aka denunciation there is no response, so I must have been replying to the ill-attributed comment from Ray.

    Good to hear you are a good guy, Steve. I thought Ray’s comment to be worse than ridiculous.

    Thank you! So did I!

  153. You people are all full of $%#& (ed. no swearing). She was fired for self promotion of herself and her husband.

  154. @ dee:
    It does seem like she went on a rant after her mention of 5 other women he frequented. Jealousy?

  155. metoo bandwagon So sad. Vonda stated Bill told her that the two of them can lead the church together I don’t believe this for a second. Bill loved the church and he loves Lynn. Bill would never jeopordize his church and family over a Vonda. This accusation alone convinces me this woman is lying.

  156. OK- everyone take a deep breath and calm down. I am allowing these comments so people can see how churches do not respond with kindness in these situations.

    Frankly, your pastor stepped down. There is a reason for this. If he could have weathered this, he would have.

    “Simul justus et peccator”

  157. @ JDV:
    Think about it though. Many were crucified but did not rise from the dead. If you have a cross, you need to have an empty tomb.

  158. @ Iwonder:

    No one here did anything to Bill or his family. Get a grip. Bill did this to himself . . .

    My goodness, blame everyone but the man himself. If he was completely innocent, he would not have left early like he has.

  159. Nancy wrote:

    metoo bandwagon So sad. Vonda stated Bill told her that the two of them can lead the church together I don’t believe this for a second. Bill loved the church and he loves Lynn. Bill would never jeopordize his church and family over a Vonda. This accusation alone convinces me this woman is lying.

    Do you understand that you haven’t made a single logical point in favor of your thesis that Bill Hybels is innocent other than, more-or-less, “I can’t believe he’d do these things because I think Bill Hybels is a fine fellow and a fine fellow wouldn’t do bad things.”

    Do you know him very well? Seen him up close over the course of years, at his best and screaming, tantruming worst? Do you know Vonda? Know her well and up close? Do you really know either of them? Otherwise, you’re spitting into the wind and making a fool of yourself.

  160. Reinhold wrote:

    May God use all of this to bring more glory to Himself.

    It’s possible that that’s what God has done via cleaning house at Willow Creek. I knew there was a problem the moment Mr. Hybels initially responded to accusations by angrily defending his reputation and speaking of his perceived right to drift into retirement with it intact. Whether Bill Hybels ever touched a woman or made any untoward advances, his initial response told me a great deal about the man’s priorities—and they sure shouldn’t have been his reputation.

    So Reinhardt, that’s something I do know because he made it public—and that’s enough, I don’t need to know much more. That was utterly and completely unchristian. Be honest, if you’re still around, do you think his reaction was that of a Christian concerned with Jesus?

  161. Law Prof wrote:

    Do you understand that you haven’t made a single logical point in favor of your thesis that Bill Hybels is innocent other than, more-or-less, “I can’t believe he’d do these things because I think Bill Hybels is a fine fellow and a fine fellow wouldn’t do bad things.”

    Exactly.

    It’s generally ‘i believe bill because i, a member in a congregation of thousands, have an emotional connection to him’.

    Look deeper.

  162. I am a church leader from the UK. I have a church that used to be part of the WCA and we always went to the Big meeting they held in the UK. I always admired Bill and I guess I still do. But it seems this great man forgot his own teaching on accountability. He damaged his Church, the kingdom of God, his victims, and of course himself. The lessons to learn are manifold but the main one for us pastors is “there but for the grace of God go I”
    The best thing we can all do is not comment or gossip by prayer for everyone involved that they will be healed fully, and help those we can directly.

  163. Jonathan wrote:

    The lessons to learn are manifold but the main one for us pastors is “there but for the grace of God go I”

    Ah, but this is the precise mentality that excuses such behavior. It doesn’t just happen. It takes work, and many, many bad choices.

  164. Muff Potter wrote:

    I’ve never been able to figure out why a Super Being (which I believe in) who created the Universe and all its nuances both seen and unseen from nothing (not even Cartesian space as we know it) would need to bring constant glory to himself?

    To me it doesn’t follow from a common sense vantage point.
    How does that kind of power need constant glorification from his creatures?

    It’s not because God needs it, it’s because we need it.

    If we do not glorify Him, we deny the one true maxim of the universe: That He is absolutely, infinitely powerful, knowing everything there is to know and everything that is not to know, He watches the dance of every single atom in every single possible dimension and can, simultaneously, know everything that could’ve been had an infinite number of different paths been taken, He is beyond all knowing, unimaginable, unbelievable—and yet He came to the dusty Middle East in a nondescript outpost of the Roman Empire and lived among us and then died for us, this unimaginable being who created everything and knows us all-in-all, all the ugliness, the absurd peacock pride—and still loves us infinitely.

    If you’re not about glorifying that God, then heck, you have rocks for brains.

  165. Important statement from Nancy Ortberg posted this morning (April 12): “Flawed Process, Wounded Women.” Ms Ortberg had served on the board of Willow Creek Association and the staff at Willow Creek Church. She was one of those who called for an independent investigation of the reported misconduct of Bill Hybels.

    The account of her own experiences, plus details about how other women shared their stories with her unsolicited, has many hallmarks we’ve seen before in survivor communities when victims find out they are not the only one …

    https://www.nancylortberg.com/

  166. Law Prof wrote:

    If you’re not about glorifying that God, then heck, you have rocks for brains.

    Well, what can I say in my own defense?
    Nothing, except that glorification can mean different things to different people.

  167. Muff Potter wrote:

    We are undergoing some remodeling. If things look very odd, just come back in a few minutes and they will likely be better. GBTC Really.

    Over the next week or so we’ll be shoring up some deferred maintenance. So things will be messy. Just walk around the scaffolding and tarps laid out on the floors. And please don’t touch the walls. They may have wet paint on them.

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    I’m sorry, I didn’t mean YOU personally, Muff Potter, I meant you in the abstract, as in anyone. My fault, my bad, did not mean to fire a shot across your bow.

  168. Muff Potter wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:

    If you’re not about glorifying that God, then heck, you have rocks for brains.

    Well, what can I say in my own defense?
    Nothing, except that glorification can mean different things to different people.

    I’m sorry, I didn’t mean YOU personally, Muff Potter, I meant you in the abstract, as in anyone. My fault, my bad, did not mean to fire a shot across your bow.

  169. @ swings:

    Agreed! All types of symbols and traditional ceremonies could be a road-block to a seeker. A person coming to Willow can learn about Christ without experiencing any negative past associations.

  170. Has anyone considered the effects of Ambien and alcohol? This is not an excuse but has it been explored in this situation?

  171. @ SA:
    Ummmm. do you think that someone as intelligent as Bill Hybels knows about this and has been using it to move things along?

  172. dee wrote:

    @ SA:
    Ummmm. do you think that someone as intelligent as Bill Hybels knows about this and has been using it to move things along?

    Especially when there is a pattern. His behaviour wasn’t a one time thing.

  173. Law Prof wrote:

    I’m sorry, I didn’t mean YOU personally, Muff Potter, I meant you in the abstract, as in anyone. My fault, my bad, did not mean to fire a shot across your bow.

    No harm no foul Law Prof. We have much that we can agree upon. The only beef I had with Reinhold’s comment is the mindset which holds that God demands any and all credit for doing the right thing.

    As a father and a grandfather I categorically reject the concept.

    When my kids do the right thing, they are their own glories and I have no need to bask in or claim what’s rightfully theirs.

  174. Jonathan wrote:

    “there but for the grace of God go I”

    By the grace of God, real-deal preachers go in a completely different direction. It’s when a a preacher steers away from Holy Spirit conviction/empowerment to overcome temptation, that they run off the road.

  175. dee wrote:

    Frankly, your pastor stepped down. There is a reason for this. If he could have weathered this, he would have.

    Yes, a good perspective. Bill Hybels obviously has leadership skills. Respected and admired church leaders like Hybels are rarely encouraged to leave by their congregations; the WC standing ovation is evidence of that. On the other hand, an astute leader will make a careful examination of what they can and are willing to do before they “humbly” bow out. Too often a man’s pride gets in the way of doing the right thing and they hang on. But when the heat gets turned up, intelligent folks know when to swallow their pride and get out of the kitchen.

  176. Muff Potter wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:

    I’m sorry, I didn’t mean YOU personally, Muff Potter, I meant you in the abstract, as in anyone. My fault, my bad, did not mean to fire a shot across your bow.

    No harm no foul Law Prof. We have much that we can agree upon. The only beef I had with Reinhold’s comment is the mindset which holds that God demands any and all credit for doing the right thing.

    As a father and a grandfather I categorically reject the concept.

    When my kids do the right thing, they are their own glories and I have no need to bask in or claim what’s rightfully theirs.

    Totally agreed, Muff, and so glad you saw my mea cuplas. I really didn’t mean YOU, just you, just anybody, you or me or anyone on earth.

  177. @ Max:
    Was driving near by willow and some people did mention it was some kind of cult ….than you have Bill Hybel brother running car ministry….people are vulnerable they need inspiration and places to be welcomed too….with $$$$.in the name of God live a life what you preach…Bill Hybel was sooo powerful and untouchable God Bless

  178. 1 comment not allowed. if you have read emails, present the emails. We do not allow *claims* without proof. We have the same standards for ourselves.

  179. Well after wasting 2 minutes scrolling thru the comments I did not see any comments from people who attended WC, served on the ministry team and actually know Bill like I do. Maybe I missed one but it seems to me that society thinks it’s now ok to pronounce people guilty until proven innocent. I sleep well at night without slinging arrows knowing God knows the truth about us all including the women that have made these claims.

  180. Mark S wrote:

    I did not see any comments from people who attended WC, served on the ministry team and actually know Bill like I do

    I wish I didn’t have to keep saying this. WCC is supposed be a city on the hill-shining a light for people to see the good works and faith of the people. In other words, people outside look at the light shining forth and can and will make a judgment on what they see.

    Since you love WCC, my guess is that you (you personally) encouraged others to come and see your church, listen to your pastor, come of activities, read the books, etc. I am one that heard about WCC. I am one who listened to a few sermons and read a few articles. I also bought a few books. I looked into that city on the hill and I believe something is wrong.

    Here is the hard part for you. You do not get to tell the rest of us what we can see and not see. When you reach out to the public, the public gets to comment. If you don’t like what they see, then you need to do something about it. Maybe you are sleeping all too soundly.

    Mark S wrote:

    I sleep well at night without slinging arrows knowing God knows the truth about us all including the women that have made these claims.

    So glad you are sleeping well at night. Sadly many women, men and children are not sleeping so well at night due to sexual abuse and harassment within the church universal. I am out here, shining a light on the issue and trying to help those who have been harmed. I also seek justice for them.

    Unlike you, I cannot sleep well at night because I know so many churches have abused so many people. I want to make a difference. As I attempt to make a difference, I have to look into the darkness and feel the pain of those who hurt. I have cried myself to sleep at times because I can imagine the pain of abuse and the rejection of many who sleep all too well each night.

    You do not know Bill Hybels. You do not know what goes on behind closed doors. The Ortbergs knew Hybels. The Mellados knew Hybels. And then they found out that they didn’t really know Bill Hybels. The Gospel tells us, in no uncertain terms, that we are all simultaneously saints and sinners. The means you, me and Hybels.

    Hybels has stepped down. It is time to consider why he didn’t stay and fight for justice for himself…

  181. Here you go, Mark S:

    My family and I have attended WCC for the past 12 years. Ww were pleasantly surprised at the change from the church lite we had seen in the 1980s. The services led by Mike Breaux and Gene Apple were excellent in all aspects, even though my wife and I grew up in a traditional churches, singing hymns and sitting in pews. Our kids have grown and developed spiritually thanks to the dedicated service of volunteers who love God and want to help kids know Christ.

    Although I see the point of many who have criticized mega churches here, I also know personally that there are many who are devoted to Christ, who have benefited from the teaching of various speakers at Willow. (Remember, whenever the Truth is presented, it is God’s truth, regardless of the vehicle used to deliver it.)

    All that said, my wife and I were disappointed to hear of the allegations against Bill, hoping that they would not be true of any Christian leader. However, we were disgusted by Bill and the elders’ response to the allegations. In the early days, the answers offered to address the accusations were weak, empty and left many questions asked by thinking people unanswered. The vehemence of the denials and the counter accusations of collusion and conspiracy were not only off putting, but also seemed to lend further credence to the allegations made against Hybels.

    Over the years my wife and I have had questions about things that occurred at WCC. The disappearance of pastors like Gene Appel and Mike Breaux, as well as a number of others, including Nancy Beach. (Full disclosure: We were not fans of Beach’s teaching, but that is beside the point.) Some left for other pastoral opportunities, but some just left. Why did they leave so rapidly, often without any recognition, we wondered. The constant in all this was tha Bill Hybels remained.

    We also volunteered some. But we again looked puzzlingly at each other at the number of times we heard, “We’re making a change… Bill decided…” Bill is really getting down managing decisions at this level?

    Then came the announcement of the “succession” (odd term for a church) in October of 2017, particularly the selection of the new Lead Pastor. The announcement was prefaced with the statement that the church had searched far and wide, around the globe, and we’ve found the BEST leader for Willow. My wife and I looked at each other and said, “Really?! With all the potential leaders out there, known and unknown, SHE’s the BEST?” Would no one else take the job? Would this be the only acceptable candidate to Bill who could continue to exert his influence over after stepping down? At the time, we questioned the independence of the elders. Were they just “Yes men?” What were we missing?

    Then came the allegations and the elders’ unbounded devotion to and unswerving support for Bill and the aggressive and offensive response from both Bill and the elders. Then came additional testimony, supported by additional detail. I watched with great sadness the weasel-worded denial and acceptance of responsibility followed by the standing ovation and (what?!) the pledge to honor the family in an appropriate way in the future. How could one possibly promise such a thing when facts and allegations continue to emerge?

    Curious aside: The comment above about body language during the closing prayer were nearly verbatim to those my wife made a couple days ago.

    Based on all of the above, we firmly believe the “accelerated retirement” (NOT resignation, which might imply some sense of remorse) was a PR move designed to end the discussion of the matter and provide cover to the church that it had been handled. This was evidenced by the “move on” language used following Bill’s statement. However, our concerns that the matter was far from over were validated when the Beach and Ortberg statements were published. We anticipate, and hope, that more will be forthcoming, so the truth can be known.

    Further, we believe that the elders have shown tremendously poor judgement in the handling of this matter. They need to resign, all of them, even those who may have cast a dissenting vote but did not take the further step to resign in protest.

    In conclusion, we are sorrowful about many things. The damage done to the name of Christ (though, to be sure, He is sovereign and omnipotent enough to make good come from it). The injury inflicted to the victims; may God give them courage to speak and grace to heal their wounds. The “sheep” who seem more to follow Bill than Christ as evidenced by their comments; may God give them clarity of thought and spiritual vision, should the leader they follow be incontrovertibly shown to be less honorable than they thought. Willow Creek Church; may there be healing and unity that comes from centering itself under the headship of Christ. The Hybels family; may God give them grace as they contemplate, and potentially come to terms with, some incredibly uncomfortable realities. And Bill Hybels, himself; he, too, is one for whom Christ died and, like each one of us, is in need of forgiveness and sanctification.

    May God bring this entire sad season to a conclusion in such a way that when we get to heaven and all of God’s glorious plan and providence is there on display, we’ll bow down in honor of Him and declare, “Only God!”

  182. Thomas055 wrote:

    (Remember, whenever the Truth is presented, it is God’s truth, regardless of the vehicle used to deliver it.)

    Well, not exactly. Much of the 21st century church is delivering “truth” through the interpretations of men, filtered through pet theological grids. At best, it is half-truth based on the teachings and traditions of men. If the vehicle is a mere man and not the Holy Spirit, it is seldom the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. Only the Holy Spirit can lead us to Truth. Believers need to read the Word themselves and rely on the Holy Spirit to teach them … they will then be able to discern truth from error uttered by men who claim they speak for God.

    Thomas055 wrote:

    Over the years my wife and I have had questions about things that occurred at WCC.

    That was the Holy Spirit alerting and warning you. He puts a check in our spirit when things are amiss if we are sensitive to his prompting.

    Thomas055 wrote:

    Then came the announcement of the “succession” (odd term for a church)

    Typical of the Christian industrial complex. God calls forth servants to represent Him, but men appoint new leaders. The people who follow one or the other are distinctly different.

    Thomas055 wrote:

    elders’ unbounded devotion to and unswerving support for Bill … The “sheep” who seem more to follow Bill than Christ

    Symptoms of a cult of personality.

    Thank you for your insider’s perspective on this sad chapter in the American church. I hear your pain and hope you and your family find another place to worship where Jesus is exalted over men. Unless that happen soon at WCC, it is not a healthy place to be.

  183. dee wrote:

    Since you love WCC, my guess is that you (you personally) encouraged others to come and see your church, listen to your pastor, come of activities, read the books, etc.

    I was once blind-sided by a pastor who deceived his way past me. I, too, invited others to attend his church until I began to hear and see things that alerted me to his real agenda. When I pulled my family out of there, I then visited everyone who I had personally invited to share my concerns. Most left, some stayed for a while until they began to realize themselves that

  184. Thank you for your words, Max. I appreciate your encouragement.

    I’ll stand by my original statement that ALL Truth is God’s Truth. Half-truths and truths filtered through pet theological are not Truth, therefore, are not from God.

    Does one attending Willow need to be a Berean who is vigilant that teaching matches what is in scripture? Yes, just like any church, large or small. Does that mean that nothing scriptural is taught at Willow or other “megas”? Absolutely not.

    Although I am in strong agreement with what is shared here about the alleged misbehavior on Bill Hybels part and the negative effects it had/is having on the victims and the church, both local and global, I want to caution against what sometimes comes across as mega-bashing. The size of a church alone does not dictate what is Christ-led or God-honoring. (For example, John Ortberg’s congregation is also quite large, but none of us, myself included, are suggesting that it is off course or manipulative/controlling of its attendees.)

    I think we can all agree that care and caution must be exercised in all fellowships to ensure that they remain squarely under the influence of the Holy Spirit and the lordship of Jesus Christ.

  185. Mark S wrote:

    Well after wasting 2 minutes scrolling thru the comments I did not see any comments from people who attended WC, served on the ministry team and actually know Bill like I do. Maybe I missed one but it seems to me that society thinks it’s now ok to pronounce people guilty until proven innocent. I sleep well at night without slinging arrows knowing God knows the truth about us all including the women that have made these claims.

    I don’t know Bill personally, but I know how he has reacted since the accusations came out. The defensiveness, the obsession with his reputation, the anger at that sterling reputation being challenged. That’s all I need to know. By the way, you don’t really know someone until you’ve seen them at their best and their worst, in private moments when they have nothing to lose by letting their guard down and being a total pig. My best guess is that you’re a poseur, you’ve served in some peripheral capacity at Willow Creek and know only the facade Bill presented. I’ll bet you don’t know Bill well at all and are just blowing hot air. Just a guess.

  186. Thomas055 wrote:

    I’ll stand by my original statement that ALL Truth is God’s Truth. Half-truths and truths filtered through pet theological are not Truth, therefore, are not from God.

    Yes, we are in agreement on that.

    Apparently, Bill Hybels came to grips with how he was handling truth a few years ago when he admitted that the Willow Creek model had a made a mistake by not encouraging members to read the Word themselves and move forward into Spiritual maturity. Truth is Truth when it is revealed by the Holy Spirit … one soul at a time.

  187. Musical couple holds life loosely, while shaping the heart of …
    Scott Dyer was doing well on the worship and music team at Willow Creek Community Church where he had been employed for the past 17 years. It was year 2000 and he and his wife Vonda were happy there: “We were both flourishing in our ministry at Willow and really loved what we were doing.”
    Search domain churchexecutive.comhttps://churchexecutive.com/archives/musical-couple-holds-life-loosel…More res

  188. I didn’t know he listened to Schuler. As I had listened and watched Robert Schuler back then, I didn’t like his teachings.
    Max wrote:

    Max:

  189. Thomas055 wrote:

    ALL Truth is God’s Truth. Half-truths and truths filtered through pet theological are not Truth, therefore, are not from God.

    Amen. Truth is singular. Half-truths and mis-truths are its various versions, but not absolute Truth.

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