Update: Hybels Out! Betty Schmidt, Former Elder at Willow Creek, Says Current Elder Board Mishandled Her Testimony. Will Bill Hybels Resign Tonight?

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=145869&picture=background-wallpaper
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Hybels has just resigned from Willow Creek. More later.

This is going to be a quick post to get the information out. I had a minor medical procedure this morning and I have been sleeping most of the day.

Betty Schmidt, elder for 30 years at Willow Creek, says the current elders mishandled her testimony in their report to the congregation.

Today, Betty Schmidt released her concerns on a website known as Veritas Be Told. Please read the entire account.

  • I continue to believe the victims.
  • I believe that Bill Hybels has serious boundary issues.
  • I believe that Bill Hybels, and those leaders who covered up information about Hybels, should resign.

I may be about to get at least part of my wish. Here are a few quotes from Schmidt’s website. She, along with Vonda Dyer, are brave women and I have mad respect for them. I also pray for those who are suffering in silence as well.

  • I am posting the inaccuracies of how my account regarding the recent testimony
    of Vonda Dyer has been mishandled by the Willow Creek Elders in two “Family
    Meetings” held on March 23, and April 2nd, 2018. My post states the truth of my
    knowledge of Vonda’s personal account. It has been very disturbing to hear my
    words from the meeting with the WC elders become twisted, added to and
    extrapolated from. By speaking truth of what I acutally said, I hope to make the
    record clear. The current Willow Creek elders have misquoted and misrepresented me.
  • My name is Betty Schmidt. I served as an elder at Willow Creek for over 30
    years. I was a part of the meeting in August of 2016 that is referenced in point 13
    (thirteen) of the FAQ document entitled, Willow Creek Response to Local
    Media
    . There are several untruths in that point of the FAQ alone, and they need
    to be corrected. It is a matter of concern – particularly to the congregation of
    Willow Creek – because it appears to involve an effort to discredit myself and
    Vonda Dyer, and more importantly to cast doubt on serious misconduct that
    could in turn leave others at risk. Five other witnesses to this exchange can
    confirm that the statements in the Willow Creek FAQ do not accurately portray
    what was said.
  • I did not say I never had an inkling about whether allegations of
    misconduct had ever been brought against Bill. It’s precisely because I
    had such concerns (which went beyond an ‘inkling’) that I wanted to meet
    with the elders in the first place.
  • I didn’t ‘suddenly’ remember Vonda’s story; that story was a primary reason
    I asked to talk with the elders. I didn’t say that I couldn’t recall the woman’s name.
    I knew it was Vonda Dyer. It is not credible to think I could have forgotten.
  • I did not say that the woman (Vonda) “claimed to have kissed Bill.” Vonda did
    not initiate the kiss. Bill did. This is what Vonda told me. This is what I told the
    elders.

Please read the entire statement. I did not post it here since I have not been in touch with Betty Schmidt and I always ask permission to reprint entire statements.

Is Bill Hybels going to resign tonight?

I have heard from a number of sources that there is an unplanned and mandatory staff meeting late this afternoon.

I have also been told that there is an unplanned Willow Creek family meeting planned for tonight at 7PM with live streaming available.

If he resigns, listen for a statement something like this.

“I am resigning to protect the church from embarrassment that might affect the ministry of the church.” In other words, he will not admit to any charges and will claim he is throwing himself on the sword for the sake of Christ’s church. I hope I am wrong and that he offers a heartfelt statement of confession and repentance.

Word of Advice to Willow Creek Members/Leaders: Do Not Do a Standing Ovation!

This is a serious situation. Act like adults. This is not a rock concert. If you are upset, send him your support in a card, dinner, whatever. Do it quietly. There are many people sitting in your church today that have been victims of abuse. Do not give a standing ovation to anyone who has been accused of such actions.

We at TWW are so sorry that this happened. If we can be of assistance to the victims, please contact us.


Comments

Update: Hybels Out! Betty Schmidt, Former Elder at Willow Creek, Says Current Elder Board Mishandled Her Testimony. Will Bill Hybels Resign Tonight? — 270 Comments

  1. @ dee:
    But they were painted as the ones acting inappropriately and being “unbiblical.” This refrain is getting so predictable. Is cutting off the money by leaving these churches the only way to get traction? Who wants to continue leading/attending a church that is built on the covering up of evil?

  2. @ Deborah:
    But these truth tellers are showing genuine care and concern for the Body of Christ and fellow believers who can’t know what they don’t know unless someone speaks the truth.

  3. Isn’t a lying tongue one of the things which the Lord hates?

    How do they justify twisting Betty’s testimony so egregiously?

    Do they think the Lord is not watching?

    Are they unbelievers and, therefore, unconcerned about God’s judgements?

    Did they think Betty wouldn’t understand what they have done to her?

    Do they dishonor one of their elders to that extent?

    Do they have so little concern about Vonda’s innocence and integrity?

    How do they face themselves in the mirror each day?

  4. So many questions. They obviously are incollusion.

    How does that happen? I mean that literally. How does a conversation take place that results in Betty’s experience being so completely turned 180 degrees?

    Evil evil doings does not happen by people who love the Lord and His Church, those people for whom He died and bled….

    (Speaking as one who is still bearing the evil evil consequences of what our best friend, the pastor, did to us in a business venture many years ago. The man ended up being called a con man by many. We were snookered, big time…a story for another day,)

  5. I keep thinking back to my teen years. Something similar to this happened between a pastor and my mother and several other women. The pastor was allowed to quietly leave and become a missionary. And that was only after a huge fuss was made. We don’t seem to be making any progress . . .

  6. Deborah wrote:

    But these truth tellers are showing genuine care and concern for the Body of Christ and fellow believers who can’t know what they don’t know unless someone speaks the truth.

    THIS! The church does not like truth tellers. Much of it pays lip service to truth, but despises those who bring it. There is a need for repentance and I don’t know what it will take (I’m not just speaking of Willow Creek, but across the church).

  7. @ Lydia:
    The Willow Creek website seems to be experiencing technical difficulties — at first I tried the WillowCreekTV to get the live stream, but the elders/leaders link as well is just spinning followed by an error message. Too many internet lynch mobs trying to tune in, no doubt.

  8. Thanks, Lydia, for giving us the site for the Willow Creek Elders. Very interesting to note that almost all of them list as their spiritual gifts wisdom and discernment. Looks like their gifts need some fine tuning. I am sick of these sycophants. I always wonder, when these husband/pastors get in trouble, that the wives are either supportive or silent. I told my husband that if he ever got into a situation like this, I would scream, “Lock him up!” Would love for Lynn Hybels to take a que from Jenny Sandford when she found out about her Governor husband of South Carolina’s dalliances. She didn’t mess around, she threw him out.

  9. @ Finegold:
    And quite a few women on the elder board, too.

    I had a ton of respect for how Jenny Sanford dealt with that very public situation, too. She had respect for herself and modeled that for her children.

  10. Yes, there was a standing ovation for Hybels…
    Elder Orr congratulates the elders themselves on how all this has been handled.[we see no problems here!]
    “Bill informed the elders last weekend that HE decided to move up the date of his retirement.” [So they got it backwards – they should have acted, not Hybels.]

  11. So painful to watch. They could have been an example, instead they replayed the tired reel of churches handling sexual abuse wrong. If this is how respected leaders in the church are handled, think what happens to the little people, who have zero influence. I wept watching this. It should have been a time of repentance and crying out to God. Instead, it is more coverup and manipulation…in Jesus’ name, of course.

  12. My youngest daughter moved to the Chicago area where she accepted a job right out of college. This was 2005. She went to Willow Creek once and felt very uncomfortable there. She said that a lot of peopke she met felt Willow Creek was a cult.

  13. one of the little people wrote:

    THIS! The church does not like truth tellers.

    The world does not like truth tellers. Look what happened to Jesus and Socrates.

    The Church is supposed to be different, but the institutional church often behaves the same way.

  14. To death! Gag me to death!!

    But… trying to focus on the good…..in a month, Mahaney, Savage, Page, and Hybels have all stepped down in some capacity.

    Praise the Lord! And way to go, watchdogs!

  15. I managed to tune in for Elder Orr and Pastors Heather and Steve — I suppose the crowd couldn’t help themselves but to whistle while applauding after pastor Steve’s prayer. Did Hybels speak first? What did he say?

  16. When will elders get what the real goal is??? It’s not manipulate to protect the reputation of a pastor, or even the reputation of a church, but rather, the reputation of Christ to a watching world.

    I would say this, that if any leaders/elders/pastors are reading this – and I hope you are – examine yourself to see if you are even in the faith if your bent is to go along with those who refuse to seek truth, in these or any other situations, so as to avoid the hard decisions that true leaders rise up (from their knees) and make.

  17. Augustine wrote:

    When will elders get what the real goal is??? It’s not manipulate to protect the reputation of a pastor, or even the reputation of a church, but rather, the reputation of Christ to a watching world.

    I agree. Well stated.

  18. Augustine wrote:

    but rather, the reputation of Christ to a watching world

    I would say the real goal is the health of the members. To help build them up and care for them when they are hurt.

  19. Bill Hybels is one of the greatest Christian leaders at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries and in the history of the Christian church. He was incredibly faithful, and did much to promote women in ministry. I am reminded of King David. “David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite” (1 Kings 15:5 NIV). David worked overtime to conceal his sin, but in the end was exposed by Nathan the prophet and admitted his sin in no uncertain terms. May God grant Bill Hybels a spirit of confession and repentance. And, may God have mercy on all of us.

  20. dee wrote:

    The Obligatory Standing Ovation was inappropriate.

    Indeed! But should we expect anything else from Willow Creek membership? This is Christianity Lite, a cult of personality where the God of Entertainment is on the throne. The members there have not known anything but a shallow “gospel” delivered from a stage, with elaborate visual and audio, and feel-good messages. It’s a theater where you clap when you are entertained. When a great actor retires, he is acclaimed and praised. Instead of applauding, they should have been on their faces agonizing before God … that would be an appropriate response from the people of God. But, seeker-friendly ministries have so messed with the minds of their followers they don’t know how to act properly when a leader falls.

  21. What seems to be missing from so many of these so-called churches is an understanding of what the body of Christ is all about. It is not about getting some celebrity pastor, a semi-professional rock band and putting on a good show. It is supposed to be a gathering of believers to encourage, support, strengthen and help one another. Maybe more people need to leave these mega entertainment centers and go back to the little church on the corner with the sincere seniors.

  22. truthseeker00 wrote:

    What seems to be missing from so many of these so-called churches is an understanding of what the body of Christ is all about.

    Amen. Living in the Kingdom of God in the here and now is a foreign thought to the average church member in the world of Christianity Lite. Finding the genuine amidst all the counterfeit is like looking for a rare and endangered species.

  23. Here is a compilation of my Twitter thread about the Willow Creek family meeting, resignation of Bill Hybels, and other statements made.

    Willow Creek Church has posted the statement from Bill Hybels regarding his resignation, remarks by Pam Orr on behalf of their elder board, and statement from executive pastor Heather Larson.

    https://www.willowcreek.org/en/willow-creek-announcement

    1/ Regarding Willow Creek and Bill Hybel’s resignation: The detailed accounts posted of late by Vonda Dyer and Betty Schmidt, along with details from other reported victims, came across to me as credible and presenting coherent problem patterns.

    2/ It also appears related concerns about Mr Hybels and leadership systems have been shared over the years, but these went unheard til recently – and then seemingly only in the wider community rather than at the source organizations of Willow Creek Church and Association.

    3/ So, I was saddened during Mr Hybels’ resignation statement and his responses to those specific allegations and to declarations of the harm done. They came across to me as self-protective and blaming others for misinterpreting his actions and intents.

    4/ While Mr Hybels may have taken responsibility for his angry responses of a few weeks ago, in his statements this evening I did not sense any substantive movement or accountability underneath his surface apologies for unwisely misinterpretable words and situations.

    5/ Also, from presentations by both Willow Creek elder Pam Orr and executive pastor Heather Larson, there did not seem to be a deep understanding of the organizational dynamics of social control and abuse. So, how can they be on a trajectory to restore relationships?

    6/ Many survivor community members know that some people in an organization can have a perfectly positive and normal-seeming experience, while others do not. Just because abuse was not *your* experience does not mean that those who report problems are lying.

    7/ I find it difficult to accept what Ms Larson stated – “I want to assure you we can at the same time respect someone’s story and stand up for our own.” – when it appears some women who reported victimization were openly disrespected, their accounts disbelieved and deflected.

    8/ I wish Willow Creek Church and Association well; I have benefited from their ministry before. But I sense leadership are over-eager to move forward with reconciliation and rebuilding, when they seem not yet to have deconstructed and dismantled apparent problem patterns.

    9/ If my conclusion is anywhere near accurate, it means patterns will repeat – and deepen by reinforcement – because the mechanisms for missing toxic indicators would still be in place. And that kind of entrenchment creates a dangerous situation for all.

    10/ Perhaps I’m wrong about all of this. It’s just that I have personally seen enough situations in churches, ministries, and Christian non-profits where unhealthy, self-protective/self-preserving strategies infuse into organizational structures and turn them toxic in long-term.

    11/ Kyrie eleison …

  24. It never fails. David is always trotted out in these situations. Over and over. Who knew God anointed Hybels king of Israel? Where was his Nathan? No Nathan? Surely there was matching Nathan in a mega church.

  25. truthseeker00 wrote:

    Maybe more people need to leave these mega entertainment centers and go back to the little church on the corner with the sincere seniors.

    Yep. (Where’s the “like” button?)

  26. Beth74 wrote:

    in a month, Mahaney, Savage, Page, and Hybels have all stepped down in some capacity

    “The time has evidently arrived for God’s judgment to begin, and it is beginning at his own House.” (1 Peter 4:17 Phillips)

  27. Lydia wrote:

    It never fails. David is always trotted out in these situations. Over and over. Who knew God anointed Hybels king of Israel? Where was his Nathan? No Nathan? Surely there was matching Nathan in a mega church.

    David was used not because Bill Hybels is king of anything, but because David strenuously covered and denied his sin—just as it seems Bill Hybels has done. I used David not to excuse Bill’s behavior, but to prompt confession and repentance.

  28. Here is a link to the Washington Post article about the resignation of Bill Hybels: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/04/10/bill-hybels-prominent-megachurch-pastor-resigns-from-willow-creek-following-allegations/?utm_term=.416ab92bc24c

    Unfortunately Dee’s predictions were right. Here is a quote from the article.

    “He told the church publicly last year that he was planning to step down in October, but he resigned Tuesday, saying he would be a distraction to the church’s ministry. Some members of his congregation shouted “No!” and gave him a standing ovation following his address.”

  29. Question for you, do you know this first hand? I tend to believe that Betty Schmidt and Vonda Dyer are the selfish ones!!! Did they not think others, of course not or people that Bill brought to know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord? What about all the believers at Willow… For the sake of God read Romans 14, very selfish people!!!

  30. Maggie wrote:

    What about all the believers at Willow…

    …they deserved to be served by leaders who who are, “above reproach.”

  31. https://www.willowcreek.org/en/willow-creek-announcement

    Go here and watch the video at bottom. Typical mega. No one is right or wrong. But ‘here is how to think so you don’t have to choose sides’. But my favorite is the teaching pastor who said, ‘we have taught you the duel narrative’. Say what? A way to think about the situation when two leaders are at odds? Okay. Why do I automatically think of the Hegalian dialectic?

    I doubt I can watch it all without becoming ill but boy does it bring back the tightly scripted memories. Yep, they will lovingly tell people “how” to think about the situation while vetting questions. All too familiar.

  32. @ Sandy Williams:

    “Bill Hybels is one of the greatest Christian leaders at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries and in the history of the Christian church.”

    This is the mega world thinking that scared me the most. But,he has “done a lot for women”? Sigh. His female victims would disagree. And, I hope his wife, too, eventually.

  33. Beth74 wrote:

    But… trying to focus on the good…..in a month, Mahaney, Savage, Page, and Hybels have all stepped down in some capacity.

    Three of them have stepped down from the pastorate. C.J. Mahaney may have stepped aside from speaking at T4G, but so far as I know he remains active in the pastorate. One can only hope that changes soon.

  34. dee wrote:

    Hybels is out! But he really didn’t do anything. Just didn’t understand….

    Hybels opens his speech with, “… our deepest passion was to build a thriving Acts 2 church for the glory of the One Whose Name we all bear.”

    From Acts 2:38 Peter answered, “Repent…”

    Too bad Pastor Hybels doesn’t practise what he preaches.

    Later, in Acts 5, with Ananias and Sapphira, Peter says, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit? … You have not lied just to human beings but to God,” … When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.

    Truth is serious business with God.

  35. Maggie wrote:

    Question for you, do you know this first hand? I tend to believe that Betty Schmidt and Vonda Dyer are the selfish ones!!! Did they not think others, of course not or people that Bill brought to know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord? What about all the believers at Willow… For the sake of God read Romans 14, very selfish people!!!

    If they lied, they’re not just selfish, they’re doing great evil. But if they’re telling the truth, then Bill Hybels is the one doing the evil things and you’re foolish for blindly following him.

  36. Lydia wrote:

    David is always trotted out in these situations. Over and over. Who knew God anointed Hybels king of Israel?

    More like Saul, annointed by God, but eventually did his Saul (own) thing. God removed him.
    – “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” 1 Samuel 15:11.
    – Annointed and removed by God. Hosea 13:11.
    – The Spirit of God left him. 1 Samuel 16:14
    – God refused to speak to Saul. Ouch. 1 Samuel 28:6

    (Contrast David when he sinned: Psalm 32, Psalm 51.)

    Savage, Hybels et al, sound like they are still doing their (own) thing – not a God thing, which is coming clean. They had their chance. Had they done the right thing, doubtful there would have been applause. Nathan never applauded David’s repentance.

  37. Remnant wrote:

    That’s quite a bit of spin they put on Betty’s original statements!

    Bullying. Putting words in her mouth. As if they get the last say, and control the narrative. Unreal. And this is a church, pastor, leadership, ministry, network that supports women? Maybe in theory. Not in practice.

  38. Sandy Williams wrote:

    Bill Hybels is one of the greatest Christian leaders at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries and in the history of the Christian church.

    You have no standing to say that. The Lord will decide that, because He knows us all-in-all, knows our works, knows who’s the greatest and who’s a self-promoter. You do not know these things and therefore you really need to be more circumspect. You’re making statements way, way above your pay grade.

    Sandy Williams wrote:

    He was incredibly faithful, and did much to promote women in ministry.

    If the allegations, which are coming from multiple sources, are true, then what you typed there is not only untrue, it’s absurd, a mockery of the truth.

    Sandy Williams wrote:

    …May God grant Bill Hybels a spirit of confession and repentance. And, may God have mercy on all of us.

    Agreed on all of this.

  39. “ALWAYS.ONLY.EVER.TELL THE TRUTH.” —Bill Hybels Stronger in Character Series

    Who You Are When No One’s Looking
    Choosing Consistency, Resisting Compromise
    Book By Bill Hybels

  40. Finegold wrote:

    Very interesting to note that almost all of them list as their spiritual gifts wisdom and discernment.

    The Asch conformity experiments indicate that 75% of people typically join the “consensus” even if objectively wrong, only 25% of people can be relied upon to be of their own mind. Of this remaining 25%, likely only one in six is likely to speak up and buck the trend. Wisdom and discernment may be rare, it is even more rare for it to be exercised openly. I wonder if the ability to think independently coupled with the ability to speak up and take on the crowd was one of the defining features of the OT prophets. Regardless, such people will be treated no better than the prophets of old and are usually not tolerated on the board of your typical religious organization where totalitarian niceness is commonly the rule.

  41. @ chrrypi:
    There’s theory, words in a book, spoken on a screen.
    Then there’s practise. Lived. With others, and they are a witness, women and children, too.

  42. chrrypi wrote:

    Book By Bill Hybels

    Coming out in August, published by Tyndale, also in Chicago, I believe:
    “Everyone Wins When a Leader Gets Better” – August 7, 2018
    by Bill Hybels (Author), Patrick Lencioni (Foreword), Ashley Wiersma (Contributor)

  43. Maggie wrote:

    Question for you, do you know this first hand? I tend to believe that Betty Schmidt and Vonda Dyer are the selfish ones!!! Did they not think others, of course not or people that Bill brought to know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord? What about all the believers at Willow… For the sake of God read Romans 14, very selfish people!!!

    And their selfishness is displayed in what way? Do you mean by publicly exposing Bill Hybel’s true character? If so, then it doesn’t matter how many he has “brought to know Jesus” for he should not be preaching from a pulpit. Evangelizing, ministering, prophesying, teaching are not a cover for a corrupt and wicked character and that is exactly what this behavior of preying on women is, wicked and corrupt.

    Now, if you have examined the testimony of these women and men, all former elders at Willow Creek, and you believe they are all lying, then that would be selfish, IF they are ALL lying.

  44. I’m a follower of Jesus and I’m now done with the Christian church. I’ve been a church member, a deacon, a pastor, a youth leader. I’m proud of most of what I’ve done because a lot of it was quite obviously Spirit led. But this Sunday morning institution is nothing more than play acting and fan fiction. This is what happens when you worship scriptures. Amazingly, it was recorded OVER and OVER again happening IN THE BIBLE. What we have today is nothing new.

    Worship God, whom the scriptures truthfully reveal. Nothing about what he offers us involves worshiping the scriptures or elevating them or anything about them (systematics, interpretations, doctrines, traditions, etc) over the raw truths that the scriptures reveal about him.

  45. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    5/ Also, from presentations by both Willow Creek elder Pam Orr and executive pastor Heather Larson, there did not seem to be a deep understanding of the organizational dynamics of social control and abuse. So, how can they be on a trajectory to restore relationships?

    6/ Many survivor community members know that some people in an organization can have a perfectly positive and normal-seeming experience, while others do not. *******Just because abuse was not *your* experience does not mean that those who report problems are lying.*******

    7/ I find it difficult to accept what Ms Larson stated – “I want to assure you we can at the same time respect someone’s story and stand up for our own.” – when it appears some women who reported victimization were openly disrespected, their accounts disbelieved and deflected.

    All of this. (My emphasis added)

    I’m so thankful to have found this community. I just wish I had years ago.

  46. After digging in a bit more, my original suspicion about this situation became more clear. If the Ortbergs had not been involved, this would have gone nowhere. In that world a big cheese has to call out another big cheese for it to gain any traction. It’s the pecking order.

    What I saw on that stage during the family meeting were leaders who are very scared the whole thing is going to implode. But never fear, they will tell the Pew sitters “how” to think about it.

    I was especially amused when Hybels kept repeating that he empowered women. What power! Sigh.

  47. Teri Anne wrote:

    “Some members of his congregation shouted “No!” and gave him a standing ovation following his address.”

    A more appropriate response would have looked something like:

    “But when the apostles heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, ‘Why are you doing these things?'” (Acts 14)

  48. Max, and what about the people falling on their needs in supplication and anguish?

    The mass corporate response is bizarre, inappropriate and a testament to the twisted teachings of revered celeb pastors.

    Oh that sack cloth and ashes were a thing today.

  49. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    6/ Many survivor community members know that some people in an organization can have a perfectly positive and normal-seeming experience, while others do not. Just because abuse was not *your* experience does not mean that those who report problems are lying.

    7/ I find it difficult to accept what Ms Larson stated – “I want to assure you we can at the same time respect someone’s story and stand up for our own.” – when it appears some women who reported victimization were openly disrespected, their accounts disbelieved and deflected.

    8/ I wish Willow Creek Church and Association well; I have benefited from their ministry before. But I sense leadership are over-eager to move forward with reconciliation and rebuilding, when they seem not yet to have deconstructed and dismantled apparent problem patterns.

    Excellent points. Predators target victims AND groom community, play them for chumps. WC leadership (including lawyers) & applauding audience just got chumped in practise. Ouch.

    (A HS principal got a Saturday night call from a coach [who heard from a parent] that their star athletes were hazing. The principal immediately called authorities. Test of leadership, he calls it. Shameful, embarrassing but they passed the test.)

    As Willow Creek grew, something went awry. Like annointed-then-fallen leader King Saul, Hybels got off track, and apparently has taken the lot of them with him. The standing ovations are a community showing their colors. Be informed. Be warned.

  50. Lydia wrote:

    @ Sandy Williams:
    “Bill Hybels is one of the greatest Christian leaders at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries and in the history of the Christian church.”
    This is the mega world thinking that scared me the most. But,he has “done a lot for women”? Sigh. His female victims would disagree. And, I hope his wife, too, eventually.

    Lydia:
    Is there no room for nuance? I wrote that Bill Hybels “did much to promote women in ministry”, which I would hope everyone could agree is factually true. David is recognized in Hebrews 11:32 as a man of faith. Even Jesus in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 could affirm the good in churches without recognizing and exposing the failures.
    Even the female victims of Bill Hybels suggestive comments, seductive actions, distorted boundaries, and other violations can commend the good he did while continuing to condemn his wrongs. We can all pray that Bill Hybels and the elders of Willow Creek will grow in their understanding of sexual and spiritual abuse, become models and advocates for those who are wronged, and move the flawed church of Jesus Christ into a better future for Christ and his kingdom.
    Sandy

  51. Lydia wrote:

    If the Ortbergs had not been involved, this would have gone nowhere.

    Telling. The Ortbergs didn’t drink the WC Hybels kool-aid.

    Luke 16:13 No one can serve two masters.

  52. Max wrote:

    A more appropriate response … (Acts 14)

    Max, This is an inspiring chapter to read in light of WC and Hybels. In one city, Paul and Barnabas were stoned. In another, the people tried to worship them. Paul and Barnabas would have none of it, but clearly preached Jesus.

    These leaders’ power base and message was only Jesus. God used them to do miracles, with God getting the glory. No seeking side-chicks with wine & drugs in hotel rooms – “please don’t bring your husband”.

  53. Thersites wrote:

    Finegold wrote:

    Very interesting to note that almost all of them list as their spiritual gifts wisdom and discernment.

    The Asch conformity experiments indicate that 75% of people typically join the “consensus” even if objectively wrong, only 25% of people can be relied upon to be of their own mind. Of this remaining 25%, likely only one in six is likely to speak up and buck the trend. Wisdom and discernment may be rare, it is even more rare for it to be exercised openly. I wonder if the ability to think independently coupled with the ability to speak up and take on the crowd was one of the defining features of the OT prophets. Regardless, such people will be treated no better than the prophets of old and are usually not tolerated on the board of your typical religious organization where totalitarian niceness is commonly the rule.

    And if you really want to be terrified of what people are capable of given our instincts to follow the leader, check out the Milgram Experiments a few years before.

  54. Sandy Williams wrote:

    Is there no room for nuance?

    There’s room for duplicity:
    “…therefore all that they – Scribes & Pharisees, tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.” Matt. 23:3
    ” … you, then, who teach others, do you do not teach yourself?” Romans 2:21
    Also, annointing by God, and then no longing in communication with God:
    King Saul – 1 Samuel 15: “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” Saul is building a momument to himself, v.12.

    Nuance is a subtle difference. The Bible says nothing subtle about sin, whether David or Saul or anyone.

  55. JYJames wrote:

    These leaders’ power base and message was only Jesus.

    If the 21st century church preached Jesus only – without charisma or gimmick – we would know His power. We are not appropriating the spiritual resources we need to turn America back to God, because we are preaching a Crossless/powerless gospel in far too many places, which is not the Gospel at all.

  56. I’m a follower of Jesus and I’m now done with the Christian church. I’ve been a church member, a deacon, a pastor, a youth leader. I’m proud of most of what I’ve done because a lot of it was quite obviously Spirit led. But this Sunday morning institution is nothing more than play acting and fan fiction. This is what happens when you worship scriptures. Amazingly, it was recorded OVER and OVER again happening IN THE BIBLE. What we have today is nothing new.
    Worship God, whom the scriptures truthfully reveal. Nothing about what he offers us involves worshiping the scriptures or elevating them or anything about them (systematics, interpretations, doctrines, traditions, etc) over the raw truths that the scriptures reveal about him.

    Hello, my brother. I understand your cynicism. But be aware of what God says about His word, and what the scripture says about itself.

    Psalm 138:2: I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

    Isaiah 66:2: Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.

    There are many more– 2 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 19, Psalm 119. See also the words of Christ, Matthew 5:18-19.

    To your comment about “play acting” and “fan fiction”: The fact that often we are not what we say we are is very disturbing.

  57. Looking for a new way wrote:

    I’m a follower of Jesus and I’m now done with the Christian church. I’ve been a church member, a deacon, a pastor, a youth leader. I’m proud of most of what I’ve done because a lot of it was quite obviously Spirit led. But this Sunday morning institution is nothing more than play acting and fan fiction. This is what happens when you worship scriptures. Amazingly, it was recorded OVER and OVER again happening IN THE BIBLE. What we have today is nothing new.
    Worship God, whom the scriptures truthfully reveal. Nothing about what he offers us involves worshiping the scriptures or elevating them or anything about them (systematics, interpretations, doctrines, traditions, etc) over the raw truths that the scriptures reveal about him.

    Oops! I deleted something from the above quote. This is a reply to “Looking for a new way”:

    Hello, my brother. I understand your cynicism. But be aware of what God says about His word, and what the scripture says about itself.
    Psalm 138:2: I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
    Isaiah 66:2: Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
    There are many more– 2 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 19, Psalm 119. See also the words of Christ, Matthew 5:18-19.
    To your comment about “play acting” and “fan fiction”: The fact that often we are not what we say we are is very disturbing.

  58. @ Law Prof:
    That Bill Hybels is one of the greatest Christian leaders is my opinion, but is evidenced by 1) his influence through WC Church and WCA all over the world, 2) his best-selling books, and 3) the fact that this front page news on the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, etc. His name is known and respected in evangelical and mainline churches. I agree that my stated opinion is way above my pay grade because I am a nobody.

    I will also agree wholeheartedly that the Lord is the ultimate judge. I agree with the apostle Paul that it is not what others think of us or even what we think of ourselves that will matter in the end; what matters is the judgment of God. That is true for Paul, for Bill Hybels, for me, and for you (see 1 Corinthians 4:3-5). Even if we ourselves have a clear conscience, Paul insists, that will not matter. God is the judge.

    That Bill Hybel’s “was incredibly faithful, and did much to promote women in ministry” is not negated or falsified by his failures. Both his faithfulness and his failures are a true part of his legacy. I point again to David who “had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all they days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite” (1 Kings 15:5 NIV). Both his incredible faithfulness and his notable failures are part of what David is known for (though many only want to harp about his failures and not commend and applaud his faithfulness—as Hebrews 11:32 does).

    I am hopeful that Bill Hybels, like David, will publicly confess and repent instead of continuing in denial and self-promoting PR. It took time (and a prophetic word) for David; it may take some more time for Bill Hybels. Can we dream of the day when the Hybels and Ortbergs and others are together for a Christian leadership conference featuring confession and repentance.

    Finally, I love what the apostle preached to everyone everywhere as the necessary response to the truth of the gospel: “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20 NIV). That’s truly what the good news of God’s grace demands. From everyone.

  59. Max wrote:

    If the 21st century church preached Jesus only – without charisma or gimmick – we would know His power. We are not appropriating the spiritual resources we need

    Well said. It’s global. Jesus only. Nothing staged. The power of God is His Holy Spirit, Who doesn’t share the stage with anyone. We may be chumps. God’s not fooled and cuts to the chase. If anyone takes the stage, God leaves – with His power – every time.

    Spinning wheels to “save” Hybels or WC or save face or whatever – pointless. God neither needs nor promotes this. The wheels left that temple.

    “Bill called my hotel room in Sweden, in February of 1998, … I stopped him, told him he needed to go to bed, then left the suite. As I closed the door, I stopped and sensed the Holy Spirit telling me, ‘Get out of here. If you stay in this room, you will be destroyed.’ I clutched the doorknob, crying and then went back to my room.” – Vonda Dyer

    The Holy Spirit told her, “If you stay in this room, you will be destroyed.”

    Time to get out of the room.

    (20 years ago, keeps coming up. What in the world happened, from the Dark Side, 20 years ago?)

  60. Piggy backing on Lydia’s comment on David…

    People who bring up David conveniently forget that Uriah, David, Bathsheba, their infant son, and ultimately the whole of Israel paid for David’s sins.

    Even before David died, the internecine rivalry that would ultimately lead to assassination and civil war had already begun. The end result was a divided nation after a king although wise in the ways of knowledge was ignorant in the ways of the spirit.

    The churches’ whose leadership engages in sexual abuse fair no better because they are too concerned with protecting the king and organization than actually handling things in an honest, forthright manner.

  61. Betty Schmidt proves that women should be elders. She showed more integrity and Christlikeness than the male elders who twisted the truth and tried to cover abuse. Churches need women like Vonda Dyer and Betty Schmidt!

  62. Maggie wrote:

    Question for you, do you know this first hand? I tend to believe that Betty Schmidt and Vonda Dyer are the selfish ones!!! Did they not think others, of course not or people that Bill brought to know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord? What about all the believers at Willow… For the sake of God read Romans 14, very selfish people!!!

    Do you believe and follow what the Bible says, or not?

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

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

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

    He’s disqualified. The charges were made by more than 2 or 3 witnesses. He is not above reproach.

    2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2 ESV)

  63. Remnant wrote:

    That’s quite a bit of spin they put on Betty’s original statements!

    Evil evil doings!

    yes. Correct me if I’m wrong, but lying is still a sin, right?

  64. Sandy Williams wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    That Bill Hybels is one of the greatest Christian leaders is my opinion, but is evidenced by 1) his influence through WC Church and WCA all over the world, 2) his best-selling books, and 3) the fact that this front page news on the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, etc. His name is known and respected in evangelical and mainline churches.

    Sandy, these attributes that you point out may indeed be evidence of a person who has a great potential for leadership, but they’re not attributes of Christ. Jesus humbled himself and served people regardless of their status. That is the mark that Christians strive to hit. “Am I more like Christ now than I used to be” is the only measure that matters.

    Using the character and actions of Jesus as a target, the list you provided showcasing Hybels’ accomplishments sounds decidedly anti-Christ.

  65. Sandy Williams wrote:

    Bill Hybels is one of the greatest Christian leaders

    There is no doubt that Mr. Hybels brought about a great shift in the American church, which spread to other parts of the world. He is considered the primary architect of “seeker sensitive” in the contemporary church – he mastered many of the stage techniques which attract folks to church, contributing much to Mega message and method. About 10 years ago, he confessed that “We made a mistake” in the Willow Creek model by not leading WC members to a deeper study of the Word and spiritual growth. That took honesty and integrity to admit that wrong. A confession and repentance of other things which have been off-track in his ministry would be appropriate as well, as you have noted.

    God determines greatness in the Kingdom, we don’t … the first will be last, the last will be first. All we can do as Christians is call for accountability, with confession and repentance, when those who are considered first wander from the straight and narrow way. As you stated “That’s truly what the good news of God’s grace demands. From everyone.” You will find the writers and most commenters on this blog agreeing with you in that regard. It brings no joy to any of us when Christian leaders stumble; it brings great sadness to us when their failure causes the church to become a byword and reproach in the world.

  66. Sandy Williams wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    That Bill Hybels is one of the greatest Christian leaders is my opinion, but is evidenced by 1) his influence through WC Church and WCA all over the world, 2) his best-selling books, and 3) the fact that this front page news on the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, etc. His name is known and respected in evangelical and mainline churches. I agree that my stated opinion is way above my pay grade because I am a nobody.

    I will also agree wholeheartedly that the Lord is the ultimate judge. I agree with the apostle Paul that it is not what others think of us or even what we think of ourselves that will matter in the end; what matters is the judgment of God. That is true for Paul, for Bill Hybels, for me, and for you (see 1 Corinthians 4:3-5). Even if we ourselves have a clear conscience, Paul insists, that will not matter. God is the judge.

    That Bill Hybel’s “was incredibly faithful, and did much to promote women in ministry” is not negated or falsified by his failures. Both his faithfulness and his failures are a true part of his legacy. I point again to David who “had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all they days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite” (1 Kings 15:5 NIV). Both his incredible faithfulness and his notable failures are part of what David is known for (though many only want to harp about his failures and not commend and applaud his faithfulness—as Hebrews 11:32 does).

    I am hopeful that Bill Hybels, like David, will publicly confess and repent instead of continuing in denial and self-promoting PR. It took time (and a prophetic word) for David; it may take some more time for Bill Hybels. Can we dream of the day when the Hybels and Ortbergs and others are together for a Christian leadership conference featuring confession and repentance.

    Finally, I love what the apostle preached to everyone everywhere as the necessary response to the truth of the gospel: “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20 NIV). That’s truly what the good news of God’s grace demands. From everyone.

    Influence doesn’t make one great. His influence may have been good, bad, mixed. What makes one “great”, if it be proper to call anyone that (other than perhaps John the Baptist) is doing exactly what the Lord tells them to do. This movement may have been a bad thing, all-in-all. Only the Lord knows. With regard to best-selling books, you almost make me question your sanity there. Really? Best-selling books makes a Christian leader great? I think it’s the opposite. If they burned down all of the “Christian” bookhouses tomorrow, I’d rejoice. It’s an industry, and one that almost certainly enriched Mr. Hybels enormously and spread his fame and probably fed his vanity, which appears to be truly great considering how vigorously he defended his reputation and how viciously he attacked anyone who dared to call it into question.

    I’ll say it again, you have no standing whatsoever to call anyone the “greatest” Christian this or that—that is for the Lord to decide, and the reasons you gave to substantiate your claim are absurd. The notion that you’d even think yourself capable of making such a statement leads me to suggest you take a deep breath and take stock of your life. I believe you’re way, way off track.

  67. JYJames wrote:

    The power of God is His Holy Spirit, Who doesn’t share the stage with anyone. We may be chumps. God’s not fooled and cuts to the chase. If anyone takes the stage, God leaves – with His power – every time.

    Amen and Amen!

    I don’t doubt the sincerity of the philosophy behind “seeker-sensitive” to attract folks to church. Many leaders who adopt such a model of doing church are sincere in their efforts. But their sincerity does not spare their method and message from being false.

  68. Sandy Williams wrote:

    David worked overtime to conceal his sin, but in the end was exposed by Nathan the prophet and admitted his sin in no uncertain terms. May God grant Bill Hybels a spirit of confession and repentance.

    We’re clearly still waiting on that confession and repentance with Bill. What makes you think he’s a David? What makes you think he is ‘important’? What makes you think that matters?

    And remaining church employees aren’t really covering themselves in glory either.

  69. Julie wrote:

    Churches need women like Vonda Dyer and Betty Schmidt

    Yes and absolutely. However, churches do not need women merely because they are female any more than they need men merely because they are male. Merely hiring a bunch of women is not any better than merely hiring a bunch of men; the church needs to get its priorities straight. Gifting and calling are one thing; gender is a different thing.

  70. @ Max:
    Excellent response Max..
    I the early 1990’s my familly was part of a church that tried to remake itself in the Willow Creek model… “seaker sensitive messages”, music, drama etc… for whatever reason, and many were given, it did not work in the way “ it was supposed to” ( i.e. result in very large church growth)
    I have my own opinions as to this whole approach, but in many ways they are irrelavent since as Max says, ultimately we humans are not to judge this..
    but, how we treat each other we are to be a judge… NT does have clear guidlines on behavior of leaders..
    Finally, just as time showed that Mars Hill church was all about Mark Driscoll, not Jesus as he use to say, we will see what Williow Creek was “all about”… in the coming months and years..

  71. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Willow Creek Church has posted the statement from Bill Hybels regarding his resignation

    Bill: “Secondly, I realize now that in certain settings and circumstances in the past I communicated things that were perceived in ways I did not intend, at times making people feel uncomfortable.”

    Uh Huh. Such weasel words. I don’t believe for a second he was ‘confused’ about how things were ‘perceived’. He’s a grown man.

  72. Lydia wrote:

    I was especially amused when Hybels kept repeating that he empowered women. What power! Sigh.

    Just like Harvey Weinstein empowered women in the Industry?
    With the Holy Fluid from his Righteous Rod?

  73. Lea wrote:

    Bill: “Secondly, I realize now that in certain settings and circumstances in the past I communicated things that were perceived in ways I did not intend, at times making people feel uncomfortable.”

    Every word written by liability attorneys and tested in focus groups?

  74. one of the little people wrote:

    And their selfishness is displayed in what way? Do you mean by publicly exposing Bill Hybel’s true character? If so, then it doesn’t matter how many he has “brought to know Jesus” for he should not be preaching from a pulpit. Evangelizing, ministering, prophesying, teaching are not a cover for a corrupt and wicked character and that is exactly what this behavior of preying on women is, wicked and corrupt.

    Even Judas was an apostle. (Sarcasm)

  75. Max wrote:

    I don’t doubt the sincerity of the philosophy behind “seeker-sensitive” to attract folks to church. Many leaders who adopt such a model of doing church are sincere in their efforts. But their sincerity does not spare their method and message from being false.

    I do doubt the sincerity of the philosophy behind ‘seeker-sensitive’ when it extends beyond necessary adaption to what is good in some culture and into compromising the message even to what is not so good in a culture. A culturally appropriate presentation of the gospel, as a start, reminds me of Paul telling the men of Athens that when walking around their city he had noticed how religious they were and then mentioning the unknown god, but from that place he did not back off from preaching even the resurrection to which idea he lost a bunch of his listeners.

    I have some but only slight experience with only one seeker sensitive church around here, and that only because our family had prior experience with the two musicians who handled the music. The system was trying to float on the ocean with only termite destroyed wood for a boat-and got nowhere in the process. Neither the pastor nor the musicians had their mind wrapped around adhering to the whole truth, and I am not good with that. The hard truths have to be preached and lived out right along with the warm and fuzzy just like Paul and Barnabas and others did.

  76. Law Prof wrote:

    Best-selling books makes a Christian leader great?

    The $210 grand in Result Source juicing fees says so.

    I think it’s the opposite. If they burned down all of the “Christian” bookhouses tomorrow, I’d rejoice.

    And save the paper for some decent books….

  77. Maggie wrote:

    I tend to believe that Betty Schmidt and Vonda Dyer are the selfish ones!!! Did they not think others, of course not or people that Bill brought to know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord?

    There is something deeply wrong with giving individuals this kind of glory for ‘saving’ people. And a pass for any wrong doing.

  78. Lydia wrote:

    my favorite is the teaching pastor who said, ‘we have taught you the duel narrative’. Say what?

    The only person who had a platform on the stage was the guy calling 30 year elders and previous leaders liars.

    dual narrative? No.

  79. Maggie wrote:

    Did they not think others, of course not or people that Bill brought to know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord?

    “How Many Souls have YOU Saved? HUH? HUH? HUH?”
    — Mike Warnke & his fanboys, after Cornerstone exposed him and his ministry as a complete fraud

    Souls(TM) — not people — are the Currency of Heaven, and MONEY TALKS!

  80. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    just as time showed that Mars Hill church was all about Mark Driscoll, not Jesus as he use to say, we will see what Williow Creek was “all about”

    Celebrated leadership in a church is a red flag, a bad sign, apparently, as the presence of the Holy Spirit leaves, sharing the state with no one.

    Max, upthread, mentioned Acts 14, where first the disciples escaped stoning. The next town attempted to worship them but Paul and Barnabas were aghast and rent their clothes over this. They saw this not as a blessing but a curse.

    Any celebrated leaders today renting their clothes over their celebrity, wealth and accolades?

  81. okrapod wrote:

    I do doubt the sincerity of the philosophy behind ‘seeker-sensitive’ when it extends beyond necessary adaption to what is good in some culture and into compromising the message even to what is not so good in a culture.

    Agreed. There are some corners of Christendom that attempt to drag as much of the world and its ways into church, while still appearing to be Christian.

  82. JYJames wrote:

    (20 years ago, keeps coming up. What in the world happened, from the Dark Side, 20 years ago?)

    One might suggest that this was the time period in which the church was being steered into a new phase, a la Bill Hybels – the seeker-friendly mega-church movement, which basically introduced church as entertainment. How many ‘real’ churches were destroyed, as members flocked to their community’s new ‘church on the hill’ with worship bands, strobe lights, drama presentations, mini movies and slick, non-confrontational messages. All brought to us from Bill Hybels and whoever was behind him.

    This is what we tend to overlook. These ‘celebrities’ who arrive with their well-packaged plans with seemingly deep pockets did not arise out of a local bible study. When ancient, coincidental ‘ties’ (which are usually carefully hidden) appear between these ‘celebrity’ religious leaders, people don’t bat an eye. Hate to have to say it, but that includes Billy Graham, who was given endless funding and promotion by secular mainstream media as well as having a hand in establishing Christianity Today, along with multiple parachurch ministries, was supported and (funded) by corporate, media and political moguls, including William Randolph Hearst, was instrumental in providing ‘acceptability’ to Nixon and other politicians and was well connected to countless other influential household names. I’m sure it was all coincidence. It is when we overlook the fact that God has warned us that we have an enemy, who stalks us like a ravenous lion, that we tend to not look for the unseen hand behind the newest ‘fads’, in our churches and the broader culture. I would suggest that few arise randomly. An insightful expose in the Texas Monthly suggests as the secret to Graham’s success, (as well as so many of the celebrity pastors that followed) was “. . . a combination Jesus never quite mastered, he manages to comfort the afflicted without afflicting the comfortable.” When we forget that Jesus warned his disciples and followers that they would be persecuted, hated, reviled and suffer greatly, we readily believe that fabulously wealthy and connected celebrity religious leaders we know and love are actually servants of God.

  83. Sandy Williams wrote:

    That Bill Hybel’s “was incredibly faithful, and did much to promote women in ministry” is not negated or falsified by his failures. Both his faithfulness and his failures are a true part of his legacy. I point again to David who “had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all they days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite” (1 Kings 15:5 NIV). Both his incredible faithfulness and his notable failures are part of what David is known for (though many only want to harp about his failures and not commend and applaud his faithfulness—as Hebrews 11:32 does).

    “7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’

    11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

  84. okrapod wrote:

    Yes and absolutely. However, churches do not need women merely because they are female any more than they need men merely because they are male.

    Hiring women can actually be a big problem if the guy in charge sees it as a way to populate his staff harem, so he has a better selection for his “flavor of the month.”

    That phrase has really bothered me. Such a level of objectification. And it’s disturbing that all of this was going on behind the scenes of what seemed to be a really solid, cutting edge Church.

  85. Max wrote:

    There is no doubt that Mr. Hybels brought about a great shift in the American church, which spread to other parts of the world. He is considered the primary architect of “seeker sensitive” in the contemporary church – he mastered many of the stage techniques which attract folks to church, contributing much to Mega message and method.

    I sometimes wonder if the Neo-Cal movement isn’t partly fueled by reactions to the excesses of the Seeker movement. I see this particularly in the emphasis on expository preaching.

  86. Lea wrote:

    Uh Huh. Such weasel words. I don’t believe for a second he was ‘confused’ about how things were ‘perceived’. He’s a grown man.

    Sounds a bit like Doug Wilson ……

  87. An important article posted this morning by Nancy Beach, who has been integrally involved with Willow Creek, on “Why We Can’t Move On.”

    http://www.nancylbeach.com/blog/2018/4/11/why-we-cant-move-on

    OPENING:

    This morning, following the announcement of Pastor Bill Hybels last night, I suspect most of us just want to take a deep breath, exhale, and move on. This entire situation has been heartbreaking, divisive, and, frankly exhausting. All of us have jobs to do and families to lead.

    In our culture we live with a rapid news cycle and a tiny attention span. We want the big picture, the bottom line, the headlines. This story, for most people, surfaced less than three weeks ago. But we all want it to be done. We want healing and reconciliation and a new day for the church, Willow and beyond.

    So why can’t we just MOVE ON? Here’s why …

  88. GSD [Getting Stuff Done] wrote:

    Hiring women can actually be a big problem if the guy in charge sees it as a way to populate his staff harem, so he has a better selection for his “flavor of the month.”

    That phrase has really bothered me. Such a level of objectification.

    Exactly. As witnessed by this writer: https://eewc.com/hey-bill-hybels/ “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.” – then see her article, the link.

  89. Lydia wrote:

    seen it in action in many organizations for 25 years.

    I have experienced the yes-men malfunction of organizational boards for 30 years but I think you may have been the one to coin “totalitarian niceness” which I borrowed. It nicely articulates the stifling nature of the limits put on what should otherwise be challenging discussion.

  90. GSD [Getting Stuff Done] wrote:

    Hiring women can actually be a big problem if the guy in charge sees it as a way to populate his staff harem, so he has a better selection for his “flavor of the month.”

    Bill Cosby was trying to help women, too, and with him, also, it was a ploy.

  91. Sandy Williams wrote:

    I wrote that Bill Hybels “did much to promote women in ministry”, which I would hope everyone could agree is factually true.

    Unless you refused him, and called him out on his behavior with other women. Then you just might end up jobless.

    But ok.

  92. Lea wrote:

    There is something deeply wrong with giving individuals this kind of glory for ‘saving’ people. And a pass for any wrong doing.

    I’m pretty sure that the Christians given the highest acclaim in the Kingdom are going to be people nobody’s heard of who had jobs that gave them no glory in their human lives.

    Jesus said the least will be first and I’m sure He meant it both literally and figuratively.

  93. It can be a difficult experience when a Mighty Man of God falls flat with a big fail. People felt that way about Bill Cosby when his dark side was revealed.

    However, in God’s Kingdom there’s only have one Mighty Man of God, and He is Jesus Himself. Looking to a person other than Jesus is misguided and a fail (doomed chump-dom) from the get-go. Jesus never fails.

    “…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith,..” Hebrews 12:2

  94. ishy wrote:

    I’m pretty sure that the Christians given the highest acclaim in the Kingdom are going to be people nobody’s heard of who had jobs that gave them no glory in their human lives.

    Yes.

  95. Kimberly Rock wrote:

    Piggy backing on Lydia’s comment on David…

    People who bring up David conveniently forget that Uriah, David, Bathsheba, their infant son, and ultimately the whole of Israel paid for David’s sins.

    Even before David died, the internecine rivalry that would ultimately lead to assassination and civil war had already begun. The end result was a divided nation after a king although wise in the ways of knowledge was ignorant in the ways of the spirit.

    The churches’ whose leadership engages in sexual abuse fair no better because they are too concerned with protecting the king and organization than actually handling things in an honest, forthright manner.

    SUCH a crucial point. My ex-church pulled this David mess with me. My observing the same consequences as Kimberly changed nothing. They just repeated on and on. It really makes one wonder what these people read and whether they inwardly digest anything when they open the Bible.

  96. okrapod wrote:

    the church needs to get its priorities straight

    Well that is definitely true.

    I think huge part of the problem with complementarian philosophy is the fact that when the only quality needed to be in charge is ‘man’, priorities are very off.

    Of course, we could write a book about all the additional ways priorities are off. One of the related but major ones is how we thinks about the members and the churches and leaderships role where they are concerned.

  97. Sandy Williams wrote:

    I wrote that Bill Hybels “did much to promote women in ministry”, which I would hope everyone could agree is factually true.

    That’s the irony. It is true. Calling a woman “Pastor Mary” is a massive deal in some church cultures. In our corner of the world, it’s often shocking enough that a woman is allowed to speak in a room full of males and females. But “letting” women lead? That’s really pushing the envelope.

    The way Willow Creek presented women publicly, with the titles and opportunities they were “given…” That’s a big deal. And that’s why its so ironic that behind the scenes, these same women were often treated as second class by others on staff [I can’t recall who mentioned that — someone who knew people on staff at WC] and harassed by the boss.

    Then again, maybe it’s like any production. There’s a world of difference between what gets presented on stage, and what goes on behind the scenes.

  98. Sandy Williams wrote:

    Is there no room for nuance? I wrote that Bill Hybels “did much to promote women in ministry”, which I would hope everyone could agree is factually true.

    if it’s false that he sexually harassed women and crossed boundaries, engaged in one or more affairs, firing some women leaders when they were no longer useful to him, then no, absolutely not, that is not promoting women.

  99. Law Prof wrote:

    Sandy Williams wrote:

    Is there no room for nuance? I wrote that Bill Hybels “did much to promote women in ministry”, which I would hope everyone could agree is factually true.

    if it’s false that he sexually harassed women and crossed boundaries, engaged in one or more affairs, firing some women leaders when they were no longer useful to him, then no, absolutely not, that is not promoting women.

    I meant “If it’s true”. If it’s false, of course, then he’s being wrongfully trampled upon and his accusers will answer to the Lord.

  100. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    Uh Huh. Such weasel words. I don’t believe for a second he was ‘confused’ about how things were ‘perceived’. He’s a grown man.

    Sounds a bit like Doug Wilson ……

    One begins to think if men are really so dumb, they ought not be in charge of anything… [I give them more credit than they give themselves, you see. Certainly enough to hold them responsible for their own actions!]

  101. Thersites wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    seen it in action in many organizations for 25 years.

    I have experienced the yes-men malfunction of organizational boards for 30 years but I think you may have been the one to coin “totalitarian niceness” which I borrowed. It nicely articulates the stifling nature of the limits put on what should otherwise be challenging discussion.

    The kicker is, it’s a recipe for TERRIBLE decision making, which is what we see here. BSchools actually teach how to set up your teams and interactions to avoid groupthink.

  102. ishy wrote:

    I’m pretty sure that the Christians given the highest acclaim in the Kingdom are going to be people nobody’s heard of who had jobs that gave them no glory in their human lives.

    Jesus said the least will be first and I’m sure He meant it both literally and figuratively.

    I absolutely agree. I think there was also something about having your reward on earth and not needing it in heaven that would apply here, if Hybel was as advertised.

  103. Hybels spun lies. (Reading Vonda Dyer’s story in comparison to Hybels’ exit speech. In 1998, she did not “misunderstand intentions” and neither did the Holy Spirit Who told her to run or be destroyed.)
    The Elder Board spun lies. (Reading Betty Schmidt’s statements about the Board response.)
    Audience shouts, “No!” with applause.

    Fandom follows their leader, who is not Jesus Christ, but the other leader, who is the Father of Lies. John 8:44.

    Serious situation.

  104. @ Lea:
    I have severed on a number of “ misconduct investigative committees”…. One of things I have learned is that wessel way , or more accuractly way, “ cunning way”, to get “out of jail” is to use the term, “ I did not know”, or “i missunderstood”, or “ i do not remember”, extra.. you see politians and CEO types do it all the time in varoius “ testmonies”
    The irony is that in other setting either they themselves say, or others say about them, “ how smart/great/ whatever “ they are, and how they deserve the position they are in…. this is partially why we have to sign wavers up the ying yang these days,,, because the most cunning amoung us always play the card “ but I did not know!!!” …

    … . I say, please, you want me think you are that stupid??

  105. Just from a cynical, successful business transition standpoint– don’t these folks have PR people to consult about doing a meeting like this? Maybe a brief word of caution to the crowd: “This is a sad and solemn occasion– please hold your applause and whistles for another time.”

  106. @ April:
    I have just put up a new post with your sister’s response. I also tweeted it. It is an important post that teaches all of us about the pain of harassment and abuse. Please tell her that our heart are with her.

  107. GSD [Getting Stuff Done] wrote:

    Then again, maybe it’s like any production. There’s a world of difference between what gets presented on stage, and what goes on behind the scenes.

    Which is why the staged production churches keep thriving. There is a dichotomy that everybody buys into, and with double-think understands as they participate. It’s theatre.

    God’s not theatre. Reading the Bible, for example, when Ananias and Sapphira were called out and immediately faced consequences – real. serious. stuff.

  108. Maggie wrote:

    Did they not think others, of course not or people that Bill brought to know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord?

    Kind of like how Amway brings people to cleaning products or McDonald’s brings people to food…

  109. @ Dave A A:
    They did for the family meeting. Especially legal. It came off very staged to me but that’s because absolutely nothing happens in a mega that’s not extremely staged. It’s a place where wind blown hair is styled.

    Hybels was having a hard time at the family meeting. Legal and organization leash.

    I have not watched the resignation.

  110. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    “ I did not know”, or “i missunderstood”, or “ i do not remember”

    But he could recount in great details the accomplishments of his wife and kids. Another way of garnering sympathy, IMO. Then there’s “I realize now that in certain settings and circumstances in the past I communicated things that were perceived in ways I did not intend, at times making people feel uncomfortable.”People felt uncomfortable because he was a bad communicator!” I guess that’s why they paid him the big bucks.

  111. Soooo……according to Nancy Beach’s blog this morning 4/11, she is not satisfied with Bill’s resignation. She know requires the church elders and leaders to be accountable, because it’s all about the victims. So it would seem that the next target is the church. God help us all!

  112. Sandy Williams wrote:

    That Bill Hybels is one of the greatest Christian leaders is my opinion, but is evidenced by 1) his influence through WC Church and WCA all over the world, 2) his best-selling books, and 3) the fact that this front page news on the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, etc. His name is known and respected in evangelical and mainline churches. I agree that my stated opinion is way above my pay grade because I am a nobody.

    Are you sure that this is what exemplifies the greater of leaders? Ot have you bought into a view of the kingdom that caused Martin Luther to revolt 500 years ago?

    Think about this. Every time you view the St Peter’s Basilica-considerd by some to be the most beautiful church structure I the world, do you remember the great leader, Pope Leo X who got that thing built? Wasn’t he an amazing leader? He built on the backs of the poorest of the poor who he conned into buying indulgences. https://scholarship.rollins.edu/mls/7/

    The kingdon of heaven is not of this world. Far too many of us are now equating big buildings, thousands of people massing in one ministry, famous people who write famous books and are always on the news as being the greatest of leaders. I think, somehow, we are going to surprised on the other side.

  113. @ Lydia:
    The standing O and whistling would be normal procedure, I suppose– I just wonder if that’ll backfire in light of the recent Conlee/Savage service.

  114. @ Sandy Williams:
    I think one of the problems you are are encountering is this. In the midst of this resignation, now is not the time to commend Hybels. There are women who have been hurt. They have been kicked to the curb for their efforts to expose what happened.

    Now is the time to focus on those who have been hurt and to figure out ways to rectify the situation. In the future, which doesn’t mean next week, you can write your odes of Hybels. It is called being sensitive. Stop Witt the standing ovations for now.

  115. @ dee:
    Amen…
    While I have not seen St Peter’s, I know enough church history to know ever tine I see a picture, I think about the “suckers” that paid for it out of the little they had!

  116. Willow Creekers and bill Hybels fans:

    Now is NOT the time to write odes to the leadership of Hybels. Now is the time to mourn. Be sensitive here.

    Ponder this from the book of Ecclesiastes 3 NIV
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+3&version=NIV

    There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    2 a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    6 a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    8 a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

  117. okrapod wrote:

    Julie wrote:

    Churches need women like Vonda Dyer and Betty Schmidt

    Yes and absolutely. However, churches do not need women merely because they are female any more than they need men merely because they are male. Merely hiring a bunch of women is not any better than merely hiring a bunch of men; the church needs to get its priorities straight. Gifting and calling are one thing; gender is a different thing.

    So true. I am always a bit creeped out when guys like Billy Hybels make a big deal about how “they” empowered women, gave them important jobs in the institution, etc. I always see it from the point of view of how they view themselves in that position. Do the women now owe him Allegiance because they were “women” and not really the best person for that function? He repeated that empowering women point several times in the family meeting.

    There is absolutely nothing stopping any woman from starting a church.

  118. I believe Bill isn’t innocent. He has resigned. However, going after the the current leaders and elders of Willow Creek because people aren’t sufficiently satisfied yet (for the sake of the victims)….you KNOW that will not be enough, either. In the end, Willow Creek will come tumbling down, which is the new end game. This will not end well, for anyone.

  119. @ Dave A A:
    It’s a bubble thing. They cannot see what you and i are seeing.

    And if people really want to know the truth…. The top-tier mega church staff would prefer that their most rabid fans not comment in public. They are often embarrassed by them but would never say so. The Rabid fans almost always make it worse. If you noticed at the family meeting they were trying to teach them how to think about the situation. And if you noticed in typical Mega fashion, no one is right and no one is wrong. It is all a misunderstanding.

    I’m surprised we did not hear about the Paul and Barnabas thing over those who left.

  120. at least I’m sort of out wrote:

    Kimberly Rock wrote:

    Piggy backing on Lydia’s comment on David…

    People who bring up David conveniently forget that Uriah, David, Bathsheba, their infant son, and ultimately the whole of Israel paid for David’s sins.

    Even before David died, the internecine rivalry that would ultimately lead to assassination and civil war had already begun. The end result was a divided nation after a king although wise in the ways of knowledge was ignorant in the ways of the spirit.

    The churches’ whose leadership engages in sexual abuse fair no better because they are too concerned with protecting the king and organization than actually handling things in an honest, forthright manner.

    SUCH a crucial point. My ex-church pulled this David mess with me. My observing the same consequences as Kimberly changed nothing. They just repeated on and on. It really makes one wonder what these people read and whether they inwardly digest anything when they open the Bible.

    Next time someone pulls David out to justify their leader’s sin, pull out Nathan to justify you calling the leader to account.

  121. Catherine wrote:

    She know requires the church elders and leaders to be accountable, because it’s all about the victims. So it would seem that the next target is the church. God help us all!

    Oh dear. Catherine! You forgot an important step in truth telling. Did you know that the guy who drives the getaway car for the bank robbers is considered an accessory? By your logic, we should be satisfied we caught the robbers. The guy who helped him should get off scot free, right? Because. if we do consider the driver an accessory and punish him, we will cause the entire society to collapse. That is silly and your comment makes little sense to me.

  122. Dave A A wrote:

    Just from a cynical, successful business transition standpoint– don’t these folks have PR people to consult about doing a meeting like this? Maybe a brief word of caution to the crowd: “This is a sad and solemn occasion– please hold your applause and whistles for another time.”

    The more I think of it, it was likely an honest response from those who have their priorities horrifically out of whack, and I’m glad they gave it—we can now see them, what they are, what they worship. Trying to caution them to do other than what they actually felt like doing would itself be dishonest. Let them be what they are, at least their fruits are on display.

    What I’d like to see is a fellowship where if there were rumors of infidelities and hijinks, they’d knock the doors down of the administrative offices and insist on hearing the truth and if the leaders were mealy-mouthed or disingenuous or hostile about it, rather than thanking them for being like Bereans, they’d grab whips or whatever was at hand and run them straight out the door. That would be Christ-like, wouldn’t it?

  123. Lydia wrote:

    And if you noticed in typical Mega fashion, no one is right and no one is wrong.

    As Heather Larson put it, ” I want to assure you we can at the same time respect someone’s story and stand up for our own.”
    And, “Some of the women who brought their stories are women who have mentored me and invested in me. To those women, I want to say that I have love and gratitude for you and the role you played in my life, and I am so deeply sad for all of us that we find ourselves in this place.”
    Vonda and Betty just brought “stories” and they don’t have names. And I’m really happy for all you did for me in the past, but deeply sad we “find ourselves” here and there ain’t nuttin’ we can do about it And the people gave Aaron their earrings and out popped this calf!

  124. Dave A A wrote:

    Just from a cynical, successful business transition standpoint– don’t these folks have PR people to consult about doing a meeting like this? Maybe a brief word of caution to the crowd: “This is a sad and solemn occasion– please hold your applause and whistles for another time.”

    The more I think of it, it was likely an honest response from those who have their priorities horrifically out of whack, and I’m glad they gave it—we can now see them, what they are, what they worship. Trying to caution them to do other than what they actually felt like doing would itself be dishonest. Let them be what they are, at least their fruits are on display.

    What I’d like to see is a fellowship where if there were rumors of infidelities and hijinks, they’d knock the doors down of the administrative offices and insist on hearing the truth and if the leaders were mealy-mouthed or disingenuous or hostile about it, rather than thanking them for being like Bereans, they’d grab whips or whatever was at hand and run them straight out the door. That would be Christ-like, wouldn’t it?Catherine wrote:

    I believe Bill isn’t innocent. He has resigned. However, going after the the current leaders and elders of Willow Creek because people aren’t sufficiently satisfied yet (for the sake of the victims)….you KNOW that will not be enough, either. In the end, Willow Creek will come tumbling down, which is the new end game. This will not end well, for anyone.

    So what? Will Jesus come tumbling down? He doesn’t need Willow Creek. For all you know, He’s the one behind this and wants it brought down. Who can say?

  125. @ dee:
    I once saw an article in one of the major news magazines on the “best” businessmen in history…. guess what, they listed Pope Leo X as one of them for his “indulgences” “product” to support his buliding program….

  126. Catherine wrote:

    going after the the current leaders and elders

    The current leaders and elders need to be gone after. They have had several opportunities in the last month to do the right thing, and have failed. Last night, the right thing would have been to have Bettiy Schmidt and Vonda Dyer up on stage and given formal apologies.

  127. Lydia wrote:

    I am always a bit creeped out when guys like Billy Hybels make a big deal about how “they” empowered women, gave them important jobs in the institution, etc.

    What they’ve really done is not *actively bar women from these positions*. Which is great, but should be the norm. So even thinking about it that way shows you they are still stuck in patriarchal land, mentally.

  128. @ okrapod:
    okrapod wrote:

    Julie wrote:

    Churches need women like Vonda Dyer and Betty Schmidt

    Yes and absolutely. However, churches do not need women merely because they are female any more than they need men merely because they are male. Merely hiring a bunch of women is not any better than merely hiring a bunch of men; the church needs to get its priorities straight. Gifting and calling are one thing; gender is a different thing.

    I agree that gender alone is not enough, but gifted women are needed on church staff to prevent the Boy’s Club culture that breeds on elder boards.

  129. Law Prof wrote:

    at least I’m sort of out wrote:

    Next time someone pulls David out to justify their leader’s sin, pull out Nathan to justify you calling the leader to account.

    Yeah, that didn’t really work…they just blabbered on about forgiveness and there is no punishment for those in Christ who repent and my bringing up the abuser’s sin was bitterness…

  130. JYJames wrote:

    Sandy Williams wrote:
    Is there no room for nuance?
    There’s room for duplicity:
    “…therefore all that they – Scribes & Pharisees, tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.” Matt. 23:3
    ” … you, then, who teach others, do you do not teach yourself?” Romans 2:21
    Also, annointing by God, and then no longing in communication with God:
    King Saul – 1 Samuel 15: “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” Saul is building a momument to himself, v.12.
    Nuance is a subtle difference. The Bible says nothing subtle about sin, whether David or Saul or anyone.

    You make a good point. There is a difference between nuance and duplicity. My only point is that the Bible commends David as an unusually faithful person while also recognizing the primary and notable exception. I do not excuse David’s or Bill’s sin or duplicity. But neither one was a total fraud.

  131. dee wrote:

    Did you know that the guy who drives the getaway car for the bank robbers is considered an accessory?

    And if somebody dies in the robbery they get him for felony murder.

    What Catherine is missing is that the problem is not just that Bill did some stuff, although that’s obviously huge. The problem is also *how* the church dealt with it. And the answer is? Badly.

    That has to be fixed or things like this can just happen again and again. If we are putting our heads in the sand, and pretending it didn’t really happen, then nothing has been fixed except for getting rid of one bad actor.

    If Bill’s behavior had been dealt with 30 years ago, things would be different. Or four years ago. Or whenever it was brought up. The church chose this response and they need to know that’s wrong. They need to admit that’s wrong. They need to admit their culpability, REPENT of it, and possibly step down. I don’t know the ins and out of which leaders need to do these things, but obviously some of them do.

  132. Sandy Williams wrote:

    I do not excuse David’s or Bill’s sin or duplicity. But neither one was a total fraud.

    The jury is still out on Bill.

    He has not repented. Why are you lumping him in with David?

  133. @ at least I’m sort of out:
    Yowser that sounds familiar! Except my church didn’t even require the abuser or the abusive pastor to repent. But my feet were held to the fire for not responding “biblically.” That is code for “shut up and don’t rock this boat with any truth.”

  134. @ dee:
    This has happened to thousands of other pastors and churches, over the years. I don’t recall when a church is called up for accountability. I MAY BE WRONG but I don’t know of one. This group of accusers end game is ultimately bring Willow Creek down. I mean destroy it.

  135. @ Lea:
    Lea wrote:

    dee wrote:

    Did you know that the guy who drives the getaway car for the bank robbers is considered an accessory?

    And if somebody dies in the robbery they get him for felony murder.

    What Catherine is missing is that the problem is not just that Bill did some stuff, although that’s obviously huge. The problem is also *how* the church dealt with it. And the answer is? Badly.

    That has to be fixed or things like this can just happen again and again. If we are putting our heads in the sand, and pretending it didn’t really happen, then nothing has been fixed except for getting rid of one bad actor.

    If Bill’s behavior had been dealt with 30 years ago, things would be different. Or four years ago. Or whenever it was brought up. The church chose this response and they need to know that’s wrong. They need to admit that’s wrong. They need to admit their culpability, REPENT of it, and possibly step down. I don’t know the ins and out of which leaders need to do these things, but obviously some of them do.

    It’s impossible to hold the church accountable. We can’t speak to 30 years ago. A completely different elders board was in place. Four years ago, there was a different elder board. Again, in other situations where the pastor is removed or resigns over morally failure, that is the last of it. The church moves forward. So going after Willow is a new agenda that won’t end well for anyone!!

  136. dee wrote:

    @ Sandy Williams:
    I think one of the problems you are are encountering is this. In the midst of this resignation, now is not the time to commend Hybels. There are women who have been hurt. They have been kicked to the curb for their efforts to expose what happened.
    Now is the time to focus on those who have been hurt and to figure out ways to rectify the situation. In the future, which doesn’t mean next week, you can write your odes of Hybels. It is called being sensitive. Stop Witt the standing ovations for now.

    I cannot disagree. Do know that I appreciate your work.

  137. Deborah wrote:

    @ at least I’m sort of out:
    Yowser that sounds familiar! Except my church didn’t even require the abuser or the abusive pastor to repent. But my feet were held to the fire for not responding “biblically.” That is code for “shut up and don’t rock this boat with any truth.”

    I’m so sorry to hear you went through something similar. As if the abuse wasn’t enough, the church’s enabling and support of the abuser is so destabilizing. It has caused me to question pretty much everything. But no, they didn’t require the abuser to repent. Nor did they.

  138. Lea wrote:

    What they’ve really done is not *actively bar women from these positions*….

    Good observation.

  139. Catherine wrote:

    This group of accusers end game is ultimately bring Willow Creek down. I mean destroy it.

    And accusations like this is why it is excruciatingly difficult for victims to come forward.

  140. one of the little people wrote:

    Catherine wrote:

    This group of accusers end game is ultimately bring Willow Creek down. I mean destroy it.

    And accusations like this is why it is excruciatingly difficult for victims to come forward.

    It’s simply a fact. Going forward, NOTHING Willow Creek does to make this right will be enough. NOTHING. People are hurt and as hard as anyone at the church tries, it will never be enough, at this point.

  141. Jack wrote:

    Kind of like how Amway brings people to cleaning products

    Dick DeVos (Amway heir) is Board Chair of the Willow Creek Association.

  142. Catherine wrote:

    as hard as anyone at the church tries, it will never be enough

    They haven’t actually tried all that hard. They won’t even accept what happened.

  143. Catherine wrote:

    This has happened to thousands of other pastors and churches, over the years. I don’t recall when a church is called up for accountability. I MAY BE WRONG but I don’t know of one.

    Ummm. you must not have been following this blog. Have you not been following the Andy Savage story? he just stepped down a couple of weeks ago. It was covered by most of the media in the world. Good night!

    Catherine wrote:

    . This group of accusers end game is ultimately bring Willow Creek down. I mean destroy it.

    Bette Midler once said something that made me laugh and your comment just helped me to remember it. “Splash some cold water on your face and maintain.” No one is trying to take down your church. When women went after Harvey Weinstein, did anyone say “They are trying to take down the film industry?” When Matt Lauer had his day in the sun did anyone say “They are trying to take down the news media?”

    Of course not. Have you ever heard of #metoo #churchtoo? What women and men are trying to strop is the sexual harassment that has been going on forever. You know it and so do I. Your pastor just got caught in the midst of it. This blog exists to change the way the church responds to abuse, not to take down a church.

    Good night, woman! I love my church. I look forward to attending each week and to working with my brothers and sisters. I don’t want to “take down” any church. I want abuse to stop and I want churches to do a better job of responding to victims. That means WCC has a lot of work ahead of you..

    The Amalekites are not massing. The trebuchets are still in their stalls. It is time to deal with the issue at hand. That is all that is happening. But, it isn’t as exciting as pretending that there is a conspiracy, is it?

  144. Law Prof wrote:

    Dave A A wrote:

    Just from a cynical, successful business transition standpoint– don’t these folks have PR people to consult about doing a meeting like this? Maybe a brief word of caution to the crowd: “This is a sad and solemn occasion– please hold your applause and whistles for another time.”

    The more I think of it, it was likely an honest response from those who have their priorities horrifically out of whack, and I’m glad they gave it—we can now see them, what they are, what they worship. Trying to caution them to do other than what they actually felt like doing would itself be dishonest. Let them be what they are, at least their fruits are on display.

    What I’d like to see is a fellowship where if there were rumors of infidelities and hijinks, they’d knock the doors down of the administrative offices and insist on hearing the truth and if the leaders were mealy-mouthed or disingenuous or hostile about it, rather than thanking them for being like Bereans, they’d grab whips or whatever was at hand and run them straight out the door. That would be Christ-like, wouldn’t it?Catherine wrote:

    I believe Bill isn’t innocent. He has resigned. However, going after the the current leaders and elders of Willow Creek because people aren’t sufficiently satisfied yet (for the sake of the victims)….you KNOW that will not be enough, either. In the end, Willow Creek will come tumbling down, which is the new end game. This will not end well, for anyone.

    So what? Will Jesus come tumbling down? He doesn’t need Willow Creek. For all you know, He’s the one behind this and wants it brought down. Who can say?

    We shall see, in time.

  145. Lydia wrote:

    I am always a bit creeped out when guys like Billy Hybels make a big deal about how “they” empowered women, gave them important jobs in the institution, etc.

    So, a little hanky-panky is justified for the greater good he did for a multitude of other women folk? Empowering lots of women makes up for exerting power over a few? Such arguments are meant to divert attention away from the heart of the matter at hand.

  146. Law Prof wrote:

    So what? Will Jesus come tumbling down? He doesn’t need Willow Creek. For all you know, He’s the one behind this and wants it brought down. Who can say?

    Indeed, if the whole Institutional Church were revealed to be a tool of Satan, and came tumbling down, it would not bring Jesus tumbling down, despite what many with the ‘protect the church’ mindset seem to think. There are real children of God within the walls of most, hopefully all, of these churches. If their pastors, elders, and everyone in leadership since the apostles were shown to be wolves, I, for one, would say, ‘And look what God has done in spite, and even with them!’ It is not about the Institutional Church, the hierarchy, the pastors or any of the things we tend to view as ‘the church’. It is about every single man, woman and child, made in the image of God, loved by God and for whom these so-called leaders will be called to account for if they in any way used, abused or caused them to stumble. God is good, and will be proven faithful. I am terribly afraid we may find out the same cannot be said for much that calls itself ‘the church’. It does not cast shame upon the name of God because we were deceived by false teachers; of whom, by the way, we were warned ahead of time. The blemish is upon the deceivers, and upon us if we do not own up to our naiveté and start holding so-called leaders accountable for their actions. God is going to out all falsehood eventually, and however painful it is, especially when it involves people and institutions we love and trusted, we need to rejoice when truth prevails.

  147. Who is at fault? Why does N. Beach say more is to come? Why was anything held back? Sounds like the ever-evolving Stormy Daniel’s story. Not a high bar. Why are the Ortberg’s still defiant? Before women rush, as a pack so it seems, to condemn consider the notion that the accuser’s in this sad story may be embellishing along the lines of the one woman who admitted her false testimony. Possible, is it not? Too hasty of a too ‘righteousness’ judgment is unwise. But as the Beach “revelations to come” comment and the Ortberg recalcitrance lingers, more will come. Then make your decisions about who’s right, who isn’t. Until that time desist in stoking disharmony. The context, the Church of Christ, lay in the balance.

  148. @ at least I’m sort of out:
    Destabilizing is a perfect word for how that feels! My former pastor, when confronted for slander and breaking clergy confidentiality by a young couple, yelled:” She’s(me) trying to destroy my frickin’ church!” It seemed lost on him that I hadn’t attended for 2 years at that point. I have no desire to destroy my home church or any other church. So, true to form, the questioning couple was encouraged to leave and leadership doubled down on support of pastor and abusive ex. So far down the rabbit hole I think I spot China.

  149. Lydia wrote:

    It never fails. David is always trotted out in these situations. Over and over.

    Poor David – we are still dragging him through our church messes. Folks who use him as an analogy for current pastoral shenanigans forget that God punished David for all Israel to see. In the Internet-age, now the whole world can see it in a moment’s time.

  150. @ truthseeker00:

    Yes, such a good comment. We can’t see the heart as God can, but the (known) evil done throughout history in the name of “the church” or “Christianity” or even in God’s own is horrifying.

  151. FW Rez wrote:

    Jack wrote:
    Kind of like how Amway brings people to cleaning products
    Dick DeVos (Amway heir) is Board Chair of the Willow Creek Association.

    And Bill Hybels was Bill Clinton’s “spiritual counselor” during Lewinsky scandal.

    Interesting connections.

  152. Catherine wrote:

    @ dee:
    This has happened to thousands of other pastors and churches, over the years. I don’t recall when a church is called up for accountability. I MAY BE WRONG but I don’t know of one. This group of accusers end game is ultimately bring Willow Creek down. I mean destroy it.

    How do you know that when people are making accusations it’s not because they want to get the truth out, and that they want there to be repentance and truth and justice. How in the world do you have the standing to say anything you’ve said here? You sound like this has wounded you greatly, but it shouldn’t. Jesus is still Lord regardless.

  153. bill s wrote:

    Who is at fault? Why does N. Beach say more is to come? Why was anything held back? Sounds like the ever-evolving Stormy Daniel’s story. Not a high bar. Why are the Ortberg’s still defiant? Before women rush, as a pack so it seems, to condemn consider the notion that the accuser’s in this sad story may be embellishing along the lines of the one woman who admitted her false testimony. Possible, is it not? Too hasty of a too ‘righteousness’ judgment is unwise. But as the Beach “revelations to come” comment and the Ortberg recalcitrance lingers, more will come. Then make your decisions about who’s right, who isn’t. Until that time desist in stoking disharmony. The context, the Church of Christ, lay in the balance.

    Bill – You sound a bit confused there. I don’t understand some of what you’re saying. How in the world does the “Church of Christ lay in the balance” as a result of either false accusations from multiple sources against Hybels or true accusations? Either way, nothing about Christ hangs in any balance. Or maybe I’m not understanding your point. Help me here.

  154. Catherine wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    So what? Will Jesus come tumbling down? He doesn’t need Willow Creek. For all you know, He’s the one behind this and wants it brought down. Who can say?

    We shall see, in time.

    One thing we don’t need to wait to see is whether Jesus comes tumbling down. He won’t, and He doesn’t need Bill Hybels and his model or mega or books or vibrant personality or anyone or anything else. We will eventually see whether it’s Jesus Himself behind the downfall of Willow Creek, if it ever comes to that. Time tells.

  155. Catherine wrote:

    one of the little people wrote:

    Catherine wrote:

    This group of accusers end game is ultimately bring Willow Creek down. I mean destroy it.

    And accusations like this is why it is excruciatingly difficult for victims to come forward.

    It’s simply a fact. Going forward, NOTHING Willow Creek does to make this right will be enough. NOTHING. People are hurt and as hard as anyone at the church tries, it will never be enough, at this point.

    Let’s put it this way, if Bill Hybels ran his hands over women not his wife and cultivated improper relationships with them and then fired them when they no longer suited his purpose, if he then, when finally truth came to light, angrily implied that it was all being done by evil people to destroy his reputation, if the leaders enabled a man, in the name of God, to act like a Hollywood mogul with a casting couch and hurt a lot of innocent women, if followers of this Hybels fellow then angrily took shots at accusers who were telling the stone cold truth, and made slanderous accusations themselves, piling on the abuse, then it never should be enough and I sincerely hope Willow Creek is utterly destroyed—unless the Lord has other plans, in which case, who am I to say?

  156. @ Law Prof:
    This is the core issues: did BH do these things, and apparently, we will never know since the Elders, despite what they said, did not commission a independent investigation. Further, thes mega churches, and supporters, want it both ways… they love to tell us through the media how their way of “doing g&d” in the best, or only way; yet when these “allegations” get out in the media, we on the “outside” are suppose to “shut up” and then let the “insiders take care of it?? And, “Willow Creek” has publically been out theire for over 25 years…. I know this personally… and I have always thought is was very shallow… I use to be part of a drama team that used Willow Creek scripts….

  157. @ Law Prof:
    Human history is full of “earthly powers” that have tried to stamp out the true church…. and the more they try, the more the true church just pops back up; conversely, fake churches flame out, or just dry up and blow away…… the “It’s all about Jesus” Mars Hill aka Church of Mark Driscoll comes to mind…

  158. @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    We’ll never know because Hybels retired on the spot (after Ms.Dyer and Ms. Schmidt clarified, in detail, their statements, as well as the Ortbergs). Maybe Hybels doesn’t want further investigation. He said his decision was his alone.

  159. Lea wrote:

    Bill: “Secondly, I realize now that in certain settings and circumstances in the past I communicated things that were perceived in ways I did not intend, at times making people feel uncomfortable.”

    Ya think? Like maybe you made women uncomfortable when you invited them up to your hotel room, offered them wine, complimented their physical appearance, or were you maybe thinking of the touching and kissing? You bet it makes an honest woman feel uncomfortable when she is hit on by someone who is supposed to be her pastor and mentor.

  160. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    I have always thought is was very shallow… I use to be part of a drama team that used Willow Creek scripts….

    I’m an old guy. The Word of God preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit used to be enough to get folks’ attention … no drama necessary, no bands, no laser lights, no praise singers in tight pants, no espresso coffee … just Jesus. I’m so old I remember crosses in every church across America. I’m so old it was an odd and rare thing to hear about a preacher who couldn’t keep his pants on. I’m so old I might not live to see this thing turn around.

  161. Max wrote:

    I’m an old guy. The Word of God preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit used to be enough to get folks’ attention … no drama necessary, no bands, no laser lights, no praise singers in tight pants, no espresso coffee … just Jesus. I’m so old I remember crosses in every church across America. I’m so old it was an odd and rare thing to hear about a preacher who couldn’t keep his pants on. I’m so old I might not live to see this thing turn around.

    Can I join the ‘I’m old’ club? I like to dream of someday returning to that old time religion, singing the old hymns (I know, it’s not enough – went to a spiritually abusive church that sang hymns beautifully. I think it’s the only reason people came!) seeking God’s wisdom and leading. About ready to give up on church though. Who would have thought I would ever come to this point?

  162. dee wrote:

    One comment not allowed..Good night!

    When another falls, you get to find out who loves Jesus—and who’s struggling with idolatry of a man or a system. And they always, invariably show their fruits loud and clear.

  163. JYJames wrote:

    @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    We’ll never know because Hybels retired on the spot (after Ms.Dyer and Ms. Schmidt clarified, in detail, their statements, as well as the Ortbergs). Maybe Hybels doesn’t want further investigation. He said his decision was his alone.

    You think he called Ortbergs bluff by resigning early? I wonder. Just to make new accusations less newsworthy? What will be most interesting is whether WC and associated organizational leaders really cold shoulder him after his period of reflection. Of course, we won’t know. These type of megas usually have elaborate succession plans. Since they are fairly young (compared to mainlines), some ended up with serious factions after the founder stops preaching. Another clue they were built on cult of personality.

  164. Law Prof wrote:

    And they always, invariably show their fruits loud and clear.

    Some of these Willow Creek defenders need to spend some time in Scripture.

  165. Max wrote:

    I’m so old it was an odd and rare thing to hear about a preacher who couldn’t keep his pants on.

    Ah, it may have been rare to hear about it…

    Let’s not pretend it didn’t happen.

  166. @ Lydia.:
    Hybels knows as well as the ladies what happened. The ladies clarified and didn’t back down. 20 years, but they don’t forget; it’s shocking. So after he discovered he was not going to be able to control the narrative, he ducked out of Dodge, fast. ASAP. Coward didn’t want to face the music, didn’t want to come clean and repent. Running scared.

  167. Dave A A wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    And if you noticed in typical Mega fashion, no one is right and no one is wrong.
    As Heather Larson put it, ” I want to assure you we can at the same time respect someone’s story and stand up for our own.”
    And, “Some of the women who brought their stories are women who have mentored me and invested in me. To those women, I want to say that I have love and gratitude for you and the role you played in my life, and I am so deeply sad for all of us that we find ourselves in this place.”
    Vonda and Betty just brought “stories” and they don’t have names. And I’m really happy for all you did for me in the past, but deeply sad we “find ourselves” here and there ain’t nuttin’ we can do about it And the people gave Aaron their earrings and out popped this calf!

    I was totally triggered by that “family meeting”. I was around that “totalitarian niceness” world and know the drill. All too familiar. But you nailed it. I used to joke they could expertly portray ‘positive, humble and loving’ while walking over the dead bodies they left in their wake. And everyone was to pretend they weren’t there because it’s all just a misunderstanding.

    There used to be an old mega church staff joke about being a cake or non cake person. If you were forced out and got a cake on your last day, it meant you just had to move on quietly while smiling. If you just disappeared one day it meant you were ruined and no one dared ask what happened to you. It would be “negative” and that is verboten. Omertà.

    It’s really a shame about all those awkward situations the humble nice Billy innocently found himself in. Naked women swimming around his boat while he was worshiping to music and doing dishes. Women insisting on bring wine to his hotel room at all hours of the night when he was just tired. Always tired. Women kissing him after discussing music selections. They just gave the poor guy no peace. Golden calf nails it.

  168. Dave A A wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    This is, of course, the sort of audience/fans they want– but as Lydia says, they’re often embarrassed by them.

    It’s a double edged sword. The rabid fans buy books, give money and attend conferences. But I doubt many rabid fans out of the 12,000 who did so were invited out on the boat. (Wink)

  169. dee wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:

    And they always, invariably show their fruits loud and clear.

    Some of these Willow Creek defenders need to spend some time in Scripture.

    One wonders what they were spending their times in.

  170. Lea wrote:

    Ah, it may have been rare to hear about it…

    Let’s not pretend it didn’t happen.

    A prayer lady in her 90’s says that in her prairie church, one day the elderly ladies figured out that all the “preemies” born to newly-weds had actually been conceived before the groom had popped the question, before a wedding was on the calendar. That’s how they handled their promiscuity back then in the good old days.

  171. Catherine wrote:

    @ Lea:
    Lea wrote:
    dee wrote:
    Did you know that the guy who drives the getaway car for the bank robbers is considered an accessory?
    And if somebody dies in the robbery they get him for felony murder.
    What Catherine is missing is that the problem is not just that Bill did some stuff, although that’s obviously huge. The problem is also *how* the church dealt with it. And the answer is? Badly.
    That has to be fixed or things like this can just happen again and again. If we are putting our heads in the sand, and pretending it didn’t really happen, then nothing has been fixed except for getting rid of one bad actor.
    If Bill’s behavior had been dealt with 30 years ago, things would be different. Or four years ago. Or whenever it was brought up. The church chose this response and they need to know that’s wrong. They need to admit that’s wrong. They need to admit their culpability, REPENT of it, and possibly step down. I don’t know the ins and out of which leaders need to do these things, but obviously some of them do.
    It’s impossible to hold the church accountable. We can’t speak to 30 years ago. A completely different elders board was in place. Four years ago, there was a different elder board. Again, in other situations where the pastor is removed or resigns over morally failure, that is the last of it. The church moves forward. So going after Willow is a new agenda that won’t end well for anyone!!

    I don’t understand something here. Why are people so afraid of churches closing? If a church has shown itself to be hiding massive evil, for many years, then it NEEDS to be shut down, destroyed. Does anyone really believe that God wants to see it remain, business as usual? What does this evil do to His Name? As fas as I can tell, churches are often social gatherings. I do not doubt for one instance that there may be true believers scattered about, but i believe that The Holy Spirit would be convicting and leading them into all Truth and lead them out.
    Quit trying to protect what is not of God and needs to be exposed.

  172. Max wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    It never fails. David is always trotted out in these situations. Over and over.
    Poor David – we are still dragging him through our church messes. Folks who use him as an analogy for current pastoral shenanigans forget that God punished David for all Israel to see. In the Internet-age, now the whole world can see it in a moment’s time.

    Yes. Stop using David as an example. Read the rest of David’s story, people!

  173. Lydia. wrote:

    FW Rez wrote:
    Jack wrote:
    Kind of like how Amway brings people to cleaning products
    Dick DeVos (Amway heir) is Board Chair of the Willow Creek Association.
    And Bill Hybels was Bill Clinton’s “spiritual counselor” during Lewinsky scandal.
    Interesting connections.

    Gotta love it!

  174. Lydia. wrote:

    FW Rez wrote:

    Jack wrote:
    Kind of like how Amway brings people to cleaning products
    Dick DeVos (Amway heir) is Board Chair of the Willow Creek Association.

    And Bill Hybels was Bill Clinton’s “spiritual counselor” during Lewinsky scandal.

    Interesting connections.

    And very revealing about who Hybels really is.

  175. Catherine wrote:

    one of the little people wrote:

    Catherine wrote:

    This group of accusers end game is ultimately bring Willow Creek down. I mean destroy it.

    And accusations like this is why it is excruciatingly difficult for victims to come forward.

    It’s simply a fact. Going forward, NOTHING Willow Creek does to make this right will be enough. NOTHING. People are hurt and as hard as anyone at the church tries, it will never be enough, at this point.

    The women who have come forward are not playing a game. Your church was wounded the first time Bill Hybels acted as a predator. The blame is in his shoulders, not those of the women who have spoken up. The damage done to your church is because HE was unfaithful to the trust he’s been given.

  176. Law Prof wrote:

    Let’s put it this way, if Bill Hybels ran his hands over women not his wife and cultivated improper relationships with them and then fired them when they no longer suited his purpose, if he then, when finally truth came to light, angrily implied that it was all being done by evil people to destroy his reputation, if the leaders enabled a man, in the name of God, to act like a Hollywood mogul with a casting couch and hurt a lot of innocent women, if followers of this Hybels fellow then angrily took shots at accusers who were telling the stone cold truth, and made slanderous accusations themselves, piling on the abuse, then it never should be enough and I sincerely hope Willow Creek is utterly destroyed—unless the Lord has other plans, in which case, who am I to say?

    Any mortal wound delivered to Willow Creek was by the hand of Bill Hybel.

  177. JYJames wrote:

    A prayer lady in her 90’s says that in her prairie church, one day the elderly ladies figured out that all the “preemies” born to newly-weds had actually been conceived before the groom had popped the question, before a wedding was on the calendar. That’s how they handled their promiscuity back then in the good old days.

    Little old prayer lady seems to have been woefully ignorant of the several options at the time of which women availed themselves in such situations, nor is she apparently aware of the circumstances under which women got pregnant is she just labels it all promiscuity. Or maybe she just does not care. I do wish people would inform themselves before they shoot off their mouths-and little/ old does not excuse people from that responsibility. IMO we all knew more than she seems to know, and I would bet that she is trying to smear somebody in the congregation who had a seven pound ‘preemie’ back in the day and who did not suffer enough at the hands of the congregation at the time to satisfy little old lady.

    And yes I had a cousin who was pregnant when she married; had further children; had a super job with an insurance co; stayed married until she died in her seventies. And yes we had some of these folks deliver at the hospital where I was a student nurse ‘back in the day’ including one missionary sent home from the field pregnant. And yes, how our society deals with pregnancies now is light years worse for people than back in the day.

    Little ole lady can shove it.

    Signed: another little old lady who can still cry with those who cry (okrapod, RN, MD, christian)

  178. Lydia. wrote:

    There used to be an old mega church staff joke about being a cake or non cake person. If you were forced out and got a cake on your last day, it meant you just had to move on quietly while smiling. If you just disappeared one day it meant you were ruined and no one dared ask what happened to you.

    Wow.

  179. @ Lydia.:
    Your cake story reminded me of a Dilbert cartoon where the pointy haired manager was reading a statement about someone who left and after the basic thing about leaving to pursue new opportunities he read something like ‘please note we did not say the opportunities were good or that he would be missed’… I wish I could find it because I have referred to it many times and it was just so perfect.

  180. okrapod wrote:

    Little ole lady can shove it.

    Didn’t mean to touch a nerve. Please accept my apology. The elderly ladies were confessionally talking about themselves, reflecting on human nature being the same “back then” and now.

  181. okrapod wrote:

    nor is she apparently aware of the circumstances under which women got pregnant is she just labels it all promiscuity

    I think they used to call it ‘anticipating the wedding’ which sounds fine to me.

    Of course, I heard that my grandmother may have been accused of such when she delivered within that ‘too early’ window – but she had twins and my understanding is they are often early. Of course, she was married over 60 years.

  182. Mercy wrote:

    I don’t understand something here. Why are people so afraid of churches closing? If a church has shown itself to be hiding massive evil, for many years, then it NEEDS to be shut down, destroyed. Does anyone really believe that God wants to see it remain, business as usual? What does this evil do to His Name? As fas as I can tell, churches are often social gatherings. I do not doubt for one instance that there may be true believers scattered about, but i believe that The Holy Spirit would be convicting and leading them into all Truth and lead them out.
    Quit trying to protect what is not of God and needs to be exposed.

    Perhaps it’s because the institution is the object of their worship and love.

  183. Lydia. wrote:

    They just gave the poor guy no peace.

    “Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny!”
    Uncle Andrew in The Magician’s Nephew

  184. @ Law Prof:
    The “stick” of many churches and ministires is that they have the “true” form of christainity…… I am old enough now to have been involved a number of churches/ministries, each with their own specifics (distinctive) that they claim either directly, or indirectly, are the “inside track”….. some of these distinctives from various “ministires” are also directly contradictory of each other!
    When you live long enough, and experince enough in life, you can actually see some of these “flavors” of christainity crash and burn…. so, my point is, when you are totaly “in” with a particular church/ ministry, in current case you apparently are a “creeker”, you can think all of christainity is going to crash and burn since your flavor is the “true way”…..

  185. P.S. in the late 70’s, I bought into the “end of times” mania, put forwad by a number of churches/ministries… according to their “truth” back then, we should not be here now….

    Good old Papa Chuck even had a group of followers with him on a beach waiting for his predicted return of Christ!

  186. Jeffrey Chalmermes, wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    The “stick” of many churches and ministires is that they have the “true” form of christainity…… I am old enough now to have been involved a number of churches/ministries, each with their own specifics (distinctive) that they claim either directly, or indirectly, are the “inside track”….. some of these distinctives from various “ministires” are also directly contradictory of each other!
    When you live long enough, and experince enough in life, you can actually see some of these “flavors” of christainity crash and burn…. so, my point is, when you are totaly “in” with a particular church/ ministry, in current case you apparently are a “creeker”, you can think all of christainity is going to crash and burn since your flavor is the “true way”…..

    Sounds about right.

  187. 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/

  188. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    This is the core issues: did BH do these things, and apparently, we will never know since the Elders, despite what they said, did not commission a independent investigation. Further, thes mega churches, and supporters, want it both ways… they love to tell us through the media how their way of “doing g&d” in the best, or only way; yet when these “allegations” get out in the media, we on the “outside” are suppose to “shut up” and then let the “insiders take care of it?? And, “Willow Creek” has publically been out theire for over 25 years…. I know this personally… and I have always thought is was very shallow… I use to be part of a drama team that used Willow Creek scripts….

    I felt the same way about Willow, which is why my husband and I chose to attend the deeper, more biblical Harvest Bible Chapel. What a mistake that was. $100,000+ that we will never get back. Money used to further a pastor’s greed. I could go on and on…

  189. okrapod wrote:

    Max wrote:
    I don’t doubt the sincerity of the philosophy behind “seeker-sensitive” to attract folks to church. Many leaders who adopt such a model of doing church are sincere in their efforts. But their sincerity does not spare their method and message from being false.
    I do doubt the sincerity of the philosophy behind ‘seeker-sensitive’ when it extends beyond necessary adaption to what is good in some culture and into compromising the message even to what is not so good in a culture. A culturally appropriate presentation of the gospel, as a start, reminds me of Paul telling the men of Athens that when walking around their city he had noticed how religious they were and then mentioning the unknown god, but from that place he did not back off from preaching even the resurrection to which idea he lost a bunch of his listeners.
    I have some but only slight experience with only one seeker sensitive church around here, and that only because our family had prior experience with the two musicians who handled the music. The system was trying to float on the ocean with only termite destroyed wood for a boat-and got nowhere in the process. Neither the pastor nor the musicians had their mind wrapped around adhering to the whole truth, and I am not good with that. The hard truths have to be preached and lived out right along with the warm and fuzzy just like Paul and Barnabas and others did.

    Paul in Athens is a good analogy in the instance of cultural sensitive- preaching. As noted, such sensitivities were incorporated and implemented. Note that the word ‘love’ doesn’t come up — though it may have later for those who didn’t reject the message over the resurrection. What does come up is the need for repentance because of the coming judgment. Now, a seeker-sensitive priority may well have precluded that being conveyed to start with, though it’s clear that the message shared by Paul was inspired and tailored appropriately for the audience. Preaching the whole truth as we are led has to be the priority.

  190. Julie wrote:

    Harvest Bible Chapel. What a mistake that was. $100,000+ that we will never get back. Money used to further a pastor’s greed.

    When another high profile leader retired due to a mysterious “inappropriate relationship” I guessed it might have been with offering plates. But the HBC guy is proof that celebrity pastors never need to worry about getting fired er uh retired for inappropriate relationships with offering plates!

  191. Lea wrote:

    Ah, it may have been rare to hear about it…

    Let’s not pretend it didn’t happen.

    Oh, I ‘know’ it happened! After 60+ years in church, I’ve witnessed several “pastors” who left the ministry after such shenanigans. It just seems there has been an outbreak of it in the American church in this century – or perhaps news travels quicker and farther because of social media these days and there aren’t any more bad boys today than yesterday.

  192. Please help me understand who the “victims” are here. To quote a very dear friend who is a therapist of 35 years of abused women, “Real victims do not go to newspapers to share their stories. The incidences shared here minimize the experiences of true victims.” Arms? Extended hugs? Even an ambien-induced brief kiss that never happened again… WHAT? (The kiss is definitely disconcerting but not worthy of taking to the press, especially since it was addressed.) Flirting? What does that even mean? All this “truth-telling” to newspapers does, besides slandering a man who served God for 45 years, is harm the women with the spiritual gift of leadership and undermine the #metoo movement. When Nancy Beach says there is more coming… I certainly hope they’re more credible than this to justify the kingdom damage this has caused. Until I hear more, I will not be joining the lynch mob. If there are real victimization stories to tell, I’ll be right there with you.

  193. Concerned Christian Woman wrote:

    . To quote a very dear friend who is a therapist of 35 years of abused women, “Real victims do not go to newspapers to share their stories

    This is just flat out wrong. I hope no one who has been abused is going to your *friend.* The entire #metoo #churchtoo movement involved abused women going to the press because churches, film producers and talking heads kept covering up their despicable deeds.

    Frankly, this is one of the silliest comments I have read in this thread yet. Educate yourself and ditch the so called therapist.

  194. Concerned Christian Woman wrote:

    When Nancy Beach says there is more coming… I certainly hope they’re more credible than this to justify the kingdom damage this has caused.

    So, in your mind Bill Hybels has not done any damage to the Kingdom? Whose kingdom are we talking about?

  195. If this site truly is posting comments by Christ Followers, then I ask everyone to look to Christ and pray for their brothers and sisters on every side. Please pray with me for healing in the body of Christ – no matter what sins have been caused by who, this is not honoring to Christ or to His Bride. Who would like to be in a painful situation and watch the world talk about it or make their judgements from afar – and then have their brothers and sisters in Christ do the same thing. Many of these comments are divisive and people are choosing a ‘side’. It adds pain on to pain on to pain, and I can only imagine God’s pain watching us all.

  196. We Matter To God wrote:

    these comments are divisive

    We do indeed matter to God … all of us! This watchblog, and others like it, are providing a service to the Body of Christ to inform and warn. If you have followed other TWW articles over time, you will have read numerous reports of church leaders across Christendom who have failed and their sins covered by other church leaders. Getting to the heart of these matters is inherently “divisive” because church congregations just can’t grasp that their pastors could do such things and charge those who expose them as being agents of the enemy. The pew should expect the pulpit to do the right thing and police itself, but that rarely happens as it ought. So the pew steps in to do the awkward thing, appearing divisive but with unity of the true Body of Christ in its heart. Many of the commenters on this site are genuine Christ Followers who agonize over what has become of the church in America at the hand of unfaithful leaders. To remain silent as the Body of Christ continues to be led astray would be a sin in itself. So we speak, to inform and warn … and divide those who hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church from those who don’t.

  197. I came to know God thru Willow Creek 4 years ago.I just want to ask a question ,maybe one can enlighten me on this. Let us assume that Bill has been guilty of this accusations, why is it that Willow Creek’s ministry continue to flourish and keep on touching and bringing lost souls to God.As a baby Christian my stand is Bill has been called by God to this Ministry for a reason.Whether he confess and repent or not,he is still accountable for such acts when the judgement day comes and that includes all of us.

  198. Neil wrote:

    why is it that Willow Creek’s ministry continue to flourish and keep on touching and bringing lost souls to God.

    Because the ministry is not about Bill Hybels. It is about Jesus. The Spirit continues to work even when we fail. Perhaps you are focusing on the wrong person in all of this?

    Neil wrote:

    Whether he confess and repent or not,he is still accountable for such acts when the judgement day comes and that includes all of us.

    Please forgive me if I don’t understand what you are saying. It appears to me that you might be saying ‘Ignore it and wait until the day of Judgement.* The entire trajectory of the New Testament speaks against that. We are called to enact justice within our churches.

    Let me ask you something. What is the difference in what you are called to do in your own lie and what Bill Hybels is called to do in his life? If you screw up be it at home, with your friends or in your job, are you held accountable? I mean right now-not in 50 years from now?

  199. dee wrote:

    Because the ministry is not about Bill Hybels. It is about Jesus. The Spirit continues to work even when we fail.

    Dee, I continue to be amazed at the number of faithful church folks who still don’t get this! We’ve seen it time and again … folks rallying to the side of a fallen minister, ignoring the cry of victims and a call by the greater church for accountability. This is a disturbing sign of the waning authority of Jesus in the American church, when we raise the name of church leaders above the name of Jesus. Indeed, this is not about Bill Hybels! It is about the precious name of Christ and representing Him at all costs. Praise God for the Holy Spirit who continues to work – His Kingdom cannot be shaken when our kingdoms fall.

  200. Max wrote:

    This is a disturbing sign of the waning authority of Jesus in the American church, when we raise the name of church leaders above the name of Jesus.

    Maybe those pillars need to come down. Praise God, He is cleaning house, His House.

    Have you ever seen something/someone carrying on up front in the sanctuary and silently wondered, “What in the world?” God is answering.

    Those who promote themselves or their agenda, get ready. God is coming and He is neither mocked nor mimicked. Everything God says about Himself in His Word will come to pass.

    For starters:

    “I am the Lord your God, … You shall have no other gods before Me.

    “You shall not make for yourself an idol, … You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

    “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

    “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

  201. JYJames wrote:

    Praise God, He is cleaning house, His House.

    “The time has evidently arrived for God’s judgment to begin, and it is beginning at His own House. And if it starts with us, what is it going to mean to those who refuse to obey the Gospel of God? ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’.” (1 Peter 4:17-18)

  202. Neil wrote:

    I came to know God thru Willow Creek 4 years ago.I just want to ask a question ,maybe one can enlighten me on this. Let us assume that Bill has been guilty of this accusations, why is it that Willow Creek’s ministry continue to flourish and keep on touching and bringing lost souls to God.As a baby Christian my stand is Bill has been called by God to this Ministry for a reason.Whether he confess and repent or not,he is still accountable for such acts when the judgement day comes and that includes all of us.

    Actually, you came to know God through the Holy Spirit, and it was evidently something you’d heard at WC four years ago that pushed you off the fence. Getting to that point was a lifetime of experiences and people the Lord was using to make you ready for that moment. But your focus should be on Jesus, the one who led you to Himself. You seem to assume that Willow Creek will be flourishing in the future. Why it may flourish greatly, or it may wither away. It doesn’t really matter, because Jesus is the only one who’ll be left standing in the end. Willow Creek, led by Bill Hybels, will not come crashing down upon our world from above to set things right, that will be Jesus.

    You are a young Christian, but this should have been self-evident to you after four years of knowing Jesus.

  203. dee wrote:

    Concerned Christian Woman wrote:
    . To quote a very dear friend who is a therapist of 35 years of abused women, “Real victims do not go to newspapers to share their stories

    This is just flat out wrong. I hope no one who has been abused is going to your *friend.*

    That does not sound like a real therapist. I agree, I would never send anyone that direction.

    I used to think people who went to court to get money were just out for money, but I’ve changed my mind as I’ve seen the difficulty of getting the system to actual punish perpetrators in any way. Now I say, if the only way to hit them is money, go for it. Some people/companies will never change unless their pocketbook is affected.

  204. Concerned Christian Woman wrote:

    When Nancy Beach says there is more coming… I certainly hope they’re more credible than this to justify the kingdom damage this has caused.

    I love the idea that a 30 year elder in your church, and multiple women in leadership, and multiple unnamed women are ‘not credible’. Why, because they said something you didn’t like?

  205. We Matter To God wrote:

    If this site truly is posting comments by Christ Followers

    You judge us, rather than a man accused of taking advantage of women. Why do you think that is?
    We Matter To God wrote:

    no matter what sins have been caused by who

    Now we’re in monty python territory.

    Let’s not bicker and argue over who [abused] who…

  206. Concerned Christian Woman wrote:

    Please help me understand who the “victims” are here. To quote a very dear friend who is a therapist of 35 years of abused women, “Real victims do not go to newspapers to share their stories. The incidences shared here minimize the experiences of true victims.” Arms? Extended hugs? Even an ambien-induced brief kiss that never happened again… WHAT? (The kiss is definitely disconcerting but not worthy of taking to the press, especially since it was addressed.) Flirting? What does that even mean? All this “truth-telling” to newspapers does, besides slandering a man who served God for 45 years, is harm the women with the spiritual gift of leadership and undermine the #metoo movement. When Nancy Beach says there is more coming… I certainly hope they’re more credible than this to justify the kingdom damage this has caused. Until I hear more, I will not be joining the lynch mob. If there are real victimization stories to tell, I’ll be right there with you.

    “Kingdom damage” – That is cultspeak. Jesus is still Lord no matter what. Astonishing, how far off the mark you are.

  207. Lea wrote:

    Concerned Christian Woman wrote:

    When Nancy Beach says there is more coming… I certainly hope they’re more credible than this to justify the kingdom damage this has caused.

    I love the idea that a 30 year elder in your church, and multiple women in leadership, and multiple unnamed women are ‘not credible’. Why, because they said something you didn’t like?

    Exactly, all these people who saw the man behind the weekly facade for all those decades are not credible. Simply ridiculous.

  208. “Concerned Christian Woman”…
    Not THAT is a Newspeak title.
    Just like that crooked Homeowner’s Association that both cleaned and drove me out some 20 years ago; their mouthpiece was a nonexistent group who called themselves “Concerned Homeowners” and jacked our dues to pay their attorneys who fought us in court.

    Concern(TM) and Compassion(TM) — Mark of the Sociopath, on forehead and right hand.

  209. JYJames wrote:

    Praise God, He is cleaning house, His House.

    WITHOUT the Nuclear War His spokesholes used to threaten us with during the Cold War to keep us in line.

  210. Neil wrote:

    why is it that Willow Creek’s ministry continue to flourish and keep on touching and bringing lost souls to God

    Mike Warnke’s fanboys said the exact same thing about his moneymaking Ministry(TM) when Cornerstone exposed him as a total fraud.

  211. “We Matter to God” — ANOTHER NEWSPEAK NAME!

    Pastor/Apostle’s Anointed Attack Dogs are really howling and snarling!

  212. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Neil wrote:
    why is it that Willow Creek’s ministry continue to flourish and keep on touching and bringing lost souls to God

    Mike Warnke’s fanboys said the exact same thing about his moneymaking Ministry(TM) when Cornerstone exposed him as a total fraud.

    “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time”…and sometimes that’s all you need to be successful.

    For a while.

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