“If your flirting strategy is indistinguishable from harassment, it’s not everyone else that’s the problem.”
― John Scalzi
This is going to be a short post. Today, it is possible you will see 3-4 shorter posts so we can keep everyone up to date on both the Willow Creek and the T4G 2018 conference.
Today, Nancy Beach, one of the women quoted in the Chicago Tribune article, posted WHY WE CAN’T MOVE ON This is an important post for those who want to understand women and men who have been victimized in churches. I hope that Willow Creek members and friends, who have been poorly representing those who have been hurt as well as being angry at those who are the advocates, will read and learn. God is allowing this to happen for a reason.
Since I have not asked permission to post the entire response, I will only quote a portion. Please read the entire statement here.
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.
…So why can’t we just MOVE ON? Here’s why:
The Womens’ Stories Are Not Yet Fully Told – There can be no healing until the truth is all brought into the light. I know you don’t want to hear this…..but there’s more to come. And we must not ignore the voices of these women or they will be abused all over again. Bill Hybels is not the victim here!
There Can Be No Healing Without Repentance – Last night I heard no confession of deceit or admission of guilt for sexual misconduct. For the church and its leaders to move on there must be full ownership of what was sinful and flawed in the process. Only then can we hope for healing and restoration, for light to come from the darkness.
...Keep Leaning In -Take only one brief exhale and then buck up and prepare to head into the fray once again. This is a very complicated story. I have been wrestling with it for over three years. I call all of us to be thoughtful, to dig deep, to ask questions, to read fully. Resist the temptation to ignore the story or sum it all up in a quick sound bite.
TWW continues to believe and stand with the victims at Willow Creek. I wish we could give you a hug and cry with you. So do many others.
We called for the resignation of Bill Hybels. We also believe that other leaders, who knowingly covered up, lied about or minimized the stories of these women, should also resign.
I was just about to comment on this but I think “Bill Hybels is not the victim here!” is the important part. He is not.
Thanks for putting this right up front and center.
I don’t know if God’s allowing this to happen. Hybels made choices, Willow Creek elders made choices, the congregation makes choices.
This is a cascade of issues that is now coming to a head.
Willow Creek is not the centre of the christian universe. It’s a rinky dink corporation fighting to save it’s brand after their version of Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee was caught with his hands in the sauce.
Here we go… again. It is important. But the sad state of affairs in these churches gives us no pleasure. None of us enjoys sordid details. We are tired. But truth matters. Victims matter. Their stories need to be told. So we are ready to give this our attention. To all of the victims, you are not alone. To those leaders who are complicit, we call upon you to resign. To Dee, Deb, Amy, and the many others who tirelessly work to bring to light what should never happen, thank you.
As I watched the WC meeting last night, one idea was promoted over and over with each speaker. That WC was doing LOTS of amazing things, all kinds of ministries, and therefore God was glorified.
So this morning while browsing Twitter, I wasn’t surprised to see BH defenders repeating the same. “Bill has done so much for God’s kingdom” and giving him a pass.
The missing part last night was to directly address the specific rebuttals made to the current narrative.
When a former elder states she was lied about this should make people listen and demand answers.
My old church movement said the same thing: “But so many people were won to Christ, we must have been doing something right!”
“Bill has done so much for God’s kingdom”
Some dude in ancient Galilee had something to say about that, hmm . .
““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
That result to your life-journey would be worse than any human or legal consequence and more heart-breaking.
It’s going to be a long row to hoe for lots of people as the people who were victimized tell their stories. The members of Willow Creek are going to have a long, painful process to go through as they deal with the deception that they were under and the pain that their fellow congregants have suffered. Bill Hybels is not the victim but he has much work to do as well. And it doesn’t sound like he has started.
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48
After standing out in front of the YUM! Center for a couple of hours, and 45 minutes or so of Mark Dever finding out who is the oldest/youngest of a bunch of things, Bob Kauflin leading music, some guy talking about how pornography affected his ministry and his life, and finally…Ligon Duncan gets up and starts dropping names. *click* Seriously, T4G, seriously?
So did King David and look what happened to him when he forced Bathsheba to sleep with him.
By the way, that John Scalzi quote hits the nail right on the head! (It helps that I like Scalzi’s works.)
Beautifully stated, Mercy! Anyone who cares enough to be bothered by the evil done in the church will not delight in the evil things revealed. They are doing a costly endeavor because their hearts are tender and they love the Lord Jesus and His people. I am profoundly grateful.
Not only were the things BH has done touted, but BH had the audacity to bring his wife’s accomplishments into the picture!
What a sneaky way to say, what you do to me [you conniving evil doers], you do to my wife.
As if to say SHE doesn’t deserve this fruit of my evil and you should overlook it for her sake. Holding me accountable hurts this wife of mine and it’s your fault for the hurt she is facing! [But neither did the women who have been abused and lied about deserve the hurt you caused, BH. They matter too.]
It felt as if he were hiding behind his wife’s skirts. Man up, BH!
Also, he said, “I realize now that in certain settings and circumstances in the past I communicated things that were perceived in ways I did not intend,…”
Not buying that crude you are selling, BH. You made your living in communications. Preaching and writing and speaking. If you can’t be trusted to communicate well “in certain situations,” how can anyone trust anything you communicate in any situation?
I also thought it was despicable to bring his wife into it. Then at the end, his kids are brought out too!! It felt like BH’s family was being offered up to support his reputation and “legacy.” Much like a disgraced politician will have his wife stand by at his press release. Ugh!
Sandra, glad I’m not alone in my perceptions!
“There Can Be No Healing Without Repentance”
2 Chronicles 7:14 also works for individuals and churches, as well as nations.
It is so gross to see these men, who have done things that have *hurt* their wives, then use them as a shield and try to make concerned not expose truth.
This is a pattern too. We’re supposed to lay off these ‘great’ men, so as not to hurt their families. No one cares about the women’s who have been hurt and their families.
I repeat Nancy Beach, Bill is not a victim here. If his wife is a victim, she is entirely a victim of Bill’s actions and no one else’s.
Bill Hybels needs to own this. His wife and children are on the victims list; Hybels is not a victim. After all these years as a church leader, he should know that much.
@ Muslin fka Deana Holmes:
Your post is up. Late, but up!!!
Well he certainly didn’t stop this coming to the light. 🙂
I didn’t like that at all. Sadly, WCC appears to be using crisis management techniques (and perhaps even paying for a company) to manage this. Whoever is doing it is using worn out tactics which do not sell as well today.
The “Yeah Buts” always parade out after these announcements. They are of the same mentality as those who join standing ovations when god-awful behavior by church leaders is presented to the church. Not everything on a minister’s resume should be attributed to a work of God.
@ Sandra: I am so sorry for those who have been harmed and that was the response they heard… this would never have been Jesus’ response…
the messages to those harmed is “you don’t matter”… Bill and Willow Creek do… it is sacrificing those harmed on the altar of protecting the leadership and the institution… Jesus never did that and did the exact opposite! The reason Bill stepped down was to protect the WC programs and the WC empire… not for those who have been harmed… this is SO backwards to the gospel… and yes, it is so common that people will say “look at all the good”… it is actually on of the lines in “Spotlight” as well, in the scene of the gala fundraiser for the Catholic church… anytime the institution takes precedence over people that have been hurt, something is very wrong…
again, the message to those harmed is you don’t matter, the institution and leaders are more important to you… Now, please know that is a lie… and it is appalling… it is a common attitude of those who abuse power… and that is what BH’ response is for the most part. So know that you do matter in God’s Kingdom! You are beautiful, precious and priceless… keep speaking up and using your voice and your experience to encourage, empower and equip others to do the same… one of the things I’ve been thinking about is starting a support group for women to share their impact statements in a safe place… so their story can be validated and others validated, and hear from others that what happened was no ok, that it was hurtful and wrong! I encourage you to listen to some of the impact statements from those who testified in January under Judge Aquilina… and her beautiful and gracious and empowering defense and encouragement on behalf of the 150 women who shared… and also how empowered each woman felt to be able to share that… bless your hearts, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power… not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord!
Remnant, there were a lot of “sneaky” statements in that resignation speech… there is no way BH is not aware of boundaries… so his being “naive” and “unaware” to his innapropriate behavior is BS… especially since he was directly confronted about his “flirting” in 2000… and he said he “understood”… guess that wasn’t true… I hope I’m wrong, but the repsonse seemed very manipulative to me… in so many ways… I’ve seen it too often play out this way in similar situations… these are often patterns of narcissistic leadership and systems… oh wait, did someone mention a PR firm? God help us!
if you are not already familiar with Diane Langberg and her talks on Narcissism and the systems it breeds… well worth the hour of listening!
Jesus doesn’t need Bill Hybels or his church.
He doesn’t need any of us either.
But He wants us to follow him in spirit and truth if we want to.
Delusions of grandeur are so prevalent in too many pastors.
Thinking more highly of themselves than they ought.
It sure causes a lot of trouble.
Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:
I thought so, too. Can’t even say how many times that “strategy”had been used on me by Christian guys.
And I loved Redshirts!
Bev, he stuck to his script word for word. Well rehearsed. Not heartfelt. He got wealthy on the backs of those who gave him standing ovation. He’s laughing all the way to the bank. He probably has a sweet retirement deal as well.
All is well in Hybelland today.
Lol —because back in the day, Hybels was considered the “hunk mega pastor” by many. In the end, it’s just Chef Boy Ar Dee.
In Megas, I heard that all time. I came to the conclusion that people were “won” to the cool church.
Hybels is now front page Yahoo news.
“How Many Souls Did YOU Save? HUH? HUH? HUH?”
— Mike Warnke & his fanboys after Cornerstone exposed him as a total fraud
Note: SOULS(TM), not people. The Currency of Heaven, and MONEY TALKS.
Muff Potter wrote:
“Megachurch pastor resigns amid misconduct claims” is the headline on MSNBC’s feed.
Talk about “getting famous for the wrong thing”…
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Well, after all, Hybels is the Albert Speer of the seeker friendly mega-church model.
Not so. He is seething. I recognized the signs watching the family meeting. The “humble” charismatic very important man was biting his tongue off even though it often came off as over selling a some points. The people “he” made great and therefore others respected, because of “him’, turned on him. Ruining “his” legacy. They are very talented at audience manipulation. They can seethe and play humble at the same time.
When someone has been in a position to blow off ANY and ALL conflict or negativity with “humble” meaningless platitudes for 40 years, it’s a whole new day when those you put in power positions at one time turn on you. Cause that is how mega church pastors of his generation dealt with things. Insulated. That’s how they maintained the “image”. Hybels always had an emotional edge that came off fakery sincere to me. He had others below him who dealt with the practicalities of the real negatives —as they all do. Hybels has always been full of meaningless platitudes. I expected nothing less from his resignation speech which was all about “reflecting” on himself, of course. His basic message is, some think I have done something wrong but I cannot imagine what that is so I will “reflect” on it with wise counselors. Okey dokey. Typical mega meaninglessness.
If the Ortbergs and the media were not involved, we would know none of it. Big cheeses have to turn on big cheeses to get the attention.
It’s all cult of personality which is why their image is so important to them. He knows he is a great guy. How can others he gave so much opportunity to, turn on him?
They become narcissistic even if it can’t be diagnosed. The position and trappings just make it so.
Mega church pastors of his generation used to always pretend they were forced into those exalted positions because-well-God, you know. God built it all. It’s a God thing. They just obeyed God. They constantly repeat that. Then the adoring fans believe and repeat it. The money that flows in is staggering. The leadership summit, too.
@ Muslin fka Deana Holmes:
I have a meeting tomorrow right down the street on Main. If you are there, I will honk and thumbs up wave.
I could not agree more. I believe I’ve stated this before, but this (free to read) blog is more helpful than (expensive) therapy!
Thanks for this good observation. There were similar points on another BH thread, including how all the elders listed “discerning” as one of their gifts. Matches my experience with the abuser (and those who collude with him) perfectly. He is the most perceptive male person in the world – unlike any other male person – when it suits him, but confused, misunderstood and victimized if attempting to address particular examples of his abuse.
Thx. Lydia… reminds me of Psalm 55:21 speech as smooth as butter, but war is in their heart, words as soothing as oil, but they are drawn swords… and ps 62:4b… with their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse…
If you attack the victims you will be banned. Show us how WCC. does love.
Lydia, I appreciate your breakdown and can see it from your POV.
I meant that he’s not facing any real consequences. He is not facing criminal investigation, he got a standing o, the peeps still love and adore him, he will be back at church eventually (he says as a pew sitter, but who knows if he won’t be asked to preach, he isn’t worried about money, he has his book deals. His wife and family are standing by his side. Nothing has changed for him except he retired a few months early. The poor dear.
So – we can add Willow Creek to the list of “Christian” organizations that do not care about the qualifications found in I Timothy 3… specifically what it means to be “above reproach”.
But, here is the odd thing: It is bad enough to commit adultery. What a lot of the stories on the Wartburg Watch have in common is that they involve children, or harassment, or some abuse of power. Then we always see the other leaders in the organization botch the response. The way that Bill Hybels behaved in these stories simply makes him appear to be out of control.
It calls into question whether he has been faithful to his wife all these years. How many times did he pull this and not get ratted out? How many times were his advances not refused? What was his intent…. just to sit on the couch and “make out” like they did on Happy Days?
These guys are rarely really who people think they are. My guess is that even the elder board is seeing a different side for the first time. A very public crisis does that. But they see their responsibility to save the church, at all costs, they invested their lives in. Go read their bios. Many have been there for years.
These mega guys live charmed lives. They don’t think like average normal working people. They can’t. The entire system relies on growing and maintaining a monstrosity which brings in all sorts of deceptive strategies and tactics. The monthly electric bill, alone, would support several middle class families for a year. I don’t think our Lord is all that impressed with Megas. But, I think it’s futile to expect the leaders at WC to handle this any other way. The only way to justice is for the place to empty and the pew sitters to admit they were snookered into following a charismatic guru. Won’t happen. Look who spoke at this years Leadership Summit. Denzel Washington. Hybels has always been the cool guy with connections to the cool people.
Hybels was like a rock star in the 90’s in mega circles. He won’t go away. He will be doing some non profit ministry and will have his hand in the Leadership Summit, I bet. After he “reflects”, of course.
These guys usually “reflect” for 6-12 months before re-inventing themselves. Driscoll, Tullian, Patrick, Noble reflected their way back fairly quickly. I’m sure Savage will pop up again soon. Hybels will most likely get some new revelation to share with us by the end of the year.
What a joke the church (little “c”) has become!
“You make us a joke among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples.” (Ps 44:14)
The whole situation saddens me. Bill, the victims, and how everyone is responding. Come soon Lord Jesus. Come soon. Soli Deo Gloria.
I am not a pastor. I have no office in any church. I do not aspire to be. I grew up within Evangelicalism. I am a member of a local church and regularly attend and give; occasionally I’m called upon to teach in a small group.
1. Bill Hybels did the right thing and resigned. He sinned and is no longer without reproach. I would agree that the resignation should have occurred months ago. But I do not know what happened and I am NOT the judge.
2. Sin must be confessed to God, and the one(s) wronged. Hybels sinned against a number of women and needs to confess his sin to them. He needs to confess how his sin and pride wronged Willow Creek. Every responder here is a sinner too, and my guess based on my years of experience, there are those who have not confessed they have done wrong. As a matter of fact I have read in these responses people who have been flippant and arrogant about Mr Hybels. Mr. Hybels doesn’t need to confess to me! I am not a member of his church or one of the women he wronged.
3. The sin of pride is running rampant in the church. This is not only seen in Hybel’s sin, but in the flippant and arrogant way some professing Christians are responding to it. Some would even used a slur describing Hybels as Chef Boyardee. In these posts there are those who respond with arrogance and name-calling. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Belittling others and not loving is arrogant Pharisaism.
4. We all need to get on our knees and repent of our pride. We need to rise above our fallen need to make ourselves better than others and realize we are sinners saved by grace.
5. May God forgive us for our arrogance and pride.
This is irrelevant to the case at hand, even if you had any actual knowledge to base this on. Which you do not.
I disagree. We are to be the city on the hill. They asked us to listen to their sermons, buy their books, pay money to fo to their conferences. They do not get to tell us what we see. They should apologize to those of us who sent money or listened in and took advice from their ministry.
Also, since you are not a pastor, do you know that pastors are held to a higher standard according to Timothy. But, I guess we are all at the same level when it become inconvenient.
I Amy not be a pastor but I do know one thing. Pride has been running rampant in the church from the day Adam and Eve walked in the garden. Nothing new here except that we now have mega churches with mega pastors making a mega waves with their mega falls.
Your comment is prideful. (Wink)
You know, everything you say here could be turned back on you vis-à-vis your attitude towards those whom you’re judging here. Read your comments again, can’t you see how perhaps they point to your smug pride, you feeling better than those whom you deem to be wrongfully judging others and thinking they’re better than others? You sound like you think you’re better than the ones you’re scolding here.
You sound very, very much like a Pharisee. Just sayin.
Matthew 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
Matthew 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
Matthew 23:16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Matthew 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Matthew 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
This is where our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ stood on corrupt, ungodly, hypocritical leadership.
He was standing up on BEHALF of the OPPRESSED.
Make it a point to follow in his footsteps, good Christian.
Wondered the same thing.
Maybe that’s why he ended the conversation/investigation by immediately stepping down. Fast and furious – he didn’t look pleased.
Enough has been said, already! There are many of us who don’t want to hear the details. Keep it between you and God!
And, many “mega preachers” like to tell us what is “moral” and what is “not-moral” . Are you saying we can not hold them to standards that they like to impose on us?
Did anyone see the national news clip on Hybels resignation on tv on Wednesday night, besides me? It was on our local news, from a national affiliate. I was surprised at that. It covered both sides of the story. From one lady coming out from the service saying he was totally innocent, to another lady who said he was guilty of all kinds of stuff. I know the new clip had to show both sides of the story. They can’t be biased. But that it made it to my news program in East Texas, wasn’t what I expected to hear. But our local news program does cover churches and has segments on how prayer changes lives.
I’m pretty sure I don’t remember any ‘woe unto you, people in the churches and synagogues who point out how insanely corrupt their leaders are’ passage anywhere…
Yes. Enough said.
A must read! Seven women have told her similar stories… not to mention her own of an extended, tight hug which Hybels admits may have caused women to misunderstand and feel uncomfortable.
Well, that explains the moved up retirement date! So sad for all his victims. . .
Dave A A wrote:
Not surprised. There are hugs and there are hugs, and you can tell the difference between them.
Seven is a lot. I bet there are at least twice as many.
His private agreement with IT about emails seems to be key here.
I wonder if Frank Page is glad for all of the publicity that Bill Hybels is getting? It sure helps him to slip away quietly into retirement.
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 …
Please, this is becoming ridiculous…… who exactly was harmed here even if the allegations are all true. 1. A consensual affair – later recanted. 2. The kiss forced apon Vonda Dyer – really Vonda? If this was such a traumatic event; why wasn’t this reported 20 years ago, when it happened? Why did you stay at the Church for 2 years after such a traumatic event? Why didn’t your husband immediately confront Bill Hybels after he was told? 4. What was your reaction to this kiss, was it forced apon you? And 3. Nancy Beach – too long a hug, really? A hug that lasted too long has left you scarred and traumatized? Why didn’t you report it? Why did you stay on staff for many years after this happened.
I have no idea what is true and what isn’t and if any of the allegations of improper behavior are true, BH should have stepped down – but don’t build this into a huge traumatic event for these women, none of them considered that our Church should not be led by BH 20 years ago, when these events happened and if a too long hug causes trauma, then I hope you never experience real emotional trauma in your life. Lastly, why is the woman who recanted being protected? If it didn’t happen, she has destroyed a mans 43 year ministry, why should she be protected? If she is lying now and it did happen, why should she be protected? – it was consensual, she wasn’t forced and knew he was married to HER FRIEND.
Wow It must feel really wonderful to be able to tell other women what they should feel and shouldn’t feel! Get something straight. Bill Hybels has stepped down. Some women were hurt and you are concerned that they don’t live up to your exacting standards for being emotionally correct.
Seriously. You need to do some reading and try to figure out why you feel the need to put down other women who don’t have your exacting standards for correct emotional coping.
WCC What a wonderful, healing and safe community…
I agree with your assessment in this article. Thank you for spelling it all out.
Some people have hearts of stone, Dee. It saddens me that women continue to shown so little concern for other women when they are hurting. Idol worship at its finest.
Ann’s comments bring this scripture from Matthew 25 to mind.
“31 ¶ “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
34 ¶ “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
38 ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
39 ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
40 “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
41 ¶ “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’
44 “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not fntake care of You?’
45 “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
And once again, another good Christian demonstrates why it is so difficult for women, men and children who have been victimized, assaulted, used, to speak publicly. These folks DID NOTHING WRONG BY SPEAKING UP. The wrong done was on the part of Bill Hybells, who abused the trust of not only those who have come forward, but the entire congregation who week after week looked to him as a pastor.
The anger you are so obviously pouring onto their heads justly should be reserved for BH. They did not force his resignation. None of them has that power. They spoke up and they can speak publicly every day for the next 20 years about BH’s behavior and they still wouldn’t be wrong. What has been revealed has been known about him for years – that is who he is. The rest of us are only now seeing what those he preyed on already knew about him. All they have done is pull back the curtain.
The woman who was fired for calling Bill on his ***.
Just for starters.
one of the little people wrote:
D’ed if you do and d’ed if you don’t, basically.
I am particularly interested in the ‘if your husband didn’t ‘take care of it’ (how?) 20 years ago, it didn’t happen line of thought.
The people who’ve had their trust violated by one who was allegedly acting in their best interests in the name of God, they’ve been hurt. When someone holds themselves out as a servant of the Lord, a great leader, and they end up not only not being that, but being a squirmy, manipulative cad who’ll make moves on other men’s wives and play around with people as if they’re just toys and things to be manipulated, that HURTS. it really hurts. You’re in denial. I think you’re one of those who’ve been hurt greatly by this, it’s got you on tilt, saying asinine things like your post cited above, saying things you know are wrong, fundamentally ridiculous.
You’re hurt by this, more than a little–just an educated guess.
Ann, as you can see from the comments responding to your remark, you won’t get a standing ovation here for such thinking.
Good Lord! Sounds like the whole Willow Creek leadership team have been a bunch of loony-tunes!
Not by a long shot. No. As with every church, the church has people. Those people have various personalities. When people set out in leadership of a church, they have the best intentions. Their humaness gets in the way. It’s not the church’s fault. Being human is messy. Willow still is a good church….along with so many other churches around the world.
Every church around the world hopes to be. The problem is that the churches are staff with humans who, start out with pure intentions. Humans are flawed.
“The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:16)
Some people start out with the best of intentions and then get addicted to praise, or an exalted view of self, and become dangerous, but some enter church leadership with quite evil intentions: to promote themselves, and when that person is personality-disordered, a malignant narcissist, someone without a conscience (and the incidence of NPD in the pastorate is breathtakingly high per a recent study), from the outset they are bent on hurting others and glorifying themselves. The jury’s still out on Hybels. I do not know, not enough information yet to make a determination, and ultimately only the Lord knows his heart, but I tell you, some red flags are popping.
Law Prof wrote:
My first red flag with Hybels goes back to the inception of his Willow Creek church model. He essentially conducted a community survey to find out what folks wanted in “church” … then proceeded to give them what they desired. Seeker-sensitive ministry is shallow business in which the pulpit asks the pew which way they want to go and then get out in front to lead … it has very little to do with being Spirit-led. Other red flags for me, he wouldn’t display a Cross or preach about Hell because that hindered folks from coming. He looked to Robert Schuller for church growth methods – a big scarlet flag waving in the wind! It was just meant to fail from the get-go.
In contrast, the NT Jews were looking for a politically triumphant messiah to restore Israel to her former OT glory. In response, God the Father gave us Jesus, Who came, was executed by the Romans/religious leaders, rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven, followed by the Holy Spirit among us. Not anything close to what they/we were/are looking for. Jesus addressed this issue often, their expectation and what God was giving them. Not even close.
I’d sure like to know what he did beyond a long hug? And sorry but yes, to say BH has done a lot for the kingdom and leadership IS an understatement. I know I got better as a leader. From what I read, BH has lost his standing, his publishers, GLS sponsors, and public humiliation, not to mention how these brutal comments hurt The Church at large. I’d like to think that it was more than serial flirting to bring down this mega church. Not excusing bad behavior but my gosh.
Why don’t yo ask Bill Hybels. He stepped down for a reason. If it as all so innocent, Hybels would still; be in charge and the publishers would merrily publish his books. Something.is.wrong. Repeat this until it sinks in.
Which brutal comments? How about the ones from the WCC Trebuchet Club? And the exposure of sex abuse and harassment is helping the Church Universal. This garbage has been going on for al one time and Christians should be the first ones to admit their complicity in sexual harassment, repent and change. In fact, such repentance will be a nod to the Gospel we all embrace.
The world sees our hypocrisy and self aggrandizement. They see our sins. We need to show them how we deal with those sins.
In the ned, it is not about being a better leader and building mammoth churches. It is about humility and an openness to our own sinful lives. God is not impressed with big churches. His way is not Wall Street. It is a still, quiet voice calling all of us to repent for our rather cocky attitude about out own success.
Our faith is not measured by what WE have done of the kingdom of God but my what Jesus has done for us. He is the one in charge here and it appears that He has decided to stop some of this nonsense.
And the comment about bringing down a mega church…what? No one is bring down anything. The Gospel shouts to the world that we are sinners. We should also show the world we get it and deal with our problems. If your church is following the way of Christ, your church has nothing to worry about. God is carrying you. Hybels is not.
Setisouly-is this Gospel all about big churches, big money and big names that must be protected at all costs, including disparaging people who are saying they have been hurt? SMH. I am going to get some rest.
Jesus is good. The focus should be on his goodness.
Sometimes it is. That is why sex abuse in churches is rampant. We blow off abuse and say it is just pat of being human. We need to root out such behavior and stop it from hurting more people. There is a reason that the Bible warns us about how to look at leaders.
Well said. Thanks.
Yes yes yes. I’m completely shocked and so disappointed in Shauna’s response. She’s a daughter yes, but of Jesus too and I’m this she stands against the oppressed and the hurt. And there are many. This is so wrong. It’s as if no one is listening as he basically says “I did it, but it was an accident” and then casts blame everywhere but himself. He built a mega church. Of course he’s charismatic and well spoken and likeable. Many predators are. It’s as if no one can see people are so multi dimensional and of course he was good to some even as he abused those he assumed he could get away with it with. Our hope and our trust is in no man. It is in God. As a brother, and as a leader and teacher he is called to so much. He isn’t meeting the qualifications and we give a pass because he’s likeable. He’s said he’s now going to go to the poorest countries. Who is easier to disenfranchise and abuse than the poor and powerless and we have nothing to say? My God. Did we learn nothing watching how the Catholic Church handles its predators? This is unacceptable. No ministry should accept he, he should lead nothing. He is not up to the task of shepherding hearts, he isn’t even working on his own, if we listen to the way he’s handling this now. The victims deserve the love and embrace he is getting. I’ll tell you there would be nothing that would compel me to come forward in a situation like this except the fact I’d want to protect people coming after me and I’d feel it was my duty to protect the message of Jesus from wolves in sheeps clothinf. I imagine these women were motivated by the same. And they have been shunned in a gravely sinful fashion.
What hurts a church more than anything is that church failing to deal effectively (or even at all) with inappropriate behaviour amongst its leadership. Oh yes, and those who then try to defend the failures and failings while attacking the victims. Now that causes real damage.
Nancy Ortberg might want to have a sit down with her own husband! https://jodiwalle.com/openlettertojohnortberg
While there are some interesting comments there, it says nothing in relation to Hybels. Seems like an attempt to move the focus away from your idol.
True, as the collateral damage continues to unfold. It gets worse.
My wife and I are dealing with similar harassment right now by several members of Willow’s Elder Response Team and from pastors at one of Willow’s regional campuses. Certain Willow pastors and staff members harassed us, then sent police officers to our home to harass us, and then exiled us from Willow, after we objected to Willow refusing to disclose their policies and procedures regarding: dispute resolution, conflict mediation, spiritual discipline and restoration of church members, and filing allegations of misconduct against Willow staff and pastors. Willow’s actions, along with flagrantly defying Scriptural mandates, may be in violation of several state and federal laws.
We’re still saddened by the first-hand realization that certain highest-level people at Willow care only about image and not about Biblical authenticity and Scriptural submission, and that they’re trying to cover up their misconduct against us.
Have you reported this to law enforcement since you believe that laws may have been broken? I strongly urge you to do so.
is there anyone out there who could explain the *elder response team.* I have heard from a couple of folks who have complained about their approach to conflict resolution. I would be interested in learning more about this.
“Elder Response Team — manages situations where people, particularly participating members, are experiencing significant relational difficulties or moral failure”
Whew! That Elder Response Team sounds more like a SWAT Team, where they used aggressive tactics and enhanced firepower to squash a perceived threat. Lock your doors!
Let me reiterate because you seem to have a difficult time comprehending this, Catherine: What Mr. Ortberg may or may not have done in relation to his assistant has absolutely no bearing on what Mr. Hybels may or may not have done to several women within Willow Creek. They are two completely separate issues.
My wife and I and our son-in-law have dealt with an “elder response team” before that was not called by that name, but was the same sort of mafioso-type thing. As per usual policy, they’d given us very little warning they were coming, just a quick phone call to say “Hey, we’re coming over to your house, see ya soon!” in one of those innocuous Disney voices, and probably assumed they’d run all over us. I’ve been smoked before in dealing with pastor and church leader sociopaths pulling the sneak attack, but this time, I’d done my research and was ready—and I mean READY—for them. They started off in tag team manner, then started with the old shout down, “accuser of the brethren, persecutor of the church” technique, but as I said, this time I was ready and knew things about them that perhaps even they’d forgotten, and certainly things they had no idea I knew. I was ready with scripture also, and I called them on every single thing they said, they left one hour later looking at each other in panic, spitting angry, and stammering. Most enjoyable experience of my life—well, second most. It is wonderful when you have the truth and the facts and the Bible on your side and you say those things in the moment that you usually only think of a day or two later. Those bullies, you stand up to them, they melt like those German soldiers in Indiana Jones.
Law Prof wrote:
Yes, I’ve experienced this as well. Even authoritarian patriarchs will shrink back when confronted by those who speak with Spiritual authority. The only thing they have working for them is control, manipulation and intimidation … the Word of God spoken in due season always trumps threats of the flesh. These guys need more “Thus saith the Lord” spoken over them! Believers have power and authority over error in the church; we need to wield it more and watch the enemy flee.
Bullies usually do run when you smack back, when you know what you’re talking about and you just refuse to back down. They see the usual threats and shouts won’t work, they run scared. After they looked at each other wide-eyed, at a loss for words, and one said “We gotta go”, they were heading out the door fast, at a trot. Reminded me of 40 years ago when Rusty, the neighborhood bully, shoved my little sister down and I, probably 30 lbs lighter and 4 inches shorter, saw red and before I even knew what I was doing, balled up my tiny fist and socked him one, gave him a good bloody nose. I was terrified, it happened so fast, but then I realized he was even more terrified of little old me, a kid he could’ve crushed with one blow–and he slinked away, like that kid Scut Farkus in A Christmas Story. Couldn’t believe it. You stand up to a spiritual bully, simply dig your heels in and refuse to be shouted down, same thing happens.
Law Prof wrote:
We visited a church a few years ago after hearing “There is something going on over there! They are busting at the seams!!” After a long music performance, the preacher began his sermon. Only a few minutes into his spiel, red flags started popping in my mind. About that time, a young man in the back stood to his feet and shouted “That ain’t right!” He was quickly ushered out by two muscular “deacons” (bouncers?). The “pastor” was so startled that he lost his train of thought and mumbled through the rest of a disjointed message, dismissing the crowd early. While I had a little trouble with the young man’s method, he certainly expressed my sentiments well.
Law Prof wrote:
If you truly don’t care, a fun thing to do is just agree with whatever they’re trying to say, when they give you ridiculous/sneaky choices. I used to enjoy answering questions from telemarketers who asked ‘don’t’ you want to save money?’ with ‘no’.
Don’t you care about XYZ? No.
Don’t you want to do this? No.
Don’t you love Betty? No.
If they’re in script mode, I think saying anything off book throws them off.
I learned the hard way that Always Calm, Serene, and (above all) POLITE is the Mark of the Sociopath.
This is called “Messing with their Minds”.
Break the script and see how long it takes them to Reset/Reboot.
Law Prof wrote:
“NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!!!!!”
In one word: YES.
Reciting Long Prayers for Justification.
Now, I want the definition of what really happens!!
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Just love python.
Finally, Someone I can agree with.
Yeah, you’re so right, those blasted people on the forums who get angry at leaders who act like Pharisees and live double lives and abuse women behind closed doors while holding themselves out as paragons of virtue to be emulated! The way the bloggers are responding to leaders like that just saddens me too, I mean it’s so unlike Jesus to do that.
@ Law Prof:
It’s really pretty nuts to read. How can you honestly equate everyone in these situations???
Why are you mad that that bad man did a bad thing? That makes you equally bad, apparently. As does mentioning it. I guess we’re all just supposed to throw up our hands and go ‘oh well’, or possibly look away and let the bad men do all the damage control they like, while victims get ignored, fired, and abused.
Law Prof wrote:
Thanks. It appears the majority of believers have been brain washed into utter numbness.
Or maybe just dumbness…
I think what’s going on is they have a Christianity without Christ. They’re told regularly how special their particular place is “You won’t hear the gospel preached like this elsewhere…At ABC Church, we do it differently…You’re specially called by God to be a part of this great move of the Spirit going on in this place…We’re different, we follow the whole word of God…You just won’t find love anywhere else like you do at this fellowship…Pastor XYZ is so anointed…I love my pastor!”
So fed a steady stream of pride-inducing lies, they come to worship the institution built by the creation rather than the Creator. This is why you go to such a place, you don’t hear much about Jesus, you hear about “the local church”, “the gospel”, “the mission”. Not much room left for a simple love of Jesus when all those things, which are just code words and phrases for their specific church institution and their particular beliefs, are crowding love for Jesus out.
It’s why if someone just wants to love Jesus in such a place, to speak the truth like He always was doing, the leadership and enablers have to discipline them, run them out, shun them, destroy them. Jesus is the greatest threat to these institutions and leaders and systems who exist to exalt and protect themselves. He’s their biggest enemy, in some cases. I truly believe that some of these people—not all, but a significant number—just downright hate Jesus.