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Jim from OldTruth.com

So, where is Hybels headed to next? Somehow I can't imagine him going back to conservative Christianity. Is this his entry point into the Emerging Church or is he going to invent some new Pomo style church paradigm? It will be interesting to watch what unfolds from what he probably already has planned out.


Wouldn't it be great if people didn't feel like they had to "invent" church? I mean, it's existed for 2,000 years. Shaping God's church into our own image is one of the most selfish places a Christian can stoop. I've done it long enough to know. It can be a hard ditch to climb out of.


The interesting thing about the entire article and videos is their remark that they need to change the way we do church. I would be interested if they ever think about maybe preaching christ, not just preaching discipleship. I think the problem that I see happening is more of the same. They want the growth for the christian to not be their responsibility but the individuals. This way they just can keep the focus of Sunday morning worship on getting people to make a "decision" for Christ. They will reason with them and encourage them to make a choice. There will be nothing of the gospel in a sunday service because nobody needs the gospel, they just need to know what they need to do. For example, unbelievers need to choose Christ, new believers need to be encouraged that they made the correct decision and old believers need to make sure that they are doing thier job in maturing in Christ, Disciplines. I predict nothing changes at Willow Creek.


Wow, people really need something to complain about don't they. A church the size of WC is not going to change overnight. Can't we look at this as a positive step. The fact that Bill Hybels is willing to admit this shows much more integrity than many other mega church leaders (I won't mention any names but this blog has a whole section dedicated to him). What we need to do is continue to pray for Bill and WC.


I pray that Bill and WC pay back the millions of dollars of God's money to the people who gave it to Bill and WC for their failed projects and books and materials that contain error and worldly advice.

That would be a real fruit of true repentance wouldn't it? But has Bill Hybels truly repented? If he has only made mistakes where's the need to repent? Making mistakes is not sin is it? Sin is transgression of God's laws isn't it? Sin is distortion of God's word isn't it? Deceiving people is sin isn't it?

Bill Hybels and Willow Creek have been misleading people for years haven't they, like other mega church leaders(I won't mention any names but this blog has a whole section dedicated to him).

Where have Willow Creek and Bill Hybel's truly repented? Biblically repented, of sin against God and against their fellow man? Not just "change of mind, change the way they think, change your thinking" as in the Greek meaning of the word but in the full biblical meaning of repentance?*

Willow Creek: Conversion Without Commitment
Laura M. Kaczorowski
Distinguished Majors Honors Thesis Paper
University of Virginia
Department of Sociology
May 11, 1997

The Gospel According to Hybels & Warren
Nathan Busenitz

Church Growth Gone Mad
A sobering look at the church growth seeker-sensitive models
Copyright 2003
Clay Miller

Protestant No More: Willow Creek Infiltrated by a Mystic Quaker Movement Called Renovare
By Mary Fairchild - March 2003

"The meaning of repentance in the New Testament is not determined simply by its etymology, "change of mind," but by its Biblical usage. Repentance is linked to the concept of conversion and means to "turn away from one’s former ways and turn to God." - Bob DeWaay

* Repentance - Theopedia

True Repentance
Jay Wegter

I saw no true biblical heartfelt godly sorrow "repentance" in those two mens lives in the videos on that Reveal website. In actual fact, Bill Hybels was cracking funnys throughout his presentation. Did he do that intentionally to take the sting out of the seriousness of what he has done? There was not one Scripture reference in either one of those videos. There was no turning to the clear teachings and commands of Scripture. All of it was based upon pragmatism imo.


"Instead they are producing a bunch of Biblically illiterate self-absorbed self-help junkies."
That sounds a bit harsh and judgmental.


Here is the thing, praise God for someone like Bill Hybels! What he has said takes courage and guts. He is a big shot it the church circles and he has said what he has done for years is not longer working!

When I read the epistles it seems to me that Paul came to the church with great remorse and anguish that he had to rebuke them. He was excited when they saw the "Light." He never said I told you so! He rejoiced as a brother of Christ with his fellow Christians. I am glad Paul never said "I told you so!" I Corinthians 13
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

It seems to me based on these verse we should be rejoicing with Willow Creek right now!


I'm confused.

When Hybels & co. seem to be successfully making disciples and converts by their methods, we hear a big round of, "Don't you dare criticize them! Look at all the good they're doing!"

When the truth comes out from their own mouths, namely, that their methods don't work anyway (to say nothing of the theology behind it), we hear a big round of, "Don't you dare criticize them! Isn't it wonderful that they admitted how wrong they were? We should be happy!"

I'm reminded of the Clinton scandal. Fans of Clinton, or any other celebrity figure, will always react this way to individuals they are devoted to, or are afraid of offending. Egg on the face is a hard thing to accept.

I hope that this makes for a positive change to Willow Creek, but if it is seen as merely another occasion to change techniques to whatever is more pragmatic again, then it will just be more of the same old problem.

Joe Martino

Surely you are not really that obtuse. Criticize their methods all you want. I believe what is being challenged here is the pride and glee that the accusers were right. The idea of "I told you so" is a prideful one.

So let me get this strait, you can gleefully attack another brother in Christ, but someone cannot question that glee?

Seems contradictory to me.


Did Bill Hybels 'Repent' of Seeker Sensitive?


Joe Martino,

Kelly in no way what so ever "gleefully attack another brother in Christ." I have read enough of Kelly's comments to know that. Kelly is a person that fears God.

Do you?

Is it you that is the one who is obtuse: blunt, blockish, doltish, dull, dull-witted, heavy, stockish, stolid, stupid, slow, unintellectual, unintelligent?


"I believe what is being challenged here is the pride and glee that the accusers were right."

You're wrong. Absolutely. There is no pride of glee at all. Repent of your sinful accusations. Now!


Douglas I am gathering the only reason you responded the way you did is because it must have felt good so I am going forgive it.
Joe brings up an excellent point.
We are all familiar with the Apostle Paul. Here is a few passages that would should mimic in dealing Willow Creek.
Philippians 1:15
15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.[c] 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.


I think they way we deal with things in the political world should be vastly different from the way we deal with things as followers of Christ.

As Christians what should our response be to a brother and sisters in Christ who have admitted they made a mistake?
(I am looking for bible based answers not opinion)

Joe Martino

I'm not even sure you and I are using the same language. I'm just going to leave it at that.
You crack me up though, "Repent of your sinful accusations." What was sinful about it? LOL


"Douglas I am gathering the only reason you responded the way you did is because it must have felt good so I am going forgive it."


you are gathering wrong, so there is nothing to forgive. Maybe you need to confess the sin of presumption and repent of it, because you have presumed "it must have felt good?" I did not feel good at all.

Bill Hybels and Willow Creek have been ripping people off for decades, will they bring forth fruits worthy of repentance and pay people back the money they gave? For Hybels' and Willow Creeks' sinful worldly pragmatic projects and false teachings? They did not make mistakes, they sinned against God and against their fellow man. Bill Hybels and Willow Creek are not the only ones who have been ripping people off.

Read all the articles in the links above and read all of this, including the comments and links provided:

Did Bill Hybels 'Repent' of Seeker Sensitive?

"I've been receiving numerous emails from people asking me what my take is on the recent news of "Bill Hybels repenting" of his seeker sensitive methodology. The talk of repentance by the founder of the Willow Creek church comes from a recent conference in which he was quoted as saying: "spiritual growth doesn't happen best by becoming dependent on elaborate church programs but through the age old spiritual practices of prayer, bible reading, and relationships. And, ironically, these basic disciplines do not require multi-million dollar facilities and hundreds of staff to manage". Of course, that's true, and that's why so many of us have been chanting "give us Bibles not Hybels!" for years. But the question now is - what are we to make of these latest Willow words? Are we really seeing a change of mind from the Prince of Plexiglas Pulpits? Or is this just another left turn leading even further away from biblical Christianity?

I wish I could give a more positive assessment to the remarks by Bill Hybels but I'm more apt to agree with Phil Johnson's reaction:

...It's just a slick announcement about Willow Creek's latest program. So am I the only one who finds it both ironic and disturbing that when the framers of ministry philosophy at Willow Creek finally are faced with the desiccated fruits of their program-driven approach to ministry, their instant response is to announce a new program?

Really, I would love to sound more positive and affirming about Hybels' "wake up call." But critics of Willow Creek have been pointing out for years that the seeker-sensitive ministry philosophy severely stunts Christian growth. Even worse, Willow Creek's methodology seems to multiply the number of almost-converts who dabble in spiritual matters until they are no longer amused, and then fall away without ever coming to authentic faith in Christ.

Hybels has blown off all those criticisms for years. He only reluctantly and partially accepts them now because he can't very well wave aside his own staff's opinion-poll data.

You can see what you think by listening to Bill Hybels in this video, which unfortunately sounds closer to a stand-up comedy routine than the remorse of a wearer of sack cloth and ashes."

Continued here


"You crack me up though, "Repent of your sinful accusations." What was sinful about it? LOL


you laugh out loud at your open and flagrant sin? You are BLIND to your own exceedingly sinful deceitful heart. True?

I believe what is being challenged here is the pride and glee that the accusers were right. The idea of "I told you so" is a prideful one.

There is no "pride and glee" from those who expose Bill Hybels falsehoods. Those who expose Bill Hybels are correct. I believe Bill Hybels is hiding behind a form of hypocrisy and is not being fully open and forth right about his sins. Sins that he has committed publicly.

"So let me get this strait, you can gleefully attack another brother in Christ, but someone cannot question that glee?"

There is "NO" glee to question. No one here is gleefully attacking anyone.

You are wrong.

You have made false accusations against a Christian, you have lied about a Christian. If that is not sin I don't know what is! Exposing false teachers and false teachings is not sin. There are times when sharp, open, firm rebuke and reproof is warranted. Check out Jesus Christ's ministry. Check out Paul's ministry. He often had to stand up to false teachers and he spoke some very strong, cutting words at diverse times. So did the LORD Jesus Christ. At least we are not calling Bill Hybels "a white washed tomb full of dead mens bones." Christians are calling Bill Hybels to true, biblical repentance and none of this "we made mistakes" nonsense. He sinned. Against God and against his fellow man. How may millions of dollars were poured down the drain with Bill Hybels and Willow Creeks man made ideas? Millions. Over three decades, thirty years. Tragic.

Joe Martino

So what you're saying is that if I come here and disagree I am sinning? You need a logic course.
The good (and bad) news is that the LORD will judge between us. I'm good with that.


Wow, Douglas exactly what did he do to sin? He is simply saying what he did didn't work! That is great! It is nice to have humble men in the world.
Oh yes, the seven woes of Jesus! I would suggest, since you are so quick to call others Pharisees. You yourself should pay close attention to verse 25.


By the way Douglas, do you have a verse for "sin of presumption?" Is that the authroized douglas version?


Wow, Douglas exactly what did he do to sin? He is simply saying what he did didn't work! That is great! It is nice to have humble men in the world.
Oh yes, the seven woes of Jesus! I am glad you are not calling Bill Hybels a White Washed Tomb. That would be pretty harsh. Bill is not an apostate, or Pharisee. He is a man who, by his own admission says he got off track focusing on the wrong things. There are a lot of examples in scripture of this happening. Rejoice that he is man enough to admit that he is wrong. You should rejoice in the truth!! Isn't that what first Corinthians says?
You are not rejoicing! You have presumed the role of the Holy Spirit. That is not your job. Maybe you should examine your own heart. You seem to have some anger issues.


I am not sure how that posted twice.


"By the way Douglas, do you have a verse for "sin of presumption?" Is that the authroized douglas version?"

"Is that the authroized douglas version?"


1 Samuel 15:23

English Standard Version (ESV)
For rebellion is as the sin of divination,and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.

Psalm 19:13

King James Version (KJV)
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

English Standard Version (ESV)
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;let them not have dominion over me!Then I shall be blameless,and innocent of great transgression.

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;Let them not rule over me;Then I will be blameless,And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.

New King James Version (NKJV)
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.


Woohoo, flame war.

How in the world did *I* attack anyone? Especially since I'm supposedly allowed to "criticize his methods all I want." All along, I've been told that it's wrong to criticize such-and-such pastor's methods because doing so is mean and hateful. I just don't understand how, when a pastor admits that I was right to criticize those methods, he's still the same wonderful hero he's always been, and I'm still the mean, miserable "attacker." Sheesh.

Pointing to the accepted evidence of a problem in the church is hardly the same thing as taking pleasure in someone's downfall. It's certainly no problem to consider it a good thing for truth to prevail. Now, doing a little tap dance and saying "nyah nyah nyah" would certainly be out of bounds, but hoping for things to improve is a good thing. Not that we have a lot of evidence from this statement what changes will be made, so I can't really say how much of a good thing any change will be. It depends which direction is taken.

It might be well in the future for Chris to simply post the link and information, because apparently a phrase as simple as "I told you so" is capable of being latched onto and blown out of proportion, so as to shift the focus from Willow Creek's long-perceived problems, to making it all about what a meanie the poster was for noticing.

Joe Martino

While you are at the Logic class, take a basic interpretation class and look those words up in the Hebrew. Words change buddy.
For the record, the original post was not addressed to you, it was addressed to Chris. Douglas made it about you. When Erica wrote originally, she was writing to Chris, you seemed to take exception to that so I responded. Douglas jumped in and now we're here. :)


You are loosing me! Even if those verses mean what you think they do than how was Joe involved in a presumptuous sin?


Never mind Erica, praise the LORD, for it is good to praise the LORD.

Psalm 92:1
It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High,

Psalm 89:1
I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

Lamentations 3:19
Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. 20 My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. 21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.


Flame wars. Great way to avoid the topic at hand. :o)

Wayne Lowenberg

It is interesting how so many comments blame WC shortcomings on what they call "The seeker sensitive approach". A survey that WC did found the same shortcomings in 36 different churches. I have been around churches long enough to know that the problem they discovered at WC can also be found in the vast majority of churches that wouldn't be caught dead trying to be "seeker friendly". Why is it a greater sin to be seeker friendly then to be seeker hostile?

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