Hybels steps down at Willow Creek

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Re: Hybels steps down at Willow Creek

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:10 pm

If an outside investigate happened, I’ve not found anything to indicate that.
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Re: Hybels steps down at Willow Creek

Postby Sandy » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:49 am

From Hybel's statement:

While some of the stories that have been told about me are misleading and others are entirely false, and while investigations have found no evidence of misconduct, I have been sobered by these accusations, and as I said earlier, I have invited the input of wise counselors, friends, and family members to help me engage in a process of humble reflection.

There's no mention of an "outside" investigation. The Tribune story made note of the fact that Hybels became angry over the suggestion that an outside investigation (other than church elders) be conducted. On the other hand, the way he has expressed himself lacks a lot of the self-righteous defensiveness that has happened when other high profile, conservative Evangelical megachurch leaders have been accused, or caught. The incidents described are strange, but the credibility is equal, at least from what can be seen in these media reports.

I must admit, I have a bias when it comes to the leadership culture in the megachurch movement. Most of the pastors and church leaders insulate themselves inside of their celebrity status, and while they tend to deflect criticism by accepting reasonably low "salaries" from their churches, they have a separate, 501-c-3 "ministry" corporation set up from which they earn far more through their book and media sales, and those operations are not accountable to the church. Hybels has a similar set up at Willow Creek, along with his leadership role in the Willow Creek Association, which is the equivalent of a medium-sized denomination that is a marketing and media group for Willow Creek products, mostly book and media productions authored by Hybels and his staff. And while collecting all that money, and gathering large congregations by developing a whole platform of inwardly focused ministries, evangelism of the lost is dying, because the megachurches aren't coming anywhere close to smaller congregations when it comes to their baptism to membership ratio, while they suck the life and resources out of the churches in the communities that are actually reaching the lost.
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Re: Hybels steps down at Willow Creek

Postby Rvaughn » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:21 am

Sandy wrote:There's no mention of an "outside" investigation.
I'm not saying there was one, but this certainly seems to qualify as a "mention" (though by Hybels himself):
At our family gatherings two weeks ago, the Elders clearly stated that the outside, independent investigations found no evidence to support the allegations brought to their attention.
Sandy wrote:I must admit, I have a bias when it comes to the leadership culture in the megachurch movement. Most of the pastors and church leaders insulate themselves inside of their celebrity status...
The money and celebrity involved in these movements aren't generally conducive to New Testament style Christianity, in my opinion.
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Re: Hybels steps down at Willow Creek

Postby William Thornton » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:14 am

Rvaughn wrote:
Sandy wrote:There's no mention of an "outside" investigation.
I'm not saying there was one, but this certainly seems to qualify as a "mention" (though by Hybels himself):
At our family gatherings two weeks ago, the Elders clearly stated that the outside, independent investigations found no evidence to support the allegations brought to their attention.
Sandy wrote:I must admit, I have a bias when it comes to the leadership culture in the megachurch movement. Most of the pastors and church leaders insulate themselves inside of their celebrity status...
The money and celebrity involved in these movements aren't generally conducive to New Testament style Christianity, in my opinion.


This was "outside" in the sense that WC hired lawyers to do it rather than in house. Some folks with high credibility have not found the matter to be satisfactorily investigated.
My stray thoughts on SBC stuff may be found at my blog, SBC Plodder
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Re: Hybels steps down at Willow Creek

Postby Sandy » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:31 am

I wonder, when a church that size has an elder board that hires "lawyers," if the lawyers are elders, or church members. I think that's a legitimate question. Even though Hybels doesn't exhibit a lot of the characteristics that many megachurch pastors do in acting as if they are above the same standards as everyone else, and as if they are the emperor over a large domain, and its all about them, I'm sure his wealth, and his position and standing put him in a place where he had a lot of control over any investigation involving his behavior. That's the culture of the megachurch.

On the other hand, it is interesting that a female ordained minister has ascended to the throne of one of the country's largest, most influential Conservative Evangelical megachurches, one with an association that involves 11,000 other congregations, about half of them also affiliated with the SBC.
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Re: Hybels steps down at Willow Creek

Postby Tim Bonney » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:57 am

Sandy wrote:I wonder, when a church that size has an elder board that hires "lawyers," if the lawyers are elders, or church members.


This is off topic. But why do you suppose that many independent churches default to a Presbyterian style of government? "Elder Boards" for example. It is a head scratcher for me. One of the places that Baptists and Methodists agree historically is that "Elder" "Presbyter" and "Pastor" are synonymous terms in the New Testament, and not terms for the members of a local church governing board. And, early Baptist documents refer to Pastors as "Elders." I ran across an old Northern Baptist Convention (Pre-ABC) Annual for Indiana some years ago that listed pastors as "Elder Jones, Elder Smith, etc." "Rev." didn't come into fashion until later.
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Re: Hybels steps down at Willow Creek

Postby Sandy » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:17 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote:I wonder, when a church that size has an elder board that hires "lawyers," if the lawyers are elders, or church members.


This is off topic. But why do you suppose that many independent churches default to a Presbyterian style of government? "Elder Boards" for example. It is a head scratcher for me. One of the places that Baptists and Methodists agree historically is that "Elder" "Presbyter" and "Pastor" are synonymous terms in the New Testament, and not terms for the members of a local church governing board. And, early Baptist documents refer to Pastors and "Elders." I ran across an old Northern Baptist Convention (Pre-ABC) Annual for Indiana some years ago that listed pastors as "Elder Jones, Elder Smith, etc." "Rev." didn't come into fashion until later.


I must say, I've been in several Baptist churches where the Deacons functioned as a governing board in the same way, out of habit and tradition mostly. It is difficult to determine where the tendency comes from though, since most of the independent churches that do this are committed to inerrancy, and if that's your philosophy and practice of scripture interpretation, you've got a real problem with an elder board when you get to I Peter 5. And I Timothy 3 for that matter.
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Re: Hybels steps down at Willow Creek

Postby Rvaughn » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:27 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:This is off topic. But why do you suppose that many independent churches default to a Presbyterian style of government? "Elder Boards" for example. It is a head scratcher for me. One of the places that Baptists and Methodists agree historically is that "Elder" "Presbyter" and "Pastor" are synonymous terms in the New Testament, and not terms for the members of a local church governing board. And, early Baptist documents refer to Pastors and "Elders." I ran across an old Northern Baptist Convention (Pre-ABC) Annual for Indiana some years ago that listed pastors as "Elder Jones, Elder Smith, etc." "Rev." didn't come into fashion until later.
Just an opinion, but I think this might be coming from two sources. It seems to me that as Calvinism is making a resurgence that a lot of the Calvinistic and moving-toward-Calvinistic Baptists are rubbing shoulders with and taking cues from the Presbyterian & Reformed. They tend to take up some things they think they like. Also, the "elder-rule" systems might be seem more practical to leaders since (at least in some of these churches) many decisions are simply made by the pastor & elders without having to wrangle with the congregation and voting.

Just my two cents, which might be inflated at that.
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Re: Hybels steps down at Willow Creek

Postby Tim Bonney » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:21 pm

Rvaughn wrote: Just an opinion, but I think this might be coming from two sources. It seems to me that as Calvinism is making a resurgence that a lot of the Calvinistic and moving-toward-Calvinistic Baptists are rubbing shoulders with and taking cues from the Presbyterian & Reformed. They tend to take up some things they think they like. Also, the "elder-rule" systems might be seem more practical to leaders since (at least in some of these churches) many decisions are simply made by the pastor & elders without having to wrangle with the congregation and voting.

Just my two cents, which might be inflated at that.


That could be right. It does diminish the role of the pastor though. As best as I can tell from the New Testament the Pastor is the Elder in the church and lay people may serve other roles including Deacon (in a Baptist context, for Methodists Deacons are clergy.) But if the entire board are "elders" what is the role of the pastor in that?

The Presbyterian system is created largely to limit the authority of the pastor. Pastors in Presbyterian churches have to ask permission of the Session to perform weddings and have to have a lay elder with them to take communion to shut-ins. Most the Presbyterian pastors I know have to ask the Sessions permission for fairly day to day decisions that I was always used to making as a Baptist pastor and now as a Methodist pastor. I don't get why a Baptist pastor would want to encourage that system??
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