As it is with any criminal behavior involving children, when sexual accusations arise, emotions take over and honesty and justice become part of the victims. Also the rules governing investigations, legal proceedings and punishment are usurped in favor of emotional knee-jerk reactions. There are also a lot of people who have no part, jurisdiction or authority in the church or issue continuously muddying up the proceedings with their subjective viewpoints.
By now you have probably heard of the mass resignations of the Willow Creek Board and Senior Pastor. If not, you can read about it here
This little act seems more to be done to garner sympathy than it is to show revulsion at factual events. We do not like it, as their action is based on hearsay than actual evidence
As Rasmussen explained, the resignations follow new accusations against Hybels, made by Pat Baranowski, who says she served as Hybels’ gatekeeper in the 1980s.
No evidence was given by the accuser to support her story. She also did not have a corroborating witness to lend any credibility to her claims. Statements like, ‘she would not lie’ or something similar are not evidence nor true character testimonies. Even the most godly people lie as evidenced by Abraham and Isaac when they lied about their relationships with their wives.
The most godly and credible people still need real evidence to show that they are telling the truth. The word of a former staff pastor who was a former atheist and now successful christian author is not enough to bypass God’s rules. We like Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Christ and have often used it in some of our arguments. But even his word does not trump God’s rules
My heart breaks for Pat Baranowski and all victims of Bill Hybels at Willow Creek. I never saw any hint of misconduct when I was there. Still, I know these women and they are Godly and credible. I believe them and weep for them,” he said on Twitter
In his 13 years as teaching pastor at Willow Creek he never saw any wrong behavior, yet he takes the unsubstantiated word of a few women over his own experiences.We have a problem with that. His quoted words above are evidence in support of Bill Hybels’ statements than they are for his accusers’. Deut.19:15 says
A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. (NASB)
and Matthew 18:16 confirms by saying
But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed (NASB)
As for the argument that there are several women accusing Mr. Hybels of sexual misconduct thus there is more than one witness to his deeds, these arguments do not hold up to scrutiny. Each woman is testifying about their own experience and do not support any claim made by any other woman. Each woman would need two more witnesses confirming their individual claims and crimes before anything could be established.
Read the last few words from the verse found in Matthew. These women may be godly and credible but they are not exempt from God’s rules.
But we are not done here as Scott McKnight, another former member, has written abput this topic, demanding or declaring that the whole board should resign. You can read his words here
One point we would like to address is
The women told the truth. The Willow narrative is a false and deceptive narrative.
Why was it so easy for the journalists at Chicago Tribune and Christianity Today to find stories from women but Willow’s so-called investigation turned up nothing?
Based on what evidence? Then we read a couple of articles at Christianity Today and they only turned up stories not evidence. Stories are not evidence. What Mr. McKnight fails to mention in his article is the following point raised by Christianity Today
Willow stated that two unnamed couples have “engaged in a coordinated effort to undermine Bill’s reputation” and have made unfair demands: (https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/march/bill-hybels-misconduct-willow-creek-john-nancy-ortberg.html)
The waters do get muddy when outsiders decided to stick their noses in where it doesn’t belong. Mr. McKnight is one of those people
New Testament scholar and author Scot McKnight, who attended Willow Creek Community Church for 10 years, separately wrote on his blog Monday that Willow Creek’s “time is up,” and that the leadership must undergo change (https://www.christianpost.com/news/willow-creeks-heather-larson-heartbroken-over-reprehensible-behavior-bill-hybels-accused-of-226642/)
You can also read his words at the link we have provided above. What we did not find in Mr McKnight’s article were God’s words, God’s instructions, God’s verses to support his point of view. We find the following words
Because of truth. Because of the gospel. Because of the grace of God.
Even though no truth or every fact has been confirmed.
Because of the women who have been wrongly maligned, unjustly accused, and publicly wounded
Sorry women but this is not justification or sound reason for unjust actions in retaliation to supposed crimes or sexual misconduct. The crime has to be established and found to be an actual crime before justice can be rendered. But justice does not always favor the victim, their family’s, friends and supporters definition of justice. Justice sometimes says that a crime was not committed. It is not justice to keep going back to trial until one gets the verdict they desire.
We also need to point out that Mr. McKnight did not produce any evidence in support of the women’s claims. This fact helps muddy the waters and leaves Mr. Hybel vulnerable to more attacks. Also, it is not Mr. McKnight’s call as to who leads the Willow Creek Church. As a former member, he gave up that right or authority when he left the church
The present leadership — from Heather Larson to the elders to the Human Resources and beyond — cannot lead Willow forward. They have failed miserably for four years.
They may have failed in his eyes but in reality, that does not matter. His is just one subjective opinion amongst thousands of them. His opening statements also disqualify him from having any say as they are already biased and founded on pre-drawn conclusions using no real evidence. As we said, he presented none to bolster his argument.
In conclusion, as we have stated, we do not find honesty or justice in these cases. We also do not find God in them either. We find people reacting out of their personal preferences, ideologies, points of view but rarely do we find anyone coming to the issue with God’s words. If God is used, it is usually out of context and ignoring many other passages of scripture.
We do not think that there are any people involved in this issue that would like to be treated as Mr. Hybel is being treated. So why are they doing it to him? We could come up with a lot more passages of scripture besides the two quoted above to show why this issue at Willow Creek, @metoo & @churchtoo, are not of God and not proceeding as God instructed. Actually we have done so in our other installments in this series.
Whether Mr. Hybel is guilty or innocent is not our cause here. Our cause is to show that Christian people who claim to love Jesus and God are not following their instructions. Jesus saw this when he was on earth and said ‘why do you call me lord when you do not do the things I say?’ In 2000 years, the church has not progressed very far in their handling of problems.
There is a song that states, ‘they will know that we are Christians by our love’, yet how is that love shown when people are thrown under the bus when mere allegations crop up and have no biblically supported methods backing their claims? It doesn’t matter the offense. Love is not just for the accuser or even only for the female gender.
If you claim to be a memebr of God’s kingdom then you must adhere to and implement God’s rules correctly