Why did Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church think it was all right to make sexual advances toward the women on his church staff and with other women? What kind of excuses did he make for himself every weekend when he stood before 25,000 people assembled there to hear the gospel? The accusations began decades ago, long before the #metoo movement. But they were dismissed – swarms of people kept coming to church, money poured in, and Willow Creek with Bill Hybels reached star level. Wanna-be megapreachers studied his methods and tried to apply them to their own congregations.
The leaders believed Hybels.
But what did he believe about himself? Did he try to convince himself that the women were at fault for tempting him?
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. Genesis 3:12
Was God at fault for giving him this desire to dominate women?
To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16
Was his wife at fault for something?
So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than (his wife) Leah, and served Laban for another seven years. Genesis 29:30.
He admitted a tiny, tiny little bit of responsibility, calling himself “naive.” This megapreacher Rev. Bill Hybels said that “he had placed himself in situations that would be far wiser to avoid. I was naive … I commit to never putting myself in similar situations again.”
“I won’t ever do it again!” But he got away with it for years. Long enough for him to build his empire and wealth and retire.
The 25,000 people who came to hear him did not all know what he had done. But listen to their response upon hearing of his early retirement.
Some members of his congregation shouted “No!” in response to his decision, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation following his address.
What is your response to abuse of women? Make no mistake about it. Men who make unwanted sexual advances toward women are abusing women. The church gives men this right to dominate women.