Willow Creek's Lynne Hybels on Obama's Faith panel
More influence - Less power
President Obama recently tapped Willow Creek Community Church's Lynne Hybels on the shoulder for a one year spot on the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships. The President is bringing together religious and secular leaders as well as scholars and experts, in order to make recommendations to the government on how to improve partnerships.
Some of the names announced for the council are:
Susan K. Stern, currently serves as Special Advisor on Government Affairs to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), which is a humanitarian assistance organization helping Jews and non Jews in Israel and in more than seventy countries around the world.
Leith Anderson is the President of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization formed to facilitate Christian unity, public witness and co-operative ministry among evangelical denominations, congregations, educational institutions and service agencies in the United States.
Andrea Bazán is President of Triangle Community Foundation, a philanthropic (Humanistic) organization dedicated to building a prosperous and culturally rich region across North Carolina. Ms. Bazán's career has included work in state government, academia and the non-profit sector.
Angela Glover Blackwell is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Policy Link, a nonprofit organisation that strives to advance economic and social equity, improving access and opportunity for all low-income people and communities of colour, particularly in the areas of health, housing, transportation, education and infrastructure.
Brian Gallagher is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of United Way Worldwide. The organisation, which improves lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities, is the largest privately supported NGO, has 1,800 local affiliates in more than 40 countries and territories, and engages 2.5 million volunteers.
Bishop Mark Hanson is the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Bishop Hanson was elected to this position in 2001 and re-elected in 2007
The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori is the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, where she serves as Chief Pastor and Primate to the Episcopal Church's members in 16 countries and 110 dioceses. Bishop Schori is the first woman to head any of the 38 member churches of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld is the Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative and Masorti Rabbis, founded in 1901. Rabbi Schonfeld is a leader in world Jewish affairs and an advocate for religious freedom and pluralism.
Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis is currently the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, the Exarch (plenipotentiary representative) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in the U.S.A., and the permanent President of the Assembly of 65 canonical Orthodox Bishops in North and Central America
Sister Marlene Weisenbeck is a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. She is an officer and past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a canonically approved membership organization which exists as a support system and corporate voice for leaders of religious institutes of Catholic Sisters in the United States.
Reverend Elder Nancy L. Wilson is currently the Moderator (Global Leader) for the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) which has hundreds of churches in 38 countries. There are 250 member congregations in various countries (including Australia), and the Fellowship has a specific outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families and communities.
MCC sees its mission being social as well as spiritual by standing up for the rights of minorities, particularly those of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT). MCC has been a leading force in the development of Queer theology.
The fellowship has Official Observer status with the World Council of Churches
Lynne Hybels is co-founder and Advocate for Global Engagement at the Willow Creek Community Church, a religious organization committed to maximizing individual life transformation, as well as encouraging effective leadership of local churches. For two decades, Mrs. Hybels has been involved in Willow Creek's ministry partnerships in under-resourced communities in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. She has written inspirational books and articles focusing on global poverty, HIV/AIDS, and Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The choice of Lynne Hybels and Leith Anderson follows in the line of previous evangelical council members. They are bona fides evangelicals who prefer to engage the culture, not war against it. Recently, both Mrs. Hybels and Mr. Anderson spoke publicly in favour of immigration reform.
President Obama's first council included evangelicals who echoed a similar tone. They were Sojourners president Jim Wallis and mega-church pastor Joel Hunter, World Vision president Richard Stearns, and former Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) president Frank Page.
When he was elected as SBC president, Frank Page told The New York Times,
I believe in the Word of God. I am just not mad about it. Too long Baptists have been known for what we are against. Please let us tell you what we are for.
But all these talks and discussions are just normal politics, and should be foreign territory to anyone following in the footsteps of Christ. For years now notable evangelicals have been active in talk-fests with secular humanists, as well as broadening their dialogue to interfaith discussion, without political pressure or compulsion.
Lynne Hybels is wife of well known husband William (Bill) Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, one of the most attended churches in North America, and one of the most influential. He is the founder of the Willow Creek Association and creator of the Global Leadership Summit.
The Summit first started in 1995 as an annual training event for church, ministry and other leaders to sharpen their skills. Each year this two and a half day conference features experts in the area of leadership.
Past speakers have included Bono (former Time Magazine Man of the Year, and U2 lead singer), Ken Blanchard (One Minute Manager, who works closely with Hybels and Rick Warren), Marcus Buckingham (Strength Finders), Jim Collins (Good to Great and Built to Last), and Mike Singletary of the National Football League (NFL) Hall of Fame linebacker for the Chicago Bears).
The 2007 event featured Colin Powell, Carly Fiorina, Floyd Flake, Marcus Buckingham, John Ortberg, Michael E. Porter (Harvard), Richard Curtis (film producer) and Former President Jimmy Carter.
In March 2001, the Chicago Daily Herald reported that a forum was held at Willow Creek for the world’s five largest religions entitled: Forum Unites Diverse Religions, where the church’s spokesman, David Staal, was quoted as saying, “All pathways to heaven and God are not the same; that’s the reality." The Herald went on to say that "organizers of the forum preached respect between the faiths" and "encouraged the representatives of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism to revel in their diversity" - not a concept you’d find in the Bible.
It is also worth noting that shortly after the tragedy of Sept 11th 2001, Hybels invited a Muslim cleric, Fisal Hammouda, who had addressed that earlier forum, to return to Willow Creek where Religion Today said he explained how "the Koran does not allow violence against innocent people." In an October 17th, 2001 summary piece, entitled: Willow Creek Church Welcomes Muslim Cleric’s Perspective, Hammouda was quoted as telling the crowd of 17,000, that they (Muslims) "believe in Jesus, more than Christians."
Bill Hybels has strong ties with Dr Robert Schuller. He called his first meeting with Schuller a “divine encounter.” Kay Warren, Rick’s Warren’s wife, said that Schuller had a “profound influence” on Rick, who was “captivated by his positive appeal to unbelievers.”
Schuller also promotes unbiblical links with other faiths, including an organization called CAMP (Christians and Moslems for Peace) .In 1992, he launched a new organization called Churches United in Global Mission (CUGM),
to share positively the message of Jesus Christ... (in) a spirit of unity that is truly Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, evangelical and charismatic.
Like Rick Warren and Brian Houston of Hillsong, Hybel’s advocates the use of modern marketing methods which are employed in order to discover what people want and then structure church with various programmes to make them feel comfortable in church, without feeling guilt or shame. This “soft gospel” is presented in an atmosphere of glitz, entertainment incorporating drama, humour and pop/rock music.
Back in 2008 Schuller said,
A mission is a place where you ask nonbelievers to come and find hope and feel love!...This spirit is the underlining principle that we have taught to over 50,000 pastors who over the years attended the Institute for Successful Church Leadership. These pastors returned home and built upon it and even surpassed what they learned from me. Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, and many other pastors of most of the biggest churches today are a result of applying that principle.... And we have to prove to the world that the church of Jesus Christ can be ecumenical!
Schuller regularly holds his all-star “Re – Think” conference at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. His guest list has included: former President George H.W. Bush; Chuck Colson; Larry King; Rupert Murdoch; Ben Stein; and Kay Warren, wife of Saddleback mega-church pastor Rick Warren.
Rick Warren announced his global PEACE plan on April 17, 2005, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.
Rick Warren was a guest speaker at the July 2006 Hillsong conference in Sydney, Australia as was Bill Hybels. In late 2006 Rick Warren admitted to being a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and Oxford Analytica.
Founded in 1975, Oxford Analytica is an international consulting firm which provides business and political leaders with timely analysis of worldwide political, economic and social developments. The firm acts as a bridge between the world of ideas and the world of enterprise.
CFR is an organization which has world domination in its sights, and the deliberate use of church leaders to bring about its aims.
I’m sure Rick Warren’s visit to Hillsong was part of promoting his PEACE plan!
Since then Rick Warren has launched all kinds of discussion with Moslems, and on July 4th, 2009—Independence Day—he spoke at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) conference advocating Moslems and Christians work together 15 toward common goals.
Iranian-born Obama adviser Ms Valarie Jarrett also spoke that week at the ISNA Convention.
ISNA has been linked with Hamas.
Unfortunately Hillsong is not just linked by mere association, the old maxim “if you can’t beat ‘em, then join ‘em” is the driving purpose behind this church and ones like it. In 2008 the Hillsong church supported the Roman Catholic Church’s World Youth Day 08 (WYD ’08) in Sydney by providing their United youth band, as one of the acts. Darlene Zschech remarked:
We see WYD 08 as a great opportunity to serve the [Roman] Catholic Church, with its vision to present the gospel, and reach out to our city, nation, and the world in unity.
Recently First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at one of the country's largest mega-churches, North Point Community Church to mark the one-year anniversary of the “Let's Move!” campaign to fight childhood obesity.
For years now evangelicals have been flexing their muscles and learning how to mix it up politically, relying on their patrons in Washington to attempt to change the culture. This obviously is very ego inflating, but all this belies the fact that pastors and leaders, desperate to increase their numbers and thus validate their ministries have, may be at times with the best of intentions, clearly altered the focus of the Gospel.
The trouble with all this politically minded evangelicalism is that suggestions are being made that the only viable long term solution in America, is for Christianity to change from seeing religion as a point at which people must arrive, to seeing it as a journey on which all religions and points of view are valid, and all people are children of God, whatever God may be. Instead of being influencers, Evangelicals like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren and others are the ones being influenced, and as a result they are “reshaping” the God of the Bible as one who is all encompassing.
Christianity is being challenged to shift from seeing itself as the one true people of the one true book of the one true God, to seeing itself as perfect for its own, amid a world of religions that are perfect for other people.; just one of the many faith communities.
The shame of this whole thing is these evangelical leaders are capitulating to the world. The world is not changing its stance or position one bit. Do you think Reverend Elder Nancy L. Wilson of Metropolitan Community Churches is going to change her stance on morality? Is Rabbi Julie Schonfeld going to suddenly acknowledge the precious Son of God, as her Lord and Saviour?
We have forgotten that we are a peculiar people, a people belonging to God! – 1 Peter 2: 9 - 10
Half of the seats on the President's Advisory Council committee remain vacant. Is the initial list just to placate and soften the church into thinking that at last someone is listening to us? Where are the Muslim groups, the Muftis, the secular New Agers, the Unity Church, and the Roman Catholic hierarchy who will want to have their say?
This sordid mob of Christian Pretenders and militant Jezebels are hardly a place for the Lord Jesus, and his people. They are sitting at a table of Devils!
God says –“Come out from among them and be separate”–
Don’t be unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And, what communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial? Or, what part has he who believes with an infidel? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty - 2 Cor 6:11-17 (KJV).
In other words get out of there; flee from this group of modern day babblers, with its courtiers and magi. Say NO - to being part of this half-baked synod of men pleasers!
There is an underlying biblical principle found throughout the pages of scripture.
Separation, not integration!
This is something that these leaders have failed to heed!
The early church is our role model for what our involvement (or rather the lack of it) is to be politically. Paul went to the Capitol Hill of his day, to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, cf. Acts 17 and Acts 28:11–30; not to sit with Jewish rulers and devotees of Zeus, Apollo, and Athena, and dialogue over making a better empire among Rome’s citizens.
Both Bill and Lynne Hybels have been sold a lie through false dreams and flattery, thinking that they can bring change and transformation to society through reform, and philanthropy, but instead they are being led to change and transform who they are, redefining Christianity and changing the Eternal God into an image of their own making, ultimately leading others down the path of a multi faceted One World Faith!
The Bible is very clear!
Take heed that no man deceive you …for there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets… for that day shall not come except there be a falling away first… - Matthew 24: 4 & 24: 2 Thessalonians 2: 3b (KJV).
And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove, what is that good, and acceptable and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith – Romans 12: 2, 3 (KJV).
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ – Colossians 2:8 (KJV).
You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture says in vain, the spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy? But he gives more grace. Therefore he says, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble – James 4:4 – 6 (KJV).
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ – Galatians 1:10 (KJV).
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that do not obey the gospel f God? - 1 Peter 4:17 (KJV).
About the author
Lance Goodall and his wife Norilyn left the Australian church growth movement in 2009. They both have a concern for the knowledge of God and His glory. They carry in their heart, a love for God’s honour, for His Word, and for the salvation of the lost. Lance can be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org
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