POINT/COUNTERPOINT: Willow Creek Church Should Not Have Met with Soulforce

soulforce-ramus-ford_.bmpThis lesbian couple traveling with Soulforce — the “Rasmus-Ford family” — says, “God created us [as lesbians] exactly as we are with purpose and intention.” Should mega-churches like Willow Creek have agreed to meet with a homosexual activist group whose goal is to “cut off homophobia at its source – religious bigotry”? Sonja Dalton (below) says NO and Michael Brown says YES (under certain conditions).

This is a Point/Counterpoint on the question of whether Willow Creek Community Church (in South Barrington, Illinois) and other mega-churches should have met with the pro-homosexual activist group Soulforce, which aims to “cut off homophobia at its source – religious bigotry.” Below is a commentary by my good friend Sonja Dalton, who argues AGAINST such meetings. Click HERE to read an opposing column by Dr. Michael Brown, who says they can be used — with proper discernment — for Christian outreach.

We will allow each writer to respond to the other’s arguments, and welcome input from our readers, too; write us at americansfortruth@comcast.net. (Sorry, but we’re not interested in publishing pro-homosexuality pieces — there are plenty of “gay” websites for that.) Footnotes are at bottom:


Willow Creek Church Should Not Have Met with Soulforce

Point/Counterpoint [to read Michael Brown’s opposing column, click HERE]

By Sonja Dalton

A fundamental question has been lost amid the sensation over the recent meeting between Willow Creek leadership and pro-homosexuality activists affiliated with the group Soulforce:

Did Pastor Bill Hybels have Biblical authority to welcome, meet with, and dine with Jay Bakker and Soulforce?

First, let’s examine who these Willow Creek “guests” [1] were…

jay_bakker_small2.jpgJay Bakker (right) is the cigarette-puffing, tattooed, punk-rocker son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker; he’s the star of the Sundance Channel series “One Punk Under God” and “pastor” of the “gay”-affirming Revolution NYC [2]. He is quoted as having said:

“…I felt like God spoke to my heart and said ‘[homosexuality] is not a sin.’” [3]

(You might want to pencil that into your Bible, somewhere near Leviticus 18:22 or I Corinthians 6:9-11. Or not.)

On Sunday, June 8th, Bakker served as the “clergy leader” for “The American Family Outing” — a group of homosexual, bisexual, and transgender “families” who imposed themselves upon Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Community Church. These counterfeit “families” are, in fact, “queer” and allied activists associated with Soulforce [4], whose website states:

“The mission of Soulforce is to cut off homophobia at its source – religious bigotry…” [5]

The founder of Soulforce is Mel White, who left family and church to engage in homosexuality and who unabashedly preaches:

“I am gay. I am proud. And God loves me without reservation.” [6]

(The question is, Mel, do you love God? For Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.” John the Baptist taught: “Whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”)

Jeff Lutes, Executive Director of Soulforce, plainly articulated the objective of their intrusion in a June 2nd press release (no longer posted online):

Soulforce wants pastors like Hybels to “exercise a new kind of leadership by speaking out for the safety and inclusion of our families.”

So, to review, we’re not talking about hurting, questioning, seeking, sinful unbelievers, but rather about:

  • Jay Bakker, who claims to have a new revelation from God that homosexuality really isn’t sin after all,
  • And Soulforce activists, who explicitly (and blasphemously) claim to be both “Christian” and proudly, defiantly, unrepentantly “gay” (and bi, and trans, and more?).

These folks weren’t coming to Willow Creek sorrowfully asking, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (as in Acts 2). Their stated mission was to coerce the church to embrace sexual sin.

What does the Bible have to say about such people?

The Apostle Paul instructed the church at Corinth:

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.I Corinthians 5:9-11 (NIV)

And John the Elder instructed the churches:

Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God… If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.II John 1:9-11 NIV

It doesn’t get much plainer. There is no Biblical authority for greeting or conversing with these people.

bill_hybels.jpgWhen Christian leaders justify welcoming, meeting with, or eating with Soulforce, they arrogantly substitute their own wisdom for that of inspired apostolic teaching. (“I will show compassion rather than judgment; I will convince them with my gentle speech.”) Let us humble ourselves: If the Holy Spirit hasn’t convicted a man’s heart, can Bill Hybels persuade him? No; the principle in II Thessalonians 3:14-15 teaches us to have nothing to do with rebellious brothers in order that, through exclusion from fellowship, they might feel shame and repent.

Jesus warned The Twelve to “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” –– a warning that Willow Creek leadership would have been prudent to heed. As my cherished friend Abigail Ruth put it [7], in sitting down for a meal and dialogue with Soulforce, Hybels not only violated Scripture, but “[gave] the impression that the acceptance of homosexual behavior in the church is something worth discussing. Not to waste a good PR opportunity, Soulforce is predictably spinning the event for all it’s worth.”

I’d say. Read John (“Julie Marie”) Nemecek’s account HERE [8]. (Recognize that name? John was a married father of three sons, an ordained Baptist minister, an associate dean at Spring Arbor University… but now John takes hormones and dresses as a woman [9, 10, 11].) He reports that Willow Creek shared this understanding (punctuation errors as they appeared on his blog):

“(1) Sexual orientation is unchangeable. and (2) Sexual orientation should not keep someone from being received into their church. They acknowledged that 6 of the 7 verses used to condemn homosexuality are irrelevant; really referring to other things. Unfortunately, they still felt that one Genesis text supported their position that gay and lesbian members must commit to celibacy to become members.” [8]

(Mr. Nemecek, if Hybels loved your soul, he would have implored you to repent, for the Word teaches: “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.” – Deuteronomy 22:5.)

Paige Schilt, Soulfource’s media director, is quoted as saying:

“[Lutes asked Hybels if he] would take up the challenge of speaking more clearly on behalf of our community when he can — certainly as someone who believes that reparative [“ex-gay”] therapy doesn’t work and that sexual orientation of itself is not sinful. Even though there’s still distance between that position and our totally gay-affirming position, there’s still a lot he could do in terms of leadership on things that would create a lot more safety and protection for our community. And he responded really positively to Jeff’s offering that challenge to him.” [12]

From the same article:

According to Lutes, Hybels “has no trouble with people being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and he does not believe it’s a choice.” [12]

Another Soulforce participant (mis-) characterized the weekend as “a testament to the power of the Holy Spirit to move people of good will in a common direction. We found important common ground with the church leadership and look forward to continuing our dialogue in the future.” [13]

Does Bill Hybels believe homosexuals are “born that way”? Does he ascribe to the concept of “sexual orientation”? Has he dispensed with six Bible passages? Since Willow Creek has yet to issue any statement on the meeting, I have no idea whether Hybels actually conveyed those beliefs or not. (I certainly hope not!) But at minimum, these reports testify to terribly poor discernment.

It is my prayer that other men in leadership would contemplate this instruction:

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith,
act like men, be strong.

I Corinthians 16:13

And yes, as verse 14 continues: “Let all that you do be done in love.” Love that protects families and little children. Love that instructs confounded young people who have imbibed too many deceitful, erroneous messages from this wicked culture. Love that pleads with unbelievers whose hearts are yet tender toward God and, when confronted with Truth, might be snatched from the fire. And even love that grieves for these defiant souls, who must remain in Satan’s realm until the flesh submits to its Creator (I Corinthians 5:3-5).

Sonja Dalton writes, teaches Bible classes and workshops for women and children, and volunteers for Americans For Truth, Culture Campaign and several pro-life/pro-family organizations.

Source Materials:

1. www.soulforce.org/article/1340
2. www.revolutionnyc.com
3. www.radaronline.com/features/2006/12/empire_of_the_son_part_iii.php
4. www.soulforce.org
5. www.soulforce.org/article/7
6. www.soulforce.org/article/11
7. http://culturecampaign.blogspot.com/2008/06/homosexual-activists-heading-for-willow.html
8. http://julienemecek.blogspot.com/2008/06/soulforce-willow-creek-and-me_17.html
9. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/02/27/america/NA-GEN-US-Transgender-Professor.php
10. http://americansfortruth.com/news/john-becomes-julie-complains-over-firing-by-christian-school.html
11. http://julienemecek.com/
12. http://www.edgechicago.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=glbt&sc2=features&sc3=glbt&id=75795
13. http://www.queermessages.com/2008/06/08/soulforce-goes-to-willow-creek

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