Hybels, Warren & HIV/AIDS

kinnon —  December 1, 2005 — 3 Comments

Here is an interesting statement coming from the Mega Leaders of the Megachurch:

LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Megachurch pastors Bill Hybels and Rick Warren both expressed their deep regrets for not joining the fight against HIV/AIDS sooner as they partner to call the Church to quickly take action in the battle against one of the world’s greatest humanitarian emergencies.
Bill Hybels, senior pastor of the 18,000-membered Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, Ill., and Rick Warren of the 20,000-membered Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. both began their sessions Tuesdays with apologies for their lack of awareness and response to the pandemic that is expected to kill 93 million people by 2010.

“Willow would be on the list of churches to get it too late,” reflected Hybels. “As I look back, I take full responsibility for this. Our church just celebrated its 30th anniversary last month. I have to live with that. I confess it. I believe it is covered with the cross but it is a mystery to me why I didn’t get it.”

It’s a mystery to many of us why the megachurch movement in the west hasn’t got it. However, when your focus is on the apparent good life available in Christianity – it’s hard to focus on the realities of life for most of the rest of the world. (And Bill, if it’s covered by the cross, will you be putting one up in your church again or is that too unseeker friendly?) Bono would have a much more charitable response.

Read the whole thing here. Linked from the comments section in this post at SoulPastor Blog.

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

3 responses to Hybels, Warren & HIV/AIDS

  1. What an odd mea culpa! It is a confession that carries no consequence, and one that draws far too much attention to confessor, not the issue.
    As well meaning as these guys want to be, the problem is that as men who have created a religious enterprise that has made them fabulously wealthy, the only way their confession of ignorance ultimately makes a difference is by their demonstrating some sacrifice that is dramatic and remarkable, and sacrificial.

  2. Well said, Ed. This quote from the news release makes me particularly crazy:

    Bill Hybels followed by urging pastors and church leaders attending the conference to simply do what they can despite their insufficiencies, lack of knowledge and resources and let God take care of the rest.

    “That is what God is asking – give it a shot,” said the Willow Creek Senior Pastor. “He will meet you along the way but you have to move. He will give you the people, resources, and money.”

    What resources do we lack? We are already fabulously wealthy. We only need to take a little focus off of our “needs” and place the focus on the real need.

    Interestingly enough, Hybels was talking about AIDS in an interview with Business Week* back in May:
    Q: What impact will the growing clout of evangelicals have on the U.S.?
    A: I have great hopes that we will do even better in the future in regard to serving the poor, bridging the racial divide, engaging in the AIDS crisis, and taking a stand for the oppressed. Community engagement will rise to a higher level than it has in the past.

    Right after they get all the felt needs of their present “attendees” sorted out?
    * link to snipurl.com

  3. Ed, the one who should be confessing ignorance is you. Neither of these men are wealthy. Bill Hybels had his salary capped off years ago, recently went three years with no salary at all, and lives in a modest one story home while Rick Warren has paid back his salary of the last twenty years to Saddleback and gives away almost everything he earns from his books. Both of these men have set the standard for sacrificial giving very high and there are few pastors, in America or elsewhere, who have done more for the church. I’m not surprised that neither the apology nor the efforts of these two men appeases you…your bias allows you to see only what you expect to see.


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