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Why Bill Hybels Serves as a Warning to Pastors

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

Let’s examine why Bill Hybels should serve as a warning to church Pastors.

Pastor Hybels Should Have Listened to God

The fall of Bill Hybels is something Pastors should pay attention to. Let me be clear — I am not celebrating the fall of one of God’s beloved!

However, he became the arch-type for the church leader who loves the world, preaches innovation, and falls away from God.

Anyone celebrating this should be ashamed and are not followers of Jesus Christ.

However, I rejoice in that this man has misled millions of people, the world over, and can no longer do so. The Lord “killed the ministry to save the soul.” For that I glory in Him.

It may seem that he fell because of a few indiscretions but the truth is much simpler.

Hybels was a purveyor of a false ‘leadership’ gospel and God removed him. In the Book of Galatians, Paul opened his letter with a Holy Ghost greeting.

When reading chapter 1, it was hard not to notice Paul quickly arrived at the purpose of this letter.

Here is that text:

Far be it for me to suggest that there was only one purpose, however. Pastor Hybels stopped listening to the call of God to become “popular.”

Nevertheless, the first issue Paul tackled was the church walking away from the gospel. Also, in the Book of Revelations, we have read scripture that says “thou hast left thy first love.”

This is exactly what the Galatian church had done. They had fallen away from the very gospel they had fallen in love with earlier. Paul rebuked the Galatians because they had moved from a foundation of sound doctrine.

Bill Hybels Preached Galatians and Ignored its Warnings

Nothing is different today — there are still other false teachings. Some are Mormons, Hindus, Buddhism, Jehovah Witnesses, and Islam.

The most damaging nevertheless, are the falsities inside the church!

Paul tells the church: “If I or any angel from heaven preach any other gospel other than what we have preached let them be accursed. I will say it again; if I or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel other than what we have preached let them be accursed.”

This is a serious statement. Paul is not only saying that his gospel is correct, but that anything else is cursed!

He did not only say this curse applies to temporal time, but those who dwell in the eternal as well.

The Leadership Gospel is Another Prosperity Message

Along with the aforementioned ‘leadership gospel’ espoused by Hybels, the ‘prosperity gospel’ is perverted doctrine as well.

I would go further to say these two are one and the same. One preaches “worship of money” while the other espouses “worship of power and self.” Prosperity teaches that God wants us to have material wealth.

This, according to this doctrine, should be both a result of, and component of faith. God did not ordain for all His people to be rich (worldly riches anyway).

This is What this false message looks like:

In fact, prosperity preachers forget Jesus said: “it is easier for a camel to get to through that I of a needle than for a rich man to inherit the kingdom of God.”

If God meant all people to be materially rich, how do you explain the poor beggar Lazarus? Even if you hold this to be nothing more than a ‘parable’, without real people involved, Jesus Christ told the story.

Further, how do you explain Jesus saying: “foxes have their holes, and birds have their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head”?

Nevertheless, Jesus went further, in the example of the rich young ruler, by telling him to: “go sell all he had, give it to the poor, and follow me.” The Bible says: “the rich young ruler went away sad, and he didn’t do it but because he had great possessions.”

What those texts collectively teach is it is difficult to get into the kingdom of God with material wealth because it distracts from Jesus Christ.

Pastor Hybels Compromised Truth for Prestige

We often compromise the truth of the gospel because it hurts (in our carnal minds anyway). However, when we preach the hard-core gospel of Jesus Christ, more people walk out than come in.

Hybels compromised truth for prestige and now has neither to stand on. Many, especially new ages churches, are more interested in ‘butts in the pews’ than souls in Heaven. Is that biblical? No!

Jesus said: “He didn’t come to bring peace or to bring people together he said he came to bring the sword to divide mother against daughter father against son” etc.

By not preaching the hard-core gospel, we are preaching another gospel.

Oftentimes, as part of our church growth strategy, compromise is built in. In the new age church, for instance, the office of Deacon has been replaced by so-called ‘care ministries.’

There is nothing wrong with these ministries as a component of the church, but to replace a biblical office?

How could such strategies not be another gospel?

People believe they know what is best while at the same moment preaching “only God knows what is best.” No pastor, apostle, teacher, or other, has the authority to nullify the offices God set up!

Biblical Truth Never Modernizes: It Only Endures

In the name of modernizing the church, we have “changed the truth of God into a lie.” Isn’t this exactly what scripture predicted in the last days?

One reason the church is thinning out is those outside see we do not believe, much less live by, what we say. In effect, we are ‘in sin,’ and wonder why our ‘better way of sinning’ isn’t immediately adopted by those ‘still in sin’?

This is what Hybel’s Willow Creek Leadership Summit is based on. Hybels appeals to the flesh of worldly business leaders. His strategy is making the lost and lustful church people think they are ‘Kingdom Leaders.’

This is what I am referring to as a ‘false leadership gospel.’

An example is the recently deceased General Colin Powell. He was invited to a ‘church’ leadership summit by Pastor Bill Hybels. Hybels put Powell in front of tens of thousands of church leaders to train them on how to lead God’s Sheep.

Re-read that!

I would love to have General Powell come to our church. However, I would not allow him to teach either our Deacons or ministers anything. He is a general in a worldly army and we are soldiers in God’s Army.

Those are hardly the same thing. Scripture indicates: “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal..” Powell’s implements of war are ‘carnal’ so how can he teach us how to fight a spiritual battle?

For instance, the military model teaches assaulting enemies with overwhelming physical force to quickly subjugate them.

The Bible says something quite different: “love our enemies, it tells us to pray for those who spitefully use us.”

I am not suggesting the ‘turn the other cheek 100% of the time’ false doctrine either. This just serves as one difference between what the world leaders say versus the Bible.

Further, in Powell’s leadership model — ‘leadership cream rises to the top.’

This is measured by a carnal matrix of traits with no spiritual value. In the Kingdom of God, it is not ‘cream’ which rises to the top rather the ‘chosen.’

Those God calls to lead His people are hardly “cream.” They range from ex-felons to

former prostitutes and cowards. Having served in corporate leadership, church leadership, and the Marine Corps, these are hardly the same.

In Powell’s military model, the best people will eventually become known and put in a position of authority. However, in the Kingdom, it is not ‘strengths’ which define a leader rather, their recognition of personal weaknesses.

The downfall of Bill Hybels demonstrates it is only when we admit weakness that God can step into our lives and make us strong.

Do not come to the throne room of God bragging about your skill set and believing you are super woman/man.

God Doesn’t Change Truth but Preachers Do

God does not need us; we need him. It is only by His grace, and mercy that we are reconciled to Him. The Bible says: “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life which is found in Christ Jesus.”

Those who have “forsaken their first love” seek out the General Powell’s of the world.

Saved and sanctified former drug addicts are much more qualified to lead God’s people than General Powell, or Bill Hybels for that matter.

Additionally, wayward shepherds like Hybels will look right past such real soldiers of Jesus.

Former drug addicted prostitutes are more effective leaders than even mighty Oprah Winfrey.


They know it is God who had mercy on them and not any leadership ‘strength’ they possess.

Unlike Bill Hybels and ‘Willow Creek Leadership Summit,’ real leaders refuse to blend any form of wickedness into the church. They instinctively refuse a strategy of compromise.

I am not saying the General was not a Believer, of course. Only that his skills, resume, glorious war record, etc., are useless in spiritual warfare. While he may be equipped to conduct carnal war, he is hardly so for warring a spiritual one!

Hybels and his false leadership gospel has made mockery of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Allow the downfall of Bill Hybels life to serve as a warning against defying God through ‘innovation’!

Header Image Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Televangelist Image Courtesy of The Nation via Michael H. King

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