Pastor at Bill Hybels’ megachurch was sent up the “creek” for naughty stuff

Posted: February 27, 2009 in Denominational Fun, Keep it real, On Your Wall, Spin Doctor, Televised Theology and Toiletries, WWJD
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Here’s an interesting scenario for you: There’s a seeker-sensitive megachurch, let’s call it WILLOW CREEK (yeah, I know, cryptic). They preach serving and compassion. They claim to love God, yet they are acting like most churches their size and dining on their young.

Case in point: Pastor Steve Wu recently “resigned” after he admitted to sexual impurity.

“He admitted to sexual impurity and has taken full responsibility for his sin,” the statement said. No other specifics or details have been revealed by church officials. What happens next with Wu is not clear either, but the statement said Wu “has expressed a desire to participate in a restoration process. We would ask you to pray diligently for Steve in these difficult days.”

Yeah, that’s sweet. Um, about that though:

  1. Yeah, not in megachurches. The money works though.

    Yeah, not in megachurches. The money works though.

    Doesn’t this dude get some sort of “get out of jail free” card for ADMITTING to this “impurity”?! I mean, it’s not like he was the pastor of this gigachurch who invited Bill Clinton to discuss his own impurities before the entire congregation. Sure, that’s hypocritical, but moreover, it contradicts being “compassionate,” doesn’t it? He didn’t have to tell the “sensitive” clerics at Willow Creek.

  2. It’s not a crime to be “impure” these days. Anyone watched TBN lately? I’m sorry, I meant to say network news. (It’s one in the same these days, right?) There are impure cats proselyting daily – they’re called HUMANS! Only Jesus is pure, but they would know that if these tools would stop seeking butts in seats, and start seeking the Bibles left in those seats.
  3. Just what did this guy do? Have a bad dream? Hit on someone’s daughter? Aren’t our standards a little high when a church kicks a guy out in the street for being… well, like the rest of the folk in that church?!
  4. What happened to “serving a God of the second chance”? Where did all that mercy and grace go I hear about every Sunday at my church? Does the Holy Spirit have to stop for cab fare before he makes the trek to Illinois? No thought of deliverance. No chance for prayer. And certainly no thought of the economy… oh, well I read the statement. Sorry. You covered your bases with that sage PR.

At least Steve Wu will be held in fond memory given all the many great things he did there.

Records of Wu have been removed from the church’s website.

Ah, well maybe not. So, after a minor crime and a real admission, dude was convicted, and then they rocked the Caesar on this guy. Et tu, Hybels? Stay classy… brother. Sigh.

  1. sara says:

    I don’t go to large churches. They seem to lose track of what they are suppose to do. I will only go to a church that goes strictly by the entire Bible. …not by bits and pieces of the Bible.

  2. jskern says:

    Hmmm…sorry, but I think in an effort to be cool and snappy, you just come off sounding shallow and sarcastic…and very unclear.

    As for Wu, well, sin is sin, whether in deed or in thought. Looking at porn is evidence he lacks discipline (Titus 1:8) and possibly has an “unclean spirit” residing in his body. And sure, lust happens, we are all tempted of Satan, but sating that lust is an act of the will, ergo a sin. Using an employer’s PC to do so is both immoral and unethical. Yeah, he should be removed, prayed over and watched closely to see that his repentance was genuine.

    May the Love of Christ fill every heart.


    • hiscrivener says:

      Ah, well. I’m a lot deeper than I let on. It’s a defense mechanism. Sorry about that.

    • Jaycee says:

      Please…you sound ridiculous and have nerve to sign this stuff…May the Love of Christ…, yeah, what ever happened to the ‘love of Christ’ in this scenario? Exactly, what did SW do to deserve getting kicked to the curb? WWJD

  3. Yeah I think if his sin was looking at porn, and he confessed it – then they should have offered grace, counseling, and accountability. If it continued to be an ongoing problem or devolved into a physical encounter – then removal.

    I am curious did he resign or was he asked to resign? There is a difference.

    • hiscrivener says:

      See, that’s the rub. If megachurches have anything these days, it’s PR. So suffice to say, Steve Wu uh, resigned… wink wink, nudge nudge, saynomore saynomore.

      Can you imagine the firestorm he is was actually fired for this? Ongoing issue or not, some folk prefer forgiveness and regimen over adding another unemployed to the world these days.

  4. hiscrivener says:

    Mr. Pugnacity,

    You know, if we were boys, living down the street from one another, I would so walk over to your house and ask you for a coke and smile at some sports bar to talk about this.

    I’m sorry if text doesn’t convey resonance. It’s a tender spot for me, because I can’t imagine the filth that has settled on the collars of preachers across this country; yet, those are the tools who sit in judgment over those of us who battle the same penance.

    I’ve seen countless good people fired from major ministries because of a small faux-pas, while the pastor was taking a cut of the top of the offering plate. (No kidding).

    So, here’s some clarity:

    1. What strikes me is that Wu admitted his wrongdoing, and no, I don’t know what it is. So, I called a few insiders I have that mentioned a.) his admission was to thwart “getting caught” and b.) it involved his PC. So, uh, I think we all get it. The guy was just stupid for that, and you would get fired anywhere for doing the same. Peace, Pastor Steve.

    2. If that’s the case, I get it… but I still don’t like it. You just want a church to extend the same grace to their family that they do to the folk warming the pews. When it doesn’t happen, it reminds you that churches are business as usual. As it should be, kinda.

    3. It’s difficult to trust the judgment of people who cast aside theocratic ways for autocratic selfishness, which happens in churches all the time.

    In closing, it’s a scab of mine when rubbed itches like a mess. I want megachurches to find the balance between running things top notch like a business, but remembering when their folks screw up, they are still a church. After being told to fire people for minuscule things, I kinda hoped Wu did something fierce or just stupid.

    He did, so I can go back to sleep now. Still care for that coke brother. 🙂

  5. Ann Brock says:

    I don’t understand what did he do? Was it his action or was it a thought?

  6. Rich Bordner says:

    I’m confused, are you being sarcastic (i.e., suggesting more should have been done, or bemoaning pastors sinning sexually)?

    I’m seriously asking. I’m not trying to make a point.

    But, speaking of points, I’ll make them now: if you are being serious, I don’t see why you are objecting at all.

    As to #1: church discipline doesn’t contradict “compassion.” Holding someone accountable (especially someone in a leadership position) is straight from the Bible (1 Cor 5) and needs to happen more these days. It leads the leader towards repentance, and protects the flock. Tough love is compassionate.

    #2 &3: I think you might be reading into the word “impure.” You don’t know, but you seem to assume it was something “minor” like lustful thoughts. The fact of the matter, like I said, is that you don’t know. It might have been something like actual adultery or addiction to pornography; those two things absolutely call for church discipline if the guy is in leadership. That’s not asking for perfection; that’s holding the leadership to a standard. Isn’t hypocrisy one of the greatest barriers to belief in Christ? How many have left the church because the leaders project a holy facade in the pulpit, but they themselves are in deep sin (often sexual)? How many have left the church due to sexual scandals of the pastorate? If a church does not exercise discipline, it is wide open to something like that eventually happening.

    I just did a google search on Steve Wu, and found a HuffPo article reporting the story. Go check out the comments. Non-believers looooove it when a leader falls. Again, *if it was something like adultery, leaving him in the position would only increase the scorn and would perhaps lead to a repeat offense in the future, whether Wu himself or someone else at W.C. We simply don’t know.

    Instead of knocking the leadership of that church when you don’t know, its safer to trust their judgment. They are the ones that have the full story, not you. Trust their judgment that its something serious enough to warrant discipline.

    #4: this one baffles me the most. Even the quote you provide leaves the possibility of restoration open. You write as if they say, “this guy’s a fraud and will never be let back in the church.” They don’t say 100%, but neither do they sound overly pessimistic either.

    If this was something like adultery or pornography addiction, it would not be “serving the God of the second chance” if they kept him in his position. It would be “serving the God of turning a blind eye.”

    At this point, I’ve gone back 4 times to re-read your post, just so I can make sure I’m seeing things correctly. Every time I go back, more and more loaded language pops out at me: “kicking a guy out in the street,” “Holy Spirit stopping for a cab fare,” etc. I don’t think these terms are accurate, given the lack of information you have on this incident. You make them sound so, well, sinister and callous. How do you know? Why the rush to judgment?

    Forgiveness/restoration and serious consequences aren’t mutually exclusive.

    If I take your words at face value, in conclusion, it seems to me like you are making some hasty conclusions.

    I’m gonna go out on a limb on this next statement: I’ve been a reader for a while, and I notice you frequently knock the Church. Now, that’s fine (we need a swift kick in the rear often), but I wonder: if Willow Creek didn’t discipline this guy and remove him, and you found out he committed adultery, would you write a post attacking Willow Creek’s lack of action? Would you call the pastors hypocritical and fault them for their false compassion?

    I’m not the biggest fan of W.C either…I just don’t see why you are objecting in this instance, though.

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