22 June 2010

The Problem with "Hearing" from God

In his new book, "The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God and Having the Guts to Respond," pastor goat-herder Bill Hybels seems to illustrate by default why "hearing" from God is not the most trustworthy source of revelation. Here we have Bill Hybels, founder of the Willow Creek Association that has deftly led thousands of churches down the wide path of the seeker-sensitive movement, and he is telling us that he has been "hearing whispers" from God for 35 years. As yesterday's episode of Wretched Radio (you can listen to this segment by clicking here) was reading from the foreword of the book, it seems as though Mr. Hybels was "hearing whispers" from God even before he was a Christian. Well, that makes me feel so much more confident in the Willow Creek model!

The back cover of Hybels' book boasts,
Without a hint of exaggeration,' says pastor and author Bill Hybels in his new book, The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond, 'the ability to discern divine direction has saved me from a life of sure boredom and self-destruction. God's well-timed words have redirected my path, rescued me from temptation and re-energized me during some of my deepest moments of despair.'
Well that's just great. Because we all know that Jesus really died to save us "from a life of sure boredom" and to "re-energize" us. Uh-huh.

Zondervan's website tells us:
In The Power of a Whisper, vision is cast for what life can look like when God’s followers choose to hear from heaven as they navigate life on earth. Whispers that arbitrate key decisions, nudges that rescue from dark nights of the soul, promptings that spur on growth, urgings that come by way of another person, inspiration that opens once-glazed-over eyes to the terrible plight people face in this world—through firsthand accounts spanning fifty-seven years of life, more than thirty of which have been spent in the trenches of ministry, Hybels promotes passion in Christ-followers' hearts for being wide open to hearing from God, and for getting gutsier about doing exactly what he says to do. 
Notice that Hybels is promoting passion for "Christ-followers" not Christians. Because, let's face it, calling yourself a Christian is so very not cool or relevant these days. And he wants these "Christ-followers" to be "wide open to hearing from God." Wide open, huh? Well, if you're depending on Bill Hybels to feed you spiritual truth you may be leaving yourself wide open to hear from someone, but it won't be God.

Speaking of being fed spiritually. Click here to see a video of Bill Hybels speaking at his own Leadership Summit. In this clip he is responding to a poll/study that his church did that revealed (shock of shocks) that mature Christians did not feel as if they were being fed by the Willow Creek model and by the teaching at that church. About halfway through the video you can hear Hybels' very mature and eloquent response, "I'll feed those people. I'll hire some old seminary prof, I'll feed 'em till they barf." You'll notice that the audience simply loved this hilarious comment.

Now, call me crazy, but if God has been talking to you all these years, wouldn't he have "whispered" in your ear a church model that would actually be successful and edifying for His children? Come to think of it, doesn't the Bible offer us that true model of what the church should look like? Oh wait, what was I thinking? Did I just suggest that Bill Hybels use the Bible for more than just pulling a half-verse out of context? Perish the thought!

I'm glad to see that Hybels has published another book and is continuing to spread his debilitating seeker-sensitive, contemplative spirituality disease. I'd hate to see him drop off the map of relevance.

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