In 1975 a second movement was born with the founding of Willow Creek Community Church in the suburbs of Chicago. The founding pastor, Bill Hybels, had been strongly influenced in his thinking, which gave birth to WCCC by two individuals. The first, Gilbert Bilezikian, a professor at Trinity College in Deerfield, IL, where he taught for two years, (1972-74) before moving to Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. Bilezikian was dissatisfied with the current protectionist state of the church.
Bilezikian recalls two aspects of his teaching about the church that were particularly influential on Hybels:
He resonated with the concept of the church as community – rather than as an institution or organization – as body, as community, as organism.
And then the second thing was the mission of the church, not to be just self-sustaining, or self-perpetuating, but to reach weekly into society and claim it for Christ.(1)
Bilezikian and his young protégé, Bill Hybels, recognized that the church had largely walled itself off from the culture around it. As a result it had marginalized itself and in so doing was perceived as having nothing to offer and therefore was simply boring and irrelevant to life.
The second major influence was a very well known and highly successful pastor in California by the name of Robert Schuller. Continue reading …
Like Robert Schuller (as we pointed out last week in : Thu 13 May 2010
Age of Aquarius), Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer also had concerns about the church and culture but took a very different stance on how to address the problem. His solution was not to hide from culture in a sort of Christian Ghetto as had been the predominate practice since 1930, nor as Schuller was promoting to simply gather around hand in hand self-actualizing and singing Kum Ba Ya:
Some Christians have supposed that the choice is between a revolutionary stance and some kind of reconciliation. The Christian, it is assumed, is to choose reconciliation. But we cannot have reconciliation in a world like ours unless something happens first. We are headed for the disaster I have described above, and no nice soft talk of reconciliation and the contentless word “love” is going to have any meaning in such a setting. We must have something stronger.(1)
He was clear that there was a difference between being a cobelligerent and an ally. He was also very concerned about the churches abandonment of truth and the Scriptures: Continue reading …
When the moon is in the seventh house And Jupiter aligns with Mars Then peace will guide the planets And love will steer the stars. This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius, The age of Aquarius, Aquarius, Aquarius.
Harmony and understanding, Sympathy and trust abounding, No more falsehoods or derisions, Golden living dreams of visions, Mystic crystal revelation, And the mind’s true liberation. Aquarius, Aquarius
The entrance to the 1970s seems to have the word “crisis” written all over it. The Conservative Intellectual Movement had been strengthened as a force to be reckoned with through the election of Richard M. Nixon in 1968. All of this would be called into question a few years later with Nixon’s presidential scandal called “Watergate.” The word “cult” had taken on new meaning with the arrest and trial of Charles Manson and his “family” for the Tate-LaBianca murders in 1968 and 1969. Although the horror of this crime rocked the nation it didn’t seem to occur to many that the Mason Family actions were just consistently carrying out the world view which most of the educational system had been teaching for over 30 years. It is probably unfortunate for Charles Manson, “Tex” Watson, Susan Atkins and the others that the inimitable Clarence Darrow wasn’t alive to defend them. He may very likely have been able to defend them to an acquittal with exactly that defense:
In a widely publicized case a year before the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial,” Clarence Darrow successfully defended two university students against the capital offense of murdering a boy for the intellectual experience of it. Argues Darrow, “Is there any blame attached because somebody took Nietzsche’s philosophy seriously and fashioned his life on it?… Your honor, it is hardly fair to hang a nineteen-year-old boy for the philosophy that was taught him at the university.”(2)
As author Philip Yancey points out: Continue reading …
One of the age old questions that most of us wrestle with is, “Why do I do the things I do?” The worldview one holds will to a large degree answer that question. The Apostle Paul in writing the book of Romans, systematically addressed the plight of man as compared with the holiness of God. For those who think they are pretty good or at least good enough to be acceptable to God on our own, he minced no words when he wrote, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10) and to make sure the reader got the idea he followed up a few sentences later with, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). In Romans chapter 7 he wrestles with the question of why he does the things he does and demonstrates that the fundamental problem is our sinful nature. But then again, the only real information Paul had about the nature of man came from postmoderns today consider his uninformed theo-centric worldview developed from Scripture and revelation. In other words, he only knew what God had revealed and we would simply have to wait until the 20th Century to get the “real truth” on these matters. The “real truth” would come from psychology, occultism, Eastern religions and ultimately ourselves.
Pushing the envelope on peak experience through drugs and Eastern religions, Timothy Leary founded his own church in 1966: Continue reading …