Wells on Hybels

David Wells on Hybels:
Willow Creek Community Church recently announced plans to abandon some key tenets of its seeker-sensitive strategy. What is the theological significance of this development?

None. Bill Hybels has, I believe, the very best of motives, but he and his church are sailing rudderless in our cultural waters. Or, to change the image, he is like a CEO who shows up at the shareholders’ meeting with very poor bottom-line results. So, what does he do? Instead of carrying out a serious diagnosis of what has gone wrong, he simply rolls out a new business plan that, unfortunately, has many of the same inherent weaknesses in it. The bottom line outcome will be no different five years, or ten years from now, from what it is today.

Plenary Session #1

The conference site had no wireless! And I wasn’t staying at a hotel. So the result is that the conference blog will be a recap that will last the next few days. I really enjoyed the time. The conference was life changing in many ways. I’ll highlight each of the sessions and put some audio up if I can. First, David Wells…

The first plenary session was kicked off with a great session from David Wells. He specifically addressed the Supremacy of Christ from the book of Hebrews. Wells established from the book of Hebrews the incomparable nature of Jesus Christ. The recipients of the book because of the threat of persecution were drawing back from their faith. The author of Hebrews works hard then to establish the Supremacy of Christ to what they wished to hold on to. In essence they were willing to trade “what was unique for what was not, what was completely glorious for what was not.” Wells then suggested we are in such a time. Instead of facing persecution we are facing the curse of the west. Wells said it this way: “We are so distracted by so many things that it is hard for us to sustain this focus on the supremacy of Christ on our work and our lives.” After establishing the supremacy of Christ Wells drew three conclusions. One, he insisted that Christianity is only about “this kind of Christ. Christ reigning supreme, unchallenge and unchallengable over all of life’s enemies. We do not have any message but this.” He continued to say if seekers are looking for something else, we have nothing else to give them. Not only that but he argued doctrine is what people are actually coming to church to receive. Two, Wells argued that we live in the “already but not yet” period of time. He argued that our stage is like a chess match that is already decided but has yet to be play out to its completion. In light of this we ought to always put our pain and perplexities in this bigger context. “These painful experiences that we go through, that sometimes consume us, none of these is the final word. ‘The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.’” Finally, he said “It is God’s pleasure that his son should be acknowledged now for who he is.” We are anticipating the time when every knee will bow.

I have to say, the confenece is off to a great start.

The Call to Authenticity

The postmodern reaction against Enlightenment dogma will not be met successfully simply by Christian proclamation. Of that we can be sure. That proclamation must arise within a context of authenticity. It is only as the evangelical Church begins to put its own house in order, its members begin to disentangle themselves from all those cultural habits which militate against a belief in truth, and begin to embody that truth in the way that the Church actually lives, that postmodern skepticism might begin to be overcome. Postmoderns want to see as well as hear, to find authenticity in relationship as the precursor to hearing what is said. This is a valid and biblical demand. Faith, after all, is dead without works, and few sins are dealt with as harshly by Jesus as hypocrisy. What postmoderns want to see, and are entitled to see, is believing and being, talking and doing, all joined together in a seamless whole. This is the great challenge of the moment for the evangelical Church. Can it rise to the occasion?”
David Wells, Above All Earthly Powers