Steve Carter, the former lead teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church. Photo by Tyler M. Hoff

Former Willow Creek pastor Steve Carter breaks his silence on Hybels allegations

CHICAGO (RNS) — Steve Carter was supposed to be in front of his congregation interviewing Ira Glass, the famed NPR journalist and host of "This American Life." 

Instead, the lead teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church was throwing up backstage.

Carter, 38, had become physically ill that Sunday, Aug. 5, after reading an article published that morning in The New York Times about the church's founding pastor, Bill Hybels. The newspaper reported allegations from Hybels' former assistant Pat Baranowski, who said that Hybels had fondled her breasts, rubbed against her and once engaged her in oral sex.

For months, the evangelical Christian megachurch in the Chicago suburbs had been rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct against Hybels. Reading Baranowski's story was “a breaking point," Carter said.

“I felt like my body was shutting down," Carter told Religion News Service. 

While church leaders scrambled to respond to the Times report, Carter walked out the door, went home and began typing out his resignation. As soon as services ended, he announced his departure on his blog. 

“The new facts and allegations that came to light this morning are horrifying, and my heart goes out to Ms. Baranowski and her family for the pain they have lived with,” he wrote. “These most recent revelations have also compelled me to make public my decision to leave, as much as it grieves me to go.”

RELATED: Willow Creek investigates Hybels as pastor quits over new allegations

In his first interview since leaving Willow Creek, Carter spoke with RNS about his decision to quit, his feelings about its founding pastor and the questions he still has for the church.

He’s also written a book about why he left Willow Creek, called "Everything to Lose: Doing the Right Thing When the Stakes Are High," which will be released in November.  The book, from publisher David C. Cook, replaces one Carter was planning before his departure, focusing on his leadership role at the church.

Carter said he was inspired to listen to his own doubts by Baranowski’s story.

“Pat’s story was pretty brave,” he said. “I thought, what’s the brave thing I am supposed to do?”

Leaving Willow Creek meant giving up a prestigious role at one of the most influential churches in the country.

Steve Carter, left, with his former mentor Rev. Bill Hybels, right, and Willow Creek Community Church lead pastor Heather Larson, center. Photo courtesy of Willow Creek Community Church

Last year, before the allegations against Hybels had surfaced, Hybels announced his plan to retire in the fall of 2018. He appointed Carter and Heather Larson to succeed him in the roles of lead teaching pastor and lead pastor, respectively. 

But the two found themselves in those roles six months earlier than planned. In March, an investigation by the Chicago Tribune revealed allegations of inappropriate behavior with women by Hybels. Several women said Hybels had invited them to hotel rooms or made suggestive comments about their appearances. In one case, Hybels allegedly kissed a co-worker against her wishes. 

RELATED: As Willow Creek reels, churches must reckon with how power corrupts (COMMENTARY)

Willow Creek initially denied all the allegations and claimed former church members were colluding to ruin Hybels’ reputation and harm the church. Soon afterward, Hybels retired early. The allegations against him have continued to surface — some dating back decades, according to Christianity Today

Carter blogged about some of his concerns with the way the church was handling the allegations in late June and offered an apology for the church’s initial response, writing, “I recognize that I am not blameless in this.” He also offered to resign at that time. Other leaders at the church asked him to continue in his role until they decided how to make his resignation public, he said. 

Then came Baranowski’s story.

It was the most detailed account of alleged abuse he had heard — including her accounts of conversations with Hybels, which she had kept in a series of journals.

And it didn’t fit Willow Creek’s narrative. The church's elders had hired an outside firm to conduct a thorough investigation into Hybels’ conduct. But no one, it seems, had talked to Baranowski, an administrative assistant who had worked closely with him for years.

“I assumed that they would have done that. They must not have ever talked to her,” he said.

So, he decided, “For my own integrity, I don’t think I can do this anymore.”

RELATED: Willow Creek elders and lead pastor resign in wake of Hybels revelations

Three days after Carter left, Larson and the entire Willow Creek elder board apologized for mishandling the accusations against Hybels and announced they too were stepping down — Larson immediately, and board members by the end of the year.

Carter's feelings about Hybels still are mixed, he said. Before Hybels' resignation in April, he repeatedly denounced the accusations as lies. Carter even stood on stage with Hybels when he made those claims — a decision he now regrets.

But Hybels is a friend and mentor, someone who has had a profound impact on Carter’s life, someone Carter loves. Hybels was hard on him, pushing him to be better, he said. But he was also good to Carter. 

“I have 1,000 good stories with Bill. And I have 10 wounds from him,” he said.

Still, Hybels wasn't the man Carter thought he was. He knows that the women who say they experienced harassment from Hybels had a much different experience, he said, and he has reached out to them since leaving the church.

For now, Carter said he has been focused on three words: Grieve. Breathe. Receive. He is working through the grief of leaving a church and congregation he loves and not rushing into anything new. He's focusing on his own spirituality and asking God what he should do next.

Aside from the book, he’s planning to do some speaking and to keep working on a podcast about sports and religion that he co-hosts with Chicago Bears linebacker Sam Acho. Carter and his wife, Sarah, also are supporting a crowdfunding campaign to provide counseling for victims of abuse.

And he wants to believe Willow Creek can be saved.

That starts, he said, by confessing the church's sin and acknowledging its failures. Willow Creek leaders announced this past summer that a team of outside Christian leaders would conduct an investigation into Hybels' conduct and the church's actions. The details of how that investigation will proceed are expected to be made public this week.

Carter still has faith in the people of Willow Creek. They have continued to volunteer, to give, to serve their neighbors despite all the turmoil, he said.

“I think the people of Willow are really strong. They love the church,” he said. “That’s one of the pieces that really breaks my heart.”


  1. Now would be a good time for a man like Steve Carter to re-evaluate the stated core beliefs of the ministry with which he was associated, rather than pretending that Bill Hybels’ personal failing is that church’s main problem. Going to the Elder Statements on the Willow Creek website, we find:
    “WE BELIEVE the Bible is the inerrant Word of God”.

    Honest people should be coming to understand that 1) this is demonstrably not a true statement, 2) holding it out as true—-when it isn’t—–is actually a hindrance to ministering Jesus to people who need Him in their lives, and 3) the “every word of this Bible is true” crowd are the main nuts supporting the entire aura of Trumpism projected upon the world as though no one in America has a lick of sense—–spiritual or otherwise.

    Go leftward, Steve. What you followed was a hoax, but you can still be a minister if you straighten up the act at churches. Scripture is a collection of writings by various men over time. It contains many passages of great usefulness for making men and women into kinder people. It is not “the” Word of God. It is not inerrant. It is not the only source of either wisdom or knowledge. A young guy like you can launch from here into telling a more comprehensive truth. Net, net. one does not need to subscribe to either Genesis or Revelation to have Jesus. It’s a fraud when churches insist otherwise.

    (I once attended a church which blew up like this one—–a similar problem with the founding pastor. There were associate pastors on staff there too, following the Founder. SOME of them were good guys, SOME of them were absolutely not.) Go forth from here resolved a be a good guy. Tell truth, not something else.

  2. Apparently, Hybels didn’t actually believe the inerrant word of god, did not believe in sin, did not believe in hell.

    I’m sure he believes that Jesus has forgiven him.

  3. These guys sell what makes them adored as stars in their local flocks. The fact that it is baloney never matters. THIS is the bigger problem. The rest of us suffer when those flocks sally forth as buffoons to capture public policy for the benefit of the savviest sharks in society. They claim to vote against abortion. Then you mostly get high-end tax cuts and court decisions favoring corporations instead of people.

  4. It all comes back to trump with you. You should see a therapist.

  5. You are using THIS kind of tragedy to attack the authority & trustworthiness of the Bible? Seriously?

    This is very bad optics, dude. Sure, sure, the run-of-da-mill atheists attack the Bible, that’s their bread and butter and boo-boo, but you say you are a Christian, right?

    You already know what Jesus says about Scripture in John 10:35. The unbreakable word of God (no asterisks, no exceptions, no jive, no junk, no joke.) So why are you trying to pick fights with the Lord Jesus Christ?

  6. I am a Christian who believes Jesus can save people FROM the religious behavior which came before him——and from various other sins which result in catastrophe as well. I believe he thought that too. To me, those who worship the Bible instead of the Spirit are the ones who are picking a fight with Jesus.

    As for the connection of THIS tragedy to Bible worship, I see it as a straight line. Hybels apparently did not understand or appreciate the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, the model for how men are to treat women to whom they are not married. He did not seem to know that the reason not to mess with women inappropriately is not some phony piety concerning written-up sin, but a concern for those women themselves. Jesus knew, however. How much does the Bible talk about this? Not much. How much can a Spirit-led man connect to this model? Infinitely, if he is not too busy trying to convince people of OT things that never happened as written and are counter-productive to love. Always remember, whether it’s Jews, Christians, or Muslims, the more people carry on about the literal truth of the first five books of the Bible, the nuttier they are and the less you can trust them on everything else.

  7. FriendlyGoat: the scriptures are not the problem; the problem lies with the fallen sin nature so well documented in Isaiah 43, Psalms 14, 51, etc., and in Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1, 6-8, etc. No, the problem is that if we don’t ‘put to death’ the sinful nature and walk through the Spirit’s power in the ‘new nature’ that the new birth provides us, we still dwell in darkness. It is a battle for all mankind who receive Christ, to each day say ‘no’ to the sinful nature we’re all born with and cloth ourselves and walk in the new nature, as outlined in Ephesians 4-22-24. Hybels is no different than any other man in that, except that he wasn’t willing to repent of his sinful desires..

  8. That was precisely my point. He doesn’t believe sin exists.

    Except that he’s not good. He is apparently a hypocrite, a liar, an assaulter, a harasser, a fornicator, and an adulterer.

  9. Exactly.

    But wait! there’s more! Hybels can claim with absolute authority that JEsus has forgiven him. So he’s good to go.

  10. Or more likely, he didn’t actually believe the crap he was selling. Or didn’t believe it applied to him. Or believed, as so many so called Christians seem to believe, that he could violate norms of human decency and Jesus would forgivehim. Jesus always does.

    Funny. I’m an atheist. I have never sexually harassed anyone, never sexually assaulted anyone, never used my position of authority to coerce sex from anyone, never had sex with an underaged person or a child.

  11. Good to see articles showing exactly what Christ will forgive His of, when they sin. Should show the heathen there is hope for them also

  12. there is no other way to know Jesus than through His word – you want to call that “Bible worship”, you are the one who denies himself of the glory and truth of Christ
    Christ taught from the first five books of the Bible – another truth of His that you seem to have missed

  13. Ah, the usual trolls making snarky comments and dishing out the hate toward people who disagree with them.

  14. Yup. That’s what happens when one doesn’t believe that sin exists; or a creator to answer to.
    You get to do what you want.

  15. So which Old Testament texts and historical claims did Jesus say “that did not happen as written”?

    That’s the problem. Jesus NEVER did any of that modern skeptic stuff. Adam, Eve, the Noahic Flood, what happened to Sodom, He took ALL those accounts seriously and literally.

    The non-stop skepticism on the historicity and reliability of the OT Scripture, is completely alien to, and opposed to, Jesus Christ.

  16. Actually, that is not what happens at all.

    YOU get to say the things you say, and your argument is circular.

    Religion makes people moral. No religion, no morals. We’re all sinners, every one of us.
    Obviously, Hybels didn’t believe the things he said he believed, therefore he got to do what he wanted. Other Christians get to sin, profess their beliefs, and are forgiven. Then they can sin again. And profess their beliefs again. And are forgiven again. And on and on and on and on.

    Either way, you have a get out of hell free card for yourself.

  17. Let me quote psicop becuase he said it more clearly than I just did.

    Re: “So Maybe religion just has nothing to do with being good or bad at all.”

    Well, yeah. That seems obvious. The problem is, that’s not always how it’s taken. Religious folk often play a game with this and try to have it both ways.

    1. When one of their own misbehaves, they’ll eagerly make this admission. “S/he’s only human,” they’ll say, “and we all mess up.” They go along with your observation, no problem! So the moral failures of believers don’t reflect badly on a religion, you see.

    2. Otherwise, however, they stomp around trumpeting how morally and ethically superior they are, because of their religion. They’ll often say the only way to be moral is to belong to their faith … and everyone who’s not part of it must, therefore, be an amoral creature who’s just itching to commit all sorts of horrible crimes.

    The problem, of course, is that admission #1, that everyone messes up, contradicts assertion #2, that a religion makes people morally upright. These two notions don’t agree logically … but that little detail doesn’t matter to them. It’s hypocritical, of course, to claim a faith makes its followers morally upright but it’s not discredited when they prove less-than-upright — still, they do it nonetheless, and with their heads held high. What a freaking joke.

  18. And which ones are those?

    And why is it hate to point out hypocrisy?

    And why is it when so called Christians called gay people threats to everything good and holy, It is simply disagreement. But when we call their hate filled comments hate, we are hating on them?

  19. Church (the big universal church, including all denominations and all history of them) is forever struggling with this idea: “We’ll be okay WHEN we finally get enough ministers who will not fall into sexual sin, prideful sin, financial shenanigan sin, take-advantage-of-the-flock sin, or some other sin and blow up the fellowship.” Problem is, it doesn’t happen as consistently as most of us would like. You are correct about the Spirit’s power, but not very many people stay in it. One of the reasons why is that you CANNOT get in the Spirit and stay in the Spirit while propounding things you know to not be true. There is a lot of heart fakery in the ministry biz.

    There would be and will be less of it when ministers are permitted, in fact obligated, to tell the truth. The earth is not 6,000 years old. The Tower of Babel does not explain languages. God did not lead Lot to offer his virgin (and betrothed) daughters to a mob of evil men for the sake of a story about male-male sex. Start at the bottom to build the foundation of anything you want to last. If you want to get rid of ministers “falling” into sexual sin, START by convincing those ministers of their obligation to the PEOPLE they minister to. What is that? Don’t harm them with falsehood and don’t harm them psychologically in any other way either by any personal behavior with them. Stop talking about the “fallen” nature of man/men and start talking about the humanistic duties of ministry.

  20. Acknowledging truth, as we learn it, is not “opposed to” Jesus Christ. It is possible (likely) that Jesus worked within the human knowledge of his time, taking seriously or literally what was then known, or thought to be known. If Jesus is willing to forgive us for our errors of commission or omission, we must be able to forgive him too for not knowing, for instance, the actual history of earth as a planet. It is much easier to do that than to insist that he was all-knowing of all sorts of future knowledge but unwilling to tell anybody. I mean, it would have been helpful for mankind to know about germs for millennia before anyone actually did. I am much more comfortable with assuming he knew what he knew and did not know what he did not know, than with “I am God, but I would rather you all suffer in ignorance until you figure out what causes diseases.” You’ll call me a blasphemer for sure, but so what? I love Jesus for elevating the love standard over everything else. That was enough.

  21. Dude, quit while you’re ahead. You are NOT a Christian.
    “Forgive” Jesus for not understanding the actual history of the planet?! May I remind you of the Book of John: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
    I just walked you to the woodshed; I’ll let Floyd dish out the beating.

  22. People who lived at the time the Gospels describe (however inaccurately) had no way of knowing that the stories in the OT were wrong. They didn’t know they were right but could only replace them with equally unevidenced stories – so why bother.

    Two thousand years later we know better. We have the evidence, and the tools with which to understand that evidence, and we know that the stories in the OT are wrong. Simple as that – wrong – no Garden of Eden, no Flood, no Exodus, no tower of Babel etc. etc. etc. Quite possibly no David or Solomon either (they may have been the patriarchs of a local estate – a village and a few farms maybe, but the fact that neither the Egyptians nor the Hittites regarded them as important enough to mention, despite allegedly being a major buffer state between them, is highly suggestive that “kings” they weren’t.

    Indeed – those who wrote the stories probably didn’t consider them “right” – just stories that got across the religious points they were trying to make. History, as we understand it, is a comparatively recent concept.

    Just because there is no record of Jesus questioning the myths in no way validates them and any suggestion that it does so is to misapply logic and reason.

  23. So what – a book says something – that’s what books do.

    Just because you choose to invest that something with a devotion that is unsupported by evidence does nothing to validate your belief.

    Many people have done the same with many different books – just as devoutly, assuredly and evidence-free as you.

    They were/are as likely to be wrong as you.

  24. LMFAO, see if he fights back.

  25. Because you call everything with which you disagree “hate”.

  26. All you’ve explained is why – in addition to your focus on your crotch – you’re not religious.

    What a freaking joke.

  27. And you don’t.

    You just say you’re right and what you want is a “right”.

    And on and on and on and on.

  28. On the other hand he apparently never played naked leapfrog.

    So it’s a wash.

  29. Or, he’s an atheist living in accordance with his own moral code.

  30. And I’m sure you don’t believe in god or Jesus, so your statements are ludicrous on their face.

  31. Wow, these posts are getting INTENSE around here!! Makes me chuckle out loud.


  32. Someone has to make money from this.
    Might as well beat everyone else to it.
    Thought that what interesting, how this book got finished in record time.
    Sorry, I’m not “buying” it (pun intended).

  33. You’d almost think that it was months in preparation. Either that, or he got over his shock and disbelief faster than anyone could possibly imagine.

  34. I don’t know why. Maybe you do. It wasn’t what I said.

  35. Cool. You’re carrying on about the literal truth of the first five books of the Bible, making a negative assertion, but you’re still doing it.

    Should I apply your principle here? I suspect that’s not what you meant.

    Asserting you’re a Christian, but one who discards what Christ used as Scripture, makes the first phrase questionable to me.

  36. What would be evidence of the Garden of Eden? Where should we find it? Has anyone looked for it?
    What would be evidence of the Flood? Where should we find it? Has anyone looked for it?
    What would be evidence of the Exodus? Where should we find it? Has anyone looked for it?
    What would be evidence of the Tower of Babel? Where should we find it? Has anyone looked for it?

    And on and on.

    I question that you’ve used anything approaching logic and reason to discard the “myths”. You quite apparently want to discard the “myths”, so you do.

    I don’t have easy answers for my own questions, but I don’t discard them as myths simply out of lack of easy answers.

  37. Neither does religion. It is scientifically impossible for a virgin to give birth, FYI.

  38. That’s why it’s asserted as a miracle. It’s never been asserted as scientifically possible. That’s why it’s supposed to be a big deal.

  39. Many books have been published regarding things that, at the time of publication, had no evidence. Until people kept looking and found the evidence.

    Chalking something up as unsupported by evidence and then giving up seems counter to what we’re supposed to do in our scientific world.

  40. No one cares about stupid lies made up for attention.

  41. And you can say with complete authority 2,000 years after the event that it’s a lie, simply because you can’t conceive of anything that’s not scientifically possible? I could try to come up with a list of things that science now says are possible that science used to say were impossible, but I don’t know that you’d pay attention long enough.

  42. Christians don’t care about science in the slightest, unless they can use it as a bogus excuse to discriminate against anyone they don’t like. #ThatsSoChristian

  43. You’ve made a universal assertion about Christians, including Christians who are scientists. Now prove your assertion.

  44. I grew up in Alabama. That’s all the proof I need.

    You assert that a virgin gave birth, which is an obvious logical fallacy. Now prove your assertion.

  45. No, it’s not. Anecdotal and personal experience is not scientific evidence. There are millions of Christians outside of Alabama.

  46. If they claim to be scientists, and also claim that a virgin gave birth, they are clearly bad at their jobs.

  47. You didn’t say bad at their jobs, you said they use science as a bogus excuse to discriminate. If science means anything to you, then prove your assertion.

    I’m not discounting your experience growing up in Alabama as fake or a myth, by the way, just saying you can’t use that experience as a universal and apply it to all Christians.

    As a general rule, you’re right, virgins don’t give birth. Again, which is why it happening would be miraculous, not a lie for attention. But, just as much as the assertion that it happened would have to be proven somehow to be scientific (which is impossible 2,000 years after the assertion), the assertion that it’s a lie can’t be conclusively proven either.

    It’s an unprovable assertion, non-scientific, but not conclusively a lie.

  48. I asserted that a virgin birth would be a miracle. The idea is that somehow God impregnated Mary, without intercourse. We can do that now with scientific methods. 2,000 years ago, it would have been impossible. Virgin births are possible now. How is that a logical fallacy?

  49. It obviously didn’t happen 2,000 years ago. Why do you insist on lying to children? Don’t you know that’s psychological abuse?

  50. You’re shifting the goal posts. We have no way of knowing whether or not it obviously didn’t happen 2,000 years ago. Christians base their beliefs in a lot of ways on unprovable things. But at the same time, if they’re unprovable, they cannot be ruled out with finality.

    Either back up your assertion or admit that you can’t. Trying to deflect to a different argument doesn’t win any points.

  51. It’s totally a lie for attention, and to frighten children into submission, so that they can be more easily abused by everyone from their parents to their priests. “Miracles” have no place dictating government policy, educational curriculum, or the availability of basic health care services such as abortion.

    This is the Emergency Reality Check System: you are being told to Get Real.

  52. You’re trying to deflect from the fact that you can’t prove your assertion that a virgin gave birth 2,000 years ago. You expect me to take it on “faith”, as you do. What a waste of time.

  53. I didn’t expect you to accept anything other than my assertion that it’s a non-scientific proposition to begin with and that you cannot disprove it any more than I can prove it.

    I don’t expect you to accept my beliefs. It’s clear that you do not.

  54. What in the world are you talking about? I’m sorry that you apparently had a bad experience. What you’re doing is called projection.

    So, Mary made up the fact that she was pregnant by no man in order to get some sort of attention? OK, sounds human, but not able to be proven either way as to whether she did so or not. You’ve repeatedly made conclusive statements, as if they are provably false, 2,000 years later. They are not, as much as I admit that they are not able to be proven as true.

    How does the virgin birth idea dictate government policy, educational curriculum, or the right for women to end the lives of their offspring?

    You want me to get real? Fine. Then stop using deflection, projection and calling termination of a human life “basic health services” and we’ll get along swimmingly.

    And yes, you’ve hit that hot button, I would say intentionally. Which deflects from the topic at hand. Get real yourself.

  55. Excuse me? A fetus is not “offspring”. Yet another logical fallacy from you.

    Get your unfounded, unscientific religious “beliefs” off my body.

  56. You expect me to accept your “belief” that the contents of MY uterus are somehow YOUR business.

  57. Did it originate itself? Is it the product of previously existing cells from previously existing human beings combining in fertilization? No to the first. Yes to the second, regardless of if it happens through intercourse, IVF or anything else. It has human DNA. It is human offspring.

    Medical, biological fact is not unfounded, unscientific religious “belief”. Go get a dictionary, preferably a medical one, and come back when you’ve grown up. I’m done.

  58. Abortion is a basic health care service. Stop letting women die from complications during pregnancy. That’s murder, FYI.

  59. Like I said, Christians LIKE YOU don’t care about science in the slightest, unless they can use it as a bogus excuse to discriminate against anyone they don’t like, such as people who seek, provide, or even support the idea of abortion, A LIFE-SAVING MEDICAL PROCEDURE FOR PREGNANT PEOPLE EVERYWHERE.

  60. If there is no evidence available anyone can make a guess – inevitably some will turn out, with the benefit of hindsight, to be accurate(ish).

    The problem for those who want to take every word of the Bible as literal truth is not that there is no evidence – there is a massive amount of evidence, and the only conclusions that evidence leads to says that most of the bits of the Bible which can be compared to some evidence fail that test.

    It isn’t a case of waiting until the evidence for the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Exodus, the Creation or the birth in Bethlehem is found – we have the evidence – it says that the Bible is wrong. It is reasonable to continue to look for more evidence, it is not reasonable to discount the huge amounts of evidence we have just because no-one has, and probably never will have, found something that supports a preferred solution. Otherwise I’d be entitled to ignore all the pictorial evidence and maintain that I am the world’s most handsome man – it’s just that I’m still looking for that elusive photo.

  61. Interesting article. Nasty situation. Not sure I will read the book but nothing against the idea of him doing it. This is a sensitive situation and many were hurt by it. Others might find it helps fill an empty spot in their thinking on this subject. Applaud him for his decision to “do the brave thing.” The brave thing is also often the rare thing.

  62. Evolution – fossils, DNA, 30+ different ways of dating the age of rocks/the universe – many have looked but none have found.

    Geology – the absence of the indicators that would be left by such an event – many have claimed to find the evidence – they have yet to convince those who are expert in the field.

    2 million people plus goats wandering around for 40 years in an area that they could easily have crossed in 40 days would leave a lot of evidence. Many searched prior to 1967 – since the 6 day war Israel has spent huge anmounts of money seeking to back-up it’s origin myth – nada.

    Linguistics and Phonetics +, presumably, ruins and quarries. Those who study language know the origins of languages and can trace the routes through which many of them spread – except Basque apparently!

    I don’t discard myths because I don’t have easy answers – I discard myths because the evidence, all the evidence, says that they are wrong.

  63. Friendly goat…..Cynicism is understandable at times. But you have made some amazingly subjective equivalents here. For one thing, believing in the Bible is not “the church’s main problem.” Not living by it is probably a more logical sequence of thought here. Equating all this with “Trumpism” is is odd indeed. This does not logically follow “believing the Bible is the inerrant Word of God” or voting Democrat or ??? I can think of a number of evangelicals who are Democrats….and a number who are conservative but are not into “Trumpism” and never have been. (The other two candidates in the last presidential election were problematic as well.)

    You say you once “attended a church which blew up like this one” — and others also have stories good and bad about same. Me included……. But you did not stop going to the movies when certain actors and entertainment moguls were accused of sexually inappropriate things (did you?) ……nor did you stop eating sandwiches at fast food places like Subway when some spokespersons were found to be wanting……or high school football games when coaches had, um, accusations……or watching Olympic sports just because a (you remember that one?) ,,,,,you also did not stop believing in the law of gravity just because Isaac Newton was somewhat of a difficult person to deal with at times, did you? (Or how are you explaining why you do not float off into space?)

    A little balance here!! The Bible, by the way, is a great book and historically pretty reliable…..

  64. You will say people must assert that the creation story, the Noah story, and the Babel story are literally true in order to be Christians. I will make the case, since we now know none of those are literally true, that a person must acknowledge such myths AS MYTHS in order be a Christian. We are either serious about trying to be truthful, or we are not.

  65. Except for the 81% support Trump received from Evangelical voters, he absolutely, positively would not be president. In Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the white people who refer to themselves as born again supplied Trump votes all by themselves which were more than 25 times the margin by which he won those states and hence the Electoral College. The Church Conservatives bought his thousands of lies and his snarky talk hook, line and sinker before the election and since. I know that some Christians claim to want to put distance between themselves and the embarrassing spectacle of what they elected, but you or they need to talk to someone besides me.

    The so-called Church is responsible for the incredible upward shift of both wealth and power out of the hands of ordinary people which will now occur unchecked due to the tax cuts and the court packing. The fallout from this will go on for 20 years or more. Sorry, Robin, but I actually do know what happened. If you’re already rich, you’ll like it. If you’re not, you will eventually be wondering where your economic lunch went. Doubling down on Reaganism is not going to be a pretty result for the lower half of the people in America.

    Church was supposed to have the discernment to know better than electing this result, but, frankly, it is too dang busy with Genesis and Revelation Obsession to know when it is being played like a violin by billionaires—-even by Russian trolls.

  66. It was not unusual to claim virgin birth as a sign of divinity – the Egyptians, Romans and the Greeks did so amongst others. It eventually became a sign of reverence to describe a person as having been born of a virgin – apparently it was said of Socrates; no-one believed it to be true, it was just a way of showing extreme respect.

    So – was it true for Jesus?- presumably the answer is that it was as true as it was for other deities.

  67. Just a minute … Let’s start using our brains! Mr. Hybels allegedly fondled Baranowski’s breasts and rubbed against her. So far, so bad … Then he supposedly “engaged her in oral sex”. So why didn’t she say “NO”? Before reaching the point of oral sex, clothes have to be (partially) removed, positions have to be taken up and so on. Clearly, it is not only Mr. Hybels who is being deceived. Ours is not to judge others for their failures but this is most definitely not a case of bad on the one side versus innocence on the other.

  68. Nice thoughts, Friendly Goat. But what I was addressing were your previous remarks. In that you made a great equation between believing the Bible to be “the inerrant Word of God” and the behavior of which Hybels has been accused.

    That part seems more like a subjective leap than a logical consequence of anything. If you say you believe something that — for example — forbids adultery, frowns on divorce, drunkenness, sexual liaisons outside marriage ,etc — then you would attempt to live by that. In this case, the failure has been this inidividual’s “alleged” (so far) failure to be anything close to that. .

    I also pointed out that you and I — like everyone else — still go to Subway, believe in the law of gravity, and view forms of entertainment — despite, at times, some of the errors or bad behaviors associated with people in those genres. We do not abandon “belief” in the law of gravity because of Isaac Newton’s personal failings, for example. In the end, same with belief in the Bible and in following Jesus.

    And then you made another giant leap into politics. This is another subject entirely. Believing that every “right thinking person” — or “Christian person who really is Christian” or “nuclear physicist who really believes in nuclear physicist” is going to go hue to your particular perspective — is setting yourself up for disappointment and emotional exhaustion.

    In the last election, I myself was amazed at the lack of respectable candidates– beyond the primaries. It was as if the Dems were just throwing it away. (They probably were, in fact ….) And, if you looked back further, you would see that during the actual primaries, the majority of evangelical support was for a separate candidate (or two). The Trump support included a lot of others, not simply evangelicals.

    But again, this subject is a grand leap from the article in question and where you started your initial argument.

  69. I’m glad you think my thoughts are “nice”. I work on making them so, truthful anyway. For instance, I would ask you to notice that Newton’s observations on gravity are called a “law” of gravity because they have been tested and retested by millions of people (both professional and amateur) and no one can disprove them. Things Newton may have ever said which are disprovable, if any, have been revised or superseded, by the way. He is celebrated for what he deduced correctly and not for anything which was errant.

    This is not at all the case with the Bible. The earth is not 6,000 years old. It is billions of years old. There was not a time in the last 6,000 years when a volume of water greater than that in all the seas suddenly appeared from nowhere as a flood over the mountaintops and then receded back to nowhere in a matter of months. Most everything in the Old Testament has little external evidence to corroborate and support what is written there, for that matter. Defending it is nothing at all like the proofs required by scientific inquiry.

    As for entertainments, I really do have no interest in following people as stars whose lives are revealed as messes or negative influences. My wife and I are not movie buffs, and haven’t been to Subway in the last 20 years at least. We DID, however, spend decades in church including a 13-year commitment to raise our one son in Evangelical Christian schools. The disappointment we have had with watching this segment of society dump Jimmy Carter for Reaganism was profound. The fact that church people (MAINLY church people) are now over the moon for Trump and Trumpism is far worse. This junk is really, really going to hurt a lot of people for a long, long time.

    So, how does this stuff happen? Well, people get used to lying about what the Bible is. Then they have no trouble lying about science, environment, education, economic policy, health care, human rights, voting rights—–the whole boat of policy subjects—often for no purpose but to protect their mistaken views on what the Bible is and what it is for. Your president has picked up on how well this works for sucking in certain people and is now documented past 5,000 outright lies or intentionally misleading statements since taking office. This is only possible because of gullibility at church. No other group could have enabled such an ongoing national fib fest.

  70. ???Givethedogabone…..You are making a ton of assumptions here……Ample evidence for a Flood exists and that region has a history of bad flooding, going way back. The belief that there was a flood that at some point was a sort of dividing line in history goes way back in Sumerian thinking, per Maier, Hallo, Kramer, Mallowan, bunch of others…..

    The events you list (garden of eden, exodus, tower of Babel, etc) all took place a very long time ago — esp the Eden thing. Good arguments exist that this account was a refutation of the other notions of human origins that existed in that era….In other words, not creation vs evolution but YHWH vs Marduk or similar…….There is enough info in the biblical account ()combined with what is known culturally) to argue for an exhaustive event like the Exodus — the knowledge of landscape, Egyptian names and words in the text, etc etc……..

    As for David and Solomon — hold it!! Even the minimalists are choking on that one these days. They existed…..that is known now. Kings you say? Major buffer states?? The world was a smaller place in those days……what was massive then is Podunk Nowhere to us now…..Does not mean that they were of no consequence by the measure of their era.

  71. “The belief that there was a flood that at some point was a sort of dividing line in history goes way back in Sumerian thinking, per Maier, Hallo, Kramer, Mallowan, bunch of others….”

    1 – The vast majority of people ever, going back pre-Sumer I suspect, believed that the sun went round the earth – the number of believers has no impact on the validity of their belif.

    2 – Yes local floods are seen in the geology of the area – a global one is not; anywhere.


    “The events you list (garden of eden, exodus, tower of Babel, etc) all took place a very long time ago — esp the Eden thing. Good arguments exist that this account was a refutation of the other notions of human origins that existed in that era….In other words, not creation vs evolution but YHWH vs Marduk or similar…….There is enough info in the biblical account ()combined with what is known culturally) to argue for an exhaustive event like the Exodus — the knowledge of landscape, Egyptian names and words in the text, etc etc……..”

    1 – “took place a very long time ago” – no – it is claimed that they took place a long time ago

    2 – Being a refutation or a belittling of other god(s) in no way encourages belief in it’s accuracy – indeed one could argue that since the intent would have been to destroy an opposing, equally unevidenced, belief veracity would be a minor consideration.

    3 – Actually some of the towns named did not exist when the Exodus is said to have happened – they were founded prior to the story being written down. Equally some locations which existed when the exodus is supposed to have happened had name changes over time – and only the later names are used – perhaps because the writers were unaware of the original names.

    4 – There is still the need to explain how Egypt survived when over 50% of it’s population (2m out of 3.5) decamped. How could it have fed itself, maintained it’s borders against aggressors and left no record of any stress in it’s extensive archives? How can 2m people plus livestock avoid hitting the edge of a relatively small area of land for forty years? How can such a band leave no discernable trace? All the evidence, other than stories, points directly at the Exile/Exodus being a unifying myth. There is more evidence to support the existence of the Loch Ness Monster (as sold to tourists) than of the Exodus.


    “They existed…..that is known now”

    Sources please – my understanding is that there is no reliable reference to either outside the Bible and related documents.


    “Major buffer states?? The world was a smaller place in those days……what was massive then is Podunk Nowhere to us now…..Does not mean that they were of no consequence by the measure of their era.”

    Israel (as claimed) would have constituted a (the) substantial buffer state between the two major regional powers – Egypt and the Hittites. Their land would have been seen as the equivalent of Cold War Europe. A place for the contenders to battle without harming the homeland. As such both sides would have been desperate to have Israel ally themselves to the superpower, to delay the aggressor whilst the defender amassed its own army. They would have showered gifts on a canny leader and recorded his and joint exploits whilst seeking to absorb culturally and practically the land and its people.
    Again, as I understand it, there is no evidence that acknowledges such a power balance – not in Israel nor in either Egyptian or Hittite archives.

    Absence of evidence is, of course, not evidence of absence; but the onus for proof is always on the proponent and, other than some writings designed for religious purposes rather than 21st century academic historicity there appears to be none. Under such circumstances the options are rational unbelief or irrational belief.

  72. Thanks for all the thoughts, Friendly…..

    Carter!!??!! That takes you back a bit!!! I actually voted for him once — basically because I was annoyed with the conservatism of those around me at the time. Not much different from what others have done at times, it seems……

    I did note that you mentioned some nasty experience which led you to do a lot of changing…and asked if you stopped doing certain other things once you read of the failings of those in that field. Glad to hear you do not eat at Subway (though the owners of your local chain are not). But that would not be the point. There are too many stories. You probably would not go to your dry cleaner if you only knew —!! (don’t tell me you never take things to a dry cleaner).

    You have applied a black-and-white thought pattern to only one aspect of your life??

    As for the Bible — who says it says the earth is only 6,000 years old?

    In his book Science of God, Gerald Schroeder noted that “From the time of Aristotle, 2300 years ago, scientific theory held the universe to be eternal. …. Einstein even claimed to have proven it, though with some sleight of hand …..For 3,300 years …. the Bible denied it ….” And then came the development of the Big Bang — a theory that so offended some astronomers, because of its implications of a beginning, that they tried to argue against it.

    I suggest you read Schroeder, who is not a Young Earther, by the way. He has his own view on that, and I would point out that there is a range of views even among conservative Christians (of which Schroeder is NOT one)…….

    As for the matter of a flood — read Peter Enns’ The Evolution of Adam, where he noted that “It does seem likely that there is a historical basis for the flood stories of the ancient near east….” see p. 47-50……See also Bernard Ramm from 1954 on this subject.

    As for “most everything in the Old Testament [having] little external evidence to corroborate and support what is written there…..” This is somewhat of a broad brush.

    In Second Kings 5:18 — the temple to the god Ramman mentioned here is site site of a later temple to Zeus, known archaeologically now — became later the Temple of Jupiter … later the Byzantine Cathedral of St. John…later the Umayyad mosque……While this does not corroborate the whole of Second Kings, it does show some knowledge of the region and of things that existed in the era discussed by the writer of that time.

    Lyres, which were instruments of the sort David has been said to have played, go back to mid- third millennium in the Ancient Near East regions

    In Genesis 15, there is an account of a treaty between YHWH and Abram. There is certainly outside evidence that this pattern of covenant-making — that is, the idea of God/gods being witness to a treaty is common ancient Near Eastern practice” — see Greenfield in Ancient Israelite Religion, p 67

    Genesis 37:28 names the correct average price for a slave of that era. — see Kitchen. This constitutes some level of “external evidence to corroborate and support” — that is, knowledge of practices and traditions of the region being discussed and of a certain time frame.

    The name given to Joseph by Pharoah in Genesis 41 “sounds Egyptian,” per my instructor at the Oriental Institute in Chicago……….

    That the ancient patriarchs of Israel were “escaping from a drought that can be scientifically documented” — said the authors of The Exodus: Myth, Legend, History, p. 54-5….dunno what year they postulated for this (though see below), but the idea of Bedouin passing through and being given food was a custom of the times…..

    Genesis 47….Ice cores from Mt Kilimanjaro show evidence of a famine 3600 years ago in that region

    Genesis 50 — shows knowledge of Egyptian embalming practices

    Importantly — Genesis 49 verse 10-12 contain lines that were considered messianic at the time of Jesus, and were applied by the Church to Him.

    Food shortages of the sort described in Genesis 41 were not unknown and the storage of such foods, in the months before harvest, in temple granaries happened in the Ancient Near East (Sumeria/ Babylon) and the accounts of Genesis 41 show familiarity with that practice. You did say “little external evidence to corroborate and support what is written there….” but these accounts at least “ring true” in the sense of knowing customs, common names, geography, details…..there are not a lot of sources for ancient history

    The name of the community of Seir appears in ancient Egyptian texts along with the name Edom — and for that see the Nov/ Dec 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

    If you are next going to argue that there was no David or Solomon, you will have to deal with the problems that this view now holds……

    The genealogies in Genesis 22 are said to contain the names of geographical and tribal entities in Mesopotamia and Canaan…….the Hyksos mentioned in the biblical text were people who actually existed and were Amorites who lived in Egypt after about 1750 B.C.E. , per Hallo/Simpson……

    The use of stones in biblical accounts such as Genesis 28, are a practice that conforms to an ancient belief that stones were the dwelling place of a deity, per Hoffmeier in one of his books, Ancient Israel in Egypt — though it meant different things to different people.. Van Seters has noted this as well.

    I am sure that you have the Exodus in mind. You can read a range of views — from Dever who no longer believes in it, to Kitchen and Hoffmeier who note, variously, that the story in the biblical account shows enormous familiarity with the geology, geography, ecology of Egypt, not to mention of the Ramesside era in particular — incl knowledge of the methods of brick production. The ancient historian Manetho told of an exodus of 240,000 entire households with their possessions — a different “exodus” but one nonetheless.

    The “writers of Judges have described much of the actual historical process accurately,” said Van Dever

    The existence of David and Solomon became more likely (for some) with the discoveries at Tel Dan in 1993 plus 1994. Also, the Mesha Stele mentioned “the house 9of D] avid” — see various issues of Biblical Archaeology Review magazine for this and other things. I realize that this is still controversial with minimalists. But the controversy may rest with presuppositions and not much else……

    The late A. Leo Oppenheimer, a highly regarded Assyriologist, noted in one of his books that the Old Testament is “generally reliable” when it comes to historical matters. Sherwin-White, not a theologian, wrote a book discussing the use of Roman names, political titles, and etc in the book of Acts. He noted that the writer of Acts (traditionally believed to have been Luke] showed great familiarity with details of names, titles, etc. This is a compliment, by the way. He thought Luke “muffed up a bit” with the birth account in Luke. But this is another issue.

    In short….there is plenty of external evidence for various aspects of the Old Testament story (I did not list everything). Furthermore, there is no need to describe people as “lying” when they say such things exist.

    As for the rest….your politics are yours……5,000 lies? Someone is counting??? In 30 or 40 years, you and I will be dead ( Trump, Clinton, Sanders too). The more important thing is where you stand with God………..

    Work on that one.

  73. See my response to Friendly Goat on this subject (nearly same thing).

  74. 1) Thank you for your deep interest in all this and your response made with some obvious effort and concern. Here is a link to a site which explains in detail how some people estimate the age of the earth at about 6,000 years. This is all based on the Bible.

    2) We do not go to Subway because we like other sandwich shops better. It has nothing to do with their former spokesperson or any person. We also don’t go to dry cleaners because we are retired and no longer have occasion to wear woolens ( even though I still own some suits purchased in the 1980s which are in fine shape and still fit—–if I had reason to wear them). Recently, an Evangelical friend (yes, we do have some) passed away in a accident. We went to the “celebration of life”service at their conservative “mini-megachurch” with about 400 of the faithful and the deceased’s extended family who attended. I had dusted off one of those suits for the occasion, and discovered that the pastor and I were the only men there so suited. I’m so old, I guess I did not know that many of the Evangelicals now do church in daily-wear (including funerals).

    3) Yes, people are counting the falsehoods emanating from The White House, and also observing that the Chamber of Commerce gang is presently receiving the moon from Republicans in government while working people and ordinary voters are being set up to fall further and further behind economically for the rest of their lives. As an accountant for the first 25 years of adulthood, I discovered that high-end tax cuts actually don’t create living-wage jobs, that collective bargaining is not evil, that governmental social programs are necessary, and that heavy doses of leftism within free enterprise are the only reason why America ever had a viable middle class at all. I’m not the “commie” some accuse me of being, but when church people join in the whine against “Obamacare” (as they dubbed it for derision), I say they don’t know squat about health insurance, about how the “free market” provides nothing to people except that for which customers by definition pay more than what they can possibly receive back in benefits. I administered health insurance for hundreds of people in a group plan decades ago. I do know how it works, and without government supervision, there are no plans which are not rip-offs. Without government help, there are no plans which can protect families against their real exposures and be “affordable” for people working those “miraculous” $13/hour jobs we now excel at “creating”.

    4) So, when church people use their votes to feather the nests of billionaires while ignoring the actual economic interests of people in their own flocks AND ignoring the economic interests of all those unsaved people they WISH were evangelized and in their flocks, I break ranks with them and actually broke ranks with them after we saw how Reaganism played out for real. The rich got richer. The stock market zoomed (for those who are in it.) The government went broke. The unions were assaulted, many of the small-town and rural areas went dormant, families went heartbroken, NFL players became our main Gods and kids went to drugs and tattoos. Why? Tax cuts. Who supported that stuff? Republicans. Who elected them? Church. Why? A lot of lying.

    5) My wife and I never forsook, denied, or stopped appreciating Jesus. But he and the NRA, The Heritage Foundation, The CATO Institute, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News Channel, and much of so-called Religious Broadcasting are not the “same thing” and are not really even remotely on the “same side”. We have a lot of church people worshipping the Bible itself and Donald Trump (DONALD TRUMP !!!!!!) at the same. But they do not know the Holy Spirit from a hole in the ground as a result of this confusion and we want no part of “fellowshipping” with people who insist on deluding themselves about everything real while electing one of the most notorious jerks America ever produced.

  75. You really think the book has no price tag on it? Not it today’s world of American Christianity.

  76. Well, thanks for speaking your mind!!!

    Your initial comment was that there was little to support evidentially the accounts in the Old Testament. This is/was something of an overstatement, and not accepted by many/most who deal with ancient history.

    I have perused Answers in Genesis from time to time and know people who take their cue from that. I do not, however, and they are not the go-to site for everyone. The creationist movement (in the modern AIG sense) seems to have begun as something of a reaction to some “modernist” controversies and to the theologizing of a Seventh-Day Adventist writer (with no geological background). This writer sought to rationalize the “prophecies and visions” of Seventh-Day Adventist founder Ellen G. White who claimed to have been taken back in time to observe the creation week…..and this knowledge of that week justifies Saturday/Sabbath worship. Yes…I did look into and read her accounts of her prophecies and visions. In the Garden of Eden, according to Ms White, Satan was downright chatty.

    Since most evangelical people are suspicious of extrabiblical visions that “add” to theology — it is interesting to me that no one has really been alarmed by this stuff. … However, I am not SDA so it may be a topic for their own camp.

    His book, first published in the first decade of the 20th century and then re-released in 1925 (Scopes trial era) reads a lot like The Genesis Flood and more recent AIG thinking….

    But that is not how many look at the biblical text…….or figure things.

    As for Obamacare and all that…..there are multiple viewpoints and I have talked with people in the insurance industry who think/thought it was a headache……..

    I am not a Trump fan and know others who are hoping he will “go away”….but all those are individual views, have not much at all to do with whether someone is Christian or not. I have a relative who, like you (I suppose), emailed me a year ago and wondered how Christians could support Trump. I noted that, during the primaries, evangelical support went more heavily for a couple others. I personally was not going to vote for The Re-Tread — who in her own time crushed the MeToo moments of a number of women in order to further her own career ambitions — or the Commie.

    As I said before, we were left with little choice, and I do believe the Dems threw the election away, and did it on purpose……

    But all this relates not a bit to Hybels. While “innocent till proven guilty” is the law of the land, the article that headed this post was about a book written by a member of the man’s team. Other than that, it is a sad situation for people in that church community,

    And yes — when I started going back to church, I too was shocked at how much had changed.

  77. We are now deep into an era of politics swinging “rightward” by the slimmest of margins in terms of Trump’s actual election. I don’t know how that ends, but I know it lasts “a while”. I wish that the conservatives from church had not managed to ruin both the tax code and the Supreme Court from what they ought to be for the sake of human rights, the American national government itself, the environment and the actual lives of people.

    I appreciate your interest in speaking at length about many themes with me here. I am a rambler in comment sections, more interested in discussions than in having fights. So you will know “what kind of a nut” you are visiting with, I’ll tell you a few random things about us. You should know that my wife and I were once more conservative than not—–we graduated from high schools in 1969, a couple of months before Woodstock. BUT, we did not go to Woodstock, were not in the drug scene, were not in the counter-culture, did not “go to San Francisco with flowers in our hair”. Loved some of the music, of course, but not to the point of “tune in, turn on, drop out”. We both went to church, took school seriously and WANTED to be “responsible” types. I went through an accounting degree in 3 years at a state college and married her 2/3 of the way through. I was at an in-field job with a manufacturing company four days after finishing college classes. It was owned by people 40 years older than myself. They were conservative, but blessedly constrained by the reality of the 1970s—-high taxes on high incomes, new laws like OSHA and ERISA coming in, a real threat of having a real union if employees were not treated fairly and with respect. I was MARINATED in “the right” more than “the left”, including two decades of exposure to everything published by state and national Chambers of Commerce. But we LIVED in a more favorable environment for workers enjoying an actual balance of power with their employers.

    We also went to churches to the point of using Christian schools for the entirety of one son’s youth, all of K-12 which involved two different schools. Everywhere we were, I wanted to choose the prudence of conservatism as I understood it modeled to me. I wanted both “it” and me to be on the side of truth about all issues. It is the job of an accountant to be nosey, to know ALL details inside a business, to tell absolute truth to everyone at all times, to make everything add up, balance out, be properly disclosed with CLEAR explanations, total transparency, and fair treatment of all stakeholders—-customers, suppliers, employees, owners and neighbors.

    Well, to make a long story short, I learned that Talk Radio, Fox News, right-wing think tanks, Religious Broadcasting, AND the “every word of this Bible is true” brand of churches DO NOT do those things, are NOT INTERESTED in full disclosure of all sides of issues to all kinds of “stakeholders” in society. So, I am not in their tribe and can’t be.
    As one example, it is not enough for me to hear about Repeal and Replace Obamacare, when there is no real replacement, no disclosed details, no “plan” whatsoever other than a vague “deregulate” meaning that crap policies can be sold with abandon by crooks to the unsuspecting and trusting citizenry.

    I’ll be with the environmentalists, with the feminists, with the social justice warriors, with the New Deal crowd, with those who speak of “human rights”, not those who speak of “religious rights” while having no interest in and no clue about DISCLOSED DETAILS on the real subjects in a modern world. They can and will ride the “gay wedding cake” type nonsense for the rest of their lives. I won’t.

    On religion, I’ll link you to my favorite of all the songs sung by country artist Tim McGraw. If church does for people what he implies in the story of this song, I’m for it. If not, I now know it is better to take a pass on it.

  78. “The summer of 69!!!…those were the best days of my life.”

    Loved the Tim McGraw song………..lots of great comments from people on that page. What do you think the lyrics of the song mean exactly?

    You and I ARE the same generation….I graduated in 1969 from high school as well……

    I grew up an atheist and religion was —-??? I know you will think THIS is funny, but I feared that if I became a Christian I would have to become a Democrat….

    So….you did mention earlier that you were once in a church that broke up ????

  79. I take the lyrics of “One of These Days” to mean that Tim tells of being a callous fellow, a bully as a kid to some odd little dude, then selfish and boorish with a girl at 17, then someday in church where Jesus touches him, he changes his attitudes, is so, so sorry that he “missed the boat” on life in the past, so to speak, and resolves never again to treat people as he once did. He arrives at “one of these days I’m gonna love me” (because I’m not a jerk anymore). It “worked” in country music in the 1990’s. Now, who knows?

    Jesus can change people from hard to kind in short order. The power of forgiveness is a real thing. I’ve seen it, felt it and I don’t ever deny it or make fun of it. Religiously, I really do wish that so many people were not convinced that they must believe in conservatives’ economics or the worst of the Bible (instead of the best) in order to have Him.

    Since we are sharing a “time”, I remember a guy named Norman Greenbaum who had a rock hit in several countries with “Spirit in the Sky”. I thought at the time, Wow, this is the real gospel. “Gotta have a friend in Jesus”, he sang right into the rock scene and got away with it. I later learned that he was Jewish, had heard Porter Waggoner sing a country gospel song and said “I think I could do that”, wrote it in 15 minutes the story goes. If you don’t remember that, go to youtube.

    Gotta tell ya, in comment sections I have shared Tim’s song with a number of people.
    You are the first who ever answered positively to that, or answered at all. The rest thought I was crazy—-most probably. So, on that common note, let’s be friends. You can say I am your liberal buddy and I will chalk you up as a conservative friend. Deal?

    Oh yes, my wife and I did attend for a short time a rather large megachurch—several thousand people in three services. The founding pastor ran off with a woman not his wife. We moved away shortly thereafter anyway, but it was a mess. That was our last church. Jesus, yes. Absolutely, yes. Individually, yes. Groups? Meh. They are all over the place from Catholic to Baptist to Pentecostal to SDA to LDS anyway. Can’t be all, why be any? We pass away by ourselves, no?

  80. “Meh”???? !!! Well, hopefully we pass away with Jesus welcoming us… ourselves? I rather think we are in for a big surprise some day…….And yeah. I remember Spirit in the Sky………….when the “Jesus Movement” was popular, anyone who put His name in a song was going to get attention—-“one toke over the line, sweet Jesus”??????? You did not have to be a believer……

    I attended a megachurch — actually two at different times. Too impersonal, but it works for some people. The church I attend now rather “grew on me” since I had not been to church forever and a day when I started. Music seemed too loud, where were the hymnals, what? no cross on the wall……….. I do agree, as you said, that you get “one point of view” at churches. But birds of a feather flock together…..To hear other views, and decide which is yours, you have to read and go to seminars or conferences…..I suppose that is MY way of learning, and others have another way…..And not everyone teaching at a conference is to be believed. I have a story on that one. Rebels exist in all professions. And some just want so much to drag others down with them…….

    And at church, I noted that some are impressed with
    “how well I knew the Bible” — and then not impressed if I affirm a different view than theirs…

    ….I cannot imagine things differed in any other century among Christian believers. [ or any other group today or in 10,000 B.C.] The issues were not the same but there certainly were controversies — the Donatists, the Arians, the Monophysicists (sp) and more……….Part of “growing up,” I think is learning not to major in the minors with people — though that can be tricky.

  81. My wife is into quilting these days. Lots of hand work, but mind open to hearing something at the same time. I read books to her out loud, especially in cold weather. We share them together, have done maybe 25 in the last three years—–history, biography, and four or five Amish-theme novels by Beverly Lewis set around Lancaster, PA. Wife loves them. Me too, actually. They are spiritual and sweet, filled with the lifestyle details of Old Order Amish in the modern times, and usually involve love stories. Beverly is a spiritual person and that comes through in the books. There are many ways to make one’s self connected to Holy Spirit thinking

    By way of childhood, relatives, jobs, and schools, we have some considerable exposure in 47 years of marriage to Methodists, Baptists, Mennonites (not horse and buggy), Charismatics, Assemblies of God, Pentecostals, Bible Church. Church of the Nazarene, and both ELCA and LCMS Lutherans. Most of those people now lean Republican (except the ELCA Lutherans, maybe and some of the Methodists) and would not appreciate me expounding otherwise among them. I have a deal with them. I don’t go bother them.

    About 10 years ago, I had a pastor come to the door who was out trying to start a new Baptist church. We talked for half an hour or so. I finally told him I was a political liberal and asked if that would be a good fit at his church. He told me it wouldn’t. I was nice to him and counted the whole episode as a lesson. G.W. Bush was not my guy. Obama soon thereafter was. Trump is not. I seriously do not wish anymore to go to meetings where I have to pretend to get along with people who would despise me if they knew what I thought. That’s nuts and utterly unnecessary. Nice visiting with you. Maybe again someday on another topic. eh?

  82. Hmmmmm….interesting conversation with that pastor!! Unfortunate too —…. churches have all sorts and you learn sometimes who not to discuss what with……… do have to separate the nuts and the bolts…..(so to speak). Fortunately, God does not care about our politics and Jesus hung around with all sorts — revolutionaries and hypocrites and members of Overeaters Anonymous, the rich and the poor, and every sort of political group (even duplicitous folks like Judas Iscariot)…..He is our model, you know….not Trump…..yes, nice visiting with you.. And I have enjoyed some nice visits to Amish country and probably would love those novels your wife reads…..I enjoy things like that and learning about other groups…..Have a good one…….

  83. You have a deranged senseof humor. #FakeBlackPerson

  84. Why do blacks hate queers so much? You people should have figured out by now that discrimination against minorities is wrong, yet for some reason you have not.

  85. Yes, Friendly Goat and I did have a variety of conversations. I am referring to something too long to do “cut and paste.” It is (as of now) dated “5 days ago” on this site and begins with “Thanks for all the thoughts, Friendly. Carter??!!!?? That takes you back a bit. …..” Just scroll down…..

  86. Bible talks about many false prophets and sadly Carter using the misfortune of someone else to prophet iwas done in poor taste. al the global leadership summit should be disbanded it has nothing to do with god

  87. Very true and the global leadership summit should not be part of the church. It has nothing to do with god

  88. Found it.

    Lots of references but I don’t have the time to check their validity – some, I suspect, are like those who try to make the stratigraphy in the Grand Canyon support a world-wide flood – I doesn’t though. The consequences of the pressure resulting from 28000 feet of water would have been terminal for the earth – let alone life upon it.

    That said – I’m sure some of the places mentioned, perhaps customs also, are recognisable.

    We found Troy, we have Mecca, we have hills in Western New York – doesn’t mean that every word in the Iliad, every word in the Koran and every word in the Book of Mormon is true does it?

    And just because we don’t have a 76 planet Galactic Confederacy doesn’t disprove the existence of Xenu/Xemu. But if you believe he existed I’ve got this bridge you might be interested in!

    We do know that the story about the census which allegedly caused Jesus to be born in Bethlehem is a mish-mash of truths stirred together to create an untruth.

    Point I’m trying to make is that just because some bits may be true(ish) the fact that some is completely and utterly wrong means that you have only three options.

    1 – Accept the whole as true and ignore the evidence which demonstrates it isn’t.
    2 – Pick-and-mix the bits that suit you (what most Christians do – even most of those who claim 1)
    3 – accept that the whole is flawed and that most of the whole is incapable of proof (either way) in which case the rational response is to ignore that which is flawed and get on with living the best life one can for oneself, family and friends and everyone/thing including those yet to be born. (Humanism).

  89. Thanks for locating it…….Friendly Goat’s assertion was something along the lines of “most of the Old Testament” having nothing to corroborate it

    I was addressing that comment. His assertion was about as fundamentalist in the other direction as might be said of someone who takes it all in the other direction. And it is unsupportable.

    This site began with reactions to a book being written by an associate of a pastor who is accused (maybe rightly) of serious transgressions.

    The reason these transgressions are considered transgressions at all — is because of the standard of morality laid out in the biblical text.

    This sort of behavior would hardly have caused a yawn in ancient Rome or Greece or quite a number of other societies. If the biblical text is a fabrication, why criticize the actions this pastor is accused of at all? I believe it was Mark Twain who said of Victorian England, “you can do whatever you want here, just so long as you don’t do it in the streets and bother the horses.”

    So I do find it odd (to say the least) that people on this site are morally outraged at this man’s behavior — but then also discounting the foundation on which those values stand. It’s a strange reaction and more an emotional one than anything else.

    As for the items I listed for Friendly Goat, I suggest that you read Schroeder, Sherwin-White’s book, and a few other things.

    As for your comment that “we do know that the census that caused Jesus to be born in Bethlehem is a mish-mash of truths stirred together to create an untruth.” I am not sure how much we do know that…

    The best I have ever been able to come up with — in looking into that story on my own — is that the Romans did, indeed, conduct censuses — some of which may have taken a length of time to complete. These censuses were done for all sorts of reasons — population count, taxation, asserting loyalty to Caesar, etc……

    It was also quite acceptable for people to participate in such censuses by bringing their spouse with them (since it would have been local custom in that part of the world, anyway)…..the mention of Quirinius (sp) has always been controversial since he is only known to have been involved in the census of 6 to 7 A.D., not something 4 to 7 BC……..but Quirinius was an official in that region earlier on. Some ancient scholars always asserted that it was someone else not Quirinius who administered the census.

    Either way… most of the background to the event is historically plausible: .the claim of a census around the time of Christ’s birth is plausible (since censuses were done) and the statement that the couple went to Bethlehem for it (because of family heritage) — these things are possible. The Christmas card image of “no room in the inn” is another matter, but that is not the part you are talking about.

    The rest of the story — the personality of Jesus of Nazareth and His existence is not something anyone argues against. That He claimed to be God is consistent with Christian beliefs about Him (which sprang up immediately,….not years after His death/resurrection)…..there was an expectation in that era that a Jewish man would soon come who would be both God and Messiah. The biblical text which you are so leery of — it spoke of this Messiah hundreds of years before His arrival.

    This is all, of course, a long way from the original article at the start of this post. I suggest that you focus on finding who Jesus is……..because that is most important……

  90. To those just wanting to bash Christians, they will say he did it for money. But, no, he was asked to share his side of the story and it helped with his own healing. That is a small publisher and there won’t be huge quantities printed and sold. So, barely any commissions.

  91. Had been to this Church twice for Bible conference. The devil is smarter than we think.
    His trapping tools are women-money and fame. Most of the people will be trapped with women,
    if they are winners, then the money trap. If won in the two hardcore tricky testing, then the tool of
    fame will be used by the devil. The victims will think that they are infallible and GOD’s work will not
    go forward without them, then the fall will take place instantly.

  92. Tough stuff… credibly explaining how you remained absolutely clueless, didn’t have ANY suspicion whatsoever, and upon ‘finding out’ the bitter truth the almighty Bill, Carter’s God, why you ran away from your flock, rather than stay to help fight for what is right. Carter didn’t even stay long enough to offer his explaination to them, as Heather Larson did.

    When things got tough, Carter didn’t rely on God or trust his flock for responding in their shared faith. He ‘explained’ that he puked (from fear), heeded his body’s fight or flight response and ran (in fear), rather than approach God, broken by the terrible truth, yet still faithful, and depending upon the Holy Spirit to guide him and his flock through the mess that Hybels left.

    On second thought, after considering Carter’s conduct, his desertion was a blessing to the good and godly people, who remain in faith at WCCC.

    Good luck to Carter for attempting to profit from what amounts to documentation of his spiritual shallowness and cowardice, deftly massaged to appear honorable.

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