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Recently, headlines about Willow Creek filled the front pages of several online news outlets. The caption stated: "A Shocking Confession from Willow Creek Community Church." Some wondered if Willow Creek's pastor Bill Hybels was repenting from past errors in ministry techniques.1 But a Lighthouse Trails commentary showed that this "shocking confession" was actually a re-enforcement of Willow Creek's efforts to "transform this planet" through contemplative and emerging spiritualities. The LT commentary stated:
It is no new thing that Willow Creek wishes to "transform the planet." They are part of the emerging spirituality that includes Rick Warren and many other major Christian leaders who believe the church will usher in the kingdom of God on earth before Christ returns. This dominionist, kingdom-now theology is literally permeating the lecture halls of many Christian seminaries and churches, and mysticism is the propeller that keeps its momentum. If Willow Creek hopes to transform the planet, they won't be able to get rid of the focus on the mystical (i.e., contemplative). Their new Fall 2007 Catalog gives a clear picture of where their heart lies, with resources offered by New Age proponent Rob Bell, contemplative author Keri Wyatt Kent, and the Ancient Future Conference with emerging leaders Scot McKnight and Alan Hirsch as well as resources by Ruth Haley Barton and John Ortberg. Time will tell what Willow Creek intends to do about strengthening its focus on "spiritual practices" and "transform[ing] the planet."
Well, it appears it isn't going to take a lot of time to see what their future intentions look like. The most current issue (Fall 2007) of Willow Creek's magazine, Willow (in hard copy and also online) gives a clear view of the organization's spiritual emphasis. The issue titled Ministry Shifts has a subtitle that says: "The landscape of our ministries is shifting. Brace yourself for the aftershocks."
Article titles in this Willow issue certainly make a statement that things are going to change: "Seismic Shifts," "Rediscovering Spiritual Formation," "Stemming the Tide," "The Changing Face of Worship," "Shifts in Missional Mindset," and "The Next Great Debate." With such commitment to change, it's no wonder Willow Creek supports Brian McLaren, who is currently on his "Everything Must Change" tour (named for his new book). Click here to read the rest of this article.
Creek Hosts Conferences With Contemplative Speakers -
Training Thousands to Follow Interspirituality
Groups Conference 2005 with contemplatives: Larry
Crabb, Brian McLaren, Dan
and Dave Fleming
Leadership Summit 2005 -
Going Global with
Rick Warren and Ken Blanchard
CREEK ENDORSES AND PROMOTES NEW AGE/BUDDHIST SYMPATHIZER KEN
created a self-guided experience in the chapel, a contemplative worship service with Scripture reading, reflection, praise
and prayer. You could choose how much to participate in, with
the option of going to different areas in the chapel that would
allow you to more fully engage." Pam Howell, Willow
Formation According to
Does Willow Creek Recommend?
Reading List includes contemplatives:
Nouwen and Dallas Willard
list includes New Age sympathizers
Brian McLaren, and Leonard
Sweet as well as emerging church leader, Erwin McManus.