Listen to “The Church in Crisis” Online

Over the past year and a half, scandals and controversy have plagued the church and Christian organizations. From Willow Creek in Chicago and Highpoint Church in Memphis—to Sovereign Grace Churches and, most recently, Harvest Bible Chapel. The accusations of sexual harassment, financial impropriety, bullying, and intimidation have left Christians reeling. In a special radio broadcast, “The Church in Crisis,” I explore not only what’s happened in the church, but why it happened, and what redemptive solutions are available.

Joining me are people with first-hand knowledge of these scandals: Vonda Dyer, a former vocal team leader at Willow Creek and alleged victim of sexual harassment, Scott Phelps, one of several former elders at Harvest excommunicated for raising issues about Harvest Pastor James MacDonald. Adding a third perspective will be Jonathan Leeman of 9Marks, a ministry that equips leaders to build healthy churches.

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6 thoughts on “Listen to “The Church in Crisis” Online

  1. Jennifer H.

    I’m appreciating the “Church in Crisis” report as my family is walking the journey of healing after walking away from a toxic church. I hear your guests talking about leaders owning their sin. At our former church, leaders ‘checked the boxes’ of ‘reconcilliation’ but there was no change. Can you address, in the future, the necessity of real change. The fake ‘reconcilliation’ at our former church was more hurtful than the initial offenses. It is very hard for us to regain any sort of trust for any church organization now.

  2. Serving Kids in Japan

    There are soooooo many things I want to say regarding Jonathan Leeman’s participation in this interview. For now, though, ‘d like to comment on the church that he mentioned, the one that “handled a complicated situation piously, sincerely, but poorly”.

    I strongly suspect that Leeman is talking about The Village Church, headed by Matt Chandler, and its elders’ horrible treatment of Karen Hinckley. If so, then I question his assessment — I found their words and deeds to be controlling and heartless, and not “pious” in any fashion. Also, I don’t think that Chandler and his elders apologized to Karen “quickly”. They did so eventually, but Chandler’s initial response to online criticism and questioning was to respond that the bloggers just didn’t know the whole story. Unfortunately for him, they did. It wasn’t until after the resulting media firestorm that TVC’s leaders made their apologies, and retracted their discipline of her.

    I’d like to think that Chandler and company have learned something from that debacle, but recent events leave me doubtful.

    More later, if I have time.

  3. Don Jones

    Julie, thank you for your work in helping to bring to light churches and Christian ministries that are going off the rails. Accountability is really important so that the cause of Christ moves forward. I’m sorry that you have been the target of some of these churches and organizations. A lawsuit from a church is crazy. I felt that the interview you did here was helpful to address issues within the Christian community. One thing that has raised a question for me is the title of this post “The Church in Crisis.” I don’t see “The” Church in Crisis. I certainly believe that there are “Churches” in crisis, but I don’t see “THE Church” in crisis. From reports I am receiving, Jesus is still building His around the world. From my knowledge (which is certainly limited) the majority of churches are seeking to build God’s Kingdom. They aren’t going to make the news because they are smaller (or normal sized) and so don’t have the exposure. Sure, there are normal sized churches that have problems as well. Perhaps I am reading the title and intention incorrectly. I am encouraged by the people with whom I am associated who are working to stay on mission to build the Kingdom of God, and not their individual kingdoms. There are certainly principles to learn — as Paul instructed the elders “take heed to yourself and to your doctrine.” Thanks for your work

  4. Susan Vonder Heide

    In our crazy mixed up world we have leaders being exposed as everything from protectors of pedophiles for the sake of public relations to abusers of innocent church members for the sake of their own distorted egos. Does this mean that all leaders are bad? No, many leaders sincerely strive to follow Christ. But it does mean that we need to be discerning and not confuse the guy with the microphone with Jesus Christ.

  5. James Williams

    The Church is in decline across the board. In Britain and Europe, Islam is sweeping through the countries and permanently establishing itself. It is happening with the aid of Christian leaders too who’s plan is one of useless appeasement. There are no real leaders so far as i can see. The Church is dead and deserves to die if it behaves so treacherously. I do not look forward to living under a caliphate, I hate the prospect. I want to set up an independent online radio station to try to combat what is going on and to give comfort to those who need it, but in spite of many in the church having money, they are not going to invest it in a war chest. Instead they are all going to get old and die wealthy having made no difference.

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