Longtime Willow Creek Member Accuses Bill Hybel’s Mentor, Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, of Clergy Sexual Abuse

By Julie Roys

Today, Ann Lindberg, a longtime member of Willow Creek Community Church, posted the following account on Facebook, accusing Bill Hybel’s mentor, Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, of clergy sexual abuse. Bilezikian, often referred to as “Dr. B,” was a co-founder of Willow Creek. A Christianity Today article in 2000 referred to Bilezikian as “the man behind the megachurch” and asserted that without him, “there would be no Willow Creek–no small, groups, no women in leadership, no passion for service.” Bilezikian also was a Bible professor at Wheaton College for 20 years. (I actually had him for a class when I attended Wheaton in the 1980s.) And he helped found Christians for Biblical Equality, an organization created “to eliminate the power imbalance between men and women resulting from theological patriarchy.” Here is Ann’s story. (I am reaching out to those whom she’s named for their response and will add that if/when they respond.):

I’m writing to tell the story of my victimization by Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, who was Bill Hybels’ professor and mentor, and was very influential in the development of Willow Creek Community Church. This is a story I take no pleasure in telling. I have waited a very long time and been in numerous private meetings with Willow leadership and others since 2010 and accomplished very little to date. It is my hope it is not too late for Willow, that the die is not yet cast with no hope for rebirth. So many truths are still concealed. My goal is for Willow leadership to finally be ready to repent, apologize specifically to the survivors from the Willow stage, and to make sweeping structural change within to prevent this from ever happening again.

I mention many names throughout this post, and I realize that I am telling my story, my truth, about my experience without the covering of a lawyer. This is a risk that opens me up to hate letters and perhaps the threats that other Willow victims have gotten, and yet it is still the right thing to do. It seems impossible to keep this short, as I have 35 years of journals, postcards and emails, like an octopus with many different tentacles and sources, spanning from 1984-2019 at Willow Creek Community Church. For that reason, I will summarize but can supply more details to those who request it. I started attending Willow in 1984 vulnerable and heartbroken new believer, and grew to become a weekly attender involved in various volunteer and leadership programs.

From October 1984 to 1988, Dr. Bilezikian pursued an inappropriate relationship with me. It began with subtle flirtations after weekend services, and grew to include hand holding, emotional sharing and intimacy, kissing and fondling, and pressure to have sex. Dr. Bilezikian confided about his unhappy marriage, his lack of joy, and desire for a better partnership. He told me I was the type of woman he wished he had married instead of his wife Maria. I was young in my faith, new to church, and hungry for someone to invest spiritually in me. He made me feel special, and he was a spiritual authority in a large church, and I did not feel like I could say no to him, even when my gut was telling me this was not appropriate.

Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian & Bill Hybels

One night, as we were walking to my car, he turned around in a hallway, pushed me hard against a wall, grabbed a breast and stuck his tongue down my throat. I pushed back, in complete disbelief, but he began skipping down the stairs like a child. Other times, we would meet during the day time and take walks down the Wheaton prairie paths or around Wheaton’s small downtown streets. He would warn me that no one could see us together, that it would ruin his reputation, yet in the next moment, he would shove me into the doorway of a storefront or behind a truck and begin wildly kissing me. I would push him away. When we walked down the prairie paths, he would reach for my hand, my waist, and other places.

He told me he was very depressed and that being with me gave him energy and hope. He told me that he felt he could help the church thrive because I made him happy. This put an enormous and confusing pressure on me to allow the “affair “(clergy abuse) to continue, because I did not want to hurt the church or him. I would ask him to attend marital counseling, he would tell me it was too late; he was trapped and would never be able to divorce Maria and still preach. I would ask him to get into a men’s group. He said he didn’t like men. I would suggest he get individual counseling. He would refuse; it was too late; he was too old. I would ask him to talk with Bill Hybels. He said Bill would never understand. He told me I was the only one in the world he could really talk to, that everyone else had an agenda. He knew how to manipulate my weaknesses, and I honestly believed that I was the only one who could help him.

I didn’t know what to do. I felt trapped. I didn’t want to continue as things were, but wondered if this was my purpose in life, to support him so that he could keep Willow Creek alive and growing, as I had been told. I was too naïve to figure out there was no way God wanted that for me, no way to maintain the “friendship” in a godly way, and that that had never been Dr. Bilezikian’s intent. I believe we would have had sex if I had allowed it, but I think he was very good at reading people and knew just how far he could push me before I would stop having anything to do with him.

I didn’t know what to do. I felt trapped. I didn’t want to continue as things were, but wondered if this was my purpose in life, to support him so that he could keep Willow Creek alive and growing, as I had been told.

He said I was too analytical and should just let God take control of my life. This confused me, because my spiritual life felt like it was growing stronger all the time. I now think what he really meant was that he was frustrated he couldn’t get physically farther with me than he did, he would just like me to give into emotion and go with it. Things were on and off again for many years.

Then I met my husband, Mark. We were married in 2006. It wasn’t until 2010 that I felt strong enough to begin to confront the spiritual abuse I’d experienced so early in my faith. I was also worried that there were other women who had been harmed in similar ways over the years.

Mark and I went together to Willow to talk with two of the Elder’s Assistants, Scott Vaudrey and Chris Hurta about Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian and the abuse I’d experienced. Sadly, the result of those early 2010 meetings were disappointing. I did not feel taken terribly seriously and, quite the contrary, that Dr.B’s inappropriateness had been minimized.

They said that since it didn’t lead to physically having sex, the issue of concern didn’t need to go further than that meeting. I asked if they thought there could be more people out there who had been taken advantage of in a similar way, Scott said he was confident there were not. Dr. Bilezikian and I had agreed to meet for lunch so that I could talk with him about all that had occurred and where I was at with it. I needed to confront him in order for me to 2 heal. But before we met, he initiated an email exchange that resulted in my expressing the transgressions to him. First, he said he had no recollection and had disgust for such people, would never have behaved like that. Then fragments of memory came back to him.

They said that since it didn’t lead to physically having sex, the issue of concern didn’t need to go further than that meeting.

Bottom line was, no remorse, no repentance, no apology. He attempted to turn the tables on me by telling me the Biblical mandate for handling conflicts one on one, and he would not respond to any more emails unless I put “agreed to meet” in the subject line. That was the moment I saw clearly how predatory his behavior was.

My body began paying the price for so many years of stress, fear and abuse. I struggled to sleep, felt anxious and in pain most days, and was subsequently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, C-PTSD, GAD, and Depression. In 2011, Mark and I met again with Christ Hurta and the Elder Response Team and talked further about Dr. B. and his effect on my health, life and marriage. Nothing came of it, other than some vague threats if I were to discuss my experience publicly in order to be able to continue to serve and attend there. I could lose my positions of leadership in ministries I volunteered in, or could be asked not to attend altogether. They did not want me to become divisive.

From then up to 2016, I was constantly and quietly criticized, rejected in leadership, accused falsely of wrong-doing and even had one of the security guards watching me while I was at church. I feel stalked and pushed out and pressured. False stories were spread about me to others and there were warnings put in my file, (yes, they had a file they kept to document me.) They wanted me to go through a weekly “rehabilitation” to teach me to think more like Willow’s version of Christlikeness. I did not want to gossip and I was not ready to go public about Dr. B., so I suffered in silence and tears alone. I was removed from leadership in a ministry I loved. I was told that my husband could continue to serve and that they would “partner him with a suitable woman so they could serve together in my place.” My husband refused to do this and we both stepped out of that ministry.

They wanted me to go through a weekly “rehabilitation” to teach me to think more like Willow’s version of Christlikeness. I did not want to gossip and I was not ready to go public about Dr. B., so I suffered in silence and tears alone.

In 2016, I felt like I’d exhausted all the streams of accountability that I could find within the structure of Willow. I called Steve Carter in desperation and told him the bare bones of what is going on with my being sidelined from leadership and serving. I left out the part about Dr. B, for now. Steve, in his kindness, set up a meeting with the people involved in the attacks on me. They told him I was never under any censure, that there was no probation. It was not the truth, but it presented as such. Steve had tried to find reconciliation for me and I appreciated his gesture and his support, but it didn’t change what continued to happen to me for the rest of the year. He had no authority in the church outside of preaching, a fact I did not realize at the time.

In 2017, Mark and I had another meeting with Chris Hurta and Scott Vaudrey. I was feeling at the end of my rope with so many things that have happened to me over the last few years, and I thought I needed some form of closure. I brought proof with me that 3rd time, three original postcards from Dr. B. and a letter he left in a book for me. I took photos of these, which I include below. I am very glad I did take those photos, because in the meeting I gave them to Scott, trusting that he would take them to the elders on my behalf. He took them.

In 2018, my husband and I again talked with Steve Carter. I told him everything this time. It felt like another burden off my shoulders, although it unfortunately left it on the shoulders of Steve, Heather, Bill and the Elders. Steve reacted with his characteristic kindness, concern, respect and alarm, which I appreciated. After we spoke, Steve immediately went to Scott Vaundrey to alert him to the emergency, assuming that no one knew yet. Surely, he later said, had they known I would have been pastored and cared for better. But Scott and Heather Larson responded by saying they already knew.

Surely, he later said, had they known I would have been pastored and cared for better. But Scott and Heather Larson responded by saying they already knew.

Soon after, Mark and I met with Steve Carter, Heather Larson, Scott Vaudrey, and Chirs Hurta. In the meeting, they told me it wasn’t my fault, that he (Dr.B.) was in a position of spiritual authority. I didn’t expect to hear that. They said Dr. B. felt remorseful he had hurt me. I didn’t know that, and the story had changed several times. Mark got to say how he felt. I asked them if I would still be welcome at Willow next week and they said we were more than welcome, they wanted us there. We hugged all around. I mistakenly thought Willow would handle the story honorably from here on.

Then, in April of 2018, the Chicago Tribune published the damning article sharing accounts of clergy and sexual abuse by Bill Hybels. I cried through many of the following “family meetings” and subsequent communication to the congregation by the Elders at the time. The next month Mark and I met with Missy Rasmussen, an Elder at the time, and Pam Orr, who had recently stepped down as Lead Elder, to follow-up on my prior meeting regarding Dr. B. I felt triggered after learning of Bill’s alleged behavior, and knew that they now had two male senior leaders who had been accused of sexual misconduct. We wanted to know what steps were being taken to investigate and protect the church from potential future leadership behavior. I expressed concern that the first time I had shared my experience, it wasn’t taken seriously. The Elders should have been notified much earlier in the process, and I should not at any point been told that “since it didn’t go to sex, it didn’t need to go any further.”

I felt triggered after learning of Bill’s alleged behavior, and knew that they now had two male senior leaders who had been accused of sexual misconduct.

In May, the Elders put out a statement saying that “not all the allegations were untrue or the result of ‘colluding’ against Bill, and that he had made some poor choices.” Hearing that was both a validation and a trigger for me, because it meant that they believed he was not 100% innocent, and it made the misconduct committed against me by Dr. B feel all the more intense.

In August, an article came out in the New York Times that was quite specific about Bill Hybels’ abuse of his personal assistant of eight years woman who lived with them for awhile when they took in boarders. The whole revelation and the senior lead staff and Elders’ lack of response caused Steve Carter to immediately resign. He said in a published letter that he had offered his resignation many weeks ago, but they had asked for him to hold off making it public, “until it was a good time.” To me, their request of this felt like a familiar storyline of more church damage and image control.

Shortly after Steve resigned, Willow’s Elders and Heather Larson all stepped down/resigned. It was necessary, but surreal. They all addressed how Bill was out of control, that they hadn’t monitored or questioned or stood up against him sufficiently.

A few days later, Chris Hurta called me asking if I was E.S. Martin, someone who wrote a blog saying that in 2014, Dr. B. had exposed himself to her, pulling down his Depends, and then other details, like groping her, rubbing against her breasts. It felt at this moment like Chris had been sent to do damage control. I told him I wasn’t her but that clearly she was another one of his victims. Chris said there was no proof it was true and that there were lots of crazy people in the world. I said maybe, but the behavior sounded very much like what he did with and to me. Chris was silent.

I also asked Chris for the postcards and notes I had given all that time ago, as it was my understanding that they were to be passed to the Elders to support my allegations of abuse. He said of course I could have them back and that he and Scott would get them to me within a week. Later I found out that Scott had immediately shredded them, “as per common Willow policy with routine mail.” I realize now that Chris, Scott, and the Elders told me something close to a lie. I asked them if they had seen the postcards from Dr. B. and Pam Orr responded very carefully, “We have been told of the contents.” I didn’t like that answer and wondered why they hadn’t been given the originals long ago.

Now I know that Scott Vaudrey had shredded them and didn’t give them to the Elders or notify Bill or the investigations team.

In January 2019, I met E.S. Martin, the author of the blog that detailed her abuse at the hands of Dr. B. She communicated that she wanted to do a class action lawsuit and notified me that she was talking with multiple Dr. B. victims on her blog. (Note: none of her alleged victims are willing to speak publicly. She was hoping I would be the one but at that point, I wasn’t ready.)

In March 2019 the “IAG” report on WCCC & WCA came out. It was very disappointing to me, as the apologies and findings were vaguely worded. The victims/survivors were not mentioned by name. It said the public had already decided Bill was guilty, so Bill was forced to retire ahead of time.

There was no transparency or call for repentance in specific ways. I longed for the truth to be exposed, and so deeply desired that the leadership would embrace vulnerability and make safe space for all victims to come forward without the threat of judgement, shame, and the risk of being ostracized. I wanted there to be a clear directive to the leadership to apologize publicly by name, to Bill’s victims, Dr. B’s victims, and to credit Steve Carter with having the courage to speak up and apologize privately to victims immediately after finding out in 2018. I would still like for Steve to have a chance to tell his story to the congregation.

There was no transparency or call for repentance in specific ways. I longed for the truth to be exposed, and so deeply desired that the leadership would embrace vulnerability and make safe space for all victims . . .

It has been over 35 years since Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian began watching/grooming me. It has been 9 years since I first began talking with leaders at Willow about the relationship I had with him. I have faced one seemingly unrelated attack after another at Willow. I have suffered one bout of loss of health after another. I have provided evidence that Willow shredded. I know Dr. B. was inappropriate during his involvement with the WCA, as he appeared at my house one day after teaching at one of the early pastor’s conferences. (Note: It is my belief he has had inappropriate relationships with women around the world, encompassing many organizations and churches, if his actions domestically are any clue.) The scope of his assaults is larger than any one organization, and yet none of them have the incentive to look at a larger picture, of how he fooled so many for so long.

I am still so scared to share my story, after all these years, but I have come to believe that the only way to real peace is through the truth. We have to be transparent and not withhold any part of ourselves from God. I love Willow with all my heart and I long for it to finally become free. I hope someday they will truly embrace the truth and trust that God’s grace will be enough to make all things new. May my stories help others and give them the chance to come out of the darkness. And may all these details I have written so far in my story help those who have not felt the trauma of Willow better understand the deep pain of those who have endured mistreatment and then been further attacked for talking about it. I pray for God’s will to be done. Amen.

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61 thoughts on “Longtime Willow Creek Member Accuses Bill Hybel’s Mentor, Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, of Clergy Sexual Abuse”

  1. Catherine Franklin

    I was a student of his at WHEATON College in 1976. On several occasions he would make inappropriate comments to female students in the middle of lectures. For example, he would stop his lecture and say to a particular girl in the front seat after looking her up and down, “Do you know what I am thinking?” She would say she hadn’t any idea and he would respond with a relief, “Well, that’s a good thing!” Just inappropriate and uncomfortable!

    1. I was a student of his in 1982-84. Yes he was a perv in class, but if he had his eye on you, he’d call you into his office, lock the door, then it was your word against his. Total creeper. Happened to me, and to a friend.

      1. Notmyrealusername

        Ginger – That’s a serious charge. Locking a female undergraduate student in his office… To your knowledge, did he assault Wheaton College female students? That’s worse than what is being alledged this far.

  2. Charles Despeville

    This is another installment of the painful discovery of how long and venomous the serpent fused within the Willow Creek really is… more to come…

    The real influence and inspiration behind Willow Creek and other megachurches is Peter Drucker. Look him up and think about the world and influence he came from and transferred into megachurch organizational model. Drucker’s ideas were fully embraced by his pupils one of which was Bill Hybels.

    1. You are absolutely correct about Drucker. YouTube has a 3-hr expose called Church of Tares where Drucker’s influence over Rick Warren is featured. His adherents, like Warren, have forsaken the Gospel for church growth by appealing to the “unchurched.” It should be clear to everyone by now that these mega churches are to be avoided.

      1. I take great exception to your inclusion of Rick Warren in this context. Rick has served faithfully for 40 years at Saddleback without even the slightest hint of scandal or impropriety. Saddleback has baptized 55,000+ people and sent mission teams worldwide. Unlike Hybels & Bilezikian, Rick is the real deal.

    1. Burt mister I’ll tell you who knows what happened. All the naive little Christian girls this predator abused. Wheaton was a small campus, we feared retaliation or getting a bad reputation. A phony Christian like Gilbert Bilizekian found a goldmine of victims for his perversion on Wheaton’s campus. He could do even more damage running a church. What a shame, I was there at the very beginning of Willow Creek. So much potential for good, till greed took over.

    2. Nancy Klintworth

      Mr. Mixter, do you not feel the hurt and betrayal these women are feeling? This type of abuse has to stop. It’s too late for any charges to be brought against “Dr. B” but he needs to face the charges and repent. And don’t use his age as an excuse.

    1. Thank you for your courage to tell the truth of what you experienced. I am so sorry for your pain you had to endure. What has happened to God’s Church? It is infested with thieves, liars and abusers all to profit the elite leaders and protect the one they really worship. The Almighty Dollar! The truth does set you free from the bondage Satan wants to keep you in. Praying that God would heal you and all those affected by all the horror gone on in his house. Woe onto all who cover this up!

  3. Nancy Klintworth

    I am sickened by this. And I have nothing but disgust towards him. His books that were in my library have been taken to the trash as well as Hybels’ books.

  4. This is going to sound terrible, and it probably says more about my being naive about these things (and being a male), but I have to ask. I understand not reporting a person for fear of retribution, but if a man is accosting you, and grabbing you like that repeatedly, why continue to go on long, solitary walks with him? Was it fear? Confusion? Something else?

    I think he probably felt like he still had a chance, since she kept going on “dates” with him. Yes, he was a perv, and that can’t be condoned, but as a man pursuing a woman, he probably felt that her continuing to come around, hold hands, and kiss, he felt like she’d eventually come around.

    Can someone enlighten me as to the motivation?

    1. You sound like a “concern troll”, buddy. You’re the guy who blames the rape victim because her clothing wasn’t sufficiently dowdy to curtail the rapist’s violence. Just step away from the keyboard.

    2. I can’t speak directly to Ms. Lindberg’s motivations or experience, she is the only one who can do that. However, taking your question at face value, I hope I can fill in some blanks where actions such as Ms. Lindberg’s would make sense in a broader context.

      As a side note, I am not a victim of sexual assault or abuse. This is just to allay fears for those who may be worried my experience may have “colored” my perception. (Though I would like to point out that we don’t usually accuse victims of medical malpractice of not being able to accurately report on their experience.)

      I was raised in a conservative evangelical culture in the 80s and 90s where “good girls” simply didn’t rock the boat. If someone made you uncomfortable, we were taught to just ignore them, and that they’d stop. In the real world, this does work quite often. But there are also men who don’t get the subtle hint and keep pressuring. And if a girl (or woman) has not been taught that it’s ok to firmly say “no” to a man, especially to a man who is also an authority figure on multiple levels (older, a teacher, a Christian leader, etc.), that is going to make it extremely hard. Especially when he keeps pressuring her and she has to keep saying “no” and going against all the training of “good girls don’t rock the boat” and “good girls are submissive to authority” day in and day out.

      Have you ever been in a group situation where the speaker is saying something that you think is wrong, but nobody around you is speaking up, so you don’t say anything? I wonder if it is maybe a little like that, but much more intense.

      And then you have to add in all the external considerations. He is a professor, and I need this class to graduate, so I can’t make him angry or he’ll give me an F and I won’t graduate. Or, he’s really influential in my church and I can’t make him too angry or he’ll start spreading rumors about me and I’ll loose the friends and community I’ve worked so long and so hard to build.

      And the power of peer pressure to continue to “not rock the boat” can’t be downplayed. Check out “The Push” on Netflix to see how peer pressure was used to get people to commit murder (spoiler alert, the victim doesn’t really die). I have personally experienced this play out in churches, too. (The peer pressure part, not the murder part.)

      Then there’s the simple truth that different people react to situations in different ways, because of upbringing, personality, their own unique experiences, etc. Not all of us have been blessed with mothers or fathers who taught us that there is an appropriate time to punch an authority figure in the face. Or we punched an authority figure in the face once a long time ago, but then they punched back and it hurt more because they were bigger and stronger, and that taught us to never punch an authority figure in the face again, even though there might be another situation that merits the punch.

      Does this make sense at all?

      1. To Wild Honey, thank you for adding those thoughts. You bring attention to extremely important insight into this topic.

    3. I too wondered why she kept going anywhere alone with him. He was wrong no doubt about that, but she continued to be in places willingly alone with him. She knew right from wrong.

  5. Actually I would like to hear a response to BobbyFett question. What happened to Ann is inexcusable and unfortunate but I too do not understand how she could have had any additional contact with this guy after such unwelcome [abusive] experiences.

    1. “I started attending Willow in 1984 vulnerable and heartbroken new believer…”

      These are Ann Lindberg’s own words. She was brokenhearted, vulnerable, and a new believer who was groomed by a sexual predator who offered her what she believed was friendship, acceptance, and godly love.

      The pervert, masquerading as a pastor, clearly had a history of preying on vulnerable young women, not just Ann Lindberg.

  6. What am I missing? I read the evidence, the postcards.
    They sound more like a senior citizen’s postcard to his lonely, divorced granddaughter than a sexual predator to his victim.
    Where is the sexual content in them? In 2 of them he refers to his ministry; he signs 1 “fondly”, and 2 “love” before his name.

    Maybe I am the naive one.

    1. I thought the same thing, this isn’t hard evidence of anything other than a relationship between them, but it seems pretty clear he was a creepy perv.

  7. There was a different ethos in the late 20th century towards flirting. I didn’t like it or understand it, but things were different, perhaps because of the sexual revolution of the 60’s? What is rightly considered sexual assault today (for the most part) wasn’t then. A guy coming on to a woman was considered complimentary, not creepy. Doesn’t excuse it, but I’m referring to societal attitudes.

    Consider this from Lauren Winner’s article on Bilezikian in Christianity Today, published in 2000: “Walking the halls of Willow Creek with Bilezikian is like walking through a shopping mall with a movie star. People stare, and he can’t complete a sentence without someone waving and calling, ‘Hey, Dr. B.!’ Women of 83 and girls of 6 rush up to him, knowing he will kiss their hand and compliment their ravishing beauty.”

    “Bilezikian chalks up his effusive appreciation of female beauty to his mother’s early death. ‘I idealized her. As a young man, I was always searching for that elusive perfection in womanhood, which was such an enigma, for someone growing up with no sisters and no mother.’”

    Wow, right?!

  8. Debra Szemplinski

    BOBBYFETT, you are NOT a ‘concern troll’. The questions here raised are legitimate. As a woman, and the mother of two daughters, I too have the same questions/concerns. I was raised by my mother to be ‘viperous’ regarding unwarranted male attention. I worked in an arena surrounded by wealthy, well-educated, powerful men. Being attractive in my younger years, naturally I encountered unsavory behavior. But, even in the 80’s women could assert their own power, as such advances were loudly and IMMEDIATELY met with threats of legal action, push-back (physical), and reported to HR and upper management (same-day action). Not all managers were properly trained regarding complaints of this nature then, one of whom said to me, “Be thankful he likes you or he could really make your life hell.”

    But, searing looks and words of harsh rejection even send powerful men away either surprised, humiliated, or perhaps with a greater respect for you and or women as the occasional apology was received. I too am tired of hearing of such complaints some 30+ yrs later; after looks have faded, attention wanes, but desire for attention continues. If some women are either mentally, socially, or professionally this ill equipped to function in the world of men, perhaps they should remove themselves from potential harm. I am thankful for the advice of my mother and even some tough female profs/instructors. I would also like to add, I was not alone in receiving such unwarranted attention at my place of work, many women both young and older were subjected to such as well. It was clear which women invited or allowed such ‘attention’ to continue.

    Given the Women’s Movement (not to mention Suffragette) is well over half a century old and its effects ubiquitous, I find this hard to swallow. Being ‘viperous’ may not be necessary these days, but being firm and factual is both necessary and effectual. In fact, I found it works…perfectly.

    BobbyFett, your question is legit and you are not alone in your wonderment. Do not be put off by simpletons who dare not question women. I am not trying to be confrontational or embarrass our host Julie Roys in the voicing of said opinion. Obviously, the topic should be brought to light. But there seems to be a pattern developing amongst certain accusers just as predators. This should raise the eyebrows of the observant.

    (If this message is doubled, I apologize as it did not seem to post the first time.)

    1. thanks. On an interesting note, my son works in a field that is somewhat dominated by homosexual males. That’s fine, and he is ok with it. But, he gets propositioned frequently on business trips (even in bathrooms with the foot tapping). When this first happened, he was horrified and distraught. We discussed it together, and he now realizes that is part of what happens. He doesn’t like it, is still taken aback by it, but does realize that when you are single and unmarried, and around other males who like to play around, sometimes you’ll get propositioned.

      He isn’t flattered by the proposition, and is still a little creeped out, but doesn’t go in a tailspin over it. Nor does he look to bring lawsuits. He just realizes this is part of living in the grown up world.

      It could be that this woman was attacked, abused, etc. But, I think your comment is still valid: women have entered into a sinful work world, and there are all kinds of landmines to avoid.

  9. I can understand why you think this is a question worth asking – but it is a question asked entirely out of ignorance.

    I too am a man, but one that was molested as a child, and to this day only my wife knows the extent of the trauma.

    The psychological damage done to a person that has been victimized is not something that can be articulated. One can NOT be “enlightened” unless you have been through it yourself.

    1. I’m also a survivor of child sexual abuse. I’ve also been sexually harassed at work (at a Christian company). Please know that there are many, many people who’ve never experienced abuse personally who are enlightened and stand with victims. These people posting here shouting victims down and mocking victims (#NotAVictim) are evil. I’m sorry but they are. They have evil, proud hearts. An ignorant person respects what he or she doesn’t understand and remains silent about it. A fool will brashly speak with authority about something they know nothing of and then try to pass it off as their “opinion” when challenged.

      You may never share your story with others besides your wife and that is okay. I have two abusers from childhood and have only ever told family and friends about one. The other one I will never tell. It would hurt too many people if I did. But I do want to let you know that there are people who understand and they care. They opened their hearts to really care. They get the nuances of how sexual predators hunt, study, groom and ingratiate themselves with their victims before striking. They understand that for children and vulnerable adults abusers are often people who made us believe they loved us and people we genuinely loved back. They get the struggle of sometimes wanting to protect the abuser you love all the while needing them to be held accountable for what they’ve done. They understand that the road to healing is sometimes very, very long, lonely, and scary. They’ve opened their hearts to the pain of others and they do understand.

  10. Under what circumstances would it be appropriate for a married pastor to write a young, single congregant repeatedly? Those were provided so he cannot claim he did not have a personal relationship with her.

    Since they were mailed to her parents home where she lived, the bigger surprise is that he dared send postcards at all.

  11. I watched. I’m horrified. I had no idea Willow Creek was like that. My pastors at my church would never dream of exalting a human like that, or accepting adulation that only belongs to God.

  12. That was shocking. For him to welcome that… his bible must have had Matthew 5 -7, Philippians 3, and so many other passages removed… whether it was meant to be funny…

  13. Dear Havehope,

    I hope you get counseling. From your response, it appears you are struggling with unresolved pain. Your responses however, need to be addressed. Since you have been abused, you hold yourself as the prime authority which must be submitted to. This is a fallacious argument. Since the writer whom you are targeting has not experienced your particular pain, does that mean he or she can’t comment? Since the writer of this website (JR) has not been abused, does this make her comments irrelevant? Does it make a person who has not been abuse mean that they can not speak truth to a abuse? I think not. Don’t use past pain as a badge of authority to silence others. I attended Wheaton in the early 1980s. The person who is the focus of this post had the reputation as Pe Pe Le Pew, the Warner’s Brothers cartoon character who was a skunk but seeked feline attractions. In the old-world terms, he was known as a cad. Young women stayed away from him. Discerning, smart young women. In this age of #Metooo, I am raising a 15 year-old daughter. I tell REDACTED that if one of your college professors pushes you against a wall, grabs your breast, and forces his tongue down your throat (the victims word) …. well …. this is wrong!!! …. run away and call dad right away (OMG Patriarchy!!). I am teaching my daughter to be discerning and not to be a victim. We are not talking about a young child being abused, We are talking about an 18+ year old woman (must be smart to be at Wheaton College) and who has agency. The current victim millennial generation is know as the victim … #Metoo. The dads I know (OMG Patriarchy) are teaching their smart daughters #NotAVictim.

  14. Dear BOBBYFELT…

    This happened to me over the course of many years. Working as an pastoral Administrative support person…

    it begins with
    Subtle compliments
    Encouraging words
    Invitations to “important” meetings to take notes
    A lingering hand on my shoulder that dared to travel in very UNCOMFORTABLE places
    Then…A sudden hard lingering kiss,grab and/or grope.

    I was newly divorced, on my own with a small daughter, and was renewing my relationship with the Lord after walking away 11years prior.

    I was left dumbfounded, confused, in a ,”robotic” state…and above all-trapped. He would arrange “meetings” only to find out I was the only one scheduled to attend.

    After suffering thru the abuse, I gained enough courage to ask his wife to meet me at my home. I cried,spiling every detail.

    She turned on me.

    In 2018 I asked my Pastor if we could meet in his office.
    ( I made sure every staff member was present I the building beforehand ).

    I confronted him with what he did to.me…attack by attack
    minute by minute.

    I lost my leadership position in the Evangelism Ministry, Position as Office Manager, and as Administrative Assistant, IMMEDIATELY following.

    Leadership refused to believe or support me.
    I went home, in a fit of anger, erasing all saved texts, emails, letters and voice messages.
    I regret it now…thinking it would erase my pain. It didnt.

    I am still battling UNFORGIVENESS. When I believe I have, that DEMONIC feeling of rage begins to creep in.

    I pray now that DELIVERANCE sometimes is instantaneous, other times a process.

    When these things (sexual abuse) is happening…it feels like you’re on the outside of yourself, looking in.

    As it happens, it feels like a venomous snake gliding on your skin, not a endearing touch from a dear friend.

    I felt locked up, locked in…Frozen in time.

    And just let it happen…only to run home, to wash away the stench…

    Though I fought hard enough at my workplace that he was never able to “successfully”
    rape me….

    As the late Rich Mullins sang…My DELIVERER is Coming…

    And my ultimate DELIVERANCE from the many years….will too.

    I have the SPIRITUAL gift of Evangelism.

    I dare Not share Christ with the very God I will do not believe will ultimately deliver me and use what I have/am going through for His greater purpose.

  15. From this post and the comment stream and from the 50 years of experience as a Christian facing my 2020 jubilee year, this much is certainly true and unfortunately largely ignored by most self-professing Christians: we do not know how to look in the mirror and ask the question, “Am I really in The Faith?” or we do but do not have the wisdom to know what to look for when we do. (2 Cor. 13:5)

    It is not complicated at all. Jesus stated plainly that He “is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.” So the three questions to ask while looking at both yourself and your choice of 501c3 “churches” to attend are simply are these three things growing in your life in practical ways over time or are they getting worse over time?

    ” The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” (Prov. 4:18) If it is the Real Jesus that you are following the path and way you walk will get brighter and not darker. If you are growing more confused over time then something is wrong somewhere. Your personal relationship with Jesus when it grows makes things clearer, not more confusing. An idolatrous relationship with a religious substitute, rather that is a denomination, a theology, a Christian Celebrity leader, an individual 501c3 entity or whatever, will lead to ever increasing confusion. There is no substitute for knowing Jesus personally. Looking for someone or something else to do it for you as a middle man just leads to confusion and darkness.

    Following Jesus personally will, over time, make it easier and easier to be able to discern what is true from what is false. “Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” These people who are coming and whom have come are preaching that Jesus is the Messiah, not themselves, and yet they use that as leverage to deceive you. The crux is that they lead you to rely on them, instead of encouraging you to go directly to Jesus instead. They create a unhealthy relationship with the flock that look to them as their “Rabbi,” “Father” and “Teacher.” Yet Jesus said that we have only one of those. Jesus is the Rabbi, and there are no others. God the Father is the Only Father. The Holy Spirit is the only Teacher. So the test of The Faith is to see if it is easier to tell religious truth from religious lies over time. Seeing the Truth makes all the lies really very clear. If things keep getting foggier over time then you are not getting to know the One who is The Truth better.

    And the real crux here from this story and the comments, “Are you experiencing Life in increasing abundance or death?” Knowing Jesus means that you have inner water that flows out from you. You do not need other people or institutions to go to in order to fill the inner emptiness. Instead you take this well that springs up from within and bring it to others and to the institutions. You are not addicted to them. They are not your source. Following a way that looks sort of Godly but has no power will just cause burnout and disappointment. Jesus is The Life. He is all of it. There is zero life in religious substitutes. If your mental health is declining, then you are not attached to The Vine in a practical way that brings you life. If your “church,” “traditions” and religious practices are actually making you sicker over time, then something is very wrong and you have been deceived.

    I write of all these things because I have experienced them. My path has gotten clearer. What is true has become clearer to me and the lies are just so easy to see now. And I experience life that is not dependent on any religious institution. I see Christian Celebrities as pitiful, wretched, and spiritually impoverished people who are blind leading others into ditches that are very tough to get out of. I have learned this through a life of hard knocks, but I learned it. Please do not accept religious substitutes. None of the 501c3’s I attended were near as awful as “Harvest” but they were all filthy rags in themselves. I have found that there is no substitute for knowing Jesus personally. He is My Way, My Truth, and My Life. My life is hidden in Him.

    1. Susan Vonder Heide

      I appreciate your stating the simple truth that we should not accept religious substitutes of any sort but should rely on Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

  16. Nancy Klintworth

    I work with one of his family members who is defending him, which is understandable. This family member keeps saying that Dr. B. is too old and shouldn’t be bothered with this. I don’t understand why Dr. B. had to leave town or not comment on these allegations. There are serious ramifications once the truth comes out.

  17. I find it sadly remarkable that there is not one word of remorse or penitence from Ann Lindberg who allowed herself to be inappropriately involved with a married man for four years! Is not anyone else seeing this? This by no means excuses the adulterous attempts of Mr. Bilezikian upon Ann Lindberg. But how can Ms. Linberg be the victim while she reciprocates the hand holding, kissing, intimacy, etc? If she had the strength to not allow him sex (as she has stated), then certainly she could have denied his advances, especially knowing he was a married man. This does not appear victimization, but she knew fully well what was going on and allowed it to continue for 4 years. She even admits that she couldn’t say no to him even though her gut (conscience) was telling her this is not appropriate. Of course not! Isn’t that the power of lust? Even if he drew her in, she still gave herself over to him. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust is conceived, it gives birth to sin (Jms 1:14-15). A virtuous woman would have nipped this in the bud and would have said no, and denied such conversations, private walks, flirtations, etc. He gropes her and stuck his tongue down her throat (why this exaggerated graphic? A tongue cannot go down a throat. Why does she say it like that?). Yet she returns for more? Again and again? Until she meets her husband? Again, not one word about how she allowed herself to be sinfully involved with a married man for 4 years.
    Women who give themselves over to lustful advances of men want to appear victimized as though they have been swindled, cheated, and taken advantaged of. There certainly are cases of victimization where women (and children) are singled out for abuse, and cruel and unjust treatment. But this does not seem the case for Ms. Lindberg. She was not duped, She knew he was a married man. She was not cheated, but she cheated him against his wife. She wasn’t abused when she was fondled, but she returned to him repeatedly (in the hallway, at a storefront, behind a truck, along the prairie paths, etc).
    May God help Ms. Linberg see the log in her own eye as she points the finger at Mr. Bilezikian and grant her also repentance that she may receive forgiveness of her involvement with a married man rather than publish a story of victimization.
    This is as I see it.

    1. You have no idea whether or not she felt lust for him. If she needs to confess or repent is not the point. He was in the power position. He saw vulnerable prey, groomed her and used that power to fulfill his own needs. Have you read the other accounts against him? There is a pattern of abuse by this man.

    2. Notmyrealusername

      Dan Cole – Ann was a new Christian, vulnerable and quite young while Dr. Bilezikian was a revered “legend” at Willow Creek and Wheaton College who championed and mentored women in ministry. Although it would have been great if Ann had cut off all interactions with Bilezikian, *he* is the one who bears the vast majority of responsibility for the situation. He is the one who is the world-famous Biblical scholar and mega-church founder. She was a new Christian who was being mentored by a “Christian superstar”. Back in the early 1980s, Christian women were taught to be submissive to leadership… She bears some blame, but creepy Dr. Bilezikian bears the vast majority.

      I attended Wheaton in the 1980s and know that Bilezikian was considered a superstar professor. Nobody dared challenge him…

  18. Susan Vonder Heide

    I get that there is a distinction between a child victim of clergy abuse and an adult victim but it is not helpful for outsiders to focus on in Monday morning quarterbacking of how they imagine than an adult victim might have better reacted. How glad any clerical abuser in any church must feel when this happens.

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