A popular mega-church in suburban Chicago has named two successors to longtime Senior Pastor Bill Hybels – and one of them is a woman.
Heather Larson, 42, serving as executive pastor at Willow Creek Community Church for the past five years, has now been elevated to lead pastor, while 38-year-old Steve Carter will assume the role of teaching pastor.
According to a Willow Creek press release, senior pastor Bill Hybels, who founded the church in 1975, will continue coaching and developing these leaders until he transitions off the church staff in October 2018. This will be a new leadership structure for WCCC that replaces the role of senior pastor with two new roles, one focused on leadership and the other on teaching.
Christian apologist Dr. Alex McFarland does not believe this is the first time Willow Creek has been "a theological negative" for the American church landscape.
"I definitely believe that the theological weakening of much of the American church is traceable at least in part to Willow Creek's influence of really trying to make church appealing rather than biblically accurate," he laments.
McFarland, who co-hosts a daily Bible program on American Family Radio, says 1 Timothy 3:2 is very clear that the role of "undershepherd of the flock" should be occupied by men.
"Women do much, much, much great ministry, and men and women are definitely in the eyes of God equal in worth, and value, and personhood, and dignity, but I see making a woman the senior pastor of a church as really a capitulation to acquiescing to the spirit of egalitarianism -- the secular mindset that there must be no differences between males and females," the apologist reasons.
He says this action is "not faithful to the Word of God nor His design for the local church."
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