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A Warning For Willow Chicago, Part 3: Meeting With Jon Klinepeter

November 28, 2013

You can read this “Public Letter” in it’s entirety here.

You can download this entire “Public Letter” here.


– April 30th 2013: The Meeting Between John, Tara and I.

Tara and I sat down with Jon for lunch. After an hour and half of optimistically asking Jon to clarify his position on homosexuality, same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption and justify or provide an explanation for his Facebook posts, he told us he would be more careful in the future, that he was sorry that we misinterpreted things and for the misunderstanding it caused.

Initially he said he had no position on same-sex marriage, but when faced with his posts as evidence he claimed, “Nothing in those posts was incongruent with the “Willow’s Elder Statement”. I’d told Jon earlier in the meeting that I had a copy of the Elder’s Statement with me. He boldly told me, “he helped write much of it”, which made no sense for someone who had “no position”.

When asked about same-sex adoption, Jon said, “it’s not an issue until all of the children that need homes have been adopted” and “look at all the abuse that goes on in traditional marriages”. When asked about same-sex marriage I had to hear about how broken traditional marriage is and the astronomical divorce rate among Christians. No matter how hopeful I phrased my questions, Jon couldn’t line up with the Bible. He simply wouldn’t state his position.

After realizing that we had accomplished nothing, and receiving an apology for our misunderstanding, I told Jon that we would be taking this to the Elders. A few days later I began to write the “Elder’s Letter” that we would send directly to Bill Hybels via his assistant.

The meeting between Jon, Tara and I is described in great detail in the Elders Letter found here Elder’s Letter.

– May 28th 2013: I Sent The “Elder’s Letter” To Bill Via His Assistant.

After almost a month of fervent prayer, counsel from other members of Willow Chicago, pastors and Christian friends and family, I finished the Elder’s Letter I initially intended to send to the Willow Creek Board of Elders. After more thought I decided to send it directly to Bill Hybels via his assistant, because I have the utmost respect for Bill, and I knew he could handle this unilaterally and minimize any damage to the church.

So on May 28th I sent the “Elder’s Letter” to Bill’s assistant.

– May 31st 2013: Absent a Response, I Send a Follow Up.

After not hearing anything from Bill’s assistant for three days, I sent a follow up email.  She responded immediately and confirmed receipt of the letter. She also noted that she put a copy on Bill’s desk, adding, “I’m sure you’ll be hearing from him soon”.

– June 23rd 2013: Three Weeks Pass, No Word.

After nearly a month of not hearing anything from anyone, I sent Bill’s assistant an email letting her know that we were not contacted. I also asked her to confirm that Bill was aware of our letter and the issues we raised.

Bill’s assistant responded immediately stating,” Bill did receive a copy of your letter, but he has not had a chance to respond yet.”

After waiting almost a month since we sent the letter, and nearly three months since this started, Tara and I were drained, confused, and disappointed. We couldn’t understand how such an intensely sincere and good-hearted man like Bill Hybels could allow this to take place in his church.

If you’d like to discuss this further you can email me at

From → Willow Creek

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