Several publishers have stopped printing books by former Willow Creek Community Church pastor Bill Hybels as the Chicago-area megachurch he founded investigates new allegations of his inappropriate behavior toward women.
Hybels has denied the allegations.
Tyndale House Publishers has suspended publication of Hybels’ “Everyone Wins When a Leader Gets Better,” set to be released in August, according to Publishers Weekly.
InterVarsity Press also told Publishers Weekly this week it will not reprint Hybels’ popular 1987 book “Who You Are When No One’s Looking,” though it won’t pull existing copies from shelves.
And a Zondervan spokesperson reportedly said the publisher is taking the allegations seriously and considering what to do with a number of books it has printed by Hybels over the years. Those titles include “Just Walk Across the Room” and “Becoming a Contagious Christian.”
Former Zondervan president Maureen Girkins is among the women accusing Hybels of acting inappropriately and abusing his power as head of Willow Creek. Among her allegations, Girkins said Hybels insisted they personally work out the terms of a publishing contract on his private jet and made it clear that her husband — who had been hospitalized during a conference they were attending — had to find his own way home.
At least seven women have come forward, by Christianity Today’s count, alleging invitations to hotel rooms, comments about appearances and an unwanted kiss from the former pastor. One unnamed woman also claimed she had a consensual affair with Hybels, though she later denied it.
Previous investigations by Willow Creek elders and a lawyer they hired cleared Hybels of any misconduct, a Chicago Tribune investigation revealed. In a letter posted on the church’s website last weekend, elders announced they will examine the latest allegations.
Hybels has called the allegations “flat-out lies.” He resigned as lead pastor of Willow Creek earlier this month — several months ahead of his planned retirement. He also stepped down from Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit, held in August at its main campus in South Barrington, Ill., and broadcast around the world.
Additional fallout includes actor Denzel Washington and author and speaker Lisa Bodell pulling out of the summit, according to the Tribune.
— by Emily McFarlan Miller | RNS