How Megachurch Pastor Bill Hybels Led Republican Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina Back to Christ

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Philadelphia, Friday, June 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Philadelphia, Friday, June 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

She would like to be the first woman president of the United States and is openly challenging Hillary Clinton for that honor. For many years she thought of God as a benevolent ‘super CEO’ and the resurrection of Jesus as allegorical, until a prominent pastor prodded her to embrace a deeper faith.

“When I was a child and into young adulthood I believed in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ,” Carly Fiorina told a conference arranged by Opportunity International (OI) last year.

Raised Episcopalian, her father was a prominent law professor who became a deputy U.S. attorney general and later, a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals. Her mother was an abstract painter, which may explain her precision-oriented, steel-trap mind and the artistic sensibilities of her makeup.

Growing up, Fiorina attended five different high schools, studied philosophy and medieval history at Stanford, then worked as a secretary and receptionist at various firms until her spectacular rise through the ranks of AT&T, Lucent, and Hewlett-Packard.

As the focus on her career gained ascendancy, she drifted from the simple faith of her childhood.

“I still prayed every day,” she told the summit arranged by OI. “I still knew our souls didn’t die, that this isn’t the end. I had faith that good would triumph over evil and we do reap what we sow,” she maintained.

She viewed God through a business prism, as a benevolent executive. “I had come to view God as a super CEO of a big enterprise. He had created the universe. He had put in place quite a sophisticated set of management processes and those processes kept things running, not necessarily smoothly every day, but basically in the direction he intended over the long arc of time.”

The God she envisioned, however, was not very personal. “He didn’t attend to every detail. He didn’t know every person; how could he possibly? But he did somehow receive regular management reports that directed him to the strategic issues that required his attention or intervention,” she noted.

Her view of the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith was unorthodox. “The virgin birth, the resurrection, the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit – these were powerful allegories that drew people toward the right idea,” she thought.

“They were profound ideas at the heart of a sophisticated governance system, but I wasn’t really sure they were real any more.”

An invitation and a prayer

But her uncongealed faith was challenged after she received a phone call and invitation from Bill Hybels, the founding pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, to speak at his global leadership summit.

It seems Hybels had read Fiorina’s book, “Tough Choices,” and used it as a management and leadership-training guide for his team.

Fiorina accepted Hybel’s invitation, but was “a little nervous” about speaking at a religious-oriented venue. “I had been charging hard in the corporate world for quite a long time so I didn’t usually speak in that kind of setting,” she noted.

Fiorina met with Hybels in his office ahead of their interview and Hybels asked if he could pray with her. As he began to pray, at first she felt “overcome with gratitude for the caring of so many people who didn’t know me.”

Then something curious happened during the prayer – the Holy Spirit touched her heart in an unexpected and extraordinary way. “Then came a feeling that I was being elevated, lifted up. It was a sensation so strong that it was almost physical and it truly took me aback,” she remarked.

“That feeling of being lifted up was followed by a sensation of deep peace.”

Over the next year, Hybels and Fiorina maintained regular contact. “He was constantly prodding me to think about all of this. I was surprised by his personal interest in me. He was very persistent. It was his personal interest that kept me contemplating the personal contours of my faith.”

Still, doubts persisted, but she arrived at a point when she wanted to settle the issue.

A Christmas gift from above

“One Christmas Eve I asked God for help in resolving my doubts and I prayed for a sign.” When she woke up the next day, it was as if scales had been removed from her spiritual eyes.

“The next morning on Christmas I woke up with a clear mind because it suddenly became blindingly obvious to me that there were signs all around me.”

Fiorina quickly recognized there were ciphers – even from the world of science and technology — she had been ignoring.

Are not physicists still struggling to understand the basic building blocks of the universe – quarks and protons and dark matter? Are they not profoundly miraculous? Did Einstein not prove that energy never dies, it just changes form? she thought.

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SOURCE: Assist News – Mark Ellis