“New revelation” and “God-breathed” music – bought to you by Hillsong!

Consider again the implications of your church singing Hillsong music. Have a look at how Hillsong see their music:

Our new album is releasing soon! Each song is God-breathed & labored in love. Pre-Order is avail today! Source: Hillsong LA, Twitter, https://twitter.com/hillsongla/status/482244528896614400, 12:30 PM – 26 Jun 2014. (Accessed 28/03/2015.)

proof_Twitter-HillsongInfallibleLyrics_28-03-2015

Christian Today also had this disturbing story about Hillsong’s worship team:

Hillsong singer David Ware says their song ‘O Praise The Name’ brought a new revelation of Easter

Hillsong singer David Ware said that their song “O Praise The Name” brought a new revelation of Easter and helps people reflect on the resurrection of Jesus Christ in a different way.

When they were recording the song in the studio, songwriter Marty Sampson challenged Ware to concentrate on a particular line in the song, “I cast my mind to Calvary,” and sing as if he was actually there.

“As I began to envision the hill of Calvary, I imagined what it would have been like to actually be there on that day, looking up at my Saviour hanging on that tree, the Messiah, full of love for me, as He breathed His last,” said Ware, and for him, that vision changed everything.

He and the rest of the band recorded the song with their gaze transfixed on Jesus’ face, and Ware hopes that listeners will be inspired with the way they told the ancient story.

He said that Easter is the only time of the year when Christians and non-Christians alike from all over the world place their focus on Jesus and what they believe about Him. People reflect on “who He was or wasn’t, what He did or didn’t do, the life He lived, His death, His resurrection and all that happened after,” said Ware.

And he loves the fact that their song sheds new light into His timeless story, and it helps Christians remember the greatest love story of all time in a different way. Ware considers it amazing that Jesus’ story is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. And not only is it His story, but it’s everybody’s as well, because Jesus died on the cross to save mankind, the singer said.

He quoted the Bible verse Romans 5:8, which says: “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Source: Czarina Ong, Hillsong singer David Ware says their song ‘O Praise The Name’ brought a new revelation of Easter, Christian Today, http://www.christiantoday.com/article/hillsong.singer.david.ware.says.their.song.o.praise.the.name.brought.a.new.revelation.of.easter/50866.htm, Published 27/03/2015. (Accessed 28/03/2015.)

Hillsong insider: “I was not prepared for what I was about to witness that night”

Tags

, , , , ,

This person contacted us the same Tuesday night they attended this Hillsong event (Tuesday, 10 Feb, 2015). The email has been slightly edited to help assist readability, to make shorter and to ensure anonymity.

insider

Tonight I attended the Hillsong Vision event because some friends wanted to go. I’m not particularly a great fan of Hillsong but I was not prepared for what I was about to witness that night. I had to go home and jot down what I heard straight away. My observations are in no particular order.

I listened to Brian Houston talk about his new book entitled, “Live, Love, Lead”. Of course he was encouraging people to buy it, but he also wanted us to pray over it.  (As if THIS will make the book Holy).  Anyway, in an effort to get people to read this book, Brian said that he talks about his father, Frank Houston, his pedophile “pastor” inside his book.  (Only he didn’t mention the pedophile part.)  What was really interesting is when he said that this new book is the only book he’s ever written. He kept emphatically stating this, which was very weird. My question, of course, was, “Then who wrote all of the other books that claim Brian Houston as their author?”

Another time, Brian randomly talked about Garden City Church, claiming that Hillsong merged with them to create a Hillsong church, I was obviously upset. They didn’t merge – it was a deceitful and hostile take-over! He lied to us!

Houston also made an offensive joke about his kids. In an “off the cuff” remark he talked about the fact that since he sent Joel (or Ben?) off to the United States to plant a church he should do the same with his daughter.  The difference is that he would send her to Iraq. I was disgusted when the crowd laughed as though this was meant to be good joke.

Two Hillsong pastors also talked about two churches being planted in South America. They said that because UNITED was so well received, (apparently people attended the musical event in the rain), they knew it was time to plant churches there.  The talk was all about building and growing churches. It was NEVER about saving people from their sins. The focus was on getting people into these churches to further the “cause.”  How creepy!

I think it was one of these leaders that mentioned that he was planting a church in an influential city because Hillsong wanted to plant churches in influential places.

Need I say more?

Brian also talked about how the biggest mistake he ever made was publishing the book, “You Need More Money.”  What about “You Can Change the Future?”  Doesn’t he think THAT book was an even bigger mistake? That book was published eight months after his father confessed his crimes! I remember reading that book! It only taught how wonderful Frank Houston was and how we would should live like him to impact future generations.

From ‘You Can Change The Future’*:

“The day my father committed his life to Jesus, he didn’t understand what was actually happening in terms of impacting other people’s lives. Because of his decision, our family has been changed forever, and thousands of people have been trained up and are preaching the Gospel worldwide.

There have been some great men of God in days gone by – Wigglesworth, Finney, Spurgeon, Booth – but they are now in eternity. They made an impact during their generation but in all His wisdom, God chose to put you and me in this generation. You may imagine living in the time of horse-drawn carriages, but it isn’t coincidence or chance you are here today. You are here for a time such as this to be part of God’s eternal purpose. […]

The decision you make and the actions you take have a huge impact, not only on yourself but on the generations to come.

You will pass on a baton to the next generation. What will that baton look like?

In 1999, my father Frank Houston decided to step back from day-to-day running of his church, Sydney Christian Life Centre and passed the baton of leadership on to me. What an honour for Bobbie and me to continue building on the foundations laid by my parents. It was also a tremendous responsibility as we were already pastoring Hills Christian Life Centre in Sydney’s north west. Today Hillsong Church continues what was started in 1977, with our two major worship centres, a city-wide network of cells, and contributing services and ministries all adding to the expansion of future generations.” - pg. 122

Brian Houston, You Can Change The Future, Published July, 2000.

Brian Houston also talked about the time that Hillsong bought a property for $28 million only to have it lose half its value when the GFC* hit. I didn’t understand what he was talking about. He was acting like he wasn’t telling the whole truth about this. This is something I plan to look into.

The music tonight was garbage. It was such a manufactured scene to watch. You could feel people going through the motions while leaders tried to manipulate people to get into the mood. It didn’t look right and it definitely didn’t feel right. One song was called “Wings of Everlasting” and was so self-centered and creepy. It was about touching the sky when our knees hit the ground. I don’t really know what gnosticism is but it made me think of it. I could easily envision the devil himself singing the lyrics.

At one point I asked the people who were sitting next to me if they knew what the Gospel was.  Even though they’d been going to Hillsong for a few years they had no clue what it was. If I wasn’t already convinced that Hillsong isn’t a real church, that exchange would have done it.  How tragic that so many people who think they are Christians aren’t.  The consequences are eternal.  God help these people!

People thought they were going to get preaching. They didn’t. Instead everyone heard how fantastic Hillsong was.

Oh yeah! And Hillsong was updating us about their movie and promoting it.

Promoting what? A self-centered corporation that could draw a crowd but not lead people to Jesus? A movement that tried to cover up the crimes of a serial pedophile by writing about how wonderful the pedophile was? A movement that lies and covers up it’s sins? A movement that’s takes over Christian churches?

I’m devastated. How can this perverted corporation even be considered to represent the standards of the Christian faith?

Source: Email sent: Wed, 11 Feb 2015 01:13:16 +1100 || Edited and approved by sender: 24/03/2015.

* Snippet from original book inserted later into email.
* GFC – Global Financial Crisis

Brian Houston’s testimony on Mesiti bends the truth to pervert the grace of God

SPEAKING DISHONESTLY THE SUNDAY AFTER THE ROYAL COMMISSION

Houston-Mesiti-Connection

Below you will be hearing part of a sermon that was given by Brian Houston after the Royal Commission in 2014. Towards the end of his sermon that talked about tackling the issue of shame, Brian Houston dropped this deceitful testimony.

What is shameful on Houston’s behalf is the fact he is teaching on shame but is himself ashamed to even name the person he is referring to. Essentially – by withholding the persons name, Brian Houston is lying by omission – and being a hypocrite. The person he is talking about in this video appears to be Pat Mesiti, the former Pastor of Hillsong’s Youth Alive.

“Many years ago, over the years I’ve had many people in my office over failings and things that now frame their lives.

Never forget many years ago a friend of mine, sitting in my office having confessed immorality, I’m talking about sexual immorality; he was just so filled with shame. I will never forget it he literally could not sit up straight, physically could not sit up straight, he was just dumpling over. It was that feeling of remorse and shame, thinking about the consequences of his sin, the devastation he had caused people around him and it cost him everything.

Literally, it didn’t only cost him his ministry, it cost him his marriage, it cost him his home, he lost his home, it cost him everything. The only thing he had was loyal friends and perhaps that’s the greatest thing we can have anyway, is loyal friends.

And there were people who stuck with him, people who I know here in our congregation who stuck with him. I was talking with him yesterday on the phone, actually text messages, same thing these days, and ahhh he was telling me that after years of rebuilding his life, just constantly rebuilding his life that the house he lost that his sin, his shame had cost him, he is on the edge of perhaps buying back.

Now think about that instead of your shame and dishonour you will enjoy a double share of honour you will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, everlasting joy will be yours.

I’m thinking what restoration is that! Literally restoring what the devil had taken, what his own sin and shame had taken and his family loved that house his adult girls they’ve got great memories of that home and ahhh his little daughter loves that home and so, I don’t think they’ve done it yet, it’s not over the line but it looks like, you’re talking about restoration the home that his sin and his shame cost him is coming back into his life and other things that were robbed from him are being added back into his life.

After many, many years something like twelve years and I think what an amazing story. And that is the grace of God and we are a grace church and we will always believe that your accuses, one by one they need to leave, whether they are external or internal, so it’s you and Jesus alone because untimely the only victory you have over shame and guilt and condemnation is in Jesus Christ and if you get rid of all the noise, all the other voices, all the finger pointing and just spend time with you and Jesus, that’s where my friend your victory will be won.

Instead of shame and dishonour you will enjoy a double share of honour, you will ohhh I love it [claps hands] possess a double portion of prosperity in your land and everlasting joy will be yours. How great, how wonderful.”

Source: Brian Houston, Hillsong Church – 12 October 2014, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sq7M0JWw9dche, Hillsong, Published by Hillsong Church 16/03/2015. (Accessed 16/03/2015.)

Pat Mesiti’s “restoration” is an “amazing story”? Really Brian? If you are not sure who Pat Mesiti is, read these articles:

What Happened To Pat Mesiti of Hillsong?

Guess Which “get-rich-quick” scheming Pastor This Journalist Is Warning Us Against?

Money-Making Mesiti ‘Ministering’ At Hillsong London In 2010…

It Takes Houston & Pringle To Restore One Who “Reveals The Best Tips On Public Speaking”

So why is Houston using the “restoration” testimony of Pat Mesiti and calling it an “amazing story”? Mesiti’s fall was a tragedy. However, when you read the articles above, Mesiti’s restoration was a spectacular failure. He now has the appalling reputation in Australia and New Zealand as a spruiker and con artist. Is this why Brian Houston was ashamed to leave out Mesiti’s name in the testimony?

Last year the Financial Review wrote about Pat Mesiti.

Property spruikers signal overheating market

Pat Mesiti , whose mission in life is to create 10,000 millionaires before he dies, wants you.

The Sydney-based organiser of property seminars boasts he can show Australians the secrets of how he and his friends “built fortunes in real estate, starting from scratch with no special skills and not a lot of spare cash”.

All you need do is attend his “property millionaires” tour – in Melbourne this weekend – where you can learn how to develop, renovate and churn property.

“Many of you want to flip properties,” Mr Mesiti declares in a YouTube clip on his website.

“We want to teach you how you do that safely, securely, and make money.”

It’s the kind of pitch that worries analysts watching for signs the property market is overheating.

There are plenty of reasons to worry. Reserve Bank of Australia figures showed this week that investors now account for about 45 per cent of home loan approvals in NSW – a record and well above the previous peak in 2002-03.

RP-Data on Friday said Sydney house prices rose 1.5 per cent last month and are almost 15 per cent higher than a year earlier, a sign price growth may be accelerating.

Experts say an apparent explosion in property investment seminars is a warning parts of the property market are overheating.

“A pick-up in the property spruiking business is a signal things may be getting a little too exuberant,” said Paul Bloxham , HSBC Australia’s chief economist.

The former Reserve Bank official co-wrote a 2010 central bank study into the causes of the 2003 Sydney housing boom and bust.

Housing seminars are a common sight around hotel conference rooms, where they pitch to retirees or younger investors. Direct telephone marketing is also on the up.

Mr Bloxham’s original report noted that one of the alarm bells about Sydney’s overheating market a decade ago was a crackdown on property investment seminars and increased scrutiny by the tax office of rental deductions.

“Some of the tell-tale signs are there,” he said on Friday.

HIGHER THAN EXUBERANT TIMES OF 2003

“The investor share of loans is at a record high, and higher than the very exuberant times of 2003, which ended with house prices falling and parts of Western Sydney doing it tough.”

He says the city appears to be following a familiar pattern, fuelled by record-low official and commercial lending rates that start with price rises based on fundamental drivers, such as a shortage of new homes and rising incomes.

“People then get overly excited about it and start buying assets because the price of those assets is rising.

“The solution is not to leave interest rates too low for too long. It’s one of the reasons the Reserve Bank won’t be cutting rates further and we have in mind they’ll be lifting early next year.”

Chris Curtis , a Sydney property buyers’ agent, said there was no doubt pushers were once again proliferating, but are more sophisticated.

They still use well-worn arguments to drum up business, such as negative comparisons to shares and a shortage of housing supply, while updating the pitch to emphasise affordability of property investments for self-managed super funds and the “globalisation” of Sydney as a haven for global capital.

“They’re quite appalling, and what’s happening now is that everyone is doing this property thing – it’s not just the Gold Coast white-shoe brigade: it’s now happening with credible brands,” Mr Curtis said.

The concern was echoed by last month’s David Murray financial system inquiry interim report, which said borrowing by self-managed funds would create problems if left unchecked.

Regulators, who say co-ordinating enforcement is tricky, fear much of the demand for off-the-plan apartments is being driven by double-digit commissions.

Cash payments of $40,000 are routinely made to advisers who recommend apartments, typically to self-managed super fund investors.

In turn, investors are promised double-digit returns, guaranteed tenancies, regular rental income and perks, such as ‘‘free’’ furniture, in a bid to invest in off-the-plan developments.

Tim Mackay , a financial adviser at Quantum Wealth, said high-pressure sales seminars promising easy wealth had become common.

“Aspirational investors should view it as a canary in the coalmine and tread cautiously.If in doubt seek independent advice,” he said.

Mr Mesiti, one of the spruikers, said that while there were pockets of over-heating other parts were not.

“Property, like life, goes through different cycles at different times,” he told AFR Weekend.

“Everyone is entitled to their view. It think it is a great time to leverage and take control of your own destiny, of your wealth.”

Source: By Jacob Greber & Duncan Hughes, Property spruikers signal overheating market, The Financial Review, http://www.afr.com/real-estate/residential/property-spruikers-signal-overheating-market-20140801-j6yt3, Published Aug 2 2014 at 2:44 AM | Updated Aug 2 2014 at 5:24 AM. (Accessed 17/03/2015.)

Brian Houston’s “Conflict of interest” in dealing with pedophile father?

BRIAN HOUSTON MISLEADS AMERICAN MEDIA

Hillsong's orchestrated press release event before Hillsong Conference in the U.S.

Hillsong’s orchestrated press release event before Hillsong Conference in the U.S.

You can read the below issues in the Royal Commission Transcripts on days 88 and 89. What we want readers to notice in this Huffington Post article is this section:

“Houston said the commission has raised questions about a possible conflict of interest for him to handle the response to his father.

“I never even thought about it like it was a conflict of interest,” Houston said. “I thought I was the one to brave up and do something about it.””

But in the Royal Commission, Houston stated,

“My brother was handling my father’s business and dealings by then, because of my, you know, obvious conflict, if you like, being a pastor at Hillsong Church and so on.” [Transcript-(Day-88): pg. 9371)]

So was there a confilct of interest or not? When so much money in the American marketplace is at stake, it can be no surprise that Brian Houston speaks in a less clear way. The latest media spat between Elton John and Dolce&Gabbana shows how powerful the media can be in trashing a brand. Given the law in Australia and the admission of failure to report a crime and the recommendation of the Royal Commission, it would be unsurprising if Brian Houston found himself in the dock facing 5 years in prison. It would become the biggest crisis facing Hillsong at that point.

The Huffington Post reported,

Hillsong Church Founder Brian Houston Defends Handling Of Father’s Sex Abuse Case

NEW YORK (RNS) The founder of Hillsong, one of the most influential religious brands across the globe, on Thursday (Oct. 16) denied allegations that he had tried to cover up his father’s sexual abuse, saying the victim asked him not to go to the police.

Fifteen years ago, Brian Houston found out that his father, who was a minister in New Zealand, admitted he sexually abused a boy in Sydney.

“It was the darkest day of my life because he was my hero, and suddenly he was a pedophile,” Houston said at a news conference.

Houston, who was president of the Assemblies of God in Australia in 1999, fired his father, took control of the church and merged it with Hillsong, now a sprawling megachurch on the outskirts of Sydney.

His father, Frank Houston, was never prosecuted, received a retirement package (which Houston said was more for his mother who also worked for the church) before he died in 2004.

Houston said that the victim who came forward to him asked him not to tell the police. He said he has since learned that Australian law requires someone to report a crime that could be punishable by five years in jail. “I would’ve gone to the police,” he said, if he had known about the reporting requirements.

The victim, who was 7 years old at the time of the abuse, has claimed that the younger Houston accused him of “tempting” his father.

Houston flatly denied the charge.

“To me it’s the most insidious thing in the world that a 7-year-old would be blamed for tempting a pedophile,” Houston said. “That was what was put out there and was very explosive, and to be frank, it has no foundation or truth. The conversation we had was a civil conversation, a good conversation and it was nothing like that.”

Hillsong is part of a larger Australian government investigation, called a royal commission, that is probing how institutions handle abuse claims. The high-level probe is expected to last another four years.

Houston said the commission has raised questions about a possible conflict of interest for him to handle the response to his father.

“I never even thought about it like it was a conflict of interest,” Houston said. “I thought I was the one to brave up and do something about it.”

Houston’s wife and co-pastor, Bobbie Houston, said: “We welcome the commission. Hopefully it’ll be a great benchmark for going into the future.”

Houston is in New York for the church’s second annual conference, which kicked off Thursday night at the Theater at Madison Square Garden and is expected to draw some 5,000 people.

Addressing reporters on Thursday, Houston largely sidestepped a question on Hillsong’s position on same-sex marriage, instead saying that it was “an ongoing conversation” among church leaders and they were “on the journey with it.”

“The real issues in people’s lives are too important for us to just reduce it down to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer in a media outlet,” he said.

“There’s the world we live in, there’s the weight we live with, and there’s the word we live by,” he added.

On Friday, a spokesman clarified that Houston holds a specific personal position.

“Brian was specifically referring to the church’s public position that doesn’t alienate people who are struggling with issues, and that ensures everyone is included in the message of God’s love,” said Lyall Mercer, media coordinator for Hillsong Church.

“His personal position on the issue of homosexuality is: ‘I think the writings of Paul are clear on this subject and my personal views would line up with most traditionally held Christian views.’”

Source: By Sarah Pulliam Bailey & Jonathan Merritt, Hillsong Church Founder Brian Houston Defends Handling Of Father’s Sex Abuse Case, Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/18/brian-houston-father-sex-abuse_n_6005400.html?utm_hp_ref=religion&ir=Religion, Posted: 18/10/2014 7:51 am EDT | Updated: 18/10/2014 7:59 am EDT. (Accessed 17/03/2015.)

Brian Houston & Mark Driscoll: The ‘disgraceful’ invites the ‘disgraced’ to further disgrace Christ & Christianity

When you have popular leaders of movements who appear to HATE God’s Word by rejecting what God says the qualifications are for leaders/elders, you have unrepentant men in positions of power. Both Brian Houston and Mark Driscoll (among others speaking this year) are serious threats to the global Christian Church unless people start voting with their feet on issues of Christian integrity.

You could not get more of a dangerous combination on stage this year at Hillsong Conference 2015.

Christian Today reports,

Hillsong’s Brian Houston will interview Mark Driscoll at summer conference

Mark Driscoll, the former pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, will return to one of the highest-profile events of the evangelical world this summer – but not as a platform speaker.

Driscoll, who resigned from Mars Hill following a string of revelations about his leadership style and a scandal about the manipulation of book sales figures, was scheduled to speak at the Hillsong Conferences in London and Sydney.

However, blogger Warren Throckmorton was told by Hillsong founder Brian Houston in an email that Driscoll and his wife Grace would be interviewed on stage rather than preaching. Houston said in the email: “I am looking forward to having this opportunity to speak openly with the Driscolls about life and ministry, as well as recent events and lessons they’ve learned through personal and ministry trials during the past year.

“My aim is to have an in-depth conversation that gives insight into their hearts. Mark has been candid about mistakes he has made, and if we can, through our conference, help others through his life experiences, we think that will prove valuable.”

It is not yet clear whether Driscoll will appear at both scheduled venues. The fallout from the implosion of Driscoll’s ministry at Mars Hill led to the church’s closure, with its satellite campuses closing, merging with other churches or becoming stand-alone congregations. It is also still facing the possibility of legal action over the use of funds raised for missions which it is alleged were diverted to general church use.

Driscoll was accused of promoting a culture of bullying and coercion, and of creating a “toxic”culture at Mars Hill, formerly one of the largest in the US. Driscoll himself, a charismatic preacher and communicator, was named by Preaching magazine as one of the most influential pastors of the last 25 years.

He now runs a ministry website which does not mention the controversies in which he was involved, but does not currently pastor a church. Invitations to him to preach at evangelical gatherings were withdrawn after the Mars Hill debacle, though he spoke briefly last October at the Gateway Conference in Dallas, Texas, about the struggles his family have been going through since leaving Mars Hill.

“I’ve cried a lot lately. It’s been a rough season for my family,” he said then.

He added that his family has received death threats and “rocks about the size of baseballs” were thrown at his children.

The pastor of Gateway Church, Robert Morris, praised Driscoll for his apparent humility in coming to the conference despite being removed from the speaker line up.

“We did not cancel him, he and I decided together that he was going to step outside of ministry for a season and get some healing. He asked me ‘Could I come to the conference and just attend?’ And I thought that was very big of him to just come and be ministered to,” Morris told those gathered.

“Most of what you read [about Driscoll] isn’t true, some of it is. He did make some mistakes,” he continued.

The Hillsong Conference will provide his first major platform since then.

Source: By Mark Woods, Hillsong’s Brian Houston will interview Mark Driscoll at summer conference, Christian Today, http://www.christiantoday.com/article/hillsongs.brian.houston.will.interview.mark.driscoll.at.summer.conference/49886.htm, Published 13/03/2015. (Accessed 15/03/2015.)

Patheos writes,

Hillsong Founder Brian Houston Issues Statement On Mark Driscoll at the Hillsong 2015 Conference

I just received this information from Mark DeMoss via email:

Statement by Brian Houston on Mark Driscoll at Hillsong 2015 Conference 

March 2015 

For years, Hillsong has invited pastors and Christian leaders from around the world to speak at our annual conferences in Sydney, Australia and London, England. Well in advance of his resignation as senior pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, we invited Mark Driscoll to be one of our speakers this summer. Rather than having Mark preach or teach, I am excited about interviewing Mark and his wife, Grace from our main platform during our Hillsong Conference 2015.

I am looking forward to having this opportunity to speak openly with the Driscolls about life and ministry, as well as recent events and lessons they’ve learned through personal and ministry trials during the past year. My aim is to have an in-depth conversation that gives insight into their hearts.

Mark has been candid about mistakes he has made, and if we can, through our conference, help others through his life experiences, we think that will prove valuable.

This exclusive statement comes from Brian Houston in response to my post last week noting that Mark Driscoll was slated to speak at the conferences. Instead of having a speaking position, he will be interviewed by Houston.

The description of Driscoll on the conference websites (Sydney, Europe) has not changed to reflect this news or the dissolution of Mars Hill Church.  The description lists him as “founding pastor” rather than co-founder of the former Mars Hill Church.

Discuss.

Source: Warren Throckmorten, Hillsong Founder Brian Houston Issues Statement On Mark Driscoll at the Hillsong 2015 Conference, Patheos, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/03/12/hillsong-founder-brian-houston-issues-statement-about-mark-driscoll-at-the-hillsong-2015-conference/, Published 12/03/2015. (Accessed 15/03/2014.)

False churches are a blessing?

Have you ever considered that a false church is in someway a blessing to Christianity?

False Churches Are A Blessing

headerImage-falseChurches

The true church is defined in the Bible as a called-out assembly of those who are true followers of Jesus Christ. Of his true disciples, Jesus said, “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matt. 12:50) The corollary would then mean that a false believer does not do the will of the Father. We know the will of the Father by what His Word says. It follows that false disciples must deny what scripture teaches:

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3)

Therefore, it can be said that a “false church” is one that does not proclaim the plain things of the Bible. I like this definition:

The false church: The body of self-identified Christians who may, or may not, have begun the process of sanctification through belief upon…Christ. The false church either rejects the infallibility of scripture outright, or seeks to rationalize and radically “reform,” revise or reinterpret scripture to justify sin.

False churches exist because of false believers or false converts. They do not want to hear the truth of the Bible, so these false brethren join together and create a church of their liking, complete with a false teacher:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)

spiritsIf all the preaching and teaching at a false church suddenly became good and Biblically sound, do you think the people that attend would also become true disciples? Perhaps a few would, but for the most part they would no longer attend that particular church. They would either go elsewhere or stop going anywhere. French political philosopherAlexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) said “In democracy we get the government we deserve.” With the freedom to choose one’s government, comes the responsibility for that government. The same is true in countries with religious freedom, where a group can easily set-up a church of their liking. It could be said, “With religious liberty, we get the church we deserve.”

In Romans 1, the Bible speaks of God giving people over to their sins:

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. (verse 24)

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural… (verse 26)

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper… (verse 28)

This is a form of judgement: the removal of God’s restraining grace. Restraining grace is present even for unbelievers. Charles Spurgeon said of it:

Oh! what a mercy to be prevented from sinning, when God puts chains across the road, digs ditches, makes hedges, builds walls, and says to us, “No, you shall not go that way, I will not let you; you shall never have that to regret; you may desire it, but I will hedge up your way with thorns; you may wish it, but it never shall be yours.”

A false church is likewise an indication that God has removed his restraining grace. He has given that church over to the desires of its members. He is no longer preventing false teaching.

apostate-americaFalse churches, thus, are a blessing. First, they keep a lot of false converts out of good churches. There are enough false believers in our doctrinally sound churches already. If we closed all the false churches, where do you think their members would go? A lot would end up in your local, Bible-believing place of worship. Then they would undoubtedly begin to make changes to what is taught, which brings up the second reason false churches are a blessing: they keep out false teachers. A bad church gives a bad teacher somewhere to go other than to your good church.

We should pray for those that are in false churches: both the members and their leadership. What is being taught will send them to hell if they do not repent. They must be evangelized with the true gospel of Jesus Christ. God will call out his elect from these false churches.

…then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment… (2 Peter 2:9)

False churches are then a curse to those within them, and a blessing to the overall body of Christ.

This article was originally published at WillSandersBlog

Source: False Churches are a Blessing, Entreating Favour, http://entreatingfavor.com/false-churches-are-a-blessing/?utm_source=ReviveOldPost&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ReviveOldPost, Accessed 13/03/2015.

Bobbie Houston reviewed: “Selah, baby, selah” #notinthebible.

Bobbie Houston’s “Colour Your World Conference” will be on between the 12th and 14th of March and then later between the 19th and 21st of March.

Hillsong’s “Colour Your World Conference” has been rightly coined the “Neuron-free zone” by some Christian feminists we know. The increasingly shallow teaching of the host and guest women speakers (Lisa Bevere, Beth Moore, etc) continues to prove this to be true. It makes you wonder how a self-proclaimed “feminist” can attend such an anti-intellectual event and not be insulted by the patronising teachings of Bobbie Houston. Most Christian feminists we know are insulted that a women’s conference like ‘Colour Your World’ even exists.

Chris Rosebrough recently covered Bobby Houston’s sermon from an earlier Colour Conference on “Fighting For The Faith”, and even he had difficulty reviewing the illogical flounderings of Bobbie Houston.

After listening to the review, why do the women attending these conferences, show such an appalling lack of discernment “embracing” as gospel Bobbie Houston’s profoundly poor eisegesis? One has to ask why Christian husbands would condone their wives listening to this type of nonsense – are their husbands even aware? And how can anyone, having paid to attend this conference, not feel insulted by the lack of respect for God’s Word these teachers demonstrate – and force-feed to the faithful? Or we are seeing a fulfillment of scripture when we read:

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-5

Where there is a demand for something, the “suppliers” are not far away.

Bobbie Houston Hillsong church

Here is the link to the sermon review:

MARCH 05, 2015
Living Large?

Click Here to Download this episode

Program segments:

Source: Chris Rosebrough, Living Large, Fighting for the Faith, http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/2015/03/living-large.html, Published 05/03/2015. (Accessed 09/03/2015.)

 In closing, rather than follow the example of the apostles:

2 Corinthians 4:2 “We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God”

Hillsong’s quest “to manage the comfort level of its audience” has taken priority over preaching the Word. Their fear of offending people’s sensibilities has superseded their fear of offending God. What is truly most discouraging is when Bobbie Houston essentially admits “I do not care what the Bible says…”

A good refutation on Stanley’s sermon series ‘Brand: New’

Tags

, , , ,

Xaiquiri Matthews from XM Blogo did a very good refutation on Andy Stanley’s sermon series ‘Brand: New’. We would encourage you to visit Matthews site and read his good material.

AndyStanley-BrandNew-Contradiction

Matthews writes,

Not So, Brand: New

A response to Andy Stanley’s sermon series 

In Andy Stanley’s latest sermon series, “Brand: New,” he argues that the Old Covenant’s “temple model” has been completely replaced with the new Christian ethic: love. And he argues that if we are going to embrace Christianity, the “Jesus model,” then we must completely abandon every aspect of “temple thinking.”

There are several good things that can come out of what Stanley has said. For example, a question that everyone ought to regularly ask himself is, “What does love require of me?” He encourages people to love those who can do nothing for us. He also urges Christians, and especially Christian leaders, to become humble servants who aren’t too good for the poor and the dirty. He reminds us that our theology is no good if we are not loving. He reminds Christians to remember that they are not under the law. These are just some of the awesome takeaways from this sermon series that everyone would be wise to hear.

However, there’s an incredible flaw in what Stanley has been teaching for the last five weeks, and it is the foundation for everything he says in the series. He describes the “temple model” as a system of religion that involves sacred places with sacred men interpreting sacred texts to control superstitious people. I wish I didn’t have to explain this, but what he is teaching is a gross mischaracterization of the Old Covenant. And in mischaracterizing the Old Covenant, he comes to very wrong conclusions about the New Covenant and misses the primary purpose of Christ’s coming. To make this point even stronger, in making accusations against the Old Covenant, he essentially is making an indictment on the God who inaugurated that covenant. He says that the “temple model” is about how you as an individual can get right with God and that the “Jesus model” is about loving our neighbor. But the Law was never intended to make us right before God, and Jesus’ primary purpose for coming to earth was in fact to make us right before God. From the third chapter of Genesis to the third to last chapter of Revelation, the thrust of Scripture is primarily focused on what God is doing to restore man’s relationship with him.

So what is the Old Covenant?

There are hints at the Old Covenant in God’s interactions with Adam, but the Old Covenant explicitly begins with a promise to Abraham in Genesis 15. There was a promise of land, which we know from Hebrews 11 to ultimately be the hope of the new heaven and the new earth. And there was a promise that Abraham’s descendants, which we know from Galatians 3 and Romans 9 to be those with the faith of Abraham, would become a great nation. Throughout the New Testament, we learn that the truest fulfillment of those promises was found in Jesus. By faith we are adopted as children of God and are given an inheritance. However, all the while, there has been a problem; man is sinful, and God is holy. This is a problem because sin separated mankind from the presence of God. We learn in Genesis 17 that the sign of the covenant with Abraham was circumcision; circumcision was an external sign of an internal reality, namely the circumcision of the heart. When Moses received the Law four hundred and thirty years later, it was not given to help people become righteous through obedience. Instead, the Law of Moses was given to expose people’s sin and lead them to faith in the promise of God. God’s covenant with Moses was filled with promises for the nation of Israel that were dependent upon their obedience, but God’s covenant with Abraham was an unconditional promise. As the nation of Israel developed, the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle were introduced. Since God could not be directly in the presence of Israel because of their sin, these were the specific places where the presence of God would reside. Priests would offer sacrifices for the people of God and for themselves in order to come before God and make petitions on behalf of the people of God. Eventually, under Solomon, the tabernacle was replaced by the temple, and God’s presence would dwell in a place called the Holy of Holies inside the temple. The Old Covenant was never about “sacred places with sacred men interpreting sacred texts to control superstitious people.” The Old Covenant was about God’s promise to redeem his people, and the temple was about God’s desire to dwell among his people. Jesus critiqued Pharisees, religious leaders, in the New Testament, but that was because they missed the point of the Old Covenant, not because the Old Covenant was Pharisaical. Instead, Jesus and all of the writers of the New Testament upheld the goodness of all of the Old Testament scriptures.

And what exactly changed in the New Covenant?

The New Covenant does indeed replace the Old, not because the Old was flawed, but because the Old was fulfilled in Christ. In the New Covenant, no more sacrifices are needed because Christ was the sacrifice for sin once and for all. Baptism would replace circumcision as the sign of the covenant, and like circumcision, baptism would be an external sign of an internal reality, namely the baptism of the Spirit. In the New Covenant, God’s presence would not dwell in the temple; God’s presence would dwell within the hearts of believers through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The old temple was destroyed both symbolically and physically because believers are the new temple.

Why am I writing this?

Andy Stanley actually notes this aspect of the New Covenant, that Christians are temples. However, the conclusion he makes is that being a temple is what makes us valuable and is what undergirds the New Testament ethic of love. He says that the Old Covenant was about making sure our relationship with God was right and that the New Covenant is about pursuing right relationships with others. He even says several times during the sermon series something to the effect of, “Don’t worry about how you treat God. God is fine. All you need to worry about is how you treat other people.” This is blasphemy. Andy Stanley is right to criticize the Pharisaical qualities of the modern church like legalism, power-seeking, and theological divisiveness. But at worst, he is criticizing very purpose for Christ’s coming, to save sinners.

Andy Stanley misses the point of both Covenants, and he completely inverts the Great Commandment. He might as well be saying, “Love your neighbor with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your God as yourself.” He does, rightly so, say that our love for God is displayed in our love for others. However, his explanation of what is central to New Covenant thinking reveals that there is actually no love for God involved. In Andy Stanley’s explanation of the New Covenant, love for neighbor is central and the cross is simply something Jesus did that helps us not have to worry about our relationship with God anymore.

On the contrary, when Jesus gives us the two greatest commands in the New Testament, he’s not only quoting the Old Testament, but he’s showing us the central ethic of Scripture across the board. Loving God and loving neighbor are not replacing the Old Testament; they are the two commandments on which all of the Law and Prophets are founded. Loving God and loving neighbor are the driving force behind every other command. Our love for God is and always has been important, and our love for others is and always has been important. However, Stanley seems to think that the first half of this is irrelevant and that the second half of this is something brand: new. Not so.

When Andy Stanley attacks the sacred places of the “temple model,” he attacks the dwelling place of God among His people. When he attacks the sacred men of the “temple model,” he attacks God-appointed, and yet flawed, men who sought the good of God’s people, and he implicitly attacks his own calling as a pastor to lead the church today. When he attacks thesacred texts of the “temple model,” he attacks the Scriptures that Jesus and all of the New Testament writers quote and affirm, and he calls into question the validity of the very text from which he is reading.

When he criticizes the church throughout history for becoming creedal and theologically-minded, he neglects the consistent New Testament warnings about false teachers and its urgings to guard our doctrine. When he tells you not to worry about your relationship with God, he mocks the practices of Jesus himself when he would retreat into times of prayer, meditation, fasting, and seeking the will of the Father. He undermines the purpose of baptism and communion which remind us of our right standing with God. He contradicts the consistent call of the New Testament for believers to work out their salvation by living obedient, holy lives. He says that the reasons people give for rejecting the church are things that Jesus called the church to reject as well, but Jesus said in John 15 that the church will be hated precisely because of their affiliation with him. There is clearly a huge disparity between how Jesus described the church and the picture Andy Stanley is painting of the church.

I don’t believe it would be wise to write Andy Stanley into the New Testament category of heretics and false teachers. However, I want to say publicly that Andy Stanley has shown, especially over the last five weeks, that he is, at the very least, an untrustworthy expositor of Scripture, and I would encourage those who have followed him to stop following him. Stanley has a tremendous platform and says a lot of good and helpful things, but when you are seeking pastoral leadership, you ought to seek it from those who prove themselves to be, more than just good communicators, faithful teachers of the Bible.

Andy Stanley wants you to stop worrying about your relationship with God and start worrying about your relationship with others. This is an incredibly unloving thing to tell you. We do indeed, as he says, show our love for God by loving others. However, if we truly love God, then our love for others will be driven by the desire for them to love God as well because we understand that a right relationship with God is what is best for them. The primary mission of the Church is to make disciples by preaching the gospel and teaching those disciples to obey the teachings of Christ. This is the mission that separates the Church from every humanitarian organization and non-Christian religion in the world. And it is love that fuels this mission. We want people to turn from their sin and trust in Christ because we care about people’s souls.

One of the things that Andy Stanley is right about is the fact that the church has largely been guilty of being unloving, and all of our pursuits of theological knowledge are ultimately in vain if they do not make us more loving. The church has been guilty of being more concerned with theological pride than with loving our neighbor. The church has been guilty of being more concerned with appearing wise than with operating with wisdom. The church has been guilty of accusatory judgment rather than graciousness and patience with sinners. The church has been guilty of selfishness rather than selflessness. The church ought not give up on solid theology, but the church ought to recognize that its theology is intended to propel its love.

The greatest command is not to love our neighbor. The greatest command is, always has been, and always will be to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The ultimate way we love God is by glorifying him in everything that we do. And the ultimate way we glorify him in everything that we do is by displaying his character in our lives. This is why loving our neighbor is so significant. We are not in the business of love because love is the new law. We are in the business of love because we love God. We love others because, in love, the glory of the God we love and the character of the God we love and the kingdom of the God we love are on display. The church is called to love one another because we know love to be a central element of righteousness and godliness. The church is called to meet needs because we recognize that the kingdom of God is a place void of earthly neediness. When we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, and show hospitality to strangers, we are displaying the character of God. There are no hungry, thirsty, naked, imprisoned, and poor strangers in heaven, and the church is called to love people in a way that reveals the kingdom of God on earth. More significantly, there are no unrighteous people in heaven. We can die without food. We can die without clothes. We can die as a martyr. We can die alone. But we cannot afford to die without God. Every earthly need pales in comparison to the eternal need for righteousness before God, and the most loving thing we can do for our neighbor is to bring them to the cross of Jesus Christ where that need was met. This is the ethic of the New Covenant.

The Holy Spirit is working in the hearts of believers to conform them to the image of Christ. As this happens, the love of Christ inevitably emanates. If we are truly his disciples, then love for others will be the fountain of our hearts. If it isn’t, then I pray that we would recognize that, repent from it, and turn to Christ for forgiveness and renewed life. A living faith works itself out in love, so may all of us pursue this kind of faith and consistently ask God to strengthen our faith to this end.

I love Andy Stanley. I really do. But my love for him leads me to pray for him that the faithful Christian leaders that I know are in his life would come beside him in correction, that the Lord would grant him ears to hear, and that the Lord would use his gifts to become a tremendous platform for the gospel. Will you join me in this prayer?

Source: By Xaiquiri Matthews, Not So, Brand: New, XM Blogio, http://xaqmatthews.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/not-so-brand-new.html, Published 02/03/2015. (Accessed 06/03/2015.)

Erin Benziger: “Bobbie Houston apparently has no regard for the Word”.

If you are a woman you could attend the neuron-free Hillsong women’s conferences put on by Bobbie Houston, (the next round of Colour Conferences starting in 7 days). Or you could actually tune into NoCompromise Radio and listen to Erin Benziger on the Equipping Eve segment, discussing the issues surrounding Hillsong’s deceptive theology for women.

Benziger states,

“So Hillsong church wants to look like the world and wants to welcome women into all kinds of roles into leadership and this and that. Well that’s fine. Hillsong can look like the world all they want. But they need to stop calling themselves a church.

And they may seek to not sideline the girls but they are doing so in direct disobedience to the Word of God. There is a place for women to serve, whether your young or old or married or single or widowed. And Jesus’ own ministry demonstrated that he had a heart for women. And that’s something I would like for us to look at another time: the importance of women in Jesus’ ministry.

But for now, we have to realise that when we seek to usurp the role that God has ordained to be exercised by men, we are turning his will upside down and replacing it with a will that reflects the sin of the world in which we live.” [28:38]

Here is the segment you can read up on and download:

On Women, Roles and Hillsong

Pastor-Bobbie-HoustonFirst Timothy 2:12 reads, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.” What did Paul mean by these words? Are these instructions open for interpretation? And if they are not, why do so many popular, professing Christian women seem willing to violate this command? What is the role of women in the Church? This latest episode of Equipping Eve tackles this controversial topic.

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

Source: Erin Benziger, On Women, Roles and Hillsong, NOCO, http://www.nocompromiseradio.com/2015/01/03/on-women-roles-and-hillsong/, Uploaded 03/02/2015. (Accessed 03/03/2015.)

Hillsong’s influence with influential people: Australian Treasurer Peter Costello and Houston’s invite for opposition leader Mark Latham

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

“Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?” James 2:1-7

INTRODUCTION

We are posting all these articles to highlight the fact that Hillsong is not afraid to “leech” on people who make it big in society. And “leech” is the right word. (It is emotive because we have personally seen how the inside operations work with these mega-church phenomena.) As you can see with our recent articles, Hillsong likes to invite/associate with influential people, which then allows them to leverage off their “influential” status. If it’s at the expense of the celebrity they have befriended or talking to – they don’t care. The philosophy is for “The Cause” of Brian Houston’s movement. At the end of the day, it’s about Hillsong using these people to give Hillsong more credibility. The influential simply become an asset like everybody else.

OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE BELOW ARTICLE

The role of the church is to represent God and His Word – not political parties. Hillsong thinks likewise. In the article below, you will notice that Brian Houston allowed Australian treasurer of the Liberal Party, Peter Costello, to speak and pray at his annual Hillsong Conference. You will also notice Brian Houston’s apparent swipe at the Labour party leader Mark Latham although he invited him to speak at the Hillsong Conference:

“I gave Mr Latham an invitation to come this year and speak for a few minutes about his vision for the country but maybe they’re not quite seeing this demographic as important as some in the Liberal Party have seen it.”

Why is it so important for Houston to invite political leaders to speak from the Hillsong Conference stage? Notice how Houston and Rick Warren are both using their pastoral positions to get in the media spotlight over their celebrity/political stunts (Rick Warren: “Both of them are my friends” 2:35) to get a name for their churches. We stress again – if you’re famous, just like everybody else, you are simply an asset to these movements. The 7:30 Report published this transcript on Hillsong,

God and politics mix at Hillsong

MAXINE MCKEW: This week, a rocking religious worship album became the biggest selling CD in the country – that’s the biggest selling CD – leaping over big-label pop releases on the mainstream chart, surely something of a first.

It’s the latest outing from the Sydney-based evangelical church Hillsong, which also ships millions of CDs overseas.

The church is fast becoming an emerging religious powerhouse in Australia, with thousands of recruits and some influential figures taking more than a passing interest.

It’s no great political secret that governments these days are largely won or lost in the handful of marginal seats on the outer edges of our capital cities.

Winning the hearts and minds of these so-called aspirational voters is the door to government.

And it seems politicians are starting to realise that God may hold some of the keys.

Political editor Michael Brissenden reports from Sydney’s north-west, the rocking heartland of Australia’s booming evangelical Christian movement.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: No, it’s not a rock concert, well, not like they used to be.

There’s no wayward behaviour, no bad-boy stage antics, no backstage atrocities, no drugs.

No, these people are high on God.

SONG:# One way, Jesus, you’re the only one that I could live for.

# MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Well, God and politics.

BRIAN HOUSTON, HILLSONG CHURCH: We’ve asked Mr Costello to come tonight and to greet Hillsong 2004, so why don’t you give him a big warm welcome as he comes to greet us tonight.

PETER COSTELLO, TREASURER: To Brian, to Bobby, to the wonderful people of Hillsong.

I’ve addressed a few audiences in my time, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with the enthusiasm and the commitment of tonight’s gathering.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: In just 20 years, the Hillsong Church in Sydney has gone from a small service in a school hall in the north-western suburbs to this.

SONG:# You live and you die.

And you rose again on high.

# BRIAN HOUSTON, HILLSONG CHURCH: These days, every weekend over 17,500 people pass through the doors from Friday night through to Sunday night and it’s been quite a miraculous story.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: This is now the fastest growing religious experience in the country.

The new Pentecostal preachers know it, the mainstream churches know it and, increasingly, the nation’s politicians know it, too.

DR DAVID MILLIKAN, UNITING CHURCH MINISTER: What was we see at Hillsong is the beginnings of a whole new shift in Australian Christianity.

Churches like Hillsong have a lot of money and they have a lot of political power.

PETER COSTELLO: We need a return to faith and the values which have made our country strong.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Peter Costello’s remarkably passionate opening address to the Hillsong conference in Sydney last week was public affirmation of the growing political influence of this new spiritualism.

PETER COSTELLO: The editorial writers may not understand it, but I want to say to you – more lives have been transformed by faith in Christ than have been transformed by the editorial writers.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Peter Costello, the son of a Baptist lay preacher, had been promising for some time to show a more compassionate political face and it seems it’s faith that’s emerging as the vehicle to help broaden his political image.

Not that that surprises many.

From all corners of the church, the Treasurer’s religious convictions are well known.

BRIAN HOUSTON: I think that he is a man of faith and he is a man of values and I took great encouragement from the fact he was courageous enough to be so bold about those issues.

DR DAVID MILLIKAN: I think Peter Costello has deep religious feelings within him.

I actually think that he feels that he has been destined by God to be the prime minister.

I’m sure he feels that in his very being.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: What does surprise many, though, is his enthusiastic embrace of Hillsong.

It’s a long leap of faith from Baptist austerity to rock’n’roll religion, but then, these days that could just as easily be interpreted as simply smart and pragmatic politics.

This is the key to why the Hillsong Church and churches like it have become so successful and why the politicians in turn are becoming more interested.

The message is a thoroughly modern one and one that sits neatly with the aspirations of people who live in suburbs like this.

A powerful part of that message is the gospel of prosperity.

If you believe in Jesus, the Church says, he’ll reward you here on earth as well as in heaven.

Brian Houston, the head preacher at Hillsong, is also the author of a book called You Need More Money.

It’s a Christian gospel that sits easily alongside today’s dominant political paradigm.

BRIAN HOUSTON: The church isn’t about money, but I do believe it is about equipping people to live lives that are bigger themselves.

And if we have nothing, there’s nothing we can do.

If we have a little, we can help a little.

And if we’ve got a lot, there’s a whole lot we can do.

DR DAVID MILLIKAN: Hillsong says that if you come to Jesus, then Jesus offers you, in fact promises you, that you will have a prosperous life, you’ll be healthy, you’ll be wealthy, your marriage will flourish, you’ll have a good sex life, your business will flourish and you will be a prosperous winner in this society.

Now, that is the religious version of exactly what the Howard Government is saying to us, and what they are holding out as the idea for Australian society.

So in that sense, Hillsong is the Howard Government at prayer.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Well, Mark Latham might have something to say about that.

The fact is the aspirational suburbs, of course, are often the ones sitting on the closest margins and both the preachers and the politicians want to win them over.

Louise Markus is the Liberal candidate for the western Sydney seat of Greenway.

She’s campaigning hard and could be a real chance to win in what used to be safe Labor territory.

But the demographics here are changing fast and, while she doesn’t want to make much of it, at least to us, the fact that she’s an active member of the Hillsong Church won’t actually do her any harm.

LOUISE MARKUS, LIBERAL CANDIDATE FOR GREENWAY: Well, I’m not here to talk about Hillsong Church specifically.

What’s important to me is the people across the whole of this electorate and what’s important to them.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Do you think being a member of the church, though, gives you some advantages here?

LOUISE MARKUS: I think people make their decision about who they’re going to vote for and who they want to represent them for a number of different reasons.

I think the values that people represent is significant.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Ms Markus says her values are the values of the Liberal Party, with family and individual responsibility at their heart.

Religious activists like David Millikan say the two are a comfortable and convenient mix?

DAVID MILLIKAN: The mainline churches are more problematic.

The mainline churches ask questions about refugee policy, about welfare policy and, see, the Howard Government has a very troubled relationship with people who question or argue about the justice or equity of what’s happening in Australia.

They’ll never get that discussion from Hillsong.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The Hillsong Church, though, says it hasn’t deliberately set out on a partisan political path, but Brian Houston says his flock is naturally interested in the direction the country’s taking.

BRIAN HOUSTON, HILLSONG CHURCH: I gave Mr Latham an invitation to come this year and speak for a few minutes about his vision for the country but maybe they’re not quite seeing this demographic as important as some in the Liberal Party have seen it.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Maybe Mr Latham should re-think.

Peter Costello’s obviously onto something here.

This week, the Hillsong worship album has become the biggest selling CD in the country.

BRIAN HOUSTON: The worship of Jesus Christ, this week at least, is the number one most popular music in the nation.

So, that’s what I stand for.

That’s what we live for.

It’s certainly a great moment.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: It’s certainly great marketing, but then maybe that’s what both the preachers and the politicians have always been looking for.

BRIAN HOUSTON: Father, we thank you for Mr Costello, we thank you for your PM, John Howard, we thank you, Father, for the Leader of the Opposition, Mark Latham.

Source: By Michael Brissenden, God and politics mix at Hillsong, ABC (7:30 Report), http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2004/s1154131.htm, Broadcast 14/07/2004. (Accessed transcript 01/03/2015.)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 141 other followers