Brian Houston: Proving to be the foolish leader in Ecclesiastes…

In 1999, Brian Houston wrote a book called ‘You Need More Money’. On the back cover, Houston advertises that this book is about how people can “become a money magnet”.

He claims on the first page in his introduction,

“People love to quote the Bible when it comes to money, wealth and riches (and will sometimes do so out of context), but there is a fascinating verse in the book of Ecclesiastes that says it all:

A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes merry; but money answers everything.

(Ecclesiastes 10:19)

If that’s a shock to see a statement like that in the Bible—check it out for yourself. That is exactly what it says: MONEY ANSWERS EVERYTHING!”

Brian Houston bases the entire introduction off that one scripture. Not only that, Brian Houston appears to base his entire book on this premise and it appears he has Hillsong apply to this false philosophy.

Ironically, Brian Houston takes the scripture in Ecclesiastes out of context. This is what the context is:

“Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning! Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility, and your princes feast at the proper time, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 

Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks. Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything. Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king, nor in your bedroom curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter.”

What do you see? Is Ecclesiastes telling us “you need more money”? Or is it warning you of foolish leadership and what it looks like?

Here are some commentaries explaining what is happening in the above passage.

From the Pulpit Commentary:

Verse 19.A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry. Here is a cause of the decay spoken of above. The rulers spend in revelry and debauchery the time and energy which they ought to give to affairs of state. More literally, for merriment they make bread, and wine [that] cheereth life; i.e. they use God’s good gifts of bread and wine as means of intemperance and thoughtless pleasure. So a psalmist speaks of wine as making glad the heart of man (Psalm 104:15); and Ben-Sira says, “Wine is as good as life to a man, if it be drunk moderately: what life is there to a man that is without wine? for it was created to make men glad. Wine measurably drunk and in season bringeth gladness of the heart, and cheer fullness of the mind” (Ecclus. 31. [34.] 27, 28). But money answereth all things; i.e. grants all that such persons want. It requires money to provide rich food and costly wines; this they possess, and they are thus able to indulge their appetites to the utmost. It concerns them not how such resources are obtained – won by extortion from a starving people, exacted in exorbitant taxation, pillaged by unscrupulous instruments; they want gold to expend on their lusts, and they get it same-how, and with it all that in their view makes life worth living.

Source: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/pulpit/ecclesiastes/10.htm

From Gills Exposition of the entire Bible:

A feast is made for laughter,…. Or, “who make bread for laughter” (i). Not bakers, who make bread for common use, and for all sorts of persons, sorrowful ones as others; but luxurious men, particularly such princes as are before described; they “make bread”, that is, a feast, as the phrase is used, Daniel 5:1; not for mere refreshment, but to promote mirth and gaiety to an excessive degree; being attended with rioting and drunkenness, chambering and wantonness, with revellings and dancing;

and wine maketh merry; or, “and they prepare wine” (k); which is provided in plenty at feasts; and which is sometimes put for a feast itself, and called a banquet of wine, Esther 7:2; which wine makes merry, and men drink of it till they become drunk with it, at such profuse feasts: or, “which maketh life cheerful” (l); as it does, when moderately used: “cheers the living”; so Aben Ezra;

but money answereth all things; is in the room of all things, and by it men obtain everything they want and wish for; it answers the requests of all, and supplies them with what they stand in need of, or can desire: particularly such expensive feasts, and sumptuous entertainments, are made by means of money; and, in this luxurious way, the coffers of princes are drained, and they are obliged to raise new levies, and impose new taxes upon their subjects, to the oppression of them. Or else the sense may be, that princes should consider, and not be so profuse in their manner of living, but be more frugal and careful of the public money, and lay it up against a time of need; since it is that that answers all things, is the sinew of war when that arises, and will procure men and arms, to secure and protect them from their enemies, and obtain peace and safety for them and their subjects, which otherwise they cannot expect.

Source: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/gill/ecclesiastes/10.htm

From the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:

19. Referring to Ec 10:18. Instead of repairing the breaches in the commonwealth (equivalent to “building”), the princes “make a feast for laughter (Ec 10:16), and wine maketh their life glad (Ps 104:15), and (but) money supplieth (answereth their wishes by supplying) all things,” that is, they take bribes to support their extravagance; and hence arise the wrongs that are perpetrated (Ec 10:5, 6; 3:16; Isa 1:23; 5:23). Maurer takes “all things” of the wrongs to which princes are instigated by “money”; for example, the heavy taxes, which were the occasion of Rehoboam losing ten tribes (1Ki 12:4, &c.).s

Source: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/jfb//ecclesiastes/10.htm

Brian Houston appears to sincerely believe that the scripture in Ecclesiastes helps give people “a healthy attitude towards money”. Yet Christian scholars teach that these scriptures says the opposite.

Who would you believe? An apparent unrepentant bible-twister or faithful scholars who have committed their whole lives studying God’s Word?

As a ‘touch-not-anointed’ visionary, (a king with his own established nepotistic monarchy), Brian Houston has no problem sucking people dry with his financial scams and neglecting the spiritual state of God’s household while encouraging his church and conferences to “let the party begin”.

Is Brian the “foolish leader” Solomon warns us about in Ecclesiastes, leading people astray?

Brian Houston: sins of my father….

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Recently the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Hillsong was under scrutiny by the royal commission over child sex abuse.

The Hillsong cult under scrutiny…

Early this year, Brian Houston shared the following about his dad’s sexual offenses at Hillsong Conference 2014:

SOME OBSERVATIONS

1. Don’t cover up things that can’t be covered up?

This was a bit of odd advice that Houston gave in this session about “manning up” when facing tough times in church leadership:

“In this whole subject of manning up, don’t be tempted to cover things up that can’t be covered up; it’s never going to do you any good.” [Source]

And yes, it appears the context around this quote was how he dealt with his father’s sexual failure.

2. Things he didn’t teach when things go wrong…

When things do go wrong he didn’t talk about scriptures on discipline, restoration or reconciliation. There was no mention of seeking God in times of crisis. Maybe this is a given?

3. No empathy for the victims?

We understand how hard it would be for Brian to deal with his dad’s sinful behaviour and the hurt it caused the victims, Brian, his family and his church.

However, it was noticeable in his retelling of the events that he paid very little attention to the victims of Frank Houston. Instead, Brian Houston talked all about his own pain. (And to an extent, fair enough.) We can only read into what Brian Houston addressed here. He may have really addressed their issues personally, thoughtfully and professionally.

We wonder at this point if reconciliation seriously took place at all. If it did take place, this would have been a wonderful opportunity for Brian Houston to teach how biblical repentance and reconciliation can take place in the body of Christ. Oddly, this is absent.

The victim’s were mentioned in this retelling in such a way that it seemed as though nothing happened for them. Hopefully all things ended well for them.

4. Brian Houston’s view of God’s sheep?

For leaders in the church dealing with hard issues, Brian Houston used the passage, ‘be wise as serpents and harmless as doves‘.

However, Jesus said, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt 10:16.)

Dear Brian – sheep aren’t wolves. Why do you have that view (and why do you think other leaders should have that view) of their sheep? Or maybe sheep in your church started alerting others that you are the wolf in sheeps clothing? This is quite the confession you made in this session:

“We’re not just manipulative and controlling and trying to contrive situations. You receiving this?”

If you are a sheep in Hillsong, receive the Matt 10:16 advice from Brian Houston. Be wise as serpents and start discerning who is leading you astray.

6. Where is the gospel and redemption when the times get tough?

It was sad to hear that when Brian Houston went through this dark time, he didn’t give mention of anyone coming to him with the gospel. Nor did he mention the gospel at all when he went through any scandal or bad church experience. He needed it more than anyone else in that time of pain.

This would be torturous in this type of false ministry. If you are a false teacher preaching a false gospel, who can comfort you in your moment of absolute darkness if all those around you believe your false gospel? He’s a victim of his own false teaching.

If anyone could have pulled Brian Houston out of his pain, it could have been Jesus and His cross. (Notice how Jesus isn’t Brian Houston’s saviour in any of his experiences.) He went through his pain alone. All he could offer people at Hillsong Conference was his worldly wisdom.

No cross. No Christ. No redemption.

This is a tragedy for Brian Houston, Hillsong and unrepentant sin’s many victims. Please pray for them.

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TRANSCRIPT

“Well I enjoy these sessions when we get to talk practically about the Church and speak specifically to leaders in all areas of church life, just about the church so in this session this year let’s talk church leadership.

And today where you can see we are loading up our little studio audience here, and ah these guys [glitch] with all the leadership pastors, many of them, most of them I think and all of them in their own way at different times have had to negotiate seasons of real crisis, real pain and I thought it would be great to talk about some of those things and just find out how people have navigated some of those challenges, some of those things and hopefully there’s something in it for everyone to learn from.

So I just wanted to start, if you want to take notes, if you want to write something at the top of your page perhaps, just write ahh ‘leading and navigating, seasons of crisis’ or ‘navigating and leading through seasons of crisis’. That’s what we are talking about.

I think in life, especially as faith people, we believe for the best, but let’s be honest we have those days when we hear the worst. And all you have to do to face some very difficult times in life is live long enough. So I sure don’t want this to become a negative session but perhaps I can start by talking about what I would consider probably the worst day in my life so far.

It was in October 1999 and my great offsider George Aghajanian has ahh worked with me for many, many years and every Tuesday, he and I have a meeting. He oversees. He’s the General Manager of Hillsong Church, so globally he oversees all of the administration facilities. He oversees so much of our church. Much of the staff and so many things. He always comes in with this list that he is going to talk to me about and this day in October 1999, that he started going through his list and he said ‘oh there’s just one more thing’ he said ‘it’s not about you, it’s about your father’.

I can kind of remember the blood running out of my face, I kind of didn’t know what to expect, but I could tell by his demeanour that this is not going to be good news. And so he proceeded to tell me how a phone call had come into our church office, just one of our pastors ahhh had answered the phone to a guy who started telling them that he had been ministering at a church and a lady came to the front, I think he had been talking about abuse, the lady came to the front afterwards and said ‘Frank Houston abused my son’.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you what that moment felt like [glitch] I can’t even begin to tell you, it kind of came at me like degrees. First of all I couldn’t get past the fact that he was talking about eh, you know, eh a man a a boy.  And it kind of hit me at degrees, first of all that’s kind of homosexual, then the second thing, that err it was someone underage. This is something that had happened maybe 30 or 40 years before that and it happened when he was a New Zealand pastor.

Umm but for me it just hit me at degrees and to be honest I think I had to deal with it as at those time, at that time I was president of a denomination 1100 plus churches. And I was pastor of a church, of which only 9 months before that we had taken on what was my parents church and it had become a campus of our church, so I also had to negotiate it as, if you like pastor of the church he had pastored for over 20 years. And then of course they had to navigate it and negotiate it as a father. A husband and a father.

Talked to my own kids about their Grandad who to all of us was an absolute hero. And then finally I had to look after myself. The end result was just not so long ago, I’d slowly I was keeping everything going outwardly, but I was slowly decaying inwardly. To the point where two or three years ago I had a panic attack and I was told that I would have them for the rest of my life but I said I don’t think I am ever going to have one of these again, and by God’s grace I never have.

And it took its toll, and as a result of that talking to Doctors I was pretty much told that I had post traumatic stress. So between that and other pressures, many people know the story of some of the, some of the battles we faced with the media in Australia and so on.

So, I think you can look at anyone and think well everything just goes well for these guys, nothing ever, but people want sometimes what you have but they don’t want to know what it takes to get there. And everyone’s got their story and your story may be different to my story. That story went on, I won’t take too much time on it but, maybe 12 or 8, so then I, by the way I had to confront my own father. Again, hardest day of my life.

I talked to him about this, he had just come back from overseas, in my office, he went all dry in the mouth. You ever talk to your hero and your father about something so horrible, he went all dry in the mouth and he confessed that, that had happened all those years before.

So maybe 12 or 18 months later, a psychologist actually from New Zealand made an appointment to see me, I met him down town and I had a feeling this was going to be bad news as well. And he went on and told me a similar story about when he was 14. And so the problem had grown and I- I, by God’s grace, in the middle of it was clear enough in my mind to know what I can do and what I can’t do and everything, you want to protect your own father, but I did what I had to and took it to our denomination, which I led and they asked me to stand aside from the investigation, they investigated it fully and ahh- the end result was he never preached, he never ministered, he was never in leadership again.

As a result of that, I’ve got members of my own brothers, of my own family siblings, who to this day don’t talk to me, because they believe I put the church before my father. So, it’s a personal pain and I’m not here to tell you all this to say ‘woe is me’. But I never forget when I talked to each of my kids they all responded differently but in my mind responded so incredibly well. Ben, my second son, just becoming pastor of Hillsong Los Angles, he, he listened carefully, I said ‘Ben I so hope this doesn’t affect your faith’; he would have only been a teenager still. He said, ‘Dad that’s not going to happen, I’ve had my own revelation of Jesus’. I think they were the most golden words at the time, I heard.

So a lot of people knew my father, he blessed a lot of people and to this day, I know thousands of people who only have good memories of him. And err I’m grateful for that. But obviously this caused pain, real pain for real people. There’s victims involved there’s you know, it was horrific.

So I thought I would start there because I, I want this to be a bit of a tender and a bit of a vulnerable moment where we don’t just talk around stuff, but without getting into a pity party, we really, we really talk about stuff and I feel like people respond to pain in different way and as leaders there’s crisis we deal with in a church and then there’s crisis in our own lives, personal and corporate.

So those are the things I just wanted to talk about and I will just take a few minutes and then we are going to really hear the gold from some of these other people here. I will just talk about some of the things I have learned about over the years when it comes to pastoring in crisis. Handling it personally and leading other people in crisis.

Because I’m convinced, and we talked about it briefly with Bill Hybels yesterday, I’m convinced that leadership’s not proven of the good times, anyone can go along for the ride in the good times. I think what’s really in us comes out in the tough times and your leadership is always proven in the tough times.

So just a few thoughts very quickly:

Number one, I think facing crisis, facing pain.

You’ve got to understand that pain has a process.

[words on screen]

“– 1) Understanding the process of pain!!”

And we wish it would go away tomorrow, but often times it’s just not going to go away tomorrow.

The Bible talks quiet often about in the process of time. And if I think about the fact that time has a process within it and we often want to progress out of our challenge without really taking on the process. You know the scripture in Ecclesiastes where everything is a season and time for every purpose under heaven. Well if, if every season has a purpose, sometimes there’s a process for that purpose to be worked out. And I know that we often feel that I can’t see any good purpose in this whatsoever but it’s amazing how God can use anything and everything to take you forwards and actually to make you a better person. Maybe give your ministry a bit more depth.

And so to me the process is very important. Now look at the process of time, there’s different scriptures that talk about it, but in Exodus 2 where err of course Egypt were holding captivity God’s people, they were in bondage and there’s a scripture in Ezekiel 2 that says that the Kind of Egypt died and in the process of time, God heard the people’s cry, saw their burden and deliverance came.

But of course there was the process of time. Don’t’ try to avoid the process of time, cause I think it’s all part of it. And Cain, he did at the end of time what he should have done at the beginning. The bible talks about his brother’s offering that he gave to God and Abel’s offering was of the first fruit, it’s really the first mention in the scriptures of the idea of first fruits, so Abel gave what was first whereas Cain gave in the process of time, so he did at the end what he should have done at the beginning, and it ended up bringing calamity.

And I feel like sometimes we try to procrastinate and leave things off and don’t deal and address things but it can bring calamity. But on the other hand, Hannah she couldn’t have a child, she was desperate, the bible says she was in anguish of heart and she wept and finally it says in the process of time. There it is again, that she had a son called his name Samuel.

So don’t underestimate the importance of the process, let’s be doing at the beginning of the process what needs to be done at the beginning, because it can make the process a whole lot less painful and ultimately it will always bring a better result.

So imagine if in the beginning, I decided I’m going to try and cover this up with my dad. I know right now with where Australia’s at, we wouldn’t even have a church. So you’ve got to sometimes you’ve just got to decide to man up and guts it out, you’ve just got to make the tough decisions.

One of the things I decided was to always try to honour my dad, which not always easy because my dad to me was and to my brother and sister was just an incredible loving, generous man and that’s the person many people knew.

And by the way, that psychologist, he talked to me about disassociation. He was saying the father you knew was your father and this other thing this other part of him was disassociated from the rest of him and that kind of helped me at the time.

But number one, you’ve got to give it the process.

Number two, (if I can just move along here), it’s always good to respond not react.

At Hillsong Church we had a little upset with someone earlier this year and I was talking to Joel A’Bell who’s a great, great err co-worker with Bobbie and I, he and Julia. We were talking about what we need to do and he said ‘make sure that we are responding, not reacting’. And that was the best advice at the time I could have given because by nature I’m a reactionary, you know I could be a volcano. I got much, much better as I got older but that would be my natural, my natural way.

And I think sometimes in life especially -

[glitch]

- came out of positive, I had a desire but obviously it can be very negative. And often times, the things that are our weaknesses, the things that whatever that desire might be for you, it might be to lean toward a ditch, and it might be to do something to that – to build some kind of emotional attachment, do something crazy and it’s your way of coping. And the worst thing you can do often, is isolate yourself. When you feel like having fellowship the least, is often when you need it the most.

So that’s why the bible says in Hebrews Chapter 10, don’t forsake the gathering of the assembling of yourselves together as is the habit of some, ahhh but encourage one another. And you get into a great, positive, faith filled environment where there’s a spirit of encouragement, it’s the best thing you can do. And sadly people in churches, they make the great mistake, when they need it the most of drawing back, isolating themselves, fully cutting everybody out and it’s sad.

David, his most negative Psalm was 142, he says I’ve been brought very low, he says everyone is out to get me, they’ve set a snare for me, no-one really acknowledges me, who really cares for my soul. Those are the things he said, ultimately he says I’ve been brought very low. His dark day, I’ve been brought very low. The next verse, bring my soul out of prison that I may praise your name- Listen to it! “The righteous shall surround me.”

He decided he was going to get amongst crazy people and when we feel like it the least, let’s make sure we get ourselves always into an environment where praise gets our mind off ourselves, it’s impossible to be negative and praise God at exactly the same time. You simply can’t do it! It just doesn’t work! So let’s understand the importance of not isolating ourselves.

And the next thing I think when leading people, let your human side show.

Be transparent but don’t be pitiful, cause there’s a difference. Some people go to water and they become pitiful: “Woe is me!” – negative! But on the other hand some people put all the walls up and pretend nothing’s wrong and you know, ho hum, ra ra, and you know what, that’s not helping either especially if there’s a challenge inside a church because they think you don’t even care about this, you don’t even care! And I think, I think when the time is right and in that process of time, when I’ve had to face big issues in Hillsong Church, (and believe me we’ve had some! And by God’s grace he has brought us through every single one of them), there’s a time when you need to be with yourself a little bit, just have to be a little bit human, a little bit vulnerable.

Us macho Australians, we don’t like doing that sometimes. But I found that if you do that at the right time and you don’t overdo it, people warm to you and rally behind you. Life moves on, which is good, ha ha ha.

So don’t be afraid to be human and eliminate blame and excuses.

Don’t get, don’t get defensive whatever you do.

You know when I ride my motorbike, which is not much these days, I ride it with the attitude any accident that happens is my fault. Cause it’s a motorbike and you don’t get too many second chances. So in other words, whether a guy pulls out of there, whether that happens, whether any accident that happens is my fault. Because that way, I ride in a way that basically is taking responsibility for what that guy might do and what might happen over there, makes me ride my bike different and I think life’s a little bit like that too. You can blame, you can excuse and you can be completely right, obviously some motorbike accident is not technically your fault, you’re not the one the Police are going to book, if your still breathing, it’s not always technically your fault but if you ride that way, I think if you lead that way as well.

Cos blaming and excusing, justified as it might be, it’s actually not helping anything. And so I think lead, always taking accountability, always taking responsibility and say ‘what could I have done different’ ‘what do I need to change’. And again I feel that’s a great way to respond to challenge, to crisis and all of these things.

Number six, focus on the good things.

I’m talking about leading other people and leading yourself. Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are good, whatsoever are true, whatsoever things are noble, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, think on these things. Think on these things and hang around people who are going to get you thinking on those things. Written by Opposite World Translation. The Opposite World Translation is the same scripture with a NOT on the end.

And here’s my Opposite World Translation,

“Finally brethren, whatsoever things are rumour or hearsay, whatever things are negative, whatever things are mean, whatever things are trashy, whatever things did up the dirt, whatever things bring a juicy report, if there are any skeletons in the closet, anything gossip worthy, think on these things.”

Are you living according to the Opposite World Translation or are you living according to the word of God? Cause it’s good to focus on the good report when you are surrounded completely by the bad report.

Hahaha! I quite like my Opposite World Translation, I’m kind of proud of it, I don’t know, I don’t know if I will find anyone to publish it yet but…

Number seven, wise as serpents harmless as doves.

Some people are all dove, other people are all serpent. Wise as serpent doesn’t mean wriggle your way out of things and spit venom to everyone. It does mean when you lead you’ve got to be harmless as doves. No guile. You got to, you got to lead in a way where, where ahh, your pure-hearted. But you also can’t be stupid. You’re leading people. God gave us a brain to think. You got to get the mind of the Spirit. You gotta- you gotta get the wisdom of God.

Sometimes you can react to a situation and it’s justified, especially if it deals with people, someone causing you problems in the church. It’s justified. But if that person has a whole huge following in the church and you just go ‘bang’ and cut them off, you’re going to pay the price. Be as wise as serpents, this is where we need to get to, where’re going to follow this process to get there, we’re going to take people on the journey harmless as doves. We’re not just manipulative and controlling and trying to contrive situations. You receiving this?

[Looks to audience for reaction]

Number eight, Man up or woman up, don’t go to water.

I mean everyone’s allowed a bad night, you know a tough day. But big picture, it’s time for your character to shine, not your flaws.

Now like I was saying in (not sure) desires, we could easily go quickly to our flaws, but this is a time when your Godly character is needed more than at any other time. So if we think about our personal reactions, if we are determined that we are going to face our own demons, whatever those demons are. If we decide we are going to challenge our reactions not justify them, challenge them.

So in other words things that have no, no good purpose. Whatever your facing right now don’t just, don’t just allow your reactions to run rampant, challenge them, man up, man up to things, face things, confront it. And I think it’s so important, this is where all of us in leadership, we run close to the red zone on the (not sure) any way the way we lead.

And you get a couple of things added on and all of a sudden you go into the red zone, which of course is the dangerous place to be leading from. And that’s why we’ve got to make sure we leave plenty of room in our emotional bank. So when you’ve got to withdraw on it, there’s something there to withdraw from.

And I talked about a panic attach that I got to and being told I had post traumatic stress, I could kind of believe it was true to be honest and I haven’t got time to go into my whole story but I can tell you this, that in the middle of all of that, basically, I saw myself especially when I was a younger leader, that stuff was for other people, I really thought I was invincible, I was never going to be hit, I was never going to be that person.

And it’s kind of scary, other leaders can relate to it when you suddenly realise, you’re that person. This is where I’m at. And ahh I had completely run out of emotional energy, I had nothing left and thank God for Bobbie because Bobbie is an absolute God send, all the time.

[Audience applauds]

But I would have to say at that time, Bobbie ‘manned up’, she ‘womanned up’ because she was taking me upwards, not downwards. Which is a pretty good thing for a spouse to remember, when we need to be bringing someone else up, let’s make sure of where where’re at, if where’re in a better state than them it’s going to bring them up and not bring them down.

Again, be aware of your coping mechanisms, you know sometimes we turn to things for coping that we wouldn’t normally do.

[Laughs]

You know around this time of the story I told you about in 1999, some close friends of Bobbie’s and mine, as a joke, sent uh- sent me a cigar. So they sent me this cigar and said ‘here maybe this will help you feel better’. Well, one thing I’m anti smoking, it’s not personal because there would be people who smoke in this crowd, so it’s not personal. But for me and our team of staff, we don’t have too many rules per say, but the one thing I do say is we don’t smoke and we don’t smoke.

And, ahh, so I was really very low one day. This story by the way, could cost me my credential by the way, but that’s alright I could just print off another one.

[Audience laughs]

The only time I ever used it was once, to get into a hospital car park for free.

[Audience laughs]

Besides the President of our movement had to go yesterday to do something up in far north, so I’ll tell you this story, it’s a little secret ok.

I’m home entirely by myself, it’s late at night, there’s no one around. I have a look at this cigar and I thought, you know I’ve never smoked a cigar, I thought, I just felt rebellious.

[Audience laughs]

I just felt rebellious. So it was pitch black, no one was home, I walked out to the garden, sat down their entirely by myself, and smoked entire cigar. I didn’t even know you weren’t supposed to draw in.

[Audience laughs]

No one had told me that. It kind of felt good. Hey be careful of your coping mechanisms.

[Audience laughs]

One thing you can do is take it out on the people who are closest to you and that’s dangerous too. All of a sudden you’re lashing out at everyone else and it’s nothing to do with them. It’s good when your being lashed out on sometimes to remember this is not actually about me, this is about them.

But it’s so easy when you need those around you the most, let’s not make sure that we don’t just start lashing out at the people we love because that’s kind of a coward’s way but it’s an easy thing to fall back on. In this whole subject of manning up, don’t be tempted to cover things up that can’t be covered up; it’s never going to do you any good. You’ve got to address things.

I’ve had to deal with many issues with people over all my years and some things you can deal with personally and confidentially and maybe with one or two other elders or board members. Some things obviously it’s going to take a little more than that. Some things you, you have no choice but to address it even publicly, ahh hopefully not too often.

I think some pastors do that far too quickly, take things public that never, ever needed to be public and you can help people through things that’s going to save their future, their ministry and their career. And if I ever have that option that’s exactly what I would do, if the options there but sometimes, the nature of it, that option’s just not there.

Number nine, you’ve got to gather trusted confiders, people you love and trust but not just anybody.

The bible talks about a multitude of Council not a multitude of opinions. So don’t just trust anyone, the lady of the hedge or outside the school gate may not be the best person. Or the hairdresser may not be the best person to vomit all over.

And if I were talking about confidence and people you surround yourself with, number one just make sure there people who are fore you and who love you and wouldn’t want to get any personal mileage out of this whatsoever. Not the kind of person who’s going to say, well you know because it makes them feel like a bigger person if they have information that no one else has, and so they… find people in your life who love you and want what’s best for you.

And in that, sometimes might be afraid to tell you what you need to hear. It’s incredible, one Old Testament king, you know he was ‘the man’. He went to 400 different prophets and every single one of them told him what he wanted to hear, none of them had the guts to tell him what he needed to hear.

Then ultimately there was one prophet who actually was courageous enough to tell him what he needed to hear. So when it comes to confidence, to me, I want people to live in a big world, the last thing I need is someone going ‘oh my God, this is the worst thing I have ever heard in my whole life’. You know you need people who, to me maybe their further ahead in life than you, not someone who’s behind you when it comes to experience and leadership and wisdom.

Because I don’t want someone who goes into panic and goes to water, I want somebody who they might have been there, that they’ve faced some of those things. The kind of counselling they are going to give you again is going to take you forwards and upwards. Don’t, don’t arr don’t talk to people who your issues are just going to through them into a mess of spin, and all of a sudden all they are giving you emotional and reactionary and doesn’t have any Godly wisdom to it whatsoever.

So to me generally (not sure what he says) are living in a big world and people are not going to be thrown too easily by your challenges cause they’ve faced a few themselves. Obviously, you are going to want people who are wise, Godly wisdom. You know common sense is not as common as we think and use people who have that ability to get a word of wisdom in that situation, Godly wisdom talk to those people. Talk to people who are generous hearted, they’re generous hearted means they are only going to want what’s best for you, whatever that is cause they are generous, they’re for you.

And I, I think it’s important to find positive people, I really do.

[Words appear on screen]

“Anxiety in the heart of a man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25 (NKJV)”

Get around people who are going to give you a good word. An overcoming word. You know, a positive break-through-type word.

And, and, err not just people who are sympathetic. Jesus was never moved with sympathy, every time he was moved with compassion something powerful was about to happen. So we can bound to people who are sympathetic, you know sympathy at times is the last thing we need. We diffidently need people who care, who understand. I think one of the toughest things in a crisis is people who want to be everyone’s friend. ‘I don’t want to get involved we just want to be everyone’s friend, we just want to be neutral.”

And there’s a Proverb, which I think is a great Proverb just in my NKJ version it says something really simple, it just says something like ahh, “He who’ – ahh – has many friends needs to show themselves friendly.” But if you look it up in the amplified bible it says ‘the person of many friends, the friend to the whole world is a bad friend’ and so it’s interesting when you think about that.

There are some situations we want to be everyone’s friend and you actually can’t then be anyone’s friend. And when you’re in a tough time you need people, they put their mast to the, you know whatever it is, they put themselves to the mast and they know how to be a friend to you at this time.

So not just anybody whosoever things are of good report.

Number ten, (and I’m going to go quickly), bring those around you on the journey.

I’m talking about your family, your loved ones. Bring them with you because you’re going to need them, so make sure you’re bring those around you on the journey and be an example to those who are leaning on you. Ahh be an example, that’s a game when you can show real strength, some real leadership. Even though your life’s hell right now you can help people around you who love you and who feel for you through this journey as well cause I know for example when Bobbie and I have been attacked, as much as I may feel it, my kids always felt it a whole lot more.

And ahh so the people who love us and all of us have got those people in our world, when you need them the most make sure the way that you are dealing with people is keeping them with you and bringing them with you on the journey.

Number eleven, just resolve what to do.

I talked about being wise as serpents, harmless as snakes. There’s that guy that lost his job (not sure what he says) and so his boss says ‘you’re fired’. The bible says in Luke 15:4 he resolved what to do.

[Words flash on screen]

“What man of you having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness (Luke 15:4).”

And you know things get so much better if you take the meditation time, you do the prayer, you trust God, you come to a point of resolve and you think, well look, this is what I’m going to do, we haven’t got a clue what to do, you don’t know what, you know that’s when your still in anxiety and panic mode.

But it’s good if you just take the time sometimes and think, look I need to do this, in leadership, I need to do this, I need to talk to these people, I need to this, I need to do that. Resolve what to do; it’s amazing how already internally you feel stronger with that already.

And ahh-

The last thing (then we are going to move onto the second part of this) is just vision, vision, vision.

If there’s ever a time to put the vision back out there, to re-vision ahh and to re-imagine it’s at times like that I can focus on the problem, I can focus on the crisis.

There was a crisis in Australia, which a lot of people know about where a guy put on a sickness and he wrote songs. Put on a sickness and attended our, attended to be a, you know – just a great big lie and it was, you know just a crazy time for the church in Australia. I know at that time I just resolved in our church, because this happened when he was attending our church, what we needed to do and there were certain things we needed to do.

I was away on holiday, with an overgrown beard I used my iphone to just talk to the church about it. I wrote a blog and on the blog I just explained the whole story from my experience. I made sure I sured up the people I needed to around and about me. And you know our church remarkably just went through that so well. And our youth group too who had been affected, our youth group as well, they came through it so well.

It’s important to resolve what to do, so that you’ve got strategy, you, you really think what you need to do.

But vision is critical, it’s critical, you know when you lose the wind out of your sails, I’m not a sailor but I do know if a boat loses the wind out of its sails, the quickest thing he needs to do is reset its sails so it gets the wind back in it or else he’s becalmed. And your leadership get’s becalmed if you ahh lose the wind out of your sail.

The best thing you can do as quick as you can is reset your sails. Just talk life, just talk hope, just get to the parts of the word that are going to build people up, put faith into people. While you’re putting faith into other people, you’re putting faith into you. One of the best ways to get happy is to preach yourself happy and we can either preach ourselves sad or we can preach ourselves happy. And I want to be the guy who preaches myself happy.

You know for me, praise God, learning the power of praise, I’m a believer, the gifts of the Spirit for the day, so you know God gives us a Heavenly language, that the bible says edifies us, it builds us up. So at that time, ahh I’m going to be not necessarily walking around screaming in tongues everywhere, but I will be internally, I will be using the language of the Spirit that the bible says strengthens me. So let’s go to those things that help us then to re-vision and set the sails forward and move on to all that God has got for us, Amen.”

Source: Brian Houston, Hillsong Conference 2014, Sydney, 2014.

What are your thoughts? Did you see anything outstanding in the video/transcript that you would like to share?

[Edit 26/09/2014: If you want to comment on this article, please be sensitive and respectful to the persons involved in this scandal. Any immature or abusive comments aimed at Hillsong, the Houstons or the victims will have their posts removed.]

Brian Houston calls Christian pastors “intellectual pride-filled Pharisees” & “evil people”

Brian Houston Hillsong theo-jelly-cal

“It is better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt, yes or no, Brian Houston?”

It is not uncommon to hear Brian Houston, his leadership, and Hillsong’s adoring fans telling people, “judge not lest you be judged”, and “if you are without sin, cast the first stone”. And Hillsong would say that their movement never “demonizes” Christians for questioning the powers that be. At least up until now….

Brian Houston recently tweeted the following,

Leaders goal: Toughen up and lead when the heat is on; yet stay authentic and transparent. Better days are coming!

Source: Brian Houston, @BrianCHouston, Twitter, https://twitter.com/BrianCHouston/status/500981890208129024, Published 5:26 AM – 17 Aug 2014. (Accessed 10/09/2014.)

proof_Twitter-BHAuthenticTransparentLeadersGoal_19-09-2014

Live your life in a transparent & authentic way. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear & nothing to lose!

Source: Brian Houston, @BrianCHouston, Twitter,https://twitter.com/BrianCHouston/status/497431278049062912, Published 10:17 AM, 07/08/2014. (Accessed 10/08/2014.)

proof_Twitter-HoustonTransparency_17-08-2014

Leadership doesn’t bully. – doesn’t manipulate – doesn’t ‘control’ – & doesn’t crush or diminish others! Leadership leads!

Source: Brian Houston, @BrianCHouston, Twitter, https://twitter.com/BrianCHouston/status/512647263483887616, 18/09/2014 10:00AM. (Accessed 20/09/2014.)

proof_Twitter-BHLeadershipDoesntBully_20-09-2014

Let’s see if Brian Houston went.

UNFATHOMABLE IGNORANCE 

It’s astounding to think that someone like Brian Houston can sit on an annual salary of $300,000 a year and operate out of such willful ignorance.

Brian Houston Responds To The Steve West Media Saga

Not only that, our most recent articles looked at how far removed Hillsong is from the orthodox Christian faith. The first article below is a report on how Hillsong wrote the song ‘This I believe’. The second article is a testimony of someone’s experience at Hillsong explaning how they discovered their rich historical Christian faith once they left the Hillsong bubble.

Mega-fail: Mega-church hiding under mega-rock

“I was a Christless, creedless, and clueless Christian in Hillsong”: A testimony of God’s grace.

With all this in mind, we can begin to understand where Brian Houston is speaking from.

 THE ‘DEMONIZING’ INTENSIFIES:

Below, Brian Houston tweeted lyrics from his church’s latest song, “This I Believe”.

proof_01Twitter-CreedyBrian_17-09-2014

A commenter, Matt Rollings responded to Brian Houston’s tweet.

 Words matter. You do know modalists affirm the same, right?

Source: Matt Rollings, @Matt_Rollings, Twitter, https://twitter.com/matt_rollings/status/512196877391917056, 4:10 AM – 17 Sep 2014. (Accessed 20/09/2014.)

Matt Rollings summed up our thoughts exactly on the issue of this song. Furthermore, Rollings bought Pastor Christ Rosebrough from Kongsvinger Lutheran Church into the discussion, also an apologist for his radio show Fighting for the Faith.

So what was Houston’s response to Matt Rollings?

proof_07BrianUsesADictionary_19-09-2014

Rollings obviously replied to Brian Houston. And Brian Houston responded with this:

proof_03bTwitter-BriansWords_19-09-2014

If you aren’t laughing now at least you should be raising your eyebrows with this comment. Brian, yes, you can find the word ‘modalism’ in both the Oxford Dictionary and Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. And you most definitely find the definition of modalism in Christian encyclopedias or systematic theology books.

Obviously ‘the great white shark’ Houston felt out of his league and started chomping and thrashing around on Twitter.

proof_03Twitter-BrianInsultsMatt_17-09-2014

It is important to notice the words he used around “pharisaical”. Pride? Well, obviously. But intellectual? Being intellectual makes you a Pharisee? Weren’t the Pharisees false teachers who loved to parade a form of godliness (in a similar way before Brian Houston removed all his shocking comments from this Twitter conversation)?

By the way Brian, nothing is ever ‘deleted’ permanently from the internet i.e. your ‘deleted comments’, you do realize that? We found them as easily as we found ‘modalism’ in the dictionary. Just saying.

proof_07BrianUsesADictionary_19-09-2014

In response to @BrianCHouston, Matt Rollings introduces Prof. Nathan Busenitz (Instructor of Theology. B.A. M.Div. Th.M – The Masters Seminary) into the ring…

“religious people?” As a pastor are you not familiar with church history? HT Source: Matt Rollings, @Matt_Rollings, Twitter, https://twitter.com/matt_rollings/status/512247653078286336, 7:32AM, 17/09/2014. (Accessed 20/09/2014.)

Ps Chris Rosebrough joined the ‘conversation’ to help explain to Brian Houston exactly what Modalism is, Matt having alerting Chris in the twitter stream as to what Houston had said earlier.

proof_06ChrisLecturedByMatt_19-09-2014

BECAUSE HILLSONG IS OPEN TO “CONVERSATION”…

It appears about this point in time, Brian Houston blocked Matt Rollings from commenting on his wall. In response, Matt put out these tweets:

 Brian, you have blocked me. I can’t respond to you. Please please!!! pick up a theology text book.

proof_04bTwitter-BrianBlockingMatt_21-09-2014

Source: Matt Rollings, @Matt_Rollings, Twitter, https://twitter.com/matt_rollings/status/512267540177776640, 8:51AM, 17/09/2014. (Accessed 20/09/2014.)

proof_08HoustonBlocksRollins_18-09-2014

But the conversation did not stop there. This, from the Pulpit and Pen blog site:

P&P Transcript: Brian Houston Asks if Modalism is a “Made Up Word”

The following is a transcript of a segment from Thursday’s Pulpit & Pen Program.

Brian Houston, pastor of the Hillsong United – whatever it is – “church,” had a conversation with one of my friends, Matt, from Canada “eh.” On Twitter, Brian said, “I believe in God the father, I believe in Christ the Son, I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe all three are one.” This is Hillsong’s attempt to say, “Hey! We have a theology! We’re not watered-down and all about worship music!” And so, he’s going to show his theological prowess by affirming the Holy Trinity, and the way he phrased it left open room for interpretation. Matt says to him, “Words matter. You do know that modalists affirm the same, right?” Like, “You know that modalists can actually agree with that, right?”

So what do you think Brian Houston said? Now, he has like 354,000 people following him on Twitter. Yes, three hundred and fifty-four thousand people following him on twitter. Probably, when you count churches and people and followers throughout the world, we’re talking about a huge number of people look to this man for spiritual guidance. I’m not talking about some podunk pastor from Goober Town Arkansas (yes, there is a Goober Town, Arkansas) or Possum Grape or Bald Knob or some place like that in the middle the country. We’re talking about a huge international so-called “church.” Here’s the main guru. What do you think was [Houston’s] response when Matt was like, “Could you be more specific? Modalists agree with this.”

This is his response… This is his response; “Are you one of those religious people who make up words?” He says, “Not even a dictionary has the word modalist in it.”

Listen, if you’re a layperson I understand you may be like, “You guys are snobs, just because he doesn’t know a word.” Listen, if you’re layperson, if you don’t understand… I’m glad you listen to the Pulpit & Pen Program because you need to know what this means. But if you’re a pastor and you don’t know what the word means, get educated. A leader of worldwide movement and you don’t know what modalism is? Why are you the leader of a worldwide movement bounding off towards anything, let alone heresy? How did Brian Houston become a pastor? When Brian Houston became a pastor, did he look a lot like the guy that should have preached that night and they accidentally put him behind the podium instead? Is there a body double? Is he a Manchurian candidate?

He doesn’t know what modalism is, so he actually looks it up and he says “there are no definitions available in the dictionary for modalism?” He said [to Matt], “I don’t even see the definition anywhere? Did you mean medalist or modelist?” And then, finally his response was to (of course) block him for being one of “those religious snobs who throw around big words” like “modalist” – three syllables, for crying out loud. It’s three syllables.

Is it too much to ask that we project leaders who are people that have read a theology textbook at some point in their life? Who might know what ‘modalism’ or other major heresies are? Because you can quote the creeds all day long, Nicene Creed or the Apostle’s Creed, to make yourself sound Orthodox, but you haven’t the ability to provide an apologetic against Oneness Pentecostal heretics like TD Jakes? You see, Satan hates the Trinity – he can’t stand it – and every cult under the sun attacks the Trinity (Mormonism Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc…) every single cult attacks Trinity. So you’re the leader of a movement? Was has come of us? That’s why you, sir -Brian Houston – are in the Daily Downgrade.

Source: P&P Transcript: Brian Houston Asks if Modalism is a “Made Up Word”, Pulpit and Pen, http://pulpitandpen.org/2014/09/18/pp-transcript-brian-houston-asks-if-modalism-is-a-made-up-word/. (Accessed 19/09/2014.)

Baptist Pastor Jordan Hall notified Brian Houston of winning the daily downgrade award. Brian seemed to receive the award well…

proof_05HillsongDowngradeAward_19-09-2014

In the above screen grab you can read this cheeky response from Pulpit & Pen:

The P&P staff gives our apologies. What do you mean by “evil”? We can’t find it in the dictionary. Is that a word?

Source: Pulpit & Pen, PulpitAndPen, Twitter, https://twitter.com/PulpitAndPen/status/512685576579854336, 18/09/2014 12:32 PM. (Accessed 20/09/2014.) 

Brian Houston chomped back with this comment:

proof_09DemonicChristians_18-09-2014

Right. So Jesus refers to Christian ministers and elders as heretics in Romans and Galatians… Huh? What is Brian Houston thinking? Didn’t the Apostle Paul write Romans and Galatians under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?

Pulpit & Pen later followed with this comment:

 Are you sure you’re an expert on heresy to be accusing us of it? “Is Modalism a word?”

Source: Pulpit & Pen, PulpitAndPen, Twitter, https://twitter.com/PulpitAndPen/status/512708352275513344, 18/09/2014 2: 02PM. (Accessed 21/09/2014.)

Yet another twitter response to Brian Houston came from Baptist Elder Gene Clyatt:

If you’re ignorant of both theology & church history, “pastor” is not the job for you…

Source: Gene Clyatt, @Shinar_Squirrel, Twitter, https://twitter.com/Shinar_Squirrel/status/512689297724407808, 12:47 PM – 18 Sep 2014. (Accessed 21/09/2014.)

Tony Miano from Cross Encounters also weighed in and rebuked Brian Houston,

. To which savior are you referring, Brian? Jesus of the Bible, or the false Jesus of TD Jakes?//REPENT!! (Acts 20:29-30)

Source: Tony Miano, @TonyMiano, Twitter, https://twitter.com/TonyMiano/status/512955263653908480, 6:23 AM – 19 Sep 2014. (Accessed 21/09/2014.)

Now Brian likes to think of himself as being transparent. Authentic. Rising above, when under fire. So what did you think Brian Houston did when he was ‘under fire’ by Christian pastors, brothers in Christ who rightly, and with polite restraint, corrected Brian Houston’s ignorance about modalism?

What does he do? He deletes his tweets. Calls other Christian pastors demonic.
Sounds like he has the “spirit of a pioneer”.

DOCTRINE IS IMPORTANT

So why the big kerfuffle over Brian Houston’s original statement about the Trinity? In light of Brian Houston’s ‘confusion’ about the god of Islam, former Muslim Abdul Saleeb really demonstrates why it is important for Christians to understand the Trinity in this Ligonier podcast:

Opposing Foundations

We thought we would leave you something that Matt Rollings put together with his encounter with Brian Houston.

proof_10Exposed-_19-09-2014

“I was a Christless, creedless, and clueless Christian in Hillsong”: A testimony of God’s grace.

Before reading the article, please read the following:

Mega-fail: Mega-church hiding under mega-rock

HILLSONG: WHERE WERE THE CREEDS?

Our family attended Hillsong back in the early days of CLC.

During our entire time at CLC/Hillsong, we never heard about creeds. If you mentioned the word ‘creed’ to us back then, we would have no idea what you were talking about. In the very early years, people we knew didn’t remember any creeds – even as far back as the late 70s.

HILLSONG TODAY: TRYING TO LOOK ORTHODOX AND CREEDAL.

Move forward to 2014,  I am disgusted to see Hillsong trying to appear orthodox. They’re not! Marketing themselves as ‘orthodox’ when they’re aren’t. That’s dishonest!

It was noticable this year that Hillsong, in their marketing, was trying to look as though they are part of the historic Christian faith, appearing to be orthodox. However, the attached video actually reveals the fact that leaders and members of Hillsong, to this day, are unaware of the creeds and still do not recite them in their church. (Listening to the dialogue you can tell they don’t know why the creeds were written.)

At Hillsong Conference 2014, this interview was streamed from their Hillsong conference website.

Rich Langton: So the creed. The apostle’s creed. I can remember as I think probably others will as well in high school reciting that week on week- week in, week out. And um, it was always meaningful because of the exactly what was on the video we just saw. But Ben, for you, did you know about the Apostle’s creed? What did you know about it before writing this song?

Ben Fielding: Well I did know it. I actually went to an Anglican school. Ans so we recited the Apostle’s creed, And so I knew of it. It had been a few years since I had revisited it. And so I probably couldn’t have recited verbatim, like so many people can throughout the church.

And what I did know of it, is that it was an incredibly unifying body of text and that it was a core statement of belief that literally you know, pushes aside all the other things that might divide us and distract us from the main thing. And it just goes and states all the things  that we hold to be most true. And um, there is an incredible power when we can come to together in agreement and in unity. And the creed brings that and our hope is that this song brings that.

Rich Langton: That’s great. And so Ben again, we’re not really a credal denomination.

Ben Fielding: No.

Rich Langton: So then what place do songs hold for us and churches like ours?

Ben Fielding: Yeah. Well I mean I guess in many respects songs are the contemporary creed. And they don’t replace the creed or the creeds but they become our theology contained in song. And I think as a song writer, I mean I hold that responsibility with great value and I don’t want to treat likely the responsibility that we have because we’re stewards of the truth of the gospel. And we put words in the mouths of our church and potentially churches outside of our church. So it is imperative that what we’re singing is true. And that we’re singing the kinds of things that would hold up for centuries upon centuries. And I think that challenge is a great challenge.

Source: Interview, Hillsong Conference 2014.

CHRISTIAN ‘BASHING’?

What makes me angry is how, in the past, Hillsong had always portrayed a bias against churches that are traditional. It was infused into my thinking that I was involved in something that was Spirit-filled and divinely relevant. I was told to think of traditional churches, like the Anglican or Baptist churches, as religious, spiritually dead, white-washed tombs, dull, boring, lifeless, full of religious spirits and so on.

I’m now seeing how Hillsong has changed tactics. They are introducing their false theology and influence into those same ‘traditional’ churches (those same apparently ‘dead, white-washed tombs’ etc) through their music. They’re trying to impact on all denominations by pushing their all-inclusive ‘Jesus’, that same ‘Jesus’ who lacks any form of biblical integrity, with Hillsong leadership showing a total absence of sound doctrine pointing to Him.

Looking back, I can see why. The Hillsong movement’s ‘theology’ keeps evolving. I can now identify times when we were exposed to Word of Faith, Latter Rain and even when they started emphasising Church Growth teaching (Yonggi Cho with his cell groups). It is a movement that is tossed by every wind and wave of doctrine, based on the most popular teaching or the most popular preacher. It’s sad for me to reflect on the fact that these teachings weren’t Christian. If I knew then what I know now, I would have approached my relationships with friends in other denominations, in a more biblical way.

MY JOURNEY OUT.

Did anything really ‘bad’ happen to me at Hillsong? Well, without realizing it, something bad was happening – at the time I just didn’t understand how dangerous their theology was. However, when I found myself ‘stumbling’ across resources on the internet; when I started studying and learning about the Christian faith, I felt completely violated.

Christianity was so much more than what Hillsong offered me. From my discovery, I ‘felt’ that these Hillsong thieves robbed me of so much over the years. And I say thieves, because they robbed me of discovering the riches of a glorious God and His saving grace, and the amazing heritage of the Christian faith that I have come to love and appreciate. I have so much catching up to do. All these truths I should have received if they actually bothered to preach the bible faithfully!

I felt all ‘hacked up’ with no place to go. For years, Hillsong had deliberately cut themselves off from the rest of the body of Christ because they always wanted to be in the so-called will of God doing the next “new thing”. Looking back, my experience at Hillsong reminds me of Mormonism. It’s kinda like I got that ‘warm feeling’ (also described as ‘burning in the bosom’ in Mormonism) in my chest – that God ‘wanted’ me to know that Hillsong and their ‘prophet’ were truly of God, that the rest of Christianity needs to keep up with us.

The mainstream church needed to change with us or die without us.

When I left Hillsong, I felt like a complete alien. I am about to step into a ‘dead’ church? What would I see? Would I like it? Is the ‘Spirit’ there? What does the ‘Spirit’ look like now?

I left Hillsong with a bunch of people because we were so sick of what we felt was a very shallow, plastic, exhausting, religious environment. I’m grateful to have found more freedom and depth in my local church. Yes, we do recite and appreciate the spiritual depth of the creeds, yes, we do go through some of the confessions and yes, we learn about church history. Most importantly, I hear a biblical gospel and hear God’s Word rightly handled.

MY GROWTH IN CHRIST.

After all the songs I had sung, after all the sermons I heard, after all the conferences I attended and all the guest speakers I ‘idolized’, I’m still growing in my ‘new’ faith. Before, I sadly confess, I was ‘always learning but never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth’ (2 Timothy 3:7).

I am now someone who Hillsong would probably call ‘religious’, or label a Pharisee. But I would say this: it was me they were shutting out of the Kingdom of Heaven. It was the Hillsong leadership who were denying me access to our God through their lack of faithful preaching of His gospel and His Word and their integrity.

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.” Matt 23:13

Hillsong tried to make me feel ‘good’ but I felt plastic and insulated. I was never sure if I was good enough for God, or if I was what He wanted me to be. When someone actually asked me the gospel because they needed Jesus, I didn’t even know what to say! That was the start of my journey out of Hillsong. I’m ashamed to say that I was a Christless, creedless, and clueless Christian in Hillsong.

But not any more. I find myself evangelizing more effectively, and know how to present my faith honourably before God and friends.

I thank God I am out.

The Hillsong cult under scrutiny…

The Sydney Morning Herald reports,

Hillsong Church to come under scrutiny at royal commission into child sex abuse

The popular Hillsong Church will come under the scrutiny of the child sexual abuse royal commission when it examines Australia’s Pentecostal institutions at its next public hearing in October.

It will look at allegations made against Frank Houston, who admitted sexually abusing a boy in New Zealand in the 1970s.

Houston was sacked by his son Brian Houston, now the Hillsong Church’s senior pastor, when the allegations became public in 2000. The disgraced evangelist died in 2004.

Frank Houston, widely regarded as the father of Australia's Pentecostal movement, admitted sexually abusing a boy in New Zealand in the 1970s.

Frank Houston, widely regarded as the father of Australia’s Pentecostal movement, admitted sexually abusing a boy in New Zealand in the 1970s.

Houston snr is widely regarded as the father of Australia’s Pentecostal movement, through his work with the Australian Assemblies of God, now known as Australian Christian Churches.

Hillsong has grown into one of Australia’s biggest movements with 30,000 weekly churchgoers.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will also look at the response of Australian Christian Churches to allegations of child sexual abuse made against former church youth worker Jonathan Thomas Baldwin.

Baldwin was sentenced to eight years’ jail in 2009 after being found guilty of molesting a teenage boy he met through his role as a youth pastor at a Sunshine Coast church.

Maroochydore District Court heard the abuse started in 2004 and continued for an 18-month period, occurring at a church sleepover, a car park near the church and during a Gold Coast holiday.

The royal commission will also examine the response of the Northside Christian College and the Northside Christian Centre, now Encompass Church, to allegations of child sexual abuse made against former teacher Kenneth Sandilands.

Encompass Church pastor John Spinella said the church welcomed the inquiry and said it was co-operating with royal commission staff.

“As a church we have recognised these past failures and take the opportunity to apologise for the suffering and pain endured by those who were abused,” he said.

The public hearing will begin in Sydney on October 7.

Source: By Rachel Browne, Hillsong Church to come under scrutiny at royal commission into child sex abuse, Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/national/hillsong-church-to-come-under-scrutiny-at-royal-commission-into-child-sex-abuse-20140918-10il3c.html, 18/09/2014 – 4:18PM. (Accessed 18/09/2014.)

(EDIT 19/09/2014: This article was also published in the Brisbane Times:

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/hillsong-church-to-come-under-scrutiny-at-royal-commission-into-child-sex-abuse-20140918-10il3c.html)

Faith fights, snake bites and a Hillsonger’s insights

Jesus said,

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.” Matthew 23:25-31

The above scriptures are highly applicable to the leadership at Hillsong Church.

Pastor Chris Rosebrough once again critiqued Brian Houston on his “Fighting For The Faith” program. In this sermon review Ps Rosebrough asked a question about the leaders who sit on the front row of Hillsong church and cheer Brian Houston on,

“Does he pay people to sit on the front row and say, “Yes boss! Oh amen! Oh that’s so great”?” (1:09:55)

Well, before an ex-Hillsong/GCCC pastor answers that question, listen to Chris’ excellent review of Brian Houston’s sermon below. He accuses Brian Houston quite rightly of using the skillful heresy two-step technique to trick people.

SEPTEMBER 08, 2014

Snakes And Ladders

Source: Chris Rosebrough, Snakes and Ladders, Fighting for the Faith, http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/#sthash.gig64Qnx.dpuf, Published 08/09/2014. (Accessed 10/09/2014.)

So does Brian Houston “pay” those leaders who sit on the front row to be ‘yes’ men? Well, this following insight from a Hillsong/GCCC pastor will help open our eyes to the manufactured Hillsong preaching and worship environment.

We are thankful that he is this courageous to stand up and show us these insights into Hillsong. It is our prayer that other leaders like this do likewise for the sake of Christ and his church.

He writes,

Hi there,

Thanks for the updates, really appreciate it.

My name is David (real name by the way) and I was a full-time pastor at Garden City Christian Church in Brisbane (2006-2009) when Hillsong took it over; I still worked in that same capacity under the Hillsong banner until July 2010 when decided to resign. Actually, I preached on that Sunday morning service at Garden City when the “voting” to become Hillsong took place (April 2009).

The reason for this email is to share my own personal experience with Hillsong, which wasn’t positive at all. What I witnessed first hand there as an “insider member of the pastoral team and staff” really shocked me (back then I already had over 23 years in full-time ministry). I had a glimpse of how that religious business operate. Among many things, I would like to mention a couple at this stage:

1) One weekday, right after the “take over”, Donna Crouch came from Sydney to teach and show us “how to create the atmosphere” during a Hillsong service. We were told straight away that preparing the room with dimmed lights, darker paint, loud music, smiles, cool dressing, could help create an atmosphere for God to operate in our midst (her words). She then (together with a few helpers) demonstrated to us how to do it (either at the auditorium or up the platform); rehearsal then followed by some of us practicing how to “do church service at Hillsong as a staff member.” Basically, we were told to: “choreograph our worship with raised arms, closed eyes, ocasional jumping and ocasional shouts.” If rostered to go up the platform for announcements, prayer, offerings or preaching, to make sure we would go up the steps fast, on a hype, expressing joy and excitement, really “pumped”. Looking downcast in front of the crowd was an “absolute NO.” We were told that, in Hillsong culture, verbal and body language is everything (“your language locates you”).

2) One Sunday morning during the service, I was sitting in the front row with my wife paying attention to the preacher when I received a text message from a guy brought up from Sydney – Steve Mawston – to help implement Hillsong culture in Brisbane. He was there in the same service sitting opposite to me at the other aisle. I showed my wife the text message which read: “David, your aisle is very quite during the service. Now is the time for you to start shouting “yes”, “yeah”, “amem” and “preach it” , raise your arms and make some noise to liven it up a bit so others might follow suit and do likewise.” That really saddened my heart when I noticed how things are fabricated and simulated in order to create a hype during the service and portray an apparent image of “revival, worship and spirituality.” I really feel for those who still work there as I believe they must be lost in what’s true worship and what’s just done to impress the crowd and please others. Young people are surely the most vulnerable and easy victims of brainwash.

Hope it helps shed some light on the “hillsong phenomena.”

Keep up the good work in exposing them.

God can’t be mocked!

Bless you heaps,

David

Source: David, A Hillsong victim’s experience…, Hillsong Church Watch, http://hillsongchurchwatch.com/2014/09/09/a-hillsong-victims-experience/#comment-8414, September 11, 2014 at 7:40 am. (Accesse 16/09/2014.)

Looks like Brian Houston, (who gets paid 300k a year), took a page out of his friend’s book.

Why Is The “Fake It Til You Make It” Joel Osteen Still Speaking At Hillsong Conferences?

One has to consider how Brian Houston can reconcile his facade with his “tweeted” wisdom to his faithful followers:

Live your life in a transparent & authentic way. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear & nothing to lose!

Source: Brian Houston, @BrianCHouston, Twitter,https://twitter.com/BrianCHouston/status/497431278049062912, Published 10:17 AM, 07/08/2014. (Accessed 10/08/2014.)

proof_Twitter-HoustonTransparency_17-08-2014

Hillsong scrutinised on Echo Zoe Radio

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Andy Olson from Echo Zoe radio recently had Cameron Buettel on the program to discuss the problems with Hillsong.

Cameron Buettel: Hillsong

Cameron is a seminary student at the Master’s Seminary in the greater Los Angeles area. He also works at Grace to You, the media ministry of pastor John MacArthur. Cameron has a blog called “The Bottom Line“, and he also has a website at onceuponacross.com. It was on that blog that Cameron published years worth of correspondence and critique of Hillsong, which is a mega church movement and franchise based in Sydney, Australia. Cameron joins me to discuss Hillsong.

- Cameron began his Christian life in an Assemblies of God church in Australia in the early 1990s.

- Hillsong began about the same time, and gained popularity because of their music. Just a few years later, the Assemblies of God amalgamated into a denomination called the Australian Churches of God, a conglomeration of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. It was headed by Brian Houston, the pastor of Hillsong church. The definint traits of charismatic churches (tongues speaking, etc.) was pushed to the periphery, and positive thinking began to be pushed much more. They also had a greater focus on marketing, and grew in popularity with their conferences.

- Cameron began to notice their failure to talk about key aspects of the gospel, particularly sin and repentance. He began to write to them to question the message they were preaching, and seemed to get nowhere.

- Eventually, Cameron received a reply from Robert Fergusson. The correspondence they had is posted at Cameron’s blog.

- An example of Hillsong deleting sin and repentance from their preaching and materials is their deletion of “turn from their wicked ways” from a quotation of 2 Chronicles 7:14 found on the CD cover of their album “Hillsong Live – Mighty To Save”

- Cameron wants people to know about the problems with the gospel that Hillsong preaches especially because they have a number of churches found all over the world.

- Even Hillsong’s good songs leave huge gaps in a person’s understanding of the gospel.

- Hillsong has such a strong focus on marketing that they will have just about any big name out to speak at their conferences. Past speakers include: Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes, Bill Johnson, and Steven Furtick. It appears that the only common thread is a big name. The leadership of Hillsong is very pragmatic.

- A strong-sounding statement of faith can be a trojan horse to bring in bad doctrine. This is the greatest danger that Cameron worries about in regard to Hillsong.

- A couple of listener questions: Cameron’s analysis of this video, and what would Cameron suggest people who attend a Hillsong church (or similar) do, in light of God’s word. Also, what does think of some of Hillsong’s better songs?

Scriptures Referenced

2 Chronicles 7:14

Titus 1:9

Romans 16:17

Galatians 1:8-9

Additional Resources

The Bottom Line – Cameron’s Blog

Once upon a Cross – Cameron’s ministry website

Bob DeWaay: Bill Johnson, IHOP, & Ancient Heresy Reborn – Echo Zoe Radio Episode 46

Debunking the Holy Ghost Movie – Chris Rosebrough (podcast)

Source: Cameron Buettel: Hillsong, Echo Zoe, http://www.echozoe.com/archives/3028#sthash.ZIrMakUz.dpuf, Published 13/09/2014. (Accessed 14/09/2014.)

New York Times critically examines the Hillsong movement

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NYTimes_Hillsong

Brian Houston recently tweeted,

Live your life in a transparent & authentic way. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear & nothing to lose!

Source: Brian Houston, @BrianCHouston, Twitter, https://twitter.com/BrianCHouston/status/497431278049062912, Published 10:17 AM, 07/08/2014. (Accessed 10/08/2014.)

proof_Twitter-HoustonTransparency_17-08-2014

How “transparent & authentic” do you think Brian Houston will be after this recent New York Times article was published about him and his movement?

What are the chances that Brian Houston will use the same-old slanderous accusations and criticisms against people who question his movement? Do you think it will be possible for Brian to “Shun the negative” and to “Ignore the critical” overt this?

Let’s hope that Brian Houston doesn’t turn into a critic himself in light of this recent article published by the New York Times.

Megachurch With a Beat Lures a Young Flock

LOS ANGELES — A toned and sunburned 32-year-old Australian with the letters F-A-I-T-H tattooed onto his biceps strode onto the stage of a former burlesque theater here and shouted across a sea of upstretched hands and uplifted smartphones: “Let’s win this city together!”

The crowd did not need much urging. Young, diverse and devoted to Jesus, the listeners had come to the Belasco Theater from around the city, and from across the country, eager to help an Australian Pentecostal megachurch that is spreading worldwide establish its first outpost on America’s West Coast.

The church, Hillsong, has become a phenomenon, capitalizing on, and in some cases shaping, trends not only in evangelicalism but also in Christian youth culture. Its success would be rare enough at a time when religion is struggling in a secularizing Europe and North America. But Hillsong is even more remarkable because its target is young Christians in big cities, where faith seems out of fashion but where its services are packing them in.

Powered by a thriving, and lucrative, recording label that dominates Christian contemporary music, it has a vast reach — by some estimates, 100,000 people in the pews each weekend, 10 million followers on social media, 16 million albums sold, with its songs popping up in churches from Uzbekistan to Papua New Guinea.

Founded 30 years ago, Hillsong has churches in Amsterdam; Barcelona, Spain; Berlin; Cape Town; Copenhagen; Kiev, Ukraine; London; New York; Paris; and Stockholm, as well as multiple campuses in Australia and, now, an embryonic congregation in Los Angeles.

The Hillsong empire might appear to be a musical powerhouse first and a church second. It is, after all, a multimillion-dollar enterprise, drawing large crowds to arena concert performances; one of its bands, Hillsong United, is even the subject of a documentary scheduled for release by Warner Bros. next year.

Its songs, with a folk rock sound and simple, accessible lyrics, pervade theChristian charts and have transformed the Christian songbook.

“They are without a doubt the most influential producers of worship music in Christendom,” said Fred Markert, a Colorado-based leader of Youth With a Mission, a Christian organization. And Ed Stetzer, the executive director of LifeWay Research, an organization based in Nashville that studies practices in American Christianity, declared in an analysis of Hillsong, “In sensory stimulation, Hillsong’s productions rival any other contemporary form of entertainment.”

But its critics, and there are many, deride Hillsong as hipster Christianity, suggesting that its theology is thin, its enthusiasm for celebrities (Justin Bieber is among its fans) unbecoming, its politics (opposition to abortion and a murky position on homosexuality) opaque.

“It’s a prosperity movement for the millennials, in which the polyester and middle-class associations of Oral Roberts have given way to ripped jeans and sophisticated rock music,” said R. Albert Mohler Jr., the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “What has made Hillsong distinctive is a minimization of the actual content of the Gospel, and a far more diffuse presentation of spirituality.”

For young Christians in cities where Hillsong has churches, it has become a magnet, combining the production values of a rock concert, the energy of a nightclub and the community of a megachurch. Many of the worshipers say they are drawn by the music but have stayed because of the opportunity to be with other young Christians, and because they believe that the churches can help transform cities, both through prayer and through direct social services.

“I want to be part of something bigger than myself,” said Tricia Hidalgo, 29, who said that she first heard Hillsong music played in her childhood church in Ontario, Calif., and that as a young adult she gave up studying to be a teacher to move to Australia to attend Hillsong’s Bible college. Now, she is volunteering for the church in Los Angeles.

“We’re going to love the city, love the people, and, to me, I feel like love can break any walls,” she said.

Amanda-Paige Whittington, 32, recalled hearing Hillsong’s first huge hit, “Shout to the Lord,” as a girl in a Southern Baptist church in Mississippi.

“I told my mom, ‘One day I’m going to Hillsong,’ ” said Ms. Whittington, who also attended Hillsong’s Bible college in Sydney and now lives in Orange County. “The music drew me to the church.”

Hillsong Los Angeles, as well as Hillsong New York, which opened four years ago, is an example of a growing phenomenon in global Christianity: big church brands taking on big secular cities. This year, Saddleback Church, the Orange County megachurch led by Rick Warren, opened its own campus in Los Angeles, while several years ago, Willow Creek, the megachurch based in South Barrington, Ill., opened a campus in Chicago.

“There’s no question there’s a real current of evangelical enamorment with cities,” Mr. Stetzer said. “Evangelicals have been a rural people historically, and the cities were the places where sin was. But cities are also where the people are.”

Hillsong chooses cities not only because of population density, but also because of their impact on culture.

“These are tough, hard, dry towns for contemporary churches,” said Brian Houston, the Sydney-based senior pastor of the Hillsong empire. “We want to be strategic, and really impact cities of influence, so that the influence can reach far beyond.”

Hillsong has critics who monitor speakers at its conferences, and utterances by its leaders, for deviations from Christian orthodoxy (of concern to the right) or evidence of social conservatism (of concern to the left). Its financeshave been scrutinized by the Australian news media; its preaching is tracked by a critical blog. This year, Mr. Houston issued a clarification after being criticized by other evangelicals for suggesting that Christians and Muslims serve the same God.

Hillsong, founded by Brian Houston and his wife, Bobbie, has been anti-abortion and has described gay sex as sinful. But recently, church leaders have moderated their tone; the pastor of Hillsong New York, Carl Lentz, passed up two opportunities this year to express a view on same-sex marriage, in interviews with Katie Couric and The Huffington Post.

One of Brian Houston’s sons, Joel, is Hillsong’s creative director, performs with Hillsong United and serves as a pastor at Hillsong New York. Another son, Ben, is the pastor of Hillsong Los Angeles. Ben has the “Faith” tattoo on one arm, as well as tattoos of the characters +=♥ (Jesus Is Love) and the names of his three daughters, surrounded by images of flowers and butterflies, as well as that of a lion, “to remind me I’m a man.”

Hillsong’s worship style is charismatic, meaning there is an emphasis on the Holy Spirit and on divine healing, but there is little speaking in tongues, which is seen at more conventional Pentecostal churches.

The Houstons like to say that worship should be enjoyed, not endured. Services are often held in dimly lit concert venues: In New York, the church started at Irving Plaza and then relocated to the Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center; in Los Angeles, a debut was held at 1 Oak, a West Hollywood club. There are lines to get in, and fewer seats than worshipers. Some worshipers share images and thoughts on social media during services.

The sound has evolved over the decades, but is now sometimes compared to U2’s. Tom Wagner, an ethnomusicologist at the University of Edinburgh, said Hillsong’s music was characterized by rich orchestration, but simple harmonies, and was often regarded by listeners as “spiritually anointed.”

“They’re very good at writing songs that are catchy,” Mr. Wagner said. “They know what works.”

Source: By Megachurch With a Beat Lures a Young Flock, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/10/us/hillsong-megachurch-with-a-beat-lures-a-young-flock.html, Published 09/09/2014. (Accessed 11/09/2014.)

Take heed that no man tweets you…….

 

Ever wonder why Brian Houston often tweets “theology” that shuns “the negative” and encourages people to “ignore the critical”?

Brian Houston recently tweeted,

Shun the negative – Ignore the critical – Despise the rumors – Reject hearsay – Disregard the gossiper –

Source: Brian Houston, @BrianCHouston, Twitter, https://twitter.com/BrianCHouston/status/487467997078904833, 10:26PM 10/07/2014. (Accessed 09/09/2014.)

To which someone responded with this,

And quite possibly ignore what God might be trying to say….just saying

Source: Brian Houston, @SandyLynRyan, Twitter, https://twitter.com/SandyLynRyan/status/487515671501099008, 1:36AM 11/07/2014. (Accessed 09/09/2014.)

So what is the answer to the question? If they can shut their critics up – does it enhance their theological credibility? Given that these pastors have sold out to the purpose-driven leadership model rather than being undershepherds who guard the flock under the Chief Shepherd’s watchful eye, don’t they see that censoring criticism chokes off feedback vital for their form of “ministry”?

And as @SandyLynRyan clearly indicates – criticism often comes with a morsel of truth attached.

Just saying……

A Hillsong victim’s experience…

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If you aren’t aware of our page, we are starting to record people’s experiences from Hillsong Church.

Hillsong Testimonies

Recently, we were informed of this person’s testimony.

‘S’ writes,

I had first hand experience of being part of Hillsong. I attended the church in london and as a person of 16 at the time it all seemed incredibly appealing. This was not my first experience of church, My whole family are christians. I found a friendship group, a new spiritual out look on life and for the first time I had found hope in humanity. This was not to last though. I gave extensive amounts of money to the church through purchasing bibles, books, CDs and tshirts (also not forgetting donations). All of this to feel more a part of what I thought was my family. I was a musician and was told I had a gift from God and that I should utilize that to help win others over to christ. the problems began as the years went on. I became more involved not just on a sunday but almost every day of the week. Soon I was working more then I was sleeping but I was being told that this was all for God. I finished college and soon after was following my dreams (like I had been taught). this started to take up more of my time so I started to drop some of my commitments with the church, as soon as I had done so suddenly I had fingers pointed at me. I was ‘backsliding’ and I was told to quit my dreams. If I frowned during a service or failed to smile then it looked bad on the others. I was now being told how to think and feel. The less time I spent at the church the more I was shunned by those that had called me their ‘family’. I soon found out people were talking about me behind my back. I felt judged and my relationship with God died. I finally found the courage to leave but it wasn’t easy. My heart felt broken and my soul felt crushed. I had put so much time, money and effort into the church, I was 100% committed, I gave my heart and soul only for it to be thrown back at me. I still feel nervous every time I pass the theatre where they hold their services. It’s safe to say I will never go back to that place nor will I ever support an organization that treats their members this way. I have not been the only one who has gone through these experiences. I have met others who have very similar stories.

Source: Brian Houston lies about the bible to sell his book, Hillsong Church, http://hillsongchurch.wordpress.com/2008/09/10/brian-houston-lies-about-the-bible-to-sell-his-book/#comment-86, January 9, 2012 at 5:47 am. (Accessed 03/09/2012.)

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