Brian Houston, brisbane, cult, cult-like behaviour, Hillsong, Hillsong Church, levin, levine, queensland, tanya, tanya levin, tanya levine
From the Courier-Mail: http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25530532-3102,00.html, (Accessed 20/08/2012.)
Hillsong pastor defends ministry against cult claims
Tuck Thompson From: The Courier-Mail May 25, 2009 12:00AM
“CELEBRITY evangelist Brian Houston has defended his Hillsong ministry against allegations it is a “cult-like” organisation as the Sydney megachurch opened a “campus” church on Brisbane’s southside yesterday.
He also denied Hillsong had misspent Commonwealth grant money or recruited students in NSW schools.
Mr Houston and his wife Bobbie were installed as the new senior pastors of one of Brisbane’s largest Pentecostal churches, the 1000-member Garden City Christian Church.
The church’s governing board is now dominated byMr Houston, pictured, and Hillsong appointees, and the church has been rebranded with Hillsong logos.
In an exclusive interview with The Courier-Mail, Mr Houston, credited the dramatic growth of the 21,000-member Hillsong to a need for fellowship and “the grace of God”.
“It’s also because people want answers to life,” he said.
Criticism that Hillsong is overly focused on money, flashy entertainment and fund-raising, were rejected.
“We’re big and because we’re big people wonder what all this is about,” he said.
Hillsong critics, including politicians who have been contacted by former Hillsong members, have accused it of cult-like behaviour, including psychologically abusing people who questioned the church’s practices.
“Recruitment and fundraising is what it’s all about,” said Tanya Levine, whose book People in Glass Houses exposes her experiences with Hillsong.
“Fundamentalism is not open to free thought and questions.”
But Mr Houston said Ms Levine was only a spectator.
“There’s 21,000 people who attend Hillsong on Sunday in Sydney and I would say 20,500 or 20,800 have awesome things to say,” he said.
Former ALP leader and long-time MP Carmen Lawrence, now teaching at the University of Western Australia, said there was not proper scrutiny of $600,000 in federal grant money Hillsong received for indigenous employment and hundreds of thousands more for other programs.
“One thing that worried me was whether they were using funds to recruit members for their church,” she said.
Mr Houston said “absolutely 100 per cent” of the allegations were false, blamed people with “an agenda” for prompting the reports, and gave assurances the ministry had strict accountability for grant money.
Students in NSW were not being recruited by Hillsong in schools, he said, although Hillsong was active in schools, as other churches were.
He also said Hillsong members giving 10 per cent of their pre-tax wages to the church were not asked directly to do so.”
NOTE: ALL SCREEN GRABS WERE TAKEN BEFORE THE 20/08/2012
I may get shot down in flames here, but, quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn, I love how they see the big church, the numbers, the $ that come in with the “tithes” every week that are basically manipulated and scared out of people, but fail to see the other side. The numbers of people they basically shove out the door or destroy through illness and burn-out because they do not come from the right background, give HUGE amounts each week or are from wrong demographical area. Nothing more than what is spoken of in (NLT) Jeremiah 23 v 1 – 2, where it says, What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people–the shepherds of my sheep–for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the LORD.Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them.
SMH columnist Mike Carlton is rightly being criticised for abusing readers who have taken issue with his articles about the current strife in Israel and Gaza. However, Carlton was spot on with one response to a reader who objected to his opinions:
” He told another reader, Tanya
Levin: “You are a vulgar and
stupid bigot.” ”
Tanya Levin on the Church Watch Facebook page regarding Hillsong:
“They are insightless and I hold huge fears for the children in attendance there. If this is how they dealt with the most famous case of abuse in their church, how are they dealing with other cases?”
Disgusting. Why have you left such a defamatory comment on that page? That you have shows you guys will do anything to further your aims.
Well, Newtaste – here’s another comment that may upset you…
From the above report:
“Criticism that Hillsong is overly focused on money, flashy entertainment and fund-raising, were rejected.
“We’re big and because we’re big, people wonder what all this is about,” he said.”
Well, that’s easy Brian – IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY$$$