Brian Houston, exploit, false, false gospel, false teacher, false teaching, first fruits, greed, Hillsong, Hillsong Church, money, pastor brian houston, tithe, tree, tree of knowledge of good and evil, You Need More Money
What you are about to read from Brian Houston is not theological, historical or logical. This is what it means when Peter said, “In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up”, (2 Peter 2:3). Below is an excerpt from Houston’s book, ‘You Need More Money’.
“WHAT IS THE TITHE?
Tithing was a principle that was established in the book of Genesis. We’ll probably need to go into a bit of Bible history here, but literally a tithe means “one tenth”.
The principle of first fruits
Going back to the book of Genesis, you discover the principle of first fruits. It was established in the Garden when one of the first principles given to mankind was that God kept something for Himself. Initially it was a tree in the middle of the Garden. Everything else was free for Adam and Eve to enjoy.
While Adam and Eve disregarded God’s portion and subsequently reaped the consequences, their sons Cain and Abel, made offerings to the Lord from their work.
“And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering.” (Genesis 4:3-4)
One brother gave the first of his increase, while the other waited to the end of his harvest and gave of his left-overs. God honoured the offering that put Him first place, not the after thought. The eternal principle of first-fruits was established here.” – Brian Houston, You Need More Money, Smithfield, NSW: Alken Press, 1999, pg. 68-69.
It only took Satan to reinterpret what the tree meant to Eve so she could eat of it. It only took Brian Houston to reinterpret what the tree meant so people could eat his false Christianity.
God said, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen 2:16-17). It is at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that Satan made Eve doubt God’s Word, “Did God really say?” (Gen 3:1), and eat the fruit.
It is clear that Brian Houston is lying to the reader. No where does it say in the bible that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is the tithe or “God’s portion”. He simply made it up. The Apostle Paul correctly writes about the Genesis account and writes against people like Brian Houston (emphasis ours):
“I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” 2 Corinthians 11:2-5
Brian Houston than dared to quote Genesis 4:3-5, in an attempt to teach something that contradicts scripture. In fact, Brian Houston once again lied about what the text says. The text Genesis 4:3-5 does not teach us that, “The eternal principle of first-fruits was established here”. Instead Hebrews teaches us something that opposes Brian Houstons false teaching. (Emphasis ours.)
“By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.” Hebrews 11:4
It wasn’t by the “eternal principle of first fruits” that Abel offered a better sacrifice to God. That would make Abel a pantheist. Abel didn’t bow to the eternal principles of nature to see God respect his offering. This wouldn’t be faith. This would be sin. Houston is teaching believers a pagan belief.
God did not honour “the offering that put Him first place.” If it did, that would be righteousness by works (a false gospel). Instead the scriptures say against Houston, “By faith [Abel] was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings.” This is righteousness by faith and not by works, (Ephesians 2:8-9)
To further demonstrate the logical bankruptcy of Houston, one has to consider what he meant here:
“The eternal principle of first-fruits was established here.”
What does this mean? If an eternal principle was “established here” in an historical moment (recorded in Genesis 4:3-4), then this principle is DEFINITELY not eternal. It is temporal. We must remember that Brian Houston is linking the “eternal principle of first-fruits” with the tithe “in the book of Genesis”. Therefore Houston simply defeated his own argument that the tithe/firstfruit principle is eternal or played a significant role in the early Genesis narrative. Not only that, the tithe no longer meant his definition of “one tenth”. There weren’t only ten trees in the Garden of Eden. The bible does not inform us how many animals Abel has. Houston simply redefined his meaning along the way to support his argument for the tithe.
Following this logic through, one has to ask these questions: Who taught Abel this “eternal principle”? HOW could Abel learn this “eternal principle” if his latter actions established this “eternal principle”? Maybe Abel should have asked Brian Houston how to access these eternal principles so God could respond in favour to Abel. Maybe both Cain, Abel could have bought Brian Houston’s book ‘You Need More Money’ to access these supernatural principles… You get the point.
To justify his unbiblical stance in regards to his false doctrine, Brian Houston created fables. Since when is a pastor ever qualified to treat God’s Word like this?
In his statement of beliefs, Hillsong says the bible is, “accurate, authoritative and applicable to our everyday lives”.
After examining Houston’s handling of the bible, everyone should be asking the question to Brian Houston or the congregation of Hillsong: “How?”
Ethel Lumbo, So called “tithing” teaching is unbiblical. The Old Testamant tithe was for land owners only and was comprised of food products only. What is called tithing today has no resemblance to Old Testament tithing which would no longer apply to New Covenant believers anyhow. God takes a dim view of those who make up doctrines to bring in funds. Tithing so called plays on the greed inherent in man and mis represents the Living God whose blessings can not be bought with mere money and who certainly won’t condemn people to cursing if people don’t pay their protection money. read Deut 14 for instance. There are no New Testament Scriptures that apply to tithing for believers.
What ever happened to the South Coast City Church?
Seems as though it just disintegrated.
Probably because people like you, with a clear understanding of the truth were replaced with self-righteous, self-confident,self-absorbed and selfish know it all know nothing numpties.(lol, zorro)
Hi EYES (or zorro) Who are you masked man? lol. I’m not sure what happened after my departure but that all sounds too strong for me. God has had me on a huge learning curve in the last few years. He, in His grace, has had me rebuild my understanding of much that goes on in church circles and has allowed me to jettison a lot on unscriptural ideas and base my faith only on what Scripture clearly teaches. It has been painful at times requiring a lot of repentance and relearning God’s truth. Many preachers, pastors etc today are just as much victims of heresy as the folks in the pews and we need to pray for them even as we expose what is unbiblical. If you want to contact me, friend me on facebook and leave apersonal message. Blessings.
And why tithing is not relevant with new testament?just because it is old testament doesnt mean it is irrelevant?Did Jesus said that we must observe two most important laws which are love the Lord your God with all ur heart strength and soul, secondly, love others as you love urself?and did He say that all the previous laws are included?in fact the people in new testament were giving more than just tithe, should we also observe that?
Yes I do believe that there are many preachers who manipulate love gift and tithing for their own profit, well may God have mercy on them but it doesnt mean we quit tithing because for the extension of His Kingdom money is still needed and there are still many good churches and servant of God who do not manipulate money but use it for His Kingdom advancement. In fact tithing is the minimum we can give to God, I believe the rest 90% are stil His, we are just a steward of what He entrusts us. Therefore we need to be wise how we are goin to spend the rest 90%.
And regarding ur statement that tithing in old testament for land owners only, come on back in those days do we see factory or other type of businesses?
I believe in honoring Him with everything including our money, if we cant honour Him with our money which is I believe is the least in our lives how come we can honour Him with our lives?are we willing to surrender our lives for Him?I dont think so, money u can earn it if u lost it but lives?you only have one soul, but for Him I’m giving HIm my live, my soul so money shouldnt be a problem and it is only 10%!!.
And we all want God to bless us in our job, our business daily right, what if He choose to bless u this month but not next month, and if we want Him to prosper us daily or continuously then why cant we also bless Him back continuously with our tithe, our gift and our lives?we are giving Him not because it is written but out of our love and adoration towards Him. Sure the money will not go to heaven, it will go to the church or whoever deserve to receive it for the extension of His Kingdom.
“I believe in honoring [God] with everything […]”.
There’s your problem right there: you are trusting in works. Jesus did not tell us to “honour” Him, he told us to have believe in him. We are not saved by “honouring” God, we are saved by trusting in the completed work of His One and Only Son. Neither are we sanctified by any works, but by our faith alone. You obviously haven’t read your Bible, Marcus, because it’s all in there.
The above explains why it is you hanker after the things of the Old Testament – you are still bound up in law, and you prefer the slavery of Egypt to the freedom of the promised land, which one can enter only by faith. You are a captive of sin, and your eyes and your mind have been darkened so that you cannot see or understand. You are unwilling to turn away from your idols to serve the Living God, preferring instead to walk in rebellion by the light of your own torch.
All your “righteous acts” are filthy rags in God’s sight; they are dead works that profit you not one whit. Perhaps God will have mercy on you and will reveal to you that you have been deceived, and so draw you to repentance. If he doesn’t, then you can expect that he will rebuke you to your face when you stand before Him at the judgement, because He will not be mocked.
Actually tithing in old testament was not just food.
I don’t believe in a 10% tithe but I believe in free will offering as we should still give something to the church, if we all stopped then all churches would cease to exist.
Ethel Lumbo said:
Tithing was a principle before the law, and also amongst many nations, who, remember, are all descended of Adam, whose sons, Abel and Cain, gave offerings of their firstlings and first fruits, Abel by faith, and Cain by self-inflicted necessity, long before Israel or the Jewish people existed in the flesh. Abraham was neither under the Law of Moses, nor a Jew, nor of Israel.
The Bible tells us that Levi tithed in Abraham ages before he was born, being of the seed-line of Abraham, in his loins, and he tithed, in Abraham, to the High Priest, Melchisedek, who was a type of Christ. He was blessed by the Priest of the Most High, who brought bread and wine, which typified the covenant, imitating Christ in advance.
That tithe, it says, was given to the High Priest who would be of the tribe of Judah, that is the type of Christ, who was not of Levi, from whom the levitical priesthood, which received the tithe of the Mosaic law, received tithe in a legal sense.
Now this tithe was just as much in the Old Testament as the Mosaic tithe, from which we are exempted, being in Christ, and is also, in Christ, the Seed of Abraham, carried forward, and presented again to Christ who is a High Priest after Melchizedek, and this tithe was typical of giving by faith unto the High Priest of our Confession, who is Christ, and who was inducted into the High Priesthood after Melchisedek by the oath sworn by the Father Himself to His Son, so how can you say that God takes a dim view of any kind of giving we choose, especially when we present them to honour God, since, as Paul says, all things are lawful, we being free men, and under grace?
We are, in fact, admonished to give according to the way we purpose in our own heart, not begrudgingly, nor of necessity, but with a cheerful heart. And admonished to give generously and not sparingly, so that we have all sufficiency in our giving.
So where is greed in giving, for, as Jesus says, it is more blessed to give tan to receive, but how will be be blessed if we begrudge giving because we have some hangup about the very law we are delivered from, and which the ancients saw by faith long before the law of Moses?
Hi Ethel, did you read Deutonomy 14. Money was NOT to be tithed! Is that what you have been taught? Russel Kelly wrote his doctoral thesis on tithing. I will find the link for you. The Biblical teaching of tithing no where in Scripture resembles what many churches (including Hillsong) teach. It ( the modern tithing heresy)was in fact introduced by the Roman religion in the seventh century. Giving is NOT tithing but a temple tax introduced by man.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
25 And he shall speak words against the Most High [God] and shall wear out the saints of the Most High and think to change the time [of sacred feasts and holy days] and the law; and the saints shall be given into his hand for a time, two times, and half a time [three and one-half years].
Ethel Lumbo said:
Russel Kelly writes primarily on the Mosaic Law tithe, although he has an unconvincing take on Abraham’s giving.
As I said, we are exempt from the Mosaic tithe, not being either of Israel, nor under Moses, so I do not need to get onto an argument over it with you. Whether the tithe was agricultural or horticultural is of no consequence. It was proportionate. It was a set percentage, or a numeric separation given by law which guarded Israel and supplied to those priests who were separated off to stand before God in the behalf.
Abraham did not tithe wheat crops. He did meet the type of Christ, and was blessed by him. We do not grow wheat crops, or barley or oats, unless you are a farmer, but we still have the ability to give to God.
The whole Kelly argument is peripheral to what New Testament giving is about and has obscured the truth for many believers by focusing on legalism, and, by its own appeal to Kelly law, created a different form of legalism.
Since you do not attend an organised church I presume you give to God in some other way, but, nevertheless you do, I trust, give in some way, and you do, I daresay, purpose in your heart how and what to give, who to give it to and as a means of honouring God.
So are you giving crops or livestock, or is your increase, or income made of the common token receipt called money, or is it a financial deposit into your bank account, or perhaps, in your separation form organised worship and life, you have a barter system or some other means by which you live and depend on God for provision, for he is the Provider, and he remains our Sufficiency, which is the whole point of honouring Him and giving of our substance, preferably and Biblically the first part of it?
Is there not something you could honour God with if you so choose?
Or have you bound yourself, like so many other opposers of New Testament giving, to a self-arranged law that is just as prohibiting as the Mosaic tithe was to disobedient Israel at times when they robbed God?
Maybe he is giving prayers to GOD!
How would you know?
12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.(Colossians 4)
Sounds like you should be testing your own actions ‘ Ethel Lumbo ‘.
Ethel Lumbo said:
By the way, Glenn, Deuteronomy doesn’t say you shouldn’t tithe money. In fact, it tells Israel what to do if the tithe is too big for them to carry to the place of offering, and says some interesting things about exchanging their tithe for money.
But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the LORD your God has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses. And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.
Then it reminds them not to ignore the Levitical priests who were not permitted to own land, and make sure they were taken care of.
Hi again Ethel,
You write, “Russel Kelly writes primarily on the Mosaic Law tithe, although he has an unconvincing take on Abraham’s giving.” There is no other kind of tithe than the Mosaic Law tithe that has any biblical sanction. Much of the rest of what you write is eisegesis not exegesis that is reading into the text what you wish were there rather than out nof the text what God has said. You do raise an interesting point about the tithe of the Hebrew nation going to the Levites who were as you have noted not permitted to own land. Do the modern day “tithes” go to Levites who are not permitted to own land also?? I don’t think you will hear any tithing teachers promoting that. Deuteronomy is clear and concise, money could not be used to tithe, only to purchase the tithe which was to be eaten in the presence of the Lord. Again unlikely any tithing teachers will be highlighting that. The simple fact is that any genuine believer reading the New Testamant to discover God’s instructions for them as a born again child of God would never come to the conclusion that ten percent of their money belongs to a religious institution. Ironically the ten percent heresy actually short changes God. 100 percent belongs to the living God not ten percent. And we are to give as the Spirit leads not as man made tradition directs. Perhaps you could read a little more of Kelly. I know for myself when God opened my eyes to the error of “tithing” it took a while for it to sink in after many years of practicing and teaching on it. Blessings as you seek to fing His will.
Ethel Lumbo said:
How do you say there is no other sanction to tithe but under the Mosaic Law when it is clear that Melchizedek received tithes and it was sanctioned under a higher priesthood than the levitical priesthood? The order of Melchizedek is a perpetual priesthood, attributed, under oath, to Christ, the Seed of Abraham who tithed.
Now, I’m not making a law out of this, because we are free men, but it is certainly sanctioned.
Further, by admonition under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, honouring God with the first of our increase is also sanctioned, and even encouraged.
You seem to be hung up with the Mosaic Law, as I said earlier, which is where Russell Kelly’s beef is, and I am not even referring to it, having said twice now that it is clear we are exempt from it on more than one count – we are not of Israel, neither are we under Mosaic Law, and never have been, as Gentiles.
But you are doing what Russell does, and many others have followed, in creating a contrary law which prohibits people from giving any way they purpose. I am neither promoting Mosaic Law, nor saying you or anyone must tithe.
You claimed that people who give a set percentage are greedy and unbiblical, when it is clear that any purposed giving with a cheerful attitude is acceptable to God.
Evil Dumbo fancies himself as an intellectual, and is quite taken with the sound of his own voice (oh how he loves to hold forth his lengthy and ever-so-erudite discourse!), but the truth is that he is neither overly clever nor is he possessed of any particular facility with the language, whether in the natural or as the result of any spiritual gifting.
Dumbo grovels at the feet of false teachers – heretics and liars who move by a different spirit – and refuses to condemn those who have proved themselves, by both their words and their deeds, to be sworn mortal enemies of God and His eternal truth. Dumbo affects theological orthodoxy, but he defends the heterodox and savagely attacks any who hate falsehood or reveal error – he is a spiritual schizophrenic, a charismatic chameleon; he is truly a man cast in the mould of the Pharisees, whose leaven was hypocrisy.
Dumbo is labouring under the misapprehension that he is some sort of mover and shaker in the Kingdom of God – perhaps even a leader – but he is nothing of the sort. He is not an elephant; he is a much smaller creature than that – very, very small, and quite insignificant.
Ethel Lumbo said:
You make some correct observations, though harsh.
Small and insignificant indeed. And in no way intellectual. You are accurate.
Not clever either. True. My language is weak. Agreed.
I have never grovelled, though. I have certainly bowed under the mighty Hand of God yes, but never crawled in subservience to men. Ever. That I dismiss as grossly wrong.
I do not condemn. True. I have no mandate from God to condemn, only to walk in love, whether with friend or foe.
Theological orthodoxy? Well I try to be accurate to the Word, but realise I have much to learn. I am an avid reader of scripture and student of the Bible. The more I study the more I realise I need to study. It is rich, full and never disappoints. I love the Word of God.
I generally discuss the Word rather than defend ministers, and you’d be hard pressed to locate a defence of error by me on this site. I have put forward a case for understanding the tithe give to Melchisadech on this thread, but that was a discussion with another commenter conducted in a civil manner.
I have defended a couple of commenters who have been harshly treated on this site.
Mover and shaker? Well, who knows what God may have used me to do in my time? Only He knows. I am in no way known by anyone for anything, but God. That to me is the way it should be, because then He gets all the glory and I none.
I agree, quite insignificant. I’m more anonymous, in fact, than you are, and have achieved that without trying to hide or wearing a mask!
But not insignificant to God, thankfully, and known by Him. Yes.
Elephant? Well it was more an analogy of being the elephant in the room that anything else. They say size doesn’t count, but if an elephant were to walk into a tea shop it might!
I hope I don’t spill your Darjeeling on your clean white shirt on the way through. We wouldn’t want you to be stained with anything, would we?
Anyway. Thanks for the observations. I guess our time together is now complete, and we can move on.
Maybe I’ll meet you on the other side. Then we’ll all see how significant we are. Significant enough for the cross, no doubt.
Peace and good will,
@ Ethel Lumbo,
One thing you still lack,
Take everything you have and give it to the poor.
THEN you will have treasure in heaven.
If you wish to abide by the law, then you must obey everything it says.
“Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”(Galatians 3 )
Ethel Lumbo said:
How is it you take one scripture which applied to a certain situation and individual and make a law out of it?
God has given instruction to my wife and I regarding the way he blesses us and causes us to bless others. That is all we, or you, need to know.
In terms of lack:
‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want [lack, be without, diminish, have a need]!” Ps 23
‘Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.’ Ps 34
‘My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.’ James 1
And consider what Paul is saying here carefully, in regard to giving of finances to assist other churches and Christian communities:
But as you abound in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us–see that you abound in this grace [giving financially] also.
I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.
For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack–that there may be equality.
As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.” 2 Cor. 8
Sorry if I did not make myself clear. Any believer is free to give 10% if they choose to…or 9% or 11% etc. What I object to is the unbiblical concept that a believer MUST give ten percent to a religious institution to be in good standing with the Almighty; or that God withholds His blessing if one doesn’t, or that He will curse those who withhold His “cut”. All these gross errors are taught by tithing teachers and all are unbiblical. All God’s blessings come through the cross and Christ’s sacrificial death and faith in the same. Just to clarify: Abraham tithed ONCE in his lifetime and that from the spoils of war. He was not commanded to and was not commended for the action. The entire Book of Hebrews is written to warn believers AGAINST going back under law, so obviously cherry picking verses from that epistle to jusify the law of tithing is not good hermeneutics. You say I’m hung up on Mosaic law, on the contrary I”m “hung up” on the gospel and desire to see God’s people remain in the freedom to which Christ has called us. Blessings friend.
Ethel Lumbo said:
The fact that Abraham was not commanded to tithe is significant in itself. Neither was Abel commanded to offer the firstling. Nor was Jacob instructed to offer to tithe if God would continue to bless him and increase his flocks.
Abel was commended for his faith, and Abraham was met by Melchizedek and received the Bread and Wine and the Blessing, where it says the lesser was blessed by the Greater. I would call that some kind of commendation, wouldn’t you?
Maybe not, but it depends how you view the passage. If your reading is marred by a need to demonstrate it was not a demanded tithe and is therefore insignificant you will miss the beauty and power of the passage, in my opinion, but you are free to ignore what I say if you like.
But if, as with Abel, there was a faith element involved, remembering that Abraham is called the father of faith to those who believe, then who is to say that God did not inspire that faith transaction through the leading of the Holy Spirit? There is neither evidence, by the way, that Abraham’s tithe was a one-off, nor evidence to say it wasn’t, so we shouldn’t presume it had never happened before or after.
I prefer to enjoy the exchange and see it as deeply significant and wonderful type of the exchange between Christ and the Church, where we bring an offering to honour the Almighty for His Provision, Defence and Sufficiency, and He reminds us of the Covenant we have in the Blood and Body of Christ, and commands the Blessing, confirming His Pre-Eminence and Presence in our lives.
Again, there is no need for you to agree, but it would be unkind and not Biblical to dismiss this reading as poor hermeneutics or as eisegesis just because you see it in a different light, or, possibly, with shaded glasses.
Ethel, I commend your desire to honour God with your finances. But even our generosity must be Biblical. I’m sure you agree. Some questions for you to consider. Did Jesus tithe? The answer, no. He was a Carpenter/ Preacher (as well as the Lord of Glory, of course) and not a farmer. Did the Apostles tithe? Again no. They were fishermen tax collectors etc and not farmers. Did they teach tithing? No. Did the early church practice tithing. No again. Did the Bible believers through the centuries tithe? No. Popery introduced it. Did the reformers teach tithing? Again No. What did Spurgeon and Wesley and Whitfield think of tithing. They considered it unbiblical. Some American Baptist churches began to teach it in the 1800’s. Do you own research and you will find there is NO biblical warrant to coerce belioevers to give ten percent of their income to a religious institution. Again blessings as you study out this issue and may God give you an even greater appreciation of all the blessings given to us in Christ and Him alone.
Ethel Lumbo said:
Well, the early church, of course, laid everything they had at the Apostles feet so it could be distributed evenly amongst the congregants.
But where does it say Jesus or anyone else did not tithe? It neither says he did nor that he didn’t. The only reference to the tithe was when Jesus said we should pay the tithe, but also do the greater things of equity. Not referencing the tithe is not a sign that no one considered it. It was spoken of in Hebrews, of course, and speaking of a higher level of giving than the levitical tithe, and it is hinted at in Corinthians.
As I have said, we are under no legal obligation to tine, nor to not tithe. I think that is the beauty of the power of the liberty of the Spirit, because there is no law to those who walk in the Spirit.
I agree that we should act Biblically, but if we make scripture law we are defeating the object of the New Covenant. If we legalise a system which bins people against giving whatever they determine and covenant with God then we are no better than those who refer to the law of Moses as the level at which we should Biblically give. We imitate their error, and we do the Spirit o the law a disservice, because the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
So just as I should not judge a believer in regard to a Sabbath or a Holy Day, neither should I judge them in regard t their offerings, or their giving.
Having said that, we are not at liberty to sin, nor to break the two commands to love, but please do not measure my standards of faith against your own, rather against what the Law of Liberty impresses on me in my walk and obedience to the leading of the Spirit.
Hi Ethel, you wrote… “As I have said, we are under no legal obligation to tine, nor to not tithe. I think that is the beauty of the power of the liberty of the Spirit, because there is no law to those who walk in the Spirit.”…
We are in agreement. There is no Biblical requirement to give ten percent to a religious organization, We are not blessed if we do nor cursed if we don’t. Good for you that you see this. My problem as I have said is not if a child of God chooses of their own free will to give a percentage to any cause they like…but religious leaders pressuring people to give with promises of blessing or warnings of curses is my concern. As many tithing preachers do. One well known tithing teacher recently declared that “tithing” is how we maintain our salvation. This of course is blatant heresy and works righteousness. Brian also has without a doubt gone too far in his teaching re” tithing. glad we are on the same page, blessings.
EYES is not zorro
Every time i here something about tithing i also here people bragging about the ten percent that they claim to give(and for what purpose do these braggarts give?)
God is not an ATM.God is not a pyramid ponzi scheme.I have heard preached from the pulpit of the AOG Church that I attend,usually around tax return time that “if you give (money,by direct inference) God will honour that,and give many-fold in return”.That teaching,is from the pit.
stacey bedingham said:
I am not a scholar, nor do I want to get into a argument over scripture. My opinion from being a Spirit-filled Christian for 20 years is, if you w ant to see your local church grow and thrive in the community it has been called to serve, it is every Christian’s responsibility to give – time, money, gifts etc.. If you have time to find reasons not to give (and get into pointless arguments), maybe you need to examine your own heart state and ask God to show you what to do with all you have. If the church is falling apart and there is no money to pay the ministers, and when the unsaved walk in and you have nothing to offer them but a prayer, ask yourself if it is honouring to God? I hope the unsaved dont click on this page by mistake and see the amount of dishonour written about some churches and indeed their leaders. This does nothing but turn the world off the church.
No Christian we know believes no Christian should give or be involved in church or community activities for God’s glory.
What we are dealing with is a false damning doctrine that attacks Christ’s ministry and his Christian message. That doctrine is the tithe doctrine.
The New Testament teaches that Christians are to give freely whatever is on their heart and to do so cheerfully.
False teachers like Brian Houston will twist scriptures to justify his false teaching on tithing. The tithing doctrine condemns believers under works and laws that no one can keep. The consequences of this doctrine can be spiritually deadly to Christians and from emails we have received – it divides families, spouses, friends and churches. False institutions like Hillsong need to peddle this false doctrine so that people are forced on a regular basis to financially maintain the Hillsong industry. It is an absolute disgrace that i=this false doctrine is used to exploit some very hard-working and beautiful people.
stacey bedingham said:
I am sorry you have had emails of families being divided. I though, must balance out this debate by testifying that I know of many people’s lives which have been transformed by the ministry from Hillsongs Church (on global scale). Moreover, no church is perfect and im sure that we could all hunt out problems within each denomination and ministries. I personally, have learned alot from Hillsongs Church and seen it transform my former church into a church ALIVE!! I personally do not believe that the Holy Spirit has guided you to be so publically damning about a church because you are not doing so in the spirit of Love and correction. God is love and love does not publically condemn the work of other brothers and sisters – whether you agree with their teaching or not, they are still you brothers and sisters in Christ. Shalom
“I personally do not believe that the Holy Spirit has guided you to be so publically damning about a church because you are not doing so in the spirit of Love and correction. God is love and love does not publically condemn…”
Because clearly, the false spirit of Hillsong wants you to call your subjective feelings the ‘Holy Spirit’ so you can judge critics to stop judging. While Hillsong are publicly condemning people to hell with their false prosperity gospel, they convince people like yourself not to learn what the Holy Spirit says through His Word.
Please think for yourself. ‘Judge not lest be judged’ is a scripture Hillsong twists to promote ungodly love. The worldly ‘love’ Hillsong spreads actually promotes rebellion against Christ and opposes His ministry and message. It’s a love that contradicts the love of scriptures.
We don’t claim that the members of Hillsong are not Christian. However, the overall Hillsong system has redefined the biblical church structure to a business structure. Since they operate from a business system, Hillsong continually pushes out worldly business-like teachings that often peddle New Age principles, Word of Faith heresies and basic false teachings. These teachings indeed ship wreck Christians. It is sad that you don’t love the truth enough to care for those who are left in the massive, destructive wake of Hillsong’s false system of Christianity. t is this system that we are examining that Brian Houston has established that barely resembles biblical Christianity.
Our hearts are wicked and can be deceived. So before you parrot some Hillsong propaganda, please learn some basic biblical hermenuetical skills and go study the scriptures. Please do not surrender your mind to Hillsong and let them think and feel for you. Engage God’s Word and stand in Christ alone and not in Hillsong’s dangerous traditions. Please do a bible study on biblical love and the cross. Compare what Hillsong says in the name of God to the Word of God.
Snoopy the sheep dog and aerial combat pilot said:
Wow! I just read that response! Can you believe that this is the way churchwatcher treats people who give a good report of Hillsong! And matched by a typical Zorro onslaught added in for good measure.
Love the way stacey hangs in there and slams Zorro with, “Like I said, I will not get into an arguement, but I dont need to be told by a faceless comment that I am not spirit filled, because I have disagreed with some points made on a website.”
And then gets churchwatcher back peddling on his claim that there is such a thing as ‘ungodly love’.
Brilliant stuff, stacey, and real eye-opener to read through the entire thread.
I admit an interest in this thread, as Ethel was a pseudonym I used, before it was censored, and enjoyed a decent conversation with Glen Christopherson on tithing.
Notice how Zorro comes in in the middle of a civil conversation with Glen with some horrific slap-down which was completely out of the blue and uncalled-for.
“Notice how Zorro comes in in the middle of a civil conversation with Glen with some horrific slap-down which was completely out of the blue and uncalled-for.”
Notice how Steve runs off with his tail between his legs when he can’t answer people’s questions due to cognitive dissonance?
We actually want to hear your views on this:
It’s funny that you seem to avoid the Kong Hee issue considering how scandalous it is.
And did you ever answer one of Zorro’s questions?
Snoopy the sheep dog and aerial combat pilot said:
Hard to comment when Ethel was heavily moderated and censored, actually, cw. Zorro was ignored due irrelevance in this case. Are you proud of your comments to stacey?
As I said, I’m still waiting for either of you to define ‘orthodox’.
“If […] you have nothing to offer them but a prayer, ask yourself if it is honouring to God?”.
So you are a “Spirit-filled Christian”, but you think that prayer is worthless? You don’t think that prayer alone can honour God? You think that if you pray, nothing will happen?
I’m very sorry to have to say this Stacey, but you are not “Spirit-filled” at all. “Spirit-filled” is simply a term you bandy about because it’s part of your the vernacular of your “church”; it’s a self-appellation that is entirely unwarranted in your case. You are just one of the multitudes of those who have a veneer of Godliness, but who are, in fact, bound up in religion and enslaved by law.
Because, you see, if you had ever come across someone who was genuinely filled with the Spirit, then you would know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the most unmistakeable imprimatur of God’s Spirit in someone’s life is the power of that person’s prayer.
You have been hoodwinked by a pathetic assortment of arrogant frauds who have duped you into exchanging the glory of God for a lie, and you would do well to repent and leave their company, taking care to shake the dust off your feet on the way out.
stacey bedingham said:
Like I said, I will not get into an arguement, but I dont need to be told by a faceless comment that I am not spirit filled, because I have disagreed with some points made on a website. I cant even refer to any of you by your real names because you have names like “zorro” and “churchwatcher”. By the way I have music by Darlene zchech and Jesus Culture, does that add even more fuel to your fire?You really need to look at the illuminati if you want to see the hidden agenda and ungodly behaviour happening in the world, not attack the churches.
stacey bedingham said:
Zorro – you have also took my comment out of context “nothing to offer but a prayer” refers to James 2:14
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
God uses time and money to help people ie the church may need to start a food or clothing bank.
I do believe in the power of prayer, and have seen many answers to prayer.
“I dont need to be told […] that I am not spirit filled, because I have disagreed with some points made on a website.”
I didn’t tell you that you are not Spirit-filled because you have disagreed with some points on this website; I told you that you are not Spirit-filled because you are not Spirit-filled.
Did you know that people who are genuinely Spirit-filled are easy to spot; the frauds and the wannabes are the ones who feel compelled to *tell* you that they are Spirit-filled (it’s the same principle as when a used-car salesman says “trust me”).
“God uses time and money to help people ie the church may need to start a food or clothing bank.”
Yes, Stacey, and I’m sure He couldn’t get by without your contributions; no doubt He’s been sweating on your arrival on the scene since the foundation of the world. I can’t imagine how he ever achieved anything prior to receiving your generous support.
Sadly, dead works and filthy rags offered up by unregenerate religionists will prove, in the end, to be nothing but wood, hay and stubble. There will be much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, and protestations of “But Lord, we did this” and “But Lord, we did that”. None of it will cut any ice with the One who will judge righteously (ignorance won’t be accepted as a defence either, so you’d be well-advised to dust off your Bible and start reading).
“You really need to look at the illuminati […], not attack the churches.”
Hillsong is not a church, Stacey; it’s a personality / prosperity cult whose theology is drawn from various sources, including new age / occult teachings.
stacey bedingham said:
Yes, Stacey, and I’m sure He couldn’t get by without your contributions; no doubt He’s been sweating on your arrival on the scene since the foundation of the world. I can’t imagine how he ever achieved anything prior to receiving your generous support.
Wow, you really do know how to attack people dont you? Well done. I’m sure I stand corrected by your insightful comments. Only within the church can you find people who wish to wound and attack their own brothers and sisters.
stacey bedingham said:
“The false spirit of hillsong”? I have never seen that in my bible. I have not been “dumbed down” either.
How can someone promote “ungodly love”? There is no such thing. Love (agape) is from God.
1John 4:7 “let us love one another, for LOVE COMES FROM GOD, Everyone who loves has been born of God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love”.
Would you be honest enough to share what your religious leaning is? Are you baptized in the Holy Spirit?
““The false spirit of hillsong”? I have never seen that in my bible.”
We will clarify what we mean. There is the Holy Spirit which Brian Houston is to speak from when he gives the Word of God. Yet Christians (and even people in the world) are seeing that this ‘word of God’ is seriously wrong and doesn’t line up with the God of Christianity as revealed in the scriptures. With Houston continually attacking traditional churches and reinforcing false teachings that he conjures with his own mind – he constantly brainwashes the Hillsong movement with a voice that speaks on it’s own independent authority detached from biblical Christianity and the authority of scriptures.
This is dangerous, which is why even non-Christians are starting to consider Hillsong a cult. His voice is alone and devoid of God’s Word. Therefore, if the spirit he speaks from is not on God’s authority – then he speaking from another spirit. Hillsong tries to summon the ‘spirit’ by creating atmospheres. Since this ‘atmosphere of faith’ is summoned by man’s works, it goes contrary to the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it is definitely another spirit. A false spirit bought to you by Hillsong.
“How can someone promote “ungodly love”? There is no such thing. Love (agape) is from God.”
The answer to that is very simple. The world hates God. However, Hillsong is very much like the world. While all Christians are sinners and saved by grace – there is only one type of so-called ‘Christian’ that the church is too avoid: false teachers. The false teacher’s best book to spread his false teacher is the bible- which is a sign that Brian Houston does not love God’s Word but despises it.
If he loved God he would obey God’s Word. If he loved Jesus He would preach the gospel. Yet he resists and twists that which is pure and holy to peddle a worldly message. This does not glorify God. This is ‘ungodly love’.
While Houston parades woolly clothing, there is continual evidence that demonstrates Houston repetitively hacks up God’s Word and ‘twists it like a pretzel’ for his own gain. For example, teaching audiences that Jesus died to make people materially rich is just the tip of the ice berg in regards to his false teachings. Browse the archives of this site and examine the scriptures he uses to justify tithing and what he says is his ‘Good News’. There is enough evidence provided to the larger body of Christ that Brian Houston is a false teacher.
If Brian Houston loves God, than why does he despise God’s Word so much by twisting it? How is slandering the God of heaven love?
Thank you for engaging us with scripture. This is rare for people to do on this site. So we applaud you for engaging us on a scriptural level. You used 1 John 4:7 to explain we need to love. This is good. We receive this correction. Thank you. We can always be more loving with our approach and responses. But does this mean we compromise our stance or tolerance or intolerance towards certain individuals? Let’s look at your scripture in context:
The Apostle John warned the church earlier on with the news of false teachers:
“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” 1John 2:18-19
So there is a division caused by false teachers. John calls them the antiChrist. Is that loving? Is he dividing them from those that are holding to the Christian faith? Yes he is. As John later says in 2:26,
“I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.”
So is John writing in love? Yes he is. Is he tolerating the false teachers? No.
Does John also tolerate the world?
“The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
In 1 John 3, John teaches the church how to notice those that are not of God with rather strict, objective criteria. Today this would be unacceptable practice in church culture like Hillsong since Hillsong teaches us not to judge. The Apostle John is telling the church to do the exact opposite to the Christian church. John further defines the love of Christianity:
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers… Little children, let us not love in word or talk but IN DEED AND IN TRUTH. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him…” (vs 16, 18-19, emphasis ours)
John gives us further advice how to hold to the truth in love so we don’t become deceived,
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (4:1)
Once again, John is encouraging individuals in the church to judge accordingly so the truth and faith may be preserved. John uses his and the apostles to cause the church to either side with the true teachings of the Apostles or false teachings of the deceptive teachers.
“They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (4:5-6)
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.”(4:7-17)
With your passage in it’s proper context – to correctly judge and avoid false teachers is a sign of love. Take note that John defines the love of Christianity within the parameters of Christ’s sacrificial love for us. We would love to hear Hillsong preach within this parameter alongside proper teaching and the gospel. But this is the very thing Hillsong lacks.
Hillsong criticises it’s critics and refuse to line with God’s truth. It will be evident that Hillsong repents when their deeds line up with their repentance.
That is, repenting from false damaging doctrines that misrepresent God; mishandling God’s Word and endorsing false teachers.
If they do not do this, then John says they are not practicing Godly love at all and are continually sinning. Brian Houston is showing the signs as a false ‘Christian’ teacher that John is warning us to avoid. You are to judge him by what he teaches, not by anything else. If he fails to teach accurately at all – then he must step down and hand over his position to a man qualified to handle God’s Word correctly. But he is not and causing grievous harm on people.
Love can be false if love is not being honest, faithful and true. And we accept that this is hard for anyone to do. But the scriptures say that if someone desires godly offices, then that is to be a noble thing. It is not noble when a man like Brian Housont abuses that office. It is an atrocity when arrogance and facades are peddled to give the allusion that what is being said is true. John wanted the church to judge accordingly in love, avoid what is false, hold to the Apostle’s truth (God’s Word) and distance themselves from false teachers like Brian Houston.
Please understand that hillsongchurchwatch was a site we never wanted to start until we realised how off the wall Hillsong actually was. We are saddened to see so much deception flood the minds of young and old people. We are saddened to see a false teaching on ‘love’ spread like gangrene that does care about honesty and integrity for God’s truth (that truth being Christ and His finished work on the cross). This love is demanding unity in the name of error and not God’s truth and this is dangerous. It is not founded on reason but subjectivity. Emotions.
And this ‘love’ that Hillsong is spreading opposes the Christian love that the Apostle John demanded of us. We would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.
Remember- truth is the issue here. Too many Christians are intellectually lazy and are saying, “That’s you’re opinion on scripture” or “That’s your view”. This is irresponsible, immature and unChristian behaviour. It is God’s truth that is shape our Christian character, integrity, ministry, message and lifestyle. Please engage with us on the level of Christian maturity.
If you know your bible you’d be challenging a lot of what brian says. One of the worst biblical teachers around.
John Warden said:
The greatest thing anyone can do is to not fight people .For are we attacking the body of Christ …..Be warned …Do not be influenced by the spirit of Antichrist .
For we will have to make an account of what we say..i wonder on this ,because i really dont know will this account be given as a prerequesit on entering the kingdom ….?…
Will we be happy about the spirit we are allowing to talk through us .As i have to check my heart now also .Will the ground open and swallow us .
Purity in heart and mind is a constant battle .
If we look up ward then we will have power to affect horizontally …
Read John 10 :10 please
Genesis 4:3-4 – I checked through the comments quickly (skimmed at best), it is perhaps pertinent to show why Able was received and not his brother.
In Genesis 3:21 we see God performing a typology of a covering (by blood shed) of sin(s) when the first sacrifice for sin(s) was done by God’s own hand. Able was accepted because he understood and aligned himself with God’s own act of sacrifice by blood, the typology carried down through to Christ. Romans 3:25
My argument is that the purpose of the lesson between Abel’s and Cain’s sacrifice is that the blood libel is acceptable, not any other contrived approach of man’s imagination.
To stretch this scripture to fit a “first-fruits” or tithe reference is the imagination of the mind, far from exegetical process and begs an agenda. One point against it would be that the Levitical law had not even begun where tithing and first-fruits are mentioned.
Point number 1: It’s all God’s money.
Point number 2: God created Tithing to root out selfishness from humanity.
Point number 3: If you don’t like tithing, it’s a serious heart issue.
Point number 4: God doesn’t need your money, the Church doesn’t need your money, if you don’t want to give cheerfully don’t give and be held accountably by God.
Point number 5: We’re not under law now, which was 10%. We are under grace. Which means give everything. If you’re using that argument I fully expect you to sell all you have and give it away.
Too many people say, yes my life is a living sacrifice and all for you Jesus, except my money, I’m keeping that for myself.
If you follow the paths of your time, affection and MONEY, at the end of those paths you find a throne. Whoever or whatever sits on that throne is what you worship.
It’s an issue of the heart.
P.s. Jesus spoke more about money than he did about heaven and hell combined and more about money than anything else except the kingdom of God. Forget the religious ‘10% and then God loves me’, Jesus set the bar so much higher. God wants all of us, not just 10%.
Couple of other things. Seed faith which means God will reward our tithing by giving us more and this is why we do it is completely unbiblical.
However, God is a generous God that cannot be out given. If you are generous with Him and a faithful steward He will take care of you.
Seek first the kingdom and everything else will be added.
In other words, If you crave money you have issues. Go after the Kingdom, seek the lost, Love God and Love People and trust me, you’ll be okay.
“P.s. Jesus spoke more about money than he did about heaven and hell combined and more about money than anything else except the kingdom of God.”
Oh, so was it actually Jesus who said “You need more money”?
Please, stop trashing other people and take the log out of your own eye before taking the speck out of their’s. I happen to like Hillsong at the moment but if I find something wrong with them I won’t like them anymore. Instead of making a “hate” site, how about making a site about certain issues. If people are really interested and concerned, they will make the link. “Speak the truth in love” and try not to slam someone. I understand you mean well but think about it. You could be going about this the wrong way. 🙂
Wow some of these comments are crazzzzzy! I know a familiar because I once use to gave an argumentative spirit and my God it’s is rampant on this page! Seek JESUS for the truth get your own personal relationship follow the word for yourself and repent get delivered and pray that God JESUS Christ will continue to lead guide you into all truth! And I thank God that greater is He that is within me than he (satan) that is in the world thank God gor His HOLY SPIRIT THAT DWELLS WITHIN ME AND TEACHES ME DAY BY DAY! SELAH (a long pause)
Corrections on word instead of gave it is have – instead of gor it is for
Get Real said:
Its our duty as Christians to examine the truth. All churhes should expect scrutiny. 1Thes21. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Even the Berean’s examined everything Paul said Acts 17v11 to see what he said help up in the light of scripture. If its good enough for Paul to face scrutiny then the teachers of the word have nowhere to hide no matter what excuses they come up with. If you take everything on face value that everything that the pastor says is true without consulting with the scriptures, you’ll be just a clone of that pastor. Not engaging the brain will lead to brainwashing.
@ Anonymous – the problems with comments of that nature Anon, is that we can’t be sure that you have no specs or logs in your own eye…
Perhaps the false teachers and their false prophet associates who are being exposed here, have managed to sprout an entire forrest of logs and specs in the eyes of the people who are bound by their ridiculous laws on tithing and pastor worship?
Not to mention other thngs such as nepotism, various scandals (which show up regularly in the secular media,) and their high profile ‘entertainment industry’, which is no more than worldliness hiding behind an apparent cloak of righteousness, and passed off as “worship”?
If these people are indeed “men and women of God”, then where is the Godliness in their lives and ministries? Where is the good example, where is the sound doctrine taught from their pulpits each week? Where is the discerning of their teaching and (false) prophecies? Nowhere to be found within their movements – at all.
We can tell you where their multi million dollar mansions are, and between us, we can probably dig up some pictures of their fast cars, motorbikes and some details of their jetset lavish lifestyles. We can certainly show you where their doctrine is false…
But when I compare all of that to the suffering and persecution of our brethren in third world countries, and also run a ‘background check’ on how Christ and the apostles lived, the lives of these upmarket false ministries are just not going to stack up beside the Biblical record now, are they?
@ Get Real – you are so right – everything needs to be tested and evaluated in the light of God’s word, and discerned by mature, stable and reliable Christians, and evaluations given in the light of that word based discernment, presented for the scrutiny of all – which is something that the false prophets do not want to happen!
Hi there. I have tried to join your blog but I’m not sure if it worked? Can you help? I’m the ex-paradise ex-Planetshakers person. Thank you
If you email us and dialogue with us that way – we can try to figure out the issue.
It seems to me very clear that Brian Houston has cherry picked the Genesis passage out of context, to use as a proof text for tithing. I do think that, when seeking to examine the credentials of an organisation, following the money trail is a reasonable place to start. I have not read any of Brian Houston’s books, and I certainly wouldn’t read a book titled “You need more money”, because that kind of blanket presumption on the part of the author is not helpful. Would you say to a drug addict “You need more money”?
As others have pointed out, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil wasn’t designated in Scripture as God’s portion. God commanded Adam not to eat from it, thus establishing a state of simple obedience required to receive God’s blessing. This was a covenant of works in it’s most basic form. So, Brian Houston has misrepresented this. He has also missed the significance of Abel’s offering being accepted because it was offered in faith and he has read into the text that Cain’s offering was from the leftovers of his harvest.
Zorro, your comments generally seem rude and lacking in love. I don’t know if you are associated with hillsongchurchwatch or not, but if so you are actually undermining the effectiveness of such a site as this one purports to be.
To all those who have been offended or hurt by the Hillsong organisation, I would say this: Do not make the mistake of turning your back on Christianity, in which regular fellowship with fellow believers in a structured worship service with the Christ-appointed ordinances of the Lord’s Supper (communion) and Baptism must feature. What do I mean? The New Testament does not allow for people professing Christianity to not attend a church congregation and to not submit to local godly Eldership. There is no salvation through Jesus if you are not part of His bride, and if you do not love the true church then you are not one of Jesus’ disciples. We all should be attending a local Bible believing and Jesus preaching church congregation.
As one of the moderators here, I’m with you on this one Nath. We found a great church after leaving the C3 movement. And yes, we in “regular fellowship with fellow believers in a structured worship service with the Christ-appointed ordinances of the Lord’s Supper (communion) and Baptism must feature.”
Obviously such churches are harder to find these days, so I understand Austin’s concerns.
Churchwatcher – that is fine if you can manage it, but it seems to me from reading many blogs lately both here and overseas, that there is a continuing exodus from “Babylon” and granted, many of these churchianity ‘refugees’ have found somewhere else, but many seem not to have, and are also isolated for various reasons.
I can’t just “go to church” because there happens to be one a quick bus ride down the road – otherwise I would be going to the new Hillsong nightclub “church” in the Valley – no thanks!!!
Certainly understand the problem Austin, it was six months out of all church fellowship as we recovered from the charismania. Not wanting to walk away altogether, and taking a leap of faith, we spent time in two churches before settling into the second church. The first just as good as the second, with a minister faithful in preaching the gospel. It was a gentle “spiritual” nudge that brought us to the second church where we have been for the last six years. Even when we moved out of the area two years ago, we still travel the much longer distance to attend. Yes, it’s that good.
“The New Testament does not allow for people professing Christianity to not attend a church congregation […]”
Actually, it’s correct to say the the New Testament does not allow for “people professing Christianity” to enter the Kingdom of God, but only those who trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus. There’s a vast gulf between the multitudes in religious bondage and the remnant who are saved, and it can’t bridged in any way by empty words and pseudo-spiritual blather.
“[…] and to not submit to local godly Eldership.”
Complete and utter rubbish.
“There is no salvation through Jesus if you are not part of His bride […]”
Actually, it’s correct to say that if you have salvation through Jesus, you are part of his bride. You are confusing cause and effect – a common enough mistake made by those who don’t know God, and in particular those who are of a religious bent.
“[…] and if you do not love the true church then you are not one of Jesus’ disciples.”
Actually, it’s correct to say that if you do not love Jesus, then you are neither one of his disciples nor a part of the church. And you should be aware that the church is not a building or an organisation or any such thing, but simply the body of those who truly belong to God.
“We all should be attending a local Bible believing and Jesus preaching church congregation.”
Actually, it’s correct to say that we should be following the leading of the Holy Spirit. In any case, we have the freedom in Christ to do as we please; as the Apostle Paul stated:
“All things are permissible for me […]”
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Thanks to the cross, those of use who know God are not bound by any law, rule, regulation, stipulation, or stricture, and we can safely ignore the ignorant importunings of self-appointed moralisers whose vacuousness is exceeded only by their tediousness.
Moreover, you should know that “believing the Bible” is worthless and futile; what is needful is that one should believe God, which allows one to then *understand* the Bible – which is a different thing altogether from “believing” it.
“Zorro, your comments generally seem rude and lacking in love.”
God’s truth is immutable – heaven and earth will pass away, but the words of Jesus will not pass away. Sadly, there are many who do not have ears to hear – some think that God was wrong to extend us grace that could save through faith alone, and are fully convinced that they must water down the precious blood of the lamb with vain religion and works of the law. Whether these latter-day Judaizers insist that we should tithe, or refrain from dancing, or abstain from meat on Fridays – or that we simply *must* attend “church” – is entirely immaterial; what is germane is what God Himself says about their state:
“You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”
Of course, the one thing that people such as these have in common is that they find the unvarnished truth confronting in the extreme; they will often malign as “rude” and “unloving” those who would dare to rebuke their legalism. It has ever been thus, as we well know from Jesus’ stinging denunciation of the Pharisees, and their consequent umbrage:
‘”These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules”
Then the disciples came to [Jesus] and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”‘
I am not confusing cause and effect. Eph 2:19 – 22 paints a beautiful picture of the way we saints become joined together and grow into a holy temple in the Lord, being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. The Bible is Gods written Word to us. Believing the Bible is believing God’s revealed will and if we love Christ we will obey his commands. Notice that Paul, immediately after describing the church, in Ephesians 3:1 refers to himself as a slave for Jesus. As he does in Ephesians 4:1-2, stating we are to bear with one another in love.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
“I am not confusing cause and effect.”
Sorry, my mistake. You must be confusing effect and cause.
“The New Testament does not allow for people professing Christianity to not attend a church congregation and to not submit to local godly Eldership.”
I suppose that this theory of yours doesn’t included people fleeing persecution, or who have been forced into hiding because the government/false church in that area is looking for them – or because Pastor Disastor from the local Hillsong cloned church may have put the word out on them (branding them as a dissenter) and they cannot go to any local churches, because they have effectively been banned…?
It would be nice indeed if those affected could find a nice local church supplied with “godly elders” but this seem impossible for some. There are churches here in Brisbane that I cannot attend, because I know too much about them.
There are other churches that I “could” attend, but then I would have to compromise some of what I believe and I am unwilling to do that. on certain issues.
While fellowship, as you outline it, is ideal, there are some (perhaps many) who are fed up with institutionalised “churchianity” and just don’t want to go there… others seem to have found relatively safe havens for now, but may be unsure of what the future holds.
Many churches have forsaken the ways of their founding fathers, and have gone after the Hillsong pattern – Moonee Ponds Baptist Church would be a prime example of that – not even ‘Charismatic’, but now they are “Hillsong” in all but their trading name…
It’s not *my* theory. Forsake not the gathering together of the brethren.
[1Co 11:25 ESV] 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
[1Jo 2:19 ESV] 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
[1Jo 3:23 ESV] 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.
However, of course in times of persecution the church goes underground. I’ve been to China and interacted with the Christian church there. They meet under threat of imprisonment and even death, going from house to house. If the ordinances are performed, the scriptures read, the gospel preached and God is worshipped, and Christian believers can submit to godly leadership it’s church.
In terms of denominational preferences, and from your comments I’ll say you’re of the Pentecostal / Charismatic persuasion, if you can’t find any churches in this denomination worth attending, you have to ask yourself why that is. I spent many years attending large or huge AOG congregations before realising that false gospel is false gospel. I found an independent Baptist church and have been content to study the Word of God and fellowship with other believers. There *is* a thriving church community out there after pentecostalism.
Which issues would you have to compromise on? Because you have to weigh up whether it is worse to disobey Jesus commands about fellowshipping together, or to take a stand on a non-essential like whether or not you agree with, say, full immersion baptism vs sprinkling, or whether you believe in speaking in tongues or not. These examples are not salvation issues, but note this well. There can be no salvation outside the ark. There can be no salvation for those who disobey the commands Jesus gave us. The Church is our ark. Yeah, it would have smelled horrible inside that ark with all those animals, but compared to what was going on outside the ark at the time, I’ll take the ark thanks.
We are to submit to godly eldership to keep us accountable. Church governance is critical and completely Biblical.
“There can be no salvation outside the ark. […] The Church [sic] is our ark.”
That’s what the pope thinks, too.
I should add that Jesus said “I will build my church.” Do you honestly believe there is a state the size of QLD, where there are no Biblical churches? I know of an excellent church congregation in Ipswich.
You might say that’s too far. Well, move. What can be more important to a Christian than living near a genuine congregation of Bible believing brothers and sisters?
Don’t look for size. Look for statements of faith that are 100% only based on the Bible. Talk to the Elders. Talk to others in the congregation. Check them out. But be prepared to let go of an entertainment expectation. Church is worship unto God. It is not primarily a pleasant and diverting way to spend a lazy Sunday morning. My old Penty congregation thought nothing of spending $20,000 to get famous musicians to entertain them for less than 1 hour!
kevin Russo said:
Nath , i have just seen that you know of a good church in Ipswich , could you please tell me where it is
Nath – thanks for responding so quickly and graciously – I am not an isolationist as such, and as far as it goes, no, there does not seem to be ANY kind of decent church within reasonable travelling distance that I can find, regardless of the brand.
I am not interested in NAR, LRM, Emergent, even some of the house churches here have gone over to ‘contemplationist’ nonsense – I spent time with them also several years ago… As for the IB’s – I know a number of people interstate and they are fine family people – they are not cultish, but once again, they are too far away.
As for moving, well that would be a risk at best – maybe the new church might not work out – they could have wonky doctrines that you don’t find out till you’re there for three months etc. That’s happened to many people too. I no longer own a car, and therefore a big move nowadays would be probematic to say the least.
There are still some Pentecostal churches that seem to be faithful to the word, but they are far from here too. The problem is that many churches fear losing half or more of their congregations to the Hillsong/C3 juggernauts.
If they don’t become a “clone” of one or the other, their people will just gravitate towards the mega church scene anyway, and leave the pastors in an empty hall – it’s happened before… and it looks like it’s going to be happening a lot more as time goes on.
i am not against people fellowshipping regularly and I can assure you Nath that I am fully aware of the content of the scripture passages that you quoted, and perhaps for a lot longer than you. Back when I was a young man there were plenty of viable churches – almost one on every major corner in the larger cities, and many of them were small in numbers out around the suburbs and smaller country towns.
Numbers didn’t seem to matter back in the 1970’s and 80’s, but it matters a lot now – it’s Americanisation of the church, if you ask me – if you’re not “big” over there, then you are just ignored – full stop!
I have always prefered the smaller fellowships over the years, but many of the faithful men and women I knew who ran them, when I lived here once before, have either died, or gone into retirement homes. The younger ones have scattered and married out in the “burbs” where they have new church links and are raising families – they just cannot be found by me – not even with the aid of the internet…
It’s been a long time since I looked at a church in terms of entertainment… 30 years or more… and I do have regular contact with friends online over the phone and a few here in Brisbane, in person – I am not alone, but neither am I in a “normal” church type situation. In the days ahead, the church here in Oz may face persecution to the degree that many will prefer to worship at home anyway.
Terrorism issues are starting to become prominent in the media and while I am not fearful of such events, should they occur, the government may enact Martial Law and people would not be so free to travel or meet at their convenience like they do now.
Maybe church folks might have to get used to these changed conditions at some future date, and maybe they’d better organise some contingency planning around all of this?
I trust that this explains my situation and attitudes more clearly, and please note that i do not subscribe to your view that Jesus + church = salvation!
I will clarify. Salvation is by faith alone in Jesus alone. We are saved unto good works. God has a right to expect fruit from us. If we remain in the vine then we will bear fruit. The means God has ordained for His elect to remain in the vine includes his true church. Going to church cannot procure our justification. But it is part of our obedience to Christ and an evidence of true conversion. Its one of the means whereby we become sanctified.
I would never presume to tell anyone they are not part of God’s Elect.
My point here was to highlight the importance of regular group worship of God to those hurt, offended or otherwise outcast from Hillsong, for them not to write off Church participation because of a bad experience with one particular congregation. That is all. God bless.
@Nath – the type and shadow implied by Noah’s Ark is Christ – not the Church per se.
A building (or even a group of saved people) cannot save us – it is faith in the shed blood of Christ alone that saves – not the works of men in place of that saving faith.
“Its one of the means whereby we become sanctified.”
Nath, are you telling me that the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit ceases without”church attendance”? I hope not as that would only give you one or two hours a week to ‘be holy’…
AmuZed is right – the Pope claims that there is no salvation outside of the Vatican precepts of what constitutes “the church” – sounds like some Protestant churches are returning to the Harlot already, with thinking like that!
Abiding in Christ refers to our personal relationship with Him – our fellowship of our prayers, reading the word, sharing the Gospel when opportunities permit, listening to the Lord and carrying out any mission/ministry He has entrusted to us is an outworking of that relationship, it is not the means to salvation, but the results of it, manifested in our lives.
I’m afraid Nath that you seem to have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge in certain areas. Your “religion” seems also to be works based and not one of faith alone.
The fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22 is the evidence of our true conversion – not church attendance. Anyone could show up at your church building next Sunday Nath, go through the motions (sacraments, sing a few hymns, put some money in the tithe bucket etc) and you would be none the wiser.
If that is all it takes to ensure that someone is “saved” then it is no wonder that so many churches have become riddled with New Agers, witches and sodomites… They are more than capable of going through the motions too…
I said that “Going to church cannot procure our justification. But it is part of our obedience to Christ and an evidence of true conversion. Its one of the means whereby we become sanctified.”
Going to church is not a cause of sanctification. It is one of the means. It is not the only means. The Holy Spirit indwelling us is the cause of sanctification, which is an ongoing process that isn’t finished in this lifetime.
I completely agree that the fruit of the Spirit is the evidence of our true conversion. One of which (the greatest of these?) is love. And if we love Jesus, we will obey his commands. And he commands us to fellowship with other believers. He commands us to abide in his body. I never said church attendance is the only evidence of our true conversion. But that seems to be what you have read into my comments.
Who or what saved Noah, God’s grace through Noah’s faith and obedience, or the ark? God did. What means did God use to procure Noah’s salvation from the judgement by water? The faithful and obedient works of Noah and his family for 100 years to build an ark according to God’s command. Jesus is indeed Noah’s saviour, by faith alone, and the means He chooses to strengthen, encourage, build in faith and knowledge, and send out into the world to preach the gospel to all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, making disciples of them, is his Church.
The Church gets it’s mandate only from God. The Bible defines what the Church (ekklesia/called out ones) is. We don’t get to do that. The Jesuit Pope doesn’t get to do that. We need to try to find a group of believers meeting in the manner prescribed by the Bible, and join that.
The true Church is the bride of Christ, the body of Christ. No man made institution can replace it. No one denomination has a monopoly on being the “only” true Church. Yes, in many nations, particularly the West, many so called churches are in fact nothing to do with the true Church of Jesus Christ. That is the whole point of this website.
But several of you here seem to be saying “The insidious wolves in sheep’s clothing are everywhere, better scatter the flock and keep away from those horrible places called “the institutionalised church” Do you not think it is possible to identify a sound Bible based church congregation in your location today? I understand that no church group is perfect. We are all fallen people, totally depraved. But there are places where people genuinely seek God’s face, to do His will, and to exhort, support, correct and equip each other to bring glory to God.
Hey, if you’re happy not fellowshipping with other believers according to the guidelines and governance structure described in the New Testament, then that is between you and God. But I would ask that you do not cause other, perhaps weaker, people in the faith to stumble by recommending they don’t need the Church.
“…But I would ask that you do not cause other, perhaps weaker, people in the faith to stumble by recommending they don’t need the Church.”
Good point Nath. We can commit to be like the Bereans and test the teachings of churches we visit, ask the pastor/minister some good questions, even sit through a few weeks of attending – and pray about it! If you have had “your ear to the ground” lately, obviously this is becoming a huge problem, trying to find a decent church. It’s a world-wide problem, so rather than “scare-mongering”, do what a lot of godly people are doing, start a register of churches and help our brothers and sisters in Christ find a church home. Let’s read this scripture “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” as the encouragement intended rather than using the text as judgment.
“Hey, if you’re happy not fellowshipping with other believers according to the guidelines and governance structure described in the New Testament, then that is between you and God. But I would ask that you do not cause other, perhaps weaker, people in the faith to stumble by recommending they don’t need the Church.”
I never said that people don’t need the church – what I did say Nath, is that good churches are getting harder to find – that’s all…
“if [Austin is] happy not fellowshipping with other believers […], then that is between [him] and God.”
You’ve finally got something right: it’s between Austin and God, and it’s got nothing to do with you whatsoever.
“But I would ask [Austin that he does] not cause other, perhaps weaker, people in the faith to stumble by recommending they don’t need the Church.”
What’s that? I thought that we just established that what Austin does or does not do is between him and God, and has nothing whatsoever to do with you. Who made you Lord and Master over Austin? Do you seek, by fiat, to place yourself above him in the gnostic “governance structure” of your spiritual fantasy world? Are you someone who sees yourself as “godly” to the extent that you have appointed yourself as an “Elder”? It seems to me that you should go out and gather to yourself a crowd of obsequious Biblically-illiterate ignoramuses – there’s no doubt that you could have yourself a thriving mega-church in no time flat.
“I never said church attendance is the only evidence of our true conversion. But that seems to be what you have read into my comments.”
Your spiritual state is clearly evident from your comments, and, given that state, you have nothing to contribute here. If you are determined to foist your man-made rules on others, go and get yourself a sandwich board and a loud hailer, and find yourself a busy street corner to stand on – don’t waste people’s time by posting tripe here.
That’s not necessary Amused, Nath is welcome to comment here. He’s not the enemy…
I am not an Elder, self appointed or otherwise. I am very happily submitted to godly Eldership at my local Reformed Baptist Church. I came out of pentecostal megachurches where the governance structure is both incorporated into the State for tax evasion purposes, and setup to protect the business interests of the owners. Thus they have replaced the Biblical model of a plurality of congregationally elected Elders and Deacons with a corporate business model. If the “chairman of the board” of a megachurch cannot be held accountable and even removed by the congregation if necessary, it’s not a Biblical governance model.
Amused, you seem to be railling against something that is openly promoted by churchwater on this site, that of finding and attending a godly Church congregation.
Thanks for all of your contributions, and although none of our comments were necessarily linked to the current thread, they are still indirectly relevant. I just cannot imagine Houston or Pringle engaging in a conversation over something so deep as the issue of genuine church fellowship or even how the Church should be governed, according to various Bible texts.
Let’s face it folks – why upset their comfy “business model” that is raking in all of that cash from gullible people’s pockets each week, and go back something that resembles the simple and humble beginnings of what so called experts call the “primitive” church?Their bean counters would be very quick to say that it’s just not economically viable…
On the face of it Nath, I believe that some healthy debate is good for the saints – Iron sharpens iron, my Bible says, and I’d hate to have to face-off with Satan and his minions, while holding a blunted blade…
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