The blog Jairus’ Daughter wrote this observent article on Hillsong,
THE HILLSONG PHENOMENA AND THE BLACKING OUT OF THE CHURCH
We have embarked upon a kind of ‘spying out the land’ jaunt over the last few weeks. We have felt that it was the right time to get a look at churches in Brisbane and to see what is going on there. Because our background is largely evangelical/Pentecostal, we tended towards either Pentecostal churches or Baptist churches. I was baptised in a Baptist church so I have a particular fondness for that tradition. We aren’t familiar with the more classical denominations like Anglican or Lutheran and find that those formalised patterns of service are not what we really want to support, especially after ten years of wandering in the wilderness. So we knocked on a few Baptist doors over recent months and this morning visited an AOG, or Australian Christian Churches church on the Northside.
We were naturally cautious since we saw what Hillsong did to Garden City Christian Church, my old stomping ground in the 80s. We have seen how Hillsong turned the sanctuary black. It had previously been high-ceilinged, well lit from both behind and the side by large ceiling to floor glass door/windows. The seating had been a rich red, the paneling a light pine and the bricks a pale cream. It was always a beautiful building to sit in, filled with natural light which certainly didn’t detract from the stage. Yet now from the outside all you can see are blackened windows. I have recently seen a photograph of it’s interior and there are the black seats and the black walls now as well. We know what Hillsong have done to the gospel, and you can read more of their particular brand of evangelical Christianity here. Many churches in Brisbane, notably the Pentecostal variety have followed Hillsong’s peculiar methods and practice of religion. They sing Hillsong music (suitably attributed due to copyright infringement laws), they set up their stages in a Hillsong way with lead singers, backing singers, drums, keyboard bass and other types of string instruments and also the brass and woodwind accompaniment.
Hillsong was not the first church in Australia to have contemporary music and audio-visual accompaniment in its worship service. But it certainly is the originator of the ‘rock-concert venue’ and ‘entertainment focused worship’ styles which are now so common. When I attended Garden City Christian Church in the early eighties we had a large stage to hold a large band, there were screens which showed the words. None of this is particularly offensive or anti-scriptural. The music for its time was probably more popular contemporary style than old-fashioned hymns, but we sang both with gusto. We ‘sang in the spirit’ in worship services, prayed for the sick, welcomed words of prophecy or knowledge and generally accepted the moving of the Spirit. It was a relatively healthy meeting in which people were being touched by God. Presumably certain denominations, including the Baptists at the time, would have frowned on our ‘swinging from the chandeliers’, but there was nothing untoward going on. There was no rolling on the floor making animal noises, no expectations of visitations by angels or weird manifestations as there are in a lot of pentecostal churches. Occasionally people who came for an altar call and were prayed for were ‘slain in the spirit’, but these were managed carefully and with discretion and everything was done in order. I believe there was a great deal wrong with those in charge in those days, considering Reg Klimionok was caught with his hand in the till not long after I left, but in general the services were fairly conservative compared with the meetings held in AOG chuches today.
HILLSONG NEW AND OLD
Hillsong back then was known as Hills Christian Life Centre and was pastored by Frank Houston, Brian’s dad. Even back then though, Hillsong was contributing to the worship styles of Garden City. I remember well that we had a seminar led by Trevor King, a musician and worship leader from Hillsong who in another life had been in a band called Railroad Gin. He was there to teach those who were interested in new styles of worship leading. Trevor was a musician, but he also had some strange ideas about God. I remember one cold morning he mentioned that he had been in the shower and God told him to turn off the hot water. God apparently wanted him to have a cold shower for some reason. Trevor seemed to think that any voice which came to him and ordered him to do weird things was from God. This seems to my mind to be symptomatic of the type of discernment which has been shown by those who lead churches of this nature. They are big on the mystical voices and experiences which many believe should accompany a genuine walk with God, but not so big on the testing of those same voices and experiences. Trevor came across to me at the time as a very young and enthusiastic Christian who seemed exited about sharing his faith and love of God. I don’t think Frank was fathering him in the way he needed, nor do I think any of the Houstons have the capacity for true fathering. They seem to be more interested in the superficial rather than the hidden person of the heart, despite frequent allusions to the same.
So back to our visit to the Northside ACC church. We were not interested in attending a worship service with music so loud you couldn’t hear yourself or anyone else sing. We didn’t see the point of that. Nor did we want to be part of Hillsong, nor did we want to be in a Hillsong cloned church since they are more or less the same thing.
We said to one another that if this church had a blackened interior we would not bother to stay. Yes, I suppose that is a bit pre-emptive, but in our experience when a church gets to the point that they want to change the interior of their sanctuary so dramatically they have succumbed to entirely bleak and literally dark influences. They are also committing themselves wholeheartedly to the Hillsong brand. There is really no point in looking much further than this despite it being an assessment based on superficial appearance.
Once we had made it past the honour guard of ‘greeters’ at the front door who were three deep on each side and handing out bits of paper (it was worse than election day), we emerged into the foyer. I might point out here that the multitude of people welcoming at the door is another Hillsong format. From there we could see another doorway into the inner sanctum. Six more ‘greeters’ were lined up at that doorway and the interior of this section was completely black; black carpets, chairs, walls, ceiling and stage. My daughter noticed that the children’s church which was beyond one of the corridors off the foyer was also blacked out in similar style. This to my mind is not just committing to the Hillsong brand, it is causing its little ones to stumble. Children love colour and light and are often scared of the dark. Why expose them to a wholly adult and frankly not terribly wholesome experience in the tenderness of their youth. But, if the adults are convinced there is nothing wrong with this, they are probably not concerned about their children. This is a whole ‘nother subject and not one I can do justice to here, suffice to say that the abdication of responsibility by Christian parents to the youth or Sunday School leaders has contributed to more than just the delinquency of minors in many cases.
The stage was there, the noise deflectors for the drums (not a good sign) and the Stepford wife type expressions on the faces of those asking us if we were OK when we stepped aside for a family conference to decide what we were going to do, all convinced us to take a hike. So we went out again. This time the greeters didn’t say much at all, and we managed to make a break for it without any cheery responses. They probably were not primed with appropriate phrases for those wanting to leave before the service stated. “Have a nice day” comes to mind, but then that would require thinking outside the square and or recognising that we wanted to get away from them. An uncomfortable and puzzling thought for the Hillsong devotee.
CHURCH INTERIORS AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD
In the past church interiors and exteriors were built in a way which reflected their faith and the Kingdom of God. Churches were built in the shapes of crosses. Their windows depicted scenes from the bible. The colours chosen reflected the symbolism found in scripture ; red, blue, gold, purple, all depicting either God or man and the relationship between the two. Interiors of churches have always been detailed and exquisitely beautiful with vaulted ceilings to represent the heavens and to aid the transmission of the sound of both preaching and singing. I remember standing in Christchurch Cathedral before the earthquake destroyed it. It had a magnificent echo as many churches do. The modern day sanctuaries are not church buildings. Their exteriors resemble warehouses or commercial buildings. Their interiors are set up to facilitate artificial noise projection not to enhance natural vocal or instrumental sound. Their seating is not placed to create a sense of wonder and awe at the craftsmanship and love poured into the physical environment and in turn to encourage the meditation upon the wonder of God. Seating is entirely utilitarian and focused on the stage where the talent is lit and enhanced in order to replicate a theatre or light and sound show. They have destroyed any atmosphere of quiet reverence and worship and replaced it with a black womb in which the distortion of light and sound, preaching and understanding, communication and worship are paramount.
Hillsong Australia has both introduced and promulgated this form of church environment along with the theology which both informs and supports it. It is a hideous malformation of the gospel and the gathering of people who are supposed to be adoring the one true and living God. Instead they are worshipping the people who are singing and playing and being bodily and sensorily overwhelmed by the visual and auditory explosion which accompanies them.
This kind of church service has more in common with the current ‘reality tv’ obsession with talent shows. You feel like you are joining an audience which is about to see the finale of “Australia’s Idol’s Got X Factor Voice Talent”. The huge audiences, the strobing lights, the host with the microphone, the singers, band and backing singers are all there. All you need to do is vote for your favourite personality.
You don’t have to be an AOG church or even a Pentecostal/charismatic church in order to see the Hillsong stamp. The outlines might be blurred, but the intention is there. A number of Baptist chuches we visited recently have turned their church buildings into Hillsong type venues. There are the sound systems, the sound desk, the audio visual screens and the Hillsong songs, but there is also the prosperity gospel preaching, the propensity for dividing the huge congregations into smaller easier to corral groups. There is the head pastor, the associate pastors, the pastors of the various groups in the church such as women, children, youth, young adults, seniors, various ethnic groups, evangelism, missions, creative arts just to name a few. There is the church vision, the church website, the church mission statement, the church board, the church elders or deacons and the church outreach. These are no longer churches, these are corporations. Much has already been written about the corporatizing of the church in America, but here in Australia, we are simply an extension of this phenomenon.
While my background is in the Assemblies of God in Australia, I am able to see how this denomination has always been less focused on scripture and the preaching of the gospel and more focused on enlarging it’s tent and preaching a prosperity gospel. Klimionok was informed by his obsession with Paul Yonggi Cho and his huge South Korean “Yoido Full Gospel Church” AOG church which back then boasted tens of thousands and apparently reached the million mark a few years ago. Cho was apparently convicted for tax evasion in February of this year. I remember him preaching once about his desire to have booths situated up the back of the church which would facilitate translation for ethnic groups which didn’t have a good grasp of English. We had a large prayer room situated on the top of the church in a kind of attic which was accessed by some stairs and a winding staircase much like the prayer caves in Korea. Make no mistake, Klimionok was determined to make Garden City like the church in Korea, and believed it was possible. What he forgot was that we are not Korea, we don’t have the same numbers of Christians and our population is vastly smaller. We have neither the funds nor the numbers to create another South Korean giga-church. It never happened. As I said, Klimionok fell from grace, moved to the States still pushing his prosperity gospel. Since Klimionok was caught with his hand in the til, and Yonggi Cho was recently caught for tax evasion, there was probably more in common with these two men than I initially thought. Garden City was never the same after that and after a few changes of head pastor it tended to languish somewhat. A state from which it was ‘rescued’ some decades later by Hillsong. Clearly the powers that be in the ACC administration felt that Brisbane needed a Hillsong, and Garden City needed a bomb under it. They achieved both and now the ‘revived’ Mt. Gravatt campus is home to so many faithful on a Sunday that they need the presence of the local police to ensure traffic flow on the main road outside the carpark.
Hillsong took over Garden City and it is my concern that they are also ‘taking over’ the rest of the evangelical/Pentecostal church in this country. So many churches look to Hillsong as their inamorata. Nobody seems willing to either stop and check what it is that is so appealing or why they feel that Hillsong has ‘made it’ while the rest of them need to create themselves in her image. It is a disturbing phenomenon and not one which I am proud to own as an Australian Christian.
Source: THE HILLSONG PHENOMENA AND THE BLACKING OUT OF THE CHURCH, http://jairusdaughter.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/the-hillsong-phenomena-and-the-blacking-out-of-the-church/, Published 07/04/2014. (Accessed 27/06/2014.)
The whole concept of the ‘church service’ is foreign to the Scriptures. They met in homes, broke bread, prayed and encouraged one another. The modern day church is traditions of man.
Beholdason – Do you attend a church?
Hi Churchwatcher 🙂
Can you please share with me what your understanding of the Ekklesia in the Scriptures?
Does the Church refer to a building or to the people of God, assembled in any given place?
If I may answer your question:
My family no longer attends a building one day per week for 1 hour to satisfy a man made requirement found no where in Scripture.
We do however (and much to your excitement, I hope) open our home up 24/7 for anyone who needs encouragement, prayer, support, food, shelter etc etc. In other words, we have a “church” in our house just like in Philemon 1:2… and all the other NT churches.
Because as you’re aware… they all met in homes and not little temples made with hands. 🙂
Plus… all the “church” buildings we’ve attended have been full of people with false gospels, doctrines and rules to get us right with God.
“Can you please share with me what your understanding of the Ekklesia in the Scriptures?”
1. First and foremost, the church is God’s called out people (both a priesthood and Holy nation) who are to walk in his light and in his ways. Whether gathered or not – the Christian is and part of the church. Peter teaches that we are living stones that build up Christ’s people.
“… you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1Peter 2:5
Furthermore, it benefits all Christians to fellowship together.
2. As the church, we are called to raise the bar in living holy lives before God and men. This is so that the work of Christ’s priestly ministry and his gospel may draw man to Him.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:9-12
The theology of the church comes to us through the Torah/Laws of Ancient Israel. Therefore it is really important to understand the correlation between the church and ancient Israel (Leviticus 20). When the Law was given to Israel the individual’s conduct was just as important to the assembly’s conduct. Because God has called us out of the darkness into his light, he expects us to live differently out of the goodness of his grace and daily repentance. Leviticus 20 teaches us that what marks us as his people in contrast to the world is how we now conduct ourselves before the world now that we are called out by Yahweh.
We see this echoed in 2 Corinthians 5 – only it is through Christ we have been called out to live holy lives for his ministry’s sake:
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Just like Israel, we too have an obligation to be obedient to Christ and what he has ordained to happen within his church. It is here 1 Corinthians 12 also comes into play. We all have different functions and roles within the church which we must all honour and respect. There are gifts, services and roles of leadership, teaching, pastoring, healing and other services which are their to help serve the church. Those that have gifts and offices are to serve the church with humility as Paul teaches in Philippians 2.
There is a lot more that can be said. This will do for now. The sacraments and structures in the church are to be respected – which may be worth another response if you want to continue this discussion.
@Churchwatcher – many people feel that they can no longer attend local churches, small or large, as they have seen them all fall over in terms of doctrine and practice and of course, the usual lineup of money grubbing scams – ‘honour the pastor’, ‘first fruits’ and so on. It is problematic, but I can’t say that I blame them.
I myself do not attend regular ‘church’ but I am certainly well connected both online and in person in terms of regular contact with a few faithful saints around town and around the country. Not everybody wants to run down the road to a traditional type of church, even if they are relatively ‘free’ of the Hillsong/C3 stamp, as many of them came out of those traditional trappings when they grew up into adulthood (as did I) never to return.
As one perspective on the situation you could ask “what is the church”? Is is just a building with faithful believers inside? Many would say yes, but I understand what some of these folks are saying. Quite often when your average pew warming ‘christians’ get up and “go to church”, in their minds, they are partaking of a spectator sport well known as ‘Sunday morning’ – they do not contribute any gifts that God may have given them, because of the “all of those positions are currently taken” kind of mentality.
I believe that there is an innate desire in many ‘true believers’ to actually want to “be the church” instead of just “going to church” which is an entirely different thing in some people’s minds. Just ‘going to church’ can mean that the whole ‘show’ is reliant on one or two individuals and a support team to pull it off, week after week, with little need within ‘organised religion’ to change or vary the landscape.
Some people in the ministry might feel threatened with some young upcoming potential ministries, and older folks with a wealth of experience and knowledge are often sat down the back with nothing to do – who would want to “go to church” under those conditions, regardless of the ‘flavour’?
I firmly believe after everything I’ve been through over the years, that we need men of sound doctrine and practice to competently lead our local churches, regardless of whatever flavour they may be, but sadly, they seem to be dwindling (due to retirements and the elderly passing on) and of course the odd ones falling into ‘last days’ type of deceptions.
I can well understand why many people would see a return to New Testament ideals, such as the house church concept, as a safe haven in a storm, but due to the influences of the emergent/contemplative teachers (basic New Age ideas) even being a part of an organised ‘house church chain’ can have its difficulties and dangers…
If you’re going to do the house church thing folks, make sure that you are not ‘owned’ by the house church organisations – do it yourselves, and stay well connected to other believers who are of sound mind AND sound doctrine and do not allow the false prophets to connect you to their organisations, which are just another version of churchianity, disguised as Christianity!
If there are sound, safe churches out there, then let’s have them by the dozen, but lets not encourage people to seek questionable “fellowship” at any price…
Austin, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
I know there are quite a few men who have been so scarred by their local church they are slowly moving into small house churches. My concern is that they believe this will solve all their issues to do with church, leadership, generosity, theology, etc. And when they find out it doesn’t, then where do they go?
It comes back to this: Is their trust in God or is their trust in their church and its leaders?
On a side note, I used the word “men” who have been scarred by their local church. In my experience the majority of those disillusioned are men. I don’t know why. Has anyone else seen this?
“In my experience the majority of those disillusioned are men. I don’t know why. Has anyone else seen this?”
Why? Because it is the men that are called to be heads of their households. If husbands/dads are unhealthy – the church and their families are unhealthy.
We have seen this. Today’s church culture deliberately attacks manhood so men do not have the strength, integrity of character, courage or understanding to approach leadership over issues of leadership doctrine or behaviour.
The church deliberately emasculates men and reinforces the ‘felt needs’ error we so often here in contemporary churches. What is produced within this environment are emotionally paralysed men who would rather feel they are being loving by simply ‘being nice’. As a result, they are stunted and not manning up and taking responsibility for what they believe and practice.
Once they are cushioned in this environment, the last thing they expect is the controlling leadership to abuse them. When this happens they emotionally break down and become confused, questioning their spiritual walk and their identity. They see themselves as the one with the problems with their manhood when in fact it was the leadership that constructed the environment for men to lose their identities in the first place. And once again – it comes back down to these false churches attacking doctrine on how a man is to function and behave in church.
The thing that destroys the felt-needs gospel is the one-true gospel that focuses on the the full-nature of the deity. Rarely is Ephesians 4-6 or the pastoral letters preached in their proper contexts. Rarely is the fullness of God preached where men learn about the wisdom, power, holiness, wrath and justice of God. When these attributes are denied of God in the church’s message, the men who are made in God’s image deny these fallible attributes within themselves.
A socially constructed deity produces a socially constructed man. The God of the bible when rightly proclaimed in the fullness of his glory equips the Christian man and matures him to produce every good work.
Because men in the Christian church have been miserably equipped with a faulty gospel, we are now seeing men “who have been scarred by their local church”. They have been conditioned by the church to navel-gaze and not Christ-gaze and they don’t know how to break out of this. It’s a very sad thing to see indeed.
They want to stand for something – but they don’t know what for. This is one possible reason why the social gospel is popular.
@GM – yes, I believe that Churchwatcher has adequately described the problem. Moving out into house churches is fine – I was in one for 6 years back in the early to mid 1980’s, but it certainly had its problems and most of them came from outside influences.
Charismatic chaos and legalism, along with the depths of Hyper Faith were knocking on our door over the period and we finally succumbed to the influences of a Latter Rain cult, which still exists to this day, albeit behind a much more respectable smoke screen than they had back then.
Do the house church thing if there is no other way, but stay well connected to the larger body of believers that you have come to know and trust. Isolationist movements are the Devil’s playground and many false prophets will see an opportunity to “spy out your liberty that is in Christ” (a la Galatians) and try and take advantage of your house church group:
“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage”
@Churchwatcher & Austin.
Thanks for the replies. I had equated this to men being the heads of the households and was curious as to others’ thoughts. I had not, however, thought about the church actively discouraging, attacking and stunting the men in their congregation. Sadly on initial reflection I think it is true but I will continue to search the Word and pray on this subject.
Thank you both for the time and effort taken to answer my question. God bless.
“Once they are cushioned in this environment, the last thing they expect is the controlling leadership to abuse them. When this happens they emotionally break down and become confused, questioning their spiritual walk and their identity. They see themselves as the one with the problems with their manhood when in fact it was the leadership that constructed the environment for men to lose their identities in the first place. And once again – it comes back down to these false churches attacking doctrine on how a man is to function and behave in church.”
I am sorry, I can’t endorse this. My husband and I were in a controlling and abusive church environment for 15 years. We were originally in a small church (also run by controlling and abusive men) which was then taken over by the larger church. We went through the honeymoon period where we were ‘lovebombed’ for about twelve months then the serious abuse started. We have now been out for ten years and have spent that time praying, reading our bibles, talking about what happened and understanding our own sin in this matter.
Men who preach and teach a false gospel are under a curse. I believe the congregations are also under a curse. While many on the internet believe that people who are in these churches are somehow brainwashed, I don’t believe that is true. Genuinely brainwashed people aren’t able to make a decision, however traumatic that decision is, to walk away from abuse. People have been making the decision to leave that church for decades. We were given the opportunity to walk away from the abuse very early on. My husband chose allegiance to the abusive men over his allegiance to God and I as his wife thought it was my job to simply be the submissive wife and stay there with him. God has since shown both myself and my husband that we were responsible and accountable for our actions individually.
He could have walked away at any time, he decided to stay because he idolised those men more than he worshipped God. I could have exerted far more influence as a wife than I chose to do or simply stopped going to that church myself much earlier. I could have, by my own influence, caused him to rethink his own actions but instead I blamed my husband because he was the head of the household for making and continuing to make a bad decision which both he and I and our children suffered from. Our faith was shipwrecked because we allowed it to be, NOT because the leaders of that church were abusive. The fact that they were abusive, and continue to be abusive is another matter. The fact that so many ex-leadership men from that church also refuse to take ANY responsibility whatsoever for their abuse of the congregation is also putting their salvation at risk. Manhood has nothing to do with it, Pride and a seared conscience is more to the point.
The emotional breakdown as you have rightly observed occurs not because they didn’t expect the leadership to abuse them, but because they themselves put those men in the place of God and worshipped them as idols, and perpetuated the abuse from the leadership in their own families. They were caught in both a carnal double bind and a spiritual one since the forces and powers of wickedness in these chuches are having a field day. But there is absolutely no excuse for not hearing the Holy Spirit speaking to your own heart and convicting you of the need and giving you the ability to walk away. EVERY man and woman I have spoken to on this matter over the last ten years, and I have spoken to hundreds of people who have left this church and others like it, will tell you that they KNEW God was telling them something was wrong before they left the church. God can break into a person’s life and convict them even in the midst of an abusive environment.
This is not actually a leadership issue or indeed a gender issue. It is an issue of the flesh and the carnal nature. Human beings will always choose to look to other people to fix their problems rather than enter into the relationship with God that they were supposed to have. The fact that the leadership in so many churches falls into rank heresy, outright abuse and sociopathic behaviour is a result of their own flesh and being given too much power by their congregations. Yes, their behaviour is reprehensible, but God holds each one of us responsible for what we have done. Not one of us is going to be able to stand before God on judgement day and point the finger at the mean pastor, or the mean husband, or the mean sociopath.
Standing up as mature adults and owning our own sin is the best form of ‘manning up’ that anyone can do. I am speaking from a very long period of recovery and many long dark days and nights of tears and prayer. And for the record, my husband would agree with every word since most of my comment comes from having talked through everything with him and hearing his own anguish about this matter.
If we understood what it meant to actually mature in the faith, we might start seeing believers who are able to be genuine elders in the family sense rather than the religious sense. Remember every religion has ‘elders’ or ‘preachers’. . Being able to see the errors in church is a good start. Discernment is lacking in most churches because believers think all they need is to be part of the vast mega-church programme and they will somehow mature through osmosis. It doesn’t happen that way. In fact, in order for osmosis to occur you would have to be listening to somebody who is actually mature and there are precious few of those. It seem to me that all that is required is a degree from a bible college and references from your local church and you can go off and start up your own circus and people willl pay to come and see you.
If you read Paul’s letters you will see how concerned he was with the false gospels which abounded in his day. The church was barely there, yet already the enemy was planting tares and spreading lies.I am currently reading Galatians, and here even Peter was drawn away into false gospels after all he learned through fellowship with Jesus in person. Clearly, it is more than just a matter of who you hang out with. It has to be a painful learning curve in which you fail, recover, fail, recover and in the process become a christian who leans heavily on the Holy Spirit to help you through even a good day.
We are so deeply indoctrinated with the mythology of the evangelical church. People repeat the mantra that you are strong, you are a victor, you are successful, you are wealthy, you have power etc etc. We want to become little ‘gods’. Instead, if we can learn to walk in weakness so His power is made strong in us we will learn to trust Him, to believe Him, to see Him work miracles in our lives, and we will also learn humility and love to others.
What we are looking for is there in abundance if we will stop expecting it to look like Hillsong.
We need to remember that not all churches are “apostate”, not all churches are unfaithful in fulfilling the great commission. We attend a great church and are aware of many other faithful churches of various denominations. The most common denominator (apart from faithfully preaching the gospel) appears to be size – they’re all quite small. Our “church growth” tends to come from expanding young families, and refugees from the seeker mega-churches. The testimonies of the refugees are all very similar as they are led out of darkness by the Holy Spirit.
I’d agree with ‘churchwatcher’ that not all churches are apostate, nor unfaithful. The difficulty is: how long is that state of affairs going to continue?
Back in the early 16th Century, William Tynedale, a gifted scholar who was the very first person to translate the New Testament into English lived at a time when virtually the ONLY church you could legitimately attend was a Catholic one. He became both a leader in the early stages of the Protestant Reformation , and eventually a martyr for daring to question the then papal authority and the ‘stranglehold’ it had over what was for all practical purposes in those times a single church in the English speaking world..
And no doubt many earnest ‘believers’, priests, and scholars all quoted bible verses to him about – going to church regularly, setting a good christian example etc etc etc ad naseum.
I have no problems at all with true christians I know who do not attend church at all these days. What they are doing of course is preparing themselves for the future, when a genuine follower of Christ will simply not be able to find a ‘church’ of any kind that he can in good conscience attend.
Folks, the christian and religious world around you is NOT going to be the same in the not too distant future. It will be unlike anything you have ever seen before or even thought of. You need to be ready for it, and the time to start preparing for it is now, not just wait for it happen..
At the moment, what I see most on this blog are people looking for ways to ‘accomodate’ their existing habitual patterns of worship, fellowship with other christians, concepts of church leadership, home-group structures and so forth into a frame-work that will enable them to preserve those same comfortable patterns albeit in a modified form.
I’ll compare this with the very early period of the underground church in China.
Christians in that community simply stayed at home, doing nothing that would draw the attention of authorities. Then, a christian would be told by the Holy Spirt to go to a particular place on a particular day and time.
When he did so, he would find some other people there who were also christian. Might only be a few. There were no phone calls arranging a meeting time and place, no talking with others and ‘confirming’ things. Next week maybe not , not necessarily 7 days later, he would be told again by the Holy Spirit to go to another place. Might even be in the mountains. So he would go there. Might even find 2 or 3 hundred there, from all over the country. Have 3 days of worship and fellowship. Then, everyone would go home. Next time, might be told to go yet another village, one he had never ever been to. Only be (say) 10 or 20 people there at that time., none of whom he’d ever met before..
You can see the ‘pattern’ – there’s absolutely NO pattern. Nothing is organised by human minds, each person simply goes where God tells them to when He tells them to. There’s no routine, no set model of worship, no formal meeting structure, nothing at all ‘predictable’ or ‘orderly’ about it at all to human eyes. God is the one doing the organising, bringing the people together that He wants to bring together at the times that fit with HIS purposes, not theirs.
And I’d better quickly also make this point. How and in what way God leads individuals and groups in the future (assuming even that there are groups at all during some periods within that future); could turn out to be quite different from how He lead the ‘underground’ church in China at that particular time in the past,
You are right. Its just that I have not come across any of them. I am glad you are in a great church. It makes a difference to hear a good report. Sometimes you can become so overwhelmed with the darkness of what is out there. For a long time we didn’t think there was any hope. We are sensing now that God is leading us back into the church scene, but as I have reported, we are not having much success. If you think of us in your prayers we would appreciate the support.
Anita you mentioned Elders.
I’m glad. Elders in the bible are simply mature (but not necessarily old) believers who satisfy the requirements listed in Scripture. The word “Pastor” in singular form is nowhere in the NT. (Knock yourself out and check). It’s disturbing.
Elders are always in plural form and nowhere do we get any indication that there is some title involved.
“Obey them that have rule over you” and “Submit to your leaders” and “The office of a bishop” is not as close to the original Greek text as “Pastors” would like to imagine.
We would all do well to study this issue as we’ve got a unique set up where men proclaim a “calling” (not in Scripture), trottle off to Seminary to get “educated” then hop around to different “churches” seeking the best financial offer in order to “minister”.
The whole thing is nowhere found in the Scriptures.
Yet we’ve all bought it hook, line and sinker.
The word for ‘pastors’ is poimen, which is more commonly used for ‘shepherd’. Peter, who was personally called by Jesus to ‘feed My sheep’, was obviously called as a shepherd, or pastor of people. He gives advice to shepherds.
The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
The Greek for ‘flock’ is ‘poimnion’ which is a group of sheep with a shepherd. Another word uses is ‘episcopos’, which refers to an overseer, and is the literal meaning – someone who watches over and guards sheep. Christians, of course, are often refred to as sheep of god’s pasture, and Jesus is the Chief Shepherd, which speaks of under shepherds who tend His flock.
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
The word for ‘shepherd’ here is ‘poimnē’, which is the verb for shepherd, the act.
So the word ‘pastor’ doesn’t appear, but the Greek for ‘pastors’ does in other forms, and the office is clearly indicated as a position of oversight and care for the flock of God under Christ.
This also tells us, of course, that believers are, Biblically, to be part of a flock, and not to be separated from the flock of God.
@Churchwatcher – I believe you have adequately identified some problems and also challenged the men who come here, to ‘man up’ and be the men of God that the Lord desires. The problem then becomes, that you can’t do that within organised religion and stay there for any length of time. Leadership will see your growth and do whatever it takes to stunt it. If they see you casting a discerning eye over their doctrines or the outrageous behaviour of the youth group, then they will simply get rid of you – seen that all before…
@Beholdason – the term ‘pastors’ is actually found in Ephesians 4:11 – it is the Greek word ‘poimen’ and it means ‘shepherds’ – singular – ‘shepherd’. Many people who are trapped within “churchianity” have been educated to use wrong terminology, and therefore have a wrong understanding of what these “functions” are, as listed in Ephesians 4.
Consequently when someone is inducted into the ‘ministry’ they are usually entitled with the word ‘pastor’ and they may not have a pastoral calling on their life at all. If they are the genuine article then they may indeed be a teacher, or even an evangelist, but they may never be a true biblical ‘shepherd’ in that sense.
The ministry gifts as outlined in Ephesians 4:11 are ‘functions’ – they are not ‘titles’ but many people who are “in the ministry” prefer the titles and all the accolades of men as well as the perks that come with that title. The true test of all such people making claims to a ministry role is “can they perform the ‘function’ – even without the title, which can be merely the recognition of men, and not the seal of God upon that particular person’s life?
Nicodemus recognised that Jesus was a teacher (John 3:2) – he didn’t have to wear a name tag o his chest – the woman at the well said “sir, I perceive that you are a prophet” (John 4:19) as once again Jesus lived the walk. Indeed Beholdason – men of God should be leaders in their homes first – then and only then may they dare to attempt to lead God’s people in any public manner…
Thanks Austin. I’m aware of the Ephesians passage referring to Pastors in the plural sense. My understanding is that Pastors and Elders have the same function and that is to oversee/shepherd the Lord’s flock by example. I’m not against this function whatsoever.
I suspect that most of the true Overseers and Shepherd out there are the ones without the salary, title and office. They’re the ones who study their bible in private and don’t enjoy the praises of men but enjoy teaching others how to study the Scriptures for themselves.
Austin and Churchwatcher
you have both said some very valid points, most of the churches i have seen in london where i live.
are pentecostal, charismatic, evangelical, anglican. and they seem to be filled with deception.
i have never been to a baptist church or a methodist church. i have been a christian for 15 years and from what i have seen the church dosent seem to be serving any real purpose.
i have always seen the church as a house of prayer, a place of worship and the word of god.
but what i see is nothing but a social club, where there is no building up no edifying, just a bunch of so called christians who want to small talk and waffle and they call this fellowship.
no prayer, no breaking of bread and drinking from the cup, no apostles doctrine.
just resturants, bbqs, pubs, clubs, so many christians have so many worldly interests outside of their faith in jesus christ.
this is where there problem is, we have a church who have made friends with they world.
a lot of people leave the world, have a false conversion and end up in the world dressed up as the church.
the church is supposed to be the place where you furfil your calling, and your gifting.
yet the wrong people are raised up in the ministry, and everyone else is written off, overlooked and passed over for people who have the right image or the right appearance.
1 timothy 3:2
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
1 timothy 3:5
For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
what is a felt needs gospel? i have never heard of it. i have heard of a social gospel but i still dont know what that is either.
“what is a felt needs gospel? i have never heard of it. i have heard of a social gospel but i still dont know what that is either.”
It could also be called the seeker sensitive gospel made famous by Rick Warren. That is this, rather than preach the gospel – someone like Rick Warren target people’s felt needs to get them into the church. That means you preach movie sermons or do sermons on leadership, getting vision, finding purpose, etc. Supposedly in this type of message you can preach the gospel to the unsaved so they can get saved.
Chris Rosebrough called these sermons maslorations based off the famous Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
The general warning signs of this gospel when it appears in your church is the emphasis on the lost seeking for the truth. (The bible is clear that none seek God.) To attract the seeker sensitive, the visual cue is the emphasis on the church doing barbecue or coffee nights at church to attract the seekers in. The whole service is about them. That’s the warning sign.
Why is this gospel of felt needs so dangerous?
It is dangerous because it is assumed by the pastor and audience that this message exists for someone that does not exist.
Firstly, the Christian hearing the pastor will happily not apply the message, assuming what is said will appeal to the felt needs of that mysterious lost person in the audience. Thus the sheep are not fed.
Secondly, the pastor does not want to say anything cringeworthy to that mysterious lost person in the audience and therefore emphasise the ‘felt need’ topic of the sermon more than the gospel and later water down the gospel message in a hopes not to offend that mysterious lost person. Words like ‘sin’, ‘wrath’, ‘death’ or even ‘cross’ are avoided. Instead, the minister will use phrases like “God’s purpose”, “God wants to have a relationship with you here today”, “God wants to fill that God-shaped hole in your life”, etc. Thus no gospel is presented.
Thirdly, if some “lost person” was open to receive the gospel and heard something contrary to what their grandparents used to believe, the felt-needs gospel wont work on them any way. They’ll know something is not right with what they heard, shrug it off and not go back to church. Thus the intended audience isn’t embraced anyway.
Fourthly, if for some reason a lost person comes into the church and hears the felt-needs gospel, it wont save them. If they choose to go up the front thinking they’ve heard a Christian message of salvation, they often say a similar felt-needs prayer of salvation. Next week they sit in the pew and, just like everyone else, not get fed the gospel. Instead they sacrifice their time not hearing God’s Word and wait for that mysterious someone to get saved through that same felt-needs gospel. Sadly, this final person thinks they are saved.
A very good example of this felt needs gospel can be read hear on C3CW:
Worse still…… The Pastor will ask those who somehow respond to his message to raise their hands. He will now pray a prayer of some sort on their behalf, sometimes asking them to either audibly follow along or simply pray the same prayer in their heart. Having completed this senseless prayer the Pastor will now congratulate all those who had their hands up, the audience will give God a “clap offering/praise”, and the Pastor will now tell these poor folks that they are now Christians. They will now be invited to “sign up” the Christian101 course where they will be taught what to do from now on. Lesson 1 is all about tithing !!!
I was asked to leave one of these Churches when I pointed out to the Pastor that all he had really done was preach 5 souls right into hell that Sunday morning!! That went down like a lead balloon I assure you.
i see what the felt needs gospel is, its the seeker friendly church movement started by not just rick warren saddleback, it was also bill hybals willocreak.
its interesting so many people look to bill hybals for church growth, such deception.
yes the modern contemary churches wont use the words sin or repent. hillsong london used to say make your peace with god.
hillsong london they dont even use the word preacher, they call leaders great communicators.
thank you Churchwatcher for telling me that. there is also the 5 sences they use in these churches as well.
bill hybels not bill hybals
“yes the modern contemary churches wont use the words sin or repent. hillsong london used to say make your peace with god.”
Repent means to change your mind.
It does not mean “forsake your sin” or “turn from sin”.
Please understand that Lordship Salvation is works salvation.
No one can forsake their sin.
To repent is to change your mind about your sinful state before God and who Jesus Christ is and what he has done on your behalf.
Please don’t tell people they need to repent (turn from sin) prior to believing in Jesus.
That is a false gospel foreign to the Scriptures.
The “Repent and turn gospel” is the biggest lie in the church today.
The Apostles and Jesus say, “BELIEVE”.
Anyone who believes, has repented.
Mark 1:14-15 “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
God regenerates us and then we believe, and hence regeneration precedes our conversion. Therefore, we give all the glory to God for our conversion, for our turning to him is entirely a work of his grace.
I see. 🙂
I just looked for the word “regenerate” in my bible using an online program and was unable to locate that word in the context of salvation. Can you assist me by pointing to the direct reference (in context) where it says that “God regenerates us prior us to believing in Jesus”?
I am left to wonder when the Philippian jailer was regenerated by God. Was it before he asked Paul and Silas how he could be saved, or after?
Beholdason – Do a study on Acts 16:14-15
“A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyratira, a seller of purple, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household had been baptised, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.”
I think that you should concentrate more on your life and your children before you try to play doctor. If you really had so much light, you would concentrate it on yourself, instead of gossiping. For some reason, I really cannot picture Jesus smiling from heaven at you… But then, what do I know…
@churchwatcher – it may interest you to know that Rick Joyner and other leading lights were made “Knights of Malta” by the Vatican some time ago.
This ‘unholy alliance’ of which you speak is official, and has been in progress for quite some time. It wouldn’t surprise me if there are certain local false prophets who are also ‘on the list’ for this particular investiture…
Please note that I am not endorsing this website, its author or any other material contained therein, however I believe that the ‘photo shoot’ speaks for itself – the Vatican’s own cameras don’t lie, now do they…?
It is interesting to note that Satan himself quoted the scriptures accurately (but way out of context,) until Christ Himself rebuked him:
“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
Anyone who serves ‘another kingdom’ (the kingdoms of man made ‘church’ organisations,) apart from the Kingdom of God, bases their belief on another Jesus another gospel and a different ‘spirit’…
Austin – looks like they’re taking it to a whole new level. Looking forward (not really) to seeing the photo opportunities Brian Houston and Phil Pringle might take, if or when they get their chance for another bite of the “apple”, if or when they align themselves with this “greatest move that is yet to come before the return of our Lord. The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”
From the article:
“Will you not rejoice and pray for Pope Francis? He is a man of influence and popularity who has a large weekly audience — with probably some of the largest open air meetings in our time. Many have had the privilege of seeing Pope Francis in action. Out in the square 40 minutes before the weekly meeting starts, he blesses children, touches all who he can reach, and walk freely in the crowd. After all the mingling, the service starts, and he sticks with the script and preaches the Gospel, but he periodically puts the script aside and spontaneously speaks to people’s hearts. Once the service is officially over, he is back mingling with the people and ends the day praying for the sick. Doesn’t this sound like Jesus?”
Certainly a “modern day downgrade”, with the slope getting steeper and steeper into apostacy.
Austin – Update by Tony Palmer who organized the meeting of Francis and Copeland:
From Catch The Fire Sydney Facebook wall, https://www.facebook.com/CTFSydney
The Miracle of Unity Continues: By: Bp. Tony Palmer
“On the 24th of June, 2014 – Casa Santa Marta, Vatican City, Rome: We were instrumental in introducing Pope Francis to the most eclectic conglomeration of diversity converged into a ‘unity of diversity’ … a ‘reconciled diversity’ in order to lay down the past and dare to reach for the future goal that Jesus set before us all…‘Father make them one, as We are one, so that the World will believe.’ (Jn. 17:21-23 paraphrased).
Our delegation represented approximately 80-90% of the Evangelical Christians of the world (in excess of 700 million Christians). Together with 1.2 Billion Catholics represented in Pope Francis, it was a meeting representative meeting of two Billion Christians..! – a Tsunami of desire for unity.
Our primary purpose for facilitating such a meeting was to introduce Pope Francis to those who responded positively to the Video message he and I made back during my January papal Audience, which ‘leaked’ onto YouTube. Secondly – Together our delegation acknowledged our ‘Protest’ was over and requested Pope Francis to offer some concrete steps forward which would give us an occasion to publicly declare our unity both in Faith and in common Mission. Our desire for a visible unity was presented to Pope Francis and we now wait for him to show us the next step forward towards the fulfillment of Jesus’ Prayer in Jn. 17:21.
The names of the delegates in the photograph (Left to Right) are: Carol Arnott, John Arnott (Partners in Harvest), Brian Stiller (World Evangelical Alliance), Kenneth Copeland (KCM), Pope Francis, Thomas Schirrmacher (WEA), Geoff Tunnicliffe (WEA), James & Betty Robison (Life Outreach International) and Tony Palmer (The Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches & The Order of the Ark Community).
This is truly His-Story in the making. Peace & Good”
eventually only true Christian believers will be left holding out from everyone else as they unite the world in their ecumenical movement. so we’ll be labeled as ‘haters’, because they’ll say we’re the only ones in the way of world unity & peace
2011 World Day of Prayer for Peace, Assisi
Thanks for the ‘extras’ Church Watcher – this is what the true believers are really up against – its not flooseys or flunkies like Houston and Pringle – they just love money and the limelight and are therefore easy to control – and the “churches” here in Australia that they ‘pastor’ are controlled – and infiltrated… and thus the false doctrines and New Age rubbish that has replaced the simple Gospel of Christ dying for sinners…
Many a Catholic priest and nun who have come out of the Vatican’s grasp have testified as to their deliberate infiltration of ‘Protestant’ churches – in order to destroy them, if they can’t be controlled.
I trust that any doubting Thomases will now see that it is the red dragon of Revelation 12, in the guise of false religion (eg: the harlot of Rev 17 too) that has, is, and will continue to “deceive even the very elect if it were possible” – and I pray earnestly that it will not be possible for those of us who have eyes to see this final end time ‘Beast’ for what it really is…
The Vatican has eminently been the Devil’s playground since about the 4th century, AD and has been the persecutor and executioner of untold millions of genuine Christian people, who placed their faith in Christ and His shed blood – and nothing else… Just like their former Roman forebears – they are pagan and antichrist to the hilt!
To see the likes of Rick Joyner become a ‘Knight of Malta’ and therefore a lackey of the Papacy (now fully Jesuit controlled) must be quite a shock to many – but it stands to reason that those who preach a humanistic message of “your best life now” or the ridiculous themes of “you need more money” (because Brian needs more money too…) or Christian women “need more sex”, in that it completely unveils their worldliness and their departure from any former vestige of truth.
The Greek word ‘apostasia’ means – “departure from (truth)” and that is what the ‘great falling away’ essentially is – a ‘departure’ from biblical truth and that is what we have been witnessing for the last 50+ years…
austin, true. i have for awhile believed that these Hillsong, C3 and other ‘Christianity lite’ movements will be some of the greatest contributors to the 2 Thess 2 great falling away.
Hi NFG – I would have to say that 2 Thess 2 is well under way, and has been (due to the very infiltrations that I mentioned) for at least the last 50 years.
Slowly, but surely, traitors and quislings have been bought and/or compromised through blackmail, which makes you wonder just what it is that “the brotherhood” has over them…? Doesn’t it?
Knights of Malta are solely owned by the Vatican, and this includes much of European gentry and royalty too…
have you heard the news yesterday i saw a trailer, warner brothers and alcorn entertainment have made a film with hillsong let hope arise telling their story of how successful they have been as a church for over 30 years.
its coming out in 2015 in all the major cinemas, i couldnt believe it. its really sad that success has taken over so many churches today. i remember reading a article about how so many pentecostal churches in australia were making millions of dollars tax free.
the love of money has really watererd down and diluted the christian gospel. the christian gospel has been so dumbed down its makes it so void to nil effect.
16 hours ago.
HILLSONG – LET HOPE RISE Teaser
ANNOUNCING: Warner Bros. Pictures & Alcon Entertainment present ‘HILLSONG – LET HOPE RISE’ following the journey of Hillsong Church and hillsong united. Coming 2015.
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Camila Kodama Caaaan’t wait! my fave song in this teaser Aline Dantas olha, filme da Hillsong em 2015 :’)See Translation
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LuisMa Sáez G just another Christian show (inspired, it’s true), but lack of Gospel essence. (By the way: I LOVE their music, nothing else).
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mrhatch, more and more its all about money. i noticed yesterday the church i left had posted a teaching that was given by my old pastor there a couple years back. he taught on Luke 12:22-34 and claimed it was proof of tithing.
where is he today? facing possible criminal charges for various conduct issues.
“Where your heart is, there will your treasure be.”
@mrhatch – hello there – I’ll have to book a balcony seat and budget for some popcorn and a milkshake so I can “see the movie” – a movie?
One wonders why they didn’t simply call it “The Life of Brian”??? 🙂
Whatever the producers have cooked up on Brian’s behalf, couldn’t be any more blasphemous than that travesty of a Monty Python flim flam from decades ago…
Hi NFG – well that’s an interesting outcome isn’t it? You would have thought that such a ‘faithful man of God’ who has taught the ‘gospel of tithing’ would be immune from such questions, but then again – “the love of money is the root of ALL evil…” isn’t it?
Sadly and to our deep embarrassment, Houston, Pringle , de Jong were all born and bred here in New Zealand.. We take no pride in that !!!!
hi austin, one would have never thought this man was capable of such things. he was serious, always asking questions, checking everything out, and i looked up to him.
but now, i am the one who checks everything out. to me, there is NO one whose words are above being scrutinized. never again. that’s what led me here. my constant desire to know the truth about everything going on. i was searching around and found this site.
these days i check anything out that looks or sounds questionable (as i have time). both what i read, and what i hear people say. both on the Bible, and secular…. i was too trusting before. not as much now.
Hello Kiwipirate and NFG – never mind – it doesn’t matter where these people come from – I was deceived several times, earlier in my walk by home grown Aussies – who came from a good pedigree – their immediate family members were high up in missions and the early AOG, but that didn’t prevent them from being deceived, or from deceiving others – including me! Here’s a link to my online testimony:
I think that there are good lessons all around for us, as we gain an insight as to why this occurs. There is an innate longing in fallen man to be someone or achieve something – this in itself isn’t wrong as it is what drives many of us, but apart from God and of giving the glory to God for what we are and what we have achieved, it all becomes “me” centred, and we have only dead works to offer up. these so called “churches” have fast become ‘me centred’ man made organisations, devoid of any truth or Christian virtue – false profits made by false prophets…
These folks may have been saved at some stage (or at least appear to have been saved…) but when the chips were down, they sold out, and embraced the world. they never died to their old lifestyle and have lusted for money, fame, and power – that’s what drives them and if they don’t repent of that downward spiral, it will drive them right through the very gates of Hell!!
That makes me shudder a bit…
To Kiwi Pirate
Elsewhere on the C3 churchwatch web site you will see that I too have raised this point before. The amount of so-called “Pastors” who come to Australia from New Zealand to set themselves up is astounding! The list is a mile long! I have raised the question before as to whether there are not any people in New Zealand who need to hear the Gospel message. This influx of NZ “Pastors” to Australia is such an extraordinary circumstance to me that I have to wonder if there is something I am missing. Are our tax laws kinder to these people? What is it? I would really look forward to someone coming up with a reasonable explanation. And, call me a cynic if you like, but I will not be surprised if it has something to do with financial benefit.
Kreewater – and then they go back to New Zealand to keep the momentum up, with Phil Pringle often a guest speaker at Paul De Jong’s Life Church. It’s their own little “circle of life” 🙂
One reason is that there is not much room to spread here in New Zealand. In Auckland alone you have at least three who claim to be MegaChurches. Life Church, City Impact Church, West City Church. The population will not sustain more than that in reality.
So wellington has a couple, likewise Christchurch and that’s the major cities covered. The like of Invercargill and Dunedin are much too conservative to put up with such nonsense. And that leaves Hamilton and Tauranga perhaps, but they are well catered for as well.
So, the Aussie is the best place to spread to it seems. Life Church are all over Aussie and now making a push for Kuala Lumpa as well !!
Those of us who have been around long enough knew these guys as young radical men here in NZ and know the “Bible College” they attended and can see why they are where they are now.
We shake our heads at what is going on in the States but it is all happening right here right now in our own countries just as bad and in some cases worse than in the States.
Kreewater, I’d be interested to know if more ex-NZers go to these churches than other denominations too. Like anyone else they’re more likely to a church they’ll feel most at home in.
It seems wherever the money goes these preachers follow. e.g. A larger population in Australia than New Zealand, higher wages, therefore potentially more church attendees and therefore more money. How many Hill$ong/C3 churches are there in 3rd world countries after all?
On the other hand do Kiwis wake up to them sooner so they go west for a while? Only half-joking there – known a few smart Kiwis over the years….
More and more Kiwi’s like myself have got sick and tired of the continual emphasis on money money money. What is “speaking to the offering” which is a 10minute micro-sermon EVERY Sunday just before the Tithe and Offerings are collected by passing around buckets?? !!
As I said in another post, we stayed around trying to rescue lost souls from within, but it just became untenable so we left and now we act as the “Ambulance at the bottom of the cliff” trying to help disenchanted and lost souls.
This is very difficult indeed because most do not want to have anything to do with Church or Christians things ever again.
However, one by one we (well Jesus) win a few back into the fold where they hear the Gospel, many for the first time, and we are seeing disciples growing in their faith daily. 🙂
can you believe it, here is the website link for the hillsong film that is coming out in 2015.
is this what the church is meant to be famous, the church is not meant to be loved in this world.
the truth the word of god isnt meant to be pleasing to the world, who denies the blood of jesus the cross of christ.
This week there was an interview on Channel Ten Sydney with a female “leader” of Hillsong. One of the interviewers raised the question of whether or not the Church expected people to tithe.The answer was a definite “no”. It was stated that there is NO expectation at all for people to give and it is a very private thing which is left up to the individual. (But also she did state that to tithe was “biblical”.)
Also she repeated time and time again that the money received by the church is only used to “help others”. She made quite a point of it stating that it costs money to run the programs and that the money has to come from somewhere. It was interesting to hear the “party line” being given!
In my view it is somewhat mis-leading to say that there is no expectation on people to give and for the person being interviewed to give the impression that it is something which is not given the importance that anyone who has ever attended the church knows that it is. The tacit pressure is very much a feature of the church. And I also noted that she failed to mention the weird and wonderful “promises” that are made to people that if they give generously, God will bless them in some fantastic way.
One really has to have actually experienced the financial pressure exerted by this church (and other mega churches) to give money, to know that this denial they always give during interviews about the demands put upon people to do so are really tantamount to nothing more than “spin”……….. the difference between what they say and the reality makes it very deceitful marketing in my view.
“One of the interviewers raised the question of whether or not the Church expected people to tithe.The answer was a definite “no”. It was stated that there is NO expectation at all for people to give and it is a very private thing which is left up to the individual. (But also she did state that to tithe was “biblical”.)”
If she did indeed say that Hillsong does not expect “people to give and it is a very private thing which is left up to the individual”, that is a lie.
Members have the freedom to obey God and give Hillsong money or lose their salvation until they give Hillsong money. Hear it yourself:
Heard a good quote from an ex-member of a cult that said, “They are cult not by what they say but what they do not say”. Hillsong definitely falls into that category. There is a huge amount of pressure for people to give to show they are committed even thought it’s no longer stated. The unwritten rule still reigns over Hillsong members.