Tanya Levin is well known in Australia for exposing the Hillsong movement as a cult in her book “People in Glass Houses” and for her controversial interview with Andrew Denton on the old TV program “Enough Rope”.
Denton Interviews Levins On Hillsong: “I was detoxed from toxic Christianity”
However, Tanya Levin is also good friends with a Hillsong member by the name of Tanya Riches. Some of the insights Tanya Riches offers are interesting. We hope to look at these in a future article.
Tanya Riches writes,
Growing up Australian and Pentecostal: Academics and Media versus Hillsong Church
It’s nice to be home in Australia for January, after completing two and a half years of a PhD program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Los Angeles! A perk of being in Sydney (aside from reconnecting with family and friends) is attending my home church, Hillsong. I grew up in the congregation, and returned in 2010 before relocating to the USA. it’s the thing I missed most passionately while away. Of course, an announcement was just made about a new LA Hillsong plant in 2014 – so if I end up in Pasadena for dissertation writing (crossed fingers), I can worship there.
Because the new-ish Manhattan Hillsong plant is going so well in the USA, there’s growing interest in the church; well, among American theologians and religious scholars I spoke with. Academics are turning their attention to global Pentecostalism (or in this specific case, Oceanian charismatic evangelicals who really *don’t* like ‘tags’ being applied to them). This fuels more interest in Australia. A recent thread on a brilliant Australian theologians’ facebook wall, a casually delivered sermon by Joel and Julia A’Bell and a few other coincidences raised recurring themes for me, so I thought I’d write a little important something about growing up a “Hillsonger” that I’ve meant to say for a while. I hope you can hear me out.
My staunchly Anglican family joined Hillsong Church after the charismatic movement hit Sydney in the early 1980s. In California by this time, charismatic-ism was well established and the music of John Wimber dearly beloved. Furious debate on the role of the Spirit in everyday Christian life was merely a simmer. But Australia, positioned at the edge of the world, so to speak, tended to get things decades after other countries. Put it down to strong border control. My parents’ Rector successfully refuted all theological arguments, clamping down on charismatic eccentricities (now we know he was an AngliCAN’T and there are many AngliCANS). He didn’t realize our house on a Tuesday night was full of adults praying and studying bible passages on spiritual gifts, trying to work it out. I’ve since found out it was very Methodist of them to supplement Sunday’s liturgy with additional worship.
Ultimately, and pretty uneventfully, they sought a new church on the outskirts of the city, near the one-acre farm lots dad admired so much. He loved driving past cows and sheep on Sundays. Surprisingly for this location, Hillsong allowed my parents to re-imagine Christianity in a completely fresh way – a technologically savvy service that included children, youth and young adults, and even allowed speaking in tongues at times (quietly, during prayer requests, and in member events). After so many years of sneakily raising their hands, they just wanted to move on, and help build a new, charismatic biblically-based evangelical Australian church. They loved Brian and Bobbie’s forward-thinking vision, permeated by the energy of the Hills District with anticipation of growth and progress. And, conversions occurred every single week, something that astounds them even still. They consider the altar call a sacred moment – my dad sheds tears talking about the joy he feels in seeing people accept Christ. Even in its early venues, there was a sense that something incredible was taking place at Hillsong and no one person was in control – perhaps the Spirit was (??) – and because of this, our family wanted to be present as it happened.
So I guess Hillsong Church initially chose me, care of my parents, but it soon became my church, and my parents merely attended as far as I was concerned. It all happened at that Summer Camp of 1998, after which first generation Hillsongers suddenly had to cope with what were eventually dubbed “Jesus is my girlfriend” lyrics, as well as a growing group of bouncing teenagers dancing in the front rows (which they endured or loved, depending on which member of their generation you ask). We had what the church came to explain as “revival”, a completely unexplainable energy that flowed in and through the youth group – leaving visible and tangible evidence in new groups of Australian youth: skaters, surfers, geeks and university students, preppies, grungy kids, even a few goths. They just kept on coming. By 1996, we had thousands of youth. Someone had to roster the youth bands, and photocopy the music charts, which is where my involvement started. With a photocopy code.
The genius of Hillsong was the way multiple voices could be heard within the same space; and with so many new Christians, there was a diversity of views on every and any topic. Not only did the church represent many of Sydney’s all-pervasive territorial cultural barriers (people traveled from all over Sydney each week), but ethnic barriers seemed to recede as Hillsong embraced Sydney’s newer (and older) migrants. The elders are people of mixed Australian, New Zealander, Tongan, Scottish, Armenian, Iranian, Chinese, British, (and more) descent, and while multicultural assimilation was the Australian norm, Dr Gordon Lee pioneered language services even in the early days. Women and men also held important roles side-by-side, modeled by Bobbie and Brian.
I’ve been the first person over the years to admit Hillsong church wasn’t perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But one benefit of so many people was that when something annoyed me, it often also annoyed others – and was being worked on behind the scenes. It was in the Hub, those crazy think-tank rooms that I truly fell in love with my church. Within all the vocal diversity was a consensus. The offices were a hive of volunteer and staff minds engaging problems and working towards creative solutions, contributing, as they were encouraged to do in Romans 12:3-8. It was always out of space, with offices in storage cabinets, or dug out of the very foundations. Almost everybody was building their leadership, and ministries grew strangely, organically – with nearly as many endeavors abandoned as sprung to life. There was freedom to try, and even to make mistakes, because somehow Pastor Brian had a sixth sense to fix things that weren’t flourishing quickly, re-channeling energy elsewhere when necessary, and opening up new areas no-one thought possible (e.g. acquiring the city congregation). All the Arts flourished – in Sydney, no less – with many thanks to Darlene Zschech. The spiritual gifts of ‘discernment’, ‘prophecy’ and ‘wisdom’ my parents had spent so long looking for were explained in Pastor Brian’s phrases “supernaturally natural” and “extraordinarily ordinary”. The inexplicable was explained with 1 Cor 2:14.
However, I quickly found out that on the North Shore, where I lived, mention of my church risked a slanderous tirade. My local high school, Cheltenham Girls High School, considered Hillsong a cult. This hit an all time low when they declared the “Shine” deportment program to be under-cover proselytism in violation of the tenets of feminism. Whatever the heck feminism now means. Seriously though, I’d love the memo, because I must have missed it in my six years of high school. Clearly nail polish application and teaching which fork to use is a no-no. But dressing girls in bright pink “feminine” uniforms is OK. Well, as a second generation “pink elephant”, I hope they understand me when I say I find this quite ironic. These complaints worked in collusion with Sydney Morning Herald journalists to expose and shut down some programs. But for the record, my mother and I worship along with many other former CGHS students who do not consider Hillsong repressive for women.
As its fame grew, Hillsong appeared irregularly in the media. Atheist journalists labeled it many things; money hungry, a sham, flamboyant, and corrupt. Friends I grew up with turned to secular papers to cash in on their stories about the congregation. They were screened on television, usually during the dinner hour. At school the next day, I would lay low. And the following Sunday, church leaders were hurt, upset, defensive and irate. It caused them to decry “intellectuals”, “academia” and “education”, because this seemed to be the problem. Sigh.
This tension came to a head in my honours third year of Political Economy at The Sydney University in the year 2000. Our garage style youth band, United (a name representing the youth groups merging together for special events) had gone gold on the Australian music charts, and in the busy-ness, I’d fallen one point behind on my required mark, a small little typed ’16’ I will never forget. I rang the university, and was engaged by a course administrator who tersely informed me I must choose between my faith and academic career. It was an engagement I had been regrettably primed for. I loudly and clearly declared that I was withdrawing from the course, and faded into the congregation, working as a barista on the side (for the entirely separate company Gloria Jeans), with my dreams of policy-writing and international development work shattered.
I slowly and cautiously re-entered academia, applying for a suitably “Christian” masters in Theology. A genetic susceptibility to research lead to another degree, and although I pleaded with my supervisor not to ask me to research Hillsong, she convinced me otherwise. I nervously presented my Masters of Philosophy to the Australian Catholic University music department in 2009 and received my first question “what does Hillsong do with its money?”
This seemed to suggest my questioners were not aware of how vast Hillsong actually was. Um… it pays its huge staff. It turns the light bulbs on and makes sure fridges are stocked for volunteer coffees. It develops young Australian leaders in skills like reliability, character development, and virtues society often forgets. It hires a bus to give over 80,000 food items away at Christmas. But “I don’t think this is pertinent to my thesis” seemed the best answer at the time. I played a Brooke Fraser United clip, and received some comments about the brain-washing repetitive nature of charismatic choruses. I returned to my Melbourne hotel shaking, but having passed.
Somehow, it has become normal to start the Hillsong story with “questionable theology”, or sexual abuse … not its later implemented counseling programs (many offered by outsiders lest God forbid, and I mean that quite literally there be any abuse cases). It has become normal in Australia to pick up the paper or open the computer and read blogs like this (my entire family votes Labor, so he had a strangely blue crowd for the city) or this. So normal, in fact, that when I recently questioned an American journalist about why she’d summarized the last twenty years of the Sydney Morning Herald articles, she furiously informed me that she had “even flown to Australia to write the story”. Touché.
The thing is, there’s only one side presented. Today I talked to a key leader, and she requested peopleask her before assuming. Does she believe in prosperity theology? No. And I thought about it – do I?No. Does my husband? No. But are there people in the congregation that do? Sure! Almost every shade of thought imaginable is present. Hillsong members are not clones. While the leadership has a statement of belief, it presents basics, and for the rest, members aren’t conformed to one idea. Pastors Robert and Amanda Fergusson edit all songs for orthodoxy. But they also leave room for poetry. I’ve found members to be meticulous about finding strengths of varied theological arguments, not flaws. They want to leave debates open-ended until they gather all the facts. They are committed to exploring all verses of the bible, and humbly listening to each other’s perspective, even when they secretly think it may suck. They want to get central bits sorted out and leave the edges open-ended. That might be a different processing mode than your church, but no less Christian.
Look, I have close friends who genuinely hate Hillsong, and are incredibly fearful about me attending. I still manage to make it through online chats, or coffee dates. We even laugh about it at times. To be clear, I don’t believe human tragedy, pain or abuse should ever be covered up. In fact, I believe the opposite. The bible says that we should bring sin into the light.
But I honestly believe, in the same vein, that scandal-trading is an inappropriate mode for journalists to deal with Australian religious groups. This perpetuates stereotypes that are continually recounted time and time again. Any church is an organization, and my church is made up of thousands of ordinary Australians, with a variety of stories. Just like me. So in 2014, my New Years wish is that we can stop smear campaigns run by Australian journalists against religious groups. And maybe, in seeing the diversity of the people of the brand, we could even humanize what it means to be an Australian attending Sydney’s Hillsong Church.
Source: By 5/01/2014. (Accessed 15/10/2014.)
Churches are called to be loving, open, honest, clear, gospel centered and biblical. Hillsong fails all these requirements on the most fundemental level.
With this in mind, churches shouldn’t:
1. Scam people financially.
2. Force people to follow the prophetic, “forward-thinking vision” of false prophets.
3. Bully or demonise people into submission or silence or mislead the general public or other churches.
4. Lie about membership/salvation statistics.
5. Play word games and redefine biblical rules, teachings, ideas or concepts.
6. Have leaders that deliberately twist the scriptures to ‘control’ people within or outside their movement.
7. Have leaders that invite heretical and corrupt teachers.
8. Present a false gospel, a false Jesus and a different spirit or faith in the name of God.
9. Have leadership that cover up the crimes of a serial pedophile and members defending their pastors crimes.
And Hillsong members wonder why people consider Hillsong a cult?
Tanya Riches said:
Thanks for posting this. As you yourselves are doing I was (and will continue) to attempt to find spaces of dialogue for the truth to be found. I know this site to have many people on it with different views. I am not a Hillsong leader, nor are my views anything other than that, opinion. I would prefer personal contact. Thanks.
I know it is unlikely you will respond but I will make several observations/ questions anyway:
1. You sound very satisfied and happy with the church *itself*, the people, the community, the activities, the mission, its goals etc.
2. Are you growing in Christian maturity/strength through Hillsong’s preaching, or do you need to find “spiritual food” for yourself? Could someone grow in knowledge about *God Himself* through Hillsong’s preaching alone?
3. If you are strong through faith in Hillsong NOT through faith in Jesus Himself, then if/when people in Hillsong fail you (for whatever reason – all Christians from any denomination are still sinners) will your faith in Christ be strong enough to stand that test?
4. ” I was (and will continue) to attempt to find spaces of dialogue for the truth to be found….”
This statement has the same attitude as the Emergent/Emerging church movement. http://www.christianresearchservice.com/a-brief-snyopsis-of-the-emerging-church/
Truth is not gained by group discussion or group consensus. e.g. Sins condemned in the New Testament (1st century AD) are still condemned in the 21st century AD. Sins do not become “subjects of open dialogue and discussion” i.e. NON-sins if the unsaved world now tolerates/endorses those sins.
Read your bible *in context* (i.e. not isolated verse, fortune-cookie style) and you will find Jesus is the Truth. There is no “finding” truth any where else.
Tanya Riches said:
Thanks for the queries. I am deeply saddened that my opinion piece commissioned by ABC Religion & Ethics a year ago has been pinned up here, but I do feel like since it is, I should be given some right of reply.
I definitely can’t speak on behalf of the average member, but I personally have other ways I grow spiritually, including my formal theological studies. I have completed a Masters in Theological Studies, a Masters of Philosophy and am now undertaking a PhD.
So I don’t think that it’s fair for me to make any comment about whether someone could or couldn’t attend Hillsong and grow. I think probably they *could*, as in there is a lot of biblical content in the service, and they are encouraged to read the bible for themselves. Members are free to wrestle with their own interpretation of the text – at least that’s been my personal experience.
I understand what you are saying regarding my comment on dialogue, but I don’t think it’s particularly fair. Neither I nor Hillsong feel particularly affiliated with the emergent (or missional) church. At least, I’ve never heard anyone at Hillsong accept that they are a part of this movement. In Australia there are more Baptists than there are Pentecostals that would accept this term.
As far as it is able for me to profess of myself, I do hold a deep commitment to the bible, and I consider it of utmost importance to adhere to the truth, as you point to Jesus the Word found within it. Where I think dialogue is important is in ascertaining people’s true motives, as the bible also warns us against judging others without a deep love and commitment to one another (Matthew 7:1, Romans 16:17-18, Matthew 18:15-17, Romans 14:1-5, James 4:12).
That is why I said that I would prefer to address any concerns with my Christian walk in person rather than online.
Yours is a *good* personal opinion piece that looks well thought out and sincere. I do not doubt that you have had a good experience with Hillsong church. It is a pleasant change in fact.
If you are getting into formal leadership ministry with Hillsong church are you willing to seriously consider what is being presented *objectively*? Leaders have to *know* what is going on to truly lead the flock. Responding by reflex is not leadership.
“… Neither I nor Hillsong feel particularly affiliated with the emergent (or missional) church.”
So you personally don’t *feel* affiliated with emergent or missional church. OK. (I didn’t feel affiliated with Roman Catholic doctrines on many issues either.)
Are you able to take a step back and see WHY Hillsong critics say Hillsong Church demonstrates Emergent-Church tendencies *in practice* i.e. not what is put on official Mission Statement/s, what is said/shown in every day life?
Saying one thing to church, saying another thing to secular media, then another thing to church to clear up what was said to media. Objectively it looks very bad.
Thank you Tanya for responding to the article. As a moderator on this site I’m personally troubled by these words:
“So I don’t think that it’s fair for me to make any comment about whether someone could or couldn’t attend Hillsong and grow. I think probably they *could*, as in there is a lot of biblical content in the service, and they are encouraged to read the bible for themselves. Members are free to wrestle with their own interpretation of the text – at least that’s been my personal experience.”
I would like to open that up for discussion.
Cheers, Team ChurchWatch.
“as in there is a lot of BIBLICAL CONTENT in the service”
As soon as I saw this statement, my reaction was…. “Huh???” and “Like what???” and “From whom???”
Opening up for discussion isn’t necessarily for Tanya Riches to respond, but more for others to express their views as to why that statement is troubling (or not).
Cheers, Team ChurchWatch.
“Neither I nor Hillsong feel particularly affiliated with the emergent (or missional) church.”
Also, Tanya it seems hard to avoid the emergent church being at Fuller. Fuller is very associated with the emergent church. Look at some of their faculty/alumni for example: Rob Bell, Mark Scandrette, Richard Foster, Phyllis Tickle, Brian Mclaren. They offer a Doctorate in Missional Leadership. They are one of the sponsors of Christianity 21.
Tanya Riches said:
The comment you quoted, moderator, is simply posted to indicate that I don’t really know your group well but I recognize (and am in fact overwhelmed by) the number of competing understandings on this site as to what spiritual formation is, and how it should occur. In regards to Hillsong, many of the members I have spoken to claim to be able to grow spiritually through attending the church. But, I personally sought out theological education, and widely supplemented my theological and spiritual development. I am now so, so busy I just genuinely don’t know whether this is true for other people or not. I used to be very connected to the grassroots, but after living in LA for 2.5 years and due to the growth of the church, I don’t think that’s as true anymore. I relate to a lot of highly educated people in the congregation, including theologians and scholars. I also relate to a number of theologians at Alphacrucis, in the Catholic movement and at Fuller. If I did ever come across theological issues in the teaching that I was worried about, I wouldn’t use this forum to bring it up, I would go to my leadership and bring it up with them directly. This in my experience has been highly fruitful. Peace.
“I also relate to a number of theologians at Alphacrucis…”
We’ve noticed Alphacrusis has a strong liberal arm.
“… in the Catholic movement…”
We’ve noticed Catholicism has a strong liberal arm.
“I relate to a lot of highly educated people in the congregation”
Are these “progressives”?
Tanya Riches said:
I’m not trying to convince you that I am perfect. I think that should be said.
But no, not just “progressives”, also “liberals” and many “conservatives”. There is one theologian at Alphacrucis that could be described as “liberal” – but many who would not be described well this way, and may even be best described as “fundamentalist”, as in drawing upon classical pentecostalism and the fundamentals of the faith.
Obviously by your website headline you tend towards separatism, meaning that you breaking relationship with people you disagree with. For me, I find a lot of joy in sharing conversation with people about God. I try to be as honest as I can, and I enjoy finding the strengths in each person’s contribution, which is why I gravitate towards pentecostalism, which maintains that the Spirit works in and through all members of the church body.
Tanya, you say “which is why I gravitate towards pentecostalism, which maintains that the Spirit works in and through all members of the church body.”
You have to wonder if they are Pentecostals if Hillsong’s biggest and most outspoken critics are Pentecostal.
And why is Hillsong quick to condemn Pentecostal churches if Hillsong was Pentecostal?
We also came across this peculiar information on Brian Houston:
“When Pastor Brian took over CLC Sydney, he immediately did these five acts.
“The acts of Brian:
1. Brian closed the Sunday night soaker services
2. Brian closed the Spirit-filled public prayer meetings
3. Brian shut down the public operation of the gifts of the Spirit
4. Brian shut down being slain in the Spirit, shaking on the floor or anywhere under the power of God, or any dramatic expression of the Holy Spirit on human flesh.
5. Brian shut down Christian Commandos, the long-standing radical street evangelism expression of CLC Sydney.
Brian shut down all the Holy Spirit expressions in CLC Sydney and, in effect, put the Holy Spirit in a box: the box of very controlled worship.”
While we do not agree with this man Donald Delley’s theology, his observations do need to be considered.
“Obviously by your website headline you tend towards separatism”
Lastly, just like yourself, we care about truth. Love rejoices IN the truth.
However, that also means it must separate itself from things that are false and are unloving. Separation should be the last thing that happens. Nevertheless, the Apostle warns us that separations/factions/heresies will emerge to showcase who the real Christians are.
Honesty is what we seek above all. We started these sites because we do not want to see people hurt by places that parade a false love. True love starts with a knowledge of the gospel – and that is what we keep bringing people back to on these sites. It is not our intention to draw a wedge between relationships. But these are bound to happen when it comes to people deciding themselves if they will follow Jesus or follow men.
Tanya Riches said:
P.S. Shree is correct, Fuller has a number of missional scholars in its faculty, and I also have gone through in detail with them their definitions regarding the emergent church during my PhD. Almost none of them include Hillsong in this group. Neither does Hillsong affiliate with these authors and thinkers. I don’t know who has the authority over this, but if both groups deny they are together perhaps it’s worth listening to them??
“So I don’t think that it’s fair for me to make any comment about whether someone could or couldn’t attend Hillsong and grow.”
You are doing extensive theological study, therefore YOU should be able to guesstimate how much Christian teaching the average Joe is hearing per speech/ sermon. How the average Joe receives the message is a completely different issue. Someone like yourself should be able to judge the seed brand quality and how well the Sower is sowing the seeds.
“…. and they are encouraged to read the bible for themselves.”
So the sheep (Hillsong followers) are find the food for themselves, not rely on the shepherd (preacher) to feed them. And how many Christians do take the time to read/listen to the bible for themselves these days?
Tanya Riches said:
I can only respond from my own experience. During the service last Sunday in the city from memory, there was an extensive biblical passage from 1 Corinthians spoken within the pre-roll video as people came in (this passage changes seasonally). There was a portion of a psalm read during the worship. There was a scripture cited in the offering and announcements was from the Old Testament, and three relatively lengthy passages placed up on the screens during the sermon.
However, I am sincere in my attempts to exercise both caution and humility in judging fellow believers in their participation in spiritual disciplines conducive to Christian growth.
As someone who is on this journey with my fellow believers, I believe we can all read the bible more. I believe it is the authoritative word of God.
Our experience last Sunday was the public readings (not on overhead) of Psalm 77 and Acts 21:1-36. The sermon was then on the Acts scriptures, this being an ongoing week by week teaching through the Acts texts verse by verse, historically and in context. Questions then followed the sermon.
The mid-week various group bible studies follow through on these texts.
This will continue over the months as the pastor faithfully preaches through the text verse by verse, an unusual phenomena in the mega church culture today.
Tanya Riches said:
This is valuable sharing, and I appreciate that you remembered specific texts (something I wish I could have done).
My apologies if I gave you the impression I was saying that there was an equal amount or superior biblical content in the service I attended *versus* yours.
I’ve experienced a methodical, verse-by-verse exegetical preaching while visiting The Vine church in Hong Kong, and some other megachurches within the US (most notably Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel). This method was used at the Assemblies of God church I attended in Brea, California for eighteen months and in that time we went through Hebrews, and Acts. I found that it did have a downside at times, when it went too slowly, had a guest preacher or was forced to connect with events (such as Christmas) – but of course it was still valuable. To my knowledge, Hillsong has conducted a verse-by-verse preaching strategy only within its women’s ministries, and worship team on Thursday nights. Additionally, Brian Houston released a book on Proverbs intended for the congregation to work through a verse a day over the course of one month (there may be other examples too but I forget). Nevertheless, I appreciate the benefits of this method for the entire congregation.
Hillsong does mainly feature topical preaching. However, members attend at least two meetings a week, sometimes five or so. Perhaps we could say your church’s system is more time efficient 😉
In Sunday’s case, I would say the preaching was akin to a systematic rather than biblical theology. My understanding of this particular message on Sunday was that it intentionally drew upon biblical passages that speak to the tension between us living within our sin or old nature, and according to the purpose of Christ deposited within us (as found in 1 Corinthians 1:22, and 2 Tim 1:14). This is a fraught area, because congregation members hold such differing theological views on the nature of the self, sin and good works. So, with this in mind, I think the preacher did a good job of keeping the Word as the main voice in the service. The sermon was relevant to us approaching the new year with a dedication to act within and towards this deposit of Christ.
From your own experience last Sunday, a few YES/NO questions:
Were the passages kept in context?
Was the preacher’s goal to preach on a certain topic (bible passages used to achieve that goal) or were the bible passages themselves the focus?
Was the message people-focused or God-focused?
Yes, Your pastor/ preacher is your fellow believer. However their goal is to preach God’s Word, so more is expected of them. (James 3:1) Is your pastor preaching what the bible teaches in context?
P.S. Judge is not a four-letter word. Jesus said we are to judge with righteous judgement (John 7:24) http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/judge.html
pete wheeler said:
Up until a year ago my young family and I attended a hillsong church in berlin germany for about 2 years (prior to this exposure there was over 10years of hillsong infiltration in new zealand penticostal churches) During that time I’ve had the displeasure of sitting through countless sermons of hillsong visiting pastors(london, paris,sydney) strip mining their way through Scripture. Their sermons boil down to self help, motivational life walk throughs for all those, oh so many itching ears (2 Tim 4.1-5) Hillsong pastors seem devoid of how to exegete scripture and apply context “you to can be a Peter, and walk on water. You just gotta have more faith”
Habakkuk 2.2 becomes about church vision.. Isaiah 54.1 life gets bigger with purpose! So on and so on. I’ve yet to encounter one of them can preach law and gospel correctly. The good news is ‘how good my life can be’ not what jesus’s death and resurrection has saved us from, which in our sinfull state we are all deserving of. I’ve sat through a robert morris blessed life sermon with my fellow brethren clapping and cheering at a smorgasbord of law law and some more law plus a dash of so called theology thats not even in the bible! All the while these unsuspecting Christians heaping a ‘heavy law’ burden upon themselves…
Hillsong churches are devoid of any true biblical discernment, hence their constant serving up of heretical conference speakers.
There is a long list of wolves!
Well as for me and my house hold, I thank the Lord Jesus in all His enduring grace and mercy, that He has brought us of of that miry clay and planted our feet on that solid rock! Praise the Lord I am now reformed! and being saved from shipwrecked christianty.
It is my prayer that God’s grace and mercy brings others out from the deception too.
Hi Pete – thanks for your input, a very well-observed summary of the problems we have been tracking for years now. Coincidently, just finished listening to the FFTF podcast debunking Robert Morris this morning, worth an article in and of itself. I hope that Tanya takes your views under consideration, you being the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of those who are leaving these movements in droves as the Holy Spirit wakes His sheep from their slumber. Literally snatching them from the mouths of wolves…..
Alef Mem said:
Thanks Pete Wheeler for articulating what so many of us experience but unable to adequately express….
pete wheeler said:
Hi Churchwatcher. I’ve spent many an hr in my studio listening to Chris from FFTF.
He’s a true contender! Keep up the good work
safe in the palm of His hand
Pete – I’ve listened to every FFTF podcast since its inception in 2007. Played a huge role in our journey out of ‘charismania’. And I’m not Lutheran!
Biblical truth transcends denominational differences.
all of the hillsong leaders,go to the same leadership college, none of them are preachers. there is no way anyone can preach from a message bible or a new living translation bible.
these are paraphrase bibles, that are meant to expand on the word of god. that is why all you hear from hillsong is motivational speaking.
hillsong is a word of faith preaching movement. all of you hear from them is milk not meat.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
1 corinthians 3:1-2
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
1 peter 2:2
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Another sheep. All so self righteous but lets not talk about the child rape. Child molestation. Child rape! It shouldn’t be ignored or told to go away or “its your fault this happened” its NOT OK!!! They are not lies or made up these are facts. Many of them tania,many. Another loving Christian that thinks it’s ok to have a pedophile be praised and prayed for?Take a good look at yourself sister your praying to a devil not my lord jesus christ! You love brian not god. This church I mean cult is evil to the very founder Frank Houston. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Enraged!!!!!
“hillsong is a word of faith preaching movement. all of you hear from them is milk not meat.”
Hillsong members are even neglected the milk. Hebrews 6 lays down examples what is milk.
Hillsong leadership should be charged of spiritual child abuse.
TR: “Hillsong allowed my parents to re-imagine Christianity in a completely fresh way – a technologically savvy service that included children, youth and young adults, and even allowed speaking in tongues at times (quietly, during prayer requests, and in member events).”
NOWHERE in the Bible does it ask us to ‘re-imagine’ Christian Worship.
Speaking in tongues is frowned upon at hillsong..even quietly.
TR: “was a sense that something incredible was taking place at Hillsong and no one person was in control – perhaps the Spirit was (??).”
Guessing that the Holy Spirit ‘may’ have been in control is nowhere near good enough.
TR: “We had what the church came to explain as “revival”, a completely unexplainable energy that flowed in and through the youth group leaving visible and tangible evidence in new groups of Australian youth.”
A ‘revival’ from what?… To what? Where is the proof of this ‘visible and tangible evidence’ that you speak of?
TR:” Pastor Brian had a sixth sense to fix things that weren’t flourishing quickly, re-channeling energy elsewhere when necessary, and opening up new areas no-one thought possible (e.g. acquiring the city congregation).”
That doesn’t seem like an ‘impossible thought’ to aquire property …and brian houston certainly doesn’t have a new-age ‘sixth sense’.
TR: “The spiritual gifts of ‘discernment’, ‘prophecy’ and ‘wisdom’ my parents had spent so long looking for were explained in Pastor Brian’s phrases “supernaturally natural” and “extraordinarily ordinary”.
Those 2 phrases of houston most certainly do not explain the required depths of discernment, prophecy or wisdom.
TR: ” question “what does Hillsong do with its money?”
This seemed to suggest my questioners were not aware of how vast Hillsong actually was.”
Actually, no. Hillsong is nowhere near as ‘vast’ as mainstream churches, that is simply false ‘hype’. I think it suggests what everyone knows…the Imperial lifestyle of the houstons plainly evident from their own instagrams and photos.
TR: “Today I talked to a key leader, and she requested people ask her before assuming.”
Could i have the name of this key leader?
TR: “Pastors Robert and Amanda Fergusson edit all songs for orthodoxy.”
I was going to ask if you believe that women should be pastors and defy Timothy in the Bible. Just got answered.
TR: “They want to get central bits sorted out and leave the edges open-ended. That might be a different processing mode than your church, but no less Christian.”
Actually, that is where hillsong continually fumbles about. They can never use the Bible as the Authority while they are ‘vexed’ and ‘weighty’ and can never bring themselves to repeat the clear Word of God. E.g. brian houston and the gay question..brian houston and the allah question. God’s commands..are not ‘open-ended’, and nowhere in the Bible does it say they are.
TR: “But I honestly believe, in the same vein, that scandal-trading is an inappropriate mode for journalists to deal with Australian religious groups.”
Telling the truth is always right, scandal or not. What about the victim’s rights to be heard? Perhaps you may address the Journalists personally.
TR: “And maybe, in seeing the diversity of the people of the brand, we could even humanize what it means to be an Australian attending Sydney’s Hillsong Church.”
What ‘brand’ ? Since when is Christianity…a ‘brand’ ?
Can i ask you TR: What do you say to the fruits of brian houston?
What do you think of brian houston at the Royal Commission denying any Financial or Moral responsibility for the victims of his father?
What do you think of brian houston illegally hiding paedophile crime for years?
What do you think of hillsong illegally exacting the old testament tithe from it’s followers?
What do you think of brian houston saying Christians and muslims serve the same God?
Tanya Riches said:
I object so strongly to the tone of this post. My article for ABC Religion & Ethics was written in January 2014, and this is being posted on this site a year later.
The Royal Commission has occurred in the interim.
My sincerest heartfelt sadness goes out to all that have been affected by sexual abuse within churches, of whatever denomination. I believe that many people have been shocked and saddened by what was shared in these proceedings that continued even very recently with the Jewish synagogues. I pray that sin is continued to be brought to the light and we the church can work to model a biblical leadership to society, with increasing integrity.
I recognize that at this point, when my personal experience is being sorted through with a fine tooth comb there is nothing more I can say that can satisfy the anger I read on this thread.
I am not a celebrity, I am extremely accessible. I wish this community had dealt with its concerns with me in an alternative (more biblical?) way.
Tanya..there is absolutely no anger or angry tone in my post.
All i was asking is to clarify what you have previously said, compared to what the bible teaches.This topic was ‘what is hillsong’ and i am trying to understand what you think hillsong is…as am i.
I was commenting specifically about your thoughts…..’open ended’ debates, female pastors, christian ‘brands’, brian houston’s behaviour and so on…compared to actual Biblical teaching.
For me, or anyone else asking questions, or just commenting on something..certainly isn’t enough to be judged out of hand, as anger. Thank you.
RE “community” dealing with you in a “more biblical” way:
1. Unless you choose to give email address or arrange direct personal contact that is impossible and you know that. No-one reasonable would expect that of you anyway.
2. You of all people should know you are misusing the Matthew 18:15 verse. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+18%3A15-20&version=KJV
You have not sinned personally against one of us by giving a positive personal testimony about Hillsong. No-one has accused you of sinning against them personally either.
It is unfortunate that you feel attacked -and have responded with your feelings- by thetruth’s direct questions. He was not attacking *you* at all.
This isn’t unbiblical. If you make a public post, you should expect a public response. There is nothing in the Bible against this. You are obviously referring to Matt 18:15, but I shall refer to Gal 2:14
14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all…
I also don’t see anger here, just people passionate about the Gospel. But I understand it’s easy to take personal offense when people are critiquing what you have written.
Tanya – as an adjunct lecturer at Asia Pacific Theological Seminary (as stated on your FB wall), can you give us a clear statement of what the gospel is, and do you accept it in its historical context/meaning? It appears from many of your quite public discussions that you are attracted to the social gospel (emergent) and would probably like the idea of being called the Australian version of Rachel Held Evans?
Your rather interesting thoughts on homosexuals and their worship at one of your worship events in the Netherlands was quite enlightening, and probably worth opening to discussion here on this site.
Cheers, Team Churchwatch.
Tanya Riches said:
First, I do am not disagreeing with public debate about public articles. I disagree ***specifically with your addendum to my article***, which makes serious allegations about my complicit-ness in crimes. That is serious, and, should you be wrong, very disturbing. I do believe that Christians have an obligation to each other that goes beyond the general journalism ethics.
Second, the secondary article written was against homophobia perpetuated by Christians. I would love you to tell me what I was to do in this instance. Perhaps you can outline what your churches would do in this instance.
Thirdly, I will post a blog to answer the genuine questions I see here. I think that a public response is the best way to deal with this.
No one is telling you what to do Tanya, your questions re homophobia are reasonable and worthy of discussion, especially and most importantly from a biblical perspective.
Those who comment here about the Royal Commission often do so with a very painful personal “agenda”, are their voices to be silenced? The Royal Commission papers are there for anyone to read and make a studied judgment as to their potential outcome.
By the way, this is a “public blog” with a large readership worldwide (if stats are taken into consideration), so your responding with a post of your own, linked here, is welcomed. Just don’t assume that these sites aren’t as valid or enlightening as your own.
Cheers, Team ChurchWatch.
Tanya – Why did you think it was important to share your mind on this experience with the two women in Amsterdam? What were you hoping to gain from this dialogue?
“[…] They sang loudly. As we began the first song, accompanied by their clapping, I realized that two women in the front row were holding hands. Throughout the concert, it became clear that they were a romantic couple.
It was difficult to explain the collision of all my thoughts in this moment. As we led people through the songs, I wondered whether the leaders were aware that this couple were there. I wondered about their stance on gay marriage. I thought about the fact that my church had appeared in the media that week for their comments on gay Christians. I thought about their official statement on homosexuality, and wondered what my pastors would encourage me to do, or to think in this moment.
But then, I realized that in this moment, it just didn’t matter. It’s not that I thought that we could revise the biblical text to fit contemporary cultural standards. It’s not that I was slipping into compromise. It’s that I honestly believe that to worship is a human right. Our invitation to come into congregational worship is not based on our worthiness, or none of us would be welcome. It is based in the precious blood of Jesus shed upon the cross. And this precedes any sin or identity or sexual preference or cultural norm.”
andy kanapoulos said:
Uh oh… Rachel Held Evans (*EMERGENT).
Her own words:
“I’m going AWOL on evangelicalism’s culture wars so I can get back to following Jesus among its many refugees: LGBT people, women called to ministry, artists, science-lovers, misfits, sinners, doubters, thinkers and “the least of these,” she writes.
The HRC enjoyed that quote:
Pandering to the masses seems to have gained Rachel Held Evans much popularity:
* interviewed on: The View / The Today Show / NPR / Oprah.com
TR” My sincerest heartfelt sadness goes out to all that have been affected by sexual abuse within churches, of whatever denomination. I believe that many people have been shocked and saddened by what was shared in these proceedings that continued even very recently with the Jewish synagogues.”
I’m impressed, that’s a pretty good “watch the birdie” response! Immediately it’s a problem of “churches of all denominations”, followed up with a swift “look at the Jewish synagogues”. Excellent effort to completely distance Hillsong from the subject matter, especially given that the conversation is very much about Hillsong.
Unfortunately it’s becoming pretty clear that the Hillsong congregation, like their leaders, would rather just bury their heads in the sand or stick their fingers in their ears and hope it all just disappears rather than confronting the issue and dealing with it like adults. That means recognising that Frank’s behaviour has caused real trauma for real people.
Instead of half-truths, misdirections and sweeping things beneath the proverbial rug Hillsong needs to stand up and do whatever it can for all of the victims. That includes providing trauma counselling, public acknowledgement of what has happened and compensation. Hillsong might claim they have acknowledged it, but in all seriousness whenever I’ve heard Brian discuss it he seems more concerned about himself (“worst day of my life”, “I was so stressed” etc etc) rather than the victims. He needs to stand up and say “This is not about me, this is about people who were innocent children until Frank shattered their lives”. And if Brian can’t do that I would suggest he stands down and hand over leadership to someone who can. And as I’ve mentioned before, I truly believe Hillsong need to pay these people significant amounts of compensation.
“Immediately it’s a problem of “churches of all denominations”, followed up with a swift “look at the Jewish synagogues”. Excellent effort to completely distance Hillsong from the subject matter, especially given that the conversation is very much about Hillsong. ”
We’ve christened it the “downplay fallacy” – a technique that Liberals and false teachers use on people to downplay the issue at hand by appealing to one’s standard or the worst of standards.
It’s a shame that Tanya has to use these tactics. After all she wrote, she still did not answer our question. All she offered was conjecture and typical Hillsong ad hominem.
Tanya Riches said:
1) “And as I’ve mentioned before” … I have no idea what you’re talking about??! Do I know you?
2) Again, a lack of recognition that, while Hillsong’s tribunal was carried out in October (I was in Europe, but I did read the transcripts) this is *still* currently in the news and more abuse is being uncovered. I did not say this to cover up my church’s involvement, which is already on record, I said it because I’m ALSO heartbroken for the Jewish victims. I have no idea why you would use this argument to incriminate my actions. Sadly, all you’re proving is that you don’t have any knowledge of me, and therefore foundational trust to be able to read my writing. This was not me making a statement to any other end other than that I am heartbroken for THE VICTIMS of sexual abuse uncovered in the Royal Inquiry – including the man abused by Frank Houston, and those within the ACC movement. All the stories are incredibly disturbing.
3) It’s really your choice – you can read my comments the way you have, or you can read them as my recognition that sexual abuse is real, damaging, and I would like to work to end it.
4) Whichever way you read it, I am not “the Hillsong congregation”, that’s ridiculous. I’m just the idiot who bothers to respond to your message, “Icarus”. And therefore I’m clearly not that connected, am I?! 😉
5) I would love to know how our interaction could end in anything other than me being berated with your pre-formed thoughts. Nevertheless….
6) As I understand it, the Royal Commission will hand down a recommendation. In the media, I have reserved any comment until that takes place. This is because I don’t think it’s appropriate, and that position is not going to change because you outline recommendations to Hillsong in a comment on my blog.
7) As I understand it however, any settlement may include compensation, and I have full confidence that Hillsong’s key leadership are readying for this, as well as other possible outcomes. As an amount was already given to the victim (I only know of one in Australia, and a number of others that have been redressed by New Zealand AOG), I would imagine it it is within the realm of possibility for the future. This has been the case in the sexual abuse settlement of the Anglican church in Canada. There are also a number of other cases to look at (but I do not say this to redirect attention away from Hillsong, but as evidence of a priori arrangements). Of course, neither you nor I are in the position with enough inside knowledge to speculate about this case’s outcome.
8) As yet, I can see no relationship between the victims of Frank Houston and any person on the website in question. But your comment and others on this page show that these types of interaction have *a* role in maintaining the emotion required for the public to push for their justice.
9) However, as commentators, I would be cautious. Not only about the effectiveness of this justice for the victim, but you really dont’ have any idea what my relationship with Hillsong is. I object to my identity being conflated with the institution, or even congregation.
10) Perhaps you are misreading this as deflection, but, as far as I know, you have absolutely no power to effect change for the victim, or within Hillsong’s leadership. So my only interest in typing this out is in making sure that you know I am listening to your comments.
1) My comment was for the general readers of this site, not to you directly. It was an observation of your post however.
2) Call it what you will, your response was a re-direction away from Hillsong. This is a forum about Hillsong. If you can’t read what you wrote and see the re-direction well…
3) This is a website about Hillsong. Not about anyone else, it is not a general “sexual abuse in churches” forum. Yes the subject matter is serious, and Hillsong is very much part of that. I agree, it shouldn’t exist in Christian churches.
4) From what I understand you are, or were, very much part of that church, but if you say you have no connection to it then my apologies, I thought you were. Your Wiki profile states that you are “a singer, songwriter, choir conductor, lecturer and pastor residing in Sydney, Australia. Originally publishing her works through Hillsong Church…“. You might want to change that it it’s incorrect.
You are obviously are not the entire congregation, but I had though you are closely linked to it. Again, my comments are for general public but your response seems typical of what I hear from Hillsong members, and I know quite a few.
5) I have no pre-formed thoughts. I just see what is written and call it like I see it. If you think I’m wrong with any of my points I’m happy to re-examine and correct them if they are.
6) Fair enough. However my point is that Hillsong leadership have known for a very long time what transpired and should have taken appropriate action years ago.
7) Again, this should have been sorted out many, many years ago and nothing has been done except for a $10,000 offer to one victim. I find it absolutely disgusting that Brian Houston did not leverage his considerable resources the moment he could to help these people. It’s like making a rape victim sit through a trial. Frank Houston admitted to it. Brian Houston acknowledged it. I’m sure there are people out there who know exactly who the victims are, and if Brian didn’t bother to find that out he should step aside immediately.
8) How do you know? Maybe that’s a question for Churchwatcher, how many people visit the site without commenting?
“But your comment and others on this page show that these types of interaction have *a* role in maintaining the emotion required for the public to push for their justice.“. Are you saying there shouldn’t be a push for justice for these people, because that’s what your comments sounds like. It seems incongruent with your earlier comment “I am heartbroken for THE VICTIMS of sexual abuse uncovered in the Royal Inquiry“. If you truly were “heartbroken” you would do whatever it takes to ensure justice is done. Do not forget that Hillsong has $millions it can pay for legal fees, it can drag this out a very long time. But, as someone with Hillsong connections (according to your Wiki) that might actually be a fight you can pick up. You have my support if you do.
9) All I can go with are your media profiles. Again, correct me if there’s something out there that is incorrect.
10) I know it has nothing to do with you, but you sound like an apologist for what went on. You express your outrage at victims of sexual abuse, yet you seem to think everything is fine at Hillsong. Things are not fine, there are victims of Frank Houston’s (you know, the founder of Hillsong) who have been ignore, shoved aside and neglected.
Look, we can go around in circles until the cows come home. I think you know where I stand, and I think I’ve got a pretty fair idea of where you stand. I have no illusion that I will change your opinions, and you won’t change mine. So all I can say is good luck to you and Vaya con Dios.
Tanya Riches said:
I replied to your message as your comment seemed related to my blog post that clarified “the gospel”. Unfortunately wordpress doesn’t distinguish this as anything other than a ‘reply’ to me in the comment bar. It still doesn’t.
The post you quoted was written to *my* readers, many who attend Hillsong. It was not intentionally written to victims (or outsiders) and thus was not a “a re-direction away from Hillsong” as you describe it. Clearly the dynamics are not encapsulated in this quote. However I have edited it. To victims, I would say that I am personally sorry for their pain.
There are leaders within Hillsong advocating for the victims, through the program SAFE but also other avenues. I *was* saying that justice should be served. Stereotyping members and their responses doesn’t help anyone. I personally used to be highly involved but have been living in LA. I don’t have a media profile.
Peace. And, as you said… Vaya con Dios.
When I was at Hillsong tongues were rarely used during church services but was very common in youth meetings and leaders meetings. It wasn’t uncommon for someone to be babbling up on the stage in the microphone.
Indeed tanya. A preponderance of evidence that later this year indicates that Brian Houston senior pastor of Hillsong, again Brian Houston will be charged along with the executive of the ACC for concealing crimes of child rape, pedophelia and the pay off of $10,000 to child rape victim AHA by pastor Frank Houston. RE Royal commission transcripts. Take your blinkers off and watch this space.
“Take your blinkers off and watch this space.”
I notice Tanya is watching this space, her latest response is up on her blog.
Tanya hasn’t referred back to this site. If she had, readers may have seen her response was overly dramatic, considering the article here isn’t controversial and most of our readers asked polite questions.
” I would love you to tell me what I was to do in this instance. Perhaps you can outline what your churches would do in this instance.”
You were leading worship right? At that point you were right to continue doing just what you were doing. There is a time and a place for everything. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
Did you approach the church leader/s and tell what you saw?
Did you suggest *strongly* that they need to preach about marriage and God’s view on sexual relationships outside of marriage including gay/bisexual relationships (as there is an immediate need to do so)?
Did you pray:
If they are unsaved women they would repent of their sins * and come to a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ?
If they were Christian women, that they would also repent of their sins* OR if unrepentant, church members would confront them with their need to repent (and not tolerate their continuing in sin)
* demonstrated by genuine METANOIA e.g. breaking up with each other, personal prayer +bible study, seeking counselling, seeking support from other Christians – it is a spiritual battle after all. Human will-power alone will not break the power of sin. The Holy Spirit’s power is essential. http://www.metanoiaministries.org/Intro.html
Well, who owns the Church?
Jesus Christ does…He is the Owner because He built it [Matthew 16:18].
The church is His body. Do we have the right to practice things that are NOT in Scripture? No.
What right do men have making rules for the church or authorizing practices that are not included in what God has authorized? None.
God’s Wisdom is infinite compared to man. If human ‘wisdom’ accepts something, it certainly doesn’t prove whether God accepts it.
It should be based on a Perfect God’s Authority [Matthew 21:25] or it must be an invention of man.
Worship of God must be guided by His Truth, and His Word is truth [John 17:17].
The purpose of Worship is to glorify HIM..NOT us, or our ‘feelings’, or our political/sexual orientations..We are there to honour and respect Him and His Will. Anything else, is man-made invention.
To allow something that God has not said, is to fail in following His Authority.
Romans 10:17 – “Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. Faith does not come by ‘feelings’ or by praying for emotional experiences.
Colossians 3:16 – We sing to “teach and admonish one another” as well as to express praise to God.
The standard God sets in the Bible..is Absolute.
The watering down of the Apostles writings as ‘mere men’ is Not Biblically authorised.
they are the True Ambassadors of Christ. Their teachings are from God, through the Holy Spirit. [John 14:26; 16:13 ].
“when my personal experience is being sorted through with a fine tooth comb”
Tanya I don’t think anyone here is trying to be mean. Keep in mind….
1. Once you decide to make yourself into a public figure, you must be prepared for this.
2. The level of scrutinization here is nothing. As painful as a pop quiz may seem, thinking these issues through in detail now, is something we each benefit from:
— 2 corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
— 1 corinthians 3:12-13 “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”
Tanya , So be it? Frank and brian are evil people. Why are you in denial about the cover up? The RC transcripts are there online if you care to have a read. Your friends neice obviously would have seen Brian using the truth loosly on the stand just like a sunday service.You really need to open your eyes clearly and look at the glaring obvious truth tanya.What do you think about Muslims and Christians praying to the same god? Was that in your theological class? That monster pastor Frank Houston came to stay with the Christian family with his son brian. To repay this Christian family for putting a roof over their heads,feeding them, free oestpathic treatments aswell pastor Frank Houston thought to repay their kindness by anally raping this families 7 year old son. Oh and by the way brian was in the next room as was Graham. But brian finds it in his heart to not give a toss about this victim. Free board, free lodging, free medical treatment and for that act of kindness to the Houston clan you rape and destroy their 7 year old son. Tanya is this in the spirit of jesus? Is this what the Bible talks about? Giving a cup of water in my name? This all happened in God’s presence and was written down. Frank Houston is paying now. Brian is next and his evil wordly executive. Hillsong turned over 68 million dollars, where is gods justice in this?
Hillsong was the first Christian assembly I was part of. I was 15 when I started going there and I left at the age of 18.
The reason why I left was because I sat through more than THIRTY sermons where the Gospel of Jesus was not presented according to the Scriptures.
Jesus dying on the cross on behalf of us sinners = not mentioned once.
Our sins separating us from God = not mentioned once.
Our need to change our mind (repent) from unbelief to believing on the Son Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins = not mentioned once.
The only reason I grew enough spiritually in order to leave that wretched place…
I read my teenage NIV study bible.
Tanya, John 20:31 says:
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
The entire book of John was written with the hope that sinners would change their mind about Jesus Christ and exercise faith in Him as their Savior from sin.
Jesus IS the Lord.
This is not the message of Hillsong.
I challenge you to seriously look out for such a Gospel message in your Sunday religious meetings there.
You don’t find it.
You need to find an assembly where they preach the Gospel.
Unfortunately, Hillsong is full of wolves dressed like sheep.
Berean fan said:
You were 15 years old when you entered Hillsong ch and left at 18! It is great to hear that you were able to assess if gospel was preached or not. I found this to be the case on my recent visits over the past few years… It is a big issue. I always joked/thought with friends to start a church opposite Hillsong. Invite those who want to hear the gospel. Those who want to just party stay where you are!
Berean fan said:
I have given someone a good idea to start a church opposite Hillsong? If you do don’t forget to invite me to the opening!:) or need some help…Contact me. It’s not a crazy after all! There are quiet few people leaving by the back door who are starving to hear the gospel!
Berean fan, For many years I’ve tried to find genuine fellowship with Christians who believe the simplicity of the Gospel.
The crunch at Hillsong came when I realised that many of my friends there were not believers in Jesus at all. The were there for the ‘party’ and good time.
As a new believer, the enormity of my salvation from sin was so huge that I could not fathom how people could be at Hillsong happily without being convicted about their sinfulness and need to salvation.
Ask any professing Christian how a person comes to salvation and you will normally hear:
“invite Jesus into your heart”
“turn from your sins”
“commit to following the Lord”.
None are the requirements for salvation.
Jesus said “Believe on me”.
Faith is all that is required.
But one does not need faith in a Savior unless one knows they are a big SINNER.
Hillsong doesn’t call sinful men out on their sin, because that is offensive and makes people feel bad.
I’ve discovered that there are itching ears all over Christendom. Most churches teach a distorted gospel of works. Those who teach salvation by grace will often confuse this message by requiring an immeasurable amount of good works (fruit) in order to be satisfied that one is truly saved.
FAITH is all that God requires for salvation. Men require works. I thank God that I am not saved by my works as I fail miserably each day.
But Christ is my righteousness. 🙂
Since walking away from institutional Christianity, I meet with THE Church (the church is not an institution/building but the PEOPLE of God, assembled) in my home, as the Lord allows. It is genuine and real fellowship. If you ask God to bring people into your life who love Him and want to walk in His truth, trust Him to answer your prayer. He can do anything.
If anyone truly prays and asks God for discernment regarding the truth about the Gospel and the errors permeating the ‘Churches’ today… I trust He is certainly able to open your eyes to the truth.
The only thing preventing this would be itching ears.
and heaping up teachers.
Tanya, I decided to put the entry here:
You posted this “Apologetics is a genre of preaching within Hillsong I guess, usually called ‘evangelistic’.”
Apologetics is quite a different field to evangelism. Christian Apologetics is *defending* the faith. Please take the time to examine Christian Theology in greater detail.
Websites specialising in Christian Apologetics address differing perspectives such as atheism, humanism, other religions’ misrepresentations of Christianity, cults and so on. Decent Apologetics websites will proclaim the Gospel as part of their defence of the Christian faith.
These appear to be non-denominational websites:
Apologeticsindex dot org – cults.
Be thinking dot org especially good for differing philosophies of the world and beginners’ Christian Theology 101.
Apologetics 315 dot com – advanced apologetics of all persuasions.
Evangelism is proclaiming the Gospel itself as revealed in the bible. Arminians and Calvinists have reached different conclusions theologically but agree on the Gospel message overall.
Decent evangelists of both camps preach the whole Gospel, including the parts that offend the unsaved world. e.g. Jesus is the only way to salvation, they are condemned sinners who need to repent of their sins, they are condemned to Hell if they do not believe (not just intellectually assent, TRUST) in Christ.
The wonderful John 3:16 verse you quoted is the introduction to the Gospel. Over the time I have read this blog many pro-Hillsong contributors have been asked to give a link to Houston/other Hillsong preachers’ message where they preach the whole Gospel message as revealed in the BIBLE. e.g. via walking the (Book of) Romans Road. http://www.gotquestions.org/Romans-road-salvation.html
Not one has responded to that request. That is extremely concerning. “Jesus died for you, if you believe in Him you’ll have a better life”, “Love God and love your neighbour and you’ll be blessed and/or prosper” is not the actual Gospel message. It is all Hillsong preaches though.
If someone rejected the Christian message when they were told to repent (metanoia) of their sins (e.g. stop sinful lifestyle) in addition to Hillsong’s “believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection for you personally” then they were never a genuine Christian convert in the first place.
The word Repent means a change of mind. The object depends upon the context.
Repent does NOT mean ‘stop sinful lifestyle’, nor does it mean to turn from your sins.
In the context of salvation, repent simply means to change your mind about your need for a Savior. Change your mind about Jesus. He IS the Lord. No one makes Him the Lord.
The Lordship Salvation message of “make Jesus the Lord of your life and turn from your sins in order to be saved”, is heresy and is not the Gospel first delivered.
You wrote this:
“Arminians and Calvinists have reached different conclusions theologically but agree on the Gospel message overall.”
This is simply not true.
Both might profess that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone, apart from works.
They then out of the other side of the mouth will say that if you do not have good works (how many are enough?) then you were never saved to begin with.
Neither group get the Gospel message correct, as both add works are a requirement to assist in final salvation.
The Gospel is the good news that God so love the world that he sent His only begotten son (Jesus Christ) into the world, that whosoever believes in Him (not in their works or holiness or any turning from sin) shall have everlasting life. He died on the Cross at Calvary on behalf of sinful men. Sinners need to repent (change their mind) about their sinful state (but not ‘stop sinning’ as this is impossible) and BELIEVE on the Son ALONE for forgiveness.
Romans 6 covers those Christians who would use grace as a license to sin.
If stopping your sinful lifestyle was a requirement for salvation, then Romans 6 would not need to be written.
Please rethink your false Gospel.
I am NOT saying.
* Faith + repentance = salvation
* Faith + no sin (ever again) = salvation.
* Faith + Lordship = salvation
Faith in Christ Alone [SALVATION} -> leads to repentance -> leads eventual good works. (See Ephesians 2:1-10)
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
P.S. I type thinking more of the “almost Christian” as I was one of those for many years. I should make that clearer.
A shallow faith, focused on feeling God’s presence in worship MINUS repentance of sins/ living to please God first. A cheap-gracer. A pseudo-Christian.
Thinker, the GRACE of God is cheap for us. It costs us ABSOLUTELY nothing.
It costs GOD it only begotten Son.
Cheap Grace is a derogatory term which suggests that Christians have to DO SOMETHING (ie: WORK) in order to gain salvation.
Salvation is a free gift of God, not of works. We do not have to DO anything for it.
The people who refer to their past as “almost Christians”, are those who usually hear Lordship Salvation teaching which scares the life out of them thinking that because they’re not DOING things for God, their salvation is not genuine.
Truth is, that is not the Gospel.
Beholdason – Really appreciate your comments and contribution to this site but it’s time to stay on topic, and I’m now applying this to the various moderators. Unless about the topic at hand, comments will be moderated. I’m sure we can all agree that both Thinker and yourself have very valid concerns about Hillsong and other church movements and their obvious trajectories.
Thinker, I don’t think you understand what the meaning of the word Repent in Scripture is.
Please can you tell me what you think Metanoia means?
You do not have to have faith, and then repent.
You repent (change your mind) and exercise faith at the same time. In the context of salvation, you do not need to tell someone to REPENT if you tell them that they need to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. The Gospel of John does not include the word Repent once.
Yet, it was written “…that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” – John 20:31
With regards to the verses you listed, please allow me to address each.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”. – Ephesians 2:10
Please note the word SHOULD. It does not say WILL. This is an important distinction.
Galatians chapter 5 is clear that if we do not “walk in the Spirit”, we will not exhibit fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of NOT walking in the Spirit is listed in this chapter verse 19 onwards.
It is entirely possible for Christians to not walk in the Spirit and exhibit those sins listed in verse 19 onwards. Otherwise, Paul would not need to exhort them to “walk in the Spirit”.
What you are saying is Lordship Salvation.
Works DO NOT validate our profession, nor should we look at our works for assurance.
All Christians sin every single day. To say that we need to stop sinning or try really hard to be better people is to imply that Christ’s finished work is not enough to save us.
2 Corinthians 13:5 in context is not Paul asking the Corinthians to examine themselves to see if they are truly saved.
The context is Paul asking them to examine themselves in order to validate his (Paul’s) Apostleship.They were seeking a proof that Christ was speaking through him (verse 3). Paul told them to “examine yourselves” in order to determine whether or not Paul was the real deal. Paul was saying that he IS the real deal, so to speak because Christ was in them.
As I wrote above, it is not Paul asking them to examine themselves to see whether or not their behaviour validates their faith. This is simply not the context at all.
With regards to the gotquestions website. I would steer well clear as I found have many pages on there which teach Lordship Salvation, which is heresy.
“It is crucially important that we understand repentance is not a work we do to earn salvation. No one can repent and come to God unless God pulls that person to Himself (John 6:44). Acts 5:31 and 11:18 indicate that repentance is something God gives – it is only possible because of His grace. No one can repent unless God grants repentance. All of salvation, including repentance and faith, is a result of God drawing us, opening our eyes, and changing our hearts. God’s longsuffering leads us to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), as does His kindness (Romans 2:4).”
Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/repentance.html#ixzz3RPHFYYBp
It’s so easy to be sidetracked off topic isn’t it? And it’s important to remember those of us who comment here, love the Truth found only in Christ, hate deception (as so often seen in certain church movements). We are Charismatic, Pentecostal, Reformed, Calvinist & Arminian, some in churches, some not. Remember it’s still our desire for Truth that’s the glue that holds us together, despite some theological differences.
“Repentance is properly understood to mean a change of mind–a change of the intention from wanting to sin to not wanting to sin–that results in a change in action. It involves the decision to make a change of behavior and/or attitude about something. Biblically, repentance means to turn from sin with a heartfelt desire to change and not do it again. Of course, desiring to never sin again and actually not sinning again aren’t always the same thing. We Christians often fail in our war with our sin (Rom. 7:19). We may have remorse over it and honestly desire to not commit sin again; but sometimes because of our fallen nature and our profound weakness, we often fail to completely carry out our repentance. Nevertheless, by the grace of God we are able to turn to him yet again and receive the cleansing that is guaranteed through Christ.
This does not mean that it is okay to go out and seek a sin and then try to repent of it later. There is a difference between (1) an honest struggle (which is a sign of regeneration) and (2) a casual attitude about committing sin so that a person can repent later (a sign of not being regenerate).
In the Old Testament there are two main words that are rendered as “repent,” “repentant,” and “repentance.”
1.Nacham, נָחַם. It means to turn, to be sorry for, regret, etc. The KJV translates it as “comfort” 57 times, “repent” 41 times, “comforter” nine times, and “ease” once. 1 to be sorry, console oneself, repent, regret, comfort, be comforted.1
2.Sub, שׁוּב, The KJV translates as it as “return” 391 times, “ . . . again” 248 times, “turn” 123 times, “ . . . back” 65 times, “ . . . away” 56 times, “restore” 39 times, “bring” 34 times, “render” 19 times, “answer” 18 times, “recompense” eight times, “recover” six times, “deliver” five times, “put” five times, “withdraw” five times, “requite” four times, and translated miscellaneously 40 times. 1 to return, turn back 2
As you can see, there are a variety of ways to translate the words; but the basic meaning is to turn–to have an attitude of change so as to not do wrong again.
In the New Testament there is one main Greek word that is translated into the English “repentance”: metanoeo, μετανοέω and from that word we also get “repentant” and “repentance.” The word is derived from the basic roots meta to change place or condition, and noeo to exercise the mind, think, comprehend.”3
Thankfully Churchwatcher did my job for me since my iTablet’s being a pain. 🙂
I use arrows as shorthand for will/probably/should. Faith *should* lead to change of mind (metanoia). Faith in Christ should eventually lead to good works, not guaranteed, sometimes delayed, sometimes backsliding, sometimes not at all (e.g. mental/emotional difficulties for whatever reason).
I bet you and I would agree on feeling concern upon meeting a self-proclaimed Christian (with no mental/emotional issues) who said they had been one for over 20 years, but showed little outward difference/s between them and non-believers? e.g. little bible knowledge, sinful relationships, and rejecting parts of Christianity that they didn’t like e.g. Hell?
Since I returned to Christ/ was genuinely converted in 2007, since then in my middle-age group the only Christian women I have known who spoke Christianese fluently but showed above characteristics were Assembly of God attenders who loved Hillsong (I was at that church for 1 year before we moved cities). That planted the seed of doubt about Charismatic churches. I don’t know about other countries but Hillsong’s music seemed to dominate that one Melbourne AOG church’s worship.
I appreciate your sentiments. I agree in some respects.
“I bet you and I would agree on feeling concern upon meeting a self-proclaimed Christian (with no mental/emotional issues) who said they had been one for over 20 years, but showed little outward difference/s between them and non-believers? e.g. little bible knowledge, sinful relationships, and rejecting parts of Christianity that they didn’t like e.g. Hell?”
My concern would only begin after asking them how a person can come to salvation.
If their answer was not “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” and they understood that for one to require a Saviour they are a sinner… sure, I’d be concerned.
If they told me I would need to “turn from my sins” and “make Jesus Lord of my life” in order to be saved, then yes I would be very CONCERNED.
But you seem to indicate that you might regularly “fruit inspect” other believers.
Can you show me a verse in Scripture where God delegates that responsibility to Christians?
I say this gently. Don’t take offense. It’s not our job to fruit inspect for evidences of salvation. It’s our job to preach Christ as the only way to God.
As I’ve mentioned before, our behaviour does not give us any indication about whether or not we are saved. Go read Matthew 7. You see a fine example of Lordship Salvationists there who reject Christ’s salvation through faith, yet they know Him as “Lord, Lord” and profess their “many wonderful works”. They even preach in His name.
I’m sure they LOOKED like really devoted, Church going Christians… but Jesus rejects them.
Some of the most SINCERE believers I know are also some the most broken. They have sinful habits and probably don’t LOOK like good, suit and tie wearing church going religious people. (Kinda like the Pharisees no?)
Multiple marriages, struggles with anorexia, alcoholism, smokers and harlots.
Our behaviour does not indicate our salvation. It does indicate our state of discipleship. Many Christians don’t wish to obey Scripture and walk in the Spirit.
Many Christians wish to walk in the flesh by doing many wonderful works in the guise of ‘serving God’.
and many Christians… Calvinists especially, think they God automatically makes you holier by the minute, yet they often display the worst cases of arrogance, ignorance of plain Scriptures regarding salvation and they don’t preach the Gospel to unbelievers.
Because you wants to tell a person:
“Look, I don’t know whether or not God has elected you to be one of us. You COULD become a believer if you exercise faith in Christ, but God has to first GIVE that faith to you in order for you to believe”.
Last post on topic Churchwatcher 🙂
Beholdason, of course no-one but God knows absolutely sure whether a Christian is saved or not. Many Atheists would at first glance certainly “out-Christian” many struggling Christians I have known, including myself. Some fake Christians might even fool their own Christian spouse. However, with enough close observation there are warning signs, just like there are warning signs for abusers.
Even if you disagree 1 John remains the perfect book for identifying false professors of faith. If a person is honest enough they’ll be able to see where *they* are weak or totally lacking as well (I know I still am convicted when I read it!).
I am not concerned about people’s “fruits” for the reason you assume. My concern about whether a person is saved or not is partially self-protection (history of abuse including from fake Christians), partially genuine concern that these people who falsely believe they are Christians don’t go through what I have in my life as a *result* of my own sin (especially when I was a self-proclaimed Christian in my young adulthood). “The wages of sin is death..”. (Romans 6:23a).
Unrepented/ hidden sin has real consequences. Eventually God stops protecting a person from themselves and lets them have their own way (Romans 1:28). Even when a person becomes born-again or when a Christian genuinely repents there can be permanent consequences.
Genuine believers – as a result of faith in Jesus Christ- will want to be taught how to avoid AND overcome personal sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. If Hillsong is a *genuine* church why won’t Hillsong preach on overcoming sin?!
Thinker, I read the document you linked to titled, “What are some of the signs of genuine faith”.
I was truly disturbed by what I read.
Firstly, 1 John is a letter written to Christians. Chapter 2:12 and 13 says:
I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.
I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
This letter was written to saved believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Their sins were forgiven and John’s purpose of writing was not to get them to question their faith’s validity.
Chapter 2:21 says: “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.”
These Christians KNOW the truth. John states this quite clearly.
“These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you”. -1 John 2:26
2:27 and 28 says:
“But the anointing which ye have received of him abides in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming”.
The anointing is the Holy Spirit, which is given to believers at the point of salvation. God SEALS believers with the Holy Spirit. He does not ‘unseal’ believers when they commit a sin AFTER they come to faith in Christ.
Abiding in Christ has absolutely nothing to do with doing good works or trying to maintain them for your life in order to validate your profession.
Abiding means remaining. Remaining in Christ’s righteousness through faith and not being seduced (v26) by those who would overthrow your faith and have you look to good works.
People who use 1 John as a means of testing the validity of faith truly do not understand the Gospel.
Do not be deceived or bewitched from the many false popular Bible ‘teachers’ doing the rounds in Evangelicalism today.
Every single Christian sins daily.
The new man (new creature) in us DOES NOT SIN. The old man sins every single day. Christians have TWO natures. Spirit and Flesh go war to war constantly. Paul confirms this.
1 John was not written to encourage the saints to check the progress of their new Christian walk in order to see how spiritual they are going to get assurance that their faith is really, truly, genuinely good enough to get them to heaven.
The only thing we need to look at for assurance that we are truly saved is that we are ONLY TRUSTING in the Lord Jesus Christ as our righteousness.
The minute that we take our eyes of the saving Cross of Christ, is the minute we have been SEDUCED.
The very thing John warns in Chapter 2.
Do not be seduced by Lordship Salvation.
Please take a minute to watch this:
Worth reading. But now let’s stay on topic.
Cheers, Team ChurchWatch.
Hi Churchwatcher, I read it and found this quote unbiblical:
“The position of CARM is that regeneration precedes faith”.
The bible says nowhere that regeneration precedes faith.
God does not regenerate men in order for them to believe.
Sounds like something right out of Calvin’s Institutes.
None of the Scriptures Matt Slick listed under this claim support his statement.
This should concern you, for you are a watchdog for heresy.
We don’t believe Calvinism to be heresy, and it’s a non-salvific issue.
Time to get back to the topic at hand.
Repentance is not a work, it is simply a change of mind. God doesn’t repent for us, we are called to repent.
God draws all men through many means, but men choose to reject Him because they love darkness more than light.
As repent simply means a change of mind it is the unbeliever who needs to change his mind (repent) about who the Lord Jesus Christ is.
Our faith is not a gift from God. Our salvation is a gift on the basis of us changing our mind and believing on the Son.
I am sorry if this went off topic, but I’m happy to be corrected if there’s anything I have written which is incorrect in light of the Scriptures I’ve sought to explain.
With respect Churchwatcher, instead of going to gotquestions or CARM to formulate your doctrinal positions.
I suggest you start with the bible and refer to each verse featuring the word REPENT and REPENTANCE. Note the context of each passage and you will see very quickly that the object of repentance is rarely, if at all… SIN.
The object of repentance is unbelief.
Off topic, sorry… but it troubles me that you link the word Repent to sin, when it simply means a change of mind.
You can repent about your favourite colour.
It has nothing to do with sin, unless the context suggests it does.
Berean fan said:
Imagine having a discussion like this with Hillsong? You’d think it’s ‘revival’!
The last conversation I had with a Hillsong representative it went like this:
Me: Why does Hillsong teach XY and Z when the bible teaches something else?
Hillsonger: God doesn’t want us to be theologians.
To remain ‘on topic’ for Churchwatcher. 🙂
It’s worth noting that it’s slightly ironic that Tanya Riches (as nice as she seems to be) has spent many years studying the Bible at a Bible College where they apparently teach the Bible.
Yet she has absolutely no idea what the word Apologetics means.
Kinda proves the point we are all trying to make here, doesn’t it?
I don’t say this as a criticism Tanya.
I’ve seen you at Hillsong when I was there as you were a worship singer. You always seemed joyful, friendly and nice.
It’s incredibly sad and telling that you fail the see the deception that goes on at Hillsong, and that you do not understand that Apologetics refers to the defense of the Christian faith.
Might I suggest that the very reason why you do not understand what Apologetics is, is because Hillsong does not have any interest in rightfully dividing the Word of truth.
Which essentially, is what Apologetics seeks to do.
Discernment is the one gift that surprisingly no one at Hillsong seems to have.
I suggest this is because everyone with the gift has left the building.
@ Beholdason – Tanya’s comment on her blog finishes with this….
“oh, by the way, my area of expertise is in lived religion, and by that it is usually means *what is actually happening in churches*. So I can easily find you an example, but I’m not focusing on biblical theology, but anthropology of Christianity. So I can point you to examples to examine, but I’m not necessarily very skilled in apologetics myself. 😊 ”
Lived religion? Having read/listened to Nadia Bolz-Webber and Rachel Held Evans, this reads as emergent though I’m sure Tanya would disagree. At least she honestly admits she’s not skilled in apologetics, which explains why she is happy at Hillsong?
what happend to what i posted has it been deleted.
i would love to know why my post got deleted, there was nothing affensive about it just pure truth.
Mrhatch & NFG: It wasn’t offensive – Mrhatch’s comment would have taken us off-topic (again) and the moderators have asked for comments to stay on topic. They made that request several times to Thinker & Beholdason who (eventually 🙂 ) went on to honour that request.
Cheers, Team ChurchWatch.
1 — i would really like to know what mrhatch said since i missed it.
2 — i too find nadia bloz webber & rachel held evans very very troubling, and on multiple levels.
3 — this tanya bolz has said some troubling things also. some of which have been pointed out above, some have not been mentioned yet.
4 — beholdason makes some great points. i have extremely enjoyed reading your posts. i may have a little more to all to what youre saying.
correction. i meant to say..
this “TANYA RICHES” has said some troubling things also. some of which have been pointed out above, some have not been mentioned yet.
beholdason, btw i too am a fan of proclaimhisword. i have been watching mark’s vids for awhile. somehow when i read your posts, i wondered if you had seen that particular video, because your posts brought it to my mind. i was thinking of posting it here.
maybe i will post a couple other vids by other ppl who also iterate this very very well.
I’d be interested to hear ‘your story’. We all have one.
I’ll open up my blog shortly and we can discuss things there if you’re interested.
Check it out in a few days.
Beholdason – email your link privately and we will pass it on to NFG. This site is not a launching platform to other sites that may (or may not be) misleading to our regular commenters.
Cheers, Team ChurchWatch.
i didnt agree that repentance has nothing to do with sin, as these 2 verses back up what i say.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
i hope this doesnt get deleted.
as for Tanya Riches
she has all the degrees to her name in Apologetics, yet she is still part of Hillsong.
Tanya Levins is let all the stuff that happened to her at Hillsong to lose her faith.
to become a full blown atheist.
what a contrast betweeen the 2 women.
We don’t delete comments. We put them in moderation. We cannot see your comments in moderation.
Since your comments are not in moderation, we wonder if they may have been lost in submission. This can happen sometimes on WordPress as it has happened to us.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but Tanya Riches seems to have censored her blog by deleting comments. I was trying to find her response to mine but couldn’t. What’s the point of open discussion if that’s what you’re going to do? “Hey I’ve got this great blog, it’s for everyone. Except those who I disagree with!”. I respect people who stick to their guns and stand their ground, no matter what. People who write blogs and delete comments which are too hard to process really shouldn’t be bloggers… Tanya find something else to do, because if you don’t have the moral strength to stand behind what you say you probably shouldn’t be saying it.
Agreed Icarus (unless comments are off topic and chasing bunny trails as so often happens here).
Tanya’s most revealing comment was that her focus is ‘not on biblical theology but the anthropology of Christianity’ – as said before, this explains why she can happily attend Hillsong?
Saint Lawrence said:
Tanya Riches also made this strange remark…
“It also helps to know some pre-eminent Reformed theologians. None of them have ever asked me to present them “the gospel” on cue, with particular references to scriptures. Heavens only knows why their church members are doing this online.”
How can Tanya Riches expect to evangelize, if she finds it offensive to be asked to present “the Gospel on cue”, when one may be called upon to present the Gospel on cue, anytime, anywhere?
That request had nothing to do with “their church members online.”
“Heavens only knows?” Actually, no, Heavens is not the only One who knows.
1 Peter 3:15 also knows, and it tells us to be able to present this. Therefore I did not find it to be such a strange question from “their church members online”…
Why would (or should) theologians feel the need to ask other people who are doing advanced Christian theological degrees if they personally know and can explain the Gospel yet?
I agree Icarus and others. I did visit tanya riche’s blogsite, for the first and last time.
I read her comment that this site “is basically a hate-site” and stopped reading.
For someone who does supposedly does not like to ‘de-humanize’ people, i feel tanya doesn’t mind using a broad brush to paint everyone who disagrees with hillsong, or her, as a ‘hater’.
There seems to be a growing trend at hillsong to run to the default labels of “hater” , “pharisee”, “slanderer” or “angry” to anyone who may question the things they have done, believe in, and continue to do.
Quite sad really. Predictable and disappointing.
As to what hillsong is, it is unusually backward-looking at the moment. We have brian re-hashing old sermons and bobby re-hashing the old stories [prophecies..cough] of colourhood.
Static, fatalistic, fence-sitting…all attributes of a mistrustful environment impregnated with a closed minded subculture.
“This hit an all time low when they declared the “Shine” deportment program to be under-cover proselytism in violation of the tenets of feminism. Whatever the heck feminism now means. Seriously though, I’d love the memo, because I must have missed it in my six years of high school. Clearly nail polish application and teaching which fork to use is a no-no.”
Tanya must be referring to this newspaper report.
“EVERY Tuesday afternoon during the first term at Matraville Sports High School, a group of young women take part in classes intended to boost their self-esteem. Some have personal problems, others have behavioural issues, while a few simply go because their friends do.
For the next two hours they learn a range of skills including how to put on make-up, do their hair and nails, and walk with books balanced on their heads.
“reinforcing gender stereotypes. and that some parents have not been properly informed.
Shine was originally developed by the CityCare arm of Hillsong as an explicitly religious program. The church says it is now “community-based, not religious-based” but, as recently as 2005, promotional material referred to young women’s “created uniqueness”.
“Through skin care, natural make-up, hair care, nail care girls discover their value and created uniqueness,” the material says.
The term has been omitted from more recent material but the beauty classes remain, as do etiquette and deportment lessons.
The program has set alarm bells ringing for psychologists such as Dianna Kenny, an adolescent development expert at the University of Sydney. “They are essentially saying you are not appropriate as you are and we’re going to show you how to be appropriate,” Professor Kenny said.
“We don’t have control of our physical characteristics. To emphasise that takes away from the autonomy of people as individual human beings. That runs completely contrary to what we know about adolescent development.
“We do want our young people to feel good about themselves, but what [they] need is help from professional counsellors.”
Most of the facilitators who deliver Shine in Sydney classrooms have NO university counselling qualifications, although Hillsong says they must have some qualifications or experience.”
shine wasent that good, but mercy ministries remember them. werent much better either.
Hillsong dropped them, but they are still part of other Hillsong linked churches.
hookers for jesus is the worst thing i have ever seen in my life check them out.
are any of these churches programs helping any of the women who are really in need.
A more balanced view of women’s roles at Hillsong. http://thebigsmoke.com.au/2014/03/14/intelligence-feminist-hillsong/
Yes, now let’s all go over to Tanya Riches article for a “more balanced view”. The problem with that, Newtaste, is she acknowledges her area of expertise is in “lived religion” (full-blown liberal/emergent language regardless of her disclaimers). And her focus isn’t on biblical theology (unlike Erin Benziger who is studying for her Master’s in Biblical Studies). Riches says her focus is Christian anthropology (and that will get you a keynote speaker role at a seeker-friendly/ emergent conference any day).
andy kanapoulos said:
Tanya Riches “acknowledges her area of expertise is in “lived religion” (full-blown liberal/emergent language regardless of her disclaimers)”…
What is immediately noticeable in Tanya Riches’ language, is that for someone who claims to have no *EMERGENT tendencies / influence, she certainly uses a plethora of *EMERGENT buzzwords…
” Marcelo Alvarez ™ @MarceloAlvarez
@ACurrentAffair9 OMG is that Tanya women still going on about Hillsong?? I feel so sorry for her. Tell her Jesus loves her still. #ACA9
Yes, it is a shame that she is unable to move on. Whatever hurt and pain and guilt and hate she had she still has. She needs Jesus. Now.
And Bill Crews needs to contemplate this. He appeared on ACA and bashed Hillsong. Some time later Hillsong noted that they had assisted him with one of his children’s programs. And tomorrow night on ACA Bill Crews will bash Hillsong again. No doubt Hillsong will assist him again, as they assist and work with many other community organisations. And Hillsong does community work themselves. A point Crews has failed to mention before. He is a decent man. Hopefully he can show some of that decency publicly towards Hillsong, sometime.
Wow, that’s awesome Newtaste! Hillsong is amazing with their charitable works. By the way so is well-known atheist George Soros, to date he’s given 7 billion dollars:
Matthew 6:1-4 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Matthew 23:3,5 – “therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them…But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.”
Do we take notice of Hillsong’s “good works” because of their good characters as they extend their hand of love and reconciliation towards Tanya? Or we meant to see how amazingly awesome they are. Are we seeing humility or pride? Even Bill Crews sees through all that.
Tanya Levin. ” …. making money out of using the name of Jesus for thirty years”. It seems that this story was timed to coincide with the re-release of Levin’s book. Levin is certainly not adverse to using the name of Jesus to make money.
Levin’s hilarious statement that Hillsong wants to hide the tithing talks, yet the full Hillsong services that are streamed live and are in full on YouTube all include the tithing talks. Though it is odd that Lentz wouldn’t have wanted his filmed.
If Bill Crews doesn’t ask the parishioners at the Ashfield Parish Mission to give tithes and offerings, why does his church have an “offering roster”? http://ashfieldparishmission.com.au/rosters/door-and-offering/ It would appear that he does ask them, the same as happens at every church.
Interesting how the Hillsong movie is being released just in time to capture the Hillsong Conferemce market.
As for the offering roster at the Uniting Church – it’s clearly for parishioners who can afford to give and like our church, it’s not a 10% tithe, just a “cheerful” biblical giving. And we have a roster too, even to serve in the kitchen.
“Hopefully he can show some of that decency publicly towards Hillsong, sometime.”
@ Newtatse, Hopefully your caped crusader idol and amazing spiritual mentor Brian Houston can show some of that decency publicly towards the scandal victims, sometime.