bobbie houston, Brian Houston, cult, fascism, For This I Was Born, Hillsong, Hillsong cult, houston, infallible, spiritual fascism, Visionary leadership
As some have pointed out – Vision Sunday is on this week. This is a time in Hillsong where their fuhrer and visionary leader Brian Houston gets a God-given “Vision” for his church and preaches a “vision-casting” message that demands loyalty and unity above all else throughout his entire Hillsong movement and those affiliated with Hillsong.
The idea is this: to question the vision and the message is to question God Himself. Why? Because Brian Houston received this “Vision” and “Message” from God. It is claiming a prophetic status – that is, Brian Houston is presented to his entire movement as an infallible prophet. (Bobbie Houston claims this same status.) So what does it mean when God gives Brian Houston a God-given vision? What does it mean when God gives Bobbie Houston a God whisper? What does this mean for Hillsong?
Below we will let Brian Houston explain what it means when he gets his God-given vision for Hillsong in his book “For This I Was Born”. (This book is worth any theologian or scholar’s time if they want to research spiritual fascism – see “Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview” by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.) Furthermore, we will be reviewing the below segment in articles to come.
Brian Houston writes,
United Around the Cause
THE DAY TWO PEOPLE GET MARRIED IS THE start of a powerful partnership for the cause of Christ. Sadly, over the years, Bobbie and I have been forced to watch as the once-happy marriage of some of our friends have broken down, ending in acrimonious divorces. It is tough to watch, and ultimately it is a losing situation for everyone.
Some 80 percent of divorces are granted on the basis of irreconcilable differences. These differences may be due to infidelity, a lack of communications, or a multitude of other reasons, but often the differences are grounded in the fact that the vision that each partner had for their marriage, their family, and their future diverged. The result? Vision became division, and where the there was once unity, there was now disunity.
In Matthew 12:25, when the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub (the prince of demons), he responded, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”
Jesus here talks about a kingdom, a city, and a house. The point, as it applies to our lives today, is that just as division can bring down a nation (think coup), it can and will ultimately destroy a church, a marriage, or an individual life.
A house full of division is not a pleasant place to be. When we think of division, we tend to think of strife, anger, fighting, and people splitting away.
Division in a church is a little like division in a marriage. When the church is functioning the way God intends, it can be heaven. When it is not, it can be hell.
A house divided does not necessarily mean the people are fighting and punching each other around the communion table, or that a husband and wife are pitching plates and vases at each other. A divided house is one that is going different directions. If we are truly one, we need to be going in a single direction.
The Pharisees were often divided among themselves. John 7:43 and John 9 speak of this division. Legalism and bandage lend themselves to division. But in a house (be it a church or a home) where the people are empowered, released, and have a sense of vision and leadership that inspires, people will flourish.
A single vision united around a cause, be it in a church, a marriage, a family, or a workplace, will help guard against division.
A House Divided Has Divided Motives
When motives are pure, the house of God is awesome. There is a huge difference between people who use their vision to build the house of God and people who use the house of God to build their vision. When people’s motives are to use the house of God in a negative way, division is inevitable.
I never want to be a controlling leader, but I do need to understand and be a discerner of people’s hearts. Failure to do so would put our church at risk and thwart our ability to serve the cause and the kingdom of God effectively.
Take, for example, a businessperson who is using his or her gifts and connections to be a blessing to the house of God. This is completely different from those who come into the house of God thinking about how people in the church can help them build their businesses.
At Hillsong’s profile has gained recognition, people have come who have tried to utilize the leverage of our church’s name by attaching it to their business or ministry. You would be astounded at how creative some people can be. We have become well versed in discerning wrong motives. It is similar to what happened growing up. I was treated differently at school and in the community when people found out that my dad was a prominent pastor in our part of the world.
When your motives are genuinely driven to serve the Lord’s purposes, God will see that his house and your life flourish, but when motives are going in different directions, the house divides.
A House Divided Has Divided Vision
I often tell our church that we have one vision that is outworked in may different ways. Imagine how complicated and confusing, not to mention divisive, it would be if every one of our departments had a different vision.
We would experience utter chaos. There would be no cohesion, and in time, splinter groups would form and go their separate ways. Division in the case of a church will minimize that church’s impact, but division will also negatively affect the people of that church as they are pulled to and fro, unsure whose vision to follow and what cause they are contributing to.
The same can be said of a family or a business partnership in which one spouse or partner is pursuing one vision, while the other is going in a completely different direction. The children or employees in that family or business are put in a very difficult situation, and in time, irreconcilable differences will arise.
When your house, family, marriage, friendships, business, and church have a united vision and a focus anchored on a greater cause, there is a great sense of stability and security because everyone knows where he or she is heading, and people have something to follow.
A House Divided Has Divided Loyalties
Jesus had a disloyal friend named Judas whose divided loyalty caused him to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. He is the type of friend Proverbs 18:24 describes this way: “The man of many friends [a friend of all the world] will prove himself a bad friend” (AMP, brackets in original).
Proverbs 18:24 is saying that people who try to be loyal to everyone actually are not good friends to anyone. Judas tried to be both friend to Jesus and to the Pharisees, but he failed at both and ended up hanging up himself.
I am reminded of people who come to church on Sunday and lift their hands in worship, but during the week live like hell. Sadly, in time, this kind of divided loyalty will lead to destruction.
God values loyalty, and undivided loyalty is an important characteristic for all of us. Strength comes when you know where your loyalties lie. Loyalty actually forces you to take sides.
No doubt you have heard of an “us-and-them” spirit. It is one I do not let fester in our church. I ask our leaders, “On which side of ‘us and them’ do you find yourself?” Loyalty always positions itself as one of “them”. You can build the church, a marriage, and friendship on that kind of loyalty.
There will be times when you will have to make a stand about where your loyalties lie, particularly when it comes to the house of God. It is impossible to be a friend to the house of God and a friend to the world simultaneously.
Living for the Father’s cause is about making the tough decisions in life. This includes with whom and what you are “friends.” You need to position yourself to be best friends with God’s house, guarding against division and determining in your heart that nothing will draw you away from building his kingdom.”
Source: Brian Houston, For This I Was Born: Aligning Your Vision to God’s Cause, 2008, Publisher : Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, pg. 45-50.
“The idea is this: to question the vision and the message is to question God Himself. ”
Also sounds a bit like this blog and the sacred “Watcher”.
What’s our infallible vision and message Troy?
Translation: agree with Houston’s vision, get with the program, join the team, do what you’re told, don’t voice different opinions, don’t express genuine concerns….
…otherwise you are disobeying God, you are being divisive, you are disloyal to God’s church, you’re a [latest catchphrase] Pharisee, you’re unloving, you’re not a real Christian……
Propaganda designed to stop Hillsong church followers from disagreeing with Houston/ Hillsong for fear of being labelled “disloyal”. http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/news/9-purpose-resisters.htm
As Thinker said, mega-churches are especially good at manipulation / coercion.
Especially the three mega-churches dealt with on your church watch websites.
I’m a bit confused by this one:
“God values loyalty, and undivided loyalty is an important characteristic for all of us…Loyalty actually forces you to take sides.
“No doubt you have heard of an “us-and-them” spirit. It is one I do not let fester in our church”
It seems like he’s completely contradicting himself. Maybe I’m just reading it wrong, because it sure sounds like he’s all for “us and them”. In his own words – “This includes with whom and what you are “friends.”“.
However one question I would like to ask Brian is that given “When motives are pure, the house of God is awesome“, what happens when church leaders are motivated to cover up the sexual abuse of children for years?
It’s “heads I win, tails you lose” word-gaming.
Loyalty is positive if it’s in Hillsong’s favour.
Division or taking a side is positive if it’s in Hillsong’s favour.
Anon - London UK said:
Rose tinted Glasses at This years Vision Sunday presentation……. you just couldn’t make this stuff up!!
Haha.. that artifact belongs in the museum of idolatry http://www.alittleleaven.com
The cover of the book looks ridiculous, with the signature on it. But the piece of writing quoted sounded pretty good to me. It even spoke to me. How am I to discern their true motives? I don’t know that much about Hillsong, but I am sure others here do, since there are so many here who seem to disagree with some of the things they do. I think – if we are all true children of God, we will be able to work together just fine. God should be the One we are loyal to, not people. People are not infallible. Only Jesus is completely trustworthy. And, I don’t think we should necessarily not agree with things the church puts out, or question things. We need to be able to do that. If you can’t ask questions, and they discourage that, that is not a good sign. That makes it sound like they are being dishonest or deceptive in some way. As Christians, we are to be very guarded about that kind of thing (I don’t know if you are allowed to ask questions at Hillsong or not). If you have a question, and everything is okay, they should be able to take that person aside and explain in a reasonable way whatever is being questioned. If the people in the church are so important to them, they should have no problem doing that.
Disclaimer – I personally believe that neopentecostalism, “new apostolic movement” or whatever fancy name is applied to it is THE chief danger to today’s Church.
Having said that I agreed with most, if not all, of the quote above.
A pastor NEEDS to have a vision for his church, he needs to communicate that vision to his elders (parish council / board of officers et al) who in turn need to communicate that vision to the congregation. The big question is “Is that vision in line with Biblical teaching?”
As an example, my son is pastoring a small country church in an area where the “New Apostolic” teaching is infiltrating some of the local churches. He and the elders have decided that such teaching is not acceptable and if one wishes to embrace that teaching they are free do do so :- Somewhere else. I believe that this is the correct useage of “vision” and that appears to be the useage in the above quote.
Claims of infallibility, special revelation etc are a different story altogether and although Hillsong is well experienced in these attributes, they are not evident in the quote.
The problem with all this “vision” nonsense is that it is not backed up scripture. Instead – this a corporate practice that distorts scripture in favour of manipulating Christians to embrace business strategies.
Jesus’ commission is hard enough as it is. Why do we need Pharisees putting extra yokes on people with their “visions”.
The worst problem is most of these “vision-casters” (and there are many) claim their “church visions” were given to them directly by God.
Historical evidence as well as multiple church failures and scandals have proven otherwise.
Phoenix preacher has some wise words to say on the topic of “vision casting”…..
“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.”(Proverbs 29:18 ESV)
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:16 ESV)
“Everyone has certain emotional triggers and I confess that this is one for me.
When I hear a religious leader speaking about “vision casting” my stomach wants to do “lunch casting”.
That’s because the whole concept is built on the faulty premise that God calls churches to be “successful” and that success is determined by numeric growth.
That is a lie from the pit of hell…we are called to be faithful and to endure no matter how many our number. Have a “vision casting” party for that…
The “biblical basis” for the lie is the verse from Proverbs I cited above, often from an older translation that says “without vision the people perish”….so lets look at what it really says. The key is the second part of the verse which describes the content of the vision.
The content was the retelling of the law… the proclamation of the word of God that had already been delivered.
How do we hear God today?…through His Word.
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1:1-2 ESV)
The “vision” for God’s people is to hear the Word and do it…not the fevered imagination of an ego bound leader who would be the untouchable potentate of their church kingdom.
Most “vision casting” today is of the Jeremiah 23:16 variety…
The danger of the misuse of of this passage was best addressed by Dietrich Bonhoeffer;
“Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it. But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves.
By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world. He does not abandon us to those rapturous experiences and lofty moods that come over us like a dream. God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth. Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God’s sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it. The sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community the better for both.
A community which cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insists upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered, permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. Sooner or later it will collapse. Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves this dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.
God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians which his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together.
When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure. When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first the accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself.”
I can’t possibly improve on that.
My “vision” for our church is that we faithfully gather to hear the Word of God, receive the sacraments, make disciples, and live our lives in such a way that God is glorified in our families and vocations.
That’s biblical….and more than enough to keep us busy until the Lord returns for us individually or together.
My dreams would only get in the way….”