[Edit 16/01/2016: We have added a ‘Dr Brown’s Adventures in discernment’ comic at the bottom of this page.]
Dr. Michael Brown admitted publicly on NARisma magazine that he is prepared to justify any sinful activity at Hillsong:
“Now, you still may not like what Hillsong did, and you still might not agree with their overall methodology, but the great reminder for me was this: I went through every scenario that I could think of, trying to figure out any possible explanation for this travesty, and I could find none.“
For your information Dr Brown, liars run and liars hide. When we first alerted people to this inappropriate performance by Hillsong, they HID their video and justified their sins, an admission that they were ashamed that their sins were exposed? But even though their actions confirmed that they were indeed guilty of flagrant sin, this is what you did:
- When you couldn’t “figure out any possible explanation for this travesty”, you turned to Satan’s tree of evil and to his servants (2 Corithians 11:14-15) that speak Satan’s native language (John 8:44), a people who will justify any sin and all forms of blasphemy and immorality in the name of God.
- After hearing the enemy’s answer, you then twisted Jesus’ words on ‘judging righteously’ to justify the unjustifiable.
- You then condemned CHRISTIANS who have continually documented the sins and scandals of the Hillsong cult and accused them of judging unrighteously.
- You openly defended an organisation that you stated deliberately tried to cause Christians to sinfully stumble:
“He explained that this despicable version of Silent Night was designed to be cringeworthy in every way—in other words, it was intended to elicit the kinds of responses that it drew—and it was written and produced to portray Herod’s alleged desire to worship the newborn King.”
- In so doing, you endorsed Hillsong’s slander, for not even in worldly Christmas carol events do you see such godless behaviour. (In fact, atheists and non-Christians were highly offended by this carol as well – so clearly this has given cause to gentiles to further blaspheme Jesus Christ?)
- You are defending the Hillsong “thistle bush”, insisting that people can find figs growing on its branches, which opposes Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 7.
- By presenting such a dishonest “teachable moment” and argument, you are essentially justifying greater sins to be committed by Hillsong in the future. (Your teaching on ‘judging’ could even justify why Brian Houston illegally covered up his father’s crimes to the police and his church.)
- And finally, in your attempt to write all this to remind Christians of Jesus’ words on “how to judge righteously”, you have only turned Jesus into a dictator, discouraged discernment and to NEVER judge Hillsong, thus promoting them to be seen as some sort of infallible “magisterium”.
Michael Brown writes,
Hillsong, Silent Night and the Danger of Judging by Outward Appearance
Jesus taught that we should “not judge according to appearance, but practice righteous judgment” (John 7:24). We can learn an important lesson about this from an incident that took place late last year concerning Hillsong, Australia’s Christmas presentation.
Along with many others who saw the video on YouTube, I was absolutely appalled by Hillsong’s super-slick, cabaret rendition of Silent Night.
It was the farthest thing you could imagine from the words “Silent night, holy night” and some viewers rightly dubbed it “Unholy Night.”
From the dissonant jazzy sounds to the cabaret dancers, it was nothing less than shockingly irreverent.
Not surprisingly, there were online articles denouncing Hillsong, and friends contacted me, asking me to please write my own article about this travesty.
Because I have no open door to interact directly with Hillsong leaders (despite my attempts to do so in the past), I could only ask myself how in the world they could produce something like this.
To be sure, I have differed with some of Hillsong’s methods and message over the years, but this seemed to go way beyond anything I could imagine, especially since they are famous around the world for their praise and worship.
Obviously, I didn’t have all the facts, but what possible explanation could there be? The whole cabaret arrangement was atrocious, inexcusable, irreverent, mocking … The list goes on and on.
Still, I did not want to speak or act without more information or a clear leading from the Lord, and while I was giving the whole matter prayerful consideration, a Twitter follower shared with me a comment made by one of the pastors at Hillsong in Australia.
He explained that this despicable version of Silent Night was designed to be cringeworthy in every way—in other words, it was intended to elicit the kinds of responses that it drew—and it was written and produced to portray Herod’s alleged desire to worship the newborn King.
This, then, was meant to be the world’s version of Silent Night, which was anything but holy.
The pastor also explained that later in the Christmas play, in adoration of Jesus, Silent Night was sung again, this time the right way, in stark contrast with Herod’s version.
Now, you still may not like what Hillsong did, and you still might not agree with their overall methodology, but the great reminder for me was this: I went through every scenario that I could think of, trying to figure out any possible explanation for this travesty, and I could find none.
Yet there was an explanation, and it was one that I had never considered. Honestly, who would have ever thought of it without being told?
In years past, when Nancy and I did more counseling, we would sit with a husband who would explain his side of the story and think to ourselves, “He’s obviously in the right. There’s no possible way that his wife could explain her way out of this.”
And we would rack our brains trying to think of another side to the story, but there was none.
Then, to our surprise, the wife would share an angle that we never could have considered, making us realize that there really were two sides to the story after all.
Of course, there are plenty of things that are black and white, such as when a professing Christian leader announces that he now embraces same-sex “marriage.” That must be confronted and addressed.
There are also times when the indisputable evidence clearly convicts someone of guilt, like stealing money or committing adultery, in which case the “explanation” does not explain away the guilt.
And we are always called to judge whether certain actions or words or practices are biblical or not.
We must use discernment and walk in wisdom, especially with so much foolishness in the body of Christ today, not the least in our charismatic circles.
But the Hillsong “Unholy Night” controversy reminds us that we must be very careful in how we make our judgments, not judging by mere outward appearances but rather judging righteously.
In this case, the outward appearances were damning, but there was more to the story than met the eye.
Again, you might still differ with Hillsong’s Christmas presentation, and you might still take issue with some of their teachings or with their overall approach to ministry. But for those who completely threw them under the bus because of their cabaret version of Silent Night, this should be a cautionary lesson.
It’s a lesson we should all learn well, since we will be judged in the same way that we judge others.
And it’s a lesson I try to remember before I ever write or speak, since it’s far better to wait and be sure than to launch an unrighteous attack.
Let’s make this a teachable moment.
Source: By Michael Brown, Hillsong, Silent Night and the Danger of Judging by Outward Appearance, Charisma News, http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/in-the-line-of-fire/54382-hillsong-silent-night-and-the-danger-of-judging-by-outward-appearance, Published 12/01/2016. (Accessed 12/01/2016.)