Many people assume that the origins of Hillsong originated from Charismaticism, Pentecostalism or the Salvation Army. This is not true.
Hillsong’s roots were founded in the Canadian New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) cult. Today, this is internationally recognised as the New Apostolic Reformation cult.
This series of articles looks at the history of the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) and how it overran the AOG in NZ, the AOG in Australia and how this was done through Frank Houston, the founder of Hillsong/Christian Life Center.
PENTECOSTALISM AT WAR WITH THE NEW ORDER OF THE LATTER RAIN
The NAR/NOLR cult is openly at war with Christianity and specifically targets and converts churches into its movement. In its early days, the New Order promoted aggressive ‘divide and conquer’ tactics in local churches while pushing the idea of ‘unity in the spirit’. For instance, in its early years in Canada, the New Order attempted an unethical takeover of churches in the ‘Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada’.
It is important to note that Pentecostalism (the American Pentecostal AOG) was the first denomination to denounce the New Order of the Latter Rain and its ‘revival’.
On the 3rd of September in 1949, the General Council of the American Assemblies of God condemned and rejected the NOLR.
RESOLVED, That we disapprove of those extreme teachings and practices which, being unfounded Scripturally, serve only to break fellowship of like precious faith and tend to confusion and division among the members of the Body of Christ, and be it hereby known that this 23rd General Council disapproves of the so-called, ” New Order of the Latter Rain” , to wit:
1. The overemphasis relative to imparting, identifying, bestowing or confirming gifts by the laying on of hands and prophesy.
2. The erroneous teaching that the church is built upon the foundation of present day apostles and prophets.
3. The extreme teaching as advocated by the ” new order” regarding the confession of sin to man and deliverance as practiced, which claims prerogatives to human agency which belong only to Christ.
4. The erroneous teaching concerning the impartation of the gift of languages as special equipment for missionary service.
5. The extreme and unscriptural practice imparting or imposing personal leading by the means of utterance.
6. Such other wrestings and distortions of Scripture, interpretations which are in opposition to teachings and practices generally accepted among us.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we recommend following those things which make for peace among us, and those doctrines and practices whereby we may edify one another, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit until we all come unto the unity of the faith.
The motion was made and seconded that this resolution be adopted. After brief debate it was adopted with an overwhelming majority. The motion was then made, seconded and it was adopted that in order that the entire constituency may have the benefit of this decision, the resolution be printed in THE PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL. [Source] (From ‘Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center)
The founder of CLC/Hillsong, Frank Houston, grew up in the New Zealand Salvation Army. It was the Salvation Army who expelled the Houston’s when church members of Avondale corps in Suburban Auckland accused them of stealing church money to buy themselves a car. It appears that Frank Houston brought the musical aspect of the Salvation Army into his new model of church in Australia,, using musical outreach to draw people in to hear the gospel or to attend the church. (This is one reason why Hillsong was very influential in their early years. They used catchy praise and worship music when they did outreaches into the hippy communes of Sydney.)
The Baptists and the Salvation Army in New Zealand were very cautious in avoiding the ‘Pentecostal’ AOG in New Zealand. Hazel Houston in her book ‘Being Frank’ revealed her conservative baptist judgment of New Zealand ‘Pentecostals’. At this stage , the Pentecostal New Zealand AOG was usurped and taken over by the New Order of the Latter Rain cult. Sadly, the NZ AOG embraced the ideas of the Healing Revivals in America that promoted Latter Rain teachings. One prominent figure was William Branham.
One of the spearheads that largely influenced the New Order of the Latter Rain ‘revival’ and the Latter Rain movement was William Branham.
William Branham heavily influenced Hillsong’s founder Frank Houston through Gordon Lindsay’s book ‘A Man Sent From God’. With Pentecostalism already condemning the Latter Rain movement and the New Zealand Salvation Army and Baptists distancing themselves from NZ AOG (which was infiltrated by Latter Rain reprobates), it is easy to see why Frank Houston rapidly climbed to the top of the NZ AOG: he was ticking all the New Order’s apostolic and prophetic boxes.
The fact is, Hillsong is a New Apostolic Reformation Church, influenced by the New Order of the Latter Rain cult. With this background in mind, Hazel Houston specifically writes about Frank Houston being influenced by Latter Rain teaching through Gordon Lindsay and William Branham in her book ‘Being Frank’.
“I was upset when Frank woke up utterly miserable with a soaring temperature, his body aching in every joint. Obviously this had to be a day in bed. Usually sickness turned him into a self-pitying invalid, bored to tears with time dragging. This turned out to be four days of revelation. One of our self-confessed Pentecostals brought him a book with the interesting title ‘A Man Sent From God’.
Gordon Lindsay had captured what to Frank were amazing insights into the prophetic ministry of William Branham at the height of his ministry. From the moment Frank opened the book, Frank forgot to grumble about being sick. ‘This man could tell people all about themselves, even to where they lived and their phone number. Isn’t that marvellous,’ he said to me.
‘Sounds like fortune telling.’ I was sceptical [sic].
‘But he also healed the sick and he gives scriptural references for what he did.’
‘Frank, don’t get carried away with such things,’ I warned.
‘You should read it for yourself.’
‘Not me. I don’t like to read stuff like that. Those things don’t happen today.’ I closed the conversation and my mind but Frank pondered the possibility of New Testament-type miracles in the 1940s. Tears touched his cheeks at the thought of the possibilities. Next Sunday’s sermons contained references to the book. Statements concerning the possibility of Jesus healing without the aid of medicine stirred up some objections from the congregation, Ernie Hall latched on to every word…
‘Captain, ten minutes ago the doctor told me I can’t live more than two months. I want you to come round tonight to anoint me with oil. I’ll get some of the believing saints to join us and we’ll have a healing meeting.’ Frank was shocked. It was one thing to believe and preach about healing but another thing to act on his preaching.
It seemed that Frank couldn’t avoid the issue. He decided he wouldn’t tell me what he had to do. He didn’t want any unbelievers there and I was an unbeliever with a mind as tightly closed as a can of bake beans.
By the time he arrived at the house, sixteen believing Salvationists gathered. After some enthusiastic chorus singing, sister Allison handed Frank a saucer containing oil. He stared at it. How on earth did you anoint someone? Should he sprinkle oil on Ernie’s head or pour it over him. [sic] He’d start by reading James 5:14. There was safety in that.
‘If any of you are sick let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil.’ Not much instruction there. He’d have to do something.
The Catholics would make the sign of the Cross. Perhaps that would do. Frank dipped his fingers in the saucer and drew two oily lines in the shape of a cross on Ernie’s forehead as he offered a prayer of faith. Without warning the power of God sent them all reeling backwards. Ernie fell on the floor with a big smile on his face. When he’d scrambled to his feet again he picked up a kitchen chair with his left hand, raising it high above his head, something he hadn’t been able to do for months.
Frank could scarcely believe his eyes. This was a spiritual dimension untapped by most Salvation Officers he knew.
[…] This forerunner of future events lent weight to the reasons some people gave for calling us Pentecostal.”
Source: By Hazel Houston, Published 1989 (UK: Scott Publications), Being Frank, pg. 54-56.
You can read the book by by Gordon Lindsay on William Branham in pdf form online for free.
A Man Sent From God by Gordon Lindsay
The next article in this series will look more at how the Australian AOG was influenced by the Latter Rain ideas from Frank Houston and the NZ AOG.