Recommendation: Before Brian Houston/Hillsong removes this controversial sermon from the internet; once again defames his critics for taking him out of context and uses his authority to remove/sensor his own material, please watch the full sermon at the end of this article. Then, click below to read an article that examines what Brian Houston actually said and how to realistically interpret his words.
In this article, a segment of Brian Houston’s controversial “God-given Vision” for 2014 will be reviewed. We will then do a very quick overview of how Brian Houston and Hillsong have progressed toward achieving this vision throughout the course of 2014. Lastly, we will publish Chris Rosebrough’s critique as well as the transcript of the video below. We will personally review this sermon in articles to come.
DID BRIAN HOUSTON ACHIEVE HIS GOD-GIVEN VISION FOR 2014?
For people to understand how controlling Hillsong is, it is important to understand what it means when a “pastor” casts “vision” over their movement. It is important to note that Hillsong supporters see the vision Brian Houston casts is a vision supposedly given to him by God.
“At the start of every year, we have what’s called Vision Sunday. It’s always a highlight for our church, as Brian and Bobbie cast the vision for the coming year.” Source: By Paul Nevison, PIONEER AGAIN: Behind Our Vision Presentation, Hillsong, http://hillsong.com/blogs/collected/2014/march/pioneer-again-behind-our-vision-presentation, Published 05/03/2014. (Accessed 07/09/2014.)
This above quote is taken from a Hillsong article that promotes Houston’s controversial 2014 Vision. In this video it appears Brian Houston wants his church to accept his God-given vision/idea that unrepentant occultists, “minority groups” and terrorists should be embraced by Hillsong church.
We encourage you to carefully watch Brian Houston’s body language in this controversial video snippet. (Note: This was the video we uploaded earlier this year that caused Hillsong to launch an official complaint to YouTube which resulted in our account shut down.)
This video is up for ‘research or study, criticism or review’ and ‘reporting of news’ under ‘Fair Dealing’ under Australian Law. This video is up for high public and international interest.
Considering this “God-given” vision was cast at the beginning of this year, it is worth quickly reviewing Brian Houston’s agenda to see if his “New Grace” vision panned out.
Not only does Brian Houston push his occultic Word of Faith Doctrine, this year Brian Houston has promoted and encouraged Christians to embrace the gnostic, neo-pagan film, ‘Noah’ by Darren Aronofsky. There was a bit of backlash against leaders who promoted this film.
We will be producing further articles examining Hillsong pushing occultism in their movement.
Through our Hillsong Queerstianity coverage, Brian Houston and Carl Lentz received Christian backlash in America over their remarks on same sex issues, and rightly so.
The truth is, although Hillsong is blatantly grooming Christianity to embrace Queerstianity, Brian Houston has decided to pull out his sheep skin to hide his agenda before the Christian media. He stated,
“My personal view on the subject of homosexuality would line up with most traditionally held Christian views. I believe the writings of Paul are clear on this subject.”[Source]
After watching the above vision, which Brian Houston do you believe?
Chrislam Brian Houston earlier this year also allowed Hillsong TV to produce one of his messages where he claims that Christians and Muslims serve/worship the same God. When caught, he did not repent but deceitfully mislead his readers into believing that he was maligned by critics and that he didn’t mean what he said.
Hillsong’s “New Grace” agenda
What makes the above footage even more disturbing is the fact that Brian Houston challenges his congregation with these unrepentant men by asking them, “How’s that for an encouraging front row in church?”
It is important to consider this challenging concept. Who sits on the front row of Hillsong Church? Do visitors? Members? Or do we usually see leaders sit in the front row of Hillsong?
If people still honestly think that Brian Houston is not pushing his own “new grace” agenda, can someone please explain his eight second innuendo in the above snippet. (*nudge-nudge, wink-wink* Is that what it looks like to you?)
What Christian minister does that? What is this? What is Brian Houston pushing?
CHRIS ROSEBROUGH’S REVIEW
Thankfully, Chris Rosebrough has weighed in to review Brian Houston’s “vision”. Listen below to Chris Rosebrough’s critique on the above controversial vision segment of Brian Houston.
Program segments: • David Herzog Teaches How to Walk Into Your Future • Creflo Dollar’s Dream About Miles Munroe • Miles Munroe’s Interview With Benny Hinn • Brian Houston on the Pioneer Spirit • Sermon Review: A Peace of Christmas – Joseph by Paul Richardson of West Ridge Church
“Second thing, is a pioneer reaches the unreachable and includes the excluded. I LOVE THIS THOUGHT! Think about this: the first three individuals, when the gospel goes beyond Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria and then ultimately to the uttermost parts of the end- the first three individual con- uh converts that are mentioned. In other words, new believers.
The first one is a wizard. His name’s Simon who confounded the people with magic tricks. They were astonished with his magic. He’s a sorcerer. A wizard.
The second one, (later in Acts chapter eight), is an Ethiopian eunuch. Putting it bluntly, he was castrated. Which I guess made him a part of a minority group. [8 second pause, looking to see if people understood what he was implying].
The third one was a terrorist. [Laughter] His name was Saul in Acts chapter nine. The bible literally describes Saul as breathing threats and slaughter against Christians. And not only that, he was described as being f- in full agreement with Steven being put to death.
How’s that for an encouraging front row in church? The first three, what have you got?
You’ve got a guy who’s still got his tarot cards in one hand and his astrology charts in the other hands. You’ve got a guy with real sexual identity problems; he’s not sure who he is. He’s not sure who he is. And then you’ve got a third person who’s a terrorist! That’s pretty encouraging for the worship team when they look down. I love the fact that maybe, not terrorists, but I love the fact that still our church is church for whosoever will to the Lord may come, should never be built on superstars necessarily or people who’ve got it all together. It’s rarely reached people at all walks of life: the down and out, the up and out, everything in between. And I pray we always be that kind of church. And a pioneering spirit keeps that kind of spirit happening in the church.
Third thing about a pioneering spirit is a pioneer sings a song that is music to the uninitiated but sounding brass to the establishment, in other words stepping forward into new ground, not everyone who represents the statuesque or the establishment gets excited about the new thing that God is doing.
In the bible you can see that the uninitiated, those who have just been literally connected to Jesus, there was great joy in the setting. Acts chapter 8, verse 7, there was great joy in the city the bible says, its verse 8 I think.
Great joy, but not everyone thought that way. Couple of chapters before in Acts chapter 6, God was doing an amazing thing, the church was multiplying. They were having quickly to keep up with all that God was doing and so there was a little bit of reorganising the way things could be done so the Apostles could keep in the Word and keep in prayer. And in the middle of that it describes Stephen, Stephen is described as being full of faith.
Listen to it, it’s in Acts chapter 6, verse 8, it says, “Stephen full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people”. And then it says there arose some from what is called, (it’s important you think about this)- they were from what? – the Synagogue of the Freed Man. Tells us where those people were from, so Alexandrians etc, who were disputing with Stephen.
In other words they were angry about the new grace, about what God was doing.
And who are they? They were the Synagogue of the Freed Man, literally former slaves who had come into new found freedom and had encountered a grace for themselves and yet were opposed to the new thing that God has done.
Often with the spirit of a pioneer you start taking new ground, you start occupying all streets- and it’s incredible how often- it’s not the people out there in the world that get upset about what Gods doing, in fact they’ve got a heart that’s open to it. It’s often people who experience grace themselves, who have known the freedom of Jesus Christ themselves and yet when grace goes into something new, God begins a new thing, it’s amazing how they are the people that are quite often the blindest and the ones that find it the most difficult to see.
Music to the ears of the uninitiated sounding brass, sometimes to the statuesque. I don’t what to be one who has encountered the grace of Jesus myself and misses out when God begins to do new things. I want to keep that pioneer again spirit, so I stay on the edge. I was pioneering when I was 25, 26, 29 years of age and I’m almost 60 and I want to keep looking forward and I want to keep the same pioneering spirit today. Because once a pioneer, always a pioneer.”
Source: Published by Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, Vision Sunday 2014, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPnikhaDwDw, Published 02/02/2014. (Accessed 05/09/2014.)
Here is the full sermon:
The above unedited January 2014 vision sermon was replayed and streamed online across the world at Hillsong Conference 2014. However, it was not not surprising that Hillsong TV edited out most of the controversial segments and published their edited sermon on their Hillsong TV YouTube channel.
His edited sermon can be seen below on YouTube.
Hillsong TV // The Spirit Of A Pioneer, Pt1 with Brian Houston
Published on Apr 13, 2014
Published: Hillsong TV
A pioneer is a person who is among those who first enter or settle a region, thus opening up for occupation and development by others. In this message, Pastor Brian Houston shares the Vision for Hillsong Church, urging the Church to pioneer again.
For more information about Hillsong TV with Brian Houston follow us on Twitter, Facebook and our Website – https://twitter.com/Hillsongtv |http://www.facebook.com/hillsongtelev… | http://hillsong.com/tv
Hillsong TV // The Spirit Of A Pioneer, Pt2 with Brian Houston
Published on Apr 20, 2014
Published: Hillsong TV
A pioneer is a person who is among those who first enter or settle a region, thus opening up for occupation and development by others. In this message, Pastor Brian Houston shares the Vision for Hillsong Church, urging the Church to pioneer again.
For more information about Hillsong TV with Brian Houston follow us on Twitter, Facebook and our Website – https://twitter.com/Hillsongtv |http://www.facebook.com/hillsongtv | http://hillsong.com/tv
For further clarification, here is the context of my message:
King David said about His God in Psalm 119:68, “you ARE good and you DO good”. Who David believed God IS, determined what He Believed God DOES.
The spirit of the message was exactly the opposite of what some critics are claiming. If you listened to the message in its entirety, my point was that; who a Muslim extremist believes God is, determines what they believe God does, and what they believe God loves.
I was contrasting their harsh perspective of (their) god, with who I believe God is – (a Loving God, the Father of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ) and therefore what I believe God does and what I believe God loves. The ONE sentence that critics are drawing huge conclusions from was clearly a (clumsy) way of me explaining that though both Christians and Muslims believe they serve the God of Abraham, they are very DIFFERENT ‘entities’ or ‘deities’ in both nature and action.
This is a lie which we will be addressing in this article. He deliberately pulled the sermon, hoping no one could examine his claims. We have watched the sermon again and have transcribed the majority of the message leading up to his claims about Allah. Once we dissect what Brian says in his “clarification”, it will become evident that Houston is lying to his church and the general public. The context of his message was not on Psalm 119:68. The sermon was titled ‘Living for the Master’s Well Done’ for a reason. It was the parable of the talents that this sermon is founded on and this is what we will be examining.
Thanks to Ken Silva from Apprising Ministries, you can watch ‘the ‘Living for the Master’s Well Done” sermon here:
I feel like I am in my zone when I have the chance to talk to church pastors and church leaders.
Source: Brian Houston, Hillsong TV // Living For The Master’s Well Done, Pt1 with Brian Houston: 1:40, Sermon: Living For The Master’s Well Done, YouTube, Pt1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVE2j_aeZ8M, Published on Jan 5, 2014. (Accessed 17/03/2014.)
In this quote, we will insert diagrams so you can see how just how Houston constructed his line of reason.
The difference is that the first two were purposeful, the third one was purposeless. And this is where I want you to think about this contrast.
You see, the first two, they knew their master. The third one had an entirely different view of the master. Listen to what the first two experienced with the master: they came to the master and said, “Here! I took what you had and I invested it. Here is your Lord’s money. And they’d increased it and doubled it. And this is what they heard from the master: “Well done!”
They heard encouragement: Good and faithful servant. They heard positive reinforcement: You’ve been faithful with a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. They were given god-given opportunity – many things! They experienced abundance! Enter into the joy of the Lord! They experienced joy!
The third one. Same master, talking about exactly the same master: “I knew you to be a hard man who had gathered where you hadn’t scattered seed and reaped where you hadn’t sown.” He said, “I knew- I knew-” He knew he had that perception of His master. “I knew you to be a hard man”.
“Well done! Good and faithful servant!” Encouragement. Positive reinforcement. Abundance. Joy.
“I knew you to be a hard man.”
They are describing the same Master.
We all serve the same God but not everyone in the room sees God the same way. And nothing would determine the culture of your church more than your view of God. So our view of God is so important.
Without walking around judging churches, to go into a church, experience the worship, sense the atmosphere, maybe walk in the corridors, I think that I can soon see a pastors view of God. If a pastor believes that God is free-Spirited and live their life free-spirited their church will be free-spirited. Sometimes a church is stiff. Sometimes a church is conservative. Sometimes a church is legalistic. Sometimes a church is rigid. Sometimes a church is just lacking any kind of sense of rules or any semblance of any kind of order. Some churches, they just reflect in different ways but you should never underestimate your view of God.
And if your background, if your religious background, if your denominational background, if your church school background, if maybe just some of your own condemnation and guilt that your parents put into you that is determining your view of God, it will always affect your ability to live purposefully. The one who lived purposeless, he took what he was given and he hid it in the ground.
The two who knew the Master, they took what they were given and they doubled it. Nothing would determine the way we treat people more than our view of the Master, of Jesus.
Nothing would decide the way we conduct ourselves in our marriage and the way we raise our children than the way we view God.
David said in Psalm 119 verse 68 about the Lord, “You are Good, and you do good”. You see, who you believe God is, will determine what you believe God does. You are good and you do good. Psalm 11:7 is similar. It says, “the Lord IS righteous. He loves righteousness; and his countenance beholds His favour”. His face is favour. His smile is on the upright or the righteous.
The way you see God, decides what you believe God does, what you believe God loves and what you believe God blesses, where His favour will be.
So I couldn’t encourage any leader who wants to live purposefully and who wants to build a church that reflects the heart of God, I couldn’t encourage you more to make sure that your view of the Master is through a New Covenant, New Testament lens. That we look at the Old Testament, which is so full of beauty and power and example and wonder and is so much of the whole tenor of God’s message, that we need to look at it through the lens of the resurrection and the cross and back into it from where we stand now and not from where they stood then. Because otherwise it’s going to affect your ability to be purposeful in building and leading and bringing release and bringing freedom and seeing those things God puts in your heart come to pass.
“How do you view God? In a desert there’s two types of birds: there’s vultures and there’s hummingbirds. One lives off dead carcasses, rotting meat. The other lives off the beautiful, sweet nectar in a particular flower on a particular desert plant. In the same desert, they both find what they’re looking for.
Do you know – take it all the way back into the Old Testament and the Muslim and you, we actually serve the same God. Allah to a Muslim, to us Abba Father God. And of course through history, those views have changed greatly. But lets make sure that we view God through the eyes of Jesus, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the beauty of a Saviour, the loving open inclusive arms of a loving God.
And that way we’ll lead out of that and you’ll be purposeful about your leadership and you’ll draw people just like the Lord Jesus always does through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Source: Brian Houston, Hillsong TV // Living For The Master’s Well Done, Pt1 with Brian Houston: 7:06, Sermon: Living For The Master’s Well Done, YouTube, Pt1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVE2j_aeZ8M, Published on Jan 5, 2014. (Accessed 17/03/2014.)
Finally, Brian Houston seems to embrace Muslim believers and not tolerate bible-believing Christians.
“The person who is legalistic, critical, negative in the name of God, they just don’t know God. That’s the way it seems.”
Source: Brian Houston, Hillsong TV // Living For The Master’s Well Done, Pt1 with Brian Houston: 21:30, Sermon: Living For The Master’s Well Done, YouTube, Pt1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVE2j_aeZ8M, Published on Jan 5, 2014. (Accessed 17/03/2014.)
To end, we would like to point this glaring fault in his “clarification” in our diagram:
Pope Frances has been pushing the “miracle of unity” and is hoping to fulfill his “god-given” vision by uniting the ‘Protestant’ church and the Roman Catholic Church. People are watching with concern Kenneth Copeland, John and Carol Arnott, Joel Osteen and many others embrace the Pope as “their pope”. (We will be looking more into this later.
We’ve heard Christians scoff that it wont happen here in Australia. Especially in Sydney.
Back in 2005, the AOG/Hillsong released this statement from Brian Houston.
PRAYING FOR NEWLY ELECTED POPE
National President of the Assemblies of God in Australia, Brian Houston, has congratulated the election of Pope Benedict XVI as the leader of the world’s Catholics.
Pastor Houston said the shoes of the charismatic and endearing Pope John Paul II, who taught the world so much through his life and his subsequent suffering, would be difficult to fill.
“Pope John Paul II left an indelible mark on the world, and we pray for Pope Benedict as he takes on the leadership mantle of the Catholic Church and navigates the challenges and opportunities facing the global Church in the 21st century,” Ps Houston said.
“It is important for all of us to honour and pray for anyone in a position of leadership and authority. Pope Benedict XVI is a spiritual and experienced leader and is now head over a significant portion of the Christian community, so we will pray for wisdom in his immensely influential role,” he said.
“We pray too that this papacy, like those before it, is marked by a commitment to seeing the Christian message continue to go forward and people changed by the power and truth of the Gospel.
“Obviously, as Protestants, our views are considerably different to the Pope’s on a number of issues however, we share a common desire to exalt Christ and serve our community to the best of our ability.”
Source: Brian Houston, Praying for newly elected pope, Assemblies of God Australia, (Affiliated with ACC), 21/04/2014. (Accessed 14/11/2013.)
WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE :: #hillsongconf will gather the broad and beautiful Body of Christ this week — “ACC/AOG Anglican Apostolic Baptist Bethren Catholic Charismatic/Pentecostal Christian City Church Christian Outreach Centre Church of Christ Foursquare/Elim Independent Lutheran Methodist Presbyterian Salvation Army Seventh-day Adventist Uniting Church & 000s who always say “other” ##welovetheChurch#thykingdomcome ##noothername
Where do we begin with this “liberal” Hillsong mess? “When worlds collide”, Hillsong calls those worlds “Christian”. Mega church pastor Charles Spurgeon had this to say about the church’s tragic state of affairs.
The Down Grade
The Act of Uniformity, which came into effect in 1662, accomplished the purpose of its framers in expelling Puritanism from the Church established by law in England and Wales. Puritanism was obnoxious to King Charles II. and his court, and a large majority of the men high in office in both Church and State, chiefly for the godliness of living which it enjoined, and for the Calvinism of its teaching. With the ejectment of the two thousand ministers who preferred freedom and purity of conscience to the retention of their livings, Calvinism was banished from the Church of England, excepting so far as the Articles were concerned. Arminianism took its place. Then the State Church, which the great reformers had planted, and which some of them had watered with their blood, presented the spectacle which went far to justify the sarcasm of an eminent writer, that she possessed “A Popish Liturgy, a Calvinistic Creed, and an Arminian Clergy.” The ejected were Calvinists almost to a man. Previous to this period, some few Free Churches had been founded, and were Independent or Baptist, the latter being mainly of the General section, and of Dutch origin.
The ejected, who were in one sense alone the first Nonconformists, were mainly Presbyterians; some, however, were Independents, and a few Baptists. The Churches they established were all Calvinistic in their faith, and such they remained for at least that generation. It is a matter of veritable history, however, that such they did not all continue for any great length of time. Some of them, in the course of two or three generations, or even less, became either Arian or Socinian. This was eventually the case with nearly all the Presbyterians, and later on, with some of the Independents, and with many of the General Baptist Communities. By some means or other, first the ministers, and then the Churches, got on “the down grade,” and in some cases, the descent was rapid, and in all, very disastrous. In proportion as the ministers seceded from the old Puritan godliness of life, and the old Calvinistic form of doctrine, they commonly became less earnest and less simple in their preaching, more speculative and less spiritual in the matter of their discourses, and dwelt more on the moral teachings of the New Testament, than on the great central truths of revelation. Natural theology frequently took the place which the great truths of the gospel ought to have held, and the sermons became more and more Christless. Corresponding results in the character and life, first of the preachers and then of the people, were only too plainly apparent.
The race of preachers which followed the first Nonconformists, that is, the ejected ministers who became Nonconformists, retained the soundness of doctrine, and purity of life, for which they were everywhere remarkable. Their sermons were less lengthy, but still long, and less burdened with divisions and sub-divisions. The life, savor, and power of the gospel remained among them, and the churches, walking in the fear of God and the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were slowly increased.
The Presbyterians were the first to get on the down line. They paid more attention to classical attainments and other branches of learning in their ministry than the Independents, while the Baptists had no academical institution of any kind. It would be an easy step in the wrong direction to pay increased attention to academical attainments in their ministers, and less to spiritual qualifications; and to set a higher value on scholarship and oratory, than on evangelical zeal and ability to rightly divide the word of truth.
Some of the ministers retained their Calvinistic soundness and their purity of character and life, and these, as a rule, gave prominence to the doctrines of the gospel, and were zealous in their ministry. But some embraced Arminian sentiments, while others professed to take a middle path, and called themselves Baxterians. These displayed, not only less zeal for the salvation of sinners, and, in many cases, less purity or strictness of life, but they adopted a different strain in preaching, dwelt more on general principles of religion, and less on the vital truths of the gospel. Ruin by sin, regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and redemption by the blood of Christ— truths on the preaching of which God has always set the seal of his approbation—were conspicuous chiefly by their absence. In fact, the “wine on the lees well refined” was so mixed with the muddy water of human speculation, that it was no longer wine at all.
There was another section among the Presbyterians who, like the former two, retained a nominal orthodoxy, and professed to believe, though they seldom preached, evangelical sentiments. Men of this stamp were chiefly remarkable for the extreme coldness of their sermons, and the extreme dullness of their delivery.
Among those who called themselves Baxterians there was little likeness to Baxter; and his zeal and earnestness, and his close, penetrating preaching, and powerful appeals to the heart and conscience were wholly wanting, except in a very few. This remark will apply also to those who called themselves Arminians.
It would appear that the Arian and other heresies did not spread at first so quickly in London as in the country. The author of a manuscript written about 1730, professes to give the sentiments of all the Nonconformist ministers in London at that time. Among the Presbyterians there were, he says, nineteen Calvinists, thirteen Arminians, and twelve Baxterians. All the Independents, he avows, were Calvinists: “twenty-seven thoroughly, one somewhat dubious, three inclined to Antinomianism, and two who were disorderly.” There were two Seventh-day Baptists—one a Calvinist, and the other an Arminian. There were sixteen Baptists, of the Particular order; of whom seven were Calvinists, and “nine inclined to the Antinomian strain.”
Antinomianism was the term applied to the teaching of Dr. Tobias Crisp. Crisp had been an Arminian, but became an ardent Calvinist, going, perhaps, a little beyond Calvin in some things. He died in 1642, and his sermons were published by his son forty-five years after his death. They were printed from short-hand notes compared with Dr. Crisp’s own notes, and therefore were lacking in that correctness and finish which the author’s own hand would have given them. This will account for the crudeness of some of his expressions. He was a man of strong faith, ardent zeal, holy life, and great devotion and faithfulness in his ministerial work. He was called an Antinomian, but the term was misapplied. Many of his statements, however, while they will readily admit of an orthodox sense, lie open to the charge of going beyond the truth.
The publication of his sermons awoke a fierce controversy, which lasted some years, and did much mischief. Dr. Williams exposed what he considered the errors and erroneous tendency of some of his utterances; and even John Flavel was among those who denounced his teaching as erroneous and Antinomian. There need not have been such an outcry. The books written against Crisp, many of them good in their way, had the effect of frightening the timid, the doubtful, and the hesitating, who, to avoid Crispianism, as it was called, went as far as they could to the opposite extreme. They verged upon Arminianism, and some actually became Arminians. The Arminianism of that day was a cold, dry, heartless thing, and many who took that name proved that they were already on “the down grade” towards Socinianism.
As is usual with people on an incline, some who got on “the down grade” went further than they intended, showing that it is easier to get on than to get off, and that where there is no brake it is very difficult to stop. These who turned from Calvinism may not have dreamed of denying the proper deity of the Son of God, renouncing faith in his atoning death and justifying righteousness, and denouncing the doctrine of human depravity, the need of Divine renewal, and the necessity for the Holy Spirit’s gracious work, in order that men might become new creatures; but, dreaming or not dreaming, this result became a reality.
It is exceedingly painful to have to state—and the conduct is no less censurable than pitiable—that among the two classes into which those who held Arian sentiments may be divided, the first were so mean and dishonest as to conceal their sentiments under ambiguous phrases. They so expressed themselves that their orthodox hearers might appropriate their statements in support of their own views, while their Arian adherents could turn them to support their scheme. It is stated on very good authority that “many wore this disguise all their days, and the most cautious carried the secret with them to the grave.” This is terrible to think of; men going down to the grave with a whole life of the very worst kind of hypocrisy unconfessed, the basest deceit and dishonesty unacknowledged, the life-long practice of a lie unrepented of. Such a course is the very worst form of lying, for it is telling lies in the name of the Lord. Others were only a little less hardened in their career of falsehood; they prepared a sermon, or other composition, revealing their true sentiments, which was made public after their decease. Still more confided their real sentiments to a small circle of adherents, who told the tale of heresy to the world only when the grave had closed over the teacher.
Such were the crafty devices of the men of “broad views,” and “free thought,” and “advanced sentiments,” in those days of “rebuke and blasphemy.” The almost blasphemous utterances of Mr. Voysey, daring and frightful as they are (see “Fortnightly Review” for Jan., 1887), have the one redeeming feature of honesty. He puts the mark of unbelief in large characters on his own brow, and does not seek in the least to hide it from any one, but rather to glory in it, that he has set himself to deny and denounce all that is sacred, and true, and holy in the gospel of our salvation. But these men deepened their own condemnation, and promoted the everlasting ruin of many of their followers by their hypocrisy and deceit; professing to be the ambassadors of Christ, and the heralds of his glorious gospel, their aim was to ignore his claims, deny him his rights, lower his character, rend the glorious vesture of his salvation, and trample his crown in the dust.
The second, and less numerous, class of Arian preachers were more honest. They boldly avowed their sentiments to their congregations, who as readily received them. In most cases, in both preachers and hearers, it was only a short step down from the Arianism which makes the eternal Son of God a super-angelic being to the Socinianism (miscalled Unitarianism) which makes him a man only, denying alike original sin, human depravity, the mediation of Christ, the personality and work of the eternal Spirit, and that new birth without which divine truth has declared no one can see the kingdom of God.
The descent of some few was less gradual, but more commonly, when once on “the down grade” their progress was slow, though unhappily sure. The central truth of Calvinism, as of the Gospel, is the person and work and offices of the Lord Jesus Christ. We love to use this Pauline and inspired description of our divine Savior and royal Master, and so to “give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name.” When men begin to hesitate about, and hold back the truth in relation to him, it is a sign of an unhealthy state of soul; and when these truths are diluted, omitted, or otherwise tampered with, it is a sign which in plain words means “Beware.”
The remark of a writer of reliable ability in reference to these times is worthy of quotation:—
“The deficiency of evangelical principles in some, and the coldness with which they came from the lips of others, seem to have prepared the way for the relinquishment of them, and for the introduction, first of Arminianism, and then of Arianism.”
Those who were really orthodox in their sentiments were too often lax and unfaithful as to the introduction of heretical ministers into their pulpits, either as assistants or occasional preachers. In this way the Arian and Socinian heresies were introduced into the Presbyterian congregations in the city of Exeter. The Rev. Stephen Towgood and Mr. Walrond, the ministers, were both reputed as orthodox, but the Rev. Micaiah Towgood, an avowed Arian, was chosen their assistant. The old ministers preached evangelical doctrine, but they complied all too readily with the wishes of their new colleague, and ceased to require a declaration of faith in the divinity of Christ in those who sought admission to the Lord’s table. Sad to say, they continued to labor on in peace, the older men dealing out the “wine of the kingdom,” and the “Living Bread,” while the younger minister intermixed his rationalistic concoctions and his Socinian leaven. A similar case occurred in London. Dr. William Harris, an avowed Calvinist, and whose preaching was in accordance with Calvinistic doctrine, had for his assistant, during the last twenty years of his life, an avowed though not strongly pronounced Socinian, Dr. Lardner, who took the afternoon lectureship. When Dr. Harris died, Dr. Lardner was elected to be his successor. For some reason he declined, when Dr. Benson, another Socinian, succeeded to the pastorate. Thus, the old, old proverb was again proved true, “The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”
This down-grade course was, we have said, more rapid, more general, and more fatal among the Presbyterians than among the Independents and General Baptists. We say General Baptists, for the deadening doctrines of Socinianism had made little inroad upon the Particular Baptists. We could not point to a single case of perversion to Socinianism during more than two centuries, though other and less vital errors have dealt much mischief among the churches of that order. Will our children and grandchildren be able to say as much of this and the next generation in fifty years time? Who can tell? But we pray and hope that they will be.
The principal cause of the quicker descent on “the down grade” among the Presbyterians than among other Nonconformists, may be traced, not so much to their more scholarly ministry, nor altogether to their renunciation of Puritan habits, but to their rule of admitting to the privileges of Church membership. Of course their children received the rite of baptism, according to their views of baptism, in infancy. They were thereby received—so the ministers taught, and so the people believed—into covenant with God, and had a right to the Lord’s table, without any other qualification than a moral life. Many such children grew up unregenerate, and strangers to the work of renewing grace; yet they claimed to be Christians, and to be admitted to all the privileges of the church, and their claim was not disallowed. To such the earnest appeals of faithful ministers of Christ would be irksome and unpalatable. The broader road and easier way of the “men of reason and culture,” which admitted of laxity of discipline and pliancy of sentiments and habits, was far more agreeable to their tastes and ideas, while the homage paid to reason and understanding, at the expense of revelation, gratified their pride, and left them free to walk after their own hearts in things pertaining to religion. Thus they chose them pastors after their own hearts, men who could, and would, and did, cry “Peace, peace,” when the only way of peace was ignored or denied.
These facts furnish a lesson for the present times, when, as in some cases, it is all too plainly apparent men are willing to forego the old for the sake of the new. But commonly it is found in theology that that which is true is not new, and that which is new is not true.
In another paper we propose to trace “the down grade” course among other Protestants in this country—a sad piece of business, but one which must needs be done. Oh that it might act as a warning to the unsettled and unsettling spirits of our own day!
Source: Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Down Grade, The Sword and Trowel, Published March 1887. (Source: http://www.spurgeon.org/s_and_t/dg01.htm)
The blog Jairus’ Daughter wrote this observent article on Hillsong,
THE HILLSONG PHENOMENA AND THE BLACKING OUT OF THE CHURCH
We have embarked upon a kind of ‘spying out the land’ jaunt over the last few weeks. We have felt that it was the right time to get a look at churches in Brisbane and to see what is going on there. Because our background is largely evangelical/Pentecostal, we tended towards either Pentecostal churches or Baptist churches. I was baptised in a Baptist church so I have a particular fondness for that tradition. We aren’t familiar with the more classical denominations like Anglican or Lutheran and find that those formalised patterns of service are not what we really want to support, especially after ten years of wandering in the wilderness. So we knocked on a few Baptist doors over recent months and this morning visited an AOG, or Australian Christian Churches church on the Northside.
We were naturally cautious since we saw what Hillsong did to Garden City Christian Church, my old stomping ground in the 80s. We have seen how Hillsong turned the sanctuary black. It had previously been high-ceilinged, well lit from both behind and the side by large ceiling to floor glass door/windows. The seating had been a rich red, the paneling a light pine and the bricks a pale cream. It was always a beautiful building to sit in, filled with natural light which certainly didn’t detract from the stage. Yet now from the outside all you can see are blackened windows. I have recently seen a photograph of it’s interior and there are the black seats and the black walls now as well. We know what Hillsong have done to the gospel, and you can read more of their particular brand of evangelical Christianityhere. Many churches in Brisbane, notably the Pentecostal variety have followed Hillsong’s peculiar methods and practice of religion. They sing Hillsong music (suitably attributed due to copyright infringement laws), they set up their stages in a Hillsong way with lead singers, backing singers, drums, keyboard bass and other types of string instruments and also the brass and woodwind accompaniment.
Hillsong was not the first church in Australia to have contemporary music and audio-visual accompaniment in its worship service. But it certainly is the originator of the ‘rock-concert venue’ and ‘entertainment focused worship’ styles which are now so common. When I attended Garden City Christian Church in the early eighties we had a large stage to hold a large band, there were screens which showed the words. None of this is particularly offensive or anti-scriptural. The music for its time was probably more popular contemporary style than old-fashioned hymns, but we sang both with gusto. We ‘sang in the spirit’ in worship services, prayed for the sick, welcomed words of prophecy or knowledge and generally accepted the moving of the Spirit. It was a relatively healthy meeting in which people were being touched by God. Presumably certain denominations, including the Baptists at the time, would have frowned on our ‘swinging from the chandeliers’, but there was nothing untoward going on. There was no rolling on the floor making animal noises, no expectations of visitations by angels or weird manifestations as there are in a lot of pentecostal churches. Occasionally people who came for an altar call and were prayed for were ‘slain in the spirit’, but these were managed carefully and with discretion and everything was done in order. I believe there was a great deal wrong with those in charge in those days, considering Reg Klimionok was caught with his hand in the till not long after I left, but in general the services were fairly conservative compared with the meetings held in AOG chuches today.
HILLSONG NEW AND OLD
Hillsong back then was known as Hills Christian Life Centre and was pastored by Frank Houston, Brian’s dad. Even back then though, Hillsong was contributing to the worship styles of Garden City. I remember well that we had a seminar led by Trevor King, a musician and worship leader from Hillsong who in another life had been in a band called Railroad Gin. He was there to teach those who were interested in new styles of worship leading. Trevor was a musician, but he also had some strange ideas about God. I remember one cold morning he mentioned that he had been in the shower and God told him to turn off the hot water. God apparently wanted him to have a cold shower for some reason. Trevor seemed to think that any voice which came to him and ordered him to do weird things was from God. This seems to my mind to be symptomatic of the type of discernment which has been shown by those who lead churches of this nature. They are big on the mystical voices and experiences which many believe should accompany a genuine walk with God, but not so big on the testing of those same voices and experiences. Trevor came across to me at the time as a very young and enthusiastic Christian who seemed exited about sharing his faith and love of God. I don’t think Frank was fathering him in the way he needed, nor do I think any of the Houstons have the capacity for true fathering. They seem to be more interested in the superficial rather than the hidden person of the heart, despite frequent allusions to the same.
So back to our visit to the Northside ACC church. We were not interested in attending a worship service with music so loud you couldn’t hear yourself or anyone else sing. We didn’t see the point of that. Nor did we want to be part of Hillsong, nor did we want to be in a Hillsong cloned church since they are more or less the same thing.
We said to one another that if this church had a blackened interior we would not bother to stay. Yes, I suppose that is a bit pre-emptive, but in our experience when a church gets to the point that they want to change the interior of their sanctuary so dramatically they have succumbed to entirely bleak and literally dark influences. They are also committing themselves wholeheartedly to the Hillsong brand. There is really no point in looking much further than this despite it being an assessment based on superficial appearance.
Once we had made it past the honour guard of ‘greeters’ at the front door who were three deep on each side and handing out bits of paper (it was worse than election day), we emerged into the foyer. I might point out here that the multitude of people welcoming at the door is another Hillsong format. From there we could see another doorway into the inner sanctum. Six more ‘greeters’ were lined up at that doorway and the interior of this section was completely black; black carpets, chairs, walls, ceiling and stage. My daughter noticed that the children’s church which was beyond one of the corridors off the foyer was also blacked out in similar style. This to my mind is not just committing to the Hillsong brand, it is causing its little ones to stumble. Children love colour and light and are often scared of the dark. Why expose them to a wholly adult and frankly not terribly wholesome experience in the tenderness of their youth. But, if the adults are convinced there is nothing wrong with this, they are probably not concerned about their children. This is a whole ‘nother subject and not one I can do justice to here, suffice to say that the abdication of responsibility by Christian parents to the youth or Sunday School leaders has contributed to more than just the delinquency of minors in many cases.
The stage was there, the noise deflectors for the drums (not a good sign) and the Stepford wife type expressions on the faces of those asking us if we were OK when we stepped aside for a family conference to decide what we were going to do, all convinced us to take a hike. So we went out again. This time the greeters didn’t say much at all, and we managed to make a break for it without any cheery responses. They probably were not primed with appropriate phrases for those wanting to leave before the service stated. “Have a nice day” comes to mind, but then that would require thinking outside the square and or recognising that we wanted to get away from them. An uncomfortable and puzzling thought for the Hillsong devotee.
CHURCH INTERIORS AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD
In the past church interiors and exteriors were built in a way which reflected their faith and the Kingdom of God. Churches were built in the shapes of crosses. Their windows depicted scenes from the bible. The colours chosen reflected the symbolism found in scripture ; red, blue, gold, purple, all depicting either God or man and the relationship between the two. Interiors of churches have always been detailed and exquisitely beautiful with vaulted ceilings to represent the heavens and to aid the transmission of the sound of both preaching and singing. I remember standing in Christchurch Cathedral before the earthquake destroyed it. It had a magnificent echo as many churches do. The modern day sanctuaries are not church buildings. Their exteriors resemble warehouses or commercial buildings. Their interiors are set up to facilitate artificial noise projection not to enhance natural vocal or instrumental sound. Their seating is not placed to create a sense of wonder and awe at the craftsmanship and love poured into the physical environment and in turn to encourage the meditation upon the wonder of God. Seating is entirely utilitarian and focused on the stage where the talent is lit and enhanced in order to replicate a theatre or light and sound show. They have destroyed any atmosphere of quiet reverence and worship and replaced it with a black womb in which the distortion of light and sound, preaching and understanding, communication and worship are paramount.
Hillsong Australia has both introduced and promulgated this form of church environment along with the theology which both informs and supports it. It is a hideous malformation of the gospel and the gathering of people who are supposed to be adoring the one true and living God. Instead they are worshipping the people who are singing and playing and being bodily and sensorily overwhelmed by the visual and auditory explosion which accompanies them.
This kind of church service has more in common with the current ‘reality tv’ obsession with talent shows. You feel like you are joining an audience which is about to see the finale of “Australia’s Idol’s Got X Factor Voice Talent”. The huge audiences, the strobing lights, the host with the microphone, the singers, band and backing singers are all there. All you need to do is vote for your favourite personality.
You don’t have to be an AOG church or even a Pentecostal/charismatic church in order to see the Hillsong stamp. The outlines might be blurred, but the intention is there. A number of Baptist chuches we visited recently have turned their church buildings into Hillsong type venues. There are the sound systems, the sound desk, the audio visual screens and the Hillsong songs, but there is also the prosperity gospel preaching, the propensity for dividing the huge congregations into smaller easier to corral groups. There is the head pastor, the associate pastors, the pastors of the various groups in the church such as women, children, youth, young adults, seniors, various ethnic groups, evangelism, missions, creative arts just to name a few. There is the church vision, the church website, the church mission statement, the church board, the church elders or deacons and the church outreach. These are no longer churches, these are corporations. Much has already been written about the corporatizing of the church in America, but here in Australia, we are simply an extension of this phenomenon.
While my background is in the Assemblies of God in Australia, I am able to see how this denomination has always been less focused on scripture and the preaching of the gospel and more focused on enlarging it’s tent and preaching a prosperity gospel. Klimionok was informed by his obsession with Paul Yonggi Cho and his huge South Korean “Yoido Full Gospel Church” AOG church which back then boasted tens of thousands and apparently reached the million mark a few years ago. Cho was apparently convicted for tax evasion in February of this year. I remember him preaching once about his desire to have booths situated up the back of the church which would facilitate translation for ethnic groups which didn’t have a good grasp of English. We had a large prayer room situated on the top of the church in a kind of attic which was accessed by some stairs and a winding staircase much like the prayer caves in Korea. Make no mistake, Klimionok was determined to make Garden City like the church in Korea, and believed it was possible. What he forgot was that we are not Korea, we don’t have the same numbers of Christians and our population is vastly smaller. We have neither the funds nor the numbers to create another South Korean giga-church. It never happened. As I said, Klimionok fell from grace, moved to the States still pushing his prosperity gospel. Since Klimionok was caught with his hand in the til, and Yonggi Cho was recently caught for tax evasion, there was probably more in common with these two men than I initially thought. Garden City was never the same after that and after a few changes of head pastor it tended to languish somewhat. A state from which it was ‘rescued’ some decades later by Hillsong. Clearly the powers that be in the ACC administration felt that Brisbane needed a Hillsong, and Garden City needed a bomb under it. They achieved both and now the ‘revived’ Mt. Gravatt campus is home to so many faithful on a Sunday that they need the presence of the local police to ensure traffic flow on the main road outside the carpark.
Hillsong took over Garden City and it is my concern that they are also ‘taking over’ the rest of the evangelical/Pentecostal church in this country. So many churches look to Hillsong as their inamorata. Nobody seems willing to either stop and check what it is that is so appealing or why they feel that Hillsong has ‘made it’ while the rest of them need to create themselves in her image. It is a disturbing phenomenon and not one which I am proud to own as an Australian Christian.
Source: THE HILLSONG PHENOMENA AND THE BLACKING OUT OF THE CHURCH, http://jairusdaughter.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/the-hillsong-phenomena-and-the-blacking-out-of-the-church/, Published 07/04/2014. (Accessed 27/06/2014.)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer , German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, founding member of the Confessing Church and martyr, had some interesting insight into the “visionaries” of his day. Who did you think Bonhoeffer had in mind when he wrote this piece? Brian Houston… or someone else?
Beware of visions for church
“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 with his demands, sets up his own laws, and judges the brethren and God himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of the 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 an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself.”
“Because God has already laid the only foundation of our fellowship, because God has bound us together in one body with other Christians in Jesus Christ, long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients. We thank God for giving us brethren who live by his call, by his forgiveness, and his promise. We do not complain of what God does not give us; we rather thank God for what he does give us daily.
Source: Deitrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, Christian Kaiser Verlag, 1939.
We would like to point out to you some of Hillsong’s misleading words and “visions”.
Taken face value, is this true? Jesus says, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word”. Does Hillsong fail to keep Jesus’ word? Why do they seem to be so ignorant of God’s holy Word – are we to assume they do so deliberately? Does Hillsong demonstrate the love of God by failing to honour His Word by preaching a different “gospel”? How many versions of the bible have you heard being used by Brian Houston to force his own interpretation into the text?
2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth”.
If they refuse to repent of their false gospel, are they demonstrating “love” for people by keeping them in ignorance, keeping them from obeying the truth of the gospel? In fact, rather than “loving” people , they are hurting people.
Finally, loving “life”. Loving life by laying that life down? Living a selfless and sacrificial life? Or does the Hillsong version of “loving life” simply mean being physically healthy, materially wealthy, and personally happy? Or more simply put, if this is true, “grace is obsolete, God is irrelevant, and man is the measure of all things”.
The misleading mission statement:
Mission Statement To reach and influence the world by building a large Christ-centered, Bible-based church, changing mindsets and empowering people to lead and impact in every sphere of life.
Once again, for Hillsong to call it self “Christ-centered” and “bible-based” doesn’t that mean they need to fulfill those requirements? Doesn’t this mean they need to present a biblical Jesus, rather than a moralistic, therapeutic deity that entices people into Word of Faith practices? We are yet to see a sermon where Hillsong handles the bible accurately at all. Is it right for Hillsong to parade such titles when they barely resemble the historic Christian faith?
Last but not least are Brian Houston’s Roman Catholic sounding visions (no other name right?):
The Church I See
The Church that I see is a Church of influence. A Church so large in size that the city and nation cannot ignore it. A Church growing so quickly that buildings struggle to contain the increase.
I see a Church whose heartfelt praise and worship touches Heaven and changes earth; worship which influences the praises of people throughout the earth, exalting Christ with powerful songs of faith and hope.
I see a Church whose altars are constantly filled with repentant sinners responding to Christ’s call to salvation.
Yes, the Church that I see is so dependent on the Holy Spirit that nothing will stop it nor stand against it; a Church whose people are unified, praying and full of God’s Spirit.
The Church that I see has a message so clear that lives are changed forever and potential is fulfilled through the power of His Word; a message beamed to the peoples of the earth through their television screens.
I see a Church so compassionate that people are drawn from impossible situations into a loving and friendly circle of hope, where answers are found and acceptance is given.
I see a people so Kingdom-minded that they will count whatever the cost and pay whatever the price to see revival sweep this land.
The Church that I see is a Church so committed to raising, training and empowering a leadership generation to reap the end-time harvest that all its ministries are consumed with this goal.
I see a Church whose head is Jesus, whose help is the Holy Spirit and whose focus is the Great Commission.
YES, THE CHURCH THAT I SEE COULD WELL BE OUR CHURCH – HILLSONG CHURCH.
– Brian Houston 1993
Note how his language and philosophy has changed. His vision contains Roman Catholic ecumenism, New Age tones, fascistic philosophy and totally lacking anything of biblical substance. How is this a good vision to have? You wouldn’t think He might include the gospel?
The Church I Now See
The church that I see is a global church. I see a global family: One house with many rooms, outworking a unified vision. I see a church apostolic in calling, and visionary in nature; committed to boldly impacting millions for Christ in significant cities and nations throughout the earth with the greatest of all causes – the Cause of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I see a church that champions the cause of local churches everywhere; encouraging them to be all that God has called them to be. A Church that refuses to be content with the triumphs of the past, but is constantly looking towards the future – filled with a vision that inspires and influences many.
Positioned in the heart of culture, in great diverse urban centres, I see buildings that struggle to contain the increase of all that God is doing; occupying land and places that are miraculous in provision and impossible to ignore.
I see a church that is big enough to dream on a global scale, yet personal enough for every ONE to find their place. I see a church that beckons ‘WELCOME HOME’ to every man, woman and child that walks through the doors.
The church that I see is a worshipping church whose songs reflect such a passion for Christ that others sense His magnificence and power. A distinct sound that emanates from a healthy church, contagious in spirit – creating music that resounds from villages and tribes to great cities and nations.
I see a church that is constantly innovative: A church that leads the communication of a timeless message through media, film, and technology. A church with a message beamed to people around the globe through their television screens, bringing JESUS into homes, palaces and prisons alike.
I see a church with a world-class college that raises, equips, and empowers generations of young, anointed leaders from across the globe. Graduates who serve God in all walks of life, released to salt the earth with dynamic ministries and churches throughout the continents of the world.
I see a church graced with layers of ‘once-in-a-generation’ type leaders – who are naturally gifted, spiritually potent and genuinely humble. Leaders who will pay the price and count the cost of impacting cities and nations with great, God-glorifying churches.
I see a church whose leadership is unified in their commitment to the authenticity, credibility and quality of its heart. Leaders who dare to be themselves, yet live secure in the knowledge that “what they are part of is bigger than the part they play.”
I see a church committed to an innovative NETWORK that connects hundreds of thousands of pastors and leaders and equips them to flourish. A network committed to the apostolic anointing of leaders who are desperate to see the Church of Jesus Christ rise up to live the un-lived life within her… His glorious Church.
I see like-spirited churches in cities of influence that exemplify faithfulness manifested in bricks and mortar. Churches with supernatural provision of buildings and properties standing as beacons of light that bring glory to God and hope to humanity.
I see a church that loves God, loves people and loves life. Youthful in spirit; generous at heart; faith-filled in confession; loving in nature and inclusive in expression.
Yes, the church that I see is committed to bringing the love and hope of Christ to impossible situations through the preaching of the Gospel and a mandate that drives us to do all we can to bring help and solution to a needy world. Whose head is Jesus, help is the Holy Spirit and whose focus is the Great Commission.
– Brian Houston 2014
Was Bonhoeffer being prophetic about today’s Hillsong visionaries and “visions”?
Ecumenism: A doctrine that attempts to find common ground with all faiths and beliefs systems, applying pressure on individuals or religious groups to unite together for the “greater good” at the expense of watering down the core foundations of the Christian faith.
The Christian Post reports,
Hillsong Conference Kicks Off with Over 24,000
Internationally-known Hillsong Church kicked off its annual conference Monday, drawing over 24,000 Christians from all around the world to Sydney, Australia.
While the charismatic megachurch is most well known for its music ministry, its annual conferences focus on providing practical tools to churches and leaders to more effectively make a positive difference in their local community and the world.
And that is true for this year’s conference “more than ever before,” according to Hillsong Senior Pastor Brian Houston.
“There is great strength in the Church coming together, and it makes a powerful statement to our city and nation that the Church of Jesus Christ is alive and strong!” Houston exclaimed prior to the July 7-11 gathering, according to U.K.-based Christian Today.
This year’s conference is Hillsong’s 22nd and has drawn Christians from 21 denominations around Australia and 70 other countries.
And like last year’s conference, Hillsong is again highlighting the biblical call for social justice.
In welcoming the conference delegates, Tim Costello, chief executive of World Vision Australia, praised U2 frontman and anti-poverty campaigner Bono as a prophet of the movement to eliminate global poverty.
“Bono understands we cannot make poverty history unless the church rises up,” he said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. In addition his music, the Irish rock star is known for often using his star power to get people aware of HIV and poverty in the world, especially in Africa.
Hillsong’s Houston said the word justice and the responsibility it implied was a key message of the conference.
In the opening session Monday night, Pastor Robert Barriger called Christians to action. “What matters is we are just the church and the church is the salt of the earth and we can make the world better. Just because we are the church.”
Barriger leads a church called Camino de Vida in Lima, Peru, where he has been a missionary for 25 years. His rapidly-growing church is involved in a range of social justice projects across the nation, including child health initiatives and the distribution of more than 40,000 wheelchairs to the physically challenged.
In addition to the call to justice, several other themes overarch the conference including uniting “the generations” and building strong local churches that are helping to bring answers, hope and a sense of community for people.
“This conference is not for the weak or fainthearted, yet it will encourage and raise those who are to ‘be strong and of exceptional courage,” the Hillsong team expressed in a statement to potential attendees. “For over 20 years the testimony of this gathering, has been churches, teams and individuals whose ‘rising’ has radically changed the world they influence.”
It’s a gathering of “[m]en, women and youth, whose passion is to make known and famous the God of their Salvation, and effectively communicate His Gospel to a searching, lost and dying humanity,” they added.
The event is also serving as a warm-up act to World Youth Day, which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of Catholic youth from Australia and around the world next week. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Catholic Church is borrowing Hillsong’s headline act for World Youth Day in its own attempt at mass youth evangelism. Hillsong’s worship pastor, Darlene Zschech, and her band will perform at a concert held after the Stations of the Cross on Friday, July 18.
Catholic World Youth Day events will take place July 15-20, ending with a papal mass that is expected to draw up to half a million people.
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)
For many years now, Christians throughout the world have spoken out against the unbiblical gospel that is presented by Australia’s Hillsong church. However, time and time again, the popular organization has refused to reform their ways. Their apathy for truth and right doctrine has lead many to suspect that the leadership of Hillsong know very little of biblical doctrine and the historic faith. Well, it is now safe to say our suspicions have, unfortunately, been confirmed.
Hillsong church are promoting and uniting with the gospel of the Roman Catholic religion. On a poster advertising World Youth Day, Hillsong worship leader Darlene Zschech says:
“We see WYD08 as a great opportunity to serve the Catholic Church in its vision to present the gospel and reach out to our city, our nation and our world in unity.” (Source)
The gospel, Darlene? Which gospel would that be?
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Source: By Symphony of Scripture, Hillsong Says: Reformers Fought for Nothing, Symphony of Scripture, 01/07/2008. (Archived: https://web.archive.org/web/20120326134319/http://www.symphonyofscripture.com/?p=1023#comments)
And if you don’t think that Hillsong endorses the Roman Catholic Cult today, hear is their approval of Pope Francis through their beloved Darlene Zschech.
“@crouchydon: God bless Pope Francis 1 .. May he lead the Catholic Church into her finest days yet…good news of the Gospel be experienced”
Queerstianity: A group of people that supposedly push no political or religious agenda but “share” their philosophy of tolerance and love onto others.” (Source: Urban Dictionary [slightly edited])
Brian Houston of Hillsong Church is slowly grooming his congregation to embrace the false “Gay Christianity” doctrine. To understand why this doctrine is such a blatant attack on the Christian faith please read our article below. We are aware how sensitive this Christian issue is and wish to deal with it respectfully. James White in the below article thoroughly refutes this false teaching.
Like Rick Warren, Brian Houston is a “vision-casting” multi-site prophet-pastor and mentor to what I’ve called an Evangelical Ecumenical Magisterium (EEM).1 This is important for you to know because Brian and Bobbie comprise the Senior Leadership2 of the HC, Australia launch known as Hillsong NYC (HCNYC), where “Pentecostal Powerhouse”3 Carl Lentz is Senior and Lead pastor.
Lentz, the alleged “Apostle of Cool,” is someone you need to be made aware of as:
Lentz co-founded Hillsong NYC with Joel Houston, 33-year-old son of Australian Pentecostal Hillsong Church founders Brian and Bobbie Houston. Together they have led the church, which has become a beacon for young people, for the last 2 1/2 years. (source)
The church is a branch of the popular Australian-based Hillsong Church, the Pentecostal church which draws more than 21,000 weekly to its services. Hillsong is best known for its concert-type settings where they play Christian rock and praise music, which often appeals to a younger demographic of churchgoers. (source)
Perhaps Lentz knows NYC’s other “punk pastor,” the homosexual-affirming Jay Bakker. In any event, as you can see, Carl Lentz has the tightest ties to the ringleaders of the HC mothership. Charisma magazine reporter Gina Meeks also informs us that about a year ago:
Carl Lentz, the unconventional pastor at Hillsong Church NYC, [was] featured in Detailsmagazine’s October issue in an article called “Jesus Christ’s Superstar (The Gospel According to Carl Lentz).”
“With the Lord as his swagger coach, the 34-year-old pastor is turning Hillsong Church in New York City into a Pentecostal powerhouse and a destination for the in crowd,” the story says…
An estimated 5,500 people show up every Sunday to its Irving Plaza location near Manhattan’s Union Square. Lentz, who sports tattoos and a half-shaved head, has been in the spotlight recently, including being the subject of a report from the Associated Press. The hipster pastor is well on his way to being this generation’s Billy Graham.
As the magazine displays in a clever infographic, Lentz has ties with celebrities such as Justin Bieber, NBA superstar Kevin Durant, Jeremy Lin and Vanessa Hudgens. “He is going to be huge,” pastor Priscilla Shirer predicted while she was guest speaking at the church, according to the Details feature. (source)
Lord willing, another time we’ll look further at this AC360 segment; but for now, it’s where Carl Lentz hedges concerning where he stands on the issue of the deviant and sinful lifestyle of having sexual relations with another of the same sex, i.e homosexuality, that is my focus here. This is typical of the cult of celebrity megapastor because to grow their little kingdoms they cannot risk offending anyone. Anyone but Jesus, anyway.
For a bit of backstory we go to Christian Post reporter Nicola Menzie and her 12/20/13 report Pastor Carl Lentz Will Not Preach on Sexuality From Pulpit; Refuses to ‘Ostracize People’ where she tells us, concerning Lentz’ view on homosexuality, that he feels it’s not in his job description to be someone’s “Judge and Jury.” You can just hear the applause; but the problem is, it’s not exactly true. As a pastor, it’s Lentz’ job to tell people what God has said, yet apparently in this case he won’t.
It’s God’s Word which judges (cf. Hebrews 4:12); but if he’s not telling people what the Lord has said in Scripture, then people are not going to know. And if Carl Lentz isn’t going to do so, then he needs to stop pretending to be a pastor; stop calling what he does ministry, and just be a full-on entertainer:
As pleasing to the world as what Lentz says sounds, at some point, he would still have to tell those practicing homosexuality they are in sin. Menzie now continues:
Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz has made it clear that he will not take a public stance on social issues like homosexuality because, as he said during media appearances this week, that is not the example Jesus Christ models in the Bible. (source)
Um, what? I’m not sure what Bible Lentz is reading, but with his people-pleasing postmodern “Gandhi with a beard Jesus,” I’m reminded here of something the late Bible scholar Dr. F.F. Bruce correctly pointed out about the real Christ Jesus of Nazareth:
The fewer preconceptions we bring from the outside to the reading of the Gospels, the more clearly shall we see Him as He really was. It is all too easy to believe in a Jesus Who is largely a construction of our own imagination—an inoffensive Person Whom no one would really trouble to crucify.
But the Jesus we meet in the Gospels, far from being an inoffensive Person, gave offense right and left. Even His loyal followers found Him, at times, thoroughly disconcerting. He upset all established notions of religious propriety.6
During the Hipster segment last night Carl Lentz was asked about issues relating to homosexuality and below is the clip containing his hedging:
Welcome to the wacky world of postmodernism. Remember before that supposedly Lentz doesn’t preach about sexuality, yet the first thing Poppy Harlow tells us about Carl Lentz is, “Some of his positions are clearer than others. Don’t get drunk, no sex before marriage.7 I’d have to say this is good; those positions are the correct ones according to Scripture; no problem there.
So, at HCNYC people are told it’s wrong to have sex before marriage. But wait a minute, I thought Carl Lentz didn’t want to be someone’s judge and jury? Well, it seems to me that he just doesn’t want to address the issue of homosexual relations because he seems to have made heterosexual relations clear enough. As far as LGBT people being welcome in someone’s church, of course we are to welcome people into our churches; that’s a red herring.
Harlow then gets to the point as she says that, “Every article I’ve read about you guys says you decline to discuss gay marriage.” It’s Lentz reply here that I want to zero in on:
Yes, it’s a misquote because I do discuss it, just not the way people want me too. When it comes to homosexuality, I refuse to let another human being or immediate moment dictate how we approach it. Jesus was in the thick of an era where homosexuality, just like it is today was widely prevalent. And I’m still waiting for someone to show me the quote were Jesus addressed it on the record in front of people. You won’t find it because he never did. (source)
We’re mentally off-roading into the postmodern mud again. Which is it Carl; you won’t preach about sexuality, or you do discuss it? The argument Lentz uses re. homosexuality is the same one used by postmodern liberal Emerging Church pastors like the aforementioned Jay Bakker. However, as I once told Bakker, the argument has already been used by the original liberals beginning in the late 1970′s and has long ago been debunked.8
I was truly kind of surprised to hear a “hipster” like the “Apostle of Cool” Carl Lentz, supposedly a mainstream evangelical minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, actually using such a lame argument as: Jesus never spoke about homosexuality. What follows now is really basic Christianity 101. In closing this, permit me pastor Carl, to show you from Scripture—the only “record” that matters—what Jesus Christ our Lord says about having sexual relations with a member of the same sex.
The infallible, inerrant Word of God, the Bible, absolutely addresses homosexuality. For example — You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22). In addition, the Bible also clearly teaches that Jesus of Nazareth is God (cf. John 1:1). By the way Carl, this would be the Jesus “in front of people” you want to talk about. In the Bible God already addressed the issue of homosexuality in the Old Testament (OT); therefore, whatever God says concerning homosexuality in the OT, Jesus—the LORD God Almighty Himself in human flesh—also says concerning homosexuality.
You with me so far pastor Carl? In the New Testament (NT) Christ Jesus tells us God the Holy Spirit would speak for Him (cf. John 16:13-14). The Bible teaches that God does not change (cf. Malachi 3:6); and therefore, Jesus Christ does not change (cf. Hebrews 13:8). The teachings concerning homosexuality spoken by the Vicar of Christ, God the Holy Spirit, in the NT are in complete agreement with those of the OT. For example:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Are you going to now get after me for using so-called “clobber verses” here Carl? That’s what someone like Jay Bakker or Rob Bell, who also use the argument you’re using, would do. Even so, let’s look at Romans 1:
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (Romans 1:24-27)
The absolute Truth is that in Romans chapter one we are informed that the LORD God Almighty’s patience will (and possibly now has) run out concerning issues like this. In verse 26 we read — Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. It should be obvious enough we are being told here that what we will read next would be considered shameful lusts by the Creator.
Now notice that this has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with a particular culture may think, but rather, with what God Himself as Creator judges universally to be shameful lusts. The b part of verse 26 — Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. The logical question that should arise now is: What are these natural relations women exchange here for unnatural ones.
God the Holy Spirit anticipates this question, and then provides our answer through His inspired vessel Paul in Verse 27 — In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. We see then — In the same way as the women the men also abandoned — or exchanged — natural relations with women for unnatural ones. So now from this passage of Scripture we really should understand that according to the created order, the LORD God Almighty—the very Creator of the universe Himself—has in fact defined “natural” sexual relations to be that which occurs between one man with one woman after marriage.
As a result therefore, the Bible then defines sexual activity between members of the same sex as being “unnatural.” And this is also reinforced in the b part of verse 27 — Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Now we can put all of this together and come to the realization that, according to Holy Scripture, God refers to sexual relations between members of the same sex as shameful lusts. Homosexuality is also said to be abandoning natural relations and being inflamed with lust (a sin in and of itself) for a member of one’s own sex.
Verse 27 lists this among indecent acts and clearly refers to homosexuality as perversion. There is just no way around what these texts are saying because this passage of the Bible concerns proper sexual conduct for men and women—period. Further, this is part of the created order itself, and so it would apply to all mankind regardless of the cultural mores of any generation. Finally pastor Carl, as I recently pointed out in Jesus Already Defined marriage For His Creation, Christ is actually speaking below from the perspective of an eyewitness when He quite clearly defines His marriage covenant for us:
And Pharisees came up to Him and tested Him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that He Who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” (Matthew 19:3-7)
It’s patently obvious that Jesus has just defined marriage as a male [man] to a female [woman], which is exactly how it was understood when it was spoken by Christ “on the record in front of people.” So based upon what Jesus has just said, from a Biblical standpoint, we see that any homosexual activity will always be outside of the marriage covenant, As such then, homosexual relations are to be considered among the sins sexual immorality from which God has told us we are to flee (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:18).
Pastor Carl, you should be able to see that there’s no way around this; at least for one who holds the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God, and to the Deity of Christ. The LORD God has spoken in both the OT and the NT condemning the practice of homosexuality as sin. And you simply cannot separate God the Father and God the Son on this issue. Jesus did address sexual immorality, which includes homosexuality, and He most likely felt that as God He didn’t stutter the first time in the OT, and so, His view was already clear enough for the NT.
So there you go pastor Carl, on the record: God the Father, God the Son, Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit, all condemn sexual relations with a member of the same sex as sin. It’s really not that hard, if you know the Word of God. This is what God has said; and it doesn’t matter at all what the professing Christian or the unbeliever feels about this. As Christians we must love precious LGBT souls, for whom Christ died, enough to tell them the truth.
Pastor Carl, it is not unloving to tell someone the truth; however, it is actually hateful to withhold it from them.
James MacDonald, co-host of the ignominious Elephant Room (ER) conferences along with New Calvinist Mark Driscoll have used these ER conferences as the source of what appears to me to be a new emerging self-appointed EEM. This EEM is comprised of multi-site megachurch prophet-pastors who participated in ER as well as some of those who pioneered this Seeker Driven phenomenon such as Rick Warren and Craig Groeschel. ↩
Source: By Ken Silva, NYC HILLSONG HIPSTER PASTOR CARL LENTZ HEDGING ON HOMOSEXUALITY, Apprising, http://apprising.org/2014/06/04/nyc-hillsong-hipster-pastor-carl-lentz-hedging-on-homosexuality/, 04/06/2014. (Accessed 06/06/2014.)
Queerstianity: A group of people that supposedly push no political or religious agenda but “share” their philosophy of tolerance and love onto others.” (Source: Urban Dictionary [slightly edited])
One of the reasons why we are monitoring the Hillsong Church is because of it’s ecumenical bullying. Hillsong has been pushing on Christianity various beliefs that oppose essential truths of the Christian faith. If you oppose their ecumenical love you are accused of being “critical” or “religious”.
The point of this series of articles is not to make this about what people think is the “Gay Issue”. The issue we are about to address is more important.
The problem is the “Christian Issue” and the Christian issue is this: we have Brian Houston of Hillsong Church operating as a spiritual fraud, claiming to represent the Christian faith in Australia and supposedly speak on behalf of God. We would like to make it very clear that Brian Houston is not a Christian. He disqualifies himself as a Christian and a pastor. Furthermore, he exposes himself again and again of being a false teacher and an enemy of Jesus.
He does not represent the Christian faith. In fact, we have exposed the fact he teaches a counterfeit faith to the Christian faith, a counterfeit gospel rather than the Christian gospel and a Jesus that is a counterfeit to the Christian Jesus. His beliefs are more in line with New Age/Occult/ Fascist paradigms than the Christian worldview.
Now Brian is grooming Christians in his movement to embrace the false “Gay Christian” doctrine. This is a VERY sensitive issue yet very black and white within the Christian world view. We are simply being obedient to God’s Word to expose the wickedness and deceit behind Brian Houston and other men’s push to redefine Christianity to suit their own selfish ambitions. There are some very good resources available that explain why it is a lie to embrace Gay Christianity.
We hope to add more resources over time.
White Horse Inn Radio covers this issue with sensitivity,
How can we discern between helpful and unhelpful ways to reach out to our non-Christian neighbors? More particularly, how should we deal with the thorny subject of homosexuality or interact with those in our lives who deal with same-sex attraction? To help us navigate these waters, in this edition of White Horse Inn we talk with Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. She describes her previous life as a “lesbian feminist professor” in recently published book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.
Fighting for the Faith hosting Chris Rosebrough examines the Gay Christianity controversy against the scriptures,
Program segments: • California Baptist Church Changes View on Homosexuality After Pastor’s Son Comes Out Gay • Al Mohler Responds to the First Gay Affirming SBC Church. • Debunking Matthew Vines’ Bible Twisting • Sermon Review: Drift: Emotional Health by Youth Pastor Caleb of Narrate Church
Dividing Line Radio with Dr James White does an exceptional job covering this issue,
The complete response to Matthew Vines is now available as a single program. Yes its five hours and nine minutes long, (72meg in size), but the world needs to hear this message. We believe this so much that we have decided to make this publicly available to be distributed for free. Share it with your friends and relatives. We’ve titled it “Gay Christianity” Refuted and only ask that you not change it or sell it. All fair use rules apply for criticism too.
You can play it here or right click and download it. All that we ask is that if you are edified by it please consider supporting this work on a regular basis. There is more where that came from Lord willing.
Here is Dr Albert Mohler’s piece that is worth understanding:
There Is No ‘Third Way’ — Southern Baptists Face a Moment of Decision (and so will you)
Southern Baptists will be heading for Baltimore in just a few days, and the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention is to be held in a city that has not hosted the convention since 1940. This time, Baptists attending the meeting will face an issue that would not have been imaginable just a few years ago, much less in 1940 — a congregation that affirms same-sex relationships.
Just days before the convention, news broke that a congregation in suburban Los Angeles has decided to affirm same-sex sexuality and relationships. In an hour-long video posted on the Internet, Pastor Danny Cortez explains his personal change of mind and position on the issue of homosexuality and same-sex relationships. He also addressed the same issues in a letter posted at Patheos.com.
In the letter, Cortez describes a sunny day at the beach in August of 2013 when “I realized I no longer believed in the traditional teachings regarding homosexuality.”
Shortly thereafter, he told his 15-year-old son that he “no longer believed what he used to believe.” His son responded with an even more direct word to his father: “Dad, I’m gay.” As Cortez writes, “My heart skipped a beat and I turned towards him and we gave one another the biggest and longest hug as we cried. And all I could tell him was that I loved him so much and that I accepted him just as he is.”
According to the pastor, events then came rather quickly. On February 7, 2014, his son, Drew, posted a “coming out video” on YouTube. Two days later, the pastor told his church about his new position on the issue (also posted on the Internet). In his message to the New Heart Community Church congregation, Cortez admitted that his “new position” represented a “radical shift” that put him into conflict with both the position of the church and the convictions of the denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention. He acknowledged that his change of heart on the issue of homosexuality put him at odds with the SBC’s confession of faith, theBaptist Faith & Message.
In his letter, the pastor said that his aim was to see the congregation “allow for grace in the midst of disagreement.” To his regret, he said, many in the church were not pleased and the church had to consider whether to terminate the pastor. After voting on March 9 to prolong the time of consideration and prayer, the church voted on May 18 not to dismiss the pastor and “to instead become a Third Way church.”
Cortez cited Vineyard pastor Ken Wilson’s book, released earlier this year,A Letter to My Congregation. Wilson, who serves a Vineyard church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, describes his book as “an evangelical pastor’s path to embracing people who are gay, lesbian, and transgender in the company of Jesus.” Wilson argues that, even as he has come to affirm same-sex behaviors and relationships, the issue need not divide congregations or Christians.
Pastor Cortez cited Wilson’s argument as foundational to the position he and his church are now taking — “agree to disagree and not cast judgment on one another.”
But, there is no third way. A church will either believe and teach that same-sex behaviors and relationships are sinful, or it will affirm them. Eventually, every congregation in America will make a public declaration of its position on this issue. It is just a matter of time (and for most churches, not much time) before every congregation in the nation faces this test.
The impossibility of a “third way” is made clear in Pastor Cortez’s own letter.
In one paragraph, he writes:
“So now, we will accept the LGBT community even though they may be in a relationship. We will choose to remain the body of Christ and not cast judgement. We will work towards graceful dialogue in the midst of theological differences. We see that this is possible in the same way that our church holds different positions on the issue of divorce and remarriage. In this issue we are able to not cast judgement in our disagreement.”
But in the very next paragraph, he writes:
“Unfortunately, many who voted to remain traditional will now separate from us in a couple of weeks. We are in the period of reconciliation and forgiveness. Please pray for us in this. Then on June 8, we will formally peacefully separate, restate our love for one another, and bless each other as we part ways. It has been a very tiring and difficult process.”
In two successive paragraphs the pastor refutes himself. His church is notgoing to take a middle ground. He states clearly that “we will accept the LGBT community even though they may be in a relationship.” And his church did not unanimously “agree to disagree,” for a significant portion of the church is leaving on June 8, just 48 hours before the Southern Baptist Convention convenes in Baltimore. Many “who voted to remain traditional” are now forced by conviction to leave the church.
Why? Because there is no “third way.” The New Heart Community Church has voted to “accept the LGBT community even though they may be in a relationship.” Even if it is claimed that some continuing members of the church are in disagreement with the new policy and position, they will be members of a church that operates under that new policy. At the very least, their decision to remain in the congregation is a decision to stay within a church that affirms same-sex behaviors and relationships. That is not a middle position. It is not a “third way.”
For some time now, it has been increasingly clear that every congregation in this nation will be forced to declare itself openly on this issue. That moment of decision and public declaration will come to every Christian believer, individually. There will be no place to hide, and no place safe from eventual interrogation. The question will be asked, an invitation will be extended, a matter of policy must be decided, and there will be no refuge.
There is no third way on this issue. Several years ago, I made that argument and was assailed by many on the left as being “reductionistically binary.” But, the issue is binary. A church will recognize same-sex relationships, or it will not. A congregation will teach a biblical position on the sinfulness of same-sex acts, or it will affirm same-sex behaviors as morally acceptable. Ministers will perform same-sex ceremonies, or they will not.
Interestingly, a recent point of agreement on this essential point has come from an unexpected source. Tony Jones, long known as a leader in the “emerging church” has written that there is no “third way” on same-sex marriage. As Jones notes, denominations may study the issue for some time, but eventually it will take a vote. At that point, it will either allow for same-sex marriage, or not.
In his words:
“And the same goes for an individual congregation. At some point, every congregation in America will decide either, YES, same-sex marriages will take place in our sanctuary, performed by our clergy; or NO, same-sex marriages will not take place in our sanctuary, performed by our clergy. There is no third way on that. A church either allows same-sex marriages, or it doesn’t.”
Tony Jones and I stand on opposite sides of this issue, but on the impossibility of a “third way” we are in absolute agreement. Conservative evangelicals have understood this for some time. It is interesting that those on the left now understand the issue in the same “binary” terms. There is no middle position.
Once again, Tony Jones gets right to the essential point:
“What I’m saying is that a church or an organization can study the issue in theory, and they can even do so for years. But this isn’t really a ‘third way’ or a ‘middle ground.’ Instead, it is a process. And at some point, that process has to end and practices have to be implemented. At that point, there’s no third way. You either affirm marriage equality in your practices, or you do not.”
Actually, as we have seen, Pastor Cortez makes the same point. The practice of his congregation is now to accept openly-gay members and members in openly-gay relationships. That does not allow for any middle ground, and that is why his church faces an exodus of members next Sunday.
Now, the Southern Baptist Convention also faces a moment of unavoidable decision. A church related to the Convention has officially adopted a gay-affirming position. The Baptist Faith & Message, the denomination’s confession of faith, states that homosexuality is immoral and that marriage is “the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.”
Furthermore, the Convention’s constitution states explicitly that any congregation that endorses homosexual behavior is “not in cooperation with the Convention,” and thus excluded from its membership.
There is nothing but heartbreak in this situation. Here we face a church that has rejected the clear teachings of Scripture, the affirmations of its confession of faith, and two millennia of Christian moral wisdom and teaching. But the Convention also faces a test of its own resolve and convictional courage.
I am confident that the Southern Baptist Convention will act in accordance with its own convictions, confession of faith, and constitution when messengers to the Convention gather next week in Baltimore. But every single evangelical congregation, denomination, mission agency, school, and institution had better be ready to face the same challenge, for it will come quickly, and often from an unexpected source. Once it comes, there is no middle ground, and no “third way.”
Sooner or later — and probably sooner — the answer of every church and Christian will be either yes or no.
Apologist expert Walter Martin writes how Jesus did condemn homosexuality,
Jesus does condemn homosexuality
I first became interested in the issues of homosexuality in the early 1950′s when I was a graduate student at New York University centered in Greenwich Village in New York. It was in that particular area I came in contact with every conceivable kind of deviation from the norm, shall we say, and particularly there was a tremendous amount of homosexuality apparent out in the open, and even flaunted at that particular time.
Today [circa 1980], of course, we have gay lobbies, legislation being proposed for the benefit of the gay community; we have gay public relation departments, we have the phrase, “Gays of the World Unite,” and we have about us, on every side, the media quite obviously trying, or attempting, to give the gays—or the homosexuals—a fair shake. I don’t think you can honestly evaluate the problem and look squarely at it from the perspective of Biblical theology without being provoked in your thought processes and in your spiritual nature.
The 17th chapter of the Book of the Acts, the Apostle Paul in Athens, was provoked by the evil he saw about him. In that case it happened to be idolatry in which the whole city was given over to the worship of idols. Now had the Apostle not been provoked in his spirit and become angry, spiritually, at the evil—not the people—but the evil they were practicing and which held them in bondage, he would never have had an opportunity to go to the Areopagus, which was the court that heard public speakers and licensed them to talk in Athens.
And had he never debated in the marketplace, and made it a basic issue for everyday communication, he would never have had the opportunity to preach his message on Mars Hill. So what got him to Mars Hill and out [into] the marketplace where people could listen to him on the higher echelons of learning, and to penetrate and to permeate all other levels—as a result—was the fact that within himself he was provoked at the presence of evil.
And I think the Christian Church has to be provoked, always, at the presence of evil. The great sin of the church today, and there are a number, is that we are apathetic, lethargic—happy to go along with the tide—and courageous when it doesn’t cost us something. And because of that, today we have a whole community of individuals for whom Jesus Christ died—the gay community—and they’re not being ministered to, they’re not being penetrated, they’re not being successfully evangelized.
And because the church will not move forward, [it] has become essentially impotent in the area because it doesn’t want to “get involved.” Evangelical Christianity has drawn back from the conflict, liberal Christianity has plunged into it; not with the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the soul, but attempting to find some rationale for the permission of the acts—which of course is and scholastic, theological, and historical madness.
Now there are people who say, “Well, there are convincing arguments put forward by homosexuals who are good theologians.” There is no good theological theologian; and the reason why there isn’t any good homosexual theologian is, to adopt the position, you must vitiate Biblical revelation. And this is something nobody wants to face. I am vigorously opposed to the prostitution of Holy Scripture in defense of what God has considered one of the most vile of all acts.
Now that’s just plain Biblical revelation that has to be faced. And someone will say, “Well, that’s a very hard line.” It’s mitigated by God’s attitude toward Sodom and Gomorrah before He destroyed [them]. Let us no forget that before the Lord rained fire and sulfur on Sodom that He first was willing to spare the city. That He first loved enough—despite the evil—to say, “Find 50, find 10, find 5, who were justified and I’ll spare it.”
It was not an arbitrary, capricious, annihilation of a city; it was the result of cosmic judgment because love was rejected, judgment ensues. Now, there are those who take a very hard line on homosexuality; and when they take too hard a line, they forget that the homosexual is a victim of sin. What is sin? It is defined for us as transgression of the Law; and all unrighteousness is sin. Now if we accept that, the next question which must follow logically is: What saith the Law?
For if sin is unrighteousness, and all unrighteousness is sin—and sin is described in the context of the Law—you would automatically have to go to the Law to find out what it was. That’s if you know anything about exegesis and Biblical hermeneutics, you’d have to do it. And immediately when you go to the Torah you find God saying, “Cursed is any man that lies with a man as with woman.” I don’t even think that needs interpretation.
I don’t think it needs blackboard diagram; or any amount of sophisticated logical presentation a fortiori. I think you can be a fifth-grader and understand that if God says “cursed” is something He takes an extremely dim view of it. I think that’s a rational approach. So the homosexual theologians who are attempting today to defend homosexuality on the basis of Biblical theology are in the same position as the Sadducees, to whom Jesus addressed this remark: “You do err. Not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God.”
That’s exactly where they are. They are trying to put Christianity and homosexuality in the same bed; and you’re not gonna do it because Jesus Christ very forcibly condemned it. And you say, “Where in the New Testament did Jesus ever mention homosexuality?” Open your Bibles and find out; because contrary to what the gay church says, He not only spoke against it—He went out of His way to make it very clear [so] nobody’d misunderstand Him.
Of course, you do have to study your Greek New Testament to come up with it. Most homosexual theologians, so-called, that I have talked to don’t even know the Greek alphabet, much less their Greek exegesis so they miss it completely—but it’s here in the passage and it should be looked at. Matthew, chapter 15, Christ is speaking, verse 19, “For out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murders,” notice the differentiation, “adulteries, fornications,” plural, “thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”
“These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.” “The word homosexual is not there; what are you arguing about?” I’m arguing about the use of the word porneus, which was found written over the wall, and the doorway, and the arches, in excavations [by] archaeologists of Roman brothels. And the word porneus did not mean “sex before marriage” alone.
It meant homosexuality, bestiality, and all forms of degraded sex. And it became well known to everybody in the culture, if any of them ever did their homework, that porneus referred to anything goes. Jesus well knew the Roman brothels. He well knew the culture of His time; and when He said adulteries and fornications—plural—He was making a direct reference to the practices of the Romans and the Greeks and the pagans of the time who prostituted themselves to all forms of evil.
He knew it; He condemned it. It’s not just the matter of the word, it’s a matter of the culture; and Jesus certainly understood the culture of His time—if He didn’t, nobody did. And therefore, when He used the word fornications, He obviously was making reference to all forms—all forms, inclusive forms—of that which was the deviation from the norm of Jewish law.
And the reason I can say that with such dogmatism is because He was a rabbi. And if a rabbi didn’t know Jewish law on the subject of homosexuality, nobody on earth knew it. Jesus was a rabbi; a master of the Law. In fact, He was the only person that could ever say to a man on the Sabbath day, “Take up your bed and go home.” And when He was questioned on it He responded in John, chapter 5, that He could loose the Law of the Sabbath any time He wanted to for the Son of Man was Yahveh of the Sabbath.
Which meant He could do whatever He wanted with His Own Law because it was His. I do think that we have forgotten the fact that universe belongs to Somebody else; that this creation was ordained by Somebody Who had a specific plan in mind. He did not make Adam 1 and Adam 2. He made Adam and Eve. Now if He wanted to have the “gift” of homosexuality bestowed upon His creation, I feel He would have bent over backwards to explain to us that homosexual love was perfectly acceptable, as was heterosexual love.
And we would have had more partners in the Garden; but we don’t have more partners in the Garden, because what the Creator designed as natural, He says is natural. Not us, He says it’s natural. Now our homosexual revisionist theologians say that [homosexuality] is a gift from God. No, it’s a gift from Satan; because it is sin, and is a transgression of what God says, not obedience.
Who is the first transgressor; the liar and the murderer from the beginning. Who first broke the Law? Satan. Who first disrupted the natural order of heaven; which was the love of God and fellowship with Him. Satan. Who penetrated creation and destroyed… Satan. Who penetrated the Garden and led [Adam and Eve] astray; “You will not die, you will become gods.” Satan.
Who has always deviated from the norm of divine revelation? Satan. And who today is trying to put Christ and homosexuality together? Satan. And it’s against this that the church must stand. There is a basic theological issue that must not be debated; it just simply must be affirmed. Jesus condemned all unnatural sexual practices. And that definition would come under the Law, which He Himself gave.
It was Christ Who gave Moses the Law on Sinai. If you don’t know that, you don’t even know the rudiments of Biblical theology; because in the 3rd chapter of Exodus, the Voice that spoke from the burning bush said, “AhYah Asher AhYah, I Am That I Am.” And Jesus Christ, to the Jews in John chapter 8—verse 58 said, “AhYah; I Am the eternal God.” The minute He said that, they reach for rocks.
They didn’t need any diagrams, they knew Who He said He was… Now I think, therefore, the bedrock position must be established; theologically, there is no room for homosexuality inthe revelation of God. There isn’t room, really, for it to be debated seriously. It simply has to faced for what it is; the practice is condemned by a divine curse.
Source: http://apprising.org/2011/03/21/jesus-does-condemn-homosexuality/, Published 21/03/2011. (Accessed 06/06/2014.)
Hillsong advertised their 2013 Hillsong Conference in a disgraceful manner. To the non-discerning Christian, they would not pick up on the liberal language or agenda within the below blurb.
When you read the below information aboout the conference, notice how this revival is all about YOU. Don’t you think it is odd that they are promoting “revival” but down-playing the importance of “astounding bible teachers”. How can you have a Christian “revival” if the Word of God is not the focus? What to do you think is being emphasised at this conference if it is not God’s Word?
If you find the language below disturbing and would like to know where Hillsong is leading Australian Christianity, please view this important presentation by Chris Rosebrough. At the beginning of this year of 2014, Brian Houston made it clear that Hillsong is founded on the people. In other words, the volk. It is the people’s church. This is why Hillsong is so liberal and convoluted in their below description of the 2013 Hillsong Conference.
This is Revival
Revival is an awakening. A revitalization; a return to former glory. The Church, Christ’s body, suddeny shakes off it’s slumber and once again is re-animated, alert to a day of opportunity
This invitation to the 2013 Hillsong Conference is not about an annual event, a show, nor a grand line up of astounding bible teachers or artists.
It is about our collective here and now, and it is about the future. It is about HIS CHURCH on the earth today knowing her message, mandate and strategic moment in the chronicles of history. It is about the Church of Jesus Christ rising and weaving God’s master plan of redemption across the earth.
Revival begins in us. It is a personal awakening that in turn awakens others. It is fuelled by God’s Spirit and Word and by the purity of unity that commands His blessing (Psalm 133).
It was imagined, prayed for, and prophesied of by the faithful and fervent of former days and it is the unprecedented reality that we are living in today. Auditoriums and stadiums built for secular events, are now housing the Church alive, commissioned and mobilized.
Without doubt our most glorious and fruitful days are before us all. Our prayer is that you, your family and church will be refreshed, revived and empowered more than ever.
Our prayer is that the twelve months leading into the twenty-thirteen Hillsong Conference gathering will be “crowned with His goodness and favor” (Psalm 65) – and that the depth, breadth, reach and richness of true REVIVAL will be your portion. Our prayer is that our magnificent 2013 guests will again unleash and water the potential within our collective lives.
Across the communities, cities and nations of the earth there are still multitudes in the valleys of decision and despair … this is our moment, this is our Great Commission, this is our day, THIS IS REVIVAL.
Elsewhere Hillsong states, regarding their 2013 Conference:
Hillsong Conference is about you, your Church and seeing God’s Kingdom advance across the earth. Hundreds of churches from across Australia, Europe, and the world at large are represented at Hillsong Conference.
We do not take lightly the power and strength in unity and the opportunity this is to pour into you and your House. This is your chance for you to lean in, receive and take home practical teachings you can outwork in your own church home, family and community.
For Hillsong Conference 2013, we have the strength and experience of our outstanding guests.
In Sydney, we have Rick Warren, Judah Smith, Joel & Victoria Osteen, Craig Groeschel, Kari Jobe and the Hillsong team who are passionate about the Church and seeing her be all God has called her to be.
In London, we have the pleasure of welcoming Louie Giglio and Chris Tomlin to the platform, together with the Hillsong team.
We believe you will be greatly impacted and enriched as world-renown church leaders and speakers practically share from the Word and their experience with you.
Kari Jobe, Chris Tomlin and the Hillsong team reach thousands for Jesus across the globe through their music. What an honour to worship together as we touch Heaven and stir up revival.
We have 3 streams; Empowering Leadership, Creative Worship and Because We Can. Within these streams we have electives, each with a specific focus to help you in your personal life, ministry and business. These break-out sessions are designed to unpack different areas of ministry, with practical tools and knowledge to help take you and your team forward.
We apologise for not sourcing the above before Hillsong removed this information. However, it was collected on the 23/10/2012. It is also interesting to note that this copy and paste job was done by Brian Houston to Facebook:
Hillsong Conference 2013 New York City
For the first time ever Hillsong Conference is coming to the Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Hillsong Conference is about you, your Church and seeing God’s Kingdom advance across the earth. Hundreds of churches from across Australia, Europe, and the world at large are represented at Hillsong Conference.
We do not take lightly the power and strength in unity and the opportunity this is to pour into you and your House. This is your chance for you to lean in, receive and take home practical teachings you can outwork in your own church home, family and community.
Join us as we champion the cause of local churches throughout America.
For more info and to register please visit hillsongconference.com/usa
Brian & Bobbie Houston
Joel Houston & UNITED
I believe that the mandate of Hillsong Conference is inclusive, it is about teaching and resourcing, equipping and empowering, but it is also about gathering and learning from one another, with an outward focus that says we can do more together. – Brian Houston.
Source: Brian Houston, Hillsong Conference 2013 New York City, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/events/176552642485047/, Event Created on the 29 November 2012 at 10:29. (Accessed 16/02/2014.)
The subjective nonsense spouted in their advertisements is abhorrent. The point of the conference is deliberately blurred through post-modern obfuscation. Their aim is to keep advertising Brian Houston’s God-given vision of championing the cause of the local church. In other words, they impose their dangerous movement onto more vulnerable churches through their music, teachings and dangerous cult-like methodologies through various appealing means. They say their conference is all about God. They say all the right things.
But more importantly, to hide their agenda, they make sure they target you and make sure their conference is all about you. Do not fall for their marketing gimmicks. Hillsong is not about God. It is not about you. It is about them.