Many people assume that the origins of Hillsong originated from Charismaticism, Pentecostalism or the Salvation Army. This is not true.
Hillsong’s roots were founded in the Canadian New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) cult. Today, this is internationally recognised as the New Apostolic Reformation cult.
This series of articles looks at the history of the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) and how it overran the AOG in NZ, the AOG in Australia and how this was done through Frank Houston, the founder of Hillsong/Christian Life Center. In this article, we will provide more concrete evidence of how Hillsong’s founder, Frank Houston, became heavily involved with the NOLR cult teachings, specifically through NOLR ministers such as David Batterham and Ray Bloomfield (even though they believed they were Pentecostal ministers).
You can read our first article to see how Frank Houston was influenced by the New Order of the Latter Rain cult through the teachings of false prophet and fraudulent healer William Branham:
The origins of Hillsong (Part 1): The New Order of the Latter Rain
RECOLLECTION OF PENTECOSTALISM’S CONDEMNATION OF NOLR TEACHING
It is important to recall that the Pentecostal AOG denomination condemned the teachings and practices of the New Order of the Latter Rain, specifically:
1. The overemphasis relative to imparting, identifying, bestowing or confirming gifts by the laying on of hands and prophesy.
2. The erroneous teaching that the church is built upon the foundation of present day apostles and prophets.
3. The extreme teaching as advocated by the “new order” regarding the confession of sin to man and deliverance as practiced, which claims prerogatives to human agency which belong only to Christ.
4. The erroneous teaching concerning the impartation of the gift of languages as special equipment for missionary service.
5. The extreme and unscriptural practice imparting or imposing personal leading by the means of utterance.
Even though the American AOG condemned these teachings of the New Order of the Latter Rain, they did not scrutinise all of the NOLR teachings. The NOLR kept evolving in its theology and embracing new and often bizarre teachings.
Another aspect of the early Latter Rain movement was their emphasis on end times revival and church growth. Those would usher in this growth revival were “present day apostles and prophets” which the NOLR teach are governing and restoring the church and ushering in the Kingdom of God.
Oddly, Frank Houston also was known for passing the buck and responsibility of a pastor and carried an unhealthy desire to be a church growth leader. He was driven by results. Divine kingdom manifestation results.
In this article, you will notice how Frank Houston preached not the good news of salvation but the false ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’ good news of William Branham. The belief is that no one will believe the true gospel or believe God is alive unless they see signs and wonders. People in the end put their faith not in Jesus and his cross but in the person and the manifestations that around their ministry. You will notice this is what qualified Frank Houston as a minister in the Salvation Army and the New Zealand AOG, NOT his biblical or pastoral qualifications.
EYE WITNESS DETAILS OF THE NOLR INFLUENCING FRANK HOUSTON
Thankfully, Hazel Houston records Frank Houston (in her book ‘Being Frank’), practicing the New Order of the Latter Rain teachings in his ministry.
On pages 50-51, Hazel Houston captured a breath-taking event where Frank Houston tried to negotiate with a youth to not take his life. The youth eventually “flung his gun on the floor” and decided to sleep off “his bout of drinking” (pg. 50). Hazel records Frank complaining to God about ministry and whined, “I thought that ministry would be peaceful”. (Clearly Frank Houston neglected to read the lives of Jesus and His Apostles in the New Testament.)
And although a “sprinkling of converts gave their lives to the Lord in the twelve months” the Houston’s were at Hawera, this was “not enough” to Frank Houston who thought “this was not enough to satisfy a heart hungry to win souls” (pg. 50).
“Frank wanted more of God. He knelt at the altar at officers’ councils searching for the elusive experience called Holiness. He never found it.”
Hazel ended the chapter with this comment:
“In our next church God would give us a taste of His power. The full answer was still some years away.”
The next chapter is conveniently titled, ‘Blow A Strange Wind’. Indeed it was a strange wind the Houstons embraced. It was in this chapter we wrote about the NOLR teacher William Branham influencing Frank Houston. But we wish to open up the chapter with another few people that influenced Frank Houston in their new church at Levin, New Zealand:
“We studied our people. Amongst them there were the Allisons, a mother and daughter who claimed to be Spirit-filled, and a seventy-year-old man who loved cricket and declared that silence always woke him up, and his wife. These people, with Ernie Hill, his wife and two sons, who moved into the town soon after we did, influenced the direction of our ministry. They, too, claimed to have an experience with the Holy Spirit.”
Source: By Hazel Houston, Published 1989 (UK: Scott Publications), Being Frank, pg. 52. [Emphasis ours]
While Hazel Houston said that she dismissed all of Pentecostalism from her mind, she informs her readers that, “Frank knew less about it until those four Pentecostal people talked to him” (pg. 52). She then goes on to describe that Frank had a supernatural encounter while he was praying in his empty Salvation Army hall. The experience frightened him and he called his church to prayer over the following days.
This is where Hazel Houston’s language get’s VERY interesting (see if you pick it up):
“Sixteen people turned up. Some stayed a short while and went on to work. Others were able to stay an hour and a half but all stormed the gates of heaven.
A week later the Holiness meeting throbbed with power.” (pg. 52)
The Houston’s saw a “hidden force” in this meeting at work and claimed “This was the Holy Spirit at work”. The following week,
“Sunday morning was even more powerful. This time the whole congregation was touched. There was no sermon, no altar call yet the people flocked to the front. Frank burst into weeping. He turned to me and asked me to carry on but I was also weeping. I turned to the organist. She was weeping. The Holy Spirit alone was in control as conviction swept the congregation. This was a totally new experience. We believed we were touching revival…
… One Sunday a group of Methodists walking past the hall on their way home from their own service sensed an unusual power emanating from our building.”
Source: By Hazel Houston, Published 1989 (UK: Scott Publications), Being Frank, pg. 52-53. [Emphasis ours]
Hopefully you are recognising the AOG list of identifying features and teachings of the NOLR emerging in Hazel Houston’s language ideas:
- “all stormed the gates of heaven”
- “the Holiness meeting throbbed with power”
- “the whole congregation was touched”
- “there was no sermon”
- “the Holy Spirit … swept the congregation”
- “this was a totally new experience”
- “we believed we were touching revival”
- “sensed an unusual power emanating from our building”
This is not Pentecostal nor Charismatic talk – this is NOLR/NAR talk.
As you can see, it was Pentecostalism that condemned the Latter Rain Movement – but it was the confused New Zealand Pentecostals that were leading and influencing Frank Houston with the condemned Latter Rain practices. They thought that the teachings and practices of the NOLR were Pentecostal.
Nothing can be further from the truth – and yet no one from the Salvation Army or the established Pentecostal condemned the Latter Rain heretical practices happening as Frank Houston grew in prominence in the eyes of New Zealand Christians.
It was not long after these “Holiness” power meetings that a “Pentecostal” gave Frank Houston the books on NOLR teacher William Branham.
This all happened in their church in Levin, New Zealand.
When Frank Houston and his wife were moved to their next church, they were involved in a scandal and subsequently left the Salvation Army altogether. According to Hazel Houston, her husband backslid into depression, bad health, financial ruin and gave up on God and church altogether. At this time Frank Houston changed jobs from a door-to-door salesman to a “dry-cleaning man”.
THE LATTER RAIN INFLUENCE OF RAY BLOOMFIELD
A youth by the name of Tony Austin met Frank Houston on the job and invited him to his Queen St AOG church. In Chapter 5 (titled ‘Fire Falls), Frank Houston immersed himself in Latter Rain teaching in this so-called “AOG” church. Pastor David Batterham became a friend and mentor of Frank who then introduced Frank Houston to Ray Bloomfield.
Just like Branham, Frank Houston claimed to Dave Batterham that the Holy Spirit revealed to his heart that ‘healing was in the atonement’ (pg. 69). (This was a key scripture to the Healing Movement which was also fueled by the NOLR.)
“”You can accept healing like you accepted salvation,” David assured us.” (pg. 70)
Because Houston was constantly sick most of his life, his relationship with Batterham and Ray Bloomfield flourished and was heavily discipled by their Latter Rain healing heresies. It was under Bloomfield’s leadership that he accepted the role of assistant minister at Bloomfield’s new church plant (called Ellerslie-Tamaki Faith Mission).
Both Frank and Ray supposedly preached the gospel and brought revival to the Maori communities in New Zealand. They were trying to continue in “revival power”. And when Frank heard Ray Bloomfield accepted missionary work in Canada, Frank felt that if he were to move in “revival power”, he “must move in the same way and with the same anointing as Ray did” (pg. 100). (Notice the dependency on ‘the man’ – and not on God?)
This is important. Consider what the AOG condemns the Latter Rain of doing while reading how Ray Bloomfield gave Frank Houston his “authority” to take over his church:
“On the last day before his departure, Ray publicly committed the church into Frank’s care. Placing his hands on Frank’s head he prayed, ‘Lord give your servant a double portion of my spirit and let my mantle fall on this your servant Elijah’s did on Elisha,’ Frank staggered backwards as he experienced the transference of faith from Ray into his own spirit. With it came a sense of divine authority. Ray burst into prophecy. ‘You shall keep your eyes on Jesus. Look not unto man but unto God.'” (pg. 100)
These apostles and prophets were building up their own spiritual authorities before men – and no one would dare question them.
If you are still convinced that Frank Houston was NOT influenced by the New Order of the Latter Rain, this is what he wrote about Ray Bloomfield in his book ‘The Release of the Human Spirit’, (conveniently published in 1999). Do you think Pentecostals or NARismatics believe in “walking in amazing supernatural realms”?
“… early in my Pentecostal ministry I was blessed to be linked with Ray Bloomfield… Ray ministered widely all across New Zealand, doing great miracles and walking in amazing supernatural realms– levels where no one else in the southern hemisphere was walking at the time. God brought us together, and I worked alongside him a couple of years in a church he was pioneering. He mentored me and I witnessed the amazing things God was doing in his ministry… Building on this foundation, I established a pattern for break-out in my ministry.”
Source: Frank Houston, The Release of the Human Spirit, Published: 1999, pg. 7. (Emphasis ours.)
Our next article will look at how Frank Houston and the New Order of the Latter Rain infiltrated the NZ AOG and the Australian AOG and took over the Pentecostal denominations through unethical means.