Before reading this article, you might want to read the previous articles to develop a framework of what the Royal Commission has uncovered so far in Case Study 18 of the Hillsong Church, Assemblies of God and Frank Houston case:
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – Case Study 18: a public hearing concerned with the institutional response to child sexual abuse of the Australian Christian Churches (ACC) and its affiliated churches.
This is the next FactFile summarising this article:
Phil Pringle must be feeling pretty insecure standing beside Kong Hee as things progress “from bad to worse”. If you were Pringle standing all alone beside your best mate Kong Hee, how would you go about furthering Kong Hee’s cause and your image before Christianity around the world? If there was a blog out there connecting you to your now convicted mentor Yonggi Cho, what would you do?
Your critics are growing daily within your church and outside your church. The Singaporean and Australian media want answers. You are feeling cornered. Wretched man that you are! Who will deliver you from your sinful ministry? Thanks be to God through Brian Houston your “friend”.
As Phil Pringle, you’ve already done a great job convincing people not to judge you and Brian (“Judge not lest ye be judged”). Now if only you can get Hillsong to stand with you – you should be fine. All this mess can be swept under the Hillsong & C3 rug and both Hillsong and your C3 movement can stand together against your critics, whether they be Christian or the secular media. Neither movement questioning the other. That sounds good – they are both standing together. Both movements are standing against their critics.
Best buddies – standing together. C3 and Hillsong – standing together.
Whatever Brian Houston does, both Hillsong members and your C3 members don’t have to question Brian – C3 and Hillsong are standing together. Whatever you do with Kong Hee and Yonggi Cho, both Hillsong members and your C3 members don’t have to question you – C3 and Hillsong are standing together. It sounds like you can smuggle in a lot of your agenda at this Presence Conference 2014 if you push this notion somewhere in the conference. Do you think Brian would mind? Probably not. Brian can’t judge you, his best friend publicly!
You can get away with using your “friend” Brian Houston to further Kong Hee’s cause at Presence Conference 2014. If you get in trouble, Brian Houston and his movement will stand with you. Just use the typical mantras, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and “He who hasn’t sinned cast the first stone” to shut up the dissenters on either side (it worked for Mike Gugglielmucci at Hillsong). Now… how can you smuggle this notion in?
Hillsong and C3 commanded to “stand with one another”
One of the largest criticisms made by Christians and the secular media are the the number of scandals that continually occur in the Hillsong and C3 movements. Not only that, the world also notices how Hillsong and C3 promote and peddle false doctrines and gospels contrary to Christianity. It is not uncommon to hear the general public drop one liners that these “cults” want your money. The world can see it and more and more Christians are starting to see this to be the case with Hillsong and C3.
Since we began monitoring Brian Houston and Phil Pringle, it is our opinion they have grown much closer together in recent months, since more Christians are scrutinizing their ministries and starting to classify them as unethical or immoral churches or Word of Faith cults. (Read: Same Tribe, Different Smell.) It is interesting to note that both Brian Houston and Phil Pringle have no problem accepting each other and their associates as legitimate ministers of the gospel. For example, here is Phil Pringle rubbing shoulders with Brian Houston’s friends:
Now we can’t tell what Brian Houston and Phil Pringle talk about when they get together. But we find it hard to believe that Pringle would have kept Brian Houston in the dark over his involvement in Kong Hee’s scandal and what is happening with his mentor David Yonggi Cho.
Phil Pringle’s mentor David Yonggi Cho has also been recently charged by South Korean courts as a convicted felon for mishandling church funds of up to US$12 million. Furthermore, Phil Pringle’s protege Kong Hee, currently is in court over mishandling church funds of up to U$42 million.
In spite of this, Brian Houston has refused to break ties or friendship with Phil Pringle and they remain close friends.
This may now be hurting Hillsong’s image considering how Pringle decided to use Brian Houston’s authority at his Presence Conference 2014. That is, Pringle used Houston’s authority and friendship in such a way that he encouraged both his C3 movement and Brian’s Hillsong movement to stand against their critics. Below Phil Pringle deliberately associates himself as a close and solid friend of Brian Houston and hopes out loud that all people from Hillsong, C3 and other churches, “have got the fight […] to follow and just stand with one another” and to “not to engage in the criticism or to listen to the fault-finding gossips or anything else”.
“That song, as many of you would know, comes from the mighty Hillsong Church. I said the mighty Hillsong Church. [Crowd applause]
Not just one church but many churches all over the world. Large, growing, influential and have changed, changed the course of Christian music and Christian worship throughout the entire world, in an amazing move of God. And ah- Pastor Brian Houston would be one of the most world changing leaders on the planet today. He has done so much to change culture on so many levels in language, in how congregations are to behave and the way that leadership should should conduct itself. And it’s influenced not just the world of Pentecost but also traditional church world and has entered into all kinds of ah- debate and challenges, I guess, to actually do the following that he’s been called to do.
And he’s certainly had to fight to follow. I admire Brian – ah – with great admiration as one of the greatest heroes of the Christian world today. Not only for having influenced culture here – [crowd applauses] and ah – the fact is, we were born about sixty miles from each other in New Zealand [crowd applauses]. And ah- so we have not only been fellow ministers in this city and managed to- get along, we’ve been good friends.
I remember many years ago when we had what- I started a thing called “the Jesus march”. And we marched all the way down Pittwater Rd. And, I lived at that time in Manly, I think. Or somewhere near there. Brookvale or Manly and ah- came out and joined us and we got photos of him with- ah- the then famous mullet and moustache combination.
Happily Simon McIntyre was able to compliment that as well with his mullet and moustache. But we’ve been in this same city for many, many years and believing in this city will be won for Christ together and seeing a massive move of God that has not only affected this city but the world.
There’s one thing to stand for Jesus- I think it’s kind of easy actually to say it, “I’m for Jesus”. Cos not a lot of persecution comes because of that. You don’t really. I mean you get a little rub from a few people. But standing with his followers when they’re under pressure – now that’s a different matter.
And Paul found that there was no one in Rome who sought him out to visit him and look after him. People had to come all the way down from Philippi and Macedonia. And he said, “The- You’re the only guys who’ve done this”.
And even when Jesus lost the favour of public opinion, (I mean he lost a lot of his closest friends at that moment and then it past), I would like to think that we have got the fight in us to follow in just stand with one another. Not to engage in the criticism or to listen to the fault-finding gossips or anything else because it does have a price to accomplish something for God. And Hillsong is often been the subject of media attention that isn’t that positive. Happily recently, there’s been a few more that are positive. And I’ve experienced that myself. Ah- both sides of that. And it’s a very unpleasant feeling.
But I salute Brian Houston today because he has stood the course and stayed the line and said we will build the church. I would like you to stand up and support Brian Houston this afternoon. Thank you very much.”
What was Brian Houston’s reaction? Did Brian Houston mind Phil Pringle using his authority to stand together as one apostate movement?
Now that Phil Pringle publicly established a unified brotherhood between C3 and Hillsong, he has opened up a way to financially con the Australian public to finance Kong Hee’s defense lawyers. What makes this so immoral is that Pringle and Houston disguise this under the banner of “Christian unity”.