This is an important news article worth revisiting to understand how Hillsong has NOT changed or evolved from its cult-like status nor has Brian Houston repented of his lying tongue.
Prosperity heretics preach Christ teach Jesus Christ is rich, Christ died to make you rich, that you must tithe and demands that you are to “bless to be a blessing”.
We wish to remind our readers how the EIC and propaganda-driven “Bible” Society tried to give the impression that Brian Houston was not a Prosperity heretic and cult leader. In an article titled, ‘Brian Houston: There’s a huge difference to living rich and living blessed’, John Sandeman, reported in 2014,
“Brian Houston has never believed in a “prosperity gospel”, he told Eternity at a press conference marking the start of this year’s Hillsong Conference…
“The prosperity gospel is… not a term I’ve ever heard used in our church in any context whatsoever,” he says referring to Hillsong Church, suggesting the term has been invented by critics.
“There’s really only one gospel: it’s the gospel of Jesus, the gospel of grace.
[…] And so, when it comes to personal blessing, I see it the same way. God blesses you to be a blessing… that’s the essence of what we are all about.” [Source] (Emphasis ours)
However, in this 2006 article below, the reporter accurately summarised the Prosperity Gospel:
“The message of Hillsong’s prosperity gospel is: the richer you are, the more you can help others.”
It’s getting tiring having to expose the continual lies of Brian Houston. Why the BibleSociety, John Sandeman and other Christians keep putting up with this compulsive liar and blasphemer would escape anyone’s reason.
HILLSONG EX-LEADER: GEOFF BULLOCK
We think it is important to publish Geoff Bullock’s response to the piece below, correcting some of the errors that were reported about him and to also reveal insights into the inner workings of the Hillsong cult (name of recipient withheld):
I was surprised at how gentle the article was, considering all the things that we all spoke of. A few things to correct, my income comes from CCLI not APRA. CCLI is a worldwide copyright lisence to make sure that copyright law is being adhered to but in a very fair and cost effective way. Brian does not wear Valentino suits as far as I know. He does however have expensive tastes, which of course is his perogative. The issue is simply about being honest about the “blessings” he has recieved from the properity doctrine he preaches. Why preach it, then hide it?
Now to your questions:
I just read the article in the ‘Weekend Australian’ . It is revealing (and I would not be surprised if the author had picked up on some of the information on this site!).
We had several interviews, face to face and over the phone during the last seven months.
The place is obviously strongly controlled, the evidence might suggest (Lance do you like my wording!) that it is a money laundering cult.
No, i truly believe that in their heart of hearts they are doing what they perceive to be the “work” of God. They would se the “blessings” as from God, and the “cursings”, as in the artice, this website, myself and others, as from the Devil.
Thanks for your conviction and courage to speak out. I pray that you will find peace and strength.
Me too. Nervous about the statements they will make and it’s affects on my family. I thought Janine was incredibly brave. She deserves a medal.
I have some questions:
1. Are you attending a Church now?
Are you kidding? No. Jesus finds me wherever I am, and I am learning to recieve him wherever I am. Personally,I find more spirituality outside the church than I found within it. Please, no one take offence. I am endeavouring to be responsible to my cynicism.
2. Can you elaborate on what you meant that they stole your soul’ ?
I was continually challenged to be “the man that God called you to be”, rather than to be “the man that God forgave”. I was forced into a mould that never ever fitted me. In the last year or two,(94-95) I was pounced on almost daily for any diversion from the strict regiman of cold and callous vision driven leadership. It broke my heart to have to be a bastard to maintain the church vision. After I left I sought out many of my ‘victims” and sought forgiveness.
3. When you wrote songs like ‘Power of Your Love’ – where did the muse come from…God? Yourself? or were they just manufactured melodies?
I felt so flawed and I just wanted to crawl into the arms of God and feel accepted, loved and ok. It was a very honest song… it still is, I now wouldf see my perspective on it as being somewhere between the first version and the second. Both are relevant.
4. You obviously had a ‘worldy’ life style, reading occult books etc. before you joined Hills. What do you think is worse/more dangerous to your soul…Your pre HS lifestyle, Your Christian Lifestyle within HS?
Hillsong without a doubt. But only because I was not given the permission to have doubts, to question, to wrestle with my spirituality. God was defined by them and therefore anything outside their teaching was frownes upon, shunned or totally rejected. Part of this has to be seen in the context of my desperate desire to be approved. I was a very willing student.
5. In the midst of the commercialisation – are people truly finding the Gospel within HS?
The Gospel finds us through the work of the Holy Spirit. I wrote one of most successful songs on the toilet… the message of the life of Jesus is not the property of the church. It is the image and nature of God. I believe God can make himself known to us without our grandiose efforts.
I am very keen to hear HS’s reply. I am a little nervous…
As crowds – and their cash – flood into Hillsong Church, former members tell Jennifer Sexton about the heavy price they paid for leaving the flock.
Whoa! I wanna know you, I wanna know you today.” With that catchy lyric, the lead singer rips into a punky-pop riff on his electric guitar as the band and side-stage choir spring to life. Over a sea of raised arms, five cameras capture the action as the audience, in time with the lanky, tousle-haired lead singer, belts out a thundering chorus: “You’re the best thing that has happened to me.”
No, this isn’t MTV live. It’s Hillsong Church, part religious service, part rock concert, part multi-media conglomerate. Every weekend at Hillsong churches in Sydney 19,000 people sing, clap and jump through a two-hour tribute to a God who rocks. As traditional religious congregations shrink, Hillsong attendance expanded more than 13 per cent in 2004.
There are no images of Jesus being tortured on the cross at Hillsong headquarters in Sydney’s Baulkham Hills, no vaulted ceilings. The audience sits not on wooden pews but on 3500 cushioned theatre seats. Under each one is an envelope and credit card form for believers to donate their pre-tax 10 per cent salary tithe. Ushers flood the aisles and pass black buckets down each row. The buckets have holes in the bottom, presumably to discourage parish-ioners from giving coins. And the rivers of cash keep flowing: donations and salary tithes to Hillsong were $15.3 million in 2004; merchandise, CDs, books and DVDs, returned a further $6.93 million, while total church revenue has now passed the $50 million mark – all tax-free thanks to Hillsong’s charitable status. And then there are the donations – it’s anybody’s guess how much – from the owners of the $40 million Gloria Jean’s coffee empire, Nabi Saleh and Peter Irvine, who are both senior members of Hillsong, the former as treasurer. The message of Hillsong’s prosperity gospel is: the richer you are, the more you can help others.
But along with the expanding congregation and profit margins have come the ugly rumours that won’t go away – of underhanded treatment of disaffected church members, of attempts to silence critics, of profiteering from the faithful. Only last month, the Labor Mayor of Blacktown in Sydney’s west, Leo Kelly, accused Hillsong of attempting to pressure him, via an ALP state official, to dampen his criticism of their use of public funds.
Hillsong’s main benevolent arm, Hillsong Emerge Ltd, has been accused in federal and NSW parliament of misappropriating commonwealth grants worth millions of dollars. And a former member, Robert John Orehek, was charged with fraud after allegedly fleecing believers of up to $20 million, which he sank into failed and fraudulent property investments.
The king of Hillsong evangelism, Brian Houston, bounds onto the stage, clad in a dapper suit. “The faithful are in church tonight,” he declares, surveying the auditorium. “Awesome!” The background music fades away and the house lights brighten. People reach into their bags for Bibles and notebooks. Houston savours a silent pause. He’s been thinking about the seven deadly sins. “What would be my deadly sins, destructive in the lives of people?” Avarice, gluttony and wrath are apparently old hat. Houston instead says the sins are negativity, regret, complacency. Just a few weeks later, Hillsong’s formidable marketing arm has swung into action, releasing a four-CD set of Houston’s teaching on the sins that undermine potential in people, retailing for $35 in the church shop.
Houston has become the most influential pastor in the Pentecostal movement, and is a household name to born-again Australians. He also has political pulling power: Prime Minister John Howard, Treasurer Peter Costello and former NSW premier Bob Carr have all addressed the Hillsong congregation in recent years. In the last federal election, Hillsong member Liberal Louise Markus narrowly snatched from Labor the seat of Greenway, next to Hillsong’s Baulkham Hills church.
After the service – there are 30 every week in the two main Sydney venues, Baulkham Hills and Waterloo – people pour into the Hillsong shop. Half of the back display is devoted to the CDs and books by Houston and his perky wife of 28 years, Bobbie. Their bright white teeth and perfect hair seem to shine down from dozens of book and CD covers. In Bobbie’s CD set She Loves and Values her Sexuality she proclaims, “You might be happy with your weight but is your husband happy with your weight? … How are you going to do anything that might surprise your man when you need a hydraulic crane just to turn over in bed?” Boob jobs and face lifts get the thumbs up, as do good sex and a husband who says sorry with an impromptu spending spree at the jewellers. It’s a feel-good message, and when it doesn’t feel good, money makes it better.
Geoff Bullock knows all about Hillsong’s brand power and merchandising. He helped build it, even coming up with the name Hillsong more than 17 years ago. He launched the church on the international Christian music scene when he wrote most of the original songs, such as Power of Your Love, Refresh My Heart and Have Faith in God. For the church’s first decade he was Brian Houston’s best friend. For eight years, until a messy split in 1995, he ran the music department, nerve centre of “the brand”. Although his songs are now rarely played at Hillsong, they are popular on the international Christian music scene and Bullock lives off composition royalties paid through APRA (the Australasian Performing Rights Association).
When I meet Bullock at a sunny, beachside terrace cafe he is edgy and constantly apologises – for knocking the table as he crosses his legs, for being unable to eat much of his salad. A short, tidy man with intense blue eyes, he is approaching his 50th birthday. He hasn’t slept much in anticipation of revealing the backstage story behind the “miles of smiles” at Hillsong. “It was very nice being at the top of the tree but it just … ” He pauses, swallows. “This is going to sound dramatic. They stole my soul.”
Bullock’s moment of religious revelation struck in 1978 at Sydney’s Koala Motor Inn, where Houston’s father, Frank, was preaching. Bullock was 23 and had been touring the east coast in a rock’n’roll band, smoking dope and reading Carlos Castaneda’s stories of magic and sorcery. “It was wild,” he recalls of that November night. They sang hymns to a funked-up polka tune played with live piano, drums and bass. In the latest fashion blue safari suit, at the centre of the throng was the bespectacled 56-year-old preacher, Frank Houston, who declared that he used to smoke cigarettes before Jesus saved him. “People were trying to put cigarettes in his mouth,” says Bullock. “He lay down and he spat them out. It was a show of great confidence and charisma.”
Bullock was a needy, naive Sydney North Shore lad, schooled at the Presbyterian Knox Grammar. He believed in a higher being and was willing to try anything to reach Him, including cannabis. “I was absolutely ready for brainwashing. I was absolutely ripe for ‘love bombing’.” So, just two hours after walking into his first evangelical experience, Bullock answered God’s call, and his 21-year-old Anglican girlfriend from Lithgow in country NSW, Janine, followed. Individually, in back rooms, they were counselled. They had been born again and were now committed to Jesus. Satan would fight to get them back, they were warned. “I went in with a confident world view and I came out quite rattled. My whole belief structure had been turned on its head.”
He said goodbye to his rock’n’roll band, Arnhem, and to smoking, drinking and playing the occasional gig in topless bars in Sydney. A church leader came to his house and threw out his extensive collection of music – Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd, The Beatles. “I had this wonderful group of friends, a great lifestyle, going listening to bands. All of that was viewed as being ‘of the devil’ … I didn’t lose some friends, I lost all my friends.”
Five years later, when 29-year-old Brian Houston set up his own church, Hills Christian Life Centre, in the newly suburban northern hills of outer Sydney, Bullock was a founding member. Young Houston was inspired by Tony Packard, who established a high–profile Holden car dealership in the area at Baulkham Hills with the catchcry “Let me do it right for you.”
Bullock was among the 70 believers at Pastor Brian Houston’s first service on Sunday, August 14, 1983, at Baulkham Hills Public School. From here a Pentecostal phenomenon called Hillsong was born. Bullock sang, played piano and was music frontman on stage for at least three services every Sunday. He recorded the church’s first six albums, three of which went gold, one platinum. He also ran the Bible college curriculum. For this he earned no more than $45,000 a year from the church and gave back a pre-tax tithe of 10 per cent, even when he couldn’t pay his growing family’s bills. Now he is being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder after being expunged from the church he helped build.
Bullock and Janine married in 1980 and had five children within a decade. At the height of his Christian stardom in the late 1980s to mid-1990s, Bullock toured the United States, Britain, Asia and New Zealand with an expanding repertoire of songs. For Sydney Sunday services they rose at 6am to set up the band and audio equipment and then rehearse ahead of morning, afternoon and evening church services. He was too busy to notice he was failing as a husband and father. “We had to put our parenting on hold,” he says.
Bullock began to feel like a real estate agent selling a manufactured ideal of God rather than one he really believed in. “I think Hillsong’s still got it, this feeling that God smiles a bit more when we’re singing our songs, and we’ve got good hairdressers, dentists, cosmetic surgeons. I came to think that the patron saint of Hillsong was Gianni Versace.”
Christmas Eve 1994 was the end for Bullock. He had rehearsed the choir and band to play the standard church repertoire for three Christmas services. Just hours before the first service, Houston discovered Bullock had not rehearsed traditional Christmas carols. “He just tore me to shreds and then left me to do three services,” Bullock says. Houston got his Christmas carols that night, but it finished his partnership with Bullock.
Once Bullock departed, a campaign of whispering about his morality and sexuality filtered throughout the church. When he broke up with Janine a few months later, his subsequent relationship with a married woman (whom he later married) was, he says, twisted to become the reason he had been forced out. At the same time, Houston preached about dark forces intent on undermining the church. “They ran a huge campaign to discredit me,” fumes Bullock.
Janine says she changed her phone number to stop friends from the church calling to tell her Bullock’s departure and their marriage break-up was against God’s will. She once hid in the wardrobe when a woman visited her house a second time. “I couldn’t bear her preaching at me again, telling me that this wasn’t of God.”
Janine still goes to Hillsong once a month, but says she can’t help but be cynical about the facade of spirituality compared with the lack of compassion and understanding she experienced. But, she adds, “there’s some beautiful Christian people who attend there”.
Geoff Bullock isn’t the only founding member of Hillsong to question its methods and ethics. For a decade until 1991, Stephen Grant was paid $100 a week to preach at Hillsong and was dean of the church’s Bible college. He admits that, as an eccentric, he was a strange fit for a fundamentalist church.
Still, Grant came from a wealthy family – he now runs a successful art gallery in Sydney’s Redfern – and had pledged (but never paid) $150,000 to the church’s building fund. He had a beautiful wife and was entertaining at the pulpit. He wore loud, colourful suits and sometimes a red leotard. When he blew on the congregation, the entire room of people would fall over.
But he realised his views diverged from Houston’s when they travelled together to the US in 1988. “In the US, I saw the wholesale commercialisation of born-again Christianity. I went, ‘Nah, truth is becoming a commodity here. It’s not a question of internal search, it’s a question of external commodification.’” But Houston liked what he saw and soon Hillsong’s fundraising became increasingly glitzy.
“I started to question what the bloody hell I was doing,” Grant, 46, reflects. “I was preaching all over the world. But I was getting really depressed.” He had lost both his parents and his marriage was under pressure. Grant subsequently discovered that, in the inner sanctum of the church, his wife was being encouraged to recognise that he did not belong.
His clinical depression was seen by the church as a sign of faltering faith. “I knew there was nothing wrong with my faith, and yet I was told: ‘You are not believing in Jesus enough.’” The Hillsong website backs up Grant’s claim. “Depression,” it declares, “is a supernatural spirit straight from the devil.”
When Grant broke up with his wife and left the church, like Bullock, he had to start life all over again, outside the Hillsong fortress. “People find a lot of healing in the church. I don’t have a problem with that. But … if you are kicked out, you are f—ed.”
The Christian message of the shepherd seeking lambs lost from the flock doesn’t apply at Hillsong, says Grant. “It was forbidden for me to be visited by the members of the church. Damn the lost lambs.” His recovery took five years.
The sentiment is echoed by theology student Penny Davis, who took years to rebuild her self-esteem after a shattering experience at Hillsong, which began in 1995 when she was just 20. Women who don’t fit Bobbie Houston’s mould at Hillsong, or those brave enough to challenge the male hierarchy, are swiftly brought into line, she says. With ambitions to become a pastor, Davis quickly realised she needed to change her wardrobe. “To get anywhere, you had to become a clone,” she quips. “I grew my hair, started wearing make-up and doing all the nice girly things.”
Life became very full, and it was all about church. She moved into a share house with four other young women from Hillsong, volunteered two days a week at church and did paid work with the Hillsong community youth centre three days a week, earning a weekly income of $600, less the 10 per cent salary tithe. “The pressure at Hills to be glamorous and have everything as well – it’s quite difficult on a low income.”
Just months after joining, she slept with a woman from the church – one who later confided about the liaison to a youth leader. Davis was immediately counselled that homosexuality was a sin. “I was just so vulnerable,” Davis says simply. She was assigned a mentor, who claimed she had successfully corrected her own “dysfunctional” sexuality. They spoke at least once a week, when Davis had to confess any lesbian fantasies. The mentor also read Davis’s diaries. After the “problem” persisted, she was put into an 18-week “ex-gay” program called Living Waters, then conducted at Hillsong. Once a week she attended the Living Waters group sessions, where she was told to focus on problems in her past which may have triggered her sexual “dysfunction”. “I was committed to getting these things fixed,” Davis says.
Three years of counselling, sessions with a psychiatrist and group therapies failed, however. Davis resorted to grabbing joyful glances at a video of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras while her flatmates were out, she laughs. “I started to subconsciously realise that this was not going to change … the shame and guilt were eating me up inside.”
Davis decided her sexuality and spirituality could never be reconciled at Hillsong and made the momentous decision to leave. In response, her Hillsong friends sent a barrage of text messages quoting the Bible on the “sin” of homosexuality. She was kicked out of her house and then her friends froze her out, ignoring her emails and phone calls. “She’s gone, we have restructured, there’s no need to continue communicating with her” was the message sent to her Hillsong friends by church leaders, claims Davis.
Social worker Tanya Levin, who spent her teenage years at Hillsong, says that those who question church policy are first shouted down and later ostracised if they persist. Levin has been commissioned to write a book about growing up in an evangelical church. For research, Levin attended the annual Hillsong women’s conference Colour Your World last March and took offence when poor children in Africa were being marketed for sponsors in the audience on the basis of being cute. “They are actually for life, not just for Christmas,” Levin shouted before walking out of the auditorium.
When she wrote an email the next month to the Houstons asking to meet them on a regular basis in order to gather material for her book, she got this curt response from the general manager, George Aghajanian: “We are aware that during your attendance at our recent Colour Your World Women’s Conference you caused a significant disruption. It is for this reason that we ask you to refrain from attending any future Hillsong church services or events; including accessing Hillsong’s land and premises at any time.” Aghajanian closed by saying the church’s leadership and staff were unable to provide assistance for the book.
When Levin subsequently attended a Sunday evening service, a pastor asked to speak to her outside. When she attempted to get back in to retrieve her bag, two security guards blocked her path, picked her up by the elbows and escorted her off the premises.
Brian Houston refused numerous opportunities to comment for this story, except to say: “More than 19,000 people come to Hillsong Church every weekend and I know that the overwhelming majority of them would testify to a healthy experience for both themselves and their families. They would also speak of the constant positive impact they see on others who are being helped through Hillsong Church and its many community programs.”
There is no doubt that Hillsong – or, closer to the mark, its loyal parishioners – perform many good deeds. The church has a number of charitable arms, including Mercy Ministries, a residence for girls dealing with unplanned pregnancies and eating disorders established five years ago by Hillsong’s Darlene Zschech, the country’s most popular and successful Christian singer. Although recently mired in controversy, the church’s main benevolent arm, Hillsong Emerge, has helped people find jobs and recover from addictions. Hillsong attendees sponsor about 2600 children in Uganda, and generously gave $500,000 to victims of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
But the criticism seems likely to persist as long as Hillsong makes $50 million in revenue, pays no tax and yet spends just $2.67 million on “welfare services”. It is not clear how much Mercy Ministries gets from Hillsong, but its total donations were just $304,840 in 2004. And Hillsong Emerge’s 2004 accounts show it got only $646,666 from the Hillsong Foundation Trust and about that again in government grants.
And Houston has been less than transparent about his own income. Until last year he had failed to declare that he and Bobbie had sold their own personal property holdings to a Hillsong-related entity of which he is a director, Leadership Ministries Incorporated. Bobbie sold a Bondi beachfront apartment on the same block as Jamie Packer’s pad to the not-for-profit LMI for $650,000 in February 2002. The couple also sold a waterfront property on the Hawkesbury River in October 2004 to LMI for $780,000, making $535,000 on their 1998 purchase price. They continue to use both these properties.
LMI is the tax-free entity Hillsong set up as a vehicle to pay the couple’s income. In breach of Office of Fair Trading reporting rules, no financial statements had been lodged since its inception in October 2001. Only after the property deals were uncovered by The Australian were the accounts filed in August last year. When the numbers came in they revealed the golden couple got a measly net income, after donations, of just $21,658 in the year to December 2002, $12,739 in 2003 and $69,041 in 2004.
If this is all there is, then how do the couple and two of their three children pull off a property buying spree worth $1.738 million over 12 months in exclusive beachside Bondi? On August 26, 2003, son Joel, who is a lead singer in the Hillsong band and earns song-writing royalties, bought a $676,000 apartment a few minutes’ walk from the LMI-owned apartment, paying $276,000 up front. That same day Brian and Bobbie paid $650,000 with a collateral mortgage for the apartment next door to Joel’s. Exactly a year later, son Ben borrowed just $90,000 to buy a $412,000 apartment a few streets from the other family holdings.
And questions persist about why it took 30 years for Brian Houston’s father, Frank, to be exposed over a complaint of sexual abuse of a boy in his homeland of New Zealand. Houston says his father was banned from preaching in 2000, when he confessed. But Frank continued to live on the Hillsong account, in church digs, until his death in November 2004.
Houston has hiring and firing rights over the board, and has appointed some influential and rich men to control the church’s empire (there are no women, he says, because one of the board members won’t allow it). The general manager of Hillsong – psychologist George Aghajanian – now oversees a $100 million property portfolio. And Hillsong has its sights on lucrative new markets in Europe – it opened a church in Paris last year and already has churches in London and Kiev.
Geoff Bullock says he can’t help but admire Houston. “He works hard and is gifted. He deserves to be a wealthy man.” But when told how little Houston is claiming as net income Bullock is incredulous – especially knowing the charismatic pastor’s fondness for Valentino suits and first-class plane tickets. And then there are the thousands of dollars in “love offerings” Houston regularly personally pockets for every talk he gives on the international Pentecostal speaking circuit. “Why not just be open about it?” Bullock asks.
As Bullock watches the church lurch from one controversy to the next, he has a sense of foreboding. He muses there is a valid expectation that the church should pour more money into helping others and less into promoting itself and amassing wealth. “In the end, it’s just sad,” he says, looking into his coffee cup. “It does look like it’s approaching a train wreck.”
Source: By Jennifer Sexton (Senior writer of ‘The Australian’), The High Cost of Faith, News Limited, Published 29/04/2006.
Is Brian Houston using Christian Press conferences to peddle the prosperity gospel while in the same breath denying it?
We will be doing a series of articles on the below news clip. In this article we will be looking at one statement Brian Houston makes. The remaining articles will focus on how Brian Houston of Hillsong Church uses the prosperity gospel to prove he doesn’t preach a prosperity gospel.
BRIAN HOUSTON HAS NEVER BELIEVED IN A PROSPERITY GOSPEL?
Eternity magazine had an article on Brian Houston this August, 2014.
Brian Houston was reported saying the following at a press conference,
“Brian Houston has never believed in a “prosperity gospel”, he told Eternity at a press conference marking the start of this year’s Hillsong Conference.”
Brian Houston has never believed in a “prosperity gospel”?
Really Brian? Then how on earth do people reconcile your statement to this?
Why did the ABC’s ‘Chaser War on Everything’ do this skit on your prosperity gospel? (Even the Chaser team knows what the prosperity gospel is. And for someone who gets paid $300,000 annually as a pastor motivational speaker, you don’t know?)
Even your ex-members will tell you Brian that you are a “peddler” of the prosperity gospel.
Even you Brian have been caught by the media preaching the prosperity gospel. They even have other Hillsong teachers and members repeating your false gospel in their report.
So you still don’t know what it is?
Brian Houston has never believed in a “prosperity gospel”, he told Eternity at a press conference marking the start of this year’s Hillsong Conference.
The leader of the family of Hillsong Churches that stretches across the globe says “There’s a huge difference between living rich and living blessed” using the Laodicean Church of Revelation 3 as an example of a church that was rich but not receiving God’s Blessing.
“The prosperity gospel is… not a term I’ve ever heard used in our church in any context whatsoever,” he says referring to Hillsong Church, suggesting the term has been invented by critics.
“There’s really only one gospel: it’s the gospel of Jesus, the gospel of grace.”
“Do I believe God wants to bless his people? 100 per cent. Do I believe he’s come to give us life and give it to us in abundance? 100 per cent. Do I believe he wants us to just get really, really, really rich and spend all and whatever blessing comes our way on ourselves? Absolutely not,” Houston told the press conference.
According to Houston, there’s no denying that Hillsong is a blessed church, though he says that’s relates to more than just finances.
“Financially, we’ll always have more vision than resource.” But he says the church, just like individual Christians, have a choice with what to do with the many blessings of God: use it for ourselves, or use it for others.
“Do we spend all that blessing on ourselves and become introspective and introverted with it? Because I think that’s the way to lose the blessing on your life.
And so, when it comes to personal blessing, I see it the same way. God blesses you to be a blessing… that’s the essence of what we are all about.”
Source: John Sandeman, Blessing and riches different, Eternity, Number 50, ISSN 1837-8447, August 2014.
This begs the questions, “How long had the board been thinking of changing the leadership?” And who contacted whom? Did Brian Houston contact GCCC, or did the current assistant pastor Steve Dixon (SD) pick up the phone and raise the matter with Hillsong?
Brian Houston became Brisbane’s senior pastor under the guidance, leadership and affirmation of assistant pastor SD and the board of GCCC. So called “campus pastor” Steve Dixon according to a report in the Courier Mail was at the time unsure how long he would remain part of the pastoral team.3
Another question that begs an answer is, “Why did the elders and board members of GCCC unanimously endorse the “takeover” by Hillsong and Brian Houston as senior pastor without investigating Hillsong for themselves?” On the day of the members’ vote, a number of the elders stood on stage and testified that they had never ventured south to attend even one Hillsong conference in Sydney, yet they were backing this change all the way!
Members and adherents of GCCC weren’t given any opportunity to make any suggestions, nor was there any open discussion of leadership alternatives. The decision had been made. GCCC members were simply presented with one leadership appointment, and asked to vote.
There had been only one side of the story told. The information was always presented in a positive light, with little opportunity to question, or linger on doubts. Any questions raised were screened and well managed. I have since learned this is a technique used by the business world to manage change. There had been more spin over the pulpit in God’s name, during these months, than found in your average Colgate commercial.
Once the decision was made, GCCC became an instant “franchise” of Hillsong. The Church is now market driven under the guise of being – “purpose driven”.
GCCC has totally lost its identity!
Without a moment to breathe, the leadership from Sydney suddenly arrived putting their stamp on this new way to “do church”. We were presented with a spokesman for this, and a spokesman for that. We even had a special “Money Preacher” to encourage and remind us of the need to tithe and give generously. Such coercion from a “church” viz Hillsong, which is a juggernaut financially, with a turnover of of $50 million plus a year4 is neither godly nor, in my opinion, acceptable.
We were no longer just affiliated with strong ties to Hillsong, we became Hillsong!
From day one everything had to change, and it did. For example – there was a fairly new coat of paint on the “church” walls from previous renovations, painted to a modern grey. Yet within days of the signs, and the optic fibre going in the carpark, the auditorium was repainted to the colour of the other Hillsong churches. Why spend the money?
As part of the takeover we had the celebrity gala feast; this one, and that one, from Hillsong Sydney visiting to give their counsel, and ideas. All the rich and famous were given a slot, and place of honour. For those who couldn’t get enough of their Hillsong idols they could now have them visit here in Queensland. With every guest appearance, Brian Houston became more like an Amway Diamond, than a pastor.
Hillsong is run as a Corporation not a church in its operation.
There is no New Testament precedent for this model and certainly not for its duplication.
The Church has taken its cue from Wall Street. It has been offered the kingdoms of this world, and yet instead of denying the flesh, it has embraced the path of least resistance, and in so doing, has denied the cross, and the One who bought us.
J. Edwin Orr pointed out that “seldom does God call one who ministers the Word to the ministry of money making. They are two separate callings.”5
By love for the world, we make ourselves an enemy of the cross:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him – 1 John 2:15.
Ambition and Success are the new golden calf.
Warren W. Wiersbe comments;
Few things taint our goodness like covetousness; a desire to be popular, and the ecstatic feeling that comes when we exercise power over the people who give us their idolatrous adoration. When our motives are wrong; our ministry is wrong; and the consequences are tragic for us, for those who follow us and for the whole church.6
This is now playing itself out at Hillsong Brisbane.
Seeking to be Sensitive:
The Hillsong way actually follows to the letter what is known as the Seeker Sensitive or Church Growth Movement model. This model is to help bring “unchurched” sinners into the meetings, and to make them as comfortable as possible with the experience.
Dress down in clothing and style. Jeans are the new formal wear;
Low mood lighting similar to a bar or nightclub. In Brisbane campus, it is so dimly lit it appears like night time, yet it’s 10:30 am in the morning. Quite a contrast especially in Queensland when the sun is up at 5:30 am;
Secular music is played as background music prior to the start of the service. eg The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony;
Worship – now accommodates the excitability of the young and the unchurched;
Music is now more about entertainment than the sole purpose of lifting up our God above all other gods;
The lyrics (words) of the songs have progressively become “I, me, my” focused instead of Christ Jesus focused – e.g. In Your Freedom I will live;
Worship is now limited to 20 minutes;
Big screens are not there for the glory of God. It’s not pictures of creation, but the names and faces of those on stage that are lifted up;
Hillsong relies on the quality of programmes not the power of the Holy Spirit for transformed lives;
Preaching is now a standard 20 minute sermonette;
Preaching on the whole is “relevant” and topical. It is now a people based message to “help” the hearer with their felt-needs e.g. happiness, family , finances, relationships, job, career etc;
This type of pop spirituality effectively teaches:
Every human being is divine or basically good;
God’s Word is not really the final authority, but is still useful as a moral guide;
The goal of my life is centred on me;
What I desire determines what happens in my life.
What this type of church model does, is nothing more than increase the numbers of adherents, and leaves the sinner in his sins. The church now has a flock of deceived sheep, or are they in reality misguided goats?
Massaging the Message:
Messages lack any mention of sin, repentance, prayer, obedience, death to self, holiness, sacrifice, suffering, hell, even God himself.
Preaching lacks sound doctrine. Closer analysis reveals it is more based around pop psychology, than biblical truth.
The message has little challenge or need for personal self assessment.
Yet the scripture exhorts us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith – 2 Corinthians 13:5
The preaching frequently includes different Bible versions. This includes The Message, which is a perversion and not a true translation.
Often this is quoted in church to expound or reveal a greater truth. It is normally thrown up on the big screen for everyone to read. The Message was produced by Eugene Peterson, as a simple paraphase, not as a translation from the original texts. Yet without fail, not a Sunday will go by without this Bible version being quoted.
To show the degree we have strayed, the KJV has over 700 references to “Lord” in the New Testament alone. The Message has just 23 verses which mention “Lord”. But the real concern is that “Lord” is never once associated or found linked to “Jesus” in any way in The Message.
Brian Houston frequently preaches a message that is a watered down gospel. He teaches from Bible verses that were never meant to say what he teaches. This is known as Eisegesis.
Eisegesis (from the Greek root εις, meaning into, in, among) is the process of misinterpreting a text in such a way that it introduces one’s own ideas, reading into the text. This is best understood when contrasted with Exegesis. While exegesis draws out the meaning from the text, eisegesis occurs when a reader reads his/her interpretation into the text. As a result, exegesis tends to be objective when employed effectively while eisegesis is regarded as highly subjective.
Verses are used just because they have a certain word or contain a truth that fits with his message.
Brian Houston lacks or is happy to ignore all forms of discernment;
Brian Houston’s preaching could be termed “Heterodox Humanism”
He happily accepts and promotes the following teachers most of whom have personally been at Hillsong Conferences.
You will also find these people’s books as the only books available in the Hillsong Resource Centres (bookshop), along with Brian and Bobby’s material of course!7
Joyce Meyer – Prosperity Teacher/ Preacher. cf. Paul’s instruction about women teachers – 1 Timothy 2:12.
Joel Osteen – Prosperity Preacher and denier of the true Gospel
Jerry Saville – Prosperity Preacher
T D Jakes – Prosperity Preacher and denier of the trinity (advertised as guest speaker at the 2010 Hillsong Conference).
Rick Warren – member of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) trained under Robert H. Schuller (a la – The Hour of Power)
Bill Hybels – Pastor of Willow Creek Church – who has admitted getting it wrong with the Seeker Sensitive model. Hybels trained under Robert H. Schuller and is good friends with Rick Warren. According to Schuller — Self Esteem is the new reformation!! He defines sin as a lack of “self-esteem”.
Pearsons – Jeremy Pearsons (wife Sarah) son-in-law of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland—visited Hillsong Powerhouse in Sydney in October 2009 for Encounter ’098
Hillsong United band played for the Pope during his visit to Sydney in 2008.
Sisterhood (a term widely used by Hillsong) is a concept borrowed from the Women’s liberation movement, and the new age.
Finally one of the worst instances of spiritual bankruptcy I’ve experienced was the live performance of the “Hillsong Creation story”, featured at Hillsong Brisbane on 11-Oct-2009.
Aspects can only be touched on here. The play was done in humour, and obviously aimed at a child audience. However the fun and humour ends very quickly, where the creation narrative turns into a sham and a circus. Plants and animals were various members of the congregation, dressed in costumes. More and more characters appeared on stage, and we had six or more of the cast from the pastoral team. Somehow we were meant to make the mental leap, as a congregation, from the bouncing chicken and the freckle faced rat to God’s act of creating our world and the Universe out of nothing!?!
The seven days of creation were played out by various actors and God even created for us – “Superheros”, like Batman and the Incredible Hulk, both making a guest appearance. God is so “great”, that He invented superheros, can openers, and cars!
The Holy Spirit at one stage was taking too long to come –“hovering over the waters”. Towards the end Adam and Eve appeared clothed (minus the fall, sin and satan, and God’s provision). The story ends ….
Steve Dixon then expounded for about twenty minutes the creation story as found in Genesis chapters 1 and 2.
He touched on a few points expressing the view that we are not able to know the exact time frame of God’s creation, whether it was a literal seven days, or a certain period of time which God took to make earth.9
Darwin would have been proud on this 150th Anniversary of his Origin of Species, and Richard Dawkins would be more than bemused.
The Church in the West for too long has sailed along in fair seas. The Zephyr has fluttered at our sails in the height of summer, and has blown comfort upon the people. Our ship has sailed below sapphire skies, the crew sleeps, while the current of the world, and tides of apostasy have taken us off course, and we barely know it.
The worst of it is, darkening clouds beckon on the horizon, bringing a storm of ecumenism and coming persecution with barely anyone to trim the sail of this wayward vessel.
Since the introduction of Hillsong to Brisbane, this once truly relevant and purposeful church has been sideswiped. A church birthed in humility and zeal by its founders, who gave all to the cause of Christ, have now become a people who have lost their way, and now dance to the flute of the musician, whose song is not the song of the Lord.
The love of fame and fortune have been Christianized, and an unsuspecting flock now give their allegiance to a captain who cares “little, if anything, for their salvation”.
It must be said that they who began well have turned aside to follow a shepherd who is no shepherd. The hireling has crept in unawares.
Paul complained in his day:
For I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s – Philippians 2: 20, 21.
The way once narrow, now abandoned, has become a broadened highway, opening up to the verdant plains leading on to the gates of a city that arises in the distance. It is that great city, clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! It is a city proud, that city upon seven hills – BABYLON.
about the author
Lance Goodall and his wife Norilyn have both served the Lord in the AOG movement for many years. They have since come out of the Church Growth Movement. They both have a concern for the knowledge of God and His glory. They carry in their heart, a love for Gods’ honour, for His Word, and for the salvation of the lost….
1 Part of the transcript from a sermon preached by Bruce Hills at Legana Church in Tasmania – Easter – April 2009 – DVD can be obtained by ordering from Legana Church.
2) CWM has a copy of a transcript from a tape recording of Bruce preaching in which he make this confession.
3) The meeting was held on Sunday 26th April 2009 to determine the vote from the congregation. 80% of those present agreed to have Brian & Bobbie Houston as senior pastors
This time Brian Houston joins his wife on her wide road and gate campaign. Chris Rosebrough reviewed a snippet of one of Brian Houston’s sermon on his Fighting For The Faith program that addressed this exact issue.
A lot of effort goes into writing out transcripts. Thanks to Craig Brown Reformed Theology for writing the transcript of Chris Rosebrough’s review.
Chris Rosebrough, “In fact one of the things we are going to be listening to is we are going to be doing a Brian Houston update and since he is one of these money grubbing televangelist types, we are going to we are going to be playing our Doctor Teeth song when we intro him.
But one of the things I have noticed about Brian Houston lately is a marked difference and I mean a negative difference in his preaching and teaching, in fact it the only way I can describe it and I hate to sound to use the word because it sounds like hyperbolae.
This is really what I think is that it is Satanic and in fact the last sermon that we reviewed here at Fighting For The Faith from Brian Houston was when he appeared at Saddleback church and it was fascinating to watch his manipulation of the biblical text, so that he would not have to actually say what the passage said regarding repentance and contrition and forgiveness and he engaged in a very interesting Bible twist where he you know switched translations to The Message to kind of skip through the part that had the part about repenting and then once he got through it you know he switched back to the other translation he was using and I mean it was an overt clear strategy on his part to not say what the biblical text says and so I was listening to his, the most recent sermon in the Hillsong podcast yesterday and I noticed that we are not going to do a full blown sermon review because actually the way that particular podcast lays out. It wouldn’t make a good full blown sermon review.
But what I noticed in this latest one is a like woah kind of moment.
You know sorry I sound like Patricia King and so yeah and you remember when Patricia King would claim she was getting down those walls she was talking or something like that or the Holy Spirit was nudging her or something and she would be speaking, all of a sudden she would go woo.
Anyway I have been doing this job a little too long, my mind has been going crazy. But anyway coming back to the Brian Houston thing, Brian Houston you all familiar with that text in The Bible where Jesus talks about, “Broad is the path that leads to destruction. Narrow is the path that leads to eternal life,” and I mean if I were to go and ask the average Christian on the street you know what is that passage talking to?
Matthew 7 v 13
“13 Broad is the road that leads to destruction. Narrow is the path that leads to life.”
People I think for the most part would say that has something to do with salvation, you know like heaven, hell, eternal life versus eternal damnation. You know something to that effect because that is really what that text is about. Well I am not going to tell you what Brian Houston does with it, but that is not what he did with it. It was so bizarre and so like I have never quite heard a Bible twist like this that I have to play it for you and do a little bit of time teaching today.
Yeah I just want to let you, kind of give you a heads up. Something is up with Brian Houston and what I mean by that is that I don’t think he is capable of teaching the Bible correctly at all anymore and like passages that are like to the average Christian are obvious as to what they are about. He is making points to not teach what those passages are about. But completely recast them in light of his false teaching and Word of Faith heresy. So it will be fascinating, it should be fascinating for you to listen to.
[Third Segment – 00:12:58 – 00:34:41]
Chris Rosebrough, “So with that we are going to dive into the programme proper and since we are doing a money grubbing televangelist update. Here is Doctor Teeth and his rendition of Money.
Alright that is Doctor Teeth and his rendition of money, money, money yeah we do that for the televangelists types out here and by the way Brian Houston is a huge Word of Faith prosperity preacher out there in Sydney, Australia. So I think that is very appropriate for him as well. Okay so what we are going to be listening to right now is a snippet if you would not a full blown sermon review. But a snippet from the recent Hillsong church podcast sermon podcast and the name of this the message by the way is Understand the Power Your Words Have on Your Dream. I mean just a name, the name of a sermon like that should clue you in that what you are about to hear has absolutely nothing to do with what The Bible actually teaches. Instead this is a message designed to scratch itching ears draw a large audience in and bring in lots and lots of money, money, money.
But with that I found it fascinating the particular Bible twist that Brian Houston engages in, like to the point of like totally missing the entire point of a particular Bible passage. But rather than me telling you about it, let’s let Brian Houston explain to us, so without any further or due here is Brian Houston from his sermon entitled Understand the Power of Your Words or Your Words Have on your Dream here we go.
Brian Houston, “Begin to speak this morning about destiny definers, specific things that define the path and the destiny of your life.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Things that define the path and the destiny of your life. Oh we are off to a great start aren’t we?”
Brian Houston, “The kind of things that determine whether or not you fulfil God’s potential and God’s purpose for your life or take a different path altogether and I couldn’t help but think again tonight when Sanga talked about a young guy so full of zeal and enthusiasm. You know out of what has God done in his heart at Hillsong, he has already written the sermon for the day, when he can preach it and you know Garrett spoke about a little girl who got so touched, that she already had a vision of a multitude worshipping and her leading the worship and I have got faith to believe that those young people and many more like them will fulfil the thing that God has put on their heart.
But the reality is it all comes down to specific choices they make and certain things that define our destiny and The Bible describes two gates and two paths with two very contrasting destinations. Jesus in Matthew 7 v 13-15 spoke about a wide gate that many take that leads to destruction or to death and on the other hand he talked about a narrow gate that few take that leads to life. It is a path to death and it is a path to life.
Chris Rosebrough, “Now so he is quoting the tail end of Jesus Sermon on the Mount. You know where Jesus talks about the broad road that leads to destruction and the narrow path that leads to life. So he has referenced it here. But is he talking about heaven and hell? Well let’s listen a little further.”
Brian Houston, “They go in different directions and they have very different destinations. You can see those same paths and destinations described right through the scripture. In Deuteronomy 30 v 19 the Lord says…..
Deuteronomy 30 v 19 (NKJV – New King James Version)
19 I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
Praise God. That both you and your descendants the promise for your life. If you take that gate and go down that path it is not only for you but for the generations to come, whereas if you go the other way and take the path towards the devastation of kingdom purpose.”
Chris Rosebrough, “The devastation of kingdom purpose, take the path of devastation of kingdom purpose. What is that?”
Brian Houston, “That said the descendants aren’t even mentioned. Jesus same comparison, He says……
John 10 v 10
10 The thief comes except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that you may have life, and that you might it have in abundance.
Brian Houston, “Same thing from here from Proverbs 18 v 21 says
Proverbs 18 v 21
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat it’s fruit.
Brian Houston, “Obviously in life we eat the fruit of the words we speak. Death and life same two paths towards the same destination and one of the destiny definers described here is our tongue or our words. Turn with me to Proverbs 10, if you would please and right through Proverbs 10, verse after verse describes the contrast between the road to life and the road to death. Death not always meaning, that you actually literally are physically dead not breathing going blue, decaying. You can be the living dead. Check out the person next to you is not the living dead.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Okay so you see what he is doing here. So apparently and I had no clue that this was the case Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7 is teaching that broad is the road that leads to destruction. He is not talking about hell. He is talking about well the destruction of kingdom purpose in your life. Yeah I think we are going to have to open our Bibles. In fact if you have your Bible open up to The Gospel of Matthew 7, I am going to read for a little bit and see if we can figure out from the context of Matthew 7 as to what Jesus is talking about. In fact we are going to be looking at v13-23. So if you have your Bible, we are in Matthew 7. I am going to be beginning here at v13. Here is what Jesus said in The Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 7 v 13-14 (ESV – English Standard Version)
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Now the question is, is Jesus talking about the path that leads to the destruction of your God destiny? Well let’s keep reading and see what he says because the context will tell us.
Matthew 7 v 15-20 (ESV – English Standard Version)
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Okay so notice a few things that are going on here. Jesus is talking about on that day, what would that day be? That is the Day of Judgement when Christ returns in glory to judge the living and the dead and so people will come up to Jesus on the Day of Judgement and foolishly point to their works.
Matthew 7 v 23 (ESV – English Standard Version)
23 Oh Lord did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name.
These are religious people okay they are out there prophesying, casting out demons. You could think of the Patricia King gang here, you know doing all these things and Jesus will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7 v 23), where are they departing? Where are they going? Answer well if this is the last day they are not getting into the kingdom of heaven. They are on their way to hell.
That is what Jesus is talking about here. But that is not what Brian Houston is doing with this text. He has made this about well you not achieving your God destiny whatever that is, I am not sure what a God destiny is. But I assure you that Matthew 7 v 13 is talking about broad is the road that leads to destruction, narrow is the path that leads to life. That is not talking about whether you achieve your God destiny or your dreams for your life. No this is talking about whether or not you are going to spend eternity in heaven or in hell. Now going back to v21
Matthew 7 v 21 (ESV – English Standard Version)
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Okay that is important stuff so okay, you don’t trust me when I tell you this. You don’t want to end up in hell. You don’t want to end up in the lake of fire. So Jesus here is telling us very clearly that just because you have done religious things in the name of Jesus doesn’t make you, doesn’t mean that you are in, okay instead you have got to do the will of the Father. So what is the will of the Father? Well luckily we don’t have to guess on this. We do not have to make this up, because scripture actually defines this very clearly. In fact if you flip over to The Gospel of John 6, I am going to point out a few verses in John 6 and back up into John 3 and we will kind of lay some of this out here. But The Gospel of John 6, I will start at v39. Here is what Jesus says. He says…..”
John 6 v 39-59 (ESV – English Standard Version)
39 And this is the will of him who sent me,
Okay this would be the Father right.
John 6 v 39-59 (ESV – English Standard Version)
39 This is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6 v 28-29 (ESV – English Standard Version)
28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
John 6 v 47-51 (ESV – English Standard Version)
47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone by Christ’s work alone. Your works do not save you in the slightest. They do contribute to your salvation a bit and so you ought to be doing the will of God right so that you will be saved right. Well it is not something that you do. It is something that is given to you. Belief in Him is actually a gift and this is what Ephesians 2 says very clearly. Let me point this out to you. Ephesians 2, I will start at v1 so we get the context here.
Ephesians 2 v 1 (ESV – English Standard Version)
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 ButGod, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Let me point this out v8 says
Ephesians 2 v 8
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is the gift of God,
What is the this? When it says, “This is the gift of God.” What is it referring to? The answer is both grace and faith itself are a gift from God. You are not capable of believing the good news. God actually gives you that belief and the reason why is because you are born dead in trespasses in sins and that is why Romans 10 v 17 says…….”
Romans 10 v 17 (ESV – English Standard Version)
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Through the preaching of the gospel God regenerates you. Through the preaching of Law and Gospel you are convicted of your sins and raised to life in Christ and are born from above or born again as John 3 says so clearly. Let me back this up.
John 3 v 16-21 (ESV – English Standard Version)
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Okay so the good news is that Christ saves sinners and has bled and died for sinners like me and like you and he gives us faith to believe in Him, to trust in Him. He regenerates us, raises us from the dead, causes us to be born again, to be born from above, born anew right and this is all God’s work and this is all good news and this is what Matthew 7, Jesus is referring to about being the narrow gate versus the wide gate.
The narrow gate is the one that leads to eternal life and Jesus is that gate. The broad road that leads to destruction is the one that we are all born on and Christ rescues and saves us and takes us off of that broad highway and puts us on the path, literally leads us right into His heavenly kingdom and all of this is by His mercy and His grace. It is not something that you earn or do, it is given to you as a gift. This is what the good news is, but Brian Houston in this sermon literally has changed the meaning of that passage and made it about whether or not you achieve your God given destiny here on earth and that is not what this passage is about at all. Let’s listen a little bit more.
Brian Houston, “Just double check. Look at the key indicators like were they worshipping, were their hands raised, did they say amen, are they smiling, do they have a Bible? Do they look like they love God? Check they are not the living dead. Check their vitals. You see you can be alive but dead to God’s purpose and dead to God’s plan and just those young people I talked about have an awesome future as does every human being in human kind. But the reality is it comes down to whether or not we take the path towards the death of kingdom purpose or the path that breathes life and one of the key issues is our words and here in Proverbs 10 it talks about verse after verse gives contrast and I believe there are specific destiny definers that are themes. I spoke of one of them this morning that was integrity. The scripture says,
Proverbs 10 v 9 (NKJV – NKJV – New King James Version)
9 He who walks in his integrity walks securely,
And these that theme runs through Proverbs 10 and the second one is our conversation our words, what is on our lips, what comes from our mouth. It is actually a destiny definer, death and life are in the power of the tongue and there are at least ten verses in Proverbs 10 that gives the contrast between the path to life and the path to death that comes from the way we speak.
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah again in Proverbs 10, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” That is not saying that your words are like magic and that they create your future. That is not what it is talking about at all. It is talking about how literally like shoot yourself in the foot or how do they put it open mouth, insert foot you can literally cause destruction in your own life by your words, not because you have said things like, “Oh I am sick I have the flue,” and somebody says, “Oh no you have just cursed yourself. Don’t say that.”
That is not what it is referring to at all, instead it is destruction through gossip, lying, deceit, you know things like that – that is what this is referring to. Yeah so something is up with Brian Houston and what I mean by that you know kind of circling back and making my point. It takes some pretty crazy hermeneutical gymnastics to take Matthew 7 v 13-15 and make it about you being on the path to kingdom destiny in this life and you know achieving your kingdom purposes.
That is not what this text is about at all. In fact it is such a bad Bible twist, that I am literally left scratching my head wondering what is going on with Brian Houston because now I am beginning to see a pattern emerging every time I check in with him, it is as if he is purposely and deceitfully making sure that he does not under any circumstance preach repentance and faith and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Instead it is he is making a very concerted effort to twist and mangle God’s Word in such a way that you don’t see what those passages are really saying and again the only word that I can come up with for this type of behaviour it is Satanic.
So what do you think? I would love to get your feedback. If you would like to email regarding anything you have heard on this edition or any previous editions of Fighting For The Faith, you can do so my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can subscribe on Facebook – facebook.com/piratechristian or you can follow me on Twitter. My name there @piratechristian
God says through the writings of the Apostle Paul (emphasis ours),
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel [good news]— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 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.
For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” – Apostle Paul, Galatians 1:6-9.
It is important to stress that Paul would consider himself “accursed” (eternally damned), if he preached a different gospel. That is, he did not see himself exempt from his own judgment. Interestingly enough, Paul claimed that his gospel was given to him through “revelation of Jesus Christ”. So this should give us a good idea what the gospel should be about: Jesus Christ.
Paul often writes how he is “eager to preach the gospel” to the churches (Rom 1:15) and claims that he is “not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (vs 16). Paul would “come proclaiming… the testimony of God…” not with lofty speech but would preach the simple message of “Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:1-2). This message would be in relation to how our sins are forgiven and are made right with God through Jesus when we repent from our sins.
This is one example of Paul’s gospel defined in a nutshell:
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” – 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
With this in mind, do you think Brian Houston comes even close to preaching the biblical gospel? While Brian Houston’s gospel might change lives, does it save lives? Does his gospel focus or glorify Jesus and his work on the cross, His resurrection and ascension? Or does Houston’s gospel focus on wealth and the individual?
It is typical for Word of Faith teachers to react against red herrings within Christianity. A common one is the idea that the ‘religious church’ keeps you back from your potential, “success and prosperity”. Similarly, Brian Houston reacts against these false uderstandings, jumps to an extremely false theology. Thus we find that his gospel is founded on his personal reaction rather than the Word of God. Brian Houston tells us what his gospel is below:
“To glorify mediocrity is a tragedy. The sad fact is that far too many people make choices which flatly reject success and prosperity.
Religion has often been guilty of this, and yet the gospel is GOOD NEWS. The good news is ABUNDANT LIFE. Abundance means plentiful.
Adam was told to be fruitful and multiply.
Joshua was challenged to make his way prosperous and have good success.
Solomon’s writings are filled with promised prosperity as the fruit of wisdom.
Jeremiah believed it and prophesied “a future and a hope”.
Jesus spoke about one hundredfold return, telling many stories and parables that encouraged us to multiply our talents.
The apostle Paul reminded us that though Jesus was rich he took poverty upon Himself. Why? So that YOU through His poverty might be rich.
The apostle John wished prosperity and good health on his friend.
Never excuse mediocrity by rejecting success. It is withing our “created fibre” to succeed.” – Brian Houston, Get A Life (Revised Business Edition), 1999, pg 93.
In light of Brian Houston’s gospel, Pastor Gervase Nicholas Charmley kindly offered his view on Brian Houston’s gospel.
“I would say that this so-called ‘Gospel’ is no gospel at all. It is merely coating the rapacious and selfish pursuit of gain that has blighted Western society for the last century and then some with a veneer of religion. Quite simply it is the mantra “greed is good, greed works” dressed up in Christian-sounding words with a generous dose of misused Bible verses, usually from the KJV to disguise what the text is actually saying. Paul, on the other hand, speaks of contentment. To the poor this teaching is deadly – it either legitimises get-rich-quick schemes and a wealth at any price mentality, or, when people fail to get rich, it sinks them into deep depression.
God may not want you rich – you may not be able to handle it!” – Gervase Nicholas Charmley, 04/03/2013.
Chris Rosebrough reviews Brian Houston’s sermon “When Some Thing’s Done Don’t Stop” on his ‘Fighting For The Faith’ radio program. He accuses Houston of “a damnable sin” by “twisting… God’s Word” and making “a passage about the sufferings of Christ on the cross for our sins… about well you – narcissistic eisegesis”. Why did Rosebrough react the way he did to Brian Houston’s sermon? Are his comments justified by Houston’s teaching and behaviour?
FEBRUARY 20, 2012
PASTRIXES PERFORM VAGINA MONOLOGUES
• Ed Young gives fashion advice to innovative pastors & then denies that he’s gimmicky
• William Tapley explains how Whitney Houston’s death is a warning from God.
• Vagina Monologues performed in church
• Sermon Review: When Something’s Done Don’t Stop by Brian Houston of Hillsong
Chris Rosebrough, “So let’s talk about what we are going to do on today’s edition of Fighting For The Faith I am going to talk about the well the end of the programme first. I am going to be reviewing a Brian Houston sermon from Hillsong in Sydney, Australia. We are going to be reviewing actually it is a two part sermon. If you subscribe to the Hillsong podcast then you know that their podcasts are notoriously short and it is as if every single Sunday they take a sermon and then they chop it up into a couple of pieces and so I mean who knows what he is currently preaching on. But we are going to be doing is we are going to be listening to a two part sermon entitled When Something is Over Done Stop and listen you are going to want to listen to this sermon review.
Here is the reason why it is yet another example of narcigesis. Now narcigesis is a word we have coined here that refers to narcissism and eisegesis. They all kind of stick together. So right rather than saying narcissistic eisegesis, it is narcigesis. Narcissism is self-love. Eisegesis is basically when you read things into the biblical text. No pastor is ever supposed to read things into the biblical text. Somebody who is skilled in handling God’s Word always exegetes reads out what God has put into His Word so that we can properly understand it.
That being the case there is in these seeker driven mega churches and in especially the ones that are flirting with the Word of Faith movement, actually Brian Houston is not somebody who flirts with the Word of Faith heresy. He full on believes it and teaches it. They have this really bad habit of reading themselves into just about every single passage you can possibly think of – even ones that pertain to Jesus. Now until I heard this sermon I had never heard anyone do anything quite like this and that is taking one of Jesus statements from the cross. They talk about Jesus seven words from the cross. Taking one of Jesus seven words from the cross, so that is the biblical context for the sermon, is that he begins in John 19 at the crucifixion and he takes one of Jesus seven words on the cross and he literally makes it about his life and yours. I am not joking I mean this as far as I am concerned any pastor who would take a passage of scripture that deals directly with Jesus especially regarding His passion suffering and death for us on the cross, for our sins and for our salvation and turns it into something about you or about me or about the pastor, that pastor should automatically be defrocked.
I mean here is the deal I mean if let’s, work with me for a second. Let’s pretend that I own a car that could really go fast. Maybe I went out and brought one of those brand new retro cars that you know dodge and Chevy’s put on maybe like a Camaro or you understand what I am saying or a Mustang you know just and I went out and got the Shelby job put on the Mustang and so I decided that what I was going to do is take the car out to a stretch in the Nevada desert you know on one of those less travelled desert highways and see how far I could get, you know the what speed I could get the car up to. So you know I made the trip out there to Nevada. Let’s pretend I made it out there and you know I found a long stretch of roads straight highway. I mean literally the only thing you could see are rocks and little like shrubs you know if you are familiar with the Nevada desert and so you know I put the car you know in neutral and then into first gear and put the hammer down and just let loose. You know and got the car just flat out you know I was doing 120/130/135 come on you can make to 140 and all of a sudden I look in my mirror.
Yeah so here is the deal there are speeds at which you travel in particular states that if you are clocked at that speed you automatically lose your licence. Just that is the way it goes and so at that point I would be walking home from the middle of the Nevada desert.
Now in a similar way I am absolutely convinced there are certain things that a pastor that if he does it, if he does that with the biblical text he should automatically lose all preaching privileges for the rest of his life. Okay when somebody takes a biblical, takes one of the biblical texts about Jesus especially that is really referring to Him. Especially the ones that are where it is talking about Jesus suffering and death on the cross and they engage in narcigesis using those biblical texts, that is somebody who has no clue what Christianity is about. That is somebody who has no qualifications to be a pastor and if they do something like that they should forever be banned from even publicly reading a verse.
Okay this is one of those things that you know this goes to the point where yeah at this point I am sorry you are not qualified to be a pastor ever. Hand in the keys. You don’t get your parking space. We want your Bibles, your commentaries. Oh you didn’t have commentaries oh okay. Yeah whatever scholarly resources that you may have used for your sermon prep, oh you didn’t have any of those either. Uh okay well just give us your Bible and then we will take the parking lot and the keys to the building. Yeah you are not allowed in the building ever again. Get out of here. If you show up we are going to you know have the police called. You know we will have you arrested for trespassing. You get what I am saying. Anyway so that is hour number two we are going to be looking at that.
[Segment Two – 01:00:31 – 02:09:38]
Chris Rosebrough, “Okay we are back hour 2 of Fighting For The Faith. Sermon review time. The good, the bad, the ugly we review it all here at Fighting For The Faith. We are an equal opportunities sermon reviewing service. Today’s sermon comes to us from down under from Australia, Sydney from Hillsong. Led by Brian Houston. The name of the sermon When Something is Over Don’t Stop.
Now Hillsong in the American Evangelical world is well an influential Christian church. Brian Houston an influential Christian pastor. They have ambassadors flying around the world and preaching in mega churches all over the world. You know well gals like Christine Caine. So we are going to ask a simple question is Brian Houston rightly handling God’s Word here or has he committed an exegetical offence that technically should bar him from ever preaching ever again. Yeah I am not joking when I say that. Alright let me kill the music. So without any further or due. Here is Brian Houston in his sermon When Something is Over Don’t Stop. Here we go.
Brian Houston, “John 19. Jesus said, “It is finished!” Man can you imagine those words and the emotions that they brought to the people who had put all their faith in Jesus? When Jesus said, “It is finished!” and if you want to turn to the verse, it is in John, The Gospel of John – chapter 19 v 28 we will start.”
Chris Rosebrough, “John 19 v 28, we are going to start at v28 in the passion narrative regarding Jesus in The Gospel of John. Really we are going to get a verse. Watch this.”
Brian Houston, “John 19 v 28 (NKJV – New King James Version) It says 28 Jesus, knowingthat all things were now accomplished,”
Man He said, “It is done!”
John 19 v 28 (NKJV – New King James Version)
28 That the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
And v33 it says.
John 19 v 33 (NKJV – New King James Version)
33 When they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.
Chris Rosebrough, “Okay let me point something out to you here. Okay if you have your Bible, flip on over to well like 1 Corinthians 2. Now normally when a sermon begins with a passion narrative, phew man usually that is rejoicing time as far as I am concerned, why? Because we are going to hear about well the gospel right?
1 Corinthians 2 v 1-5 (ESV – English Standard Version)
Paul writes, it says, 1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Great stuff right! Yeah and so Paul chose to know nothing except for Christ and Him crucified for our sins. Now you would think that a sermon that begins with well The Gospel of John chapter 19 that we are going to be hearing all about Christ and Him crucified for our sins. Right well in fact let’s add some context to this. Let’s if you have your Bible flip on over to The Gospel of John chapter 19, I will start at v1. You know this is not at the very beginning of the passion narrative but this is part way through Jesus sufferings. He hadn’t been crucified at this point. But He is still before Pilate and but let’s pick up the story and let’s read about this. Let’s see what Jesus our great God and Saviour did for us and find out, see if we can figure out from the text what is meant by the Word, “It is finished!” or TetelestaiΤετέλεσται in the Greek. So The Gospel of John chapter 19 v 1, here is what it says.
John 19 v 1-28 (ESV – English Standard Version)
1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jewsanswered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
“They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
Chris Rosebrough, “See Psalm 22 v 18, a direct prophecy regarding Jesus crucifixion.
John 19 v 24-28 (ESV – English Standard Version)
So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Now this is important I am going to do a little side note here. Church history tells us that the apostle John cared for Mary as his own mother and when John became the bishop of the churches in Ephesus. Church history tells us that John became the bishop, the head guy of the churches in Ephesus. That Mary Jesus mother was with him. So he cared for her. So this is amazing stuff that we are seeing going on here.
John 19 v 28-29 (ESV – English Standard Version)
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.
Now I am going to pause here. I just read through the verse. But it is important that we stop for a second and consider what the apostle John wrote here.
John 19 v 28-29 (ESV – English Standard Version)
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”
What was finished? What had He accomplished? What was Jesus doing on the cross other than suffering a shameful, horrible, brutal, painful, death? What was He accomplishing? What was finished? What an earth is John talking about here? Well let’s take a look at Isaiah 52 v 13.
Isaiah 52 v 13 (ESV – English Standard Version)
13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
Jesus here is high and lifted up isn’t he, is he not?
Isaiah 52 v 14-15 (ESV – English Standard Version) 14 As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— 15 so shall he sprinklemany nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.
So here the prophet Isaiah prophesying about Jesus, says that Jesus is going to be high and exalted and truly He was. Jesus stood naked, bruised, beaten, scourged, and marred beyond all recognition and He was crucified between heaven and earth on a cross, high and lifted up. Right Isaiah 53 v 1.
Isaiah 53 v 1-3 (ESV – English Standard Version)
1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejectedby men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Did we not read about just how the Jews despised Jesus and wanted Him crucified?
Isaiah 53 v 3-9 (ESV – English Standard Version)
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Interesting isn’t it? What is it that Jesus had accomplished? Dying for propitiating the wrath of God for the sins of the world. The the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. That is what Jesus was doing on the cross. So when we get to this John 19 v 28.
John 19 v 28-29 (ESV – English Standard Version)
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished,
What was finished? Salvation of the world, the propitiation of God’s wrath, Him being punished for all of our sins.
John 19 v 29-31 (ESV – English Standard Version)
29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him.33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
This is important because Jesus is one of his pictures is the Passover lamb. You don’t break the legs of a Passover lamb and sad but true. Jesus died the same time that all the Passover lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover. There is no mistaking who this man is, who He was and well who He is.”
John 19 v 33-37 (ESV – English Standard Version)
33 They came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
So why did John write these things down? So that you would believe, what is it that Jesus accomplished? Your salvation, your sins being laid on God, on Jesus Christ, all of your sins being atoned for. God’s wrath being propitiated all for you, the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him or as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5.
2 Corinthians 5 v 18-21 (ESV – English Standard Version)
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconcilingthe world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Now that little mini lesson if you would regarding what Christ was accomplishing on the cross so that we understand the words, “It is finished!” Is necessary for us to know and to understand to embrace and to believe, if you are hearing this programme and you are not a Christian then know this that you still remain under the wrath of God. Scripture is clear you are dead in your trespasses in sins and you know that you stand guilty before a Holy and just God. You have murderous, adulterous thoughts, words, deeds, you are an idolater, you are somebody who has despised and dishonoured your parents. You have stolen. You have coveted. You have done all kinds of wicked and evil things and these things you know and it goes all the way back to your childhood. You can remember the evil things that you have committed all the way from the earliest memories you have as a child and the reason why you have such memories is because you like the rest of us, me included were born dead in trespasses in sins and at war with God.
But here is the good news. The punishment that you earned for your sins, Christ took upon Himself. He was pierced for your transgressions. He was bruised for your iniquities. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. He made Jesus, God the Father made Jesus to be sin for us so that we might be the righteousness of God. God is offering you full and complete pardon of your sins because the price and penalty has been paid in full by His beloved Son Jesus Christ, second person of the Trinity, all for you. So repent of your wickedness. Repent of your evil deeds and be forgiven and be reconciled to God. Because God has reconciled Himself to you, don’t persist in sin and unbelief and send yourself to hell. Those are perditious thoughts that lead to perdition and it is completely unnecessary. God has reconciled Himself to you so be reconciled to God. Repent and be forgiven. Jesus shed His blood for you and lest you think for a second that this good news only applies to an unbeliever.
Dear Christian let me remind you that it is this very gospel that the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2 that he chose to know nothing except Christ and Him crucified four our sins. That we Christians need to hear daily, weekly and constantly, because if you have been a Christian for any length of time then you understand that we are declared righteous. But when you live out your life and you compare your life to what God’s Word calls us to do, you realise that daily you fall short of God’s commands and His high moral standards set for us in scripture. This good news of Christ and Him crucified for our sins what He accomplished on the cross and said and cried out TetelestaiΤετέλεσται “It is finished!”
It applies to you dear Christian so be comforted with the good news that Jesus finished all of it for you. This good news is not just for unbelievers. This good news is the very life, blood and centre of the Christian message itself and when Jesus said, “It is finished!” Well it is done. There is nothing that you have to do to earn your salvation and your sanctification and the sanctifying work of God in your life, of God the Holy Spirit does not. That is not the contingency of your salvation. It is finished! You don’t add to what Christ has done. He has done it all for you and just like the unbeliever we daily wrestle with unbelief ourself and with sin that adheres in our flesh and the devil and his temptations. Repent, be forgiven. Trust in the finished work of Christ for the forgiveness of even your sins because His shed blood saves even you dear Christian. Because He said, “It is finished!” He didn’t say, “It is started!” He said, “It is finished!” Your sanctification doesn’t determine your justification. Christ shed blood on the cross accomplished everything for you. Repent and believe and trust in what He has done.
Now I am going to pause here for a second just to recoup. We are doing a sermon review that begins with part of Jesus passion and suffering where Jesus cries out, “It is finished!” Okay that is the context. I am going to back up the audio just a little bit. We are only one minute into the sermon. Watch what happens.
Brian Houston, “John 19 v 30 (NKJV – New King James Version) He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
And v33 it says.
John 19 v 33 (NKJV – New King James Version)
33 When they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.
The two thieves they had broke their legs and normally to carry him away they would break His legs. They didn’t break his legs. But much more important than that they never broke His spirit, He said, “I give up My spirit.” But he didn’t say, “I give up.” He said, “I give up My spirit.”
Chris Rosebrough, “This has taken a bad turn. Really so we are supposed to learn from this that Jesus quote didn’t give up, huh?”
Brian Houston, “When Jesus said, “It is finished!” He never said, “He was finished.” He said, “It is finished!” Sometimes in our life we face things that look like they are finished. Perhaps they are….”
Chris Rosebrough, “Let me back this up. Did you see the transition? He is now engaging on narcissistic eisegesis regarding the crucifixion passage. Watch the transition.”
Brian Houston, “He never said, “He was finished.” He said, “It is finished!” Sometimes in our life we face things that look like they are finished. Perhaps they are. Perhaps….”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah I haven’t faced a crucifixion where I was completely innocent where the sins of the world were placed on me. How about you have you done that? I mean at this point talk about missing the whole point. He is now engaging in narcigesis, narcissistic eisegesis – taking the story, allegorizing it and missing the whole point. Do you think that the apostle John wrote this passion narrative of Jesus sufferings and death so that we can draw from it inspiration in our own lives to not give up in tough circumstances, was that the reason? No not at all and the apostle John made it clear. He said, “He recorded these things so that we might believe in Jesus.” So that we would trust in Him for the forgiveness of our sins, the thing that He accomplished and said was finished was the very reconciliation and atoning work necessary so that we can be forgiven of our sins and a right relationship with God established by what He has done for us. So what he is basically doing at this point is taking Jesus words from the cross and turning them into a whole mark reading card. Just like Jesus didn’t give up. You need to not give up either. You draw inspiration from His, the way He did things so that you can just you know in your tough circumstances and booboos and setbacks in your life. You can have a stick to it attitude. Talk about missing the point.”
Brian Houston, “He said,“It is finished! Sometimes in our life we face things that look like they are finished. Perhaps they are finished it maybe abrupt. Maybe it even was something that you didn’t expect, that marriage came to an end. You were made redundant in your job.”
Chris Rosebrough, “So you lost your marriage and you became redundant in your job because yeah those are the same things as crucifixion.”
Brian Houston, “You face bankruptcy. Perhaps even….”
Chris Rosebrough, “And all of these things are the fruit and consequences of our sin.”
Brian Houston, “Something is changing, as a loved one’s death and we can be totally ruled by what has ended and not understand. Listen to this there is a huge difference between the end of an era or the end of a time in your life and the completion of a destiny. He was not finished.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah you see Jesus was pointing us to the importance of understanding the difference between the end of a thing and the end of a destiny. That is why he was hanging on the cross. Right.”
Brian Houston, “It was finished!” And I just know how easy it is to come to an end of a time in your life. Maybe….”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah you know come to an end of a time in your life. You know just like Jesus came to the end of a time when His, yeah well He came to the end of His life.”
Brian Houston, “Maybe it was just time for something to end or perhaps even sadly, it is because we sowed in a certain way. What it brought was an end that we never wanted or imagined or perhaps it was completely undeserved. That in Christ.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah you are just as innocent as Jesus was. See how that thing happened to you completely undeserved.”
Brian Houston, “It maybe finished, but you are not finished. He is Revelation 22 says, “the beginning and the end.” He is the beginning and the end.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah you know because he is the end so that He can point you to how to get through things when they come to an end in your life. Complete mishandling of the understanding that Jesus is the beginning and the end, the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega. It is basically a way of saying that Jesus is everything. He is all in all. Why? Because He is God.”
Brian Houston, “Though when Jesus said, “It is finished!” It was the end. Though He doesn’t just own the end. He is the beginning. So Jesus born on earth.”
Chris Rosebrough, “This is narcissistic eisegesis. I mean completely. I mean it is a crime. It is a crime that should lead to automatic defrocking and drumming out of any pastor who does this kind of stuff. Especially one who takes the crucifixion passage and makes it about you.”
Brian Houston, “Jesus born on the earth were the beginning. Jesus is saying, “It is finished and dying on a cross was an end.” But after the end was the beginning of a much bigger day and a much greater thing. The truth is that the end only ushered in a better thing and that is the life that comes through a resurrected Jesus and sometimes we face an end and when we face an end, just like perhaps the disciples at that moment. There would have been some who were just absolutely bewildered. There would be some who were so disappointed. There would be some who felt abandoned or rejected or lonely. There were those who were involved who would have felt all sorts of guilt. There were all sorts of emotions finished. But because they didn’t necessarily have the complete understanding, the complete revelation Jesus had told them much and because even their Old Testament scriptures told them much. But they didn’t have an absolute understanding that what they saw finishing here, didn’t mean all that Jesus had said would now be possible. No matter what end you maybe facing in your life. Maybe it is the end of a relationship.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Whatever end you are facing you can just plough through it because you know Jesus resurrection shows that the end of the thing in your life well that is just really the beginning. Right.”
Brian Houston, “Maybe it is the end of a season. When you trust God and believe that He is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end and you understand that God has for you a God given destiny and if maybe that point.
Chris Rosebrough, “Really? God has for me a God given destiny. This is not the biblical gospel and notice even though he was, he started off with a text that deals with Christ’s cross. He hasn’t preached the gospel. He hasn’t called the sinners there at Hillsong to repentance and faith and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, which was accomplished and finished TetelestaiΤετέλεσται by Jesus on the cross. This is a false gospel, a different gospel. Nowhere does it promise you in scripture that God has a God given destiny for you because you are so special.”
Brian Houston, “Maybe that point in your life is finished. But the destiny is not fulfilled. Then don’t just get ruled by that ending. But understand that God has for you a greater beginning in Jesus name. What an amazing thing that is, but see here is the sad thing. So often people come to an end and they think and they live like it is over and you know the Lord is the beginning and the end. But the devil who is a usurper would love to usurp the end where it finishes, what the outcome is in your life. I would love for you to turn with me just for a moment to Matthew 13 v 37. That is The Parable of the Tares.
Matthew 13 v 37 (NKJV – New King James Version)
37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows
Chris Rosebrough, “Now please turn over to Matthew 13 because watch what he does with this text. It is unbelievable.”
Brian Houston, “Matthew 13 v 37 (NKJV – New King James Version) 37 He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom,
Matthew 13 v 38-39 (NKJV – New King James Version)
38 But the tares (which are for the sake of time I guess like weeds) are the sons of the wicked one.39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age…..”
Brian Houston, “So…….”
Chris Rosebrough, “Okay now we are going to pause right here. Okay this is a parable that Jesus taught and Jesus interpreted. He gets, you don’t get to have a different interpretation than Jesus does. Okay plain and simple, when Jesus interprets the parable, the parable and its interpretation stand by themselves and your interpretation doesn’t get to deviate from Jesus’s. So if you have your Bible Matthew 13 v 24.”
Matthew 13 v 24-30 (ESV – English Standard Version
It begins, 24 “Jesus put another parable before them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Okay so Jesus tells the parable and of course the disciples did not understand it. That is important to note. They did not get this so they actually went to Jesus and asked Him to explain The Parable of the Weeds. So Jesus then interprets this parable he told. So here is the right singular correct way of understanding The Parable of the Weeds, are you ready?
Matthew 13 v 36-43 (ESV – English Standard Version)
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
Okay so there is The Parable and its interpretation. What is this parable about? In a nutshell it is literally a compressed story of what is going wrong in the world. The world is what God created and the devil sows weeds in among the wheat, even though God planted good seed and there is a day coming, the day of judgement. The last day the day at the end of this age when Jesus returns in glory to judge the living and the dead and He will send His angels out into the harvest field and they will gather the weeds and throw them into the fiery furnace. He will throw them into hell and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth and the good seed. The good, the wheat will be gathered together and they will be…..
Matthew 13 v 43
43 The righteous they will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has an ear, let him hear!
That is what this parable is about. Jesus interprets it. There is no other sound interpretation of this passage. If your interpretation deviates from Jesus interpretation you are twisting Christ’s words and you are a false teacher. Let’s back this up. Listen in.
Brian Houston,. “38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom,
Matthew 13 v 38-39 (NKJV – New King James Version)
38 But the tares (which are for the sake of time I guess like weeds) are the sons of the wicked one.39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age…..”
So what the enemy would love to do is replace the good seeds in your life with…..”
Chris Rosebrough, “He is twisting God’s Word. No this is not about the enemy trying to replace the good seeds in your life. If you are a believer you are wheat. If you are an unbeliever, a sinner and a lawbreaker, you are weed plain and simple. So now he is allegorizing Jesus interpretation in order to smuggle in a completely different and foreign interpretation. This is Bible twisting of the worst kind.”
Brian Houston, “Is the end of the age. So what the enemy would love to do is replace the good seeds in your life with tares or perhaps if you like with thinking or with a spirit of defeat, understanding that this usurper for he would love to….”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah Jesus never talked about a spirit of defeat. You are usurping Christ’s interpretation of His own parable sir.”
Brian Houston, “Understanding that this usurper for he would love to be able to change the end of the age when it comes to eternal things. But bring it all the way down to our own lives. What he would love to do is really be able to change what is your God given end or your God given destiny or your God given outcome and we have to decide who we are going to cooperate with, are we going to co-operate with the one…..”
Chris Rosebrough, “Notice the text doesn’t say anything about your God given destiny. This is how Satan twists God’s Word.”
Brian Houston, “Are we going to cooperate with the one who sows the good seed or are we going to cooperate with the one who brings the tares in our life not tears? Although sometimes that is what is involved, is lots of people who could tell you why sour wine. But one thing I do know is that the last thing Jesus said before He said, “It is finished!” Or the last thing that He tasted was sour wine and the truth of it is sometimes people here have been confronted even in recent times when the end of something where perhaps the finish of something and it has been a little like sour wine. It certainly left a sour taste in your mouth. But don’t ever get looking at your life just from the perspective of what is happening now and see the end where you see the end, because we don’t determine the end. He determines the end. We can decide by our attitude that we are going to give up the end and allow the one who would love to usurp the outcomes or the purpose of God in our life. He would love to steal it from you and rob it from you.”
Chris Rosebrough, “This is a narcissistic litany of nonsense that we are hearing at this point.”
Brian Houston, “But let’s not allow the finish of something to be an ending. I was in Dubai at the airport transferring to Uganda and there was a huge long escalator walking path, walking sidewalk. You know what they are. But right in front of us was a woman who hadn’t ever seen one of those before and she got to the end and with dozens and dozens of people behind her and when she got to the end of this moving pathway, you could actually see her beginning to panic and she got to the end. Took one tiny step off the end and stopped and do you know literally it was chaos because everyone else couldn’t stop they were on a walking pathway and so they were trying to walk backwards. It was chaos, you had to see it.
You couldn’t believe that someone would get just to the end and just take one tiny step off and stop. No one else had anywhere to go and yet I think sometimes we can get so overruled in our minds by what maybe right now. It looks like the finish of your dreams or the end of an era and we stop there and you are not supposed to stop there. Because maybe it is over, but you are not finished. God has your hand and your life in His hand and if we will just learn to trust Him at that time. Obviously we don’t see everything that is right in front of us. But everyday has a transition to the next day, the new day, it is called night and sometimes we are in that moment like night and we can’t see what is right in front of us. But it is just critical that at moment we can believe there is an eternal God who sees things greater than we see things and we believe Him and that we don’t stop there. Many people’s lives stop where it was never supposed to stop and if we would just trust God and take a hold of Him and believe His Word and commit to the future and accept that God is going to be true to His Word then you can be the storyteller of great miracles. You see I have now been pasturing this church for twenty six years.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah see you can be the storyteller of great miracles of your life, the one where it has the big God destiny thing going on. Not the story of the miracles of Jesus life. Narcigesis making yourself the centre of the biblical text, because you have got to love yourself, you are the most important person ever right? Way more important than Jesus who is really you know just your life coach, your co-pilot, you know the guy giving you the tips on how to make your life successful.”
Brian Houston, “You see I have now been pasturing this church for twenty six years. But I have been in ministry overall for more like thirty five years and had enough experience in my own life and to witness in other people’s lives to be able to tell you how many times I have seen what looked like a tragic end in people’s lives become a tremendous testimony to the grace of an almighty God because they didn’t stop. They didn’t stop. So believe for the best for the future.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah just believe for the best for the future. That is what the gospel is all about. You show God how much faith and positive thinking you have by believing the best for your future.”
Brian Houston, “Believe for the best. Here listen to some verses. Write that down. Believe for the best about the future. It says hold the beginning of your confidence until the end. We can start off confident…..”
Chris Rosebrough, “Huh?”
Brian Houston, “You know so often we can start with confidence but life itself can attack and hit that confidence and The Bible says hold what was the beginning of confidence until the end. Hebrews 12 v 1 says.
Hebrews 12 v 1 (NKJV – New King James Version)
1 Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah and in Hebrews 11 it is all about the great things that the saints have done by faith, including being eaten and torn apart by wild beasts. They did that by faith too. Yeah read the tail end of Hebrews 11.”
Brian Houston, “That is why we have got to believe for the best for the future. That is why we need to look at what is before us. So often we don’t know. David said Psalm 39. He says, “Let me know.” He is talking to the Lord.
Psalm 39 v 4 (NKJV – New King James Version)
4 “Lord, make me to know my end.”
We don’t know.
Psalm 39 v 4 (NKJV – New King James Version)
4 “And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am.
He says, “Help me to know.” In Psalm 90 v 12 he says.
Psalm 90 v 12 (NKJV – New King James Version)
12 So teach us O Lord to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Chris Rosebrough, “Notice he is ripping all these verses out of context fortune cookie style.”
Brian Houston, “He talks about wanting to know His end and recognizing the frailty. He just wanted to know how much time he had left and I think often times we just don’t know what is ahead of us. We can feel frail. We don’t know what is out there. Faith is an adventure. I think sometimes if could just see the first from the last we would go, “Huh this is okay. Thank you Lord.” Sometimes we just don’t know, but if we did know, if we did understand the greatness of God, the faithfulness of an almighty God.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah and that cross would be the supreme example of it. Don’t you think you might want to really unpack what happened there?”
Brian Houston, “We need to always believe for a better day.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah so there you go. That is part one here, we are going to do part two in just a second. So yeah the gospel is all about believing for a better day. This isn’t the gospel. This is a different gospel. This is a false gospel and it is not based upon a sound reading, an exegesis of any passage whatsoever. This is just all just a good motivational pep talk from a guy with snappy clothes and an Australian accent out there in Sydney who has a mega church. But he is not preaching God’s Word. He is not preaching the gospel. He is twisting God’s Word, completely mangling it and basically smuggling in a false gospel, distracting you and pointing away from the biblical message from the biblical gospel and a real hope and a real salvation. Very dangerous indeed. We continue……”
Brian Houston, “I have got lots of things I have to do. Lots of responsibilities and I don’t think I am the type of person who tries to hold onto things. So I prayed about it a lot but earlier this year I let go of being the president, the overseer of what is our denomination, our movement Australian Christian churches and I didn’t think that would be all that big a deal at all and we got to the actual conference and it was great and one of my best friends became the next president I was excited for him and it got to the actual night and you know I literally almost sensed everybody’s attention on that night and in that conference go like this, “whoop,” and I went to bed that night feeling flat and I am thinking why am I feeling flat? This is what I wanted. It is kind of like what is ahead and I woke up in the morning and I pulled out the piece of paper where I just began to write some of the things that were in my spirit for the future and I just started to get it in my spirit and you know within….”
Chris Rosebrough, “Just started to write the things that were in my spirit for the future. Uh huh and where does The Bible say to do this?”
Brian Houston, “You know within a very short period of time I just started to get this faith for the best for my future into my heart from that day to this rarely not a single regret. I believe that we should believe for a better day. I believe you ought to talk to your future. Psalm 23 v 6 you know
Psalm 23 v 6
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah Psalm 23 v 6 doesn’t say anything about talking to your future. I don’t know what I would say to my future. Hi I am not there yet. It seems like I am always chasing you. Could you slow down a little bit you know. You know you always seem to be just right outside of my grasp you know but never mind.”
Brian Houston, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
Talk to your future. Psalm 45 the Psalmist there says
Psalm 45 v 1
1 My heart overflows with a good theme;
I write my composition concerning the King;
I love this Psalm.
Psalm 45 v 1
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
And sometimes I think it is not as though God doesn’t know the first from the last, the beginning from the end and isn’t working to His eternal purpose. But we need to make sure that we allow our tongue to be the pen of a ready writer. Because sometimes what we are writing in our own life with our own confession is not helping us to stay on course with….”
Chris Rosebrough, “That is the Word of Faith heresy. You speak your future into existence. The power of your words which is a magical worldview, not a biblical worldview and that is not what that text says.”
Brian Houston, “Sometimes what we are writing in our own life with our own confession is not helping us to stay on course with the process of seeing the will of God established in our lives amen. Believe for a better future. Talk to a better future and then just commit to your future. By commit to it I don’t mean just hanker after what has been left behind. Just go after it. Looking forward is the very best way to live our lives and that is why the world is full of hopelessness.
It loves to just take hope away from people. When I say love I don’t think people necessarily just love to take hope. It is just that many people don’t have any hope themselves and if they don’t have any hope themselves, when they hear hope well then they often say, “You are just giving people false hope.” Because they have no hope in God, they have no hope in Him who knows the beginning from the end. Many times you start to pray for somebody whose sake and believe for them and the spirit that will come from people is you are giving people false hope. But if you just have this belief that God is in charge of my life and you commit to the future and you just trust Him, many times it is the fact that we can’t let go of the past that actually inhibits what is ahead for you.”
Chris Rosebrough, “So my future is inhibitive. I can’t let go of the past. Okay yeah maybe sure whatever but have you got any biblical passages that bear this out clearly? This isn’t a biblical teaching and it has absolutely nothing to do with John 19.”
Brian Houston, “So let’s decide we are going to commit to all that is ahead of us and one of the saddest things that people do is end something that isn’t over yet. That is why you have got to guard your heart. You know sometimes we can let offences get into us. We can let just let distracted thinking get into us. We can get…”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah you know that is stinking thinking. You know it can totally short circuit your future, especially if you start speaking negative words over your life. Wow yeah uh huh. Right this is Stuart Smalley stuff.”
Brian Houston, “We can get the spirit of the world inside of us and not guard our heart and if you are not looking after your heart, you are not looking after your future and if you are not looking after your future often times…..”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah if you are not looking after your heart, you are not looking after your future. What does that sentence even mean? Diagram it for me.”
Brian Houston, “You can allow tares to you know basically get into our thinking which means we are cooperating with the enemy whose goal is the end of the age or bring that right down to a practical level, whose goal is to sabotage the end when it comes to the will and the purposes of God in your life.”
Chris Rosebrough, “No the goal of the enemy is to send you to hell, to destroy you, to kill, steal and destroy and ultimately send you to hell, not to oh yeah is he sitting going, “Oh no is there a bunch of Christians out there who are experiencing God’s grand vision for their life ah.”
Brian Houston, “Let’s just be people who we just got this determination and I want to hold onto whatever we lost. Looking back is such a dangerous way to live. I can start reminiscing on a building right next door to here and it was too small and often times the sound bounced around something crazy. There was far too many people. Many times people would literally line up around the buildings. In all of that it is so easy to start going back and human nature is terrible at that and the older we get the worse we get at that. I just don’t want to live my life that way. I want to wake up when I am ninety seven years of age just believing for a better future, not mean and angry and not happy about the way…..”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah when you are ninety seven years of age. Expecting and waiting and hoping for a better future. Yeah if I hit ninety seven I am going to be hoping for a better future alright, one that includes dying and being raised again….ah man.”
Brian Houston, “I want to wake up when I am ninety seven years of age just believing for a better future, not mean and angry and not happy about the way these young people messing up all the good work we did. I want to wake up with a spirit of somehow you know even though, maybe I am on my last breath but somehow what is inside of me is full of dreams and full of vision, full of days. Just want to live committed to the future.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Full of dreams, full of vision. I want to be committed to the future and not a single verse talks about this. This is a false doctrine. This is Bible twisting narcissistic eisegesis and a false gospel to boot. Yeah I am sorry Brian Houston is not an orthodox or sound biblical teacher. He is a wolf and anybody who partners with him in ministry probably is a wolf as well.”
Brian Houston, “Committed to the future. I don’t think you will ever hear us get up here and say, “Look we have just run out of vision. We just don’t know what to tell you anymore.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah I mean yeah no biblical teacher would ever run out of quote vision because we have The Bible. I don’t know what you are talking about.”
Brian Houston, “Times are tough. Recession has hit. I don’t think you will ever hear that. More than that I don’t think you would ever want to hear that. But in our own lives let’s live with this commitment to the future and to do that you have to guard your heart. You have to make sure that you don’t allow yourself to get into a situation where you live in a way where you bring to an end something that is over and on the other hand let things get into our heart which would cause us to start something which only has one inevitable end and that is pain or hurt, or to ignore the fact that everything in fact has an end and live without that sense of urgency that understands the frailty of our days. If we commit to the future, you have got to commit to stay fresh. Listen to this. It is the wisdom of Solomon that he says.
Ecclesiastes 10 v 10 (NKJV – New King James Version)
10 If the axe is dull,
And one does not sharpen the edge,
Then he must use more strength;
But wisdom brings success.”
You think about that if the axe is dull you have got to swing it harder and harder and push more and more and strive more and you know you have got to swing that axe so hard. You are going to wear yourself out because the axe is dull and if we commit to the future. Got to look after the inner man, not allow the axe to be dull. Man if the axe is dull when it comes to our relationship with God or if perhaps we don’t have the competence that we began with. You know we are sort of trying to hold on to the end but we are not doing so with the confidence. We have just had our confidence knocked once too much. That the axe is dull, we can come into church and we are faithful people. We love God and now we are tithing and we are putting God. But the axe is dull and….”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah we are faithful people. We are tithing. We are good people. We are obedient but our axe is dull we just need some wisdom. Hmmm our problem is we are all sinners and we need a Saviour. The one who bled and died for us on the cross, notice he mentioned the cross but no repentance, no forgiveness of sins, no penal substitution, no Christ propitiating the wrath of God. None of that I mean he was just setting a good example for us of what it is like to be determined in the face of an ending. To face and have good thoughts for the future, pretty much what it boils down to.”
Brian Houston, “And if you live like that you are not really living with a commitment to your future. It comes out of determining that you are going to allow your spirit to be renewed, your soul to be restored, your body to be well. You are just committed to keeping the axe sharp because then a whole lot less effort goes a long way further in life and I know whenever my spirit has got dull and my soul has been jaded. I start striving harder and pushing more and working harder to try and do it in my own strength. It never accomplishes the purpose of God, out of a commitment to a future the very best thing that I can do sometimes is look after my own spirit. Look after my own soul.”
Chris Rosebrough, “I don’t know what any of this means. I mean we started freewheeling off-roading a long time ago. This stopped being a biblical sermon well like at the beginning.”
Brian Houston, “Make sure that I am looking after me because when the axe is sharp you just seem to with a whole lot less effort see the blessing of God working in your life. So is the axe dull and maybe you got a little jaded. Has your confidence taken a hit? Have you found that maybe you are just in a state of flux and one part of your life has come to an end and you really don’t know what the next season is, let’s just have a commitment to the future and that is where…..”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah let’s just be committed to the future. Yeah has your confidence taken a hit? Yeah that is what Jesus died on the cross for to help you those whose confidence has taken a hit. They just need to have faith in the future.”
Brian Houston, “That is where and I will finish with this sometimes just determine to watch people. Watch the people who what they believe when it comes to the Word of God, what they believe they are living and it is actually working in their lives. There is various words in the scripture that are translated end. But they pretty well are talking about outcomes. The way it works out, where it ends.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah you know how do things work out for you? You know that is what is talking about you know like talking about the eschaton. How did things work out for you?”
Brian Houston, “What are the outcomes? Hebrews 13 v 7. Listen to it again it says.
Hebrews 13 v 7
7 Imitate those who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.
Did you hear that?”
Chris Rosebrough, “The salvation of their souls.”
Brian Houston, “Considering the outcome of their conduct. In other words watching the way they live, affecting the outcomes in their life. You start watching the wrong people. That is not going to help you to commit to the future. Start listening to the wrong voices. That is not going to help you to commit to the future.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah you know may I recommend committing to your eternal future by getting rid of this false doctrine, yeah have the eternal end in mind here because false doctrine sends you to hell. Something just to consider.”
Brian Houston, “Start entertaining wrong thinking and it is not going to help you to commit to the future.”
Chris Rosebrough, “I agree false doctrine is not helping to commit to an eternal future with God. It is leading you to hell, an eternal future in hell in the fiery furnace. So you don’t want to listen to the wrong voices like Brian Houston.”
Brian Houston, “There is a better day ahead. Praise God He is the beginning and the end and the beginning. Maybe an era has ended. But if a destiny is not completed then never ever confuse the end of an era in your life for the completion of a destiny.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah whatever this is just gobbledygook.”
Brian Houston, “If your destiny is not complete. Then you should not be ruled by the end of any season.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah you are just spinning out your own absurd statements now.”
Brian Houston, “You should not be ruled by the end of any season or any era because as long as God is God and He is eternal and the Lord is Lord and you have got breath God can fulfil His promise in your children, in your finances, in your wellbeing, in your life.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah what about your eternal soul? Everything you are talking about is really temporal don’t you think?”
Brian Houston, “If you believe it say amen.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah I didn’t say amen I don’t believe any of that.”
Brian Houston, “Amen amen.”
Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah none of that was based on sound biblical hermeneutics. It was a twisting of God’s Word and a wrestling of a passage about the sufferings of Christ on the cross for our sins wrestling that away to making it about well you – narcissistic eisegesis. It is a damnable sin. It is the worst poison in all of the poisons of the false teachers. This is the thing that will keep you in a drunken stupor as you sit there and you imbibe and get intoxicated on this grand vision and dream that God supposedly has for you. But believe me when I tell you when you sober up, if you don’t sober up before you die you will sober up in hell. This is a false gospel based on Bible twisting and narcigesis. This is not how a Christian pastor should handle any text. In fact going back to what I said based on what we heard in this sermon. I am sorry Brian Houston needs to hand in his preaching licence. He should never be allowed to teach the Bible ever again. That is how extremely horrible and sinful what he just did is and I won’t back down from it.”
Is this journalist warning us against ‘Pastor’ Brian Houston from Hillsong Church?
Is this journalist warning us against ‘Pastor’ Phil Pringle from C3 Church?
Is this journalist warning us against ‘Pastor’ Pat Mesiti who ministers at both C3 and Hillsong and is close friends with Pringle and Houston?
Before reading the article below, please read how Phil Pringle of C3 Church mentored Pat Mesiti and restored him to be a ‘legitimate’ pastor again in 2006. It’s worth further noting that Pastor Brian Houston from Hillsong Church is close friends with Pat Mesiti and was also with him though this restoration process.
Therefore, ask yourself these questions while reading the below article:
1. If this journalist is asking people to be wary of Pat Mesiti’s “get-rich-quick schemes,” don’t you think it is worth being concerned who restored this Hillsong/C3 pastor back into ministry?
2. If Brian Houston and Phil Pringle see themselves as motivational speakers like Pat Mesiti, use similar ‘money magnet’ language like Pat Mesiti, spread similar teaching like Pat Mesiti and still endorse Pat Mesiti, how are they any different?”
3. How are Brian Houston and Phil Pringle’s prosperity-driven churches any different to Pat Mesiti’s “get-rich-schemes” organisation?
4. Does slapping Christian language on Pat Mesiti’s work and getting people “handing their cash over taking a leap of faith,” make his content 100% authentic Christianity?
5. If Pat Mesiti provides “no audit trails, no published success rates to prove it one way or the other,” then why is it also rare to hear these success stories in Hillsong and C3 Church?
6. What are the chances that Pat Mesiti got his prosperity theology from his ‘pastor’ friends Brian Houston and Phil Pringle?
Please keep these questions in mind as Fairfax NZ News reports the following:
Just who’s getting rich quick?
BY ROB STOCK
Books have always been used by salesmen to enhance their credibility, though a new series arriving in New Zealand takes that to a new pitch.
The nine books in the Millionaire Makers series ($14.99 each) tempt buyers with promises of “$100,000 in 100 days”, achieving “financial abundance for life”, or “Cracking the million dollar sales code”.
But these are really advertisements disguised as books, trying to drum up bums on seats for seminars in Auckland’s Aotea Centre in August, November and February at which the nine authors – some of the biggest names of the Australian wealth seminar scene – will attempt to sell mentoring schemes, high-risk options trading systems, boxed software programs and even franchise-style online marketing businesses to Kiwis who want to barely work at all and yet be fantastically rich.
Each book contains a “free” invitation to a seminar “worth $1994” (a very specific sum derived by comparison to the pricing of the seminars of US motivational speaker Tony Robbins).
In effect, punters who pick the books up from the natty black display stands in bookstores around the country are being asked to buy the advertisement for the seminar.
It’s brilliant marketing really, as befits the man behind the series, former evangelical pastor Pat Mesiti, now a preacher in the secular church of financial abundance.
Mesiti is a fascinating and charismatic man to meet, not least because of his colourful background as a preacher with the evangelical and highly commercial Hillsong church in Australia.
There’s no doubting the energy of the diminutive Mesiti (who is in great nick for a man whose brows now sport receding grey locks) nor his acute awareness that any journalist he meets is a single internet search away from learning about his past.
In fact, Yahoo’s new helpful habit of trying to anticipate your searching requirements suggested I add the word “scandal” to my search command even before I finished typing Mesiti’s name.
Consequently, it is he who brings up his public disgrace in 2001 when he was stood down as a preacher at Hillsong for visiting prostitutes, a scandal that led him to reinvent himself on the wealth-creation speaking circuit.
It’s still a sensitive point. As we talk the phone goes. A current affairs show producer calls as we talk, asking Mesiti to front for an interview. “Are they dirt-diggers?” he asks nervously, clearly weary of constantly revisiting his sexual sins.
Hillsong church and Mesiti still have much in common, including the message that God and Jesus want their believers to be rich, and, unusually, that Jesus was himself wealthy.
Mesiti sums it up for me. He doesn’t believe Jesus was broke. If Jesus was poor why did he have a treasurer? How could he have afforded to keep such a retinue of disciples? How else could he have afforded to take so much time off work?
Mesiti adheres to the school of thought among predominantly US preachers with a penchant for the good life that Jesus was wealthy, and what’s more, the mainstream churches know it, but are keeping the truth from people in order to amass riches for themselves (Mesiti points out that mainstream churches are among some of the biggest landowners in the world).
Mesiti’s stance is not far from Hillsong head man Brian Houston’s claim that true Christians are money magnets. “If you believe in Jesus, he will reward you here as well [as in heaven],” he once told a Sydney Morning Herald reporter.
Mesiti claims that despite having left Hillsong, he has a similar mission to the wealth- dispensing God. “I tell the people, their prosperity is my passion,” he says.
The nine authors of the Millionaire Makers series share that mission, Mesiti claims. That’s handy, because it is the only way to address the key paradox of the motivational speaker/ professional mentor: If they are so wealthy and successful, what are they doing on the speaking circuit flogging their books and mentoring systems?
“Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach,” is the old saw that comes to mind, particularly for a journalist who has met many financially successful people.
The standard response is that they have a mission to teach and to free humanity from the shackles of society/poor schooling/bad parenting, which all combine in a malign conspiracy to keep us from the secrets of wealth.
Of course, the way to break free from the shackles and achieve wealth quickly and painlessly, according to the Mesiti school of thought, is to buy the book/the mentoring scheme/the software. Such mentoring brings “wisdom without the wait”, he tells me.
For the record, this cynical journalist for one is deeply sceptical about get-rich-quick schemes. I have no doubt they work – the problem is, I think they work for those selling them, not those buying them.
There are no audit trails, no published success rates to prove it one way or the other.
That leaves those handing their cash over taking a leap of faith.
I wouldn’t dispute that speakers like Mesiti can be a powerful force to motivate people to get out there and improve their lot, but it’s hard not to see that as secondary to the sales pitch. Pick your gurus carefully.