Dietrich Bonhoeffer , German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, founding member of the Confessing Church and martyr, had some interesting insight into the “visionaries” of his day. Who did you think Bonhoeffer had in mind when he wrote this piece? Brian Houston… or someone else?
Beware of visions for church
“God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own laws, and judges the brethren and God himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of the brethren. He acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together.”
“When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure. When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself.”
“Because God has already laid the only foundation of our fellowship, because God has bound us together in one body with other Christians in Jesus Christ, long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients. We thank God for giving us brethren who live by his call, by his forgiveness, and his promise. We do not complain of what God does not give us; we rather thank God for what he does give us daily.
Source: Deitrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, Christian Kaiser Verlag, 1939.
We would like to point out to you some of Hillsong’s misleading words and “visions”.
Love God, Love People, Love Life
Source: Vision, Hillsong, https://hillsong.com/vision. (Accessed 10/06/2014.)
Taken face value, is this true? Jesus says, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word”. Does Hillsong fail to keep Jesus’ word? Why do they seem to be so ignorant of God’s holy Word – are we to assume they do so deliberately? Does Hillsong demonstrate the love of God by failing to honour His Word by preaching a different “gospel”? How many versions of the bible have you heard being used by Brian Houston to force his own interpretation into the text?
2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth”.
If they refuse to repent of their false gospel, are they demonstrating “love” for people by keeping them in ignorance, keeping them from obeying the truth of the gospel? In fact, rather than “loving” people , they are hurting people.
Finally, loving “life”. Loving life by laying that life down? Living a selfless and sacrificial life? Or does the Hillsong version of “loving life” simply mean being physically healthy, materially wealthy, and personally happy? Or more simply put, if this is true, “grace is obsolete, God is irrelevant, and man is the measure of all things”.
The misleading mission statement:
To reach and influence the world by building a large Christ-centered, Bible-based church, changing mindsets and empowering people to lead and impact in every sphere of life.
Source: Vision, Hillsong, https://hillsong.com/vision. (Accessed 10/06/2014.)
Once again, for Hillsong to call it self “Christ-centered” and “bible-based” doesn’t that mean they need to fulfill those requirements? Doesn’t this mean they need to present a biblical Jesus, rather than a moralistic, therapeutic deity that entices people into Word of Faith practices? We are yet to see a sermon where Hillsong handles the bible accurately at all. Is it right for Hillsong to parade such titles when they barely resemble the historic Christian faith?
Last but not least are Brian Houston’s Roman Catholic sounding visions (no other name right?):
The Church I See
The Church that I see is a Church of influence. A Church so large in size that the city and nation cannot ignore it. A Church growing so quickly that buildings struggle to contain the increase.
I see a Church whose heartfelt praise and worship touches Heaven and changes earth; worship which influences the praises of people throughout the earth, exalting Christ with powerful songs of faith and hope.
I see a Church whose altars are constantly filled with repentant sinners responding to Christ’s call to salvation.
Yes, the Church that I see is so dependent on the Holy Spirit that nothing will stop it nor stand against it; a Church whose people are unified, praying and full of God’s Spirit.
The Church that I see has a message so clear that lives are changed forever and potential is fulfilled through the power of His Word; a message beamed to the peoples of the earth through their television screens.
I see a Church so compassionate that people are drawn from impossible situations into a loving and friendly circle of hope, where answers are found and acceptance is given.
I see a people so Kingdom-minded that they will count whatever the cost and pay whatever the price to see revival sweep this land.
The Church that I see is a Church so committed to raising, training and empowering a leadership generation to reap the end-time harvest that all its ministries are consumed with this goal.
I see a Church whose head is Jesus, whose help is the Holy Spirit and whose focus is the Great Commission.
YES, THE CHURCH THAT I SEE COULD WELL BE OUR CHURCH – HILLSONG CHURCH.
– Brian Houston 1993
Note how his language and philosophy has changed. His vision contains Roman Catholic ecumenism, New Age tones, fascistic philosophy and totally lacking anything of biblical substance. How is this a good vision to have? You wouldn’t think He might include the gospel?
The Church I Now See
The church that I see is a global church. I see a global family: One house with many rooms, outworking a unified vision. I see a church apostolic in calling, and visionary in nature; committed to boldly impacting millions for Christ in significant cities and nations throughout the earth with the greatest of all causes – the Cause of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I see a church that champions the cause of local churches everywhere; encouraging them to be all that God has called them to be. A Church that refuses to be content with the triumphs of the past, but is constantly looking towards the future – filled with a vision that inspires and influences many.
Positioned in the heart of culture, in great diverse urban centres, I see buildings that struggle to contain the increase of all that God is doing; occupying land and places that are miraculous in provision and impossible to ignore.
I see a church that is big enough to dream on a global scale, yet personal enough for every ONE to find their place. I see a church that beckons ‘WELCOME HOME’ to every man, woman and child that walks through the doors.
The church that I see is a worshipping church whose songs reflect such a passion for Christ that others sense His magnificence and power. A distinct sound that emanates from a healthy church, contagious in spirit – creating music that resounds from villages and tribes to great cities and nations.
I see a church that is constantly innovative: A church that leads the communication of a timeless message through media, film, and technology. A church with a message beamed to people around the globe through their television screens, bringing JESUS into homes, palaces and prisons alike.
I see a church with a world-class college that raises, equips, and empowers generations of young, anointed leaders from across the globe. Graduates who serve God in all walks of life, released to salt the earth with dynamic ministries and churches throughout the continents of the world.
I see a church graced with layers of ‘once-in-a-generation’ type leaders – who are naturally gifted, spiritually potent and genuinely humble. Leaders who will pay the price and count the cost of impacting cities and nations with great, God-glorifying churches.
I see a church whose leadership is unified in their commitment to the authenticity, credibility and quality of its heart. Leaders who dare to be themselves, yet live secure in the knowledge that “what they are part of is bigger than the part they play.”
I see a church committed to an innovative NETWORK that connects hundreds of thousands of pastors and leaders and equips them to flourish. A network committed to the apostolic anointing of leaders who are desperate to see the Church of Jesus Christ rise up to live the un-lived life within her… His glorious Church.
I see like-spirited churches in cities of influence that exemplify faithfulness manifested in bricks and mortar. Churches with supernatural provision of buildings and properties standing as beacons of light that bring glory to God and hope to humanity.
I see a church that loves God, loves people and loves life. Youthful in spirit; generous at heart; faith-filled in confession; loving in nature and inclusive in expression.
Yes, the church that I see is committed to bringing the love and hope of Christ to impossible situations through the preaching of the Gospel and a mandate that drives us to do all we can to bring help and solution to a needy world. Whose head is Jesus, help is the Holy Spirit and whose focus is the Great Commission.
– Brian Houston 2014
Was Bonhoeffer being prophetic about today’s Hillsong visionaries and “visions”?