Houston, we have a problem!
Brian Houston, that is. Arguably one of the most influential figures of today’s professing church, Houston, is currently the senior pastor of the worldwide multi-site megachurch known as Hillsong. The church, founded by Houston’s pedophile father, Frank Houston, dominates the contemporary worship music scene, with their songs being played in churches of every denomination around the entire world.
Popular songs like Oceans and Forever Reign with lyrics like “Spirit lead me, where my trust is without borders,” and “nothing compares to your embrace” fill the IMAG screens of Baptist churches, Methodist churches, Pentecostal churches, Catholic churches–churches of every kind during Sunday morning worship. From raging electric guitars, drums, and professional soloists to small choirs with nothing more than a keyboard and a few singers, the music is emotionally captivating, bringing many to tears and arms lifted high, as they sing out praises to God.
So what’s not to like?
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First, Hillsong is a cult. Particularly, a cult of personality. In a blog post on Hillsong’s website entitled Five Things That Should Matter to a Worship Leader, one of Hillsong’s foremost worship leaders, Jonathan Douglass writes:
2. We are about fulfilling our Senior Pastor’s vision (not our own)
It is so important that as amazing as our creative ideas might be, if they don’t ultimately line up with what our Senior Pastor and leaders want, then we happily put them aside. The church doesn’t exist to build our worship teams… our worship teams exist to build the Church!!
Here’s the problem. Biblical churches don’t exist to fulfill a leader’s “vision,” churches exist to glorify God, preach and teach the Scriptures, and make disciples. Since Brian Houston, who is currently under investigation by the Royal Commission for his involvement in covering up his father’s crimes against children, is the senior pastor of Hillsong Church, Douglass has made it clear who the Hillsong worship program exists to serve. (Hint: It isn’t Jesus.)
So what exactly is the “vision” of Brian Houston that Hillsong seeks to fulfill? You can read his entire vision statement here. However, to summarize, he “sees” a large, global church centered around worldly culture and music, with the purpose of influencing the world with his watered down, substanceless version of Christianity–and he claims his “vision” is from God.
Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).
Watch the video below to see exactly what Brian Houston believes Christianity and the church is supposed to be.
Clearly Houston has no idea what the purpose and function of the church is. While he twists a passage out of Acts 8 in a sorry attempt to prove the church is made up of wicked people, he then states how he loves the fact that his church is full of broken, unrepentant people.
While it’s true that “whosoever will” come to Christ is part of the church, upon conversion, we cease to be these things, and our identity is now in Christ. Repentance is a necessary part of salvation, and you are not part of Christ’s church if you are not saved. Scripture calls us to be separate from the world.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2
Yet, Houston’s church is not built on repentant believers in Christ with Christ and his Word as the chief cornerstone, it’s centered around the “whosoever wills” that submit to his “vision.” This is evidenced in the fact that one of his campuses had two unrepentant sodomites, with open plans for homosexual marriage, as active, participating members of the church. As a matter of fact, one of them was a choir leader. Houston’s response to this was to “love them,” and “assist them on their journey,” instead of confronting them about their sin and calling them to repentance. The Bible calls these people “adulterous” and at enmity with God(James 4:4).
Hillsong Church does not exist to preach the Word of God, and to draw people to Christ, bringing glory to His holy name–it exists to draw people to their music, making them money, and giving them power, and giving glory to their man-centered, man-built pseudo-spiritual empire. Brian Houston clearly preaches a false gospel. Southern Baptist leader, Albert Mohler, stated,
[Hillsong is] a prosperity movement for the millennials, in which the polyester and middle-class associations of Oral Roberts have given way to ripped jeans and sophisticated rock music…What has made Hillsong distinctive is a minimization of the actual content of the Gospel, and a far more diffuse presentation of spirituality.
Brian’s Word of Faith gospel teaches that God wants you to be rich and famous so that you can reach millions of people for Christ. Watch the video below for an excerpt of a sermon he gave teaching this.
Further, it exists to convert existing churches, including biblical churches, into churches that conform to their ideology. Hillsong, while having similarities with charismatic and pentecostal churches, was actually founded on Latter Rain ideology, now known as the New Apostolic Reformation, and uses aggressive and unscrupulous tactics to take over churches.
What happens when Hillsong plants a large church in a new area? Many of the smaller churches die, because,
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. – Jude 1:4
Hillsong, through its attractive music, that has a form of godliness but denies His power (2 Tim 3:5), creeps it’s way into solid churches, deceptively turning people on to their ideology, drawing people to their “vision”–Brian Houston’s “vision.” A wide-ranging variety of music, some that may seem very solid theologically on the surface (even Satan masquerades as an angel of light, 2 Cor 11:14), and some that are blatantly shallow and even unbiblical, is the effective method of takeover. It’s deceptive, and it’s evil (Mark 13:22).
The substance and theology of the music is irrelevant to Hillsong. It’s the attractive nature of the music, not the theology, that draws people to it. Hillsong’s music program funds the entire church and every time your church sings one of their praises, you are lining Brian Houston’s pockets, and carrying out his “vision.” See Also: Hillsong: A Breeding Ground of False Converts – And Your Church Pays For It.
Listen to the words of the music. When compared to Scripture, it becomes very clear that Jonathan Douglass and Hillsong Church music industry is fully executing its mission to fulfill the senior pastor’s “vision” of a worldly, theologically shallow church that’s tolerant of sin, and conforms to the lost. The music tends to carry an almost universalist theology, in that in Christ, we’re all free, and free to do as we please without fear of God’s wrath. But in Christ, we aren’t free to continue sinning, we are freed from sin and practice ongoing repentance. The Bible says that God is not in those who love the things of the world.
If the sappy, emotional music were removed, and only the lyrics of the songs you love were spoken, rather than sung, would you get the same warm, fuzzy feeling, the same emotional high? Would you be “moved” all the same? Would you be able to discern the truth from the “almost truth?” Or is it the music that you worship, rather than God, through his eternal Word? Examine yourself to see that you are truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Are you led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14), or are you led by the lusts of the world (1 John 2:16)?
Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you…2 Corinthians 6:17
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