Monday, February 1, 2010

The False Gospel Of Hillsong (Part 4) - My Entire Correspondance With Hillsong

Today, I am going to post the entirity of my correspondance with Hillsong, or more specifically, Robert Fergusson. I realize that a lot of this has already been posted, but I thought it might be useful to have the entire dialogue and chronology laid out in a single post so the reader can get a clear picture, and also as a tool for others to pressure Hillsong (e-mail them at prayer@hillsong.com). Forgive me if this is too long for you - if you don't want to read through the entire dialogue then you can scroll down to Fergusson's e-mails which are in italics.

For those of you who don't know who Robert Fergusson,here is his profile on the "Hillsong International Leadership College" website:

Robert Fergusson
Cert.IV AWT, PGCE, B.Sc (Hons)
Trainer and Advisor (Pastoral Leadership)

Robert Fergusson is one of the Senior Associate Pastors at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia where his primary responsibilities are preaching and teaching in the Bible College. Originally from England, Robert was a minister there for twelve years before he moved to Australia in 1990. He has travelled extensively and has a passion to teach practical life principals. Robert is married with three adult children.


From what I am told, Fergusson is perhaps the most popular and prominent preacher at Hillsong Sydney along with senior pastor Brian Houston. Someone who is recognized for biblical insight. In the light of the glowing endorsements of Fergusson's teaching/preaching you will have to arrive at your own conclusion after reading through this correspondence.

On Wednesday December 30th 2009 I wrote the following mail to Hillsong's prayer@hillsong.com address which is supposed to be for non-Christians with questions:

To whom it may concern,

I recently read through the CD liner notes of your "Hillsong Live - Mighty To Save" CD. In it I found an explanation on how to become a Christian.

Here is what it said:

"Our prayer is that you would discover the Author of Love . . . Jesus. His life and death represent the greatest gift of love the world will ever see . . . a gift for you. All you need to do is accept it . . . a brand new start to a life lived in relationship with God. Meeting God is as simple as praying a prayer . . . asking Jesus to meet you right where you are. If you are not sure that you know God, and that you are going to heaven, then make this your prayer today . . .

Dear Lord Jesus

I need You . . . I need Your grace to forgive me and I need your love to change me. Thank You for your amazing love. Thank You for giving me life and eternity. But above all, thank you for dying on the cross for me.

I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Now I'm a Christian, which means You live in me.

I belong to You. I will live my life for You and I will love You forever . . . Amen."

Now I am concerned about several things lacking in this presentation including Who God is, defining what sin is, that we must all be judged, and why Christ needed to die on the cross. These all give me great cause for concern with the gospel you are proclaiming. But I want to zero in on one particular issue. On your website you have a statement of "what we believe" which says this:

We believe that in order to receive forgiveness and the 'new birth' we must repent of our sins, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and submit to His will for our lives. (http://myhillsong.com/what-we-believe)

Can you please explain to me why repentance is never mentioned in the gospel presentation in the CD's you sell but your website says that "in order to receive forgiveness and the 'new birth' we must repent of our sins"? Can you tell me which one is the correct?

Adding to this I noticed on the back cover of the CD liner notes a quotation of 2 Chronicles 7:14 which says:

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

By checking in my Bible I found this verse to be incomplete and is missing the words in bold print:

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Can you explain to me why you deleted the line from that verse that speaks specifically about repentance? I hope you agree that it is very serious indeed to add to or delete information from sacred Scripture.

I am very concerned about this. I'm sure you would agree that the stakes are high and it is imperative that we get the Gospel right. Eternal destinies hang in the balance. The Apostle Paul said:

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. (Galatians 1:8-9)

I would appreciate your response as to where Hillsong church actually stands on repentance and that you would promptly ammend your website or the CD liner notes that you publish. I am writing to you first to give you opportunity to clarify your position before I discuss this publicly on my blog.

Sincerely
Cameron Buettel

Well Hillsong's 911 emergency hotline sent me an out of office auto reply with another e-mail address - bethany.norton@hillsong.com. So I resent the e-mail to that address but it seems that Bethany was not used to these sort of questions. Finally on Thursday 7th January 2010, 8 days later, Robert Fergusson responded. It would seem my letter had spent several days moving up their theological chain of command to answer my "difficult questions".

Hi Cameron,

Thank you for your recent email and your obvious concern for truth and the preaching of the gospel. I am responding on behalf of Hillsong church as one of the key preachers here.

Let me assure you that at Hillsong church we are as committed to the declaration of truth as you evidently are. As you have seen from our statement of faith our beliefs are those held by the Australian Christian Churches. All of our preaching and publications attempt to reflect those beliefs. For instance, in the example that you have chosen, although we didn’t use the word ‘repent’ on that occasion, we did use the words, ‘change’ and ‘forgive’. We felt that was appropriate at the time and I am sorry if you feel that is inadequate. Nonetheless, we do regularly review all our preaching and publications and have noted your helpful comments. May I suggest you visit our Hillsong church in London, which may allay some of your concerns.

We pray that God continues to bless you and your ministry,

Yours sincerely,

Robert Fergusson.


I wrote back on the following day (Friday the 8th of January 2010):

Dear Robert, I am honored that you would take the time to write to me. I do know of you as an author and seem to recall that you are from the UK. I hope I'm right about that.

I am from Australia (though I now live in Denmark) and my background is in the AOG movement. I am aware that Hillsong cops it's share of criticism - much of which is unfounded. I know that most of the controversy swirls around money and the use of it. Conspiracy theories abound as much as the wild imaginations of their originators. I realize that you probably get asked many "loaded questions" with an agenda bent on discrediting the Hillsong church. I would hope that you would not categorize me among these people but would biblically consider the objections I raise. They pertain to the purity of the Christian Gospel of which I preach both in the pulpit and on the street. And my questions have no grounding in personal credibility but in the authority of Scripture - which the Hillsong website professes: "We believe that the Bible is God's Word. It is accurate, authoritative and applicable to our every day lives". So please, regardless of what you think of my personal credibility, I ask that you give my words merit on the basis of their alignment to Holy Scripture.

I must be clear from the outset that I am very critical of the gospel proclaimed by Hillsong that I have been exposed to in both print and audio form. In my travels I have spoken with members of Hillsong church which has only served to increase my concerns about the gospel that is preached there. Also, a good friend of mine, while filming a reformation documentary in London, bumped into and interviewed some leaders from Hillsong London in which they were unable to clearly articulate the Christian Gospel - this again was more fuel on the fire in prompting me to write. I believe that God made His Gospel knowable for a wretch like me and it is a subject/discussion that does not require top level theologians to discuss at the basic level. I have just completed a series on my blog (www.onceuponacross.blogspot.com) which you are welcome to critique entitled "The Anatomy of the Gospel". Based on Scripture and, to a lesser extent, church history I have asserted that all Gospel proclamations must include:

1. Who God is - His Holiness (Romans 1:18-20)
2. Who man is - sin must be clearly defined in order to show us our sinfulness (Romans 3:10-23)
3. Judgment - heaven and hell - God must judge because He is good, loving, and righteous and we are not (Rev 20:12-15)
4. What Christ has done - the cross and the resurrection - that Christ died to endure God's wrath in the place of sinners and credit sinners with His righteousness - He rose from the dead confirming that He is God and made satisfactory payment for our sins. (Rom 3:24-26)
5. How man must respond - repentance from sin and faith towards Christ (Acts 20:2-21)

Now I could have targetted any one of those five points as the presentation in the CD liner notes was sadly lacking on all five. But I zeroed in on repentance as it is clearly affirmed by Hillsong's own doctrine statement.

I noticed on the back cover of the CD liner notes a quotation of 2 Chronicles 7:14 which says:

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

By checking in my Bible I found this verse to be incomplete and is missing the words highlighted in bold:

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Can you explain to me why you deleted the line from that verse that speaks specifically about repentance? I hope you agree that it is very serious indeed to add to or delete information from sacred Scripture.

Robert, there is no excuse for taking a scalpel to Scripture like this. It is bad enough when people quote verses out of context. How much worse to delete words out of a verse and print it as if that is what 2 Chronicles 7:14 says. The text does not even contain a ... to show that the verse has been abbreviated. I don't blame you for this and realize that you cannot possibly know everything that goes on in a ministry as large as Hillsong. But neither can I see how you could possibly defend this as a professing Christian preacher.

And there is no way that the words "change" and "forgive" (as found in the CD liner notes "prayer") remotely resemble repentance from sin in their context. Please read it again remembering that the faith statement says that people "must repent of sin" in order to receive forgiveness. Repentance is never mentioned and neither is sin. Robert, please take this seriously as a steward of the Gospel. If people must repent of their sin in order to receive forgiveness but the CDs that are sold say nothing that remotely resembles that they are giving false assurance. Please, I beg you, listen to your conscience. Please change your literature to reflect this truth and make sure that your preaching is consistent with this.

The Gospel is not about happiness but righteousness. People must come to Christ seeing their unrighteousness and need for righteousness found only in Christ's atoning sacrifice. A failure to talk about sin and the need to repent from that sin is short changing the glorious Gospel at its foundational level.

Sincerely
Cameron Buettel

Robert Fergusson replied again the same day (Friday 8th of January 2010):

Hi Cameron,

Thank you for your email and, once again, thank you for your observations. To be honest, I think it would be unprofitable for us to engage in a long debate on the nature of the gospel. It would also be ungracious for either of us to suggest that we believe the Bible, repentance or the gospel more than the other. We are both endeavoring, by the grace of God, to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and we should pray for and support one another in that endeavor.

God bless,

Robert Fergusson.


I responded again on the same day (Friday 8th January 2010):

Now Robert, be reasonable. They are fair questions that I am asking. How can you even suggest that repentance from sin is discussed in the Gospel presentation found in the CD? I was hopeful you would address the issue - not pretend it doesn't exist! I am not suggesting I believe the Gospel more than you - I am saying that if you do believe the Gospel then you will put a stop to the false one being presented on behalf of Hillsong. Doesn't it concern you at all that Hillsong propogates information telling people to pray this prayer and then you are a child of God with no call to repentance from sin. No mention of the cross. No mention of our guilt. Please tell me this is of concern to you as a preacher of the Gospel?

Cameron

So there you have it. What do you think about the theological guardians of the Hillsong empire?

Go On To Part 5
Go Back To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1

54 comments:

mlordi said...

Excellent post. You certainly have covered all of the truth of accepting Christ. It is sad that salvation is being watered down to a two second prayer. And to leave off repentance and complete turning away from sin is simply to change the Gospel No one wants to hear about the cross and the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Yet without that knowledge, there can be no victory!

Ross said...

I stumbled across this blog via a link from Group Sects. Interesting reading.

PhilPerth said...

I went with a friend from church some years ago to check out an evening service at Riverview (Western Australias Hillsong equiv). During the altar call "prayer" it was said "if you want to be a part of the family here - raise your hand and God says it's a done deal"!
I also note with interest (for want of a better word) how in Roberts email reply, he says their statement of faith aligns with other churches...and they "attempt" to reflect THOSE beliefs in publications and preaching...
When the word takes second place, the Word will also take second place and this sort of thing is all we can expect to see.

Paul Latour said...

Though you may end up going no further with Mr Fergusson in this issue (his sad call), your determination and insistance for the truth is inspiring and appreciated.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I completely agree with what Robert Fergusson is saying. "Change" and "forgiveness" IS what repentance is! I don't really see the fruit in these posts. But sadly i'm sure you will generate a lot traffic on these stories because christians love to read this sort of thing.

Cameron Buettel said...

Anonymous, do you really believe that that presentation talked about repenting from sin? Biblical repentance is a turning away from sin. I am staggered that you see no inconsistency between Hillsong's faith statement and their gospel presentation. This is not hair splitting - it pertains to the eternal welfare of souls.

Furthermore, what do you think about what they did to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Please tell me you have a problem with that.

Apeleutheros said...

anonymous said: "Change" and "forgiveness" IS what repentance is!

Not quite friend, true repentance is brought on by a brokenness and heart rending realization of what we have done. A man can make a external change and make great efforts at living what appears to be a Christian life, but still be every bit of a devil inside. You can't put to death the old man with gum drops and cotton candy.

What am I forgiven of? What did I do to need forgivness?

If I don't know the weightiness of what I have done, and if I don't see the hopelessness of all that is of my human nature, I would have simply made an intellectual ascent to seek God in a way that is self gratifying.

When the Holy Spirit first began to minister to me, He did not minister to me with fluffiness saying things like:

"My life and death represent the greatest gift of love the world will ever see . . . a gift for you. All you need to do is accept it . . . a brand new start to a life lived in relationship with Me. Meeting Me is as simple as praying a prayer."

As if conversion is something so uninvolved and superficial. This is an utterly inadequate presentation of the Gospel, and to quote MacArthur: "This is a gospel that will lead to apostasy"

The Lord broke me in my inner most being so that I cried out for mercy. I was brought to nothing so I could receive everything in Him.

Look at GENUINE conversions and revivals throughout history and you will not see such shallow dribble drabble being passed off as the Christian experience. Men and Women were destroyed by conviction and powerfully reborn in the Spirit of God!

This is nearly non-existent today and it is because people are focusing their efforts on men instead of on God. They're preaching watered down kool-aid instead of speaking the full counsel of God's Word.

When God does a work it rattles a man at his very core. It's not like a message upon the flesh! It pierces to the heart and throws down strongholds! It rattles foundations! It wrecks our own life and aspirations and makes Christ our Life and only refuge!

I want to cry! The Modern church is nothing but a prostitute selling herself to the world! Words cannot convey the grief in my heart! God help us!

gandalf said...

I found this bit from Robert Fergusson on the Hillsong website under the Creative section.

Since it deals explicitly with previous criticism about inconsistency between statement of faith and presentation in musical production, it might be interesting:

http://hillsong.com/blogs/creative/2008/12/20/creed-in-songwriting/

also interesting might be:
http://hillsong.com/blogs/creative/2008/12/20/4-commendable-attributes-of-a-songwriter/

that because in the second part, when he speaks about creativity and flexibility it seemingly tends to stress loyalty if not obedience to the local church ("there is a favor on this house") and their authorities.

Anonymous said...

Well your article helped me very much in my college assignment. Hats afar to you dispatch, intention look forward in behalf of more interrelated articles without delay as its united of my favourite issue to read.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should be spending your time reading about
grace' and forgiveness. Condemnation does NOT bring the lost to Christ, MERCY and LOVE does. Ever heard of redemption. "It is the GOODNESS of God that brings men to repentance." HIS LOVE an GENTLENESS and MERCY. You are so SIN conscious, you are forgetting why CHRIST came!! He paid the price to wipe us clean AND REMEMBER our SINS NO MORE. This Love is what turns people TO God, and brings about repentance.

Anonymous said...

Hi
Very nice and intrestingss story.

Paulo Yoo said...

Dear Cameron,
I believe that the way you are putting your words is not constructive to God kingdom.
Although I have to believe that you are trying to achieve something from God, I don't think it's true, you can't be right in somethings as they can be right in some too.
First love then and try to love, instead off keep a battle that is not good for this world. We don't need more dissention, we need our God love and salvation!
It's not YOU that will change the world being sarcastic.
With love,
Paulo Yoo

Paulo Yoo said...

Dear Cameron,
I believe that the way you are putting your words is not constructive to God kingdom.
Although I have to believe that you are trying to achieve something from God, I don't think it's true, you can't be right in somethings as they can be right in some too.
First love then and try to love, instead off keep a battle that is not good for this world. We don't need more dissention, we need our God love and salvation!
It's not YOU that will change the world being sarcastic.
With love,
Paulo Yoo

Anonymous said...

It sounds to me like you are an argumentative person who is trying to discredit a man and a church that has global impact for the kingdom of God.
He clearly said thank you for your concern and email and that they would review their material but that wasn't good enough for you. Your reason behind your questions and "concern" is so that you can use it for your advantage and gain NOT to come to any truth! If you were concerned for truth I don't think you would have posted this ridiculous dialogue that obviously not many people care about seeing as how I am the 15th comment.
He said "We are both endeavoring, by the grace of God, to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and we should pray for and support one another in that endeavor." Honestly, I think any person in their right mind can see YOUR motivation!

Anonymous said...

I find it sad when a person who claims to love God and His word sees it as his role to try and discredit fellow believers who are humbly walking out their journey with God and actually impacting many lives for the good. I have heard Robert speak many times and have found him to be passionate about God's word and very clear in his love and respect for the word of God. I think,as many others have already said, that Robert has demonstrated the heart of God so much more than the author of this blog, I know who's teaching I would rather learn from.

They will know us by our fruits and our love for one another :-)

Thank you Robert Fergusson, your teaching has revealed to me the awesomeness of God and helped me to walk in the true freedom that Jesus payed so dearly for. God bless you :-)

Anonymous said...

PA! Typo above! I should've said 'they'll know Him by our love for one another'! :-)

Anonymous said...

Okay, dude. If you really cared about the gospel message, you would be out sharing it with people, not writing long blogs about how you don't like the wording on a hillsong cover. You're only hurting the body of Christ. Will all due respect, go out and make a POSITIVE difference for the kingdom, and stop this negative hair splitting.

Anonymous said...

Okay dude. If you really cared about the gospel message you are trying to defend, you would be out sharing it with people, instead of writing log blogs criticizing Hillsong covers. You are only hurting the body of Christ. With all due respect, stop the negative hair splitting, and go out and make a positive impact for God's kingdom.

Cameron Buettel said...

Dear anonymous, how do you know that I don't share the Gospel with people? I hope you're not judging me! Look up my name on YouTube and you might be surprised at the number of evangelism videos you will find. It imprecisely because I am an active witness that I spoke out about this. And with all due respect, perverting the purity of the Gospel and altering Bible verses is far more serious than "hair splitting".

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. (Galatians 1:8-9)



I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19).

James S said...

The only ones being "hurt" here are a bunch of biblically illiterate people who can't distinguish the difference between false teaching and the true biblical gospel.
Sad really.

God bless you Cameron, and don't be dissuaded by the illogical arguments from anonymous repliers and those spouting foolish unbiblical drivel.

Chan said...

would God Want Quarrel ? or Unity
Would God Want Codemnation ? or Encouragement ?, Would God want Criticizing ? or Correction ?, Would God want correct person ? or humble person ?

I can agree with part of your article , but would God want us to Criticize other church ? or correct, and encourage other church to grow, and stand with encouraged heart. Would God Want us to talk in humble way ? or in the form of quarelling ?, Would God want Fights, or Quarellings between His 2 lovely Son ? or Peace and Unity that made with His Love. No one can be perfect about bible accept God, Correcting, and Rebuking, or Discussing is helpful in knowing God more, but attacking , Judging, Criticizing each other, will never be helpful in building God's kingdom..

Please.. I hope God to give you understanding about 'Family' in Christ...
If Hillsong Church Was really False Church... It would not have good fruit , for it is written

"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit"
(Luke 6:43 NIV)
"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. "
(Matthew 12:33 NIV)

Please move forward together, rather than beating, and biting each other...


Apologize for strong, and offensive comment, but I only can write short in this comment... so... Forgive me Please..^^

Jack Sonnemann said...

No wonder Hillsong is so big.

Sammy said...

@Chan

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we ought to support and encourage one another, but the Bible also teach us to bring a brother back if he is in sin. (which I believe Cameron is trying to do here, but by smooth talk Robert have refused to listen)

Hillsong theology IS NOT sound biblical theology, and they are leading thousands of people astray and straight to hell by preaching to them a prosperity gospel that is not a gospel at all. Many of them will die and fulfill what our Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthews 7:21-
23 about true and false disciples

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Chan, study 1 John chapter by chapter and you will be surprised at what a true Jesus's disciple is all about. The moment you ask people to pray the prayer and giving people easy and non-offensive gospel materials, you lost the power of the word.

Cameron, it was good to know your correspondence with Robert. Keep up your good work.

Mike said...

Interesting...
There is a lack of scripture reference from those who disagree with the blogger. I hope you all are not relying on subjective feelings for your statements.

I also agree with the notion that many people do misquote scripture.
Ex. Romans 10:13.
People will think that means just calling on the name of the Lord will bring salvation. That's not correct. Instead, people who are calling the name of the Lord are already saved because their faith/repentance is shown through their confession in a society where anyone who calls anyone Lord other than Caesar was killed.

Lots of scipture verses are improperly quoted to support some unbiblical form of grace, peace and unity.

What good are numbers and buildings if there is no biblically correct gospel.

God gives people over to their desires. Churches that preach prosperity and happiness in the temporal state are there for the blessings earned from pleasing works. Church of Tares.

Anonymous said...

FROM HILLSONGS WEBSITE

We believe that in order to receive forgiveness and the 'new birth' we must REPENT OF OUR SINS, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and submit to His will for our lives.

I put "REPENT OF OUR SINS" in caps for emphasis.

http://myhillsong.com/what-we-believe

Cameron Buettel said...

Anonymous, I'm not sure why you quote that? Are you using it in agreement with me or in agreement with Hillsong. I quote the very same part of their doctrine statement in the blog post as proof of tha blatant contradiction between Hillsong's official doctrine statement and the gospel they present through their many various mediums ie pulpit, music, videos, books etc.

Snaught said...

Cameron, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
2Tim 3:16

So keep on preachin brother, you are dead on with your observations about hillsong, why would anyone remove a piece of scripture knowing full well the curse God said would be on their heads for doing it. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book Rev 22:19.

The fact that they took that out of the Bible verse puts up a huge red flag on their ministry.

God bless you and give you strength.

Mark

Snaught said...

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book Rev 22:19.

The tampering with Holy Scripture to make it fit their agenda is all I need to see to know something smells fishy.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
2Tim3:16

Pointing out their error is not attacking them, it is trying to admonish them to turn from their error and align themselves with the truth, so keep up the good work Cameron.

In Christ
Mark

Anonymous said...

The amount of time you people have spent on this article, specifically Cameron Buettel. Worries me. You could have wrote this article in two ways. Observation, or "bashing". And its obvious that you chose the "bashing". You could of had this Conversation and wrestled with Roberts response or lack of correct words but you didnt. You did not just wrestle with them. You planted un-healthy thoughts in peoples heads. Just because you saw a CD Liner that was published by Hillsong Church that "I agree" was sugar coated and possibly said theologically incorrect. Does not mean you tell the world the negativities of one of the most influential churches in the world. Dont give the enemy what he wants. Try to have your opinion personal and take it God. And see what he does with it. Many blessings.

SDN said...

I have known Robert for 30 years. Judge a tree by the fruit it produces. From what I have seen in his life he has produced good fruit. He is a man of great integrity and your blog is the usual gnat straining which religious people engage in.
His letters were in contrast to yours. Full of grace and kindness as opposed to some misguided hunt for error. Instead of being a keyboard evangelist get out there and see thousands saved. That's what Robert has done.

Cameron Buettel said...

SDN, how do you know that I don't evangelize? And also, do you think that the doctrine of repentance, and altering Bible verses are minor "gnat straining" issues?

Anonymous said...

SDN never said that you don't evangelize at all...I think that it is unfair to put words in his or her mouth. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God and secondly to love your neighbour as yourself (Yes, I realize I haven't quoted this in full, but I know you know the scripture so I don't feel it to be necessary). From what I can see in the email exchange, Robert upheld the second greatest commandment and that is why I have great respect for him. I also know that Robert (from having been under Robert's teaching many times) will never read this posting and waste his time being concerned about what others perceive of him because he'd rather spend his time being the hands and feet of Jesus, teaching, and meeting people's needs. I realize the irony in this statement as I am sitting here writing this comment and some may perceive that as wasted time as well, but I feel it necessary to say this:

Overall I would just like to say that this sort of posting saddens me, mostly because postings on the internet have the potential to be accessible to many more people than a CD jacket and if a non-Christian were to stumble upon this, I highly doubt he or she would be compelled or be attracted to the notion of becoming a Christian after reading it. I understand your concerns regarding some of the statements that Hillsong has placed in their promotional material and I will even go as far as to say you have the right to privately ask questions, but I think this kind of public posting has the potential to be much more damaging to the growth of the Kingdom of God than a lightly worded representation of the Gospel on a CD jacket.

Cameron Buettel said...

Anonymous, is the Gospel presentation in the CD a true or false gospel?

Anonymous said...

Honestly this is the biggest load of crap I have read. If you are Christian you wouldn't be looking at ways to discourage others from going to church or buying a hillsong cd. Just because it didn't fall into your perception of what a church should or should not do, does not give you the right to be anti Christian and discourage others. Hillsong is obviously so popular because it reaches those in need. So stop critiquing a church doing amazing things and focus on your own issues because we are all human and we all sin. So cast the first stone.

wakey74 said...

Cameron,

Have you seen this article about how the all the lyrics to any new Hillsong song are checked off first by the Fergussons. When I first read it I immediately thought of the issues you had had with them

http://www.biblesociety.org.au/news/inside-hillsong-music-120202-1

Cameron Buettel said...

Wakey74, it would seem that they are recognizing the greater scrutiny. I suspect this may be more to avoid embarrasment than out of desire for Gospel purity. My questioning seems to have provoked them to adding the word "repent" on their next CD but it was only window dressing and failed to rectify the core problem. Saying the word repent does not mean it is being rightly preached. They have certainly never been forthcoming with any admission of guilt. Thanks for the article though, interesting . . .

Anonymous said...

I think that the purpose of having that prayer in the leaflet is to provide a broken, hungry person with a chance to invite God to come and meet with them.

I think we could all agree that it is not purely the reading of scripture, time spent in prayer and worship, or listening to preaching, or anything we practice as believers that changes us and our hearts without it ultimately being God-inspired.

I would put forth that many Christians who know scripture or have heard thousands of hours of preaching like myself would say that the preaching, or scripture itself did not change them, but it was what God brought to life and spoke through the preaching or scripture that instigated change.

I believe that if one comes into relationship with God, as an open vessel, we make it His job to mould us from the inside out.

I'd put forth that the prayer on the leaflet is purely to see people connect with God and give Him the opportunity to work in their lives.

Kevin said...

Dear All, I tend to agree with Cameron.
1st i will say i have met Robert at his lectures in Hillsong Conference this year. Great messages Great speaker, comes across genuine, honest, authentic and caring enough to worry about bringing people correctly to Christ. AND i saw him preach again today at Hillsong City Campus.


I am a fairly new Christian and What Cameron says is, on the face of it, a little worrying to me. I would want the question answered by Robert on the omitting of words from Bible passages..

As a student of Christ and a attendee of Hillsong i certainly need the question answered, even as a general question. And Since i have a friend who is a pastoral student of Robert's i will endeavor to get HIM to ask Robert the question.. OR for him to introduce me so that i may ask the question to him personally.

He May have a Biblical and therefore acceptable answer which he did not want to discuss in an email to a man unknown to him. He also may need praying for.

I suggest that we all pray for Cameron and Robert (and us) that Jesus shows each of us the Truth and that we put total trust in Him that as Cameron has sown the question (seed) to Robert that God will do the rest to make the Truth happen. It is NOT a Question of what i, Cameron, Annonymous.. or anyone else thinks it is what Jesus wants that is of ONLY importance. No-one in this forum has indicated the need for prayer .. which i find astounding.

If and when i get to ask Robert and if appropriate i the information on.

Abundant Blessings,
Kevin

Cameron Buettel said...

Kevin, I want to thank you for making this about the truth. Biblical accuracy and Gospel purity are issues that stand far above the personal issues people have tried to make this into. I look forward to your next post.

Anonymous said...

Thank God Jesus was perfect!
He was the only one.
When someone has enough humility to accept Christ, do you think God will not attend to convicting their heart to repentance during their Christian journey? Even if the exact words used at the time of accepting Christ are not legalistically precise God looks at our hearts intentions.
This is an argument of semantics. It is vanity. God, with who the final decision matters in this process is, unlike your critical spirit, most bountiful in Grace. You have little faith in trusting God to bring his work to completion. Besides it's not by might or power it's by the Holy Spirit that Salvation occurs.
When you judge someone you are being unscriptoral, you also set yourself up to be judged- pull out the log in your own eye first brother. Only God will judge. And when you are evaluating the ministry of a church- look at their fruit! And if you have ought against anyone, tell them sure, but if you are not satisfied with their response- pray for them! Shame on you that you would tattle post emails and try to cause division amongst the body of Christ. Does the hand say to the foot I will cut you off- you cannot hold anything? No, each part of the body has it's place in moving the world toward salvation.
Be still, know that He is God. Be at peace knowing God is ultimately in control. Take up arms against the devil directly if you feel so inclined, but war not against your own- the body of Christ.
Jesus loves us all so much. He loves us. He will build his church, he will gather his flock. Be not afraid, he will not leave even but one lamb out who truly seeks him. Be at peace. Jesus loves us.

Anonymous said...

I came across this blog while I was intending to visit Hillsong church Amsterdam (searching for a church since I just moved) and Robert Fergusson was going to be ministering, so I googled who he was. To the author of this: I must say I liked the fact that you are critical about the word of God and you do not hesitate questioning anything that seems to be out of line with an intention I believe to correct anything not in line with the truth. I also believe deletion of scripture is a serious matter.
However I have a bit of concern about all this , so reading the first response to your emails there is a part that says "we have noted your helpful comments", and on the second email from you continue and expand and clarify your questions. Could it be that you felt "we have noted your helpful comments" was not sufficient to you as a matter of recognition of error? . It seems like you wanted more to than the answer you received. But then again u said later "...address the mater and not pretend it does not exist…" and that answers me that you expected something else rather than a simple "we have noted your helpful comments" (am I correct by saying so?).
Then when you say your friend said "...unable to articulate the Christian gospel.." what did your friend mean precisely? and on what scale does s/he "judge" articulating it well?, does she have sufficient rights to do so anyway? (Mathew 7:1-2, Romans 14:4).
At one of the emails you said “please tell me this is off concern to you as a preacher..” increasingly making me curious what exactly would have an answer that satisfied you. Could it be you wanted a copy of the repentance prayer in the email just to be convinced they see it as a problem since “we have noted your helpful comments” didn’t do much to satisfy you?. As a child of God I believe God showed you this so you can correct/ rebuke and to make the truth known, does that also mean you need to follow up on whether or not they received correction?. Note 2 Samuel 12:1-14 when Nathan was sent to rebuke David, that’s all he did, rebuke no follow up to “make sure”. I would think praying for them would to return to the actual truth would be a better way of “making sure” .
On the last part you say “So there you have it. What do you think about theological guardians of Hillsong empire?” I must say this then changed all the questions I had initially. Firstly, were you doing research about the church, with a plot to expose their weaknesses? I want to believe you were correcting them as we are encouraged in the bible to do so (James 5:20, Luke 17:3, Prove 9:9 and many more) but what is this doing here ?. I’m sure you do realize that we as the body of Christ is still being perfected for the coming of the Jesus and we continue to learn our faith walk . Or maybe were you just opening up a debate like many other bloggers do?, In any case, my final question will be (to your mind) what are the intentions of you questioning and posting all this on your blog? . I hope I find a church soon, God bless you.
Post script: you don’t have to post the answers to my questions

Anonymous said...

No one is forced to worship at hillsong. No one is forced to listen to Hillsong music. A lot of people all over the world haave come to know christ through hillsong music. Hillsong is relavant. We are all being continously being made righteous through Christ, while on this journey, lets not point out the splint in our brother's eye , ignoring the log in our eyes but instead dwell on The WORD so we can be more like HIM

Cameron Buettel said...

Anonymous, are you saying that getting the Gospel right is a minor "splint" issue?

Anonymous said...

christians are the only army that shoots its own soldiers. Robert ferguson's response was spot on. Before ascending to heaven Jesus said go now and tell the world the good news. a deeper understanding of Christ and forgiveness is not meant to be achieved in 1 prayer! an quite frankly whats more worrying is rather than honouring the good work these people are doing you are spending time tearing them down! they are introducing people to Jesus and the love of Jesus, Do you go to university and come our with a PHD after one day! You probably wont approve this message but you'll get the chance to read it and i hope in some way you see that what you are doing is stupid and the mere fact that you are doing it in a public forum only less brings glory to God.. if you were ambitious for the things of God you would spend it spreading the message of Jesus which is Love..

Cameron Buettel said...

Anonymous, does the purity of the Gospel matter to you? How do you interpret Galatians 1:8-9?

Ashley said...

Cameron,

Isn't it amazing that most people who criticize you remain Anonymous? I find it quite humerous actually. Anyway, I know that you know that what you do and say is biblically correct. The Hillsong supporters are showing their ignorance of the word by saying that God is the judge and that we are not to. However, if they actually opened their bible instead of following man, they would know, as you and I do, that we are indeed to judge those in the church, or who claim to be of the church. Paul called out the false teachers in his letters, so why is Paul not criticized? To Hillside supporters, I pray that God opens your eyes to the truth. That fruit is not mearly what we see, for even unbelievers do many great works. However, works are like filthy rags and we are only saved through Christ. We are also warned about a multitude of false teachers in the last days and to stay away from those who teach another doctine. The gospel is simple. Hillsong, and other churches like it (any Word of faith, Prosperity, Health/wealth gospel, NAR, etc) twist the Word of God for their own sinful desires. They serve the God of self and $$. May we not store up our treasures here, but in heaven as the Word says. Great job Cameron! I came out of the Word of Faith cult, Praise the Lord! At one time I would have been offended as well, but now know the truth better than before. God bless you

Nancy said...

We are one body of one Christ. There is no doubt the Holy Scripture is not allowed to add or remove. Father Lord himself told us this. I believe it is all out of love that Pr Cameron pointed out the wrongly quoted scripture by Hillsong. Hillsong is big scale influential church which means they have even bigger responsibility to believers. The greater work God called a body, the closer he shall be with God. We are lambs belonging to Jesus intead of man. If man that is not godly led a huge group of lamb to the darkness intead of god-given truth(light), we can imagine what kind of wrath from God could be in the last days. We claim we are belivers but we refuse to follow word of God, our judgement is greater than that to non-believers.

It is not too late to repent and turn back to the truth. Our heavenly Father descipline us all because love and rightousness. Jesus wept when he visited hell. He so loved us but he cant do anything unrighteous because it were them refused to follow Jesus but chose to go to hell.

I truly believe Pr Cameron sent a correction email to hillsong is because Jesus put this big love to Pr Cameron's heart. I never heard or seen Pr Cameron but I believe God loves us and told us what the way is to heaven. It is not wide gate but narrow therefore true words arent be always sweet taste. As a christian I do find often my wills are opposite to the will of God. I just write to encourage the one body of Christ to carry the cross with brave and courage becasue Jesus is with us, we are not suffering alone.

Alec Lyons said...

Ok first time replying to a blog post ever
Second I don't attend hillsong church.
Now Cameron I thought I'd give you the benefit of the doubt and do you the service of looking at some of your YouTube videos, id like to say I was shocked but no it was just what I was expecting. How does 'preaching' to a young man that he is going to burn in hell for lying help!?!? One would think telling him how much he is loved by God and how amazing he is would help much more no? If we want people to change we can't focus on their problems straight from the outset, it's like saying to someone that is obese 'hey you fat your so fat that your going to die soon, you better stop being so fat and so eating so much cause your too fat, oh hey do you want me to tell you how to stop being so fat'? And then expecting them to accept what your saying/preaching leave that stuff for later Rom2:4Gods goodness will lead them to repentance'
And then there is the hillsong thing, why even bother you are doing more harm than good. Mark 3:24 if a kingdom is decided against its self that kingdom cannot stand '
Please help spread Jesus name not turn people away from it

Anonymous said...

I think it is quite ridiculous that you would feel the need to be a "scripture cop". It's absolutely silly to see christians attacking other christians over such petty things-not even disagreements. I'm sure when you're screaming at the top of your lungs on the street corner witnessing to the unsaved or in your pulpit, that you do not give every person a 12-step rule list. If you did, no one would get saved. I'm not saying omit or change things from the Bible, but the assumption is that if people want to come to know Christ, then they are seeking transformation. Upon further study and spiritual growth, a new Christian will learn about repentance, forgiveness, the fruits of the spirit, and speaking in tounges, among other things.

Anonymous said...

having read your blogs on this I have to say removing from scripture is wrong and I agree with you on that. I also feel the way you have gone about it is wrong. “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (Matthew 18v15). what you have done is gone to the brother and plastered your issue over the internet.

I find your issue with the prayer to be verging on leagalisam with no real biblical foundation as there is no hard fast prayer in the bible. I have to say if God will not accept simple prayers that accept you are in need of forgiveness and ask for forgiveness and the need for change, then I would have to say most of the prayers that you see in the bible will have been ignored. Even the prayer Jesus made before being arrested was simple “Abba,[f] Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”(Mark 14v36)

When Jesus was hanging on the cross the man who was crucified beside him made no big prayer he never said I repent of my sin. he said he was getting what he deserved and asked Jesus to remember him. yet Jesus made it clear that he was saved.

I will be anonymous as I don't have a Google account not because I want to hide as one of the posters has insinuated.

Regards Jamie Gordon

Anonymous said...

God bless you Anonymous ...Iam Anonymous2

Anonymous said...

Cameron....you are talking about repenting, you have exposed to everyone that you have never repented because you've not changed ...I've not read a lot about you and Iam not looking forward to,but how can you betray Jesus like that by saying that "supposed to be for non Christian" you denied Christ when you played that. May God forgive and change you in Jesus name. Your life will be changed from a lair to a born again and to a Christian who will be going out there to search for those who don't know Jesus rather than fighting with your brethrens. Be blessed

Anonymous said...

Dear Cameron,

I have heard Robert preaching and I can tell you this about one of his teachings;
5 steps to deal with failure (sin)
- Face your failure (sin)
- own your failure (sin)
- Confess your failure (sin)
- Learn from your failure (sin)
- Move on FROM your failure (sin)

It states in other words to repent. Otherwise you can not learn from your mistakes and not do them again (isnt that what repenting is?).

HOWEVER I do agree with you that repenting is VERY important. And should not be taken lightly.

Further I agree with Jamie Gordon not to shame Robert in public. I believe he is a man of God and does his best to save souls for the eternity!

Kind regards,
Wesley