Friday, February 5, 2010

The False Gospel Of Hillsong (Part 6) - The Eleventh Commandment

A prominent theme in Brian Houston's teaching is "thou shalt not criticize", or as I call it, the eleventh commandment. Many bad teachers survive solely on the basis of this mantra. It is commonplace among the Word Faith and prosperity crowds.

Without a doubt we should be careful about our motivation and attitude when asking critical questions. But Scripture actually mandates the testing of all teaching commanding us to test all teaching (I John 4:1), expose the works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11), mark false teachers (Romans 16:17), and condemn any other gospel than the one found in Scripture (Galatians 1:8-9). John Macarthur had this to say about teaching that opposes any critique:

In a time like this of tolerance, listen, false teaching will always cry intolerance. It will always say you are being divisive, you are being unloving, you are being ungracious, because it can only survive when it doesn't get scrutinized. So it cries against any intolerance. It cries against any examination, any scrutiny—just let's embrace each other; let's love each other; let's put all that behind us. False doctrine cries the loudest about unity. Listen carefully when you hear the cry for unity, because it may be the cover of false doctrine encroaching. If ever we should follow 1 Thessalonians 5, and examine everything carefully, it's when somebody is crying unity, love, and acceptance (online source)

One of the real problems with trying to have productive discussion with people immersed in this kind of "theology" is that they mask their unrepentance in a four fold strategy - change the subject, ignore it, deny it, or question the motivation behind a question. For example, Brian Houston responded to criticism by Tim Costello about his prosperity theology by saying:

Costello, says Houston, "likes what we do generally" but has a problem with Hillsong's success. He, like those from some of the more traditional churches, is simply jealous of it, Houston tells me. "The irony is, Tim Costello is a pretty successful guy himself. The big difference between us is that I like to teach other people to be successful and not just enjoy the success myself."

Did you see it there? Rather than answer the criticism, Houston preferred to question Costello's motivation and then take a veiled swipe by portraying Costello as someone who is unlike him because he does not share his "success" - and all with a smiling face. It is an art form that few of us can exercise so skilfully.

We also saw Robert Fergusson deal with my question about Hillsong's willingness to alter Bible verses by ignoring it altogether. Well done Robert - a great way to display all those years of theological education! Furthermore, Fergusson's denial of any contradiction between Hillsong's faith statement (concerning repentance) and gospel presentation was behavior that any ostrich would be proud of. And from beneath the sand (where Fergusson's head was buried), he managed to slip in the good old subject change when he said:

It would also be ungracious for either of us to suggest that we believe the Bible, repentance or the gospel more than the other.

Encountering the four fold stragey of:

1. change the subject
2. ignore it
3. deny it
4. question the motivation behind a question

serves as a reminder as to why I have gone public with my attempts at engaging in a productive dialogue with Hillsong church. It is my hope that many readers, friends, and beneficiaries of God's glorious Gospel, would diligently pursue increasing public awareness of the drastic difference between the Gospel of God's redemptive work in Christ, and the gospel of man's invention. Only one of them can save us!

Go Back To Part 5
Go Back To Part 1

8 comments:

newtaste said...

All Hillsong email addresses are - firstname.surname@hillsong.com

Would you like to try asking advice from someone else at Hillsong and get maybe a different answer? Say, Grant Thomson, Joel A'Bell.

Apeleutheros said...

Good post Cameron.

truth mission said...

Hi Cameron,
Have just finished reading through your series on Hillsong(and all the comments)As an Aussie and a former pastor with the then AOG I am very concerned about the state of the visible church here.
I also contacted Hillsong some time ago with my concerns, including hosting Joel(all ways lead to God)Osteen as keynote speaker at the conference as well as selling"The Shack" in their bookstore. I received a polite and political response after several days. I didn't realize at the time that Brian has spoken in glowing terms of the former and current Pope extolling them as men of God and defending the Roman churches "gospel".They also were involved in the Catholic World Youth Day. As well as the issues with HIllsong, the Blackstump youth conference hosted Brian(did God really say) Maclaren last year.
I personally think that every real Christian should abandon these churches and ministries in droves and find true shepherds who will protect the sheep and drive off the wolves and not the other way around. Keep up the good work and keep praying for the church in Oz
Glenn Christopherson

Matthias said...

I could not agree more with you Pastor Christopherson. "Come out from amongst them" is what needs to be said and preached. The judgement of the Lord begins in His House-whether it be Hillsong ,the UCA or my own Church-where the Gospel is not preached

gandalf said...

While it is surely true for ordinary Christians with no specific calling for such ministry to look for healthy churches/congregations there will people be needed (and maybe are already there) to witness for the truth in those churches, conferences and whatever where it is seldom heard or only heard distorted, in such a way the Lord lays out before them.
St. Paul did not leave out the strongholds of the pagan philosophers in Athens, we should not leave out places of deception. But it needs a call from God to do such specific ministry for it is not without subtle snares and pitfalls.

glenn cristopherson said...

Gandalph
I appreciate your heart in the previous comment.The folks in these churches certainly need ministry...but there must come a point where abandoning backslidden or apostate ministries is the only option or otherwise we may be guilty of 2 Jn vs 11"sharing in his evil deeds.T o visit a church perhaps is one thing but to be identified with it is something else.Paul of course did not join in with pagan worship but he called them to come out and be separate.What fellowship has light with darkness?
blessings Glenn
ps Matthias ,I am a former pastor....but I appreciate your comments

Anonymous said...

John MacArthur & Pretrib Rapture

Who knows, maybe John (Reformedispy) MacArthur is right and the greatest Greek scholars (Google "Famous Rapture Watchers"), who uniformly said that Rev. 3:10 means PRESERVATION THROUGH, were wrong. But John has a conflict. On the one hand, since he knows that all Christian theology and organized churches before 1830 believed the church would be on earth during the tribulation, he would like to be seen as one who stands with the great Reformers. On the other hand, if John has a warehouse of unsold pretrib rapture material, and if he wants to have "security" for his retirement years and hopes that the big California quake won't louse up his plans, he has a decided conflict of interest. Maybe the Lord will have to help strip off the layers of his seared conscience which have grown for years in order to please his parents and his supporters - who knows? One thing is for sure: pretrib is truly a house of cards and is so fragile that if a person removes just one card from the TOP of the pile, the whole thing can collapse. Which is why pretrib teachers don't dare to even suggest they could be wrong on even one little subpoint! Don't you feel sorry for the straitjacket they are in? While you're mulling all this over, Google "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" for a rare behind-the-scenes look at the same 180-year-old fantasy.

Anonymous said...

I found this to be the case, they do not want you questioning anything. They tell you that you have to honor your pastors. So we are suppose to follow leaders blindly, according to them. I think they are a cult.