Monday, September 27, 2010

My Online "Discussion" With Hillsong's Executive Pastor (Part 3)


There are two pictures that can be seen above. Can you tell the difference? I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but I think I can tell the difference. One is about preference and the other is perfect. One is defined by the consumer and the other defines the consumer. One changes daily according to the tastes of men and the other is the same "yesterday, today, and forever" according to the eternal sovereign decrees of God. One is a Buffet and the other is a Bible - can you see the difference?

No, I am not trying to insult the intelligence of the vast array of discerning readers who frequent this blog! But I am suggesting that there are some people high up in the Hillsong enterprise who definitely need their eyes checked. One of the most serious allegations I have levelled against "Hillsong" is their treatment of Scripture as something that they can pick and choose from to reinforce the theology that they have already invented as Brian Houston can ably demonstrate:



I won't comment on that video since Tom Hanks was able to sum it up so well . . .



Twisting Scripture is bad enough. But Hillsong took it to a whole new level on their "Mighty To Save" CD where they decided to indulge in editing God's sacred word! As Hillsong emblazoned 2 Chronicles 7:14 on the back cover of their liner notes, I noticed that the verse seemed somewhat abbreviated. It read:

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 following words in CAPITAL LETTERS:

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.

It would seem that Hillsong's aversion to the vital biblical subject of repentance extends a long way. Scripture itself has some interesting things to say about this practice of using liquid white-out for a Bible highlighter:

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)

You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2)

"Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it." (Deuteronomy 12:32)

Do not add to His words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:6)

"Thus says the LORD: Stand in the court of the LORD’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the LORD all the words that I command you to speak to them; do not hold back a word." (Jeremiah 26:2)

But what did the people at Hillsong have to say for themselves? Well, in my correspondence with Robert Fergusson (their main theological heavyweight), I brought the subject up several times. Fergusson used a very interesting apologetical approach - just ignore my question! Now I have read some books on Christian apologetics but I cannot recall ever hearing about the "pretend the guy never said anything" approach. Later on I experienced the same problem in my online correspondence with Joel A'Bell (Hillsong's Executive Pastor). After much perseverence I finally heard something on the subject. Not from Pastor Joel but from Joseph De Araujo (who seems to be one of Joel's preferred "Hillsong defenders"). Joseph wrote:

I don't think it is intentional though (leaving out parts of scripture), and this is something we need to understand too. But this must be addressed. If we are to communicate the whole message, sure we can change the language so that the modern reader can understand, but we can't cut bits out. I think in a real sense, this is about quality control, someone should have proof read that, and said, "Hey, there's a bit missing." Good quality control will get rid of any mistakes like this. The solution is simple, get more editors, proof readers - get more excellence in quality control.(emphasis mine)

So what do you think? Is this purely an accidental mistake that can be rectified through "more editors and proof readers" or is there a theological element to this subject? Love your feedback before I continue this series on Wednesday. This is a big deal and needs to be pursued . . .

Go On To Part 4
Go Back To Part 2
Go Back To Part 1

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cam you are being too tough on BH. Maybe he is working on putting out his own Hillsong version of the bible - one fears it may not be far away. Maybe his version will implore us to charge the Great Commission rather than obey it. Maybe Acts 1:8 will refer to receiving "credit at a decent interest rate" from on high and not power. Rest assured, Australia is in drought - for folk of faith and faithful to the Word teaching.
Paul & Sarah - Adelaide

alwin said...

nice eye opener

Troy said...

Not much traffic on your blog lately so you thought you'd talk about Hillsong again?

All these "Christian" blogs seem do is talk down about other Christians. Who would want to be a part of this (Christianity) if the people who are supposed to love and accept one another just bring each other down? Let's remember above everything else we're called to LOVE Jesus and LOVE others. And let's not forget John 13:35.

Cameron Buettel said...

Troy, I actually get a lot of questions regarding Hillsongs and recently got sent a video featuring Julia A'Bell (wife of Pastor Joel A'Bell). There was unfinished business in my previous series - particularly in regard to Hillsong's disgraceful practice of removing a part of a Bible verse (the repentance part). Can you honestly tell me that you don't have a problem with that? My correspondence with Joel A'Bell brings more light to this story.

Secondly, this blog is just one area of the sum of my labor. It is in this forum alone that I venture into polemic critiques and discussions. Furthermore, I like to think that this blog contains a good blend of a wide variety of subjects with both positive and negative stories.

Thirdly, there you go trying to play the love card. Scripture defines God's love in Romans 5:8 . . .

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

So if you want to criticize about love then criticize Hillsong for their failure to preach God's love by never talking about sin or the cross (as is ably demonstrated in their CD gospel presentation and the video from my Sep 20 2010 post). Also Troy, if you love God and treasure His word then where is your outrage over Hillsong's willingness to mess with Scripture? I would contend that I am doing this out of love for the truth, a love for God's people who are being deceived, and a love for the true Gospel that God delivered.

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)

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. (Romans 16:17)

wayne said...

Cameron the Australian catholic blogger Geln bolas ,on his blog HWAET=http://glennabolas.blogspot.com has a quote from st augustine ,that is pertinent to both Hillsong and all of us in this culture of materialism ,secularism and humanism and as some Christian churches seek to become culturally relevant in an attempt to befriedn the world
"What kind of men are they who, fearing to hurt those they speak to, not only do not prepare them for imminent temptations, but even promise the happiness of this world, which God did not promise to the world itself? He foretells toil upon toil, that will come upon the world right to the end; and do you wish the Christian to be exempt from these labours? Because he is a Christian, he is likely to suffer more rather than less in this world.

For the Apostle says, 'All who wish to live piously in Christ will suffer persecution.' Now if you will, you shepherd seeking your own advantage not that of Jesus Christ, let Paul say, 'All who wish to live piously in Christ will suffer persecution,' and do you say, 'If you have lived piously in Christ, all good things will be yours in abundance. And if you have not children, you will take up and nurture all men, and not one will die on your account'? Is this your way of building? Notice what you are doing, where you are placing a man. He is on sand, this man you are setting up. The rain will fall, the floods will come, the wind will blow; they will beat upon that house of yours and it will fall, and great will be the fall thereof.

Raise him up from the sand, set him upon a rock; let him whom you wish to be a Christian live in Christ. Let him note the indignities and sufferings of Christ; let him observe the sinless Christ paying for what He had not stolen; let him attend to the words of Scripture, telling him, 'The Lord chastises every son whom He accepts.' Let him prepare himself for chastisement, or else not seek to be accepted.

Troy said...

I really do care about all those things you're talking about. And I can assure you that I've been to Hillsong quite a few times and have heard the gospel accurately preached. Yes, including the mention of sin and the cross.

I think that you are right to question the "tampering" or scripture. But at the same time, I think you keep harping on something that could very well have been an accident that was overlooked, as Robert Fergusson stated in your post. But for some reason you have chosen to believe that this was intentional. I believe that this was not intentional. Unless you have seen them consistently changing scripture, then I see no reason to believe that they do not preach "the true gospel". Especially when like I said above, I have heard it for myself.

Hillsong Church is doing many incredible things around the world in the name of Jesus and many lives are being changed. This is a fact.

Cameron Buettel said...

Troy, for months now I have been waiting for one solitary example of a faithful Gospel presentation from anything at Hillsong (video, audio, or written). Nothing has been forthcoming - except for several people trying to reassure me that they do preach the Gospel. I do however have an abundance of examples of them preaching a false gospel so bad even their doctrine statement defines it as heretical. So Troy send me the one example of a faithful Gospel presentation that talks about God's holiness, man's sin, judgment, atonement and resurrection, repentance and faith. I am eagerly awaiting . . .

René Vester said...

I'm sick and tired of people defending apostacy churches that dont preach the gospel, when theyre saying " Ive heard the gospel many times there" (as in this case Hillsong). But never gives an example where they preach the gospel. So Troy when you say Youve heard the gospel in Hillsong, then you have to show where. Cameron shows where Hillsong is problematic, he doesn't just say its bad, he's documenting why. You haven't documented anything. And your testimony isn't worth anything, if you cannot document your postulate. So please show us where Brian Houston and Joel a'bell is preaching a clear gospelmessage, that would be the right thing to do, if you really mean Hillsong is evangelical and christian.

Cameron Buettel said...

Troy, we are all waiting. Surely, if Hillsong is a faithful Gospel preaching church that has been around for decades it must be easy to find one example of a sound Gospel presentation. So come forward and back up your claims . . . .

Anonymous said...

Troy said "I can assure you that I've been to Hillsong quite a few times and have heard the gospel accurately preached. Yes, including the mention of sin and the cross" well Troy you must have gone different days to me because I have been to Hillsong on a number of occasions and have never, ever, ever heard the full gospel preached, you never hear reference to repentance.

Linealis said...

Cameron, I am not sure I understand the context of this video. Is this message something, that has been preached at Hillsong?

Also, is there an image out there, where one can see the edited Bible verse?

Anonymous said...

Cameron, Hillsong church are bringing hundreds of our brothers and sisters world wide home to Christ weekly. Everything they do is based on the exact word and context of the bible. As the "church" thats all churches ,we need to come together,build each other up and be the hands and feet of Christ here on earth and show others the love of Christ.That is what Hillsong church do.Time is running out Cameron I am sure you know this and I don't understand why a man of God like yourself would spend so much time nit picking at other churches. GET REAL...

Anonymous said...

Cameron, Hillsong church are bringing hundreds of our brothers and sisters world wide home to Christ weekly. Everything they do is based on the exact word and context of the bible. As the "church" thats all churches ,we need to come together,build each other up and be the hands and feet of Christ here on earth and show others the love of Christ.That is what Hillsong church do.Time is running out Cameron I am sure you know this and I don't understand why a man of God like yourself would spend so much time nit picking at other churches. GET REAL...