One soon to be ex congregant of the Garden City Christian Church who did not wish to be named, fears the nature of the Mt Gravatt church, which has more than 1000 members, will continue to go backwards under the stewardship of the Hillsong franchise.
"It used to be a really humble church and it's totally changed over the years," she said.
"They do really, really frivolous things. Once they did skydiving to raise money for missions.
And go backward it surely will, for once the lamp stand has been removed and the presence of the Holy Spirit gone from their midst, clever men - salesmen and women must resort to carnal gimmicks, trickery and sensual stimuli to attract and retain the gullibites who attend their Sunday sideshows. There is no genuine conversion taking place in such gatherings simply because the Gospel of the Kingdom is not preached, but rather the gospel of earthly gain. Amid the emotional throng there is no utterance of the offence of the Cross, no mention of the depravity of man's sinful condition, and certainly no call for repentance, contrition or humility. These are simply gatherings of emotionally manipulated, terminally deceived pursuers of earthly purpose, all stumbling along that wide road that leads to perdition completely unawares.
While in Melbourne last weekend, my wife and I watched a disturbing though expected Today Tonight report on the Hillsong Corporation. I say 'corporation' because that is precisely its nature - a business entity, operating by secular strategies and marketing formulas (not biblical guidelines) wearing a Christian veneer. The Paradise Community Church here in South Australia is no different, spreading its tentacles far and wide, using worldly methods and psychological techniques to attract punters to hear a different gospel and accept a different Christ.
The Today Tonight segment addressed what was reportedly the takeover of the Garden City Christian Church in Mount Gravatt, Queensland. What is curious is that prior to the vote by congregants (not the whole church mind you but a chosen few), the Hillsong juggernaut, as it has been aptly called, planned a victory party. Now why would they do that unless they knew the victory was assured? But you see, this is the sort of underhanded behaviour Hillsong and kind are renowned for. They, like their South Australian counterpart, are into church building, something which is NOT their commission.
Who is to build the Church?
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
Peter: Gk: petros - Little Pebble
Rock: Gk: Petra - Boulder
Peter was and is not the head of the Church as Catholics and others wrongly believe. Y'shua alone is the head and the builder of His Church, and not the likes of Houston, Evans and company with their inane, carnal, network marketing techniques.
Herein lies the craftiness of the evil one who presides over such apostate congregations. Think about it folks; when clever, man made schemes are devised and enacted to attract an unredeemed 'seeker' (which biblically do not exist) who is pushed to the sidelines? When the offence of the cross is silenced in favour of 'seeker potential' who is offended? Who or what draws the lost to Christ? Sound and lighting spectaculars? Rock concerts? Tattooed celebrities? Circuses and clowns? Bling laden TBN tragics? Gifted, purpose driven visionaries?
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44)
Who does the drawing? The Father and the Father alone. Not Rick Warrens purpose driven principals (Eph 2:2-3), not Brian Houstons money 1 (Mark 4:19), not Bobby Houson's tapes on Kingdom sex (Phil 4:5), not Ashley Evan's puerile prosperity preachers (Matt 6:19), not Jane Evan's self indulgent fashion parades (1 Tim 2:9-10), not Phil Pringle's false prophesies (Jer 14:14). No gimmick, trick or sensual enticement can bring about the conviction of personal sin and the intimate knowledge of the need for repentance that the Holy Spirit alone can deliver. Where there is no Holy Spirit led repentance there is no genuine salvation. The whole concept of creating an emotionally charged atmosphere through which an aisle walker proceeds through to the counseling room to have explained to him what he has raised his hand for is simply devilish. It is indoctrination into churchianity, not the salvation of a lost soul.
So, when the likes of Hillsong and other apostate organisations extend their sensual reach into communities in the manner they have, what we see is mammon motivated, corporate takeovers and NOT genuine spiritual revival. True revival begins with the individual believer, not with a denomination and is always, ALWAYS characterised by a denial of self not an indulgence in it, humility not haughtiness, contrition not bravado, genuine, quantifiable repentance not one thing Sunday another on Monday, and absolute reverence for our Holy God. On the other hand, false revival is evidenced in soft sell sermons emphasising the potential of man not the offence of the Cross or man's vile, sinful nature and need for repentance. False revival sees an influx of goats into the flock because carnal, sensual means have been employed to draw them in rather than the Father. And false revival always has money in the midst and the focus on earthly dominion, power, prosperity and temporal success as core indicators.
As one commentator on the Today Tonight report correctly noted, "Jesus Christ did not come to make us healthy, wealthy and wise, He came to save us from our sins".
Houston's hypocrisy is breathtaking. On page 127 of his book You Need More Money he writes:
“Don’t give someone else the power over your financial freedom.”
And yet his church, as with many if not most under the ACC banner, encourages the use of credit cards for donations!
The following comes from an online blog. The author is a former staff member at Hillsong. Known simply as The Thinking Theologian2 he writes...
Hillsong Brisbane - The Worst is Yet To Come - Part 1
Hillsong has, until recently, been content to limit its expansion to the suburbs of Sydney, as well as major European cities.
But this is all set to change, beginning with its assimilation of Brisbane's Garden City Christian Church, pending a vote by that church’s members on Sunday April 26.
Cast a discerning gaze over recent developments in the AoG in Australia (or ACC as it has now become), and the cautious Christian will sense something amiss.
The ACC was initially a loose conglomeration of churches which shared a similar ethos of church growth and structure; the member churches were, for want of a more fitting phrase, Hillsong wannabes. The Hillsong model is the essence of the ACC, so when, in April 2007, the AoG in Australia changed its name to ACC, my suspicions were aroused.
In light of Brian Houston’s role in the ACC’s inception, his position as senior pastor of Hillsong, and his clout as President of the AoG in Australia, it would seem that Hillsong is asserting itself and, to all intents and purposes, hijacking the AoG movement.
And now, as we’re about to witness the wholesale takeover of another ACC congregation by Hillsong, alarm bells should be ringing throughout Australian Pentecostalism.
If my observations are correct, the ACC will see the following things happen over the next few years:
1. More and more churches will enfranchise themselves to Hillsong, whether in title or by affiliation through the ACC.
2. The autonomy of individual ACC member churches will be stifled, and they’ll be forced to fall in line with Hillsong’s dictatorship under the Houstons.
3. The ACC will distance itself from the world-wide AoG movement, perhaps even severing its connection altogether, thus making Hillsong the Pentecostal identity of Australia.
On a slightly different thread, I also strongly believe that Hillsong intends to elevate its college (Hillsong International Leadership College) to the position of the official AoG/ACC college in Australia, in place of Southern Cross College. The motive behind such a move would undoubtedly be to limit the role of legitimate theological dialogue, and so shape the minds of students definitively in line with Hillsong’s own “theology”.
Time will tell.
Christian leaders and church-goers alike seem resigned to the fact that Hillsong is an unstoppable force. They believe that for their own churches to grow, and to be recognised, they need to follow Hillsong’s lead.
The preaching of the one true gospel is what makes Christ’s Church viable. GCCC’s registered members would do well to remember this when they cast their votes on Sunday April 26.
Hillsong Brisbane - The Worst is Yet To Come - Part 2
Garden City Christian Church is no more. An “overwhelming majority” of its members have conceded its assimilation in to the Hillsong franchise, where it is soon to be devoured, digested, and promptly vomited out as Hillsong Brisbane.
I can only speculate as to the motivation of GCCC’s membership in accepting the take over. But I can speak from experience on Hillsong’s probable aspirations behind the move.
Why Brisbane, and why now?
The economic downturn has made international expansion far less financially viable, and so Hillsong’s greedy gaze has fallen closer to home. An established, sizable congregation, with a catchment of wealthy city-slickers is far too lucrative an opportunity to turn down.
But it won’t stop at Brisbane.
I suspect as increasing numbers of churches feel the pinch of the global recession, they’ll be more than willing for Brian Houston and co. to step in and give them a make-over, repackage them, and then market them under the Hillsong brand. And, as we’ve seen in the case of GCCC, losing their autonomous identity is obviously not considered too high a price.
And perhaps it isn’t… financially.
But balancing the books is not what the true Church is about. And whilst coming under Hillsong will undoubtedly solve short-term money worries, the long-term cause of Christ’s Church can only suffer.
The Real Hillsong
For the likes of Brian Houston, Christianity is little more than a market-place; and Christians nothing but impressionable consumers. Hillsong is a business venture. It takes the gospel message, waters it down with materialism, and sells it cheap.
And there’s a huge market for their product.
The problem is that Hillsong have gone beyond merely offering a post-modern alternative: they have monopolized Christianity. They are to Pentecostalism what McDonalds is to the hamburger industry: with a branch on every corner, why go anywhere else?
By setting itself up as the “model church”, Hillsong has redefined what it means to be a Christian. And it’s in stark contrast to what Jesus Himself preached. Rather than the self-sacrificing, suffering servant, the Hillsong Christian is told they must be a successful leader, prosperous in health and wealth; someone that others would covet.
A Different Jesus
But how is this obvious discrepancy dealt with? All too easily, with the introduction of a different Jesus. Hillsong’s replacement Jesus didn’t die for our sin so much as he died for our empowerment to “live a blessed life”. It is this Jesus who is preached from Hillsong’s platforms, and who attracts the masses of “believers” each weekend.
For GCCC it is too late. Jesus Christ has been pushed out the back-door, and a stylish imposter welcomed through the front.
We can only hope and pray that other churches will be a little more discerning.
As with nations, the enemy that destroys comes not from without, but from within. Paul warned young Pastor Timothy of this...
But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you remain in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them. (2 Timothy 3:13-14)
But these speak evil of whatever things they don't know. What they understand naturally, like the creatures without reason, they are destroyed in these things. Woe to them! For they went in the way of Kayin, and ran riotously in the error of Bil`am for hire, and perished in Korach's rebellion. These are hidden rocky reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you, shepherds who without fear feed themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn leaves without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever. (Jude 1:10-13)
How Houston, Evans, Pringle et al get away with their blatant heresies is simply because over time congregations such as theirs have been dumbed down to the point where their biblical illiteracy is obvious. They are unable to discern the truth because they have not embraced the love of it from the Word. The only truth they know is the pretzel logic of their pied piper preachers. This is why the Father is calling His own out from among them. If there is a revival taking place in the world today it is a wholesale exodus from churches who share the same mindset as Houston's Hillsong.
So why does the Father permit heresies and heretics in the Church you may ask ?
Answer: So that His true children will be revealed.
"For there must also be heresies among you, that the approved ones may be revealed among you". 1 Corinthians 11:19
The approved ones are those who adhere to the clear teachings of the Word of God and do not stray from it to follow the latest fad to hit the Christian circuit. They are those who hold firm to the truth and waver not in spite of the hostility directed toward them by both the world and the wayward ones within the church. They are the pillars that hold up (get in the way of) Rick Warren's globalist agenda, the stalwarts who would rather die than capitulate to the world's allurements and demands. They are the true called out ones, the remnant, the redeemed of the Lord. They are few in number and not adjoined to fallen fellowships such as comprise the Hillsong empire.
Watch this space... The Paradise Community Church, which heartily embraces and endorses the Hillsong model, will have it's day in the spotlight is so craves!
"Hillsong is a business venture. It takes the gospel message, waters it down with materialism, and sells it cheap". The Thinking Theologian
For certain men have crept in unawares, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, changing the grace of our God into licentiousness and denying the only Master God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)