Hillsong’s Brian Houston answers critics

BOBBIE’S AND MY FINANCES… A LETTER FROM BRIAN HOUSTON

Well, friend, you might need to get yourself a cup of tea and get comfortable to read this…

Hillsong Church has always been about God and People. Every day we hear wonderful stories about how this church is directly impacting the lives of people both here in Australia, and abroad.

Some may wonder why I would put all of this (below) in writing… The truth is, Hillsong’s profile means that there are levels of scrutiny on myself and my family, which quite frankly, does not seem consistent with any other minister of religion or charity CEO in Australia. For that reason, I want to share with you a bit about my world and perhaps bring some clarity to areas of our ministry that you may or may not have wondered about…


LMI OVERVIEW

Leadership Ministries Incorporated (LMI) is the entity by which Bobbie and I conduct our broader ministry, outside of Hillsong Church here in Australia. LMI was originally established in the interest of good governance, as the advice we received from professionals recommended that best practice was to draw a clear line between the activities of Hillsong Church in Sydney and our broader ministry, including itinerant speaking and travel. LMI was set up with the blessing of our board, as a way of releasing Bobbie and I to our wider leadership calling outside of this, our church home, in Sydney. LMI is the best vehicle to allow us to do what we do.

In recent times, LMI has (along with many other religious organisations) been one of the not-for-profits reviewed by the Australian Tax Office and just a few weeks ago, received continued endorsement as a not-for-profit ministry. There are many such models of ministry within Australia and following our professional advice we have been assured more than once (including by the tax department) that LMI is an appropriate vehicle for the unique ministry that Bobbie and I do, outside the walls of Hillsong Church. We are very blessed to have the opportunity to speak and preach at churches and conferences all over the world, though our congregation and those of you that know us well know that my first love is building this House, Hillsong Church.

INCOME


My total personal income from Hillsong Church in its entirety is just on $150,000 including fringe benefits plus currently the use of a Holden Caprice, along with just over another $150,000 from Leadership Ministries which makes up my complete personal income. (If you want to get really personal, I drive a Holden, Bobbie drives a three-year-old Audi Q7, and I ride a motorbike). All of LMI’s income is generated through Bobbie’s and my ministry endeavours, including our writing, resources and speaking to Christian leadership groups and conferences. Both Hillsong Church and LMI have separate boards that determine my personal income – Bobbie and I are not a part of those decisions and in fact, no one from our family serves on the LMI board. The nominated salary for both Bobbie and I from the Hillsong Church Board is significantly more than what we choose to accept, though we made the choice to forego much of our nominated salary for many years. The existence of LMI also increases the opportunity for finance to go towards the Church and other related causes that we are so passionate about.

PROPERTY

The two properties owned by LMI are a part of the ministry and their use is in line with ministry purposes. One of these properties has permanent tenants and the rent goes directly back into LMI.  The other is a one-bedroom apartment in Bondi. Both of these properties were included in the ATO’s recent re-endorsement of the ministry.

Almost ten years ago, Bobbie and I owned two properties that were effectively being used for the work of our ministry. One, in the Hawkesbury, was regularly used for church get-togethers, church activities, and it is used as a ministry retreat as well as for family time. In Bondi, we invested in a one-bedroom apartment that we often used, in-line with our responsibilities at the Hillsong City Campus. I held appointments there; we entertained people and visiting ministers and used it as a quiet place for personal study. Its close proximity to the airport is a great blessing to me. Eight to ten years ago, we were in a position where we could no longer afford to keep these properties and upon deciding to sell them, the board of LMI recognised that they were a valuable asset for the purpose of the ministry. After receiving professional advice, the board unanimously agreed and purchased these properties at the independently evaluated current market price. Bobbie and I paid personal tax on the profit of the sale and the Australian Tax Office have reviewed the use of these properties for ministry purposes, similar to an Anglican vicarage or a Catholic rectory.

TRAVEL

When Bobbie or I travel, the inviting church or ministry pays all related travel costs, including airfares – which is a normal practice in churches and ministries throughout the world. If we travel personally, then it is paid for personally. The only time travel would be paid for by Hillsong Church is if we were specifically travelling to represent the church, with the full knowledge of the board and elders. (Also, when Hillsong United travels on behalf of Hillsong Church, including when I have travelled with them, all income goes back to Hillsong Church.)

When I travel overseas to churches, I do not receive any money personally…that’s right…none.  I do not charge a fee for my speaking engagements or for visiting churches or conferences and no offerings or honorariums go to Bobbie and I personally.  Now, people often give ‘love offerings’, but every offering and honorarium that is given goes to LMI and therefore, towards the initiatives and work of the ministry.  It is a not-for-profit religious organisation whose objectives are to spread the Christian message through our teaching and leadership ministry.


HILLSONG CHURCHES

Bobbie also, as you all know, works many long hours and oversees the vision of the Hillsong Sisterhood within our own church and internationally, as well as carrying the weight of her role as a Senior Pastor and gets paid for what she does – though, her income is significantly less than mine. It is important to note that when Bobbie, myself or other Hillsong pastors speak at any of our global church campuses (such as London, Cape Town, etc) we do not personally receive offerings and nor does LMI.  These congregations are an extension of our church home.

FAMILY

Though it was a vulnerable moment for us, we have talked publicly about this over the past few months and have heard more than one time since (in unofficial comments from the Australian Tax Office) that my income is relatively modest in proportion to the size of the work and scale of responsibility that we have.  The innuendos that suggest Bobbie, myself and our children are profiting off people’s tithes is completely false.  Our children, Joel, Ben, and Laura have all taken their own individual journeys and have specific roles within church life to which they contribute in an employment capacity.  Joel, Ben and Laura are treated exactly the same way as our other staff and their remuneration reflects that.  (They receive no special benefits and it was unfair that they were brought into a recent nasty media attack.) Neither Leadership Ministries Inc. nor Hillsong Church has made any direct or indirect investment into properties on behalf of any of the Houston children. Thank God our children have grown up to be creative, hardworking, confident individuals who love God and love to serve in this House.

TITHES

I know that you realise, and those of you that are a part of our world know, that the inferences that people are pressured to give money have no foundation – tithing is and has always been a biblical principal that we live by and one that we stand by. Nobody is expected to give; giving at Hillsong Church is entirely free will and is treated as a private and personal matter. You could attend Hillsong Church for ten years, give nothing, and be treated the same as everybody else.

TAX

Undoubtedly, there is a push from some quarters of society to tax churches – which would mean that across the nation; hundreds of millions of dollars that currently goes toward helping people, including the poor, disenfranchised and hurting, would no longer be able to do so. 

I have never personally been a campaigner for fringe benefits (allowances for pastors and charity workers) and though it is clear that it translates into more money being able to go into the good work of ministry; I would not personally be adverse to the amount of non-taxable fringe benefits being capped at certain income levels.

Hillsong Church pastors pay personal income tax and in fact pay more in taxation than they would otherwise be legally obliged to. We do not rely on the full tax exemptions that other religious organisations rely upon in the conduct of their affairs and that are legally available to us.

CHARITIES COMMISSION/ GOVERNING BODY

I have said many times that I would welcome a Charities Commission and have raised that possibility to both political leaders and church leaders. I believe that a body such as a Charities Trust or Commission, who worked pro-actively with non-profits and churches, would be helpful to high-profile churches, such as Hillsong, who take our commitment to proper practice in governance very seriously; yet are too often subject to misguided and unfair and cowardly attacks.

Obviously, the structure, terms and parameters of any Charities Commission are important and I believe this body should not be a ‘watchdog’ but a proactive body that can work with the charities and non-profits in establishing a uniquely Australian model.

I believe that Hillsong would have nothing to fear from such a body and it would be helpful in protecting us from being the “tall poppy” victim of misguided innuendo. Hillsong London has operated under the UK Charities Trust for many years and has found it to be a relatively helpful and proactive body.

Bobbie and I are grateful to God for His blessing, have both worked hard for over 35 years and I believe it has been through wise investment and consistency that we have seen our lives grow.  We are very committed to living by the same principles of giving and generosity that we teach others and one of the great blessings of LMI has been to enable us each year to contribute significantly to the Hillsong Foundation and other missions, causes and outreaches that are passionately focused on helping people.  We are blessed and I would want the same for anyone else in our position and stage of life. When, 27 years ago, we started Hillsong Church, the furthest thing from our mind was financial gain, in fact, we put everything on the line then and we have that same view today.

We are so blessed as a church family and I thank God that we are surrounded by generous people who love to see the work of the Lord go forward…

So, THANK YOU Hillsong Church, for your love for God and your love for people. I pray you always feel loved, valued and confident in the church family you are a part of and more importantly, in the God whom we serve.

Love, Brian


212 thoughts on “Hillsong’s Brian Houston answers critics

  1. I break my Lenten fast to make this comment. I did not watch the TDTN story, even the shorts were enough to see it would be a muck raking blood hunt, and not based on anything other than gossip and falsehood.

    The letter by Brian posted above is a reasonable explanation and has the ring of truth to it. Being a senior manager in a church welfare agency I can assure you that Brian’s stated salary is entirely reasonable.

    I don’t agree with their theology, and most of their music is bubble gum…but they are a church and are our brothers and sisters. I personally regret the negative comments and insinuations I haveade on this and other blogs.

  2. And they went from house to house, breaking bread, living simply, having all things in common, sharing, caring, suffering persecution at the hands of the Pharisees.

    But now they get tax breaks from the Empire – so who do these represent? The kingdom of God or of Man? 300 grand (after tithes and tax I would presume, so more like 500K?), a Caprice, a three year old Q7 (bought new?), yada, yada…

    Go, sell all that you have, give to the poor and follow Me, and you shall have the treasures of heaven.

    Just wait until the economy goes pear shaped and the tax exemptions are rescinded – will Brian be back on the Hillside multiplying loaves and fishes for the multitudes?

    The only thing worse than pop psyche is pop religion.

    “We are so blessed as a church family and I thank God that we are surrounded by generous people who love to see the work of the Lord go forward…”

    Sorry Brian, that is a crock – the mere fact that you promote tithing is evidence enough of your apostasy. May I suggest “Eating Sacred Cows” by fellow NZ’er Graeme Carle, formerly of CHCH, as you were. He pretty much nails it.

    What most Xians fail to see is that you think God is validating you when he is answering you according to your own delusion.

    That is why, on a regular basis, we all need to be brave enough to put it all on the altar and let the Spirit of God consume all that is unlike Him – so that we will not be a part of that which prevents God – the traditions of men and doctrines of devils.

  3. [Reference to Ian’s irrelevant comments removed]

    As Brian would say, get a life.

    Here’s a man beleaguered by error strewn and bitter, money-driven critics, people who are not only unsaved, antichrist and opportunist, but bare-faced deceivers with it, and you back them to the hilt as if they wrote their script for you.

    It’s a lazy, cowardly and artless form of persecution, Ian, no more and no less.

    Not the level of persecution martyrs have had to endure, for sure, but nevertheless Hillsong and their leadership have taken some serious stick, mostly from people who are supposed to be on the same team, but also from media outlets who are just looking for a sensationalist hit on the Church, which they see as an easy target.

    Anyone with half a heart would agree that Brian has sent out a reasonably worded response to dull the edge of the critics’ swords.

    All power to Greg for his support.

  4. This, in particular, is a statement which rubbishes some of the claims, both of ACA and of the manifold [too many] critics:

    Brian Houston,
    I have said many times that I would welcome a Charities Commission and have raised that possibility to both political leaders and church leaders. I believe that a body such as a Charities Trust or Commission, who worked pro-actively with non-profits and churches, would be helpful to high-profile churches, such as Hillsong, who take our commitment to proper practice in governance very seriously; yet are too often subject to misguided and unfair and cowardly attacks.

    That should be the end of it, but it won’t be, because the critics will repeat the lies and innuendo ad nausium.

  5. Don’t confuse the Church (Circe) with the Body of Christ. False doctrines are false doctrines – dress it up how you like, but nothing changes that. Why do you think God is judging His household first? You guys never address the real issues but prefer to revert to belittling some personalities while elevating others and then accuse me of being judgmental!

    [Defamatory comments removed]

    I am raising issues of doctrine while you are making it personal – can’t you see that? Not the other way round. Please address the doctrinal issues rather than leap to the defense of .

    I am not criticizing Brian personally, God forbid! I am questioning his doctrine, which I find highly questionable. I am sure that he is at heart a decent, committed, all hands to the pumps kind of guy, and he has helped many people out of the hell of drug and substance addiction into the comforting arms of the angel, the most portable, affordable, convenient drug of all – religion, or as Marx called it, the opiate of the masses.

    Just 10% of your gross income (so more like 15%) plus Free Will offerings folks, and some hokey home spun homilies and christian songs (DVDs on sale in the Foyer, for ya!). Its a business as far as I can see, and I think Paul had something to say about such matters. Like I said, let’s see how it all stacks up when the weasel goes POP! The Church is like the appendix – looks like a sanctuary but it is a dead end in the gut which fills with pus betimes. The Body is about to have an appendectomy.

    6. For our business is great indeed, that which is the submission to God to the extent of our ability.
    7. For we neither brought anything into the world, nor can we even take out what we learned from it.
    8. That is why all we worry about is food and clothing. (All the things we worry about concern provision.)
    9. Those, however, who wish to be wealthy, will fall to temptation, in pitfalls and into a multitude of foolish and searing lusts that will sink humanity into the throes of destruction and ultimately oblivion.
    10. For the root of every evil is the consideration for money above all else, and there are people who absolutely adore money, and they lose all faith and open themselves up to a multitude of demons.

  6. As soon as you sell all you ahve and give it to the church or to the poor I’ll start listening to your criticism Ian..till then you are a vacuous gong sounding in the wind

  7. [Irrelevant false prophecies of doom]

    Is the judge on trial or the man? When I reject the doctrinal fallacies of the Pharisees, is it God on trial or the traditions of men? Jesus said, “All that the Pharisees say do, but do not do as they do”. So, if a Pharisee says to do something contrary to conscience, ought we respect him and follow orders?

    It is called discernment – so if Brian or Simple Simon says, Love your neighbor I can say “Yes, amen, that’s right!

    If he says pay you tithes and come under my covering, I can say “rack off and get a job, oh and while you are at it, get a life too…Brian of Nazareth (he’s not the Messiah, he’s just a very naughty boy!)”.

    So, will the Hill$ong$ hit squad be out to get me? Nah, they love me I am sure…God commands them to.

    You see, I am not judging Brian, that is God’s job, but I can judge his works, and his words, and know his fruit, just as he, or you, may do mine – please. But please do not make it about personalities when it is actually about doctrines and traditions – whether they are of God or of Satan – whether they savor of the things of God or the things of Man.

    Debate all things, hold fast to that which is true.

  8. Ooh Steve. Honestly Steve, I pray his eyes are opened as with all. I am judging his works, I think, I hope – in whatever manner I have been wrong I fully expect to be corrected, both by the Lord and by yourselves, of course.

    [Extremely defamatory material removed. Without substantiated evidence we have no right to publish comments or posts which defame any person, let alone a minister of God]

  9. But just to keep this all in perspective, David had his mate (Aussie for friend) set up to die so he could shag his missus (Aussie for wife). So why am at all surprised that such Old T behavior should be evident in Churches? Even amongst those who are after God’s own heart! But come on, let’s not be children about this. If I ever confronted a tithe burglar, I would withstand them to their face and ask that they substantiate their perfidious demands!

    (The thing which set David apart was his willingness to be honest with God and to submit to correction and his readiness to accept his own sin – he was introspective. Introspective people, are people who are after God’s own heart.)

    I have even heard Christians, much as it shames me to say so, say that you are CURSED with a curse, if you do not tithe! Where did they get this demonic garbage from? You do not owe God 10% off the top, He is the FATHER GOD, not the Godfather for Christ’s sake! And I mean that with the utmost reverence!

    This Christian protection racket called tithing – it is vile, it is hypocritical, and it is a stench in the nostrils of the Lord. But He tolerates us and our weaknesses – he blessed me abundantly when I tithed (in faith), and all the more abundantly as He is teaching me to forsake all to follow and to commit all my worldly goods to His purposes. To forsake all to follow.

    It is not WHAT you believe so much as THAT you believe, but please, believe me, my message is simple – put it all on the altar folks – it is about to get very tough and the last thing you need is fairy tales and myths. No rapture, no escape, just a world of pain and hardship and sorrow and straightening of circumstances – it is going to get very tough. Very, very tough. If you think otherwise, you are very immature or at best, naive. You have no idea how bad it will be – look up ICHABOD. Men will cry out to their God, and he will not answer them. This will be a test of character and charity – how will you be when you have to get through on faith alone? It is going to get so tough to maintain witness.

    In Judo there is a thing called a suicide fall. I find this is very useful in matters of faith. I will openly challenge Brian Houston and anyone else to this proposition: That we agree that Jesus is the Lord of all, and that whatsoever we need to know will be conveyed to us by the Holy Spirit of God Almighty, Creator of the heavens and the earth, and we open our hearts to be corrected – we place all our doctrines and traditions on the altar such that which is not of Christ and of God shall be consumed by His Holy Fire. Amen. Agreed? I am up for it – I learn so much this way – it is more than a little masochistic, but it sure beats self-flagellation! LOL. 0(:->)

    Sadly, my experience all too often is that people will simply not agree, you see, they already know I am wrong and they are right!

    13. And the manifestation of Maryah (Word of the Lord) shall be upon them, apostasy upon apostasy and apostasy upon apostasy, and vomit upon vomit and vomit upon vomit;
    a little here and a little there, so as they may return and become enveloped behind them, and they shall be broken, hunted down and captured.

  10. 22. And now do not laugh so as your discipline may not be heavier,
    because I have heard about hardships and constraints from the Almighty Maryah* upon all the earth.

  11. One last thing (haha) – about 2yrs ago, I heard this, “Ian, if taxes went to 90%, do you still think I could prosper you?”

    My reply,”Well, I guess you will have to, you said you would keep me!”

    Don’t laugh, they are currently between 50-55% in NZ when all factors are considered – a little less in Oz.

  12. Hi there guys!

    A few comments.

    @Greg
    If you think his income is reasonable coming from a position as someone working in a church agency, then I think I’ll start looking for work in church agencies. I realize market forces are what determines salaries but on a heart level I find it strange that pastor’s and managers in religious organizations get multiple times as much money as teachers and nurses. AND their wives are just helping but get high salaries too. But, that’s my opinion and entiirely subjective. But given that blogs are where people give their opinions there you go.

    @Steve
    You mentioned that the persecution is not on the level of martyrs but I’d prefer you didn’t even mention them in the same breath. A TV show every couple of years which ends up being advertising – otherwise people wouldn’t know much about you, while on hundreds of thousands a year and being adored by thousands who will probably now give even more money, is absolutely nothing compared to martyrs and people who are in prison without food even as we speak.

    @Ian. Just remember that tithing has been accepted by many churches over centuries, so at least you have to admit that Houston has plenty of company, but then when you bring the Trinity as heresy in your list – well, you are now in a very small group by yourself. Not to mention that just about every church – and every organization on earth has a hierarchy.

    But re churches and taxation – just remember that there are many different thoughts in the world on that. In several countries, registered religions are exempt from tax, even if they don’t spend a CENT on charity. And they are seen not as charities but religious organizations. Not to mention that in the US you get a tax deduction for offerings to registered religious organizations.

    re churches and spending on charities.
    Why does a religion have to spend any money on charity anyway.
    And if they do, what is the percentage that people think is worthy?
    50%? 70% – and what is the basis for the figure.

    If Buddhists raise money and decide to build a huge golden Buddha with it, then what’s wrong with that? I think a religious organization has the right to spend money however they see fit, whether that’s on a golden domed mosque, a new cathedral with stained glass windows and paintings on the ceilings, or a state of the art retreat in the Snowy Mountains. As for the Pastors/Monks salaries – that’s for the organization to decide. If people don’t like it, they can always find another group. If they can reduce the person’s tax liability, I see nothing wrong with that.

    The govt and plenty of religious and non-religious organizations collect money for charity work and do it. What’s wrong with a religious organization concentrating on religious aspects of life (while teaching people to give to charities, and do individual acts of charities).

    Probably because of the great work of the Catholics and Salvos, Aussies have this idea that churches exist to help the poor. I don’t that every religious organization has to do that “as an organization”.
    If they do, then someone should come up with a clear percentage figure for it, and then justify it. But I don’t see any bible verses outlining any such percentages.

    And for the record, I don’t believe in tithing, but I defend a church’s right to teach it. And from all that I have read about Brian Houston, and from listening to him, and understanding his background, I think it’s absurd to suggest that he entered the ministry or started his church in order to get rich. There maybe people starting out now who are like that, but anyone who knows anything about the Pentecostal church in Australia decades ago, would realize that people didn’t go into ministry to get rich.

    It should also probably be said that Houston is not an accountant anyway. His legal and financial advisors have come up with ways for him to be remunerated well. The arrangements they have in place are all legal and there doesn’t seem to be any burden on the church and nobody is suffering over it.

    I would have a problem if the church were in debt and going into insolvency while huge salary packages were in place. But that’s not the case in Hillsong.

    I will say that it’s easy to get tired of Tanya Levin.

    In the end, I don’t think Hillsong has much to worry about. They still seem to be growing, and having somebody include in the TV hit piece that the church has rock music and buildings that don’t look like churches will just cause people to realize that they are way out of touch with modern Christianity anyway.

    Put it this way, sorry to Steve, but if people were thinking of joining C3, Planet Shakers, Hillsong or another big new type church …..I think they’d be heading for Hillsong.
    Brian looks okay in those clips. Unchurched Harry will probably check out Brian Houston now as opposed to the local Presbyterian church is he has the slightest inkling to check out a church.

  13. “Not the level of persecution martyrs have had to endure”

    Yes, criticism of Hillsong is ALMOST similar to the persecution and martyrdom of 20 million Orthodox Christians last century. ACA is not far from Stalin and Hitler’s death squads.

    The Catholics probably think the same when people criticise them.

    Do you know the Pope doesn’t get a salary.

    John Paul II died owning only his favourite pair of shoes.

  14. Q, many things have been accepted practice in Christendom which bare no resemblance to the Kingdom – this is why Church tries to mimic the world in many ways to appear “relevant”.

    Brian would have no more started out to be “abundantly provided for” than Peter Garrett would have ever thought hat he would be seduced by a seat in Parliament.

    [Irrelevant statements of doom]

  15. Bones,
    Yes, criticism of Hillsong is ALMOST similar to the persecution and martyrdom of 20 million Orthodox Christians last century. ACA is not far from Stalin and Hitler’s death squads.

    That remark’s on the level of prune intelligence.

    A person doesn’t actually have to be martyred to be persecuted. Just lying about them and giving a bad report will do.

    I added the qualification about martyrs with you and Q in mind, because I knew you would have to say something about it, and like lemmings to the cliff you went headlong anyway.

    In fact you, typically, had to exaggerate, which is always a sign that you wouldn’t have much to offer without the sarcastic and inaccurate amplification of a simple fact.

    ACAs inaccurate and deceitful program is persecution. Your support for their imprudent reporting exemplifies your own loathing.

  16. [Defamatory comments devoid substance or evidence]

    That schmooze job by Brian is just that – I am a salesman, among other things, and I am told a very good one, when I can be bothered to make the effort. But I am actually not conscious of what I am doing when I am in the groove, I am too busy “serving” to see it as selling, but selling it is. I can, if i want, wrap people around my little finger – I did it once just to show my sweet little Xian staff member how easy it is – she was blown away.

    This is why I recognize salesmanship and manipulation techniques such as NLP, and why suckers like some of you guys are easy meat for the subtleties of salesmanship.

    Paul said to beware of and avoid those who make money with words – and to me that is all Brian is, like so many others, making money with words, and part of Babylon. Is Sydney built on Seven Hills too, like Rome and Washington and London?

    Go ahead, build your World Church, to God it is just another WC.

  17. Ian, I’m disappointed with what you say about Hillsong, in the circumstances, and you’re so far from the truth I wonder if you’ll ever come down to earth again. Nothing you say makes either sense or has anything to do with what is being presented here.

    All you are doing, despite your denials, is judging Brian Houston and Hillsong, when he has been miserably, unkindly slighted by opportunist media outlets championed by the evil ‘watchers’ who claim to be Christians, but break the first rules of the Perfect Law of Liberty, and without any provocation from himself or from his congregation members, who are peaceful, law-abiding citizens.

    You are standing on the roadside putting the boot into a man when it looks to the world as if they have finally put him down. He’s not, but the media thinks it’s shot him to pieces, and there you are carrying their coats.

    Brian Houston has made it clear that the church he planted and oversees is a legal entity with as much right to operate the way it does as any other not-for-profit. He has declared, publicly, his income, and how it is derived.

    He has clarified what they teach on tithing. He has let everyone know that Hillsong is ratified as an association in all the right places, and has provided financial reports which are not only accepted by relevant departments, but available for scrutiny.

    They have a right to shelter from ill informed, aggressive journalists with no savvy and no scruples.

    It also has the right to protection from the kind of scurrilous reports ACA has made, which is indeed persecution on a national scale, international if you include the global impact of the internet, and largely defamatory against his character and the work of the church.

    Nobody should have to endure the backstabbing and profiteering of atheists like he ACA presenters, who are making money out of the commercials shown in between its attacks on the citizens of its own country.

    Australians are, sadly, famous for the tall-poppy syndrome, and this is another classic case, only this time it appeals the the antichrist media sections which have no resect for God, Christians, the Bible or Christianity, but which quiver and shake at the prospect of saying something in the least bit derogatory about the ‘religion of peace’ and its militant minority memberships.

    Why is this? Because Christians tend to turn the other cheek and move on. It is is part of our mandate to forgive an forget, to allow the persecutor to have another slap on the other side, and to bite the bullet, which makes us the soft option, the easy target, the least dangerous religious target for heathen TV companies.

    But you, Q and Bones mock me for suggesting this is persecution, simply because no one has been thrown in prison, or hung from a lamppost, but, judging from the comments of some people on certain blogs, there is certainly a group of people who, sadly, call themselves Christians, and watchdogs, who would raise the roof in celebration if he was imprisoned for what he teaches. That is persecution.

    And most have no association with any church. They are lone rangers, answerable to no one but themselves, clouds with no water, puffs of smoke which vaporise in the breeze, nothings with too much to say about things which are none of their concern, empty, vacuous, leaderless cowards, self-governing, angry thieves of reason.

  18. Incidentally, what about the gall of ACA presenter, Tracy Grimshaw, who is reportedly on a salary of $700,000 pa, implying Brian Houston earns too much is laughable! Oh, and don’t forget the wardrobe reportedly of some $20,000!

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/stars-salaries-slashed-at-nine/story-e6freon6-1225769366656

    But, the way things are going, it looks as if programs like ACA and channels like Nine are far more likely to be gone in the next five or ten years than Hillsong, seeing how they have just slashed their star performer’s salaries to cut costs during a slump, to save the network form going under, this time at least, as people turn more and more to other forms of media and TV stations struggle to keep up with global changes.

    It’s only a matter of time! Maybe count to nine!

  19. Oh, one more thing on the persecution issue.

    If, as you have clearly not counted as an option, the spectacular nature and growth of Hillsong is, as I suspect, the will of God, and what they teach and minister is, in fact, being led by His Spirit, then there is absolutely no doubt that the damage done to people who, otherwise, would have gone to a Hillsong meeting and been saved, but held back because they believed the bad reports of ACA and the various ‘watchers’, is persecution on an eternal scale, and the consequences will reverberate for aeons.

    They may not be perfect, or have everything right, but I have this sneaking feeling that people who oppose Hillsong are crossing swords with God, and, though he will forgive if they repent, they will, ultimately pa a price for their folly.

    Meanwhile, as is the nature of super-nature, Hillsong will continue its steady and impressive growth, and, within a few years, become a very large and influential entity despite the attempts by ACA and the like to stop them, or slow them down, and, in fact, ACA and the ‘watchers’ will be long gone before Hillsong reaches its full potential.

    But the tragedy and the judgment will centre around those who are stumbled by the critics and those who stumble them.

    That is another story, yet to unfold and be fully told.

  20. @Steve.

    After all the time I have spent on this webpage, I’m really surprised that you would accuse me of being a lemming and mocking you.

    I don’t understand that.

    There was absolutely no mockery intended in what I said.

    And I stand by it. I understand that persecution takes many forms. Being told you are an idiot can be classed as persecution.

    I stand by what I said. There is absolutely no comparison between some bad press when you have all the world’s comforts, thousands of people who love you and defend you, hundreds of thousands of dollars a years in income and those who have been martyred or are being starved and beaten as we speak.

    I would say the same if I were in Brian Houston’s position.

    Put it this way, I wouldn’t want to change positions with someone in North Korea right now. But Brian Houston? I’ll swap jobs tomorrow.

    And once again for the record….. I like Brian Houston, and liked his Dad too.

    Go back and read what I said about persecution. If you thought I was mocking you, then I’ll try to look at my sentence structure and choice of words.

  21. @Ian

    “If you have the spiritual guts to do it, put all you know on the altar – let it burn! And ask Jesus if you really know Him as He is or as you think he is. Be honest, ask from your heart. Live dangerously for God.”

    That is one of the best things you’ve said here Ian.

  22. @Steve

    Re your prediction of the growth of Hillsong, I totally agree.

    I also think there’ll come a day when Tanya Levin regrets many of the things she has said. And when she does, I don’t think she’ll have much love and support from her atheist friends.

  23. { Guilt has been the principle means by which Satan has leavened and controlled the Church }

    SATAN DOES NOT CONTROL THE CHURCH!

    Colossians 1:15-20
    New International Version (NIV)
    The Supremacy of the Son of God

    15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  24. Q,
    I accept you explanation, and apologise for calling you a lemming!

    I think Tanya would find far more love if she simply went to Hillsong folk and said sorry.

    She’s hurting herself far more than them, as i is with all these things.

  25. Brian Houston = Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    You Need More Money = The Cost Of Discipleship

    Tracey Grimshaw = SS Judge Otto Thorbeck

    Channel 9 studios = Flossenberg Concentration Camp

    Houston continues prosperous = Bonhoeffer hung naked

    You know it makes sense.

  26. “Meanwhile, as is the nature of super-nature, Hillsong will continue its steady and impressive growth, ”

    So will Scientology.

    Your point?

  27. I think it’s great that Australia has a church the size of Hillsong – huge enough to make the news. Also, think it’s great that Brian H has been able to be open to and allow the development of the worship people who have blessed the global church with their music. It really has had an amazing impact on the world.

    And for all the negative publicity that many are worried about (and I do understand), the good thing is that many Australians have now seen a huge church with lively music and a passionate preacher in normal clothes.

    I think Brian comes across well. There are lots of Australians who have never seen the inside of a charismatic church.

    For all the criticisms from liberals and reformed and some fundamentalists, there are many unchurched people out there who really aren’t turned off my the idea of a church with music, clothes, and message style they can related to – and the concept that Christians can hope to be successful and prosper financially etc, is really not that abhorrent.

  28. “Why does a religion have to spend any money on charity anyway.”

    Hmmm let’s see.

    “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

    “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” Luke 12:33

    “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” Luke 14:13

    “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'” Luke 18:22

    “In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.” Acts 9:36

    “Cornelius stared at him in fear. What is it, Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.'” Acts 10:4

    “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings.” Acts 24:17

    “For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.” Romans 15:26

    “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” Galatians 2:10

    “Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.” 1 Timothy 5:3

    “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

    But yeah you’re right.

    Far better to spend hundreds of thousands on sound systems and screens and let other churches do the dirty work.

    The Bible got it wrong.

    Again.

  29. Brian maintains that tithing is a ‘biblical principle’.

    I look forward to his fulfilling of the tithes as mentioned in Deuteronomy 14:28-29

    28 At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, 29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

    There you go. Every third year the tithes go to the poor.

    In your dreams.

  30. @Bones. I’m aware of the scriptures about giving to the poor.

    I think it’s not unusual for ministers to teach people to give to the poor, and it’s normal for those ministers to also give to the poor.

    The extent to which each of us give to the poor is something each of us has to decide unless Jesus tells us specifically. And I repeat what I said before. I don’t think every church has to give 90% or 30% of it’s offerings to the poor.

    If you want to talk about sound systems maybe we could talk about cathedrals, stain glass windows, steeples, and church buildings of every description.

    btw, I don’t know many Christians who have given all they have to the poor.

    I also know that the top executives of secular charities are on surprisingly good salaries, and also most of them don’t take the bus.

    Apart from that, I agree about giving to the poor. We should all do it.

    And here’s where we probably disagree.

    Get people with no hope, or on drugs etc saved through the ministry of a church like Hillsong, then as they grow in faith and work harder and are more successful, they will end up having more to offer the poor both in direct financial contributions and as an example to follow.

    Could you give me a percentage of total offerrings that you think all religious organizations should be giving directly to the poor?

    And should that hold for Muslims, Buddhists and Wiccans?

    I can tell you that regardless of what westerners think, not much money goes from buddhist temples directly to the poor.

    In fact, your local Buddhist priest running a suburban temple in Japan would be making more that the Senior Pastor of the largest church in Australia.

    That maybe beside the point, but I’m saying that the idea that every religious organization needs to give most of its money away to the poor (or even half) is pretty much a radical concept.

    You could lead the way though Bones if you like.

  31. Yes, i knew Tanya Levin for a short period of time.
    She odviously had a bad time of experience at the AOG church.
    When i first conversed with her(face to face) i did not even think that she was an atheist.
    As a matter of fact(lol Steve)it was C3CHURCHWATCH that revealed her atheistic nature to me.
    She did talk to me about a game in which a message is passed on, in a whisper, by each of a number of people, so that the final version of the message is often radically changed from the original.
    To represent as greater than is actually the case; to overstate:
    EXAGERATION

    FOR EXAMPLE (my example)
    1-when someone leaves a church, i have heard people say THEIR ON DRUGS

    2-when someone leaves a church, i have heard people say THEIR UNSAVED

    3-when someone leaves a church, i have heard people say THEIR WEIRD

    Now, far be it from me to ever believe in, adhere to, or rely on any human effort teaching that comes from the mouth of a psychologist.(yes,she is a psychologist)
    And there is no buts.
    From psychologists, there are only man made strategies and techniques for overcoming the sinful nature, which in result gain Vanity!

    James 1:17
    Amplified Bible (AMP)
    17 Every good gift and every perfect ([a]free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse].

  32. “maybe we could talk about cathedrals, stain glass windows, steeples, and church buildings of every description.”

    Yep. I’ve been there and done that.

    Not quite sure what comparative religions and secular charities has to do with this.

    Actually Jesus said to give it all. To the poor. Not your pastor/CEO.

    But He was pretty radical and not many listen to what He says unless it pertains to hell.

    Fundamentalists do what they accuse liberals of doing by watering down Jesus’s own words.

    And you’re right Q.

    Jesus would be far more impressed with your hip music ministry than whether you provided for the poor.

    That message doesn’t excite people

  33. EYES, Geoff Bullock can certainly relate to that when he left Hillsong. All sorts of lies were told about him.

    Geoff realised that what he was doing at Hillsong was probably VANITY.

  34. Rain
    A drenching rain,
    Puddles,
    Rivulets,
    And the gentle sound,
    Pitter pattering
    Drip dropping.
    I am high up
    My veranda nestling
    Amongst the trees.
    And all is peaceful,
    The island sleeps
    On this drowsy
    Monday afternoon

  35. Bones, have you ever considered going to anger management with your problem?

    It was interesting to see you trot out your well worn list of stock standard defilements of Hillsong, and all through the vehicle of sarcasm, the lowest of humours, but the easiest to reproduce.

    And you consistently maintain the innuendo, character assassination and exaggeration.

    If being misrepresented on national television with false evidence for he umpteenth time without right of reply isn’t persecution, wat would you call it?

    And, yes, as I have clearly stated, and as you know, this is not nearly as fierce persecution as martyrdom.

    Nevertheless, what ACA did, and what you are doing on this thread is persecution.

    You remain a lemming.

    Headlong!

  36. Eyes,
    Tanya Levine was a guest speaker at the annual Global Atheist Convention a couple of times, so I guess she declared herself. I merely reported that she now calls herself a feminist atheist, and has rejected God, the Church and Christians.

    So, if you want to call that a rumour or Chinese whispers, perhaps you should ask her why she started it with such a loud, public voice.

    Tanya would really get on well with Bones. Two of a kind really, except she’s feminist atheist. He just sings their songs.

  37. @Eyes and Bones.

    I think it’s definitely true that people who leave organizations can have their reasons for leaving misrepresented. And in some cases there are total mistruths.

    But it works the other way too. I’m always surprised at how people can be in a church for a long time, be a big part of it, then when they leave have nothing good to say for their time there.

    It’s kind of like a divorce.

    And Eyes, I’ll play armchair psychologist too (not meaning to mock – mocking myself more than anything, because I’m always playing that game).

    I’ve seen cases over and over where someone leaves a church for personal reasons, and attacks that church. Then the longer they are there, the more reasons they seem to want to stack up in criticism of the church. It eventually becomes an outright dismissal of the church, and often theological, when it started with a much different issue.

    I personally think Tanya Levine has just gradually pushed herself into a more radical position.

    Any objective person who just went to Hillsong for 3 months (without spy cameras or an agenda) would come away thinking that it’s really just not that bad.

    The way people leave churches and then become attack dogs for the rest of their lives is starting to make me nervous about how much to get involved with peoples problems and share feelings with people at church. That is one of the saddest things about this.

    Mr Bones, I think you’re being a little over the top. Esp when you seem to be getting along at your church with your family and it’s pretty much similar to Hillsong anyway.

    One day, I hope to find a person who is up in arms in attack against a church/churches who has a happy marriage, family, career,and cheerful disposition.

  38. btw Bones, if you believe in what you say, then you’ll have to go after every church I know, because I don’t know any that give everything to the poor.

    But when you sell up everything and give it to the poor, I’ll be happy to read your blog comments about your new radical life for Jesus.

    lead the way, Bro

  39. { EYES says:
    February 22, 2013 at 11:06 pm }

    My previous comment should read,
    As a matter of fact(lol Steve)it was through
    HILLSONG CHURCHWATCH that i discovered her atheistic nature.

    Not c3churchwatch, but same thing different smell hey.

    Steve, the whispers that i was referring to is the gossip inside the church.There are all kinds of accusations and gossip about x members, church leaders, religious organizations, political leaders and family members. The tendency is for members to gossip about others before knowing the facts.
    Question:Why did such and such a person leave our church?
    Answer:One of the hardest answers for the leading Pastor and devout members to accept is that the church stinks and the Pastor smells fishy.

  40. { Answer:One of the hardest answers for the leading Pastor and devout members to accept is that the church stinks and the Pastor smells fishy. }

    I suppose if one was a smelly fish, he would think his shit don’t stink.Especially when people allow themselves to be so easily fish slapped.

  41. What you don’t realise, Eyes, is that one church used to stink and smell fishy, but you no longer go there, so the problem is solved.

    Bones, I think you live on the planet Zarg, were everything is the opposite to what it seems.

    In fact, the only real complaint you could admit to having about Brian is that his ministry is so popular with Christians, if you were honest, that is.

    If he were unpopular, as you dream in your thought bubble la-la-land, no one would know a thing about Hillsong, and it wouldn’t have such rapid and extensive growth.

    No. What you are mostly upset about is the spread of Christianity in a direction which you can’t approve of in your miniscule-minded liberal planetarium.

  42. Sydney’s Hillsong church strongly criticised in recent articles.
    A NUMBER of highly critical articles are beginning to appear in the secular and Christian press about the activities of Sydney, Australia’s Hillsong church. The church’s worship music CDs and videos are amongst the biggest selling items in Christian media. But now the church is being heavily criticised for its unhealthy obsession with money. Most prominent of the church’s critics is the Rev Tim Costello, the former head of the Baptist Union in Australia, now in charge of World Vision. Speaking of Hillsong, and quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald, he claims, “The quickest way to degrade the Gospel is to link it with money and the pursuit of money. It is the total opposite of what Jesus preached. These people have learned nothing from the mistakes made by the American evangelists.”

    Another critic of Hillsong is John Smith, director of Care & Communication Concern and a one-time Cross Rhythms columnist. Smith lives in Sydney and has preached at Hillsong and seen it grow down the years. Smith has a particular problem with the book You Need More Money, written by Hillsong founder and pastor Brian Houston. Smith is quoted in an article in the Church Of England newspaper, “Brian says that Jesus talks about economics more than anything lese. He’s right. But he doesn’t finish by saying that almost every verse is negative about the mythology of wealth and power. The Bible is warning all the time.”

    Smith suggests that people analyse the Gospels by finding each encounter Jesus had with individuals or generic types, such as lepers or Pharisees, note whether that person or group was rich or poor – either socially or materially – and finally judge whether the meeting with Jesus was positive or negative. “If you do that,” he claims, “I think you’ll find there’s only one case in all the gospels where a person with both wealth and social power had a positive encounter with Jesus.”

    As a riposte to those convinced by Hillsong’s vigorous image, Smith forcefully replies, “I’ve had cancer and I know that the most enduring cell is a cancer cell. It has no ‘use-by’ date on it like the rest of the cells in my body. It’s the fastest growing, healthiest-looking cell in my body – and it breeds death.” Ordinary people in the Hillsong pews – or, more accurately, luxury seating – are often seen to be vibrant, youthful, generous and charming. But Smith’s concern is that Hillsong could have led these Christians to faith “without carrying cancerous disease that was destructive to the body fabric of a genuine obedient Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

    http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/articles/news/Hillsong_Flack/13977/p1/

  43. Ridiculous grumbling from men who should know better, and who have a different call altogether. Great in their own spheres, but AWOL when it comes to grasping another man’s call. And guilty of gift-projection also.

    And, Bones, before you go off on one of your google cut’n’paste journeys into negativity and one-sidedness, the more you post up the more you join the bigotry and misunderstanding, which leads to gross misrepresentation.

    You’re no better than ACA, in fact. They used the same tactics.

    You remind me of the pastor who ran up and down the aisles of a Holy Ghost meeting, whilst manifestations were taking place all over the auditorium, plain as day, crying “God is Sovereign, God is Sovereign”, to hide his dismay that God moved in a different way to his own expectations and theology.

  44. “Esp when you seem to be getting along at your church with your family and it’s pretty much similar to Hillsong anyway.”

    Would you believe I was asked to teach at the Bible College my church has started. Thankfully for Steve and me that didn’t happen.

    I’ve stepped back from all involvement in my church refusing preaching requests.

    Had to put up with another nonsensical giving message from Malachi on the weekend. I think some people just get up and say whatevers in their head without any preparation. I go there but I’d rather be elsewhere. My wife likes it though.

  45. “lead the way, Bro”

    Brian’s gospel is perfect for our capitalist society. Far easier than Jesus’s gospel.

    Take up your wallet and follow me.

  46. By the way, I haven’t met anyone yet who wouldn’t agree that they need more money. That is why they go to work on Monday morning.

    Or will you be giving up your $75,000 pa job because you don’t need any more money, Bones, or, as Q suggested, you’re going to give it all to the poor?

    Tim Costello’s on a pretty health salary, too, isn’t he?

    How much money does CEO Tim Costello earn?
    Tim’s salary including super is $255,805. This is less than the CEO salaries of many similar sized charitable organisations in Australia. Tim has also overseen $112m growth in World Vision Australia’s income since becoming CEO, and each year he donates to World Vision all the gifts and fees (up to $150,000 in value) paid to him for speaking engagements.

    http://www.worldvision.com.au/aboutus/FAQsAboutWorldVisionAustralia.aspx

    $255, 805! Not bad! And an excellent retirement package.

    Of course, none of us knows exactly how much of that Tim and Brian sow back into the gospel, or give the poor, or into charitable works through their own, personal giving!

    So, will you be going back to work on Monday to earn more money, Bones?

  47. So what do you think of a charity, an enterprise which derives its income from people who give out of their hard-earned wages, which pays its executive over $250,000 pa?

    I mean, Mr Costello must think hard and often about his salary and what he could do with it, and whether it is equitable when compared to some joe blow who earned $350 a week and puts $10 a week into Tim’s charity.

    I don’t actually have an issue with an executive earning decent money, but I’d love to be able to earn what you’re getting at $75,000 pa, and the gospel type things I could do with that, let alone trying to imagine what Tim can do with his $255,805!

    And yet the both of you, earning far more than many of the Hillsong and C3 people I know, are calling them names for aspiring to what you and Tim already have!

    Dear Lord! don’t know how you live with yourself, and your complaints about your own Pentecostal church, where you prosper more than you probably know and still complain about prosperity.

    No, I wouldn’t like you preaching this hypocritical tosh. You’re right! I’m glad you turned them down. One day you Pastor will grasp what you’re doing and feel the relief.

    Praise God fr your wife, that’s all I can say!

  48. As predicted on this thread, TV companies feel the pinch!

    CHANNEL 9 has confirmed that it is set to slash jobs and institute a pay freeze as part of a massive cost cutting program.
    Managing Director Jeffrey Browne sent an email to Nine employees today calling for voluntary redundancies before February 15.
    Mr Browne has also told staff, including its roster of stars, that it will delay all pay reviews.

    The move comes as Nine looks to cut costs in the face of a dwindling TV advertising market.

    Seven and Ten have also been putting a razor to costs as all the networks look to save upwards of $50 million each.

    Nine is yet to put a figure on how many staff it wants to cut.

    “These voluntary redundancy entitlements will be considerably more generous than the statutory minimum,” Mr Browne said.
    Mr Browne also told staff that the company’s annual pay review would be put on hold “pending a significant improvement in the television advertising market”.

    Meanwhile, Today Tonight staff are breathing a sigh of relief after Channel 7 did a back-flip on its plan to roll the current affairs show into a one-hour news in Sydney and Melbourne.

    The switch follows a drop in ratings for the network’s one-hour news experiments last week.

    Today Tonight will return on February 11. Helen Kapalos will host in Sydney and Melbourne.

    It is believed around 50 Today Tonight staff could have lost their jobs.

    http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/television/channel-nine-to-cut-jobs-freeze-pay/story-e6frfmyi-1226570174282

    The beginning of the end!

  49. Ha Ha, good one Steve!(you shark you)

    But the South Coast City Church that i was previously involved with, doesn’t really exist anymore.I pulled out some time before they CONVERTED to C3. Although, they are still trying to hold on to their former name. But i did learn something from them:Step by step methods on HOW TO STUFF UP YOUR LIFE AND SHRINK A CHURCH.

    It is a shame that both C3 and Hillsong are run by dogfish and flatheads.

  50. Does Tim Costello tell people they will receive a financial blessing if they give to World Vision?

    Does Tim Costello sell his material for $200+?

    “So what do you think of a charity, an enterprise which derives its income from people who give out of their hard-earned wages, which pays its executive over $250,000 pa?”

    That’s one reason I don’t sponsor through World Vision or Compassion for that matter. Seems hypocritical to me.

    I sponsor families through the excellent Catholic charity CFCA Christian Foundation For Children and the Aging. They aren’t paying big bucks to CEOs and marketing and administration.

  51. “Or will you be giving up your $75,000 pa job because you don’t need any more money, Bones, or, as Q suggested, you’re going to give it all to the poor?”

    Actually I did.

  52. “By the way, I haven’t met anyone yet who wouldn’t agree that they need more money.”

    I never wanted more money from my job. I preferred better working conditions than more money. The education union regularly makes submission re the enterprise bargaining agreements which ends up in pay rises. That was the way governments buy off the education union. I would have been much happier to have a better working environment, smaller class sizes, sensible curriculum, more support for students with disabilities, behaviour and learning problems and the removal of an unfair assessment system (NAPLAN). That’s actually a justice issue.

    I’d take a paycut to have those things.

    It’s far cheaper and easier for the government to give teachers a payrise to shut the union up.

    Not all of us worship the green god. You mistakenly think all Christians have the Hillsong preoccupation with money.

  53. It’s not like Hillsong would do anything shonky or misuse funds.

    Wait a minute…

    Hillsong Church ‘spent indigenous grants on staff’

    Indigenous development grants to Hillsong‘s benevolent arm have gone almost entirely to employing and providing offices for church staff, with only a trickle reaching Aborigines.

    In one case, Hillsong Emerge spent $315,000 in federal funds employing seven of its own staff in Sydney to administer a “micro-credit” project that made only six loans to Aborigines worth an average of $2856 each.

    Hillsong also failed to enable a single Aborigine to become self-employed under a $610,968 federal grant to encourage indigenous entrepreneurship.

    The revelations are contained in answers from senator Eric Abetz, representing Employment Minister Kevin Andrews, to a detailed series of questions on notice from Labor’s indigenous affairs spokesman, Chris Evans.

    They show that far more funds are spent on Hillsong staffers and administration than actual service delivery. One federal grant paid $965,421 to Hillsong Emerge to administer $280,000 in loan funds.

    Senator Abetz said that when it came to the $610,968 Hillsong Emerge received to run indigenous “enterprise hubs” in Redfern and Mount Druitt in Sydney, Hillsong had advised that “to their knowledge, none of those assisted have moved to full self-employment”.

    When The Australian visited the Redfern “enterprise hub” in December, it found flyers in the foyer encouraging local businesses to pay up to $1800 to advertise in the Christian Business Directory published by Hillsong Emerge, but no information on how Hillsong could help Aborigines.

    The $610,968 grant was approved in just three weeks, and Hillsong faced no competition since it was the only applicant.

    Labor figures have expressed suspicions about the grants and the Liberal Party’s links with Hillsong.

    Liberal MP Louise Markus, a Hillsong church member and former Hillsong Emerge officer who narrowly won the outer Sydney seat of Greenway from Labor at the last election with the help of Hillsong Church members, wrote a letter of support for a separate $414,000 grant.

    The Federal Government will come under further pressure this week, with the Opposition planning to grill it over Hillsong at Senate estimates hearings.

    Senator Evans yesterday told The Australian that the micro-credit program, “has so far been deeply flawed in its execution”.

    “If the Government’s agenda is to help disadvantaged indigenous Australians start their own businesses then Hillsong needs to be held accountable for what is, on the face of it, a very poor outcome,” he said. Senator Evans said there had been “no transparent, public evaluation of the pilot program – just academic articles before it began and Hillsong promotional material”.

    A portion of the $610,968 grant was devoted to Hillsong’s Shine program, an activity directly associated with Hillsong Church.

    In Senator Abetz’s answers, he said part of the Shine Basic program “focuses on values of worth, strength and purpose” and includes “journalling”, described by the senator as “writing down dreams, goals, plans”.

    Hillsong Emerge has repeatedly refused to answer questions about its indigenous development programs.

    Yesterday, spokeswoman Maria Ieroianni referred all questions to the federal body responsible for administering the grants, Indigenous Business Australia.

    IBA’s deputy general manager, Ian Myers, said the funds covered pilot programs, that the programs had been reviewed, and that a decision would be taken by IBA’s board as to whether to proceed with further funding.

    http://www.religionnewsblog.com/13657/hillsong-church-spent-indigenous-grants-on-staff

  54. Maybe Brian can explain this

    The Business of Giving Mercy

    And Houston has been less than transparent about his own income. Until last year he had failed to declare that he and Bobbie had sold their own personal property holdings to a Hillsong-related entity of which he is a director, Leadership Ministries Incorporated. Bobbie sold a Bondi beachfront apartment on the same block as Jamie Packer’s pad to the not-for-profit LMI for $650,000 in February 2002. The couple also sold a waterfront property on the Hawkesbury River in October 2004 to LMI for $780,000, making $535,000 on their 1998 purchase price. They continue to use both these properties.

    LMI is the tax-free entity Hillsong set up as a vehicle to pay the couple’s income. In breach of Office of Fair Trading reporting rules, no financial statements had been lodged since its inception in October 2001. Only after the property deals were uncovered by The Australian were the accounts filed in August last year. When the numbers came in they revealed the golden couple got a measly net income, after donations, of just $21,658 in the year to December 2002, $12,739 in 2003 and $69,041 in 2004.

    If this is all there is, then how do the couple and two of their three children pull off a property buying spree worth $1.738 million over 12 months in exclusive beachside Bondi? On August 26, 2003, son Joel, who is a lead singer in the Hillsong band and earns song-writing royalties, bought a $676,000 apartment a few minutes’ walk from the LMI-owned apartment, paying $276,000 up front. That same day Brian and Bobbie paid $650,000 with a collateral mortgage for the apartment next door to Joel’s. Exactly a year later, son Ben borrowed just $90,000 to buy a $412,000 apartment a few streets from the other family holdings.

    http://hillsongchurch.wordpress.com/page/2/

  55. Good for you, ex-Bones. So are you now on the dole, or in another vocation, or living amongst the poor? Whatever, I wish you well, and I’m not having a go at what teachers earn. The deserve every cent.

    So you didn’t have to qualify your former salary for us. I don’t give a rip what you earn, or earned, just that you are always moaning about people being aspirational or enjoying prosperity when you seemed to be doing pretty well yourself, and quoting Tim Costello as an example when he earns mega-bucks. I don’t begrudge him this either. Go for it, but it looked a bit on the ripe side ripping into Brian when Tim’s not doing all that badly himself.

    Not all of us worship the green god. You mistakenly think all Christians have the Hillsong preoccupation with money.

    You’re making things up again, xBones. I don’t think many people at Hillsong have a preoccupation with money, just loving Jesus and having a fruitful life.

    The obsession comes via their critics. Now they are incredibly avaricious in their continual rants.

  56. Eyes, if you use more than one link your comment goes into moderation automatically. It’s a WordPress thing. Please take note, ED.

    { @EYES

    Were you at Thirroul SCCC? }

    I have declared this before on some other blog. So i will say it again, YES.
    I was also an active member of the South Coast City Church in Swan street Wollongong.

    http://c3churchthirroul.com/about/our-history/

    Our first public meetings began in 1987 under the leadership of Peter Madden. The church first met in Thirroul Senior Citizens Hall, then to the Vista Theatre at Woonona. Prior to that time there was a small prayer group that prayed for the church for a number of years. Kevin Wilcock took over the leadership of the church, which was known as Christian Worship Centre and in 1990, the church moved to it’s present location in Thirroul where we were blessed by a great increase in numbers. (EYES ADDS:TRUE)

    The church was pentecostal in style and chararcterized by prayer, giving and evangelism. A strong leadership structure was formed during these years and the church was one of the first to host a conference on Small Groups. We had our own ministry training college, did outreaches with a circus tent (EYES ADDS: FORMERLY THE CHRIS HARVEY CRUSADE CALLED THE TENT OF MIRACLES, THEY BOUGHT HIS TENT) around Australia and oversighted a rehabilitation facility called the ‘House of Hope’. (EYES ADDS:MORE LIKE THE HOUSE OF DOPE )

    Kevin handed the leadership of the Thirroul church to Joel & Julia A’Bell and commenced to plant other congregations in Wollongong. The new congregations were Wollongong Central (EYES ADDS:SWAN STREET WOLLONGONG) in 1997 and Shellharbour in 1999. (EYES ADDS:JOEL AND JULIA A’BELL,THE CHURCH SPLITTERS OBVIOUSLY CONSPIRED AGAINST WILCOCK AND JOINED HILLSONG. WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE A’BELLS, THEN JUST ASK TANYA LEVIN.)

    In 1999, Peter & Marie Starr took over the leadership of the Thirroul congregation. The church became known as South Coast City Church Thirroul and over $200,000 was raised for a deposit for our current facility, which we soon purchased. We are now officially a part of the C3 Church movement (EYES ADDS:BECAUSE THE REST OF THE SCCC ESTABLISHMENT FAILED), becoming known as C3 Church Thirroul in 2011 to reflect that association whilst maintaining our relationship with Ozreach (oversighted by Kevin Wilcock). (EYES ADDS:JUST LOOK AT WILCOCK ON TWITTER )
    https://twitter.com/KevinWilcock

    C3 Church Thirroul has raised and released ministers and missionaries who have left Wollongong and done great exploits for God throughout many parts of the world. We continue to see people transformed by the power of God on regular basis (EYES ADDS:THATS WHY SCCC IS NO MORE). We value all people because we believe that if lost people matter to God then they should also matter to the church. Our church has gained a good name (EYES ADDS:I HAVE HEARD HIM PREACH THAT HE WANTS TO GAIN A NAME FOR HIMSELF) through being culturally relevant and yet being in touch with God at the same time.

    For more info- http://www.ozreach.org/Our-History.aspx

  57. I don’t have an issue with what Tim Costello says in regard to the gospel, but I think he was either misquoted or taken out of context, given he is on such a decent salary and his charity cannot exist without money – and that by the freewill offerings of supporters, who are reached through extensive, expensive advertising campaigns – you’d think he’d be more circumspect with his comments.

    You could say, equally, that the quickest way to degrade charity is to link it with money and the pursuit of money.

    Do you think, perhaps, that World Vision needs more money? Or not?

  58. Tim Costello

    “The quickest way to degrade the Gospel is to link it with money and the pursuit of money. It is the total opposite of what Jesus preached. These people have learned nothing from the mistakes made by the American evangelists.”

  59. [deja vu]

    I don’t have an issue with what Tim Costello says in regard to the gospel, but I think he was either misquoted or taken out of context, given he is on such a decent salary and his charity cannot exist without money – and that by the freewill offerings of supporters, who are reached through extensive, expensive advertising campaigns – you’d think he’d be more circumspect with his comments.

    You could say, equally, that the quickest way to degrade charity is to link it with money and the pursuit of money.

    Do you think, perhaps, that World Vision needs more money? Or not?

  60. Eyes, if you use more than one link your comment goes into moderation automatically. It’s a WordPress thing. Please take note, ED.

    Search: http://c3churchthirroul.com/about/our-history/

    Our first public meetings began in 1987 under the leadership of Peter Madden. The church first met in Thirroul Senior Citizens Hall, then to the Vista Theatre at Woonona. Prior to that time there was a small prayer group that prayed for the church for a number of years. Kevin Wilcock took over the leadership of the church, which was known as Christian Worship Centre and in 1990, the church moved to it’s present location in Thirroul where we were blessed by a great increase in numbers.

    The church was pentecostal in style and chararcterized by prayer, giving and evangelism. A strong leadership structure was formed during these years and the church was one of the first to host a conference on Small Groups. We had our own ministry training college, did outreaches with a circus tent around Australia and oversighted a rehabilitation facility called the ‘House of Hope’.

    Kevin handed the leadership of the Thirroul church to Joel & Julia A’Bell and commenced to plant other congregations in Wollongong. The new congregations were Wollongong Central in 1997 and Shellharbour in 1999.

    In 1999, Peter & Marie Starr took over the leadership of the Thirroul congregation. The church became known as South Coast City Church Thirroul and over $200,000 was raised for a deposit for our current facility, which we soon purchased. We are now officially a part of the C3 Church movement, becoming known as C3 Church Thirroul in 2011 to reflect that association whilst maintaining our relationship with Ozreach (oversighted by Kevin Wilcock).

    C3 Church Thirroul has raised and released ministers and missionaries who have left Wollongong and done great exploits for God throughout many parts of the world. We continue to see people transformed by the power of God on regular basis. We value all people because we believe that if lost people matter to God then they should also matter to the church. Our church has gained a good name through being culturally relevant and yet being in touch with God at the same time.

    http://www.ozreach.org/

    Welcome to OzReach

    OzReach is merely the name and vision under which we work and relate.

    Oz meaning “to be committed to the building of authentic Aussie churches that relate to our communities”.

    Reach meaning “to be committed as churches to live and give beyond ourselves for the sake of extending the kingdom of God”.
    OzReach is a relationship of churches and ministries.

    Purpose: to build an Australian based relationship of churches and ministries that work together in reaching our nation and beyond

    Strategy: to plant, parent and partner with churches to see them impact their communities through:

    outreaching the unchurched
    empowering leadership & ministry
    providing relational & visionary oversight
    Culture: real, relational, releasing, restorative, relevant and radical

  61. Well, about five or so years ago, MISSION AUSTRALIA started the introduction of more work for the dole members, thus obligating people to do the work, rather than accepting people that wanted to be there for a meaningful purpose.

    This begs the questioning of voluntary work, as apposed to obligatory( compulsory) work.What is the government doing?.
    The more words the less meaning , and how does that profit anyone?

  62. Steve…I know John Smith personally…you would be wise to listen to his words…he is a prophet. I don’t think Brian’s salary is unrealistic in a certain sense…however…and here is the big however…as the pastor of a church, is 300,000 what Jesus would pay himself?

    All of us a aspirational, and there is nothing wrong with that until we start to tie monetary increase to our faith…our faith has nothing to say about our money other than how we get it and how we spend it…not a word as to how much god wants us to have…that is an entirely personal thing. With more money comes the ability to help more people…that is a fact…I personally know a very well off lady who gives over 5000 per month away to charity, and not I mention the amount she gives through her businesses foundation…she would not be able to do this without earning lots of money.

    I know far more people who earn nothing and devote their entire lives to helping others…they would. It be able to do this if they were preoccupied with chasing money.

    It’s all relative.

    My opinion: hillsong has dodgy theology.
    My opinion: Brian charges for resources he should give away or sell for far less.
    My opinion: his salary is commensurate with the size of his job
    My opinion: the gospel has nothing to do with how much money we earn
    Fact: we all see things differently and none of what we see has any bearing in reality…it is all seen through our own sets of filters…my opinion is just that…my opinion. The sooner we realise that…the better for us all.

  63. EYES…I know Kevin Wilcock as well. He pastors a church in newcastle that used to rent a building for their church from Wesley Mission where I was employed.

  64. It troubles me that so many knives, secular and Christian, are out for Brian Houston, when, as far as I can see, he is a great asset and gift from God to the Church, and to the nation of Australia.

    For all those who find fault with his ministry, his teaching and his methodology, well, where is the perfect man or woman, or ministry or means?

    Find a man, any man but Christ, and I will show you flaws. That is why we need Christ, all of us.

    But I also see a genuine man in love with his Saviour, doing what he is called to do, and doing it to the best of his ability. I read the nasty, ugly remarks and accusations here and on other sites and I wonder why.

    I watch the ACA program and can’t fathom their reasoning. Why condemn Hillsong for being successful, when here is a ministry and a church which does absolutely no harm to their community, which brings in young people by the thousand to a place where Jesus is presented to them, and they fall in love with God, whether you or I like their music, or presentation or not.

    Would they rather see schoolies week reproduced everywhere, and prefer that the youth of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne destroy themselves on alcohol binges and the rest?

    Are Hillsong training up young men and women to be terrorists, or to incite violence, or to harass or guilt-trip people into submission to Christ, or to preach doom and gloom on street corners? or are they creating an atmosphere where young families are formed with Christ as their centre, and Christian family values.

    You call their teaching shallow, but who needs more that the two commandments to love? Is your deep, hard to fathom, liberalised theology bringing in youth, creating godly families, producing a Christian culture which is fast becoming a motivating factor amongst young, middle aged and older believers any more effectively than these churches?

    Is your Christ any different to theirs? No doubt you will argue this, but, nevertheless, knowing them and being around them, I say not. I say it is the presentation that is different, but the same Jesus reaches these people, and is effectively drawing them to himself.

    The claims of forced tithing have been scotched by their leadership, and still critics are not satisfied. They bay for blood. They want a lynching. They want the enterprise to fail and the leader to fall. And these are just the Christians.

    So you want to tax the Church. Simply to get back at Hillsong for being a successful church plant led by a talented couple. That is juvenile, and godless reasoning.

    I can’t support your wrong-headedness. As Paul said, if they’re preaching Christ out of whatever reason, His name is glorified and the gospel is being preached, so let them, and stop being so opinionated about it and obstructive.

    Philippians 1
    15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will:
    16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains;
    17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.
    18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

    As Gamaliel said to the Jewish leaders who bound the Apostles, “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing;
    but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it–lest you even be found to fight against God.”

  65. Tim Costello is right – Christian Aussie Journo Willem Bellaard who is no mug, rated Tim to be a man without guile who knows Jesus.

    Steve, your tall poppy is a Kiwi, remember? As is Phil Pringle.

    [Defamatory material removed]

    Having been a worship leader, and having been involved in the highest praise such that we could hear angelic choirs singing with us, and having had my voice used by God to sing in ways not humanly possible, I understood the dynamics of praise and I know the difference between true worship and the counterfeit. It is like how I know the difference between a real diamond and a CZ at even a glance – its called experience combined with discernment.

    [Irrelevant prophetic talk removed]

    [Defamatory material removed]

    [Irrelevant doom and gloom predictions removed]

    I am not in any way saying to forbid Brian or anyone to preach Jesus and Him crucified and resurrected for us all, and the need for a personal relationship with Jesus, and to obey His command to love, one to another, however, it behooves him to listen to those who have left as to what their valid concerns were and are, and not to simply regard them as having gone out from amongst us as they were not of us – ergo to regard them as being antichrist.

    [Irrelevant material removed]

  66. Oh, and thanks for that history. I didn’t know all that. I was just visiting with a friend who lived near there and asked me to come with her. Very enlightening

  67. @ian

    ” I live with and know the fallout from the [Names removed] family and their fledgling empire in Christchurch before they were called to Oz. A lot of broken lives.”

    What?

  68. Ian, you said:
    I live with and know the fallout from the Houston family and their fledgling empire in Christchurch before they were called to Oz. A lot of broken lives. IT was in Hillsong like settings that my eyes were opened to the drugging effect of such a culture and tradition and how people got off on it in their “worship”.

    To my knowledge the Houstons were not based in Christchurch, so I doubt this claim, as does Q.

    It is defamatory. If you cannot substantiate it, then you need to admit your error, or, if you can substantiate it, give evidence that this indeed happened, and from reliable sources.

    I will give you the rest of February 25 to give corroborated evidence or I will remove the comment.

  69. That’s not enough evidence of anything, Ian, and you know it. You said the [family name] messed up Christchurch. They were never there on a longterm basis. you either made it up or are misinformed.

    I’m not interested in your theories or assumptions. You made a serious allegation and can’t back it up.

    Are you saying you don’t know if the Houstons had a presence in Christchurch or not?

    We know about the Wellington connection and no one s disputing it.

  70. Ian, again,
    There is also an established culture of child abuse in Wellington and CHCH, particularly connected with high level politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, police and churchmen. The Salvation Army was heavily influenced by Freemasonry and like Catholic, Anglican and others churches is riddled with the imagery and influence thereof.

    If you can’t back this up with concrete evidence I am going to take a leaf out of Greg’s book and remove it. It is defamatory. If you can’t control yourself I’ll help you with it.

  71. By the way, there is an established culture of child abuse worldwide, the purported figures for Australia alone are 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 4 boys, but it is probably higher, and it is across the board. But you are accusing a specific group.

    I can’t see what connection this has with anything else on this thread. You are again waffling off into la-la-land with unconnected pet theories, but some of them carry defamatory remarks which you are unable to substantiate.

    This isn’t c3churchwitch or gripesects where you can get away with just about anything. Evidence or silence please.

  72. I’d add that Frank Houston was a completely different person to Ted Bundy. So much so that it goes without saying.

    Ian you are probably doing the Houstons a favor though. when you talk about seeing demons come out of people’s eyes, and then slam basically 98% of Christians who have ever lived, people won’t listen to your criticisms of Brian Houston.

  73. Roundhouse,
    Chances are that if you attended Wilcock’s thirroul Branch between 1992 – 2000, you would know me very well.

  74. I see Hillsongs Ltd are involved in Alpha – makes sense – the biggest “consumer” of Alpha is the Roman Catholic Church, but then Nicky Gumball did rank higher in the craft than John-Paul, as was evident by the hand-shake observable in a creepy pic of creepy Nicky taking to hand of creepy old JP. CREEPY!

    I see too that their corporate structure is a mesh of companies none of which render unto Caesar – which by interpretation generally means that they are on the same team – you are either a tax payer or a tax gatherer, and yes, I can appreciate it is a big operation – I mean, it’s not like ONE MAN alone can save the whole world, right?

    The thing with deeply compromising sin is that it is used by the worldly to control the WORDY. Brian will not be “the real problem” where Hillsongs is concerned…but I suspect I know what is…

    Interesting to this correspondent is the correlating time line – Hillsongs started 1983, now turning 30 and set to take on the world, and in the same year, in June, a 27yrs old starry eyed believer got on his knees to pray and was taken 30yrs into the future to see his City devastated by disaster and depression, and then witness the coming of the Son of Man in clouds of Glory to His people.

    When I told my fellow believers what had happened, as it did not dovetail too well with their WOF/AOG mindset, they dismissed it as being some kind of mental aberration. I guess we will soon see whether it was real or just my imagination…now pretty much that whole crew is either washed up or wasted but God is moving among them even as I write and there is a burgeoning awareness, desire, an appetite for righteousness rising up in them.

    Those churches they came from are largely all washed up – defunct – not at all relevant! This is the first Christian City where God is going to destroy the old ways and create a New Thing, and He will make it largely out of the victims of such religions as Brian’s, and other cults – and I make no bones about it – Hillsongs is a cult, but as my wife says, “They are ALL CULTS – there is only ONE JESUS and you worship Him at the altar of your heart.”

    In the end, its the same denarius to all, and maybe a martyrs crown, should it be so.

    Now consider this, please, that when Jesus told His disciples not to forbid others who were proclaiming the kingdom and Jesus as Messiah, not to forbid them, and later He presaged that “Many will come in My Name saying that I am the Christ, and shall mislead many”.

    To understand the difference in these two seemingly contradictory statements, the former being commonly used to excuse the latter, you have to view them in the textural framework that they were given, one being before the Cross, and therefore Old Testament times, and the other being in, and at the end of the Church Age, the time which I believe all too obviously we are now in.

    So it is plainly talking about two separate exigencies and to use the “Forbid them not” to allow them too uphold and promote heresies was not what Jesus was talking about, but very much what He meant in Matthew 24.

    You can judge someone’s discernment and you can discern someone’s judgment but you cannot judge them or their relationship with God – only the evident fruit of the Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit belongs to Christ, and as I have learned, you can walk in the Spirit and serve God and even manifest His Person and Presence and (largely) do His will, and still be half wrong by excluding those bound in darkness from God’s glorious grace and provision, for He sends His rain upon the just and the unjust – so if any church is not preaching a wholly inclusive doctrine of salvation and of the restoration of all things from the Head, then to me, they ’bout half past dead! Like I was, and it always makes me wonder, what more vomit and apostasy remains to be expurgated from my book and dare I even look!

    Unto HIM who alone is able to present us ALL spotless before the Father. It is His job to do the dishes, that much I know, and it behooves us to search out wisdom and knowledge so to have the Mind of Christ in all things, and for now my passion and zeal provokes me to look upon such heresies with utter disgust, being the vomit and apostasy that they are, and I have just got to accept that in the end, on Jesus can mend all men everywhere and bring them to the knowledge of the Truth in Him.

    I have been in the highest praise – I know what it “sounds” like, and I have been in the counterfeit – and I know the difference – one is the psychological re-engineering of the Spiritual and is a form of self-adulation and hypnosis dressed up as praise – the other spiritual expression of the heart lost in love for the Creator God and drowning in the pool of His presence.

  75. ”The real issue is are we living the kingdom life now”

    Good preaching Ian.

    If Hillsong is a cult, and so is the RCC and all the churches that sprang from the RCC, about what percentage of the world’s Christian population is not in a cult?

    Are there any good fellowships or is every church on the planet a cult? And if everyone leaves their churches tomorrow, what should they do?

    should they gather? Where? Then what do they do? Who decides when they should go home?

    Ian, you say you know real praise and phoney. Do you have real praise in your home every day? Do your wife and kids say that they are enjoying the “real praise” in your house once a week? Everyday?

    And if we gather with Christians, can we decide to sing and praise and if after one song we are not in a state of “real praise”, do we just decide it’s like vomit to God and stop? And who decides? Ian?

    Are there any worship leaders in New Zealand, or in other countries who you think are capable of leading people into “real” praise and worship? Or should they all just stop and wait until you teach them?

    So, what are you saying the AOG and all the other denominations should do? seriously.

    Bones thinks they should sell all their buildings and give the money to the poor. Which poor, and who will be responsible I have no idea. Maybe Bones and that John guy the prophet that he and Greg like can be in charge of the distribution.

    Then when nobody has a building, should Christians just stay at home and all tune in to messages by Ian until all the earthquakes and tsunamis come?

    That’s the conclusion of this website. All the churches are bad, and we have to give everything to the poor. So it’s up to Bones and Ian to lead the church. No wait, Bones doesn’t agree with Ian.

    Okay division of labor is the only way.

    Bones oversees the receiving of all Christians money and Ian can preach via the internet.

    Here’s an idea. I’m poor. Bones can give me all his money and earnings each month because I’m not afraid to say that “I need more money”, and I will use it and also invest wisely because I predict that in three years I will still need that money regardless of the earthquakes which may or may not come to Christchurch or other places.

    I love you guys. Really do. But the church with all it’s sin is not a lost cause.

    Off now to go live by best life now!

  76. “Bones can give me all his money and earnings each month because I’m not afraid to say that “I need more money”, and I will use it and also invest wisely because I predict that in three years I will still need that money regardless of the earthquakes which may or may not come to Christchurch or other places.”

    I’m sponsoring a family in Nicaragua.

    I’d be happy to sponsor you too.

    Bet Brian and Joyce Meyer would like me to sponsor them as well.

    Luke 1:53
    “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.”

    By they way there’s over a thousand verses in the Bible about caring for the poor.

    We seem to forget that in our quest of condemning gays, justifying our hedonistic greed and searching for the illusive verse to justify nonsense like the rapture, we miss the forest for the trees.

  77. Btw how much work do Hillsong do for the poor given the millions they rake in from album sales.

    As shown by the use of indigenous grants Hillsong exists to benefit itself.

    It’s not a light to the world at all.

  78. { Btw how much work do Hillsong do for the poor given the millions they rake in from album sales. }

    As much as they can boast about.

    New International Version (©1984)
    If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

  79. Nobody said anything about not caring for the poor Bones.

    And that last paragraph of yours? Condemning gays? The rapture?

    I think you are obsessed with Hillsong.

  80. Bones,
    We seem to forget that in our quest of condemning gays, justifying our hedonistic greed and searching for the illusive verse to justify nonsense like the rapture, we miss the forest for the trees.

    It’s absolutely pointless talking to you Bones. You’re attitude resembles that of a flailing Frankenstein trying to make sense of his own hideous construction.

    Sheesh! Where did that load of crock come from? Layers of incoherent lies!

    Q, to Bones,
    I think you are obsessed with Hillsong.

    I think he’s obsessed with his own imaginary world of voices which tell him to write things no one else says.

    Scary!

  81. Q – I do not say the church is defunct any more than Babylon is already down – but both will happen – both still serve their function and then fade into obscurity and history.

    I was called out years ago – it takes a lot longer to get Babylon out of the man than the man out of Babylon – or Egypt – and God has to kill off our old generation so that the NEW GENERATION may inherit the PROMISE by faith. The old has to die – that its how it is with all of us – but God will draw all men to Himself – eventually. He is ever so patient! And merciful, thank God…

  82. “We seem to forget that in our quest of condemning gays, justifying our hedonistic greed and searching for the illusive verse to justify nonsense like the rapture, we miss the forest for the trees.”

    Morning guys. Nobody here is on a “Quest to condemn gays”

    I disagree with gay marriage. I also don’t think that two Christian men should have sex with each other. I think God’s will was always and still is for men to marry women. See, I said that in less than a minute. No quest. Just a restatement of what I think is obvious, and which the church has for 2000 years, and has most of the non-Christian world.

    On the other hand, people here have spent hours upon hours trying to prove that gays should be allowed to marry, when they could be out helping the poor. Terrible! Get back to the poor!!!!

    Hedonistic greed? I’m confident that I could swap living conditions with anyone and come out better!

    Rapture? How many hours have you spent copy and pasting and frothing at the mouth over it. I never talk about it, and Brian Houston probably hasn’t preached about the rapture in years.

    So, yeah, Bones doth protest too much.

    Back to the poor. With all your anger about letting gays marry and Christians have sex outside of marriage, and trying to attack different doctrines of churches, why not get back to tending the forest.

  83. Ian,
    Can you please try to keep your comments on thread?

    I dont like to censor people’s thought, but you have a habit of throwing up your pet thought for the day [and you spend a lo-o-o-o-ong time on those thoughts obviously], and completely going off tangent.

    Stay on track!

  84. Bones, I agree with Q on this.

    Your presumption is flabbergasting.

    I have mostly spoken for marriage being between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others as it presently stands, and see no Biblical or social reason to change. You have defended homosexual sex as a marriage option, and I disagree. It cannot be Biblically sustained. No one has condemned gays. The discussion has always been about the institution of marriage and what God sees as legitimate sexual relations within it.

    If you knew our circumstances you would never again call my wife and I hedonistically greedy. ‘Hedonistic’ = ‘engaged in the pursuit of pleasure, sensually self-indugent’. ‘Greed’ = ‘intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power or food’.

    That is a terrible slur, and not worth commenting further on, or bothering to justify ourselves over your creepy, accusative logic, because I’d rather continue allowing God to be our Source as He has been for the last 30 years of ministry.

    You are the only one using the term ‘rapture’ or describing its errancy. What I have written about the harpazo and resurrection is Biblically accurate, cannot be disputed, unless you are so liberal you don’t believe anything the Bible tells you, and has nothing to do with your flawed logic or false claims on this.

    You have admitted you don’t even know what the resurrection is or how it is connected to the harpazo!

    I don’t think you’d know a tree if the forest parked itself in your living room.

  85. You are the only one using the term ‘rapture’ or describing its errancy.

    Correction. You’re not the only one, of course. Greg has been bandying it about also. I think, out of desperation for an ally, he even quoted Mormon logic on it!

  86. Brian maintains that tithing is a ‘biblical principle’.

    I look forward to his fulfilling of the tithes as mentioned in Deuteronomy 14:28-29

    28 At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, 29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

    There you go. Every third year the tithes go to the poor.

    In your dreams.

  87. I apologise for leaving out several comments such as how retarded those who follow the prosperity doctrine are. Better off with Gold Lotto.

    Seems as if one of Hillsong’s regulars is up to no good.

    TD Jakes has long time Elder escorted out of church: Elder Davidlee Richardson has been apart of the Potters house church for a number of years, and decided to write a book entitled “The Sunday Morning Stick Up. What your pastor doesn’t want you to know about tithes.”

    Everything is going down but the word of God at the Potters House in Dallas Texas.
    It was brought to my attention earlier today by a friend, and reader of my website/blog that the good Bishop TD Jakes had a long time Elder of the Potters House removed from the front row during a church service, and escorted out by security because of a book the Elder wrote which will be released in March.

    Elder Davidlee Richardson has been apart of the Potters house church for a number of years, and decided to write a book entitled “The Sunday Morning Stick Up. What your pastor doesn’t want you to know about tithes.” Elder Richardson has been apart of many non profit organizations, and has traveled the globe evangelizing. According to my source. Elder Richardson considers the good bishop his ”spiritual father”.

    The good bishop is known to many around the world as the “KING PIMP.” Pimping members of the body of Christ out of their hard earned money Sunday after Sunday. Preachers these days call the good bishop father, daddy, etc.

    It’s no secret the the good bishop has lot’s of money, and continues to pimp weak minded believers out money as often as possible.

    During a normal service at the Potters house it takes Jakes between 10-12 minutes to receive an offering because there is always a story to tell of a person receiving a miracle normally after given money to Jakes ministry.

    But one has to wonder what is in that book that the good bishop was so offended by to have the long time Elder escorted off church grounds? It my understanding sense this incident happened neither the good bishop nor Elder Richardson has reached out to each other.

    It has also be brought to my attention that Jakes is charging ministers/elders of his church half of whom doesn’t get paid a penny $1,100 to attend a conference for two days so he can” poor into their life’s.”

    Also according to my source many of the ministers and elders don’t have the money to attend but are taking out payday loans, and getting into debit just to be in the number and attend this event. Many of these ministers have hit on hard times in the past, and asked the church for help and the answer has been “NO.”

    According to another friend who is a former staff member of TPH. The good bishop charges any where from $55,000 to $100,000 to come preach at your church. Plus a hotel room at the ritz, food money, and your church must be a certain size before he even agrees to fool with you. 1/2 of the money is due up front, and then you must agree to give the good bishop 50% of the offering raised that night.

    But after this last incident with Elder Richardson the good bishop proves that he’s not up to really winning souls for Christ, but about making his pockets even bigger. Anybody that’s in the good bishop inner circle should never try to educate folks about tithe because you will be dropped in out fish oil, and dismissed from the inner circle.

    People in these churches forget the love of GOD is free, and needs to start thinking for themselves.

    http://watchmanafrica.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/td-jakes-has-long-time-elder-escorted.html

  88. Bones, regardless of the attempted distraction into your pet hates and perversions, you said the following, and I believe with Q and myself in mind, and I think you should retract it:

    We seem to forget that in our quest of condemning gays, justifying our hedonistic greed and searching for the illusive verse to justify nonsense like the rapture, we miss the forest for the trees.

  89. For reasons we both gave earlier. It is a gross misrepresentation of a very long and well presented discussion, especially the insulting reference to ‘hedonistic greed’, which category neither Q or myself falls into. Neither have we condemned gays. We argued against marriage being altered as it stands. Nor has either of us even referred to the ‘rapture’ as part of our understanding. Only you and Greg have, as an argument against a rapture we do not hold to.

    Your comment, if it is aimed at either of us, is grossly offensive and wrong.

  90. Excerpts from a review of Houston’s comments on tithing

    HOUSTON: Many people want the promises, but not the challenge. People can sit in church every Sunday, but live outside God’s promises. They will never know the fullness and abundance of life in Him.

    COMMENTS: Prosperity preachers promise Old Covenant promises of physical prosperity to tithe-payers. God’s Word promises in Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Wealthy ministers are not envisioned in God’s Word (Matthew 10; Luke 10: 1 Cor. 9:1-19; Acts 20:29-35).

    HOUSTON: Secondly, a promise of protection comes into operation as He rebukes the devourer (the devil) for your sake. In Old Testament times, the devourer related to the curse of plagues destroying crops, which was the substance of the people. In the same way, He promises to protect you and your interests from the enemy who is seeking to steal, plunder and rob you.

    COMMENTS: I encourage the reader to READ Malachi. It is four short chapters. A shock awaits you. The real culprit in Malachi, like in many churches today, is the ministers, the priests -not the people. (1) God is angry at the priests: 1:6 O priests, that despise my name.” 2:1 “O ye priests, this commandment is for you.” (2) The pronoun “you” found in 3:8-10 begins in 1:6 with the priests and does not change away from them. (3) 1:6 – the priests dishonor God and do not fear Him. (4) 1:7, 8 – the priests bring less-than-perfect sacrifices. (5) 1:10 – God wants the priests to close the doors to worship if they will not reform. (6) 1:12 – By their actions the priests have profaned God’s name. (7) 1:13, 14 IMPORTANT. They already HAD what they needed to worship correctly from the people, but they (not the people) ROBBED GOD – and they (the priests) were CURSED for their robbery. (8) 2:2 – God threatens to CURSE the ministers (not the people) three more times! (9) 2:3 – God is so angry with the Old Covenant ministers that he promised to throw DUNG into their faces and have them expelled. (10) 2:4-6 – CONTEXT: The “covenant with Levi” was made with the priests/ministers, not the people. (11) 2:7 – God is still speaking to the priests. (12) 2:8 – The priests/ministers have caused many to stumble because of their dishonesty. (12) 2:9 – Even today many Christians have this same kind of contempt for “ministers of the Gospel” because of dishonesty and waste of what God has placed into their hands. (13) 2:10-13 A temporary shift to all Judah is evident by the use of “we.” (14) God resumed his criticism of priests at the altar. (14) 2:14-16 – Even priests had married pagan wives in Ezra and Nehemiah. (15) 2:17 – Priests/ministers dare God to d iscipline them even though they had kept the best of the offerings for themselves and had given God the sick and blind offerings. (16) 3:1-5 -God answered the priests by promising a cleansing of the priesthood/ministry by fire. (17) 3:6 – This is not a change of addressees. Priests are also “sons of Jacob.” (18) 3:7 – The only “ordinances” mentioned thus far in Malachi are the “ordinances” of the covenant made with Levi. (19) 3:8 – The “you” is still the priests from 1:6. Those who have “robbed” God are still the priests from 1:7-14. The priests have robbed God of “tithes and offerings” from Nehemiah 13:4-11. (20) 3:9 – The “curses” are continued from God’s curses of the priests from 1:14; 2:2, 3. God did not suddenly stop cursing the priests and begin cursing the people. Again the priests had healthy animals in their flock (1:14 probably from the tithes). “This whole nation” is a Hebrew clarification and could naturally mean “every priest in this whole nation.” (21) 3:10 – “You” still refers to the priests (not the people) from 1:6. The “storehouse” refers to the one building mentioned in Nehemiah 13:5. “All the tithes” refers to all the tithes which were supposed to have been brought to that one building to feed the currently-ministering course of Levites and priests. It does NOT refer to ALL the tithes of the entire nation. Otherwise Nehemiah 10:37 and 2 Chronicles 31:15-19 are in error. The vast majority of the people whom tithes were meant to feed remained in the Levitical cities. (22) 3:10 – The blessings were specifically for obedient priests in their Levitical cities watching their herds (from tithes) (Num. 35:2, 3; 18:28-30.

    HOUSTON: This is powerful stuff, once you begin to see what it means! God is always thinking about us and how he can bless us. Tithing puts so many promises into motion, but it is only the starting point. Giving takes you to a whole new level. Those who choose not to meet the challenge of tithing will never know the full blessing of giving. By living according to eternal principles [14x] and putting God first in your life, you build a solid foundation that releases the promises of God: blessing, prosperity, wealth and riches. And all those things will be added to you.

    COMMENTS: We now have a correction to God’s Word. Mathew 6:33 should correctly read “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness AND BY TITHING and all these things shall be added unto you.” Although I really think Houston knows better, he still confuses “first” with “tenth.” And he has used the terms “eternal principle” 14 times without defining them. For a Pentecostal he has strangely been completely silent about the power of the Holy Spirit to empower God’s people to give abundantly when they hear good evangelistic sermons about a world without Christ. There are no promises found in God’s Word when one tries to mix grace and law in order to replace the omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit.

    http://members.optusnet.com.au/tithingstudy/KellyReviewsHouston.htm

  91. @Bones

    I reckon if I was a Pastor and someone in my church had written a book completely undermining what I teach in my church, I would throw them out too. The title of the book speaks volumes about the author’s stinking attitude towards their pastor and the church they attend. How that person could expect to write a book like that and not expect repercussions is beyond me.

    You know Bones, you really need to take a step back from your blind crusade and actually pay attention to reality for a bit.

  92. As for hedonistic greed … my whole life has been one of sacrifice.

    I don’t even live in the paradise called Australia. I’m against poverty mentality, think that Christians prospering is a good thing, but if you looked at my wardrobe and possessions you’d probably either laugh or cry. I have no greed. But, I probably need more money – so Houston’s right in my case!

    Ian, you come up with some good stuff, but like Steve says you keep bringing all other kinds of stuff into it. Why sexual immorality is still so prevalent among Christians deserves it’s own topic.

    Same with whether worshiping Jesus is wrong or not (and praying to Jesus for that matter).

    You raise about 10 topics each post.

    And Bones comes up with about the same number of ministries and issues to criticize. I just can’t keep up with you guys.

    Bones starts with Houston and his salary allegations, and brings in tithing and jakes and gay marriage and……..

    Bones, how do you cope with all that rage?

  93. btw Bones, There are plenty of people who teach tithing but are not “prosperity” preachers. You know that right?

  94. Bones if you won’t apologise for your gross misrepresentation I’ll have to forgive you, which I’ll do anyway, but I wanted to give you the opportunity first. You are so wrong on many counts with that horrid claim. You have to know that.

  95. Good old Russell Kelly! He’s right about a few things, wrong about others, but he makes a law out of his own reversion of his revision of the law! LOL!

    I had a massive discussion with him on Lance’s now deleted version of Signposts02, and he ended up losing it, calling me names, and spat the dummy because he couldn’t get around the Melchisadech account without compromising what he’s written.

    He’s probably lurking right now!

    Hi Russell!

  96. wazza,
    You need to check your page at WELCOME TO C3CHURCHWATCHWATCHWATCH and make some adjustments mentioned in comments which ask for an alteration to the post.

    That is to say, I have a comment in moderation on that thread which needs to be noted, even if you then remove it.

  97. Russell Kelly,
    Again the priests had healthy animals in their flock (1:14 probably from the tithes). “This whole nation” is a Hebrew clarification and could naturally mean “every priest in this whole nation.”

    What the hang does he mean by ‘this whole nation’ being a ‘hebrew clarification? What is a ‘Hebrew clarification’? Surely Malachi means ‘the whole nation’ and that doesn’t require any clarification . It speaks for itself. It means ‘the whole nation’.

    He is referring to the following passage which could only be talking to the whole of Israel.

    Malachi 3
    6 “For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
    7 Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the LORD of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’
    8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.
    9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.
    10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.
    11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the LORD of hosts;
    12 “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the LORD of hosts.

    The priests did not have land or fields or vineries or orchards. they were not permitted to own land. They did not have fields for livestock.

    Yet God says he will bless the land and the fruit of it if Israel returns to bringing the tithe.

    Kelly mentions livestock, but God did not require a tithe of livestock, just the firstlings. Livestock did not require the heavens to open (rain) for harvesting! The tithe refers to a tenth of all crops. There was no storehouse or treasury for livestock! The treasury was for grains.

    Livestock presented to God as an offering was sacrificed. The priests received a portion of it but not as whole living animals! Hw could they keep them if they were not permitted to own land?

    Russell himself says:
    In exchange for receiving tithes, both Levites and priests forfeited all rights to permanent land inheritance inside Israel (Num 18:20-26; Deu 12:12; 14:27, 29; 18:1, 2; Josh 13:14, 33; 14:3; 18:7; Eze 44:28). Even if tithes were New Covenant they would first go to the ordinary workers who assist the preachers and maintain the buildings.

    The Heave Offerings were offerings given by Israel to the priests for their consumption. A Heave Offering could include shekels, by the way, but was generally foodstuffs.

    God makes it clear in Malachi 3:10 that there should be food in His House. His House refers to the household of the Levitical priesthood, the storehouse should be full so that their consumption is taken care of.

    The priests, to their discredit, had failed to ensure the participation of Israel, possibly because they put heavy burdens on people and they were discouraged, as in the time of Eli and his sons.

    God was the inheritance of the priests.

  98. Brian Houston. Fine … great … it should never have been about how much money he was making.

    All criticisms of Brian Houston should have been about his scripture twisting and outright HERESY.

    You know that Brian loves His God. He wrote a book about his God “You need more MONEY!”

    Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.

  99. New Testament giving to the poor only includes Christians not those outside of the faith. Check scripture! John Smith always makes radical comments, that his style.

  100. Bull,
    He wrote a book about his God “You need more MONEY!”

    Actually, Bull, Brian wrote the book, “You need more money” about people who need more money! God already owns everything!

    I suppose none of the critics here actually do need more money. You all live on no money at all. You’ve found a way to avoid the need for money. You don’t work for money, earn money, save money or borrow money for your debts, because you don’t have any debts because you never use money.

    So what’s the secret? How do you live without money? Without working for money?

    Brian took the book off the shelves because of the controversy well over ten years ago, because it was misrepresented and misunderstood based on the ttle, and you still go on about it.

    But guarantee that in those ten years men like Bull have, at some time, said to their next of kin words to the effect of, “We need more money”, because they have some bill to pay or other.

    Own up Bull, critics, others who have attacked this book without ever having read it. Have you ever needed more money than you had at any given time?

  101. A bit hard to read it when it’s been withdrawn.

    If I needed more money, I wouldn’t be giving it away to the Christian equivalent of used car salesmen and snake oil merchants. And yes I earn my money. I don’t have to manipulate people into giving with ridiculous promises of wealth.

  102. New Testament giving to the poor only includes Christians not those outside of the faith. Check scripture! John Smith always makes radical comments, that his style.

    So when Jesus talks about the poor He talks about poor Christians.

    Do you see a problem with that?

    Like there weren’t any Christians when Jesus was on Earth.

    The verdict is in.

    You don’t have a clue. Check scripture.

    Making radical statements must be your style.

  103. I suppose you could also have a book called “You need more food” or “You need more sex” – for the same reason.

    If anyone protested about it, you could say “So you’ve found a way to live without food have you?” It is true that people constantly get hungry and have a need for food. But that dosent mean they need more food.

    As per the BMI thread, we as a society and as individuals generally need less food – but that dosent mean we dont need food.

  104. I have enough food. I need more money and sex.

    Okay, maybe I don’t NEED more sex, but it’s hard to convince myself otherwise!

  105. So Steve, are you in Brian’s (and almost every other Pentecostal or Charismatic leader for that matter) camp that says that handing your 10% over each week is ‘giving to God’?

    Do you believe your tithe is a gift to God? Brian would.

  106. Bri also put that book up there as one of the 3 silliest things he’s done and regrets it being written. Maybe the leopard can change after all.

  107. Yes I though it was unwise at the time, but since then, he has repented it seems.

    So, should we hold something against a person if they have repented of it and withdrawn it, or continue to criticise them for it?

  108. How I give who I give to is between God and myself, or did you not hear about Jesus saying to not broadcast your giving?

    It astonishes me to read the hypocrisy of people who claim to know Scripture and attack people for tithing whilst at the same time missing the fundamental teaching that what we give is our business, and not to be shouted about from forum to forum.

    The gist of the their complaint is that it is no longer law to tithe, yet they miss the contrary truth that it is also not illegal to tithe.

    They make a new law out of attempting to refute an old law. “Thou shalt not tithe!”

    I agree, however, that it is not correct to demand a tithe, but since there is no way a ministry in Australia can enforce this kind of demand I do not see it as a major issue.

    However, I have yet to be in any church which has forced, as some critics claim, their congregants to give a sou. I mean, what are they going to do? Sue them? Throw them out? Excommunicate them? How would they prove who gives what?

    Maybe in the US or NZ it is different, since they can claim their tithe against tax, but to do so need to declare what they have given to their church, but would it be in the interests of the church to enforce this? I know someone will now find a church somewhere which does push their people into it, but it’s the exception rather than the rule.

    In our church we are regularly told we are under no obligation to give anything when we take offerings.

    My wife and I have agreed with each other, and with God to give a certain amount, which means we have followed a principle to purpose in our hearts what to give, which is Scriptural. That way we can give with a cheerful heart, and know it has the blessing of God on it.

    But why do you have to even ask me that question? What’s it to anyone what I may or may not give and to whom?

    Are not all things lawful to me, being made free from law?

  109. What I can’t stand though, and sorry Steve, but this comes from Phil Pringle, is the damned lie that if you don’t tithe you are robbing God and under a curse…that is just plain and utter nonsense and a manipulative tool designed to oppress the people of God. It seems that this sort of teaching tends to come from Pentecostal churches

  110. Yes I though it was unwise at the time, but since then, he has repented it seems.

    Huh!

    I thought he “was misrepresented and misunderstood based on the ttle”. I suppose if he had to repent then maybe the Holy Spirit misunderstood him as well.

    It’s good that he’s listened to the cynics and critics and repented.

    Some others wouldn’t have the balls to point out his errors because he’s ‘successful’.

    Yes I though it was unwise at the time, but since then, he has repented it seems.

    Yet you defended his sin.

    What was that about calling something bad, good?

  111. btw Bones, There are plenty of people who teach tithing but are not “prosperity” preachers. You know that right?

    I don’t have a problem with Christians tithing. If they want to mandate their own giving at 10% that’s fine as a principle. I have a problem with it being forced (eg to be a church member), preached or equated to financial blessings or a person’s faith

    eg

    I heard a pastor say “Hold up your offering. That is how much you love God”.

    (Widow’s mite anyone?)

  112. Well it would have been a great answer Greg if Steve had tackled the question. Instead it turned into a ‘what’s it to you how I give’ and ‘I’m amazed at the hypocrisy’, which was totally off track.

    Again, I asked, ‘Do you believe your tithe is a gift to God’. In other words, when you hand over your 10% every Sunday, does your church leader reinforce your giving by declaring your tithe is giving to God, and do you amen his/her statement to that effect?

    Before I qualify why I ask, just to clarify, in Aus and UK, you can offset against tax your cash giving to any charitable organisation (as long as they have DGR in Aus). Since all churches are registered charities, you get a tax bonus as do the charity. Therefore it’s in both parties interests to declare their amounts to the tax man. That said you could keep it to yourself and forego the benefit.

    Back to my question. I put it to you Steve that the reason church leaders, especially the pro-tithers, want you to think that a transfer of your money to their bank account is ‘giving to God’ (as I’ve heard countless times), is because it keeps giving rates high. It induces guilt in the congregation. However, it is completely unsubstantiated in NT scripture.

    You have to be back in the Old Covenant to maintain that giving to the Levitical caste was, in effect, your presentation to the Lord. I have news for those of that mindset – that wineskin has been done away with, and is not to be used again in conjunction with the new wine.

    Let’s be honest. When you give you give to an organisation, and they do with it what they please, assuming your consent. But NT giving focusses on meeting need, directly from giver to needy. So in the Pente model, this style of giving puts the onus on the organisation to keep inventing innovative ways of funding the gospel (as if spreading the good news required money. It requires hospitality if you read the scriptures properly), and makes for lazy givers.

    You’re not giving to God, or you would have to say that your pastor/church is God. Thing is, we don’t have to give to God at all, we give to our fellow man because God is within us, not in the mortgage of the building! That is the true gift to God, so let’s not kid ourselves here and use an OT mandate as a lever to get as much cash in the coffers as possible.

  113. You’re making a few assumptions, there, zeibart, about why I give and who to, what I condone, and what I don’t.

    Perhaps you need to be less rhetorical and presumptive and deal with your own theological deficiencies, of which there are several.

    Bones, what sin was that? I defended nothing. I thought the title was risky given the existence of people like you who were sure to leap to conclusions! What did you make of the book content when you read it?

  114. So how’s the hospitality based church or movement you’re planting, pastoring and/or overseeing going, zeibart? I assume from your anonymity it must be influential but you don’t want to be known publicly out of humility.

    Is your church plant registered as a not-for-profit, or do you just meet somewhere out in the park, where you don’t have to hire a building?

    What will you do once it grows beyond, say, 150, which it inevitably will, given your knowledge and ability as a local church overseer?

    And when it is out over a thousand members, and the winter rains come, or the summer heat, will you still meet in the park, or have you the ability to maintain it as, let’s see… a growing house church movement with several hundred homes being used, as far as you are concerned, free of charge across the city?

    Are you commending your house church leaders for their giving as they invest their time, homes, food and resources in the 10 to 20 people they host every week, 20, 30 or so times over with the gathering flock of homes being used to host small groups?

    Do they ever use finances to pay for the use of their homes? Say, to pay their power, water, rent/mortgage, resources to save you having to rent a building?

    Do you consider this giving of their time and money to your church plant and oversight cause as giving to God in any way?

    Or are they merely giving to you and your enterprise as you direct them?

    And, if it is not a house church movement you are directing and overseeing, whe do you meet on winters or hot days? Do you hire a hall? Do people help you pay money to the owners as you rent a facility? Do you consider the giving of whoever pays for this rent to be giving to you, or to the Lord’s work of gathering people together for ministry?

    Come now, zeibart, is it giving to your enterprise, or to the Lord’s work?

    Or give us an idea of how you ar effectively building a compatible work to that of the Houstons or Pringles, albeit with what you claim to be the right doctrine…

  115. By the way, I’m all for hospitality. It’s one of the key elements to the growth of Hillsong and C3 and a host of other similar works which have an emphasis on home groups through their connect group system. In fact, that is the starting point for church planting in C3.

  116. ”deal with your own theological deficiencies, of which there are several.”

    Well are you going to tell me what they are? I’d hate to be deficient and ignorant.

    ”So how’s the hospitality based church or movement you’re planting, pastoring and/or overseeing going, zeibart?”

    It’s going fine, Steve, but your sarcastic, somewhat illogical spiel at 1044pm last night is confusing. So I can’t make comment on giving because I’m not CEO of a church? By your reasoning no-one can critique, let’s say, the government of the day or Prime Minister unless they have run a country before. What nonsense.

    If I run a house-based gathering of believers, I certainly don’t want remuneration. Why would I charge for ‘the Lord’s work’? Freely I have received, freely I give. Is that approach what you reinforce at C3 connect groups? The only connecting is with the pastor’s Sunday preach, just to make sure everyone’s on message. True?

    ”Or give us an idea of how you ar effectively building a compatible work to that of the Houstons or Pringles, albeit with what you claim to be the right doctrine…”

    I couldn’t dream of building a compatible work to Hillsong or C3 with my doctrine. Scripture tends not to tickle the ears of the mainstream.

  117. Your comments are full of straw men, zeibart. It is not very easy to discuss anything with you when you say nothing about yourself, yet make assumptions about others. I was attempting to draw out of you what it is that you do within the local church structure, and whether it compares with the work of those who oversee large works or movements.

    You claim that money is irrelevant to church growth, but do not tell us the solution to living without money, which is merely the token of effort applied, and the reward for work provided. It has value. It’s value is determined through measures. That measure can be traded for goods and services.

    Churches deal with goods and services, supply and demand. It may be more in the line of spiritual and social direction, but nevertheless it is a service. Those associated with the provision are also subject to the same needs of those who are being served by their ministry.

    I believe that churches should take a holistic approach to their members’ well being, so the training, teaching and equipping of saints should include every aspect of their life, without interference in their personal affairs.

    The Bible explicitly explains that a person who teaches parishioners in godly virtues, who ministers the Word to people, is worthy of his hire. Of a double portion, in fact, according to Paul.

    I know Paul, for a period anyway, shunned this supply, as a personal choice, but he did not outlaw it, nor did he discourage it. He admonished his audience to ensure the welfare of those who taught them.

    Values have changed somewhat since those days, and we live in a less rural, more cosmopolitan environment, so the supply is different, and we are more reliant on fiscal payment for our services to our employer, or for reward as peolple who run businesses, but the token remains that a man’s work is rewarded in some way, and by this means he lives, supports a family, and provides for the needs of certain commitments. This may or may not include a local church.

    I am intrigued by your claim that we can exist without financial requirements. Somewhere along the line someone is giving something towards the support and continuation of your local church system.

    The question is then, and it is your own, is this provision to be considered to The Lord or to the beneficiary if it helps support the progress and sustained influence of a local church?

  118. There are no straw men Steve because I’m not misrepresenting you. You still haven’t answered my question, so I’ll continue under the assumption that you believe your tithe, handed in to the church, is giving to God. There is a whole load of OT baggage with that concept. 1. It reinforces the notion that the pastor/vicar/priest is an intermediary between the laity and God. 2. You are giving to the ‘man of God’ who carries out the Lord’s work as an echo of the Levitical way. 3. You are supporting the ‘house of God’ (who’s glad to be in the House of God today!!??) by funding it’s upkeep. 4. It’s your tithe that God mandates. 5. It’s your sacrifice and ‘firstfruits’ brought into the temple (see House of God). All these constructs, subtly and overtly underscored every week, keep people in the bondage of OT thinking and negate the power of the cross to really set believers free to express the life of the in-dwelling Christ.

    What might seem to be minor nuances are actually golden calves. Idols. The church began well and got derailed only a few hundred years in. No Reformation or Pentecostal ‘awakening’ can wind back the clock, and what I mentioned above is so entrenched it barely registers.

    We can indeed exist without financial requirements. The sole requirement we have as believers is to love one another. Rom 13:8 ”Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” That love is shown in many ways, one of which is to give to the poor and needy. Teachers receive double honour if you’re referencing Paul’s letter to Timothy. And the worker (travelling evangelist, not stationary pulpit wallah) is worth his wages ie a roof over his head, clothes, food, travelling expenses etc, not an income.

    We’ve been down this path before Steve. No amount of scripture will tear apart that good ol’ trusty wineskin of yours.

  119. Straw men all.

    Your own words defeat you…

    I’ll continue under the assumption that you believe…

    Of course you will. You always do. When you write up something I’ve actually said and comment on it we can have a conversation.

    Presumption and setting up an argument I haven’t made to suit your own agenda is a straw man.

    So you don’t work, zeibart? How do you live off love? Do you have any income at all? Are you on the dole?

    You have no money at all?

  120. So you give the travelling minister travelling expenses (money) but not an income? You give to the poor and needy, but that is not an income for them? You distribute money, but there is no financial transaction in your existence?

    I don’t think you grasp economics, zeibart.

    Do you rent a home, or have a mortgage, or live with your parents who keep you under their rented/mortgaged property? D they also feed you, or do you feed yourself, or does someone else feed you? Are naked, or do you have clothes? Who paid for the, or did you get them from a charity shop?

    I must admit I’m amazed at your ability to live without any financial requirements.

    I’m sure everyone else would like to know your secret too.

    How do you get past the fact that Paul worked for a living and said that if you did not work you should not eat? Was he wrong to derive an income from his tent making business?

  121. Coming soon! Zeibart’s new novel – “You don’t need money!”

    I guess you’ll be doing a Francis of Assisi tour shortly to promote it, asking people to provide for your needs in return for Scriptural advice and prayers. No money of course, only love.

    If ever a person misreprented Scripture…

  122. THE BIBLE Luke 10 – ”After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. 5 When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. ”

    STEVE ”I guess you’ll be doing a Francis of Assisi tour shortly to promote it, asking people to provide for your needs in return for Scriptural advice and prayers. No money of course, only love.

    If ever a person misreprented (sic) Scripture…”

    I hope you don’t need me to spell things out for you Steve.

  123. ”I must admit I’m amazed at your ability to live without any financial requirements.”

    Talk about majoring on the minors. I have never said I live with no financial requirements. You’ve latched on to this with several others earlier in the thread and it’s complete fantasy. What I have said is church life should have no financial requirements. You consistently ignore the central point being made: churches use key phrases to up the giving quotas that have no place this side of the cross.

    If Houston had written a book called You Need Less Money he would have been closer to the biblical mark. The more money you have the harder it is to give away. Why is it that the nations furthest from God are the richest nations on earth. I have met too many happy, spiritually mature, faith-filled poor folk, and know too many wealthy ones that are the opposite.

  124. ”You could attend Hillsong Church for ten years, give nothing, and be treated the same as everybody else.” Brian Houston, section titled Tithes in the OP.

    Well sorry Brian but that’s very hard to believe. Carbon copy C3 will ostrascize you, if not reject then eject you for such a stance. That was made very clear to me.

  125. zebart,
    What I have said is church life should have no financial requirements.

    Yes, that is what you say, but no-one does anything without finances being in some way involved.

    Jesus didn’t send his disciples out forever without any resources.

    1 Corinthians 9
    3 My defense to those who examine me is this:
    4 Do we have no right to eat and drink?
    5 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?
    6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working?
    7 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?
    8 Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also?
    9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about?
    10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.
    11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?
    12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.
    13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?
    14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

    When Jesus sent out his disciples without any money, the whole exercise was to show them that their needs would be met when they preached the gospel, because God would take care of them by leading them to the appropriate people, who would supply their needs as they ministered. They didn’t live on no food, shelter or clothing.

    I’ve experienced this in missions ministry, with a family of four, so I know what I’m talking about. You go where God sends you and he supplies and uses people to do so.

    But somewhere along the line someone somewhere uses finances to assist people in ministry. It just doesn’t happen without some kind of supply. Even Paul, who earlier in Corinth rejected offerings, also later received them from the Philippians.

    Philippians 4
    15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.
    16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
    17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
    18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.
    19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
    20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

    Again, you make law out of Scripture where there is no law.

    It is not a sin to use money, nor is it a sin to take offerings, nor is it a sin to give a portion of your income to the church.

    Of course God blesses those who bless others generously.

    There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.

    A generous man devises generous things, And by generosity he shall stand.

  126. The one thing that we can all be assured of is that in the early church the idea of prosperity meaning anything to do with money was never ever contemplated. It was more along the Vulcan line of “Live long and prosper”. The incomes of many ministers is a slap in the face of all that have ever given themselves sacrificially to spread the gospel. There is no need for any minister anywhere to be on an income of more than $120,000…and that is being generous….most live on substantially less than that…happily and with contentment

  127. Greg,
    most live on substantially less than that…happily and with contentment

    Yes, but would they have enjoyed the ability to utilise more for their purposes and ministry? Some end their days with nothing, which is a shame on their congregations, according to Paul.

    Bless them, I say. Bless them and keep them. Help them be free of the pressure of living below the average wage, as many do, despite serving well. Some congregations run by elderships even begrudge their pastors the most basic if living standards. Not many have the wealth of megachurch leaders.

    Look after your pastors. Honour them. They stand before God and answer for your well-being.

  128. Greg,
    The one thing that we can all be assured of is that in the early church the idea of prosperity meaning anything to do with money was never ever contemplated. It was more along the Vulcan line of “Live long and prosper”.

    So it means no more than saying ‘g’day mate’ on the way past a person, eh?

    In fact, if we live by early church standards we would sell everything and bring it all to the Apostles for distribution amongst the whole church.

    The concept of prosperity is far more than a happy greeting. It is God’s provision and sufficiency which enables us to have more than enough so that we an supply to other’s needs and show them the love of God.

    The fast that God desires most is to bring equity in well being, and provide for those in lack, but this will never happen if we are in lack ourselves. Jesus said it was more blessed to give than to receive, but it’s hard to give from lack, and even harder if we are the ones who need to be given to.

    These things run in seasons, and there are times when we are in abundance and times when we lack, but in all things we are taught to be content.

    Paul also says that we should give out of our ability in times of abundance, so that we will receive in kind when we lack.

    For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack–that there may be equality.
    2Corinthians 8:12-14

  129. The one thing that we can all be assured of is that in the early church the idea of prosperity meaning anything to do with money was never ever contemplated.

    Not only that Greg but it was never contemplated amongst early Pentecostals. It’s bs that came in with Oral Roberts and the televangelists.

  130. You obviously have a weird take on money. What do you say money represents? Is money bad? Do you exist, like zeibart, without it?

    Prosperity, of course, is all about well being, health, provision, sufficiency and ability to supply to others. In short, flourishing.

    So what you’re saying is that, there is a teaching on prosperity, but it has nothing to do with money.

    Please qualify, then, what you say prosperity is.

  131. But let’s be pragmatic, since you all talk about the poor. What would you do to help them out of their plight without using money?

  132. Well in the Anglican Church we have set wages for each priest, depending on their roll in the diocese…arch deacons get more than a area dean, a bishop more than an arch deacon and a first year priest more than a deacon. All get rent and utility free accommodation…seems the traditional
    Churches know how to look after their ministers better than Pentecostals.

  133. Pursuit of money is evil…ministers on over $120000 is evil…churches just looking after themselves is evil. Hillsong keeping their wealth to themselves and not sharing it around the body of Christ is evil

  134. Great Greg! So money is just a tool we use as a token for effort applied, nothing more and nothing less. It’s the love of money which is a root of all evil. Using money isn’t. Earning money isn’t. Giving money isn’t.

    But I see that no matter what I say at any time about anything you, Bones and wazza are going to attack Hillsong.

    Calling Houston and Hillsong evil is beyond reason.

    I guess you would have called Abraham evil too!

    Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.

    And God!

    ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts.

  135. Have you ever considered, Greg, each of us are made stewards of various things, including spiritual, social, material and financial things, and that some people are gifted or have the grace to utilise funds which assist others in their welfare, or help position ministries strategically, and a number of other possibilities, and maybe you despise others their gifting simply because you do not have it, or do not understand it?

    Romans 12
    4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
    5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
    6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;
    7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
    8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
    9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

    And that, when we are faithful to use the gifts we are granted, God will entrust us with more?

    Isn’t it significant Jesus has said that the one who fails to use his God given ability will have it removed and it will be given to the person who does use his gifts to advance the kingdom?

    God’s ways are always higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than ours. We limit ourselves by failing to see His way of doing things is superior to ours and often doesn’t make sense to our limited, finite minds.

  136. Now we have to dig into the Old Testament to justify wanton greed.

    Abraham also had slaves and Prisoners of War bounty.

    Was Jesus rich?

    It’s cynical trying to equate Christian generosity with the hedonistic lifestyle of megarich Christian pastors.

    That sounds like something Brian would preach/

  137. Bones,
    Now we have to dig into the Old Testament to justify wanton greed.

    You must not think about what you are going to say before you write it!

    First of all all Scripture is profitable to us, Old and New, and, as Paul says, “all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”

    Secondly they were not written to justify ‘wanton greed’. That is your opinion, and it is quite wrong.

    They were written to let you know that God actually caused people to be blessed, and has not withheld that blessing form anyone for any reason at any time. God promised him blessing and came good on it.

    Abraham was never criticised by God or Jesus or any New Testament writer for being well off, nor has God said at any time that it is wrong or evil to be blessed, be provided for, have an abundance or be stewards of much.

    He simply believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. God made him a wealthy man, which means God has no problem with people being blessed with abundance, nor has he any problem with making sure it comes to them.

    In fact God admonishes people to make sure they give Him the credit for giving them the power and ability to get wealth.

    You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

    In fact, he says that if you don’t credit God with giving you the power to get wealth you will be cursed.

    He doesn’t give people wealth. He gives them the ability, the strength, the power to work hard, make sound decisions, and prosper.

    And now, Bones declares the entire Old Testament null and void, criticising people, including, one must assume, Jesus and the Apostles, for quoting from it!

    No wonder he thinks and writes like an atheist.

  138. They were written to let you know that God actually caused people to be blessed, and has not withheld that blessing form anyone for any reason at any time.

    I’ll qualify that, because, of course, God did withhold blessing from those who rejected Him, and followed other Gods, telling them to ask their new gods to provide for them in the same way He does.

    So God is more likely to withdraw blessing through rejection of His existence than to prevent people from prospering. Or is that too Old Testament for you?

  139. You could be right, I’m open to that…however my remarks about how much a minister should earn still stand. That she uses her gifts to develop the churches capacity is a great thing, and she should be rewarded, however…the money is God’s, not theirs, and if they are simply being stewards then they should not think that their reward should be excessive.

  140. But you did accuse Hillsong, Greg. You might appeal to semantics as a defence, but you made it clear you despise their operation, even though they have invested in projects which are reaching thousands.

    The continual push to demonise Hillsong and C3 on this site, C3churchwatch, Hillsongwatch and, to a lesser extent, Groupsects, which all stemmed from the same shoot planted by the, then, very angry and aggressive Lance White, is so far over the top that I wonder what it is you all think you can gain out of the continual onslaught of spite.

    To his credit, Lance has calmed down somewhat these days, but he still pushes his anti-pente boat out into the murky waters of put-down. But what good has it ever done anyone? Did Hillsong stop growing? Gosh, no. It is now a global enterprise, changing cities! Did C3 diminish? No way! It has continued to expand.

    The only difference on this site is the fact that there are some of us who reject the continual barrage of malice against Hillsong and C3. At least you let us stay here.

    If we say anything on the other sites we’re banned, which I find ironic, because one of the arguments sites like C3churchwatch make is that Hillsong and C3 leaders are prohibitive of criticism! Hypocrites!

    Yet I have been here since the beginning, when Lance personally challenged me and Homer Paxton, from the original Signposts, to last more than a few days with him at the helm! Homer declined the offer. I did not. But it’s shameful to see the same old same old accusations.

    That’s around five years of people like Lance and the watcher crew continually bringing the same complaints about the same things under the guise of being hurt Christians from the old Hillsong or C3 days! Margot still goes on about how hurt she is. Good grief, we’ve all been hurt by someone! Eventually we get over it and grow up!

    I say this because I thought this site had moved on, but here we are, still going over the same old ground, swimming round in the fish bowl in circles.And it all comes back to one thing, no matter what the subject might be.

    It’s all Brian Houston’s fault! All of it! Everything! Israel, the US, the war, the poor.

    It was all his fault – all the things which took place even before he was born!

    If you keep all at it for another five years, guess what, if the Lord tarries, Hillsong will have grown by another dozen cities, and c3 will touch every continent, the bosses will be on decent salaries, thousands will have been saved or drawn into the gospel, loving the worship and fellowship, and you’ll still be angry, hurt, disgusted and moaning!

    I think I’d rather continue with the people of joy who are planting churches and winning souls!

  141. If the Anglicans and Catholics put $500 000 sound systems and $100 000 screens in their churches, they’d all be packed too.

    Some people just come for a show.

  142. “It is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”(Matt 19:24)

    Was Jesus wrong?

  143. And Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”(Matt 19:24)

    Jesus’s PR manager said; “You obviously have a weird take on money. What do you say money represents? Is money bad? Do you exist without it? We could grow by another dozen cities, and our investment centres will touch every continent, the bosses will be on decent salaries, thousands will have been saved or drawn into the gospel, loving the worship and fellowship, and you’ll still be angry, hurt, disgusted and moaning!”

  144. Btw there’s already churches in all those cities. I bet nearly all congregants are flogged from other churches.

    How did Hillsong New York open a church with thousands waiting for them to open?

    They hadn’t been evangelised but stolen.

  145. So Abraham, being very rich with livestock, silver and gold, didn’t make it, Bones? I guess Joseph and Daniel were struggling too. As was the wealthy man who gave up his tomb for Jesus to be laid in. Old Solomon is in real strife, as is his father, David.

    Of course Jesus says it is harder for for a rich man to enter, especially if he is more dependent on his riches than on God, but this is a comparison, not a law.

    People like you always have to make law out of the very scripture which liberates us from it.

    No, Jesus was not wrong. Neither was he saying wealth is wrong.

    Anything which becomes an idol, being riches, religion or law, will make it harder to enter.

    That is the context.

    But the disciples were in a similar plight you, though, because they said that it would be impossible for anyone to enter if the rich young ruler, who was devout in all other respects, could not. Jesus answered that it is impossible with men, but with God all things are possible.

    Maybe taking scripture out of context is irresponsible, eh.

  146. So you’re calling Jesus a liar.

    Prosperity doctrine was around at Jesus’s time before propping it’s ugly head up thanks to Oral Roberts.

    In Jesus’ time it was a common belief that great wealth was a sign of God’s favour and poverty was God’s punishment for sin.

    There was no greater practitioner of it than the Pharisees themselves.

    “The Pharisees who were lovers of money heard all these things and they derided him.”(Luke 16:14).

    Jesus turns their prosperity doctrine (those that are rich are blessed and righteous, while the poor aren’t) on it’s arse. This is the whole shocking point of the rich man and Lazarus.

    Of course there are other similarities with the Pharisees eg the selling of merchandise to the faithful.

    Jesus says “blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of God.”

    Not the rich.

    “But WOE to you who are rich,
    for you have received your consolation.” (See also Matt 19:24)

    You won’t hear that in a prosperity doctrine sermon.

    No. In a Pentecostal sermon on prosperity you will hear how getting rich is God’s plan and if you are poor you aren’t in it.

    They wouldn’t know Jesus if He bit them on the arse.

  147. Bones,
    Btw there’s already churches in all those cities. I bet nearly all congregants are flogged from other churches.

    Well I live in London, where it took them a very long time to get going in the beginning, and they were small for ages, but, after gradually breaking through, and then steady growth, and a couple of well panned strategic moves, now they are running over 20,000 at more than one venue, and hire the O2 for major European Conferences, so your theory looks shot.

    I think the big, instant church growth in places like New York came well after the Sydney, Kiev and London plants were successful, and there was a request from those cities. Europe, especially, has needed a more contemporary approach to evangelism and church ministry. they have been strategically successful because they are careful with their planting.

    And how many cities are we talking about here? Eleven centres in eleven cities so far. They could have a huge movement of churches world wide if they had chosen to, but have not done so, focusing on major centres, and choosing to work with all interested churches to help them grow through their conferences.

    And, where they have planted, we’re talking about cities of millions of people, so there will always be room for more churches, big or small.

    Hillsong hasn’t, to date, planted in smaller communities for the very reasons you outline. But I still remember there being a complaining article about this fact on this site, so it’s hard to win isn’t it.

  148. Bones, you are such a wriggly little fish!

    I did not call Jesus a liar. I said he was rebuking the rich young ruler for his dependence on his wealth.

    And there is a vast difference between being a lover of money and a steward of God’s kingdom. There are far more teachings form Jesus on godly stewardship than on the excesses of idolising riches. And I have taught on the stumbling blocks of riches whilst teaching on prosperity many times.

    You have baited and switched so many times on these various threads that it is hard to keep up with you, but here is a classic case.

    You know very well, or if you don’t you are extraordinarily stupid or ignorant, that I have been saying that it is he love of money which is the root of all evil.

    You also know very well, or you are a complete numbskull, that I have been saying that God has made us stewards of His creation, and we need to use it correctly, wisely, generously and in a an attitude of contentment, whether abased or abounding, honouring God and giving thanks that he has given us the ability to get wealth, and to distribute it, and to release it for kingdom purposes, but not worship wealth, make an idol of it, or love it.

    You know very well, unless you’re a total madman, that I have stated that godliness with contentment is great gain, and that God does entrust some people with the gift of liberality, people who are empowered to distribute wealth, resources and supply with equity and balance – for instance, leaders like Joseph and Daniel, who were promoted to great positions of responsibility for distribution of resources and wealth.

    The current head of Treasury is a devout Christian! I know men who have literally run States, islands and nations, involving billions of dollars, who are devout Christians. They give more than you’ll see in your own lifetime! Your small-minded worldview can’t even imagine what some Christian men have been entrusted with over the ages.

    I know, through their work, of very wealthy Christian men who are doing more to initiate and help people in poverty than you’ll even achieve with your spiteful attitude towards supply and demand. God entrusts them and empowers them to make a difference because they are liberal with their wealth and not in love with it.

    But, being a person who only interested in having something to hate to help balance his own financial insecurities and fear of loss through giving, you have singled out Hillsong, and in particular Brian Houston as your targets for antichristian sentiment, and, it might be said, displayed a great deal of resentment.

    No matter what is said about anyone or anything on any subject, you will default to a select list of Pentecostal leaders as your equivalence, especially if anyone mentions catholics or evolution or science, or whatever it is you are supporting today – the Palestinians, el qaeda, Pakistan insurgents, Iraqi Bathists – whatever. It is all Brian’s fault!

  149. Brisbane and Melbourne have shown they just take over churches. There’s little doubt that most of their congregants come from other churches coming along for the show.

    That’s funny as to why Hillsong won’t go into regional centres.

    Because they’re worried about the impact on other churches?

    Rubbish!

    You don’t get much money out of poor farmers.

  150. Yeah, heard, Bones, heard it all, a hundred times. Maybe more.

    Now we know for sure.

    You’re an anti-Hillsong bigot, unforgiving and totally obsessed.

    Now that we’ve been reminded, again, I think I’ll get on with my weekend.

  151. Why does anything have to be a ‘sign’, Bones.

    It simply is. God is, and He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. How would you see a reward? From God?

    Being called and sent into a particular service as a son of God must be the greatest reward after salvation by grace.

    From there, who cares whether we are abased or abound?

    So who, but a very uncommitted, time wasting critic, gives a rip how much a leader earns? Maybe it’s his time to abound! I hope he knows how to be contented in it. If he sins in it it is God’s business. Who would know unless God chooses to reveal it?

    Life has its share of evil, as jesus pointed out, so be contented with today, and do not worry about tomorrow.

    Suffering happens. Blessing happens. Lack happens. Abundance happens. The earth is cursed. We are redeemed. Nothing is guaranteed but life, death and judgment.

    And salvation for those who receive Jesus as Lord!

    God made promises. He keeps them. There is no excuse for the believer who does not know them or apply them. The only sign we need to seek is that of the Son o God.

  152. One thing I do know is this, if you and the other guys on other blogs who write such terrible things about leaders of C3 or Hillsong do not learn to love them you are in deep, deep trouble.

    You either have to look at them as your brethren in Christ or as your enemies.

    Either way you have to love them.

    If you do not you are in sin.

    This obsession is becoming so evil there can no longer be any excuse for it.

    And don’t come back with the garbage c3churchwatcher uses when he says he is showing love with his constant abuse, false accusations and innuendo. That is utter rubbish. There is no love whatsoever involved in what they or you are doing or saying day in and day out about Brian or Phil.whether you consider them brothers in Christ, or enemies of Christ.

    If you don’t love your brother, you are in sin.

    If you don’t love your enemy you are in sin.

    There is no in between, no grey area, no misty murky area of sanctuary for your poor opinions and character assassinations.

    Point out any doctrinal error, by all means. But not week in and week out, ad nausium, same old same old. And be prepared for counter theological positions to your own.

    But the man you must love, friend or foe.

    Love and best wishes to all,
    Steve

  153. Better put up another anti-Catholic thread so you can show the Catholics how much you love them.

    It is ok for you to talk of the excesses of Medieval Catholicism and even the Borgias as being representative of the Catholic Church.

    When that same discussion includes Pentecostal lunatics and criminals it’s out of bounds.

    Hypocrite.

  154. The Failure of the Megachurch

    Tim Suttle Tim Suttle is a pastor, writer, and musician. He is the author of two books: Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), and An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade Books, 2011). Tim’s work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, The Wall Street Journal, and other magazines and journals. Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. He has planted three successful churches over the past 12 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim’s blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

    The mega-church model which was the flavor of the week in church leadership circles for decades is now beginning to crumble. Financial troubles forced Rick Warren to send a desperate plea for money to his Saddleback congregation two years ago. A Kansas City mega-church just lost their 20 million dollar campus to the bank. One of the country’s first mega-churches, the Crystal Cathedral, recently filed for bankruptcy, and these stories are becoming more and more common. Yet, could it be that financial problems are just the symptom of a much deeper issue?

    If the church is the body of Christ, then the mega-church is a body on steroids. The latest and greatest example is Andy Stanley’s Northpoint Community Church, who recently raised five million dollars to build their own three-lane overpass so that they could keep parking-lot-exit-times under thirty minutes. Stanley’s congregation numbers over fifteen-thousand people. For a church to become that abnormally large it has to make use of such artificial means that it actually ceases to be a healthy church model. Here are three reasons why:

    1) Mega-church size insulates the body from the natural pains and tensions which keep it healthy. Pain is good, even in the church. Pain forces a community and its leaders to grow deeper and more mature. For instance, if two families leave a small church it cannot be ignored. The small church will have to face underlying issues and learn how to heal and grow. Small church leaders are constantly confronted with their own shortcomings and thus experience true accountability. However, if those same two families left a mega-church, no one would even notice. By virtue of its size the mega-church is insulated from the naturally occurring tensions which make for a healthy body, and dysfunction is allowed to build up over time. Eventually the mega-church will become symptomatic, but by then it’s usually too late. And even if it does begin to feel the pain, this pain is derived from a threat to the institution itself and not from any inherent relational dynamic which gives dignity and importance to every single member and family.

    2) Mega-church size inhibits diversity. Pastors flock to mega-church conferences attempting to copy the latest leadership techniques and strategies. I have been part of an entire generation of pastors who have attended conferences at Saddleback, Willow Creek and Northpoint Churches in order to become the next Rick Warren, Bill Hybels or Andy Stanley instead of simply being ourselves. Leadership must grow from within the neighborhood. It cannot be imported from another context because no two contexts are alike. Author Tim Keel often says copying another leader’s strategy is like gluing fruit from one tree onto another tree and saying, “Look what I grew!” It is not reality. The strategy of a church and its efforts toward mission must always grow out of the context of the community in which the church exists.

    3) Mega-church size exploits the mega-church pastor. The mega-church pastor becomes like the liver of an alcoholic body. The anxiety, pressure, and stress generated by the mega-church is not shared by the typical member but is focused primarily upon the pastor. This pressure molds the pastor into something more akin to a CEO of a large corporation than a wise rabbi. Even pastors who attempt to stay healthy will end up flaming-out and suffering because the systemic issue cannot be mitigated by sound personal practices. All of the artificial means used to grow something so large become focused on the pastor and the pastor has to somehow try and cleanse the system. This is, as it turns out, an impossible task. So the church resorts to dialysis. They give the pastor a year off to try and get healthy again. Or they do a transplant and replace the pastor altogether, only to have the problem recur some years later.

    If the mega-church is a failed model, then what is a better option? Recently the house church network has become the new solution. Small groups trained on discipleship which are loosely connected into a church network are cropping up all over America. Ministries like the British company 3DM will virtually franchise you a house church network for around $10,000. Boasting high success rates, coaching, and curriculum, 3DM will teach you everything you need to know about how to start your own house church network. However, undergirding the house church movement are the very same assumptions which fund the mega-church model — only this time it isn’t Applebees, but the boutique restaurant which they are peddling. The house church network is the boutique mega-church model.

    The solution is to stop focusing on strategies meant to help a church become the next big thing, and simply be the church in your neighborhood in whatever form that takes. In the end, the age-old parish model, or neighborhood church is still the healthiest option. Tensions are present, but close proximity requires the fidelity which is essential to a healthy church. Small churches celebrate diversity. They no longer copy the mega-churches, because they don’t have the resources to replicate their programs anyway. The small church doesn’t ask, “What program can we create for single mothers,” but rather, “What do we do for Sara? She’s raising her kids all by herself.” The result is a wonderfully diverse response to the challenges of communal life. When the solution to each local issue is not a program, but a relationship, then it is sustainable over time, and is free to grow without artificial means.

    Most of all, the parish model supports the local pastor. Free of the constant pressure to grow bigger, the pastor is able to concentrate on growing deeper. The task given to the smaller Christian community is not to achieve success (i.e. size), but simply to be faithful within their particular context. Faithfulness is about organizing our common life together in such a way that we image God to all creation and experience peace. We need more small, healthy and vibrant communities of around 200 to 400 people — natural and organic — who do not feel a massive inferiority complex and pressure to expand. We need churches who are content to grow more mature and not necessarily bigger and if perhaps they do grow bigger, to simply divide and multiply while never leaving the neighborhood in order to become the regional mega-church. Because when it comes to church, bigger is not better — and there is a point at which bigger inevitably becomes unsustainable and unhealthy.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-suttle/the-failure-of-the-megachurch_b_954482.html

  155. I do love you wazza! You’re a brother! I don’t always agree with you, but that’s life!

    Bones, as I said, point out error in doctrine, but do not hate the man.

    My Catholic posts were concise, and I stand by them. They pointed out error.

    You claim prosperity is a sin.

    I say it is not.

    You say all people with wealth are sinners.

    I say they are not.

    By the way, there is a reward for giving to the poor.

    He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.

  156. The megachurch criticism has many flaws. People do not copy from one another as much as draw from them.

    C3 And Hillsong conferences are broken up into streams at different levels to cater for those who are at various points in their journey as churches. Information is given by leaders who have broken through different levels identified as ceilings which require changes in leadership methods to assist those approaching them or going through to see the possibilities and strategies that can be employed, but there are no hard, fast rules to growth, an the key areas remain prayer, love of people and sound doctrine.

    Megachurches are almost all made up of smaller components and communities of people with common interests and similar requirements, who gather together as one large group at regular intervals, usually weekly, and identify with the same mandate and means of achieving their corporate mission – corporate in terms of being a large group with a unified purpose – and also gather as smaller groups which are far more intimate and needs based.

    So most, in not all, megachurches are, in fact, a conglomeration of small groups with common purposes. They are clusters which gather in one and disperse as cells with a collective commission, which gives identity with diversity.

    There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages to this approach, but the author’s fears are mostly unfounded.

  157. Not only do you not know about the history of the Pentecostal Church but you don’t know much about Jesus either.

    Of course Jesus wasn’t rich and His ministry can be categorised as a failure compared to what is now seen as success in Christian circles. His mega Church followers left Him. Nay, even plotted to kill Him. Neither did the Man who had no where to lay his head prosper.

    Paul’s ministry was hardly prosperous and was rife with division.

    What has prevailed in Pentecostalism since the 50s has been a bastardisation of the Gospel. A return to the Pharisaic God of rewards and curses and a rejection of Jesus Himself. That it has spread world wide is symptomatic of the growth of the cancer.

  158. I’ve often thought after hearing some of Brian’s sermons that it really wouldn’t matter what he said. People are there for the show. He could talk about how to make a cheescake for all they knew.

    This article confirms it.

    Australian Idolatry: Evangelical Christians Resurrecting the Music Industry

    Prime Minister Julia Gillard may be an avowed atheist, but if the Australian music-buying public is anything to go by, she’s a tad out of step with her electorate. You might say she’s not singing from the same hymn sheet. God Is Able, an album of contemporary Christian music released by the stratospherically successful Hillsong mega-church in Sydney, recently debuted at number three in the Australian chart ahead of Beyonce and Lady Gaga, becoming the tenth album of Christian pop to reach the top ten there since 2002. And Hillsong has broken America without so much as breaking a sweat. Last year its youth ministry house band, Hillsong United, went in at number two on the US iTunes album chart, just behind Eminem. If it’s true that the music industry is in its death throes, then nobody told Hillsong.

    Hillsong Music is the ‘resource arm’ of Hillsong Church, a Pentecostal ministry in Sydney which began in 1983 with a congregation of forty-five, and which now boasts a membership of 21,000, an annual conference attracting 28,000 faithful attendees, and a growing international footprint with churches in London, Paris, Cape Town, Stockholm and Kiev. In 2009 Hillsong London celebrated ten years of worship in the capital with a service at the O2 London Arena. More than 14,000 people attended.

    Needless to say, any church funded by a ‘dynamic music label’, as its promotional materials describe it, is foursquare in the realms of ‘non-traditional’ financing models. But Hillsong is no traditional church. It is ministry with marketing strategies and corporate visions, communion by focus group, where clergy are CEOs and pastors head up ‘creative teams’. Services take place in ‘state-of-the-art worship centres’, in which chancel is jettisoned for multimedia ministry and preaching by PowerPoint. Hillsong London’s website, whose front page features a group of smiling twenty-somethings in chic winter wear, bears closer resemblance to a Gap advert than a call for cash and congregation. And possibly taking a leaf out of Scientology’s book, Hillsong now looks to the power of celebrity to spread the gospel; it recently hosted an ‘Evening with’-style event in which tele-survivalist Bear Grylls talked of Everest expeditions, alligator wrestling and the ‘quiet strength’ of his Christian faith. Jumble sales and church roof appeals it is not.

    Masterminded by founders and senior pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston (no self-respecting mega-church is seen dead these days without an alliterating husband-and-wife team at the helm), Hillsong’s brand of ‘prosperity theology’ found a hungry market in Sydney’s affluent, conservative Baulkham Hills district during the 1990s. ‘Health and wealth gospel’, popularised in sixties America by the repellent Oral Roberts, proved to be an elixir for middle-class Christians in prosperous, suburban Australia, as the success of Brian Houston’s book You Need More Money: Discovering God’s Amazing Financial Plan For Your Life attests. Spiritual health and material wealth go hand in hand, says Houston; humility and sacrifice are not unimportant, but nor should the faithful be ashamed of material success.

    And Brian should know. In the last year for which figures are available, Hillsong’s annual earnings were in the region of $60m, roughly half of which came from its congregation. You see, record sales aren’t the church’s only source of revenue. Tithing – such an archaic-sounding word among all that corporate speak – is still a vital part of Hillsong’s income. Houston admits to a personal package of $300,000 a year plus company car (Bobbie’s salary is undisclosed), but his company Leadership Ministries Inc. – ‘the entity through which Bobbie and I conduct our broader ministry’ – bought two waterfront properties from the couple shortly after the company was set up in 2001.

    And it’s very much a family business. Joel Houston, Brian and Bobbie’s son (and incidentally a spit for Westlife’s Brian McFadden), leads the creative team behind Hillsong Music, the multi-million dollar hit machine that powers the operation. He is also the singer in Hillsong United, a ‘next generation praise and worship’ outfit which has released a new album every year since 1999, making Prince look positively idle. Churning out mostly live albums recorded at services and conferences, the Hillsong Music stable is so prolific that just as one release reaches the end of its chart life, another is waiting in the wings to take its place. Evidently the received wisdom in the music industry – that live albums don’t sell – doesn’t apply to Hillsong either.

    They’ve done their homework, too. If it felt like Snow Patrol were following you around for three years from 2006, it’s because radio stations and music television channels the world over were banking on audience research which decisively crowned Chasing Cars as the stickiest song of the noughties by a country mile. Hillsong, if you can imagine this without wincing, sounds like Snow Patrol singing from a prayer book. And in case you’re tempted to seek out this music for yourself, be warned. For the purposes of journalistic thoroughness I’ve listened to more than my fair share of it the past few days; it’s marginally less excruciating than chewing tinfoil.

    Contemporary Christian music – CCM to its friends – is changing the market in other ways. For All You’ve Done, the first live worship album to debut at number one in Australia, drew widespread whingeing from disgruntled record labels, upset that almost all its sales rang through the cash registers at Hillsong’s annual conference. It’s hard to know which is more telling – the pointless display of sour grapes from the mainstream music industry, or the fact that sales at a religious conference can outstrip the buying power of an entire nation.

    But it does raise the question of why Hillsong music is routing the secular competition so convincingly. Possibly these conference sales are more ‘got the t-shirt’ souvenir purchases than high-rotation repeat-players. Or perhaps it’s just that piracy is less rampant in Christian circles than in the wider market. Downloading music illegally isn’t proscribed by any specific commandment as far as I’m aware, but it does seem a very un-Christian thing to do. In 2007 Hillsong hit the headlines again, amid accusations of ‘vote stacking’ in the Australian Idol talent quest. Idol issued a formal, on-air statement refuting the allegations, although four of the eight finalists did in fact turn out to be from the Assemblies of God Pentecostal church, of which Hillsong is an affiliate. Idolatry – 1, Idol – nil.

    On Christmas morning last year, finding myself with a few hours to kill before barbecued turkey and trimmings with my Sydney hosts, I went to see Hillsong for myself. I should state for the sake of transparency that I’m an atheist humanist, justifying my godless sneering on grounds of journalism (I was researching a book). But as I made my way there on the Hillsong courtesy shuttle, I felt like a freeloading interloper, a joyless gatecrasher en route to a children’s party with the sole intention of stealing party bags and calling the birthday boy names. To ease my conscience I resolved I would be the perfect houseguest, making every effort to participate, in as far as I could do so without compromising my principles or seeming to take the piss. If there was singing, I would sing. If there was hugging, I would hug. I drew the line only at praying.

    Arriving at the church – sorry, worship centre – I was welcomed into a cavernous modern atrium by a model-pretty hostess bearing glad tidings and armfuls of Christmas candy. Dean Martin’s Winter Wonderland crooned from the speaker system. Free lattes and valet parking to all comers. Being slightly behind schedule I pressed on past the crèche and headed straight for the main room. (If ‘main room’ sounds a tad super-club, it’s not so far off the mark.) Five enormous TV screens flanked a wide stage, upon which Hillsong stalwart Robert Fergusson was already in mid-flow, hammering home the prosperity gospel as the gifting envelopes went round. In the audio clip below he urges us to be as ‘extravagant’ with our money as God is with his love:

    Then two very happy but slightly stoned-sounding men appeared and invited all the kids onto the stage to show and tell what they got for Christmas.
    “What did Santa bring you, little fella?” beamed Happy Man number 1.
    Little boy: “An iPod Touch.”
    “Whoooo!” clapped the audience.
    “And what about you?” said Happy Man 2, turning to another little boy.
    “A remote-controlled car.”
    More whooping.
    Happy Man 1: “Well, we’ve got some great prezzies to give away today, for the big kids as well as well as the little kids. But first we’re crossing live to our Hills campus, where our senior pastor Brian Houston is going to say a few words.”

    I will say this for Christmas at Hillsong: it’s an ambitious and tightly choreographed technical feat they’re pulling off. All this ‘crossing live’ felt like Live Aid – it was terrifically exciting. On the TV screens behind, another show-and-tell session was finishing up at the Hills service across town. A third happy man was talking about prezzies for big kids and little kids, and then Houston himself was striding back and forth across the stage in front of foot-high chapter and verse, a bible in his hand and a flesh-coloured Madonna-mike clamped to his cheek. Swap the bible for an iPad and he could have passed for Steve Jobs unveiling his vision for the exciting next phase of the company.

    He launched into some impassioned stuff about Emmanuel, punctuated with fists in the air about his GRACE and DIVINITY, which I confess was where I started to tune out. It’s not that I wasn’t listening, just that a sort of glazing over took place. The same thing happens when I listen to evangelical preachers on the radio, which I do often in America, where late-night preaching is among the most compelling speech radio on the dial. It’s a little like the shipping forecast on BBC Radio 4 – fantastically hypnotic, but utterly incomprehensible unless you’re in on the lingo. Very often the welcome end result is blissful slumber.

    So what did this godless impostor make of Christmas at Hillsong? Was it the riot of divinely sanctioned conspicuous consumption I had feared? Not quite, but it wasn’t far off. Did it feel like congregation? Emphatically not – it was spectacle from start to finish. And that’s what bothered me, if I was bothered by anything at all. This was a show, with high production values and a competitively priced soundtrack available in the foyer on your way out. If I was going to ‘get’ any kind of worship, as a music lover it should have been this. But Hillsong was more awards ceremony than gig, more exclusive media event than inclusive musical or spiritual experience. The live link ups were impressive and fabulously next generation, but in the end the action was always happening somewhere else. I needn’t have worried about crashing the party, because in more senses than one I wasn’t invited.

    It struck me that, right now, the lavishness of Hillsong could only work in Australia, seemingly the only economy in the world these days untroubled by debt, deficit or danger of default. Anywhere else – including America, where the mega-church model seems to be crumbling – the extravagant giving, all the showing and the telling, would seem a tad inappropriate. Shuffling out of the auditorium, I made my way by courtesy shuttle to my Christmas lunch engagement, gifting a Transformer toy to my hosts’ going-on-three year-old as I arrived. He was thrilled of course, but somehow I couldn’t shake the feeling that, to truly enter into the Christmas spirit, I should have rocked up with an iPod Touch.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/christopher-price/hillsong-music-resurrect-australian-charts_b_960602.html

  159. Look, everybody, Bones doesn’t like Hillsong!

    Can you please help him find lots and lots of reasons to hate them? What’s that you say? Oh, he can go over to hillsnogwitch or see3crutchwitch where he will be very welcome and all dissent is disallowed so he’ll get a free run to hate at will.

    No, there’s no value to that, everyone who can contribute would simply agree with him. he needs someone to hit back. That’s the way with Attention Deficit Hyperspirituality Disorder folk. They need someone to fight back in the middle of a tantrum. They cannot appease their sin without some kind of penance. That’s why they love the RC church so much.

    There must be some kind of value which comes form all this anger and hatred.

    Can’t see it myself.

  160. Look Steve calls evil, good, and good, evil.

    What’s new.

    It’s a shame that the old Pentecostals got it right.

    At least you knew they were fair dinkum and not in it for the show.

    Now you’ve gotta keep the plebs interested and entertained or else they’ll leave and take their money with them.

  161. Have you finished, Bones? Or are we about to go into another round of your repeat performance, again?

    Yes, the Old Pentecostals got it right. God bless them for their holiness ministry, and the gifts of the Spirit, speaking in tongues (which you do not believe in), healing, deliverance, and walking on love!

    You still haven’t explained when you ever heard a sermon promoting war and rape at either Hillsong or C3, but there you go, nothing like making things up to suit your poverty of spirit.

    What I’m trying to say to you is this: we all know by now what you think of Hillsong and C3. No need to go on about it. We’ve heard it all, a thousand times, over and over and over and over…

  162. Well, I’ve never been so insulted in all my life! I’ve never blamed Brian for Israel’s problems, but lets face it, if we dig…and we will, he’ll be there to blame for something!!! Mark my words.

    On a more serious note…you have a point.

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