Hillsong: Heresy Goes Hollywood


For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Jude 4

Jude could have been talking about CEO and co-founder of Hillsong, Brian Houston. Houston’s critics–and there are many–claim he is a consummate liar; thus, he cannot be trusted.

But that’s not all.  Another concern people have with Brian Houston is that he holds to heretical Word of Faith theology. This is bad news for Hillsong fans because the “good news” they should be hearing is not the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Not even close.  Hillsong’s music is rife with the false prosperity/health and wealth gospel that saves no one.  According to Bud Ahlheim of Pulpit & Pen, “The ‘Jesus’ proclaimed by Houston is not the Jesus of Scripture. And when you worship, or even participate with idolatry, it’s nothing less than the worship of demons. (1 Corinthians 10:20)”

There is so much more to be said about this wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Not only are there lies but also cover-ups.  As always, Bud Ahlheim doesn’t mince words as he takes Hillsong to task.  He writes:

Hillsong United

The setting might not be all that unrecognizable from the typical hipster, prosperity gospel, mega-church anywhere on the planet.

A darkened room.

A state of the art sound system.

A big screen.

A room full of fans eager for a show.

But this one actually is a theater as Hillsong: Let Hope Rise is due to debut nationwide on September 16, 2016.

Produced by Pure Flix, the feature film about the birth, rise, and global domination of “Christian” music charts by the band Hillsong United, promises to not only add to the coffers of prosperity preacher Brian Houston’s “other gospel” empire, it will also serve to lead many away from that path that is narrow. (Matthew 7:13)

According to Michael Scott, in an article on The Christian Post,

“Hillsong-Let Hope rise is so much more than a film about a Christian band or even a church. It is truly a theatrical worship experience.”

Theatrical.     Worship.     Experience.

Yeah, okay.

Theatrical. Because it is,after all, merely entertainment.

Worship. Because, at heart, we are all created to worship. In the case of Houston’s cult followers, worship of Hillsong, while a sure and frequent occurrence, is, nevertheless, illicit, ungodly, and, ultimately, damning. The “Jesus” proclaimed by Houston is not the Jesus of Scripture. And when you worship, or even participate with idolatry, it’s nothing less than the worship of demons. (1 Corinthians 10:20)

Experience. An important word that ought not pass our gaze too casually. Worship of the true God is not designed for us; it is intended for Him. Worship is not more legitimate when it is manipulated by intentional theatrics intended to create emotional responses in His worshipping creatures. Worship is legitimate when it is done according to the instructions He has given us for it …

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:24

In our emotions-driven western culture, many Christians over-spiritualize this verse by incorrectly inferring the Lord is suggesting a mystical, experiential foundation to worship. Hardly.

To be “filled with the Spirit” is to be filled with His Word. The Word drives our faith and directs our worship. What we feel or don’t feel is thoroughly irrelevant to authentic worship. Warm fuzzies don’t mean you just really worshipped. It’s not about you.

If you flip to Nehemiah, an incredible episode of reverent worship is given. Verses 1-8 from chapter 8 are provided below. Note particularly that worship was driven by the understanding of the people that, in turn, was driven by the Law (v.8), not their warm fuzzies.

“And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the LawAnd Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands.And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the groundAlso Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites,[a] helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.” Continue reading

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13 Responses to Hillsong: Heresy Goes Hollywood

  1. Manny1962 July 13, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    I posted this once before, but it is so appropriate for this thread, for all of you that read before I apologize, but given the context and relevancy, I think it’s very appropriate:

    Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?

    Charles Haddon Spurgeon

    An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.

    From speaking out as the Puritans did, the church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.

    My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church. If it is a Christian work, why did not Christ speak of it? “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). That is clear enough. So it would have been if He had added, “and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.” No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to him.

    Then again, “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers .., for the work of the ministry” (Eph. 4:11-12). Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll.

    Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all his apostles. What was the attitude of the church to the world? Ye are the salt” (Matt. 5:13), not the sugar candy—something the world will spit out not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance, “Let the dead bury their dead” (Matt. 8:22) He was in awful earnestness.

    Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into his mission, he would have been more popular when they went back, because of the searching nature of His teaching. I do not hear him say, “Run after these people Peter and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow, something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick Peter, we must get the people somehow.” Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them.

    In vain will the Epistles be searched to find any trace of this gospel of amusement! Their message is, “Come out, keep out, keep clean out!” Anything approaching fooling is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

    After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the church had a prayer meeting but they did not pray, “Lord grant unto thy servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are.” If they ceased not from preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). That is the only difference! Lord, clear the church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods.

    Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to effect the end desired. It works havoc among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the church met them halfway, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment has been God’s link in the chain of the conversion, stand up! There are none to answer. The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.

    • Tricia October 24, 2016 at 11:27 am #

      Totally agree. There are no “Jesters for Jesus” in the NT.

  2. Manny1962 July 13, 2016 at 9:41 am #

    This essay should be on every pastor’s pulpit to remind him of the frivolity and folly of bringing worldly entertainment into the congregation.

  3. Susan July 13, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    Such are the days we are living in. Can’t question or be a Berean on the Charisma mag. comments or they will block you is you disagree with there articles frequently.

  4. Maggie July 13, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    I also wonder about the “clever” presentations that are used to draw people to hear the gospel. I rather like what Ray Comfort is able to do; I think of him as an evangelist who has the ability to speak and challenge a crowd, and not something every Christian is able to do. An extreme example of how not to do it is the NAR type who sets up a table at a fair and does dream or tattoo interpretation or prophecy; this is an effort to demonstrate “signs and wonders” to show “God’s” power to an unbeliever. It is highly unlikely that the true gospel is even presented, and the appearance of what is going is of a fortune teller’s booth (which in reality it is, based on the occult practices being used).

    Another method I have heard of and that I question—but it may be okay—is having a booth that presents itself as a sort of fortune teller’s booth and goes something like this: A person approaches the table and is asked if he/she is a Christian. If not, then the person is told their future holds eternal damnation. To avoid that future, the person is presented with the gospel. I haven’t seen this in action, but this does not appeal to me as a way to share the Good News. Perhaps it’s a matter of conscience for the individual Christian to use such a method or not.

    • berlorac July 13, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

      Maggie, I agree with you that that second method you describe is not a good approach. I just don’t think we need to utilize any “bait and switch” or “entertainment” gimmicks.

      I’ve done a lot of “street” evangelism and I found it easy enough just to approach someone and share the Gospel. Typically, I would just walk up to someone and ask, “Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ?” Then, their answers would let me know just how to proceed from there. But it doesn’t take long to get to the Gospel. And it doesn’t take gimmicks.

      • Maggie July 13, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

        Berlorac, my understanding is that a person will respond to the straightforward approach if s/he is interested in learning more and that nothing is gained by using “bait and switch,” except perhaps a bad taste in the mouth for being fooled.

        I remind myself that the sharing of the gospel is not dependent on how persuasive I am but that it is the Holy Spirit that draws people to salvation. Also, there are many, many people who have never heard the true gospel, even in this so-called Christian country.

        • lyn July 13, 2016 at 7:19 pm #

          Well said Maggie. Some have forgotten Romans 1:16. The power to save sinners does NOT lie within man. We are to be faithful in proclaiming Christ and His death, burial and resurrection. We should not coerce sinners to ‘make decisions’ or any other method in order to be saved. I heard Ray Comfort once ask a sinner if they think they might repent! He has no understanding that repentance is given by God, not a work of man.

          You also said there are many people who have never heard the true gospel, even in this so-called Christian country. Amen to that sister! The gospel that permeates America is an accursed one, a product of Charles Finney. Sadly, it has such a deep hold on this nation that even true Christians fail to see the devastation of not rebuking those who speak of this accursed gospel. Is it any wonder we have multitudes of professors but few possessors?

        • berlorac July 14, 2016 at 10:13 am #

          Yes, Maggie, the presentation of the Gospel is not about the evangelist as much as it is about the power of the Gospel itself. There are those who are called to be evangelists, though, so there is something to be said for certain people who have this gift (Ephesians 4:11). The evangelist is the one who can share the Gospel without getting caught up in side arguments; he is one who can “stay out of the way” of what the Holy Spirit is doing at that moment; at the same time, he is one who is not offensive. The Gospel itself is the offense to those who are perishing, but the evangelist is not to preach the Gospel “offensively.” There is a lot going on there and that’s why evangelism is a gift; only a few do it correctly.

          So, when I hear about those fortune teller scams you speak about, I cringe. These are not evangelists; they are not operating with the gift of the Spirit. These people assume that the flesh can make a decision for Christ, so that’s what they are appealing to with their schemes: the flesh. They don’t seem to understand that it is only a spiritual thing and the Gospel is for the spirit of man. The Gospel is beyond mere reasoning or intellect, and it is certainly not appealing to the flesh.

  5. Faith July 13, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

    It is a bad idea to use other things. Don’t use the fortune telling thingie because it mimicks the occult and that misrepresents God. We do not need gimmicks. The gospel does not need crutches. It stands alone. Either they take it or they leave it. That is how God set it up and what the apostles preached in every account you read in the Bible. Jeremiah did not show up at the gate of Jerusalem in a clown suit juggling oranges. I refuse to stoop to their level of worldly gimmicks as that cheapens it.

    I have attended a lot of evangelism workshops over the years and have heard it all from one end to another. One thing I heard several people saying was this and I will use a specific example. One evangelist used to go out to a park and hand out tracts and had a set up there. When people would pass by, he had his sentence ready as he tried to hand out a tract. The sentence and display involved the name and person of Jesus. He said everyone would just walk by and brush him off because they ‘wanted nothing to do with it all.’ So he tried to ‘spruce it up.’ In the process, he sort of hid the Lord under the table, with the intention of ‘bringing Him out… later.’ Did it work? Well, the part of it that worked was that he was able to fool them for a little while only. But once Jesus was brought out, the same reaction came. It only delayed it. Another case involved a guy who was using items from Ray Comfort’s website, little entertainment items to ‘build a bridge’ first, and then spring it on them. I recall being with a guy using it and watching it in action on two guys. He held their attention for as long as the dog and pony show went on, and when he started with the gospel, the two guys looked at each other and the reaction was rejection. So, save yourself the trouble. They see through that ‘phony conversation’ when you share the point a few minutes later, so just be upfront with them, they will respect you more for it. If they are not drawn to Jesus now, they won’t be in 15 minutes either. It’s not about a show, it’s not about us, it’s about Jesus and the Spirit must do the real work in their hearts and draw them, or it is in vain. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127; 1
    ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
    Says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4; 6

    The story of Isaac’s servant seeking a bride for Isaac and finding him Rebecca is a similitude to Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the church, His bride. The servant did not go around with a photo of another man. He did not go around and do dog and pony shows. He went to Rebecca and TOLD her about Isaac to see if she was interested, and it was all God’s leading. Read it again, you’ll see. And when Peter preached the gospel the first time after Pentecost in Acts 2, where 3,000 were added to the church that day, he preached to them Christ and Him crucified and resurrected and the need to repent and accept Him. And, that is how I do it too. Anything else is inferior and at best only wins false converts. I totally agree with Manny’s article posted above, that nails it. I thought it was written recently too until I looked at the author’s name! : D

    God bless!

  6. noel rochford October 30, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

    Hi FAITH. this reply may be to late . Who knows ?. only GOD . I read your article and yes as a new convert under CHURCH OVERSIGHT and the scripture says to OBEY them. I tried the gimmic evangelism not much success in it. More success in 1on1 witnessing. Rather than trying the pamphlet hand out to passers by which was required by our leaders. I found if you went and found some one sitting down the opportunity to share the gospel was easier still not a lot of conversions to the WAY. The pamphlets had scripture references for to read it or throw it away i think the latter. i really enjoyed the dead untill you stated REPENT AND ACCEPT HIM .The APOSTEL PETER in acts said in vrs 38 act 2 .Nobody will say this any more ?????? Why Not it bought in 3000 new converts after PENTECOST .The same is needed today it worked then it will WORK NOW. JHN 3 /16 is so used today every where. The 15 vrs before seems to be obsolete not much quoted any more at all yet it is the words of THE LORD still needed today..The neriahmia reference you made i think every one wants REVIVAL The scripture states REFORMATION then comes REVIVAL. Just a littel IRONY i was raised in a CHURCH its name was THE REVIVAL CENTERS AUSTRALIA. It also has fallen into APOSTASY.It was pentecostal untill the break away now i would say charasmatic.??????SHALOM.

  7. John 14:14-24 (KJB) March 21, 2017 at 10:56 am #

    “The leaven in the music of Hillsong United” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcGviKVRV94

    Call upon the name of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:2), the Son of God (1 John 4:15), at all times (Ps. 34:1), and go not after other gods (Jer. 25:6).

    Bless the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (1 John 3:23), the Word of God in the King James Bible (Ps. 12:6-7, Isa. 45:22) made flesh (John 1:1, 14).