biblical discernment, Brian Houston, Christian doctrine, David Ould, deceiving spirits, false anointing, false Christianity, heresy, Hillsong Australia, Hillsong Conference, Hillsong Sydney, Joel Osteen, Joyce Myer, New Apostolic Reformation, new spirituality, Steven Furtick, T D Jakes, Word of Faith heresy
The following article from June 2014 gets straight to the point about Hillsong Conference and its blatant promotion of heretical teachers, false doctrine and dangerous spiritual experiences.
I know many people who have been drawn away from the truth of God’s Word and sincerely believe that Hillsong is truly God’s church and that its many speakers are great men and women of God. Nothing could be further from the truth, and so in genuine love and from a grieved heart I am sharing this article. It is not my desire to be hurtful to anyone who is currently involved with Hillsong, either directly, or indirectly through their own church. However, it would be unloving, wrong and in direct opposition to the Word of God if I did not share what I know to be true, which of course is the purpose of this blog.
I pray that this article may inspire many more pastors and other Christians to have the courage to speak out against these false churches, with in keeping with Jude’s call to contend earnestly for the faith and to snatch people out of the fire. (Jude 1-25). I pray that God in his mercy will save many more out of the great deception of the Hillsong movement and into the truth and light of his glorious Word and true salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
Next week up to 30,000 people will attend the Hillsong Sydney Conference. That has to make it Sydney’s largest Christian conference. Our family are regular attenders at the excellent CMS Summer School in Katoomba but the numbers there, while still big, are dwarfed by Hillsong.
All of this should be great cause for rejoicing. After all, the idea of tens of thousands of Christians gathering to worship the Lord and hear from His word ought to fill the heart with much gladness – at least if you’re a Christian.
And, for many, it does. But it ought not to. On the contrary. Because Hillsong Conference’s legacy is one of promoting some of the most pernicious false teachers and heretics of modern Christianity and to take part in that promotion must surely by utterly out of bounds for any self-respecting Christian once they’re aware of the details. Of course to some this sounds quite nonsensical. Dave Walker sums it up well…
But this isn’t just a question of taste. The Scriptures are clear on what ought to be done about false teachers. Here’s just a small sample,
Matt. 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
Gal. 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!
1Tim. 6:3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
2John 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.
The teaching of Jesus and His apostles is that we ought to be very wary of false teachers; those that deny the gospel, seek personal gain, and otherwise teach things contrary to the truth. We ought to have nothing to do with them at all, not even having them in our homes (let alone our stadium). Hillsong Conference, on the other hand, promotes many who fall into this category. It does so consistently and by grandstanding them advocates their teaching to those who come and others who look to them for leadership.
Now that is an enormous claim and it requires some substantial justification. But, dear reader, it’s actually not hard to do (although it will require a bit of time, so pour something into a glass or cup and let me make the case). The internet is awash with evidence for anyone who wants to do even a modicum of work. One cannot claim to be ignorant of the issues nor answers to those issues when the stakes are so high and the answers to the questions so easy to obtain.
The list of Hillsong Conference guests/speakers is publicly available. It should be noted that there are many speakers and musicians who should be heartily recommended and I see a few personal favourites there (although some may be disappointed that they’ve chosen to share a conference stage with some others who are there). But alongside them there’s also many who we should be really worried about as Christians. There’s not space here to go through every example but allow me to set out a number of particular interest, “lowlights” if you like.
clicking on the bullets will expand to show more information on each teacher
We could go on and speak about Joseph Prince, Reinhard Bonnke and so on but I trust the point is made. This is not the occasional mistake or blip. This is a repeated invitation to speak at Hillsong’s premiere event. These men and women are there specifically to “refresh and inspire” those attending. Yet they are widely recognised as false teachers and deniers of key doctrine.
Simply and clearly put, Hillsong deliberately and repeatedly embraces those the Scriptures describe as being accursed. They welcome those we are told to have nothing to do with. They promote wolves amongst the flock of God and hand the flock over to be devoured.
All of this is a terrible disappointment because the Hillsong Conference is such an opportunity. Their advertising video this year is quite excellent:
Indeed, there is no other name (Acts 4:12). But the promotion of Jesus is utterly undermined by the simultaneous promotion of those who teach against the truth of Jesus or His distinct divine personage and Sonship. The latter is not overlooked because of the former. Rather, it destroys it.
What does that mean for us?
- We cannot encourage our fellow believers to attend. More than that, we ought to strongly urge them not to go. Yes, there will be many things at the Hillsong Conference that in their own right are good and true. Yes, I have no doubt the gospel will at some point be clearly preached. But such open advocacy of false teaching means the conference is, surely, off limits.
- We cannot endorse the conference. The Conference itself is an act of repeated disobedience since it deliberately violates the Scriptural warning to not welcome false teachers. Rather it endorses that false teaching by endorsing the false teachers.
- We ought to continue to call the organisers and promotors of the Hillsong Conference to repentance. They promote the ministry of those who teach falsehood. They do this despite the many many times they have been challenged on the matter.
- We cannot in any way claim ignorance. This controversy has been going on for too long, has been discussed in too many places, is too well documented and discoverable, to allow anyone to claim that they just didn’t know once the matter has been raised. This is particularly true of those of us who have pastoral responsiblity. We are to take great care over the flock entrusted to us (1Peter 5:1-3) and to refute those who teach error (Titus 1:9). We are simply not permitted to remain silent over this; it would be to leave the sheep unattended. We do not have an excuse.
- We cannot fall back on the confidence that since there is a declaration that “Jesus is Lord” everything is ok. Yes, many of those speaking at the conference will make exactly that confession but it is not one made in a vacuum and without context. The Lordship of Jesus means specific things and brings specific things to those to whom it is beneficially applied. A false teacher may claim that Jesus is Lord and genuinely believe and mean it and yet his/her teaching may then utterly undermine how we understand that Lordship affects our lives. They may make the claim and yet be referring to a different Jesus, not the eternal Son and Word of the one God who is yet three persons. “Jesus is Lord” is not a confession that may be hid behind to ignore these matters any more than I may hide behind my wife in order to not deal with the intruder who has come to disgrace her.
The title of this piece describes the Hillsong Conference as Sydney’s greatest promotor of false teaching. If even half of what is written here is true then I very sadly suggest that the charge is more than proven. Where or when else in Sydney do so many Christians meet together in these numbers? When or where else in Sydney are so many different false teachers brought together on a regular basis?
When or where in Sydney, and beyond, will those in positions of responsibility and leadership in the church take a firmer stand or these matters in obedience to the Scriptures, for the honour of the reputation of Christ and His gospel and for the sake of His church?