What’s wrong with Hillsong?

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From sex scandal to disturbing MTV, should Christians still listen to Hillsong music?

Hillsong, the biggest evangelical church today, is known for its amazing Christian music. They are also the most influential Christian group on YouTube, with over 12 million followers. Unfortunately, the gospel they preach has been muddled with scandals.

In 2018, they faced allegations of mistreatment of its members, reported NY Post. Then came the confession of Michael Guglielmucci and Marty Sampson losing faith. Recently, Justin Bieber’s pastor-BFF, Carl Lentz, was fired from Hillsong for adultery.

What is most damming are accusations of “faulty preaching” rooted in prosperity gospel and Moral Therapeutic Deism (MTD).

1. Unrepentant Pastor Carl Lentz?

Lentz proved critics right in calling him a sheep in wolves’ clothing. He wears expensive clothes, ridden with tattoos, unbecoming of a humble servant. Maybe Lentz was trying to blend into a specific group, but is it necessary?

We must not conform to this world (Romans 12:2) or be friends with it (James 4:4), or we may be like them. Unfortunately, there are many “Superstar Pastors” today hiding their sin behind their position.

The disgraced pastor spent a month in rehab for depression. In January 2021, Lentz was spotted watching the sunrise alone in Manhattan. There is always hope and restoration for a repentant heart.

James 3:1
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

DailyMail reported through a leaked conversation Lentz lied repeatedly and had multiple affairs. Hillsong is now disowning him.

2. Worship leader Michael Guglielmucci’s cancer

In 2006, worship leader Michael Gugliemucci fabricated a story that he had cancer when he composed and performed “Healer.” It appeared on the Hillsong album, ‘This is our God.’

Worse than his lying was perpetuating it. Guglielmucci performed “Healer” over a two-year period, often with an oxygen tube attached to his nose. By God’s grace, Michael confessed it, as well as his 16-years addiction to porn.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

3. Sex scandal of Brian Houston’s father

Pentecostal leader Frank Houston was the founder of the Sydney Christian Life. It became under the leadership of his son Brian before merging into Hillsong.

Around 2000, Houston’s years of sexual abuse of young boys exposed. His son Brian, founder of Hillsong, concealed it. He later had no choice but to admit it, after mounting evidence.

Romans 14:12
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

4. Worship leader Marty Sampson on losing faith

Martin Sampson was one of the original worship leaders at Hillsong Sydney. On August 10, 2019, Sampson announced on IG he was “losing his faith.”

If others like Lisa and Michael Gungor stopped being Christians, many more are surely doubting their faith silently. They were fed with “cheap grace” without counting the cost of following Christ.

Matthew 24:13
But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

5. Prosperity gospel and MTD

Hillsong Church has invited prosperity gospel preachers Kenneth Copeland, Bill Johnson, Benny Hinn, and Joel Osteen. These pastors are at the forefront of the prosperity Gospel.

A pastor labeled what they preach as Hillsong “demon doctrine,” which was rather harsh. But the trend of MTD is more dangerous than the kind of prosperity gospel Bethel Church or “woke pastors” preach.

Luke 12:15
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

With millions of followers, Hillsong, Bethel, and Lakewood are strong influencers—no wonder “Christian humanism” became acceptable in the mainstream.

6. Hillsong Young and Free’s disturbing “PEACE”

The song PEACE elements represent the struggle of anxiety and the refuge found in God’s peace. It has five veiled women (like the Brides of Christ). Upon seeing “the light,” they remove their crown. Then, they are lured by the lady in red.

The video is more occultic than peaceful

Light in the Bible does not always mean enlightenment or peace. Lucifer’s name means “light-bringer” (Isaiah 14:12). The lady in red alludes to the ‘red dragon’ in Revelations 12 as the great deceiver.

Although the lyrics allude to “Peace in God,” Jesus, who is our “peace,” came with a sword. Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace to the earth; I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

Peace when my thoughts wage war
Peace to the anxious heart
You are peace when my fear takes hold
Peace when I feel enclosed
Peace when I lose control
That’s who You are

The way the brides, crowns, light, and the lady in red in Hillsong’s PEACE music video was used, is inherently creepy, bizarre, and demonic. The video is more occultic than peaceful.

The “Houston family” of Hillsong

While there’s nothing wrong when a church is led by a father and son tandem, it’s interesting to note that Hillsong founder Brian Houston has his son Joel, Ben, and wife Bobbie Houston pastor its churches.

Almost a decade ago, Hillsong Music, which funds the church, earns more than 10 million each year. A “cash cow,” said Bruce Herwig. Brian and wife Bobbie alone has over one million combined followers; Hillsong music, of course, has millions of teenager fans.

Mrs. Houston, who looks amazing at 63, talked about orgasm and encouraged plastic surgery. Dailymail reported she encouraged women to hone ‘good’ skills in the bedroom and how wives need to be good at bed.

The family lives in luxury and the couple is worth at least 20 million.

1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.

While Hillsong has led many people to get closer to God, it has also led others to dangerous preaching. They use music as their tool for evangelism.

What’s an alternative to Hillsong music?

The sins of Hillsong’s leaders should not prevent us from worshiping God through their music. However, we must be discerning. Instead of Hillsong, Elevation, iHOP, or Bethel Music, Justin Rae of Sound in Worship recommends the following musicians:

CityAlight
Sovereign Grace Music
Matt Boswell & Matt Papa
Norton Hall Band
Andrew Peterson Music
Scripture Lullabies
Fernando Ortega
The Getty’s

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

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