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Should Christians still listen to Hillsong?

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

The short answer is yes. God can use anything to call our attention or experience His love. Hillsong has been used by God countless times, especially in the lives of young people. No singer, pastor, or musician is perfect—we all fall short of God.

Christians should feel sorrow at what’s happening

Hillsong is the most influential Christian group on YouTube, with over 12 million subscribers. Their songs are sung in a lot of churches worldwide. Unfortunately, they’ve been muddled with scandals.

In 2018, they faced allegations of mistreatment of their members. Then came the confession of Michael Guglielmucci and Marty Sampson. Recently, Justin Bieber’s pastor Carl Lentz committed adultery. In 2022, Brian Houston resigned amid new scandals. [N.Y. Post]

Hillsong has also been associated with the prosperity gospel and Moral Therapeutic Deism (MTD). [News A.U.]

What’s wrong with Hillsong Music?

1. Unrepentant Pastor Carl Lentz?

Lentz proved critics right in calling him a sheep in wolf’s clothing. He wears expensive clothes ridden with tattoos. Perhaps 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, many “Superstar Pastors” today hide their sin behind their position.

The repentant 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.

2. Alleged financial abuse at Hillsong NYC

In 2018, alleged inappropriate sexual relations between staff and volunteers rocked the church. But then it was coupled with another allegation of financial abuse.

Former church members, including Hillsong LA Pastor Nicole Herman, told the New York Post that many pastors at Hillsong NYC often used tithe money to splurge. The cash is loaded on debit cards “PEX.” They use it on expensive restaurant meals, designer clothes, and weekly manicures while living in a high-priced building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Proverbs 21:20
The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.

DailyMail reported through a leaked conversation that Lentz lied repeatedly and had multiple affairs.

3. Worship leader Michael Guglielmucci’s cancer

In 2006, worship leader Michael Gugliemucci fabricated a story 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 two years, often with an oxygen tube attached to his nose, reported News Australia.

By God’s grace, Michael confessed it, as well as his 16-year addiction to porn.

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

How I overcame my porn addiction.

4. Sex scandal of Brian Houston’s father

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

Around 2000, Pastor Frank’s alleged years of sexual abuse of young boys were exposed. His son Brian, founder of Hillsong, concealed it. He later had no choice but to admit it.

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

Christian Pastors accused of heresy.

5. 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 I.G. he was “losing his faith.”

If others like Lisa and Michael Gungor stopped being Christians, many would surely doubt 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.

Christians who became unbelievers.

6. 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.

In this video, a pastor rebuked Hillsong for its apparent “demon doctrine.” It was rather harsh. However, MTD and the kind of prosperity gospel Bethel Church or “woke pastors” preach must be exposed, and the true Gospel preached.

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.

Darkness descends on modern Christian Worship.

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

The song PEACE is supposed to represent the struggles of anxiety and refuge found only 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.

However, the video is more occultic than peaceful.

Lucifer’s name means “light-bringer” (Isaiah 14:12), yet he cursed God. The lady in red may represent Jesus’ blood, but it alludes more to the ‘red dragon’ in Revelations 12. Likewise, Jesus, who is our peace, also came with a sword (Matthew 10:34).

Contemporary Christian music today points more to us than God

The lyrics of ‘Peace’ points more to what we get than praising Jesus, typical of most contemporary Christian music today.

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 were used is inherently creepy, bizarre, and demonic. The video is more occultic than peaceful.

8. Hillsong administrator, guilty of indecent assault

In 2021, a Philadelphia pastor’s daughter, Anna Crenshaw, came out and exposed another Hillsong administrator. Jason May, married, sexually assaulted her at a social gathering while attending Hillsong College in Australia. May pleaded guilty to indecent assault in 2020. [C.P.]

In the same year, Pastor Brian Houston launched an investigation into the U.S. arm of Hillsong Church, which was rocked by allegations of financial abuse from former members who said pastors frequently splurged tithe money on lavish expenses. 

Luke 8:17
All that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.

The “Houston family” of Hillsong

Hillsong founder Brian Houston has his two sons, Joel and Ben, and his wife, Bobbie, take high positions and pastor its churches. Hillsong Music, which funds the church, earns more than 100 million annually—a “cash cow” for the family, alleged Bruce Herwig. Pastor Brian Houston is worth 10 million in 2023. [Celebrity Worth]

The Hillsong Music Label YouTube followers in 2023

Hillsong Worship – 8 million
Hillsong Young & Free – 1.6 million
Hillsong United – 4 million
Hillsong Kids – 160,000

Additionally, Mrs. Houston allegedly talked about orgasm at one point and even encouraged plastic surgery as means to glorify God. Dailymail reported she urged women to hone ‘good’ skills in the bedroom and how wives need to be good at bed. [Daily Telegraph]

In 2023, Brian Houston pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol, which happened the previous year in California. [Roys]

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, others have also led to dangerous preaching. They use music as their tool for evangelism.

It is best to avoid recent Hillsong music

As we draw closer to the return of Jesus, Satan and his armies are doubling on how they can use music to influence people—away from God. The sins of Hillsong’s leaders should not prevent us from worshiping God through their music, but it is best to avoid it.

What’s an alternative to Hillsong music for young people?

Andrew Peterson Music
Casting Crowns
CityAlight
Keith & Kristyn Getty
Fernando Ortega
Matt Boswell & Matt Papa
Mercy Me
Norton Hall Band
Phil Wickham
Scripture Lullabies
Sovereign Grace Music

The sins of Hillsong’s leaders should not prevent us from worshiping God through their music.

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

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5 COMMENTS

  1. So much judgement, misinterpretation, I am sad that you deem yourselves to be judges…I will pray to God that you understand this, soon.

  2. While we are not to be harshly critical (judging a brother), we are definitely called to be discerning! You have given clear but sorrowful information on the state of Hillsong’s church and have indicated that some songs have questionable, even demonic connotations, so we should absolutely NOT be listening, much less worshipping, to their music! They have proven themselves to be theologically skewed, so how can we trust what they produce? Why would we want to support them financially? This is a critical time in our churches! We need to be Bereans– seeking out the truth, recognizing falsehood, and putting it far from us. I love the list of recommended artists Justin Rae provides! Thank you for your article, and I would encourage you to follow through in action by putting away Hillsong music and replacing it with Biblically sound worship music.

  3. With the ever increasing movement of young people leaving the church these days, perhaps it would be prudent to do an examination of ourselves first and then of the messages we are sending to our young people. Music is something Satan has always used to cloud the minds of people from day one. Did you know that there is a frequency in music that can be used to stop a large mob? Once that frequency/tone is broadcast everyone within hearing range will have to stop and use the bathroom!!! The greatest music ever is always God focused and not emotion focused. WE can’t trust our emotions, but we can Trust the One and Only True Living God who sent His Only Son to die for our sings so that we can be reconciled back to God.

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