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The Secrets of Hillsong

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I recently watched the Hulu hosted and FX produced series The Secrets of Hillsong and I was quite surprised at what I saw. While this series is old news now, given the update to Brian Houston’s lack of a conviction, it is still appropriate to reflect on the limited series.

Carl Lentz, everyone’s favorite pastor of the past decade, rose to fame and fortune through his unconventional methods of church growth in the godless metropolis that Gotham. While his methodology seemed odd to many within the realm of orthodoxy, the methods employed and perfected by Carl and his mentor Brian were what built the machine that was Hillsong. An outcropping of Aussies in the 1970s later became the behemoth of the Assemblies of God, which led to their eventual separation to form the denomination that is Hillsong.

There is little to believe from the series other than the liberal angle that is portrayed by women, women, and more women. While this makes sense since traditional marketing is almost always geared towards women, and church growth is just another marketing play, so the offended parties were women; also, gays, of course. The gripe is the age-old adage of feminism that says they got no pay, no respect, and no power – all of which are unimportant to women and rather important to men. In reality, these women received no affection, no love, and no validation.

While the mammoth of Hillsong New York grew so did the amount of women and feminized men who entered into its doors. The perpetual cycle of offense was only beginning and if you were no fortunate enough to rise as the tide rose then you got left behind to do the work that is only appropriate for the hazing of new volunteers. Carl, oddly enough, got caught in the riptide of Hillsong’s success because the work to be done as the church grew from a couple of services to over both hands and a few toes worth of sermons every weekend quickly led to his burnout. As trite as it might be to say, even our Lord Jesus Christ did not preach as much in a weekend as Carl did at the peak of the Hillsong crazy.

What then ensued from this ever-growing Ponzi scheme of a church? Simple: talk, and a lot of it. The greatest problem that a growing organization will ever experience is the talk and gossip that comes along with it. When more people are added there become greater opportunities for discussing problems that were not meant to come out. Hillsong’s meteoric growth led to the resurfacing of some uncouth topics, many of which go all the way back to the progenitor of Hillsong: Daddy Houston. Frank Houston set the culture of Hillsong from down under early on in its story, but it would not stay down under as it spread in America.

While Carl has not been accused of the same things that Frank was, the culture of the two runs parallel. This happened because of two reasons: First, because the end goal was the same. Both men sought to make a name for themselves and advance their own kingdoms. Since both Frank and Carl wanted the applause of men more than the commendation of Christ himself, they worked to that very end. Just as no sin is enough to quench the flesh, so no applause is loud enough to deafen the recipient; the reverberations will always be felt and sought after.

Second, their theology was compromised. This is not because they were Pentecostals but because they held a low view of God. Their god was one who was on equal footing with them – he was there to make them famous and wealthy. This is seen in their common sin of pride that lead to both of their downfalls, though in different manners. The common themes run strong in both men and show the pure corruption of Hillsong throughout the decades of its existence.

This brings us to the follow up with Carl in his, at the time, current resurfacing after his exile from New York to Florida. Instead of repenting, Carl followed further in the footsteps of compromise, though on a much smaller stage. Carl is seen trekking further down the path of theological liberalism instead of fame because it is all he has left. His compromise on hot-button issues has only degraded since his departure from the Big Apple. It is quite sad to see and causes one to pray for the lost soul as well as for his lost family.

Even though Frank managed to stay out of jail and Carl managed to cobble together some semblance of a life that will most certainly result in him reascending to pulpit for a megachurch (as is being set up at Transformation church in Oklahoma), Brian still has a long road ahead of him. The allegations against his father, against his church, and against him are climaxing as more talking occurs with the downfall of Hillsong. Attendance has dropped, congregations have disfellowshipped, and all eyes are not on Jesus but on the Hillsong pope as the legal and political pressure continue to mount.

While the end is only known by God at this moment, we do know that unless these men repent, bar Frank as he has already departed into eternity, then their souls remain at risk of damnation. They deserve our prayers that God would bring about their salvation. There is nothing that they can do to save themselves from the impending judgement that they have stored up. Repentance is the only way to avert an eternity of hell.

Such a statement then brings us to the question of Hillsong’s many musical ventures. What do we do with Hillsong music? Much of which is catchy, commonly played on “Christian” radio, and sung in thousands of churches every Sunday. The answer seems simple when looking at the question through the lens of the Bible, but it is made all the more obvious once the docuseries is watched. Hillsong is nothing without its music; it was built that way and continues to this day that way. Without the music Hillsong dies, which it needs to because it is an apostate church.

There is little reason for any church to sign Hillsong music due to the severe compromise of the individuals who penned it. From the series it is clear that the opium of Hillsong was not Carl’s preaching, but the music that was played. The sheer play on emotion to manipulate people is shocking, along with the financial gain that comes from its propagation all around the world. Nothing supports Hillsong more than its music does. And nothing is more emblematic of the rank heresy that is Hillsong than its egotistical tunes. One cannot divorce the music of Hillsong from Hillsong, for it was built in tandem with the church to further the mission of Hillsong.

This leaves us in one space: depart from Hillsong. While this has been parroted from many years from polemic ministries and conservative Christians, it is now commonly understood through this series just how corrupt and deprave Hillsong is. While liberals have no sense and only want a departure from Hillsong due to its offense towards their woke god and the “abuse” of women and the little people, the departure from Hillsong in all respects should be upheld.

It is certainly time to move on from Hillsong. The series supports this prevailing sentiment whereas the Bible confirms that it must happen. There is plenty that is much better out there, you just have to look and discern.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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