CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Hillsong, Homosexuality and the Shrinking Gospel

Oct 18, 2014

I have said this plenty of times before and I will say it again: when you are leading a megachurch, there is massive temptation to keep the masses happy and the money flowing by telling people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear.

The fear not to alienate anyone or offend anyone or upset anyone can almost become a god, with everything done to keep the masses comfortable, happy and entertained. Thus no controversial subjects will be raised, no hard doctrines spoken to, and no political controversies will be courted.

This is how you can keep the crowds coming back. Thus in the biggest church in America and the biggest church in Australia, you simply will not hear anything about the most important moral, social and even theological issues of our day. You will certainly not hear about such controversial issues as homosexuality.

Of course this has been standard operating procedure for megachurch pastors like Joel Osteen and Brian Houston for years now. I have written about both often, including on their refusal to proclaim biblical truth in these key areas. See here for example: billmuehlenberg.com/2013/12/27/keeping-the-masses-happy-while-keeping-god-unhappy/

hillsongAnd when the homosexual press write articles about how pleased they are with the way Hillsong is moving, then you know we are in trouble. See here for example: www.gaystarnews.com/article/hillsong-megachurch-pastor-says-church-should-be-more-understanding-gays270813

These leaders will try to claim that an issue like homosexuality is not a gospel issue, and that they are not into talking about such matters. Well, they most certainly are gospel issues. God’s intentions for marriage and family and human sexuality are found throughout Scripture, beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation.

And Jesus spoke often about all three. Yet these leaders think we should stay silent on them, or even make peace with the world on these matters. That is called capitulation, compromise and carnality. It is not called standing strong for biblical truth.

Houston was again asked about this issue recently, and he again tried to downplay and dodge the issue. Here is how an article from the Huff Post describes this:

At a press conference for the Hillsong Conference held in New York City Thursday, New York Times‘ Michael Paulson asked Houston directly about his stance on same-sex marriage. In an unofficial transcript provided by Jonathan Merritt, Houston responded:
It can be challenging for churches to stay relevant. Because many mainstream churches upheld what they would believe is the long established view of what the Bible says about homosexuality. But the world has changed around and about them. On the subject, I always feel like there’s three things. There’s the world we live in, there’s the weight we live with, and there’s the word we live by. The world, the weight, and the word….
And they don’t all necessary align. With the word we live by, many people have various convictions. In the middle of it all know that Jesus when it comes to people would let nothing stop Him from breaking through a divide to help hurting, broken, everyday normal people like you and I.

And according to CharismaNews, this was how his reply went: “Houston would not offer a definitive answer, instead saying that it was ‘an ongoing conversation’ among church leaders, and they were ‘on the journey with it’.”

Um, talk about refusing to give a direct answer. Talk about equivocation and offering a bunch of mealy-mouthed nothingness. Just what in the world did all that mean? Jesus was not afraid in the least to directly affirm God’s intentions for sexuality. Paul was not afraid to say that homosexuals would not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But all we can get out of this pastor is more gobbledygook. There was no “conversation” for the writers of Scripture on this. There was no talk of being on a “journey” for Jesus and the disciples when it came to such matters. But then again, they were not trying to keep people happy, please the masses, and keep that hefty weekly offering flowing in.

They were into fearlessly and unashamedly proclaiming biblical truth – on all matters, not just the non-PC ones. The prophets and disciples were entrusted with the truth of God to proclaim, and they did that, regardless of the reaction of the crowds.

But our big cheese pastors today dare not speak out on any vitally important social or moral issue, for fear of rocking the boat, upsetting the flock, and losing that money flow. The contrast between the true gospel proclaimers and the false could not be clearer.

I love how Andrew Walker, wiring in First Things, deals with this issue:

What do we say about this?
First, if I were writing the Art of Cultural War, this is the strategy I’d use to bring the opposing side to heel. The steps look something like this: Relativize the issue with other issues. Be uncertain about the issue. Refuse to speak publicly on the issue. Be indifferent toward the issue. Accept the issue. Affirm the issue. Require the issue. Hillsong is currently on step three. I don’t think they’ll stay there.
Second, a non-answer is an answer. Let’s be very clear on that. It’s also a very vapid answer. What we’re seeing in many corners of evangelicalism is a pliability that makes Christianity an obsequious servant to whatever the reigning zeitgeist is. With non-answers like this, it isn’t Jesus who is sitting at the right hand of the Father. Culture is. Perhaps Hillsong would rather abide by a “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” policy on matters of orthodoxy. That’s their prerogative. But let’s be clear that this is not the route of faithfulness.
Third, this isn’t an issue over whether gays and lesbians should or should not be welcomed in church. This also isn’t an issue over whether young individuals within the LGBT community have faced bullying. Bullying of all sorts is deplorable and should be condemned, and not because the Human Rights Campaign says so, but because Jesus says so (Matthew 7:12). What this issue is about is whether the church models faithful obedience to Christ in a way that both honors Scripture and loves its neighbor. Hillsong thinks it’s doing both; but is actually doing neither.
Fourth, Hillsong thinks itself a contemporary and culturally relevant church. Perhaps it is. But as Christians, we don’t get to define what “relevant” means in terms that are unquestioning of what our culture means by “relevant.” I submit that Hillsong is a church in retreat. A church in retreat doesn’t give answers. It doesn’t storm the gates of Hell. It settles and makes peace where there is no peace (Ezekiel 13:10). A church in exile (and that’s how I’d describe the current placement of confessional evangelicalism) is one that is faithful amidst the culture, regardless of whether that culture looks more like America or more like Babylon. It knows that it may lose the culture, but that it cannot lose the Gospel. So be it.

His powerful concluding words will serve as my concluding words:

At the end of the day, I think Hillsong’s non-answer answer is rooted in an embarrassment about what the Bible teaches and the church has held since the time of Jesus. The good news is that the truth of Christianity outlasts the untruths of man’s applause.
When I read stuff like this, my reaction isn’t anger. It’s an eye-roll. Churches should know better than to believe the myth that accommodation will swell their ranks. The opposite happens.
Following the Apostle Peter, this all means that judgment begins within the household of God, so I’m not writing for outsiders. I’m writing for the church, to the church. I’m writing about Hillsong, a church or enterprise with enormous global influence. What I see, tragically, isn’t a church grappling with a complex issue. What I see is a church exchanging compassion for cowardliness before culture’s consistory.

www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/17/hillsong-church-gays_n_6002762.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000051
www.charismanews.com/world/45811-brian-houston-hillsong-won-t-take-public-stand-on-lgbt-issues
www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/10/a-church-in-exile

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43 Responses to Hillsong, Homosexuality and the Shrinking Gospel

  • Well Bill, let’s see what happens to Pastor Brian over questions being asked about how he dealt with his father’s improper conduct with children, while his father was still an AOG pastor. Considering that at least one account was with a young boy, what does that say about homosexuality, and the stand being taken or more to the point not taken by Ps Brian???
    Regards
    Trevor

  • Bill,
    You have made an error. Homosexuals are not excluded from heaven. It is the act of homosexual sex that is issue. A homosexual can have temptations just like hetrosexuals. It’s what we do with those temptations that shows where our loyalties lie; to God or to ourselves.

    ps: I’m really enjoying your articles!

  • Thanks Sue. Glad you like the articles. But I have not made a mistake here. As the Apostle Paul says so clearly on this in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, ‘homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom’. Those who remain in the lifestyle and refuse to repent are not inheriting eternal life. Of course if a homosexual, like any other sinner, repents and seeks to live a life pleasing to God, that is another matter. He may still struggle with his attractions, but he knows it is wrong, and he seeks, with God’s grace, to overcome this. I have written three books on this topic now, so I go into much more detail there. But see more on this here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/08/14/umm-no-he-doesnt/

  • Bill
    isnt it the act of sex outside of biblical marriage or lusting that is the sin? how can being homosexual be any different to being hetrosexual in God eyes. I refuse to believe that someone who is homosexual is excluded from heaven. isn’t it the act that is the sin?

  • Thanks Sue. But if we call ourselves Christian, we dare not call God a liar. The Bible makes it absolutely clear that homosexuality is a sin. Did you not read the passage I cited above? And there are plenty other such texts. As I say, I deal with this all in my books. Let me share just a few basic Christian truths here:
    -we are all born sinners.
    -we are all born with an orientation away from God and toward self and sin.
    -some have an orientation or predisposition to overeating, or anger, or same-sex attraction, or other sinful things.
    -Jesus made it 100% clear that it is not just acts that are sinful, but our lusts as well (see Matthew 5:21-22, 27-29, etc).
    -Paul in Romans 1:24 speaks specifically about the sinful lusts of homosexuality .
    -All sins and sinful desires need to be repented of and turned from.
    -As I said, once we become a Christian, we may still struggle with temptations and sinful desires, but we do not give in to them, and we agree with God that they are wrong. We don’t pamper them or seek to justify them or excuse them.
    -Our aim as a believer is to become holy as God is holy, and to progressively experience real sanctification. That does not mean we can be perfectly sinless in this life, but we allow the Holy Spirit to transform us.
    -Jesus came to set people free from their bondage to sin, not to let them stay trapped in dead-end lifestyles.

    These are all basic Christianity 101 truths. As I say, if you want more, grab a copy of my book: http://orders.koorong.com.au/search/product/strained-relations-bill-muehlenberg/9780646560953.jhtml

    Hope this helps explain things a bit.

  • So a homosexual who does not do the sex act, and who loves God and tries to do the right thing is still doomed? This does not make sense. How can being a certain way be a sin? Corithinians 6 9 to 11 says nothing about homosexuals not inheriting the kingdom of God. I Think you don’t undertand what I am saying.
    If you are a hetrosexual and you lust how is this different to being a homosexual and lusting. As long as the person is a believer, aren’t they washed as per verse 11?

  • Thanks again Sue. But regrettably your thinking on all this seems to be far more informed by secular humanism than by biblical Christianity. You really need to start reading your Bible on all this. How did God make us as in Genesis 1-2? He made us as male and female, having a complementarily between the sexes, in which heterosexual marriage is said to be the only licit sexual expression is to be found. All others acts and desires are wrong. That is abundantly plain from the Bible.

    And how in the world can you say homosexuals inherit the Kingdom when Paul says the exact opposite? But Paul says “such were some of you”. They used to be homosexuals, or thieves, or murderers, but now they have been set free and no longer engage in such activities. And of course God works in their hearts to restore to them godly desires as well, so they no longer want to steal or kill etc. And why do you point blank refuse to believe Jesus when he tells us that desires as just as sinful as the acts? If you are going to tell God that he is wrong and that Jesus is clueless on all this, then you will make no progress at all here.

    I know many ex-homosexuals. How many do you know? They have been set free in Christ. They in various degrees have been delivered even from their desires, and many have gotten married with children. Will you call them liars as well, because they do not fit the PC paradigm and homosexualist agenda?

    I of course expect non-Christians to talk the way you do, but if you are claiming to be a Christian (and I know nothing about you of course) then you really need to begin to think and talk biblically, instead of just parroting the world’s agenda.

    As to your last question, the answer is so very obvious I am surprised that you even asked it. God made us as heterosexuals, as I just said. God created us to desire one another of the opposite sex. That is how we were made. And this of course is meant to be satisfied in only one way: through heterosexual marriage. All other types of sexuality are wrong and sinful. God never made us homosexual. This wrong orientation is just another outcome of the Fall. As I already said, we are all born with a sinful nature, which manifests itself in various ways.

    I am married, so If I start lusting after another woman, that is sinful as Jesus made 100% clear. I have already committed adultery in my heart. But I repent of that and ask God to help move me on and be increasingly freed of such sinful desires.

    But the desire of a man for a woman is exactly how God made us. He created us a male and female, with heterosexual desires. He did not make us with same-sex attractions. Yet homosexuals wrongly claim this is who they are – this is their very core and identity. Baloney. They are made primarily to love God and live holy lives. Secondarily, if they move into the direction of marriage, it is to be heterosexual marriage.

    While God made us as heterosexual only, that is not my identity or what defines me. I am defined by my relationship to God. I am meant to be conformed to the image of Christ. So in that sense, and in that sense only, one can say we are neither heterosexual or homosexual. But only in that sense.

    God made us to have attraction for members of the opposite sex. That is how God created us. The Fall has distorted everything, even our sexuality. As I say, this is all basic biblical Christianity. I am not sure why it is so hard to grasp. But as I keep saying, if you are asking more than just rhetorical questions here, you might want to grab the book I mentioned and read in a whole lot more detail the biblical position on all this. Thanks for writing in.

  • Sue, I would like to know your thoughts reagrding homosexual couples reverting to IVF or surrogacy to have a child (such as Senator Penny Wong and her lesbian partner did, or Elton John and his male homosexual partner did).

    That is, what do you think of someone deliberately bringing a child into the world for themselves, with the intention to make “their” child fatherless or motherless.

    I would also like to know what you think of the high “infection” statistics amongst homosexual men, ie those with gonorrhoea, syphilis, HPV, anal cancers, HIV, etc, as a result of anal intercourse.

    For example, it has been reported that while anal cancer is relatively rare among the general population, “gay” men are 20 times more likely to contract it. Likewise, there is a HIV epidemic affecting Australian male homosexuals – with a staggering 12% (1 in 9) having HIV. And the list goes on.

    See http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/local-news/new-south-wales-news/2013/03/07/boost-to-cancer-funding/99732

    See Global AIDS Country Report 2012 Australia, page 8
    http://www.unaids.org/en/dataanalysis/knowyourresponse/countryprogressreports/

  • Agree with everything you say and have said about what my husband refers to as “clap and fall down” Churches. A bit harsh – I think more along the lines that it is a “feel good religion” low on biblical content – high on hype but if they are glorifying God with music that is a good thing but I believe the music is more about feeling good not being good. I don’t like to criticize as the Catholic Church to which I belong has its own problems and I’m afraid this present Synod is leaning towards watering down doctrine and dogma especially about the family.

  • Trevor, I think homosexual relationships are wrong, so I would hardly be in favour of them having children in any way. I am also against IVF as many embryos are distroyed in the process. VDs are a result of sin, so I am not surprised that the rates are very high in homosexuals.
    It’s surprising that you ask me these questions. I am not pro gay, I am just anti judging someone who has homosexual tendancies and thoughts. The Lord washes away all sin if you truly repent and believe.

  • I think Sue might find more helpful and encouraging words for a more nuanced view of attraction and orientation here:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/an-alternative-script-for-same-sex-attraction

    To have arrived at adulthood admitting you have exclusively same-sex attraction, despite every effort to seek God for deliverance, is not itself sinful. It is honesty. Most certainly there is temptation to lust and to act on it, but for earnest God-seekers who resist, no sin is committed.

    To fail to distinguish between temptation in brokenness, and the sin of lust, is bad theology and pastoral abuse. Telling a man who has been abused and tragically damaged in childhood (for example) that his now adult same-sex attraction is sin, is cruel, and betrays a total failure to understand what sexual amd other forms of abuse can do to damage sexual orientation.

    Of course God did not create people anything other than heterosexual, but abuse can do nasty things. And it need not be physical abuse, either.

    For mercy’s sake, it is no compromise of Scriptural truth to hold this view.

  • It is not only pastors of large congregations that have selective teachings. Pastors of small congregations can be the same…..never fed the sheep, only the goats. I believe the Lord has removed the lampstand of my past church which is simply slowly dying (nearly dead) although the pastor thinks it is still alive, I pray it is still alive yet I still hear the words of Christ to his church at Sardis, words that my former pastor chose to ignore.

  • Alister, Thanks for your comments.

    This is exactly what point I am trying to get across.

    Whether someone can be born homosexual is only something God can know but I am with you on your other points.

    Cheers

  • Thanks Sue. I have already said often now that we are all born fallen, so we all have abnormal orientations and desires. But Christ came to set us free and get us back on track the way he intended us to be.

    Regrettably you keep using the terminology and thinking of the homosexual lobby. There is no such thing as being born homosexual. You are born as a male or female, made in God’s image. But because of the Fall, we can get a warped sexuality just like everything else. So from early on there may be predispositions and the like, but as all the solid research on this shows, it is primarily one’s environment (an absent father, a weak or abusive father, and so on) that leads to the condition of same-sex attraction. There is no gay gene and it is not how God makes anyone.

    We must not let the homosexual lobby dictate the terms of this debate. We must let the Word of God do it instead. I recommend you read the following:

    “The idea of sexual orientation is artificial and inhibits Christian witness.”

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/03/against-heterosexuality

  • Bill, your readers might like to read Brian Houston’s full answer at the press conference, I did a full transcript. http://www.biblesociety/news/Hillsong-says-gays-2

  • Thanks John. Yes I saw that and his “clarification” statement which he also released. But there still really is not much clarity here at all. It certainly does not offset all his other unhelpful comments on this over the years. Nor has their big NY leader Lentz (sitting right next to him at the press conference) retracted a word of what he has said which has also been so unhelpful.

    His new statement says very little of any substance – and as I have documented often, we have years of capitulation here by Hillsong on this matter.

    And the real problem is, what is the point in agreeing with certain biblical truths, if you refuse to proclaim them, for fear of offending people or rocking the boat? You might as well not believe them then. So I am not at all impressed with it, sorry.

  • In his response on the Bible Society page, Brian shared what is in essence the downfall of Hillsong doctrine; and I quote:
    “…we grapple with the question of merging biblical truth with a changing world.”
    We should never merge biblical truth with anything!

  • I thank God that the recent gathering of Catholic bishops has clearly revealed the sheep and the goats and that the attempt of the “liberals” to have a rubbishing heap of dung published as church teaching has been overthrown and God’s truth has been upheld. The mainstream media ,of course reports that “hopes for a more merciful church ” have come to nothing. What rubbish ! All are welcome and encouraged to come and worship but the same rule applies to all. If you are an unrepentant murderer, trafficker of drugs, adulterer , usurer, oppressor of the poor etc. etc. you may come and worship as best you can. To come along might be the beginning of grace for you, so you should most certainly not be rejected but you cannot be admitted to the sacraments until you accept the grace of repentance and begin the journey of faith which is the same struggle for all fallen human beings. By faith in Jesus we are all redeemed and His grace is sufficient for us. If we fall at times, we can be confident of His forgiveness and grace if we are truly sincere in our repentance. That applies to all and any sin, so great is God’s abundant mercy and grace ,so immeasurable His love for us. All are welcome but no group is entitled to say “I want to come in but I want to bring my sin with me because I can’t help it, so you must bend reality for me”.

  • I think Sue’s issue might be that she sees homosexuality as something one is born being (rather like being born with brown eyes) rather than a lifestyle choice. That is a common “justification” today. The problem with that thinking is that it is irrelevant. While we might not be in control of our feelings (it’s just the way that I am), we are always in control of our behavior or actions. I may feel like lying, but I choose to speak the truth or to lie. Am I born with a nature that prompts me to lie? Yes. Does that make me a liar? Only if I choose to lie.

    What is both relevant and important is that Jesus loves all sinners (homosexuals and liars) and came to redeem us. The most important truth for all of us is just that–we all deserve hell and even when we trust Jesus as Savior, we still deserve hell (nor will we ever deserve anything else). But Jesus made it possible for the Father to receive us wrapped in His righteousness, never our own. That’s the good news that all liars and homosexuals need to hear. That’s the news that Jesus wants us to proclaim loudly–we don’t have to stay that “just the way that I am” person” anymore. We can be free through the power of redemption. The Son sets us free.

  • Thank you Bill for your dedication to your calling and through it, the help and support that you provide to others. It is encouraging to read others comments, their experiences and Biblical approaches to matters such as this. It helps one to not feel as Elijah did following the Mt Carmel experience. I hope Sue keeps growing in the knowledge and grace of God – just as we all need to do.
    Chester Wilson

  • Thanks Chester. Yes we all need to keep growing in grace and knowledge. I sure do.

  • Jan,
    My point about whether homosexuals are born that way or not, is just that we can’t be sure. Only God can know. I am not using this as an excuse for them. I am simply challenging the assumption. I think it is pretty arrogant to presume we know this. (I am talking about this maybe being a rare occurance, not common).
    In the scheme of things, yes it is irrelevant. I am not making excuses for them but maybe the assumption that they are not born that way EVER, makes us less sympathetic to their plight?
    I think maybe there is confusion about what a “homosexual” means. The oxford dictionary says “Sexually attracted to people of one’s own sex”. Yes we are in control of our actions. I am talking about someone who is sexually attracted to people of one’s own sex, but who abstain and put their faith in Jesus. In other words, a Christian. Is this type of Christian destined to go to hell? This is what I am hearing from Bill. Maybe I am misunderstanding him or he misunderstanding me?
    The bible talks about evil acts, it does not say evil temptations. Even Jesus was tempted.

  • Chester, yes we all need to grow in Christ, but like everything for me, I must have an answer. If I don’t understand, I will just keep on until I do. The best way to grow is to question. Thanks for your encouragement, you too Bill.

  • Thanks again Sue, but it really was not my intention to belabour this. Evidentially I am doing a rather lousy job of explaining myself! So one last time if I may, then it is time to give this a rest thanks. Here is the scoop: No one is born homosexual. There is zero biblical evidence for this and zero scientific evidence for this. So it is simply unneedful to say, ‘well, some may be, we just don’t know’. We DO know. One might as well say, ‘Well some people might be born on Mars, we just don’t know.’ We DO know, and it just ain’t so!
    And as I have said often now, the Bible makes it crystal clear that it is not just acts that are sinful, but desires and lusts. Once again, read Jesus in Matt 5, or Paul in Romans 1:24-26 (where he talks specifically about homosexuality):
    “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.”
    It does not get any more clear than this: “sinful desires” and “sinful lusts” – not just acts. And this comes overwhelmingly from environmental factors as I document thoroughly in my books.
    And of course I never said that temptations are sinful. What we do with those temptations however is crucial.
    But I have said all this already, often, so my apologies if I am just not communicating here. But we might leave it at that thanks. Bless you.

  • Bill, Hillsong and other churches may be assessed on two fronts. The first is whether they want to make media statements on this issue. Clearly Hillsong doesn’t.
    The other is what they do in practise, with regard to ministers and marriage. Hillsong seems to be conservative in practice. Rather more so than other Australian denominations, some of which will make conservative statements but have more liberal churches in their fold.

  • Thanks John, but of course the only vital and biblical way we assess any church is how they stack up with the clear teachings of Scripture, and if they proclaim the whole counsel of God. If a church refuses to speak out on one of the most important moral and biblical issues of our time – the biblical position on human sexuality, and the challenge of the homosexual threat to faith and freedom – then that tells us a lot about where they are coming from. And that is just one of the biblical issues that concern many people.

  • Thanks again Bill for your article,

    Firstly I have never in the past been publicly negative about Hillsong Church. However my wife played me the recording of Brian Houston’s recent comments on homosexuality and with NYC pastor Carl Lentz on Saturday night and we were both in shock. Refer

    http://m.christianpost.com/news/hillsong-pastor-brian-houston-hammered-with-questions-about-sex-abuse-homosexuality-finances-at-start-of-nyc-conference-128240/

    Two Issues

    No 1 – Brian Houston’s (Hillsong) serious compromise on Homosexuality
    ————————————————————————
    Brian Houston’s quotes (No 1) “Homosexual marriage is legal in (New York City) and will be probably in most Western world countries within a short time. So the world’s changing and we want to stay relevant as a church.“

    (2) Houston again “But we feel at this point, it is an ongoing conversation, that the real issues in people’s lives are too important for us to just reduce it down to a “yes” or “no” answer in a media outlet.”… “We are on a journey”… “And that’s what Carl Lentz always says for us, it’s a conversation.”.

    In short, I am appalled at Brian Houston’s compromise and gutlessness. It is apparent that he is not prepared to provide true spiritual leadership to the Hillsong churches on this issue and make a firm stand against gay marriage.

    I totally agree with your assessment Bill, of Houston’s feeble “relevance” argument. Has Brian Houston actually read where the Bible talks about Salt and Light in a dark world? Refer Matt 5 v13-16 and Acts 13 v47.

    One can only assume from Brian’s statement (no 1) that he sees Same Sex marriage as inevitable in Australia and will not use his considerable power, wealth and influence to prevent or oppose SSM. Again no courage displayed here from Brian. Just keel over and give in, but stay relevant.

    Australian Christians will now have to rely on their own prayerful efforts and on courageous men and women such as the aging Fred Nile, Paul Green, CDP members, Pastor Daniel Nalliah, Pastor Margaret Court, Warwick Marsh, Babette Francis, Family Voice Australia, Australian Christian Lobby, yourself Bill and other small groups and individuals and some members from the Anglican church who courageously will take up the challenge to protect marriage. Thankfully, we have a Prime Minister who at this point maintains a stand against Same Sex Marriage. I encourage all other Christians to write to him(as I do) and thank him for his continuing support for marriage.

    Regrettably Hillsong’s leadership now appears to provide no genuine help and means of escape for young men and women struggling with homosexuality and lesbian bondage but instead it’s all about appeasing the gay lobby and staying relevant.

    Brian says it’s all about “Ongoing conversation with the Gay Community,” whatever that means. Based on his performance to date this probably means more “compromise” and more “politically correct fence walking” by Brian and other Hillsong pastors. Really pathetic!!!. Clearly there are no absolute truths. Hillsong is in a state of flux / review on homosexuality.

    Despite the lies and deception from the Gay Lobby, Fact 1 – God created us as Male and Female. Fact 2 – Young men and women will never find joy and peace in their hearts pursuing same sex relationships not to mention the significant health issues risks they face involving themselves in buggery and other horrid practices. This is well documented by yourself, Bill and Trevor Grace above.

    True Christian leaders should be providing loving counselling, prayer and renewal programs and support programs as a means of escape rather than supporting and condoning a degrading and damaging lifestyle that are sending people to hell, potential shortening their lives and is now perverting marriage, the foundational centre-piece of society. Does Brian Houston and other impotent megachurch leaders really care about the eternal destination of homosexuals ?

    Brian’s WEIGHT argument that young men with homosexual feelings have been traditionally mistreated and rejected by Church members and then end up suiciding I find as extreme, exaggerated and non-representative. This is type of rubbish that the gay lobby promotes. It may have happened in the past but my extended family and parents have been in churches for over 80 years and we have never heard of any case like this. I find Brian’s “sleight of hand” criticism of the Australian Church Community that we have members that would operate on this bullying basis as grossly offensive and profoundly dishonest. It’s 95% myth. Suicide is all too common in Australian young men but it’s got very little to do with their sexuality so linking the Church’s so called treatment of homosexuals with suicide is completely out of all proportion and unfair to the Church and to families already in severe pain. I personally believe burying young men who have died from aids related illnesses a more weighty issue.

    Issue 2 Brian Houston’s management of Frank Houston’s Paedophilia
    ————————————————————
    This is painful area for the Houston family and I do have some sympathy. However I have deep concerns that a heinous crime has occurred against a little boy and Frank Houston has escaped justice. Quite likely there was more than one boy involved.

    Brian Houston can cry as many crocodile tears as he likes and get very emotional but at the end of day his father never faced a court and has never gone to jail while other paedophiles in Australia are still paying the price for their crimes even though they have served time and are now out of jail.
    Brian can allocate responsibility for the non-reporting of the incident to the Police by the Child’s parents/ carers or the boy (now an adult) BUT there are clearly moral and ethical issues related to Hillsong’s handling of this case.

    Key Question – Given Brian is still the Senior Pastor within the Hillsong Group of Churches would the situation be managed any differently now, if for example his son Joel Houston was accused of touching up and molesting children. I have my doubts.

    Regrettably this sad case gives the wider non-Christian Australian Community the impression there is one rule of law for them and another rule of law within the Hillsong Church. This is wrong. We as Christians are called to lives of righteousness, honesty and purity it’s truly an appalling state of affairs. This case and other more widespread cases within the Catholic church are profoundly damaging for Christianity in Australia. Sweeping crimes against children under the carpet by the Church is abhorrent behaviour and I believe greatly angers and grieves our Father God.

    Non Christians have every right to be very angry, cynical and critical about the evil, hypocrisy and cover up they see within the Church.

    Short to Medium Term
    Given the two important issues briefly discussed above I do believe Brian Houston has to seriously consider stepping down as Senior Pastor from Hillsong for the good of Hillsong Church and wider Christian community in Australia. Pastor Houston (like it or not) is now tainted by his father’s failure to be brought to justice and more importantly Brian is simply not providing Biblical based teaching and guidance to thousands of impressionable young people within Hillsong churches.

    So it’s high time to handover the Leadership to someone with some backbone who can and will preach Biblical truth courageously. The question is who?

    Sorry it got a bit long

    Phil Browne
    Sydney

  • Thanks Phil. Very well said.

    I know! I can retire and you can take over my website!

  • I was not planning to write any more on this topic. Really! But at least indirectly it has come up again:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/10/21/the-curse-of-relevance/

  • Hi all. Please also refer to James Whites (audio) comments about this issue at http://www.aomin.org. Cheers! Mick Koster

  • Becareful and be warned of more ‘ wolves in sheeps clothing’ here in Australia. Be alert to those ‘leaders, pastors and moral crusaders who live and teach sin.
    The world says be happy. Our God teaches to be HOLY.
    Many Christian today believe that the Bible says what they want to do rather than believing they need to do what the Bible says.
    1 Corinthians 6 9-10 KJV Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterer, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.

  • Doctor Martin Luther King once said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right… The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy… There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” We need men and women of God – strong apologists of God with deep and great insights, who think the truth, know the truth, live the truth, and obey the truth without compromise. Over the years I have heard so-called Christian leaders or pastors who often compromised the message of truth they supposed to proclaim and teach. They are afraid of truth and Christ strongly asserts that only the truth can set people free, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free… So if the Son sets you free, you will really free.” We don’t have much courageous apologists these days who stand the test of time, who stand firm for truth – the truth of God! Many are so ashamed of the gospel and the truth of Christ. We need man like you Bill –godly prophet and apologist well-versed in the truth of God’s Word – theology and apologetics, who loves and fears God and speak for God as his modern-day prophet, not in moments of comfort and convenience, but at times of challenge and controversy. May God Almighty richly bless you and protect you from the power of darkness, brother!

  • The Houston quotations are over 2 months old – has he attempted to clarify his stance since?
    Do you think it may be a legitimate approach to get people into church and interested in the gospel, then counsel them on biblical truth privately? (not saying Hillsong does that but it may be a valid approach).

  • Thanks John. Absolutely nothing has changed in their position on this. (See also my comments above on this.) And what is the point of getting people in to your church if you refuse to proclaim biblical truth in such essential areas? We must always proclaim biblical truth publicly and boldly, not cravenly and covertly.

  • Sorry, but one is NOT born a “Homosexual”. Why would God makes one a Homosexual THEN make laws given to the Jews explicitly stating that they be put to death? So the ones stating that God did so are then saying that God got pleasure out of having them killed.? NO as God wants all to turn from heir son no matter what is is. I feel that its a choice as first and like any sin the more you dabble in it the more it takes you over. as to the children who say their born into the wrong body…generainal curse can come even in that form. There will be a huge price to pay by the so called believers for not calling out sin and confronting it when they see it. God Does NOT EVER COMPROMISE when it comes to sin!!

  • Totally agree Laura.
    Sadly many Christians are listening to the world and the MSM and believing the lie that “Homosexuals” and Lesbians are born this way.

    The truth is Homosexuality is escapeable.
    Christ came 2000 years ago to redeem all, including the homosexual.

    WE are living in the days of Noah. Wickedness is increasing and undoubtedly will get worse as Christ’s return gets ever closer.

    All the best Laura and Bill for 2015. God Bless.

    I expect 2015 will be a very tough year with a major correction on world stockmarkets with possibly another large earthquake in Japan.

    We must cleave to Jesus Christ.

    Phil Browne.

  • Helpful blog Bill, thanks.
    The discussion has raised many issues.
    God’s intentions for marriage and family and human sexuality are found throughout Scripture, beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation, and the Bible gives us a blueprint for living as males and females in his image, in this fallen world where there will always be ppl rebelling against God and for his intentions for us as men and women.
    Thankfully there is Jesus, his forgiveness from all of us sinners, and his word and Holy spirit to change us. You rightly say that Paul in Romans 1:24 speaks specifically about the sinful lusts of homosexuality, and “All sins and sinful desires need to be repented of and turned from’
    You also encourage Sue Barber, above, to think and talk biblically, instead of just parroting the world’s agenda.

    I absolutely agree with this. We cannot keep just watching SBS Tv shows, and reading SMH and expect truth. To be honest most of our media outlets do not care so much for truth, as they do for popular (what people like to hear)entertainment (a good story) So truth gets moved aside.

    Therefore to help us think and talk biblically i would like to recommend two theological works. These will work toward rebuilding a biblical foundation;
    1. God, marriage and Family, Andreas J. Kostenbeger, Crossway, 2004, 2010. Now in its second edition, this is an excellent work, acknowledging the current cultural crisis, and addressing issues thoroughly from a conservative, reformed biblical perspective. Worth its weight in gold.

    2. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, a response to evangelical feminism, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

    Studying these books alongside the Bible and putting their teaching into practice will help us greatly I believe
    Daniel

  • Most of the above statements are incorrect because you cant call a group of people by their sin as in homosexuals. That’s like calling a whole lot of sinners a group of adulterers or liars. They are just sinners involved in unnatural sex. To call one self a homosexual is to blaspheme God. He created Man and Woman and any man or woman that wants to be a different gender is blaspheming Gods creation and Him. God does not make mistakes and does not create anyone in the wrong gender. That is devilish and denoting Gods creation. God help them and incidentally I don’t like the word gay for a homosexual they are far from gay and shouldn’t claim that name.

  • I really enjoyed this article and agree completely. I am being convicted by the Holy Spirit to stop paying to watch television shows where I am being entertained by gay actors. The same goes for enjoying their music or cheering for them in sports! We as Christians should be weeping and interceding for them and not following them like starry-eyed fans!!! Is this true or am I becoming too fanatical?

    I am a worship leader and Christian author who lives in the state of Kentucky with my wife. I have just released a book called, “A LIFESTYLE OF WORSHIP – Living in the Awareness of God’s Presence” and if you have a minute, I invite you to go to my website and watch my video trailer. I appreciate your ministry and your holy boldness to stand strong for God’s “absolute” truth!

  • Hi Bill, I didn’t explain myself very well in my last comment. I suggested that something entertaining might attract people to church, where they hear the gospel message. However well a preacher explains it, people probably won’t “get it”, therefore they need careful discipling followup. An example I think is appropriate: My church has had visits from the Power Team, who do amazing feats of physical strength, then one of them gives a testimony, followed by an invitation to accept Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t want my church to do that awful rendition which was the subject of the article. Christmas blessings.

  • Hi Bill. I know this discussion is somewhat expired now and I As we know the sinful nature is so deep within us and leaves nothing untouched. Romans 8:21 says creation is in bondage to decay, awaiting future liberation. Certainly the effects of sinful nature also extend to our biology as well? We see this in physical deformities, like the eunuch “born that way” in Mat 19.
    Now I know Mat 19 is primarily about marriage and cannot be used to defend homosexuality.
    BUT…logically, wouldn’t it also be possible that because of sin, some people are biologically defective and therefore are predisposed to SSA? Although this does not absolve them from responsbility as 2 Peter 1:3 says we have the divine power for life and godliness. It just means…it’s possible that it’s not all “nurture”?

  • Thanks Joseph. Yes I have written about this in my articles and books. In a fallen world we all are born with dispositions to self and sin, and away from God. Thus some might early on have a predisposition or orientation to anger or overeating or same-sex attraction. It is part of the fallen world, but what Christ came to set us free from. So yes a bit of nature and nurture – including our old sinful nature! Good thing God gives us a new nature. See here eg – https://billmuehlenberg.com/2004/11/01/responding-to-the-theological-revisionists/

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